After watching the masterpiece ‘Tokyo Sonata‘, I was expecting a lot from this TV series directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. This is clearly a low budget drama series and Kurosawa does what he can with the budget (and ample space!). There are definitely key scenes and overarching sense of dread that Kurosawa fans have grown accustomed to. The camera shots bring me back to the early Kurosawa days, slow and contemplative so much as to make any fan rejoice. Kurosawa’s usage of sound and odd atmospheric background tracks are another stand out trademark of his that no fan will fail to appreciate in “Penance”. The first couple of episodes are such a treat in this sense that it’s easy to miss what blunders the story suffers at first.
The core problem with “Penance” is with it’s writing, where character actions and convictions are vastly unconvincing, and the problems they suffer are so obviously curable it makes you nearly scream. “Penance” treats childish and illogically perceived problems as absolute truths with no answer, then expects the viewer to feel sorry for it’s characters who we are supposed helpless victims.
The characters fail to use any kind of logic, and the entire script bleeds of missed conversational opportunities. Worse is the repeated idea of one’s “Penance” or “atonement” that every character is obsessed with, so much that one is locked up in a mental ward while another commits murder. Whether or not the book does a better job of showing us why this “Penance” is such an important part of these girl’s lives is unknown to me, but these episodes take something that seems almost trivial, and tries to make it out as the main plot device.
Indeed, the problems that the characters face in “Penance” would never be relevant on TV or in a novel outside of Japan. However, the idea that all Japanese enjoy this kind of story telling, or that the issues the characters suffer from are always real problems in Japan is simply untrue. Creating characters who are overcome by grand ideas, repeating illogical one liners, and plagued by overly conceptual thinking is pretentious and boring. It is never well received, and never critically acclaimed even in Japan. As even Kurosawa’s earlier films suggest, there is a home for logic and free thinking in Japan, transcendent of stereotyping and cultural boundaries, “Penance” however, is not it. Here we have a series that is a massive step backwards in story telling, handled “well” by a director who is capable of much more.
After years of disappointment from Hollywood putting out horrible films of this beloved video game franchise, now we have an independent director come and do the film JUSTICE! This was just greatness. I’ve played Street Fighter all my life and now recently have become an even bigger fan because of this movie. Street Fighter Assassins Fist is what the fans have wanted for so long. So why is Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist any different? Why is this particular series able to break the vicious circle of failures?
Well, for a starter, Street Fighter: AF was produced by passionate fans for the fans, but passion is only the starting point. While it is a great driving force, a good script is required and that’s where SFAF shines. For new comers to the franchise, the series presents a well written story that carries an intriguing lore, which gradually reveals itself through each episodes. The premise is simple and focused on two iconic characters; Ryu and Ken. Both learning a mysterious martial art in a secluded part of Japan in the mid 80s. Through each episodes, we get to discover and learn about past students and the darker secrets behind the art. To reinforce the script, we are presented with an incredible selection of actors that really poured their hearts into this production. For fans, the characters were authentic and as real as they could get. Mike Moh and Christian Howard are pretty much the perfect Ryu and Ken. Both can act the part and perform physically. Togo Igawa and Akira Koieyama really felt like masters of an ancient art while still offering a very human side. The careful balance between being a surreal character with a human touch is very hard to maintain but these actors did and it payed off. The intensity of certain scenes could rival some of the best triple A productions out there.
Speaking of authenticity, Street Fighter: AF nails it in pretty much every possible way. From choosing the right shooting location, to the fighting style of each characters to the incredible costumes. Ryu and Ken are in simple words, perfect. Even through the action scenes, the combat stances, special attacks and general movements were simply jaw dropping. As a huge fan of Street Fighter, I couldn’t stop reciting the sequence of every moves such as Ryu performing a great focus attack.
As for the music, usually in independent productions, the music is often very generic and unoriginal. However, I got to say that in this case, the soundtrack is quite good and in most situation, it strongly delivers. For the fans, there’s a few pleasant surprises. On a technical side, the production does contain a few mistakes here and there. Some special effects and editing could have used a bit of additional tweaks but for the most part, these issues are very minor and shouldn’t distract you from the overall experience. In the end, Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist is an incredible independent production that values and respects both fans and new comers alike. It has heart and knows its own limits. The story is focused, the actors are well balanced, the action is short but intense and the overall production is strong.
