bLog Date: 19 January, 2017

Happy 2017 everyone! I can still say that, right? I’m only most of a month late. Aheheh….

Anyway, sorry for the lack of a post this week. There’s been some pretty hectic personal stuff throughout the week but it seems to be calming down a bit now. That said I’m not going to use this as an excuse to get lazy and stop posting for a while. So tomorrow I’ll be putting something up on my blog that some people might find contentious, a little confronting or even a bit arousing, that being Erotica in Modern Media.


It Could’ve Been Great: G.A.T.E.

Hey there folks, today I’m bringing you another new segment that I’ve been thinking I might do every once in a while when I’m sufficiently annoyed with (and/or liquored up after) watching a show. There are those shows  that have interesting concepts and are great, those that have dumb concepts that still manage to be good, those with bad concepts that are bad, and the most frustrating of all of them, the ones that have a great idea but the execution falls short or in some cases fails completely. Whether it’s poor directing, a wonky budget or some other cosmic force, there are shows that, well, Could’ve Been Great. So I’d like to show you a couple of these that I’ve stumbled across in my time. That being said I don’t think I’ll be doing these often, maybe once or twice a month. And without further ado, let’s get into this steaming pile of disappointment.


GATE had a lot of promise in my eyes. The show is interesting only for the first few episodes and reaches its peak with a climactic dragon fight, but otherwise almost immediately afterwards it becomes boring, formulaic and dull. It’s so overloaded with tropes that whatever plot it might have had is sunk beneath the immense girth of the mass of clichés like the lost city of fucking Atlantis.

The characters themselves are unmemorable to the point where I can’t remember what half of them even looked like, let alone their names. They’re more like generic puppets to be filled with the barest possible personality to be sold as overpriced figurines and boobie mousepads. The designs for them are tragically uninspired as well, to the point where you can guess the personalities of characters based on their appearance alone. That and the histories of the characters are almost all paint-by-numbers in anime tropes.

If you haven’t heard of GATE, a portal leading to an unknown land suddenly (and inexplicably) appears and an expedition is sent in only to have a nigh-invincible army appear and begin slaughtering everything that is thrown against them. Experienced soldiers die in droves, and this new army seems to suffer no casualties. With their otherworldly weapons and unusual tactics they wipe out any resistance. The only thing that even manages to faze them is a monstrous fire breathing dragon, and even then it only takes a handful of soldiers to kill it! And even then the defenders have to deal with their own warring nations and scheming corruption within the government. The odds are stacked, but they must prevail!

Sounds interesting, right? Well tough. It isn’t. That’s because for basically the entire story our perspective is planted firmly with the invincible modern day army. It’s just bullying a technologically inferior nation into giving up their resources. This isn’t entertainment, this is US foreign policy! But that’s the thing that truly aggravates me about this show, the fact that the plot is following the wrong people! This is a huge problem with GATE. The fact that our protagonists are hyper competent Mary Sues whether they’re from The Real World™ or Generic Fantasy World #8351 is just trite and dumb. Speaking of dumb, the defenders of the proud fantasy realm aren’t the brightest bulbs either. “What’s that? This invincible army that we just pissed off is coming through the portal? Better attack them with most of my military force in an intentional suicide attack just to get rid of any potential conspirators against my supreme rule that may or may not exist!”

Emperor_Molt.png(Ursakar Creed you most certainly ain’t.)

But going back to the characters for a moment, there is potential for a good story with the elf moe-blob in the top right of the first picture. She is the sole survivor of the dragon attack on her village. Everyone she knows is dead including her father, and she can’t emotionally deal with this and so lives in a state of denial, believing him to still be alive and close by, but not here right now. It’s too bad it’s shown only when the show thinks the audience is about to forget about that aspect of her character. Which might I add is pretty much the only aspect of her character. Again if the show focused on this character pretty much exclusively and actually gave her some personality besides a nice rack it might have been halfway decent, even powerful if there was a halfway competent writer on set.

