The magnum opus of the Final Fantasy series

Photo by Niranjan. Some rights reserved. Source: Flickr.

NOTE: For this review I played the original PS2 version of FFX.

SPOILER ALERT: Plot details for FFX, FFX-2, and FFVII follow.

Do not be fooled by its festive island colors and fast-paced water sports, Final Fantasy X is among the more melancholic games in the Final Fantasy series. It is a bleak world where catastrophe is routine and victory is fleeting. Where the religion everyone looks to for moral authority, is broken by corruption and hypocrisy. At best, people can only hope for a brief calm between each cataclysm. …

Hideaki Anno comes to terms with his greatest creation

SPOILER ALERT: Plot details for all of Evangelion and Devilman Lady.

Rebuild of Evangelion is complete. An ambitious film project that spanned fifteen years from 2007 to 2021 is over. It served not only introduce Evangelion to a new generation, but also to comment on the legacy of the original anime. …

A fabulous return to form for the Zelda series

Image by SobControllers. Some rights reserved. Source: Flickr

When The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past came out on the Super Nintendo in 1992, there were only two other Zelda games in existence. The first, of course, being the original Legend of Zelda and the second being its sequel, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. The two were very different from one another, with one a top-down adventure game, and the other, a side-scrolling RPG hybrid. Players at the time might not have known which direction Nintendo would take, or if something completely new would be done altogether.

Keeping video game history alive since 1999

Video games are now recognized as an important part of our popular culture, a measure of our technological progress, and even by some as a form of art. There is also a growing understanding that video games are in need of preservation, with older ones falling into decay or growing scarce. Not only do video games need to be saved for future generations, but the stories of how these games were made and the impact that they had must also be shared. …

Why did the frog cross the road?

Why did the frog cross the road? To just get home, apparently. In Konami’s 1981 arcade game, Frogger, the object of the game is simply to help some frogs across heavy traffic to their homes on the other side of the river. It starts off easy enough, but it soon escalates into a dangerous race for your life.

Believe it or not, Frogger was inspired by a true story. In 1981, Konami designer, Akira Hashimoto, was waiting in his car for the traffic light to turn green. He spotted a frog trying to cross the road, but the poor creature…

The Female Prisoner Scorpion films are visceral critiques of misogyny, the prison system, and police brutality

An image of Meiko Kaji from “Female Prisoner #701’s Grudge Song.” Used as an aide for criticism under “Fair Use.” All rights to Toei.

WARNING: This essay discusses sexual assault

SPOILER ALERT: Plot details for the Female Prisoner films are discussed

“There has always been a tendency to regard those women who have been publicly punished by the state for their misbehaviors as significantly more aberrant and far more threatening to society than their male counterparts.”

  • Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete?

The opening shot of the first Female Prisoner Scorpion film is of the Japanese flag. It is being raised to celebrate the efforts of the police officers in charge of a women’s prison. The flag recurs twice more in the film. The second…

Appreciating Zelda’s first venture into 3D

Photo by Hamish Duncan via Flickr. Some rights reserved.

NOTE: For this review, I only managed to play the 3DS version, though for reference purposes, I did watch many videos from the N64 version.

SPOILER ALERT: Plot details for Ocarina of Time follow.

The launch of the Nintendo 64 was an exciting time for Nintendo’s longtime franchises. Would its flagship games make the successful transition to 3D? Up until that time, Zelda had only been from either a top-down or side-scrolling perspective. Bringing the trademark features of Zelda to this next stage of gaming would demand a lot from Nintendo, but these expectations were met and surpassed.

The Legend…

Should America have negotiated with the Taliban?

Photo by Hamid Mir. Some rights reserved. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

In April of this year, President Joe Biden made the difficult decision to end America’s war in Afghanistan after nearly 20 years of failure. Even if you disagree with Biden’s decision to withdraw so soon, it’s hard not to understand his frustration. The Taliban controls more territory now than at any other time since the war began, Al Qaeda and now an offshoot of ISIS are present in the region, and some of our Afghan military allies keep child sex slaves. …

Avoid like the plague anything with “doc prep” in its name

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

I, like many college graduates, once fell for a student loan scam. The name of the scam was “Amerifed Doc Prep.” They gave the impression that they were affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education, they misled me into thinking that I would be enrolled onto an income-based repayment plan, and they charged me exorbitant fees to get my student loans consolidated. I now have reason to believe that they are growing their scam through another company, “Cornerstone Doc Prep.”

In general, I believe that it is wrong for private companies to prey on college grads with these deceptive practices…

Remembering a Japanese comedian who deserves more American appreciation

Photo taken from Ken Shimura’s official Facebook page. Used as an aide for education under “Fair Use.”

The loss of Ken Shimura is a tragedy that was mostly felt by the Japanese people. While you could find clips for many of his sketches on YouTube, I don’t think he was that well known outside of Japan. To me, this is a real shame, because his comedy had a universal appeal, and I think that he deserves an American appreciation, however belated.

I first encountered Shimura from his English lesson sketch, which most foreigners with a passing interest in Japanese pop culture have seen. It features a Japanese teacher (Shimura) giving an English lesson to English-speaking foreigners. It…

Sansu the Cat

I write about art, life, and humanity. M.A. Japanese Literature. B.A. Spanish & Japanese. email:

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