The Dark Lotus Company (Part 3)

img_0403It’s been quite a while since I posted part 1 and 2 of this little chibi style animated comic. Its probably about time I finished the episode and let you all know how it ends and if the detectives find Mr Flops. Part 2 left things on a bit of a cliff-hanger, so it’d be a bit mean not to finish it. You’ll be happy to know I’ve gotten the hang of the stop-motion a bit more, so was able to get the characters and objects to move a lot better than in the last videos.

In case you’ve missed part 1 and 2 and would like to watch them, I’ll post them both under part 3. Hope you enjoy!

Part 3:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Hope you enjoyed the episode. If people like these little chibi videos posts, I’ll try to make more episodes. Just keep in mind that they take a really long time to make, so there might be quite a gap between videos. There’ll a lot of fun to make though and sort of relaxing, so I’ll probably end up making another episode even if I don’t turn it into a video and post it.

As always Thanks for reading!

I started up a Ko-fi, unfortunately this old butt can’t work out how to put the Ko-fi button in a post. So, if you’d like to show your support for my artwork and blog by buying me a coffee. Which will provide the caffeine fuelled madness creativeness needed to produce such work, feel free to check out my Ko-fi page using this link: Ko-fi.com/thethingsiveseen

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Switched

IMG_0554If you could switch bodies with anyone you on earth, would you do it? Would you still want to, if you knew you couldn’t switch back? What if you also had to risk death to make the switch, would you still give it a try?

Apologies for all the strange questions, but they are the main obstacles faced in the Netflix series Switched. As you have probably already guessed, this series is based on the good old tried and tested concept of having two characters swap bodies, then attempt to live as the other person. Usually leading to many lessons in empathy and gratitude. However, unlike your typical body swap movies or series such as Freaky Friday or It’s a Boy Girl Thing, Switched has a huge dark side to it. By this I mean it features a lot of triggering or darker subjects, like bullying, exclusion, neglect, body/beauty shaming and suicide, not forgetting that characters have to risk death to make the switch (in the literal sense).

So, why after reading the description on Netflix and knowing how dark this series was, did a sensitive little soul like myself (that cries at Disney movies), decide it was a good idea to watch this show? Well, it’s a bit of a strange story but in a nutshell, my friend was convinced I looked like the main character in the series, so I started watching it to see if this was true (or whether my friend needs glasses). Then got sucked in by its plot and had to know how it all ended. But before we go any further, let’s have a quick summary of this show. (In case you’re wondering, despite my friend still insisting I do, I don’t look like the main character. I only ever so slightly look like her. We both got pinchable cheeks).

Switched is a 6 episode long J-Drama about two high school girls that are complete opposites in personality, mindset and circumstance. During the red moon the unpopular and tormented Umine, carries out a twisted scheme to swap bodies with the most popular and prettiest girl in school, Ayumi. This plan involved jumping from the school roof and making Ayumi watch as she falls to her doom (told you it was dark). Due to the magical powers of the red moon this allows Umine to switch bodies with Ayumi. The story then focuses on Ayumi trapped in Umine’s body, as she struggles to live in Umine’s body or get anyone to believe her about the swap. In Umine’s body Ayumi faces a much harsher world, filled with beauty shaming, exclusion, bullying and a mother who would make Miss Trunchbull from Matilda look like mother of the year. Thankfully, Ayumi’s best friend Kaga quickly realises that Ayumi was swapped and is in Umine’s body. Kaga and Ayumi then work together to find a way to get Ayumi her body back.

IMG_0553

Thinking about my switch possibilities.

The strongest point of Switch is its unusual but interesting take on the body switching concepts. It puts a bit of spin on the regular idea of body switching, though this is a rather dark spin. Which is why this series might not be enjoyable for the easily triggered or those of a sensitive nature. If you can get over the darkness of characters risking death to steal another’s body and jumping from tall buildings, it can be an interesting concept to see in play. The added fact that when 2 people swap bodies they can’t swap back, really gets you thinking and adds suspense to the plot. Leaving you wondering how on earth Ayumi is going to get her body back. The additional pressure of Ayumi and Kaga not knowing who they can trust or who has ill intents for them, truly put you on the edge of your seat.

Another likeable aspect about this series is the relationship between Kaga and Ayumi. Kaga interactions with Ayumi in Umine’s body is incredible sweet and heart-warming. Kaga as a whole is a very likeable character, always looking out for Ayumi and joking around to keep her spirits up. Definitely a contender for the best boy list, which makes you really want to see him end up with Ayumi, even after the whole plot plays out. You may even find yourself at times shouting at the screen in frustration, when Kaga bottles it or when gets brushed off.

