Culture Movies/TV

15 Shows Like ‘Rick and Morty’

Adult cartoons are a dime a dozen these days, but there’s something unique about the way Rick and Morty took hold of the cultural zeitgeist. Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, the Adult Swim original series is an outrageous and hyperbolic twist on the relationship between mad scientist Doc Brown and his teenage companion Marty McFly in the Back to the Future movies. The episodic series follows the adventures of the titular grandfather-grandson duo of Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith, both voiced by series co-creator Roiland, that sees Morty constantly being pulled into intergalactic danger thanks to his genius, alcoholic grandpa. 

People who are unfamiliar with Rick and Morty may know that it’s full of vulgar catchphrases and flatulence, but underneath that crass layer is a show that is actually incredibly complex and bold in its storytelling decisions.

Every new dimension explored and character introduced becomes an opportunity for the show’s creative team to either poke fun at something or introduce a bit of unexpected sorrow or trauma to an otherwise silly moment. Even though there’s something wholly original about Rick and Morty’s comedic sensibilities and a cast of characters, a lot of other shows out there are similarly bold in the way they deliver their humor or look at the world. So put down the portal gun and check out these 15 Shows like Rick and Morty! 

15. ‘Community’

If the overwhelming amount of pop culture references and meta-humor in Rick and Morty is your cup of tea, then you should definitely check out Community. Created by Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon, the NBC sitcom follows a group of misfits at the Greendale Community College as they bond and “study” together in a study group. The show is so much more than this simple premise, though, as each episode gives the quirky ensemble- featuring hilarious performers like Donald Glover and Alison Brie- ample room to get into shenanigans and bond both inside and outside of the classroom.  

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14. ‘The Orville’

Clearly, Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show weren’t enough for Seth MacFarlane, as the prolific show creator also turned his attention to the final frontier in The Orville. A live-action series that plays as a Star Trek parody, The Orville follows the crew of the USS Orville as they explore the galaxy in the 25th century. The ensemble show is led by MacFarlane as officer Ed Mercer and, despite its comedic undertones, it sometimes feels like a more genuine Star Trek series than some of Viacom’s recent attempts.

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13. ‘The Venture Bros.’

Adult Swim has evolved a lot since it first launched in 2001, but throughout most of its existence Jackson Publick’s The Venture Bros. has been a staple on that “channel.” A satirical spin on old cartoons like Johnny Quest, the show follows the exploits and adventures of the Venture Family as they interact in a mad scientist and superhero-filled world. The phenomenally voiced show lasted for seven seasons and evolved into a hilarious parody of modern nerd culture rather than just fixating on old Hanna-Barbera tropes. 

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12. ‘Loki’

One surefire way for a series to feel like Rick and Morty is for it to be written by a Rick and Morty alum. The newest Marvel show streaming on Disney+, Loki, is a time-travel-filled adventure series created by Michael Waldron, a former producer and writer on the Adult Swim hit. Tom Hiddleston once again plays the Norse God of Mischief, but this time he finds himself supervised by the Time Variance Authority, a seemingly all-knowing organization that wants to defend the sacred timeline. The show definitely rewards long-term fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it is accessible and entertaining for people who just want to check it out due to its connection with Rick and Morty.  

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11. ‘Archer’

Premiering in 2009, Archer is an animated parody show set inside a dysfunctional intelligence agency. The series is witty and has a unique structure- certain seasons ditch the intelligence agency setting all together to see the characters become Miami drug dealers or Noir detectives- but what really sets this show apart from other adult cartoons is its exemplary ensemble cast, led by H. Jon Benjamin as the womanizing Sterling Archer. For all the hardcore Jerry Smith fans out there, Chris Parnell also lends his voice to Archer as Cyril Figgis, a straight-laced agent who is often the butt of many of Archer’s jokes.

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10. ‘Doctor Who’

The tagline “A moody genius and their companion travel around space and time going on adventures” perfectly describes both Doctor Who and Rick and Morty. The BBC series follows The Doctor, an alien from the planet Gallifrey who uses his brain and handy sonic screwdriver to solve problems and help people across the galaxy. A sometimes silly, sometimes extremely serious show, Doctor Who remains fresh after 50+ years thanks to the Doctor’s natural ability to reincarnate and keep exploring the cosmos with a new personality and new face. 

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9. ‘Avenue 5’

Thanks to eccentric billionaires like Virgil Bronson and Jeff Bezos, rich people doing whatever they want in space doesn’t sound as absurd as it should anymore, but Avenue 5 injects some delightful chaos back into the subject. From the satirical mind of Veep and The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci, Avenue 5 follows what happens after an artificial gravity accident causes an interplanetary cruise ship (the Avenue 5) to veer off course. With only eight weeks of supplies onboard to sustain everyone, panic sets in when it is revealed it could take up to three years to return to Earth. The ensemble show was renewed for a second season in early 2020, but no official premiere date has been set due to pandemic-related delays.  

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8. ‘Disenchantment’

Matt Groening swapped suburban America for the medieval castles of Dreamland in the Netflix original Disenchantment. The series follows Princess Bean (Abbi Jacobsen), a notorious and happy alcoholic, who is unhappily set to marry a Prince. While peaking at her wedding gifts, Bean discovers a little demon named Luci (Eric Andre), who despite being sent there to curse Bean, ends up empathizing with her and discouraging her from getting married. With Luci and her new friend Elfo (Nat Faxon) by her side, the three of them embark on a series of adventures as the elites of Dreamland jostle for power thanks to the abandoned wedding, and the alliance could have solidified.

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7. ‘BoJack Horseman’

Rick and Morty is often praised for the way it handles complex emotions and addictive personalities, but the Netflix original BoJack Horseman tackles these ideas in a much more direct manner. Created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, BoJack Horseman follows former television actor Bojack (Will Arnett) as he struggles to revamp his Hollywood career and come to terms with his depression and narcissistic tendencies. Set in a world where talking animals and people interact with each other and work side-by-side, the whimsical and silly nature of the show obscures a tragic engine that constantly picks at and explores the insecurities of each of its lead characters.  

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6. ‘Reaper’

Sam Oliver’s (Bret Harrison) life flipped upside down on his 21st birthday when his parents explained that they had actually promised his soul to Satan (Ray Wise) before he was born. Now, the college dropout and hardware store employee must accept his new destiny as a “reaper,” a bounty hunter who tracks down souls that have escaped from hell, or his mother will be banished to hell. The show only lasted for two seasons, but its unique blend of supernatural elements and “stoner comedy” tropes makes it the perfect binge for anyone looking for a show similar to Rick and Morty. 

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5. ‘Adventure Time’

Adventure Time may have been marketed primarily to children because it was on Cartoon Network rather than the after-hours adult swim, but watch just one episode, and it’s clear the creators were aiming to please and entertain viewers of all ages. Created by Pendleton Ward, Adventure Time is a fantastic and consistently silly show that follows a boy named Finn (Jeremy Shada) and his talking, transforming dog Jake (John DiMaggio) as they go on adventures in the psychedelic and post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo. Finn and Rick themselves don’t have a lot in common, but they are the anchors for two of the most absurd, hilarious shows to come out in the last 25 years.

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4. ‘South Park’

The townsfolk of South Park and the space-traveling Rick and Morty may not appear to have a lot in common on the surface, but take a deeper look at both shows and the main characters are all deeply raunchy individuals who are not afraid to speak their minds about what is unfair about life and the world.

For those who are somehow unaware, South Park is a deeply satirical show that follows the lives of four elementary school children, the most notorious among them being the extremely crass Eric Cartman, as they constantly find themselves being swept up into ridiculous and dangerous situations. It’s fair to say that the longevity of South Park has paved the way for shows like Rick and Morty to succeed and even earn a whopping 70 episode renewal back in 2018.

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3. ‘Futurama’

Similar to how Disenchantment let Simpsons creator Matt Groening dabble in fantastical storytelling, Futurama allowed him to tell silly science fiction stories. Futurama follows Fry (Billy West), a man from 2000 who is accidentally cryogenically frozen and subsequently thawed out in the year 2999. Despite its futuristic sheen, Futurama can really be boiled down to a hilarious workplace comedy as Fry quickly finds himself working alongside the crew of the Planet Express delivery company.  Each episode finds the ensemble on a new adventure as they dart across the galaxy, but it’s really the quirky personalities and relationships between the three core characters, Fry, Bender (John DiMaggio), and Leela (Katey Sagal), that makes the show so addictive.

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2. ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’

Similar to Rick Sanchez, no topic is off-limits for the gang over at Paddy’s Pub. In It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, recently renewed for four more seasons, a group of self-centered, angry friends operate a bar and argue about the state of the world. Whether it’s critiquing Escape Rooms or solving the Gas Crisis, this group of drunks has opinions on just about everything. The gang has never been to another planet or entered a spaceship, but they have the same narcissistic, self-destructive tendencies that both Rick and Morty do.

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1. ‘Solar Opposites’

Due to Rick and Morty‘s overwhelming success, Hulu ordered another space-themed comedy from co-creator Justin Roiland: Solar Opposites. The animated sitcom follows a family of literal aliens as they try to adjust to life as refugees in the middle of the United States after their home planet of Shlorp was destroyed.  A fun twist on the fish out of water trope, Solar Opposites is full of Roiland’s signature outrageous and sometimes heady humor, but it also does a good job at making the audience empathize with its central characters as they enter difficult situations in a new environment. 

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Culture Movies/TV

Why Graded VHS Tapes Might Be The Next Big Thing

The alternative investment realm has exploded, turning collectibles such as trading cards, comics and video games into viable investments with demand far greater than the current supply. 

There is a new category of collectible that has captured my attention: graded VHS tapes. Below, I will break down all the details about this emerging market and why I think it’s set to explode.

1. What is VHS?
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VHS stands for Video Home System. Invented in 1977, VHS tapes are plastic cassettes that allowed for movies to be watched from the comfort of your own home. The main goal was to create a system that would be compatible with any ordinary television set, while having the picture quality similar to a normal broadcast.

The home movie industry has changed over the years, but ask anybody over the age of thirty and they will tell you all about their weekly trips to Blockbuster Video and the “New Release” aisle.

2. Why VHS?

VHS movies were a big part of people’s lives. There is a nostalgic aspect that comes along with VHS tapes – similar to trading cards or video games. There were many well known movies that were first released via VHS such as The Lion King, Star Wars, Toy Story and Pokémon. These brands have longevity. Generations of people have enjoyed these movies – creating demand and collectibility.

