Why you should be excited for “Chainsaw Man”

Arts & Entertainment

Greg Shannon, Staff

In June 2021 MAPPA, a popular Japanese animation studio, released an official trailer for an animated adaptation of the award-winning manga series “Chainsaw Man.” This trailer literally broke the anime side of the internet. I mean people were losing their minds and for good reasons. 

The animation quality looked like something out of a movie, and the trailer showed brief action scenes from big moments in the story. 

The thought of the highly decorated animation studio MAPPA had anime fans all over the internet talking for weeks about how good this show could be. With all the hype still surrounding this show, I decided to sit down and read the manga and now I’m hooked. So please let me tell you why you should be excited for the “Chainsaw Man” anime adaptation coming later this year. 

Now to start off this show/manga is not going to be for everyone. “Chainsaw Man” is a story written by Tatsuki Fujimoto and is among the new generation of dark Shonen manga, a fiction style from Japan similar to teen-to-college comic fiction in the U.S., that the fans have deemed the “Unholy Trinity” due to their dark or grotesque themes and content. 

All of these stories, while having their happy moments, are genuinely dark stories with very gory and brutal scenes. So if that kind of stuff isn’t your thing, there is a very good chance that you will not like this show. However, if you do decide to give this series a shot, you will be met with a fun narrative that will have you emotionally invested for a lot of its arcs. 

The series revolves around the main character Denji, a man who hunts devils, a supernatural race of demons, using the coolest two word combination: “chainsaw powers.” With these powers, he hunts and kills devils in order to live an easy life and be with the ones he loves. That’s as far as I am willing to go into detail for you. Sorry, but there are so many cool and important details to the story that I wouldn’t want you to hear and not see. 

While that brief description of the main character makes it seem like there’s not really much to the story, that’s actually not the case. The story hits on a bunch of notes about things like acceptance, family and just generally discovering who you are and what you want in the world. There’s a bunch of plot twists and there are significant deaths that change the mood of the series whenever they happen. The story continuously builds off of these events and each arc that follows just gets more gruesome and dark. 

Then there is the art design of the series. This is probably what I’m looking forward to the most. Getting to see a company like MAPPA adapt some of these panels made me explode with excitement each time I saw something extremely cool or terrifying. Fujimoto really knows when he wants to make something beautiful and something just down right horrifying. 

The first panel you see is probably the most famous, and honestly, one of the coolest panels you see in the entire series. We see a devil barely visible due to the black background off in the distance. In front of him is just a line of dead astronauts cut in half. The top half of them are praying while the bottom half is ticking out of the ground almost like tombstones. Panels like this show the range Fujimoto has with his work and I can only imagine how much more grand MAPPA will make it when they decide to animate it.

The designs of the demons are phenomenal as well. Each one has a completely unique design from the last and it makes for a more interesting dynamic. It feels like the scarier the topic, the scarier the design of the devil is. They’re almost something you would see straight out of a horror movie. The fact that Fujimoto is able to come up with so many of these that are all different and scary in their own way is honestly impressive. While yes there are a few devils that aren’t all that horrifying, it doesn’t take away from the ones that are just plain scary. 

On top of that, the fight scenes all feel like they have life to them. Even though they are just a few pages, and aren’t long 10 minute animated fights, it’s almost like you can feel the movement. Things feel somewhat calculated when certain characters fight and it gives the panels more excitement. 

These fights are fun, intense, and were just fun to see. Getting to see how the devils and devil hunters use their insane powers got me hyped every time. Especially for the really big fights.

All in all, this comic series is great, and I imagine the animated one will be even better. While it has serious and frightening moments it can also be light hearted and funny. The main character is relatable and has moments where you sympathize with him and his goals even if they are kind of ridiculous. 

MAPPA is going to have a lot on their hands with this and the abundance of other projects they’re working on. However, I’m glad they picked it up. I don’t think I could see any other company really doing this series justice like they could. So please, when this show comes out later this year give it a chance or give the comic a chance. I think it will genuinely surprise a lot of people with how deep the story can go and with how exciting the fights can be. So get excited because later this year this show is coming and if everything goes right, it’s gonna be one hell of a time.

Disney+’s Hidden Gem: “The Mysterious Benedict Society”

Arts & Entertainment

Greg Shannon, Staff

At this point when it comes to Disney+, they have established the main focus for their live-action series. Star Wars and Marvel content has seemed to be the main draw for the streaming service since its conception. With the amount of lore and fascinating characters between the two franchises, it’s no surprise why it seems like we are always getting new content for them. However, back in the summer of 2021, Disney decided to just nonchalantly drop a great show while putting out and hyping up other series, such as “Loki” and “Black Widow.” So, if you’re feeling a bit over-saturated with the abundance of space wizards, government affairs, and super humans then you should give “The Mysterious Benedict Society” a chance.

