‘Levius’

Levius is an a steampunk action anime available on Netflix that features a kid named Levius Cromwell battling other opponents in a sport called “metal boxing,” which is just normal boxing, but they use robot arms. Unlike most anime, this show uses 3D models instead of 2D drawings. The models are done really well and gives the show a sense of energy that you don’t see in other shows of the same type.

The plot of Levius revolves around an upcoming metal boxer named Levius. Metal boxers have metal arms filled with a special water called Agartha Water, that when mixed with a drop of the users blood, turns into steam and falls under their control like a natural extension of their body. When contained inside a prosthetic arm, it’s like the person using it has a normal arm that can hit a lot harder. I like the inclusion of Agartha Water as a plot element because it makes the metal arms seem realistic when the show takes place in an 1800s time period.

Levius lost his arm in a war before the series started, and after moving to his uncle Zack’s house, they bonded through their love of boxing. Soon afterwards, Levius became a rising star in the metal boxing world. The premise is simple enough, a lot like you would see in any other sports anime. But what sets this show apart is the characters.

The supporting cast, which consists of Levius’s one-eyed uncle Zack, his personal mechanic Bill, and his rival Natalia are all great and unique enough that they don’t get boring, but the real star of the show is Levius himself. Right away in the first episode we learn that he doesn’t really know why he boxes, and that he is looking for a reason through the sport. Watching him trying to discover his reason for fighting through the show is easily the most intriguing part of it.

Also, the action in Levius is amazing. Even though every single fight takes place in the same boxing ring and it’s not like they can have weapons in there, the animators still make each fight unique, with each boxer having a unique fighting style and every single fight turning out differently. Each punch has energy you can feel, and the sound effects make you feel the action.

So, if you’re into anime, steampunk, or just like fast paced action shows, then you’ll love Levius. For those into deeper plots and more intricate storylines, Levius’s relationship with his friends and his rival boxers keeps the story moving, and the music is top tier when it comes to a score for a show. 

My only real complaint I have for this show is that one of the episodes near the climax feels like it’s just filler and interrupts the final fight, but because it is so intense, I think it works, and doesn’t interrupt the action. Other than that, sometimes the lips of the characters seem like they don’t match up with the voices, but I think that’s just my brain being too slow.

My final rating for this show is a 9/10.

Lab-grown alternatives to meat

Lab-grown meat is meat that is not from a living organism. It is made by taking a muscle sample from an animal. Then they take stem cells from the tissue, and replicate those and grow them. These cells are able to renew and grow themselves, that’s why it is important to the process of making the meat. The cells then generate into different tissues and are able to grow, forming muscle tissues. The meat grows onto itself in a cultivator. It’s ready to harvest in 4-6 weeks. That is fast!

There is a reason why this is being practiced. This type of meat can put an end to cruel and unethical treatment of many animals that are raised for food. Many of these animals have bad living conditions that consist of little space, and their diet is foods meant to bulk them up, sometimes with abusive caretakers.

Many animals used for food now are genetically mutated for the purpose of getting more meat off of them. Most baby bulls are killed for meat. The female cows are needed for breeding and milking, so why waste funds on a male that produces less product? The same is thought for chickens; hens lay the eggs.

Along with better relationships with cattle, there are also good impacts this meat brings to the environment. The production of livestock products is one of the huge industries contributing to extreme amounts of deforestation, water pollution, and greenhouse-gas emissions. Less land usage, less ingredients, and an overall smaller impact is a result of synthetic meats. Synthetically growing the meat does not need as many resources as sustaining and growing animals from birth. One simple tissue sample is used and is able to make thousands of quarter pounders. We are able to reduce the pollution agriculture causes as well as the amount of land we have dedicated towards it.

The meat is not yet on the market, it is still being tested, but it is hoped to be coming very soon. The purpose of this advancement isn’t to get rid of traditional agriculture, it’s about finding a safer, less cruel alternative to factory farming. The cost of production is high right now, that is because it’s not yet perfected. There is a focus on bringing the cost down, but it still utilizes fewer resources. There are a lot of different names for the food produced, but we know one thing for sure, it’s a nearly perfect alternative for real meat.

‘1917’ movie review

Who doesn’t love a good war movie? They’re raw, intense and the fact that it’s based on an historical event makes it much better. 1917 in particular stands out from the rest and I believe you’ll love to know why.

