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Monday, December 23, 2019

DAYBREAK on NETFLIX


By Corey Floyd
I know currently that most of you are probably watching some Disney+ and that’s perfectly fine, but hear me out for just a second, I was on Netflix, the other day and stumbled upon an interesting little nugget of a show. What do you get when you cross Lord of the flies, mad Max fury Road, and Anna John Hughes's movie?
You get a show called Daybreak!
It’s a funny, quiet, action-packed and smart meta dark comedy. This is one of those shows that prove that despite losing a lot of Disney related content on their platform they still have quite a diverse arsenal. 


The cast is quite an interesting group of people you’ve seen once or twice, and they added a legend… for the sauce. The main character is Josh Wheeler, a young smart Canadian thrown into a Californian wasteland. He is played by Colin Ford who has been working steadily over the last 10 years mostly on the show “Under the Dome.” Then we have Austin Crute who is doing really well for himself. He first appeared on the scene as Justin Bieber in the hip hop/ Twin Peaks phenomenon known as Atlanta. He also delivered comedy gold in the criminally underrated movie “Booksmart.” In “Daybreak” he is Wesley Fists who has to juggle a lot of internal issues on top of avoiding a zombie-like death. Then you have the Legend Matthew Broderick. The golden boy of screen and stage plays the kindhearted cannibal principal. 
Ferris Bueller has literally left the building. 


The show is very creative in its tone even while giving you character narration that breaks the fourth wall. It doesn’t smash the fourth wall like Deadpool, it’s softer… think Zach Morris from saved by the bell. The overall story of the season is about Josh trying to save his “true love” Samaria in a post-apocalyptic setting that divides the town into different groups. The separation is literally based on their social status prior to the bomb going off and of course, the largest group is the jocks. They go full Fury Road and it’s hilarious and scary. There are a few other sets that have their own work and their own creed something that hopefully you’ll check out as soon as possible. 
The writing staff is a lot of fresh faces and I believe that for some, this may be their big break. If they have a head writer, I’m sure it’s Aron Eli Coleite. He was a writer on “Heroes” and “Crossing Jordan.” The writing staff has a real good knack for world-building as well as dark humor. 


I know there might be some post-apocalyptic fatigue going on. The Walking Dead is still a thing plus some of my fellow gamers are playing Death Stranding. But, I have to say this is a surprisingly good show and you need to go check it out. That’s why I’m doing my best not to get into spoiler territory.  But there’s one thing I do wanna say take everything the narrators say with a huge spoonful of salt. You won’t be disappointed. 

Hey, family new podcast is up on youtube!





Tuesday, October 29, 2019

DISNEY PLUS The King of the Stream?


By Corey Floyd
In November Disney is starting a whole new streaming service called Disney Plus. It does not come out until November yet thousands of people have already fully paid for a three-year agreement. Naturally, this streaming service is one of many but this time Netflix might be in more trouble than they think. Here is the rundown on why you should probably pick up the streaming service come November.
Disney is a multimedia juggernaut that is watching the market place being bombarded with several different types of streaming services; ie, Netflix Hulu Amazon, etc. All of them have Disney properties in their libraries. As a business move, it would make perfect sense to take everything and consolidate it under one roof because Disney has a massive almost infinite library to chose from. The nostalgia factor alone gives it a big push. They just announced that the 90s X-men and Spider-Man series will be available! I can only imagine how much old school stuff they can put on there ( except the song of the south). This feature alone will tap into the older folks and the lil kids. 
You can’t just survive in the past! Disney plus has huge ideas for new original content. At the D23  expo it looks like they are taking no chances. They have huge big-budget productions in the works. For the Star Wars universe, a new idea called the Mandalorian. Imagine a western but I as a galaxy far far away. 
from what it looks like it takes place in between episodes 5 and 6 and one of the stars is Carl Weathers. The MCU is coming to Disney plus as well and I don’t just mean the movies will be available. I’m talking about new original shows, not spinoffs like Daredevil ( which I miss so much) I mean shows like Loki starring Tom Hiddleston, not some knockoff like what would normally happen. If you saw Endgame the show is supposed to start right where he left. There is also a Hulk & Shehulk show starring Mark Ruffallo. No announcement on who is playing She Hulk but I have high hopes. I am saddened that we won’t get another HULK film but if they can pull off a show with him and his cousin I’ll be patient. Hawkeye is also gonna be on Disney plus with his own show where his daughter will be in training to become the next Archer. It might play out like the comic series from the mid-2000s. 
Pretty much everyone except Thor will be on Disney Plus, even Falcon in the Winter Soldier has a series where they are working together. I’m not sure what the details are, but I do know that the government has an issue with Sam being the new Captain America since Steve Rogers left him the shield at the end of Endgame. One of the most curious entries for the MCU on Disney plus is WandaVison. Yeah, I saw a few screenshots of it and it seems like they're in the 1940s and Vision is alive!! How?!? Needless to say, I’m in. Then their last little trailer was for Marvel “What If”. I’m not sure if it was just for presentation's sake, or if it really will be animated but it looks like it’s going to run through a series of steps in the MCU but change a few things around. For example, they showed the origins of Captain America only this time it was Peggy Carter in the machine and we had Captain Britain. There is also one where Starlord is Black. Either way, I’m down, your down we’re all down for this content so stop fooling yourselves.
My last talking point is money!! Disney is playing the long game with this streaming service and has the bank to play it out. They are currently offering a package of Hulu, Disney +, ESPN and The National Geographic app for 12.99. The same thing you are paying right now just for Netflix. Also with the amount of star power and productions going on just for the streaming service, it appears they have dumped a few billion into this project. They are not only here for the long haul but they plan on being the last one standing. No one knows much about Netflix numbers but what is known is not great. In July of this year, their stock price dropped the equivalent of sixteen billion dollars that was mostly people unsubscribing from the service. No one really knows anything past that but that could be the catalyst the blood in the water for a new shark to take over the streaming game. Disney+  Is looking like it will be the APEX predator of streaming services.    
          

