Categories
Grind Money

Digital Artist FEWOCiOUS is Hitting it Big With NFTs

Getting one’s name and work to generate mass interest in the art world can be laborious, but the respect and notoriety that comes with reaching that goal are unmatched.

An 18-year old visionary from Las Vegas named Victor aka “FEWOCiOUS” managed to do just that through his astonishing digital artwork. Things are certainly looking up for Victor, to say the least—one of his most recent art pieces sold for $35,000 (22 ETH.) Victor’s penchant for creating striking digital illustrations has diversified his creative options and given him the chance to produce custom sneakers with Artifact Studios. A clothing drop from the burgeoning artist is also on the horizon, plus he’s making plenty of headway within the NFT medium.

The young pop surrealist sat down with ONE37pm’s Tyler Schmitt to discuss his early origins as an artist, how he got into selling his work online, and his introduction to the booming NFT industry.

ONE37pm : When did everything begin for you as an artist? When did you consider yourself an artist?

FEWOCiOUS: I feel like there was a point in middle school where I was just drawing all the time. Kids would see me with my sketchbook and be like “can I see it?,” and I’d be like “first of all, this is really personal. But fine!” At that point, it was just other kids that would be like “yeah, that’s the artist kid.” Or I’d be in lunch (I didn’t have friends), but kids would be like “hey that’s the artist kid. Check out his sketchbook.” Then they’d look through my sketchbook and I was just like “I guess I’m the artist person.”

ONE37pm: Do you have family? Was it crafty around your house? Where was your inspiration to start drawing?

FEWOCiOUS: My family is not supportive of art. They don’t like art, they wanted me to be a doctor. And it wasn’t even like they were indifferent or they didn’t care. If I was painting and they saw that, they’d like “what are you doing? That’s ugly. At least if you’re gonna paint, do a landscape or draw an animal.” My grandma would insult it so much every time she saw it. It was a non-no to be doing that.

ONE37pm: [in regards to his family’s unsupportive nature] Do you feel it was because you were good?

FEWOCiOUS: My mom tried to start a business and she went down her rabbit hole. My grandparents saw my mom’s failure and spiral into drug abuse. Maybe they didn’t want that for me. But that turned into actual toxicity.

ONE37pm: What was the first thing you ever sold?

FEWOCiOUS: When I was 12, I used to do Minecraft thumbnails for random people. Five bucks a pop. That’s how I learned to do PhotoShop and computer programs. And then I saw all the popular Minecraft videos no longer were graphic design, it was like drawings. And I was like “Well, I wanna be the best-selling Minecraft thumbnail person. I need to learn how to do it.” And then I learned digital and obviously didn’t know it would turn into my life.

FEWOCiOUS: No. I just start. I think with physical…It’s just I express myself in different ways. Like, I can make a mess and it’ll make sense. I can see the texture and can build off of that. But in digital, you can make a pretty mess. But it’s more like, I don’t like it as much. So I like doing my lines on digital. But if I wanna make a crazy whatever, then I’ll go paint.

ONE37pm: When you create physical vs. digital, is there much of a difference in how you’re approaching it?

FEWOCiOUS: No. I just start. I think with physical…It’s just I express myself in different ways. Like, I can make a mess and it’ll make sense. I can see the texture and can build off of that. But in digital, you can make a pretty mess. But it’s more like, I don’t like it as much. So I like doing my lines on digital. But if I wanna make a crazy whatever, then I’ll go paint.

FEWOCiOUS and Tyler’s lengthy discussion broaches a number of other introspective topics, so be sure to check out the full interview. Be sure to follow FEWOCiOUS on Twitter and Instagram, so as not to miss out on anything going on in his world.

Categories
Gaming New Releases

16 Games Like ‘Dark Room’ You’re Going To Want To Play

Maneuvering through a decidedly unnerving environment while getting to the bottom of a mystery is scary enough in third-person. That scenario becomes even more of a nail-biter when you experience it from a first-person perspective.

Lexip Games’ Dark Room presents its amalgamation of classic adventure point & click mechanics and a horrifying atmosphere from that aforementioned camera setting. Solving a myriad of brainteasers while you learn about the big secret at the heart of your journey is what Dark Room is all about. Chances are you’re on the lookout for something along the lines of that game ever since you completed it. And that’s where we step in – the 16 titles on this list provide unforgettable scares, intriguing mysteries to solve, and an assortment of puzzling situations to work your way out of.

Whether it’s from a third- or first-person viewpoint, these recommended games will provide you with everything you enjoyed about Dark Room and more.

1. ‘Resident Evil 7 Biohazard’

Capcom’s lauded survival horror series switched things up in 2017 and largely succeeded in the process. As newcomer Ethan Winters, you set out to rescue your wife whilst exploring a creepy plantation. This mission sees you defending yourself against a crazed family and humanoid creatures that are referred to as the “Molded.” Resident Evil 7 Biohazard entails a whole lot of shooting, puzzle-solving, hide and seek sequences, and heart-thumping scares. And you’ll feel every part of the horror as you get to enjoy it all in first-person (this game absolutely rules in VR, by the way).

buy here, $29.40
https://www.amazon.com/Resident-Evil-Biohazard-Gold-PlayStation-4/dp/B075JF372G/ref=sr_1_1?crid=PH10CIJYHSGB&dchild=1&keywords=re7+biohazard&qid=1613630626&sprefix=re7+b%2Caps%2C273&sr=8-1
2. ‘Alien: Isolation’

The main conundrum that Alien: Isolation presents players with is wholly terrifying. There’s a vicious Xenomorph on your trail, and you’ll need to utilize the best methods needed to avoid it. As the daughter of Ellen Ripley, you set out to uncover everything behind her disappearance. Reaching that goal isn’t going to be easy thanks to the presence of hostile humans, killer androids, and an Alien that wants you dead. You’ll get to play around with a whole host of weapons, but the name of the game here is stealth. Keep quiet, stay low, and try not to get eaten.

buy here, $40
https://www.amazon.com/Alien-Isolation-Collection-Xbox-Digital/dp/B0189PWABY/ref=sr_1_3?crid=PXLLEFKQ0TNI&dchild=1&keywords=alien+isolation&qid=1613630771&s=videogames&sprefix=alien%2Cvideogames%2C176&sr=1-3
3. ‘Outlast’ (series)

Outlast, and its successor are incredibly tense horror games that will keep you on your toes and sweating bullets more often than not. The first release in the series puts you in the role of an investigative journalist that’s out to uncover the truth behind a twisted psychiatric hospital. As for its sequel, Outlast 2 sets you up as another journalist that explores the Arizona desert in a bid to get more info on the murder of a pregnant woman. Both games force you into uneasy scenarios that see you constantly run, hide, and use your camcorder to maneuver through the darkness.

buy here, $19.75
https://www.amazon.com/Outlast-Trinity-Xbox-One/dp/B06XGMG7RF/ref=pd_vtp_1?pd_rd_w=rXZp8&pf_rd_p=6f2e6f76-fb8a-492e-b0f6-a03aecd27de3&pf_rd_r=ESSFAK3MM05C22F37M7N&pd_rd_r=b6c868b3-91d8-4182-a767-9ff01c66493a&pd_rd_wg=ffAeu&pd_rd_i=B06XGMG7RF&psc=1
4. ‘Amnesia’ (series)

The Amnesia games feature everything you’ve come to expect from survival horror games – a creepy environment to explore, tons of puzzles to solve, and the types of monsters that increase your heart rate at first sight. The Dark Descent, A Machine for Pigs, and Rebirth all manage to spark one’s interest due to their intriguing premises. They also have a penchant for scaring the hell out of anyone that tries them, so you should expect to turn a few lights on while you’re making your way through each fear-inducing entry.

Buy here, $56.23
https://www.amazon.com/Amnesia-Dark-Descent-PC/dp/B004FZ9822/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Amnesia+video+game&qid=1614263541&sr=8-3
5. ‘Condemned’ (series)

One of Sega’s more slept-on IPs has to be Condemned. Anyone who’s given it a chance knows just how nerve-wracking the original game and its sequel can be. If you’re not in the know, then let us bring you up to speed – both games have you take on the role of a crime scene investigation agent that’s looking for some sort of reasoning behind the madness occurring in his city. Criminal Origins and Bloodshot both focus on thorough crime scene investigations, brutal melee combat, and a whole lot of exploring within unfriendly locales.

buy here, $20
https://www.amazon.com/Condemned-Criminal-Origins-Xbox-360/dp/B0009SQFHA/ref=sr_1_1?crid=28ZOXPFWUCO3G&dchild=1&keywords=condemned+criminal+origins&qid=1613631017&s=videogames&sprefix=cond%2Cvideogames%2C150&sr=1-1
6. ‘SOMA’

It’s one thing to be above ground whilst getting confronted by all manner of mysterious horrors. It’s a whole other thing when you’re forced to deal with those same horrors while trapped within an underwater facility. SOMA’s the type of game that gives you that exact scenario to overcome. As a character named Simon Jarrett, you set out to make sense of your surroundings and come to grips with psychological horror elements. The clues you’ll discover during your journey will bring you ever so closer to the truth about your underwater prison.

buy here, $30
https://store.steampowered.com/app/282140/SOMA/
7. ‘Pacify’

As the newest member of Paranormal Activity Helpers Incorporated, you’re entrusted with exploring a dilapidated home that once doubled as a funeral parlor. On your own, with three of your friends or against other players, this supernatural thriller tasks you with pacifying a great evil. You’ll need to adjust your game plan as the little girl that hunts you progressively gets smarter and faster. Gather your clues, collect the items needed to aid your progression, and overcome one of the biggest paranormal threats you’ve ever faced.

Buy here, $5
https://store.steampowered.com/app/967050/Pacify/
8. ‘DEVOUR’

DEVOUR is another one of those first-person survival horror games that pit you against a singular menace. You can choose to go it alone during this harrowing mission or make your playthrough a tad bit easier with three other players by your side. A maniacal cult leader that’s been possessed by a goat demon has it out for you and your fellow cult members. Everyone must work together to exorcise the woman with a demonic hold over her, which is quite a tall task. The essential items you need to make that happen are randomized during every session, plus the unpredictable AI attached to the crazed cult leader certainly complicates things.

buy here, $5
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1274570/DEVOUR/
9. ‘The Medium’

Marianne doesn’t live a normal life. She has the ability to converge with the dead and navigate the realm they inhabit, which classifies her as a spirit medium. After receiving a mysterious phone call from an unknown individual, Marianne makes her way to an abandoned location in hopes of getting to the bottom of her paranormal dilemma. Besides offering an engrossing storyline, The Medium features an old-school approach to survival horror games. The inclusion of a third-person viewpoint, clever puzzle sequences, and a particularly rabid spirit that wants to consume you are the main hooks that’ll pull you into this game. The dual-reality sections that let you explore two realms at once should also pique your interest.

buy here, $50
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1293160/The_Medium/
10. ‘Layers of Fear’ (series)

The Layers of Fear series pushes the horror genre forward by mixing in elements of psychedelic and psychological horror. And what comes from that complex mixture are two games that will mess with your mind and make you question the very events that play out in front of you. The first entry in the series puts you in the role of a disturbed painter who must find a way to complete his magnum opus, while the sequel sets you up as an actor that’s been called upon to handle an important leadership role. Both games focus on heavy exploration, mind-bending sights, and haunting audio. The Layers of Fear games will certainly stick with you long after you’ve completed them.

buy here, $20
https://store.steampowered.com/app/391720/Layers_of_Fear/
11. ‘Little Nightmares’ (series)

The first Little Nightmares came out of nowhere to capture the imagination of horror fans everywhere back in 2017. Participating in the horrifying misadventures of Six as she looks to escape the grasp of hideous beings inside the Maw is a nail-biting blast. There’s a ton of fun to be had as you figure out the best routes and solutions that are crucial to Six’s survival. For 2021, Little Nightmares II arrived with everything that worked beforehand. Plus, it ratchets up the fun factor of it all by bringing back Six and debuting a completely new character (Mono) that’s onscreen at all times.

buy here, $60
https://www.amazon.com/Little-Nightmares-PlayStation-4-Complete/dp/B075G93NTC/ref=sr_1_3?crid=3M6HFS10PUGFU&dchild=1&keywords=little+nightmares&qid=1613631278&sprefix=little+n%2Caps%2C165&sr=8-3
12. ‘Phasmophobia’