3. Should I Grade my VHS Tapes?

The benefits that come along with grading are: 

  1. Authentication
  2. Preservation
  3. Valuation of the item

Grading VHS helps you understand the condition of the item, which is the most important factor in determining the value of a collectible. With that said, grading VHS tapes that are in good condition makes sense. The movies with iconic brands (Disney, etc.) are absolutely in play. The horror genre also has a huge market. In the end, grading any VHS tape that you enjoy could be worth it, but you should do extensive research to better understand why. 

4. Who Grades VHS Tapes?

Investment Grading Service (IGS) is at the forefront of grading VHS. IGS is to VHS what PSA is to trading cards. Currently, IGS will only grade factory sealed items. The current cost to grade a VHS tape is $65. 

Recently, IGS partnered with Goldin Auctions. This is big for the VHS market as they will have one of the most notable auction houses behind them giving the category added exposure. Goldin is known for record breaking sales, so I expect IGS to be the grading company that sets those record breaking sales. 

5. What are the Grading Standards?
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IGS grades on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the worst and 10 the best. IGS grades the condition of the box & the seal. When grading the box, IGS evaluates the corners, edges, and surface. A corner keeping its shape is one of the most important factors in determining the grade. When grading the seal, surface, tightness and edges are important factors. Below are the deductions IGS uses when grading.

Minimal Deductions:

  • Slight whitening of the corner but keeps a good shape.
  • Corner point is minimally rounded past its normal shape compared to its other corners. ​

Moderate Deductions:

  • Corner has been slightly smashed but none or little crease in the box. 
  • Extensive whitening
  • Moderate scratch in corner area. ​

Extensive Deductions:

  • Puncher hole in the corner area 
  • Extensive smashed corner 
  • Extensive smashed corner that caused a crease
6. What Should I Do Next?

In conclusion, there is inherent risk when investing in something new. My suggestion would be to do a minimum of 50 hours of research before spending money on VHS tapes.

With that being said, a new market brings untapped opportunities. Buying notable sealed VHS and sending them to IGS for grading could be very profitable. I hope this guide was helpful!

Culture Movies/TV

A Breakdown of All 26 ‘Power Rangers’ Series In Order

Since it first started airing nearly three decades ago, Power Rangers has been on our television screens almost every single year in some form. It is an undeniably classic franchise that has generated billions of dollars; if you’re in the right age range but didn’t watch at least a couple of series of it in your childhood, you really missed out.

If you did, though, and we’re assuming you did because you’re here, we’re taking you on a trip down memory lane. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to list out every version of the show in order while recapping a bunch of information about when it ran until, who the villains were, and more.

Sit back and feel the nostalgia.

1. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993)
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The one that started it all. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers first aired on August 28th, 1993 on Fox Kids and it’s the only version of the series on this list that ran for multiple seasons. Rita Repulsa is released from 10,000 years of confinement which she was put under by Zordon. Aware of her release, Zordon summons five teenagers to defend earth.

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2. Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers (1996)
Power Rangers Fanon Wiki

Considered a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers mini-series spin-off, there are just ten episodes of this one. It also features the same characters as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. It picks up where the previous series left off. When the Power Rangers are unable to fight, Zordon recruits the Alien Rangers to help.

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3. Power Rangers Zeo (1996)

Airing from April 20th to November 27th in 1996 on Fox Kids, Zeo is also a continuation of the previous series. In fact, each series was linked until Lost Galaxy, which we’ll get to later. Here, the main antagonist is the Machine Empire, although Rita and Lord Zedd do reappear.

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4. Power Rangers Turbo (1997)

From April 19th to November 24th, 45 episodes of Power Rangers Turbo aired on Fox Kids. Here, a space pirate called Divatox wants to conquer Earth, and the Turbo Rangers must stop her. Notably, this season saw a lot of changes to the original rangers and new characters introduced where assistance was needed.

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5. Power Rangers In Space (1998)

Picking up where Turbo left off, Zordon is still a prisoner and Dark Specter wants to use his powers to spread evil not all across the earth, but the entire universe. This is the last series that was part of the Zordon era. This series also contained one of the cooler enemies, the Psycho Rangers. It aired on Fox Kids from February 6thto November 21st in 1998.

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6. Power Rangers Lost Galaxy (1999)

Debuting on the 6th of February and ending on December 18th, 1999, Lost Galaxy marks the first time that a new cast got introduced with every new series. Also, spoiler alert, this series marked the first time that a Ranger was killed off in the series because the actor had to be treated for leukemia. She thankfully made it back for the last episode after successful treatment. 

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7. Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue (2000)

The fictional town of Mariner Bay in California was built on an ancient demon burial ground, so no awards for guessing what happened here. The demons are accidentally released and so a government organization, Lightspeed, recruits five people, one of which is Captain Mitchell’s daughter, to stop them. The famous Titanium Ranger appears here, the only ever American exclusive Ranger.

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8. Power Rangers Time Force (2001)

Set in the year 3000, Time Force is the police force that must deal with mutants and people with superpowers. A dangerous mutant, Ransik, escapes Time Force custody and travels back to the year 2001 after he kills the Red Time Force Ranger. Some of his subordinates also travel back to seek out his ancestor, using his DNA to create the Time Force Power Rangers. This series ran from February 3rd to November 17th, 2001.

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9. Power Rangers Wild Force (2002)

Animaria is an island that many believed to only be a part of fairy tales but when Cole Evans encounters it in real life, he is met by Princess Shayla who selects him and four others to be the Wild Force Power Rangers and defeat the evil Orgs. This one originally aired on Fox Kids but eventually moved to ABC Kids when Fox was sold.

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10. Power Rangers Ninja Storm (2003)

Ninja Storm was the first series not to be produced by MMPR Productions, the first to be shot in New Zealand, and the first to air entirely on ABC Kids. Airing from February 15th to November 15th in 2003, Shane, Tori and Dustin are students of the Wind Ninja Academy, but they have to become the Wind Rangers when all of the other students are kidnapped.

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11. Power Rangers Dino Thunder (2004)

Mesogog is a humanoid dinosaur who brings Earth back to a prehistoric time, so Dr. Tommy Oliver is forced to recruit his students to become the Dino Rangers. Eventually, he and his colleague’s adopted son join them as the green and white Rangers. Dino Thunder aired on Jetix from February 14th to November 20th in ’04.

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12. Power Rangers S.P.D. (2005)
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Set twenty years in the future (which is only four years from now, yikes), S.P.D. stands for Space Patrol Delta, a force that protects the Galaxy from the Troobian Empire. S.P.D. is interesting because aliens and humans are allies for a good portion of it. Like its immediate predecessor, this one also aired on Jetix.

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13. Power Rangers Mystic Force (2006)

Morticon is the general of the Morlock Army and he plans to take over not just the human world, but the magical world too. Udonna, a sorceress, must form the Mystic Force Power Rangers to protect Briarwood. Mystic Force aired on Jetix in 2006 from February 20th to November 13th.

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14. Power Rangers Operation Overdrive (2007)
New Zealand Film Commission

Originally called Drive Force and Relic Hunters, Operation Overdrive sees a billionaire adventurer called Andrew Hartford tasking his own son and four others with finding the jewels of the Corona Aurora before Flurious, Moltor, Kamdor or Fearcats can. This iteration of the show aired on Jetix in 2007 from the 26th of February to the 12th of November.

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15. Power Rangers Jungle Fury (2008)

The evil spirit of Dai Shi has been stopped from destroying the world by the Phai Zhua for nearly ten thousand years. Master Mao chooses three people to guard the container of Dai Shi but one of them, Jarrod, is eventually deemed unworthy and replaced. He is angered and possessed by the spirit, so the Jungle Fury Power Rangers must stop the evil spirit from taking over the world.

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16. Power Rangers RPM (2009)

In 2009, the series returned to ABC Kids. From March 7th to December 26th, Power Rangers RPM aired. Venjix is an AI computer virus that has spread across Earth and created robot druids that destroy or enslave humans. Only Corinth remains due to its protective force field and the RPM Power Rangers must protect it. Beast Morphers is a direct sequel to this series.

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17. Power Rangers Samurai (2011)

Jayden Shiba is a descendant of the original Red Samurai Ranger and he is being trained by Mentor Ji of the Shiba House so that he can prevent Master Xandred’s Nighlok forces from taking over the earth. Fellow samurai descendants join him to form the Samurai Power Rangers. This was the first series to live on Nickelodeon.

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18. Power Rangers Super Samurai (2012)

Super Samurai is technically the second season of Power Rangers Samurai, but it is recognized as its own season. The Super in the name was done to reflect that there was an upgrade in the Rangers’ powers and as you can see, it becomes a trend for a few years.

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19. Power Rangers Megaforce (2013)

Zordon from the original few series has a protégé named Gosei and in Megaforce, he calls upon five teenagers to battle the invasion of the Warstar Empire, a group of evil aliens. This first season aired from February 2nd to December 7th in 2013 on Nickelodeon.

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20. Power Rangers Super Megaforce (2014)

Super Megaforce is of course the second season of Megaforce. Here, Gosei gives the Megaforce Power Rangers new morphers which gives them the ability to assume Super Mega Mode, which gives them the powers of all Rangers before them. It aired in 2014 on Nickelodeon from February the 15th to the 22nd of November.

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21. Power Rangers Dino Charge (2015)

Sledge is an intergalactic bounty hunter who comes to Earth looking for Energems, so the Dino Charge Power Rangers must wield them to keep them out of his and Snide’s hands. It lasted for 22 episodes from February to December 2015.

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22. Power Rangers Dino Super Charge (2016)

The second season, Dino Super Charge, also spanned 22 episodes. Here, the Ranger team gets two new members and along with new, more powerful enemies come new, more powerful powers. Nickelodeon also housed this series, which aired almost all year in 2016, from January 30th to December 10th.

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23. Power Rangers Ninja Steel (2017)

The item of desire in this series of Power Rangers is the Ninja Nexus Prism. It contains six magical Ninja Power Stars, which means that the Galaxy Warriors want it to become invincible. It’s up to the Ninja Steel Power Rangers to use the Stars to morph and stop them. The show lived on Nickelodeon from January to December in 2017.