Switched does have its weak points which are noticeable from the very beginning of the series. Like 90’s TV, some of the Teenage roles are played by actors in their mid-twenties, which is made even cringier when you consider that the actors playing Koshiro Mizumoto and Kaga are both older than myself (and I’m not that young). The series can also be a little over the top and silly at times. There are just parts where things are extremely over dramatic. I know it’s a J-Drama and there’s meant to be some drama, but jeez does it take the biscuit sometimes. The body switching also gets a little ridiculous, when a man switches bodies with his pet budgie and magically gains the ability to tell when people have switched (which was never explained how or why).

Seeing Umine and Ayumi in Umine’s body get bullied and excluded can be a very bitter pill to swallow. It makes your heart break for them. No matter where they went people were very loudly making snide remarks about their appearance and calling them ugly. At times, you’re left wondering what the fudge is wrong with people in the world created in this J-Drama and why they’re choosing to be so unnecessarily cruel. With a foul natured mother on top of this, you can begin to see why Umine was pushed so far and why she did what she did. However, considering that Ayumi did nothing to Umine and actually offered her help on a few occasions, Umine’s actions still seem pretty twisted. Meaning your left with mixed emotions about the whole situation. On one hand you can empathise with the pain Umine’s character is feeling and wish people would treat her better. But on the other hand, you can’t really agree with her actions or look upon them in a good light. Even after understanding that her actions are a result of how she was treated (her actions aren’t very fair and she seems to have singled Ayumi out just because of how she looks, which makes Umine just as bad as her bullies). Though painful to watch at points, it’s this mix of emotions that keeps you watching the series.

Overall, Switch is a pretty good little watch. It can be dark and sad at points, but despite this it’s still heart-warming and has its happy moments. If I were to classify its plot, I’d say it was a tale of friendship, rather than a tale of vengeance or misery. For the most part the show focuses on the friendship between the characters, however it does feature topics that some may find difficult to deal with.  Being an interesting and exciting 6 episode long series, I would recommend giving this show a watch if you’re into J-Dramas and can handle the series dark side. If you’re easily triggered or of a sensitive nature I would pass on this show, as it may be too emotive to watch.

Rating: 3.5/5

Erased

e22c43ce-cc31-4d41-bf46-59bd9b0018f5If you had the ability to go back in time and stop something truly horrific happening, would you? Personally, I wouldn’t think twice about it and would head back in a heartbeat, to stop a few things from coming to pass and that’s exactly what our main character (Satoru) in this anime chooses to do. But before we get into that, I’d like to announce that Erased was the winner of the little review poll, I carried out a while ago and I can certainly see why. So with that out of the way, let’s begin this review the same way as every review, and start with a quick description.

Erased, begins with a grownup Satoru struggling to get his manga published and working as a pizza delivery guy to earn money. Though Satoru is struggling as a manga artist, this isn’t what has him feeling blue. Satoru heart is weighed down by guilt and the regret that he couldn’t save his classmate (Kayo) from dying at the hands of a child serial killer, when he was 11 years-old.

This guilt is made worse by the fact that, since Satoru was a child he has had the ability to foresee when something bad is about to happen, allowing him to act and prevent the potential tragedy. Just before Kayo disappears, Satoru gets the feeling that something bad is about to happen to her. But being a child, Satoru doesn’t fully understand this feeling and ignores it. Shortly after this Kayo is reported missing and months later, her body is discovered and a young man arrested and wrongly charged with the murder. Though, Satoru feels awful for not doing something to prevent Kayo’s death, he tries his best to put this horror behind him. That is until, the real serial killer returns and murders Satoru mother, somehow framing Satoru in the process. Left with no option but to flee from police, things take a bizarre turn when Satoru’s ability has him sent back in time, to shortly before Kayo disappears, when he was turning 11 years-old. Quickly, Satoru realises the opportunity presented him and he sets out determined, to save Kayo and the murderer’s other victims, as well as trying to catch the killer in the process.

Quite the plot, isn’t it? As you’d expect there’s a lot of playing detective and trying to outsmart the murderer in this anime. Making Erased a rather interesting and captivating watch, that leaves you unable to take your eyes off the screen, for fear of missing something important that identifies the killer. On top of this, Erased is quite a cute anime that really warms the heart. Little boys running around wanting to be superheroes, trying to save their friends, is just adorable and incredibly sweet to watch.

9cabd461-6ea9-4d26-9f25-b18e9a6adf90When it comes to these sorts of shows predictability is very important. Erased I would class as not that predictable. Of course, going into this anime you kind of know that Satoru will stop the murderer, because if he didn’t then what would be the point of making the show. The ending would be horrible and the whole thing would be incredibly depressing, if he didn’t. You would imagine, not many people would want to watch a show like that, leading to the failure of the anime. Although you can predict that much, what you can’t foresee is how he’s going to stop the killer. Meaning, you know he’ll stop the killer but not know how he will do it (if that makes sense). Which in itself makes the show really exciting and suspenseful to watch.

