Friday, November 27, 2015

2015, Week 12: Favre from perfect

2015, Week 12: Bears 17, Packers 13


What a tough loss. It was another heart-wrenching loss, not to mention to their archrivals, the Chicago Bears. So many things were lost on this night - the chance to tie up the Bears in the all-time series (now 94 to 92), the chance to go ½ a game up on the Vikings in the division, any real chance at a first-round bye, and of course, a loss on the night the Packers retired Brett Favre's number.

The highlight of the game was halftime, when the retirement of Favre's number took place. Favre gave a great speech that made me a little teary-eyed, and then Bart Starr, perhaps for the final time, was brought out to the field, where he shared an embrace with Favre. It was a very touching moment that I'll remember for a long time.

The game was very disappointing, but I choose to just think about the halftime ceremony, which was a great moment that hopefully takes the sting out of the loss (or, perhaps because they lost on the same night, makes it a little worse).

+'s & -'s:

+: Favre and Starr.

-: Davante Adams, James Jones, J.C. Tretter.

2015 Green Bay Packers: 7-4
Next week: at Detroit

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Parasyte 7: Jaws

Parasyte episode 7 review


In case you didn't think the Parasytes (Parasites?) could get any more disgusting, here's one that comes out of someone's jaw. He's given the very unique name of "Parasyte," which really ought to distinguish himself from the others.

This episode consists of Shinichi meeting Uda, a guy with a parasite out of his jaw. Uda is a very emotional guy, while "Parasyte" has an absolutely obnoxious voice and manages to annoy every time it opens its mouth. Shinichi and Uda try to work together to fight against Shinichi's mother, now taken over by a Parasyte. While the two of them succeed, Shinichi manages to be a jerk to both the girl who got a crush on him and also Murano at the very end of the episode. If Shinichi's going to keep on being a jerk, then what's the point of him being our hero? He's not the type of guy I want to root for.

The episode was fairly entertaining, though it still showed the weakness of Parasyte, that weakness being the lack of any good characters. Uda was nice for some comic relief, but that's pretty much it. And Shinichi has turned into an absolute jerk to anyone and everyone. I'd enjoy this series a lot more if there was more of a focus on characters, not on the gross-out Parasytes.

Episode rating (out of four stars): **½

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

AgK 14: The Esdeath Show

Akame ga Kill episode 14 review


It's amazing how one good character can perk up an entire series. A little while ago, I was writing the obituary for Akame ga Kill, but ever since Esdeath reappeared on the scene, everything is coming up roses.

Esdeath is funny, she's crazy, she's hilarious, she's insane, she's evil, and let's not forget that she's hot, always good for a little fanservice. She's a fantastic character. Every time she's on screen, you know something bizarre is about to happen.

She gets a flashback in this episode, which may be the death knell for her, if this was Bleach. We're not sure if that pattern will hold here in Akame ga Kill. The flashback manages to make Esdeath even more awesome, as we see just how crazy and insane she really is. She drinks a cup of blood, which gives her the Imperial Arms that allow her to control ice. It's just a funny scene that also helps build her character even more.

As Esdeath and Tatsumi play around on the island, Tatsumi thinks about trying to convert Esdeath, but he quickly gives up on that. Esdeath helps him defeat the Danger Beasts, while also getting in some kissing and "date time." Let's not forget the hilarious line that came after Tatsumi said that he wanted her to hit him, to try to wake him from a bad dream. Her line: "I didn't know you were into that stuff." She thought that made Tatsumi an even better match for her. I just love this character, she's hilarious.

This was an episode of great fun. Sure, you can argue that not much happened in the plot, but I'll argue that the character-building was worth the episode. When Esdeath is on screen, you should be ready for fireworks and hilarity.

Character of the episode: Esdeath

Episode rating (out of four stars): ***½

Monday, November 23, 2015

2015, Week 11: BTFI

2015, Week 11: Packers 30, Vikings 13

The Packers said their motto this week was "BTFI," which is unknown for what it actually stands for but you can probably take a pretty good guess as to the meaning of the letter "F."

In any case, the Packers put together a complete game, even with their struggles in Vikings territory. Mason Crosby, the guy who missed the game-winning field goal last week, struck right back with 5 field goals, all successful. James Jones, the guy who disappeared for the last few weeks, wore a hoodie under his jersey and came up with a huge touchdown catch and a two-point conversion catch. Most of all, Aaron Rodgers silenced the critics by throwing for two touchdowns, no interceptions, and playing a very solid (if unspectacular) game.

But the defense was spectacular by every category in this one. How do you manage to shut down Adrian Peterson? I don't even know how that's possible, but the Packers managed to do it in this one. Peterson was limited to a mere 45 yards, which seems unfathomable. He got doubled up by Eddie Lacy, the formerly-benched running back who got to the century mark on the nose in this one. The Packers defense, unable to sack a quarterback since the bye, ended up with 6 sacks and completely terrorized Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

It was a complete performance by the Packers in this one, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Vikings had taken sole possession of first place in the NFC North, but the Packers are now once again tied for first, with the temporary tiebreaker of having the head-to-head victory (there's a rematch in Week 17). Now the string of NFC North opponents continues, with two straight Thursday night games. First, Thanksgiving and the post-turducken game against the Bears, then a rematch with the Lions in Detroit. If the Packers continue to play like there's a fire under their butt, then I expect them to continue their winning ways rather than go back to that losing streak.