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24. Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel (2018)

2018 saw the second season, Super Ninja Steel. The premise was that Madame Odius is still alive and now wants to steal the Prism more than ever. Here, the Rangers eventually claim the Super Steel and become more powerful than ever before.

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25. Power Rangers Beast Morphers (2019)
Pop Fun

As we previously mentioned, Beast Morphers is a direct sequel to RPM. Grid Battleforce is a secret agency that combines Morph-X with animal DNA to create the Power Rangers Beast Morphers team, hence the name. Where the virus in RPM was Venjix, here it is Evox. There were two seasons of it, but with the same name, unlike the past few years. It ran from March 2nd, 2019 to December 12th, 2020, in total.

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26. Power Rangers Dino Fury (2021)

The latest iteration of the show debuted on Nickelodeon in February of this year but was recently brought to Netflix, a reflection of where television is going in general. Here, the dinosaur theme is present for the fourth time. Alien beings called Sporix arrive on Earth and the newest Power Rangers must wield the power of the dinosaurs to defend our planet.

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Culture Movies/TV

The 25 Best Marvel Animated Movies, Ranked

So everyone knows how astonishing the Marvel Cinematic Universe has and probably always will be.

The big-screen debut of 2008’s Iron Man via Robert Downey’s Jr. kickstarted a flood of films that laid the foundation for game-changing moments. The initial union between The Avengers, Ultron’s ascension, the dreaded “Thanos Snap,” and the time-traveling mission that reversed the “Mad Titan’s” evil machinations were delivered through the MCU’s strong world-building. And thanks to a lineup of Disney+ shows and even more movies, the MCU will continue to produce global events for moviegoers everywhere.

We’ve showered plenty of praise upon the MCU already. But now we’re gonna switch gears and acknowledge the deluge of animated films that feature Marvel’s mightiest heroes. You may be surprised to learn that there are 25 Marvel animated films in total. We’re here to do you all a solid and make you aware of them all while ranking them at the very same time.

25. ‘Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron’

This film centers around the young engineering prodigy named Riri Williams, who finds herself feeling a bit closed off from the rest of her college peers. And that’s due to her young age in comparison to the school’s older population. Riri is forced to realize her self-confidence when it comes time to rescue her best friend from Hala the Accuser. What follows is a fun superhero romp for younger viewers that sees Riri and a lineup of other Marvel lady heroes joining a crusade against an interplanetary menace.

24. ‘Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United’

Marvel’s animation department has a penchant for pairing up two iconic heroes to save the day. As evidenced by this movie’s title, Iron Man and Hulk join forces to take on some of Marvel’s most beastly villains. The 3D animation on display here is decent at best, but at least the action-packed skirmishes that both heroes engage in produce some memorable moments. We get a rare Zzzax sighting in this film, which is actually worth the price of admission.

23. ‘Marvel Rising: Battle of the Bands’

Gwen Stacy aka “Spider-Gwen/Ghost-Spider” quickly became a fan favorite shortly after her 2014 debut. In this next Marvel Rising film, she gets the spotlight treatment as she and a group of equally beloved lady heroes investigate who and what’s been attacking them as of late. All the while, Ghost-Spider and the Secret Warriors have to get ready for a band competition. If you’re a diehard Spider-Gwen fan and want to see her rock out and kick butt in her natural element, be sure to give this one a watch.

22. ‘Marvel Rising: Operation Shuri’

The next Marvel Rising film on our list offers an entertaining showcase of the character most popularized by the Black Panther film, Shuri. A simple hangout session quickly morphs into a day full of heroics as Shuri and the rest of the Secret Warriors squad come together to save the day. This coming-of-age animated movie offers a deeper look at Shuri and highlights a feeling of independence among Marvel’s younger heroines.

21. ‘Marvel Rising: Chasing Ghosts’

Ghost-Spider makes her welcome comeback in this Marvel Rising adventure. She joins forces with the Secret Warriors once again in a bid to beat back the combined threat of Sheath and Exile. The final action-packed conflict that pops off between all those super-powered heroes and villains definitely excites, which makes this film worth checking out. You can never go wrong with some more Ghost-Spider, right?

20. ‘Marvel Rising: Playing With Fire’

This Marvel Rising film introduces younger Marvel fanatics to one of the youngest Inhumans within the wide comic book universe. That hero is known as Inferno, who must align himself with the Secret Warriors in a bid to recover his stolen superhuman abilities. Inferno presents himself as a conflicted superhero, which makes his adventure alongside the Secret Warriors a bit more intriguing to follow.

19. ‘Marvel Super Heroes: Frost Fight’

If you’re in the mood for a whimsical adventure that the kiddies will love, then this movie will certainly do the job. Loki steps up to the plate here as the main baddie as he and the frost giant Ymir set out to steal Santa’s magical abilities. And of course, The Avengers make every attempt to put a stop to their evil plans and keep the spirit of Christmas intact. It’s definitely worth breaking this movie out when you’re in the mood for some holiday-themed hero activities.

18. ‘Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors’

The signature team at the heart of all the Marvel Rising films first come together in this exciting team-up special. Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors sees the powerful collective of Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Quake, Patriot, America Chavez, and Inferno make their debut as an unlikely alliance. The main pull of this film comes from the fact that Marvel’s youngest and upcoming group of heroes get showcased in a prominent position that paints a bright future for them all.

17. ‘Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell’

We got another holiday-inspired Marvel movie here and it centers on the one that’s all about night frights. Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell fully embraces its Halloween theme by teaming up The Hulk and Dr. Strange for a clash with some horrific monsters. Things quickly go awry, which forces both heroes to step into the Dream Dimension to find out the true source behind all that uncontained evil. Watching the unexpected duo of Hulk and Strange confront supernatural threats ends up being a good time.

16. ‘Iron Man: Rise of Technovore’

There’s an Iron Man anime movie? Yes, yes there is. And it not only features Tony Stark’s metallic alter-ego. It also showcases War Machine, The Punisher, Black Widow, Nick Fury, and Hawkeye. They all come together to confront the technological parasite known as Technovore. Iron Man: Rise of Technovore is a decent attempt at presenting the action-packed world of Marvel within a striking anime sheen.

15. ‘Iron Man & Captain America: Heroes United’

Iron Man and Captain America certainly had their problems in the MCU. This superhero team-up movie unites them for the greater good, but also makes sure to acknowledge their past issues. Iron Man & Captain America: Heroes United is an action-fueled adventure that sees both heroes fighting the good fight against the equally powerful Red Skull and Taskmaster. The 3D animation in this one isn’t exactly the greatest. But the film’s big superhero and supervillain clashes will keep you entertained for the long haul.

14. ‘LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Black Panther – Trouble in Wakanda’

The stakes are certainly high in this Black Panther-themed adventure. The proud defender and prince of Wakanda must call on his fellow Avengers when the dangerous trio of Ulysses Klaue, Eric Killmonger, and Thanos unite to steal some Vibranium. Even with such a mega-sized threat present in this film, you’ll still be treated to the sort of slapstick humor the young ones adore from all those LEGO Marvel Super Heroes games.

13. ’Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher’

Now, this is one of the more unexpected Marvel team-ups fans have ever laid eyes on. But it works much better than one would expect. S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Black Widow and everyone’s favorite antihero The Punisher end up going on a high-priority mission that entails taking down a terrorist organization that’s willing to sell sensitive weaponry to some less than savory people. What ensues is a high-octane action thriller that’s held up by a gorgeous anime presentation and some additional Avengers appearances.

12. ‘LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – Guardians of the Galaxy: The Thanos Threat’

The Guardians of the Galaxy ended up being a surprise breakout smash on the big screen, which catapulted them to mainstream status. Thanks to their mass amount of fame, they’ve appeared in a whole slew of other media. In this film, they get LEGO-ized and embark on a space-faring crusade against Marvel’s “Mad Titan.” As expected, there are plenty of laughs and interplanetary action to be enjoyed here for all the young Guardians fans out there.

11. ‘The Invincible Iron Man’

Tony Starks gets the origin story treatment here as he comes to embrace his superhero role within the Marvel Universe. The Invincible Iron Man places the Starks in a terrible predicament as he tries to unearth an ancient Chinese temple. The opposing Jade Dragons disrupt his efforts, which leads Starks towards becoming the hero we all know him to be. This film offers a satisfactory tale and batch of cinematic action sequences to bask in.

10. ‘Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Avengers Reassembled’

Imagine having to endure a “party” with the hyper-intelligent robot known as Ultron. That’s the terrible situation The Avengers find themselves in as they fight to recover Iron Man’s prized battle armor. Your usual gamut of kid-friendly jokes and LEGO-flavored action sequences are included here for this brief Avengers team-up film. And for the most part, it gets the job done for Marvel’s younger fanbase.

9. ‘Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow’

The next Avengers movie special on this list doesn’t star the usual lineup of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.” The plot takes a super dark left turn in this one – most of The Avengers meet their unfortunate end at the hands of Ulton and his robot army. It’s up to the Avengers’ assortment of superpowered children to step up and save the day. You’ll get a kick out of watching an alternate future within the Marvel Universe where the offspring of legends band together to show just how worthy they are of holding the superhero mantle. The kids sure are alright.

8. ‘Thor: Tales of Asgard’

Before Thor and Loki became mortal foes, they fought side by side as brothers in arms. This fun prequel film stars young versions of Thor and Loki as they set out to recover a legendary blade while fighting alongside the Warriors Three. It’s pretty cool watching a pre-Mjolnir wielding Thor set out on a grand adventure and give viewers a hint of his magnificent future. Thor: Tales of Asgard provides a magical treasure hunt that has its shining moments here and there.

7. ‘Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload’

Loki is at it again! His mischievous ways are front and center in this LEGO Marvel Super Heroes movie. The Norse God’s evil ways bring other super-villains into the fold, which forces Spider-Man and a gang of other familiar heroes to take them all down. Maximum Overload is easily the best LEGO Marvel movie thanks to its strong cast of characters (Spidey, Loki, Venom, and Carnage’s inclusions here do a great job in that regard).

