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Understanding Filler In Anime

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Understanding Filler In Anime

June 24, 2024

Anime filler is something that has become a bit notorious. While fans do understand that it’s important, they still can’t help but see it in a negative light as it takes us out from the main story. Even so without filler we likely wouldn't have many of the anime that we have today. With all of this being said, there are still some risks that putting in filler poses.

The main reason for anime filler is to give the manga/source material enough time to move on so that anime has more things to adapt. However, there’s no telling what can happen in this time. For one thing there’s the possibility of the anime being outright canceled after giving enough time for the manga to move on. Or even worse the manga itself ends right when the anime is about to rejoin with the main story leading to the anime either creating its own story or just ending with the filler it created. Either way makes it so the filler created was ultimately pointless.

One other issue is figuring out how much time is actually needed to let the manga move on or if there’s enough material at the time for the anime to adapt. Bleach is an anime so big that it’s become known as a member of the Big 3. However, every fan agrees that it suffers from the fact that it constantly put in filler at pivotal moments of the show. The Arrancar arc, easily one of the best, was unfortunately interrupted multiple times due to the fact that if the anime didn’t there wouldn’t be any else they could adapt. While nowadays you can just skip this filler, back then you had no choice but to either sit through the filler or take a break from the anime and come back later when the filler was finally done. This ended up ruining Bleach’s momentum leading to it after its next arc (though it did come back a few years ago to finish the story).

However, what’s easily the biggest risk is making it so the manga and anime can’t rejoin at all. When making filler you end up creating your own story with the characters. The problem this poses though is figuring out how much you want to change without taking away from the main story. If you aren’t careful then in the middle of the filler you might make a change that directly conflicts with something that happens later in the manga. In this instant it becomes no longer possible to rejoin with the manga as it will cause things to feel disjointed and make no sense. A good example of this is The Promised Neverland season 2, an anime which made so many changes that the second season became an entirely different show. However in rare cases the anime will try to force itself to rejoin the manga which will cause it to miss out on crucial lore in the manga, such as in the case of Tokyo Ghoul.

While anime filler does pose some risks, its benefits ultimately outweigh them. After all the only other way for an anime to catch up is to put it on hiatus which can lead to killing the anime. And it's not as if all filler is bad. One Piece and Naruto, two more series known for the filler, make sure that the filler they create is entertaining enough to keep viewers engaged and in some cases question if it is really filler. One Piece’s anime only G-8 arc is regarded as one of its best with fans considering it canon to the show. At the end of the day though, it’s up to the writers to decide how to best use filler in order to keep the anime - and in turn the manga - alive.

 

 

 

 

Logan Floyd-Mcgee | Writer
POP-COOLEDTURED SPECIALIST
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A Tale of War, Friendship, and Evolution

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A Tale of War, Friendship, and Evolution

June 22, 2024

Mobile Suit Gundam is an ever growing series. As such there are bound to be many themes that the show will go towards. However, at its core Gundam is a story about war and how powerful weapons can shape how the world works. And what’s easily one of the best seasons to showcase this is Mobile Suit Gundam Seed.

Gundam Seed takes place in a world divided by war. With the creation of Coordinators - people whose biological traits have been altered since birth - there was an immediate divide between them and people who were unaltered known as Naturals. As a result, Coordinators were pushed out into space while the Naturals would continue to live on Earth. Not accepting this the nation of ZAFT was created with the goal to reclaim Earth for themselves no matter what it took, even if it meant involving people who had nothing to do with this war.

Enter Kira Yamato, a college student and Coordinator who lives on the neutral space colony Heliopolis. For most of his life war was the farthest thing from his mind. However, this all changes when ZAFT decides to invade his home in search of the Gundam, powerful mechs that for whatever reason were stationed in Heliopolis. While ZAFT was able to claim four of them, Kira managed to take control of the final Gundam, the Strike. After fighting off these invaders Kira is now forced into a war he never wanted in order to protect his friends.

Gundam Seed is easily one of the best Gundam seasons. This story of prestigious and what can be accepted in the name of equality is very engaging. Not only that, but it also does a great job of showing how war can affect those both involved in and out of it. And tie it all up we get a multitude of great mecha battles and mechas in general. While this season is at the forefront a mecha show, it is also a space drama that really delves into what makes someone human. For those who are mecha fans or just love political and dramatic shows in general, this is the show for you.

