The Silver Case: A Grasshopper’s Beginning

With the upcoming No More Heroes coming I decided that I want to take a further look into Grasshoppers Manufacture’s games. Now I was already going to get the Silver Case already before this decision, it just took a long time for me to get it… Either way I have the Silver Case and I went for a limited copy of it too, which is probably the reason it took some time. So for those who do not know about the Silver Case, this was the first title that Suda 51 made with his company, Grasshopper. Now the Kill the Past series does go back a bit with Suda’s works at Human Entertainment. There is Twilight Syndrome 1 and 2, but the real start of Kill the Past mostly starts at Moonlight Syndrome. Literally the beginning of the Silver Case has the surviving characters from Moonlight Syndrome. The concept of “Kill the Past” means that the past needs to be killed. A character has experience a horrible incident and while they moved on, they end up going back to it to finally kill it off. As the title says I will be starting with the Silver Case since I have no ways of playing the Syndrome series. Either way we start out with Suda’s first look into the idea of crime.

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Suda has talked about his first look into the idea of crime. To be honest, future titles of his does go into this as well. Flower Sun and Rain brings up similar crime angles that Silver Case started and then Killer 7 and No More Heroes brings up assassins into the mix. So how did it all start? Suda has said that he wanted to look on how crime is born. Is it natural, does it come because of other events, or does something control it? The idea of crime has been done before like with the movie Scarface and no I am not referring to the one with Al Pacino, I am talking about the original film, but both are pretty nice films. Either way, the focus on crime is quite high in entertainment. I will say though considering this was game for the original Playstation it still feels quite original. One of the big perks is how Suda does his story telling, I will get further into it, but this man keeps finding ways to make his stories unique. I do not know how he did with the Syndrome series, but the Silver Case really has that style that made me find No More Heroes so entertaining. The crazy concepts being brought up quite early, the dialogue being strange and yet strong with strong sense of diction, and the general art style. This is before No More Heroes as the designs are a bit more toned down compared to other Grasshopper games. The art and character designs were done by Takashi Miyamoto and I adore his style. Takashi was a big fan of French art styles and he really brought that into a horror like style as well. He was also a fan of noir which really fits well with this type of story. His favorite types of stories heavily dark in tone stories so his work on the Silver Case feels quite natural.

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So with I mentioned so far The Silver Case is a noir styled drama with a mix of supernatural horror. It is easily a strange mixture for sure and that is how Grasshopper does things to this day. The motto “Punk’s not dead” simply means that Suda wants to make each work distinct. The company would rarely want the some product again and again. To this day the only franchise this company has is No More Heroes even though Suda wanted to continue Killer 7 and I found out that Silver Case does continue, but it was only on mobile in Japan so far as Suda says is The Silver Case still does well even today, he will release the sequel as well. So far both Silver Cases are the only visual novels the company has under their belt. I have been opening up to visual novels over the years thanks to Zero Escape and Ace Attorney. Now I will not lie the age of this title does show just like playing Ace Attorney in the past feels quite different from their titles on the 3DS. In the end though what brings people to visual novels are the stories and while Zero Escape and Ace Attorney are deep with puzzles, The Silver Case is quite lighter on that. This title is more like an interactive story. You do not have many options in what to do and change. You can waste time and that is all it is then. So reviewing this has a game is not that possible since it is just busy work. So if you are a Suda fan expecting gameplay from this title, you will be disappointed. If you can get around that though, I can highly recommend this title for Suda fans like myself because there are many beginnings here that someone like me loves to notice.

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The biggest aspect that is carried over from Suda’s works is that the story does have a rather interesting way of presenting itself. Suda is known for bringing art house quality to game and Silver Case was the start. It all starts out with your character on a job to take out a criminal, pretty simple. You start to find victims of the criminal and already the art came up to me as shocking. It was not the most grotesque art, but it really came off with this horror vibe and the soundtrack did great to build that up. When tracking down the criminal you start to do little puzzles that just require simple decryption with a machine you find. A majority of the said puzzles are basically busy work, but I had my fun time with them. I cannot really remember the last time I had a simple puzzle made me feel uncomfortable. The thug is taken down later on, but it was done by an officer that decides to call you Chinchilla, lovely. He starts to tell you and your allies why you are in the business and that is to clear this world of crime, shoot it until it has no face! The supernatural angle comes up as it appears crime can bring ghosts of criminals and yes it was the same one who was killed and you clearly get the big picture of what happened to this man. Crime in the Silver Case is like a virus and the officers need to stop it before it spreads. That is a majority of how The Silver Case feels, you will be going down one path and while the introduction had a big turn, the next couple of chapters have you figuring things out earlier on. The first case even starts the story off well thanks to the theming and what was introduced already, many elements from those moments come back into play later.

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After that case, you soon find yourself part of the Crime Division where you meet the usual cast of characters for the rest of this title. The man who called you Chinchilla is no other than Testugoro Kusabi, a man who got promoted to this division because of “The Silver Case” incident. His partner is a young man by the name of Sumio Kodai and while these two seem to be at each other’s throats, they are extremely great partners to each other. Sumio comes off as a potential main character, he just has a simple attitude that is inviting for people to be with. Sumio easily comes in as the best character because of what happens later on and he soon becomes a titular character of “Kill the Past” in general. We also got Morikawa an older gentleman just like Kusabi, but not as hot-headed. He does come off as arrogant though as his style of investigation is the best around. Chizuru is the cold and distant scientific one of the group as she is by the book. Kusabi hates her “ancient” style of work and later on Morikawa gets annoyed by her at one point. The overall cast of characters personally feel more alive than what some modern titles have brought. The dialogue can get a big dragged on and some lines really come out of nowhere, but that is usual how my conversations go. I talk a whole lot as you can probably tell by my writing style. I would even regularly be open how certain things with anyone, so to me the dialouge easily fits well. Even the characters can be a bit radical, but to me that is what gives them more distinct personality and what really puts them in a league of their own in terms of characters.

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There are many other characters too as the deeper you get into the Silver Case, more players start to reveal themselves later on. There is a side story section where you play as a reporter who got involved in a case. Ever since then he has been going further into this case. He does become a freelance reporter as he is paid to find information on the man named Kamui, a legendary criminal. These sections of the game are their own story and at the same time act as cliff notes for the general story. I feel this is needed because there are times where I am thinking about too many possibilities. The writing was done by different people other than Suda and while I do love how unfiltered Suda is with his writing because of how far it goes. I will not lie and say actually learning the story is needed as well. Not saying that you cannot get any details from the main story, I can just easily see some being confused on certain events. If you just focus on the dialogue, you can get rather lost, but again the art really pops out so I do not see how someone can ignore it. The art really speaks out on its own at many times which to be honest this is the first visual novel where I actually have that. Either way, Tokio is also a rather calm collected man who just happens to have a tad attitude problem. Being involved with a Kamui case though, I do not blame him as the information he starts to uncover would stress anyone out. Tokio’s sections are rather repetitive, but what really gets the suspense going is what new information is brought up in those sections. I highly recommend playing his section as they are unlocked, the two stories go back and forth with each other.

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Overall, The Silver Case is a strong beginning to how Suda 51 starts to bring his unique style of story to gaming. While the game is just a bunch of busy work, I only got tired around the end of the game. The title always has this constant vibe of uneasiness that I was not bothered by the busy work. Also for a man anticipating for what “Kill the Past” has I was excited to find many beginnings of aspects and sound effects that would be used later on in future titles. I will have another post about The Silver Case and that will be rather spoiler heavy as I will bring up, “Kill the Past.” For my initial thoughts on The Silver Case though, it was an artsy crime drama that feels of its own product as the look on crime is rather deep. What makes a criminal?

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My Top 14 Episodes of Mr. Bean

I am easily changes things up a bit for my category of posts. I do say I am the man who looks into anything. Recently it has been tons of Japanese media and this is probably the most I have seen. I love playing video games from Japanese developers, watched tons of anime as a child and still go back to watch the older ones I missed out on, and then even got into Tokusatsu. With that though there is easily something different on my all time favorites list and that would be the British comedy hit, Mr. Bean. For those who do not know who Mr. Bean, he is a character played by one of my favorite actors, Rowan Atkinson. I grew up watching Mr.Bean at my grandparents house as they had a collection of the series on VHS tapes. My brother and I loved these episodes so much, we even taken home ourselves. Right now those tapes are still with my grandmother, but I can still watch Bean anytime I want thanks to DVD collections. Which is funny, back then my sister had a DVD collection as well and I borrowed that too. For the longest time I thought I still had it. Either way I adore Rowan and his idea of the man-child that is Mr. Bean. Not only does this show make me laugh it does remind me to adore the child that is in me as well. I feel like that is what Mr.Bean does the best. It has a cartoony way of presenting itself while in real life situations. Bean feels like a live action cartoon in many ways mostly because of our title character. Well I feel like talking about this show and all of its brilliant episodes as I do enjoy every episode of the show. Listing these off does come down to personal favorites at some point.

14. Mind the Baby Mr.Bean

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Episode nine of the series has an extremely great idea of Mr.Bean at a fun fair and the chaos can already be imagined I bet with his track record at this point. Fate gives him something to be mind of though, a baby that he accidentally gets because of his car. Bean does his best to keep the baby safe and happy, but that does not mean he is aiming for fun himself. I put this episode at last place because I feel like more could have been done with the idea of Bean being with baby. The episode though does get a bit lazy and just put the baby in a little car ride for about 1/4 of the episode. Even when the baby is around then there are some jokes that do not need the baby. Now there are some great moments in this episode as Bean cheats at these games. Pretending to hit the cards with darts and try hitting  machine to get coins. It also does have one of my personal favorite moments as a kid when Bean had to keep a fish alive in his mouth. Also the episodes ends on a strong note with the baby returning to his mother safely even if Mr Bean is going to miss the kid.

13. Mr. Bean in Room 426

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This was a rare episode in the series as this whole episode is shot in one location (the first one). Usually Mr. Bean is traveling around and while things were funny, I personally love the aspect of Bean traveling around causing chaos. I guess this is another reason I am not that fond of the previous episode mentioned because both of these feels a bit restricted. Now there will be an episode where this idea is done stronger so I feel like episode eight and nine were precursors for what was coming up later for the show. Bean does a good job of making havoc in this hotel though and while some never noticed. I do enjoy the beginning for the most part as Bean is racing someone to their rooms, decorating his room, playing with his television, and getting into someone’s bath. Sadly this episode does actually repeat a joke and while I do find the second time to be better because of the circumstance given, I was not a fan of the first time it was done. Mr. Bean stuck behind an old lady while on stairs. He goes to insane lengths to get around her, but at some point he just gives up, the Bean I know would so not give up. The ending for the episode was strong as well with the title card saying “Mr. Bean was in Room 426.” Overall a fun episode, but just like Mind the Baby, it just feels a bit restricted. This episode does do more with the hotel concept though.

12. Good Night Mr. Bean

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Overall this episode is a really good one. Bean has an injury or some kind at the hospital and does not want to wait for too long. So he starts to steal other tickets from patients, but things just get worse for him. There is even the skit where he messes with a royal guard so he can have a nice souvenir picture. I have to say big props to the actor who was the guard or maybe they  got a real guard to do this (nah looked it on IMDB). Either way I am surprised he did not bust out laughing, maybe I should try looking for behind the scenes stuff on this. They even explore the concept of Bean simply going to bed and him with Teddy is always a delight. Bean loves his little friend and puts him to sleep and gives him his own little bed. Then comes how he turns out the lights, Bean has a gun! Hold the phone here, why does this man have a gun? I do not know gun laws in that country, but this still comes to a complete surprise. Bean simply just shoots the lightbulb with the gun, but I am still bothered that he has a gun. To be honest it is one of the biggest surprises I have with the show. Then we get to Bean just trying to sleep which to be honest to me was the weakest ending until the end. So many things are being done off-screen as we just focus on Bean which is good in its own way since Rowan does a great job performing. It is just hearing stock sound effects does get trying. Overall a weaker ending compared to what transpired in this episode.

11. Mr. Bean Goes to Town

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This episode to me has a weak beginning compared to what transpires to everything else. Mr. Bean simply has television troubles and while getting naked to solve it is quite ridiculous it ends as you assume it will. Later on, Bean runs into a thief and you do not mess with him. He literally gets a trash can on the man and starts poking him with his sharp pencils. This guy is just lucky this was episode four, if it was later Bean would have his gun. Then even to find out who the thief was at the police line up, he recreates the scene to hear the thief’s scream of pain. Then we get to the night club where Bean ruins a magician’s act and as he goes into the dance floor there is a crazy magician with a sword after Bean. I always love that idea that this magician is possibly out for blood. During this whole time Bean was on a date with the most reoccurring character of the show. She ends up getting interested in another man though and Bean does not take that well. To be honest I hated when she did this because it took less than a couple of minutes to forget Bean. He is the reason why you are here, sheesh have some respect woman! I am not even that fond of the ending as Bean leaves the dance club and turns on the power for his revenge. While funny in the end Bean lost and that magician is still at large.

