17 February 2018

Animovies review - Big Fish & Begonia

Ever wondered what the result would be if you mix a typical Ghibli-style of storytelling with the animation power of the studio behind legend of Korra? Well, then you get the movie Big Fish & Begonia!

Animovie reviews - Big Fish and Begonia

Big Fish and Begonia, or Dà Yú HǎiTáng as it is known in Chinese is the first fully animated feature by the Chinese animation Studio "B&T Studio", with support from the Korean Studio Mir, who is best known for their work on Legend of Korra and Voltron Legendary Defender.

it's been circulating in festival circuits and will have limited theater runs later on in this year. For example, MangaUK has announced a limited theater run in the UK starting April 18th. And I've been lucky enough to have seen it at the Brussels Anima festival last weekend. So this is my review.

The story

This story takes place in the spirit realm filled to the brim with spiritual beings from Chinese myths and legends. Our main character Chun participates in a yearly coming of age ceremony where all spiritual beings born in the same year are transported to our human realm for a period of seven days. They do this so that every spirit knows what the human realm is and what humans are. But since they are spiritual beings, they need to take a different form when they travel to our world; this in the shape of a red dolphin.

When Chun enters the human realm, she notices a small family of a teenage boy, his younger sister and the bestest of good boys who enjoy watching the yearly appearance of red dolphins near their house. The family travels in a boat alongside the dolphins for a while and the teenage boy plays a dolphin-shaped ocarina, which charms Chun.

All spiritual beings travel the world and on the seventh day they are returning to the spiritual portal. But wouldn't you know, humans are dicks. In the region of her return path, Chun sees many dolphins getting caught by fisherman and she eventually gets stuck in a similar fishing net.
The teenage boy notices the red dolphin struggling to get out and swims in stormy waters to free the dolphin. But by accident Chun knocks out the boy that helped her, causing him to get sucked up by a nearby whirlpool and drown.

Filled with regret, Chun takes the ocarina and returns to the spirit realm. While her family is glad that Chun returned without physical harm, Chun wants to find a way to right her wrongdoing.
Through mystical means (I have no better way of describing this without spoiling some nice imagery) she ends up with a caretaker of human spirits. This is the place where good human souls go after they die. They end up in a sort of "library" with fish bowls and in the shape of very tiny dolphins.
The keeper of souls gives Chun a proposition. He can revive the dolphin that houses the spirit of the drowned boy in exchange for half of her life force. Due to her regret, she sees no other way but to accept this Faustian bargain.

She gains the fish bowl and the keeper explains the rules. She has to nurture the tiny baby dolphin to a full-grown creature, then find a portal to the human world similar to the portal used in the coming of age ceremony and use a token from the human world to help the creature home. Once the dolphin is returned to the human world, he is physically revived in his human body, but he will forget everything that happened in the spirit world.

But the path towards returning the dolphin to the human world is one filled with peril. The other spirits shouldn't know about this deal, since it's a taboo thing. Not only that, it appears that by doing this deal, various weather calamities are happening throughout the spirit realm. While the other spirits are seeking to find the cause of the calamities (to try and get rid of it), Chun and her neighborhood friend Qiu try their best to keep the dolphin out of the hands of the other spirits.

And what happens next is a pure Ghibli-style adventure that is better left... unspoiled.

My experience

This movie was way better than I ever expected. It blew my mind. The animation was really good! But I honestly can't see what was done by the Chinese studio what has been done by Studio Mir. Because this movie looks like it's a sequel (or prequel) to Legend of Korra. The similarity in art style is uncanny. And honestly, I don't mind. I loved the Legend of Korra and the episodes based in the Spirit realm were some of my absolute favorites.
And I don't know much about Chinese mythology, but this sure made me curious. So many creatures with so many powers that are clearly based on various myths and legends. I kind of want to see more of these realms. I'm genuinely curious.

There are a few downers to, to this movie. I'm not a huge fan of the main character Chun. She has a split personality in the movie and flip-flops between cold and emotionless to heartwarming and caring and looking as if she jumped straight out of a Ghibli movie. They should've stuck with one version overall, to be honest. They could've made Chun as interesting as Chihiro from Spirited away. But as it stands now, this flip-flopping makes the main character quite unlikable; especially if you start thinking what she ends up doing and nearly destroys the entire spirit realm for her selfish reasons.

Also, I feel like a lot of story points are left unfinished. The story arc of certain characters just ends with us wondering what happened to them. I can't say who, because it's spoiling a few plot twists. It feels like the story was cut for time constraints. If there ever comes a sequel to this movie, or a full-fledged tv-series; there's at least one character of which I want to know how she ended up.

