Top 10 Movie Villains

I’ve already done a post about my favorite video game villains, so now I thought that I’d do another top 10 for my favorite movie villains.  I may end up doing my favorite book and TV villains, but that’s a list for another day.  Film has some amazing villains, and it is hard to have a list for just 10.  Feel free to tell me what some of your favorites are in the comments.  Me and my friend Quinn talked about this for hours and I have come up with my list of the villains who stuck out to me the most.  I want to be clear that when I say villains, I mean characters or monsters who meant harm to the protagonist.  So it isn’t just creatures with bad intentions.  Sometimes it’s just a creature doing what it does without any malice at all.  Let’s get started.

10. Sauron
Lord of the Rings
I just love that this villain has so much presence all without having a body at all.  The reason he is so low on this list given the pure evil power he has is because in the film they categorized him as having a giant flaming eye.  In the books he had no form at all.  His evil was absolute.  When I do the book list, he will be much higher.  But this guy is evil with a capital E, and can corrupt the purest souls he finds with the promise of power.  He nearly brought Middle Earth to its knees, hence why he is on the list.

9. Capt. James Hook
Hook
This guy is so iconic!  I’ve loved pretty much every iteration with him.  Even the live action Peter Pan film from the early 2000’s, he was the best part.  Granted, there he was played by Jason Isaacs, who can make evil just roll off the tongue.  But my favorite version by far is the one by Dustin Hoffman.  Hook was a great movie.  The cutesy shit aside, this film had everything right.  The casting was almost pitch-perfect, with Pan’s kids being the only problem.  They were insufferable.  But never has this character had more character than when Hoffman brought him to life.  He was manic, he was diabolical, and he was so damn classy!  Hoffman could make this guy into quite the charmer.  He can smash clocks to pieces, then rally his crew to battle.  This guy was so much fun.  Not all villains have to be super serious.  This guy had it all while being funny as fuck from time to time.

8. Sid
Toy Story
Maybe this is my nostalgia goggles on a little to tight, but when I was a kid, this dude freaked me the fuck out!  Sid is so delightfully evil, but the thing that really makes him stand out among the villains on this list is that he isn’t really that evil.  Something you don’t think about as a kid but do when you get older is that he is honestly just a kid.  He’s a weird-ass kid, but he’s still a kid.  I’m talking to boys for the most part now, but how many of you have horribly mangled or mutilated your toys when you were really little?  It doesn’t mean you’re evil.  It means you’re young.  This character isn’t really malevolent.  He is just an ADHD little shit who has weird hobbies.  But man did that kid freak me out.  At the time I saw the film, I was around Sid’s age, and yeah, I admit to being weird little shit myself.  Scary, funny, but never truly evil

7. Shere Khan
Jungle Book
Disney has such an amazing library of villains to choose from.  I could make an entire list just of my favorite villains from their library.  But one of the ones that truly stood out to me was Shere Khan.  Not just because of the AMAZING voicework.  I mean pitch-perfect.  This dude is such a badass and he knows it.  This dude has absolutely zero fucks to give because he knows that anyone who fucks with him is dead.  And the entire jungle knows that if he is mad, you are fucked.  But the way he can be so damn classy just takes the cake.  He never raises his voice, but you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he means business!  This pussy isn’t fucking around, and that’s what earns him this spot.  Scar wishes he could be this cool.  The scene where he interrogate Kaa is just the best.  He knows that the snake is fucking with him, but he just lets it go on.  So badass.

6. Predator
Predator (franchise)
It was such a hard pick between this and the xenomorph.  I knew I could only pick one.  But to me the Predator is much more fascinating of a villain.  It doesn’t kill people from some sense of malice.  It sees all other life as merely prey.  Does it care that we are sentient?  Nope.  That’s part of the fun.  We’re a lifeform worthy to hunt, and it goes after the biggest badasses it can fine.  A bummer that so many of the films with this creature are either really mediocre or suck.  I admit that Predator 2 is a guilty pleasure.  It hunts with violent precision, and will attack you no matter where you are.  It’s an apex hunter, that hunts the most dangerous game in the galaxy.

5. Mark Hamill’s Joker
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
A lot of people will be mad at me for not picking Heath Ledger’s Joker.  Or even Jack Nicholson’s.  Don’t get me wrong, I think both performances are amazing.  But here’s the thing, as great as both of them are, Mark Hamill always seemed to capture the madness so much better.  With Nicholson, you believed that he is evil.  Hell, he’s been playing that roll for forever.  And Ledger seemed to be trying to make a point.  But Hamill’s voice-acting was able to bring this character to life by having you never really being able to know just how insane he was, or how much he thought things out.  Violent, twisted, funny, and always having you guessing.  This character is iconic, and this film had him doing a great role too.  The scene in the councilman’s office was my favorite.  How he can go from being happy and taunting, to fearful for his safety, to twisted and evil in the span of a few seconds is just great.  There are a lot of great portrayals of the character, but Mark Hamill has always been and will always be my favorite.

4. Hans Landa
Inglorious Basterds
Quentin Tarantino has a real gift when it comes to making villains who aren’t just evil for the sheer joy of it.  He has this real talent for making three-dimensional villains who have a ton of depth.  I like it.  Nowhere is this more exemplified than in Hans Landa.  This guy is so damn charismatic.  He has all the class and charm of a gentleman, but has the twisted sense of darkness and evil of the biggest scenery-chewing Bond villains.  The thing I really love about this guy is that all of how he does is bravado.  Landa is in it for himself.  He’s a twisted, violent monster who can play it off so smoothly to Aldo that even when he is going to fuck him up, he still buys the narrative.  This guy is a twisted monster who can put on a sheep’s clothing seamlessly.  It’s pretty great stuff.

3. Hans Gruber
Die Hard
Another villain who is equal parts evil and classy.  Only Alan Rickman could have done this villain justice.  There is no other.  This guy is just the best.  He’s a cocky, greedy intellectual who is so in love with the sound of his own voice.  Hearing him play off Bruce Willis’ character is just the best.  Especially when they are in the same room together.  But this guy is sure of himself, and even when it all starts falling apart, he is cool and collected.  There’s not too much to say about this guy.  He’s just got the most charm that any villain will likely ever have.  It’s Alan Rickman at his most Rickman.  May he rest in peace.

2. Maleficent
Sleeping Beauty
Classy women who are evil can never, EVER be matched up with Maleficent.  This woman is badass with a capital B.  All it took is someone snubbing her by not inviting her to a party and she spins an elaborate plan to kill the daughter whose birthday she was not invited to.  The poise and elegance that this woman carries herself with is so profound.  Not talking about the live action version!  Fuck that movie.  The 1959 version of this character is what I’m really talking about.  I wouldn’t cross her if my life depended on it, because those who do learn very fast that the price of fucking with her.  When you do get under her skin, and make her mad, this woman will fuck you up!  Or your children.  No evil queen has as much presence as she does.