If you always find yourself binge-watching ghost investigation shows on Travel Channel, then Phasmophobia should be right up your alley. This four-player ghost-hunting simulator gives you a spooky locale to explore and an assortment of essential equipment that’ll pick up on any paranormal activity. There are 10 different ghosts to keep an eye out for, so each investigation you embark on will be different from the last. The use of actual voice recognition when it comes time to communicate with your ghostly targets is one of the coolest parts of this spirit-filled adventure.

buy here, $14
https://store.steampowered.com/app/739630/Phasmophobia/
13. ‘Blair Witch’

It took forever and a day, but we finally got a video game adaptation of the monumental Blair Witch film. Taking place two years after the events of the first movie, this playable sequel sees you searching for a missing boy in the Black Hills Forest as former police officer Ellis Lynch. During your unnerving search and rescue mission, you’ll regularly find yourself getting spooked by shadowy creatures. The mood is always tense in this one as you come upon cassette tapes full of curious footage and make your way through a forest that definitely has it out for you.

buy here, $30
https://www.amazon.com/Blair-Witch-PlayStation-4/dp/B08C7GDQ2D/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2HD59BPA4OPEX&dchild=1&keywords=blair+witch+game&qid=1613631326&sprefix=blair+witch+g%2Caps%2C152&sr=8-1
14. ‘Stories Untold’

Stories Untold is kind of like a video game rendition of Tales from the Crypt. Players are treated to four episodes that focus on delivering everything you love about classic puzzle-laden horror adventure games. Each episode embraces a retro feel thanks to an 80s aesthetic and incorporates text-based, point-and-click gameplay. You can expect to get caught up in all of Stories Untold’s trippy narratives that deliver elements of sci-fi, psychological horror, and more.

buy here, $10
https://www.amazon.com/Stories-Untold-Switch-Digital-Code/dp/B0849HPK9B/ref=sr_1_1?crid=394D8M3FKJFVQ&dchild=1&keywords=stories+untold+switch&qid=1613631352&s=videogames&sprefix=stories+untold%2Caps%2C152&sr=1-1
15. ‘Sylvio’ (series)

The Sylvio games center around a ghost recorder named Juliette Waters, who embarks upon the type of nerve-wracking adventures that will keep anyone up at night. Juliette’s first encounter with the deceased puts her on the path to learning about an evil curse and a ruthless cult, while her second run-in with the deceased has her exploring a decidedly creepy flooded setting. Hopping into these games means you’ll be analyzing clues, taking note of your uncomfortable surroundings, and listening in on the spirits that want to tell you their story.

buy here, $13
https://store.steampowered.com/app/362860/Sylvio/
16. ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ (series)

If you don’t know about the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise by now, then you’ve been living under a rock for far too long. The premise of the mainline games has you taking on the role of a night guard (one game even has you playing as a child!) that‘s tasked with keeping an eye on a building full of animatronic characters. Those bots may look friendly, but don’t let their innocent exterior fool you. They move around on their own and are looking to take you out of the equation. The series’ clever use of a security camera system, unmistakable horrors, and signature jump scares have made it a mainstream force since its inception.

buy here, $5
https://store.steampowered.com/app/319510/Five_Nights_at_Freddys/
Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 15 Best Spy Movies on Netflix (And A Few TV Shows As Well)

In a secret-filled world, spies can be hiding in every shadow. Whether secret agents are working for governments or acting as solo agents with their own positive or negative agendas, spies have become a backbone in both modern society and cinema. The Cold War in particular, with Americans constantly afraid of Communist agents hiding and operating in the United States, brought the world of espionage to the forefront of people’s minds and has become a go-to topic for filmmakers wanting to explore the world of undercover agents with hidden agendas. 

If your hobbies include spying on your passersby with binoculars or sticking your ear up against a wall to eavesdrop on your roommates, spy movies are right up your alley. I know from personal experience that being a secret agent for the government can be difficult (crap, did I just say that out loud?), and these movies and television shows elucidate different aspects of that tricky world. Read on to discover the 15 best Spy movies (and a few TV series) currently on Netflix!

1. ‘Casino Royale’ (2006)

Of course, the most iconic fictional spy of all time was going to kick off this list of spy films and television shows. In the 2006 remake of Casino Royale, Daniel Craig donned a tuxedo and drank shaken martinis for the first time as James Bond.

In this film, Bond is still closer to the beginning of his storied career, and he is assigned with learning more about the financial exploits of terrorist financier Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). With his newly assigned license to kill, Bond has to learn more about Chiffre’s organization and enter a high-stakes poker game to hopefully thwart their newest attempts to bring in massive amounts of money.

https://www.netflix.com/title/70044604
2. ‘The Coldest Game’ (2019)

Like I mentioned in the intro, The Cold War is where the world of espionage and secret agents first entered the mainstream imagination. The 2019 film The Coldest Game follows Joshua Mansky (Bill Pullman), an American mathematician who is forced to become a spy for the government during one of the Cold War’s most dangerous eras.

Set during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the movie follows the alcoholic Mansky as he prepares and competes in a chess tournament in Warsaw while simultaneously trying to discreetly take in as much information about the Soviets as possible.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/81221170#:~:text=2019%7CTV%2DMA%20%7C1h,a%20deadly%20game%20of%20espionage.
3. ‘The Spy’ (2019)

Sacha Baron Cohen is best known for outrageous comedic roles like Borat and Bruno, but in The Spy, a miniseries co-produced by Netflix, Cohen’s dramatic abilities are on full display.

In The Spy, Cohen plays Eli Cohen (no relation), a Mossad agent who was tasked with carrying out important tasks for the Israeli government in the buildup to the Six-Day War between Israel and Syria in 1967. Based on real-life events, the crux of the story follows Cohen as he disguises himself as a man named Kamel Amin Thaabet and integrates himself into Syrian society, eventually gaining the title of Deputy Defense Minister, in the hopes that the knowledge he gains and actions he takes will all benefit Israel in the long run. 

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80178151
4. ‘Inception’ (2010)

Director Christopher Nolan is known for larger-than-life film concepts, and films don’t get much bigger than Inception. The film follows a team of individuals, led by Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), as they embark on a mission inside a businessman’s mind to implant (incept) an idea in his head.

As the squad goes deeper in Robert Fischer’s (Cillian Murphy) subconscious, the settings continually evolve and get more dangerous, forcing the dream team to adapt and constantly tweak their plans to get to the next level unnoticed.

An action-packed film, Inception is emotionally charged and ambiguous as hell, meaning audiences will have to pay attention if they want to pick up on everything Nolan is trying to throw at them.  

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/70131314
5. ‘The Departed’ (2005)

Martin Scorsese focuses on a different kind of gangster in The Departed: Corrupt police officers and federal agents. Starring a who’s who of Hollywood A-listers like Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed follows certain individuals who work as moles within the Massachusetts state police as well as the Irish mob in Boston. Without spoiling the numerous twists, I’ll say that this Best Picture Oscar-winning film is incredibly tense and makes the audience question every individual and their true intentions at all times.

Not only does it have a lot of iconic dramatic moments, but The Departed also has some incredible action to keep viewers hooked throughout the two-and-a-half-hour film.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/70044689
6. ‘Quantum of Solace’ (2008)

There are literally dozens of James Bond films out there, but Netflix only has Daniel Craig’s first two outings available for U.S. customers. Picking up literally an hour after Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace sees Bond seek revenge for the loss of a loved one. While on the trail of the killer, 007 discovers a shadowy organization called Quantum. It falls to Bond to diffuse Quantum and Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), one of its shadow members, from plotting a coup in Bolivia in order to gain control over its water supply.  Keeping with the gritty spirit of Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace is an action-packed, bloody film that shows James Bond going MUCH further in fight scenes than he had in the past as he embarks on a personal rather than fully professional mission. 

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/70099117
7. ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ (2011)

After the success of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo book series and subsequent Swedish film adaptation, David Fincher released an American adaptation of the series first chapter in 2011. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is investigating the mysterious disappearance of a teenage girl 40 years earlier. To help him get to the bottom of things, Blomkvist turns to the complex yet matter-of-fact hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). Together, the two of them embark on a dark journey to discover the truth that ends up nearly contradicting everything they first assumed about the situation when they started their mission. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a slick, incredibly well-acted film that will leave audiences both intrigued and entertained from start to finish.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/70207663
8. ‘The Angel’ (2018)

The Angel, distributed by Netflix in 2018, tells the story of Ashraf Marwan (Marwan Kenzari), an Egyptian diplomat who was married to Egyptian President Nasser’s daughter and ended up working as a secret agent for the Israeli Mossad. Based on Israeli professor Url Bar-Joseph’s book The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel, The Angel, explores Marwan’s time working as a spy for Israel and the emotional struggles he went through in an effort to maintain peace between the two countries. Set in the aftermath of the Six-Day War between the two countries in 1967, the film is full of double-crossings, and loose ends that make it clear just how logistically and morally complicated being a spy can be.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80188120
9. ‘The Spy Next Door’ (2010)

Bob Ho (Jackie Chan) is affiliated with the CIA and used to taking down terrorists and saving the day, but now he has a dangerous mission he may not be qualified for: babysitting his neighbor’s kids. The Spy Next Door follows Ho as he deals with the trouble-making kids, but his old job quickly rears its ugly head as he has to reveal his identity to the kids and work with them to take down a group of bad guys threatening the world’s oil supply. Directed by Brian Levant, the director who brought family-friendly films like Beethoven and Jingle All The Way to the big-screen, The Spy Next Door is a silly, action-packed film perfect for everyone in the fam.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/70116682
10. ‘The Spy Who Fell to Earth’ (2019)

Directed by Thomas Meadmore, The Spy Who Fell to Earth is a documentary all about Ashraf Marwan (the subject of the previously mentioned The Angel), an Egyptian billionaire who worked as a secret agent for the Israeli government. Based on a book with the same name, the film tracks Marwan’s life, touching on everything from his life in the UK before becoming a full-fledged spy to his mysterious death. Including archival footage of everyone from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to Nikita Khrushchev, a former Premier of the Soviet Union, The Spy Who Fell to Earth is an interesting, time-spanning story that shows the importance and historical context of Marwan’s time as a spy.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80224218#:~:text=Based%20on%20Dr.,Egyptian%20billionaire%20and%20Israeli%20spy.
11. ‘Spycraft’ (2021)

Based on the book Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda, Spycraft is a Netflix original docu-series that takes viewers through different key components of espionage and how they have evolved over the years. Released in late January 2021 to limited fanfare (potentially because the powers at be don’t want individuals to know the truth about American spycraft), the eight-episode series has entries on everything from the power of “sexpionage” to how agencies go about recruiting the individuals to become spies.  

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/81014547
12. ‘A Very Secret Service’ (2015)

The final television series on this list, A Very Secret Service, looks at the world of espionage through a more satirical, comedic lens. A French production, A Very Secret Service, follows André Merlaux (Hugo Becker) after he is called in to be a trainee with the French Secret Services. Set in 1960 during the early days of the Cold War, the French are dealing with calls for independence in their then African colonies, especially Algeria, and a domestic populace growing more liberal every day that makes the government increasingly worried about Communist interference.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80097771
13. ‘Snowden’ (2016)

Few recent American figures are as divisive as Edward Snowden, and that’s exactly why the overtly political director Oliver Stone decided to make Snowden. The film explores Edward Snowden’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) life preceding his time as a subcontractor with the National Security Agency and, most importantly, his decision to leak classified documents that revealed espionage and data tracking operations carried out by the American government on its own citizens to a team of journalists. Even though the movie is based on two Snowden-focused books, Stone met with the real Snowden multiple times in an attempt to better understand him as well as a pick-up on some personality traits he could incorporate into the movie. 

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80064514#:~:text=2016%7CR%20%7C2h%2014m%7C,exposing%20vast%20U.S.%20surveillance%20programs.
14. ‘All The Devil’s Men’ (2018)

Jack Collins (Milo Gibson) is a former Navy SEAL and bounty hunter who is sent off to London to assist the CIA on a critical mission. All the Devil’s Men, written and directed by Matthew Hope, follows Jack as he becomes a part of a small team of operatives tasked with hunting down a former CIA agent intent on buying a nuclear warhead from Russian gangsters. Full of action and double-crossings, All The Devil’s Men will keep viewers on the edge of their seats as they try to put all the pieces together and watch Jack try to save the day and spare the world from a nuclear conflict. 