I first watched this show back in the summer of 2021 with my mom and was honestly just extremely impressed with how much this show pulled me in. The music, the quality of the shots, and some of the plots of this eight episode show had me glued to the TV. I was caught thinking, “Wow, why am I just hearing about a show this good?” Fast forward to this semester of my senior year at La Salle, I am watching this show with my roommates, and I am led back to thinking the exact same thing. I was astonished.

Where was The Mysterious Benedict Society filmed? The School, the House &  all the Filming Locations

“The Mysterious Benedict Society” is an adaptation of a 5 part book series by Trent Lee Stewart. The show consists of mostly four main characters, each of them being smart in their own kind of way. First, there’s  George “Sticky” Washington who can memorize anything he reads. Next up, we have Kate Wetherall who is the street smart character with a bucket that solves every problem. Then there is Constance Contriare whose instincts and gut feelings make sure she’s always right. Lastly, there is the leader Reynie Muldoon who out of all of them is the smartest and is the best at coming up with a plan. The chemistry between all the kids works really well. They all bring something unique to the show and it gives the show a nice charm. Whether that be the insane amount of things in Kate’s bucket (an absurd amount by the way), or how incredible Sticky is at memorizing things, they all bring something to the show that you couldn’t get rid of, or replace.

If I had to pick a favorite character out of all of them, I would give it to Constance. Honestly, I hated her at first. I think it was more attached to the other characters, and I thought her rudeness was just annoying but eventually, it just became funny. Watching her roast and call everyone stupid became a highlight of the show for me.  While every character gets some good character development, there’s just something about the development Constance gets that made me happy.  

I think the last thing that really blew me away was the way they showed off each kid’s intelligence. It was unique every time, and they had some kind of brain teaser almost every episode. Even in the first episode, we’re greeted with a challenge to get across the room but not to step on a square tile. However, the entire room is filled with black and white square tiles. Getting to see the main cast of characters solve little things like this is just extremely cool to me and blows my mind when I see all the different ways they go about it. 


This series came out in June 2021 on Disney+, and it for the most part just flew under the radar. There weren’t any big commercials, Instagram posts, or tweets. It’s almost like Disney had no plans of even putting this out there. Maybe it was to put less pressure on a show like this surrounded by bigger shows or maybe it was because Disney just didn’t care. Regardless, I think that this show is a gem and is genuinely one of the best shows that they have on their streaming service. Hopefully, if and when there is a second season Disney realizes the quality of a show they have on their hands and decides to give it more love.

Review: “Jujutsu Kaisen: 0”

Arts & Entertainment

Greg Shannon, Staff

When it comes to movies, the anime community seems to be in a good place. With anime being the most mainstream it has ever been in the West, we can finally see more of our favorite shows get movies. No longer do we have to just stick to shows like “Dragon Ball” or “Pokemon” for us to have feature length films. With the rise in popularity of Gege Akutami’s series “Jujutsu Kaisen,” we were finally able to get a movie for the highly anticipated prequel book “Book 0,: and here are my thoughts on it.

Straight off the bat, the animation quality is phenomenal. It looks like the same quality they put into the cinematic openings for the show’s first season. Everything from the characters, and scenery, to just the buildings and environments was pleasant to look at and it’s like this throughout the entire movie’s run. Every frame seemed like it was handled with care and it makes the movie feel special to watch. It’s honestly hard to think of something bad about the visual quality of the movie. 

Then there are the fight scenes which are intensely choreographed and dramatic. I feel like if there’s one thing that Studio MAPPA, the film and series’ animation studio, knows how to really do, is make an extremely good fight scene. Whether it be something like “Attack On Titan,” “Dorohedoro,” “God of Highschool” or any of their other works, they just love to grab the coolest moments from the manga and just push it to the max. I wasn’t sure how much effort they would put into some of the fights from the book that fans latched onto, but they went all out. MAPPA thought “Oh, dude wouldn’t it be cool if we just animate the hell out of these fights?” It’s insane how cool they made Gojo, the main character of the series, look in this film. While it’s still kinda cool in the book, it’s nowhere near what the movie gave. The panels of the manga were fun and had some good dialogue between the characters but the movie expanded its fights to full cinematic sequences that were truly a spectacle in the theater. Almost every battle in this movie goes extremely hard and had me and my friends losing our collective minds in the theater. 


If I had to pick out a stand out character for the movie, it would probably go to the villain of the movie, Suguru Geto. Geto brought a fun loving nature to the movie that honestly matched the one that the main characters also brought. He managed to have a small comic relief to him while also being an extremely convincing threat. From his unique powers to the charisma he brought every time he was on screen, made him an enjoyable character. Geto felt like the perfect villain for this story and only added to its enjoyment. 

If there was some downside to the quality of the movie, it would probably be that if you are expecting a lot of add ons from the manga, you at least aren’t going to get much in the first half. The first half of the movie is pretty much the exact same as source material with only a few additional scenes; however, once they get into the second half of the movie, we get a lot of extra parts to the story to help build on and expand what’s happening.