And my favorite movie villain is…

1. Velociraptor
Jurassic Park
When you talk about the apex predator, in my mind, there is not that can hold a candle to the velociraptor.  Not evil at all, it’s just a hunter.  But what it lacks in malice it makes up for in sheer cunning.  This creature will hunt you down and rip you to pieces.  The scene where the warden is hunted is just perfect.  He never stood a chance.  Before he even got started, he was dead.  These things are what nightmares are made of.  You don’t see them coming.  Their claws and teeth rip you to pieces.  You are still alive when they start eating you.  They feel no fear and you are no match for them.  When you’re out in the woods, alone, that’s what you should really fear coming after you.  Because once the hunt is on, it’s already over.  At least if you are the prey.  I love these things so much.  It kills me how the sequels fucked over the cool factor, but it is what it is.

What are some of your favorite villains?  Let me know below.

Until next time, a quote,

“Clever girl.” – Robert Muldoon, Jurassic Park

Peace out,

Maverick

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Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2018

2017 was a pretty so-so year in terms of gaming.  It had a very strong opening, with two games that captured my heart pretty strong – Persona 5 and Horizon: Zero Dawn.  Both games were masterful works.  While the second has some flaws that hold it back from true greatness, the former is a milestone in its genre for other games in the JRPG vein to measure themselves up to.  It is amazing.  We also had a prequel to my favorite game of 2015, and while I have been very skeptical, Life is Strange: Before the Storm has been a fascinating take on a video game soap opera.  This genre may have some potential, so long as the writing is good and the characters are interesting.

But now we come to the upcoming year.  Next year promises some amazing things.  And the really nice thing is that almost everything I am stoked for next year isn’t a sequel.  There is a remake and a reboot, but the rest is brand new IPs.  That’s really nice.  Let’s get into this.

10. BioMutant
This game has me both intrigued and apprehensive.  See, the premise looks engaging.  A game set in a fantasy world where it mixes furry creatures, RPG elements, mech combat, gunplay, sword combat, and potential other abilities.  This concept intrigues.  I saw this gameplay demo that admittedly has me a little apprehensive.  The combat in this game looks like there is the risk that it could get really repetitive, but maybe that was just because it sticks you in what is meant to be the intro level.  From the devs behind Just Cause, I see the potential for greatness and that has me paying attention.  We’ll see what it becomes.

9. Left Alive
Speaking of mech combat, let’s talk about this game.  Set in a near future Eastern Europe, the concept behind this game has me interested, to say the least.  A game that combines stealth-action gameplay reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid 5 and mech combat, this idea has a lot of potential.  I say potential because there isn’t a whole lot known about this game thus far.  It was just announced and is coming out next year.  No gameplay breakdowns, nothing.  Just an idea, some brief gameplay bits, and a cool opening hinting at a war in Eastern Europe that has gone out of control.  We shall see what this inevitably becomes.

8. Sky
It kills me that a game made by my favorite Indie gaming company is so low on this list.  It really does.  But so much of what I’m hearing about it is conflicting me so much.  For starters, the release said that this game was only coming out for iPad and Apple TV, two things I don’t have an never will own.  Then I saw some stories in the news about how it is coming to other platforms but is a timed-exclusive to that one.  Okay.  So when will it come to others.  Then I’m hearing that this game may have some kind of DRM thing going on.  Everything the creator says is about the social interaction.  Okay.  Lastly, they are marketing this game as “free-to-start.”  Um, what?  Didn’t Nintendo try this and have it blow up in their face?  There are a lot of reasons to feel apprehensive, and I most definitely am, but it still looks so cool!  The visuals, the sound design, it’s all on point in such a fantastic way.  I want to like it, and I will see what it is and give it a chance, but damn am I apprehensive here.

7. Kingdom Hearts III
Another game that it just depresses me how low it is on this list.  But Square Enix definitely had that coming.  This game is so late to the fucking party.  It’s not even funny how late this game is.  This game is over 10 years late.  That’s how long it has been since we’ve had an entry in this franchise.  Maybe, if it had come in sooner, Leonard Nimoy would have been able to reprise his role as Xehanort.  But no!  They had to fuck around on a bunch of add-on games and things like II.8 (a game that kind of pissed me off, since it wasn’t even a complete game), we are just now getting to see trailers for it.  Still in Japanese.  That being said, I am excited.  We see that there are Pixar worlds, which has had me giddy for a while.  I am still worried they will put Marvel and Star Wars worlds in there (please don’t!  For the love of Groj, please don’t!), but seeing our characters in a world based on Toy Story puts a warm feeling in my heart.  Plus, the combat looks so much better.  And we get mechs!  Lots of reasons to be excited.  Now we just need an English trailer and an official release date.

6. God of War
This is a game that I want to get really insanely hyped about, but there are some things holding me back.  For starters, as cool as it is to have Kratos killing Norse mythology, how did he get there?  Last we saw of him was a blood smear trailing off Mt Olympus after he had effectively destroyed the world.  How does this work?  Next up is the kid.  It’s clearly not his by blood.  So what’s the deal?  Kratos seems really eager to fuck up Norse mythology as well.  Why?  This game has a lot of unanswered questions, and I just hope that it doesn’t cop out with them in some bullshit way that has me sitting there going, “really?”  That being said, the visuals look amazing, and the gameplay looks fun as well.  They are marketing the game as all being done in one continuous shot, which is a bold claim.  I am also admittedly a little bummed about the change in voice actor for Kratos.  But we’ll see what it is and judge it then.

5. Ghost of Tsushima
The first game I bought for my PS4 was inFAMOUS: Second Son.  The game was fun.  The subplots were a little boring, save for the tagging.  That was legit fun.  But the game was a fun open world experience with gorgeous visuals and fun characters.  Now Sucker Punch studios is back at it, with a game set in feudal Japan about a nameless samurai who is after revenge from a Mongol who destroyed his village.  Set in an actual historical setting, this game looks really interesting.  I am still looking to see what the gameplay is like, but it’s clear there is a lot of passion here.  We’ll see what it becomes.

4. Vampyr
Ever since Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, something I have noticed is that there hasn’t been a good vampire game in a long time.  But then I heard tell of an open world game where you play as a vampire and have to make moral decisions.  The concept intrigued me, but once I saw the actual gameplay, I was hooked.  Victorian London, playing as a creature of the night who has to use his talents as a vampire to help stop an epidemic of monsters in the city.  This has so much going for it.  The combat of the game looks to be the biggest short-coming of what I have seen so far, but I am reserving judgement until I get my hands on it.  Let’s hope this is an actually engaging game about London.  Last time we got a really boring game in Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, or as I told my ex the other day Grand Theft Carriage with Batman’s grapple gun.  This game has creepy powers, moral decisions, and a beautiful aesthetic.  What more could a guy ask for?

3. Shadow of the Colossus
From Software has decided to take a crack at remaking one of the greatest games of all time.  Another one of these games where I am very excited, but there are these doubts nipping away at me.  What doubts, you ask?  I see over and over about how this game looks 1000X better than the original, and that surely does seem to be true.  But there is something I am desperately hoping this remake does – fixes some of the gameplay issues of the original.  The original game has not aged well in respect to gameplay.  The HD remake had some serious flaws that showed the game’s age in a big way.  I am genuinely hoping that we can have some of those remedied.  That being said, this looks amazing, and the kid inside me who played and loved the original all those years ago is super excited right now.