 

 

 

 

Logan Floyd-Mcgee | Writer
POP-COOLEDTURED SPECIALIST
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Navigating The Collector’s Dream

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Navigating The Collector’s Dream

June 20, 2024

Japan, the home of manga and anime as well as many other things. While in the past people didn’t pay much attention to it, now it's become an almost mystical place. People are constantly going there in hopes of exploring the place to see the many beauties it has. However, what people are usually going there for is to visit the many shops available so that they can buy stuff that’s hard to get back where they’re from. And let me warn you now: if your goal is to buy stuff and you haven’t saved up a lot of money, then you should turn back now. Because once you step into this place, your money is as good as gone.

Due to various reasons the Japanese yen is at an all time low. This means that the exchange rate is very good for foreigners. For instance, every one yen equals about 0.0064 usd. To put this into perspective something that costs about 5,000 yen would instead cost $31.82. This however poses a bit of a problem. Why you ask? Well I mean, think about it. Whenever you find an item on sale, aren’t you always more willing to buy it? With the conversion rate every item is basically on sale, making it so you’re likely to buy up lots of things and in turn lose a lot of money. So to help you make sure you get everything you want before that happens, let me give you a few of my recommendations that you can find in Japan’s electric city Akihabara.

Radio Kaikan

One of the biggest places is Radio Kaikan, one of the city’s most iconic places. This is a multi story shopping mall that has all kinds of shops inside of it. Here you’re likely to find tons of things inside of it from many different series. This can range from trading cards (though keep in mind they’re in japanese), to figures, to books, to model kits and even airsoft guns. Honestly you could go here and likely find almost everything you’re looking for.

Mandrake store

If you somehow don’t find everything here though, then you can take a short walk over to the Mandrake store. This is a place similar to Radio Kaikan, however it focuses more on toys so you likely won’t find as many books here. The trade off though is that as a result they also have more older stuff available to them. So for tokusatsu fans who are looking for old mechas and changers, this place would be perfect for you. It also has more miscellaneous stuff in stock making it so you’re likely to find stuff that you never thought you’d find at all.

Second hand shops

And if even Mandrake doesn’t have what you’re looking for, then you should take a look at some of the second hand shops available throughout the city. While you’ll be less likely to find things that aren’t pre owned, the condition that the items are in on is actually very good and almost indistinguishable from being in mint condition. They’ll also allow you to see how the product looks beforehand so you won’t have to worry about being scammed if you don’t like how it looks. 

Hobby Off

One place I highly recommend is Hobby Off, a place that offers not only old toys, but also instruments and even games.

So if you ever come to Japan in hopes of collecting more things, then you should go to these three places first as there’s so many shops you’ll likely blow all of your money before finding what you actually want. And if you don’t find what you want, there are still plenty of shops in Akihabara and Japan in general. For example, if you’re someone looking to collect manga then bookstores like Melonbooks are perfect for you. One more piece of advice I’ll give is to take your passport with you when you go shopping. While this might seem dangerous, Japan actually has tax-free stores which will waive the tax should you give them your passport as long as the purchase is at least 5,000 yen. So prepare yourself before going on this journey as if you’re not careful this heavenly trip can quickly turn into financial hell.

 

 

 

Logan Floyd-Mcgee | Writer
POP-COOLEDTURED SPECIALIST
cooledtured.com |  GROW YOUR COLLECTION

     

Linear Narrative Or Freedom Of Choice

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Linear Narrative Or Freedom Of Choice

June 19, 2024

Everyone has their preferences when it comes to gaming. Some prefer strategic battle games while others prefer first-person shooters. However, beyond these standard genres lies something else: player freedom. This can come in forms such as what places players can go to and even how restrictive character customization is. But what’s easily the best way to show player freedom is how choices in the game affect the game as a whole.

Linear stories allow writers to show their vision from start to finish. They don’t have to worry about what-if scenarios and can instead focus on making the best story possible. This also helps with gameplay as it makes it clear needs to happen in order to go from A to B. This however can at times seem stifling to the player. By restricting what the player can or can’t do there lies the risk of players feeling less invested as they don’t have a lot of agency in the game they're playing.

With choice based games players are able to be more involved with the game. They feel that their actions actually carry weight as the game around them changes based on their actions. This makes it feel like they’re no longer an outsider looking in, but instead an active participant in the game. This usually culminates in players getting different endings based off of these choices. Some feel though that this can detract from the story of these games. An argument can be made that by having multiple endings in the game, this makes it so there’s no real way to get invested in the story. While multiple endings does allow writers to explore more possibilities, it also means that they lose out on overall quality.

