Thursday, September 24, 2009

MUA2 Revisited

Okay, I've played through Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 for Wii on Anti-Reg (naturally), and, well, I'm kind of confused. Okay, so here is the plot with spoilers, and if you've read the comic and were planning on playing the game, the first spoiler is that it isn't the same. So, if you don't care, here you go. It starts with you controlling Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine and Iron Man as you invade Latveria. Nick Fury has uncovered that the current leader, Lucia Von Bardas, is working with the Tinkerer to make supervillains with enhanced suits (Shocker, Scorpion, etc) more powerful. Fury takes you in to stop her. After running around for a while, eventually Wolverine and Spider-Man split from the rest of the group to find the backup team. From there, you choose your characters, and try to help Fury's main team get to Von Bardas. After blowing some stuff up, eventually, you take down Castle Doom. Flash to the present day, and there are terrorist attacks caused by a not dead Von Bardas, who is attacking New York City in an act of vengeance against Fury and the superheroes that attacked Latveria. After taking out Von Bardas, you are left with the aftermath, and rubble and destruction, caused by her attack. Iron Man and Captain America discuss how this is going to look bad for superheroes, considering the amount of damage caused, and Fury goes into hiding. Iron Man mentions how one more superhero accident could cause drastic consequences. Of course, then the New Warriors try to take down some villains on TV, including Nitro, right in Stamford, Conneticut, and when he blows up, he kills hundreds of people. From there, I chose Anti-Reg, and will follow that storyline, but I am pretty sure the exact same storyline is with Pro-Reg. First, Cable's base gets raided by Pro-Reg forces and you help clear them out, and then Cable lets you know of a chemical plant that is in danger. Cap leads his forces there, but it was a trap sprung by Iron Man, meant to get the Anti-Reg heroes to talk, or if necessary, fight. During the course of the battle, some of the villains that Iron Man had infected with nanites to keep under control go haywire and they plant bombs, with which they try to kill people. Yes, this is where the game breaks off from the comics. Apparently, the nanites went sentient and created a hive mind, called the Fold, that they tried to use the villains for craziness. You join up with Fury who plans to use the break-in Captain America planned to try and free his guys from 42, the Negative Zone prison, where pure nanites are being kept that can be used to stop the Fold. As you break in, you go through the prison, eventually finding the nanites, but the place goes haywire, and you need to help people get back to Earth. You run into Captain America and Iron Man, who agree that they need to put their differences aside to fight the Fold. In doing so, you fight some nanite mutants until the portal back to Earth comes back online. Fury is able to get the portal back online just before the place explodes, but he is left back in the Negative Zone. The heroes meet to determine how to beat the main threat, when they learn that Wakanda is under attack, most likely for its Vibranium. After you help Black Panther fend off his own people who are infected, you learn Stark Tower comes under attack, and the whole world comes under attack by the Fold, who plan to take over with their nanites. The teams then head off to stop the Fold, attacking their main headquarters, and uploading the program they needed to. Then, after a fight with a nanite-controlled Nick Fury, you stop the Fold, and win the day. My end had the SRA repealed due to their defense of Earth from the Fold, and victory.