Oh, and one more thing... Dolphins ARE NO FISH. They're mammals. Yes, I know the Chinese title literally says Big Fish and Begonia. But the localization team could've tapped the studio on the shoulder and have said: "yeah, over here we call them mammals." And honestly speaking: "Dolphin and Begonia" would've made as much sense of a title like "Big Fish and Begonia", but it would've been more accurate.

But in the end, those were just a few minor concerns. Overall, I loved this movie. It's a great theatrical start for the Chinese B&T Studio and certainly a movie worth checking out in theater, on streaming and to own on Blu-ray. Definitely worth checking out.

Have you seen Big Fish & Begonia? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments down below.
And until next time, V out.

My review in vlog form

Official Trailer

14 February 2018

Transition to vlogging & Early Man review

So, I've been thinking about what to do next with this blog. And I thought to myself, why not try to create vlogs about what you watch? And so came to be: my first vlog.

In this vlog I'm talking about why I'm changing to vlogs (for now) and what kind of reviews I will be doing in this format: Animated movies. Not just anime movies & US animation (like Disney movies), but ALL animated movies.

Early Man review

And as stated in my vlog, the first review I did, was on the Aardman film: "Early Man", which went in premiere last weekend here in Belgium.

Please bear with me in this stage. I'm still trying to figure things out, working my way through recording and editing everything (lots of work, little free time).

Until next time, V out.

7 February 2018

Let's talk about the Crunchyroll Anime Awards 2017

Well, last year I came back to blogging due to the Crunchyroll Anime Awards and then talked about the Oscars. This year, it's the opposite way around.

Anyway, I still needed to vent a little on this because the awards have been improved in comparison to last year, but there's still room left for further improvement. Let me explain...

The Crunchyroll Anime Awards 2017 - The Good, the bad & the ugly

Updated categories are both better and worse

First up, I'm glad Crunchyroll reorganized the voting categories. The awards look less like they were done by a random youtuber. Though they're still hit and miss.

The following are gone:

  • Best Fight Scene
  • Most Heartwarming Scene
  • Best Couple

The following were added:

  • Best Continuing Series - Nice addition, though the execution could be better
  • Best Manga - Good!
  • Best movie - Very good!
  • Best (use of) CGI - Good!
  • Best Score - Very good!
  • Best Slice of Life series - Not good. Honestly this is a superfluous category! All of the nominees fit either in Comedy or Drama categories!

Note: While most of the manga from Best Manga are not from this year, the first volume of every nominee was released in English for the first time in 2017. The page could've used that asterisk, tbh.

The following categories are still missing (read: missed opportunities)

  • Best Voice actor/actress in Japanese and in English DUB: Come on, Crunchyroll, get to it! I said this last year as well!
  • Best Direction: no-brainer, right? I mean it's a default category in most tv/movie awards shows.
  • Best Character Design: An underrated category. Animation is not only the animation, it's the overall character design as well.
  • Best Short series: Anime of 10 minutes or below deserve some love!
  • Best Original / Adapted story: It's a default category in movie award shows, so why not here? Yes, it's a difficult category because you would need to have knowledge of both the source material as well as the adaptation. But still...
  • Best NEW series / Best Sequel: The Best continuing series is a good new addition, but I feel the choices in this category are a mixed bag (to say it nicely). I feel that a split of series in new/sequel/continuing series would generally improve this and would give a proper spotlight to all kinds of series.

About the Judges

While it does surprise me that 6 of the 7 judges of last year don't reprise their role (too much salt/backlash last year?), I'm kind of neutral on the choices this year. I don't know any of them personally, but CR has listed their credits and well... they're legit (no, really).

And while I do like that there are more judges than last year... 10 vs 7 is still not that much better. Not to mention the total lack of Anitubers now that Arcada/Glass Reflection hasn't returned as a judge. Why not ask the advice of somebody like SuperEyePatchWolf, UnderTheScope or even Digibro (just to name a few)? Heck, people like Geoff/Mother's Basement would've been a perfect judge when it comes to music, OPs and EDs - That IS his Youtube schtick!

On a side-note: Praise goes to those who deserve it. I love the addition of separate judges specifically for the best manga award. Good decision!

Weird and confusing voting method

Yeah, let's just say it out loud: The new website is not that good, the previous one was better. Yes, the new one does look more like a professional awards show website and less like a fan-site. But looks aren't everything, you know.

The first time I went to the new awards website, I was utterly confused. I saw the Crunchyroll promo that you could start voting, but the first three categories I clicked on were disabled with no information on when voting would become active. I honestly thought they f**ked up.

