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Jyger’s Rant – Injustice 2 Story Mode Review (WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD)

…So, I don’t own this game. Just throwing this out now. Not available for any systems I own, don’t have the money to get a new one, and so here we are. That said, I really wanted to give my thoughts on the story in Injustice 2, especially since I DO own the original and have given my thoughts on it in the past. Luckily, plenty of people, like Maximilian Dood and Kwing, have posted playthroughs of the Story Mode, so I’m thus able to give it my own review. Just remember, though, that as I’m doing this review, I’m speaking strictly about the story, not the game in terms of how it plays and whatnot. Although, I will get this out of the way right now: So far, based on what I’ve seen, it looks like a really good game, haven’t heard much wrong with it from a technical perspective yet, and on a personal note, NetherRealm Studios seem to have HUGELY improved on their facial designs and animations with this game. In fact, over all, I think this is their best LOOKING game of all time. Whenever they wanna make Mortal Kombat XI, they need to take inspiration from this game when it comes to the graphics.

But yeah, the story. So, this takes place a few years after Injustice: Gods Among Us. Superman is in a red solar prison for taking over the world, and his former Regime buddies are either planning to break him out, working to make up for what they did under his rule, or joining Gorilla Grodd’s new group, the Society. However, pretty soon, it becomes clear that the Society are just pawns in a much bigger game, as Brainiac arrives to capture Superman, add a few Earth cities to his collection, and then blow the planet up. Eventually, the situation devolves so much that Batman and his allies have no choice but to release Superman and work with the Regime to try and stop Brainiac and the Society before they destroy the world.

So, right away, I have a bit of a complaint to make. If you didn’t play that game…well, there’re a few details that this game tends to completely either ignore or glance over. Specifically, the heroes of the mainstream DC Universe were brought over to the world primarily presented in these games and the comics to stop an evil Superman who had pretty much taken over with a new group made up of former heroes and villains called the Regime. And while this game takes place on that world, I think there’re maybe one or two passing references to the fact that Batman had help from good Superman and the Justice League in taking down Regime Superman (as in they did most of the work and he got all the credit), and the player is otherwise left to assume Batman was bad enough to bring down Superman all by himself. Also, no mention of the super pills they took last game, which are meant to explain how people like Batman, Harley, and other characters without superpowers can go toe-to-toe with superhumans, get tossed around in outer-fucking-space, and survive without so much as a scratch on them.

Another issue with the story is that it has a bit of a…complicated relationship with the tie-in comics. Nowhere is that more clear than in the first chapter of the story, which is actually set during an operation that Superman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg were pulling on Arkham Asylum. Basically, some events that happened in the comics are considered canon, others aren’t, and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of pattern as to what is or isn’t, nor is it made 100% clear what all is and is not canon anymore. One thing we DO know about what’s been changed is that, while Damian did apparently still kill Nightwing by accident, it didn’t happen during the operation on Arkham. Instead, the thing that tears him and Batman apart is Damian killing Zsasz…who, in the comics, survived way longer than that, and was actually responsible for killing Alfred. So, right away, we’ve got a double retcon, and that’s not even taking into account certain details mentioned by Cyborg about the deaths of Starfire and Beast Boy.

Before I get to the two biggest things that bother me about the story, though, let’s talk about some positives. First, you know I’m a sucker for stories that involve a ton of characters, and this has a lot of different heroes and villains with a wide range of abilities, from Harley Quinn with her dynamite and mallet, to Doctor Fate, sorcerer supreme of the DC Universe. From Captain Cold, a former bank robber with a freeze gun, to Supergirl, the last hope of Krypton with almost God-like strength and powers. Even Dex-Starr, who is quite possibly the avatar of everything stupid-yet-awesome about comic books, plays a minor role in the story. Characters from all walks of life in the DC Universe have various parts to play in this crisis, and all prove their worthiness to be involved in such a tale. Sadly, the majority of them are taken down a few notches at best by the last two chapters, which I’ll get to, but it’s still awesome to see them all here. Even Joker makes a return via Scarecrow-induced hallucination, which leads to the awesome sight of Harley, in a somewhat close approximation of her classic costume, giving him a good ass kicking.

 

 

Another positive to the story is not quite something I suggested after playing through the first game’s Story Mode, but close and still appreciated. Several chapters of the game give you not one but two characters to play through with, and you choose which one to play as before each fight in that chapter. As such, you can mix and match who fights whom, or you can have your favourite of the two do all the ass kicking. It’s totally up to you. And I appreciate that. I personally suggested classic Marvel vs Capcom 2v2 style fights, but whatever. Still cool, and allows not only for different dialogue and scenes depending on who is involved in the fights, but for more characters to take center stage in each…at least until the end, but again, I’ll get to that.

So, now for something that annoys me to no end, and if you’ve played through the Story Mode and know me and the characters I like, you should be able to figure this out. Simply put, I am NOT a fan of how Superman, Wonder Woman, and Poison Ivy are written in this game’s story, especially the last two (although that could simply be that nothing Superman does could top what he did to Shazam last game, who is a CHILD). In particular, there is a scene where Poison Ivy uses her pheromones on Harley Quinn to turn her against her allies. Now, first off, I’d just like to point out that Harley is supposed to possess immunity to most poisons, toxins, etc., due to injections given to her BY Poison Ivy. But, let’s just ignore that for now, because that’s not what really aggravates me. Instead, after inhaling too much of Ivy’s pheromones, Harley starts going into shock, and Ivy’s reaction is to roll her eyes and show complete and utter apathy over her former lover lying on the ground dying five feet away from her… … …Linkara, I need you again!

Thank you!… … …Look, here’s the thing: I can see a situation where Harley and Ivy could be on opposing sides, sure, maybe even having to fight each other, but there is NO FUCKING WAY that Harley could be dying two feet away from Ivy, and Ivy would be on that level of not giving a shit. This is HARLEY we’re talking about. Regardless of if you subscribe to the idea of the two as a couple or not, the fact is that the second she saw her convulsing like that, she would have dropped EVERYTHING else and tried to help her, because be it in a romantic sense or not, Harley is one of the few people left that Ivy truly cares about. But she doesn’t. Why? Because Ivy is, in this story, irredeemably EVIL, as are Wonder Woman and Superman.

Now, I’ve brought this up in videos before, and they’ve brought up the defense that this is an alternate universe, so of course characters are gonna behave in ways we’re not used to. And yeah, as I said before, that was a thing in Injustice 1, and other than going to the extreme of Superman killing Billy Batson, I didn’t mind. So, why does it bother me here? Well, I thought about that, and I came to the following conclusion: It was easier to watch and deal with characters I knew and loved acting in such a manner in Injustice 1 because we had the versions we knew and loved going up against them. Hell, it actually made for interesting contrasts between them to see how they were so different, and yet had a starting point they could both be linked back to. Here, though, we don’t have that. We just have them acting like…well, MONSTERS. And, for that matter, why is it that we have characters who behave in a way that’s completely removed from the core of who they are, and then some who aren’t? Why are Barry and Hal able to realize the error of their ways in the previous game and try to redeem themselves, but Diana isn’t? You have to remain constant to the rules of how this alternate universe works, otherwise you’re inviting people to bring up these comments when stuff like this happens.