I thought the game was pretty cool at first, in that it followed Secret War and Civil War pretty well. Sure, Iron Man wasn't part of Secret War and they had their stealth costumes. And sure, they had their memories wiped of Secret War so that when it came back to bite them, they were confused as hell, especially Luke Cage, who was hurt badly. Then, with Civil War, they kind of skipped some stuff, and glossed over others, but up to the chemical plant ambush, it was pretty darn faithful to the comics. Only when the villains went haywire did the game start to be, well, awkward. Oh, and I really wanted to know what happened to Goliath. I mean, he was important, and he should have died to Clor during that battle, but who knows. They just skipped that. When they introduced the other storyline, well, that was kind of taking the easy way out. As opposed to actually showing a final battle, where you invade 42 or defend 42, and then a big fight in NYC, where at the end, Cap surrenders (which was horrible, but part of the story), they ignore all that and make their own end that is much happier. They saved Earth, and therefore they repeal the SRA? Um, did the people who made that end read the ASM prelude to Civil War, where Tony goes in front of the CSA (Commission on Superhuman Activities) and lets them know how many times Earth was saved by superheroes? I mean, it was something like 50 times. And I believe that was skipping the major galactic conflicts. The Fold, while dangerous, shouldn't have been something to change the CSA's mind on registration. And did people just forget all the times they were saved by heroes before that? Was this a more personal thing or what? It really didn't make much sense. Still, again, the way they did it was a wimpy way to go. I read that they dealt with the aftermath of Civil War in the game. Now, if more of the game was Anti-Reg vs Pro-Reg, where you had different conflicts that might have been minor conflicts or something that weren't in comics, sure. With this? No. Okay, the reveals at the end of each issue were pretty cool. 1-Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic and Yellowjacket agree to help hunt down Cap-In the game. 2-Spider-Man reveals he is Peter Parker to the world-Not involved. 3-Clor makes his first appearance before it is revealed he is a robo-clone-Not involved. 4-The new Thunderbolts with Green Goblin, Bullseye, Venom and Lady Deathstrike first are shown to be with Tony-It is kind of there in the sense that the villains under Tony's control are there. 5-When "Daredevil" is captured, he lets Iron Man know that they think he is like Judas (yes, that Judas)-Not there, and 42 is just kind of mentioned as existing and not looked into at all. 6-I believe it ended with Cap's forces being freed, as Cap prepares for a final showdown-Not even close, as there is no final showdown. 7 is irrelevant, as again, there was no final showdown. Now, something that the game did that annoyed me that makes sense because it is based off of something else, is that the characters weren't unlocked originally. I believe it is worse in the other versions, as there are more places to fight characters in game to have them join your side, but it still exists here a lot. In X-Men Legends, a problem was that if you wanted to have, let's say, Colossus on your team, you couldn't until later in the game. At that point, he was a few levels behind everybody, so it was awkward. They fixed that in XML2, with everybody playable from the beginning except Deadpool, who you got upon completion, Professor X, who you got upon beating all the Danger Room missions and Iron Man who you got from collecting homing beacons in each level to unlock portals in each level to get Iron Man after the last beacon. In MUA, they did a similar thing to XML2, with only a few characters having to be unlocked. In this, there are a lot of guys to unlock and some of them you can't get until near the very end. I want to use Green Goblin the entire time! Unfortunately, that is a definite impossibility, especially considering you have to fight him at one point. Oh, and my biggest complaint is from the fact that I have the Wii version. The versions of MUA for current generation systems were almost identical, with the Wii version having more motion-controls, but otherwise being almost exactly the same. Aside from not having Juggernaut in the Wii version, Iron Fist isn't in the Wii version. The third biggest guy in Anti-Reg is Iron Fist (as Daredevil in the comics), and he isn't included. I don't even want to use him, but I want him to be there. Plus, half the levels are taken out and half the enemies are taken out. I don't even want to start on the differences between the different versions. It really makes me want to get an X-Box 360 or PS3 just so I can get the game the way it was meant to be played, not a port of the game as done by a developer that decided to half-ass it. A small thing that just bugs me is the cut-scenes. They are beautiful and I want to see them again, but I can't. The other ports have it and MUA had it, but I can't access the cut-scenes in the Wii version.