It wasn't until later I figured out that they split up the voting over a period of multiple weeks, with each period only allowing you to vote for a small group of categories. This in a clear attempt to trigger people's engagement multiple times and keep themselves trending for a longer period of time. (*sigh* I hate cheap marketing ploys like this)

But it was clear that this decision was made late in the game, because the website was not created to support this voting method. As I said, the categories you could actually vote for in the first week were not properly highlighted nor sorted. And there was no clear message on how the voting worked (unless you read multiple posts and ads from CR). And the black site color did NOT help any of this.

But I must be honest. Checking back on the site this week will show you proper fixes. The site has been cleaned up, categories have been clearly divided and proper dates on what you can vote for when have been added. Too bad this had to happen weeks after release (*sigh*). At least they listened to the initial feedback.

But in order to prevent this kind of backlash, here are a few tips for future improvements:

  • A: Don't make the site background black. Using black backgrounds is cool when you're an edgy tween, but that's the only advantage it has. In reality black makes site layout harder. Layout and graphic mistakes are easier to spot, mixing in other colors can quickly look real ugly real fast and highlighting attempts are easily overlooked.
  • B: The split time periods: Don't do this. It's a cheap marketing trick to stay trending on social media, but you can do this differently. IF you still want to use this method, open the categories in a cascade form like this year but close all categories together at the end date. This way the unlock will still trigger new topics, but nobody will be frustrated that you can't vote anymore for other categories.
  • C: Make it visually stand out on which categories you can already vote and on which you cannot. It will only create frustration if you click on a category, only to find out voting still isn't available and you should come back "on a later date". Oh, and on that...
  • D: All necessary information should be visible on the main page. Your voting site should NOT need several blog posts or news articles for explanation on how to vote, especially if that information is on a different website all together. If it does need extra explanation on another site, you're doing something wrong!

My votes

I'll try to keep this as short as possible. I'll probably film a vlog to go into more detail.

  • Best Action: My Hero Academia
  • Best Drama: While real difficult to choose between Rakugo Shinju, March comes in like a Lion & Made in Abyss, I ended up choosing for March comes in like a Lion. The series needs some love!
  • Best Comedy: There is no question here: KonoSuba Season 2!
  • Best Slice of Life: Redundant category, but from these nominees: Sakura Quest
  • Best Continuing series: Questionable choices, since some are sequel and others are actually continuing series. Best sequel is March comes in like a lion (which I voted for), but best actual ongoing series form this list would be Dragon Ball Super.
  • Best Girl: The girls from My Hero Academia honestly deserve a best girl category by themselves (lol). But if you make me choose between Ochako & Tsuyu, my vote goes to Ochako (with Tsuyu a VERY close second).
  • Best Boy: Kazuma without a doubt. And err... Fafnir? Really? Why?
  • Best hero: I was originally going to vote for Deku. But after hearing Geoff's arguments on why Nanachi deserves the win in this category, I changed my mind. Thus: Nanachi.
  • Best Villain: Stain. While Tanya is a masterful villain (or anti-hero depending on your point of view), it's Stain that stood out so much he outshined every other villain of the entire series.
  • Best Manga: I'm not going to vote for this, since I haven't read most of the titles and thus cannot give an honest answer.
  • Best OP: Winter 2017 had the best OPs of the entire year, though my favorite did not make the list (my vote would've gone to Fhána - Blue Sky Rhapsody from Ms Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. So from the choices available, I'm going to pick One III Notes with Shadow & Truth (from ACCA)
  • Best ED: Again my choice is not on the list (the ED from Saga of Tanya the Evil: Aoi Yuuki - Los! Los! Los!). But after taking some time and missing the deadline for the category (hence my frustration) I finally listened to all nominees and would've chosen Chorogonzu - Ishukan Communication from Ms. Kobayashi's Dragon Maid.
  • Best Film: A Silent Voice, with In This Corner of the World a close second.
  • Best (use of) CG: Important category, considering how often this gets f**ked up in anime series. One series did NOT f**k up at all and that is Land of the Lustrous.
  • Best Score: My heart bleeds because I have to choose between two great scores (ACCA and Made in Abyss). But in the end I have to go for Made in Abyss, because it elevated an already great anime into even greater heights.
  • Best Animation: How is it fair that movie-level animation is compared to tv-level animation? I refused to vote for A Silent Voice because of this. My vote went to the best animation in a TV-series: March comes in like a Lion. See my review for a more detailed explanation.
  • Anime of the Year: No best Yuri-on-Ice of the year? Good! With the awards starting a little later and no late fall anime that took the internet by storm, all anime now have a fair chance. My vote goes to the only anime that actually succeeded in making me cry... multiple times: Made in Abyss. Don't let this cutesy art fool you, this anime starts of "light", but gets drenched in darkness the further you go into the series. I was genuinely sad that the last episode ended (even if it was extra long), because I wanted more.


