Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Naruto, Naru-toppled

Happy Monday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty bitchin’, and now I’m eager to start my week and make the absolute most out of it. And what is a better way to start the week than by examining an abused, almost corpse like state of a once great anime so that future shows can learn from its incredibly obvious mistakes. What fun! ūüėÄ ¬†Here’s how¬†Nartuto¬†became shitty and how other anime can avoid this happening to them in the future.

Naruto 1

Even if you do not watch anime, you have probably heard of¬†Nartuo. It is arguably the most popular shonen anime globally right now, and, in many ways, ¬†is anime’s lowest common denominator. It was created by Masashi Kishimoto and plot revolves around the titular character, Naruto, as he attempts to becomes the strongest ninja in his village and overcome the demon fox sealed within him. The show became popular globally due to a main character having an appearance that could be identified with in the west, fights and plot lines that continuously grew in complexity and scope, and a universally appreciated message of never giving up and trying to achieve your dreams. Naruto’s popularity really cannot be understated. This program introduced a lot of people into anime and is at least partially responsible for anime becoming more popular in the west in recent years.

Despite everything good that¬†Nartuo has done, both as a show and for the anime industry as a whole, there is no denying that it is inexcusably bad today. Like, REALLY bad. Like, the most recent episode got a 0.8/5 stars on¬†Anime News Network bad. I believe that the cause for the show’s massive decline is threefold: the plot took a weird turn, the people behind the show got greedy, and there is an overabundance of filler.

Naruto 2

The plot of¬†Naruto¬†is fairly straight foreword, until it gets to the last boss fight; then it gets weird. The anime is just now depicting this part of the story, when it’s not showing filler, however, I have read the now complete manga (partly because I’m a weeb and partly because my internet struggles with playing videos) and have had a good while to ponder the ending. Without spoiling too much for perspective readers,¬†Naruto ends with the reader and characters finding out that the person they though was the main antagonist was actually being manipulated by previously unmentioned even more evil character and the protagonists have to beat this new character up. This ending left a sour taste in my moth both because¬†Naruto¬†pulled this narrative twist a couple times earlier in the series, to much better effect, and because the new mastermind evil character really is not well developed nor is her motivation made very clear.

Poor endings for a series can be forgiven, though. Now that I think about it a bit, for a series that is a popular as Naruto there really was no possible way for any ending not to upset at least a small portion of the fandom. However, what cannot be forgiven is the way this series has continued to be milked for profit ever since it became popular. The Naruto franchise is never going to die, which is impressive in some ways and concerning in others. Now that the manga has ended and the anime will be ending in the near future, it would make sense that content regarding the series would stop being released, at least for a while. That is not happening, however. A movie about events that take place after the end of the series has been released, a string of Naruto video games is set to be released in the near future, and the anime is going to be extended for as long as feasibly possible via filler episodes. Normally this would be a good thing, the more Naruto the better, right? However, the quality of this extra material is severely below even the lowest points in the cannon and really only brings the franchise down while simultaneously making money for the owners of it.

Naruto 3

My last criticism of the¬†Naruto¬†anime is easily¬†its most sever. The anime has far too much filler. Filler is the term used to refer to additional content and episodes used to extend an anime’s run and, usually, give the series’s creator more time to continue the manga so that the anime does not move past what it is being adapted from.¬†Naruto¬†is notorious for its extensive amount of filler as, during the series’s halfway point, it had nearly caught up entirely with the original manga. This resulted in dozens of filler episodes being created and the series being re-branded in its second half. Now that the manga has ended, the show theoretically has no more need for filler as it cannot move past the ending point. However, filler continue to air in a very poor attempt at extending the shows run and making more money. I honestly cannot describe here awful and annoying it is to watch a series I used to love be slowly ruined each week by poorly written extra and unnecessary episodes that contribute noting to the series overall.

Naruto¬†was a good anime. There is no way it could have become as popular as what it is if it was not. However, it has since become a shell of its former self. What was previously a boiled down version of some of the best elements of anime has now become a combination of some of the worst practices in the industry right now.¬†Naruto¬†will always be respected by me for what it was originally and for sparking a lot of new interest in anime, but it has since then betrayed me far to many times for me to fell much beyond contempt for it. So, in short, Naruto is the “Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all” of anime, and that’s kind of a bummer.

That just about does it for today’s installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. If you enjoyed it please give it a like and if you disagree with my views please leave a comment down below and we can have a civil discussion about it. Or a flame war. I’m game for whatever ūüėõ . If you would like to stay up to date with this blog, you can subscribe to it in the upper right tab by using your email. Alternatively, you can keep up to date by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page, or by following me,¬†@LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all have a great rest of the week and be sure to come back on Wednesday for the next installment of Pop Culture Wednesday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Naruto, Naru-toppled

Game Grind: Crowd Failed

Happy Saturday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Game Grind! The place where any and everything in the video game industry and community is fair game for appreciation, examination, and criticism. Let’s see what’s going on in the amazing world of video games this week.

