vrijdag 31 december 2021

Happy New Year: end of year hobby room tour

 And so we arrive on the closing day of 2021, another "Big C" riddled year of freedom and semi-freedom.

And a year that marked a serious shift in hobby priorities, and the resulting re-arranging of the hobby room.

While still a Work-in-Progress, just you wait until december 2022 when everything should be decently in order and cleaned up / out, it does give a good idea of the direction it's going.

So without further ado, here is the clip of the december 2021 Hobby Room tour:

Now, ching ching, and a happy new year everyone!

donderdag 30 december 2021

Best of 2021 Awards

 In a yearly blog tradition, here are the winners of what I liked most in the past year!

Of course, this is once again totally my own taste, and completely subjective, but heck, maybe something went under the radar and it might inspire you?

Best Movie: The Yin Yang Master: Dream of Eternity.  Now, there are actually TWO different Yin Yang Master movies currently on Netflix, but this one really stood out for me.  Based on a mobile game, this was one epic film with great effects.

Best Series: Into The Night.  Actually a belgian science fiction series, and with the second one being a lot less then the original, the first season had that tense, time pressured feel as a group of survivors have to fly around the world as the sun became lethal.  Breathtaking and gutwrenching at the same time, this was some quality adventure.  Honourable mentions go to korean series The Uncanny Counters and the french Lupin series for me.

Best Book: No Game No Life volume 6.  This is the light novel that tells the tale animated as the No Game No Life 0 movie, and it is even more dramatic and heartbreaking in it's written form.

Best Toy: Kurumi Alluring Kimono version, the Date-A-Live scale figure I received for my birthday.  She comes with such awesome details on the dress and all, truly a fantastic figure.

Best Anime: REDO OF HEALER!!!!!  No, just kidding, the best anime's I saw this year is a tryfold between the Gaiden of Violet Evergarden, Darling in the Franxx and Your Lie in April.  All with high drama, beautiful finales.  And then there are the Quintessential Quintuplets, a little comical series I discovered and really became my "guilty pleasure" series.

Best Game: Rangers of Shadow Deep.  Before my gaming grinded completely to a standstill, this solo game was real fun to play on calm sundays.

Best Videogame: okay, a very controversional one here was about to be inserted, with the adult chatbox game 3DXChat, which did wonders for my self confidence after events of the past decade or two.  But in the end, I went for Super Mecha Champions, a mecha battle royale game I have been enjoying for months on end now.


Best Wargame Figure: Sagitta Ptolemy from NS Miniatures.  It's Saint Seiya, but it is also great to see some other characters for once then the "goldies" and the bronze heroes.  And especially if it's a one episode appearing side character.

Best Music: Ghost Rule by Hatsune Miku, as well as an honourable mention to the closing balad of the Demon Slayer Mugen Train movie.

 Best Trade: being such a good little boy Noshi tolerated my restarting of an anime figure collection.  Without details, it's one of those things "Best Videogame" relates to...

Best Convention or Event: we only attended one, but with that little bug still wreaking havoc for public life, it has to be Made In Asia, the first convention I went to in 2.5 years!

Greatest Disappointment: how due to both Brexit AND the new IOSS rulings, the European Union is closing it's borders for hobbyists, as now a LOT of extra charges are added to our already not cheap hobbies of both wargaming (nearly all UK based) and anime figure collecting (well, Japan of course).

So there we have them, all the things I took a liking to in a hobby related way during the past year.  Let's see what the new year will bring, and if there will be some unexpected entries as well next edition.  Did you see anything that inspires you or you think "hmmm, that went under my radar"?  Feel free to comment below!

woensdag 29 december 2021

The 2022 Hobby Goals: The Year of the Manga

 Well, let's call it "The Year of the Manga" and I set myself some goals for this year for it.

Because the venerable paperback will be the "main liner" of the goals I set myself for this year.

Read 100 books: yes, ambitious, but that is going to be including manga, which after all reads faster then a novel.  But not only that, it will also mean actually purchasing a LOT of manga, and bring by mangatheque back to the level it used to be, so that's a double bonus.

