heavymetalmage Goes All Valentine's Day On Your Ass!
I think by now it's clear that I love holidays. What about when it's the holiday of love? Maybe you think you can just go out on your own and spend Valentine's Day watching whatever you want. Do you want to end up watching Glee or playing Final Fantasy XIII-2? That is a very real possibility when you don't follow my holiday guide. Thankfully, I've complied some of the best Anime, Video Games, Movies, TV Shows, Music, and Internet Items that this holiday has to offer. Plus, your loved one will appreciate the fact that you went to a professional holiday expert to get advice for Valentine's Day. You'll notice I said Valentine's Day and not St. Valentine's Day. That would be because the greeting card companies invented this holiday and you know what, I'm glad. Yep, the more holidays they invent, the more I get to celebrate these holidays. So forget Cupid; heavymetalmage is your go to source for Valentine's Day enjoyment.
Anime is not just for lonely people! Although the Japanese are a notoriously lonely people, these cartoons are just as capable of portraying a love story as Julia Roberts or James Bond. Heck, they might even be better! The part that's even more enjoyable about watching anime on Valentine's Day, is that whether you like a sweet, heartfelt story, or just some good ol' fashioned yaoi, there's an anime show for you.
1. Whisper of the Heart
Nobody knows how to tug those heartstrings like Mr. Miyazaki. No, not Mr. Miyagi. I did not learn karate from this movie. Instead, I learned about true love and relationships! To be fair, Hayao Miyazaki only wrote this one, but it's a Studio Ghibli film which means you will be endeared as shit. This feature-length anime follows Shizuku, a middle school student and avid book reader. When Shizuku discovers that someone by the name of Seiji Amasawa had previously checked out her favorite books, she begins to wonder about this mystery person. Eventually, Shizuku meets Seiji, who turns out to be a boy she had initially hated. As the two begin to fall in love, Shizuku becomes inspired by Seiji's dreams of becoming a master luthier. She, in turn, attempts to write a book. Long story short, the two fall in love. Awwwww. In the Japanese version, Seiji asks Shizuku to marry him at the end. However, in the English dub, Disney decided that a marriage proposal between two teens was too fresh for us Puritans and the scene was removed. Meanwhile, there's a TV show on Lifetime called Dance Moms and I just saw two 13-year-olds doing some pretty uncouth dance moves with each other. /editorial
2. Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne
Nothing says romance like blood n' boobs, especially when it comes to anime. Would you look at this?! Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne has both of those things and Polly was kind enough to write some words about it.
3. Ouran High School Host Club
If all you watched of this series was the opening, you'd have a heaping helping of hearts, roses, and butterflies. All these Valentine's Day symbols flying around to "Maybe You're My Love" should be enough to put you in a lovey-dovey mood. But wait, there's more! This anime rom-com follows the exploits of every stereotypical Japanese teenage guy you could ever want: the pretty one, the strong-silent one, the yaoi twins, the five-year-old, and the androgynous girl who is posing as a boy. Perhaps that last one threw you a curve ball but that basically sums up the plot. One day, a new student, Haruhi, happens upon the Ouran High School Host Club. Through a series of clumsy mishaps, Haruhi ends up in debt to the club and must pay it back by posing as a dude and entertaining the ladies that frequent the host club. Many mushy misadventures occur when the head of the club, Tamaki, starts falling for Haruhi. Whoa ho ho, I'm not sure what that says about ol' Tamaki but I guess the guy likes what he likes. There are plenty of funny moments in this anime and don't worry about the subject matter, Ouran High School Host Club is actually manly as hell.
4. Spice & Wolf
This show chronicles the relationship between a man and a god. Well, perhaps it's between a man and a wolf...or maybe a man and a girl? Whichever way you'd like to look at it, this rom-dramedy, a genre I invented, has a little bit of everything in it. Whether you like action, romance, suspense, or medieval trade agreements, Spice and Wolf is sure to please! A traveling merchant, Lawrence, happens upon the wolf-goddess Holo. They come to an agreement that Lawrence will take Holo to her home in the north but Holo must pay her own way. Along the way, Holo's wisdom helps Lawrence make a pretty penny on his wares. At the same time, many people are seeking Holo and trouble is never far from this pair's heels. The first season is stellar but season two gets mixed reviews. Either way, I highly recommend a watch.