If you’ve ever seen more than 10 episodes of this show you should ask God for your time back. It’s pointless to try but damn if it’s not more constructive than this aggressively stupid show. If you want a good fantasy show, go watch Overlord. That show needs way more attention. Or if you’re looking for something more in the vein of the Oh-No-I’m-Trapped-In-An-MMORPG genre of anime (which really needs a snappier name. GameTrap maybe?) check out Log Horizon. It’s even got a second season (unlike Overlord)!

Retroactive Reviews: The President’s Hat

The President’s Hat, first published in 2012, is a very charming book by French author Antoine Laurain. It’s a simple and romantic story, but simplicity can be powerful if done well.

images-duckduckgo-com(Wearing a hat confers undeniable authority over those without one. -Tristan Bernard)

The President’s Hat follows a few different characters through 1980’s Paris as they all come into possession of the unassuming homburg of the real world French president Francois Mitterrand. However it could be argued that the hat comes to possess them, as it gives those who wear it a new outlook on their life, becoming more confident in their work or abandoning antiquated values of their peers and embracing a new, more experimental culture. In this subtle way the book incorporates a touch of the fantasy, the hat possibly representing a desire for change within the characters.

The novel is short but not to its detriment. While only upwards of 200 pages it is a satisfying read that covers a lot of ground given its length with a number of memorable characters.

The writing also oozes with 80s culture, really giving credibility of the period in which the book is set. It paints a picture so vividly that you can swear you were there with them in the crowds of Paris. Which in my case, being a 19 year old Australian dude from an out of the way town, is a fairly impressive feat. The writing also has a sweet, smooth flow that gives the characters a sense of familiarity and warmth, like they were old friends one was reading about. The characters feel alive and are genuinely entertaining to read about and in some instances downright hilarious.

If I were to have any criticisms about the book is that it does seem to hold Francois Mitterrand in an extremely high regard, almost to the point of propaganda. Although I feel this a flimsy criticism and not representative of the book’s quality at all. Besides, I personally know next to nothing about Mitterrand and really can’t pass any judgement on him as a person.

The reason I love this book so much is its message of inspiration and hope, how even something as simple as finding a nice hat might spurr those with discontent to making decisions in their life to change it for the better. It shows how no matter what situation you might be in there are ways to improve yourself and the world around you. To get back into the groove, push yourself to new heights or even experiencing a new side of their culture. It’s the feeling of hope the book leaves you with that I find a lot of people may find missing in their lives. And that is why I cannot recommend this book enough.

If you are looking for a charming, heartwarming, funny and insightful book to start and finish in a day of traveling or just something to pick up and read while having a cup of tea, The President’s Hat is the book for you.

Au revoir mes amis, and I will be back with more plot next time!

bLog Date: 3 January, 2017

Hey there everyone, it’s me again! Hope everyone had a good holiday! Sorry if my updates were a little, uh, nonexistant these past few weeks. I had figured that very few people would be paying attention to my dinky little blog while they’re spending time with family or however they choose to celebrate the holidays.

So what can we look forward to in the year 2017? More interesting old stuff I dig up, more recent releases in movies, more reliable updates and just more stuff in general.

I also want to hit a goal for my blog this year. So at some point this year I want to double my follower count. Rounding it up because I like nice round numbers, my goal is 350 followers! Like I said in earlier ones of these I’ll be doing YouTube content again at 200 followers and introducing monetisation once I hit 500 followers and I’ll be doing something special once I hit 500.

Tomorrow we’ll get back into business and I’ll upload another Retroactive Review, this time of a little French book filled with optimism and newfound inspiration.

Retroactive Reviews: Black Lagoon

This show will kick your ass. The brainchild of Rei Hiore, Black Lagoon is violent, brutal, unrelenting in its action and atmosphere and has enough explosions and cussing to make both Michael Bay and Quentin Tarinino blush.

And it is awesome.

Black Lagoon.jpg(Here there be monsters, bitch.)

