Sunday, January 27, 2019

Dragonball Super: Brolly (2019) review

            Unless you've been living under a rock lately, it would be hard for you to miss  the advertisements for Toei Animation and Funimation's newst baby, Dragonball Super: Brolly the movie. This movie has an immense amount of hype behind it as it has such a profound legacy to live up to.
     
              Akira Toriyama, CEO of Toei Animation and all around mega animation superstar, created the original incarnation of the Dragonball universe, Dragonball, back in 1984 for Shonen Jump Magazine. Dragonball was the third manga created by Toriyama-san, after 1978's Wonder Island and 1980's Dr. Slump, and were featured in the weekly manga anthology magazine. Dragonball quickly became popular in Asian countries and the Western areas due to its intense fighting and very interesting characters, each with their own unique personalities. Toriyama-San loosely based the ideas of the Dragonball universe on the ancient Chineese legend Sun Wukong aka the Monkey King of whom Goku is supposed to take after.

             Funimation helped introduce the Dragonball world to the small screen when it began dubbing the animated version of the series for western audiences. This helped skyrocket the series to other audiences who may not have been following Dragonball in its manga form. Tragically, all anime companies took a major and unfortunate hit during the 2008 recession. Alot of major animation and manga companies had to shut down due to financial  struggles.

          Funimation took a huge hit but also had the good sense to wait and feel out the recession. As the recession slowly receded, Funimation began buying up the rights to a about 90% of the shows that were given up when other companies shut down. As Funimation began to slowly rebuild its brand, it pushed hard to bring anime back to the west, even creating its own convention. Without Funimation's tenacity, anime like Dragonball might not be as strong in the world as they are today.

            But enough about all that, let's get back to the movie review shall we? Without a doubt Dragonball Super: Brolly is projected to be thee biggest hit to date for the mega franchise. It was the first anime to ever be debuted on an IMAX screen in the western world, first to have a red carpet premiere in both LA and NYC, it's also projected to have an over $8 million take for its opening weekend alone. It landed the number one spot in America, until Shyamalan's Glass came out, but still, an amazing run for this series.

          The movie itself doesn't disappointed in ANY aspect. The animation was stunning, absolutely  beautiful. You can tell there was a mixture of CGI and hand drawn animation used with some rough cuts of Vegeta showing in a particular scene. The narrative during the fights scenes was an anime first. The fight scenes were done from a first person pov and jumped from Goku and Vegeta to Frieza and Brolly. You could really feel like you were in the movie with them and this will be a great viewpoint for any VR system this movie plays on.

              And if that wasn't enough, it was hilarious! With scenes of "accidental" deaths by certain heroes and villains alike. We see just how vain and selfish both Frieza and Bulma are. We also get to see Goku and Vegeta's parents back on Planet Vegeta when they were very young. And we see young versions of many of our favorite characters and surprises like, gasps, Napa had hair! Mind you, I have never seen so much Saiyan and other alien tits and ass in my life! You'll see what I mean when you watch, lol.

             Of course the main feature was Brolly and the dynamic between him and his father, Paragus. This new Brolly movie is completely different from its predecessor, storywise, and while I love both versions, I did appreciate the back story of this new one moreso. They actually explained where Brolly's uncontrollable strength comes from and why he can't handle it all. He's less legendary Saiyan and more mistake that was never handled properly.

            The ending does leave things wide open for all the characters to meet up once again, should they decide to continue the anime or manga in something beyond DBS. And with the popularity of this series unending, I'm sure we'll soon be treated to more episodes covering the lives of our favorite Saiyans for eons to come!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

NY Video Game Awards 2019

               On Tuesday January 22nd, 2019, I had the pleasure of attending the 8th annual NY Video Game Awards show at the SVA Theatre in Chelsea (lower west side of Manhattan for all you tourists out there).  David Delliquanti from the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, returned as host for a third year in a row. This awards show is brought to you by Ny Game critics foundation which is a charity that focuses on scholarships for kids and community outreach here in NYC.   

