2019 has come to an end, and it was honestly one of the most stable years of my life. I had the same job and lived in the same place for all of 2019, which is not something I could say of the previous few years. I did have some struggles with my health, mainly in the form of relentless fatigue. In July, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and started sleeping with a CPAP machine . This has helped me greatly. I also have a thyroid disorder that I was diagnosed with in 2013. I had a lot of struggles related to that. On the plus side, I’m finally starting to get settled into my home for two years, Columbus, Ohio, and am finally making friends here, as well as going out more when my health permits. I also.rediscovered my love of reading. I wouldn’t say I read a lot, but I read a fair number of books, and decided I wanted to do a list of the books that really stood out to me this year. Please note these are books I read in 2019, and not necessarily books that came out in 2019.
On a whim, I went out to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on Saturday. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I’d previously seen the Kill Bill films and Django Unchained, but nothing else from the movie’s director, Quetin Tarantino. Going in, I was expecting a tongue in cheek ultra-violent ride. Instead, I got something much different. It’s a movie filled with a lot of dialogue and slow, drawn-out scenes, with a bit of ultra-violence sprinkled in.
So…I’ve had writer’s block for four and a half months. A few things happened, mainly my bipolar disorder and work stress resulted in a breakdown of sorts. It took a couple months to have the breakdown, and then a couple months to recover. I’m feeling pretty a-okay these days, but when it comes to writing, I have zero ideas. Zilch. Nada. So, I figured I’d just write about what I’m reading and watching, and then figure it out from there.
Below are short reviews for the Dream Daddy (the comic version, not the game), My Friend Dahmer, Maid, No Visible Bruises, The Weekly, The Thing, and Sorry to Bother You.
While I personally believe I stop one step short of a crazy cat lady, I do love cats. A lot. Especially in slice of life anime. So, when I discovered there was an anime about a writer adopting a cat, and their lives together, I was pretty stoked. Called “My Roommate is a Cat” in English, and in Japan “Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue” (which translates to My Housemate Is on My Lap, But Sometimes, on My Head), this is a story of two lonely souls, a stray cat named Haru, and a human named Subaru Mikazuki, who begin to heal when they find each other.
The story opens with the death of Subaru Mikazuki’s parents who have passed away in a bus accident, while on a trip. Subaru just wants to be left alone to read his books. With his parent’s death he believes this is possible. Fast forward several years, and he feels no closer to the peace and quiet he wants, even though he has just about cut himself off from the outside world. He is alone, with the exception of his editor, and his neighbor, both of whom he considers a nuisance. He has also become an established writer, but, when the story opens, he is at a loss to what his new book should be about. On a visit to his parent’s grave, he finds a hungry cat that gives him an idea for a story and takes her home with him.
One of the unique aspects of the story is not only do we see it from the perspective of Subaru, but we also see it from the cat’s view—who by the second episode is named Haru. We discover Haru has lived a hard life. She’s the only one from her litter to survive, and most of her life has been filled with hunger. She’s slow to trust, and initially only plans to stay with Subaru for a short time to repay him for feeding her.
They slowly begin to win each other over. Subaru is at first perplexed by behaviors that are normal to cat owners but strange to him. Haru is equally confused by Subaru. How much the one cares for the other begins to shine through despite their lack of understanding about the each other. An uneasy truce forms.
This dynamic crescendos in a fantastic third episode, where Subaru is forced to confront his feelings of loss toward his parents. The execution of that episode is flawless, and it’s one I recommend going into as blind as possible.
The series deals with some pretty heavy stuff, but it swings between that and some very amusing, light-hearted moments. One of my favorites in the first three episodes is when Subaru goes out to buy some cat food for Haru having no clue what he’s doing. The flipping between tones feels like it suits the series very well, and keeps things from getting too heavy.
The hardest part of getting into the series is the character of Subaru. He’s selfish and hostile to every human who interacts with him, even though most characters try to help out of concern for him (which begs the question of why they bother?). It’s painful to watch and makes getting through the first half of the first episode a little difficult. The idea of the show is both of them come out of their shells and learn to trust others. For that, Subaru has to start from square one.
Having not seen beyond the third episode, I’m concerned where the series will go from here. The third episode is so well done; it’s hard to see how the series will top itself, though I have some ideas. I wouldn’t be surprised if the climax of the series involves Haru escaping from the house, and Subaru realizing how much she means to him as he tries to find her.
Overall, I recommend this series, especially if you like healing stories or just like cats. It’s a solid addition to the anime world, and while it’s unlikely to stick out in my mind a few years from now, it’s perfect for what I want from an anime right now.
I finally got a chance to see Kong: Skull Island. Yes, this movie came out in 2017. Yes, I’m finally writing about it now. However, this movie was so much better than it had any right to be that I HAVE to say something.
