The Badger On: Prince Of Stride : Alternative

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Now usually I am not into sports anime favouring fantasy/sci-fi and occasionally a slice of life style show with a comedic bent or something with heart. I do have a fondness, I guess, for shows that are based in a high-school as I find the Japanese educational system quite interesting.

I decided to Prince of Stride a go as it was one of the shows available on Animelab that had been dubbed and thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that I actually watched it twice back to back finishing it the first time Saturday afternoon and re-watching last night all twelve episodes.

The show is about a high school Stride team, a fictional extreme sport that is a combination of a parkour and relay racing. Each team consists of six members 5 runners and a relationer. The relationer and runners are connected to each other through earpieces and the relationer will give instructions to their team during the race. The runners have to make sure the connect with their teammates with a hand-slap or be disqualified. They also have to deal with obstacles along the course which is where the parkour comes into.

The show follows the Honen High School Stride team of Tokyo who were once well known but are now fallen on hard times due to in-fighting and the resignation of members. As such at the beginning of the series there is only three members third year and team captain Heath Hasekura and two second years Hozumi Kohinata and Ayumu Kodowaki.

It is the beginning of the school year and Nana Sakurai in her first year has come to Honen specifically to join the Stride team aiming to be a manager, though she ends up being a relationer instead. Takeru Fujiwara has also attending the school for the same reason. The last of the firsts years is Riku Yagami who wants to join all the sports clubs and has an aversion to Stride as his brother, Tomoe, is a well-known Stride competitor, and former member of the Honen team. Tomoe and Riku used to trained together until Riku gave up as he didn’t think that he could compete with his brother and Tomoe also took the fun out of the sport.

The team go through a lot of trials just to make it through to the big Stride competition called End of Summer, including injury to Ayumu and recruiting of an ex-team member, Kyosuke Kuga, who left of bad terms due to taking the blame for others misdeeds to the return of Tomoe, who has returned to Japan after studying overseas and has joined a rival team, and the impact this has on Riku’s confidence.

This show has a lot of heart and humour and like I have said before it has pretty good music and I don’t just mean the beginning and ending themes but also the music used through the show. I am also surprised in a way that this hasn’t developed into a real sport, in a way that Quidditch did. I really enjoyed this show so I really recommend it.

 

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Trailer

The Badger On: iZombie (TV Series)

I have been a fan of this show since it premiered in 2015 and watch it through the Australian streaming service Stan. We are now into its third season but I am not going to review the season per say but the show as a whole.  I am not sure I will call it a review either as I did considering putting this up on my other blog but thought it was be better situated here.

Though I am not really a zombie person, despite watching the first 4 seasons of the Walking Dead, I was attracted to this show for a couple of reasons. Two of the main character were involved in another show that I enjoy in Once Upon A Time that being Rose McIver and David Anders. The second being that it is based on a comic book by the same name distributed by Vertigo which is an imprint of DC comics.

Well any who the show follows Liv Moore (Rose McIver) who was well on her way to becoming a doctor when is scratched at boat party by a zombie and as such becomes one. The zombie thing works a little different in this universe as a zombie can look and act like a normal human being but will become more like a stereotypical one if deprived of brains. When brains are consumed they take on the personality traits of the one who has died and will occasionally have flashes of their lives.

Liv quits her promising career and takes a job in the city morgue so that she can have ready access to brains. She also breaks her engagement to Major Lilywhite (Robert Buckley), who Liv turns into a zombie later on to save his life. Her boss at the morgue Dr Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli) works out that she is a zombie and assists her while also trying to find a cure. With the flashes that she gets from the deceased she then uses what she knows to help police detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) solve murders. She passes herself off as a psychic to begin with though by the end of season 2 Clive finally finds out that she is a zombie.

The show is a comedic police procedural with the supernatural thrown in. Though there is a case of the week there is an over-arching story involved. Seasonally it tends to change a bit though usually it has to do with finding a cure and David Anders character Blaine DeBeers is usually involved as the antagonist though he is kind of an uneasy ally at the moment as he is no-longer a zombie as Ravi found a cure but the side-affects result in retrograde amnesia.

