I Could Be A Minimalist- The Hobby of Collecting and The Burden of Consumerism.
I have been a prisoner of consumerism for years now like most of us. As someone who went to school for business and sustainability, I am well aware of this problem. I knew a day would come when I would care a little less about consumerism. As days go on, I get closer to that goal. The big reason is because I plan to move. I don’t want more clutter. I don’t want to blow my whole paycheck on comic books and video games. Another reason I am getting closer to being over the addiction of retail therapy is because I have started investing. (Currently, I have $1,600 invested since around January.).
I was okay with consumerism for about 4 years because it was new to me. It started with buying Elemental Hero Yugioh cards to build decks I wanted to as a kid. Than I moved in with my mom and found my N64 games and wanted to start collecting N64 games. Than Jessica took me to her brother’s comic book store and that awoken the trifecta. I was obsessed with card games, video games and comic books. And over a 3-5 year run, I built a collection I was truly happy with. When I pop in my copy of Pokemon Stadium 2, or when I see my Daredevil #2 on my shelf, or when I duel my wife in a card game, I am truly happy with where my collection is. The problem with collecting is that it never ends. Even when you are happy with where you are. Even when you complete your original goals. Even when your priorities change in life. I am still looking forward to new comics each week or the holiday games.
And yes. My collection is not insane. Though, I have probably hit that point where if I never added another game I could still probably never play every game in my collection. I thought that would be a wake up call but it wasn’t. That’s mostly because collecting and gaming are two different hobbies. The first one makes you excited you scored a new 3D platformer that you will play for the next 15 hours. The other makes you excited you added 20 O.G. Xbox games for a dollar a piece to your collection. So, who cares that there is no way I’ll ever play every Gamecube game I own? Who cares if I have no interest in the sports games I buy? It’s two different hobbies. Each are equally satisfying in my opinion.
I had an epiphany last week. A month or so ago I bought a copy of Skyward Sword on Switch for $60 dollars. I have played about 2 hours into it (I’m at the first dungeon.). Why haven’t I played more you ask? Because Pokemon Unite, a free to play MOBA, released in the same time window. So I have put countless hours into a Free to Play game and two hours into the game I have paid for. Something is not adding up. And this trend is pretty consistent right now. I have been playing Final Fantasy 15, a game I own, over Gamepass, a service I pay $10 a month for. My phone apps and my computer apps (Hearthstone, MTG Arena, and Bloon Tower Defense 6) are all free to play at this point. I’m playing a bunch of free games and not the ones I am putting money into. And with the way the Nintendo Switch is set up, I do not even need a T.V. to play on my Switch. Other apps I use like Pokemon Showdown are also free. Not to mention I am bumming streaming service accounts like HBO Max, Disney and Crunchyroll.
So being a gamer does not even have to be expensive in 2021. There’s my massive collection of backlog games, movies and comics that would keep me busy without having to spend another buck. And in the digital era, I don’t even have to own the clutter. Marvel comics can be bought on an app. Shoenen Jump has an app. Gamepass has hundreds of thousands of games on there for 9.99 a month. So why own this junk?
Because I like it. There’s a lot more to go into such as the fact I actually own my stuff. Digital properties are prone to being censored upon rerelease, being pulled from e-stores at any point, and the fact you do not own the assets. I like being in a house that is composed of my favorite things. Things that remind me of my childhood. Things that make me happy in a world that is generally depressing currently. I look forward to playing, reading and watching these things with my future kids and with my wife, Jessica. Jessica and I have game nights, movie nights and card nights all the time. We enjoy them.
However, space and time are two major things that are hard to get back when they are gone. And money I invest into my collection is money I cannot invest in my retirement. Those three factors heavily encourage me to slow down. Now, in a month I have added 6 Gamecube games to the collection, but I used store credit so my wallet did not feel as burdened by it. I am liking the strategy of using store credit to fund my hobby. I will continue to do that until space becomes a real issue.
So, at the end of the day, I could become a minimalist, but I probably wont until I absolutely have to. I will cut back on spending, definitely. But I still enjoy adding to my collections and chipping away at the goals. However, I am probably done spending hundreds of dollars on collectibles. For now. My money situation and life situation just make it to where it does not make sense. So I am not a prisoner to consumerism anymore. I am just enjoying life and trying to be smarter in all decision making moments. Surely, I will fail at times, but I am always improving.
