Friday, September 23, 2022

Green Phoenix - ClueFinders 6th Grade Retrospective

 

At long last, we come to the end of my retrospectives with regards to the ClueFinders series.

While I know for a fact that The Learning Company released nine different games under the ClueFinders name, my sister and I only really grew up with and experienced the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade games, so those were the only games I felt comfortable in the immediate to reflect upon.

If I ever find myself in a position where I could perhaps play the other games, then I may yet again visit the series to discuss the "missing" games from my childhood.

The ClueFinders 6th Grade Adventures: The Empire of the Plant People was without a doubt the strangest game in the series in terms of story and I find myself reflecting on the game in a way that is markedly different from any other game in the series with the exception of perhaps Puzzle of the Pyramid.

***

Friday, September 16, 2022

Green Phoenix - The Dark Knight Review

 The Dark Knight (2008 film).jpg

2008 was a year that, in retrospect, really was a truly different time that seems more defined by hindsight than maybe any other year. In the political sphere, a seemingly political nobody named Barack Obama was running for President, the final Harry Potter book was released only the year before and the sixth film wouldn't be released for another year, and the US economy was slowly approaching a recession as the War on Terror continued to spiral out of control.

In this environment,Marvel and Warner Bros. both released two films that would have a profound impact on the superhero genre, though both in very different ways. Marvel took a tremendous risk by releasing a superhero film based on a hero that almost nobody had heard of named Iron Man, to fairly good reviews; though their idea of creating a massive "cinematic universe" was almost certain to be failure as how on Earth could a single "Avengers" film be filled with so many strong personalities and not be overwhelming right? By contrast, Warner Bros. released a sequel to their moderately successful Batman Begins known as The Dark Knight, a Christopher Nolan take on an already tried-and-true superhero brand, as Batman had starred in several prominent films throughout the 1990s.

With the benefit of hindsight, its rather amazing that two influential films for a single genre would be released within weeks of each other. Iron Man and the setup for The Avengers completely revolutionized how audiences and studios saw superheroes and how their stories could be told through interconnected narratives. By contrast, The Dark Knight though lauded as one of the greatest superhero films in isolation, has arguably done more damage to the superhero genre then any other film through many film studios' efforts to maintain the same "gritty realism" of the Nolan classic. As much as Iron Man relished in the silly and fun, The Dark Knight treaded through pathos and tragedy and the DC Cinematic Universe, in my not so humble opinion, suffered as a result.

The impact of The Dark Knight is without question, but does the film actually deserve its reputation as the greatest of superhero films. Or has Warner Bros. been seeking to emulate a film that was far too overrated?

***

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Is Using Video Games To Escape Reality a Bad Thing?

 



Hello gang, this is going to be a short article about a topic I have been guilty of a lot these days and one I have seen being ask about on social media. Plenty of people play video games without using it as a crutch to escape their real world problems, but just as many, if not more, use it as a coping mechanism or a distraction from any number of real world problems. So, if you care to hear my take, click "read more".

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Power Rangers Dino Force Brave King 4: Threat! Space Mercenary! - Summary/Review


 

Looks like it is time for some Gold Ranger action. I am eager to see how they implement this power and for some classic Ranger vs Rangers action. So, let's not waste time, click "read more" and we shall see how well they pull off this classic event.


Friday, September 2, 2022

Green Phoenix - Light and Magic Review

 Light & Magic poster.jpeg

Disney+ has been, in my humble opinion, a boon for anyone interested in classic films and the filmmaking process. The streaming service is filled to the brim with fascinating behind the scenes documentaries and featurettes that reveal the magic and history behind some of our favorite films. From The Reluctant Dragon to Waking Sleeping Beauty, the streaming service is just an absolute treasure trove that I find myself drawn in for hours upon hours of great information and fun.

That's why, when I saw Disney+ recommending a documentary series called Light & Magic, outlining the history and legacy of the special effects company Industrial Light & Magic, I knew I had to watch and review it. That it would be everything that I tend to look for in my documentaries and even play into my love of film history and special effects.