Still, despite all my complaints, the game was fun for the most part (dying a lot was annoying), and while I didn't get to use the characters I necessarily wanted to through most of the game, I got by. I honestly don't recommend getting the Wii version, especially if you have an X-Box 360 or PS3. If you don't have either of those systems, the Wii version is more disappointing than anything, especially when looking at the other versions.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2

Oh, Civil War. Such a silly storyline that somewhat worked, although ended poorly. The game basically is the Secret War->Civil War storyline. Now, I just got the game in the mail today (it came out last Tuesday), so I haven't fully played through the game yet, but right now, I'm both incredibly disappointed and incredibly impressed. First, why I am disappointed. The game was developed for Wii by a different company than the ones for X-Box 360 and PS3. Now, I can understand to an extent, but I am still sad about that. Oh, and I get to use Cyclops, Psylocke and Blade in my version, whereas I could have gotten Juggernaut in the others. I would much prefer Juggernaut to any of those others. Oh, and if you want Juggernaut, you have to have preordered the game from Gamestop? That's just not cool. Otherwise, the game is different from the first one. Okay, the Wii controls didn't transfer perfectly from Gamecube, from X-Men Legends to Marvel Ultimate Alliance, but for the most part, what I was holding on a GCN controller in XML was transferred to what I was holding in MUA. In this game, all of that goes out the window, and they rebuilt the controller from the ground up. For example, to rotate the camera (when the game allows you to), you use to have to rotate the nunchuck, which worked pretty well. In this, you have to hold down 1 and rotate the Wii remote. It honestly is much harder to do in the format you are in. Also, it is a lot harder to grab, and I'm not even sure you can grab items anymore. The menu is somewhat hard to navigate, and also is annoying that 2 is the menu button. I also don't like the system for character switching and for fusions. Character switching is no longer hitting a button and switching, but going either clockwise (-) or counter-clockwise (+) around the screen. Fusions take place when you hold down Z and shake the nunchuck, then point the controller at a character other than the one you are controlling. If the game required you to point at the screen the entire time (Metroid Prime 3 or something), then that'd be fine with me. As is, I have to play, then remember to point at the screen, find the pointer, and then move it to the characters at the corners of the screen. Also, there are times the game takes control of the camera and usually does it poorly. Running down a corridor, it'd be really nice if I could see what I am running towards as opposed to making it a side-scroller at a diagonal.
Now that's all the things I have found in a short amount of time playing, without finishing the game. Also there were great things. Deadpool breaks the fourth wall all the time. Almost every single line he says is something that breaks the fourth wall. For example, when he is taking out enemies, he talks about how you are button mashing. When he is leveling up, he talks about the experience points. When you start missing with his guns, he recommends replaying the level so you know where the enemies are. When he uses a fusion, he mentions how they are so cool that fusion should have been in the name of the game (MUA2 was originally Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 Fusion).Speaking of fusions, while I miss X-Treme attacks (just being able to do an awesome attack by yourself), fusions are amazing. I wouldn't have beaten Multiple Man without Spidey webbing up dupes and Deadpool blowing them all up.
As I get farther into the game, I'm sure there's more and more that will both irk and awe me.

Friday, September 18, 2009


ItsJustSomeRandomGuy did a great job last year, with using Iron Man, Hellboy, Hulk and Batman in his videos comparing their movies. Iron Man came out pretty early, and TDK came out pretty late, so he had material the entire summer, as he had a lot of movies, with a lot of material. This year, the only two superhero movies were Watchmen, which came out in early March and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which came out in early May. While he was able to do a lot of videos in between then, after Wolverine came out, then died in the box office, he had no more superheroes to do anything with. So, he made do, and had Spider-Man dream of the Marvel/DC crew being in Star Trek, basically making an amalgam of the trailers, along with his own twist. So, when in the trailer, Pike tells Kirk he couldn't believe it when the bartender told him Kirk's name, in IJSRG's version, Superman (Pike) tells Peter Parker (Kirk) the same thing, with the bartender then saying, "Dude, that's Peter Parker," and Superman responding with, "I can't believe it." After Star Trek, he decided to do more, as he had nothing else to do. So, he did Terminator: Salvation, and then did some more with the Hangover, Up, Drag Me to Hell, The Proposal, Transformers, Inglourious Basterds, District 9 and GI Joe. Why am I so in love with these? Well, after using Deadpool in a Watchmen/X-Men Origins: Wolverine parody, he used him more and more, with him in every single one of the trailers above except Drag Me to Hell and District 9 (well, Transformers and GI Joe were both Spidey complaining about how Marvel no longer owns the rights to them now that they are doing well in theaters, and not actually parodies). Thus, my love for them. If you want to relive the summer movie season or just missed it, then I recommend these parodies of the trailers. Plus, he's done some other good Deadpool stuff, so check out the Deadpool/Watchmen video, the cast vs cast of X-Men/Watchmen, the Disney-Marvel video and the Green Lantern-Deadpool video for some more good Deadpool videos.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Planet Hulk