1917 came out on December 4, 2019, and made $323.8 million in the box office. The movie is a dramatic narrative film based in World War I and follows two British soldiers by the names of Lance Cpl. Schofield and Lance Cpl. Blake. These two men are given a mission to give orders to another team that the battle they are about to fight is a trap, and they’re about to lose 1,600 of their comrades, along with Cpl. Blake’s own brother. It is up to these two men to go and stop this mission before time runs out.

This movie may sound somewhat simple, but it takes big twists that makes the audience feel more hooked and engaged to the film.

One thing that really stands out, and probably is the most known element about this film, is that they make it look like the whole movie was filmed in one single shot. This makes the audience feel stuck in the movie and it feels as if the story wouldn’t have an end. They also cut scenes in a very clever way, they have the character they’re focusing on walk into a very dark room and that’s when the next scene starts.

The acting in 1917 is very good for the most part. The writing for the characters that the actors play on the other hand can be a bit questioning. For example, the main character would see an enemy and wouldn’t shoot, they would rather wait for the enemy to shoot at them. Or they would try and save the enemy from a freak accident. Moments like these are somewhat irritating because the movie is meant to focus on a soldier who is meant to do their duty and they seem way too soft on their enemy and almost see them as an ally.

One thing I believe really stood out in this film is the color scheme. It has a realistic tone to it but still stays on the grayish and dark green spectrum, which I believe really fits with the time period it’s meant to take place in and the location of the film. 

The film does a really good job at making the audience nervous. They have the movie feel as if it’s going to have a huge blast of action at any moment or that the character next to the main character will get shot with a big loud bang to make everyone jump. It makes the whole audience feel uneasy, and I think the soundtrack plays a big part in this feeling.

The soundtrack is very slow during a majority of the film and it really fits with the timing and moments. Though sometimes it seems to get really dramatic and too intense and it seems they’re trying a bit too hard for the audience to get really into a scene. A majority of the time though, the slow and eerie music makes the movie feel a lot more intense.

Overall, I believe this movie did a solid job at making itself unique and have an interesting take on the war film genre. 8/10

LGBTQ+ misrepresentation in the media and how it harms people

LGBTQ+ representation in the media is much more frequent nowadays than it was even ten years ago. However, more representation means more chances for misrepresentation, which more often than not is the case in media with LGBTQ+ characters and relationships. 

Harmful stereotypes of members of the LGBTQ+ community are a huge part of this. One of the most popular stereotypes is the extremely feminine gay man. While obviously there are many people like this, and it is in no way a bad thing, the sheer amount of characters written in this way reinforces the harmful stereotype that being attracted to men “makes you” incredibly feminine. In the same way, lesbians are frequently portrayed as more masculine by having short hair, wearing what is considered traditionally men’s clothing, etc. 

Forcing gay and lesbian characters to fall into these categories can cause mental health issues and emotional struggles amongst people in the LGBTQ+ community. For example, LGBTQ+ people might not fit in with who they’re “supposed” to be/how they’re “supposed” to act in accordance with their sexuality. From here can stem extreme feelings of loneliness and isolation, as described in the article “Is Chronic Loneliness Real?” as people who don’t fall into these categories would not feel like they belong anywhere, even within the LGBTQ+ community, which of all the places should be the most safe and accepting space for all its members. 

Often times gay characters that fall into the stereotype category are overly sexualized as well and they overly sexualize all other attractive people of the same gender that they come into contact with in a way that is more often than not inappropriate and borderline harassment. The existence of this trope greatly harms the public perception of the LGBTQ+ community. It reinforces the idea that LGBTQ+ relationships are solely sexual and thus people involved in them are “sexual deviants,” which was and is an argument used against same-sex marriage and relationships. 

According to the LGBT foundation, the misrepresentation that follows the trans and non-binary community often damages the public’s perception of them. Anti-transgender hate crimes doubled in 2018 from the previous numbers in 2015-2016. This strongly indicates a surge on anti-trans attitudes, that can be credited to misrepresentation on who these people are.

Another way LGBTQ+ people are misrepresented is in the form of queerbaiting. Queerbaiting according to PinkNews is a way that companies and producers try to lure people from an LGBTQ+ viewer base that are connecting with a character that is heavily implied to be part of the community but ultimately ends up either unconfirmed or being heterosexual. This is thought to be a way to satisfy, and or appeal to the media’s LGBTQ+ community fanbase and not lose their main/straight audience. This seems to do more harm than good though as it insinuates that the LGBTQ+ audience is a 2nd thought to them, or less important. It also suggests that queer relationships are less valuable.

