Anime Recommendation: Cells at Work

Age Recommendation: 12+

Genre: Comedy

# of Episodes: 8 (ongoing)

Synopsis:

“This is a story about you. A tale about the inside of your body. According to a new study, the human body consists of approximately 37 trillion cells. These cells are hard at work every day within a world that is your body. From the oxygen carrying Red Blood Cells to the bacteria fighting White Blood Cells, get to know the unsung heroes and the drama that unfolds inside of you!”

Commentary:

I’ve had a chance to see two episodes so far of this show, and I absolutely, completely adore it. It brings me back to the days of the Osmosis Jones TV show I’d watch Saturday mornings back when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

However, Cells at Work is definitely not a copy! It just gives me the general feeling because of the setting, but that’s where the similarities end. For one, this is strangely educational without going overboard. Each character when they’re first introduced, it’s explained what they do in our bodies and why they’re important!

Also, White Blood Cell is pretty competent (Sorry Osmosis, I still love you)! And the Red Blood Cell is just completely adorable. She’s still learning her job and gets turned around every which way (ending up in the kidneys when she was trying to find the lungs!) in our confusing bodies but still always does her best! Thankfully White Blood Cell is usually there to save the day from whatever mishap she landed herself in this time.

I never thought I’d ship cells (Red Blood Cell X White Blood Cell forever) in my body together but I do. I unapologetically, totally do.

We are going to watch Cells at Work on our next anime night on September 10 at 5 p.m. Can’t wait until then? Watch it on Crunchyroll for free!

Tara’s Top Ten Board Games: Part One

Console games, online gaming and apps are all great ways to connect with friends, practice problem solving skills and just have fun, but my absolute favorite type of game is a board game. You can go ahead and call me nerdy and old-fashioned. (I’ll wait.) Okay, are you done laughing at me yet? Because, seriously, board games are the best!

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Here in no particular order are half of my Top Ten Board Games. (I’ll post the rest next time.)

SetImage result for settlers of catantlers of Catan – It’s takes some time to learn, set up and conquer, but it’s totally worth it. Settlers of Catan consists of an ever-changing landscape of mountains, hills, forests, fields and pastures. Each player strategically builds settlements and cities in order to receive and control different resources on the island of Catan. There are also dozens of expansions like Seafarers, The Great River and Wizards & Dragons that can add different dimensions to your gameplay. Settlers is a great game for a game night with a small group of friends 

Image result for codenames gameCodeNamesCodeNames is a cool game in which two spymasters give their team of secret agents clues as they race to figure out which spies are on their side. It helps if the team and spymaster are familiar with each other’s thinking. I’ve played this game with people I know so well we can practically read each other’s minds as well as with near strangers. Even when I don’t win, it’s always a fun game!

Munchkin – There are a ton of themed Munchkin games including pirates, zombies, steampunk, ninjas, fairies, superheroes and even Rick and Morty! The basic idea is that you’re a small, selfish, tricksy creature known as a munchkin. You are crawling through a dungeon and must kick in doors, fight monsters and collect treasure. It is also well-known that munchkins cheat, so feel free to play creatively.

Image result for fluxx gamesFluxx Fluxx is another game with a zillion different versions. I think my personal fave is Monty Python Fluxx, but I haven’t met one I didn’t like. You draw cards, and try to collect objects to meet a goal, but it’s okay if you don’t understand the rules; they could change any minute! As you play, various cards will change how many cards you draw, discard, hold in your hand, and even the goal of the game! It’s a game that’s constantly in flux. (Get it?)

Image result for scrabble catScrabble – There are a lot of great word games out there, including Word on the Street, Quiddler and Unspeakable Words. But, imho, you just can’t beat the classic Scrabble for wordy, nerdy fun! No gimmicks – just pure vocabulary, strategy and luck. If you want something a little less intense, check out the games mentioned above. They’re all phenomenal!

Mobius Final Fantasy for Mobile Devices & Steam

Oh Square, you’ve done it again. You’ve gone and sucked me into another one of your free-to-play games.

This time it’s Mobius Final Fantasy, which is available on iOS, Android, and Steam. It’s been around for 2 years, why haven’t you played it beforehand, you must be asking. Well…because! I don’t really have a good reason! So many other games, and so little time, I guess!

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What brought me in?

