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Come on, Yori, all your friends are totally on board for you screwing up a chance for peace!

I watched the live action Bleach movie on Netflix. It’s alright, I guess. Certainly not the worst adaptation of a manga, granted those are almost always a mess. Bleach is a series that had an incredibly fun premise and then totally squandered it to go all DBZ style. I’d hoped the movie would capture what I liked about the beginning of the series; slice of life stories centered on various ghosts culminating in big monster battles, but that’s not what made Bleach a hit.

No, Bleach skyrocketed in popularity when ghost samurai started fighting each other with magic swords in big, bland environments endlessly. I mean, to be fair, I was also super excited when Ichigo went to Soul Society and started fighting shinigami, the story felt engaging and full of mysteries, leading to some big revelation. But all the world building quickly started to contradict itself, and the logic of the series’ portrayal of the afterlife completely unraveled. In hindsight, Bleach was a stronger series in its beginning when it stuck to the real world, and kept Soul Society an off screen presence. But the story ballooned out of proportion into a convoluted shonen battle slog, and lost everything that made it unique in the process.

Unfortunately, the movie treats the slice of life ghost busting as a side event to get to ‘the good stuff’, a handful of a fast paced magic sword duels. The fights have a similar flare to the ones in the Kenshin live action movies, although with quite a bit more CG and implausible airtime involved. It also suffers from most manga-to-film adaptations, trying to cram in too many characters, and feeling like a rushed narrative even though it’s a good hour and forty five minutes in length.

On the positive side, the characters feel very accurate to their manga counterparts, and the cast has a lot of good chemistry. The focus is primarily on the relationship between Rukia and Ichigo, and despite all the awkward factors that seem omnipresent in every live action anime adaptation, I still managed to feel some level of human emotion in the final scene between them. I also found myself laughing at a number of gags during the film. I think the movie could’ve honestly been a lot funnier, but it had a pretty good amount of levity. There’s also this punk rock song that plays several times during action scenes that’s mostly unintelligible Engrish, except for the final line in the chorus that goes “AND DRINK YOUR MILK!” which made me laugh each time I heard it. Also the movie managed to not hyper sexualize highschool girls, which is probably worth noting. So, in summary, they could’ve done a lot worse!

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Well, I guess everyone’s up to speed on Nataku’s shenanigans!

The Blade of the Immortal manga has recently been getting the Omnibus treatment, and I’m completely engrossed in it. It’s a  Tokugawa Shogunate era story about an immortal samurai bodyguard travelling with a girl who wants to get revenge on her parents’ killers. It’s got a very Tarantino style to it, full of high tension, explosive violence, and amusing characters and anachronisms. But it’s characters also feel grounded and real, with very clear motivations. It can occasionally be easy to feel more empathetic towards series’ antagonists than some of the characters trying to stop them.

I followed the manga years ago, but failed to keep up with it. I don’t actually know how the storyends, but I’d still rate it in my top three favorite manga, next to Kenshin and Berserk. The artwork in BotI has been an inspiration to me for years, and it still looks strikingly contemporary, despite it having run from ’93 to 2012. I remember being vastly disappointed with the anime adaptation, the manga pretty much leaves it in the dust. I’ll have to check out the live action film that came out last year at some point! For anyone who hasn’t read Blade of the Immortal, WOULD RECOMMEND.

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NOOO, Tanaka!!!! He was, like, my third favorite stubborn Senshin general!

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This really isn’t the sort of pep talk Yori wants to hear, Genchu!

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And then the battle ended and everyone counted and prayed for the dead and felt crappy all around, but that part’s boring so let’s skip it!

NN4B Volumes 1 and 2 are available once again on the Hivemill online store! If you were interested in picking up some copies, now’s the time!

 

I also can’t help but bring up the trailer for the new Star Wars Resistance cartoon. (what, I like Star Wars??) It seems to be getting a lot of internet hate, but I guess that’s just normal for Disney produced Star Wars stuff at this point. But the one thing that blows me away is that it’s getting ragged on for having bad animation or looking ugly?? The animation and visual quality in this trailer looks AMAZING. I mean, please someone point out another CG cartoon show (not film)  that looks as good as this trailer (maybe Tron Uprising, but that was also a Disney animated show). The background details are top quality, the animation is fluid and expressive, the lighting is great, the cel-shading style is sharp.

I mean, compare that to the dirty browns and grays of The Clone Wars and Rebels, with their muddy, plastic character models and painfully bland background environments with polygon counts that look like they were made for a PS3 game.

I’m not really criticizing the narratives of the shows here (although I could!), but visually I have never liked the art direction of the CG Star Wars shows. It’s all totally subjective, of course, but Resistance looks far more visually appealing to me. I mean just look how rad CG Poe’s profile looks in that youtube thumbnail! And for anyone who wants to complain that Resistance is TOO COLORFUL, well, easily the best Star Wars cartoon to date is Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2D animated Clone Wars, and that show was plenty colorful. That’s the full series linked below. Please don’t hold me responsible if you click on it and inadvertently watch the whole thing in one sitting when you should be doing other stuff!

 

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Seems likely Eijiro’s influence with Hirotomo is going to be tested a bit in the near future.

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Well, I guess we’ve come full circle!

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Nataku has perished, but his teachings live on in Eijiro! dun Dun DUN!

 

I’ve been playing a bit of No Man’s Sky Next on PS4 as of late. My SO bought the game digitally back when it was released. She sunk several dozen hours into the vanilla game, but then moved on. I’ve continued to come back to it with each big update, and this latest one, which adds in a 3rd person camera and character customization, has managed to sink its teeth into me. I mean, I kind of enjoyed the chill atmosphere of the game before hand, but something about being able to see your character inhabiting the space, as well as a bit more variety in the planets and more open base building options has got me thinking about NMS way more than I should be! That and we kind of already owned it, which helps.

I’m not really into open ended survival games. I tried to get into Subnautica, but it just became frustrating. Maybe I’m just a sucker for, colorful, deep space exploration. There also seems to be a bit more meat to the game’s linear storyline path, although not that much more, as its still a lot of vague introspection and text boxes.

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So who’s the real winner here, one has to wonder?

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So is Nataku technically right because it was his own blade? Or was it a Daisuke blade because it was being wielded by a Daisuke in the moment? Feel free to discuss!

This event has been a long time coming in the NN4B. Some of you predicted it, for others, maybe it was a SHOCKING TWIST! Either way, I’m very happy with how these pages turned out, it was one of my favorite fights to draw, in large part because it was a culmination of Ken’s revenge story. How Ken will feel about not landing the final blow remains to be seen, but it’d be hard to argue that Yumiko didn’t earn it.

I’ve been pretty busy lately, so I haven’t had a ton of time to watch new stuff. I have been reading the My Hero Academia manga, which is a good time. I really enjoy how relentlessly positive the story is, and how much all the characters like each other. I think about other popular shounen stuff, and most of the relationships in series like Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, etc tend to be characterized as hostile friendships. They always talk about how their friends but when we see them in their off time, they’re constantly arguing like fed up siblings. The cast of MHA is genuinely friendly with each other and enjoys working together, and it makes almost the entire cast instantly likable (well, maybe Bakugo is the counter to that statement, but he’s definitely the one exception to the rule, and I still kinda like him). At some point I will catch up on the anime, in large part because it has such a killer good soundtrack.

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