Battle Royale: The Last Generation Of An SNES-CD Saga

The Amazing Race Canada, Season 1
The Amazing Race Canada: Season 1: Bonjour, eh?
Canadian fans of The Amazing Race had been wanting to appear on that show for years. However, due to passport issues, amongst other issues, it was never going to happen. So during the airing of season 21 of the American edition, Phil announced that there would be a Canadian edition of the show. It would be hosted by Jon Montgomery of the Canadian Olympic Skeleton team. The prizes would vary but for the first season it would be: $250,000 CA, two Chevrolet Corvette Stingrays and a year of unlimited travel on Air Canada. All cash for this version will be in Canadian Dollars.
Unfortunately there was disappointment right off the bat. You see, the producers decided to limit the Canadian version to just Canada. Not only that but there would only be nine teams instead of eleven and only ten legs. Casting was done in late December 2012/early January 2013. Filming took place in May 2013.

The Cast

Vanessa and Celina: Sisters. Vanessa is an actress who has appeared on various Disney supernatural shows. They were considered weak initially but really came into their own near the end of the season.

Tim and Tim: Father and son. Tim Sr. wanted to do the show now before his Parkinson's Disease became too much.
Jet and Dave: Best friends. Despite being considered an Alpha team going in, they came across goofy...incredibly goofy.
Hal and Joanne: Married couple. Those who grew up in the '90s and lived in, or near, Canada may remember these two from those Body Break/ParticipACTION commercials.
Jody and Cory: Brothers. Jodi is a former Canadian Army Sniper who lost his legs below the knees to an IED in Afghanistan in 2007.
Holly and Brett: Married couple. These two can be annoying, especially Brett with his calls of "Holl.....Holl.....Holl". So much so that Brett had a shirt made with "Holl" in various fonts on it.
Treena and Tennille: Twin sisters. They are super aggressive.
Kristen and Darren: Dating couple. They seem like hippies, and they are, but don't let that fool you. They can be sneaky.
Jamie and Pierre: Gay friends. Like Danny and Oswald on the American version, these two aren't dating. They met through the Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo Association.

The Race

Leg #1: "Where in the World is Ogopogo?"
Original Air Date: July 15, 2013.
Starting at Oakes Garden Theatre in Niagara Falls, Ontario, teams are given instructions to go to the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory. Here both team members have to stick their hands into a terrarium to get half a clue each. The more dangerous creatures (like scorpions) that are in the terrarium, the earlier departure time they get. Teams are now headed to Kelowna, British Columbia. Teams then have to find the Kelowna Bear at Stuart Lake, where they pick up their Credit Card, which will contain all their money on it starting with $350 for this leg. Teams then head to the Kelowna Yacht Club Houseboat where they will spend the night.
The next day, teams have to get to the Lakefront Water Sports Kiosk where they will rent a personal watercraft and then use a rudimentary map to get them to Lake Okanagan where the Roadblock is. In this Roadblock, one team member has to put on diving gear, swim to the bottom of Lake Okanagan and find a statue of Ogopogo, Canada's version of the Loch Ness Monster, where their next clue is. Teams then head to the Bellevue Trestle at Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park where they find another Roadblock. In this Roadblock, the team member that didn't do the first Roadblock has to walk on a narrow plank attached to a railroad trestle to get their clue then bungee jump off to reunite with their partner. Teams then go to the Pit Stop: Quails' Gate Winery.
1. Kristen and Darren 1:33 P.M. Won two Express Passes.
2. Jet and Dave 1:40 P.M.
3. Vanessa and Celina 1:50 P.M.
4. Tim and Tim 2:13 P.M.
5. Hal and Joanne 2:24 P.M.
6. Jody and Cory 2:43 P.M.
7. Holly and Brett 2:59 P.M.
8. Treena and Tennille 3:17 P.M.
9. Jamie and Pierre 3:39 P.M. ELIMINATED.
Leg #2: "Se Hou Leng."
Original Air Date: July 22, 2013.
Getting $500, teams have to fly to Vancouver, British Colombia. Once there, teams have to go to the Richmond Olympic Oval. There, teams face the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to complete two laps of Short Track Speed Skating in under 1:30. Teams then have to go to the Millennium Gate in Vancouver's Chinatown. Here teams find the Detour: Dance It or Draw It.
In Dance It, teams have to go to the Chinese Cultural Center where would receive a list of destinations written in Mandarin Chinese. They would go to these destinations and find four pieces of a Chinese Lion costume. Once they return with them to the Cultural Center they would put it on and learn and perform a traditional Lion Dance. In Draw It, teams have to Ten Ren's Tea and Ginseng Company, where they have to drink a cup of Green Tea. On the bottom of each cup is the Chinese symbol for an animal of the Chinese Zodiac. After memorizing it, teams must go to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden and successfully reproduce it on a sheet of rice paper. If they are wrong they have to start all over again with new symbols. Teams then go to the DP World container terminal, where they climb a cargo crane and use binoculars to locate the flags of the Pit Stop: The Green roof of the Vancouver Convention Center.
1. Jet and Dave 11:35 A.M. Won two round trip tickets to anywhere in Asia.
2. Holly and Brett 11:46 A.M.
3. Hal and Joanne 12:03 P.M.
4. Vanessa and Celina 12:15 P.M.
5. Kristen and Darren 12:37 P.M.
6. Jody and Cory 12:49 P.M.
7. Treena and Tennille 1:02 P.M.
8. Tim and Tim 1:28 P.M. ELIMINATED.
Leg #3: "Hoodoos and Hoo-don'ts."
Original Air Date: July 29, 2013.
Getting $450, teams have to book a flight at the Nicola Internet Cafe to Calgary, Alberta (this leg was filmed before the massive flooding that happened there). On arrival, teams have to go to the statue of Outlaw, a bull made famous by the Calgary Stampede. Teams then head to Ranchman's Cookhouse where they find the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to perform a perfect line dance. Teams then have to drive to the Hoodoos outside Drumheller where they find the Detour: Lump by Lump or Bone by Bone.
In Lump by Lump, teams have to go to the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site and ride a train called Linda to the Wash House. Here teams have to put on coveralls and shovel coal into a mine cart until it overflowed with coal touching all four corners. They then have to properly hang their team's dog tags on the cart. In Bone by Bone, teams have to travel to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Midlands Provincial Park and memorize a dinosaur skeleton. Then they have to go into another room and put it together from memory. Teams then go to the Pit Stop: Horsethief Canyon Overlook.
1. Kristen and Darren 2:01 P.M. Won two round trip plane tickets to anywhere in the United States.
2. Jet and Dave 2:13 P.M.
3. Vanessa and Celina 2:39 P.M.
4. Jody and Cory 3:02 P.M.
5. Hal and Joanne 3:29 P.M.
6. Treena and Tennille 3:45 P.M.
7. Holly and Brett 4:07 P.M. NOT ELIMINATED/SPEEDBUMPED.
Leg #4: "Grab a 'Nug.'"
Original Air Date: August 5, 2013.
Getting $350, teams have to fly to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Once there, they have to travel to the Bush Pilot's Monument National Historic Site. From there, they have to go to the Government Dock and travel to the Yellowknife Bay Floating Bed and Breakfast. Here they get the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to perform a polar bear dip and swim across to get the clue. Teams then have to get back to the Yellowknife airport to sign up for one of three charter flights to Carcross, Yukon Territory. On arrival, teams have to go to White Pass and Yukon Railway Last Spike where Holly and Brett face the Speedbump. In this Speedbump, Holly and Brett have recite, from memory and alternating, the first four stanzas of "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" by Robert Service to a Robert Service impersonator.
Then they can join the other teams at Bennett Lake for the Detour: Yukon Supply Run or Klondike Gold Rush. In Yukon Supply Ron, teams have to use the provided tools and materials to make a raft and then paddle out into the lake to the next clue. In Klondike Gold Rush, teams have to compete in three games inspired by the task's namesake. First, they have to use a two person saw to cut the end off a log. Then they have to toss a hatchet and stick it into a wooden target. Finally, one team member has to sit in a wheelbarrow, while directing their blindfolded partner around a course collecting five "Gold Nuggets" along the way. Then teams ride an ATV to the Pit Stop: Carcross Desert.
1. Vanessa and Celina 12:51 P.M. Won an all inclusive trip to Cancun, Mexico.
2. Jet and Dave 1:25 P.M.
3. Jody and Cory 1:45 P.M.
4. Kristen and Darren 2:34 P.M.

