I didn’t plan to do another “first impressions” piece on a recent anime release, especially since the original manga by Tatsuya Endo (whom you might be already familiar with, as he previously worked on fan-favourite TISTA) sky-rocketed in popularity after debutting on Shonen Jump in 2019, and especially last year as it received wider releases globally.

A relatively new series on Jump with an original premise that doesn’t fall in the “battle manga” genre, but instead goes for a spy theme was bound to turn heads and be popular, and eventually get an anime series. So here we are, and while this series doesn’t need my “push” to become popular or anything (as it’s also streaming in most countries on Crunchyroll, which is obviously marketing the hell out of it) it’s one of the few shows i’ve decided to actually follow as they air this season (alongside Ya Boy Kongming!, of course), so might as well say something about it.

Once again, i’m considering the first 3 episodes as a basis to draw these first impressions from.

Continua a leggere “Spy X Family (2022) [ANIME FIRST IMPRESSIONS]”

[EXPRESSO] The King’s Man (2021) | Tonal Clash Service

I quite liked the first Kingsman movie, even enjoyed the second one (even if it was uber cheesy, with the robodogs and Elton John and all), but i feel that maybe it would have been best if this didn’t became a series, as we are already going for the “origins of” storyline, but whatever.

The film – as you would expect – it’s about the foundation of the Kingsman’s intelligence agency, borne in Britain during the events of WW I by elite warriors that woved to silently defend humanity from its from villains and tyrants, which puts them against Grigori Rasputin and other conspirators led by a mysterious figure, intent in making Germany overwhelm Britain in the conflict.

This is not a bad movie, mind you, nor bad movies. I do feel like they had scripts for two different movies set in the Kingsman universe, and – maybe – afraid that with the current situation of theathers they couldn’t get another chance (also due to hypotethical series fatigue) at it, so here you go, you get the story of Orlando Oxford’s son wanting to enlist in the war to prove his worth, with a fairly serious war movie tone, and the over the top comic book style spy action fights that you’d expect from a Kingsman movie.

Both are quite decent and entertaining in themselves, which is laudable, but the tone (and the themes, honestly) doesn’t really match between the events on the WW I trenches and a delightfully excessive Grigori Rasputin using his mystical powers (which are somehow real) to cure a wound by licking it frantically, to say nothing of the charicatural characterization of the kaiser, czar and most of the villains.

Despite this, it’s definitely not a slog, cast it’s pretty good and overall it’s decent fun.

[EXPRESSO] 007: No Time To Die (2021) | Next, on The Venture Bros…

I was almost not gonna review this new 007 film, i usually enjoy them, but they’re not exactly my favourite type of movie, and i haven’t see one in theathers (or at all) since Casino Royale, but i’d figured we could use a break from the horror stuff, and i trust Cary Fukunaga.

Before tackling the plot, let me say i like Daniel Craig as Bond, but i won’t lie, i did like the idea-rumor of casting Idris Elba as the secret agent himself that was floating around when the movie was announced, but i guess we’ll have to wait for the next one.

Sure as hell they want it to feel like a big comeback, since it has been 6 years since the last one, Spectre, which wasn’t that well received, and this also being the last time Craig will play the character…. i guess explains how (and partially “why”) it’s almost 3 hours.

Plot is about James Bond being recruited by the CIA (after he resigned from the MI6) to rescue a kidnapped scientist, but things lead to thing and eventually to a showdown between Bond and a powerful villain (played by Rami Malek) with a nefarious plan…

Maybe it’s because i literally haven’t seen a Bond film in more than a decade, but honestly this actually hits all the right and expected notes from a 007 flick, it embraces the style of the series and plays it just right, without trying to ape other spy flicks, cynically chasing modern trends or – on the flipside – stubbornly trenching itself in the old shit just to spite modernity.

It’s a consolidated, familiar formula, here well executed, with likeable characters, spectacular action setpieces, a stellar cast. Arguably a bit longer than one would expected (or want), but far from slow moving, good overall, i’d say.

[EXPRESSO] Sly Spy/Secret Agent NSWDDL | Rolling Thunderball

Another Switch eShop sale on old arcade games from Data East (as part of the Johnny Turbo’s Arcade releases), another EXPRESSO review.

This time i picked up Sly Spy… never even heard of it before, but it look like it’s gonna be heavy on spy movie cliches and Bond references…for 2 bucks, sure,

And my intuition was spot on, alongside plenty of posters in the background, bearing titles or characters from other Data East games, like Karnov or Bad Dudes, there are plenty of Bond references in it. I was also right in guessing it being a fairly transparent Rolling Thunder rip-off, from the screenshots and description.

While it’s totally that, the game tries to disguise it a bit byt adding some variety, since it opens on a sky.-diving level, has a driving section on a bike with built-in machinegun and a couple of underwater levels where you harpoon sharks avoiding scuba enemies and mines.

The variety isn’t bad at all, but the main bulk is still on-foot levels and it’s basically Rolling Thunder, with a limited amount of ammo for the gun and the deliberate inability to just shoot upwards. Same sidescroller formula, plus the ability to shoot while jumping, use fists and kicks when you’re out of bullets, minus the ability to enter doors to replenish ammo. You can also fire a powerful golden gun-rifle when you get all pieces from fallen enemies.

And like Rolling Thunder, while there is some challenge involved, it’s way more about memorization of the often unfair level design through multiple quarters inserted into the machine and out of your pockets.

It’s alright, all things considered, but i don’t recommend spending more than 2 bucks on it, since it’s a very short experience from an era of design best left in the past.

[EXPRESSO] Tenet (2020) | Time After Time


Ah, yes, Christopher Nolan tale of Batman against one of his most obscure villain, Palyndrome. Or maybe it’s a live-action Tin Tin adaptation in disguise.

FIY: i watched this in theathers with social distancing enabled, but then again, i remember i’m Italy-based, which happens to be kinda lucky for me in this particular istance. Don’t go to theathers if there any chance to get the plague, not worthy it.

So, Nolan is back into the game, bringing his lavish and twisting narratives into the spy movie genre, with Tenet, where a CIA agent gets recruited for a secret mission, launched into action only knowing the word “Tenet” and that at stake is avoiding World War III. Oh yes, also, there is time travel involved, so good luck.

Like most movies that center their story about time travel, Tenet has his own specific rules (outside of the obvious ones like paradoxes), which are unique, but are also a bit confusing. The script and direction by Nolan help juggle all the time travel hubba without leaving plot holes or anything like that, but at times, even with some choices made specifically to avoid them being confusing – or more confusing -… some scenes feel too busy, way too busy. Even so, it’s always quite the spectacle, even when you aren’t exactly sure what exactly is happening, a highly entertaining spectacle, the plot is worth watching unravel all the way through its 2 hours runtime, and you have a great cast (as expected) with John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagah, Elizabeth Debicki, Hamish Patel.

Oh, yes, Michael Caine is in the movie for 5 minutes, being very british.

Good movie, even if at times confusing (not incomprensihible, but confusing), and with a tone that feel a bit too “composed”, even for Nolan.