Bird Box

I’m a little late of the mark with this post, but Bird Box is a film I’ve wanted to talk about for a while. But before we get further into this post, there’ll probably (most likely) be SPOILERS in this post, so if you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want it spoiled, you might want to stop reading.

Back to the movie, all in all the film itself was okay. It isn’t the greatest film I’ve ever seen but it’s watchable and has an interesting concept. However, when rating apocalypse type films I like to consider how difficult it would be to survive them. Sadly, for Bird Box it would be very easy for a particular large group of people to survive and I don’t mean the mentally ill people in the movie or the fully blind. But before I explain, let’s have a quick summary of Bird Box’s concept for those who are unfamiliar with the movie.

thumbnail_20917FB7-E651-4538-BE7D-E9D29AFF3F15Essentially in the film there is a monster on the loose that causes people to kill themselves if they look at it. This leads to people wearing blindfolds to avoid catching sight of the monster. However, the monster has a different effect on the mentally unwell and they see it as the most beautiful thing they’ve ever set eyes on. Which in turn, causes them to have an overwhelming desire to run around pulling off blindfolds and trying to force people to look at the monster (causing the victim to die from doing so). It’s a pretty interesting concept, but when you give it a bit more thought it sort of falls in on itself. Considering you have to see the monster for it to have an effect, there is another rather large group of people (other than the completely blind), that could easily survive Bird Box, which quite a few of you and myself belong too.

So, what is this incredible superpower that protects from the monster? Well, its probably wouldn’t be considered a superpower in a normal situation, but in the Bird Box world it pretty much is. Anyway, this superpower is poor eyesight. By this I don’t mean complete blindness, I mean eyesight just poor enough that you can’t navigate this world without wearing your glasses. Let me explain more.

Something I’ve never really mentioned on this blog is that without glasses I have dirt poor eyesight (everything’s a blurry mess of fuzzy shapes and colours and without glasses I can’t even identify family members. I also tend not to draw myself wearing glasses. Not because of vanity, it’s because I’ve had to wear glasses all the time since 8years old and forget I’m wearing them). From doing quite the remarkable Mr. Magoo impression while not wearing glasses, I’ve discovered a monster sized loophole in Bird Box’s plot that would mean a rather large percent of mankind could survive the Bird Box apocalypse.

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It probably seems obvious at this point, how a poor sighted person could survive Bird Box, but just for fun I’ll go into detail. Basically, all they’d have to do to survive is remove their glasses (yeah, it’s really as simple as that). If you can’t even make out objects 2 feet in front of your face, it’d be impossible to see a monster standing on the other side of the street or sitting up in a tree. Let’s just face it, with dirt poor eyesight the monster could probably walk up and headbutt you and you still wouldn’t be able to see it. So, you’d be very much immune to the monster’s powers (you still wouldn’t be immune to walking into a lamp post or tripping over a cat, though).

But wait what about those crazed monster worshiper people, you ask? What if they attack you, forcibly put back on your glasses and force you to look at the monster?  Well, here’s the hard part. After you remove your glasses, you’re going to have to break them into tiny pieces, including the lenses, then have a cry over how expensive those glasses were.

thumbnail_20917FB7-E651-4538-BE7D-E9D29AFF3F15After that you’d be pretty safe from the monster worshipers too, because even if the monster worshipers forcibly took you to the pharmacy to get a pair of those over the counter glasses, those glasses won’t make a button of difference. They’re more like a reading glasses than seeing glasses, so you’ll still be able to see bug all. It’s also highly unlikely that there’d be an optician amongst the monster worshipers to provide you with proper glasses, so you’d still be immune to the monster.

thumbnail_FF1830A8-FC1F-4DF0-B002-B4E5321DA78AI know the monster worshipers are still quite dangerous, they’re heavily armed in the film and could attack you for not loving the monster. So, for an added safety precaution you might want to put your acting skills to the test and pretend to be one of them, if you bump into monster worshipers in the Bird Box apocalypse (to be honest, they all seem pretty high on monster so it probably wouldn’t be that difficult to fool them. Just compliment the monster or comment on how beautiful it is and they wouldn’t notice your not one of them).

thumbnail_FF1830A8-FC1F-4DF0-B002-B4E5321DA78AOverall, I wasn’t very taken by Bird Box and think it was slightly over hyped. Right enough, a monster that causes death by just looking at it, is scary and could be seen as fantastic symbolism. But with a sieve-like plot, it loses its impact. The more you think about this film the more plot holes you find. For example, it didn’t matter if the babies seen the monster because they don’t have the ability or understanding to hurt themselves. Also, being in a situation where a deadly monster seems to be always present just waiting for its chance to strike you dead, would in itself be enough to drive a person to madness, therefore the monster would lose its deadly effect. Considering all this I would only recommend watching Bird Box if you’re curious/interested about its concept. Just don’t expect too much from it.

