Shmee Enrolls To Little Witch Academia!

Have you been wanting an anime that isn’t full of fan service, preachy dialog, and is just sweet fun?  Little Witch Academia might be what you are looking for.  It follows a young girl, Akko, with little to no magical ability on her quest to become a witch so she can be like her hero Shiny Chariot, and I have been enjoying watching her struggle to become the best.

I find it refreshing that none of this comes easy for Akko.  She doesn’t instantly become the greatest witch of all time just because she is the hero, like so many other magical kid anime shows.  She has to work hard and study to just stay in school let alone perform any magic, and the ‘B’ plot of magic slowly depleting from the world and how it connects to the witch that inspired her is actually interesting.

If you are on Netflix, you may also see a thirty minute mini-movie with the same name and a slightly longer Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade.  While those ‘movies’ feature the same characters acting pretty much the same way, the series is newer and reboots everything, so while those short films are good, they are not required viewing for the TV show.

Little Witch Academia is a fun show, and it has been refreshing to watch after the slog that was the second season of Sword Art Online.  Will Akko become the greatest witch of all time? Probably not, but her show is easily one of the best anime series on Netflix.

I Really Hope The Death Star Isn’t In The Han Solo Movie!

Ron Howard has seemingly tweeted out a pic of the Death Star interior from the set of his Han Solo movie.  I hope that isn’t what it is, and that he is just throwing us off.  Because as much as I love the Death Star, I am done with it.  It has been featured in three of the eight Star Wars films.  Four, if you count the brief scene with the plans in Revenge of the Sith, and five if we all agree that Starkiller Base from the Force Awakens is just a bigger Death Star.  In other words, giant death balls have had plenty of Star Wars screen time.  There has to be other stories to tell in the Star Wars Universe.

Not to mention it wouldn’t even make sense in this case.  If Han had known about the Death Star, surely he would have told someone, or at least not been surprised when he saw it for first time in A New Hope.  Plus I am sure he would have been a little more wary about taking a job from people not wanting to be caught by The Empire if he knew a massive murder orb was out floating around.  It would screw up his whole origin story.

The Star Wars writers need to dig through their massive pile of scripts and throw out everything that has anything to do with massive balls shooting planet destroying beams.  They can do better.  So help me if the newly announced Obi Wan movie is just him trying to track down the plans to the Death Star from Dooku’s cronies.  If that  happens, I am only going to watch it once!  JUST ONCE YOU HEAR ME!

The New Twitch App Is Pretty Great!

I know I was bemoaning all the apps we need to download so we can play computer games in an earlier post, but if Twitch/Amazon wants to be successful in the PC video game business, they needed to update their very bare bones app.  Thankfully their new desktop app is a like fifty steps in the right direction.

You can watch streams, have video chats, manage and add to your game library, and of course stream your games all from the same Twitch app.  Instead of some random launcher for just games, this app does it all.  It is still missing a few features, with cloud save syncing being chief among them, but they have assured me they are listening to their consumers, and that they want to make the Twitch Desktop App as feature rich as possible.  Apparently they already have save syncing working internally, so it shouldn’t be long until we see it out in the wild.  I mean it isn’t like Amazon doesn’t have the server space.

If you are a fan of Twitch, or just want Steam to have an actual competitor to keep it honest, it is nice to see Amazon making their service and the tools for that service better.  Now all Twitch needs is for a few major AAA games to launch on its store and we could have an actual competitive digital PC sales marketplace.  I am all for that!

Crypto-Mining Is Ruining PC Gaming!

Lately I have been playing a lot of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).  It is a great game and tons of fun, but I have noticed that my graphics card isn’t quite up to snuff, so I thought I would check and see what video card prices are these days, and let me tell you, I was surprised.  There are no more mid-range video cards.  The RX 580’s and 570’s are either gone or selling for almost $500.  While the NVidia GTX 1070’s are also MIA.  The GTX 1060’s are still in stock, but going for almost $300, which is $100 too high.  The low end cards are still available, as are the super high end cards, but those are either not worth anyone’s time, or way to expensive for the every day gamer.

Why has this happened you ask? Crypto-mining.  The AMD RX series are super good at mining those sweet, sweet crypto-hashes, as are the mid-upper NVidia cards, and the more of those cards you get, the more hashes you can crack.  This was a problem back when Bitcoin first took off as well, but thankfully the hashes got too hard to crack for all but the biggest mining operations, but now Ethereum has launched.  It is like Bitcoin’s younger brother.  It seems odd that there would be so much value in yet another crypto-currency, but here we are again off to the races, and we poor PC gamers are once again footing the bill.

I know what you are thinking.  If we wait out Ethereum, the hashes will get hard to mine, and then cards will start flooding the market just like what happened with Bitcoin, but here is the deal, now that people know they can make a ton of money at this, there will always be another currency to mine.  That means there will always be a need for tons of mid-range video cards.  Which means PC gaming is always going to be super expensive.  Which is a shame because there is nothing quite like playing games on a PC.  It is just a more intimate experience than a console.  A PC is just for you, while a console is more about family entertainment.

Don’t mind me.  I am going to return to the ocean and shake my fist tide, and scream to no-one in particular about crypto-miners stealing all the good video cards.  While the people around me wonder what the heck I am screaming about and hide their children from the strange angry man.

Shmee Visits The Accountant!

Ben Affleck was in two action movies in 2016: Batman v Superman and The Accountant.  Interestingly they were both released by Warner Brothers and they both feature Affleck as a rich violent loner.  That however is where the comparisons between the two movies stop.  Instead of wearing a cape and a cowl in The Accountant, Affleck is an autistic math wiz who does taxes for very bad people, and he is also really good at killing people.

There is a lot going on in The Accountant.  In one story line we find out how Affleck’s character gets the way he is, it turns out his military dad wasn’t great at dealing with an autistic kid.  In another the Treasury Department is tracking Affleck down for his many crimes, and then in the main story Affleck is trying to find where a large corporation’s money has gone.  Only to find himself and fellow accountant Anna Kendrick targeted by the people with sticky fingers.  Turns out he is the wrong person to try and kill.

For the most part I enjoyed The Accountant.  It is an interesting story, and Affleck plays a different kind of character from what we are used to.  Though the trope of kids with special needs being good at killing is troublesome.  I will say at least The Accountant tries to treat autism respectfully, and not just as some sort of magic that makes his brain better at math and murder.  Even if that is the end result.

While the script has a few shortfalls, the cast mostly makes up for it.  It turns out that if you hire a ton of talented people and give them interesting things to do, they make a movie better.  The only person who seemed like he was coasting was J.K. Simmons, but to be fair to him, how many times has he played the chief or director of something, so he pretty much played muted J.K. Simmons.  Which again to be fair, is still pretty good.

There you have it.  The Accountant is a decent action movie based around a slightly worrisome cliché.  There are far worse movies to watch on a Friday afternoon, and it shows that Affleck is more than the sad Batman the internet has come to know and hate.  Now just make sure that your finances are in order because you wouldn’t want a visit from this accountant!