Spirited Away and Me

*The following is a gushing love note detailing the history leading up to the first time I ever saw Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, which was fifteen years ago today, on March 31st 2003.*

Spirited Away was originally released in American theaters on September 20th 2002, but I wouldn’t see it until March the 31st of 2003. This is largely due to the nearly non-existent marketing Disney gave the film in its initial release. I remember during some random night in mid 2002 I saw a commercial for what looked like a Japanese animated film with the word Disney attached. It immediately sparked curiosity and interest from me, unfortunately it was also around 2:00 AM or something, so I was also tired and didn’t catch the name of the film in question.

I kept watching the same channel (if memory serves correctly it was Nick @ Nite) every night to try and catch the commercial again, but it never seemed to show up. I even tried to search Disney’s website for any info on it, but that proved to be something of a needle in a hay stack endeavor (especially considering I didn’t have a particular patience for the interwebs then). There seemed to be no info of it anywhere, and it was driving me nuts. “What was that Japanese Disney movie?!” I kept thinking to myself. All I can remember from the commercial was that there was a girl, what I thought was a sand-worm (really a dragon) and a castle (really a bathhouse… again, I was tired).

A few months past and I was at a hobby/game store at a local mall. And there I saw an anime magazine with the movie from that commercial on the cover. “Praise the sun!” I thought to myself (in not quite those words). But when I opened the magazine up, I barely got to see the article on the movie before I had to leave (why I didn’t just buy the dang magazine is still a mystery to me), but the few pictures I saw of it were beautiful. I think I finally saw the name “Spirited Away” here, but for reasons unknown I didn’t look it up with my newfound knowledge. I didn’t even know if the movie had already been released or if it was still on the horizon. I guess I was just happy that a smidgeon of my curiosity had been fulfilled.

Fast-forward another few months (now well into 2003), and Oscar season was rolling around. Back then, I didn’t know much about the Oscars each year until they aired on TV, so I didn’t know any of the nominees for anything. But I did know that the year prior they introduced a Best Animated Feature category, and thats all I cared about.

So when the Oscars were on and they were giving out Best Animated Feature as the first award on the show (which is kind of a backhanded compliment to animated films on the Academy’s part, but that’s a rant for another day), I was ecstatic. The nominees were Ice Age, Treasure Planet, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and Lilo & Stitch…but then they announced Spirited Away!

From the brief clip they showed at the Oscars (where the witch Yubaba magically silences Chihiro by zipping her lip) it finally hit me that the animation in Spirited Away looked an awful lot like My Neighbor Totoro. Totoro has been a favorite of mine since I was really little, and if this Spirited Away were anything like it – even remotely – then dang it it deserved the award! At that moment I immediately decided Spirited Away should win… AND IT DID! (perhaps not my most professional moment, but I was just a teenager then, so sue me).

How amazing it was. I didn’t know a Japanese animated film could even have been nominated, and it actually won! Even then, I still didn’t know anything about the movie. But if it had anything to do with the people who made Totoro, then surely it was gold! I wasn’t even sure if it involved the same people as Totoro, but I knew it didn’t look like most anime, and that it had that unique “Totoro look” (as I probably wold have called it at the time). The similarities couldn’t just be a coincidence, right?

Well, the awesome news was that, due to the Oscar win, Spirited Away was getting a quick re-release in theaters across America (despite the fact that it was due for a release on VHS and DVD about two weeks later…Yes, VHSs were still a thing in 2003). Simply put, I had to see it. And although it was actually re-released around March 24th (if I remember correctly), it would be a week before I got the chance to finally see it.

And then, on March 31st 2003, I finally saw that ever-elusive movie. To say it lived up to the hype I had engraved into myself is as big of an understatement as there is. I never had a movie experience like it. Spirited Away was endlessly creative, had an impossibly unique narrative, and couldn’t be more beautiful (both in terms of visuals and storytelling). Hyperbole nothing, I simply adored the movie. It’s among my chief creative influences, and to this day, fifteen years later, it’s still just as captivating.

After seeing the film, I also noticed the films proper title (in America, anyway) was “Miyazakis Spirited Away.” Naturally, after (finally) seeing some commercials for the film, I looked up Spirited Away and this Miyazaki fellow on Disney’s advertised website. And the rest, as they say, is history.