10. Mr. Bean

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The first episode makes it right at number ten and it is a good start for Bean. First off the beginning is still rare since Bean is taking an exam and it is pretty high level of math. Bean is surprisingly pretty good at math I guess. He ends up freaking out though since he does not know the answers. Again a fun idea with how Bean tries to cheat and this does show how far his mind will go to do things. The second parts tops the first part with how Bean tries to changes his clothes for the beach while someone is right behind him. The end of this skit always gets a laugh out of me. Then the third part is the best as Bean is trying to survive church and this does bring up one of the best moments of Bean. When he sleeps, he can fall onto the floor and get complete balance on his forehead. This comes up many times in shorts and movies as this one time situation always stays in many minds. The first episode also brings up Bean’s true rival of the series, the driver in the blue car. This poor person is just in Bean’s way at the wrong times and I always love seeing this car in the early episodes. So the first episode shows off what Bean was going to be and it was a strong beginning since it has many aspect that people remember.

9. The Return of Mr. Bean

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Next is the second episode of the series. While this episode has one of my absolute favorite skits in the series. The other two parts do not hold up. The restaurant skit is near perfect in a comedy piece. The first part is simply Bean shopping and soon getting his hand stuck into someone’s pocket and I will admit the ending was incredible though. Everything else was pretty simple though. Then the third part of the episode is too much build up, but yet again the punchline was well done. The idea of the Queen getting a headbutt is always funny. Now the resturant skit which is the second part of the episode is just way too amazing for this episode. It really just beats the other two skits up which this is also the reason why I put this episode at number nine. The whole episode should feel strong and while there are good jokes still being done, the one skit really stands out for the most part. Bean orders some food at a resturant and he personally hates what he bought. The man does whatever he can do to get rid of this food. My favorite part is just spitting some of it out into a performer’s pants. That part is so unexpected and the idea of having that in your pants just seems uncomfortable. Then even the ending part of the skit is genius where Bean cannot escape his fate this time. Overall the second episode has one amazing skit that just blows the other two out.

8. The Trouble With Mr. Bean

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The fifth episode really does well with pretty much everything. The beginning is quite strange as Bean as interesting set ups for his alarm in the morning. They are so strange and yet still do not work and are solved in simple manners which really has this odd match up making this sequence quite silly. Then we get to Bean changing while driving his car, just wow what an idea. It is amazing to see each step of this process and to see that nothing terrible happens is astonishing. My favorite part is when he gets to the circle and just keeps going in a loop for like four rotations. We even hit more gold with the dentist. Bean just screws around with the equipment and it soon leads to the dentist getting his leg paralyzed and nearly crushed by his own machinery. This is the chaos that I love in Mr. Bean, you got a normal person doing their normal job, but that is all thrown out the window thanks to Bean. Then we get to see how he has his own mayhem by himself. At the picnic he fights a bee over a cupcake and we all have that desire in ourselves to kill those tiny little insects that dare to touch our food. Bean just takes that concept to a high extreme and thankfully Bean gets out of this with no stings. It is quite an interesting episode in its pacing as it starts extreme with nothing bad happening, to a simple profession going wrong, and then even a simple picnic alone goes wrong. This just shows you that what is simply mundane can be quite as dangerous.

7. The Curse of Mr. Bean

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The Curse of Mr. Bean really works with the simple and mundane aspects of normal day life. Again since Bean is really more of a child he acts like a complete fool in many situations. The pool scene starts that off well by showing Bean trying to slide down on the elephant slides. Bean starts to get ballsy then and aims for the big jumps where he quickly finds himself falling off and losing his trunks. We all have that fear of being naked in the wrong place or at least we all had it before (hey if you want to be naked that is fine by me, but not for many others). Then we move to a simple scene where Bean tries to get out of a parking garage without paying and the end result is great. Quite terrifying too I must say as Bean goes Fast and the Furious on his rival in the blue car just to get out. My favorite skit though is Bean making a sandwich by cutting bread with scissors, knocking fish out, and crushing his pepper with his shoe. There are many more steps to his process, but the best part about the skit is that he carries everything in his coat. It reminds me of the pen joke in the first episode where Bean would just have pen after pen and you have no idea when it would end. In the end his sandwhich plan goes wrong and the person sitting next to him decides to give him a half of his own sandwhich. That ending really made this skit for me because usually people would just see Bean as a freak and just run away or do something against him. This man had the kindness to give Bean a sandwhich and even though he looked afraid to do it, it was still a kind act in the end. The horror skit was okay then. It is relatable because we all get that feeling that we will love something and then just end up hating something like a horror film when it actually starts. Overall it is the sandwhich skit that makes this episode for me, but the other skits work well with each other too.

6. Mr. Bean Rides Again

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This episode does hold one of my all time favorite moments of all Bean, but the overall episode is not worthy of the top five. The first one is surprisingly a darker toned joke for the series. A man has a heart attack and Bean just happens to be around because of his car. Bean tries his best to save the man and I have a feeling he could make it and then the end of the skit happened. While still quite funny there is no doubt that Bean pretty much killed someone, which can make it funnier if you love that humor. The post card stuff was pretty basic and not to special to be honest. Bean just lost his stamp and did whatever he could to make sure his letter would be sent. Now we get to the traveling sections of the episode where Bean tries to pack up. He has a small case so he tries cutting down what he has, literally. This joke really plays well with if you are in a rush you can tend to forget things while packing which we all have had some quick packing to do before. The train section is when Bean just wants to read his book in peace and then his buddy in the same cart will just not stop laughing. Bean does finally get his peace thanks to some gum and the aftermath is some of the best, one quick reflex and I am laughing like the annoying guy in the skit. Then we get to the plane skit where Bean helps a young boy while on the trip. He tries whatever he can and many of these moments appear in the two movies Bean has had. Cutting out bits of a magazine and putting them on his eyes and tongue. Then we get to the paper bag gag. Bean tries to make a loud noise with the little bags he had, but unfortunately the kid had one big paper bag ready for Bean. The cut away to black where Bean was so ecstatic to pop this bag just kills me so much. I remember the first time I saw this I would rewind the tape so many time to experience that again and again. Personally, it is one of the best cut away gags I have seen. The airplane skit also does work really well with the inner child because Bean is helping out a kid enjoy his plane ride.

5. Hair by Mr.Bean of London

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The last episode of the series and what a note to leave on I must say. Even though movies and many shorts do come out afterwards, this was the end of the television series. The first skit is Bean trying to cut hair to get some money out of it. At first he just plays along, but when money got involved he wanted to do it some more. He first starts out with a kid and does actually pretty good with the simple bowl cut style. One mess up though leads to one big one! Things just get worse from there, he cuts off someone’s pony tail and even takes off most of someone’s hair and tries to cover it up with shreds of hair. The level of chaos was great in this episode and then the chaos turns around a bit at another fair. Things start out simple where Bean is just being a dirty cheat and then we get to where Bean is just throwing sponges at someone. It leads to him finding more things to throw and that poor man is seeing death straight in the face. The best part is that Bean tries to throw a chair at the end of that moment, oh god this episode is after the one where he had the gun, that old man has every right to be afraid. Then we get to the pet show which is just delightful to watch where Bean uses Teddy in the competition. Even though the adults did not enjoy it, I loved that the kids had a blast seeing Bean and Teddy compete. It really shows that childish joy of Mr. Bean that works so well in the overall comedic idea of the character. All things good have to come to an end though and Bean just causes mayhem anyways, a good way to do it too just throw the big juicy bone in front of other dogs. The final skit is amazing though. Bean simply wants to take the train and cannot afford a ticket. This leads Bean crawling around in a mail bag which really reminds me of the times I would cover myself with a blanket or sleeping bag. I love it when Bean thought he had won and just falls onto the tracks. Then he accidentally gets shipped all the way to Moscow and that is the end. What an ending! We will not see Bean anymore for sometime because he is literally in Russia. This episode just had pretty much everything for Bean, the chaos, the good nature, and even the personal destruction that Bean can do.

4. Do it Yourself Mr. Bean

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This episode probably hold the biggest iconic moment of all Mr. Bean. We will get to that moment, but we have to start out at the beginning. It is New Year’s Eve and Bean tries to have a party with two friends of his. The problem is, he sticks to how they did it back then and he did not have many snacks to offer. I will say his two “friends” were quite the dicks as they trick Bean and not just tell them something else or just being honest. At least one of them gets what is coming to him. After a disappointing New Year’s Eve, Bean goes shopping and gets way too much in his car. This leads the man to set up a way where he could be on top of a chair on top of his car and still drive it. How insane is this man?! The image of Bean doing this is crazy enough to make it stand out. When it was Bean’s anniversary they recreate this moment as Bean drives to around the city and soon gets a bunch of gifts to celebrate the character’s birthday. The final part is also a big moment in the series where even Mythbusters brought this episode up. Bean wants to do some renovating for his room as he cuts out parts of his wall that had pictures and a phone on it. Him trying to paint as he uses Teddy to do this and just gives up and blows up the paint can! While Bean was out of the room that “friend” of his tried to get his hat back and he got hit by a crap ton of paint, serves him right! While the episode starts out on a sad note, it does have Bean jump right back into his usual self. Bean found a way to cope and had fun doing what many can find to be a complete bore.

3. Tee Off Mr. Bean

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The twelfth episode of the series may not start out as my personal favorite, but the skit is still rather good. Bean is just a launderette and loses his pants again. This does lead Bean wearing a long skirt and while the guy was being a dick to him in the beginning. When Bean was wearing something else, the guy started to be well a bit flirtatious. I am quite sure he was just doing this to be a prick still and yet I am not one hundred percent sure, maybe he has a thing for guys in skirts. The ending is quite great though as everything Bean had ends up in a wreck, even poor Teddy shrunk to where he can fit in his front coat pocket. The big part of the episode is when Bean goes mini-golfing and I love myself some mini golf so as a kid I loved this episode a whole lot. Looking back this skit was amazing. It starts out showing that Bean is really good at mini golf, but then one mistakes leads to too many. Bean explores all over town just to get this ball and even destroys someone’s groceries to do so. The exploration angle of this skit just shows you how far Bean’s mayhem can go and it has no mercy. The best part has to come when Bean runs into his rival in the blue car. They bring back that joke for so long and whoever is in that car did want to help Bean, but he just refuses it. Who is that man in the car? I have been wondering for so long and that episode almost had it, it actually gets me a little angry at times and then I start to laugh because some mysteries are left untold. This episode had a really nice end credits scene where Bean gets back to the golf course to finish his rounds. The overall mini golf skit is one of the best because of how far Bean goes around town and the gags that come from it are both silly and quite evil at the same time.

2. Back to School Mr. Bean

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This is another time where the whole episode takes place in one area. Bean goes to a school as they are having some sort of open house for adults. Again even if this episode is in one area there were really no boundaries to be had for this episode. It is quite random on what happens and Bean even loses his pants again! It starts out with Bean messing with army men, to him annoying a man while looking at some art, to messing with stamps, calligraphy, and even static electricity. The best parts come in part two of the episode where Bean blows up a chemistry lab and tries to partake in some art himself. He starts to draw some bananas and then he was easily not expecting the next thing to come up. I did say this school was for more adult purposes. We then get to Bean learning some martial arts and the best ones are in the arts of cowardice. This then to leads to Bean losing his pants and this is the best one where he literally goes to the bathroom and pulls them off of the man while doing his business. The ending is even quite random for this episode and while it is a bit sad, Bean finds his way of happiness again. This overall episode is just out of control and I love it. This episode really shown off that the writers really found a way to do the one area concept better. It really stands out and the other characters partaking in this episode were quite amazing. The art teacher really stays in my head as she got really into her love for the arts a bit too much. I even feel the soundtrack for this episode was done well as I love the track where Bean is looking for his pants. Overall it is quite a crazy episode with even crazy people who make Bean look normal

1. Merry Christmas Mr. Bean

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Out of all the holiday special there are, this is the one I always love the most. Not only is this a good Christmas special, to me it is the best Mr. Bean has to offer. The chaos that is Bean during the holidays is amazing. First he is testing out to see which mall Santa have real beards, bouncing decorations on the floor to test them out, and even plugging out lights and Christmas tress for his personal benefit. The stand out moment for me though has to be when messes around with a baby Jesus set up. He just starts to bring the characters to life by giving them little sounds and he starts to bring marching bands, sheep, robots, dinosaurs, and tanks in the mix. This would be so me messing around with my toys and making anything up in my head. I just love that whole presentation since the sound effects Bean bring to that scene are so delightful. We even see an awesome moment of him performing as the conductor of a band. Again this is one of those moments where Bean’s childish joys can actually bring happiness to the people. I also enjoy when Bean is in his apartment getting everything set up for the holidays. He gives himself cards just like he did in episode three, he even has stockings for Teddy and a neighboring mouse. As we continue, Bean literally wears a turkey and has dinner with the reoccurring female character. She first appeared telling Bean she wanted a big fancy ring and she tried her hardest to point to it, but we all know Mr. Bean at this point. Again Bean has a man-child really speaks out here as he avoids kisses for gifts and is completely oblivious to everything. While ending on a bit on a somber note, the episode ended on bang still literally has Bean really bulked up a fire cracker. There is a lot to love in this episode and this was the first episode I saw of Mr. Bean. A wonderful Christmas special that always gets me laughing.

