Why Fantasy Life Is Such An Amazing Game

I’ve talked about this game before, but I feel what I said bares repeating: I love Fantasy Life! It’s an action RPG that also doubles a life-sim, putting you into the shoes of a would-be protagonist. You’re given a job and tasked with working at it, while at the same time teaming with a magical talking butterfly to save the world. It’s a game with a premise that is equal parts ridiculous and amazing!

While several jobs play like one another, I can’t deny how awesome it is to see certain jobs operate. You can be a fisherman and catch fish in lakes of lava, or be a blacksmith and make all of your own gear. The game reminds me a lot of Animal Crossing, though I found I had a lot more fun with this game. This game felt like it had boundless enjoyment packed into it.

It possessed a silly story, a wide cast of colorful and like-able characters, and just generally a good atmosphere all around. The game pretty much let you do anything and it was a real hoot to do so! You can be a swordsman, a cook, a miner, whatever you imagine you can do. Want to buy property in different lands in the game? You can even do that. You can deck out your house in all these crazy decorations too!

There is just so much to do in this game. The game’s structure just begs for exploration, which is something I did quite a lot between chapters. There are so many bosses, items, and areas to interact with. If I had any major complains with the game, it would be that the game is too easy. I beat the game and only died on a couple of occasions, making it one of the easiest games I’ve played through in years.

That being said, I still enjoyed my time with the game! Sure, it’s about as easy as Kingdoms of Amalur on any difficulty, but it’s still a blast to play through. I’m honestly not a huge fan of games that simulate life in any capacity. I’m a guy who likes his experience as retro as it can get. However, Fantasy Life manages to portray its world in a way that draws me in every time.

I don’t feel like I’m just a player taking part in this world while playing the game, I feel like I’m just another part of it. Couple this with a game that has a fairly deep character creator, a ton of different missions to undertake, and a world that’s vast enough to explode, and you have something is wholly unique. Sure, this game has problems. It’s fairly repetitive, most jobs blur together, and the main story is far too easy. With that being said, I truly had fun with this game and recommend it to everyone who loves a good action RPG!

The Ultimate Camping Film: Blair Witch Project

When going to the cabin, or camping out in a camper, one may be tempted to watch some films. Honestly, the scariest place I think of is the forest, since you never know what’s in there. That’s why it makes for such great horror film potential! There’s so many things you can hide among those trees for the sake of a scare, and any jaunt through the forest can be the source of man screams. Surprisingly enough, that’s not the reason I like the original Blair Witch Project.

I didn’t watch Blair Witch until I was well into my 20s, and by this point the fandom had pretty much died down. The Blair Witch fever that overtook 1999 was no more. Despite this, upon seeing the film for the first time I was immediately drawn to it. The film revolves around three teenagers who get lost in the woods while looking for a supposed witch.

It starts out innocently enough, but soon the kids start to go crazy while lost in the woods. They start seeing things that aren’t there, and they appear to be stalked by some kind of supernatural entity. Believe it or not, I didn’t find this film scary in the slightest. I’m a fairly squeamish fellow at times, but this movie didn’t affect me in the slightest.

It felt more like a black comedy to me, a dark and humorous film that really shows how a simple camping trip can go horribly wrong. That’s something that Blair Witch did expertly, it gave off that feeling of an authentic camping trip. I’ve never been truly camping before, though I have been to a cabin several times. The thing is, you get the feeling that these teens have never camped before either.

Honestly, the original Blair Witch is one of my favorite films. While the new film did some things right, it unfortunately added blatant supernatural elements into the series. Before, the supernatural stuff was debatable. One could say there was a spirit, demon, or witch haunting the teens, but there was never anything explicitly shown. In a way, it worked really well for the film.

I don’t think Blair Witch Project has aged super well, but I still find it to be a great movie. It’s something I can just play in the background while writing and enjoy immensely. While it’s a shame that last year’s sequel to the film was ultimately disappointing, I hold out hope for a return to form for the series. Maybe a Blair Witch VR game? Now that would be interesting, a Blair Witch experience where you and friends try to survive a scary witch. While I doubt they’ll do anything with Blair Witch for a while, I’ll still look fondly upon that first film, and forget the other two happened.