Nothing says "I love you!" like a taking a brick to the face from your significant other in Timesplitters. Any multiplayer game could suffice for some Valentine's Day fun but maybe something you can play by yourself is more your style. I've got a few suggestions if that's your thing. Whether you want to pick up a crippled girlfriend or pretend that you're Cupid, at least one of these game should keep you entertained this Valentine's Day.
1. Katawa Shoujo
A visual novel about dating differently-abled girls. Do I need to say anymore than that? Well, I don't, but Spyda K and decoy octopus certainly do! If I were you, I'd give their hour-long video a look-see.
This recent release by Atlus draws you in with the promise of a love story and drives you away makes you stay with block puzzles. This game tells the story of Vincent, a man who is so afraid of commitment that when his long time girlfriend, Katherine, starts talking about marriage, he begins to end up in nightmarish block puzzles that are filled with sheep. Also, there's this girl Catherine, from the title you see, who is the complete opposite of Katherine. As a player of this game, you have to keep Vincent alive and choose which relationship, if any, you'll end up in. There are many possible endings to this game so my advice would be to play one excruciating run through and then use our friend, The YouTube, to watch the other possible endings, as much of the rest of the story is unchanged till the end. Bonus tip: There is a jukebox in the game where you can play songs from other Atlus games like Persona. Boom! Just like that I just sold another game! Where's my commission?
3. Feel The Magic: XY/XX
This game is a bit of an odd one. Remember how Nintendo is all into making games that consist entirely of weird mini-games for their various system that involve input that doesn't require buttons? With the release of the DS came Feel the Magic: XY/XX. In this game, you play as a regular guy who falls in love with a woman and must win her heart by participating in ridiculous acts. This game only required the stylus and the microphone for its mini-games. This was my very first DS game. I hunted it and down and it was even $10 cheaper than other the other games! Wowza! I'm pretty sure the only reason I wanted this game was the silhouette of a woman on the front cover. This game was known as "I Would Die For You" in Japan and "Project Rub" in Australia. What can you expect from a game that makes you pick scorpions off a woman's back or save someone from choking on a goldfish?
4. Kid Icarus
This NES game was a favorite of mine when I was a youngin'. I was never any good at it but I still played it a lot. This action platformer was a bit of a sleeper hit but it still gets flack for its difficulty. In this game, you play as Pit, a Cupid-looking dude who's on a quest to find the three sacred treasures to help save "Angel Land" from the clutches of the evil Medusa. As you may have guessed, Medusa is an ugly, snaky monster who gets pissed off at the good witch of North, Palutena. Medusa starts a war, imprisons Palutena and yep, Pit's gotta clean up the mess. Local LPer TGYR got tricked into playing it and as you can tell, it's not for the faint of heart, but fun nonetheless. So if you're looking to play Cupid, but actually just kill some monsters, this is the game for you.
So your better half doesn't think getting mauled by a chainsaw in Gears is romantic. Here comes heavymetalmage to the rescue with some Valentine's Day movies. No, no, no, not Valentine's Day. Did you really think I was going to suggest that godawful movie? I mean, I've recommended some fairly crappy stuff to meet my holiday quotas but no one should be subjected to that cram-as-many-stars-into-one-movie-and-leave-out-the-plot film. Instead, I've gathered up some altogether great movies that are perfect for either snuggling up with a loved one or drying those lonely, lonely tears.
1. I Hate Valentine's Day
Lookie there! Valentine's Day right in the title. Nia Vardalos teams up with John Corbett, her co-star in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, to tell the story of a florist who never goes on more than five dates...that is until ol' Johnny Corbett shows up and they fall in love. I mean, who wouldn't fall in love with John Corbett? He's got that rugged, muscular side that would protect you from all the bad guys of the world, but he's also got a kind face and is always a gentle and understanding kind of guy. If John Corbett walked in right now and swept me up in his arms, I'd not only go willingly, I'd kiss heterosexuality goodbye so fast it would make Speedy Gonzales look like Forest Gump taking a math test. I'm not even sure if that last sentence made sense, especially since I'm still thinking about John Corbett. Either way, I Hate Valentine's Day is not bad for a romantic comedy and you can Corbett that I'll be watching it this year!
2. Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Based on Canadian manga-artist Brian Lee O'Malley's series, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a 112 minute adaptation filled with video game references, visual gags, and evil-ex skull-smashing. Scott Pilgrim is dating a high schooler, which is a bit creepy at age 22. However, he meets the girl of his dreams, literally, and he must fight her seven evil exes in order to win her heart. Aww, what a sweet story for this holiday of love. While the movie is flat-out awesome, I've read some of the manga (read: thumbed through it at Barnes and Noble) and it's quite enjoyable too. Director Edgar Wright, the man behind Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, does an excellent job of making the transition from ink to live action, with small homages to the comic book format, as well as to the video games and pop culture that the source material references. Unfortunately, this movie was not a box office success but it is should be on any SMPSer's watch list.
3. The Notebook
Let's say you really, really, reallllllllly wanted to get elbow deep in some romantic drama crap. No movie has quite the reputation of The Notebook. Known to make grown men cry and make ladies toss their pantaloons at Ryan Gosling, this sappy tale of love lost-and-found is quite the film. Good luck renting a copy on Valentine's Day because anyone knows that if they pick up this shit from Blockbuster, they're gonna get laid. I can't even imagine what would happen if said person picked up the Blu-Ray. Mind-blowing. As for the real nitty-gritty of the story, it's based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, king of sap. I can just see him writing some of the parts of this film where he just stops and chuckles to himself as he pictures all those middle-aged woman sobbing uncontrollably. You know what, I'm just gonna spoil the story for you. An old man reads a love story to an old woman. Turns out that the old woman is his wife and she has Alzheimer's and the love story is really about them and then, at the end, they die together. Sorry...there's something in my eye.
4. Children of the Corn
Valentine's is one sweet holiday; not just because you might have a sweetheart but also because of the copious amounts of candy you will be eating. Now folks, where does that sweetness come from? Why, high fructose corn syrup of course! That's where Children of the Corn comes in. This movie is all about using child labor to harvest corn in order to sweeten our soft drinks and then...hold on. This movie is actually about a strange cult of murderous children who follow a demonic god known as "He Who Walks Behind the Rows"? Hmm, well "rows" sounds like "rose" and therefore this movie still qualifies as a Valentine's Day movie and anyone who doesn't like it can take it up with ol' Stephen King himself.
1. Some Bachelor/Bachelorette, Flavor of Love, whatever show
It's hard to turn on a TV today and not catch a glimpse of some celebrity, or random good-looking person, who has apparently run out of options in their love life. First Flavor Flav tried to find love, and then Bret Michaels, and now I'm pretty sure Ted Danson's third cousin probably has 30 bachelorettes lined up at some chateau in the south of France. While the number of these TV shows is plentiful, the quality of them typically is not. They're usually best watched for laughing at the poor schmuks who are either looking for love or trying to be on VH1 so they might get discovered. For all you single people on Valentine's Day: At least it's not that bad.
2. The Simpsons
The Sunday after Valentine's Day this year, the Simpsons will release its 500th episode. With that many episodes under its belt, we were bound to find a few Valentine's Day episodes. The Simpsons does have a couple that are particularly good. In "I Love Lisa", Lisa feels bad for a fellow student, Ralph Wiggum, who didn't receive any Valentines. When Lisa gives Ralph a card that says "I Choo-choo-choose you!" with a picture of a train on it, Ralph believes that Lisa has a crush on him and he begins to fall in love with her. Lisa does not reciprocate those feelings and hilarity ensues. In "Trash of the Titans", the Greeting Card companies create a faux-Valentine's Day called "Love Day". After Love Day generates so much trash, like any holiday, Homer gets into a fight with the garbage men and ends up running for Sanitation Commissioner. Again, hilarity ensues.
3. Big Love
Sometimes there's not enough love to go around. That is definitely not the case in the Hendrickson household. Bill Hendrickson is a Mormon who practices polygamy. He and his three wives reside in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. If you've ever had to deal with a significant other's family, you know that it can be trying at times. This is beyond trying for Bill, who's wrapped up in the politics of a fundamentalist cult, shady business deals, raising many children, and, of course, trying to manage his relationship(s) with his three wives. This HBO series is a good bit of drama and gives a fascinating peek into the lives of polygamists. You could watch the reality series, Sister Wives, but it's just way more fun to pretend that this is the kind of stuff that only happens on TV.
