Sunday, February 5, 2023

Book Review: Assassination Classroom, Vol 6 by Yusei Matsui

 

Assassination Classroom, Vol 6    


Author: Yusei Matsui

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date:  October 6, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Action Adventure Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

Now that his class has learned that one of Koro Sensei’s weaknesses is water, they decide to come up with an assassination plan utilizing that knowledge! While pretending to play around in the new pool he created for them, they’ll throw him into the water. Once he is underneath and helpless, a hidden student will take advantage of his helplessness and stab him. Meg Kataoka is perfect for the job, being a top swimmer, and she is more than up for the challenge! When Meg reveals the reason why, with her good grades, she fell down to Class E, because of a supposed friend, her true friends and Koro Sensei decide to help her break the one-sided co-dependency.

When the pool is unexpectedly trashed, some of the students look toward Terasaka and his friends as the culprits, largely because of his horrible attitude toward school in general and Class 3E in particular. Itona and his assassin/mentor take advantage of Terasaka’s feelings to recruit him for some work for them, namely to help assassinate Koro Sensei. But when their actions endanger the other students and not just Koro Sensei, can Terasaka really go along with the program?

The time has arrived for the Final Exams! As extra incentive, those students who receive first place in a subject in their grade will be allowed to shoot off one of Koro Sensei’s tentacles. Karasuma and Irina warn Principal Asano not to interfere with the tests, and he claims he would never do such a thing. Asano does tell his very intelligent son, who is top of his class, that he expects Class A to defeat Class E. His son says he is sure he can do it, and makes a bet that when he does, his father has to tell him the secret he is hiding about Class E (which would be about Koro Sensei, who is unknown to most of the school, as well as the world). The principal agrees. Than young Asano and his cohorts make their own private bet with Class E, with special stakes.

By now, this class of would-be assassins is beginning to be conflicted. While on the one hand, they are seriously studying to assassinate their teacher and save the world, on the other hand, they like him quite a bit. When the time comes, will they actually be able to follow through? In this volume, we see more of Terasaka, who has been hovering on the edge of the class. But now he is faced with a do or die decision and will hopefully grow in the process. The final exams are going to be real nail-biters, especially given the track records of the other students and their principal. Is it possible there will be no monkey wrenches thrown into the works to sabotage them? Only time will tell.

Good volume, look forward to the next one!

 

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Saturday is Horror Day #99 - Barbarian

 Barbarian


Tess (Georgina Campbell) books a night at an AirBnB for a job interview the following day. Arriving during a storm, she discovers to her dismay that when she uses the code on the lockbox, the key isn't there. That isn't supposed to work that way. Then her irritation turns to confusion when she sees a light inside. Knocking, she discovers that Keith (Bill Skarsgärd) is already there and he too has a reservation for the night. Tess decides to leave but Keith persuades her to stay, and gives her the bedroom. She is wary but doesn't have much of a choice. She goes to her room and closes the door, before going to bed. But in the middle of the night, she awakens, hearing a noise, to find her door open. She confronts the sleeping Keith, who denies all knowledge of the door.




Tess goes to her interview the next day and is shocked to see the neighborhood surrounding the AirBnB consists of decrepit, boarded-up houses. Good thing she isn't staying long. After her interview, she returns to the house but there is no sign of Keith. When the power acts up, she heads to the basement to deal with it, only to accidentally lock herself in when the door closes behind her. And she has left her phone upstairs. Searching for a way out, she stumbles upon a secret room which contains a bed whose mattress is covered in suspicious stains and a camera on a tripod. Who knows what once went on in this place. Spying a door, she opens it to discover what appear to be steps carved into the ground, leading down...




AJ (Justin Long) is a one-time actor whose career was ruined by false accusations from a female co-


star. Determined to get away from it all, he decides to go to one of the properties he owns, which he rents out as an AirBnB. He's confused to find evidence of occupation, since no one is supposed to be there.  But it looks like a couple of people are staying there, although they aren't in evidence. In looking around, he heads down to the basement and is locked in too. Then he too discovers the secret room, which leads to the secret door leading down, down, down... to where? Hearing a cry, he heads down to find out.



