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Top 10 Aliens

tripods-war-of-the-worlds

GeekOut Top 10s

They come in peace – But other times they come to turn your land into pieces, or just evaporated all together. Aliens are a tricky subject to get right; Do you make them into an evil species whose sole purpose is to cause carnage and mayhem? Or perhaps you turn them into a long forgotten race who is looking for their way in the cruel, dark universe. Whatever you like to think of when you think of an alien, there’s no doubt there’s many of them in pop culture.

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Top 10 – Explosives

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GeekOut Top 10s

Kaboom! Rumble, tremor, yes, it’s true that a good explosion is probably one of the most fun sounds out there – but have you ever stopped to think about the aftermath of said explosions? The lives potentially lost by the blast radius; the millions of pounds of damage caused by one of the most destructive forces out there? Well, it’s true, explosions are damn cool, yet they can be damn dangerous.

In this weeks’ Top 10, we’re going to look through our favourite explosions in media – If it takes place in an anime, a book, a video game, a TV series: basically anywhere geeky. We’re keen to nuke our way through this volatile list and set the foundations shaking. We’re bringing you our Top 10 Explosions!


Top 10

10) Andy D. Kaboom – Red Vs Blue

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Caboose’s second best friend, after Church of course, was a bomb. Andy was constructed from pieces of an old protocol robot with only one mission, explode, preferably when in close proximity to the Omega AI, also known as O’Malley. It’s something of a fixation of his, almost as if his entire life revolved around that one singular moment, and yet he has so many other uses. He’s a multi-lingual translator, a broad bank of knowledge, and a highly sophisticated AI, who can also be handy in a negotiation situation as both a diplomat and an ultimatum.

Downside, Andy has an attitude problem, and it’s a big one. Aside from the need to constantly distract him from the concept of exploding, exploding, countdowns, or loud beeping noises, he’s also intentionally provocative and insulting to everyone he meets. It’s almost like he’s looking for a reason to go off. And yet he and Caboose seem to get on great, and no one mourns more keenly at Andy’s passing… or rather that time when Sarge swaps Andy for a skull and hopes no one will notice.

9) Stickybomb – Team Fortress 2: Demoman

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Team Fortress 2 is a well renowned arena-styled game, where you and a team of bizarre brothers-in-arms go against an enemy team of brothers-in-arms. The team are rather diverse, from the slick and quick Scout, to the sneaky and stealthy Spy. But amongst all team games, there has to be that one person who picks the most destructive of them all.

Whilst Tavish Finnegan DeGroot might not be such an imposing name, the name Demoman strikes fear into the hearts of anyone who might be attacking. From his famed stickybombs to his rather powerful Grenade Launcher, you can bet your butt that the attacking team will be sent flying off through his explosions. None are more feared than the dreaded stickybombs, which are capable of destroying just about anyone who steps too close to one. Better keep your eyes peeled for this drunkard Scotsman.

8) Holy Hand Grenade – Worms

The Holy Hand Grenade is a reference to Monty Python, for anyone who isn’t aware. But in Worms, the Holy Hand Grenade is truly one of the most powerful explosives in the game. Put your Dynamite away, hold back your Super Sheep and by god, why on Earth would you throw the crazy Banana Bomb? No, it’s all about blast radius and strength of the explosion, so if you need power to destroy whole chunks of land, the Holy Hand Grenade is the weapon of choice for you!

Okay, so perhaps it’s a bit risky. If you lob it incorrectly, it might bounce back into an area of you and your team’s worms and then who knows what’ll happen to them? I’ll tell you one thing, having one of these landing at your worm’s body is not going to be a pleasant way to end proceedings. You might as well have skipped rope instead.

7) The Bomb – Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

I don’t think I’ve played a game that builds so much tension with so little action. A one player sits in a room with a suitcase bomb while others sit outside and try and talk you through deactivating the bomb one module at a time, and it’s that composition that makes this game great. Simon Says, complex wire sequences, symbol matching, the wickedly composed word codes and the demanding “needy modules” that require your frequent attention.

For the player in the room, it’s heart-stopping, as you watch the timer tick down, and every misstep brings you closer to the sudden darkness. The player outside is left helpless and yet burdened with responsibility, holding your life in their hands. Communication brings frustration, music, timer, and the sudden blare of the alarm clock (why the hell is that even in there?) shred the nerves like a cheesegrater… of emotions. And at the end of it all the quiet relief of success and a job well done, or blackness.

Funny thing, the bomb doesn’t really explode as such, not in the big fiery way we’re all familiar with. There’s a boom, and everything goes black. It’s all rather elegantly final and makes for a great game.

6) Gambit’s Cards – Marvel

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The card-slinging Cajun is one of the most famous X-Men of all time, making it frankly disgusting that he only ever appeared briefly in one X-Men film and it was a lousy spin-off. But that’s a rant for another day. Remmy LeBeau actually has the power to infuse any object with powerful kinetic charges causing them to explode violently with a concussive force rather than a ball of fire, and can channel that power down his staff to create collisions that can shatter bones and walls alike, but that’s not what everyone knows him for.

A thief raised in New Orleans, he turned the parlour trick into a weapon when his mutant powers manifested, making the common playing card into an icon, small enough for him to charge quickly and easy for him to throw accurately. He has a variety of other powers, many linked to his kinetic control, that make for one of the most charismatic and darkly suave characters in the entire Marvel Universe, and he is perhaps better remembered for his moral ambiguity and accent, but the guy can turn poker into russian roulette with a thought.

Where’s his movie Fox?

5) Turnabout Countdown – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies

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Bringing about the dark age of the law is quite the accomplishment, but in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, that’s kind of exactly what happened. For those who are uninitiated in the crazy world of Phoenix Wright, you play as a defense lawyer who always believes in his clients. In this particular title, you play as the famed lawyer himself, Phoenix Wright.

This case was called Turnabout Countdown, because it was all about the counting down of a time bomb. Injuring dozens of people and blowing up an iconic courtroom for the games legal system, this was a very impactful scene. One of the main protagonists, Apollo Justice, even took the brunt of the explosion. After he recovered, he needed a break from his law office, the Wright Anything Agency. During his time away, he gained wrong information which turns him on one of his friends.

Oh and the guy who placed the bomb was called Ted Tonate. He’s pictured above.

4) Spirit Bomb – DragonBall Z

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Kamehameha! Okay, so the Kamehameha wave is one of the most devastating attacks in all of DragonBall and that’s A-Okay! I mean it’s a signature move which causes some serious damage, exploding land all around… But what about the single handed most dangerous move in Goku’s arsenal? The Spirit Bomb is the name of Goku’s arguably most deadly attack and damn, does it cause a serious amount of damage?

The Spirit Bomb is the collection of energies from the spirits of the world. Effectively, he draws upon the power of all of the people, all of the creatures and all of the wildlife. Any energy that can be spared, which is then turned into one massive ball of raw energy. When it’s finally ready, Goku throws this at his opponent which sorta crushes them – before the explosion happens. This strange ability doesn’t always explode… But when it does, things are going to disappear rather quickly.

3) The Atom Bomb – Fallout 3

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The number 3 slot is occupied by the only explosive ever to spawn a religion and a political party. It’s also amongst the best known decisions to make in a game, the ultimate Big Red Button: Would you kill a city full of survivors, lose the trust of the people, and cut off your supply of sidequests for a stack of caps, an achievement, and the most luxurious apartment in existence… and a bigass explosion?

The bomb at the centre of Megaton is pivotal in Fallout 3, a huge plot point and a question I am always asked despite never getting far enough in the game to answer “Did you blow up Megaton?” A religious order believes truly that the war of 2077 was a time of rebirth, bringing all people together in “The Glow” of Atom, and that the unexploded bomb is a holy symbol. And on voting day 2015 in Shrewsbury, my pencil hovered curiously over The Children of the Atom on the ballot paper. Whoever you are, I didn’t vote for you, but I love you.

We have a tie for #1! Choose your winner!

1) Voltorb/Electrode

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Oh this is a difficult one. Let’s start with the older entry, the Pokemon the really encapsulates the term “Self Destruct”.