February 2010 is bringing Planet Hulk to DVD and Blu Ray, in an animated movie. While Planet Hulk is an amazing story and one of my favorite stories in comics, this feels wrong for a few reasons.

First, the Illuminati and why he is sent away. So, in the comics, what happened was that Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Dr. Strange and Black Bolt decided to send Hulk to another planet. After fighting the FF in Vegas, Maria Hill asked Stark why he didn't do anything. A SHIELD agent asked her when Spider-Man could be blamed for the Green Goblin's crimes, after Spidey beats him up, then leaves him in jail where he breaks out, then kills more people, and Spidey beats him up, etc. Iron Man decided it would be a good idea to send Hulk away to a planet where there was no sentient life, and he could finally be left alone and not hurt anyone. Iron Man wanted a choice that large, though, to be discussed, so he brought it up with the Illuminati, minus Professor X, who was in space at the time. Namor was the main one opposed, but the rest agreed that they should send Hulk into space. So, they tricked Bruce Banner into going into space to stop a rogue satellite, then told him what they were doing and sent him away. By going crazy, and smashing the equipment, the ship went off course and landed on Sakaar. In the trailer, which is at the end, you can see Iron Man and Dr. Strange clearly, but not the other two. One looks like it could be Mr. Fantastic, but I'm not fully sure, and the other is impossible to determine. Plus, as opposed to just being on board, they apparently locked him up on there.

Second, his allies. First, let's start with Korg. Korg is a tribute to Lee and Kirby, by bringing back the stone guys Thor fought in his first appearance. In Journey Into Mystery 83, Donald Blake was on vacation, saw an alien ship, hid in a cave, and found a stick. By striking the stick against a boulder blocking the entrance to the cave, he was turned into Thor, who easily lifted the boulder, and tossed it away. Then, he fought the aliens, who retreated when they fought Thor, thinking all humans to be like him. Korg is one of them. There was an issue, where they went over their origins, and Korg, as a young rockling, was included in the invasion. How will that be referenced, or will it be? Second, we've got No-Name. No-Name (which isn't actually a name, as much as it is a reference that the Brood drones don't really have names) was on the Brood homeworld when it blew up, but being encased in some crystal thingy, survived, along with some of his brethren. Her brethren died in the initial fight, but she went on to fight with Hulk. Okay, so in this, is the Brood going to even mention humans, and having fought the X-Men. Are they just not going to be brought up? How are they explaining how No-Name got there? From looking at the trailer, it looks like No-Name isn't even there, but Arch-E is instead. Sigh... Then, we've got the Silver Surfer. I'm sorry, the Silver Savage. The end of the first arc of Planet Hulk ends with Hulk and the gladiators going up against Silver Surfer, known to Sakaar as the Silver Savage. After Hulk pounds him hard enough, the obedience disk on Surfer is broken and he is able to use the Power Cosmic to free the rest of the slaves in the arena. Because of that, Hulk becomes free and goes on to do things. Is Surfer going to be in this, which would be amazing, or are they going to skip that and give some other explanation as to how they break free?

