Tag Archives: Manga

Alita Last Order Omnibus vol.1, A Japanese manga book (2011)

The Japanese manga Battle Angel Alita, or Gunnm as it is known in Japan, has been praised by none other than director James Cameron. He is a huge fan of this manga, and has been wanting to direct a live action movie based on it for quite some time now. I doubt it will ever get to see the light of day though, as it has been announced so many times that is almost becoming laughable. For those of you unfamiliair with the original manga let me tell you quickly what the story is about.

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Battle Angel Alita is set in a post apocalyptic future and is centered around the character of Alita, a female cyborg. She was originally found in a junkyard, robbed of all her memories. The cybernetics doctor who finds Alita, decides to rebuild her, and when she awakens she discovers that there is actually one thing she does remember. It is the ancient legendary martial art of Panzer Kunst. With this deadly skill she eventually takes on the profession of  bounty hunter. The world she lives in is an interesting and very unique one. The floating city of Tiphares is the cause of a massive scrapheap on the surface which surrounds the aptly named city of Scrapyard. As the city of Tiphares is off limits to surface dwellers, they are forced to make a living amongst the junk, a very hard life indeed.

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Alita Last Order continues the storyline of the original manga, but does pretty much ignore the original ending, or so I have heard. While I did read a few chapters of the first Battle Angel Alita series, I have never completed it. But so far I have been able to follow the storyline along just fine without all the knowledge of the original manga. Alita Last Order starts off with the resurrection of Alita by her enemy/ally Desty Nova. Their relationship has always been a complex one, and it continues to be so in the new series. The story this time takes place on Tiphares, on which quite a number of things have changed. The city has turned into complete chaos, and numerous rebellions are underway. Amidst the chaos Alita tries to find out what happened to her old friend Lou, but at the same she also searches for more answers to her own forgotten past. Both things are incredibly hard to do, as Alita is about to find out…

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While I still prefer anime to manga, this series was just to good to resist. I fell in love with the character of Alita quite a few years ago, when I first laid eyes on her in the original manga. While visiting Animecon 2017 last month, I was amazed to find out that the series had continued in this new form, and as such I bought all five omnibus editions. The first installment certainly did not disappoint. The art for this is absolutely breathtaking, and at times I just kept staring at certain panels to admire them. Alita contains enough action to keep your attention throughout the entire 650 page count, but the story itself also is worth every minute of your time. The theme that keeps returning the most is the question of what it is like to be human. But even though that has been featured so many times in other media, Alita turns it upside down, and still manages to be original too. I simply have nothing negative to say about this series. If you love dystopian post apocalyptic science fiction stories, featuring great art, and enough action to leave you gasping at air, I highly recommend you check this manga out.

I give Alita Last Order Omnibus Volume 1 a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Special Features Presents: Animecon 2017, part 2

Hello everyone, welcome to the second part of my report from Animecon 2017, which I attended this weekend. You can find the first part right Here. Without further ado let’s gets on with the second part.

The food

Ofcourse it would not be a good thing to go without food for three days, and luckily the con as well as the hotel had plenty of great things on offer. I especially enjoyed the tasty udon flavoured cup noodles. They were absolutely delicious, and I helped myself to these twice. There was a lot of variety to choose from, ranging from homemade ramen to hamburgers and vegan food. There was something tasty for everyone.

Too much stuff to buy

I knew going into this con that this would definitely not be good for my wallet. And it really wasn’t, lol. I bought way too much stuff, but it was all definitely worth it. Besides the entire manga series of Battle Angel Alita, I got a lot of Animeseries on dvd, some new, some old, but all of them pretty cool. Yes I know, as if I did not have too much stuff to watch already. I also got a great modelkit for a Mobile Suit Gundam Wing classic guntank, which will be great to put together. All in all I have really gotten soms terrific new stuff, and I could not be happier with it.

What I saw: movies

Besides anime there were also a lot of Asian movies to watch. Just as with the anime on offer I had to make a choice as to what to watch, and these three films were the ones I eventually ended up seeing.

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This was the movie that I was looking forward to the most, and it did not disappoint. I had to stay up till three o’clock at night in order to see it, but wow was it worth it. This Korean zombie movie was a blockbuster back in it’s homeland, and it also became a huge succes worldwide. Suffice it say that for me it has been the best Korean movie that I have seen, and you can expect a review for this movie on my blog very soon.

