Cobra Kai Season 1, American tv series (2018)

In the 80’s there was a movie that was a boost to every kid that experienced bullying in some form or other (myself included). The name of that film was The Karate Kid. A classic movie and one that redefines the word feelgood, it spawned three sequels (not counting a modern day remake) and is regarded by many people as one of the best films from the roaring 80’s. As much as I loved the original, the sequel for me was the one I loved the most (and you can read why by pressing on the link). But one can’t help but smile when the young hero of the film Daniel LaRusso takes revenge on his childhood bully Johny Lawrence by beating him in a karate tournament in part one. It was a moment that was edged in my memory as around that time I experienced the effects of bullying in a very bad way. Seeing someone actually turn the tables on his tormentor, even though it was a film, gave me some much needed hope. Late last year rumors started to spread about a sequel to the original Karate Kid franchise in the form of a television series. I really had severe misgivings about this, thinking that pretty much nothing is sacred anymore.

image
Hey…they are older now. No martial arts, just trying to stare each other to death.

And then…the first trailer arrived. I could not stop myself and had to satisfy my curiosity.  If nothing else I could at least have a laugh about how bad it probably would be. But it wasn’t. In fact the trailer managed to actually convince me that there was a small chance this might actually be a fun sequel. But…this was a trailer, and a trailer always shows the best bits right? Let’s be honest: how can a tv series based on a 34 year old movie reignite that same feelgood feeling I had when I watched the original film in the 80’s? Naw, this would probably suck. But boy oh boy was I wrong, and a lot of people with me. Cobra Kai, as the new show is called, has become an overnight succes. It has an unprecedented 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, something no television series has ever managed to pull off. Yes, you heard that correctly. Not even juggernauts like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. People are going absolutely crazy over this YouTube Red series and rightfully so. What exactly make this series so much fun? Well…relax: wax on, wax off. I’m going to try and bring across why you absolutely have to watch this, if you haven’t already.

image
Never trust a car salesman…even if he offers you a bonsai tree.

Cobra Kai takes place exactly 34 years after the events of the first film. Daniel LaRusso has grown up and been doing incredibly well for himself. He has a wife, two kids, and is the owner of a very succesful chain of car dealerships in the San Fernando Valley. Life is not without it’s challenges though and Daniel tries to make the best of it, without the help of his former mentor mister Miyagi who has sadly passed away. Meanwhile the life of his former nemesis Johny Lawrence has been steadily going downhill. He lives in a rundown appartment, has trouble keeping his job, and is drunk most of the time. One night Johny saves a young man called Miguel from a bunch of teenagers that are about to beat the crap out of him. Having seen what Johny can do, Miguel begs him to train him, but the former karate champ declines. In a strange turn of events Johny and Daniel run into each other again after this. Even though Daniel welcomes him with open arms, it’s pretty clear that the old rivalry is still there. After his run in with LaRusso, Johny has a new plan at which he is determined to succeed. He will reopen the Cobra Kai dojo, and bring it back to it’s former glory. But if Daniel has something to say about it, that will never ever happen…..

image
Dude….your hair? What’s wrong with it???

Cobra Kai is a tv series that will have you grinning from ear to ear right from the start. Even if you haven’t grown up with the Karate Kid films, I guarantee that you will love this show. For fans of the original movies though, it will be an even more special experience. One of this show’s biggest strengths is the way it portrays it’s characters. All of them have a depth to them and are more than just empty airheads made out of cardboard. William Zabka who reprises his role as Johny more than steals the show here. He is without a doubt the best thing this series has to offer and he turns his character into someone who you will grow to love. Huh? Wait wasn’t he the bad guy? Well…without giving too much away here, all I can say is that this series manages to offer quite a few surprises. It really turns the tables on quite a number of things and plays with your emotions in so many ways. Seeing Ralph Maggio returning as Daniel (seriously does this guy ever age), and settling back into his character that he last played almost 30 years ago now, is just incredible. It’s almost as if he has never even quit playing the Karate Kid. Seeing the banter on screen between the two rivals makes for some of the best scenes this show has on offer.

image
Don’t look now, but this is Daniel’s daughter Samantha. Nope…I would not lie to you.