Well that is a pretty big look into the British comedy hit. Maybe I could look into the movies later on even if they are not as good as the series. Still I enjoy Mr. Bean so much, I can still watch them and get tons of childish delight from it. Bean holds much nostalgia for me as Rowan Atkinson really shows why he is a comedic legend in this short television series. I would also recommend finding his other works like his stand up performance, shows like Blackadder and The Thin Blue Line, and of course the many shorts that continue the legend of Mr. Bean.

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Kamen Rider Kiva: Potentially Better

Kamen Rider Kiva was my first Kamen Rider series. I remember hearing when Kamen Rider Dragon Knight was coming and I knew I heard that name somewhere before. I remembered about Saban’s Masked Rider and I did some research finding out that Kamen meant Masked in Japanese. So that got me curious because why did an American show need to use a Japanese word in their title. Then I found the Kamen Rider series and soon later on the Super Sentai series with Go-onger being my first. I still do enjoy both shows, but I can agree that Kiva has many faults. To be honest though Kiva is a show I see tons of potential in though. There are many concepts that I enjoyed in the show, but many of them never reach fruition. A huge reason was how the show wasted time in the beginning and even in the later episodes made some bad decisions with time travel. Still the idea of a race trying to be dominant and the humans simply fighting back with some love triangles mixed in can actually work. Love stories with warring sides is not original, but there is tons of things you can do with that.

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As I said before a big problem with the show was the beginning half where it felt like it stalled for time. Even for me some episodes got a bit harder to watch as the years kept passing by. I understand the significance of some of the episodes with Wataru needing to open up with others. Who knows this could have led to him actually revealing his secret to the others and not just having dumb luck doing it. Even if with this idea in the beginning the show still could have shown off big players. Rook was introduced fairly well into the show so why not introduce the rest of the Checkmate Four around the same time? Show the hierarchy that the heroes would have to deal with. The better part would be to only show their monster forms so they can blend in with even the audience not knowing who is who. Taiga easily could have been around in the show being a good friend towards Wataru and again could have been a great way to help him open up with others thanks to an old childhood friend. This could have even started the love between Mio and Wataru as they simply start out as friends along with Taiga being around. Developing the bond between the three early on would be nice. You can even have comedic parts slapped in too which Kiva had a little too much of that as well.

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Reminding me of comedy, one of the biggest jokes in the series was the Azora Organization. They barely had any members and got their asses handed to them even years after their first confrontations with the Fangire. A nice sense of an upgrade would have been nice to see which we got with IXA a bit later on, but man this organization was still a joke. If IXA got powered up, why not a smaller troops of the powered down IXA? I know that is suit budget then and could have been a problem on its own, but I’m sorry the little gun blades barely did anything. At least give the troops with no armor a powerful weapon like the IXA Knuckle. Along with that line of thinking, IXA was a troubling rider. Nago started out as a crazy man with a button fetish, but later on I actually enjoyed him as a character. He started to learn his faults and tried to improve himself not only as a fighter, but also a person. I feel like this could have still been in, but they really made it over the top in the show. Just make Nago serious about taking down Kiva because of what the past events were. Nago was stubborn so I can see him having fights with Kiva way more than usual. Maybe having someone like Kamen Rider Saga show up earlier could get Nago to see what is really going on. Saga would be seen as another Kiva because he essentially is, or just scrap Saga and just get Dark Kiva in. Nago could have learned to work with Kiva even without him knowing it was Wataru. Later on Kengo becomes a member of the organization and I think it would have been better if he never became IXA, but was close to. Kengo could have been a solider quickly climbing up the ranks and get rid of the soldier personality and keep his up beat attitude. Nago would have seen many things about himself through Kengo again not only as a warrior, but also a person. It would have been a nice friendly rivalry as Kengo almost becoming IXA would strive Nago to be stronger and kinder.

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A huge aspect of the show was the use of flashing back and forth between two different times. This introduced us to many other characters like Otoya, Yuri, and Jiro and his two allies. I feel the flashbacks were over saturated and sometimes were all not that needed just to show that a Fangire survived over the years. There are many important things that happen in the events of the past and there are two ways to still use it. The first one is to simply have dialogue explain what has happened and that is the easy way out. Again depending on how budget is, it could be the last resort. The other way is to simply limit the flashbacks and just have an episode focusing on the current time. This would also get rid of many glaring problems in the past. First is with Jiro, I really like this guy and his crew. They are surviving members of their race trying to well survive. They are also looking for mates and to be honest Jiro was close… until he became a rapist… Yea this is a good reason to limit the flashbacks to prevent issues like that! Just have them be good honest people trying to survive and hell even giving a lending hand to the organization like Jiro was. You can still have Otoya and Yuri fall in love, but do not make it so deep as the show did. It just went a little too far so when Otoya feel in love with Maya it felt like cheating. Another good thing that comes to limiting flashbacks means we can have some nice introductions earlier on. Like showing off King in the past and then having that cool realization that Taiga has some connections with him. Personally I really enjoyed King he was threatening as he was trying to exterminate other races. Pretty much I feel the show could have kept how Otoya tapped into Kiva’s powers and bloodline since I feel it was a high point for not only the character, but for the story as well. Just focusing on the signficant aspects of the past would easily put into stone of why the present is the way it is.

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Aspects of the show I do heavily enjoy are the final arcs, but the build up to them were just weak which is thanks to not taking time with them. I enjoy the battles that Wataru had with Taiga and imagine if IXA actually could be more part of that too. Bishop is my favorite character of the show, he had a great actor and his part of the story was strong. Bishop wanted the current King to take the mantle and he feels things are ruining that so he does his own actions. Bishop even loses it and causes chaos which leads to the revival of the past king. Maybe having King being revived could have been much bigger than just being the final boss for the series. Make him into an actual character at this point because in the show was just a monster at the end. This is King, he wiped out many races so having him back should have shown that off. This could soon lead to Taiga and Mio being forced to fight under the past King. Mio tries to fight back which leads to her death by either King or Bishop. This both makes Wataru and Taiga have a crushing defeat, but together they get through it and fight the good battle. This gets rid of the silliness that was Wataru trying to kill himself by traveling into the past. An idea I brought up was if Jiro and his allies worked with the organization which could have led to a nice fight in the present. With Jiro helping out with IXA early on, the three do actually get to repopulate and with the time gap we have that is enough time to have the younger blood be in the battle of the present. Hell this would easily be a good way to give Kiva the three forms he gets. Wataru finding new allies by improving his social situation.

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Now we get to the ideas of the form changes and to be honest Megumi can work with this. Megumi could actually be Wolfen since Jiro actually being a good person means he got to be with Yuri. Again this avoids the way too extreme rape plot point. Megumi was also the first person to get Wataru out of his house and then leading to her being a sort of power-up for Wataru would be a nice step forward. Now I know the reason why Kiva got the forms to begin with was because the three got changed into items. Still maybe you can have the offspring of the these three be the ones to give Wataru the weapons.The Emperor form can still be around in its entirety because it is the way Kiva gets to be like Dark Kiva. This was an aspect I thought of myself for Kiva and that when there is a new Kiva they start out as the base form and soon become their own version. With Kiva’s final form being called Emperor it does give off a lineage feel to it. Dark Kiva is just another form of Kiva, but it soon becomes the default for the King who uses it. Who knows we can simply have Taiga’s Kiva form be Saga because to be honest I feel that Saga was actually a pretty cool rider design and should have been used a bit more. This way we can keep Dark Kiva with King even when he is revived.

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Well that is pretty much all I have on my mind about Kiva and how I felt it could have played out. Now with the aspects of filler episodes they can stay, but just do not have the flashbacks be part of them. Having the flashbacks signifies when something important is coming up. If you have any thoughts about Kiva, tell me. I am always interested to how others see certain shows. If Kiva is your favorite show of the franchise that is great because I still do like the show myself in some regards. It is a strange feeling I got with the show, I like it so much that I think of changing things around. Kiva had some cool concepts and designs so they just keep me thinking about Kiva in the end.

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My Favorite Video Game Characters (10-1)

10. Junpei Iori (Persona)

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Persona 3 was an extremely important game for me. This was a JRPG that saved gaming for me in general. Ever since a game like Heavy Rain came out, I had terrible discussions about that game and for my young self back then was making me think differently about video games. A great friend got me to play Blazblue which started my love for fighting games and then Persona 3 FES. I will still pick Persona 3 over 4 mostly for what an impact the franchises made such a huge impression with me when I started with 3. Also I personally love how the story works compared to 4. Then for my favorite character of the franchise would have to be Junpei. In the beginning he was quite an idiot, but he wanted to do well. He wanted to make sure he got the spotlight for a reason and did not want to be outdone by anyone. Junpei changes his mind quickly though after he almost got himself killed. Now he still does act like a ladies’ man and fails almost every single time… Still he has a straight up fun attitude and can actually be the positive voice of the group. What made him stand out for me though was when he was with Chidori who sadly was on the opposing side. The two had a cute relationship starting out and then it was taken away from Junpei because of the battle. Her death not only causes Junpei to get a stronger Persona since both of theirs become one, but it actually has him stick to his positive attitude only more. He knew how devastating it was for him to lose someone he loved and in the end he thought of how others are losing people as well. It takes strength to not to be selfish after personal loss because people feel like things have only been taken away from them and they deserve more. Junpei lost someone and wanted to make sure others did not feel his pain. Now in Persona 3 Portable you can save Chidori after her death which I personally love that is canon. Then in the Persona 4 Arena series, he is the grand slam slugger! His play style is one of my favorites in fighting games, the whole baseball aesthetic is silly and shockingly strong. Overall Junpei is Stupei, but that is who he is and not only he is fine with that, so am I.

9. Bayonetta and Jeanne/ Dante and Vergil (Bayonetta/Devil May Cry)

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Well this was a tricky spot… I will not lie I love the action genre and the late 2000’s have done amazing with the genre in general. Two franchises that still do stand out would be Devil May Cry and Bayonetta. Both have strong action sequences, silly stories, and an overall huge sense of fun. Now for Devil May Cry I mostly like to focus on 3 and 4. The first Devil May Cry was a good beginning for the franchise, but the series started to have its great image with the 3 and 4. Bayonetta was amazing from day one and then Bayonetta 2 is simply one of the best games I ever played and I still have a hard time deciding which is better Devil May Cry 3 or Bayonetta 2. Either way for terms of characters I had to make this a four-way tie. First with Bayonetta and Dante, even if they have different stories, in terms of personality they are nearly the same. Both are flashy fighters that can get a bit over their heads at times. Then Dante is not afraid of the fan service just like Bayonetta, again Devil May Cry 3 has shirtless Dante and he has no shame spinning around a stripper pole. I love their overall fashion and style. The humor of these characters still stands out to me and then we get to the other characters. Vergil and Jeane were originally fighting their respective main characters and while Jeane has become a permanent ally for the Umbra Witch, Vergil only fought alongside Dante one time. Why I still can’t even pick over these two as well is that they both work perfectly with the main characters. I cannot imagine Dante without Vergil because the fights they had in Devil May Cry 3 is some of the best rival fights in general. Dante and Vergil have a strong story with each other and work has great foils as well. I defend the original Vergil a lot, people think he is a dumb character, but to be honest he is quite a tragic character. Unlike Dante who became carefree and wanted to help the humans since the death of his mother, the same did not go for Vergil. Again Dante wanted to help humans so that not only himself had to feel the pain of losing another, it was for others as well. Vergil focused on his despair and wanted to make sure no one could hurt him again hence why he wanted to become stronger than he once was. Then with Jeane, she originally tried to stop Bayonetta because of a prophecy with the Umbra Witches and was the one who sealed Bayo away. Bayo comes back though and the two fight and again they have some great fights and Jeane was a bit cruel, even if she was trying to defend the world from devastation. I love how Jeane turns a new leaf though and decide to help Bayo and the two just work together so well. Again I cannot see Bayo without Jeane now. What really helped with this was in Bayonetta 2 where the two had great exchanges of dialogue, even if a bit small, and it shown how much they cared for each other. Overall these two main characters are simply insanely fun people and the other two extremely help their image even more.

8. Sol Badguy (Guilty Gear)

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Guilty Gear in terms of it story took some time to really dawn on me. Originally I thought it was too straight forward, but looking back at it there are many great things about it, one being the main character himself and the best fighting game protagonist, Sol Badguy. You want a badass? Well Sol Badguy would be that badass. He can be a bit brash and hot-headed and at the same time he is an incredible scientist and an overall strong hero. That is one aspect I do love about the character is how insanely strong he is. To me, he is the strongest fictional character I can recall. Most of his biggest wins come from when he was holding back his powers and at the same time he keeps getting stronger as well. Even if he is this insanely powerful character, he does not have that get over his head. He has had tough fights in his past like with Ky Kiske (which he won every fight), he took down Justice which is someone Kilff could not stop even when he was at his strongest (that guy killed a Hydra the size of Everest!), and he still stayed toe to toe with That Man (who actually has a name now, but I want to stick with That Man). Sol only has one loss in his record which is with That Man, but that would make sense since That Man made Sol near indestructible. Along with that then Sol has some great powers of using fire based attacks, the Dragon Install being my favorite transformation even with Devil Trigger around, it is no Dragon Install. Then his story is well another tragic one (again go figure) where he is forced to become a Gear and even ends up fighting the love of his life and him actually killing her (twice in a technical standing). After all of that though he isolated himself from many people, it did not also help that many people wanted him dead. He was seen to be dangerous because of his powers and some would try to test it or simply want to kill him. He could not trust anyone including himself. Thanks to great progression though, people start to change. The best being Ky Kiske who stopped being hot headed and tried to overcome Sol in combat and ended up falling in love with the half Gear, Dizzy and even had a son who carried Gear blood. Sol’s mission was to kill all of the gears, but he could not bring himself to kill Dizzy or Sin. It is because Ky changed and not only was he kind to others, more importantly he became kind to Sol and looked up to him. Sol killed the love of his life and believed he even did it before that time. Ky had something that Sol could not have, a family. Sol did not get jealous, he felt compassion. Which is thanks to how Ky even extends his hand to him to help and he trusts Sol so much to even watch over his son because of how many people would be after Sin since he was half Gear. Sol Badguy is just an overall nice guy, he can be a bit blunt and straight forward, but he is done losing things in his life and the same goes for others. He has no reason to take anything from them since he lost too much and knows that pain.