Rating: 2.5/5

Hope you enjoyed this post, it might seem a bit of a strange way to review this film, but I thought it’d be nice to shake things up and add a bit of fun to the post.

As always thanks for reading!

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.

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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

Yuri on Ice

8ce9cea2-6ad6-4639-8222-1ab7b859fac2In every reviewer’s life there comes a time, where they must wonder into the unknown and watch something they wouldn’t normally view. For me this is the romance genre and sports anime. Two genres I usually stay well away from, because they’re really not my cup of tea when it comes to entertainment. So, why watch an anime that combines the two? You may ponder. Let’s just say curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to see why so many people were so taken by this show. Did this risky venture into the unknown pay off? Wait and see after a quick plot summary.

After completely bottling his last season of figure skating, Yuri Katsuki is left distraught and wondering if he should give up figure skating all together. Just as he’s about to throw in the towel, 5x world championship winner Victor Nikiforov shows up at Yuri’s family’s hot springs resort, offering to coach Yuri to greatness. Between Yuri’s lack of self-confidence, performance anxiety and an extremely angry blonde-haired kid showing up, Victor and Yuri really have their work cut out for them.

To be honest, it would be impossible to watch this show without falling in love with the character Yuri Katsuki (alternative spelling: Yuuri or Yūri). Right from the off set, you can see he’s a little bundle of nervous awkward energy, making him incredibly relatable. You can’t help but empathise with Yuri’s character. Between his internal catastrophizing freak outs, his proneness to weight gain and his general awkwardness, it’s hard not to feel for him, because let’s just face it we’ve all had our fair share of little awkward moments and freak out (maybe not to the scales of Yuri’s but you can still relate). Victor’s character is also very likeable in his own way, but personally I find Yuri that little teeny-weeny smidge more likeable (Victor is still great though).

In an anime that’s main focus is on characters competing in competitions and blossoming romances, the characters can make or break the show. In Yuri on ice, the characters more than make the show and are incredibly entertaining. Beside from Victor and Yuri, there are so many other characters to love. Even the brat character Yurio (Yuri Plisetsky), though he’s a massive jerk you still find yourself thoroughly enjoying his feistiness and loving his grumpy ways.

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Side views are my weakness, but I still try.

Christophe Giacometti is another character that stuck out to me. Possibly because the end of his internal skating monologue caused me to choked on my morning coffee (considering how mild the rest of the show is, it completely caught me of guard. Really was not expecting it to go that far). Nonetheless, there’s something very likeable about him, making Christophe another very enjoyable character.

Another notable point is how sweet this anime is. There are just moments in this anime where all you can say is “aww”. Moments like Phichit wanting to start his own skating show, Yuri giving Victor the ring, Yurio being somewhat nice to Yuri and so many more moments. Yuri on ice can also be very comical at times, most of its humour coming from ill-tempered Yurio expressing his displeasure of pretty much everything and everyone. The animation is pretty noteworthy too, the skaters move very fluently and smoothly while performing on the ice, which is rather amazing considering how difficult that must have been to achieve.

All shows have negative points and Yuri on ice is no exception, however these are only small. One point being, the show feels slightly rushed near the end. Perhaps because the anime is only 12 episodes long and the creators wanted to finish on a high note, so sped up the show’s pace a bit to reach that high. Another negative is that the show gets a tiny bit repetitive, however despite this it somehow doesn’t become boring. The skaters’ all have an internal monologue while performing. Giving a view into each skater’s personality and mindset while on the ice. These were rarely the same in each performance, keeping the show interesting and enjoyable to watch.

Overall, Yuri on ice is the best sports anime I’ve seen to date. Usually with sports or romance shows, I’d get very bored and disinterested a few episodes in and quickly drop the show. However, Yuri on ice was very different. It was very enjoyable and had me glued to the screen, loving every minute of it. So glued fact, that I binge watched the whole show in 2 days (something I rarely do, unless I really like the show). If I was to put my finger on what made this anime so enjoyable, I’d have to say its main protagonist Yuri Katsuki. He’s just a very human character which makes it incredibly difficult not to get invested in the anime. You just really want to see Yuri win and end up with Victor. If you’re into anime and haven’t seen this show yet, I would highly recommend giving it a go even if sports and romance anime can’t your thing.

