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Top 10 – Governing Bodies

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GeekOut Top 10s

While freedom is a noble thing to strive for, it is a matter for philosophers to debate whether we can truly be free without a force to control our actions. With so much to organise within a society it’s a full time job just to keep it all together, and it’s not a job for one person, no matter how much a tyrant might proclaim divine right or absolute power.

Join us dear readers, as we explore some of the greatest, geekiest examples of governments and governing bodies, from the courts of kings to the elected councils and the self appointed committees, and a few in between. Welcome to the Top 10 Governing Bodies. (more…)


Top 10 Mechanically Augmented Humans

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Strictly speaking anyone with a mechanical augmentation that replaces a body part (or becomes a body part) is a cyborg, so why not call this list Top 10 Cyborgs?

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Top 10 Gods

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For the love of all that is holy, we’re back for another Saturday Top 10. So for God’s sake, pull up a chair and have a gander through these ancient scrolls that we’ve uncovered, telling us all of the power of these beings. They might not always be physical, but they’re certainly righteous in their own way. So whether or not you’re a believer, this list has been made to try and convert you to our beliefs.

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Top 10 – Rituals

It starts with an incantation, sometimes followed with some sophisticated dance. Often requiring some form of reagents, other times it requires sacrifice, we can only be on about one of the most complex types of magics. A mix between pure voodoo, religion and powerful forces unseen in the physical realm, today we’re delving deep in the world of rituals.

To lay some ground rules down for this, a ritual can be anything involving some complex mantra, activity or set-up. It can be easy enough to understand in principle, so long as there’s a reason behind the simplicity, these are rituals which have been prominently displayed in a series, a franchise, or even just as a one off in an episode. It also can feature in a video game, an RPG or otherwise.


Top 10

10) The Rite of Ash’Kente – Discworld

Click for original artist Puggdogg

Click for original artist Puggdogg

Not even the wizards of Unseen University know everything, but they do know a way to contact someone who does. It’s very inconvenient to drag Death from his eternal duties whenever you need an urgent question answered like “What’s that massive new star that keeps getting bigger?” or “What the hell just happened?” and He regularly appears in a bad mood, on one notable occasion still holding the pineapple-cheese stick from the party He’d just been abducted from.

Death is of course subject to wandering off and leaving His family to do THE DUTY, and they also take His place in the circle should the Rite be performed. There are many ways Ash’Kente can be conducted, many of which involve something dying and therefore summon Death by default. The most basic method requires three sticks and 4cc of mouse blood or an egg, but is often dressed up with dribbly candles and octagrams, for the look of the thing.

9) Eidolon Extraction & Cleyra’s Protective Dance – Final Fantasy IX

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Final Fantasy IX, or FF9 as many people know of it, is one of those games that I talk about a lot. Sorry, not sorry. However in this particular instance, it’s worth noting that the game has many different rituals scattered throughout. These are just two of the main ones that affect the game in huge ways:

The Eidolon Extraction ritual is conducted by Zorn and Thorn, the two court jesters to Queen Brahne (and later working for Kuja). They do this to extract the power of the Eidolon’s so their masters can use the power of these beings to wage war across Gaia. They are successful at first, by taking away Princess Garnet’s Eidolons right at the start of the game. They try this at a later point in the game, too.

Cleyra is a settlement of the rat-people, the same species as one of the main protagonists, Freya Crescent. Cleyra is surrounded by an ancient sand storm which keeps their peaceful town safe from all outsiders. To keep the sand storm safe, occasionally they must perform a sacred dance, with music played from their harp. If the sand storm were to disappear, they would be open for attack and thus… war. See how these are all linked, now?

8) Anveena’s Sacrifice – World of Warcraft

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I’d not like to go into too much detail with this one, but this is a condensed version of what this is about. She’s a manifestation of pure energy and was captured and corrupted by Kil’Jaeden’s minions. With the energy of Sunwell Plateau captured and their intent of using all of her existing life force to summon Kil’Jaeden himself into Azeroth via a portal that she would be opening with her own power.

However, true to all heroic characters form, she snaps out of it and she was almost too late. She’s already opened the portal and the humongous demon Kil’Jaeden was already on his way through it. When she realises this, she uses the last of her strength and powers to make the ultimate sacrifice. She seals the portal around his torso, allowing the heroes of Azeroth to unite against this serious danger to their planet. So in short, Anveena both summons and weakens Kil’Jaeden, allowing Azeroth to hold off from disaster and even prevent it… Until Legion happened but we’ll have to wait and see what dangers from the Burning Legion this presents.

