No More Heroes: Into The Suda-Verse

Shared universes are not a new concept, especially since they’ve been around since the dawn of modern fiction. Having different fictional works co-exist in the same reality is certainly an interesting idea, one that has sparked the minds of writers for generations. The biggest example of a shared universe is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has been dominating theaters for over a decade now.

Now, you may be asking yourself: “Are there any new shared universes to indulge in?” After all, one may get sick of the constant barrage of formulaic and uninspired shared universes out there. However, by far the most interesting one would have to be Suda 51’s “Kill The Past” series. Suda 51 and his company “Grasshopper Manufacture” have been creating awesome and very weird Japanese games for over 2 decades now.

The “Kill The Past” series has been one of their trademark franchises for years now, while also encompassing most of their released titles. The titles in said series include: Killer 7, Killer Is Dead, an unrelated short story also called “Killer is Dead”, The No More Heroes franchise, Shadows of The Damned, Let It Die, Moonlight Syndrome, Silver Case, 25th Ward, and several others.

Most of said games are kept separate from each other, only containing slight references to each other. For example, there are baseball players from No More Heroes’ city of “Santa Destroy” in Diabolical Pitch. Likewise, the organization of “ISZK” originated in Michigan: Report From Hell, before showing up in several later games.

All of these games had small elements that connected them to each other, but were mostly their own stories in the long-run. This all changed with the release of the newest No More Heroes again, which goes by the name of “Travis Strikes Again”. This was the third game in the No More Heroes series, revolving around the anime-loving assassin named “Travis Touchdown”.

Despite being a sequel to No More Heroes: Desperate Struggles, it acts more as a sequel to all of Suda’s creations. The game focuses on Travis, who’s going through a midlife crisis of sorts. He now lives in a trailer in the woods, while ignoring his newfound family obligations. After being attacked by a new assassin named “Badman”, Travis finds himself once more thrust into a bizarre adventure.

Of course, Travis isn’t the only returning face. Kamui from “25th Ward” shows up to help him during the “Visual Novel” sequences. Travis also bumps into “Mondo Zappa” near the game’s end, while on the quest for more “Death Balls”. The game is full of a ton of these cameos and references, resulting it in feeling like one big crossover!

It’s nice to see all these mostly unconnected stories finally converge, while also setting up potential followups for their individual franchises. I can totally see them doing sequels to Killer Is Dead, Killer 7, and Shadows of The Damned after playing through this game! This isn’t too surprising, due to how much Suda loves these games. Considering how visually and thematically similar a lot of Suda’s games are, it was only a matter of time before they crossed over.

The thing I liked more about this shared universe is the fact that Travis isn’t that welcoming of all these “new” faces. In fact, most of them he distrusts or just doesn’t like. I like this more than other shared universes, where everyone will get along after having known each other for just a couple minutes. I like seeing protagonists who distrust each other, or who suspect each other of being more than they appear.

Considering the fact that most of the characters in these games are extremely flawed individuals with antagonistic aspects, it only makes sense for them to not get along with each other. That being said, Kamui’s interaction with Travis were truly entertaining. It’s nice seeing them form a sort of friendship over the course of the game, especially due to how entertaining their dialogue is.

Travis Strikes Again definitely did the right thing in crossing over all these games, while establishing and referencing the connections between them. I’m looking forward to seeing what Suda 51 and Grasshopper Manufacture will do with their franchises next. It’d be awesome if they continued to expand on this universe, while telling awesome standalone stories!

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The League of Legends Advertising Is Starting To Get Ridiculous

Commercials and advertising are an important thing for any kind of intellectual property, business, or franchise. Getting your name out there is beneficial to gaining more revenue and attention, which in turn helps you grow your fan-base. I’m not against advertising in any way, but I’d be lying if I didn’t think advertising could go too far at times. A good example of this is the animated commercials for “League of Legends”, which have to be some of my least favorite advertisements of all time.