To be honest, this is the point where I just gtfo some other way and not down those creepy stairs. But then where would the movie be, right? She does go down the stairs, of course. This movie is not what it first appears to be. And it is pretty creepy. I'll admit I didn't find the ending as disturbing as some might, but I've seen this trope before. It's not something one would readily guess, though. Definitely worth watching, and probably rewatching. I'll give this film 4 Stars.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Wednesday Briefs: Bad Karma and the Family Plan #59 (12.4)

 Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

The long night has finally ended, and now it's time to go to breakfast with Hollywood hunk Troy McGarrett! Ethan's sister is surely in heaven now! See what's going on in this week's chapter of Bad Karma and the Family Plan! Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #59 (12.4)

Call me unobservant, at least where women were concerned, but until that moment, I hadn’t noticed two things about Ethan’s sister. The first was that she was dressed rather nicely for first thing in the morning, at least when compared to how I remembered the way she dressed when she stayed with Ethan and me. The second was that she was wearing more make-up than I’d ever seen her use before. Not that I’m saying she was in full clown mode or anything like that. To be honest, it was minimal but tasteful… and I found myself wondering what Ethan might look like with make-up.

Note to self: Explore that possibility at a later date.

“I’ll get that!” she exclaimed in a chipper voice as she practically raced to the front door before the rest of us had even a ghost of a chance of responding.

Ethan cast a worried glance after her, and I knew what he was thinking. What if it wasn’t a certain actor standing outside? But moments later, our fears proved to be unfounded as Troy and Brendan trailed Sarah into the house. Their arrival was quickly followed by that of Ethan’s parents from upstairs.

The ever-polite Troy and Brendan wished everyone good morning and apologized for arriving so early.

“Nonsense,” Maureen responded. “You are both very welcome in our home. We’re very glad to have you, aren’t we, Joe?”

I glanced curiously toward my future father-in-law—and trust me when I say what a strange notion that was, to become related to the once-sinister minister—to see what his reaction would be. Joseph was at his most charming and seconded his wife’s words.

“I’m the one who should apologize for oversleeping,” Maureen went on, although truth be told it was still early. Barely eight o’clock. “Now, why don’t I put some coffee on? I bet most everyone could use a cup.”

Well, that did go without saying, didn’t it? I knew we were about to go out for breakfast, but even so, you couldn’t have too much of a good thing. Besides, that would give the early morning crowd, assuming there was one, time to thin out before we got there.

“Vinnie and I can do that, Mom,” Ethan volunteered our services. Not that I minded. That would just be some alone time for the two of us. I noticed Troy seemed about to offer to help as well, which would mean Brendan too, of course. But then he took one look at me, and I thought I caught a twinkle in his blue eyes, as if he knew just what I was thinking, and he turned his attention to Sarah instead, to her great delight.

“I’m shocked that Ethan never told me he had such a lovely sister.” I swear he just developed a very Southern accent such as I hadn’t heard since that ill-fated movie. I rolled my eyes and followed Ethan into the kitchen.

Once I was sure we hadn’t been followed, I pulled him to me and kissed him most thoroughly. Let’s just call this the early morning fiancé inspection. Utilizing both lips and tongue, I quickly ascertained that all was well. Better than well, actually—Ethan Thorne was perfect.

“How you holding up, Vinnie?” Ethan was nothing if not solicitous. Always thinking of me first. How could I help but love that man?

“There are worse places we could be,” I said, which produced a raised brow. Oops, open mouth, insert foot. My cheeks heated at my faux pas.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” I immediately apologized. I really hadn’t. Luckily, he knew that too. “I just meant that under the circumstances, we’re pretty lucky to be able to spend time with your family. Well, most of them.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.” Ethan sighed. “Joey has gotten worse, I think. The stress of Heather leaving him must weigh on him. If I was in his shoes, I know I couldn’t bear not being with you. I’m trying to be understanding, but he certainly makes that difficult.”

Wasn’t that the truth?

“You know I’d never leave you, right?” I thought I knew the answer to that question, but I am still a little insecure… Okay, maybe more insecure than I’d like to admit. But hey, I’m getting better. Still, better to ask than to wonder.

“I know that,” he replied, gazing at me with those beautiful blue eyes so intensely I felt my insides begin to melt. Damn, I wished we were alone, but alas, that wasn’t meant to be. At least not anytime soon.

Our moment was interrupted by the entrance of Alex and our pup. It was hard to tell who was chasing who, but they looked as though they were both having fun.

“We better get on to making that coffee.” Ethan winked at me. “To be continued later.”

For now, I had to douse those fires burning inside of me, keep them on smolder. But I knew we’d find a way, and that would be well worth the wait.

 to be continued

Now go see what's up with the other Briefers!