Watch 25 anime: while seeing low compared to the huge amount of series I watched last year (62 !!!), this has to do with the fact there is a 200+ episode on my planned watch list this year, namely Hitman Reborn! for cosplay purposes.
On the movies and series front, I`m not setting to high a goal this year.  Slowly but surely I have been drifting away from that medium for some reason, and not much catches my fancy anyways at the moment of writing.  Heck, is still need to see the last season of Vikings to give but one example... so I`m settling on 20 and 15 respectively.  Watch 20 movies and Watch 15 series as such it is.

Paint 15 models for MechaTop: time to boost those 1/400 scale models some more this year.
But I`m not going to be carrying over any paint goals of the previous year, the "fut" as we call it in flemish (basically, the drive) is still totally lacking to get into the hobby in earnest still.  It will come back eventually though, I`m sure of that.
But in all honesty, the way it stands as I`m writing this, I doubt painting will really pick up in the first part of the year, more likely it'll be something for the last quarter of the year even once Thorin goes to school.

Get cosplay fit again: currently sitting around a hulking 95 kilo's, the aim is to get back to the old "competitive weight" of 80.  Yeah, that'll be hard, but it will open cosplay-a-bilities galore!
Another section I replaced this year on the goals page, is the painting tally.  As I`m not seeing mass figure painting just yet, as noted above, I am going to keep track of all things anime I add to my collection this year, wether it is bought, won or gifted to me.  This will be for Figures, miscellanious merchandise like mini towels or keychains, manga, artwork, pins and buttons, DVD's and BluRay's and finally Plushies.  Mind you I`m only tallying stuff I`ll keep though...

So there we have it, my list of goals to aim for in the coming hobby year.  Some might be ambitious, and it is definitly all of a different order then what I aimed for in the past years, but never the less, there are no "sure shot wins" on the list this year either.

Let the year... BEGIN!

dinsdag 28 december 2021

The 2021 Goals: what was Achieved?

  Well, this has been a special year...

A combination of various factors meant that my painting grinded to a complete standstill after the yearly AHPC, and didn`t pick up again during the year, only completing a handful of models afterwards.

This as a result leads to a LOT of failures for the year, and as long as the whole "Big C" keeps being a nuissance, it seems there won't be much difference on the horizon.  It just is so very demotivating to try and paint something, knowing that due to a variety of external factors you won`t be playing many games at all.

So while I started the year good, with breaking my AHPC target for the fourth year running (due to circumstances, I won`t be joining the new one this year), that is about the only painting goal achieved bar the Rivendel army one.  But in all honesty, I only needed to paint up Arwen to get that done.

But the planned forces for MESBG (some even got cut all together), Warhammer 40k and The Ninth Age have been relegated to the backburner, and barely anything has been added to them in the past 12 months as a result.   Though I will carry them over and hope for a better 2022 on motivational levels.  With Thorin starting school at the end of the coming year, at least some much needed measure of a normal leisure time will be returning to our lives.  Yeah, I underestimated the baby / hobby combo, and not afraid to admit that.  To that end, I won`t just yet be incorporating paint goals in next years goals, even though none of them are actually completely off the table...

I could take a more detailed look, but they aren`t anywhere near the levels of the previous years.  In fact, I only painted a handfull after the AHPC ended in march, so basically my YouTube overview of that challenge, is containing about everything I painted this year.  Though I did paint a lot more then I bought in those very few first months.

On the other hand, anime watching totally blew it out of the water this year, more then doubling the amount of series I wanted to see.  With Noshi having an animelike year as well, we sat down and saw many series during the evenings, apart from the ones I watch during tinkering with the blog and such, or during work lunchtimes.

The books where achieved as well, though this only was like last weekend when the last one for the year was laid down or so, I guess that 20 / 25 is a decent number for that, even though I`m planning on something VERY ambitious next year!  