Season four introduces the notable comic characters Abraham Ford, Eugene Porter, Rosita Espinosa, Bob Stookey, and Lilly, as well as a modified version of the Chambler family from The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor tie-in novel. The season continues the story of former sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes, who relinquished his leadership in order to live a quiet life in contrast to his cold-hearted nature in the previous season. Rick and his fellow survivors struggle to maintain their idealistic lifestyle in the prison in the face of threats, including the proliferation of walkers near the prison gates, the outbreak of a contagious and deadly flu-like infection within the prison population, and the spectre of The Governor, whose whereabouts and status are unknown and, unbeknownst to the prison community, is planning his revenge upon meeting a new family and rallying a new army. The second half of the season mainly focuses on the individual groups that escaped from the prison after its downfall, and their efforts to survive as they follow a line of railroad tracks to a supposed safe zone named Terminus.
The first episode showed us some of the changes to the prison, introduced new characters. To many this can seem kind of slow, but it didn’t bother me any. When Rick was talking to the creepy lady in the forrest I do admit that it wasn’t the brightest part of the episode. But it showed us how some people are living this far into the ZA. When it got to the Big Spot scene, it really kept me on the edge. The scene involved walkers falling through the roof, a new character being stuck, and eventually the death of another different new character. Which surprisingly his death gave me a chill, maybe it was because we haven’t seen a good walker death scene in awhile, or maybe it was the combination of the chaos and how fast they killed him. Either way I found it pretty good. Then the death of Patrick alone increased my anticipation for the next episode and the desire to find out whats going on. This episode hit 16.1 million viewers, which I agree that quality always beats quanity. But the show is entertaining to alot of people. And if they can find joy in it, then why are people so harsh to bring it down? Its like no one has anything better to do than bash other TV shows. I know it is a review website, but “critics” need to give it an actual review instead of saying “the series is so overrated so Im gonnagive it lowest score” Seriously? Just cause something is popular and overated doesn’t make it terrible. There are plotholes, just like in every TV series and every Movie (some more than others). But if your gonna just watch the show to scan for plotholes instead of actually enjoy the show, then just don’t watch it in fact don’t watch any show because you will just ruin it for yourself.
The story just continues with the same characters who continue to live in the prison and fight zombies. It’s getting stale and the thrill of fighting the zombies isn’t there anymore because they are always hanging around the prison, it was better when they were suddenly “surprised” by them. Another thing which is disappointing is that they are so loyal to the characters now so they have added 30 new characters which we don’t know much about but they are either getting killed or sick so when they kill them off I don’t see why we would even care for a character we have been introduced to for 15 minutes. I don’t know what this show will pick up because I have just lost interest but will continue to be loyal in watching it, just because I have come this far in. There are so many better shows out there at this point so it’s disappointing. Maybe I’m done with the prison, maybe I’m not ready to accept Rick being a passive follower, and maybe there are just too many characters to follow. Yes, it’s all of those, but they all pale in comparison to the biggest problem I see: the virus. A show as viscerally, violently entertaining as this CANNOT resort to a virus as its menacing threat. It is just too boring… Many people complained about the farm in season 2, and its slower paced storytelling, but this is lurching along so slowly that they’ll need 10 episodes to move past with it….too long.
The Walking Dead has never been the best tv show, but it some truly spectacular episodes like Days gone by and Killer Within that show what the could be if it tried. I not am saying that the other episodes are really bad, in fact they are pretty good. The 1st episode of the 4th season while most people will hate on for not adding more to the plot, is more a glimpse at the daily lives of the groups, to know that when true conflict starts, why the hell they are so tense and what they consider to be their current “normal” lives. It was never about zombies, it is a character study of the best kind. The final episode, “A”, was an effective finale. It makes me hope for a big improvement in Season 5. The Walking Dead remains as one of those shows were every cent of production shows up on screen, but I’m not convinced the show will be able to survive on a long-term basis. The writers want us to think if the characters can come back from what they’ve done in the past. Perhaps the better question is whether or not the writers can come back and save a show that seems destined for mediocrity.