And I was not disappointed. So let's not waste anytime talking and just get right into a review that already had to be delayed by a week due to work and other distractions. But in my humble opinion, this review was worth the wait.

***

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Fake Twitter Accounts! Beware

 

The only real account


This weeks article is a short but necessary one. There have been a couple fake twitter accounts created under the Emerald Rangers name that have been dedicated to attacking one of our contributors whom the imposters are under the false assumption that this contributor is running Emerald Rangers. I am making this post to put the record straight; Emerald Rangers was founded by myself, Cendoo aka Litestudios and Retrokaiser and we are the ones who run the website. THIS is the only real twitter account associated with this website. Whoever this imposter is has made some very offensive tweets under our name that none of us condone. Please, do not support this imposter or attempt to attack/spam them. If you come across the imposters and want to help us, a simple report will do.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

"Light and Magic" Review Delayed One Week

 Greetings,

 This post is to inform readers that this week's review of Light & Magic, a documentary on the history of Industrial Light & Magic, currently airing on Disney+ will have to be delayed for at least one week. Due to medical and work related reasons, I have been unable to fully watch the series to a level of satisfaction that I feel would allow me to properly review its content and put that review to text.

To ensure that I continue to provide the level of content that you all have come to expect from my reviews, I will have to delay the release of this review for at least a week until I can fully watch the series.

Thank you for understanding.

Power Rangers Dino Force Brave King 3: Gabugaburincho We-re a Team!



The Brave continues after the last episode saw the completion of the core 5 Ranger team and a sneak peak of the 6th Ranger. It would seem that Cyan, Gray, Violet, and Silver will not be returning for this incarnation. So, this season will be kept as simple as possible. Click "read more" and let us take a look at episode 3.


Friday, August 19, 2022

Green Phoenix - Tsukimichi: Moonlit Fantasy Review

 
Last week, we took a look at a relaxed slice of life isekai called By the Grace of the Gods that is one of my favorite anime of the past few years. After watching that anime, alongside How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom, I was fascinated to see if Crunchyroll had any other anime in a similar vein to those two that I might be interested in watching.
 
Tsukimichi: Moonlit Fantasy, an anime from July 2021 that seemed to slip under my radar, was what got recommended to me. And the result was rather interesting in how my outlook on this anime turned out.
 
Initially, I didn't really have plans to further discuss this anime, only really using it as some minor popcorn relaxation. But then I saw that it had a second season planned down the line and that I could discuss it immediately after By the Grace of the Gods to give greater context on what an isekai can do right and wrong.
 
To that end, let's take a look at a strangely generic isekai anime and see if it has anything that can truly propel it beyond its seemingly mundane appearance.

***

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Power Rangers Dino Force Brave King 2: Come on, New Warriors! - Summary/Review


 

This special Brave season continues. With this episode, we are expected to see Green and Pink make their debut. So, click "read more" and let's see how they do.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Green Phoenix - By the Grace of the Gods Review

 

To say that anime is currently saturated with the isekai genre is like stating that the ocean has a bit of water in it. It's technically true but it fails to truly grasp the scale of its presence. And by and large, these isekai anime are woefully inadequate or reductively similar to one another, either trying to be a carbon-copy ripoff of Sword Art Online, or being a massively boring overpowered, oversexed power fantasy.

And while both of these can absolutely be fun in the right setting or the right mood, it does leave me hungering for something that feels a little different, especially when I want a story a little lighter in tone or less oriented towards overpowered magical harem fantasy.

It is with such a desire that I find myself immensely grateful to have discovered By the Grace of the Gods, an isekai adventure slice-of-life that released its first season back in 2020; with plans for a second season announced June 2021. When I first saw this anime, I didn't know what to think, initially believing it to be something along the lines of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, or another slime-oriented isekai show (its a little amazing that is such a prevalent subgenre). But what I got instead is a relaxed, grounded and immensely intelligent and heartwarming adventure of a young man's journey to find his place in a new world and heal from a past lifetime of pain and suffering.