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80220311
15. ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ (2016)

Based on a true-story, Smoke & Mirrors follows the exploits of Francisco Pasea (Eduard Fernández), a Spanish agent who assisted the government fight a Basque separatist organization before ultimately being framed and exiled by the Spanish government. Years later, Pasea is allowed back in the country to assist Luis Roldán (Carlos Santos), the former Police commissioner, with a massive cash cover-up scheme. Still bitter about his past betrayal, Pasea plots how to take the money for himself in a manner that will hopefully leave him free from blame and flush with cash. Directed by Alberto Rodriguez, Smoke & Mirrors is incredibly entertaining as well as illuminating expose on how corrupt governmental institutions can be.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80121843
Categories
Sports Strength

These Are The 20 Best AEW Matches, According to The Wrestling Classic

It’s The Wrestling Classic here with another list for ONE37pm. This time, I’ll be listing the 20 Best Matches AEW ever, in my opinion. All Elite Wrestling has been around for a little over a year now but still feels like a fresh alternative in the wrestling world. It definitely is a show I look forward to every week considering all the wrestling we get these days.

AEW provides an entire buffet for wrestling styles, and their roster is only growing every week. They provide us with great matches regularly on their PPVs and on Dynamite, therefore making this list was pretty difficult. I also tried to consider the significance of the stories being told and the significance of the matches themselves instead of just the in-ring action so that this list could be more for everyone. Let me know what you think about my list and if I forgot any memorable matches.

Honorable Mentions

Fight For The Fallen – 07/13/19

The Young Bucks vs. Dustin Rhodes and Cody Rhodes

 All Out – 08/31/19

Kenny Omega vs. PAC

Full Gear – 11/09/19

AEW World Championship

Chris Jericho w/ Jake Hager vs. Cody Rhodes w/ MJF

Dynamite – 02/19/20

Steel Cage Match

Cody Rhodes vs Wardlow

Revolution – 02/29/20

Darby Allin vs Sammy Guevara

Double or Nothing – 05/23/20

MJF vs Jungle Boy

Dark – 09/22/20

Benjamin Carter vs. Lee Johnson

Full Gear – 11/07/20

World Title Eliminator Finals

Kenny Omega vs. “Hangman” Adam Page

Full Gear – 11/07/20

AEW World Championship

Jon Moxley vs. Eddie Kingston

Dynamite – 01/27/21

Dax Harwood vs. Jungle Boy

20. Chris Jericho vs. “Hangman” Adam Page (All Out – 08/31/19)
AEW

This match mainly holds historical significance because it was to crown the first-ever AEW Champion. The veteran Chris Jericho faced off against the young rising star “Hangman” Adam Page. It was a seasoned pro facing off against the future of wrestling inside of an All Elite Wrestling ring to find out who would represent the company in its inaugural year. The match was competitive, with Chris Jericho coming out on top in the end. I thought this was a great call to have a wrestling legend like Chris Jericho be the first champion since AEW was a new company premiering on network television. However, it also put a great spotlight on Adam Page, who remains a fan favorite moving forward. I think we’re all waiting for the day Adam Page does eventually become champion.

19. Jon Moxley vs. Brodie Lee (Double or Nothing – 05/23/20)
AEW

It was inevitable that the recently revealed Exalted One of the Dark Order would set his eyes on the AEW Championship to make the Dark Order the most dominant faction in AEW. Brodie Lee made sure we weren’t going to have to wait long as he made his presence felt attacking Moxley, stating his intentions. Jon Moxley was the champion and was not backing down from any challenges, and Brodie was a familiar foe from their days in the WWE, so both guys knew each other very well. The match felt like a fight from bell to bell. Br0die Lee really got to show us what he could do in a big match situation and that he belonged in the main event. Moxley had to get violent and vicious to defeat Lee. Brodie never lost but rather passed out in a submission. The only issue with this match was that the referee seemed to be too lenient with the rules since this regular match felt more like a street fight. Overall, it was a great match.

18. Chris Jericho vs. Jon Moxley (Revolution – 02/29/20)
AEW

Jon Moxley had a long road before facing Chris Jericho for the AEW World Championship. Jericho tried to avoid having to have the match by inviting Moxley to join his Inner Circle faction, but Moxley wasn’t interested. Following that, Jericho stabbed Moxley in the eye with one of the spikes from his jacket. This still didn’t stop Moxley from showing up for a fight; instead, it ignited his ambitions even more. They told a great story wherein the end, the good guy Moxley outsmarted the bad guy Jericho when Moxley revealed that his eye had healed, catching Jericho off guard before hitting his finisher for the victory. This was great because Moxley even wore an eye patch the entire time he was on Jericho cruise weeks before the show and sell the angle. Moxley becoming the new and second-ever AEW Champion is another reason this match will always stand out.

17. PAC vs. Orange Cassidy (Revolution – 05/23/20)
AEW

It was Orange Cassidy’s singles in-ring debut, and it was against none other than “The Bastard” PAC. The contrast in styles really created the anticipation for this match as Orange Cassidy is the “King of Sloth Style.” It’s a style in which he does the bare minimum and even throws kicks with his hands in his pockets. PAC is a serious competitor who doesn’t have time for any shenanigans. The match was entertaining as hell, and the crowd was really behind Orange Cassidy. Cassidy even got some believable near falls after showcasing some of his bursts of athleticism throughout the match, but in the end, the right man went over in PAC. The Bastard made the Freshly Squeezed on tap out to the brutalizer. The Lucha Brothers and The Best Friends got involved too during the match. Overall this is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys the entertainment side of professional wrestling.

16. Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega (Dynamite – 12/02/20)
AEW

Kenny Omega defeated “Hangman” Adam Page in another awesome match at Full Gear, which was the World Title Eliminator Tournament’s finals to become the new number one contender for the AEW Championship. Omega spent most of the year as one-half of the tag team champions with Page, so it was exciting to see that he would finally be in the main championship picture. In the final months of their tag title reign and especially after they lost the tag team titles, Omega started to show some heel-like tendencies. He became more selfish, arrogant, frustrated, and unpredictable. Therefore, we were getting a more motivated Omega facing off against the reigning and defending confident champion Jon Moxley. It was a PPV-worthy competitive main event that ended with Impact Wrestling’s Don Callis helping Kenny Omega win the AEW Championship. Although the ending came with interference, Jon Moxley still looked strong. Kenny Omega confirmed his heel turn, and the finish really set the tone for 2021.

15. Cody Rhodes w/ Arn Anderson vs. Darby Allin (Full Gear – 11/07/20)
AEW

The TNT Championship was introduced to All Elite Wrestling as the secondary championship for the workhorses to great fanfare. As the first champion, Cody Rhodes built up the title’s prestige by defending it every week in open challenges allowing any comers to fight for the championship. He briefly lost it to Brodie Lee in dominating fashion but eventually won it back. After defeating Orange Cassidy a couple of times, it was Darby Allin’s turn to step up for the TNT Championship. Cody cut a promo on Darby the week before the match stating how he vouched for Darby when the company was looking for talent, and he wanted Darby to prove to him that he wasn’t wrong. This was a close match between the two which results in both wrestlers looking strong. Cody was even kicked out of a coffin drop when everyone thought the match was finished. The thing that really made this match significant was the aftermath, where Cody knelt down on one knee to present Allin with the TNT Championship passing the torch from one workhorse to another.

14. Rey Fenix vs. Penta El Zero M (Dynamite 10/21/20)
AEW

 The Lucha Brothers are one of the most talented and popular tag teams in All Elite Wrestling. However, every time we have seen them face off against each other, it’s been something special. They don’t only know each other better than anyone else because they’re a team-team but also because they are real-life brothers. This was the first round of the world title eliminator tournament, and it took place on Dynamite. Eddie Kingston was on commentary f0r the match as he was friends with both competitors. These two put on an absolute banger for Dynamite, and I don’t think the fans expected anything less. Rey Fenix picked up the victory after a competitive match against his brother after catching Penta with a destroyer. It was nice to see a destroyer actually finish the match as it’s become a transitional move these days. This match further showcased that Fenix has a bright future ahead of him as a singles star one day and that Penta is still one of the best today with “cero miedo.”

13. Cody Rhodes w/ Brandi Rhodes and Arn Anderson vs. MJF w/ Wardlow (Revolution – 02/29/20)
AEW

The friendship between Cody Rhodes and MJF was questionable to everyone but Cody, who always saw MJF as the salt of the earth and his protege. No matter what MJF’s reputation was or if anyone tried to warn Cody about Max’s true intentions, Cody refused to believe that MJF didn’t have his back. MJF’s attitude around Cody was so different to the point where you really questioned if Max did have a different level of respect for Cody. There were times that we thought MJF was going to turn on Cody, but he never did. When Rhodes faced off against Jericho for the AEW Title at Full Gear 2019, where the stipulation was that if Rhodes lost, he wouldn’t be able to challenge for the championship ever again, it was MJF who threw in the towel to forfeit the match for Rhodes. Following the match, MJF finally showed his true colors and attacked Cody. For months Rhodes tried to get MJF to fight him, and when he eventually did, they had a banger of a match. In the end, a bloody MJF picked up the victory to stay undefeated when he used his Dynamite Diamond Ring to his advantage. This match stands out because of the anticipation the fans had to see these two finally go toe to toe, and they were able to tell a great story in the ring off the long build-up.

12. Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page vs. FTR w/ Tully Blanchard (All Out – 09/05/20)
AEW

Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page were an unlikely tag team that showed cracks along the way during their championship run but continued to find ways to work together successfully to hold on to the tag team titles. However, when Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler made their presence known in All Elite Wrestling, you knew Omega and Page’s days as tag team champions were numbered. FTR is considered to be one of the best tag teams of the modern area, and them securing Tully Blanchard as their manager just made them even more dangerous. FTR became the number one contender after winning a tag team gauntlet in which Page assisted in getting the Young Bucks eliminated. This led to Page leaving “The Elite” and had everyone question his loyalty to Kenny Omega. This was a great match with multiple layers of storytelling happening. Omega was concerned about where Page’s head was at, but he ended up hitting Page with a V-trigger by accident which was the beginning of the end for their team. FTR picked up the victory, became tag team champions, and remained undefeated while Omega was the one who walked out.

11. The Young Bucks vs. The Lucha Brothers (Double or Nothing – 05/20/19)
AEW

Those who were fans of both teams before All Elite Wrestling took off all knew this match would be a spectacle. It was nothing less than that. It was an awesome match from two of the best teams in the world. It was brothers versus brothers for the Triple AAA Tag Team Championships. It was a match sparked from the Las Vegas Rally when the Lucha Brothers attacked The Young Bucks. They went back and forth for a few months until their first match at a Triple-A event where The Young Bucks defeated The Lucha Brothers for the Triple AAA tag titles. A rematch was booked for AEW’s inaugural Double or Nothing event with the tag titles on the line again. It was an extremely fast pace, balls to wall and competitive match between two great teams. In the end, The Young Bucks picked up the victory to retain the tag titles, but this wouldn’t be the final match of this feud. This match definitely was a prime preview of what tag team wrestling in AEW would be like.

10. Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley – Lights Out Match (Full Gear – 11/09/19)
AEW

When Jon Moxley made his surprising All Elite Wrestling debut at Double or Nothing, one of the first people he targeted was Kenny Omega. They had a match scheduled for All Out, but it was postponed due to Moxley having an elbow injury. Therefore, the match was moved to Full Gear when Moxley was cleared to compete. The road to Full Gear showed Kenny Omega trying to play Moxley’s game in getting extreme, even confronting Moxley with a barbwire broom. Their match at Full Gear was then booked to be a “Lights Out Match” which basically meant it was unsanctioned by AEW. This basically meant it could get as hardcore and violent as they wanted without AEW suffering any consequences from what happens by not officially recognizing the match. The match was violent and as hardcore, as it gets, a throwback to Moxley’s days in CZWand the independents prior to WWE. The match included several weapons, including glass, anchor chains, trash cans, a screwdriver, a barbed wire bat, a barbed-wire broom, and even a platform covered in barbed wire. These two beat the crap out of each other with many near falls, but in the end, Moxley reigned supreme with a Paradigm Shift.

