Saturday, 29 April 2017

Meta Month: Catch-Up Part 4: Angry Video Game Nerd, Bennett The Sage and Linkara (2017)

Well, this month hasn’t gone quite as I expected. In lieu of a lengthy pity party for one (you know, the kind of shit I tend to write on here too much as it is), I’ll just leave it how, by both design and unfortunate accident, this month isn’t nearly as in-depth as last year’s. Just to be clear, the videos I’ve highlighted so far are just the ones I happened to watch over the last year; this is by no means definitive. Still, these are people I feel are worth lauding over, so let’s get this all wrapped up with the final part of this year’s Meta Month catch-up.

First up, we have the Angry Video Game Nerd. Now, maybe it’s because his work on the AVGN Movie but, over the last long while, his videos have gotten weirdly conceptual at their core. Take, for instance, his review of Seaman. Done as a tribute to the late great Leonard Nimoy, who narrates this immense oddity of a game, the Nerd looks at the kind of art “game” that would result in most people arguing if it even qualifies as such. And yet, what starts out as a rather innocuous “taking care of fish” busywork simulator turns into the kind of existential crisis that, with Rolfe’s knack for tumbling down thematic rabbit holes, makes for bizarrely entertaining viewing. Probably got something to do with the fact that there exists a game where fish-human hybrids fuck each other to death.

Next, it’s his Mega Man retrospective and… wow, this is a mammoth review. When you’re someone who has as long and storied a history in the industry as the Nerd, pondering the nature of such a history is kind of required. Hell, anniversary episodes are a very common trope of long-time YouTube critics. For the Nerd’s ten-year anniversary, through a look at the grandeur and eventual crap of the Mega Man series, he delves into the worth of his own legacy in a move that is as disarmingly poignant as it gets.

Finally, there’s the Berenstain Bears. The Mandela effect is one of those collective human oddities; the phenomenon of entire swathes of people all managing to recollect the same memory in the same incorrect way. Rather innocent and kind of goofy but, in the hands of James Rolfe, it turns into an earth-shaking psychological horror piece involving alternate universes. Never before has the placement of a single letter been so dramatic.

Now for Bennett The Sage, starting out with his look at the woeful Evangelion rip-off De:Vadasy. Along with his ranting about how uncomfortably sexualized the underaged main cast is, and mentioning how much this isn’t even trying to hide its influences, it gets to the point where his titbits about the story’s themes override his look at the show itself. It’s the kind of self-imposed distraction from shite that occurs a lot with negatively-fixated critics, portrayed in a very straight-forward way that is at once rather funny and completely understandable.

Next, we have an anime that Sage technically looked at way back when with JesuOtaku: Eiken. Easily one of the most shameless fanservice shows out there, reviewing this in standard fashion would ultimately be pointless. As such, he instead hands duties over to Suave, giving this piece of ick the sarcastic edge it needed.

And then there’s his big 150th Episode, covering Elfen Lied. Now, Elfen Lied might be the single most frustrating show I’ve seen myself: It has undeniable merit, up to and including the greatest opening of any anime series, but it keeps dropping the ball in almost maddening fashion at every turn. So imagine my surprise when Sage, the guy who made an Abridged series of the show way back when, pretty much echoed the same sentiment. Not only that, he did it in a way that actually made me take a step back and realize that the show is at least a little better than I remember it being. I still hate it rather virulently but, for what it’s worth, this guy pulled a magic trick on this one.

And finally, and I do mean finally this time, we have Linkara… and my word, the man has given us a lot of noteworthy vids over the last year. First off, there’s his list video on Marvel’s Civil War. Honestly, this kind of in-depth knowledge puts the little I had going into last year’s film version to shame, highlighting the many horrifying implications of the original story. What’s more, through showing how much wrong was in the original work, it only shows just how much of a miracle the Russo brothers did with the film: How the hell did they turn something this broken into a truly amazing flick?

Next, it’s his review of the comic adaptation of Joel Schumacher’s Batman And Robin. To put it simply, the guy manages to deliver the kind of prose-shredding analysis of the work that honestly makes the Nostalgia Critic’s early review of it look even more primitive in hindsight. Hell, he starts the whole thing off by putting the nail in the coffin of the ever-popular Bat Credit Card meme and he only goes deeper from there.

Now it’s time for a short nod to an episode for its plot segment. While the review itself is all well and good, the level of jaw-dropping that occurred with the stinger on this one… holy hell. Even considering how behind I am on AT4W episodes, this one moment at the end made me hella excited to catch right back up.

And finally, considering this is all happening in April, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include an April Fool’s Day gag video in here somewhere. Trust Linkara to take one of the more occasionally irritating internet reviewer tropes and manage to still deliver on it, creating a tribute to YouTube gaming antihero Jim Sterling while simultaneously doing a point-for-point breakdown of DC’s New 52… and why it ended up failing in its goals. With the usual mock-effort that gets put into these, I’m quite surprised that this might be one of the few April Fool’s videos that is actually worth watching beyond the initial shock.

And with that, Meta Month semi-officially draws to a close for another year… kind of. As I said, this is a lot more ad-hoc than previously and, in all honesty, I had planned to do a lot more with it this year than I ultimately did. Still, I can only hope that I convinced some of you out there to check out some of the videos I’ve highlighted and, just maybe, understand why I still hold these guys in such high regard even after all this time. However, there is still some unfinished business to take care of. As such, be sure to check in tomorrow as I adhere to my promise for easily the single worst film I could possibly cover on this blog. Oh, this is going to be fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment