I thought Spider-Man Homecoming wasn’t all that great, but at least hear me out on this

Even disregarding superhero burnout, and fanboy wanking, I just couldn’t enjoy Spider-Man: Homecoming.

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My Two Cents on the Iron Fist Debacle

Lemme first say I have no interest in watching Iron Fist. Being panned across the board aside, I just don’t have time to invest 13+ hours into a series that’s ultimately homework for whenever Netflix/Marvel releases The Defenders.

Rather, I’d like to bring up how Netflix’s previous Marvel series have proven that a socially conscious series can work and yet for some reason wasn’t the logical path to take come time to adapt Iron Fist for a modern audience.

Whether it be a black man, woman, or blind man, each previous Netflix series was able to take a marginalized group of people and empower them without coming off as too obnoxious about it. Each show made a point to treat their star as a person first and hero second (if that). It never bothered with spoon-feeding the audience the character’s “blackness” or “femininity” or “handi-capable-ness” because doing so would be a disservice to the character as well as the viewers. If the Saturday Morning Cartoons of yore were any indication, tokenization was a very obvious pitfall to avoid for the creative teams involved.

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So what makes Iron Fist such an exception? Besides the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” natural problem of having to adapt an outdated premise to appeal to mainstream and hardcore audiences, I personally believe going the route of recasting our titular character as an Asian-American is just too much for even today’s modern mindsets. While women, black people, and (to an admittedly lesser degree) the disabled have been successfully integrated into American society, the concept of an Asian main character, not to mention one that’s a superhero, is just too novel of a concept for American-made live-action dramas. And taking into account where Asians fall in modern America, it’s not too surprising. Rather than trying to integrate into societies, it’s become more commonplace for first-gen Asians in America to stick together as a community. Things like Chinatown, Japantown, and Koreatown where the common language spoken is anything but English serve as a safe haven to the according immigrants, but this strange, unapproachable-except-for-touristy-visits, foreign… thing for anyone else. To write a story trying to immerse the audience in that world when that world is so inherently unapproachable to any other American (read: white people) is apparently too big of a hurdle to even bother trying to jump over.

Sure, the counter-argument would be that you’re playing into stereotypes to have an Asian know martial arts, but if every prior Marvel Netflix series were able to successfully establish, break, and exceed stereotypes, I honestly don’t see why Iron Fist wouldn’t dare to follow suit.

But whatever, man, I’ve got plenty of other series to binge on already.

A Look at Fantôme and Utada Hikaru’s Musical Evolution

Utada Hikaru is probably best known among English-speaking fans for singing the iconic Simple and Clean theme from the Kingdom Hearts games, with her end theme song Beautiful World for the Evangelion Rebuild movies coming as a close second in terms of notoriety among nerds. And while she never truly reached mainstream media fame in the states, she’s made quite the reputation for herself in her native Japan, having started her musical career back in 1996, and her popularity only steadily increasing from there.

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Now a full 20 years after her debut, Utada Hikaru’s Fantôme is the first album she released after her musical hiatus from 2011-2016. Of note, however, isn’t the quality of the tracks themselves, but where they stand when looking at Utada’s career as a whole.

Too often do musicians end up falling in a rut, creating music that ends up being derivative of their older work (or as I like to call it, the Avril Lavigne effect). And while this may not necessarily hurt their core fanbase who is eager to take on more of the same, it does take a clear hit to their notoriety in a “radio playing” sense. Why listen to a new thing when an old thing holds up just as well and sounds pretty much the same? Also taking into account music’s ever-changing landscape and how it evolves over time, it just feels less awkward to listen to a time-capsule sort of piece from ages past rather than a recent piece that insists on shoehorning a long-ended aesthetic into its style. Sure there are some exceptions, but more often than not, it’s less a case of the mainstream being unaccepting to an older “style” than it is the musician themselves being unwilling to adapt and evolve past their comfort zone. And you can’t exactly blame the musicians that insist on towing the line, since experimentation leads to so many more pitfalls.