If you’re a veteran of the series you’ll have fond memories of burning through Repels to keep the incessant zubats at bay, the fingers crossed behind the Gameboy trying to capture an abra before it teleports, and the suicidal efforts of wading through the powerplant amidst these volatile little balls of electrical energy. They appear to have either gathered to feed, or they’re born there. They’re rumoured to have spawned in a bizarre energy surge in a pokeball factory, which would explain the uncanny resemblance. Or they originate in Indonesia. Or Greenland. Or Poland.

The Route 10 Power Plant is the only place one could find the legendary bird and posterboy for team Instinct, Zapdos, but the unwary are best advised to stock up on potions and be wary of items. That’s not an icon my friend, that’s a bomb with a smile on it’s face. If you’re lucky they won’t self-detonate immediately, opting instead to zap, shock and roll out some pain, giving you chance to catch one for yourself.

VS

1) Creeper

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Yes, the Creeper is making it into this vote at an explosive joint number one, but there’s some very clear reasons why. Whilst Voltorb is more nostalgic, the Creeper became an internet phenom. From the early days of Minecraft, where people would turn around and see a Creeper and literally scream, to the current days where Creepers are still an annoyingly terrifying prospect to encounter, these creatures know how to make quite the impact.

Whether it’s because they’re bright green and look absolutely devoid of life, or if it’s just because you know they’re going to damage your beautiful house and garden, these creatures will come towards the player and explode. It’s enough to make you shiver, thinking about all of the work you’re going to have to redo. It’s probably why they made bricks in the game, so you could literally damage control these explosions. But do NOT let them get hit by lightning, whatever you do. You do not want to meet a supercharged Creeper.


Honourable Mentions

Some explosions are memorable, but others not so much. But these would-be forgotten explosions do need to at least be mentioned, as they left a crater in our minds and hearts… Because no matter what you say, explosions are still damn cool!

Michael Bay

WARNING: Explicit content

When he’s not too busy blowing up the box office, Michael Bay is busy blowing everything else up. Okay, he’s not an explosion in and of himself, but basically everything he produces is a massive explosion and we’re not upset about that. Even in the above Epic Rap Battles of History song, Michael Bay is blowing minds (and ratings) out of the water.

Whilst there’s no single explosion we can point at, I’m sure if you watch any Michael Bay film, you will feel that sense of “I’m waiting for the explosions now…” He’s a great director, who could be even better if he’d reign it in a little bit. But ultimately, I’m happy to wager that you’re content with watching some pretty explosions happening on screen!

Nathan Explosion – Metalocalypse

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Sadly disqualified for not actually exploding, Nathan Explosion is the frontman and lead singer for the globally worshipped death-metal band Dethklok. Explosion lends his rumbling growls to the band’s thunderous instrumentals, and has incredible stage presence despite only ever standing still, shoulders hunched and staring angrily into the middle distance. Despite not actually being a bomb or anything like it, Dethklok is notoriously followed by massive destruction in which fans are accidentally killed in their hundreds, and the (literally) die-hard audience returns more maimed and disfigured every gig.

Brutal.

Nathan’s metal-growls are pretty much just his voice, as he talks in the exact same rumbling monotone except with less rhythm or volume. He and fellow band members, Skwisgaar Skwigelf (lead guitar, taller than a tree), Toki Wartooth (rhythm guitar, not a bumblebee), William Murderface (bassist, Murderface) and Pickles the Drummer (drummer, doodily doo ding dong doodily doodily doo) live lives of excess thanks to the incredible riches that death-metal have afforded them, and pursue the most metal lifestyle they can possibly muster in a way that certainly doesn’t parody anything.


We’re out of natural disasters and there’s no more dynamite. This article has gone up in a puff of smoke, so don’t let us cloud your judgement any more, as we’re now passing on to you, the GeekOut South-West audience. Let us know what you think next week’s Top 10 should be, amongst these three dynamic choices.

Just like the best of explosions, these articles have to come to an end at some point – and you’ve been patiently waiting for the smoke to clear and the rubble to settle. But don’t be alarmed, we’ll be back next week with another Top 10 – But in the meantime, let us know what you thought of this weeks list. Did the right explosion make it to number 1? Do you think we forgot any in particular? Did we order the rest of our list well? As always, let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


Video Game Review: DragonBall Xenoverse

Special Beam Cannon!

Kamehameha! Every anime and manga’s favourite martial art series which went from simple roots of an exaggerated combat style, with more energy beams than any sci-fi movie in history, to the big screen… Of your computers that is! Timlah has finally gotten his hands on DragonBall Xenoverse and has spent some time getting to know it with his brand new Sayian hero. Will Timlah be able to stop the evil bad guys of the game? Are you reading this in the narrators voice? Find out now in GeekOut’s review!

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Top 10 Characters Who Came Back From The Dead

Harry Potter

GeekOut Top 10s

It’s Easter time! Therefore, it’s time to celebrate in the only ways we know how. With a Top 10 that’s very Easter themed – You could have chosen rabbits, or the more literal Easter Eggs, but no, you guys chose for our Top 10 list of Characters Who Came Back From The Dead. In some ways, I guess we should be thanking you for this one, as it’s not only topical, but it made us think.

Some of the characters in the list are incredibly well known, some of the entries may actually shock you. Don’t worry though, we’ve got the defibrillator at the ready to resuscitate any of you who may need bringing back during our list. But don’t worry: When there’s an end, there’s always the chance of rebirth. No Isaac from The Binding of Isaac fame, you’re not on this list.


Top 10

#10 – GLaDOS – Portal

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Aha, so you thought you killed off the AI of the Portal series in the first game, well think again you puny meatbag. GLaDOS makes a very dramatic exit at the end of the first game, where you are destroying the very cores that make her… Well her! GLaDOS is truly the reason the Portal series was able to continue, not Chell.

Coming in at number 10 only, because although it certainly was good to see her return from the “dead”, it was never truly confirmed that you killed her (even though it seemed like you had), plus the moment Portal 2 was announced, we all knew she’d be back. Plus, if nothing else, she gets a nudge onto the list for her beautiful singing voice. Ellen McLain, the voice of GLaDOS, is also a downright lovely individual who we had the pleasure of meeting and listening to at last years Kitacon Invasion.

#9 – Frieza – Dragonball Z

Frieza Final Form

Frieza’s name was known all throughout the galaxy as the most fearsome warrior of all. He was able to level whole planets, barely using any effort at all. This intergalactic terrorist would incite fear upon those who gazed eyes on him, as well as having a rather flamboyant fighting force (Ginyu Force) at his disposal. Frieza seemed like he had it all, until he was cut into a million pieces, had parts of his body disintegrated and then left for dead on planet Namek. Talk about having a rough day.

But then, very shortly after the Frieza/Namek saga was over, we went back to Earth and lo and behold, Frieza returns! This time, he was on Earth! What ever could the world do– Oh, okay, a guy from the future comes along and in one slash with a sword manages to do what took Goku and friends what must have been eight episodes. Still, Frieza wasn’t finished there – Well he was, until very recently. Last year, in the film DragonBall Z: Resurrection ‘F’. This time, he seems to not be a robot, but golden! Now you’ve seen his true final form? Possibly?

#8 – Brian – Family Guy

This one was incredibly shocking and highly controversial. In fact, I’m not going to make and mistakes about it: I somewhat grew tired of Family Guy a while back. There’s only so much that you can take of what is effectively just constant running gags, which grow staler than a loaf of bread that you’ve left for only five minutes on a table in the Sahara Desert. I might be being rather descriptive of how stale some of the jokes can get, but there’s one thing this series did really well. It hit all of us right in the feels.

The very controversial episode of Brian’s death, aptly named Life of Brian, was actually somewhat hard to watch. The video above shows the clip of Brian’s death, so a small warning goes out to you – It’s a little bit brutal. The episode managed to handle the death of a main character really well. It didn’t resort to wacky humour about it, but instead, it felt as if the series was about to lose a sense of what it was – Same as how many of us feel whenever we lose someone or a pet that’s so near and dear to us. This episode stirred so many people, that a change.org petition was started and eventually Brian’s death was ret conned, proving the character was indeed loved and would have been sorely missed.

I wonder how Family Guy would look today if they kept the replacement dog..?