All in all, “Jutjutsu Kaisen: 0” was amazing and definitely is a perfect way to  continue the hype leading up to the series’ second season. It brings everything from extremely exciting fight scenes to stunning visuals, to an enjoyable story. If you need something to show someone that could potentially get them into anime or just the “Jujutsu Kaisen” series, this is definitely the movie to do that. I would give this a solid 8.5 out 10 and would recommend you go watch it.

Review: “Demon Slayer” season two

Arts & Entertainment

Greg Shannon, Staff

Header Image: Aniplex of America

Season two of “Demon Slayer” is also referred to as “Demon Slayer: Entertainment District.”

In 2022, it’s almost impossible to not find a new anime to try since every season it seems like there are at least 50 new ones coming out. With so much content being produced, it’s hard for something to gain popularity, let alone be greenlit for multiple seasons. However, if there’s one new-gen anime that’s proven it’s here to stay, it’s “Demon Slayer.” After an impressive first season that broke the internet, garnering notable reactions from the likes of popular streamer Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins and Panic! at the Disco’s Brendon Urie, as well as a movie that is now ranked as the highest-grossing anime movie of all time, they got right to work on making the second season. The second season debuted in 2021 and just finished up on Feb. 13, 2022.Here are my thoughts on the most recent season of “Demon Slayer.”

To start off, I like that they give a lot of screen time to the secondary characters this time around. In the first season, they focus mostly on the main character, Tanjiro, obviously since he is the protagonist. In the movie based on the series they give some shine to other characters, but still most of the focus is on Tanjiro. However, this time Zenitsu, Inosuke and Tengen, the cast of side characters in the show,all get a lot of time to shine and it really builds on their characters. Even the two big bad villains get a good amount of screen time and a backstory episode that really gives us a chance to appreciate and care about them a bit more. 

I can’t tell you the amount of fun I had watching them get so much screen time and play such a pivotal role in this part of the show. Almost every scene that had my favorite side character, Insokue, in it, had me out of my seat cheering for him.  Now when it comes to the supporting character Tengen the shinobi, there was honestly so much that grew on me. I tried my hardest not to get attached to him because he died, but they made it so hard to hate him. Everything about this guy is just cool- he’s a ninja, is referred to as the god of festivals, had some of the cleanest animation, and did I mention that this guy is really f**king cool. 

Studio Ufotable

Then, there’s the animation quality. If there’s any selling point for “Demon Slayer” it’s that the animation quality is always phenomenal. Thanks to the help of an increased budget from the success of the movie and first season, the animation for this season was turned up even more than the last. This can especially be seen from episodes five and onward. This is where all of the big action scenes really start to kick in and my god is it beautiful. Every fighting technique, every slash-cut, etc., was just beautiful. When you look at how well-animated the episodes, like “Never Give Up” are, it’s clear to see why it’s so beloved by fans of the series. 

This season of “Demon Slayer” really showed just how much potential this series has. With the show hitting the halfway point, one could only imagine how much better the second half of this show will be. The main antagonist was still extremely menacing while only getting a little bit of screen time, the demon for this season had some extremely creative abilities and the protagonist got a lot of development  as well. If you haven’t seen this season or this show please give it a watch. It truly is one of the stand out anime of the newer generation. I give this season a solid 8.5 out of 10.

Collegian Community’s Comfort Shows

Arts & Entertainment

Greg Shannon, Staff

Almost everyone likes watching TV. What’s not to love about it? There is an abundance of different genres and unique shows to watch. When it comes to television everyone has that one show they can just sit back and watch for hours on end and on repeat. Whether that be an animated series, sitcom or even reality TV, there is something out there for everybody. With that being said, here are the Collegian community’s favorite Comfort Shows. 

Greg Shannon: “The Midnight Gospel” 

“There are many shows that I could highlight as my comfort shows. However, one show that I don’t think gets enough of a spotlight is “The Midnight Gospel.” “The Midnight Gospel” is a podcast style adult animated show where the main character goes to different universes to interview people. This is what honestly makes the show fun. The subject matter is so mature and so unique that you honestly can learn a lot from each episode. Whether it is the legalization of some drugs, the meaning of love, finding your purpose, or even just how to get over losing someone close to you. This show will have something that will connect with you.” 


Nolen Kelly, Editor: “Letterkenny”

“‘Letterkenny’ features groups of violent Canadian farmers, drug addicted goths, and eloquently dimwitted hockey players but despite how dark that may sound it is actually quite delightful. In between the fights and extreme expletives are trucks and boat loads of great soundtracks, simple and adorkable characters, wildly impressive wordplay and situational dialogue, and the charm of a whole country that few shows can even come close to imitating or capturing. Any day that I am overwhelmed or not in a good headspace I look to our northern neighbors for the escape I need from the chaos, even if it is just for 20 minutes. Some of my favorite memories of a particular day that just felt good involved “Letterkenny” in some way and the show even has an impact on the way I write and do my work. “Letterkenny” will always have a spot in my mind and my being.”