Final Fantasy X. I got an email from Square that they are having a special story within Mobius Final Fantasy about Tidus! They’re advertising it as A Dream Within a Dream, and I AM SO EXCITED. It launched this August, so I’ve already dove right in to get my head around the mechanics, story and all that fun stuff. Once you completed enough of the story to get to the world map, you’re able to switch over to Tidus’s story!

What’s this thing about?

You are dropped in a land called Palamecia with no memory. You hear a strange voice telling you that you and many others have the chance to become the fabled “Warrior of Life.” Are you the one the prophecy tells of? Play on to find out.

So which do I like better, mobile or PC?

PC. There’s not any question about it.

Just after playing on PC for a few minutes I waaaaay prefer it to mobile. Screen is better (and bigger!), I can use a mouse. It’s much easier to tell what I’m reading/doing! The graphics also look WAY better as well! It looks smooth and no longer grainy. (This may differ on more high end phones of course, mine is pretty old now!)  

PLUS, this game is a big battery drainer. If you decide to go the mobile route, keep a charger with you if you’ll be out all day playing. It also has a long initial update time to get started so that’s also something to keep in mind. The nice thing is the game does allow you to switch between operating systems. So if you start on one and change your mind, you don’t have to lose any progress! I started on mobile and was able to switch to Steam easily.

So is the game fun?

Yes! But there’s a but.  

It’s definitely not something you can only play, however, which makes me understand its appeal as a mobile game. It can be a little grindy, but the game makes up for that with an auto-battle mechanism (the ai will play through for you) that’s reasonably smart. So you can play while watching TV, working on a craft, etc. I could even have it running as I write this if I wanted!

Despite its grindiness, it’s still enjoyable and the writing of the characters is fun. I’m especially amused by the interaction between Tidus and the main character of Mobius (that you get to name. I called mine Perrin!).

There is a saving grace with Mobius though compared to other mobile games I’ve played: the music. It gives me a feel of coming home. Especially with the Final Fantasy X chapters. It uses the same music with updated arrangements from the original game that fills with me an intense rush of nostalgia from when I was a kid first playing it. The music is beautiful and definitely worth keeping on.   

Any tips for newcomers?

Use your summon tickets to buy that starter pack that’s only available within the first 30 days of playing. It is woooorth it and if you’re playing it like me just to see the story, it makes it far more enjoyable as well. The games gives you plenty of tickets early on, and you need 9 total to get all the starter packs. It gives you some great cards (what you use to fight with) and jobs! This lets you get through harder battles with ease while being able to level up your character’s other jobs available! My favorite I think is the Dancer or the Dragoon. Mostly because of appearance, haha!

The games gives a pretty thorough tutorial, but here’s some links to help you get started in your journey:

Polygon’s Mobius Guide

10 Tips & Tricks

Mobius Beginners Guide

 

Overall..

If you’re a Final Fantasy fan, you’ll definitely enjoy this. It’s fun seeing the little references the game teases you with and the battle system has a lot going on without being too complicated. There’s cutscenes interspersed between the battles to keep you interested.

So if you’ve played FF before and are looking for a game that’s with low investment when you have some time to spare, give it a shot!  

Great News for Black Panther Fans!

Have you seen Black Panther? If you haven’t, stop reading right now and go watch it. Like, right now. Seriously. I’ll wait. You can check it out on DVD  or Blu-ray  from the library.

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Ok, now that we’ve all seen it, we can discuss our favorite character. Obviously, I mean Shuri. She’s sarcastic, brave and a certified genius. And, as I just discovered, she’s getting her own series! (Squee!) According to this Bustle article , Marvel is releasing a whole-new, stand-alone series featuring Shuri as temporary ruler of Wakanda when T’Challa is lost on a mission.

Image result for shuri own series

And, even better, it will be written by award-winning, Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorofor! (Double squee!) This is an author who clearly understands what makes Shuri tick. She told Bustle “[Shuri is] an African young woman of genius level intelligence who is obsessed with technology and has traveled spiritually so far into the past that she’s seen Wakanda before it was Wakanda. The Ancestors call her Ancient Future. And she’s super ambitious. What do I love about her? Alllll that and more.” And Okorafor already has experience writing in the Black Panther universe with Black Panther: Long Live the King . Shuri (the new series’ title is short and sweet) won’t be out until October of this year, but you can read some of Okorafor’s other amazing work  in the meantime!

