[EXPRESSO] Junji Ito Maniac (2023) | Adaptation Curse

At this point in time i believe there is a factory somewhere producing monkey paws exclusively for adaptation of Junji Ito works, because you’d have to be a heathen to ask for more after the incredibly disappointing animated anthology known as Junji Ito Collection.

It hurts even more since this “sequel series” (once again handled by Studio DEEN as “Collection” was) basically showed up out of nowhere on Netflix, while the Uzumaki anime announced back in 2019 and supposed to release October last year has been postponed again.

In a fitting roundabout way, i’m not approaching in good spirit this 12 episode series, which also opts for sticking two short stories in one episode.

And honestly i’m not really surprised to realize that Maniac makes Junji Ito Collection look better in comparison, at the very least it had a better selection of stories, while this one seems to be running on fumes, so much that they do Tomie… AGAIN. Actually, they don’t do even that, just the chapters about the photos out of context and don’t even give that a conclusion.

Animation it’s mostly fine (CGI aside), but the selection is odd, questionable at best, the many stories often don’t work for a reason or another, be it editing, excessively brief runtime, lackluster direction, this when the stories themselves aren’t just kinda weak, underwhelming, not scary and forgettable to begin with.

There are some standout pieces, like the “Hanging Baloons” episode, and some odd comedic picks like The Bizarre Hikazuki Siblings, and it does get a bit better halfway through, but it’s not enough, not for a second attempt/season, and while it’s NOT the worst thing ever… please just go experience the various Junji Ito short stories in their original manga form instead of this sub-par anime anthology.

A quick ramble about the Klonoa Phantom Reverie Series collection

Klonoa has been one of my favourite series since a decade or plus ago i discovered it… as a teen by playing the second game, Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil, on the old “fat” PS2 model. Yep, this isn’t a childhood fascination, i just loved the frigging series since i stumbled upon it, so thanks to some handy “gift money” i pre-ordered this new collection… one that Namco Bandai just kinda put out there without much marketing and fanfare, aside from revealing it in a Nintendo Direct.

I got the PS4 version for performance’s sake, and because i wanted something good to keep on the shelf – alphabetically -before Knack, so let’s just give a quick overview of this collection after spending a couple hours or so with it.

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[EXPRESSO] Ghost In The Shell -Stand Alone Complex 2045: Sustainable Warfare (2022) | Cyborg Cut

I’ve reviewed the first season of Stand Alone Complex 2045 before in detail, but as a refresher for season 2 finally arriving (2 years after the first one, dang) later this month, i’d figured i watch the film-like compilation cut of Season 1, titled Substainable Warfare, recently arrived on Netflix.

Btw, yes, this actually follows the continuity from the older Stand Alone Complex series, being set 11 years after the event of the movie Solid State Society, BUT, in typical GITS fashion, it’s also a separate entity that can be enjoyed on its own… even though in this case you really need to have some familiarity with the Stand Alone Complex series to get the most out of it.

As a very quick primer, GITS it’s about an unit of elite special agents, Section 9, led by Motoko Kusanagi abd working for the Japanese goverment, with its members having various degrees of cybernetic implants and specialized skills used to deal in terrorist attacks, infiltrations, hacking incident, and all that cyberpunk jazz.

Here we have the group mostly disbanded and acting as a mercenary unit in America, until the rise of the so-called “Post Humans” leds to Section 9 being re-formed to deal with the issue.

The recut itself it’s well done (though it does away completely with the “geezers bank heist” episode, shame), in terms of the material… well, it’s still better than Arise, though it tries a bit too hard to update/modernize the cyberpunk themes, and this first part/season ends on a cliffhanger when it starts getting good.

Then there’s the okay but kinda questionable choice of artstyle, going for a fairly good 3D CG that sadly doesn’t feel THAT much improved upon, 11 years after the same animation studio (Sola Digital Arts) curated Applesee Alpha in similar fashion.

