Top 5 on the Strip: Comic book squads edition

Teenage Mutant Ninja Tur­tles: The green crew with atti­tude shows up on a vari­ety of our favorite lists. We grew up in an era where the Tur­tles ruled every­thing for a good solid three years, cul­mi­nat­ing with the sec­ond live-action film. What most of the youn­gins didn’t know is that the Tur­tles got their start in comics in black-and-white incar­na­tions in 1984. The comics are highly sought after now because of their rarity.

The X-Men: Charles Xavier’s men have always been our favorite group of super­heroes. The merry mutants have always been at the fore­front of soci­etal issues (mutan­tism equals racism to a degree), and the group has always been relat­able. We’re excited that the comic book main­stays are com­ing into the MCU at some point; they deserve to be done justice.

The Avengers: Given there are numer­ous line­ups and dif­fer­ent loca­tions for the Avengers, we must nar­row down this pick to any squad fea­tur­ing Steve Rogers’ Cap­tain Amer­ica. To us, it isn’t the Avengers proper unless Rogers is involved to lead the charge. And, yes, we’re quite fond of the Mar­vel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse ver­sion of the group.

Jus­tice League: No list on squads would be com­plete with­out the cur­rent DC uni­verse lineup. Every­one on the squad is nec­es­sary: There is no Jus­tice League with­out Super­man, Bat­man, Won­der Woman, the Flash, Aqua­man or Cyborg. Despite the most recent movie not being a cohe­sive flick, the squad rep­re­sented there is the core expe­ri­ence that is the Jus­tice League. Also, it made Aqua­man cool.

The Boys: Rel­a­tively obscure until the recently fan­tas­tic Ama­zon Prime show, the Boys are great at one thing: stop­ping the dia­bol­i­cal supes of their uni­verse. Billy Butcher is cool as hell, and his entire crew is messed up in some way but loyal and awe­some. In the same vein, the Seven are amoral and ridicu­lously lead by Home­lander but just as shady and more weird than the Boys.

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Otaku Corner: Gundam Thunderbolt Vol. 1

Gun­dam side story delves deeper in the mecha ethos

“Only the dead know the end of war.” — Plato

As many of our read­ers know of my love for the Gun­dam series, I have men­tioned the series’ leg­endary mark on anime and pop cul­ture many times. Manga is no excep­tion since numer­ous Gun­dam series were printed out and read by many Gun­dam fans and big robot lovers, alike.

On a recent trip to 2nd & Charles, I found one of a few English-translated adap­ta­tions of Gun­dam manga that was a side story set dur­ing the events of the orig­i­nal series. While the main char­ac­ters were not present in this series, it nev­er­the­less told of the widen­ing con­flict between the Prin­ci­pal­ity of Zeon and the Earth Fed­er­a­tion as seen through the eyes of two des­tined indi­vid­u­als, each with their own views of jus­tice. “Mobile Suit Gun­dam: Thun­der­bolt “was my ticket to this lat­est chap­ter of the Gun­dam Universe.

Set in the Uni­ver­sal Cen­tury year 0079, the space colony Side 3 declared inde­pen­dence as con­flict between Zeon and Earth began. One year later, both sides engaged in a bat­tle for an area of destroyed space colonies known as the Thun­der­bolt sec­tor. Dur­ing this period, Daryl Lorenz, top sniper for a spe­cial unit known as the Liv­ing Dead Divi­sion, has enabled Zeon forces to con­trol Thun­der­bolt sec­tor with­out loss. How­ever, his luck changes when Io Flem­ing, ace pilot for the Earth Federation’s Moore Broth­er­hood fleet, ambushes a Liv­ing Dead mem­ber, killing him and tak­ing an enemy Zaku suit. As a result, Io is given a new mis­sion to fur­ther dis­rupt Zeon con­trol but with a new mobile suit: Gundam.

As the Liv­ing Dead dis­cover that a Gun­dam is being used, the bat­tle between Io and Daryl inten­si­fies amid the wreck­age of Io’s home colony, Side 4: More. With both sides hell­bent on each other’s destruc­tion, a new rivalry is set in the Gun­dam saga with var­i­ous music types pro­vid­ing the sound­track to a bat­tle where there is only one victor.