7) Summoning Exodia – YuGiOh

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The theory – In order to summon the great Forbidden One you must gather his parts, head and body, and each chained limb. With his entire collection before you he is made whole and you automatically win the game.

The practice – Decks are basically built so that you can do a short series of delay tactics, all while ensuring that the parts come to you quickly and easily so that you slam the lot down on the table and claim a weak victory that no one enjoys.

So far as instant-wins in card games go it’s got a rather nice theory behind it, but sadly Exodia can be readily exploited. If you’re looking for a more interesting instant win then look up M:tG’s Hedron Alignment for something requiring a bit more effort. If you want an enjoyable experience with Exodia it’s readily found in the Abridged Series.

6) Rary’s Telepathic Bond – Dungeons & Dragons Wizard Ritual

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Oh did we ever have some choices here. Amongst the catalogue of spells for all classes and all occasions in the D&D rulebooks, the magic mouths, the unseen servants and floating disks we eventually settled on one that any right minded wizard would have prepped and ready to go every damn day. You see only a right minded wizard should be allowed to do all of the planning and tactical decision making, these stick-waving imbeciles in metal underpants don’t have a clue!

What better way to make your thoughts known (and only amongst your allies) than to have them implanted directly into their minds? The Telepathic Bond allows for immediate mental communication between a full party anywhere in the world (other planes may incur roaming charges) to swiftly and accurately allow the wizard to share his/her ingenious insights into the situation, and to have those insights ignored more profoundly than ever before. A must have for anyone level 10 or above.

5) Summoning Shenron – DragonBall

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Ah yes, summoning Shenron himself can be considered to be a type of ritual. When you think about what a ritual is, it’s something that should be quite hard to obtain, perhaps because of time constraints, perhaps due to resource, or perhaps due to rarity of the objects being used. When you think of it like this, Shenron is in fact a ritual – but how does one simply summon a dragon that will grant you a wish?

You have to go across the Earth and collect all of the DragonBalls. I mean later on, they go off Earth and go to places like Namek and if you count DragonBall GT as canon, then across the freakin’ universe to summon a Dragon. Once you’ve collected all of the DragonBalls, you then have to say an incantation to summon the great and powerful dragon. Only then will you have satisfied the criteria to unleash this massive all-powerful being. I’d wish for unlimited wishes.

4) Human Sacrifice – Goat Simulator

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All shall kneel before Goat.

These days it’s fairly common knowledge that Coffee Stain Studios is built downhill from a ritual circle devoted to the great Hellgoat, whose powers are terrible, and whose physics are all kinds of broke. How else could such a success be made of a dumb little simulator game that doesn’t even work properly? But to activate the power yourself you must first have corpses, delicious corpses to feed the circle!

The most basic setting for Goat Simulator features some of the most interesting locales, like the gravity pit, the skate park, and the Tower, and within each are terrible secrets, but none require such devotion to activate as the circle. Oh sure, you could summon a bunch of lesser goats and do it, but where’s the fun when you could just snatch up the bodies of the screaming and insignificant peasantry to feed your unnatural hunger for power? Goats man, I’m telling you, they’re evil.

3) C’Thulhu Fhtagn – Lovecraft

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Between the dates of March 23  and April 2 every year, those who consider themselves particularly “psychically hypersensitive” and those of a particularly artistic disposition are visited by feverish dreams of sunken cities, ancient temples, and the slumbering gods who wait there. During the investigations of Inspector LeGrasse into related phenomena and the shocking similarities to the bas-reliefs and idols worshipped by disparate cults across the world he is shown a wide variety of nightmarish worship of elder and unworldly things.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn

It’s a phrase uttered on degenerate tongues, a fallen band of New Orleans voodoo priests, devil worshipping Esquimaux, in the hasty scribbles of mad artists and the most impassioned verses of drug-addled poets. Those who worship the idols and keep Its name alive are known to practice terrible rituals of blood, and they’re not alone. The people-smugglers of Red Hook demonstrate similar necromantic rites before a squat demonic entity in deep cellars, and in forgotten times the ancient de la Poer family ancestry sacrificed humans in terrible volumes.

2) The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

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This is a stretch, but bare with us on this one. Oblivion is a game about the whole game leading up to the climactic moment when the big baddy comes out and you fight it off. So far, so standard. But I want you to seriously think for a moment here and let us know what you think in the comments as well. The Elder Scrolls IV is about the summoning of the Daedric Prince of Destruction, Mehrunes Dagon.

