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5 Must-See Anime to Watch This March

Posted: 24 Feb 2018 11:00 AM PST

Winter is almost over, but that doesn't mean that there are no more new anime series to watch. Thanks to Netflix and other animation studios, March has many anime titles that you need to check out. So here are five anime shows that you need to watch this March.

A.I.C.O. Incarnation

  • Premiere date: March 9, 2018
  • Studio: Bones
  • Genre(s): Action, Bio-Sci-Fi, Horror, Sci-Fi

From the studio behind My Hero Academia and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood comes to Netflix the original anime series, A.I.C.O. Incarnation.

In the year 2035, an accident known as the "Burst," spawns a new kind of lifeform that ravages the Kurobe Gorge. One of the many fallen is Aiko Tachibana's family. Now, two years after the incident, Aiko learns something unbelievable from her new classmate, Yuya Kanzaki. There's a secret within Aiko that could stop the outbreak, but to find out what this secret is, they must venture to ground zero — the epicenter of the Burst.

Accompanying her is Yuya and a team of divers set to put an end to these creatures before they consume the world. However, unimaginable possibilities await them.

Directed by Kazuya Murata (Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet and Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos), we can't wait what gritty scenes the first season of A.I.C.O Incarnation has for horror fans.

ReLIFE Final Arc

  • Premiere date: March 21, 2018
  • Studio: TMS Entertainment
  • Genre(s): Drama, Slice of Life, Romance, School

Last year, TMS Entertainment announced that they were working on an arc to conclude the ReLIFE story. And now, we finally have a few more details about the finale.

The new anime adaptation will be a four-episode OVA series taking place after the ending of the manga and TV series. In the finale, viewers will get to see the relived experiences of Arata Kaizaki coming to an end.

ReLIFE follows Kaizaki, an unemployed 27-year-old man whose parents have cut him off. After a night on the town, he meets a man claiming to have pills that could help him redo his life. Recognizing this great opportunity, Kaizaki agrees to take part in the experiment. As a result, Arata turns into 17-year-old and joins a high school to relive his third-year.

The OVA will come out on Blu-ray and DVD in March 2018. Beyond the anime adaptation, ReLIFE also has a live-action movie adaptation that premiered earlier this year.

Sword Gai: The Animation

5 must-see anime to watch this March Sword Gai: The Animation
  • Premiere date: March 23, 2018
  • Studio: Production I.G and DLE
  • Genre(s): Action, Fantasy, Seinen, Supernatural

Another Netflix original anime series premiers this March. Based on the manga of the same name, the action fantasy anime follows a young man named Gai who fuses with a demon weapon.

The story of Gai begins when Amon, a swordsmith finds him next to a dead woman. Amon decides to adopt the young child and teach him the art of swordsmithing. However, tragedy strikes when Gai is forging a sword and he loses his right arm. To help him, Amon uses the demon sword Shiryū (Death Dragon), to replace his missing arm. Now fused with the Death Dragon, Gai must fight his enemies. But, will Gai keep his humanity as the Dragon sword lusts for blood?

Although the streaming giant is set to release Sword Gai: The Animation this month, plans for adapting the manga into an anime started in 2014 under a different team. The collaboration fell through, and a few years later, Netflix picked up the show.

Lost Song

  • Premiere date: March 31, 2018
  • Studio: Dwango and Liden Films
  • Genre(s): Fantasy, Magic, Music

Lost Song tells the tale of two heroines destined to change the world with the power of song. Rin and Finis, lead very different lives. Rin is an energetic girl who loves to eat and Finis is a songstress who lives in the royal palace.

Their lives get intertwined by the power of song, and with it, they can heal wounds, create water, and even stir the wind. But in the wrong hands, such abilities can be used for destruction. Can their songs bring, hope, despair, or something neither of them expected?

Lost Song is all about the music. The voice actresses behind the protagonist, Rin (Konomi Suzuki) and Finis (Yukari Tamura) have made their mark in both the music and voice acting industry.

Besides, these incredible actresses, Yusuke Shirato (The Ancient Magus’ Bride and THE IDOLM@STER) are in charge of the music. With such incredible talents on board, it’s no surprise that the music will be an essential element in the show.

Time Driver: The Future We Drew

  • Premiere date: March 10, 2018
  • Studio: Robot Communications and Imagica Image Works
  • Genre(s): Comedy, Adventure

Part of the 2018 Young Animator Training Project, Time Driver: The Future We Drew is a tale about never giving up on your dreams.