But enough of my waxing poetic, let's get into what exactly about this slice-of-life isekai do I find so enjoyable.

***

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Power Rangers Dino Force Brave King 1: The Birth of a New King - Summary/Review

 


Ultimate trivia time! What we have here is South Korea's first original Tokusatsu production. Super Sentai in South Korea is an odd story. Generally, they simply show the original Super Sentai but re-name it Power Rangers, but different Power Rangers names than the US. However, Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, under the name Power Rangers Dino Force, was so successful in South Korea that they created their own sequel to it with new cast, new footage, updated costumes, and an all original story. This season would even be dubbed into Japanese under the title Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Brave. (Which makes it debatably part of the canon.) If that story was not interesting enough, Kyoryuger was my favorite Super Sentai so I am behond curious to see how this project turned out. Click "read more" and let the journey begin.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Green Phoenix - Trailer Talk: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Teaser

In the last few weeks of July, we were all blessed to see San Diego Comic-Con return after a three year hiatus, now that the life-altering shitstorm that was COVID-19 is now a more normalized and managed part of our daily lives (even if it isn't gone completely). And with Comic-Con's return, we were all graced with what is absolutely my favorite part of convention season, the release of new trailers and teasers for movies and TV shows.

A good trailer can make or break a film's release. Some trailers are so designed that they kill all excitement for a film like with Megamind's trailer which spoiled every twist in the film. On the case of trailers like the original Sonic the Hedgehog, the trailer can be so poorly received that it enables the creators to completely shift the film for the better. And yet, an amazing trailer can be almost as entertaining and revolutionary as the film itself. In some cases, the trailer is even better than the movie its set to promote.

Naturally, this talk of trailers got me thinking. Why don't I write editorials where I discuss trailers, either new releases or maybe even reminiscence about trailers of the past and see why they either do or do not work. Thus was born this new editorial series Trailer Talk.

As for the first trailer to be discussed in my new series, how about we turn back to this years San Diego Comic-Con and one of the most widely regarded trailers released that weekend.

The very first teaser for Marvel Studios' next film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

***

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Top 5 Super Sentai Teams I wish got Power Rangers Adaptations

 


It's so easy to complain about either Power Rangers or Super Sentai and claim why you know one is better than the other. However, as someone who is a fan of both shows, I know there are several seasons of Super Sentai that either got skipped or came before Zyurangers (Mighty Morphin) and have always wondered how they would turn out as Power Rangers. (Fan made seasons do not count.) So, I am going to countdown 5 of these seasons that I wish got to become a Power Rangers season, for a variety of reasons.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

5 Things From Shenmue 2 That didn't make it Into the Anime



With only so many episodes to the anime, most likely anything deemed non-vital to the plot was cut. Shenmue 2 had a lot of optional events that made sense to cut. So, just for fun, let's countdown 5 of these things, based on nothing more than my observation as a fan.


Friday, July 22, 2022

Green Phoenix - Thor: Love and Thunder Review

Thor Love and Thunder poster.jpeg

It's time once again to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It seems like it was only a few weeks ago that I was taking a look at Marvel's action pseudo-horror action film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, to only moderately good reviews. Truthfully, I've been struggling with Marvel properties as of late as I desperately wish to see the direction that the universe wants to take as we enter what is now I think the sixth film in Phase Four and I still don't have a clue how everything connects beyond minor narrative references and overall theming (just as a point of comparison, Phase One was composed of six films in its entirety).

And now with all that baggage, I have to take a look at the next entry in the Thor franchise, which has been rather hit or miss in the past. Under the direction of Taika Waititi, who did a phenomenal job at re-contextualizing Thor for Thor: Ragnarok, I decided that I needed to see Thor: Love and Thunder, and I couldn't see it alone.