6. ‘Ultimate Avengers II: Rise of the Panther’

The Ultimate Marvel Universe breathed new life into the comic book medium by refreshing the most popular superheroes of all time. That alternate realm within Marvel Comics got their own animated movies. The second one brings the main members of the Ultimate Avengers together for the fight of their lives against an alien threat. Black Panther’s role here is of great importance and adds a bit of levity to the film since his kingdom is under attack by extraterrestrial beings. Ultimate Avengers II: Rise of the Panther provides a satisfying amalgamation of epic action sequences and engrossing plot progression, so be sure to check it out.

5. ‘Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme’

If you enjoyed each and every minute of the mind-bending live-action Doctor Strange movie, then you’ll most definitely feel the same way about this 2007 animated film. Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme details the mystical journey that Dr. Stephen Strange embarked on during his ascent to the title of “Sorcerer Supreme.” That ascension to one of the most powerful magic wielders in Marvel history makes for a quality viewing experience in animation form. Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme is a visual tour de force that will certainly enrapture one and all.

4. ‘Ultimate Avengers: The Movie’

The very first Ultimate Avengers film started a strong trend for Marvel’s dedicated move to produce animated films that appealed to its older fanbase. The early origins of Marvel’s most iconic superhero team play out here and come together in a riveting manner. Aliens invade Earth, which gives General Fury every reason in the world to call on the aid of Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Giant-Man, and The Wasp. This strong introduction to the Ultimate Avengers team hits on all the right notes you’d expect from a quality animated film.

3. ‘Planet Hulk’

If you read the Planet Hulk comic book arc (and even if you haven’t!), you have to give this quality animated movie adaptation a thorough watch. Especially since it features a wild clash between the big green guy and Beta-Ray Bill! So here’s how the story goes – Bruce Banner’s green alter-ego has caused far too much destruction on Earth, which forces some of his contemporaries to send him off the planet. Hulk soon ends up crash landing on a planet that’s ruled by a tyrant, who forces the green anti-hero to entertain him and his followers during coliseum battles. In a bid to fight back against that tyrant and free his fellow warriors from captivity, Hulk joins the resistance and struggles to regain his and theirs freedom.

2. ‘Hulk Vs.’

How can anyone not enjoy watching Marvel’s big green brute swing his enormous fists and feet at someone? It’s especially entertaining when he does it in this film against two equally formidable superheroes. You can turn your brain off if you’d like and just enjoy witnessing The Incredible Hulk square up with Wolverine and Thor. The plot buildup to those epic battles is pretty interesting too, so you can also watch this with your brain turned off if you’d like.

1. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse’

Not only is this film the best animated film effort ever put out, but it’s also arguably the greatest Spider-Man movie of all time. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse shows love to the young web-slinging prodigy Miles Morales and a fun assortment of other Spidey heroes from neighboring universes. The movie’s heartwarming moments, shocking twists, hilarious hijinks, and unique animation style all combine to make it a bonafide classic. It doesn’t matter what age you are – Into the Spiderverse is a favorite among all ages.

Culture Movies/TV

‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’: Explained

In both the East and West, anime has a reputation for being a form of entertainment created for and consumed by children and teens. That being said, anime also has a long history of avant-gardism and experimentalism, with many series rivaling high-art in terms of emotional and intellectual sophistication. Perhaps the best example of this is Neon Genesis Evangelion, widely considered one of the greatest anime franchises ever made.

Neon Genesis Evangelion was created by the director Hideaki Anno, who had previously worked with legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki on Studio Ghibli films, including Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. The series aired in Japan starting in 1995 and eventually made its way over to the United States in 2000, where it began developing a cult following. 

In the years since the show has been declared a masterpiece. Its inclusion in Takashi Murakami’s Superflat exhibitions in the early 2000s garnered the show much acclaim as museum-quality, legitimate art offering a deeply complex reflection of director Anno’s struggles with depression, a  commentary on the postmodern condition, and a meditation on Japan’s post-nuclear anxieties. 

With that in mind, NGE is far from the most accessible piece of art ever made. The fact that the show has multiple endings, multiple timelines, and multiple spin-offs doesn’t help the matter either.  In anticipation of the release of the fourth and final Neon Genesis Evangelion rebuild, confusingly titled Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, we’re offering an extremely truncated summary and explanation of the franchise — so you can be ready for when the last movie drops in August. Bear with me: this is about to be confusing.

An Extremely Brief Summary

The storyline of NGE is deeply detailed and filled with an almost inconceivable amount of obscure lore, but here’s the shortest explanation of the plot we could possibly come up with. (Forgive me for leaving out several key subplots, but there’s a lot to cover.)

Neon Genesis Evangelion tells the story of Shinji Ikari, a student recruited to pilot a giant biomechanical robot created to fight mysterious alien-like entities (known as Angels) attacking the post-cataclysm territory of Tokyo-3. Shinji’s father, Gendo Ikari, is a high-level official in a secret government program named NERV, which was created to combat these attacks. Because of his hatred for his estranged father, Shinji has complicated feelings about being handed such an immense responsibility. Gendo blackmails Shinji into piloting the mech (known as an Eva) by threatening to force an already severely injured Rei Ayanami (another Eva pilot) to battle in Shinji’s stead.

Rei, Shinji, and a third pilot named Asuka Langley Sohryu (a bratty and arrogant half-German, half-Japanese schoolgirl who Shinji may or may not be sexually attracted to) battle a series of increasingly powerful Angels in their respective Eva units until Asuka, facing defeat in battle, slips into a catatonic depression. Shinji, whose Eva had previously gone berserk, is meanwhile slowly uncovering the truth about his colleague Rei, who appears to be a clone created by Gendo and his shadowy organization, to be repeatedly sacrificed in the fight against the Angels. It is also hinted that Rei was created from the DNA of Shinji’s mother. In fact, Shinji’s mother is revealed to have been a scientist who worked on creating the Eva units (built using technology harvested from Angels) — until she was quite literally absorbed by the machine that Shinji himself now pilots. 

Kaworu Nagisa, another Eva pilot, is brought in to replace Asuka. He fights alongside Shinji, and the two form a somewhat homoerotic relationship — that is until it is revealed that Kaworu is actually an Angel in disguise. Kaworu breaches a secret crypto-governmental base in the hopes of making contact with Lilith, an ancient Angel that Gendo’s organization had kept hidden underground. Kaworu contact with Lilith has the potential to destroy all life on Earth. Shinji reluctantly kills Kaworu to save humanity. Now here’s where things get really complicated: it turns out that NERV was functioning as a cover for an even more clandestine organization known as Seele. Seele had been researching the Angel phenomenon for a long time and, informed by ancient prophecies, had actually orchestrated an apocalypse that would turn all life on Earth into a giant soup of semi-sentient slime — assuming that this new existence would represent a higher form of mass consciousness that transcends human limitations. Shinji alone is faced with a choice: to save humanity and individuality or to allow all human life to dissolve into an amorphous collective consciousness.

Multiple Endings, Explained

The original TV series ran for a total of 26 episodes, but Gainax, the studio that had created Evangelion, was not prepared for the demands that the show would put on animators — or their budgets! The show had become less action/adventure-oriented and more surrealistic by episode 16, partially as a result of exhausting production schedules and a lack of funds that forced the animators to become more clever and artistic — and, simultaneously, hopeless about the show’s future. By the time Gainax had gotten to episode 25, there was almost no money left — forcing animators to cobble together the final 2 episodes using mostly recycled footage from the previous episodes. 

The TV series, then, ends with the triggering of Seele’s apocalypse, represented in the abstract by a series of dream-like images, including the cast of characters inexplicably congratulating Shinji. For the most part, this ending is totally incoherent — although some have interpreted it as Shinji ultimately realizing the need for others, thus fighting against Seele’s doomsday initiative,The Human Instrumentality Project.

A few years later, following negative critical reactions to the series’ ambiguous conclusion, Gainax attempted to revisit the incomplete show in the form of two films: Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth and The End of Evangelion. Death & Rebirth was released in 1997 as a recap of the series. End of Evangelion, also released in 1997, is what most consider the series’ proper ending and picks up where episode 24 leaves off.

In End of Evangelion, Seele attempts to bring forth the apocalypse by releasing a series of mass-produced Evas, while Gendo attempts to fuse with Rei in order to reunite with his late wife. In a series of magical, surreal battles, Rei becomes a sort of gigantic demi-God who Shinji must either forfeit to — deciding that human life isn’t worth saving — or battle. Shinji ultimately chooses human individuality, defeating the Rei-kaiju. He awakens to a barren wasteland with Asuka. Shinji begins choking Asuka to death but is calmed when she reaches out to stroke his cheek. “How disgusting,” says Asuka, as the movie ends.

Understanding Evangelion

Since anime is art and art is subjective, critics and fans have come up with several theories to explain what actually happens in the show. None of these ideas are mutually exclusive, nor can they be proven or disproven. Four major strains of thought have seemed to emerge:

The Straightforward / Modernist Interpretation: The events of Neon Genesis Evangelion are meant to be taken at face value and understood literally. The story is about man’s struggles with both God and technology and humanity’s experience of both joy and pain. Shinji’s final choice represents a humanistic appreciation for individuality. The abstract stuff is just the result of budget constraints.

The Psychoanalytic Interpretation: Anno had researched psychoanalytic theory while grappling with his own depression, which informed the show’s story. The writings of Sigmund Freud and Melanie Klein are referred to in the show’s English episode titles and plot points of the series map onto Freud and Klein’s theories of human psychosexual development. Shinji’s journey, then, could be understood as a metaphor for his movement from what is known in Kleinian theory as the paranoid-schizoid position (the solipsistic and wrathful mindset of the infant) into the depressive position (in which a human begins to understand the concept of loss). Similarly, the story may be interpreted as Shinji’s conquering of his Oedipus complex (the show explores the difficulties of his triangulated relationship with his father and mother) and his entrance into the world of adult sexuality, as he moves from homosexuality (his relationship with Kaworu) to heterosexuality (his relationship with Asuka).

The Postmodern / Superflatist Interpretation: The show is a self-reflexive meta-commentary on otaku culture, anime itself, and the struggles of its animators. NGE, in this line of thought, is a self-aware deconstruction of the tropes of giant robot anime (like, for example, Gundam) that also serves as a critique of the animation industry or aspects of Japan’s infantilized, post-nuclear culture. The abstractions and surreality, then, are reflections of a kind of cultural schizophrenia brought about by technology and existence in a genocided, post-atomic society.

The Nihilistic Interpretation: The story doesn’t make sense and doesn’t actually “mean” anything at all — it’s best to be understood as a series of gorgeous aesthetic images and experiences rather than interpreted at all.