And, don’t miss Summer’s Last Bash in the Vortex!  Join us on Monday, August 12 from 3–5 p.m. for one last party! Play Black Panther Bingo, go on a vibranium hunt, make your own mask and kimoyo beads, eat snacks and watch Black Panther before the homework starts rolling in again.

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Wakanda Forever!

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Tara

 

Book Review – One of Us Is Lying

Title: One of Us is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publication Date: 2017
Place a hold here.

Image result for one of us is lying coverGoodreads Summary:
“The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.”

Tara’s Reaction:

What I love most about this book is the cast of characters. Simon is kind of a jerk (I mean, seriously, he created an app for the sole purpose of exposing people’s secrets – who does that?), but Bronwyn, Nate, Addy and Cooper are each really likable despite their dark secrets and past mistakes. I didn’t really want to believe that any of them could be a killer, but they all have a motive and all had the opportunity to do it, so…, even though I really hoped it wasn’t any of them, I wasn’t completely sure until the end. There were points in the book where I thought maybe it was Addy or Bronwyn, or any of them. But, even though I knew that one of them might have murdered a fellow student in cold blood, I found myself empathizing with each of “The Bayview Four”(as they came to be known).

Bronwyn might be a goody-goody, but she’s kind and determined and loyal. Cooper might be a jock who’s just using his girlfriend, but he, too, is a loyal friend and is trying so hard to live up to his father’s expectations. Addy might seem like a pushover, but she finds her strength and stands up for herself by the end of the book. And Nate is indeed a drug dealer, but he’s also one of the most genuine characters in the book – at least until he finally does have something to lose.

To me, the question underlying the story is: “Is truth always the best path?” Simon discovered people’s secrets and exposed them. Some would say he was standing on the side of truth and anything that happened to people as a result of this was their own fault for not owning their mistake in the first place. Others would say he was hurting people through his actions and some truths are better left unrevealed.

The answer to that question, just like the answer to this mystery, is out there for you to uncover.

Anime Recommendation: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn (or RE:0096)

0096Age Recommendation: 13+

Genre: Action / Sci-Fi / Mecha

# of Episodes: OVA 7 (60 min.), Series 22 (30 min.)

Synopsis:

TU.C. 0096, three years after the end of the Second Neo Zeon War. The mysterious Vist Foundation attempts to hand over a certain secret to the Neo Zeon remnants known as the Sleeves. This will mean the opening of Laplace’s Box, which holds a great secret tied to the origins of the Universal Century. The exchange is to take place at the manufacturing colony Industrial 7, home of the student Banagher Links. When Banagher rescues a girl who gives her name as Audrey Burn, he is drawn into the conflict surrounding Laplace’s Box.” –Sunrise International

Commentary:

Now one of the most popular Gunpla advertisements put out by Bandai, Gundam Unicorn is an exciting tale of political intrigue, war, romance and the human condition. Also giant robots beating the tar out of each other.

Unicorn follows Banager Links as he uncovers the mystery of the Laplace’s Box and the giant robot given to him by his father, the prototype mobile suit RX-0 Unicorn. This OVA series blew up big a few years ago and now has an additional TV release. It was even chosen to replace the original Gundam statue in Tokyo (it transforms!)

The most striking thing about Unicorn is the visuals. The series has some of my favorite designs in all of the franchise and everything looks great in movement. This is especially true of the titular robot, with its flashy transformation sequences and Tron-esque design cues. Most of the music was done by the renowned composer Hiroyuki Sawano, who has worked on many big name shows. As with most Gundam stories, the plot relies heavily on melodrama and soap opera twists to move things along, but it’s too pretty for me to care.

There are a few of call backs to previous Gundam entries, most prominently Char’s Counter Attack and Double Zeta, but they aren’t necessary to enjoy it. Not everything makes sense, but if you what is essentially a cheesy love story with giant robots, then Unicorn is for you.

With the recent announcement of the Gundam Live Action film by Sunrise and Legendary, it is a great way to jump into the franchise.

We carry the first two volumes of the OVA containing the first 4 episodes. Library staff will be more than happy to help you get the rest of the series through interlibrary loan or you can watch the TV release for free on Crunchyroll.com.

Call Numbers: DVD ANIME MOBILE V.1
                           DVD ANIME MOBILE V.2

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Jay