Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fanime: A convention anyone can be a fan of!

On Friday night, the wait was over, we had arrived at Line-Con! LET THE WAITING BEGIN! ...maybe 

Linecon is known throughout the land, the best grueling hours of standing in line you could ever want, those weak of spirit need not apply. Better bring your sleeping bags, water, snacks, a porta-lou, cooking utensils… what do you mean it’s canceled?
THE LINE! OH THE HORROR! Seriously, 8 minutes...
                As crazy as it sounds to anyone who has ever been to Fanime, Linecon was canceled this year, and instead replaced with one of the most amazingly fun, non-stop, glorious weekends of geekdom
indulgence you could ever hope for! From a convention that became known coast to coast (and beyond) for its insane line waits, to getting through the registration line in 8 minutes. You read right, 8 minutes after registration opened, I was walking out with a badge. This should be compared with last year, where I waited day zero in line for SIX HOURS to get a badge. The best part was that this applied to EVERYTHING. The only time you had to wait in line was if you were there before the event or hall opened, or the event was full and they could not fit any more. And I only saw the capacity problem once, which will be discussed later, keep reading if you want the dirty…
"Nudist Beach" was the new black at Fanime this year
                As always, the fan participation at Fanime was amazing! The cosplays were top teir, even if this year’s theme seemed to be “do more with less(clothing).” The more skin I blame Kill La Kill for, but that
aside, the cosplay community once again pulled out all the stops. There was nowhere you could look without seeing something truly fantastic. Massive creatures, insane props, and huge coordinated groups were all out in full force, and it was a sight to behold. More prevalent this year than in years past, was the fusion of dazzling light technology into costumes. Fanime this year had to have more EL and LED’s than anyplace other than Vegas, walking up to the San Jose Convention Center after dark was a trip in and of itself.
The League of Legends Photo shoot took place on the new terraced area
                On the note of the Convention center, SJCC was yet another bright candidate for most improved over last year’s convention. The construction is gone, the halls are open, and the new terrace
and sculpture
of front are gorgeous. As always, the wide open halls were full of bustle, but they never really got jammed to the point of being hard to navigate. The New space put to good use, and there was always something happening. Overall, the SJCC continues to be a large, well laid out platform ideal for a convention like Fanime.
The costumes in the masquerade
 were impressive as always
                And what would Fanime be without events? Every event I attended this year was top tier. The AMV contest was over an hour long, and I normally want to leave AMV contests after fifteen or twenty minutes. But I didn’t leave this one, for a good reason, I didn’t want to. The First group of “Experimental” AMV’s, the ones that are hard to define, were intriguing and original. The following groups were better. The drama’s made my eyes well up. The action AMV’s got me pumped. And you didn’t even have to see the comedy entries to know they were good, you could hear the laughter down the hall. The laughter didn’t stop there...
                While joyous (or rowdy) laughter was heard all around Fanime, another concentrated source of it was the Cosplay Spectacular. And this year lived up to it’s name. Previous years have had issues with lighting, A/V problems, and missed scripting, none of which was present this year. The organization this year was, like many other parts of Fanime this year, nearly impeccable. The skits themselves were great as well, with some truly funny humor, that went deeper than just repeated yaoi jokes that I see at so many masquerades. I would strongly recommend hunting YouTube once the official masquerade video gets uploaded, it will be worth your time.
"Dragon Ball Tea" good stuff
                Keeping time in mind, Fanime is a 24 hour convention, so night owls have plenty to do. At the top of that list is the late night dances. This year, once again, there were 2 constantly going dance halls, with different music styles between them. The larger hall was playing more popular trap and dance genres most all of the nights, while the smaller hall played a lot of hardcore and trance throughout the evenings. All of the DJ’s I had a chance to listen to were awesome, and even though the line to get in was long, it continuously was moving, so the short wait was definitely worth it. Also of note is that the dances ran for 8 hours or more each night, so you were guaranteed to get all your boogie out before the night was through. Also, the water stations were constantly stocked (it looked a little like a bucket brigade, new bottles constantly being supplied) so everyone was well hydrated, which was awesome on Fanime’s part, ensuring you never had to go far to get a drink.
                As a side note, If you were inclined to partake in drink, this year, Tanq, the bar at the Marriott, actually had a custom drink menu, with custom tailored drinks to the fan base. If you’ve got a little extra money, and feel like unwinding, I’d recommend a Dragon Ball Tea, assuming of course you are a legal age to imbibe.
Did i mention Kill La Kill?
                And for those of us adults who are in the mood for some more… adventurous entertainment, The 18+ video rooms were a blast, in a bizarre “I will never get used to this” way. From the bellowing cheers whenever an… “event” happened, the chant for the hand checks, to the just surreal environment you find yourself in, if you are of age and dig the truly weird, check it out. For those of you who kept reading just to find the “Dirty”… You’ve reached the end of your search.
The only Event that we were unable to get into this year was the HMV contest (think AMV, minus the A, plus a whole lot of H.) The room was filled to capacity right from the beginning, and we were unable to indulge in that event. We were told by people that did go that it was uproariously funny, so we will try to get in line earlier next year.
Anime or not, Fanime has it
                The only widespread complaint I heard from this year was the overcrowding of artists alley. We did not actually get around to seeing it until Monday, not due to lack of interest, but just due to there being so
much to do elsewhere. By the time we did get there, the crowd had considerably died, and it wasn’t really an issue. Like everywhere else at famine, the artist alley was top tier. All of the artwork was impressive, and walking down the aisles it was really hard not to blow the bank and just buy everything until your card was maxed.
                Overall, I can honestly say, in 8 years of going to conventions across the country, this Fanime was legitimately one of the best conventions I have ever been to. Fanime always had awesome Fan contribution, and terrible organization. This year, the Fans were as awesome as ever, but the organization is an order of magnitude better. There is still room for improvement, but at this point it is fine tuning. If next year’s convention is half as good as this one, it would still be better than 90% of the conventions out there. Urban Otaku gives Fanime 2014 a 9.5/10.
#TLH_Otakubeat

