Bethesda Softwork’s Greatest Mistake

I’d like to tell you all a story: Back in 2008, I had moved to a new city. I didn’t really have any friends, nor was I part of any clubs at the time. I eventually did make some new friends, who formally introduced me to a game that I’ve only heard mentions of before: Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. This was a game unlike any other I had played! It was an open world RPG that let me do whatever I want, while at the same time being an interesting universe with diverse side-quests.

There was so much meaningful side-content and fun things to do that I found myself losing many hours to the game. Oblivion was a game that had issues, but did so many things right that it made up for them. It had a colorful and beautiful open-world, with a ton of fun and engaging side-quests, a decent variety of enemies, and a massive amount of things to do.

Oblivion certainly had its problems, there’s no doubt about that. There were bugs, terrible facial designs, a somewhat bland combat system, and a terrible interface. Despite this, the game is still a lot of fun to play today, even without mods. As much as I dug Oblivion, it started a horrible trend that still plagues Bethesda to this very day: Oversimplifying the RPG concepts and and gameplay.

With each open-world RPG game after Oblivion, Bethesda began to make each game simpler and simpler. This got worse once Bethesda got the license to the “Fallout” game series. Bethesda then churned out Fallout 3, a game that simplified many elements of the core Fallout franchise. While Fallout 3 is hailed as a cult classic, many classic Fallout fans downright despise the game.

Still, the game was a fairly fun solid experience and had a ton of well-priced DLC. After Fallout 3, Bethesda allowed Obsidian to develope the next game, which was titled “Fallout: New Vegas”. This allowed some of the people who originally made the series to create a new game for the franchise, while Bethesda was busy finishing Skyrim. What resulted was a Fallout game that managed to please both old fans and new.

New Vegas was released as a spinoff to the main series, but had much more in common with the first two games. In fact, NV was more of a sequel to Fallout 2 than Fallout 3 was! New Vegas introduced more roleplaying elements, features that previous open-world games by Bethesda was lacking. As great as New Vegas was, it was really just a filler game for the series. It’s plot didn’t factor in to Bethesda’s Fallout games, so Bethesda mostly pretended it didn’t happen.

This lead Bethesda to one of their biggest mistakes ever: Fallout 4. Now, recently I’ve been playing Fallout 4. I just got into the game for the first time and I can say that it’s actually a pretty entertaining game. Sure, certain quests are broken beyond belief, there’s a ton of bugs, the story is kind of lame, and the role-playing elements have been dumbed down considerably, but it’s still pretty fun.

The problem isn’t with Fallout 4 itself, but with how Bethesda handled it. You see, Fallout 4 became one of the best-selling games for Bethesda ever. This is great for the company, but it was also too big of a success for a company like Bethesda to handle. Due to the game being such a huge success, Bethesda became sloppy. They jacked up the price of the season pass for the game, and overcharged on the downloadable content.

Worse still, they start banning people on Steam. Why? This comes down to the fact that people were changing to servers from different countries, just so they could play the game a few hours before everyone else. Despite this being more of a minor thing, Bethesda was not happy in the least. Things only got worse from there, however.

Soon, Bethesda made an announcement that they would only give out review copies to the popular Youtubers. This normally wouldn’t be a problem, but most of the big name Youtubers will say nothing but positives things about Bethesda’s games. This means that they will also ignore, or choose not to mention the big flaws the games have.

Some may argue that most of the bad choices came down to Zenimax, which is most likely true. Zenimax owns Bethesda Softworks, so it’s only natural they’d handle the business end of things. Still, Bethesda themselves aren’t completely innocent either. Keep in mind that the spokes of Bethesda, Todd Howard lied during an E3 conference. He said that settlement building was optional, and that it also wasn’t needed to beat the game. Both of these things are false, it’s necessary and you have to do it to complete the main story.

Now, a lot of these things are fairly forgivable. They are dumb choices, but they don’t come off as openly antagonist or anti-consumer. You know what does? Bethesda’s Creation Club. I’ve talked about this system before it’s release, but I think it’s not time to talk about the huge debacle that came from this system. The Creation Club was Bethesda’s second attempt at paid mods, by having modders create “new” content exclusively for the platform.

I say “new” with quotations, since a lot of the supposedly new content is based off pre-existing content from past games. Heck, some of the things you can purchase from the CC are just taken from pre-existing mods! Not only that, but the CC breaks most mods. This includes the “Fallout 4 Script Extender”, which allows for more of the creative and more expansive mods to be used.