7. Zihark and Ilyana (Fire Emblem)

Now for Fire Emblem characters these are not main characters, but hey Thraja is my favorite unit from Awakening along with her daughter simply because they are enjoyable characters so this match up falls in the same category. Zihark and Ilyana make their debut in Path of Raidence as recruit able units, and where you get them are two of my favorite missions in Fire Emblem history. Ilyana you get from mission eight where Ike helps her get out of the wrong crowd as they were forcing her to fight so that she could eat again. The silly thing about her though is that she can eat a lot, like servings worthy of five men. The frail girl also does have some Laguz blood in her which are these half human half beast creatures. The best part about her is she has the best supports which I will mention on later. Still a crowning moment has to go to the time she tried to eat someone’s shoe! Along with that she is my favorite magic user because of her use of lighting and how she can achieve the strongest lighting magic in the game which becomes so helpful against Dragon units late in both games. Then Zihark was in mission eleven where he is helping out some rebels and Daein forces to take out Ike’s crew, but when he sees that Laguz are part of Ike’s crew he starts to consider if he was fighting on the right side. Zihark’s story is that he did have a lover who was a Laguz, but because of the social status issue he had to be separated from her (or in the Japanese version of the game she was killed right before his eyes). Zihark wishes the bloodshed can end between the two races so that everyone can live in harmony. Zihark is still not afraid to fight though if it comes down to it and his is just my overall favorite unit to use. He is strong, fast, and can have a killer skill set if used properly. I also love when we first meet him he has the Killing Edge, along with his good critical chances that is already doubled and add-on his good Skill stat he can activate adept many times which just leaves for more chances for a critical strike. Now the reason this is a tie is because I love the Zihark and Ilyana support conversations! There are only three, but damn they are great! Zihark just like many other men give Ilyana food, but then he decides to stop and actually teach her a lesson about respect. Ilyana takes many people’s food, but never truly thanked them; she does not even remember their names. She soon starts to listen to Zihark and she does in fact remember acts of kindness now, a little too much though as in Radiant Dawn she recalls that Zihark helped her twenty-three times, but who’s counting? This relationship is just too much for me, it works to damn well! It is the only time you will ever hear me ship characters because these two are just perfect. Zihark even mentions about marrying her in Radiant Dawn (but there are no good support conversations in that game that could build up on that…WHY?!). Overall these two units are just my favorite, they are both powerful and their support with each other is just too much for me to handle.

6. Raiden (Metal Gear)

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Here is quite a controversial character, originally being the main character of Metal Gear Solid 2 many people hated how he was the main character, only because he was kept a secret and everyone just wanted Snake again. I personally love the change of pace as Raiden is my favorite character from the Metal Gear series. He was a child who was taught to kill at an early age and he was effective at it. He was only ten years old and was put into war! Raiden even gained a nickname from his war days, Jack the Ripper. He soon fights for his independence again from the man who adopted him and forced him into the fray and got the codename Raiden. He even fell in love with a woman named Rose and sadly she was part of an organization that soon used Raiden for their experiments. Then we get to Metal Gear Solid 4 where he is mostly machine now, but luckily, he already had a son before that, phew! With him being the cyborg ninja he became insanely powerful and then later on with nanomachine technology he only became stronger. Again has I said before a video game character can simply be awesome when you play as them. Well being able to slice through anything is too much damn fun! In Metal Gear Rising, Raiden not only becomes my favorite Metal Gear character, but also a character I can put in my top ten. Raiden becomes even more mechanical than he once was and in that game and he delivers a whole ton of butt whopping! Also in Rising I do love how he is finally fully accepting himself even with his Jack the Ripper attitude. Which even opens another awesome mechanic where he can just slice anything at will (usually he would have to perform a certain attack to do that). I love how down in the dirt he got in Rising and how he finally found that he is fighting for himself in a good way of course. Still I just cannot get enough of playing as Raiden in Metal Gear in general as he started out streaking in Metal Gear Solid 2 and then slices through Metal Gears like they are nothing in Rising… I so want Rising 2!

5. Miles Edgeworth (Ace Attorney)

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Man, I only recently got into the Ace Attorney series and already these games got me impressed with the depth it has. Not only were the puzzles great both in and outside of the court, but even the character progression is amazing. Phoenix who starts out as the hero of the courtroom who even loses his badge at some point for seven whole years! Phoenix still picks his old job back up, but during those seven years he was a father which is quite shocking. Anyways this is sort of off topic, but let’s just say the Ace Attorney series is not afraid to do certain things. Then with progression Miles Edgeworth started out a prosecutor that wanted to find people guilty so that no criminal can walk free. He witnessed a man no one believed in of being not guilty get a not guilty verdict and this was about his father none the less. That anger made Edgeworth into the scary prosecutor he started out as. Rumors said he would use forged evidence just like his mentor Von Karma and while not true, Edgeworth still had to work around those rumors when he started to turn a new leaf. Edgeworth even left his profession for some time and when he came back he might still be stubborn and quite rude, but his pursuit for the truth speaks clear in the end. Things get way more developed for this character as we hit his own spin-off series where Edgeworth had to face near impossible enemies to bring into the courtroom. Some of the best still has to go the second game of his series where he was questioning of what he should be, a defense lawyer or a prosecutor. Edgeworth dealt with some annoying prosecutors and they tried to strip him of his title, but he kept finding ways to interfere with the situation. The best moment had to be when poor Kay was being suspected of murder even when she had no memories. Edgeworth literally throws his badge away to help his friend. Edgeworth put pride into his job and that was clear in the beginning, but now he clearly fights for the truth and the innocent even if he is on the prosecuting side. What also makes Edgeworth fun is that he is a constant surprise when you face him in the courtroom. Even in the most recent games he can still be a scary foe. Edgeworth’s logic can really work out some crazy situations. I am even a fan of how Edgeworth has logic battles and is never a poor sport. He had made bonds by working with others even if he intended to or not to. Overall, Edgeworth started out as a scary prosecutor to another law hero like Phoenix which is quite surprising to watch develop.

4. Baiken and Sheena (Guilty Gear/Symphonia)

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These two ladies are no pushovers and that is a huge reason why I do enjoy them so much. Sheena has been a childhood favorite of mine ever since I played Tales of Symphonia. Then Baiken has always stood out to me the most in the Guilty Gear franchise. Baiken is a pure badass in so many ways. Even when I first saw her I just fell in love with how different she felt compared to a large majority of female characters before and after her. Baiken will kick anyone around if they dare to piss her off and her anger does come from somewhere too. Both Sheena and Baiken have hard lives and both started around their childhood. Baiken lost her family, her eye, and arm due to the attack on Japan that started the war against the Gears. Baiken is also one of the few people who saw That Man and wanted revenge no matter what. Sheena has a child could not make a pact with a vicious summon spirit that soon attacked the chief of her village and put him into a coma and killed many others. Many never forgave her for failing and this even becomes a side story for this character. Sheena became afraid of making pacts because of the bloodshed around her. Then both of these characters did have someone to set them straight a bit. Baiken had Anji who is very calm and thinks things through. Anji wanted to meet That Man to learn of what really happened as the two traveled together and I think they still do for the most part. Anji even got Baiken to forget about her revenge since getting to That Man was near impossible. Sheena then had Corrine and Lloyd. Corrine offered his life for Sheena and Lloyd was the one to bring her out of her fear (also for the romantic option, I always pick Lloyd and Sheena). Then in terms of their play styles I love them both. Sheena is a mixture of close range combat with far range summoning spells, she can even change elements around which really helps if you need that advantage. Baiken is a pure offensive character so much that her defense is offensive. Baiken has many counters on her where she can do a quick stab, an anti-air counter, summon the kickboard, or even inflict a status effect on her foes. Baiken also has my all-time favorite special move even if it is a simple extension of slashes, it just melds so perfectly with any of her attacks. It is also high damaging! The number one thing I love about these gals is they are tough and while they do have some beauty as well, the first thing I think for them is how tough they are. Which to me is quite rare to find sometimes with female characters because there is so much fan service all around. Baiken really shows that since she even throws out her gender, she is a warrior first and foremost. Both have their hardships and learn from them, something I love my characters to keep on doing.

3. Shulk (Xenoblade Chronicles)

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Shulk is simply one of the best RPG protagonists around. Shulk really stands out as the main hero because he is after Dunban most of all, the man who took on an army by himself. Shulk stayed inside for the most part studying the Monado a sword known for defeating his deadliest foes, the Mechon. Shulk wanted to discover everything it had and well he does since he starts wielding it. When the Mechon return, Shulk takes the Monado and has no side effects while using it. Shulk also picked up the ability to see into the future and has the ability to change it. Sadly, this does go well for him in the beginning as Fiora was murdered by the Mechon known as Metal Face as Shulk had to witness that twice. Filled with despair, Shulk decides to get revenge for his fallen comrades in his colony along with Reyn and later on Dunban. The man builds up a pretty large party and it was because of him being a genuine good person and leader. Shulk is honest with himself as when he is on his quest he knows it is not noble to fight for revenge. He knows this and still fights because the Mechon are also a great threat as he wants to prevent further tragedy. Even throughout his journey he starts to show mercy for his foes. Again, in the beginning he yelled out bloody murder for Metal Face’s head and the later on he actually gives him mercy. I always loved this about Shulk since it shows courage and trust in others. Sharla and Melia join forces since they all share the common feeling of losing others. It felt genuine and not forced at all which is thanks to how Shulk acts. He will never force his way to be the better way which is great leader quality for me. The overall journey Shulk has just builds on his character and it is amazing how many people he works, fights, and even bond with. Then him using the Monado is incredibly fun. Being able to use many buffs to change the tide of battle and unleashing massive damage to any type of foe. Shulk even carries some nice personal heals with him and a great arsenal of back and side attacks. Teamwork is the key which is Shulk motto from the beginning so seeing that work in gameplay really speaks true to his character. Shulk is an unexpected hero as he does not seem to be the strongest, but surprises can come anywhere.

2. Zero (Megaman X)

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If I was making this list like back then on my old blog, Zero would be number one with no regrets at all. Zero has been my favorite character in my early days. I love the Megaman X and the Megaman Zero series and the biggest reason is Zero. First off, I love his designs. I am not the biggest fan of the Megaman Zero design, but the weapons he does carry make the design better. Classic Zero is the way to go for me with the great flowing blonde hair with his red armor and green laser saber. My all-time favorite design of his has to be Black Zero where he gets white hair, black armor, and the purple laser sword! I remember the first time I saw this design and I knew I was in for a fight. Then there was the journey of being able to play as Zero. In the beginning, you played as X who got to be strong as Zero then we soon get to X2 where we save Zero and bring him back. X3 and X4 is where he is starting to become playable and man his sword frenzies never get boring. Sure, he has to get in close, but his sword skills are no joke. I love short hopping around for some quick slashes and when you get the full combo in that is massive damage. Then with X4 and Megaman Zero 3 being my favorites of the Megaman franchise both of these games say a lot about Zero. In X4, he is brought to fight a friend and lover and yes there is the iconic “What am I fighting for,” but as for me as a kid I did not see the bad voice acting I saw the pain Zero went through. Megaman Zero 3 brought everything to light to what happened to Zero and how he lived on through the carnage. Then Megaman Zero 4 was his end and he died as a hero which to be honest is funny considering who built him. There is a lot to Zero as he brings a lot to the Megaman franchise. He was my motivation as a child and I can never forget that.

