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New And Wild Ways To Interact With Your Favourite Franchises

There’s no reason to just ‘watch’ big blockbuster films anymore. Nowadays that’s just the first step. Since so many of them started as comic books, or are based on epic stories from the past, it makes sense that the big-screen stories are just the way you get into the story by relaxing and watching the experience unfold in front of you. But that’s seeming a bit old fashioned, so it’s time to expand. There are so many cool ways to interact with your favourite franchises that you might not have even heard of.

Any 'Star Wars' fan knows the canon has changed over the years. With 'The Clone Wars' coming back for season 7, it's messed with 'Revenge of the Sith'.

Get Your Game On!

Games based on movies – everything from Stars Wars to Disney films like Aladdin – have been around for decades, but now they are finally the love and care that they deserve. Of course, they run the whole gamut from big blockbuster releases like Star Wars: Fallen Order, to crazy weird fan-made stuff that falls into the category of free sex games. You can go on wild adventures playing as your favourite characters, or step into a wider universe and play as original characters who interact with everyone from Darth Vader to Iron Man (not in the same game though! Let’s make that clear right away!).

In fact, with Iron Man VR recently debuting, it’s fair to say that a merging between the passive watching of movies and the interactivity of games is only going to increase even more in the future. Sure, more people can enjoy a film because all you have to do is sit back and watch, but to big fans, stepping into their favourite fantasy world is too tempting to resist. Right now VR headsets and the tech you need to enjoy them are pretty expensive, but the future is definitely bright. What cooler way to vibe with your favourite franchises?

Fan Fiction Factories

Why should only a small group of producers, writers, and executives have a say over a story that you dearly love? When you go and visit online repositories of millions of stories based on well know characters you will come to appreciate just how popular these pop culture epics are.

And with you in the driver’s seat, the story can unfold exactly how you want it to. And please keep in mind that this is definitely a community and a positive one at that. You can get constructive feedback to your story, and maybe even incorporate some ideas which people that like it give you. In this way, it’s never just you who is writing these stories, but everyone who is enjoying them. All of this makes the content seem that much more important and ‘canon’ (which admittedly, it isn’t). Using this sort of support and criticism might turn you into a better writer as well.

The San Diego Comic-Con is gone for another year, but we’re basking in its multi-genre glory. Our trip to the event as an SDCC cosplayer was memorable.

The San Diego Comic-Con is gone for another year, but we’re basking in its multi-genre glory. Our trip to the event as an SDCC cosplayer was memorable.

Getting Into Character…Literally

Fan conventions have just been growing and growing as Star Wars, Marvel and every other pop-fi franchise you can imagine become a bigger part of our collective culture. And there’s no better way to celebrate this than taking attending these events to the next level: Dressing up as your favourite characters. This can be from a quickly and funny costume you put together with things from around your house, or something professionally planned and made months in advance for the event you are planning to attend. Some people have even found ways to make a living out of it!

Of course, there is plenty to consider, especially the feasibility and comfort of the costume. It’s great that you are a huge Chewbacca fan, but that’s a hell of a lot of fur and masks to deal with. Heck, even if you think you just have to wear a robe and suddenly you’re Harry Potter, wands don’t come cheap and make sure that lightning bolt scar on your forehead looks legit. 

The next step in their world of cosplay after conventions (where you might be ‘in character’ for a bit of time when someone might want a photo) is LARP events. LARP stands for ‘Live-Action RolePlay’, and it involves several people getting together and staying in character for the entire event, which might be days.

'Death Note' follows a high school student who comes across a supernatural notebook that kills anyone whose name gets written into it.

‘Death Note’ follows a high school student who comes across a supernatural notebook that kills anyone whose name gets written into it.

Anime 101: It’s About Time You Learned

If you haven’t checked out at least one bit of Japanese animation (known as ‘anime’) over the last few decades, then you are are in a pretty exclusive club…but for all the wrong reasons, because there’s a lot more to it than just giant robots fighting aliens (but you won’t have to look hard to find that, either). And in case you’ve looked a bit like an idiot when people ask you about your favourite movies or series, we’re here to give you a quick primer.

It (Usually) Starts With a Comic Book

In Japan, comics books are referred to as manga, and like comic books, they were extremely popular with the youth in the mid-twentieth century, to the point where by the eighties and nineties, the biggest ones eventually had tv and movie equivalents. In fact, some of the biggest Magna/anime titles became massive merchandising hits as well and even branched out into other media, including some rather naughty sex games with beautiful girls. The style of this animation – big eyes, expressive faces that get cartoon-like, and long slim bodies that typically ended up in a wild uniform – even inspired plenty of western animation as well.

Superior Sci-Fi

While the sixties era TV series Astro Boy might have been the first crossover hit, it wasn’t until 1988, with the release of the film Akira (which yes, was originally a manga)

that the world truly woke up to the brilliance of anime. People still fawn over it today, since it tells a mind-blowing cyber-punk story involving a

motorcycle gang in New-Tokyo accidentally getting involved with a terrorist group fighting against the military. Throw in some creepy science experiments and telepathic

warfare, and you have a cyberpunk masterpiece that’s just as gripping and shocking

today. It took a while for Akira to make an impact in North America and Europe, but it happened much quicker for 1995’s ‘Ghost in the Shell’. Asking plenty of philosophical questions about what it means to be a human (or a machine), it does an amazing job balancing a reflective drama about the ethics of being a government assassin and the action scenes that obviously will come with being a government assassin. In fact, if there was one vehicle I could own from any film franchise, it would be the spider tank.

Sailor Moon and the Power of the TV Series

In between the two films mentioned above, a little show about a whiny Tokyo high school student who had a secret life debuted in Japan, and then later around the world. And it changed everything. Sailor Moon ran the premise of fighting near-identical monsters in each episode into the ground, but it didn’t matter much, because it had plenty of heart, had some catchy music, and ten-year-olds the world over had their parents spent tons on merchandise. Plenty of other series – from Dragonball to Pokemon – would follow Sailor Moon’s success.


A Word on Studio Ghibli

While it’s easy to talk about individual films and their directors and writers, there is one Japanese animated studio where the name alone has all the artistic weight and respect: Studio Ghibli, which is the outlet primarily for Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, who went back and forth on projects that have ultimately become adored and critically acclaimed the world over. While embracing the fantasy elements seen in plenty of other anime, these films typically eschew traditional narrative beats, and rarely cast an obvious antagonist. There are many ways to analyze these films, and if you don’t want to bother with that, don’t worry, because, Spirited Away might just be the best-animated film ever, period.</a> At the same time, you owe it to yourself to watch the gleeful fun that is My Neighbour Totoro, as well as the intense and mesmerizing pro-environmental Princess Mononoke.


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