So how about the new characters? Glad you asked because they are just as must fun as the original cast. From Daniel’s daughter Samantha to the new hero (but is he really a hero) Miguel, they all fit in perfectly. Some of them act as comic relief, some act up as the villains, and just as with Daniel and Johny, you will constantly shifting who you are rooting for. Cobra Kai has managed to do something that very few other shows based on older properties have pulled off. It brings back the feel and spirit of the original franchise into a modern day world, while at the same time giving it a new and fresh spin. It will probably not come as a huge surprise that a second season has already been given a green light, and in the way the series ends, it promises to be every bit as good. Well…at least I hope it will be just as much fun as this season. But that’s the future. For now, just go and check this show out when you have the time. With only 10 half an hour episodes in this season, you will bingewatch this in one day. It’s one of the rare exceptions where the hype really is real. So put on your black belts, and watch this. Or go and catch flies with chopsticks…whatever preference you have.

I give Cobra Kai season 1 a 10 out of 10 score.

 

Advertisements

The Cabinet of Curiosities, a novel by Preston&Child (2002)

If there is one thing I like in a novel, it’s when it completely makes you forget your surroundings or causes you to lose track of time. That is one of the highest levels of praise a book can receive, and if it manages to do that in some way, it is usually because it was written by an author that is an expert. And is also very skilled in torture. Huh? Torture? Well yes of course. Don’t you just hate it when you decided to read one more chapter before turning to sleep and end up reading five more because you just have to find out what happened to a certain character? That you just can’t stop, because if you do you feel like your mind just can’t take it anymore? Hence the torture part. I had previously read two other novels by Preston and Childs, The Relic and Reliquary, and they both featured a character that some describe as a modern day Sherlock Holmes. I’m talking about FBI Special Agent Pendergast, but I honestly don’t really see him like that. But more on that below. This third Pendergast novel though, takes you on a relentless rollercoaster ride, that doesn’t let up until you reach the final page. Not that the previous two novels weren’t good or anything, but this one takes things to a whole other level of excitement.

image

The Cabinet of Curiosities starts off on a construction site in Manhattan where a ghastly discovery is made. A tunnel is unearthed that contains the mutilated bodies of 36 young people. All of the remains had parts of their spine remove. It is not before long that agent Pendergast arrives at the grissly scene together with Dr. Nora Kelly, an archeologist who works at the Museum of Natural History. She is very relucant at first to help him, as she finds the pale man a very strange and peculiar individual. Soon though her own curiosity gets the better of her, and she begins to try and discover the truth about what really happened. It soon becomes clear that all of the people have been murdered in a horrifying way almost 130 years ago. What the exact motive was of the killer is at first unclear. But the case becomes even more terrifying when it seems that the murders are starting up again. This has to be a copycat killer though right? With the police and the mayor trying to thwart Pendergast at every turn because of ulterior motives, it becomes increasingly more difficult for him and Kelly to solve the case. In the meantime the killings continue…..

image

This was a book that I would like to call a real pageturner. It’s been quite a while since I have read a novel that had me gasping for breath at almost every page. But this one managed to achieve that, and then some. The writing style of Preston & Child is terrific. They manage to describe their scenes in a very vivid way, and crank up the tension to an almost unbearable level. Which is exactly how I like my books. No matter how great your story is, if you have characters that you don’t care about in any way, you will probably lose your audience. But the writer duo has you covered there as well, as it contains quite a number of indivuals that you will grow to love (as well as hate, for a few of them are pretty despicable indeed). But it’s agent Pendergast that is the driving force of this book, more so than in the previous installments. I’d like to think of him as kind of mix between Indiana Jones and Jack Bauer. He is mysterious, resourceful, tough as nails, while at the same time he has a very big heart that people might not notice right away.

image

If I were to name some negative points to this books, it’s the use of quite a number of pretty difficult medical and forensic terms. My grasp of the English language is quite good, but there were a few times where I struggled to understand the meaning of certain terms. But luckily this never managed to put me off in any way, as the story is just too good for that. This novel can be read without having knowledge of the events of the earlier two books, although you will probably enjoy it even more if you have read those. If you like tense and gripping thrillers about serial killers, with a slightly supernatural edge to it, this is one book you should check out ASAP. It’s guaranteed to cause you some sleepless nights (in fact I dare you not to complete this one in one day: it really is that good). In closing I would like to dedicate this review to the wonderful Kim. She is truly an amazing individual who is someone that has always managed to inspire me with the posts she writes. Kind, positive and always there for other people are some of the qualities that describe her best. Go and check out her wonderful blog about the world of the written word. I promise you won’t regret doing so. As always, thank you for reading.

I give The Cabinet of Curiosities a 9 out of 10 score.

Am I cursed???

