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Kiki’s Delivery Service: An Anime Review

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kiki delivery Moving out on your own can be daunting. It can also be exciting to plan but what to do when the reality doesn’t live up to the reality? These are some of the themes that are tackled in Kiki’s Delivery Service.

This is a beautiful anime that comes from the studio of Hayo Miyazaki. In 1989 audiences were first given the chance to see Kiki’s story come to life on film. Like all Miyazaki films this has beautiful imagery and a great soundtrack. Audiences feel not only as if they have been invited into Kiki’s world but like they are a part of it with her. Perhaps that is why we keep returning to this anime.

Kiki has just turned thirteen. According to her family’s traditions she must leave home for a year to complete her training as a witch. Kiki has been excitedly planning this trip for a long time. A night of perfect weather send Kiki out into the world. However Kiki soon learns that it isn’t going to be as easy as she thought. She is going to have to work to overcome her own insecurities and become the best witch that she can be.

As I mentioned above the imagery of this anime is lovely. I am aware that animation is something that Miyazaki films are known for but I am blown away every time I watch one. The feeling of calm that these movies can bring out with the art is amazing. The characters all also have costumes that add to their story. Every bit of their costumes are integral to helping the viewer get to know them.

The music also helps the story along. Differences between when Kiki is flying or when things look a little bleak are clearly portrayed in the score. This is one more anime that has every element working in tandem to give the viewers a great story.

I would recommend Kiki’s Delivery Service to anyone. They story is easy to relate to. The characters are solid. Honestly I wish that I would have had a copy when I had first had my big move earlier this year because this anime would have comforted me immensely. So I hope this recommendation will also give you joy and comfort when you watch it.

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Thia’s Top Ten Foreign Horror Movies

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There are few things in this world as enjoyable as good horror movies. There are so many kinds of horror. Ghosts that makes you question every shadow on the wall. Killers who slash their way through the cast of attractive teenagers. One of my favorite sub genres is J-Horror. This has led me to start watching different movies that also weren’t American. Here are some of my favorites that I hope you will enjoy!

    1. Ringu. This movie is a great example of the “found footage” genre of horror. Released in 1998 and directed by Japanese Hideo Nakata this movie is so popular that it has an American remake. When a reporter’s research leads her to an unlabeled videotape she may find herself in for more than she bargained for. If you like found footage and creepy ghost girls then this is a movie for you! 
    2. Shutter. Shutter has a fantastic story with many twists. This thriller hails from Thailand and was directed by  Banjong Pisanthanakun and  Parkpoom Wongpoom. It was released in 2004. When a photographer and his girlfriend see something strange in one of his photos it triggers a series of spooky events. If you want great surprises with your horror then check out this one.   
    3. Ju-On:The Grudge. This is one more fantastic Japanese horror movie. It was released in 2002 and directed by Takashi Shimizu who also directed the American remake. A social worker enters the wrong house during her rounds. This one has ghosts and a killer story to uncover.
    4. A Tale of Two Sisters. This amazing film hails from Korea. It was released in 2003 and directed by Jee-woon Kim. Two sisters come home from a mental institution with more hurdles to their recovery then just their cruel stepmother. This movie is honestly my favorite on the list. The story is just phenomenal.
    5. Reincarnation. This was my first foreign horror movie and it is so good. Reincarnation was directed by Takashi Shimizu, yes this is his second mention in this article, in 2005. A Japanese actress starts to see things after landing a coveted role in a horror movie. 
    6. Tag. This 2015 Japanese film was directed by Sion Sono. A field trip gone wrong leads to a very bad day for a Japanese teenager. Careful, this one is gory. 
    7. Train to Busan. This one is for all the zombie fans out there. In 2016 director Sang-ho Yeon unleashed this movie. Set in South Korea passengers on a train must survive the zombie outbreak on their way to Busan. 
    8. Tales of Terror from Tokyo and All Over Japan: The Movie. Directors Keita Amemiya and Shun’ichi Hirano released this film of a collection of horror stories in 2004. It features many different chilling stories from throughout Japan. There is also a television series of a similar name that is very good!
    9. The Phantom of the Theater. This movie is a treat for the eyes. Full of bright imagery and directed by Wai Man Yip this movie was released in 2016. The setting is Shanghai in the 1930s. A movie is being filmed in an old theater but there are setbacks happening and some of them might be deadly. 
    10. The Wailing. This Korean film was released in 2016 and directed by Hong-jin Na. When a small village contracts a mysterious disease local police step in to try to find a solution. That leads to a stranger with dangerous ways.