Read­ing MSG: Thun­der­bolt is a new take on the bat­tle between Earth and space. While Hajime Yatate and Yoshiyuki Tomino pro­vided the orig­i­nal story, Yasuo Ohta­gaki pro­vided a fresh per­spec­tive via story and art. I felt invested in Daryl and Io because tragedy has taken away hap­pier times in their lives. Both char­ac­ters were born in afflu­ent fam­i­lies who pros­pered as mer­chants, but war upended their lives. Daryl became a solider but was severely injured los­ing both legs, which gained his fam­ily the right to reset­tle on a Zeon colony and other ben­e­fits. He also had to adapt to using pros­thetic legs to regain his abil­ity to walk and to use a mobile suit.

Io lost his father, who was mayor of Side 4, to sui­cide dur­ing the Zeon assault. For­tu­nately, Io’s friends Clau­dia Peer, who is his com­mand­ing offi­cer (and lover), and Cor­nelius Qaqa, the fleet’s engi­neer, are there with him to carry the task of aveng­ing their lost home. Daryl also has the sup­port of his unit, who are also deal­ing with the hell­ish results of war. Ohtagaki-san’s detail to story and art was excel­lent from start to fin­ish, espe­cially with the designs of the Gun­dam, Zaku and Rick Dom suits.

The in-between drama for Io and Daryl is also accu­rate in show­ing the types of prob­lem that mil­i­tary ser­vice­mem­bers may deal with dur­ing and in between bat­tles. At these points in the manga, I felt that pulling for both char­ac­ters is jus­ti­fi­able as they are fight­ing a phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal war on all fronts. Finally, the music selec­tion closed the deal for me while read­ing Thun­der­bolt. Jazz and pop music set each chap­ter tone as if I was part of the bat­tle. Viz Media did a great job on adap­ta­tion and trans­la­tion of Thun­der­bolt with praise going to STAN! And Joe Yamazaki for care­fully pre­sent­ing Thun­der­bolt. They pre­sented the side story care­fully with­out com­pro­mis­ing what Gun­dam is about.

MSG: Thun­der­bolt is one of the few Gun­dam manga adap­ta­tions I felt did jus­tice to a series with­out sac­ri­fic­ing its cru­cial parts to tell its story. As Daryl and Io con­tinue their bat­tle, I plan to review their bat­tles in the future.

Bran­don Beatty is asso­ciate edi­tor of Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. He can be reached by email at brandonb[at]gaminginsurrection.com

We remem­ber Kirby Mor­row, 1973–2020

I’m ded­i­cat­ing this review to the mem­ory of Kirby Mor­row. Mor­row — best known for voic­ing Trowa Bar­ton from Gun­dam Wing, Billy Kata­giri from Gun­dam 00, Teru Mikami from Death Note and Miroku from the Inyusha series and its recent spin­off Yashahime: Princess Half Demon — passed on Nov. 18, 2020. Rest in peace, Kirby. You are for­ever loved. You are for­ever remem­bered. You are for­ever Gun­dam.

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Marvel character highlight #27: MODOK

Name: M.O.D.O.K. (Men­tal Organ­ism Designed Only for Killing)

Alias: George Tar­leton (real name), Big Head, Chair­man, Damo­cles Rivas, Ger­lach, M.O.D.O.C. (Men­tal Organ­ism Designed Only for Com­put­ing), M.O.D.O.F. (Men­tal Organ­ism Designed Only for Fun), Mis­ter Potato Head, Moddy, the Saint, Sci­en­tist Supreme

Affil­i­a­tion: A.I.M., Intel­li­gen­cia, K Sector

Spe­cial abil­i­ties: Super genius intel­lect, tele­ki­netic blasts, force field pro­jec­tion, telepa­thy, mind control

Back­ground: George Tar­leton worked as a tech­ni­cian at A.I.M. in Penn­syl­va­nia. He was exper­i­mented on by the Sci­en­tist Supreme, which resulted in a muta­tion of a large head and dra­mat­i­cally increased intel­lect. Once the exper­i­men­ta­tion was com­plete, George was dubbed M.O.D.O.C (Men­tal Organ­ism Designed Only for Com­put­ing) and placed in a weight-assisting vehi­cle to sup­port his com­i­cally over­sized head. Because of his vastly supe­rior intel­lect, M.O.D.O.K. quickly over­threw his for­mer boss and changed his name to reflect his mur­der­ous mind­set. M.O.D.O.K. has since been depow­ered and returned to a nor­mal human state by Amadeus Cho (aka Totally Awe­some Hulk).