Neurogadget

Mighty No. 9 Putt Off Again ‚Äď Release Date Delayed

Well shit….

Looks like today’s article is going to be about crowd funded video games, the problems that they can suffer from, and the impact that has on the gaming industry as a whole. Cheery ¬†-_-

Mighty No. 9 is a game that I, and many other people, were looking foreword to playing in the near future. Mighty No 9 is a game that very heavily resembles the Mega Man series of games and is the product of Keiji Inafune, the primary illustrator for many of the Mega Man games, Inti Creates, and is being published by Deep Silver. The game was revealed as a kind of spiritual successor to the Mega Man series of games and received funding through the crowd funding website, Kickstarter. The game shattered its funding goal back in 2013 and was expected to be released in mid 2015, but then it was delayed to late 2015. It was then pushed back even further to early 2016, and now has been delayed even further back into the second quarter of 2016.

So the first question that should probably be answered is, how could this happen, how could a game be delayed like this? The answer to this question varies greatly in a case by case basis, but in MN9’s case, I believe that the development team got a bit too ambitious and bit off more than what they could chew. This game is being released on essentially every platform and has a wide range of bells and whistles that I do not think the creative team was expecting to have put in. A lot of these extra features were stretch goals, additional items on the¬†Kickstarter that are only added if additional funds are received, and I am pretty sure the development team was not planning receiving as much money as they did and having to add these extra features.

Mighty No 9 2

It should also be noted that it is fairly common for video games to be delayed or cancelled all together. For me the first one that comes to mind is¬†Capcom’s Deep Down, but it is a bit different when a¬†Kickstarter¬†funded game is released. A¬†Kickstarter¬†game is being created directly with player’s donated funds. A bunch of gamer’s give the perspective creator some money, they make the game, and then the public has the opportunity has the chance to buy the game and if you donated you generally receive some kind of perk or reward. When a¬†Kickstarter¬†game is delayed it causes the people who donated money to the project, or I suppose they could be called investors, to loose faith in the project and perhaps regret their investment.

So yeah, people are pissed off at MN9. Justifiably if I can add my own opinion. The bigger issue that results from this unfortunate situation is that people loose faith in Kickstarter video games. When very publicized problems and let downs like these occur, it makes it seem as though games that are trying to be funded through crowd funding are not good investments or worth the money. Even worse, it makes the people who are trying to make these games seem like cheats. While people have been ripped off by Kickstarter campaigns in the past, and most definitely will be in the future, some truly great games have come out of this method of funding. Shovel Knight and Undertale are two incredible and refreshingly different games that were both created through crowd funding and are regarded as some of the best games to come out recently and really validate the funding method.

I personally believe that the video game industry is entering a kind of revival right now, and that crowdfunding is the medium through which that revival can occur. Right now, most major game publishers and studios are making games with very similar mechanics, like some kind of shooter/rpg. They are making these games because they are incredibly popular right now and tend to sell very well, making them a lot of money. Crowdfunding allows developers to make less common and more unique and creative games. These projects not only bring back some practically abandoned genre of gaming, but also help validate the medium as a creative and artful. While Mighty No. 9 Might be bringing crowdfunded games down right now, I definitely think they are the future of gaming.

That just about does it for this installment of Game Grind. I hope you liked it and really appreciate the viewing. If you want to stay up to date with this blog, you can subscribe in the upper right tab with your email. Alternatively, you can stay up to date by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page, or by following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. Have an awesome rest of the weekend and be sure to come back here on Monday for the next installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Game Grind: Crowd Failed

Pop Culture Wednesday: The Future is Now!!! + 984 Years

Happy Wednesday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Pop Culture Wednesday, the place where we dive into some awesome pop culture related news or trivia in an effort to make hump day more spectacular and get you through the rest of the week. Today’s topic comes from some good friends of mine who recently discovered this program and are falling as head over heels for it, as they are for each other. Their name is Blair Huggles and they love Futurama.

Futurama 1

Futurama is a gem of a television show with a wonderful premise. In the year 2000, a lowly pizza delivery boy, Phillip J. Fry, is accidentally cryogenically¬†frozen while on a delivery. Upon waking up a thousand years later, in the year 3000, and learning that everyone he ever knew or cared about is dead, he express jubilation and eagerly looks foreword to exploring the new and strange world before him. Through a series of events, he quickly meets the beautiful cyclopes woman and ace pilot, Leela, who throughout the series is Fry’s on again, off again romantic interest. He also meets the alcoholic one robot party machine/bending/Kleptomaniac unit, Bender. I say he’s an alcoholic mostly because he’s a lovable ass, but in actuality he needs to consume alcohol to power himself. The three become fast friends and quickly travel to Fry’s ancient nephew’s deliver company, Planet Express, and work for him. In the course of a thousand years Fry is once again a delivery boy, but this time eagerly kooks foreword to the adventures that go along with delivering packages to any point in the vastness of space.

