Top 10 Classical Pieces I Want to See in a Fantasia-esque Film

I’ve made no secret that my favorite Disney film is Fantasia.  I saw a video saying that it was part of what they called the animation Dark Ages.  I couldn’t possibly disagree more.  Animation will NEVER be as good as it was then.  The risks they could take, and the level of detail and freedom have never been what they once were.  Not to mention Disney became a company that is pure evil and ruined destroyed 2D animation because it didn’t make enough money for them anymore.  So yeah.

But this movie shaped my love of 2D animation and classical music.  I lament with every fiber of my being how 2D animation died in this country.  It breaks my fucking heart.  The original idea behind Fantasia is that it would be an ever-evolving piece, showcasing all kinds of animation and music, with no two showing being the same.  Walt Disney’s ambition is commendable, but the film itself nearly bankrupted the studio, so the idea of making another one right after that was a little beyond them.  There was a sequel made so many years later, but it failed to capture the magic of the original.

I was at work one day when I heard a piece of music come on.  See, I hijacked the radio there and we play classical music all day.  It probably drives my coworker nuts, but since they said nobody has control over the radio and I was told to play whatever I want, and the oldies station plays the same stuff over and over again, I decided to go with music that would keep my attention and wouldn’t annoy me.  This beautiful piece came on and immediately I knew what to write about – what pieces I would include if the concept behind Fantasia would ever be taken up by another studio and run with.  It’s a small dream, but here we got.  These are the top 10 pieces I want to see in another film that uses the same concept as Fantasia – taking classical music, and putting animation to it.  Letting animators hearts run free and seeing what they come up with.

I will be attaching images with each of these choices to show what comes to my mind, but I am all over letting other creators have free reign to have their own ideas.  I will also have all the pieces linked on their name, so listen to them and tell me what you come up with.  Let’s do this!

10. Cuban Overture
George Gershwin
Gershwin had this interesting thing where he would write music about the places I figure he must have been.  An American in Paris was a close contender to this spot, but Cuban Overture won out because it.  This piece is so energized!  And for my own idea, I wanted to make a bit being about Latin America.  More of one from antiquity, since modern Latin America has problems.  Is it romanticizing the area?  Perhaps.  But I won’t apologize for that.  The truth about the world is ugly.  We all want to make the world a prettier place in our minds.  Instead of this being a flowing narrative, having it be a spectacle of all the things a character we follow coming across sounds even better.  Then it all ends with them taking part in some festivities and closing out the first of what will hopefully be a lot of fun days.  Or maybe be a story of their journey across a period of time and them flying home at the end, thinking about coming back.

9. Moldau
Smetana
Listening to the soft, gentle rhythms of this piece, what comes to mind is a very fantastical place.  This is a world of magic, mystery.  I thought of the piece in Fantasia with the fairies.  In the process of getting a piece of art to go with what I saw my vision, I stumbled across a brilliant moment – a human entering this world!  I know, about as original as a ham sandwich, but the way I see it, nothing is original.  It’s all in the execution.  Just like the last piece, the narrative here is what the person sees.  And I don’t just want it explained at all.  The idea behind this format is no words.  The audience has to come to their own conclusions.  Maybe have some absolutely absurd things, with the character and yourself wondering what to make of it all.  Then, like any good Nutcracker story, it has them going back to the real world, not knowing what to think of it all.

8. Spirit Garden
Toru Takemitsu
Something that doesn’t get enough credit in the very academic music community is some of the stuff that comes out of other countries.  Japan has a history of very interesting music, along with some haunting classical pieces.  This is one of them.  I also figure, since we’re representing Japanese classical music, why not represent their art style?  This piece is dark.  I like that.  The cold tones make me think of an alien realm.  For this, I would want there to be NO central character.  This is all about imagery for the audience.  A strange, bizarre world.  Too much like the last piece?  Perhaps.  One may have to be sacrificed for the other.  Or maybe another idea for this.  But it’s weird, off-putting darkness is too good for me not to want it on this list.

