Friday, September 18, 2020

Green Phoenix - 1634: The Baltic War Review

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/11/Cover_of_1634_The_Baltic_War.png 

 


 Looking at the analytics for my various articles, my book recommendation tend to be the least viewed of all of my article formats (though given the usual content of the Emerald Rangers, perhaps that isn't too surprising). In truth, these book recommendations are designed more along the lines as a passion project, where I get to promote some literary properties that I might not otherwise get to do.

The fact that my book recommendations also tend to be the easiest articles to write and be very brief and succinct is also not a bad reason to continue them, though I do hope that more people will check out some of the series I recommend and review and come to appreciate them as I do.

Which brings me to 1634: The Baltic War. I've made it no secret of my absolute adoration of Eric Flint's Ring of Fire series. The fantastically detailed of world-building built around countless well-grounded characters and a truly unique and strange point of divergence make it both inviting for new readers and very memorable in terms of its dedicated fans, with many people having favorite story threads, characters, and arcs.

In this particular field, 1634: The Baltic War is my favorite book in the entire series. It is the culmination of baseline trilogy that forms the narrative core of the every other book in the series. After 1634: The Baltic War, the 1632 series would begin to diverge into its countless varying story-lines and character arcs. As such, The Baltic War serves as a conclusion to the old model for the series and the introduction to how the succeeding books will work from thereon out.

***

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Chouriki Sentai Ohranger Ep 1: Invasion!! 1999 - Summary/Review



Going back to 1995 - 1996 we have the 19th Super Sentai Chouriki Sentai Ohranger which roughly translates to "Super-Powered Squadron King Ranger". link Funny enough, not 1999 like the title of this episode would suggest, but rather this season takes place 3-4 years in the future oddly. This is the original Sentai for Power Rangers Zeo and one that is not talked about often. What could this season have to offer? Click "read more" for my full coverage of this first episode.


Friday, September 11, 2020

Green Phoenix - Building Better Backstories V

So this editorial was always going to be a real pain in my ass. For one, it seems to have become culturally "cool" to rip into the Star Wars sequel trilogy and mock it relentlessly without taking into account any of the positive traits that the series does possess. And there are a few truly positive elements of the sequel trilogy that I think need to be given their due credit, especially if we are going to try and improve upon the franchise. The trilogy has some truly inspired cinematic and narrative moments that, if properly explored, would've been absolutely inspired.

That being said, I would be lying if I didn't understand and at the very least agree that the Star Wars sequel trilogy overall wasn't a steaming hot mess almost from the word go. Which is a damn shame because the acquisition by Disney had all the hallmarks of being a momentous achievement and a chance to restart the series from all of the enormous weight of the Legends canon; that is the Star Wars material released independent of the Lucas-era films up until the Disney acquisition.

I've known ever since the release of The Rise of Skywalker that some kind of Building Better Backstories was going to be necessary for the sequel trilogy, but I also struggled to figure out how best to fix the franchise.

It will be difficult, but I think I have a solution. It may not contain many specific narrative elements, but we will take a look at what went wrong, what they could've used, and how that might have worked for a better trilogy overall.

***

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Fidget Spinner (Steam) - PC Game Review



Well, this is a real game title that gives little hope for quality. It was gifted to me as a joke so, I may as well give it a quick review. Click "read more" to see said review.


Friday, September 4, 2020

Green Phoenix - Walking With Beasts Review

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/dc/BBCWWB_large.jpg


A few weeks back, I took a look at the BBC Documentary series Walking with Dinosaurs. I've gone on record stating just how much I adored that series and its influence on my cinematic tastes and experiences.

Knowing how important Walking with Dinosaurs was to my childhood and cinematic sensibilities, it really should come to no surprise that I would keep the show going by taking a look at the other entries in the Walking with... franchise at some point down the line.

Well...today is the day.

Released in 2001, 2 years after its predecessor, Walking with Beasts uses the same combination of animatronics and computer-generated imagery to tell the story of life after the extinction of the dinosaurs. With Kenneth Branaugh reprising his narrator role from Walking with Dinosaurs for the British version of the series, Walking with Beasts brings together much of the same crew and team that brought dinosaurs back to life to tell the story of the rise of mammals and their transition into a world dominated by human beings.

But does Walking with Beasts live up to its predecessors legacy? Or was Walking with Dinosaurs to big of a shadow to shine against?

***

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Chojin Sentai Jetman Episode 2: The Third Warrior - Summary/Review



Back again with more Jetman. The first episode came and went with only 3 Jetmen introduced. So, we continue on to the second episode in order to possibly get the full introduction to this season. Click "read more" for my full coverage.