Rebuilds, Spin-offs, and Re-releases
Dark Horse Comics

After even one viewing of NGE, it’s obvious that there’s a lot of smaller sub-plots and mythos that simply aren’t covered in the show. A 14-volume manga series with the same name ran from 1994 to 2013 and more thoroughly explained what, exactly, the Angels are — amongst offering more in-depth explorations of each characters’ psychology. This manga isn’t particularly easy to find in the United States, although fan translations and scans are currently floating around the Internet.

Another spinoff manga that recapitulates the original NGE story, titled Neon Genesis Evangelion: Apocalypse Campus, ran from 2007 to 2009 and was released in the United States by Dark Horse comics in 2010. NGE also had a few Japan-only video game spinoffs and playable novels that similarly delve deeper into Anno’s strange world.

In 2007, the first film in a series of so-called “rebuilds” — titled Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone — was released. These rebuilds, still written by Anno and starting the story over from the beginning, explored an alternate re-telling (or alternate timeline?) of the events of Evangelion, completely redone with higher quality computer animation and digital ink. Without the constraints of traditional animation, these stunningly beautiful movies might be closer to what Anno originally imagined the show to look like — however, the story is even more dense and confusing.

In the subsequent rebuilds, the Angels actually do succeed in destroying most of Earth, leaving behind a massive post-apocalyptic nightmare world that Shinji is forced to protect. This story also introduces Mari Makinami Illustrious, a new Eva pilot, who may or may not be a double-agent for another shadowy organization. Kaworu plays a bigger role in this version, and his complicated (romantic?) relationship with Shinji is explored in more depth. Netflix re-released the original Neon Genesis Evangelion series, Death & Rebirth, End of Evangelion, and the first three rebuilds in 2019. The show had been difficult to find before these re-releases, and fans were thrilled to have it so readily available once again — everything looks stunning in their HD remaster. However, due to licensing issues with the original voice-over tracks and score, the show’s entire dialogue was re-recorded with new voice actors, and all of the original music was replaced. Reactions to the new audio were mixed, but some fans were particularly enraged with the new translation, which rendered Shinji and Kaworu’s relationship much more ambiguous and less romantic or homo-erotic.

New Movie and What’s Next

Anno’s rebuilds took a frightening amount of work — Anno was reluctant to even complete the sequence for personal reasons — and the last two films had been delayed several times. 3.0+1.0 faced even further delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Finally, the last rebuild of this tetralogy was released in Japan in March of 2021. The movie will become available for streaming in the United States on Amazon Prime on August 13, 2021.

Anno has stated that this is the conclusion to the rebuild narrative and that it is his final project in the Evangelion universe. Whether he sticks to his word or decides to revisit this world in the future remains to be seen. That being said, a few animators are working on their own imaginings or expansions of Evangelion without Anno: short films titled Evangelion – Another Impact (Confidential), Neon Genesis IMPACTS, and until You come to me [sic], set in the world of Eva, have been released.

Anno’s more recent projects that are unaffiliated with Eva retain striking thematic similarities with his best-known work. Shin Godzilla, an Anno-directed, live-action, postmodern reinvention of  Godzilla, was released in 2016 — it even features reinterpretations of the original music from NGE. His upcoming film, Shin Kamen Rider, is set to be released in 2023 and is likely to offer a similar postmodern reimagining of the beloved titular character. Rumors of a fully realized Neon Genesis Evangelion theme park — and rumors of a fully live-action reboot of the series — have been floating around for years. However, the extent to which this gossip will ever come true remains a question. Meanwhile, NGE is still one of the most influential and important anime shows ever made, and, somehow — even after decades of viewership — still garners serious debates and spawns nearly endless memes that reach out into the furthest corners of the Internet.

Culture Movies/TV

Everything We Know About ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’

Okay, we are finally here. Well not yet, but almost.

Space Jam: A New Legacy has been long-anticipated since its announcement in 2014, and while we still aren’t fully clued in on all the details (we imagine there will be some surprises), we now know enough to write an article on what we do know. There’s still a lot of questions—will there be surprise appearances? Will Michael Jordan make a cameo (Don Cheadle says yes)? When does the rest of the merchandise drop? We imagine we’ll find out those details when you do. In the meantime, let’s get into what has been confirmed.

When Will Space Jam: A New Legacy Be Released?

You probably already know this, but Space Jam: A New Legacy will hit theaters on July 16th. There were questions at the beginning of the year of whether or not the film would be released in theaters due to the pandemic, but the movie will indeed make its debut on the big screen. Understanding that not everyone is ready to be in theaters yet, the movie will also be available via HBO Max for one month. 

Who is going to be in it?

In short—a lot of people. Y’all Ready? Here are some of the names of those confirmed at the moment: Lebron James obviously, Don Cheadle, Zendaya, Sonequa Martin-Green, Kyrie Irving, Draymond Green, Chiney Ogwumike, Nneka Ogwumike, Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Chris Paul, Diana Taurasi, Damian Lillard, and more. 

The legendary Jeff Bergman will voice multiple characters along with Eric Bauza. Bob Bergen, Jim Cummings, Candy Milo, and Gabriel Iglesias will also have roles in the film, as well as Ernie Johnson and Lil Rel Howery, who will serve as game commentators. Of course, there is the question of Michael Jordan. He has to make an appearance right? Well, the only thing we have to go on right now is Don Cheadle’s word. We imagine he wouldn’t have given official confirmation if it wasn’t happening, so we’ll go ahead and put MJ on the list too.

What Is This Movie Going To Be About?

A New Legacy is labeled as a stand-alone sequel, so it won’t be a direct follow-up to the original 1996 film. This movie will see Lebron James and his son (portrayed by Cedric Joe) are trapped in the wild world of Warner Bros which is ruled by a devious dictator by the name of AI-G rhythm (Don Cheadle). What happens next? Like you guys we have to wait until the movie comes out, but right now we do know that James is charged with the task of getting everyone home safe by leading the Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I. champions. 

What About The Soundtrack?

Space Jam: A New Legacy will have a dope soundtrack that will feature Lil Baby, Lil Wayne, Saweetie, Kash Doll, Chance the Rapper, John Legend, Kirk Franklin, The Jonas Brothers, and plenty more. Even Damian Lillard (whose rap moniker is Dame D.O.L.L.A) will have a song on the soundtrack that features G-Eazy, P-Lo, and White Dave. Right now, the soundtrack participants are still being quiet, but maybe next week we’ll get official single promotions and perhaps music videos. 

Space Jam Merchandise
Nike x Converse Space Jam Merchandise

Last but not least, what about the merchandise? Again we’re still kind of this dark on this a bit, but there have been some Space Jam merch drops already. Forever 21 dropped their collection a few weeks ago, and McDonald’s teamed up with DiamondSupplyCo. to release their own set of merchandise earlier this week. However, we are still waiting on the Nike x Converse Space Jam exclusives that were teased last month. The Space Jam Nike and Converse collaboration have an upcoming capsule that is set to release on July 16th along with the movie. We imagine it will be an early drop that will probably go quick, so make sure you are ready if you plan on buying anything for the collection. 

Alright folks that’s all we’ve got for right now, if there are any major updates between now and next Friday we’ll be sure to make updates. Enjoy the movie and for those that see it early, please don’t spoil it!

Culture Movies/TV

The 15 Best Comedy Anime To Watch Now

Although action and adventure shonen tends to get a lot of recognition, part of what makes anime as a medium so exceptional is its versatility and how many genres fall underneath its umbrella. Anime, ultimately, is just animated television/film from Japan; so many things can exist within the term. As someone who has watched a lot of action and adventure-oriented anime, it was a nice change of pace to dive into some of the more comedic offerings available right now.

For the purposes of this article, I’ll primarily focus on television shows, but I’ve got to include a few movies in there as well. Additionally, some of the most famous shonen anime of all time are exceptionally funny, despite not being formally defined as “comedy anime.” Nonetheless, they make me—and many fans—laugh. That sounds like comedy to me, so I’ll also be including a few iconic shows that could fall under numerous genres. After all, what is a comedy anime? A show that makes you laugh.

15. Aggretsuko

Aggretsuko is just truly so cute. By combining a deeply childish cartoon style with Retsuko’s band’s death metal karaoke, the show provides a unique juxtaposition between its visual and auditory style. Despite the show’s anthropomorphic characters, Retsuko and the rest of the cast have fairly traditional, human lives. Retsuko is an accountant, who works to overcome many of the problems facing typical young adults in the 21st century through a myriad of ways, one of them being by releasing her emotions through cathartic death metal karaoke. Netflix has three seasons so far, and a fourth season is in production.

watch now on netflix

14. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.

Part of what makes The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. so fun is how it combines the supernatural/fantastical elements of many anime shows with comedy and levity. Kusuo Saiki, the show’s protagonist, was born with supernatural powers, including psychokinesis and teleportation—among others. As opposed to shows with similar premises, Kusuo tries to hide his powers from those around him, often putting him in humorous and awkward situations. It’s a teen comedy-drama, but the root of teen’s problems is often his extraordinary abilities. As of now, the show is comprised of three seasons, all of which are available to watch on Netflix.

watch now on netflix
13. My Bride is a Mermaid

This is one of the entries on the list that would fall under the genre of “romantic-comedy.” As is the case with a lot of anime, however, the premise incorporates fantasy elements as well. Without giving too much away, the show follows a teenage boy named Nagasumi Michishio, who is saved from drowning by a mermaid named Sun Seto. Here’s the kicker. Under mermaid law, either the mermaid who had her identity revealed or the human who learned of her identity has to be executed. So to work around it, the young Nagasumi and Sun have to get married. Sun’s family also happens to be the head of a mermaid Yakuza group. Antics ensue. There are also only 26 episodes, so this is an easy watch.

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12. The Devil Is a Part-Timer!