The misrepresentation of LGBTQ+ people in the media is abundant and harmful. In the end, it hurts the very people the media is trying to represent. The problem is that all companies that don’t take the time to hire LGBTQ+ writers and editors want the most amount of people to be interested in whatever it is they are producing, instead of wanting for all people to be represented in media. Because of this, these companies become lazy in writing media with LGBTQ+ people and instead write whatever they think will appeal to the LGBTQ+ community by playing into stereotypes used by other sources of media. This cycle repeats itself over and over again for years. 

So, how can we address and solve these issues? Well, for starters, media creators heavily rely on the audience’s response to their product. Without viewers the creators make no money, so they’re almost always willing to adapt to whatever their audience wants (although this isn’t always the case). If there’s a big problem with the product, cause an uproar. Make people notice the problem. Once the issue is addressed, people will start to react and hopefully the producers will too. From there we can show these companies how to show LGBTQ+ characters in a way that doesn’t harm the community. There is hope for improvement in the representation of LGBTQ+ people in media, all we have to do is act.

Suicideboys: ‘Stop Staring at the Shadows’

Stop Staring at the Shadows was a Valentine’s Day release album from the New Orleans duo Suicideboys (often written as $uicideboy$) which consists of Ruby da Cherry and Scrim. This is their second album, but they have released many mixtapes and EPs. They have a EP saga which so far has 20 parts. Although this is only their second album, it is their 45th released project. The album was officially announced on December 19th, 2019 and had two singles.

The album has 12 tracks, and honestly that was not enough for me because I loved this album. It’s energetic, it’s loud, and the production is phenomenal. The album opens with “All Dogs Go To Heaven” which has a beat that sounds like it’s sampling a video game, and every track after keeps up with its excitement. No track feels out of place, and every part of it works. Each track feels unique while also fitting in very well with the rest of the album.

The album got pretty good reviews, and their fans were pretty satisfied with the release. Suicideboys are known for controversy and darker lyrics with a nightmarish feel, and this album definitely delivers. “MEGA ZEPH,” which the track title is based off of a rundown roller coaster in Six Flags New Orleans, feels like horror and then ends with screaming lyrics about the devil and drugs into the mic.

It’s an album that goes hard, and isn’t afraid to do what it wants to do. I would recommend this album if you like energetic, darker, music. I think it’s safe to say this is a step in the right direction for Suicideboys, and I can’t wait to see what they come out with next.

‘To All the Boys P.S. I Still Love You’ review

In April 2014 To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was published by Jenny Han who followed with two more books: P.S. I Still Love You (2015)and Always and Forever, Lara Jean (2017).

In 2018, Netflix started production for the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movie starring Lana Condor as Lara Jean and Noah Centineo as Peter Kavinsky.

“The Netflix year end report said it was the most re-watched movie in 2018” said Bustles Angelica Florio. “It was rewatched by almost 50% of its viewers.” So as any company would, Netflix decided to make the second book a movie which recently came out on February 12th, 2020.

After watching P.S. I Still Love You I was disappointed. I was expecting a big feud between Peter Skavinsky and John Ambrose, but Ambrose wasn’t even in the movie much. They had times where they met and talked but it was mostly still about Peter and Lara.

There was barely any character development for John and Lara’s growing relationship or Peter and Lara’s failing one and I felt like there were too many side stories going on and they didn’t focus on Peter and Lara’s relationship enough. For instance, when Lara figured out that Gen took the video of Peter and Lara making out in the hot tub because the only reason Peter and Lara had a relationship was because Lara happened to walk by before Gen. Lara ended up at the retirement home talking to John right after tis happened without any explanation of how she got there.

I felt like the movie was rushed and the book was most likely better. I just wished that they came back to John and Lara’s relationship since she just left to go back to Peter. It felt like Peter and Lara’s relationship was having problems and it just so happened John was there but he was never the problem.

I would give this movie three out of five stars as there where parts of the movie that lacked emotion and were just slow paced. Also the characters were still brand new even though we were in the second movie. I also thought that Peter was portrayed as a bad boyfriend the whole movie and they put a halo on John making him seem like he was the good guy, and for them to just get back together doesn’t make sense.