9. Brodie Lee vs. Cody Rhodes – Dog Collar Match (Dynamite – 10/07/20)
AEW

If the last match on this list was an example of a modern-day violent match then the Dog Collar Match is an example of an old-school violent wrestling match. Cody Rhodes returned looking to get his TNT Championship back that he lost to Brodie Lee weeks before in a devastating fashion. Brodie Lee was on a reign of terror after beating Cody while Rhodes left for a brief period for television obligations outside of AEW. Cody returned with dark hair and looking more serious about attacking Brodie and the Dark Order. Cody Rhodes was not just returning to regain the championship but also redeem his pride. This was an old-school fight that was both professional and personal. It was reminiscent of the classic dog collar match between “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine from the 1983 Starrcade. Greg Valentine was also in the crowd for the match. The match finished with a Cross Rhodes onto Brodie for Cody to once again become the TNT Champion. This match will also always be memorable because it was Brodie Lee’s final match before he, unfortunately, passed away.

8. Proud and Powerful vs. The Best Friends – Parking Lot Brawl (Dynamite – 09/16/20)
AEW

These two teams were feuding with each other for quite some time, but things really picked up when Ortiz and Santana destroyed Trent’s mom’s van. That was truly the final straw, and it led to a parking lot brawl match to be booked between the two teams. Regardless, how silly the build-up was, the match was really fun and memorable.

It initially reminded me of the parking lot brawl that Eddie Guerrero had with John Cena in 2004. They were outside in the parking lot as they fought on the concrete with cars and trucks surrounding them. There were also wrestlers standing around to cheer them on. It was enjoyable to watch and very hard-hitting the whole way. I give them a lot of credit for taking some big bumps throughout the match and making this fight feel personal. There were a ton of cars damaged during this match.

In the end, with the help of Orange Cassidy, the Best Friends picked up the win. Dynamite’s final moments ended with Trent’s mom Sue picking up the Best Friends and Orange Cassidy. As Sue drove the guys away in her white van, she stopped to give the middle finger to the opponents, who were quite amusing.

7. Jon Moxley vs. MJF w/ Wardlow (All Out – 09/05/20)
AEW

This is personally my favorite Jon Moxley match in AEW for so many different reasons. MJF was on a roll and finally receiving an AEW Championship title opportunity. However, it was against someone who had a completely different personality and wrestling style than him in Jon Moxley. Both Moxley and MJF came into this match with undefeated streaks, so there was something else on the line other than just the championship. Leading up the match, MJF began a mock political campaign focused on taking down “Dictator John” and tried to gain the advantage by getting Moxley’s Paradigm Shift to finish banned for this match. MJF brought the fight to Moxley, but the champion would not stay down. This was more of a wrestling match compared to other Moxley matches, which is why I think I preferred it. The ending did come with shenanigans as MJF did try using a thumb to the eye and even a low-blow for near falls. In the end, while Wardlow had the referee distracted in an attempt to help Max, Moxley hit the banned Paradigm Shift to retain his championship. It was a great way for Moxley to show blatant disrespect to MJF, but it also allowed Max to stay arrogant about Moxley having to break the rules to defeat him. There needed to be justice for MJF.

6. The Lucha Brothers vs. The Young Bucks – Ladder Match (All Out 08/31/19)
AEW

When two of the most popular and creative high-flying tag teams have to out-do their last match at Double or Nothing to blow off their feud, there aren’t many better options than a ladder match or an “Escalera De La Muerte ”as they called it here. This was a feud that started back at the AEW Las Vegas Rally when the Lucha Brothers attacked The Young Bucks. Following that, the Young Bucks defeated The Lucha Bros for the Triple AAA tag team titles in Mexico and retained the titles again at Double or Nothing. The Lucha Brothers challenged The Young Bucks one more time, but this time under ladder match rules. The match was everything you expected and more but also didn’t overstay its welcome. It was fast-paced with creative spots, and both teams felt extremely competitive to out-do the other team. The destroyer from the ladder through the table will always be a memorable spot from All Elite Wrestling’s early years. This insane match came to a finish when the Lucha Brothers regained the Triple AAA tag team titles by climbing the ladder and retrieving the belts. This would be the last time we would see the Triple AAA tag team titles on AEW, as they would create their own tag team titles shortly after this event. This match was fantastic, though.

5. Kenny Omega vs. PAC (Dynamite – 02/26/20)
AEW

The fact that this match was given to us on live network television and not saved for a PPV was shocking. However, it let wrestling fans know not to miss out on the weekly Dynamite as there would be big-ticket matches on the show they could miss if they didn’t tune in. The feud between PAC and Omega began when The Bastard replaced Moxley at All Out 2019 only to defeat Omega in dominating fashion, making him pass out in the Brutalizer. Kenny Omega would pick up the win in their rematch in late November, which did not sit well with PAC. The Bastard continuously called out Kenny Omega for a rubber match until he actually got one. This match would be a 30 minute Iron Man Match. In case you don’t know, the rules for an Ironman Match are that the winner will be the man to get the most falls over the 30 minutes time limit. This was a personal and competitive match. PAC used a chair early on to give Omega the 1-0 lead. The second fall came after PAC hit a Black Arrow, thus tying up the match 1-1. There were referee bumps and more, but the time ran out. Justin Roberts announced that the match would go into Sudden Death overtime. One minute into overtime, Omega hit the One-Winged Angel for the victory at 2-1. There were several believable near-falls for both guys; the crowd was hot for all of it, both guys looked strong, and this match was outstanding from start to finish.

4. The Elite and Matt Hardy vs. The Inner Circle (Double or Nothing – 05/23/20)
AEW

If this list is based on matches that are memorable, more so than them being five-star classics, then the Stadium Stampede match definitely left an impression on everyone, whether it was good or bad. As we were deep into the no live audience pandemic era of wrestling, both WWE and AEW took advantage of there being no fans by producing cinematic matches. The match between The Inner Circle and The Elite was originally supposed to take place in a “Blood and Guts” match, which many of us assumed would be something similar to the classic War Games matches.

Instead, the match continued to get postponed due to the pandemic until the Stadium Stampede was booked for Double or Nothing. It was Kenny Omega, “Hangman” Page, Matt Hardy, and The Young Bucks facing off against Chris Jericho, Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana, and Ortiz. This match was extremely entertaining and special. It felt more like a fight scene from a movie than a wrestling show, but that was the entire point. There were so many memorable, hilarious and entertaining moments in this match that me listing them out wouldn’t do it justice. Please trust me when I say take your time to watch this if you’re one of those who doesn’t take everything so seriously and enjoys being entertained. The Elite went over in the end, but at the end of this match, both teams were over with me.

3. FTR w/ Tully Blanchard vs. The Young Bucks (Full Gear – 11/07/20)
AEW

It’s always special when a match that is considered a dream match becomes a reality. The Young Bucks were considered to be one of the greatest tag teams outside of the WWE for years, whereas many would consider The Revival to be one of the greatest tag teams in WWE even though they felt underappreciated at times. Regardless if wrestling fans felt like the Revival were misused in the WWE, they won every major tag team title in the company when it came to their American programs. The Young Bucks had won tag team gold from all around the world from various promotions. There was also a long period where it was a running joke on the “Being the Elite” series that the Elite would say “F the Revival,” getting fans more excited for the potential match. Both teams even tweeted out that one day they would wrestle each other and that everyone would rejoice.

Therefore, when the news broke that The Revival were finally leaving WWE, the wrestling world was ecstatic. The first night Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler appeared on Dynamite, they had a face-to-face with the Young Bucks to get things started. FTR aligned themselves with Tully Blanchard and won the tag team titles in the months leading to the match. The match between FTR and the Young Bucks lived up to expectations and was definitely one to remember. The only thing missing was the presence of a large audience, but that was out of their control. The Young Bucks defeated FTR to win the tag team titles when Cash Wheeler tried a 450 splash that didn’t connect, which is against their “no flips, just fists” style. It gave them a good reason why they lost instead of just losing clean to the Young Bucks. I am definitely looking forward to when they meet again, and hopefully, it’s soon.

2. Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page vs. The Young Bucks (Revolution – 02/29/20)
AEW

The Young Bucks won a battle royal on Dynamite to secure a title shot against Kenny Omega and “Hangman” Adam Page. It was going to be a battle between The Elite for the tag team titles. There was already some tension between Page and the rest of The Elite, so The Young Bucks were the odds on favorites here. People were really curious to see if Omega and Page could stay on the same page as Hangman started questioning his place in the friend group. This match was incredible from start to finish. They kept a great pace by picking it up as the match went along, which made the final minutes fantastic. They had the confused Hangman story to play off of, but in the end, he played his role as a compromising tag team partner to Kenny Omega. Kenny Omega was also playing the weak link in this match since it followed his Iron Man Match against PAC. The live crowd also brought a lot of energy to this match since they were super invested. The fans were indecisive with where they stood with The Young Back as Hangman was really over at this point with the fans. The work was top-notch, there were great, believable near falls, and the Bucks had to fall into a heel role in desperation. They really had us on the edge of our seat, but in the end, it was a Buckshot Lariat from Hangman that allowed Omega and Page to retain their tag team titles. This was definitely a phenomenal showcase of modern-day tag team wrestling.

1. Cody Rhodes vs. Dustin Rhodes (Double or Nothing – 05/25/19)
AEW

This one was for Dusty Rhodes. This one was for their dad. The story was simple yet significant. It was a generational clash between two brothers with a substantial age difference fighting to prove different things to each other. Cody wanted to beat Dustin to kill off the “Attitude Era” to allow wrestling to move forward from a beloved era his older brother was a big part of.  He was done with past legends taking spots from current talent, the fans being obsessed with a specific era, and professional wrestling as a whole relying on its history to carry the business in the present. Dustin was wrestling to prove that he could still go, hang with his much younger brother and that he still had a lot to offer to professional wrestling. Dustin did, however, say he just wanted to prove himself and that this would be his final match. It was really believable that it could be his last match considering the match was against his brother. This match is the perfect example of why I call professional wrestling the greatest form of art and athleticism. 

They were able to tell us a great emotional story through wrestling, and it was followed up with a memorable moment between brothers. The fans were into the match from the start, and it was an old-school fight where the blood pouring from Dustin’s head added so much to the story of the match. Dustin put on one of his greatest performances at the age of 50 and proved he could hang with his younger brother. Although Dustin got some near falls, Cody Rhodes picked up the victory after a Cross Rhodes. This match was beautiful and a reminder of how great professional wrestling can be. Following the match, Cody tells Dustin that he can’t retire because he needed a tag team partner for the upcoming “Fight for the Fallen” event. Cody told his bloody brother that he doesn’t need a partner or a friend, he needs his brother, and they shared a hug to a huge ovation. It was truly something special and added to the entire presentation. Check it out if you haven’t already.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 18 Best Horror Anime Movies and TV Shows

So much horror cinema made in the United States is firmly rooted in a Western tradition, meaning that Judeo-Christian imagery and morality still dominate the genre — and with every generation, these movies become more and more self-referential. But other cultures have entirely different ideas about the afterlife and what demons lurk in the great beyond. That’s probably why so many horror die-hards are so obsessed with Japanese media.

Ever since The Ring, J-horror has deeply influenced Hollywood, but few American fans do a real deep dive on more obscure offerings. To help guide you through the cursed world of haunted cartoons, we’ve curated this (unranked!) list of the 18 best horror anime TV shows and films. Good luck sleeping after you’ve made it through.

18. ‘Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack!’

Haunting images of giant sharks crawling on land with insect legs protruding violently from their stomachs became a grotesque meme on a handful of imageboards. The strange iconography of Gyo, one of horror legend Junji Ito’s most bizarre masterpieces, seems silly at first, but the film (based on the manga of the same name) is actually deeply unsettling. The mythos behind how the sea creatures became terrestrial is complicated and obscure, but Gyo’s story evolves into something much more gruesome and nauseating before it concludes.

watch on crunchyroll
https://aniplexusa.com/gyo/
17. ‘Perfect Blue’

The late Satoshi Kon, an anime director known for his dreamlike mise-en-scene and intellectual, postmodern twists, was widely celebrated as a visionary before his death. Perfect Blue is often considered his greatest work — and it’s gone on to influence a handful of award-winning Western films like Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. 

Perfect Blue tells the story of Mima Kirigoe, a fictional pop singer stalked by an increasingly threatening doppelganger. Are Mima’s nightmares coming true, or has she totally lost her grip on reality? Kon’s lovingly detailed and deeply empathetic animations juxtapose horrendously against scenes of sexual violence that slip between waking life and dreams until the audience can no longer tell what a psychotic delusion is and what’s actually happening — reflecting both the young idol’s nervous breakdown and our schizophrenic media culture.

watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Blue-Junko-Iwao/dp/B07NNP4R4H
16. ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’

Jujutsu Kaisen has garnered an impressive cult following since episodes began airing on Crunchyroll in late 2020. The series has already achieved a perfect balance between horror aesthetics and traditional shonen plotting. Ostensibly about a school for young sorcerers, the ultra-violent art direction and stomach-churning monster design keeps this new show from being yet another by-the-books adventure story about a plucky young fighter battling both literal and figurative demons. It’s got exciting action scenes and real heart, but it’s not for the squeamish.

