Why I love Steven Universe So Much

I’m busy working on a few things at the moment, hopefully trying to delve into some deeper forms of literary techniques and give a real proper lecture on something specific I am quite fond of. . . . SO HERE’S THE TOP FIVE REASONS I LOVE STEVEN UNIVERSE.

Ahh yes, Steven Universe.  This little gem (HAH GEM PUNS) caught the world by surprise, bringing a type of cartoon that most people had either not seen in a very long time, or for some hadn’t experienced at all.  The cooky advertisements and trailers didn’t do this series justice at all, with the most courageous of watchers being splendidly rewarded upon adventuring into the world of SU.  What we discovered was a deep, incredibly emotional and wonderfully gripping fantasy tale of sorts, featuring a slew of interesting and complex characters that the world fell in love with almost in an instant. But I’ll save all of this description for later.  NOW, ONTO THE BULLETED LIST!!!!

Ooh also side note, these aren’t really in any specific order and once again my opinion so if you have any ideas on reasons that you think should be more glamorized or focused on, leave a comment in the section below.  I honestly love discussing this thing it makes me so happy to see people falling in love with the show as a whole.  Oh yea and spoiler warning of course.  If you havn’t seen this show yet and are interested in watching it DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE.

So anyway.  LIST!!

  1. The Voice Acting

This is a pretty minor part of the series but still something I really have to bring up because it truly is a reason why I love it so much.  The voice acting is great.  I’m just gonna say it right there.  The voice acting is great, so shut up and accept it ya nerds.  But serslor, each character goes through an intensive wheel of emotions, displayed perfectly through animation and voice acting that really lets the viewer feel connected to each person that hops up on screen.  Some people might say the show is a bit too emotional, with a good handful of crying scenes thrown around, but it’s never too much.  The actors always keep such a strong sense of realism with their emotional output, portraying the feelings of the characters in an interesting way that never makes you feel uncomfortable.  It’s all just super freaking good and I love it. Yea I can’t really say the same for my stuff but hey we can’t all be Steven Universe now can we.

One final thing I have to say about the voicework that could be translated into another aspect of the show is just who they choose to work each character and how that really freaking matters.  In the show, all the characters can fuse, to create new and more powerful characters, each with new abilities as well as new voice actors.  But the thing is, each of the fusion characters is voiced by a prominent musician, which is a nifty little thing that connects them all, but also is a hint at one of the bigger secrets to the show which was fucking brilliant and didn’t inhibit at all from the actual quality of the series itself.  Like this series made me hate Nikki Minaj a lot less for a good while as they brought her on to voice a specific character.  And hey if you know me, that is some water into wine shit right there.


  1. The Setting

At this point in animation, because we have come so far with our abilities to produce beautiful imagery and far more complicated scenes then we have ever been able to in the history of television, it is practically necessary to have amazing settings nowadays.  HOWEVER.  Even if it is a necessity for these scenes to look pretty, it doesn’t essentially mean they have to be interesting.  Like seriously I’m sure anyone can make like a beautiful field of flowers and put like a single tree on there that’s blooooowing in the wind cus yea that looks nice.  But when Steven Universe does it; there’s your pretty tree and your pretty flowers BUT WAIT.  I think. . .yes I think I can see some plot, strewn about the scenery, just sitting there, waiting to be noticed by senpai and appreciated for all the beauty that they offer.  Honestly I’m starting to describe one scene in particular that falls into that super cliché category of like perfect nature and blah blah blah who hasn’t seen that before.  What SU does instead is actually place little items along the area, not fully explaining what they are, what they’re doing there at all, or even what the place is that houses the items.  Steven travels to this field at one point covered in vibrant pink grass, trust me it’s awesome, and he sees this little hill with a Bob Ross happy tree on top and like 4-5 super important things that we have no idea what mean or do just sitting there having a plot related powwow.  No I’m serious, there’s a bunch of little items just sorta chilling out and having a good time and Steven grabs one and bolts.  We don’t find out what they are until much later and still a few havn’t even been explained yet and it’s just so goddam mysterious and cool.  The little hints of plot importance make the scenes far more interesting, drawing your eyes to new and exciting things you know are super relevant, and not just where the characters live or work or something.


  1. The Lore

This is probably one of those things you’re gonna hear a lot about SU so if you’re reading this you’ve most undoubtedly had these words screamed at your face by a number of people already.  But yea. The Steven Universe lore is deep, and awesome.  The way the story and world of SU is represented through the show allows for the viewer to get invested yet understandably know very little about what’s actually going on.  Each episode tells us more about the characters, about the world, and about the actual goals of the show as a whole.  The main drive for a very long time isn’t some world-saving ideology but simply a day-to-day type of lifestyle, showing us the bare bones of what these people can do, and how they interact with one another.  One huge example of this style is shown through the interactions with the character of Steven’s mother, Rose Quartz.  Rose’s character is referenced throughout the entire series, being defined as a gentle, loving, compassionate, powerful, endearing, beautiful, positive adjective here, kind of character.  Yet, for the longest time the only thing we really knew about her was that she is Steven’s mother, and the former leader of the crystal gems.  Besides that it was pretty much a fuckload of nothing, maybe referencing a few powers here, wishful thinking there, and a lot of starry eyed memories full of wonderment and soaked pants on Pearl’s avenue.  Yea that’s right I went there. Besides the relationship melodrama, almost everything about Rose could have been learned within the first few episodes if someone decided to open his goddam mouth and ask some fucking questions STEVEN.  But the thing is, it’s really okay.  Steven as we’ve learned is not really an inquisitive character.  He likes to ask a few questions to sate his current curiosity and then completely moves on with his life leaving HUUUUUUUGE plot cliffhangers that the viewers have to claw at the walls to get any relief from not having them answered right away.  We could have learned everything about his mother immediately if he asked the crystal gems about, but the way we see his character is caring and socially adept, understanding it as a touchy subject for him and for the gems so he shies away from it at times.  We could understand more about the gems and their homeworld in its entirety but Steven doesn’t really care.  He has everything he needs with the gems on Earth who constantly sing him words of praise and affection, telling him that they are always going to stay right here.  Honestly it sounds like a terrible bit of plot convenience, but in reality the way each episode tailors to filling you in on how characters grow and interact with each other more so then the actual plot, it all really makes sense in the end.  No really trust me.  Like I’m serious it makes sense.  HEY DON’T GIVE ME THAT LOOK I SWEAR IT DOES I’M NOT LYING.


  1. The powers.

Yea so Steven Universe is a fantasy sci-fi mix where most-to-all the main characters aren’t even human, so of course there are gonna be some crazy powers going up in this bitch.  Each of the gem characters specifically wield some kind of weapon specially tailored to their personality and design all while able to manifest some internal gem powers that flow along with it.  Lapis Lazuli controls water using it to allow her the ability to fly.  Jasper’s bullheaded personality manifests into a helmet she uses to charge at her opponents and slam literally headfirst into battle.  Even Steven, who has a lengthy arc throughout the series where he utilizes and learns to control the powers given to him by his mother, uses a powerful shield that can block and nullify attacks, as well as hold loads of other properties that are like, way too complicated to truly explain in a crappy once a week blogspot *cough*. But I digress. Part of the main pull for this series is definitely delving deeper (look ma, alliteration) into the uses and manifestations of these powers.  We went nuts finding out Steven has healing properties in his spit, and absolutely loved trying to find out the limitations of that very power.  Each time two gem characters fuse, they create an entirely different character with their own abilities and personalities, but especially their abilities.  Did I mention abilities?  When we saw the first real fusion between Amethyst and Pearl to create Opal, this blew our freaking minds.  Not to mention her weapon which combined the sword and whip from the previous two to create a massive star bow that wiped out a whole legion of crazy bird monster things. . . who’s names are unimportant and therefore do not deserve me doing any research on.  Regardless, discovering what different powers each gem has, and their specific uses for them is such a treat.  We know very little about actual gem physiology.  Where do these powers manifest and why? What factors adjust the creation and use of their specific weapons? And of course, what will new fusions look like, and how will they combine the weapons into new and badass ones?  The abilities are so interesting and obviously well-hidden making us yearn to see more but the show continues to only give us in bits, never fully opening up the whole thing for good reason.  Even if they didn’t give these treats to us in parts, they would still be more than enough to garner a well-deserved chunk of praise, making us anxious to see the next one, built up on the hype of how cool they can really be.


  1. Duh, It’s the Characters.

Oh geeze where do I even begin.  When I first saw the commercials for Steven Universe I was absolutely bored with it, before I even gave it a chance.  Each character was some odd looking trope with the main Steven being an idiot who shouted random things and usually took away from any actual seriousness that the show might have been trying to build up in its scenes.  And honestly. . . I wasn’t completely wrong.  A lot of these characters follow specific tropes that justify their actions, dictating the way they act around others and what their dialogue might look like in the end.  Steven is kind of an idiot who seems to tank a few of the more serious tones of the show with his tomfoolery (yes I said tomfoolery GET OFF MY BACK) and only occasionally delves into something important himself, usually letting the other characters set the tone or growth for the show.  But regardless of how much of an idiot everyone can be throughout this whole thing, you will fall in love with each and every single one of them. I guarantee it you will find something to appreciate with all of these nonsensical characters bouncing around your screen just begging for you to love them.

Pearl is the calm and serious gem who plays everything by the book; a well of knowledge that loves to prove herself and show that she’s right in front of others.  But after a while you see she can become hectic and insecure in the face of adversity she knows nothing about, losing her grip on the superior elegant flare she keeps up at all times.  You learn that her past was of a worker, almost like a slave even, looked down upon by the higher ups, only serving a single purpose and nothing more.  Every time she excels at something is a little victory for her because of this, and you slowly start to see this pride building up in her, easily relating to her because of course you know what it’s like to want to succeed when others said you couldn’t.

Amethyst, the crazy do-what-I-want go getter with a spitfire personality and not a single lick of class, plays off as the action girl, the brute who simply follows the others along, going with the flow and living each day for herself.  She finds something she likes and goes for it, never failing to speak her mind when it matters (or doesn’t sometimes) always showing off her cool attitude towards the world.  Woosh, in a second we find out she was created for an incredibly nefarious purpose on Earth, simply developing in the wrong way, leading her to join the good guys instead of fighting alongside the gem forces she was created for.  We learn she is absolutely torn up inside about this, playing it off like it’s cool because she has no one to go too, feeling lost, like she doesn’t have a shoulder to lean on.  Her upbringing was wrong, she was a mistake, so each and every time we see her finding acceptance, fitting in in her own eyes, we can relate to that.  Especially as a kid who might be watching this.  Who doesn’t know the feeling of wanting to be loved for what you truly are, trying to shy away from the harsh ties that bind you, and just wanting to feel like you belong?