In the decade and a half since that day, which seems so long ago and not long ago all the same, I have become a big fan of Studio Ghibli and the films of Hayao Miyazaki. And this creative spark can be traced back to this day, March 31st, fifteen years ago. Spirited Away will spirit me away forever.

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Thoughts on IGN’s Top Video Games Of All Time List (2018 Edition)

“The above image belongs to IGN. If you think I made it, you give me way too much credit.”

Well, it looks like IGN has wrapped up another list of their “top 100 video games of all time.” And since I wrote a thing about it last time they did such a list in 2015 (my how time flies), I figured I’d write one about this as well. And because I’m such an opinionated bastard, I’ll give a little bit of my two cents on the selections and placements and such.

It seems like this time around, IGN’s criteria was mainly focused on how much of an impact a game had at launch, how “ahead of their time” they were, and how well they’ve stood the test of time. Which is a pretty decent list of requirements, I must say.

Of course, you can check out IGN’s actual list here, but if you like to read some random blogger’s writing about someone else’s list, then sit your butt down and stay right here!

Here, in full, is IGN’s most recent Top 100 list. Continue reading

Once Again, A Most Necessary Update

Well, it’s been over a week since I last wrote anything, so now I’m writing something. Pardon the lack of updates as of late, I hope to rectify that soon enough. If all goes according to plan, I should be getting some video game and movie reviews done soon, and should be starting on various video game-related top 10 lists (in preparation for that list). So I hope you look forward to that.

The first video game review that should be going up post-this blog is for the PS4 version of Undertale. After that, I have a few newer games I’d like to review, as well as the remainder of the titles included on the SNES Classic. Movie reviews include Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo, among others. As for the top 10 lists. Well, we’ll see which ones I get to first. But I hope to knock a few out of the way relatively soon.

Sorry again for the lack of updates recently. The last thing I want is for my site to suffer. Life just gets in the way sometimes. Also, I hope to continue down the rabbit hole of learning video game development soon. Once that becomes a thing, I may update my progress on the subject here, if anyone is the slightest bit interested. I’m also still tempted to start sharing some creative ideas/art work here, but fear that may come across as some kind of bragging, which is the last thing I’d want to do (I’m a terrible artist). But hey, I am looking to expand this site in any way I can, so maybe?

And maybe it’s beyond hope by this point, but I have started a Patreon to help me continue providing content for this site, and to hopefully get me started on my long-promised video content. The Patreon can be found here, if you’re interested.

So yeah, looks like it’s back to the old grind. Hope you look forward to my future writings, and apologies again for the absence. Here’s Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle playing Shadow of the Colossus.

Kirby Star Allies Review

It can’t be stated enough that Kirby has always been the unsung hero of Nintendo. The pink, spherical star warrior has often been in the shadows of Mario, Zelda and Metroid, while quietly providing consistently entertaining and innovative experiences. So while Kirby may be relatively under the radar, he still deserves recognition for being one of Nintendo’s brightest stars. Kirby’s debut on the Nintendo Switch, Kirby Star Allies, continues the pink hero’s impressive resume. By combining elements from various titles from Kirby’s past, Star Allies provides a consistently fun experience that should rank as one of the highlights of the long-standing series.

Kirby Star Allies brings a traditional sidescrolling Kirby platformer to a home console for the first time since 2011’s Kirby’s Return to Dreamland on the Nintendo Wii. Like Return to Dreamland, Star Allies turns the Kirby experience into a multiplayer romp for up to four players. But while Return to Dreamland saw three additional players take control of Waddle Dee, Meta Knight and King Dedede, Star Allies takes a page out of fan-favorite Kirby Super Star’s playbook and allows Kirby to turn his standard enemies into partners (in addition to being able to copy their abilities). Waddle Dee, Meta Knight and Dedede are still available after certain points of the game, should players want to play as one of the series’ mainstays. But combining Return to Dreamland’s multiplayer setup with Super Star’s enemy-to-allies mechanic is Star Allies best hook.

Continuing in resurrecting elements from Kirby’s past, Star Allies also finds a means to bring in a sort of successor to Kirby 64’s ability-combining mechanic. Kirby can throw hearts at enemies to bring them to his side, and if Kirby’s team boasts the right combinations, they can work in tandem to create new powers.

