Archive for the 'Editorials' Category

Jul 24 2014

Kill La Kill and Anime’s Fanservice Industry

Published by under Editorials,Television


Japanese animation is an entertainment medium that’s often associated with geek man-children in spite of the fact that it often features complex stories with themes and metaphors that dwarfs most of what we consider adult entertainment here in America. Part of it is the lingering fallacy that anything animated must be for kids, but there’s more; specifically anime’s preoccupation with female anatomy. Bouncing bosoms of bodacious bulk and predictably polarizing portrayals of puerile pantyshots often turn viewers off of the excellent stories and characters. But is it really inherently wrong or immature to portray the human body in such a way?

Enter Kill La Kill, one of the anime hits of the moment and another instance of an overseas animated property being snatched up for streaming on the forever-ahead-of-the-curve Netflix prior to being dubbed in English (Attack on Titan was previously alone in that honor). Watching the early episodes of the show, it appeared to have been literally designed to both mock and celebrate some of the most damaging anime stereotypes: the ridiculously over-the-top action, the overly serious characters, the overly wacky characters, and yeah, the fashion choices of female characters.

Dressing women up in the most revealing of clothing and/or putting them in the most compromising position with the viewer given the most advantageous view is typical here. Naturally, there are plenty who don’t take kindly to this practice. Kill La Kill sets itself up as a self-aware parade of these kinds of tropes, but as the story finishes, it accomplishes more than it’s willing to give itself credit  for in terms of providing context for this argument. Continue Reading »

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Jul 23 2014

What an Open World Could Mean for the Zelda Series

Published by under Editorials,Video Games


Nintendo games are a bit like Mom’s cooking. You can criticize it behind their back all you want, but as soon as you smell something familiar cooking up, your mouth inevitably starts to water.

Case in point – the announcement of a completely new Zelda game for the Wii U. Everyone, myself included, freaked out when they saw this breath-taking trailer. People have been taking potshots at the core Zelda mechanics for years, but now that a shiny new one has been teased, hope yet again springs eternal.

This reaction occurs because no matter how much people want to bitch about Zelda, it’s still Zelda …dammit. The series produced some of the most refined, fun, and art-driven games ever created on God’s green earth, and it’s only by examining the amazing qualities of some Zelda titles that the others may appear inferior.

That legacy has led to early extreme hype surrounding the new Zelda for Wii U. Series director Eiji Aonuma promises a return to the exploration of the older titles, as well as a commitment to toning back the incessant nagging and interminable tutorials.

These factors, however, aren’t exciting in and of themselves. Most of us have played Skyrim, loved it, then found ourselves wanting more variety from the content. While this feeling wasn’t enough to keep me from playing Skyrim for countless hours (I just started a new character), it does bring to light that Nintendo’s announcement isn’t exciting because there’s going to be another quest-driven, open-exploration fantasy game, but because a Zelda game is going to have these things.

So why does the gaming community and press have such high hopes for introducing an open world to the Legend of Zelda series? Let’s dig a little deeper to find out how this anticipation translates to what changes people are really asking for… Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Jul 17 2014

Where True Blood Went Wrong

Published by under Editorials,Television


You know, it doesn’t seem so long ago that HBO’s supernatural sex and violence fest was the toast of geektown. A best-selling series of books to draw from, the HBO pedigree, an original vampire mythology that didn’t completely defang our favorite creatures of the night, and a great cast; what more could you ask for? Some bizarre spoilers from throughout the series will be present. I’m not sure anyone still cares, or if non-viewers will even believe them when they read them, but just in case, here’s your warning.

Season one was pretty much an entertainment masterpiece. Reworking and expanding on Charlaine Harris’ novel Dead Until Dark, True Blood managed to perform one of the rarest of feats; an adaptation that surpassed the original work. While the novels focus exclusively on psychic heroine Sookie Stackhouse’s point of view, the writers crafted an outstanding ensemble cast, expanding existing characters who were barely in the novels into fan favorites along with some originals and adding in political subtexts without harming the story’s original narrative. And people loved it.