WATCH ON HBO MAX
https://play.hbomax.com/page/urn:hbo:page:GX8fnVgocBIZDKQEAAABF:type:series
15. ‘Paranoia Agent’

A staple of [adult swim] in the early ’00s, Paranoia Agent is another Satoshi Kon classic which deals with many of the same themes and motifs as the aforementioned Perfect Blue. This 13-episode TV series is a complicated story about the pressures of the animation industry, told from a cartoonist’s perspective driven increasingly mad by her own creation. It’s a self-referential warning about the psychological perils of late capitalism and the flattening of our emotional lives by information technology — expressed through a story about a serial murderer who escaped from a nightmare.

watch on funimation
https://www.funimation.com/shows/paranoia-agent/
14. ‘Hellsing’

A steampunk update of the Dracula mythos, Hellsing uses perverted Christian imagery to tell a story equal parts bloody and campy. It’s not the highest quality animation, but the transgressive pleasures of this frequently juvenile show remain endearing, as does its early 00’s goth aesthetic. Spotting Hellsing’s influence on a plethora of contemporary anime (see: Castlevania) isn’t hard to do once you’ve seen the original show.

watch on hulu
https://www.hulu.com/series/hellsing-ae60fec0-4936-49a7-b00f-89de717bce07
13. ‘Devilman: Crybaby’

Artist Go Nagai created the Devilman character in the early 1970s, and he’s been endlessly reinvented ever since. Crybaby is the latest iteration of this iconic anti-hero, and Netflix’s high-budget adaptation is a great entry point for new fans, even if it is a bit abstract. Ultra-fashionable character design compliments the show’s slick techno soundtrack for an extremely stylish and gorgeously animated adventure that vacillates from sublime beauty to Oedipal terror. 

watch on netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80174974
12. ‘Promised Neverland’

A serene schoolhouse in the countryside filled with adorable kids belies some truly terrible dark secrets: When the children discover they’re being harvested as meat for demons, they begin to hatch an elaborate escape plan, but their every move is being watched! Emotional drama and psychological fear take center stage in this deceptively cute series with extremely morbid themes. 

watch on hulu
https://www.hulu.com/series/the-promised-neverland-3ef087c6-d967-4495-9730-b5ff54ded8e0
11. ‘Dorohedoro’

A battle between sorcerers and the slums rages in this highly stylized horror/action hybrid series. A citizen of a whimsical skid row one day wakes up with the head of a lizard and no memory of his past, leading him to embark on a grisly quest for both answers and revenge. Each episode gets stranger as more details of the surreal, magical world they inhabit are revealed. Although the show is rendered in CGI, the 3D models are very stylized and extremely expressive in ways reminiscent of more old-school anime.

watch on netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80991903
10. ‘Berserk’

Berserk is a traditionally gothic fairytale about an orphaned knight betrayed by his impossibly beautiful commander. The Western medieval setting is fairly traditional, and the story is almost Shakespearean in structure — until the last few episodes when the plot suddenly takes an unexpectedly hellish twist. Maybe it’s the nostalgia speaking, but there’s something really special about late 90’s anime, and Berserk is a classic of that era — rife with overt queer overtones and filled with wistfully melancholy. 

The show’s first run lasted 25 episodes and told only a fraction of the original manga’s story. (The series was rebooted in 2016, but the poorly done CGI animation style in this latest iteration is nearly unwatchable. Stick with the original and seek out the books if you get hooked.)

watch on crunchyroll
https://www.crunchyroll.com/berserk
9. ‘Serial Experiments Lain’

Serial Experiments Lain is a cyberpunk anime from 1998 which uncannily predicted the rise of cyberspace as the defining feature of the new Millenium. Lain is a young student whose interest in hacking slowly takes over her life until she’s no longer able to tell what’s happening online or in reality. Lain’s psychotic break has philosophical ramifications, as she encounters a series of unhinged conspiracy theories on message boards, leading her to an entity that claims to be God — or is she just going insane? The show was way ahead of its time in its predictions about the Internet and its depiction of a mass shooting only a year before Columbine. This is slow burn horror at its best, but the social implications are what is really disturbing.

watch on funimation
https://www.funimation.com/shows/serial-experiments-lain/
8. ‘Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust’

Fans of Final Fantasy might recognize the baroque and ornate art design of Yoshitaka Amano in Vampire Hunter D, yet another Japanese twist on the mythology of Dracula. In this breathtaking movie from 2000, the eponymous warrior D battles Carmilla, a sapphic demon based on the real-life murderess Elizabeth Bathory. It’s admittedly thin on a storyline, but the hand-animated action sequences and melodramatic imagery are stunning nonetheless.

buy on amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Vampire-Hunter-Blu-ray-Artist-Provided/dp/B00WHZZAP6/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=%27Vampire+Hunter+D%3A+Bloodlust%27&qid=1614091265&sr=8-1
7. ‘X/1999 AKA X: The Movie’

Manga studio CLAMP is best known for dainty romance stories and cutesy magical girl adventures, but their apocalyptic sci-fi book series X is a frightening depiction of a cosmic battle for humanity. They produced a standalone movie of X in 1996, and while it’s nearly impossible to condense an 18 volume manga into a 1.5-hour film, they did a pretty good job of distilling the graphic novel down to its essence. Secret factions of psychic warriors fight to save or destroy civilization unbeknownst to regular people in this shockingly violent and stunningly delicate doomsday tale.

buy on amazon
https://www.amazon.com/X-Movie-T%C3%B4ru-Furusawa/dp/B00000JL4L
6. ‘The Short Films of Kago Shintaro’

You may have happened upon artist Kago Shintaro’s images while scrolling through the darker sectors of social media: his fetishistic portraits of schoolgirls with their intestines hanging out and sexy paintings of nude women with their brains exposed garnered a kind of viral popularity amongst goths and otaku. Described as “fashionable paranoia,” Shintaro’s satirical humor clashes extreme gore with erotica in fascinating ways. His short films, many of which are available on YouTube, are much more humorous in nature but are often deeply unnerving in a Lynchian way. Shintaro’s fascinations with human viscera remain the most notable motif, but he plays more with the mundane in his animations.

watch on youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGVfVsG8lsQ
5. ‘Dororo’

Osamu Tezuka, often considered the Godfather of Manga, is best known for creating lovable cartoons like Astro Boy and emotionally compelling stories like Budha. One of his lesser-known works is Dororo, a brutal Japanese fairytale about a cursed prince born without limbs or skin. Although the original manga was drawn in Tezuka’s signature Disney-influenced aesthetic, the 2019 reboot adapted the novels into a more adult animation style that showcased the monstrous aspects of the source material — it’s a pretty faithful update otherwise. Hyakkimaru must battle the undead to wrest back his body parts from the underworld, but he’s unaware his unholy quest imperils all of Japan. There’s a lot of emotional depth in these 24 episodes, considering how vicious the actual plot is.

watch on prime video
https://www.amazon.com/Dororo/dp/B07MBT8FBF
4. ‘Witch Hunter Robin’

In the near future, witches are a secret criminal scourge hunted by a covert government agency known as the STNJ. Robin Sena is the branch’s newest recruit, hired for pyrokinetic magical abilities. Robin confronts her enemies and herself in this moody and dreamy gothic thriller. It’s not exactly fast-paced, but the story’s unfolding is filled with dark surprises and a fair amount of violence. This series was also part of [adult swim]’s lineup back in the day, meaning older anime fans probably remember encountering it late at night.

watch on funimation
https://www.funimation.com/shows/witch-hunter-robin/
3. ‘Puella Magi Madoka Magica’

From the first few episodes of Madoka, it would be ludicrous to describe this short series as horror, but a major twist in the plot about halfway through casts a different light on the show’s opening moments.

What appears at first as a Sailor Moon ripoff — frilly rainbow transformation sequences and all! — quickly turns into something much darker when it’s revealed that (MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!) an alien entity disguised as a cute animal companion has actually been parasitically feeding off the magical energies expended by the girls. The extraterrestrial creature is planning on harvesting all of planet Earth as food, forcing the children into a time loop where their ill-fated destiny repeats eternally. This postmodern horror story is filled with experimental animation techniques and a truly devastating existential message: humanity is at the whim of vast and indifferent cosmic forces with a ferocity beyond our comprehension.

watch on netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/70302572
2. ‘Seoul Station’

Seoul Station is an animated film coming out of South Korea intended as a prequel to the cult hit Train to Busan. The film made its way around the European indie cinema circuit in 2016 before landing on a few streaming services. Like its source material, Seoul Station traces the frightening rise of a zombie pandemic that threatens to destroy the world. Train to Busan was praised for its not-so-subtle social commentary that depicted the ramifications of the devastating wealth gap in Korea — Seoul Station is a little less obviously political but is thrilling nonetheless.

watch on prime video
https://www.amazon.com/Seoul-Station-English-Subtitled-Joon/dp/B071F9VJ2L
1. ‘Junji Ito Collection’

Although it would be impossible to capture the precise and hideous drawings or intellectually sophisticated plots from horror master Junji Ito’s manga in animated form, this collection of shorts does a pretty amazing job of reducing the major themes and motifs into short, digestible segments. Ito’s stories have little in common with Western horror, so each episode is hauntingly fresh and original compared to the formulaic scares we get on this side of the world. The Tomie OVAs are particularly dismal.

watch on crunchyroll
https://www.crunchyroll.com/junji-ito-collection
Categories
Culture News

Manga vs. Anime: A Brief History of the Two Mediums

Following an explosion in popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s, both anime and manga have become a beloved niche hobby in the West amongst pop-culture nerds, avant-gardists, and fashionistas alike. On TV, anime for both kids and adults have become more commonplace; in the high art world, Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara have spun anime’s popular tropes into existentially challenging, postmodern masterpieces. 

That being said, both anime and manga are still pretty specialized interests, so we’re here to walk you through the basics. What defines anime? What’s the difference between manga and comic books? How did they get popular, and what artists are making these works?

What is Manga?

The short answer: Manga is the Japanese analog of comic books and graphic novels in the West. The art form uses illustrated images and text on a page to tell a coherent narrative. The subject matter of manga is so diverse in themes, style, and content that it’s difficult to provide a much more comprehensive answer beyond this simplistic description. Although comic books in the States have been traditionally thought of as media made for kids and teens (this has less so been the case in the 21st century), manga for both children and adults has existed since the medium’s inception, and — like any form of literature — there isn’t really a limit on what can or can’t be included.

There are a handful of popular genres of manga. Shonen manga is usually geared towards teenage boys and often features plucky heroes fighting off oversized enemies while learning new abilities throughout their journey. Shojo manga is usually geared towards teenage girls and frequently features stories about young women finding romance. Seinen and Josei manga are the more adult styles and feature more emotionally complicated storylines and sometimes include graphic depictions of violence and sex (Seinen is usually read by men, women more often read Josei). Kodomomuke is manga geared towards children: like media for kids in the West, these are more simplistic stories featuring bright and colorful characters learning simple life lessons. Manga stories draw from a wide range of genres and subgenres, including sci-fi, romance, adventure, horror, and realism. There’s also a sizable erotica sector of manga that has maintained steady popularity over time.

Japanese manga, in its original (non-adapted) form, is usually read from right to left. There are now manga produced outside of Japan — manga produced in the West is sometimes condescendingly referred to as “Amerimanga.”

Origins of Manga
Getty Images

Narrative visual art in Japan had existed in the 12th and 13th centuries, according to Widewalls. Books of sequential drawings, influenced by the traditional ukiyo-e style, date back to Japan’s Edo period (1603-1867) have been considered early examples of manga’s origins.

Manga, as its own distinct art form, really rose to popularity in the wake of World War II, as Japanese art became more influenced by occidental cultural products under American occupation. Western superhero stories and cartoons from Disney began influencing Japanese artists, who explored new styles that combined more traditional imagery and themes with poppier aesthetics. Magazines and newspapers dedicated to publishing serialized stories began popping up around this time. Artist Osamu Tezuka garnered massive popularity for his stories which explored both spiritual and science-fictional themes in tales told for both adults and children.

What is Anime?