7. Afro-American Symphony
William Grant Still
Something people seem to think about me, because I have railed against forced diversity so much is that I hate diversity on its merits.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  In reality, there are some incredibly diverse things that I absolutely love.  And a piece of music about the black community that has a great beat, clearly gets some inspiration from jazz, and seems to perfectly tell the story about a person’s day fits so well.  That’s what I imagine this to be.  Some black kid and the story about their day.  The ups, downs, and messy bits.  So long as it could avoid becoming preachy or having the same forced diversity I rail again, then I am all in.  It’s a little dream.

6. In the Hall of the Mountain King
Grieg
Time to break up the fantastical and get into some of the darker stuff.  This is one of my favorite pieces that goes SO well with creepy visuals.  This piece would be short, but my vision for it is crystal clear.  It begins at the entrance to an old castle.  The camera guides you through the dilapidated halls.  Moonlight shines in, painting shadows everywhere and having you feeling on edge.  I want to creep all the people out!  The dark shadows move with the camera, heading ever inward, toward the central chamber.  The closer you get, the more off-putting it becomes.  Eventually, you can see the shadows moving in.  Lights start turning on.  Strange lights with blue flame.  It has you feeling nervous.  Very, very nervous.  Then, the huge door!  This is it.  The central hall.  Right as the music swells up, it bursts in.  Then, all manner of creatures and persons are in there, with madness and eclectic dancing all about.  At the head of the table, you see a king who looks boistrous, with a mad look in his eye!  He laugh and gets in on the merriment.  Lights and shadows everywhere.  Finally, the camera is backing out fast, and the door slams shut!  Oh yeah…

5. Triumphmarsch und Chor
Guiseppe Verdi
This piece has come to mind specifically because of a girly-mate of mine who is in the Navy, who I don’t get to see nearly enough.  Trying to find artwork to go with this was horrible.  SO much artwork surrounding the military is all about sucking the military’s dick or showing off how badass America is.  And that’s not the military I am picturing.  I want these people to be regal!  I want it to be a march of a military who is in dress uniform that looks like the kind you can hang sword from.  Marching through the streets of a very well-to do city.  Wanna fuck with the sensibilities of America?  I do.  Let’s have there be newspapers where the headlines are all in German, so only those who speak German will know what they’re getting on about.  Have it be that there was a war won.  Don’t worry, this isn’t Nazis.  I’m not an edgelord.  Regal troops running triumphant from a campaign, marching in tune.  If you really wanted to get into the dark stuff, have them thinking about battle.

For this piece, I was thinking about animation which actually goes with the style in the pic I have attached with this.  Bright, colorful, and personable.  Since the piece becomes more cordial later, have there be a couple characters we follow, and their part in all the festivities.  But I want to keep this all about them coming home, with everyone cheering their name.

4. Piano Concerto #2
Rachmaninoff
In addition to wanting to run the gamut of various cultures that have given us classical music, I wanted to run the gamut on emotions as well.  This piece is very, very sad.  It tells a story of loss, pain, and trying to find one’s self.  I like that.  Maybe it’s just my depression that I have had to and will always have to live with that’s taking, but I like it.  But don’t go thinking that I want to have you, the audience, feeling miserable with me.  I want this piece to be about the person and the legacy of feeling loss, mourning, or just the grim reality of life.  With that in mind, here’s what I came up with for the visual element – an old man.  Someone who has had a long life, and seen many things.  Maybe have it be about the love of his life and the life they shared.  Remember how Up had us seeing a couple growing up and then growing old?  Well, I like that concept, and instead of there being a silly Pixar movie attached, I want to run with it all the way.  Have the film showcase this man’s life, his loves, his passion, and then how it all comes to an end.  Maybe have it be a metaphorical and literal journey of him walking a path to where his journey ends.  Oh, and because he is old, let’s give him a cat to take that last journey with.  An old timer that has shared the last 20 years with him on his journey.  It would end with them reaching that destination, and the music and visuals coming to show it all coming to an end.

3. Clair de Lune
Claude Debussy
This is my favorite piece of classical music of all time.  Now, Disney had done a version of this for their original Fantasia film, but it had to be cut.  Why?  I’ll never know.  The original version of it did get released, but I wanted to do my own take.  In the original Fantasia, they opened with a piece that had you thinking about the music first and then going into the visual style.  It opened with the audience being conscious of the orchestra, and then subsequently getting into abstract animation.  I like that idea.  But instead of it being an orchestra, I want it to be someone at a piano.  This would initially involve rotoscoping animation, but over time it would get more fantastical as the piece goes on.  Where would the animation go?  Who can say.  I just know where I want it to start.  Where it finishes is entirely up to the animators who bring it to life.  That’s just my thought.  I love this piece.  Makes me think of my grandmother on my old man’s side.  She loved it too.  I think she would like that too.

