Have some free time and wondering what to watch, play, listen to, etc.? Well we have some suggestions for you!
Ben’s Anime Pick: Demon Slayer – Ufotable is my favorite animation studio because they consistently deliver breathtaking visuals in their series (Fate Zero might be the best-looking anime series ever), and Demon Slayer continues that trend with telling an action-packed, emotional, and somewhat predictable story. After his sister is turned into a demon and the rest of his family is slaughtered, teenager Tanjiro begins a long journey to track down the first demon in existence, and hopefully a cure for his sibling. It’s a dark tale, but one with occasional pockets of happiness and humor, fun supporting characters, and stunning fights with choreography almost as impressive as the animation. Come for the visuals, stay for the feels.
Seriously though, it’s almost worth watching just because of the animation…
Ben’s Mobile Game Pick: Pokémon Go – I’ve been playing Pokémon Go on and off ever since its release in July 2016, and it’s only gotten better over time. From Niantic taking their time releasing new Pokémon, to events that let you catch tons of certain pocket monsters in short amounts of time, to the adventure sync feature – an option that allows you to make progress on hatching eggs or getting candies for your partner Pokémon even while the app is closed – I’m always finding new reasons to keep playing it. The only new feature I refuse to use one that allows you to change teams. TEAM INSTINCT FOR LIFE!
Ben’s Movie Pick: Pokémon Detective Pikachu – I recently rewatched this pocket monster crime caper, and found myself having even more fun with it the second time around. The story flows more smoothly, and the final act doesn’t feel as out of place as it did when I saw it in theaters. With those flaws having less of an impact, I was able to get even more out of the good qualities of Pokémon Detective Pikachu. The eponymous character is a genuine delight thanks to Ryan Reynolds’ voice and charisma, Justice Smith’s Tim manages to be the straight man while also delivering big laughs, the plucky attitude that Kathryn Newton portrays with Lucy makes her feel like a character I could actually see in a Pokémon game, and most importantly, the Pokémon themselves look INCREDIBLE. I’m pretty sure that the first scene in Ryme City, one that shows a large number of different Pokémon all at once, will end up as one of my favorite scenes in any movie this year. It’s both a huge dose of nostalgia and a technical marvel.
Lauren’s TV Pick: Doom Patrol – Though I enjoyed Titans a bit more than Ben did, he wasn’t wrong to say that Doom Patrol is the better DC Universe original show of the two. The thing is, Titans’ weirder cousin succeeds where its predecessor fails miserably: treating all members of the team equally. Sure, I may call them Rita and the Doom Patrol since she’s my frequently quotable MVP, but this show really is about all of them, putting no one’s story over anyone else’s in level of importance. Now I feel connected to all of these characters I’m meeting for the first time (Cyborg being the only one I knew anything about beforehand), and it’s a real shame Beast Boy didn’t stick around with this group of dysfunctional misfits; then he too could’ve had his past dredged up by a villainous Alan Tudyk all too giddy to tap dance down the dark and painful memory lanes, narrating over it as he goes. Doom Patrol’s often outlandish storylines sometimes meander a bit, but no matter how strange things get as the show reaches for the humorously ridiculous (just one example being summarized with the line: “I just travelled all the way from Jersey to Barcelona, cut open a priest, crawled inside him, and landed in a snow globe. And now I’m standing here talking to a freakin’ robot man.”), a substantial amount of heart is always right there beside the comedy.
Lauren’s TV Pick: Infinity Train – When Tulip (voiced by Critical Role’s currently MIA barbarian, Ashley Johnson) runs away from home after her divorced parents ruin her trip to game design camp, a mysterious train comes from the darkness like the Polar Express to whisk her away from her life. But this train isn’t taking her to see Santa, it’s here to present her with an endless number of train cars to explore and help push her towards coming to terms with how her changing family is really affecting her. How she ever left the train car full of stubby legged dogs or baseball playing dinosaurs is beyond me, but at least the brave and selfless ruler of Corginia and a two sided companion sphere that’s one part optimism, one part earnest self-deprecation, are right there beside her on this ride of self reflection and growth. I will admit that my first trip through this 100 minute train ride was spent mostly enjoying the various themed car interiors and their star studded voice-acted occupants, pondering the train’s biggest mysteries (like how the train came to be, if the months she spent within the train meant her parents spent months not knowing what happened to their daughter, and most importantly, what the heck Tulip ate during that time), and laughing at the Eeyore-esque wallowing of One-Ones’ disparaging one-one liners (him saying “I deserved that” when accidentally rolling into something got me pretty good) to truly appreciate the emotional journey Tulip travels, as well as the conductor’s part to play in it all. Fortunately it didn’t take an infinite number of views for the story to hit home.
Ben’s TV Pick: Wu Assassins – Wu Assassins is without a doubt, a guilty pleasure show for me. Even though I was aware of the show’s many flaws, I never got bored or tired of it. The pacing is awful, the visual effects are pretty bad, most of the dialogue is unbelievably cheesy (occasionally in a good way though), but the action is fantastic, like “what Iron Fist should’ve been” fantastic, the mystical martial arts story was intriguing despite being cliché as Hell, and I enjoyed most of the main characters thanks to the rock-solid chemistry of the cast. I can’t recommend Wu Assassins as a good show, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be among my favorites of 2019, but it was definitely some of the dumbest, funnest dumb fun I’ve had this summer. If you’re on the fence about it, I’d give the pilot a go.
So what do you think about these picks? What content did we miss over the past two weeks while we were spending time with these? Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know about everything (both current and simply new to you) you’ve been consuming lately!
And while you’re here, be sure to check out everything else we’ve posted between this Suggestion Box and the last: an exclusive RedWitch Johnny music video premiere from Jon, and a written review for Ready or Not from Ben, the movie we will be recording a podcast episode about this week. So stay tuned for that!