What Makes A Truly Great Villain?

When it comes to fictional forms of media, there is nothing I love more than a good villain. A truly memorable antagonist stands in the way or our heroes and acts as an ever-constant threat against our protagonists. That begs the question though, what makes a truly great villain? What makes an antagonist not only a truly evil force, but also into something that we love to hate?

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I can’t stay mad at that face!

The answer to this may depend on the form of media the villain is associated with, but I’ve decided to give my own thoughts on what makes a truly great villain. I also have to thank Super Eyepatch Wolf on Youtube for giving me inspiration to make this post on my blog. So, for a villain to be something I can truly get behind, it needs a number of things:

Memorable Design

It’s not enough that a villain is intimidating, but he also needs to look intimidating and have a design that makes him appealing (or not so appealing) to look at. A good example of this is the original Green Goblin, who dresses in a truly gaudy green and purple outfit. Even if this original design is somewhat outdated, it’s still memorable enough to let you easily pick him out from a crowd. He’s not some generic pretty-boy with a sword, or some giant monster wielding a hammer. No, he’s this gaudily-dressed imp of destruction, raining pumpkin bombs down onto hapless citizens.

Good Voice-Acting

This next section is highly dependent upon the form of media the villain is depicted in. For things like television, film, and video-games (depending on if the game has voice-acting or not), then how the villain sounds is a great factor in determining the appeal of a character. For example, Mako playing Aku in Samurai Jack is often sited as one of the best portrayals of a villain in cartoons.

Mako knows how to ham it up as Aku, delivering a voice dripping with both comedic value and intimidation. Mako is able to portray Aku, this Japanese demon of death and destruction, as a character that one can enjoy. Greg Baldwin, who is Aku’s new voice actor, also does an amazing job. He isn’t as good as the original, but manages to capture the energy and cheesiness of Mako’s portrayal very well.

It’s not always necessary to cast someone well-known or famous to play a villain. As long as the person playing said villain can inside the head of the character and portray him the way the creator intends, while still keeping the role their own. A voice is everything in a villain. A bad voice actor can truly destroy what makes a great villain great.

Being An Actual Threat

Having a villain who looks and sounds great is one thing, but you need a villain who can actually get the job done. A villain who can’t achieve their goals, or pose much of a threat to our heroes becomes a joke after a while. A good (or rather, bad) example of this is Corypheus from Dragon Age: Inquisition. Corypheus is foiled easily at every turn by your chosen protagonist.

Corypheus very rarely does much to be a thorn in your side, and a lot of his attempts to stop you reach Dick Dastardly levels of pathetic. A good example of a villain who manages to threaten our heroes at every turn is Etemon, from the cult classic anime Digimon. Despite Etemon seeming like an incompetent goofball, he was able to trounce the Digi-Destined most of the time. Not only that, but he also devised a “Dark Network”, that he can use to attack his enemies from afar.

Etemon’s seemingly silly design and behaviors masked his truly power and potential. This mischievous monkey of magnified malice ended up being a true threat to our heroes. A villain who isn’t able to be a challenge to our protagonists in any way ends up feeling lame and hollow. A villain can’t just talk the talk, he/she needs to also be able to walk the walk.

The Villain Needs To Be More Than A Villain

Super Eyepatch Wolf discussed this as well, but it bares repeating. A villain who feels more like a person, is better than one who doesn’t. A villain needs to have weaknesses as well as strengths, needs to have dreams beyond his current goal, and needs to feel like a real part of the world. Most Marvel villains end up just kind of showing up, usually with little development.

Again, a villain needs to be a part of the world. Not just antagonist no. 125 who happens to co-exist in the universe, but hasn’t been mentioned or established until now. Now I know most villains are not like that, but sometimes establishing an antagonist beforehand can really work wonders for your property.

In Conclusion

A villain doesn’t need to have all of these properties to be a great villain, but it certainly helps. Having a strong voice, memorable design, good backstory and development, fantastic characterization, and a threatening persona can actually make for both a great character and an amazing villain. Examples are out there, there’s a ton in fact. Coming with a great and memorable villain isn’t easy, but having one can make or break a series. At least, that’s my opinion on the whole thing.

