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I’m Selling Stuff!

This is a wierd post, huh? Not something I usually do at all.

Anyway…

My eBay Link: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013

I am moving and in that process am trying to sell some of my media to clear space. This is not a cry for help or financial support (but it won’t hurt) because I am fine in that regard. Instead this is just a signal boost to see if anyone would like what I am selling.

Included in the link/ what I am selling:

Collections/runs of comics in single issues (I still bought the trade for many of these so don’t ask why I did both because I have no answer).

A few manga collections

Card sets (Keyforge and CAH)

That is it for now. More stuff will be posted once I determine what all I want to sell, and how it want to sell it (I mean I just have so, so, so, so – seriously a lot- of Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards and a healthy portion of Magic TG cards). On top of that will be movie collections, TV series and more.

Here is the link again: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013. I want to repeat that this is not for financial support, and if you don’t want to buy anything I won’t like you any less.

Also: if you do want to buy something and contact me saying that you are a reader of the blog I will give you a discount on any of the stuff you order!

(And because it’s tradition)

If you enjoyed this: like, comment, and follow us here, and on Facebook & Twitter at Tower City Media! Subscribe to our YouTube Channel, Tower City Media and Submit to the suggestion box: TowerCityMedia@gmail.com!j

One Piece Volume Cover Rankings Worst to Best #10-#1

Welcome to the finale of this long and carefully orchestrated ranking of all of the One Piece Volume covers. I have spent many hours constructing this list and writing something about each individual one trying to make my point as to why they’re ranked where they are. It has been a long process and we finally made it to the top ten. I will be upfront and blunt about these last 10 though, they are in the top 10 because they pass the eye test for me. They are simply the ones I like the most and will gravitate towards more often when thinking about my favorite volumes. It was hard to rank them individually, but I’m also not going to explain how the cover is more meaningful than another cover to make a case. I just like them and I’ll tell you what I like about them, but that’s it. Anyways, let’s get to our top 10!

10. Volume 73

We have Luffy in his disguise as Lucy in the background since he’s fighting in the coliseum, but the inclusion of one of my favorite villains and one of my favorite characters, Doflamingo and Law is what makes this cover so great to me. I love the Dressrosa arc, and I love everything going on with those two specifically. Seeing them fighting on the cover does nothing but get me excited for the story inside. We also have some of the Straw Hat members that are protecting the ship, but they have a smaller role overall. I just really like how good the volume looks with Doflamingo, Law, and Luffy/Lucy.

9. Volume 52

This is a bittersweet cover that has many implications and is also very misleading in a way that works so well for me. I will go ahead and point out that I really like Rayleigh so seeing him on the cover is pretty cool, but having the whole crew on the cover in a feel good moment is awesome to see. They are all so happy and having a great time, just loving being with each other. I feel like this cover works really well because it shows a contrast between how happy they are on the cover and how traumatic the events are that happen within the pages. The crew is separated and all feels lost by the end, but you wouldn’t know that just by looking at the cover. I love it.

8. Volume 64

This is our first look at a hero cover post timeskip where we get to see our crew taking action and showing off their new skills. Luffy looks more confident as he leads his crew in the center, but the rest of the crew really makes their presence and growth known in this cover. They all have an awesome pose and the inclusion of Jinbei is awesome as well as this is actually before Luffy asks him to join his crew, but he is very clearly already considered a member. I love the designs of everyone on the cover and it all just works great and gets me excited to see what they can do coming into the New World.

7. Volume 51

As I’ve said many times before, I really like all of the Supernovas. As I understand it, they were a last minute addition from Oda that may have been one of the best last minute decisions he’s made in the series. They all have incredible designs and stand out from one another. They all peak my curiosity of wondering what travels they went through to get to this point as well. I think that the cover works well by showing us all of these new characters and I just love it. This has always been one of my favorite covers and before buying it, was one of my most excited to get. I love the designs and how exciting it makes me feel for meeting all of these new characters.

6. Volume 97

This is the most recent release of the volumes as far as me writing this right now. As I just said with the previous volume, I love the Supernova’s. I love their character growth and designs, so seeing Luffy, Kidd, and Law all teaming up on the cover here as well as in the story does nothing but make me so excited. I love all three of them as far as design and character goes and is one of the best moments of the Wano arrc. On top of that, we get to see the members of the Tobi Roppo. Some of them we don’t know much about yet, but one of them, X Drake, stands out as being one of the Supernovas as well. This cover is just awesome.