“Ice + Rock = Curling. It’s science.”

Elemental abilities like fire, ice, water, spark and wind (available via the broom and bird abilities) can be added to weapon-based powers such as the sword, hammer, yo-yo, whip and ninja. Other powers can be combined for one-time special attacks (such as spark and water, which send electrified splashes at enemies for extra damage). And other powers still have unique combinations with each other, such as the ESP ability (returning from Planet Robobot) being able to join with the rock ability to perform geokinesis. It may be a little disappointing to know that not all of Kirby’s abilities can combine with each other in the same way they could in Kirby 64, but finding which abilities go together and what they produce still makes for a constantly surprising and fun experience in Star Allies.

Of course, there are a few new copy abilities thrown into the mix as well: Artist allows Kirby to attack with a paintbrush, as well as send sentient paintings and sculptures at foes. The spider abilities sees Kirby trapping enemies in webs, as well as providing trampoline-like webs for his friends to jump on. And the staff ability has Kirby walloping baddies with a bo staff. These new abilities join a host of recently returning and long-standing favorites, making for one of the most robust libraries of copy abilities Kirby has ever seen (as well as giving players two through four plenty of character options).

“Keep rollin’, rollin’ rollin’, rollin’!”

That’s really the core of Kirby Star Allies: working together as Kirby and his friends (who can be controlled by surprisingly competent AI when playing solo) to work as a team to gain new powers and to complete the game’s stages and solve its puzzles. There are even sections in which Kirby and company will join forces to create bridges, form a wall-climbing train, form a wall-breaking wheel, and piloting a star (for some shoot-em-up action).

“Move over, Ben Swolo.”

The experience is consistently fun and enjoyable, and will surely leave a big smile on your face. The level design and gimmicks are varied, and though the adventure may sound short on paper at only four worlds, these worlds differ greatly in the number of levels they house, with myriads of secret stages being tucked away in each, should you be able to find their switches hidden in the standard stages. Star Allies even breaks tradition by not saving a singular boss fight at the end of each world. Instead, a number of levels end with a boss fight, and although they aren’t particular difficult (the penultimate boss was the only one that killed me in the adventure mode), the game is pretty generous with how many of them it provides. The final boss, in particular, provides one of the grander set pieces in the series’ (and Nintendo’s) history.

The easy difficulty extends past the boss fights, and indeed the entire adventure mode is a bit of a breeze. That should be expected from Kirby games by this point, and isn’t really a bad thing on its own. However, while past Kirby games have offered a host of hidden collectibles to add an extra challenge for completionists, the only hidden trinkets of Star Allies are puzzle pieces, which only unlock pieces of art work that celebrate Kirby games of the past (a fine unlockable for anyone who appreciates such things like myself, but I’m not sure they’d be incentive enough for most players to go through the trouble of seeking them out). A few extra collectibles – such as the strangely absent music tracks of past titles – could have made for an additional challenge in exploration.

If it is a challenge you want though, Star Allies follows suit with the more recent Kirby titles in providing a host of post-game modes which add some extra difficulty. But perhaps in the future it might be a nice option to have a more difficult mode available from the get-go.

Still, it’s always hard to complain too much about Kirby. Not just because the adorable characters and colorful worlds make it all too easy to smile, but because they have always provided such strong, straightforward fun. And Star Allies is certainly no exception. The charming and creative gameplay of Star Allies is joined by some truly impressive visuals (my goodness, the water effects!) and, like most Kirby games, a beautiful musical score that will, sadly, probably become underappreciated (the game playfully uses orchestral pieces for most stages, whether original or remixed tunes, while the aforementioned secret stages pull a classic track right out of Kirby’s past).

Kirby Star Allies is perhaps not the most original Kirby title: utilizing elements from Return to Dreamland, Kirby 64 and Super Star (as well as the cancelled GameCube Kirby title). But it uses these bits and pieces to create something of a Frankenstein’s monster that provides one of Kirby’s most fun adventures, while also celebrating the series’ storied history. And frankly, Kirby’s is a history that doesn’t get celebrated nearly as much as it deserves.