Sweet As Syrup: Villainous Cartoon Review

I’ve decided to ditch my usual review formula to cover a series of cartoon shorts that have been making their rounds as of late. I usually don’t review animated shorts, Super Turbo Atomic Ninja Rabbit being one of the exceptions. However, I felt it was time to tackle some more animated shorts. What better series of shorts to talk about then “Villainous”, CN’s newest hit.

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It’s like Addam’s Family, but with a casual dress-code!

The show hasn’t even released in America yet, and it’s still managed to gain a sizable fan-base! Honestly, I was hooked on the premise alone. A show focusing on what are considered the villains living their normal lives, while working out ways to murder superheroes? Count me in! I think the best way I can describe this show is that it’s Megamind meats The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.

If that doesn’t sound incredibly awesome, I don’t know what does! So, the show revolves around the demonic super villain known as Black Hat. Black Hit manages to be both angry and dapper at the same time. Possessing a rather extravagant outfit, but also a violent demeanor underneath. Black Hat is a pretty cool character in all honesty. Most of Black Hat’s devices are created by Dr. Flug, a strange man with a paper bag over his head.

Dr. Flug is my favorite character, due to the fact that I’m a huge fan of the stock mad-scientist character. There’s also Dimencia, an insane girl with anime hair who has the hots for Black Hat. Last and certainly least is the character 5.0.5. He’s generally a boring character, a bland and forgettable adorable mascot character. I guess that’s the point, but the character never really grew on me. Maybe it’s because I feel the whole “adorable and evil-ness cannot co-exist” joke to be extremely overused at this point.

Now, as for the shorts themselves, they are very well put-together. The animation is fantastic, knowing when to be simplistic and when to be super detailed. Character designs really pop, especially due to the slick animation style. Even 5.0.5. who I can’t stand as a character manages to have a style that really pops.

The problem I had with the shorts, and this is really more of a gripe, is that most of them have pretty sudden endings. Most shorts just kind of end, which is the problem when working with such a limited running time. Characters aren’t fleshed out that much beyond the stereotypes they represent, there’s no real development or arcs, and most shorts end as abruptly as they began. It’s not a deal breaker though, especially due to the fact that it’s just a weakness associated with the short’s length.

What Villainous does with its short time frame is give us some funny and likable characters, enjoyable scenarios, and a fantastic art and animation style. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. Villainous is a short about admiring the faults within cartoon villains, pastiches of what we deem to be evil. It’s not profound by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s definitely unique and interesting.

So yeah, I definitely enjoyed what I watched. Despite only six minutes worth of animation, this is a fun little series of shorts to watch through. That’s why I can definitely say that this series is as sweet as syrup. Do I recommend it? Of course! I highly recommend and all who read this watch the series once it’s brought to American Cartoon Network. I can’t get the channel sadly, but I urge all those who can to watch CN’s commercials. That’s where these shorts will most likely show up. Right now, everyone needs to show their support for this amazing series. If people do that, then we may get even more shorts or a full series. Anyways, thanks for reading my little diatribe and have a fantastic day. Keep it real and most importantly, keep it evil!

Sweet As Syrup: Digimon Next Manga Review

Good news, everyone! The Digimon marathon starts today. I figured I start off with something Digimon-based that not a lot of people know about. I discussed the Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01 manga, but have yet to discuss its spiritual successor. You see, there’s been several Digimon manga over the years, but few of them have actually run that long. The second Digimon manga series to run for a fair bit of chapters was Digimon Next.

After finally finish V-Tamer 01, I quickly dived in to this series and read through it in the course of a week. I think it’s about time I cover this series. Is it worth reading or enjoying? Well, in this review I’ll let you know if this older Digimon manga is worth reading or not.

Background Information

Digimon Next was a manga that released a couple months prior to Digimon Savers / Data Squad, which was the newest Digimon anime at that time. The series began in 2006 and ran until 2008. While using similar elements to Savers, Next borrows most from Adventure V-Tamer 01. Much like most Digimon manga, this series never received an American release.

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That’s probably the most badass Greymon I’ve ever seen!

