TOP FIVE: How to Turn Your Children into Weebs While Also Giving Them an Education (or 5 Edutainment Anime to Show Your Kids )

Dear The Millennial Weeb Generation,

The year is 2021 and long gone are the days when we had to hide our generic Naruto-nin headbands and plethora of body pillows. No longer do we feel pressured to sheepishly private a playlist of our favorite fan amvs, nor must we steal away from judgmental eyes to the school bathroom during lunch hour to read the latest issue of Shonen Jump. The continued globalization of pop culture over the last ten years has done wonders for us weeaboos. Anime has more and more become a commonplace leisure activity…it has become accepted and, dare I say, even prized and cherished in this new world order. No longer will we be so casually stereotyped as junk-eating freeloaders lurking in the dark of our mother’s basement. Gone are the dark days of our ostracization. We may now step into the light, openly in our multicolored wigs and gothic Lolita dresses. 

…Congratulations, fam. We have come a long way. We have made it to the promised land. 

All jokes aside, this wide acceptance of anime as an entertainment and art form by the general public has been years in the making, and it will only continue to grow exponentially with time. Chances are, by the time y’all younger millennials and teeny-bopper gen Z-ers finally have kids (or if you already have kids), they will have significantly more anime and or western cartoons heavily inspired by anime at their fingertips. The market is going to be oversaturated, yo! And not all of it will be good content. That’s why it is important we don’t forget the landmarks of our time. You can bet I’ll be showing my kids all the anime classics.

But also, I want my kids to have a proper education (it’ll makes me feel less guilty about letting my kids watch TV all day, ahaha). And so, without further ado: my current list (soon to be growing) and breakdown of the best edutainment anime classics to show your weeaboo children!

1. This one is a no brainer: Cells at Work!

Subject (aka Synopsis): “Inside the human body, roughly 37.2 trillion cells work energetically 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Fresh out of training, the cheerful and somewhat airheaded Sekkekkyuu AE3803 is ready to take on the ever-so-important task of transporting oxygen. As usual, Hakkekkyuu U-1146 is hard at work patrolling and eliminating foreign bacteria seeking to make the body their new lair. Elsewhere, little platelets are lining up for a new construction project.

Dealing with wounds and allergies, getting lost on the way to the lungs, and bickering with similar cell types, the daily lives of cells are always hectic as they work together to keep the body healthy![Description via myanimelist.net]

Report Card (aka My opinion): I mean, the name really just says it all. This is basically the anime version of Osmosis Jones, except rather than a buddy-cop vibe, its tone exudes that of a comedic slice of life. Our cast of characters consists of a crew of cells, all cleverly athropomophosized to look aesthetically pleasing AF. Seriously. Check out how cute this platelets are:

But this show isn’t just pleasing to the eyeballs. It’s also incredibly informative, presenting facts about the cells in our body in a way that is both entertaining and easily digestible. Every episode features a different scenario revolving around a conflict in the body — sometimes several at once. Each storyline represents an event that triggers the body’s autoregulated immune system. For instance, when it’s under attack from invading bacteria, the white blood cell and killer T cell characters arrive on the scene to exterminate them; or when outside forces like fever or heat stroke threatens the body’s homeostasis, the cells in charge of the sweat gland send sweat missiles into the air (an allusion to our bodies “sweating bullets”). In addition, the show’s narrator explains what is happening on a scientific level all throughout the action. This show really does do a fabulous job depicting the different cells’ functions!

Grade Level (MPAA Rating): I give this show a PG rating. There are regular depictions of heavy combat in this show, e.g. white blood cells chopping down bacteria, but it’s honestly fineee. It’s meant to be comedic, not scary! So y’all are good to show this to your kids and future kids, people. Oh, but make sure you’re watching Cells at Work and not its weird cousin Cells at Work: CODE BLACK. That…that’s the much, much more violent spin-off…

2. Holy moly — Heaven’s Design Team?!

Subject: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He also sought after a wide variety of animals to populate the planet. However, he felt that it was too tiresome to think of new ideas within his criteria. To address this problem, God appointed an organization—the Heaven’s Design Team—to do the work instead!

Shimoda is a newly-hired angel who serves as the mediator between God and the design team. As he steps into his role, he witnesses his coworkers conceive interesting ideas for many unique life forms according to God’s desires. From giraffes and snakes to birds, anteaters, and everything in between, the possibilities for different animal species are endless!” [Description via myanimelist.net]

My Opinion: All right, y’all — I cannot express enough how much I love this little gem of a show. Seriously, I’ve already written an entire article dedicated to all the reasons why “You Need To Watch Heaven’s Design Team”. Now here I am, back again to shove this show down y’alls’ throats. All the reasons for watching Heaven’s Design Team go far beyond its educational value — read my previous piece to find out just why— but for the purposes of this list, I will stick strictly to its edutainment qualities.
This show can largely be summed up as a graphic design meets National Geographic gag comedy. The episodes follow the general formula of God assigning the designers an animal prompt and the designers scrambling to fulfill it. Through this process, we are able to see how the, often completely illogical seeming, combination of animal traits proposed by God actually comes to life — through SCIENCE! This anime presents in-depth explanations of the strange intricacies of animal biology by showing us the multiple stages of the design process. With every failed and successful prototype of a new animal, we discover how each feature (such as wings or horns or webbed feet) contributes to a species’ survival. We also learn, through the designers’ failed concepts, why certain features are less evolutionarily successful and why the actualization of certain mythological creatures, such as unicorns, just wouldn’t work! There’s also an informational section of the episode that provides real life pictures and more detailed introductions of the animals’ qualities. 

