IT Review

IT Review

As I am writing this, I catch myself looking over my shoulder for any doors mysteriously opening, making sure all of my doors are locked, and keeping a light on to soothe myself after experiencing all the fear ‘IT’ had to offer. In all of the horror films I have watched, none have left an impression on me like this in quite a long time.

2017’s ‘IT’ surpasses its predecessor in the best ways: doing what the original wanted to do and expanding on that vision to the fullest. I remember growing up and watching the film for the first time, being terrified afterward, and having that same feeling come back to me was a breath of nostalgia. The first 20 minutes of the film alone are enough to make some viewers’ stomachs ache and turn away from the screen. I did not expect them to go the direction they went with the opening sewer scene with Georgie and Pennywise. The phrase “You’ll float too’” was something that sticks with you for the entire 2 hours of the film, haunting you.

The most impressive thing about the film was the cast they chose, not just Pennywise himself, but the kids. While I found myself fascinated and equally terrified of Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), the infamous Loser’s Club was my favorite part. I do not want to give anything away for those who have yet to see the film, but a few kids in the club provide an enormous amount of comedic relief. The entire audience in my showing could not stop laughing whenever they interacted. Comedy was something that the original lacked; in fact, it was the perfect culmination of humor, terror and sickening scenes that make this film one of the best to come out in years.

Bill Skarsgard did an amazing job playing Pennywise the dancing clown. I was blown away in fact. In order to play a role like this, you need to be all in, and Bill went off the deep end. The psychotic laughing, the sinister yet playful looks, movements, all the way down to drool and overall brutal nature of this character. You could clearly see that the fear the children were showing was genuine terror while filming. That is the element that every modern horror film seems to be lacking these days, but not ’IT’.

This atmospheric masterpiece will leave you with a looming feeling that you are being watched long after the movie has ended. When you walk by any sewer, old house or even in a crowded place, you will be on the lookout for red balloons, creepy kids, and smiling clowns. ‘IT’ brings the best parts of the original film and makes them better, all while being its own thing. I can confidently say that I will be seeing again this weekend. Never forget that no matter how old you get, clowns are still terrifying. You’ll float too after watching. ‘IT’ premieres on September 8th across the country.

Score: 9/10

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In this age of film, there are few movies that can pull so hard at the strings of the heart. To see something so eye opening, something that makes you reflect on yourself, think about the way that you act and speak towards others. Not many films can have that effect on people, so you would shudder to even imagine that a animated film from Japan could do just that. Koe no Katachi or A Silent Voice, is film straight from the heart of Kyoto. Based on the popular japanese light novel/manga series and produced by animation powerhouse Kyoto Animation, Koe no Katachi is a masterpiece of a film that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. Whether you’re a fan of the anime world or if you’re just a fan of film, the film is well worth the watch.

For years I have been a fan of Kyoto Animation. They have produced some of my favorite anime such as Inuyasha, Beyond the Boundary, K-On!, Hyouka and Myriad Phantom Colors etc. Kyoto never fails to put their heart a souls into the adaptations of beloved japanese light novel and manga adaptations. A Silent Voice brings us the story of Shoya Ishida, a young school boy whose world is completely changed when a girl named Shoko Nishimiya, who is deaf, enrolls in his elementary school class. You immediately become attached to Shoko because her first scene being introduced to the class, she has to use a notebook to communicate with the other kids and the expression on her face was so innocent and optimistic. She just wants to make friends and try the best that she can to be normal. But that doesn’t happen. She begins to get bullied by Shoya and his friends.

The scenes really resonated with me. I found myself in tears as I watched this little girl, who is doing her best to not let her ailment define her, get bullied and abused just because she’s a little different. I was Shoko growing up. I know how hard it can be to find a place where you belong, trying to fit in even though you’re different from your peers. Wanting so badly to just be like the other kids, when you’re not. Being isolated because of that can be cold and lonely. There was a specific scene where Shoko was sitting at her desk and she was asked to read from the book by their teacher. Now if you’re unfamiliar with how speaking works when you’re hard of hearing, it’s a lot harder and sounds different from regular speech. Her words were hard to comprehend at times and her voice was different from a regular childs. But still, she smiled and read as best she could on her own. Ishida being the bully that he was mocked her when it was his turn to read.