But on the part of movies, and especially "regular" series, it hasn`t been that much.  Which also comes largely of course from the fact we have been seeing that many anime, but also that there aren`t really that many series out there atm that catch my fancy.  And I have been slacking, as I`m still having to watch the fifth season of my beloved The Expanse...
So yeah, that means 2021 has been a year with many beforehand planned hobby goals ending in the red colour, but let's hope 2022 will put some more green markers down once again!

maandag 27 december 2021

Warblade - David Ferring

 Time for a short visit to the Old World, as I've read the final instalment of the Konrad trilogy, Warblade.

And it jumps straight in action from page one, no recapitulation of the previous events, but straight into the Skaven lair under Altdorf.

Picking up with the events of the previous book, Konrad's final adventure begins as he tries to save his companions from the grey seer Graxar, as they are about to be sacrificed.  After overcoming them, he reenters the city and through his sergeant in the Guard, Taungar, comes into contact with Zuntermein.  This sorcerer claims to know the whereabouts of Elyssa, and invites Konrad to a meeting of his group.

Zuntermein actually runs a slaanesh cult, and seems to have Krysten as a captive.  He orders her to kill Konrad, but during the act she reveals to have become a follower of Khorne instead as she attacks him.  They escape, but she dies in his arms as if claimed by the Blood lord as a payment for their escape of the cultists.  But Taungar survives somehow, and tracks Konrad down, having him at swordpoint until a black clad warrior comes to his aid, none other than Wolf it seems.  He had returned to lead Konrad to Galea, a former deamon now seeress whom explains to Konrad his focal point in the events taking place around him.
Heading to Marienburg, they meet up with Litzenreich and Ustnar, as it turns out there is no love lost between Wolf and the wizard.  But when Skaven ambush them, they decide to work together as they have parallel running goals involving Altdorf, saving the Emperor, and discovering Konrad's past...

And so i finished the trilogy, the first book was the first one I read in 2021, and fittingly, this is the last book I`m finishing for the year.  One word of grief perhaps in a good series, is that the ultimate conclusion, the face off with Skullface who has hunted him for three volumes... is all wrapped up in less then 5 pages.  Bit anticlimatic for my tastes to be honest.

But it was a good series, and I enjoyed reading it on the bus for sure.

zondag 26 december 2021

The Haul Report 301: Christmas Loot

 That merry time of the year is upon us, and gifts have been exchanged.

And this Old Belgian Otaku got some stuffsies for his collections as well, namely...

First of all, this awesome Switch I got from Dolly, wieepieee.  Now to get myself some JRPG games and the game is a foot!


Which will be sponsored by the Game Mania gift card I received from my mother in law.

I also received this buxom lady from Thorin, looking all business in her suit.

I also got a nice stack of manga for christmas from both my sister-in-law and her fiancee, as from my mother-in-law, respectively 3 tomes of both Terra Formars and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime :-)

And of course, what christmas would be complete without... socks!

A great stack of stuff for sure this year, many thanks minna!

vrijdag 24 december 2021

Padoru Padoru Minna!


Enjoy these days of being merry and jolly!

woensdag 22 december 2021

MechaTop DLC 3: Francesca Rescue

 The third, and recently released, DLC expansion for MechaTop, available HERE.

And this time, it's a search and rescue campaign following immediatly on the events of the second one, Gaia's Revenge, which I blogged about a while ago.

Commanding your mecha and a host of generic vehicles, you must break through the enemy lines, enter their base and rescue Fransesca.  But the enemy won`t go down without a fight, and they are very well equipped to face off against you.

The campaign is tailored to one until infinite players, as the available forces are split into seperate teams, each commanded by a player.  Single player is of course having the opponent controlled by the SOLO deck, and is at easy mode, while all the other number of players make it hard mode.  See the Challenge dlc volume for a bit more on those difficulty modes.

While the generic vehicles are limitless, it is worth remembering that fielding mecha depends on their rarity and the size and type of game.  The fun thing about their campaigns, as they follow up, is that you are still using the character from all the way back in the first campaign book.

Now, don't think this campaign is a breeze, you are often at a points disadvantage, AND the opponent has some damn good suits for him to command!  Customizing your pilot skills and using them well is the key for this scenario booklet.

A lot of optional scenario's are also included and benefits can be reaped as such... but be carefull for your losses as well!