1. Travis Touchdown (No More Heroes)

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Now here is an interesting outlier to everything I have brought up. I love characters that stand up for the good fight and develop as people. Edgeworth changed himself to be a better person to protect others, Baiken and Sheena learn how to deal with their feelings, Shulk learns about his philosophy, and Zero loses many close to him and becomes a war hero. Travis Touchdown is none of that at all. In the first game, he was fighting to sleep with a woman and just happened to forget what he was really fighting for. Then in the second game he fights for revenge and does learn more about what fighting really means. Travis still does develop as a person, but just not in the ways some others would. Travis is also a big-time loser and pervert as he stays in his crappy motel and watches the same anime, wrestling, and porno videos. What makes Travis awesome though is how ridiculous he can be. This man literally has to jerk off his sword to charge it, who does that?! In the beginning, Travis was a literal contradiction in every way possible. He forgets what he was fighting for and boasts off things he is not even sure about. Like fighting to become number one and saying he is not fighting for any titles. Sparing Shinobu only so she can be stronger later on and then Travis can kill her later with a more satisfying fight. He even yells at someone for being a perverted psychopath which he is! Playing as Travis can get confusing, but it is a fun journey to learn his logic. Travis can also be quite a smart ass with many great lines. He is surprisingly strong and takes blows from many powerful foes. In No More Heroes 2, Travis feels a bit different since he has become the type of person he wanted to fight. Travis became a legend and got back into the ranking fights because of revenge. The best moments for him in the second game is when he is talking about his fights. Travis can be many things, but a fight is important to him. This was quite clear in the first game too. Travis did learn of how it feels to fight with everything and he did kill many people as most of those people were strong foes and some did leave an impact on him. Holly teaching Travis to fear death and to then always fight with everything he has. In the second game that tone really stays strong when Travis gets closer to the first rank. He fights many honorable foes and wants to respect them as such. Travis’ speech when he kills Alice still rings true to me as death is important. Even if a character is fictional they still will die like a normal person (unless some characters are immortal, but forget that part). It just speaks true to me as a man who enjoys the entertainment medium and loving the characters I enjoy to this day. To be honest a character’s death can be many things and it should be important. You can go out in fashion and leave on an awesome note or their death can bring sadness, but that is okay. Also with Travis being the most non-noble person does make an easy bond with him since he is like many others with desires to fight for. It can be for revenge for someone or it can just be for pleasure. Playing as Travis really taught me that since we all deal with grief in many ways. “Some people f%#@ at funerals, I cut off heads.” Travis is simply an enjoyable mess of a person and being that No More Heroes is my go to game, I can say Travis just stuck onto me over the years.

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So that is my list of my favorite video game characters. Leave any comments about your personal favorites. Again characters are all important to someone in different ways and I would love to learn about those views.

My Favorite Video Game Characters (20-11)

Characters can come in many forms. They can be human, sub-human, or even inanimate objects brought to life. Either way though there are many characters out there which makes these lists interesting to look at. There can be many icons and yet someone can pick a character that most do not know about. This is why I am here to spread the word about things I just personally enjoy. Also this list might contain some spoilers on characters so you have been warned. Let us start off with probably my most interesting choice of the entire list.

20. Francis York Morgan

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Deadly Premonition is one of my favorite guilty pleasures of gaming. The game plays horribly and the story is a big rip-off of the hit show Twin Peaks, but man it is so self-aware about it. Then we have York who is the best FBI agent around. York is a strange character and yet not the strangest one either which is really saying something compared to the other characters in Deadly Premonition. What makes York so great though is well at the end, but in the beginning he is straight up annoying people with his personal habits like smoking right in their faces. The guy even does not know when to close his mouth about certain subjects like recent cases he has covered. Personally I love that kind of attitude because having no limits on your conversations can really spice things up. Further in we do learn about him and what strange things he had in the past, like his love for rock as a teenager and actually looking like a punk at some point. What also makes me enjoy this character is his special friend Zach who is always talking to at all times and who is Zach… well you have to find out. Finally, York is a big movie buff and I love his constant rambles about Jaws, Superman, Mars Attacks, Killer Clowns from Outer Space, and An American Werewolf in London. Overall he is a lovable guy even though he can get annoying at times, he is strangely unique and that is why I enjoy this guy and Deadly Premonition.

19. Jack-O (Guilty Gear)

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Daiksuke really knows how to make fighting game characters. He is always ready to experiment with new ideas. One thing that I love about his characters is that when they are newcomers, they already feel like they are cemented in the franchise. A new character feels as great as a veteran. Any newcomer in the franchise already feels like a full-fledged character thanks to how their personalities are represented and their character desgins. Jack-O is simply my favorite of a majority of the cast. First off, her design is as strong as many of Daisuke’s designs. My favorite part is that mask she wears, it loudly roars the jack-o lantern theme and just fits her silly tone. The nice shades of red in her gloves and the inside parts of her hair are fantastic. The red really pops out when the overall color scheme has white. Then how she plays is simply up there with Baiken in terms of fun and smoothness. Jack-O can summon houses that spawn minions and they can bring some mayhem if her foes are not fast enough. She can do many commands with them too like invigorate them and blow them up. This character even comes with unique Dust moves which makes meter burning the best with her. Jack-O even has great special moves which just flow so well. A simple backwards motion with a button press is so easy to work with and then a 360 motion with Dust is a great idea. Even if you do not get the special move, high chance you will get the normal grab so it does not punish you for messing it up. Jack-O even has large story importance as this was just another quick way to make her feel like she is a needed character. Jack-O overall has some of my favorite fighting game moments and that is saying something when she only came out like last year.

18. Dunban (Xenoblade Chronicles)

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Dunban is simply a man I can like. He is a badass who has lost a lot, but still continues to fight. Dunban not only lost the use of his arm, he even lost fellow comrades in the previous war, and even his own sister. Throughout all of this sorrow, he never drops down. He actually helps Shulk to deal with Fiora’s death. Then there was the fact is that he was the hero. Dunban wielded the Monado before Shulk and used it to defeat an army of Mechon by himself! It damages his arm, but he still decides to use the sword once more to protect his town. When Shulk soon wields the Monado, Dunban still comes to fight on his side even with that arm completely disabled. I love his design when he returns to the party since he covers his arm with a great cape. He has a matador look to him and his overall stoic looks just works perfectly with that. Dunban is the past hero and that never gets himself filled with glory or anything like that. Dunban is proud to simply be fighting the good fight. Also I don’t want to spoil too much about the game, but there is an awesome scene of Dunban fighting in a snow field that just made him one of the best characters of Xenoblade.

17. Luigi (Mario)

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Luigi has always been a childhood favorite of mine. I grew up with an older brother and for a while I did feel like I was inferior to my older brother. I felt like Luigi had that similar issue and I was actually right, but that is just the start of Luigi’s personality. He might get scared at times and yet he will be by his brother’s side. If I had to pick my favorite Luigi moment, it would have to be from Dream Team where we hear Luigi’s inner thoughts about why he sticks around. He is the little brother and may not get all the attention and glory, but in the end he wants to protect his brother and do the right thing just like he does. Along with that, Luigi is some unknown power and Dream Team really explored that with Dreamy Luigi where he fought Bowser mostly by himself. Along with that, Luigi gave me some good ghost busting fun in Luigi’s Mansion 1 and 2.

16. Naoto Shirogane (Persona)

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Naoto shares a similar feeling I had with Luigi which was that I felt like I had to meet someone’s expectations. Naoto is from Persona 4 and even though they tried to hide it, Naoto is clearly a woman. The problem is that she comes from a family of detectives and they have been all guys. Sadly Naoto has no brothers so she has some tough expectations to meet. She even wanted to become a boy so that she would not have to worry about that burden. Accepting that dark side of herself though got her to realize that her dreams cannot be held back by people’s expectations. She even deals with extreme shyness and continuing to get her Social Link does help her to break out of that. To be honest I used to be a sheltered person as well, but now I am free and I want to do what I want to do! Naoto is also one of my favorites to use in the Arena series as her gun play is extremely fun!

15. Kirby

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Kibry is Kibry. What more can I say about the pink puff-ball that has the destructive power of a God! The thing about Kirby is that he is always getting some new powers that will soon top what he had before. So far Kirby’s power in Triple Deluxe is amazingly powerful and those Ultra Abilities from Return’s to Dreamland are beyond anything in Dreamland. I always love to play as Kirby, if it is a new game of his or in Smash Bros. Kirby has some of the best moves in any game because of just how many there are and in newer titles they keep expanding on these powers. Just playing as Kirby makes you feel as destructive has him and then just look at him! How can something be so powerful and cute at the same time?

14. Ike and Zelgius (Fire Emblem)

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I have talked about Ike before, but the big thing that made Ike such a great character was a rival. Now for Ike he grew up in a mercenary group with his father. Soon the mercenaries get tied into a tricky situation with Princess Elincia since she is being chased after a powerful empire. One of those people in the empire is that said rival. The Black Knight aka Zelgius was easily one of the best Fire Emblem bosses or even just one of the best villains in Nintendo history. He kills Ike’s father Greil which soon causes Ike to become the leader and soon become the leader of an entire army. Now the whole thing with Greil is that he used to be part of the powerful empire and he had a student which was Zelgius. This man takes down his teacher, but without knowing what has happened in the past. Either way the rivalry between Ike and Zelgius is one of my favorites because of how these two never truly hated each other. Sure Ike did in the beginning, but throughout his journey he was learning to be a true warrior. Zelgius then shares his burden of being a half race and wanted to purge the world anew so that the new people did not have to deal with the issues of racism in the land. Even when Ike does defeat Zelgius at the end, Zelgius thanks him for giving him the fight he has been hoping for and Ike even considered him his final teacher and not as a foe. These two share burdens and these two wanted to make sure everyone can live together, sadly Zelgius fell on the wrong path.

13. Makoto Nanaya (Blazblue)

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I remember when I started Blazblue with the second game and then I got the downloadable characters later on and man I loved to play as Makoto. I still do play this character a great amount and just have fun with what she has. I may have someone better, but Makoto is still my favorite to play as. Makoto is fast and strong with some amazingly strong punches that can even destroy moons! Makoto’s part of the story is not the biggest, but she is a great friend of Noel and Tsubaki and man that was a rocky relationship for those two. For the longest time Makoto was a shut in because she was a beastkin, pretty much a half human and animal hybrid. It was Noel and Tsubaki that got her to open up and drop the cold act for good. After that she becomes very close to her gals, a little too close at times. Again just like York I got something in common with her and it was thanks to some great friends of mine that got me to open up and just be as strange as possible. Sometimes I do invade personal spaces a little too much, but everyone gets a laugh in the end. Also I will admit that this is the character I would say I have a crush on the most. Her design just works for me and that big squirrel tail of hers is awesome! Makoto still has one weird thing about her though and that is her turn on for pedophilia… Yea I still do not get that, but hey we all have our own sexual kinks.

12. Margaret  Moonlight (No More Heroes)

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Picking a No More Heroes character can be very tricky since a majority of the character only appear like once in a game. We got Travis, Slyvia, Shinobu, and Henry that are the big four of the franchise, but a lot of people get killed in No More Heroes. So picking a character from this series can be tricky, but I have to go with my favorite boss. A close one for this spot would be Holly Summers and how deep her speech was and how much of a game changer she was for the first game. For me though Margret Moonlight is the best boss in terms of execution. That is always No More Heroes best quality, how it did these one shot characters. Players got to learn a lot from them from their quick appearances. Margret even has the one of the lowest amount of dialogue in terms of the scenes, hell one boss doesn’t even talk in No More Heroes 2. Still Margret stays on top of a building and only at night she will appear and when you fight her, a song will be played. This is where Margret speaks the most as her song is taunting Travis during their fight. Yet her song speaks many truths about the theme of the sequel game. The fight itself is great with her sniping you down from afar, then changing her weapon into scythes and tries to jump down on you, which then leads to her vanishing and taking things from afar again with her dual guns. When you get close to her once more, she brings out the scythes again and can even change them into one. Yea that is the big thing with her weapon, it is a sniper rifle, dual guns, and even scythes which has two variations! So her weapon is four in one! Even her design with the Gothic Lolita theme and black and white color schemes works perfectly with the reaper angle she is playing with. Now the reason why she is not in the top ten was because well… she has one appearance only and even though she is the near perfect boss fight, that is the only thing to love about her. Maybe if she appears in No More Heroes 3 that could help her chances and that could actually be possible since her body was not seen after she supposedly died.

11. Shun Akiyama (Yakuza)

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I recently got into the Yakuza franchise because for action games this one really stands out. The combat is insane in more realistic angle compared to No More Heroes, Devil May Cry, and Bayonetta. Now my favorite game in the franchise is Yakuza 4 which is where we meet many new characters and I really liked how they explored multiple angles in the story. We got to see how people reacted to the explosion on Millennium Tower where billions of yen scatter around the city, we got to learn about Majima’s (who was originally going to be on this list, but he could I have to play Yakuza 0!) past of how he became a big leader and lost his eye. There were even new angles with the police of the city and how Kiryu still has business to take care of. The character I got to like the most though was Akiyama who has my favorite fighting style, the best character design, and just the best personality. He is heavily carefree and takes life in a gung-ho feeling. What Akiyama deals with is being a loan shark, but he is not your usual one. He will give someone money, but he does not force them to pay back. The price comes with that these people need to pass his tests which usually deal with their personal issues and changes them into better people. He even runs a hostess club which easily keeps his money up even though it will be a long time before his loan shark takes a huge chunk of his cash. How Akiyama became rich is actually a sad story that soon turns into a miracle. He worked as a banker back then and was framed by his own company which caused him to be homeless and he was a person who got tons of money from the explosion I mentioned before. He rebuilt his life and even though it is still not the most amazing one, he is fine with the smallest pleasures and constantly helps people so that they do not have to deal with the problems he had before. This guy even parties with the homeless and gives them tons of food and drinks. This guy may have a sharp tongue at times, but this guy is extremely kind which makes him stand out in the franchise, because usually there are many characters that are just after money for their own purposes.