As I said, I'll try to make a vlog for a more detailed explanation (try, no promises). But these are my choices for the Anime Awards.

Until next time, V out.

1 February 2018

Let's talk about the Oscar nominations

Yeah, it's that time of the year again. Oscar nominations time always gets people up in a jiffy. So let's get back to this blog and give my two cents.
Also, there's also a bit of misinformation going around (including coming from some famous anitubers), so let me try to set a few things straight while stating my own opinion.

#1: Your Name could NEVER get an Oscar nomination this year!

NO, I am NOT dissing the movie. Your Name is a good movie. But it got submitted for the Oscar nominations LAST YEAR. And if you know a little bit of award shows (of any kind): You can only submit a movie ONE TIME ONLY!. And since the studio behind Your Name did that last year (see my previous Oscars blog post for more on that).

It's as simple as that: It was already submitted last year, so it cannot get submitted again.

Would it have been better if the studio/distributor had waited until 2017 for submission? Yes, defintely! They got way better word-of-mouth this year, made several headlines and so on. They might have had an actual fighting chance for that nomination.
But as they say: Hindsight is 20/20.

#2: There is NOT a bias against anime in America, there's a bias against animation

The majority of the academy voters historically don't like the Animated Feature category at all (like EVERY movie in this category). Don't forget: this category is one of the few that has its own set of submissions, compared to the other categories. This means the voters need to watch more movies. Dozens of more movies that they probably did not watch while they were in theater.

It's a public secret that many of the "old gray voters" hardly watch ANY off the nominees (let alone every submission) and just vote for whatever their (grand)kids talked about the past year or whatever was the hottest take in the movie festival circuit. And unlike the Short movie or International movie categories where there isn't a word-of-mouth or "hot take", this is one category where they CAN skip most movies on their to-watch list.

And recently it's only gotten worse now that not only "animation veterans" can vote for the nominees, but EVERY academy award voter has a say. In other words, less good quality movies and more mediocre movies like Boss Baby & Ferdinand.

No, this is not fair. But until the Academy finally cleans house in their voting public this practice is not going to change. And on the other end, there are a lot of (internet) critics that feel the same frustration and want to get in to make the awards more fair, but seem to hit the wall of "you need to know the right people".
Youtube movie critic Chris Stuckmann is known to be one such person and has been trying to get into that circuit to help reform and improve the awards. I can only hope people like him do get in and make it better on the long run.

#3: Several anime movies already got nominated in the past, so why not this year?

All nominated anime movies were Ghibli movies or Ghibli-produced movies (ref: The Red Turtle - see this blog post for more info).

And the only reason Ghibli movies end up being nominated is because John Lasseter of Pixar (now Disney) really pushed the Academy to get a nomination for Spirited Away. Don't forget: in order to get a nomination, you need to know the right people. And once you receive an Oscar, the Oscar door will always be open in the future. So that is why Ghibli films will always be considered for nominations in the future.

Yes, there is still that chance to be nominated as part of the 1-2 art-house-movies that get nominated each year (e.g. this year's The Breadwinner & Loving Vincent). But those nominations are mostly done by the critics to save face in the movie festival circuit since they've received TONS of praise over there. So the chance of those two winning is close to 0%.

#4: Boss Baby & Ferdinand did NOT deserve that nomination

Yes, I feel the same way. But read #2 again. Not enough people elegible for voting watch animated movies. If their grandkids talked about Boss Baby a lot, there's a chance it will be nominated. And due to the huge box office success of Boss Baby (almost 500 million dollar worldwide), the chances for a nomination were real. Just be glad the Emoji movie didn't get a nomination (*shudders*).

#5 Do the Oscars even matter anymore?

I can hear many people say "The Oscars don't matter anymore" or "they're always wrong or choose wrong anyway".

And yes, there is a lot of truth in those statements. You don't hear people talk about Oscar-awarded movies at all, safe the next Oscar period. BUT having an Oscar (or even a nomination) for your movie or the category you worked in IS a status symbol and the best possible addition on your resumé.

In fact, of all award shows out there, the only one that people in the industry or in the press will keep referring to IS the Oscars. You won at Cannes/Sundance? Nobody cares; you had great feedback at the Writers Guild awards: Who remembers that? You got nominated for an Oscar? AMAZING!

I mean, no matter what Crunchyroll is going to do with their anime awards, is anyone going to refer to certain anime as: "anime-award winning title"? No. But with Oscars, that is a Yes.

And that is why the Oscars will matter, even if they keep making shitty decisions and award all the wrong movies, year after year.

#6: What movie do I think is going to win / should have been nominated?

  • Anime movie that should have been nominated: A Silent Voice and In This Corner of the World.
  • Will win: Coco, without a doubt.