2. Marvel’s Spider-Man
The first thing I notice about this game is how the gameplay looks so fun.  Having clearly taken a lot of cues from the Arkham games, this game is still going out of its way to be all its own.  For starters, we have a new villain!  I’ve never seen Mr Negative in a video game before.  There are bits showing other villains making the cut.  I am hoping we get to see some of the villains that we don’t see in other media.  Ones like Jack O’ Lantern, or Beetle, or Kraven the Hunter.  So much potential, and it’s clear that the creators of this game have so much passion for it.  Not tying in to any films or other properties associated with Marvel films, this game is all its own, and I cannot wait to see what happens next.

And the most anticipated game of 2018 is…

1. Detroit: Become Human
This is it.  We finally are getting to see David Cage’s latest project.  This game has recently come under fire for a trailer where you see a girl potentially getting beaten by her father.  Apparently the moral busy-bodies are mad that a game is showing something that happens in real life.  More idiots who want to ignore all the very good evidence that video games do not cause real-life violence.  But hey, what do I know?  Oh, that’s right – that this game looks amazing!  Tank controls, sure, but so much solving of puzzles, making decisions, living with the consequences, and shaping a narrative of a world where robots exist and are treated as slaves, with multiple characters to experience the story through.  I am so stoked for this, and I don’t have to wait much longer.

What about you?  What games are you stoked for?  Let me know in the Comments

Until next time, a quote,

“We were friends once, before I was reset.  Maybe we can be friends again.” – Kara, Detroit: Become Human

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Villains I’d Like to see in Future Spider-Man Films

I genuinely loved Homecoming.  It was such a different film from the others.  One of the things I loved about it was the fact that the scope was small.  See, Spider-Man isn’t a hero about saving the world, and his villains typically are small-time crooks who are just trying to get by.  Vulture was just trying to get rich by selling weapons from the MCU.  It was a good character and made for a good villain.  Spider-Man has a rich rogue’s gallery to choose from, each with a goal that isn’t big, because he’s a friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man.  Here are the ones that I’d like to see most in upcoming films.

10. Scorpion
While the look of this guy may be ridiculous, he’s a quirky and fun villain.  This guy is as big a thug for hire as it gets.  He only does work for other villains.  Despite his suit with the deadly tail, it’s all just about getting a paycheck for him.  Not seeing him as a central villain in a film, but he’d be a nice thug that the big bad sends at the wall-crawler.  Would make for some fun fights.  Brings back memories of seeing this guy in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.  Was always something of a comic foil to the bug, but he serves his purpose.

9. Rhino (done right)
Let’s not even talk about Paul Giamatti’s performance in Amazing Spider-Man 2.  That was terrible and cringe-worthy.  Here’s the thing about Rhino – just like Scorpion, he’s a thug for hire in a suit that is equal parts silly and utilitarian.  This guy only works for money, and he’s itching to cause as much destruction as he can in the process.  Also just like the Scorpion, he ends up being a comic foil to the Spider more often than not.  Maybe him and Scorpion could team up?  Just seeing the possibilities.  It’s more a character I want to see just for fan service than anything.  We’ll get to the more substantial villains soon enough.

8. Jack O’Lantern
As I said, to the substantive villains.  Here we have another thug for hire, but this guy is infinitely more malicious.  A former CIA operative, this guy took a look that could be seen as ridiculous and ran with it.  He’s got all kinds of toys to kill with, and a look that is more than a little imposing.  Part of me would love it if this guy was working under someone that we’re going to see much higher on this list.  If I have anyone who actually knows Spider-Man comics, they might see who I mean before I get there.  He may be in it for the cash, but this dude is no joke, and it would be cool to see how they could make him look.  Sure, it’ll be a CG nightmare (genuinely trying to think how this guy could be freaky with practical effects), but it intrigues me all the same.

7. Mysterio
When we talk about the fact that Spider-Man’s villains are small-time, we’re talking about this guy.  A villain who is completely devoid of superpowers in any capacity.  This guy is all about using tricks and manipulation to get what he wants.  His look is kind of silly, but this dude was a stage magician of the highest order.  But it turns out that that doesn’t pay the bills, so he decided to use the tools of his craft to be a career criminal, and even is able to give the Spider a run for his money.  It would be neat if they could make this guy a somewhat sympathetic villain.  He isn’t evil outright, just dirty.

6. Taskmaster
This guy is kind of a great villain that doesn’t get the respect he deserves.  He has a training school where he trains henchmen to hench.  That’s kinda cool.  But the real thing about this guy that he is a badass fighter.  Taskmaster’s trick is that he can remember any move that he has seen in action.  So all he has to do is study his opponents and he can learn their entire fighting style inside and out and be virtually untouchable.  What this means is that even the Spider, with his Spider Sense, can’t get around this dude because he knows his moves before he makes them.  In a film, having this guy to head-to-head with the bug sounds like too much fun because it would be like two guys who are completely untouchable to each other fighting.  Would get brutal.  Too bad this guy is just a thug for hire.  Would make a good big bad.

5. Kraven the Hunter
This guy is just awesome.  I genuinely love this character.  He’s a man who has had a very hard life.  It’s led him to become a big game hunter who has a reputation for killing some of the most dangerous game alive.  If this could tie into the MCU, it would be so awesome to see him killing some of the monsters that the Avengers have had to deal with.  But in the comics, he has his sights set on new prey to hunt – Spider-Man.  A real hunt that can test his skill in a way no other one has.  This guy is badass with a capital B.  In the comics, it is shown that he can hold his own with the bug and is a pretty damn smart hunter.  Would be cool if a film could see their cat and mouse game getting really crazy.

4. The Lizard (done right)
We’re not talking about the version from Amazing Spider-Man who is another villain with a split personality and a goal of turning the world into lizard people.  That was stupid with a capital S.  I’m talking about the version from the comics who is kind of like Spider-Man’s version of Two-Face.  He’s a tragic character.  A man who lose his arm and is so desperate to get it back that he goes to stupid lengths and is eventually the victim of his own ambition.  He’s a character that the Spider never wanted to hurt, but he had to protect people, so they ended up on opposite sides.  It would be cool to see a film where they really nail the human element and we get to see Connors grappling with the reality of what he is, while not wanting to give up being given his arm back.  I love this villain, and want to see it done with the respect it deserves.

3. Tombstone
This was the character I was talking about earlier, who I figured Jack O’Lantern would be working for.  Or Scorpion and Rhino, for that matters.  A small-time crook who goes big in the mob.  This guy is dangerous in the extreme, along with tough.  He’s been seen as a threat to the likes of the Kingpin, along with something of an ally due to their mutual dislike of the Spider.  He’s one of the biggest of the Spider’s villains, so it would be nice if we could get some introduction of this dude first.  Like maybe have him be the villain a film or two led up to.  You know, instead of another lead-in to Venom.  Love the character, but we’ve seen him in one terrible film, and we’ll see if we see him in two.  Tombstone is dark, grisly, and has a long list of violent kills on his resume.  Would be eager to see what would happen when the bug is faced with an enemy who is a threat in a way that goes beyond what he has seen.  A psychopath who has no compunction about doing whatever he has to.

