Bring Me Sunshine Again! The Sunshine Blogger Award is Back!

Sunshine Blogger Award

The Sunshine Blogger Award is still making the rounds in the blogosphere and I am more than honoured to be nominated not once more, but twice! You can check out my first go at this award HERE, but this time I’ve been nominated by Yomu over at Umai Yomu Anime Blog and Curtis aka Ospreyshire over at Iridium Eye Reviews and my humble gratitude to both. They both run great blogs and you should definitely check them out.

Before we get started properly, let’s set out the rules:


  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog so that other people can visit them.
  2. Answer the 11 questions put to you by the nominator
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers of your choosing and provide them with a new set of 11 questions to answer
  4. Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts
  5. List the rules and display The Sunshine Blogger Award logo within your post or on your blog site.

As I’ve already done this award once before I’m going to skip nominating people this time around, just take this as an open invitation to take part if you want to. I’m also going to keep my questions the same as last time, I’ll drop them down at the bottom as a reminder, but first!

Yomu’s Questions

If you had the ability to hear the voices of inanimate objects, which one would you find the most annoying to converse with?

My keyboards. I don’t think I could take the tiny screams as I tap, tap, tap away at them while I work.

Would you rather have heat or cold resistance?

I already have cold resistance, winter is my favourite season of the year. Summer, however, is my least favourite and for one reason only, the heat! (Shakes fist dramatically). Still, I prefer being comfortable in Winter rather than Summer.

Do you prefer cookies or doughnuts?

Cookies! Where are the cookies? WHERE ARE THE COOKIES?!

What is the best time of year for tourists to visit in your home country?

There’s probably about two weeks in July were you’ll get some sunny weather. I kid, Britain has a reputation for always raining and that’s not true, it’s more accurate to say that it might always rain. Our weather is unpredictable to say the least, we’re a country on the Grand Line for all the One Piece fans out there.

What was your first job?

Outside of work experience at schoole, my first proper job was a sales assistant in a garage (sorry, petrol station, showing my Yorkshire there). I worked the night shift by myself, cleaning the shelves, watching people filling up on the forecourt and fetching what people wanted from the shop. Honestly it was an okay job, I’ve had worse, and I’ve always enjoyed a job that let’s me work at my own pace and in my own way.

What’s the next anime on your watch list?

Well, Fate/Grand Order recently ended and I’m in need of some epic action so I’m thinking a rewatch of Fate/Apocrypha is in order. Then again, my DVD of Attack on Titan season 3 should be arriving any day now and I’m likely to start that as soon as it drops through my letterbox.

What anime high school is your favourite?

I don’t know. U.A. from My Hero Academia? I guessed that would be my top pick, mainly because I’ve always loved superheroes in a school setting. Outside of that…I don’t know, I like plenty of series set in high schools, but I’ve never been all that interested in the schools themselves.

If I gave you 5 dollars, and you had to spend it, what would you spend it on?

Well, first I’d have to look at the exchange rate and see how much 5 dollars was actually worth, but I guess a comic is about that price. Sounds like a fair deal to me, when can I expect the money?

What anime superpower / magic / ability is your favourite?

The ability to be hit by something that should really break every bone in your body and yet still get up to carry on fighting. I’m thinking of a lot of shonen series with this one and, while it is ridiculous, it has led to some pretty amazing fights that I can’t help but adore.

What’s your preferred anime length?

Probably between 12 – 24 episodes. That’s a reasonable length to me, it gives creators enough time to flesh out their world, have a few more involved story arcs and space for a bit of filler to let things breath. Let’s not underestimate the effect that good filler can have on a series.

About that zombie apocalypse, it’s still coming. Which anime character do you think would make for a good zombie?

I’m not sure there is such a thing as a good zombie, but how about a Snorlax from Pokemon. I’m a big guy and I need something I can outrun if it’s the zombie apocalypse. Then again gods help me if Snorlax manages to catch up, I’d be gone in one bite.

And Now, Ospreyshire’s Questions!

Which actor or actress do you think is overlooked by the public and what role would you like to see them in?

Nicholas Briggs. In the Doctor Who community he’s a legend, but more people need to know about the man’s talent. To most he’s the voice of the Daleks (since the show came back in 2005), but he’s so much more than that, writer, director, producer and the voice to hundreds of monsters and characters. Even just going back to the Dalek voices shows the man’s talents. He’s voiced millions of Daleks over the years and still manages to find new voices and fill each one with depth and personality. Personally I’d love it if he got an onscreen role so more of the general public could see his talent, maybe he could play a human Dalek, as that would be fascinating to see.

If you could have a crossover between an anime and something involving Western animation, what would they be and what would the plot look like?

Can someone say DC X My Hero Academia. I love superheroes, and when I say that I mean I really love superheroes, so the chance to see two of my favourite sets of heroes teaming up and fighting side by side would be fantastic. Come on DC, there’s already a Justice League manga so just cross them over already! As for the plot? It’d probably be a typical team up, some sort of dimensional tears appear due to the machinations or villains, or maybe someone develops a quirk that lets them cross parallel realities, the heroes meet, there’s an initial scuffle and then everyone gets to know one another and they team up to take down the villains, who have also teamed up. Deku could meet inspirational heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman, swap plans with Batman, all the while Shigaraki could be taking villain lessons from the likes of Lex Luthor and the Joker.

What is your favorite thing about international cinema?

Godzilla movies. There’s lots of reasons to love international cinema, but the main one for me boils down to just the wealth of new ideas and perspective they bring. That being said, I do love me some Godzilla movies, I grew up on them as much as anime and all the new ideas in the world can’t beat the awe of seeing a giant reptile stomping his way around.

If you could switch a theme song from a movie or TV series with a different song, what would it be and why?

It took a while to come up with this answer, mostly because I only really remember the good theme songs, but then the answer finally came to me! Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I loved the show growing, and still do in all its goofy cheesy glory, but the one thing that always annoyed me about that show was the opening. A theme is meant to get you pumped for what you’re about to watch and what does Sabrina get lumbered with? A boring, uninspired guitar riff that is as generic as possible. If beige could be a sound, it would be this opening. I’d replace it with anything, even the animated series’ song, but since I can chose, I’d probably go with something like ‘Season of the Witch’ by Donovan.

What book would you like to see adapted onto the screen? This could be a novel or comic book, by the way.

It won’t happen, but Runemarks by Joanne Harris. It’s my favourite book, honestly, it feels like it was written just for me. Spunky young heroine, magic, norse mythology, order vs chaos, I love it and I knew I would the moment I read the first line, ‘500 years after the End of the World, and goblins had been at the cellar again’. It’d be perfect for a Netflix series.

What band would you like to see compose an entire soundtrack? What kind of movie would they score?

That’s a tough one, I guess it comes down to what the soundtrack is for. If it were something set in the 1920s I’d want some Electro Swing, so somebody like the Swingrowers would be perfect. If it’s something a bit more offbeat or possibly folky, then I’d pick Katzenjammer as they usually have a good variety of styles on their albums. Something a bit more mainstream? Then I’d go My Chemical Romance, Panic! At the Disco or Against The Current. Have I mentioned my music tastes are eclectic.

