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Review: The Order (2019)

the order 2Time spent at college is considered to be extremely exciting for so many people. It is a place to experience freedom, to make friends and to discover things about oneself. Some people have these experiences in societies that they pledge for and grow with. What if it was a secret society though? What if that society was a supernatural one?

In Netflix’s new series The Order this is a question that is explored. The Order premiered in March of 2019. The story for the show was created by  Dennis Heaton and Shelley Eriksen. The Order has a great cast, including: Jake Manley, Sarah Grey and Adam DiMarco, who are billed as the show’s stars. It has been cleared for a second season in 2020.

What if your mother had died under mysterious circumstances? How far would you go for answers and, maybe, even to avenge her? Those are some nagging questions that Jack Morton has as he starts his time at a prestigious university. Now Jack is juggling classes, secret societies, a super odd roommate, a bunch of mysterious deaths and things right out of folklore. Can Jack make it out alive while he tries to navigate through this complicated new world? Oh and to get the girl too, of course. 

The dark and humorous world of Belgrave University is accompanied by a well made soundtrack. As the audience and Jack stumble through the mysterious story lines that make up The Order, they are guided by music to set the mood. The sets are amazing. I don’t want to give much away, but the settings have clearly been well thought out. Even the classrooms and hallways make the viewer feel like they are back in school.

The characters themselves are well written. Not only that, but they are also incredibly interesting. I want to know more about almost everyone in this show. Their costumes give the viewer clear clues about the characters while still making you believe that they are also just still in college. The characters go from worrying about essays to the next bit of danger that they are stumbling into. 

I really enjoyed this first season of The Order. There were twists that I didn’t see coming. The ending was great. I am excited for the next season. 

I would highly recommend this show. I think it appeals to a wide range of audiences. It also has interesting takes on the supernatural elements.

the order

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Games Created by Women: Loopin Louie

louie There are few things in this world that are better than playing games with people you care about. Sometimes we forget how much it means to play games together when we are young. Or even how much it means to play with younger people for us. It brings families together. We get to watch children learn and adults get to let loose.

It also helps that “kids games” are just plain fun. While all games are meant to be engaging and challenging they do not always have the sense of fun that games from our childhoods have.  The design of Loopin Louie is a bright callback to the game design of the 1990s. It was designed by Carol Wiseley. Wiseley did a fantastic job of making sure to create a game that was not only entertaining but also something that would bring together all age groups.

The premise of Loopin Louie is that your madman neighbor Louie is at it again. He just has to fly his plane over your chickens. You are armed with a paddle to knock him away from your chickens. Louie loops and flies around until he can knock chickens off the board. The player with chickens still on the board wins.

The design of the game itself is well crafted for causing laughter. Louie is able to really fly and move around the board with the help of a battery operated device. This brings the game to a whole new level of interaction for the players. Everything is bright and moving. This is a great game for players age four and up!

Board games are a wonderful way to spend time together. Not only that but games can help younger players with their development. A game like Loopin’ Louie is also helpful for developing motor skills. Kids can laugh their way through learning hand eye coordination with their paddles. Gaming is a way to learn about life and also about each other.

If you are looking for a game to start with for your family I would highly recommend this one. It is both simple and yet challenging enough to be fun for all ages. Loopin Louie is the kind of game that will help get kids into gaming which will lead to a lifetime of fun.

 

 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Cardcaptor Sakura: An Anime Review

cardcaptor Some animes are great because they are bright and happy. Even when faced with hard times they have an overall good feeling. They are important because they are able to help viewers remember that beauty and light can be found everywhere. 

Cardcaptor Sakura is an anime that brings joy to so many people. As is the case with most animes it started as a manga. The anime debuted in 1998. It was directed by Morio Asaka. Cardcaptor Sakura ran for three seasons and has seventy episodes. This is an incredibly popular anime that has a reboot that more closely resembles the manga. This reboot is gorgeous to watch!