2. Beetle
One of the most obscure of the villains on this list, I’ve been wanting to see this guy go head-to-head with the Spider in a game or film for a while.  It is especially would fit in how he ties in to the MCU.  See, this guy is basically like Iron Man, except with a bigger emphasis on killing.  Wouldn’t it be kind of cool to see the Spider having to tackle this guy, with the idea being it’s kind of like facing off with Tony Stark, who is something of a father figure?  There is so much potential.  Not to mention, this guy is a cool villain.  He doesn’t get nearly the respect he deserves, so hopefully we get to see a proper treatment.

And the villain I want to see most is…

1. Black Cat
Since Homecoming decided to make MJ an insufferable character who is pretty much just a Tumblr page, maybe we can finally see these two hit it off.  I always loved this character.  Pretty much just Marvel’s answer to Catwoman, she is still all kinds of fun.  Enhanced by a super soldier serum, the Black Cat is equal parts beautiful, strong, and wanting in Spider-Man’s pants.  Genuinely serious, can we make her a love interest for the titular character since the new film decided to make the character who Parker is supposed to fall for the most terrible and annoying character I have seen in cinema in a long time?  A cat burglar with super strength who is more of an anti-hero than a true villain, we haven’t gotten to see her in any film, so let’s change that.

Until next time, a quote,

“We got something special, can’t you feel it?” – Black Cat, Spider-Man: The Animated Series

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Game of Thrones Season 8 Predictions

The ending of this season was amazing!  No joke, I loved it.  So much character payoff, the series went back to a lot of its roots with the political intrigue, and ended on a note so crazy that I had literal chills.  Not to mention, am I the only person who caught this – the dragon that goes evil is the one named after Dany’s piece of shit brother.  It’s too perfect.  I genuinely am amazed no one else caught that.  I swear, the moment the writers were thinking about this season, they knew which dragon to have turn to the Night King’s side.  Can’t wait to see how they finally bring down that monster.  Turns out that most of my predictions for this season were right.  I’m digging that!  I have a gift for predicting this series.  With that in mind, let’s get down to my predictions for the final season of the most epic and ambitious series ever created.

10. Jaime and Bronn take the Lannister army north
Probably my second-favorite scene in the episode is where Jaime chose to finally abandon Cersei.  He’s broken free of his need for her, and now we’ll get to see him get to reclaim his honor.  It truly is a pity that he is almost-guaranteed to die in this series.  I’m assuming it will be when they head back south to deal with Cersei.  Them dying together is fitting.  However, I think that the season will begin with him meeting up with the Lannister forces and persuading them to head north to join the fight against the dead.  Bronn has grown more than a little in this series, and I think he’s going to join him, because while he isn’t itching to die, he’s not going to just wait for the end.  I cannot wait to see what happens to Jaime.  Once the series is over, I’m going to do my top 15 characters list, and he’s going to be on there.

9. The Hound kills the Undead Mountain
Who else could it be?  They couldn’t have possibly made it more clear how their story is going to play out.  The Hound knows that his last battle will be to destroy the brother that he has always hated.  I get the feeling we will see some truly fantastic character development as he confronts all the anger and pain he’s kept inside over the years in one last showdown.  It will probably kill both of them, but it’ll be worth it.  There’s a TON of character payoff coming with the fight between these two.

8. Arya takes Littlefinger’s face
I refuse to believe that her list of names is gone, just because she’s back home.  Arya is still a killer.  And why let a face with as much influence as Littlefinger go to waste?  Personally, I think she’s going to put it to good use.  Or, if nothing else, to have his face in her own little collection of faces.  This girl is going to be getting into some crazy shit this season, and I think we’ll have a truly dark character moment when Sansa sees her taking a face and has to confront that Arya truly has become a Faceless Man.

7. Tyrion and Sansa remarry
It’s a perfect political union.  Sansa knows how to play the game now.  What’s more, she knows that Tyrion is the best of the Lannisters.  Since it’s a guarantee that the Lannister house is going to continue through him as Warden of the Westerlands, having a union between the Starks and the Lannisters through their marriage and child is a perfect course of action.  I also get the feeling that she was genuinely coming to like him before everything with her brother dying forced them apart.

6. Melisandre brings an army of fire priests
The magic of the Lord of Light is something that we haven’t gotten to see a huge amount of.  Magic in this series is rooted in darkness, blood, ice, and fire.  When you have an army of the dead, who have a huge Achilles heel to fire, what better than to have some of those who worship your god come in and bring fire with them?  She said she would have to die in Westeros.  Given how the faith of the Lord of Light is taking root all over Essos, her bringing a ton of priests and priestesses who can wield the flame with her is fitting.  I also get the feeling that it will be Jon who kills her.  He said that if she ever came back to the North, he’d hang her for murder.  Ser Davos said that he’d kill her before he got the chance.  I get the feeling that one of them will make good on that.

5. Jon becomes a dragon rider
I suppose this should be obvious.  I mean, did anyone notice that one of the dragons is named after his father?  Come on!  I guess this is a given, considering that the Night King now has Viscerion under his control, and so we will get an epic battle a lot like the Dance of Dragons between the two.  Part of me is desperately hoping the episodes of the final season are full-length.  As in, well over an hour.  I want to see what it’s like for Jon to learn how to ride a dragon.  The real bummer for me is that I get the feeling we’ll never see Ghost on screen again.  That just kills me.  I miss that direwolf.  But the budget only goes so far, unfortunately.

4. Arya kills the Night King
Why else would they have given her a Valyrian steel dagger if she wasn’t going to do something really badass with it?  Everyone is thinking the final battle will be between Jon and the Night King.  That would be cool, but I get the feeling that Arya will be the one to land the killing blow that ends The Long Night, Part II.  I’m sure their last battle will be insane.  I wanted to say that I still think she’ll be the one to do Cersei in, but I think they’ll keep her in the North (which is BORING!) and have her deal the killing blow to end the War for the Dawn.

3. Euron turns on Cersei
This also feels like a given.  Everyone has said that they think Theon will be the one to kill him, and I don’t think that’s entirely true.  I think it will be him and Yara.  I think he’s going to go back to Pike and rescue her, finding the whole place empty, except her, in whatever twisted torture chamber Euron has for her.  As I said, it feels like a given.  When Euron said he wanted to join forces with Daenerys, it was all to marry her and usurp the throne after doing so to become king.  Way I see it, he will have The Golden Company at his command, so he’ll use that power to turn on her and take the power for himself.  Maybe it will allude to Robert’s Rebellion, where Cersei opens the gates to let him in, and they start sacking the city.  Would be some poetic irony in that.

2. Jon hides the fact that he’s a Targaryan and takes the name Stark
This was also alluded to, when he told Theon that he doesn’t have to choose between the name Greyjoy and Stark.  He can be both.  Jon is loyal.  He’s loyal to his family.  In either the first or second episode of the last season, he’s going to be hit with the fact that he’s the last son of Rheagar, and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.  I think he’ll work with Daenerys to cover up the truth about his name, and choose to leave her as the only Targaryan, in exchange for getting his name and joining their houses by marriage.  It would end a potential war before it starts and secure a large portion of the land.  I think it will be Tyrion who poses this idea to them.  Here’s hoping he can finally convince Jon to lie.