 

 

 

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The description for this movie said this was supposed to be a heartwarming  movie, that would leave no heart untouched. Well, I don’t know if whoever gave that description saw the same film that I did, but it was one of the most depressing movies that I have seen in quite a while. It tells the story of a couple that were about to break up, but end up staying together because the woman got pregnant. This film was really boring, and a great disappointment. Definitely wished I had avoided this one.

 

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The last movie I saw was Ken and Kazu! , which I highly enjoyed. This was a seriously brutal crime movie, but one that had a great storyline and some terrific acting. Ken and Kazu are lifelong friends, that make their living by drug smuggling for their boss. One day Kazu decides to start making money for himself, without their boss knowing this. This is the beginning of a violent spiral, that can only end in bloodshed. The two leadactors did a great job, and this film definitely stood out in the oversaturated Yakuza movie genre.

 

Final notes

To say that I had a great time this weekend is pretty much an understatement. I ended up seeing a lot of great films and anime, highly enjoyed all the things on offer, and the atmosphere was just terrific. My only regret was not attending any of the workshops that were organised. I decided to go for the movies and anime this year, but next year I’m probably going to turn this around and go to some of the workshops as well. My hats off to all the organisers of this con for making this such an entertaining weekend. I will leave you with a couple of pictures I took to give you an impression of this great weekend. As always thank you for reading and see you at the next post !

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Special Features Presents: Animecon 2017 Part 1

Hello everyone. As most of you that have been following my blog know, I have attended Animecon 2017 this weekend. To say that Animecon only focusses itself on anime would be selling it short. If I were to give a description for it, I would say it is more a celebration of all things Asian. Besides being able to watch a lot of anime, there are also all kinds of Asian movies to see, workshops to participate in, games to play, and a whole lot of other stuff. I have made this post to give you an impression of my weekend, and I hope you will enjoy reading it.

The Hotel

Animecon took place in The Hague, which is about a two hour drive from where I live. So in order to not travel back and forth the entire weekend, I decided to stay at a hotel. Normally this would be pretty expensive, but because of the con taking place, a special discount was granted. It was one of the most luxurious hotels that I have ever stayed at, and as you can see from the pictures above, the room itself as well as the view was pretty amazing.

Busy, busy, busy….

It was a very busy weekend with a lot of people attending. Checking in at the hotel took me almost 40 minutes, and getting in to the con itself also took me just about the same time. At least everyone was in very good spirits, and I got to admire a lot of cosplayers. The weather outside was luckily very good, so I honestly did not mind the wait.

What I saw: Anime

Ofcourse with a title like Animecon one should not be surprised that there was a lot of anime on offer. With four different movie theatres playing all kinds of different shows and movies at the same time, you had to make a selection. Down below is an overview of the anime that I chose to see.

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This was a pretty fun series to start off with. For some reason it reminded me a bit of Harry Potter. It tells the story of a girl called Kohana who attends The Magical Arts High School. Upon her arrival she meets a number of people there, that throughout a variety of different arts can produce sparkles, a kind of magical effect. I don’t exactly know why, but I found this series to be quite enjoyable. It was beautifully animated, the characters looked great, and the story was pretty unique.

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This series seriously creeped me out. It was too bad they only showed the first 5 episodes because I could have continued watching this the entire evening. A massive earth quake destroys the city of Shibuya. Six years later the city has been rebuilt, and the survivors continue with their lives. But then a series of mysterious deaths begin to occur that happen to coincide with a string of murders that also happened six years ago. With genuinely disturbing imagery, and a very scary atmosphere, I absolutely loved this one.

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The Piano Forest was a very beautiful movie, that focussed on a young boy called Shuhei who moves from Tokyo to a smaller city. Shuhei’s dream is to become the best piano player in the world, but because of that he at first doesn’t fit in with his classmates at the local school. But then he comes in contact with the young boy Kai, who lives in the Red Light District. Kai also plays the piano, but in a nearby forest on a mysterious piano that only he seems to be able to get to work. A friendship is soon formed between the unlikely pair, but one that does not come easy. Although this movie was pretty slow, the story was very engaging, and just a great watch from beginning to end.

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This was old school anime at it’s best. A series that was made back in the 80’s, it has influences from classic movies like Blade Runner. It tells the story of four girls who make up the Knight Sabers, who fight crime in a future city in high powered exo suits. With blasting 80’s rockmusic, a great atmosphere, and a classic animation style, this was great to see back again after all these years.