Third, the length. So, Planet Hulk was a year's worth of issues long, just as a stand-alone story, disregarding all the continuity beforehand. It was broken up into 4 parts, 3 4-part stories and a 2-part finale. In other words, it is long. Think of Watchmen, which was 12 issues. Sure, Watchmen in arguably deeper, and requires more time, as its issues are deeper, blah, blah, blah. Planet Hulk is a long story that has a lot to cover, and to force it into a film could be bad. Breaking each part (except the 2-part which can be included in the 3rd section) into its own hour long movie could work. Otherwise, I think it would be 2.5+ hours to tell the story well.

Fourth, the ending. At the end of Planet Hulk, after he is made the king of Sakaar, the ship he crashed into Sakaar in gets displayed in the main city as a tribute to Hulk, but when the warp drive gets compromised, the ship explodes, damaging the already weak planet (which Hulk had to shift the tectonic plates back together by force), and killing all the people in the capital city, including his wife, Caiera, and his unborn son. He is upset about the situation, and wants to just sit there and die, but his Warbound convince him to take his fight to Earth to fight the Illuminati who sent him there and who put the ship, with the exploding warp drive, on the planet. This leads directly into World War Hulk. In the movie, they can do it like in the comic, leading into a World War Hulk movie also, or they can ignore it and do...what? Does he just stay there as the leader forever and ever? I mean, sure, it works as the movie in that they don't need to make more in the series, so having him lead a planet peacefully works better in a one-shot, but still...

Fifth, continuity in general. Okay, this isn't specifically about Planet Hulk, but about comic book movies that try to take a certain storyline into account. Something that the comics have that the movies don't is lots of continuity behind them. Unless you start all the way at the beginning, a movie about a specific storyline is going to be missing out on something. Even then, in a shared universe, you need to take every comic in that shared universe into account. For example, if a character crosses over from another comic, you probably don't have to do the whole origin and motivation and powers for that character in the comic, but if all you have is the single story, well, let me put it this way. If you want to do the first arc of New Avengers as a movie, you'd have to take Avengers Disassembled into account. Also, you have Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage and Sentry to take into account. Oh, and all the villains from the Raft, along with Daredevil, along with SHIELD. If you did it exactly as the comic, then so much would be confusing to people who hadn't read comics.

Okay, aside from that, I think it can be cool. There isn't a lot of continuity to take into account, despite a lot of what is written above, and you can easily just explain things in different ways. The sending him away doesn't need to go into depth. Korg's origin doesn't need to be explained as much. No-Name can be replaced with someone else. As long as it keeps the general idea and feel for the original, I think Planet Hulk can be amazing. Anyway, here is the trailer.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Star Wars Battlefront II

I have to admit, I wasn't fully right about FPS's. Before Team Fortress 2, I had only played the Metroid Prime series, which is more a First Person Adventure game, where you happen to also shoot things, rather than specifically a First Person Shooter, and a few multiplayer games against people who really knew how to play on consoles, where I wasn't really interested in the first place. Halo and CoD didn't really interest me all that much. I was able to watch people play FPS's, including some who really liked playing them, so it wasn't that I was just completely ignorant. Mostly, I just didn't see the point. Then, along came Team Fortress 2. I've talked about TF2 before, but basically, it is a simple multiplayer FPS that is incredibly cartoony. It also is hilarious and on a weekend, TF2 went on sale for $10. I wasn't really that interested at first, but looked into it a little, discovered the "Meet the " videos, and fell in love with the game. Trying to be more instinctive than usual, I got the game and installed it. It turned out it was really fun. Unfortunately, over the summer, I wasn't able to play much, mostly because I had a lot of work, and then after work, no really good place to put my computer to play. The main point though is that I finally bought an FPS and really enjoyed it.

