Tag Archives: Fantasy

Game Of Thrones Season 6, American tv Series (2016)

One of the plus sides of having way too many hobbies is the fact that I am never bored. There is always something that I can do, whether it’s watching anime, going to the cinema to watch the latest movie, read a book, or play a boardgame. And that’s just the tip of the ice berg. But on the flipside of that is the fact that I am always behind on pretty much everything, especially when it comes down to watching televion series. People have often asked me how on Earth I can wait with something as good as Game of Thrones for instance. The answer is pretty much always the same. I have absolutely no idea. It brings me back to the opening sentence I guess: I just have way too many hobbies, and as such way too many things that I love to do. In this world of social media though, that really is becoming a bit of a problem. As much as you try to avoid things as spoilers, these days one only has to switch to something as simple as Youtube to find whole clips of pivotal moments of your favorite shows. Some even have bold capital letters proclaiming things like “ the death of so and so” or “ shocking scene of whatshername”. For some things I don’t mind spoilers, but when it comes down to Game of Thrones I have so far managed to avoid them.

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Yes, she still looks like a queen for real.

Yes people, I have only now completed season 6 of Game of Thrones. I know, I should be flogged for committing such an atrocious act of negligence. I’m afraid to even admit it but I still have to start with the next one too. Yep, I know Winter is coming and all that. Be that as it may, I am of course not going to deprive you of my thoughts on this season. Even though they are two years late. Be warned this section does contain a few spoilers for the previous season , but as probably most of you have seen that one anyway, I don’t think there will be any real surprises here. But just to be on the safe side: *Spoilers Start* Jon Snow is dead. Well, really how could he not be right? Season 6 picks up right after the horrible moment when everybody’s favorite hero got stabbed multiple times and was killed. That was one heck of a shock ending last season, something this show always excells at any way. Season 6 is Jon’s season though, and then some. Erm, wait what do I mean by that? He’s dead right?

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So….I guess sometimes size does matter?

Well he was but by an act of magic by the Red Witch Melisandre, Jon is brought back from the dead to fight another day. As with every season of Game of Thrones, there are many things happening to all of our beloved (and sometimes hated) characters. Daenarys has been captured and is heading towards an uncertain fate. Tyrion tries to keep things together in the city of Mereen, where chaos seems to be ruling the day. Cersei has her own problems with her son Tommen, the King, who seems to be slowly turning against her. And then of course there is the ever present danger of the army of the dead, the unseen threat that marches ever onwards. But it’s Jon who is going to have the biggest challenges ahead of him. Especially when he has to try and retake Winterfell, from the horrific and sadistic Ramsay. Winter is coming alright….and it brings with a storm of epic proportions *Spoilers end*

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Ah yes, Cersei. Probably the most gentle soul you are ever likely to meet. Erm, not.

Where previous seasons of Game of Thrones sometimes felt a bit slow, this season seemed like everything all of a sudden was put on some kind of speed trip. So many things happened this season that it’s hard to even know where to start. But that said, I think to date this might have been my favorite season. I have always thought of Game of Thrones being a show that comes the closest to a true cinematic experience. Everything from the sets, the lavish costumes, the special effects, all of those combined just leaves pretty much every other television series ever made biting in the dust. But let’s not forget one of the most important things that makes this show so highly enjoyable as well: the characters and the actors that portray them. Each season I am always astounded at pretty much all of the performances on this show, season 6 being no exception. You want highlights? Well, let’s say that episode 9 especially was maybe the most impressive episode of maybe the entire show. (Erm, keep in mind, I still have to watch season 7 lol).

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When you find out what Hodor really means, your mind will spin. Trust me on that.

But seriously though, that episode pretty much made my jaw drop to the proverbial floor. So many good and memorable scenes in that one single episode. Both in terms of action, but especially in terms of acting. As usual Game of Thrones isn’t shy to get rid of it’s cast members (seriously I would be scared to work as an actor on that show), and of course we get a few that kick the bucket in this season as well. The final episode of this season brings quite a few storylines to a close, as well as drawing battlelines and setting up things for season 7. So will I be waiting another two years to start on that one? Nope, not this time. In fact, I’m going to start on the next season this weekend. And even though I am not a Lannister I plan to keep my word on that. In closing, as if this wasn’t really clear yet: this season just rocked. I haven’t had a single episode where my mind drifted off, or I got bored in some way, which did happen occasionally in some of the previous seasons. If for some reason you have never watched this show, trust me check it out. It’s one of the best television shows ever made, and that is the total truth.

I give season 6 of Game of Thrones a 9 out of 10 score.

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Special Features Presents: My top 10 Solo Boardgames (part 2)

Hello everyone! As you might have noticed the past week my blog has been a little bit more quiet than the previous three weeks. In fact it’s gone deadly silent. I even did not comment as much as I normally do, for which I apologise. This pretty much means only one thing really: my vacation is over and I’m back at work. The first week has been especially bad and very busy, also considering the fact that I had to work on saturday. But enough complaining about that, it’s now sunday, and I finally have time to write again. So I thought it would be a good idea to complete the request made by Arthifis (You all still know him right? Great guy, and he started writing a book as well: that is so awesome!). Anyways in case you missed the first part, he requested I make a list of some of my favorite solo boardgames. Here in part two I’m going into my personal top five. Not only are these games great to play alone, they really are some of my alltime favorite games period.

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Just one more thing: again I would like to point out my favorite Youtube Boardgame Channel: The Vitruvian Gamer. This week he has also started a new feature on his channel as well, where in small 7-10 minute segments he talks about boardgames, the channel, and life in general. It really is a great place to visit. A few of the games listed below have been featured on his channel, and as I pointed out in part 1, he really is a great host as well. Always kind, and with very insigthful and fun to watch videos it’s a great way to spent some time on Youtube. And hey, you might even end up discovering a new game that you would like to try out as well, so how cool is that. Below is one of his videos for a game that I will talk about later on in this post. Okay, enough talking, let’s get cracking!

