Become a Patron!
With the coronavirus affecting the world, it has dampened almost every business. The pandemic has hit Hollywood so severely as multiple film projects had to be put on hold for the safety of its staff and crew. Some films were awaiting release but had to ultimately be pushed back to a later date once the outbreak had come down. With everything put to a halt, it’ll be hard to imagine how the industry will pick back up once everything is back to normalcy. Some of these films started filming even before the coronavirus hit, but most of them remain incomplete afterward.
Many studios had to hit pause on many of their films that were supposed to start production this year. Disney had a number of projects in the works, including the sequels to Avatar, Marvel’s upcoming film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and a live-action adaptation of Peter Pan & Wendy. Even Sony had to stop pre-production on their video game adaptation of Uncharted for a couple of weeks, causing the studio to move the release date to March 5, 2021. Universal’s upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion was in the middle of production in Hawaii, but they had to stop after the pandemic hit. Warner Bros. may have been hit the hardest since they had multiple big-budgeted films in production like The Batman, Matrix 4, and the next installment to Fantastic Beasts. On top of that, an untitled film about Elvis Presley was in production from the studio, where Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were among the first celebrities to be exposed to the virus.
Production on a couple of indie films were also affected by the coronavirus, forcing most of them to stop filming. Blumhouse was working on a thriller with actor B.J. Novak titled Vengeance, which was being filmed in New Mexico. Other small-budget films were supposed to be shot overseas during the time the pandemic hit. Films The Forgiven and Official Competition were both scheduled to be shooting in Spain until the coronavirus hit, causing production to be delayed. Films like Mission Impossible 7 were also set to film in Italy, where the pandemic hit the hardest. It would be difficult for travel as flying to Europe has been impossible with the pandemic affecting countries worldwide.
While we don’t know the scope of how long the pandemic will last, it’ll certainly leave a huge impact on the movie industry as studios scramble to determine when is the best time to start production again.
For a geeky person, dating is always nerve-wracking, wondering when your inner geek will become full-fledged outer geek to your new love interest. When they spot the Harry Potter doll sitting on your bedside table? When they stop by unannounced when you’re six hours into a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon, hair a mess, chin greasy with buttered popcorn? Someday it will come out.
But what if you’re not actually the nerd of the relationship? What if the other person in your relationship is the one that brings the real nerdiness to town? Sure, you can recite every episode of Buffy that James Marsters ever appeared in, but what if the person you love most the world can spend 14 hours straight playing World of Warcraft with breaks only for a new bowl of cereal? Perhaps you were prepared to disclose your geekiness to your new partner, but are you prepared to be the one dating the geek?
In my case, I wasn’t. I was used to being the quirky one with unusual interests. For the first year my now husband and I were in a relationship, I didn’t know he was a major geek. He wasn’t hiding it, but circumstances were such that when I did see him play video games it seemed to align with school vacations and be the exception not the rule. He had mentioned being a top-ranked WoW player years before, but as I come from the books/movies/tv sector of the geekdom, I didn’t really know what that meant. We spent more time at my apartment and he studied abroad for five months. When he returned from his trip we both moved to new apartments. I started spending more time at his place and saw…the set up.
It’s a modest one, to be sure. A massive Craigslist-find pressboard desk. A home built PC. A 40-inch tv screen. A chair he bought at flea market for $10. But the hours he spends at command central, fully engaged, began to surprise me. A year into our relationship all pretense was done away with. I spent the weekends on his couch doing homework while he played Ark with his roommate in the other room and his best friend who lived a floor above, talking to each other for hours via headset despite being less than 15 feet away from each other.
And I had to admit—maybe I didn’t get to be the geek in this relationship.
Since then, I’ve taken on a role many partners have who are in relationships with serious gamers—Warcraft Widow, i.e. I get a lot of alone time on raid nights! Like anyone with a life partner who is seriously committed to a hobby, I’ve come to realize what exactly it means to love a geek, and how much fun you can have along the way.
We are in a golden age of entertainment where everything to watch is available to stream online through various platforms, including anime. There are hundreds of titles to choose from for audiences and are constantly increasing with old and new shows being added to your streaming library. There are so many to pick, but we handpicked some that you should look out for and keep on your radar when choosing your next binge.
This series has grown into a movement among viewers as Attack on Titan slowly became one of the most successful anime shows in a while. Now available on Netflix and Hulu, it’s a no-brainer that it’s a must-watch for any anime fan. With its post-apocalyptic setting and high-paced action, audiences are in awe with the world of Attack on Titan. It has been a success worldwide, gaining accolades for its animation and story as everyone is invested in the mystery of these giant creatures that have humanity on the edge of extinction. As the fourth season arrives sometime this year, now is a perfect time to catch up on the series that everyone is talking about.