Having the main characters and cast as kids in the beginning of the film made you connect with them easily. Wanting nothing but happiness and success for Shoko as she grew up was something that Kyoto pulled off perfectly. After an incident that ended in blood, Shoko transferred schools and ishida was branded a BULLY by his classmates and was alienated by them. Even though they all did the bullying as well. That label followed Ishida into high school and that isolation and lonely lead him into depression and him attempting to kill himself. But before he could do it, Shoko came into his mind’s eye and he couldn’t go through with it.

The entire second half of the film is Ishida and Shoko reuniting and getting to know each other better. Even chance meetings with old classmates that abused Shoko, even in their high school age made me upset and I found myself yelling at the screen in defense of Shoko. She just continued to give that beautiful smile and simply say “I’m sorry” even though it wasn’t her fault. Then towards the end of the film there was fireworks festival. Ishida had attended it with Shoko and her family. You could tell something was off with Shoko given how little she was communicating with her family and with Ishida, even so she said goodbye to her friend and went home alone. Soon after Ishida went back to the Nishimiya residence for her little sister’s camera and this is probably the most powerful scene in the film.

Shoko was on the railing of the balcony, ready to jump and end her life. Ishida rushes to her as quick as he can and catches her hand just in time. He tells her that she shouldn’t end her life and basically confesses his feelings for her without really doing so. This changes Shoko’s mind about dying and she fights for life. But in the action of pulling her up, Ishida falls over the balcony and into the water at the bottom of the complex and falls into a comma.

Such powerful scenes are what make films hard to turn away from. Hard to forget even days after watching. Koe no Katachi left an imprint on my mind and my heart forever, simply because I related to Shoko so deeply. I cried when she cried, I felt her pain and her need to find strength. I understood how she was simply was trying her best to just simply live, without feeling like an inconvenience to everyone around her. This film touched on the weight of physical ailments and mental health so perfectly. I can see this film opening so many eyes and hearts after just one watch.

So after two watches I can confidently say that this film is a must watch for anyone, regardless of age, gender or personal film preference. So many people in the world need to exposed to things like this. To gain compassion, knowledge and understanding of such issues as these. So please, give this film a watch. Sit down with your family and friends. I promise that you won’t regret it.

Koe no Katachi is available on Blu-Ray & DVD at various Japanese retailers and available for streaming on various anime websites as well!

Score: 10/10

Persona 5 – Review

Persona 5 – Review

Imagine, being able to traverse another world. One where the desires and cognition of every living thing was accessible. Can you imagine being able to change those desires, make the worst of humanity change their hearts and confess their sins? Well, in Persona 5 you have the opportunity to do just that. From the creators of Catherine, Etrian Odyssey, Odin Spear and many other titles Atlus brings us the 5th installment in the Persona series. This JRPG (japanese role-playing game) puts you in the heart of Tokyo and gives you a glimpse at what regular life as a citizen in that magnificent city is like.

You take control of a 16 year old, second year high school boy. While you can name your character whatever you choose, his canon name in the manga (japanese comic) is Akira Kurusu. During my first playthrough I named the character after Motoko Kusanagi, the main protagonist from Ghost in the Shell and currently in my second playthrough I chose the given name for the protagonist to get as close to the real story as possible. While you don’t start the game in Tokyo, you actually start at what you would say is the middle of the game. While I won’t give anything away, you are carrying out your duties as a Phantom Thief, those who steal and change the hearts of Tokyo’s worst criminals. But in series of unfortunate events, you are caught and brought down by the police.

The real game starts here. Before moving to the city you encounter a man, one who is trying to sexually assault a women. So you are given the choice to go help her. But in doing so the drunk man gets injured and sues you. Given his influence you are branded a criminal, kicked out of school and are forced to transfer to Shujin Academy in Tokyo. It is here where throughout the game you meet the four others members that will be become your best friends and members of the Phantom Thieves. Your leader and navigator is none other than a talking cat named Morgana. Which for me was my favorite part of the game. With the help of Ryuji, Ann, Yusuke, Matoko, Futaba and Haru you try to reform the corrupt society in Japan and make a name for yourselves as Phantom Thieves. While I want to refrain from giving away too many story details, I can tell you this, there are many twists and turns in this story that keep your eyes glued to the TV screen. It is one of the best narratives I have ever witnessed and played through.