Oldboy: Cries and Whispers

Last year I got to see the cult classic film, Oldboy. For a long time I only knew of the film for the amazing corridor fight scene it had. Now after seeing the film for six times I can obviously say that I am emotionally exhausted, but also happy for watching this film. Since I only knew of one fight scene in this movie, I did not know a whole lot about Oldboy in general. Personally I am glad that I went nearly blind going into this movie because even the beginning as tons of shock value. This is possibly one of the best movies to go in blindly. Then for those who are reading this there will not be major spoilers, but I still tell you this. Please watch the film first before going any further. I know many will not listen, but I have to continue typing regardless.

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Oldboy is quite hard to review because to me there is ton of shock value in the entire movie. When things start out our main character is saving a man from falling off a building so he can tell him his story. Our main character in question, Oh Dae-su had one night out completely drunk and gets into police custody. Even though much smaller there is already a bit of a shock because of how fast the tone shifts in the beginning. When Dae-su is saving the man the music is intense with fast and loud beats as it quickly cuts to Dae-Su with a bloody nose and just acting comically drunk. The original scene itself that got deleted was much longer and really drove with awkward comedy. Either way we are watching our main character at the beginning just being a stupid drunk. When he is soon picked up by his friend, he is then picked up by someone else, unexpectedly of course.

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This leads to Dae-su in this mysterious room where so far he has been imprisoned for two months in. Dae-su cuts in with his narration about how he stayed in this room for fifteen years and slowly tries to get out with the use of a metal chopstick. During his imprisonment he learns that his wife was murdered and he was the main suspect in the case. Dae-su gets frantic and attempts to kill himself, but the men who have been watching him keep him alive and even groom him from time to time. Dae-su was also training for the day when he finds the person who imprisoned him. Our main character wants to get out to simply get out, but if he can live from the ordeal he wants revenge for being imprisoned. He was mysteriously released one day which leads the story to where Dae-su finds the man when he was almost about to jump off the building. It then cuts back to the current time frame since Dae-su did just tell his story.

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This was already a strong use of a subtle narration in the film since the beginning of his story started out with Dae-su just being a silly drunk. You simply forget he was telling a story even when he cuts in with narration. This film has many subtle uses which really helps the directing of this film. Even if narration was used for the film before it only does it for to help create a bigger image. Sometimes there will be no narration and yet the film can perfectly show you what is happening. There is one moment where that really spoke true where Dae-su was trying fried dumplings again even though that was the food he had for fifteen years. The narration does kick in after his first attempt and yet it still does not directly say what he was doing it for. Dae-su says he could never forget the food he had for fifteen years and so he was trying to find where the source of the food came from to the find where he was imprisoned. There are many instances of this use of narration in the film as it does become some sort of reoccurring theme.

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Now before he goes taste testing, shortly after being released Oh Dae-su finds himself in some interesting situations. He has been imprisoned for fifteen years so his social skills are not that great anymore. He stole small items straight from people’s faces and even got into a fight with five young kids. Then suddenly he is given a wallet and a cell phone by a man who knew nothing. Dae-su starts to use his money already at a restaurant where he wanted to eat something alive. This is where he meets Mi-do a young cook that suddenly falls in love with the man shortly after meeting him and learning his story. Even though Dae-su did not have the best way to show his affection back to Mi-do during their first confrontations. Dae-su even found it hard to trust her at certain points since this woman just let him stay at her place for the sole reason that she liked him. Mi-do is easily an interesting character as she can surprisingly be energetic even at some scary points in her life which makes use of that awkward comedy again. This does soon become a budding relationship because of how tense things become and will this relationship even last the hardships of what is to come?

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I mentioned about the corridor fight scene before which occurs when Dae-su finds where he was imprisoned and slowly starts to find the man who imprisoned him. What is lovely about that fight scene is that it carries an element of what the film has already done. The movie can surprisingly have long scene occur with no camera cuts or by simply just moving the camera in different locations. The fight scene takes that method further though with the whole fight being one long crane shot as Dae-su simply tries to get to the other side of the corridor. What is great about the fight scene too is how frantic it is and yet easy to keep track of. There can be surprises thrown in the fight, but it never feels that it was mistake. Everything was shown in the previous shot before so it is all there in the fight scene. I also love seeing how the fighters act in it, Dae-su is taking many guys at once, but uses his way of fighting to spread them out or push many back at a time. Meanwhile the thugs are trying their best to work with each other. I even enjoy seeing how some fighters quickly regret what they are doing at certain moments. Then seeing them on the floor squirming around and even trying to throw their weapons at Dae-su shows how stubborn they are. I can easily recommend watching the fight scene by itself since it is a great watch on its own right. The best part about the fight is that no one died, how rare is that to see in an action or thriller movie?

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After some carnage, Dae-su soon finds the man behind everything after he helped him out. So far he is only known as Evergreen right now since that was his username on a chat service. His introduction already tells you quickly that he is messed up. Even before that we get great context to why he imprisoned Dae-su as it was simply because he talked too much. Evergreen’s introduction was nothing short of genius since it brings up the major theme of the movie. Dae-su wants to kill this man more than anyone right now, but the man holds the truth to everything. Dae-su even tried torturing the man and that will not work either since he will not allow that. How can he stop a monster from doing that, easy by hiding the truth. Evergreen has a pacemaker for his weak heart and he even gave himself an off switch so he could kill himself whenever he wanted to. It is literally revenge or the truth as Dae-su has to keep playing this man’s game to find the truth in five days.

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That is where I will stop talking about plot because the rest is an absolute blast to see in an awkward way. The movement of the film really changes since things start to fall in place more and slowly piecing things together makes it engaging. There is a lot at risk too since if Dae-su loses this game, the girl Mi-do will be murdered and if Dae-su wins, this man will go ahead and die. Whoever this man is, he has a vendetta on Dae-su so much that he wants to kill any woman who fell in love with Dae-su. The man known as Evergreen is simply one of my favorite antagonists around. First off his presence is menacing when we first hear his voice. It just gives off this sense joy and anger than meeting the man fifteen years later that recording, he just seems to be having fun. It is scary how organized this man was for everything to fall into place and then even if things got messy he had the truth to help him as well. It really opens up the concept of what revenge means. One can kill and it needs meaning to do so to be revenge. Dae-su only knows that he was imprisoned and that is all. He knows he talked too much back then and that is all. The lack of the truth makes revenge seems less meaningful and in the end Dae-su could just live the rest of his life in a bigger prison. This also says a lot about Dae-su has a character since his release since even though he wanted revenge, he still wants it to have meaning. Dae-su is living a new life now and to finally release himself of the past he needs to find out what happened in order to move on.

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One thing that really speaks true about this film is how it challenges the thriller genre. Now there are some aspects that are still around like the risk of life or death. One major difference is the concept of the revenge or truth and how that really drives at a man’s psyche. Another good pointer to the psyche angle was when Dae-su was imprisoned and slowly losing himself. This is thrilling because Dae-su is changing and to be honest it is not clear if this is good or not. If he is released we have no idea how things could turn up since he was fine with suicide just so he could get out. Even Dae-su mentions this after his big fight in the corridor as he thinks that he cannot turn back into the old Dae-su, he has become a monster. Then at the same time there is a love story going on as the new Dae-su works well with Mi-do. Dae-su was known to be a drunk and just fight with people including his wife and neighbors and now he is fighting for a purpose and protecting someone close to him. It is really questionable if he changed for the better or for the worse as we do not know how things could have happened with his marriage. Who is better, the drunk or the man fighting for a new life?

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Now this will be the end of this part of a long review and analysis I am doing for Oldboy. The biggest reason is that I want this first part to be a nice way to spark some interest in anyone reading this. The second part is going to cover many spoilers, but I need to talk about those moments to get a full grasp on what I am reviewing. For the second part, I will cover the truth, the ending, and how this film really paints the thriller genre in a new way, but with an old shade of paint.

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Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 Thoughts

Will the excitement for this damn weekend end? Late Thursday and Friday gave us so much information about the Nintendo Switch and there is even going to be more soon with the Fire Emblem Direct. Now even Arc Systems just had to release something exciting as well. Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator was one of my favorite games of last year and just one of my favorite fighting games in general. Now we are getting another version of Xrd with Rev 2. Now for those wondering what this is, this will be a downloadable extension of the current game. Now there will be a physical version of this game for the PS4. I will not lie depending if there are any cool things to collect I could just buy a physical copy of this game even if I do not have a PS4 as of yet. I can still play this thanks to keeping my PS3 around. So my PS3 is still going to have use after Persona 5. There are two new characters being added and before I get to that the other changes will be for the online mode and character tweaks. All I have to say right now is that Arc Systems is just defeating the competition for fighting games right now. I really want people to get into Guilty Gear, they are detailed fighters with the best visuals and the best music. Now onto those characters.

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The first character was Answer and for those who do not know him, his first appearance was in Xrd as a story only character. He is the right hand man of Chipp (the ninja trying to become president) and now he finally gets his chance to fight. I will say this was a shocking new character to have. The more I look at this guy though he fits right in. I love Guilty Gear’s characters their designs just work with me right off the bat. Answer is just like that, he is called the Business Ninja, how awesome is that? From what I can tell how he plays he looks like a variation of Chipp, but since Guilty Gear loves making characters feeling unique I bet he is going to far different. One thing I see that is similar to him and Chipp is that they are fast and teleport around the stage. Answer seems to have a good juggle game too. Answer can do a projectile special in mid-air which a majority of his combos takes his foe to the air and high chance him with Dust is going to be amazing. Answer even has a grab in the middle of his combos and it is straight up an Izuna Drop! When a new fighting game character comes out, if I go “I want to play as him/her” then they are a good new character. Guilty Gear just has the energy to show off how silly and awesome these guys are. I love how Answer rarely drops his calls and then he uses business cards as weapons. The appeal of him is great and now there is my absolute favorite character coming back to the series.

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Baiken has always been my favorite in the series when I first got to play as her in Guilty Gear X. First off her design is what I love the most. Baiken does have some features that makes her sexy, but her major appeal is that she is a strict, mad, and badass lady. She just has this aura that some male characters have. They act tough and hot-headed and will beat anyone up if they tick them off. Baiken has that appeal and while a majority of female characters in many shows and games just be beautiful, Baiken has this masculine charm that always got my attention. I will say, her new design easily points to something in particular… either way it seems she is carrying a majority of her moves from the previous games. They did not show off her alpha counters, but high chance they are there. Baiken still has her kick board and dust move. Something that looks different is that she uses her claw for a mid-air grab and causes that for huge openings to attack. One thing that got my attention the most is the special move the trailer shows off. I know this special attack from doing the motion so many times, that is her slash special that always connect well in the middle of combos. The best part is that this can be upgraded to her Burst special which means this move is going to do bigger damage than ever before!

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Overall I am completely going nuts with all the news we have been getting lately. Not only am I getting a sequel to my favorite RPG (Xenoblade 2), Fire Emblem Warriors and possibly more Fire Emblem news soon, Splatoon 2, ARMS, Carranger coming onto DVD, a new Nier, the new Gravity Rush, and even the return of Travis Touchdown. Now to top it I can get to play as my favorite fighting game character again. 2017 is going great already. So far the only news for Guilty Gear Rev 2 is that it is getting arcade testing in Japan and that this will be going to be pubic to consoles in Spring of this year.

My Top Ten Games of 2016

Well we are got to through the year 2016, I know tons of people have negative feelings towards this year and so do I. Still this is a year of beginnings for me as I am trying to face off my personal demons and not just shrugging them off. Either way there have been some impressive games as well to help me cope with some of my problems, there were easily some bad ones around and I could have to talk about a rather disappointing game in another post. For right now though we are focusing on the positives as we embrace what made this a good year of gaming. To be honest I am happy that fighting games got a big boost this year and let us see how many will be on this list. Now again I cannot play everything, but thanks to a nice brother and friends I got to see some of the PS4 games which is something I did not get at all last year.

Honorable Mentions

Paper Mario Color Splash

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I have just now started Color Splash and I can say that this is not Sticker Star! I hate Sticker Star with a burning passion, but Color Splash actually improves on what that title could not do. The inventory combat in this game is more lenient thanks to an actual experience meter and how easy it is to get cards and paint in the levels. I will say this game does feel easier, but compared to how extremely tedious Sticker Star could get, I welcome these over stickers. Another big thing was the humor, it did not feel funny in Sticker Star and felt boring since it was just the Mushroom Kingdom again. This game is taking place in a new area and there might not be no new characters except Huey, but there is humor in this title. So far, my favorite moment being the murderous Toad I helped out since he got mad at some Shy Guys. We literally smashed them into paint. I will get my full thoughts on this title later, but for now being better than Sticker Star needs to be known to the Paper Mario fans.

Final Fantasy XV and Last Guardian

The biggest reason these games are in this section is because they finally came out! Both of these games were on the burner for a good decade! What is also nice is that these games are good. With Last Guardian, it is not as great as Ico and Colossus, but it does bring good aspects from both games. Then it has one of its own with how you work with your animal friend. The exploration and puzzle solving is still here and it does look gorgeous. The same can be said for XV as it does look lovely, but I will say it has a bit more of Kingdom Hearts than it does with Final Fantasy. It is not bad, but it can be a bit mindless in my opinion. I will say there are some lovely distractions in this game as I do have some guilty pleasures with this game like I do with Deadly Premonition. There is a strange air to this Final Fantasy that can make it silly at times which I am fine with. Overall both of these games are good titles, but I do feel the hype of them did blind side some people and to me these titles just seemed good.