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Something Phishy This Way Comes: Steam "Fraudulent Purchase" Scam is Back. How It Happens, and What You Can Do to Prevent It.

It started as any normal evening; Just browsing the internet, looking for deals, and playing games I liked. I had work the next evening and was already looking to get ready for bed. Then, I get a message on Steam. Someone I don’t know with a familiar name tells me that they had accidentally reported me for a “fraudulent purchase.” It struck me as odd, but not unbelievable, given I was one to occasionally search for cheap games through sites like Fanatical, Green Man Gaming, and occasionally more out of the way sites of potentially ill repute. Thus, I had asked who I had to talk to. I am sent to someone who appears to be a Steam Administrator. The script I had installed to enhance my Steam browsing experience even said as much. I was also given a Discord username to contact, alternatively.

Monday, August 31, 2020

MOP: Operation Cleanup (Playstation 4) Review.


You'd be amazed at how many deep cut PS4 games are so widely overlooked.  (They wouldn't be called deep cuts if they weren't overlooked.)  There's more than you'd think and I am reviewing another one of those games today.  This is MOP: Operation Cleanup for the PS4.  (Click on "Read More" to read the full review.)

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Yakuza Kiwami [ps4] reveiw

    Yakuza Kiwami is a remake of the PlayStation 2 classic Yakuza, in which you play as Kazama Kiryu as he fights with many enemies ranging from Yakuza to the Japanese police force. This game is held together by a gripping story, and a beautiful combat system. (note: I haven't played the first yakuza game, so this review isn't a comparison]
Yakuza Kiwami on Steam

Friday, August 28, 2020

Green Phoenix - Dr. No Review

 In the foreground, Bond wears a suit and is holding a gun; four female characters from the film are next to him.

Last week, I discussed several times how the character of Jack Ryan, from Tom Clancy's most popular works, is a bit of a parody and critique of the 1960s spy archetype best exemplified by the likes of James Bond. 

Following that review, I figured that it might be rather interesting to take a closer look at the titular spy's movie franchise to see whether or not this groundbreaking franchise still holds up.

Now I want to be fully transparent and admit that I grew up watching the James Bond series with my mother, so this has always been a franchise that has possessed something of a soft spot with me. I absolutely recognize that, especially among the older movies, the series has some very questionable and dated narrative and character decisions. And I will not hesitate to judge the film with that in mind.

All this being said, I feel like we obviously should begin our look into the James Bond franchise with the first film in the series. Released in 1962 and based of the 1958 Ian Fleming novel of the same name, Dr. No created nearly every precedent that the series would become infamous for. But even if it began the formula, does it do that formula as well as the rest of the series?

Let's find out.

***

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Chojin Sentai Jetman Episode 1: Seek The Warriors - Summary/Review



Behond, the original choice for the first Power Ranger season that was denied due to rights issues. Chojin Sentai Jetman which roughly translates to Birdman Squadron Jetman. Released in 1991 and inspired by another japanese show, Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman, this season promises flying. Click "read more" for my full coverage.


Sunday, August 23, 2020

Miko Mole (Playstation 4) Review.

When you think about games that were released for the Playstation 4, you're normally thinking of stuff with incredibly good graphics.  However there'll be a game that comes out every now and then that'll leave you thinking, "How the hell did this get released on this console?".  Miko Mole is one of those games.  Looks can be deceiving and maybe this game will end up being a diamond in the rough... Maybe.  (Click on "Read More" to read the full review.)

Friday, August 21, 2020

Green Phoenix - The Hunt for Red October (1990) Review

The Hunt for Red October movie poster.png 

The works of Tom Clancy have long been held as the pinnacle of Cold War and post-Cold War era political thrillers. While the works of Tom Clancy are known these days primarily for the Rainbow Six series of video games; during the 1990s, audiences were gifted with a trilogy of very high quality films. Filled with A-cast celebrities and featuring the highlights of late Cold War era politics and intrigue, the Jack Ryan trilogy, as it might sometimes be known, all started with 1984's The Hunt for Red October.

NOTE: I consider Sum of All Fears and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit to be reboots and not sequels.

Based on Tom Clancy's debut novel of the same name, the book and film achieved phenomenal success and catapulted Clancy to international notoriety. Clancy's masterful integration of hardcore science fiction and political thrillers created a tense exploration of the minds of two men. One, an infamous Soviet submarine Captain, and the other a former US marine turned CIA analyst. The struggle to understand each other's motives outside of direct communication and in direct contrast of the interest of their respective home nations create a true sense of thrill and anxiety.