2. The Planets Suite
Gustav Holst
Now, here is a piece that could be it’s own film.  In fact, I kind of want it to be.  Have each planet’s section be a different showcase of a different kind of animation and a different vision.  Lots of ideas here.  Tons.  Too many.  But the reason I put this on the list is because there’s one more that I want to showcase on here.  Several years ago, someone decided to write another piece to be added to Holst’s vision.  See, he never wrote one for Earth.  So they called it “Earth, the bringer of life.”  I like it!  Not only does it go with his style of composition, but it rounds it all out nicely.  I want to have it featured as well.  I guess this was more about telling you about this addition than what I want done with it, but I think its worth bringing up.  This Suite has so much potential, and as I said, I genuinely do think it could and should be its own film in this vein, with each part serving to accompany its own ideas.

And the piece that I want most, that started all of this is…

1. Daphnis et Chloe
Maurice Ravel
As I said this is the piece I heard on the radio.  The one that I couldn’t stop thinking about.  It was magic!  I think it still is.  It runs the gamut of tones, emotions, and even has choral elements inside it as well.  I love it.  This piece is one I have grown to love almost overnight.  Should I ever get to hear it in person, my life may be complete right then.  Uncertain.  So, with that in mind, what animation elements do I want here?  I’ll tell you.  I want to go big!  Something sweeping, large, and epic!  In my mind, that means one thing – dragon riders!  With that, we can have a sweeping landscape.  Have it be the story of a person who is looking to join the ranks of the riders.  Or the story of a day in the life of one.  Whatever the case, that’s what I want to see.  The visuals need to be a cut above the rest.  It has to be detailed and sublime.  I want to see a ton of riders.  I want to see their world.  This has to be a place I can damn-near touch!  Yes, that’s what I want.

What about you?  What do you all hear in any of this?  What pieces would you like to see if you could do this?  If I had tens of millions of dollars, I’d bring it to you.  Hand to Groj, I would.

Until next time, a quote,

“Walt Disney once described animation as a voyage of discovery, into the realms of color, sound, and motion.” – Angela Lansbury, Fantasia 2000

Peace out,

Maverick

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Top 10 Things I Hate in Movies

My gay girly-mate and I got to talking and there are a ton of things in movies that bug us.  See, I’m the kind of guy who analyzes things.  To death.  Like way past the point where it’s healthy.  It’s why I know that the only reason Mufasa hates the hyenas in The Lion King is because they’re black.  They’re a minority living in the savannah’s projects.  If that isn’t a more obvious metaphor, I don’t know what it.  So my friend and I thought about the things we hate most, and I came up with this handy Top 10 list of them.  Let’s get into it.  Here are the things in movies that grind my gears the most.

10. Everyone in the post-apocalypse easily finding gas for cars
Am I the only person that this bugs?  I need a straight answer about that.  How are people not aware of how absolutely insane this is?  From The Walking Dead to Mad Max, it seems like everyone in the post-apocalyptic world is very easily finding gas for their cars.  Do people just not know that gas has a shelf life?  Depending on how it’s stored, it can be from one to three months for ethanol fuels.  It blows my mind that you have all these movies where it has been years, sometimes tens of years from when gas was pumped, and it’s still good.  What?!

9. Whispering is never whispering
Do the people who make movies just not realize that they are professionals with sound equipment and can easily make whispering show up in a movie without characters talking very loudly and them just bringing down the audio levels to make it sound like whispering?  We can tell the difference!  Or maybe I can, but that’s just me.

8. Ordinary people surviving things that would obviously kill them
When I watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier and see the titular character survive falling over ten stories, crashing through a window and then surviving all by landing on his shield, I am able to look past that.  Why?  Because that shield is made of vibranium, a fictional metal that takes impact forces and blasts it outward.  It’s nearly indestructible.  That and he’s a superhero.  It’s a superhero film about superhuman characters.  I am okay with that.  What bugs me is when I see character who are shown to be average people surviving things that would OBVIOUSLY kill them.  Michael Bay’s Transformers movies are a great example of what I’m talking about.  There you have tons of people falling huge distances or smashing through things and having little to no damage on them whatsoever.