This story follows possibly the unluckiest salary-man ever, Rokuro Okajima (AKA: Rock) as he is kidnapped by pirates, later learns that he was kidnapped for basically no reason, gets involved in a bar shootout before fleeing the scene before his boss calls him and basically just tells him to die in the ocean so he can be forgotten about before an attack helicopter starts trying to hunt him down and kill him. And this is all within the first episode mind you. It only gets more intense and crazier from here on out.

Black_Lagoon_e11.jpg(♪One of these men is not like the others♪)

The animation is excellent especially when you consider the year the show was produced. The backgrounds especially are absolutely gorgeous. It’s a stunning backdrop to the violent and bloody life of the show’s main location, the fictional Taiwanese city of Roanapur. Speaking of the action, it is absolutely visceral and extremely satisfying, especially when coupled with the fact that nobody can stop swearing. Especially not our female lead Revy, who by all accounts is one grade-A badass and one of the craziest gunslingers on the planet.

do47I5K.gif(Does this loo like the face of mercy to you?)

Speaking of the characters of Black Lagoon there are a ton of entertaining and well-rounded characters. I’ve already mentioned the hapless Rock who despite being involved in such intense scenarios always manages to pull through in the end. Then there is also Dutch who is by far one of the coolest people in the show simply by virtue of being fucking awesome. Benny is the radio operator who provides fantastic comedy relief and is an all around cool character to boot. There are a ton of great and varied side characters in the show as well, from the terrifying mute Sawyer, to the world’s least pious nun ever Eda and the imposing leader of Hotel Moscow, Balalaika. The show overall has a lot of strong female characters, both figuratively and literally as a good portion of them are genuinely terrifying. However the most imposing I would have to say is Balalaika as she radiates an aura of confidence in both herself and her soldiers and takes absolutely no shit from anyone and is absolutely as charismatic as she is intimidating.

Balalaika.jpg(Having your own army also helps too.)

Bringing these characters to life is an excellent cast of voice actors for the English dub and what I’ve heard of the original Japanese voice cast isn’t too bad either. Personally I would pick the dub as the quality is excellent and it feels more satisfying to have the characters scream obscenities in the language I speak.

The themes of the show seem to vary a bit. It can switch from being adrenaline soaked, blood-pumping action and excitement before slowing down and pulling back, showing how people become like this and what pushed them to do these things. It’s a solemn look and is genuinely depressing, especially when you reach the midpoint of season one and the twins Hansel and Gretel are introduced. They are simultaneously the most frightening and depressing part of the show.

The show does nothing but improve in its subsequent seasons, but therein lies the main problem. While the manga is still ongoing the show however seems to have stopped being produced after the Roberta’s Blood Trail OVA, which is personally very disappointing.

Overall I would highly recommend Black Lagoon to anyone who is looking for intense and thrilling action, a memorable cast and strong female characters beating the shit out of each other.

bLog Date: 1 December, 2016

Well… Damn. That’s a bigger number than I expected.

blog-175-milestone(This happened)

So, yeah. This kind of snuck up on me. Over 175 followers! Nice. I could’ve waited until 200, but that would make my reaction not genuine. Then again genuine reactions are kinda hard to express over text.

I think it’s kind of expected to do something special once you hit certain milestones for followers and that sort of thing. So, I’ve decided that once I reach 200 followers I will get back into doing YouTube content. I’ve also decided to bump up the whole monetisation idea to 500 followers.

This is a very exciting time for me. Thanks for getting me to this stage guys, let’s see how far we can take this!

Tiny Tales #5: Last Stand at Stonegate Fortress

Back for another Tiny Tale I see. Well, I hope to never disappoint. Hope you’re in the mood for some dark and gritty fantasy! Enjoy!

bone_dragon_by_meago-d9yw0xa.png(Bone Dragon by Meago)


The call went up moments before the ones who made it were burned to cinders. Green flames swirled around me as I clutched tight to my crossbow, my kettle helmet absorbing  heat from the hellish blaze only to be instantly cooled by the pelting rain and hail. My teeth chattered not from the cold but pure fear, the sound of the crashing bone and heavy rain almost drowning out the roars of the Sergeant.

“Retreat! Back to the fortifications!” he bellowed.

The unit swarmed back to the stone fortress like ants scurrying from a flood. I dared to look up to see the shadow overhead had looped around. It was coming back for another assault.

“Sergeant!” I screamed. The beast was directly bearing down on us.

“Hell’s bells. It’s coming right for us! Scatter!”

The men of the unit did just that. The dragon breathed its infernal flame again, the blaze incinerating those too slow to move. I had only just managed to dive out of the way in time, crashing into the muddy plain before rolling over with my crossbow at the ready. The dragon had already soared by, denying my chance to shoot back. But it was not as if my attacks would be at all effective against this foe.

The dragon was unlike any I’d ever seen. As a guard of the Stonegate Fortress I had helped my fellows fight no less than three of the giant fire-breathers, but this one was nothing like any of the ones before. It was purely skeletal yet still moving and somehow flying. Where its heaving belly should have been a great orb of vivid green flame was burning, the same colour as the fireballs that served as the creature’s eyes. Normal dragons were an abomination of nature already, but this? There was something terrifying and wrong about a titanic skeleton such as that held aloft by its own foul will, breathing hellish flame into the sky and roasting men and women I had served with for months to nought but a black smear in the mud in an instant.

“Come on, get up! You’ll never get out of this if you wallow in the muck!” the Sergeant belted again, stirring me from my position as I took off running once more.

The dragon’s fire was still blazing, even with the rain. In fact it was causing the rain to turn to mist and fog, obscuring the battlefield and the dragon even more than the dark clouds. But the fortress of Stonegate loomed large in the mist and dark, standing defiantly above the craggy ground below and before the sheer cliff of the mountain. Its square towers and intimidating ramparts protecting the lands of the king and all his people for hundreds of years against the constant threats from the dragon lands. Along the ramparts giant ballistae stood at the ready, trying to draw a bead on the menacing shape when out of the mists their target sprung and smashed a ballistae with its mighty ivory claws. Men screamed as they fell against the smashed rock and were crushed under the wood and iron of the destroyed ballistae.

The other ballistae crews took aim at the great beast but they were not fast enough. The fearsome skeleton had disappeared back into the hail and mist, leaving them quaking in anticipation and cold. My feet thudded against the paved stones of the fortress as the iron portcullis crashed down behind me. I bent double, coughing and wheezing from the effort as I tried to breathe.

“You’re out of shape.” the Sergeant said beside me, similarly out of breath but hiding it better than the other men whom he turned to address. “Alright men, it’s looking bad out there. But have no fear! You are the king’s best men, every last one of you! I expect you all to be worthy of such a title!”

The men were still shaken. Afraid and cold, their morale was in danger of being shattered with their nerves. The Sergeant took another breath of air as he continued his speech.

“Now I don’t know where this monster has come from. All the beasties that’ve attacked us up ’till this point have been fleshy enough for our crossbows to work. But that just means we’re going to have to change tack. Remember lads, with the wall at our backs we can never be knocked down! Sigmund, Berthold, Chelsea! I want you three on the net trebuchet! Knock that infernal thing out of the sky!”

I saluted with the other two guards. Berthold and Chelsea were good soldiers. I’d served with them since I was enlisted in the army. The three of us turned and ran for the towers as the Sergent barked orders at the rest of the unit. Our feet fell heavier than the rain around us as we ran, the chaotic cacophony of battle echoing against the impassible granite face of the mountain. The trebuchet tower was the tallest spire of the fortress, the large wooden machine of war permanently fixed into the tower to launch giant nets at the dragons that menaced civilised lands.

“By the king’s quivering thighs why do there have to be so many stairs?!” grunted Berthold in frustration.

“Shut up and keep climbing!” Chelsea said, her own exhaustion coming through in her voice.

Despite the stairs and the grunts and colourful oaths of exertion from the others we made it to the top. The roar of fighting and the roar of the beast hastened us as we loaded the net into the sling. I took lookout while the others worked, gripping my crossbow tighter than ever. I heard something above me and I saw the beast whoosh by overhead, a dark shadow in the rain. It landed on a lower tower to the trebuchet, its claws pulverising the ancient stonework as it clung like a skeletal gargoyle. It reared its mighty head towards us and I felt my innards droop.

“Get down!” I screamed as I dropped behind the ramparts.

Dragon fire seared overhead. It lasted only a few moments but it felt like an eternity of heat and smoke. The rain turned to mist before falling once more as if trying to pin me to the floor. Despite that I got up and looked behind me. My crossbow slipped from my grasp. Berthold, Chelsea and the trebuchet were no more. From the waist up my friends, my companions I had served with since the beginning, were nothing but ash and char. The once mighty trebuchet was now black embers and half-melted bolts. I suppressed my grief, but my anger and despair broke loose and flowed hot through my veins. I drew my sword and looked to the dragon preparing to take flight once more. It was going to pass directly under the tower.

That would be its last mistake.

Without a moment’s hesitation I leapt from the tower, as did the dragon. I fell as heavily as the rain as the skeletal dragon soared underneath me. I crashed into its ribcage, grabbing a hold of one of its spines for stability. The blaze within its ribcage scorched my skin despite the cold, but that mattered not. I saw the wing beating furiously as the dragon looked behind itself at me. It would try to shake me off if I gave it a chance. That chance would not come for it.

With a furious yell I thrust my blade through the storm into the dragon’s joints, where the wing met its titanic body. Lightning tore across the clouds as we fell, the dragon’s cry an ear-splitting shriek and mine a defiant scream.

I was one of the king’s best men. I was a guard of Stonegate Fortress. And I would never let a dragon burn the lands I swore to protect.

bLog Date: 29 November, 2016

Hey everyone! Just a quick update for you all.

So I’ve been thinking a bit about my Spotlight segment and my reviews and that having the recent releases bundled in with the older material might not be for the best since it could cause confusion. So here’s my idea. I’m going to split the segment into two. The more recent releases are still going to be reviewed under Spotlight, but older material will be part of a new segment called Retroactive Reviews. Because I like alliteration.

So yeah, that’s pretty much all I wanted to say. Have a good day!

Tips, Tricks & Tropes: Keeping it Up

So you’re writing and everything’s going great. You’re having fun, you’re planning the story as it flows and your characters are coming to life before your very eyes. But then you go to bed one night and the next morning you stop. It could be for really any reason, all of them valid. And you say you’ll start again but you just… don’t. And if you don’t realise it quickly it’ll have been weeks or months since you last worked on your project. This is a different problem from the notorious writer’s block, when you just can’t think of what to write. This is a problem of motivation.

Sadly a problem like this isn’t quickly fixed, but it can be relatively easy. And it can be done so in a number of ways. Be sure to use them or the guILT IS SURE TO DRIVE YOU MAD.

Let’s begin.

Method #1: Return to your inspiration.

This one is a fairly straightforward solution. Usually you write best when you’re operating with your head in that sphere of what you’re writing about. Your project is bound to be inspired by a whole lot of things, so see if you can remember what those thins are. Go back and give them a look again. Enjoy them, savour them. And once you’re done you’ll realise that you’ve come up with a whole lot more to write about while you were watching, reading or listening. For extra points be sure to write them down when they come to you so they don’t fly by you.

Method #2: Retrace your steps.

This one is another easy method which is very similar to Method #1. Just going back to the start of your project and giving it a read through is good for building up enthusiasm for your project. It also gives you time to comb through and pick out little grammatical errors or reflect on if a scene really works for you. Then once you’ve found yourself back at the beginning, you might want to keep writing so you can read more of your own story. And once you’re done then everyone can read your story!

Method #3: Preventative measures.

This one is a little trickier but doing it can prevent a lack of motivation from being a problem altogether. Just writing for a period of time every day can help your productivity a great deal. Stephen King gave this exact advice in his book On Writing (what a clever pun) and I can definitely see its merits. King has written more books than I have living family members and that’s no small feat. Even if you physically can’t write on your project that doesn’t mean you should stop writing. Make a short story about a bear lost at sea. Scribble up a first-person exploration of a sunken ship on paper under a shady tree. Make a haiku using fridge magnets. Write upon the walls like a crazy person!
All of these (well, except maybe that very last one) can help boost your productivity as a writer and in doing so also hones your skill. Practice makes perfect, to drag out a tortured phrase.

And there you have it. Three little methods that might give you a hand if you’re having trouble getting back into the swing of things. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back with more plot next time!

Spotlight: Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is a Marvel movie. You know it’s going to be good. So the question is how good is it? Especially seeing as it takes such a bizarre shift in focus from the movies Marvel Studios has put out so far. I can tell you that Doctor Strange does not disappoint in the slightest and excels everywhere it needs to. you believe in magic?)

The plot for the movie is actually fairly standard and follows the template that most other Marvel movies seem to follow. We get the main lead’s origin story, supporting characters are introduced, a big name villain is brought in but not one that’s too much of a threat then we get the big climax and tease the next few dozen movies. It’s not to the movie’s detriment that it follows this template or really many of the Marvel movies since each of these movies brings its own unique spin to the story. Ant-Man was a heist movie, Captain America: Winter Soldier was a political thriller, Guardians of the Galaxy was an 80’s disco space war. Doctor Strange however is an absolute spectacle of twisted reality and special effects.

Everybody who worked on the special effects of this movie need to be given some serious credit as the shifting dimensions and constantly changing visuals. The entire sequence where Strange is catapulted through so many different dimensions is disorienting, beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. It really is worth the ticket price alone to see these moments where the world fails to follow its own logic and turns into a kaleidoscopic dream world.

2.gif(Inception rip off? Bitch please)

The extreme CGI also allows for some amazingly creative action scenes which admittedly are sometimes hard to follow in the beginning but it becomes much better as the movie progresses as you get used to the insanity. You can tell how much fun the choreographers had with this movie from the sheer creativeness of the scenes, with one of my favourites being the fight taking place entirely in the astral plane.

This movie also teaches another lesson that I’m finding crops up more and more in various media these days, humility. However to discuss that in any detail I’d have to spoil the movie and that’s not something I want to do here. So I’ll cover all of that in another post.

Benedict Cumberbatch is also pretty much perfect for the role of the titular doctor bringing believable emotion, charm and wit. However it does at times feel like he’s a bit of a different flavour of Tony Stark, not helped by the fact that his apartment before going on his pilgrimage already looks like a superhero lair.

The writing is again what you’d come to expect from a Marvel movie. The dialogue is human and believable as well as some clever wordplay thrown in that’s bound to get a couple of chuckles from the audience. But there’s also a lot of exposition that isn’t integrated that smoothly into the plot since magic of this variety is an entirely new concept to the MCU. Sure we had the Asgardians and Scarlet Witch, but those didn’t really count in my eyes since the Asgardians are literal gods and Scarlet Witch was portrayed as a mutant in everything but name.
There are a few holes in the story here and there, one of which I think might just be the movie setting up conflict for the next movie where Strange makes an appearance despite placing much importance on that character’s strength of will despite him doing pretty much nothing in the final climax. There were also a few other inconsistencies and pointless twists that don’t really detract from the movie over all but they are noticeable and distracting, like yet another plot-centric artefact turning out to be an Infinity Stone. It’s almost like they grow on trees at this point.

Overall, Doctor Strange might be one of my favourite Marvel movies to date. Maybe not my absolute favourite but it’s definitely up there. The movie makes me want to learn more about the good doctor and that’s a good sign for me. I can’t wait to see him turn up later down the line.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be pretending I have Doctor Strange magic for the next few weeks. I’ll be back with more plot next time!