This volume seems as a great campaign to run during a weekly gamenight or such, with a fixed group of people.  And something I definitly am willing to give a go, figures enough after all...

dinsdag 21 december 2021

Neo Angelique Abyss: Second Age

 A few years ago, I watched (and reviewed on this blog) the Neo Angelique Abyss anime.

And now I've watched the second season, it is the sequel to the first series and picks up right after the events of the first.

Now, I wasn`t to wild about the first one (I rated it a 4 on MAL, against like everyone else as it has pretty good scores there), but still, being the completionist that I am I sat down and went for a second serving of 13 episodes.

With the Aube Hunters now gone, there has been a serious increase in Thanatos activity, leaving Arcadia in ruins.  The Relihious Organisation now fights the invaders, about six months after the mansion was burned down at the end of the first series.  But the Aube Hunters, now blamed for everything, are waiting for the Queen's Egg, aka Angelique, to reawaken.  Once she does, she becomes a hunted person, and in a port town she flees from some thugs.  They are saved by a girl letting herself called "Captain" and offered transport on her ship.  After helping to defeat a Thanatos, she reveals her name, Sedora, to Angelique as she comes to see her as a true friend.

She travels to the capital and holy church, to learn that Rene is destined to become the new religious leader in a plot with Mathias to replace him.  But during the ascension ceremony, Mathias places a coup, unwilling to put down his position.  Using a forbidden chip, he gains the ability to summon and control Thanatos, attacking Angelique.  But she is saved by Mr Nyx, who tells her in order to fulfill her fate, she must kill him.  His body turns out to be the host for the Erebos, a mighty Thanatos linking both dimensions together as an anchor point.  And that needs to be defeated should she want to save Arcadia from the monsters once and for all.

With the help of Erenfried, who developped Mathias's chip, they set out to build a way to overcome the former religious ruler.  But first, Erenfried goes to save director Yorgo from the firing squad.  Angelique learns from Rene the fate of the previous Queen's Egg chosen ones and how it strengthens Erebos.  They manage to bring Mathias back from it's influence, but Nyx / Erebos appears, slaying him as he protects Rene from the evil presence.  Angelique's powers awaken due to this, chasing off Erebos.  

In order to take the fight to him, the fabled Ship of Stars is being repaired, Angelique gathering all the people she met on her journey to form a front and bring Erebos down once and for all.

Okay, so I liked it better then the first one, but I`m not sold on this series though.  I can`t put my finger to it exactly why, it just, well, is like that...

maandag 20 december 2021

Fate / Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia - Initium Iter

 Time to prepare for a fresh Fate series to watch, and it starts out with Initium Iter, or as it is also known, episode 0.

This special details the creation of Mash Kyrielight, a demi-servant made by fusing a Heroic Spirit with a normal girl.

Romani Achaman is the doctor assigned to the young girl, and as the experiment is a success, though they don`t know if there would be long term drawbacks, he becomes her guide.

She herself gets a great intrest in the word "senpai" as she forms a bond with the young doctor.  This results in the girl getting hope, and that hope becoming a spreading wave as she learns why she is created.

A nice introduction story for sure, and while it has a lot of morality in it, it seems like a promising start for the next series I`ll be watching.

zaterdag 18 december 2021

On the Painting Desk 198

 The creative juices got flowing a bit again in the past week, as I managed to make some progress on the Quintuplets piece I`m doing.

Though the hair tones of the Nakano sisters are giving me a pointy head, especially working with wargame acryllics.

But all in all, I`m happy with how it is looking so far.  It could be more nuanced, but that is for the touch up phase in the end, when the lining and blending kicks in.

So now only Miku to get a hairjob, hopefully somewhere next weekend, and then the clothing can be started.

Though that deep purple almost black of Niko's sweater is already making me go "hmppff" as well at the moment...

vrijdag 17 december 2021

Building a huge gashapon tube

 Okay, so this is just some fun project for the coming year.

I got one of these christmas ball tubes from this year's tree, and I thought "what if I fill this all up with gashapon balls"...

