Entertainment

RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness – Side quest turned anime

A series built on the lore, but doesn’t overstay its welcome

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I’ll admit that I don’t have too much experience with the Resident Evil franchise because of my aversion to horror games. Although, what truly piqued my interest with Capcom’s survival-horror game was its interwoven storyline. For the most part, I picked up any knowledge of the lore and the characters by reading about it on walkthroughs and game reviews.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the video game franchise, and Capcom went all in with its commemoration. Just this past May, the company released Resident Evil Village, the canonical eighth game in the franchise. In July, another big release is coming with RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness, a television anime available on Netflix.

I got the chance to see the entire series before its release, and I went into it with whatever knowledge of the game’s storyline I had. Will this be something worthwhile for fans and newbies alike? 

A premise of darkness and violence

The premise of RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness is an interesting one, and tackles mysteries beyond the lore of the first few Resident Evil games. In this rather short anime series, it starts with a depiction of events in the fictional war-torn region of Penamstan in the year 2000. This sets up the timeline for the majority of the events of the series set in the year 2006.

Jason and his squadron about to drop into wartorn Penamstan in 2000

For as crazy as it sounds, the United States government suffered a hacking incident, and the President called upon four agents to investigate. Eventually, a zombie attack ensues in the White House and a virus infects several members of the government. Naturally, everything breaks into chaos before Leon S. Kennedy shows up.

Infinite Darkness

Back in Penamstan, Claire Redfield serves as a volunteer for TerraSave when a young boy shows her a disturbing drawing. On her return trip to America, she runs into Leon in the White House post-zombie attack, shows him the drawing, and suggests a correlation to the events in Raccoon City. Eventually, these two go on their separate ways for their own investigations.

A story that would make a decent DLC campaign

The rest of the story unravels in a four episode series filled with flashbacks and, well, zombie killing. Honestly, it feels right at home with how the video game franchise works except that it’s just mostly storyline with no gameplay. At first, I thought that maybe it would have been best if it was just a movie, given how long each episode was.

The U.S. Army Mad Dogs, a group of soldiers sent to Penamstan

In my short interview with Director Eiichiro Hasumi, he mentioned that he envisioned the series to unravel itself with each episode. In essence, you learn more about the characters and their intentions slowly but surely. As the series progressed, I’m starting to see what he meant by that, and it’s straight to the point.

Leon Kennedy, Jason and Shen May: three of the four agents called by the President

It doesn’t try to confuse you with multiple subplots, and any piece of new information is easily digestible per episode. Also, I felt that the producers structured the episodes quite well to avoid overloading you with information in each of them. If this ended up like a DLC in a main game, it fits quite well, plot-wise.

A form of fan service for the diehards

Throughout my entire watch time, I can’t help but notice that this series caters a lot to the diehards. First off, Resident Evil fans will delight in seeing the more detailed character models for your Resident Evil 2 protagonists in Leon and Claire. They stay true to their designs based on the video game franchise, except Leon is now in a suit instead of a police uniform.

The character design for Claire Redfield for RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness

Secondly, this series also features some easter eggs and references to the games themselves, particularly with several character relationships. I already mentioned one of the references in the premise section, so the rest is entirely up to the diehards when they watch the series. Honestly, it serves as a good form of fan service to hint at these all throughout.

Something for everybody?

Prior to finishing the entire series, I asked myself whether new and old Resident Evil fans will appreciate it. After finishing the rather short anime, I’m sure that RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness caters more to longtime fans than the casual ones. From the story to the characters, it sells itself as a great representation of the video game franchise.

This doesn’t mean, however, that casual fans of the video games and even zombie enthusiasts won’t appreciate the series. If, like me, you’re familiar with the lore but haven’t played the games as much as others, it’s a great watch. Although, I feel the story will leave you with more questions than any definitive endings.

Overall, RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness provides a digestible yet gruesome viewing experience for an anime series. It keeps things simple and straight to the point, and doesn’t have you overanalyzing things too much. Honestly, it’s a worthwhile side story that diehard fans will appreciate more, but it’s something for everybody.

Uncover the darkness in a war torn world as RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness arrives on Netflix on July 8, 2021.

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I’m missing the Olympics because I don’t have cable

And it sucks

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It’s 2021. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which was delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, is in full swing as of writing. However, as someone whose primary source of media entertainment all comes from streaming, there’s no easy and convenient way for me to watch the games. Major bummer.

I like to enjoy my media a certain way; I prefer to stream them on my TV. Which is why majority of the content I consume come from YouTube, Netflix, and the occasional Amazon Prime, HBO Go (Yep, not even HBO Max), and Apple TV.

I find it incredibly baffling that the stakeholders involved in bringing the games to the people failed to come to an agreement to make it easily accessible on the aforementioned platforms. It’s 2021. Why on earth am I not able to watch the greatest sporting event on the planet the way I want to?