The Misfits of Demon High Academy Episode #1
Jessica and I were staring at the endless sea of anime available on Crunchyroll. We struggled to really pick an anime. We wanted a comedy that also had action. We had been enjoying some of the more off beat anime like Girlish Number. We also figured with a name like The Misfits of Demon King Academy this was going to be a light hearted school yard comedy.
We were wrong.
As discussed, we went in expecting everything previously mentioned. Well the show was far from light hearted. There really wasn’t too much in the way of school yard antics. And it really wasn’t a slice of life anime. Instead it is mystical thrill ride filled with mythology, spells and plenty of combat. I like to think of it like the old school animes like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, or Yu Yu Hakusho if you just jumped straight into the combat only.
Now that’s not to say they’re isnt time for character development, plot advancement or world building. Trust me, theres plenty of that too. It’s just the show never makes you wait too long for another fight or cool magic tricks. In fact the world building is mostly being teased at the moment and it very enjoyable. We know there are plenty of types of spells: teleportation spells, revival spells, origin spells. There’s plenty going on here. We know there are several elder families all vying for that role as the demon king. And we know there was an era of great magic in the past.
The first thing you notice is, that for an English Dub, the voice acting is great. Anos and Misha voice actors really killed it here. The side character’s voice actors all really shine too. The world seems to be well crafted. However, since everything is in the teasing and infancy phase, I don’t want to give it too much created yet. As someone who enjoyed the Jutsu system of Naruto , I really dug the magic system here. We’ve gone over some of the types of magic above. I’m sure there’s plenty more styles and arts of magic just waiting to be discovered. The anime is also quality. The characters are a total blast and just compliment their magic using abilities.
Honestly, as I was watching this show, I could not find much wrong with it. Someone might could argue it is generic. I’ve never really been to hold that against an anime as long as it does the genre well. So, you wont se me dock too many points for existing in a crowded genre. However, the writing is truly a weak point for this anime. I don’t even thing its that bad, but it is pretty noticeable. The voice acting and animation is so clean that when a cheesy line sneaks in, you really notice how weird it sounds. Ultimately, it does not hurt the anime too bad, but it does stop it from being a perfect.
Recap: What a perfect mix of anime tropes. Blistering combat and over the top magic spells, impeccable voice acting, a cool and developing world and hints of romance and shady and interesting characters.
Action: Combat in the form of magic vs magic. It is pretty awesome.
Romance: Romance has been mostly used for humor believe it or not.
Plot: The plot, again, can sound generic at times. A person must rise to the top to claim the title of Demon King. However, the real enjoyment comes from watching the characters interact more so than a deep and compelling story.
Characters: Like most animes in this sector, the characters are good. The villains are good for what they are. Not major threats but they give us a taste of the social hierarchy. Anos and Misha make for engaging main characters you want to find more about.
The World: As said, I don’t want to give the world too much credit until we see become a bit more fleshed out.
Humor: When this anime isn’t fast paced combat, sometimes it will slow down to be funny. The humor is really sweet and funny or ironic from bad lines. But you should be laughing one way or the other.
Verdict: Perfectly enjoyable for the first episode. I want to see more of where this anime goes. I like its foundation a lot. There’s a lot lurking in the background. These things could make the animes score explode, but what if the writing and generic-ness of the genre hold it back in the end? A lot still hinges on the development of the world and characters.
Score: 8.5 out of 10. Check it out yourself. I had a lot of fun with this one and look forward to more episodes.
Thanks for reading! Have a great day!
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Burn the Witch Episode #1 and #2 Review (Anime Review) – A Real Cool Anime
Noblesse Episode #1 Anime Review (Spooky Week)
Spooky Week is officially underway. With that in mind, we will be reviewing Noblesse, a new anime this season.
