Friday, July 12, 2013

Your Monthly Awesome: May 2013

Wow guys, I'm so sorry. Sure, I doubt there is really that many of you who loyally follow this blog (assuming anyone does) but if even one person has been annoyed by my lacking of Your Monthly Awesome: April it is completely my fault. I've been totally absorbed in Kingdom Hearts 2. Also, I went and saw Iron Man 3 without posting a review. I'll need to rectify that soon. Whatever. Moving on, here are your monthly recommendations.Anime/Manga: Death Note "I Am Justice."Light Yagami is a genius Japanese high school student who believes he's bored with life. Little does he know, in another world one of many death gods, or Shimigamis, is experiencing a boredom he couldn't possibly comprehend. To alleviate the dullness of both lives, said Shimigami secretly gifts Light with a "Death Note," a notebook which kills the owner of any name written within it. With little to work with beyond enclosed instructions and his owns wits, Light renames himself "Kira" and begins murdering criminals world round in hopes of creating a perfect world. This holocaust soon attracts the interest of the police, and soon after that of "L," a mysterious detective who only takes cases he finds personally interesting and always gets his man. And so these two great intellects do battle, both hoping to create a better world in the process.Why does this story hold so much appeal, that it has been transformed into its own trilogy of live-action films(which I have yet to see)? Haven't we sometimes wished we could unacceptably kill someone the world would be better off without? You'd probably be a liar if you claimed other wise. That said I'd like to make it clear this is NOT a revenge story. It is about ideals and delusions. Which is just the reason I and so many other fans were enraged when it came to light (ha, punny) that the forthcoming American version would not only cast Zac Efron in the lead role, but change his motivation into killing those who had wronged him. The best analogy I can think of here would be if the Evangelions were changed into straight-up mechas and the pilots were aged up into their late twenties early thirties. Thankfully I haven't heard anything about that project lately and it may have gone to the way side. Now Characters: This world is Rotten. Rotten people should be killed off to cleanse this world.LIGHT YAGAMI: Our "hero." Upon discovering the Death Note, this brilliant youth seeks to make him self the God of a New World by killing off those who don't deserve to live. While his forethought and ridiculous gambits are normally enough to keep him safe, two big obstacles do get in his way. One: his father is not only the local police chief, but is in charge of the local team assigned to capture Kira. Two: "L," the brilliant detective described below, may actually be better at this than he is. Can this boy succeed in his quest, and do we want him to? Kira is childish and he hates losingI'm also childish and hate losing.L: The aforementioned World's-Gretest-Detective, L has some... excentricies that don't exactly come to light (ha, there we go again!) until you meet the guy. He's constantly hunched over, never sleeps, eat several times his own weight in sweets (without any other form of sustenance), and only fights with his feet on the rare occasions he does fight. Really he's an exaggerated version of me, except for the smart part. His reputation doesn't lie, and L really is the only person with a snowball's chance in hell of beating Kira. Especially since know one knows his name, Light can't scribble him out like everyone else. Will he succeed in making the world safe for justice(and cake)? Humans are so... interesting.RYUK: The Shimigami who provides the nominal MacGuffin, this character spends most of the anime following Light (or whoever happens to hold the Death Note at the moment) around and begging for apples. Once he lived in the Death World and spent his time like all of his brethren, watching humans from afar and killing them before their natural due date so as to add the remainder of their lives onto his own. Unlike the others, this bored him to tears and caused him to make all kinds of mischief. Fianlly fed up with it all, he dropped a Death Note onto a school lawn in hopes of setting off something entertaining to watch. As many of you will hopefully come to agree, he succeeds. (Tragically, he is rather over looked in the shows second act, one of my only major complaints.) I can't go on in a world without Light.MISA: Light's stalker, basically. She holds a special place in her heart for Kira for killing her parent's murderer and special place in her heart for Light because... I really don't know. Regardless, she seems like a really nice girl, though she is most assuredly mentally unstable. Being rich and famous she may have become a Japanese super star if she didn't fall in love with a sociopath. This pawn has a hard path ahead of her, that's all I'm saying.Well, since the only other characters who I can think to add would provide massive spoilers, I guess you'll just have to go see the rest yourselves. Thank me later!Live-Action Television: Dollhouse You ever try to clean an actual slate? You always see what was on it before.Joss Whedon may be one of the greatest directors of our time. Thus its no surprise this particular is amazing. What is shocking is how good it is even by his standards. Personally, I think it far out ranks Firefly, Serenity, and even Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Unfortunately, it got horrible ratings and marks a low point in his career only recently repaired by Marvel/Disney. Thankfully, Fox had been so badly burned by its cancellation of the previously mentioned sci-fi show it allowed this show to reach its conclusion with a second season.The basic premise is as follows: The "Dollhouse" is an underground human trafficking ring (or perhaps "human rental ring") that provides high class clients with Dolls, beautiful human beings who are routinely mind wiped and given specific memories and skills for each job. Other than the "obvious" use, Dolls are used as spies, bodyguards, and safe crackers. Recently, an extremely powerful Doll who had accidentally managed to store up the personalities they had loaned him escaped custody and went on a homicidal rampage. Now on high alert, the Dollhouse finds itself dealing with enemies from within and out.Most notable among these threats are Echo (the main character and the company's most requested Doll who begun to retain memories and my be in danger of going Alpha), Paul Ballard (an FBI agent who has taken an interest in the "Dollhouse" rumors and is relentlessly pursuing answers), continuous pressure from beyond the L.A. branch to "enhance their service," and of course the possibility of Alpha's return. To combat these and other threats are the L.A. branch's skilled employees: Adelle DeWitt, the leader, Boyd Layton, Echo's newly hired handler, Dr. Claire Saunders, the physician played by Angel's Fred,and Topher Brink, the skilled scientist who acts as though someone put Willow and Xander in a blender and some may recognize from Cabin in the Woods. All in all, if you have enjoyed anything from Joss Whedon, from his urban fantasy Buffy-verse to his Marvel Team-Up cinematic master piece, please watch this show. Its on Netflix.Film: Jack the Giant Slayer I may not be the hero of this story, but at least I get to see how it ends.Fairy tale stories are really in the vogue these days. In between Tim Burton's Alice in the Wonderland remake, Once Upon a Time,and Grimm the market's near over saturated. Good thing so much of it is good. Bryan Singer's new work is no exception. Rather than take the "modernization" idea many of its brethren have gone with, this film takes place within its original era. Jack is an extremely intelligent peasant boy who, after providing a renegade princess with shelter, has his cottage whisked into the sky by magical forces which have passed into lore. Accompanying a party of knights and the princess's antagonistic suitor, Jack searches for his true love while going up against a steady stream of villains who continually replace each other as the story continues. Definitely makes up for Superman Returns.Western Animation: Superman vs. The EliteSpeaking of the Man of Steel, many of you may have noticed how amazing DC's animation department has become. Well,this film is no exception. Based on What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?, Supes finds himself pitted against the largest threat to both his survival and his ideology: Cynicism. The Dream is Over! Viva Reality!In a modern world, aged super heroics just don't cut it with the people anymore. They want someone will bring the supervillians to an end, who will avenge their casualties and end their wars. And Clark's just not that guy. Unfortunately his new "Sidekicks," the said Elite, very much are. Lead by a limey telekinetic, this quartet of antiheroes straight from the nineties are here to usher in a new age, and they'd really like to bring their number one boy scout with them. He is less than enthused, thus the point of contention. As things go further off the rails, the Elite grow stronger and Superman begins questioning his moral bias. What is the world without someone who will do anything to defend it? This is Canon Fodder King, signing out.
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