Nintendo Direct 9/02/2022 | Rites Of N

That time again, time to put on your robe and attend the ceremony with expectations so far out to make worshippers of the Old Gods looks like wannabe zealots!

Especially since all fair criticism of the company is dropped by most people (and publications) when a Direct happens. But again, this is sadly “business as usual”, let’s move on.

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Shintaro Kago Artbook ARTBOOK REVIEW

Given my adoration for the ero-guro master that is Shintaro Kago, i was gonna jump immediatly at the chance of adding an artbook of his to my collection (which it’s quite extensive, if i say so myself)… and i did. Had to import it, since it was gonna be handled by french publisher The Mansion Press, instead of the many italian and international publishers who usually publish his works (including underground – and fellow italians – firms like the excellent Hollow Press).

Not that it mattered, since The Mansion Press ships worlwide, it’s an artbook, and it happens to be localized in english.

“Localized” in the sense the publishing credits and the few titles-thems of the pieces are translated in english. It’s absolutely 100 % import friendly, so worry not on this regard.

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Now i got an X-Box One, ho ho ho

Yes, for a change there are now some reviews you can expect from me since i got hold of an X-Box One X on the fairly cheap, though i do emphasize the “SOME” as there’s not really much to collect for this console, even if you’re a collector and mostly play-collect physical copies on consoles.

Sure as hell it’s more doable than getting a PS5 before 2023 for me, so look forward to some of the…very few notable X-Box One “esclusives-identifiable” games over the year!

On a unrelated tangent (which i forgot to mention two days ago), i won’t be reviewing Scream V as i honestly never watched the series, for various reasons not worth explaining here, i’m not even sure i will watch this one, at all.

Tomorrow we’ll start again with the full length reviews, too, so look forward to it!

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #4: Attack Of The Super Monsters (1982)

It really IS Christmas time, because today we’re doing a movie that’s both dinosaurs and vintage tokusatsu cheesiness from the 80s. How can you go wrong? You simply can’t.

Add drill spaceship to the mix and you really can’t go wrong.

Though it’s worth pointing out this is actually an edited down TV series (i suppose it’s just the first 4 episodes of the series mashed together, as it was a common practice at the time), Dinosaur War Aizenborg, itself quite the interesting piece of media, as it’s an hybrid anime and live action show, with sentai style rubber suit and stop motion puppets action for the dinosaurs and giant monsters, but animation for the humans and most regular animals, played over live-action miniature sets.

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Alice: Otherlands (2015) [REVIEW] | Uncertain Fate Kickstarted

While Alice Asylum (as said in the review of Madness Returns) is now officially in the pre-production stage of development, the path to this potential third game in the series hasn’t been a walk in the park for anyone involved, and it was bound to be full of bumps and by-products because a third game was never certain, so it makes sense that American Mc Gee tried to bring closure to his series back in 2015, with the project known as “Alice Otherlands”, made of artworks and two short animated films produced by Spicy Horse, funded via Kickstarter, as the owner of the Mc Gee’sAlice IP itself, EA, wasn’t interested in funding a third game, at all, so they had to pivot the project.

Fuck EA, btw. Just in case you needed more incentives to do so. You didn’t.

What came out of it where – mostly – the two aforementioned short films, Leviathan – A Journey Through Jules Verne’s Mind and A Night At The Opera.

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Talking bout that new dang Nintendo Direct

So, as it’s customary and cyclical event by now, a new Nintendo Direct dropped at midnight today, and i have something to blabber on about without planning much.

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Wario Ware: Get It Together NSWITCH [REVIEW] | Bugfixing Bonanza

Since i have been waiting a lot for Nintendo to resurrect the Wario Ware series, especially since they kinda blew it on Wii U with Game & Wario and since then we got simply a collection on 3DS (which is still better treatment other not-major Nintendo franchises got in decades), i was quite ready for a new one to come out, and then bam, Nintendo Direct, new Wario Ware. Yeah boi!

This one i preordered at a slightly lower price, because 50 bucks for a Wario Ware seemed a bit much in this day and age, but we’ll get to that later.

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