A mommy deprived serial killer, a psychotic Nazi doctor, an unusual bright light in the sky, and yes, even Satan. And it all starts inside the walls of Briarcliff, which doesn’t take much to get locked into, even if you’re a little curious, hold too much pride, or it could just be because you were in the wrong place, at the wrong time; Apparently everyone, and their mother had problems back in 1964. For poor Kit Walker played by Evan Peters, (American Horror Story : Murder House and Kickass) all it took was a crazy story about a bright light shining through his home, and his missing girlfriend who’s body parts were found not too far from the property. The police find it hard to believe his innocence when the crime scene is similar to other acts made by a mad man called Bloody Face. Without question, he is sent off to Briarcliff where he will be experimented on.
Inside the walls of the asylum, head nun Sister Jude Martin played by Jessica Lange, (American Horror Story : Murder House and Prozac Nation) is a God pushing sadist, with a few skeletons in the closet. She is approached by journalist Lana Winters played by Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story : Murder House and The Notorious Bettie Page) who is attempting to expose the staff for the horrendous acts happening within the walls of the asylum. Unbeknown to Lana, she is about to be held against her will for being a homosexual. Meanwhile Kit is becoming close to inmate Grace played by Lizzie Brochere, (The Hour – TV Series) who apparently murdered her entire family. However Kit is willing to over look the rumors, and use their friendship as an escape from the terror. But there is a new sense of hope when Dr. Oliver Thredson played by Zachary Quinto (American Horror Story : Murder House and Star Trek) arrives to evaluate Kit’s court case, and possibly cure Lana; they both feel they have a chance to find a way out.
While the inmates battle their own demons, a new patient comes along in need of an exorcism. While exorcising the patient, the demon within reveals a secret Sister Jude has been hiding for years. What seems like a successful exorcism, the patient dies and the demon moves onto another innocent victim, Sister Mary Eunice played by Lily Rabe (American Horror Story : Murder House and All Good Things). The once timid nun is now calling the shots around Briarcliff, she even has control over head doctor, Dr. Arthur Arden played by James Cromwell (I, Robot and The Green Mile), another sadistic soul with a history of Nazi practices under his belt. While a new order rises in the asylum, Kit, Grace and Lana are planning their escape during movie night, but during their attempt they come in contact with several of Dr. Arden’s mutated patients who’ve been secretly hiding in the forest.
After returning to the dreaded asylum, Dr. Thredson insists Kit plea guilty in order to lighten his sentence from death, to life in the asylum, while at the same time quietly planning to sneak Lana out. Deeper in the asylum, Sister Jude discovers a startling story about Dr. Arden, and goes as far as hiring a Nazi Hunter to dig up the facts. Its not long before everyone’s dirty laundry is aired out in the open for all to see, and Lana is being held against her will again, after sneaking out with Dr. Thredson who is Blood Face. Is it fate, or the hand of God playing puppet with these lost souls? Perhaps it is for the greater good that their limits are tested; it may be the only chance of survival not only for themselves, but the lives of others and their future children. The point is to break all their hopes and dreams, and turn their greatest fears into living breathing nightmares.
With their American dream turning into a nightmare, the Harmons’ try to keep their sanity. After numerous break-ins, strange visitors, and learning about the house’s grotesque past, they’re in great need of a potential, yet brave buyer. The story soon takes a rapid turn when Vivien is at her wits end, she is put into a hospital after shooting Ben, mistaking him for an intruder. Just when things couldn’t get any worse, Vivien and Ben find out she is actually pregnant with twins. However the catch is, only one of the babies is actually Ben’s. Convinced Vivien has been cheating, Ben is still unaware of the evil that walks the halls of their home, and Violet’s bedroom.
Next door, terror continues to brew. Constance is being accused of killing her beloved boy-toy Travis, and considering her history, the police have room to believe she is the one to blame. While trying her damndest to keep her secrets buried, Constance discovers the horrifying truth behind Vivien’s unusual pregnancy. Confused and pissed off, yet some what overjoyed, she is ready to take some responsibility. But first she must protect the child from the spirits that dwell in Murder House. Previous owner Chad feels that Vivien’s special child will restore his and Patrick’s relationship, along with first owner Nora, and the now dead Hayden feel they’re entitled to both of Vivien’s twins.
