Kingbeast's Lair

Growling about the RPG industry and my gaming life. RPG and anime reviews from a passionate fan. (Formerly John's Hero HQ.)

Archive for the ‘Media Interests’

My Anime Year 2022

December 31, 2022 By: John Taber Category: Anime Reviews, Media Interests

I saw an article on Otaku about end of the year “big moments in anime” and it reminded me that I had a really great anime year!  I watched a LOT of amazing anime in 2022.  This is my quick post on some great anime moments for me this year.  These are not in any type or order just as they came to mind.

Best Anime Of 2022

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time

I am a huge Evangelion fan so when Thrice Upon a Time was released in the theaters in IMAX I had to attend.  It did not disappoint.  Such a great series of movies and I think the TV show is just as great!

Goodbye, Don Glees!

Evan and I like to go watch anime in the theater on the big screen.  When Goodbye, Don Glees came to the theaters we had no expectations.  We knew the director’s other movies and like them but came up without any preconceived opinion.  Boy were we surprised!  Goodbye, Don Glees is amazing!  I was also super pleased to see that it is a nominee for animated move of the year.  It will not win but Evan and I LOVED this one!

The Quintessential Quintuplets Movie

For nearly 2 years I have been really into romance anime.  Already a fan of the Quintuplets manga and anime I was excited to see the conclusion in the theaters.  I actually cried in the theater when I watched this one.

Fruits Basket

Boy…this is the best romance anime I have ever watched.  I watched this over the year with Evan in his bedroom.  So many times I sat up glued to Tohru, Yuki, Kyo, and the rest of the crew.  This anime really hits you hard in the feels.  The episode at the end of season 3 in the rain…wow…if you watch anime you need to watch Fruits Basket.


I was a HUGE fan of the manga and anime is exceptional.  If you love a strong family theme with amazing memorable characters going through their daily lives and incredible action all rolled up…watch SpyxFamily.

Code Geass

I owe my friend Chris for this one.  He recommended this one for me to watch.  When I finally got to it I was hooked.  Code Geass is like a roller coaster that goes uphill for the first 5 or 6 episodes.  Then all of the lovely buildup comes crashing down!  This is a great show full of action, political intrigue, and characters you fall in love with…that then die.  So good!

Give some of these a try and let me know what you think!

Review Of Criminal And Fatale

October 09, 2015 By: John Taber Category: Fun Reads, Media Interests

Criminal Front Cover

-== Criminal: The Deluxe Edition Volume 1 ==-

Author: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips and Val Staples Layout: 7.5″ x 11″, 432 pages, hardcover, with a color cover and interior.
Publisher: Marvel
Year Published: 2011

-== What is it? ==-

Criminal is an Eisner and Harvey Award winning crime fiction series from minds of writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips. Criminal is part of the Marvel ICON line of products. The Criminal: The Deluxe Edition Volume 1 hardcover collects Criminal Volume 1 issues 1 to 10 and Volume 2 issues 1 to 3. It also has some extras that include covers and sketches. I am reviewing a copy that I bought from my local comic store.

-== What I Like ==-

Wanting to try something new I decided to look into crime graphic novels. After doing some research I quickly discovered that Criminal and Ed Brubaker were at the top of many people’s lists. When I started researching Criminal most people seemed to recommend The Deluxe Edition books. Thus I gave Volume 1 a try. It did not take long for me to discover a new passion. Criminal is crime fiction writing at its very best. Stories ebb and flow but always seem to have a direction. The main characters in each story are broken shells who in the end get smothered by their sins.

The artwork in Criminal is full of shadow and angst. Sean Phillips pen and ink work is particularly good. The coloring is thoughtful and invokes the mood of the piece.

-== What I Don’t Like ==-

Over the course of Volume 1 main characters from one story may appear in a different story. In these cases although the concept is nice these chance encounters sometimes seem forced and can actually distract from my immersion.

Criminal is definitely adult material. Sensitive readers will not appreciate the strong sex, violence, and language.