Well…..remember how this guy called Raistlin said he would be back and begin stalking all your posts, overwhelming them with his comments? Remember how he said there would be new posts from him making an appearance as well? Yeah….pretty cool huh? So…where were they the past week? Where were those creepy and borderline stalky (yeah I know that’s not a word) comments? And those promised posts? Or even worse…I can hear you thinking “Why did I even take the time to bother commenting on his previous reviews? The guy didn’t even respond back!” I am trying to turn this into a bit of a funny post for you all, but quite honestly I am not laughing. Which brings me to the headline: Am I cursed??? After the wonderful time I had at Anime Con 2018 this year, I was all fired up to get back to blogging and interacting with every one again. But then I of course I had to get hit by an incredibly annoying flu bug which once again drained me of energy to write, and left me sick in bed for the entire weekend. Except for a small message at Twitter, I failed to inform everyone of you here. The rest of the week I have been trying to get rid of it, but that did not really happen as fast as I wanted it. And this is seriously starting to piss me off (sorry for the foulmouthed language).

I’m sorry

image

So, I know a lot of you are going to probably say it’s not necessary to apologise but still I am going to do it. At the moment it feels I am letting people down here a lot, and for that I am truly sorry. Luckily the flu bug is being fought back, and I am feeling a little bit better now. With a little being the operative word here. So, I am first going to take some time to write everyone back who took the effort to write a comment on my recent posts. After that I am going to try and read some posts that I missed over the past few days and overwhelm them all with comments. I hope this will now be the final time I am writing a post to announce that I am back and can finally settle back into what I love doing: being a part of this wonderful community again. Thank you all for your patience and continued support. And just in case it wasn’t clear yet: I am back now. For real……!

Solo: A Star Wars Story, American Movie (2018)

When you are fan of a certain franchise, you can be very passionate about it. That can be both a blessing and a curse. Take the Star Wars universe for instance. The release of last year’s The Last Jedi has devided the fan community in a way that no film had ever done previously. For every fan that loved it, there was also someone who hated it. You only have to read my own review for it to see which camp I belonged to. Even though my review was the most controversial post that I have ever written, it also gathered an enormous amount of views and comments, more than any other post that ever appeared on this blog. Why? Because a lot of people love Star Wars and are very passionate about it. But when does passion turn into unfairness? One only has to look at the box office performance of the new Star Wars movie to see what is happening. Before it’s release there were certain fans that deliberately sabotaged the new film simply because of the awfulness of all that was Episode VIII. Admittedly I was very skeptical for the new movie as well. But I gave it a chance any way. And you know what? I am very glad that I did.

image
Please let’s not talk about The Last Jedi okay?

Solo a Star Wars movie takes place roughly 15 years before the events of Star Wars Episode IV. It kicks off on the planet Corellia where we get to meet everyone’s favorite scruffy looking nerfherder Han Solo, albeit his younger version. Han, together with his lover Qi’ra are desperately trying to escape from a local criminal gang. Just when it seems that the odds have turned in their favor and they are about to go off planet, Qi’ra gets caught. Han makes his escape but vows to return in order to save the woman he loves. Three years later Han has entered the service of the Imperial army, but it is a job he is not very happy with (or very good at). But then he meets up with the criminal gangleader Beckett and he sees an opportunity arising that may final give him the chance to become something more. However things aren’t always what they seem to be, and what at first seems like an easy job might soon turn into a nightmare. But help sometimes comes from the strangest sources, and in this case in the form of a young Wookie that goes by the name Chewbacca…..

image
Wait…hang on, weren’t you on Game of Thrones?

When this movie was first announced a lot of people (myself included) asked the question: ” Do we really need this film?”. Han Solo is an iconic character, that is loved by a lot of fans and played brilliantly by actor Harisson Ford. When the news came out about a troubled production, a director leaving the film and other news like that, we all got a bad feeling about this. But it seems our fears were misplaced. Solo is a fun film, that I enjoyed very much. Alden Ehrenreich who plays the young scroundel, is pretty convincing as Solo. While he might not have the same charisma as Ford, he has enough charm to pull it off and at certain moments in the film it almost seems like you are really watching the young Harisson. And that of course is a big compliment. But, it has to be said, it is actor Donald Glover in the role of Lando Calrissian that really deserves the most credit. Even though his screen time is limited, all his scenes are a delight to watch. He really is Lando in every sense of the word.

image
Something has definitely gone wrong with shaving this morning…

From a storypoint of view we have a tale that was pretty predictable but still had a few surprises in it nonetheless. Especially a nice twist at the end that should come as a big, but very welcome surprise for fans. This basically is a heist movie in space. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else nor does it need to. This being a Star Wars movie we of course have plenty of action, though not on the scale that we are used to in any of the previous installments. Still the special effects and action scenes work where they need to, but the movie does seem a tad bit too long. One of the weaker points of the film is it’s main villain played by actor Paul Bettany. His character just lacks the depth to make him truly menacing and this is the films biggest flaw. We also have a new droid that acts as the comedic relief but most of those “funny” scenes fall flat and fail to really make you laugh.

image
Hey! Are those my dragons up there?

