Fave Five: Worst of 2017

The Fave Five lists are back; five items of a similar theme in no particular order.

2017 has a been a great year for me when it comes to machinima. I feel like I've finally found my own distinct style and approach to making these videos that separates me from the others. It's highly doubtful that I'll be able to do what SMG4 has done with his Super Mario 64 bloopers: turn a niche video format into a series that averages one million views per episode on YouTube, and even more subscribers to match. But hey, a Pikachu can dream.

In the real world, however, things aren't so great. Some people would list the worst shows, movies, and other events and happenings of the year. I'm smart enough to avoid most of that, but not in a general sense. Here are all the horrible experiences in entertainment that I've had the displeasure of remembering from this year.

1) Impact Wrestling: Bound for Glory 2017
...And that's the one and only instance of me referring to this company by their legal name, because they managed to screw a simple rebrand not once, not twice, but three times, if you count the introduction of the Impact Wrestling brand in 2011. No matter what they change their name to, TNA will always be TNA, and this show was the proof.

This year's BFG emanated from the Aberdeen Pavilion in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. TNA is currently owned by Canada's Anthem Sports & Entertainment, based in Toronto, Ontario, and the company also owns the Fight Network, which also broadcasts the promotion's flagship show "Impact". You would think that after two years of missteps and mistakes, Anthem can put the so-called "cockroach" of professional wrestling in check and put on the best wrestling show of the year right in their own backyard.

Think again.

Year-long feuds ended on either bittersweet or outright depressing outcomes. The ringwork was lazy to the point where it seemed like they were making stuff up on the fly. Major match-ups, like the Monster's Ball, ended in sloppy fashion. The crowd was dull throughout the whole show, as if they had low expectations for this card the moment they walked in.

Naturally, they only came alive when Canadian-born performers like Gail Kim and Petey Williams were on the scene. But Gail was the only Canadian superstar on the card that wasn't abused and thrown away like yesterday's trash. This probably wasn't as bad as the Montreal Screwjob, but it sure came close.

It was a slap to the face of the Canadians in attendance that completely overshadowed the main event of the evening. How so? Thanks to the uncalled for loose cannon antics of Alberto What's-his-name, we already knew how that match was going to end before it even began! It seems that even El Patron was fed up this company's bullcrap, so he decided to ruin the main event by attacking Johnny Impact Mundo and Eli Drake, then puling Drake over Mundo to retain the title.

Classic, cliche, corporate wrestling bullcrap.

It was far more meaningful when Mundo stole a win over Rey Mysterio. I look forward to seeing more of this antics in season four of Lucha Underground, because after this disaster, I hope I never have the curiosity to watch another crappy TNA product ever again. Rumor has it that Anthem is losing money and plans on selling the promotion, and I hope they do.

Anthem sacrificed Live Audio Wrestling, laid off Fight Network's staff, and turned the recently purchased Game TV into a hodgepodge Fight Network lite all in the hope they could build a strong alternative to Rogers Sportsnet and the WWE with their purchase of this washed-up promotion. But it was all for nothing; TNA blew it and Anthem should hang their heads in shame.

Bound for Glory 2017 is to "Impact" Wrestling, what WrestleMania 32 was to the WWE; a disgrace to this company and a slap in the face to wrestling fans around the world.


2) The Netflix Death Note movie
Let's start off with what they did right, shall we? Willem Dafoe clearly had a lot of fun in his lauded performance as the shinigami Ryuk, and thanks to Lakeith Stanfield, one of the great detectives of manga and anime was given the Daniel Craig treatment.

Beyond that there's nothing I can say about this film that hasn't already been said: it sucks. It sucks that one biggest Japanese phenomenons since Dragon Ball was turned from an intelligent, mature, unconventional, supernatural-yet-grounded crime thriller, into an angsty, generic, teen drama that wasn't even good enough for MTV.

That wasn't an insult, I really enjoyed the first two seasons of Teen Wolf, and it sucks that they had to let go of their scripted slate because they couldn't cut it in the ratings. You know what else sucks? You could have read the original Death Note manga for free on Viz.com or simply watched the anime.