Back at Murder House, Tate has been quietly distracting Violet, causing her to skip school for a few weeks. Only this simple rebellion, doesn’t keep her productive long enough to realize she’s literally running in circles, unable to go so far from the property. Gradually overcoming her misfortune, she must use her tragedy as an advantage, to protect her soon to be baby brothers from the spirits. While Ben continues to stay clueless, he attempts to drag Violet out of the house while Vivien stays in the car. But their initial plan to abandon the house, falls threw the cracks when Vivien goes into labor. It is then, the spirits of the house are running rampant trying to prepare for Vivien’s special child, but in the end Ben is left alone, with only one child he is unsure whether to love or despise.
Winner of the Satellite Award’s – Best Genre Series, and rated an 8.1 out of 10 on International Movie Data Base, American Horror Story : Murder House, will bring you thrills, chills and maybe even a few tears. Its cast, writers, and directors go beyond to capture the imagination of horror fans world wide. And with its striking cinematography, musical score, reoccurring cast and special guests, it’s no wonder why viewers stick around for seasons two and three. It is by far one of the most brilliant television series of the twenty-first century, and will continue to grow every October.
Accomplishing the American dream is considered one of the many difficult tasks to achieve happiness. But what if you’ve accomplished all that, but lost the trust and connection with the one thing that should matter; family. How is one able to heal a crippled marriage, with an unfortunate miscarriage, while still comfort and raise a dark-rebellious teen. For the Harmon family, they’re ready to pack their bags and welcome a new beginning, a new house, a new everything. Ben Harmon played by Dylan McDermott, (Olympus has Fallen and The Campaign) brings his psychology practice to his home in order to be closer to his wounded wife Vivien played by Connie Britton, (TV Series Nashville and A Nightmare on Elm Street) and dark daughter Violet played by Taissa Farmiga (The Bling Ring).
Just when all hope is lost, their family is slowly, but surely getting back to the norm, but only one can hope for so much when living in Murder House. Vivien hires previous maid Moira, played by Frances Conroy and Alexandra Breckenridge, (Aviator, American Horror Story: Asylum- TV Series True Blood and TV Series Family Guy) who’s grown fond of the house over the years, but only Ben and other men see her as a sexy vixen, in one size too small maid outfit. Considering he and Vivien’s past, he’s forced to not let Moira’s seductiveness get the best of him, while at the same time battle demons from the past. Hayden played by Kate Mara, (127 Hours and Iron Man 2) a previous mistress and student of Ben’s returns with unsettling news; she is now pregnant and crazier then ever.
Attempting to keep Hayden and her pregnancy a secret, he is also trying to keep his new patient Tate played by Evan Peters, (Kick- Ass and Never Back Down) a sexual deviant and troubled young man away from his daughter. While Ben tries to maintain his sanity, Vivien is pushing to play the happy housewife role in order to heal her marriage, and family as well. With in a week of settling in, the Harmon family is already having a love-hate relationship with their new home. It seems no matter where they hide for a moment of solace, trouble and unexpected news finds them.
Violet welcomes her role as an outcast at her new school, and the popular girls feel obligated to bully her. Vivien is pregnant and filled with joy, but on the other hand is annoyed with her neighbor Constance played by Jessica Lange, ( American Horror Story : Asylum and Big Fish) and her special needs daughter Addie played by Jaime Brewer, (American Horror Story : Coven) who continuously walk into their house whenever they please, and at strange hours of the night. Constance also happens to be Tate’s mother, and has a personal relationship with Murder House and its previous owners. And while Ben is also overjoyed with the news of a new baby coming, he also is determined to get Hayden out of the picture once and for all, but first he must take a trip back to their old city, and support Hayden in aborting her pregnancy. All that fails when a new patient of his breaks into their house, attempting to re-enact a murder scene with a few friends.
If it hadn’t been for Tate, and Constance’s special cupcakes, Violet and Vivien would of become Murder House’s next victims. Unfortunately this is only the beginning of the hell that is about to be unleashed. After Ben ditch’s Hayden at the abortion clinic to console his family, Hayden later returns with even more unpleasant news. She’s decided to keep the baby, and is convinced she and Ben can still be together. Continuous ups and downs begin to overwhelm the Harmons, each of them, including those that surround them, have great and dark secrets. Its only a matter of time until they gain the courage to tell the truth, before it’s done for them. Even then, the people they love must be willing to sacrifice and forgive.