Plot

The story revolves around a young Japanese teenager named Tsurugi Tatano. One day, Tsurugi is whisked off to the Digital World after playing an online game, where he meets up with his partner Agumon. The two start off on a bad foot, but quickly become good friends and reliable allies to one another. Tsurugi quickly becomes friends with a bunch of other humans too, who have also ended up in the Digital World. Tsurugi meets up with other characters like Yuu and Ami, while doing battle with the mysterious “Black Winged Knight”.

While this does sound like it could make for an interesting manga, it sadly does not. The story feels very derivative of the previous Digimon manga. I felt like I was reading most of the same story again, just with different characters. The villain in the motives behind said villain felt like they had been done better in V-Tamer 01. Is it terrible? Of course not! However, the plot never feels like it does anything interesting with the setting.

The problem I find with the manga that it never manages to take the series in a unique direction. It’s stuck taking elements from Savers, without being able to deviate too much from a typical Digimon manga. This bothers me greatly, especially due to the fact that most entries in the Digimon franchise manage to do something unique and interesting with each installment.

Again, it’s not a bad story. It doesn’t feel too rushed or poorly paced, the characters are interesting and like-able enough to stand on their own and it has a decent amount of chapters. On top of this, the finale to the story itself is pretty dang awesome. Regardless, it felt like a bit of a slog to get to that point. I gave up on the manga several times before I could fully finish it. I still enjoyed what I read, despite my qualms.

Artwork

The art for this series was done by the ever amazing Takeshi Okano. This man also helped co-write Hell Teacher Nube, one of my favorite manga and anime series! Okano manages to make character designs really interesting and manages to make the Digimon look really nice. Backgrounds are decent, though some can seem a little bare at times. Action scenes are intense, and Okano manages to pack a ton of fast action into each individual panel.

The art overall really saved this manga for me. While I had difficulties fully getting into the plot, the art-style really hooked me. It managed to combine simplicity with higher detail, creating something that could be considered both cartoon-ish and serious at the same time. It’s an art-style that can invoke a feeling of both excitement and goofiness.

In Conclusion

It’s got a hit-or-miss plot, but rather nice-looking artwork. I say that if you’re cool with a more formulaic Digimon plot, then I think this would be your thing. I recommend reading V-Tamer 01 over this. If you like V-Tamer and want something similar to it, then I can recommend this series to you. I got a decent amount of enjoyment out of this series, so I can definitely say it is sweet as syrup. It’s not perfect, it feels a bit generic, but it manages to capture what I love about Digimon. In the end, that’s all I can really ask for.

My Thoughts On The Samurai Jack Finale and Season 5 As A Whole(Spoilers)

So, the final episode of Samurai Jack hit and I gotta say, it was actually pretty good. Like it says in the title, this is a spoiler discussion, you’ve been warned.

<SPOILERS PAST THIS POINT>

 

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The plot THICCens!

 

Sure, it felt a bit rushed, but with only 10 episodes that are only 22 minutes long in length each, it’s difficult for it not to be. For those who haven’t kept up with the series, Jack forms a relationship with a female assassin named Ashi. This relationship forms into a somewhat forced romance, that leads into Ashi being revealed as Aku’s daughter.

This culminates in Jack’s defeat and capture, as he is unable to kill the corrupted Ashi. In the final episode, all those that Jack helped band together and lead an attack on Aku. Sadly, elements of this ending just ended up feeling a bit hashed together. The romantic elements felt a bit forced, and Ashi just gaining Aku’s time-travelling powers after mastering own abilities felt like it came out of nowhere.

Regardless though, it was satisfying. For a 22 minute episode, it felt evenly paced at times, and managed to do a fairly satisfying ending. I liked the final scene the most, after Jack kills Aku in the past (which inadvertently kills Ashi) he goes under a cherry blossom tree and mopes about for a bit. A ladybug lands on his finger, reminding Jack of the bond he had formed with Ashi and that even though she is gone, he can continue forward.

Jack has lost a lot, and this ending gives hope to this character that his new and much more peaceful life will have a higher meaning. I think the ending would’ve been even better if the past version of The Guardian showed up, walked up to Jack, and said “You’re the one”, before walking away and disappearing into nothingness. You gotta consider that The Guardian only existed to guard the portal that was destined for a battle-hardened Jack to use. I wish this was a part of the ending, but sadly it is not.