With TrotCon having occurred last weekend as I write this article, I went with my girlfriend and a company of close friends were at the convention with me. Their perspective gave me plenty to think about and its left me with a clearer idea of what I think about this fourth entry in the Thor franchise.

Is it a game-changer like Thor:Ragnarok that will completely re-imagine the series going forward. Or is it a average treader of similar grounds?

***

Friday, July 15, 2022

Green Phoenix - Jurassic World Dominion Review

JurassicWorldDominion Poster.jpeg

Going to be honest. As much I absolutely love the Jurassic Park franchise, I was not chomping at the bit to see the latest entry in the series Jurassic World Dominion. I just had such a weird ambivalence from my prior experiences with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which was easily the worst film ever set in the Jurassic Park universe.

Which is a real shame, as the Jurassic Park franchise formed an integral part of my childhood and really helped foster my love and passion for dinosaurs and paleontology (as well as science fiction). The first film was literally the first "grown-up" movie that I ever watched and I never miss an opportunity to watch the movie when it comes on screen.

Which just made my overall reluctance for Jurassic World Dominion all the more painful for me. I should've been chomping at the bit to see this film. However, much like Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, my enthusiasm was curtailed by the poor quality of the previous installment. I knew I would watch the film, but it was more out of loyalty to the franchise than any real excitement on my part (though I will say that some of the side projects and shorts associated with the film's marketing were absolutely fantastic and would've been almost better in my mind for the future of this franchise.

But was my reluctance warranted? Is Jurassic World Dominion as...unreliable....as its predecessor, or does it actually manage to capture some of the magic from the original trilogy of films?

***

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Shenmue The Animation Episode 13: Shenmue - Summary/Review


 

This is it, the final episode of what I hope is only the first season of what has been a fantastic adaptation of my favorite video games series. Ryo and company have reached the roof of the Yellow Head Building and the final brawl from Shenmue 2 is about to begin. Click "read more" for my full coverage.


Friday, July 8, 2022

Green Phoenix - Building Better Backstories VII

A man with a suitcase on a foggy city street. Behind him are two women and a man.

I have made it no secret that I have a rather neutral, leaning-negative, perception of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Several weeks back, I had the "pleasure" of reviewing the third film in the franchise and while I will admit that I enjoyed it significantly more than its predecessors, even then I noted that it had a tremendous amount of problems attached to it that were simply systemic of the franchise as a concept.

Which is a real shame because I absolutely love the Harry Potter franchise and it made an incredible impact upon my childhood and teenage years. The world-building was superb and was deeply connected to the characters that inhabited that. While I have grown to hold some reluctant hesitance with regards to uncomfortable subtext within the universe due to the reputation of the author, the series as a whole still holds up.

This enjoyment of Harry Potter, but general ambivalence towards Fantastic Beasts, has been a consistent mystery to me and motivated me to explore and figure out what about the prequel series has me so frustrated and disappointed. The conclusion I came to, and the solution that I would prefer, was something that I absolutely knew needed to be my next issue of Building Better Backstories, especially in the wake of The Secrets of Dumbledore. As you will see in the article below, that film had an element present that the other films were mostly missing. A crucial element that truly helps set the tone and genre of the Fantastic Beasts.

***

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Shenmue The Animation Episode 12: Guidepost - Summary/Review


 We are almost done with this season, only 2 episodes left. Everything should come together in this episode with Yuanda Zhu, Dou Niu, and Hong Kong in general. Let's not waste anytime, click "read more" and may the journey continue.


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Shenmue the Animation Episode 11: Entangled - Summary/Review


 

We are nearing the end of this season. Last episode ended with Ryo in trouble and Xiuying arriving to save the day. In the games this rescue happened mostly off-screen, so maybe the anime will show some action. Click "read more" for my analysis and final thoughts.


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Cheap Cheevos #9: A Clay Old Time.

