6 More Tabletop RPGs for Anime Fans

I’m about due for one of these Anime & RPG recommendation videos, so it’s time for another.

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The Vampire Lovers: Film Review

Hammer Films has always had some form of sexual content in their movies, generally in the form of various generic barmaids with cleaving-accentuating outfits being menaced by some form of monster (usually Dracula, but occasionally a werewolf or Frankenstein’s monster. However, due to Hammer’s frequent clashes with the BBFC, never with actual nudity. Similarly, while critical discussion of vampire fiction has discussed a degree of homoeroticism, up until the 70s, much of what you got was male actors staring intensely into someone’s eyes before feeding on them – with probably the distinct exception of Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural. The Vampire Lovers crosses both of those lines.

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Scream and Scream Again: Film Review

Amicus Films greatest strength as a studio has been, in their films I’ve previously reviewed (like Tales from the Crypt and Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors) has been their anthology films. Their films were always fairly low budget, but the short form anthology film format allowed them to get good actors in for short narrative works. Scream and Scream Again shifts things by doing a more ambitious narrative, but one which stumbles out of the gate and is fumbled in its execution.

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Memory: Origins of Alien: Film Review

I like documentaries about the making of movies a lot. Empire of Dreams was one of my favorite parts of the Star Wars DVD set, and its lack of inclusion on the Blu-Ray release was something of a bummer. Similarly, each of the making of documentaries on the Prequel movies were great, even if the movies themselves had issues, and I’ve always loved the documentaries on the various Alien series boxed sets. So, when I learned an independent documentary was being made on the origins of Alien, I had to pick it up.

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Body Bags: Film Review

A cropped portion of the movie poster for Body Bags featuring stills from the first and second stories, along with the frame narrative.

One of the genres where horror thrives is the Anthology film, and by “thrives” I mean that pretty much the only anthology films being made these days are horror films. Often, they take the framing narrative from EC Comics and it’s like – horror stories book-ended with a narrative by a ghoulish presenter of some form or another – you know, the classic Tales From the Crypt formula. Well, when HBO launched their Tales From The Crypt anthology TV series and films, Showtime filmed a pilot for their own, to be titled Body Bags. They didn’t decide to go forward, but did take the three filmed stories and turned them into their own anthology film.

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The Haunted Palace: Film Review

Movie poster for The Haunted Palace depicting scenes from the film with the tagline "What was the terrifying thing in the PIT that wanted women?"

The Haunted Palace is, ostensibly, another of Roger Corman’s Edger Allen Poe adaptations, in this case doing a story based on one of Poe’s poems. However, it’s not that at all. Indeed, Poe’s poem barely shows up in the story in the first place. Instead, The Haunted Palace is more of an adaptation of one of the stories of H.P. Lovecraft – specifically, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, with a screenplay by Charles Beaumont (who I reviewed a documentary about a while back).

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Uzaki-Chan Wants To Hang Out: Anime Review

I’ve talked a bunch on this blog about my having Autism, and how my Autism informs media I consume. Well, one of the things that my Autism does when it comes to shaping what I do with my personal time is it makes me something of a homebody. I generally need to get a push to go out to do some activities. It doesn’t have to be a hard push, but that push has to be there. This lead to me resonating a lot with Uzaki-Chan Wants To Hang Out, one of the slice of life rom-com anime from the Fall 2020 season.

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Super HxEros: Anime Review

I generally end up watching about one fanservice show a season, and for Summer 2020, that show for me was Super HxEros (yes, there’s fanservice in Uzaki-Chan, which I’ll be reviewing later, but that’s not the focus of the show). The show promised a pastiche of the Super Sentai franchise, with a side of risque sensibilities. Ultimately, I’d say the show started out promising, but by the end of the series, I think its thirst overwhelmed its good taste.