Rela­tion­ships: M.O.D.O.K. Supe­rior, clone; Sean Madi­gan (Head Case), son

First Ver­sus appear­ance: Mar­vel vs. Cap­com 3

Appear­ances in other media:

Tele­vi­sion: Iron Man (1994 ani­mated series), Iron Man: Armored Adven­tures, The Super Hero Squad Show, The Avengers: Earth’s Might­i­est Heroes, Ulti­mate Spider-Man, Avengers Assem­ble, Phineas and Ferb: Mis­sion Mar­vel, Guardians of the Galaxy (ani­mated short), Mar­vel Disk Wars: The Avengers, Spider-Man (2010s ani­mated series), New War­riors (can­celed show), M.O.D.O.K. (upcom­ing ani­mated series)

Video games: Mar­vel: Ulti­mate Alliance, Mar­vel Super Hero Squad, Mar­vel Super Hero Squad: The Infin­ity Gaunt­let, Mar­vel vs. Cap­com 3, Ulti­mate Mar­vel vs. Cap­com 3, Mar­vel Super Hero Squad: Comic Com­bat, Mar­vel Super Hero Squad Online, Mar­vel: Avengers Alliance, Iron Man 3: The Offi­cial Game, Mar­vel Heroes, Dis­ney Infin­ity: Mar­vel Super Heroes, Mar­vel Future Fight, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, Mar­vel vs. Cap­com: Infi­nite, Mar­vel: Con­test of Cham­pi­ons, Mar­vel Ulti­mate Alliance 3: The Black Order, Marvel’s Avengers

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Property Review: Iron Man

The first com­ing of Tony Stark is one of the best MCU ori­gin stories

Iron Man
Mar­vel Stu­dios, 2008

The one that started them all. The metaphor­i­cal start of Robert Downey Jr.’s comic book-like redemp­tion arc. The birth­place of the Mar­vel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse. The begin­ning of the begin­ning. All of these titles are appro­pri­ate for Iron Man, the 2008 ori­gin story of vet­eran Avenger Tony Stark. Another title to throw in there? Magnificent.

It’s not just the tight story telling or excel­lent act­ing chops of the main cast. It’s also see­ing Stark make his turn into the Avenger we all know and love. Stark starts out super hedo­nis­tic and self-serving. Through his wound­ing and sub­se­quent cap­ture by the Ten Rings orga­ni­za­tion, lit­tle by lit­tle, you see Stark have the needed epiphany that he was, in fact, War Machine, not Iron Man. Half of its fun ride comes from this need to see him come to that real­iza­tion. The other half is, of course, learn­ing that Stark can apply his genius for good and pro­duc­tive ways while still being the bil­lion­aire phil­an­thropic play­boy he declares him­self to be to Steve Rogers in the later Avengers film.

Where Iron Man par­tic­u­larly suc­ceeds, how­ever, is the par­al­lel Stark shares with per­fect por­trayer Robert Downey Jr. What most new gen­er­a­tion Mar­vel fans don’t real­ize is, is when Iron Man was casted, Downey Jr. was not the bank­able star that he is now. The man’s past is well known to older fans and caused sev­eral — includ­ing him­self — to pause.

But the sin­gle most com­pelling thing about Downey Jr. is his will to bet­ter him­self, work every day like most oth­ers to redeem him­self and grow. That indomitable will shows in every sec­ond that Downey Jr. is Tony Stark/Iron Man. He is Iron Man. He is the liv­ing embod­i­ment of the char­ac­ter who strug­gled to redeem him­self and be a team player. Downey Jr. is such per­fect cast­ing that there is no one else that could ever step into the role. He became the character.

And for all that Iron Man suc­ceeds in doing bom­bas­ti­cally, it qui­etly sets up the rest of the cin­e­matic uni­verse per­fectly. Iron Man in its stum­bling glory is what we now know as the stan­dard for a Mar­vel movie. It makes Stark relat­able, tells his super­hero ori­gin story and sets up future films with a deft­ness that reminds us that there is, in fact, a plan for all of this. Now that we’ve seen that plan unfold, we can come back and praise the begin­ning for all that it is. The heart and soul of the MCU lives on.

