Log Horizon (EP1-5)
I never played World of Warcraft. I did play Runescape though, for exactly 3,438 hours on my main account, and no doubt a few more thousand combining the others. This and a decent time played in Guild Wars 2, gives me a good idea of MMORPG’s – how they play, what they are like, the level at which they can consume you. To be honest, a part of myself I consider negative stopped me playing Runescape – how damn restless and easily bored I began to feel with everything. Now anything over 30 hours in a game is rare. I want single player games I can definitively finish, before moving on. But I do have very good memories from my time playing Runescape. Though, in hindsight, I now affectionately refer to Guild Wars 2 as Depression Wars. And, for obvious reasons, it’s not something I could ever play again. Nor any MMORPG, for the matter.
Log Horizon, on the other hand, exhibits my love for anime in the genre – Isekai shows based in MMORPG’s. I think many people who themselves have played in the past – or still do – will feel this kind of affection for them. It’s nostalgic, making us feel warm with the remembering of those long-forgotten memories. Questing, grinding, being awful at PKing, getting rare loot drops, making your first million, capping out your first level… it’s all there. Log Horizon taps into this nostalgia, as many other similar shows do. Though, Log Horizon does a better job at it, pushing things further than simply the ‘MMORPG’ setting first alludes to.
The main character, Shiroe, understands the game in all its nuance. Yet, he is humble with this knowledge. He demonstrates the complexity of what he knows without having to brag about it (fuck, Kirito). It makes him more reasonable, easier to sympathise with, if for the only reason, Shiroe isn’t a prick. Tactics are the first thing that come to mind. Shiroe isn’t all powerful – he has limits, because his character – and therefore himself – exists within a set of predetermined rules and restriction(code). Therefore, the most efficient method of Shiroe winning is to be smarter than his opponents, to outplay them with strategy only he is possible of devising. Inherently this makes for interesting and entertaining watching, because every situation has possibility and complexity. It is not one protagonist wielding a weapon with the overwhelming ability to slay any foe. For this reason, Shiroe has to rely on his friends, and they have to rely on his plans. This brings me right into the world of Log Horizon. I care about the characters, deeply. Alone, that’s worth a shit-ton.
How it Ends (Netflix)
How it Ends is possibly one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, it’s impossible to enjoy it even ironically. I have no idea why it exists. I have no idea why Netflix signed off on putting their name to it. I honestly believe anyone who thought it would be good, and anyone that thinks it is good must be living on a parallel timeline in which ‘good’ and ‘bad’ have reversed meanings.
It’s a shit-show in every single regard…
Let’s start with the premise. Naturally, it’s pretty standard, as are most apocalypse scenarios; after all, it’s hard to innovate where there is little room to do so, considering the genre comprises of only one possible scenario. That’s not to say it’s impossible, considering the other variables: characters, aesthetics, resolution, style, and the more nuanced sides of narrative.
How it Ends never even sniffs of being unique…
It’s main character, Will, played by Theo James, is a copy paste protagonist from about every other film just as bad. He has a goal, he does anything to get to that goal. Except that this time, there really aren’t any pressing obstacles in the way. There is of course, the odd man with a gun, and the odd swathe of smoke – never anything more, never anything that poses any real danger to lawyer come survivalist. Apocalypse/survival films have to emanate an impending sense of doom throughout their entire length. An uncertainty of what is to come is vital. Just look at films such as: The Road, I Am Legend, 28 Days Later, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Z for Zachariah, and even shows like The Walking Dead (the earlier seasons). What they all have in common is suspense, imparting us with a constant feeling of anxiety because their characters are in a constant state of anxiety. Instead, How it Ends just lingers on being the first 20 minutes of a thriller movie spread over the length of an hour and three-quarters…
If you happen across it, for the sake of your sanity, don’t watch it!
I’ve never watched Nichijou before… I know… I know, am I even human at this point… Still, I’m getting around to it, like a lot of other shows that have been on my list forever. Especially now considering how shit the current (Summer 2018) season is. Nichijou, on the other hand, certainly isn’t shit. It’s fucking hilarious in ways that I’ve never seen before in anime. After watching more episodes, I’ll have a more comprehensive look on next week’s Sunday Segment – until then, I welcome the laughs. I need them.
Mortal Engines (The Books)
The Mortal Engines books (Mortal Engines, Predator’s Gold, Infernal Devices, and A Darkling Plain) written by Phillip Reeve are my favourite piece of media; by a vast order of magnitude. I always find this a somewhat strange phenomenon; four books being so far ahead of anything I’ve read before, and anything I will read. It’s entertaining though. Knowing I’m able to continuously return and feel almost the same joy I did when first reading them.
With the film adaptation directed by Christian Rivers and produced by Peter Jackson, soon to be released (14th December in the UK), I decided it would be a good time to read through them again, something I usually do every couple of years anyway. This being said, the film adaption makes me feel very weary, because we all know how shit they can be – look at the recent Ready Player One, despite it being directed by cinema god, Steven Spielberg, it never managed to capture the essence of what the novel actually was. That’s the trouble… how will Rivers/Jackson impart the film with the heart of the book? How can they replicate sentiments that are spread over 400 pages, in only 2 hours of film?
It’s not possible to do so… not completely
That’s fine. That’s understandable, as long as what makes Mortal Engines, Mortal Engines isn’t bastardised in the process. I’ll be honest, if I see overwhelming shit reviews (which I don’t expect) then I won’t even go see the film – I don’t want it to taint what I think the books are, nor the images I see when I read the books. So, if you haven’t read Mortal Engines, then please do, it’s one of the best things to happen to me! (I want to write more about the books, and in some depth. I don’t know when this will happen – hopefully some time before the film premieres).
How was your week?
Thanks for reading, as always!
-Chris (Follow me on Twitter and consider supporting Peach’s Almanac on Patreon!)