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Category Archives: TV

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E3

One of these is a more accurate portrayal of the respective product.

Grimly Enthusiastic is on the cutting edge of gaming news! Well, as in the edge furthest away from the centre in which everyone stopped talking about E3 a week ago.

Tardiness aside, here’s a summary of everything that mattered:

  • The Nintendo 3DS sounds terrific. Just a shame us Joe Public types can’t actually see what it does.
  • Crysis 2 looks notably awful.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops looks annoyingly better than expected.
  • Portal 2 looks good and Portalicious.
  • Disappointingly The Last Guardian and Agent are nowhere to be seen.
  • Even if the first half of the trailer was boring, Metal Gear Solid Rising looks very interesting. Although it’s a bad sign when the most exciting part of E3 is precision watermelon slicing.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker – the story

Even my raging man-crush on Big Boss can't save this game.

First off the bat, I’m a big fan of Metal Gear Solid 1 (which might have some of the best writing this side of Grim Fandango) and 3. I didn’t care for Metal Gear Solid 2’s nonsense, that’s praised only by the kind of people that pretend to understand post-modernism. Metal Gear Solid 4 then tragically followed a similar route with a dreadful train-wreck of a plot and a ninety minute ending that might as well have been a parody.

Now we have Peace Walker and it seems that this series needs to be put down. Quickly. Because it’s all gone in some horrible Star Wars prequel or Compilation of Final Fantasy VII direction.

Somehow, in the space of 1964-1974, we’ve gone from a fantastic and well told story about soldiers in the Cold War to a magical world of AIs and giant robots, already as advanced as much as they are in 2014!

The times they are a-changin'.

Characters with names like Pacifica Ocean and genuinely – Hot Coldman. Pointless and retcon-esque connections to other games, Otacon’s father shows up with the same face and voice as Otacon, everything about the now half-Japanese Miller, etc. Lines like “[the magical second part of the singing robots’ AI]’s not using it’s head…It’s using it’s heart.” It all makes Portable Ops look like a realistic and logical tale!

One of the biggest problem is that there is no gap to be bridged between Metal Gear Solid 3 and the original Metal Gear.  The whole point of Snake Eater’s ending was that you could infer everything about Big Boss’ future from it. So to have both this and Portable Ops show Big Boss slowly figuring out what we all comprehended six years ago and dicking around with the words “Outer Heaven” – is all just a waste of time.

Fullmetal Alchemist

Not an image representative of the series, but it's SO AWESOME ANYWAY.

The Fullmetal Alchemist manga ended this month, with the anime adaptation soon to follow. It’s been a nine year journey, but uniquely – it never just had story arcs and it wasn’t like a TV series where the quality waned with every season that passed. It was just one fantastic 108 chapter adventure with consistent quality, and I enjoyed every step of it.

The final chapter served as a nice wrap up for everything. (And it hilariously made some “shippers” angry)

I actually wanted to post a specifically beautiful image from the final chapter, but didn’t want to spoil anything. Because if you haven’t read it, you really should. It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s moving, it’s action packed and it’s very much worth your time.

It’s just a shame you won’t have to endure the monthly gripping cliffhangers we did.

Dollhouse

If you've seen Dollhouse, I bet you know what episodes these are from.

What they say is true; Dollhouse starts off awful and at times – very stupid. It’s also true that it gets good, the characters become likeable and it has flashes of absolute brilliance. (Albeit with a period of ‘stupid-but-watchable’ in-between)

After one particularly enjoyable episode, the show gets downright gripping near the end of season 1 – in an episode featuring a great cameo from Alan Tudyk. Season 2 has a rocky start, but offers ‘Belongings’ (episode four) which was just terrific television. The final season was also jammed with a lot of plot and generally felt to have been rushed given the expected cancellation. But despite it jarringly edging into sci-fi territory, it served to give the viewer closure and did so appropriately.

The Epitaph episode at the end of season one is interesting from a writing standpoint as it seems the writers didn’t expect another season, so the episode is filled with ideas for the future of the series while still leaving things open.
It’s also worth mentioning that there’s impressive acting from certain members of the supporting cast. The oddly named Enver Gjokaj particularly shines with surprising versatility.