Like the comics: 8

Act­ing: 8.5

Story: 8

Total: 24.5/30 or 8

HOW WE GRADE

We score the prop­er­ties in three cat­e­gories: Cast­ing (or voice act­ing in cases of ani­mated), plot and sim­i­lar­i­ties to its source mate­r­ial. Each cat­e­gory receives points out of the max­i­mum of 10 per cat­e­gory and 30 over­all. The per­cent­age is the final score.

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Anime Lounge #19: Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi Propose Hen OVA

Series: Sekai-ichi Hat­sukoi Pro­pose Hen

Episodes: 1

Premise: This is the OVA fol­low up to the goings on in boys’ love series Sekai-ichi Hat­sukoi. In this short episode, one of the crew work­ing at Marukawa Pub­lish­ing is get­ting mar­ried and the entire shojo manga depart­ment, Emer­ald, is invited. Dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings, Onodera and Takano inter­act with guests and each other. It comes to light that Takano has a cer­tain thing on his mind.

Is it worth watch­ing?: Yes. If you’ve watched all other sea­sons of Sekai-ichi Hat­sukoi — which you should have — this is a delight­ful treat. It’s a cute sort of wrap up show­ing just where every­one is now.

Break­out char­ac­ter: Takano Masamune. He always stands out as one of the main char­ac­ters but here he is just too deli­cious in his hinting.

Best episode: N/A

Where it’s going?: Even though it’s not what you’d expect for Takano and Onodera after some time away, it’s obvi­ous that their rela­tion­ship has pro­gressed. Hope­fully, in the future we will see some­thing along the lines of Onodera and Takano get­ting mar­ried as well.

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Strip Talk #29: We have lost our beloved king and so we mourn

We lost him. Some­where in that unre­lat­able ethos of the beyond, Chad­wick Bose­man is form­ing that megawatt elec­tric grin. He’s look­ing down on his legacy and see­ing the mil­lions that mourn him. He’s see­ing the trib­utes and the out­pour­ing of grief.

And he is smiling.

Some­how, in a moment where his star shot bright­est and high­est, we lost him.

Our king has been stricken and lost. He has ascended to a higher throne, a throne we can­not com­pre­hend. But we dare to dream, that he — our erst­while mar­velous king — is in a bet­ter place. A place that we can­not imag­ine but one we know that he ascended to because that is what it is to know of a man so great and yet so plain in his demeanor and words. We just know that of him. We feel that of him when we men­tion his name.

Chad­wick Bose­man did not pass away because of can­cer; no, he tran­si­tioned in great­ness as a man pre­pos­sessed of a quiet nature and com­mand­ing pres­ence. Open­ing to the world as a myr­iad of char­ac­ters, Bose­man caught the eye and the heart of many through his mea­sured por­trayal of King T’Challa in the awe­some, inspir­ing bom­bas­tic Black Pan­ther. He was T’Challa, in por­trayal and vis­age. In spirit and in mercy. He invited us into Wakanda, where black peo­ple are tech­no­log­i­cally advanced and free. He made us feel as though we were his loyal sub­jects, at any moment just as pre­pared to throw up the Wakan­dian salute as die for his high­ness. That a man could inspire that in nearly three hours of screen time is a tes­ta­ment to his power.

But we lost him.

There will never be another T’Challa or Chad­wick Bose­man. As it should be. We do not deserve a star so bright, and we should not ever be so deserv­ing of the essence of him ever again.

Lo, we lost him, but he will reign forever.

Lyn­d­sey Hicks is editor-in-chief of Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. She can be reached by email at lyndseyh[at]gaminginsurrection.com

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Marvel character highlight #26: Taskmaster

Name: Tony Masters

Alias: Taskmas­ter, Bar­ney Toast­mas­ter, Cap­tain Amer­ica, Chief War­rant Offi­cer T. McWilliams/Ground Crew Chief McWilliams, Tasky

Affil­i­a­tion: Power Elite, Raven­croft Insti­tute, Black Ant, Hydra, Hydra’s Avengers, Hydra High Sect, S.H.I.E.L.D. Secret Avengers, A.I.M., The Org, The Cabal, Ini­tia­tive, Shadow Ini­tia­tive, Com­mit­tee, U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M., Cyber Nin­jas, Lords of the Liv­ing Light­ning, Sons of the Ser­pent, Black Chop­pers, Trench­coat Mafia, Mili­ti­a­men, The Inqui­si­tion, Agency X, Fright­ful Four, Thunderbolts

Spe­cial abil­i­ties: Pho­to­graphic mem­ory and, after tak­ing an exper­i­men­tal ver­sion of the Super-Soldier Serum, the abil­ity to mem­o­rize the motor skills and abil­i­ties of oth­ers. This abil­ity comes at the cost of his own memory.