Overall though we have a movie that at least for me has managed to wash away the bitter taste that was left after last year’s Episode VIII. Solo is a film that many Star Wars fans (and even non Star Wars fans) will quite enjoy. The fact that the movie unfortunately isn’t performing well at the box office is a real tragedy. And that brings me back to the opening paragraph of this post: fandom can have both it’s positive and negative effects. I think to let a single movie ruin the franchise for you is maybe going at it the wrong way. Yes, I was furious as well last year, but since then I also put things in perspective. Star Wars has been around for a long while, and will probably be here for many more decades to come. Every once in a while there will be a film that you might not like or even downright hate. But that’s something that happens to most franchises or television series. So in other words, give Solo a fair chance and watch it with an open mind. You will, in all likelyhood be very pleasantly surprised by it. I know I was…

I give Solo: A Star Wars story a 8 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Animecon 2018, part 2

And welcome back to the second part of my report from this year’s Animecon. If you missed the first part, you can find it again by pressing on the link right here. So, it will probably not come as a huge surprise that since the convention is called Animecon you are able to watch a lot of anime there (No really? That’s astounding! Never would have guessed that!). Okay, let’s quit with the joking and check out what I saw at this year’s con.

image

Otaku no Video (1991)

image

This was the opening film of Animecon and a classic that I had not yet seen myself. At the time of it’s release it spurred quite a bit of controversy as it portrayed fans (Otakus) as people who were ashamed at themselves for being fans, and included live action excerpts of a documentary. This version though, must have edited these segments out, as I saw not a single one of these. What remained though was a comedy about a young man named Ken Hubo who gets invited by a former friend to a group of anime and manga enthusiasts. Eventually Ken sets out to become the Otaking and take over the entire world making everyone a Otaku. It was a completely over the top and at times quite hilarious anime film. Part of it’s charm was the old school animation style and music, and a lot of older animes like Gunbuster and Macross were also featured in this film. It was an okay film, nothing more, nothing less.

Garo: Vanishing line Episodes 1-5 (2018)

image

Ahh, now this was more like it. This was shown late at night and rightfully so, as it was quite brutal and scary, but definitely highly enjoyable. Garo: Vanishing Line takes place in the future where a conspiracy is taking place in a dark city. A man named Sword is trying to get to the bottom of it all, his only clue a word: El Dorado. What I really liked about this anime were the fight sequences. Sword drives around on a big and quite frankly spectacular motorcycle, fighting against all kinds of monsters that some of the citizens are turning into. It also featured quite a bit of fan service, but mostly this served as a kind of comic relief, and luckily did not become the focus of the series like for instance Highschool of the Dead. The first five episodes were shown, and I am definitely going to finish this series soon, as it left me thirsting for more. You can expect a full review for this series somewhere in the future.

Your Name (2017)

image

This was the only movie that was shown on all three days of the convention. Most of you that watch anime will probably already have seen this film. It’s been hyped and gotten rave reviews all over…..and that usually let’s warning signs go off in my head. This was for me the first time that I watched it, and I have to honestly admit that it did not live up to the, admittedly, high expectations that I had of it. Does that mean that I did not like the movie? No certainly not. A movie this big though, deserves a proper review and synopsis, and that’s why I am not going to eloborate any further but save it for an upcoming review of this film later this month. I will also watch it a second time before I am going to write it, just to let it sink in better and maybe even change my final verdict for it.

Comic Girls Episodes 1-5 (4) (2018)

image

On the last day I had to wait a bit to kill some time, so I decided to give Comic Girls a chance, the first animeseries that was shown on sunday. Well, you know how much I am a fan of comedy series (erm NOT!) and this was a full on comedy, not two ways about it. In Comic Girls we follow a bunch of cute girls as they aspire to become manga designers. Sounds interesting? Well…I have to be honest, this was just not for me. If you love magical girls/comedy series you will probably love this. I did laugh a couple of times but eventually the high pitched voices of the girls and the slapstick antics started grating on my nerves. I made it to four episodes, and with only one more to go I left the theatre not looking back. Sorry Comic Girls, my sincere apologies.