But does the film hold up after nearly 30 years? Are the performances as good as I remember them from when I was growing up? And is the story just as exhilarating with the Cold War now only a fleeting memory in the mind of most moviegoers?

***

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Samurai Sentai Shinkenger Act 1: The Gallant Appearance of the Five Samurai - Summary/Review



Here is a team that made a big impression with their Power Rangers counterpart, Power Rangers Samurai. But, we are here to talk about the original japanese version from 2009. This season is considered one of the best by some critics and I have a lot of fond memories of it. So, click "read more" and let's see if it stood the test of time.


Friday, August 14, 2020

Green Phoenix - The Man with the Iron Heart Review

The Man with the Iron Heart.jpg

I have mentioned it several times before in my previous reviews of alternate history novels, but the genre as a whole has a fundamental issue at its heart. An author of alternate history must be able to balance an interesting and unique premise and point of divergence while at the same time not selecting a subject so esoteric that the general reading audience (which in America is woefully historically illiterate) won't be turned off or too bored.

For most alternate history authors, the solution is to pick a point of divergence and timeline that alters some event that is universally understood or known to American audiences, those two tending to be either the American Civil War or the Second World War. This results in these two time periods being the most discussed in the field of alternate history, almost to the point of parody. Even Harry Turtledove, the man widely considered the master of alternate history, has created dozens of stories based on these two time periods, immediately to great effect.

But today's review will cover one of Turtledove's more comparatively recent explorations into a WW2 point of divergence. In 2008's The Man with the Iron Heart, Turtledove explores not a Nazi victory in WW2,  but an altogether different, yet even more intriguing question. What if the survival of a single SS officer had enabled the creation of a more unified German resistance to the allied-occupation of Germany after World War 2? What would the impact be on Allied post-war sentiments at home?

These questions and their correlation to more modern wars like the Second Persian Gulf War form the thematic heart of The Man with the Iron Heart and it leaves this stand alone novel as easily one of Turtledove's most intriguing and underappreciated, in my opinion.

***

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters Mission 1: Tokumei Sentai, Assemble! - Summary/Review



Hey, fans of Power Rangers Beast Morphers, fun fact, those suits and footage are from 2012. Yup, time to cover the secret agent/eco friendly energy themed season, Tokumei Sentai G-Busters which roughly translates to Special Operations Squadron Go-Busters. This is the famous season to have major references to Power Rangers and the first to have leather suits instead of spandex. (And only season to do that I think.) I have a lot of memories with this season so, let's take a trip back to it, click "read more" and find out how this season did.


Monday, August 10, 2020

Ultraman Club - Tatakae! Ultraman Kyoudai!! (Arcade) Review.


It's about bloody time that we've covered something Ultraman related on this site.  Nope, it's not an episode from one of the television series.  (That job is reserved for UltraSam AKA Candy Cane Diamond.)  Instead I dive back into the amazing world of Tokusatsu arcade games.  This is Ultraman Club - Tatakae! Ultraman Kyoudai!!  It sounds exciting.  (Click on "Read More" to read the full review.)

Friday, August 7, 2020

Green Phoenix - 8 Amazing Anime Openings

I've always been fairly picky when it comes to the anime that I choose to watch. I have just had too many situations where I was uncomfortably surprised with an anime that I really didn't want to watch. This is particularly the case with anime that deals in horror elements, as I am a chickenshit coward when it comes to anything remotely scary, and Japanese anime can be very scary to me.

To avoid getting caught unaware, I often have to rely on the openings of the show in order to give me a good sense of the show's general nature and outlook. This has resulted in me oftentimes finding the openings of anime almost as entertaining as the show itself. Thus the reason for this particular countdown.

This will not be some exhaustive list of the greatest anime openings, but rather an opportunity for me to talk about some amazing anime openings and hopefully inspire you to check out some amazing anime if you haven't already.

***

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

I Want Cookies (Steam) - PC Game Review

I Want Cookies


This is a game that was gifted to me as a joke on Steam and has since disappeared from the store. A game so simple it does not even have a title card. Click "read more" and prepare for one of the simplest reviews ever.


Monday, August 3, 2020

Masked Riders Club Battle Race (Arcade). Review.



It's time for another Kamen Rider video game review.  All of the previous installments of my Kamen Rider game reviews were for Playstation One games.  This time however, I get to dive into the ultra hyper crazy exciting world of arcade games that never got a home port.  This is Masked Riders Club Battle Race.  Yes, this is one of the rare times where I get to used the Masked Rider name instead of Kamen Rider.  (Click on "Read More" to read the full review.)