Futurama is a good show. It kind of has to be considering that it was cancelled and brought back on three separate occasions. The biggest praise I can give the show, though, is that it is smart. Do you know how a lot of people think that¬†The Big Bang Theory is smart solely because it focuses on smart people?¬†Futurama¬†actually is smart because it was made by intelligent people and for intelligent people. The writer staff of the show held three Ph.D.s, seven master’s degrees, and collectively possessed more than fifty years spent at Harvard University. The sheer knowledge and creativity of the show’s writers and creators bleeds into the show constantly. Over the course of¬†Futurama’s run the show seamlessly blended high and low culture humor, created three separate languages, and invented a mathematical formula to determine how to get individuals who have switched bodies back into their original body, if no two people can switch directly with a person they had prior.

There are a lot of things I personally love about this show as well. In case you did not gather from the clips above Zoidberg is one of them. He is formally my spirit animal and just a perfect combination of goofy, pitiable, and lovable. I also very much like how the show embraces and pushes out their science fiction concepts. I believe that their originality and willingness to push the envelop is what has allowed other more high concept show like¬†Rick and Morty¬†and¬†Man Seeking Woman to find the success that they currently have.¬†Futurama¬†my be less famous and less long lived than some of Matt Groening’s other works, but it is sill wonderful and totally worth your time if you want to watch something on Netflix.

Take My Money

Alright everybody, that just about does it for today’s installment of Pop Culture Wednesday. If you liked it please leave a like below and maybe even a comment if you feel so obliged. It’s much appreciated. If you want to stay up to date on this blog, you can subscribe to it in the upper right tab by using your email. Alternatively, you can stay up to date you liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog¬†Facebook Page, or by following me,¬†@LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all have a truly kickass rest of the week and I encourage you to come back to this blog on Saturday for the latest installment of Game Grind.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

 

Pop Culture Wednesday: The Future is Now!!! + 984 Years

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: A-Bridge-d to Hell

Happy Monday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Manga (And Also Anime) Monday, the place where we dive head first into the wonderful, diverse, and sometimes scary world of anime and manga. Today, rather than talk about an anime (although technically it’s an OVA, but that’s a whole other post in and of itself), this post will focus on an Abridged series that is parodying an anime. While the previous time I wrote about an Abridged anime series, which can be read right¬†here, it was under the Pop Culture Wednesday section, I believe that western parodies of animated series can easily belong in either of these two headings. Alright, with that out of the way, let’s get into Team Four Star’s Hellsing Ultimate Abridged.

Hellsing Ultimate Abridged 1

Hellsing Ultimate Abridged parodies a story about an immortal vampire, Alucard, that is tasked by the family that defeated him a hundred years ago to defeat a evil organization known as Millennium, that turns out to be an army of vampire Nazis. Already off to a great start! The best way I can describe this show is by comparing it to the amazing television program Archer. Alucard is a lot like Archer, if Archer were actually immortal, even more sexually promiscuous, and an even greater violent sociopath. As seen below:

Of course the parody also manages to improve up other aspects of the show besides the main character, as well. The villains have been greatly expanded upon in this series and are arguably made even more terrifying. I am both genuinely disturbed and entertained by the leader of the Nazi army, The Major. This is especially true in the follow scene:

I honestly cannot recommend this series highly enough. It is simply fantastic and it deserves to be watch by all who have an internet connection. My only gripe about the program is that only one episode of it is released per year. We have been promised the sixth episode by the end of January, though! That’ll be fun! I know that this post is incrediably short, but really nothing more needs to be said than the Team Four Star people have created another excellent abridged series and that you should definitely watch it. Even if you have never seen¬†Hellsing Ultimate or have no clue what’s going on, you need to watch this series. Here’s the first episode, enjoy!

That will just about do it for this weeks installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday. If you enjoyed it please leave a comment down below and maybe a comment if you are so inclined. If you want to stay up to date with the 4B blog, you can subscribe using your email in the upper right tab. Alternatively, you can stay up to date by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page, or by following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all have an amazing week and be sure to come back here Wednesday for the next installment of Pop Culture Wednesday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: A-Bridge-d to Hell

Game Grind: Localization, Gamings Eccentric, Hot Mess

Happy Saturday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Game Grind, the place where any and everything video game related is discussed with vigor! Today’s topic is going to be a doozie; and by that I mean that this topic is fairly controversial. Today’s post is going to be all about localization, or the changes a game goes through when it adapted for a new audience in a different region than the one it was produced for originally.

Localization

I should begin this article by prefacing that localization is one of the biggest reasons why video games have become a world wide phenomenon and is a massive contributor to its growth as an art form. Localization, in its most basic form, is changing aspects of a game when it is brought to a new culture, so that the new culture can more easily enjoy it. When localization occurs, the most apparent change in a game is it’s language. By changing the language in a game to the most common language of the culture it is being introduced to, it allows for thousands if not millions of people to easily experience and understand the narrative that is being presented to them. Localization allows stories and perspectives from all over the world to be shared and experienced with people who never could otherwise. Localization can bring people from all over the world together and that is pretty freakin’ awesome.