What is the least favorite thing from a creator you really like?

I love Scott Snyder’s run on Batman, it’s one of my favourite runs with the character in modern comics (closely followed by James Tynion’s Detective Comics run). It has it’s flaws sure, but on the whole it was fantastic. His Justice League run however… now admittedly I bailed early on into the run, but it was pretty clear that it wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, there was a wealth of terrific ideas and just insane plot elements (sometimes too many, which could put some people off), but the nail in the coffin for me was the dialogue boxes. Now I have nothing against dialogue boxes, as long as they’re used properly, which to me is when they let us peer into the internal thoughts of a character, or to quickly establish a scene or time. When dialogue boxes are filled with purple prose describing what I’m looking at it makes me think the writer doesn’t trust the artist (even more so when this was never a thing in his Batman run). Comics are a visual medium, use it! You want to write a prose novel? Go write a novel! Wow, I got way angrier there than I actually feel.

Who would you like to see voicing over a documentary that has never done so before? What would the documentary be about?

Peter Capaldi, if his time on Doctor Who proved nothing else (outside of how great an actor the man is) it’s that the man knows how to talk. Seriously I could listen to his speeches in Doctor Who on a loop for all eternity, so, yeah, I could listen to him talking about anything I reckon. What would documentary be about? Probably a nature one, those are the only documentaries that I really watch.

Which actor would sound ridiculous if they tried an accent outside of their own?

I’ll abstain from this one because I honestly can’t think of one, that and I know I’m terrible at accents myself (unless I’ve been listening to a native speaker for a few hours, then I can probably imitate them). There are plenty of bad attempts at accents out there, as a Brit I always find it incredibly hilarious whenever any american tries to do an English accent (seriously, americans always go for either a posh accent or a cockney one, you do realise that’s actually a relatively small proportion of all the accents we have, right?).

Who do you think is the most overrated film or animation director?

I’m always hesitant to call a film, or anything, overrated, mostly because I do my best to avoid what other people think of something until I’ve seen it for myself (I learnt a long time ago that hype can kill a story for me). Occasionally people’s opinions might filter through to me, but I never know whether that’s how everyone feels, or if it’s just one small, loud corner of the internet. I just can’t say if something is overrated with any confidence and by the time I’ve watched it, if I didn’t enjoy it as much as everyone else seemed to then I just shrug my shoulders and say it wasn’t for me.

What is your greatest wish for cinema and/or animation? This could be realistic or a pipe dream.

This probably is a pipe dream, but I’d really love for the idea that animation is just for kids removed from public consciousness. We’ve made great strides in this arena and there are more and more people who appreciate animation as the art form it is each generation, but that stigma still clings to it here in the West and I want it gone. Whenever I hear someone comment about how ‘cartoons are for kids’ or anything like that, I have to genuinely control myself because I feel my blood boiling. Whether it’s just someone asking an innocent question, a snide comment or just one of my friends trying to wind me up, I’d like it to stop thank you very much. Surely we’ve got enough proof to dismiss the idea by now.

And now my questions! Mwahahahahahahaha!

My Questions: 

  1. What one silly, inconsequential thing makes you happy every single time you come across it (for example cat videos or that moment you get to pop some bubble wrap)?
  2. What’s your favourite fandom to be apart of?
  3. Do you prefer Summer or Winter? Why?
  4. What’s one language you’d like to master more than any other?
  5. What’s your party trick?
  6. This question is mostly filler, what score would you give it out of 10?
  7. What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without?
  8. Your house is about to be sucked into a black hole, what’s the one thing you grab before you try to escape?
  9. You get to travel to one fictional world, where are you headed?
  10. Your life is now a musical, what’s the opening number called?
  11. How much anime is too much anime?

Feel free to answer them if you want and I hope you have as much fun with my questions as I did with Yomu’s and Ospreyshire’s. See you next week!

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.

Here Comes the Sun! The Sunshine Blogger Award!

And once more with feeling! My thanks to fellow author Lynn over at for nominating me, again these nominations keep surprising me and, once the panic has faded, I do enjoy writing them. Make sure to check out Lynn’s site and with the preamble out of the way, let’s get to this. What are the rules?

Sunshine Blogger Award


  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog so that other people can visit them
  2. Answer the 11 questions put to you by the nominator
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers of your choosing and provide them with a new set of 11 questions to answer
  4. Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts
  5. List the rules and display The Sunshine Blogger Award logo within your post or on your blog site

Lynn’s Questions:

  1. If you could see one anime again for the first time, what would it be and why?   It would have to be Madoka Magica. While Fullmetal Alchemist will always be my favourite anime, Madoka Magica has the distinction of being the anime that reduced me to a weeping puddle on the floor. It’s my own fault, I binged watched the whole series late one night and just broke down once it was all over. I’ve never had a reaction to a series like it before or since, despite my best efforts to find something similar.
  2. If you had to teach a class on one thing, what would you teach?   I don’t know if I’d feel qualified to teach a class on anything, jack of all trades, master of none, that’s me. I guess it would have to be either a beginner’s guide to writing or a beginner’s guide to animating. I feel I know more about writing, but there’s still so much more that I have to learn.
  3. If you could be any supernatural creature, what would you be and why?   Let’s go off the beaten track, I’d be a merman, as long as I could breath on land as well as in the water. The two mythical creatures I’m most obsessed with are dragons and mermaids and while being a dragon would be awesome I also think it’d be kind of a hassle. Not only do you get accused of kidnapping all these innocent young maidens, but you’ve constantly got all these jumped up warriors in tin cans barging into your place. Mermaids and mermen on the other hand, you get to swim about all day, you have a terrific singing voice and get to loot all the ships you wreck.
  4. If you had a time machine, would go back in time or into the future?   I’d definitely go into the future. I could binge read One Piece all the way to its end without having to wait week after week. Just imagine all the other series I could read or watch without having to wait either! Oh and I guess it would be cool to know how the world works out in the end.
  5. If you could add a word to the dictionary what would you add and what would it mean?   Doomfaffer. Now a faffer is someone who faffs around, basically procrastinating and getting nothing done. A doomfaffer is that to the next level, someone who will faff around until doomsday itself. They’ll find any excuse, give in any distraction and never ever get his bloody book written! Sorry, I didn’t realise how annoyed I was with myself there.
  6. If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?   How to play a guitar well. I’ve always been fascinated with music and songs, but I have all the musical talent of a wet flannel. I once actually found a guitar in the garage when I moved house a while back, no idea where it is now, but I was momentarily caught by the urge to learn how to play. I brought up Youtube and, once my ears had stopped bleeding, I soon gave that idea up. Still, I’d love to be able to play some instrument.
  7. If extraterrestrials landed on earth and offered to take you with them, would you go?   I know I’d probably chicken out and say no, but my brain would be screaming YEEEEEESSSS!!! A chance to explore the universe, to see new worlds and immerse myself in alien civilisations, who would want to turn that down? Of course it would probably be terrifying and overwhelming and there’d no doubt be a lot of running (points to people who get the reference), but there’d be no other experience like it.
  8. If you could choose your age forever, what age would you choose and why?   I’d probably pick somewhere around 21. I’m nearly 30, but in my head I’m still about 16 with a perpetual refusal to grow up. Still being 16 again probably wouldn’t be all that fun, being a teenager once was enough, so something like 21 sounds about right to me.
  9. What would the title of your autobiography be?   The Solitary Man. As much as I enjoy being around other people, I do have to admit that there are plenty of times when I just want to be by myself. I enjoy my own company, I can be as weird and offbeat as I like without worrying about how I’m coming across to other people. That and I can spend as much time as I want in my own little world without interruption. The only part that worries me is that I start talking to myself more and more.
  10. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?   The one that sticks in my head most is actually a piece of writing advice. ‘There’s nothing wrong with the word said’. Now ‘said’ is a perfectly fine word, sure it’s not very impressive or showy, but then that’s the point. Said is an invisible word, it’s there just to indicate who’s talking and then you move on. At some point I’d gotten it into my head that using ‘said’ was a bad idea, so every character exclaimed or shouted or responded, which really got too much. I realised I’d gone too far when one of my fellow members of my writers group threatened to staple the word to my forehead if I didn’t start using ‘said’ more. As they say, everything in moderation.
  11. The zombie apocalypse is coming, who are the three anime characters you want on your team?   I think I’d be best going for a team of Luffy, Franky and Zoro from One Piece. As the below image proves, they certainly know how to handle a zombie horde.                    600 Million Berry Jackpot