This is a great show. It is funny, has heart and the acting performances are wonderful and the concept as whole is wonderful and fresh. It also has a wonderful opening theme in Stop, I’m Already Dead by Deadboy & the Elephantmen. Another plus is that David Anders gets to sing every now and again and that is a treasure on its own.

 

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Opening Theme

The Badger On: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (Movie)

If you have read my list of favourite Marvel movies found in my Pop Goes The Badger Blog you would know that  Guardians of the Galaxy came in at number 2, after the Avengers, as the Marvel movie that I most enjoyed. Despite 3 more movies coming out since then, including this review, I will stand by that. Even though Captain America: Civil War is probably their best made movie on a enjoyment level I still prefer the Avengers and Guardians more. Actually I will say that Winter Solider is still probably my favourite Cap movie, on my enjoyable scale, as the last time I watched Civil War (and second viewing) I fell asleep. I might have to revise that list to include the three additional movies but might wait until after Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok are released.

I will try not to be too heavy with the spoilers considering that this movie has not been released in all regions.

First off, it is an enjoyable movie, actually my bf likes this one better than the first though he still thinks that there is not much of a storyline in either movie. I still, however, think the first one has a charm that this one kind of lacks. There is a little growth in the characters and the humour is much more present in my opinion and Baby Groot is adorable and should bring a smile to your face every time he is on screen.

While the original movie was an introduction and formation of the team, Vol 2 is a movie about family and fatherhood. At the end of the first movie Peter Quill/Star Lord (Chris Pratt) finds out that he is only half human with his father being something that even the Nova Corps were unaware of. In Vol 2 we meet his father a Celestial (a kind of god) named Ego (Kurt Russell). Peter is a little resentful of his father to begin with but eventually get swayed by the charm of Ego and actually finding his father. Gamora (Zoe Salanda) is suspicious of Ego and also resentful to an extant as she feels that Ego is taking Peter away from the family that is being formed within the Guardians.

It is not just Peter and his budding relationship with his father that is being explored. The relationship between the Gamora and her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) and the treatment the endured by their adoptive father Thanos along with the relationship of Peter and his kidnapper Yondu (Michael Rooker), who we find out was hired by Ego to bring Peter to him after his mother died but didn’t. Yondu also builds a bit of a relationship with Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) as they are very much alike in some ways.

Like in the first one the music is good though admittedly not as good or used as well as the first one, in my opinion. Stand out tracks being Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain and Cat Stevens Father and Son. The last one in  particular might bring tears to your eyes, as it did me. I think it just one of those songs that you just instinctively know the words too as I was mouthing the words to it as it was playing and my bf was singing aloud to it.

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Trailer

 

 

 

The Badger On: Ready Player One (Book)

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I thought it was about time to do another book since I have only officially ever one. Many of the review I have done were either based or connected to books, manga, comic books and graphic novels with the Hateful Eight being the only movie that was written directly for screen. The one I have chosen has no other medium connection but soon will with Stephen Spielberg set to direct an adaption for screen.

I do own the book in all three forms (physically, digitally and audio) but I have only listened to the book and not physically read it, my niece has the physical copy and I just haven’t had a chance to start reading my iTunes copy. I have though listened to it multiple times and it along with the All Souls books and Harry Potter are my favourite book/s to listen to. This is partially due to the reading of Wil Wheaton who is perfect for the job.

The book is a dystopian sci-fi set in an alternate future. Earth is a mess due to an energy crisis and global warming. The majority of the population have and live in the virtual world called OASIS which a virtual reality simulator that is a MMORPG and a virtual society where the currency used is actually the most stable in the world. When one of the creators of OASIS, James Halliday, dies without an heir to inherit his massive fortune in his will announces a kind of treasure hunt. He has left a golden egg somewhere in the OASIS and the first to find it will inherit his fortune and control of the OASIS.

The story follows one such hunter or ‘gunter’, as they are called. He is a high schooler by the name of Wade Watts who lives with his aunt in the stacks, mobile homes stacked up on each other, after his mother’s death. His avatar is Parzival and he is the second person to find the location of the first key and the first person to win it. The first person to find the location is a female gunter named Art3mis, whom Wade is a fan of and whom he meets on his exit.

