As I’m sure anyone who has gone through it can tell you, puberty is not fun. It’s a confusing transitional period. If you’ve never experienced the joys of puberty then you’re either too old or too young and this post likely won’t appeal to you. If you are on the cusp of puberty or suffering through it as we speak then this is for you. I intend to plot a course through this period in your life, year by year with the use of TV, Movies and Books all from my own experiences starting at the age of 13. That means that this isn’t a comprehensive list, nor do I claim to be an expert on this topic.
Touted as the swansong for Hugh Jackman’s iconic Wolverine and Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier, Logan really was a film that carried a heavy burden. A burden which, in my opinion, it carried beautifully and all the way.
So, to refresh one’s memory, the X-Men franchise has been hoovering up cinemagoers dollars since the year 2000, and it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for our uncanny heroes. The first two entries, X-Men and X2, are impressive and aesthetically-appealing films that capture the spirit of the comics with ample ability. However, the third movie, Last Stand, took an interesting premise of a mutant ‘cure’ and kind of made a hash of it all, delivering something heavy-handed and full of unneeded twists.
X-Men: First Class represented a wonderful return to from for our hated and feared heroes, however, starring James MacAvoy and Michael Fassbender as fresh-faced versions of Charles Xavier and his eventual nemesis Erik Lensherr, aka Magneto. This was everything the franchise needed, a true update and improvement, and 2014’s Days of Future Past continued to impress. Whilst last year’s X-Men: Apocalypse had a rather bland villain and, in comparison, was a bit soulless, it still left us feeling confident for the film franchises’ future.
In addition to these, however, Wolverine, the team’s ferocious and badass main man, has had a trilogy of solo outings, concluding with this year’s Logan. With Origins: Wolverine being a disappointing outing not equal to the sum of its parts (a brilliant cast and excellent action sequences) and The Wolverine being a pretty good film for the first 75% before dropping off in the climax. And so now, concluding the tenure of a superhero who’s popularity and iconic performance are easily comparable to Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark, we have Logan.
In recent years, a stigma around Shonen anime and manga has arisen. The idea is that they are bloated with horrible filler content, poor animation, and stories designed to appeal to little boys. One of the shows that has contributed to this stigma almost more than any other is Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto. As part of “The Big 3“ Naruto surged in popularity in the early 2000s and along with One Piece and Bleach, did much to ignite the western anime boom of that era and while One Piece went on to be the best-selling manga of all time I feel it is safe to say that Naruto was the best at crossing the barrier to the rest of the world. For examples of this, you need not look farther than many American television shows. There have been almost countless amounts of winks and nods to the series, especially in cartoons. In a brief survey I conducted for this topic I found that 30% of people in my immediate surroundings were at least passingly aware of what Naruto where as One Piece and Bleach both ranked bellow 15 and 10% respectively.
As the year draws to a close, so too does another year of anime. If you, like me, have been unable to keep up with most of the most popular anime of the year then you’ve likely missed a few of the truly great ones. Today I have compiled a non-exhaustive, personalised list of my 5 favourite anime of this year.
Movies nowadays don’t get much bigger than those produced by Marvel Studios. It seems, between the smash-hit films, an excessive range of high-quality comics and plethora of video games, this particular brand of superhero permeates just about every piece of media around.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe began with Iron Man (2006), and the spectacular financial gamble the ailing studio made paid off with aplomb. We were introduced to Robert Downey Jr.’s smart, charismatic, modern superhero and once that particular floodgate opened up, there was no stopping it. With few enough duds among them, Marvel’s massive series of superhero films have taken the cinemagoer’s world by storm.
Doctor Strange, released in October, tackles one of Marvel’s oldest, if not most well-known heroes, and stars the ever-excellent Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role. After a vicious car accident derails his way of life, arrogant surgeon Stephen Strange journeys to Kamar-Taj to learn the mystic arts and prevent the world from being destroyed by zealot Kaecillius. I do warn you, however, YE ARE ABOUT TO ENTER THE SPOILER DIMENSION. JOURNEY NO FURTHER UNLESS YE WISH TO LEARN OF THINGS TO COME.
Akira Toriyama’s manga Dragon Ball is one of the most widely known and adored manga or anime series of all time. Even if you don’t watch anime you’ve probably heard of Dragon Ball or at least would recognise if you were shown one of the main characters. After one of the major arcs in Dragon Ball, Toei Animation, the company in charge of the anime decided to carry on with their adaptation under a new name. This is where Dragon Ball became Dragon Ball Z. It wouldn’t be hard to go online and find an analysis of Dragon Ball Z but that’s not what I’m here for. Today I intend to dive into the things that distinguish Dragon Ball from Dragon Ball Z. It is all part of the same series but it is clear from looking at the two that they are vastly different types of shows.
NOTE: This article contains no future anime spoilers
In a vacuum, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle is a game with almost no merit whatsoever. The 2014 fighting game by CyberConnect2 (developer of the great Asura’s Wrath and not much else good) was released in Japan to fervent hype, receiving a 40/40 from Famitsu (Putting it alongside such greats as Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Nintendogs) and going on to become the best selling game of the year. However I feel this was a mistake on their part, as the game is a steaming pile of horseshit, no matter how much a fan of Hirohiko Araki’s 30 year spanning saga you are.