Thursday Media Review: Top 5 things to do in World of Warcraft before Shadowlands goes live

World of Warcraft, the MMORPG that still going over twenty years since its release in 2004. It has it’s good strong moments and survived some cataclysmic issues. During BlizzCon 2019, they announced the latest expansion known as Shadowlands. So far, talks about this expansion has gotten people interested (and has gotten your boy back into WoW thanks to a friend.) So as I’m playing catch-up and getting myself geared, I’ve noticed there’s some content and things one can enjoy when not doing their weekly embassy missions or taking the fight to N’Zoth every week. So, here’s my Top 5 things to do in WoW before Shadowlands goes live.

#5. Try new class/race

World of Warcraft can let you create various races and class combos. From Orc Warriors to Pandaren Monks, you got a choice of what to make. However, some people, like myself, have one race or class preference. With the introduction of Allied races, perhaps its a time to try a new race or class? Sure it’s fun running around as the Orc Warrior or Pandaren Monk, but maybe try something different like perhaps a different race as a monk or just a whole new class? Like a Draenei Mage or even a Gnome Priest. You might find those classes just as enjoyable as the classes you prefer and you might and even sometimes find the new class you’ve rolled to be better than your last one. Heck, I’ve tried a few classes (though haven’t completed some of them yet) but I can attest that Hunter and Monk are pretty fun.

#4. Do older content

now i’m sure you’re puzzled at why I’m suggesting people to go to older content rather than the current content of Battle for Azeroth. Especially when the gear that drops in stuff like Burning Crusade is vastly inferior to the Visions of N’Zoth? What if I told you that some of that old loot can be useful cosmetically? What if I told you that some of the bosses have a chance of dropping a cute pet or better: a rare mount to show off? Best of all, most of the content doesn’t require needing a huge group and some can be done by yourself. So if you’re bored of smashing Queen Ashara in the face with your Epic axe or smashing arena greenhorns. Maybe go back to places like Outlands and grind reputation for that sweet Netherdrake you never got, going back to Icecrown and hope to claim that elusive undead horse, Invincible (or Ashes of Al’ar if you’re really devoted for it). Heck, get your Demon Hunter to Outlands and get those sweet Warglaives of Azzinoth. Go and make your character look badass. There’s plenty of unseen content for one to sate the itch until Shadowlands goes live.

#3. Sink your teeth into content you haven’t tried

Some people have either stuck to their favorite things. Some are Dungeon runners or raiders while others may be pet battlers or Arena kings. One thing that could be good is trying something that you might not have done. You can try to play some Battlegrounds or Arenas if you want some fun. Perhaps try some chances at pet battling, a Pokemon-like battle system where you use pets to fight (remember those little pets I told you one could get from older raids?) If you’re a pvp fighter, check what dungeon running and raiding can be. There’s untouched content to explore. Oh and if you’re doing PvP, do be careful about getting your teeth kicked in by tougher PvPers (that’ll be another time). But anyway, it’s good to see something new.

#2. Stock Up for Shadowlands

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering “stock up what?”

In World of Warcraft, you got things called professions (these are useful for crafting items like food, potions or engineering trinkets.) You may be busy power leveling items for Shadowlands that you may not have access to any of the better things until you get access to it. However, older things can work. For example, I’m an engineer. What I did before the expansion of Cataclysm was craft myself some Saronite Repair Bots (robots that served as mobile repair merchants) as well as preparing a mobile mailbox and cooked some stat increasing food as I would continue my trip through Cataclysm’s new zones. This can be helpful as you’ll need the probable resources to get through challenges. Oh and don’t just hoard up on just items, do make some gold too. Try and make some money before Shadowlands goes live, after all some items will cost gold and it would be expensive to maintain your equipment and probably training for some professions. Try to set a reasonable goal like 50k to 100k or even more if you want. But do remember to keep some sizable items in your inventory so when you’re questing in the Shadowlands, you won’t need to worry about not being prepared.

1. Try a Roleplaying Server

Playing World of Warcraft is a fun ordeal as you enjoy it, but what if I told you that you could take it to the next level? Enter the Roleplaying servers. What are they? Imagine the same thing as the usual servers in the game, but rather you can create a backstory for your created character. Not only that but you have some roleplaying events that can be fun (World PvP Fights for “territories”. Parties, even other stuff). It can be fun creating some characters (So long as you don’t go overboard with your character). But if you want your boy’s opinion, Roleplay servers can be fun though. However, a bit of some advice, if you are on a server called Moon Guard, stay the hell out of Goldshire..

For God's Sake Do not go to Goldshire!

With that, those are my top 5 things you can do while waiting for Shadowlands to come out. Though these are my ways to bide my time for this suspenseful wait. Otherwise, you’re free to do what you want to do if you play WoW. Oh and if you’re curious, I do hang out on WoW, if you want to know what servers I play on, don’t hesitate to ask.

With that, hope you guys enjoy the rest of your day and stay safe.

References

Thursday Media Review: Top 7 Monsters from Media

Written by TheChoujinVirus

Note: this was made to be released on Thursday but due to delays it’s posted today

Happy Thursday, everyone, it’s ya boy, Choujin.
Quarantine’s still happening, but ya boy’s doing well. One thing I’ve been doing is rewatching movies and tv shows, and some things I’ve seen that got me rekindling of remembering monsters from old movies. Also, May was supposed to be the release of Godzilla vs. Kong, but due to the epidemic, we can’t see it until later on. So instead of reviewing media, I’ve decided to top 7 monsters from monsters. Before we go with the rules, we got some rules for this list.1. Any species are allowed, but they can’t be human (so no Jason, Meyers, or Borg. However, if the monster was a transformed human, that’s an exception)
2. No genre is taboo (so anything fantasy or sci-fi can count)
3. Robots can count and applied to the same rules applied too (but, also the robot can’t be piloted)
4. One monster per franchise.
5. To make things fair, No monsters from Godzilla films or Kong films (it would be way too easily)
5. This is my list, so if you feel a monster I put in isn’t on the list, don’t get miffed.
With that, let’s make our little list.

#7: Eborsisk (Willow)

Starting off this list is the monstrous twin-headed monstrosity known as the Eborsisk from 1988’s Willow. A creature transformed from a troll due to Willow’s lack of magical knowledge, this creature was born from its body and thus was something impressive. Done by Tippet’s Go Motion, the creature looked pretty organic for early special effects. Sadly the creature’s short debut in one moment in the movie sadly doesn’t make it memorable. However, it had one of THE most awesome deaths in which one of its head explodes. However, there are more monsters on the list…

#6: William Burkin (Resident Evil 2)

I’m sure a lot of you are wondering why I’m recommending Burkin? Well, it’s due to what happens throughout the game of Resident Evil 2. For those curious, Burkin infected himself with the G-Virus, a bioweapon created for Umbrella, in an attempt to prevent himself from dying. His creation now turning him into an infected monstrosity that slowly loses its humanity. Looking like a hulking monstrosity until eventually, he transforms into something resembling a fanged maw with various teeth and claws. Burkin’s form puts the horror in Resident Evil 2 and makes him a nightmarish creature that I admire the design for.

