sword reviews

Gekijo-ban Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale (Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale)       2016

Tomohiko Ito

Animation / Action / Adventure

Trailer

Stars : 5/5

Huge fan of this saga and the movie was no disappointment. You do need to watch the anime to understand this and enjoy this to the fullest though. This time, our main characters are faced with a new threat, augmented reality. We get to see old and loved characters, but new villains and new friends. The animations is excellent, even better than the anime, full of detail, color, dynamic fights, interesting boss fights, etc. Exciting through and through with an epic battle and sweet ending. 

A Cut Above

What makes a sword a sword? Is it its shape? No, this can’t be, because sword shapes - cruciform, crescent, etc - lengths, and styles vary greatly, by both time and space. Is it based on lack of projectiles? Maces, clubs, axes, and spears don’t shoot projectiles, but no one would call them a sword. What does a 17th century rapier have in common with a Roman gladius? What does an Iberian montante have in common with the arming sword featured in the I.33 manuscript?

What do they all have in common? Swords, quite simply are long, bladed weapons, often (though not always) with a point, designed to kill. There are a few ways swords can do this in the hands of their wielders, but the two most common ways are via cutting - using the sword to hew - and thrusting. The medieval longsword,  used in Europe from about 1300-1500, has the best of both worlds in that it is a weapon designed to be able to both optimally cut and thrust an opponent.

In Cutting with the Medieval Sword, Mike Edelson pulls off the remarkable feat of getting at the very heart of what makes using a sword an art (as opposed to a sport), and does so in a way that is accessible to everyone - from those who have never picked up a sword in their life, to practitioners with years of experience.

Make no mistake - this is not a book for sport fencers; this is a book for those who wish to start or continue learning how to use a sword as it was used historically and martially - to maim or kill your opponent.

Assuming that your interest in HEMA and swordsmanship is at least partly martial, however, you will find this book an invaluable resource. The information is presented in a straight-forward, easy-to-understand manner, with copious illustrations and analogies that can be absorbed by everyone - even me, and I’m a notoriously slow learner when it comes to swords. There’s no need to be familiar with middle-high German, Italian, or Latin; when excerpts from manuals are included here, they have been translated (via the wonderfully talented Cory Winslow). 

***

The book is divided into theoretical, practice, and calibration sections, which I will address individually:

Theoretical — This part can (and perhaps should) be a textbook used in all HEMA classes. It addresses all the concepts one should know when it comes to cutting with a sword (and there’s also a bit about thrusting, as well), and the appropriate body mechanics to make it work. Although the section is intended as a reference and does not have to be read chronologically, I’d still recommend everyone read it and then, for newer students especially, come back to it as terms and ideas become more familiar.  

Personally, I was surprised to lear about the importance of regulating one’s breathing - I don’t usually remember to breathe when fencing or cutting, but here Edelson has explained in detail why exhaling with the strike is extremely important.

In fact, with all concepts here, Edelson has found a way to explain not just why a certain concept is important, but how it relates to cutting as a whole - for example things such as grip and stopping the sword may seem to be minor details, but a poor grip or inability to stop the sword at the appropriate point can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful cut.

Practice — Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a sharp sword to practice (although you certainly can), but a blunt or feder capable of producing good sword wind can often get the job done - details as to how to choose a good blunt are in the text. Cutting practice doesn’t refer to cutting tatami or water bottles (that’s calibration), but to the thousands and thousands of cuts one should practice in the air at home. The tl;dr here is that you want to make sure you’re training to cut through your target, and if you only ever practice against a calibration medium, you’ll just train yourself to cut and only cut that medium.

There are a wealth of drills in the practice section, many familiar to me as I train with the NYC branch of Edelson’s club, but some entirely new, and they are divided into foundational and core drills. Foundational drills are designed to get you the basic movements and skill sets; core drills further refine these and should become a regular part of your practice. Some the drills need a partner, but may can be performed solo, and some need only a wooden dowel to be performed.

Those new to HEMA or longsword instruction will likely find many of these drills helpful to do with their class, adjusting as appropriate to the experience level of their students.

Calibration - This is the section that deals with sharps and feedback materials.

First, Edelson goes into detail as to how to choose an appropriate sharp sword for one’s size - personally, I use an Albion Count and have just received an Albion Crecy - as well as what manufacturers to choose from.  The adage “you get what you pay for” is especially true here; your Renaissance fair wall hanger is probably not going to get the job done.