And then you have the final gem Garnet.  Garnet is the leader.  She’s the powerhouse, the tactician.  She’s cold and calculating, resolute in her plans and always knows what’s best for her team.  AND OF COURSE THAT SHIT GETS KICKED TO THE CURB LIKE SO FAST!!!!  Garnet is on a constant journey for self-discovery, understanding that she is the product of a gem-fusion that just refuses to separate because the two that combine to make her are so goddam in love that it hurts.  It’s also kind of disgusting and some points because their flirting is cringe worthy BUT THAT’S BESIDES THE POINT.  Garnet now has to come to understand what life is for her, what her role is in the world, and her sudden change into team leader once their true leader, Rose Quartz AKA Steven’s mom gave up her body to make Steven.  Yea it’s not a natural birth it’s kind of weird don’t worry about it though.  Garnet is the product of a relationship, showing the serious implications that fusion has in creating something entirely new (oh hey look I made a reference to that song they sing oh hey I’m so clever).  We journey through her mindset getting a look at what it means to be created this way and how it affects what she sees in the world around her.  Her serious nature brakes down as Steven grows, telling us she doesn’t have to put on such an act anymore and builds up this playful nature whenever he’s around.  I swear to god my heart flutters whenever she smiles at him and then says, “I love you Steven,” like that is the realest cutest shit I have ever seen in a goddam kid’s show.  I don’t think you can name a character that just outright says it like people do everyday.  It feels real, it feels absolutely cute and it adds so much to the way these characters see each other, showing us their deeper connections in such a subtle way it blows my mind.  It’s so simple but it’s so deep and she just continues to do little things like that throughout the series.  Of course she has her more complex moments where we delve deeper into character, but these little bits of affection and whatnot absolutely make the show.  It breaks so many tropes and clichés by having them slip out of characters for a few seconds and just become real honest to god people that do and say silly little things with the ones they love.  AGGHHHHH I LOVE IT.

And I mean then there’s Steven.  Steven is just loveable.  He’s goofy and sensitive and a kind good-natured kid who we just watch grow up this entire series.  He learns from his mistakes, he gets excited over stupid things and you just can’t help but love him.  He’s also the best kind of character to trail for this style of story-telling since he once again doesn’t always like to pry into the lives of others, giving them space at certain times.  And every character is hilarious, oh of course they are hilarious.  They just burst out with ridiculous one-liners or do some crazy action that is so nonsensical you can’t help but laugh.

I could spend so much time just gushing about how much I love this show, and maybe I will one day.  For now I’m gonna try and make it as professional as possible while also throwing in GAHs and random cursing all over the place.  If you agree with any of my word vomit up there send me a comment or something cus discussing good cartoons is one of my favorite passtimes. Who knows I might have missed something uber important, so seriously let me know.  As for Steven Universe, I am absolutely sure I’ll come back to it one day, because there is still so much I want to discuss.

Why Hearthstone Drives me Nuts

Why Hearthstone Drives me Nuts

I’ve been wanting to talk about something like this for a really long time, ever since the game actually came out, and especially since I was suckered into playing the thing itself.  If you haven’t heard of Hearthstone by now you’ve been living under a rock because that shit’s been advertised to holy hell and whenever you play a game of anything banners and ads will pop up screaming at you to play hearthstone.  Online playing pokemon on a free site?  Go play hearthstone. Opening a video in youtube to watch one of your cooking shows?  Go play hearthstone.  About to make sweet love to your childhood sweetheart after finally bringing up the nerve to tell them after so long and then everything works out in the end because your life is an anime? Well if you were using any electronic devices in this situation where in that case, more power to you, but yes indeed an ad will pop up to tell you to, GO PLAY HEARTHSTONE.

It’s not a bad game in any means, I’m gonna get this out of the way right now that I rather like Hearthstone. I enjoy the random elements, the skill in deckbuilding, the nonsensical interactions between cards and players.  But the real problem I have with the game isn’t even really in the game itself.  My biggest problem with Hearthstone, is with Blizzard itself, the creators.

To start off with, what do you think of when you hear, “Free to Play?” You think of stuff like League of Legends, you think of Team Fortress 2, or Portal because if that doesn’t get shipped into every copy of anything you do ever then I don’t know what is.  You think of these games with upgrades and multiple characters and a whole crap ton of unlockables, but nothing that really inhibits you from playing the game.  In TF2, you have more than enough to enjoy yourself out there, equipped with every character and their basic set of weapons, easily gaining new ones as you go along.  Hell I haven’t played in a while so I don’t know if you get any free crap for starting out nowadays but you still have enough ability to get on an even playing ground with the veterans.  There is no problem there.  Then ya get your League of Legends, a bit harder to get everything right away.  Honestly I’m still working on owning every champ in the game but I still know exactly how each one plays since they rotate 10 free ones each week.  When you start out they put you reaaaaaal low, forcing you to play with other crayon-eating shit heads that don’t know what they’re doing so no one has an advantage.  The gameplay is also tailored around building yourself up while you play, not essentially before-hand.  It is true that as you level up these things called runes and masteries play a huge role in how you play, but when you start out everyone has nothing, and the highest level ones that you can buy are actually put on lockdown, forcing you to play the game to a certain extent before you can even get them, making sure no one has the upper hand.  Good champs are cheap and you have quick ways to buy the ones you really want to play.  A bit of a stretch but once again, no problem here.

The good ol Hearthstone comes strolling along just to make sure I’m not feeling too good about myself and squats down to take a shit on my dreams.  I’d seen the highlights, I’d seen people play online, looked at the cool cards goin, “Man wallet warrior sounds really cool, I wonder why they call it that,” only to realize exactly why after I signed up and started to play.  This shit costs money.  Everything in this game is lined up and ready for you to play with except it all costs so much goddam money.  Yes it is free to play because yes you can earn virtual cash to buy the stuff you want, but in reality, there is absolutely no way you can get everything this game has to offer within the next century if you don’t use actual money.

Before I go into the specifics of what happens when you start the game, I’m going to first spread out the numbers on what it takes to get cash, and what you can use it on. Every three games you win earns you 10 gold. Now that’s games you win, not games you play, which is important.  Every day a new quest is given to you that gives you a sum of money ranging from the very common 40 gold to the highly prized and rare 100 gold.  Each of these challenges usually say something like, “beat X amount of games as Y.”  It only takes 100 gold to buy a random pack of 5 cards, where each pack guarantees you to at least pull a rare, giving you the chance to randomly pull epics and legendaries, the other incredibly valuable cards.  So right now this all seems pretty nice.  You’ve got a clear cut idea on how money works and exactly how you can save up to go and play that sweet looking deck you saw online.  Now if you want to spend money, buy a few packs, get some of those really nice looking solo adventure quests they make to get some cool cards, that’s totally fine, go for it, more power to ya.

But, instead, if you want to try and earn all the fake monies yourself, battlin your way through the challenges to rake in that sweet digital cash, I’ve got just one thing to say to you.  You, will get, absolutely nowhere.  It takes months to get anywhere in this game without spending a single bit of cash on this black hole of fun. That wallet warrior I was talking about before has at least eight legendary cards in it, lord knows how many epics, and a crap ton of rares.  Whenever you buy a pack you are most likely going to get a handful of commons and a rare that doesn’t match the deck you want to build.  That sucks, but Hearthstone gave you a little system to be able to still use these cards to get the big ones by converting the little ones into dust.  Each common card can be burned down and converted into five dust, with rares giving 20, epics giving 100, and legends can be turned into a sweet 400.  Now that would be a fantastic thing to think about before you realize that Legendary cards cost SIXTEEN HUNDRED DUST to make. Yea, freaking sixteen hundred.  Oh you just got a pack full of cards you’re not gonna use after playing 10 games and managing to beat all the quests you did?  Well good cus that’ll give you a nice wopping total of 40 dust and you’re on your way.  Only fifteen hundred and sixty more to go.  Oh right that’s just for your first legendary that you want to make, you’ve got 7 more to go.  Oh and I almost forgot.  One of the integral parts of the deck comes from a card halfway in one of the solo adventures that you need to buy, each part of it costing 700 gold in total and you can’t skip any of them, you need to go in order.  Sounds like fuuuuun riiiiiiight?

So after you let the existential crisis and understanding that you’re gonna get nowhere without forking over your hard earned cash set in, you decide to toughen up, to fortify yoself and try to go about it anyway.  I can do it, I’m a tough guy or girl or some third thing that doesn’t need to stoop to chucking money at a computer to feel good about myself.  So now you go off to try and play some games, but you remember it’s 3 wins to get 10 gold. . . yea 10 gold that’s it, not even haflway there to buy a pack, let alone one of the solo adventure parts.  Yea you’ve got to play 69 (heh 69) more games and that is only IF you win them.  And here’s the final kicker.  The deck you get to start with, is garbage.  It’s absolutely chicken shit in comparison to these final decks, or anywhere even close to the middle.  There are single cards out there that will absolutely ruin you, if you don’t have the proper means to combat them.  And trust me, starting out the game with no money thrown in, you don’t stand a chance.  Which is why they implemented a system where you just fight people in your range.  Yea of course they would do that it only makes sense, that would just crush any reason for you to keep playing the game and would be terrible marketing.  Instead, they leave it up chance.  You have no ability to earn the cards you want through the ridiculously over grindy means they provide you, and the insanely subpar cards they give you in the beginning. If you don’t spend any money here, I can assure you, a game will come where you are doing everything in your power to win, you’ve got a strong hold on this game and there is nothing that can take you out from your high chair.  God it feels so good. You’ve got such advantage and only divine intervention can rob you of this moment.  Oh but wait.  Fuckstick over here pooped out some money and bought more packs then you did, and managed to pull one of those massively unfair legendary cards that shits all over your deck right now.  You don’t have the spells to deal with it and you didn’t save any for this moment because of course you didn’t see it coming, this guy plays like trash there’s nothing he could do to you.  Well nothing besides this.  Now you’ve got no way to get back to winning.  You throw everything you’ve got at this schmuck to finally kill their card but it’s too late, you lost too many resources and they’ve gained too much momentum and there ya go, game over.  Alright go back in to another game and try again.  Who knows it probably won’t happen again maybe.