Please keep mind that I’m not trying to put down League of Legends or its fan-base with this post. I just really don’t like its advertising, that’s all. I’m a huge fan of animation, but even I can’t deny how bland these advertisements are. Most of the animated commercials lack any sort of consistent style, and all appear to be made by different animators. On paper, this doesn’t sound so bad. The problem is that all these animators approach animation and tone differently, resulting in an inconsistent style for most of these advertisements.

For example, some commercials are styled like Japanese anime, while others are presented as animatic-style Flash animations. This results in most commercials having no real correlation with each other, due to them all being so vastly different. It probably doesn’t help that some of them seem to lie about the game, or don’t properly portray it correctly.

You see, League of Legends is a “MOBA”, which stands for “Multiplayer Online Battle Arena”. It’s similar to a MMORPG, but lacking the vast open-world and quests of one. Instead of questing across a fantasy world, you do battle on an arena with teams of players. The game itself relies on good coordination and teamwork in order to achieve victory.

Thing is, some advertisements choose to portray the game differently. A good example is the video below, which tries to make the game seem more like a MMORPG. You have players exploring the world and having adventures, while fighting other players. In truth, there are no real adventures to be had in this game.

League of Legends mostly exists as a competitive game¬†nowadays, which the commercial does a poor job of demonstrating. Several other League of Legends ads rely on really bad comedy, which results in a lot of jokes just missing the mark. Most of them contain silly voices, awkward editing, or a lack of any real comedic hook. I know comedy is subjective, but I always found these “comedic” advertisements to really lack any punch.

I’ve harped a lot on the advertisements themselves, but they are really only part of the problem. The real issue I have with them is the frequency in which they get shown, since I often get barraged by them way too often. League of Legends has many of these adverts, which will often by shoved into your face as you try to watch a video on YouTube.

I have no problem with YouTube advertisements, but I get a sick of them constantly shoving the same commercials for the same game down my gullet all the time. It’s especially weird since I never watched any League of Legends videos before today, so there would be little reason for YouTube’s strange algorithm to put them in front of me. I haven’t even played the game in the years, since it was never really my type of genre.

I’ve heard rumors that the reason the advertising is so gratuitous is due to the game starting to die. It wouldn’t surprise me, considering League of Legends is nearly past its expiration date. The game has been around for almost 10 years now, and is mostly kept alive by its competitive scene. Most online games only last about 3-10 years, so I can’t see the game continuing much past this point.

Again, I’ve got nothing against advertising a game. The key problem is that the advertising is too in-your-face and inconsistent. When you have over a dozen different animators/animation teams all producing their own vision, then things are bound to get problematic. I feel that having a unified vision could help the advertising in the long run, but I doubt that will ever happen. Oh well, at least it’s not one of the worst advertising campaigns I’ve seen…

 

Dungeons & Dragons Marathon: The Dead Alewives Sketches

If you’ve been around the internet for as long as I have, then you are most likely to run into what are called “internet memes”. Memes are basically internet “jokes”, which are usually just references to something dumb or silly. Some memes can transcend the time period in which they are made, and continue into the far future. Several such memes originated from an unlikely place: An old Dungeons & Dragons sketch made by Dead Alewives.

They were a sketch comedy group that existed around the 80s and 90s, while producing several rather entertaining sketches. In essence, they are mostly known for their original Dungeons & Dragons sketch! This audio sketch has a very simple, albeit entertaining premise. The idea behind it is that an omniscient narrator believes D&D to be satanic worship, which was a common misconception around the time.

The narrator paints D&D as pure evil, before showing the audience an “actual gaming session”. We are then shown a bunch of nerds who are goofing off, and playing the game normally. The sketch showed to casual audiences that D&D was harmless fun, and didn’t promote satanic or occult ideals.