And I hereby nominate (apologises if people have already been nominated):





Jon Spencer







My Questions: 

  1. What one silly, inconsequential thing makes you happy every single time you come across it (for example cat videos or that moment you get to pop some bubble wrap)?
  2. What’s your favourite fandom to be apart of?
  3. Do you prefer Summer or Winter? Why?
  4. What’s one language you’d like to master more than any other?
  5. What’s your party trick?
  6. This question is mostly filler, what score would you give it out of 10?
  7. What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without?
  8. Your house is about to be sucked into a black hole, what’s the one thing you grab before you try to escape?
  9. You get to travel to one fictional world, where are you headed?
  10. Your life is now a musical, what’s the opening number called?
  11. How much anime is too much anime?

That’s it for me, hopefully you’ll have as much fun with my questions as I had writing this post. Also anyone else who wants to join in, you’re more than welcome. See you tomorrow for an actual review!

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.

All images belong to their respective owners. 




Oh So Mysterious! The Mystery Blogger Award!


Well Curtis, aka ospreyshire, nominated me for this oh so mysterious award and all I can say is thank you! Check out his post HERE. Honestly it surprises me every time I get tagged into one of these, which is quickly followed by blind panic as I realise I don’t have the structure of a review to hide behind! But wait, there are rules! Yes! Structure! So, what do I have to do?

1. Put the award logo/image on your blog

2. List the rules

3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog

4. Mention Okoto Enigma, the creator of the award and provide a link as well

5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself

6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people

7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)

9. Share a link to your best post(s)

First, ospreyshire‘s questions for me:

1. Where would you like to visit that you’ve never been to before?

Honestly I’m not much of a traveller, but I’ve had it on my mind for a while that at some point I would like to go…outside. Okay joking, aside there are plenty of countries I’d like to visit, but I suppose my top pick would be Japan. The only things really holding me back are, one, I’d have to sit down and actually learn Japanese rather than picking up random phrases from anime and, two, I’d need to find someone to go with me. I hate going places by myself, it’s just not as fun. I realise these are only excuses covering up my own laziness, but that’s why I’m not much of a traveller. One day I’ll do it, one day.

2. What is one movie, TV show, and/or book that you can’t stand, but everyone else likes?

You’re going to make me say it? Fine, the Harry Potter books. Saying I can’t stand them is a bit much, but I definitely have a grudge against the series that stopped me from getting into it. See I was a massive Pokemon fanatic when I was younger, and I mean colossal, yet every fandom has its day and the next big thing to come along was Harry Potter. Everyone kept going on about how good it was, but I wasn’t ready to let Pokemon go and the Potter books never really grabbed me. I know that sounds really petty and it is, I did force myself to watch all the films and they were okay. The third film is probably the closest I came to enjoying myself. At some point I’ll try reading the books again and see if I can get into them now.

3. If you could invent a language, what would you call it and how would you teach it to the world?

What I would call it would depend on what the language is. Is it a composite of other languages, is it something completely alien, is it spoken or delivered in some other manner? How I would teach it would probably be the same way I’d come up with it, I’d include it in a book. I do love language and how it’s used and while I have yet to invent an entire language for a story I’ve come up with plenty of different ways for people to communicate. For example in one short story I introduced a gelatinous species that communicated by twisting their bodies into different shapes, or in sci-fi stories I try to come up with slang or naming conventions that I think could take root in the future.

4. What is one interest or hobby that you never thought you would get into?

This is a recent hobby I’ve picked up, but I’ve recently gotten into role-playing. I’ve always wanted to join a group and give it a try, but I guess I’ve never been in the right place at the right time to find people to play with. That changed a few months back and while it’s still early in the campaign and I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m having a lot of fun.

5. How do you want to improve as a person?

I want to conquer my more self-conscious and worrywart nature, more than I already have. I’m a lot more confident and open than I used to be, but I still retreat into my comfort zone too readily. I want to take a few more risks, challenge myself a bit, maybe travel someplace. I’m getting there, slowly, but I’m getting there.

3 things about myself:

  1. Born and raised in Sheffield, United Kingdom. As the saying goes, Yorkshire born, Yorkshire bred, Strong in the arm, Thick in the…. ahem, finish that one for yourselves.
  2. I’m a member of the Sheffield Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Group, I’ve had several short stories published in their anthologies, most notably the ‘Ages of Escafeld’ anthologies which you can find on Amazon.
  3. At the minute I’m working on a mecha sci-fi dystopia novel, where my cynical heroine, Rosette, must enter a highly dangerous competition where pilots battle it out in fully armoured mechs for fame and fortune. Rosette’s only goal is to survive and provide for her family, something increasingly difficult in a world on the edge of war.


I hereby nominate (apologises if anyone has already been picked):







The AniMessenger

magicconan14 (Aria)



My Questions:

  1. What one show do you absolutely love, but nobody else ever talks about it or has even heard of it?
  2. If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?
  3. If you could visit any place, in any time period, what would it be?
  4. Which would you choose, worldwide fame and fortune, or relative obscurity and a small but dedicated fanbase?
  5. What is the question? (This is the weird question or is it?)