#7 – Jason Voorhees – Friday the Thirteenth

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The films series that just won’t die features one of our all time favourite immortal nemeses, the masked slasher Jason Voorhees. While the film franchise has limped, sagged and very nearly collapsed under the burden of abuse from varying directors there’s an underlying character to the mighty butcher of rampant teens, generally lying under the surface of a lake, but he’s seen as something of a representation of puritanical oppression. Not a lot oppressing him though.

The source of his immortality has never truly been explained, mostly that a series of flukes, assorted magicks (with a “k”) and prolonged periods of time spent in suspended animation have all contributed heavily to his prolonged existence so that he may foreshorten that of others. Trips to Hell and outer-space can’t hold him back, not even failed titles, spinoffs, or lousy versus films can keep him from rebooting.

#6 – Spawn

It was either him or Ghost Rider, it’s always a tough call when you have two incredible characters who have been offered a deal from the devil, and while we can forgive Nicolas Cage for a rather… different interpretation, we still love Spawn just that little bit more.

Maybe it’s the vast array of powers, challenging Malebolgia himself to mortal combat, OH! and Mortal Kombat! Al Simmons is just a more awesome character, a grim silhouette in the stereotypical stormy night that casts every bit as much fear as the flaming skull of vengeance, who also got a legendary cartoon series to boot. But what about his return from death? If you read his entry in the Top 10 Unfortunate Heroes you’ll know it’s not a happy tale, it’s a hellish contract born of a need for revenge, and to save the life of the one he loves, but it slowly becomes a mission, a duty to the forces of light born on the shoulders of a very dark soldier.

#5 – Harry Potter

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In a tale of epic struggle against what is effectively overcoming the unspeakable ultimate evil, Harry Potter makes it onto our list as a surprising entrant. After all, he manages to defeat Voldemort*, doesn’t he? So how can it be that The Boy Who Lived who ended up being The Boy Who Died Then Came Back To Life Again Or Something? Well, it’s all down to the details in this one, but Harry does indeed die.

He is a Horcrux, one that Voldemort himself accidentally created. The irony was that Harry had to kill himself in order to destroy one of the Horcruxes. Hey, everything in this series was entwined in some way, even the Golden Snitch that Harry was given by Dumbledore makes a very important appearance during this part. When Harry dies however, a lot of the story really comes together here. The Horcruxes are falling very quickly at this point and of course, time to go and defeat Voldemort once and for all.

*Or y’know, Neville Longbottom, the series whipping boy, is the one who ends up beheading the snake in a rather amazing scene in the films, but whatever!

#4 – Solomon Grundy – Batman

Solomon Grundy
Born on a Monday

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Lives for a week, a tale of tragedy that takes us a total of seven days and – in the case of Cyrus Gold – ultimately ends in reincarnation. You see, the immortal Grundy from the DC universe is an ancient and wealthy banker from days of yore whose carriage sinks into a peat-bog that supposedly contained one of DC’s infamous retcon devices, a Lazarus pit. The rejuvenating properties infuse Grundy, leaving him incapable of permanent death, or even coherent thought.

The pits are known to damage the mind and soul of those they help, whilst making the body incredibly powerful. To someone with the self-discipline or narrative importance of Ra’s Al Ghul the effects can be mitigated with rigorous self control and suitable sacrifice. For Solomon Grundy, it leaves a mindless giant capable of crushing a man with a shrug. Batman actually enjoys Grundy for the chance to cut-loose and get to some real damage dealing, despite the fact that the giant is reborn far larger and stronger than before.

He does rather lack some of the guile of Batman’s better villains, being incapable of articulating much more than the one rhyme that was skipping through his head as he suffocated to death in the mystic swamps.

#3 – Barbossa – Pirates of the Caribbean

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Although some credit must go to Captain Jack Sparrow for being dragged back from the locker against his somewhat shattered will, someone had to step up who knew how to get to the other side. And as it happens Jack recently killed someone who’s as good as he is at not staying dead for long.

It took a large crew and a whole lot of persuading to get Sparrow back from death, Barbossa made one sweet deal and came striding back to enjoy some juicy apples and revenge… juicy, juicy revenge. During his captaincy of the Black Pearl he got dangerously close to death before Sparrow and Turner finished the job, but as it turns out Tia Dalma/Calypso has a soft spot for the old sea dog.

More and more we’re seeing film series leave us with cliffhangers to drag us back to the cinema, but in this incredibly short scene there was more excitement drummed up for the third instalment of the trilogy than in any other series – at least that I’ve ever seen. Who knew a pair of boots would be such a welcome sight?

#2 – Gandalf – Lord of the Rings

YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

Well, I guess Gandalf the Grey was right – The Balrog certainly didn’t get to pass Gandalf and his temper tantrum of turmoil. It ends up that Gandalf shouting those immortal words would also be Gandalf the Grey’s last. The whip reaches up, lashes around the leg of Gandalf and pulls him down… Well okay, it wasn’t his last, as he manages to call everyone fools because they aren’t flying. I mean for crying out loud, Hobbitses can’t even fly, Gandalf, you senile old guy.

Ahem, I digress. Later in the film, Gandalf makes a very lovely re-appearance, as Gandalf the White. Apparently, when this wizard dies, he manages to fall into a vat of Vanish Stain Removal. Enough joking though, Gandalf’s death was not in vain – He comes back way better than ever before and it’s one of the franchise’s most iconic moments.

#1 – Kenny – South Park

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Are you really surprised? Seriously?

Kenny infamously dies once an episode in early seasons of the world’s most even-handedly offensive cartoon series, it became the most widely known running gag in a series for a decade, and had a generation learning how to swear loudly in the face of death. They attempted to kill Kenny off permanently in an attempt to kill a joke they’d grown sick of, before demurely bringing him back in the same off-hand fashion they’d been doing for years.

As time progresses we learn that in fact Kenny’s parents conducted some strange ritual with elder beings to cause him to be reincarnated constantly, a superpower he uses to become the cloaked immortal hero Mysterion. In fact one of the most harrowing episodes of South Park was the episode in which we learn of how alarmingly aware of his immortality Kenny is, holding a gun to his head and screaming “Remember this time! You have to remember!”, but no one ever does, no one can mourn a child who never dies.

Bastards.


Honourable Mentions

Everything comes to an end, but not the characters in our Top 10 list! Well some of them kind of do, but they don’t all simply end there. But the below extra characters are also known for their ability to just come back from the dead. At least they’ve got a chance to redeem themselves in our Honourable Mentions list!

Dracula

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Depending on the version of Dracula that you look into, this vampire seems to just never stop dying and coming back to life. Interestingly, the state of how vampires sleep in the story of Dracula is known as “Death-Sleep”, as the vampires appear to be dead with their eyes wide open during their slumber, so if we take that into account as well, then hey, Dracula dies every damn night. But that’s not exactly true now is it?

I mean if we look at the Castlevania series, the amount of times Dracula has legitimately been killed is quite staggering – Yet he always manages to come back for some rather unspecific reason. “Oh we resurrected him”, “oh we’ve got to kill him again.” Who knows why he thinks it’s a good idea to keep fighting the Belmonts, but hey, Dracula has to have something to do in his unlife, right? I guess having a hobby is good enough in his world.

Player Character – Video Games

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I had the most terrible dream, I was plummeting to my death, nothing but darkness and my own echoing screams, and then suddenly I was assaulted by descending numbers. I don’t think they reached zero because I woke up somewhere near where it all took place. I’m almost reluctant to try and make the leap again… but the world will not save itself, and I don’t see anyone else around here who isn’t trying to kill me.

From the Hyperion New-U stations in Borderlands to the wave of bloody carnage that ends every successful run in Super Meat Boy, we’ve grown all too accustomed to the ability to just get up and try again. Perhaps the return of the roguelike owes itself to our newfound nonchalance in the face of death, because it can be hard to make death something to be feared, while at the same time allowing the player to get straight back into the fray without the tedium of starting from scratch.

From an allotted maximum number of lives, to money and experience penalties, defeat is not without its sting, but that doesn’t make it any less funny when your character dies and walks it off.


Oh we slayed this list! But lo and behold, when one goes down, it simply comes back within a week’s time much like Solomon Grundy. But now it’s time for you to decide what our list will be returning as next week. It’s time for you to help us pick next week’s iteration of our Top 10 list.