I haven't seen A Silent Voice yet (have it on Blu-Ray, ready to be watched), but I did see ITCOTW last year at the Anima festival last year (read my review here). But from what I hear / have seen both movies would've been award-material... if they were done in Live Action in Hollywood.

A movie about the consequences of bullying and about deaf people? That's right in the Oscarbait category. A period piece about the consequences of war in Japan? Yeah, definite nomination! If only those grey oldtimers would bother to watch these movies... sigh.

#On a side-note: What does an anime movie have to do to get a submission/nomination?

Well, read the rulebook: http://www.oscars.org/sites/oscars/files/90aa_rules.pdf

If you don't want to read it all, I'll list up a few important rules (for the full list, RTFM!):

  • The movie must meet feature length (thus >40 minutes runtime).
  • Image & Sound must meet DC (Digital Cinema) standards. Thus direct-to-video movies cannot apply.
  • It must have been released in at least 1 L.A. County commercial theater in the past calendar year (January 1 - midnight December 31st). Note: Special previews and festival screenings can count as well under certain circumstances (too many to list here, rtfm).
  • Only the first and earliest theatrical run in LA county counts. Re-runs on later dates, or runs in other theaters in the same county do not count.
  • The movie must have run at least 7 consecutive days in that year with at least 3 screenings per day, including one in the primetime hours (6-10 pm) and those showings must be with paid admission (promo/press showings do not count).
  • It must have been advertised & exploited properly, like any other movie during that period.
  • The first screening of that movie must be (completely) shown in theaters. Movies that are first spread via TV, DVD/BR or Internet (read as: Netflix movies) are exempt. Note: After that first screening, everything is allowed again.
  • Broadcasts must be either with English audio or with English subtitles if English audio is not available.

There are other (administrative) rules (filling in forms, exact timeframes, ways of submitting the films and actors, etc). But if you're in need of those, you're better off reading the rulebook yourself.

Not to mention that if you want to get in favor of the Academy, you'll need the dreaded "Oscar Tour", going on promo tours; handing out free copies of the movies to all the voters, etc. Not every studio wants to do that effort.


Yes, another post since months! Hurrah!

I can't help it. If I see something that bugs me, I feel the need to write about it. But I'll probably skip doing anime reviews. I got bored out after trying to watch every series of the last Spring season (watching to many "meh" anime is bad for morale) and never really got back "in". Not to mention that past few seasons were pretty mediocre. Yeah, even the current one. I've seen the best anime, but that's about it. I do have a few more topics I wanna talk about, but that will be for a later post.

Until that time, V out.

18 September 2017

Casually dropping a Yu-Gi-Oh banlist like Lolkonami does...

Today in Konami office:
- "Hey, err... when are we going to release that new Forbidden & Limited list again?"
* "Wait, we didn't release it last week? We were supposed to release that last week to..."
- "Didn't get that memo."
* "Oh holy F...."

New Forbidden & Limited list, effective from NOW!

The list

Source: http://yugioh-card.com/uk/gameplay/detail.php?id=1155

Listed are only the changes for TCG.


  • Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter (from unlimited)
  • Grandsoil the Elemental Lord (from unlimited)
  • True King Lithosagym, the Disaster (from unlimited)
  • Denglong, First of the Yang Zing (from unlimited)
  • Daigusto Emeral (from unlimited)
  • Zoodiac Broadbull (from unlimited)
  • Zoodiac Drident (from unlimited)


  • Ignis Heat, the True Dracowarrior (from unlimited)
  • Miscellaneousaurus (from unlimited)
  • Zoodiac Ratpier (from semi-limited)
  • Dark Hole (from semi-limited)
  • Gateway of the Six (from forbidden)
  • Interrupted Kaiju Slumber (from semi-limited)
  • True King’s Return (from unlimited)


  • Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning (from limited)
  • Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer (from limited)
  • Mathematician (from limited)
  • Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier (from limited)
  • T.G. Hyper Librarian (from limited)
  • Brain Control (from limited)
  • Burial From a Different Dimension (from limited)
  • El Shaddoll Fusion (from limited)
  • Preparation of Rites (from limited)


  • Debris Dragon (from smi-limited)
  • Honest (from semi-limited)
  • Rescue Cat (from limited)
  • Rescue Rabbit (from limited)
  • Summoner Monk (from semi-limited)
  • Witch of the Black Forest (from forbidden)
  • Charge of the Light Brigade (from semi-limited)
  • Dragon Ravine (from semi-imited)
  • Wavering Eyes (from forbidden)

First thoughts

Oh, jeezes, Konami. Didn't the list get an approval last Friday? This is so friggin' random, casually dropping the list on a Monday and saying it's effective on the day the list drops? That's why we keep calling you Lolkonami.