             The VGAs featured several gaming achievement categories in which the winners were presented with their awards. in front of us live viewers and fellow Twitch streamers. There were 13 award categories and then a few honorable mentions, including the Andrew Yoon Legend Award which went to Jade Raymond, one of the creators of Assassin's Creed. As expected, God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Tetris Effect were the three biggest winners for the night, each winning in multiple categories.

           We fans were treated to an amazing night of mingling with fellow gaming enthusiasts, celebrities, comedians and more. Everyone in attendance received codes to four free Steam games, two of the free games were winners at the show. After the show, we were treated to free beer and liquor, courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery, along with tunes from DJ Reznor.

          There were a lot of highlights from this show but a few moments that stayed me with were the comedic videos the host, David Delliquanti, show to us in between awards. The funniest being an 'In Memorandum'  segment where the host shows us videos of his most tremendous death scenes in random video games he played throughout last year. The most, and best portrayed, deaths came from Fortnite (I mean, what more prolific death can you expect other than a Fortnite death).

           My personal favorite highlight of the night was when we were given the opportunity to watch upcoming game trailers and one in particular stood out. Treachery in Beatdown City is an upcoming, 8-bit arcade style fighting game that was crowd funded into existence on Kickstarter and will be released later this year for the PC and Nintendo Switch. The sound track features the collaborative works of Mike Eagle, Mello Makes, and Inverse Phase. I absolutely loved what i saw of this game. Picture 8-bit versions of people from the 80s, and they get swept into a nefarious plot when a bunch of gangbangers kidnapped the president (whose name happens to be Obama).

           Follow along with the three main characters,as I'm unsure yet if  you can play as others, on this side scrolling, fatal fury-esque retro game.  I absolutely loved the design, the characters, and the story. from watching the trailer, it seems to be a very well put together game. It's also hella funny as you'll see in the trailer posted on this page. I can't wait for it to come out! All in all, I had a really awesome time at the awards show and hope to be back next year for the 9th annual NY Video Games Awards Show!



From this post:

Sean Alexander Allen (creator of Treachery in Beatdown City) - Twitter @aNUchallernger

Treachery in Beatdown City :

 Treachery in Beatdown City Trailer




NY Videogame Awards info:

NY Video game awards
           


Here's the winner's list from The New York Video Game Awards 2019

Big Apple Award for Best Game of the Year: God of War
Central Park Children’s Zoo Award for Best Kids Game: Nintendo Labo Variety Pack
A-Train Award for Best Mobile Game: Florence
Coney Island Dreamland Award for Best Virtual Reality Game: Tetris Effect
Off Broadway Award for Best Indie Game: Dead Cells
Tin Pan Alley Award for Best Music in a Game: Tetris Effect
Statue of Liberty Award for Best World: Red Dead Redemption 2
Herman Melville Award for Best Writing: Red Dead Redemption 2
Raging Bull Award for Best Fighting Game: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Freedom Tower Award for Best Remake: Shadow of the Colossus
Great White Way Award for Best Acting in a Game: Christopher Judge as Kratos in God of War
The Andrew Yoon Legend Award: Jade Raymond
Captain Award for Best Rookie Esports Team: Knicks Gaming
Knickerbocker Award for Best Games Journalism: Cecilia D’Anastasio

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Japanese new year celebration

         Today the Brooklyn Japanese American family association, or BJAFA, hosted their annual Japanese new year celebration in Downtown Brooklyn. Much like how there are Chinese new year celebrations held in Chinatowns across NYC, now other Asian cultures are trying their hand at educating others.

         The event was held at 509 Atlantic Avenue on Monday, January 21st, 2019 from 12 to 4 pm and although it was open to all, for a modest donation of only $15, it was still geared towards kids. There were five main events and several little booths on two floors of the theater. The small booths consisted of a "red carpet" photo ops area, a mask painting station, a place where you can get your name written in calligraphy and a food purchasing station. Food for the event was produced by BentOn Japanese healthy food catering company.