My Best Posts:

I’m really bad at appreciating my own stuff, I have a tendency to just pick out all the flaws, but these are the ones I’m most proud of at the moment,

The Promised Neverland – I was surprised by the response this one got, I worked hard to keep it as spoiler-free as possible and somehow managed it.

Put a Tune to it: Western Songs for Anime – This was a lot of fun to do, the songs came to me pretty quickly and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island – I’m a huge One Piece fan and I haven’t really had enough of a chance to talk about the series on here and it was great to talk about one of my favourite films.

That’s it for this post, I’ll be back in a few days with another one.

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.

It’s a Really Neat Blog Award!

I got another award! I mean…just wow, all this positive recognition is doing wonders for my low self-esteem so thank you Ospreyshire over at IridiumEyeReviews, this means a lot. Curtis runs a really great blog looking at movies, documentaries and anime that the majority of the time I’ve never heard of before, but that’s what makes it so great. His reviews are packed full of detail and trivia so make sure to check out his blog. Now he’s given me some tough questions to answer with this post, but before we get to those, let’s do the housekeeping. Here’re the rules!

The Rules

1. Display the logo.

2. Thank the bloggers for the award.

3. Answer the questions from the one who nominated you.

4. Nominate 7 to 10 bloggers.

5. Ask them 7 questions.

Already done 1 and 2, so let’s get on to the questions!

  1. What is one obscure movie or anime that you know of that you wish was more popular?

At least we’re starting with an easy one (I’ve looked at the rest of the questions and I don’t hold out much hope for myself). Song of the Sea is my pick. An irish animated film from Cartoon Saloon it is an utterly outstanding film, hauntingly beautiful and sweet. It’s based on the selkie myth and features a young brother and sister who learn that the sister can turn into a seal when she puts on her coat, but when they’re shipped off to their grandmother’s house inland, they realise they need to get back home before the sister perishes. It’s a story about grief and family bonds and I think everyone should see it at least once. I don’t have words for how beautiful the animation is, just google it and you’ll see.

  1. As some people may know, I am very vocal about film plagiarism issues (Examples: Inception stealing major concepts from Paprika or The Lion King blatantly plagiarizing several characters, scenes, and plot points from Kimba the White Lion). If some movie did some cinematic thievery, what is one original film, TV series, or anime would you not want to see ripped off at all costs?

Does it count as a rip-off if it’s your own property that your copying wholesale? If so then I’d like to fence off what’s left of Disney’s animated catalogue before they get turned into ‘live action’ copies like so many already have. Look, if you enjoy Disney’s crop of live action films then power to you, I’m glad someone is getting some enjoyment out of them, but they’re really not for me. I’m biased towards animation, I know, you can just do so much with it, the breadth of imagination and scope it can bring to life is amazing. Next to the written word it’s my favourite medium.

The live action films are trying so hard to be the animated versions of themselves that I just don’t get it. I mean if they wanted to do their own thing with the stories, take things in a new direction or put a twist on things I’d be all for it (if you’re going to copy something the least you can do is put your spin on it), but that’s not what these films are trying to do. They’re so obviously trying to appeal to the nostalgia centres of people’s brains, when people can just easily go and watch the animated ones. I don’t see the point of that, but they make money so I think they’ll be around for a while yet (Sorry, I’ve gone a bit ranty here).

  1. Who is the most underrated composer in your opinion?

Ah, this is probably going to be the most difficult question for me to answer. I always feel guilty admitting this, but I always feel nervous learning about the people behind the series I love. I suppose I’m just scared that I’ll find out they’re a complete -insert swear word here- and I’ll never be able to enjoy their work again (a recent example, I can never watch an episode of Smallville again after finding out about that whole Allison Mack thing). I like to keep artists up on their pedestal where I’m free to just bask in their work and not worry about anything but how their work makes me feel. In fact the only times I really learn creator’s names is either if they come up in conversation a lot or I see their names come up time after time.

Because of this most of the names I know are all fairly well recognised, which makes me feel bad because then I think about all those who I’m not appreciating. I don’t feel confident calling anyone underrated, but at the same time I feel like I need to name someone at the very least so how about Kenichiro Suehiro? I have no idea if he’s underrated or not, but I’ve recently started to notice him. He’s done the music for Fire Force, Granbelm, Goblin Slayer and Re:Zero to name a few and while some of these series have problems the music certainly isn’t one of them.

  1. Which country would you like to see some cinema from that’s not your homeland?

India. I read the first two books in the Pandava Quartet last year (think of them like Percy Jackson, but with Hindu mythology instead of Greek) and they really piqued my interest. I’ve always been interested in other cultures and mythology, but I’ve never really looked into India before so it feels like the time to start (now I just have to find the time to actually do it!). Also I really want to see the two Baahubali films, they look amazing.

  1. What are your biggest issues with the current Hollywood scene?

Oh, where do I even start with this one? The endless need to make a franchise out of anything and everything? Trading on nostalgia so much that there’s barely a chance for anything without a pre-existing fanbase to get a chance to live? (Don’t get me wrong, I love going back to watch old favourites or to see familiar characters again, but I also like to see completely new stuff every now and again). The lack of diversity both behind and in front of the camera?

All of the above and more, Hollywood is an old creaky system that I don’t know how to fix. It’s making progress, but like all progress it moves at a glacial place, while we all just sit here and wait for it to catch up. Movies are big business and a lot of people’s blood, sweat and tears go into making them. I take my hat off to anyone who works in the industry, but there are times when I want to kick said system up the backside and get it pick up the pace a little.

  1. Finish this idea: (Name of protagonist here) would be the most interesting hero ever if…?

Ezra Bridger would be the most interesting hero ever if he fully turned to the Dark Side, even if only once. I’m slightly worried about bringing up Star Wars considering how divided the fanbase has become, but screw it I’ve started so I’ll finish. I like Star Wars Rebels, and I mean I really like it, sure it has its problems, but whenever it was dealing with the Force or Thrawn it was exactly the kind of Star Wars I love. I also really like Ezra’s arc across the series, but if there’s one area where it falters it’s in the resolution to Ezra’s flirtation with the Dark Side, in that there isn’t really one.

All through season 2 we’ve got Ezra slowly giving in to his anger, his desperation to protect his friends making him crave the power he needs to save them. His scenes with Maul were some of the best in the series, and this trend continues into the next season, with Ezra still being so very angry, but then it kind of just stops and he goes back to being a Jedi without consequence. I feel like if Ezra had just fully crossed that line, just once, to properly snap him back to his senses it would have given this phase of his character arc more resolution.

  1. Who is one non-actor that should try voice acting? What kind of role(s) would they have?

Sir David Attenborough. I’ll admit it took me a while to think of a non-actor whose voice I think would fit really well into the profession of voice acting, then a repeat of ‘Blue Planet’ came up on the TV and it was a figurative light bulb. Yes, the man, the legend, the national treasure, David Attenborough. I’m not sure how well known he is outside of the UK, but he used to be THE voice for nature documentaries (nowadays he’s getting on a bit and leaves it to the upstart youths like David Tennant). I could seriously listen to him talk or narrate for hours on end and have a couple of times in the past. I can see him in a Miyazaki film, playing the grandfatherly mentor with an environmental message.