This show derives its comedy from its silly premise as much as it does from the actual jokes within it. The protagonist is literally Satan. In another dimension, Satan is defeated by the Hero Emilia Justina and is forced to flee through a portal that takes them into modern-day Japan, where they have to live normal human lives to survive. Satan ultimately has to get a part-time gig at MgRonald’s, a parody of McDonald’s, in order to support himself. It’s a goofy show that combines elements of the slice of life genre with its more fantastical elements.

watch now on hulu
11. Kill la Kill

Kill la Kill is definitely one of the shows on this list that could fall under a lot of different genres. Nonetheless, at its core, it still aims to make the audience laugh. The show focuses on schoolgirl Ryuko Matoi and her quest to find her father’s killer, ultimately pitting her against her academy’s student council. There’s got to be an element of the supernatural as well, so in Kill la Kill, the students’ Goku Uniforms bestow superhuman abilities upon their wearer. The show is action-packed, it’s funny and Ryuko is an amazing protagonist. For fans of Gurren Lagan, this show was directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi and written by Kazuki Nakashima, both of whom had previously worked on the beloved mech anime. The show is only 25 episodes, so it’s an easy binge.

watch now on netflix
10. Daily Lives of High School Boys

Daily Lives of High School Boys falls under the umbrella of “slice of life” anime, in that it focuses on real-world situations and the drama between a group of three schoolboys: Tadakuni, Hidenori Tabata and Yoshitake Tanaka. For the fans of more fast-paced, action anime, this might not be the exact right choice, but for fans of relationship-driven stories, this is definitely a fun watch. It’s also only 18 episodes, so it’s not too big of a commitment to get through.

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9. Konosuba

I actually wasn’t familiar with Konosuba until writing this list, but after diving into it, it quickly has become one of my favorite fantasy-comedy series of all time. The series follows young Kazuma Satō, a Japanese teenage hermit who, after an untimely death, is offered the opportunity to be reincarnated in parallel world with MMORPG elements by the goddess Aqua. The narrative continues to unravel and become more complicated, but essentially, if you’re a fan of MMORPGs or sword and sorcery games or TV shows, then Konosuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! is definitely worth checking out. Clocking in at only 22 episodes, it can even be crammed into a weekend bing if you’re committed enough.

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8. Gintama

If you’re an anime fanatic, odds are you know Gintama. The sci-fi comedy is a great option for fans of Space Dandy or other adventure anime that combines elements of the fantastic with more traditional comedy and situational humor. As opposed to some of the other options on this list, Gin Tama is long (clocking in at over 200 episodes), so we won’t go into the plot too specifically, but here’s a little teaser:

The show focuses on Gintoki Sakata as he makes his rent as a freelancer, essentially doing any odd jobs he can get his hands on. But it’s a bit more complicated. Gintama takes place in an alternate-history Edo period, one in which humanity is ruled by a race of aliens called “Amanto” after Edo Japan’s military surrenders to the powerful invaders. Gintoki’s freelancing business eventually becomes a trio known as “Yorozuya” or “We Do Everything.”

The show relies on a lot of gags and slapstick humor in addition to its more nuanced science fiction premise. In short, it’s a hit. Watch it if you’ve got the time.

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7. Space Dandy

Space Dandy is, quite frankly, ridiculous. But that’s what makes it so much fun. The show, which was produced by Bones (who produced both Fullmetal Alchemist adaptations, Mob Psycho 100, Sk8 the Infinity, and My Hero Academia, just to name a few), is a “space opera,” following the misadventures of Dandy, an alien bounty hunter who is, ultimately, useless. The show references a lot of other anime and manga, in addition to internet and meme culture. It also has a unique relationship to continuity, with numerous episodes ending in a major way and then having no bearing on the following narratives. Despite his dimwittedness, Dandy and his pompadour are easy to love. With only 26 episodes, it’s relatively easy to whiz through.
6. Mr. Osomatsu

Mr. Osomatsu might be the funniest show on this list. It was difficult to determine exactly where to place it in the ranking. I think some of the forthcoming shows on this list are “better” (which is obviously subjective) as fully immersive shows, but Mr. Osomatsu is just so damn funny. The anime has been on for over 5 years and is now comprised of 75 episodes, which dive into the lives of the Matsuno brothers: Osomatsu, Karamatsu, Choromatsu, Ichimatsu, Jyushimatsu, and Todomatsu. The six brothers are all identical sextuplets, and the show follows the sextet as they get into hijinks. The series is based on Osomatsu-kun, a manga from the 60s by Fujio Akatsuka, and was initially released as a celebration of the beloved author’s 80th birthday. Whereas the original manga focused on he sextuplets in their younger days, the contemporary version follows the titular character and his brothers as adults.

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5. The Castle of Cagliostro

I said I’d have to include a movie or two on here. The Castle of Cagliostro was Hayao Miyazaki’s directorial debut and tells the story of of master thief Arsène Lupin III. While movies like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke have firmly found their footing as some of the greatest animated movies of all time, some older movies of Hayao Miyazaki’s go overlooked. Although the movie is thematically different from many of Miyazaki’s later entries (environmentalism as a theme doesn’t quite come up yet), but still features his telltale beautiful portrait shots and witty characters. In short, the movie is an absolute delight and a must-watch for fans of Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki’s more recent work.

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4. Porco Rosso

I had to include another movie! This is arguably Miyazaki’s funniest movie, partially just because the premise is so absurd and addressed in such a circuitous way. Miyazaki’s 1992 film tells the story of an Italian World War I ex-fighter ace, who now works as a freelance bounty hunter in pursuit of “air pirates.” Despite the semi-real world premise, the protagonist is “Porco Rosso”, which translates from Italian to “Red Pig.” The film unravels to reveal more about how he came to exist as an anthropomorphic pig, but for much of the movie, he’s a Red Baron-esque cool guy with a sick mustache. This is also around when American dubs of Japanese movies started to utilize celebrity talent; Michael Keaton’s performance as the eponymous character is especially wonderful.

watch now on HBO max
3. Mob Psycho 100

This is where we get into complicated territory with regard to deeming this show a “comedy.” Although it’s absolutely an action/adventure series at its core, Mob Psycho 100—as with all of the writer illustrator, ONE’s work—is positively hysterical. The show follows young Shigeo Kageyama, or “Mob,” who is a powerful esper with psychic abilities that exceed those of the most powerful people in the world. Whereas numerous other anime protagonist’s are exceptionally unique aesthetically, Mob is deeply average. In most shots, he looks like a background character. In fact, he’s one of the most powerful characters in anime generally. And the show is just so funny. From Mob’s dry persona to his con-man boss Reigen Arataka to his heartwarming relationship with the Body Improvement Club, everything about the show is truly perfection. I love this show so much. Season 3 can’t come fast enough.

watch now on hbo max
2. One Piece

Ok, I know I’m going to get into trouble for this one. One Piece isn’t technically a comedy anime, but it’s the greatest anime of all time and it is so exceptionally funny that it has to be on this list. I know the tired complaint: it’s too long. It is very long, but once you get into it, its length feels more like a blessing than a curse. Captain Monkey D. Luffy is one of the funniest characters in all of anime and every member of the Strawhat pirates has their own unique sense of humor. It is a whopping 1,000 episodes, but my best advice for people looking to start is to not worry about watching all of it, just take it one episode at a time. Every arc has its own merit, and once you get started, you’ll love it. Don’t sweat the destination, enjoy the journey.

watch now on hulu
1. One-Punch Man

I truly can’t emphasize enough how much I love One-Punch Man. Written and illustrated by the same author as Mob Psycho 100 (ONE), One-Punch Man turns the superhero genre on its head. As opposed to focusing on a hero getting stronger and overcoming the odds, One-Punch Man focuses on Saitama, its eponymous hero as he deals with the trials and tribulations of being too strong. Every fight of his ends in—you guessed it—one punch. It devolves into a story of existential dread for the dry protagonist as he attempts to find a fight worth fighting. There are also a whole slew of other wonderfully-designed superheroes and the show tackles a lot of the politics between the competing heroes of City Z. Despite Saitama’s silly and average appearance, he’s the strongest of them all. If you haven’t watched this show, go watch it right now. It is just so good.

There’s still no firm news surrounding the release of season 3, but it truly cannot come fast enough.

watch now on netflix
Culture Movies/TV

The 14 Best-Selling Manga of All-Time

Just a few years ago, there seemed to be a stigma around manga and anime that has certainly since been shaken. The community seems to be growing significantly larger year by year and an increasing number of people who are into random TV series and comics are trying out some of the Japanese content.

An anime is basically a Japanese cartoon. Anime is certainly more popular than manga, at least in the Western world. Many of us were into anime as children before we even knew it. Think Dragon Ball, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon. Where anime is the Japanese version of cartoons, manga is basically the Japanese version of comic books and graphic novels. Just like shows often are with comic books, a lot of anime often starts with manga.

To bring you up to speed on the world of manga, we’ve compiled a list of the 14 best-selling manga of all time. Here they are, from top to bottom.

1. One Piece (Shueisha, 1997 – Present)

Few manga on this list are still in print today, but One Piece is one of them, nearing its 100th volume. Right now, it’s the best-selling manga series on the planet, with an estimated 480 million copies sold worldwide. It follows Monkey D. Luffy, whose body gains the properties of rubber, while he searches for the treasure known as One Piece.

Buy now, $8.40
2. Golgo 13 (Shogakukan, 1968 – Present)

Golgo 13 is the longest-running manga series on this list, starting in October of 1968 and still in production. There are a couple of hundred volumes that have sold 300 million copies. It’s about a professional assassin who must do his job while the CIA, FBI, and US Army try to hunt him down.

Buy now, $9.99
3. Dragon Ball (Shueisha, 1984 – 1995)

This is definitely the name on this list that most people who aren’t into manga or anime will recognize, especially its sequel Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball has approximate sales of 260 million. The series essentially follows Son Goku as he tries to collect the Dragon Balls, but of course, it goes many places from there.

Buy now, $2.60
4. Naruto (Shueisha, 1999 – 2014)
Simon & Schuster

Naruto follows its title character, a ninja called Naruto Uzumaki, as he aims to achieve his goal of being Hokage, the leader of his village. The anime is famous for having hundreds and hundreds of episodes, but its manga was 72 volumes. To date, it has sold approximately 250 million copies worldwide.

Buy now, $9.53
5. Detective Conan (Shogakukan, 1994 – Present)

Detective Conan, also known to some as Case Closed, is a story about a high school detective called Shinichi Kudo who turns into a child while investigating a particularly strange organization. It has sold an estimated 230 million copies and is still in print today, nearing its 100th volume.