#5: Ramiel (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

Not all monsters are beasts, some monsters can have some abstract bodies. In Neon Genesis Evangelion, we have Ramiel, one of the aforementioned kaiju known as “Angels.” Some angels take on the form of alien monstrosities or humanoids, but Ramiel’s one exception. When we are greeted by this Angel, it’s a literal floating blue diamond. Nothing out of the ordinary, just a giant diamond that shoots lasers. Sure it’s not impressive, but if you count the Rebuild series, Ramiel’s body can change shapes depending on its situation. It also makes the not so living thing actually feel like it’s a living thing regardless.

#4: Rahab (The Ocean Hunters)

Sea Monsters are a thing I like, and Sega’s 1998 arcade rail-shooter The Ocean Hunter is no exception to that. The final boss of the game, Rahab, is the source of all giant sea monsters that plague the world. He starts out as a strange giant frog-like creature called Dagon, then becoming bipedal as he becomes Poseidon. After dealing enough damage, he becomes the daemonic destructive creature Dagon. The design of this ferocious creature’s face gives a monstrous visage resembling a cyclopean skull and a body resembling a weedy sea dragon. His backstory makes him unique as he’s a monster born from the blackness of chaos and wanting vengeance of humans for destroying his home. It goes to show you that some monsters do have a reason to destroy than wanton annihilation. Heck, it can make them pretty human sometimes.

#3: Deathwing (Warcraft)

Now we’re getting to some personal favorites of mine. Out of most of the monsters in Warcraft, none are as impressive as Deathwing. Sure he was a hero unit in Warcraft 2, it was World of Warcraft: Cataclysm that led to him being the main focus. Once a noble Black Dragon named Neltharion the Earth-Warder, he became twisted by ancient eldritch horrors known as the Old Gods and driven mad to where he poses a grand threat to the world as he plans to unleash the Hour of Twilight. He starts out as a giant dragon only being held together with metal plates, and over time, he becomes a twisted pile of molten tentacles and flesh. Just as twisted as his monstrosities. Like Rahab, Deathwing does have a backstory that makes this monster a great villain. However, this is a list, not backstory lore.

#2: Cloverfield (Cloverfield)

When it comes to American Kaijus, besides King Kong, you have J.J. Abram’s Cloverfield monster. When the movie was in trailers, people never got a chance to see what this beast could be. Suddenly, when 2008 rolled out, we then got our view of the monster, and I gotta say, it’s an interesting beast. One, the creature’s sheer size makes it capable of knocking off the Statue of Liberty’s head. And if you think you can hide from the creature, this things got dog-sized mites that fall off the monster and can attack you. Oh, and did I mention that this beast is a baby monster? That’s right, this thing’s only a baby. Who knows how big this thing’s mom would be. Clover’s got potential for being a great American Kaiju.

#1:The Thing (The Thing)

All the monster listed had something unique that I liked, and some of them either had cunning, monstrosities, or just great designs or concepts. Now, what makes The Thing from the John Carpenter (and prequel) movie the top on the list is its nature: It’s basically a biological mimic. When the movie starts, it mimics a dog the group rescues from two Swedish researchers and reveals its monstrous form. Throughout the movie, the creature slowly picks off each person and later replaces them. Revealing itself when exposed and becoming twisted parts. What a terrifying monster: it can be anyone or anything, then ambush you. It’s an impressive feat that makes this creature my favorite monster of all time.

Thanks for reading my list and comment on what your favorite monsters from media are if you want.

References

Thursday Media Review: Animal Crossing the Movie

Written by TheChoujinVirus

Note: this review may contain spoilers to the movie.
Also, though I do link a fandub of the movie, I do strongly suggest ya support the franchise through buying their games. Pirates may be free, but creators and devs need that cash.

Happy Thursday, everyone, it’s ya boy Choujin here.
A few weeks ago, ya boy here got his copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and has been playing it for a pretty long while (especially with the Stay at Home order). However, we’re not going to be talking about the game..yet. That’ll be for another time, for now, I got a question for you. Did you know that Animal Crossing had a movie released in 2006? Betcha you didn’t see that coming? Yes, it’s true the franchise had its first movie, made by Nintendo, OLM Inc, VAP, and distributed by Toho on December 6th, 2006. Animal Crossing the Movie (or by its movie title Dobutsu No Mori) is something not many people expected. So how is the movie? Well, let’s dive into this movie together. Lucky for us, I’ve watched a fandub version made by SillhouettedProductions, who put his heart and soul into this.

Our movie starts out inside of a Taxicab driven by Kappin’ as we’re introduced to our protagonist named Ai. She’s moving to the town of Animal Village and is all excited to live on her own. At Town Hall, she is introduced to Pelly and Mayor Tortmire (who is so worried about his upcoming election), Pelly informs Ai to meet Tom Nook, the shopkeep (and her landlord). Upon arriving at Nook’s Cranny, Tom Nook already puts her to work as “The quickest way to getting used to your life in Animal Village is working.”. Nook’s advice pays off as she meets Rosie, a blue cat, and Alfonzo, a sandy brown alligator who follows a ninja. She also meets Whitney, a snowy white wolf who seems calm but with a sharp tongue. She then stops by the Abel Sisters, and this is where we meet Ai’s BFF, Margie. She’s got a dream of wanting to be a fashion designer. Ai finishes her job and heads home, only to run into the ninja boy again. This time, he introduces himself as Yu, the neighboring boy from the other village who visits Animal Village to play with Alfonzo. Throughout the few days, she helps Tom Nook and starts to shape her house out nicely.

Though one day, she’s about to do a delivery for Apollo, an eagle villager. Yu comes out of nowhere and knocks her into the blue rose garden. This suddenly brings the attention of Mr. Resetti, the “Enforcer of Justice,” who enforces the rules in Animal Village. He takes it easy on Ai as they deduced that she didn’t do it on purpose. Ai wants to apologize to him, so Resetti points her to a place called the Roost. Ai heads there, only to get lost in the Animal Village Museum. Her screams attract the attention of the owl Blathers and his sister Celeste, who calm her down. Blathers starts blabbing about the fossils, to which Ai explains she was here to look for the Roost, to which Celeste points to her the way. Though she spots an empty Diplodocus display. Blathers explains that he hopes to one day find and display the fossil (all while blathering about the Diplodocus). Ai enters the Roost and accidentally mistakes Cesar(a Gorilla) and Cyrano (anteater) for Apollo. It was until the real Apollo (an eagle) walks into the Roost and calmly laments at someone destroying his rose garden. Ai delivers her package and admits that she was the one who did it. Apollo simply leaves, leaving Ai worried if Apollo hates her now.