Whew. I had to think hard about some of those answers and I’m surprised by how little were about anime, but I made it through to the other side so now it’s my turn!

Here are my nominations:

The Otaku Author

Umai Yomu Anime Blog

100 Word Anime

I drink and watch anime



Anyone else who wants to join is also welcome to jump in, now here are the questions!

  1. What was your first ever anime (did you even know it was an anime at the time)?
  2. When you’re watching an anime, do you read the manga as well or are you anime only? Why?
  3. What series or film (anime or not) do you think deserves more attention?
  4. What one thing is guaranteed to make you watch a series no matter what?
  5. What genre of anime would you like to see more of?
  6. If you could visit any world (be it from anime or a book or someplace else) where would you like to go?
  7. What character (again from any anime, book or something else) would you most like to spend an evening with, be that going out for a drink or just chilling on the sofa with them?

Hope of all of you have as mush fun as I did and thanks again Ospreyshire!

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday. 


Blogger Recognition Award

So I got nominated for this the other day by Irina, who also reminded me that Karandi had nominated me for the same award back in 2018 (which I had completely forgotten about, sorry). I am both surprised and overjoyed to be nominated, both times, and, yeah, I should probably get this done before I forget again, so let’s get to it!

Here’s how we do this:

1. Say thanks to who nominated you and leave a link back to that persons blog.

Massive thanks to both Irina and Karandi, you’re both pillars of the community and this little corner of the internet wouldn’t be the same without either of you. Irina is the queen of fun and thought-provoking posts, while Karandi is a master reviewer with a ridiculously good work ethic. Both are incredibly encouraging and, again, this place wouldn’t be the same without you. If anyone isn’t already following their blogs then you need to, right now.

2. Give the story or history of your blog.

I’ve mentioned parts of this before, but I don’t think I’ve ever put the whole story in one place. There’s basically two routes that led to the creation of this blog, the first comes from my ever arduous path to becoming a full-time writer (one day it will happen!). At the time I only had one short story published and was looking for a way to stretch my writing muscles, to challenge myself and build confidence in my own voice.

I was inspired by the UnshavedMouse blog, I created a character to hide myself behind, the Infallible Fish, and I even came up with a back story.

Cursed into the form of a talking cartoon fish by a half-mad deity known only as the Writer, the Infallible Fish has no idea who he is, or where he comes from, all he does know is that he has a burning urge to watch some animated stuff.

The plan was to review animated films and series with the occasional comedic skit featuring Fish and the Writer, with the potential for an ongoing plot, but I dropped that idea fairly quickly as I felt more comfortable reviewing stuff just as myself, though I kept the Fish for my title cards.

If you want to know where the name for my blog comes from, well, for that we have to time travel back to my college years where, one day, I happened across an ad in the paper that would form one of the cornerstones of my identity. The ad featured a usb stick in the shape of a fish, with the words ‘Never Argue with a Fish’ printed in bold above it. Somehow this was an advert for a car, I think. To this day I have no idea what the thought process behind that ad was and that’s why I love it, that eternal, unfathomable mystery of what’s going on inside someone else’s head. It’s weird, absurd and just outright hilarious to me, so I took that as my name on the internet.

However, I said there were two routes to this blog, while all this stuff was in my head I needed a trigger to get me off my backside and actually start writing. That trigger was Frozen. I had…issues with Frozen and while I’ve come to terms with them over the years, the need to talk through my feelings with someone became the basis for the very first review of this blog, HERE.

3. Give two or more pieces of advice for new bloggers.

Ah, now we arrive at the part of this post that has me sweating a little bit. See, I’m not a very good blogger. I mean it still surprises me that people read and like my reviews, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve started thinking about what to do with this blog outside of what my next review is going to be. It’s only recently that I actually started following people and expanding the list of blogs that I read, so I feel really under-qualified to be giving out advice, but I’ll try anyway.

Don’t get obsessed with stats – This is a piece of advice from the writer in me and something I struggle with myself. When it comes to likes, shares and general popularity, don’t worry about it. Sure there’s always that nice little buzz when someone likes something you put so much time and effort into, also growing your audience is a part of your job, but it’s not your whole job. If you spend all your time on twitter, facebook and wordpress, then when are you actually writing? Make plans for how to improve your blog, certainly, but remember to focus on your content too, write what you want to write without worrying about how people will react to it. If you start worrying about what people will think or if it’ll be popular you’re likely to give your writer’s block, trust me, I’ve been there. Speak in your own voice and sweat the rest later.

Get involved in the community – Something I’ve been learning recently, talk to people. Read blogs, like posts, comment if you have something to say, even if that’s just to congratulate the blogger on a great post. I know it can be a bit scary at times, but the blogging community here on wordpress is really supportive and nice. Talk to people, you never know what might happen, you may even end up writing a blogger recognition award post.

4. Nominate 10 other bloggers and link their blogs.

And here we are, as I said I’ve only recently been applying myself to expanding the number of blogs I read and follow, I’m not even sure if I follow 10 blogs without checking (I told you I was bad at this). I know there are many, many, many great blogs out there and while I’m in the process of catching up on all the ones I don’t already follow, here’s the ones I can wholeheartedly recommend for you to check out first, and if you have any other suggestions please drop them in the comments.

The Otaku Author Lynn is a fellow author and does some great episodic and seasonal reviews, as well as fun little side projects, like the Saturday Spin-off, where he flexes his creative muscles. Crow is another pillar of the community, super supportive, and if you want to know what the greatest moment of a given episode was, check out his reviews.

Mechanical Anime Reviews Scott often puts together interesting and heartfelt posts, it’s always a joy to read his work so make sure you do. Also no matter how much he tries to deny it, we all know he’s the master of mecha around here.

Iridium Eye Reviews – Ospreyshire’s blog where he reviews things that, 9 times out of 10, I have never heard of before, which is partly why I like his blog so much. His reviews are always packed full of details and trivia so make sure to check them out.

Umai Yomu Anime Blog I’ve only just started following Yomu’s blog, but what I’ve seen so far has me impressed. It was the School-Live! review that got me to follow them, but I will also recommend the Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai character analysis.

Jon Spencer Reviews This one I feel a little guilty about, because I’ve known about Jon’s blog for a while but its only recently that I’ve started reading his work on a regular basis, which feels like a massive mistake on my part. From insightful reviews to the Creator Showcase, make sure to follow Jon.

Confessions of an Overage otaku Another recent follow and a fellow author! Lots of fun and interesting posts to be found here dissecting anime, though I’ll be honest it was the Kill la Kill posts that got me to follow.

