[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.

Fate EXTELLA: The Umbral Star PS4 [REVIEW] #musoumay

Ah yes, the Fate musous. Yes, Plural.

One that took surprisingly long, despite being one of the more requested crossovers with the formula, according to many japanese surveys results.

And oddly wasn’t snapped up by Tecmo Koei, but by Marvelous, which is both a good and a bad thing, for reasons we’re gonna get into later. But regardless, it’s nice to be reminded that these kind of games aren’t actually a patented formula…. at least i don’t think anymore, but still, this game is another proof that you can attempt a similar formula and Koei won’t sue off the back of their old, very vague patent.

I mean, they did make a “sequel” after this, so i’d think it’s safe to say that at least you can make “musou-likes”, if you so desire. And if the company that owns Senran Kagura can have more than a crack at it, you know the “low budget” excuse doesn’t quite hold as you’d expect and/or hope.

Continua a leggere “Fate EXTELLA: The Umbral Star PS4 [REVIEW] #musoumay”

[EXPRESSO] Doctor Strange in The Multiverse Madness (2022) | Mystics From NY

FIY: I’m one of those that didn’t watch Wandavision before heading into this for many reasons (including not really caring nor intending to pay or use Disney +), and i was right in assuming that i didn’t need to… as they give you just enough info to follow the plot of this movie without spoiling that show or anything. It’s a perfected science of its own at this point.

THAT out of the way, i was honestly looking forward to this one, having liked a lot the first Dr. Strange movie, and having Sam Raimi on board as director for the sequel did please me indeed.

The plot sees Dr. Strange deal further with the concept of the multiverse, as a girl with the power to travel to different parallel universes appears in NY being followed by an eldritch monster, sent by Wanda The Scarlet Witch to kidnap the girl. Helped by his fellow mystics and the new girl, Strange will have to find a way to stop Wanda while traversing various realities in the multiverse…

While it starts a bit ho-hum, it does “gear up” and delivers on the expected package of magic, mystical brawls, multiverse jumping (used for what could or could be not “cameos”, let’s just put it like that), wizard duels, and i’m glad Raimi was allowed – to the extent a Marvel movie will find comfortable – to lean more on the horror elements and how he likes to handle them, which helps this entry in standing out a bit more.

Overall, Dr Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, does deliver on the title, it’s pretty fun, and it thankfully not bloated as some other Marvel movies in terms of runtime.

Nothing “great”, but i quite liked it.

Mileage might and will vary, as usual.

[EXPRESSO] Pacific Rim: The Black (Season Two) (2022) | Kaiju Kult

Well, look’s who back, a series that i honestly even forgot existed, but they did announced this second (and final) season, guess that branding helped.

So yeah, while i didn’t hate the first season, Pacific Rim The Black was kinda the perfect example of “Netflix anime”, as in, it looks like anime, it’s produced by an anime company and japanese directors, but you could tell it’s written by non-japanese staff.

Which isn’t necessarily an issue, but you just can tell right away and it creates this slight disconnect, and due to that once again it’s hard to say for whom exactly this is made for exactly, given it’s still made in okayish but still janky 3D CG (and the specific “3D CG anime jank” of Polygon Pictures output), which is kinda offputting for most of the self-proclaimed “anime enthusiasts”.

But on the flipside, it’s not that bad, it’s honestly alright, it’s entertaining enough and this one picks from the point where the first season started having some interesting worldbuilding and character development, and manages to make the plot have some purpose (though it kinda has to, since this is the final season), introducing a death cult of Kaiju worshippers.

It’s an actual improvement over the first season, the writing it’s still nothing impressive, but it’s better, though despite being just another 7 episodes, i did wonder if it was ever supposed to be longer, as some resolutions and events happen very quickly, almost abruptly so.

Again, it’s alright, but as the idea of anime series based on Pacific Rim makes a lot of sense if you think about it, it kinda let you wish it had better animation and a slightly longer lenght.

Still, for a spin-off “western-ish anime” series that didn’t need to exist in the first place… it’s decent.

[EXPRESSO] Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (2022) | & Knuckles

Might as well, since i did watch the first live action Sonic movie 2 years ago, i didn’t hate it, so let’s see if there are some improvements or whatever. Shame that since it’s dubbed here i won’t be able to hear Idris Elba voicing Knuckles, but what can you do?

After banishing Eggman/Robotnik into another dimension at the end of the first movie, Sonic and his acquired human family move to a peaceful town in Montana. Sonic tries to moonlight as a superhero-vigilante but as he causes more trouble by doing so he’s recommended to lay low and wait until his powers will be needed again.

Turns out that time is sooner than expected, as Dr. Robotnik comes back from his fungine dimensional exile, bringing a powerful creature known as Knuckles fighting for him in search of the fabled Master Emerald, while Sonic finds an ally in the two-tailed fox Tails.

To my surprise, this one (in a similar fashion to the actual videogame sequel of the original Sonic The Hedgehog game) is better, still nothing mind blowing, but it’s definitely a step up, not only as the story ups the ante (as expected), introduces more characters, but also has more lore about the world from where Sonic was born, with the owls vs echidnas wars and stuff.

It’s just more fleshed out all around, with even the human characters having some funny bits, the various elements from the game being integrated more into the plot, which is pretty much predictable all the way but quite enjoyable, in no small part thanks – once again – to Jim Carrey’s gargantuan serving of acting ham as Doctor Robotnik, but also due to the more substantial plot.

It’s honestly a decent family-kids movie with a 90s flair (deliberately and fittingly so).