 

 

And that’s it for the first part of this report. Join me again on the second part, where I will talk about the Asian films that I have seen this weekend. Also I will be showing you some of the great food on offer as well as the new things that I bought (and trust me when I say that my wallet was pretty empty after this weekend lol). As always thank you for reading, and I hope to see you back for part 2, that will be published later today.

 

Blame!, Japanese (animated) movie (2017)

The Netflix original animeseries Knights of Sidonia, I had kind of a love/hate relationship with. On the one hand it has some very cool concepts, and definitely quite a few interesting episodes. On the other hand it also featured some very bland characters with little to no development of those said characters whatsoever. It is hard to get attached to a series in that way. I have done reviews for both Season 1 and Season 2 which you might want to check out if you are interested. This week Netflix has released a new animated feature made by the same people responsible for Knights of Sidonia. It is based on a 10 volume cyberpunk manga that was released in 1998. Has this movie been able to avoid some of the mistakes that were made in Knights of Sidonia ? Let’s find out shall we?

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Hi, my name is Killy and this is my gun. 

Blame! takes place in a very dark future, but it never becomes quite clear exactly where this story is taking place. A gigantic city that continues to expand and self replicate has been infected by a virus in the distant past. Because of this, it has decided that people should be wiped out. Pockets of humanity that are still alive struggle daily, scrounging for food and trying to avoid Watchers that are hellbent on killing everything. A small enclave of humans known as the Electro-fishers, are close to extinction. One of them, a girl named Zuru is out on a patrol trying to find food, together with a few of her companions. Unfortunately they are soon discovered by a Watchtower of the gigantic city, that unleashes a stream of enemies to kill them all. But then a mysterious stranger appears that manages to save them. Introducing himself as Killy, he says that he is human and is looking for people that have the Net Terminal Genes. With these, he might be able to stop the expansion of the city, and rescue humanity. But the question is if Killy’s motives are entirely noble, or if there is some darker purpose that he is working for….

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It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. 

Blame! has quite a few things that it does right. For one thing I really like the premise for this one. The story of an ever expanding city, that is totally focussed on wiping out humans is pretty cool. It created a very dark atmosphere that at times reminded me of the sci-fi classic The Matrix. The background designs, and animation are also pretty good. Even though at times it looked a bit like I was watching Knights of Sidonia, I thought it looked better than that series. Action wise there is a lot to enjoy as well. Killy has some pretty cool fight scenes, especially towards the end of the film, and those were highly entertaining.

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These people sure like to take every opportunity to show off their guns. 

Sadly though Blame! features characters that I really could not relate to at all. The only one that was remotely interesting was the main hero Killy, who looked very cool, but also had a dark and mysterious vibe to him that somehow worked. The rest of the cast though I could not care less about. In a post apocalyptic future, with people struggling daily, I think it would be very important to create a background for  your characters. But pretty much everyone in this movie seemed to made out of cardboard, without any kind of depth to them. And that for me was a major flaw that  made the movie at the end a bit of a forgettable experience. It was not a total waste though. As mentioned the concept itself is very cool, and there are enough scenes that are definitely worth watching. I just felt that this movie could have been so much better, and as such it was a wasted opportunity. Still, if you like dark cyberpunk science fiction movies, you might want to give this one a try. Just keep your expectations for it low.

I give Blame! a 6 out of 10 score.

Akira, Japanese (Animated) movie (1988)

It has been called one of the most influential films of all time. A movie that many feel is responsible for causing Anime to become popular in the Western world. Based on the Manga of the same name that consisted of more than 2000 pages, a lot of people still find this one of the finest anime movies ever created. I am ofcourse talking about the masterpiece called Akira, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, the man that also created and wrote the manga. So why is this movie so incredible, and still after all these years a classic that has withstood the test of time very, very well? I will get to that question shortly, but let me first start with describing what this movie is about, for those that are not yet familiar with it.