Believe me, I hear the privilege in my words. Regardless, I still feel marginalized.

So how can you watch the Olympics right now?

I asked a friend who’s been covering the games. He watches through cable and had to pay a PhP 150 fee (around US$ 3/ SG$ 4) to avail of the Tokyo 2020 Premium from a particular cable provider.

Thing is, the whole Olympic coverage in the Philippines is locked to the MVP group of companies. You wanna follow the games, you’re gonna have to do it on one of their platforms.

Here’s an excerpt from their press release on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic coverage:

“Sports fans will have comprehensive access to the Olympic Games — from the Opening Ceremonies all the way to when the games conclude — on free to air via TV5 and One Sports. One Sports+ on Cignal TV will also dedicate a significant amount of their daily hours to broadcast the events, with Cignal also opening up two exclusive channels dedicated to broadcast the games 24/7. Cignal Play, in addition to live channels TV5, One Sports & One Sports+, will be offering exclusive channels broadcasting live updates to its subscribers, along with exclusive content not available on the TV broadcast. Cignal TV’s One News leads the group’s round-the-clock news coverage, featuring results, updates, and highlights.”

Comprehensive? Maybe. For platforms within the MVP group of companies. If you’re not subscribed to any of these, well, that’s just too bad. It’s good for business and I completely understand how the whole thing works. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

The coverage also missed to televise or showcase Hidilyn Diaz’s historic gold medal win in the Weightlifting competition. If you’ve been following sports news, the Philippines was expected to get a medal in this event. Sadly, the moment was only known following updates from reporters on the ground.

How I wish it was handled

I’m sure there’s a lot more that goes into it in terms of TV and broadcasting rights, but we’re literally at an age where plenty of folks have decided to cut the cord and rely on streaming for content.

On YouTube, you can buy and/or rent movies and shows. The platform and structure exists for pay-to-watch content. They could have even made tiers or packages like charge a certain amount to gain access to all the games, a different and lower amount if you just want to follow a certain sport and/or a certain event.

Maybe the potential earnings to do so didn’t justify the costs to implement it. Whatever the case, it’s still incredibly frustrating.

Sure, I can go through the hoopla of setting up a VPN and look for streaming sites. But that’s more even more cumbersome. I don’t mind paying a convenience fee if it means that after a long day of work I can kick back, relax, and watch some damn sports.

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Entertainment

Netflix is reportedly producing a live-action Pokémon series

With Lucifer showrunner Joe Henderson

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Pokémon remains one of the most popular franchises today. From the ever-popular video game series to the still-ongoing anime series, the creature collector franchise still going strong. Even then, the franchise is reportedly working on another addition to its repertoire: a live-action Netflix series.

According to Variety, Netflix is in the early stages of an upcoming Pokémon series on the platform. Much like the widely successful film Detective Pikachu starring Ryan Reynolds, the series will star actual humans in a live-action format. Beyond that, the report does not go into detail into how the creatures will look like for the series.

Likewise, the report does not indicate when the series will launch.

Lucifer’s Joe Henderson is reportedly helming the series. He is also known for adapting Stephen King’s 11.22.63 for Hulu.

Over the past few years, Pokémon has tapped various segments besides gaming and anime fans. The company has tapped lifestyle with branded accessories and lifestyle-oriented apps. Adding a live-action series will tap into the thriving Netflix market.

For Netflix’s part, the popular streaming platform has considerably increased the variety of genres it is producing. Besides the live-action Pokémon series, Netflix is also releasing an anime version of its popular original, The Witcher.

SEE ALSO: Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the first open-world Pokémon game

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Netflix’s first games will be mobile-only first

Including Stranger Things titles

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Since the rise of its popularity years ago, Netflix has dominated the streaming services industry. Since then, the company has moved past just hosting content on its platform. They have also produced their own content including hit shows like Stranger Things. Now, they are going further than just films and TV series. Netflix is expanding to mobile games first.

Days ago, Netflix announced development towards gaming content. However, in their earnings report for the second quarter of this year, Netflix announced focus on mobile games first. To do so, the company has hired former EA official Mike Verdu for the project.

The company has also listed some properties that it is working on. The first game titles will include ones for Stranger Things. Further, Netflix subscribers will have free access to the games with their subscription. However, since the focus is still on mobile, only mobile users can access them when they come out.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that Netflix tried interactive content. Recently, they released a special choose-your-own-adventure version of Black Mirror called Bandersnatch. Viewers were able to steer the film according to prompts on their screen, effectively making their own version of the film. Though the film never kickstarted the interactive film genre, it redefined how Netflix content can be enjoyed digitally.

Now, with whatever Netflix is planning, the company is likely continuing that trend.

SEE ALSO: What does your favorite Netflix genre say about you?

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