Now I know what some of you are gonna say right away about this here.  “It’s a card game so of course you gotta spend money to play.” And of course you are technically right.  But the thing is, with real card games like magic or yu-gi-oh or whatever new one comes out nowadays I’ll never care about, you get real physical cards.  You get these actual cards you get to play with and use and own that can be used to trade for other cards with other people or even gift to your friends cus your such a nice person.  Man that’s real nice of you way to go.  Instead, you have no way of building up your little card game empire through any means other than your own wit and of course that little green paper thing sitting in your wallet, and everything that you get that doesn’t lead into the decks you want builds up into a pile of shattered hopes and dreams.

Now if you already play the game there’s also another thing you’re probably gonna say which is the arena.  Now the arena is a special little bit of chaos because it takes 150 of your little gold earnings and throws you into a hole saying, “MAKE A DECK,” and sends you off on your way.  You are given a chance to fight other people that also have crappily randomly made decks to fight for super duper prizes that are usually dust, bits of gold, and usually a pack or two. Now that is awesome, and all well and good, but the thing is, you have to actually do well in arena.  The cards you get are completely random, as well as the order in which you get them and whoever you play with.  There’s a lot of skill involved in arena of course but only for those that have played for a long time. For everyone else, it’ll take quite a bit to get on that level, much like anything else in this game.

Besides people playing asinine decks that are designed to be annoying and make you lose, the biggest part of Hearthstone that’ll cut you at your knees is the money system.  You can’t go anywhere without paying money, and you sure as hell can’t do it within a nice and easy amount of time either.  Everything is designed to make you want to use cash too.  The bargain sales, the fact that if you don’t use cash you have to buy each pack one at a time.  There is no function to buy multiple packs in one go, you have to keep clicking that freaking button to do it.  But not for the money users, they get to click on how many they wanna buy all lumped together in one nice fantastic package.  Hooeee how swell for them.

The fact that this game is labeled as free-to-play probably urks the crap out of me more than anything.  It is technically free-to-start, but if you want to get anywhere within this lifetime you need cash, and that drives me up a wall.  Just even throwing 5 or 10 bucks at this thing can put you at a clear advantage over any other player, and that clearly turns Hearthstone right around into Pay-To-Win territory.  Once again, I still like it, I have a lot of fun doing zany stuff.  But I know unless I fork over loads of cash, I’ll never get to play the crazy stuff that I look for online within the time frame of me being able to remember what fun was before the robots overthrow us.

The Building Blocks to a good Movie



Welcome back kiddies to another wonderful segment on my fantastic little blog right here.  This go around I wanted to talk about something I feel my more parental readers can relate too.  Hah who am I kidding that the people who read my crap have any kind of love life whatsoever.  But for the few random parents that click on google really hard and accidentally stumble over to my page, this is for you.

Now of course everyone in the history of ever has heard about those fantastic little toy blocks called Legos.  The beautifully innovative toys that let any kid fulfill whatever crazy fantasy they want by creating something majestic with their own wit and mental fortitude.  Well because people like money, the guys over at the Lego corporation decided to make a movie.  We weren’t entirely sure what the hell you could even do with something like that but the more excitable and risk taking of us out there all got together and said, “What the heck, let’s give it a try.”  And ohhh what a movie it was.

The Lego Movie, or TLM as the cool kids in the underground call it (no one actually calls it that) was an ambitious and creative little gem of cinema that was both heart-warming and inspirational.  Within moments it captured the attention of the audience with bright vivid colors and blaring whacky noises that just kept you smiling the entire way through. It was clever, engaging, insightful, and most of all, absolutely hilarious.  But besides all of that crap, the movie itself did one thing in particular that truly stood out from other movies, which is what I’m gonna talk about.  The Lego Movie above all else, was a beautifully written piece of work that did nothing but teach kids about personal aspects of life and how to feel good about yourself.

First off, I’m gonna talk about the entirety of the Lego Movie so if you haven’t seen it:

  1. What the hell is wrong with you?
  2. Seriously why haven’t you seen this thing do you have no soul?
  3. I don’t even know why I’m having this discussion really. . .
  4. Go out and see it before you carry on any further.

We start off the movie like millions of others with a main character who warms our hearts in a few seconds showing off the crazy animation, more than just chuckle-worthy jokes, and fantastic soundtrack blaring off in the background.  The big featured track from this movie by the way, titled, “Everything is Awesome,” was a collab between the musical stylings of Tegan and Sara and the hilarious SNL formed band The Lonely Island.  This song blasted throughout half the movie and made you laugh as much as it made you want to dance, it was that catchy.

After a bit more of dialogue, plot and whatever, we find out that some big bad guy named Lord Business wanted to take over the Lego world using some crazy device, cleverly dubbed as The Kragle, and the only way to stop him was for the Master Builders, just Lego characters who were good at building, to go off and look for The Special.  Everything was as vague as could be here and sounded like the mad delusions of a child creating some over the top action story with made up rules and characters.  And that’s because it was.  Yea go figure.

The movie leads into a live action scene, no CGI whatsoever, of a young boy playing with a large Lego model city, as he threw pieces back and forth scripting out his own fantastic story.  The entire thing was made up, and we find this out through halfway in the film blowing the 4th wall right out the ass.  This right here was absolutely the best thing about this movie.  The fact that right there we learn this entire story comes from real people, from this one child much like many of the kids sitting in that theater watching this right now, this put a whole new spin on the word relatable.  This wasn’t some fantastic made up story.  This was a kid at playtime, using his imagination and running wild with it, up until the point his dad comes in to set down some rules and stop the fun.  Regardless of where they took it next, every single person in the audience could understand clearly what it feels like to be here.  Everyone’s been a kid, everyone’s used their imagination to come up with crazy stories and ideas, some of us still do, and that’s exactly why we all perked up in our seats and paid attention like our lives depended on it.  Right now we are that kid, we know what he’s going through, being told not to play anymore, being given crummy rules without a way to really fight back.  We are so invested right now it hurts.

After that beautiful little process of getting sucked into a character, now it’s our time to shut up and learn, cus the movie drops hella truth bombs at this point.

The characters all collaborate together, standing by in support of The Special, or Emett as we’ve come to know him, and take on the all mighty Lord Business, who we find out the father of the kid playing with these toys in the real life was the inspiration for, which just adds a little touch more of symbolism and lovely metaphor.  Emett learns to excel at building he has to be himself, a few of the others learn to dig deep and let lose their passions, everyone seems to be out for the better, working hand in hand to stop the big bad guy.  HOWEVER. Shit hits the fan and they are pretty much screwed as Lord Business sends in some crazy murderbots to stop all of their good plans and just be a huge dick over all.  At this point we are rooting harder than ever before to see Emett stop the Death Star- I mean Kragle and save the day.

He has one final confrontation with Lord Business, all while the real boy talks to his real father, and shares with us one of the most touching scenes I have ever experienced in cinema in my entire life.  No seriously I mean it, this shit is fantastic.  Here go watch it I swear you’ll almost cry.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_pemwLg_zc

Yea just click on that link right there.  That’s your one way ticket to feels central, a non-stop express to an emotional and tearful breakdown.

In this scene (to all you losers that didn’t watch the link making me have to explain this shit) Emett reveals his secret weapon to Lord Business, taking the build up of everything that was talked about in the entire movie about the power of the special and some mystical force that would save them all but no one really knew what it looked like.  Here it finally was and it was gonna make everything right again.  But, it wasn’t really a weapon.  It wasn’t really anything at all.  Emett simply talks to Lord Business, and convinces him to stop. Now definitely that sounds like a terrible way to end a story, having the main character just talk the bad guy out of being a bad guy *COUGH NARUTO COUGH* but everything that Emett says hits home so hard.  The main character talks to Lord Business, he talks to us.  He talks straight to every single person in the theater, and every single person in the world.  You, are the special.  You, are the most talented, the most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe.  These words stop us dead in our tracks, gripping everyone in the theater.  He goes on, talking about your amazing work, your inspirational and unique ideas, your ability to become, The Special.  You are that kid playing with his Legos.  You made something amazing and spectacular and need to show it to the world, to be proud of what you’ve done and to have fun with it.  And I swear if you don’t have a tear in your eye somewhere at this point you are a soulless monster.

This moment was beautiful.  It was touching in so many ways, invigorating in both a self-confident and moral way.  This movie teaches us all that we are unique fantastic beings, every single one of us, with the ability to create absolutely anything as long as we can imagine it.  This movie teaches about the importance of play, to let your mind wander freely to create and destroy, to build and break down, to discover and to feel good about doing it.  It drives home the ideas of trying to fit in with society as we watch our main character desperately attempting to convince himself that he’s important, all while setting us up for this explosion of emotional clarity and the understanding that we can be whatever we want to be as long as we try.  I mean it when I say this ending was that good, it was fantastic and amazingly done, even with a special moment of the real boy and his father coming to terms with each other as they share a loving hug and finally see eye to eye.  I really mean it if you’re not doing something sad at this point you have no soul, you are an emotionless zombie.

These lessons, hammered in within the ending of this film, leave us all with feelings of pride, self-worth and even energy to chase after a dream you once had.  It is so important to feel good about yourself every single day, and that is exactly what this movie was trying to teach us, doing it through the use of little spikey blocks that snap together in a satisfying way.  Regardless of whether or not you thought it was a good movie, or if you thought it was funny enough or that the amazing voice acting done by an all-star cast wasn’t good enough for your fancy schmancy golden ears or something, this film is important.  It’s important for growth, especially for the growth of a child as it will teach them essential lessons on how to be happy and how to achieve great things with self-confidence.  I seriously would recommend seeing it with your kids if you have any, not just slapping it on the tv and letting them eat paint while they watch it as you go off to fuck around with your model cars (seriously who the hell am I describing).  I want you to honestly enjoy this movie with them because I know you will, and you will grow closer as a family because of it.  And hey even if you don’t have kids, you are still The Special, and deserve to be told so on the regular, so watch it anyway.