As always, thanks for reading our list. We love writing these and as they are still thoroughly well received, we’ll keep doing these until you guys say “stop with the Top 10 lists!” Let us know what you thought – Are these characters deserving of this list? Do you think we’ve missed any characters that deserve a special mention? Would you have reordered this list in any way? Please leave your comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for always being excellent!


Top 10 Eccentric Characters

BestWishesJames

Top10 Banner

What do you get when you cross a character whose motives are rather simple and ingenious, with some really garish clothing that really doesn’t suit anyone in the world? Or how about when you cross a character who wears a full suit to a gymnasium and ends up schooling those guys in their workout wear? Generally, you end up with one rather eccentric character, someone who breaks conventional norms.

Yes, the eccentric is often an integral part of a story; They’re there and they help progress the plot, though you might not always expect what they are going to do. This is because the eccentric has a mind of their own, a purpose only they can determine… and we just get to sit back and watch how they go about a rather simple world. This is our salute to the men and women who are seriously out there.


 

Top 10

10. Donkey – Shrek

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It’s hard to be normal when you’re a donkey that talks. There’s no need to sing, or hum, or whistle, or dance, or talk to absolutely everyone until they hate you, imprison you and generally belittle you in any way possible but dammit if you’re not going to try to be friends with them all. Donkey is enthusiastic and so filled with nervous energy that it repeatedly gives him very close to death, one such incident resulted in an unlikely wedding and a brood of half-dragon donkeys.

Comedy foil to Shrek’s serious performance (a rarity for a Mike Myers role) Donkey provides most of the goofiness and very obviously Eddie Murphy style shenanigans, but there’s a quirky charm to Murphy that he lost somewhere around the Nutty Professor sequel that he manages to reclaim as the loveable misfit ass with a love of music and absolutely everyone.

9. Emmet Brown – Back to the Future

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A student of all sciences, Emmet Brown (“Doc”) is the inventor of the very first ever time machine… A freakin’ DeLorean. I’m sorry, I could stop this entry right there. I mean he decided that the best machine to build a time machine around is a DeLorean?! Alright, whatever. Let’s think about some of the less practical aspects of his life.

Well, he came from a rich family – And decided that the best use for all of the money is his Time Travel project. Don’t get me wrong, it’s clear that spending all of that money was a good thing, because he actually managed it… But when you think about it, all of that money is gone and all he’s got to show for it is a DeLorean. With catch phrases such as “Great Scott”, the Doc is certainly more than a little bit out there.

8. Johnny Bravo

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I want you to go to a beach – I know this is a weird thing for a geek to ask a fellow geek (I don’t get along well at beaches personally). I want you now to look around at all of the people on the beach. You’re going to find a man who is similar to Johnny Bravo there. Crass, crude, a little bit rude, but over all they’ll have a very toned body. Does it necessarily make them strong, or manly, or even heroic? Not in the slightest.

But what separates Johnny Bravo from the boys on the beach is his incredibly diverse set of… Shall we say interests? He’ll chase any woman, even alien women, but he’ll always blast out his catchphrase “Ooh mama!” even to his own mama! Sadly, perhaps Johnny Bravo isn’t too different to some of the muscle heads out there, but if there’s one thing he knows how to do better than anyone else, it’s The Monkey. Dance on, Johnny. We salute you!

7. Mr Satan – DragonBall Z

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Mr Satan, or Hercule, if you saw the English versions of DragonBall Z, is a bit of a light relief from the otherwise generally serious show that is DragonBall. On Earth, he is considered the strongest human (Although this is certainly something that belongs to Krillin… I mean even Yamcha could probably beat Mr Satan). No matter, he’s got his own sense of style and with his image to protect, he has plenty of powers which makes people not only question him, but kind of pity him.

For instance, he believes his own hyperbole, which he puts so much conviction into. If you think that’s not bad enough, he worked for ages on developing a technique, which goes by many names. Be it the Dynamic Mess Em Up Punch, the Megaton Punch or otherwise, he believes this is the most powerful punch in the world, to which Android 18 was rather unamused by. Still, it’s with his showmanship attitude and flair for hamming it up that Mr Satan gets through so much. He won the Cell games, did you know?

6. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

“HOOOOOO!” – ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan

Okay, this man is utterly barmy and we have to love him for it. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan is a retired professional wrestler, who was infamous for shouting out “Hooooo!”, being damn proud to be American and for being incredibly loud. When he had his eyes set on something, he became hell bent on getting it, often to his detriment. With this said, he is an iconic character from the world of what was then called the World Wrestling Federation.

For the wrestling fans out there, you may be wondering why we chose Hacksaw over the one and only Macho Man Randy Savage? It’s simple: Macho Man was indeed pretty darn out there, incredibly eccentric and outright entertaining as all hell. But “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan didn’t even need clothes, or to constantly say “yeah” to be eccentric. Macho Man is amazing, don’t get me wrong for a second, but the “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan deserves a little respect. Besides, he’s the only character I’ve ever known to be so out there that he’s allowed to carry his 2×4 everywhere with him. I mean that… Everywhere.

5. Professor Elemental

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Character and stage persona of the exceptionally British rapper Paul Alborough, the Professor is a pith helmeted adventurer and steampunk airship captain with an orangutan butler named Geoffrey who’s hopped all over the world, through time and into untold levels of peril. He’s bounced across time, space and a variety of dimensions in pursuit of… something, probably a better brew than he can find at home but it doesn’t seem likely. More recently in pursuit of aforementioned orangutan butler who appears to be missing.

And yes, I got to interview the man behind the lunatic, and I am far too proud of the fact.

Anyway, the man himself is comparatively down to earth and approachable, with only a few traces of the personality bubbling and brimming behind the amicable smile. To say that the Professor is a character is true enough, but it’s a character deeply rooted in his creator, that maniacal and gleeful fiend that Paul Alborough has been sitting on for far longer than he’s been bringing him to the stage.

4. James – Pokemon

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One of the Team Rocket duo, James deserves a spot in this list, simply because he’s a man who happens to have some of the most incredible sense of style and timing. I don’t think he does it for dramatic effect, I think his brain is wired in such a way that he only sees himself being prepared for any event. Of course, with Team Rocket, the plan is pretty simple: Capture that Pikachu as best they can.

So whether he’s dressing up as a lady and having a larger bosom than anyone else, or he’s crying over his belt buckle, James is a man who puts his sense of fashion first. He’s faked amnesia, because he sort of believed his own amnesia, at least whilst it was convenient. He’s an oddball, he’s not really afraid to revel in that fact. Still, if you’re going to steal a Pikachu from some snivelling children, the best thing to do it in is a hot air balloon in the shape of a Meowth face, right? No one will see THAT coming at all…

Oh and James is loyal, but in bizarre ways too. He once gave up his entire bottle cap collection for Meowth… And not only that, he even cares for his opponents, having told Ash that he’d rather take an honest Pokemon battle over underhanded tactics. If nothing else, James does his dastardly deeds with style and class.

3. Ruby Rhod – The Fifth Element

Chris Rock in an elegant evening dress with multiple hair bobbles and a stick mike should paint a clear enough picture in your mind for interstellar DJ extraordinaire, lover to the stars, in the stars and personality super-titan Ruby Rhod but it doesn’t quite capture the character. I don’t actually think words are adequate to sum up the strut, the wildly swinging pitch of his voice, the leopard print that somehow seems to have reached into his mind and taken control.

Even once the action steps up several notches, bullets start flying and bombs start being thrown around indiscriminately, Ruby Rhod’s panic stricken screams somehow manage to keep the same level of ferocious energy, and faced with the end of the world and being one of the only people who can stop it he’s still giving it every ounce of energy he has, and that’s a lot of energy.

2. The Mad Hatter – Alice in Wonderland

Interestingly, the Hatter started this list much lower down until someone screamed “change places”.

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Tea is a noble enough pursuit, some might even call it a lifestyle. In a world entirely dominated by pervasive madness we find a man who seems to have particularly taken it all to heart, master of ceremonies to the eternal tea party in the middle of the woods, a mere throwaway character in the original tale who has become some great mythological figure to fans of Lewis Carol’s epic. The Mad Hatter has seen many hundreds of iterations, including DC’s villain Jervis Tetch, variations in Tim Burton’s interpretation, Once Upon a Time, and the terrible pawn of the Jabberwock in the Zenescope darkly reimagined version.