However, that being said, localization can suck sometimes and can be the generator of a lot of controversy. Coincidentally, the most viewed article on this blog happens to be controversy created due to the localization process. You can read the full article right¬†here, but that post was essentially about how the game Dead or Alive Xtreem 3: Beach Vollyball, would not be receiving an English release and localization due to its very sexualized content. In this game’s case, the creators decided not to release it in English speaking areas, although it can be imported to western nations and the game by default does have English subtitles, however what usually happens in situations like this is that the potentially controversial material is changed so that it is less offensive to the culture that it is being introduced to.

DoAx 2

A recent example of this can be found in the upcoming¬†Fire Emblem: Fates¬†games. In these games there exists a character that gets flustered when she is around attractive women. In order to help this character overcome her kind of, sort of gynophobia, the player character puts a magic powder into the woman’s drink without telling her that makes her see men as women and women as men. After other interactions with the female character, the magic powder wears off and the player character and this female character enter into a romantic relationship. Nintendo, the producer of the¬†Fire Emblem games, announced that these scenes would be changed when it came to the west, primary due to fans seeing these interactions as being representative of gay conversion therapy and drugging women. Some people have seen this change as being a positive one that appropriately addressed culturally sensitive issues, while others have responded to this announcement as this game being censored due to the actions of “Social Justice Warriors”.

I am not going to go into too much depth regarding that localization decision, mostly because there is a lot to unpack there and because it merits a whooooooooooooooole other post in and of itself, but I just want to make it clear that changing certain elements of a game is not uncommon in the localization process. In fact, in the previous Fire Emblem game, Fire Emblem Awakening, a character had their personality completely changed between the Japanese version and the English one. In this case, though, I wholeheartedly believe that this change was for the best and that the character was actually improved upon when the game was brought to English speaking countries. I believe this mostly because in the English version they made the character, Henry, punnier.

Localization 2

So that more or less is why localization is controversial; it changes a work of art so that it fits better into the cultural views of the newest group experiencing it. Can localization be considered censorship? I personally think not, but I could definitely see the case that is being made in the contrary. Sure minor character details regarding a game have changed in the process of localization, but I cannot think of one game to be released recently that has had a large part of its story or message changed due to being presented to a new culture. The main issue I have with localization is that it can take so damn long!

For example, it was recently announced, with much less fanfare than what I believe it merits, that the video game¬†Bravely Second: End Layer would be coming to North America on April 15th. This is nearly a full year after the game was originally released in Japan and two months after it was released in Europe and Australia! It’s no secret that I loved the original game, which coincidentally had it’s own share of peculiar localization changes, and I am severely bummed about having to wait so long to play the sequel.

Localization 3

I know that the localization process can be extremely time consuming, expensive, and nuanced; but I do not care because I desperately need my JRPG fix and because I am extremely eager to see where the story goes from the original’s heartbreaking ending. So there you have it; my personal opinion is that I am far more frustrated with how long a localization process can take sometimes than I am with the process “censoring” (read, sarcastically quote, un-quote) the game. If localization ever does truly and deeply effect a games narrative and it’s messages, I will be the first one to riot; but, until then, I really do not care.

Localization 4

Alrighty, that is more or less all I have to say on this sensitive-ish video game topic. If you liked this post, please leave a like down below and if you have a question or strong opinion about localization, go ahead and leave a comment as well. If you want to stay up to date on the going on’s of this blog, you can subscribe via email in the upper right tab. Alternatively, you can keep up to date by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog¬†Facebook Page¬†or by following me,¬†@LucasDeRuyter¬†on Twitter. I hope you all have a great rest of the weekend and be sure to stop by on Monday for the next installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

 

 

Game Grind: Localization, Gamings Eccentric, Hot Mess

Pop Culture Wednesday: There can be Only One! (Not Really, Though)

Good morning BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! I hope you are having an awesome Wednesday and are ready for a pop culture knowledge mic drop. This is Pop Culture Wednesday; the place where anything and everything related to media is examined, evaluated, and critiqued. Today’s topic is an interesting one and I have my buddy Andy (yes, he’s not always a wet blanket) to thank for it. The question is a simple one, but is also extremely dense and merits unpacking. The question is, “which is the leading media industry, T.V. or Movies?”

TV-vs-Movies

Determining which of these industries is better than the other is difficult, as it is hared to find a way to objectively which is superior to the other. Sure, revenue is the go to answer for something like this, but that can be difficult to calculate across entire industries and can becomes even more difficult when you consider and try to categorize content that is trying to bridge the gap between television and film, like Sherlock or the upcoming The People vs. O.J. Simpson special. So instead of focusing on the funds each industry annually pulls in, I’m going to focus on the creative content generated by each medium.