Rating: 4.5/5

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Part 5)

thumbnail_c299d47c-f538-4f70-88a4-3114eb1a231eBefore I start this review, I’d like to say Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of the best anime I’ve watched in a long time and has won a well-deserved spot in my top 3 anime series. It’s so great in fact that I was rather heartbroken after finishing the entire anime and left wondering what to do with myself. Now that I can’t unwind to some alchemy and homunculi getting their butts whipped. But sure, it’s not all bad. This gives me the perfect opportunity to find another great anime to get my teeth sunk into. So, without moping over anime heartbreak any further, I bring to you the last in this series of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood reviews.

Providing a spoiler free description of part 5, is kind of hard to do. So, all I will say is a lot of arse kicking and deaths occurred in part 5 and a few awesome Armstrong moments. As for the ending, you’ll be happy to hear it was very satisfying, unlike a lot of anime that are ruined by very poor no-questions-answered and everything-in-the-air endings. Though, the ending is a little sad (Glob Envy nearly broke me) it still leaves you with a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside.

7557043a-3782-4dc6-b0bc-3b0efe467880The best thing about part 5 and the whole anime in fact, is how the plot unravels, twists and turns right in front of the viewer’s eyes. It’s extremely hard to be bored while watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It completely captures your attention, while having you on the edge of your seat, screaming for more and dying to find out how everything will end. For me at least the plot wasn’t that predictable. Although I could predict somethings (final correct prediction count-24 out of 46 predictions), there was a lot that took me totally by surprise and when making prediction it was very hard to pinpoint exactly what was going to happen. Making this anime a truly exciting watch.

Second to the plot, the characters are Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood next greatest aspect. Despite it incredibly large cast, most characters are very well put together. Some have very unique personalities and/or design, that makes them stand out from the others. Some also have little quirks that make them very entertaining and others are just so relatable, that you couldn’t help but get emotionally invested in their story. At times, your heart will break for certain characters, at other times you’ll find yourself cheering them on and on the other side of this, you’ll also find yourself wishing for a horrific death to be brought upon particular characters (*cough *cough Kimblee).

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Glob, I hope this isn’t too dark to have in this review.

Even the villains, you can kind of feel sorry for and relate to, at points in the show. Though, they are still monsters, they have very understandable motives for their actions. Some just wanted to please their father and are like lost little children and others just wanted to fill a void in their heart and feel whole. Things most people can at least sympathise with. The point I’m trying to make here is, that on top of its great storyline Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood characters make the anime a real emotional roller-coaster to watch.

In addition to an exciting plot and excellent characters Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has a lot of little tiny things that bring the anime to whole other level of enjoyment. These include its very cute chemistry references, clueless and hothead Ed moments, a great soundtrack, dramatic Armstrong moments and fun little animations that provides comic relief. The voice acting is also something that rises this anime to other level. However as good voice acting is something that is expected from an anime as popular as this one, I won’t lengthen this post any further by going into great detail. All I will say is, that it really sucks you in and can cause you to be captured in the moment, quite often in the anime.

thumbnail_9f4c51f9-efd8-4735-b47a-af1847c01e07Like all well balanced reviews, we’ve come to the negatives of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. To be honest, I really had to put on the surgical gloves, get out the nit-comb and start some thorough nit-picking, to come up with some negatives for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. One these being, that in the English dub version Al is very obviously voiced by a woman. Considering he spends most his time as a suit of armour in the anime, this could become annoying or confusing for some viewers. Personally, I had no problem with this and thought his voice was very sweet and made him very loveable. However, some viewers might not feel the same, it really depends on personal taste.

While we’re in the business of nit-picking, I suppose you could class Colonel Roy Mustang as a negative. He’s a bit of an annoying, arrogant character. Although you can admire his daringness and awesome fire alchemy, for the most part his character is a bit too full of himself and a tad self-centred. He didn’t seem to give much thought to what would happen to his men, if he got caught snooping and seemed shocked when they were punished for his actions. In true blunt Irish fashion, one could say his head was a little too far up his own backside, making him a rather dislikeable fellow.

thumbnail_db98f359-0b8e-42d3-9b70-aedd05239dd1But wait we’re not finished yet, there is still more nits we can pick in this anime. A little juicy one being, we don’t see enough of that cute little panda Shao May. Shao May just suddenly fades into the background and we don’t see anymore of their adorable panda Kung Fu (hmm… wonder if Shao May is related to Po the Dragon Warrior) or hilarious, yet mildly evil panda logic. Considering how intense this anime gets at times, some Shao May cuteness could have been put to good use and eased the heaviness.