5. Holly and Brett 2:55 P.M.

6. Hal and Joanne 3:12 P.M.

7. Treena and Tennille 3:40 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #5: "Death by Lentils."

Original Air Date: August 12, 2013.

Getting $500, teams are told to search the SS Klondike for a clue telling them to fly to Regina, Saskatchewan. On arrival, teams are told to go to the Saskcan Pulse Training Centre for their next clue, written on two stuffed moose, which are hidden in a truckload of lentils. Teams now go to the RCMP Heritage Center where they find an (unaired) Fast Forward (something to do with a police training simulator) and the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to join RCMP Boot Camp and get a supply of clothes and tidy up a room and make their bed. If they don't do it right the clothes are dumped on the bed and they have to do it again.

Teams then have to go to the "I Love Regina" sign outside Regina City Hall and learn a Ukrainian dance to get their next clue. It's the Detour: Brawn or Beauty. It's at Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field, home of the CFL team: The Saskatchewan Roughriders. In Brawn, teams have to perform a series of football drills, then catch a touchdown pass from Roughriders couch Khari Jones, then kick a winning field goal. If they screw up any of that, they have to do a lap around the stadium and do it all again. In Beauty, teams have to perform a cheerleading routine, including with flips. The next clue is in the Luxury Box with the U-Turn, which Holly and Brett use on Hal and Joanne. Teams then head to the Pit Stop: Pine Island in Wacsana Centre.
1. Jet and Dave 1:12 P.M. Won two round trip tickets to anywhere in Canada.

2. Vanessa and Celina 1:45 P.M.

3. Jody and Cory 2:23 P.M.

4. Holly and Brett 3:01 P.M.

5. Kristen and Darren 3:29 P.M.

6. Hal and Joanne 3:54 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #6: "Look in the cannons!"

Original Air Date: August 19, 2013.

Getting $150, teams must fly to Quebec City, Quebec. There teams have to get to Levis Fort National Historic Site and search it for the next clue. Teams then take a ferry across the Saint Lawrence River then up the Old Quebec Funicular to the Chateau Frontenac and find the next clue at the statue of Samuel de Champlain for the Detour: Sculpt It or Spot It. In Sculpt It, teams have to go to Place Royale at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, choose an ice sculpture of a star, a house or a boat and then copy it. In Spot It, teams have to find a replica painting at Parc de la Cetiere with items missing. Then they have to find the original at 102 Rue de Petit-Champlain and memorize the Quebecois French words and put them in the correct order to get the next clue.

Teams then head to Place de l'Université-du-Quebec for the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to take orders from customers then, after watching a demonstration, prepare two proper savory and sweet crepes. Teams then go to the Plains of Abraham where they will learn lacrosse, then they each had to catch a pass from their partner and score a goal. Teams then head to the Pit Stop: The Battlefields Park on Avenue Saint-Denis.
1. Kristen and Darren 11:11 A.M. Won two round trip tickets to anywhere in Europe.

2. Jet and Dave 11:54 A.M.

3. Holly and Brett 12:15 P.M.

4. Jody and Cory 12:43 P.M.

5. Vanessa and Celina 1:01 P.M. NOT ELIMINATED/SPEEDBUMPED.

Leg #7: "We got this!"

Original Air Date: August 26, 2013.

Getting $400, teams have to fly to Iqaluit, Nunavut. Once there, teams have to decipher a clue written in Inuktitut. It directs them to Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park where they have to listen by the Sylvia Grinnell River for Inuit Throat Singing. After listening to a performance teams get the Detour: Harpoon Hunter or Igloo Builder. In Harpoon Hunter, teams have to throw a traditional harpoon into a target. In Igloo Builder, teams have to use the tools provided to build an igloo.

Teams then go to Frobisher Bay where Vanessa and Celina hit their Speedbump. In this Speedbump, Vanessa and Celina have to lead a dog team across Frobisher Bay, retrieve a food cache and then deliver it to the start. Then they can go to the Hudson's Bay Trading Outpost and join the other teams at the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to eat 10 pieces of Muktuk which is whale blubber. Then teams go one kilometer northwest of the Trading Post to reach the Pit Stop.

1. Jody and Cory 1:22 P.M. Won two round trip tickets to anywhere in the Caribbean.
2. Vanessa and Celina 1:25 P.M.

3. Jet and Dave 2:00 P.M.

4. Holly and Brett 2:34 P.M.

5. Kristen and Darren 3:45 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #8: "Clutch and release."

Original Air Date: September 2, 2013.

Receiving $300, teams fly to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Once there, teams have to find a USB drive and put it into the video player of their Chevrolet Sonics and find out that they are going to Pier 21, where they will spend the night. The next morning, teams have to ink seven stamps and put them in a passport. Teams now have to head to Mahone and find St. James Anglican Church. Then they head to the Gazebo Cafe where the Roadblock is. In this Roadblock, one team member has to search for a scarecrow from a photo on their BlackBerry Smartphone, bring it back to the gazebo and build a copy. After they take a photo of it and give it to an expert they will get the next clue.

Teams then go to the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg, where they find the Detour: Surf or Turf. In Surf, teams have to board a lobster fishing boat in Lunenburg Harbor and pull six lobster traps and catch, band and deliver to Grand Banker Seafood Bar & Grill one lobster from each. In Turf, teams head to Boscawen Inn and taste 12 different kinds of sausages and memorize their German names. Then they have to go to Zwicker Wharf and identify the 12 sausages from memory. Teams then head to head to St. John's Anglican Church in Lunenburg, where the U-Turn is. No one is U-Turned this time. Teams are given a Canadian dime, which features the Bluenose schooner on one side. They have to figure out that they have to meet Jon at the Bluenose II, which was in a Lunenburg dry-dock at the time. They find out that they have to keep going.

1. Holly and Brett 1:21 P.M. Won two round trip plane tickets to anywhere in South America.

2. Jody and Cory 1:54 P.M.

3. Vanessa and Celina 2:12 P.M.

4. Jet and Dave 2:34 P.M.

Leg #9: "Ah-mazing."

Original Air Date: September 9, 2013.

Continuing from the last leg, teams get an extra $150 and instructions to go, by bus and ferry, to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador. From there they go to The Rooms art gallery in St. John's, which is unaired. Teams then go to the Terry Fox Memorial Site at the Trans-Canada Highway Mile Marker Zero where they have to memorize a quote of Fox's ("I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible if you try, dreams are made if people try") and then repeat it to gain entry into the Quidi Vidi Brewing Company where they join a traditional Newfoundland kitchen party, where they have to kiss a cod and drink a shot of Newfoundland Screech (it's a Newfoundland and Labrador tradition called being Screeched In). Teams then go to Shea Heights Overlook where they pick up the Detour: Tell a Tale or Wag a Tail.

