Some Quick Mid-Week Pop Culture Notes

Wanted to post something today, but didn’t have anything substantial lined up, so here are some quick thoughts on the stuff I’ve read/watched/played lately.

Wanted to post something today, but didn’t have anything substantial lined up, so here are some quick thoughts on the stuff I’ve read/watched/played lately.

A man in a suit giving a thumbs-up.
The Abridged version.

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Sonic: The Hedgehog: The Movie

I watched Sonic for the second or third time lately.

Now, you may or not remember that the movie’s ad campaign got off to a bit of a rough start, with the original design of Sonic himself being universally reviled to the point that they actually delayed the movie to fix it.

All in all, the end result is a pretty enjoyable movie and probably the best video game movie since at least Detective Pikachu.

It incorporates elements of the game (the rings, Sonic’s trademark shoes, why he’s called “Eggman”) in ways that manage to feel pretty natural and the overall story is probably about as good as you could get from the “Sonic ends up in Real World” concept.

Also, Jim Carrey is delightful —

You tell ’em, Matt.
Image via giphy, footage via WWE.

— as Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik (whom I refuse on principle to call “Eggman”) and is easily the highlight of the movie.

I have yet to see the sequel, largely because I don’t get to the movies much even when we’re not still in the middle of a major pandemic.

Incidentally, there is actually a movie called “Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie“, a mid-90s anime movie co-starring Knuckles’ awesome hat. I’ve only ever seen clips of it here and there and I don’t know if there are any legitimate ways to watch it online.


There Are Very Few Factories in this Rune Factory

I beat the main story of Rune Factory 5 last night and quite enjoyed it. I might even go so far as to call it my favourite game in the series, though to be fair, I’ve only played 3, 4, and now 5 at any considerable length.

That might be something of a controversial statement, given that a lot of the fanbase is up in arms about the game’s graphical and performance issues and the story not being as long or in-depth as 4‘s was — also, in general, as fanbases are wont to be…

Now, there are framerate issues and some general wonkiness, but I’m easily-entertained enough that they didn’t really bother me and after a while, I sort of stopped noticing. And, for what it’s worth, the monsters and bosses all look somewhere between fine and awesome.

Also, Rune Factory 5 has one of my favourite casts in the series.

Hina from "Rune Factory 5".
For example, Hina, who is to
be protected at all costs.

Rune Factory 5: Hakama and Xseed Games

Some of the characters, maybe even most of the characters, are clearly drawing from pretty archetypal anime character concepts and have pretty one-note personalities, but most of them do get scenes that give them some depth and can produce some genuinely powerful emotional response from the player.

Also, everyone is gorgeous.

I’m hoping to do a full recommendation for Rune Factory before too long.


Knights of the Old High Republic

In brief, the current focus of the Star Wars franchise is a multi-media project called The High Republic.

Star Wars: LucasFilm and Disney. Image via giphy.

Well, Han, what I’m talking about is series of regular book, comic books, an upcoming Disney Plus series, and at least one video game in development set about 200 years before the movies and dealing with the Jedi in their prime and seems so far to be the Disney Star Wars continuity’s equivalent of the previous Old Republic franchise from the mid-2000s or so — which exists in a weird sort of canonical limbo, given that the Old Republic MMO still exists as the last vestige of the pre-Disney Expanded Universe (now officially known as Legends) but seems to exist separately from the rest of the current canon (which is what “Expanded Universe” now refers to).

The project started with Light of the Jedi, which came out in 2020, but which I’ve only started reading a week or so ago.

Without getting into too many spoilers, the conflict the book and overall High Republic story line centres around the Jedi fighting bad guys called the Nihil — whom the actual High Republic writers and marketing people have called “Space Vikings“, but whom I’ve been unable to see as anything other than Mad Max bad guys, but in space — who have found a way to crash ships travelling through hyperspace, thereby showering the galaxy with bits of spaceship going most of the speed of light and thereby becoming very likely to ruin somebody’s day.

It’s actually shockingly grounded in real-life physics for Star Wars, at least insofar as “Chunk of Metal + Going Really, Really Fast = Boom!” is concerned.

The Nihil aren’t quite incongruous enough to feel entirely out of place or ill-fitting in Star Wars but aren’t Evil Wizards like the Sith or Goal-Driven tyrants like the Empire. It’s implied that their leader does have long-term goals and ambitions, but the organisation as a whole mostly just want to blow people up and take their stuff.

All in all, Light of the Jedi not a triumph of literature but I’ve been enjoying it so far. Honestly, I almost teared up a couple times at how heroic and awesome the Jedi Order in its prime is.

Of course, being a prequel to one of (possibly the most) popular series of all time, there’ a certain level of dramatic irony present in people saying things like “Alderaan is lovely this time of year”, which always gets a chuckle out of me.

I mean, yeah, we all know how that turned out…
Star Wars: LucasFilm and Disney. Image via giphy.

On the other hand, as the first entry in a multi-media project with many, many pieces, Light of Jedi feels like it’s mostly setting up the rest of the project without really resolving anything, though the first third of the book is a self-contained, pretty satisfying story arc.

Now, it hasn’t sold me on the rest of the High Republic works that I’m going to seek out very volume of the comics or anything like that, but I’m curious enough that I’ll probably at least read the rest of the books.

Incidentally, if you’re looking for a good Star Wars book, read the novelisation of Revenge of the Sith. It is a masterpiece. It’s one of the best Star Wars books and one of my favourite books period. It’s surprisingly philosophical for a Star Wars book and adds some much-needed and very well-delivered insight into the character’s thoughts and motivations.


Well, there you have it. That’s what I’ve been up to lately. If you want some more recommendations, you can find them here:

And you can find my social media pages and email list here:

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