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In the year 1988 a strange psychic event occurs that completely obliterates the city of Tokyo. Soon after, World War Three starts, and Tokyo is rebuild into a new city called Neo Tokyo. The movie itself picks up the story right after these events. It is now the year 2019, and Neo-Tokyo has become a city with wide scale riots and motorcycle gangs that rule the streets. One of these gangs led by the young Kaneda, one night gets into a fight with another gang called the Clowns. During the fight one of Kaneda’s best friends, Tetsuo Shima, nearly runs over a strange boy who is right in the midde of the street. Crashing his motorcycle, Tetsuo is seriously injured and is taken to the hospital. Once there it soon becomes clear that the boy he nearly ran over, was no ordinary boy but someone who possessed strange psychic powers. And it appears that Tetsuo has now somehow also received these powers. Meanwhile Kaneda desperately searches for his friend, while being pursued by secret government forces. However Tetsuo’s powers soon begin to grow out of control, and the event that destroyed Tokyo so many years ago might repeat itself…..

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It had been a very long time since I had last seen this movie, but seeing it appear on Netflix was enough to make me rewatch this film. And it is still every bit as powerful as when I first saw it. The animation for this movie is simply amazing. In every scene there are so many things that are going on in the backgrounds, that you will probably see new ones every time you watch this movie. With so many details presented in each frame, the city of Neo-Tokyo truly feels like it is a character itself.

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And speaking of characters, that is one of the other highlights of this film. The young and somewhat cocky Kaneda, the hero of the movie, is someone that is incredibly hard not to like. He provides most of the comic relief in this film, something that is very much needed as this movie can at times be seriously depressing because of it’s dark themes. Kaneda’s quest to find his friend is at times heartbreaking, especially during the final parts of the movie where he is forced to make some really tough decisions. Tetsuo is a character a lot of people might relate to. A person who has always stood in the shadow of someone else, and now comes into possession of something truly incredible. The powers change him entirely and it comes down to that age old saying: “power corrupts”.

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The story of Akira is very dark, and it certainly is not a movie for everyone. There are some very brutal and graphic scenes throughout the film, and it definitely established at the time that animation certainly was not only for kids anymore. It is amazing that a film that was made almost thirty years ago now is still such an incredibly powerful movie. It’s fantastic animation, thought provoking storyline and dark and tense atmosphere make this an absolute must see for every anime fan out there. Akira is a timeless classic and will still be worth seeing even after another thirty years from now.

I give Akira a 10 out of 10 score.

 

Ghost in the Shell, American movie (2017)

So, it has finally arrived. A movie that has been covered in controversy ever since it was announced that the lead for it would be played by Scarlett Johansson. Accused of whitewashing, this movie was doomed right from the start. Most diehard fans  announced they would be avoiding it like the plague, and it has already received quite a few negative reviews. But the question one really needs to ask oneself is can you keep an open mind after a movie has received such a bad reputation before it even appears in theatres? Everybody is saying it, so it must be the truth right? Well….wrong. I think a movie of any kind is a personal experience. I always judge a movie for myself, no matter how many reviews say it is good…or bad. And so it was for this live action version for the anime classic Ghost in the Shell.

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The future. A young woman almost gets killed in a terrorist attack. Her original body is all but destroyed, but her brain survives and is transferred into a new high tech prostethic body. Henceforth she is known as the Major. Seeing the value of her and her new capabilities, the Major is transferred to the mysterious organisation called section Nine, by the people who rebuild her. Section Nine takes on a variety of missions to protect the society from dangerous individuals. It is not long before a new and mysterious cybercriminal appears known only as Kuze. It is up to the Major and the rest of section Nine to stop him. But just what does Kuze want? When a number of people get killed by him, Kuze soon begins to focus his attention on the Major. But she has her own struggles and is constantly questioning her humanity. When the truth comes out about Kuze’s real motivations, her whole world is turned upside down. A truth that is so horrible, that it might destroy her very soul….

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Now let me just state for the record that I am a massive Ghost in the Shell fan. The Major has been and always shall be my favorite alltime animecharacter. As such I was very anxious about this film. Did the movie succeed in capturing the ghost of the original? Or would it just be another empty shell? Well I can say that it definitely succeeded in the first. The first thing that I really enjoyed about this film were the visual aspects of it. Director Rupert Sanders has created a hightech world that in many ways borrows and improves upon the world created in the scifi classic Bladerunner. It all is a true visual feast for your eyes, and it is one of those films in which you will discover new aspects of the fantastic CGI world they made, every time you watch it.