Movies have been considered for a long time to be superior to television. Movie actors are held in higher regard than television actors and the content created for the big screen is often considered to be more artistic then that of its T.V. counterpart. This is totally understandable when it is acknowledged that movies have been around much longer than television. The movie industry is much older and more refined than television and has changed numerous times through out history as the medium has been pushed beyond what was considered possible numerous times.

This is reflected in lists that rate the greatest movies ever made. The American Film Institute’s Greatest American Films Ever Made list consist primarily of movies that are either groundbreaking for the medium or works that are extremely artful. However, the list is also extremely dated. The top movie on AFI’s list is Citizen Kane which came out in 1941 and the most recent movie in the top thirty is Schindler’s List, which was released in 1993. While their truly are some astounding pieces of cinematography and stories in the world of film, it seems very much like it has plateaued. ¬†Some great and astounding movies have undoubtedly been released in my lifetime, but I can not say whole wholeheartedly that a movie has come out during my existence that was a game changer for the industry.

tv vs film 2

Television, on the other hand, seems to be on the upswing right now. Programming has been created recently that has reshaped the television industry for the better. Works like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad have proven that television can be just as compelling and deep as film. Television has also recently been recognized as being a better medium to tell certain types of stories. For instance, Stephen King’s epic The Stand is being adapted into a television mini-series due to it having too large a scope to be done justice on the silver screen. It is undeniable that television is growing right now and in a couple years or decades it could be more highly regarded than the film industry.

So, in short, I think film and television are pretty even right now in terms of quality and content. That may change in the near future however, because movie have not done anything truly groundbreaking in the last decade or so, while television is constantly in the process of releasing better content and pushing the boundaries of the medium. Television may surpass film in the future, but then again an earth shattering movie could come out in the next year or two that totally reshapes the industry. Anything could happen, life is chaos.

There you have it, the best answer is that there is no answer. Although, I’ll admit that I personally prefer the content on television as I enjoy the weirder and more creative programming that occasionally appears on that medium. If you liked this post please leave a like down below and if you feel inclined to leave a comment while you are down there, please do so. As always, you can subscribe to this blog in the upper right tab via your email. Alternatively, you can stay up to date by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page, or by following me,¬†@LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all have a great rest of the week and be sure to come back here on Saturday for the next installment of Game Grind.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Pop Culture Wednesday: There can be Only One! (Not Really, Though)

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Anime for All Ages

Happy Monday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Manga (And Also Anime) Monday, there place where our appreciation for anime and manga is strong enough to pierce the heavens! Total disclosure, that’s a quote from an anime I have yet to actually watch, so I may have just broken a rule by saying that. But, yeah know, that’s how I roll. Today’s post is going to be dedicated to explaining how exactly anime became a medium that is considered view able for all ages, while western animation and cartoons are generally considered to be exclusively for younger audiences.

pokemon anime meme

The explanation for this phenomenon can actually be boiled down to two simple features: money and circumstance. Anime did not become an all ages medium due to anything really culturally related or due to any specific campaigns; it became such a diverse medium because when anime first started to be produced, it was profitable for many anime to be made for different demographics of people. Allow me to explain.

Anime first began to take shape as we recognize it today in the 1930s. This anime was heavily influenced by the incredibly famous animation of the Walt Disney studio. With the exception of a few cultural tells, this early anime is almost indistinguishable from the western Disney animation.

early anime

early anime 2\

However, early anime production companies quickly realized that they would not be able to make anime that was as high in quality as Disney’s and still be cost effective. This resulted in a shift in focus in Japanese anime, where the narrative of a work was focused on more and placed in a higher regard than the work’s animation. Then the Great Depression happened. While the Great Depression is generally taught¬†as being an event that really only heavily impacted the United States, the implications of the massive economic decline were worldwide. Japan suffered from this depression as well and, seeing as animation was a rapidly growing industry at the time, many young men looking for work ventured into the anime industry as a means to support their family.

Then World War II happened. I’m not going to sugar coat it, anime got a little bit propaganda-y during this time frame. Actually, now that I think about it, everything kinda did, which I suppose makes sense. Anyway, after Japan loss the war (Go Team USA!) anime and other creative works were pretty heavily censored and it was very frowned upon to release any creative works that criticized or depicted government officials or any real world figures or events.

This is when anime started to become so thematically diverse. The combination of an incredible number of working age individuals with animation skills and the restrictions of not being able make anything too closely related to the real world pushed anime into exploring more varied and high concept story lines and themes. It was during this time period that anime was first being created for such a wide assortment of age groups. Anime with factious story lines were created for multiple demographics simply because there were to many creators to just focus on younger audiences and because creative restrictions at the time gave anime produces to explore more adult tones and themes.