But the man himself was of little consequence to the story compared to the many weird and wonderful characters, the Red Queen, the March Hare, the Mock Turtle, and yet ask someone to name a character from Alice in Wonderland how many would say the Mad Hatter before Alice. But still, there are more important things to discuss over a nice hot pot of tea, such as the time for example, and how much of it there is.

1. Sheogorath – The Elder Scrolls

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The Daedric Prince of Madness himself makes it to our number one slot, because of many reasons, but I’m going to focus purely on a few things. Shall we begin with this demons attire? As you can see above, his demonic armour is a little bit of a miss-mash. He likes the colour purple, a colour of royalty, but the armour seems to be a little bit… Unfinished? But he’s a man of class, he walks with a cane, with well kept hair and a trimmed beard. He loves his luxury and it shows in everything that he does…

But then, we move on to how this demon talks to you. He talks to you as if you have even the slightest bit of an idea what he’s going on about… But there’s a lot of method in everything that he says. You feel as if he has an important message behind everything he says, so let’s end this list on quotes from the master of madness:

“You are the best Septim that’s ever ruled. Well, except for that Martin fellow, but he turned into a dragon god, and that’s hardly sporting…”

“Do you mind? I’m busy doing the fishstick. It’s a very delicate state of mind!”

“The game is a foot. Or a leg. Or all manner of severed limbs!”

 


 

Honourable Mentions

Woah, hold your horses there. We’re not done with our list just yet. There were way more characters that we considered, but we thought we’d throw in these two extras as usual. They might not have made the list of our Top 10 Eccentric Characters, but they certainly are eccentric in their own right. A little out there, or even wholly bizarre, these two deserved a nod from us at the very least.

The Taunting Frenchman – Monty Python

ARGH. It was so hard to narrow all of Monty Python down to a single, solitary character, a single eccentric individual that serves as a prime example of the comedy collaborative that sums up what British eccentricity is. Had we called this list some like “eccentric groups” or something…

~sigh~

Anyway, such is life, and so we find lurking in those most honourable deeps the continental gargoyle, cow thrower, ballistic flatulator and general all round silly person the Taunting French Guard from The Holy Grail. Why? Well there was probably a better pick, but in addition to the creative insults carved from the frenchman’s second language and the ballistic use of cows, you can’t help but love the sniggering behind the crenelations and general helmet-tapping, raspberry blowing, barefaced cheek of John Cleese’s most memorable moment from the film.

Jayne Cobb – Firefly

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It was a tough call between Jayne and Wash, and while Wash’s fascination with kids toys and Hawaiian shirts was great, somehow we just couldn’t pass up on the man they call Jayne.

Gun toting for some is a profession, a job, a calling perhaps, rarely a hobby, but there’s just no describing the way with which Jayne embraces the thug life. While he does not fit in with the unconventional sort in a conventional way, with his permanently fixed dour and/or grumpy expression, there’s no small amount of pleasure to be found in the grin his bobble-hat brings to his down-turned face, or the way he feels that a gun is adequate exchange for a person.


 

Okay, let me try to get a hold of this list. We need a dose of daily sanity to counteract this list of whacked out nutjobs, but hey – At least they have their purposes. Sure, some of the characters are literally written to be eccentric, such as Sheogorath, but at least he fits the mould so beautifully. Now I turn to you to help us cast our vote to next week:

For next weeks list, if you’d like to get involved and write it with us (Joel and I get together on Thursdays to discuss the list), then please just drop us an email. As always, thank you very much for reading, please remember to vote for next weeks’ Top 10 and let us know what you thought of this list. Did you enjoy it? Were there any characters we missed, or you felt deserved higher on the list? Perhaps you feel some of our character choices were spot on? Let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. As always, keep being you: because you rock, much like the characters in this list!


Top 10 Misunderstood Villains

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It’s not entirely fair to judge someone based on their actions. You don’t know what paths have brought them to act the way they do now, what hardships they have suffered to feel the need to enact hardship on others. Some people we label as “villains” are actually just normal, everyday people like you or me, that are just going through a hard time right now.

Then begin the murders.

Hell with it, bad-guys are bad-guys. Batman’s parents are dead, he got up off his bat-keister and started fighting for the little guy. Just because you lost someone, or maybe you’re under pressure to get money doesn’t give you an excuse to go around killing folk! Just be a millionaire genius ninja and do something positive with your life.

Here’s some bad-guys who got a raw deal in life.

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10) Endermen – Minecraft

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Hoo, these guys are misunderstood no matter how you look at it, but unlike all of the other guys on our list, these spectacularly lanky gits are actually just trying to do the exact same thing as you.

Think about it: One day you’re building a nice, large castle made out of stone, when suddenly one of the blocks of stone has disappeared behind your back. You’re a bit concerned needless to say, as you’re on a single player game rather than a multiplayer. There’s no way a Creeper exploded just one specific block: no. The Enderman is trying to build his very own castle, but the poor guy gets lost along the way.

Then you’re rude enough to stare into his eyes? What’s wrong with you?! The Enderman just wanted to build his very own castle like you. Honestly, how mean can you get? Steve of Minecraft, you’re the real villain here!

9) Darth Vader – Star Wars

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Join the Dark Side, they said. Well this one sparks many a debate amongst the Star Wars fandom and actually, I myself struggled somewhat with understanding where the Vadermeister really stood. Is he evil? In a sense he is, yes… But he’s evil insofar as that he wants to do something good. In other words, he has a reason for the evils he commits, that actually makes them somewhat understandable.

SPOILER ALERT: So basically, he’s doing what he’s doing as he believes he’s doing right by the empire and his wife. Before he became Darth Vader, Anakin was filled with passion and raw emotion. This emotion was palpable to Palpatine (get it?) and he would manipulate this to make Anakin, or indeed Darth, to follow his orders almost blindly. Perhaps Vader isn’t as truly evil as we all think.

8) Mr. Jones

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Sinister artist and sculptor of twisted scarecrows crafted of bone, wood and leather, Mr. Jones has never actually been seen exactly, but his work gets attention. Sent out to seemingly random members of the public and suddenly erupting in art galleries, when a couple stumble across his workshop in the scrublands of middle-america unsettling truths begin to emerge. He is masked in what appears to be human skin, seems possessed of some supernatural power that cannot quite be placed, and far beneath his shack there is an altar ringed in yet more of his dark effigies.

However, it seems that the hunched and silent figure is working towards something far grander in his hidden temple far underground. As it transpires [SPOILERS] Mr. Jones is actually protecting us all from a nightmarish entity that nature itself fears, and the protagonist naturally stumbles around like a moron and releases it [SPOILERS OVER] but basically if you’ve read and enjoyed H. P. Lovecraft’s The Music of Erich Zann watch Mr. Jones for a modern retelling.

7) Sarkhan Vol – Magic: the Gathering

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Recently Vol has been on a bit of redemption kick, getting back to his roots kind of thing. I’ll explain:

Sarkhan Vol is a Planeswalker from a world of dragons called Tarkir. He’s got dragons in his blood in a very real sense, that of one Nicol Bolas, a particularly ancient evil mastermind (and dragon) who has used Vol to further his own interests across a vast number of universes, including igniting a war on Alara. He went mad shortly after witnessing his master’s destruction, and was then corrupted by the necromancer and demoniac Liliana Vess.

Oh but wait! Bolas wasn’t dead, and then ordered Vol to the realm of Zendikar where he unwittingly triggered the return of the Eldrazi! Massive apocalypse monsters!

It’s not his fault, he’s just a soldier with a particular fixation on dragons. He returned the spirit dragon Ugin to power recently, overthrowing Nicol Bolas in the process, and good job too. Ugin is now working on a coalition to put the Eldrazi back in their place, and Sarkhan Vol is back home on Tarkir enjoying the company of dragons with a sense of morality.

6) Majin Buu – DBZ

Everyone remembers the pink blob walking around and terrorising the world, whom later went on to become a much more ripped “super” version before finally regressing (and more dangerously) into a “kid” version of himself. The whole of the anime world understands that Majin Buu, whilst was a threat, was pretty easily mistaken as an enemy. He was quite docile, in fact relatively friendly. He liked to eat human candy but that was because they would go for him first. He seemingly enjoyed eating.