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Too many Smiths aka Gemini Man


By Corey Floyd

One of the earliest signs that the movie might be bad is being in production hell for 10 years, sometimes times you end up getting winners like Avatar or Mad Max Fury Road. This was not one of those times.

Gemini Man was another swing and a miss for Ang Lee in the field of Sci-fi action. Lee, who is a two-time Oscar-winning filmmaker, does great work in the field of drama. Brokeback Mountain was a great example of that. Most of his accolades come from his work in drama even Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon had a moving story as well as great fight scenes. But then in 2003, we had HULK starring Eric Bana. The story was off the comic book page formatting was … Interesting. The villain was trash. Hulk looked too Cartoony. Like he was missing a level of rendering. Sadly, the sales showed it as well, even though it made 245 million it cost 137 million to make. Five years later they tried to reboot the hulk for the MCU and it did almost the same numbers. I think Lees Hulk was still on everyone’s mind, so they said no thanks to Ed Norton’s Hulk. Anyway, after 2003s Hulk he stayed away from the genre for quite some time and after Gemini man maybe his third try will be the charm.

The film Stars Will Smith a Hollywood superstar who has made some odd choices in this film lately, Bright on Netflix for example. He Plays Henry Brogan an assassin that’s seen it all and killed it all and is now weary and old.
 Clay Varris, played by Clive Owen, is the organizer of Smith’s early retirement plan that is supposed to be action-packed. I wouldn’t say it was chockfull of action, but it does have some good action sequences. The visual effect work done to make Smith look like Fresh Prince of Bell Air season one is remarkable, and the fight with himself is really cool. Clive Owen does a great job in supporting role which I keep finding him at lately (wassup with that?). Mary Elizabeth Winstead aa Danny is good. The cast is solid.

The story is where everything goes wrong.

Sci-fi action can work very well with this premise as long as you don’t complicate it. Which they did. I do want you to go and see it for yourself, so I won’t give the plot away. I’ll just say that the writer's room is where this falls apart. The script should be good considering who they have wielding those pens… Billy Ray who was aa writer on the Nazi B movie OVERLORD, Darren Lemke who was a writer for Shazam and Jack the Giant Slayer so he’s pretty decent at comedy especially in fantasy, all seemingly good choices, but they did produce any movie magic. Then you have David Benioff of GOT. Remember when the showrunners of Games of Thrones were running themselves thin because they were already starting new projects?! Well, this was that project, and we got aa half-ass last season of Game of Thrones for a half-ass Will Smith film. 

Ang Lee is a great director but when it comes to his ventures in sci-fi it’s the writer’s room that drags his name down. Even in 2003 Hulk, he had a 1 novice who wrote Freedom Writers and the other guy wrote Goldeneye and Cliffhanger. Great action films but dumb stories. Lee hopefully the third time will be the charm and maybe you should write it.

Gemini Man Final Grade: C

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Joker is great, but not original!