Back­ground: Tony Mas­ters was born in the Bronx and real­ized at an early age that he could per­form feats he’d seen on TV just by watch­ing some­one per­form them. When he matured, he joined S.H.I.E.L.D. as an agent. Dur­ing a mis­sion, he injected him­self with the Nazi exper­i­men­tal ver­sion of the Super-Soldier Serum (much like the one that changed Steve Rogers) and gained enhanced abil­i­ties gained through his pho­to­graphic mem­ory and reflexes. This came at the cost of his mem­o­ries as he over­wrote his true mem­o­ries with those of the per­son he observed. His wife, Mer­cedes Merced, then crafted the Taskmas­ter per­sona to help him. Through his ill-gotten gains as Taskmas­ter, he became a trainer of vil­lains, or any­one who would pay. He has trained sev­eral super vil­lains, been part of the Secret Empire and Hydra and re-learned his true past, only to lose it again after being forced to learn a new set of moves.

Rela­tion­ships: Mer­cedes Merced (wife)

First Ver­sus appear­ance: Mar­vel vs. Cap­com 3

Appear­ances in other media:

Tele­vi­sion: Ulti­mate Spider-Man, Avengers Assem­ble (animated)

Film: Avengers Con­fi­den­tial: Black Widow & Pun­isher, Iron Man (ani­mated), Cap­tain Amer­ica: Heroes United, Black Widow (upcom­ing live-action)

Video games: Mar­vel vs. Cap­com 3: Fate of Two Worlds, Ulti­mate Mar­vel vs. Cap­com 3, Mar­vel Heroes, Avengers Ini­tia­tive, Mar­vel: Avengers Alliance, LEGO Mar­vel Super Heroes, Mar­vel: Avengers Alliance Tac­tics, Cap­tain Amer­ica: The Win­ter Sol­dier — The Offi­cial Game, Mar­vel Avengers Acad­emy, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Avengers (2020), Mar­vel: Future Fight

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Top 5 on the Strip: Comic book games edition

1. Mar­vel vs. Cap­com series

If there were ever a polar­iz­ing yet fun fight­ing game, it’s prob­a­bly Mar­vel vs. Cap­com. The first few Ver­sus games are fun yet bro­ken, but you don’t know bro­ken until you get to Mar­vel vs. Cap­com 2. Spend­ing 18 hours at a tour­na­ment to watch the same 10 char­ac­ters fight in teams of three makes you dis­like and love a game at the same time.

2. Bat­man Arkham series

Batman’s run of action-adventure games has quite a few stand­outs. Rock­steady out­did them­selves in let­ting you become the Dark Knight and immerse your­self in the world of Gotham and the insane asy­lum that is Arkham. Any entries are clas­sics that shouldn’t be missed.

3. X-Men arcade game

Wel­come to die!” is a pleas­ant yet infa­mous greet­ing wait­ing for you at the end of the X-Men quar­ter muncher. Gold and Blue ’90s-era X-Men join and fight in a team of four to take on the Broth­er­hood of Mutants. It’s a fun romp that reminds you of how pow­er­ful the orig­i­nal ani­mated series was in terms of impact on gamers and comic book nerds alike.

4. TMNT 2: The Arcade Game

If there is ever a game on this list that per­son­i­fies GI and its life in the ’90s, it’s this sequel. Eas­ily one of the best quar­ter steal­ers of all time, TMNT2 took every­thing from the comics, the orig­i­nal ani­mated TV show and the movies and turned it into an ultra-fun excur­sion in the world of the lean mean green fight­ing machine.

5. Mar­vel Ulti­mate Alliance

An insanely fun brawler that’s chock full of Mar­vel awe­some­ness, the first Ulti­mate Alliance game is fun and full of depth. It’s also co-op and intro­duced you to the then-obscure Mar­vel char­ac­ters that are now house­hold names. I didn’t know the Win­ter Sol­dier then or Fing Fang Foom but I bet I do now. This is the Mar­vel encyclopedia.