There you have it. Anime exists as it does today because of a wide combination of events that forced the medium to repeatedly reshape its identity. This makes anime both a kind of medium and a genre as it is so thematically varied and has such a massive audience. It is through all of these events that today we have Shonen anime, Seinen anime, Shojo anime, Josei anime, Kodomomuke anime, and pornographic anime. Yeah, that last one is actually a thing and merits a whole other post (although don’t hold your breath on it). The point is, anyone today can watch and enjoy an anime mostly because there many different kinds of anime intended for many different kinds of people and it it were not for several different events lining up the way they did, anime today would be very different from what we all know and love.

anime meme 1

I hope you all liked today’s post about anime’s history. If you enjoyed it, please leave a like and a comment down below. If you would like to stay up to date with this blog, you can subscribe to it in the upper right tab by using your email. You can also stay informed by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog¬†Facebook Page¬†or by following me,¬†@LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope all of you have an amazing week and that you stop back here on Wednesday for the next installment of Pop Culture Wednesday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: Anime for All Ages

Game Grind: Ninten-Do or Ninten-Do Not, There is no Try

Happy Sunday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! This is Game Grind, the place on the internet where anything even slightly video game related can be examined, critiqued, and/or praised. I know this segment usually comes out on Saturday, but I was preoccupied with moving back to campus and this article deserves the appropriate amount of time and effort. Today’s post is going to be dedicated to analyzing the recent claims by Nintendo’s new President, Tatsumi Kimishima,in regards to Nintendo’s plans for 2016 and their desire to increase their returns in the next few years. Today I’m going to be looking at the likelihood of Nintendo achieving some of the promises made by it’s president, and how currently existing information compares to and affects the recent press release. Here we go!

nintendo

The first big piece of information presented in this press conference, which can be partially read in it’s translated format over at¬†IGN, is in regards to the upcoming Nintendo NX (tentative title). It was revealed that the NX is going to be focusing on “entirely new [ideas]” and that further details on the NX will arrive later this year. At this point, the public still has a very limited idea of what the NX is and what it will be capable of. Many are speculating that it will be an entirely new console that will replace the lackluster Wii U and that it will bring back cartridge gaming as computer chips are now able to hold more data than Blu-Ray disks. The timing of when this information is released is going to be very interesting, as I suspect that Nintendo would ideally like the NX to be released during the 2016 season. Only time will tell what exactly the NX¬†is going to bring to the gaming industry and if it will be the bounce back Nintendo is desperately looking for.

Another interesting piece of information that was released is that Nintendo is looking to have their world famous characters branch out of video games and into other mediums such as mobile games and TV anime. Nintendo characters in mobile games is not the newest of information, it has been known for some time that Nintendo’s future business plans are going to focus more on the mobile market, but the unavailing of Nintendo characters receiving an anime is entirely new and has some massive implications. Nintendo has not had much to do with either movies or television, with the long running Pokemon anime series being the only notable exception, since 1990 when numerous poorly received television shows and one notorious movie, The Super Mario Bros., ultimately hurt Nintendo’s brand. If these new animated series are created with even a shred of care and hold true to both the game’s and Nintendo’s core values and philosophies, they very easily could be widely successful.

Nintendo anime

The last, and intentionally most interesting, piece of information expressed in the press release is that Nintendo is aiming to raise its profits by about $855 million dollars in the next few years. This would be roughly four times the amount that Nintendo made in its previous business year, which was already impressive as in the years prior to last Nintendo had actually been loosing money. When I first read this goal, I was extremely skeptical. However, as I have been mulling it over in my head for the past day or so, it does seem like Nintendo plans to bring it hard for the foreseeable future. I realize now that the bulk of the games I had written about in my Game Grind: 2016 To Do¬†post were going to be released on Nintendo systems. I have also realized that Nintendo has a lot of big events on it’s horizon.

As this year is Pokemon’s twentieth anniversary, numerous events have been planned for that Nintendo property. The card series is being revamped, old games are being released on new the 3DS system, and a limited edition Pokemon New Nintendo 3Ds is going to be released sometime this year. What is probably going to be the biggest cash cow for Nintendo, however, is the Pokemon GO mobile app, which I woefully forgot to mention on my 2016 to do list (please forgive me, lord Arceus!).This mobile Pokemon game will allow people to catch Pokemon in the real world as they go about their daily lives and has been almost exclusively marketed to people my age rather than children. I can only imagine that the announced Pokemon Super Bowl L (yes, L, not 50) commercial is only going to further promote this mobile game in an attempt to rekindle older individuals love of the series and give Nintendo an opportunity to essentially print money.

Nintendo’s NX will also likely help turn things around for the company. Nintendo has a history of innovative consoles backfiring on them. The better forgotten Virtual Boy being a prime example of this. However, their subsequent console release has always made up for their previous losses. The Nintendo 64 followed the Virtual Boy and sold extremely well in addition to revolutionizing the video game industry with the introduction of analog controls. Nintendo definitely seems to be gearing up for some kind of game changer like that again, and I personally hope that the NX does live up to the speculation and hype surrounding it. Nintendo is arguably responsible for video games growing as they are currently and it would be disheartening to see the company that created generations of gamers fall into obscurity.