And my biggest prediction for the final season is…

1. The war with the Night King isn’t the final war
Since we know that Cersei is going to take over the country while Daenerys is up north, it’s pretty clear that the series will end with the combined armies that she has left marching south to retake the Iron Throne and end the war, bringing peace to the Seven Kingdoms.  Personally, I’d like to see the very end of the series be set after the winter is over and have some kind of epilogue to show how the story ends for all the great houses.  How the Seven Kingdoms finally finds peace.  But yeah, the War for the Dawn is the biggest fight and will be the most epic, but the true end of the series is going to be much further south.

What do you all think is going to happen?  Let me know in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“That which is dead, shall never die.” – Theon’s Balls

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Fictional Dads

With Father’s Day tomorrow, I thought that I would do a tribute to the fictional dads that I really liked.  Whether they are the biological fathers, or father figures, they are loyal parents and often go to incredible lengths to protect their children.  Sometimes they are diligent, doting parents, other times they are aloof but prove their loyalty in other ways.  I’m not limiting this to any one genre of fiction, because my favorite fictional parents come from all sorts.  Let me know the fictional parents who you admired most in the comments.

10. Sojiro Sakura
Persona 5
When you first meet Sojiro, he’s a stern and almost cold character.  He doesn’t like you and makes no secret of the fact that he sees having to watch over you as a burden.  However, as the plot unfolds you realize that there is a caring man, who has a secret.  He has been caring for the daughter of a dear friend who passed away a long time ago.  The girl is a shut-in and he desperately has been trying to be a good dad while also respecting her very strict boundaries.  But once she is able to come out from that shell, their bond becomes just that much more apparent, since he can finally be a doting father figure to a child who has had a very hard life.  Stern, yet compassionate.  A Japanese father to a fault.

9. Peter (last name unknown)
Animorphs
The father of one of the main characters, Marco, he is one of the most interesting literary parents.  His wife died a long time ago, and he has been looking to move forward with his life ever since.  This has caused more than a little strain between him and his son.  What I like most about the character is the fact that they show him to be human.  Very much so.  He’s lonely, and wants to be able to move forward from losing his wife.  Now, granted there is more to what’s going on with his wife, which makes Marco even more unhappy about how his father is trying to move on, but Peter doesn’t know that and so his son is trying not to hold it against him.  When you finally see the two of them bonding, it feels genuine.  Not the most dynamic character, but a human one all the same.

8. Lieutenant Colonel Griswald
Recess
A military man through and through, and father to Gus Griswald, the Lieutenant is probably the most stern character on this list.  He talks to his son as if he is one of the men under his command, and does have high expectations of him.  However, there are numerous times in the episode where you see him genuinely care for him and even go out of his way to help him in whatever way he can.  The fact that his son wants to follow in his footsteps as a soldier constantly makes him proud, along with the fact that he is loyal to his friends.  Again, not the most dynamic character but having known a few Army brats growing up, this makes me think of them.  One of them had a really shitty dad, but another had one who reminded me of the Lt. Colonel.

7. Hank Hill
King of the Hill
Hank is the quintessential typical American dad.  He’s conservative as all get-out, has no understanding of his son or the world he lives in, and constantly sees the youth culture as strange and disconcerting.  But despite all that, he is still a strong family man.  Not only does he constantly try to be a good husband, but he tries to be a good father too.  There are a lot of moments where he looks after Bobby despite not understanding the first thing about him and the world he lives in.  At the end of the day, him and the family can bicker and argue, but they’ll still have a grilled steak, so long as the grill uses propane.

6. Jack Foreman
Prey
A stay-at-home father who is trying to get used to the dynamic he is living in, all while battling his sense of uselessness and his growing sense of ownership over the home and the relationship with the children as his wife is growing more and more distant.  Jack is a fantastic father.  Not only does he make sure the house runs smoothly, he goes out of his way to try and be understanding of his wife’s situation with her increasingly demanding job.  However, when he gets involved in his former employer’s situation in the desert, and things are looking their worst, the first thought he has is to protect the children that he left behind.  The book ends with him taking radical steps in order to protect them, but he’ll do whatever it takes.  So loyal that he fights against forces so radically overpowering in order to keep what he has waiting for him safe.  Naturally he’s from my favorite book.

5. Bryan Mills
Taken (the first one, not the shitty sequels)
This character is probably the most loyal father ever.  A former CIA badass who ends up retiring so he can try and reconnect with his daughter.  However, when she is kidnapped by Algerian sex-slavers, he will stop at nothing to secure her freedom.  He’ll attack cops, shoot the wife of a former ally, even torture a man by electrocuting him until the power shuts off just to make a point.  Bryan is a no-nonsense, do not fuck with me dad, and has years of “specific set of skills” to prove it.

4. Victor Sullivan
Uncharted (series)
Sully has no children of his own.  However, as you learn in Uncharted 3, one day he happened upon a little punk in Spain who he took under his wing.  That punk just happened to be Nathan Drake.  What came from that was a relationship of two career criminals who just happened to rob the artifacts of ancient empires in order to sell them and live the good life.  Sully is crass, suave, a complete man-whore with all the talent to be cool as fuck while doing it.  He also has no problem using a gun. The scene where he tells Nate that he always saw him as the son he never had was pretty touching.  No matter how he may not have been the best father figure, he is Sully, and that’s all he’ll ever need.

3. Ethan Mars
Heavy Rain
Bryan Mills would kick whoever’s ass to keep his daughter safe, but Ethan Mars is a bit on the different spectrum.  After a moment of losing track of his first son led to him being tragically killed in a car wreck, Ethan and his wife are separated and he is a little overly protective of his younger child.  So when the Origami Killer steals him, Ethan is now in a position where he will do whatever it takes in order to keep him safe.  Even if that means complying with the increasingly-twisted demands of the killer, like to cut off one of his own fingers.  It’s horrifying, but when you see him weather it in order to get his child back, it makes you want to fight even harder to make sure it happens.

2. Maes Hughes
Fullmetal Alchemist
Probably the most doting father on this list, Hughes attachment to his little girl is more than a little insane.  And he makes sure that every single person around him is forced to suffer through it at all hours.  However, underneath that there is an incredibly intelligent investigator who is not only looking to keep his family safe, but also his best friend Roy Mustang.  When he happens upon a truth so horrible that it threatens to destroy everything, he rushes out without hesitation to confirm it.  But in the end, that determination to dig up the truth is what gets the better of him.  The enemy becomes the one thing that he can’t raise a weapon to – his wife.  A good man, a loving father, and a tragic end.  He is pretty awesome like that.