Season 3 has finally arrived on home video and Walking Dead fans are sure to be pleased. This season did an excellent job of phasing characters in and out with maximum emotional impact, and provided a gradual simmer-to-a-boil chess match between the heroes and a radicalized group of survivors. You struggle through the moral dilemmas with them, wondering what you would or should do in this new world where “right” and “wrong” has been turned upside down. The characters develop so differently in response to all the things they go through; you wonder what might emerge in yourself, qualities or demons that lie dormant because there is no need in an orderly world. Each season is so different because life would be constantly changing as you adapt over time. New viewers must start from the beginning to appreciate the evolution of the characters and their situation. .I won’t lie: I was hoping for the big, dramatic showdown between Rick and the Governor. Instead, The Walking Dead’s Season 3 finale ended on a mixed note, part tragic and part hopeful. As a season finale, I’m not sure this works. The last five or six episodes of the show have been all about rising tension. The drama, the stakes of the game, the whole arms race between Woodbury and the prison, all of it has built up to a breaking point, spilling over last week with Merle’s suicide run against the Governor and his men.
But, let’s go back, shall we? In season 2, many complained about the lack of action and violence. That all changes in Season 3. The monotonous killings may please gore hounds, but you’ll soon long for the big picture questions that separate “Dead” from most other zombie offerings. The season still holds plenty of potential even with the show dumping some red meat out for the base.
Another great moment of season 3 is the mid-season. Take the sixth episode of the season, titled “Hounded.” The episode begins with Merle and three of his Woodbury cronies chasing after Michonne in the woods. Planning to not let her get away, Michonne surprises the group by dropping out of the trees and slaying two of the men immediately. Michonne quickly escapes from Merle, but gets shot in the leg in the process. The hunt continues after the credits, but Michonne is the one doing the hunting. She wants to put an end to Merle and his last partner, a new recruit that the Governor wants Merle to teach the ropes to. But on Michonne’s second attack, she is unable to kill either men and barely escapes a zombie attack in the process. She cuts the stomach open on one of the geeks and has herself covered in walker guts as she scrambles to escape again. When Merle decides that the pair of men will head back to Woodbury and claim that they killed Michonne, the other man says he wants to hunt her down and end it for real. But Merle won’t have that. He pulls out his gun, and takes down his last Woodbury partner in cold blood.
Part of the problem with the zombie apocalypse, is that it has been told before. The great thing that this show does is tells the story of the people, just trying to survive. It isn’t about putting bullets into as many zombies as possible, or why it happened in the first place. First and foremost, it is a story about people put into a horrible situation. We watch as they either rise up to be great and just people, or sink down into the darkness and become the most vile human beings imaginable. But it isn’t always black and white, good and bad. Sometimes the best this group of survivors can hope for, is the moral grey. “The Walking Dead” isn’t afraid to sic walkers on some of the main characters to keep us guessing. It’s one of many reasons why “The Walking Dead” isn’t like any other show on television.
Andrew Lincoln is one of the greatest new actors I’ve seen in years and the rest of the cast that are still alive are almost as good. I hate to be another one of the complainers but I thought the season finale was terrible, the episode with Merle and Michone was fantastic. The season was just too inconsistent, and when you have to wait a week to see 45 minutes worth of your favorite T.V. series, it’s a let down. But fortunately, you don’t have to wait week-to-week anymore with this set! Having seen The Walking Dead seasons 1 and 2, season 3 was incredible! However, without watching the earlier seasons, this latest season would lose some of its entertainment value. Season 3 further built the characters, showing their toughness amidst the world changing around them. There was enough action to satisfy the intent of the show, yet, enough drama to add a delightful human touch to the show. Finale aside, this is the best show on television next to Breaking Bad. This set comes highly recommended.
- Audio Commentaries: Director Guy Ferland and Actor IronE Singleton for “Killer Within;” Director/Co-Executive Producer/Special Effects Make-Up Artist Greg Nicotero and Actor Danai Gurira for “Say the Word;” Executive Producer/Writer Robert Kirkman, Executive Producers David Alpert and Gale Anne Hurd, and Actor Danai Gurira for “Made to Suffer;” Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd and Actor Danai Gurira for “The Suicide King;” and Director/Co-Executive Producer/Special Effects Make-Up Artist Greg Nicotero and Actor Michael Rooker for “This Sorrowful Life.”