By Corey "Salty Truth" Floyd 
Todd Phillips, who I’ve known to pull off some of the funniest and raunchiest comedies of our time. ie: Hangover and Old School decided to flex his artistic chops by writing and directing a dramatic film. That’s okay. it’s not like it hasn’t been done before... look at Jordan Peele. Needless to say, I was truly looking forward to seeing if he could thrive in the dramasphere. Then things really got interesting when they announced that a story about the Joker was the movie that Phillips would sink his new drama chops into, and that Joaquin Phoenix will play him. I knew there would be an opinion storm brewing after the first trailer, so I completely blocked all that shit out to ensure that I saw the new movie with fresh eyes. 

By the end of the film, I wasn’t sure whether to love it or hate it. 
Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck a man whose life has been rough, to say the least. He has a crappy job as a sign spinning clown in the harshest version of Gotham City circa the 1980s. He suffers from mental disorders and takes care of his mother, all while holding on to the dream of becoming a stand-up comedian. He’s very shy and extremely lonely so he loses himself in a late-night show fantasy hosted by our national fucking treasure, Mr. Robert De Niro. When he’s not fantasizing about being on tv the world is kicking the crap out of him literally and figuratively. Teens beat him up, co-workers don’t respect him, but he has the love of his sick mom. Their moments together are touching, and she tries to fill him and herself with hope, but it all comes crashing down, or does it? I won’t go any further because I truly do want you guys to see it.
Phoenix is a great actor and he put everything into this role and I really appreciated his efforts. He deserves any and all accolades that come from this film. He earned it. Because of his stellar performance, I will not entertain the typical “who’s the better joker?” And, I don’t really believe that it would be fair to the other portrayals of the character. Phoenix is in 90% of the film. His screen time eclipse all the other jokers combined. The supporting cast does a great job as well. shout out to a Zazie Beetz as Sophie and Frances Conroy as Penny Fleck Arthur’s mom, outstanding work indeed. A Huge shout out to Brett Cullen who is the first actor to play Thomas Wayne longer than three minutes and not ignite my anger. Phoenix is an Oscar nominee for sure. 

Okay now that I’ve got the good stuff out of the way I wanna address a big issue and it’s with Todd Phillips. Although, I like this movie, I can’t give the director/writer a lot of credit. Why? Cause it seems like he copied a lot of key moments in this film from a movie called “The King of Comedy” from 1982 by Martin Scorsese. I don’t wanna give away what happens in “The King Of Comedy,” because it will surely spoil the Joker for you. รง I should not be able to make that statement! I understand that sometimes movies play homage to older works, but this wasn’t the case here, and that’s why I find it difficult to give Phillips a lot of credit for this project. I’m sure De Niro found it funny since he was in the older movie as well. I urge you all to search the internet for the movie after you’ve seen the “Joker” so give it a watch and maybe you will understand my qualms. That being said, the cinematography was absolutely amazing, shout out to Lawerence Sher, the visuals alone are more than worth the ticket price. If this were a retelling of the original I wouldn’t be upset at all but what I got was a movie posing as something new when it’s really something old.

I also want to address the walking out situation. I did want to walk out of this movie. Why didn’t I? I like to finish what I start. Though walking out did cross my mind several times. This film is very sad, dark and stomach-churning. It gave me memories of people I’ve known who have battled mental illnesses and the system wasn’t equipped to handle them. I felt horrible for Fleck and in the third act where people cheered for him my heart broke. This is not the comedy prince of crime! This isn’t the “do you wanna know how I got these scars? This was a person whose psyche has been shattered and put back together by a destructive society. Or is it? 

Final Grade A * (without Phoenix D-)

I hope you guys enjoyed the film please fill free to tell your thoughts in the comments section. This is Corey for Amerime Media see you next time for Gemini Man.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Rapper turned Superhero: DMC

I am the King Of Rock, Hip Hop, and now Comics. DMC one half of the legendary rap group Run-DMC is coming out swinging. He no longer goes by the moniker Devastating Mic Controller even though he still has those skills. He as a new secret identity now its Darryl Makes Comics.  

