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'Cyberpunk: Edgerunners' Anime Review
Sleek, tragic, and noir
January 25, 2023
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Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is an anime spin-off of the CD Projekt Red video game Cyberpunk 2077. It was produced by the Japanese animation studio Studio Trigger with Netflix releasing all ten episodes in the USA in 2022. The show was directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi. I have a few thoughts. 

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Jacob Airey is an author, nerd writer, vidcast host, movie reviewer, and pop culture critic. He started this website in 2012 where he covers a vast variety of topics including anime, film, music, TV, and faith. He also hosts StudioJake on YouTube where he reviews film, television, anime, books, music, and more!

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An Original Horror Short

My husband told me this would happen. I should have listened to him. We could have saved our marriage, but I decided to end it, all because I was bored.

It all started when I began a romantic relationship with my boss. You see, things between my spouse and I had gotten stale. It was a monotonous routine that had lost all sense of surprise or excitement.
My husband, God bless him, was nothing but enduring. He loved me and I knew it, but after a few years of marriage, I could not find anything thrilling. I realize now that it was selfish, but at the time, I thought everyone else was selfish.

During this time, my new boss stepped into my life. He had a clean-shaven handsome face with sharp black hair, piercing blue eyes, and pearly white teeth that seemed sharp at times. Most of my co-workers on the night shift feared him, but I found him intriguing. Over the months, he saw my interest and began talking to me. That's how it starts... talking.
He was charming, smart, and all his smooth talk made sense in my empty life. Talking soon turned to intimacy. The day I told my confused spouse I was leaving him for another man, he looked downtrodden and dead on the inside. Briefly, I felt some guilt, but when I thought of the excitement my new man brought me, I pushed the guilt out of my head.

My husband warned me about my lover. He had heard rumors of this guy's and his family's supposedly haunted island. It did not matter to me at that point as all I wanted was a few cheap thrills.
No, my husband never cheated on me, so yeah, maybe I was in the wrong. So what? A girl has got to do what a girl has got to do. This new man may have stolen my heart in a literal sense, but it was worth it.

My lover took me away to his family's island. It was so beautiful watching the sunrise on off the small coast of Louisiana. It was a bit hot and humid, but the scenery was amazing. My lover did not seem interested in the sunrise and lowered his blinds.
To my surprise, my lover's family was all there. I did not expect it and I chewed him out over it. He laughed this off and brought it inside the giant Victorian-style mansion. I almost didn't notice the grotesque gargoyle statues that were decorating the exterior of the house.

I could not believe it, but his mother, father, and sister did not seem concerned by the fact that I was a married woman having an affair with their son. In fact, they received me so well, it was almost too perfect.
That first evening, it was magical. He never seemed to sleep, which only added to the thrills I was feeling.
The same night, my lover showed me all of the island, except for a forest area that he said he would show me later. He said it excitedly as if he had a surprise for me. This was enough to pacify me.
The next day, I noticed that all of the blinds blocked out the sun from the interior of the house. When I asked his mother about this, she explained that the sister had a rare skin disease that causes her great pain in the sun. I thought nothing of this, nor about the fact that no one went outside.

That evening, we had so much fun at dinner as the sun began to set. Hearing his family talk about their lives living on the island. Not once did they bring up what their family did or how they made their fortune, they just talked about how the family had immigrated from Europe during Reconstruction.
After dinner, he took me upstairs to his room. This is where everything began to happen so fast. He said he wasn't tired and went into a study in the next room.

I tried, but could not make myself sleep. Images of my husband became intrusive in my mind's eye. The poor man had never wronged me, but my selfishness had wounded him. I tossed and turned before deciding to take a walk to cure the guilt I was feeling.
I gave myself a tour of the house and ended up near the library where I saw my lover's sister playing with something at a small table in front of a blazing fire.

She spotted me and smiled, waving me inside. I found her seated at a desk playing with Tarot cards. I smiled as I walked in, but gasped when I saw what was hanging above the fireplace. It was a family portrait that looked decades old, but the family in it looked just like my lover's. The resemblance was uncanny to everyone in the family. They were standing in front of the house and a date rested there that said, “1666.” The year puzzled me because they had claimed the family came to Louisiana during Reconstruction.

The sister's chuckles brought me back into eye contact. She mentioned that I knew of her skin condition and noted that it came from the family. She continued to do card tricks and I realized how creepy she looked as she moved the Tarot cards. She was dressed in a black corset and a mini-skirt with make-up that made her look paler than she was. Her thick mascara was black and made her eyes look sunken.
She set a card on the table and explained that she had read my future. It was the spider card, meaning creativity was in my future. Next to it, however, I shuddered when I saw the hangman. Would I die creatively?
The sister seemed to laugh at my apprehension.

My lover called me to him from the library entrance and took me by the hand. He told me he wanted to show me the darkened forest since neither of us could sleep. When I protested because it was so late, he took me out anyway as if he did not hear me.
I soon realized how close the forest was to the house and grew nervous as we approached it.
Crossing the boundary, it felt like entering another world. Though dark, it seemed like it was illuminated with a ghostly, unnatural shine.
It was just a forest as far as I could tell and we traveled deep into the woods with him guiding us with a lantern. I never saw him pick it up, it was just there.
We came to a gazebo in the center of the forest that had a bizarre stone table on it.
I inquired about it, but he just handed me a drink of what looked like wine. When I would not drink it, his face twisted, raising his voice to me, demanding I drink it. It was the first time I had seen him be anything, but charming.
Unsure of what to do, I took a sip.