The sketch itself had a ton of really good jokes and one-liners in there; my personal favorite is “I’ve got an Ogre-Slaying Knife, it’s got a plus 9 against ogres!” The sketch is simple, but it does what it sets out to do and presents its content in an entertaining and fun way. It was a hilarious and unforgettable depiction.

While the sketch wasn’t popular initially, its repeat airings on the “Dr. Demento” radio program boosted its popularity greatly. By the last 90s, it had become one of the most requested sketches on the program. This eventually resulted in a second sketch, which just wasn’t as funny. It revolved around one of the players bringing their girlfriend to a game, only for the Dungeon Master to get jealous and annoyed.

The sketch was a whopping 7 minutes long, which was more than twice as long as the original sketch! Worse still, it just wasn’t as funny as the first. The first sketch’s humor relied on just nerds being nerds, rather than trying to force in a subplot about a jealous Dungeon Master. The jokes felt too stretched out and there was a bit too much filler for my liking.

It’s not terrible by any means, and there are still jokes that did get a chuckle out of me. On top of this, the voice-work by the Dead Alewives are impeccable as always! Thing is, it just lacked the magic that the first sketch had. There were no opening and ending narrations, no really good punchlines, and just a general lack of creativity.

It’s still enjoyable on its own, but it lacks the unique comedy stylings that the original brought to the table. Heck, most people have even forgotten that this second sketch even exists! It’s pretty obscure, especially for a follow-up to one of the most celebrated audio sketches of its time.

Despite the second sketch being forever doomed to obscurity, its predecessor continues to live on. People still quote lines from the first D&D sketch verbatim, and the sketch itself has even made it into the video-game “Summoner”. References to the sketch abound in most big MMORPGs, while nerds continue to shout “I’m attacking the darkness!” while playing a game of D&D.

The first sketch was simple, but was done really well. So well that it actually got me into Dungeons & Dragons, which I appreciate very much! While that second sketch will never be looked at all that fondly, at least the first one will live on in the hearts of nerds for many years to come. Just like a bottle of Mountain Dew, the Dead Alewives Dungeons & Dragons sketches are just too damn sweet!

My Next Marathon: Dungeons & Dragons!

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I love the smell of First Edition D&D in the morning!

If you’re new to this blog, then you may not know that I occasionally do “marathons” of series I’m really into. My marathons consist of me doing constant posts on various entries and adaptations within a singular series, while also putting out my usual stream of content on the side. The first marathon I did was for Phantasy Star, while the second was for Digimon. The marathon for the next few months will be about Dungeons & Dragons!

D&D was the FIRST RPG of any sort to be made, resulting in the creation of a genre that has spanned decades at this point. I recently reviewed Neverwinter Nights, so I thought it was a good time to go and look back at various D&D things made over years. I’ll tackle adaptations, video-games, and even my experiences with said board-game.

Keep in mind that I’m not the biggest expert on D&D. I know the basics of the game and have indulged in many of its adaptations, but I’m not some “seasoned Dungeon Master”. I’m no expert, but I know enough about the series as a whole to give an informed opinion on it.

With that being said, I hope you guys enjoy this marathon. I’ll try to make it last the first quarter of this year, from now until March. I should have enough Dungeons & Dragons material to cover to fill that time-slot! If not, I could I just play and review a bunch of Neverwinter Nights expansions. I’ve got enough of those to cover at least 8 reviews! Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the content I bring next. Thanks once again for supporting my work and reading this blog!

I’m A Published Writer Now!

Good news, everyone! As of late week, I am now officially a published writer. I wrote an article on Star Phoenix about Asperger’s and my experiences living with it. The link to it is on my “Info About Me” page, but I’ll also link it here as well. I’m pretty proud of it and how it turned out and I’m glad Star Phoenix decided to run my story. Without further adieu, here it¬†is!