Speaking of heaviness, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood can be really sad, at times and hit you right in the heart. Especially, part 1 of this anime and when it comes to characters background stories or their deaths. It can be incredibly heart wrenching to watch and may be enough to make the more sensitive of us cry. However, this anime uses comedy very well to keep the show becoming extremely depressing and never really leaves you feeling gloomy for long.

thumbnail_62c6e2ab-bec7-49ac-82be-80e6092065c4A few other things you could argue as negatives, is the length of the anime and gross giant Envy’s animation. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is 64 episodes long, so is a huge commitment to watch from start to finish. I finished this anime wanting more, so in my opinion its worth it. As for Envy’s animation, it is kind of poor when he mutates into giant gross monster Envy and his movements look very unnatural. However, considering how long ago this show was made (2009-2010) you can somewhat forgive this. Also, you never really find out what that thing made from performing Human Transmutation actually is (or maybe we do and I’ve forgotten, because the show is that long. Let me know in the comments, if you know what that creature was. Not knowing is kind of bugging me).

2a626d16-7892-456b-9328-eb198776a377Overall, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an absolutely unbelievably great anime. It has all the features that make an anime incredible and then some. It’s the kind of show that will remind you why you love anime in the first place and why you got into it. Great storytelling mixed with amazing characters, really cool action scenes, shock and tragedy, topped with a sprinkle of comedy to prevent things getting too much, makes for one hell of a show. Unless you really nit-pick (like I did. Apologies for that, I really went to town on this anime), there isn’t much you can fault the anime for. So, for those reasons if you haven’t seen Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood yet, I would highly recommend placing it on top of your to watch list. Although, it is on the long side it’s completely worth it and you’ll most likely love every minute of it.

Rating: 5+/5 (It’s just that good)

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Yeah, I wasn’t going to end this review series without Chibi Armstrong.

The Problem with Finishing A Really Good Show.

pick 3Sadly, this week I was a sick wee pup with a thumping headache and a stomach bug. Even just moving my arms made my head unbearably painful, so drawing has been out of the question this week (hence the use of images in this post and no art work). This means I couldn’t create my usual posts this week or add colour to poor Finny.

Though my stomach still isn’t great, I’m feeling a little better and that Glob awful headache has gone. So, I thought instead of posting nothing this week, I’d take this opportunity to get all of you guys opinion on something.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you likely know about the series of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood reviews I was doing. Well, I’ve finished the series (expect the last review very soon) and have a bit of a problem now. The show was so good, that I don’t think I’ll be able to find another show as good as it to review next. So, here’s where all of your opinions come in to play. Since all of you will be reading the review, thought it’d be nice to share my anime to watch list and let you guys pick, which anime you’d like me to review next.

My Anime to Watch List:

One Punch man- A guy spent over an hour telling me about this anime and I have to say, it sounds hilarious. A superhero that wins his fights in only one blow! That definitely sounds like it would be worth a watch, if only for fun.

pick 1Fruits Basket- I know shocking, isn’t it? A little secret about me is that I have a really girly side, I mostly keep hidden and occasionally I like to indulge in girly stuff. Every so often, I get a little craving for watching something extremely girly and as a lot of people sing this anime’s praises, it might be worth checking out.

Erased- An anime with a huge mystery, where the main character is sent back in time to save his classmate from a murderer. It’s a favourite of a blogger I follow. He has very good taste and makes it sound like an incredibly exciting watch.

Serial Experiments Lain- This looks creepy as fudge and what I gather is, it’s about a girl who gains the ability to mess with reality, leading to some very twisted stuff happening. If it’s as creepy as it seems, it’ll make for an unbelievable watch.

School-Live!- I remember reading a lot of reviews on this anime and it sounded like a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, but at the same time kind of mind twisting.

Code Geass- An anime about a genius trying to change the world to his liking. Code Geass is compared a lot to Death Note and if it’s anyway as good as Death Note, it’ll be amazing to watch and review.

pick 5Death Parade- A Bartender holds games between recently dead people, to decide what happens their soul! Sounds crazy as hell, but in an interesting, “I want to learn more” sort of way and seems like quite the experience to watch.

Yuri on Ice- A sports anime about young men figure skating (am I the only one or does Blades of glory, comes to mind?). An anime, people keep telling me I should watch and about how beautiful Victor is. Truth be told, I’ve gotten rather curious about exactly how beautiful this Victor fella is.

Violet Evergarden- A young lady tries to rebuild her life after experiencing the rage of war. Sounds like quite the emotional watch. It was recommended to me by 2 other bloggers, so must be worth checking out.

My Hero Academia- A superhero anime about a boy gaining superpowers and going to hero school. It seems like an amazing hero anime and like something that would be really enjoyable. (Also, that green hair looks so awesome).

So, this is currently what’s on my “to watch list”, if you’d like to voice your opinion on these shows or recommend something else, please do in the comments below. It would be very much appreciated.

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Thanks for reading and hoping to be back to near full health soon.