Archive | Reviews

24 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Town by Blake Crouch

The Last Town is a… I guess I’d call it an SF/horror thriller… the final book in a trilogy written by Blake Crouch and published in 2014 by Thomas & Mercer. There’s no way to discuss the events of this book without major spoilers for the first two books, so if you don’t want to know anything about book 1 and book 2, stop here. I have reviewed book 1 and book 2 already.

It is nearly two thousand years in the future, and pollution of the environment has caused humanity to mutate into vicious animals with only a minor resemblance to the human species we know today. In the late twentieth century rich the scientist David Pilcher predicted this and prepared to save as much of humanity as he could–he perfected the technology of cryogenic sleep, and took 1000 people into sleep with him. This group of people included both a staff of volunteers who came willingly, and those who were abducted without their knowledge under the guise of car accidents and other incidents. After waking up in almost two millennia later, Pilcher discovered that his prediction was correct, and the world was overrun with what he called aberrations or “abbies” for short, humanoid vicious predators who had replaced our species of humanity. He rebuilt the town of Wayward Pines in the mountains of Idaho. Those who had been abducted were woken to live in this town, the nature of the world kept a secret from them and living under the constant threat of capital punishment for breaking a long list of oppressive rules. No one was allowed to leave, though none of the residents know that there is nowhere safe to leave to. Pilcher’s volunteers kept surveillance over the town from a base in the mountains.

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17 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Wayward by Blake Crouch

Wayward is a… I guess I’d call it a mystery SF thriller… the second of a trilogy written by Blake Crouch and published in 2012 by Thomas & Mercer.

If you follow reviews on this site regularly, and this one seems familiar, that’s because I’ve already posted a TV review of Wayward Pines Season 1 which is based on Blake Crouch’s trilogy of books and covers a similar set of events as the trilogy of books. And I recently posted a review of Pines, the first book in the trilogy. The first book relied a lot on big mysteries for a lot of its appeal and revealed many of those mysteries at the end. I can’t talk about book 2 without talking about those mysteries, so if you want to be surprised go read the first book.

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10 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Pines by Blake Crouch

Pines is a… I guess I’d call it a mystery fantasy/SF thriller… the first of a trilogy written franchise tie-in novel written by Blake Crouch and published in 2012 by Thomas & Mercer.

If you follow reviews on this site regularly, and this one seems familiar, that’s because I’ve already posted a TV review of Wayward Pines Season 1 which is based on Blake Crouch’s trilogy of books and covers a similar set of events as the trilogy of books.

The story begins as U.S. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke travels to Wayward Pines, Idaho to investigate the disappearance of two fellow agents who were last heard from as they approached the mysterious little town. After a car accident en route, Ethan wakes up in the Wayward Pines hospital, unable to contact anyone and unable to leave. In many ways it seems like a stereotypical small town, but there are big warning signs that something is not right in this little town–the strange things that people say, the strict rules the town keeps about not talking about your past and not asking questions. He wants nothing more than to escape the small town and get back home to his wife and son, but every route out of town is blocked–the main road only loops back into town again. He finds one of the agents he was looking for (whom he had had an affair with in the past), but she seems to aged more than she should have. Everything is a mystery in this mysterious, ominous, little town.

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26 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Catch-Up Review: Knights of Sidonia

Anime Catch-Up Review: Knights of Sidonia


Knights of Sidonia is one of the few anime series in recent years that was brought over to the US, but never simulcast. While I heard the series was good, it missed a lot of the seasonal round-ups because no one could watch it during its original airing.

I finally had the opportunity see it and decided to give it a shot, even though I heard that the second half doesn’t hold up to the first.

If you like hard science fiction in your anime though, the first half will entertain you plenty, as a lot of things that go unaccounted for in other series (like the fact a combat pilot in a cockpit needs some way of urinating without ruining his spacesuit) are called out and accounted for.

The sheer grittiness of the characters’ situation calls to mind similarities to 2013’s hit Attack on Titan. Once again we follow the last known bastion of human civilization, fighting a relentless enemy that cannot be communicated or reasoned with. Characters are introduced and wiped out, and tough decisions are made between the lives of a few or the survival of humanity.