That was Majin Buus only really bad act, being a glutton. Okay, he later became the aforementioned Kid Buu, after being absorbed by Evil Buu to become Super Buu, Kid Buu being one of the most evil characters in the whole of the DragonBall franchise (sorry Frieza), but that too was only because of angry and frustration. Really, Majin Buu just wants to eat and have a good time. He also likes to play exploding video games. Don’t we all?

5) Hannibal Lecter

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Now the term “misunderstood” may have to broaden a little here. Doctor Lecter is so far beyond understanding that he is in fact beyond psychological profiling. The legendary cannibal is a cold blooded murderer and devourer of human flesh, but he is not without refinement. Not to be taken for a simple ravaging ghoul, Lecter takes his meals with care and consideration, the proper accompaniment of vegetables, side-dishes and wines, along with creative forms of preparation.

Hannibal is also a lover and amateur practitioner of the arts, a scholar of many sciences including (ironically) psychology, he is a polyglot, and profoundly charismatic. You’d barely know he was a man eating sadist if one were to casually engage him in conversation from the other side of his plate-glass cage.

4) Jimbo, Kearney and Dolph – The Simpsons

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Though all three have done time in prison, bullied, harassed, shop-lifted and abused a variety of drugs, all three are valuable members of society in their own way:

  • Kearney Zzyzwicz is a loving father of two, who’s eldest was raised well enough that he’s now smarter than his dad. He comes from a broken home, a clinically depressed mother and violent father, but he’s never hit his own kids, just other people’s.
  • Jimbo Jones is a morally grounded devout christian. He has strong views on the treatment of women and gender equality. There are questions surrounding his parentage, and coming from a well-off family, the suspicions may well be feuling his aggressive and rebellious behaviour.
  • Dolph Starbeam was raised by hippies; he is highly intelligent, literate and multilingual, as well as being surprisingly nerdy in his own interests. It is implied that his bullying may be as a result of “abuse”.

These three teens have been held back due to lack of academic progress, and have lashed out against others as a means of expressing themselves. But what if they were shown how to paint, write, or sing?

3) N – Pokémon

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Being raised with Pokemon is pretty abnormal, even in the world of Pokemon; But did you know the Sinnoh regions gang leader, N, has one of the nicest missions in the world? Sort of.

N, also known as Natural Harmonia Gropius, is actually not the real leader of Team Plasma, but he’s led to believe he is. Basically, throughout the course of the game, you’ll encounter N alongside some of Team Plasma and as per usual you’ll fight your new found rival. He’s pretty tough as far as rivals go and he seems to talk about redeeming Pokemon, saving them from humans. This is obviously a reference to the fact he was raised with Pokemon.

However, it turns out that N is being fed lies by his adoptive father, Ghetsis. I’d rather not spoil this too much, but go ahead and play Black & White as well as Black 2 & White 2. It’s riveting story telling by The Pokemon Company.

2) Victor Fries – Batman

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Fries is a personal favourite. Despite the bad pun of his name, the Arnold Schwarzenegger chrome-plated ice-dispenser in Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin does not accurately represent the suffering of the german cryogenicist. Having frozen his beloved wife Nora in order to keep her alive while he found a cure for her heart condition, an accident caused Victor to become Mr. Freeze. His research having been forcibly ended, Freeze steals vast sums of money and expensive scientific equipment in order to further his research alone.

He must live forever in an exo-suit that keeps his temperature below zero, which he also uses to power a vast array of cold and ice based weapons. This uniqueness is not only a terrifying threat to standard law-enforcement and even the military, but it’s also testament to the extremes his research has taken him to. His every defeat leaves Nora Fries vulnerable to thawing, and subsequent demise, an outcome that would almost certainly drive him to murderous rage, and an icy apocalypse.

1) Severus Snape – Harry Potter

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“One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew.”

Severus Snape. If you’ve not read the books by now, seen the films or heard the spoilers then you’re kind of doing yourself a grave misjustice. This is the story of Severus Snape: Potions Master, Dumbledor Murderer, but all around anti-hero. Depending on the book you read, Snape goes from nuisance, to full blown villain, to misunderstood anti-hero of the books. Severus Snape, as quoted by Harry Potty was probably the bravest man of the Wizarding world.

Yes, Snape does indeed kill Dumbledore but that was actually a plan by Dumbledore all along. Snape is a death eater, Snape is all of the bad of the world in one quick go. But the whole time, he proves to be loyal to Dumbledore, even when he murders the headmaster. It’s crazy to think about Snapes past, but I implore you to read through all the books if you haven’t. Snape kills Dumbledore, but he also steals our hearts for being an amazingly misunderstood villain and hero.


Honourable Mentions

These poor folk deserve some credit, and not just these motley few. Perhaps pity is the only appropriate response to these forsaken souls, and in that regard we show our pity to those villains who couldn’t even make it into the list proper.

Gather round everyone, as we join the Wreck-It Ralphs and Dr. Horribles of the world in our honourable mentions section.

The Puppet – FNAF

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I’ll be honest, I never liked that puppet thing… It was always… thinking, and it can go anywhere. – Phone Guy, FNAF2.

Guess what? This puppet that appeared in FNAF2 was actually one of the weirdest of the animatronics. He’s completely different to the rest of them, demanding some form of respect. Whilst he still goes out of his way to kill the guard in FNAF2, he’s not like them.

Of course, The Puppet can’t really get into this list because all of the games truly are open to interpretation. Which is what makes the actual story so compelling. Especially since the current theory is that the latest game is following the The Puppet… But enough thinking about that.

George Lucas

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He just wants to make his films better, is that so wrong? Make them prettier, make the worlds richer, fill them with people, make the character’s better and more moral. Is it so wrong to inject a little politics into a universe that is clearly already vibrant and alive?

Every artist of any medium or calibre knows that nothing they ever do will ever be finished. It’s really difficult to put something down even when you’ve thought to yourself five times over the last year that it’s finished. It’ll never be perfect, it’ll never be done, something’s always a little bit wrong, something can always be done subtly different, subtly better. The problem comes when that artist has already made something held by millions to be perfect, and you still can’t put it down.

Mr. Lucas, you can stop now. Sometimes the best thing an artist can do for their work is to let it go and let someone else play with it. You may hate it, but that’s the real burden we all must bear at some time.


And with that our list is done, and with it we may well have found a new appreciation for villainous types and all that they must suffer in order to become what they ultimately are.

Have we missed anyone? Is your favourite missing? Will our blunders ultimately drive you to acts of criminal destruction and violence? Let us know in the comments down below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. And don’t forget to vote until someone hears your cries for help, for our next Top 10.

As an aside, this might have been the hardest list we’ve done to date. We were up for a long time working on just getting the list made for this one… And we still loved making this, so thanks for getting involved folks!


Top 10 Anime Couples

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Aww, you softies! You voted to see us rank the love lives of anime couples. Anime, like every other artistic medium, hits on every aspect of the human experience in some form or another. We’ve all been through the hardships of school, dealt with the awkwardness of our parents, siblings, and tried to balance work against the pressures of being the only one who can end the invasion of demonic entities from beyond the veil of death.

But amidst all this, we all find time to settle down with our significant others, and so too do anime characters find love amidst the insanity of the worlds they live in.

Once again, Joel professes his own limited knowledge of anime (and is ironically attending a wedding, so doesn’t have much time to help on this list about couples), so big thanks to Kev of The Mental Attic for helping cover his back this week!

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10) Soul & Maka, Soul Eater

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The lowest of our list, but still slashing their way into our Top 10 is Soul & Maka, which seems like a very strange pairing but you’ll understand why they’re here in just a moment. They are opposites, as you have the calm and collected Soul and the impatient and impulsive Maka. With this in mind, the two seem like an ideal romantic pairing, except that Soul is really a Demon Weapon, a scythe, with Maka as the one who wields him. Whilst he does indeed have a human form, the pairing are only together as weapon and Meister Partner.

It’s been stated various times throughout the series that there is no romantic interest between the two, but the mere fact they’re always together kind of helps to classify them as a couple. They have a strong friendship, the kind that can only be brought about by spending a lot of your free time together. Whilst the two never get together romantically, they’re a sweet couple to us damn it.