Aidan Tyksinski: “Community”

“My favorite show is Community because I think it shows friendship in a way we don’t think about. I love how each character is so different, but they stick with each other through every crazy adventure. The dynamics between all the characters always make me laugh no matter what mood I’m in.”

Abby Louese: “New Girl and Gilmore Girls” 

“Those two are my favorites because I feel like while I’m watching them I can escape the realities of my own life.The way they were both produced, the writing and the acting really makes me feel as though I am part of their “world” and I just feel very invested in the character’s lives. ‘Gilmore Girls’ in particular just has a place in my heart as it was one of my favorite shows in high school and really motivated me to study. If you look at the “study” community, “Gilmore Girls” is brought up or referenced a lot and is just a really important part of pop culture for that community. I also love ‘New Girl’ for many of the same reasons I first mentioned. It has become even more relevant in my life though as my current living situation is pretty similar to the show except gender swap. My roommates and I have a whole group chat called “new guy” because it’s 3 girls and 1 guy.”

The CW

Brandin Runyon: “Sabrina The Witch”

“The reason why I chose ‘Sabrina’ is because she never failed to bring a smile to my face. I really wanted to be like her in terms of life choices. Being able to have a kind loving family and friends around her was amazing. Plus being able to use magic to make whatever situation better was extremely cool. Even when she wasn’t having the best day, her magic made things better. Though she made some mistakes along the way, she always found a way to fix them with her magic. I always wanted to just wave a finger and fix everything. Also I always had a crush on Harvey.”

Jake Eiseman, Editor-in-Chief: “How I Met Your Mother”

“HIMYM is one of those shows that plans it’s jokes seasons in advance and rewards you for sticking with it and watching it over and over again. Every time I watch I find subtle foreshadowing or callbacks that make you appreciate the comedy and story much more. I know most people don’t like the ending, but the characters and jokes throughout really make it a comforting binge the whole way through.”


Jeriann Tripodi, Editor: “Spongebob Squarepants”

“I certainly have a few shows that I enjoy rewatching over and over again even though I have seen every episode of every season. I’m not ashamed to say that my biggest comfort show is Spongebob Squarepants, but only seasons one through three. I feel like Spongebob can suit any mood. When I’m happy, I watch Spongebob. When I’m sad, I watch Spongebob. When I’m annoyed, I watch Spongebob (and relate to Squidward a little extra). I believe “Spongebob” is a timeless classic and can bring joy in your life at any age. I also love how “Spongebob” references are relevant to everyday life, even the daily life of a college student.”


Review: “Hawkeye” Season One

Arts & Entertainment

Greg Shannon, Staff

“Hawkeye” is Marvel’s latest foray into serial streaming entertainmentBeing the fourth TV installment for the franchise, it’s exciting to see how Marvel handles a series with this unique kind of superhero. Previously, we dealt with the wacky time gods in “Loki,” an existential crisis in “WandaVision” and the two half mechanical dudebros of America in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” Unlike these series with super-powered main characters, “Hawkeye” features a character with only a bow and arrow as his powers. This setup makes for an interesting series for the character. With all that being said, here are my thoughts on season one of the latest Marvel series “Hawkeye.” 

Despite the show being titled “Hawkeye,” Clint Barton, played by Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker,” “Wand River,”) does not feel like the main character of this show. That role goes to Kate Bishop, played by Hailee Steinfeld (“Pitch Perfect 3,” “Bumblebee,”) since this show serves more as an origin story for her. While it’s extremely funny that Hawkeye has the most Hawkeye things happen to him, they do a really good job with making him the secondary protagonist in this show.. Out of all of these shows, I think Hawkeye handles the double-protagonist trope the best. The series did a good job balancing their screen time and building their relationship, with Barton’s cold and lone wolf personality worked well with the somewhat witty personality of Bishop. Seeing the chemistry between them slowly build only made the ending of the show more satisfying. 

Marvel Studios

Then there’s the pacing of the show. The show’s first two episodes reintroduce the world and set the characters that we have for the show. Then once episode three pops up, everything is kicked up a notch. The fight scenes, the dialogue moments and even the surprise guest characters make the next four episodes extremely fun to watch. One of the best parts of the season was the abundance of trick arrows that they were able to come up with and use against their enemies as well, from the somewhat simple ones used in episode three, the exploding arrows, to the more crazy ones in episode six, like a magnet arrow strong enough to take guns out of people’s hands. It felt like the creators had a bunch of fun with this show and these scenes show just how creative they were allowed to be. 

If I had to pick anything that I didn’t like as much, it would be that, at times, the main antagonists were a bit annoying. While they had some pretty funny moments and some pretty cool members, there were only so many times I could hear a Russian man say “bro” before it started to get annoying. The henchmen were fun and gave us pretty good comedic moments, but sadly there were just some times where it felt like it was just a bit too much. 