 

 

If you haven’t tried a foreign frightening film then I hope you will take these into consideration. All of these films have great stories. Many of them have lots of twists and turns in their stories. Some have even been remade into American versions. So happy watching and pleasant dreams!  

a tale of two sisters

 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Quick Start: City of Heroes – Homecoming

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Lords, ladies, lads and lasses, I am Vinni the Troll and I have good news for you.

The capes are back. City of Heroes shut down roughly 7 years ago and it has been resurrected by a devoted fan base. How much will this cost you? Nothing. How can you get into the game? With three easy steps: 

  1. Head to the City of Heroes: Homecoming forums and create an account.
  2. Login to the forums and then go to the Game Account thread and create a game account. If you have trouble try a different name. This will NOT be your global handle, so don’t worry about that yet.
  3. Download the Tequila (pc) or Island Rum (mac) launcher and install the game

That’s it.

What can I play as?

You can create a hero or a villain, playing in either Paragon City or The Rogue Isles. You can choose to play through the tutorial, or skip it altogether. You’ll have access to all the archetypes, even the epics: Peacebringer, Warshade, Arachnos Soldier, and Widow.

How do I change my Global Handle?

Once in the game you can change your global handle (your first toon’s name) from the main menu.

I’m not starting with much, am I?

If you miss the prestige sprints, jump pack, Nemesis Staff, Black Wand, etc. look for the P2W Vendor. They are in the tutorials and starting zones and will give you what you desire for free (despite their name). They even have boosters for experience and the origin starter powers.

That’s it for my helpful 2 merits. See you on the flip side.

Review: Magic Knight Rayearth (anime)

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Sometimes love of an anime can come just from the tropes it uses and how well they are executed. Some of my favorite animes are the ones where there is a perfect storm of a great trope married with a well done story. This anime has multiple great tropes, not to mention a wonderful story!

In 1994 The first episode of Magic Knight Rayearth aired. The show was based on a manga that had become very popular. The show would later air in America during the early 2000s due to an increased interest in anime. That is a time when most American audiences fell in love with three girls who are transported from their world to save a princess.

Magic Knight Rayearth is a story about a kingdom in peril. The princess has been abducted and drastic measures must be taken to save her. Three girls from Earth are chosen and transported to this brand new world. They are given weapons, abilities and technology to help them in their quest. They will become so much more than they ever thought they could be.

The character design is really interesting. While the drawing style is similar to that which was really popular at that time the animators put their own spin on certain facial features such as eyes. The animators also switch between regular animation and sometimes using a Chibi design of the characters which made the show even more fun. The soundtrack is really well done, particularly the opening song. The characters are interesting. You want them to succeed in their mission. The story was also interesting because it blended the “magical girl” trope and also gave them mechanical tools to use and fight. Finally a show were girls got to do both, my friends and I ate it up.

I would highly recommend Magic Knight Rayearth. The show is fun. It has a great story. Interesting characters. Really it is just a solid anime.

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ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Review: Detective Pikachu (the movie)

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Is Pokémon: Detective Pikachu the very best video game movie, like no one ever was?

Well, the competition wasn’t exactly fierce.  But, yes.  Yes, it is. While I’m no longer the huge fan of Pokémon that I used to be, I had a good time watching this movie.

It’s interesting, based on the different reviews that I’ve read and watched, how many people don’t seem to realize that this “video game movie” is based on a specific video game in the Pokémon franchise: Detective Pikachu for the Nintendo 3DS.  I played and reviewed the game in anticipation for the movie’s release and really enjoyed it.  The film is a loose adaptation that follows the premise and some of the major story beats, but mostly does its own thing.

Tim Goodman, a young man who once dreamed of becoming a Pokémon trainer, travels to Ryme City after hearing that his father was killed in a car accident.  When he gets to the apartment, he discovers his father’s partner: a talking Pikachu that nobody else can understand.  Pikachu claims that Tim’s father, a renown detective, is still alive somewhere, and proposes that they team up to solve the mystery of what happened to him.  After a few mishaps, Tim reluctantly agrees.

A lot of reviewers have praised the film for bringing the world of Pokémon to life, and I’m going to join the chorus.  Wow.  I’m also not alone in saying that I would have been satisfied with a film that showed long, extended shots of this world and absolutely nothing else.