Anime refers to a stylized (and usually Japanese) form of two and three-dimensional illustration and animation. Anime was officially recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Education as an important Japanese form of artistic expression in the year 2000, according to The Anime Art Museum

The term “anime” comes from a shortening of the word “アニメーション” (animēshon), which is itself a loan word from the English “animation.” In the West, the phrase “anime” had for a while been used as a way to distinguish Japanese cartoons from products made in the USA but has more recently been used to more broadly describe a certain style of hyper-expressive animation rather than to denote its country of origin. 

It wouldn’t be entirely correct to say that “anime” and “cartoons” are the same thing: “cartoons” implies a certain thematic and stylistic simplicity, whereas anime ranges vastly in its subject matter and sophistication.

Anime as its own distinct style has some notable features: people are usually not drawn in realistic proportions, characters usually have oversized eyes and exaggerated hairstyles and facial features. Anime stories are often (but not always!) fantastical, romantic, and over-the-top.

Anime is often separated into the same sub-genres as manga, like the aforementioned shojo and shonen genres. Like with manga, there is anime geared towards adults and children that spans aesthetics ranging from horror to sci-fi to action to romance. Like with manga, there is also a robust erotic subindustry.

Origins of Anime
Getty Images

The first recognized example of anime, titled Katsudō Shashin, is from 1907, according to The Milford Public Library. Around 1917, artists began working with cutouts in experimental animation techniques inspired by American and French cartoons, according to Nippon.com.  These were originally described as “manga-film.” Toei Animation, considered the first anime studio, formed in 1958 with the goal of becoming “the Disney of the East” — Japanese animation up until that point had been prohibitively time-consuming and expensive to make, meaning that it was far less popular than products created in Europe and the Americas. Toei would eventually go on to produce several influential series that would garner massive international popularity in the 1980s and 90s. This included classics like Sailor Moon, Digimon, and Dragon Ball, and One Piece — most of which were based on manga. However, it was Osamu Tezuka’s TV series Astro Boy, which debuted on January 1, 1963, that really catalyzed an anime boom and led to anime becoming recognized as its own distinct and legitimate art form.

Manga vs. Anime

Although the comparison is overly simplistic, the easiest way to explain the difference between anime and manga is to compare it to the difference between comic books and cartoons. Anime is animated, manga is drawn on a page. A lot of anime shows and movies are adaptations of manga in the same way that a lot of movies and TV shows are adaptations of books — although, of course, some anime is entirely original.

These days, anime is frequently funded by Westerners with a specific interest in idiosyncratic Japanese aesthetics; manga is much more what actual Japanese people consume (although both art forms have garnered global audiences in the 21st century). 

Because it’s possible to explore subjects in far more depth in literature than in cinema, manga is often (but not always!) more detailed and emotionally sophisticated than anime.

Popularity Today
Getty Images

Both anime and manga experienced a major boom in popularity in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Cartoon Network began airing chunks of anime for kids and teens on their “Toonami” programming block starting in 1997, while their late-night [adult swim] showcase premiered programs aimed at young adults. A sub-culture of tape traders, cosplayers, and convention-goers sprang up around these imports. It was through Cartoon Network that an American audience was exposed to both fun action and adventure stories (Cowboy Bebop, Inuyasha) alongside avant-garde masterpieces (Neon Genesis Evangelion, FLCL, Paranoia Agent). These shows’ popularity led to fans investigating the manga on which many of these programs were based — suddenly, major bookstores like Barnes and Noble and Borders were investing in hearty manga and graphic novel sections.

In both Japan and America, anime and manga in the mid-’90s were thought of as a bit of a shameful habit for socially reclusive nerds. In the 2000s, the recognition of the artistry of anime masters like Satoshi Kon and the Oscar-winning director Hayoa Miyazaki from Western reviewers and highbrow critics alike helped elevate both anime and manga in the eyes of the mainstream. Meanwhile, postmodernist Takashi Murakami helped legitimize anime and manga to the high art and fashion world through his superflat movement. Murakami’s collaborations with Kanye West and the Louis Vuitton label solidified anime and manga as major cultural influences. Nowadays, anime and manga remain popular across socioeconomic classes and subcultures, often appearing alongside superhero media at pop culture conventions like Comic-Con. Hugely popular rappers and streetwear hypebeasts can often be seen sporting anime-influenced clothes or dropping bars about their favorite ninja warriors — Megan Thee Stallion, for example, is famously obsessed with My Hero Academia. The LGBTQ+ community has embraced hyper-colorful anime aesthetics and the nostalgia around the medium’s queer coded characters — many drag queens cite anime as a stylistic influence and anime-themed drag shows have become commonplace.

Categories
Gaming New Releases

For All The ‘Player Unknown Battlegrounds’ Fans, Here Are 13 Games Like ‘PUBG’

Although past its prime, Player Unknown Battlegrounds, or PUBG for short, remains the standard-bearer for the battle royale genre. For a time, it seemed that battle royale games were the primary bread-and-butter of the gaming industry with companies wanting to cash in on the popularity these games seemed to inspire. While some were successful so many others were not. This list represents those games that either did or should have become huge successes, largely because of their similarities to PUBG.

13. ‘SOS’

SOS is no longer available for purchase so consider yourself lucky if you managed to get your hands on a copy. SOS combines elements of survival and battle royale games into a single fun, if not frustrating, package. Like other games on this list, SOS owes some of its popularity to streamers and YouTubers who played the game when it was first available. The game puts you and other players on an island that would have been deserted if not for the monstrous inhabitants lurking around every corner. Players have the option to cooperate or antagonize each other as they search for relics that allow them to leave the island. While this isn’t the first multiplayer to utilize NPC enemies, the enemies in this game are so well-balanced, at times, it’s difficult to determine who is the bigger threat, human or monster. Although the game is no longer available, it still deserves a place on this list. Think of it as an honorable mention. 

12. ‘H1Z1’

The game that started the trend, maybe. Initially released in 2015, H1Z1 managed to build up an audience thanks to its extended beta trials. The game has gone through more iterations than just about anything on this list. What started as a zombie-survival game slowly but surely allowed itself to be molded by market demands. The game has since split into two modes that act as standalone games. The first is a straight survival game, while the other is a Battle Royale. 

Again, while it’s debatable whether H1Z1 was the first of the battle royales, it was the one that immediately came before and spawned PUBG, earning it a place on this list. 

Free to play
https://store.steampowered.com/app/433850/Z1_Battle_Royale/
11. ‘Fortnite’

A 2017 release that followed a similar trajectory to H1Z1. Fortnite started as a zombie-survival game, much like H1Z1, and slowly morphed into a battle royale when developers at Epic realized they had a behemoth on their hands. 

And they were right. It’s almost five years into the game’s lifecycle and it still boasts one of the largest player bases on this list. However, during its heyday, the game was an absolute juggernaut and broke just about every record you could imagine. While its popularity has waned a bit, Epic developers continue to churn out content that attracts one-time players, at least for a time.

free to play
https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/en-US/home
10. ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’

While the Call of Duty franchise has been around for quite some time, it wasn’t until Warzone, did the title delve into battle royale gameplay. Warzone came in at a time when the genre was starting to lose steam, and the market share was almost entirely Fortnite. However, what was odd about Warzone’s release was that it was largely compared to PUBG instead of Fortnite.

That could have had something to do with the fact Warzone had a less cartoony aesthetic to Fortnite. Or, perhaps, people were simply starting to grow tired of Fortnite and all of the so-called Fortnite killers.

free to play
https://www.callofduty.com/warzone
9. ‘Ring of Elysium’

Another latecomer. Released in 2018, Ring of Elysium wears its PUBG inspiration on its sleeve. At first blush, the game looks like a mod for PUBG, but once you dive in, it becomes clear this is a gaming trying hard to step out of PUBG’s shadow. 

And, for the most part, it accomplishes just that. Instead of mindless running and gunning, Ring of Elysium encourages players to engage in a bit of strategy. Ambushes and traps are not out of the ordinary, and the winter environment adds an extra element to the game. While the game may not have had as many updates as PUBG, it’s still worth a pick-up.

free to play
https://store.steampowered.com/app/755790/Ring_of_Elysium/
8. ‘Realm Royale’

Another 2018 latecomer, Realm Royale, owes its flash-in-the-pan popularity to its willingness not to take itself seriously. As other battle royales became more and more competitive, Realm Royale brought the genre back to a more whimsical time. Everything from the art to outgunned players’ transformation into a chicken became synonymous with the Realm Royale style. 

The game also boasted several features not commonly found in battle royales. For example, Realm Royale heavily featured classes as opposed to limiting a player’s ability to what gun they happened to have picked up. The game also allows players to ride on horseback, something you don’t see much in these games.

Free to Play
https://store.steampowered.com/app/813820/Realm_Royale/
7. ‘Spellbreak’

Last year’s Spellbreak was compared to Realm Royale mostly because of its middle ages aesthetic. The game, however, manages to stand on its own for a number of reasons. It is amongst the most fast-paced and frenzied games on this list. It’s easy to be blown away and not know exactly how it happened, particularly in a large cluster of adversaries. As its title implies, the game is more heavily dependent on spells than traditional firearms in your standard battle royale titles. 

While the game may not have enjoyed the same success as others on this list, it is definitely worth a look.

free to play
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1399780/Spellbreak/
6. ‘Darwin Project’

Released in 2020, Darwin Project managed to garner a healthy following while maintaining relative obscurity. This was due largely to a number of streamers and video game Youtubers who flocked to the Sci-Fi survival game during its beta and after its release. The game pits players against each other by giving them tools to hunt one another. Players must also survive the harsh maps which swing wildly from frigid cold to lakes of magma.

The game takes into account the spectator element by allowing an overseer to give their favorite certain buffs. Successful players use all their tools while leading enemy players into ambushes or advantageous areas. Don’t let the cartoonish art style fool you. Darwin Project is one of the most hardcore titles on this list.

5. ‘The Culling’

A 2017 release, The Culling’s rise in popularity was as sudden and unexpected as its fall. Developers have tried to recapture their brief moment of popularity with an official sequel that was panned by reviewers and players alike. However, its dwindling popularity doesn’t take away from the fact that the game is one of the most interesting battle royals on the market. Instead of heavily featuring guns, most players will have to make do with melee weapons, although guns are still present in the game. But the game is balanced in such a way that having a gun doesn’t necessarily mean you are at an advantage. A player with a metal pipe or some other non-projectile weapon can just as likely win a contest.

free to play
https://store.steampowered.com/app/752720/The_Culling_2/
4. ‘Islands of Nyne Battle Royale’

A game in which the massive multiplayer map is the star. Islands of Nyne was released last year to little fanfare. But that is hardly a reflection on the game itself, which features some of the best sci-fi shooting. Many have compared it to the Crysis series, and it’s a well-deserved comparison. The graphics are superb, and the gameplay’s style and speed are as if someone created a battle royale mod for Crysis. The game may not be a household name, but it still deserves your attention.

Free to Play
https://store.steampowered.com/app/728540/Islands_of_Nyne_Battle_Royale/
3. ‘Totally Accurate Battlegrounds’

A spoof on the battle royale genre, Totally Accurate Battlegrounds was released in 2018 and, for a time, was at the top of the battle royale heap. Using the engine popularized by sister-game Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, Totally Accurate Battlegrounds intentionally boasted ridiculous controls and even more ridiculous gameplay. Players could empty entire clips at each other, at point-blank range, and still not hit their mark. The game isn’t so much about winning as it is experiencing the hilarity of the journey.

buy now, $4.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/823130/Totally_Accurate_Battlegrounds/
2. ‘Apex Legends’

Apex Legends is what you get when you take elements from the top battle royale games and polish them. Released in 2020, Apex Legends is the only game on this list that ever came close to actually being a Fortnite killer. The game was massively popular when first released and it has managed to hold on to much of that popularity overtime. Developers continue to churn out new content and characters that only add to the game’s complexity. While guns obviously play a major role, each of the champions has its own strengths and weaknesses that impact the game in profound ways. Apex Legends is how battle royale games are supposed to be done. 

buy now, $39.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1172470/Apex_Legends/
1. ‘Hunt Showdown’

Hunt Showdown is aggressively underrated despite being moderately popular. Of all the battle royale games on this list, Hunt Showdown is perhaps the only one that truly isn’t derivative in any sense of the word. Released in 2019 by a team at Crytek, you can see the meticulous detail developers put into the game. Everything from the monsters to the ornate weaponry looks like it belongs in this demon-infested world. 