7. Guns shooting, but no casings hitting the ground
I finally got around to seeing the first season of Stranger Things because Netflix released it on DVD.  Good stuff.  The kid characters are my favorites, but every arc is interesting.  The last episode where the government troops are with the head of the facility and the demagorgon appears is pretty intense, but as everyone is shooting, I’m noticing something – why are there no casings hitting the ground?  These people have fired a ton of rounds, yet you don’t hear a single casing hitting the floor.  The visual for the guns looks fake too.  This tells me that the entire effect was done in post.  It bugs me when there are supposed to be guns going off, but you don’t see or hear a single casing flying out of it.  Totally takes me out of the scene.

6. Bland superhero villains
I’m looking at you, Marvel.  The MCU films run the gamut in quality, but one thing that FAR too many of them have in common is the lackluster villains.  Some of them are just written badly, but it grinds my gears when you have characters who have the potential to be interesting villains, but aren’t.  There are a few examples of those who aren’t that bad.  I liked every villain in The Winter Soldier, and Baron Zemo in Civil War wasn’t half-bad.  They have been building up Thanos for some time now.  PLEASE don’t let him be some boring, forgettable villain.  This film is supposed to be him fucking up the MCU’s shit to get the Infinity Gems, so let’s have him do some damage!

5. Good guys being dumb
There’s that great line in Spaceballs – Evil will always win, because good is dumb.  Um, yeah.  Good is kinda dumb.  The good guys have this really bad habit of being some of the dumbest people ever.  For whatever reason, we like to have good guys being the stupidest fuckers.  I guess because the idea is to have protagonists of big blockbusters relate to the dumb-shit American public?  Meanwhile, you have these villains who are the intellectuals and are so egotistical.  Why is it that intelligence is not a virtue that we can appreciate?  Oh right, because America will vote for a political candidate because they feel like they can have a beer with them.  This country is so fucking dumb.

4. “Comedy” films that only have people in a room talking
You know what I miss?  Visual comedy.  I miss when directors would try and get laughs from visual elements in films being used to help amuse the audience.  Like when things appear in frame in funny ways.  When things leave the frame in funny ways.  When you can do like Wes Anderson does and use lateral tracking shots to sell ridiculous scenes.  Why is it that every comedy film in this country feels like it’s just people in a room doing improv?  I hate that shit.  I’m looking at you, Paul Feig!  Your movies suck!  You’re the antithesis to comedy!

3. The films being made out of books is almost always a death sentence
Maybe I should have it that films are being made out of books.  Because it seems like every time I see a book that I love being turned into a movie, I instinctively cringe.  I recently was forced to watch the entire catalog of Harry Potter movies, and without a single exception, I hate them.  They fuck up the ending of every single book!  What made the books so good was how you’d have the mystery at the beginning of the story that is gradually solved by the end.  At least the first four.  After that they got kind of dumb.  Well, aside from the sixth.  That one was pretty good.  There is all this build-up, leading to so much tension.  And when it all blows up then it explodes in this huge climax that feels so good and has you glued to the pages.  It’s pretty great stuff.  Meanwhile, the films always fuck that up.  Always.  Without a single exception.  And don’t even get me started on how much books made from Michael Crichton’s books almost always suck.  My favorite author, and his books have been turned into Hollywood shit.

2. How dumbed-down PG and PG-13 ratings have become
Am I the only person who thinks that we might as well get rid of PG at this point?  That rating means Pretty much G now.  None of the films I have seen with that rating for the last 20 years have merited it.  It’s so stupid.  Maybe it’s just me, but I happen to believe that kids these days can handle the harder stuff.  Can you imagine if Don Bluth’s masterpiece The Secret of NIMH had come out today?  That probably would have gotten a PG-13 rating.  And speaking of, here’s a video by a YouTuber I like that lays out the problem with PG-13 much more completely than I can.