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Our adventure to The Mages Realm or See TLH get their butts kicked in MTG

               The bluffs, the plays, the heart of the cards; any collectible card gamer knows the thrill, and with the release of Magic: The Gathering’s newest set, Journey into Nyx, Team LoveHate’s Otakubeat had to get our fix. When we heard of The Mage’s Realm in Sacramento doing a sealed tourney for release, we had to make it. And we were not disappointed in any aspect of the night.
"The Gathering" for tournament sign up
            
 We arrived around 6:45 to see the large gaming room already well populated; a good 20-30 people in the room for the tournament. The majority of us had not played for years, or had not played official tourneys before. This is where the staff of The Mage’s Realm was AWESOME. Everyone there seemed to truly enjoy what they were doing, and were more than happy to get “the noobs” up to speed. “The Mages”, a fitting title for the employees of the Realm, were more like wizards, think Gandalf style. Infinitely knowledgeable, good senses of humor, and a desire to see others succeed were the premier qualities there. The Mages had plenty of insight into much more than just card games. Almost any Geek related topic from video games, to anime, to theoretical matchups (combat or otherwise), seems to be well within their repertoire. All geeks are welcome here. It should also be noted that this is not your standard dark gaming den. The Realm is open, well lit, clean, and most importantly, doesn’t have that overwhelming claustrophobic aura to it. It is in no way boring inside, but it doesn’t have that sort of “dark back alley” feeling many comic and game stores do. It seems like they have struck the perfect balance of running a professional business while still being personable, and carrying that geek friendly vibe.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN!
            As far as Journey into Nyx goes, I am left with mixed feelings. The new mechanics are a lot of fun, and really throw an interesting new level of strategy in, as I found out in a round that killing one of my opponent’s chump blockers lost me the game. The new meta seems to be to build the biggest badass you can, this does lead to a slightly more long term “think 5 turns ahead” approach, which is both a good and bad thing. It does lead to deeper strategy, and a greater feeling of reward when you do win a match, but it takes some getting used to. During the launch, many of the matchups were barely able to get 2 of their three games done in their hour allotment, and the beginning of the game now seems incredibly slow. The game is still immensely fun, and I would say that Wizards of the Coast has done it again, creating a game that is still fun to play, even with the game being old enough to drink this upcoming august.
            All in all, The Mage's Realm is pretty awesome, stop by when you get a chance, especially if they are doing a tourney, #TLH_Otakubeat would rate it at 9.5/10. As for Journey into Nyx, it’s another solid release. A few new mechanics thrown into the mix keep things interesting, while not requiring to relearn how to play. A pretty solid good time, rated 8/10.
#TLH_Otakubeat To follow The Mages Realm please follow them on The Facebooks here!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Why you should be watching Game of Thrones


Okay, so this is not really a review because I don't want to give any spoilers. This is more about why if you are not already watching Game of Thrones you need to start watching it.