5: Ascension

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Ascension is a deckbuilding cardgame. Yes, that sounds like a really difficult term, but it truly isn’t. A player starts out with a relatively weak basic hand of cards. During the course of the game, you can buy new cards with the weaker ones and add them to your deck of existing cards. In this way you can make your deck more powerful. Ascension takes place in a fantasy world, and when you play the game solo you are basically fighting against an unseen opponent. By defeating monsters, and aquiring new cards you have to try and gain more points then your foe before the game ends. The fun thing about Ascension is that is a really simple game to learn (about 5 minutes), and there are now a lot of expansions as well. But, each set released stands on it’s own. In other words you can combine all the sets, or just play with one set. This offers a lot of choices, while at the same time it won’t overwhelm new players which is nice too.

4: Xenoshyft: Dreadmire

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This is another deckbuilding game, so it uses the same mechanics as above. But, this one comes with a neat twist. Set in a science fiction universe, and a quite horrible one at that, Xenoshyft Dreadmire allows you to play as the commander of a base from the Nortec Corporation. This company mines planets for a new and powerful energy source. However this energy source has a dangerous side effect as it turns the native animals into horrible monsters. During the course of nine rounds, that become ever more difficult, you have to defend the base from these creatures. This game is tough as nails, and very hard to win. But despite that fact it’s enormously fun to play. The artwork alone should be enough to sell you on buying it. If you like a good challenge this is the one to look into! More info on this game be found in my review.

3. Elder Sign

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Elder Sign is one of the best games that I have ever played. It’s a fusion between a dice and a cardgame and it’s an absolute joy to play. You take on the role of an investigator, that tries to stop an ancient evil from awakening and plunging the world into darkness. The base game takes place in an old museum, where you are desperately trying to find the so called elder signs. Depending on which Ancient One you are trying to defeat, you have to discover a set amount of these tokens, before time runs out. Using dice, you explore rooms in the museum, where you try to overcome traps, monsters, and other unspeakable horrors. By investigating rooms, you can find new weapons, spells, clues and other stuff to make you more powerful, as well as the elder signs themselves. As the game has an enormous amount of cards, and the set up is different each time, the game has tremendous replay value. With a lot of expansions having been released for it as well, you will not get bored by this game anytime soon.

2. Legendary (Encounters)

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Legendary and Legendary Encounters are all deckbuilders (yes again), but are also a blast to play. Legendary is probably best known for it’s Marvel sets. With a huge amount of available cards for these now, you put together your own superhero team in order to fight against one of the villains from the Marvel Universe. Ever wanted to have a team up between Wolverine and Iron Man? Well now you can achieve this. But Legendary has more to offer. In Legendary Encounters you can play through some of your favorite science fiction movies and television series. There are now sets for Aliens, Predator, Firefly and an upcoming one for The X-files. What differs these sets from their Legendary counterparts is that you actually play through scenarios from the movies and shows themselves, which is a lot of fun especially if you are a fan of these. Variety is the keyword here, as the normal Legendary has also games for cult movie Big Trouble in Little China as well as the television series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

1. Eldritch Horror

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So why is this game my number one? Well, the simple answer would be just read my Eldritch Horror review. But that would be cheating. This game is pretty much the bigger cousin of Elder Sign. Travelling around the entire world, you have to discover enough clues to find out what kind of ancient evil is trying to take over the world. You explore cities, ancient ruins, tombs and all kinds of other places. Narrative cards explain what exactly happens to you when you enter a certain place. And this is what makes the game so much fun to play. It sometimes feels like you are starring in your own adventure/horror movie. Every game is different, and has both strategy elements to it, as well as luck in the form of dice rolls. It’s by no means an easy game to win, and it takes a bit of time to set up. But other than that it’s always been the game that I have really enjoyed the most playing solo.

So, there we have it. Now this list is by no means complete, and there are games still lurking around in my collection that I haven’t even played yet. So maybe, there are other games that are even better than these. I certainly have a number of other suggestions too, that didn’t make the cut. So if you want even more options do take a look around at the boardgame section of my blog. As always thank you for reading!

 

Seasonal Anime: A first impression post!

Has the Raist finally gone mad? Is this really a first impression post on seasonal anime that is appearing on this blog? Does this mean that Raistlin0903 is turning in an anime blog? Let me put your minds at ease by saying that the answer to two of these questions is no. So which of these questions has another answer? Well, I have not gone mad, as I was already quite mad to start with. Right, so with all that out of the way why do a post like this? My blog has been and always shall be a multitopic blog. I have way too many hobbies, and I like talking about all of them here, so that’s not going to change. The reason I started watching seasonal anime at the beginning of this year is that I have really enjoyed the interaction with everyone talking about what happened in a new episode on a weekly basis. It was like we all sat down together in a big room, with our favorite snacks and drinks and watched an episode at the same time. Now I am sorry to say that I am not going to be writing weekly episode reviews on the new shows.

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Imagine that this is showing up in your local neighbourhood.

For one thing it would take up too much time that I don’t have. For another it would mean this blog really would be focussing too much on anime, and I have a lot of readers that also like to read about other things such as movies, Korean dramas and boardgames. But I thought it would be nice to write a post about the new shows that I have started watching since this weekend and let you know my thoughts on them. So this really is a first for my blog, but I hope you will like it nonetheless. Usually I try to keep up with about 4-5 shows. I already struggle with that amount, let alone any more. So that’s why I am now watching a total of six new shows. Erm…right. I’m as surprised as you are. No idea if I can stick with all of these, but I am going to try as so far all of them have been a blast. Well, let’s get cracking and reveal them!