+'s & -'s:

+: Crosby, Jones, the defense in general.

-: Randall Cobb (some big drops).

2015 Green Bay Packers: 7-3, back in 1st place
Next week: vs. Chicago on Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Parasyte 6: Migi Mouse

Parasyte episode 6 review


In a bit of a departure from the earlier episodes, this one begins with Migi actually helping Shinichi, by creating a heart for him after he was previously stabbed there by the "associate" who took over his mother's body. This episode, by the way, is not for the faint of heart (pun intended), as I got a bit squeamish seeing all the surgery Migi performs on Shinichi. But Migi proves itself to be actually somewhat of an ally to Shinichi, saving his life after that attack.

Shinichi wakes up, and in a scene stolen straight out of the 1st Spider-Man movie, he can suddenly see better without his glasses than with them. He can also hear better, as we'll see later in the episode. But he's able to get a hold of his dad, who's being told by some guys that all he saw was just a dream.

Shinichi goes on a ship to meet his father in the hospital, where a girl becomes friends with him overnight. She happens to run the hotel that Shinichi is staying at. All this seems pretty meaningless, given Shinichi's relationship with Murano, of which a bit we see as Shinichi leaves his house. Anyway, Shinichi needs Migi's help to find the "associate" of Migi's who is coming for him. This time, Shinichi's going to fight and avenge his mother's death.

As boring as my review of the episode sounds, it was actually not too bad of an episode. Just don't eat or drink while watching, because of the Grand Theft Auto level of blood and gore.

Episode rating (out of four stars): **½

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

AgK 13: Kennywood's open

Akame ga Kill episode 13 review


The Danger Beasts are the main plotline for this episode. Basically they're like the Muttations of the Hunger Games. They kill people. And they're formerly human beings, as I take it from the conversation Esdeath had with a member of the Imperial forces.

Both Night Raid and the Jaegers set out to kill the Danger Beasts. And as before, it's the Jaegers who are the more interesting group of characters. You've got Bols, who balances his horrible past with his loving wife and child. You've got Kurome, who plays chess with Wave while snacking on some sort of cookie. And you've got Esdeath, the new best character in AgK who manages to pull off brains, brawn and beauty all at the same time, and an awesome mix of crazy and evil.

For the first time that I'm aware, the "Boss" of Night Raid is actually called by name, Najenda. She sets Night Raid out on their quest to kill the Danger Beasts, a quixotic quest for our band of heroes who try their best to hide their heroic ways. But in the process, Tatsumi's fly is down, and the most immature brand of humor sets in. We here in Pittsburgh have a phrase for the fly being down, by the way: "Kennywood's open!"

Getting that out of the way, we now see Tatsumi talking with Lubbock. And what would spell doom for Lubbock in Bleach is that he goes ahead and has a flashback of his prior life to Night Raid, where he chased after Najenda and followed her from the Imperial army to Night Raid. Najenda in her prior life looks nearly identical to Teletha Testarossa from Full Metal Panic! But it's an unrequited love for Lubbock. I guess Najenda has some "feminine charm" after all. How many episodes do you think Lubbock has left? I'm putting the over/under at 1.5.

Finally, we have Esdeath literally falling out of the sky to meet Tatsumi. This is very similar to some of the antics I've noticed in The Familiar of Zero. When you have two characters who clash with each other, you've got to find every way possible to get those characters to meet, even if it means literally dropping them out of the sky. I love Esdeath, and I kind of sort of hate Tatsumi. As farfetched as it was for Esdeath to meet up with Tatsumi once more, I look forward to seeing what will go on between the two.

Character of the episode: Esdeath

Episode rating (out of four stars): ***

Sunday, November 15, 2015

2015, Week 10: How to lose a game in 3 ways

2015, Week 10: Lions 18, Packers 16

There was a chess book I had with a sample game that was called "How to Lose in Nine Moves." This time, it was how to lose in 3 different ways.

First, there was the offense stinking it up for 3½ quarters and falling into a 12-3 hole. Then there was the defense giving up a touchdown to make it an 18-10 lead. But the Lions missed their second extra point of the game, giving the Packers new life with less than 2 minutes to go.

The Packers would go downfield and score a touchdown to make it 18-16. They would miss the two-point conversion, seemingly losing the game. But they recovered the onside kick, getting a third chance.

But Mason Crosby missed the game-winning field goal, and the Packers lost by 2. It was one of the most heart-wrenching losses I've ever witnessed.

+: Justin Perillo.

-: Everyone else.

2015 Green Bay Packers: 6-3, 3 straight losses
Next week: at Minnesota