The story is littered with eighties, gaming, arcade and nerd culture reference as James Halliday was a teenager during the eighties and was a huge nerd/geek. Even if you are not aware of all of the references the story is still an enjoyable read. The ending is a big climatic battle and race to the finish as Parzival as his friends Art3mis, Aech and Shoto battle to reach the egg before the nefarious Innovative Online Industries (IOI) who are willing to do anything to not only get the prize money but complete control of the OASIS.

If you like sci-fi and/or a geek or a lover of anything and everything eighties you will love this book or story. If you are not I would say give it a go as it a highly enjoyable read/listen.

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The Badger On: Assassination Classroom (Anime)

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I watched the first season of Assassination Classroom when it was first arrived on AnimeLab in Japanese and loved it. When it became dubbed I watched the first episode again and didn’t really like the voice work done so I let it go. I decided that I would try again a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed the dubbed version this time. Maybe because I had given it a bit of a gap between the watches that voice work didn’t bother me as much and this time I watched the whole first season again and then continued on with the second.

I am really having trouble trying to put down in words what this show is which is odd because it really shouldn’t be that hard. It is a classroom comedy I guess at its core but it has a lot of heart and is strange at that same time. I guess I should go over the set up.

The moon is destroyed so it now only a crescent moon. It is said to have been destroyed by an octopus like creature who  is not an alien and claims that he will destroy the earth within a year. He, during this time, wants to teach class 3E at Kunugigaoka Junior High School where he will not only teach them the usual school subjects he will also teach them the art of assassination. The Japanese Government put a reward of 10 billion Yen if the kids kill their teacher whom they name Koro-Sensei. This is virtually impossible though as Koro-Sensei has many superpowers and can travel at Mach 20. He is however a really good teacher, the best teacher any of these students have ever had, as they are lowest class in the school and are looked down upon but the student population and faculty, so much so that they are separated from the main campus and are only allowed to go to the main campus for assemblies.

The story is told through the point of view of Nagisa Shiota one of the students though you get to see the motivations and perspectives of the rest of the class though admittedly the focus, student wise, is on Nagisa and his two closest classmates  Karma Akabane and Kaede Kayano, who gave Koro-Sensei his name. Koro Sensei is also a main focal point but then the show is just as much about him as it is about the students.

Other characters of note are Kaede sister Aguri Yukimura who was their original teacher, Tadaomi Karasuma who is a government worker for the Ministry of Defence, assistant teacher and PE instructor, Irina Jelavic an assassin who had come to kill Koro-Sensei but couldn’t and ends up being their foreign-language instructor. The students call her Professor Bitch.

There are other aspects of the show that I could go on about but I don’t want this to be an overly long or wordy post so I will just mention one other thing and that it the music and in particular the opening theme songs. I believe that really good anime usually has a really good theme song and that it is one of the reason that you will watch the show. Cowboy Bebop, which is my favourite of all time had it with the Seatbelts Tank!  Assassination Classroom has 4 themes over the two seasons with all of them being performed by 3-E Utatan but in my opinion the first theme The Theory of Savage Youth is the best of them all.

If you have any interest in anime at all please give this a go. It is fun, funny, it will bring all the feels and by the end it will make you cry, well I did any way.

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Opening Sequence

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The Badger On: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (Movie)

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Well duh, it was only logical that I was going to see this movie. It is:

  1. Set in the Harry Potter Universe
  2. Written by J.K Rowling herself
  3. The main character is a Hufflepuff and we badgers support each other.

A couple of things before I start to Squee. I did see this while it was in cinema but it was not our usual cinema and not a very good or comfortable one. The other thing is my anxiety was very high during this movie not only because of the movie itself but also because I had an assignment due and I have no idea if I am going to complete the last task because frankly it was making me feel uncomfortable.

I saw this with my bf naturally, my eldest niece also naturally and surprise, surprise some others. The others being my bf’s brother and sister-in-law, my second younges niece who is 9 years old and my sister. My sister, who introduced me to the Harry Potter world, is the only one who didn’t like the movie, she thought it was boring and spent most of the movie playing on her phone.

Just so you know our sorting my BF is a Ravenclaw and my sister and older niece are both Slytherins, the younger one is too young but I have my fingers crossed that she will be a Hufflepuff like me and nature and some early online results (not Pottermore) are pointing that way though admittedly it is a tie between the badger and the snake. No idea what they in-laws are.

