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.

 

 

 

The Badger On: Riverdale (TV)

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Two in one week, I am not sure if I have done this before and if I have it is definitely been a while. Admittedly my writing motivation/inspiration has been waning a bit. I think my depression for the first time is overtaking my anxiety. Hopefully I will kick both in the ass and my need to write whether it be reviews, my regularly blog, general writing or return to Harry Potter RP will return.

 

Well any who, todays review is on the Archie comics TV series Riverdale which is shown here in Australia as a Netflix original series though in America it is shown on the CW, the network responsible for all those wonderful DC related shows that I do love so much. I can’t say that Archie is a big thing here in Australia, I mean I am aware of who the characters are and their character tropes, if that is the right word to use. I think though it is more through cartoons and such and not the actual comics that I am aware of who they are.

 

This show has come as a little surprise to me as I expected that I would treat it very much like I did the Shadowhunters TV show, a guilty pleasure, but it is so much better than that. The characters are well defined and that acting is generally very good and the writing is also very good and the show seems to be run well but then Greg Berlanti and his crew generally do a good job.

 

This show is narrated by Jughead (Cole Sprouse of the Sweet Life of Zack and Cody from Disney TV fame) and tells the story of the mystery of high school football star Jason Blossom murder and the general goings on small town Riverdale. Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) a normal boy who is/was having an affair with his music teacher Miss Grundy and was on the riverbank when they heard a shot fired. Jason Blossom was reported missing and then found dead from gunshot. Due to their illicit relationship they did not report hearing a shot, though Archie wanted to due to guilt.

 

The story follows the various relationships in town and what involvement if any they might have on the death of Jason. Surprisingly enough it is not so much Archie that it is the most interesting character of the show but the females of Riverdale and Jughead. Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) though is still the girl next door and in love with Archie is stronger than I thought her to be. Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) is strong and not as bitchy and more vulnerable than I thoughts she was.  Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) and Valerie Brown (Hayley Law) make up the other interesting and strong girls of the show.

 

All the parents in this show are horrible except for probably Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) Archie’s dad and Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols) Veronica’s mum, though admittedly Hermione can be questionable unlike Fred. All the other parents seem to be more interested in themselves and their image than actually anything beneficial to their children.

 

Even if you are not a fan or overly aware of Archie comics I would recommend this show as it is enjoyable and dramatic and well-acted.

 

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Trailer

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The Badger On: Logan (Movie)

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I know it has been a while. I have been to the movies a couple of times prior to this review. The first I did start to write something up but I wanted to see the movie again and didn’t get a chance to so I might wait for the Digital/DVD release of it, which should be soon. The second I actually fell asleep during due it being really hot, a heavy meal prior and popcorn during and I was tired to begin with. Unfortunately this did not impress my BF who was rather annoyed that I feel asleep.

 

So that leads to my review of Logan. Now we all know that I am more of a DC fan than a Marvel and though technically this is made by Fox and not Marvel/Disney Wolverine is a Marvel character and I do have a fondness for the character. Actually X-Man/Wolverine is probably the only Marvel creation that I do have a fondness for though Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool might creep in there.

 

I am going to admit right off the bat that I did cry by the end. This has probably been the best X-Men movie that has been made in a while and this isn’t really an X-Men movie it just has elements of it. Hugh Jackman in his final (?) outing as Wolverine/Logan’s age has caught up to him and the adamantium that has been bonded to his skeleton now poisoning him and his healing ability slowing down.  He is  wonderful in his curmudgeon best, though in his own way it is an act as he does truly care for both Caliban (Stephen Merchant) and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and he did end up caring and even seeing Laura/X23 (Dafne Keen) as his daughter by the end of the film.

 

Dafne Keen was definitely the highlight of this movie with her not speaking until the last third of the film and only responding to action sequences with grunts and screams. The way she reacted to what was going on around her was wonderful. Professor Xavier’s and Wolverine’s last moments in this movie were beautiful and horrible at the same time as Wolverine’s in particular is what brought me to tears with Laura referring to him as ‘Daddy’ for the first time.

 

Wonderfully directed and co-written by James Mangold this is a road movie where you can feel the tension of the chase by the bad guys in the form of Transigen/Reavers  who are responsible for the creation of Laura from DNA taken from Logan and the other young mutants who are trying to cross the border into Canada where they will be protected.  Like Deadpool before it this is a MA15+ movie with its violence and language but the violence to an extent was very artistic.

 

If you are a fan of Wolverine please go and see this movie as it finally gives you the Wolverine that should have always been.

 

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Trailer

 

 

 

 

 

The Badger On: Doctor Strange (Movie)

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I am going to admit right from the beginning that I was a bit ambivalent about seeing this movie. I am not one to avoid spoilers and with this one I didn’t seek out anything like I might have done with any of the other comic book movies or any other movie that I had been planning on seeing.

I saw this one because my bf wanted to see it as he has a bit of a man-crush on Benedict Cumberbatch. Even my niece who is always eager to come see a comic-book movie or any movie with us for that matter was not super eager to see. They both came out of it liking it better than I did but then I guess being a DC girl I am getting tired of the Marvel/Disney team getting it ‘right’ while DC/Warner Brothers are not so much. Maybe also I am trying my best to find fault with it just because I want to.

I am not saying that I didn’t like the movie, because like all Marvel movies it was well made, written well, acted well and the effects were great. A little background maybe. I am not overly familiar with the character so what I know comes this and cartoon movie that I had seen.

Doctor Strange is an arrogant, ego driven neurosurgeon who has a car crash and damages his hands. After spending all his money on trying to fix his hands so that he could perform surgery again he ends up in Nepal where he is taught magic by the Ancient One and eventually becomes a sorcerer supreme and a protector of the Sanctums, three building found in London, New York and Hong Kong, from Dormammu of the Dark Dimension who wants to take over the earth.

Now back to the movie. The whole movie Benedict Cumberbatch reminded me of someone else with his well-done but fake American accent and it wasn’t until the last third of the movie that I finally figured it out who and it made me a little disappointed not only in him but the movie as well. I don’t know if it his choice or he was directed to do so but his accent and performance to an extent reminded me of Robert Downey Jr and in particular his portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man. Even his appearance kind of reminded me of him. The characters do have things in common with their arrogance and egoism but still I am sure that Benedict could have found a way to portray that. Merlin knows that his version of Sherlock Holmes has enough of those characteristics  to pull it off.

All other performances were great. Though there was a lot of uproar in relation to Tilda Swinton playing the Ancient One because in the comic books it is a Tibetan male. Changing the character to a white female was seen as white-washing and also changing the sex for the change itself. Despite this she did do a really good job as did Benedict Wong as Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo, Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius and Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer. The stand out character however was Benedict Cumberbatch Cloak of Levitation as it was truly amusing along with Wong.

The movie despite have two female characters will not pass the Bechdel test as they don’t interact, I don’t consider the Ancient One’s death scene to be an interaction, let alone have a discussion to talk about a man. Of course if they did they would most likely talk about Strange and his arrogance and egoism.

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Trailer