Friday, July 31, 2020

Green Phoenix - Beauty and the Beast (1991) Review

I want to apologize to everyone for the two-week delay in releasing this review. Two weeks ago was TrotCon, a convention that I regularly participate in as a guest, and due to the fallout of COVID-19, I needed to dedicate a great deal of my time and focus to the convention and couldn't finish this article with the level of quality that I expect of myself. As to why I had to delay last week, well...

...Accidentally deleting an entire article the night before you have to publish it fucking sucks.

But all that aside, I am happy to finally present a review of one of the most well-regarded Disney films in cinematic history.

In 1991, Disney found themselves at a crossroads in terms of their Renaissance. 1989's The Little Mermaid had been a massive success that seemed to revitalize public interest in Disney animation, while 1990's The Rescuers Down Under was largely ignored in terms of public interest, due to lack of interest from Disney marketing (though the film would maintain a strong public interest and fanbase on VHS). It was in this environment that Disney released Beauty and the Beast.

To say that this film has a prodigious legacy and reputation is the greatest of understatements. The New York Film Festival gave an unfinished rough-cut of the film a standing ovation. And the film would go on to be the first animated film to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

But does the film still deserve that indelible reputation? Let's take a look at Walt Disney Pictures' Beauty and the Beast and find out.

***

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Super Sentai Saikyo Battle Final Battle: Heading Towards Tomorrow! - Summary/Review



This is it! The final part of this short but impressive special. While there has been a lot one can nit-pick about continuity and clear favoritism for the boy rangers, overall this has been a great experience and a lot of fun. Let's see how they will wrap everything up. Click "read more" for my full coverage.


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Super Sentai Saikyo Battle - Battle 3: The Big Secret Revealed - Summary/Review



Back again with the 3rd part of this 4 week special. Last time, it ended with an unmasked Gaisorg which created a lot of questions as it did not make sense. Better go ahead and click "read more" so we can get some answers.

Also, shout out to TV Nihon for the free fansub.


Monday, July 20, 2020

Kamen Rider Decade Episode 1 - Rider War. Summary/Review.



Ahh.  The good old anniversary seasons of Kamen Rider.  Full of crazy action and crazy crossovers.  This is what we expect from these special Kamen Rider seasons.  Yes, we do get all that in this episode.  Will it be any good though?  Find out as I, Kaiser Sensei takes a trip back to 2009 with episode one of Kamen Rider Decade.  (Click on "Read More" to read the full article.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Super Sentai Saikyo Battle - Battle 2: The Secretive Armor of Mystery - Summary/Review



We now face part 2 of this 4 episode mini series. Last episode ended with Captain Marvelous rushed out to the ring to face Gaisorg. Will he avenge his team? Click "read more" for my full coverage. Also, shoutout to TV Nihon for the free fansub.


Friday, July 10, 2020

Green Phoenix - When Dinosaurs Roamed America Review

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f4/When_Dinosaurs_Roamed_America.jpgI've been wanting to cover more documentaries in my articles and the month-long break gave me the perfect opportunity to think long and hard about what documentary I would absolutely love to discuss. As I mentioned in my Walking With Dinosaurs review, dinosaur documentaries just absolutely consumed my childhood and teenage years. I always tried to catch some new show on Discovery or Science channel when they were on, maybe National Geographic or Animal Planet, and for the most part, they were fun but kind of samey. Few ever reached the same standard of quality that Walking With Dinosaurs achieved.

But there was one documentary that I remember growing up that hit all the right emotional and educational beats while maintaining a level of CG quality that I actually think surpassed Walking With Dinosaurs. So it is with immense joy that I take a serious look at a seriously underrated dinosaur documentary.

Released on Discovery Channel on July 15, 2001, When Dinosaurs Roamed America brings us back to the Mesozoic Era, focusing exclusively on dinosaurs that lived in the area that would eventually become the United States.

***

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Super Sentai Saikyo Battle - Battle 1: Who is the Strongest in History!? - Summary/Review



Super Sentai Saikyou (Strongest) Battle is a 4 episode mini series that aired in between Lupin vs Pat and Ryusoulger. (But is a continuity mess.) An interesting concept, a big tournament with 32 Sentai Ranger teams each consisting of 5 members from various teams, 160 total returning rangers. Sounds like pure fan-service. I'm gonna cover all 4 episodes so click "read more" if you're interested.


Friday, July 3, 2020

Green Phoenix - Why I Enjoy Alternate History?

Hello everybody!