If that wasn’t bad enough, a giant text advertisement for the CC was shoved into the corner of the title screen. Constantly there, cluttering up the main menu, and always nagging you to try out this system that encourages poorly implemented paid mods. I’m not against modders being paid for their hard work, but they deserved a better system for this.

In short: Fallout 4 may have been a great game, but the things that spun out of it are slowly killing Bethesda. Sure, they will still make a ton of cash with the inevitable Elder Scrolls VI, but they are still going to have to deal with the controversies currently plaguing them. Bethesda used to be a company that I could turn to for a good game, for something solid and something entertaining.

Nowadays, their great games tend to get overshadowed by their shady business practices. I like to support game studios when I can, however Bethesda has proven themselves to be rather untrustworthy as of late. Once you tarnish your reputation enough, it can be hard to repair it. Will I support Bethesda any time in the future? If they get their act together, then I definitely will. Unfortunately, I highly doubt they will. If a company scams it’s audience and gets away with it, they’ll most likely continue to do so.

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Fighting Foodons: The Show That Wasn’t a Fever Dream

Believe it or not, a part of most people’s childhood is their fertile imagination. We imagine crazy things or bizarre scenarios, things that could never exist in the real world. As kids, we are allowed to craft a world atop our already existing one. Another thing kids tend to do is watch really crazy cartoons. More often than not though, people tend to chalk certain shows up as being fever dreams that they had as kids.

These are shows with such insane premises that they couldn’t possibly real, but some of them actually are. I’m going to talk about one of the most insane anime made for kids ever made, a show most people thought they had just dreamed up in their early years. I’m talking about Fighting Foodons, an anime about food turning into monsters and fighting each other!

Fighting Foodons was a show that was originally released in Japan under the title “Martial Arts Cooking Legend Bistro Recipe”. This was a show that involved around kids using magical cards to bring food to life, which were then used by both the heroes and villains to fight each other. I’m not sure how well the show did in Japan, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume it wasn’t very well.

This probably comes down to the show never being acknowledged, never receiving that much merchandise in Japan, and the fact that it ran for only 26 episodes before immediately becoming forgotten. It also doesn’t help that show was based off an already fairly obscure Shonen manga that only got 2 volumes. So, Bistro Recipe ultimately ended up as this forgotten and rather obscure anime.

That’s in Japan though, not so much in America. You see, 4Kids was looking to expand their catalog of anime dubs in the early 2000s. So, naturally Bistro Recipe was just asking to be snatched up. 4Kids purchased the localization rights, dubbed it in English using their in-house voice cast, and aired it as a premiere show on the Fox-Box network block. Despite being a launch series for the new block, Fighting Foodons failed to garner interest at the time.

However, due to its ridiculous premise and characters, it eventually became a cult classic. Heck, it became such an underground hit that earlier this year it was given a proper DVD release by Discotek! Now, let’s go into a bit more detail on what this show is about. It revolves around a young boy named “Chase”, a kid who wishes to create the ultimate Foodons in order to defeat the “Glutton Empire”.

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“Power Rangers: Delicious Force!”

Helped by his sister, his Foodons, and a group of motley rebels, Chase must defeat the evil empire and free all of the captured innocents. It’s a pretty standard plot, but the show’s constant need to play into its more ridiculous aspects makes it truly entertaining to watch. This show never takes itself seriously, resulting in a comedic action series that revels in its own insanity.

4Kids did a surprisingly good job on the dub, despite their infamous reputation with butchering anime. Still, 4Kids did change a lot, including editing out several scenes. You may be asking yourself: Can’t I just watch it subbed and uncensored instead? Unfortunately, that’s kind of impossible at this point. The Japanese version of Fighting Foodons is near impossible to find. Some clips are floating around Youtube, but they aren’t subtitled.

Not even Discotek has released the Japanese version, at least not yet. It’s a shame too, considering how catchy Bistro Recipe’s theme song is. Still, I think Fighting Foodons is a decent enough adaptation to watch on its own. This isn’t a show with a whole lot of substance, but it’s got heart. You can tell that the people who made it enjoyed what they did.

Fighting Foodons is one of the few food-based anime that I can fully recommend. I never got much into other food anime, such as Toriko. FF is a rare kind of anime, one that revels in how bizarre its world is. This is what makes the show great! Sure, it’s no Escaflowne or GaoGaiGar, but it’s awesome nonetheless. Here’s hoping the Japanese version gets that release soon, so people can enjoy that version as well.