So since the list just dropped like a few hours ago, so I'm still processing this. Because at first glance, the hits seem... kind of random.

Okay, hits like Broadbull and Drident were to be expected. But I did NOT expect Dino's to get slaughtered this way. And True kings? I think they're somewhat fine. Because even with all the True Draco cards being on this list, Master Peace, Diagram and Heritage did NOT get hit, nor did Terraforming.

Also, on the Zoodiac side, Zoodiac Barrage also did not get hit, making Zoodiac still alive... somewhat (as an engine, rather than a full deck). Most surprising to see not getting hit is ABC.

What I'm also surprised about is the massive push to get re-aligned with the OCG list. A lot of these hits are to make the lists (somewhat) hole again. But then on the other hand we get random hits again, like Grandsoil and Daigusto Emeral. Yes, they're great cards... but OP enough to be forbidden? No way.

What decks are going to be best?

SPYRAL, definitely. Especially after the release of Double Helix this October (*cough*definite secret rare*cough*). Then I assume Invoked to finally take flight (in combination with what's left of Zoodiac or True Draco) and ABC will probably see a return in popularity. And last but not least: Red-Eyes (with the release of Legendary Duelists) + Zombies (with possibly the new Vendread support in Circuit Break).

That's it for now. I'm now going to sit down, take my popcorn and see how the rest of the world is going to process this random list drop.
Until next time, V out.

14 September 2017

About the October Forbidden & Limited List for OCG and its impact on the TCG list

Hey, I'm here with another Yu-Gi-Oh update. No TCG Forbidden and Limited list yet, but a new one for the OCG has just been announced.

I'll give you a run-down of what has changed, why some cards have gotten hit or released, the difference between OCG and TCG, and thus also the possible impact on the soon-to-come TCG Forbidden and limited list.

V takes a look at the October 1st Yu-Gi-Oh OCG Forbidden & Limited List

The Changes in OCG

Source: https://ygorganization.com/ocg-october-1st-forbiddenlimited-list/
Date: From 01 October 2017 onward

Newly Forbidden in the OCG

  • Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King (from limited)
  • Dragonic Diagram (from Limited)

Newly Limited:

  • Tribe-Infecting Virus (from forbidden!)
  • Aleister the Invoker (from unlimited)
  • Dinomight Knight, the True Dracofighter (from unlimited)
  • Souleating Oviraptor (from unlimited)
  • Babycerasaurus (from unlimited)
  • ABC-Dragon Buster (from unlimited)
  • Denglong, First of the Yang Zing (from unlimited)
  • Terraforming (from semi-limited)
  • Spellbook of Secrets (from unlimited)
  • True Draco Heritage (from unlimited)
  • True King’s Return (from unlimited)
  • Trickstar Reincarnation (from unlimited)

Newly Semi-Limited

  • Summoner Monk (from limited)
  • Windwitch – Ice Bell(from unlimited)
  • Maxx “C” (from unlimited)
  • Pot of Avarice (from limited)
  • Future Fusion (from limited)
  • Fossil Dig (from unlimited)

Newly Unlimited

  • Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer (from semi-limited)
  • Witch of the Black Forest (from semi-limited)
  • Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss (from semi-limited)
  • Rescue Cat (from semi-limited)
  • Burial from a Different Dimension (from semi-limited)
  • Fire Formation – Tenki (from semi-limited)
  • Preparation of Rites (from semi-limited)
  • Saqlifice (from semi-limited)
  • Domain of the True Monarchs (from semi-limited)
  • Wavering Eyes (from semi-limited)
  • Dragon Ravine (from semi-limited)


This list truly feels like an "out with the old, in with the new" kind of list. Almost every Top tier deck gets hit!

True Draco doesn't just get hit, it gets BUTCHERED. Master Peace and Diagram were already limited, but now they're forbidden + an additional hit on Heritage, Return and Dinomight Knight. Ouch.

Also, Dino's get a massive hit with Babycerasaurus, Fossil Dig and Oviraptor (double ouch).

Then also a hit on Aleister (Invoked is now dead, I assume?), ABC-Dragon (necessary), Yang Zing, Spellbooks (booh!) and even Trickstars (wow, that's fast!).

And err... the return of Tribe-Infecting Virus? Not sure what to think of it. No card text update has been announced (yet).

So what decks will survive? SPYRAL (no, really! Did you see the latest OCG weekly list?)! Plus the recently updated classic decks like HERO, Six Samurai and Red-Eyes. We may even see a return of previous hard-hitters like Blue-Eyes and Shiranui. And maybe we'll even see a rise of decks that have flown under the radar like Chaossworn and World Chalice!