And so I'm duly going to do.  During the year I'll frequently be going by Akiba in the Central Station, and spend my small change there when I pick up some manga to turn balls.  These will then be added to the tube, in the hopes of filling it completely towards december 2022.

Once that happens, I`ll be doing a massive opening of the balls inside, by then long forgotten in all probability what is actually in them, if there are duplicates, etc etc etc.  

Just seems like a fun little thing to do on the side, so to kick it off I already inserted the two gashapon balls from this december's manga purchase in there, now to get it gooooiiinnnggggg!

donderdag 16 december 2021

Saintia Sho volume 1 - Masami Kurumada and Chimaki Kuori

 The all female Saint Seiya series is finally being purchased and read by yours truly.

And while for the first few volumes I`ll have an idea of what will be happening, having watched the single season series so far, the story goes beyond that in the manga.

And like The Lost Canvas, that means I can finally find out what happened with Shoko and her companions!  The volume starts with Shoko having the same dream, as a golden apple wants to possess her, but she is saved by a golden armoured warrior (Scorpion saint Milo).  At school one day, she plans to confront Saori Kido, who as the head of the Grade Foundation might have news of her sister Kyoko that went to study there, when she gets attacked in the schoolyard.  A mysterious woman wants to sacrifice her to the golden apple indeed, but she is saved by her sister.  She has become a saintia of Athena, one of her bodyguard handmaidens, wearing the Equuleus bronze cloth.
The apple is actually the essence of Eris, who has chosen Shoko to become the vessel of her reincarnation. They return to the Kido mansion, but soon are attacked there by the Dryad Ate, the saintia's being pushed back as Athena, and the Sagitarrius gold cloth to support her, steps forward.  While Ate is defeated, she manages to snatch Kyoko instead for her to become the physical vessel of Eris.  Shoko begs Saori to receive training to become a saint, and save her sister...

So no real new reveals here, and the anime adapted this first volume very nicely.  And sorry mr Kurumada, but this drawing style personally is clearer then the original Saint Seiya series I`m afraid.
Now to go onwards to volume two...

woensdag 15 december 2021

How Not to Summon a Demon Lord season 2

 Diablo and his companions are back for another 10 episode series of adventures of a completely OP demon lord in an isekai world.

And I liked the first season, perhaps not the greatest of series I ever saw, but it was enjoyable.

This adventure starts when a priestess in distress prays for help from her God, and instead gets Diablo, falling from the sky as a flight spell didn`t work as planned.  he quickly overcomes her assailant, and learns a civil war is brewing inside the ranks of the church.  Together with Rem and Shera he decides to help Lumachina out and escort her to Zircon Tower.

Arriving there, they are met and joined by a young rogue, Horn.  They soon meet the ruler of the city, Laminitus, and the head paladin they had set out to find, Battuta.  However, he quickly betrays them, kidnapping Lumachina and Rem to offer them for the seven sins... .  So while they can quickly overcome the trap, yet the confrontation with Battuta takes more then he anticipated, and Lumachina gets cursed with a fatal disease.

The cure for the disease is to be found in a dungeon Diablo actually designed in his own world, and as such he knows how the traps work and they can get through them.  he gets reunited with his machine maid Rose, and as he cures Lumachia he also upscales the party's gear... after he found out Horn actually being a girl.  But as they want to return to Zircon Tower, they learn it is under attack by Varakness, who wants to add Laminitus to his harem.  Diablo intervenes and defeats the Fallen warlord, but wonders who the demon lord is that ordered the attack... 

After an intermezzo with Klem and Edelgard rolling up an extortionist gang, the party moves to the capital to confront the church and it's head cardinal, Vishos, the man behind the order to kill Lumachina.  While he summons the huge Europa monster, never the less Diablo and Lumachina are able to overcome it, even though hard pressed, and restore the church and the believer's faith once again...

Now, truth be told, I didn`t enjoy this season as much as the first.  The story arcs seem to be to rushed as it contains only 10 episodes, and we have the head paladin, the dungeon, the siege AND the cardinal "stories in the overarching story" meaning everything gets passed by in about 2 episodes each.  And the jokes feel a bit to much recycled from the first season, just with other girls in his harem.