Now that’s pretty cool and the game was universally praised (Even with the silliness of some of the glitches and voice issues that characters had)… However, if the whole game was about the summoning of Mehrunes Dagon, then how? Why? Do you remember those portals scattered across Cyrodil? Yes, you’re absolutely right… The whole game was actually a giant ritual to summon the Daedric Prince himself. You’re literally fighting against a massive demonic ritual… And when you stop to think about it, that’s kind of awesome!

1) Nationwide Transmutation Circle – Fullmetal Alchemist

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SPOILERS: Be warned, if you’ve not watched all of Fullmetal Alchemist and fully intend to, then this is a bit spoiler-y. You have been forewarned.

So it turns out the entire nation, the entire place the series is set in, all of it… Was a great big transmutation circle. A massively forbidden one which would see all that was within the circle destroyed. This was something that was put together by the government of the series, much to the chagrin of all of the protagonists. This was a group they had served (although somewhat unwillingly from Edward Elrics case) – and if this transmutation circle was triggered, it would see the destruction of all life within Amestris.

Why on Earth would anybody want to make this massive underground tunnel based transmutation circle, I hear you cry out? Why, of course, it was put together not because they wanted to eradicate life per se, but instead to create a massive, all powerful philosophers stone for the original Homunculus, Father. This was the ultimate plan for the Homunculi throughout… And when you think about a political power having someone that corrupt in charge, it’s enough to make you cringe.


Honourable Mentions

Rituals are one thing, but magic is a realm of almost unlimited possibilities. Although these next two didn’t quite make the cut for our Top 10 list, we felt they needed to at the very least be mentioned. After all, it’s not every day that you get to see powers like these…

Dice Superstitions

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We are creatures of habit and bizarre superstitions. For all that geeks tend towards logic and reason we also tend to observe patterns rather quickly, especially when it comes to dice. We all have that one dice that you can never ever use because it’s cursed, or a particular bag that’s lucky to keep dice in, one person at the table who can never roll a decent number until there’s some obscurely dramatic moment where they get that impossible critical.

Dice, cards, lucky controllers and mouse-mats, little habits and tics like not looking when you roll or stacking them up. We know it doesn’t make a difference, we know that they’re basically all the same, but… it is different, somehow, it’s yours and it’s special in its own way, and we hang on to them… almost ritualistically.

Rituals

Rituals

If I were to be very honest with you, the reason we picked this for our honourable mentions is because it’s literally called Rituals. We were running out of ideas at first, but when I saw this title, I decided to have a read through and you know what? It sounds pretty interesting. It’s something I’m going to pick up and do a full review on.

Rituals is a game about exploration and the eery connection between civilisation and nature. It looks like it’s quite a short game, but it’s certainly intriguing enough to make me want to get it, play it, record it and share it with you all… But what do you think? Let us know if you’ve played this in the comments below.


Incantations finished, our reagents are expended. That’s it, we’re done, we’ve used up our surplus of supplies and the demand for our next list is just coming through. Sheesh, but we’re spent for this week, so now it’s over to all of you. Help us decide what we do for next weeks’ Top 10 list. You can bet we can conjure up something great from any of the below choices.

Abra kadabra! Hey ho, it looks like we’ve gotten to the end of our ritualistic list of enchanting words and imagery. Nevermind, that’s just the end of the list, but it needn’t be the end of the discussions. How did we do on our list of rituals? Do you think we got the best ones, or did we miss that important ritual in your life? As always, please remember to leave us a message in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


Anime Review: Bungo Stray Dogs

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Fans of all that is supernatural and magical will be quite keen on this new series; but ultimately, is Bungo Stray Dogs a riveting tale of the strange and the peculiar, or is it just a cash in attempt at a misfit group? Join Timlah through our latest anime review.

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Top 10 – Metals

GeekOut Top 10s

Alloy there, fellow Geeks. Last week, you chose for us to do the Top 10 Metals, which is great. Joel and Timlah sat there and started to list out: Slayer. Slipknot. Wait a minute, we can’t do metal music! This is the Top 10 metal in geek, but how does this one even work?