Zombieland Saga

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Genre: Comedy, Horror   

Most of you know that I am not a huge fan of comedy. But sometimes there are exceptions and this anime is one of them. This show is completely insane, and that’s probably why I am enjoying it so much. Highschool girl Sakura Minamoto is tragically killed when she gets run over by a car. But her story doesn’t end there. Ten years later she finds herself resurrected as a zombie and together with a bunch of other girls that have also turned into the living dead, they have to save the so called Saga Prefecture…..as an idol group! Now if this plot doesn’t sound totally crazy wait till you see the show itself. I had tears in my eyes from laughing when these girls went up on stage, headbanging to death metal and it’s probably one of the craziest scenes I have ever seen in an anime. I have no idea where this show will go or if it will continue to be this much fun, but so far I am really enjoying it.

First Impression Score: 8 out of 10

Goblin Slayer

 

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Genre: Fantasy

As much as I love the fantasy genre, weirdly enough I have hardly seen any fantasy anime shows. Yeah, I know right, that is strange. So, with Goblin Slayer I hope to change that. A young and very inexperienced priestess, joins an adventuring party on a quest to fight a bunch of nasty goblins. But soon all hell breaks loose, and she finds herself in big trouble. Just when all hope seems lost a mysterious stranger who introduces himself as Goblin Slayer enters the field. This show felt like I was playing Dungeons and Dragons again. I was pretty surprised by the brutality on display here though. Blood flew everywhere, but it was especially the violence against some of the women here (there was even a rape scene) that kind of threw me off. That said though, I still thought this was a solid first episode and I especially like the look of what I assume to be the hero of this anime, Goblin Slayer. So, I’m going to see where this will go.

First Impression Score: 7 out of 10

SSSS. Gridman

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Genre: Science Fiction, Mecha

I already described this one on twitter as the anime version of Pacific Rim and I think that description is fairly accurate. Yūta Hibiki is a highschool boy who has lost his memory. On an old computersystem someone that introduces himself as Hyper Agent Gridman appears and tells the boy he has a mission to fullfill. Apperently he is the only one who can see Gridman too. When a huge monster appears in his city, Yūta has to step up to the call. This first episode was very enjoyable. I loved the fight sequence between the monster and the huge robot, and it kind of gave me this old school anime vibe. Can’t say much more about this one yet though. I do hope it won’t turn into one of those “monster of the week” type of shows which would be kind of a shame. Other than that I kind of enjoyed this for what it was, and look forward to next week’s episode.

First Impression Score: 8 out of 10

Rascal does not dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

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Genre: Romance, Highschool, Supernatural

This is a show I would probably have passed over had I not read about it over on Karandi’s blog. Because really, that title is just crazy. Surprisingly enough, this is the show that has left the biggest impression on me. Highschool boy Sakuta Azusagawa sees a mysterious girl in the school library wearing a bunny suit. If that wasn’t strange enough already he is the only one who can see her. The girl called Mai Sakurajima is a teenage actress who is on hiatus, and is now suffering from what they call “ Adolescence Syndrome”. More and more people are unable to see the girl, and this of course leads to all kinds of problems. How do you order food for instance when no one is able to see you? To say I loved this first episode is an understatement. The entire show just had a certain vibe to it, and I loved the dialogue between the two leads. Add to this the mystery element, as well as some pretty relatable themes and this for me has turned into my favorite show so far.

First Impression Score: 9 out of 10

Sword Art Online: Alicization

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Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Yes people Sword Art Online is back for it’s third season which of course will probably start up all the discussions again on how many people are going to hate on this. I don’t care and I’m proud to say it too: I freaking LOVE this show. The first episode of this new season was 47 minutes long and it was a very strong start of this new arc in my opinion. Kirito and Asuna, as well as a bunch of other fan favorite characters all make a welcome return, with an episode that felt a lot like we were back in the first season of this wonderful anime. Some great action sequences (Yay, we had dragons), a new and mysterious world, and a lot of questions is pretty much what I experienced while watching this opening episode. I do have to say that in all honesty there was a lot of information thrown at us, and some of it still hasn’t really registered with me. But I’m pretty sure with a whopping 50 episode count, there will be enough time to explain all this. Either way, I really had a good time watching it and can’t wait to see how the new season will progress.

First Impression Score: 8 out of 10

Last Impression

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I’m mad!!! Where is show number six!!!!!!

So, observant readers will probably notice that I mentioned I would be watching six shows. But I have only written about five of them. Where is number six? Well, it’s not a new show and it is only a continuation of last season. I’m of course talking about an anime that needs no introduction (and if it does, where have you been all this time): Attack on Titan. The third season so far, while having a totally different vibe than the previous two, has been a total joy to watch. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will stay that way, because right now, it’s slowly turning into my favorite season so far.Well this post is long enough now, so it’s time to put an end to this. I hope you like the choices that I have made (and feel free to let me know in the comments), and I look forward to discussing all these new shows in the upcoming weeks with you. I hope everyone will have a lot of fun watching this season. Thanks for reading and see you on the next post!

Suicide Squad, American movie (2016)

I don’t think that I am the only one when I say that I sometimes like a good bad guy even more than a hero. And if I am the only one that says that, well then I guess I must be weirder than I thought. Anyways all crazyness aside, I just love a good villain. And in comics we certainly have a host of those. Even better, we don’t just call them villains, some we even call SUPER-villains. But are all of these so called bad guys, really bad? While some certainly are pure evil and have no real redeeming qualities, there are also those that have a moral code that we might even identify with. Let’s also not forget those that are, pardon my french, just bat shit crazy. As I tend to sometimes be a little bit crazy myself, I usually enjoy those the most. So, at some point someone thought it would be a good idea to make a comic that teams up some of the major bad hombres in the DC comics universe and let them save the world. In the history of terrible ideas, that one really seems to be at the number one spot right? Well…no. Because it worked and of course it’s no surprise that at some point a movie was made too.