Grade Level: With a rating of G, general audiences are all welcome here. This is the perfect show to watch with your kids. The humor can be enjoyed by humans of all ages — which means your kids can easily understand what is going on and you can supervise without feeling trapped in a kiddy snoozefest! Have fun laughing at all the unexpected crazy traits of these animals, folks — it’s gonna be one w i l d ride. 😉

3. YEEHAW! Buckle up, Cowboy — it’s Golden Kamuy:

Subject: “In early 1900s Hokkaido after the Russo-Japanese war, Saichi Sugimoto tirelessly pans for gold. Nicknamed “Sugimoto the Immortal” for his death-defying acts in battle, the ex-soldier seeks fortune in order to fulfill a promise made to his best friend before he was killed in action: to support his family, especially his widow who needs treatment overseas for her deteriorating eyesight. One day, a drunken companion tells Sugimoto the tale of a man who murdered a group of Ainu and stole a fortune in gold. Before his arrest by the police, he hid the gold somewhere in Hokkaido. The only clue to its location is the coded map he tattooed on the bodies of his cellmates in exchange for a share of the treasure, should they manage to escape and find it.

Sugimoto does not think much of the tale until he discovers the drunken man’s corpse bearing the same tattoos described in the story. But before he can collect his thoughts, a grizzly bear—the cause of the man’s demise—approaches Sugimoto, intent on finishing her meal. He is saved by a young Ainu girl named Asirpa, whose father happened to be one of the murdered Ainu. With Asirpa’s hunting skills and Sugimoto’s survival instincts, the pair agree to join forces and find the hidden treasure—one to get back what was rightfully her people’s, and the other to fulfill his friend’s dying wish.” [Description via myanimelist.net ]

Report Card: This THE historical anime of all historical animes! The anime’s creator, Satoru Noda, does an amazing job of making his story historically accurate. Okay, so technically, this is a work of historical fiction, but it does feature characters based on real figures in Japanese history who play pretty big roles in the show’s plot. While education isn’t the anime’s main objective, its portrayal of Japan’s Meiji Era, the era it is set it, is incredibly informative. From the depictions of the character’s clothing, to the characters’ weapons, to the battlegrounds and other landmark locations, this show is seeped in the richness of its setting. It’s also a landmine of information regarding the Ainu, an ethnic minority group of Eastern Asia who are indigenous to northern Japan’s area of Hokkaido. Soda pays special attention to the Ainu, intricateily showing and explaining the people’s culture, such as their attires, their cooking and hunting methods, and their ancestral and marriage customs. While there are plenty of anime out there that celebrate the history of Japanese heritage as well as European heritage, it isn’t usual that we can engage with a story that centers around a minority group, much less one that is so culturally sensitive and expansive. It’s so invigorating getting to broaden your cultural knowledge while watching such a captivating story!

Grade Level: I’m gonna say PG-13, recommending Teens and up to be safe (or recommended parental guidance). This ain’t the anime for the younglings. There’s some adult humor (aka gratuitous usage of the word ‘penis’), depictions of violence, as well as discussions of physical torture, such as skinning (which is pretty dang important to the plot, so it’s not like you can avoid it). Buuuut, it’s still an awesome story with awesome characters. If your kid isn’t easily perturbed, then this one is a go! Better yet, adults should watch it with them and get edu-ma-cated. 

4. Here’s a throwback for sure…Hetalia Axis Powers:

Subject: “What if nations were people? What traits would they have? What would this mean for historical events?

Hetalia Axis Powers takes these questions and runs with them, personifying countries into characters. The show takes a comedic and light approach to politics and historical events while educating the viewer.

Taking place primarily during the events of World War I and World War II, the story focuses on the Axis Powers and occasionally throws the spotlight onto the tumultuous relationship between the Allied Forces. The Axis Powers feature the titular character North Italy, who is clumsy, carefree and loves pasta; Germany, who is very serious but easily flustered; and Japan, who is stoic but has bizarre interests.

Based on Hidekaz Himaruya’s widely popular webcomic turned print manga, Hetalia Axis Powers is a historical comedy that pokes lightly at culture, examines the relationships between nations and breathes fun into history.” [Description via myanimelist.net]

Report Card: Wow. It’s been a while since anyone has mentioned this show. In part, it’s because it came out a whole freaking decade ago. As for the other reason…well, the general public has criticized its humor for aging poorly. This is in part due to its culturally stereotypical portrayals of each personified country and its depiction of LGBTQ+ characters. So why is this title still on my list of recommended edutainment if it’s been facing all this retrospective backlash, you might ask? Before I go into that, it’s important that we get something straight regarding the accusations hurled against this anime. First of all, this show. Is. A. Satire! Every country is personified in an oversimplistic and stereotypical manner because to poke fun at World War II politics. The countries are larger than life; they aren’t supposed to be realistic, nor are they supposed to be representative of their peoples. The characters are over exaggerated to highlight the childishly convoluted relations between countries. It’s a spoof comedy about world politics! It’s not meant to be taken seriously! No one country gets special treatment. They are ALL caricatures on purpose, because caricatures are funny and satirical. As for the show’s depiction of queerness, a majority of the characters are either queer or coded as such. Sure, one could argue all day that using queer characters in a weird spoof comedy is a case of problematic humor. However, that once again misses the show’s intention: to satirically portray the relations of countries in the context of WWII (in addition to other historical events). The character’s queerness is largely incidental to the humor and the show. The slapstick comedy is funny because it is bawdy, sarcastic, and inconceivable, not because the characters are queer. Additionally, there are plenty of poignant moments between characters. It’s not always one big joke. The queer characters who are in love are portrayed to genuinely care for each other. The show may be comedic in tone, but it doesn’t mean that all the relationships are a farce.
Ok. Long rant aside, let me be startlingly clear: I didn’t learn a single thing from this show. That being said, however, Hetalia is still the sole reason I was able to pass middle school history. Look, this anime is not incredibly informative. As I previously stated, it is meant to be a spoof. However, while watching this show in addition to studying for my world history classes, my memory for historical events greatly improved. By picturing the personified countries in my head, I was able to remember which countries had roles in each world event much more easily. Sometimes, there would be an episode that tied directly into what that I was learning about! My recall ability was aided even more through humor. Pro tip: laughter and fun times helps retention. Huh. Who knew?