My Favorite Video Game of All Time: Freedom Force

It’s hard to nail down that one game that I find to be my absolute favorite. I’ve played some great games over the years, some of which I’ve sunk countless hours into. However, none of them compare to the greatness that was the “Freedom Force” games! So, what is Freedom Force? This was a game series that drew elements from classic comic books from 60s.

It was a tactical role-playing game that let you choose from a slew of retro superheroes to fill your party. The first game had about 20 different heroes, while the sequel gave you a bunch more to work with! Both Freedom Force game gave you a ton of missions to complete, and allowed you choose your favorite heroes for most of them. Heck, you didn’t even need to choose any of the game’s already available heroes at all! Why? This is due to the game allowing you to create your own!

Much like what City of Heroes was doing at the time, the game allowed you to tailor-make a hero to your liking. Unfortunately, you couldn’t customize their looks like you could in CoH. The game did allow you to choose from any pre-made character mesh in the game, while also giving the player access to some custom meshes. If that’s not enough for you, there are ton of mods out there that give you even more custom skins to use!

That’s right, Freedom Force had a huge modding community back in the day. Much like how games like Fallout, Elder Scrolls, and Torchlight get mods by the thousands, Freedom Force still receives mods even after a decade and a half after its release. Back in those days, a game with a large modding community was insanely rare. Freedom Force and it’s sequel were one of those odd exceptions.

Before I go further into what makes this series great, allow me to tell you how I was introduced to this venerable franchise. It was my 11th birthday, and I was big into my superhero phase at this point. I spent the 90s chilling and watching superhero cartoons like Spider-Man, X-Men, and The Tick. So, for the longest time I was mainly into superheroes.

For my 11th birthday, I received two superhero-based things: A poster of various Marvel heroes and villains, and a game called “Freedom Force”. I had never heard of this gave before, nor had I ever played a game that was based on superheroes that weren’t related to Marvel or DC. So, I was naturally very intrigued by this game. I booted up this game in 2002, and experienced one of the greatest superhero video-games I had ever played in my life.

No joke, I enjoyed these games more than City of Heroes, Chroma Squad, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, or Viewtiful Joe! Now, these are all fantastic superhero games, but nothing really compared to the raw joy I got from these tactical RPGs. Sure, they aren’t complete masterpieces, but they are definitely the games I played the most in my pre-teen years.

Freedom Force set itself apart from most tactical RPGs with its immense amount of moves and abilities. Characters can a learn a ton of moves, and be decked out with all kinds of insane powers. Want a character that can throw acid bombs and fly? You can do that! Want a character who clone himself and shoot lasers? You can do that as well! The sky’s the limit when it comes to creating a character.

In fact, I often found creating a character to be more fun than using the pre-existing ones. Sure, characters like Tombstone and El Diablo can be a ton of fun to use, but nothing beats making my own weapons of super-powered destruction! Now, the game isn’t perfect. While I dig the 60s comic book style the game goes for, it can rather awkward during the animated cut-scenes.

Characters are often depicted as barely animated 2-dimensional drawings during cut-scenes, so it can often look pretty awkward to see them bouncing around and trying to fight each other. On top of this, I was never a huge fan of the story in the first game. This was mostly due to the fact that it felt very episodic in nature, with most of the individual stories not tying into each other that much.

The oddly titled sequel known as “Freedom Force Vs. The Third Reich” mostly fixed this issue. The story was focused around a more singular narrative, while only occasionally delving into side-stories. Another problem with both games is that the graphics haven’t aged that well, which is to be expected with much older games.

Considering how cheap you can get both games now, I highly recommend grabbing them. At the very least, grab the second game. I find Freedom Force Vs. The Third Reich to be a marked improvement over the original in almost every way! I recommend playing Freedom Force, especially if you’re a fan of Irrational Games’ older works. It’s no Swat 4 or Tribes: Vengeance, but it’s still a fantastic game series nonetheless!

My First Published Credit!

Good news, everyone! In about a week or two, I will be a published writer. My local newspaper agreed to publish an article I wrote about Asperger’s, and my experiences with it. I will link to the article once it is made available, so anyone who’s interested can read it. I’m honestly very excited about this, since many an hour went into it!