- Rising Son (HD, 6:47): A look at casting Chandler Riggs and the character’s arc through the series and in season three in particular.
- Evil Eye (HD, 7:54): An examination of “The Governor,” including the character traits and dichotomy between the Woodbury exterior and the dark interior. It also highlights the character’s evolution and David Morrissey’s performance.
- Gone, But Not Forgotten (HD, 8:14): A piece that focuses on the death of a character, death scene makeup and prosthetics, and the emotional on-set and on-screen feelings surrounding the death.
- Heart of a Warrior (HD, 8:25): This featurette examines Michonne, including Danai Gurira’s performance, her conflict with Merle, and her deeper character traits.
- Michonne vs. The Governor (HD, 5:13): A closer look into one of the season’s driving conflicts with emphasis on the making of one scene.
- Safety Behind Bars (HD, 9:44): Cast and crew discuss the prison location, the prison’s place in the show, and the process of constructing the set and the amount of detail that went into making it.
- Making the Dead (HD, 8:06): A detailed focus on zombie construction and the visual effects that support their “lives” and “deaths,” both practical and digital.
- Guts and Glory (HD, 7:42): A look at additional character deaths.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 13:20): Scenes from “Walk With Me,” “Say the Word,” “Hounded,” “Home,” “I Ain’t No Judas,” and “Clear.”
It’s been nearly ten years since Lost’s pilot episode aired on September 22, 2004 and wowed audiences with its amazing production values and twisted plot lines. While the show has been off the air for a while, it is still in many people’s minds and I thought it would be a cool thing to review the entire series starting with season 1. The fascinating thing about this show is that while the plane crash storyline has been used a lot before, Lost showcased an original set up to a familiar premise and bled fresh with interesting storylines and crazy surprises. The storyline is simple: A plane crashes on a remote island somewhere in the South Pacific and the survivors are forced to work together in order to survive but come to realize through a series of events that the island they are stranded on is no ordinary island.
One of the great things about this show is the character development and you can argue it has some of the best character development ever seen in any media format. Season 1 sets the stage for all the development we see later on. While some characters have more development than others (characters Jack and Kate have much more development than single father Michael and millionaire Hurley) the overall development is still very much exciting to see unfold. The sci-fi element in the show is the before mentioned original set up I hinted to earlier as you could have just done another Lord of the Flies style set up and while this show obviously has that as an influence, the additional sci-fi elements give this show more to work with. One of the things this show does brilliantly (even though it is a bit formulaic) is with each episode, it focuses on a certain character through “flashbacks”, which are stories told of a certain character before the plane they were on crashed on the island. One of the best episodes is “Walkabout” which is centered on the character John Locke. When you see what happens to him and how he was like before the island, you begin to understand his development over the course of the season as he is the one character with the “best” relationship with the island. He isn’t the villain but he is definitely seen as that from the rest of the castaways. He can be considered the most misunderstood character of the first season.
Another element this show has is the mysteries surrounding the island itself which are left fairly open to interpretation this season (as you would expect with a series that lasts six seasons). We are seen glimpses of so-called monsters and we even get to see a polar bear get shot by character Sawyer. Yeah, that’s right, A FREAKING POLAR BEAR! You are left to wonder what kind of secrets this island has and you can’t help but wonder what will happen next. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. The acting is especially well done with brilliant performances from all performers including Harold Perrineau as Michael Dawson and Terry O’Quinn as John Locke. We are also introduced to two characters who do not speak English, Jin and Sun Kwon from South Korea played by Yunjin Kim and Daniel Dae Kim. It’s an interesting and smart move from the creators to create a truly international feel to this show as their scenes are in Korean (of course) with subtitles. The communication barrier creates tension for them as they feel alienated because of the language barrier. Their storyline in the first season does feel a bit stereotypical but it is executed well.
The comedy in this show is quite grounded but hilarious with characters Sawyer, Charlie and Hurley bringing in much needed comic relief from all that dangers surrounding them. Sawyer’s exclusive trait is that he gives each character a nickname, most famously “freckles” that he gives to Kate. He is absolutely hilarious but troubled as well. The music created by Michael Giacchino is one of the best ever in television. His use of string instruments adds immensely to each scene and he is especially strong during scenes of peril and demise. I dare you to not get goose bumps when you hear those really high notes from the strings as something shocking is about to happen. He is by far one of the best things about this show and you just can’t envision this show without Giacchino’s genius music.