And the thing I hate most in movies is…

1. Ordinary people outrunning things that would EASILY catch them
You know what I love?  The velociraptors in Jurassic Park.  Those things are badass with a capital B.  Intense, dangerous, and not evil.  Just animals doing what they do.  And they are so cool.  The kitchen scene where Tim and Lex are hiding from them as they hunt them down has so much tension.  It’s great stuff.  The two get split up and you have Lex being really clever and using a reflection to trick a raptor.  That’s pretty smart.  I like that.  But then Tim decides that he is going to run, on foot, to the freezer and trap a raptor in there.  He is on foot.  Not only that, but he has a limp from when he had 10,000 volts of electricity cook him.  That raptor would have been on him in two seconds ripping him to teeny tiny Timmy pieces!  That scene is so laughably stupid that it blows my mind how ANYONE can take it seriously.  It takes all the tension in that scene and blows it out the airlock.  I hate it.  While I do love that movie, that one particular scene pisses me off so much.  Same with anything where you have normal people outrunning things that would OBVIOUSLY catch up to them in a matter of seconds, if not in a second.

What about you?  What things in movies piss you off?

Until next time, a quote,

“Clever girl.” – Robert Muldoon, Jurassic Park

Peace out,

Maverick

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

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 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

Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2017

While 2016 was a bit of a slow year, 2017 is looking to be trying some new stuff.  This is a year full of IPs, sequels to games that weren’t super successful, and games that haven’t been confirmed for 2017, but I am reasonably confident will be coming out this coming year.  Call it gut instinct.  Wish I could put The Last of Us: Part 2 or Death Stranding on this list, but I know for a fact that they aren’t coming out this year.  Some of these are games that were pushed back from last year, and some of them are games that nobody saw coming.  I am excited to see what happens this year, so let’s not waste any time.

What Remains of Edith Finch10. What Remains of Edith Finch
Yes, we’re about to have your moment where you groan – I am a fan of Indie games.  That’s right, I like games that are typically not liked by the normal gaming scene.  The company who made this game, Giant Sparrow, made one of my Indie games – The Unfinished Swan.  A game about a fairytale telling a tragic story about a boy who loses his mother.  This game is keeping a similar storybook style, but this time telling the story of Edith Finch, who is returning to her family home to unravel the mystery of why the family always dies in their enormous house.  Gameplay segments have shown flying a kite, playing as a baby in a bathtub, and even a cat climbing a tree.  This game will have a dark edge, and I can’t wait to see more.

Yooka-Laylee9. Yooka-Laylee
After a year with things being pretty quiet, we finally got to see some gameplay that isn’t alpha stuff.  This little Kickstarter-funded passion project by the dejected devs who worked on Banjo Kazooie just looks better and better.  Like an homage to past games, they even have the cute little language that they used in the original games.  I am so excited to see what stages they come up with.  If it’s anything like that casino in the newest trailer, then this game will be a call-back to the best that the medium has to offer.

Kingdom Hearts 2.88. Kingdom Hearts 2.8: The Final Chapter Prologue
The final piece of the plot before the final game is revealed, this game brings forth the remastered version of Dream Drop Distance, which I have been DYING to play.  We also get a very cool intro to the gameplay style of Kingdom Hearts III with a segment where you play as Aqua, traveling the Realm of Darkness.  Of course, there is also a third segment that is literally nothing but cutscenes.  That will undoubtedly bug me, but it’s all going to be worth it for the first two.  The newest trailer has my mouth watering at the worlds you will explore with Aqua.  If that’s the kind of visuals that we can expect in the newest game, you cannot begin to understand how excited I am.  We desperately need a new trailer for the final game, along with an intro into some of the worlds.

persona-57. Persona 5
A game that was supposed to come out in 2016, it got pushed back.  Unlike some people, I am all for that.  I am glad when they have games pushed back, in order to get everything right.  New gameplay has shown that this game is all about using spirit creatures as proxies to fight.  Reminds me Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch in that regard.  Fine by me.  The game has a colorful style, beautiful character design, a world that looks fun to explore, and on top of that, combat that looks active and vibrant.  There has been a woeful gap in truly stand-out JRPGs in the last couple years, and I want that to change.  Hopefully this game will be leading the charge!

