Welcome again to We Have Always Lived in the Kraken, a pop culture blog transmitted directly to you from the belly of the beast. Here in the Notes we’ll show you this week’s posting schedule, but first, a little Seafood for Thought.
2016 is going to be an important year for a lot of reasons. It’s a presidential election year, which also means it is time for another Summer Olympics, now with a distinct Rio style. It’s the first full year of the Third Golden Age of television. It’s the year that we either hit complete superhero movie overload or the year that shows us there’s no such thing. It’s the year that Peyton Manning likely wrote his last chapter, while Cam Newton may just be beginning his. But with all that said, 2016 may really end up being the year of the JRPG. The slate for this year is absolutely astounding, and while I could get into Final Fantasy XV or Persona 5, I am instead going to talk about Fire Emblem Fates. This game almost didn’t get made, as the previous game Fire Emblem: Awakening was nearly the last game in the franchise after years of middling sales in the US which were mainly due to the fact that, unlike in Japan, the Fire Emblem series was released here more haphazardly than any other (except for Tactics Ogre, which is a whole other story). For instance, the first entry to get a US release was a prequel to a game that never got localized for American audiences. So although the games had a devoted following here, it was never the big hit it was in Japan. That all changed with Awakening, the massive hit the series had been waiting for which breathed new life into the franchise. At the end of this week, Nintendo hopes Fire Emblem Fates will follow in its footsteps, and in an ambitious (and/or greedy) move, the designers decided to split Fates into three different games that tell a diverging story of loyalty, betrayal, and intrigue Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation. The press for this game is high, partially due to some “controversy” over “censorship,” but the expectations have broader implications. Sure, Nintendo is banking a lot on this game, but more importantly, its success or failure will set the tone for JRPGs this year. Preferably this should be the year of the JRPG because of the genre’s many successes, not its failures, but either way, Fire Emblem Fates will be the first domino to fall.
From the depths of the Kraken, here is what we are bringing you in an impromptu Valentine’s themed week of content.
- Nothing new today, as the Kraken is still moping after a disastrous Valentine’s Day. Learn from his mistake: no matter how non-Euclidian your date is, don’t take them to the Bermuda Triangle. At least not without a reservation.
- This week in The Screening Room, Kyu brings us a twisted tale of marriage in post-war Berlin. Phoenix isn’t exactly a happy movie, but hey, sometimes love hurts. Apparently love also sometimes gets facial reconstructive surgery and becomes entangled in a web of emotion and betrayal. Who knew?
- Normally there would be a new TV Roulette here, but The Kraken ate the freaking wheel! Listen, we say we live in the depths of this beast, but you have no idea how awful it is down where we have to search for this thing. If we return alive, we’ll need some new TV shows just to help us forget the horror.
- The Anticipated 2016 gets started in style with the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar. David has never really been a fan of the Coens, but will their newest effort bring him to his senses?
- Nothing new today. We wish it was different, but it is too hard to get moving. Seriously, we dove too deep, and now the gravitational waves have us. Don’t blame us, blame science.
- Baturdays continues with Detective Comics #44, “The Land Behind the Light.” Listen, we know this is a crazy comic and every week brings new hilarity. But you wouldn’t goddamn believe us if we told you what happens in this issue.
Also, be on the look out for more Awards Predictions for Oscarathon 2016, which will come out at irregular intervals during the coming weeks.
Catch of the Week:
Each and every week the residents here in the Kraken will offer one recommendation for the week that we think you all would enjoy. It might be a movie. It might be a book. Who knows? This is your… Catch of the Week.
Kyu: Lately I’ve been watching the new SyFy show, The Magicians. I can’t say I can actually recommend it–to someone who’s never read the novels on which it is based, so far it would seem interesting but also fairly mediocre. The nascent adaptation is really struggling with the basics, from world building to pacing to character development. But my hope is that the show’s success (it’s already been renewed for a second season) will lead people to my real recommendation, the original series by Lev Grossman. Described as “Harry Potter for adults,” the Magicians books are the story of a young man named Quentin who finds himself studying magic at a secret school in upstate New York. It’s everything he ever wanted, but life is funny; the more Quentin finds he can do simply by waving his fingers and muttering incantations, the less reason there seems to be to do anything. A beautiful, lyrical, funny, gripping, brilliant series about depression, fantasy, and what it means to grow up, these are truly some of my favorite books ever. It hurts me every week to see SyFy get it wrong, but Grossman’s work is still on my shelf, untouched–except when I take them down to reread with love. They’re not for everybody, but if they’re for you, they’re really for you, so give them a shot.
David: The Oscars are creeping closer and closer, and with it Shorts HD has finally started releasing their compilations of this year’s nominations in the three short categories at the Oscars. This starts in theatres, but soon these shorts will also be offered online to all, and I highly recommended watching them if you get the chance. Each short offers a different perspective from your normal feature-length fare. Even better, these are categories that few people have any idea about going into the Oscars, so take the time to brush up on these films and possibly give yourself a leg up in your office Oscar pool.
Keskel: This week I reccomend an old (well, in anime time) favorite of mine: Psycho-Pass. It’s a darkly cynical, utilitarian take on Minority Report that makes a strong case for being one of the best cyberpunk dystopian narratives in any medium. The show also has an incredibly interesting female protagonist with a solid character arc. The movie is coming to theaters next month for a limited engagement, so if you start watching now, you might be able finish the first season in time to buy tickets. (Oh, and it’s best you pretend the second season didn’t happen.)
That’s it for this week. We hope you continue to find the Kraken to your liking. During your stay, please take care to keep your valuables with you at all times. We can’t be 100% sure, but we think there may be a pickpocket working the circulatory system.