Buy now, $7.67
6. Black Jack (Akita Shoten, 1973 – 1983)

Coming in at sixth place with sales of 176 million is Black Jack. Written and illustrated by Osamu Tezuka, it’s named after its title character. Set in the 1970s, Black Jack is a doctor who does good deeds, but rarely gets recognized for it. There were just 25 volumes in the decade it was in production.

Buy now, $12.50
7. Doraemon (Shogakukan, 1969 – 1996)

Doraemon is a robotic cat who time travels so that a boy called Nobita Nobi can be assisted. It’s neither a Shōnen nor a Seinen and is aimed at children. Selling 170 million copies worldwide, it’s hard to overstate how big this is in Japan. Doraemon has previously been named Japan’s anime ambassador and appeared alongside the country’s Prime Minister at the 2016 Olympics.

Buy now, $17.99
8. Slam Dunk (Shueisha, 1990 – 1996)

As you may have guessed from the name, Slam Dunk is a manga based around basketball. The plot is that a boy, Hanamichi Sakuragi, meets a love interest, Haruko Akagi, who convinces him to join their high school basketball team. He’s not interested at first, but it quickly becomes a passion of his. In six years, 157 million copies were sold.

Buy now, $5.03
9. KochiKame: Tokyo Beat Cops (Shueisha, 1976 – 2016)
The Puppeter

With a whopping 200 volumes, KochiKame focuses on a policeman named Kankichi Ryotsu. It’s almost like a written sitcom. Each episode centers around a money-making scheme that Kankichi thinks of, only for it to blow up in his face by the end. In three decades, this manga series sold 156.5 million copies.

Buy now, $7.71
10. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (Shueisha, 2016 – 2020)

Demon Slayer is the newest and one of the shortest manga on this list by a mile, starting just a few years ago in 2016 and ending last year. The anime is also insanely popular. To date, the manga series has sold 150 million copies, an impressive number for such a short time span. As of December last year, the entire franchise had generated the equivalent of $2.6 billion in Japan.

Buy now, $7.39
11. Crayon Shin-chan (Futabasha, 1990 – Present)

Still in print, Crayon Shin-chan has been around in some form since it debuted in Weekly Manga Action in 1990. It follows a five-year-old named Shinnosuke Nohara and his loved ones. It has sold approximately 148 million copies.

Buy now, $6.48
12. Oishinbo (Shogakukan, 1983 – 2014)

Next up is Oishinbo which is currently on hiatus due to criticism it received for its portrayal of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Plans are to bring it back for a short while before ending it. At the time of writing, the show about the culinary journalist and his wife has sold around 135 million copies.

Buy now, $10.65
13. Bleach (Shueisha, 2001 – 2016)

In print from 2001 to 2016, Bleach is about a fifteen-year-old who is a Soul Reaper (similar to a grim reaper.) It’s been a great success, boasting an anime series, a film, musicals, a trading card game, novels, and more. 120 million copies have been sold to date.

Buy now, $6.91
14. Astro Boy (Kobunsha, 1952 – 1968)

Last up is Astro Boy (known as Mighty Atom in Japan), which has sold an estimated 100 million copies. A man called Umataro Tenma mourns the death of his son and creates an android with human emotions. He eventually wants to live life as a human boy.

Buy now, $31
Culture Movies/TV

The Best ‘Fast and Furious’ Movies, Ranked

Ride or die, remember? 

Oh yeah. We remember. 

With the release of Fast and Furious 9, it is only appropriate that we dissect and break down the entire Fast Universe by ranking them from worst to first. 

And don’t forget, it doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.

9) The Fate of The Furious

Listen, I am going to see these movies no matter what. At this point, I’m hooked. 

But F8 just did not do it for me. I know that these movies have evolved into giant blockbuster action movies, and I’m OK with that. I just want it done well. And I didn’t get that vibe with F8

Charlize Theron is a nice addition to the already studded Fast-cast and she plays a quality, cruel villain. Sure, you still get some witty one-liners from Tyrese Gibson and co. – but outside of that, this movie is not that memorable. 

The two Shaw brothers bring the action in the plane hijacking scene. The scene is also ignited by one of the more enjoyable lines of the film, “you just took your foot off the tiger’s neck.” It is probably the best sequence in the film, but it all just feels meh to me. 

Standout Song: Hey Ma – Pitbull, J Balvin, & Camila Cabello 

Fire Quote: “I’m going to beat you like a Cherokee drum.”


8) Fast 9

It has only been in the theaters for a few days, but I was able to make my way to catch Fast 9 in a timely manor.

Being completely transparent, I think I am still processing the film. So I will do my best to provide commentary on some of the things I am sure of.

Yes, it is over the top. Yes, there is some mildly funny commentary. Yes, it certainly helped that I smoked a joint with friends before going into the movie.

In the trailer, it shows them going to space. With that information alone, you have everything you need to know. While I found myself smirking, giggling, and enjoying some moments – I also felt insulted at times. The action is RIDICULOUS.


Where I was surprised was in the backstory of the Torreto family. I thought that was really dope. It explained how John Cena’s character fit into all of it. And, although it was brief, I thought Cena and Diesel had some quality moments and chemistry. Even just by way of a look or a grin.

But the space stuff was too much. I couldn’t do it. On top of that, the movie was insanely meta. Tyrese Gibson is making jokes for the entire movie about how they shouldn’t be surviving all of these outrageous crashes. (Dom and Letty drive off a cliff, hook onto a rope, and then crash into a different cliff WITHOUT A SCRATCH)

The movie glances over Han’s death pretty quickly, but at least that is acknowledged in the mid-credits scene.

The franchise has announced the final installment of the sega will come in two parts. They also announced a new solo film for The Rock’s character, Hobbs. And then teased a potential film with Han and Shaw in that mid-credits scene. They are going to milk the shit out of this.

But I just want one more. A gritty, low-budget, and grounded film set in LA. I am convinced that it can be done. And I believe it would be the perfect way to conclude the franchise.

Standout Song: Fast Lane – Don Toliver, Lil Durk, and Latto 

Fire Quote: “How in the hell are you not dead?”

Scene: Opening racing scene at the old track

7) ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’

For years, I missed this one. But I think over time it has grown on me slightly. Obviously, this one sticks out amongst the rest when you look at the films from a distance. But there is a little bit of nostalgia that sucks me in from time to time. 

I’m never going out of my way to watch it. But the perception of the movie was so bad, I think it is slightly underrated. If anything, the movie kills it when it comes to Han. In a series filled with overacting and cheesy lines… Tokyo Drift treats Han differently. He is calm, cool, and collected. He says so much with just a smirk or a look. I wouldn’t suggest going out of your way to rewatch this one, but if you stumble upon it, it is worth giving a few minutes just so you can appreciate the legend, Han.

And who can forget that final scene? When the music suddenly shifts from Tokyo Drift… into “Los Bandoleros.”

Standout Song: Tokyo Drift – Teriyaki Boyz

Fire Quote: “He was when he rolled with me.” 


6) ‘Fast and Furious 6’

When I originally saw this one, I felt like it had been a minor letdown. Obviously, there was a ton of momentum coming into this addition to the franchise. Fast 5 blew people out of the water, and The Rock had become an official staple in the series. 

Now, Fast 6 was not bad. It has a lot of very memorable moments to the franchise and Owen Shaw is a solid villain. It was actually one of the few times in the series where the team felt overpowered. Shaw’s team had a beat on Dom’s. And perhaps most importantly, we get the return of Letty.

While the climax of the movie has its flaws, like the length of the runway (lol), it does also give some outstanding spots as well. It is not too often that you get to see Vin Diesel lift up a giant man and then have The Rock clotheslining that man to hell. 

The closing action sequence takes away Gisele, played by Gal Gadot. It is a heartbreaking loss. It also gives us a semi-bizarre after-credits scene that reveals Jason Statham as the next villain. I’m not going to go down a rabbit hole of evidence, but in Tokyo Drift, they are using flip phones… but in Fast 6 they are using incredibly advanced technology. Someone messed up there.

If you like the other movies, you are going to like this one.

Standout Song: We Own It – Wiz Khalifa & 2 Chainz

Fire Quote: “It’s not that simple. The crew we are after, they hit like thunder and disappear like smoke. You go in alone? You won’t ever touch ‘em. I’ve been chasing this guy across four continents and 12 countries. And believe me the last damn place I want to be right now is on your front doorstep, selling girl scout cookies. I need your help Dom. I need your team.”


5) ‘Furious 7’

OK, now we are talking. And get the tissues ready. 

This was an incredibly tricky movie to manage. Of course, this film’s production was interrupted by the tragic death of Paul Walker. For about a decade, Walker helped carry the load in the Fast and Furious franchise. He was more than a staple. This might be a “hot take,” but I think Walker was more Fast and Furious than even Vin Diesel. 

This was a tough task, and coming into the movie, I was hesitant and unsure. But holy shit, they fucking nailed it. 

The movie comes with the usual over-the-top action sequences. It has the cheesy one-liners that we have grown to love. Deckard Shaw’s introduction is world class, as is our meeting with Mr. Nobody. 

But when you talk to people about Fast 7, they immediately talk about one thing. The final shot. 

Yeah, I cried. Right around the time Dom goes, “it is never goodbye.” 

Then I cried some more when Dom and Brian saw each other on the road. 

And god damnit, I’m crying right now. 

On its own, I don’t know how this movie is. For people who were introduced to the series, later on, I don’t know what they thought. But for the tried and true Fast fans, this was an emotional installment. 

Standout Song: See You Again-Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth

Fire Quote: “Dom, cars don’t fly.” 


4) ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’

I will defend this movie until the day I die. I don’t care if it is corny. I don’t give a damn if it is too much. This movie has it. You know, the thing. The thing that, despite all its flaws, makes a movie so fucking fun. 

You will be hard-pressed to find an art piece that encaptures the early 2000’s better than 2 Fast 2 Furious. I’m well aware that a lot of people consider this one to be on the goofier side. But this movie is very near and dear to my heart, so I want to point out a few things. 

First of all, I’m gonna be straight up. Paul Walker is an all-time “hot-guy” in this classic. This might be a Mt. Rushmore All-Time Hot Guy performance from Walker. In the opening scene, he rolls up as a late entry to the race. The blue underglow on his car is shining bright as ever. And the first thing he wants to do is up the stakes. 

Bad. Ass. 