It was one of the projects that I feel really encapsulated me as a writer, and I hope it can inspire the many people who read it. I hope to continue getting more works published and even become a Freelance writer one day! Writing is something I am passionate about, something I feel I excel at. There’s always room for improvement, there’s no doubt about that. I look to keep improving and continue to put out well-written reviews, essays, and short stories. Thank you all for you continued support and have a great day!

Wakfu: Terrible Name, Fantastic Show

There was once a time in my life where I was really into French shows. YTV and Teletoon were flooded with French, and French-Canadian cartoons. As a result, I would these shows religiously. I’m talking shows like Martin Mystery, Team Galaxy, Donkey Kong Country, and Monster Buster Club. I found shows like these to be fairly entertaining, though after a while I fell out of love with French cartoons.

Don’t get me wrong, I really dig French TV shows. The problem is that most French cartoons nowadays just fail to hold my interest. In fact, for a while the only French show I was really into was Miraculous Ladybug. Since ML has been on hiatus for a while, I thought it was time I find a new show to fill the void while I wait. That shows happens to be a little known series called “Wakfu”.

When I say that it’s little known, I mean that the series really hasn’t taken off outside of France. In France, Wakfu is a highly successful animated spinoff of the MMORPG game “Dofus”. Some may argue that Wakfu is more well-known than Dofus, due to its immense popularity. Wakfu even got a ton of spinoff games, including its own MMORPG adaptation.

Despite the show’s weird-sounding name, it’s actually quite entertaining. The series itself takes a ton of elements from anime, mostly from the ever popular Shonen genre. The series uses flash animation, but manages to make it look really good. While characters look semi-static while talking, the animation usually amps up during action scenes.

Fights that would often look very cheap in lesser show are given full reign to look impressive here. On top of this, Wakfu has a stellar and entertaining soundtrack. Each episode is beautifully scored and sounds really good! Now, most of you are probably wondering what Wakfu is about.

This show focuses on a kid named Yugo, who is trying to find his real parents. After being attacked by a villainous robot-man named Nox, our young hero says his goodbyes to his father and decides to travel the world. Yugo forms bounds with new friends allies, and sets off with his party to discover his real family.

Wakfu is a show that starts off kind of bland. The first thirteen or so episodes barely feature the main villain at all, relegating his appearances to the two-part pilot. Even there, the villain only appears in a few scenes and comes off as being rather basic and underdeveloped. However, that’s only if you haven’t seen the later episodes or the special “Noximilien The Watchmaker”.

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It’s a hard Nox life!

This special depicts the events that lead Noximilien to becoming the vicious robotic villain of season 1. Noximilien goes from a humble clock-maker to a vicious cyborg named “Nox”, one who’s only goal is to literally turn back the clock and rewind time. In the second half of the first season, Nox becomes a more present threat for our heroes and their allies.

Nox isn’t the only character that I ended up liking a lot, I also adored two of the show’s protagonists: Ruel Stroud and Sadlygrove. Ruel Stroud is an old miser, a shovel-wielding adventurer, and a mysterious man with a ton of power. The reason I enjoyed Ruel is that he reminds me a lot of myself. Much like him, I hate spending cash even when I have more than enough of it.

Despite his penny-pinching ways, Ruel proves to be a loyal ally and a powerful warrior. Likewise, the hot-blooded hero known as Sadlygrove is another strong fighter. Sadlygrove’s idiotic tendencies often get him into trouble, though he usually gets out of it by knocking out anything that stands in his way. To me, these two characters are really what made the show for me.

The constant struggles these characters go through, combined with how they interact with each other make for some solid entertainment. The show itself starts off with portraying both its characters and its world in a humorous light, while slowing peeling back the layers to show the darker tragedies at work.

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Unfortunately, Yugo’s portals don’t get that awesome until later in the series.

While the plot and its lore can come off formulaic, the way it is handled at times is executed well. I loved the various touches the animators and writing team put into the show, such as having Nox’s movements mirror that of a clock at times, or starting off an episode in unexpected way. I still can’t get over how much I enjoyed watching the start of a particular episode, one featuring two of its primary characters engaged in some fancy ballroom dancing. Something like that is very uncommon in this show, or shows in this genre for that matter.

Wakfu isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a perfect show, it actually has a fair bit of flaws. Like I mentioned, the main villain barely appears in season 1. Season 1 is mostly dominated by inconsequential filler, which I often find to be less enticing than the story-lines dealing with the main antagonist. Don’t misunderstand, there are several goofy filler episodes that I enjoy, but the amount of filler can be a bit overwhelming.

This wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for one thing: The show’s heavy continuity. Despite the first half of season 1 coming off as episodic, almost everything that happens gets referenced in some way. There isn’t an episode that I could fully consider skippable, even if what happens in the episode doesn’t amount to much. For example, there’s an episode where they go to an island and we’re introduced to the plant people known as “Sadidas”.

Up until this point, the only Sadida that was seen was Princess Amalia.  If you skip out on this episode, you miss seeing these creatures before they are properly introduced several episodes later. In a way, we get a small taste of the culture and general personalities of this fictional race. The problem is that the episode feels very inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. We are introduced to this tiny little monkey god named “Moon”, who never shows up again despite his grand power.

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Adorable, yet pointless

Another problem with the show is its cheap English dub. Despite Ankama (the production company behind Wakfu) starting a Kickstarter for an English dub of this series, it ended up being pretty awful regardless. Characters lack the raw emotion they had in the French version, and most of them sound like they would fit right in with a badly dubbed 90s anime. I usually prefer my dubs to my subs, but this one is just downright bad to listen to. It’s why I always stick to the French version while watching Wakfu.

Still, things like this never stopped me from enjoying the show. It was flawed and had a bit of a generic plot, but it handled itself very well. I’ve just completed season 1 and I’m only a few episodes into season 2 at this point, but I like what I see. Wakfu is one of those few cartoons that I enjoy enough to binge and I plan to spend the next few weeks doing so. It’s one of those rare cartoons that manages to not only entertain me, but also bring a tear to my eye.

Tiger & Bunny: An Anime Deserving of Its Number 1 Spot

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What isn’t pictured in this image is the insane amount of product placement this series likes to use.

I’ve made it no secret that I love Tiger & Bunny. I don’t watch many anime, but this is a show I dig. It’s about a duo of superheroes named Kotetsu and Barnaby, who go by the alternate identities of “Wild Tiger” and… Well, Barnaby doesn’t really have a superhero name until halfway through the series. Eventually though, they do call him “Bunny” and he gets used to it after a while. So yeah, the show is about these two heroes who start off hating each other and are forced to work together. After a while, the series evolves into a rather weird and unique action show. The show is weird, awesome, epic, goofy, silly, sad, and dark all at the same time. The show really managed to handle most of its elements in an interesting and constructive way.

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So, it’s no wonder it is why Tiger & Bunny has recently been the number 1 anime in Japan. That’s right, the NHK recently released a list of the top 100 anime voted by the Japanese. Of course, this lead to some rather odd choices and placements on the list. For example, Akira is near the bottom of the list. Dragon Ball didn’t make it into the top 100 at all, in any of its iterations. Weirder still, Cowboy Bebop is ranked at 34. This is especially odd since Cowboy Bebop did terrible in Japan upon release and isn’t as well remembered as a lot of other titles. Still, it’s popularity in the west and other parts of the world probably spilled back into Japan and made it popular there too, at least that’s what I’m guessing.

It’s hard to believe that such a short series has resonated with Japanese audiences so much. The weirdest thing about this is that Tiger & Bunny has been off the air for 5 years, with the last iteration of the series coming out in 2014. Of course, there are talks to adapt it into a live-action film. Anime-to-film adaptations are usually terrible, but Tiger & Bunny is already pretty American in its style, so it would probably make for a perfect live-action adaptation. If done properly, that is. Back to the subject at hand, why did T&B score so well?

According to a friend, it’s because the Japanese tend to hold older shows in higher regard than other shows like One Piece and Naruto. Japan doesn’t cling to “fad” styled shows, and tends to enjoy series that have more staying power and click with audiences more. For example, people still hold cartoons like Spectacular Spider-Man and Batman Beyond as cult classics and examples of high quality animation in America. Japan just loves Tiger & Bunny, which is surprising considering Japan usually doesn’t take to anime with American influences. Like I said, Cowboy Bebop flopped, and Trigun didn’t do so well either.

Tiger & Bunny is one of those rare exceptions where I feel it really appeals to all audiences, regardless of where they are from or who they are. It’s not just a superhero show, a buddy comedy, a weird bromance sitcom, a character study, it’s all of these things and more. Am I saying Tiger & Bunny is better than all these other shows that ended up on the list? Of course not! That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your attention. With all the attention T&B is getting with this list, I think it’s a good time to get into show and watch it if you haven’t.

My Thoughts On Dragon Ball Super Episodes 109-110

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The ultimate head-butt!