It'll be interesting to see how the OCG evolves this coming October.

Possible influence on the TCG F&L list

We've been waiting on the new TCG banlist for a few weeks now. Each weekend us players are looking at each other and expect it to drop anytime. But until the moment of this post, we got nothing.

But looking at this list and the previous list for the OCG, it becomes a little easier to see what is going to get hit in the TCG

  • While I expect no butchering of True Draco like in the OCG, it WILL get hit. Master Peace & Diagram will become either limited or forbidden. And I don't know what other cards will take a hit.
  • RIP Zoodiacs. You cannot deny it. The OCG has Broadbull, Drident and Barrage FORBIDDEN and Ratpier limited. TCG will follow this example, no doubt about it.
  • ABC will see their Dragon (limited) and Union Hangar (semi-limited) take a hit.
  • Frogzoic? Yeah, say goodbye to Toadally Awesome (limited in OCG).
  • Yang Zing? Not sure it if Denglong wil take the same hit over here. Maybe in a future list.
  • Invoked? Doubt it. Kinda flew under the radar here, so I doubt Aleister will become limited like in the OCG. We'll see.
  • Dino's? Nah, too soon. Maybe the semi-limit on Fossil Dig will happen, like how Ratpier got semi'd last list.
  • Other one-of's? Gofu may become Limited, just like Kaiju Slumber. Terraforming WILL take a hit (became a little TOO good as of late). Card of Demise may become Semi or Fully limited. And probably we'll see a limit to Fairy Tail - Snow as well, just like Psy-Framelord Omega (cards are too good).

And next to those hits, we may also see the return of a few cards, like Chaos Emperor Dragon, Chicken Game (with Terraforming getting hit), Book of Moon, E-HERO Stratos (#FreeStratos), Brionac, Witch of the Black Forest, Rescue Cat, Rescue Rabbit (#FreeRabbit) and maybe even Cyber-Stein. But that's just wild speculations based on the current OCG list.

Will the TCG list hit more cards than its OCG counterpart? Yeah, probably. The TCG F&L list is famous for being more strict than its OCG counterpart. So who knows?

That's it from me now. I'm going to refresh the TCG Forbidden and Limited list page a few more times, just to be sure...

Until next [F5] time, V out [F5].

10 September 2017

V Reviews the Deah Note Netflix Movie - A rushed mess

Last week the Death Note Netflix movie was finally released to Netflix. And it was received with "mixed" responses. But most of the agreed it was not good or flawed. But as I promised earlier on, I sat down and took an attempt to watch it.

I nodded approvingly (a few times), I cringed (A LOT) and I rolled over the floor laughing at the horribly stupid finale. That's the movie in one sentence. Let's dig a little deeper in what worked and what did NOT work in the Death Note movie.

V reviews: The Netflix Death Note movie

Casting: A mixed bag

This movie caught a lot of flack for the whitewashing of Asian roles and portraying everything in an American setting instead of Japan. I could only sigh at the ignorance of such comments. Come on people, People if you want this in an Asian setting, go watch the Japanese Death note movies. There's like six of them now.

This is an American adaptation, get over it already. Could there have been made more roles available for Asian actors? Yeah, definitely! But we got what we've got.

And what we got is poor. Let's run over this quickly:

  • Horrible casting choices: Nat Wolff as Light, Margaret Qualley as Mia and Shea Whigham as James Turner.
    Wolff is a B-grade Tobey Maguire. He looks nor acts nothing like Light from the manga/anime (safe maybe the last five minutes). Margaret looks like she would fit right in a high-school movie like Mean Girls, rather than anything related to Death Note. The most out of place character is probably Shea, who looks and acts like he has no clue in what kind of movie he's in THE ENTIRE TIME and he has no chemistry with any other character in the movie.
  • Okay casting choices: Lakeith Stanfield as L and Paul Nakauchi as Watari.
    Both are clearly good actors who are giving it the best they can. But the script often forces these two to do or say stupid shit. Don't blame the actors, blame the script.
    Also, can anybody explain to me how the only Asian actor casted ended up playing the one character that ISN'T Asian in the original story? (*facepalming*)
  • Amazing casting choice: Willem Dafoe as Ryuk. I honestly can't imagine anybody else in Hollywood as the Death God and he NAILS it! I get that the number of appearances were limited due to budget constraints; but every scene with Dafoe in it was elevated to a new height.

Pacing: Rush rush rush

The biggest flaw this movie has is that the entire feature is rushed beyond belief. The original series and manga is slowly paced, which is very fitting for a suspenseful thriller. Every chapter, every episode is paced and filled in such a way to keep you on the edge of your seat.