And my favorite fictional dad is…

1. Joel
The Last of Us
While the relationship he had with his daughter Sara is a profoundly beautiful and tragic relationship, we don’t get much chance to know them.  It’s his relationship with his companion Ellie, who becomes his surrogate daughter, that is the one I want to talk about.  Joel is a survivor.  After Sara is tragically killed, he has 20 years for his heart to harden to ice.  But when this teenage girl comes into his life, and goes out of her way to try and bond with him and reach him on a personal level, he finds that ice melting away.  Eventually, he grows to see her as his own child, and will stop at nothing to keep her safe.  To the point that when he finds out the only way to get Ellie’s immunity into a form where it can be made a vaccine would kill her, he sells the ENTIRE human race up the river to save her life.  A cold, calculating, kind of monstrous person, Joel finds his humanity again in that little girl.  When you hear him telling her unconscious body the things he said to Sara and he ran with he, it makes the situation that much harder.

Who are all of your favorite fictional fathers?  And to all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day

Until next time, a quote,

“Yeah, you keep telling yourself that bullshit.” – Joel

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 20 Favorite Anime

A long time ago, I did a post where I discussed my top 15 favorite anime series.  However, now that it’s been a few years, and I have become more familiar with more series, and have rewatched some of the ones on my list previously, my opinions have changed somewhat.  So now I am going to put out the definitive list.  Here are the top 20 favorite anime that I have.

20. Black Lagoon
What do you get when you combine an 80’s action hero, Studio Madhouse action, and one of the most dark and violent gunplay styles ever made?  You get this series.  Telling the story of a band of mercs for hire – the Lagoon Company.  This series has some of the best dub work of all time.  It has violent shootouts, insane villains, and absolutely zero subtlety.  It’s like someone wanted to bring the 80’s out of its hiding place and put it in the 21st century.  With an amazing cast of characters, all of whom are complete scumbags, you have a series that is morally gray in the extreme, and too much fun to watch.  I miss this style of cinema, but anime is keeping the flame alive.

19. Rahxephon
After the success of Evangelion and what a cultural icon it became, there were a TON of imitators out there.  Most of them never even went past the line of derivative, with people seeing them for the schlock that they are.  However, then you get series like this one.  Which took the formula for Eva and actually went further with it.  In fact, I would say that it perfected it.  A show about aliens who look like us, machines that are golems made of stone, and a focus on music and the power of sound, this was a very grim series that I would argue was better than the series it was riffing on, in more ways than one.  Were it not for the ending which is kind of dull, this show would be able to easily stack up to the more famous predecessor.  But quality animation, a fantastic score, and really good voice acting makes this series shine.

18. Darker Than Black (Season 1)
Another series where the second season just royally fucked the quality, this series was about darkness all around.  In a world where some nameless calamity has stuck the Earth and imprisoned it under a cloud that has stars symbolizing people with special powers, our tale follows a clandestine group who does dirty work for a shady organization who is exploiting those individuals.  Action that keeps you pumped, dark subject matter, and a kind of grotesque nature keeps you guessing.  This series is cold, but for at least the first season you can see where it’s coming from.

17. Digimon Tamers
Given how this franchise had been so light-hearted by comparison, this series in the franchise took a decidedly darker turn.  For a marketing vehicle, this iteration of the franchise was meta, had complicated characters who you like, and took some incredibly dark turns that as a child I was in love with, and as an adult I still can sit down and watch and feel very moved by.  How a show this dark was able to get onto a children’s cartoon block is beyond me, but I am glad that it is, because there is nothing like it.  Whether it is just for the nostalgia, or to just enjoy a children’s show that wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries of what is acceptable, it still holds up to this day.

16. Samurai Champloo
What do you get when you take the creator of one of the greatest anime ever made, add in hip-hop, and enough meta to make Deadpool proud?  You get this series, of course.  A stylistic, badass and overall too fun series about a bunch of travelers, I love this show so much.  It’s not complicated.  This is entirely style over substance.  But that style is just so damn cool!  The creator of Cowboy Bebop comes back to tell a story about three travelers in the Edo Period of Japan, trying to find a Samurai who “smells of sunflowers.”  From the awesome sword-fights to the fantastic voice-work in English, nothing about this series doesn’t stick with me.  Sure, there are some episodes which just die, but overall it is still a ton of fun to watch.  Steve Blum steals the show as Mugen, but the rest are still so cool.  If you can handle some history-twisting, this series is for you.

15. Gundam Wing
I am dying to know when FUNimation is going to re-release this series, now that they have  the Bandai licenses.  Here’s hoping they don’t do a shitty redub of it.  The voicework in this series is classic.  Telling the story of five youths who head down to Earth to get revenge for the murder of a leader of the Colonies, along with strike back at the clandestine Organization of the Zodiac, Gundam Wing is all about big robots and big battles.  But more than that, it looks at ideas about war, the nature of good and evil, and how the changing tides of history can leave people behind.  This series is classic, and while the animation hasn’t aged as well as you’d think, it still is pretty awesome.  I’ll admit that my nostalgia goggles are on pretty tight for this.  It is the first series that I watched as a kid that got me into anime.  But I still love it, and in my opinion it holds up to this day as a gateway series into anime.  Seriously, though, FUNimation, don’t do a redub of this.  It can only suck.

14. Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
When I watch this series, the whole time I think about what life was like growing up.  But more than that, this series does something that so few stories about growing up does – feels real.  When I see the grungy basements that the band is playing it, I feel like I am there.  I feel like I could watch these shows and hear these instruments.  It tells the story of a young man who is lost growing up, and just so happens to run into the lead guitarist of a band.  From there begins a story of growing up, music, and the hardships that come from knowing that youth is temporary.  Were it not for a totally forced plot later about a mobster which had no reason to be in there, this series would have been nigh-perfect.  But I still feel each string of the instruments when I watch it to this day.

13. Baccano
What do you get when you combine a total lack of chronological order, supernatural powers, and the backdrop of early 1900’s gang warfare?  You get a show that is so damn fun to watch!  This series is a marvel.  It’s a marvel how such an unapologetically violent series can exist but be so fun to watch.  This series is brutal.  You have dismemberment, a gleeful enjoyment of murder, and characters who are pretty much all terrible people but you love all the same due to how deliciously evil they all are.  It tells the story of a train massacre, along with a drug war that goes on because of a substance that grants people immortal life.  Between the phenomenal acting in the dub, and the cool style that it has, this series isn’t about the narrative.  It’s about the crazy ride aboard a train that you can’t look away from for one second.

12. Outlaw Star
Some series are substance over style.  Others are style over substance.  Outlaw Star, on the other hand, is nothing but style and not a lick of substance to be found anywhere.  But dear god is it cool!  Gene Starwind finds himself going from a do any dirty job business owner to a starship captain outlaw who has a mysterious vessel and a mysterious woman who can pilot it in his care.  What this show lacks if any form of substantive elements it makes up in some of the most fun that a series has ever had with its premise.  This is science fiction escapism at its best.  This show knows exactly what it is and doesn’t shy away from it.  Hell, it embraces what it is, and does nothing but have fun with that every step of the way.  If you like all the trimmings of a space adventure story (no joke, they don’t miss a single beat), you need to watch this anime.