5. Volume 96

This is my favorite look into the past volume covers. There have been others like the one with Robin where it gives us some insight into what happened when she was a child or the one with Luffy, Ace, and Sabo, but this one is the best. It’s a look into Oden’s past, but more than that we get more information into who Whitebeard and Roger were back in their prime. More importantly this volume was used as a history lesson into when Roger made it to the last island and successfully became the Pirate King. It was one of the best history arcs that we’ve had in the series to this point and the cover shows that as well. We have Roger on the cover for the first time as well as a younger Whitebeard, Oden, Shanks, Buggy, and even Teach. The volume is not yet available in America, but I am so excited to get my hands on it.

4. Volume 58

The Paramount War arc or Marineford War was one of the most important stories in the series and for me as a reader. These volumes were when I started collecting the volumes as they were released and had to wait for them. This cover is just awesome because at the time we had only seen glimpses of the Admiral’s. Here though we see all three on the cover as they play an important role in the war. We also get to see Garp and Sengoku which was cool, but it’s Luffy looking awesome that tops it off. He is facing the might of the marines and it’s just a great cover that represents the major enemies he faced in this arc.

3. Volume 57

This cover is so simple yet is so awesome at the same time. We finally get to see Whitebeard in all of his might in this arc along with his big face covering most of this cover. We also get to see all of his crew and some subordinates in the foreground with Luffy at the center. It shows the might and power of the Yonko as well as them all being behind Luffy as he tries to save his brother. This is easily one of my favorite covers and will likely not move from this spot for some time to come.

2. Volume 89

This is not going to be this high on most people’s lists and that’s perfectly fine because it’s all a matter of preference. I think this cover is badass as it shows Luffy in his Gear 4 Snakeman form fighting his most powerful foe to date one on one in Katakuri. It’s an awesome sight to see these two going at it, but more than that, the cover represents how incredible the fight was between the two. Katakuri is easily one of my favorite characters, not just an antagonist and this volume shows just how cool he is and how powerful in comparison to Luffy. I love this cover for all of these reasons.

  1. Volume 59

The final volume on this list is topped off of course by my favorite volume and cover out of all 97 volumes to date. The design and art is of course perfect and amazing for this cover, but it shows and represents so much about the events that happen within. It’s bittersweet seeing Luffy and Ace on the front both smiling and reunited only for us to know that this is the volume where Ace dies. Whitebeard is at the top with his bloodied half missing face, but still standing as tall and powerful as he is. An incredible moment of writing and art. Shanks, Jinbei, and Blackbeard round out the other characters on this cover who all play a major role in this volume. This cover shows us so much and gives us some of the most important characters of the whole series all on one cover. It’s by far my favorite cover of the whole series.

Sadly, we’ve come to an end of my incredible ranking of all of the One Piece covers. Of course this is only my personal opinion and everyone will have a different way to rank them. I thank you all for reading and following along with me as I made this long list. I am equally as interested in how your rankings would look and I hope that you comment below or email us what you think. Be sure to email us at TowerCityMedia@gmail.com and follow us @TowerCityMedia

Ghiblisgiving: Porco Rosso

Up to this point all the films covered were movies I had never seen before, but as we enter the 90s phase of the studio we also enter the movies I’ve seen. None moreso than another fun adventure, Porco Rosso!

Porco Rosso, the Crimson Pig, was a man turned pig-man and the fiercest bounty hunter in the Adriatic. When a group of his foes, a collective of seaplane pirates, hire an American hotshot named Donald Curtis to hunt Porco down, Porco must come to terms with getting help from unlikely places and deal with his past as an Italian fighter pilot in the Great War.

The film is a freaking blast of a good time. It really leverages and builds on the adventure feel of Castle in the Sky. Building on some of the tropes in that film, the gang of misfit criminals, much more cartoony aesthetic contrasted with well lived in world, and message. From frame one it is just so clear how much fun and energy was put into every frame of animation. The dogfights, in particular, are real standouts. With complicated and overlapping animation along with a strong sense of weight and dimension. It’s clear so much time went into that one aspect while not leaving even the smallest detail outside that to go unnoticed. It’s just a party on display the whole time and that is deeply appreciated.