ANIME FEMINISTThis mostly goes out to Marion Bea for their posts on Shonen and how the genre needs to better serve both its female characters and female readership, though really any and all contributors to the site can answer this if they want to. I’ve only just started following, but what I’ve read so far has been really insightful and thought-provoking. Elisabeth and Dominic have a site packed with the latest anime news as well as fun little posts either reviewing, analysing or just musing on all things anime. Definitely someplace everyone should be checking out if they don’t already.

unshavedmouse Lastly, it only feels right that I include Neil Sharpson here, you know, being an inspiration and all. I’ve followed his blog for a long time (though only recently pressing the actual follow button, you may have noticed a pattern here). If you’re after witty reviews of every Disney film going, sentient maps and communist crows as well as input from the immortal warlock Walt Disney, then this is the place to check out. Also, you know, he has reviewed a few anime in his time, though I fear Mysterious Girlfriend X may have broken him.

Phew, made it. Thank you again Irina and Karandi for nominating me and thank you to everyone for reading so far, I hope you’ve had fun. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got some more blogs to read, or was I supposed to be getting my own writing done? You know, I may have just found a conflict in my own advice.

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.  

Word Count 2:Revenge of the Punctuation

Month two of me and my fellow members of the Sheffield Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Group mad scheme to write a million words between us in a year.

The running total is 188,331! Only 811,669 to go!

Personally my word count for December is 19,497, which looking at that and November looks like I can write about 20,000 words a month. Let’s see if I can keep that up for January.

Check out how everyone else did here.

Now excuse me while I go lie down.

The Infallible Fish Reviews: Hotel Transylvania

Blog Hotel Transylvania Review Title

Trick or Treat! Hey, where is everybody?

I know that technically Halloween has long pasted us by now, but I’ve been saving this film for this time of year (and technically Halloween is this blog’s anniversary so I can’t do it on the night as it were). Anyway Hotel Transylvania is kind of an interesting topic. I admit that when I first heard about it I wasn’t all that bothered about seeing it. It wasn’t until the Nostalgia Critic recommended this film that I even considered checking it out and I was pleasantly surprised. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to laud this as an animation great or an undiscovered gem. As a film I think this pretty much falls into the ‘fine’ category, but I do think it tends to get some undeserved flack (44% on Rotten Tomatoes? Really? We couldn’t even nudge it towards 50%?).

I think the main reason people probably avoid this film is because of one name, Adam Sandler. Yes his recent movies have been fairly disastrous with critics (I can’t really give an opinion on them as I haven’t seen most of them. The last one I saw was ‘I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry’ which was just kind of boring and unfunny, kind of a problem when it’s supposed to be a comedy). I do like some of his earlier films like ‘Happy Gilmore’. I get why people would see his name and go see something else, but in all honesty, he’s not all that bad as Dracula.

Enough preamble, what’s the story? Dracula has built a castle hidden in the mountains, which he operates as a hotel for any monsters who want to get away from the humans that terrorise them. His daughter, Mavis, is coming up to her 118th birthday and she wants to go out and see the world, a prospect which terrifies Dracula ever since he lost his wife to a pitchfork and torch wielding mob. He sets up a scheme to trick his daughter into fearing the human world, and agreeing to never leave the hotel again. Everything is going perfectly, until a human, Johnny, stumbles across the hotel.

Ok I’m not going to act like this story is anything new or original. A hotel for monsters? Been done before. An overprotective dad learning to let his child go? Seen it. The eventual lair revealed plotline? Yeah, this is kind of getting stale now. A lot of the plot you know exactly where it’s going from the outset and it never really surprises you all that much, but there are a couple of nice moments I’d like to mention. Firstly I like the moment where Dracula is telling his tragic back story to Johnny and Johnny says that humans have changed and we’re not all that bad anymore. To which Dracula asks if Johnny can guarantee that every single human will accept them if they come out, which Johnny can’t. I like this a lot. Yeah we’re not all bad and I like to believe in the goodness of humanity and all that, but we’re not all saints and some people will react like Dracula expects. It’s a much more realistic answer than the typical black and white portrayal of this situation (of course this is slightly derailed by the fact that pretty much everyone accepts the monsters in a heartbeat at the end of the film). Another scene I like is when Mavis learns that Johnny is human, and for a moment you think it’s going to go with the whole “you lied to me!” cliché, but instead she just hugs him and says she doesn’t care (of course then Johnny has to be an idiot and leave anyway so we can get in our quota of moping around). This is story is very predictable and cliché-ridden, but there are little moments where the script shows that some the writers are at least trying to make this a better quality of story.

Now for Adam Sandler. I actually quite like his portrayal of Dracula, it’s not going to win him an Oscar, but it works perfectly fine. There is a part of my brain that is always aware that I am listening to Adam Sandler doing a funny voice, but there’s another part that buys into the character and the emotions. I’m willing to suspend my disbelief and believe that I am watching Dracula (which technically makes Hotel Transylvania a better movie than Despicable Me, see my review here for why). The rest of the characters are all pretty good too. The monsters are all well designed and acted. There are a couple of good gags with most of them. The comedy isn’t anything insanely clever or gut-busting, but it had me chuckling along. Mavis is likeable and her relationship with Johnny is sweet. I wish it wasn’t a case of love at first sight, but that’s just because that trope is really boring. I’d much prefer it if they fell in love after the whole sunrise scene. That scene felt really genuine and made me believe that these two have actual feelings for one another. Johnny is kind of a double-edged sword though. He’s a nice enough character, but he’s not really all that funny and brings in all of this pop culture sayings that slowly infect the other characters. I did kind of cringe listening to some of them, and I imagine in the future they’ll date this film really badly (it already feels like a leftover from the late 90s, even though it was made in 2012).

What really sells this film though, and makes me glad that I saw it even if it does turn out to be only the once, is the animation. The animation is amazing in this film. For starters everything loves gorgeous, it’s full of colour and detail. The direction is top notch. The animation moves with a lot of speed, but not so much that you ever lose what’s going on. It puts me in mind of older cartoons like Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry, with great timing and some effective slapstick. It’s full of energy and power that just makes it glorious to watch.

All in all I don’t think this is a bad film. The story is very clichéd and predictable, but the characters are likeable and there are a couple of good jokes. The animation is worth the price of admission though, it’s fantastic with a great amount of speed and energy. If you’re looking for a harmless little film to entertain the kids for an hour and a half with, there are worse films you could rent. This is definitely more treat than trick.

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday. 

The Infallible Fish Reviews: A Monster in Paris

Blog Monster in Paris Review Title

Ok, I’ve been meaning to do this film for a while now. This review was actually one of the first ones that I wanted to do on my blog, but between the new releases of animated films and starting up the anime corner section of the blog, this one’s been pushed further and further back. Well, better late than never, so let’s see what we’ve got. What’s the story?

Our film opens in Paris, where a news reel informs us that the river has flooded and this is causing major problems (not that we ever really see any of these flooded areas, we catch glimpses and it keeps being mentioned, but most people just appear to be getting on with things without much trouble. This plot point does become important by the climax, but for the duration of the film you can’t help feel this news reel is over exaggerating a tad, though I suppose that par for the course with the media).