With all of this being said, what ultimately matters is giving the player the best experience possible. For some this means telling a compelling story that players can get invested in. With others it means it allowing players the freedom of changing the story how they see fit. In either case as long as players are able to have fun playing the game, then the creators have succeeded.

 

 

 

Logan Floyd-Mcgee | Writer
POP-COOLEDTURED SPECIALIST
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God’s Newest Game

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God’s Newest Game

June 18, 2024

The battle royal is a concept that has essentially become a classic. Everyone has seen or at least knows what a battle royal is. As such it’s a bit of a hard thing to make anything that involves the concept. Writers are tasked with making whatever they create unique from other ones. That’s why oftentimes the people involved in the battle are given powers. And in the anime KamiErabi, these powers will be what helps these players create their ideal world.

Gorou Ono is your everyday highschooler with a bit of bad luck. He has desires like any other teenage boy does which leads to him making a perverted request on an app that appears on his phone. After this request is fulfilled however, he finds himself wrapped up in a crazy battle royal game. The prize: the role of God. Now with the demon imp Lall and the new powers he’s been given he must figure out a way to survive this royal to the very end. And with no idea who could be an enemy, he’s going to need to be on his toes or else face an untimely death.

KamiErabi isn’t the first to do the “fight for the place of God '' story. A recent example is the anime Platinum End that unfortunately failed to live up to its full potential. However, what’s interesting about the show is the fact that they’ve based each character's powers around their personality. In Gorou’s case he has the power to warp reality to the extent of him receiving backlash equivalent to what he changed, mirroring how he’s willing to do anything to help others at the extent of his own life. It’s this personality of his that draws in allies and puts a target on his back with enemies. Though in the end you have to wonder, what exactly is an enemy in this game?

While some people might be a bit put off by the artstyle, I feel that it helps with telling the story that they’re trying to give us. Their use of 3D animation helps with expressing characters’ feelings and is a great way to show off the various powers that each character has. And it all culminates in a finale that even now I’m struggling to process. So with a second season on its way I suggest catching up on this anime as soon as possible.

 

 

 

Logan Floyd-Mcgee | Writer
POP-COOLEDTURED SPECIALIST
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The Depths Of A Villian

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The Depths Of A Villian

June 17, 2024

Heroes are an existence beloved by almost everyone. In order for a hero to be truly great though, they need a great villain. In the past we’ve gotten plenty of great villains. There’s your classics such as Maleficent and Jafar and your more modern ones like Ultron and the iconic Thanos. However, in recent years we have begun seeing a decline in great or even good villains. As a result these shows and movies that had the potential to be great failed to live up to their potential.

One of the biggest problems with villains lately is that the people behind their creation are focused more on making them sympathetic over outright evil. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a sympathetic villain; Thanos is the perfect example of a sympathetic villain. The problem is that as a result of focusing more on sympathy you lose out on chances to show how evil they actually are. This character that should be evil instead simply becomes someone who occasionally does bad things. This then results in the hero simply redeeming the villain with relative ease instead of truly defeating them. While again there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it does put into question if the person was a villain at all if they could be redeemed so easily.

Of course this is nothing in face of the bigger issue: people nowadays don’t seem to like outright evil villains. It’s very rare when we’ll receive characters who are just straight up evil. Back in the day we received plenty of iconic and vile villains such as the Green Goblin or the Joker. However, now it seems that people feel that villains being evil just for the sake of being evil isn’t enough. Because of this, writers and studios now no longer have any faith in villains just being evil and think that they need something more, thus doing whatever they can to make them more sympathetic.

Villains, however, don’t and in fact shouldn’t be sympathetic. A good villain is one who challenges the hero and their ideals, pushing them to their breaking point. Sure you can make them understandable, however that shouldn’t be your main goal. We shouldn’t be scared of showing villainy on screen as without villains we wouldn’t have heroes. Instead we should be looking to see how this villain can be used to test the hero’s resolve and code. It’s only then will we be able to get back to creating great villains again.

 

 

 

 

Logan Floyd-Mcgee | Writer
POP-COOLEDTURED SPECIALIST
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Persona Meets Tactics

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Persona Meets Tactics

June 16, 2024

Persona 5. Without a doubt the most popular of the Persona series. So popular in fact that Atlus refuses to let go of it (not that I’m complaining). This game has the most spin-offs of the series with multiple games in various genres and an anime adaption. The game is so popular in fact that its protagonist Joker managed to get into Super Smash Bros Ultimate as the very first dlc character. It’s really no wonder that Atlus decided how far they can go with the series by making Persona 5 Tactica.