Nova Miller

At only 18 years old, Nova Miller has already debuted a new single and a wonderfully made music video. 

She was born in July of the year 2001, in Stockholm, Sweden. She is a very talented singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer. She has her very own blog and newsletter. She went on tour in 2019 to Los Angeles, California and Sweden. At only thirteen years old she was thought to be the next big thing in pop. 

Her personal theme and the vibe in the music video is very retro fancy. I love the general feel of the song and the video. I’d like to point out the mixture of retro and pop that really makes her song unique. The song is called “Do It To Myself” and it’s about toxic relationships. The lyrics describe a flaw that she has in a relationship.

The contrast and significant amounts of wardrobe changes really brings the story together. I really love the ‘70s and ‘80s trend she has. The song is easy to relate to; it’s about being insecure in relationships and avoiding opening up so you don’t get hurt.

I feel that the lyrics are a bit standard in today’s music industry and you can’t find the unique part in the lyrics. The song itself, without considering the lyrics, is very catchy and fun to listen to. 

I love her description of the song and her music because it really makes you lean in. She says “‘Do It To Myself’ is not what you think it is. At first it’s a guitar-driven retro bop but it’s really about the worst form of going crazy, driving yourself crazy! My favorite part of the song is the ‘California Dreaming’ reference like the layered vintage vocals that take you all the way to summer and back.’”

Her vocal range is remarkable, she effortlessly sings deep and slow notes, whilst being able to hit a perfect whistle note. She demonstrates her singing abilities on many social media accounts such as TikTok and Instagram. She also includes a few tips and tricks to help with your singing which I think is nice. 

She has her new single and she says there’s more on the way.

‘Iron Blooded Orphans’

The Netflix show, Iron Blooded Orphans, also known as Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans, is a story set around 300 years after something called the Calamity War. The Calamity War refers to a great conflict between the Earth and Outer Spheres that lead to the establishment of the Post Disaster Timeline. 

The war put Mobile Suits in high demand, and the mass fighting caused a lot of destruction. Mobile Suits are humanoid combat vehicles, typically employing two arms to deploy weapons, two legs for propulsion, and a head that acts as a main camera. Generally, a mobile suit is approximately 60 feet in height, with the cockpit located in the Mobile Suit’s torso.

Mobile Suit Gundam also known as First Gundam, Gundam 0079, or simply Gundam ’79, is a televised anime series, produced and animated by Nippon Sunrise. Created and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, it premiered in Japan, on Nagoya Broadcasting Network, on different TV stations, on April 7, 1979, and lasted until January 26, 1980, spanning a total of 43 episodes. Iron Blooded Orphans is one of the many spin-offs based off of the Gundam franchise. 

In the story humanity has terraformed Mars. The Mars colony is still under an Earth-based rule and is effectively an economic slave state that now wants its independence. This creates child soldiers that make up the ranks of a civilian security company called Chryse Guard Security. This force is tasked with escorting a Martian noblewoman called Kudelia Aina Bernstein to Earth to go against Mars being under earth’s rule. The Earth military force of Gjallarhorn has plans to stop this escort to earth so that Mars can stay under Earth’s rule. 

All the complex machines they use something called the Alaya-Vijnana System, which is a cybernetic interface across the spine that directly connects the machine to the pilot. The children use the cybernetic interface, or the Alaya-Vijnana System, to create an army of child soldiers that are remarkably adept at handling complex machinery but are a cheap and expendable workforce from a business standpoint. The Alaya-Vijnana System process is a dangerous one to make and almost any adult would not survive the process if they tried to have it done. The group of child soldiers is called Tekkadan.

The main protagonist, Mikazuki Augus, is the mobile suit pilot of the Gundam Barbatos, which is a relic from the Calamity War. From the war, they created Gundam’s like Barbatos. Gundams are advanced, high performance mobile suits, often constructed to be much more powerful than the standard production mobile suits. They are generally equipped with the latest experimental technology available at the time of their construction. 

So, the Gundam series Iron-Blooded Orphans is without a doubt among the best the Gundam franchise has to offer, especially when it comes to the alternate series in the franchise. This is aimed at older audiences since it has a brutal, and very gritty story. I would recommend this to people who like a good story, like seeing big battles with mobile suits and Gundams, and like great character development. 

“Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans.” IMDb, IMDb.com, 4 Oct. 2015 – Image taken from: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5344382

‘Super Smash Bros Ultimate’

Super Smash Bros Ultimate Review 

Super Smash Bros Ultimate is a fighting game, for the Nintendo Switch, based around popular and well known characters across Nintendo and other games.

Super Smash Bros was introduced on Jan 21, 1999, for the Nintendo 64 and was made by Masahiro Sakurai. It originally started as a side idea that Nintendo was testing and this proved to be lucky since Mortal Kombat caused a huge increase in fighting games. This helped Super Smash Bros to rise and sell billions of copies across Japan. Then the game went over to the U.S. and became very popular where it was the fifth best selling game on the Nintendo 64. 

Now, today, the game is even more popular than before with more characters added to it. At the start, it only had eight playable characters, but now has 72 playable characters and is still growing. Super Smash Bros Ultimate is the 5th title of the Smash series. 

The main game mode “Fight” is what most people play online where it is multiplayer with other people that also play Super Smash Bros Ultimate. In “Fight” game mode it can involve up to eight players, or computer programmed players (CP’s), to fight each other.

There are a variety of maps the game has to offer for design or competition. In addition to that, you can customize the game to what you would like to play. This could include stage hazards, stage morphing, handicaps, items, and many more. Also, there is story mode, spirits, and challenges to complete for people wanting to do something more than just play the “Fight” game mode. 

The fighters in Smash Bros Ultimate need to be balanced for competitive players and causal players. Nintendo has learned over time to make these fighters balanced so they won’t be unfair. Most characters are hard to master and takes time to learn how to play them effectively. This is very crucial for the game’s success.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate is a fantastic game that is very popular and very fun to play.

‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Game Cover. Image taken from: Cutie Sunflower Wiki, cutie-sunflower.fandom.com/wiki/Super_Smash_Bros._Ultimate_Game_Cover.

For more information, please visit: www.denofgeek.com/us/games/super-smash-bros/241515/super-smash-bros-nintendo-history

‘Simcity Build It’™️

I’d like to talk about an app that has taught me, and other kids, about the world we live in and how our society works in real life. The app is called Simcity Build It.

In this app, you can start on a blank land. With each level you increase your population. To do that, you have to build their homes. To do that, you also have to collect the materials for building the homes.

When you get to a certain level you have to provide safety (police, fire people, etc.) and health care. If you don’t have the money to build the fire stations, police stations, water pumping stations, sewage disposals and government buildings your population will go down, and people will abandon their homes.

This game has taught me and many others how cities work. 

Many of my friends play this game as well. I asked them questions so I could see how much they have invested in this game, and how much they have learned from this game. I also asked them about how their cities are doing.

The first person I interviewed was my good friend Ella Ramirez. When I asked how much time she had invested she said, “Two hours a day.” She also mentioned how she has been on the app for 5 months in total.

I also asked her things she has learned about the game and she said, “When not enough is provided for the people they get upset and leave.” She also added, “The bigger the city the more the pollution, and the quality of the city goes down.”

A more personal question I asked was “How was your city doing?” and she said “It’s doing really well. I’m really happy with the way it is functioning. I’m also really happy with the design it is in at the moment. It is formatted into different sections of areas of more calmness and more business giving the Sims different options based on the building they are living in. They are also arranged based on the height, the taller and fancier buildings are in the more busy area while the smaller and more tranquil buildings are in the calmer area.”

That concludes my interview with Ella Ramirez.

Screenshot of Olivia’s Sim City

I also asked my teacher Mrs. Kallestad, about the game and what she thinks about students using the game.

When I asked her about her opinions, it seemed like she was very curious about it. She was curious about how the cities work and also seemed to be very interested in the people behind the game and how they managed their cities.

She was also very interested about the names of people’s cities, as some are not appropriate for kids.

Another topic that Mrs. Kallestad was sort of heated up on was the fact that a big city was equal to a successful city, another player and I were telling her that that was the whole point.

That concludes my interview with Mrs. Kallestad. 

Overall, most people seem to be interested in the game but have very different opinions because Mrs. Kallestad doesn’t seem to like the game very much. This is probably because it distracts her students, but Ella, as a player, sees the game in a different perspective in an educational point of view.