Sometimes, hype can be a good thing. At least, that’s what the recent Dragon Ball Super 2-parter has shown me. If you’re any sort of Dragon Ball fan, or just an anime fan in general, then it’s more than likely you’ve heard of this recent event. Toei animation put forth two Dragon Ball episodes on the same day, in order to build some hype for upcoming fights. Not only did they do this, but they also introduced Goku’s brand new form!

Yes, the alien hillbilly martial artist received yet another overpowered transformation. I mean, it’s to be expected at this point! At this point, Goku’s power-ups are essentially his wardrobe: He has one for every day of the week, as well as one for every season. So, Goku receiving a new form was inevitable. Now, before we get into the nitty-gritty of this episode, please keep in mind that there will be SPOILERS. It’s hard to talk about this episode without getting into the specifics, so please keep that in mind.

First off, let me give a brief summary of this arc, for those aren’t following the subtitled version of Dragon Ball Super. Goku and friends are engaged in a “Tournament of Power”, where the only prize is survival. 8 of the 12 universes are fighting against each other, with only the winning universe surviving.

The two parter begins by having Goku fight Ribrianne, who is this walking parody of magical girls. Goku fights her for a bit, she transforms, Goku knocks her away, then she becomes irrelevant for the rest of the two-parter. She barely does anything and is just kinda there, just like 90% of the cast in this art thus far. So, after Ribrianne becomes irrelevant, Jiren shows up.

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Well, he certainly did not skip leg day.

Jiren is a character that hasn’t done that much at all yet, aside from look intimidating and punch a few guys. Here, Jiren manages to push Goku to his absolute limit. Goku uses all of his forms (except for Super Saiyan 3) against the interdimensional alien, but is unable to do much to him. Not even the “Super Saiyan God Blue Kaioken X 20” wasn’t able to do any damage.

With his options exhausted, Goku has to rely on the “Spirit Bomb”. The Spirit Bomb is Goku’s ultimate technique, despite it barely working half the time. Much like the fights against Vegeta and Frieza, Goku is unable to kill Jiren with the attack. Jiren pushes the spirit bomb back, and not even Goku’s power can stop it. After a fruitless struggle, Goku is overwhelmed by his attack. This causes a massive explosion with trippy effects that presumably kills Goku.

Goku disappears, leaving a crater behind. Just when everyone thinks he’s dead, Goku returns once more… In a new form. We don’t much about this form other than the fact it’s called “Ultra Instinct”, but what we do know is that it is powerful. It allows Goku to fight on the same level as Jiren, and even overpower him!

Eventually, Goku’s new form wears off and he is knocked out. After escaping, Goku comes across Frieza, who prepares to attack the injured Saiyan. The episode ends with the alien assassin Hit about to face off with overwhelming and overpowering obstacle of an obliteration oracle. In other words, next episode will be “Hit Vs. Jiren”.

Now, that was just a small summary of this episode. If I were to go over all 40 minutes of this special, we’d probably be here for a decade. Regardless, it’s about time I go over my thoughts on this special. It was decent, though nothing truly amazing. The fight against Ribrianne felt really pointless, like it didn’t need to happen at all.

Ribrianne has no emotional weight in the narrative, Goku could’ve easily fought anyone else and it would have the same amount of impact. To be fair, no one came here for the fight with Ribrianne. The audience just wanted to see Goku fight Jiren, which was the big draw of this event. So, was it worth it? It was, but only somewhat.

Now, the reason I say “somewhat” is because we did get that fight, but Jiren didn’t have anything to spectacular going on. He was just overwhelmingly powerful, which is disappointing. He has no special techniques, weird powers, or unique gimmicks. He is just stronger, faster, and more powerful than everyone else.

This makes for a great obstacle for our heroes, but a disappointing combatant for Goku. Why? The reason is because Goku is just climbing yet another mountain, while slowly reaching the same power level as the foe who stands in his way. The build up to Goku’s transformation was tremendous, while the animation, music, and visuals complimented the ascension very well.

The way Goku didn’t talk at all while attacking Jiren like a machine was truly amazing; one of the few times Super has managed to give me chills while watching. The problem is that Goku just gets this new form at random. Goku summons a Spirit Bomb, gets a ton of power when he accidentally absorbs it, and is suddenly uber-powerful. The buildup is there, it’s just the execution that felt rushed.

