Britt’s Anime and Gaming Adventures: Attack on Titan: The Final Season Part 1 (Review)

With the fourth and final season half-finished and with the manga ending this month, I thought now would be a good time to review the first half of the final season of Attack on Titan. I still can’t believe the series is ending–it was one of the first animes I’ve ever watched, and I’ve even made a few friends through the fandom. But alas, all good things must come to an end. Before I discuss the first half of season four, however, I will first discuss the series as a whole. 

The Attack on Titan manga began serialization in September 2009 and will end after 139 chapters this April. It was the groundbreaking debut of writer and artist Hajime Isayama. The series takes place in a medieval Europe-inspired world in which humans reside within walls erected to protect them from humanoid, man-eating creatures known as Titans. The series starts out very simply, with protagonist Eren Jaeger (Yuki Kaji) vowing to rid the world of all Titans after raiding his hometown and eating his mother right in front of him. As the series progresses, however, it gradually becomes more complex, as the main characters eventually learn that there are two races in their world: Eldians and Maryleans. They also discover that the Maryleans essentially created Titans to wipe out the Eldian race. Attack on Titan tackles serious themes such as racism, genocide, and indoctrination, particularly in its third and fourth seasons. The series offers something for everyone: social commentary, plenty of action, and a wide cast of entertaining and well-written characters. In addition to receiving a successful anime adaptation in 2013, it has spawned several spinoff manga series, video games, and a duology of live-action movies. The anime is adored by anime fans and critics alike, with several of its episodes appearing on IMDB’s “Best TV episodes of all time” page alongside other greats such as Breaking Bad and Bojack Horseman. The series has had a lasting impact on both Eastern and Western pop culture, as it has been referenced in other anime and American cartoons such as The Simpsons. 

Continue reading

Britt’s Anime and Gaming Adventures: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

In honor of Resident Evil’s 25th anniversary next week, and to further increase the hype of the upcoming Resident Evil Village, I will be reviewing the seventh main installment of the series, Resident Evil: Biohazard. But before I do, I will discuss the history of the series as a whole and how it’s managed to remain relevant as long as it has.

Resident Evil is a franchise that needs no introduction, but I will give it one anyway. It is one of the most influential video game franchises of all time, and as of 2020, has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. The first entry in the series, simply titled Resident Evil, was released in Japan on March 22nd, 1996 and in the U.S. on the 30th. Known as Biohazard in Japan, the first game was originally supposed to be a remake of the 1989 horror video game Sweet Home. until developer Capcom lost the rights to the game, forcing the development team to start from scratch. Despite being two different games, the original Resident Evil retained Sweet Home’s setting of a spooky, abandoned mansion, and other elements. Basically, if Sweet Home had never existed, neither would Resident Evil. Without Resident Evil, the video game world wouldn’t be the same, as one of Resident Evil 4’s earlier iterations became the first entry to another Capcom favorite, Devil May Cry. Furthermore, Resident Evil has influenced other video game franchises, most notably the Bioshock and Dead Space series. 

Since its release nearly twenty-five years ago, the first Resident Evil has been notorious for its awful voice acting and poorly aged game mechanics. Despite this, the game was an unexpected success, birthing a multimedia franchise that consists of comic books, merchandise, CGI movies, an American film franchise, and yes, games. Its game catalog includes seven (soon to be eight) main entries and even more spinoff titles and remakes. Resident Evil games have been on just about every console imaginable: Playstation, Xbox, Wii, even the iPhone at one point. While originally a horror-orientated video game series, the overwhelming success of 2005’s Resident Evil 4 caused the series to become more action-based, which many longtime fans did not approve of. However, the release of Resident Evil: Biohazard (2017) saw the series return to its horror roots, pleasing many longtime fans and drawing in newcomers. Many fans wish to forget the more action-focused entries never existed. However, it’s possible that the series would’ve died out years ago if they hadn’t switched things up. The video game industry is constantly changing, and for your series to survive as long as Resident Evil has, you have to be willing to take risks. Even when the series tried to please all kinds of fans with Resident Evil 6 (2012), it was met with mixed receptions. Even so, the series has remained relevant for as long as it has because it has constantly been evolving over the years and introducing new characters and settings. 

Continue reading

Britt’s Anime and Gaming Adventures- Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro

When thinking of which piece of media to review for my first official blog post, the first thing that came to mind was Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. Released in 1979, this film is considered by fans as the best entry in the Lupin III franchise. Furthermore, many anime fans regard it as one of the greatest anime movies of all time, right up there with other classics such as Spirited Away and Ghost in the Shell. Speaking of Spirited Away, Castle of Cagliostro was renowned director Hayao Miyazaki’s theatrical debut. Miyazaki was no stranger to the Lupin III series, as he was the co-director of Lupin’s first anime series. But before we talk about Castle of Cagliostro, let me first inform you of the Lupin series as a whole, as it is somewhat of a hidden gem to the Western world. 

To put it simply, Lupin III is like Japan’s Scooby-Doo or Doctor Who: a series that has existed for decades, with several TV series and even more movies and TV specials. Lupin was introduced to Japan in 1967 in the original manga, which was written and illustrated by Monkey Punch, the pen name of Kazuhiko Kato. Despite its cartoonish art style and overall absurdity, the original manga is quite dark, with Lupin often raping women to get information (yikes). While most Lupin installments are relatively child-friendly and a lot of fun, a few retain the original manga’s edgy vibe, specifically the 2012 series Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, which, uh, you probably shouldn’t watch with your parents. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

Fans, to avoid confusion, categorize Lupin installments based on what color jacket he is wearing. There is the Green Jacket-era, Red Jacket-era, Blue Jacket-era, and Pink Jacket-era. It is generally accepted among fans that Green and Pink Jacket-era installments are more lighthearted while Red and Blue Jacket-era installments are grittier. Despite its overwhelming amount of content, Lupin III is one of those rare series that you can start watching from practically anywhere. None of the movies or TV specials are interconnected, and only a handful of TV episodes follow the same storyline. Each installment has a similar plot: Arsene Lupin III gets word that there’s treasure he can steal, gunslinger Daisuke Jigen and samurai Goemon Ishikawa XIII accompany him, and the trio’s plans are thwarted in some way by Fujiko Mine, Lupin’s love interest and fellow thief, and Koichi Zenigata, a detective whose sole purpose in life is to capture Lupin. Basically, Lupin III is a lot of fun, and it’s the perfect series to watch if you want to turn off your brain for a while.

Continue reading

Britt’s Anime and Gaming Adventures: An Introduction

When one hears the word “art,” they will likely think of literature, film, or artwork. Some might even think of music or television. Very few, however, will think of anime or video games, as unfortunately many don’t consider these mediums as quality entertainment. This is due to a variety of reasons. For starters, those who are unfamiliar with the anime genre might believe that all anime consists solely of big-breasted girls and therefore poses no philosophical questions that’ll have you pondering at 3 A.M. As for video games, the word “games” stops people from categorizing this medium as an art form. While a lot of anime relies heavily on fan service, and while video games are certainly fun, these underappreciated art forms have emotionally affected me more than any song, film, or television show. In addition, many video games and anime have tackled topics that many mainstream films or television shows haven’t, such as war and genocide, racism, and whether humans are any different from animals. 

Continue reading