That was the last thing I remember... before waking up tied to the stone table. My arms were spread out, tied at the wrists and ankles to the corners. I was now wearing a white nightgown that reeked of mothballs and dust.
That was when I noticed my lover and his family were surrounding me and for the first time, I saw their fangs.
When I demanded to know what was going on, my lover laughed at me.
When I pleaded for them to release me, the whole family just laughed.
Seeing their crazed expressions, I insisted that this was a joke, vampires were not real.
At that, they all laughed with his father, who had not spoken a word outside of greeting me, saying that anonymity was their greatest weapon.
As a last effort, I screamed that I was no longer a virgin, to which my lover said that “the pure” was so much harder to catch.
They approached me with their fangs drawn and I knew it was over.
I kept hoping my husband would arrive to save me, but he did not, nor could I blame him. He did not know the danger I was in. I had abandoned him for a quick and cheap thrill. As the fangs entered my flesh, I knew no one was coming to my rescue.
That was when a revelation hit me. All of this happened because I was bored.

Image by jordanwarrenart (Instagram)
Image by jordanwarrenart (Instagram)


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'Ace Attorney' Season 2 Anime Review

The second and final season of Ace Attorney was released in 2018 for a total of twenty-three episodes. The Japanese animation studio CloverWorks took over production at this point, though you can barely tell. 

In a flashback, we see how Phoenix Wright (Eric Vale) was framed for a crime by his girlfriend Dahlia Hawthorne (Dani Chambers), but the attorney Mia Faye (Colleen Clinkenbeard) saves him in a court of law. This inspires Phoenix to become a lawyer and work with his late mentor's sister Maya (Lindsay Seidel) along with her cousin Pearl (Alexis Tipton). However, when a murder happens at a sacred shrine, Phoenix is injured, and his old rival Miles Edgeworth (Christopher Wehkamp) arrives to assist. Yet, two prosecutors Franziska Von Karma (Jessica Peterson) and the masked Godot (Brandon Potter) are there to challenge Phoenix and Miles. 

Season one was produced by A-1 Pictures, but you can barely tell. CloverWorks picks up the anime like it always had it and, despite being a commercial for the courtroom video game, it keeps its humor. Perhaps it is because Ayumu Watanabe stayed on the team and he guided it with ease. 

Now, do not look for this show to be a practice in a true legal system. The creator of the video game has acknowledged that it is not based on any country's court but only picks and chooses for whatever makes the game or, in this case, a television show work. 

Godot did not impress me. As the primary prosecutor in this season, I had high expectations, but he did not really live up to his predecessors. The show gave him a tragic backstory that had a connection to Wright, but it did not keep me interested in him. I truly missed Miles and Franziska. The two of them were quirky but had a certain charisma to them that Godot lacked, even as he guzzled down coffee.

That being said, I still enjoyed the season. Wright truly grows and becomes sharper as an attorney and grows closer to his friends. His connection to the Faye family is a bedrock of the series and that makes it a lot of fun, especially with the comedic antics that happen within the courtroom. 

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Creativity Is Not Free

It is amazing to me how many people expect artisans and writers to work for free. It stuns me to the core at times. Because of the flooding market for artwork and writing, thanks to various online avenues, some folks just assume that if they contact an artist or a writer they will work for free because it will help with their “exposure.”

Telling a writer or an artist to work for free because they will get “exposure” is no different than blackmail. Yes, I did just say that out loud. I would say it again. 

I am a writer and I publish my articles on my website because I do love writing and I gladly write for free when it comes to my own projects. That last part does not often sit well with people. 

My wife is a truly amazing and gifted artist. She paints with an eye as I have never seen. She would be approached by people wanting to buy her art. My wife would tell them the price, but the person would insist that she lower the price. At first, my wife would because she wanted her artwork to be known, but she discovered, the more she did it, the more people would ask for it cheaply. One time, a person took a painting promising to pay, but she never did. Recently, she told me she would never lower the price of her art again. I applaud her desire to see her art sell for the price that she sets. 

Likewise, as a freelance writer, I often search for opportunities to write for a publication, whether online or otherwise. That being said, years ago I came across one website that proclaimed it would not pay you for the first three months, but if it liked your articles enough, they might start giving you a commission. At first, I sucked in my gut and prepared to send them something, but then, I thought, “Wait, how do I know they’ll hire me? How do I know if my articles are well received?” I realized they could potentially get three months of free labor out of me and then cut ties with me whether my articles were well received or not. 

Would a marketer go to work for a company that said they expected him or her to work for free? What about a chef at a restaurant? Of course not. Every writer and artisan deserves to get paid for their work, especially if it is read or viewed in a way that moves the purchaser. No longer can a writer or artist be forced to work for free under the guise of “exposure.” We must recognize who is a good writer or artisan and give them their due.


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