A few weeks ago at keystone Comic-Con, we had the chance to sit and talk to the legend himself about his love for comics and his new publishing house Darryl Makes Comics. The flagship comic of that house is his own personal comic DMC. His comics were almost completely sold out in Philly. I was able to grab the second issue, I ordered more from amalgam Comics and am waiting patiently for the awesome to arrive. The issue I have is super dope, but before I get into my review I would like to share the reason why DMC delved into the comic book world.
"I started off loving DC COMICS but was a fan of what Stan Lee was doing over at Marvel. Because he was basing all his heroes out of New York so I identified myself more with Peter Parker, Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four all of those guys because they were from the same neighborhood as me."
THE INTERVIEW
 

THE STORY
It opens up as most superhero comics do with the world fawning over the heroes but in this case, they praising the wrong heroes because across town the real hero to the people is actually putting in the work. You see cameras and flashing lights over the model heroes the big three. Spelle former supermodel turned hero whit mystical powers. Iron Eagle decorated veteran with tactical skills. Then its the leader Helios OP superhero jerk with a dark secret and power he doesn't fully understand. They're like if the other big three was all about the money because they are corporately back and probably owned by Billionaire Stanley Staxworth to protect justice and the American way. But across town, a couple is getting robbed until a masked man drops in and saves the day. After he dispatches the bad guys he notices Helios zipping across the sky and follows him to an apartment building that he sets on fire DMC rushes in to save a kid from disaster. 

The next morning DMC finds out its a new drug on the street that gives people powers and somehow the heroes are involved. While investigating he goes into a club that is a hot spot the drugs are sold out of. He runs into the group of thugs from earlier and gets a taste of powerful the drug makes people. The gang gets revenge by giving DMC the same beating he a previously given them. Helios also shows up and set the club on fire which gives DMC a chance to escape. Which ensues is the mission of who is creating this powerful and dangerous drug and how are the heroes involved. To do this DMC gets a sidekick and goes out to save NYC.

ASSEMBLE THE TEAM
First off this is not a 24-page comic this a beautiful graphic novel. The team over at DMC brought in an amazing group of artists and writers to make this come together. Who can tell some of the art styles if you're a fan of the people like 
Humberto Ramos who is an artist for marvel he worked on the Runaways, The Amazing and Spectacular Spiderman
Amy Chu who write for the DC Poison Ivy series

Monday, September 9, 2019

Indie Comic Review: Sol Survivor




Hey comic family Comic Boss from Amerime Media and today we are talking Sol Survivor written by a great team over at Charon Comics.

The story opens up with a man slowly opening his eyes trying to figure out where he is then he smells a familiar sent he then realized
"Oh crap, I'm in the middle of a war."
While looking at a graveyard of soldiers, blood and death everywhere.
As he tries to make it back to the village to some form of civilization he spots the enemy unfortunately for him they spot him too. They let the puppies lose to go play with him. At this time he didn't feel like playing so he started running shot on of the little guys and feel off a cliff with the others.

One of the enemies was as disappointed as I was that they didn't get to play longer. One of them said. “They'll go find some other humans." he friend said
"That was the last one. He was the last human the rest has been wiped out!" As the mysterious man hears this he gives up and allows himself to sink in a river of blood and death.

Fast forward to five years. A group of smuggler's/pirates comes to the now a desolate planet where the human empire fell and was cleansed from the galaxy. Looking for an artifact but first, the captain of the group had to deal with some business.

It seems one of his crew members had been stealing since he brings him on board. And that will not do so they tie him to a tree while they work. Then you meet one of the members who were responsible for killing off the human race and his friend that explains they lost because the humans spread they self to thin across the galaxy and if they were smarter it would be them ruling universe. As they talk a female member of the gang spots someone hiding in the bushes a little scuffle happens and she shoots him in the arm then brings him to the captain who looks like a samurai pitbull. With this new turn of events, the captain asks him
"do he wants to leave the planet with them after their done."Of course, he accepts then ask
"What do I have to do"
"Kill this traitor. If you kill him you take his place on my crew then I'll give you a ride once we're done here" the thief is cut loose both are given knives and a fight to the death happens our main character is cut badly and has a bullet wound too. But, manages to kill the thieving bug and right after passed out due to blood loss.

After they bring him on the ship they take his helmet off to find out it's a human they last one of his kind. Arguments followed up with some wanting to dump him harboring a human is a felony. Others want to keep him to study him. Some wanted to kill him and be done with it. The doctor just wanted to save him which the captain agreed after he came to the doctor realized he didn't have any scars from his battles. The captain told him
  “I'll protect you as long as you're a member of this crew and I'll drop you off once they get back to port. But tell me what is your name"
  ‎As he put his helmet back on he said

"Call me Sol."