Regardless, while I felt the ending was rushed at times, I thought it did a lot of things right. It gave us good comedy and character development, and finally gave us that ending we’ve been clamoring for for years now. Is it perfect? Far from it, it’s got a fair bit of problems. It is still a fantastic ending though, just not what a lot of people were hoping for.

Certain things that happened in the episode felt a bit contrived and forced, and Jack’s ultimate defeat of Aku could’ve been a bit longer. Still, I stand beside the creator’s vision and willingness to finally conclude this saga. It’s been 16 years, 62 episodes, 1 animated parody, and several videogames later, but now we have a concrete conclusion to this saga.

Whether it’s a satisfying ending or not will be completely up to the viewer. I loved this ending, and I recommend season 5 as a whole to any fan of Samurai Jack new or old. If this hits DVD, I’m buying as soon as possible! I don’t love season 5 because I’m a fan, or because I’ve been waiting for this ending forever, but because I legitimately enjoy as its own product. While having disappointing elements here or there, I still think its a masterpiece of modern animation. Just… Be wary of episode 8. Having any sort of opinion on this episode is gonna get you a lot of flack on the internet.

Why I Prefer Digimon To Pokemon

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Would you believe me if I told you that Veedramon was my favorite?

Believe it or not, I haven’t always been a huge fan of the “Mons” franchises. I’m talking Digimon, Pokemon, Monster Rancher, and those various Pokemon “clones” that come out each year. Digimon in particular is a series that I haven’t visited in quite some time. That was until 2015, when I started getting back into the franchise. Digimon Adventure Tri comes out, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth gets announced and released, and my interest is at this point piqued.

Digimon did something that Pokemon could never do: Aim its content and material towards adults. Pokemon to this day is still mainly for kids. It’s a franchise that hasn’t grown with its audience. I apologize in advance if I offend any by saying this, but Pokemon just hasn’t matured or grown as a series. Newer Pokemon games seem to just be exactly like the old games, just with better graphics and more features.

While it’s true that Digimon games have been mostly hit-or-miss, the rest of the franchise has fared far better. Better manga, better anime, better films, etc. The Digimon series featured all these differing universes with own unique rule-sets. It’s impossible to play a single Digimon game or watch a Digimon anime without discovering a new variation on the pre-established world.

Pokemon almost always takes place in the same universe with the same rules, yet introduces new Pokemon which shake up the formula only a tad bit. You’d think introducing god Pokemon into the franchise would gave the series a touch of uniqueness, but the gods are just legendary Pokemon that you can catch. Sure, they’ll play a part in the story sometimes, but not too often.

The Pokemon world felt a bit too grounded, if you ask me. Sure, crazy and weird stuff can happen in the Pokemon world, but the varied nature of all the Digimon universes felt more diverse. On top of this, I always liked the designs of Digimon better. Digimon actually looked like monsters, at least in my eyes. Pokemon were just more adorable versions of real-life animals, instead of being traditional monsters.

Pokemon is a decent series, but it’s never stuck with me the way Digimon has. I can’t pick out too many moments from the Pokemon anime that were memorable or that interesting. Yet, I can remember every single villain the Digidestined ever fought. To be fair, that culd be just a form of bias or selective memory.

To be fair, Pokemon isn’t a terrible series. The games in Pokemon have always been better than the ones that came from the Digimon series. Sure, Digimon had some good ones like Digimon World 3, Digimon Anode/Cathode Tamer, Digimon World DS, and Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, but most of these games were critically panned. Pokemon has always had that massive appeal with their games, which always tend to score high and rake in the cash.

At this point, Pokemon just feels a bit too bland to me. I respect that people enjoy and like it, but I just can’t get back into it. There are too many Pokemon games at this point, and I have no idea which new game to play first. I haven’t touched a Pokemon game (unless you count Pokemon Go) since the original Gold and Silver over a decade and a half ago. Is it time I changed that? Perhaps.