Revolutionary Girl Utena the movie (1999)

image

This last movie was a surprise. Not in the sense that it was a surprisingly good film, but more that it was kept secret until the last second, something that they do every year. With this film the convention also came to an end. And wow, talk about your seriously weird animes, this one should probably rank at the top of your list. Apparently (I did some research after seeing this), this movie isn’t supposed to make much sense if you haven’t seen the animeseries it self. Strangely though this is a retelling of the original tale and stands on it’s own. I would be hardpressed to tell you what this film is about. It deals with magical girls, lesbian sexual tension, swordfights and girls that turn into cars for some strange reason. It was very hard to follow it all, and at times it felt like I had taken some kind of weird psychedelic drugs or something like that. Either way, and that’s the even stranger part, I still enjoyed it. Oh well, maybe we all were under some kind of spell when watching this.

image

Well, one thing you definitely need when you go to a con is money. Unless you are a sadist and want to torture yourself with looking at all the stuff that you can’t buy. This year’s Animecon just had way too much stuff that was a serious health hazard for my wallet. Needless to say I bough way too much, that’s for sure. I made a slideshow of all the best items, and I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

image

Yesterday I mentioned something that was for me the highlight of the convention. It wasn’t anime, it also wasn’t a movie, nor was it all the delicious food. No…it was a performance by the band Necronomidol. I discovered this band about a month ago and was both surprised and delighted to hear that they were going to be performing at Animecon. Their music is very hard to describe as it is a mix of dark wave, black metal, hardrock and even small dance influences. The show began about twenty minutes too late, but boy was it worth the wait. The energy they brought to the stage was infectious and they truly managed to urge the crowd to go completely nuts. The set lasted well over an hour, and was incredible and one of the best concerts that I ever attended. They even spoke to the crowd in a few Dutch words, which was absolutely delightful. After this show, even though I already like their music, I became an instant fan, and managed to buy a few nice merchandise items as well (see the picture below). You could even meet the girls in person later on the day, but as there were a few things more I wanted to check out, I declined. (Honestly I probably would have been to shy to say a single word anyway, lol). If you want to find out more about the band, you can find them on Spotify. (I highly recommend listening to the song Skulls in the Stars, which is absolutely amazing).

 

image

And with that this year’s report from animecon draws to a close. But what is that ominous note above mean? A call to arms? Are we all going to go to war? Erm no…but I had a crazy idea. How cool would it be if we could all go to Animecon together next year? In 2019 Animecon is going to be held in the city of Rotterdam (yes they are going to change cities), and will start on the 14th of June to close it’s doors on the 16th of June. If any of you ever had plans to visit Holland in the first place and love anime how incredibly awesome would it be if we could all meet up. Hell, I will even buy the first round of bubble tea. Seriously though, it’s a crazy idea, I know, but it would be really cool  if we could somehow realise it. We all talk here every day, and it would be incredible if we could meet up on an event that is this cool and share our love for all things Asian. Well, just a thought. Interested? Let me know in the comments section.

Anyway, that’s it for this post! I had an incredible time at this con, and after all the crap of the past few weeks it was pretty much what I needed. Tomorrow Raistlin0903 is going to be back in business as usual. That means I’m finally going to be performing my normal blogging routine, which means reading your posts, placing comments and of course sharing new reviews about all things geek! Thanks all for reading, and your patience in letting me come back. Have a great day!

Special Features presents: Anime Con 2018, part 1

Hello everyone! I just came back from an exhausting, but incredibly fun, three day weekend extravaganza called Animecon 2018. This annual event took place in the city of The Hague, and is a convention centered around all things Asian. This means there is a lot of anime, manga, workshops, food, games, in short all the good stuff. In order to not make a post that is so long you will get bored by it, I decided to split it up into two different parts, where I will talk about all the things I have seen and done in this fun filled weekend. So, let’s get started!

image

Just like last year I stayed at a castle  hotel. It was conveniently about a 3 minute walk from the convention itself. Which means that after buying some loot (more on that in part 2) you could drop it off at your hotelroom and get ready for buying more loot….erm, yes, moving on. As you can see from the pictures below, the hotel was pretty luxurious and a nice way to spent some time resting after running around all day at the con. Especially as my room had a very nice view. They also provided a terrificic breakfast in the morning with enough food on offer to cater to everyone’s needs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

image

Now that we are on the subject of food, let’s talk about that for a bit. Oh, and you will get hungry after this, so you have been warned. What is a convention without food? No idea really, but there was certainly plenty to eat and drink here, and everything was just absolutely delicious. I ate a lot of cup ramen in all kinds of flavors, all of them very tasty. But the highlight certainly was the Japanese version of a Dutch dish called “poffertjes” (hey I never said or language was easy). Best way to describe poffertjes is a kind of mini pancakes, that are very sweet. However this variant was totally different and more of a salty snack. I also very much enjoyed the melon bubble tea which tasted soooo good, as well as the Japanese Crepes and Dango. All in all there was so much food there, that you had to be careful not to spend all your money on all these mouthwatering dishes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