As far as gameplay goes, Persona 5 out did themselves. Like most JRPG’s P5 is a turn-based game. Involving a good amount of thinking and strategy in order to come out victorious. As the main character, his code name being ‘Joker’, you can take the powers of enemies you fight as ‘Persona’s’. Persona’s and basically companions that you can take on your journey to aid you in battle. Each member of the group has their own specific persona but Joker is the only one who can use multiple companions. Such is why he’s the leader of the group. Level up your Persona and take on the evil desires and your targets in their palaces as well as in the depths of mementos (the world underneath shibuya). The art style of P5 is also unique. It makes you feel like you’re watching/playing an anime episode. To top it off they actually added animated scenes in the game as well.

Persona 5 also gives you other things to do while you’re not running around being a Phantom Thief. You go to school, study, read, get part-time jobs, play video games and interact with the people around you. During mundane things in this game gives you points to level up your Knowledge, Charm, Kindness, Proficiency and Guts. Each of those categories gives you access to different people who you call ‘Confidants’. Every confidant has different abilities that can be granted to you so it’s crucial that you use your time wisely and spend as much time with people as you can. This will give you a huge advantage in battle, Especially during the harder segments at the tail end of the game. Your time is limited and precious in this game, so use it wisely.

After spending 90+ hours in this world during my first playthrough, I can confidently say that Persona 5 is the best RPG I have played in the past year. Quite possibly the best i’ve played in my career as a gamer. I bonded and connected with the world, characters and story more than I thought was possible. It felt like I was living through an actual anime. When I finally completed the game yesterday, I felt empty. I felt like I wanted more, that this couldn’t be the end. I was living through the Protagonist as though I were him. Luckily for all the gamers who felt like me at the end, Persona 5 offers a New Game + mode, which allows you to replay the game and carry over your money, persona compendium percentage, social skills levels and equipment from your completed save file. Allowing you to relive the beauty that is Persona 5 once again, giving 100+ hours of your life, again. Also, with the amount of DLC on the online store, I can pick and choose what costume I want my characters to wear this time and also play the game with its original japanese voices. Which i’m very excited about.

I am very excited to start my second playthrough of this game today. I have my eyes set on the Platinum Trophy and I will not stop until I obtain it. For those who have yet to play this Playstation 4 exclusive, I highly recommend that you do so, today. It will steal your heart and change your view on video games forever. As a avid lover and advocate for the japanese culture, this game has truly made my love for Japan and its games ascend its original heights.

Score: 10/10
Platform: Playstation 4
Price: $59.99

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep – 15 Review

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep – 15 Review

After the conclusion of the Sumire arc last episode, this week was a bit of a cool down. Sort of a time to prepare us for what’s coming next and what’s coming is something i’ve been wanting for almost two years now. So let’s jump right into it.

The village is now safe in recovery mode after the summoning of Nue. The kids are back in school and the adults are back to running the village alongside Naruto. But boruto and his classmates all keep wondering what is going to happen to Sumire, their classmate and friend. Shino attempts to keep their minds off of it by presenting them with another training exercise, much like the one that destroyed the school in the first few episodes. Only this time the kids are to pick new 3 man teams themselves. This scene got me excited for the upcoming episodes. Mainly because I know whom is going to be paired with each other.

Quickly the first team is assembled and it’s Ino-Shika-Cho of course. Inojin, Shikadai and Chou-Chou group together to continue their family tradition. Mitsuki and Boruto stay as a group and I was hoping that Sarada would join them right off the bat but it didn’t happen unfortunately. So I figure that after the events of the upcoming episodes she’ll be paired with the boys. So another capture the flag game has started and the teams battle it out in order to come out on top. During the exercise Shino receives word from a Leaf Jonin about Sumire and races away, leaving Sarada in charge.

Later on Boruto questions Naruto at home about his friend Sumire but Naruto just gives a rehearsed answer “she got hurt and is in recovery” but Boruto knows better because he was there. So he knows something is up. Injoin spills the details the next day that Sumire might be transferring to another village. During the conversation Shino comes back to the class, following him short after is Sumire. She is immediately welcomed by her classmates, who are all happy that she decided to come back to the academy. She glances at Boruto who is away from the crowd as he quickly gives her the signature naruto smile and thumbs up.

That marked the end of the episode but things get better in the last few scenes. We see a giant tree and Naruto racing up to the top of it. Suddenly we hear a familiar voice. It’s Sasuke! We finally get to see Sasuke after 14 episodes. The two speak about how the seal from Sumire’s back could help Sasuke travel to kaguya’s dimension, which is the place we saw him in during the first scene in Boruto: Naruto the Movie. So we are quickly approaching that content, which is very exciting for me. The final scene shows Toneri on the moon as he speaking about the gods descending upon the land soon, who could he be talking about? It’s none other the Kinshiki and Momoshiki, the two main villains from the Boruto movie. We get a scene with the two of talking as they prepare to travel to Kaguya’s dimension.