Players have to worry about said demons as they traverse day and nighttime maps. More dangerous than the demons are the other players who are on the hunt for the same prize you are. What ensues is thrilling cowboy action with a bit of horror and incredible sound quality mixed in for good measure. Although the game deserves to be a bigger deal than it currently is, the developers don’t seem deterred as they continue to churn out content.

buy now, $39.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/594650/Hunt_Showdown/
Categories
Grind Productivity

Bill Gates’s Leadership Style: 5 Strategies He’s Famous For

What started as a passion to bring “a computer on every desktop and in every home,” Bill Gates has become a household name, as well as one of the richest people in the world.  Through perseverance, innovation, and hard work, Gates turned Microsoft into an uber-successful software company before stepping down as chairman in 2014. 

Greatness is never by accident, and being a strong leader is integral to many businesses’ success. Rumored to be a demanding boss who makes unrealistic asks of his team, it’s also been said that Gates is reasonable and well-liked, always championing his team’s achievements and encouraging dissent. 

Here’s a rundown of five leadership strategies Gates is known for.

He adapts to any situation.

In the early days of starting his company, Gates was so focused on becoming successful that he was a grueling boss that policed his employees, making sure they were working as hard as he was.  Known for regularly pulling all-nighters, Gates would even walk around the parking lot to see what time everyone had come into the office. “I worked weekends, I didn’t really believe in vacations,” Gates told BBC’s “Desert Island Discs”. “I knew everybody’s license plate so I could look out at the parking lot and see, you know when people come in.”

Knowing that this wasn’t a sustainable model (and that his employees didn’t appreciate this), Gates relaxed as the company grew. “When I was at Microsoft, I was tough on people I worked with. Some of it helped us be successful, but I’m sure some of it was over the top.” Gates wrote in his annual letter in 2019. “Learning to deal with your anger was something we all related to. It’s an important life skill, part of becoming a mature adult.”

He encourages curiosity.
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If you’ve ever worried that asking questions might display your lack of knowledge, rest assured that curiosity is a strength. Harvard Business Review has found,, “People with higher CQ are more inquisitive and open to new experiences. They find novelty exciting and are quickly bored with routine. They tend to generate many original ideas and are counter-conformist.”

Also know that you’re in good company.  When Bill Gates went back to his former high school to talk to students, he was asked what skills they needed to acquire to thrive in the coming years. “For the curious learner, these are the best of times because your ability to constantly refresh your knowledge with either podcasts or lectures that are online is better than ever.”
As we saw in 2020, the environment we are in can change at any time, forcing us to quickly adapt with new processes, climates, and industries. Staying curious can help us adjust faster and also aid in creating new solutions for problems.  One good way to stay curious? Read.  It’s a well known fact that Gates reads about 50 books a year, and credits it as the best way he learns.

He gives feedback.

Sometimes it’s hard to gauge how you’re doing in a role if you don’t hear anything from your boss.  Scott MacGregor believed that was never an issue with his colleague: “A lot of people don’t like their jobs because they don’t get any feedback. You always knew what Bill thought about what you were doing. The goal, the motivational force for a lot of programmers, was to get Bill to like their product.”

Employees constantly seeking approval from their managers isn’t always beneficial either, but having regular touch bases and at the moment feedback can do a lot in aiding growth and keeping up morale and motivation.

He admits when he’s wrong.
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All leaders have made some mistakes, but it takes some real self-reflection to admit to it. 

Steve Wood, a programmer at Microsoft, believed that Gates’ ability to change his mind was unique. “He can be extremely vocal and persuasive in arguing one side of an issue, and a day or two later he will say he was wrong. There aren’t many people who have the drive, intensity and entrepreneurial qualities to be that successful who also have the ability to put their ego aside. That’s a rare trait.”
Personal matters weren’t the only thing that Gates admitted fault. When it came to business, he would admit that his greatest mistake was to allow Google to develop the Android phone. “These are winner-takes-all markets. So the greatest mistake ever is whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is,” he acknowledged during a Village Global event in 2019. He went on to say that mistake potentially cost his company $400 billion dollars. “We would be the company. But oh well.”

He promotes collaboration.

Finding a vaccine for COVID has been a priority for Gates; in December 2020, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged an additional $250M to support “research, development, and equitable delivery of lifesaving tools in the global effort against COVID-19.” Gates also took this moment to call for global commitments and collaboration from different companies in various countries to help fight the pandemic. “…creating alliances, of Indian manufacturers and Western manufacturers, or different people working with antibody capacity, these types of collaborative forums have turned out to be super important,” he said in a video interview with the dean of Stanford School of Medicine. 

Working with others and utilizing different skill sets can be the difference in success and failure.  Gates knows that he can’t do it alone, even with all the money and resources he has access to, so he encourages partnerships in working towards a joint effort.

Categories
Style What To Buy

The 20 Best Beanies For Men That Are Perfect For Any Outfit

Beanie season is always on and with the impact of the winter months still ever-present you’re going to need something new to cover that noggin. From high-end options to budget-friendly picks there’s an endless list of toques, beanies, and winter hats to choose from. We did the hard part for you and identified the 20 best beanies for men right now. 

1. WTAPS Beanie 02
WTAPS

Like so many Japanese streetwear heavyweights WTAP (double taps) stands as one of the stronger brands out right now. Their beige beanie 02 features a simple patch logo on the front with a minimalist knitted style that replaces frills for super high-quality wool.

Buy Now: $89
https://www.endclothing.com/us/wtaps-beanie-02-202madt-ht02-bg.html
2. Noah x Depeche Mode Rose Beanie
Noah

As part of the Depeche Mode “Violator” capsule collection, New York-based streetwear brand, Noah, delivered a simplistic, ribbed beanie with an embroidered rose graphic. Noah’s headwear is some of the most coveted in the game, this one comes sans Noah logo, for real fans of the brand and Depeche Mode.

Buy Now: $30
https://www.ssense.com/en-us/men/product/noah/black-depeche-mode-rose-beanie/4954901
3. Arc’teryx Diplomat Toque
Arc’teryx

Arc’teryx is a serious outdoors brand, you can tell by the way they use “toque” instead of “beanie.” They’re known for their jackets but this merino wool toque is a much cozier way to stay warm on the slopes.

Buy Now: $40
https://www.backcountry.com/arc-teryx-diplomat-toque?CMP_SKU=ARC00DI&MER=0406&skid=ARC00DI-BK-ONESIZ&avad=264037_b1fcfaa69&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_source=gearmoose.com&utm_campaign=Custom+Link&utm_term=content
4. Nike SB Fisherman Beanie
Nike

Nike SB’s fisherman beanie is a simple take on the ribbed silhouette that takes on a classic and timeless black and white color scheme as dependable and OG as their simple skate-inspired beanie.

Buy Now: $20
https://www.tactics.com/nike-sb/fisherman-beanie/black-white
5. The North Face Logo Box Cuffed Beanie
The North Face

TNF has some real fans out there and like most outdoor brands their jackets take center stage but don’t count out their logo box beanie, another simple approach to the rib-knit hat features a soft yarn construction for upgraded comfort, style, and stretch.

Buy Now: $30
https://www.thenorthface.com/shop/tnf-8482;-logo-box-cuffed-beanie-nf0a3fjx?from=subCat&variationId=L4U&utm_medium=organic&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=freeshopping&utm_term=The+North+Face+TNF+Logo+Box+Cuffed+Beanie+Hat:+Navy&utm_content=ecomm
6. Awake NY Old English Logo Beanie
Awake NY

Awake’s another NY-based brand that should be on your “Streetwear brand to watch” list but if they’re not break out that list and add them. They’re slowly making their mark on the scene, mostly in part to their funky logo stylings, this Old English beanie is a classic Awake NY piece that features both acrylic and embroidery.

Buy Now: $42
https://awakenyclothing.com/products/old-english-logo-beanie?variant=31831743823945
7. Supreme Overdyed Beanie
Supreme

Supreme is supreme, simple as that. You love them, hate them, fill your closet with their clothes and try to turn a profit on Grailed when you grow out of it. They’re known for just about anything you can get attention for and their overdyed white beanie just POPS so hard with that small, red, bogo tag on the front. It’s from 2020 so it’s not really a collector’s item just quite yet but still one of their better offerings from that season.

Buy Now: $132
https://stockx.com/supreme-overdyed-beanie-ss20-white
8. Only NY Alpine Games Beanie
Only NY

Only NY is another heavyweight of NY’s streetwear scene holding down the “Skate Dad” aesthetic all the way from the Lower East Side’s Stanton St. (Real ones know). Their alpine games beanie is a classic gauge knit with an acrylic graphic right across the front.

Buy Now: $14
https://onlyny.com/collections/headwear/products/alpine-games-beanie?variant=32925833560148
9. Stone Island Patch Logo Beanie
Stone Island

Step your beanie game with heightened Italian craftsmanship and a dash of luxury. Its price point is on the higher end but this pure wool, ribbed beanie comes decked out with the brand’s compass patch logo decoration so you get it.

Buy Now: $145
https://www.endclothing.com/us/stone-island-patch-logo-beanie-hat-7315n10b5-v0011.html?173=one-size&utm_source=google_surfaces&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=google_surface_us
10. Palace London Beanie
Palace London

Take the road less traveled with your streetwear beanie and go for the IYKYK Palace London beanie. The hyped brand is a streetwear icon with its inside jokes, direct marijuana references, and all-around “cool skate punk” aesthetic. This knit headpiece comes with a plastered acrylic knit logo on the top and embroidery on the brim, reminding onlookers of Palace’s origin.

Buy Now: $72
https://stockx.com/palace-london-beanie-black?country=US&currencyCode=USD
11. Carhartt A18 Watch Hat
Carhartt

We all know a guy with the orange Carhartt beanie, but don’t let some kid who just moved to Bushwick set the culture for Carhartt. Their blue-collar ethos sets the standard high for workwear and their A18 watch hat is another great example. This acrylic beanie fits snugly and features a tight-knit to keep your noggin warm whether you’re a fan of true craftsmanship or on call for the early morning construction crew.

Buy Now: $17
https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p/carhartt-a18-watch-hat-15cttmcrylcwtchcpapa/15cttmcrylcwtchcpapa?sku=17030266
12. Banana Republic Donegal Beanie
Banana Republic

The Donegal beanie takes on a humble Irish fishing village vibe with a ribbed knit and speckled green color scheme. It’s also got the low-key energy of  Banana Republic’s refusal to outwardly brand their items.

Buy Now: $37
https://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=655440022&vid=1#pdp-page-content
13. Uniqlo RIbbed Beanie
Uniqlo

If simplicity is your game then look no further than the Uniqlo Ribbed Beanie. This soft, ribbed knit hat is perfect for just about anyone, another great example of Uniqlo’s everyman aesthetic of providing staples for everyone at prices you just won’t see anywhere else for this quality.

Buy Now: $15
https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/ribbed-beanie-433774.html?dwvar_433774_color=COL03&cgid=#q=beanie&lang=default&start=1
14. Wolf & Badger Upcycled and Recycled Plastic Beanie
Wolf & Badger

Although this hat contains plastic you can’t even tell, I promise. The hat features recycled plastic bottles and upcycled wool making for a comfortable and cozy blend. It’s a hat you can spend a little more on but feel good while you’re wearing it. Talk about using your head to save the environment.

Buy Now: $71
https://www.wolfandbadger.com/us/upcycled-wool-beanie-beige/?result_index=10&query_id=b0b2bdf16f717eb9589edb9fddccc729
15. Patagonia Wool Pom Beanie
Patagonia

Patagonia’s the must-have outerwear brand you’ve already heard of but their headwear is seriously slept on. Their Wool Pom beanie is a great example with ‘gonias environmental ethos front and center – their products contain 68% recycled material. The Wool Pom brim flips down for a longer beanie look and cuffs nicely for a smaller silhouette.

16. Lacoste Ribbed Wool Beanie
Lacoste

Lacoste’s ribbed wool beanie is a cold-weather essential. Their chic and casual style comes across with their simple gray color scheme and embroidered crocodile logo that really pops in their signature green color. The hat is made from 100% wool.

Buy Now: $45
https://www.lacoste.com/us/lacoste/accessories/men/caps-hats/men-s-ribbed-wool-beanie/193869487270.html
17. Burton Gringo Beanie
Burton

Burton’s Gringo beanie is made from a snug acrylic yarn knit. Their aesthetic leans towards snowboarders but the leather logo patch on the front is a clean and stylish look for any outfit.