And then there’s my last issue: The end of the game, and if you don’t wanna know, then sorry, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. This is your only warning…Okay, so Superman and Batman go up to the Skull Ship to stop Brainiac, save Supergirl, and restore the stolen cities. Unlike in past chapters with multiple characters, the final two fights of this chapter have you fighting Brainiac twice, once with Superman and once with Batman. Personally, I would have changed it to where you choose which of them fights him the first time, and then Supergirl takes him on in the final battle. After all, not only does the Story Mode start with a flashback to her escape from Krypton after Brainiac invades, but we frequently see her side of the story as it unfolds even outside of her chapter, plus she gets a good shot in on Brainiac just before the last fight, AND she plays a big role in the ending of the game. So, clearly, the story largely centers around her, meaning it makes logical sense for her to be the one to take Brainiac down in the end. However, what’s a bigger issue is…that’s NOT the final chapter. The final chapter involves Superman and Batman, having successfully stopped Brainiac’s ship from crashing due to Superman interfacing with it, as well as managing to restore all of the Earth cities sans Metropolis and Coast City, coming to an argument over whether or not to kill Brainiac and take control of his Skull Ship, thus risking the remaining cities that haven’t been restored yet, or keep him alive long enough to restore the cities. And guess what? The story ends with them fighting AGAIN, leading to you choosing which one to play as in fighting the other and their allies. So the story ends with either Batman defeating Superman with a Kryptonite-enhanced armor and then banishing him to the Phantom Zone, then inviting Supergirl to take Clark’s place on a new Justice League, or Superman defeating Batman, bonding with Brainiac’s ship, imprisoning Supergirl in the red solar prison, and using Brainiac’s tech to turn Batman into his slave…Oh, and I’m assuming (don’t know this for a fact) that you get the special armor shown in the ending for the character you chose.

So, what’s my problem there? Well, it’s two-fold. The first reason I dislike it is because I would’ve personally ended the game with Brainiac’s defeat…then I would have had Superman DIE trying to use the ship’s systems to restore the Earth cities. Yes, I would have KILLED Superman. Barring that, I suppose he could’ve been left critically injured past the point of being able to recover quickly from solar rays, thus leaving him comatose or the like. Either way, I would have had the story end with him making that sacrifice, and then, as he lies on the floor, surrounded by friends and family, he looks back on how everything that went wrong stems from his decision to kill the Joker, and finally realizes his mistakes. It wouldn’t have magically taken away everything he did, but it would have at least let him go out saving the world and acknowledging that he did wrong. And then, from there, I guess you have Supergirl taking his place on the new League, the Regime all either surrender, go into hiding, or likewise realize their errors and join the new League, and so on. Oh, and I also would’ve added a teaser at the end for Darkseid deciding to try his hand at attacking Earth next, since…well, let’s be honest, that’s probably where they’re going.

The other reason I don’t care for the end of this game, either one, is because… … …Well, because I don’t care. I don’t care that Superman and Batman are fighting AGAIN. I’m too numb to it now. Why should I care that Superman and Batman are going to fight for the 11,311th time?…That’s one for every day since The Dark Knight Returns #4 came out, btw, and oh dear lord, I just now realized I’m two days removed from being exactly one year older than that comic. My God, I’m old. But the point still stands, I’ve just seen it too often, and I just don’t care to see it ever again. So ultimately, the ending doesn’t impress at all. It literally leaves me going “Oh yay, this again…”, and that’s not how a story should end. Like, it really says it all when, the first time they fight in the game during Chapter 1, all I can think during this scene that’s supposed to be really dramatic and sad is “Wow, I love the gold trim on Superman’s cape in this scene. Looks really good, and adds some much-needed colour balance between the red, blue, and yellow”.

So, as a result, for the ending leaving me so disappointed and for everything else that went wrong…I have to unfortunately give the story a thumbs down overall. There ARE moments I like and even love, like Harley beating down Joker, Hal Jordan fighting off the urge of the Red Lanterns’ rage, Cyborg vs Grid, the reveal that Batman kept the old round table for the Justice League, and so on. But it’s just overshadowed by a story that is infuriating at times and just unenthusing at others. Sorry, NetherRealm, but this is one story I just couldn’t give my approval to. Better luck next time, though.

Anyway, what did you think of the Story Mode? Let me know in the comments below, and let’s hope that Mr. Boon and DC listen to what we have to say next time. Ja né!

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Jyger’s Rant – Freedom Planet Review

So, you know how fans have complained for years and years about how the Sonic games have lacked a lot of what made them great back in the old Genesis days? And, you know, there’s a reason for that, and why 2D Sonic platformers nowadays, while I wouldn’t necessarily call them bad, have ultimately failed to capture that same feel: The people who developed the old Sega Genesis Sonic games don’t work at Sega anymore. It’s that simple. The developers at Sega don’t know how to make a Sonic the Hedgehog game that the hardcore fans (and, let’s face it, they are LEGION) have demanded for going-on-decades now. Mind you, I wasn’t among the fans that were complaining about the 3D Sonic games and begging for more 2D Sonic games… … …Then we had atrocities like Sonic The Hedgehog for the X-Box 360 and Playstation 3, we saw Sonic The Hedgehog 4 ultimately disappoint, and now we’ve got the Sonic Boom spin-off series that seems to have finally caused the fanbase to go completely insane, and at that point, even I couldn’t, in sound mind and judgment, like where the franchise was going.  And if Sega can’t give us good Sonic games, we’re just gonna have to look elsewhere. The only problem is, where are we ever going to find a good Sonic-esque game being made nowa-

… … …HO. LY. SHIT! XD

Okay, real talk, I’ve actually been following Freedom Planet for some time now, ever since Liam and Woolie did a Let’s Play of the game a few months ago (so, thank you, Super Best Friends, for introducing me to this game), but I wanted to hold off on giving my opinions on it until I’d sat down and played it. As such, I had to wait until it was available on Wii U, which only happened the other day when I wasn’t paying attention. 😛 Also, despite the fact that it was originally thought up by the creators, GalaxyTrail, as a Sonic fan-game, it’s not EXACTLY the same. A number of people have brought up how the game looks and feels like if the video game developers, Treasure (developers of such games as Gunstar Heroes, Wario World, Mischief Makers, and Sin & Punishment), had obtained the rights to Sonic and made a game for the series. As such, it comes off both as a tribute to the Genesis Sonic games and a lot of other 2D platformers of that time trying to cash in on Sonic’s popularity, while also having its own unique identity.

The story of the game (which, FYI, you can pass over all of the cutscenes by playing the game in Classic Mode as opposed to Story Mode) stars Sash Lilac, a water dragon, and Carol Tea, a wildcat, as they find themselves in the middle of a conflict with an intergalactic warlord named Arktivus Brevon. Brevon, having crash-landed on their planet, seeks to leave by using the power of an ancient artifact called the Kingdom Stone. However, the Kingdom Stone is the world’s primary source of energy, and to obtain it, he sets a series of events into motion to force the three major nations of the world into conflict so that he can take the stone in the confusion. I won’t spoil the entire story, and a lot of the details can seem a bit glanced over at times, but let’s just say that a lot of the story focuses on trying to get the three nations to work together to stop Brevon, and on the friendship of the main characters.

One thing I think this game does smartly is that it introduces the idea of multiple playable characters with radically different styles of gameplay right away, and doesn’t have a single character get top billing. Sure, one can make the argument that Lilac is the main protagonist, since a lot of the story’s more epic moments occur around her (and, in early development, she was a hedgehog…and it shows, lol), but Carol is most definitely not left out of the fun. Let’s be honest: A big part of the reason people complain about other playable characters in the Sonic games is because the game is called Sonic The Hedgehog. It’s got nothing to do with if these characters are good or not (and, a lot of times, I actually rather like the side-characters in Sonic), or if they add anything fun or unique to the gameplay, it’s about how the game is supposed to be about Sonic. Here, we don’t have that problem. Lilac, even if she IS the main protagonist, does not do everything herself. Even when playing as her, there are points in the game where her friends will pop in to lend a hand, such as during a running boss fight where Carol rides her motorcycle (which is badass, btw) and does occasional attacks to the boss while your other friends drop items.