But the love affair didn’t last long. By the time Game of Thrones came along, people had stopped speaking of True Blood with excitement. In fact, scorn is probably a better word for the typical reaction. But the best word for how people felt about the show was the unkindest one of all: indifference. People may pretend it’s because vampires are out or play the maturity card as if the new hotness wasn’t just as full of unnecessary nudity and violence. But let’s look at the real reasons why True Blood is in its last season and nobody cares.      Continue Reading »

9 responses so far

Jul 14 2014

A Non-Sports Fan’s Love for Sports Video Games

Published by under Editorials,Video Games


We all know that October is THE month for games this year. When people ask me what games I’m looking forward to the most for that month, they always find my answer to be unusual. I’m actually really excited for NBA 2K15 and WWE 2K15. The only other game that matches my level of anticipation would be Dragon Age: Inquisition. It’s funny how people assume that I’m a huge sports fan especially since I play basketball, wrestling, volleyball and boxing video games. I do enjoy watching these sports on TV and sometimes live as well. However, I’m not as addicted to the real life thing as I am towards its video games. I don’t watch every single game on TV or spew out predictions based on stats. I’m not that kind of fan. I’m more mainstream and I’m not shy to admit that I only watch “key” games or if it’s the finals/tournament.

I get that people are wondering how one could enjoy sports games if they aren’t big fans in real life. To be fair, I did say that I’m a fan to a certain degree though. Anyway, there are a lot of elements that even non-sports fans will love in games like NBA 2K15, Fight Night and many others. A lot of people have written articles about one of these elements as well. There’s something in these games that appeal to everyone whether or not you are a sports enthusiast. This is something developers kept in mind whenever they made their games. Who wouldn’t want more people to play their games?

Continue Reading »

4 responses so far

Jul 14 2014

Alright, Alright, Alright: An Examination on The Evolution of Matthew McConaughey’s Career

Published by under Editorials,Movies


If there is an actor in the last decade who has has undergone a more impressive evolution than Matthew McConaughey, I do not know who that is. Where once, he was known as the “shirtless wonder” (I feel compelled to tell you he was never known as that. I just made it up because it felt right) and his roles primarily consisted of him looking handsome and wooing Kate Hudson or some cinematic variation thereof. It was movie making at its most trite. But McConaughey was smart, even back then. He knew he could ride the coat tails of handsomocity for a while, and did that. But he was biding his time during that period. He knew what he was capable of, and on a few occasions, we saw hints of that as well. But he needed to earn his stripes, and the way he did that was very interesting, and rather brilliant when you look at it from a distance. That is just what we will do here. Take a look at the evolution of Matthew McConaughey’s career. From stoner cliche’ to master craftsman (who is probably still stoned.)

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5 responses so far

Jul 09 2014

Why Haven’t You Seen It: Cheap Thrills

Published by under Columns,Editorials,Movies


I know Cheap Thrills came out last year, and normally, I like to actually give people the time to see a movie before I dare ask them why haven’t they seen it. But Cheap Thrills was a bold enough ride that I want to bring as much attention to it as I can while it can still reap some of the benefits of that. Before I tell you about the film, let me ask you something. How far would you be willing to go once you hit rock bottom to ensure you didn’t stay there? Would you be willing to embarrass yourself? Hurt yourself? Maybe hurt someone else? This is the question that Cheap Thrills so boldly asks of its viewers. It is uncomfortable, hilarious, disturbing, and unforgettable. Kinda like life. Actually, a little TOO MUCH like my life right now, truth be told.

Continue Reading »

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Jul 08 2014

The Baddest Bad – Picking Pop Culture’s Best of the Worst

Published by under Debate,Editorials,Movies


Everyone loves a bad guy.

Villains from all walks of popular culture have always held a special, strange little pocket of ours hearts hostage as we willingly and warmly watch them commit evil. In real life, we condemn our Bin Ladens and Pol Pot, but how many Jokers do you see every Halloween? The fictional fiends get away with being bastards, and we love them for it.

So the question becomes who’s the greatest? Since that’s one of the many unanswerable pop culture questions, instead let’s break it down into groups. Tropes and trends are common place across all entertainment, so I believe we’re justified in isolating particular groups to see who really is the biggest, baddest baddies of all. Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Jul 07 2014

Why Psi-Ops Remains Awesome Today

Published by under Editorials,Video Games


This is a guest post by Mike Leaño, a freelance writer, aspiring evil genius, and founder of Console Gamer, an independent video game blog.