Marvel Studios

Honestly, it was surprising how good the show turned out to be. When I saw the first two episodes I was pretty critical of them. I saw that the show had potential, but I didn’t think I would surpass “Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” However, this show turned out to be more than what I originally thought it was going to be. The simplicity of this series is really what gave it its signature charm. It took what makes Hawkeye likable and amped it up. Plus, the few character surprises that were added to the show get me even more excited to see where Marvel goes in the future. All in all, I would say this show is a solid 7.5/10 and I would recommend that you give it a watch.

Review: “Star Wars: Visions”

Arts & Entertainment

Greg Shannon, Staff

Last Wednesday, Disney decided they were tired of all the Marvel content and dropped their highly anticipated “Star Wars: Visions” series. What was thought to be a one episode per week series turned out to just be an entire season as they put out all nine episodes on Wednesday, Sept. 22. These episodes were relatively short, with the longest episode only being 22 minutes and the shortest being 13 minutes. There are some people who think there’s no possible way Disney could make compelling episodes that demand your attention in that short amount of time. I would just like to say, you’re wrong, stupid and should learn how storytelling works. Now, with that out the way, here are my thoughts on “Star Wars: Visions.” 

“Star Wars: Visions” was announced back in Dec.of 2020 and ever since then, I’ve been excited for it to come out. After the success of “The Mandalorian”, Disney and Lucasfilm could make something great here. I was correct and was extremely impressed by what was given to us. “Star Wars: Visions” is made by some of the best anime studios in Japan. The series is nine episodes long and only a few episodes are animated by the same studio twice. None of the episodes in this show are connected, so there’s no need to watch the series in any specific order. This format gives us the chance to explore a lot of different kinds of artwork and a variety of different stories that can be told.  

Every episode of“Visions” is its own story and offers a lot in its own unique way. One of those ways is through the animation style, including episodes that resemble anime like K-on, Kill la Kill and even Astro Boy. Each one is different from the other and it makes every episode stand out through the fight scenes or just the way lightsabers look in general. It also reminds me that Star Wars isn’t always family-friendly, with some of the most violent and coolest deaths from a lightsaber I’ve ever seen.  


While pretty much all of the episodes were great, if there was one that I didn’t like it would probably be episode two, Tatooine Rhapsody, made by Studio Colorido. The story follows a padawan who ends up joining a band and their adventure to become the greatest rock band in the galaxy. Don’t get me wrong, this episode wasn’t bad. I loved that it wasn’t exactly Jedi-focused and I loved the additions of Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt to the episode. My problem came with the music in the episode. I understand that it’s supposed to be fun pop-punk music, but it just didn’t click with me. I thought it was a bit corny and it threw me off from the whole episode. All in all, it just wasn’t my cup of tea, but that’s the only thing I hold against it. 

Slash Gear

Now for the episodes that managed to stand out to me: the first one would have to be episode one, “The Duel,” made by Kamikaze Douga. In this episode, we follow a ronin-type with his droid as they come upon a small town. When they reach the town, trouble soon breaks out when a band of stormtroopers and a Sith lord, voiced by Lucy Liu, come into town to collect rent. It’s then up to the main character, aptly named Ronin, voiced by Brian Tee, to help save the town. The art style was one of the most impressive parts of this episode. It gave off the feeling of an old samurai movie with the only color coming from the lasers fired by blasters or the blade on lightsabers. It also features the coolest lightsaber I think I’ve ever seen in my life with the umbrella saber. The fighting in this episode is smooth and fluent and honestly just extremely enjoyable to watch. 

The next episode that stood out to me was the fifth episode, “The Ninth Jedi,” made by Production IG. This episode is about a girl who is trying to deliver custom-made lightsabers to nine Jedi who are waiting inside a temple. This episode to me has some of the best fighting sequences in the entire series. The fights that the Jedi have at the temple are fluid and extremely smoothly animated.  In addition to this, there is a  chase scene that the protagonist becomes involved in. This gives us an amazing moment when they get to some icy terrain, not to mention the main character basically gets an invisible lightsaber for a majority of the episode and that concept alone is just mind blowing . Everything in this episode felt right with the villains, the choreography and the design; it was just fun and refreshing. It’s one of my favorites and left me excited for the last four episodes of the series. 


 For me, it was honestly everything I wanted from a “Star Wars” product and a little bit more. It has elements that will make returning fans of the franchise, anime fans or even just casual watchers like it. There’s an episode for everyone in this series and it’s hard to find something that is unlikable.If you are looking for something new, exciting and fun that you could binge in about a day or two, check out “Star Wars: Visions.” I would rate it a solid 8.5 out of 10. 