Of course what makes it special is how it seems like just a fun adventure flick on the surface, but does have a message underneath. This message being unique to Ghibli films, a look at what it means to be a pig. Neither choice, making the main character a pig-man, or the fact it is set between World War I and World War II, was purely for aesthetics. Though let it not go unsaid that the team certainly takes advantage of both. Instead both are used as an examination on what it means to be piggish, boarish, and selfish. Porco, real name Marco, often lifts his nose to the rest of society. He sees so little of it to be of any importance and looks out for himself. This puts him in opposition to the pirates, a group of individuals looking out for themselves, and Curtis, a man obsessed with his own status and building up fame. They’re all taken to task in some regard but does come back to Porco as he grows to care about people, or care about them again if he lost that part of himself. It is why the owner of the Not-Casablanca hotel cares so much for him. Porco can be a good guy, and ends up being one once he sees past the front he puts up. He just has to realize he doesn’t have to be as much of a pig. Which, it’s also fun that he says he’s a pig and not a fascist. A line that strikes just as hard as Nausicaa’s “If I take my mask off for five minutes I would die.”

The American dub for this film is more hit or miss, but overall great. The biggest weakens is Michael Keaton. He is by no means bad. He gives Porco a lot of weight and regret behind his words, but doesn’t get the fun most everyone else does. Cary Elwes in particular gets to have a great time as Curtis, and Susan Egan is able to thread that needle of being weighty while also giving the character a sense of having a good time.

Porco Rosso feels like an easy film to overlook. Because, again, on the surface it seems like just a good time with some mild misogyny and focusing too much on how attractive this 17 year old girl is (which Castle in the Sky kind of did too know that I think back on it), but it’s more than that. Even the weird stuff it does with said 17 year old mechanic builds on Porco and his fight to remain a pig inside or not. The film is almost ahead of its time in the way it seeks to criticize middle-aged men like that. But even as it does that it is still a gorgeous film that is just an amazing time to watch. Also Porco shoots at actual fascists and we need more of that.

Film Ranking:

Porco Rosso 

Nausicaa: The Valley of the Wind 

Castle in the Sky 

Kiki’s Delivery Service 

Only Yesterday 

My Neighbor Totoro

I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013 say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!

If you enjoyed this: like, comment, and follow us here, and on Facebook & Twitter at Tower City Media! Subscribe to our YouTube Channel, Tower City Media and Submit to the suggestion box: TowerCityMedia@gmail.com!

One Piece Volume Cover Rankings Worst to Best #20-#11

The penultimate part of this very long One Piece cover ranking, brings us to the start of the Top 20. There are so many manga series out there and many times, they have volume covers that only show one character or are not as inspired as some of these One Piece covers. It’s more of a testament to Oda to not only give us such a long running series on top of color spreads, but he also puts as much time into giving us a beautiful cover each and every time. It is much easier to rank these volumes than it probably is to rank any other series and that’s credit to Oda for sure. Let’s get to it though, #20-#11!

20. Volume 60

Ever since I first saw this cover, it has always been a favorite of mine, even before I had read the contents. This is the Luffy flashback volume where we finally get some more insight into Luffy as a kid with Sabo and Ace. We also get Rayleigh and Dragon on the cover to give us some living legends. I know Dragon is a bit younger and maybe not considered a legend, but he looks awesome on this cover and I believe is his first cover appearance. Rayleigh is also an awesome character that I love to see, but it really is the inclusion of Luffy and his brothers as kids that I get so excited for when I see this cover. The green used is also very great and I just love this volume cover. 

19. Volume 21

This is the original villain cover where we get to see the lineup of the villains that our crew will be facing. This one shows us the members of Baroque Works that will be facing off against our crew. It’s a memorable cover and brings me back to the good ole days of when I first started reading One Piece. I love so many of the designs and the decision to make this the first villain cover. It’s more of a classic for me like many other volumes that made it higher on this list. 

18. Volume 22

This volume gets the same credit as volume 21. I put them both together because they are both great and represent the original hero/villain covers. There really isn’t much to say about either one of these covers other than the fact that I just love the designs and art as well as the importance of having a villain and hero volume.

17. Volume 92

This volume cover is just awesome. We have Kaido in his dragon form which is awesome, as well as the hilarious faces of some of the Straw Hat crew at the bottom. The red background color is great visually as well, but it’s the inclusion of Luffy and Kidd that tops it off for me. As I’ve said before, I’m a huge fan of the Supernovas, specifically the big three Supernovas Luffy, Kidd, and Law. This is the first time we get to see Kidd on a cover since before the timeskip and I just love his inclusion in this arc because his design is awesome. This cover has so much that I like.