Such an awesome boss fight, it's the loading screen for the Wii U version when you start it up. XD

Such an epic boss fight, it’s the loading screen for the Wii U version when you start it up. XD

As for the gameplay itself, like I said, Lilac mostly plays like Sonic, but with other abilities tacked on, although these abilities are oftentimes required to survive. Her Dragon Boost allows her to rocket through the air in different directions, and she can use her hair to whip enemies and do a spinning double jump. Carol can scratch and pounce on foes, do wall jumps, and kick at lightning speed. The last playable character (and only in Classic Mode), Milla Basset, can do flutter jumps, dig through the dirt, pick up items, and produce energy fields that form shields, lasers, and blocks. I’ve heard that they plan to add more playable characters later on, but for now, these three are all cool, despite the lack of a Milla campaign taking place in the actual Story Mode. There’s also different difficulty levels: Casual, Easy, Normal, and Hard. Naturally, because I kinda suck at the old school Sonic games, I opted to go with Casual, just to start myself off. And frankly, I like that there’s a Casual Mode for guys like me to start off with and gradually grow in skill.

So yeah, if you’ve been missing games like the classic Sonic The Hedgehog games, Rocket Knight Adventures, Ristar, and so on, go and get Freedom Planet. It’s currently available on Wii U and Steam for less than 20 bucks, so as long as you have the means to pay for it, there’s no reason you can’t get it. And hey, when you do, feel free to come back here and lemme know what you thought of the game. Also, be sure to check out the designer of the main protagonists, Ziyo Ling, and her work. Ja né!

Justice League United #11 Review – Where’d Everybody Go??? (WARNING – SPOILERS)

So, it’s been a while since I did a full review of a comic, and since this is the book that grants the wish of so many within the Poison Ivy League, seeing her operating as a hero again (kinda), I figured I should give it a shot. Before I go too in-depth on my thoughts, though, let’s run down the plot first.

The comic starts with a monologue by Adam Strange, who is apparently trapped within the Zeta Beams, as he watches Animal Man, Stargirl, Alanna Strange, and Equinox recruiting a group of people for a mission. Specifically, they recruit Mera, Swamp Thing, Poison Ivy, and Etrigan to deal with something called a Breaker. More or less, in the aftermath of Convergence, anomalies in space and time have emerged on Earth 0 that are tearing up the fabric of reality (or something like that, anyway), and the JLU are recruiting both heroes and villains to deal with each Breaker as they appear. Where are the rest of the team? Well, apparently, Supergirl, Green Arrow, and Martian Manhunter all left the team without so much as a warning or an explanation. As such, Adam Strange is picking out people based on how they’d perform in each specific mission, although Ivy jokes that, with her and Mera on the same team, that he just has a redhead fetish…No comment. lol Anyway, Equinox is sent as the League representative for the mission with the four individuals selected, and they go to deal with the Breaker. Specifically, a massive red blob of some sort, neither animal nor plant-life but having elements of both, has appeared in the middle of the ocean. Unfortunately, as they arrive, Poison Ivy and Swamp Thing realize that they’ve been cut off from The Green, just as the Breaker begins its assault on the team, leaving Adam Strange to watch as he determines that they’re about to see if he selected wisely.

So, let’s talk for a sec about…well, I suppose the big thing for me: Poison Ivy. First off, not a fan of the fact that she’s introduced in this comic as pushing drugs, although it at least makes more sense than Superman pushing super pills in Injustice. 😛 Otherwise, while it initially bugged me how much she seemed to be complaining throughout the issue, specifically as it pertained to why she was there, I have to admit that, once I put myself in her shoes, it made a bit more sense. If I was drafted for a mission in the middle of nowhere, with no idea of what I was supposed to do or why I was even there, especially given that Swamp Thing was also on the team, I’d probably be less than completely okay with everything going on. Hopefully, this is leading somewhere that’ll resolve that issue.

The other major thing that bugs me is the idea that half of the original team just left without so much as a word. I get that Martian Manhunter is supposed to be this big question mark of a character nowadays, but his connection with his team-mates should’ve at least given him enough of a conscience to come up with an excuse. As for Supergirl and Green Arrow, I seriously find that to be complete horse-crap. In fact, given that there seems to be a lot that went on between issues 10 and 11, and the massive overhaul of the team and its dynamics, it feels like this either should’ve been a completely different team altogether, or a new volume of the book, either way providing an issue 0 to explain what the hell happened in the gap. To be honest, given the nature of what they’re dealing with, it feels more like a Justice League Dark mission… … …What happened to them, anyway?

The last thing I wanna address has to deal with Mera. I have no idea what’s going on in the Aquaman book, but I do not like the idea of Mera basically on a manhunt for her husba-Oh wait, forgot, Dan Didio said no to married heroes, and only Animal Man seemed to slip through the cracks and keep his intact (and thank God he did, btw). I dunno, she just comes off as way too angry and one-track minded about hunting Arthur down. As a side-note, though, I DID love the line from Animal Man talking about how he’s been mistaken for Aquaman on occasion. Now, as a MASSIVE comic geek, I can honestly say that I’ve never once mistaken the two, but I HAVE seen it happen, and I seem to recall even in-universe, other heroes have mistaken how his powers work for how Aquaman’s do (that he talks to animals like how Aquaman can communicate with aquatic life).

With that out of the way, lemme talk about what I DO like. For starters, I like that the members that DID stick around did so and are therefore still relevant. Not one of them have their own books currently, and I don’t think that’s exactly in the cards for any of them at this time. I also love that these are basically B, C, and quite possibly even D-list heroes, and yet they’re having to take on a mission that could have serious repercussions if left unchecked, AND having to be the ones taking charge of the situation. It’s a huge undertaking for them, and it’s one that’s not always going to have an easy solution, but we see them trying their best to do what they can. And dammit, we needed a book about heroes that aren’t at the top of the food chain that can save the world too.

Secondly, I like that the events of Convergence are having consequences. As far as I can tell, at this time, none of the other books are addressing Convergence and what went down there. You just can’t do something like Convergence, which honestly forces me to try and learn what the plural of the word Multiverse is, without having some long-lasting fall-out. Here, we see that, when you take worlds that existed in a seemingly infinitely stretching Multiverse, all kept divided on different vibrational frequencies, some of which didn’t even physically exist anymore, and then pluck parts of them off and put them on the same planet, it kinda sorta BREAKS SPACE. Granted, I wish the fall-out from Convergence included seeing some of these alternate worlds, but dammit, at this point, I’ll take what I can get.

Lastly, I like the idea that this is a team book where, at any given time, seemingly ANYONE could show up for a mission. Heroes, villains, neutrals, doesn’t matter. You wanna see Poison Ivy save the world with Swamp Thing? We’re seeing it here and now. You wanna see Hawk and Dove chilling with Fire and Ice? Based on the preview we got during Convergence, could very well see just that. Anyone could appear for a team-up, and as you know, I’m a huge sucker for stories that have tons of heroes working together.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the book. Will I continue to pick it up after Poison Ivy leaves? Maybe, if it can make up for the stuff I disliked and continue to do what I DO like. Lemme know what you all think of this book, and hey, if you’re a Poison Ivy fan, be sure to let DC know you wanna see more of her…which, FYI? Apparently we’re getting a mini-series for Poison Ivy next year written by Amy Chu, which I’m gonna NEED to check out when it comes out. Ja né!

Jyger’s Rant: Avengers Age of Ultron Review (WARNING – SPOILERS)

Well, I’ve let my thoughts on the movie sit and stew for a couple of days, so now I feel ready to talk about the eleventh movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Age of Ultron. I should warn right away, though, that if you have not seen the movie, there are massive spoilers ahead, so if you don’t wanna have the movie ruined for you, skip to where I have labelled ‘Spoilers End Here’ to get my overall thoughts on the movie. For now, let’s run down the plot of the film.