Grade Level: Teen and up recommended due to humor and hijinks. If you read my rant, well… you get it. The humor can be quite raunchy at times and if you’re young and don’t know any better, the satirical stereotypes could be misconstrued.

5. Growing up is hard…Koe no Katachi:

Subject: “As a wild youth, elementary school student Shouya Ishida sought to beat boredom in the cruelest ways. When the deaf Shouko Nishimiya transfers into his class, Shouya and the rest of his class thoughtlessly bully her for fun. However, when her mother notifies the school, he is singled out and blamed for everything done to her. With Shouko transferring out of the school, Shouya is left at the mercy of his classmates. He is heartlessly ostracized all throughout elementary and middle school, while teachers turn a blind eye.

Now in his third year of high school, Shouya is still plagued by his wrongdoings as a young boy. Sincerely regretting his past actions, he sets out on a journey of redemption: to meet Shouko once more and make amends.

Koe no Katachi tells the heartwarming tale of Shouya’s reunion with Shouko and his honest attempts to redeem himself, all while being continually haunted by the shadows of his past.” [Description via by myanimelist.net]

Report Card: Ok, so its technically not a show, it’s an animated film. It’s also not your typical edutainment title, but I swear I can explain! This story is mainly a character study of Shouya and Shoko as well as an exploration of their relationships. While this film doesn’t necessarily teach your typical school subject matter, there’s so much we can extrapolate from their journeys and apply to our own lives. This is especially true and important for children or teens coming of age. The film deals heavily with the relatable subject matter of bullying, showing characters on all sides of the situation. I’m willing to bet that all of us, at some point in our childhood, have witnessed or experienced some type of bullying, whether we were the frightened bystander, the helpless victim, or the misguided aggressor. It’s a realistic and nuanced portrayal of the lasting repercussions of bullying that can carry long past childhood, some of which can be rather dark such as depression and suicidal thoughts. Despite the discussion of heavy topics, this movie ultimately sends a message of hope for emotional healing and forgiveness. It reminds us that people can change if they genuinely work at it. It’s also just a general lesson to actively combat bullying when you see it happening — in a way that also doesn’t destroy the bully’s life, of course! Think of this film as investment in your child’s interpersonal skills. I guarantee it will remind them to treat people with kindness and be more conscientious of other’s feelings. I mean, what more could you want for your kid as you send them off to school?

P.S. I also recommend reading the manga it’s based off. It’s a short read of seven total volumes total. Some details are more fleshed out, there’s an epilogue, and I feel like story is really well suited to the pacing of comic panels.

Grade Level: This show does deal with some heavy topics, but it is a coming of age story and extremely relevant to a kid’s school life. That being said, I will rate this a hard PG to soft PG-13 with an additional trigger warning. I also suggest you watch this with your kid (or at least be on standby), so you can provide emotional support if anything triggers them.

All righty, that’s it for this time, folks! Make sure to follow for my next roundup of edutainment anime 🙂

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Need coverage? Please send an email to allagesofhr@gmail.com.

T. Wu is a contributing writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow T. on Instagram @kata_the_clown.

An Interview with The Judgmental Critter

For those who may not know you, who is The Judgmental Critter?

I am a reviewer on YouTube! My passion is to critique animated shows and RWBY is usually the show I like to discuss the most!

Why do you enjoy discussing RWBY?

I don’t know what it is, but I absolutely love the show. I think the world is fun, the characters are unique and enjoyable! I just found myself constantly thinking about the story progression and the evolution of the characters and the story. So I got to the point where I thought “what if I start trying to better articulate my thoughts about the show?”

What is some parts of creating your videos that an ordinary viewer may not think about?

Definitely the editing. I don’t think most people realize how much effort it takes to edit a video together. I can have a little picture float across the screen with a silly sound effect to go with it, and people won’t realize that could take me up to an hour to do. Editors really are unsung hero’s.

Looking at your videos, you redesigned Blake. What character in RWBY do you think has the best design and why?

Ah! It’s so hard to narrow down! But I’m going to say Jaune has the best design. It conveys important aspects of his character. The regular jeans and hoodies awkwardly bunched up underneath the blocky, mismatched colors of his white armor tells us loud and clear that this set of armor wasn’t made for him. It’s his grandfathers’ hand-me-downs along with his sword and shield. But the really fun part about his design is how he evolves to fit his armor better over the years! He slowly starts to get better fitting clothes, his armor gets redesigned to be a bit more stylish. It portrays his character growth amazingly watching his design develop to show how he’s grown as a huntsman.