That was probably the most sappy I’ll ever really get on here but I felt like it needed to be done.  If any of you are still around and have any respect left for me and already did see the movie like I told you too, leave a comment on what you felt about it because I want to hear your opinion for some reason.  But seriously if you did not see this movie, go and do it right now it is so fucking funny and Liam Neeson is in it playing like a good cop bad cop guy that throws chairs all over it is goddam hilarious.  Anyway, peace out yall, and enjoy being The Special.

Fire Emblem, Conquest of my Brain Cells

So I’ve wanted to talk about this particular subject for a while now, not really having any special medium besides my own voice to the unfortunate ears of my friends, but ever since I created this blog that I can curse and yell a lot on and people are okay with it, I’ve decided to finally get all my words out about how I feel in particular about Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest.

Let me be clear.  I have never touched, played, or seen anything in particular from the brother game, Fire Emblem Fates: Bloodline, and I don’t exactly see myself getting to it in the near future, though I have heard from most who have played it, that it was a very good game worth playing if you like the Fire Emblem series, which is totally fine.  My main gripe, or I’d say maddening bloodlust, at the moment is directed entirely at Conquest, which I believe is a complete dumpster fire of atrociously written dialogue and scenarios that give the player absolutely no reason to feel good about anything that they do within the game.  Of course I’m gonna provide examples and stuff so people don’t whine at me but even then I don’t expect much love in the end.

To start off, for those that don’t know, Fire Emblem Fates was a special little project, never before seen in the series of Fire Emblem (though somewhat in the world of pokemon) in which the latest installment is broken into two different games, with a fast approaching DLC expansion.  The general gimmick here was that this time you got to pick a side in the war your main character took place in.  Both games tell relatively the same story with different backgrounds and characters and delve into entirely different focuses on how the main character should interact with the world, for the most part.  After a while you start to realize it didn’t really matter which side you picked as both families are basic carbon copies of each other with certain character traits thrown into the mix and the gameplay doesn’t shift for either.  The one true difference besides how the story plays out, is in the difficulty of the two games, as Nintendo declares even in the game itself that Conquest is the harder version.  I of course went out to buy one of the games as I am a general fan of Fire Emblem and of course bought Conquest because it looked fun.  Immediately, unbeknownst to myself, I made a huge mistake.  It’s not because the game is harder, no no no there are various ways in game to tone down the difficulty.  My major flaw was the fact that I bought Conquest first.  Yea that was my problem apparently.  To every single person I talked to regarding this series of games, apparently I played the wrong one first, or in this case, did not buy both of them and instead bought the wrong one first.  I apologize as I myself didn’t know there was an order to these things when the advertisement told me explicitly to “Pick a Side,” instead of, “Pick a Side but only after you get through Bloodlines first.”  The reason for this unforgivable mistake of mine was clearly not indulging enough in consumerism and buying both copies right away.  I’m terribly sorry.  According to everyone I know as well as the screaming masses on the internet, Bloodline gets you into the story in a fantastic way, truly motivating the player to progress and learn more about the world its created.  Conquest on the other hand was intended apparently just to see the other side of the war because EVERYONE ON THIS SIDE SUCKS.

From the get go you start to understand how little you were intended to appreciate the Conquest side of the game as you are immediately bombarded with reasons to hate them.  Your father, the king, attempts to have you assassinated TWICE, while you slowly learn you weren’t even his real child.  Yea within a few freaking minutes of the game you find out you were kidnapped by him as a child and are actually a part of the Bloodline family, but instead brainwashed and raised as one of their own.  You then get rescued by the Bloodline side and are given nothing but praise and warmth and comfort, having fantastic moments with your new family where they accept you wholeheartedly.  Yea I’ve been playing for like 10 minutes and the game already wants me to kill the king and love these other guys, but I have literally no choice in the matter.  As both stories start with the very same intro, even giving you the same choice of how you wish to proceed, regardless of which game you even purchased, you get this effect whether you like it or not.  Yet, as I only have conquest, I am literally being forced to go with these kidnapping murderous psychopaths, and my main character is trying desperately to argue that this is totally a legit thing to do.  Yea I get that your fake family besides your dad are honestly good people and want to look out for you, but that doesn’t stop them from being terrible.  Elise your younger sister is a complete idiot who starts a fight with a rebellion for no reason because she accidentally tells their leader that you were sent to kill him.  Your older sister is absolutely insane and murders people left and right for looking at you funny.  And your older brother Xander is just a hothead who tries to toss around reason and order while running his mouth off at anyone who isn’t his family.  Yea they love you but that’s about it, none of them have redeeming qualities besides loving you to death which is terrifying at certain points in the game.  Even after you come back the king freaks out, completely shocked and yells at you, asking what you’re doing here in the first place.  Yea I asked that same question, what am I doing here trying to make peace with the man who kidnapped me when I was young and currently wants me dead really really badly.  Oh yea you have another brother and he’s okay I guess.

This set up is terrible.  It gives me no incentive to play this game, no reason to continue when I hate everything about it. Everything presented to you is a struggle to have the main character convince themselves that they totally want to love these garbage people when their real family is literally trying to win you back as you decimate their friends in front of their eyes.  Oh you still have to fight them and they are so confused why you just up and left.  The plot only gets worse.  Later on you get thrown into some astral plane that barely ever gets explained and find out the king is being possessed by a demon but you can’t prove it at all through any of the means you used because of plot convenience.  I’m serious when I say this is the dumbest shit ever.  One of your teammates shows you the king’s true form with a crystal ball that shatters immediately after you use it because it would have been way too simple to just show everyone this thing.  After you learn a little bit about this other magical world you jumped into your guide says you can’t ever talk about it or shit goes down. Everything is just conveniently complicated, pushing the story’s absurd reasoning further and further in the direction it wants, regardless of whatever actually makes sense.

Besides all of this horrendous writing and dialogue, the worst thing about this entire vomit inducing display is the choice you are given after the intro.  I said before that both intros were the same but I didn’t really explain what that meant.  Both intros show the same scenes of you learning the horrific truth about your kidnapper family while you go on a magical rainbow journey with your real one, only to be thrust in between both and forced to make a choice.  This scene right here with the choice between games is actually the worst thing ever.  You are given the option to pick from both sides, regardless of what game you purchased in the end, but are only allowed to actually pick the one that’s currently sitting all warm and cozy in your 3ds.  If you were to pick the other side, like I and any other sane person that understands how life works, you would immediately be given a screen describing how you did not have the game, and can only play the other one.  HOWEVER!  The screen continues to explain that you do have another option at this moment, which is to keep pressing this button as it will eventually lead you to the shopping menu where you can then BUY THE OTHER GAME.  This right here drove me absolutely nuts.  I almost did it, I really almost shelled out the cash right there and bought the other game, simply because I had no reason to keep going with this train wreck of a scenario, and I’m pretty sure that was what Nintendo intending.  Intendo right there.  Great pun.  This was all just a ploy to make more money, not a legitimate attempt at creating two warring sides or dividing a fandom in a hilariously destructive way.  No no no this was all a mission to get us to fork over more money just to be somewhat satisfied and get the conclusion, or really just the game, that we wanted.  By giving us the option after showing such a one-sided story, you are pushed to want to buy the right side, the Bloodline side, not the terrible evil totally unredeemable conquest side that later on just sorta peters out into trying to fight off the real bad guys in the end.  You’re given a choice but at the same time not at all, both physically and emotionally trapping you, with your only real option is to put out more money to be happy.  It drives me nuts, thinking why they couldn’t have just put both sides on the same cartridge and saved us the trouble, instead of pumping out two relatively similar games with one just making sense while the other drools on itself.

The main gameplay is just Fire Emblem, if you were interested.  It’s still fun to play, because it’s Fire Emblem.  The characters are funny and somewhat likeable, because it’s Fire Emblem, and the fights are always satisfying and well designed. . . because it’s fucking Fire Emblem.  The gameplay never strays too far from the original concept of turn based strategy with your units versing waves of enemies and leveling up as they go.  If you like this kind of thing you’ll probably like Conquest, just as long as you close your eyes whenever anyone says anything ever.  ORRRRRR you could just go play Bloodline which is the far superior game in terms of absolutely everything apparently.

I could delve more into why I hate this game in its entirety.  I could explain how I think the marriage system makes no sense anymore because the astral plane is a crack dream kind of idea. I could even talk about the really creepy relationship function that lets you point-of-view kiss your significant other and even blow hot steam out of their face after they take a bath because that was a really important thing to add in this game about war.  Instead I am just going to leave you all with this, hoping I pushed my point across on why this abomination should never have been created in the first place, and you all come off as stronger from it.  I’ve heard arguments for this game talking about why it was necessary to have it but none of them really made me believe any less that this was just the asshole run of any choice making rpg turned into a thing of its own.  If you truly believe somewhere deep beneath the stroke-inducing storytelling that there is a legitimate reason for this game’s existence, please leave a comment somewhere below and I will most definitely pray for your health and safety.  Thank you all and have a wonderful day.  Oh and if you ever want to get into Fire Emblem completely ignore this mess and go play Awakening.  That stuff actually makes sense.  Blaakmage out.

The Art of The Ending

The Art of The Ending

Oh yea that’s right, it’s another “The Art of Blank,” article which means I guess I’m stuck with making this a thing.  So to make this a special occasion or something, I’m not entirely sure what people do when they create a stupid gimmick, I’m gonna delve into one of my all-time favorite aspects of story-telling. Talkin bout the big finish, the grand finale, the culmination of all of our efforts in paying attention.  The ending.

The ending is one of the absolute most important aspects of any story.  You not only have to provide a satisfying conclusion to the main story, but also make sure each side plot and character is addressed in some way as well, tying everything together in a nice little creative bow of words and stuff.  Though the ending is simply the last part of any major story, it is also the last thing a reader will see, leaving the biggest impact on them with what is most fresh in their minds.  Some endings can even destroy good stories if they aren’t well designed, taking a lot of interest away from the better parts of the plot or characters, simply because it is the last thing they see, and what sticks with them the most.  Unfortunately everybody is human and easily impressionable so this is something that won’t be leaving our major psyches quite so easily, but there are definitely work arounds to making a more satisfying ending.