While delivering supplies, she meets Margie again (who helps her) while the two discuss, Margie, makes a comment about she dreams of wanting people to wear her original inspired clothing designs, comparing it to her “cherry pie.” One night, after writing a letter to her mother, Ai spots a note in a bottle on the beach. Ai opens and reads the note, telling her that “Above the Pine forest, On the Eve of the Winter Festival, a miracle will occur.” Ai is so puzzled about it until she sees a strange object streaking across the sky.

We’re given a time skip to the Summer, everyone is enjoying their fun under the sun as Ai, Margie and Rosie watch Whitney walking down the beach. Rosie mentions that Whitney and Apollo were rumored to be dating a long time ago. Margie chastises her for spreading rumors while mentioning that Mabel would help find a store that would sell one of her best designs, though she feels she’s not that good. Ai reassures Margie that she needs to keep at it, and sooner or later, she’ll be enjoying her Cherry Pie in no time. A few minutes later, we see Yu and Alfonzo digging holes in the hunt for fossils. Leaving tons of holes and angering Mr. Resetti in the process. The two managed to evade Mr. Resetti’s tongue lashing. Ai finds another letter on the beach telling her to plant pine trees marked on a map. The next day, everyone is having a nice day as Pelly tells Ai and the girls that the town’s preparing for the fireworks festival and that K.K. Slider will be arriving. The trio spots Yu and Alfonzo digging for fossils, and they successfully fond an ammonite fossil. Rosie replied that she found a ton of those fossils in a cave. Yu, so eager to find the fossils, drags the girls along the journey (to the three’s annoyance). While their makeshift pirate ship nearly got battered, they found the cave and the ammonite fossils inside.

Yu and Alfonzo cheered at their bounty until Ai notices that the cave also has the fossilized remnants of a Diplodocus. Yu suddenly sees this and tries to get to the fossil, only for the group to escape a near cave in. Ai and Rosie hold a now distraught Yu from running back into the cave for the fossils with Margie telling Yu to listen to them.  After that adventure, the town is now prepped for the Fireworks Festival. Rosie is nervous that K.K. Slider hasn’t shown up yet while Ai notices Margie drawing a new design inspired by their fossil fun. K.K. Slider shows up, and as he asks the crowd for a request, Margie asks for him to play K.K. Bossa (a song from the A.C. game). While he sings, Ai has memories of what Margie told her. Once K.K. Finishes singing, everyone enjoys the festivities. Yu and Alfonso buy a “very rare” (though revealed not) Golden Slingshot from the shyster Crazy Redd. Ai, talking with Rosie and Margie, states she wants her own cherry pie (oh and Tortimire has a firework off his face while feeling reassured that his election is secured).After the festival, Ai writes to her mom and explains that she felt a bit jealous that Margie has a dream she can chase. She finishes writing her note as she reads the four letters she got, all related to the winter festival and miracle. She goes back to writing her letter, telling her mom that she doesn’t know what her cherry pie will be, but she can smell it in the oven.

. We’re given another time skip, this time in the cold autumn. Ai is seen running, as we’re given a brief flashback. Rosie asked Ai why she wasn’t at Margie’s going away party, to which Ai had no clue she was leaving. Rosie explained that Margie moved away in order to pursue her dream of being a fashion designer. A distraught Ai cannot find Margie anywhere and is left distraught. Meanwhile, Yu and Alfonzo plan a pitfall prank on the town, trapping Cyrano and Cesar. However, their traps fail on Champ, the athletic monkey. Ai falls into one of these traps but is so saddened that she doesn’t seem to respond or anything. She heads to the Roost Café as it starts to rain, asking Brewster for a cup of coffee. Whitney notices Ai, then the song K.K. Bossa plays on the speakers. Ai gets a memory of her best friend as she starts to cry when Brewster asks if Margie is listening to this song. Whitney angrily argues that Ai shouldn’t cry that her friend moved and that a proper lady should be happy that her friend moved on. Ai states she wasn’t upset about her dream but was upset that Margie didn’t tell her she was moving. Whitney laughed and explains to our protagonist, telling them that she needed to believe in herself and that Margie and Ai’s friendship was already set and not shattered. Ai leaves the Roost with Whitney’s advice, all while Whitney talks to Brewster about how the bond between women are strong as they can be separated but their friendship will last, but a bond between a man and a woman is different as even when it’s a short time, it won’t be mended so easily.

Ai, feeling better, returns home and notices a famished walrus named Wendell. She invites him to his house so he can eat some food. Wendell discussed that when he gets hungry, he gets depressed, and thus when he’s depressed, he gets hungry. Ai then gets a letter from Pete, the pelican mailman, and is ecstatic that it’s from Margie. Wendell left while she got the letter, so Ai reads the letter. Margie wrote that she is sorry that she never told Ai as she didn’t want her to be upset. She leaves Ai a picture of herself with a note telling her its time to eat her Cherry Pie. Rosie arrives to check up on Ai, and she reads Margie’s letter all while a meteor shower is happening. Ai feels better and happy that Margie is happy with her dream, and that she’s got confidence. Our next time skip puts Animal Village in the powdery white winter. Everyone’s getting ready for the Winter Festival and preparing for the contest as Ai heads to the museum to study with Celeste. Resetti is puzzled over all these pine trees that showed up, while everyone is doing their best. Yu and Alfonso now hopping about in bunny outfits. Ai, while on her way to the museum, wonders if the miracle will happen as the winter festival lights turn on. Once at the museum, Celeste and Ai discuss the possibility of UFOs and which Ai wondered if the notes she found were a prank. Celeste reassures Ai that the thought of UFOs is becoming popular, which makes her excited.

Ai looks through a telescope and notices a UFO plummeting down and into Animal Village. Everyone in the village heads toward the crash site, all scared to get close to the UFO. Ai suggests they help it, while Yu and Alfonzo warn she might get zapped or chipped. The UFO opens up, and we are greeted by Gulliver, the pilot of the UFO. He explains that he needs his five spaceship parts in order to get back home. Everyone heads out to find the missing parts as Champ states he saw apart. Yu states he saw another part as well, so Ai follows behind him as their chase takes them back to the cave that caved in. Just as it was futile to moving the large boulder, the group is reunited with Margie, who is visiting the town on holiday. The rest enter the cave as they find the UFO part resting on top of the Diplodocus skeleton. Yu climbs the fossil (easier as winter hardened the rock) and is able to get the spaceship part though falls and is rescued by his friends (Rosie humorously leaves Alfonzo holding the bag as Yu falls on him). Yu is alright, though is disguise is knocked off as he compliments her for catching the spaceship part.