If your a fan of SciFi with a post-apocalyptic vibe then this is definitely for you. This one was on my buy list for a minute I missed the Kickstarter so I had to wait until it released but this was such a great story and the artwork is amazing. This is definitely a series I will follow also don't forget Charon Comics has a awesome catalog of comics that are just as great as Sol Survivor I urge you to go check it out 


Monday, August 26, 2019

The Boys Review


Amazon prime premiered The Boys a few weeks ago and I’m fiending for season two. Like most superhero type shows it’s adapted from a comic series, but this series was never intended for children. This was made for people who grew up in the 80s and 90 and are enjoying the comic pop culture explosion but wish there was a dark outlet that was actually good (Sorry DCEU). What happens when you take the Justice league and add in the cruelty and corruption of corporate America? You get this show, you get The BOYS! Eric Kripke from supernatural and the team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who are on their last ride with preacher, team up to give us the dark yet funny show.

Hughie ( Played by Jack Quaid some May remember him as Marvel from the hunger games series ) plays your shy but lovable Everyman whose life is ripped to pieces when his girlfriend was hit by a speedster hero called A-Train. The scene is quite graphic and tragic so let me reiterate this show is not for kids. Instead of a heartfelt moment between Hero and victim where the hero apologizes and tries to make amends. In this world, A-Train is represented by the Vought corporation a company who sponsors and manages over 200 superheroes and makes billions off merchandising them and making movies and tv shows (sound vaguely familiar don’t it ) they meet with Hughie offer him some money and an NDA. 

He didn’t take it well and that’s when we meet Bill the Butcher, an FBI AGENT  who has a personal vendetta with people with superpowers. Bill is played by Karl Urban who has become a constant fixture in comic / sci-fi over the last 10 years. The kiwi plays the role as rough and rowdy as a modern cowboy with a love for expletives. The rest of his team a guy by the name of Mothers milk ( played by Laz Alonso ) and Frenchie (played by Tomer Capon) tried their best to take down Vought and their team of “superheroes “

The show and comic are a complete deconstruction of the superhero world by driving straight into our modern society in every dark way possible. Pro-choice vs pro-life all the way up to the #Metoo movement are being thrown at you. The show echoes a lot of similarities of philosophy with Watchmen. I don’t wanna spoil it but I think that’s the best way I can put it ( btw the Watchmen series COMES ON TV IN THE FALL). The Boys is a must watch show!! You don’t wanna miss it. 

Don’t worry we will be doing a full review with spoilers on the Amerime Junkies podcast.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

DC’s Pennyworth: A Spoiler-Free Review of the Pilot

By SiddeeQah Love

“Pennyworth? Why does that name sound familiar? Is this another Kingsman thing?” Questions I asked myself as I prepared for a screening of EPIX new show, DC’s Pennyworth.

 As a self-titled Marvel girl, I often forget many aspects of the DC Universe I enjoyed much more as a child, however, this was something that I never knew. I assumed Alfred was a mononymous superbutler who assisted Batman. Maybe there was more to his story, but how can one explore Alfred while being distracted by the……Batman. My curiosity was immediately piqued when I read that Pennyworth was indeed not a Kingsman thing and in fact a show exploring the backstory of Alfred Pennyworth, who is definitely more than a “mononymous superbutler”. 

Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon, right) and Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge)
in a suspenseful moment.

Pennyworth is an enjoyable show exuding the conservative charm of 1960’s London contrasting with the gritty city life of its inhabitants. Alfred Pennyworth, played J is a sexy, well-mannered guy with a youthful face equipped with the badass qualities of a former special-forces officer. We see many layers of Pennyworth as each scene unfolds. We dive right into him transitioning from military life to being an everyday civilian. Though his friends and family doubt him, Alfred is determined to get his security business off the ground and leave behind a life of bouncing at a club in town. However, it’s this very club and a random yankee (who happens to be Thomas Wayne) that change the life of young Pennyworth. We discover a mystery involving an underground world of crime and witness the gripping love story between Alfred and his love interest. As these two worlds collide, our main character must think quickly as he is faced with an undeniable ultimatum. He fearlessly approaches every villainous character with battle expertise and unmatched intellect. 

Bet Sykes (Paloma Faith) is a wicked and dark villain.

The pilot episode captures the essence of many DC storylines, steely and gripping, packed with action, suspense, and stirring moments. So while Pennyworth’s storyline is completely standalone, it is very familiar. We meet a hero who delivers on both brawn and brains with a love interest that leaves the damsel in distress trope behind. Hilarious supporting characters who break up the seriousness of the plot. What’s most familiar are our villains, akin to something you may find in Gotham: dark, twisted, and quirky with a powerful underground influence. Can you tell I like this show? I 10/10 recommend giving Pennyworth a watch, premiering on EPIX on July 28, 2019.

Monday, July 22, 2019

21 Things To Do At Otakon

The head of Otakon 2019 Guest Relations, Ethan Kick, has taken the time out of his busy schedule to provide us a list with some highlights ahead of this year's event, which also marks the 25th anniversary of Otakon.