27-year-old Yuuto Matsubara is bored with his everyday life. Day in and day out he sells toys to the masses without being able to pursue his own dreams. He's so displeased with his life that he's even given up on Ai, a girl that he's had a crush on since they were kids. But, this all changes when a "Time Driver" robot, which is activated by the power of dreams, appears in front of Yuuto. Not knowing what the robot wants, it forces Yuuto into the cockpit. Inside, the young man meets a 12-year-old version of himself. Will meeting his younger self change Yuuto's boring life?

The Young Animator Training Project is an annual project funded by the Japanese government, which supports training newcomers to enter the industry. At the end of each year, participants present their work to a committee. Anime shows like Little Witch Academia and Death Billiards started out at the Animator project.

10 Anime You Haven't Heard of but Need to Watch

7 Anime That Need to Come to Crunchyroll or Funimation

The post 5 Must-See Anime to Watch This March appeared first on FANDOM.

Why Call of Duty Should Take More Risks Like “Prop Hunt”

Posted: 24 Feb 2018 10:00 AM PST

Keeping a franchise fresh is no cakewalk, even with a following and brand recognition as strong as Call of Duty (CoD). Since its move into the information age with 2007's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the series has shambled from 'best modern military FPS' to something approaching a gun-toting version of EA's yearly sports releases. But hope does remain. Alternative game modes like “Zombies” and the hide-and-seek-style “Prop Hunt” have gained considerable popularity in recent years, injecting new life into the old CoD formula — and there are at least a few reasons why innovations like these should be franchise staples going forward.

It’s Good for Growing the Playerbase

To be fair, you need people on the other side as well as brothers beside.

We all love a good spot of Hollywood-style ultraviolence and high-octane bullet-fests.

…not.

Gamers are, after all, a diverse bunch; you can't swing a rolled-up copy of an extinct video game magazine without hitting at least a few who'd rather cook meals than grenades. Casual, wholesome party games, like Overcooked and the Mario Kart titles — designed for short spurts of enjoyment in social settings, preferably with snacks and booze — are an evergreen niche that CoD can, and should, tap into.

Never underestimate the power of fun with friends. A good time punking each other in “Prop Hunt” could very well tear down those barriers to entry for those hesitant to play the game and act as a first step towards exploring CoD's core multiplayer. The franchise owes it to its future to help non-FPS gamers get their feet in CoD's proverbial door, any way it can.

It Gives Fish a Shot at Climbing Trees

Player disguised as a barrel in CoD:WWII's Prop Hunt

Multiplayer FPS is competitive. It's a sport. Sports require skill and, participation trophies notwithstanding, they have winners and losers.

Twitch (reflex, not the streaming platform) gameplay isn't for everyone, and losing all the time isn't much fun either. But no one expects a slam-dunk champion to own the hockey rink. Alternative game modes help to even the field between players of different skill levels and fortes, giving the less reflexively talented a chance to shine — or, you know, chuck a few “git guds” of their own.

This is hardly a new concept: Unreal Tournament, one of competitive FPS's oldest and most influential titles, had mods or 'mutators' to make multiplayer matches more than just runnin' n' gunnin'. There was a permanent invisibility mutator that favored the patient and keen-eyed, a chainsaw-only mutator to remove the advantages of gunplay, and many more.

For CoD, this brand of delightful wackiness has benefits beyond being fun for players, as well.

It Helps the Franchise’s Image

Screenshot from CoD: Infinite Warfare's Zombies
Dev vs critics, circa 2018.

With microtransaction culture on the rise, and series entries like Call of Duty: WWII and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered (a reissue of a decade-old game) jumping on the bandwagon, “tired and repetitive” is far from the worst criticism thrown at CoD in recent years.

Handle the truth: gating any sort of in-game advantage or progress behind real money is not popular with gamers. Though not yet at the dreaded level of Asian gacha games, CoD's dalliance in this area has definitely put a dent in its reputation. Reinvesting some of that profit in small doses of fun for the playerbase can only foster goodwill and give future buyers more confidence in picking up a CoD title.

Of course, CoD isn't an MMO — it doesn't live or die by regular content updates. But all the same, everybody likes to feel game developers are delivering their money's worth. And in the nickel-and-dime era of entertainment, that's never been more worthy of attention.