Think of some of the best movies you’ve ever seen.  Some of the most popular pieces of cinema history and tell me what you think of.  You see the Terminator, getting into that fire with his thumb in the air, slowly sinking down with his last words, “I’ll be back,” resonating in your mind, leaving you with a powerful message, there will be another.  You see the top spinning in Inception, that goddam mystical piece of symbolism that just does not stop moving at the last scene FILLING YOU WITH SO MANY GODDAM QUESTIONS, IS IT STIL A DREAM OR WHAT GODDAMIT I WANNA KNOW!!!   You have every Disney movie ever where the hero beats the villain and gets the girl/boy/princess/prince/whatever and everything is fantastic and wraps up so perfectly that you can’t not be happy about it.  These are satisfying endings.  These are moments where you can truly walk away with a positive feeling, or even one of wanting more, to see the next one come out, waiting for that new film with such eager anticipation.  The ending is meant to let us sit back and say, “Wow,” taking in everything we had just experienced, letting out a deep sigh of relief after having sat through so much, then to take a deep breath and let the rest of the story flow back into you, recounting on your favorite moments, or what you thought really resonated with you.  An ending is meant to make you experience the story again because the payoff was good enough, or the reverse where it makes you realize you missed something completely and want to go back, eager to re-read or re-watch some of your favorite moments with a fine comb.

Of course a story can be good enough to draw you back to re-experience parts you love, but the main key focus of any ending is to draw you back in, to reflect on your experiences as you understand everything with a satisfied mindset.  Because of this, the ending almost always needs to phenomenal.  It needs gigantic amounts of build-up, with an eager to please final chapter that grants you that oh so sweet pay-off.  The image in your head of the entire story, rests on this moment as it can easily make or break your interest in it.  If you read one of my previous articles where I talked about how absolute shit-tier The Legend of Zelda, A Link Between Worlds was, you can remember I talked slightly about enjoying the final boss.  Not only that but the ending scenes were great as well, really tying everything together in a nice and comforting way that, in all honesty, made me feel a bit inclined to replay the game.  I delved more into it and still hate it with a burning passion, but the magic of the ending still almost swayed me to say otherwise.  It is an incredibly powerful tool, one that can change the way you look at a piece of work in its entirety, all in such a short amount of time.

You remember moments from Rocky 1 where he’s training, running through the city to music, clearly getting stronger, letting us experience his growth and potential.  We see him beating the meat, that iconic scene that always gets talked about for some weird reason that I can’t rightfully understand.  But we also talk about one thing in particular.  That beautiful ending.  We’ve gone through so much with Rocky, we’ve seen him struggle through life, through training, through his boxing.  We’ve seen Rocky go through bouts of emotional pain and turmoil leading up to this one culminating fight against one of the most renowned boxers at the time, and we are rooting for him with every once of our being.  And then Rocky loses.  What a heartbreak for some people, expecting the underdog to come through in the end, after all of his hard work that we sat back and experienced with him.  But Rocky loses with such grit and grace, knowing that he did his best, and he took the champ for a spin, giving him the best run for his money that we could expect.  And the fans rush the stage, and news reporters are everywhere shouting to Rocky with the music blaring and we can barely hear a word their saying, and the one thing that Rocky shouts over any other is the name of his sweetheart Adrian.  He turns in place, beaten and bruised, doesn’t even look like he knows where he is, and he bellows from the pit of his stomach, screaming out loud, “AAAAADRIAAAAANNN.” Ask any fan of the Rocky series and I can guarantee you that this moment right here is one of the top best, the one they’ll remember forever.  The moment that clinched the series, and made you come back to see the second one.  This was a perfect ending.  It didn’t follow the cookie cutter underdog story that we’ve come to know and love but we truly got to experience an eruption of emotional play here, swept along with exactly what the movie wanted us to feel, making every sweet moment after that even more powerful.

Now you’ve got those perfect endings of course, those ones that grip ya just right, those endings that cradle you in their arms and whisper sweet nothings in your ear while they rock you to sleep. . . .what was I talking about again?  Oh yea, so you have good endings, and then of course you have bad endings.  Absolutely, horrendous, nonsensical, and almost universally despised endings. These are far more common in video games where the player has a literal commitment to the game itself, and if that finisher is not worth the pay-off, oh boy is the internet gonna hear about it.  Mass effect 3, a particularly well beloved series by all is widely accepted as having a crap, underwhelming ending (that of which I havn’t seen yet).  Super Mario sunshine’s ending was as abysmal as all hell, taking the cookie cutter way out for every other game but trying to forcefeed the player some random emotional drama between bowser and his son as well as the death of your firehose (yea that’s what happens).  And don’t get me started on absolutely every single one of the, IT WAS ALL A DREAM, endings that swing out from left-field simply as a way for the creators to say, “We didn’t know how to finish this.”

There are very few endings that will absolutely take over a game and force you to think twice about ever playing them again, but the one in my mind that reigns supreme in doing so was the new Alone in the Dark game from 2008.  The game itself was a train wreck, having too many glitchy mechanics, bad story-telling to begin with, and so many different control schemes you ended up having controller schizophrenia by the end of the day.  Besides all this, it was still a rather nice game to look at, and offered up some interesting new design choices on your basic gothic horror game. HOWEVER, I doubt anyone who has completely finished the game would ever choose to go back for reasons other than to remind themselves as to why they never picked up this game ever again in the first place.  Throughout the story, the main character is wrapped up in this whole finagle with cults and demons and a plot to summon satan or whatever into the world.  The finish slowly comes into place as the final keystone or relic or whatever, is used to bring satan’s soul into a thing so they can. . . beat it up? I couldn’t really tell what was going on here it was like I was having a really bad acid dream.  After the main character’s love interest takes the stone for some reason, then becomes possessed by demons and stuff, you have the option to shoot her.   If you choose not to, you share a very touching moment before she starts talking like Rob Zombie chewing gravel, explains that the main guy is gonna lonely his entire life, and the game ends.  Yea it just ends right there.  You get a sad scene about how fucked you are, and then credits. Woohoo pop open the crystal meth cus daddy’s gonna try and forget about ALLLL OF THIS.

Let me just try and begin to explain how absolutely terrible this is.  While you succeed in winning the game, I guess, you ultimately fail on an emotional level.  Your character is rung through the metaphorical mud as you are berated for doing what you were supposed to do.  By completing the game, and doing the right thing, you are not rewarded, you are not praised, you are in fact punished.  You are punished, and then kicked, and spat on, and everything else nasty you can think of.  What was the intention here? What were they trying to accomplish by having you sit through something like that?  Was the whole purpose to make you feel bad? For shock value?  You really have to take a step back and ask yourself, why did the game just try to make me feel for playing it?  There is nothing after this, just credits, and you sitting there holding the controller feeling like a piece of shit.  You have no sense of accomplishment, no reason to want to try and play again for a better score because THAT WAS THE GOOD ENDING.  The bad ending actually might make you feel a little better, with you just straight up killing your lover, and becoming satan or something.  At least you feel good about going back against absolutely everything you tried to do throughout the entire game.  I mean who would want to walk away from hours of fighting for a goal, only to have everything you ever did for it amount to a seething pile of shit in the end.  Assholes, that’s who.  Yea but seriously this game is bad, and the ending just pushes it harder to that point, proving it’s still bad, and will always be bad.

The point of an ending is for closure.  You need something special to tie everything together, to satisfy the one experiencing the story in a way that leaves a positive impact on them, regardless of whether or not the story ends in a positive way.  In fact, there are many endings of games and movies in particular that force the viewer to undergo unfortunate miserable things, but do so in a way to reassure them that this is still worth their time, having interesting scenarios that, of course, make sense.  All in all, a good ending has a good pay off, with the intention of satisfying the player with the conclusion of whichever story they have experienced and the potential hope for a sequel, or something more.  You gotta leave them wanting more, or at least leave them not raging at how unbelievably stupid anti-climactic the whole thing was.

What’s in a Webcomic

Helloooooo everyone how yall doin *waits patiently for a response* that’s great I’m doing well myself.  This time around I wanted to try out something a bit different and throw a little list at you guys.  Now top 10 lists are big with people online because apparently putting numbers to things makes it interesting and I had always wanted to create some lists myself ranging from anything like cartoons to my favorite places to fart where you’re not looking, you’re not gonna get that one for a long time trust me.

With this out of the way, I wanted to not only put a funny spin on a view of mine, but also to plug some stuff that I feel deserves it, sharing with all of you beautiful people some of my favorite things over the years.  The first being a small list of my all-time favorite webcomics.

For those that don’t know, and those that for some reason can’t get it through the title, webcomics are a collection of comics that are produced online.  I guess you could say they’re comics. . . . on the web. . . *cough*  Much like any Saturday morning comics that you get from the paper they can have a continuous plot, running gags and constant characters, or they could just literally be about whatever the artist wants to say at the moment. They can be incredibly deep, or really shallow.  Absolutely filled to the brim with vibrant colors and designs, or completely made with stick figures and sketches.  The great thing about these is that they don’t have to follow a single law, and are almost entirely funded and supported by fans who love the artists and their work.

With all that said and done, here is a list of my top 10 all-time favorite webcomics.  These comics pulled me in quickly and refused to give me any shut eye until I finished every single page available.  Then I pined for hours waiting for the next update sometimes refreshing those pages like a maniac.  So anyway here they are.


  1. Monsterkind.

Starting off here is a cute one, with a positive message that’s sure to learn ya some stuff.  Monsterkind is the delightful story of a modern society with the ZANY twist that we cohabit with monsters.  Yea I know right, that is so weird.  Faked surprise aside, the world of monsterkind is a bit reminiscent of those not so friendly days in the 1940’s with quite a bit of prejudice labeled on the side of the monsters.

Our story follows a diverse cast of characters, each equipped with a ridiculous looking nose and the passion and drive to make the world a better place.  No seriously they all have crazy fucking noses. . . .oh you meant the drive and passion thing? Yea actually, we follow the main character Wallace who is a human social worker who was transferred to a monster neighborhood where he learns to understand and get along with this world of creatures he’s never known.  While there he meets social activists and generally great monsters fighting for equality and union between both species.  The clever art style and interesting characters create a really impressive setting that only benefits from the hilarious dialogue that eventually transforms into a more serious and dynamic plot.

If you enjoy creative stories with a bit more of a light-hearted zeal you will really get a kick out of monster-kind.