Edelson then goes on to describe how to properly sharpen your sword; although instructional videos exist (the links are provided), this is an activity that should absolutely be done under supervision for newer students, and practice on kitchen knives or other swords you don’t care about first is recommended. That said, more experienced students will delight in the interview with Peter Johnsson provided here, which was a pleasant surprise for myself.

As for feedback materials, tatami is the best material currently available for test cutting based on factors of cost, weight, and diagnostic ability (ie, the ability to understand what you did right or wrong when you cut it). Edelson also addresses the positives and negatives of cutting clay, water bottles, pool noodles, and newspapers - tl;dr, if you can’t get tatami, clay is probably your next best cutting medium but there are some serious drawbacks.

Edelson goes into great detail explaining how to prepare tatami, including where to order it, what tatami to get (new vs old), how to roll and soak it, and what your cutting stand should look like. For newer students, learning how to spike tatami is also an important skill - mats spiked incorrectly can be artificially hard to cut. This is followed by suggestion patterns and diagnostics, so that you will be able to see what you did wrong.

This ends with a section on cleaning and repairing your sword; the short version is that except for routine cleaning and the most superficial nicks, repairs should be handled by professionals - which is one reason vendors such as Albion are so highly rated, as they provide this service.

***

While many of us participate in the competitive side of HEMA as a sport, it behoves us to always remember that ultimately what we are studying is a martial art. As a community, we have come a long way in the last ten years - from having a surfeit of feders and sharps to choose from, to having multiple vendors offering HEMA-specific protective gear - and this book should be included in the lexicon of game-changers.

HEMA is awash in primary sources, which is amazing, but there has been a gap in texts  concerned with cutting, as opposed to set plays and techniques, and appropriate sword care. This fills that gap, and should be a recommended text for those in the community for years to come.


Cutting with the Medieval Sword can be purchased here.

SAO: ORDINAL SCALE

UHM HONESTLY THE BEST THING IVE EVER SEEN, i honestly forgot that Kirito was younger than Asuna shh…

ORDINAL SCALE I SWEAR they’ve done well to please us + combing all leaders of guilds and games fahh I couldn’t ask for more..

But can i just say having it somewhat surrounding Asuna again and having all the main characters of the Series itself is honestly so great like they knew we missed them!!

+ THERES ANOTHER MOVIE/SEASON IN THE MAKING LIKE WHAT?? (Note: I alr knew about the season coming but still that outro tho)

The ending credits are so cute but then that one screen *SAO WILL RETURN* is like WAIT WHAT??

Just watch it thanks it’s really worth it in the end!!

Sword Art Online

Oh boy here we go. I’m probably gonna get a lot of flak for this but I love Sword Art Online. All of it.  I’d like to first say that I have not read the light novels, and this may the reason why I love the anime so much, but I’m poor and I’m not really an avid reader.

Putting that aside, lets get down to business. The first arc is the classic Aincrad arc. Here we are introduced to the world of SAO and the “If you die in the game you die in real life thing” 

Aincrad is and always be my favorite arc. I’m so glad this arc was the first one in the series because without it I probably wouldn’t like the show as much as I do. I especially love the little bit of romance that accompanies the main story line. (Say what you will but Kirito x Asuna with the addition of Yui is too adorable to hate.) 

The next arc is the Fairy Dance arc. This is the arc that everyone hates, and while it’s not my favorite I have to say that I feel that it’s necessary. People say that the Fairy Dance arc ruins the “strong female character” aspect of Asuna but that is dealt with later in the series. What I really love about this arc is that it kind of puts the “SAO is a harem” ideas to rest. This arc shows just how much Kirito cares about Asuna, and how far he is willing to go in order to stay by her side. Say what you will, but I liked it. 

Next up is Gun Gale Online. This arc focuses less on the original cast, and more on Kirito as an individual, as well as a new character (one of my favorites) named Sinon. This arc explores how Kirito was impacted by the SAO incident, and kind of serves as the redemption arc. However, this isn’t the main focus of the arc, and it loses a few points for that. The arc focuses more on how victims of PTSD are impacted in general.

This arc introduces Sinon, the badass sniper of GGO who wields a sniper rifle the only she can control. I love Sinon, her character is so interesting with the way she copes, and overcomes her PTSD, and how she and Kirito become best bros. The only thing I’m gonna say is bad about Sinon is that she deserved better. (Watch the arc and you’ll understand.) 