I hope that your June was as relaxing as mine. Actually, given everything that happened in June, I hope your month was even more relaxing than mine. I kept myself quite busy, between participating in protests, attending city government meetings, and a lot of fiction writing and reading, I've also been working quite hard on building a stockpile of articles for all of you to enjoy.

In the hopes of easing all of us back into the habit of reading my incredibly entertaining articles, I thought it would be quite fun for me to begin with a short editorial going over one of my favorite topics of all time and one that I wish got a lot more respect in this day and age.

And who knows, maybe my discussion on it may inspire you to look more into it and create even greater works in the field.

***

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Brave 1: He's Here! The Bright Red King - Summary.Review



Behond, the 3rd dinosaur themed Super Sentai from 2013 and one of my personal favorites, Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger which roughly translates to Beast Power Squadron Dinosaur Ranger. While the lack of a yellow ranger is distracting, (it is rare for them to not use one of the 3 primary colors) I do like these costumes and the dino themed seasons have been some of the best. So, click "read more" and let's take a look back.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger Ep. 5: Hell's Watch Dog - Summary/Review



Back again with more dinosaur fury. Last episode revealed the black Kishiryu beast for Bamba and now is the time to give it a proper introduction to the season. Click "read more" for my full coverage of this episode.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Kamen Rider 555 Episode 1: The Start of a Trip. Summary/Review


It's been a long, long time, but it's finally time for a new Kamen Rider TV episode review.  Only this time I'm only doing the first episode of this series as part of the "Kamen Rider Firsts" series where I look at the first episode of each (if not, most) of the Kamen Rider shows.  This time I take a trip back to 2003.  I turned 13, got stuck (and still am) on Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex's load screens, and watched MTV for the first time only to be wowed that TRL was a thing.  2003 is also when Kamen Rider 555 made its debut.  Now then, let's see what we are instore for.  (Click on "Read More" to read the full article.)


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger Ep. 1: The Exciting Animal Land - Summary/Review




Behold, the great 40th anniversary season of Super Sentai. Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger or Animal Squadron Beast King Ranger and the second Wild Animal themed season. These anniversary seasons have a lot of hype to live up to so, let's go ahead and click "read more" to see what they have done.


Monday, June 15, 2020

Under Party (Steam) Review.


Today, I'm reviewing something a little different, something a little unique, something that's plenty violent, gruesome, and disturbing.  This is something that I wouldn't typically cover for this website, but I just found this game so fascinating that it'd be wrong not to cover it.  This is Under Party for the PC/Steam.  Make sure to read the warning found below before jumping into this review.  (Click on "Read More" to read the full review.)

Warning: Under Party is a pretty gruesome game, with violent imagery and situations that might make you feel a little uncomfortable.  Granted, it's nothing more violent than an R18+ horror movie, but still.  You have been warned! So, don't complain!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Juken Sentai Gekiranger Lesson 1: Niki-Niki! GekiJyuKen- Summary/Review



Welcome to the 31st Super Sentai, Juken Sentai Gekiranger (Jūken Sentai Gekirenjā) which roughly translates to Beast-Fist Squadron Fierce Spirit Ranger. Also known as Power Rangers Wild Spirits in South Korea and was what Power Rangers Jungle Fury was adapted from. Following Super Sentai's bazaar tradition of having a 3 Ranger core team after an anniversary season, we have a theme about kung-fu and wild cats with the 3 primary colors. What could this incarnation have in store? Click "read more" and I will share that.


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Ninja Captor Episode 1: 7 Ninjas Standing at Toykyo Tower - Summary/Review



I know what you're thinking, what on Earth is Ninja Captor? Is this a Super Sentai? Technically no. At least not anymore. Time for a brief history lesson. Once upon a time there were two franchises, "Sentai" and "Super Sentai". The original 2 Super Sentai, Gorenger and J.A.K.Q. were not originally considered part of the Super Sentai series but just the Sentai series along with Ninja Captor and Battle Feaver J was at one point credited as the first Super Sentai. However, nearly 20 years later in 1995, this was retconned to include Gorenger and J.A.K.Q. as Super Sentai with the airing of Chouriki Sentai Ohranger. Ninja Captor however, did not make the cut and was reclassified as a "Ninja Hero" series instead. To this day, Ninja Captor is mostly ignored outside an occasional loose reference.

Why was this season not included? I couldn't say. But, I have always been curious about it and now thanks to Toei's official YouTube page, I have a chance to watch it. Click "read more" and I will share my thoughts.