Dollhouse is difficult to recommend. You have to sit through hours of the bad to get to the good. But personally, I’m glad I did.

Film reviews for the Twitter generation

The military never thought to just kick it in the face.

Cloverfield:
Unlikeable characters (that all look freakishly similar to each to other) make for a meaningless waste of time in which 50% of the script is the name “Rob” being endlessly repeated.

Jet Li’s Fearless:
Enjoyable until you look up Huo Yuanjia and discover that basically none of it actually happened.

Finally

Did I miss anything in my E3 round-up? Do you have any thoughts on the gameplay in Peace Walker? Any thoughts on the new banner image? Let me know in the comments!

Even the logo might be too much information! Avert your eyes!

I have no idea if I should recommend Haibane Renmei.

On a seemingly unrelated note, I didn’t particularly like the film Pan’s Labyrinth. I didn’t dislike it either. It just never quite entertained me, moved me enough for me to really like it. But technically it was brilliant. There’s no denying the quality of the movie or the skill in its creation.

Haibane Renmei is similar in this regard.

For one thing, it’s beautiful. The art, animation and the music. Even the sound effects are quality. (I’d recommend subs over dub on this one, by the way)

It has a slow pace (not as slow as Kino’s Journey) but the intrigue of the early episodes carries it well. That very intrigue is the the reason that if you’re going to watch it, you must go in blind.

Don’t Wikipedia it, don’t ask anyone for a summary or find any clips. Just let it take you for a ride. I’m even resisting putting pictures or embedding music for this reason.

I can’t promise it will be worth the time, but I think if you have it to spare, you should give this anime a try. It’s exceptionally well crafted. It’s just that opinion on the story is up to you, I’m afraid.

Hell, it might just be worth it to see that anime can do something other than robots and ninjas.

(and remember – I’m in the minority about Pan’s Labyrinth!)

Continues for bullet-point-esque spoiler discussion:

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This picture is not representative of the anime BUT IT SURE IS PURTY.

First anime on the list is Kino’s Journey – the Japanese title is Kino no Tabi. I’ve seen it referred to by both across the internet. This is annoying.

It is about a traveller called Kino and her motorbike (referred to as a motorrad) named Hermes – which can inexplicably talk.

Each episode is about the strange people or stranger countries the pair happens upon in their travels. I really like the concept. (I’m at the age where I’m preoccupied with the idea of travelling and learning more about the world lately – I wonder why this happens to people…)

I’m going to mention the passable music early for the sake of the video below. The music generally suits the anime, as do the opening and ending songs, although none of it is particularly spectacular. There is one incidental part of the soundtrack played a few times throughout the show that I really liked though. I crudely ripped it myself since it’s not available commercially, if you want to give it a listen:

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Can you name each anime? Then you are the enemy!

Any of these mean STOP WATCHING.

I hate mechs.

I hate school girl outfits.

I hate ridiculously huge eyed cutesy art styles.

I hate that one loud and high pitched little girl voice that is in every anime.

I hate the mandatory little girl shoehorned into the story for the lolicon factor.

I hate high school drama and anything that can be described with the word ‘harem’.

I hate minute and a half intros filled with embarrassing J-pop/rock that all sing vaguely but nonsensically about the same thing and have nothing to do with the footage which always includes equally nonsensical fight scenes.

Am I the only one?

(I have no explanation for my hatred of mechs, by the way. It’s extreme enough that I stopped watching Code Geass the second I saw a mech – which was about the second second of the show. I feel like giant robot fights should be cool, but I’ve never seen them done well. I guess it takes something out of a fight when there are two giant metal robots between the combatants. This hatred was present and unknown to me as far back as the early PS2 launch title Zone of the Enders. I desperately wanted to like that game, it had some of the best mech design I’ve ever seen – despite the all too literal cockpits, it has 3D flight, laser swords, destructible environments, it’s all amazing on paper. But somehow everything about the game repulsed me and I never got very far in it.

I think I might just be allergic.)

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