In Tell a Tale, teams have to go to a local dock and listen to two men tell a story entirely in Newfoundland and Labrador slang. They then have to go down the dock and tell the story, verbatim, to a group of listeners. If they forget any part of it, they have to go back and listen to it again. In Wag a Tail, teams have to go to Harbourside Park and pick a Newfoundland dog. Then they have to fill a cart with four dozen eggs and 12 bottles of milk, attach the dog to it and take them, undamaged, to four houses on Holloway Street, one of the steepest streets in the world (it's called Heart Attack Hill). If they are damaged, they have to start all over. Teams then go to O'Brien's Music Store where they find the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to pick up whatever instruments they can find and perform on George Street. After getting $50CAD teams go to the Pit Stop: The eastern most point of North America: Cape Spear.

1. Jody and Cory 1:17 P.M. Won Air Canada Altitude Super Elite 100k Status for a year and a BlackBerry Z10 with BBM Video chat.

2. Vanessa and Celina 1:34 P.M.

3. Jet and Dave 2:13 P.M.

4. Holly and Brett 2:46 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #10: "The brawl for it all."

Original Air Date: September 16, 2013.

Getting $250, teams are told to fly (in first class) to their final destination city: Toronto, Ontario. On arrival, they have to search the airport for a woman wearing a red maple leaf baseball hat. Teams then have to go to the L Building, which was under construction at the time, for the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to rappel face first down the 44 storey building. Once they reach the roof of another three storey building, and reunite with their partner they will get a clue with a Caramilk bar telling them to head to the Cadbury Gladstone Chocolate Factory.

Here teams have to search through cartons of Cadbury Caramilk bars to find one of three golden chocolate bars, which they have to hand in to the president of the company. Teams then head for the Toronto Zoo, where they have to look for the panda exhibit for the next clue. After that, teams head to Evergreen Brick Works where they find another Roadblock. In this Roadblock, the team member that didn't do the first Roadblock has to identify the correct Provincial and Territorial flower for each of the places they visited, which if they were paying attention were in the lapels of the Pit Stop Greeters and the President of Cadbury Gladstone Chocolate Factory. Teams then head by ferry to the finish line: Olympic Island.

1. Vanessa and Celina WIN

2. Jody and Cory PLACE

3. Jet and Dave SHOW.

The Review

For a first time effort, this was pretty good. The racers were pleasant; the course was dynamic, despite taking place only in one country; the tasks were varied. Though Jon is not as good as he would be in subsequent seasons, something he himself has admitted. Out of the five Canadian races that have aired thus far it's third. Still the producers did listen to the viewers and did add foreign locations to subsequent seasons. But next time, we are back to the American version.

-Globetrotting: An Amazing Race Blog by R.C. Anderson for the website Reality Rewind, February 6, 2017.

The Amazing Race: Season 23: Pageant-ly ridiculous.

This season of the snow is better than most, though that's not saying much. The titles got a visual upgrade this season, but nothing concerning the actual dynamics of the race to report. It was filmed from June to July, 2013.

The Cast

Jason and Amy: Dating couple. She is a former Miss Rhode Island who got two degrees by the time she was 22. They are somewhat of a fan favorite.

Chester and Ephraim: Football players (Formerly Houston Texans) and friends. Not sure what teams they played for but they are fan favorites.

Tim and Marie: Exes. Tim is certainly more popular than Marie. In fact, all throughout this season there was a "Free Tim" movement among some fans who saw her as incredibly bitchy and demeaning.

Leo and Jamal: Cousins. They immigrated from Afghanistan when they were young. Like Dustin and Kandice before them they were considered annoying until they got a chance to redeem themselves in an All-Stars season.

Hoskote and Naina: Father and daughter. He's a traditional East Indian father and she's the rebellious daughter.

Tim and Danny: Best friends. They wanted to race for their families.

Nicole and Travis: Married ER doctors. They made a lot of boasts that didn't get much traction later in the race.

Ally and Ashley: LA Kings Ice Crew and friends. They are hard to tell apart but I still like them.

Nicky and Kim: Baseball wives (Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays respectively) and friends. They are strong racers.

Brandon and Adam: Childhood friends. These guys may look like mountain men but they are good racers.

Rowan and Shane: Theatre performers. They toured at the time with a production they wrote and started in called "The Queens of Bingo." They are quite funny.

The Race

Leg #1: "Not in Oklahoma anymore."

Original Air Date: September 29, 2013.

Starting at Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio, and getting $300, teams are told to get into a Ford C-Max, where they will get a video call telling them to fly to Iquique, Chile. Once there, teams have to get to Alto Hospicio and look for someone named Javier. He has the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to direct their cab to follow their team mate who is going to paraglide down to Playa Brava or Huayquique Beach.

Teams then go to Muelle Prat, where they get the second Roadblock. In this Roadblock, the team member who paraglided in the previous Roadblock has to row in a rowboat to collect five fish from one of three boats. Each boat has a limited about of fish. Once back at the dock, teams have to walk to the Pit Stop: Teatro Municipal de Iquique.

1. Tim and Marie 1:12 P.M. Won two Express Passes.

2. Nicole and Travis 1:23 P.M. (Initially arrived first but were penalized 30 minutes for taking a taxi to the Pit Stop instead of going on foot).

3. Jason and Amy 2:03 P.M.

4. Rowan and Shane 2:05 P.M.

5. Nicky and Kim 2:14 P.M.

6. Leo and Jamal 2:23 P.M.

7. Ally and Ashley 2:24 P.M.

8. Chester and Ephraim 2:34 P.M.

9. Hoskote and Naina 3:01 P.M.

10. Brandon and Adam 3:15 P.M.

11. Tim and Danny 3:43 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #2: "Zip it, Bingo."

Original Air Date: October 6, 2013.

After getting $250, teams have to go to the Museo Corbeta Esmeralda and repeat the phrase "Al abordaje, muchachos" to the captain. Teams then have to go to the Irlanda 3 road sign in the Atacama Desert and bike to Mina de Sal Punta des Lobos where they find the Detour: Brining or Mining. In Brining, teams have to fill a small pool of water with enough salt to achieve neutral buoyancy and then read a newspaper in it. In Mining, teams have to use pick axes and sledgehammers to break open halite boulders until they find one with their next clue in it.

Teams then have to get back to Iquique and take a bus to Santiago, Chile. Once there, teams have to go to the Plaza de Armas, where the Roadblock is. In this Roadblock, one team member has to shine someone's shoes then they have to properly put everything back into the stand and bring the whole thing to the storage depot at Mercad 738. They then go to the Pit Stop: Cascada de las Animas.

1. Leo and Jamal 3:14 P.M. Won a trip for two to the Turks and Caicos.

2. Chester and Ephraim 3:16 P.M.

3. Jason and Amy 3:33 P.M.

4. Brandon and Adam 3:59 P.M.

5. Tim and Marie 4:05 P.M.

6. Hoskote and Naina 4:23 P.M.

7. Ally and Ashley 4:34 P.M.

8. Nicole and Travis 5:01 P.M.

9. Rowan and Shane 5:14 P.M.

10. Brandon and Adam 5:43 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #3: "King Arthur Style."

Original Air Date: October 13, 2013.