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Otaku Corner: Pandemic blues or a geek’s battle cry against Covid 19

Or how we will learn to emerge awe­some from Downersville

As I write this, like many of our fel­low geeks around the coun­try and the world, GI staff are deal­ing with a new and unknown “nor­mal.” Ever since Jan­u­ary 20, the U.S. has been under siege by the Covid-19 virus caus­ing untold sick­ness and death. As an essen­tial worker for the state of South Car­olina, I have not had the com­fort of work­ing from home and have expe­ri­enced city-imposed lock­downs, bi-weekly quests to obtain basic sup­plies for home and work, and the daily reports of areas I had to avoid on the job. I also had to firmly but fairly inform vis­i­tors who come to visit their loved ones receiv­ing med­ical treat­ment at my place of employ­ment that vis­i­ta­tion was suspended.

Myself and Lyn­d­sey were hop­ing to cover many new games to play, movies to see at the­aters and the lat­est anime series to binge watch on Net­flix and Hulu. How­ever, Covid-19 has dealt a dev­as­tat­ing blow to release events of video games, can­celed comic book/anime con­ven­tions or forc­ing them to pro­vide vir­tual adap­ta­tions, slowed down pro­duc­tion of anime series caus­ing delays for dub­bing and releas­ing in var­i­ous global mar­kets, and of course, resched­ul­ing or direct to on-demand ser­vices for upcom­ing movies. As Lyn­d­sey and I pre­pare this edi­tion to upload I learned ways to soften Covid’s blow on #hot­geek­sum­mer and con­tin­u­ing #geek life:

  1. Sup­port offi­cial works of fran­chises: I know many of you have heard this phrase many times, but it’s impor­tant to do it since every time a new project for Dragon Ball Super or DC or Mar­vel releases, these com­pa­nies make deals with the creators/original stu­dios to han­dle voice cast record­ing, trans­la­tion, mar­ket­ing and other ele­ments to ensure the suc­cess of the stated project. By buy­ing offi­cial mer­chan­dise, every­one involved can be com­pen­sated for their awe­some work, ensur­ing that a loved series stays with its fans longer.
  2. Heed trusted wis­dom: By now, you’ve heard about the impor­tance of social dis­tanc­ing, wear­ing cloth masks, prac­tic­ing good hand hygiene and avoid­ing unnec­es­sary trips out­side home, right? There’s a rea­son for that; To stop Covid’s spread, these few yet effec­tive meth­ods dras­ti­cally reduce the chances of Covid spread­ing to inno­cent peo­ple, espe­cially those with seri­ous health issues. Also, please fol­low the advice of CREDIBLE sci­en­tists, doc­tors, nurses and other first respond­ing pro­fes­sion­als fight­ing the good fight against this dis­ease. By heed­ing this wis­dom, the chances of beat­ing Covid greatly increase.
  3. Patience, patience!: I know it’s eas­ier said than done, but even our favorite providers of nice things are affected. Car­toon Network’s “Toon­ami” block had to replay pre­vi­ous episodes of shows and do spe­cial events on the fly because con­tent licen­sors have had to fig­ure out logis­tics in devel­op­ing new episodes of cur­rently air­ing shows. Funi­ma­tion Enter­tain­ment was wait­ing on cre­ative part­ners in Japan to obtain episodes of recently acquired shows such as “My Hero Acad­e­mia” in addi­tion to fig­ur­ing out how its voice actors can record their roles safely. If these com­pa­nies had these prob­lems, Net­flix, Hulu and Crunchy­roll are hav­ing them, too. Give them a break. This applies to your favorite con­ven­tion, too.
  4. Sup­port your local geek mer­chants: Doing busi­ness in a pan­demic is CRAZY. For a cer­tain few, they have devel­oped spe­cific skills that has pre­pared them for this moment and are ready to help keep your sprits up. I bought said items from a local geek and friend of GI and they are awe­some, help­ing GI in its mis­sion to cover gam­ing and geek news as well as keep­ing us safe from Covid when doing vital out­side busi­ness. Also, sup­port those local busi­nesses pro­vid­ing safety options such as online order­ing, curb­side ser­vice and deliv­ery when you are hun­gry or chill­ing with comics. These choices keep them and their rock­star work­ers rolling in these mean Covid streets.
  5. All for geek, geek for all: As geeks of color, we know about feel­ing rejected and unliked by other fel­low geeks, which is not cool. How­ever, with recent news involv­ing geeks of Asian descent being accused of inten­tion­ally spread­ing Covid and assaulted, I have to say this: IT’S. NOT. COOL. While pro­fes­sional health and sci­en­tific orga­ni­za­tions have deter­mined that Covid started in China, geeks of Asian descent here in the U.S. and other places across the globe HAVE NOT con­tributed to its spread. In fact, they’re doing their part to help defeat it through var­i­ous actions. Let’s do our part in hav­ing each other’s backs and theirs, too.
  6. Level up self-care: You know your favorite heroes can be dealt some bru­tal pun­ish­ment giv­ing the bad guys a tem­porar­ily win, caus­ing our heroes to need to recover. Eat­ing prop­erly, a good exer­cise reg­i­men and proper men­tal health care are proven meth­ods to help in the come­back. It’s OK not to feel OK dur­ing this time; just remem­ber to do self-care to get back in the fight and win!
  7. Level up skills: With many anime/comic book con­ven­tions being shut down, this is the per­fect time to develop a new skill that could help you become stronger after this. Whether it’s set­ting up a game stream on twitch, cre­at­ing the next big pod­cast or pol­ish­ing moves for the next fight­ing game tour­ney, this is the per­fect time to skill up for many vic­to­ries that lie ahead. Don’t just apply this to things geek; you can also do this for adding on to a resume or other real-world sit­u­a­tions. I’m tak­ing some courses on emer­gency pre­pared­ness and other hob­bies, and it’s help­ful in improv­ing mind and body. Try it, you’ll like it.