In terms of identifying the killer, with these types of shows I love to try to identifying the culprit before the grand reveal. Using some true Sherlock Holmes skills, I was able to identify the killer at about episode 5 (it’s only 12 episodes long, so around the half way mark). The flashes you get of the killer was a real give away and completely confirmed my prediction. For the non-Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts however, the killer will come as quite the shock. Even if you do work out who the killer is, the show is still very enjoyable and strangely become a little more exciting, due to the killer’s closeness to the victims.

The animation in Erased is pretty average and what you’d expect from an anime. In saying that, there are still a few aspects of its animation that I really like. For example, though it made me jump out of my skin at first, the hypnotoad moments were rather cool. The unusual character designs, was also something you could appreciate about the animation and made characters really identifiable. For instance, the way grownup Satoru’s eyes can move like a lizard’s, to look behind him. Though a little creepy is still very cool and makes him stand out from the rest of the characters. The little extras like the blue butterflies, use of colour and the film reel concept were all very nice touches to the show’s animation and all work well to set the tone.

My only slight criticism I could give Erased is that the subtitle speed is a little too fast and can be hard to keep up with. But if you know how to use the pause and rewind buttons and don’t mind using them, this won’t be much of a problem (just a slightly annoying inconvenience).

Overall, Erased is an excellent anime with a great plot and delivery that does it justice. It’s not overly predictable and manages to have little surprises for the viewer at every turn. Especially, when it comes to the identity of the killer, making it rather exciting to watch. With its added cute factor and heart-warming moments, I can really see why this anime is a favourite of a lot of people. So, for these reasons I would highly recommend watching this anime, even if the subtitles are ridiculously fast.

Rating: 5/5

Quite Possibly the Darkest Thing I’ve Ever Drawn

thumbnail_94c85aad-a778-45c9-95c8-f411abb1694eHave you ever had an idea, that at the time seemed great but later realise it wasn’t so great and might actually have been quite a bad idea? It’s safe to say we all have at least once in our lives. So, let me introduce you to my bad and rather morbid idea, Ninander (Glob, naming it really doesn’t help).

So, what possessed me to draw just a dark thing, you ask? Well, I was having trouble coming up with something to draw for the last Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood review and decided to draw the first thing that comes to mind, when I think of FMA: Brotherhood. Sadly, this was the little girl, Nina and her dog being blended together by her disturbed father, to make a human animal hybrid. At the time, this seemed like a great idea but after drawing it, I realised it might be a little too dark to include in the review (or even add colour to). It took a lot of time and effort to draw and I’m kind of proud of it, so I’m sharing it now in a separate post in case it isn’t used in the last review.

Although it isn’t coloured, I hope you’ve enjoyed one of my darker drawings
and as always, Thanks for reading.

The Thing in the Apartment (Short Film)

thumbnail_ec2a1929-a644-48f3-bc04-53efa6494674It’s not too often you come across a horror film that is genuinely terrifying, let alone a short film. Being less than 10 minutes long, The Thing in the Apartment still manages to give you Goosebumps and leave you a little afraid of the dark. It has been a while since a horror movie has scared me this bad, so I’ve decided to give The Thing in the Apartment a review of its own.

The Thing in the Apartment, begins with Sam getting a phone call from her friend (Lindsey), asking if she can come pick her up, because something happened in her apartment. Sam, being just a good friend, goes picks the frightened Lindsay up. However, in true horror movie idiot style, Sam decides it’s a good idea to go check the apartment out and as you can probably guess, things take a bit of a horrible turn from here.

From the offset, this short film is very creepy and gives you a really uneasy feeling. As the film progresses, it gets a lot more intense and is filled with jump scares. Leaving you very on edge and praying that nothing messed up, jumps out and grabs either of the characters. Having 5 jump scares in less than 10 minutes, this film will most likely send your heart racing (not the best if you have any heart problems) and have you cuddling your blanket for dear life.

As for true scare factor goes, this film feeds on the fear of the unknown, the unseen and being attacked while alone and/or helpless. So, anyone that has experienced sleep paralysis, has had the feeling something sinister watches them or feels uneasy when alone or in the dark, will most likely find The Thing in the Apartment absolutely terrifying.

The down side to this film is that the acting is not the greatest and it has a lot of stupid moments that makes no logical sense. Like, entering the apartment when there’s a suspected creeper inside and walking about in complete darkness. This made things slightly predictable and takes away some of its fear factor.

Overall, considering The Thing in the Apartment is a short film, I would say it’s worthwhile checking out, if you’re a lover of horror. Although, the acting isn’t great it still manages to leave you feeling very creeped out and wanting to sleep with the lights on. If you fancy a quick scare and have 10 minutes to spare, I’d recommend giving The Thing in the Apartment a watch. As I’m so nice, I’ll even leave a YouTube link to this film, somewhere in this post.

Rating: 3.5/5