-== Summary ==-

Since reading Criminal I have read many other crime fiction graphic novels. Watch for some of these in future reviews. After reading many other recommended products I come back to Criminal. Criminal: The Deluxe Edition Volume 1 is the best hard boiled crime fiction graphic novel I have read. Masterful storytelling at the highest level. Pay off your local comic dealer for Criminal then never look back.

I give it 10 out of 10 paws.

On Amazon you can get copies of Criminal: The Deluxe Edition Volume 1 at this URL for $75. I think $75 might be above the cover price so check your local comic dealer first.

Fatale Front Cover

-== Fatale: Book 1: Death Chases Me ==-

Author: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips Layout: 7″ x 10″, 144 pages, softcover, with a color cover and interior.
Publisher: Image Comics
Year Published: 2012

-== What is it? ==-

Fatale tells the story of a cursed protagonist and the people that enter and leave her life over time. The stories remind me of Midas myth in many ways. Stories are mysterious, terrifying, and grounded in a strong noir base. I read copies of all four Fatale trades that I purchased from my friendly local comic book store.

-== What I Like ==-

Fatale has a very different feel from Criminal. The stories have a Lovecraft sensibility that really sucks in the reader. As the stories take place over several generations of time, and not always in chronological order, I found it sometimes hard to follow the main character’s timeline.

The art and color by Phillips are a perfect fit for the hard boiled content. As long as Sean and Ed stick together they will have me entranced.

-== What I Don’t Like ==-

Fatale did not immerse me in its world like Criminal. The stories are good and fun to read but I guess I did not care enough about the side character to get hooked.

Like Criminal, Fatale is a book for adults. If you don’t want the language, drugs, violence, or sex then don’t partake of Fatale.

-== Summary ==-

Fatale is a great read but takes attention to read. It can also get slow at times. Fatale is more proof that Brubaker and Phillips own this type of fiction.

I give it 7 out of 10 paws.

Get the Fatale trades here for roughly $11 each.

Review Of Stone And A Hard Place: Alastair Stone Chronicles Book 1

May 31, 2015 By: John Taber Category: Fun Reads, Media Interests

Stone And A Hard Place

-== What is it? ==-

Stone And A Hard Place is a modern urban fantasy tale of a quirky college professor who is secretly a mystic master. It was published in 2015 by R.L. King (aka Rat) through Magespace Press.

The book has a color cover and an entirely black and white interior. The book is 5.25” x 8” and is 363 pages in length. I am reviewing a print copy that I bought through Amazon.

-== What I Like ==-

My favorite part about the novel is the main character Doctor Alastair Stone. Dr Stone is an intriguing mix of a serious professor of magic and curious young man. Alastair is less Obi Wan and more 10th Doctor Who. His journey through the book takes him past many ups and downs and proves that he is not invincible. He is a careful planner but is willing to step up even though he knows he is far less powerful than his adversary. Dr Stone’s reason for facing these terrible threats, “somebody has to.” Love it. 😀

The way magic is explained in the book is by action. King does not spend tons of time explaining how magic works in her world but instead jumps right in and tackles the story. It is refreshing and allows the reader to focus on the characters and story instead of the “nuts and bolts”.

The antagonists in the story are pretty great. I don’t want to give too much away but the trio that oppose Stone are flawed yet powerful and undisciplined…a dangerous combination. At points I enjoyed reading their thread quite a bit.

The last 60 pages or so of the book ratchet up the tension to a powerful ending. I rarely read novels these days that hook me so hard that I can’t put them down. The end of Stone And A Hard Place did that for me. 🙂

-== What I Don’t Like ==-

I thought the beginning of the book was a bit slow. Some side characters needed to be introduced to the reader so that their importance to Stone was set. Sometimes it felt like they could have used less coverage.

At one point it became clear to me that one of the side characters was definitely going to be a “red shirt” (ala Star Trek). This is to be expected to make a punch to the story but it felt a bit too much like it was on rails.

-== Summary ==-

Rat has provided a great start to what I hope will be a long series of adventures for Dr Stone. A dashing opening act for a charming leading man.

I give it 9 out of 10 paws.

You can buy Stone And A Hard Place from Amazon in digital and hard copy. The hard copy is $14.99 at this URL. The digital copy is on $2.99. What are you waiting for!?! GO BUY IT! 😀