Cia Nordwell


Sunday, January 29, 2023

Film Review: Ip Man 2

 Ip Man 2


Having fled the village of Fo Shan, Ip Man (Donnie Yen) and his family end up in British Hong Kong, where the master plans to open a school to train students. He gets a good deal on a rooftop studio and sets up shop. But no one is coming, and he is finding it hard to make ends meet. To complicate matters, his wife Wing-sing (Lynn Xiong) is pregnant with their second child. Just when things seem bleak indeed, Ip Man begins to acquire students, although they aren't always able to pay the school fees. But at least it's a start.






Trouble soon arrives in the form of the other martial arts masters in Hong Kong, led by Master Hung (Sammo Kam-Bo Hung). They summon Ip Man and lay down their rules. First, he needs to prove himself to them through battle. He has to stand on a table and fight all comers until the incense burns down or until he loses. He accepts the challenge and proves himself.


At this time, the Chinese are very much under the thumb of their imperial masters, the British. Some of 


them are less than respectful... or honorable. A British boxer known as the Twister (Darren Shahlavi) comes to town to participate in an exhibition of Western-style boxing. But the cocky fighter wants to show the Chinese how superior he is to them, and interrupts the display of the various schools to challenge them. It's on! But can the Chinese win, with the odds stacked against them, and the crooked police supporting the British masters?

The second film in the series sees Ip Man and his family relocated to Hong Kong and in much more desperate conditions than the first film. Still, he is determined to provide for his family, at the same time maintaining his principles. There is a casualty from the first film, Ip Man's friend Quan, who was shot in the head by the Japanese and is not the same man. I liked this one as much as the first, great fight scenes, and I love Ip Man's wife, who doesn't want to disturb his focus on this very important match just to let him know she has gone into labor. Look at the end for a small cameo by a little guy who will become the real Ip Man's most famous student! Looking forward to the next film. I'll give this one 4.5 Stars.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Saturday is Horror Day #98 - The Menu

 The Menu


Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) invites Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) to dine at a very exclusive restaurant on a small island. This restaurant is so exclusive that reservations are hard to git, and only so many people can dine that at a time. Margot considers herself lucky... until she learns that she wasn't even Tyler's first choice for dinner companion and her name isn't even on the guest list. Well, she's there now, might as well make the best of it, even if the other diners seem rather hoity-toity to her.





Granted, Tyler and the other diners seem to know a lot more about fine dining than Margot does, and about the chef who is preparing this sumptuous repast for their delight, Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes). The Chef's staff is extremely devoted and very well-trained, including Elsa (Hong Chau), who acts as hostess to the guests.  However, as the meal progresses and the night advances, all is not as it appears to be. And there seems to be some uncertainty as to whether anyone will make it out of there alive...


I've been wanting to see this movie after I watched the first trailer, and I was not disappointed. At first I thought it was a dark comedy, but don't be fooled - this is indeed horror. I thought it was well-written, with a good cast, including John Leguizamo, whom I love. Definitely some familiar faces here. This film pokes fun at the so-called gourmands who think fine dining has to include foams and fancy swoops across the plate, etc. I'll probably see something I missed the next time I watch. I left the film being rather satisfied indeed. I will give it 4.5 Stars.



Thursday, January 26, 2023

Film Review: Curse of the Golden Flower

 Curse of the Golden Flower


All is not well in the Imperial Palace. The Emperor's second wife (Gong Li) is ill with what the Emperor (Chow Yun-Fat) has diagnosed as anemia. For the past ten years, she has been taking prescribed medicine every two hours. But recently, another ingredient has been introduced to her medicine, one that may do her irreparable harm if continued.







Crown Prince Wan (Ye Liu) was born of the Emperor's late first wife. The new Empress has born two sons of her own, Jai (Jay Chou) and Yu (Junjie Qin). However, Wan has been having an affair with the Empress. He is also interested in Chan (Man Li), the daughter of the Imperial Doctor. The Emperor intends to remove Wan as Crown Prince in favor of Jai, little suspecting that his second son wishes to avenge the wrong being done to his mother. But these secrets are just the tip of the iceberg for these imperial family.


This opulent film is set during the Tang Dynasty, a very ostentatious time in Chinese history. A time in which male domination was complete, as can be seen in the way the women in the story are treated, even the Empress. So much deceit, so many lies. This story is a veritable historic soap opera, based on a played called "Thunderstorm". The sets are incredibly beautiful, with a fantastic eye for detail, including but not limited to the sets and costumes. The action is exciting and well choreographed. Altogether a gripping film. I especdially enjoyed seeing Ye Liu as Crown Prince Wan, as I loved him The Chef, the Actor, and the Scoundrel.  I give this film 4.5 Stars.



Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Wednesday Briefs: Bad Karma and the Family Plan #59 (12.4)

  Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

The long night has finally ended, and now it's time to go to breakfast with Hollywood hunk Troy McGarrett! Ethan's sister is surely in heaven now! See what's going on in this week's chapter of Bad Karma and the Family Plan! Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Bad Karma and the Family Plan #59 (12.4)

Call me unobservant, at least where women were concerned, but until that moment, I hadn’t noticed two things about Ethan’s sister. The first was that she was dressed rather nicely for first thing in the morning, at least when compared to how I remembered the way she dressed when she stayed with Ethan and me. The second was that she was wearing more make-up than I’d ever seen her use before. Not that I’m saying she was in full clown mode or anything like that. To be honest, it was minimal but tasteful… and I found myself wondering what Ethan might look like with make-up.

Note to self: Explore that possibility at a later date.

“I’ll get that!” she exclaimed in a chipper voice as she practically raced to the front door before the rest of us had even a ghost of a chance of responding.

Ethan cast a worried glance after her, and I knew what he was thinking. What if it wasn’t a certain actor standing outside? But moments later, our fears proved to be unfounded as Troy and Brendan trailed Sarah into the house. Their arrival was quickly followed by that of Ethan’s parents from upstairs.

The ever-polite Troy and Brendan wished everyone good morning and apologized for arriving so early.

“Nonsense,” Maureen responded. “You are both very welcome in our home. We’re very glad to have you, aren’t we, Joe?”

I glanced curiously toward my future father-in-law—and trust me when I say what a strange notion that was, to become related to the once-sinister minister—to see what his reaction would be. Joseph was at his most charming and seconded his wife’s words.

“I’m the one who should apologize for oversleeping,” Maureen went on, although truth be told it was still early. Barely eight o’clock. “Now, why don’t I put some coffee on? I bet most everyone could use a cup.”

Well, that did go without saying, didn’t it? I knew we were about to go out for breakfast, but even so, you couldn’t have too much of a good thing. Besides, that would give the early morning crowd, assuming there was one, time to thin out before we got there.

“Vinnie and I can do that, Mom,” Ethan volunteered our services. Not that I minded. That would just be some alone time for the two of us. I noticed Troy seemed about to offer to help as well, which would mean Brendan too, of course. But then he took one look at me, and I thought I caught a twinkle in his blue eyes, as if he knew just what I was thinking, and he turned his attention to Sarah instead, to her great delight.

“I’m shocked that Ethan never told me he had such a lovely sister.” I swear he just developed a very Southern accent such as I hadn’t heard since that ill-fated movie. I rolled my eyes and followed Ethan into the kitchen.

Once I was sure we hadn’t been followed, I pulled him to me and kissed him most thoroughly. Let’s just call this the early morning fiancé inspection. Utilizing both lips and tongue, I quickly ascertained that all was well. Better than well, actually—Ethan Thorne was perfect.

“How you holding up, Vinnie?” Ethan was nothing if not solicitous. Always thinking of me first. How could I help but love that man?

“There are worse places we could be,” I said, which produced a raised brow. Oops, open mouth, insert foot. My cheeks heated at my faux pas.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” I immediately apologized. I really hadn’t. Luckily, he knew that too. “I just meant that under the circumstances, we’re pretty lucky to be able to spend time with your family. Well, most of them.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.” Ethan sighed. “Joey has gotten worse, I think. The stress of Heather leaving him must weigh on him. If I was in his shoes, I know I couldn’t bear not being with you. I’m trying to be understanding, but he certainly makes that difficult.”

Wasn’t that the truth?

“You know I’d never leave you, right?” I thought I knew the answer to that question, but I am still a little insecure… Okay, maybe more insecure than I’d like to admit. But hey, I’m getting better. Still, better to ask than to wonder.

“I know that,” he replied, gazing at me with those beautiful blue eyes so intensely I felt my insides begin to melt. Damn, I wished we were alone, but alas, that wasn’t meant to be. At least not anytime soon.

Our moment was interrupted by the entrance of Alex and our pup. It was hard to tell who was chasing who, but they looked as though they were both having fun.

“We better get on to making that coffee.” Ethan winked at me. “To be continued later.”

For now, I had to douse those fires burning inside of me, keep them on smolder. But I knew we’d find a way, and that would be well worth the wait.

 to be continued

Now go see what's up with the other Briefers!

Cia Nordwell