New Discord Channel + Top 20 PS Vita Games

Hi guys! I thought I’d mention that I have a Twitter page, that I’ve started to use more lately. In the past, I hadn’t really used it all that much. So, I thought I’d start using it more and more recently I’ll be sure to embed my Twitter onto my blog, so you can all check it out. Also, I now have a Discord page:

https://discord.gg/XswH76z

The invite is open to anyone, so if you want to be part of a Discord group just starting out, feel free to join. We’ll discuss comics, video-games, movies, or just stuff in real-life. There’s a sub-chat in there as well for PS Vita games, which segue-ways into another announcement. As my year-end project, I’m doing a top 20 Vita game list. I already have the list constructed, but I’m looking for honorable mentions.

Have any Vita games you’d like to see me talk about? Be sure to message me in this chat and let me know, maybe I’ll even include it in there! Again, the Discord chat is open to everyone. I’ll be sure to write out some rules in time, once there are enough people there to facilitate having an extensive rule list. For now, these are the rules I have set in place:

  1. No Roleplaying/ RPing
  2. No drama or attacks on other users
  3. Be respectful of other people’s personal spaces

I’ll probably add more as the group gets bigger. Anywho, that’s all I wanted to say for now. Have a good, and hope to see you in the chat!

The Problem With Star Wars Movie Trailers

Something I haven’t talked about on this blog in quite some time is the Star Wars franchise. Star Wars is a sci-fi series that has been running for over 30 years now, and is one of the most well-known franchises in the world. Almost every film makes a killing at the box-office, even if the quality of some of its entries can be debatable. The age-old tales of space samurai and evil cyborg dads has captured the imagination of multiple generations.

So, it’s unsurprising that the series has gotten more of a resurgence in the past few years. We’ve had new movies, new comics, new cartoons, new games, on top of much needed updates to older Star Wars games. There’s never a lack of content for Star Wars fans, it seems. With all the new movies out, of course there’s going to be trailers and advertisements coming out by the dozens.

Unfortunately, Star Wars seems to have a hit a snag when it comes to trailers. A lot of Star Wars movie trailers seems to be over-obsessed with showing the same elements over and over again. Look at the trailers for the last 3 Star Wars films. We’ve got scenes in the trailers depicting one of the heroes turning to the dark side, a bunch of classic characters we haven’t seen in years, and a ton of scenes that are taken out of context just to put butts in seats.

Now, this isn’t anything new. Trailers are meant to entice viewers by showing them all these amazing things, which isn’t exclusive to movie trailers. The thing is that Star Wars doesn’t need to do this, because it will sell really well regardless. Lately, I feel the newer Star Wars trailers have been obsessed with showing you the best parts of the movie.

While I liked Star Wars: Rogue One, I felt that the trailer showed a bit too much of the epic action sequences. Likewise, the trailer for “The Last Jedi” felt as though it was trying too hard to emulate the feel of Rogue One’s trailer. Both trailers seem to feature a lot of the elements I mentioned earlier, such as heroes turning to the dark side and out of context scenes.

I feel like the Star Wars trailers are being designed to be too enticing nowadays, which goes against how they were in the past. Sure, those trailers were still meant to entice people, but they were done differently. They were obsessed with showing you a ton of nostalgia, the best scenes in the movie, and characters joining the bad guys. These trailers were great because they were well-written, showed enough of the film to be interesting, and weren’t obsessed with shoving nostalgia in your face.

Say what you will about the prequels, but Episode III had a truly amazing trailer. The best part is that the trailer was entertaining in its own right, without showing too many of the biggest and best scenes in the film. I feel that trailer had a good mix of enticing, exciting, and exhilarating content. Heck, I remember the first time I saw this trailer in a theater full of people. Right when the clips started playing on the big screen, I heard a man in back shout “YEEEEEEEEEEEAH!” as loud as he possibly could.

This factors into another problem I have with Star Wars trailers, which has to do more with the movie side of things. Nowadays, Disney is focused on giving us a new Star Wars movie each year. That means we have a steady stream of new Star Wars movie trailers on a yearly basis, taking away a lot of the mysticism of a trailer releasing.

