Tuesday, June 30, 2015

All About Anime: Ladies Night- The Strongest Rolling Girls In The World

It's another All About Anime and today we are talking about two shows with a primarily female cast.  Both of these are recent additions to anime's illustrious line-up coming out within the last two years.  The pro wrestling anime Wanna Be The Strongest In The World debuted in 2013 in Japan, but came out only recently in English, and the coming-of-age zany action-comedy The Rolling Girls which is brand-new in 2015 in both English and Japanese.  Both feature strong women, hard work, weird jokes, and amazing animation. 

Pop idol by day, pro wrestler by night
"Not the face" has to be in Sakura's contract

Wanna Be The Strongest In The World tells the story of Sakura Hagiwara, a pop music idol who is a member of the group Sweet Diva.  She is their lead star when the group arranges a press event where the idols go to a local women's wrestling promotion Berserk to try out.  While there, one of Sakura's teammates in Sweet Diva speaks disparagingly of wrestling and irks one of the stars of Berserk, Rio.  Rio is angry and prideful, thinking it is disgusting that mere pop idols can assume they can make it in pro wrestling.  She takes the position of the long-term and established veteran who just hasn't made their own title run, but everyone has to go through in order to reach the next level... think Tyler Breeze's position in NXT with boobs and a camel clutch. Sakura steps into the ring to face Rio and it leads her into the world of pro wrestling full-time seeking a chance to be strong. Not just strong, but the Strongest in the World.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Strawhat's Streaming Shows: True Detective - Night Finds You

 Wait, what?

  I have this theory that HBO and George R.R. Martin have been such a good fit for each other because both take pleasure in messing with my emotions. Last episode I complained about the show being slow and having only one real character to get behind so far, Colin Farrell's amazing Detective Velcoro. And while I still stand by what I said about the season premiere not quite resonating with me the same way season one's premiere did, I can honestly say this second episode went over fairly well and might actually have been better as a season premiere. Except for some dialogue issues in the core of the episode.

"How do you kill that which has no dick?"

Sunday, June 28, 2015

On the Last Episode Of... The No Kayfabe Zone (June 22-June 28)

Welcome to "On the Last Episode Of..." where we recap the past week of the ongoing saga that is "The No Kayfabe Zone." In this past week:


Syan Vs Movies: Spy

 Spy is the newest Melissa McCarthy-led comedy film to come out after she burst into stardom with Bridesmaids and her television series Mike and Molly.  McCarthy’s manic motor-mouth delivery has kept her in high demand for work in Hollywood, but a lot of people held reservations about this new film after the disasters of Tammy and Identity Thief made many believe her to be played out and a one-trick pony.  Thankfully, Spy is much more like her buddy comedy The Heat than either of those other two comedies.

Best spy action since Kingsman
played Freebird

Spy stars McCarthy as Susan Cooper, an FBI agent acting as the desk support to a high-level agent, Bradley Fine, played by Jude Law.  Cooper is nervous and awkwardly flirtatious with Fine, but he is oblivious to her feelings.  After a deadly villain, Rayna Boyanov, played by Rose Byrne, reveals she has data on all the active FBI agents, Cooper steps up to volunteer for the mission, as she had passed all of her field duty exams… with flying colors. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

KO Coverage By A KO Look-A-Like: UFC Fight Night 70: Florida- Machida vs Romero

The real-life version of Street Fighter's Ryu is back in action! Coming off a devastating loss to new #1 contender Luke Rockhold, Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida returns to the octagon to fight rising star Yoel "Soldier of God" Romero.  Can the aging Dragon come back with a win or will he fall to the Soldier's blade?

Hey, I get 3/4ths of the frame.
Star power, bitches!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Rican's Free 2 Play Friday: Marvel Hero - Doctor Doom

Rican's Free 2 Play Friday, a weekly look into free-to-play gaming such as MOBAs, MMOs, Team Shooters, and more! This week we look at Marvel Heroes 2015, the MMO/Action RPG's 2nd anniversary and their newest playable hero: Doctor Doom.