That just about wraps up the latest information regarding the House of N. If you enjoyed this post or have any questions regarding it, feel free to leave a like or a comment respectively down below. If you would like to stay up to date with this blog you can do so by subscribing in the upper right tab with your email. Alternatively, you can stay informed by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page or by following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you all have a great Sunday and be sure to stop back here tomorrow for the next installment of Manga (And Also Anime) Monday.

BaddaBing BaddaBye

 

Game Grind: Ninten-Do or Ninten-Do Not, There is no Try

Pop Culture Wednesday: Boldly Venture into the Unknown!

Happy Wednesday BaddaBing BaddaBlog readers! It’s the middle of the week, which means its time for your weekly dose of Pop Culture Wednesday! This is the place where we appreciate and critique any and everything in the vast world of popular culture. Today’s topic is a show that I absolutely love and I cannot wait for it’s season six premier in February. I am referring to Adult Swim’s longest running series, the¬†Venture Bros.

Venture Bros. 1

The Venture Bros. is a peculiar, yet still amazing, television program. The show premiered in 2003 and it’s sixth season will be¬†airing in February of this year. ¬†Yeah, the show’s averaging one season less than every two years. However, rather than have the seasons come out quickly, the writers of the show, Jackson Publick, James Urbraniak, and Ben Edlund, have instead elected to make essentially each episode of each season a pointiest and hilarious twenty odd minute endeavor. The show’s other unusual quality is that it has perhaps evolved more over its run than any other television series.¬†The Venture Bros.¬†originally started as a work of parody and openly mocked many of the stereotypes and clich√©s found in comic books and children’s cartoons of the seventies and eighties. Today though, the show follows its own extremely elaborate narrative in addition to including making¬†references to¬†and taking shots at today’s ever-growing geek culture.

As the show’s title suggests, the “main characters” of The Venture Bros. are Hank and Dean Venture. They are two na√Įve fraternal twins who go on adventures with their scientist father, Dr. Thaddeus Venture, their father’s¬†bodyguard, Brock Sampson, and their robot companion, H.E.L.P.eR. Already the parallels to cartoons like Johnny Quest are becoming prevalent. However, rather than having the events of this series take place in a fictional, consequence free world, it takes place in a fairly grounded reality and events and characters are affected accordingly. Dr. Venture, for example, was a boy adventurer during his childhood, similar to Hank and Dean, and it scared him for life. Being put in increasingly dangerous situations every week caused him to develop a very skewed and cynical view of the world and a deep rooted inferiority complex to his scientist father. Perhaps the best, and most hilarious, instance of the show having character’s face real world consequences is when the Venture family’s nemesis, The Monarch, is sent to prison for his many crimes and takes part in the prison’s “Scared Straight” program to reduce his sentence.

While the show was initially very episodic, with the events of one episode barely having any impact on subsequent ones, the program has grown exponentially to having one of the most complex and compelling plots in all of television. It manages this without betraying its initial mindset of parody and utilization of the absurd. Throughout many of the shows long running storylines are characters like: a shape shifting David Bowie, a giant lawyer, a demonic Mary Poppins version of Henery Kissinger, a somewhat inept necromancer, and an incredibly violent Capt. America parody. This show is able to take even the craziest idea and expertly utilize it for comedic or dramatic effect.

One of my favorite aspects of the show, with¬†all of it’s many strong points in mind, is its¬†clear and powerful character growth.¬†¬†The Venture Bros. is a series with many great characters, with some being extremely relatable and others being so high concept that they are almost instantly entertaining. The Venture Bors. masterfully makes many of these cartoon characters grow and evolve in ways that feel entirely human and genuine. Watching a character grow into a more complete person, only makes me love that character even more and relate more deeply to their struggles and hardships. The character of Dean Venture embodies all of this perfectly. Here are some clips and images of him beginning to become more of a fully formed person, one of his character’s major turning points, and where he is currently in the series.

Venture Bros. 2

Is Dean’s character done growing yet? No, of course not. None of the characters in The Venture Bros. are, and that’s what’s so great. The show has proven that literally anything and everything can happen to any of these characters and that they can change and gown into a better or worse version of themselves in response. I have no idea what is going to happen when season six premiers next month, but I am eagerly awaiting to go on the zany, colorful, bizarre, nihilistic, and failure filled ride. I hope¬†all of you reading this¬†will join me.

Venture Bros. 3

Well, there you have it. Go watch The Venture Bros.!!!! Seriously, I have not met a person yet who has not liked it. Speaking of likes, give this post one, please! If you have any questions about The Venture Bros. feel free to ask it in the comments section and I would be happy to get back to you. If you want to stay up to date with this blog, you can subscribe to it in the upper right tab by using your email. Alternatively, you can stay informed by liking the official BaddaBing BaddaBlog Facebook Page or by following me, @LucasDeRuyter, on Twitter. I hope you have an awesome rest of the week and encourage you to return here on Saturday for the next installment of Game Grind.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

 

 

Pop Culture Wednesday: Boldly Venture into the Unknown!