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The original Ghost in the Shell anime had a multilayered storyline, with heavy underlying themes contained within it. This version has been stripped down and as such is easier to follow. It still has a few of the themes remaining, such as what really makes us human, but the best way to describe it is Ghost in the Shell light. Hardcore fans of the classic anime might be put off by this. I was not bothered by it in the least. I think it still manages to recreate the atmosphere of the original anime, while also putting a twist of it’s own in it. Many keyscenes of the animated version were recreated, and that was another thing that I really enjoyed.

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And now ofcourse to adress the issue that has made the film so controversial. Has the casting of Scarlett in the role of the Major damaged the film? First off I have to say that she did a fine job of recreating this beloved character. She manages to recapture a lot of the aspects of the Major that make it such a great character in the first place. I do think that if the part had been played by an Asian actress, it would have captured the essence of the character better. Even though the film tries it’s best to feel Asian, it’s American roots do shine through in the movie. But to simply call it a failure because of that is just too harsh. As for the rest of the cast I felt they were a bit underdeveloped. Most of the rest of section Nine had minor roles, except for Batou played by actor Pilou Asbæk. This was pretty much the Major’s movie, and I was fine with that.

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Needless to say I highly enjoyed this live action version of Ghost in the Shell. Was it perfect? No, there were definitely aspects to the film that might have been done better. But all in all this was a highly entertaining science fiction movie, that fans of the original anime will enjoy, except for maybe the real hardcore fans. The gorgeous visuals, a couple of truly spectacular action sequences, paired with a pretty good storyline make this a great movie for every science fiction lover out there.

I give Ghost in the Shell a 9 out of 10 score.

 

 

Attack on Titan Deckbuilding Game, A cardgame for 1-5 players, by Cryptozoic Entertainment (2016)

Most of you probably know by now that I really enjoy watching anime. Another thing that I like doing just as much is playing sci-fi and fantasy boardgames. I have been looking for a decent anime boardgame for quite a while now. There are a few of them out there, but most of these either aren’t any good, or are not based on an existing anime series. However things have finally changed with the arrival of a new cardgame, by publisher Cryptozoic Entertainment. What is even more awesome, is that it is based on one of my alltime favorite anime series: Attack on Titan. Now all we have left to do, is to find out if it is actually any fun to play, and if it manages to capture the atmosphere of the series.

Components

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Now, this being a cardgame it will probably be not much of a surprise that the key components for this game are cards. Included within the box are 188 normal size gamecards, depicting various characters, Titans, locations and equipment from the show. Each player takes on the role of one of the main characters from the anime, and these are represented by 7 oversized cards (and if you are lucky enough to get the first printing of the game you get Hange as an extra bonus card). Also included are five cardboard tiles representing the walls, 7 (or 8) Hero standees, and a bunch of small tokens representing lifepoints for the Titans. Now these lastnamed tokens are very small, and I dare say a bit too small. As such you have to be careful not to misplace them, as they are definitely very easy to lose. This is a minor gripe though as the rest of the components really look very cool. The cards contain very clear imagery straight from the anime. Rounding out the set is a rulebook, that teaches the game in a very straightforward, but easy to understand way.

Game overview

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The object of this game is to destroy four Arch-Titans that are picked randomly at the start of the game. The playing field is made up out of five walls that represent five different districts. Each player starts with a set of basic cards that allow you to buy new (and more powerful) cards to strengthen your deck, and cards that allow you to move through the different districts. And here is where things get interesting. Each district has an inside portion of the wall, where cards are placed that you can buy for your deck. These can be new weapons, powerful allies, or even new locations that allow you to do a lot of cool stuff. With each round and new card you buy, you will get a more powerful deck of cards, hence the name deckbuilding game.

And you are definitely going to be needing these cards, as there is also an outside portion of each wall. Three guesses as to which friendly beings might appear down there? Yes, ofcourse the Titans. Every time a new card gets drawn from the main deck of cards, this might be one of those monstrosities. A Titan has only one objective, to destroy the wall of a district, and make things even more difficult for you. Every time a  wall gets destroyed you lose a district, and all the cards that were still there for you to purchase. And trust me, these walls can come down pretty fast. The really big Titans can, if you are particularly unlucky, destroy a wall in one round. When all five walls are destroyed, you lose the game. (And one could argue humanity as well).