9) Asuna & Kirito, Sword Art Online

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Asuna & Kirito are synonymous with Anime Couples right now, so why are they so low on this list? Because we’re not looking at their relationship from the novels or manga but the anime, and while they are solid as a couple once they’re together, the build-up to the romance is weak. Sword Art Online, due to the nature of its story, implements many time leaps and these make the beginning of their relationship feel too forced, as it seemingly happens by someone flipping their switch from “friendly” to “love-struck.” And as we’re looking at the romance from beginning to end, it makes Asuna & Kirito – a very strong couple overall — inferior to others on this list.

8) Winry & Edward, Fullmetal Alchemist

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Fullmetal is his alchemists name and he is deeply in love with Winry Rockbell. Even if he doesn’t want to admit it most of the time, Edward Elric loves Winry and that’s a fact of the series. They even get together at the end of the series, as Edward proposes to Winry. If you didn’t catch that, go back and rewatch it, you may be surprised by this. However, it’s no secret that the two were constantly bickering at one another.

Let’s get something straight here, the pairing are the ultimate friendship romance. They’re interested in one another on a very deep level, but because of this, their imperfections as people are heightened for them both. Whenever Edward breaks part of his automail, he’ll always go back to Winry for help, even though there are better automail mechanics out there. Edward certainly can afford better mechanics, but he’ll always go back to Winry, even if she does taunt him over his height. Funnily enough, he is taller than her. Nevermind, the two may be constantly bickering, but it seems their hearts are just far too entwined.

7) Lina Inverse & Gourry Gabriev, Slayers

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The Sorceress and the Knucklehead, Gourry & Lina are one of the classic couples in anime. Meeting in the first episode of the series and inseparable since then, Gourry & Lina complement each other perfectly. While they are a funny couple and their relationship works well in both drama and comic relief, there is very little romantic development in the series, adapted from Hajime Kanzaka’s novels. The author admits he didn’t bother with the romantic development and instead hinted at things without proper explanations because he can’t write romance.

6) Yoh Asakura & Anna Kyoyama

Arranged marriages are no joke and this certainly is the case between Yoh and Anna. The two are engaged right at the very beginning of the series when Anna is introduced to the audience. Yoh doesn’t seem to be very pleased about it, but at the end of the day, she wants to be married to the one that will become Shaman King. She’s incredibly bold and somewhat of a bully, which is the exact opposite to Yoh who is very relaxed and calm throughout.

So how can these two be such a good couple? They’re believable. They don’t have to shower the audience with over the top, affectionate scenes. In fact, they seem more akin to close friends and even teacher and student in some cases. It’s with this in mind that they’re fun to watch. Their love for one another deepens as the series goes on, but it doesn’t change them as characters. She does admit how she feels for Yoh constantly throughout, with it getting stronger with each and every episode. It’s actually rather sweet for an arranged marriage.

5) Kira Yamato/Lacus Clyne, Gundam Seed

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Gundam is one of those anime series that handles romance better than people give it credit for, and among its myriad of seasons, Kira & Lacus’ relationship is by far the strongest and most convincing, as it develops over time, starting with a chance meeting early in the series and coming to a head later on when a wounded Kira is brought to her home. She nurses him back to health and as she helps him deal with his traumas of war, they get even closer, but helps him return to his friends when he discovers they’re in danger. She even becomes a traitor to her nation by helping Kira steal the Freedom Gundam.

Before the end of the war, they declare their love for each other and by the second season of the series, they are the strongest couple in Gundam history and only get better as time passes. They show strength in their commitment and how healthy they are for each other. Lacus herself states that despite the suffering she’d gone through, meeting Kira brought her the most happiness she’d ever felt.

4) Vegeta & Bulma, DragonBall Z

Vegeta Bulma Trunks

Goku and Chi Chi seemed like the obvious choice here, but let’s be honest for a second. Goku only married Chi Chi because he said he would marry her, when they were kids. Whilst it makes them childhood sweethearts, (though Goku was oblivious to this,) they aren’t a very intriguing couple. So what about Krillin and Android 18? Whilst they’re very sweet, it was sort of glossed over. So fine, that means we should talk about Gohan and Videl? I mean the superhero duo really should be the ones to take the DragonBall Z prize, right?

Actually, this goes to Vegeta and Bulma, who are easily the most fluid and relate-able couple in the series. Vegeta, the prince of Sayians, is brash and rude. He’s arrogant and he’s a bit of a rogue. But this doesn’t stop him falling in love with a woman on Earth, funnily enough, one he even used to toy around with back on Namek. Bulma however is not the type to be pushed around. She’s strong-willed, heavy handed, has a scientist for a father and is a damn fine scientist in her own right. The combination of Vegetas’ arrogance and Bulmas’ confidence likely meant the two were destined for one another. Also they bared a son with purple hair who gets an awesome sword, which is freaking cool!

3) Kiritsugu & Irisviel, Fate//Zero

Kiritsugu and Irisviel

Some anime couple make you happy or make you laugh as they bumble through awkward phases. This is not one of them, this is a heartbreaking romance, a story with a tragic ending you see coming a mile away but you can’t do anything but watch it unfold. Iris is a clone, created for the specific purpose of becoming the vessel for the Holy Grail in the upcoming wizard war and Kiritsugu, an accomplished Mage Hunter, became the family’s representative in the conflict. He should have remained cold and neutral and her life shouldn’t have anything but the mission and the willingness to die for it, but they met, connected and fell in love, married and had a child, giving these two hopeless people something to protect and hold dear…and ultimately, something more to lose.

They are quite different people who found something they were missing in one another. Iris found strength and determination, and Kiritsugu found hope, something he’d given up on years before the events of the series. The loyalty and dedication they show to one another is inspiring and it makes the resolution to the story much harder to deal with.

2) Arita Haruyuki & Kuroyukihime, Accel World

Accel World
Arita and Kuroyukihime don’t follow the traditional anime mold, they’re not nervous about their first contact and embarrassed about one another. They’re much more natural than that. Kuroyukihime is in love with Arita but she fears he might hate her for some of the things she’s done in the past and Arita at first can’t believe the most popular girl in school is in love with him, overweigh and short, and his insecurities play heavily at the start of their romance. It’s easy to relate to them, as we’ve all had moments when our regrets and anxieties make us wonder if we’re right for our partner. What Haruyuki & Hime do well is build each other up throughout their relationship, helping each other overcome their weaknesses.

Haruyuki and Kuroyukihime are an exceptional anime couple because they feel real, as if you could meet them walking down the street.

1) Inuyasha & Kagome Higurashi, Inuyasha

Inuyasha and Kagome

The ultimate power couple of anime and I’m sure I’ll get many people disagreeing with this one, but hear me out. Inuyasha and Kagome have been on our anime screens for a long time, but you all know how the story goes, right? Modern day school girl falls down well into feudal era Japan, sees a giant demonic centipede woman. Scared and alone, modern era girl sees a demon dog boy who has been sealed to a tree with a magical arrow. Scared for her life, she cries out for this boy with the fluffy ears to help her and pulls the arrow out… Only to find out he’s a brutish demon dog called Inuyasha. It’s like love at first sight!

The two bicker constantly throughout the series, but you notice they get closer and closer subtly, (sometimes not so subtly,) as the episodes roll on. By the end of the series, Inuyasha and Kagome even get married, so finally there is truly a happy ending in anime. Aww, bless. But honestly, isn’t it a bit weird to hitch a feudal era demon and a modern era school girl? Ah who am I to judge, love comes in all forms ladies and gentlemen and don’t you ever forget it!


Honourable Mentions

Romance is not dead! The list is, but romance lives on, and we can’t simply leave it be at a mere ten entries, so as per usual we pair our list with a collection of those who fall just short of a fully fledged place therein.

What can we say? Sometimes, it’s just not meant to be.

Phoenix Wright/Maya – Phoenix Wright

latest

Phoenix Wright, AKA Nick, is one of the most clumsy defence lawyers ever. But this doesn’t mean that his heart isn’t in the right place, nor does it mean that he can’t find himself a romantic interest in the name of Maya Fey. From the Fey clan, she is the Master of the Kurain Channelling Technique. It seems like a heck of a mismatch, where we’ve got a man who believes in finding evidence and facts who is in love with a girl who is a spirit medium.