They return back to Gulliver with their part, and it’s revealed that Champ found the same one as well. It’s then revealed the part Ai found is an actual alien. Gulliver wondered if the object he bumped into was this creature. Ai helps the little guy get back to which the alien is healed and thanks Ai. Ai thanks Yu for his help as the UFOs ldepart, Whitney wonders if the aliens have their own village. The UFOs thank Ai by creating a constellation for her, everyone is at awe. Afterward, Ai meets Apollo, and he explains that he wasn’t mad over it while glad that the miracle happened. Ai wins the competition for her constellation, and Tortimer wins the election by voting for himself. Gulliver leaves and thanks to the villagers, all while wondering why he left. As Gulliver left, he lamented his plan in creating a large landing pad was for bust as it attracted real aliens.

Ai writes to her mom about how she feels she’s an honorary member of Animal Village…
 During the Credits, we get to see what happens after the Winter Festival. Tom Nook opens up his new shop Nook N’ Go, Blathers with the help of Mr. Resetti is able to secure the Diplodocus skeleton and now displays it in the town museum, Rosie is ecstatic over a new outfit as Ai and Apollo now are good friends. Whitney finds a bouquet of blue roses and Margie is inspired from what happened at the Winter Festival and Ai is happy, wondering what life will bring her. With that, our movie is officially over

What made the movie shine

The anime has a pretty cute slice of life basis, a good change of pace if you want an anime that’s got some heartwarming stuff that isn’t something made by Disney (not knocking on them). The main characters that are shown have some personality that gives them something unique than their video game counterparts. For example, Margie’s character mentions her dream of being a fashion designer or how Tortimire obsesses over his mayoral election. For an animated movie, it went out of their way for their characters. Another thing that’s likable is the music, which is actually redone for the movie, especially with K.K. Bossa (which actually has lyrics for something that in-game is just musical furniture for your virtual house). Lastly, this is just a nod to the fandubbers, but they did a pretty good job with the work and doing their best to capture the personality of the characters from the game. Also, the series is based on Wild World, the D.S. Animal Crossing game. Most game-based things would try and be more original, but making a nod of a game that was released not too long ago

What the movie pitfalls in

Though the movie itself is awesome, it does have some issues. One such is the main focus on just a few characters, Ai, Yu, Alfonso, Rosie, and Margie. There was something interesting about characters like Whitney, Cyrano, Cesar, and Apollo. They didn’t get much screentime, heck Hopper, the penguin in the movie who existed as a gag for fishing, seemed to have more screentime than most of the cast. Some are just passing by or just a one-time view that’s a “blink, and you’ll miss it” for characters like Dr. Shrunk or even Katie. Lastly, the fandub may have been a great attempt, but there are moments the audio buzzes, and some parts may not feel as professional, but it’s good.

Conclusion

 In short, the anime (including the fandub) is a nice adaptation of the Animal Crossing series. It’s a shame the series was never released to the U.S., nor was any plans of a sequel being made in the future. If you’re a fan of Animal Crossing, I would suggest you watch this movie either from the Veoh links here or somewhere easier. Other than that, I enjoy this movie.

References

Thursday Media Review: Cells at Work!

written by TheChoujinVirus

Note: This review may contain spoilers to the series, do not read if you don’t want to be spoiled. Also sorry for the late release of this review
Introduction of Cells At Work! (English Dub)

Happy Thursday, it’s ya boy, Choujin here.

Well, with all this talk about Covid-19 and how everyone’s worried has gotten me watching an anime-themed around the human body. I’m sure everyone’s heard of shows, TVs, movies that tell this story in animated form. Though we’re not talking about Osmosis Jones (or its Tv spin-off Ozzy and Drix), we’re talking about a series that started out as a manga in 2015 and was made into an anime on July 2018 (and released on Netflix and Crunchyroll by Animeplex) known as Hataraku Saibō or by its English translation Cells at Work! So what is this anime about? Let’s dive into this exciting piece of infotainment.

Characters+Story

Cells at Work! It takes place inside an unnamed human body and that every cell in the human body has a job to do in it. The entire focus of the series focuses on two characters: A Red Blood cell named AE3803 and a White Blood cell named U-1146 as they do their everyday job. AE3803’s job as a red blood cell is to deliver nutrients and oxygen to cells while moving Carbon Dioxide out of it. U-1146’s job is simply killing filthy germs and viruses that threaten the body. Throughout the episodes, these two run into each other during some moments, such as when bacteria invade through a scrape wound, the body suffering dehydration and sometimes random occurrences. Throughout the story, they are greeted by a cast of various other cells such as the Gung-Ho and militaristic T Cells, the maternal maid Macrophage, and the oh so adorable hard-working Platelets. Though as the cells work each other, they have to deal with dangerous invading bacteria such as the evil Staphylococcus, Pneumococcus, and sometimes the harmless Cedar Pollen Allergens. However, they may have to deal with something far worse than those such as a dreaded Cancer Cell. Sounds pretty dangerous, but it’s more or less the everyday life of Cells at Work and that they’re only doing their job by working hard to keeping you healthy from filthy germs and viruses all while ensuring every cell inside gets their fresh supply of oxygen.

Cellular Greatness: What made the Anime good?

One thing I liked about the anime is how the show is more than just an anime, but what some call “infotainment,” which means the show entertains and informs. Though you do get to see the misadventures of cells, there are parts of the anime to explain certain things. In one example, the 2nd episode titled “Scrape Wound,” we are introduced to the Platelets and explained (in a humorous way) in how they help mend wounds (while also being briefed by the villains) or having brief explanations of the cells that make up the Human body. I never knew that Macrophages are cleaner cells or that there’s a cell known as a Mast Cell that produces histamine or that there is a white blood cell that specialized in killing parasites called an Eosinophil. Another thing that makes the series likable is how the anime portrays cells with specific jobs and appearances. Red Blood Cells are portrayed as delivery people who carry boxes of O2 or nutrients ala house delivery to cells. White Blood Cells like the T Cell division are militaristic police who go in and fight cells or bacteria. The Macrophages (and their monocyte counterparts) are viewed as the cleanup crew (Monocytes viewed as hazmat cleaners and Macrophages as maids with huge weapons), the platelets are viewed as children with a knack for repair and construction while regular cells are viewed as just normal people. Bacteria and viruses are also portrayed in this series as invasive viral monsters that don’t look human. Some like Pneumococcus and Staphylococcus are human enough but alien enough to be viewed as your typical anime villains, and others like Bacteria are viewed as monstrous abominations. Interestingly, the only ones not portrayed as anime villains would-be parasites, as they’re true to their real-world counterpart. Lastly, some of the stories are pretty heartwarming, and some occurrences can be dark. Two examples of this are episodes 6 and 7, which introduce us to our main villain, the Cancer Cell. Usually, we all know cancer is bad, but in this two-part episode, he is portrayed as a victim of being a “copy error” while angered that he knows his fate is to die or kill the body. Very unusual to portray a dangerous issue as a sympathetic villain. The next one is the final episode, “Hemorrhagic Shock.” Just as our main rookie blood cell is now a veteran teaching a new red blood cell, the body suffers a fatal head injury. Both cells try their best as more of their brethren disappear as the body starts to die out. The new rookie blood cell starts to break down as they feel that it’s impossible, to which our now veteran cell tries to deliver all by herself and nearly fails until the body gets a blood transfusion and is able to recover. The anime has some impressive details, but we’ll get to some issues.

