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And we’re back! And so is Yukizane! Looks like everything’s gonna be OKAY.

I’ve been watching SSSS.Gridman, which, I mean, so far, is GREAT. It has a simple premise, and does a great job of slowing expanding its world while adhering to an episodic format. It’s basically an animated version of a Tokusatsu show, which is a fun gimmick. The animation is also great, as it’s a Studio Trigger project, and their shows are always top notch. I guess I don’t have too much to say about it other than I recommend it to anyone looking for a great anime and the opening theme is just the catchiest piece of Jpop I’ve heard in a while.

I’m also watching my way through Netflix’s She-Ra, and, dang, it’s really fun! The first episode straight up starts off with Adora, a supersoldier badass raised by the evil Horde, entering into mock combat training against rebel insurgents. Not what I was expecting! the story feels like a really clever, contemporary take on the original concept, with an enjoyably diverse cast of characters. It pays A LOT of homages to Star Wars, which doesn’t hurt my enjoyment of the show. There’s a decent amount of screen time given to its villain characters, which helps add some stakes and depth to the overall military conflict, which feels reminiscent of Avatar. I actually think a comparison to Avatar isn’t off the table, She-Ra’s chemistry feels very similar. I haven’t finished the first season, and it’ll likely have more seasons to come, but it may end up being one of the stronger kids’ action cartoons on offer, especially if it keeps raising the stakes and its story arcs carry enough emotional impact at their climax. Also, the show has a really good soundtrack (not including the super corny 20 second opening song).

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774

Oh, who’s this now?? (honestly, I’m sure we all know who it is.)

NO UPDATE NEXT WEEK
Hope everyone had a satisfactory holiday weekend. It slowed down page production on our end, so there won’t be an update next week. I want to try to use the extra time to finish inking more pages and get a little buffer going. The pages are drawn and written well in advance, but inking and coloring are pretty much happening week by week!

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773

Hirotomo likes to go big or go home!

I saw Overlord yesterday, it was quite good! It was full of solid characterization, expertly maintained high tension, and well utilized tropes. I’d say the one big let down is that there’s actually not enough nazi zombie stuff! And it maybe could’ve worked at being a little more clever with its plot twists, red herrings, and jump scares. Still, despite not much caring for zombies, I’d easily recommend Overlord as an exciting, high energy action horror film.

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772

“Wait, can we pause for a second? I’ve got a long list of questions here and you keep giving me more…”

I know some of you are Brandon Sanderson fans! I’m currently working my way through his latest book, Skyward, which has this comfortable 80’s scifi vibe. It’s borrows a bit from The Last Starfighter, Flight of the Navigator, and Iron Eagle. I’m loving it to death, but maybe that’s in large part because it’s about teenage starfighter pilots, which sounds like a comic I’ve toyed with making myself. It is definitely not trying to be hard scifi, but that’s totally fine, because it’s a ton of fun. Sanderson picks some of the best scifi plot and character tropes to weave into the book, and although I could see the story going down a very overdone plot twist, based on Sanderson’s track record with clever writing, I’m still expecting the wildly unexpected. We’ll see!

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That reaction was…underwhelming.

I just finished up the second season of the Castlevania animated series on Netflix, and I love it. All the main characters get a lot of great moments. I’m not super thrilled about the protagonists spending, like, four episodes in a library, but the backstabbing politics of the vampire court are easily engaging enough on their own. The significant use of game lore is smartly incorporated into the show’s world so it never feels like unnecessary fan service. The fight scenes are beautifully animated, the voice acting is great, the music is suitably moody and gothic, and although I would’ve dug some rockin’ tunes from the games, outside of the epic orchestral version of Bloody Tears in episode 7, it probably wouldn’t have suited the macabre, nihilistic tone the show was going for.

I’m glad Castlevania already has a third season ordered by Netflix. I’d recommend it to pretty much anyone who likes cool, schlocky, violent stuff but also wants a solid story. There have been some game franchises that have gotten decent animation adaptations, but this is still probably one of, if not the, best.

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770

This was potentially Yori’s best plan to date!  Although, I mean, I’d probably prefer Ken’s.