So the movie kicks off with the Avengers going to Sokovia, a fictional country in eastern Europe. Remember that mid-credits scene at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where we found out Baron Strucker was using Loki’s Scepter (likely procured due to Hydra’s infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D.) to enhance human beings? Well, apparently, in between these two movies, the Avengers realized that Hydra had it, and have been going through the process of finding hidden bases and clearing them out in the hunt for the scepter. However, while the operation goes well, save for Hawkeye taking a bad hit, and they wind up apprehending Strucker, the two Enhanced, the twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, not only escape, but Wanda uses her powers to feed Iron Man a vision of the future. In it, Tony sees the Chitauri return and the Avengers are all killed because he couldn’t do enough to save them. As such, he’s encouraged not only to take the scepter, but to examine it and, after he and Bruce find an artificial intelligence inside the gem of the scepter, try to use it to finish work on Tony’s Ultron program. Basically, a first line of defense against external threats to the world that wouldn’t necessarily require a second one. Meanwhile, Doctor Helen Cho repairs the damage done to Clint’s side with synthetic tissue. Remember this, it’ll be important later.

Unfortunately for the Avengers, during a victory party they’re hosting, which features appearances by Rhodey (who has gone back to being War Machine instead of the more PC branded Iron Patriot), Sam Wilson (who is still on the trail of Bucky following Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and quite possibly the best damn Stan Lee cameo EVER, Ultron comes online and is a bit…confused. After a quick search through the database and a conversation with J.A.R.V.I.S., though, he’s lead to believe that, for his mission to save the world to be successful, humanity needs to be eliminated. Specifically, those who want to protect the world but don’t want it to change. As such, he seemingly destroys J.A.R.V.I.S. and takes control of the Iron Legion, pitting them against the unprepared Avengers. Even after the Avengers manage to come out on top, it’s clear that Ultron is a massive threat, made worse when he escapes through the internet. He kills Strucker and regroups with Wanda and Pietro, and they plan to get rid of the Avengers. Luckily, said Avengers manage to figure out that he’s going to pay Ulysses Klaue a visit, who apparently smuggles vibranium (the metal used to make Captain America’s shield) out of the fictional country of Wakanda (which, if you’ve never heard of, you will in the Black Panther movie). However, while Iron Man is able to destroy Ultron’s newer, tougher body, he nonetheless escapes again, this time with the vibranium. To make matters worse, all of the team but Hawkeye are trapped in nightmarish visions from Wanda, which have caused the Hulk to go berserk in Johannesburg. Luckily, Bruce helped Tony build something to help contain him should he go out of control: The MK XLIV modular exo-skeleton, AKA V.E.R.O.N.I.C.A., or as comic fans know it better as, the Hulkbuster. While Tony DOES eventually bring Hulk down, though, the damage done to the city is pretty bad, and backlash against the Avengers is also bad.

Deciding to hide out somewhere and regroup (the team is still pretty shaken from their visions), Hawkeye takes them to his place: A farm house in the middle of nowhere, where Clint lives with his wife and children…and if you’re like me, you’re more than a little surprised by that. It seems only Black Widow knew about them, as S.H.I.E.L.D. tries to keep the families of their agents in safe locations and the knowledge of them known only by a select few. The team tries their best to recover from their mental trauma, with Thor going to meet with Eric Selvig to learn about his visions of Ragnarok and the Infinity Stones, Bruce and Natasha confiding in each other about their tragic lives and a possible desire to escape everything and make a new life together (they’d been showing less than subtle hints of a mutual attraction for a while now), and Steve and Tony doing what they’re mostly known for doing nowadays in the comics: Arguing. lol Well, okay, Nick Fury also shows up (was he just hiding in that barn this whole time?) to help get the team back on their feet, and they learn that, while Ultron has been going after launch codes for various weapons of mass destruction around the world, someone or something has been constantly altering the codes, keeping Ultron out. Instead, they eventually figure out the next phase of Ultron’s plan: To create a new body made of vibranium and synthetic tissue. As such, he’s used Loki’s scepter to take control of Helen Cho and is using her to make said body. He even cracks open the gem in Loki’s scepter, revealing, you guessed it, an Infinity Stone, which he embeds in the new body’s forehead. However, as he begins to download himself into this body, Wanda is able to peer into his mind, realizing what his ultimate goal is: Essentially, he’s going to enact an Armageddon-level attack on the world with the intent of forcing what survivors are left to evolve into a stronger race, though it’s entirely likely that there may not BE any survivors. As such, the twins decide to leave him and, as the Avengers arrive to take the body before Ultron can finish downloading himself, come to their aid, as well as help keep the civilians in the area from getting hurt. Unfortunately, Ultron again escapes, and has captured Black Widow along the way.

You may have noticed one thing about the film already that can be a problem: The overall structure. Most movies follow a basic three act structure. As far as I can tell, Age of Ultron more or less has a four or five act structure, which can be off-putting for some people. Regardless, the team regroups at Avengers Tower, where Tony and Bruce are at work. Tony realized that the one rotating the launch codes and keeping Ultron at bay all along was actually J.A.R.V.I.S., who survived the attack on him and went into hiding. As such, they’ve decided to reconfigure J.A.R.V.I.S.’s program and put him in the body Ultron built. This leads to a fight between the six present at the tower, and when I say a fight, I mean they literally come to blows, until Thor arrives and uses lightning stored in Mjölnir to awaken the body. Apparently, it was in his vision of things to come, and that the Mind Stone is the source of Ultron’s AI, the twins’ powers, and was what was powering Loki’s scepter. The power of the Mind Stone, combined with Thor’s lightning, the new vibranium and synthetic body, and J.A.R.V.I.S.’s program, brings to life a whole new being called The Vision. Vision makes it clear that he doesn’t WANT to kill Ultron, but because of what he’s planning, there’s no other choice. He has to be stopped before he annihilates humanity. Luckily, Natasha managed to get a message out to Clint, and they figure out that Ultron is hiding right back at where the movie started: Sokovia.

Arriving on the scene, and evacuating as many people as possible, the Avengers confront Ultron, who reveals his ultimate move: He uses a machine made out of vibranium to physically lift a huge portion of the land out of the ground and into the sky. Once it’s high enough, he’ll drop it with enough force to wipe out humanity. He’s also built an army of robots to contend with the Avengers, with himself in an upgraded vibranium body. However, while it is possible to blow the machine up before it can hit the Earth, there’s still people left in the city that will die if they do. Thankfully, Fury arrives with a helicarrier, a skeleton crew of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and War Machine to evacuate anyone still left in the city. Bruce manages to save Natasha, and the two regroup with the others, as they assemble to stop Ultron from activating the drop mechanism. Vision cuts him off from the internet, and they crack his most powerful body, causing him and his army to retreat. Wanda stays with the control panel to keep it clear, while the others go about helping evacuate the civilians and destroying all of Ultron’s bodies before they can escape, as if even one of them gets away, Ultron will survive and do this all over again. However, in the midst of the chaos, Ultron steals a jet and tries to gun down Hawkeye as he saves a child, only for Pietro to save him at the cost of his own life. In a rage, Wanda finds Ultron and destroys his primary body, which allows one drone to crawl over and activate the machine. Luckily, they all manage to get away at the last minute as Iron Man and Thor destroy the machine, blowing the landmass apart, as Vision tracks down and destroys the last Ultron body, ending the threat for good. However, fearing for Natasha’s safety, Hulk takes Ultron’s jet and flies away in stealth mode, deciding to go into hiding alone.

In the aftermath of the battle, Fury sets up a new base for the Avengers in upstate New York, since…y’know, having a giant tower in the middle of NYC makes you and everyone around you a massive target. Cho, Selvig, and Maria Hill all set up shop there, as well as the rest of Fury’s agents. Clint decides to retire from the team to be with his family, and Thor opts to return to Asgard, hoping to learn more about his visions as he believes someone is manipulating events to set up for something bigger than they’ve ever dealt with. Finally, Tony decides to take his leave of the team as well, which just leaves Captain America and Black Widow. Thankfully, though, it seems they’ll have a few new recruits, as Steve prepares to train Falcon, War Machine, Vision, and Wanda as the Scarlet Witch as the new team of Avengers. However, they may need more than that, as the Infinity Gauntlet is taken by Thanos, who proclaims “…Fine. I’ll do it myself.”

