Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones Netflix.jpg 

A recently-cancelled Netflix series occurring within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with occasional references to the films, starring the eponymous character, and has a noir tone, dealing with dark themes such as post-traumatic stress disorder. A bit more human interest than superhero, given the relative lack of action and science-fiction elements prevalent in the films, but definitely has its moments.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Elf Queen of Shannara


The third and penultimate entry of author Terry Brooks’ Heritage of Shannara tetralogy opens with the eponymous character (who is not the protagonist), Ellenroh Elessedil, the Queen of the Elves, watching the active volcano Killeshan appear ominous. Wren Ohmsford serves as the chief heroine of the story, meeting the Addershag and learning that the caves of the Rocs hold the answer to whether Elves still exist in Shannara. She and her companion Garth eventually see of the legendary avians, during which lupine Shadowen that had been pursuing them attack. They quickly meet the Wing Rider Tiger Ty, who joins the two travelers.

Their next destination is the island Morrowindl, with another companion, the Splinterscat Stresa, soon accompanying them, and leading them through the jungle In Ju. Yet another companion joins their party, a Tree Squeak ultimately named Faun, and the Elf Aurin Striate, or Owl, escorts them to the Elven city of Arborlon, where they meet the Queen. Demons eventually attack, the Eleven High Council is convened, and Wren receives the mission of transporting the city back to the Westland via a method known as the Loden. The other characters previously introduced in the tetralogy, don’t receive chapters until late into the novel, with Coil Ohmsford, for instance, still incarcerated by Rimmer Dall.

A conflict with the spider-like Wisteron concludes the third installment, which is generally enjoyable, with plenty of action and mythos to go around, and generally being a straightforward fantasy novel, although as usual, some may find Brooks’ name choices for the characters, and occasionally the places, to be odd. That the series occurs in our world in a distant post-doomsday future is also generally an afterthought, with little reference given to this backstory. Regardless, those who appreciated the prior two entries of the tetralogy will most likely enjoy the third, and I very much look forward to reading the concluding story.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya

Knights of the Zodiac Saint Seiya poster.jpg 

A contemporary CG adaptation of the Saint Seiya manga, following the eponymous Seiya, who is recruited to be a Bronze Knight ultimately serving a modern incarnation of the Goddess Athena, as he also seeks his missing sister. I haven't read the manga, so I can't judge the first six episodes' loyalty towards the source material, and there are things such as a character's resemblance to the X-Men's Wolverine, a Yoda wannabe trainer, and the convention of characters shouting the names of their attacks not translating well to the Anglophone world, but it's definitely watchable, if unmemorable.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Westworld (TV series)

The letter "W" inside a circle as white text on a grey background. 

Based on the '70s film by author Michael Crichton, the HBO series focuses on the eponymous technologically-advanced theme park, exploring the lives of its android hosts in addition to those of the humans who maintain it. The second season references other similar parks such as the Japanese-themed Shogun World. Fairly enjoyable with good effects, though it often verges on human (sometimes android-humanoid) interest.

Saturday, July 20, 2019


Head of a dragon staring at the viewer. He has spikes on his curved neck and antler-like projections over his eyes.

In the second installment of author Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle, which the writer dedicates to family and friends, Eragon and his dragon Saphira have just saved the Varden from the forces of the ruler of the Empire, King Galbatorix, and now must travel to the land of the elves, Ellesméra, to further his studies in magic and swordsmanship so he can be a better Dragon Rider, although he knows not whom he can trust, given occasional chaos and betrayal. In the meantime, his cousin Roran deals with his own struggles back home in Carvahall, potentially endangering Eragon.

Preceding the main text is a synopsis of the first installment of the tetralogy, in which Eragon had discovered a polished blue stone in the Spine that turned out to be a dragon egg from which his dragon Saphira hatched, becoming a Dragon Rider capable of casting magic. When humans arrived in the novels’ setting, Alagaësia, they too became part of the mentioned order. A Dragon Rider named Galbatorix had his own dragon killed by Urgals, driving him mad and provoking him to steal another dragon, decimating the order, with the beetle-like Ra’zac seeking the egg Eragon got from the Spine.

