Category Archives: Film, TV & Anime

Emma Maree Reviews: “Soul Eater”!


Maka is a Meister and Soul is her Weapon. As students at the Grim Reaper’s Death Weapon Meister Academy, their study habits couldn’t be more different. But in battle against the supernatural forces of evil, they’re a freakin’ lethal team.

That’s when Soul transforms – literally – into a razor-sharp scythe, and every defeated wicked soul he sucks down makes him more deadly. That’s when Maka unleashes the merciless slayer within, wielding her partner and dropping monsters. Seriously. Monsters. Like the witches, werewolves, and zombies that lurk in the shadows and feed on the souls of the innocent. Every freakish ghoul Maka and Soul take out strengthens their bond, and fighting alongside their fellow Meister/Weapon classmates, Maka and Soul are the world’s last line of defense against evil.

I just finished watching all four seasons of “Soul Eater”. I try to pick up lessons from anything I enjoy that I can apply to my creative life, and Soul Eater was a powerful lesson in both great visual character designs and engaging, unique character personalities.

The main characters all have their stereotypes (Maka is a hard-working student with an angry streak and absentee parents, Black Star is a self-centred orphan with a ego the size of the moon, Death the Kid is a perfectionist with crippling OCD) but there’s sides to their personalities that unfold as the story progresses and gives them real depth. Plus, the story has a powerful underlying message about being able to accept your friends, despite how different they might be to you.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cB8_YMEO5Q[/youtube]

This is Soul Eater, eating a soul. (Credit to Aomineche on Tumblr)

It also gained a lot of points by having a central relationship between a girl and a guy, both best friends and fiercely protective over each other, without resorting to romance. I felt like the ‘bromance’ worked out better for the anime and made their relationship feel much more powerful.

So if you’re looking for a new anime, you can do worse than this sweet anime and it’s gorgeously designed world. The storyline isn’t anything to write home about, with a lot of recap and a few loose ends that never get tied up, but it does the job and the world of the DWMA is beautiful and fascinating.

 

The Doctor’s Wife

This weekend’s episode of Doctor Who was “The Doctor’s Wife”, in which the Doctor searches for other Timelords on a junkyard planet and the consciousness of his spaceship, the TARDIS, becomes trapped in a human body.

Favourite episode of the season? YES.

Favourite episode since Matt Smith became the Doctor? YES YES YES.

This episode was like someone took everything I love (namely, the Doctor and the TARDIS’ fantastic boy-and-his-car relationship) and made it cute and funny and sad and beautiful. And as for all the other awesome little things, like Rory, the old control room, patchwork zombie people, retro corridors–yeah, let’s not get me started…

Thor and 3D Movies

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOddp-nlNvQ[/youtube]

“Thor” was out for advanced screenings last night, so Marvel fanboys Dave and Josh brought me along with them to watch it.

More Norse mythology than Marvel mythology, it’s the story of Odin’s son Thor, the God of Thunder, being exiled to Earth. Thor has to fight to find a way back into Asgard while his brother Loki goes after his father’s position as King.

The Marvel twists to the story come in liberal references to other superheroes like Tony Stark, a Hawkeye cameo, and a visually stunning mix of Norse magic with sci-fi technology. It’s not one to watch without a good handle on Norse and Marvel mythology, and the climax felt a bit rushed, but it’s a solid Marvel movie.

We watched it in 3D, which is where I have to grumble that I am getting sick of 3D movies, and I’ve only seen 3 so far. Avatar used it quite nicely to show depth (and to hide a weak plotline with shiny visuals), but in the other movies it made the film feel more fake rather than real.

I’m quite capable of telling that a character in the foreground is in front of the background. When 3D makes them ‘pop-out’ it just seems clunky, like cardboard cut outs standing in front of a backdrop. It also makes action scenes blurry and nearly impossible to follow, and it’s a shame to miss out on all the awesome choreography and special effects because I’m too busy trying to work out what is flying where.

(And don’t get me started on when you’re watching a movie in 2D and half the shots are playing around with depth in a way that screams ‘I’M SUPPOSED TO BE IN 3D. LOVE ME. LOVE MY ILLUSION OF DEPTH.’)

I think I’ll stick with 2D next time, it’s more fun and less hassle.

Discworld with a Sci-Fi Twist in Doctor Who, “The Beast Below”

This is the UK, a flat space colony which sits on the back of a giant star whale floating through space.