What would you tell someone who wanted advice in creating their own videos?

Don’t be discouraged by having cheaper equipment! I see a lot of people asking creators “what editing software do you use?” Or “what mic do you use?” It’s important to remember you don’t NEED those expensive fancy things to make videos. I still use MS paint and Gimp to make my videos because they’re free! You don’t need to try and mimic what other people are doing, you can make great content with whatever you can get!

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Anime Movie Trailer: Beauty of Mamoru Hosada’s BELLE Lives Up to Its Name

The Belle of the Ball

Buckle up animation geeks, creative genius Momoru Hosada’s next film Ryu to Sobakasu no Hime (“The Dragon and the Freckled Princess”), or simply Belle, is just around the corner! First announced in December 2020, Hosada’s Studio Chizu has officially set its to release to July of 2021.

Belle marks Hosada’s ninth project and follows the protagonist Suzu as she traverses between reality and a virtual world called ‘U’. Suzu is a 17-year old high school girl who lives with her father in the rural town of Kochi as Japan’s countryside population continues to decrease. Seeking comfort and direction after the loss of her mother, Suzu finds and enters an online world called ‘U’, where she becomes her avatar “Belle,” a famous singer in this alternate reality. As Belle increasingly becomes the center of attention, a mysterious and infamous dragon-like creature appears before her. Amidst the ever blurring boundaries between reality and the virtual, the two of them must embark upon a courageous journey of challenges, discovering love, friendship, and perhaps who they truly are along the way.

via [ YouTube]

Mamoru Hosada and His Belle

Hosada’s previous work, Mirai, which premiered internationally at the Cannes’ Directors Fortnight in 2018, garnered an overwhelmingly successful reception and was nominated for both the Golden Globes and Academy Awards. The film went on to win the 46th annual Annie Award for “Best Animation of the Year.” 

Hosada is not by any means new to this degree of positive reception. His worldwide recognition had been amassing long before the success of Mirai, winning over many an animation fan’s hearts and staunch support with his prolific storytelling. The most notable of his past work includes The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children, and The Boy and the Beast. Known for their deeply emotional and thought-provoking narratives, Hosoda’s stories have a penchant for drawing extraordinary experiences from seemingly ordinary characters living worlds touched by hints of fantasy. From the first looks of Belle, it certainly looks like Director Hosada aims to continue that trend.

In his official statement released by Studio Chizu, Hodsada said “BELLE is the movie that I have always wanted to create, and I am only able to make this film a reality because of the culmination of my past works. I explore romance, action, and suspense on the one hand, and deeper themes such as life and death on the other. I expect this to be a big entertainment spectacle.

“I have directed films in the past, exploring the implications of the Internet and how our younger generations will transform the world with their own amusement. At the same time, the Internet has a more negative side to it, where people slander others without a second thought, filling it with misinformation. In spite of this, I believe that it is marvel that will expand the possibilities of humanity. I wanted to depict this massive shift in our relationship with the Internet in a way that would pave a path towards our future.

“The unprecedented events of last year have accelerated the paradigm shift in our online interactions with one another, be it the workplace or our personal lives. As this era continues to change, unbound from the shackles of yesterday’s common sense, capturing this global phenomenon felt like an inevitability.

“Yet, the things that we must cherish, largely remain the same. Legacies we have inherited from generations past will continue to exist and adapt to the new age and new tools that will now shape it. This shift is more apparent than it has ever been because of the era in which we currently live.

“I hope you can enjoy our world that is now evolving at the speed of light while savoring those things that really matter to us, in this film.”

Studio Chizu has assembled an impressive team of Japanese and international creatives for crafting Belle’s stunning visuals. Among the long list of creatives working alongside Dir. Hosada is Jin Kim, the artist who designed characters in some of Disney’s most iconic features such as Frozen, Big Hero 6, and Tangled. Both artists have greatly admired each other’s work for a long time from afar — and it’s no wonder why! They have great taste; each artist’s respective style is stunning.  Belle marks the first of, hopefully, many more collaborations to come. Another creative who joined the project is Eric Wong, a visionary architect-designer from Britain, who constructed the 3D landscape of ‘U’, conceptualizing from Hosada’s original design. Ross Stewart and Tomm Moore, big-time animators of the Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon, are involved as well. They are known for creating The Secret of the Knells, the Oscar-nominated feature Song of the Sea, and this year’s Oscar nominee Wolfwalkers. For anyone who has seen any of the aforementioned movies, you will know that their animation style is distinctly enchanting and incredibly different from Hosada’s. It is incredibly exciting to imagine how this will all mix together. An international collaboration of this scale makes Japanese animation history as the first of its kind. The amalgamation of all these different styles, I can imagine, could dramatically alter the course of Japanese animation to come!

My Thoughts On the Trailer:

First off, I cannot express how excited I am for this movie to drop. The trailer is absolutely stunning with its visuals — from its color palette to the mixture of 3D and 2D animation, to the shifting of art styles as we move between realities. It gives us a glimpse of how each creators’ distinctive style will look meshed together.

The contrast between Suzu and Belle is striking and translates well to the screen, creating a rift between how one wishes to appear and how one actually appears to the world. While Suzu and her classmates in the real world largely reflect Hosada’s more simple design, Belle shines with Jin Kim’s iconic Disney flair. Suzu looks like your average girl with brown eyes, brown hair falling below chin length, and light freckles dusting her face. Belle, on the other hand, is ethereal: her eyes are unrealistically huge and crystal blue, her luscious pink hair flows down to her legs, and even her freckles form the most beautiful and intricate patterns on her face. She truly looks like a princess.

