Wondering what to do with your upcoming free time? Good thing we have some suggestions for what you should be watching, playing, reading, listening to, etc.
Ben’s Anime Pick: Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV series) – Let’s get this out of the way first: the story of Fate is weird. There are three versions of the Fate/stay night story that center around the same characters and use the same premise – a teenager named Shirou is drawn into a deadly battle royale between mages who each summon a legendary warrior from the past to fight for them – but vary wildly in how certain events play out. From what I understand, the different series are adaptations of the paths that you could choose in the original visual novel. The Unlimited Blade Works path (which was a good movie, though far inferior to the full series) fleshes out the mysterious “Archer” the most, further explores Shirou’s psychological baggage, and features some of the most stunning animated action I’ve ever seen. Even the so-fast-you-can-barely-see-them moments are polished to an incredible degree by Ufotable, a studio I may have mentioned a few times before, and the incredible sound design and accompanying score make each attack “feel” that much heavier. It’s an overall awesome series that I highly recommend to any anime fans.
Ben’s TV Pick: Transformers War for Cybertron Trilogy Chapter 1: Siege – The initial six-part chapter of Netflix’s Transformers saga chronicles the beginning of the end of the eponymous robots’ home planet, and gives a bit of extra depth to a few of its greatest denizens. Megatron and Optimus are given an almost Magneto/Xavier-type relationship as both bots genuinely believe that they are fighting for the best possible outcome for Cybertron, but that doesn’t mean Megatron isn’t the destructive and arrogant bad guy that fans have come to know and love. Jetfire and Bumblebee’s origins are also tweaked, but their personalities are, for the most part, pretty similar to what you’d expect. The series’ action is solid too, and even though you probably have a good idea of where the story is headed (as it predates the original series) the stakes feel meaningful. While it definitely feels like it’s mostly building up to something bigger on the horizon, Siege is a solid starting point for the newest iteration of the Transformers continuity.
Lauren’s Video Game Pick: Ghost of Tsushima – In the last “Suggestion Box” Ben sang the praises of Sucker Punch’s newest game, Ghost of Tsushima, and now that I’m within inches of getting that platinum trophy, I’m here to do the same. First things first: this game is gorgeous. Fast traveling is an option as you fill in the map throughout the campaign, but why anyone would ever choose to forgo the opportunity to take in the sites and sounds of this representation of feudal Japan from the back of your trusted steed (mine literally being named Nobu, or Trust) is beyond me. I would say our protagonist isn’t the most interesting character in comparison to some of the other amazing NPCs building up the world around Jin, but I was actually fascinated with how his confusion in grappling with maintaining the honor of the samurai, or the traditional meaning of said honor, vs doing what is necessary to protect those struggling to survive the Mongol invaders impacted my own playstyle. I spent the first few hours truly sweating the decision of being a warrior respectful of the rules of engagement, back straight, eye to eye with my opponent, vs my typical stealth, dagger to the throat approach. Eventually, as I’m sure most did, I settled into a blend of the two styles as I witnessed how impractical these ideals often are in practice, with so many examples around Jin of others who have “lost their way” from the honor-bound path, showing that doing what is necessary isn’t actually something to feel guilty for. That said, I never went full stealth. One, because accidents happen and chaos ensues, and two, because the combat system is just that phenomenal (and surprisingly easy to master, given how many variations of stance and tactics there are). And the standoffs. Oh my god, the standoffs. I never felt more badass than when I successfully tore my way through combatant after combatant in these moments. Long story short, though his uncle may have disapproved of Jin’s evolution into the hero needed, as long as the Japanese people were safe and the foxes continued to stand at his side, I was ok with the ghost Jin had become.
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 some of the site’s other recent content:
- Ben’s anniversary film review of Mortal Kombat.
- Middle of the Row: The Podcast episodes on Radioactive and a flashback to The Book of Eli.