  1. String Theory.

I discovered this little gem not too long ago and it has already stabbed its way somewhere deep in my heart.  The premise is somewhat complicated with big science words thrown about that make my head hurt, they probably won’t for you peeps so it’s all good.

String theory’s main pull is the attention to detail that its author pours into every frame, really allowing for the reader to become immersed in the world that it tries to portray.  With strong dialogue and well detailed scenery, we get an incredibly well developed scene that even if you don’t understand such complex jargon you can still map out everything that the characters are going through, and understand exactly how they’re affected by the world around them.  The scenes are a treat to the eyes, somewhat engaging the reader in a quest to discover every little thing hidden inside the panels while you simultaneously get lost in the wonderful and surprisingly humorous conversations.  It’s a great read, with taking a little bit to really get into it as the art has a bit of a hill to climb in the early chapters.  But if you ever enjoy sci-fi and gothic imagery this is surely a good read for you.


  1. Raven’s Dojo

Now we’re getting into the truly chaotic.  This little gem right here is most certainly not for everyone featuring a large amount of gore, violence, and sexual theming.  The biggest draw however if you can manage getting past all the fucking weird stuff, is the insanely funny characters.  This comic that comprises of a small hyperactive pervert dinosaur and some incredibly violent yet somehow loveable dog-cat thing manages to crap out funny jokes as fast as they make everything really uncomfortable.  If you’re a fan of brutal action films, humor like south park and family guy, or have ever seen a movie starring Sacha Baron Cohen, this thing is right up your ally.


  1. Let’s Speak English

Heading back to the more adorable side of the internet, we have Let’s Speak English, a cute story about a young English teacher who recently moved to Japan as we follow her day to day life and all the cute little adventures that it brings.  The art is simply fantastic depicting the main characters students and fellow teachers all with happy wide-eyed smiles and an amazing curiosity for everything associated with America and their strange new English teacher.  If you’re a fan of Japanese culture then you’ll absolutely lord over this as it pulls so much of its humor from Japanese stereotypes and simply adorable dialogue between the children she teaches.  At the end of the day, this comic makes me really consider moving to Japan, simply so I can hear elementary school kids shout whatever English phrases they think they know in the cutest manner possible.  All of you bad people out there that immediately assumed the worst can go to hell.  All of you that don’t get the joke can keep reading and forget this ever happened.

  1. Skull Kickers

Plain and simple. Skull kickers is awesome.  Its awesome and if you’ve ever played DnD and been the warrior that’s like, “I CAN TAKE ON THIS HORDE OF ENEMIES,” and the dungeon master is like, “No don’t do it you’ll die,” and then you’re like, “DOING IT ANYWAY,” and you attack them with like a +1 stick or something.  Yea, you’ll love this.

Okay I guess I actually have to explain this or something cus that word vomit wasn’t “good enough,” for you wimps out there.  Skull Kickers is the apex of fantasy action absolutely filled to the brim with incredible visuals and fight scenes coupled with the zany characters that go on murdering sprees (only killing the bad guys though) while pitching hilarious one-liners as much as they physically can.  This stuff is what dreams are made of, and in all honesty if you DOOOO play DnD it might give you a great idea on what kind campaign to set up next time.

  1. Whomp!

What a great comic to transition too.  With as much amazing action as Skull Kickers can provide, it still pales in comparison to the thrilling stories of Ronnie the fat small miserable depressing weeb of a man-child. . . I feel like I need to explain some things here.

Whomp! Follows the over-the-top depressing antics of the main character, Ronnie, who constantly battles with his inability to pretty much do anything right.  He is the picture perfect example of what your parents warn you that you’ll become if you read too many comic books and eat too much junk food.  Being the absolute worst shape of a human being I’ve ever seen, Ronnie is a fat little mess of a person with some odd addiction to McNuggets and a fear of absolutely everything.  And yet, his life is just fascinating.  The artist somehow manages to make you fall in love with this little fucker as you end up cracking a smile reading about his struggles to deal with hemorrhoids or somehow being abducted by aliens and put up on display as the representation of earthlings.  The humor can be as blunt as possible ripping into the little guy while you just sit there and read on, feeling sorry for him definitely, but always finding whatever crazy antics he gets into chuckle worthy.  The comic gets even better if you can relate to insane amounts of self-depreciating humor.

  1. Ansemretort

Now we’re getting into the heavy hitters here starting off my final few with one of the all-time craziest bunch of panels I have ever read in my entire life.  Ansemretort, if you’ve ever played the kingdom hearts series, is about a Real World-esque t.v. show starring the major cast of Final Fantasy and the Kingdom Hearts games, messing around with the characters in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine.  If you’ve never played these games before you’re totally fine, because each and every moment in this has nothing to do with the originals, barring names and titles of course, and goes off on tangents of pure blissful insanity.  Each character has an emotion or quality to them that is overplayed to the point of terrifying with Axel being a mass-murdering psychopath, Riku a winey emo boy who won’t shut up, and even Larxene who we quickly understand is on the drug known as everything.  Within a first couple pages one of the characters has his arm ripped off and stays that way throughout the whole story; as we read on Axel attains reverse Nirvana by killing so many people that he ascends to a level of godhood; and on numerous occasions we see two of the main characters fusing together to form the giant disembodied head of Andrew Jackson.  I couldn’t make this up if I tried.  I’m actually sad to know that I couldn’t come up with stuff as maddening as this.  Regardless of whether you can understand what’s going on at all, each strip is as funny as the next with constant insanity and crazy but somehow clever ideas bursting through.  I would recommend this to anyone with a good sense of humor as it will keep you laughing for a long long time.

  1. Beeserker

Beeserker, much like Ansemretort, is an absolute anomaly of a comic series, housing mind-bogglingly insane characters and situations that are so nonsensical you can’t help but laugh.  Each page page takes you through a trip with their many running gags and insanely clever hidden jokes.  There are quite a few programming puns littered about here and there but are still simple enough to be understood by everyone.

The main cast of characters consists of two “science men,” their robot known as the Beeserker which has that title as it is powered by bees (I don’t know either and the less I ask the better I feel) their strange green cat that is oddly important to the story, and their bee-keeping friend who supplies them with all of the necessary bees they need to power their robot.  None of it makes sense, and yet is somehow explained in such a way that you believe it anyway.  The writing is simply amazing, forcing the same jokes to play out over and over again yet in new clever ways that make me laugh every single time.  The jokes can be smart and sophisticated and then completely switch on over to someone getting their arms ripped off in a funny way.  It’s nonsensical but really smart at the same time, with just a touch of a bright and colorful artstyle to bring it all together.  If you ever have time on your hands give this one a read.

  1. Punchlineismachismo

Thank god for The Punchline Is Machismo, because if it weren’t for this comic, I would never be able to see the beautiful aftermath of Kratos from God of War, going on a rampage because he can’t understand bubble tea.  The Punchline Is Machismo takes the brilliant idea of a legion of super badasses and showcases everything that your hyper buff steroid pumping action heroes do off screen.  This comic takes every super powered force you can think of, from comics to movies to video games, and throws them all together in one world where they are forced to adapt to everyday life.  Duke Nukem copes with anxiety, wolverine keeps getting his claws stuck in things, and Ganondorf has had enough of Link coming in to his office and breaking all of his dam pots.

There are a few self-made characters that you learn to love along the way but the real pull in the beginning  comes from seeing all of the crazy references that are being displayed out in the open, and delving further into this world created for your favorite characters watching how they would interact in a modern setting.  Eventually legit plot lines come in but are always lighthearted and told with a smart flare that never shies away from its original purpose and sense of humor.  Characters deliver witty lines about modern problems and aspects of society in ways you can understand at a deeper level of thinking and yet can still laugh because of who’s saying it in the end.  It never delves too deep into stressing the problems when trying to impart some words of wisdom or leave a strong opinion, and always remembers to go back and have a lot of fun, making everything so much more enjoyable, but feeling smarter at the end of the day.

I truly cannot recommend something like this to enough people as it not only makes you laugh every single time but it also shows an incredibly interesting spin on dozens of characters you’ve seen before and fell in love with, as well as the new ones that you will (trust me you will) fall in love with as well.  If you have a good sense of humor you’ll love this.  If you like a bit more philosophical thinking you’ll like this too.  And if you just want to see manly guys doing manly things then please pop on over to The Punchline Is Machismo. I guarantee it will make you laugh.

  1. Paranatural

If you’ve been a friend of mine (in real life yes I have those) for some time now you have probably heard me talking about Paranatural, quoting Paranatural, explaining my undying love for Paranatural, or some unfortunate combination of the three.  For all of you that haven’t, in small, simple terms that I have repeated over and over again; Paranatural is my absolute favorite webcomic and it most definitely will be for a very long time.  I have never read a more amazing comic in my entire life and would not care if I had to pay for it.  Nothing comes close with the amount of content packed into each page of this series, the sheer hilarity of the dialogue and the absolute beauty of the drawings.  Saying the characters are funny is such an understatement as I’ve teared up, doubled over, laughed so hard that it hurts with so many of these godly puns and punchlines. The delivery is exquisite, the wordplay unbelievably clever, and yet it still manages to shove in some of the corniest and most amazing jokes I’ve ever heard.

The story, and oh god yes there is a story, revolves around our main character Max as he moves into a new town to discover absolutely everything about his life will change.  Spirits, ghouls, and ghosts pop up all over suddenly with a rag tag group of his fellow classmates joining him on an adventure to learn more about this incredibly mysterious world of theirs.  Each character is well designed with layers of great development and story telling fueling their actions and getting you more and more invested with each new journey they embark upon.  The setting is phenomenal with absolutely stunning visuals filled to the brim with creative imagery and beautifully drawn creatures.

There are so many levels of reasons as to why I think this comic is absolutely amazing that it would take me forever to even explain it all. I might even make it a stand-alone article by itself ehh *wink wink* *nudge nudge* say no more.  Or not who knows. . .  But looking past that, if you want to read a regular comic, go off and pick up any of the ones I mentioned earlier, I am sure they will entertain you for hours on end and you will never regret it.  But if you want a story, something to get lost in, something to invest yourself towards, pick up Paranatural, I promise it will blow your mind.  Never before have I been so filled with anticipation for a webcomic that updates very frequently. And never have I been so satisfied after reading each one, immersing myself in everything it has to offer.  Just go, stop reading this article that will end in three sentences and read Paranatural.  Of course go and read the other comics too if you have the time, but truly go and enjoy a brilliant piece of work that is only getting better.