 

8.5

The Shape of Water Review

Guillermo del Toro has left quite the impact on the world of cinema. His alternating between Spanish-language fantasy films and more mainstream American features have allowed him to cover a wide range of genres, sprinkling in his uniquely vivid imagination throughout them. Though not all of his films are equally as enthralling, Guillermo del Toro has become one of the few fantasy filmmakers to manage to win over more traditionalist critics. His most recent film, The Shape of Water, even managed to become the second-ever fantasy film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Despite this acclaim, along with its terrific acting and a handful of inspired elements, The Shape of Water often stumbles due to its inability to make its central relationship resonate, and for its over-reliance on its clichéd, psychopathic antagonist.

Set during the midst of the Cold War, The Shape of Water centers around woman named Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute cleaner at a secret government laboratory. Though her inability to talk makes her something of an outcast, she has at least two friends in her closeted neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins), a struggling commercial artist, and fellow cleaner Zelda (Octavia Spencer), who works as something of an interpreter for Elisa at the workplace.

One day, the government lab receives a mysterious creature from South America, captured by Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon). The lab intends to study the amphibious creature under Strickland’s eye, in hopes that it can help them gain an edge over the Russians.

Elisa, curious about the creature, sneaks into its containment center to get a better understanding of it. She soon learns that the creature is capable of displaying reason and emotion (it quickly picks up on Elisa’s sign language), and also finds out that Strickland has been torturing the creature. Feeling a connection to the creature as a fellow outcast, Elisa soon forms a secret bond with it, one which blossoms into romance.

On paper, it sounds like something of a contemporary fairy tale. But sadly, the film only feels like ‘magic’ in small bursts. The idea of a mute woman falling in love with a fantasy monster sounds interesting in concept, but the grave flaw with this central relationship is that the creature isn’t given enough human qualities to make their romance have any real emotional weight.

As it is, taking an amphibious monster – even a humanoid one – and turning it into a romantic interest is already a hard sell. But The Shape of Water fails at making its creature feel like a worthy significant other for Elisa, as it comes across as more animal-like than anything. Yes, the creature can understand sign language, but that’s about as far as its human traits go. Even Giles refers to the creature as a “wild animal” after it devours a cat, and explains that they “can’t expect it to be anything more.” Sure, it’s sad to see the creature get electrocuted by Strickland, but that almost seems like a cheap ploy to get audiences to empathize with a creature that, otherwise, doesn’t boast many empathetic traits.

Sure, The Shape of Water tries its hand at a few other tricks to build sympathy for its monster (the creature even possesses healing powers, which seems like a requirement for all misunderstood monsters by this point). But the romance between Elisa and the creature never really clicks because it doesn’t so much feel like a love between two people – with one of those people just happening to be a fantasy monster – but between a human woman and a wild animal, which makes things feel more awkward than beautiful.

This is only magnified by the film’s inconsistent pace. The earlier half of the film moves so quickly that the romance between Elisa and the creature feels like it just kind of happens out of nowhere, while the second half seemingly comes to a dead stop, with the characters’ personalities and stories coming to a stand-still. This whiplash-like pacing of moving too quickly before stopping in its tracks makes the development of Elisa’s relationship with the creature feel non-existent.

The film’s other great narrative flaw is its over-emphasis on Strickland. Michael Shannon’s acting in the role is brilliant, but he really only has so much to work with. Not every villain has to be a three-dimensional human being, and sometimes the irredeemable psychopath villain can work. But it’s an archetype that’s so overplayed that it’s hard to make it standout, and while Shannon’s acting might make the role a bit more memorable than it would otherwise be, Strickland still comes off as like he’s just ticking the boxes on a checklist of the requirements for a despicable villain. The film makes an attempt to turn him into something of a commentary on the traditional American “man of the future” archetype (he has two children, a nice house, and a seemingly perfect wife to thinly guise his twisted nature), but even that’s a commentary that feels overly familiar. So even thematically, Strickland comes across as clichéd.

Despite its narrative shortcomings, The Shape of Water still has its merits. Again, it needs to be repeated that the acting is top-notch, and though the creature may not be able to win us over emotionally, it is a visual marvel, as are the set and costume designs. Perhaps the film’s best attribute is its musical score, which may linger in the memory more strongly than the film itself.

There are bits and pieces of greatness sprinkled here and there in The Shape of Water, but its core themes of love and feeling like an outcast from society just don’t resonate, its pace feels off, and it falls prey to the old movie trope of dedicating too much time to showing us how cruel its one-dimensional villain is.