All I’m saying it, if they ever go back here the Doctor better be wearing a hat saying he’s a Wizzard.

Not much to be said about the episode that hasn’t been already said on Twitter – I thought the episode was very unsubtle in it’s points and subtext, but the messages about political choice were fun nonetheless – especially “Every five years, you choose to forget.”

Our Inverness girl Amy was lovely as the assistant, she really starred in this episode and currently has a good relationship going on with the Doctor that’s just childishly innocent enough to nod back to how they met.

It was also great seeing Matt’s take on the Doctor when his personality becomes less human and more Timelord. When the Doctor distances himself from humans is always some of my favorite parts, whether he’s talking about how powerful he is, his past, what all he’s done in his time, and even when he’s simply giving the aliens a point of view. It’s these moments that give the Doctor his flair as a unique character – he isn’t human, and if he’s always acting like one he loses a lot of what makes him the Doctor. In the last two episodes particularly he seems to be having trouble keeping his usual level of respect towards humans, though after this episode that will probably slacken off a bit.

Personally, though, I think Matt needs a bit more practice at conveying emotional intensity. When he spoke about what he was going to have to do to this episodes alien, the dialogue was perfect but the delivery fell a little flat. I think it’s because I’m used to Nine and Ten, who could suddenly switch to serious dialogue with some big clues in their body language and tone.

Liz 10 was a fantastic character for the first half of the episode, but she lost her brilliance quickly as soon as they got into the tower. I was half-hoping the mask would mean she was half-Smiler and the mystery as to what was going on with them would deepen, but it was glossed over instead. It was fun while it lasted.

This episode is a lot more enjoyable after the Discworld connection was made, though, so thanks to Hannah for pointing it out. You can check out her blog over here.

The next episode is the one I’m really excited about though, despite it’s weird and wonderful concept. Stereotypically British Daleks spouting lines that were tailor-made for me to love. I’ll be counting the minutes. I hope one of them has a top-hat and monocle, c’mon Moffat!

Best of 2009 – Part 1

I’ve finally started piecing together my highlights of 2009. I’ll be splitting this up into at least 2 blog posts – this one includes best album, movie and book. The next post will include best game, live event, TV Show and webcomic.

Obviously this isn’t an expert link – it’s restricted to only what I’ve seen, heard, read or played and to my own personal tastes. Your milage is going to vary, so leave a comment with your own “Best Of”s, suggestions for what I’ve missed out on, or a link to your own blog posts about it.  You no longer have to be a registered site member to comment which should make things easier.

Best Album Of 2009

Biffy Clyro’s “Only Revolutions”

I love Biffy Clyro. A lot. They’re Scottish, they’ve got strong catchy melodies and beautiful lyrics, and since they broke out in the music scene with “Puzzle” they haven’t set a foot wrong. “Only Revolutions” takes things up a notch without compromise, and without losing the style that got them where they are.

Runners Up: Muse “The Resistance”, Placebo “Battle for the Sun”. Brand New’s “Daisy” could also be worth a place here once I give it a good play-through.

Best Movie Of 2009

“Up”

There were a lot of great movies this year, but when it comes to a balance of story-line, style, characters and soundtrack “Up” has to be my choice this year. A heart-string tugging return to brilliance for Pixar.

Runners Up: “Coraline” was a brilliant comeback for traditional claymation, and though “Avatar”s story gets a lot of slack it’s beauty, special effects and skilled use of what’s normally a gimmick have made it a game-changer for movies to come.  “District 9” was another close one.

Best Book Of 2009

This wasn’t my best year for reading. I’ve been short of time to get through my own tastes, or any of the critically acclaimed newcomers like “Wolf Hall”. Instead it’s been a stream of stories forced into following the “Twilight” formula.

Not the best quality genre to pick from, but I have to restrict my choices to what I’ve read.

“Hush, Hush”

hushhush1

My favourite new YA of 2009, “Hush, Hush” a smart plot backed up with solid mythology, relatable characters and absolutely brilliant dialogue with sharp innuendo throughout. When other YA books are sticking to the formula Fitzpatrick unashamedly breaks out of the mold with her strong-willed protagonist and far from perfect love interest.

No book is perfect and it does suffer a bit from sledgehammer hints (inserting the words ‘angel’ in at every opportunity while the protagonist spends far too long figuring it out) it doesn’t stop the story from being completely gripping from start to finish. I can’t wait for the sequel.