The world in which the two exist are drastically different too. We see glimpses of the idyllic countryside as Suzu ambles through her rural town: clear waters sparkling under the setting sun, to the monolithic clouds floating against the devastatingly blue skies, to the sweeping empty fields passing outside a moving train. The natural landscapes are dense and full of vibrant detail, a stark contrast to the landscape of ‘U’. Virtual reality looks to be composed of block-like skyscrapers resembling the green and gold chips one would see inside a computer’s motherboard. While it seems to be full of geometric complexity, the world simultaneously feels hollow as well. It looks one-dimensional in comparison to the vivid images of the countryside. It is interesting to see the juxtaposition between Hosada’s simpler-looking Suzu living in a more intricate-looking world, and Jin Kim’s extravagantly detailed Belle existing in a more empty looking world. I’m excited to see how Hosoda synthesizes these visual elements throughout the movie in relation to the plot and more importantly the film’s theme.

What captured my attention the most, however, was the song featured in the extended trailer. With Belle set to be a famous singer of ‘U’, I’m willing to bet that the music will play a big role in the film. The trailer’s evocative song paired with its astounding visuals was genuinely enough to move me to tears — even without a clue of what was going on! If the music in the trailer is reflective of the soundtrack to come, then I’ll be prepared to cry at multiple points throughout this movie!

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Need coverage? Please send an email to allagesofhr@gmail.com.

T. Wu is a contributing writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow T. on Instagram @kata_the_clown.

Winter Anime Wrap Up: You Need to Watch Heaven’s Design Team

Have you been desperate for a rush of endorphins to lift your zombie brain out of its quarantine haze? Perchance you’ve been craving a sprinkling of some good ole’ wonky Japanese humor to break up your monotonous life? Or maybe you are a disgruntled employee in need of reprieve from dealing with the all-too-vague demands of your stress inducing higher-ups? Or perhaps you are a wildlife enthusiast who loves looking at cute cuddly animals…as well as slimy ones… and scaly ones…and even downright creepy ones?

Listen, if any of the aforementioned qualities even slightly applies to you (honestly, even if they’re completely irrelevant it doesn’t matter ) you need to watch Heaven’s Design Team. Oh, goodness, for the the love of Kami-sama and all things holy, please do yourself a favor and watch this lovely show if you haven’t already!

To give you all a little background, the anime is based on a manga of the same name written by Hebi-Zou and Tsuta Suzuki and illustrated by Tarako.

The story’s premise revolves around a team of ethereal creatives known as Heaven’s Design Team. God, too tired from building an entire world by himself to make its inhabitants, outsources the design of the animal kingdom to an eclectic group of designers. Shimoda, the angel assigned to oversee the designers’ enterprises (and our designated audience surrogate), relays God’s often vague yet specific descriptions to the designers. Hijinks and shenanigans ensue as Shimoda attempts to help (though more often than not, he just ends up standing by dumbstruck) as the designers scramble to actualize a functional design that meets God’s outlandish descriptions.

Last night, high on the laughters from watching this season’s finale, I compiled a shortlist of all the fantastic reasons why you need to start watching this show — right now:

9. Easy-breezy Episodic Episodes

You know how sometimes you just need the kind of show where the plots are by and large wrapped up within the span of one episode? The storylines of Heaven’s Design Team are what one could call “inconsequential” — the conflicts of the story do not carry over into multiple episode encompassing arcs, nor do they have long enduring consequences on the characters’ psyche. Instead, they are pretty easily resolved despite how complex they seem to be initially. Seriously, the tension is borderline nonexistent that it’s almost farcical… which is exactly what makes this show so fantastic!! We all need a feel good piece once in a while, and oh, does Heaven’s Design Team deliver! You’re able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the wild antics and even wilder ideas of the designers scrambling to fulfill one order after another. 

8. The art style and animation

Wow, wow, WOW! The animation in this show can be summarized simply by three words: bold, bright, and beautiful. The characters are drawn in a style of lineart that’s noticeably thicker than your typical anime, giving them a distinctive, more cartoon-like quality that just pops right off the screen! Coupled with the heavenly (pun entirely intended)backgrounds and vibrant color schemes, you get this gorgeous amalgamation of images that one would expect to cause sensory overload. But actually? It’s really soothing — like taking a hypnotic stroll through a candy store. 

7. Charming Cast of Characters

So the reason why this show is so adorably funny? It’s not only due to the humor and the animation style. The cast is quirky and charming — and what a diverse bunch they are! The characters all have their own quirky traits that make them distinctive from one other, whilst also complementing each other when put into a group. And seriously, watching these characters collaborate and compete with their designs is what makes this show so fun to watch! There is no dynamic duo situation; you end up enjoying the unique interactions and rapport between all the different character combinations. 

6. R-r-r-r-representation?! 

This show already subverts gender expectations by creating a well-balanced, gender-norm defying cast, but it goes the extra step in including a transgender character. One of the designers, Venus-chan, happens to be a trans-woman. The show never goes out of its way to outright state it, as it is incidental to the show, but it does highlight it through the clothes she wears and the pronouns with which the other characters address her. It’s just… lovely that there is this open, unquestioned acceptance of her identity. There is never a moment of othering when it feels as if it needs to be justified or explained ad infinitum; her gender expression doesn’t define her character. Honestly, I feel like I’m doing the show a disservice here by even mentioning this tidbit, but it’s truly a wonderful thing to watch a character simply exist as they are. 