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I could make a really bad caption here, but I guess I’d better not.

Suicide Squad takes place after the events of Batman v Superman. The world is left without it’s greatest hero, and humans try to do what humans do best: they try to find a suitable replacement. Because really what if the next Superman/woman, turns out to be not such a benevolent being? Intelligence officer Amanda Waller has an idea that at first seems totally nuts, but might just be the key to protecting the Earth from new threats. Codenamed Task Force X, it’s a team comprised of some of the worst criminals that are contained in the Belle Reve Special Security Barracks. Chief amongst these are hitman Floyd Lawton also known as Deadshot and the totally insane Harley Quinn. But of course it wil not really come as a surprise that they are not jumping at a chance to become heroes. Nonetheless when an ancient threat appears in the form of the evil witch known as the Enchantress, the team is sent on it’s first mission. A mission where the stakes are very high. How high you say? Well how about the continued survival of the entire human race?

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I’ve been thinking of dying my hair green as well. It seems to be all the rage these days.

This movie is already almost two years old, and I have only just seen it. Yup. I know, that is just crazy, really what am I doing with my life. Okay enough jokers, erm jokes. Let’s dive into my thoughts on this film. It’s hard not to compare a movie like this to The Avengers. The only difference being that in this film we don’t have superheroes teaming up, but a bunch of bad guys. That we don’t know much about. And that is one of the biggest problems this movie has. When the first Avengers film came out, we already were introduced to the likes of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. Here though, we get  a bunch of characters that people who like comics might certainly be familiar with. But the regular audience probably doesn’t know much about them. And they are thrown at you with an incredible speed in the beginning of the film. That in itself would not necessarily be a bad thing. But some just had too little back story to really form an attachment to them. Sure, they look cool, but still it wouldn’t have hurt to maybe find out a little bit more about them.

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Why are you looking at me like that girl?

Luckily though, there are two characters that really carry the movie. It has to be said, Will Smith playing Deadshot does a phenomenal job with this role. He really steps up to the plate in bringing to life a character that is supposedly evil, but honestly really isn’t. It’s one of those truly anti-hero type of characters, who does everything for his daughter, and that you just want to see come out on top. And then there is Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie. She is absolutely amazing. Harley is portrayed as a seductive, sexy, complete whackjob of a woman. However she is probably the most human character out of this entire ensemble. Her love for the Joker (In this film played by a criminally underused Jared Leto), drives her forward. Don’t underestimate her though, because she is lethal as hell as she shows in many of the films most badass scenes. The rest of the squad is comprised out of a lot of cool characters that I would loved to have getten to know better, but alas, that was not to be.

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Yep…she is looking at you. Best not look back, that might not end well for ya.

Suicide Squad doesn’t really feel like a movie to me. It has some great ideas, and there are definitely a couple of scenes that were fun to see, but it just almost felt like I was watching a bunch of clips woven together. The storyline, such as it is, is just really thin. We have a threat that just doesn’t feel like much of one, simply because it lacks enough background to really feel dangerous. The film is mostly comprised of a two hour long, cgi filled, shoot-em up. The saving grace of this movie really are the terrific performances by Smith and Robbie. Those two alone make the movie still worthwhile to watch. This film really could have been gold. It has a great premise, with a bunch of fun characters, but it ultimately falls short. So, once again DC unfortunately fails to really go to war with their biggest rival Marvel. But then again, who is keeping score anyway. Ultimately, it’s still a movie worth seeing at least once. Just don’t expect to see anything earthshattering here.

I give Suicide Squad a 6 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: My top 10 Solo Boardgames (part 1)

You all still know Arthifis right? He and I did a fun collab post earlier this week about the art of commenting, and if you missed that one you can find it right here. So why mention him again? Well for starters he is a great guy and if you are not yet following his blog, you should do so immediately. His posts are diverse, often offer some great advice on the art of blogging, and are always a joy to read. And I did already mention he was a great guy right? Anyways a few weeks ago he asked me if I could maybe do a top 10 list for my favorite solo boardgames. Well, how can I say no to a request like that? So Arthifis, this post is for you! I decided to break this one down into two parts, so you all don’t have to scroll for ages or get incredibly bored by it all. I love playing boardgames but I don’t always have people I can play them with. So that’s why I love the fact that there are some really cool games out there that can be played on your own, and be just as much fun as if you are playing with a group.

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Now, this list is made up of games that I own myself, but in no way is it near complete. There is a huge range of boardgames out there that I haven’t played yet, and offer some great solo options as well. But, that said, I still hope you will enjoy going through this and find something you might like. If you want to see some of the games I feature in this post in action, you might want to check out the channel the Vitruvian Gamer over on Youtube. It’s hosted by Kurt, truly one of the nicest guys you are ever likely to meet, and he always has amazing playthrough videos amongs other things that are well worth the watch. I have provided a link here if you are interested and want to subscribe to his channel. I’m sure he will appreciate it. So, with all that out of the way, let’s go and start the countdown shall we?

10: Fuse

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Not every game needs to be complex or take hours to play. Fuse is a fun dice game, where you literally race against the clock to prevent bombs going of on a spaceship. There is a timer that counts down from the 10 minute mark, and within that time you have to defuse bombs with your dice. Some of these are easy, and some are extremely hard. In the meantime the ship’s A.I. System talks to you (provided by a free App) and becomes ever more crazy when the clock nears the zero mark. It’s just a fun, quick little game that can be learned in minutes. If you want a more indepth look at this, you might want to check out my review for it here.

9. Legacy of Dragonholt

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Well, most of you have probably heard of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. The problem with roleplaying games however is that hardly any of them can be played solo. This one though, is totally different. It’s a game that is kind of a choose your own adventure where you are taken on a epic quest throughout a fantasy realm. I haven’t yet had a chance to really dive into this one, but you can expect a review for it somewhere along the way. I love the way it looks, and the game is huge and will take you many days to complete. Also it has a very detailed character creation system, but still offers little to no rules, that are mostly learned by just delving into the game itself.