War Of The Colossal Beast (1958) [REVIEW] | Recasting The Giant

Last year we tackled The Amazing Colossal Man, so it just common courtesy to cover the sequel, War Of The Colossal Beast, released just 1 year after and again directed, written and produced by the master of rear-projection cinema, Bert I. Gordon.

And yes, this isn’t just a loose remake/redo that might or might not take place after the original, this is actually a sequel, which isn’t always a given for this kind of movie, even more since it wasn’t marketed as a sequel to The Amazing Colossal Man (hence the title that doesn’t include “colossal man” in it) and the cast is different. But like the first movie, it was originally released as a double-feature, this time with another Bert I. Gordon flick, Attack Of The Puppet People, which i already mentioned in the review for The Amazing Colossal Man (and has an amazing Rifftrax version out).

After an alarming number of food delivery trucks robberies in Mexico, Joyce Manning, the sister of lieutenant Glenn Manning, starts to investigate and believes his brother, mutated into the giant, actually survived being shot by a tank and falling off the Boulder Dam, as she suspect he might be behind the delivery trucks being robbed of food.

Continua a leggere “War Of The Colossal Beast (1958) [REVIEW] | Recasting The Giant”

[EXPRESSO] Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) | Hostile Makeover

There’s a lot that could be said about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, but you won’t hear it from me now since i really didn’t bother with anything aside the original and the delightful spoof sequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. I knew this was gonna be another “Godzilla style” sequel to the original that ignores everything else, so i rewatched that for a refresher before this one released as a Netflix exclusive a couple of days ago, but that’s about it.

Set decades after the events of the original movie, the story focuses on the aged serial killer Leatherface, targeting a group of young entrepreneurs that arrive in the ghost town of Harlow to basically sell it to rich people, and him coming in contact with a veneful survivor of his killings.

Yes, it’s Angela from Sleepaway Camp. Seriously, it’s not like it could be anyone else, and the movie right away it makes no secret that Sally is still alive, but basically handles it’s legacy character in a disappointing fashion, feels like they wanted to avoid a complete mimicry of what Halloween 2018 did… even thought otherwise it’s exactly what they did anyway.

As in, the attempt is pretty clear in intention, the result is more akin to to Halloween Kills, sans the messy baggage (and overburdened script), among other things.

It’s not “good”, but it’s quite entertaining in the same way as that movie was, as in delivers gore, lots of kills and good production values, the modern stuff makes sense, but in terms of story and characters it’s a mostly forgettable wash.

For a direct-to-video sequel it’s “fine”, and since it’s also really short, i say give it a watch if you like the series or slashers in general, just don’t expect much beside some entertaining kills.

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.

Continua a leggere “Nintendo Direct 9/02/2022 | Rites Of N”

[EXPRESSO] Demon Slayer: Mugen Train (2020) | Eternal Pyre

Fuck it, i’m reviewing this one as well, since it did eventually arrive just now in theathers here in Italy…. after being made available on Amazon Prime Video months earlier, but i’m willing to watch it again to support anime cinema releases, and to properly assess things further for a review.

Since the series it’s the more recent shonen manga success story, i doubt i need to introduce Demon Slayer/Kimetsu No Yaiba, even more since i feel its success lies in being pretty straightforward and easy to connect, as its set in a fantasy Japan of old, where demons lurk at night and feast on people, but are fought back by a secret order of samurai with mystical blades and techniques, the Demon Slayer Corps.

The protagonist, Tanjiro, becomes a Demon Slayer in hopes to undo the curse that made his sister Nezuko a demon, and along the way befriendes the cowardly lightining fast swordman Zenitsu, as well as Inosuke, a wild boy wearing a boar mask.

The plot revolves around the trio being tasked to – alongside an experienced demon slayer called Rengoku – embark a train and protect the people on it from eventual demon ambushes, and this isn’t an original story, a mostly disconnected one-off adventure, as most of these shonen anime movies are, but actually bridges the events of the first and second season, and has some important stuff happening in it, so i wouldn’t recommend jumping into this if you haven’t seen the first season (or red the equivalent manga chapters), for spoiler reasons.

That said, it can be watched fine on its own, and rewatching it made clear it’s a pretty good shonen manga film, with excellent animation from ufotable as expected, funny moments, good drama, likeable characters and intense fights with high stakes.

Remember Kancolle? It’s back, in second season form!

Not even two weeks into 2022, and we’re getting befuddling news like that the second season of the Kancolle anime series isn’t scrapped, but it’s coming out this fall (October 2022), after 6 years of absolutely nothing aside from messages from Kadokawa confirming the thing was actually being made somewhere, somehow, and technically not cancelled.

Guess it was true, but it’s still a surprise considering how Kancolle as a brand has been eclipsed by competitor Azur Lane, who brought the formula into international hands, making more bazillions along the way, to say nothing of the other gacha free to play games with similar themes of “antropomorphized anime girls versions of weapons… and mostly WW II warships”.

The brand as a whole it’s not dead, and Kancolle still does decently in its own original browser game incarnation back in Japan, which i guess makes sense, since Kadokawa Games’ division never planned to make the game (officially) available outside of Japan, but i guess someone in the upper echelon of Kadokawa its kicking himself he didn’t push to localize the darn thing or make a smarthphone version to also make available overseas, since Azur Lane did exactly that, and stole Kancolle’s thunder and a huge part of the potential fanbase.

So yeah, i guess that other, different Kancolle anime series that was announced – and also confirmed as “not dead” over time- it’s also being made, eventually.

Guess i’ll have to review the first season of the Kancolle anime and the sequel movie this summer, i’ve already reviewed both Azur Lane The Animation and the slice-of-life spin-off Slow Ahead, so why the fuck not?