The Suggestion Box #60: Portals, and Powers, and Podcasts, Oh My!

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: Inuyashiki Last HeroInuyashiki Last Hero is a mix of a few genres: it’s a dramatic series that explores power, responsibility, and humanity, an unsettling thriller with moments of genuine horror, and it also has plenty of explosive superhero action in it as well. The story follows two fundamentally different people who are given new, robotic bodies after a random, extraterrestrial accident. The first, Ichiro Inuyashiki, a husband and father to a family that seemingly doesn’t think much of him, decides to use his newfound powers to help those in need. The second, Hiro Shishigami, a teenager who couldn’t care less about anyone outside his relatives and closest friends, becomes a superpowered serial killer with a disturbingly high body count. As you’d expect, the two eventually cross paths and clash. The (occasionally awful) CG animation can be off-putting at times, but the strong characters and storytelling on display throughout make Inuyashiki a more than worthwhile watch.

Ben’s Podcast Pick: The NoSleep PodcastAs much as I love the genre, I had never actually listened to a horror podcast until a couple of weeks ago. I decided to give this one a shot after hearing a friend rave about its quality, and he was right to do so. Each haunting tale that I’ve listened to so far has been great; they’re like audible Twilight Zone episodes. The large, rotating crew of narrators are all terrific, aided by sound bytes that help pull you into the stories. Sometimes the noises are subtle, like the closing of a car door or jingling of keys, and other times they’re super unsettling, like scratching, creaking, or even the chewing of… Well, it’s best if you find that out on your own. The NoSleep Podcast recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, meaning there are a ton of episodes in their back catalog, and I plan to listen to as many of them as I can.

Lauren’s Podcast Pick: Too Scary; Didn’t Watch Between the husband not being a fan of the horror genre and having not been to a movie theater in a year and a half now, watching horror films has become a very solitary experience for me; which is probably why I found myself randomly listening to Too Scary; Didn’t Watch, the horror movie recap podcast for those too scared to watch for themselves. Listening to the resident (occasionally brave) scaredy cats Henley and Emily react in shock and terror as Sammy simply retells the events of movies like The Thing, Hereditary, Drag Me to Hell, and Paranormal Activity has somehow made the horror movie watching experience oddly communal for me again, something hard not to desperately crave these days. For the most part, the podcast is what its tagline suggests, a recap of the chosen films, but that doesn’t mean the occasional bits of analytical discussion and interpretation don’t make their way into the format of the show as the films get broken down plot point by plot point. Let’s just say I started listening to the podcast for simple background noise as I worked at my drawing table every day, but I’ve found myself discovering a new appreciation for films I maybe never gave much of a second thought to. Looking at you, The Babadook! So whether you’re a horror film watcher yourself or too scared to become one, this may be the podcast for you.

Ben’s Video Game Pick: Ratchet & Clank: Rift ApartThe newest entry in Insomniac’s long-running Playstation franchise is the first game I’ve played that fully utilizes the PS5’s improved hardware, and it’s visually stunning as a result. The fact that it maintains a buttery smooth 60fps with raytracing, despite the huge amount of explosions and particle effects created by the insane arsenal at Ratchet and Rivet’s (a new playable hero) disposal, is quite impressive. The story is also pretty fun, as the dimension-hopping shenanigans allow you to see different versions of the same characters, and it has tons of Insomniac’s quirky sense of humor too. That narrative twist also lends itself fairly well to the gameplay, both in combat and puzzle solving. The campaign is brisk, but offers a great deal of replay value thanks to a good number of collectibles, and the previously mentioned wide array of weaponry that almost certainly won’t be fully upgraded by the end of your first run. As of now, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is my favorite game of 2021.

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!

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