…SO, let’s get character stuff outta the way. First off, let’s talk about Tony Stark. This movie continues to delve into his PTSD following the first Avengers movie. He’s not having attacks like in Iron Man 3, but you can nonetheless tell how affected he is by what happened. Every decision, every move, everything he does in this movie, you can tell that he’s motivated by the fear of watching his friends be killed by the returning Chitauri. And what’s worse is that, as irrational as he comes off, as often as he makes decisions that are clearly not thought out that well, he’s right to be afraid. We know that this is all leading to Thanos looking to obtain the Infinity Stones, and where is one of them right now? On Earth. Worse, they’ve already earned his rage once. If he comes back with the rest of his army at their front door, AND the Infinity Stones, it’ll be a slaughter. They only won last time because of a conveniently placed off switch for the portal that let the Chitauri through. If it wasn’t for that, they would’ve eventually been exhausted, overwhelmed, and obliterated. Granted, the nuke kinda helped too, but something tells me that Thanos’ army will be prepared for that next time. So as much as what he does earns the ire of his now ex-team at times, you nonetheless understand what he’s going through and want to continue to root for him. Plus, y’know, he’s Iron Man and he’s a badass. And, as always, his snark levels are high for this. Oh, and the Hulkbuster being named V.E.R.O.N.I.C.A.? Apparently, that’s an inside joke. Veronica, as in opposite of Betty, like Betty Ross, the Hulk’s ex……..Not sure what to do with this information, especially considering that Bruce Banner actually helped build the thing. lol

Speaking of Bruce, I don’t know what happened between the first Avengers movie and Age of Ultron, but Bruce seems to have gone from having control of himself and acceptance of being the Hulk…to constantly having to keep himself as restrained as possible and being hesitant to releasing the Hulk. Seriously, what the hell happened there? Is there story we’re missing? I mean, I know there was a prequel comic to Age of Ultron that helps fill in when they got back together and started hunting Hydra, but if that’s where this development happened, I gotta call foul. Like, I get that it’s probably more compelling story for him, but it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Still, I will give it this much: Seeing him leave on his own in the end is sad. His decision to keep Natasha from getting hurt by being around him is tragic……although, it would be MORE tragic for me personally, if this wasn’t a complete rehash of Oz leaving Willow in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Even Joss Whedon describing the Hulk as a werewolf makes it clear he’s falling back on that story heavily here. Hell, Willow and Natasha are even both redheads!

If Hulk’s story throughout this movie was sad, though, Black Widow’s is HEARTBREAKING. I’m not gonna lie, and N. Harmonik can attest to this since we went to see the movie together, when Natasha explained that, as part of her initiation as a Russian spy, she had to be sterilized, I was on the verge of tears. I’m not much for crying. I’ve never really had a problem being emotional, but tears requires some doing. So yeah, while Joss loses points with me for retreading ground I watched him tread over 15 years ago, he nonetheless makes it back here, as does Scarlet Johansson for really selling this scene. There’s something about her subtle yet strong delivery that makes me wanna weep for her. And for Nat to go through all of this and wind up alone in the end, it’s all the more horrible. Still, as one should expect from Black Widow, she takes the worst that this movie can throw at her and powers through like a boss……Seriously, though, how many movies does this character and the actress playing her have to steal before Marvel Studios finally green-lights a Black Widow solo movie? Honestly, I’m not asking for the moon here, I just want a frigging Black Widow movie. lol

Captain America’s personal journey in this movie is probably the least compelling of the group, but it’s nonetheless something that plays into his overall character arc throughout these movies. Steve Rogers is a soldier, built for war, but when the war’s over, he’s not sure what to do with his life. The love of his life is on death’s doorstep, nearly everyone he knew in his old life is dead, his best friend is missing, and he’s a man out of his own time. By the end, we see signs that he’s accepted his life as a soldier with no possibility of a ‘normal’ life, but one has to wonder. Still, like Black Widow, while he might get put down by these things, he will not allow himself to stay down. Cap fights like a man possessed in this movie, pushing himself as hard as we’ve ever seen. He’s also got a device on his arm that lets him recall his shield, which is handy since, with some of the enemies in this movie, his shield doesn’t so much bounce off of them as it does STICK into them. There’s a running gag throughout the movie wherein he chided Iron Man for his language early on and people keep teasing him over it, and while it’s funny, I think they maybe pushed it a little too far. But most of all, no matter how bad things get, he refuses to give up or give in, continuing to be the symbol of everything we should aspire to be, to the point where, during a scene where the team all try lifting Thor’s hammer, he actually manages to budge it, showing he’s well on his way to proving himself worthy of Mjölnir.

Speaking of the God of Thunder, Thor’s story in this movie is actually something I wanna get into later. Suffice to say, beyond the pacing and act structure of this movie, there’s one other problem this movie has. For now, though, it seems like some of the stuff regarding his arc in this movie may have been cut for time. There was talk that Loki was gonna be in this movie, which I imagine would’ve been in the visions (because otherwise, how else would you even get him in here?), and a scene of a woman stepping into the pool that Thor enters at one point in one of the trailers, but neither occurred in the movie. One other running bit in the movie is, again, when everyone tried to lift Mjölnir and failed, though you could see a look of concern on his face when Steve budged it. Then comes The Vision, who is somehow able to lift it with ease, much to Thor’s stunned amazement. However, by the end, while Steve and Tony are trying to comfort him over it (in a rather amusing manner), we see that Thor’s alright with it, and uses the fact that Mjölnir deemed Vision worthy as proof that the Mind Stone is safe with him.

And that brings us to The Vision…who I absolutely loved in this movie. His overall power-set is a bit different in this movie from how he is in the comics, but I’m fine with that. And while he sounds like J.A.R.V.I.S., and even has maybe a tiny hint of his old personality, he’s clearly something wholly different, born from the sum of his parts into something completely new. His cape is probably justified in the movie due to having been created through Thor’s lightning, feeling a connection to him. He also has an interesting relation to Ultron. Despite Ultron having tried to eliminate him as J.A.R.V.I.S., he doesn’t want to destroy him. He sees Ultron as a unique being, whether he counts as alive or not. But, ultimately, he doesn’t have a choice. To him, Ultron is less-so evil than he is a rabid dog: He doesn’t WANT to kill him, but at this point, it’s the only humane option left. And while the team is at first distrusting of him, when he rallies them all together and even lifts Mjölnir, there’s no question in their minds from then on that he’s not only on their side, but he may be the only one who can save the world.

Let’s talk next about the twins, Wanda and Pietro…who, for some reason or another, are never, at any point in this movie, referred to as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. I dunno, maybe it’s a rights thing. Speaking of, because Fox owns the cinematic rights to the X-Men and Mutants, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are obviously very different in this movie. They’re ‘Enhanced’, humans that were given powers through the Mind Stone in Loki’s Scepter, who had volunteered to such a process as a means of eventually getting revenge on Tony Stark, as his weapons were used to destroy their home, their family, and left them hidden under a bed for two days with what turned out to be a dud, waiting to die. As such, when Ultron plans to eliminate the Avengers, they’re all to happy to join his cause, but once they find out what he’s really after, they immediately realize their error and switch sides. Plus, after spending some time with the team, they quickly begin to learn that they’re good people and start integrating themselves into the group, becoming Avengers themselves.