Last but not least, is the Mother’s Rosario arc. Whereas the last arc was all about Kirito, this arc is all about Asuna. This is the arc that I was talking about when I said that the strong female character aspect of Asuna is dealt with later in the series. I mean just look at this and try to tell me Asuna is just Kirito’s girlfriend nothing else.

This arc also introduces the Sleeping knights, and their leader Yuuki. I won’t say much about what happens between them, but I will say it’s sad, almost too sad. This arc is the only one that tugged at the heart strings and that’s why I like it so much. 

Sword Art Online will always be one of my favorites no matter how much hate it gets. 10/10 would full-dive again. 

A REVIEW - King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword

Can I first just say how upset I am with all these movie critics who seem to have created this unified campaign to tear this film to shreds! It literally has a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes and while that website is becoming more and more of a joke, the optimistic part of me still believes that there are still some critical contributors with some common sense. But now I’m convinced they’re all just pretentious and spoiled and think movies set in these specific genres are trash if they aren’t like Game Of Thrones or Lord Of The Rings. So don’t believe the negative reviews from critics, their opinions no longer reflect the movie audience of today. That being said, let’s move on to the actual film itself.

There have been many iterations of the story of King Arthur, Excalibur, Knights of the Roundtable, and Camelot to last of lifetime. From movies to television series, this story has been recycled more times than a Batman franchise. However, if the story was going to be told again it needed a fresh new spin and that’s what we got from director Guy Ritchie. Now I’m not too familiar with Ritchie’s aesthetic as a filmmaker and his past work never really stood out to me. I’m sure I’m in a league of my own when I say that I tried watching Sherlock Holmes three times and fell asleep on every single sitting. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good film, it just didn’t keep my attention. But from what I saw from King Arthur, Ritchie definitely has a niche way of storytelling on film and it shows. There was one particular method – using quick cuts to explain a story while it’s happening – is a genius move but by the third time, it got a bit repetitive and lost it’s edge. Other than that, from beginning to end this film was a very enjoyable ride.

It’s obvious the story was changed a bit from the original tale we all have known but I feel like it worked and made the film that much more interesting. Charlie Hunnam was very believable as Arthur. Showing us his upbringing as a LIAR and A SCAMMER *cue Joanna Prada voice*, it was interesting to see his path from lowly peasant to accepting his birth right as heir to the throne and savior of the people. While not necessarily Oscar-worthy, Hunnam definitely shows that he can be more than just a redneck biker from his Sons of Anarchy role that most of the world know him from. Jude Law as Vortigern and Astrid Berges-Frisbey as The Mage were my main issues with this film. They both had very important roles but sometimes just made me roll my eyes at how mechanical and unconvincing they were in certain parts. The rest of the cast were good additions although weren’t given much backstory… mainly a result of the fact that most people seeing this movie know who they are already based on the story itself. 

But that is not what made this film so enjoyable. Visually the film is breathtaking. The set pieces, the effects, the music, the magical elements, the mystical creatures all played apart in pulling you into this world of fantasy. I won’t deny that there were moments that seemed similar to fantasy films like 300 or The Hobbit, but Guy Ritchie’s use of camera angles and slow motion made them feel original. 

The story was well paced and well written. The elements of comedy didn’t seem out of place at all. It actually made it feel more realistically. I don’t think the modern movie going audience wants to go see a film where the dialogue is written like poetry. While that type of storytelling is beautiful, we are living in a world where Iron Man and Optimus Prime dominate the box office so if you’re going to spend $175 million on a film the least you could do is not bore me with some long, shakespearean dialogue that’s more suited for broadway than an action packed fantasy film. 

Overall, King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword lives up to the hype of it’s marketing campaign. Its a fresh, innovative adaption on a classic tale we all know and love. It’s especially a cool interpretation to tell a story set in medieval times with a man like Guy Ritchie at the helm. Truly some of his best work. My hope is that the film does well overseas just so that the film studio can get a return on their investment and feel inspired to want to do a sequel. Apparently, this film was gonna set in motion five more sequels after it. Hopefully, the positive feedback from the general audience despite the negative feedback from critics will show that a sequel is well deserved.

8 our 10 stars for me. 

Go see this film. Like me, you will pleasantly surprised at how much you enjoy it!