This year at school, my suitemate got Star Wars Battlefront II, a Star Wars FPS, where you can be with one of four teams, the CIS (droids), the Galactic Republic (the clones), the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire. Each has regular units, that use rifles and pistols, heavy troopers, who use rocket launchers and pistols, snipers, who use sniper rifles and pistols, and engineers, who use shotguns and welding tools that allow them to put up turrets, fix vehicles or break into enemy vehicles. Each team also has two special units that are unique to that team. The Rebels for example have Bothan Spies and Wookie Soldiers, whereas the CIS has Droidekas and MagnaGuards. Each team also has heroes that are units that instead of having health, have time, where they don't die, but instead just run out of time to help you and leave (therefore Yoda doesn't die helping the Wookies on Kashyyyk. For space battles, there are also regular pilots that can fix their ship in flight (which is handy, as you can just fly away to fix your ship), and troopers that are meant for landing parties, with better weapons for fighting and blowing up equipment in person.

The first person campaign follows the 501st, the elite group of troopers that became Vader's fist, his personal stormtroopers. It starts out with them as Clone Troopers, serving the Galactic Republic against the Trade Federation during the Clone Wars. After the war, they help the Galactic Empire build and help fight against the Rebels (along with squashing a few Clones and droids that were anti-Empire). In the campaign, you have a limited number of troopers to help you finish a certain objective. If you ever run out, you lose. The enemy has an unlimited amount of guys (lots of fun, let me tell you), but can only win if they kill all of you. You get more guys after completing each objective, and once you complete all of them, you beat the mission. It allows you to see the Star Wars universe from the perspective of grunts, which is interesting. For example, you see them take on CIS droids in space after Palpatine was kidnapped, as they stall for Anakin and Obi Wan to get there. Also, you see them and their feelings when the Rebellion blows up the Death Star (they killed lots of my friends and are anarchistic nutjobs) and when they take Hoth (the Rebellion is pretty much finished, only a couple of ships got away).

You can also do instant actions which take place on a specific planet and you and the enemy fight it out. In Conquest, you get equal amounts of troopers and you fight for Command Posts. If you ever capture all the Posts and hold them for 20 seconds you win the game. If you kill all the enemies, you also win the game. Also, the AI is horrible, and you do feel like a main character, the way you go around killing so many people, but usually, the teams remain balanced, as the enemy AI is just apparently better than your team's, as you can get 50 kills (out of 150) and still lose badly. There is also Capture the Flag, which is what it sounds like. A favorite is Hunt, where you choose a planet where natives are (Endor has Ewoks, Hoth has Wampas, Tatooine has Jawas, etc.) and an enemy (the Empire against Ewoks) and see who can win. I have to say, killing Gungans over and over is incredibly satisfying. Also there is Assault, which takes place in Mos Eisley, where you count to 180 points, as you go around as heroes or villains, killing each other with lightsabers (or guns in the case of the Fetts, Chewie, Han Solo or Leia). I have to say that General Grievous is pre-Episode III Grievous, with 4 lightsabers that all do the same amount a single would. So, if you go up against, say, Obi Wan, Ki Adi Mundi, Aayla Secura and Yoda, if you are just swinging all your lightsabers (which is just mashing the first mouse button), you can take them all out. In Space Assault, you are trying to see who can get to 180 points first, where you can get points by killing enemies, blowing up ships and taking out key components on the enemy ships (like engines, bridge, sensor relay, life support). Different things are worth different amounts of points, so while in the same time you could blow up some fighters, you could also destroy the engines, the engines might get you more points all in all.

There is also Conquest mode, in which you choose a side and face your rival, conquering planets. You start with only a few planets where your enemy starts with many more. You also get a fleet, and some credits. Every turn, you can buy bonuses or units (you only start with the basic trooper) with your credits, you can construct a fleet (which costs 1000 for each fleet you own, and only over a planet you control), and then you move. If you move into contact with an opposing fleet, you have a space battle with that fleet. If you are over a planet that you don't own, then you assault the planet with what is your typical instant action, and you fight it out over the Command Posts. If you are over an enemy planet and a fleet is over it, you have a space battle to determine if you have a regular battle. After winning a battle, you get credits, which you can spend at the beginning of your next turn. You also get credits, less credits, but whatever, when you lose. You win if you capture all the planets, which is difficult, as it requires not only winning on every planet you didn't get to begin with, but also fending off attacks, and losing means even more fighting.