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Whiteboyz Wit Attitude: The Pursuit of Money (PS4) Review



It's 2007, Soulja Boy is blaring on the radio, so you grab your best mate and form a band.  That's how Whiteboyz Wit Attitude came to form.  (An obvious parody on the band name, NWA.)  Now it's 2020 where WWA have re-united to create an all-new album.  So, how do you promote a cheesy underground hip-hop album, made by two blokes who like cheesy hip-hop music themselves?  Why, they make a game based on it.  This is Whiteboyz Wit Attitude: The Pursuit of Money for the PS4.  (Click on "Read More" to read the full review.)


Friday, May 29, 2020

Green Phoenix - 8 Amazing Non-Disney Animated Film Tracks

Let's be completely honest. When you think of animated music, it is almost a guarantee that the first song you will think of is likely produced by the Walt Disney Company. Ever since the Disney Renaissance of the 1980s and 1990s, the company has had a nearly undefeated stranglehold on the cultural zeitgeist when it comes to animated musicals. So prevalent is this perception that many of the non-Disney animated films from that period, like Fox Animation's Anastasia, are often thought of as Disney films by audiences.

So this got me thinking. Why don't I spend an article going over some of my personal favorite non-Disney animated musical scores? I can give some attention to some songs or movies that maybe don't get thought about as much as they should, and it gives me a chance to geek out about some of my favorite film tracks.

A win-win if ever I've heard it.

So after the break and a quick overview of the rules for this countdown, we will take a look at 8 incredible non-Disney animated film tracks.

***

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Mashin Sentai Kiramager Episode 2: Proof of a Leader - Summary/Review



Back again for the second episode of this shiny gem season. This episode was previewed to revolve around making red the leader which, is a topic that has not been covered in awhile. Usually, red is just defaulted the leader and everyone goes along with it. Click "read more" and let's see how they handle this episode.


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Games of May 2020

    This is a report of all games to be (or that have been) released in this month (May 2020). It will cover all games on PS4, PSVR, XBO, N-Switch, PC, and G-Stadia.


Friday, May 22, 2020

Green Phoenix - Restaurant to Another World Review

Isekai Shokudô (TV Series 2017– ) - IMDbIn these introductory segments, I have long made it a pattern to reveal specific details or experiences of my life which draw me into the media I am reviewing or editorial I am writing for that respective week. Whether it is a personal anecdote, a memory attached to a theme close to the media in question, or some unique quirk of mine, I have always held that the audience will connect to my reviews more if I apply a personal connection to anything I am reviewing.

With that in mind, this week's interesting foible is that I have always enjoyed watching people enjoy things by proxy. This is fundamentally why I enjoy watching people in reaction videos online or reviewers and critics. Just viewing someone earnestly enjoying themselves is so immensely cathartic to me, even if it might occasionally creep some people out due to my incessant need to people watch.

Growing up, this led to the Food Network being one of my all-time favorite TV channels, which for a child or pre-teen is kind of strange for a kid with no actual interest in learning to cook. I loved watch Emeril Live, Unwrapped, and Good Eats whenever I got the chance, just because watching everyone enjoy themselves with good-looking food was exciting to me. As you can imagine, this led to me loving to watch others eat and enjoy themselves when eating.

So when I found out that there was an anime out there whose entire runtime was dedicated towards fantasy characters talking about good food and enjoying themselves eating good food, naturally I had to check it out.

Released between July 3 and September 18, 2017 and simulcasted on CrunchyRoll, Restaurant to Another World is based on a light novel by Junpei Inuzuka, which is still being written as of this review. This 12 episode slice-of-life cooking isekai covers only a portion of the light novel's content, leaving much excitement on my part for the possibility of a sequel series or second season someday.

The show has a tone that is unlike any isekai I have ever watched and, as I hope to show you in the article below, it makes Restaurant to Another World a singularly unique viewing experience.


***

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Larryboy and the Bad Apple (PS2) - Review



Well here is something different, a random PS2 game I found at a pawn shop. I have always been a big fan of VeggieTales and had no idea this game existed, so I got curious. Granted, a childhood cartoon made into a video game is a recipe for disaster, I was still very curious. How did this  Larryboy title fare? Click "read more" and I'll explain in my review.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Kamen Rider Agito (Playstation 1) Review


It has been awhile, but it is time for another dive into the realm of Kamen Rider video games.  So far we have had to cover nothing but cheap cash-ins here at the Emerald Rangers Ranch.  Will Kamen Rider Agito (AKA Masked Rider Agito) be the Kamen Rider game that will rise up and be a good game?  I severely doubt it, but we shall see in another exciting Kamen Rider video game review.  (Click on "Read More" to read the full review.)