8. Death Angel: The Space Hulk cardgame

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This cardgame based on the popular boardgame of the same name, takes you on journey into the bowels of a derelict spacecraft. You take control of a squad of Terminator Space Marines, that have a mission to carry out. However the ship is infested by the vicious Genestealer aliens, and succes is by no means certain. This game is nailbiting and very tough. Every round you have to make splitsecond decisions where you give orders to your troops. These orders can mean life or dead for your squad. As more Marines are killed off, the game becomes ever more challenging. This is a truly great game, but sadly it’s one that is now out of print. Still the good news is that there are still a few websites that have the game on offer. If you like movies such as Alien, this is one game you might want to check out.

7. Samurai Spirit

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This game is so much fun. It places you in the middle of a village that is getting attacked by a series of bandits, and you have to defend it. And by you I mean a bunch of samurai that have mystic powers, and can even transform into animal spirits. It brings back memories of classic Samurai films from Japanese cinema. This is also a game that is very easy to learn and has a lot of replayability in it as well. There are a huge number of different options available to you, and that is what makes this game so much fun to play. It’s another game that I wrote a post on, so if you want some more information for this just click on the link provided right here.

6. Hostage Negotiator

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This game is specifically designed to be played solo. And not only that it is one that really has one of the most unique settings ever. If you have seen the film the Negotiator it can almost be said that this is the game version of that film. A really unsteady individual has taken captive a number of people, and it is up to you to talk the guy or girl down. The game pretty much takes you through a conversation with the terrorist, while you try to negotiate with him or her to release the hostages. You can buy cards that offer you more options in such negotiations, and depending on the stress level of the captor, you will have a number of them open to you. This is another nailbiter, where you race against time to save a set number of people. If too many hostages die, it’s game over. There are quite a few expansions available for this game as well, that will pit you against different kinds of kidnappers.

Well…that’s it for part one. Stay tuned for part two next week, where I will be covering some of my alltime favorite games. Thanks for reading and I hope you will all have a great weekend!

Bleach, Japanese movie (2018)

There are times when I feel like I am a total noob when it comes to anime. Yes, I know that I need to give myself some credit and say that I still seem to watch it enough, and am maybe not a complete and utterly ignorant person when it comes to this medium. But, nonetheless there are still a lot of fan favorite shows that I have only heard of by name, but have never seen. I do like a challenge and still try to catch up with some shows. I have to say though, that nothing is more daunting than having some animes now have over 300 episodes (and some even reaching more staggering amounts). As much as I would love to watch some of those, I know that realistically I simply don’t have the time to see those kind of numbers. Bleach is one of those animes. Having done some research this series has now 366 episodes. I could finish this one maybe if I would watch one episode a day. But I know that I am deluding myself, and will simply admit defeat. Recently Netflix has released a live action movie for it that came recommended to me by Karandi.

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Why….so….serious!

Well, I assume a lot of you are probably already thinking that you will move on, and pass  on this one. I would not even blame you. When it comes to live action adaptations I often find myself wondering what the point of these are. The people that love anime, love exactly that: anime! So why turn an animation into a live action version? Probably to hopefully reach a bigger audience, and maybe get people interested in it more. But often they are just cash grabs, and are dowright mediocre, or even worse: total crap. However there are always exceptions to the rule, and Bleach seems to be one of them at least. Now, as I knew literally next to nothing about the anime (only the name and that a lot of people seem to think very highly of it), I also had the unique position that I had nothing to compare it too. Which also meant that I had no expectations for it. So if you are looking for a review that describes how well (or how badly) it holds up to the original anime, you are better off reading Karandi’s excellent post for it. I really enjoyed reading that one, and it also gave me a little insight in the anime. So what will I be doing here than in this post? Well, I’m just going to give you a review as if this were any other movie. I know, boring right? Hey, I never said that I wasn’t predictable.

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Pointing your sword that way is just asking for trouble these days….

Remember the phrase “ I see dead people” from the amazing film The Sixth Sense? No? Ugh, shame on you. Well anyways, Ichigo Kurosaki can see them too. Who is this guy you ask? Erm, okay I guess I am kind of jumping into this a little bit too fast. Ichigo Kurosaki is  a teenager and the hero of this movie. Now with that explanation given, lets move on. One day his ability to see ghosts, lets him meet up with Rukia Kuchiki. And she is not just a simple ghost, but has the badass job description of being a Soul Reaper. Now this means she has a mission to guide the souls of dead people to a place called the Soul Society. While this might not sound too bad, there is also a darker side to her mission. And that comes in the form of Hollows, absolutely horrific looking lost souls, that can both harm ghosts and the living. While in the middle of a fight with one of them, trying to defend Ichigo and his young sister, Rukia gets hurt pretty badly. She makes a decision to transfer her powers to Ichigo. But these new powers might just be more than the young man can handle. Not only does he have a fight on his hands with a monstrous Hollow called the Grand Fisher, but there also two Soul Reapers that have it in for him. And they don’t seem all that pleased that he now has Rukia’s powers…..

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Some people just have a big mouth!

Bleach is an action packed, sometimes funny, sometimes scary movie, that certainly was worth the watch. Not everything in this movie worked, but overall this movie definitely entertained. Let’s start with the cast first. The main hero is played by actor Sota Fukushi. He does a pretty adequate job in portraying a bit of a cynical teenager who while at times seems to be in way over his head, still manages to hold his own in the new situation he finds himself in. I do say adequate because quite honestly I didn’t think his acting abilities were too good. In the many action sequences the film contains however, he does come across as very convincing. I liked the character of Rukia more though. Played by actress Hana Sugisaki, she played a role that was quite endearing. The young Soul Reaper was one of those characters that tries to be tough, but really has a heart of gold. It was nice to see her try to avoid becoming a friend to Ichigo, but of course in the end failing to do so. The rest of the cast had far less screentime and as such was harder to form an attachment too. The two other Soul Reapers that had a score to settle with Ichigo I found to be overacting at times, but maybe that was the way their characters were supposed to be like.