So, would I say this 2-parter was good? Yes, it was exceptional. Despite the recycled animation, somewhat rushed delivery, and pointless opener fight, the special managed to keep me fully entertained. Could it have been better? I think so, but anything could be better if given enough time and effort.

As much as I enjoyed this special, I’d say to wait until the arc finishes and watching the two-parter along with the rest of the episodes. As good as it was, it feels like most of the episodes that came before it. Due to the humongous length of this arc thus far, I’d say waiting until the arc is finished and watching it over the course of a few weeks.

If you do what I do and watch it on a weekly basis, you’re mostly likely going to burn yourself out on it. Unlike other Dragon Ball specials, this one does not function as a standalone prequel story. You’re only really going to get a kick out of it if you’ve enjoyed the arc thus far. Like I said, it’s best to wait until the arc has finished before going on a binge.

My Favorite Cartoon of All Time: Cybersix

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Something I really dig is cartoons, and animation in general. There’s just so much more you can do with a piece of animation then you could with a high-budget film, television show, or comic book. Animation is a very difficult medium to break into, especially due to how bad a lot of animators get treated. However, animation can definitely be a rewarding thing to a lot of people.

When you get the right animation team, the right vision, the right characters, and the right story, then you can have a show that just feels… Right. For a lot of people, that could be something like Rick & Morty, Spectacular Spider-Man, or Samurai Jack. For me, there was one show that’s always been my favorite. I saw it when I was just 8 years old, and it’s one of those few shows that have ALWAYS stuck with me.

Heck, I ever remembered its name! I can’t always recall the names of most shows I’ve watched as a kid, yet Cybersix has been burned into my brain for nearly 2 decades. That’s saying a lot, considering how few people rarely talk about it. Despite this, there was just something special about this show.

I remember this show premiering in 1999 to little fandom. I was one of the lucky people to catch the series while it was still airing. Cybersix was one of those shows that was just so… Alien. It’s a cyberpunk superhero series, yet it has elements of other genres as well, such as horror and comedy. Heck, one episode was just one big homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s magnum opus: The Birds.

Let’s back up here before we talk about the episodes: What is this show exactly? Cybersix was a group project, between three different countries: Canada, Argentina, and Japan. Cybersix started life as a cyberpunk superhero comic under the same name, and was eventually adapted into a short-lived live action show. What little clips I could find of it are truly terrible.

Just look at this crap! It’s like if someone mashed together The Crow and Batman & Robin into an unholy abomination. The suit is pretty bad, the action scenes are atrocious, and everything looks very low budget. Few clips of this show exist online, some of which have their audio claimed. Honestly, I can kind of respect that. If I let a trainwreck like this get made, I’d probably try to get rid of all traces of it as well.

Thankfully, Cybersix got another (and far more faithful) adaptation later down the road. In 1999, we were gifted with the shining super-heroine symbol of simmering special-ness that was the Cybersix cartoon. The show (and comic it was based off) revolved around an escaped science experiment named Cybersix. She’s a member of a group of augmented humans called “Cybers”.

She was created by Von Reichter, a Neo Nazi mad-scientist. She eventually escaped, and took up the identity of a recently deceased child named “Adrian Seidelman”. That’s right, Cybersix’s human disguise is that of a male! Under the guise of Adrian, Cybersix takes up a job as a local high-school teacher. Our cross-dressing heroine is aided by Lucas, who is a teacher from the same school as Adrian.

What’s interesting about Cybersix’s alter-ego is the idea behind it. In most superhero shows, the secret identity is used so the hero can continue their civilian life without fear of being discovered. Cybersix has a human alter-ego so she can hide from Von Reichter’s mutants during the day, while carrying out her vigilante actions against them at night.

Cybersix has a small, yet interesting cast of characters. Lucas stands as one of my favorites, being a teacher who can hold his own fight. There’s also Data-7, Cybersix’s sidekick, brother, and an actual panther. That’s right, Von Reichter had placed the mind of Cybersix’s deceased brother (and fellow Cyber) into the body of a black panther. With the body of a ferocious jungle beast, he was used by Von Reichter to wipe out his enemies.

He is snapped back to his senses by Cybersix, and very quickly becomes a supporting sidekick. There are several other primary characters, but they are of far less importance. What is of importance is Jose, Von Reichter’s cloned son. Yes, the mad-scientist has a son, who is also a clone of himself. I kind of like Jose, despite the fact that he can be an annoying kid at times

At least Jose is able to be somewhat of a threat at times, though that’s more due to the monsters Von Reichter makes for him. Now, judging by what I told you, you’re probably thinking: “Wow, that sounds like an intricate plot!” Well, that’s not entirely true. Sure, the setup and lore are deep, but you really only need to watch three episodes to get the gist of the entire plot. The episodes you need to see are: Episodes 1, 2, and 13. The other 10 episodes were monster-of-the-week shenanigans that focus on one-shot characters.