Otakon List of Awesome! by Otakon Guest Relations Head Ethan Kick

1)            We have so much music this year, everyone! Come check out the amazing funk rock band Bradio, followed by the Tribute to Nujabes Concert later that evening in our Main Events room. That’s not all, though.  We also have an exciting and new project, “RPG National Anthem Variations” Guitar Concert with Sam Griffin and Eric Roth. But that’s not even our final form. Make sure to check out TAKU from M-Flo, who will be performing Saturday night at the Otakon Dance. Then to round it out, check out both Diana Garnet and nano perform on Sunday.

2)            That’s not all for music, though. We have incredible composer Kaoru Wada joining us to talk about his works over the years. You may know him best for composing music in "Inuyasha," "Ace Attorney," "Princess Tutu," "D. Gray-man," and "Ninja Scroll."

3)            With a Tribute to Nujabes, you can’t ignore his contribution to "Samurai Champloo." Make sure to check out our panel with Kirk Thorton and Kari Wahlgren, the voices of Jin and Fuu, respectively. We also have a panel dedicated to the music of Nujabes, with a few artists that worked on the music for "Samurai Champloo" or with Nujabes. This includes Marcus D, Substantial, EyeQ, MINMI, and Shing02.

4)            Switching gears from music for a minute, we obviously have a ton of amazing animation guests and events for you, as well. Check out designer Shigeto Koyama, director Hiromi Wakabayashi, and director Hiroyuki Imaishi from Studio Trigger as they premiere "PROMARE," their new animated movie. Also, join their panel during the weekend, where they will be doing Q&A and doing live drawings.

5)            Fire fighters from "PROMARE" are cool, but sometimes you want a bit of fantasy and goofy antics. Well, lucky for you, Bandai Namco Arts is bringing us some of the amazing team behind “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime,” with character designer Ryoma Ebata, director Atsushi Nakayama, and voice actor Chikahiro Kobayashi, whom you may know from the show as Ranga but also Saichi Sugimoto in "Golden Kamuy." Come join their panels on Friday and Saturday as they have some fun stuff planned at their events.

6)            That’s not enough anime for Otakon, you say? Well, good thing we are far from finished. We also have FuRyu joining us, presenting the team behind "Laid Back Camp." Voice actress Sayuri Hara, whom you’ll know as Chiaki Ohgaki; producer Shoichi Hotta, whom you may also know for his work on "Kakegurui - Compulsive Gambler"; and director Yoshiaki Kyougoku. Yoshiaki Kyougoku has worked on several awesome projects such as "Seirei no Moribito," "Sengoku Basara," and "Eden of the East," as well as "Kuroko’s Basketball" and "Tokyo Ghoul" as episode director.

7)            We also have producer Michihiko Suwa and voice actress Kikuko Inoue, who are both veterans of the industry. Suwa-san you will know for his work as producer of "City Hunter," "Case Closed," "Detective Conan," "Inuyasha," "Lupin III," and "Magic Knight Rayearth." Kikuko Inoue has acted too many amazing roles to count, but you have probably heard her as Belldandy, Lust, The Boss, Aina Sahalin, Nurse Joy, and I-No. Kikuko Inoue with be joining Suwa-san to talk about their work on the anime "Mix," originally written by legendary manga writer Mitsuru Adachi. Inoue-san plays Mayumi Tachibana and Suwa-san was the producer.

8)            Still not done, though! We are also joined by the incredibly talented Hiroshi Nagahama. He was director on "Mushishi," "Detroit Metal City," and "The Flowers of Evil." He also worked on "The Reflection" from 2017, which was co-created between Nagahama and Stan Lee. Nagahama-san will be discussing the differences between comics in Asia and North America, as well as discussing his own works.

9)            We are also joined by the incredibly talented voice actor Toru Furuya, who you may know as Amuro Ray in "Gundam," Yamcha in "Dragonball," Tuxedo Mask in "Sailor Moon," Pegasus Seiya in "Saint Seiya," and Sabo from "One Piece." He’ll be out talking about his work over the year and being an all-around incredible person.

10)          Our next amazing individual has worked on too many projects to count and needs no introduction. Masao Maruyama is joining us for the first time in Washington, DC. You will know Maruyama-san for his work on "Summer Wars" and "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time." Over the years, he has worked at MADHOUSE as president as well as at MAPPA and M2.