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No Guns Life Season 2: Anime Review

At the start of this year, I reviewed the first season of No Guns Life, an hard boiled cyberpunk detective anime that brings the more noir elements of the cyberpunk genre to the fore, while still retaining some shonen action. The first season put a lot of focus on Juzo, the protagonist, working on a variety of cases that built out the world of the setting, but not necessarily the backstory. Season 2 instead shifts the focus back to Juzo, along with some of the supporting cast and their connections to him.

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Millionaire Detective: Balance Unlimited: Anime Review

Millionaire Detective: Balance Unlimited is the anime series about a co-protagonist who buy anything except a break for their show. It’s a show that came out the year that officers from Minneapolis Police Department murdered George Floyd, leading to a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests that not only spanned not just the United States, but Japan as well. It’s a show that got postponed for a cour due to production difficulties from COVID-19. Consequently, as a part of that, it’s a series that wrapped up its season just in time for the officers who murdered Breanna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky to not face charges for their actions. And it’s about a co-protagonist who uses their astronomical, Nagi Sanzenin levels of wealth to get away with breaking the law under the auspices of having a badge.

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Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater: Anime Review

I love anime that are somewhat educational about something. While Hajime No Ippo has a very over-the-top depiction of boxing, I felt like I came away from it with a better appreciation of the sport. Shirobako and Animation Runner Kuromi gave me a better appreciation of what goes into anime (though again, both works are romanticized), and so on. So, this past season, I decided to give the anime series Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater a shot for a similar reason, and I’m very glad I did.

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Fruits Basket Season 2 Anime Review

Season 1 of Fruits Basket stopped at about the same place that the previous adaptation of the show had done – after Tohru had seen Kyo’s true form for the first time, and unlike others before had refused to reject him – and had indeed accepted and embraced him (both literally and figuratively) in spite of this, along with Tohru getting to, albeit briefly, meet Akito for the first time. Season 2 enters some new ground (as far as anime adaptations are concerned), diving a little deeper into the inter-relationships between members of the Zodiac, Akito, and the larger Sohma family.

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Film Review: Mandy (2018)

I don’t know if I’m watching Mandy at the best of all possible times or the worst. I’m watching it while surrounded by a toxic cloud of smoke that makes it unsafe to go outside, in the largest wildfire season Oregon has faced in my lifetime or my parents’ lifetime, while under a Level 1 evacuation warning. On the one hand, I’m watching the movie with an ambient atmosphere that exudes dread going in. On the other hand, maybe that’s what’s helping me get the most out of it.

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Bury Me High: Film Review

I love martial arts films – particularly those from South East Asia (starting with Hong Kong but expanding over time to Thailand, Korea, and Malaysia), thanks to role-playing games – with two, in particular, starting me down this path.

The first was Dragon Fist by Chris Pramas, which seeded my love for wuxia. The other was Feng Shui, which expanded my love to the entire Ur-genre. However, when trying to sell people on Feng Shui, I had to downplay why the game had that title – the concept of a variety of factions from through history, past and future, doing battle over “Feng Shui Sites” – places of great magical power where those who hold them can shape the flow of destiny. If I had seen Bury Me High, I would have had a lot more confidence and just told people to watch this instead.

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Film Review

Miles Morales taking a leap of faith.

When I saw The Lego Movie, I was impressed with how the film gave me a false impression of stop motion with 3D animation, and I enjoyed the comedy of the film. While I felt that Lord & Miller’s particular flavor off comedy wouldn’t work for Solo, but when I learned they were doing a Spider-Man movie, my interest was piqued, but I didn’t get around to watching Into The Spider-Verse until Covid-19.

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Dragon Inn (1967): Film Review

When I reviewed Come Drink With Me on the blog, I described it as a “Wuxia Western,” as the initial plot of the film – with Golden Swallow going to rescue her brother from bandits holed up in a monastery – could easily be the plot of a western. It is only with the introduction of Drunken Cat’s plot that the wuxia elements come to the fore. Dragon Inn, by comparison, maintains a better balance of the concepts, melding them together to make a cohesive whole.

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