5. Productive Edutainment! 

If you ever needed justification for watching anime, here is one! There’s hardly ever a moment you’re not learning something new from this show. The designers dive deep into the biology of real life animals, providing detailed explanations of why they are structured the way they are, illustrating how certain traits benefit their survival and how other traits impede it. They also break down the illogicality of mythological creatures like unicorns and dragons…with SCIENCE! Oh and in addition, all of this information gets presented in a demonstration of the designing process, featuring concepts such as prototyping and testing!

4. The animals UwU…But also…the animals o_0 : 

By God, is the drawn otter freaking ADORABLE. Yes, there is a river otter. If that isn’t enticing enough, I don’t know what else will be. Also, animals are freaky, dude. Just freaky.  I definitely can’t look at some of them the same way again…like, did you know there is an animal that eats its own poop???

3. Warm and Funny

This show just makes you feel happy, dude. What’s so interesting is that the comedy is simultaneously straightforward and easy to understand but also mind boggling with the downright weirdness of scenarios characters find themselves in. Usually, the weirdness stems from seeing God’s inconceivably strange descriptions come to fruition… life is weird, y’all…

2. Catchy opening: 

For all you J-pop fans out there, this one is for you. Why is this so high on the list of reasons, you ask? “It’s just a song,” you say? No, no; it’s not just a song. Seriously, the opening to this show is the peppiest, the cutest, the most adorable opening song out there! I actually think its humanly impossible to resist smiling like an idiot when listening to this song. For anyone out there who is looking for new music to improve their mood, this is the one (and therefore this show is alsothe one because if you end up liking the opening, then you’re gonna have to watch the rest of the episode to get to the adorable ending)! 
…P.S. I also recommend this as a less annoying alarm clock. 

1. Comedic Slice of Life Escapism:

I think this is the most obvious reason for watching this show, and it basically encompasses all of the aforementioned points. 

Look, in such wild and crazy times as we are in now, we’re all in need of some good old binge watching and escapism from our boring two bedroom apartment. Whether it be the bright colors, the zany humor, or the adorable animals, I guarantee there is something in this show that’ll bring you joy. Either that, or the low stakes will relax you into a meditative mood right before bed.

Oh, and also, Heaven’s Design Team features vacationing to the Galapagos islands, so at the very least, look at this as an opportunity for you to travel vicariously. 😉

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Need coverage? Please send an email to allagesofhr@gmail.com.

T. Wu is a contributing writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow T. on Instagram @kata_the_clown.

Invincible Review

Amazon Prime has had success in the superhero genre in TV shows with The Boys, and now they are looking to repeat that success with an adaptation of the comic book series Invincible. Coming from the mind of The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, the animated series follows the formula that you would expect from similar series about superheroes, but it has much more depth and adds a few things that may tackle subjects not found in similar material.

Based on the comic book, Invincible follows teenager Mark Grayson, whose father is known to the world as Omni Man and he just happens to be the most powerful superhero on the planet. Being the son of a superhero isn’t easy for Mark as he believes that there are expectations from him to follow in his footsteps. Once his powers kick in, Mark feels all the pressure on him even if he has the same powers as his father. Even if Mark feels all the power in him and being invincible, he learns that being a hero takes hard work and can be a burden at times.

Despite being a superhero show, Invincible feels very grounded and human in some aspects. Heroes are highly respected in this version of Earth, where everyone wants to become one and it takes a lot in a person when they take the responsibilities as one. These idols may have superhuman abilities, but they also happen to have flaws that make them human like us. What makes the show work is how it shows the vulnerability of these heroes. We get to see them take in punches and getting hurt. It adds some grit into the series and packs on some powerful emotions with these characters. Mark goes through a lot dealing with these powerful gifts he has been born with as well as problems being a teen in this modern age. Once he takes on the job of being a superhero, he has to learn to live up to being a superhero just like his father. 

The series brings in some amazing talent to tell this gripping story that is relatable, engaging, and entertaining. Steven Yuen voices the enigmatic Mark Grayson, who brings a perfect mix of being an awkward teen and being self-centered at times. Omni Man/Nolan Grayson is voiced by Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons, who showcases his powerful and commanding voice as a father of Mark giving him advice and wisdom but he also holds some uncertainty about how his son holds up. Sandra Oh takes on the role of the family matriarch Debbie Grayson, who also shares some words with Mark as she tries to keep her family grounded. The series boasts other great actors, most of whom were on The Walking Dead as well as some of the best voice actors in the business.

The artwork of the series does take some inspiration from most of the DC Animated shows that fans may be familiar with. It does bring on some brightness and positivity that most superhero programs and films usually move away from as they focus on the dark aspects of the genre. The visuals really help create some emotional and dramatic overtones when the show goes into some dark places. Even though the animation feels like this could be a kids program, we assure you that its a mature show that takes on more grown-up themes, plus with the gore and violence involved.

Invincible brings in a unique take on the superhero genre by telling a very human story that all of us can relate to. It is an origin story for Mark as he turns from being a simple teenager into a superhero in his own right. Fair warning, it does go violent and some of what you see might make some feel squeamish, but it’s a show that doesn’t shy away from the realities of a superhero in the real world. The first episode does seem to take its time to set up our characters, but it’s 2 and 3 that do all the heavy lifting and put the show into high gear. From then on, that’s where the show can go to any number of paths, making us curious to see where it takes us.