Detective Pikachu takes the game’s concept of Pokémon as partners and combines it with the more familiar world of the main series and the anime.  It’s established that kids like Tim do traditionally leave home and go on adventures to capture Pokémon.  Tournaments exist.  The Kanto region is mentioned.  However, none of the usual rules exist in Ryme City, which is specifically designed to be a place where battles are banned.  Pokémon and humans live side-by-side, as they do in the 3DS game.  It’s a treat to see all of the different Pokémon fitting in this live-action world in ways that you might expect to see them if they existed.

There are fun shout-outs to different parts of the franchise.  I know I missed a lot of them, having been out of the loop for so long, but there was still plenty for this Gen 1 fan to love.

Although this film did a wonderful job of realizing the world of Pokémon, it wasn’t perfect.  It started out strong, but I had some issues with the pacing of certain scenes.  Right as Tim meets Detective Pikachu for the first time, some Aipom attack the apartment and a chase ensues.  Immediately following said chase, Tim goes back to questioning why he can understand Pikachu.  And Pikachu, as voiced by Ryan Reynolds, makes nonstop quips throughout the scene. It all happens so fast that it’s hard to follow at times.  It wasn’t until the underground battle with Charizard when I really started to become invested again.

Speaking of which, that live-action battle was thrilling.  All of the action scenes were fun to watch and kept me interested in what was happening. And while many reviewers have stated that they found the story twists to be a bit too obvious, there were a few moments that caught me off guard.

And now I’m going to get a little controversial and admit that I didn’t find Ryan Reynolds to be as funny as I anticipated.  I thought he fit the role of Detective Pikachu better than his video game counterpart (Kaiji Tang), and I definitely laughed during the movie- just not as hard as I thought I would.  The character that got most of the best jokes was Psyduck.

But Reynolds did have some great chemistry with Justice Smith, who plays Tim Goodman.  And just as I predicted, I liked Smith’s version of Tim much better than the protagonist of the 3DS game.  He and Pikachu have some very heartwarming scenes together, as well as funny moments.

If you love everything about Pokémon, you should love this movie.  If you hate everything about Pokémon, then this movie’s not really for you.  Detective Pikachu embraces the source material instead of poking fun at it.  It’s not a perfect film, but it is fun, and I hope there will be sequels.  I’d rate it 7 out of 10 Pokéballs.

Top 10 Video Games I played in 2018

I know what you’re thinking, it’s June of 2019 Crymson, this should have been up in January.

Well, I’m a busy person who also procrastinates (and Vanri totally didn’t even edit this for 2 more months).

Also, this list isn’t about games that came out in 2018, just what I played.

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  1. Five Nights At Freddy’s – This stress-filled horror game is enough to make me punch actual things. I beat 1 & 2 on stream and haven’t gone back for 3. I loved playing them but the amount of stress that came with each night increasing was a lot and I needed a long break. Doesn’t mean I will never return to the series, just have to forget the horror to actively relive it.

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  1. 7 Days to Die – Why so early in the list for a game I play often. Because as much as I love this survival horror game it can get a bit repetitive, I do love that they are always updating and adding new things, and right now my goal is just to make 365 days… if it weren’t for the bear apocalypse.

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  1. Graveyard Keeper – A fun game I started playing last year, with adorable Mixer integration on Xbox. It’s a graveyard sim with a story? Fix it, bury it, burn it, fish it, the game has a lot of it. My only problem is the Xbox is behind on the PC updates and I find it challenging to remember what all I was doing if I take long breaks because there is SO MUCH TO ALWAYS DO. At least I am never bored.

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  1. Overwatch – I just got into the game last year and love it. It, like everything, is better with friends and now have it on PC, the list of people to play with is greatly expanded. I still am not sure who I main and I don’t play it constantly as to prevent burnout but I still get joy with my salt when I do play.

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  1. Creativerse – I played this game A LOT. Free to play on PC, this is a Minecraft inspired building game. I love building new things, playing with blueprints and running from the corrupted zone. However, breaks are a plus with this game given that the creative juices can run out.

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  1. Dead By Daylight– Easily one of my favorite games. DBD always has something interesting coming and it feeds my need for horror and my lack of time commitment. I can jump in and play a few matches without having to get invested in a story or remember what I was doing last time. Also for a game that frequently goes on sale, it is cost effective. Allowing you to play on maps and be hunted by new killers, even if you haven’t bought the latest DLC.

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  1. Assassin’s Creed: Origins – I never said I had to beat the game. Origins competes with Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag for my all time favorite Assassin’s Creed game. I’ve love ancient Egypt since I was a kid and this brought all that wonder right back to me. I love so much about it that I’m disappointed I never finished it but it’s massive and there is so much to do and I must complete it all. The story, characters, it is all magic.