The other thing worth mentioning about this one is the introduction of Tej and Rome. Obviously, early on we get to meet Tej. And Ludicrous is a really solid addition to the universe. But this movie absolutely takes off with Roman Pearce’s appearance. The character comes with mysterious mythology, an undeniable swagger, and some of the most classic one-liners in the history of the franchise. 


Standout Song: Too Fast Too Furious – Lucacris

Fire Quote: “I said forget about it, cuh.”


3) ‘Fast and Furious’

The one that brought us back. 

Just solid. Across the board. We get a little bit of everything that we want. Fast fans get the sexy racing scenes, Dom sipping some Coronas, and Brian looking sick as ever. We are also introduced to Gisele, who quickly became a fan favorite. Brian is climbing his way through the ranks of the police force and is absolutely slick.

When rewatching Fast and Furious, some of the intensity is lost in regards to Letty’s death. Like a lot of other movie franchises, Fast and Furious has no problem bringing back characters who the audience presumed to be dead. I love Letty, but bringing her back in the sixth film takes away from the high-stakes nature of the fourth installment.

At times, it feels like any other action movie from the 2000s. But it stays more grounded than a lot of its counterparts and ultimately does the job it was set to do. Bring. Us. Back.

Standout Song: G-Stro – Busta Rhymes 

Fire Quote: “Pussy.” (I apologize for the crude choice. It is so good though.)


2) ‘The Fast and The Furious’

I know that people just automatically assume that the first movie is the best. And to be truthful, this is like asking me to pick my favorite child. 

This movie is almost perfect. The tuna. The car vocabulary. The music. The aesthetic. The southern California vibes. The Corona. 

Honestly? It is hard to explain how much I love this movie. 

Plenty of people talk about how incredible this movie is. And it is all valid. But there is something in this movie that I think is often overlooked. At the end of the day, this is a movie about an undercover cop – just as much as it is a racing movie. And perhaps the best thing this movie does is showing the transition that Brian has. At the beginning of the story, he is a young, hot-shot in the police. He wants to do whatever it takes to take down the “bad guys.” And by the end of it, he feels for Dom and his family. And if you compare The Fast and The Furious with other undercover movies, like The Departed, that is something that is slightly different. 

The Fast and The Furious changed car culture. It gave people a new insight into a different side of Los Angeles. It changed people’s choices in beer. The importance of the movie that started it all cannot be understated.

Standout Song: Area Codes – Ludacris & Nate Dogg 

Fire Quote: “Ask any racer. Any real racer. It don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.”


1) ‘Fast 5’


My friends, this is the best Fast and Furious movie. 

Let’s start with the opening scene. Dom is sentenced to prison for his crimes committed in the previous film. With the help of some of his friends, Dom never makes it behind bars. 

When you think about heist movies, there are some vital ingredients. Somewhere on the totem pole is a good soundtrack, a last minute reverse uno card, and a getting the team together moment. 

Ocean’s 11 is often considered the gold standard of heist movies. And it is for good reason. But I’m not sure even Danny Ocean and Rusty can compete with the team-up scene in Fast 5

This… is an elite group. 

And then, of course, fans get the ultimate showdown. Dom vs Hobbs. Vin vs The Rock. And HOLY SHIT does that scrap deliver. The two are exchanging blows that would make Rocky and Creed jealous. It is the fight of fights. It can only be described as back-and-forth action at mythological proportions. 

Dwayne Johnson’s introduction into the franchise was massive. First and foremost, it wasn’t forced. At this point in time, The Rock was yet to hit that insane level of superstardom that he would reach a few years later. The series was still known for its driving sequences. And when the two meet, it was a perfect match. Johnson’s role as Agent Hobbs gave life to the series that would continue to today.

When the movie is all said and done. Our family wins. And the fans want more…

“Hey Toretto, I’ll see you soon.”

Standout Song: Danza Kuduro – Don Umar & Lucenzo 

Fire Quote: “We are gonna need two precision drivers.” 


Culture Movies/TV

6 Movie Pitches for the Sega Cinematic Universe

A big-budget Hollywood blockbuster based on Sega’s furry speedster shouldn’t have worked. When the first piece of footage for the Sonic the Hedgehog film was released, onlookers hung their heads in disgust at what was shown to them. Sonic was morphed into a 3D representation of every young child’s make-believe closet monster, the use of the song “Gangsta’s Paradise” made no sense thematically and everything just appeared to be heading down the usual terrain of terrible video game movie fodder.

In a rare moment of self-reflection and actually listening to fan feedback, the powers that be went back to the drawing board to drastically alter their onscreen model of everyone’s favorite hedgehog. Once the character’s cuter and less horrifying appearance was revealed, fan goodwill was showered upon the project once the second trailer became public. Fast forward to the film’s ongoing performance in theaters and we now live in a world where a Sonic the Hedgehog film delivered big box office numbers and garnered favorable reviews. What a time to be alive for Sonic fans…

One of the best parts of the movie didn’t even happen during the film itself – it was actually the pre-movie sequence that was reminiscent of the ones moviegoers are used to seeing before MCU and DCEU films. Sega’s impressive catalog of IPs could be seen across a multitude of smaller screens, which had to be a pleasant surprise for hardcore gamers sitting in those movie theatre seats. All signs are now pointing towards Sega adapting their other franchises into future films and connecting them all within some sort of Sega Cinematic Universe. That prospect seems more like a safe bet now that the Sonic film has done huge numbers financially, pleased viewers young and old, and led to a 2022 sequel.

Sega, hear us out for a few minutes. We know which games would make for awesome movie experiences and are confident in them being just as successful as Sonic the Hedgehog. You can thank us for these recommendations later and request our bank routing number info once we’re done.

1. ‘Altered Beast’

Let’s keep it a stack – Altered Beast as a game sucks. As a kid who got their Genesis packed in with this low-quality arcade port, it was nothing more than a one-and-done experience. But the game’s gimmick of massive Greek warriors having the ability to morph into magical beasts is still cool to this very day. 

Adapting that theme for an over-the-top popcorn action flick sounds like a winning formula to us. Sega would be doing the right thing if they handed over this film’s director, producer, and special effects makeup duties to the almighty Guillermo del Toro. He has the Hollywood chops required to make all those onscreen monster transformations look as real as possible and give us something along the lines of his excellent Hellboy movies.

2. ‘Streets of Rage’

A once peaceful city has been overtaken by the vicious antics of a powerful crime syndicate. Out-of-control criminals and even dirty cops have sparked fear and unrest among the city’s frightened denizens. A trio of young ex-police officers decides to band together and save their city the only way they know how – by beating the breaks off of everyone working for the other side of the law and eating roast chicken off the floor.

Now we have to admit – Streets of Rage’s story won’t get any points for originality. But its simple premise still has the potential to deliver an enjoyable film. In order for a Streets of Rage movie to work, it has to fully embrace its corny 90s plot and deliver satisfying fight scenes that are equal parts brutal and outlandish. Give us a Streets of Rage movie that’s a mashup of the best parts of The Raid and Kung Fury and we’re all in.

3. ‘Shinobi’

Ninjas are just inherently dope. Whoever thought it was a bright idea to pit their inherent cool factor against pirates must have been smoking dust – swashbucklers with bad dental hygiene and horrible singing voices pale in comparison to shadowy assassins who wear badass battle gear. Sega’s 2D Shinobi Joe Musashi is one of the greatest ninjas of all time and has starred in a series of classic action games. Giving him his own movie is only right at this point.

And when we talk about a proper Shinobi movie, we don’t want something along the lines of the super generic Ninja Assassin. We’d love to watch something that evokes memories of incredible martial arts films such as Iron Monkey and Ninja in the Dragon’s Den. The storyline featured in the 2002 Shinobi reboot would make things infinitely more interesting – let Joe wield the soul-sucking blade known as Akujiki as he slashes through his foes and fights against the clock in an effort to keep his sword from feeding on his very soul.

4. ‘Golden Axe’

Nowadays, there’s a severe lack of films that embrace the sword and sorcery themes present in Conan the Barbarian. The world needs more movies packed to the brim with muscle-bound warriors who’re out on a quest to behead their enemies and bring peace to their fantastical realm. Golden Axe’s story is tailor-made for that kind of movie experience – it allowed players to choose from a myriad of weapon-wielding heroes who set out on a quest to recover the fabled Golden Axe and defeat the evil Death Adder. 

A Golden Axe movie could work if it featured the visual splendor of 300 and the type of action sequences seen in films such as The Beastmaster, Excalibur, and Ladyhawke.  If Sega’s willing to give us a scene where Gilius Thunderhead can be seen whipping fools into bottomless pits with his trusty Cockatrice, then we’re willing to pony up some cash to watch it all unfold. Speaking of that Cockatrice, there’s so much crossover potential between our proposed Altered Beast film and this one.

5. ‘Virtua Fighter’

There’s only one fighting game movie out there that’s actually halfway decent and that’s the original Mortal Kombat. Big screen duds such as Street Fighter, Tekken, DOA: Dead or Alive, and The King of Fighters ultimately didn’t do right by their source material. To the surprise of many, Sega’s 3D fighting game franchise Virtua Fighter hasn’t been adapted into a film yet. It’s been given the anime treatment, but it’s about time that Sega blesses it with a live-action movie. 

The series’ roster isn’t massive, so it shouldn’t be too hard to bring everyone together for an onscreen version of their digital dustups. Sega would have to throw a bag or two at Donnie Yen for his masterful action choreography talents and let him handle all the hard work on this Virtua Fighter film. Watching Sarah Bryant come to blows with Vanessa Lewis within the confines of a dimly lit factory sounds pretty exciting to us.

6. ‘Bayonetta’

With today’s amazing special effects work and million-dollar movie budgets put in place, a Bayonetta film could become a reality. If this movie got greenlit, it would need a few things in order to be successful – a top-tier cinematographer, an insane budget, and a hard R rating. Bayonetta is a series that relies on mind-bending action sequences, lovably corny dialogue, and plenty of sex appeal. 

With someone like Tim Miller (Deadpool) and Ericson Core (The Fast and the Furious) on board for a project such as this one, Sega could be treated to a potential box-office smash. A leather-clad witch who can swing swords and shoot high heel pistols being pitted against vengeful angels and demons sounds crazy enough to pull in curious moviegoers and keep them enthralled for two hours. We’d certainly pull up for a great seat to watch all the madness unfold on the film’s opening day.