I know that 2020 has been a com­plete Dump­ster fire for every­one thanks to Covid, but I want to leave you with this nugget: THINGS WILL GET BETTER. If we geeks get into for­ma­tion and com­bine like Voltron, we’ll win. Even if our favorite geek activ­i­ties are shut down, we will over­come and be ready for even more awe­some things. Why? Cause Stone jug­ger­naut said so. By the way, I’m giv­ing thanks to UAL — Urban Anime League, Neo Mon­ster Island, Arcade Impact, Nekitou’s Art­ca­dia and, of course, our awe­some read­ers, for pro­vid­ing cham­pion sup­port to us each time we go to print. We wouldn’t be able to do this with­out you.

Bran­don Beatty is edi­tor at large of Gam­ing Insur­rec­tion. He can be reached by email at brandonb[at]gaminginsurrection.com

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Anime Lounge #18: Death Note Ep. 6 — 12

Series: Death Note

Episodes: 6 to 12

Premise: A young man named Light Yagami is bored and incred­i­bly gifted men­tally. He’s look­ing for things to do out­side of hack­ing the national police data­base and is prepar­ing to go to law school for a career in crim­i­nal jus­tice. One day, while in school, he hap­pens to notice a strange book appear out­side. He opens it and finds a shinigami, named Ryuk, that’s bound to fol­low the per­son who finds it. Light’s dis­cov­ery and sub­se­quent deal­ings with Ryuk and his Death Note begin the twisted tale of jus­tice as a means to an end.

Is it worth watch­ing?: YES. This is one of the best anime to be released in the past 20 years. It’s got every­thing you could want: Sus­pense, drama, sev­eral mur­der mys­ter­ies, a plot that makes you ques­tion life choices and char­ac­ters to root for.

Break­out char­ac­ter: Misa Amane. Say what you will about the sec­ond Kira, but she is the break­out star here. She imme­di­ately makes an impact on Light, good or bad, and she joins the story per­ma­nently at a cru­cial time.

Best episode: “Over­cast,” Episode 7. Light finally suc­ceeds in con­vinc­ing the watcher that he has always had less than noble ideals as he com­mits a shock­ing mur­der. Not only is the per­son he mur­ders shock­ing, but also the way that he kills the per­son using the Death Note shock­ing: He causes them to com­mit sui­cide with his writ­ten com­mand. This was the point at which you ceased to sym­pa­thize with Light in any way, but it now makes an inter­est­ing mys­tery even deeper because it’s now a race to see just how long Light will get away with his crimes as Kira.

Where it’s going?: The heat ramps up on Light as Kira, as he will have to jug­gle dis­cov­er­ing there’s another Kira, L’s con­tin­ued inves­ti­ga­tion and his life otherwise.

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