Friday, May 15, 2020

Green Phoenix - Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame Review

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9d/Hunchbackposter.jpg
In the latter half of the 1990s, the Walt Disney Company's animation department had just passed the zenith of its power. Fresh off the heels of a string of monumental successes with films like Aladdin, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast, Disney executives were absolutely certain that Disney animation could do no wrong, even in spite of the politics going-on behind the scenes, and began pushing heavily on their next big animation projects.

The Disney Renaissance had to continue, right?

First there was an adaptation of the story of Pocahontas, the Native American woman whose association with the Jamestown Colony had reached the annals of American legend which was released in 1995. It had to be good. This was the film that everyone wanted to be apart of, not The Lion King.

Reviews for the film were...lackluster at best. People criticized the appropriation of Native culture and the animation, which looked far too different from the last Disney outing featuring animated humans (Aladdin). The film made money, but for the first time, Disney executives realized that success wasn't a guarantee. Success was riding on their next big project.

So Disney pulled all the stops on their adaptation of Victor Hugo's most famous story after Les Misérables. They got the directing duo behind one of their biggest animated success The Lion King, they got Alan Menken on music, they got some of the best voice actors in the business.

1996's The Hunchback of Notre Dame was definitely going to be a hit...right?

***

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Mahin Sentai Kiramager Episode 1: The Mashin Are Born! - Summary/Review



With this, the 44th season has begun and 45th Super Sentai season has begun. (Thank you Lupin vs Pat for making the numbers out of sync.) However, unlike past seasons, this one had an Episode Zero movie so, we already generally know what to expect. This is both a beginning and a continuation. So, click "read more" and let's get this train rolling.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Green Phoenix - Goblin Slayer Review

Goblin Slayer (TV Series 2018– ) - IMDb NOTICE: GOBLIN SLAYER CONTAINS CONTENT THAT DEPICTS EXPLICIT ACTS OF VIOLENCE, INCLUDING SEXUAL VIOLENCE. I WILL DISCUSS THE TOPIC AT LENGTH AT SEVERAL POINTS IN THIS REVIEW. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND VIEWER DISCRETION IF YOU CHOOSE TO WATCH THE SHOW.

***

Last week, I did a review on the first season of Dr. Stone, an incredible anime for anyone who is a massive fan of science and technology. Which I am. So as you can imagine, I absolutely adored that anime and wanted to talk about it months after it first premiered. But there was another anime that I wanted to talk about for almost as long, but I was limited by circumstance and personal issues that I have with the anime, specifically in its first episode.

But I just love the concept behind Goblin Slayer way too much to not at least give a basic review on the show. It is somehow both a loving tribute to and a criticism of many of the underlying narrative elements present in the fantasy genre, especially in fantasy role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. As a D&D nerd myself, the concept immediately grabbed my attention, and barring the first episode, I was immediately hooked on the show. This was due in part to the word of Mother's Basement and other anime reviewers, which brought the show to my attention.

Such a grimdark and gritty exploration of a fantasy world, Goblin Slayer is not for the faint of heart but it is a realistic portrayal of the horrors of war and battle, and a criticism on a society that does not value those who engage in menial or necessary labors. So lets a dive into this controversy-ridden anime.

***

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

GoGo Sentai Boukenger Task. 1: The Heart of the Demon God - Summary/Review



This should be an interesting Sentai because it was their 30th anniversary season. GoGo Sentai Boukenger or Rumbling Squadron Adventure Ranger. A treasure hunting themed season. Will this season be a treasure? Click "read more" and let's take a look.





Monday, May 4, 2020

Super Blue Fighter (Steam) Review.


When I heard that Super Blue Fighter existed, I thought that was a game based on the wrestler, The Blue Meanie.  Turns out that was not the case.  Nope.  Instead we have a neo-retro game that's trying to emulate the classic arcade games of the 1980's.  There's nothing wrong with that whatsoever, but how does it do at trying to be a game from that era?  Find out in my review of Super Blue Fighter for Steam.  (Click on "Read More" to read the full review.)

Friday, May 1, 2020

Green Phoenix - Dr. Stone (Season 1) Review

Dr. Stone Season 1 | Dr. Stone Wiki | FandomBefore my passion for filmmaking and film criticism had fully crystallized, I was absolutely obsessed with science, technology, and mathematics. I've always fancied myself as a futurist, looking towards the latest scientific and technological advancements and imagining how our world could be improved by the widespread introduction of certain technologies.

This passion played heavily into my love of science fiction and alternate history, and it makes me deeply excited about any form of hard science fiction.

So when I saw advertisements on Crunchyroll for a new shonen anime early last year whose main protagonist wasn't a muscle-bound meathead, but a scrawny scientific genius struggling to rebuild a collapsed world. I was immediately hooked on the concept.