Noblesse is one of the more interesting animes I’ve seen. Mostly because I am not sure what genre of anime this show even is. I was excited to try it because I love school animes and Jessica likes shows with horror aspects. Well, Noblesse seems to check both boxes, at least on the surface. Cadis Etrama Di Raizel is a vampire, from all can gather anyway. He awakes from a slumber. His loyal and devout butler of sorts, Frankenstein (I’m honestly not sure if there is a relation or not) is worried for the well being of Cadis. So, Frankenstein founds a school to hide Cadis in. Yeah, no joke. Along the way, a guy referred to as M-21 shows up seeking refuge. Frankenstein allows him to stay as long as he works as a bodyguard. Well, the first half of the anime plays out like a school yard anime. Cadis is an ancient species and is out of touch with the younger generation.
Honestly, if this was the whole angle, I’d probably enjoy it a lot. Give me a slice of life comedy anime where a vampire wakes up from his slumber and enrolls in a school and the comedy comes from awkward interactions with students and teachers. However, I believe that is only going to be a small aspect of the anime. An evil organization full of mercenaries are closing in on the school in the backdrop. The group arrives in Japan by the end of the first episode. This leads me to believe the show is about to take an action or magic turn. I definitely do not hate that possibility.
This gets us to the second half of the show. M-21 must stay under the radar to avoid attracting the attention of those he is hiding from. However, when hooligans show up at the school yard, M-21 must show off his freak-like fighting prowess. He makes quick work of the intruders. Again, following this we are introduced to mercenaries who reveal they are targeting the school.
Now, can we maintain that lighthearted coming of age comedy vibe? I mean, sure. The anime looks like it will be set in the school for at least a few episodes, if not the whole season. With an anime about vampires, experiments, and a guy named Frankenstein, will we get spooky elements? Maybe? Technically, we do not know the full extent of anyone’s powers. Magic could certainly be in the forefront moving forward.
Episode #2 will be a big tipping point for the anime. What tones and genres will emerge as the season develops? So, I will rate this as an enjoyable first episode. However, while enjoyable, it did not give us a lot of clarity about the anime moving forward. Be on the look out for more reviews of Noblesse with hopefully more clarity.
Well, what did you guys think of this episode? Let me know below. Thank you guys for reading! Have a great day! Be on the look out for more Spooky Post.
Burn the Witch Episode #1 and #2 Review (Anime Review) – A Real Cool Anime
The title really says it all here. This is one of the coolest animes I’ve ever seen. Let’s give a little background information first.
This anime is set in London. Weird, right? Well, more accurately, it is set in Front London and Reverse London. Front London is the London we all think about when we hear London. Reverse London is more like Harry Potter. Where everything seems normal and than suddenly, there’s dragons everywhere and really cool magic.
The show is just kind of smooth. The two lead characters, Noel and Ninny, end up in Backwards London and inherit dragons of their own. They also receive gun like pipers. These piper guns are like a wizard’s conduit. And the girls have plenty of spells at their disposal. I really love this aspect of the show. I’m a big fan of magic. Noel and Ninny end up working for Wing Bind as they try to save and manage dragons that get on the loose in Reverse London.
Secondly, the show has a lot of mystery to it. There are people from the Front London that wander into Reverse London. They seem to verge into 1 of 2 types. Those like Noel and Ninny that end up working with the Wing Bind organization and those like Macy who are Watchers. Watchers have not really explained that well, or at all. There’s also the Dragonclad. They appear to be the only citizens allowed to touch dragons in this word. Lastly, there appears to be an evil organization referred to as Top of Horns. These people seem to want to kill Dragonclads.
Thirdly, this show has dragons. At first, we see Noel and Ninny’s dragons. Than we are introduced to these dark dragons that always cause the town to go into an extreme lockdown. Finally, we see Macy’s and Bruno’s dragons and these guys are legit. (Though I could not find pictures of them. Thanks internet…)
It’s really hard to explain, especially in a time crunch, but this has probably been my favorite anime of the season so far. The world is very cool. The magic is supreme, I love the main characters and the dragons are awesome. Seriously, watch this anime and see for yourself. This season only has a few new animes out but they are all real good. I’m not sure if this will end up as my favorite by the end, but it is a strong candidate so far.
I’m Standing on a Million Lives Episode #1 Review
After a month break, it’s time to finally get another review out. This time around we will be reviewing a new anime called I’m Standing on a Million Lives. Episode 1 and 2 are available on Crunchyroll.