“Shang- Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” Review

Arts & Entertainment

Greg Shannon, Staff

“Shang -Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is the latest in Marvel Studios’ long and complicated line of film adaptations from their comic book series. Directed by Daniel Dustin Creaton, the movie is a nice breath of fresh air from the intergalactic evil space men that we’ve grown accustomed to.  With a great cast of Chinese and Chinese-American actors like Simu Liu, Tony Leung Chiu-wai (“In the Mood for Love,” “Hero,”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,”) and amazing fight scenes, this film has a chance to stand out from the other superhero films that the studio has put out. With that said, here are my thoughts on the latest Marvel movie, Shang-Chi.


When it comes to the plot, this film is definitely paced well. Everything revealed helps to progress the story, and there isn’t really a moment that is unimportant. The film follows a standalone, unique story in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that introduces audiences to a Chinese organized crime ring known as the Ten Rings, led by Xu Wenwu, played by Chiu-wai. Wenwu came into possession of an ancient artifact — ten rings which can be worn as bracelets and easily sent out with the power of a bullet and recalled to the wrist quickly. He uses these ten rings and his group of men to change the course of history. The film follows his conquest, as well as his son, Xu Shang-chi, played by Liu, who eventually rebels against his father. The story is thematically unique, blends modern day with ancient times seamlessly and leans heavily into its Chinese mythology roots.


Of course, with it being a Marvel Studios film, there are a good amount of fun easter eggs placed in this movie, most of them in the form of characters like the agents from “Black Widow,” one of the glowy explody people, also known as “Extremi Soldiers,” from “Iron Man 3,” The Abomination from “The Incredible Hulk (2008),” and lastly Wong from “Dr. Strange.” 

The only downside, however, is that the opening to the film is a bit slow. Before the first big and epic fight scene, they give us a backstory and a bit of character development for Shang-chi, his family and his friend Katy played by Awkwafina (“Nora From Queens,” “Crazy Rich Asians”). While it was all important to the story, it just felt slow. There were some cool moments, like how the titular character’s parents met, but compared to the rest of the film it seems dull and falls flat. The opening notwithstanding, once the action starts in this film, it simply doesn’t stop.


All of the characters in “Shang-chi” are performed by an extremely well picked cast of Asian and Asian-American actors. With the exception of a few minor side characters, like the main henchman known as “Razor Fist,” this cast was pretty much entirely composed of Asain actors.  It felt like the actors and actresses had really good chemistry together, especially Liu and Awkwafina. I think it was smart for the writers to avoid the introduction of romance between the two, as they felt natural together as just really good friends. Also the chemistry that they had with each fight really helped give it more life. Almost every actor in the movie felt right for the role, even some of the lesser-known celebrities in the cast.

News Block


The comedy in this movie was honestly pretty hit or miss most times. Most of the comedic lines were given to Awkwafina’s character, Katy, but the rest was divided up by some of the more minor characters.  This would have been fine, but I found Akwafina’s comedic timing to be off and obnoxious at times. I don’t know if it was written that way in the script or they just told her to go ahead and wing it, but some jokes were just at the wrong moments.. There were parts of the movie that were serious and drew me in, only to be sidelined with a random “Hell naw” from Awkwafina’s character. The unnecessary amount of comedy was my biggest gripe of the movie.

The best part of the movie is the fight choreography. Each time there’s a fight it’s fun, fast paced and just great to look at. Now while you won’t get your “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” fix from “Shang-chi,” you do get some cool fighting effects, like how the ten rings are used and the supernatural martial arts style of fighting used by some of the main characters. All of the chemistry between the actors during the fights make it feel fluent and nice to look at. I especially enjoyed watching the main character, Shang-chi, fight. It looks and feels realistic at times and helps make watching it a lot more enjoyable. The fight scenes in this movie were definitely the highlights of the film for me and I hope they keep it up in future installments.

Screen Rant

This movie is definitely one of the best that Marvel has put out. Once again, it is a breath of fresh air compared to their other projects and is filled with a bunch of fast paced fun fight scenes. I would definitely recommend this movie to Marvel fans or people that are looking for something different from the MCU. All in all I would give this movie a solid 8.5 out of 10. 

If you haven’t watched “Attack on Titan,” what are you waiting for?

Arts & Entertainment

Greg Shannon, Staff

Header Image: Kodansha

If you were on social media in 2013 and 2014, then you probably remember constant murmurings of a Japanese television series called “Attack on Titan.” With the exception of maybe “Pokemon” or “Dragon Ball,” “Titan” is the only major series imported from Japan to break into the mainstream audience in America. The series had an interesting curve of popularity since its release in 2013.  In its almost eight-year run, it went from the most hyped, most talked about show on the internet, to the point where mainstream media sources were covering it, to seemingly disappearing out of nowhere after the first season. Many people almost forgot it existed, and the mainstream audience and media for the most part refused to even acknowledge seasons two and three. However, 2020 was when all of that would change. Around mid-November, the anticipation for the fourth and final season of this anime would shake the entertainment world to its core and would even break into the mainstream world again.