When we were thinking up this week’s list, we needed to be sure that our list followed a few specific criteria. If it was a metal, it had to have something interesting about it. If it was the music genre, it had to be included in some form of geek media, such as a video game, or a movie. With this said, we set to work and we came up with a list of the Top 10 Metals. Put your Devil Horns in the air and let’s rock – err metal! (more…)


Top 10 Scary Kids

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GeekOut Top 10s

Let’s face the facts here – Children know how to be downright terrifying at times. They lurk behind your door and say “Hi!” Without any hesitation, knowing they’re going to send you into cardiac arrest. They’re brutal, malicious, terrif– I’m being a bit dramatic here, but you get the point. Sometimes, especially in media, kids know how to be scary. But that’s fine, because they make a great list for our Top 10!

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Top 10 – Tearjerker Moments

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We are caring people, and we have a nasty habit of getting over-invested in fictional characters, and their plight often becomes as dear to us as our own. When they suffer, do we not suffer? We explore the depths of our emotions with them as our guide, feeling their pain as keenly as we would our own, and when they die as all things must then we mourn them as profoundly as we would our flesh and blood.

In games, in anime, in film and television we find ourselves as easily brought to tears as we are by the struggles we encounter in our every day life, and those who have it far worse. So here we gather, once again, to elevate those moments to glory, our Top 10 tearjerking moments.

Have tissues to hand. (more…)


Top 10 Charming Villains

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Villains are often rather evil beings, capable of destroying their opponents through raw might, or cunning plans. However, not all villains are content with outright destruction. Some prefer to take a more manipulative, or vocal route. Some like to make people their personal pawns, mentally enthralled to them. In fact, it could be said that some villains are even more charming than their protagonist counterparts.

This week, we’re celebrating our personal Top 10 list of antagonists who happen to be pretty charming, for one reason or another. Now, I command you to read all of this article, then comment in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. After all, we could be the most charming villains of all… If we actually bothered to try.


Top 10

10. Lust – FMA

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If there was one character from anime that epitomised using her charms to win her enemies over, before going ahead and being brutal, then Lust would be at the top of the list. She only makes it in at number 10, as she’s not the most charming of all of the villains on this list, by a long way. But she doesn’t need to even say too much, for most men to have an aching, throbbing heart. What did you think I was going to say there?

She’s a beauty and as such, she is a real charmer to men who are most sinful to the deadly sin of Lust. Beautiful, yet deadly, she strikes out at Edward Elric and his brother Alphonse Elric with long, extending claw-like nails which can even pierce the toughest of metals. She’s often talking people into and out of things the homonculi don’t want to see happening, so Lust acts as their communicator for the most part, getting their message across… Sometimes even peacefully!

9. Bane – The Dark Knight Rises

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While the original version has unquestionable physical superiority, tactical brilliance and a certain amount of charisma to back it all up, Nolan’s adaption (played by Tom Hardy) possessed far more gravitas than his comic-book counterpart. Bereft of chemical augmentation and instead bound by a crippling deformity, Bane portrays so much in his body language, even the way he stands in a room shows a terror inspiring fearlessness and dominance.

Little wonder that the man who left the Pit commands a city, demands the allegiance of a criminal army, and put the fear into the Bat himself. In a few words he can make trained military men doubt even while he himself is bound at their feet. His allies quake in his presence and only one human being can instil fear in him, the daughter of the demon. Not even the Clown Prince can command such an audience without holding an entire TV station hostage.

8. Dr. Wallace Breen – Half Life 2

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Collaborator, but what hope have we to advance if we do not collaborate and work together?

Breen may only be a puppet to the Combine forces that seek to enslave humanity, but even under the illusion of leader of all humanity he still has a certain benevolent tone to his tyrannical propaganda lectures to his people as his masked police force beat down on the populous for throwing trash around. He seems oddly caring, forward thinking, and determined that humanity needs to advance despite what costs may come, and that those who fight against these changes are narrow minded fools who would drag the species into stagnation and extinction.

Or we could be food, slaves, or subjects of dangerous scientific experimentation to create highly powerful soldiers to protect and advance the terrible interdimensional empire Breen serves as a kind of traitorous maître-de.

7. Hans Gruber – Die Hard

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It’d be a cheap disservice to the memory of Alan Rickman to place him in a list where he does not belong, and to give him an unjustly high ranking in the process.

But there was no way we were letting Hans Gruber get away without a mention. Everyone’s favourite Christmas film features a criminal mastermind so thoroughly charismatic that he even has maverick action hero John McClane convinced he’s just an innocent victim in need of saving, if only briefly. Cold, cunning, exceedingly clever, he always has time for a polite chat with the people he’s going to kill, and has one of the most elegant back-and-forth villain to hero patters in cinema history, mocking, probing and funny as all hell.