In the case with Fantôme, though, the album as a whole just… is. There’s nothing too toe-tapping or ear-wormy in any of the tracks, but listening to it while keeping in mind Utada’s history does make for a more pleasant listen. Literally having gone through all her major hits from 1998’s Automatic and moving onwards from there, you can witness Utada’s musical growth and maturation, as she transitions from radio pop, to ballads. And it’s in witnessing this range and progress that I found true enjoyment from what should otherwise be a middleground album.

[Utada Hikaru’s Fantôme can be purchased on the US amazon site]

Legacy and the Aging Protagonist: In Defense of Dragon Ball Super

Dragon Ball Super is one of those series that’s incredibly easy to dismiss as an easy cash-in to a long-lived franchise (though honestly, that title belongs moreso to the Dragon Ball Heroes card game). New characters are introduced for the purpose of story-expansion, and new power-ups are invented almost to accompany every new addition to the cast. And yet a good 50+ episodes in, the series has been doing a surprisingly solid job of not only continuing the story from where it left off, but also progressing each character’s arcs, keeping in mind the series’ 30+ years of in-world history to pinpoint where characters currently are emotionally. Not bad for a show about dudes punching alien-dudes until they die or befriend each other.

DBSuper Vegeta v Freeza

r we besties yet? Y/N

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Correlation Between Modern Manga Writing and Short-Episode-Count Anime

Anime adaptations of manga are nothing new. Checking upcoming anime every season, there’s always an interest in discussing what manga is deserving of an adaptation. That said, while interests in different subgenres continue to crop up among modern anime, episode counts are continuing to drop. Long gone are the days when 50-100+ episode anime was the norm. Now more than ever, anime episode count is dwindling, and it’s been affecting manga-ka in an unexpected way, having them take different approaches when it comes to writing their stories in hopes of nabbing that sought-after anime adaptation.

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A Response to People that Don’t Like Cards Against Humanity

I woke up this morning surprised to find my twitter feed slowly but surely spreading this article speaking in-depth about how people actually go as far as despise the game of Cards Against Humanity.

To reply by simply saying “it’s just a game” would be irresponsible and avoiding the problems brought up by the people that well… have a problem with the game.

Cards Against Humanity isn’t an ice-breaker to play with people you don’t know. At least that’s not how I’ve ever played it. You play it amongst friends you know well and play your cards keeping in mind who the judge for the current round is. Yes, you are pandering to what that particular person finds funny (in an ironic way or not), but in that regard it’s more than a “shut your brain off and go” game. It does in fact require some sense of strategy by not just thinking “what’s the best LOL TEH RANDUMB” thing or most racially/sexually/tumblr-enraging thing. You play your cards based on the person currently judging.

And for people that have created their actual grown-up livelihood around comedy, I can see why that would upset them. The entire idea of pandering is never seen in a positive light. People love to hate shows like Big Bang Theory because it tries too hard to pander for an audience without the TLC required for said audience to actually *like* what’s being attempted to be shoved down their throats. But that’s pandering to a broad audience. Let me reiterate: Cards Against Humanity is something to be played amongst a small circle of friends that are fully aware of just how ridiculous the concept is. It’s the difference between telling a silly one-liner to a friend and taking that said one-liner and attempting to get a publishing deal based solely around it.

But wait, what about all the offensive choices you’re given and clearly encouraged to play? Choices mocking certain races or religions or sexual-orientations or disabilities, etc. etc.

Again, this has to do with the certain group of people you’re playing with. As a Filipino twenty-something, my small circle of friends are of similar backgrounds and during the handful of times we get together to play Cards Against Humanity, the inappropriateness of the game is all in good fun. None of us are actually involved in things like casual racism or the like–it’s simply the nature of the game. The “jokes” played during each round are laughed at not due to how genuine they are, but because of how downright ridiculous they’ve become within the small timespan of each round.

That is not to say that there doesn’t exist a breed of people that partake in said game, partake in a round and laugh at the cards played in a serious “I’m laughing at the subjects being mocked rather than the ludicrousness of the situation” manner. These people are idiots with too few brain cells to look past the face value of something and realize a different level of humor is at play. Said people will always exist regardless of whether or not Cards Against Humanity was ever made. The existence of Cards Against Humanity does not “breed” insufferable-ness. Rather, it better categorizes what kind of person you are based on just what exactly it is you’re laughing at.