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Seriously dude, you need to do something with that hair of yours. 

So how about the special effects then? I have to say that they were very convincing and quite good. I really loved the designs of the Hollows, and as far as monster designs go they were pretty horrific. Action wise, the film has some seriously cool swordfights, and ofcourse Ichigo trying to defeat the monstrous lost souls. All of these scenes looked top notch, and were quite enjoyable. The end fight sequence though was a little bit disappointing. It went pretty overboard and it even became laughable which is something I don’t think was what they intended it to be. Overall though, Bleach is quite the entertaining film. It contains some quirky but fun characters, a nice storyline and great action. Not knowing anything about the anime, I do find myself beginning to realise why this one has become such a fan favorite. Maybe I should set aside some time to go ahead and watch it anyway. It is after all only 366 episodes long. Yeah…right….like that will ever happen. Oh well, wishful thinking I guess.

I give Bleach a 7 out of 10 score.

Sword Art Online: Sword of Fellows, A boardgame for 1-4 players by Kadokawa

Have you noticed that small text in the left hand corner of my blog? (Made you look didn’t I?) It actually says Michel’s Book/Boardgame/Movie review blog. One would almost forget that I love boardgames too, as my last post on a boardgame dates back to the beginning of this year. So, it’s time to change that and do a new review for a small but fun little dice game based on the popular anime Sword Art Online. And this one is for Rose (go check out her awesome blog if you haven’t already!) as I promised her this post quite a while back. Sorry it took me some time to finally get this one done, but hey I usually always try to keep my promises. On the box it says this is a boardgame, but quite honestly I think this is much more a dice game than a boardgame. But whatever label you put on this, it really doesn’t matter. It’s a fun game and one that you will like especially if you enjoyed the first season of the anime. For those of you that are unfamiliar with this, Sword Art Online takes place in 2022 where a popular virtual reality game is introduced to the world. However something goes horribly wrong and all the players become trapped in the game. And dying in the videogame, means dying in the real world as well. With that cheery note done, let’s go check out what we have here!

Components

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One has to love that box art!

Even though this is a pretty small box, I have to say that it contains a lot of pretty cool stuff. The first thing to notice are the awesome (and very cute) special dice that are included. I have made an enlarged picture for you guys down below, so you can see them better. Yes those totally are the faces of a couple of the main characters of the anime. We have six of them in this game, and of course Kirito and Asuna are amongst them. The characters themselves are depicted on six oversized cards that provide information you will need during the game. We then have nine item cards that showcase some things that will help you as the game progresses. Also included are some tokens, cards that represent the dangers you will face during the game, and of course the set would not be complete without a rules booklet. I honestly have to say that it isn’t the best rules guide ever written, but it does pretty much get the job done for the most part. All in all the components are very decent, and bring the anime to life in a good way.

Game Overview

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These dice are just Kawaii!!

So, how does this game work? Basically it has you take on the role of one of the characters from the anime and fight your way through, all the way to the top level of Aincrad. The weapons at your disposal are dice. Yes, they won’t really do much damage in real life (unless you throw them at someone that you don’t like really hard and really fast), but in this game they are your offensive weapons. Depending on which character you choose, you have special attack paterns which you use to defeat the enemies of the floor you are currently on. You have three floors to get through in total until you reach the final boss. Whenever you clear a floor, the characters level up and get more powerful skills at their disposal. But that of course also means that on the next floor the enemies become more powerful, so you will need those newly acquired skills. This is pretty much what they call a “push your luck” dicegame, though it also requires a bit of strategy.

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The way to the top is always difficult…..

To defeat the enemies on a floor you roll the dice and compare them to your character card. Different combinations cause different levels of damage. So it is up to you to decide which attacks to use agains the current enemy. You are allowed to re-roll your dice two times and that’s where the challenge lies. Are you happy with the current results, or will you try to re-roll hoping for a better and higher level of damage? Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget the enemies fight back too. And when they cause enough damage to you, you die and the game is over. The fun thing is you can chain your attacks with other characters (in a solo game you play two characters at the same time) to cause even more damage…..if you are lucky. The game continues until either one of the player characters die, or the final floor is reached and the ultimate boss is destroyed.

Difficulty

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Ahhhh…so many good memories. How I love this series!

This game is not the most difficult one to learn, but it will take a bit of time to figure out exactly how everything works. The hardest thing really is to determine when to use which attack. Sometimes it can be a good thing to use a relatively easy dice roll in order to cause a low level damage attack. But then again, that won’t win you the game, so there are also times when you just have to take some risks. Winning the game is not easy, but it’s also not impossible. Of course with dice a lot of luck is involved, but I also liked the fact that the game encourages you to use some strategy. I found myself thinking a lot in this game calculating what to do, how much damage I could still take and maybe use a stronger attack in a later turn. With some trial and error pretty much everyone will be able to conquer this game, and learn it’s many secrets.

The Verdict

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Small box, big on content!

This is just one of those quick games that you can pick up and play whenever you have some time to waste. I loved the fact that this game really managed to capture the heart and soul of the anime. As you play through the scenarios and encounter some of the enemies and situations that Kirito and his friends found themselves in, I really felt myself thinking back to how much I loved the anime. It’s not for the first time that I really have this huge urge in me to rewatch the anime, seeing as I am a huge fan and haven’t even written a review for any of it’s seasons on my blog. But…that is a story for another time. Sword of Fellows is a fun little game that can be enjoyed by anyone, even those who haven’t seen the anime. The dicerolling mechanics work well, and it has quite a bit of replayability too as the floors are randomised each time you play the game.Each game takes about 30 minutes to play, and set up time is minimal. It will probably not be a game that you will pick up each day, but it is one that will return to the table quite a few times whenever you have some time to spare. So…..LINK START!!