For now though, I’m going to stick to Digimon, with a series that I love. It’s also a series that appeals both to my inner-child and to my adult side. It’s something that I feel I can continue to enjoy, even later in life. So… What do you guys think? Which do you prefer, Pokemon or Digimon? Feel free to leave a comment telling me what you think, let’s get a friendly discussion going and talk about two series that were an integral part of many 90s kids’ childhoods.

Next Marathon Is Coming Up: Digimon!

Alright, I thought it was time to start a new marathon. I’m mostly done with my Phantasy Star Marathon that I stared last year, in which I review various games from the series and talk about the franchise in general. Well, now I want to do this with one of my favorite multi-media franchises: Digimon. I want to review various manga, anime, movies, and even games from the franchise.

Digimon was my childhood and come July, the franchise will turn 20 years old. I thought this would be the best time to talk more about the series itself. I have reviewed a few Digimon related things, but I want to get into the full swing of things and review a ton of things associated with the series. I wanted to see how much I can cover in the span of a month and a half, before the 20th anniversary of the series rolls around. Expect more Digimon-based content soon, guys!

200th Post + Picture With William Shatner!

This is officially my 200th post and I wanted to make it special. It’s been nearly 2 years sine I started this blog, and it has had its ups and downs. I’m going to continue updating and providing great content for you, and I hope you all continue to read my posts! Without further adieu, I show you one of the crowning moments of the entire year for me thus far:

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NEEEEEEEEEEEEERDS!

This is pic of me and my friends with the legendary founding father of nerd-dom known as William Shatner. I’m the guy in the blue and white striped shirt on the left, T. Hilde is the smiling guy in the middle, while the guy on the right is In92Days. 92 Days scheduled this whole meetup and the reason we went to the con is because of his planning. Honestly, it was a fantastic day and meeting William Shatner (even if it was for a few brief seconds) was something truly amazing.

Keep in mind, I got permission from both of my friends before posting this picture. This honestly was the center-point of the entire convention. I’ll probably never do a photo op like this again, but I feel this one was definitely worth my time and money. It was a great photo and something I’ll treasure forever. Anyway, thanks for reading! Like I said, this is my 200th post and I hope to have many more in the future. Have a good day, everyone, and keep it real.

Comic Book Convention 2017 Swag!

At the recent comic book Expo in Regina, I picked up some rather neat things. I honestly love going to cons, and I don’t really spend a whole lot when it comes to personal items for myself. If you guys like this, I’ll be sure to post pictures of stuff I got from previous years, since I have picked up several awesome things over the years. Anyways, let’s get this rolling! (Also, apologies in advance if the photos are a bit blurry, I’m not expert when it comes to taking pictures)

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A very courageous crest indeed.

One of the first things I picked up at the con was a tag and the crest of courage from Digimon. This is a little plastic replica of the crests commonly seen on the Digimon television show. I honestly loved this anime, so I jumped at the chance to own a crest of my very own. The crests were 5 bucks less than the Digivices (Which I felt looked really amateurish) which is why I ultimately decided on the crest. It makes a fancy little pendant, I must say!

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Wander Over Shiren!

The next thing I bought was the game “Shiren The Wanderer”, the PS Vita version to be precise. I heard this was a great little roguelike, and I jumped at the opportunity to have it on my Vita. I have yet to open and play it, but I’ll be sure to do so this weekend. I look forward to both playing and reviewing this game in the future!

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No joke, I still have yet to see this movie.

During the convention, my friend brought me to a booth run by the guys who made the film Wolf Cop. This was a film made in Regina that was a parody of old 80s cop shows and films. I had never this film before, nor even heard of it for that much. However, when I saw the comic there, I knew I had to have it! The art on the cover was so striking and memorable, making it impossible for me to say no! Honestly, I love 80s stuff, even when it’s made in the modern day as opposed to back then. I read through this comic in one setting, and I gotta say it was a fantastic. I still have yet to see the film, but I’ll be sure to tackle that next!

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And here’s an image of all three things together. Roughly, I spent about 75-80 bucks on personal purchases, this isn’t counting money spent on travelling, food, the tickets themselves, or the hotel. I fully intend to review both the Wolf Cop comic and Shiren at some point, and maybe even do a mini review of the crest replica itself. Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little convention special. I do have one more image I’m going to post, but I’ll save that for later. Trust me, it’s the high point of the convention.