Games

So I recently started Samurai love ballad: party and I have to say, SO ADDICTED OH DEAR LORD! xD My good friend has been making me a fan of it’s characters for ages, so when I finally picked it up, as you can expect, I went crazy xD

Personally what I fell in love with instantly was the music and artwork. I loved how the music changed with the mood, which just enhanced the experience. Not to mention the MC actually having a mind of her own, which is usually not the case and honestly a let down in most otomes. She refreshingly has a great personality and a strong mind. I was hocked as soon as I finished the prologue. So if you are a fan of historical stories and romances. This game is definitely recommended from my end. And as a bonus the men are gorgeous as well haha(we all know most of you were wondering that lol). So ya, that’s what I am up to these days apart from other things. If anyone of you starts the game, do let me know how you found it. I am personally currently playing Masamune’s route and DAGNAMMIT KAWAI POTATOS STAPH. *ahem* Anyways, until next time peeps! Have fun!

                                   (My two potatos in all their glory)

Psst.

If there is anyone who reads this that is as in love with the new King Arthur movie as I am can y'all just hit me up because I’ve just come out of seeing it a second time, in 3D this time, and I’m actually buzzing off of how much I enjoyed it (it’s the first movie this year I’ve been into cinemas to see more than once)
But like, it’s gotten so many bad reviews and most of the people I know either didn’t like it or don’t want to see it and I have nobody to obsess over it with 😩

About the new HTTYD book covers

Remember how I posted pictures of them, and said I preferred matching book covers? [x]

So I thought “Lets be smart, order the books you really want now (Books 8-12), before they only sell the new covers.”  And then these arrived yesterday:

But now that I have these new ones I might as well compare them to the books I already have.

The new covers are covered in metallic scales, so they’re very shiny. They are all similar to the UK’s How to fight a dragon’s fury, yet without the texture.

On the back they have a excerpt of the story instead of a description. Unlike How to seize a dragon’s jewel it does not introduce Hiccup. How to fight a dragon’s fury is different too, with Furious’s eye instead of more text.

Little Toothless has been added to the spine, as well as thin golden stripes, which I think go beautifully with the black and metallic scales.

And this is my full HTTYD collection right now. ^^

617: The Sword and the Dragon

We’re back in Aleksandr Ptushko land!  The title of this movie in its homeland was simply Ilya Muromets.  Like Sadko the Sailor, Ilya Muromets is a hero of Russian folklore, the subject of much poetry, art, and opera.  He is thought to be based on Saint Ilya Pechersky, a medieval knight-errant who became a monk later in life, and what we see here in the movie is only a sampling of the stories told about him.  He’s supposed to have once fought off a band of robbers, using no weapon but a boot – now that is a scene I would have liked to see in the movie!

Keep reading

9

KENTA KOBASHI - Complete GHC Championship Collection Review



Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Kenta Kobashi (GHC Title, 03/01/03, *****)
Kenta Kobashi vs. Tamon Honda (GHC Title, 04/13/03, ****½)
Kenta Kobashi vs. Bison Smith (GHC Title, 08/26/03, ****)
Kenta Kobashi vs. Yuji Nagata (GHC Title, 09/12/03, ****½+)
Kenta Kobashi vs. Yoshinari Ogawa (GHC Title, 11/01/03, ***¾)
Kenta Kobashi vs. Takuma Sano (GHC Title, 01/25/04, ***½)
Kenta Kobashi vs. Takeshi Rikio (GHC Title, 03/06/04, ****)
Kenta Kobashi vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (GHC Title, 04/25/04, *****)
Kenta Kobashi vs. Jun Akiyama (GHC Title, 07/10/04, *****)
Kenta Kobashi vs. Akira Taue (GHC Title, 09/10/04, ****¼+)
Kenta Kobashi vs. Akitoshi Saito (GHC Title, 10/24/04, ****½)
Kenta Kobashi vs. Mike Awesome (GHC Title, 12/04/04, ****)
Kenta Kobashi vs. Minoru Suzuki (GHC Title, 01/08/05, ****)
Kenta Kobashi vs. Takeshi Rikio (GHC Title, 03/01/05,
****¼)

Kenta Kobashi vs. Masahiro Chono (GHC Title, NJPW, 05/03/03, ****)


This will be remembered as one of, if not the, greatest title reigns in wrestling history. It most certainly is the best in modern history. Kobashi’s exactly two year run with NOAH’s top prize was a thing of wonderment. Not least because not 2 years earlier, Kobashi was completely written off. Having undergone 9 surgeries on both damaged knees (thats the long term effects of the Moonsault for you) he was said to be “done”. Especially when he suffered a torn ligament during his 2002 return match (the excellent doubles match in which he teamed with favourite rival, Mitsuharu Misawa to take on Jun Akiyama and NJPW’s Yuji Nagata) and sidelined him again. 

