My Hero Academia (S3 EP12-16)
Every few weeks or so I forget about My Hero Academia. I don’t know why. Maybe because of all the new shows coming out, maybe because it spans over two seasons with its 24 episodes and this screws with my brain. Whatever the reason, I wish I didn’t, because it’s fantastic and has become a swift top 10.
Unlike many people around here, I don’t have a long history of watching Shonen series’. I never watched Dragon Ball, Naruto, Bleach, or One Piece. Though I did watch 100+ episodes of Fairy Tale a long time ago, but that got tedious pretty fast. Anything I have to stick with for a while usually does. So, coming into MHA I had little exposure to the way Shonen anime are structured and the themes they encapsulate. Not to mention the huge breadth of characters.
Going into the ‘provisional licensing exam’ arc I wanted to see more of Deku’s abilities; how he would overcome the strain of using ‘One For All’ repeatedly until it became impossible. For this is where the value of the show lies – in overcoming hurdles, and in constant betterment not only of oneself, but ensuring it happens to a person’s friends, and ensuring those relationships are as strong and bonding as they can be. This is the heart and soul of My Hero Academia. Because of this, I find myself liking most of the characters. Whereas in other shows I only like just one or two. Of course, some of it is down to the scope – spanning over many seasons (as it will), meaning more in-depth character studies are possible.
With the Provisional Licensing Exam comes a swathe of new characters. It’s no surprise that Camie Utsushimi has swiftly become best girl, literally replacing Uraraka for a few moments. There’s also what appears to be a second-hand Deku somewhere amongst the crowd. The real Deku, Bakugo, and Todoroki have never had any real opponents while training, none but themselves. It’s welcoming to watch them tone down a peg or two. There are others just like them, just as powerful. Maybe Deku is objectively the most powerful, however he is unable to use One For All to its full potential , not without turning is body into a viscous paste. This he is all too aware of. Just as his class mates realise, the strength of U.A. is in working together, in collectively pooling both intellect and quirks to overcome those who only think in selfish measures.
That commentator though… where’s Seneca Crane when you need him. Someone volunteer as fucking tribute.
It’s basically Spider-Man.
Godzilla: (Planet of the Monsters)(City on the Edge of Battle)
I’ve never been a massive fan of Godzilla. I’ve seen some of the ‘older’ films, though I couldn’t tell you which, and I’ve seen the newer one with Meth Teacher Walter. They’re okay – never anything special, standard films to enjoy and then forget about the day afterwards, and maybe that’s a good thing. So, I kept passing over Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters on my Netflix list, thinking it would be drivel in its anime format, or generously ‘not too bad’…
It was fucking dreadful.
I can’t wrap my head around the CG animation, and while it is nowhere near as bad as some CG productions out there, it never seemed… good. Character movements are stiff, and the lack of any real expression irked me, not to mention how Godzilla himself looked like a giant, over-baked fruit loaf, without any discernible definition on any part of its body. Yet, none of this is the worst part – the story is, or the complete lack of any story…
Part 2, Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle, is fairly new to Netflix in the last month-or-so (I think). Obviously, after finishing the first I boshed on the second with the hope of achieving a new height of self-flagellation. Unfortunately, it was nowhere near as bad as the first outing. In fact, I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, and much more than I wanted to.
The second outing actually constructs a story. It’s nothing noteworthy, but something to keep my attention between the moments of attacking Godzilla, and being attacked. I enjoy the concept of returning to Earth after 20,000 years of scouring space for a habitable planet, it’s never been explored before in the Godzilla franchise, and it sets the scene for an interesting narrative.
How do we take back Earth from a god?
There are ‘natives’ living on Earth. I say natives because though part human, they are not entirely human. As with everything else living on the planet, its DNA has become mixed with that of Godzilla’s, turning the flora and fauna into something unrecognisable, and aggressive.
Motive is what interests me the most – why? Why try to re-claim Earth when it would be easier to set up shop on the Moon, when it may be easier to go back out there, looking for other planets… Because of pride. We’re all full of it. We’re all bursting at the scenes to fight for a place in the world. What happens when that place gets stolen from us? What happens when we have a chance to take it back? We do it, of course we do. Earth is home, at least to the humans. This brings me to another point: Why are there to more races? Of course it is explained – the same ‘extinction level event’ happened to the both of them, but why care about helping humans and a planet that was never theirs? There’s conflict, and they have a purpose in attempting to defeat Godzilla… but why? Maybe this will become clearer in the third and final film.
Attack on Titan (S3 EP2-3)
I was never a massive fan of the second season, so naturally I had doubts going into the third. Doubts which were washed away with the first episode, and the new direction that came with it. The opening speaks it all – the complete lack of any Titans, and the more uplifting tone of the theme. I think it’s fucking great. The previous two seasons got bogged down in the semantics of the Titans: How, why, and when regarding everything… just buckets full of expository information that I could never – nor ever wanted to – keep up with.
It’s different now. It’s about all the hoomans, well some are kinda-human. I enjoy the character interactions, it was much-needed. Episode 2 gives us a sleuth of information while keeping up the pace. There’s a lovely bit of torture in there. I’ve never seen nails ripped off in anime before, so that’s something I can tick off the bucket list. Looks like the history of Historia was not all we realised, she’s the air to the throne. Eren also needs saving again, but that’s of course to be expected.
I know pacing is something everyone always loves to rant about “nah, man, the pacing’s way off dude, like it’s so slow then it’s so fast, must have a mad brain to keep up”. Though, the way Season 3’s presented is genuinely engaging. I want to know more about the characters, because I now know it actually matters, I now know I can follow it and enjoy it without going completely mad.
Extinction (2018, Netflix)
Netflix doesn’t regularly make… great ‘Originals’ at least not in the sci-fi genre. With disasters such as The Cloverfield Paradox, Bright, and iBOY. Much of their other endeavors are not bad, but never brilliant. It’s an annoyance considering the resources and influence Netflix has. Coming to Extinction I assumed I wouldn’t like it, I assumed like so many other offerings, it would just be okay. I’m fucking tired of things just being… okay.
Instead, I was surprised.
That’s not to say Extinction is genius, because it is far from being so. It is simply entertaining, and that’s exactly what I wanted from it. Of course it has ideas and thematic elements that very pertinent to today’s society, represented in a very accessible way that never tries to be pretentious or academic. It’s reminiscent of Quantic Dream’s recent game, Detroit: Become Human . Extinction=
Artificial Intelligence poses an existential threat to humanity. Through obsolescence of the workforce, more complex personal relationships, questioning morality, globalisation of culture, and having to re-configure the entire meaning behind human existence. After all, what happens if… we don’t have to do anything anymore. What will be the point? How will we find meaning? What if our existence is challenged by our own creations?
Extinction presents these themes well enough. It’s a little ham-fisted in parts. A little melodramatic where it could have been gritty and imposing. I’m not sure why the humans look and sound like hideous insect beasts – I’m sure it would take only an instant to determine the air was breathable. It serves for a pretty effective narrative device, but little else. In parts, it’s not great to look at. Weapon designs look mediocre, as is the CG in moments – especially in the latter scenes. But, Extinction doesn’t rely on its CG, therefore this can be overlooked for the most part. After all, a production is given a strict budget, and spending on world-leading CG is expensive. It’s worth a watch, if just for the informative perspective on the impending rise of more complex AI.
How was your week?
Thanks for reading, as always!
-Chris (Follow me on Twitter, and consider supporting Peach’s Almanac on Patreon!)