During the credits we get TONS of scenes from the upcoming arc, which is by far my favorite in all of Naruto. ‘The Seventh Hokage & The Scarlet Spring’ manga arc. The story of how Sarada met her father, fought the mysterious Uchiha members, unlocked her sharingan and found out where she came from. A story about my favorite next generation character and the Uchiha family. This arc includes so many Sasusaku moments and I am here for it completely. I love this family so much and I can’t wait to see more scenes with Sasuke and Sakura together.

The Sarada arc starts with the episode titled ‘Sarada Uchiha’ which is the name of the first chapter in the manga as well. We have a few episodes before it starts but i’m very excited for the episodes to come. This anime is shaping up to be better than its predecessor. Let me know if you all are excited for the Uchiha arc as well and until next time, I’ll see you guys later.

Score: 7/10

 

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep 14 – Review

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep 14 – Review

In this episode of Boruto, we see the conclusion to the 14 episode arc of Sumire and Nue. This episode showed a lot of good things, so let’s dive right into it.

Continuing from the previous episode, Boruto chases the class rep into the portal, desperate to save his classmate and friend. He’s flung into a unfamiliar place, a place that is void of light and laced in a blue aesthetic. It is the home of the Nue. This is when a fight breaks out between the young shinobi and the chimera like monster. In these shots we see the BEST animation sequences the anime has produced. Chengxi Huang did an amazing job in this episode so if you have not seen this episode, please go and watch as soon as possible.

During the fight, Boruto’s eye activates and here’s where it gets interesting. The eye allows him to see the entire chakra network of the Nue as well as its weak point in its tail. Given this information I believe that this eye that Boruto has is some sort of mutation of the Byakugan. After pinning the Nue down, Mitsuki arrives to deliver the finishing blow. Let me just say, the array of jutsu that mitsuki has up his sleeve is AMAZING. Not only can he use wind style but he can also use lightning style. But before he can finish off the beast, Sumire shows up and stops him.

Another well animated fight occurs between Sumire and Mitsuki. This fight just made me love Mitsuki even more. The way he used his white snakes to defend against the ghost chakra of Sumire was incredible. He was even able to produce blades using his wind style. This makes you wonder what else this kid can do, given that he’s Orochimaru’s son. Once again Boruto breaks up the fight and gives this huge speech about how Sumire is his classmate and that she doesn’t have to follow what her father wanted her to do, she’s her own person and it’s her life to live.

This raises internal conflict with Sumire. Thus making the seal on her back break and disappear. She tries to command the Nue to consume all of her chakra and blow up but instead it acts like a puppy and coddles her. Boruto thinks the reason behind that is because the Nue thinks Sumire is its parent and doesn’t want to hurt her. Crushed by the fact that she no longer has a purpose, Sumire becomes distraught and unable to move as the world around them is crumbling to pieces. Boruto refuses to leave his classmate behind and somehow finds a way to lift Sumire’s spirit and get them all out and back into the real world.

They are met by their other classmates and Sai when they return to the village. Believing that the Nue is dead, Sumire agrees to go and talk with Sai about her future in the village. But before they go Boruto sees a string of chakra flowing into Sumire’s left hand, it’s the Nue. The boys ask where Boruto and Mitsuki where at the entire time but Boruto just shrugs it off and says he’ll explain later. Seeing that it’s so early in the morning, the boys freak out because they know their mothers will destroy them when the return home. Shikadai and Boruto are the first to run home which I thought was hilarious given the fact that their mothers can be scary when they’re mad. Also mitsuki confirmed that the person that he has been speaking to was indeed his father, Orochimaru.

Overall, this episode was great. But I honestly don’t like how they chose to resolve this arc. They kind of made Boruto a carbon copy of Naruto, with all of the ‘you are my friend, so i won’t abandon you’ thing. It was kind of annoying because they did say that Boruto was going to be the complete opposite of his father. I did enjoy the little bit of screentime they gave naruto while he was in sage mode, that really took me back to the early days of Shippuden.

I’m really excited for the next arc, which is going to be covering the Naruto Gaiden content. Can’t wait for all the screen time Sarada and her parents are going to get. SAKUSASU needs some love!