While good to watch 1 or 2 episodes every evening, I didn't get the "much watch the next episode now" vibe at all with this season, so for me, it was pretty average this time round.  

Though maid Edelgard is hawt!  Pity she doesn`t have a figure, or I'd get it immediatly.


dinsdag 14 december 2021

MechaTop DLC 2: Gaia's Revenge

 Godzilla, King T-Rex, King Kong, Fenrir, ... the monsters have awakaned from the centre of the Earth, and they are not in a good mood.

In this second DLC for MechaTop, available HERE, the Earth is besieged by these mythical kaiju, and it is up to the Brave Pilots to face them.

In the introduction, we learn that kaiju are attacking the various parts of the world (8 sectors in total), and that you and your companions have to face off against them.  They also advise to play in a new scale, 1/2000, but I`m planning on printing some of the beasts in 1/400 instead, so that will be some big beasties roaming around.  Though for a gorilla or a T-Rex, I`m going to loot cheap toys, repaint them, and just see they "look good" against my gundam models.

Like introduced in the earlier challenge mode, this 8 player collaborative campaign has all sorts of difficulaty levels, with the easy mode meaning the beast will be controlled by the solo card deck, so that's perfect!

Pilots are then created, but keep in mind they can be knocked out or even killed during battle, meaning they won't be around for future games as the beasts grow more and more vicious!

For the first campaign phase, pilots then select who and where they want to fight certain monsters, and once completed that mission will no longer be available to be played by others.  Collaboration is key in this campaign!  The next phase is hunting and trying to kill the surviving kaiju, before going on to the final phase.  The Dragin Kraken is your opponent, and the more kaiju survived, the bigger and badder he will be!

The booklet comes with all the needed cards and scenario's to get through this campaign, and it looks like good fun.  Now to get the gang warm for the game!

maandag 13 december 2021

Zaregoto book 1: The Kubikiri Cycle - Nisoisin

 A light novel I had lying around for years, I finally started the book.  There wasn`t any real reason before why I didn`t, it just, well, just didn`t get round to it.

But now I started the first book in the series, and curious what it will bring me.

Li-san finds himself on a stay on a fancy island, in the near future Japan.  Here, he is surrounded by a plethora of geniusses, each in their own field.  Painting, fortune telling, computer expert, cook, ... they are from all fields while Li finds himself terribly ordinary.

When master painter, and wheelchair bound, Ibuki Kanami is found decapitated after an earthquake, a traditional who dunnit adventure begins as the other residents try to figure out who the murderer was.  A day later, Akane, who was locked away voluntarily as she didn`t have an alibi, is also found decapitated.  As tensions rise, it turns out the mistress of the mansion has a seemingly dark past, but is it the truth or is someone diverting attention?  When Li's best friend, the computer hacker / progeny Tomo Kunagisa, finds all her pc's and equipment destroyed, it seems some clues are to be covered up.

As Li starts connecting the dots of the various mysterious entries, he is assailed by an unknown person, only to be saved by the maid Teruko, who overpowers the attacker.  But she shoots Teruko instead, and is revealed as Kunagasi arrives to be none other then the apparently dead and decapitated Akane!  Together with Kanami's caretaker, she had set up an elaborate plan to kill all those present on the island.
A fun read that starts really grabbing about halfway in, it has some clever plot twists in it.  Now, to start searching online for the other books of the series...

zondag 12 december 2021

The Haul Report 300

 So, it seems I brought you already as many haul reports as there where runoured to have been Spartans at that infamous battle...

Now, this isn`t some mega haul or anything for this "special" occasion, but this week a big box from the TokyoCatch crane game did come in.

Containing two figures I caught within a day of each other, they are both also figures that will be going on my MFC account for trading purposes, but they where easy to snatch ones.  So drop me a line if you're intrested in either one of them!

Now, the next box that is underway from TokyoCatch, THAT has some juicy stuff for my mancave, so stay tuned until that arrives!

