HxH 111: Don’t say I didn’t warn you

Hunter x Hunter episode 111 review

HxH 111

This episode was off-the-charts bad. We had extreme padding, in the form of slow motion. It would be one thing if that slow motion was for something exciting, but this wasn’t the Matrix here. There’s so much of the characters moving in slow motion, but not actually fighting yet, just taking forever to count down 10 seconds.

And then you’ve got the narrator pretty much telling you everything. Thank you for the offer, but there’s a reason God gave me eyes. As long as I can still see, I don’t need to be babied and told everything. Whatever happened to “show, don’t tell”?

And if that isn’t bad enough, you’ve got this whole flashback scene with Netero and his brother, which makes zero sense and is almost laughable. Netero’s brother breaks the fourth wall, but not in a funny way, unless you count unintentional humor. Then we see Netero practicing 10,000 punches a day. That’s great, but what does that have to do with anything? Okay, maybe it’s trying to show how strong he is, but it’s a horrible time for a flashback. We want to see the actual battle here.

I wish I could do this episode justice in how bad it was. This is just really awful storytelling. It’s as if the producers were given three panels of the manga and forced to make an episode out of those three panels. If they were, then I don’t envy them. But come on, Hunter x Hunter isn’t this bad.

Character of the episode: Netero

Episode rating (out of four stars): no stars

Crazy Rich Asians movie review

CRA.jpg

Crazy Rich Asians the movie proves what book-readers have been saying for about a century now: the book is always better. This movie had the opportunity to be amazing, but by “Americanizing” the ending in order to leave theater-goers feeling warm and fuzzy inside, it threw away the chance of being truly spectacular.

This is going to be more about what changed and less about what happened. With +’s and -‘s I will go through what I liked and what I didn’t like.

+: Brilliant casting choices from top to bottom. Eleanor Young comes off as intimidating – perfect! Rachel Chu comes off as innocent and sweet – perfect! Nick Young looks so handsome even the boys would want him – perfect! I couldn’t find a single actor who didn’t fit the part.

+: Peik Lin provides a lot of the humor in the movie, which is a little surprising because she isn’t a big role in the book. Ken Jeong playing her father was absolutely hilarious, though sometimes I wondered if I was even allowed to laugh, since he was playing a caricature of a Chinese man.

-: Astrid. Poor Astrid. You see, if you just saw the movie, you’d think Crazy Rich Asians is the story of Rachel. It isn’t. Astrid, Nick’s cousin, is actually just as important to the book as Rachel is. Astrid is so important, in fact, that the most tense part of the book comes with her story arc’s climax, not Rachel’s. She was marginalized and nearly written entirely out of the movie altogether. That’s not to mention that the movie’s depiction of events involving her, was entirely inaccurate.

-: Why, oh why, did we have to have a super-happy ending? Is it because we’re Americans and thus we must leave the theater feeling super-fulfilled, warm and fuzzy, ready to go have sex with our partner? The book does not have a happy ending; instead, it ends on a joke, with everything still up in the air. The Hunger Games got this right; every movie until the final one ended with a huge cliffhanger. If Kevin Kwan (the author) believed in cliffhangers, you should bow to the author’s wishes and leave things unsettled.

-: Rachel is not poor; actually she’s quite rich herself. I know where the movie was going with the whole “poor working-class immigrant” thing (*hint* *hint*), but that was a totally inaccurate depiction of her character. She didn’t need to be turned into Joe the Plumber in order for us to like her.

+: The first half of the movie was so accurate to the book, I was almost peeing myself in the theater. It was outstanding. The only fault was Astrid’s marginalization. If they had spent more time on her, that first half would have been perfect.

+: Every minor character looked, talked, sounded, and acted like they were straight out of the book. There was such an attention to detail that I don’t know how they then went off the rails.

-: As soon as the wedding reception happened, the movie felt like it was the Speed-Up Round of Wheel of Fortune. Suddenly we had to squeeze everything into half an hour because we had a time constraint. That’s when the movie really started to deviate from the book.

If you have any interest in this series, you should first read the first book, then go into the movie with low expectations. My expectations were too high; I expected a Hunger Games-esque carbon copy of the original story. Also, try not to get chills when Eleanor Young stares into the camera. That actress is truly amazing.

Overall rating (out of four stars): ***1/2

E21 97: Line of scrimmage

Eyeshield 21 episode 97 review

E21 97

If you follow the podcast, then you’d know that I am cutting back on my Eyeshield 21 watching to just one episode a week. This week’s episode was pretty good; it started, as all episodes should, with Hiruma appearing on the TV out of nowhere, firing guns and telling his team that they have to win five scrimmages in a row or else they’re out. Nothing says good coaching like threatening your team over practice. We’re talking about practice. Not a game, not a game, not a game. Practice.

They go to their first scrimmage against the Deer, and Kurita has an old rival who he needs to defeat. It’s pretty obvious what happens from there; Kurita struggles at first, then overcomes his struggle and beats him, and then they have a nice, happy send-off. Nothing surprising, of course; it’s a 24-0 win for the Devil Bats, who have won now one of their five scrimmages.

Not a bad episode, but not a very good one either.

Episode rating (out of four stars): **1/2

AoT 40: Trying so hard to be edgy

Attack on Titan episode 40 review

AoT 40

At one point during this episode, I just busted out laughing, saying “This show is so bad!” And it is. Attack on Titan is definitely one of the most overrated anime of all time, the only question is whether it’s #1. I’m sure lots of fans out there were wetting their pants over the “big reveal” that Historia is actually heir to the throne. Yet that was the most predictable thing ever. Why in the world would she make a big to-do about her name actually being Historia if it didn’t mean something big like that? I could have called this back in season 2, but I was too apathetic to care.

Let’s also talk about how Attack on Titan is terrible over torture. If you want to see what a real look at torture is like, watch the “Chain of Command” two-part episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now that is the definition of outstanding television. Once you see that episode, all other shows that use torture will look childish and immature by comparison. Of course, most of that is because of Patrick Stewart, but even if your show doesn’t have Patrick Stewart, you could still do better. Attack on Titan fails. It doesn’t even make it clear why people are being tortured, or why the “good guys” are doing the torturing. It’s just trying to be edgy.

Hunter x Hunter may be going through a boring stretch right now, but at least it can’t be accused of being laughably bad. Everything about Attack on Titan is over-dramatized and (dare I say it) overacted. When Mikasa goes nuts when she hears about Eren’s fate, her reaction is so predictable yet so stupid at the same time. If she was in Pop Team Epic, she’d be hilarious, but she’s supposed to come off as a real person, just an edgy one. And she fails.

If you like this stuff, that’s okay. I personally find it to be laughable. It’s doing the exact same thing Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans did. It comes off as ultra-edgy, but ultimately ends up as flat-out low-quality television. We are 40 episodes into Attack on Titan, and I am still waiting for a reason to like it. Right now, it’s just not happening.

Character of the episode: Hange, I guess

Episode rating (out of four stars): *