"Everything dies.

You. Me. Everyone on this planet.

Our Sun, our Galaxy. And eventually, the Universe itself.

This is simply how things are.

It's inevitable and I accept it."

  Marvel Heroes went from an almost unbearably unplayable Diablo clone, to one of the more creative Diablo clones in recent memory. Between character balance fixes, client upgrades, endgame content patches, and special events; it feels now more like an actual Action RPG/MMO than a regular ARPG with a wonky social component. Today I look at the big system revamps and events that have accompanied the game's 2nd year anniversary, and the release of one of the games original villains, and most requested hero/villain since Magneto: Doctor Doom.

"I openly loathe you, Richards!"

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Comic Critique: Gotham Academy

Gotham Academy is DC Comic’s most risky book. Its main characters are two teenage high school girls with no powers. Its setting is in an aging private school.  However, this turns out to be its greatest strength.  Gotham Academy feels different from any other comic DC Comics, or any other major publisher, is putting out.  Where Gotham Central years ago gave us a view of how the average police officer sees life in a Gotham City in the shadow of Batman, Gotham Academy shows us how various children live in Gotham.  There is the fangirl who is amazed at the chance to see Batman, there is the prankster who wants to get away from a dangerous situation as quickly as possible, and there is the angsty teen who hates living under the constant light of the Bat Signal.  

Hope you survive the experience.

The popular Harry Potter series had magical school of Hogwarts which trained young witches and wizards so that they could have the skills necessary to survive in the world of magic.  Gotham Academy is the Hogwarts of Gotham City, but instead of learning spells, you learn how to survive the scary streets of Gotham.  Classes are held on the history of Gotham and the mysteries of the Cobblepot family.   The professors at the academy all appear to be much more than your average instructor.  Almost all of them carry a name that is an homage to a classic minor hero.   The librarian Mr. Scarlett could be a wink towards Golden Age Fawcett Comics (the company that published the original Captain Marvel, now known as Shazam, books) hero Mr. Scarlet who was a human crimefighter who used gadgets like Batman.  The drama teacher Mr. Trent is almost certainly a reference to Simon Trent, the Batman: TAS Gray Ghost (voiced terrifically by Adam West), and even makes a reference that he has experience playing a “ghost.”  Who better to teach the youths of Gotham than those who have fought to protect it?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Strawhat's Streaming Shows: True Detective Season Two Premiere

  Last year, HBO tried a fun experiment with the cop drama genre. Taking visual cues and thematic elements from movies like Se7en, Nic Pizzolatto both created and wrote the amazing True Detective. It starred Woody Harrelson and Matthew McCognaughey in roles that both defined the show's dualing themes and timelines, while also having a buddy cop drama aesthetic that ascended higher than many like it due to how different the characters where. The nihilistic Rustin "Rust" Cohle and the down-to-Earth Detective Martin Hart. The first season's initial murder mystery took our protagonists on a macabre ride into the occult and religious fanaticism while showing us the vulnerability of our heroes' own mortality. But that was Season One. As it turns out, True Detective, much like American Horror Story, is an anthology; the events and characters from Louisiana no more. It's a new setting, a new crime, and a whole new set of Detectives.

"Hey, my eyes are up here, soldier!"  

Monday, June 22, 2015

On the Last Episode of... The No Kayfabe Zone (June 15th-21st)

Welcome to "On the Last Episode Of..." where we recap the past week of the ongoing saga that is "The No Kayfabe Zone."  In this past week:

"Imma just lay here and die, if that's OK with you guys."

Friday, June 19, 2015

KO Coverage By A KO Look-A-Like: Bellator 138- Shamrock vs Slice & UFC Fight Night 69: Berlin- Jedrzejczyk vs Penne

A rare Friday-Saturday combo of KO Coverage all in one place.  Due to being on the West Coast of California, I can't do the usual live blog, but will be providing full play-by-play of the events of both the Bellator 138 and Fight Night Fight Pass exclusive fight cards.