I ended up watching the show, spellbound at the portrayal of not only science and technology, but the depth of the characters, the moral philosophies and ideologies at play in the background, and a genuinely excellent mix of personality and humor from nearly every orifice of the show.

In truth, I wanted to talk about this show last year, but I wanted to finish the show in its entirety and make sure that we would, in fact, receive a second season. But it is, so...

...let's talk about the first season of Dr. Stone, one of my favorite animes in recent memory.

***

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Galaxy Warfighter (Steam) - PC Game Review



With a title like Galaxy Warfighter, anything can be expected. As long as it involves space ship fighting. Click "read more" for my full review.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Star Wars Battlefront 2 (ps4) Review

        Star Wars Battlefront 2 is a squeal to the EA reboot of the Star Wars video game franchise. While the game had a single player mode, the game was focused on a terrible multiplayer mode.The multiplayer mode had great game play and fast load times, but the amount of in game purchase that had to be made to play the game as advertised was ridiculous. Here in recent times though, they have updated the game to where you can play the game as advertised

STAR WARS™ Battlefront™ II for PC | Origin.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Green Phoenix - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Review

Kingdomofthecrystalskull.jpgWelp, I guess its time to sit on this rowdy bucking horse.

I have always loved the Indiana Jones franchise, especially when I was a child. So when I heard that the series was going to release the fourth film in 2008, my 14-year-old ass literally strong-armed my family into coming to the theater with me. The fact that I was the only person in the theater in a complete Indiana Jones cosplay was just the icing on the cake (if my sisters could dress up for Harry Potter films, then I could be Indiana Jones in the theater). This just goes to show just how obsessed as I was about the Indiana Jones franchise growing up and how the fourth film was going to be absolutely amazing if I had to wait nearly a decade and a half to get the next installment.

...yeah. It was alright.

Even when I was a 14-year-old who liked almost everything (I hadn't yet developed my critical credentials and experience yet), I could tell that there was something decidedly "meh" about this film overall. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot to like about it, but it is definitely the black sheep of the franchise.

The fact that a fifth film has been announced for July of 2022, of course, has me excited, but I feel like maybe we need to take a look back at the fourth film in the franchise to see if we can learn what we should and shouldn't do in an Indiana Jones movie.

***

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Mashin Sentai Kiramager Episode Zero - Summary/Review



Time for a shiny new Sentai series, and for the first time, we are beginning with a movie that serves as the series' episode 0. This movie aired along side the Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger VS Lupinranger VS Patranger film in cinemas. As for this season, it promises bright shiny colors, and power of gem stones. Looks we have competition. Click "read more" and let's take a look.


Sunday, April 19, 2020

Kuso (PC/Steam 2017)



Minimalist platforming can be fun. How minimalist is too minimalist? Developer Fred Wood aims to find out with Kuso. The big gimmick of Kuso is that the player can, at any time, leave a shadow behind for use as a respawn point upon death. Apart from that, we are treated to a stick figure (named five-eight,) navigating beautifully drawn levels with 100 extra lives. (Or infinite lives, or one life depending on what mode you play).


Friday, April 17, 2020

Green Phoenix - 1633 Review

DavidWebberEricFlint 1633.jpgLast July, I released my review of Eric Flint's first novel in the Ring of Fire series, 1632. I expressed at the time how I wanted to review and show off all the books in the series, as it has long held the position of my favorite literary series of all time.

But for whatever reason, I never did get around to reviewing the sequels to 1632. Of course, the series is quite prodigious, with more than 2 dozen books and hundreds of associated short stories through the Grantville Gazettes. So going book by book like I often do with my reviews of film series would be rather ridiculous and completely dominate the majority of weeks that I have access to with the website.

But I do want to get through  and review each o f the series' main titles at some point or another. And it is with that spirit in mind, that I will take a look at the second book in the Ring of Fire series, published in 2002, 1633.

This is the book that truly lays the groundwork for the rest of how the Ring of Fire series is written. While 1632 might have introduced us to the world, it is 1633 that solidified and established the outside world with sufficient enough details for future arcs and story lines to be expanded upon.

***

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger Number 51: I'm Sure We'll Meet Again - Summary/Review

shoutout to tv-nihon for their fan sub 




This is it! The final episode! Last time, the Lupinrangers achieved their wish and their battle was over. However, they are trapped and unable to aid the Patrangers in their final battle against the gangler leader Dogranio. Everything is up to the Global Police now. Click "read more" and let's put this season to a close.


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