16. Volume 79

Gear Four Bounceman is all that really needs to be said here. We have Doflamingo looking down menacingly and we also have Akainu and Fujitora arguing. The design and art of this volume is just great and I love it. Bounceman was also a great reveal in the fight against Doflamingo so to show it here is just perfect. We also get the character who I can’t remember his name but he was the one with the microphone and was rooting for Luffy and telling everyone to help him until he can recover. That was an awesome moment.

15. Volume 78

The hero side of the Dressrosa hero/villain volumes. This time we don’t actually get to see all of the Straw Hats since some of them are actually off to the next island Zou, but we do get to see the members that are there and the allies they have with them. I still think that Luffy’s outfit in this arc is still one of the coolest that he’s had so far, but we also get Law and Zoro who look awesome as always. Surprisingly though it’s Franky in the background that I think sticks out the most and I like that he’s getting some more love on this cover.

14. Volume 77

Doflamingo is one of my favorite characters in One Piece and the dressrosa arc as a whole is one of my favorites. This is the villain side cover of this arc and I gave it a slight edge over the previous volume only because this highlights a bunch of characters that make their appearance in this arc and all have some pretty awesome designs. All of Doflamingo’s crew is unique in their own way and all have designs that are very fitting, I think this cover does everything well enough to represent how cool so many of these characters are and I think it works the best as a one of the villain covers.

13. Volume 69

This cover is just badass all the way around. Luffy, Zoro, and Law all look awesome on this cover with Luffy having one of his absolute best looks to date on a cover. Zoro looks like he’s straight up about to kill everyone in his path. We also have Smoker and Tashigi who look awesome as well, but this cover really hits the spot with how badass the whole design is with Luffy and everyone else. This is easily one of the best eye test volume covers there is out there and surprisingly didn’t hit higher on my list. 

12. Volume 70

I love everything going on in this cover. Doflamingo making his presence known in a big way with his big face as well as the new outfits for both Luffy and Law. They look awesome and the character who’s name I can’t remember, maybe Baby 5? I think that might be right. Anyways, her machine gun leg is just badass and unfortunate that she didn’t have a bigger role in the arc. I would love to see some kind of return of her because her devil fruit is just awesome. The other interesting thing we see on the cover is the newspaper clippings of the “alliance” between Kidd, Hawkins, and Apoo. As I’ve said before, I like the supernovas quite a bit, so getting to see some exploration with them was great as well along with their inclusion on the cover. 

11. Volume 65

There is a lot going on with this cover and it is a little busy for some people I’m sure, but I find a great liking to this cover. We see Hody looming in the background along with his subordinates, but Luffy in the center with his Red Hawk attack is just badass. The colors look great and seeing him in his action pose for his first big move of the New World just tops the cake for being an awesome look. Hody also had some pretty cool fishman subordinates that amounted to some cool fights so I give that a plus as well.

We finally finished with my penultimate entry in this long ranking list and are heading into the final part. This was not as easy as expected to figure out, but this last one is also probably the hardest of them all. As always, let me know what you all think and where you guys would make changes at. Be sure to comment below or email us at TowerCityMedia@gmail.com and follow us @TowerCityMedia

The Hooting (I’m so Sorry) Good Time of Owl House Season One

Despite being someone who watches far more varied types of media I have fallen out of the know when it comes to moder cable animated series. I have cursory knowledge about things like Steven Universe and the like but haven’t taken the time to really watch them. As I have said and must continue to say: there is just so much new television that it’s impossible to keep up. But, in the haze of being vaguely aware of shows one caught my eye. A new Disney show focused on magic: The Owl House!

Following Luz, a quirky nerd (who is not all that nerdy when you know anything about teenagers but that’s not here or there), as she is accidentally whisked away to magical world of the Boiling Isles. Once there she befriends the cernudgeonly witch Eda, her pet The King of Demons, and her talking house hooty. After saving Eda and a group of misfits from jail Luz decides to stay on the Boiling Isles, make friend and learn magic. Of course ailing yourself with the outcasts means she will have to work harder than ever.

The series has major Gravity Falls vibes in kind of the best way. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that the creator of Gravity Falls is the voice of one of the characters and that the creator of the series worked on that show. But they have so much in common. A fantasy world that focuses just enough on the gross and strange to feel unique but not off putting. A braggadocious trickster as a main mentor, a desire to twist well worn tropes in a way that feels like they’re telling a story and not just trying to be clever, and finally a deceptively deep art style.