          There was a main stage where various performances were occurring every 45 minutes or so. When we arrived a little after 12pm, the first act had already started. They were the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center was performing on various taiko drum sets, flutes and other instruments. After the taiko drummers, we got to see actual mocchi being pounded and softened.  Mochi is a short grained japonica glutinous rice. It's often very hard but gets softened in a traditional pounding ceremony called "mochitsuki".

                The last two stage events were a live giant calligraphy drawing by artist, Tanaka Taisan, and a grand finale sword boot camp / fight performance by Samurai Sword Soul! I had a blast at the event but going with out a child,  did feel a little weird to me, but it was still a very fun event!

For more info on the artists,  please check out their websites below:

BJAFA
Www.bjafa.org

Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center
Www.taikonyc.com


Tanaka Taisan
https://stateoftheartsnyc.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/taisan-tanaka/

Samurai Sword Soul
https://www.samuraiswordsoul.com/


BentOn Catering and restaurant
http://www.benton.nyc/


           

Monday, January 21, 2019

Wanna volunteer to be a part of NYC Dance Parade 2019? Here's how

Sign up to volunteer for the 2019 NYC Dance Parade here --> 2019 NYC Dance Parade Volunteer Registration




             If you haven't heard, NYC is one of the best places to do just about anything at anytime of the day (or night). I personally am either board member, volunteer lead / coordinator / producer for many events that occur in NYC. One I wanted to tell you about, you may not have heard of is the NYC Dance Parade. This parade started back in 2006 as a political protest / response to a law that was passed back in the 1920s. 

          From 'Danceparade.org About Me' section: 

           "Our root is social justice. Our rhythm is unity. In the 1800’s, ballroom dancing was deemed devil’s work. In the 1920’s, New York City enacted the Cabaret Law to stem interracial dancing in Harlem Jazz Clubs. Nazi Germany banned “anarchistic” Swing Dancing in the 1930’s. Even recently, in 2006, a New York State Supreme Court ruled that, unlike other forms of art, social dance was not a constitutionally protected form of expression. We stand for all dancers, including you."

          Dance is the purest form of expression that was, until recently, a punishable crime. The Cabaret Law from 1926 made it illegal to go into any type of establishment and sing, dance, act, etc. It was believed that this law was initial enacted to target racially mixed Jazz clubs but soon spread to all establishments, regardless of race. Up until Halloween 2017,when the Cabaret Law was finally and officially abolished, NYPD could literally come into any establishment and write you a ticket for expressing yourself. Crazy right?


          Dance Parade makes light of the ticket situation by having its own version of 'Dance Police' that flutter up and down the parade route, dressed in their brightest colors, and hand out 'tickets' to all the parade watchers that aren't moving and shaking. (Not to worry, those tickets are actually invites to the Parade after party). There are about 140+ dance acts, mostly from the tri-state areas, some coming from other countries, that dance the entire length of the parade!


          The Dance Parade starts at 22nd street and 6th Avenue, goes all the way down to 8th street, and goes across to end at St Marks Place. At the end of the parade route you can then find the Dance Festival. Several acts perform on four strategically placed stages, one in St Marks Place and three more in Tompkins Square Park, offer even more variations of performers starting from 2pm until around 8pm. The parade also has four grand marshals that ride on floats all the way down the parade route, do speeches during the dance festival, and then end their night Djing or just having fun at the parade after party.  


          The parade uses volunteers for various duties, most of which are either walking (dancing) the parade route, being a liason for the grand marshals and riding on the float with them, or other positions. I have been working with the Dance parade for the past three years. I started as their volunteer coordinator, followed up being a parade marshal liaison to DJ Doc Martin (were i rode on his float with his wife and friends, and hung with him the entire day) and now I'm back as a senior member of the volunteer coordination team! Ready to shake it, shake it? Click the registration link or hit me up with any questions below! Ciao guys!