“Attack on Titan” is an animated series adapted from a serialized comic of the same name by author and artist Hajime Isayama. The story follows one Eren Jaeger, a headstrong boy with a dark family past, and his friends and fellow soldiers in a military built up to defend humanity from giant humanoid beasts that resemble comical and demented charicatures of people: the titular Titans. The story is set in motion when two Titans break down the walls surrounding a young Jaeger’s home town, leading to his mother’s death. From that point, the story follows Jaeger and his fellow soldiers through years of battle against the Titan menace, all the while the story dropping hints and clues that something much greater and more sinister was beyond the walls that protected humanity.


I’ll admit that when the show first aired in 2013 I eventually dropped it near the end of the first season. Even though there was a bunch of action and beautiful animation, my 13-year-old brain just couldn’t keep up, and sadly I just didn’t continue. That was an incredible mistake on my part. The hype that surrounded the return of the show for its final season is what drove me to rewatch and catch up on this masterpiece of storytelling. I binged the entirety of the first three seasons and honestly didn’t know how they could top them. 

Then it happened: the first part of season four was released. It’s hard to describe just how good part one has been. If season three is the preppy high school jock of the series, then the first part of season four looks like the older brother that went pro and is living in a mansion rubbing it in his younger brother’s face that he’s so much better.  The season takes the great dramatic action the series is known for, the brilliant character development that the second season gave us, and further built on the full-circle narrative arcs set up in the third season. These are all very much present in this latest season and are even amplified in it. 

The first thing that the fourth season of this show does is introduce a new cast of characters separate from those we were acquainted with in the first. In the first five episodes, the writers develop these characters to be on par with some fan favorites that came before them. We see the growth of Reiner Braun, a recurring character in the series who is trying to cope with all of the mistakes he made throughout the show, and see how grief can affect a person in complex ways. Some new characters are set up as foils for Jaeger and his comrades, allowing the audience to sympathize with the people they are meant to see as the enemy. While these aren’t all the characters and development we get, they’re definitely the most important. What makes it so amazing, though, is that a lot of it comes in the first five episodes. They give us a reason to care about these characters in such a short amount of time and continue it even after the main characters show back up and steal the spotlight. 


Next, something that this show continuously does flawlessly is having everything come full circle. “Attack on Titan” has managed to make everything seem important. Like its past seasons, they take the events that leave us with questions and manage to build on them and make them fit perfectly into the world and narrative. Without spoiling anything, an example of this is a three-episode long arc in season four that not only answers a question that was left open in 2017, but does so in a way that shows the new characters’ connections to the previous story beats. It shows you how much the creator Isayama cares about this story. Every time you come up with a question or theory, you know that eventually it will be answered in some way, and usually in an interesting or surprising way. 

Lastly, the thing that truly made this season special compared to the already amazing show is that the tone and feel of the series is completely different, yet still just as high-quality. In the first three seasons, there was always a clearly defined good and evil. We knew which group was on the right side of history and we knew who the enemy was. However, with how things started this season and all of the insane events that have transpired, it’s honestly hard to tell which side is good — it’s all grey. Isayama did something that I honestly don’t see many shows do. He took a once loved character and destroyed him, made him universally hated by every fan of the series, and made him a part of the enemy. Most fans were rooting for him to be defeated and killed by Jeager or one of his teammates. Then, in just a few episodes of season four, everything flipped. 


People started to care about our main antagonist. We saw their backstory and even questioned “Are they the bad guy in this story?” Then, completely out of left-field, the writer takes the protagonist, the character we’ve rooted for and followed since the beginning, and turned him into a monster, into the villain. There are no good guys or bad guys anymore. Anyone in this show can be a villain or hero depending on who you agree with. The writers of the series set it up this way because now, the biggest question of the story will not be “Who is going to win?” and instead will be “How far will they go to win?”

Isayama has honestly created something extremely special with this series. The world, the plot and the characters have all seemed special and every episode has been used to push the story forward. This last season of “Attack On Titan” has been spectacular so far and it only makes me more excited to see what will happen in part two this January. If you haven’t watched this show I honestly encourage you to watch it. It’s been labeled as the “Game of Thrones” of animation and it honestly lives up to the hype. Plus with part two coming out in January, there’s still plenty of time to catch up.

Opinion: Golden Globe worthy scenes in “Ramy” season two

Arts & Entertainment

Greg Shannon, Staff

Header image: A24 Productions

“Ramy” is an A24 Productions series made by standup comedian Ramy Youssef. In 2020, Youssef won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as himself in “Ramy.” The series is made up of semi-autobiographical tales about the Egyptian American trying to better himself as a Muslim man while dealing with the tough societal norms that come with being a single millennial in today’s society. While this show is honestly sprinkled with great comedy, shots and moments, I don’t think that the ‘Golden Globe moment’ comes from season one. Some may ask, “how can the first season not have that kind of a moment when it won a Golden Globe, but season two was only nominated?” I completely understand that, but the moments I’m talking about are completely different. I mean the moments where you stop what you’re doing, where you’re completely glued to the actions and dialogue, where you forget that it’s just acting. That’s not to say that season one doesn’t have some moments like this — for example the 9/11 episode and the conversation between Youssef and his father Farouk about their relationship with his grandfather are amazing — but it just doesn’t compare to some of the stuff we get in season two.