Cystic Failure: What the series falters in.

Though the anime does have some good portrayals of characters, some characters seem to be pushed on the wayside and not mentioned much. Though we get to see the Killer T Cells (alongside Helper T and Regulatory T), we rarely get to see the NK Cell (Natural Killer Cell), who only appeared in 2 episodes involving cancer, and that’s it. No mention of her or anything. Others like Basilophil are seen once and never mentioned while Eosinophil is mentioned a few times and never seen at work. There are also some cells in the body that I feel are ignored (like nerve cells, brain cells, and even fat cells) as well as other things in the body that happen. Some are mentioned in the manga, but in the anime not mentioned at all. Another gripe is that the season is pretty short, only up to 13 episodes. That’s pretty short for some seasons of anime and, to me, makes the series pretty short with only a few threatening episodes (Dehydration, Cancer, and Hemorrhagic Shock). Otherwise, most of it involves either just bacterial invasions or just a routine day. I mean, the stuff our bodies go through, I’m surprised they don’t mention other problems. One annoyance I also find is that with the English Dub of the series (not knocking on the voice talent thank you very much) but on how most of the series doesn’t bother translating the information boxes (small segments that explain either what causes the cell or describes the cell) while relying on solely on just the person telling you instead of telling and describing. It just feels a bit lazy if you still have Japanese words or no English subs for some segments.

Conclusion

In an age of cell themed cartoons, Cells at Work entertains while informs people with tidbits of facts. It may take liberty on how they portray cells and how the body works, but that’s what makes the series pretty impressive. Though I did criticize the series of being short with only 13 episodes, it’s been confirmed that the anime is getting renewed for a 2nd season coming this summer. If this is the case, I can’t wait to see more of what will happen to our body and other things. If you’re locked in due to Covid-19 and want to watch or imagine what your body does during this thing. Cells At Work is something that helps you pass the time. So look on Netflix or Crunchyroll if you’re interested for watching the series, and keep an eye out in the summer for that 2nd season.

References

Thursday Media Review: The Division 2: Warlords of New York

Written by TheChoujinVirus
Note: The review contains spoilers for the game, so if you don’t want to get spoiled, skip this article.

Happy Thursday everyone, it’s your boy Choujin here.

March is a good day for gaming. With Doom Eternal and Animal Crossing: New Horizons coming in 2 weeks, it’s something everyone’s anticipating. However, other games, too, have anticipated releases in March as well. One of which is the expansion to Ubisoft’s game Division 2 that was released yesterday (though was released on the 2nd of March). The expansion is known as The Division 2: Warlords of New York (I know an odd title that makes me feel like it’s something from a bad World of Warcraft expansion). However, the game has some aspects of it that make it charming and brings us back to the location of the first Division game: New York City. So how does the expansion bring to the month of March? Here’s my review of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2: Warlords of New York.

Summary of the Plot (Spoiler alert for The Division and parts of The Division 2)

The story takes place in an alternate 2015/2016 in which an eco-terrorist attack on Black Friday brings the U.S. to its knees is unleashed. This virus known as the Green Virus (or Dollar Flu) causes a massive Pandemic all over the United States. The U.S. Government not only sets up their offices to maintain order the best they can, but they also activate their sleeper agent group called The Division. They serve as the last line of defense in dire situations in a collapsed society. In the Division 2, you play as a Division agent nicknamed “The Sherriff” as he/she heads to Washington D.C. when the SHD Network goes down (The network vital for powering the Division’s arsenal of equipment and communication with other agents). Throughout the game, the Sherriff is tasked with returning the SHD network online as well as dealing with several factions within D.C. Such as the sadistic Hyenas, the vengeful Outcasts, The militaristic True Sons and the high-tech militaristic Black Tusks. Warlords of New York has the Sheriff being sent to New York City after they discover that the Division’s main enemy (and the original antagonist in the first game) Arron Keener has unleashed his attack on The Division in New York, undoing a lot of the work from the first game. It’s now up to the Sherriff to find Keener and stop him before he unleashes a new viral strain worse than the Dollar Flu as well as uncover a deep plot involving Rogue Division Agents that go as far as with some older guards.

Gameplay

Warlords of New York is similar gameplay-wise to vanilla Division 2 though it does add some unique gameplay mechanics to the game. One such change is introducing a Fog of War to New York. As you explore the districts of New York City, parts of the map become exposed that show new areas, events, control points, and SHD Caches. Another change is the mission Progression system, which adds an interesting change. Unlike the Division 2, in which you progress through specific areas and leading up to the fight at an enemy stronghold, Warlords of New York have you going on a manhunt against Keener and to do that you must hunt down Keener’s guards: Four major Rogue Division Agents who have managed to manipulate the original factions of the first game: The Cleaners and the Rikers. For those unaware, the Cleaners and Rikers were two factions from the First Division game. To find the rogue agents, you have to head to specific areas on the map that are hinted as big yellow circles, thanks to the Fog-of-War. Solving each progresses the story against one of the four Rogue agents, and by completing it increases your progress in finding Keener.  After going through several areas and defeating Keener’s four agents, you now get your chance at fighting Agent Keener on Liberty Island and a strong presence of Black Tusk. Though throughout the game, there are mini-events like rescuing hostages, territory control, and breaking propaganda machines. To make the game easier, besides acquiring loot like guns and armor, your agent has access to several “specializations” that give them new tools to use besides their usual arsenal of portable gun turrets, drones, and roller bombs. Classes like the Gunner lets you wield a Minigun to mow enemies down to the Survivalist that lets you use a crossbow to shoot them with explosive arrows and fire. Though the game does introduce a new class (The last being the Technician class) called the Firewall. This class lets you use a flamethrower to set fire to enemies directly.

SHD’s Strength: What makes Warlords of New York Good

Warlords of New York brings some new faces (or old returns for those who have played the first Division) as you fight the factions like the Rikers, Cleaners, and Rioters that do have their own unique quirks compared to Vanilla Division 2’s Hyenas, Outcasts and True Patriots. Another positive thing the expansion adds is some interesting boss fights that do add some unique fights that add to their lore. One such fight I liked was against Theo Parnell, one of Keener’s rogue agents. His boss fight’s a digital version of whack-a-mole where he uses holograms to hide while you have to figure out which is the real Parnell. Another I liked was the fight against Javier Kajika and having to deal with his shock traps and having to move from one spot to another as steam starts to obstruct your vision. The last fight I liked was the final battle between you and Arron Keener. In the final battle, you’re not fighting Keener and an army of troops: It’s just you and him, agent vs. agent with just your tech against Arron’s. It makes it feel like a final battle. The Fog of War aspect of the Division 2 does encourage exploring the area for every nook and cranny. The last thing I like about the Division 2 is always the lore and how It references back to the First Division game with some character callbacks, areas, factions and such. It does have you wonder a bit more about the lore of the first game while playing Warlords of New York. Lastly, the detail of New York is stunning as they show what it looks like after a societal collapse would look like. Seeing streets turned into swamps, crumbled main buildings and areas become enemy strongholds, and even seeing Liberty Island become the spot of a final battle is stunning.