The art and animation in this season is actually far better than in Gravity Falls. Which, for all its greatness, does show its age in places (just like Avatar. I mean that two-part opener is rough to go back to). Owl House goes harder on big set pieces that all look great and move super fluidly. They’re a treat.

But that action is a treat in the actual meaning of the word. The season is not one giant epic. It’s not a Shonen battle series in disguise or even a more serialized mystery like Gravity Falls. Instead, The Owl Houses focuses on self contained episodes and stories that work to build the characters. These episodes don’t come from nowhere. Sometimes a villain will reappear but the story is often focused on a character centered stories. Luz trying to learn magic or her friends healing past pains.

They’re not flashy stories, usually. But, when it times to get epic the team does it right by keeping Luz in perspective. She is never the strongest in the room so when she gets to do something epic it feel momentous. Similarly, the strongest in the room get to show off their great power without it looking like they’re over powered.

With the episodes being more character focused it is kind of a shame that the wider cast doesn’t feel as fleshed out. Luz, Eda, and King are well explored and textured characters. But Luz’s friends Willow (sick Buffy reference), Gus, and Amity all feel a little shallow. Not to say that they don’t get their moments. Gus being hyper-confident is great. Amity being stoic just long enough for Luz to show up and become a bumbling wreck, and Willow being nice but having a backbone (I guess) also works. But that is the most I can really pull. They don’t feel totally distinct or as memorable as they could be.

As neat as this all is the series has become notable for its LGBTQ representation. A push for less-gendered pronouns in romantic quips. Characters dressing outside of what they’re usually coded. Luz literally wearing a gay pride outfit as her school uniform. A gay dance sequence where they tango and beat monster (obviously my favorite moment. I mean it’s not like I put a first dance between two love interest framed as a fight or anything… please read Dieous, it’s good), and some gay relationships in the background. Like Willow having two dads. It is all a net positive to be sure, but I’m also dubious of some it.

None of it is bad to be clear, but when you put characters in “wacky” outfits or push for a message of friendship while also having a romantic relationship not being developed and played for laughs it’s strange. I can only think of the reverse. An example is Eda dressing up in a tuxedo. Is a good image. But then I imagine someone like Spongebob wearing a dress in a similar context and it being framed as a joke. It still pushes the idea of dressing for what you feel fits you, but also playing it as a possible joke feels off. It would be like saying just two guys kissing is funny. Even if you’re supporting the position it is still framing the act as a joke.

The series is primarily a comedy despite me not mentioning much of the jokes. They are funny. Very quip heavy like Gravity Falls. Some surrealist jokes, and general gags. But one punching bag it makes fun of is Harry Potter. It saying how sorting hats make no sense or that Quidditch is a dumb sport for the Golden Sntich. This is all funny, and now in context of JK Rowling totally losing her status to people with any social taste, feels like a call out. The series is saying that you can be different while still being good. You don’t need some white kid with glasses to beat a dark lord, it can be a nerdy Latino girl (or is it Latina? You get my point) with a her diverse friend group, no prophecy, and no conformity. It’s a season that says being who you are and working hard is good enough. Standing up for those society doesn’t like good enough. You don’t have to win that fight, but not standing down is a good start.

I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013 say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!

If you enjoyed this: like, comment, and follow us here, and on Facebook & Twitter at Tower City Media! Subscribe to our YouTube Channel, Tower City Media and Submit to the suggestion box: TowerCityMedia@gmail.com!

Ghiblisgiving: Only Yesterday

It’s hard to remind ones self, but Stuido Ghibli is more than just Hayao Miyazaki and his fantastical stories. There is a whole studio full of talented directors, writers, and animators. Famous of all is Isao Takahata. We should have covered his downer Grave of the Fireflies had it been available for streaming, but his next film, a grounded drama based on a novel, is available for streaming and is unlike any of the other movies thus far.

Only Yesterday follows Taeko, a businesswoman in the city as she take a summer vacation trip out to the countryside and work the fields. Only she isn’t going alone as memories of her fifth grade life flood back into her and color her week long trip living with the farmers and their son, another former businessman turned farmer.