11. Vision of Escaflowne
First off, let me say, FUNimation – shame on you for making a redub version of this series.  If you hadn’t have included the original version in the blu-ray, I would be hunting you down.  The redubbed version is just bad, no matter how you scratch it.  A series that also retreads ground that we have seen before, but damn if it isn’t all the execution.  The story of Escaflowne is as predictable as it gets.  You have a girl taken to a mysterious world, who ends up becoming involved in a greater plot that involves fantasy elements in a world with animal people and fighting robots.  Original as my pizza pops idea, but as I said, all in the execution.  This series is incredible to watch!  From the gorgeous visuals, to the fantastic voice-work, it has it all.  Not to mention the soundtrack, which is so damn beautiful.  You know exactly where it will go from beginning to end, but each step of getting there is worth it.  Just wish the ending to the series wasn’t as flat as it is.  I guess they meant for it to go further, but ran out of budget.  Oh well.

10. FLCL
This series is one that I saw when I was much younger, but when I rediscovered it as an adult, it grew on me so much.  The best coming-of-age anime that I have ever seen, this short series tells the story of a young man who is dissatisfied with life, but has his boring days broken when a woman on a vespa with a guitar smashes him over the head and nothing in his life is the same.  While this series does play with elements of eldritch horror and mecha anime, at its core it is about our young hero and his issues with growing up.  He is a lonely kid, and I see so much of my own struggles growing up in him.  Plus, it looks at the problems associated with sex, love, and emotional honesty in a way that feels mature.  The guy who made it studied under the creator of Evangelion, but I would argue that this series does complex emotions better, simply because they capture what it’s like to be a kid better.  If you saw this when you were younger, check it out again and see what you think.

9. Death Note
One of the most widely-known anime series, Death Note tells the story of a man’s rise to power.  Light Yagami is a bored high school genius, who one day happens to come across a notebook dropped from a death god called the Death Note.  He then goes from a soon to be lawyer to little Hitler and he fights to remake the world in his image.  This series has zero subtlety.  None.  But dear god is it fun!  The game of cat-and-mouse between Light and L is too much fun to watch.  Too bad that the entire conflict just dies after that point, up until the very end of the series.  Looking back on it now, I don’t have the same love for this series that I do for others on the list, but it is still an incredible show that has one of the best dramatic arcs to follow.  At least for the first 25 episodes.

8. Wolf’s Rain
This series is probably the most thematically dense of any of the anime on this list.  This is a cold and cryptic series that fuses religious allegory with bitter tragedy.  It tells the story of a young pack of wolves, on their journey to find Paradise, all while the world is slowly descending into chaos and the end of everything is near.  Between the truly incredible visuals, the voice acting that is at the top of its class, and one of the most gripping tragedies ever told, this series will make you cry, think, and question all at the same time.  It isn’t for everyone, as the material is dense and there is virtually no exposition to let you know what is going on.  However, if narrative rich in symbolism and with a lore that you have to pay attention to in order to figure out is your game, then check it out.

7. Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
I find it so weird that the most true to the original story version of this series is done in an anime set 3,000 years in the future.  That is just so strange to me.  It follows a young man named Albert, who comes into the acquaintance of a mysterious Count.  What follows is a tangled web of lies, manipulation, and a revenge story that will keep you hooked.  But not only that, it also has a style that is all its own.  This series animation is strange, to say the least.  But that strangeness is what sets it apart.  The style in it fits so perfectly.  This series is almost impossible to analyze, because it is nearly perfect.  Were it not for how bad the last two episodes are, I would almost call it a perfect anime.  Some flaws, but too much fun.  Not to mention having a villain who is just so awesome.

6. Stein’s Gate
When time travel, fate, and the changing of reality collide, you get Stein’s Gate.  Telling the story of a young man and his band of misfits who stumble upon the ability to change time, a young man learns the true price of changing reality, and what it takes to set things right.  So much of what I love about this series centers around the main character.  A lot of people see it as a gripping thriller about time travel, and that is true, but that isn’t what keeps me loving this series the way that I do.  Every single one of these characters all feel like people I could know and love, but as I said, it’s not what keeps me coming back.  The real reason that I love this series the way I do is the character of Okarine.  His anti-social nature and awkwardness in the face of life and the hardships he comes across resonate so much with me.  His fight to be a good friend all while battling his own awkwardness feel so true to me.  Not to mention the fact that he lives in his own head, desperately trying to make sense of it all.  It’s a cold story, but seeing how far he will go to save his best friend hits me right in the heart.

5. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
A lot of people have made comparisons between this series and Death Note, and while I do see those, I believe that this is the better series.  Why?  All because of the main character.  The story goes that Lelouch is a disaffected youth living in the occupied nation of Japan.  He has no thoughts about life and is looking to strike back at the Holy Britannian Empire who he blames for ruining his life and crippling his sister.  As fate would have it, he gets his shot when a mysterious woman gives him the power of Geass.  Now it’s a battle of wits to destroy the people he hates, and manipulate the world on his ultimate chess board, that grows bigger and bigger with every battle.  Light is an interesting character, but his corruption is ridiculously immediate.  Lelouch, on the other hand, is one we can watch grow and slowly become turned by his own power.  To the point that he has to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to bring about total peace.

4. Mushi Shi
Anyone who knows me knows that my first love is animation.  I love to watch animation that has quality and a look all its own.  It’s why I love the film Bambi to this day, even if it is cutesy to a sickening degree.  The animation is a step above.  To that end, this series is much the same.  Telling the tales of the wandering Mushi Master Ginko, this series is just so peaceful.  It’s kind of like a lullaby.  I can watch this series anytime that I need to just feel better about my day, and it works wonders.  But dear Groj, the animation!  This series is a visual marvel.  Each episode seems to play around with a different style, and man do I love it for that.

3. Fullmetal Alchemist (Original)
I honestly don’t think much of Brotherhood, so I’ll head that off.  But the original series is a brilliant character study into the Elric Brothers, and their tragic tale of trying to get their bodies back.  This series is nearly a flawless tragedy.  Telling the story of two brothers and how their quest to get their own lives back destroys the lives of countless people around them.  This series is a near-perfect character study.  Edward and his brother are so likeable, which makes the fact that they are doing irreparable harm to the lives of everyone around them that much worse.  This series is also almost perfect, save for the ending.  I am one of the few people who calls bullshit on that ending.  How does sacrificing memory for Al’s life even make sense.  This series would have been a perfect tragedy if it ended with Al giving his life, and Edward realizing that in the end, he has to accept that some things cannot come back, and he has to move forward with his life.  But it is still a transcendent anime that is another perfect gateway series.

2. Avatar: The Last Airbender
How America was able to create an anime this good is beyond me.  This series did something that few anime have done before – transcended the gap between kids show and adult.  This series is incredible.  There isn’t a single bad episode.  There isn’t a single wasted character.  There isn’t a single frame that doesn’t fit in one way or another.  When you learn the insane amount of research that went into this little masterpiece, then you realize that anime can be more than just a niche market.  The story of Aang and his journey to learn the four elements and save the world combines incredible animation, lovable characters, and so much fantastic story-telling in all the best ways.  I honestly can say that this series is perfect.  Right down to the ending, it gets everything right.  For those wondering what I think of its sequel series, then it can be boiled down to this – Season 1 and 3 are amazing, while 2 and 4 go from terrible to boring.