I give Sword Art Online: Sword of Fellows a 8 out of 10 score.

 

He-man and the Masters of the Universe: Mini Comic Collection (2015)

I grew up in the 80’s and for me that was a time that I remember fondly for two things: saturday morning cartoons, and the wonderful toys that these cartoons got their inspiration from. When I was a kid I used to get up at about 7 o’clock in the morning on saturday, turn on the tv to Sky Channel and there it was: the program that set my young eyes alight: Fun Factory. For the first two hours or so, Fun Factory was okayish. But things became really interesting when the “big three” came on: M.A.S.K., He-man and Transformers. Ahhh..to think back on those days, even though they are so many years ago (jeezzzzz I really AM getting old), just brings a smile to my face. When you look at the cartoons from this era and compare them to the golden oldies from the 80’s one can only say that they just don’t make them like they used too. I was and still am a huge Transformers fan (like many kids back in those days). But one of the biggest rivals of Transformers, a dude with a big sword called He-man, honestly failed to impress me. I never bought a He-man toy, and I really did not enjoy the cartoon as much.

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This is a pretty big book alright.

Now, thirty years later, I came into posession of the complete series of He-man and the Masters of the Universe on dvd. And…I am loving it. For some reason I have found a new appreciation of the cartoon, but that is a story for another day. As is most often the case when I all of a sudden have a new obsession, I want to find out more about it. And that brings me to this incredible tome that was released a few years back by Dark Horse comics. He-man and the Masters of the Universe Mini Comic Collection reproduces the comics that came with the toys. Well as I was never interested in the toys in the first place I did not even know of the existence of these comics until I read about this book. The first thing you will notice is how thick this book is (and for that matter how much it weighs). With a massive 1232 pages it will take you a while to get through it all. So what exactly does this book offer you?

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Gotta love that retro comic book style.

This being a comic collection it will not come as a huge surprise when I tell you this humongous book contains comics, and a lot of them. Nearly 70 comics in total are collected here, ranging from the orginal 1982 toylines of He-man and his sister She-ra to a shortlived comic run that should have served as a revival for the series but never quite took off. Besides the comics themselves it also contains a wealth of background info on the series,  which includes interviews with some of the writers and pencilers that created these works of art. And I do mean art. As you might have noticed from a couple of the shots I have included in this post, there was some major talent involved when you like at the drawings alone. I love the oldschool style of some of these comics, and for anyone who grew up with comics in the 80’s it’s hard to not smile at the nostalgic feel of it all. At the start of this run, you could hardly speak of comics as they were more stories that were accompanied by pictures. Later the series evolved and became more traditional looking comics.

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The early comics could not really be called comics in the traditional sense of the word.

The art is good, but how are the stories themselves? Well, they range from totally awesome to downright sucky, if you will pardon my French. But overall though most of the comics are pretty cool. It’s classic good vs evil type of storytelling where He-man fights against his nemesis the evil lord Skeletor and his henchmen. A fun fact to know is that one of the comics was written by Robert Kirkman. If that name doesn’t ring a bell he is the creator of a little known comicbook/tv series called The Walking Dead. This being a kid show, are these comics any fun to read when you are an adult? Well, quite frankly yes. He-man always has been a series that targeted an audience of 12 years and older (and ofcourse younger children still watched it anyway because it was cool to do so), and as such some of the stories and comics depict some pretty gruesome creatures and situations. In fact one of the covers of these comics caused quite a big disturbance at the time of it’s release because it was very brutal and had parents all over the world in uproar.

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Gee, I wonder why parents got upset by this cover?

This book is absolutely amazing. If you have a warm heart towards 80’s cartoons, or a love for oldschool type comics, this is a collection that you just have to pick up. It isn’t even a very expensive book, and for the amount of stuff it contains it is well worth the price. It gives a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of these mini-comics and the amount of work that went into creating these. Even if you have never heard of He-man it’s worth checking it out, especially if you like fantasy type storytelling combined with some of the best art possible. Even though not all of the comics are of the same quality, you will get enough of a kick out of these to make you enjoy it, and forget about some of the lesser comics. In other words go and relive your childhood if you grew up with these cartoons, and buy this book. I promise you, you will not regret it. By the power of Grayskull: I HAVE THE POWERRRRRR!!!!!!

I give He-man the Masters of the Universe mini comic collection a 9 out of 10 score.

Sword Art Online-Ordinal Scale, Japanese (animated) movie (2017)

The world of computergames is vast. Some say it is currently one of the biggest entertainment mediums, bigger even than Hollywood movies. Many of you already know this but I used to be a very fanatical gamer. One could argue that I was so fanatical that it wasn’t even healthy anymore. But that’s a thing of the past now, as I have stopped playing computergames altogether, well on consoles that is. I do play the occasional game on my Ipad, but that’s nowhere near the level of games that I was used to playing. Games these days are becoming ever more immersive, with virtual reality being one of the latest trends. Putting on special goggles, gamers can experience the gaming world in a way that is almost lifelike. I do say almost, as of course the technology isn’t anywhere close to the things you sometimes see in science fiction movies. Two years ago, around the time when my blog was up and running for a few months, I discovered the anime Sword Art Online, which focusses heavily on virtual reality gaming. It fast became one of my alltime favorite animeseries and now I have a huge collection of merchandise from that series (proving once again my point that I can truly become obsessed when I like something).

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Don’t look now, but I think you might have something stuck in your ear.