Now, what makes Star Wars Battlefront II fun to play? Well, I haven't even fought against any of my friends in multiplayer yet, but I still enjoy just blowing up guys. I enjoy killing Rebels as Stormtroopers, and using droids to kill clones. Plus, it actually is challenging. While it doesn't seem challenging in the sense that you can easily get 10+ kills per life, it is challenging in the sense that the enemy AI is often better than your AI. If you sit somewhere and do nothing the entire time, your team will most likely lose, not just because your team is down one guy in fights, but because the team in general isn't as good. While not all places are as fun to fight for (stupid Yavin 4 and the team starting in the back at Polis Massa), in general, it is a lot of fun to go around the Star Wars universe, shooting Rebels, Stormtroopers, Clone Troopers or Battle Droids. It's also fun to get into an X-Wing and start shooting down TIE Fighters, or getting into a TIE Bomber and bombing Mon Calamari ships. The thing that makes the game most fun for me is the atmosphere. It really feels like you are a trooper in the Star Wars universe, visiting locations like Mustafar, the Death Star, Coruscant, or the Tantive IV. The game is also incredibly balanced, in the sense that no one group is better than any other. In general, you all have the same type of troopers (with the generic Super Battle Droid being the biggest in difference with a mini-rocket launcher as opposed to a grenade), that can do the same things. The heroes are all vastly overpowered (but not used often), but that isn't surprising. The game is fun for Star Wars fans who like thinking about the generic troopers and their battles, or for people who like having big battles in FPS form.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Samurai Champloo

Starting fairly recently, I've started to watch anime. Most of the ones I watch, though, are the subtitled ones, both because I like getting the original language and actors and because I don't mind reading. Plus, it's gotten to the point where I am actually able to recognize certain words or phrases that I can pick out at any given time. Sure, I've seen different Miyazaki movies as released by Disney (aka with dubbing by American actors and actresses) and seen NGE in dubs, but for the most part I'd prefer to watch the subtitles. With Samurai Champloo, I actually wanted to watch the dub, mostly because I liked Steven Blum's voice in Hulk vs. Wolverine, and he voices Mugen in Samurai Champloo. Funimation has, on their site, a lot of different episodes of a lot of different anime, including the entire Samurai Champloo series (26 episodes, a simple, small series), which I started watching, and am now almost done with.

Basically, it is set in the Edo period in Japan, although in an alternative version of the period, which has a lot of changes, such as hip hop. For some reason, there is hip hop and breakdancing in the show. The basic plot is this: Jin and Mugen are two expert swordfighters who fight, succumb to the smoke of the burning building they're in, then get freed by Fuu, a waitress who wants their help to find a samurai who smells of sunflowers. Jin has a very traditional fighting style and is very calm and relaxed, wearing glasses, and just does everything as politely and traditionally as possible, whereas Mugen is very untraditional, incorporating lots of things into his style, including swordfighting, breakdancing, and other people's moves, and is very rash and just wants to fight everyone he can. The general plot of the series is them looking for the samurai who smells of sunflowers, but that usually plays only a minor role in the stories. While the main reason they go to the places is to search for leads on the SWSoS, the stories themselves are standalone. You could watch pretty much any episode, and not be lost, except for the various two part episodes, of which there aren't many. It doesn't really take itself seriously, which is good, as it is a ridiculous show with lots of silliness involved. Basically, Jin and Mugen are ridiculously good swordfighters who are better than almost everybody else in the show (except for maybe like two people). In one-on-one combat, neither is often defeated, but they sometimes get overpowered by sheer force and strength in numbers, or being tricked or ambushed. The show mostly is amusing, and fun to watch. Being only 26 episodes long, if you want, you could spend a weekend watching the entire show, or just watch as you want and still would be fun.
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