Getting $225, teams are told to fly to Lisbon, Portugal. Once there, teams have to Martim Moniz Square then take a tram to Miradouro das Portas do Sol. There a troupe of Fado performers will give them a painting of the Embassy Coach sent by King John V to Pope Clement XI and figure out that they have to go to Museu Nacional dos Coches, where they have to search for the Embassy Coach depicted in the painting for the next clue. Here teams get the Detour: Tiles or Miles.

In Tiles, teams have to go to a ceramics studio and put together a puzzle made out of ceramic tiles. In Miles, teams have to go to a large outdoor map and, using a giant compass, retrace Ferdinand Magellan's trip around the world. If they get within 500 nautical miles of 16,500 nautical miles they get the next clue from a Magellan impersonator. Teams then go to Clube Portugues de Tiro a Chumbo for the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to put on a suit of armor and use a ballista to fire an arrow 150 into a shield. Once that is done, they can go to the Pit Stop: Castelo dos Mouros.

1. Nicky and Kim 10:23 A.M. Won a trip for two to Costa Rica

2. Jason and Amy 10:25 A.M.

3. Hoskote and Naina 10:45 A.M.

4. Chester and Ephraim 11:13A.M.

5. Tim and Marie 11:36 A.M.

6. Leo and Jamal 12:34 P.M.

7. Ally and Ashley 12:45 P.M.

8. Nicole and Travis 1:15 P.M.

9. Rowan and Shane 6:57 P.M. ELIMINATED. (Mainly by being screwed over on flights).

Leg #4: "We're really up north now."

Original Air Date: October 20, 2013.

Receiving $176, teams fly to Bodo, Norway, high above the Arctic Circle. Once there they have to take a ferry to Svolvaer. At the terminal, they find the Detour: Hang Your Heads or Hammer of the Cods. In Hang Your Heads, teams have to string together six bundles of ten fish heads each and then take them by wheelbarrow to the marked drying platform and hang them. In Hammer of the Cods, teams have to get 15 pairs of cod from a 30 foot drying rack and transport them to a manufacturing area. Here they debone them and pound them with hammers to make fish jerky.

Teams then take a Rigid-hulled Inflatable Boat to Henningsvaer Fishing Village where they find the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to put on a wetsuit, climb onto the nearby bridge and swing on an 80 foot rope. When they are ready, they will detach themselves from the rope, splashing into the Arctic Ocean and swim to a buoy with their next clue on it. Teams then make their way to a quarry where they have to attach a Ford Ranger to a block of granite on a sled and then pull it off to reveal their next clue and a satchel of "Viking Coins" that they need for later in the race. Teams then head to the Pit Stop: A Viking Longhouse in Vestvagoy. There they learn that they have to keep going.

1. Hoskote and Naina 4:51 A.M. Won $5,000 each.

2. Jason and Amy 5:03 A.M.

3. Leo and Jamal 5:34 A.M.

4. Nicole and Travis 5:50 A.M.

5. Tim and Marie 6:15 A.M.

6. Chester and Ephraim 6:33 A.M.

7. Nicky and Kim 6:37 A.M.

8. Ally and Ashley 7:04 A.M.

Leg #5: "Never thought I'd be eliminated in a dress."

Original Air Date: October 27, 2013.

Teams get $300 with their new clue and are told to take an overnight ferry to Trondheim, then fly to Gdansk, Poland. Once there, they have to make their way to Solidarity Square. Then teams head to the Golden Gate. There teams pick up the Detour: Pose or Polka. In Pose, teams have to get to the Neptune Statue outside of the Town Hall, put on costumes that imitate the statue, and then pose like it. Once they have earned 75 zloty (or $19 US), teams get the next clue. In Polka, teams have to go to the Old Town Hall, put on polka costumes (there is one male and one female costume) and learn and dance the polka. Whichever Detour option they chose, they have to where that costume for the rest of the leg.

Teams then go to a medieval harbor crane on the Motlawa waterfront where the U-Turn is. Leo and Jamal use it on Chester and Ephraim. Teams then go to Przymorze's Falowiec where the Roadblock is. In this Roadblock, one team member has to search this 1/2 mile long apartment building of 12 apartments that have a traditional Polish pastry known as paczki in them. Once they find the one with Rosehip jam (denoted by its red color) in the center they get the next clue. Teams will also be penalized for being rude. Teams then go on foot to the Pit Stop: Sopot Pier.

1. Tim and Marie 10:12 A.M. Won a trip for two to Hawaii.

2. Nicky and Kim 10:13 A.M.

3. Jason and Amy 10:14 A.M.

4. Ally and Ashley 10:59 A.M.

5. Nicole and Travis 11:23 A.M.

6. Leo and Jamal 11:43 A.M.

7. Hoskote and Naina 12:10 P.M.

8. Chester and Ephraim 12:35 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #6: "Choir Boy at Heart."

Original Air Date: November 3, 2013.

Getting $250, teams are told to take a train to Vienna, Austria. Once there they have to get to the Vienna State Opera House, where someone wearing a Rigoletto costume will take them to the Opera's costume department where they will get the Fast Forward, involving bungee jumping off the Donaturm which no one takes, and the Detour: Light Brigade or Masquerade. In Light Brigade, teams go to the Ephesos Museum and put together a crystal chandelier. If they don't get it right on the first try, it will be destroyed and they will start over. In Masquerade, teams have to go to the Austrian Theatre Museum at Palais Lobkowitz and search for two masks that match pictures they are given.

Teams then head to Wiener Sangerknaben where the Roadblock is. In this Roadblock, one team member has to sing a section of Schubert's Die Forelle with the Vienna Boys' Choir, in German, to the satisfaction of the choir master. Teams then head to Schloss Schönbrunn and search the hedge maze for the next clue. They walk to the Pit Stop at the Schloss' Glorietta.

1. Nicky and Kim 1:10 P.M. Won a trip for two to Anguilla.

2. Nicole and Travis 1:34 P.M.

3. Leo and Jamal 2:01 P.M.

4. Jason and Amy 2:20 P.M.

5. Tim and Marie 2:21 P.M.

6. Ally and Ashley 2:35 P.M.

7. Hoskote and Naina 3:14 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #7: "Speed dating is the worst."

Original Air Date: November 10, 2013.

Receiving $230, teams have to fly to Abu Dhabi, UAE. On arrival, teams have to go to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque where, with the female racers wearing the face covering, they search the grounds for the next clue. Teams then go to Jaber Khoory Household Appliances Company in the Irani Souk for the Detour: Sort It Out or Sew It Up. In Sort It Out, teams have to go to the Al Mina Vegetable Market and sort through several varieties of dates for ones that will fit into a display. In Sew It Up, teams have to go to a dhow dock and sew up some fishing nets.

Teams then go, by ferry to Yas Island. Once there they make their way to the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel and the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to free rappel 200 ft to the racetrack then they have to ride along in a Le Mans prototype racecar for a lap all the while looking for a sign containing the circuit record of Sebastian Vettel of 1:40.279. If they don't see it, they have to go again. Then teams walk to the Pit Stop at the winner's podium.

1. Tim and Marie 2:15 P.M. Won a trip for two to Paris

2. Jason and Amy 2:34 P.M.

3. Leo and Jamal 3:04 P.M.

4. Ally and Ashley 3:45 P.M.

5. Nicky and Kim 4:02 P.M.

6. Nicole and Travis 4:59 P.M. NOT ELIMINATED/SPEEDBUMPED.

Leg #8: "A very sexy camel."