Buy Now: $27
https://www.burton.com/us/en/p/burton-gringo-beanie/W21-105101.html?cgid=mens-hats-beanies
18. Acne Studios Beanie
Acne Studios

Step your game up with this designer beanie from Swedish fashion house Acne Studios. Even though you might be more inclined to go for their denim, rock the brand on your dome too with their 100% wool beanie. The simple design is a great high-end accessory and their straight-faced emblem patch on the front brings the concept to the next level.

Buy Now: $150
https://www.24s.com/en-us/beanie-acne-studios_ACNHK4HP?defaultSku=ACNHK4HPBCKZZZZZ00&color=Black&lgw_code=4181-ACNHK4HPBCKZZZZZ00&gclid=Cj0KCQiA0-6ABhDMARIsAFVdQv9Qpe3PCkxC3QcqregedHwPvzrY_cFEpHXIBntEu1_51Ws1UqYTxSYaAm-7EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
19. Polo Ralph Lauren Holiday Bear Wool Beanie
Polo Ralph Lauren

The Polo Bear is an icon in its own right and if you don’t own one of their iconic sweaters there’s still hope! The holiday bear is front and center on this wool beanie, a perfect accessory for the Lo-life in your life.

Buy Now: $98
https://www.saksfifthavenue.com/product/polo-ralph-lauren-holiday-bear-wool-beanie-0400013078387.html?site_refer=CSE_GGLPLA:Mens_Clothing+Accessories:Polo+Ralph+Lauren&country=US&currency=USD&CSE_CID=G_Saks_PLA_US_Men%27s+Accessories:Hats&gclid=Cj0KCQiA0-6ABhDMARIsAFVdQv_5mpd-xMsnMfv8Gl4QEhldEblJWMaRx-UrADDkXuykypxAFP0HPpIaAp-WEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
20. Stussy Basic Cuff Beanie
Stussy

Stussy’s beanie is another great staple piece of headwear. Their acrylic cuffed beanie has a great fit and features the classic Stussy logo in white on the front.

Buy Now: $40
https://www.stussy.com/products/basic-cuff-beanie-2?glCountry=US&glCurrency=USD&gclid=Cj0KCQiA0-6ABhDMARIsAFVdQv8DCYuNYPlj4TfYuZf8V5kaxjFCD20R5QBuP9Vk3bF7PLJ5_jSK2DAaAkGqEALw_wcB
Categories
Culture Movies/TV

21 Best Anime Shows and Movies on Hulu You Need To Watch

The amount of anime currently available on the Internet is absolutely staggering, and sorting the cheaply made tripe out from the avant-garde gold is a gargantuan task. Netflix has curated a pretty impressive selection of original and recycled content, whereas Crunchyroll’s almost endless library is instantly overwhelming. Hulu’s selections are somewhere in between the two: there are definitely hidden treasures hidden amongst the trash.

Fear not young weebs, we’ve got you covered: here’s our (unranked!) selection of the 21 best anime shows and movies currently available on Hulu —ranging from shonen classics to classic magic girls to artsy explorations of Japanese identity.

21. ‘Ninja Scroll’

Ninja Scroll has come to represent the Golden Age of 90s anime: it combined adult eroticis, ultra-violence, and grotesquery for a unique artistic experience equal parts nauseating and titillating. It’s easy to see director Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s influence on a handful of more contemporary animation, but almost no artist since has been able to create something as darkly compelling as this gem from 1993.

20. ‘Afro Samurai: Resurrection’

A continuation of the miniseries of the same name that requires no foreknowledge of what came before it, Afro Samurai is a humorous and bloody hodgepodge of cyberpunk, samurai movies, and shonen anime archetypes. Voice acting from Lucy Lui and Samuel L. Jackson lends cultural legitimacy to what might otherwise be cynically dismissed as silliness. It’s certainly more style than substance — but in a fun way.

19. ‘Akira’

Often considered the greatest animated movie ever made, Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo is a true triumph of the art form as much as it is a processing of national trauma. Warnings of another nuclear nightmare and the fear of an impending youth revolt seem even more prescient nowadays despite the movie being decades old — and the surreal, sci-fi imagery remains both powerful and deeply disturbing. It might not be the easiest movie to digest on a first watch-through, but the film will leave an impact nonetheless.

18. ‘Grave of the Fireflies’

Oscar-winning director Hayao Miyazaki is better known for his colorful steampunk fantasy worlds than for emotionally gut-wrenching realism, but Grave obviously falls in the latter category. It’s hard to imagine the cultural devastation wreaked by nuclear warfare, but this frightening story of survival highlights the real human toll of America’s military might. Keep a box of tissues nearby while watching: only the most heartless can make it through this movie without shedding a tear.

17. ‘Akame ga Kill!’

The category is guilty pleasure! There’s almost nothing artistically redeemable about Akame Ga Kill!: the art style is amateurish, the storyline borders on nonsense, the character design is overtly misogynistic — but the show’s a lot of fun if you love all the cliches of anime action. The short series is comparable to Kill La Kill — it’s way worse quality, but it’s also strangely addictive. Some things are just so bad, they’re actually good. 

16. ‘Assassination Classroom’

Although it’s certainly geared for a teenage audience, it’s hard not to be endeared by Assassination Classroom’s squishy yellow protagonist, a mysterious alien who threatens to destroy the planet unless a group of unsuspecting delinquent students figure out how to kill him. There’s a kind of monstrous sexuality throughout that’s all a bit unsettling, but somehow the kids wind up actually learning heartwarming life lessons amidst all the attempted murder. Expect some filler episodes in between the hilarious action sequences that can be skipped, but for the most part, Korosensei’s bizarre journey is harmless fun. 

15. ‘Cowboy Bebop’

Often considered the greatest anime series ever made — and widely thought of as a sci-fi masterpiece — Cowboy Bebop is a wildly successful experiment in genre-mashing: a thrilling space adventure/neo-noir with a rousing jazz score, the show traces a ragtag group of bounty hunters on an interstellar journey. Spike Speigel and his crew capture criminals as they face their own dark pasts. No short description can really capture the artistry and emotionality of this shockingly sophisticated show — and its absolutely heartbreaking ending has left audiences devastated for decades.

14. ‘Demon Slayer Kimetsu No Yaiba’

A hyper-stylized shonen anime that hits all the beats of classic Japanese cartoons for boys while still putting a fresh spin on all the prototypical tropes. After his sister transforms into a demon, a plucky young samurai begins his quest to save her soul as he battles a parade of devilish villains. A colorful and fun art style compliments the show’s cutesy character design and adds to the vibrant energy of the series’ fight scenes.

13. ‘Digimon Adventure’

Although Digimon is often condescendingly referred to as an inferior analog to Pokemon, the original show’s first run is quite obviously a far more emotionally sophisticated journey than Ash Ketchum’s misadventures. Yes, both shows are certainly aimed at young kids, but Digimon’s cast of multi-dimensional characters tug at the viewer’s heartstrings in ways that Nintendo’s hyper-toyetic TV series never could.

12. ‘FLCL’

This six-episode miniseries is an avant-garde tour de force that’s even made its way into contemporary art museums as an example of the so-called “superflat” postmodernist movement. The plot is a self-referential pastiche of anime tropes that explode in surreal and gorgeously animated sequences, soundtracked by the legendary Japanese punk band The Pillows. Don’t expect to understand what’s happening on your first watch-through, but closer analysis reveals a story about the oppressive isolationism of Japanese culture and the clashes its confrontations with the West produces. If all that intellectual blather doesn’t interest you, there are lots of explosions and outlandish supernatural battles to keep lesser sophisticated fans amused.

11. ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’

So this gets a little confusing: A Fullmetal Alchemist animated series, based on the original manga of the same name, started in 2003 — but the production of the TV show quickly outpaced the speed at which the books were being released. The show’s creators began improvising with the plot, leading the story into a totally different direction than what the original writer had imagined, and the series wrapped up in a super disappointing finale. Cut to 6 years later: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood rebooted the show from the start in order to keep the original plot more intact, and although the opening narrative arc is almost entirely the same as the first anime, the plot takes an entirely different — and much more coherent! — direction as it advances.

FMA: B tells the story of the Elric brothers, two magically gifted siblings who attempt to resurrect their mother in a magical ritual that goes terribly wrong. As they get conscripted by an army and dragged into international warfare, the boys hope to discover how to make things right — while battling a slew of nefarious enemies hoping to take their power.

10. ‘Gurren Lagann’

The studio behind FLCL and the beloved masterpiece Neon Genesis Evangelion isn’t always producing hyper-intellectual action: Gurren Lagann brings Gainax’s signature excellent animation to a plucky and lighthearted story about giant robot battles in outer space. The tropes are all familiar, but the artistry is next-level. The bombastic soundtrack and hilarious styling make this one of the most fun 27-episode runs of any show ever created. It won’t blow your mind in the way that their other works might, but it’ll get your heart pumping.

9. ‘Hellsing’

Hellsing doesn’t exactly hold up as much more than a fascinating cultural artifact from the early 00’s — the animation is a bit lazy, the story is not so coherent, and the characters’ one-liners are impossibly cheesy — but it’s a great time capsule of the kind of goth subculture culture that proliferated at the time. The design of Hellsing has been endlessly copied and there’s some wonderful mise-en-scene. For otaku of a certain age bracket, the nostalgia factor is unstoppable, making unbiased evaluation of this bloody vampire story almost impossible. Japanese interpretations of Western mythology are always idiosyncratic, and this steampunk spin on the legend of Dracula is no exception.

8. ‘Inuyasha’

Millennials will remember the endless reruns of Inuyasha’s never-ending journey playing on Cartoon Network. It’s hard to say how much of the program holds up today, but the show’s delicate balance between shonen and shoujo styles has not been replicated since. Although there’s lots of action, Inuyasha is a magical love story at heart — but beware, there’s a whole lot of filler in between the rousing episodes that actually advance the plot.

7. ‘Kill la Kill’

With an almost aggressively stupid story, Kill La Kill is an example of anime’s campier pleasures: beyond over-the-top fight scenes and absurdly sexualized character design, the show is definitely offputting for audiences looking for something with actual emotional substance. Staunch critics have to admit that the animation throughout is beyond excellent, even if it’s not the smartest program ever made.

6. ‘Mobile Suit Gundam Wing’

MSG:W was the first series of the Gundam franchise to make it to the United States in the mid 90’s, and gained an ever greater following over here than it did in Japan. It would be easy to dismiss the show as a campy collection of giant robot space battles, but the sci-fi plotting is surprisingly sophisticated, and the characters are emotionally complex: the show is an extended meditation on the trauma of war as much as it is an adventure story.

5. ‘My Hero Academia’

MHA is basically Japan’s answer to the X-Men: the show takes place in a near-future where almost every human has developed some kind of special power. Deku, the show’s endlessly endearing main character, enrolls in a school for young superheroes as he battles the nefarious League of Villains and other assorted underworld underlings. The fight scenes are hype beyond belief.

4. ‘Sailor Moon’

The ultimate Magical Girl anime, the original Sailor Moon cartoon is a beautiful time capsule of 90’s girl power. Nostalgic whimsy aside, the bright and delicate art style (even the watercolor backgrounds are breathtakingly pretty) pairs perfectly with iconic character design and lovable writing. It’s no surprise this cartoon is often cited as an inspiration by drag queens and fashion designers alike.

3. ‘Samurai Champloo’

Director Shinichirō Watanabe tried to recapture the genre-mashing magic of Cowboy Bebop with his follow-up series Samurai Champloo, which uses a hip hop score to tell a story about traveling warriors looking for revenge in feudal Japan. The experiment definitely works — and although it doesn’t quite measure up to Bebop (almost nothing truly does!), it’s still one of the most fun anime shows ever made. 

2. ‘Soul Eater’

If the casual misogyny of mainstream shonen anime presents a problem for you, skip Soul Eater — but if you’ve got an insatiable appetite for absurd action sequences featuring bizarre weapons and even more bizarre characters, this show is likely up your alley. The graphic design of the show is impeccably clean, and was likely an inspiration for newer, hyper-stylish shows like My Hero Academia and Demon Slayer. There’s not a ton of filler either, meaning it’s not hard to breeze through the whole thing in a week. 

1. ‘Witchblade’

Based on the Todd McFarland-adjacent American comic book series of the same name, the Witchblade anime is an erotic suspense story filled with blood, guts, and a lot of fire. Set in the same continuity as its source material, the Witchblade anime is an entirely original story about the addictive nature of lust and power.