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: How to be Better

Happy Monday BaddaBing Baddablog readers! This is Manga (And Also Anime) Monday, the place where anything relating to the uber popular Japanese media is discussed, analyzed, and critiqued with vigor and enthusiasm. Since today’s subject is a fairly lofty one, let’s dive right in.

I have a friend, yes it’s Andy again (damn you Andy!), who refuses¬† on principle to watch any kind of anime. No matter what I recommend or how much the plot of the series would resonate with him, he blatantly refuses to watch any of it. To this date the only anime or anime related media I have gotten him to watch is Attack on Titan and the Team Four Star parody of Dragon Ball Z. Every time I do bring an anime to his attention, and he refuses to experience something that would bring entertainment and momentary happiness to his otherwise listless existence, he always talks shit about anime collectively. Most of the time he’s talking out of his ass, but occasionally he does make a criticism that is fair and could be considered a problem or weak point of the medium.

Anime collage

In today’s post I am going to address what I believe to be some of the biggest issues and problem in the anime industry. I suppose this could be thought of as an open letter to both the creators of anime and viewers of the media, but I’m personally viewing this post as an expression of my individual feelings in an attempt to help me better understand and formulate my opinions. If I express an opinion that is counter to your’s, good. Leave a comment down below and we can begin a civil discussion with the intent of improving both of our viewpoints. Or have a flame war, whichever. With all that in mind, here’s why anime sucks and how it can not!

Have an Ending!!!

A lot of anime really do not have anything even closely resembling an ending. Far too often have I seen an anime end without answering all of its main story points, showing some definitive growth in a character, or even finishing its current story arc! It’s more than obvious why this is happening, by leaving an ambiguous ending the creators of the anime increase the likelihood of it getting a second season, which gives them the potential to make a lot more money. This unfortunate trend has become even more prevalent recently as the production and distribution of anime has become much more standardized; with a new series today usually having either twelve or twenty four episodes. When an animation staff attempts to adopt a, usually ongoing, work to an anime, which as previously discussed is usually the case, it is easy to chop the adaptation off on a cliff hanger or after an arbitrary story arc in the hopes of continuing the series in a second season. This practice needs to stop mostly because it is incredibly annoying and frustrating to fans and because it has the potential to ruin an otherwise great series.

Stop Being Dicks to Animators!

It’s one of the worst kept secrets in anime that people who actually create the product that potentially millions of people love and appreciate, are treated incredibly poorly. The animators and artists are expected to make extremely high quality work as cheaply as quickly as possible. This leads to a lot of production companies¬†cycling out older employees for younger ones who are willing to work longer hours and¬†for less pay. When¬†all is said and done, a lot of animators in the anime industry wind up putting in a bunch of overtime and walk away with what then becomes¬†a little more than a minimum wage salary. ¬†This needs to stop and, while the ramifications of this may be larger than expected, production companies simply need to pay their employees more.

Utilize the Medium

This criticism is admittedly somewhat nitpicky. One of Andy’s frequent criticisms of anime is that it often has too much internal monolog from the characters. I actually somewhat agree with him in this complaint. While monologs from a characters are a¬†practical way to establish what they character is feeling or deliver exposition, it is often jarring to see a character completely still and holding the same expression for minutes at a time. This practice is most likely a relic of anime being adapted from manga, where it characters are drawn definitively in a black and white¬†panel. Anime has a lot more tools to work with in motion, color, and sound. While the adaption could be considered less faithful, I personally think it would be beneficial to anime as a whole if monologs were used less frequently to deliver information and perspective to the viewer.

Enough With The Filler!!!

This is my last and also biggest criticism with the anime industry. There is far too much filler in series that have managed to break the twelve or twenty four episode restriction. Filler is any additional content or storylines that did not exist in the original manga from which a series was adapted. Filler can take the shape of a single episode that focuses on a specific character or group of characters, or it can take the form of an entire multi episode story arc. Filler is generally used to extend the gap between where the manga is in the story and where an anime is in the story, as an anime can tell a story more quickly and it often catches up to the source material. Filler can also be used, and has lately been mostly used, as a kind of cash grab. By extending a series beyond what it reasonably should be, it is much easier to continue to sell merchandise for the series and even sell the extra episodes in a DVD or digital download format. The anime that is most guilty of doing this in recent memory is Naruto, which often has more filler episodes in a year than episodes that actually move the story along. This practice in excess is incredibly insulting to both the fans of a program and its source material, this needs to stop immediately.

Alright, I apologize if that got a bit ranty, but I really needed to get that off of my chest. Thank you so much for reading this and please feel free to leave a like or a comment down below. I hope you all have a great week and be sure to come back here on Wednesday for the next installment of Pop Culture Wednesday.

BaddaBing, BaddaBye

 

 

Manga (And Also Anime) Monday: How to be Better