The Suggestion Box #84: Stampedes, and Plague Rats, and Forty Two, 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: Trigun When I first started getting into anime, this space western was one that most of my like-minded friends said I needed to see. Trigun is a classic for good reason, with most of it able to contend with almost anything that’s come out since. The show’s main focus is on the exploits of Vash the Stampede, a legendary gunslinger/chaos magnet and his mysterious past. Vash is the onion of anime characters: deeply layered and can easily make you cry. Trigun may start out light, almost like a slapstick comedy with shockingly great action, but as details of Vash’s (and others’) past are revealed the show takes a darker tone, all the while keeping the heart and building up the gunfights to even crazier levels. Along the way we’re introduced to not one, but two of my favorite characters in all of anime: the traveling Priest, Nicolas D. Wolfwood, and the ice-cold villain, Legato Bluesummers. Trigun’s music is some of the best that anime has to offer as well, and I’m not just talking about the absolute banger from its opening credits; the entire soundtrack is instrumental in helping the show feel smooth and connected despite the tonal shifts. All in all, Trigun is an anime landmark that’s aged incredibly well for the most part, and is still definitely worth checking out.

You can watch the first episode for free here.

Ben’s Book Pick: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy After letting it sit on my shelves (both physical and digital) for years, I finally got around to reading Douglas Adams’ sci-fi comedy classic, and it might just be the best book I’ve ever read. The story follows Arthur Dent, a normal man who finds himself being taken off-world by his secretly-an-alien best friend moments before the entire earth is destroyed. The pair then embark on a galaxy-spanning adventure involving annoyingly bureaucratic aliens with a terrifying penchant for poetry, a deeply depressed robot, a Galactic President who’s on the lam, and much, much more. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy‘s narrative is consistently hysterical, and the way Adams delivers exposition throughout the novel, often as passages of the titular device, is nothing short of genius. In fact, the exposition dumps might be the book’s biggest strength, which is something I never thought I’d experience. Adams uses his unique sense of humor to give things like the mechanics of instantaneous, interstellar travel or the mindset of a character such a humorous quirkiness that I couldn’t help smiling (or laughing out loud) every time I was given another glimpse of the author’s wonderfully weird universe. I knew I was in for a terrific read just from the prologue, and the rest of the book never failed to surprise me with its continuous, comedic build-up of space-faring insanity.

Lauren’s Video Game Pick: A Plague Tale: Innocence With a sequel coming out next month and the game’s removal from Game Pass coming sooner than that, I finally got to a game that two of my friends have been pressing me to play for years, A Plague Tale: Innocence. It should shock no one that most, if not all, of my hesitancy came from knowing that our protagonist’s dog gets brutally consumed by a ravenous horde of plague rats at the start of the game (RIP Lion – said with a French accent – you were the best of us); but, with the ability to skip this cutscene only a button click away, I was finally ready to Jon Wick my way through the vermin responsible for his demise, as well as the members of the Inquisition responsible for taking even more from Amicia’s family. With a soundtrack, gameplay, and themes that remind me a bit of The Last of Us, A Plague Tale: Innocence bounces between keeping the tides of rats at bay and stealthing around soldiers (or obliterating their natural cranial armor with a rock sling if you’re feeling nasty, or using the rats against them if you’re feeling even nastier) through apocalyptic levels of desolation, gore and decay in beautifully bleak and bloody locations; the only thing keeping me and Amicia from losing ourselves to glorious vengeance is Hugo, Amicia’s little brother, hanging tightly to her side. His bright eyes shining towards the beauty of a new-to-him world outside the homestead and the way he repeatedly runs back to his big sister to take her hand had my heart swollen with protect him at all costs energy, causing me to wrestle with doing whatever violent acts it takes to keep him safe and the equal desire to shield his eyes from the horror of the world when I could, a shouldered burden I was not expecting. Seriously, if you missed this game when it first came out like I did, there’s no time like the present to experience all the sadness, determination, and fury this game has to offer.

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:

  • Our “Greatest Thing About” podcast episode on BlueTwelve Studio’s cat lead video game Stray.
  • Jon’s Fitz and the Tantrum’s concert review.

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