The film feels incredibly ahead of its time. The mid-life crisis film is an incredibly common genre of fictional film, but the quarter-life crisis less so. Those films, ones like this one, featuring people who are just starting careers and yet already feel unsatisfied and wanting more from life have been gaining in popularity more recently. That makes this one about a girl being restricted as a child due to how she was brought up and following that path into adulthood feeling unsatisfied in what that life brings at such a young age so refreshing. Even the fixation on decades old foibles and flops feels like something a more modern film would focus on as a thing millennials talk about now, but making a film in the 90s about it is so shocking.

It is unfortunate then that the film isn’t more watchable. That’s in no way saying it is a bad film. Ill-paced for sure. Some of the flashback to childhood segments go on too long or don’t feel connected enough with the springboard. Similary, continuing to introduce new elements of her past even near the end feels off when a setup earlier wouldn’t have made it feel so forced. Also the constant hyping up of farm life does get tedious from time to time. Regardless, it’s a contemplative movie. Fun only in the academic sense, but oddly enough the best written movie yet. Written meaning the dialogue and exchanges. The previous films were all mostly transactional. They were used to get across a direct point without any flowery language or doublespeak. Only Yesterday goes the extra mile of having words say less or more than they imply. The use of silence is also awe inspiring.

Similarly awe inspiring is the use of animation in a film that could easily have been live action. Most of the Ghbili movies could have been, but used the fantastical as the excuse. This film, instead, uses changes in art style to get the changing emotions across. The use of a more cartoony art style that grows from sparse watercolors to more solid backgrounds as the memories get more concrete in the flashback segments is great and contrasts with the realistic present scenes so much more. The scenes in the present have their own grounded feel that’s carried more by the soundscape and ambiance than flashy cuts. That’s to say the animation is consistently smooth without going that cartoonish extra mile the previous films did.

This is also one of the more recent dubbing attempts. It makes sense to an extent. Ghbili was under Disney and this is a hard film to market to that demographic, so waiting till now makes sense. Getting talent like Daisy Ridley and Dev Patel to give really weighty and serious performances while also fighting their English accents back at every corner is great. They also contrast well with the more seasoned voice actors in the cast to feel distinct but not bad.

See what I mean. All of this is good stuff. Fun to talk about and analyze in this hypothetical space. Looking at how the last scene on the train plays with everything that came before is neat, but that doesn’t make this a joyful experience to watch. That makes it doubly hard to judge because it wasn’t fun. Kiki, for all its poorly mixed flaws and odd pacing, was still fun. This has a place and a strong message to send but isn’t a constantly rewatchable film. It’s a quintessential Oscar drama. A film to watch once and get its meaning (maybe twice or three times to really absorb it), but not to put on when you’re having a bad day or just need something on in the background. It’s a great film. The one I was most looking forward to in fact because of its more mature nature, and I guess I got what I wanted out of it. Heck, even this malaise feels almost intentional, but it doesn’t make it more fun or one I would rewatch.

Film Ranking:

1. Nausicaa: The Valley of the Wind

2. Castle in the Sky

3. Kiki’s Delivery Service

4. Only Yesterday

5. My Neighbor Totoro

I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013 say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!

If you enjoyed this: like, comment, and follow us here, and on Facebook & Twitter at Tower City Media! Subscribe to our YouTube Channel, Tower City Media and Submit to the suggestion box: TowerCityMedia@gmail.com!

Ghiblisgiving: Kiki’s Delivery Service

Despite the classical nature of Ghibli and Miyazaki’s films it is odd how the only adaptation up to this point was of Miyazaki’s own work. However that changes after this point and lends more credence to the Ghibli as Disney comparison (I bet they feel bad letting that license slip now that Disney+ is around. That would have been a killing for them). Disney usually stays to well worn fairy tales while Ghibli likes to branch out into newer tales.

Kiki’s Delivery Service, based on the novel of the same name by Eiko Kadono, follows burgeoning witch Kiki as she goes out on the rite of passage for every witch at her age. She must leave home and make a place for herself among a new town and find out who she is. Kiki finds herself in a port city where she uses her singular talent of flying to make a name for herself as a delivery girl. She is a teenager, so of course the winds of passion can change and she must find a way to make those passions her own with her powers and friends she makes along the way.

The movie has a problem. Not the base film but movie posted to HBO Max. I am unsure of this problem persisted in the original 90s Disney release or there was a change made in the transition to streaming, but the vocal mixing on Kiki in particular, but everyone at certain points, is terrible. Her voice is often incredibly tinny or like her voice is coming from a blown out speaker (having since watched the next set of movies on the same system with the same settings and this problem never repeating it is definitely something wrong with this movie). What’s worse is how it happens to everyone at certain moments, and it only seems to affect the voices and no other sound effects. This made it a harder film to watch than intended because literally hearing the characters speak was testing. It’s an unfair thing to criticize a movie on, but it was still part of the experience and must be taken into consideration.