The Plot: Not too much is known of the plot up to this point. At least 3 kids who all attend the same school, Yusuke Yotsuya, Iu Shindo and Kusue Hakozaki, are all teleported to a video game world. Admittedly, I have not watched to many shows from this genre of anime. However, one thing that makes it seem different, to me anyway, is the fact the characters can leave the video game world and than return back to said world at later points. Though, it does not appear they get to chose when to warp back between each world. Once a player arrives in the video game world, I am not sure if the world is named yet or not, they are greeted by a strange avatar that grants them their quest. A neat aspect to the team dynamic is the players can die as much as they want with no consequence. That is, as long as at least one party member is currently alive. If they all die before the other players can respond, they stay dead. It is not yet fully revealed if this means they die in the real world. The players seem to be acting as if they would though.
Shindo: First up is Shindo. Technically not the main character, she is still the first of the 3 to arrive in the video game world. In the real world she is considered the total package. The guys find her attractive. She receives good grades. She’s even athletic. In the video game world she assumes the role of a wizard blessed with the elemental powers of wind.
Hakozaki: Hakozaki is not a complete polar opposite of Shindo, even if she appears so on the surface. She is tasked with being the sword wielding warrior. However, she lacks the confidence to be the fearsome brute the group needs her to be. She has a lot to learn and room to grow before she becomes the hero of this story. I’m sure her character will undergo some growth as the series develops but the jury is still out on whether she can reach that status or not.
Yotsuya: Yotsuya is the main character. He is uninspired to say the least. He cannot envision a future for himself. Instead, he would just prefer to play video games. As you can imagine, getting transported to a virtual reality is almost a dream come true. He is told once he finishes his missions he can go home. I’m not convinced he even wants to return home to Tokyo. Yotsuya is not very likable as a character. Though he seems to be a quick thinker and group player. Despite owning the occupation of farmer (one of the weaker titles), he has already carried his weight up to this point.
The World: Animes like this are always fun for this section. The story is divided into 2 locations. The first one seems to be a plain Jane interpretation of Tokyo. The second one is a brand new mystical video game dimension. So far, it has mythical creatures like sea beast and trolls, magic, and good old fashion towns and villages. I’m not sure if anything is named yet. Every player is assigned a title and than a status bar full of typical RPG stats. The players can summon weapons (and I assume other elements as the show continues) at will. I’m under the impression that whenever a player arrives in the world they are greeted by the same avatar (or Game Master as he is referred) and tasked with building a team and completing quests.
Recap: Though I am not overly familiar with the genre, this seems like a perfectly fine jumping in point for fans or newcomers of the genre alike.
Action: Not over dependent on action up to this point. The first scene is pretty bloody all things considered which, to me, implies there could be plenty of blood and violence in future episodes.
Romance: Who knows? There’s nothing overly hinting at romance at this point in time. I think Yotsuya at least has a crush on Shindo. Not confirmed explicitly though.
Plot: I don’t have a definitive opinion on the plot. It is plenty fine enough to carry this kind of story and that is probably good enough.
Characters: Despite my earlier comments, the characters here are fine. They are not in the same class as many of the animes I have watched. However, they just formed a squad and most of them lack charisma but they have a certain charm. Not an elite cast by any means, but still enjoyable in their own right.
The World: The worlds in animes like this are so important. This world seems to have some nice tricks thanks to the digital nature of it. One example being the data logs scattered throughout the world. If the show keeps doing cool stuff with their design space, I will like this world a lot. As of now, it is fine.
Verdict: This show seems to be a pretty surface level anime packed with room for plenty of potential.
Score: I’m going to sound really harsh here. I was going to go 6 out of 10, but I think I’ll just say 7 out of 10. Episode 1 did not blow me away like some Episode 1’s I’ve seen. It did do enough to get me invested in some of the character’s well being and motivate me to look forward to the coming episodes. This is a new anime. I may try to watch it weekly or so as they air and revisit it down the road here on the blog. Who knows?
I Mean You No Farm? I have to wonder if Yotsuya was only given the title farmer to make him weak at the start or maybe even just for comedic effect. Could this job have secret abilities or top notch skills he will discover in later episodes? Seems like a pretty big plot point to just do for a gag or to kneecap the main character at the start of the story.