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769

Preach it, Ina!

Just a note that there won’t be a page next week, too much life going on.

I haven’t seen any movies lately. Should I be going to see Venom? It is apparently very bad according to critics but also the internet seems to love it.

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768

I’d say Eijiro is his own harshest critic, but that is clearly not the case!

I realize I’m way behind the times on this, but I started watching Into the Badlands on Netflix, and it turns out I kinda love it. I mean, the premise is all sorts of silly nonsense. America turned into a feudal kung fu nation, and even though there are cars, motorcycles, electricity, and X-ray machines, there is apparently no long range communication of any sort. But it’s chock full of so much tropey, wire-fu, martial arts goodness that I can’t help but smile the whole time I’m watching it. The setup is basically that Sunny, the token Asian guy in a this martial arts epic, wants to leave behind his life as a loyal murder machine because his Baron (daimyo equivalent) is starting to go crazy and becoming crueler by the day. There’s also a kid named M. K. (mortal kombat?) with mystical Avatar powers who temporarily transforms into an unstoppable wushu machine whenever he bleeds. M. K. says he can lead Sunny and his pregnant girlfriend to a mysterious city outside of the Badlands, to which both Sunny and M. K. have some past connection.

The show’s choice to mix up time periods and technology makes Into the Badlands feel kind of like the more recent Final Fantasy games, where there’s this nonsensical dichotomy of tech and medieval sensibilities. It all feels very comic-booky, with the world setting chosen more for cool aesthetics than coherence. Sunny literally fights in a red trenchcoat, it’s hard to get more anime than that. And, like Final Fantasy, it looks appealing, with some nice cinematography, extravagant sets, and legitimately great action scenes (especially any featuring Sunny, whose actor is clearly the most proficient martial artist in the cast). The show has a meaty budget. What I enjoy most about the writing, at least so far, is how the show builds a lot of nuance and conflicting motivations into the characters, playing them off each other in ways that keep raising the stakes and building tension. And although the acting is campy and over the top, I find it endearingly earnest. I have no idea if Into the Badlands is a good show, but I’m definitely enjoying the heck out of it.

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767

That joke only took fifteen years to set up, I hope you all appreciate it!

I’ve been playing some Spiderman on PS4. Dang, it’s so good! But, also, Spiderman literally knocks hundreds of villains unconscious, sending them flying into brick walls or other hard objects, or smashing their heads into steel girders. I find it slightly hard to believe a few of these dudes aren’t DOA or dying in hospitals from traumatic head injuries! You’d also think New York would just run out of criminals considering the number of guys Spidey takes out of commission in the span of a few weeks. Although he’s still no Batman, since Bruce wipes out at least the same number of burly angry guys in the Arkham games over the course of a single night, also, APPARENTLY with no casualties on his part!

Incidentally, in Assassin’s Creed, you’re always playing as characters who murder literally hundreds, if not THOUSANDS, of people out in the open with all sorts of martial arts tricks and crazy gadgets, and yet you’re apparently not a part of a known history? You’d figure there’d be some sort of historical note about a cowled fighters single handedly killing dozens to hundreds of people at a time in the streets of cities across the world.

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Yori, just keep your freakin’ mouth shut, geez!

There’s this anime that I really like called Rage of Bahamut (somehow based on a digital collectible card battle game). It’s been out for a while, but I just recently caught up on it. The animation is great, the soundtrack is epic, and I love the character designs and art style. The first season is mostly just fun high fantasy adventure stuff, but the second season (which takes place after a 10 year time skip) really stands out to me. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out, and the way all their motivations put them at odds with each other keeps the stakes raised and tensions high. But even though the plot is objectively a dark, violent one, the characters are a ton of fun, and there’s plenty of levity to counterbalance all the darker plot elements. The main character in the second season, Nina, is relentlessly positive in the face of adversity, which I find very appealing. Rage of Bahamut isn’t the perfect show, it’s got some weird tonal issues, but if anyone’s looking for a really high budget, high fantasy anime with a lot of energy and drama, it’s hard to go wrong with RoB.

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