Persona 5 Tactica is essentially Persona 5 combat meets classic real time strategy gameplay. On paper this sounds like a bit of a mess. However, the way that they’ve managed to combine the two is very impressive. For one thing they’ve kept in characters having melee and ranged attacks. Usually in tactics they’ll have characters focus on melee or ranged combat. With the way Tactica does though every character has the ability to do either while offering their own unique spin. For example, Joker has a standard gun with average power, ammo and range while Haru has worse range and ammo but is more powerful and can hit enemies in a large radius. By keeping this difference in weapon capability each character each offers their own unique playstyle which helps with coming up with new strategies.

One other thing Tactica does really well is integrating Persona 5’s combat system. In the Persona series enemies will usually have some weakness that can be used to give characters an extra action, or One More. This meant that if you hit an enemy who was weak to to wind with a wind move, you would get a One More and get to do something else. In Tactica they keep this ability by having so as soon as you use a move that an enemy is weak to they’ll fall prone and the character who did it can take another turn. So If you moved as far as you could with the character and then got a One More, you move even further with that character. This ability to gain an extra turn expands your strategies even further essentially making it so you can play with even more characters.

With all of this being said, Tactica unfortunately isn’t a perfect game. The game feels a bit short, the story isn’t the strongest in the series and while the combat is fun, it can at times feel a bit repetitive. So while I do recommend the game, I unfortunately can’t recommend it at full price. If you’re interested in getting the game for yourself, then I suggest waiting for it to go on sale. Now go on and start a revolution.

 

 

 

 

Logan Floyd-Mcgee | Writer
POP-COOLEDTURED SPECIALIST
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The Power Of Silence

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The Power Of Silence

June 15, 2024

There’s many things that go into making a game. What the player will be seeing, what they will be doing and what they will be hearing. In terms of sound design it might be simple things such as sound effects. However, depending on the scope of the project it might even expand to include things such as voice acting. Its importance can vary from genre to genre, however, at a certain point a game can get popular enough that fans will sometimes question why a game doesn’t have any.

Pokemon is one of the biggest franchises in the world with their games selling over millions of copies upon release. However, one complaint that fans have somewhat recently had is the fact that there is no voice acting in their games. Many fans feel that the franchise is big enough that it can afford to finally have some voice acting in it. But that’s just the thing; this franchise has grown this big and still continues to grow despite never once having voice acting in their games (aside from the Pokemon cries). So why is it that now fans want to have voice acting, especially when they don’t expect the same from other big franchises?

Mario and Zelda are two other big name game franchises that had essentially no voice acting besides character sound effects. In fact it’s only in their most recent games that they had any real voice acting, and even then the amount they have is very limited. What’s even crazier is the fact that despite being about as popular as Pokemon, fans didn’t demand for them to have voice acting. If either of the two were to go back to having none aside from what they were used to already, fans likely wouldn’t even bat an eye. And yet for whatever reason Pokemon is held up to a different standard.

So why is that Pokemon is looked at differently than other games? I believe that with most games that don’t have voice acting, they do their best to make sure it isn’t missed. While nowadays most big games are expected to have voice acting in them, the extent that is expected usually isn’t that great or even present. Most games can likely get away with having only a few voice lines here and there and leaving the rest blank. This helps players get a feel for the character, but not having the voice acting being a requirement. The problem with Pokemon however is that they’ve made it so that the lack of voice acting is felt.

Voice acting wasn’t really a requirement for Pokemon until Sword and Shield. In that game they had a character who would sing fairly often. The obvious issue with this is that in a game with no voice acting, how are you supposed to make a singer without it feeling awkward? This issue was made worse when they focused on these scenes. As a result the lack of voice acting was made apparent and caused fans to want it for themselves despite it not being an issue in the past.

Voice acting isn’t something that’s required to make a game good. Sure it can help, however at the end of the day it’s only an add-on to make the game better. The problem only acquires when lack of it becomes apparent. In order to move on without it, it’s important to understand the limits of your story now that it’s no longer there and make a game where it won’t be missed.

 

 

 

Logan Floyd-Mcgee | Writer
POP-COOLEDTURED SPECIALIST
cooledtured.com |  GROW YOUR COLLECTION

     

Why Pokemon But Not Digimon?

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Why Pokemon But Not Digimon?

June 14, 2024

The 2000s were the beginning of the West being introduced to anime. We ended up getting many of the big names that still are talked about today such as Dragon Ball, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon. However, one series that isn’t talked about nearly as much that was also introduced around this time is Digimon. Sure there’s still fans of the series around, however, it’s nowhere near as popular here as the others. This is especially strange considering that Pokemon, a series similar to Digimon, is even more popular than ever here.