image

One of the floors of the convention was turned into a true video arcade. But instead of paying for these games like you normally would, you could play them all for free. With classics like Time Crisis, Monkey Ball and Tetris to name but a few, you could relive the golden age of videogames. Besides the arcade machines, you could also play games on a great variety of different consoles with both modern games as well as golden oldies, enough to satisfy your gaming addiction. If you would like to play oldschool, you could also spent time playing an amount of boardgames at the boardgamenights (which I didn’t attend myself). Many games were anime oriented, like the Attack on Titan Deckbuilding Game, but you could also play classic Asian boardgames like Go. I did play one round of Go, but as it was my first time playing that game (yeah I like to make up excuses) I lost miserably (but still had fun playing it anyway).

 

 

image

Just like last year, besides anime there were also a great number of Asian movies to be seen. I ended up seeing two of them, back to back and both were very much worth it.

Going the Distance (Japan, 2016)

image

Going the distance is a movie about friendship and how much you would give to maintain that friendship. Asahi is a boxing trainer in Tokyo who is about to get married to the girl of his dreams Kaori. When his childhood friend Hiroto shows up asking him for help, he is torn between his soon to be wife and his friend. Time is running out for Kaori as she wants to get married before her ailing grandmother who suffers from dementia, forgets who she is. Things soon spiral out of control though, and Asahi finds himself in increasingly more trouble. This drama was very unique in the way that there was absolutely no music that accompanied it. It was an immensely beautiful film, that once again proves how precious true friendship really is, as well as the hard fact that you can’t always get what you want in life.

Her love boils bathwater (Japan 2016)

image

This beautiful and heartwarming drama was sent in for a contender as the best
foreign language film at the Oscars of 2017. Sadly it did not make the cut and one has to wonder why. The film tells the story of the woman Futuba who has just been diagnosed with cancer and hears she only has a few more months left to live. Instead of giving up, she is determined to finish a few things before she dies. One is finding back her missing husband and get him to resume the family bath house. Another no less important thing is getting her daughter Azumi, who is being bullied at school, to stand up for herself. With time running out, will she be able to accomplish these and other goals? A movie like this could become an enormous tearjerker. While I won’t deny that you won’t shed a few tears it is mainly a film that fills you with hope and an incredible feel good feeling. I was especially astonished by the high level of acting in this movie. In particular by lead actresses Rie Miyazawa who plays the terminally ill Futuba and Hana Sugisaki who played her daughter Azumi. Both were absolutely amazing in their admittedly very difficult roles. This was a powerful film that stayed in my head long after I finished it.

Well, that’s it for part one. Tomorrow I will bring you part 2, which will feature the anime that I watched, as well as all the stuff that I bought. And, last but not least I will also tell you what was the highlight of the convention for me, and suprisingly that wasn’t any anime or a movie. But more on that tomorrow, as I have to keep some suspense up right? Thank you all for reading, and now I am going to try and make up for some lost sleep lol!

And……I am off…..again!

No, please don’t panic. I’m not announcing a new blogging hiatus. I just came back, and I definitely plan on staying around. So what’s this all about then?? Tomorrow I am taking the train to visit Animecon 2018, a three day convention that focusses on all things Asian, Anime, Manga and loads of other stuff. Besides all those things there is also plenty of nice  food to eat and the hotel I am staying at is certainly also not something that I would soon forget either. Just like last year I plan on writing a post on all my (mis) adventures on the con when I get back. But as I will be busy the upcoming three days with that, I will not be around on WordPress so my apologies in advance for missing out on all your posts. This first week after my blogging hiatus has been an absolute joy, and I want to thank all of you for making me feel so welcome after my abscence. You are all awesome in case you did not already know that yet. As you might have noticed I haven’t been up to my full active self yet, but next week, after I return from the con, I will be back in full swing (in other words: there will be more posts, and more comments from me) Well, that’s it for now. I will talk to you when I get back. I hope you will all have a wonderful and relaxing weekend, bye for now!

image

 

My Hero Academia Season 1, Anime tv series (2016)

Yes people I am back, here to kick things off with the first of the requested reviews for the anime theme month My Hero Academia. I did not expect to become totally addicted to this series. In fact I got addicted to this series so much that I immediately went on an impulse shopping spree buying the first season limited edition dvd boxed set, as well as the first issue of the manga. Well, hey I never denied the fact when I fall I completely in love with something I can do crazy things. Right…but where are my manners. Let’s first shed some light on the two bloggers that requested this review in the first place (yes, in a strange turn of events the random numbers generator selected this anime twice in a row, go figure).

image
Really? Two times? I find that very hard to believe.