Image taken from danceparade.org

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Glass (2019) Movie Review





                 M Night Shyamalan has always, ALWAYS, reinvented the film maker game with his profound and abstract vision. No two movies are like and don't expect any sequels to follow in the direct footsteps of its predecessor. We can see that in both Unbreakable and its sequel, Split. In Unbreakable, the world was introduced to a new type of super hero and super villain. The super hero, in this case, isn't some dashing, overly good looking, god-like, rich person (or alien). Instead he's more normal, David Dunn, loving husband and father, works a regular 9 - 5pm job. Doesn't even know he's a super hero until a tragic accident occurs on his train ride to work. Unbreakable also introduced us to the main villain, Elijah Price, who later becomes known by his pseudonym, Mr Glass. 

             Nineteen years later, a sequel to Unbreakable is released and entitled, Split. Split stars James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy as Kevin Wendell Crumb and Casey Cooke, respectively. Kevin Wendell Crumb has dissociative identity disorder, or DID, and as three of his personalities deceive the other 20, including Kevin himself, a 24th personality emerges and kidnaps Casey and her friends thus setting up the third installment, Glass. 

             I saw Glass during opening weekend at an AMC Imax theater and I did not know what to expect honestly. I trust Shyamalan's creative direction, but on some occasions, he's missed the mark with me. As I sat through Glass, I was deeply entertained and thrilled at the dynamics. Glass takes place in a Philadelphia mental institution, run by Sarah Paulson's character, Dr. Ellie Staple, where Dunn, Horde, and Mr Glass have all been captured and detained. From here i was expecting the big final showdown between Horde and Dunn. But in true Shyamalan fashion, this movie took a huge swerve and redirected the entire film. 

            While I won't divulge the many twists that occur, I will say this tiny spoiler, this movie, and all the movies in this series, are all origin stories, and the biggest origins are revealed in Glass. While there were a lot of fighting scenes and major showdowns, I'm extremely happy Shyamalan changed things up with several plot twists in the end causing Glass to be a very smart film. We finally get to see Elijah's master plan, one that dated back all the way from when he was captured in Unbreakable. His plan is genius yet insane. A plan only someone as smart and passionate as Elijah, make no mistake, he owns this movie. That is until, in another spoiler twist, after Glass's plans are set in motion the audience finds out there has been a bigger and more secretive mastermind running things in this super hero versus villain world even before the events unfold in Unbreakable! 

           What I love about Shyamalan's films are that they aren't transparent, you think you know what's coming but he twists your mind more times than a rollercoaster. I found myself, by the end of the film, feeling a ton of empathy for all three of the main characters, understanding them more so in this movie over any of the others. (And yes, to understand Glass, you will need to have watched both its predecessors or you will be confused). I love that we are also given way more back story into each of the three main characters, to better understand what led them down their paths. 

         Shyamalan's use of certain mental health diseases being used as character superpowers was not shown as demeaning or indulging in anyway People who have these ailments should not be offended by the actors portraying them. It did give me more insight into what it's like or how people treat you when you have one of these diseases. 

          All in all, I absolutely LOVED this film! It was beyond enjoyable and thrilling to watch. It had perfect pacing, great setting and the actors were perfect for each role. If James McAvoy doesn't get some type of awards for his performance in both Split and Glass, the award shows are totally rigged!! You thought he was good in Split, but in Glass, he literally has to go through all 24 personalities, back to back,within the span of seconds! That's true acting! Go see Glass, now! And if you haven't seen its' predecessors, see those first, you won't be disappointed at all. Although this is truly the end of one of the best trilogies I've ever watched, Shyamalan did leave tings open for possible future sequels. Hopefully, we get to visit this world of super heroes and villains again soon!