You’ll never hear a person shouting merrily when a Star Wars trailer starts playing on the big-screen nowadays. It’s just an awkward silence, with the occasional cough or kid screaming in the background. The thing is, a trailer doesn’t define how good the movie itself will be. A good trailer could be attached to a bad film, or vice versa. While I do like the newer Star Wars movies, I just can’t get behind the advertising.

The repetitive use of certain elements, characters, or story beats causes these trailers to lose some of the “magic” that Star Wars would normally evoke. I’ll still keep watching the Star Wars movies as long as they are entertaining, but I could care less for trailers that are shoveled out for them. While most people may enjoy said advertisements, I’m just sick of the rigmarole circling around them.

One of The Best Obscure Indie Comics Ever: Sharknife

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Stylin! (Artwork by Corey Lewis)

People seem to take a liking to Independent productions, also known as “Indies”. You’ve got Indie games, movies, and even TV shows on occasion. A high budget isn’t always need to produce something high quality. Sometimes all you need is the know-how, skill, and knowledge of what makes something work to fully put it together. This is what makes the works of a Mr. “Corey Lewis” so engaging.

Corey Lewis is known for a ton of more obscure comics, these include his anthology series known as “Sun Bakery”. Sun Bakery is a collection various comics, some of which are old and some are new. One of said older comics is “Sharknife”. It’s hard to fully describe what Sharknife, but I’ll try. The comic revolves around a young man named Caesar Hallelujah, and his best friend Chieko. They work for a Chinese food restaurant, that also doubles as a massive factory.

With the walls of said factory dwell powerful monsters, placed their by a gangster known as “Ombra Ravenga”. While fighting these malicious monsters is merely a meager attempt, the Guangdong Factory has one secret weapon up its sleeves: Caesar Hallelujah. By downing a single fortune cookie, Caesar becomes a powerful superhero named “Sharknife”. Not only does he gain super-natural strength and abilities, but also a fair bit of video-game-based powers. Using his varied skill-set, Caesar defends his place of employment from the various creatures and beings that threaten it.

On paper, this premise sounds ridiculous and kind of bland. In execution, it actually turns out to be pretty freaking awesome! A lot of this comes down to the artwork, which is magnificent. Lewis managed to combine the fluidity and action of a Shonen manga, with the style and urban feel of wall-graffiti. What it creates is an action series with fluid and fast-paced fight scenes. Despite being still images, the movements give off an “animated feel”. It’s hard to describe, but it comes down to how actions are portrayed.

Fights often play out with each character knocking each other around with flashy moves, combined with a strong sense of style. The amount of power put into every panel of every page is almost intoxicating. The way every punch is drawn makes you feel the impact, it’s really quite the rush! Likewise, character designs are pretty good.

I can always tell what each character is like by their design, which is always a plus. Unfortunately, sometimes a character doesn’t go beyond their design and general personality. Despite the amount of characters, only a few of them ever get focused on. The second volume (which goes by the subtitle “Double-Z”) is pretty infamous for introducing way too many characters, and bringing in characters from even more obscure spinoff materials.

As much as I like Sharknife, a lot of the series is style over substance. Sure, the fight-scenes, character designs, art-style, and backgrounds look amazing! Unfortunately, the dialogue, story, and how the characters act can be fairly bland. For example, the second volume introduces a long lost childhood rival of Caesar’s named “Enta Da Dragon”. Enta’s whole driving goal is to murder Caesar, because he beat him in a videogame and got superpowers. Seriously, that’s his whole purpose in the series.

Then again, Sharknife isn’t a series that takes itself too seriously at all. I can look past the lackluster story and somewhat underdeveloped characters, and still enjoy it for what it is: A sugar-infused action series with a lot of heart to it. I look forward to seeing what the “Soul of Sharknife” story in Sun Bakery will be like. Hopefully, it’ll be just as awesome as the first two volumes!

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.

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.