I've been searching high and low for the easiest games to unlock all of the the achievements on. While a lot of these games will not be (and have not been) the best of quality, it will be enough to quench your cheevo thirst for the day. I've got an interesting line-up picked out for this edition. From school-girls with fishing rods, to an achievement set made by yours truly. So brace yourselves. It's Cheap Cheevos Issue 9. (Click on "Read More" to read the full article).

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Shenmue The Animation Episode 10: Comeback - Summary/Review




We have reached the final 4 episodes of what I hope is for only the first season and not the entire anime. What I am predicting based on my knowledge of the games, Ryo has finished his business in Hong Kong and we are moving onto the Kowloon Saga. How will this be adapted? Click "read more" for my analysis.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Shenmue the Animation Episode 9: Distinct - Summary/Review


 

Ryo's quest comes to a brick wall when Xiuying sees through him and knows that he is out for revenge which results in her refusing to help him. However, Fangmei has brought Ryo a book written by Yuanda Zhu that is his only lead right now. Even though I already know generally what will happen, I am eager to see how they do it in the anime. So, click "read more" and let us begin the analysis.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Top 5 Things in Shenmue 1 That Didn't make it into the Anime



This is a total fanboy countdown, but one I still think people have talked about. The first 5 episodes of Shenmue The Animation covered the events of the first game Shenmue for Sega Dreamcast. Naturally, this meant a lot of stuff had to be cut out. For the most part, the anime does a great job of re-pacing the story so that multiple things can happen at once and a lot of unimportant things were at least referenced. However, there had to be some things from the game left out for the sake of better story telling. While I am not here to debate how right or wrong it was to exclude what they did, I am here to count down the 5 pieces of content cut that stood out to me the most. Click "read more" for the countdown. 

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Astro Ace (Steam) - PC Game Review

 


Ever thought the old school arcade game Astroids needed an updated reboot? Well here it is. Click "read more" for my review of it.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Green Phoenix - Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness poster.jpg

The release of a new Marvel movie is a big event in my film viewing schedule. I oftentimes find myself scheduling all my future articles around a particular release to ensure I have the opportunity to watch the film perhaps a few times before I fully commit to reviewing it.

The last Marvel film to be released was Spiderman: No Way Home. I was incredibly excited to see that film and it helped to give me a better impression as to the direction that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is taking post-Endgame.

With No Way Home in the past, it now falls to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to continue the MCU's exploration of the multiverse and finish up a few plot details from both the Disney+ shows like Wandavision and Loki, as well as continue the adventures of everybody's favorite Sorcerer Supreme.

Is the film a worthwhile sequel to the original Doctor Strange? Or does it end up with too much madness to make any kind of coherent sense?

***

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Shenmue The Animation Episode 8: Aspiration - Summary/Review


Ryo is now living with Xiuying (Lishao Tao) in an attempt to learn about Yuanda Zhu. At the same time, he still has 2 more Wude to learn. How will this play out? Click "read more" and let's take a look.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Green Phoenix - How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Review

How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom - Wikipedia

As I have stated in the past, my appetite for anime can be very picky and distinctive, preferring light-hearted slice of life and romance stories to the more dramatic or dark stories that tend to become the main stays of anime seasons. I will gladly take a That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime or Restaurant to Another World to Attack on Titan anytime.

And among this list, I tend to find isekai's a surprisingly enjoyable affair, even if I do think some of them tend to come out a bit rote and tropy. Just the degree of fun of a fantasy setting, chance for silly romance moments from a harem anime, and the introduction of modern world elements to lend a degree of science fiction to the whole mix really brings me a tremendous amount of joy.

So it should come to know surprise that I found myself drawn to How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom. I was drawn to the anime due to its focus on modern technologies and political intrigue, utilizing a grounded sense of actual political acumen in our main character  rather than overwhelming magical powers granted through sheer dumb luck. But was this an accurate approximation of what we as the audience were sold. With both Part 1 and Part 2 of this show now finished, the question now arises. Was How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom good or was it just another one of the cookie cut-out generic isekai.

