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Amerime Media Invades Fan Expo Philadelphia

Coverage Begins May 2 to the 5th, interviews, pannels, gameplay, and cosplay


Don't be shy when you see us out in these nerd streets.

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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.


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.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

What a Beautiful Night to Have a Curse Bloodstained Ritual of the Night Review

After a long wait and successful Kickstarter campaign, “Bloodstained Ritual of the Night” is finally here! Is this game what we hoped for? Is it going to finally scratch that Castlevania itch that’s been eating me alive all these years? Well, we are going to talk about that and more. This is a supplementary review, if you want to see my first impressions of the game right after I was done playing it, go check the video down below.

Bloodstained Ritual of the Night is a Metroidvania game developed by ArtPlay for the PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch. The development was led by the one and only Koji Igarashi, former Castlevania series producer. Bloodstained is a spiritual successor to the Castlevania series to a point that a retro 8bit game, “Bloodstained Curse of the Moon”, was released ahead of this game.

Maybe we’ll talk about this one some other time.

Fans of Castlevania asked for another Metroidvania game for years now and Mr. Igarashi decided to listen to all of us and gave us this game. Bloodstained is a Kickstarter success story giving the fans a throwback to the games of yesteryears in combination with new mechanics that just feel right and it is what the fans of a classic franchise could ever ask, unlike other crowdfunded games that I don’t want to talk about right now ..*~COUGH!~Mighty Number 9~ COUGH~*.

The first few minutes of gameplay, I could tell that fans of Symphony of the Night would love this game! The exploration, the different types of weapons and of course the secret rooms, don’t forget to hit every wall. Everything is there, you can even try to perform some old Castlevania techniques, some might work and others you might have to tweak them. But the option to experiment around is great.

Just how I learned the dash cancel, just click on the link and see.

There are also some new things in the game. Every now and then you will find a bookshelf in certain rooms and I totally recommend to read them because they don’t only contain story bits but also hints & weapon abilities. Just like in Castlevania Symphony of the Night some weapons can perform certain abilities like the katana weapons can parry attacks or the Kung Fu shoes can perform triple kicks. If you are a Castlevania veteran you can try to input some commands and see if you can figure out your weapon’s ability. Doing so will add the command to your notes even though you didn’t find the respective bookshelf to that ability.

There are some cool abilities.

Character design is fantastic! You could definitely confuse this game with a Castlevania game, well if Konami kept on making them instead of making pachinko machines. My first introduction with these characters was on the 8Bit version of the game and seeing the characters fully rendered in 3D actually made me happy. I was like, “Look at Miriam! Oh goodness is that Zangetsu!..” and so on and so on. Also, something that’s not present in Castlevania Games is the ability to customize the looks of your character. Some items will actually show on your character, and later on, you will find an NPC that will allow you to change your hairstyle and color, skin tone, and the color of your cloth.

Now Miriam is a sexy elf pirate!

 Actually, the game had a graphical update from the first time we saw it. There were some critiques coming from the fans, and unlike any other company, Mr. Igarashi took the criticism and addressed the issue. Resulting in a glorious looking Metroidvania game!

Here’s a link to the video with the graphical differences.

There was a lot of heart put into this game and it shows. As a Metroidvania fan, and Castlevania fan, I can’t recommend this game enough! There are some problems with the Switch version right now though, but Mr. Igarashi has addressed the issue and they are working on the solutions. Hopefully, by the time you are reading this, the problems would have been solved, but as it stands, for now, I would wait on the Switch version for a bit. For the PC and the other consoles, if you’re a Metroidvania fan, why aren’t you playing this right now!?

As you can see, I truly enjoyed this game, I’ve been starving for a new Castlevania game after all. But tell me, have you tried BloodstainedRitual of the Night? What do you think of the game? How much of a Metroidvania fan are you? Let us know. Now I return to the deepest darkest corners of my dwelling. Good-bye, for now, my friends.


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