It’s Just a Shame Not to, Really

A flamethrower at work in CoD:WWII
Fire up the innovation.

Similarly, in an age of reinvented gaming wheels, standing out from the competition isn't exactly getting easier with each passing year. One solution? Take more risks. Run more experiments.

And what better test bed for these than a AAA-grade platform with a large audience?

Sure, CoD players want gorgeous visuals, even bigger and better toys, and the visceral exhilaration of hard-won matches. All the things that make AAA shooters great.

But why stop there?

The CoD engine and playerbase are a big, sprawling opportunity to tinker and go wild and to try out new multiplayer innovations on the side without affecting core gameplay. Gabe only knows what can come of this mad science — and, in all honesty, this is not just for CoD. Raising the bar for multiplayer FPS innovation can only be progressive for the genre at large.

War never changes, but war games should. The CoD franchise has languished too long in the comfortable old formula of players racking up kill-counts on each other; it’s time it tightened its grip on the attempts it's made at innovation and cranked those up to 11. It has a lot to gain — and a spotty reputation with players to lose.

FPS Doesn’t Get More Old-School Than ‘Dusk’

The post Why Call of Duty Should Take More Risks Like “Prop Hunt” appeared first on FANDOM.

Who Was Alan Smithee, and Why Did He Make So Many Terrible Movies?

Posted: 24 Feb 2018 02:24 AM PST

Alan Smithee was a terrible filmmaker. In a career that spanned more than three decades, Smithee tackled pretty much every genre, helming comedies, thrillers, westerns, horror, drama, science-fiction — the lot. And his films were almost always bad. Like Uwe Boll bad.

In between, he tried his hand at TV, cartoons, music videos, comic books and video games, with inevitably disastrous results. While Alan also — somewhat bizarrely — re-edited a bunch of films for TV and planes, with the Smithee cut almost always inferior.

But who was Alan Smithee? Where did he come from? Why did his work stink? And how did his name become synonymous with bad filmmaking? Smithee’s story is a strange one that’s filled with twists, turns, and cameos from the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Whitney Houston, The Mighty Ducks, David Lynch, and Homer Simpson. His tale proving that — in Hollywood at least — fact is frequently stranger than fiction.

Who Was Alan Smithee?

Alan Smithee title card.
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled...

Alan Smithee is not, was not, and never has been a real person. Rather, he was the pseudonym used by directors who wished to disown a project. When a filmmaker felt that they had lost control of a movie, or that it had been altered or changed against their wishes, they could appeal to the Director’s Guild of America (DGA), and if successful, their name would be removed and replaced by that of Alan Smithee.

When it comes to feature films, the Alan Smithee moniker was used more than 30 times in 30 years. Catchfire (1990) is maybe the most famous example, with Dennis Hopper removing his name until his own director’s cut was released on video.

Sequels to The Birds, The Mighty Ducks and Hellraiser also carry the credit, as well as a National Lampoon flick (1995’s Senior Trip), a TV movie about OJ Simpson, and a star-studded Hollywood satire called Burn Hollywood Burn. But more on that later.

On TV, Alan Smithee is credited on episodes of The Twilight Zone, La Femme Nikita, Tiny Toon Adventures, and the MacGuyver pilot. While the video for Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ is also a Smithee joint.

As for the TV versions of movies that directors are so seldom fond of, several big names took advantage of the Smithee loophole, with Michael Mann using it for Heat and The Insider, Martin Brest employing it for Meet Joe Black, and David Lynch crediting the TV version of Dune to Alan Smithee. While at the same time changing his writing credit to Judas Booth, a very Lynchian combination of Judas Iscariot and John Wilkes Booth.

The Birth of Alan Smithee

It all started with a 1969 film called Death of a Gunfighter, a western about the people of a Texas town ousting their old-fashioned marshal. Robert Totten spent around 25 days in the director’s chair, but clashes with the film’s star Richard Widmark saw him removed and replaced by Don Siegel, who shot for a further 10.

When the film was finished, Siegel didn’t want to take credit for Death of a Gunfighter, and neither did Totten. So the Director’s Guild had a problem. They listened to both sides of the argument, believed Totten and Siegel to be in the right, and so decided to credit the western to a fictional director.

They needed a name that was not only unique and believable, but also generic enough to not draw attention to itself. For fear of undermining both the Guild and the station of director as the ultimate author of a film. The name they came up with was… Allen Smithee.