Could there be something more?

***

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Sonic Team's Biggest Problem

 

Shenmue The Animation Episode 7: Future - Summary/Review


 

Back again as Ryo continues his quest through Hong Kong. I know from the games that this is the time when Ryo has people actively try to stop his quest for revenge. However, this anime has a smarter Ryo that is looking for not just revenge but the truth about his Father's past. So, I am very curious to know how this will play out. Click "read more" and let the analysis begin.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Green Phoenix - ClueFinders 5th Grade Retrospective

 

Over the last few months, I have periodically been releasing minor retrospectives on the ClueFinders educational video game series that I and my sister grew up playing throughout elementary and middle school. In the past, I have examined 3rd Grade - The Mystery of Mathra and 4th Grade - Puzzle of the Pyramid. I found these games enjoyable to watch with a fun, if a little silly, story and premise that I think really works for the purposes of presenting good educational gameplay.

However, I never actually grew up with these two games, and was instead made aware of them from my younger schoolmates and friends, who would let me play them when I was at their home (Yes, I understand how dorky it is to play educational games at a friends house, but I also played Hearts of Iron 2 with one of my neighbors dads' as a kid so you can suck it; I do what I want).

Today's retrospective will cover the first actual game in the franchise that I ever owned, 5th Grade Adventures - Secret of the Living Volcano. And let me tell you, the story behind this one is really weird but also to my memory quite enjoyable and engaging. Even if the twist is a little out there compared to the rest of the franchise.

***

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Shenmue The Animation Episode 6: Dignified - Summary/Review


We have officially entered Shenmue 2 territory. My favorite video game of all time, which is going to make this difficult for me to watch without being biased. While a fair amount was cut from Shenmue 1, none of it was major content with the exception of the homeless old man. However, Shenmue 2 had a lot more story and plenty of extra content. I do not expect to see any of that extra stuff beyond an Easter Egg. (So no duck racing or collecting move scrolls.) Despite that, I am actually eager to see what they do with the Hong Kong arc since the Japan one was handled very well. So, click "read more" and let us get started.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Green Phoenix - Pompo the Cinéphile Review

 

Its not often that I get an opportunity to see a limited release film, given their comparative rarity in my area (Dayton isn't exactly the hot-button region for exclusive releases in the present day). So when my sister invited me to watch a recently released dub of a highly rated anime film, I must admit that I was intrigued and excited.

The fact that this film was also covering the power of films and the filmmaking process also deeply touched my heart and made enthralled to see just how the creators would bring such a personal subject to the screen. I absolutely movies about making movies, as seen by one of my favorite films Singin' in the Rain from 1952. So it should be no surprise then that I was immediately compelled to watch Pompo the Cinéphile, based on the manga by Shogo Sugitani.

And after having watched the film last Thursday, I must admit that I am completely enraptured and utterly enchanted by a colorful, passionate piece that absolutely understands and appreciates the power of filmmaking and the importance of every single role that goes into making those films. Pompo truly understands the magic of movies and expresses that in every frame of the film.

***

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Shenmue The Animation Ep 5: Equal - Summary/Review


This is it, the first games story all ends on this episode. It has been a much faster run than the game with most of the walking around and talking to people being done in short montages, but still a great run. So, let's not waste time, click "read more"


Monday, May 2, 2022

Nintendo Switch Sports Is A Shadow Of Its Former Self

Nintendo Switch Sports was released for the Switch, on April 29 2022. It's main focus is to cash in on the same success that Wii Sports had on the Nintendo Wii. However, as much as Nintendo try to reinvent the Wii Sports to the modern era, it was not as great or exciting as I hoped it would be, despite first being interested in the trailers.