Original Air Date: November 17, 2013.

Getting $175, teams have to use the "Viking Coins" they picked up in Norway to unlock their Ford Explorer, in the parking garage. Then they have to go to the Bou Thib Endurance Village, where they drive a dune buggy along a marked course to the next clue. Teams then make their way to Al Ain National Museum and make their way to the Al Ain Oasis, where they have to ask local tree climbers to get their next clue from the top of a date palm tree. Teams then make their way to Al Jahili Fort where they find the Detour: Wedding Guests or Beauty Contest.

In Wedding Guests, teams have to prepare machbus, a traditional Emirate dish, for a wedding. In Beauty Contest, teams have to get a camel that has met a set of breeding guidelines and dress them up for a show. Teams then go to the nearby Al Jahili Tower, which has an unused Double U-Turn, to get the next clue. Teams go to Wadi Adventure, where Nicole and Travis do their Speedbump: swimming through a wave pool and climbing up a ladder without getting knocked off. Then they can join the other teams at the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to go onto the world's largest man made white water rafting course and grab three flags along the course, one each of red, black and green. Teams then go to the Pit Stop: The Mercure Grand Hotel.

1. Tim and Marie 12:10 P.M. Won one Ford Eco-Boost Car each.

2. Jason and Amy 12:34 P.M.

3. Leo and Jamal 1:19 P.M.

4. Nicky and Kim 2:43 P.M.

5. Ally and Ashley 3:02 P.M.

6. Nicole and Travis 3:38 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #9: "Like Marie and I."

Original Air Date: November 24, 2013.
Receiving $250, teams fly to Bandung, Indonesia. Once there, they go by train to Cikandang Village and find the Ram Arena. There they have to get two rams bring them to the arena and have them fight. Once the butted heads, teams get the clue telling them to take a train back to Bandung and search the train station for the Detour: For the Elephants or For the Birds. In For the Elephants, teams go to a local market and pick up eight watermelons, two bunches of bananas, 12 sweet potatoes and five stalks of sugar cane, take them to the elephant enclosure at the Bandung Zoo and feed it all to the elephants. In For the Birds, teams to a local bird market, pick up two matching Peach-faced Lovebirds, take them to a singing competition and get them to sing.

Teams then go to Saung Angklung Udjo, where the Roadblock is. In this Roadblock, one team member has to correctly put together an angklung musical instrument made of bamboo and then play one octave on it. Teams then go to the Pit Stop: Bosscha Observatory.

1. Leo and Jamal 2:13 P.M. Won $7,500 each.

2. Jason and Amy 2:45 P.M.

3. Nicky and Kim 3:10 P.M.

4.Tim and Marie 3:34 P.M.

5. Ally and Ashley 4:12 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #10: "There something in my teeth?"

Original Air Date: December 1, 2013.

Getting $230, teams are told to go to King Cobra House, Ciwangun Indah Camp in Parongpong. Here they have to eat a 20 cm portion of grilled King Cobra. From there, teams have to go to the Kawah Domas Crater in Tangkuban Perahu Volcano for the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to pick up 60 eggs ride as a passenger on a moped to the crater and boil the eggs until they are hard boiled. Once the egg man has made sure they are all hard boiled they get the next clue.

After a brief (unaired) visit to Kawah Ratu Crater, teams get the Detour: Paint Your Partner or Turn Over a New Leaf. In Paint Your Partner, teams have to go to a spa and make each other up as a traditional Javanese bride without a mirror. In Turn Over a New Leaf, teams go to a tea plantation, put on traditional tea harvester uniforms and search the ground for a pair of clipping shears. Teams then have to climb down all 587 steps to the Pit Stop: Curug Cimahi.

1. Jason and Amy 2:13 P.M. Won a trip for two to Cancun.

2. Nicky and Kim 2:14 P.M.

3. Tim and Marie 2:15 P.M.

4. Leo and Jamal 3:43 P.M. NOT ELIMINATED/SPEEDBUMPED.

Leg #11: "Amazing Crazy Race." Part I

Original Air Date: December 8, 2013.

Getting $240, teams fly to Tokyo, Japan. On arrival, teams have to get to Gotokuji Temple where they pick up the Detour: Knock It Down or Call It Up. In Knock It Down, teams have to go to Tokyo Media City and participate in a Japanese game show where they alternate being a human bowling ball in an inner tube to knock down a set of pins. In Call It Up, teams have to participate in an art installation that uses Tokyo's old telephone booths filled with water and goldfish. One racer has to put on a bathing suit and a goldfish shaped cap then get into the phone booth and, after dialing a number receive a message on the phone, "Welcome to Tokyo. Wasabi taberu." Then they tell it to their partner who would tell a judge.

Teams then go to Shinjuku Park where Leo and Jamal hit their Speedbump. In this Speedbump, Leo and Jamal have participate in an escaped rhino drill, where the rhino in this case is fake. They then join the other teams at the Roadblock. In this Roadblock, one team member has to put together a robot made of cardboard tubes with only a miniature model as an example. Teams then head to Shibuya Crossing, to find a wandering "Vending Machine", really someone wearing a vending machine costume, who will dispense their next clue. Then teams head to the Pit Stop: Konno Hachimangu Shrine.

1. Nicky and Kim 2:13 P.M. Won a trip for two to Aruba.

2. Jason and Amy 2:34 P.M.

3. Leo and Jamal 3:09 P.M.

4. Tim and Marie 3:44 P.M. ELIMINATED.

Leg #12: "Amazing Crazy Race." Part II.

Original Air Date: December 8, 2013.

Receiving $300, teams fly to their final destination city: Juneau, Alaska. Once there teams have to take a ferry to Douglas Bar where the final Roadblock is. In this Roadblock, one team member has to drop a bag of flour onto a target from 150 ft in the air while going 60mph in a bush plane. After that, they have to take a helicopter to Norris Glacier and then use a pickaxe to dig out their next clue. Teams then paddle kayaks to a marked island in Hoonah to get their next clue.

Then teams head, by helicopter to the Blueberry Hills Trailhead where their last task is. In a play on what happened in season 3, teams have to put together totem poles that show the money of the countries they visited on the race. Then it's off to the finish line: End of the North Douglas Highway Outer Point Trail.

1. Jason and Amy WIN.

2. Nicky and Kim PLACE.

3. Leo and Jamal SHOW.

The Review

This is my sixteenth season. While it did have some memorable personalities and some good locations and tasks it was all kind of average. There was still some life left in the American version though. Though next time, they went back to the well.

-Globetrotting: An Amazing Race Blog by R.C. Anderson for the website Reality Rewind, February 13, 2017.
 
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It is/was a reality show where teams traveled the world, competing in various challenges that related to the local culture, and bickering with each other (more often than not).
Oh okay then. I was wondering why posts about this show kept popping up every once in a while.
 