A combined age of 92, but, hey, I wouldn't
want to fight either of them.
First up, is Bellator 138: Kimbo Slice vs Ken Shamrock, with the most dangerous man on the planet (circa 1999) facing the baddest backyard warrior Youtube had ever seen.  Shamrock had some success in the WWE before returning to MMA to continue his legendary fighting career, but at 51 years of age can he still stand in the cage and fight like he used to?  Kimbo Slice never found huge success in the bright lights of the UFC's main stage, but he has high-level name recognition and instant stopping power. Will he be able to drop Shamrock?

Rican's Free 2 Play Friday: Hero of the Storm - Kael'thas Sunstrider

Welcome to Rican's Free 2 Play Friday, a weekly look into free-to-play gaming such as MOBAs, MMOs, Team Shooters, and more! This week we look at one of the playable heroes from Blizzard Entertainment's Heroes of the Storm. 

  I've touched briefly on how certain characters can be self-sufficient and engage enemy players by themselves without really relying on teammates. Assassin types in Heroes of the Storm are exactly that type of character. While some can be more self-sufficient than others, especially those with stealth mechanics, one need to look no further than ranged caster types. Able to stand behind enemy lines and nuke the opposition, ranged assassins have a special role in Heroes of the Storm as damage dealing "carries." One of said carries is Kael'thas Sunstrider. And right up until the launch of Heroes of the Storm launch on June 2, 2015 - he was (and still is!) one the scariest casters in the game. 

"Bal'a dash, malanore!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Comic Critique- Angela: Asgard's Assassin

Sent from Heven above, Angela has had a long journey to getting her own series at Marvel Comics.  She was created at an entirely different company by Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane in the pages of Spawn.  Her character was used sporadically in various issues of Spawn throughout the 90s, but then began one of the most hotly contested legal battles in comic book history to decide who owned the rights to the angel Angela.  Eventually, Neil Gaiman won and promptly sold those rights to Marvel Comics. 

Cool cats never look back at the explosion

Angela made her first appearance at the end of the major event Age of Ultron (no relation to the plot of the movie except having the eponymous android as the main villain) in 2013 as the Marvel Universe began to show its first signs of collapsing. Time travel and universal abuse had fractured reality, changing people’s history, sending Galactus to the Ultimate Universe, and opening the gate to the new-found Tenth Realm of the World Tree, which allowed for Angela to enter the 616.  In the following year, during the Original Sin event, the eye of Uatu the Watcher revealed a secret to Thor Odinson: he had a sister.  This sister had been taken and thought to be murdered by the Angels of Heven who attacked Asgard because they felt Odin owed them a debt, and Angels do nothing for free.  In his rage, Odin and Freyja severed Heven from the World Tree and sealed them away, to forever be forgotten. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Winter Has Come: Mother's Mercy (Game of Thrones Season 5 Finale)

  Seven Hells.

  Just when you think it's safe to go back to Westeros, (Protip: it never is!) Game of Thrones throws a whole bunch of deaths your way. Needless to say, this review will be spoiler ridden (of course) and with lots, and I mean lots, of deaths. While there has been some complaints about the pacing of this season: too slow, Dorne story has been pointless, the Sand Snakes aren't engrossing characters, etc; I would argue that most of those faults were address and somewhat fixed (a bit rushy, but fixed) with "Mother's Mercy."

"I said second exit, Drogon!"

Monday, June 15, 2015

On the Last Episode Of... The No Kayfabe Zone (June 8th-14th)

Dany really cares about her friends

Welcome to "On the Last Episode Of..." where we recap the past week of the ongoing saga that is "The No Kayfabe Zone."  In this past week:

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Storytelling: The Song of Roland

Sunday Storytelling is a new selection of free-write space here in the No Kayfabe Zone. Rather than reviews or discussions about anything specific, Sunday Storytelling seeks to either be a (semi-regular) place to talk about favorite books and characters from the past or provide sample chapters of our own fiction.