Which initially confused critics, with esteemed scribe Rober Ebert stating in his review for Death of a Gunfighter: “Director Allen Smithee, a name I’m not familiar with, allows his story to unfold naturally. He never preaches, and he never lingers on the obvious.”

The New York Times was also duped, Howard Thompson claiming: “The mounting tension is well-spun. Using the color and camera graphically, Mr. Smithee has an adroit facility for scanning faces and extracting background detail.”

The con was on. Allen was turned into Alan for a retroactive change to Burt Reynolds film Fade In, and with that, Smithee’s career was up-and-running; critics and audiences alike blissfully unaware that he didn’t actually exist.

Smithee Controversies

Picture from behind-the-scenes of American History X.
Tony Kaye (l) directing Edward Norton (r) on the set of American History X.

For much of his career, Smithee toiled away silently. Mainly due to DGA rules forbidding a director from discussing their experience once they had successfully navigated arbitration. But there were also controversies along the way.

Second Assistant Director Anderson House was one of the only ADs to use the pseudonym, and the circumstances surrounding his decision were tragic. Anderson was working on Twilight Zone: The Movie, during which star Vic Morrow and two child actors — Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shitt Chen — were killed in a helicopter accident. A lengthy court case followed. Director John Landis was tried, and acquitted, of voluntary manslaughter. And House disassociated himself from the film by having his name removed.

In 1998, director Tony Kaye tried to invoke Alan Smithee — or alternatively Humpty Dumpty — for American History X, claiming that both Edward Norton and the studio were meddling with his vision for the movie. He spent thousands of dollars denouncing Norton in the press. Lobbied to have his name replaced. And filed a lawsuit against the DGA. But they refused, claiming that by making the feud so public, Kaye had made it impossible to disconnect himself from the film, and a change in credit therefore pointless.

Finally — and somewhat less seriously — in 1998 Simpsons episode 'D'oh-in' in the Wind' Mr. Burns directs a recruitment video for the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. But he’s so dissatisfied with the result — largely due to Homer’s performance — that he removes his name and replaces it with… you guessed it: Alan Smithee.

Three controversies that, in differing ways, contributed to…

The Death of Alan Smithee

While industry folk quickly realised what was going on with Alan Smithee, the DGA didn't want the general public to get wind of the truth. For fear that the name would simply become a mark of poor quality. And evidence that they were basically lying to audiences. But the above incidents took the name into the mainstream. And then Burn Hollywood Burn happened.

A 1998 feature that was written and produced by Joe Eszterhas, the film's full title is An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn. It stars Eric Idle as a film director who helms a movie called Trio. But when he sees the studio's cut of the movie, he disavows it. Trouble is, his own name is Alan Smithee, and so unable to use the accepted pseudonym, he instead steals the film and holds it hostage.

The film featured cameos from the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg and Jackie Chan, which made it big news. It also became a monumental flop and won a bunch of Golden Raspberries, which made it even bigger news. And in a plot-twist fitting of a film much better than Burn Hollywood Burn, director Arthur Hiller claimed that Eszterhas interfered with his efforts, and successfully removed his name from the credits. Meaning An Alan Smithee film was ultimately directed by Alan Smithee.

This was an all-out disaster for the DGA, and the immense negative publicity that surrounded Burn Hollywood Burn left them little choice but to retire the name. Effectively killing Alan Smithee for good.

The moniker still appears from time-to-time, as a movie in-joke, or on titles that don't fall under DGA jurisdiction. But when it comes to American feature films, Alan Smithee is no more. Signalling the end of one of the worst careers in Hollywood history.

But that isn't the end of the Smithee story. In Alan's absence, successors have appeared in his place, to signify a disaster behind the scenes, in front of the camera, or both. A prime example is horrendous sci-fi flick Supernova, on which director Walter Hill had himself removed and replaced by ‘Thomas Lee’ in somewhat mischievous fashion. As there’s a whole page-full of Thomas Lees on IMDB.

So keep your eyes peeled, as the next Alan Smithee is probably out there already. Putting the finishing touches to some celluloid disaster. Arguing with suits from the studio. Or very possibly headlining the credits of that terrible film you just saw.

The Movie Disney Doesn’t Want You to See

The post Who Was Alan Smithee, and Why Did He Make So Many Terrible Movies? appeared first on FANDOM.