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  1. Murdered: Soul Suspect – A highly underrated game. I enjoyed playing this immensely and finished it before my trip to Salem, Mass. Which looks nothing like the game. However, I was highly entertained and invested the whole time. I even enjoyed the side stories and collecting achievements. If you get the chance, play it.

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  1. Stardew Valley – I know it’s been out for years and I play it very often. There is a reason. It is an amazing game that I adore. For me the replay value is priceless. I also still have a lot of people to marry. Currently, I’m streaming this on Thursday nights on RWoG channels.

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  1. Vampyr – I absolutely loved playing Vampyr. It had to be my favorite of 2018. It was almost everything I want in an RPG and when the protagonist Jonathan got a little dominate I nearly melted off my chair. I was a bit disappointed with the ending I got but that just means I’ll have to play it again.

 

Do you agree? Disagree? Is there a game I need to play? Let me know in the comments!

Review: Detective Pikachu (The Game)

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Between the movie adaptation coming out and one of my friends highly recommending the game to me, I finally decided to play Detective Pikachu.  It’s a spinoff of the Pokémon franchise for the Nintendo 3DS/2DS that’s not as bizarre as it sounds.  I had no idea what to expect from it.  What I got was a fun game that kids and diehard Pokémon fans should enjoy.

Detective Pikachu follows the adventures of a teenage boy named Tim Goodman, who’s looking for his missing father.  Harry Goodman was a famous police detective who went missing after a suspicious car accident.  Only his partner, Pikachu, could be found at the scene.

By the time that Tim arrives in Ryme City, two months after the incident, his father’s Pikachu has somehow gained the ability to speak- but only Tim can understand him.  He presents himself as “the Great Detective Pikachu” and wants to help Tim find his missing father.  Unfortunately, Pikachu isn’t much help in one respect: he suffers from amnesia and can’t recall what happened during the accident.  So Tim and Pikachu team up to investigate Harry’s last case and figure out why he disappeared.

The game is divided into nine “chapters,” each concerning a unique case.  Tim and Pikachu work together to solve crimes by interrogating suspects and searching the crime scene.  Pikachu gives the duo an advantage by talking to all of the Pokémon witnesses and translating their testimony for Tim.  It’s all very straightforward and you’re not likely to get stuck on any point in this game.  If you’re looking for a serious challenge, don’t expect to find one with Detective Pikachu.

Don’t expect to collect any Pokémon or engage in battles either.  In the world of Detective Pikachu, most people have one Pokémon as their “partner,” similar to Ash’s friendship with his own Pikachu.  The secretary at the Baker Detective Agency has a Fletching that delivers mail for her, a talented violinist works with a Kricketune that helps her practice, and a police office partners with a Manetric that uses his nose to solve crimes.

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t get as much out of the world building or the Pokémon cameos as I ought to have.  As a kid, I stopped paying attention to the Pokémon franchise after the first movie and I’m only just starting to regain interest now.  My knowledge of Pokémon begins and ends with Gen 1.  As it is, I liked the game’s setting and the Pokémon that I encountered.  Lifelong fans will probably love everything about them.

This game does an impressive job with episodic storytelling.  Each case leads directly into the next and has some importance to the whole plot. When I think of other video games or TV shows that try to do this, they usually follow a certain format: the premieres and the finales are where all the important stuff happens.  Then you get a lot of “monster of the week” episodes in between that are loosely connected to what the characters hope to accomplish.  Without going into spoilers, I can say that that’s not the case with Detective Pikachu.  Granted, not every mystery directly ties back to Harry and his investigation.  But Pikachu and Tim always have a reason to be where they are and they find clues in every case that help them piece together the larger mystery.

Speaking of Tim and Detective Pikachu, they had a nice partnership and I liked all of the human characters in the game.  However, I found Tim to be a little too flat and generic.  As of this writing, the movie hasn’t come out yet, so it’s too early to pass judgment on who will ultimately give the superior acting performances.  Still, based on what I’ve seen in the trailers, I’m enjoying Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith much more.

Overall, Detective Pikachu is a solid game and I recommend playing it if you have a Nintendo 3DS (or 2DS).  It’s simple to play, which makes it a good choice for young kids to try out.  Fans will enjoy the story, the setting, and the many different kinds of Pokémon. Enjoy it before you watch the movie!