Winning praise last year with audiences, Dr. Stone became a breakout hit for its fresh new take on the post-apocalyptic genre. Taking place after a worldwide phenomenon where everyone is turned into stone, the series follows the adventures of a teen genius and his friends as they attempt to reboot society after emerging from their frozen state. Applying science to help restart civilization, Dr. Stone makes good use of its genre to bring a compelling story to life. Currently, on Crunchyroll and Funimation, the extent of the series grows exponentially as more characters come into the picture, making Dr. Stone one of the most fascinating new shows people are constantly raving now.
As we take a look at the older titles on our list, this one has certainly stood the test of time as one of our all-time favorites. Blending a mix of space western and neo-noir, creator Hajime Yatate takes us on a journey through space through the eyes of this ragtag team of bounty hunters and outlaws. With a beautiful score by Yoko Kanno, this show makes good use of its music that takes inspiration from classical jazz into the story. Cowboy Bebop tackles heavy themes like isolation and maturity. It has grown into such a huge following in the West, making Cowboy Bebop one of the best imports to come from Japan. It is available to stream on Hulu and Funimation, so it’s an anime to sink your teeth into for a great escape.
Another popular anime that gained a following in the West would be this fantasy martial arts series that put the anime block Toonami on the map. The Dragon Ball series has grown to be one of the biggest and successful franchises of all-time. The long-running anime has been one everyone’s must-list, so even if you haven’t seen it, you may have at least heard of the series. The series follows the journey of Goku along with his friends and family as they participate in tournaments and mostly protecting the world from extraterrestrial threats. It’s a series that is far from perfect, but it is filled with adventure, fighting, crazy transformations, and characters that grow on you. The series saw a resurgence with the latest series Dragon Ball Super, but anyone can stream the series on Hulu and Funimation to get familiar with the series before checking out the latest one.
Speaking of crazy and lovable characters, Hirohiko Araki’s anime Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has become a staple in Japan, much like Dragon Ball as an ever-growing franchise. Dating back in the 80s, this gem from Japan only recently found an audience in the West. The series follows the multi-generational saga of the Joestar family as each chapter tackles a descendent of the clan. This gives the series brand new characters, locations, and stories for every saga. The most popular ones would be the third and fourth chapters of the franchise, which are titled Stardust Crusaders and Diamond is Unbreakable. The show has been known for its crazy characters, pompous outfits, and some pretty amazing fight scenes. It’s no wonder the Jojo fever has grown with Western audiences with crazy cosplays and merchandise for the fandom. The good thing is that anyone on Crunchyroll and Hulu can jump into any chapter just to see what all the buzz is with this outrageous and fun show.
Not a lot of people know much about the Devilman franchise and the long history it holds in Japan. Released in the early 1970s, the first iteration followed a young man who ends up fusing with a demon to fight against evil while retaining his humanity. Just like the early series, Devilman Crybaby follows the same format but in a modern setting. The new series still keeps the main plot in play as we see our main character struggle to come to terms with his new transformation as he is constantly being pulled into the darkness. Creator Masaaki Yuasa managed to bring new life into his classic story and made it into something better. With the unique animation style, this series feels more like an acid trip filled with pure violence and gore that is sure to keep your eyes glued to the screen.
Some combos shouldn’t mix well on shows, but somehow Kill La Kill made the impossible truly possible with its craziness. Taking inspiration from many popular anime genres, the series follows Ryuko, a young teen girl who joins the Honnouji Academy after her father is killed. At this special school, everyone wears these semi-clad uniforms that transforms their bodies into weapons through the use of these superpowers called “Life Fibers” that these clothes are made of. Our main heroine uses her power to take down the Headmistress of the Academy and solve the mystery of her father’s death. There is a lot of stories that the series dives into, but Kill la Kill is known for its outlandish transformations and beautiful action scenes. The show manages to blend fashion and fighting so well, which is why it’s worth checking out on Netflix or Hulu.
Continuing on the trend of school-themed shows on our list, we also add the popular series, My Hero Academia. Set in a world where people with superpowers or “Quirks” exist, this show tackles the journey of Izuku Midoriya as he follows his dreams to become a superhero like his idol All-Might, who is the number one protector in the world. Being one of the “quirkless” people without powers, his chance encounter with his idol propels both men on a path to protect society as the best heroes to the public. As audiences are obsessed with superheroes in movies and television, My Hero Academia brings in this trend to the anime spectrum with a vast array of characters both in the U.A. Academy where Izuku attends as well as the heroes and villains that have inhabited this society. The narrative of this superheroes-in-training will keep audiences young and old invested in this widely enriched world of people with superpowers trying to find their place in society.