Jiraiyan’s blog Otaku Orbit has been a blog that I have been following for quite a long time now. It is a very diverse blog that focusses on both anime and manga. As I am pretty much a noob when it comes to manga (well, yeah I can hear you saying it: “you are a noob at anime as well” So for sake of argument I won’t dispute that :)), I found it to be a rather helpful blog at discovering manga titles that are worth reading (Now if I could only find some time to read them, that would be awesome).

The second request for this anime came from Merlin. Another truly diverse blog that will satisfy all your geeky needs it features an astounding amount of topics ranging from books, anime, movies and television series to name but a few things. All of the posts are top notch and just as the blog mentioned above it is run by a very friendly host. If you have yet to discover these blogs, go do that now. This post can wait…no really, do that first. And ofcourse hit the subscribe button too if you are not a follower of either of them. Right…all done? Okay then. Let’s put on our superhero costumes and dive into the world of My Hero Academia.

image
Okay, I’m ready to start taking some notes now. Doubt this post will be interesting though….

Unless you have been living under a rock (well I have to admit I did, as I was very late to discover this anime gem), you must have at least heard of this show. But helpful as I am let me break the storyline down for you in case you have yet to see this. No worries as always, I will do this spoiler free. In the world of My Hero Academia 80% of the population has manifested some form of superpowers. Let’s let that sink in for a minute. Imagine living in a world like that, and you yourself don’t have any of these powers that are called quirks. It’s the nightmare that young Izuku Midoriya has to live with though. Even while he is ridiculed by his classmates for having dreams of one day becoming a superhero despite his lack of powers, Izuku refuses to give up. One fateful day his highschool bully Katsuki is attacked by a villain and Izuku is the one that tries to rescue him. Just when things start to get grim, his childhood hero All Might, the world’s mightiest hero shows up and intervenes just in time to save both Izuku and Katsuki. All Might is very impressed by Midoriya’s courage and in the end decides to bestow upon him a very special gift. A gift that will change Izuku’s life forever and allows him to enter the prestigious U.A. High School, a special school that trains the next generation of superheroes. Izuku is about to find out though that the life of a superhero isn’t that easy…..

image
Hmm, that guy on the left truly gives a whole new meaning to the word handjob.

Now I know there must be a few of you that after having read the synopsis above are probably thinking: do we really need another superhero show? In a world that is currently being dominated by superhero movies there are quite a number of people that are experiencing the so called “superhero fatique syndrom”. And honestly I don’t blame them. But let me try to convince you though that it is in your best interest to really check out this show. Nothing could have prepared me for the addictive nature of this series. After watching just one episode I was hooked. This series has a way of drawing you in, and never letting you go. So what is it about this anime that sets it apart from your usual superhero stuff? Well, let’s start with the characters. You are going to love them. The cast is huge, but never seems to overwhelm you in any way. It gradually introduces new characters in every episode, and pretty much all of them are awesome in their own way. The anime’s lead character Izuki is almost impossible to dislike. I think we can all identify with someone that has dreams, and tries to realise them, without ever giving up, even though it might at times seem like a lost cause. All Might, the world’s mightiest hero, is just amazing. He has a vulnerability in him that you will grow to love, when you find out more about him.

image
Yes we look weird, what’s it to you?

Now I could go on and describe even more of the cast, but I will leave that for you to discover. Suffice it to say though that these characters are the main drive of this anime. That and the relationships between them. This show has a heart to it that comes to the fore in the bonds that are established between these wanna be heroes. While it might seem cool to have a superpower, it certainly has it’s downsides as well. This first season lays the foundation for the world of My Hero Academia. When it ends, you can almost feel that there are even greater things to come. Which brings me to another selling point and that is the storyline. While most superhero shows focus on the heroes banding together to fight a common foe, this isn’t the case in this anime. Yes ofcourse there is a threat and there are some very cool fight sequences between heroes and villains, but at it’s heart this is a show that has much more to it than that. You will have moments where you will laugh out loud, and then there are also moments that are very touching and downright scary and exciting as well. I love it when a show combines all these different kinds of elements and succeeds in blending it into a wonderful and very potent cocktail.

image
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s….naw…not going to head into that territory….