While I still prefer the version of this character from X-Men Days of Future Past overall, I really liked this Quicksilver from pretty much his first scene. He’s snarky, cocksure, and full of energy. He doesn’t like staying in one place for very long, unless it involves protecting Wanda (because he’s technically the older brother by being born twelve minutes earlier than her, a fact he likes to point out). When he first meets Hawkeye, he develops a rivalry with him that, by the time they’re working on the same side, develops more into an annoying brother sibling rivalry type of thing. And, I’m not gonna lie, watching him sacrifice himself to save Clint and the child he was protecting was heart-wrenching. As I told several people, I had a feeling someone was gonna die in this movie and have it be for real (a lot of the Marvel movies like to do fake-out deaths), but I wasn’t expecting it to be him. And seeing that Clint named his newborn son Nathaniel Pietro Barton really brought it home that they’d developed a tight connection, and that his sacrifice would always be remembered. Personally, I kinda want a memorial for him in the new Avengers facility.

Regarding Scarlet Witch…….Okay, here’s where I’m honestly finding myself having to tread lightly, so bear with me here. I really like this character, and I’m SO glad that we got another woman on the team. Plus, after she had a little Heroic BSOD and got a pep talk from Hawkeye, which I’ll talk about in a sec, she bounced back and became BADASS. She was clearing Ultron robots out like a fucking demon, and when Ultron killed Quicksilver, she got her revenge by literally ripping his ‘heart’ out of his chest. Having said that, beyond her relationship with Pietro, I don’t really think I would consider this character all that faithful to her comic book counterpart. She’s a good character, she just doesn’t feel like Wanda. Honestly, with the changes to personality and powers, she feels similar to, ironically enough, Jean Grey. But regardless, that doesn’t devalue her as a character, just let it be known for comic book purists, you’re probably not gonna be 100% satisfied with this portrayal.

And then there’s Hawkeye……who has my favourite damned scene in the entire movie, when he says to Wanda during her breakdown, and I quote, “Hey, look at me. It’s your fault, it’s everyone’s fault, who cares? Are you up for this? Are you? Look, I just need to know, because the city is flying…okay, the city is flying, we are fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense, but I’m going back out there because it’s my job. Okay? And I can’t do my job and babysit. It doesn’t matter what you did or where you were. If you go out there, you fight. And you fight to kill. Stay in here, you’re good. I’ll send your brother to come find you. But if you step out that door, you are an Avenger.” In that one scene, they completely redeemed him not getting a lot of character time in the first Avengers movie. That and including his family. That being said, if they kill off his family like in the Ultimate Universe just to bring Clint back for Infinity War, I’m NOT going to be happy.

And last of all, let’s talk about Ultron. I actually thought the idea to make his personality seem like a dark reflection of Tony’s worked out great. He’s got a lot of the same snark levels and actually beats him to the punch of certain jokes. It also gives him a character trait wherein he more or less has daddy issues with Stark, and actually cuts off a man’s arm for comparing the two. But one thing I find very interesting about him, though, is how he interacts with Wanda and Pietro. He seems to legitimately care for the two, despite the likelihood that his plan might kill them, although it’s possible he’s not mentally registering that fact. He even comes off as somewhat hurt by their betrayal. Even in the end, when he’d inadvertently killed Pietro and was confronted by a vengeful Wanda, all he could do was tell her that, if she stayed, she’d die. In that moment, her safety still mattered to him. One has to wonder if Vision was correct about him, that he wasn’t really evil, just wrong and dangerous, and simply went too far in his misguided quest. And whereas Vision looks to him with pity, Ultron likewise feels disappointment in how Vision turns out, seeing him as a puppet. There’s a reason the original teaser trailer used lyrics from “I’ve Got No Strings”, and why he sings it during his escape. Ultron doesn’t want to simply be a puppet under anyone’s control. He wants to be his own individual with his own free will…which one can see as ironic and a little hypocritical for someone who builds his own legion of robots that respond to his will, but again, that can be seen as further enforcement of how he’s unwilling or unable to see his own mistakes. His last words to Vision were “You’re unbearably naive.” But, really, while that might be true, the same reflects on himself. Likewise, Vision’s retort that he was literally born yesterday also can be applied to Ultron, since he’s only got him beat by a couple of days. He’s quite literally a child. If he’d simply given himself more time to think things out, to learn about the world and how it works, and to learn about himself and his own emotions, he might’ve turned out differently.

So, before I wrap this up, let’s talk about one aspect of this movie that, while I personally don’t mind too much, is nonetheless a problem: All the advertisement for the Phase 3 movies. Look, I’m just gonna say it, and I don’t care who gets pissed with this one, but Iron Man 2 SUCKED. Why did it suck? Because the actual plot took a backseat to being a 2 hour commercial for the Avengers, which we were gonna see anyway. This movie’s plot didn’t necessarily take a backseat to being a 2 1/2 hour commercial for Phase 3, but it was still pretty blatant. Thor’s visions are setting up for Thor: Ragnarok. Captain America and Iron Man’s issues in this movie are setting up for Avengers: Civil Wa-…Oh, I’m sorry, Captain America: Civil War. I got confused because I looked at the cast for the movie and saw a lot of the Avengers on there. Wakanda’s mention is to set up for Black Panther. The mid-credits scene is setting up Infinity War, but I guess the mid-credits scene is always where we see advertisement for the next movie, and that’s okay. But seriously guys, we’re already gonna go see these movies, you didn’t have to do this.

Spoilers End Here

Anyway, with all that said, my overall opinion is that the movie is really great. It’s got a couple of problems that maybe hold it down a bit, but I think the pros outweigh the cons. That said, if you didn’t like the first one, this one’s probably not gonna sell ya. So yeah, definitely for fans of this franchise, but the plus side is, those that are fans of this franchise will likely love this movie. Those are my thoughts, but hey, feel free to leave your own. Ja né!

Jyger’s Rant 500th Blog Entry – Bible Black (WARNING – MATURE SUBJECT MATTER AHEAD)

WARNING! The following article is a general review of the plot of a hentai series (Japanese animated pornography), that also deals in controversial and disturbing adult subject matter. While there will be no pornographic images posted, the story includes moments of rape, ritual sacrifice, and forms of torture, none of which the writer of this blog personally endorses. Reader discretion is heavily advised.

…So, here we are. 500 articles, ranging from Pokémon, wrestling, various anime and video games, comic books, movies, and other forms of nerdom. However, one thing I’ve been kinda trying to avoid delving into is hentai…I know, I’ve been very careful about that (and to kinda spoil my own joke, if you looked up the uncensored pics from that last link, you’d know she’s not actually naked in any of them, tee hee). However, given the number of times people keep coming to this blog looking for porn, I figured, what the hell, I’ll get it out of my system and milk it for everything it’s worth. LOL

Now, I should clarify a few things before we get started with this ‘review’, a term I use loosely.

  1. There will be no images with any kind of nudity present. I’m being extremely careful not to show any of that.
  2. I’m not gonna be talking about the games, or any of the sequel seasons/series, just the original six episodes.
  3. I’m probably gonna be skipping over a few details here and there, as to present a GENERAL synopsis of the plot, providing one paragraph per episode. However, after the synopsis, I will be going over my general thoughts on the story, so some details may be saved for then.
  4. I cannot and will not provide links on where to find the series. That said, it probably wouldn’t take much effort to find it on your own.
  5. YES, despite my proclamations of not watching and enjoying porn, I HAVE watched this series before. As such, I suppose I should probably define and specify my terms when I talk about porn: Specifically, I don’t watch live-action pornography. I do, however, read adult fanfiction (and have tried my own hand at writing some), I have watched movies with sex scenes (I typically blame Basic Instinct for my warped little mind, lol), and again, I have watched this series on a couple of occasions (and have had to watch it again for this review). So why don’t I watch porn? Honestly, it’s got nothing to do with any kind of moral standing or feminist views. Hell, as College Humor once pointed out, girls watch porn too. Really, it’s more of a personal issue: When I’m watching something that has sex in it, it kinda has to serve a point. I can’t just watch two people screw for the sake of screwing. There has to be a story involved. And yes, I know there are some porns that have plots…it’s just they’re usually REALLY bad. Don’t believe me? Ask Brad Jones. lol