There's nothing else to say: I am genuinely pissed off at this movie. I hope that Adam Wingard getting harassed off Twitter serves as a warning to anyone who tries to do a remake or adaption with the most half-assed effort. Just because Hollywood wants to take a dump on cherished franchises for the sake of money, doesn't mean anyone else has to risk career suicide.

Also, if you're American, never remake popular anime or manga. Ever. If anyone's going to create bad film adaptations of manga, it's going to the country that made them.


3) Seven Mortal Sins
I guess I had to let this off my chest at some point. Again, nothing that I can say that someone who's actually invested in this genre of anime can say about this. Any outsider would dismiss this show as more generic, perverted, fanservice crap, but anyone who actually gives a shit would say it's worse than that!

All you need to know about this show is that one user on TV Tropes compared it to, of all things, Diabolik Lovers. The POV character is pure-hearted and kind to the point of being a utter doormat for protagonists and antagonists alike, both of which are unlikable and insufferable. As for the "fanservice", the most unlikable character in the show not only rapes our POV character, but makes it look like she's soiling herself in public!

Is that supposed to turn me on? I have standards too you know! Compared to the anime adaptations of Hobby Japan's other figure lines, like the serious-toned Queen's Blade and darkly satirical Bikini Warriors, Seven Mortal Sins is just utter garbage.

I wish I would have given Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid a second chance instead. I might have rated it as one of the worst shows that I watched that year, but while it was severely lacking in the story and characters department, it did bring a new twist to how these types of shows should go about their "business". Mermaid wasn't a harem show, it focused more on friendship than "deep" romance, and instead of generic panty shots and accidental pervert moments, the sexual content is raw and borders on softcore porn without actually being porn.

In retrospective, it's one of the best ecchi anime I've ever watched.

But while Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid raised the bar (sort of), Seven Mortal Sins fittingly lowers it to hellish levels. With its mean-spirit atmosphere, no characters decent enough to root for, it feels like this show was aimed to insult and piss off the perverts who are into this sort of thing, not unlike Master of Martial Hearts, but even that was better that this!

4) Killing Bites (Manga)
Let's cut to the chase. The main heroine is a suck-up and the POV character is generic and spineless. That this series, which centers around half-beast women in a fighting tournament, even has a male POV character is a red flag. The way he gets dragged into this mess is forced and uninspired, like everything else about this series.

The heroine isn't any better. Like I said, she's a total suck-up to her handler, who might be a sort of father-figure, but he never gets enough screentime so we can explore that relationship. If this was supposed to be played for comedy, I ain't laughing, because what we have left is an stuck-up, arrogant bitch as our de facto protagonist. An action series is only as good as its characters, and these characters are anything but good. They have zero chemistry with each other, and are both utterly unlikable in their own right.

If that weren't enough, the manga suddenly introduces me to a slew of new characters not even five chapters in, when we haven't even fleshed out the setting and characters that were introduced beforehand. Could you maybe give me some time to figure out what's going on before you throw some new stuff at me? The text dump exposition is less informative than it is a chore to read, because I'm reading about context and concepts that won't come into play until much later in the story.

And when all else fails, bring on the fanservice shots and queerbaiting. Give me a break.

I wouldn't be so critical if the series itself wasn't so reminiscent of the Bloody Roar franchise. I was actually looking forward to the Killing Bites video game, since I knew I wouldn't get a re-release of the Bloody Roar games for current generation consoles or PCs. Storywise, I enjoyed the first game's plot much more then any of the sequels because they get more and more derivative as the series progresses. That's what Killing Bites is: another bad Bloody Roar sequel, if not a worse spiritual successor.

With the Bloody Roar series on a permanent hiatus, and the Killing Bites game all but cancelled, all I had left was the upcoming anime adaption. Thinking Killing Bites could fill the void left by Bloody Roar, I read the first few chapters of the manga to get an idea of what to expect. But all I got for my troubles was the knowledge that Bloody Roar's dim spotlight was about to be stolen by the poor man's counterpart..., for all of fifteen minutes that is.