Perhaps it’s because she can channel her inner charm? Whatever it is, they’re a sweet couple, but only get the honourable mention. They’re a great pairing but it was never made canon, coupled with the fact that this is mostly part of the video games, rather than the anime itself. At least it’s an anime styled video game!

Guts/Griffith – Berserk

Yeah yeah, we all know about Casca and the waterfall but she was just a thin side of that love triangle! The only reason why Casca was better for Guts was the whole… demonic transformation… thing. Kinda puts the kibosh on any real romance developing, but Griffith had his dreams, Guts had his own view of the world that conflicted too harshly and in the end they simply couldn’t be together no matter how obviously they wanted it.

What do you mean it’s not cannon? Did you see the water-fight scene? Fraught with subtext? The implications? The suggestive looks? You draw your own conclusions if you must, but I know what I saw, and what I saw was love. Torturous, impossible love!


With that we are done, and so to your part in this relationship! Do you agree? Do you disagree? Do you want to go out tonight? I feel like we haven’t been anywhere in a while, and it would be nice not to have to wash up once in a while. Let us know in the comments down below. Also what do you want us to sit in judgement over next week? Add your voices to the throng and vote, vote as if something depended on it. Because it might!

Don’t forget to make your voice heard over on Facebook and Twitter. Special thanks to our friend and fellow geek, Kevin Kutlesa from The Mental Attic. Don’t forget to show your support by checking out his site, Facebook and Twitter feeds too!


Top 10 Geeky Soundtracks

GeekOut Top 10s

We love a good bit of geek culture, so one of the options in last weeks’ Top 10 was for Geeky Soundtracks… But that’s a little bit of an ambiguous term, so let’s quickly encapsulate that for you:

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DragonBall Z – The most influential anime?

This is the theme tune that defined a generation of kids.

At least, that’s how important this series seemed, especially when I was a youngen, finally watching anime. I thought this would be an important anime to review, so I wanted to give this one extra time and pay attention to some of the finer details of this series. Welcome, to my take on the over-the-top “Kung-fu”, “Hyper realistic” series that is… DragonBall Z.

Is this a “Hater” review?

No it is not! How dare you insinuate such things, my dear readers!

Oh Shenron, I remember you well.

Alas, there are a lot of things “wrong” with this anime. I want to point out, what is wrong with this anime is exactly what is “right” about this anime, too. This is going to be a rocky, bumpy ride, so please hang tight.

If I hated this series, I’d have never said the theme tune defined a generation of kids. When I was growing up as a young geek, I used to rush home from school, or to my friends house and we’d throw ourselves in front of the tele-box in hopes to see some more dynamic, over the top violence. Oh my!

As you can see, this series induces a stunning performance by George Takei. Oh, my!

But I just digressed from the subject at hand, slightly.

Is this a good anime?

Now, “good” is a subjective word. Good is a very subjective word, which is entirely dependent on your tastes and possibly your peers. Your peers do oddly affect how you view something, so this is why I will conclude this review on this popular anime series from two points of view: The little boy growing up and the grown up man.

Onwards we go to the review!

Story

We’re not going to go into the story of DragonBall, the series before DragonBall Z, but to put all of this into a very condensed form for you:

DragonBall Z originates from DragonBall, which featured heavy Kung-Fu action. Using the power of Ki (The same Ki that people use in martial arts and Tai Chi) in forms of either Ki attacks or energy waves, the heroes and villains of DragonBall Z fight in hopes to resolve their differences.

The powerful Kamehameha wave is a signature move of the main protagonist, Son Goku. Goku has been saving the world for many years and is happily married to Chi-Chi. Together, they have a son, Son Gohan, who has a tail? Don’t let him stare at the moon though, or else bad things happen!

This is clearly the best course of action.

So when the world is in trouble, it is up to Goku and his friends, the Z warriors, to band together and save the world before anything bad can happen.

In the first “Saga” in DragonBall Z, Goku faces off against a strange man with a tail (What is with these tails!?) called Raditz. Raditz refers to himself as a Saiyan and this, my friends, is all I’ll say about the story.

If I were to go into too much more detail, I’d be describing what’s happening throughout. See, the stories themselves aren’t hard to get into. They’re quite easy stories, in fact when you break each part down. But due to how each “Saga” is sort of a separate story, it’s hard to tell you much about any one saga.

The Saiyans were a race of aggressive warriors from Planet Vegeta. The Saiyans were wiped out long before the events of DragonBall (Let alone DragonBall Z) however the revelation of Raditz is what spirals the whole of this series: Who are the Saiyans and what are their potential?

Artwork

Whilst I do enjoy the artwork of DragonBall Z, I do also look at it and sometimes shake my head.

You see, when a child as young as 7 is able to walk around and have such a perfectly defined muscular frame, you begin to look at yourself. You see your love handles. You see your flab and your flesh and you think “… I am not worthy enough to watch this.”

Son Gohan – He’s pretty young for someone with such good arms!

Character designs aside, there were some great scenes. Here, have a look at Namek, one of the earlier sagas in DragonBall Z.

That’s right: Space is involved a lot!

Music

In the series itself, the music is pretty lackluster, however, as I linked at the very beginning of this article, the theme tune was phenomenal. It may seem very cheesy and yes, it is. But picture this: You and your friend rushes home from school to jump in front of the tele-box as it’s time for DragonBall Z.

You both have your drinks, you’re ready and then you hear that riff start, with Shenron, the dragon, starting the show. As a young boy, it was a very exhilarating experience. It felt like we had to see each and every episode, at least for the music at the beginning of every episode.

The outcome of two halves

Young me: This is probably the best series ever and cannot get any better. If I didn’t know any better, I want to train to be a Z warrior, myself!

I will come home every day, usually with a friend and we would listen to that hyped music, then listen to the narrator tell me what happened previously. Then at the end of every episode, the narrator will build us up for the next episode. Each and every time, it made you want to come back for more.

Me and my friend would “re-enact” what we had seen, which is fine as neither of us knew how to use Ki to make an energy wave. The punches never looked like they landed, so we would never actually hit one another. We’d just shout words like “KAMEHAMEHA!” or “DESTRUCTO-DISC!” You name it, so long as it was a move in the series, we both knew it.

And we loved the fact that we both knew it. It was simplicity, it was intensity and most importantly – It was a great way to bond with your friends when you didn’t have any video games to play together.

Young me gives this anime a 5/5

Grown up man: Zee? In England, we normally pronounce this Zed. Alas, the story is very farfetched as we’re used to in anime. The theme music was very direct and certainly got your adrenaline going. Graphically, this isn’t the best anime ever, however it serves the purpose. I do wonder why even children as young as 7 are able to have abs better than most professional athletes, but this is besides the point.

If the inner goofball in me didn’t keep telling me differently, I’d rate this very lowly. I mean let’s be honest here; DragonBall Z is exactly what we adults shouldn’t watch! The violence is far too over the top, with a fight lasting several episodes: Think about it like this… Every episode is around 20 minutes, if one fight lasted 5 episodes, that’s a good 100 minutes, or 1 hour 40 minutes. That’s a long time to be in one fight!

However, let’s now step back and look at it for what it is. This, to me, is the gateway for a young boy to get into anime. Why am I singling out young males? Simple: That’s the only view I’ve personally had of it.

Current day me gives this anime a 4.5/5

It just misses out on top marks because of how, at times, it is beyond over the top. It also drags some things ridiculously long. If I remember correctly, it did take Goku about 3 episodes to do one attack once, which then proceeded to miss.

Of course, lots happened whilst he bided his time, but the point is that it spanned several episodes for one attack. That is insane dedication, sometimes a bit too much.

So I’ve now given you a young boys and his grown up counterparts views of DragonBall Z.

Ladies and their inner young girls, have you had much experience with DragonBall Z? Can you share your experience as a young girl or even as a lady watching this? Hey, other inner young boys, actual young boys and grown up men… What were your experiences with the ultimate “slug-fest series” that is DragonBall Z?

And remember:

DRAGON, DRAGON BALL, DRAGON, DRAGON BALL ZEE! YAAAH!

Excuse me; I need to go make some wishes to Shenron. Off to gather the DragonBalls!