Little wonder that McClane tries to keep Gruber alive at the end of the film, and so often the stunned look from the plummeting thief is the most memorable moment and not his quips, his glibness, and his classical education. Constructing a terrorist attack in order to execute an enormous heist is simple brilliance, and no one else could have done so with such theatrical aplomb.

6. The Master – Doctor Who

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The Master is a primary antagonist of the British classic Doctor Who, of which has seen countless fantastic iterations. When one thinks of The Doctor, it doesn’t take long for people to bring up The Master, who is not only an intellectual equal to The Doctor, but perhaps even a superior. When The Doctor and The Master were studying in Gallifrey, The Master would always outperform The Doctor. Whilst being out right brilliant, if there was one weakness to The Master, it is his thirst for dominance.

Forever engaging The Doctor in conversation, The Master is known for often being rather pleasant to chat to. Although this may be the case, it doesn’t stop him from being vile and pure evil, often with murderous intent. He’s talked people to kill themselves to be turned into robots, only for those robots to go back in time and then kill their former selves, to create some incredibly crazy time paradox. The Master might be intelligent, but if this is what intelligence does to you, then I’m going to remain blissfully unaware.

5. Jareth the Goblin King – Labyrinth

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“Your eyes can be so cruel, just as I can be so cruel” – Jareth

Yes, we’re feeling a little bit soppy about the passing of both David Bowie and Alan Rickman. Couple this with Lemmy of Motorhead and now the death of Glenn Frey of the Eagles. Oh, this has been a dreadful start to 2016, hasn’t it? However, let’s look past that right now and let’s look at why Jareth belongs on this list.

Labyrinth is a cult classic film; It’s one that many people in the world consider a great film, yet when it was released, critics didn’t think much of it. With his stunning good looks, even by attractive human standards, Jareth plays with protagonist Sarah’s heartstrings and knows how to wind her around his little finger. He knows what makes her twitch, he knows how to make her skin crawl at the right moments and how to get her to obey his commands. Jareth knows it, he knows he doesn’t need to resort to his minions to get to her. He knows in his mind that he can make her his bride, which would mean that all of his professions of love for Sarah would have been for something all along.

If you’re not charmed by Jareth and by extension David Bowie, I’m not sure what you are charmed by. Gender and sexuality knows no bounds when it comes to this great. Thank you, Bowie, for Labyrinth.

4. Kuja – Final Fantasy IX

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Now, a lot of people might turn around and suggest other antagonists from the Final Fantasy series, although I will immediately stop to point out that none of them were charming. They were usually very verbose and intelligent, such as Kefka and even Garland. With all this in mind, how could we single out Kuja to be the most charming of all of the villains from the franchise? He has some very defining features which make him so:

When we first meet him, we don’t have a clue who he is really. He’s just some guy who watches as you are beaten down by a very powerful foe. He points out who may be trouble to the Queen, who he seems to act as a kind of advisor for. As you play through, you find out that he has been a weapons dealer for Queen Brahne, but further to that, he’s also acted as an advisor of kinds. He would tell the Queen about what places are next to attack, instilling confidence in the Queen that she was doing this to make Alexandria the most powerful city in the world. He wasn’t lying, either, as they unleash ridiculous powers, before he finally turns on the Queen and kills her.

Manipulative, but all the time he acts charming. He tries to get Garnet to be his, as if they were in a play the whole time. He’s dashing and makes heads turn, but most important is his intellect, coupled with his incredibly dangerous sensibilities: Kuja is a charmingly destructive force to be reckoned with. Also, how many men do you know can pull that look off?! Very few.

3. Light Yagami – Death Note

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Hold your horses folks, you might need to understand a little bit about why we’re bundling Light as an antagonist in this list.

See, Light Yagami is indeed generally pretty much a good guy. He fights the good fight, but his methods are all wrong. He doesn’t do the honourable thing, more taking justice into his own hands, a vigilante. Whilst this isn’t so bad unto itself, he does literally go around killing people with the Death Note. Sure, it might be villains that he’s killing off, but he’s doing basically what the villains were doing in the first place, which basically makes him a bad guy.

Part of the joy of Light’s works is that he’s very manipulative, but it’s all for the perceived notion of ‘good’. Whilst a brilliant and highly intelligent mind, able to make people do whatever he wants them to, he’s also incredibly self-absorbed. He believes he cannot be wrong, but in going around murdering criminals, he’s only mimicking the criminals. Perhaps what he does is for the greater good over all, but it doesn’t stop him being a villain in his own right. What do you think? Villain or not?