Sakura is a girl who has a pretty normal life. She has a best friend, an annoying older brother and goes to a regular school. The normalcy of her life changes when she finds a book of cards, called Clow Cards and she accidentally releases them. Sakura must now find the cards, fight the personification of them and win so that she can reclaim them. Her best friend makes her battle costumes and records her fights. Her mentor, and the guardian of the cards, helps her along the way. She even has a secret nemesis who is out to catch all the cards before Sakura can. 

The character design of Cardcaptor Sakura is really just adorable. Because of the youthful nature of the series protagonist the designs for the humans are bright. The cards and the design for the battle versions of the are beautiful and rich. The music fits the overall feel of the series well. The settings are well animated. The entire vibe of the show is lovely and a treat to watch. 

Cardcaptor Sakura is an anime that has encouraged not only the cute style that is used but also for there to be more stories with young girls as the heroes. Sakura is not sexualized but free to go after the cards in cute clothing. That makes Cardcaptor Sakura the kawaii dream. It also encourages girls to support each other with their own strengths. Teamwork and support is how Sakura succeeds. 

Cardcaptor Sakura is just a really great anime. It is interesting. Visually pleasing. It has humor as well. I hope that you will enjoy it.

cardcaptor 2

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!!!

Hellsing: An Anime Review

hellsing Vampires. There is a very real fascination with them. The idea of being immortal, powerful and supernatural is something that can be very appealing to many people. 

Hellsing is an anime that premiered in 2001. Created first by Kohta Hirano as a manga it was then developed as an anime. In Britain there is a special task force with a very interesting mission. Hellsing, the official name for the task force, is led by the descent of famed vampire hunter Van Hellsing.  It’s primary aim is to protect England from vampires, ghouls and over supernatural creatures which are threatening it’s civilians. This is no easy task, even for such elite soldiers. Thankfully Sir Integra has a few tricks, including one very surprising one. 

There is one vampire that England can trust. He has sworn to work with the Hellsing family and therefore to take care of those who it protects. This gives Hellsing one big advantage to go with their guns against the forces of the supernatural. Will it be enough though? Are their enemies too strong? Is one vampire enough to help turn the tide and keep England safe?

hellsing2

The character designs are really what shine in the original anime. The costume designs are very interesting and unique to each character. While some are extremely impractical, if you have seen the show you know EXACTLY which one I am talking about, the overall feel of the show is aided by the costumes. The colors that the animators use are perfect. The settings are so well done in this anime. Between the aster setting of Integra’s office to the dark and gritty settings everywhere else the animation is critical to telling the story. The soundtrack is also well done. 

Hellsing is an interesting anime. The concept is a particularly fun one. I enjoy a lot of the characters. I know there are many who are fans of the manga first who dislike the changes made to the original anime. Because of this there was a remake called Hellsing Ultimate. This follows the plot of the original story more closely. 

So if you like vampires and anime I would suggest giving Hellsing a try. 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

The Unicorn Store: A Review

220px-Unicorn_Store_(Netflix_poster) Growing up is hard. What is one of the worst parts is probably the pressure to give up “childhood things.”

Giving up the things that you love because of the pressure to act like an adult is something that everyone has struggled with. However for many of us these things are still a fundamental part of who we are. In the Netflix movie The Unicorn Store Kit is on a precipice of who she was and who she can be. After being dealt a harsh blow of failure in art school Kit moves back in with her parents who seem to have already moved on. Hurting and confused Kit needs to decide what to do next in her life.

Should she put aside all of her creativity and glitz for a “normal” job? Is this idea of what being an adult is all that there is for Kit? An invitation and the promise of a unicorn of her very own, if she can meet the requirements, is presented to Kit. She then begins her journey to be worthy of a unicorn. She meets allies along the way and starts to find the strength to be her own version of an adult.

A lot of work clearly went into this movie. Costumes, hair and makeup are big tools in showing where different characters are on their own journey. The sets are amazing. The diversity between sets is really a treat for the eye. It also really helps to set the mood for every scene. I was really blown away by how much attention to detail went into making The Unicorn Store.

The cast really knocked it out of the park. They took interesting characters and breathed them to life. I very happy with how well written these characters were. To be honest if they hadn’t been then the premise of the story would have fallen flat. However all the hard work paid off and we are left with a lovely movie about growing up on your own terms.