 Agent Needs Assistance: what Warlords of New York lack

The game does have some good things in the game, there are some problems I found while playing the game. One example is how, after defeating the rogue agents, you only get information on Keemer and nothing much besides that. Sure they give a hint about taking over the Oil Tanker after killing Vivian Conley or destroying a giant drill when fighting Kajika. One annoyance was that besides those two, you barely saw any changes besides that. Like after killing Theo Parnell, enemies I fought still used some drones. I felt that killing a guy who was a drone specialist would somehow deliver a blow against the enemy, but it didn’t feel like I took out that threat. Another thing I did like was the challenge, but I felt that some of the enemies were annoying as hell. It’s true that The Division 2 does require some strategy to fight enemies, but some of the new enemies can feel less of a challenge and a bit annoying. One such is the Cleaners faction, which loves to use flamethrowers (particularly their default attack units and Tank class). It can be hairpulling having to avoid getting a flamethrower facial or getting your eyes blasted by the Riker shield tanks. Unfortunately, the mini-events in New York don’t seem to be any different than before the expansion. It’s a shame as it would be nice to see something new other than opening caches from enemy territories, saving hostages or taking control points. Perhaps it would be nice to see something different, but that feels like a nitpick on my half.

Hidden SHD Cache: Cool little secret

One little thing I noticed when playing Warlords of New York was that in Haven, there’s an area where I found an NPC puppy there. I found out that I could actually have my character pet this puppy. I found out this was a callback to some Division 2 fans who wanted to pet the NPC feral dogs seen wandering around D.C. (as the sad part is you can shoot them but not pet them). It’s a nice thing to add and something cute in between fighting ex-Convicts, rogue agents, and Sanitation workers with flamethrowers.

Do you trust The Division? (My conclusion)

In conclusion to my review of the game, It’s a great game that gives fans of the first Division game some memories of their first foray into New York and gives us a stunning story. I forgot to mention that after beating the game and finding that the Rogue Agents continue beyond Keener, there’s a new endgame in seasons in which you have a new cast of Rogue Division agents to fight (though they won’t be live until the 9th of March). If you want my opinion, your boy would say that Warlords of New York adds some new content into The Division 2 and gives a stunning closure to one of the major villains in the series.

References

Thursday Media Review: Monster Rancher Anime Part 2 (Ep. 16-30)

Review by TheChoujinVirus
Note: This is part 2 of a review on the Monster Rancher anime, to see part 1, please click here. As before, there are spoilers, so you’ve been warned

Hello, it’s ya boy Choujin

Welcome to part two of my review of the Monster Rancher anime. This time we’ll be focusing on episodes 16-30. If you want a recap of the last events and a brief explanation of the Monster Rancher series, I would suggest you click on the link here to catch up. Other than that, let’s continue our adventure.

To recap from the last episode, our heroes have enlisted the help of Captain Horn and his crew of Rockies to help them cross the sea in order to find the Phoenix before Moo can find his body. Suezo complains about why the group has to do work as passengers on Horn’s ship. Horn reassures them that he’s an honorable pirate (despite Suezo’s hatred for the pirate captain.) Meanwhile, below the sea, Gali orders his troop of whale monsters called Zillas and their leader Gooji. The blue whale monster is ecstatic to fight his old foe, Captain Horn, again.Back on Horn’s ship, Horn finds that Golem is shirking his work, despite Golem’s pleas that he hates the water. The pirate crew decides that in order to “face his fears,” they throw him overboard. However, they realize that Golem is afraid of water not because he’s afraid of water, but because he’s a giant rock monster and thus cannot swim. With Genki’s help, they get Golem back aboard Horn’s ship. During Dinner, Holly visits Golem and discusses how much has changed since they all started their adventure. Holly doubts herself in thinking they may never be able to find the Phoenix as the land they’re visiting is entirely new to her and that there are rumors that Moo’s influence is greater there. Golem reassures Holly that as long as they work as a team, they’ll be able to find the Phoenix. However, just as the peaceful night was going so smoothly, the group is ambushed by Gooji and his Zilla troops. The group managed to repel Gooji’s Zillas, which angers the monstrous Gooji as he decides to take care of our heroes himself.  Gooji captures Holly and threatens the rest of them, which causes Golem to snap out of his fear of water in order to repel the giant whale. Horn orders his Rockies to tie up Gooji and dispose of him in a giant whirlpool for good. Gooji tries to take our heroes down with him, but again, Golem intervenes and knocks the whale into the depths once and for all (Though not without Golem returning back to his post upon realizing he’s still near open water).  Horn delivers our group of heroes to the new land. The Group thanks Horn for helping, and Horn returns the thanks by giving them a map of the new land.

Though their new journey is not without new perils besides Gooji and his Zilla troops, Gali dispatches his deadly illusionist Joker to ambush the heroes. Our heroes now have to find a way to get over a massive cliff, which leads to Tiger and Hare arguing. Moochi discovers a cave buried behind rubble, and our group now has a practical way through the cave. However, the darkness also hides Gali’s Joker. A cave in and some bats later cause them to return back to their new area. However, they discover some new paths that the cave in created. Tiger takes this chance to accuse Hare of trying to find a quick lazy fix that hurts everyone and outright accuses him of caring more about money than friendships. Hare snaps and accuses Tiger of being a hypocrite (as he brings up Tiger’s past about being a Bandit). The group then falls into Joker’s trap as they’re now searching for Hare, who promptly ran into the caves after his fight. Joker makes his move and gives Genki and his friends a run for their money with his ability to create illusions. This causes them to succumb to illusions like fighting Moo, peaceful fields, open water, falling daggers, and chains. Though just before Joker can deliver the killing blow, Hare returns and saves the group from Joker. During the fight, Hare learns a new move known as Dragon Kick. With that, he dispatches Joker, and the group escapes the cave.