2. Magneto – Marvel

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The Brotherhood. What a name, and what a leader. “Villainy” becomes a somewhat difficult term to apply to someone like Magneto, he’s a man that made it through a genocide and has vowed to never see another – at least not against his own kind. In his loathing of nazis he has in his way become very similar to them, despising the “lesser race” and making every effort to kill or convert them, and seeing the efforts of those mutants who would find peace as treacherous and abhorrent.

And yet there are times when even he concedes that there is a greater good worth fighting for, puts aside his hatred and his anger to join forces with the X-Men of Xavier’s Institute and fight for life itself and not the differences that divide it, before sliding back into his resentment. And the sad fact is that he is often absolutely right, his point is so often proven by fearful and fear-mongering humans that countless mutants can’t help but follow by his lead.

1. Hannibal Lecter – Silence of the Lambs

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Who else?

Here is a man who’s very brilliance lies, not in the counterplay of his intellectual brilliance and culture against his feral and primal crime, but in his personality. Something in Hopkins’ snake-like charm, at once threatening and beguiling and his mastery of conversation makes him no mere villain, but a nemesis. Locked within a cage he still presents a threat with only words and information as his weapon, and with that and only that he manages to walk from his glass box a free (but hunted) man.

I will, at some point, get around to watching the widely acclaimed series based on the original books, but for now I’m content to rewatch Silence, Hannibal, and yes even Red Dragon to an extent – the Tooth Fairy was a good concept worthy of recognition – but I needn’t have seen it to know that here is a monster born with a silver tongue.


Honourable Mentions

Amos Zelig – The Shivah

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Avid fans of GeekOut might remember a while back, when I started including galleries in video game posts where possible, I reviewed a game called The Shivah. It’s a game about a rather bitter Jewish Rabbi, who was sort of on the path to redemption for his actions. Along the way, there’s a murder mystery to be solved, along with trying to suss out what’s going on in the world of the synagogues. There’s a lot of deception and deceit in this game, which mostly comes from one man…

Amos Zelig, another rabbi for another synagogue, on the face of it is one of the most honest working rabbis around. People seem to agree with this too, as he runs a way more popular service than you do. However, he does this through lies and deceit. Amos is a cold blooded man, who talks people into a variety of different things. He doesn’t hesitate to kidnap, to murder, to do anything un-Jew like. Why? It’s true what they say; Money is power.

Gabe Newell – Steam

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Curse you Newell, you’ve got us all dancing to your merry tune, tempting us with trinkets and toys so that we forget the failings of your past, and your negligence! Where’s Half Life 3? Where’s Half Life 2, Episode 3? Something, anything? Why have you forsak- 50% off whatnow? All right, we’ll bite but you’re not getting away wi- Steam Machine? What’s that? Ohh, that looks pretty cool actually, I’m not a console person but I think I could get to grips with- HEY WAIT A MINUTE!

Now we’ve been loyal customers, and yes you’ve changed the way the PC gaming industry works, and no we wouldn’t have such platforms as Good Old Games or the Humble Bundle if it weren’t for Steam. Valve have produced masterpieces of games, the legendary Portal and Portal 2, the beloved Team Fortress 2, and the infamous saga Half Life, Half Life 2, Half Life 2: Episode 1, Half Life 2: Episode 2… AND THEN WHAT? Cliffhanger? Really? Nothing, after (counting – because you clearly can’t) nine years?!

Trading cards you say?


Charmed, I’m sure. But these villains have now had their say, from those romantic types, to the downright terrifyingly fearsome. You can’t help but at least listen to what they have to say for themselves and their plans. Regardless, they’ve said their piece now and we’re here to say they are our entries to this list, but the conversation needn’t end here!

As always, please remember to vote for next weeks’ Top 10 topic. If you want to get involved with one of our Top 10s like Murray did last week, please just get in contact with us. If you felt our list was good, let us know, but equally let us know if you disagree with any of our entries, or if we missed someone you feel deserves a space in the list that we just didn’t even put up here. As always, leave your comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. See you next week for another Top 10!


Top 10 Anime Couples

Soul and Maka Bickering

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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Top 10

10) Soul & Maka, Soul Eater

Soul and Maka Bickering

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

Slayers
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

Kira Yamato & Lacus Clyne

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

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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!

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