I think everyone should watch this movie. The Unicorn Store gave me a lot to think about and I wasn’t expecting it to. I thought it was just going to be a silly, glitter filled movie. What I was presented was instead a thoughtful and heartfelt movie that was still filled with copious amounts of glitter.

So grab a stuffed animal and give The Unicorn Store a chance.

unicorn store 2

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Review: The Boys (2019)

the boysThere has been a trend in comics, television series and movies for superheroes to be darker. To look at the gritty, dirty parts of their world. While some fans are getting sick of this trend, it does lead to some interesting stories. 

The Boys is, once broken down to its core, one very interesting story. The show can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video. The origin story of The Boys can be found in comic form. Created in 2007 by Garth Ennis, this comic didn’t pull any punches, which is just what a fan can expect of any of Ennis’ work. The story was then picked up and revamped for not just the current times but for its current streaming format. 

The Boys starts off with one of the protagonists, Hughie, being dealt a harsh blow at the hands, well sort of, of a superhero. Not just any supe either, but a member of the most elite group in the world, known as The Seven. The Seven are treated like celebrities, or even more so like untouchable Gods. For the last decade, they have been molded by a huge corporation, so it is no surprise that when things go wrong with a supe, it is quickly covered up.

After learning this firsthand, Hugh is left angry and disenchanted. He is approached by Billy Butcher, someone who seems to know not just what really happened to Hugh, but also all about the dark secrets of the superheroes that the world adores. Hugh is then brought into a crazy series of twisted events as he tries to get revenge with the rest of the team.  

The soundtrack for The Boys is a great selection of music. The songs not only set the mood, but also give the audience hints about the overall tone of the scene. Sometimes they are used as juxtaposition against how dark of a twist is just around the bend. The sets are really amazing. The costumes are also well done. Even just looking at the supe’s suits, the viewer can see clues about the heroes. Really, the costumes are amazing and enough of a reason to watch the show in and of themselves. 

Would I recommend this show? That is, honestly, a really good question. I will say that I think that the show is so much better than the comic. The changes made gave characters a lot more depth and really helped the story flow. Without giving anything away, I want to stress that this is a VERY dark show. Pay attention to the rating and the warnings at the start of every episode. By the way, I am so grateful for the very thorough warnings they put up and am hoping that more shows will follow suit. 

It is a very interesting show, but it will not be for everyone. If you are a fan of darker versions of superhero stories, give it a shot!

homelander that fuck

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Games Created by Women: Galactiquest

galactiquest Space, we obsess over it. We wonder what is out there. We want to live there. Well what if you could? What if you got to colonize a planet other than your own?

Galactiquest is a game about colonizing the galaxy. It was developed and invented in 2017. It is for ages seven and up which is perfect for all kinds of imaginations. Not only is this game perfect for kids of all ages it was also invited by a kid. Ellie Skalla invited the game at eleven years old when she submitted it to a challenge.

The Young Inventor Challenge is a great initiative that was started to inspire children. It gives children, ages six to eighteen, the chance to develop and then to even pitch original ideas to major toy companies and other very interested audiences. This contest is an opportunity for children to use their skills to shine and maybe, to even have their ideas put out into the real world. Ellie entered the contest and had a lot of fun developing the game and testing it with her friends. The experience was very positive for Ellie and she enjoyed working to make her idea a real board game that is now being sold by Target.

The aim of the game is to conquer the most planets to win. Just be careful because you will also still have to defend the ones you have from your fellow players. This board game encourages strategic thinking. It is for two, though I would encourage more, to four players.

ellie-yic-winner

I found this game when I was browsing the games aisle for my younger cousin.  He loves playing games and it is something I really want to do more of with him. We both also love space so this seemed like a win win. Then I read the bit about Ellie and how she won the contest. Into the cart it went. My cousin really enjoys the game and I think Ellie did a fantastic job.

Not only is this a fun game but the story behind it is also just really neat. I think it is important that we spotlight the accomplishments of children and organizations that help them realize their goals. So go pick up this game and blast off to space. It will help encourage programs such as the Young Inventor Challenge and you will get a really fun game!

 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!