Pokemon and Digimon share a few things in common. They’re both serieses about kids using monsters to fight other monsters with power to evolve said monsters to make them stronger. However, once you delve a bit deeper you realize that these two shows couldn’t be more different. For one thing Pokemon is centered around a more creature capture aspect to it with characters usually having more than one partner at a time. Digimon on the other hand - aside from one season - focuses more on the bonds between pairs and thus characters will only ever have one partner. Then there’s the fact that characters in Pokemon are usually only fighting other trainers while in Digimon it’s wild Digimon they’re fighting.

Even with these differences though, it still doesn’t explain the difference in popularity. That’s why I believe it boils down to two factors. The first is the fact that Pokemon was more ‘relatable’. In Digimon these kids weren’t your ordinary kids; they were the Digidestined. These kids were the chosen ones who were said to be the ones to save the Digital World from danger. Ash Ketchum, however, isn't some chosen one, he’s just your ordinary kid. Sure he’s done some pretty incredible things, but technically speaking any kid in that world would be capable of doing the same. In other words, any kid watching at home could step into that world be as good of or even better of a pokemon trainer than Ash was without needing to be some chosen one. This ability to basically place yourself in that world so easily was just one of Pokemon’s appeals.

What really helped Pokemon and hurt Digimon though were their games. If you ask any Pokemon or Digimon fan what the best game in their respective series is, they’ll always have different answers. In the case of Pokemon the reason is because there have been so many great games it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. Digimon fans struggle though because of how different the quality of their games are. While there are good Digimon games, there aren’t a lot that have created as big of an impact as Pokemon. As a result fans of the franchise have at times felt burned because of them. And if old fans feel this way, how does the franchise have any chance of gaining new fans?

In terms of show quality I’d say that Digimon is just as good and has even surpassed Pokemon at times. But that’s unfortunately not enough to build up a franchise. While relatability was definitely part of it, I truly feel that had the games been better Digimon could be just as popular in the West. However, it’s instead a series that’s gotten to the point where people aren’t even aware that a new season came out.

 

 

 

Logan Floyd-Mcgee | Writer
POP-COOLEDTURED SPECIALIST
cooledtured.com |  GROW YOUR COLLECTION

     

One Bad Ending

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One Bad Ending

June 10, 2024

The main purpose of a show is to keep their watchers entertained. A good show will have its watchers be so invested that they’ll be wiggling in their chairs just waiting for the next episode or season. As time goes on people might even start to become obsessed with it. So now the question is: is it possible to lose all of this in an instant?

How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother is usually the first thing that people come up with when this topic is brought up. While not a perfect show, it is still remembered fondly by many and is seen as iconic as the show Friends. However fans all agree that this show was ruined by its finale. The entire final season was all about Barney and Robin’s marriage with us seeing everything that went into it. The show did everything that it could to show how perfect they were for each other. So when this couple is revealed to have gotten divorced in the finale, it felt like a giant slap to the face. In an instant all of the investment people felt and the build up to the wedding was made pointless. The hatred for the show’s finale got so bad that fans even started to consider the alternate ending of the show to be the real one.

With How I Met Your Mother fans at least had the rest of the final season to enjoy. 

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones fans however weren’t as lucky. The final season has become notorious for being one of the worst things in television. This season took what was built up to be one of the most epic battles the series could have and instead made it into a weak one episode battle. The show then decided to make characters act in ways that didn’t fit them at all thus causing them to feel like completely different characters. And at the end of it all, no character got a satisfying conclusion. In the end this final season managed to change what was once a beloved show into a travesty.

Ozark

Even now some shows still suffer from terrible endings. A somewhat recent victim is the show Ozark. This show was a cult classic with some people even calling it the next Breaking Bad. With its thrilling plotlines and engaging characters it looked too big to fail. That is, until its finale happened. This was mostly due to the way they killed a beloved character. As a result of this the show gained a lot of backlash. Fans became furious at how the writers handled it and the show lost a lot of its audience. Some even speculate that their reactions are part of the reason the show didn’t get another season, thus making it so the finale killed something else.

In order for any show to gain fans it needs a good beginning. And in order to keep these fans it also needs a good ending. Many writers make the mistake of assuming that the fans they’ve made will accept whatever they create. However as these shows and many others have discovered, fans can be a bit more critical than you think.

 

 

 

 

Logan Floyd-Mcgee | Writer
POP-COOLEDTURED SPECIALIST
cooledtured.com |  GROW YOUR COLLECTION