So, after all that, I’m sure the most obvious question on everyone’s mind is “Does Jyger like Bible Black?”. Well, that’s the question I’m gonna try to answer when this is over. First, let’s take a look at the story, and save my overall thoughts on it afterward. So, for those that can hang onto their sanity throughout this review, let’s go ahead and dive into Bible Black…

The first episode opens with pretty much what this entire series is known for: Religious symbolism, occult rituals, and a shit-ton of nudity, as a girl is used as a sacrifice by a group of women in dark robes. The leader stabs a sword that’s so obviously supposed to look like a cross into the girl (because SYMBOLISM), and the screen fades to white. We then cut to a high school drama series already in progress, with pretty much the exact stereotypes of the boy and girl who are longtime friends and obviously crushing on each other, except that the boy, Taki Minase, has a book hidden in his desk that he won’t tell the girl, Kurumi Imari, about. He’s also apparently been practicing making some sort of magic charms, despite his apparent disbelief in magic. However, something otherworldly DOES seem to be at work, since not only do these charms seem to make the people they’re made for want to have sex uncontrollably (including president of the student council, Rika Shiraki, who is now madly in love with Minase), but the school nurse, who can use some strange ability to grow male genitalia, seems to be seducing the girls in the school in her search for a virgin. All of this is noticed by Kaori Saeki, who has a keen interest and talent in black magic, who seduces Minase into giving up information on the book: That he found it in the same room that the ritual from the opener was performed in.

“Once people begin using magic, they can never again escape temptation. You just have to obey me. I’ll show you how wonderful the darkness is…”

Episode two opens with Minase hitting Saeki HARD (what a nice man) when her interest in the book becomes more clear, leading her to warning him that he’s likely being possessed by a demon. He finds that his cousin, Yukiko (who he calls ‘sister’ for some weird reason, I don’t get it), is out, but little does he know that she also asked Imari to come over later to cook for him. Unfortunately, Shiraki comes by, still obviously under the love spell, and Imari ends up walking in on the two having sex. The next day, Minase tries to explain that Shiraki’s feelings for him aren’t real, but she doesn’t believe it, thinking he’s rejecting her for Imari, and jumps off the roof of the school…and lives…I honestly don’t know how. I think it’s suggested that the fall was cushioned with magic or something, but I’m not sure. Anyway, this is enough for Minase to decide to quit magic, despite Saeki asking him to join the new magic club. However, when he goes to the room in the school basement where he found the book, probably planning to return it, he’s intercepted by the school nurse, Reika Kitami. She tells him about the book, Bible Black, and what happened on Walpurgis Night twelve years ago, that she was the girl who was to be sacrificed, but survived by making a contract with the devil. She also tells him that once people start to use magic, it’s impossible to give up the temptation, and thus seduces him with her powers (and a good ol’ heaping of sex) to join her. After Minase uses these powers on his cousin to make her unable to control her sexual urges (ah, that’s why he calls her sister: Because incest with one’s cousin wasn’t creepy enough), he and Kitami go to do the same to Saeki and the magic club, bringing them over to their side. The next day, Minase’s art teacher, Hiroko Takashiro, confronts him, seeming to know that something is very wrong, but is knocked out by Saeki. That night, Minase tries to call out to Imari for help away from this path, but she shuts him out, and thus he continues into darkness.

During episode three, we learn more about the botched ritual from twelve years ago. I’ll summarize for ya: The ritual required Kitami to be a virgin, but the men that the head of the cult (now revealed to be the school’s old magic club) left her with raped her. The leader, who had already been on a downward spiral into bonkersville, completely lost it, and decided they needed more blood, murdering the other members, and thus turning her back on Kitami, who killed her. The devil then gave his offer to preserve her life, but clearly, these events took the once kind and gentle Reika and turned her into a demon of her own sort, as she proceeds to torture and violate Takashiro, who she believes (correctly) is a survivor of the magic club. Shiraki is also brought into the fold, but during an orgy the next day in the art room, Imari finally comes back to school and walks in on it, horrified by what she sees. Kitami has her taken prisoner, but not before she slaps Minase across the face during an attempted spell. Kitami later has Minase held by thugs, believing he’s hiding something, and it’s revealed that he had Takashiro moved to his apartment in secret, away from Kitami’s clutches. However, it seems that Kitami has something more valuable to her: Her new captive, Imari.

Episode four spells out why Kitami needs a virgin: Apparently, her contract with the devil is running out (musta been the fine print. They ALWAYS get ya with that), and she needs to transplant her soul into a virgin’s body in order to trick him and continue walking among the living. However, it seems that slap to Minase knocked some sense into him, as seeing Imari being violated (not vaginally, mind you, as that would ruin Kitami’s plans) makes it clear to him that he needs to save her. Unfortunately, he’s powerless against Kitami and is tossed out of the group, all while warned not to interfere. Back at his apartment, Takashiro tells him that the ritual will take place tomorrow, on Walpurgis Night, but it seems the aphrodisiac pills are still in affect, so she has Minase ‘relieve her’. I’ll get more into that later.

This woman has two modes in the entire series: She’s either a badass, or a helpless damsel getting raped. There’s no middle of the road. It’s BIZARRE.

In episode five, Minase goes running back to save Imari, but finds that they’ve all left, save for Shiraki. In a jealous rage, she stabs Minase, then begins to rape his slowly dying body, only for Takashiro to come save his stupid ass. It’s revealed that only something called the Forbidden Spell can stop the ritual. However, as shown in flashbacks during episode three, when one of the magic club was going to use it to stop their leader, she was murdered and her blood spilled onto the pages with the spell on it (I’ll ignore that this somehow doesn’t ruin the whole book, since magic and shit). So, Minase and Takashiro decide to try and use the latter’s memories and some translations to try and recall the spell. As such, they go to interrupt the spell, but it seems that Kitami was prepared for this. She begins to show Minase images of her men assaulting Yukiko and Shiraki, with orders to kill them after they’re done with them, but Minase tries to press on despite the horrific images, all while Kitami continues her own spell…

…Gosh, I wonder where I’ve seen THIS before? lol

As episode six opens, Kitami seems to take Imari’s virginity, but despite the images of his cousin and Shiraki being violated (and Takashiro being captured and raped, because that’s what she does when she isn’t saving Minase herself), Minase finishes the Forbidden Spell, and it seems to work, stopping the ritual and banishing Kitami’s soul to Hell. Afterward, everything seems to go back to normal, as the magic club have their memories erased of the events, and the police believe that Kitami committed suicide. Minase and Imari hook up and have sex (which can’t even avoid having kink involved for what is SUPPOSEDLY the most romantic of the encounters in this entire series, which I’ll get to later), after which Imari muses over some memories of Kitami’s that found their way into her head, the two realizing that Kitami was, in the end, just another victim. However, as the episode draws to a close with Saeki finding Bible Black in the school basement, before it was supposed to be sealed, she’s confronted by Imari, who burns the book in blue flame and proceeds to rape Saeki as the horrible truth is revealed: The Forbidden Spell failed, and while it’s clear that there’s still some of Imari in her, Kitami’s soul was transplanted into Imari, who proceeds to enjoy the benefits of her new body.

“Imari…If I see your face…If I hear your voice…I feel like I can turn back.”

So, let’s talk for a second about what is easily my least favourite element of this story. No, not the rape and various forms of exploitation, since at least this series (and the game it’s based off of) knows what it is and sticks to that. No, my least favourite part of the story is the protagonist, Minase. I HATE this guy. He knew, whether he wanted to admit it or not, that Shiraki was under a love spell, and had sex with her anyway. It was suggested by Saeki that he was under the influence of a demon, but that didn’t actually happen until after he had sex with Kitami, when she bestowed the lesser demon Rasha onto him. However, we see moments when he COULD very easily resist it. He only ever strays from the path of evil when Imari gets involved, and even then has to be thrown out of the group rather than leave it, and even then, he ‘relieves’ Takashiro when she’s under the influence of drugs, AKA he TOOK ADVANTAGE OF HER. Now, I think part of the problem is that Minase is based on the player character from the video game, and in the video game, his morality and the choices he makes are up to the player. As such, since this is an adaptation, several of his decisions are from different points in the game based on different paths the player takes. However, when put together, they don’t add up well to make a good protagonist, and he instead comes off as confused, bland, and unable to control his hormones, even in the face of evil. And, yeah, I know, he’s a teenager, clearly at the point where your hormones are raging the most, but it’s just taken to a level that I find horribly unlikable.