Superheroes are certainly getting their moment now in anime, especially in the popular anime series One-Punch Man. The story follows Saitama, an all-powerful superhero who is so strong that he can knock any enemy with just one punch. With his job no longer being a challenge, Saitama has started living a carefree life while looking for someone who’s just as powerful as him. His appearance may seem to surprise many people who don’t know just how strong he is, which is what makes Saitama such an interesting character. The show balances action and humor so well that audiences are already clamoring for more tales of One-Punch Man. We also get to meet many other heroes as we look at how deep this hierarchy goes, similar to how My Hero Academia is. For those looking for a good anime to lie back and relax to, this may be worth a look.
One of Japan’s most favorite anime of all time has always been Neon Evangelion Genesis. This series can be considered the crown jewel of Japanese animation, especially in the mecha genre. Filled with biblical references, the show can be a bit hard to follow with its deeper mythology, but it put anime on the map in the West. Following the story of Shinji Ikari, we experience the emotions he goes through as a teen with his daddy issues as well as saving the Earth against these monstrous aliens with the use of his fighting robot. After watching Evangelion, you’ll have an understanding of how so many countless anime shows have been inspired by this one alone. With so many WTF moments and interpretations of the events that transpired in this series, it would be a crime to overlook this cult classic, which can now be viewed on Netflix in the comfort of your house.
Tenjou Tenge (天上天下, Tenjō Tenge, lit. “The Heaven and The Earth”), is studio Madhouse’s cut-throat 2004 anime release. The 24-episode run centers around the Juken Club students at Toudou Academy, a high school founded on the integration of martial arts into the daily curriculum — and I say “martial arts” in the loosest way possible because these rascally teens are really doing the most to win these scuffles. Students are out here using baseball bats, cursed swords, running each other over with cars, and shoving bentō in each other’s faces. It’s truthfully a lot, I can’t imagine what it’d be like having economics homework due at 10am, and a betrayal at 10:45am… a fight with my best friend’s demon-form at like 1 pm, and going through puberty the entire time!? Nah.
The show gets right to the point, protagonist Souichiro Nagi and his confidant Bob Makihara, enroll in Toudou and immediately make their presence known by treating their new campus like a beat-em-up video game, picking fights with everyone on-sight. Souichiro is more of a thug or street fighter, whereas Bob works some Capoeira into his brawls. The two do a decent job of smacking around some nameless extras but are stopped dead in their tracks by Masataka Takayanagi, in one of the more significant butt-whoopings I’ve seen in anime.
Masataka’s character is interesting because, in many ways, he’s more of the conventional anime protagonist; he’s an unwaveringly good guy and slightly awkward, he pines for the affection of Aya Natsume who barely notices him — but fawns over Souichiro. In most shows, the story perspective would be reversed and told from Masataka’s POV, with Souichiro being the edgy rival. In an even further subversion of the trope, Souichiro’s chief rival eventually ends up being Masataka’s big bro, Mitsuomi.
Mitsuomi is a key player in the school’s bloody history, including the formation of the Juken Club, which Souichiro and Bob end up joining in honing their skills under the powerful Maya Natsume, Aya’s sister and Mitsuomi’s forbidden love from way back. This collision of generations among characters succeeds in creating weighty drama and complex relationship dynamics.
Part of how the show achieves this, though, is through a flashback, lasting what feels like a bulk of the episodes, where a young Mitsuomi serves as the protagonist. I have conflicting feelings about this; on the one hand, the flashback’s major plot events are considerably more intense and feature a lot of great Bunshichi Tawara moments, in my opinion, the most entertaining character in the series. On the other hand, however, the present moment at Toudou and the established story lead, Souichiro, seem underserved. The lack of development in the current Toudou Academy ultimately leaves the story feeling unresolved.
Other moments in which the show falters are the elements of the male gaze present. The women in the show are tough, and as capable at fighting as the men, but they’re all subject to weird anime booby jiggle physics and unnecessarily revealing angles. Bob, the only black character in the series and one of the only black characters in 2000s anime, is engrained with a fair bit of stereotyping. Occasionally, the fluidity of the animation is halted, and has a slightly rough feel to it, leaving the desire for a few more frames.
If you enjoy, at times comedically over-the-top action, and find a charming quality to the early 2000s animation — Tenjou Tenge is a decently fun, low-emotional-investment series to get your fix of melodrama and brutal fight sequences.