If you have any webcomics you’d like to share with me that really brightened up your life, please send me a link or leave a comment with the title because I would love to see what you enjoy so I can quickly hate it and tell you how dumb you are.  But if you don’t want to go through the process of slowly building an intense burning rage over me and what I say then stay tuned next time and hopefully I can put more words in a funny order and make people laugh sort of only a little.

Link Between Meh

Hey everybody I love and care about (you know who you are) welcome back to another little rant I’ve been holding back for god knows how long about the choices in game design made for the latest installment in the Legend of Zelda series, A Link Between Worlds.  Now I know this game has been out for a little while but shouting my opinion at random cats on the street just isn’t cutting it for me anymore, so I’m gonna furiously type out my keypoints here, and hopefully you’re gonna read em.

Starting off right away I don’t hate this game at all.  I just hate the idea that it could have been so much more.  Look at me write my death sentence here, my first two posts are ripping on legend of Zelda and Sword Art Online, I’m not making any friends am I. . . REGARDLESS OF THAT, I played through the entirety of A Link Between Worlds and found the whole thing somewhat lacking. How wonderfully specific.  But that’s the thing really.  It wasn’t the bosses or the dungeons or the items or the stupid little green hat thing. . .it was all of it.  Everything that they changed about the Zelda formula swirled together into one giant pile of. . .meh.

We start off the world like how we always wanted too, with dark nightmarish premonition. Our main hero, who if at this point you still think could be someone besides Link you should look for help, awakens in his really bland looking house that shoots us right back into the early 90’s.  If you couldn’t tell by the intro or the dozens of people storming the internet at the time, this game is a 2.0 remake of the early Zelda title, A Link to the Past, complete with cheesy title pun intact. This right here is my first complaint with the game, in the fact that not only is it taking elements from earlier Zelda titles, but it’s not even its own world.  A Link Between Worlds rips the entire map straight from its predecessor, and even steals an incredibly similar storyline, all except for a few names changed around instead.  You still have to slip from the light world to the dark world, in this case cleverly named as Lowrule (the incredibly funny pun here is that it’s a play on words cus Hyrule sounds like High-rule so low rule is the opposite and its JUST. SO. FUCKING. FUNNY) You need to save several important characters who really aren’t important to you at all or developed in anyway shape or form besides having about a 4 second length of dialogue with them.  You have to go beat up the evil wizard who’s kidnapping them only to have to fight a big pig creature named Ganon in the end. Go through dungeons, kill monsters, don’t let the depression sink in, it’s pretty much rinse and repeat Zelda. I can forgive it on this account however because it plays itself off as a remake.  The game itself describes the setting of a Link Between Worlds a sequel remake, harboring the same style and scenery, even a few of the same bosses too, as its previous title, except of course with a few more cooky antics and abilities like the new painting mechanic (which is fantastic by the way) that tries to make it stand out on its own. This would’ve been perfect if they just left it at that.  Yea we got the new stuff, lets leave it here, its tops we’re fine, cut and print, drinks on me.  But no. . .They added more.

With this new installment in the lorgend of Zolder, the designers decided to do away with the whole, discovery and exploration mechanic that pushed its games out into popularity for years on end, and instead replace it with an incredibly dull and minimalistic approach.  Now instead of going through dungeons and navigating the world itself to find your powerful items and equipment, you have to buy them. Yes, buy them.  You are given very early on, an introduction with another lovely character named Ravio, who has taken upon himself to provide for you with every single item in the game that you could ever need to fight the bad guys.  Every single item along with a few other unnecessary but fun pieces of equipment, is now purchased through this guy (except for the plot items which are not won, but handed to you by other characters).  This idea, changes the entire outlook of the game.  And you might not think it at first, you might ask in that really stupid voice you have (yea you know who I’m talking too), “How does this affect the world of the game if it just affects how you get the items.”  And I’ll tell you in a very simple explanation.  There is no longer any reason to explore.  That’s it exactly, every reason for you to roam around the stunning landscapes of the world created specifically for that one purpose is gone.  Of course there are caves and sidequests that have treasure and other neat things lying about, but it means generally nothing.  What you end up finding is, more heart pieces, these little snail things that eventually have a very minor but flashy purpose.  And money. Lots, and lots, of money.  More then half of the chests in this game are crammed with rupees, the Zelda world’s cash, which is directly connected to the aspect of buying more items.  The game is set up in such a way that it promotes exploration so you can then afford the items you need to buy to progress in the story.  This gives the player the ability to actually go and do something instead of grinding for the money like most other rpgs do, except this is dark path the game has set you on and only a few realize it.  If you start to think about the fact that all of your items are purchasable, and can be found with that guy who now lives in your house, exploring becomes meaningless.  Yes life is about the journey but if you understand that what lies at the end of the journey it becomes pointless to continue.  There are countless rooms and caves to explore in this game that lead you on to the chest at the end, the reward for completing a challenging puzzle.  However this end result is almost always just more money, which you may or may not need, giving off an incredibly underwhelming feeling, like you were cheated out of a satisfied ending. This repetition of solve puzzle get money continues with the player, beating down on them and after a little while completely crushes any sense of longing to explore again, knowing that all they’ll get out of it in the end is more useless stuff.  There’s no surprise anymore. No yearning to find out what treasures lay buried in the woodwork, when the only treasure buried is the same one I get from the numerous mini-games scattered around the world.  You can play baseball.  Seriously one of the mini-games is just baseball.  Baseball, in a Zelda game.  Thank god for that.

One of the biggest arguments for this style of item location is to break up the monotonous shallow chain of enter a dungeon, find the token item you need, proceed to slaughter everything in dungeon.   This is definitely true, as clearly the only items you find in each dungeon are the obvious map and compass that go with each one, occasional heart pieces and rupees that break up that monotony as well, and very few special pieces of equipment such as new armor or parts of your mastersword.  HOWEVER, the main aspect of this argument, that each dungeon is no longer classified, tied down too, and written up for the weapon or item that you find within it, is completely wrong.  Like absolutely wrong.  Like there is no legitimate good thing about this argument that is correct, except for the fact that you don’t find the thing in the cave it’s designed for.  Every dungeon that is based around a specific item is so catered to the item itself that it becomes blindingly obvious which item you’ll need.  Oh look an ice dungeon, I’ll need the fire rod to melt stuff.  Oh look a fire dungeon, I’ll need the ice rod to freeze stuff.  Oh look a windmill, WITH THE PICTURE OF THE ITEM AT THE FRONT GATE, I’ll probably need the tornado rod because who gives a shit.  Do you see what I mean?  To all the people that played this game, did any of you actual have to question which item you’d need to progress in the dungeon?  No, no you didn’t, because it was obvious.  You didn’t find it in the dungeon because you brought it with you.  In fact for most dungeons you needed it just to get inside, driving the point home that this is the item that will win you the game here.  You didn’t earn it, you didn’t find it through a fun puzzle or some fancy challenge.  You bought this item, you grinded money until you had enough to buy this item.  The only thing you earned is the right to say you put a lot of time into getting all this crap.  To make matters worse, the biggest penalty for dying in this game is losing all of your rented items, potentially making the process take even longer if you really aren’t good at it forcing you into a grindfest of asinine proportions.  The sad thing is the game isn’t even really hard, or challenging for that matter. I died once, only in the end fight because I was really taking my time enjoying it.  The last boss is incredibly well developed and has such a clever way of beating it forcing you to use the new skills you’ve mastered throughout the game.  It’s just a shame it took this long for me to actually find a challenge in doing so, and I already had so much money at that point all of my items were permanently purchased and could never be taken away. So death at this point didn’t matter.  It never usually matters in any Zelda game when you die but when they attempt to make it something of a concern it becomes laughable when that aspect of the game disappears entirely.

To wrap this all up, Nintendo tried something new to make the Zelda series a bit more fresh, adding on new interesting mechanics to an older title, seems like a safe bet in all honesty, but in the end ruined the gameplay.  The change in the way we obtained items changed the way the world operated and it lost something essential to push our interests in the game itself.  I’d push further my point about how I thought the game was also way too goddam easy and the characters were forced and tried wayyyyyyyyyyy too hard to seem important when no one cared in the slightest, but that’s a story for another day.

Hope you all enjoyed this minor rant, and maybe it helped you see things in a different, more scornful way.  I hope to keep adding more to this blog and want to try and update it every week with a different article on gaming culture, animation, and even creative analysis, hoping to spruce up the place along the way.  Leave a comment if you have any questions or practical criticism, I promise I’ll read it.  Someday.

The Art of Cliche

Good day everyone out there and welcome to my little blog project I dubbed Blaak Alley Critic.  I found myself rather enjoying the act of unpacking stuff like movies and shows and thought this would be a pretty good venue for getting all of my thoughts out on those particular subjects.  So to start off what I hope will be a long string of potentially interesting topics of discussion, I wanted to delve into something easily understandable, and more concrete; which is exactly why I’ll be talking about the abstract concept known as cliché.  Aren’t I so nice?

For those of you that don’t know what this term means, or didn’t within the five seconds of me mentioning it immediately go to google and type it in hoping to have a definition spat back at you, cliché is defined as a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. Really what we’re looking at here is the overused aspect, as this term has a few cultural stigmas that we have so fantastically weighed it down with over the years regarding how we see and go about storytelling.  Cliché in the simplest of explanations is that one action within a story that you’ve seen done over and over and over again.  You’ve all heard em over the years.  Cop gets shot and he’s two weeks from retirement. He’s a strong headed city boy who falls in love with the simple country girl beauty.  Some guy has a really big gun and is pretty much killing everyone while vomiting out one-liners like there’s a part of his brain specifically made for that one purpose.  Stuff like this has been in media since the dawn of time, and they are likely never to really go away, since we eat this stuff up like there’s no tomorrow.  This isn’t particularly a bad thing as a lot of famous cinema revolve their stories around abusing the cliché or even parodying it.  With something like Monty Python and The Holy Grail, we see the daring adventure of King Arthur traveling to Camelot as the original story is pretty much thrown into a fire and replaced with a guy hopping around banging coconuts together (seriously if you havn’t seen this film and enjoy being happy I would highly recommend it).   The entire premise of the movie Last Action Hero is in fact a parody of the clichéd settings and characters we always find popping up in big budget Hollywood films.  In this film we follow Arnold Schwarzenegger starring as your typical gung-ho badass cop who doesn’t play by the rules, drives the cool car, and always saves the day. This right here would be your typical film, if it weren’t for the fact that his character is in a movie, within a movie.  It’s like inception except I don’t have to sit through another rendition of “Watch this not win Leo the Oscar again.” I know he finally won one but it was like waiting for reckoning day it was just not gonna happen anytime in my life.