Anyway, we meet our first character Emile, a projectionist at a local cinema with a crush on the girl in the ticket booth. In between dropping his trousers in front of the girl he fancies and having his new camera stolen by a thief (ok, I admit writing it like that does it make it sound a little odd), we’re introduced to our comic relief for the film, Raoul, an exuberant inventor who is just a little too into his car. After some hijinks, they head over to make a delivery to a laboratory on the edge of town. After an accident involving a monkey, a giant sunflower, some potions (including one that turns you into a fantastic singer), the duo end up transforming an innocent flea into a seven foot monster that terrorises Paris. (You know the more I write up this synopsis the stranger this film sounds). Anyway our titular monster is in fact a timid guy who loves music, and he gets taken in my Raoul’s childhood friend (who he in no way has any sort of romantic feelings towards whatsoever), the singer Lucille. Unfortunately Paris’ glory hungry police commissioner has vowed to kill the monster, and it’s up to our heroes to get Francoeur (that’s what they dub the monster) to safety, and why can’t you people just see past the exterior and appreciate the beauty that is inside (yeah, yeah I’ve heard it all before as well).

Honestly the actual bare bones of the plot isn’t all that original, it’s one part Phantom of the Opera, two parts Frankenstein, but I don’t hold this against the film. Sure any adult will know the message and how most plot points will resolve themselves within the first ten minutes, but the film still manages to be really fun and creative. The characters are all likeable and funny in their own ways, and it is enjoyable to see how they develop across the film (I particularly like the commissioner’s decent into madness). The animation is really quite good in places, there are a handful of beautifully shot scenes and don’t even get me started on the song and dance numbers. Ok, you can get me started. They’re fantastic. Most kid’s films just stick songs in so the film turns into a driveby musical (and this is in no way some kind of attempt to rip of Disney films), but ‘A Monster in Paris’ finds a natural and obvious way to get the songs in (one of the characters is a singer after all). The songs are probably my favourite parts of the film. They’re all good songs and it’s so refreshing to get something other than the usual pop songs these films usually trot out. The songs also get some great animation to back them up, whether be energetic dance routines, or some stunningly colourful backdrops.

I like this film, it’s weird in all the right ways for me, but it does have a couple of problems. Now I mentioned the characters, and while I like all of them, there’s too many of them! Seriously this film is stuffed to the brim with side characters. We got that thief who keeps popping up (and getting knocked out by Raoul’s car), we’ve got the terrible French waiter whose even worse at singing than he is as waiting tables, there’s the commissioner, his subordinate, Maud, the monkey, Lucille’s aunt who runs the club, plus our leads in Emile, Raoul, Lucille and Francoeur. Sometimes it feels like the film is straining to hold itself together. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if it could decide on who the main character is, but it can’t.

First we’re introduced to Emile, so clearly he’s meant to be our main character right? I mean we already have a love interest for him in Maud, and a comedy sidekick in Raoul. Wrong! Pretty soon the film decides to chuck Emile to one side for a bit and becomes more interested in Raoul, turning Emile into the sidekick. Then the film decides to abandon Raoul and go hang out with Lucille as she gets to know Francoeur. Are you seeing the problem here? There’s a distinct lack of focus to the story.

I think the best example I can give us this is the relationship between Raoul and Lucille. Now towards the end of the film all of the major plot threads have been tied up, we get a nice final shot of Paris, then all of a sudden the film throws in a flashback of how Raoul and Lucille first met before coming back to the present for them to them kiss. What? Excuse me, what? Shouldn’t this have been established earlier? Shouldn’t this have been put in at the beginning of the film, so that it not only explained the relationship between Raoul and Lucille, but also set up some pay off with that kiss at the end? Why would you throw it in five seconds before the pay off?

Another slightly irksome part of this film is Paris, specifically Paris during the daylight scenes. The scenes of Paris at night look really good. There’s lots of varying colours and you get the sense that this is a sprawling city, but during the day everything just looks too clean, too white. It never looks like more than a set, with me never fully believing that there are more buildings beyond the row of ones on display. It fails to bring the city to life.

Even with these gripes though, I still enjoy this film. I do enjoy spending time with these characters, even if the film can’t decide which ones take precedence, they’re all fun and lively in their own ways. The animation is good, there are some really well constructed scenes, and I like the songs.  All in all, ‘A Monster in Paris’ is definitely worth a watch or two.

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday. 

Anime Corner: Trigun Badlands Rumble Review

Blog Trigun Badlands Rumble Review Title

Say it with me everyone! Love and Peace! Love and Peace! Love and Peace!

What’s the Story?

Vash is back! This time he’s having to deal with the consequences of his actions 20 years previously, were he saved the life of the notorious robber, Gasback. In the present Gasback is out to get some payback against the guys that betrayed him, vowing to steal everything from them. This draws in a whole host of bounty hunters after Gasback’s head, including one woman with a grudge to settle. With Gasback on one side, and an army of bounty hunters on the other, can Vash really prevent people from getting killed?

The Review

Ok, anyone who read my One Piece Film Z review (here) will know that I’m not all that keen on anime films that are tied to a TV series. A lot of the time they feel like inconsequential filler, and due to their limited run time they also feel rushed. It’s not that I don’t like them, but it’s certainly a rare occasion when they wow me. This Trigun movie has another added hurdle to get over as well, considering how this film was released in 2010 and the series ended in the late 90s, can this possibly capture the feeling of the old series? Let’s find out.

First off, I said it was a rare occasion when anime films tied to a TV series impressed me, well this is one of those occasions. The story tackles a topic that fits the series of Trigun really well, what happens to the criminals that Vash let’s live, and is he responsible for all the deaths that happen after that? Sure the topic isn’t exploited to its full potential (we never see Vash really question his way of doing things), but it certainly feels like a meatier story than you’d normally get in these filler movies. The pacing is also pretty much perfect in this movie, everything feels like it had just about enough time, nothing stretched out or rushed over for too long. I can only think that this is due to the fact that for a lot of its run Trigun did a lot of one and done stories, so this just feels like an extended episode.

Does it still feel like Trigun though? Yes, yes it does. The story helps in this regard, feeling like a further study of our hero Vash. It also helps that all the characters still feel like themselves, everyone is in character and even the replacement voice actors sound close enough that I hardly notice the change. That brings me to the animation. Of course back when the original series was made it used cel animation, whereas nowadays digital painting is used instead, which brings me to a sticky situation as I am forced to admit…well…you see…Trigun has never looked this good before. I realise that by saying that it means about half the internet’s Trigun and animation purists are preparing to decent on this blog with flaming comments in hand (but only if they can find me first! Ha ha), but let me explain. Yes I do tend to prefer the old school cel animation, it has a quality and texture about it that digital painting never manages to capture, but by the same token, outside of the hands of a company like Sunrise or other masters of the artform, the quality of old cel animation wasn’t always that great. I believe in my original review of Trigun (here), I said that sometimes cardboard cut outs could better represent the motion of characters. Here everything is crisp and clear and moves so well it leaves me pawing at the screen like a lovesick dog. Yet it still looks and feels like Trigun, just with a budget at last.