styx-shards-of-darkness6. Styx: Shards of Darkness
You know what I miss?  Stealth games?  You know I also miss? Stealth games with a protagonist who is fun, unlike all the gruff heroes who can do the stealth thing, but got no problem killing everyone when that doesn’t work.  When I played Styx: Master of Shadows, I thought two things.  First, this game’s loading screens are bugging the fuck out of me.  For a game that is all about trial and error, having to sit through those loading screens was more than a little frustrating.  Second, finally, a stealth game that is true to the name!  So many people were bitching that you couldn’t fight.  Well yeah!  You play as a little goblin-man!  He’s half the size of everyone else.  Of course he is kind of fucked if he gets busted.  But it wasn’t just that.  Styx was a fun character.  He was foul-mouthed, vulgar, and actually enjoyed being a thief.  Plus, the world had such interesting lore.  The original game wasn’t perfect, but with the stealth genre dead, I am so glad that we have a series coming up to bring it back to its roots.  Can’t wait to see what happens next.

nioh5. Nioh
What do you get when you combine the difficulty of Dark Souls with the weapons and aesthetic of the Samurai and monsters that take from Japanese mythology?  You get one badass-looking game!  Everything about this game screams that it will fit right in in the pantheon of games loved for their brutal combat and their rich lore.  I will say that the fact that the protagonist looks so much like Geralt is a little weird, but I am willing to give it a chance.  This is a game that seems to be flying under the radar with people, and I’m not sure why.  Maybe because of the people who say that it’s a Dark Souls knock-off?  They don’t know what they’re talking about.  However, the proof will be when we get to see the game for ourselves.

uncharted-the-lost-legacy4: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
After the end of Uncharted 3, part of me was kind of wondering what Chloe was up to.  You see in the newest game that she invites Nate out on a treasure hunt, but he says “no way.”  In what is probably the most gorgeous reveal I have ever seen, we see our girl is back in form.  This time, she has teamed up from the rather affable mercenary from the last game.  Sure, we wanted to kick Nadine’s ass, but she wasn’t all bad.  Just a merc trying to get by.  Now that her whole endeavor has fallen apart, she’s out to get rich quick.  The two girls are now out to find their own fortune.  Is this a DLC or a full-blown game?  Not sure, but either way, I am excited to see what Naughty Dog is going to tide us over with until The Last of Us: Part 2.

Horizon Zero Dawn3. Horizon: Zero Dawn
It got delayed quite a bit, but you know what, if the goal is to make the game as complete as possible, I am all there!  Originally debuted a couple years ago, we finally have a release date for it.  Won’t have to wait long.  I am all about this game.  A post-apocalyptic game about a redheaded huntress who is stalking the wastelands for parts by the mechanical beasts who roam the world.  There is a story behind all of this madness, and it’s clear from the trailers that this girl is out on a mission to go figure out that story and get the truth behind her ancestry.  With the same girl who did the voice of Chloe Price in Life is Strange, I am so excited to see what happens with the narrative of this game.  The gameplay has been pretty flushed out, so now I want to know where the story goes.  Traveling around, scavenging parts from robots is fun and all, but I want to get to know this world, and the people in it.  We’ve seen that conversation options are a thing, a la Mass Effect, but I’m not complaining.  There is also the fact that there are ancient machines with untold dark powers and dark purpose.  What does it all mean?  Where did the people go?  So many questions, few answers.  Can’t wait.

god-of-war2. God of War
This game was just announced, and I have no reason to expect that it will be released this year, but call it a hunch.  Something about the reveal and how far they are into it gave me the impression that the game isn’t that far down the rabbit hole.  A soft reboot of the God of War franchise, this game is a continuation of the story.  I am dying to know what happened to Kratos after the end of the third game.  How did he get into a land of Norse mythology?  Who is this kid who is clearly not his biological son, but whom he is treating with all the love and compassion that a Spartan would his son?  They make it sound like he had been fighting in this land for some time.  Why?  What purpose guides Kratos?  He says that the boy and him are going to be fighting together against the Gods.  What new gods has our favorite god-killer gone and pissed off this time?  Lots of questions, few answers.  As I said, no confirmation, but a gut instinct that the game is coming out this year.