And my favorite anime is…

1. Cowboy Bebop
Everyone and their brother has said about how awesome this series is.  Most people will call me a sheep for loving it the way that I do.  But so be it.  This series is perfect.  From the very beginning where you see Spike going to what is likely his doom in order to escape his life in the mob, the end of the first episode that sets up the tragic nature of the series.  Taking elements from tons of genres and blending them all together, this series cannot be defined by any one genre.  The story of the Bebop and its crew of misfits goes from pensive look at tragic characters, to beautiful elements of action set-piece, all of which are set to the best music that anime has ever or will ever have.  This series is astounding.  People sing its praises, but you know what, it’s earned that.  No series has ever done it like this, and I doubt another series ever will.

So, what are your favorite anime?  Let me know down in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“I’m just in a dream that I can’t wake up from.” – Spike Spiegel, Cowboy Bebop

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Traumatizing Things in Fiction as a Child

I haven’t done a top 10 list in ages, and because I am so original, I want to piggy-back off this concept one of my favorite YouTubers put out – traumatizing things in fiction as a child.  As a kid, I had a love-hate relationship with fear.  I loved getting afraid of things, just so I could become more enamored with them.  Today I have a relationship with fear that it’s just being wasted.  Gory horror films do nothing for me.  Deep psychological thrillers, or horror films that actually take the time to build atmosphere (there are so few) are my jam.  As a kid, the stuff that scared me tended to grab my attention.  But that doesn’t mean that it didn’t fuck me up all the same.  Here is a list of the top ten things in fiction that REALLY messed with me, growing up, in a scary way.  Won’t be including any visual aids for this.  Sorry if that’s a deal-breaker.  I just have some of these attached to memories I’d like to forget.

10. Turning into lizard creatures
Star Trek Voyager
In one episode, Lt. Paris had discovered that it was possible to go to warp 10.  He wanted to test this, and he just so happened to take Capt. Janeway along for the ride.  What followed was them turning into these weird lizard creatures. But it wasn’t what you’d expect from Star Trek.  They weren’t some big bulky thing that you can clearly tell is a costume or prop.  They turn into these small creatures that look real.  It was so unsettling to me as a child.  For whatever reason, it just scared me out of my wits that I would turn into one of those things one day.

9. Pig head girl
Goosebumps
This one just fucked with my head.  An episode of Goosebumps featured this city that people could warp into.  It was a two-part episode where you had one of the main characters being turned into a pig because of her greed.  That image just fucked with me so hard.  Looking back on it now it’s ridiculous.  But at the time it just fucked me up so hard.

8. Back monster scene
Phantasm II
As a kid I had this bad habit of going over to my uncle’s house.  He is hardcore religious, and had a pool.  But he also had another thing that he did – watch movies that were SO not appropriate for children.  And as a kid who liked to do things I wasn’t supposed to, I would sneak over sometimes and watch them.  One such film was Phantasm II.  In it, we have a scene with a woman who is covered by a black cloak.  They pull it off her face, and see that her mouth is taped shut.  What else is under that cloak?  They pull back more to reveal that there is a monster inside of her back, eating her.  That scene stuck with me so hard.  Scared the living shit out of me.  But I couldn’t tell my parents about it because I would have gotten in trouble.  The things I dealt with in silence.

7. The covers
Scary Stories (series)
Remember what I said about things that scared me enticing me to know more?  Well, this was one such instance.  I am so fucking pissed that they redid the covers for the new editions of the stories.  The reasoning?  Because they are too scary for kids.  Bullshit!  That is fucking stupid, and people who think that way are stupider.  Yeah, they are scary, but sometimes things that scare kids also intrigue them.  We like a little fear.  I read all of those books because of the covers.  And the neat fact is that the stories themselves were usually about sources of fear who are just misunderstood.  I hate this idea that we have to make the world less difficult for children.  Yeah, because kids can’t handle some scary imagery.  Give me a fucking break.

6. The Witch
Hansel and Gretel
I honestly don’t know which version of this story I saw as a kid, but I remember that there was one version with this character who just fucked up my head so hard.  Something about her screaming at these two children who she had chained up in a cage just messed with my head so fucking hard.  I wish I could remember which version I saw.  This story has been done to death.  Another relic from a time gone by – when we could scare the shit out of children and it was okay, so long as the story has a happy ending.  Don Bluth became a household name in the 80’s because of that philosophy, and he is absolutely right.

5. The threat of nuclear annihilation
I honestly don’t remember what specifically it was that got me scared of this.  Maybe it was a movie, or the news, but I remember that the idea of a nuclear weapon attacking my house scared the piss out of me.  To the point that I slept in my parents bedroom for ages.  We had these mattresses that you could move around, and I was sleeping on one in the corner of their room for a long time.  Now that we could be facing down World War III with North Korea, and the fact that my home state is in their launch radius, that thought has come back to me.  Only this time I think I’d grab some marshmallows and enjoy the roast.

4. The Oompa Loompas
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
I’m talking about the original, not that weird Tim Burton shit.  In this film, the only thing I found truly frightening as a kid growing up with those orange-faced bastards.  They are fucking creepy!  Their creepy faces and their creepy green hair and their creepy songs.  I hated them so much.  To this day I’m not a huge fan.  If I will say what the remakes did better, it is the different songs.  One good spot on a terrible movie.  That’s something, right?

3. Slappy the Puppet
Goosebumps
Oh my Groj, this fucking puppet.  One of the times that something didn’t entice me through fear and just freaked me the fuck out was this puppet.  Everything from its creepy face to its creepy voice, the thing was just so scary!  The guy they got for this puppet was just amazing.  To this day, that creepy face makes my skin crawl.  I’m well-aware how fake it all is, but it’s all in the performance.  The guy they got for that was just too good.

2. Chernabog
Fantasia
The quintessential example of fear compelling me to fascination.  As I am sure many who read my site know, Fantasia is not only my favorite Disney film, but my second favorite film of all time.  And nowhere was that quality better exemplified than in the final number.  In it, we see a powerful demon by the name of Chernabog summoning forth all of the damned for what must be one hell of a party.  That creature mesmerized me.  I loved everything about it.  It had size, presence, and a creepy smile that just played into how scared and captivated I was at the same time.  This character has become a staple of what I love about that film.  Just made me want to go to the party that much more.

And the thing that freaked me out the most in fiction as a kid…

1. Expanding feet
Full House
A disclaimer – I didn’t like this show growing up.  It was stupid, but I was young enough to be stuck watching it when the rest of the family was.  And one scene that really fucked with my head growing up was when the youngest child in the family had this scary dream about her feet expanding really huge, and seeing it.  That shit fucked me up!  For weeks I had bad dreams about that concept, and to this day I feel a little weird when I see it.  Old trauma, maybe?  In any case, in a series devoid of any real tension or darkness, that one element has stuck with me.  Hell, it’s the only thing I can actually remember about the series, outside of the Nostalgia Critic’s review of it.

So, what stuff from fiction fucked up your life as a kid?  Let me know in the Comments

Until next time, a quote,

“Like I said before, I think kids like being scared because it pulls them much more into the action. If they didn’t like being scared, they wouldn’t go out for Halloween, or watch High School Musical” – Nostalgia Critic

Peace out,

Maverick