So is Cards Against Humanity hurtful? It can be. So can kitchen knives. But for the most part, people just use those to cut fruit. Only the true whackadoos actually use it in an intentionally hurtful manner and yet for some reason those are the people that we like to focus on and create this entirely different image on the product at hand because of such.

“Pain is Power!” Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger Review

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was one of those shows that essentially shaped me into the manchild I admit to being today. It had the kind of gratuitous imitatable violence that made soccer moms everywhere help push for the current parental guidance ratings and in general was just something nice and campy you could watch with your brain turned off. But while the Power Rangers have gone strong through a current total of (checks Wikipedia) 18 different series, I think we can all say that it’s dwindled in popularity since the Mighty Morphin’ era. Thankfully the guys at Toei have found a way to bring in old fans of the show in the form of parody series Unofficial Sentai Akibaranger.

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Extended Tweets: Adventures in Making Informed Amazon Purchases Involving Old Nickelodeon Series

The Japanese version of this post would have been called “Crisis! The Missing 12 Episodes” which, oddly enough, is shorter than the actual title of this post.

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Initial Thoughts: Community Season 4; One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

dmncap00015Community is one of those shows that aired right around the time I was starting to give up on modern sitcoms. In an era where the laugh-track has overstayed its welcome, it felt as if sitcoms were settling for a safe middleground, treading on jokes and character archetypes that have been repeated time after time without giving any kind of unique spin, or at the least any sign of aiming for more than what the genre has become known for. Enter Community—a show that has essentially reached popularity by capitalizing on and mainstreaming the whole concept of “meta.” From the get-go, Community’s ragtag cast of characters were not only sitcom-status quirky, but were created with a certain amount of talent and grace that not only set them into an archetype (be it “jock,” “over-achiever,” etc.) but simultaneously broke said archetype, showing that their characters (and sitcom characters in general, really) can and should be developed to the point that they cannot be described with mere trope terminology.

And for the first three seasons of the series, that’s how things were.

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Internet Explorer Stoops to a New Level of Low: Getting on the 90s Nostalgia Bandwagon

This is probably the one time on this site I’ve analyzed something I truly hate. And it’s less than two minutes long.

While I’m sure it will inevitably bite me in the ass saying it, I just have to say that there is nothing wrong with nostalgia. It’s the direction that my generation has taken the term to, however, which really brings my piss to a boil. Unlike children of the ‘80s, it seems as if children of the ‘90s are not only nostalgic about certain aspects that made their childhood, but feel the need to assert themselves as the “dominant childhood,” going as far as appropriating aspects from earlier and later eras into their own (the earlier seasons of the first Ninja Turtles; the latter half of Hillary Duff’s acting/singing career)—“claiming” what technically isn’t theirs to “claim” in the first place.

Perhaps it has something to do with our common upbringing under said era—something about becoming an adult in a time where a crappy job market makes seeking out solace from your childhood toys and such that much more desirable. Enter: Internet Explorer’s latest ploy to get people to use their browser for more than just downloading Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

Never have I seen a commercial so blatantly pander to such a specific demographic before, and I have to say: How dare they. How dare Microsoft take advantage of people’s rose-tinted memories for the sake of advertising a product that many people have decided time and time before was just not for them. Yes, advertisements are notorious and essentially meant for pandering to certain demographics through use of pop music, celebrity endorsements and the like, but to have this commercial relate to people on such a specific level of their childhood is just despicable. It’s like if McDonalds paid off your kindly old grandma so she would personally remind you about the McRib.

But what really puzzles me about this commercial is how it ends with the voice-over saying, “You grew up; so did we.” It spent the first minute and twenty-ish seconds speaking fondly of all these old things and how they will remain the same no matter how old you get, so suddenly speaking about improvements when you just talked about stagnancy seemed… flip-floppy.

Everyone coming out of the woodwork about their secret obsession over the ‘90s was nice at first, but to have said group continue to clamor on about their love for the culture to the point that everyone’s noses have become so stuck up that they were failing to see past simple advertising tactics like this is annoying… and obnoxious.

Also, the commercial’s depiction of pogs is vastly wrong from what I remember. Anyone with a slammer could tell you that.

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