But in this movie everything rushes by you so fast, it's very hard to catch the minor details (apples, marbles, pictures, etc) and it makes the plot details harder to follow to those unfamiliar with the source material. It also has a consequence that things that could've been missed suddenly need to be repeated.

Honestly, this should've been a Netflix (mini-)series. This so more time could be spent on character development and the plot twists.

Image and Sound: Good and bloody awful (respectively)

The overall imagery and cinematography is one of the few things I can applaud in this movie. The overall feeling I get from watching this movie, the angles, the set pieces, etc... it's all good looking and would've made for a good movie (if the rest would've been good). There's a lot of visual clues and hints of events to come for those that spot it.

But the music? Oh my god, it's frigging awful. The overall soundtrack is bad enough as it is (it's like fit for a B or C-level movie), but the songs that are inserted in the third act are not only distracting, they literally made me roll over the floor laughing because they're so horribly chosen and don't fit the mood of the scene AT ALL.

The song used at the Ferris wheel climax is (no joke) Chicago with I don't want to live without your love. The choice is so baffling, it made me laugh non-stop for at least five minutes. The song used when Light explains his plan (The power of love from Jennifer Rush) is equally weird and distracting. And both should be moments that require your full attention. But it does the exact opposite. After the movie ended, I could only think about the stupid music and not about how the movie actually ended. That's the effect the music has on you.

The Screenplay: In need of at least two more rewrites

I need to give the movie some praise: There are hints of a good story in this script. There's a few changes to the source material that either make more sense in the modern US setting or help with Light's motivation to kill criminals.

Let me give you an example. In the manga the sole reason Light starts killing criminals in his Death Note is boredom. No, he literally says so in the first chapter and the chapter is equally named Boredom. But the change that Light is taking revenge for a failing justice system in this movie is kind of a better motivation, don't you think so?

However, for every change to the source material that is good, there's two other changes that are awful or horribly dated in 80s/90s movie cliches.

A few examples: Making Mia a cheerleader (dated cliche), removing Matsuda from the story (he's essential to the story, so why?), forcing Watari to do Light's bidding (HOW? WHY? That's impossible!), skipping out on the Lind L Tailor scene and ruining the follow-up with Light's father (WHY? The Lind L Tailor scene twist is amazing).

Killing L live on a worldwide broadcast, only to reveal it's a dupe? Brilliant!

Turning Light from a tactical mastermind into a sad duped kid

While I applaud the fact that the creators have tried to make Mia more manipulative herself (rather than be manipulated in the source material), the fact that Light is left as a sad little shell of his manga counterpart is what makes fans of the original rage on the internet. There's a reason why I keep comparing him to Tobey Maguire. He's really similar to Tobey's performance as Spider-Man in the Raimi trilogy (up to and including sad and angry faces).

Clearly the face of self-confidence and wit that Light is supposed to be...

I could only cringe at the scene where Light rushes up to Mia and says: "I have a Death Note." No really, that literally happens in the movie. He was almost begging her: "Give me attention, I have an object that may interest you!". That is 100% the complete opposite of anything Light Yagami would ever do.

What is missing from the movie

First and furmost, both famous memes are not present. The iconic scene of "I'll take a potato chip and eat it!" is nowhere to be seen, nor is the "All according to Keikaku/plan" line. But I can understand that some higher ups would be opposed to silly lines like that if they don't get the context of the source material and fandom.

But several characters have been scratched from this movie to my surprise. Yes, the absence of Light's mother is explained in the movie. But Light also has no sister in the movie (as if to emphasize that Light is a loner?).

The most surprising absence however is the character of Matsuda (or whatever they would've renamed him). Of all supporting characters, Matsuda is on one end the most sympathetic character (as the bumbling rookie cop that believes in justice), but is an essential audience point of view character. He could be the one that asks the difficult moral questions or helps avoid plot holes by asking typical "how does this work" or "how do you know that" questions.
And he would've fit right in the movie as partner to Light's father, maybe as "the only cop that sides with him", or "too young and inexperienced to judge him".

And trust me, adding a character like Matsuda would've livened up this otherwise dreary and rushed plot. Heck, due to what happens in the final episode of the anime/manga, he's technically a major character. So scratching him from the story is a missed opportunity.

Matsuda, the heart and soul of the series


This movie is just another wasted opportunity. And honestly, it could've been a lot better with only a handful of script rewrites. It's like they had to push this through a budgeted schedule and a lot of things ended up suffering because of it.

In the end, it's just another anime adaptation that we can put on the pile of "failed attempts". I wonder what the next one is going to be.

Rating: 5/10. It has traces of a good movie, but doesn't go further than "traces". Skip it, unless you're really interested in how they f**ked this one up.

Until next time, V out.