A beautiful piece showing the entirety of The Song of Roland

Today, we're talking about the first great poetic chanson de geste epic, The Song of Roland, also known in its native French as La Chanson de Roland. More specifically, I want to talk about the main character and why I feel that Roland himself is one of the most magnetic pieces of medieval heroism.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

KO Coverage By A KO Look-A-Like: UFC 188- Velasquez v Werdum

The UFC Undisputed Heavyweight Championship is on the line for the first time in over a year!  Cain Velasquez, the man who took the title by beating Brock Lesnar in just over four minutes with furious punches, returns for his first title defense since October 19, 2013 to face the interim champion, Fabricio Werdum in Mexico City.

The Quickening is on the way!
Who is of the Clan McCloud?

In the remainder of the main card, we have Gilbert Melendez (4) vs Eddie Alvarez (9) in a Lightweight bout, Kelvin Gastelum (10) vs Nate Marquardt in a Middleweight fight, Yair Rodriguez vs Charles Rosa in a Featherweight match, and Tecia Torres (5) vs Angela Hill (15) in a Women's Strawweight contest.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Rican's Free 2 Play Friday: Hero of the Storm - Johanna

Welcome to Rican's Free 2 Play Friday, a weekly look into free-to-play gaming such as MOBAs, MMOs, Team Shooters, and more! This week we look at one of the playable heroes from Blizzard Entertainment's Heroes of the Storm.

Ask anyone that knows my Diablo 3 preferences and they'll tell you two things: 

"He likes Monks."

"He really really REALLY loves the Crusader class!"

Syan Vs Movies: Jurassic World

22 years after the release of Jurassic Park, we get the fourth installment in the series, Jurassic World.  Now, I will fully admit that I was never the biggest fan of the original, even as a kid I thought it was too silly and that Tim was annoying.  It had dinosaurs, though, and felt like they were just huge animals. Sure, the Tyrannosaurus Rex was a hungry killer, but he was hunting for food.  The Raptors used their pack to surprise and corner people (Clever girl!) and their intelligence to slowly adapt to their surroundings, like when they learned how to open doors.  Jurassic World chose to forgo any semblance of making a movie about the terrifying power of nature and instead made a monster movie using basic horror themes and then tries to become a kaiju tokusatsu at the end. 

It looks pretty bad, but she gets it SO much worse than you expect.
Like ridiculously over-the-top

We open the movie with a shot of an egg having a claw burst out and a sinister reptilian eye peeking out, showing that this movie’s focus is on horror movie tropes, rather than human character development.  It then shifts to Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson), two brothers who are both as infuriating as Tim was in the original. Gray is precocious motormouth who wildly runs about, while Zach is an angsty teen who just wants to stare at girls and rebel against authority.  A rushed and unresolved plot of their parents’ potential divorce is introduced before they are shipped off to Jurassic World for a vacation with their Aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who runs the day-to-day business of the theme park and is regimented and firm in following a planned agenda.  Last we meet the two opposite ends of the military training spectrum, Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) who has a need to mention he wants to use dinosaurs in military operations every time he opens his mouth, and Owen (Chris Pratt) our hero who trains velociraptors.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Comic Critique: Thor, The Goddess of Thunder

Marvel Comics have done much to bring a more balanced view of the world in the last several years.  We have had Carol Danvers step up to the mantle of Captain Marvel, becoming the preeminent female superhero of the Marvel Universe. We have had newcomer fangirl Kamala Khan take up her idol’s mantle in kind by becoming the new Ms. Marvel.  Spider-Man spinoff characters Silk and Spider-Gwen have sprang to life, with the latter actually outselling Spider-Man himself multiple times.  Storm, She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, Black Widow, Squirrel Girl, and others have gotten their own ongoing series.  No longer relegated to limited series or team member status, women are finally getting a spotlight in the center of the Marvel Universe.