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Ghost Ranger - Top 5 Favorite Secrets in Shenmue (Dreamcast)

 


There are many things to be impressed about the Shenmue games, but one I want to focus on now are the secrets/optional content. These are games you can play through many times over and still discover new things in. While the first game lacks in these compared to its sequels, there are still enough to pick out 5. Click "read more" for the countdown.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Green Phoenix - Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Review

Fantastic Beasts- The Secrets of Dumbledore.png

I must admit that I am so very glad that I am once again able to routinely attend film releases in theaters. While I enjoy streaming as much as the next guy, there is fundamentally something different about watching a new film on a massive screen, with surround sound and a comfy chair (popcorn included). Last week, I was able to take an opportunity to watch the new Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with Cendoo, the review of which you can find right here on Emerald Rangers.

This week, I was able to enjoy something of a back-to-back feature as both my sister and girlfriend were able to go to individual showings of the latest film in the Fantastic Beasts series, the prequel franchise to J.K. Rowling's generation defining Harry Potter series: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. An experience I knew that I wanted to have in a theater, despite my opinions on the Fantastic Beasts franchise as a whole.

Rest assured, I have an editorial in the works that will go into much greater detail about the franchise as a whole, but today I will focus on the third film in this...complicated, prequel series.

Is The Secrets of Dumbledore a secret worth knowing, or is the film, much like its authorial inspiration is increasingly becoming, that which must not be named?

***

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Sonic Origins Details & Release Revealed, Questionable DLC Confuses Fans

Sonic Origins was revealed shortly after the leak of the PSN Artwork, that we also shared the other day.  As fast as Sonic could run, details were officially shared by SEGA about the new title shortly afterwards. But this led to some confusion and frustration amongst the fans over the game's planned separate DLC. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Sonic Origins Artwork Revealed!

 Today it's been reported that a new Sonic Origins artwork has been revealed on the PS Network!

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Could "Sonic Speed Simulator" be one of the best new Sonic games in years?

Before Sonic Speed Simulator was announced for Roblox platforms, I had never played Roblox. Sure, I knew about the 'oof" meme, but other than that I never cared to notice the game since the Sonic announcement.

Due to the lack of news and gameplay footage that still surrounds the upcoming title, Sonic Frontiers - which is due for a release in apparently 6 months from now, and we've still seen no gameplay whatsoever, Sega decided to finally feel sorry for us and give us a Sonic game to be entertained by for free while we wait painfully for the next title.

But Sonic Speed Simulator may be the best new Sonic game in ages.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Green Phoenix - Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Review

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 film poster.jpg

The original Sonic the Hedgehog holds a rather exalted place in my recent theatrical viewing history, as it was the last film I watched in theaters in the before times (pre-COVID). I was exceptionally motivated to support the film following the massive fan interest in the film project after Sonic's redesign, as I desperately wanted the film to succeed and further incentivize films studios to listen to fan input on a project. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised when Cendoo and I watched Sonic the Hedgehog.

Video game movies, by and large, tend to really suck, either failing to successfully adapt the thematic spirit of the video game in question or becoming simply a collection of vaguely associated Easter eggs held together by hopes and an annoyingly dated modern soundtrack. And while the original Sonic the Hedgehog certainly had quite a few moments that existed solely for Easter egg moments, they were also coupled with subtly established world-building, fantastic and funny characterization and a surprising amount of heart that quickly won over audiences and led to the film becoming a massive financial success.

So naturally, all of us were anticipating a sequel. Especially as the world slowly but surely went into our new COVID era. And sure enough, we weren't disappointed as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 released almost 2 years after the first film with quite a bit of hype around it.With a new release I decided that I should watch this film with Cendoo as well. So we did just that last Saturday.

Did the film live up to expectations or did it lose everything that gave the first film charm?