As a result, when his GHC challenge against then champion Misawa was announced, there was a lot of excitement based predominantly on the fact that the two have produced some of the greatest wrestling contests ever, yet realistically it seemed unlikely they would reach the heights attained in their All Japan Triple Crown contests in the 90′s. Expectations were high, maybe unrealistically high given how limited Kobashi was at the time, or at least was said to be. However, nothing could prepare for the match they delivered. Misawa and Kobashi, on March 1st 2003, produced probably the most dramatic match I’ve ever seen. Despite people saying both men were “beaten down”, they obliterated expectations. Kobashi, in particular, needed special praise. Indeed he had something of a toned down style, omitting the knee-destroying moonsault from his moveset amongst other things, but he still looked like the Kobashi of old. The best wrestler on the planet. Throughout this reign, Kobashi produced some of the finest matches of the 21st century so far, besides the brilliant Misawa encounter, his classic bouts with Takayama and Akiyama were also phenomenal, the latter being one of the greatest, most dramatic matches ever.

During his 13 successful Crown defences, at the point, the most in Japanese wrestling history, Kobashi brought the best out of everyone he was put in there with. He even managed to carry life long mid-carders, guys like Tamon Honda, Bison Smith, Akitoshi Saito and Takeshi Rikio, to the best singles matches of their respective careers, and make them look like main eventers in the process. Even though few believed inferior foes could pull it off, there was always a believability to Kobashi’s matches, in that the guy he was in there with could pull out the shock win, and that is a talent only a select few in the history of the industry have ever been able to do. As ridiculous as it may seem, those in attendance legitimately thought, several times, that Tamon Honda was about to defeat Kobashi in his first defence of the belt. When he did finally drop the belt to Rikio in 2005, it blew the roof off Budokan Hall and for that brief moment, Takeshi Rikio looked like a megastar (which he never turned out to be). The run also was a huge hit at the box office and made NOAH the hottest promotion around during that period.

Realistically, there will never be another Kenta Kobashi. He was a career long babyface who always remained over and beloved. Wether that be with his undeniable charisma or tough fighting (”burning”) spirit, Kobashi had an aura few in the wrestling business have ever been able to match. His ability to adapt his style due to very debilitating injuries, and never losing any of what made him special, even though said injuries were his downfall (he was an almost complete physical wreck by the time he retired in 2013, mainly due to his stubborn insistence of not slowing down), and the fact he managed to have some of the best matches of his career under these conditions, is a testament to how good the man really was. An exemplary storyteller and selfless worker, in my opinion, Kenta Kobashi is the best there ever was.

NDT

I watched King Arthur: Legend of the sword yesterday and I loved it. ❤

  • Probably one of the few movies I’ve watched in 3D that’s really worth it.
  • The new backstory for Arthur is well thought. Created on the street, sarcastic, trickster. You know what they said: You can take out the man from Charming, but you can’t take Charming from the man.
  • Poor edition? Please, the edition was one of my favorite parts.
  • Humor wasn’t out of place. 

Now a theory:

It’s possible that the kid who lost his parent is Lancelot? (His name is Blue, right?)

All the main knights of King Arthur were present, except his most faithful and known. 

411: The Magic Sword

A Bert I. Gordon movie that’s not about some creature growing to improbable size and going on a rampage?  Yeah, I wouldn’t have believed it, either, but here it is.  The result isn’t really all that bad by MST3K standards, anyway, and for as simplistic a story as it is, it contains a surprising amount of food for thought.

Keep reading

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. A pleasantly surprised review.

I must admit when I heard Guy Ritchie made a King Arthur movie, I groaned, ‘ugh not another pointless re-make’, and the reviews generally agreed it wasn’t worth watching. However, I’ve just watched it and I think it’s the best version of the story I’ve ever seen.

A highly original re-think, with deliberate anachronisms mixed with epic high fantasy, Matrix-style action (a few misses but mostly hits with the fight sequences), excellent music and sound mixing, and often laugh-out-loud funny. It has a macho heroic storyline but without being obnoxiously sexist about it, which is way too rare! It’s the best out of several low-rated movies I’ve watched this week, that turned out to be fun.

Most movie critics simply don’t understand the fantasy genre. They say they don’t want re-makes but if they do watch a re-make they don’t like it if it isn’t the same old tired pseudo-historical story played out again with different actors. As if the impossibly huge elephants in the first few minutes, weren’t a clear enough clue, that this isn’t the Camelot you think you know? This version was way out there like Pluto and I loved it.