Summer 2013 (Part 3) - A New Age At Bioware
Bounty

Bounty is an adventure/RPG title developed by Bioware exclusively for the Google Nexus. Developed by an offshoot of the team responsible for the Necrocracy series, Bounty is an attempt to create a smaller scale game while still providing plenty of cinematic elements and a decent amount of action. Its exclusivity to Google's Nexus was done for both financial and developmental reasons: during this time, Bioware was losing money on the development of Necrocracy 3, and needed an infusion of cash, and in addition, developing the game for one console would make development time quicker, so it was a win-win for the company and Bounty was able to be developed in about a year and a half. The game takes place primarily on a large, city-like space colony, though there are some optional excursions to planets and moons throughout the game. You play as Tommy Corona, a bounty hunter stationed on the colony, tasked with hunting down criminals and fugitives attempting to hide there. The game combines elements of both Metroidvania games and RPGs such as OTL's Mass Effect, with some sections of the colony initially closed until the player collects enough money or completes enough story objectives to go there. Tommy himself equips a cybermechanical suit to complete his missions, making him look like a somewhat less bulky Samus Aran (at least when he's in his suit, as he's able to complete some missions and explore without it). The player can upgrade this suit throughout the game, and can also purchase weapons and items, and also build them if they acquire enough components. The game also features extensive dialogue options for both main and side quests, which will effect Tommy's relationship to other characters and the missions he's able to complete. He's able to choose which bounties to go after and which ones to leave alone, and can also choose to team up with certain characters that he'd be otherwise tasked with killing or capturing. The Nexus' second screen gives the player the option to use it as a minimap or tracker, to gain information about bounties and missions and Tommy's loadout, or the player can just use the in-game menu (and it's possible to use two at once). Combat is fairly typical third person shooter fare, though Tommy himself is quite agile and able to duck and roll and jump during battle, with weapons having a variety of effects and special perks. It's possible for enemies to drop items and weapons in battle, giving this game some slight "loot shooter" elements, though not many. The player can level up Tommy, upgrading his abilities and the equipment he's able to use, and level-ups are gained both via combat and outside of it by completing missions and dialogue trees. The game's graphics are fairly good for the Nexus despite the game's short development time, and there's a decent crew of voice actors behind the game, with Matt Mercer as the voice of Tommy Corona and Laura Bailey as the voice of the mysterious and elegant Synara, who starts out as a high-level bounty that Tommy is tasked with capturing, but who can also be befriended or even romanced (one of numerous potential romances Tommy has in the game).

Bounty takes place in the 23rd century, as humankind has taken to the stars on space colonies designed for long journeys in space. Some of these space colonies have trouble enforcing law and order, and so bounty hunting has been legalized to keep people safe and keep crime at a minimum. Tommy Corona is known as one of the best bounty hunters, and after an opening tutorial mission that shows off who Tommy is and how skilled he is at his job, the player is given the ability to explore the first segment of the space colony, consisting of a large city area and some slum towns beyond. The rest of the colony is blocked off by barricades, but there's enough to do here to keep the player busy, with several side bounties and a main story mission requiring Tommy to track down an escaped criminal from a jail on the nearby moon prison. Tracking down this criminal eventually leads to Synara, who has a massive bounty on her head despite no record of her having committed any crime. Tommy initially pursues her, leading to the revelation that Synara killed a high-ranking planetary government member but this is being kept under wraps by the same people who put out a bounty on her. Synara is quite dangerous, and if the player wishes, they can hunt her down and turn her in. Whether they choose to turn her in or align with her, all roads lead to the corrupt government of the nearby planet of Palamir 7. Synara was once a bounty hunter, serving at the pleasure of the planetary president of Palamir 7. However, one day, Synara turned on him, for partially (but not completely) personal reasons, and Tommy can either help Synara find out why, or take advantage of the situation. Whatever Tommy does, he'll draw the ire of the new president of Palamir 7, Antares Flax, who initally recruited Synara and also used to be her lover. Antares is the game's primary antagonist, and even if Tommy chooses to help him at first, he'll eventually run afoul of him no matter what he does, leading to an invasion of the colony itself by Palamir 7's army. After a series of events, a bounty is placed on Flax's head by a rival planetary leader, and Tommy is tasked with taking him down. Eventually, Tommy learns (either from Synara herself or from another individual if Synara has been killed by this point) that Flax was taking advantage of the bounty hunters to gain power and strike fear into his enemies. Tommy realizes that if he kills Flax, he'll merely be creating another one, but if he spares Flax, the abuse of the bounty hunting system won't end. In the end, Tommy defeats Flax, but in such a way that the death will be blamed on an accident, giving up the bounty for killing him but also showing that the bounty hunters of the galaxy can't be manipulated. Tommy can't return to his old colony, but he manages to board a ship to another colony, where he'll resume his bounty hunting career. Whether or not Tommy is joined by anyone is determined by the player's actions and choices throughout the game, but in the canon ending, Tommy goes alone.

Bounty is extremely well reviewed at the time of its release, praised highly for its action gameplay and its characters, as well as the game's branching dialogue and story paths. Its reviews average right in the 9/10 range, making it one of the Nexus' best original games of the year. It's released in August 2013 to excellent sales, helping to further establish the Nexus, which is seeing rising sales at the time thanks to its strong early library of games and the recent BYOD version of the console allowing people to use their own Android devices to get the Nexus for cheap. Bounty is one of the games that most benefits from the new, cheaper bundle, and it helps bolster Nexus sales in kind. As for Bioware, the company continues work on Necrocracy 3, while also starting work on a sequel to Bounty and working to develop their upcoming PC exclusive. Even during this busy time, however, the company is finalizing a major deal that will change it forever, and the landscape of video games along with it...

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Bioware Acquired By Valve, Necrocracy 3 To Release In 2014, Will Be Timed Exclusive To Steam

In a major and shocking announcement earlier today, Valve announced that it had acquired the video game software company Bioware for just under $3 billion. The company, responsible for the acclaimed Necrocracy and Baldur's Gate series, among others, will begin developing games under Valve's production banner, starting in 2014. This includes Necrocracy 3, which will be released in "the fourth quarter of 2014", exclusively for PC via the Steam service, before being released for home consoles and other computer platforms in 2015. Bioware will also continue work on its upcoming and unnamed PC game, and will also develop games based on Valve's intellectual properties, including Team Fortress 3 and at least one Half-Life spinoff. The news comes as a surprise, particularly because Bioware had until quite recently maintained that it wishes to remain an independent software company. There were rumors that Acclaim was looking into purchasing Bioware, but that the company, which had been suffering financial issues of its own as of late, could not afford the steep purchasing price. At the same time, Valve has been accumulating massive profits in recent years thanks to the success of its Steam service, which has become the most successful platform for purchasing and downloading PC games. The company has also seen its stock prices rising in anticipation of the release of Half-Life 3 this November. Bioware did not contribute to Half-Life 3's development, but, as many members of the game's development team will now be joining Bioware, the company will likely work on at least one DLC for the game, as Valve itself concentrates on developing and improving its Steam service.

-from an article on Games Over Matter, posted on August 16, 2013
 
It's kinda weird how close we're getting to the present. Like, to give some perspective, we're now around the point that the original PTS timeline started posting OTL.
 
Summer 2013 (Part 4) - Anime For Everyone
The 2010s have already seen the debut of numerous acclaimed anime series, from the still ongoing Student Blues to 2011's Steins;Gate, anime shows have permeated the cultural landscape and have entertained fans around the world. 2013 has been perhaps the best year for debuting anime thus far this decade, and we'll be listing nine shows that are expected to light up television screens from Japan to France to the United States over the next few months and years. We'll list them by category, with three for boys, three for girls, and three for adults, the three in each category that we consider the best or most important anime shows to debut this year.