11)          We couldn’t talk about veterans without mentioning Hirokatsu Kihara, who will be joining us again this year. Kihara-san worked at Studio Ghibli on some of its most legendary projects. While you’ve no doubt heard of "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" and "My Neighbor Totoro," he will be here to celebrate the 30thAnniversary of "Kiki’s Delivery Service." He’ll also be discussing ghost stories and all his adventures.

12)          Of course, we couldn’t have an Otakon without amazing North American voice talent, as well! While we already mentioned Kirk Thorton and Kari Wahlgren will be joining us, we also have the amazingly talented industry veterans Richard Epcar and Ellyn Stern. We also have the superbly talented Erika Harlacher, whom you may know as Ann from "Persona 5"; Jason Leibrecht, whom you will know as Dabi in "My Hero Academia" or Hei from "Darker Than Black"; and Elizabeth Maxwell, who, you’ve heard as Midnight in "My Hero Academia" or Arisa Uotani in "Fruits Basket."

13)          Speaking of "Fruits Basket," how could we forget about the Japanese voice cast of "Fruits Basket 2019," who will be here? Makoto Furukawa (Hatsuharu Soma), Manaka Iwami (Tohru Honda), and Nobunaga Shimazaki (Yuki Soma) will all be at Otakon. You’ll know many of them for their other roles, such as Saitama from "One Punch Man" (Makoto Furukawa), Maquia in "Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms" (Manaka Iwami), and Haruka in "Free!" (Nobunaga Shimazaki), along with countless other fantastic roles.

14)          With enough music and anime to shake a stick at, we can move to some of our other amazing programming. Roxanne Modafferi and Serena DeJesus will be joining us again this year to show us some martial arts moves up close. They are both incredibly accomplished athletes, and we are so exited to have them back.

15)          We also have the fantastic costumer designer Jez Roth. Make sure to see Jez’s Lip Synch for your Cosplay, as well as his new event, Project Cosplay live. Have you ever wanted to work on cosplays at a convention in from of an audience? Well, maybe it is a bit exciting for some, but we can't wait to see what everyone creates and to see people jam on stage at Lip Synch for your Cosplay.

16)          Our video rooms this year are getting in the anniversary spirit by showing some of the most influential movies and shows of the last 25 years, right up to today, including "AKIRA," "Penguin Highway," a "Lupin the 3rd" double feature, "Bubblegum Crisis," and so much more. Be sure to check out one of the Saturday Morning Cartoon shows to check out fun episodes of some of the best retro anime in both subbed and dubbed theaters.

17)          Our Workshop spaces are hosting the return of the ShoeString Scientists.  Come build a pokemon terrarium, or learn about paper crafting, armor building, or some of our other totally interactive hands-on events.

18)          Speaking of hands-on, we have a dedicated space again this year hosting the Otakon Makerspace.  Drop in anytime over the entire weekend to do a quick project that you can either take home, or contribute to our Makerspace art exhibit.

19)          Do you like puzzles?  The Otakon Break-in room is returning for 2019, with all new devious, and tricky puzzles and games.  Swing by Room 304 to check it out.  Sessions will run continuously during open hours.

20)          Do you like to dance?  We have three different formats for dancing this year.  First is the Lyra's Formal Ball, an opportunity to dress to impress, and waltz the night away on Friday.  Second is Hiro's Lounge, a swing lounge, running lessons all day, and hosting two live bands during open dance hours, the later night lounge is 18+ with a cash bar.  Third is our Otakon Rave, with DJs pumping out the beats into the early hours.

21)          Cosplay more your thing?  Come check out the Otakon Masquerade on Saturday night, starting at 7:30 p.m.  Many entrants from the Hall Costume Contest participate in a catwalk fashion show, and the Masquerade entries skits will make you laugh, cry, and cheer! Things To 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Mario Maker 2 Review


            SuperMario Maker is a series of games that seemingly provide endless fun and engagement to fans of the Super Mario franchise. With the comparatively miserable performance in terms installs base of the WiiU, Mario Maker’s sequel is a very welcome addition to the Switch’s library, enabling thousands of new players to discover the joys of level design, new challenges and ways to play one of the most enduring franchises in the world. Now, Nintendo released Super Mario Maker 2 introducing new mechanics and seemingly endless possibilities to its level designing antics. Two state blocks, slopes, claws, snake blocks, autoscrolling, and even clear conditions just to name a few. This powerful toolset allows players and budding level designers from all over the world to create, play and share new Mario levels rightfully earning the title of “The Mario game to end all Mario games”. This review will take a look at Mario Maker 2’s Story Mode, Level Builder, an online mode, dubbed “Course World”. Without further ado, let's get right into the former.