Along the journey, they managed to run into a new face as they explore the ruins of an abandoned city. This guy’s name is Hengar and was one of the monsters referenced in Monol’s story. He aids them from other Hengars that viewed the heroes as a threat to the ancient city that they maintained for so long. It’s humorous as the group (save for Genki and Hare) is puzzled over some of the technology used (such as a vending machine). Though with Hengar’s help, they managed to not only survive the ordeal but managed to reacquire the Magic Stone that was dropped when they fled the other Hengar. It’s a pretty sad ordeal as Hengar learned that the Ancient’s war was over, and as he tried to explain to his other brethren, they replied by blasting him to pieces. They also learn of the Hengar’s boss known as Techno Dragon and how he controls all the Hengars (save for our companion’s Hengar).

  After leaving the city and saying good-bye to Hengar, the group finds themselves pursued by Gali’s Dokoos. Throughout this battle, Hare calls out that Suezo has no actual talents of combat (despite Suezo’s protest that he can fight.) The group has to deal with not just the rubbery monsters, but Suezo’s existential crisis on how he couldn’t defeat them. Genki tries to help Suezo discover this journey, but it takes one major crisis for Suezo to discover his Teleport ability.
Along their journey, Genki and company run into Pixie and Big Blue again, this time now an enemy of Moo and fighting on the side of good. When she and Genki are separated from the group, they are able to work together and defeat the Scaled Jells attacking them, all while learning that Moo has started an excavation in the north of the continent, hinting that he found his old body.

With Gali defeated, Moo’s Big Bad Four is now down to only two: Grey Wolf and Naga. Grey Wolf gets news of Gali’s defeat from a Cabalos. Grey Wolf views this as a worthy hunt, as he gives orders to his Black Worm troops to attack the group. The group gets ambushed by one of them, and by capturing one of them, they learn that Grey Wolf is one of the remaining Big Bad Four (which shocks Tiger). Though in the ambush, Holly is poisoned by one of the Black Worms. Tiger goes and finds the antidote while defeating the Black Worm’s Captain. They are able to save Holly and continue on.
The group later runs into Mocks and their leader Ebony as they are captured. Though Mocchi escapes and runs into a strange monster named Ducken, who guides Mocchi out of his home as he’s afraid they’ll find him. Mocchi, with some pressuring on Ducken, heads to the Mock’s camp to rescue his friends as he disguises himself as a Mock. Though the operation is a bust, Mocchi runs back to Ducken and finds a bright idea of using Ducken’s tunnels to fight. It’s in this argument that Ducken was too scared to fight against the Mocks and Ebony. Mocchi reassures him, and Ducken agrees to let Mocchi use the tunnels, and with his help, Mocchi is able to defeat the Mocks and rescue his friends. Also, Ducken learns the importance of friendship.

Later on, they learn that some monsters aren’t naturally evil and either learned the error of their ways. Such monsters such as Undine, a mermaid monster Golem, falls in love and, in her chaos, kills herself when she realized that Golem believes that she’s still good regardless of her affinity.  The others happen to be three monsters Centaur, Celios, and Dragoon. Three Monsters who work for Grey Wolf but have a code of honor who at first want to capture the group and later aid them when a group of Salamanders tries to steal their thunder. Lastly, they run into an abandoned factory where they must deal with a robotic insect called Melcarba, who, just like Hengar was created long ago and created with a purpose that was wasted.

Throughout the ordeal, they eventually take the fight to Grey Wolf. For Tiger, this makes it extremely hard as this Baddie is his own brother. Before the battle, Tiger has a dream when he taught his brother how to be strong. By the next morning, after the Pendant is found, they are greeted by one of Grey Wolf’s Cabalos, declaring that his boss demands Tiger to fight him in a one and one fight. Tiger departs to fight his brother while Genki and the rest follow behind him, fearing that their friend may be walking into a trap. Tiger gets flashbacks of the event that led to Grey Wolf being captured by Moo until he arrives at the dueling ground. The two of them exchange quips as Grey Wolf calls Tiger a coward while Tiger tells his brother that he’s been lied to. They both fight as Grey Wolf gives Tiger an ultimatum: Join Moo’s forces. Tiger turns it down, which led Grey Wolf to cheat with his Cabalos soldiers. Genki and his friends intervene, leaving Tiger and Grey Wolf in a one and one battle. The two wolves equally matched until Grey Wolf uses his tail to blind Tiger (a trick Tiger taught his brother). However, Tiger managed to pull one last trick against Grey Wolf. He used his horns to gore his brother though his Crest. Grey Wolf learns that his brother Tiger still loved him. His last words were that he wished they could go back when they were little. Unfortunately, Grey Wolf dies of his injuries as Tiger howls in mourning. Though they defeated the third of Moo’s Big Bad Four, Tiger lost a brother.

While back at the excavation site, Moo’s forces have discovered their master’s original body.
 With news of Grey Wolf’s demise, Naga of the Big Bad Four remains, and our group must continue their travel to find the Phoenix. Throughout their journey they must deal with Naga’s forces. The first one being Stone Dragon. However, they managed to get help from the odd caterpillar named Color Pandora. It’s revealed that Stone Dragon’s been kidnapping the Color Pandora’s children, hence why they resorted to using traps. Another ally they meet is a Ferry Captain named Jim and his companion Eared Mew. They help him deal with Naga’s dangerous Arrowheads. Both of these allies help Genki and company defeat Naga’s threats.
Interestingly, they had one incident where they had to lend aid to two warring monsters. Two tribes of Ape and Rock Ape both started waging war when our heroes awaken a baby monster named Bossy. The group managed to find a solution to where both tribes work together and end their squabbling. Though, as the group is unaware, Moo is marveling over his newly discovered ancient body. Pixie finds this news and heads out to warn Genki and his friends.

The series is impressive and gets a bit dark, especially with the battle between Tiger and Grey Wolf. What I also like about it is that the series does reference past episodes and not forget certain things (Golem’s Aquaphobia and how some episodes have Suezo referencing his attempt at trying to master Teleport). Another thing that I like is how some episodes do hit hard in certain parts. Undine’s Lake actually made you feel sorry for the villainous Undine and how she commits suicide upon realizing Golem’s kindness regardless of if she was on the villain’s side. Another good episode was Tiger’s Battle with Destiny as we get to see a fight between brothers. Some characters also have unusual quirks that make them cute or interesting. Some of them being Hengar, Eared Mew, Captain Jim, and Ducken have some important reasons for their goals (good or bad).
 As mentioned in my last review, the Japanese version has some alterations and changes. Though some are an exciting twist (Ducken in the Japanese version is actually female while the dub made him a male.) while others are typical (Changing Gali’s attacks that reference God to his name such as Gali Finale) and some changes are just really odd (Removing a scene that had mud on Pixie’s face). One that gets me scratching my head is how the “Unlock Your Disk” segment refers to Gooji as Zilla Kong.
Another thing that changed was the aforementioned Tiger’s Battle With Destiny. The episode was not aired when the show was on FOX due to a scene involving Tiger impaling Grey Wolf. It’s odd as Undine’s Lake is broadcast as it involves the monster committing suicide. Then again, the episode is still aired, so at least it’s not like Pokemon where some episodes are outright ignored.