5) Anything and everything done by Marvel Comics both this and last year
I almost wish Captain America: Civil War was released this year, just so I can say it sucked just as bad as Batman v Superman did. I'm sorry if I offend you, but I seriously hate this movie. It's one thing to have too much plot in what should have been a simple premise, it's another thing when that simple premise happens under the dumbest circumstances. Civil War asks a lot of big philosophical questions, but fails to give a fitting answer to any of them, taking the might-makes-right approach in a conflict that could have be easy been avoided if the main characters acted like grown-ups for five seconds.

But then we wouldn't get to see Spider-Man kick in some tail in his debut appearance..., only to later learn that the Avengers were going soft on him!

I shouldn't be surprised that movie critics are calling this the best film of the franchise, because movie critics have always been out of touch. Did you know the original Blade Runner was a piece of shit? That's what the initial reviews for that movie was. Years later, people with actual taste would offer a second opinion, and now Blade Runner is regarded as one of the all-time greats. If Blade Runner 2049 was announced not even a decade after the original movie, it wouldn't have a lot of its work cut out for it.

It's a different story with the original Civil War, it wasn't good to begin with, it's still not good after all these years, and its movie adaption isn't any better.

Really, the only reason why anyone would think this is a good movie is because they already watched Batman v Superman. Either that or it was better than the Civil War II comic event. That's because Marvel's recent comic events in general have been miserable and depressing, as if Marvel suddenly thought it would be a great idea if their comic universe sucked just as bad as the real world does. I know they're supposed to have more grounded and realistic superhero stories, but they took it way too far.

Of course being an animation lover, my biggest gripe with Marvel is over the quality of their animated output. It's not that I don't like the new Spider-Man show, it's just that...it's a new Spider-Man show. Coming off the six-year run of Ultimate Spider-Man, you'd think they would let someone else have a go. Instead, some of the obscure, less-popular, second-stingers of the Marvel Universe are getting the live-action drama treatment. This worked well with the gritty dramas produced for Netflix, which are far better than the shows produced for any other television outlet (ABC, I'm looking at you).

For some inane reason, when Marvel was purchased by Disney, their characters were split between the latter company and those licensed by Fox (and Sony) for films and adaptations. This is one of the reasons why The Spectacular Spider-Man was cancelled, and it also means we may never get a new Fantastic Four animated series, unless FXX's Deadpool series does well enough that FX Networks will consider more adult superhero animation with the other characters they hold rights too. But now I'm just talking out of my ass.

Let's address the elephants in the room, the absolute worst element of Marvel Comics in all its mediums: the Inhumans are utterly terrible.

Whether it's the comics, where they were willing to commit genocide on mutant-kind to save their own, the animated series, where they are reverse-racists who are hostile to anyone other than their own kind, or the recent ABC drama, where, as described on TV Tropes' YMMV page, they are full-on bigots who are even willing to enslave some of their own kind if they don't have "impressive" enough powers.

Who in their right mind would write characters like this and portray them in a heroic light?

It's bad enough that Marvel kept pushing the Inhumans as corporate-friendly replacements for the X-Men, rather than give them a more original portrayal. They even tried to pass themselves off as a Fantastic Four surrogate in, quite possibly, their only good appearance in any recent Marvel adaptation: one episode of the inferior third season of Marvel's Avengers. The Inhumans television series was their one chance at redemption, and they blew it from the get go. Marvel's Inhumans was met with universal scorn and is rightfully considered the absolute worst entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon.

The prominence of a movie franchise over the original source material, the legal red tape preventing a comic company from using its own characters in adapted works, and the need for shock value, plot twists and tragedy in stories have seriously hurt Marvel Comics in the long run, at least partially. Don't compare them to DC, compare them to other comic companies and ask yourself, "What if they had their own long running movie series?" "What if they got an animated series that targets adults instead of children?"

I'll try to do better next year.

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