Eragon ultimately names his dragon and embarks upon an adventure with Carvahall’s storyteller Brom, finding that he’s part of the insurgent group the Varden after meeting with his friend Jeod. Eragon is captured by the enemy yet escapes imprisonment with the elf Arya, and finds further companionship in Murtagh, the son of Morzan, the last of the Forsaken. Following the battle at the headquarters of the Varden, Eragon falls unconscious but ultimately recovers, telepathically communicated to by the being Togira Ikonoka, who tells him to go the elven land of Ellesméra.

Three days after the battle at Tronjheim, with Eragon having earned the title of Shadeslayer for defeating Durza, although doing so was luck for the Dragon Rider, since Arya had destroyed the giant gem Isidar Mithrim to distract Durza and allow Eragon to kill him. His companion Murtagh is captured by Urgals, and Ajihad urges Eragon to not let the Varden fall into chaos, given their eventual search for a new leader, with various factions manipulating the Dragon Rider. As Saphira delights in her newfound firebreathing capabilities, Nasuada is suggested as the successor to leadership of the Varden.

Meanwhile, back in the ruins of Carvahall, Roran hunts among the remains of his abode, blaming his cousin Eragon for the death of his father Garrow. A magician named Trianna urges Eragon to go to Ellesméra with Arya to hone his skills, and thus, the two leave, traveling with a few dwarves who go northward on rafts. They eventually reach he wilderness harboring the elves known as Du Weldenvarden, where Eragon trains. In the battle concluding the second book, certain twists occur, alongside the eventual reunion of Eragon with his cousin, who with fellow villagers dealt with the Ra’zac.

Paolini follows the main text with a helpful pronunciation guide, and indications in his acknowledgements section that he began creating his series when he was but fifteen years old, thanking his parents, sister, and editor, and noting that when he published the second book at twenty-one, his series was still a trilogy. After this is a history of Alagaësia, called in-universe the Domia Abr Wyrda, the name Alagaësia itself meaning fertile land. Dwarves provide the most accurate calendar for the universe, with the present time in the tetralogy’s chronology being 7982 After Creation by the god of the dwarves.

The author provides a databank and a sample chapter from the series’ third entry where Eragon and Roran ride Saphira together, and his biography notes that the scenery of his native State of Montana partially inspired his literary creations. Overall, the second entry of the Inheritance Cycle is pretty much on par with its predecessor, which is a good thing, even if the franchise is somewhat derivative of other works such as the Star Wars saga. Paolini occasionally provides interesting twists on mythological creatures, such as dwarves having seven toes on each foot, which very much helps his novels stand apart from other fantasy narratives.

Evangelion: Death (True)²

Largely a compilation of scenes from the Evangelion anime, including the time-padding elevator scene from one of the anime's later episodes, although it does have a bit of new footage, and was overall enjoyable.


Logo for the Sanrio Netflix series Aggretsuko.png

Anime series told in fifteen-minute segments with an anthropomorphic character-only cast spearheaded by the eponymous red panda Retsuko, who has an accounting job at an office she really doesn't care much for, largely due to her misogynist boss, the porcine Ton, and after a hard day's work she loves to vent her rage to death-metal music at a Karaoke joint. She ultimately wishes to get married and quit her job, and the second season introduces her Beloved Smother, who too wants her daughter married although she insists in arranged ones. The second season also introduces a romance, the donkey Tadano, whom she meets in a driver's education class.

All in all, I definitely enjoyed this series, and can very much relate with Retsuko due to her disposition in life, although I fortunately haven’t had a boss that has driven me over the edge at times, and can take lessons in my paid work experience. The second season also introduces a coworker named Anai, who loves to text people who he felts have wronged him, something I’ll admit to have done online with message board comments and such. Ton also has some redeeming aspects, and more borders on Jerkass Has a Point and even Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and I’d definitely recommend this series especially to furries.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Neon Genesis Evangelion

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A mecha anime with some good action scenes and religious overtones, although there are some points where absolutely nothing happens for a significant amount of time (an elevator scene in a later episode comes to mind), and the ending feels somewhat abrupt.