Now I have expressed my love for the characters of Trigun before. Vash, as ever, is great. He’s brilliant both as a wild hyperactive lunatic, the gun slinging badass, or as our silent, lamenting hero. Wolfwood also gets some great moments to shine, though how he gets involved in events is a bit of a stretch for me, though I can forgive it as we had to come up with some reason for him to show up. I do wish the Insurance Girls, Meryl and Milly, had a bit more to do, but it is great just to see them again.

That brings me to the two new characters for this movie, our villain Gasback, and the bounty hunter Amelia. Both are great characters who fit seamlessly into the world of Trigun, and they actually have a bit more meat to them than your usual guest characters for this sort of film.

Gasback, despite having a terrible name, is a great villain. He is a renowned robber who dreams of pulling off the greatest robbery in history, and his plan in the film is outlandish enough to win him that from me. He takes pride in his work, and no one can do him a greater insult than to mess with his robbery. It’s a strange philosophy he works by, but such an interesting one. I admit it, I like the guy and I want to see him pull this robbery off, if only to stick it to the one note secondary villains who betrayed him in the 20 years previously bit. It also helps that Gasback is a total badass (this is confirmed by a scene when an explosion goes off behind him and he just walks away nonchalantly. A cliché I know, but it’s so cool). I mean the guy is clearly no match for Vash in a one on one duel, but still he’s smart and resourceful enough to propose a challenge for the good guys.

That brings me to Amelia. She’s a great addition to the Trigun universe. If you look at her character on paper, she cold so easily have turned into your typical female badass stereotype, but she has enough personality and a good twist in her back story that saves her from being like that. Her emotions and her grudge feel genuine, though I do think her confrontation of Vash over his involvement in Gasback’s escape 20 years previously could have dug a bit deeper emotionally.

The Verdict

In the end, Trigun Badlands Rumble is a fantastic further adventure for Vash and the gang. The story is fun, the animation is top notch, with some truly great action sequences. If you’re a fan of Trigun you have to check this out, and if you haven’t seen Trigun before maybe this will convince you to watch it. It won’t explain everything from the series (but then Trigun always was a secretive series), but it should give you enough flavour to tell you whether this is to your taste or not.

fish stamp great

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday. 

The Infallible Fish Reviews: Justice League: Gods and Monsters

Blog Gods and Monsters Review Title

Bruce Timm! The Man! The Legend! The God! A huge part of Batman: the animated series, and the subsequent “Timmverse” which included the likes of Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited and Batman Beyond. If Disney rules the films of my childhood, Bruce Timm rules the TV of my childhood (well, the cartoon section anyway). His work is part of the reason I dream of becoming a professional animator, and his style has influenced my own drawing style a great deal.

And now we have a new DC original film brought to us by Mr. Timm (and it’s actually animated in the style of the old DCAU!)

That being said, this is a bit of an odd film. This is an alternate universe story that basically goes along the lines of, what if Superman was General Zod’s son? What if Wonder Woman was one of the New Gods? And what if Batman was an actual vampire? What if the Justice League wasn’t filled with so many of those pesky do-gooders and was more feared by the world than beloved? Yes, because DC has never tried to make its heroes darker and gritter, ‘cause that’s edgy yo, and the kid’s be diggin’ it…yo. I’m sorry, I promise never to try and speak young person again (unless it serves a joke), but I am kind of tired of this whole darker superhero thing, it’s works for several characters, sure, but not all of them and I tend to want my superheroes to be, well, heroes. Ugh.

Anyway, back to the point. These are interesting ideas, well, the last one isn’t but I’m willing to let it slide with this film, partly because of this gorgeous animation, and partly because this is an alternate universe. These are not the Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman we all know and love, so it is no slight to them that these characters are more violent or darker, but that is as much of a hindrance as it is a boon. We don’t know these characters, so the film has to do a lot of work to do to get us to invest in these characters, give them a journey to go through, and have us be satisfied by the conclusion. Does it work?

For the most part, yes. The characters are very good, it’s interesting to see the different routes they’ve gone along in this universe, and though they aren’t all that likeable at first, as we get to know them and learn their stories we can come to understand them and care about them a little. These are by no means good guys, but they’re not entirely bad guys either. They’re regular people, as corruptible, fallible and in some cases as broken as the rest of us. I do have to say though, Kirk, our Batman, is by far the most likeable character for me. His struggle is easy to identify with, and he’s definitely the least aggressive and villain-like. He’s just a guy who’s been dealt a bad hand by life and is trying to make the best of it, even if his actual origin is a tad generic. Superman and Wonder Woman are great too, don’t get me wrong. They both get some powerful and emotional story bits and their back stories are far more interesting than Batman’s, but the events hardly ever connect up with the main plot.

The main plot here is a murder mystery, with a group of recognisable scientists being killed one after the other, and the Justice League being framed for the murders (this is intercut with flashbacks to the origins of our central trio). While I like the idea of who our villain is eventually revealed to be, his motivations, and even his plan, feel a little rushed. It all kind of comes out of nowhere, and the character switch is just too jarring. It’s meant to be this big emotional payoff, but in the end it just relies upon some clichéd villain speech, and to be honest the guy was kind of an ass to start with, so I’m not exactly inclined to feel any sympathy for him. Maybe if the film spent a little less time on the flashbacks it could have developed the villain more, or just spent a bit more time in the present day universe, but then again I really like the flashbacks. The twists on the origins for our ‘heroes’ are really fun, and I kind of enjoy them more than the actual main plot, even though the main plot does have some awesome fights in it.

The animation for the film is of course fantastic. It feels both nostalgic and entirely new all at the same time. It has the same style as the old DC animated universe, but the budget and techniques have greatly improved to deliver some eye-popping action. The fight scenes are brilliant, with some great choreography. That being said, sometimes it gets a little too violent for my tastes. This film isn’t particularly gory, there’s blood sure, but the actual deaths are mostly out of sight and the look of the animation (as gloriously nostalgic as it is) does take away from the realism. That being said this is an incredibly dark film. There are some very nasty deaths, in one scene in particular we’re treated to some people burning to death, people being impaled, oh and a guy gets ripped in half. The fact that we don’t see most of the details just makes it all the more horrific. It’s just weird for me watching something that reminds me of my childhood so much go to such a dark place.

In the end this film is about showing us that these characters are not gods or monsters, they are, in fact, just people. Extraordinary people to be sure, but just as fallible as us, they have been shaped by their environments, and carry pain and torments all their own. I do like that by the end of the film they’re trying to be better, to be heroes (though I would prefer an actual demonstration of this new ethos, as opposed to just some lip service). As a ‘What If’ story, this is a very interesting take on our classic heroes, but much like a lot of ‘What if’s, once the question has been answered, it’s not all that likely that you’ll ask it again. Still, the animation alone is worth the price of admission. I’d recommend this for at least one watch.

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.