Story Mode


Mario and various Toads of the Mushroom Kingdom have been hard at work to build a castle for Princess Peach. The story begins just as they completed the arduous project when suddenly the Undo-Dog pounced on a stray reset rocket, deleting their progress prompting Mario and the Toads to start over. Here your adventure of collecting coins by playing through levels begins as you slowly but surely complete the castle. Various characters will set you up with challenges which range from lighthearted fun to soul-crushingly difficult. Mario Maker 2’s story mode is a good place to start off your journey as a budding level designer. Since its featured levels are designed by Nintendo which showcases what is possible in Mario Maker and the power of its new tools available in the Builder Mode. The new themes, clear conditions, auto-scrolling and so much more are highlighted and well-implemented providing hours of new and fun ways to play Mario. What better way to learn how to make a level than to learn from those that do it for a living. Although it sadly is not possible to actually edit a level from the Story Mode, allowing a peek behind the curtain and see how it works, it still provides ample inspiration to get you started. Once you feel confident enough and have been able to consistently clear levels it is time to tackle the meat of the game.


Builder Mode

Builder mode features a wide breadth of tools aptly named “parts” that let you build all sorts of contraptions, traps, challenges, and art. Building a level is as easy as selecting a part, placing it in the level, and then playtesting your creation at the press of a button. The layout in TV mode might seem a bit counter-intuitive at first but once you get used to it the navigation of it becomes second nature. At the top, you have your recently selected parts, a search wheel, and a switch for sound effects. On the left, you have your styles and themes, auto-scrolling options, level timer settings, clear conditions, co-op the building, and player trails. On the bottom, there is a level scroll bar and a switch for the sub-area. On the right, you have the reset rocket, undo-dog, eraser, save options, and the main menu. All of these options can be accessed with either the D-Pad or a button shortcut in TV mode and in handheld, the Switch’s touch screen can be utilized to simply select and draw with your fingers (In this video only footage of TV mode will be used). The menu navigation in TV mode is a bit cumbersome but makes sense once you become accustomed to it. Even if the navigation is clunky you can always unlock the switch and use the touchscreen. A simple way to characterize Builder mode would be to call it “A process of trial and error”. Figuring out what works and what doesn’t can be an arduous process, making you replay levels over and over as you refamiliarize yourself with your own creation, one play at a time. Once you find something that works you move on to the next section until you have completed your magnum opus. In order to upload the course to the course world, the creator has to be able to beat his own level without using any checkpoints, and once more from each checkpoint as a way to ensure the level is beatable. One is thus limited by one’s own skill, however, practicing and testing their level makes it appear a lot easier than it actually is. It is always good practice to have a few friends try the level before it is uploaded. And thus it is time to talk about Course World.

Course World

Course world is the online hub for creators and players in Mario Maker 2. Here, all the wonderful creations and various torture devices disguised as levels can be played and uploaded. It's always astounding to see the wide variety and clever ingenuity of builders from around the world. Some levels brought me to the brink of insanity with its difficulty, some were a joyous romp, and some just made you appreciate the art. Course World allows you to play single courses sorted by various categories such as “New Courses” “Popular” and “Hot”, play the endless challenge or the new versus mode featuring levels from course world. The addition of Co-Op adds new spice and sometimes difficulty to a level. Despite the game being out for a very short time, there is certainly no shortage of levels and talented designers to be found. A few things stand out though. In order to play a friends level directly a nine-digit level code is required to find it. The same is true for someone’s maker profile. This system is a bit antiquated as keyword searches aren’t too uncommon in these types of games and it would have been a sensible addition to an otherwise excellent experience. A tag filtering search in the “Detailed Search” tab isn’t powerful enough to look for one exact level. Furthermore, in order to truly completely enjoy Course World’s offerings, a Nintendo Online Membership is a must. 20$ a year might not seem like much and to the most dedicated Nintendo fan this is a very fair compromise, however, for some this premium fee on top of a 60$ game might not be something casual players are willing to pay.


Conclusion


In conclusion, SuperMario Maker 2 is an excellent addition to the Switch’s library, a must-have for any Mario fan. It provides endless challenges and relaxing casual levels. It allows your creativity to be the limit on what you can build with the powerful tools available to you. The story mode is a fleshed-out enjoyable experience and provides ample challenges to be mastered and inspired by. Course world may be unfriendly to those looking for specific levels but the absolute treasure trove of levels to be found there completely outweighs this fact. Simply put, Mario Maker 2 is the ultimate Mario game in the Switches library to date, a must-play and create.

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