This movie is really fucking good. The blockbusters that I’ve seen in 2018 and 2019, such as Aquaman, Infinity War, Solo, Skyscraper and others, seem to exist purely to entertain for a few hours. They do have themes and messages, but these messages always felt hollow and cliched to me. This movie didn’t.
The premise follows a group of soldiers and scientists on a journey to explore a newly found island, as the Vietnam War ends. There they encounter Kong, a giant gorilla. They also discover the island is a hellish landscape filled with large insects and other beasts that want to kill them. They have to fight for survival and try to escape the island.
From here on out, there will be mild spoilers for the movie in this review. You have been warned.
This is a war movie as much as it’s a monster movie, but it doesn’t just say “War bad. Peace good.” and not dig any further the way a lot of movies do. It looks at the effects of war and the people it leaves behind. This is most strongly seen in the colonel leading the the team of the soldiers in this movie, Preston Packard, as he struggles to find purpose and stay relevant with the Vietnam War being over. Packard is a proud supporter of the Vietnam War, and he in denial that America lost. He even says America “abandoned the war” rather than admitting the loss. Packard going to the island as a great way to save face for himself and America. He leads his already war weary team to Skull Island to protect the scientists, even though this is a dangerous situation. Thanks to his choice most will not return home.
The movie draws interesting parallels to the Vietnam War and the nature of warmongering in one particular scene where one of the soldiers, Earl Cole, talks with the head scientist. He tells him “Sometimes there isn’t an enemy unless you go looking for one.”
This applies to Kong in that he’s really not a threat to our characters unless they provoke him first. He is the protector of the island, and takes care of the people who live there. He only attacks the soldiers because they bomb his island and attack him. Throughout the story it’s revealed that Kong is necessary to protect the world from an even greater threat. Yet Packard, fueled by revenge over his fallen men and his need to be a hero, refuses to back down from fighting Kong, even at the cost of his sanity. It’s an interesting and thrilling dynamic.
It would be easy for a movie exploring these themes to feel stuffy and pretentious, but this movie also stays as entertaining as the typical popcorn flick. There’s a lot of engaging action scenes. Death comes for these characters without warning or discretion. It honestly had me on the edge of my seat.
All this makes for me my ideal movie and I’m glad I watched it. I didn’t enjoy the 2014 Godzilla movie but this one gives me hope that Godzilla: King of the Monsters will be a lot better; If this next Godzilla movie has even half of this movie’s depth, I’ll be pleased.
As for this movie, if you haven’t watched it yet, I definitely recommend it. Also if the comics for this movie are any good, please let me know in the comments.
Cults run amok in Torren. The former leader mysteriously disappeared a year ago. You have just woken up in the Cult of Darkrai’s base, having lost your memories and soon to be killed. You’re rescued by Mew, sent by your mysterious benefactor. Then you stumble into Telnor Town where you choose a starter and your journey begins…
For anyone planning to buy Princess Maker 3 on Steam, I’m here to warn you: Do not buy. It was so bad that I played for four minutes and refunded it. I have never refunded a game on Steam before in my life.
Now there are reviews on the steam page warning you not to buy, but I didn’t believe it was that awful. I bought and played Princess Maker 1 and 2 on Steam, which had similar complaints in the reviews. Let’s just say Princess Maker 3, in it’s current state, is on another level.
In the first four minutes of Princess Maker 3, I ran into the following problems.
1.) The font is a thin white or black font that is near impossible for someone who has bad vision (like me) to read.
2.) If you can read it, the script is full of typos and errors. Sentences start will lower case letter, and there are random commas. Word wrap doesn’t work properly either, so words just trail off the screen.
3.) In windowed mode, the images look blurry and unfocused. Making it full screen makes it looks worse, and apparently according to reviews, leads to the game crashing. You cannot change the resolution of windowed mode to make it better.
4.) The translation is really bad. I thought it was passable in Princess Maker 1 and 2, but for 3 it’s clear no time or effort was put into it.
Honestly it seems like CFK Co., Ltd, the company that releases these games on Steam did a rush job on this, and it shows. It would probably be better if the scrapped it and redid the translation with much more care and effort. I was really excited to play this, and am very disappointed. In six months to a year I’ll check up on it, and if the issues have been resolved, I’ll purchase it, but not until this is fixed.
Guys! Work has been so busy and stressful I haven’t had a chance to write anything. Unfortunately paying the bills comes first! It seems to have calmed down, and I’m working on a few things right now, and will hopefully have more in the upcoming weeks.
Also I love and enjoy all your comments but if I don’t have a chance to log in the only way I can see them is in my email. Unfortunately sometimes they get stuck in my spam filter and I don’t see them! I’m so sorry guys, I will see any comments the next time I log in if I miss them. Unfortunately that sometimes may be awhile.