If sex offends you. Don't watch the show.

When I started watching Game of Thrones it was during the second season. I decided to take it all the way back to the first season and started from scratch.

The first season was full of character development and I thought it was okay. I really like the end of it though and the second season on through is super dope.

Why is it super dope you might ask?

Its super dope because there's magic and Dragons. Lots of dragons and magic.

This show shouldn't be watched with children under the age of 18 because there's lots of sex and more sex and naked people having sex and people having sex with animals. Okay that's a lie But, if you took out all the sex in all the episodes in all the seasons it would still be pretty good.

So that takes me to the season premiere of Season 4. The tone shifts dramatically from the prior Seasons and it is evident within the first few minutes of the opening scene that long time fans will not be disappointed. There's still lots of blood, you get to see dragons, and nudity but no sex.  I recommend anybody who has not watched Game of Thrones to watch it. It is so great of a show that if you don't watch it your body will decay and you might get really sick and maybe have the flu.

So if you're tired of the mundane stories that you watch on regular television do yourself a favor and find a way to watch Game of Thrones I don't think it's on Netflix yet but it's all over the interwebz.  I hope you like my sort of review about this show and you continue to follow me and we'll talk about the episodes as they appear sometime the next day or the same night.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Movie review - Captain America: The Winter Soldier

So in reference to my previous article, I decided to take my own advice and see this film.  I went in with no expectations.  I avoided reading anything on it, well besides the ratings on the film.  After careful consideration, I decided to fork up the cash and check to see if this movie was really worth the 88% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Before I get into my actual rating for this film, lets get into the review a little.


The movie begins with who else but Steven Rodgers, played by Chris Evans, exercising.  Ladies, please keep your panties on because sadly, it was just running.  No shirtless Captain here.  Here we see him running past another gentleman Sam Wilson, played by Anthony Mackie.  As dialogue progresses between these two, foreshadowing shows that he will play an instrumental role later in the film.  As the film progresses there is an internal struggle between the Captain and himself.  He doesn't know where he fits in this new world he is apart of.  He always seems to be one step behind the pop culture references and the "wit" we might be used to with other Marvel films.  He feels as if he was robbed of the life he was supposed to have but almost he was meant for something more for this new world he knows nothing of.  This film does a great job highlighting this.  There is an internal battle throughout the whole movie which doesn't let up till the Captain can figure out how to deal with it.  While this seems to be a constant of the movie itself there is obviously the bigger picture.

The movie continues a pattern with distrust in S.H.E.I.L.D.  We see this distrust built between the Iron Man movies, and the Avengers film in 2012.  I guess we can say all of these superheros have trust issues, get it?  Trust....issues?  Ok well, besides this we do see parts of Steven Rodgers past drum up and almost a decomposition of the old and a reveal of what lies ahead for our beloved Captain.  But what is also awesome the movie introduces more characters from the Captain America comics.  We are introduced to an agent called "13."  In the film she might pose as a potential "love interest" for Steven Rodgers which gets kudos in my book.  There are a few others who are introduced but for sake of not telling too much, lets say the next movie proves to be interesting.

This movie provided a good balance between drama, action, reveals, secrets, and did I mention action?  What I personally liked about this movie was a less "High and Mighty" Captain America and a more capable and cope-able one.

My overall rating would be an 8.5/10.

I hope this review helps you make a decision on whether to see this movie or not.  Until next time all!

Writer:  Munpreet Randhawa         

Friday, April 4, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soilder


As we get closer and closer to the summer movie blockbusters, this year seems to be starting a little early.  Today is release of Captain America: The Winter Solider

 


The Russo brothers have big shoes to fill as they take on Captain America.  Both Anthony and Joe worked on the film You, Me and Dupree, the television series Community, and now Captain America.  They are joined with Joss Whedon who also worked on the screenplay for Marvels blockbuster The Avengers and also Buffy the Vampire Slayer, movie and television series.

The movie seems to have a promising run.  So far Rotten Tomatoes has 177 reviews and rates the movie at 88% while IMDb gives the movie 4 stars 8.3/10 with over 30,000 votes in. 

What will your choice be?  Will this be your next date night movie?  Or will you find your self saving the $13.00 and watching reruns all night?  With big names like Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Robert Redford, and of course Stan Lee making his famous cameo, is this a movie you are willing to miss watching in the theaters? 

Check out the video and see if that helps you make a decision! 


http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=115554