Invincible will air on Amazon Prime Friday, March 26 with the first three episodes and then drop a new episode every week.

Avatar: The Last Airbender Expands With An Animated Film In The Works

The world of Avatar: The Last Airbender is about to expand even more. Thanks to Nickelodeon, more original content will be coming that takes place within the franchise in the form of films as well as animated series.

The announcement was made during ViacomCBS’ presentation for their new streaming service, Paramount+ that will launch in March. Both series creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko will be running Avatar Studios, a new animated production that will solely focus on growing the universe of Avatar: The Last Airbender. All of this content will be available on Paramount+ as well as Nickelodeon with third-party platforms and theaters to follow. The first project being made is a theatrical film that will be starting production this year.

“Avatar: The Last Airbender and Korra have grown at least ten-fold in popularity since their original hit runs on Nickelodeon, and Ramsey Naito and I are incredibly excited to have Mike and Bryan’s genius talent on board to helm a studio devoted to expanding their characters and world into new content and formats for fans everywhere,” ViacomCBS Kids & Family President Brian Robbins said in a statement. He also added, “Creator-driven stories and characters have long been the hallmarks of Nickelodeon, and Avatar Studios is a way to give Mike and Bryan the resources and runway to open up their imaginations even more and dive deeper into the action and mythology of Avatar as we simultaneously expand upon that world and the world of content available on Paramount+ and Nickelodeon.”

Speaking with EW, DiMartino and Konietzko discussed their return to the Avatarverse. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 19 years since we created Avatar: The Last Airbender,” they said. “But even after all that time, there are still many stories and time periods in Aang’s world that we are eager to bring to life. We are fortunate to have an ever-growing community of passionate fans that enjoys exploring the Avatarverse as much as we do.”

“We’re excited to be back at Nickelodeon where Avatar began, doing what we do best in the biggest way possible. We can’t wait to build the great teams and productions to make all of this fantasy a reality.” Their beloved franchise has earned accolades from fans and critics for their world-building and their influence from Asian and Native cultures around the world while also tackling subjects that affect us today.

The franchise began with Avatar: The Last Airbender, which followed the adventures of Aang and his friends as they protect their world from the wrath of Fire Lord Ozai and the Fire Nation. The series ran for three seasons from 2005 to 2008. It was soon followed by the sequel series The Legend of Korra, running on Nickelodeon in 2012 for four seasons following Aang’s successor Korra. Thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix, the franchise has seen a resurgence as new fans have discovered the shows. The series also included graphic novels, a live-action film, and an upcoming live-action series being developed by Netflix.

With the involvement of the original creators at the helm, the Avatarverse will offer tons of more content for fans to check out.

RWBY Chapter 10 NEW Release Date!

Recently a huge winter storm hit the state of Texas leaving many families and businesses with no power. According to the New York time “More than 3.5 million of those outages were in Texas, where many people had been without power for hours or even days in freezing temperatures. “

Austin was one of several cities in Texas that saw record-setting cold temperatures on Monday.
Picture by: Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

During this difficult time, the Rooster Teeth team decided to push back RWBY chapter 10’s release to February 27th. They want the team to focus on their safety first.

Many fans of RWBY are very supportive with the teams decision to push the episode back a week. The safety of the team is incredible important!

Image result for rwby vol 8

We hope the Rooster Teeth team and the states being hit by the winter storm are safe. Tell us what you think will happen in RWBY chapter 10!

March 2021 NEW Disney Film Raya and the Last Dragon!

Be sure to check out the trailer for Raya and the Last Dragon and tell us what you are excited about!

“Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than a dragon to save the world—it’s going to take trust and teamwork as well. From directors Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, co-directors Paul Briggs and John Ripa, producers Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho, and featuring the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and Awkwafina as the last dragon Sisu, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Raya and the Last Dragon” opens in U.S. theaters on March 2021.”

Resident Evil Showcase: What’s Going on in the Village?

On June 11th, 2019, the world was shown the first trailer for CAPCOM’s upcoming title: Resident Evil Village. Now, about a year and a half later (January 21st, 2021), fans from across the globe were treated to a special digital showcase. Thanks to this showcase, we have been treated to new information about the game and a few upcoming projects.

New Trailer, Story, and Characters

The showcase started off with a new trailer for the game, which revealed some more of the story and gameplay. I adore the visuals and overall game design, now that we’re seeing more. What I also love about this new trailer is that it answers some questions and raises new ones at the same time. For example, we know the reason Ethan Winters is at this village (rescuing his daughter), but then we learn that there’s this “Mother Miranda” person who’s possibly the one pulling the strings behind the scenes. Oh yeah, Village is a direct sequel to the previous game Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, so we’re continuing the story of Ethan Winters and playing as him again (so more first-person gameplay). Fan-favorite Chirs Redfield also makes a return, although I haven’t heard anything about him being a playable character. However, he does appear to play an important role in the story, so it’ll be interesting to see what that role is. Also, it looks like he has some sort of involvement with the kidnapping of Ethan’s daughter. We’re also introduced to “the Duke,” who plays the returning role of the merchant, and I can’t wait to learn more about this interesting character. There’s also this figure that has a similar posture to the main character in Bloodborne. When he was first introduced, it wasn’t made too clear what his alliance was. Now? I’m getting questionable villain vibes from him, although his design is quite enjoyable. Part of me is wondering if he is either the younger brother of Alcina Dimitrescu or is “that fool Heisenberg.” Either way, he’s another character that I can’t wait to learn more about. We also receive a nice introduction (or reintroduction) to the lovely vampire residents of the castle. While there is the beautiful, yet brutal, Alcina Dimitrescu and her daughters, there are also dangerous monsters skulking about in the dungeons of the castle. That’s not all Ethan has to worry about, oh no, there’s a village just outside of the castle with werewolves. There are human-sized werewolves and, so far, there is a giant-sized werewolf that carries a massive hammer.