It was a trap! The moment you stepped inside the small chamber, its thick glass door slammed shut behind you and a translucent mist started filling the area. After whiffing the haze and realising it was poison, you try to break the glass with your thick-heeled boot but it doesn’t give.

As you pound away at the door, an enemy foot soldier appears on the other side and gloats at your imminent death. You stand back and unload an entire clip of your machine gun at your obstacle, but nothing happens.

An epiphany finally hits you; mustering every ounce of your will, you lift your foe off his feet using the power of your psyche and smash him forcefully against the entrance. It cracks.

You slam him again; this time, the glass shatters. Continue Reading »

One response so far

Jul 02 2014

Why Big Trouble in Little China is the Most Fun Movie Ever Made

Published by under Editorials,Movies


Scores of cult films are pleasing to watch for all the wrong reasons. Like so many reality TV producers have figured out, everyone loves witnessing a good train wreck.

Whether because of a clueless scriptwriter, director, or cast, movies that are “so bad they’re good” make people laugh out of sheer embarrassment and surprise that the project was finished and distributed in the first place.

Big Trouble in Little China is not one of these movies. Yes, the plot is absurd and the script is corny and often utilitarian, but every frame of this film received special love and attention. Men like John Carpenter put films together quickly and efficiently, but they also know how to inject some flavor in the process.

Because of Carpenter’s skill and style, I could literally watch this movie five times in a row and not be bored. In fact, I’d probably notice something new every time and love it even more than I already did.

The workman-like care that went into Big Trouble in Little China shines through in the costumes, the sets, the special effects, and even the lighting; every single shot is lit to evoke a tone of light-hearted but exciting adventure. Also, the editing pieces together shots so expertly that – despite a plot that is close to utter nonsense– every action and consequence is clear and explicit.

Things like lighting and editing might be a bit too esoteric to the average viewer, though; when they’re done well they’re not supposed to be noticeable at all. So, rather than focus on the minor technical details, let’s focus on the factors that every audience member can appreciate. Namely… Continue Reading »

5 responses so far

Jun 30 2014

Why All Games Should Have An Easy Mode

Published by under Editorials,Video Games


The makers of Bioshock knew they had something genius on their hands, but they wanted a way to ensure everyone knew it. The only way everyone would truly know it is if they got to the “twist” about 2/3 into the game. They talked amongst each other and came up with a plan. A way that everyone could play through the game, no matter how good or how bad they were at FPS’s. That invention was the Vita-Chamber. A way in which you could die in a game, but come back at same point, endlessly if need be. I realize there were probably games and game companies that may have done this before Bioshock, but Bioshock was the first game I remember pretty much insisting I beat the whole game (whilst giving me the tools to do so). To me, I really believe every game should have a vita-chamber option. Though I understand that wont happen (for many reasons), for now I will turn this article into why I think every game should have an easy mode.

Continue Reading »

18 responses so far

Jun 26 2014

5 More Words Modern Pop Culture Desperately Needs

Published by under Editorials


By the time you read this, the USMNT will be less than an hour away from playing Germany in the World Cup.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s not terribly important, and as a sporting event, it’s one game of many, but as a cultural event, it kind of stands out.  On a purely holistic level based on overhearing conversations in the grocery store and what I happen to read on my Facebook scroll (the two are basically on the same level, come to think of it), us Americans are buzzing about this game, and from what I can tell, it’s louder than even the Super Bowl.

But it’s an interesting experience, isn’t it?  A shared cultural phenomenon that encompasses not only the games, but the literally thousands of pieces of social media flotsam that wash up in our feeds – so much of it, and repeated so often, that it seems like every single person in the world has seen the .gif of the Mexican coach bursting into anime-style flames and lightning.

What is the word for that?  A shared experience that’s more than just an event, it’s also a conversation over the internet, a conversation with 10,000 voices that still manage to gravitate towards cohesive threads.  The modern pop culture landscape is changing fast, and we need a better language to define it.  Or at least some made-up words to mock it, for a start.  As I’ve done before, I humbly submit my suggestions.

Continue Reading »

4 responses so far


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