Last year a movie that was a follow-up to the series saw the light of day, and now I finally had the chance to see this one for myself as it was released on dvd two weeks ago. (Well here in Europe anyway). Was it worth the wait? Hell yeah it was! It is the year 2026, and the world is under the spell of the Augma device, a new system that allows players all over the world to simulate reality while still being conscious. As a few years prior players became trapped in a virtual reality game called Sword Art online, that used a full dive system, this new device is deemed much safer. We once again meet up with Kirito and Asuna, both survivors of the horrible SOA event, and not surprisingly both are also using the Augma to play the newest and most popular game Ordinal Scale. Although Kirito doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself as much. But then a new event is introduced to the game: old boss monsters from the Sword Art Online world begin appearing accompanied by the mysterious AI idol singer Yuna. What at first seems like a fun and welcome addition to the game, soon begins to take on a much more sinister shape. With Asuna’s life on the line, Kirito has to find out what is going on, before it’s too late. But it might already be too late, for Kirito seems to have met his match in the form of a player that is able to counter his every move….

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Gotta love Asuna’s new look in this film.

Sword Art Online is a series that is hated upon by a lot of animefans. I’m not going to start up that old discussion as I am here to talk about this movie. Suffice it to say though that I am a huge fan of this anime, in fact so much so that it has taken up a spot on my personal top 3 of favorite animeseries. When I first heard about the fact that there would finally be something coming out that would continue the storyline I was delighted. At the same time though I also felt anxious. What if it would suck? Well, having finally been able to see this film now, I am very glad to let you all know that my fears were unfounded. If you are a fan of the animeseries you will love this. Let’s talk about the storyline first. One of the things I really liked about it, is the way it treated the main characters of Asuna and especially Kirito. It was very refreshing to see the latter being out of his element and not the powerhouse player we are used to seeing in the series. Kirito really struggles within this new life and death game, and it takes him a long while to adapt. Asuna also at a certain point becomes very vulnerable, and it’s a side we are not always used to seeing from the starstruck couple. It’s their relationship and love for each other that continues to be heartwarming, and very touching though.

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GET READYYYYYYY: FIGHT!!!!

Another thing I liked about the film’s story is some of the questions it asked that really made you think.What if you were able to forget about things from your past that were not very happy thoughts or events?  Would you do that if you were able to? Or are they a part of your life no matter how unhappy these memories might be? I think that is an intriguing question and one that could almost be the topic for an entire post or at the very least a lively discussion. The movie runs for two hours, and it is in my opinion just a tad bit too long. Some of the story elements felt a bit forced, and a few of the side characters had way too little screentime, but were probably just added to the mix for the fans. Nevertheless there are also quite a few things in it for fans of the original series that will in all likelyhood give you a few goosebumps. On the action front the film doesn’t disappoint. Even though it’s not a full on fight fest, there are enough action scenes in the film that make it very satisfying. The fights also feel much more threatening and dangerous.

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I just love my special edition boxed set version of this movie 😀

 

While the animation might not be as beautiful as some of the higher level animefilms out there, I still found it to be very decent, with some spectacular setpieces. The new outfits for most of the characters also worked quite well and had a really nice look to it. Another thing that plays a big role in this film is the music. With the introduction of the new character of Yuna, an AI idol singer, there were quite a number of scenes that featured her singing. At times it almost felt as if I was watching a new installment of the  Macross saga. But I have to admit that this element did work quite well and wasn’t distracting in the least. The music featured in the film fits the tone of Sword Art Online and as such is very pleasing to the ear. Even though the film can be watched on it’s own without any prior knowledge of the world of Sword Art Online, you will find it more enjoyable if you first watch the original anime. If you hated SOA in the first place, this movie won’t make you love the series all of a sudden. For the fans though this is a more than decent follow up to the original anime and with the words Sword Art Online will return at the end of the credits, we can rest assured that we haven’t seen the last of Kirito and Asuna. And I would not have it any other way. Link start !

I give Sword Art Online-Ordinal Scale a 8 out of 10 score.

March Theme Reveal: Anime

Goodmorning, goodafternoon , goodevening, or maybe even goodnight! No idea when you are reading this post ofcourse, but I always try to be polite. So, we are already at the halfway point of February, and that means it is time to reveal the theme for next month. A few of you already knew about this (because really I am terrible at keeping secrets), but for those of you that didn’t yet know or for some reason missed the title of this post: it’s anime! I’m very excited for this month, for not only is it a theme that is very close to my heart, it’s also because if all goes well I have some collab posts lined up that I am really looking forward to. Just like last month I am going to ask you for some help again. For this month I am going to be reviewing two animes that will be selected by you the readers. And yes…..there are again a couple of rules for this. Ugh….I know I hate them too. But let’s get them over with, shall we?

The Rules

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Ughhhh…rules? Again? This is getting so annoying!

Well, don’t worry I’m not going to make them very tough again, so here goes:

  • The anime must either be on Crunchyroll or Netflix (please bear in mind that I live in Holland, so not every show might be available to me. If it isn’t I ofcourse will let you know, so you are able to choose another one)
  • The anime must have a maximum length of 12-13 episodes (It can be a first season, if it has that number of episodes)
  • Any genre of anime is allowed, except full on comedy series (sorry, I just don’t like that genre and would not even know how to write a review for that)
  • Leave your choice for the two animes in the comments section
  • You can leave a comment on this post up until the 25th of February
  • The two animes that will be selected will be revealed on the 1st of March and just like last month I am going to use a random number generator to determine who has won
  • The two bloggers that have won will get an honorable mention on my blog

That’s it! Pretty simple huh? As always I want to thank you for your help, and I am really looking forward to seeing what you are going to come up with. Rest assured for the people that are not into anime, there will still be other content as well such as movie reviews and hopefully another Korean drama series. See you on the next post!

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Okay, let’s get out of here!