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For Boys (6-15):

Brandish: An adaptation of Koei's classic dungeon crawler video game series, which was announced to be returning to game consoles later this year on the Google Nexus, Brandish explores the lives and adventures of the brave warrior Ares and the magician Dela. Curiously, the show alternates perspectives between the two of them, with an episode based on Ares followed up by an episode based on Dela. The show has been confirmed to have at least two seasons of 26 episodes each, with the first season having debuted in the spring. The series doesn't strictly retell the story of the original game, but instead alters and expands upon it to allow both Ares and Dela to have equal spotlight and history with one another, and also to surprise the viewers who might be familiar with the games. It's confirmed that the second season won't necessarily continue from the first, but will be a "gaiden" story based on the new game, which continues the adventures of Ares and Dela in a different setting. It's nice to see a classic and somewhat obscure game get such a good anime adaptation, and the series is expected to be localized to the West in 2014.

Punch Guardians: A shonen series with a bit of a twist, Punch Guardians focuses on the adventures of adolescent boys in a special fighting school where they train to be junior police who specialize in boxing moves. Their rival school specializes in kick-based moves, and also admits girls, so not only are the heroes dealing with the criminal elements in the city (which consist of fairly wacky people who wouldn't be out of place in a sentai series, but also include some truly evil and serious mobster characters), but must also occasionally battle their high kicking rivals. As is typical for the shonen genre, things frequently get over the top, and there's plenty of physics-defying action, with characters capable of punching down entire buildings. This series has been confirmed to be coming to the West, and will start airing on Toonami in the fall.

The Brothers Legacy: A series focusing on a young boy who idolizes his heroic brother, who may or may not be alive (as no one but the protagonist Sobu is able to see or hear him, seemingly), this is a more subdued series where the young protagonist must go on a quest to live up to his brother's legacy, while teaming up with various other heroes along the way. Sobu is battling against a man who may or may not be his father (there's a lot of mystery in this series), and it's currently on hiatus after its first thirteen episodes, with the second set of 13 episodes set to begin airing in October. This is a more serious show, with nearly every episode able to stand on its own while also contributing to the various ongoing myth arcs, and while it's hard to see how they're going to wrap all of this one up, it's got viewers captivated in Japan and Western viewers hastily importing the subtitled version. A dub for this series has not yet been announced, but is expected to come at some point.

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For Girls (Ages 6-15):

Blackshot!: An unusual series for girls in that it's action-based, Blackshot! focuses on the adventures of a "mechanical assassin queen" named Takanata, who murders criminals while dodging the cops and romancing a male university student who she constantly has to protect from danger. Blackshot! actually focuses more on this romance than on the combat itself, with Takanata shown frequently going out on dates with him, obsessing over anime and trying to figure out how to live a normal life. In fact, outside of battle, Takanata has been often compared to the character of Usagi Tsukino, shown to be rather klutzy and emotional. It's only in combat when she acts somewhat more mature, but even then, she's silly and sometimes awkward. Takanata also has a bunch of girlfriends she hangs out with, who she often ends up having to protect as well. Though there's a lot of fighting in the series, there's very little blood or gore, with combat that features lots of sight gags and explosions, inside jokes, and even modern pop cultural references. One of the stranger series to come out in recent memory, Blackshot! has seen its protagonist become somewhat of a meme, with girls cosplaying as Takanata and the seiyuu for the character even coming out with her own music CD to tie in with the show. It's a sign of creators being more experimental with shows for both boys and girls, and could signal a changing of the guard for shoujo series in Japan.

LoveLive! School Idol Project: This show about a group of girls who start their own J-Pop band in order to save their school from closure is definitely influenced by the recent J-Pop surge in the West (one of the main characters is an American girl clearly based on Chloe Wang), with the show coming to Toonami just a few months after its launch in Japan. The show has already seen a massive amount of ancillary spinoffs and material, including merchandise and games for both mobile and home console. It's a charming series with a bunch of protagonists who have their own personalities, and has proven to be the most popular show amongst girls in Japan in 2013. Whether or not it turns out to be a game changer or just another passing fad has yet to be determined, but it's definitely breathed new life into the musical shoujo genre.

Sōgen no Hime: This show focuses on a young girl who happens to be the only survivor of a mysterious affliction that killed everyone else in her village, who befriends a group of magical talking creatures who help her to survive and rebuild. These creatures all seem to take after traits of people whom the girl knew before the disaster, and each episode is based on a lesson taught by one of them. This series starts out quite sad, but has some very happy moments, and the creatures themselves are quite adorable, with the series clearly being inspired by Ghibli. Only planned for 26 episodes, this series looks to be one of the best of the year, and has already won several awards.

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Adults (16+):

The Traveler: A very dark and gritty series about a samurai-sword wielding serial killer in late 19th century Japan, this has been called a "dark Rurouni Kenshin" by many viewers, and explores the mind of a twisted individual while also exploring the depths of human depravity. It features a somewhat minimalistic art style, and is a deep character study of both its protagonist Akaga and the people whose lives he affects, both for better and for worse. It ruminates on whether the people Akaga kills deserve their fates (a few clearly do, a few clearly don't, and with most it's ambiguous), and also ruminates on the human condition as a whole. Along with Sōgen no Hime, it's considered one of the year's best new anime shows.

Kill la Kill: From something serious and grounded to something absolutely batshit insane, Kill la Kill is Studio Trigger's series about a girl named Ryuko Matoi who rebels against a dictatorial student council leader and launches a war against her over the right to wear special clothing called Goku Uniforms that enable their wearers to possess supernatural power. The series is full of twists, turns, and spectacular (and extremely violent) fighting, with everyone wearing extremely skimpy outfits to boot. Full of fanservice and gore, this series is also surprisingly dramatic, with some of the most compelling characters and storylines in recent memory. Once you start watching Kill la Kill, it's almost impossible to stop, which seems to be the secret behind this series' sudden and surprising success.

Revolution Of The Motorgangs: This series takes place in a dystopian Tokyo ruled by a cyber-dictator similar to Nineteen Eighty-Four's Big Brother, whose rule is suddenly challenged when the city's high-tech motorcycle gangs all revolt against him at once. These motorcycles, which have the ability to transform into eight-foot tall robotic combat mechs and fight alongside their superhuman riders, come into conflict with an army of brainwashed cyborgs and AI-driven machines, tearing Tokyo in two. The protagonist of the series is Kotetsu, a junker who has almost completed his own motorbike when the revolution breaks out. He and his sister, a mechanic named Hotaru, must find a way to stay out of danger and make contact with a rebel faction, all while avoiding the more dangerous of the biker gangs and being empressed into the dictator's growing force of brainwashed slaves. Despite the fairly ludicrous concept of an army of motorcycle gang mech-riders, this series takes itself extremely seriously, and is full of dramatic and tragic moments. It's only scheduled for one 26 episode season, but there are rumors that a second season, perhaps in the form of a sequel series, is coming at some point.

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These are only some of the best new shows of 2013. Other popular new series, such as Sugarplum and Attack On Titan, are also drawing plenty of viewers and critical acclaim. What's also so exciting is that many of these shows have plans to continue past 2013, rather than ending after a single run of 26 episodes like many anime shows have done. That means that we may be enjoying some of these shows well into the remainder of the decade, and fans around the world will have a glut of anime for years to come.