Score: 8/10
Animation: 10/10

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep 13 – Review

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Ep 13 – Review

Oh man… So we finally arrive at what is arguably the best episode of Boruto thus far. No delay, let’s jump right into it.

I’m not going to spoil anything for you guys, you’ll have to watch this for yourself because it’s that good. But we get a lot of great stuff in this episode. Mitsuki relays to Boruto the identity of the masked shinobi, the one behind the attacks. Refusing to believe this, young Boruto rushes away to find the culprit and reason with them. That’s when Mitsuki receives an order to kill the one responsible. I’m not quite sure that the person he’s been speaking with is Orochimaru anymore, seeing how he’s very short and rude to this person. But when he speaks towards or about his father he’s very respectful.

The fight takes us to Senju park, where the masked villain encounters Sai and his team, leaving no choice but to summon the Nue and carry out their plan. Earlier in the episode Sai finds that the person responsible is a man who was in charge of the Senju experiments in the foundation. The man was entrusted with Danzo’s will to continue the Nue project. The beast is basically a giant chakra bomb. The chakra it steals from people is used to power it up. The user runs into enemy lines, summons the Nue and proceeds to detonate it. Eradicating themselves and the enemy. This man sealed the Nue inside his child and entrusted them with the mission he was not able to fulfill.

While the beast rampages, Kakashi arrives with his purple lightning, which was seen in the light novels. This excited me, it was good to finally see this man in action again! Together he and Sai defend the village against the monster until Naruto can arrive. But when he does he instantly goes Kyubi Mode, stating that he can settle this in one move. It was good to see that even though he’s still and idiot, Naruto is still Naruto. Kakashi advises against it given that the Nue absorbs chakra and if it were to intake the Nine Tails’ chakra then it would damn near impossible to stop.

Boruto and Mitsuki catch up with culprit but Mitsuki is dead set on killing them. Telling Boruto that he told him he’d regret it if he came. As the two shinobi clash Boruto jumps in the middle to stop them. This activates his eye as it sends out a line of electricity and seemingly opens a portal. Through the portal the Nue comes and absorbs the culprit. Unwilling to let them get away Boruto and Mitsuki jump into the portal and are transported to another dimension it seems.

Overall, I thought this episode was amazing. I had feeling that the person responsible was who I originally thought it was so I was happy to see my prediction come true. I apologize if this review was short and to the point but I really don’t want to spoil it for you guys. This is truly and episode that has to be watched with your own eyes! Next week’s episode review will be more in depth.

I’m also putting together a full series review for Little Witch Academia so stay tuned for that! So, as always, I’ll catch you guys next time!

Score: 10/10
Animation: 9/10

 

カラスの外伝: Raven Gaiden – A ‘Huntress’ Story

カラスの外伝: Raven Gaiden – A ‘Huntress’ Story

シーン二

The monster snarled as mud and blood flung from it claws. Raven sat there on the ground, wiping the blood from her lip. Sweat running down to her chin like raindrops on a small leaf. Her garments covered in dirt and cement residue. Slowly, she picked herself back up and dusted herself off. The road outside of the building raven was thrown through was empty. The surrounding town slowly fading from existence, thanks to the monster snarling in front of her. She softly exhaled, clouds of her breath could be seen as if it we winter again.

“It’s probably a bad idea to use this…” the air around began to pick up, her silver hair releasing from its bindings. “But I’d rather finish this quickly, before I get myself killed for being so lazy”

Her stance changed. Her legs bent, palms facing the beast. Suddenly she took off, a trail of ice and snow following behind. She made contact with the beast, casting off a flurry of punches and kicks. Each hit leaving a shadow of frost on its body. The monster let out a loud roar as it swung its claws towards raven. Effortlessly she avoided the assault, every move she made had a purpose. Finally, she appeared in front of the beast, a quiet smirk wiped across her face.

It was a sight to behold. The once raging beast was now nothing but a block of ice. In a blinding flurry, she had meticulously attacked it. Each and every hit arrived at their mark precisely.

“Nice and quiet now” she spoke.

With the snap of her fingers the block of ice shattered into thousands of pieces. Light snow and glitter began falling from the sky in their wake. Without touching the blade on her back, she easily succeeded where an entire village failed. She slowly exhaled again as she threw the hood back over her head.

“Time to collect” she whispered as she made her way back to the bar.

©Jawan Herron