It’s December, and you know what that means. It’s finally socially acceptable to watch Christmas movies. Some might find it weird how there are whole pieces of media that we only consume during a specific time of year, but I say that this self-imposed limitation gives us a chance to rewatch stuff we wouldn’t normally otherwise. Lord knows I wouldn’t have watched It’s A Wonderful Life enough times to have it practically memorized if I’d been able to pop it into the DVD player whenever. And one day, when I have my own family, I’ll have my own set of DVDs (or whatever form of physical media we’ll have in the wake of the apocalypse) to wheel out every December. Until then, as I spend yet another Christmas in the middle of nowhere, with no company save that which I can purchase at my local Baskin-Robbins, I’ll be checking out Christmas media I’ve never had the chance to watch. Like these two flicks.
I live in the middle of nowhere. If I ever want to go to the city, it takes a minimum of 3 hours to get there. So whenever I head over to urban areas I like to listen to audiobooks or radio dramas. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Doctor Who audio dramas, so for the show’s 60th Anniversary, I figured I’d drop a big list of some of my favorite Classic Doctor Who audios, with one drama per Doctor and all tied together by the central theme of meddling with time. So enjoy.
1 – “The Massacre”
When it comes to selecting appropriate audio adventures from the 1st and 2nd Doctor’s tenure, the only proper options are the missing episodes. For those unfamiliar, these are episodes that were broadcast back when the BBC had a junking policy towards its master tapes, given its limited storage capacity and the nonexistence of home media at the time. Many of these episodes have been recovered, but several remain lost to time, with only the audio tracks surviving for people to experience.
Fortunately for many Whovians, most of the missing episodes from Hartnell’s tenure on the show are from his worst season, Season 3. During this time, Hartnell’s declining health and backstage backstabbing producer politics caused the show to suffer, and if not for a change in producers and Doctors, the show might have ended much earlier than it did.
Unfortunately for me, this means that my sample of episodes to choose from is not among Hartnell’s best. One serial in particular, “Galaxy 4”, is such a by-the-numbers Star Trek social satire (What if the ugly aliens are actually good!?), that the actors infamously rebelled against it, resulting in the insulted producer firing Maureen O’Brien for the slight. Another serial, “The Celestial Toymaker”, gave us a character that’s returning for the anniversary. But anything good this story does “The Mind Robber” does a thousand times better, to say nothing of the weird implications of Michael Gough playing a Chinese villain. And yet another serial, “The Dalek Masterplan”, is the longest and perhaps the most epic Classic Who serial of all time, at a whopping 5 and a half hours long. However, only about half of that is any good.
Warning: This review contains mild spoilers and discusses rape and sexual assault. And also tentacles. Seriously, you have been warned.
Japan has a (somewhat unfair) association with rapacious tentacle monsters in the Western popular consciousness. I say somewhat unfair because while tentacle hentai is certainly a thing, to associate it with Japan as a whole is rather like associating America with Dinosaur erotica, given the sheer plethora of it published on Amazon. Even if Chuck Tingle is popular enough to achieve recognition outside of literotic circles, the fantasy of fucking (or being fucked by) a dinosaur is still a pretty niche one in America. And yet, this image of tentacle porn being mainstream and distinctly Japanese persists, which raises the question of “Why?”.
Part of the answer is simply that if you associate an entire country, culture, or race with something “weird” or “unnatural”, it’s easier to other them. But as for the question of why Japan and tentacles specifically, the explanation lies with a single piece of adult anime, that being Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend.
This work was simply scandalous. Getting an NC-17 rating in the US and making the Video Nasty list in the UK, parents were utterly baffled, because how could this movie possibly be adult-oriented when it was animated? Everyone knows that animation is only for children! But Urotsukidoji defied everything your no-fun parents told you about cartoons, which made watching it an act of rebellion. As such, the anime quickly spread like the penis tentacles of its titular Overfiend, to wreak havoc on the peace of mind of parents throughout the 90s.
I myself was too young to experience this wave of popularity. I do remember at least being old enough to hear its name in hushed whispers as part of the scary, horny anime you could find at Blockbuster, but I was far too young (and honestly too disinterested) to try and watch it myself. And yet, as someone who considers himself a kinky anime nerd, I rather owe it to myself to give Urotsukidoji a watch. So, does this anime deserve its title of classic, or has it aged as poorly as most overly edgy media from the 90s?
Earlier this year, I replayed Persona 4, a personal favorite of mine. Since this was around the same time I started my big Eva retrospective, I started to wonder if a suitable successive retrospective would be one on the Persona games, or perhaps even the book that started it all.
Digital Devil Story is the book whose IP would eventually be transmogrified into the Shin Megami Tensei games, and the subsequent Persona spinoffs. And to my great surprise there was an English audiobook of this novel available on Youtube. With this, I thought, I could easily begin my journey into the SMT rabbit hole, and perhaps enjoy stories just as wonderful as Evangelion. So, for Halloween, I’m gonna give to you all my review of this book, nay this tome, nay this legend of literature. I hope all the Megami Tensei fans are reading.
Some days, you just get a hankering for a tawdry, tattered paperback. You know the type. The kind of book that’s at least 500 pages long, yet is still small enough to clasp easily in one palm. The kind that’s grown worn and well-thumbed from countless hands flipping through its pages over the years. The kind whose plot is the equivalent of jingling keys in front of a toddler, all bright lights and bombastic fights and maybe a drawn-out sex scene or three (the medium allowing the author to get as x-rated as they want). In short, trash, but entertaining trash that you can glide through on a slow day at work when you’re sitting bored at your desk with nothing else to do.
When a friend of mine recommended Babylon Steel, the sheer zaniness of the premise, combined with the fact that a used copy of the mass-market paperback was going for 9 USD on my country’s Amazon (that’s with shipping), I had the damnedest feeling that this book would scratch my itch for entertaining trash. So did it?