Life is But a Stream. In the real world Yotsuya bumps into a table outside where a girl is streaming, inadvertently messing up her angle. She makes some comments that I cannot quite remember off the top of my head. I just wonder if this girl or streaming will come into play. The camera and the show itself took some time away from Yotsuya and the plot as a whole to show us this girl, though her face was not revealed if I recall right. She could be a throw away scene or important to the story.
Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma Review(Episode 1-12)
This weekend I decided to watch Food Wars, an anime based on the manga of the same name written by Yuto Tsukuda. The anime is directed by Yoshitomo Yonetani and ran through the J.C. Staff Studio.
Spoilers: Minor to no Spoilers throughout.
Plot: The plot is very simple. Soma, a young fifteen year old, is the second chef at a diner of two chefs. It is his dad’s diner and they have a father-son rivalry. It is lead on that his dad is a world class chef, but Soma says he does not know much of his dad’s history as a chef. Towards the end of episode one, his dad tells him he is shutting down the diner to go stay with a friend and is shipping Soma off to culinary school. His dad tells him if he cant make it here, he wont have a chance of surpassing him. And thus, were off. Soma hopes to be the be the number one chef at a school full of kids who think money and school will make them the top chef.
Setting: The setting is one of the top culinary schools in the world, Totsuki. If you graduate here, youre almost guaranteed a gig as a chef. It is layered like a regular school, there is their equivalent of middle and high school(Soma went to a formal middle school, so he comments it as interfering with his food studies). Most of the kids here lack what Soma brings, serving actually customers, or as the kids call it “serving on the first line of cooking”. At this school there is a council that is second in command only to the the head of the school himself. This council decides on pressing matters like where the budget is spent. None of the teachers are allowed to challenge the councils rule. The kids on the council are the schools top ten chefs.(At this point in the series weve only been introduced to two). You can challenge their ruling by challenging them to a Shokugeki, which is normally one on one chef-offs. Theyre really entertaining and most of the drama centers around these events.
Characters: Probably my favorite part of this Anime are the characters. When I first started watching, I wasnt expecting to get attached to any of them, by the sixth or so episode I was really into them. My favorite without a doubt so far is Soma. He falls into the cliche “I want to be the best” stereotype of anime characters, but it works because he is not really the most interesting character but is one of the few likable ones so you want him to win. Plus, he is a chef. This is his life goal. It makes sense he would want to be the best. Cooking is his art, so I am all for him being super hyped to be the best chef. The first few episodes fall into a repetitive trap of using the same formula. A character doubts Soma and he uses his awesome cooking powers to beat them. Most of the villains are not likeable, such Nakiri or Mito. But as the series go on some the rivals become some of the cooler characters, such as Takumi or Shinomiya who are foils of Soma to a degree.
Pros: I watched it for two reasons. First, I wanted a change of pace from the beat em ups I have been watching. Second, I thought it would be funny to watch sense I am hopeless at making stuff outside of a pb&j sandwich or a bowl of cereal. But what I found was a truly hilarious and priceless anime. Soma is one of my favorite main characters I have seen in an anime. It replaces fighting scenes with cook offs and has very interesting characters as well as solid humor. A really cool bonus, is if you are someone like me who doesnt know the first thing about cooking, the show breaks everything down for you, explains why some foods go together, what the affects of foods are, etc. I found this awesome and handy! Plus the manga, Ive heard, includes the recipes they use in the series. Pretty cool.
Con: We couldnt go this whole review without talking about fan service. It’s there, and theres a bunch of it. I read comments and it seems the extremeness of it did make it uneasy to watch for many. I, myself, found it weird at first because it seemed all over the place. Just be prepared when people eat good food. Though these intense scenes are used to show how powerful food is on the senses, it might make some of the conservative watchers uncomfortable. Fret not, it calms down later on but I’d be lying if I said it went away entirely.
Score: 8.75. Short reason why: You ever watched an anime that was so good you transformed into a cabbage-like superhero?! This series is awesome and oddly poetic at times. Definitely go see for yourself because there is a lot more I wanted to say but could not quite put into words.