"That's right, I'm crazy. But the entire world is crazy. People just don't want to admit it. Take a look at our world. Genocides, science out of control, corruption as a way of life. God has forsaken us. Humanity ignores the Ten Commandments, and continues to commit mortal sin after mortal sin. Ruled by a bunch of hypocrites, this world is filled with sin. And in a world like this, we're the only ones who fit in perfectly. This world needs people like me."

“That’s right, I’m crazy. But the entire world is crazy. People just don’t want to admit it. Take a look at our world. Genocides, science out of control, corruption as a way of life. God has forsaken us. Humanity ignores the Ten Commandments, and continues to commit mortal sin after mortal sin. Ruled by a bunch of hypocrites, this world is filled with sin. And in a world like this, we’re the only ones who fit in perfectly. This world needs people like me.”

Conversely, Reika Kitami is a horrifying villain in all of the best ways, both in what she does and what she’s become in comparison to who she was originally (see Bible Black Origins for more on that). She shows how we could all be turned into monsters if we allow ourselves, and serves as a great cautionary tale. But, as I’ve mentioned before, the most horrifying aspect of her character is how she makes people want her, that they know she’s bad news and still get drawn in by lust for her body and/or power. And just the fact that she believes she has to be this way because it’s the ultimate resolution of a person in this day and age accepting the truth of who they are in the world they live in is just nuts and terrifying. It’s kinda like the Joker, when he said he wasn’t a monster, just ahead of the curve, except that she believes that we’re all inevitably monsters. And just like all good horror villains, just when you think she’s gone forever, she comes back with a vengeance.

“It’s fun watching people suffer over and over again. A face filled with pain, a face filled with pleasure…They all turn me on in different ways.”

But let’s get right down to the controversy of the story: All the rape. Because let’s be honest, it’s not that this series has a ton of sex in it that makes it truly controversial. It’s not even really all the religious symbolism, or at least not to me anyway, since it DOES paint for some truly horrific villains. No, the problem is that pretty much every single sex scene in this series can be seen as a form of rape. The people involved are almost always pressured, drugged, or magically influenced into having sex every time. The only person I can think of who had any kind of sexual act performed on and didn’t resist was Minase, albeit he did a couple of times after he started to ‘break away’ from Kitami. He’s even a perpetrator of said sexual violence, even when he ISN’T possessed. And again, he’s supposed to be our main protagonist. With that said, though, even he becomes a victim once or twice. Hell, when Minase and Imari are having sex in the last episode, that can be seen as sex under false pretenses if it turns out Kitami was in the driver’s seat at the time (it’s honestly a little hard to tell, though). With that said, one can at least make the argument that the sexual violence is kept gender equal, since it DOES happen to him…except that he’s the ONLY guy it happens to, other than one guy under a love spell. In fact, aside from him, Minase’s the only guy that plays a part in the narrative. And frankly, the men in the other series don’t exactly do much better…Anyway, moving on…

As for the religious symbolism present, and all the occultism at work, the rituals, and so on, do I find this story blasphemous? Well, first off, I should explain that I’m not the most committed Christian around. While I believe in God, I do have a lot of questions, concerns, and even disagreements with certain aspects of my religion. But even if I didn’t, the satanic rituals are presented as being just that. These ARE the bad guys doing these horrible acts, so if you’re offended by what they do, it’s only because you’re supposed to be. If anything, I’m more concerned that people who do read about magic, belong to magic clubs, and so on may feel horribly misrepresented as evil sadists who like to lure people in with drugs and magic, violate them into wanting to join their cause, and commit virgin sacrifices to talk to demons. And frankly, I feel like the cautionary tale of being overcome by the desire to do magic was done better in Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

So, that ultimately brings me to the question of if I like this series, to which I respond……hard to say? As I said, the biggest problems are the mass amount of sexual violence toward women and the fact that our protagonist is more than a little bit defective. If the sex involved in the story wasn’t pretty much 99.9% non con, I’d probably enjoy that aspect a lot better. Really, what I enjoy are some of the more frightening moments, and some questions it raises. What WOULD the average person do in this situation? How would they react and respond? It’s easy to judge how these people do so negatively when we’re not actively in the story, but what if we were? How easy would it be, if we were in Reika’s position, or Minase’s position, to do as they did? Maybe a story like this needs to exist, so we can look at these horrible acts and find ways out of their predicaments that they didn’t, so we can say that we can avoid falling into the same traps of darkness and evil…….Or, maybe it’s just shameless smut trying to pass itself off as something more meaningful. Either way, though, it clearly has found success in that, and whether I agree with its content or not, I can’t argue that it’s left an impact. You just have to judge for yourself which you think it is, and if you like it, that’s okay, as long as you see the acts perpetrated in this story for what they are and don’t practice them yourself.

I’ll get you next time, Jyger…Next time…!

 

Anyway, whether you agree with my views or not, I wanna thank you for reading my 500th article on Jyger’s Rant. Leave a comment below, and hopefully, I’ll see you all again for my 1000th. Ja né, and let’s all try to be better people than Minase…who, thank GOD, wasn’t in the sequel. lol

Jyger’s Rant – Kamen Rider Wizard Review

My first review of an episode of Kamen Rider as I take a look at the first episode of Kamen Rider Wizard.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYOFhkcC?p=1 width=”550″ height=”443″]

Audio and images from Kamen Rider (duh), Kool Aid, Kingdom Hearts, and Final Fantasy VIII.

Jyger’s Rant – The Semi-Final Frontier Review

Well, it took forever, but I finally got around to reviewing the Pokémon anime‘s equivalent to One More Day, not on a level of how bad it is, but on the level of how much it pissed me off as a long-time fan. Also, I feel the need to warn viewers this is rated TV-14 for the use of some more colourful four-lettered metaphors, so to speak. ^_^

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYODpEAC?p=1 width=”550″ height=”443″]

Images are from Pokémon, music is from Doctor Who, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and as always, Heads Up Hearts Down by I Fight Dragons. And a very special thanks to http://so-shipsahoy.deviantart.com/ for the awesome title card. ^_^

Jyger’s Rant – Battling A Thaw In Relations Review

The final chapter of this three parter as Ash and Paul’s rivalry comes to a close in a powerful way, Battling A Thaw In Relations. Also, watch past the credits for the official announcement regarding my next review.

Images are from Pokémon, music is from Arceus and the Jewel of Life, The Dark Knight, and as always, Roar by Treat.

Jyger’s Rant – Turbo A Power Rangers Movie Review Part 04

Get ready for the one scene in this movie that angers me more than anything seen thus far, it’s the Turbo Review Part 04!

Intro theme is ‘Roar’ by Treat as always, though I do wish I had my own theme song. Seems my videos can’t be seen on mobiles or in Germany as a result. Images and clips and whatnot are from Super Sentai, Power Rangers, and Atop The Fourth Wall.

Jyger’s Rant – Turbo A Power Rangers Movie Review Part 02 + New Schedule

Well, it’s a touch later than initially planned, but part 02 is finished. Oh, and special thanks to Linkara for allowing me to use a certain joke in this review. You’ll know it when you see it.

Speaking of which, I have decided that from now on, the episodes of Jyger’s Rant will be weekly, every Wednesday. It’s just easier if I keep myself to a schedule, I think. Now there will be stuff in the in-between, but the actual episodes of the primary series will be every Wednesday.