I won’t say it’s a flat-out bad movie, but The Shape of Water is far from great, and one of Guillermo del Toro’s clunkier efforts. If it weren’t for the obvious Oscar-baiting elements the film provides, it would be a complete mystery as to how The Shape of Water managed to snag Best Picture while so many other fantasy films got the cold shoulder.

The Shape of Water may boast some merits that rise to the surface. But on the whole, it sinks.

 

5.0

Toys ‘R Us Memories

It was announced last week that, as the rumors suggested for a while now, Toy’s ‘R’ Us is officially closing up shop. While this was expected in many ways, due to the rise of online shopping and such, the news still stings for those of us who grew up in the last several decades, as it was the go-to toy store for many kids for generations.

Of course I’ve long-since moved on to the likes of Amazon and such to do most of my video game shopping, but in my younger days, Toys ‘R’ Us played an important role in my introduction to the video game medium. Naturally, it was the place I would go to as a kid whenever it was time to pick up whatever game I had been eagerly waiting months for, with Nintendo Power and its ilk often directing me straight to Jeffrey the Giraffe’s abode on launch days.

Those were the pre-EB Games days (which in turn were the pre-GameStop days, which predate these days of online shopping). Granted, I still visited more independent game stores than most kids my age at the time (at least I like to think so), but in my early years, Toys ‘R’ Us was the first destination I’d go to when it was time to pick up an anticipated game.

Perhaps more notably, Toys ‘R’ Us was the place where I first encountered and discovered many games. At the expense of sounding like just another of the countless nostalgics on the internet, I do have to admit that kids in this internet age really will never understand what it was like to have toy stores play such a large role in gaming (that’s not a bad thing of course, just a different thing. But one that stings the nostalgia bone knowing that it’s a thing of the past).

One has to remember that the internet only really came into prominence during the 2000s. In the 1990s, a kid wouldn’t get an alert on a cellphone informing them of the announcement of a new video game. And for me personally, Toys ‘R’ Us was my introduction to many video games before I even knew about video game magazines (when I say I’ve been playing video games for as long as I can remember, I mean it quite literally).

“Behold, the location at which I first saw Super Mario 64, Yoshi’s Island, DKC and Pokemon.”

I can remember the first time I saw Yoshi’s Island was at one of Toys ‘R’ Us’s gaming kiosks. For the sake of better context, I was born in 1989, and the Mario games (along with Zelda, Mega Man and Sonic) were a a big part of my childhood. I was still a wee tyke in 1995 when Yoshi’s Island rolled around, so every Mario game at that point was either long established before I was born, or released during my infancy, when I couldn’t really understand the concept of them being ‘new.’ And I must repeat that this was before the internet, and before my knowledge of gaming magazines existed. So for me, the Mario games that were out at the time were the Mario series. I didn’t know franchises could expand beyond the games I had sitting next to my NES and SNES. Suffice to say my mind was blown when my five-year old self was just on a regular trip to Toys ‘R’ Us and suddenly I see a TV screen with Yoshi’s Island on it. Yoshi was that dinosaur from Super Mario World, wasn’t he? What the hell was he doing in his own game? Why did this game look like a drawing (which was, and still is, one of the best art directions in the medium)?

For a five-year old kid with no knowledge of the game’s development or promotion (if that gross-out disgrace of a commercial was on at the time, I hadn’t seen it); this was like some kind of phenomenon.

Similar experiences happened the year prior and the year after. In the case of the former, it was Donkey Kong Country, whose state-of-the-art visuals certainly caught my eye in that Toys ‘R’ Us aisle (though the details are a little fuzzier on that one). In the case of the latter, it was Super Mario 64. Now, unlike Yoshi’s Island, I had actually heard that Nintendo was making some kind of “3D Mario game” beforehand. But I hadn’t seen anything of it up to that time. Once again, stepping into Toys ‘R’ Us and seeing Super Mario 64 at a kiosk and, actually taking a controller in hand this time, playing it for the first time, is a gaming moment I’ll never forget. I can even tell you what section of the game it was.