My Hero Academia is a series that I can’t recommend enough. If I haven’t managed to succeed in convincing you that this series really does try to do something else with the superhero genre, just give the first episode a shot. If that episode doesn’t hook you in, then chances are that the rest of the series won’t either. But I doubt that will happen though. This anime is a gem, and I honestly can’t wait to get started on season 2 which I hope to be doing somewhere in the upcoming weeks. With a cast of loveable and quirky characters (yes…pun intended), a truly unique and wonderful storyline and some great action sequences added to the mix, this anime has very little not to like. In fact after having thought about it for a while I can’t think of any things that I did not like about this series. And thus we have reached the end of the first post for the anime theme month. Next up is Baccano! another anime that I have heard a lot about but haven’t seen yet. For now though, keep your dreams alive: Plus Ultra!!

I give My Hero Accademia Season 1 a 9 out of 10 score.

 

The return of…….

…the Jedi??!!! Erm..no sorry to disappoint. It’s just the return of little old me, you know that guy who used to have a blog writing reviews about all kinds of stuff and who went on a Blogging hiatus a few months ago. Yep, after a countdown on twitter this week I am officially returning to the world of blogging starting today, and I thought I would write a post with this announcement (so you can still run away in fear) explaining what my plans are and of course an update on what’s been going on the past few weeks. So let’s get back in the saddle and see if I can still write posts. Hmm…that’s what it was called right? A post…erm…right???

The Past

image
Whoops….this is quite the depressing image. But it’s all in the past now…..

When I announced my disappearance from the world of WordPress way back in April I had not expected to be gone for such a long time. But as it turns out things were not up to me and the real world dealt some cards that went beyond my control. The main reason I went off the grid so to speak was the fact that my father had to undergo surgery. It was nothing lifethreatening, but as he came out of a previous surgery in a pretty bad way, we had a tense time in the days counting down to the operation itself. And those days turned to weeks as the date itself was planned a lot later than we expected. Despite a lot of stress I am very happy to report though that the surgery itself went pretty okay. We are of course not completely there yet. The surgery to his back has now been more than two weeks ago, and he is making slow progress. Hopefully through physical therapy things are going to improve, but I will try to keep optimistic about it.

As for me, I am still very tired. Work is still the same, and the stress of the past few weeks has been taking it’s toll. I still lack energy and am not yet back to my old self. But….despite that I want to try and get back to something that I really love…and that brings me to…..

The Present

image
Hmm….you know what they say right? After rain comes……

I might not be back in full force, but I am coming back. I have missed the world of blogging now for way too long, and most importantly the interaction with everyone, reading other people’s post and the exchange of comments. As it now stands after today I will slowly start to pick up my usual activities here, which means you can expect me to pop up in your comments sections again (yes, you still have time to close them down, no worries) and of course writing my own stuff. It might surprise you to hear that in these past few months I haven’t done much. I read a few novels, watched a couple of movies and seen some anime and tv shows, but less than you might expect. I did become addicted to a small anime style computer game that I might do a review for somewhere along the line. That said I have seen and read some things which means:

The Future

image
Naw…I’m not going to build a time machine, sorry to disappoint.

So what will be coming up in the future? Well, I still had an Anime theme month going before I went off, and in that post I promised a few people some reviews. In fact the first one for My Hero Accademia season 1 will be my first real post that is coming up. Keeping in the anime theme style I will be attending Animecon 2018 again this year. Which means I am going to be spending three days in a hotel during the upcoming weekend of the 15th of June enjoying a con that focusses on all things Asian and of course as the name implies a lot of anime. Just like last year I will be writing a report about it and I hope it will be just as much fun as the 2017 edition. For all you non anime lovers out there, no worries I got you covered too. I did see a few movies, most notably The Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2 and Solo amongst some others. Reviews for those films are also going to be popping up when you least expect it. And of course other geek things that are a part of this blog as well.

An apology and a thank you

image
I really mean it: THANK YOU!

Before I bring this post to a close I want to say two more things. One is an apology. I realise a lot of people wrote comments on posts or sent emails that I haven’t yet responded too. Please know that this certainly was not because I was ignoring you. It was simply because I lacked the energy to at times write even a simple app to a friend. It’s been a hard couple of weeks and I at times felt so down that it was hard to keep going. But that brings me to my second point: a heartfelt and sincere thank you. I already knew this community was awesome and that there were some wonderful people that I have met along the way. But that only became more clear when I went on my hiatus. There are so many blogging friends that stayed in touch on Twitter or email that it honestly pulled me through some, at times, very hard days. So from the bottom of my heart thank you. It was and still is very much appreciated and know that if there is ever anything I can do to ever return the favor, I am there for you as well.

So before this turns into too much of a ramble (if it has not already) I am going to say goodbye for now. Raistlin is signing off, but no worries…just for today. Thanks for reading and let’s just put it like this even if it is cliche: It’s good to be back!