Regardless of how fun parody and cliché can be, we still have the negative connotations behind this word for a very important reason.  Certain methods of story-telling or literary techniques even, try very hard when attempting to convey emotion to its viewer/reader/whatever form you’re seeing this in.  A good story will explain through visuals and dialogue exactly what it wants you to feel, having usually a creative premise that brings out a well-deserved reaction.  A bad story will use a past method that’s been done to death, trying to win over some cheap emotions to either fill space or make itself look better.  Look at something like absolutely every Mario game ever.  You guys know Mario right? That delightful Italian stereotype that goes around murdering turtles and mushrooms with legs all to save this Stockholm princess who can never stay in one place for more then 5 minutes.  My explanation might be a bit off but you get the picture.  Now with Mario, big bad Bowser is usually the bad guy, and for good reason.  He’s a jerk, he kidnaps the princess and threatens the world yadda yadda.  He’s clearly the bad guy, and Nintendo has no intention of breaking the formula of trying to flesh him out a bit more as to why he’s such a jerk all the time.  But this isn’t a bad thing.  In fact it’s probably one of the best things they’ve decided to do.  In having his motives be barely ever explained they clearly tell us that the plot is about as important as politics is to a duck. . . .it’s not at all.  The real selling point of these games is the style of gameplay.  All Mario games really try to win us over with how we go about playing the game, so spending time on a plot that they know you won’t care about is useless.  It just doesn’t matter, and they don’t bother with trying to upgrade the over-the-top, clichéd cookie cutter story that has worked for all these years to keep us interested.

HOWEVER. For something where the main objective is not interaction, or to provoke thought, and is just solely about story and character development; clichéd writing is a death sentence.  My all time favorite example, or least favorite I guess since I absolutely hate scenes like this with every fiber of my being, comes from a recently popular (unfortunately) animated show called Sword Art Online.  For all of those out there that don’t bother with watching nonsense kids shows from japan, Sword Art Online was an anime about a community of people that were trapped within the virtual world of an online video game. The premise of the show was that these people needed to band together and beat the game to earn their freedom.  The constant shadow over this story however, was that if you died within the game, you would then die in real life.  The fear of losing it all within a brief moment was terrifying, and within a few episodes we were really coming to terms with this as many of the players started dropping like flies. Main characters were being mapped out before us but we would always wonder if they would soon get the axe too as the threat was real.  Unfortunately that idea is waaaaay too interesting to happen to something like Sword Art Online, because as the story went on you realized no one important ever died.  Whenever someone did die on screen, they were a completely minor character we had just met, or in my absolute least favorite case, they were brought in simply to make the main character, and in relation the viewer, feel sad.

My example of course, comes from the third episode, yes the third episode, three goddam episodes in the show and they’ve already set up nonsense clichés.  Our main character is something of a loner.  A teenage boy playing the game for fun and gets trapped inside it unfortunately just like everyone else.  The episode starts off happy, everything is great.  Kirito, our main dude, who is Japanese cus this comes from Japan, has met a rag-tag group of adventurers who have about as much fleshed out character as moss growing under a rock.  He seems to be having a good time for once and they do a wonderful job of showing him getting along with his new pals, montaging every little bit of their teamwork and bonding while continuing to ignore the fact we still barely know who these people are.  Can you tell how I feel about this yet? Do you understand what’s going to happen to them?  That right there is the power of the cliché.  We meet these characters and immediately not even the show cares about delving into their traits or backstories. This should paint such a lovely picture of where they’re gonna end up because they’re all just so important.  If you couldn’t tell they die.

While the episode carries on and I continue to not even remember if three of these five characters even had names to begin with, we see a new development appear with the token female of the group and the main character.  We learn slowly that she has incredible issues with self-confidence, worrying constantly that she will die in the game because she can’t handle the pressure.  Kirito then reassures her that he will protect her throughout the episode, constantly showing us images of her opening up to him and becoming a brighter and happier person.  Oh man everything is looking up from here.  The group wants to go and buy a base of operations, they’ve been doing a lot of training and getting stronger.  Everything’s just all around sunshine and rainbows.  Thankfully something goes terribly wrong and everyone dies except for the main character. Only half way in the episode actually which is pretty interesting.  After the commercial break we come back to see that the world has gone to CHRISTMASSSSSSS. YAYYYY ITS CHRISTMAAAAS!!! But Kirito is sad. Well of course who wouldn’t be you just saw all your friends die.  I mean you can’t remember any of them past the token female but neither can we so you’re in the clear. We learn later on that there’s a special Christmas event going on where certain players could fight to find an item that has the ability to BRING A DEAD PLAYER BACK TO LIFE.  Clearly he’s going to bring back tokemale (I combined token and female here, it’s very clever) because he is distraught over her deaths and seeks atonement for not being able to protect her.  Long story short, he fights demon santa clause and gets the item, which unfortunately doesn’t work. Kirito goes back to his hotel room, sad and discouraged, and we generally feel bad for him.  And this right here, is where it all goes to hell.  Upon coming back to his room, he finds a secret message left by Tokemale (yes I know she has a name but I’ve already made the joke I’m too far gone I can’t go back) that could only be unlocked during Christmas.  The message is pretty much a recorded voicemail of her explaining to Kirito that she predicted she would not be able to handle the pressure and would eventually succumb to death, which is what actually happened, causing Kirito to become even sadder.  At this point he’s delving into sad puppy dog levels so you can’t help but feel bad for him.  I did too I swear I’m not completely heartless.

Near the end of the recording, Tokemale states that she has a lot of time left with this recording that she planned ahead of time to make and therefore should be able to control how long it lasts, so she decides to fill the time, with singing.  Yes. . .singing. Kirito’s dead friend’s, final message, is her humming a Christmas tune to him, from the grave, after all of the shit that he went through to try and bring her back.  This right here is the shit frosting, on the already septic tank of a cake this story is.  Now you may say, “Well what’s wrong with that?  It’s pretty sad, yea but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.”  To which I would reply, “Why yes of course.”  This is probably the epitome of sadness.  It’s incredibly sad.  To the point where it’s absolutely nonsense.  We have just spent near half an hour learning about this character and what she means to our hero.  Then we watch as she dies in front of his eyes, we see his journey to try and bring her back to only fail in the end, ON CHRISTMAS NO LESS, to then have this final scene where she does one of the most stereotypically “pure” things to do, just to thrust that final nail in Kirito’s emotional coffin.  Having all of these obviously sad things, piled one on top of the other, clearly makes for a sad story, that’s the intention, the emotion they’re trying to get from you.  But this right here.  This is cheap emotion.  This is something so obviously sad, so incredibly negative you could view it in no other way.  This is the Bowser of story-telling.  This episode is just hammering home constantly blow after blow of depressing scenes within such a short amount of time trying desperately to get you to feel for these characters that you barely even know.  The amount of running time that this person lasted was about as long as I take showers, yet within that time she showed no personality besides depression, anxiety, and general sadness, and the main character held nothing for her besides grief over losing her. And to top it all off, we never hear about her ever again.  She maybe gets brought up once or twice in conversation but the next episode is a happy go lucky romp about helping a little girl save her pet dragon.  The hell am I supposed to get invested in this if not even the show wants to get invested.  So to keep you going, to save time and money, the writers brew up the most depressing story they can think of, jamming every possible sad thing they can within a short window, trying to make you feel as much as possible, by pandering to scenes that are so obviously and deliberately sad it becomes laughable.  I honest to god laughed at this scene.  Not because I’m a terrible person, no that affects other things.  I laughed because I couldn’t feel any worse.  They already pushed the emotional state of the episode to its highest point but tried to milk it for more and more, using stereotypical methods, delving into that taboo cliché.  Everything that conveyed a sadness in this half hour of animation, everything that attempted to brew that emotion within the viewer was basic, absolutely one-sided, and complex to a degree that kindergarteners could point out.  Nothing was unique, everything was pandering and obvious.  The entirety of it was one clichéd mess.

These stories and actions have been repeated for years, making it increasingly difficult for anything “new” to come out and really surprise us.  Anything that comes out nowadays has to fight centuries of stories before it, trying to carve out something that makes it truly unique, or at least does its job well enough to become interesting.  Without this kind of effort and creativity, these bodies of entertainment end up dried out before they even have a chance to explain themselves.  Yet making something exciting and emotional isn’t impossible.  Authors don’t constantly worry about skirting around the line of what is and what is not cliché, they simply work at perfecting their stories, twisting the methods in which they are told slightly, attempting to bring in new life to their ideas.  Cliché in itself is not a bad thing, it often drives a large amount of comedy, and can even be used to tell a pretty dam good action story.   However, when writing becomes lazy, people look to fill their time with repetitive, predictable scenarios.  They shove in ideas that have been done to death, and used solely to try and speed up the process of connecting all the pieces of this story together.  Think of it like using Wikipedia to write out an essay.  Yea I could put some effort into actually making my own carefully worded sentences filled with factual evidence that I researched myself.  Orrrrrrrr I could copy and paste this stuff that’s already written right here and get the easy grade. Cliché is the idea that it’s worked before, so it will work again, and hopefully by knowing more about it, and what makes something clichéd and stereotypical, we can invest some effort into making and supporting some truly amazing entertainment.

Thank you all for reading my first article I pretty much just rolled out everything I felt was necessary to say in discussing my opinions.  If you’d like to see more examples of what makes something cliché, or of a story revolving around the cliché I would definitely recommend watching Last Action Hero, as well as for the anime fans, the first episode of Tower of Druaga, a nifty little tale of adventure and fantasy that has the entirety of the first episode dripping with exaggerated parody.  Of course leave a comment if you have any ideas or particular burning questions you’d like to share on this article or simply the style itself as they will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks again for bearing with my filth and have a wonderful day.