And the game I am most excited for this year is…

detroit-become-human1. Detroit: Become Human
Another game that I have no confirmation that it will be coming out this year, but call it a decent hunch.  Announced two years ago, we first got to see the breath-taking spectacle of the world of this game.  Centered in the city of Detroit, it seems to follow the stories of a series of androids living in a world where they are treated as second-class citizens.  The first trailer showed an android who has learned how to hide what she is.  The newest one shows an android created specifically to be used in hostage negotiations.  At first, his mission is an outright failure, but the trailer shows that you can go about it other ways.  By taking in clues, you can tailor your negotiation to best deal with the deranged android.  It also shows that there are plenty of ways to save the little girl’s life.  The very best way shows that even when you do everything right and she is saved, the police still kill the android.  He calls you a traitor.  The last game by Quantic Dream was my second-favorite game of 2013.  I have nothing but high hopes for this one.  Let’s see what it’s got.

What about you?  What games are you most excited for?  Let me know in the comments

Until next time, a quote,

“It’s up to you how this story ends.” – Connor, Detroit: Become Human

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Final Fantasy Summons

Having just gotten done with Final Fantasy XV, I am thinking about the summons in that game.  A pity that I can’t summon them on command, but they are cool all the same.  It got me to thinking about the whole concept of summons in this series.  It has been known for having some cool-as-fuck ones, some weird ones, and a fat Chocobo.  No joke, that is a real summon.  It falls from the sky and lands on the enemy.  That’s just weird.  Let’s get down to it.

titan10. Titan
I hadn’t played a game with this guy in it until XV, but man did he make an impression.  In every game that he has been in, Titan is a gigantic monstrosity that rips the land apart in order to do massive damage to his enemies.  While not the most flashy summon, it is pretty cool.  The fight against him in XV was fucking awesome.  I wish that I had a more interesting reason as to why he gets on the list, but a giant who can rip the land to pieces is all he needs to be.

knights-of-the-round9. Knights of the Round
The most difficult summon to get in VII, instead of getting to have one ally come into battle with you, you get 13.  After winning all the chocobo races and breeding a complete rainbow of chocobos, It is the ultimate weapon, able to defeat almost any enemy.  Each of them are knights who serve under King Arthur, who is the last to strike with the blade Excalibur.  XIV brought them back, only as enemies this time at the end of the Heavensward expansion.  I am hoping that they will be able to be used as an ally again in future games.  Assuming there are any.

alexander8. Alexander
Probably the most unique of the summons, Alexander is a giant fortress.  That’s right, you get the beat the shit out of your enemy with a living, mobile weapon.  In VIII, it encloses the enemy and them blows them to bits.  In XIII, the fortress first sends down a giant walking golem, but you can call down the rest of it, a series of interlocking walls that use lasers to carve up all enemies.  Such a pity that such a cool summon was in such a mediocre entry into the franchise.  I think my favorite version is in XIV, where it is everything the giant mechanized fortress is supposed to be.

ramuh7. Ramuh
The god of thunder, I hadn’t gotten much experience with this old man until XV.  In every game he has been in, his look hasn’t really changed.  Taking on the appearance of a bearded old man, he brings down the wrath of thunder.  Was hoping to see him in X, but he was replaced by Ixion, who is cool in his own right.  In XV, you have to activate all of his stones.  Once you do, he can only be used once, but that one time is epic as fuck.  When assaulting an imperial base, you call down his Judgment Bolt to destroy the magitech generator.  Watching that happen is just fantastic.  Worth every second.  Sucks that that is the only time you can use him.  Would have given anything to have more time with the guy.

leviathan6. Leviathan
My first run-in with this summon was in IV, when you have to fight the guy.  A being who controls the sea, he wasn’t a summon you could use for the first few games.  Then I got to have control of him in VII, where you can call down the ocean to drown your enemies.  But, of course, the most fantastic version of the character is in XV.  Lunafreya wants to make a deal with it to give its blessing to Noctis.  The ancient beast does NOT like this arrangement, and instead attacks Noctis and the Imperial fleet who comes in to kill it.  The battle that follows pretty much levels the city, but it is spectacular.  Leviathan controls the water to make dragons that lash out at you.  A fantastic battle, in the lesser half of the game.