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"With Working Designs' relocation having opened up the floodgates for high quality English dubbing in San Francisco, it was perhaps only a matter of time before an anime studio opened up to take advantage. Now, Gateworks, which began operations in July, hopes to take some of the business that companies like BangZoom! and Funimation have absorbed over the last decade. It's also opening up opportunities for a lot of San Francisco-area voice actors, with casting directors preferring to hire local talent. The company has acquired the license to localize several series for the west, with Sōgen no Hime most notable among them. The studio is partially owned by former head of Working Designs (before its acquisition by Game Arts) Victor Ireland, though Ireland's role in Gateworks' operations is primarily as an investor and producer, and he'll have little role in the company's hiring or day to day operations."
-from an article in the September 2013 issue of OtakuUSA
 
Summer 2013 (Part 5) - Gritty Games
Heavy

A sandbox beat 'em up game published by Acclaim, Heavy is a dark, neo-noir inspired title about a criminal named Huff who goes on a crime spree in a massive city called Fort River. Directed by Frank Miller, the game draws inspiration from some of his work, most notably Sin City, and has a sort of washed out look to its graphics that serves to emphasize the game's dark and violent tone. The gameplay is fairly freeform in its execution, Huff can go around and beat up pretty much anyone he wants. He has a wide variety of fist and foot strikes, and the combat system is fairly improvisational, with no combos or special moves, but giving the player a wide variety of context based melee strikes to use on foes. He can also equip guns and other weapons to use, but most of the game's fighting is done with punches, kicks, and slams. Huff is also able to take missions from people in the game, or come up with his own missions by collecting evidence and information about different things going on in the city. Huff's appearance and combat style are somewhat close to that of the Sin City character Marv's, and he's voiced by Ron Perlman. Huff is a former enforcer for a powerful gang lord who served a few years in prison before being paroled, and during that time, he grew disgusted with the condition of things in Fort River, and vows to shape the city the way he thinks it should be, and to kill anyone standing in his way. This sets the tone for the events of the game itself, which center around Huff's crime spree and his activities in Fort River after he's released. Though his main goal is to take down several mob leaders, including his own former employer, he also hunts down others he deems to be corrupting the city, including many people who aren't all that bad at all. Huff eventually starts to be pursued by Lieutenant Marshall, a mildly corrupt but also courageous police officer who sees Huff as just another killer. However, Marshall also somewhat agrees with parts of Huff's mission, as he himself has been trying to take down the crime lords for years. As Huff progresses through the game, killing people and stopping criminals as he goes, he begins to accumulate money, which can be used to purchase weapons or drugs that can be used to enhance Huff's fighting abilities. He can also bribe people to gain access to certain areas, then later on can kill those people to get some of his bribe money back. As Huff gains notoriety, people will start to come after him, and the player finds themselves in more and more fights as the game goes on. Eventually, Huff does manage to take down his former employer, the city's most powerful mob boss, but he is eventually himself taken down by Lieutenant Marshall. Thanks to Huff's actions, Marshall has been able to root out the rest of the city's corruption, while also making amends for his own. However, he does his best to conceal the role Huff's crimes played in all of this, and during the ending, commits one more corrupt action by killing Huff, who dies with a smile on his face.

Heavy is released in early September 2013 for the Reality, Virtua, and Nexus. Though it gets a lot of hype for its art and gameplay style and the involvement of Frank Miller, reviews end up being rather poor. Even though the game's combat tries to be unique, it ends up being fairly repetitive regardless, and there's not a lot for Huff to do, while the characters in the game aren't all that compelling either. The game also stirs up massive controversy for its violent and problematic content, and though that controversy leads to some sales, poor reviews cause most people to stay away, making it one of the year's more disappointing games. Frank Miller abandons his plans to make more video games and ends up fairly bitter over the whole affair, blaming Acclaim for much of the game's problems and even becoming combative at times when the game is brought up. The failure of Heavy ends up being one of 2013's most notable gaming stories. However, Acclaim, despite its fairly precarious financial position, isn't hurt all that much. The game only had a moderate budget, and still managed to sell well initially, turning a small profit. The company also has other games on the way, so in the end, Heavy ends up being little more than a footnote in gaming history.

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Amok 3

A third person shooter title for the Reality and Nexus, Amok 3 is the sequel to the two previous Amok titles that appeared on the Xbox and Xbox 2. Unlike some other Microsoft-exclusive properties such as The Covenant and Techno Angel, Amok was not locked down as a Google exclusive, and began appearing on other consoles in 2013, beginning with an Amok HD double pack released for the Reality and Nexus earlier in the year, followed up by this game in September. Amok 3 had a bit of a troubled development history, thanks to the disappointing sales of Trail Of Devastation, with Microsoft beginning work on Amok 3 for a 2010 release, only to shelve the game as financial problems started to rear their head. Google would consider making it a Nexus launch title, but instead declined to purchase the rights to the series, and the development studio began work on the game in earnest in early 2011 after deciding that it would be an eighth gen game and not a seventh gen game. Amok 3 features similar gameplay to its predecessors: a fast-paced, frenetic shooter title similar to OTL's Vanquish, in which players are rewarded for killing enemies in rapid succession as brutally as possible. Players are encouraged to use a mix of melee attacks and gunshots to finish off enemies and cause as much death and destruction as possible. Amok 3 maintains most of the new gameplay mechanics from Trail Of Devastation while also introducing several new ones, including a Critical Mass meter that builds up as the protagonist Kanan kills enemies. Building up this meter causes Kanan to be able to attack faster and more powerfully, but also increases the damage that can be done to him by enemy attacks, introducing a risk/reward system for the player. Amok 3 also introduces loot to the series for the first time, allowing players to acquire perks, mods, and weapons that drop from enemies in battle, turning the game into a sword of pseudo-RPG. Amok 3 features excellent graphics, though not quite as impressive for their time as the ones in the previous two games. It is one of the games that really takes advantage of the Reality's specs, looking noticeably better on that console. The game's primary antagonist is the mad scientist Gholston, the villain from the previous two games, who has spent ten years taking over a small European country and converting its population into super-soldiers to launch World War III by invading all other nations. Kanan must lead an elite group of special forces soldiers into the country to fight their way to Gholston, who now has a cult of personality based around his ability to turn ordinary people into superhumans. About a fourth of the way into the game, Kanan is joined by Chrissie, the soldier who was supposedly killed in Trail Of Devastation, but who, thanks to her supersoldier injections, was able to survive and heal from her gunshot wound, and also recover from her brainwashing. She becomes a valuable ally to Kanan, despite the fact that he tried to kill her previously, and even becomes playable for certain segments of the game. Kanan will also need to free several other supersoldiers from Gholston's mind control, and the player is given a choice about whether to try to save certain enemies or to put them down, which ultimately ends up affecting the ending of the game. Gholston is eventually revealed to have mutated himself into a hideous monstrosity, and also surrounds himself with supersoldiers, some of whom are people that the player may have spared throughout the game (but can still be saved if certain conditions are met). In the end, Kanan is forced to sacrifice himself to take out Gholston once and for all, while Chrissie survives to help the remaining living supersoldiers recover from their ordeal. The world has finally rejected the genetic experimentation that led to the creation of the supersoldier program, with the remaining living supersoldiers dedicating the rest of their lives to maintaining the peace.

Amok 3 is considered a superior game to Trail Of Devastation, not only for its gameplay, which is considered quite excellent, but also bringing back Chrissie Trail, whose death in the previous game was heavily criticized as a "fridging" of a character who had a lot more potential. It caps off the trilogy in a great way, and achieves strong sales thanks to the hype generated by the budget HD re-releases of the previous two games. There won't be any more Amok titles, but its gameplay remains somewhat influential, and will lead to similar games (most of which are much less dark and violent) being made down the road.
 
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