Gameplay can become very tense like this. You will continually have to make very difficult decisions. Do you take a risk and buy a new and powerful card that might come in handy, but by doing so leave a wall defenseless? Or do you play it safe, and patrol the outside portion of the wall, and defend against a new Titan that might appear. The normal Titans can go down fairly easy. But the four big Arch-Titans are an entirely different story, and require a lot of good cards to take them down and win the game.

Difficulty

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This game is not very difficult to learn. Players who are already familiar with these sort of games, will find a lot of the mechanics similar to other deckbuilding games. That said, there also a lot of things that set this game apart from all those other deckbuilders out there. The travelling between districts for instance, is something that I found to be very unique, and really captured the spirit of the Anime show. When a new Titan appears, and your character races to the outside portion of the district to defend the wall, I could almost see the anime series in my mind. Great stuff! Even players who are not familiar with these type of games, will find no real difficulty in learning this game. Winning however, is an entirely different matter. So far I have only played this one solo, but this game can go downhill pretty fast. Especially when the first Arch-Titan makes an appearance, you will have to think quick and act fast in order to save the walls. Honestly though, I like a challenge, and I really enjoy games  that make it tough to win.

The Verdict

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If you are a fan of Attack on Titan, you are going to love this game. One of the things this game does right, is capture the atmosphere of the anime series. The travelling between districts and defending the walls, is a very clever mechanic, and really captures the feel of this great show. I already love deckbuilding games, owning quite a lot of them, and this one really tries to set itself apart. In my opinion it succeeds in this mission. There are just enough different cards contained within this baseset to keep things interesting for now. In the future though, this game will definitely need some expansions, to add more variety to the game. Still for now, this game contains enough value for your money, and I highly recommend this one to Attack on Titan and deckbuilding fans alike.

I give the Attack on Titan deckbuilding game a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, Anime tv series (2016)

Everyone who is a fan of Attack on Titan is probably highly anticipating the release of the second season next year. (I know that I am one of them). Already pushed back once, it only increases the tension and hype for it. So, what usually happens when something is as succesful as Attack on Titan? You get people who want to hitch a ride on the succes train. In the case of Kabeneri of the Iron Fortress, the word train is taken a bit literally.

This Anime series takes place in a post apocalyptic world where a mysterious virus has transformed most of the human population into monsters. These creatures are called Kabane and can best be described as a kind of zombie, only much stronger. They are almost unstoppable, unless you manage to destroy their glowing hearts, that are protected by a layer of iron. What is left of humanity now lives in giant fortress stations, and are in constant fear of attack from the Kabane. To get around to other stations a number of steam powered trains have been created. In the series we follow the crew of one of these trains as they try to survive in this grim world. But then one day someone appears that might change everything….but is he is a saviour, or the one that finally rings the bell for the end of humankind….

This series has been criticized for being a clone of Attack on Titan. To be fair, yes there are definitely a lot of similarities between the two shows. Both series feature flesh eating creatures, a male and female hero, are set in post apocalyptic worlds, and even the soundtracks are pretty much the same. So yeah, I can relate to that. But to dismiss it just because of that, is in my opinion totally unfair. Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress has a lot of good things going for it. The trains for instance, (see the example below) are just simply awesome. At times it reminded me a bit of the terrific movie Snowpiercer starring Chris Evans, that was released in 2013.

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I also liked a lot of the characters, especially the young female hero Mumei, who although appearing pretty innocent, turns out to be a force of nature. This being a horror show, there is a lot of blood in it, pretty much the same amount as shown in Attack on Titan. Action lovers will definitely have a field day with this show, as nearly every episode has tons of well executed action sequences. As such there is, at times, little room for character development and that is one of the things that you might not like about this show. Honestly though, I can only say that I have enjoyed this series immensely. I loved the setting, action and briljant animation of this series. Sure, it might be a clone of Titan, but it is a very good one. If you want to watch something to help make the wait for season 2 of Attack on Titan a little bit more bearable, try this one out.

I give Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress a 9 out of 10 score.

Attack on Titan the Movie: Part 2, Japanese movie (2015)

One has to wonder why live action movies are made based on popular animation franchises. The obvious answer is ofcourse to make money (duh). But let’s really think about this for a bit. The fans of an animated show, be it an Anime or normal cartoon, watch it because they like animation. When I was a kid I grew up on shows like Transformers, Heman, Gi-Joe and all those other great cartoons from the 80’s. All of the aforementioned cartoons have had live action adaptations. Did I enjoy them as much as the original cartoon? The answer to that is a resounding no. Yes, I did enjoy the Transformers movies, but the 80’s cartoon is still better. And now that I am into Anime, we ofcourse have had a great number of live action movies based on those series. All of these, though at times enjoyable in their own right, still do not bring the same level of excitement as the originals. So I guess my first answer to the question I asked is still true: to make money.