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23 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Movie Review: What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary horror comedy film which had a theatrical release in 2014. It was directed by Jemaine Clement (who you might know as half of New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk comedy duo Flight of the Conchords). The film is structured as a documentary following four vampires who are flatmates in New Zealand, chronicling their everyday lives including flatmate disputes, their feeding habits, their human familiar, their night life, and avoiding vampire hunters.

Vlago, Vladislav, and Deacon are several centuries old and have maintained their human appearances, though the necessity to avoid sunlight has left them very behind the times. The fourth vampire Petyr, who is around 8000 years old, has become more monstrous in appearance and also monstrous in behavior compared to the other three.

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19 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Movie Review: Digimon Adventure tri: Reunion

Anime Movie Review: Digimon Adventure tri: Reunion

digimon tri reunionI did not grow up with Digimon in that I had just graduated college when it started airing, but it was one of the last series I watched as a Saturday morning cartoon. People who haven’t seen it tend to dismiss it as a Pokemon knock-off, for featuring young children with monster buddies, but it did something that Pokemon did not. It allowed its protagonists to mature and grow up.

Digimon had always maintained in-universe that no matter how old you were, even if you became an adult, your partner digimon would always be there for you. Intelligent and able to speak, partner digimon are a pint-sized buddy that can be temporarily supercharged to grow into more powerful versions of themselves. No matter how badly their human screws up (and some of them do), the digimon are loyal for life.

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16 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments


journalJournal is a dialog based narrative story game by Locked Door Puzzle released in 2014. The story follows a young girl who has discovered that the pages in her journal have gone blank and she sets out to try to find what happened to them. The game plays out as she talks to different characters in life, and asks them about the journal, and different interpersonal conflicts arise–her mother, her father, her classmates, teacher, priest. The game is a little bit of exploration as she walks around a larger area and finds new people to talk to with each level of the game, but mostly the game comes down to dialog choices. When her best friend accuses her of not being a good friend, does she apologize or deny it? When her teacher asks her if she cheated on a test does she own up to it or cover it up? Making the “right” choice doesn’t always produce a happy outcome–as with many things in life. As the game goes on she’s always kind of feeling her way around things that she doesn’t really want to remember.

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12 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Ushio and Tora

ushio and toraWhen I first started watching anime I wasn’t too picky, because there wasn’t much available, so I watched a lot of genres that I wouldn’t anymore.

One of those early series was a direct to video supernatural action series called Ushio and Tora. It was fairly violent, but made tolerable by its endearing leads, the titular Ushio and Tora. Only ten episodes were animated, but the popular manga series eventually ran a whopping 33 volumes.

Fast-forward almost twenty years and in mid-2015 a new Ushio and Tora TV series was launched, spanning 39 episodes and covering the entire storyline. Despite being 20 years old, Ushio and Tora quite frankly doesn’t care and runs with with the same cheeky attitude (and wild hair!) that it did in the 90s.

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05 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Joker Game

joker game

Joker Game isn’t the series I thought it would be, but it’s not the series I feared it would be either, and that’s both good and bad.

The story starts in 1937, in the midst of Japan’s invasion of China leading up to WW2. Lieutenant Colonel Yuuki has started up a specially trained spy organization known as D-Agency. The men who have graduated its rigorous training are regarded as both mavericks and monsters for adhering to tactics that the prevailing military thinking at the time regards as cowardly or even sacrilegious.

The opening two-parter is a delicious start, with conventionally trained Lieutenant Sakuma arriving as a military liaison between D-Agency and the Imperial Army. Sakuma quickly gets caught up in a cat and mouse game between D-Agency and his own superior that ends the first episode on a glorious cliffhanger with no obvious way out.

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26 August 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Catch-Up Review: Danganronpa: The Animation

Anime Catch-Up Review: Danganronpa: The Animation

danganronpa the animationDanganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is probably one of the best mystery games I’ve played, but because its only US release was on the Playstation Vita, it’s hard to recommend to people. Fortunately, the 2013 anime is easier to find streaming, offering a more condensed version of the story for those unable to play the game, and it’s a surprisingly good adaptation.

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