Let It Die

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I love me some games from Grasshopper Manufacture! Now I still want to see Lily Bergamo more than this title, but I cannot disagree that Let It Die has many charms on its own. I do love how it borrows the intensity of Dark Souls to make a completely brutal game in more ways that Dark Souls can be. I personally love the combat a bit more than Dark Souls because of how things feel a bit faster. The complete random chances in this game are everywhere so you really have to be ready for what is to come. The aspect of losing your previous character and then knowing you and other players could be fighting it, really opens the game up. Combine that with the strange aura that Grasshopper loves to put in their games, you have a bizarre time ahead for you. Finally, I feel that Uncle Death is probably the best game character of this year.

Street Fighter V

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Street Fighter V is having a bit of a hard time from fighting games fan. I do agree with how it started was rocky and it hasn’t fully recovered from it. Season two has just started though and I do see improvements already. I am interested in the upcoming character, but for right now the game that is out right now is still a strong fighting game. It still does feel a bit incomplete and even with the story mode added in, it just feels barren still. Compared to other fighting game titles that give some fun modes, Tekken being the best in that category. Street Fighter still tries to play it straight and even then, it had a small roster for the original launch. I do love the V-Trigger system and making characters more unique and seeing how they handled Ken and Akuma for this game that is a huge plus. I also feel this is one of the best rosters right now for Street Fighter in terms of what it is representing. We got classics from SF 2, got some characters from the third game which was a huge surprise, strong representation of the spin-off titles giving many characters their first debut in the main line series, and the newcomers are strong as Rashid is easily up there as one of my favorite Street Fighter characters. Overall things are good for Street Fighter V, but I hope season two will make things better.

10. Pokemon Sun and Moon

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I remember giving X and Y and good name, but to be frank I look at that game a bit differently now. I will say though I am more confident that my opinions on Sun and Moon will stay the same. This game had some nice changes for once for the franchise. No more HM’s, boss fights that felt more like classic RPG battles, and the overall change of a pattern really made this game feel unique. It still feels like Pokemon no doubt about that, but there is some fresh air here. This really feels like a strong step towards what Pokemon could be doing. We could be seeing less new Pokemon, but could be seeing new alterations of our favorites. Personally, I am up for that more than just new Pokemon. I am surprised how much I actually want to use these new variations when back then I would barely bother with those Pokemon, a big one was Raichu. This was my decision game for if I wanted to stick with the franchise and I can say I will be getting the next installment when it comes out.

9. Asagao Academy

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I am usually not a big fan of visual novels because for the most part they are not really games, but this was the year that did change quite a bit. I have played the first two Zero Escape games before and I will be talking about that again later on. Visual novels can have a nice way of endorsing gameplay into it. Sometimes it is more obvious than others with simple puzzles and yet that can be strangely exciting. With Asagao Academy there is some strategy into getting the man and becoming a member of the Normal Boots Club. There are many endings to many routes which just increase how much you can do and the overall love for this project is large. I loved seeing how the actual members played this title and got genuine lovely reactions. I remember playing this from time to time with my friend and even he was quite impressed with how it was written. Characters feel strong with goals and imperfections that just keep things gripping. Also, if you are a big fan of these guys like I am, you will notice many references and in jokes. I went straight for the Continue route because those guys are my favorites still and I just keep remembering their one episode where they all had sex with a Sega game. I always want some Papa Paul. Overall, this just has too much love in it that I cannot ignore this title and to be honest it is a well thought out story.

8. Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam

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Another Mario and Luigi game came out this year and I am still happy to see that this series is not having any flubs yet. Now I will admit I am not a fan of the current concept of Paper Mario because things have changed a bit with how that feels. Yet how Paper Jam works with it was well done. Many clever jokes to differentiate the two franchises mostly with how Paper Peach is way better than normal Peach. Now the series has played with three playable characters before as well like with Bowser’s Inside Story. This time however you are playing as three at the same time in battles and not just tagging in and out. I am surprised how quickly natural it felt to work with third button to control Paper Mario. The game also brought in many mechanics that really got fully used. To me I love it when new ideas are just presented with any possible idea. The Mario Bros got new powers so why not give it to bosses? What makes this great is that you know exactly how it works so you can fight it off well. The boss fights were well thought out thanks to that idea. It was surprise after surprise with this title. I will say this is not up there with the original trilogy of Mario and Luigi games, but this did surpass Dream Team thanks to how much new there was and it did not overwhelm anything as well.

7. Shantae Half-Genie Hero

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With some disappointments of Kickstarter projects like Mighty #9 it is nice to see why Kickstarter games are still worth supporting. This Shantae title did take some time as well, but it is a completely well-polished game with an amazing soundtrack and lovely visuals. This is the first Shantae game to deal with more 3D like models. It is still a 2D game no matter what, but this is the first time that sprites were not being used as much. I have to say the visuals for the game are probably the best of this year. Everything pops out with nice colors and giving full motion to multiple parts of the bodies. The best being the Giga Mermaid (best waifu). The chains are all fully there and shake as she struggles, her face constantly changes, the hair flows perfectly, and that chest is rather distracting… WHAT?! What also makes Shantae a fun game is that while it can be short there is ton of content to be found by going back to levels with more powers. I was surprised that in the first level there was more of the level hidden in the water that I could not find originally. Another reason I love this franchise is that it never ever had to hold your hand. Just like Shovel Knight the gameplay itself teaches you how to play and keeps building on basics to extend the lessons. I still feel games need to endorse this tactic because I love just figuring things out on my own and then progressively getting better. You can get experimental with Shantae and it does not punish you for that as you can find many secrets that way. This Shantae title to me is so far one of the best thanks to how it really pushes the basics and with the one of the best presentations of this year.

6. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

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Reminding me of presentation this game is also pretty high up there with a great one. Now I know there were many people yelling at this product for being a Persona game for Nintendo. My thing is that doing a Persona styled game is not a bad thing. We recently had the new Digimon RPG and everyone was fine with that being similar to Persona and no one got mad with that game. There is still tons of Fire Emblem in this product as well you just have to actually play the game. Personally, even though I have not finished this game fell in love with how this turned out. Everyone was expecting just a crossover, but we got a crossover of mechanics. I am happy this turned out to be a new IP in general because this means we can get a sequel to this or some sort of spiritual one. The mixture of super natural and pop idol fever works well and it reminds me of a fun anime series and for me that is saying something. It did not have the most exciting plot, but what was exciting about it was the energy the game has. I am more for well-done execution than just a plot if that makes sense. Also, people complained about the changes for the American release and to be honest I got to those parts and I prefer the changes. In the Japanese version, I feel it is just a bit perverted and actually made me not like some characters. The changes that were made worked better with the art motif that this game uses at least in my opinion. Finally, this system is up there with one of my most addictive. It works with a turned based system with element and weapon triangles from Fire Emblem and the spell systems of SMT. I also love seeing who goes next because I can plan extremely ahead for many things to come sort of like seeing enemies on the map of a Fire Emblem game. So, I easily enjoyed this game and I do feel people are just going to forget about it, but oh well at least I enjoyed a game I was anticipating since 2013 while most people were disappointed with No Man’s Sky.

5. Fire Emblem Fates

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Now we get to the reason why I did not finish some games yet, Fire Emblem Fates. I still need to do Revelation, but I did play through the other two campaigns. It took some time for me to complete it because I had trouble playing this. The fans were being silly again about what got changed even though they were not that severe. I’m sorry, but the whole petting thing was dumb and I had no reason of wanting it in the first place. So, with so much negativity for a fan base where I was so happy to be part of starting acting like children did affect me playing this title. I just ended up doing it though because I finally got to the point where I just ignore other fans. Fates is another strong title that builds on what Awakening started. The next question if it is better than Awakening which I do not know as of yet. What Fates as which I extremely liked was a new weapon triangle and I opened up to how they worked with no more limited uses for a majority of weapons. They focused on making each weapon unique with stronger attributes in some categories. Then expanding on the number of units was fantastic and I thought doing supports in Awakening was crazy. Having your own castle and getting items there and doing side content there made it easy to get to. I did enjoy how they focused on making certain titles in some ways. Birthright was more for Awakening fans where it was a bit easier than other Fire Emblem games and yet it had amazing level designs to be honest I was thinking more of Sacred Stones than Awakening. Conquest easily brought back the difficulty aspect which I loved. Conquest with some high leveled bosses and unique foes made me remember the first Fire Emblem the states got and Path of Radiance. Overall I think Fates is another strong title for the series and depending on what the Nintendo Switch can do, I wonder how the next Fire Emblem game will turn out.

4. Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma

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I remember when I first got into this series by playing the second game, Virtue’s Last Reward. I do heavily prefer that title to this one, but this is an excellent conclusion for this trilogy. Compared to the three games I will say I did love the time flow for this game the most. 999 was straight forward, Virtue had some nice detours, but Zero Time Dilemma has an excellent one since it was fun piecing things together. I will also say these had some of my favorite puzzles, but I am sad it lacked the secrets that the second game had. I also have to give credit for this game trying to do complete 3D models and areas for both gameplay and cut scenes. Sure, things do not run the best at times and can look a bit odd. Still going for the full package of 3D is something I cannot ignore. Also, it really helped some scenes out when some people would be killing each other. What was so fun with this third story as well was how I got to notice links between this and the other games. I love all the stories in this series as it reminds me of classic Sci-fi stories along with a murderous twist. I will also say I did enjoy the chance mechanics this game had as it would literally mess with your mind. I did enjoy how this game felt like it was playing me at times. The ending was strong and I cannot wait for this team to do another crazy project like this one.

3. Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator

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You guys know I love my fighting games. Guilty Gear is easily up there as my favorite franchise for this genre. To me it has the best characters in terms of unique play styles. The first Xrd and the current one still proves that with the newcomers they introduced. Jack-O being one of my favorites has this real-time strategy based system. I am literally setting up houses and summoning minions and yes this is a fighting game. Jack-O even has unique Dust moves which always was just launch or trip, but with this character she can do grabs and different attacks. Raven has this system where getting into a state means having damage on you is a good thing. Kum then focuses on execution more than anything else. This character has some nice grapples, projectiles, and even big attacks for coverage. The game will hopefully continue to have updates with more characters as they shown with bringing back Dizzy and I still wait for Baiken (god damn that fake leak pissed me off). What made this title strong though was some nice changes to the Burst system. If you keep your Burst gauge full, you can now use it for a stronger special attack and it only works for a certain one per character. What we still have are the frame canceling like in mid-motion which takes only twenty-five percent while the canceling in mid-attack takes fifty. The series is still not so much for beginners so be warned when trying this out on your first go, but Guilty Gear Xrd is still full of so much love. The presentation is still my favorite for a fighting game and for a man who loved the sprites for this series back then that is saying something. This new look just added on way more that the team could not have done and yet they keep the old-school charm around too. This also has some of the best music in like anything, seriously listen to the Guilty Gear soundtracks in general, Daisuke is a masterful composer. Guilty Gear still has the best presentation, the best flow, and the best soundtrack of any fighting game around and that is impressive.

2. Blazblue Central Fiction

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Now I will say that in terms of a fighting game, I love Guilty Gear more. The thing is though being that for games of the year there is also personal feelings to mention here. Guilty Gear is still going to continue, but I think Blazblue is going to end for the time being. If this is the end, I am fine with that because it was a strong ending for the series. Blazblue was the fighting game series that got me into the genre. If it was not for Blazblue I would not be serious about fighting games today. So Blazblue holds importance to me. I have strong attachments with it and the characters and it being all over, I won’t lie I did tear up a bit. Onto the actual game though, Blazblue did end on a strong note. I am for the new extension of the Overdrive system where you can get a new special attack out of it. Giving more options to do with it and this one is even timed differently than just using the Overdrive state in general so it gets tense if you want to use it or not. Since in the next round there is a low chance you will be using it and could have to wait for the next round if you lose. The roster ends with a large number and the final new characters are again impressive and unique to the series. I love how Arc System fighting games focus on character uniqueness since it just leaves room for someone being great with many different styles. This is also going to be one of the last sprite fighting games and that is another little thing I am going to feel sad letting go. Graphics have to move on though and at least Arc Systems knows how to use good animations and graphics though. So if this is goodbye Blazblue, I say goodbye, but if it is not, I will easily play the next game.

1. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Spirit of Justice

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To be honest this number one spot here is just showing my love for this overall franchise. I started the first game by August and quickly got all the way to the recent title. I am impressed on how fast I got into this series. Then to my surprise, Spirit of Justice is my favorite of the main line series, my overall favorite is Edgeworth 2. Now most of the overall charm of Ace Attorney is still around in the sixth installment. What this game had though had all great cases. Usually there are amazing cases all around, some okay ones, and then your rarely terrible ones. There are only three games in my mind that had all strong cases and that would be the original, Edgeworth 2, and Spirit of Justice. Why Spirit of Justice had strong cases was because of a constant theme of trust and betrayal. Then there is also the sheer amount of hatred you feel for scumbags in this game. In the original, there was a villain like Von Karma who was delightfully evil. People like Roger and the queen of a country are complete scumbags and so want to throw them into the water with cinderblocks and bombs attached to them! (You just got to make sure!) The puzzles were strong as well with the second cases of this game feeling like a finale in terms of the story and difficulty it had. The final episode had two cases in them and man what nail bitters those were. I especially love the new mechanic of seeing the final moments of someone’s life. This leads to many new possibilities of seeing the truth or how it can still be concealed. It took me some time to get used to this new mechanic, but that to me is a great sign that it made some puzzles harder to solve. Being a defense attorney just got harder with this game and I cannot wait to see this mechanic being used in a new spin-off title. Overall the charm is still there and the puzzles were at their best what could I possibly ask for more with the latest game for Phoenix Wright.