***

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Shenmue The Animation Ep 4: Shackles - Summary/Review


We have reached the point in the story where Ryo is now seeking to travel to Hong Kong. This means the events of the first game will be wrapping up within the next couple episodes most likely. How will this be adapted? Click "read more" and let us find out.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Green Phoenix - My Dress-Up Darling Review

 

In the past, I have expressed a degree of pickiness when it comes to watching certain anime, generally preferring to watch largely comedic, lighthearted, or romantic-based anime. I will however, make exceptions for anime that particularly capture my attention, either due to an interesting narrative or thematic concept or simply one that has a beautifully done animation style. The consequence of this is that I don't tend to watch a great deal of anime, but when I do, it is usually of fairly high quality or at least is something that I personally can become invested in.

So when I say that today's anime is one which managed to tick off every damn box I have ever required of an anime and is one that I not only watched, but watched in both dub and sub and hope to continue watching in a future season 2, I hope that expresses to you the sheer degree to which I adore My Dress-Up Darling, the anime that might already very well be my favorite anime of 2022.

This simple 12 episode romantic comedy is a masterful combination of compelling and deep narrative story-telling, a heartwarming and slightly erotic (whilst maintaining an innocence) romance, and a beautiful thematic love letter to cosplay and the passion of artists and fans; all expressed in beautifully flowing animation that is some of the best that I have ever bore witness too.

I could keep on going in this intro, but I think its more important to get into the main article now.

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Thursday, April 7, 2022

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Is Actually Really Good (A Spoiler-Free Review)

Yes, i've seen Sonic The Hedgehog 2. But i've actually now seen it 2 times. How is this possible? In Australia it premiered last week; on March 31st, and I went on the first day, at 4DX Cinemas, and again, at 4DX cinemas a few days ago, taking a friend along for the ride. Before 2020 COVID shutdowns messed everything up for the next year or so, the last film I went to see in the cinemas was....Sonic The Hedgehog (2020)! Also, at the same 4DX cinema I went to see the 2nd one!

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Shenmue the Animation Ep 3: Yin-Yang - Summary/Review


We continue the journey as the story races on. This is only the 3rd episode and we are already half way through the first games content. This leaves me very hopeful that this anime will finally give us the Shenmue conclusion. So, lets not waste any time, click "read more" and may the analysis begin.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Green Phoenix - 8 Fantastic Sci-Fi Villains

A few weeks back, I did a list of some of the most iconic villains from a variety of media sources, with the only determining factor being that they must come from a fantasy setting or from an iconic piece of the fantasy genre.
Of course, having such a list would inherently require that we also include a science fiction genre compilation of villains as well. And as you can see by the title of this blog, that is indeed what the focus of this last two weeks of work has been for me. The next couple of weeks will be a pretty comprehensive compilation of recent new releases and TV shows that I have finished so I felt it best to get my countdown out as soon as I could.
So without any further ado, let's get right into my analysis of 8 fantastic science fiction villains.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Shenmue the Animation Ep. 2: Daybreak - Summary/Review


Back again with more of Ryo's journey to find his Father's killer. Last time, he received a letter addressed to his Father and that is currently his only clue. I'm eager to keep going so click "read more" and let the journey continue.


Monday, March 28, 2022

Cheap Cheevos #8 - AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

We've got some really good surprises for this exciting eighth issue of the hip underground series that tells you about the easiest games to cheeve! This is Cheap Cheevos. Get ready to have your socks rocked. Yeah! (Click on "Read More" to read the full article).

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Gran Turismo 7 Is Physically Unplayable Due to Microtransactions

Gran Turismo 7 was released earlier in March this year. At launch the reception was quite positive, and I also enjoyed the game the first time round. Progression was simple and straight forward. All up until last week, when an update popped up that shut down the game for reportedly 30 hours, After the update, Sony have now made it much harder to gain Credits, the in-game currency used in the Gran Turismo series to  buy cars. This has frustrated a lot of gamers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Shenmue the Animation Ep. 1: Thunderclap - Summary/Review

 


This is it, my favorite video game series of all time turned anime thanks to Adult Swim and Crunchyroll. I don't know much about this adaptation going in other than it will be abridged compared to the games as a lot of filler content is skipped over. That is a reasonable change. So, click "read more" and let the journey begin...again.

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