4. Pushing Daisies
This short lived comedy-mystery-sci-fi-drama could have the "romance" genre tacked on it as well. A man named Ned has a unique gift: he has the ability to reanimate a dead person for one minute by touching them. If he doesn't touch them again before one minute is up, they stay living but someone in near vicinity dies. Touching that person again kills them. Got the rules? Pretty weird, I know. While Ned is a pie baker and shop owner by day, by night he solves crimes with the help of a detective, Emerson Cod, by bringing the victims back to life. One day, Ned discovers his childhood friend and crush, Charlotte, or Chuck, as she is nicknamed, has been killed. Ned brings her back to life and begins to fall in love with her but he can never touch her or she will die once again. Although this show sounds complicated as hell, it's really entertaining and it's just about the most unique show in the recent past. Unfortunately, it only aired for two seasons before it got the axe. If you're a fan of any sort of television, you'll probably enjoy Pushing Daisies.
Music is the language of love. Italian is also possibly the language of love. Either way, music is a big part of our lives. While Valentine's Day doesn't have any specific songs related to it, just about every song ever is either about loving something or hating something. Therefore, I've done the dirty work and I've narrowed it down to four lovely songs for this lovely holiday.
1. Signs of Love
This little ditty from Persona 4 deserves a mention for the simple fact that it is flat-out awesome. If one were to actually examine the lyrics, it sounds a bit more like this song is about a breakup. Well, I can live with that because every time I hear this song, I jump out of my chair and begin to dance. Not only that, but this song is so good that I don't even care that I'm a horrible dancer. This song has wormed it's way on to my phone as my ringtone and now I've got to dance every time my phone rings.
2. Love Dump - Static X
Now I know that I've already recommended the particular album that this song is on (please see my non-Christmas music suggestion) but this song is too good to pass up. With lyrics like "Your shit's like chocolate cake and your ass smells like a rose", you know that you'll have the perfect Valentine's Day. This song is so classy that just by playing it, you will either: A. Immediately get laid. B. Immediately attract a new lover or C. Win the lottery. Yep, you heard me. Oh wait, I almost forgot D. All of the above. This is a heavymetalmage guarantee.
3. Roses - Outkast
It's nice to have a little variety once in awhile. Although this song is not very nice, its title is "Roses" and that is a hell of a connection to Valentine's Day. I may have under-exaggerated when I said this song is not very nice; a large portion of this is the phrase "Crazy Bitch!" being repeated over and over while Big Boi alternates other insults in between. The other portion of the song, Andre 3000 spins the tale of this bitch, Caroline, who must be a bitch because the song really, really stresses this fact. This song is probably more for you broken-hearted people. Feel free to pretend that this song is about whichever jerk dumped you.
4. Lovefool - The Cardigans
This song hails from the soundtrack of the super-modernized version of Romeo and Juliet. You know, the one with Leonard DiCaprio. The song features the plea of a desperate girl who really wants a particular individual to love her. She's even willing to go so far as to settle for pretend love. Whew, that is pretty desperate. This song might be useful if you are trying to do one of those move-from-friends-to-lovers ordeals. Maybe rent a karaoke machine, get a hold of this song, invite your future companion over and give this song a good belting. If that should fail for some odd reason, please refer to #2 on this list and all your problems will be solved.
Confused about what to get your loved one this year? This commercial from Saturday Night Live carefully details the exact thing to get that special person in your life. If you thought jewelry, candy, or flowers were the right move, just stop right there and watch this video to find out what you should really get. (I apologize for the video quality, it was the best I could find.)
We've had a fun time with various knickknacks for Thanksgiving and Christmas and now Valentine's Day is upon us. This time around, we're treated to a rendition of the greatest love story of all-time. With the likes of Nicholas Cage, Mr. T and Christopher Walken, you're guaranteed to be laughing more than with any traditional telling of Shakespeare's masterpiece.
3. Send Your Valentine A Valentine
Unless you plan on hitting up Target for a 30 pack of Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa Valentines, you might have to use the internet in order to reach your loved one this year. Since the invention of the "internet bf/gf", there have been Valentines online. You could try something like EGreetings.com or just make use of that fangled new "search engine" in order to find an electronic way of saying "I love you". Google even introduced a website last year where you could make some sort of love map as well. You don't have to get too elaborate but you probably want to do something a little more than an email that says "Yo babe, let's hook up lates."
This article is true love in its rawest form: The love of one man for another man who happens to be some sort of villain.
Well that's it for another holiday. Did you enjoy this article? <3 Circle Yes or No or Maybe. <3 I'll be back soon with a conglomeration of Spring-related holidays and the best entertainment they have to offer.