While the season isn’t perfect, with a few episodes being somewhat silly, like Sawyer chasing down a boar because it stole his tarp (yeah, that’s a storyline in the first season), the overall enchantment this season had when it aired caused fans to speculate what was on the island. Theories started to pop up all over the internet with their own theories as to what was going on on the island. There aren’t a lot of shows that garner such fan reaction and this is one that will stand the test of time. The first season of Lost not only introduces us to the main characters but introduces us to the mystery that surrounds them and the dramas we see unfold. I strongly urge you to watch the first season of Lost as it is one of the best to ever grace the screen. Some Lost fans would say it’s the best season of the entire series. Of course, everyone has an opinion. Anyway, this is how you introduce a TV series!
Best Moment of the Season: John and Jack’s first conversation about “destiny” in the episode Exodus. This conversation sets up their Man of Science, Man of Faith debates that, while they were hinted at earlier, isn’t realized until that very conversation.
Jack: “I don’t believe in destiny.”
Locke: “Yes you do. You just don’t know it yet.”
If you have ever played a Dragon Quest / Dragon Warrior game you are going to want to pay extra attention. Yuusha Yoshihiko to Maou no Shiro is a low-budget TV drama/unabashed comedic parody of the classic game series, and even received the OK from Square Enix to use the game’s well-known monsters and make all kinds of direct references. However, this is not a show which can only be enjoyed by fans of these specific games. I myself have only played one or two of the games like 10 years ago, but that did not stop me from enjoying this to the fullest. If you have ever played any RPG at all you will certainly catch 95% of the jokes, so there’s no worries there.
The story takes place in a Japanese medieval-like fantasy setting where various scary (and not-so-scary) monsters roam the land, and bandits are aplenty. Lately the number of monsters has risen and a village boy named Yoshihiko is called upon to set forth on an epic quest to travel to the castle of Maou, the evil magician who seems to be responsible, and stop him. It doesn’t take long into the first episode to notice that the show follows cliché Japanese RPG traditions, but constantly plays around with, and makes fun of them. An example is having random villagers repeating the same line over and over, or walking into a person’s house and smashing a whole bunch of big jars, and walking away. Most gamers have at least once wondered “what if this happened in the real world, it would be truly ridiculous” and that’s exactly what is hilariously portrayed here.
Yuusha Yoshihiko would not be a proper J-RPG spoof if the main character didn’t have a party. In the first episode Yoshihiko quickly rounds up a threesome of companions to join him on his quest. First off, there’s Danjo, a rugged sword-carrying man who is often the most serious person in the team but has a weak spot for pretty women. Secondly, there’s the knife-wielding Murasaki, a girl who’s tough on the outside but still sweet and girly on the inside. She is of course secretly in love with Yoshihiko, but he is blind to it. Murasaki often squabbles with the third of Yoshihiko’s companions: Merebu, the magician. He walks around with a staff and frequently learns new spells completely at random but they are rarely useful in battle. He doesn’t learn fireballs or healing spells but instead spells like “Sweets”, making the enemy crave sugary food. In addition, at the end of every episode there’s a quick appearance of Yoshihiko’s sister Hisa, who tries to keep an eye on Yoshihiko but seems to be having her own adventures behind the scenes.
Without a doubt my favorite character of the show, and perhaps any comedy show ever made, Japanese or American, is Hotoke-sama. He is a Buddha who appears in the clouds to provide Yoshihiko with wise guidance. The problem is, all he does is give vague clues and spends most of the time trying to be funny by doing silly impersonations. In every single episode Hotoke’s appearances are my favorite moments but doesn’t mean he shoulders the entire show. Even without him in it Yuusha Yoshihiko to Maou no Shiro would still be worth watching. Being aware of the references made to the Dragon Quest games will only add to the fun, but as a mentioned before, it is not a prerequisite. The show uses its low budget and perfectly casted actors practically to stuff each episode full of gags and it really never gets boring. At the time of writing this the second season (Yuusha Yoshihiko to Akuryo no Kagi) is actually well-underway, and because of its low production costs and high DVD sales this show might have a bright future ahead of it as its cult-following keeps growing. If you like comedy you’ll like this, and if you’re a gamer you will love it.