She may seem all fun and games, but don't tickle Thor.
Seriously. Don't tickle Thor.
Floating high in space (and sometimes grounded down in the middle of Oklahoma), the shining citadel of Asgard has always represented the pinnacle of power in Marvel.  The Mighty Thor was the hero who seemed to be simply entertained by joining with his friends and their mortal adventures. After all, he is a god and they are just men.  The world of Thor is one of the few in Marvel Comics that allows for a more “pure” fantasy experience.  Where the others are often in New York and occasionally travel to other parts of the world, with the rare few exploring new worlds across the cosmos, Thor with a swing of his hammer and a call out for the Bifrost can be in a lush green forest filled with elves, or an icy mountainous landscape where he must face the Frost Giants, or a dark murky bog with all sorts of mythical beasts.  Thor’s writers are never as constrained by any of the rules that hold back other heroes.  In fact, to me, Thor’s best stories are when he’s just doing his thing in any of the Nine Realms EXCEPT Midgard (Earth to us Muggles… wait, I mean humans). With Mjolnir at his side, he was the only hero who was worthy of this power.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Ride is Over: Entourage the Movie Review

  Being mildly interested in the show for a better part of the last decade, I've enjoyed my on and off relationship with the Entourage series. Chronicling  the acting career of Vincent Chase and his childhood friends: Eric "E" Murphy, Salvatore "Turtle" Asante, Johnny "Drama" Chase from New York, and their agent Ari Gold as they navigate the unfamiliar terrain of Los Angeles, California. The series, in fact, mimics Mark Wahlberg's experiences with his friends as an up and coming star in Hollywood in the late 90s. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Winter Has Come: The Dance of Dragons

   Well, that was horrifying...

RPG Party Archetype #5821

  After being utterly convinced that HBO's Game of Thrones could not possibly top itself after last week's phenomenal "Hardhome." I was so convinced that I even decided to name this section dedicated solely to Game of Thrones related columns or reviews "Winter Has Come," based on the fact that I'm convinced the "Winter" the Starks have been dreading has officially begun. And then came "The Dance of Dragons." Part of the dreaded "Number 9" episodes that usually have a shocking death and or event (The Rains of Castamere, Blackwater, The Watchers of the Wall), "The Dance of Dragons" is a worthy addition to the tradition the show has imbued in it's own canonical culture.

Monday, June 8, 2015

On The Last Episode Of... The No Kayfabe Zone (May 31 - June 7)

"Y u do dis to me?"
   Welcome to "On the Last Episode Of..." where we recap the past week of the ongoing saga that is "The No Kayfabe Zone."  In this past week:

Saturday, June 6, 2015

KO Coverage By A KO Look-A-Like: UFC Fight Night 68: Boetsch vs Henderson

Hendo comes into NOLA to face a Barbarian!  Dan Henderson faced Tim Boetsch in a Middleweight bout! Who will win?

Also, Ben Rothwell faced Matt Mitrione in a ranker's war in the Heavyweight division that proved to be an impressive performance and Dustin Poirier looked to solidify his move into the Lightweight division after a tough loss to Conor MacGregor. 

Despite having no women's fights on the card and Daniel Cormier v Ryan Bader being canceled so Cormier could win the belt two weeks ago, we should have another great night of fights!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Rican's Free 2 Play Friday: Heroes of the Storm

Rican's Free 2 Play Friday, a weekly look into free-to-play gaming such as MOBAs, MMOs, Team Shooters, and more! This week we look at Blizzard Entertainment's foray into the MOBA space with Heroes of the Storm!

  As far as gaming genres in the PC community go, very few, command such a strong following and communities as the mighty MOBA. I've touched up on both the genre and one of the current kings, within said genre, in the PC landscape. And while DOTA 2 exemplifies the far end of all the gameplay obstacles that the genre has difficulty easing brand new players into, League of Legends feels like the happy medium within the playing curve. But Blizzard Entertainment has had a stake in the MOBA genre since it inadvertently gave birth to it during Warcraft III, or Starcraft if you want to be technical.