For next year I am easily going to be focusing on the Nintendo Switch and I will probably talk about that when we learn of more titles coming for the system, but we all know what I am up for… NO MORE HEROES! Along with that Nier Automata and Gravity Rush 2 is up my alley too.

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No More Heroes: Travis Strikes Again

Late last night we the people got a lot of information regarding the Nintendo Switch. We got to see some of the games and learn more about the hardware. Out of everything though I am mostly excited for the return of No More Heroes!

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No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle came out in the year 2010 and while I do enjoy the first game more, the second game really did improve many things from the original. Even with that though both of these two games makes No More Heroes my all time favorite thing ever! For anyone that knows me personally, I have probably talked about No More Heroes to you. I have also created an essay about what No More Heroes is about on the original blog and will easily put it on here whenever I can. High chance I will just put the whole nine paged essay on here so be prepared. Still out of everything in entertainment No More Heroes is just my thing. I mastered the games even though the mini games in the second game took more time. I have made personal challenges for myself for both games and completed both of them multiple times. I love No More Heroes and now I am bursting with excitement.

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The Nintendo Switch presentation already got me excited with titles like Xenoblade 2, Fire Emblem Warriors, the new SMT project, the new Square Enix project, Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, and ARMS. Then when we got to listen to some third-party developers, I was quite calm and then Suda 51 came to the stage. I started to freak out and I saw his shirt which is the No More Heroes logo and I knew what was coming. I had to take my glasses off and wipe tears from my eyes, the anticipation was killing me. For the longest time Suda has joked with the idea of another No More Heroes like the time he said it could take fifteen to twenty years. Even the day before the direct he said he would like to make a No More Heroes like game for the Switch. So in reality I just guessed it would not happen for a while. Suda appearing on stage and announcing that this project has been in development for a year and showing that art of Travis, I became so happy. I am going, “It is finally coming!” That is what I was thinking, but I could not speak the shock got me so flabbergasted.

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Other knowledge I have picked up thanks to social media and new sites, Suda 51 is back in the director’s chair for this game. I feel like that could have been some of the reasons for why No More Heroes 2 did completely stomp the original game because Suda was not in that chair. I adore Suda 51 and his works he is my top developer and while he has not made the greatest games, I love them like they are. Again No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2 have their flaws, but the unique experience I have from them cannot be replicated. Even with a game like Lollipop Chainsaw I am not a big fan of that one and yet I can still talk about how awesome it was in many ways. Killer is Dead was a great action game and one of my personal favorites thanks to the upgrade tree and fantastic level and boss designs. Killer 7 is the most outrageous game I have ever seen and while it can be confusing, the experience is unlike any other. I am so excited to see what Suda is planning for Travis’ return. I am already getting some sick threads ready to show off my No More Heroes love.

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I also learned that my all time favorite artist and character designer, Yusuke Kozaki did the new Travis art. Hopefully he is back to do the art for the new game.

In the end all I have to say is thank you Suda 51! In my personal life even though I am now figuring things out for myself, it has been quite a bumpy road. Now I can be extremely smiling the whole time with the return of my favorite video game character and favorite video game franchise.

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Carranger: Being Odd Is Awesome

Originally I was going to talk about Evil Dead and start off a series of post listing off current things I am watching or playing or just listing off my favorite things. I just happened to notice that Carranger has been announced for the next DVD set from Shout Factory! Carranger is up there as one of my favorite Toku shows in general. It is my second favorite Sentai series, right behind Dairanger. There is easily one thing about Carranger is that it is unique in the best way possible. This show aired in 1996 and Power Ranger fans know this show as Power Rangers Turbo. One big reason why Turbo did not succeed was because of the source material. Carranger’s footage is not easy to use and I think Turbo’s mood just lead to this falling of a show. Carranger is probably the most legit parody and actually being the actual product as well. Carranger shows off how silly this franchise can be and that is why people love it!

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The cast of characters for Carranger are up there with Dairanger, Dekaranger, and Gokaiger as some of my favorites. The main five heroes were strong with one of the best reds, one of the best yellows, the best extra hero, and the best green hero around. Dappu is pretty close to one of my favorite mentor characters since his introduction episode just made me love and hate the little guy. Poor little Dappu lost his mother and home planet to the villains of the show. Of course someone would feel bad for him, but you start to laugh and hate the little guy when he starts dragging the heroes into battle and pretending to be dead to motivate the heroes. Overall though he has a fun story with his quest for a bit of peace of being with a family and does help out at multiple times. My favorite time being giving Minoru the electric eel.

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For the main cast of heroes there is Kosuke aka Red Racer and man what a blast this character was. First the actor does a great job of portraying this hot-headed and not the brightest man. Kosuke even gets one of the best love stories in the franchise where this begins the trend of alien girls just wanting him. Natsumi is a tough girl and I love her just do it attitude. She does have some trouble saying whatever is on her mind like the time she wanted a little brother to wrestle and was going to make Blue Racer into that. Minoru has I said before my all time favorite green hero right behind Daigo (Shishi Ranger). Now Daigo is a strong fighter that even punched himself out of a fire monster, out of suit I might add. What makes Minoru my favorite green and just lovable guy in general is that he is hilarious! Most of the case is funny, but Yoshihiro Fukuda just knows how to present himself. I feel like he takes a strong improv sense to his acting since this guy just surprises me anytime he is on-screen. I remember the episode where people are getting mad at Kosuke because of his wish on the tree while mostly everyone was just closing in on him, Minoru takes the tree and starts barking at their leader. This just amuses me in so many ways because he took the initiative to pick up the tree and taunt the red with it. Then he just barks, I mean what is up with that?

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Now since I started picking at the comedy I am simply going to do it more. Carranger’s comedy is probably some of the most fun I had critiquing comedy. It is up there with Edgar Wright’s films. The key to Carranger’s success is that the comedy breaks norms and while that has been done before, but considering we are dealing with suited heroes that get into robots to fight off mutants, aliens, or whatever opposing force there is. How could things really get strange? It is pretty easy actually, Carranger has this strong mixture of working with the silliness of Sentai and yet put the wrong parts of reality in. By that, that has to do with how some characters react to certain situations. There is a little kid by the name of Ichitaro and this kid character is incredibly brave or just does not care at all. When he sees a giant monster he just gives this huge pout about it and whenever there is monster related things he just gets his father to help him. There is even one time when he is captured with other kids and when things are looking bad he just gives the kids the command to cry. I feel like this kid just has the director’s notes and that is why he acts like this.

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Another strange comedy method would be the villains. Usually you got this hungry powered villains that want something out of Earth or to dominate with an iron fist. The space biker gang is quite different though. They do want to destroy the Earth which that has been a common goal for some villains. The reason is where we draw the huge line though. The leader of this gang simply just want to use Earth as a firework to impress a chick in his gang. The other thing is that there is no hiding the sexual tension the leader has for this chick, he even tried licking her butt (first episode)! Then the individual members of the group have one decisive talent and use that to fight. We get one member that makes cars go into a symphony like matter to cause noise to tick off aliens. Another that orders products online to use as weapons. A bicyclist that wanted to form a new gang and yes she rides a bicycle not a motorcycle. Even one of the main villains just wants to make an intergalactic highway. There are many insane plot lines for this show and yet the show has this funny and serious way of doing things. One episode with Minoru loses his bracelet because he was goofing off leads to him being a warrior in the truest sense. That episode also contains an incredibly badass moment where Minoru defeats two monsters with his little car machine. An episode where numbers are being messed around with also causes Pink to have a figure issue and that anger defeats the monster of the week.

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More incredible episodes come around the holiday season where we get to meet VRV Master. He is a masked hero that has access to new mechs for the team and while his training methods can be odd they truly do help the team. VRV Master even has some little tics that make him this cool and silly fellow. My favorite being his fascination with iced coffee and still going to a barber even with the helmet on. The villain Richihiker was a simple tutor for the biker gang and also turns out to become a serious villain thanks to an insane amount of evil energy entering his body. Even the main two villains, Zelmoda and Gynamo are awesome as Zelmoda fights his fears and unlocks the power of a thunder-god and Gynamo is simply the true hero of the show. Signalman is the extra hero for the series and not an actual member of the team he is one of the best additional heroes around. Signalman will stop anyone breaking any traffic laws even the heroes and I loved how cocky he was in the beginning because with skills he had I am not surprised he felt over-confident. I remember the episode where he was tricked by a pizza monster that there were evil pizzas breaking the laws leading to the best line, “I must arrest those pizzas at once!”

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What is great too is that even if there can be these incredibly silly episodes there is still legit character building going on. The girl that hangs around with the biker gang, Zonette falls in love with Red Racer, not Kosuke, Red Racer. Yes the villains think that the Carrangers just look like they do in suit which makes sense the more I think about it. What ends up transpiring though is that she tries a bit too hard to get Red Racer’s attention and yet Kosuke did see this as her turning a new leaf. I loved it when Zonette tried to learn the meaning of love from a manga. This soon turns into hatred because she gets rejected by Red Racer mostly because he is too scared of the thought, but opens up to the idea too late. Zonette still holds those feelings for the hero and acts on those feelings. She even does learn about who Red Racer actually is and then winning her over was hard, but Kosuke did it! That episode with the cupid monster is still one of the best red ranger moments because of how the two interact with each other and how brave Kosuke was. VRV Master has great moments with Dappu as one starts to figure out who he is. Even the villains get a change of heart because of what was transpiring behind the scenes and even before that these guys have awesome and touching moments. Zelmoda felt ashamed that he could not face his fears originally and Gynamo reignited his courage through a heart warming speech about how these two will keep making their gang bigger and stronger.

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There are just amazing characters all around in this show and sorry for not mentioning about our little blue here so here are a few moments for him as well. Blue Racer gets to train with cycling and even beats the bicycle gang leader thanks to intense training. Blue even finds out tricks to a special spray paint and uses car washing techniques to defeat him. I will easily say that Blue has some of the best action bits too with those intense kicks he has. Which leads us to the action of the show (see what I did there, I didn’t actually forget about our Blue, but used it as a segue… not impressed… moving on) and it is strong. There are still silly moments happening as I said before with Blue using car washing moves to defeat a monster. There is even a time where Minoru eats the electric eel and that actually beats his fear of lightning thus leading him to be able to withstand any lightning attack. Green even straights up throw the thunder-god while being on his motorcycle! While out of suit, Kosuke takes a barrage of attacks and still runs straight through to pierce a monster with a sword. Yellow goes to extreme racing lengths to get her special wrench back and even fighting grunts out of suit. With Pink I established that with her anger she single handily defeated a monster and usually she out classes many monsters in strength and style.

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Then we get to the mechs and this is the first time I get to say it here and that is the 90’s eras of mechs are the best. The machines themselves are well designed and the fights they have are amazing. Carranger’s biggest asset is the use of miniatures and probably some of the best I have seen. Having little mini cars driving all around crashing into each other or making incredibly hard jumps that makes Fast and the Furious jealous. The main mechs in the show would be RV Robo, Sirender, and VRV Robo and these three are fantastic. RV Robo has a great build and one of the best finishing moves around and by watching it fight in general, it looks as one of the best suit to perform in. RV Robo does many tricks that other robots simply cannot do. Sirender is Signalman’s mech and I love the sequence it has for its transformation. Going into a tunnel and then flying into the sky to transform and makes the landing. VRV Robo is my favorite of the three because of how much it can do. First there are the VRV Fighters as each member gets a humanoid mech to battle with, it is like if the team just grew big, I always love that concept of a team of humanoid mechs. Then VRV Robo itself is a powerhouse with two huge weapons one being a Gatling gun and the other being a bazooka. The mechs on their own are mostly cars before any transformations and as I said before the miniatures are awesome. There are so many sequences that I love with one being the combination of RV Robo and the constant car clashes with the villains. VRV machines have great use of the area thanks to how they are built, the best being blue’s car being able to take a hit, use that momentum to increase speed, and leading to jumping off some road to perform a kick! There is so much attention given to how these machines work and it really rivals Dairanger as my overall favorite use of mechs.

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There is so much more I can talk about with Carranger, but I must stop here. Carranger is overall one of the best Sentai series around. It is incredibly silly and yet also incredibly badass! The show has a strange nature and yet the show stays consistent with the comedy. Everything just feels right since everything is strange. The heroes are strange, the villains are strange, and even many side characters are strange. This show really plays with what a superhero show can actually do, have, or even be. Even if Carranger is part of the Sentai series and works with tropes from that franchise, it still feels completely original. There is nothing like Carranger and that is saying something when the show aired in 1996. Again those DVD’s are up for preorder right now and will be released in late April. I highly recommend them to anyone interested in Super Sentai. I do feel it can be a hard sell for someone’s first show into the series, but if you do fall in love with it I think you are ready for many other things this franchise can do.

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