shiva5. Shiva
Don’t let the delicate femininity of this summon fool you, Shiva is no slouch.  The absolute power of winter, she uses it to freeze and obliterate her enemies.  My favorite version of the character is in X, where you get her at a very pivotal part of the story.  It’s right after you get to the temple in Lake Macalania, and you find out the truth about Seymour being a monster.  He calls forth a monster who we’ll get to talk about pretty soon here, and you now have Shiva to call to your aid.  In XIII, she is in the form of twin sisters, who can combine their bodies to form a motorcycle.  A pity that the game she is in there is so mediocre.  That concept has a ton of potential.  In XV, you see her as Lady Lunafreya’s attendant, secretly hiding who she really is.  But just when everything is at its worst, she reveals who she is, and comes to join Noctis in battle.  As sexy as she is deadly, her Diamond Dust will freeze your bones and rip you up.

ifrit4. Ifrit
Probably the most well-known of the summons in this franchise, the beast of fire is modeled after a fire spirit called Djinn.  It has demonic horns in every iteration, and the chief attack it uses is Hellfire.  My favorite iteration of the character is also in X.  He is the second summon you get.  Yuna calls him forth, being launched up in the air and landing on his waiting shoulder.  In XV, he is the only cool part of the shitty-ass climax to the game.  It seems that he isn’t keen on keeping humanity alive, so he makes a deal with the villain to kill everyone.  In this game, he is much more of a man, using a flaming sword and his flaming powers to destroy Noctis and his allies.  Whatever form he is in, fire is your friend.

anima3. Anima
Exclusive to X, this summon is both badass and scary as fuck, when you think about it.  For starters, her back-story is depressing as fuck.  Originally Seymour’s mother, she wanted to give her son a way to fight Sin, so she turned herself into a fayth in order to stay with him.  But it clearly had some horrific side-effects.  You have to collect all of the hidden treasures in each temple.  Then you unlock her.  When you summon her into battle, a giant chain comes from the sky, reaching into the ground,  You are literally dragging her out of Hell to fight for you.  Her main attack is called Pain.  She charges energy into her eye, blasting it out at enemies, causing either massive damage or instant death.  It is aptly named, since it makes her eye bleed in pain.  But that is nothing.  Her overdrive sucks the enemy into Hell, where her true form pummels the shit out of them, causing massive damage.  A depressing and nightmarish summon, and probably the most powerful in the game.

yojimbo2. Yojimbo
Another summon unique to X, he is also the most unique of the game because of what is required to get him to fight.  You find him in the hidden temple in the Calm Lands.  He is the summon that killed the first summoner that Lulu was with.  Getting this summon lays some of her problems to rest.  A very subdued swordsman, in order to make him fight, he must be paid.  And how much you give him will affect what kind of attack he does.  Give him a couple hundred gil and he will either have his dog assist him, or he will throw knives at the enemies.  A few thousand gil and he will use his blade to attack either one or all of the enemies, virtually guaranteeing instant death.  However, if you pay him over 10,000 gil, when his overdrive gauge is full, and he will call forth the Zanmato blade from the dark abyss that Anima lives in.  This blade is so powerful that it will cause instant and immediate death to whatever enemy he attacks with it.  You actually see lesser enemies get cut in half, with blood spurting out.  This is one samurai that you do NOT want to fuck with.

Some of you may see the #1 pick coming from a mile away.

bahamut1. Bahamut
This summon is not only very powerful, but it is arguably the most iconic if the franchise.  A Final Fantasy game isn’t complete unless we get to see this dragon.  My favorite iteration of the summon is, as you may have guessed, in X.  It’s my favorite Final Fantasy game, so sue me.  But that doesn’t mean he isn’t badass in the others.  In some iterations, he is a being with two wings, four wings, or six.  Then there was the retardedness in XII where he is a giant airship.  Yeah, that was dumb.  The iteration of the character in XIII was kind of dumb too, but that’s par for the course with that game.  As I said, my favorite version is in X.  He is one of two summons with Break Damage Limit as part of his repertoire.  Because of this, his regular attacks are deadly all by themselves.  However, when he charges up the Mega Flare, it is understood that anything he is shooting at won’t be alive.  I will say that I don’t hate the version in XV.  He is a giant humanoid in dragon armor, who can call a massive storm of swords from the heavens.  Only available at the fight with Ifrit, he does make an impression.  The greatest dragon in the entire franchise, he is my favorite summon.

So, what are your favorite summons?  Let me know in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“Will you fight with us?” – Yuna, Final Fantasy X

Peace out,

Maverick