A byproduct of all of its existing franchises (and one could argue their genres), Heroes of the Storm is the MOBA specifically designed for the uninitiated in mind, while also keeping enough freshness and tactical dexterity hidden deep in its overly simplistic format to satisfy even veterans of the genre. Today, I look at the final product (after my months spent in the technical Alpha and Beta stages) and give my overall feeling of the game in its current incarnation. This is Blizzard Entertainment's first official MOBA (internally dubbed a "Hero Brawler"): Heroes of the Storm.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Syan Vs Movies: San Andreas

San Andreas is the most recent disaster movie that Hollywood has churned out. Dwayne Johnson (we don’t still need to call him the Rock, do we?) stars as Ray Gaines, a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter rescue pilot.  Ray is celebrated as being one of the most outstanding rescue operators with over 200 successful operations. We find out that Ray is in the process of divorcing his wife Emma (Carla Gugino) who has begun a new relationship with a wealthy architect named Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd).  Ray and Emma remain in Los Angeles while their daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario), goes to San Francisco with Daniel.  Blake meets a pair of kind brothers named Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and Ollie (Art Parkinson) while in Daniel’s San Francisco office.

The effects used for this movie are gorgeous.
Who knew destruction could be beautiful?

While they all go about their lives, a seismologist professor named Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) discovers a trend of magnetic spikes before earthquakes which allows him to predict the occurrences, but not before the Hoover Dam collapses in a huge earthquake. Lawrence then warns that California will be hit by huge earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault.  And so the stage is set for the action of San Andreas.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Comic Critique: Marvel's The Black Vortex Event

The Black Vortex, the last comic event before Secret Wars changes the game (RIP Marvel 616 Universe 1961-2015), is a crossover primarily between the Guardians of the Galaxy and the All-New X-Men in which they come across an ancient artifact of unimaginable power.  A mirror to the most powerful, yet potentially darkest, reflection of whoever looks into it and submits to its power, the Black Vortex is released upon the cosmos after being hidden away for millennia.

Like a cool version of the Mirror of Erised

The series begins with an ancient planet 12 billion years in the past, where the inhabitants worship a Celestial who they call the Godhead. One of these worshippers is a woman named Gara who calls out to the Godhead to look upon them and allow her to explore the cosmos. Soon after this, the Celestial leaves the planet and the Black Vortex mirror is all that remains. Gara submits to the power of the Vortex and turmoil erupts across her planet as we see she is the sole survivor of her species. In the present, Mr. Knife, a villain who has been harassing Star-Lord in his regular series, has found the Black Vortex and presents it to Thane, the son of Thanos who debuted in 2013’s Infinity event.  All of Knife’s subordinates, the Slaughter Squad, have used the power of the Vortex and become a major threat.  Kitty Pride and her boyfriend Star-Lord see that they cannot let the already powerful Thane use this artifact and steal it and flee from the pursuing enemies.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Winter Has Come: A Game of Thrones Event "Hardhome"

  After six seasons and countless, and I mean countless, "Winter is Coming" memes, Game of Thrones has officially delivered one of their most outstanding episodes, and Winter has arrived at Westeros. And while I initially wanted to write a review of the episode, I think we all can agree that's both wholly unnecessary and I wouldn't be able to give the show proper credit since I haven't exactly properly reviewed ANY episode ever of the phenomenal HBO series. So instead, I want to take you on a journey, as I watched Game of Thrones, Season 5, episode 8 "Hardhome," and why it should've been named "Winter."

So that's what Undertaker does in between WrestleManias...!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Comic Critique: American Born Chinese

 American Born Chinese is a graphic novel written by Gene Luen Yang that concerns the impact of life in America from the eyes of a young child of Chinese descent, while presenting a dramatic, lighthearted retelling of the famous Monkey King from the classic myth, Journey to the West.  

The main character hides away his inner self and puts up a charade
so that he may fit in better. But deep inside, Danny was always Jin.

The characterization carries a certain impact in the form of the protagonist, Jin Wang.  Jin is a young boy, who was born in San Francisco, yet is ostracized by the other children at school due to his Asian heritage.  The torment he receives makes him feel different and less than the other kids, so he begins to try and change himself and ignore his family history.