If there’s one thing that “Ramy” did right, it makes you feel uncomfortable but in a good way. “Ramy” made me really want the best for the characters in the show while I was forced to just sit and watch the lows. Now, it’s not that with any other show I’m wishing the worst for the characters in it, however, there was something different with this show — just something special that made me root for them a bit more. Is there some bias from my perspective as a native of New Jersey, where the series takes place? Yes. Do I just want to see my Jersey kings and queens succeed in life after the tragic “Jersey Shore?” Also yes — who cares? There was something different about the characters that really drove me to this connection and that came in season two.

When you’re talking about the great moments of this show you have to look at one of the later episodes. In episode seven, which takes place in Atlantic City, Youssef and his friends end up at a strip club, which visibly upsets him. At this point, Youssef is doing a pretty good job with his journey to be a better Muslim, and after a situation with a stripper and his prayer beads he angrily goes to the bathroom. This leads us to the first scene that really grabbed me. In the bathroom, Youssef argues with the friend that cares for him the most, Ahmed. After he complains to him that he just doesn’t want to be there, he ends it with a phrase that crosses the line for Ahmed. Youssef breaks the conversation with “I expected better from you.” At this moment, Ahmed loses it and starts to honestly point out how horrible he thinks Youssef is and how he makes him feel like a bad person. Ahmed tells him how he feels like he is wasting prayers on his friend. He tells him how those prayers could be going to refugees that actually need them, but he feels more inclined to give them to Youssef because he knows that just being him is a struggle. Ahmed talks about how he has to struggle with that decision every day. This is probably the most real and authentic conversation in all of “Ramy.” Normally, they’re just putting up with his problems, but now someone is finally speaking out, showing how the choices Youssef makes hurts them whether it be physically or mentally.

But that’s not the only episode that we need to focus on. We also have episode eight of season two. In this episode, we focus more on the side character Farouk than we do Youssef, really. The main premise is that Youssef wants his parents to meet his girlfriend. That premise still plays a big part, but we see how it weighs on his father. Farouk’s day is already hard enough, as he’s throwing away his name just so he can try to get a better job and being asked to leave the coffee shop because someone doesn’t feel comfortable with him speaking Arabic on the phone. All of this boils up until the end of the episode where Farouk meets Zainab and her father Sheikh Ali Malik. After Farouk storms out of the house when he goes on a rant about how he takes care of everything, we are greeted with him outside on a park bench, Youssef joining him. In this scene, the dialogue is spoken in Arabic, with some parts purposely untranslated. At this moment, Farouk opens up to his son about how he doesn’t want to lose him, how he’s always worried and that it’s his job to be worried. He explains to Youssef that this is a father’s job and that eventually when he is a father as well, he won’t be able to live in the present anymore, he’ll have to live in the future.

Craig Blankenhorn / Hulu

The most moving moment in the series comes in the episode titled “You Are Naked in Front of Your Sheikh.” The ending of this episode is what really makes me believe it is Golden Globe worthy. At the end of the episode, Youssef’s teacher, Sheikh Ali Malik, is sitting in his room. In this instance, you can see the disappointment and anger in this man. Malik had let this man into his life and dealt with the hardships that followed with it. He dealt with the negative press that Youssef gave his mosque, to his religion and to him. He dealt with the donors that backed out because of Youssef’s actions. Most of all, he let Youssef into his personal life by allowing him to date his daughter. When Youssef breaks up with her, it was the last straw for Malik. Before this, every time he talked to Youssef, it wasn’t personal. Malik talked to him as a teacher talked to a student. Even when talking to Youssef about dating his daughter, you could still feel that there was some restraint for his student. However, at this moment Malik speaks to Youssef as a person, and one who betrayed his trust. After Youssef hurt the person closest to him, the teacher releases a sharp “F**k you Ramy. F**k you, you little f**k.” This is the Sheikh at his boiling point. He’s fed up with the lies, the excuses and all of his pain. This is how Malik has to talk to Youssef for the point to finally get across. Youssef hurts people, “he’s dangerous,” according to Malik. Because of this, Malik ends it by telling Youssef that he can’t help him. The Sheikh has been given humility through our main character.

This series is honestly something special. These moments show just why “Ramy” is worthy of its praise and of its Golden Globe and nominations. I would honestly recommend watching this show. While the series doesn’t touch on every Muslim experience in America, it does touch on Youssef’s, which is both unique and human. The story does not attempt to be controversial, overly-artistic or broadly relatable, it is a character piece on the artist that is Ramy Youssef.