With that, that’s part two of my review of Monster Rancher. Wow, already 30 episodes, and we still got plenty of other episodes soon. So see you next time for the next installment.

References

Thursday Media Review: Monster Rancher Anime Part 1(episodes 1-15)

Review done by TheChoujinVirus
Note: this review may have spoilers to the franchise, so if this is your first time with this, I’d advise you to watch before reading this

With the talks of a new game on Steam called TemTem, it got me thinking and remembering the various monster collecting genres that existed. We all know of Pokemon, the franchise that more or less is king in the genre, and we are all familiar with those digital monsters we call Digimon and the oddly gimmicky Yo-kai Watch series. Some might not have forgotten about an odd series that was introduced by Tecmo and introduced on the Playstation in 1997. This franchise is known as Monster Rancher (or Monster Farm in Japan). However, we won’t be talking about the games (that’ll be for another time), but we’ll be discussing the 1999 anime that was released. For this, we’ll start out with our review of the first fifteen episodes and explain the events that transpire but don’t worry. I’ll be doing reviews of the rest of them soon enough. Another note is that I might make a comparison between the US version and the Japanese versions at the end (or added in an explanation with parenthesis). Without further or due, let us get started with our review of the Monster Rancher anime.

Our story begins with an introduction to our protagonist Genki, a child who is obsessed with Monster Rancher and champion at a major Monster Rancher tournament. One day, as part of his prize, he receives a copy of a new Monster Rancher game and heads home to play it. Little does Genki know is that the game he’s playing is tied to the Monster Rancher world and is pulled into it after witnessing two beings being chased by Black Dinos: Holly and her friend Suezo. After being pulled into the area, Genki learns from Holly that she and Suezo are on a quest to find the mythical Phoenix. They need this monster because of another evil being called Moo, who has the power of turning good monsters evil and that the Phoenix can not only stop Moo but make evil monsters good again. Genki thinks the game disc that brought him here may contain the Phoenix, but when they awaken it, it turns out it’s not. It’s revealed that the monster is a pink, squishy armadillo creature called Mochii. Though it’s not the fabled creature, the group continues on their journey as they’re guided by Holly’s magical pendant on a quest that points her to the Phoenix. Along the way, they gain allies for their adventures, such as Golem, a giant and friendly rock monster who was guarding a graveyard of dead monsters. Then they’re followed by Tiger of the Wind, a horned blue wolf monster who wants revenge on Moo for kidnapping his brother Grey Wolf and Hare the trickster who starts out joining under not so noble intentions and interested in money.

Throughout their quest, they also meet some strange allies and enemies along the path. Some who are redeemed like Allan and his Worm and others lend aid like Ed, a prisoner who helps the travelers across a canyon. The crew also has to deal with Moo’s forces known as the Baddies, and having to deal with his most dangerous generals known as the Big Bad Four. Composed of four monsters: Gali, Naga, Pixie, and Tiger’s brother Silverfang. Each of them is loyal to Moo and aid in enslaving both monsters and humans. Genki and company are successful in defeating the first of the Big Bad Four, Pixie, and thus were able to deliver a blow against Moo. It an episode prior to this, Holly remembers events of her village as she remembered her father being banished and a few years later, invaded by Moo’s forces as she escaped with Suezo, thus starting their journey. The group also later awakens a monster named Monol and learn about the ancient race that created the monsters and how rampant war gave birth to Moo and his nemesis, The Phoenix.

 Eventually, the group finds themselves face to face with Moo himself and kidnaps Holly as he needs her pendant. He reveals that though he is Moo, he’s only a spirit possessing a vessel until he can find his true body: the dragon body that he lost in the great war. Moo reveals (akin to a Star Wars twist) that he’s Holly’s father. When Holly’s father was banished from the town due to a failed election, he stumbled upon the mystery disc containing Moo’s soul, and as a result, he has become Moo himself. Holly’s pendant is used by the villainous Moo, and he’s able to find the location of his body. The gang staged a rescue and managed to help Holly escape from Moo’s palace with the help of a group of monsters called Pirate Dragons. They also gain the aid of Pixie, who now has switched sides against Moo.  Once Holly is rescued, the group managed to make their escape and thanked the Dragons for saving Holly, the group began to ponder that if Moo could use the magic pendant to find his body, perhaps they can do the same to find the Phoenix. Holly then uses the magic stone, and it guides them toward a direction across the ocean. Everyone is excited, save for Golem, who is revealed to have aquaphobia due to being a rock monster.

Though as the group is admiring the sea, Gali of one of Moo’s Big Bad Four has dispatched his troop of raptor-like Zuums to attack the group when they arrive at a nearby port town. However, they’re rescued by a blue Suezo with a horn named Captain Horn and his white Suezo Rockies. The group then explains to Horn that they need to cross the ocean to find the Phoenix. Horn agrees to this deal but wants to put a wager through a game of Old Maid. Should the group win, he’ll sail them across the sea, but should he win, he’ll sail off with Holly instead. Suezo and Horn are mono y mono in their game of old maid to the point that both resort to cheating and sneaky tactics in order to win. Though just as the game will turn into a brawl, the Zuums arrive to attack the group and Horn’s crew. They now take their chance to set sail while Golem holds off the Zuums, though he manages to get aboard and briefly ignores his fear of water until he’s aboard the ship. The group now ready to search for the Phoenix’s body.

Now with the summary of the first 15 episodes of Monster Rancher done, let’s get to some of the good and the bad of the series. Now, for those who may have watched the American dub of Monster Rancher, you’d like how you have some decent voice acting for the dub and had some like Scott McNeil voicing the roles of Suezo and some of the monsters and villains like Gali or the Black Dino captain. Even having major voice actors like Sam Vincent (Ed, Edd, and Eddy fame) as the voice of Hare, and you have a young Andrew Francis voicing the protagonist Genki.

However, though as the anime in the US had its pros, there were some cons in the series that might get some people upset in this day and age is that some of the stuff in the series may have censored some moments such as removing references of Hare’s gas attack (an attack where Hare farts on his foe. In the US version, it’s changed to a rabbit punch). Other changes were mostly stuff such as removing the Tecmo logo, and altering scenes of violence where it’s not so dragged out or extremely painful. This is nothing new as anime in the 90s to early 2000s had this level of typical censorship, and some of it doesn’t seem to be that bad. I could list more of the changes, but that would take away from this review. Another happens to be the “Unlock Your Disk” song, a song that is played in the first break that feels great with it’s rap-like tone. However, it feels like a knock-off of the Poke-Rap. The beat’s good though, but again..doesn’t feel orginal.
With that done, that’s my review of the Monster Rancher Anime. For those who are asking, there are more episodes, fear not, I’ll be doing future reviews of the later episodes soon. So don’t worry, we’ll see what happens to Genki and his friends soon enough.

References