Since yesterday I read the first 5 volumes of this series, and I just can’t stop (I think there’s close to 20 volumes out at this point). I actually did read the first 3 volumes or so a few years ago, but that was all that was out at that point, and then I never got around to reading it again. I decided to start reading it from the start again, and I am completely sucked in. I just love so much about it, even the fact that the setup for the series basically takes an entire volume. I also like how they treat the way people react to this zombie apocalypse – feels more realistic than The Walking Dead, or at least I completely see how people in Japan would react that way. In fact, I think that’s part of the reason that it speaks to me more than Walking Dead, I’m much more familiar with this setting than the US portrayed in Walking Dead – the Tokyo part takes place in the general area where I lived for around 13 years (Ikebukuro), and then Shizuoka, Fuji-san, etc. The setting, the way people act, it just speaks more to me. And I really enjoyed how a few chapters are pretty much told through 2-chan threads, which worked well with the story.
I’ve read the comic series from the very beginning, and only decided to stop reading following the release of last month’s #150 – I’d been growing bored of the series, but I might revisit it later on through trades. As for the TV show, I’ve liked it on and off, but had stopped watching it after the season 5 mid-season break – maybe it’s just that as that was around the time I was moving from Japan, I just didn’t really keep up with it, and wasn’t exactly in a hurry to catch up. I’ve finally gone back to the series recently, picking up where I left off, and I’m really enjoying the episodes I’ve watched so far (I’m now at episode 13 of season 5). My problem with the show is the pacing – I like it when there’s stuff happening, and get bored when there’s no movement. In these episodes I’ve been watching, we’re finally being introduced to a whole new situation/location (the community) and introduced to a lot of new characters. This was an exciting development in the comic as well, so I’m looking forward to seeing where things go.
During last week’s PSN holiday sale I picked up telltale’s Game of Thrones for a steal (as well as Tales of the Borderlands), and started playing episode 2 last night on PS4 (I played episode 1 on iPad when it first released last year). I quite enjoyed the first episode, story-wise, and what I’ve played so far of episode 2 seems to be good as well, but the one thing that bothers me is that I find the game to be ugly. I quite like the comic book esthetic that Telltale has used on The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, but here, the game looks really muddy and dirty, with character models that look like they’ve come out of early Telltale games – which were fine back then, but you expect things to look better now, especially on PS4. I’m sure I’ll continue to play through all of the episodes since I want to experience the story, but I wish they would have used a more interesting look for the game, even if it was just a retread of the Walking Dead model.
One of my most anticipated games this year was Telltale’s take on Game of Thrones, and the other day I played through episode 1 on iPad (I play all Telltale games on iPad, my platform of choice for that type of game). It starts out slow, and at first I wasn’t digging the aesthetics at all, as everything was just coming off as muddy – I much preferred the illustrated/comic aesthetic that Telltale used for The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us (yes, those games are indeed based on comics, but still, no reason they couldn’t continue to use that look). But I eventually came to appreciate it a bit more, and wow, the ending caught me completely by surprise – my jaw literally dropped – which is a very good thing indeed. I always found myself having to make a lot difficult decisions throughout the game, which is also in keeping with the world of GoT. Can’t wait for episode 2.
I finally got around to playing the last 2 episodes of this series this week, both in one sitting, and wow, what a great end to what ended up being my favorite Telltale game so far. The reason I took so long to get to the end is that I think I finally got burnt out a bit on Telltale games earlier this year – up to that point, I’d played every single episode of every single game they’ve released on iOS, as well as a few others. The break did me some good though, and now I’m reading to also go and finish season 2 of The Walking Dead (only played through the first 2 episodes), and I absolutely can’t wait for the Game of Thrones series to start next month.
This was definitely the best and most exciting season opener (for season 5) for The Walking Dead so far. Lots happening, and already we’re headed on a new course. The only thing that bugged me was the moment where the unknowns are getting killed (in the scene pictured above), and then it just “magically” stops just in time. This show so far has been pretty good about not being too obvious about who lives and dies, and also when those deaths will occur, and this scene just felt so standard. But the rest was fun, and that reveal at the end was great too.
The first episode of Season 2 has just come out – thankfully on iOS at the same as all the other platforms this time – and I just played through it in one sitting (as you should). Wow. Just as good as the first season, and it already made me feel extreme sadness (the dog sequence) and made me wince (the suturing sequence). I’ve played through pretty much all of Telltale’s games that have come out over the past few years (Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, Law & Order, Puzzle Agent), and am constantly amazed at how each new release keeps getting better and better. Just makes me that much more excited for next year’s Game of Thrones and Tales From of Borderlands games (on top of the next Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us episodes).
I have a love-hate relationship with The Walking Dead TV series. At times I like it, at times I think it’s boring as shit. But I keep coming back – probably due to my continued love of the comics and the Telltale game – and in the end I’m glad I do. This past weekend I binged through what we have so far of the latest season (8 episodes), and the experience I’ve had in the past with the show continues – I thought the first half was pretty boring (dealing with sickness in the prison), but then when you-know-who showed up, things got incredibly good, and that final episode was absolutely riveting, and sets up a lot of big changes for the second half of the season. I will say that as much as I like seeing the Governor in the show, he’s never lived up to the absolutely terrifying figure that we saw in the comics.
Finally got around to playing the 400 Days DLC for The Walking Dead game (on iPad), and it’s definitely just as good as the rest of the game was. Really liked the fact that I was playing through all these tiny vignettes. Just makes me that much more excited to play the second season, that apparently is launching soon.
Some more interesting musings by Warren Ellis in regards to digital comics, this time using the success of his free-to-read online web comic FREAKANGELS as an example. Now combine this with iPad delivery, and you have a strong case for comic creators making the move to digital-mostly, with maybe the additions of printed collections for those who still prefer their books that way.
In a later post, we also learn that new issues of the Walking Dead comic series — the one that will debut next month on TV as a Frank Darabont-produced series on AMC — are now available for sale on iPad (through the Image Comics and Comixology apps) the same day they show up in shops. This is something I’ve found to be a big problem with digital comic sales — so far you can’t buy the latest issues of a series, which doesn’t make much sense if you want to reach your core comic reading audience. The one downer is that the digital issue is now priced same as in print, $3, versus the $2 they were charging for previous digital issues.