With the second part of the live-action adaptation of Attack on Titan, my view definitely has not changed for this. This second part continues, after a short recap of part 1, pretty much where the first movie ended. Eren and his group are still trying to complete their desperate mission to plug the hole of the great Outer Wall. They are joined in their efforts by the mysterious captain Shikishima. But it soon becomes clear that Shikishima might have completely different motives than Eren. With the Titans closing in, and the danger becoming ever greater, Eren will have to dig deep into himself to find the courage to save humanity. But first he will have to deal with his own inner turmoil…..

Where the first movie at least had some things in common with the original Manga/Anime, this second part just about rewrites every single storyline. We get an origin story of the Titans that I found pretty hard to swallow. I don’t mind trying something new, but this is taking things just a bit too far. Still, there are some bright points to be found. There are a couple of pretty cool fight scenes between the Titans, and the action displayed is just about enough to save the movie from being a total waste. This part is very short, and basically has no real storyline to speak off. And I guess that is the biggest shortcoming of these two movies. The original Manga/Anime had such an incredibly cool and moving storyline, and characters that you really cared about. In these adaptations we get characters that carry the same names, but have little to no substance to them. Obviously this could have been so much better, but this truly felt like hitching a ride on the succes of a fantastic franchise. Luckily season 2 of the Anime is on the horizon, and that will hopefully wash away the bitter aftertaste of these two movies.

I give Attack on Titan the Movie:part 2, a 6 out of 10 score.

Attack on Titan the Movie: Part 1, Japanese movie (2015)

With a succesful franchise you usually get a bunch of very loyal fans. That means that no matter what is brought out, the fans will go out to see it, buy it, read it, etc. That must have been what was going through the minds of the creators of the live action adaptation of Attack on Titan. For those of you who have never heard of it, (seriously where have you been hiding all this time), Attack on Titan is a hugely succesful Manga series. It has spawned an equally popular Anime series, that has a very loyal following,  and where everyone is eagerly awaiting the release of the second season. Last year, the next (logical) step was introduced: two live action movies based on this incredible franchise. And ofcourse, the fans flocked to the cinema, to see how their beloved series was brought to the big screen.

It has been 100 years since humanity was forced in exile because of the huge Titans, that almost wiped out the human race. Now living behind massive walls that have been build as a defence against these monstrosities, the last remnants of mankind live out their days in peace. A peace that is shattered when the Titans finally reappear and breach the walls. A young man called Eren is caught up in the chaos that ensues, and tries to escape together with his friend Mikasa. The two become seperated however, when the Titans attack and begin to devour the terrified population. Two years later, Eren is now part of the team that has been tasked with a dangerous mission: to plug the hole that was made in the Outer Wall. A mission that seems almost impossible to complete. Will Eren and his team succeed, or will this be the twilight of humankind?

This movie has received some very bad reviews and I can see where they are coming from. The biggest complaint is that this adaptation pretty much changes all the existing relationships between the characters. Everything is turned totally upside down and taken in a completely different direction. Now if you are a hardcore fan, I can understand how this would upset you. I love the Attack on Titan animeseries, and it is definitely in my personal top five of all time greats. As I was already prepared that this film would take things in a different direction, I think this did help me with watching this and getting a bit of enjoyment out of it. Because honestly I kind of did. Now, ofcourse this movie is leagues apart from the animeseries, in fact it doesn’t even come close. But still I did not find it as bad as I was thought to believe. There are some very cool, and scary scenes involving the Titans. Also it had a pretty interesting post apocalyptic feel to it, and the setpieces and vehicles certainly helped with portraying that atmosphere. Now whether or not you will enjoy this film, kind of depends what kind of fan you are. If you can appreciate the fact that they made an effort to take things in a different direction, and don’t expect too much from it, you might want to check it out. If you are a hardcore devotee of all things Titan, than you had better avoid this one.

I give Attack on Titan the Movie: part 1, a 7 out of 10 score.