Well back to the movie. I, of course, loved it. I have also bought the screenplay book which I have only just finished (a week in Melbourne with nothing to do and nowhere to go and no transport to get anywhere and no Wi-Fi can do that) and I have also re-watched the movie as I bought the digital copy when released and will also by a physical copy soon.

A little blurb I guess: Newt Scamander arrives in New York with a case of Magical Creatures some escape and Newt along with a No-Maj (muggle) named Jacob and two American Witches Tina and Queenie Goldstein assist in trying to capture them. There are also mysterious magical goings-on in New York that could expose the magical community to the No-Maj world.

Ms Rowling did a good job with the writing of the screenplay for a first attempt as the story told was enjoyable and I laughed, cried and clapped my way through the movie. At the screening that I saw it in it was given a round of applause at the end which I naturally participated in. The special effects to bring the magical creatures to life were wonderful and you could see the obvious care and love that Newt has to the creatures in his case. The highlights being the mischievous niffler, the beautiful Thunderbird Frank and the mating dance in Central Park with the Erumpent. Also Picket the Bowtruckle was cute.

Acting wise Eddie Redmayne (who is a Hufflepuff in RL) was wonderful as Newt Scamander as was Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski. Katherine Waterson and Alison Sudol as the sisters Tina and Queenie Goldstein were also great and I particular loved the relationship that developed between Jacob and Queenie. Also great were Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone, the ‘squib’ and Colin Farrell as Percival Graves the shady and menacing MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) Auror. The twist at the end was very interesting though I am not sure how I feel about the casting. I will not go into detail about it though I suspect that if you have seen the movie already you know what I am talking about.

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Extra

The Badger On: Cowboy Bebop (Anime)

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In my other blog, Pop Goes the Badger, I have mentioned that Cowboy Bebop is my favourite anime of all time. Since it is so, I thought that I would do a bit of a review of the show as I do a re-watch of this show once a year, usually during State of Origin time.

For those of you who have never head of the show before it was made in 1998 and is set in the year 2071 and follows the lives of a space bounty hunters (Cowboys) on their ship the Bebop. The crew of the Bebop are

Jet Black – Owner of the ship and ex Inter Solar System Police officer who is now a bounty hunter. He has a mechanical arm.

Spike Spiegal – His partner and former hitman for the Red Dragon Syndicate. His right eye is fake and he is a devotee of martial arts.

Faye Valentine – A con artist with amnesia and severe gambling problem. She was cryogenically frozen after a space shuttle accident. Looks like she is in her early 20’s but is actually in her 70’s.

Edward Wong or Ed – An androgynous teenage girl who is the one of the galaxies best hackers. She is odd, funny and never walks properly or with shoes on.

Ein – a Welsh Corgi he is known as a data dog and is very intelligent and shows that he is very aware of what is going on around him as he was able to hack into a gaming system when Ed wasn’t. Ein and Ed provide the comic relief.

Most of the episodes are one shot stories of the team trying to get a bounty but there are episodes that are part of the plot of the show. These episodes are usually in regards to Spike or Faye and deal with their pasts. Spike, with his time in the Syndicate and rivalry with Vicious, his former partner, and Julia the woman he loves and who he is searching for. Faye’s story is about trying to find out who she is and where she is from.

It is not just the story or the characters that made this anime wonderful it is also the music which is composed by Yoko Kanno.  It blues and jazz inspired with the character of Jet being a fan of the genres and why the ship is called the Bebop. All the episodes or sessions as they are named after a genre of music or particular song with the Rolling Stones having three ‘sessions’ named after their songs (Honky Tonk Woman, Sympathy for the Devil and Wild Horses).

The show is funny, entertaining and charming. You will fall in love with crew of space misfits and will be left with wanting more, especially an answer to the final scene in the show. It was rumoured at one time to be made into a live action movie with Keanu Reeves to play Spike, not good casting in my opinion. There is a anime movie called Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heaven’s Door which is also great and should be checked out.

SEE YOU SPACE COWBOY!!!

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P.S Instead of a trailer I have included a bit of a music video with one of my favourites songs from the show.