If you were to skip these 10 filler episodes though, you’d be missing almost all the best parts of the show. You see, this show is a monster-of-the-week series that is done amazingly well. A lot of the scenarios presented in the episodes are done well, and handled expertly. Characters that only appear once are interesting, such as the expert investigator known as “Yashimoto”.

Now, I’ve seen some video reviews out there that seem to harsh a lot on the fact that Cybersix isn’t as dark as the comics. They were annoyed that it was dumbed down for kids, which is something I disagree with. Sure, Cybersix is lighter and softer than the original, but it keeps elements of what makes the comic darker.

The show hints greatly at these darker elements, without outright revealing them. For example, the show shows bits and pieces of Cyber-29’s death, hints at the fate of what happened to the other Cybers, and even touches on Jose’s Neo-Nazi upbringing in a way that is left purposefully vague.

This means that the show has a hidden layer of depth to it. The problem is that you need to read a lot of the comic to understand this depth, as a lot of backstory is left purposefully vague in the series. Still, Cybersix remains an interesting series with some dark elements here or there.

Now, if you’re planning on watching the show for the first time, make sure to watch the first 2 episodes first. The show is very background heavy, so seeing these episodes will help you understand the world and characters. If you’re interested in weird 90s sci-fi superhero shows, give this one a shot. My description of it may weird out a lot of people, but it’s definitely worth a watch.

A Nerd’s Eye-View of Sask Expo 2017

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Demon Lord Justin Bieber, deliverer of darkness!

There are many mysterious wonders that circulate this wide wacky world we occupy. Bigfoot, the Ogopogo, and the Jackalope are just a few of these legends. However, a mystery that often permeates the mind of a typical person is: What is a comic book convention like? After all, not everyone has the time, interest, or money to dedicate to attending a comic book convention.

I thought I’d take this time to share my experiences with my local comic book convention, and why you should attend them if you are on the fence about it. About a week back, a few friends and I attended “Sask Expo 2017”, a comic book convention situated right here in Saskatoon. My friends and I arrived at the convention at around 11:30 in the morning. The first thing that we did was tour the premises, which was a fun experience.

While there, we ran into various people dressed in colorful and crazy costumes. There were people dressed up like giant monsters, video-game characters, obscure sci-fi monstrosities, and the occasional dinosaur. It’s like a costume party, only much more elaborate! After meeting and taking pictures with several kooky characters, we moved on to the “Artist’s Alley”.

We got to meet several talented artists, most of which were more than happy to sell us their independent comics and novels for really good prices. We even got to meet Tad Stones, creator of the cartoon classic “Darkwing Duck”. After meeting various artists, we ate lunch and then attended some celebrity panels. This is one of the most interesting parts of any comic book convention, getting to sit in on live panels with real-life actors.

There are few events out there that let you meet celebrities in real-life, but comic book conventions allows you to indulge in that fantasy. Sask Expo had a ton of big names including Lou Ferrigno, Ernie Hudson, and John Rhys-Davies. Meeting these celebrities was great, especially getting to sit in on a panel with the legend Ernie Hudson.

Ernie himself was signing autographs while dress in the same costume he wore in “Ghostbusters”. After going to a few panels, my friends and I walked around a bit more. I ended up picking up this beautifully drawn art print from a local artist, one that I intend to frame and put up on my wall. The original artist was even nice enough to autograph it for me!

We also met with some of my other friends a bit later on, who were all dressed in some rather silly costumes. Within the course of about 5 hours, we had exhausted the amount of things we wanted to do there. We then trekked back to one of my friend’s house, for a much needed break from the convention. After all, walking around for five hours in an overtly crowded place can get pretty exhausting!

All in all, that was my experience with Sask Expo 2017. If you’re on the fence about attending next year’s event, I’d say give it a shot. It’s worth going at least once if you’re interested in anything nerdy, or just want to get autographs from your favorite celebrities. A ticket for just a single day is only about 25 bucks, which is a steal for anyone interested. In my opinion, going to comic book conventions is a solid experience and well worth the time of anybody.