Author: Mark Page 1 of 7

The lesson I take from all this? Cutting out author inserts makes everything better.

I’ve been on a weird 90s Chicago kick recently, and gobbled down two films that put that time and place lovingly on display, so I thought I’d share them all with you to fill my article quota before April kicks off. Here ya go!

The Relic (1997)

Watching this after I threw away the source material angrily in disgust, the film version of Relic thankfully excises the book’s central flaw and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Reading the Relic novel is sort of like watching one of the poorer SNL sketch spinoff movies, where about half-an-hour in you suddenly realize “Oh my god… they don’t have a movie!” There’s a maybe 200-page plot crammed into an almost 500-page book, and so to pad out pages Preston and Child will just repeat information over and over again.

So, to give an example, first we’ll have a scene where some schmuck wanders off and gets killed. Then we’ll have a scene where someone finds the body and goes “Omigod! Someone got killed!” Then we’ll have a scene where the police are cordoning off the crime scene and gabbing to one another “Hey, you see that someone got killed? Poor schmuck.” Then we’ll have a scene where the rubberneckers are gabbing “Did you hear? Someone got killed!” Then we’ll have a scene where the investigator characters show up and discuss how someone got killed. Then we’ll start banging our heads against the table as we realize that about a hundred pages have passed and nothing has been established that we didn’t already know from the god-damn back cover.

Let the Dream Stay a Dream

Warning: This review contains mild spoilers and discusses rape and sexual assault. Seriously, you have been warned.

I Dream of Mimi is an OVA that, while not exactly a big hit in the West, has gained a cult status due to it producing a lot of GIFs which have wound up on various corners of the internet. Even if you’ve never seen an episode or read the original manga, you’ve probably seen one of the GIFs if you hang out in anime-friendly online spaces. I found it while listening to Future Funk, similar to how I found Call Me Tonight. And from the GIFs I gathered that Mimi had that goldilocks combination of cuteness and lewdness that I love so much in my adult anime. Given this, I quickly tracked the OVA down and gave it a watch.

So how was it? Awful. The answer is awful, but it wasn’t awful in the sense of making me uncomfortable. While there were certainly some eyebrow-raising moments in Mimi, it’s free of sexual violence and maintains a whimsical, charming tone. No, I Dream of Mimi made me angry. Angry to the point where whatever charm and cuteness the series had only made things more irritating. Angry to the point where I wanted to reach into my phone and strangle the protagonist. Angry to the point where when I was finished, I thought to myself “What was even the point of that?” But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Cthulhuan Cuteness

Warning: This review contains mild spoilers and discusses rape and sexual assault. And also tentacles. Seriously, you have been warned.

Wicked City was my first proper exposure to adult anime, but it was also unintentional. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I watched it, and while I was old enough and mature enough to not freak out at what I saw, I wasn’t honest enough with myself yet to seek out more adult anime. That would come later, well after I’d left college. During this time I had discovered Future Funk, and through my favorite Future Funk Youtube channel, Artzie Music, I’d found one song in particular that I loved: “Confessions” by Sixtroke. Like most Artzie Music videos, the music came with a classic 80s anime GIF, but with this video I didn’t recognize where the GIF came from. Curious, I looked up the anime and found that it was a hentai horror short film named Call Me Tonight.

Maybe years before I would have left things at that, but then, at that time and place, there was something inside me that was curious, a side of me that was only just starting to bloom now that I was living and working on my own. So I watched Call Me Tonight, and I loved it! This would mark the start of my full and proper exploration into kinky anime, and as such, Call Me Tonight still holds a special place in my heart. However, given how my opinion of Wicked City soured since my first viewing, I had to wonder if Call Me Tonight would still hold up. I had to see it again.

I’d like to do a little math here…

Just… wanna see how this looks…


January-March (production)

April 6 – 1A
April 13 – 1B
April 20 – 1C
April 27 – 1D
May 4 – 1E
May 11 – 1F
May 18 – 1G
May 25 – 1H

June-August (production)

September 7 – 2A
September 14 – 2B
September 21 – 2C
September 28 – 2D
October 5 – 2E
October 12 – 2F
October 19 – 2G
October 26 – 2H
November 2 – 2I
November 23 – 2X

December (production)

2023 Year in Review

So, it’s 2023, but it won’t be for long. Time zones are a funny thing, but by the time I post this it should be the last day of 2023. I’ll be off to Yasaka Shrine to ring in the new year, like I did at Hokoku Shrine last year. And as I look back on my plans for New Years, I start to wonder just how much I’ve accomplished this year.

I started this blog. I finished Project Shenmue. But the publisher who initially asked me for it no longer wants it. Student loan repayment came back, which means I can no longer save any money. And I can’t help but feel like I’m wasting my 20s. I’ve spent so many years like this one, where so little happens, it’s difficult to not think this is just going to be how it always is.

Still, I can’t just sit around and mope, feeling sorry for myself. One of the advantages of living so many years in this state is that even if I can’t convince myself anything will come of it, I can still put my nose to the grindstone and put things out. Whether it be writing for other publications, writing for this blog, or writing my own stuff, no matter how bad things get, I know I have the ability to sit in front of the keyboard and start typing. Even if it always feels like pulling teeth.

So who knows what will happen next year? Maybe Project Shenmue will get picked up by another publisher, an even better one. Maybe I’ll finally take the first step to being able to make some decent income from writing. Who can say? It all has yet to be determined.

An internet pal of mine, Michal (he helped with my Witcher vid way back when), put out a little Year in Review thing like the Let’s Fight a Boss Podcast used to do (I loved that podcast). I think I’d like to do something like that come 2024. Maybe it’ll happen. Who knows?

In the meantime, I hope you all have a Happy New Year. Take care.

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