It was the hallways of Peach’s Castle where you can follow that Boo to the castle garden, though I instead went into the lower chambers of the castle by using the key you get from beating the first Bowser fight (or the “Key from Zelda” as I called it at the time, as the key in question is basically identical to the boss keys from A Link to the Past).

Going back to the era after I discovered video game magazines, my first time playing Majora’s Mask was also at a Toys ‘R’ Us, in which I fought against the game’s first boss, Odowla, whose shamanistic chanting has stuck with me ever since. Though unlike the previous memories listed, the “Majora’s Mask experience” was at a differing location than my ‘childhood Toys ‘R’ Us.’ The location of said Majora’s Mask experience is long-since gone, while my childhood Toys ‘R’ Us, for the time being, is still standing (yes, I can still remember the exact locations of where these gaming kiosks once stood).

Okay, by now this is starting to sound more like “Video Game Memories” than “Toys ‘R’ Us Memories,” but the fact of the matter is, without Toys ‘R’ Us, I wouldn’t have these specific memories. And such memories spawning from Toys ‘R’ Us continued for a good while, and not just for games. Whether it was tracking down action figures from the upcoming Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace (a movie that would surely be good), or collecting every last one of those Digimon miniature figurines (which I proudly still have), Toys ‘R’ Us gave me plenty of childhood memories.

The funny thing is, I even have some relatively recent memories of Toys ‘R’ Us. Around Christmastime of 2010, after seeing a Christmas stage show with my sister, we decided to stop by the nearby Toys ‘R’ Us on a nostalgic whim, where I was greeted by a beautiful “25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros.” kiosk. Sadly, the very next year when me and my sister tried to recreate the experience (after seeing the same stage show), the Toys ‘R’ Us in question had closed down. That was the first time in years I had stepped inside a Toys ‘R’ Us, and a few years later I would find another item to bring me back to the once iconic toy store: Amiibo.

Now, I’m not exactly a big Amiibo collector (I own eight total, two of which came bundled together), but there are a few that I simply couldn’t resist forking over the thirteen-or-so dollars for. The only problem is that Amiibo have a tendency to sell out quickly in online stores, and most of the ones I had interest in were gone from GameStops within minutes. And well, I really wanted the Shovel Knight Amiibo. After being unable to find one online or at GameStop, I decided to check out Toys ‘R’ Us (my childhood Toys ‘R’ Us, as I happened to be in the area at the time). Lo and behold, they had at least a dozen Shovel Knight Amiibo. From then on, whenever I wanted an Amiibo, I knew exactly where to go, and it never failed.

Sure, this was maybe telling about the future of the store chain (if a popular item can be easily found at a specific location, how many people are going to that location?), but it certainly was convenient whenever I wanted an Amiibo (what’s that? The Zelda 30th anniversary Amiibo are impossible to find? Not at Toys ‘R’ Us they weren’t!). More importantly, it gave me a means to revisit the aforementioned memories, and many others.

“See that blank space between the door and the gaming shelves? There was once a Donkey Kong Country 3 poster there. Why the hell do I remember this?”

Yes, Toys ‘R’ Us is only a toy store, and its inability to adapt with the times probably had as much of a hand in its downfall as its online competition. But for many of us, those trips to Toys ‘R’ Us were pure childhood bliss. For those of us who grew up with video games, Toys ‘R’ Us was a contributor to our love of the medium. And for someone like me, who hopes to one day make a game or two (or five, or ten) of my own, these early gaming memories of my life have clearly left an impact. I can still make my dream of making games a reality. It’s just a shame no one will ever get to see them at a Toys ‘R’ Us kiosk.

10 Things I Want to See in Super Smash Bros. 5

Can you believe it? A new Super Smash Bros. is on the way to the Nintendo Switch this year! Man, we didn’t need to wait seven years this time!

Now, of course, is the time when fans start to express what they hope to see in the newest entry in Nintendo’s crossover super-franchise. And although I usually try to refrain from getting too hyped about a game with so little information to it, when it comes to Smash Bros. I have to have a little bit of fun.

Here are – in no real order – ten things I hope to see in Super Smash Bros’ outing on the Nintendo Switch. I may make a list of my most wanted characters at some point. But for now, here’s ten different ‘things.’ Some are things I’d like to see added, others are things I’d like subtracted. Either way… All aboard the hype train! Toot toot! Continue reading