See you all next time!

zaterdag 11 december 2021

On the Painting Desk 197

 It's not much, but slowly and surely we are getting back to "the game".

You know, finetuning long forgotten army lists to current rulings and points, planning purchases if needed...

And of course, slowly and surely getting some paint on figures as well.  Though for now, that means only the undercoat so far on the second Broadside for my Tau force, one of the old school ones with metal parts, and the double metal railgun barrels.

But it's a beginning, and hopefully by spring next year I finally will have my Tau Gundam force to a battleworthy 1500 points painted up.

vrijdag 10 december 2021

SSSS Gridman

 Roight, time for some more mecha styled anime this time around, with this series from 2018.

And this one really does has a unique "take in" on how it all came to be.

Yuuta Hibiki wakes up in a room without any memories, and a girl called Rikka Takarada.  he gets contacted by a robot huy, but for some strange reason Rikka can`t see nor hear it.  He merges with the old computer, and becomes the Gridman, a giant robot that fights the monsters looming over the city.  Together with Rikka and a classmate called Shou Utsumi, he formes the Gridman Alliance, bound on fighting the monsters appearing in the fog.

A classmate of Yuuta, Akane, is communicating with Alexis, the computer program creating the kaiju.  Samurai Calibur approaches the Gridman Alliance, optimizing the computer Gridman is in and making him able to communicate with all of them. He leads them to a restaurant of one of their classmates, but it turns out she died long time ago... yet they saw her at school the day before, as are four more of them.

Calibur, and his partners, are actually boosters for the Gridman, using access codes to go in and upgrade him.  When Yuuta, Rikka and Shou all by circumstances come into contact with members of the kaiju race, both sides gain a lot of insight in how the world works... as Akane is actually a deranged godess that made the city, and there is nothing beyond the city it seems.  Another Kaiju taking human form, Anti, has it out for Yuuta, as he suspects that he is indeed Gridman, and wants to prove he is the strongest of them all.  But as their personal lives ever become more intangled, and the truth of their city is understood little by little, they all have second doubts about what they are doing.

What you basically have in this series is a Kamen Rider or X-Or like anime, powered by an ancient computer.  The biggest downside perhaps is the rather basic drawings, think Digimon and the likes instead of high art productions.

donderdag 9 december 2021

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

 Saturday night movie night, and this time it was the new Marvel film (though I miss quit a few in between, I for one haven`t seen the "finale movies" of the previous phase), Shang-Chi.

Now, I must confess, I barely knew the character, and I read A LOT of obscure Marvel B and C lister comics in my days (Excalibur and Alpha Flight where my favorites).

But what Black Panther took from African culture, this does so from the Asian culture.  Shaun (Shang-Chi) is the son of the Mandarin, who lived for centuries thanks to the power of the Ten Rings, and his mother who came from the mythical land of Ta Lo.  But after his mother died, his father, a former crimeboss, returns to his former ways, out to take revenge.

Shang-Chi was trained as a child to become an assassin, and together with his sister he is captured by his dad, who needs their pendants to find the entrance to the lands of Ta Lo.  A voice is informing him his wife is being held captive there, and he plans to use all his means to get her out.  Shang-Chi and his sister, together with stage actor Trevor (Ben kingsley is back after his fake Mandarin from Iron Man) and a creature called Morris, they enter the land and rally the defences to face his father, and learn the truth.

In days of old, soul eating monsters where locked away in the Dark Gate, and they use the voices of beloved ones to lure and free them.  As the Mandarin attacks, and manages to open the gate, Shang-Chi awakens his inner powers.  Together with the Great Protector, a dragon, he manages to overcome the monster that in the process had claimed his father's life and soul.

This is actually a good movie, and to be honest, not even a Marvel movie to my feel (bar that mid-credit scene).  If you take a look at the asian action movies on Netflix, this one could perfectly fit in that category instead, which isn`t critique at all.  On the contrary, I felt it rather refreshing from other movies, a bit like the first Guardians of the Galaxy was in the days.

Not bad for a superhero movie at all, and all the asian legendary creatures in Ta Lo was a nice visual spectacle!