Video from the official Resident Evil YouTube channel.

Release Date and Pre-Orders

Another big thing, that fans were waiting for, is that the release date has been announced. The full game will be released on May 7th, 2021, and currently can be pre-ordered right now. Currently, there’s a PS5 exclusive demo involving a mysterious character known as “the Maiden.” However, fear not, for there will be another demo coming out for other systems/platforms (Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, Steam) later this spring. There are also special packages (editions) that will also be available for pre-order. The first one being the Digital Deluxe Edition, which can be obtained for all platforms. In a nutshell, if you loved Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, you can add some special items from the game (i.e. RE7 filter, saving device). From the looks of it, you also can unlock the max difficulty right away, receive some special safe room music, and some other special goodies in digital form. The Collector’s Edition also has plenty of goodies to offer players when they pre-order it. Not only does it come with all of the content from the Digital Deluxe Edition, but players also get a poster of the map, a redeemable code for the Trauma Pack, a sweet Chris Redfield figure, and a book containing the wonderful art of the game. And that’s not all, oh no, the game comes in a lovely steel book and everything is contained in a delightful collector’s box (that honestly looks amazing). Along with any of these pre-orders, there will be little bonuses you’ll be receiving in the form of a Survival Resource pack and a Mr. Raccoon weapon charm. Also, any digital pre-orders from the Playstation store will come with an exclusive mini-soundtrack; so there’s plenty to be gained from pre-ordering. CAPCOM also announced the Resident Evil Village and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Bundle, so if you missed out on playing Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, now’s the time to learn what happened before Village is available.


As mentioned earlier, we’re returning to the Resident Evil universe as Ethan Winters, so once again the game will be played from a first-person perspective. Given how beautiful the game looks, it’s a smart way to have people really take in the details of their environment. Along with the returning gameplay mechanics from Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, blocking attacks also becomes an essential part of combat scenarios. With the different types of enemies in the game, coming up with a new strategy will become a crucial part of survival. Remember those friendly red barrels? Those are back and will make your fights somewhat easier, as long as you time the shot perfectly. Although I already mentioned this, the merchant (or “the Duke”) makes a return to the series, so you can purchase items/equipment and sell stuff to him. Another big feature returning to Village is the attache case weapons management system from Resident Evil 4. This bad boy will make organizing your items a more manageable task. They’ve also added a crafting system as well, so you can create all of those lovely healing items and extra ammo. And what’s a Resident Evil game without all of those fun puzzles and the ability to break stuff with your knife to find hidden goodies? Yep, these features are back and it looks like there will be plenty of items to swing at and items to find for solving those puzzles. Last, but not least, there will be plenty of extra objectives hidden throughout the game, so keep an eye out while you’re exploring the area.

Video from GameSpot’s official YouTube channel.

25 Years of Resident Evil

With the Resident Evil franchise nearing its 25th anniversary, CAPCOM revealed two special projects at the showcase. The first being a multi-player game called Resident Evil Re:Verse. From the looks of it, it’s some kind of free-for-all game where fans can play as their favorite characters from the franchise. In all honesty, when the first ten seconds were playing, I immediately thought that they were announcing a game made by TellTaleGames because of the art style. While there are a number of fans that are probably excited for this game, I’m personally not looking forward to it. Don’t get me wrong, the concept is alright, just not my thing. However, this game will be available for free to anyone that purchases Resident Evil Village. What I am looking forward to, however, is the upcoming CGI Resident Evil Netflix series that’s coming out. Although they’re calling it a film, the official website states that it’s a series, so we’re going to stick to calling it a series. Titled Resident Evil Infinite Darkness, the series takes place after Resident Evil 4 (another addition to the neverending timeline) and follows Leon and Claire, who find themselves in yet another zombie outbreak. These two definitely need a vacation or at least a nice spa day with all of these outbreaks they’re sent to deal with. While no release date has been confirmed, we do know that it will be sometime this year and it will available world-wide (so everyone will be able to enjoy it). Also, for any fans of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, there will be a limited-time event where players can collect some iconic outfits and items from the original trilogy. Leon’s iconic Raccoon City Police Department uniform will be available as a type of login bonus if you log in during the event. So if any of you are interested, go check that out and have fun playing The Division 2 while this event is going on (February 2nd to the 15th).

About Netflix - Netflix announces the original anime series 'RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite  Darkness' coming in 2021
Photo from about.netflix.com.

Overall Thoughts

All-in-all, the showcase was mildly enjoyable. Fans received a moderate amount of information on Village (especially on the release date and pre-orders) and were given additional information on other projects. While I’m probably not going to play Village myself, I will still enjoy watching other people play and see what kind of new lore we’re going to add to the timeline. I am, however, very much looking forward to learn more about the Netflix series that’s currently in production. Now that I’ve shared my thoughts, what are all of you looking forward to the most? Were there any reveals that you can wait to learn more about? If you did, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments down below. Until then, this is Tracy Preston/CuriousCat-13: signing off.

Blood of Zeus Original Soundtrack is NOW Available!

Blood of Zeus fans! We have amazing news for you! The original Soundtrack for season one is now available. Be sure to check it out HERE