Outside of that (far, far outside) the film is incredibly cozy. Watching Kiki make her deliveries and deal with the residents of the town is just nice. It has the feel of a kids TV show that could go on forever. It means the pacing on the whole is not as good. It takes too long for Kiki to really make her way and for the movie to really show what it is about. However just seeing Kiki being nice to people as she works and watching that kindness come back to her (hypothetically. Her voice is grating to listen to because of the aforementioned mixing problems, but I get the intent)

The animation even reflects that TV feel. It feels even more restrained this time around with more focus spent on the mechanics of her flying and what that would realistically look like. That’s not to say there aren’t little touches thrown in. It’s a Miyazaki movie so of course there are. But on the whole it feels more like it wants to be a long running series over a splashy movie.

The advantage to it being a movie is it’s more individual focus on the idea of growing up. This is a consummate coming of age story, but what sets it apart is what it’s all about. At first glance it seems to be about trying to maintain old traditions in an evolving world. It is about that to a certain extent. The struggle Kiki finds when she first arrives seems to be in contrast to what her mom went through. Meanwhile scenes like using the old school oven in place of an electric one to bake a pie shows how not all old things need to be discarded. However it comes into focus that it’s about Kiki finding her passion and what she wants to do in life, and be accepted for it. Having to deal with burnout as well is an interesting choice, and provides a neat way to rethink it. But I don’t think it’s handled nearly as well as it thinks it is. That comes mostly from the lack of conveying why she doesn’t feel accepted. I mean I understand it being a completely internal struggle for her, but that struggle is not given an external example (some would argue her losing her powers is that example, but that’s the consequence not the inciting reason). Everyone she meets likes her and thanks her and even still she feels exiled from everyone. That’s a fine feeling but never shown in a way to understand it from her perspective. But her inherent drive to help and friendly nature does come through in why she is accepted and finds her place. It just could be conveyed better.

This is a film I want to watch again. Not just so I can see if that vocal issue persists in other copies of the movie but because it’s just kind of a nice world to live in. If it were a series I could see it still going to this day, and totally see why it was one of the highest grossing movies in Japan. It’s charming, cozy, sweet, and has a good character guiding us along the way. Her arc could have just been conveyed better.

Movie Rank:

1. Nausicaa: The Valley of the Wind

2. Castle in the Sky

3. Kiki’s Delivery Serivce

4. My Neighbor Totoro

I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013 say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!

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One Piece Volume Cover Rankings Worst to Best #30-#21

We now enter our third to last part as we carefully approach the finale to this incredibly long ranking. I feel like I bit off a bit more than I expected, but I’m holding strong and am now in the final stages of what will be one of my favorite projects I’ve done on here. I just want to point out something that always stands out to me about Oda. At his best, he gives us some incredible character designs that of course are typically showcased on the covers. At his worst he gives us some absolutely goofy looking characters that you could argue are not good designs. I’ve thought about this a lot and started to realize that his goofy characters aren’t exactly bad designs, rather they are more unique and inspired. I think about Orochi and how we expected him to be so much more intimidating, but that’s the advantage Oda has at being able to come up with such different designs. I think he does better than most at being able to come up with so many different and unique designs for so many characters and I think we take that for granted. Anyways, let’s get on with #30-#21!

30. Volume 35

I had to put this one right next to the previous volume on this list, volume 84. These covers both give us an important Straw Hat event. 84 gave us Luffy vs Sanji and 35 gave us Luffy vs Usopp. I think the battle between the characters is better represented in this one than the latter. We actually get to see them in action and I believe this fight is a lot more memorable. Usopp up to this point has had moments, but none as important as this one. I think it’s a pivotal moment for him and the crew and works better than the Sanji incident, but both are great. I think the cover works better in this case though because we actually see them in action against each other with Franky looming in the background as being an important reason as to why this all happened, sort of. Anyways, I love this cover for Luffy and Usopp and it just looks awesome and represents so much of what this volume holds.

29. Volume 75

This cover ranks up here for having some of the coolest and some of my favorite characters of this arc on the cover. Kyros, I think that’s his name, is just there and I don’t remember too much about him, but everyone else is a major plus for me. Luffy and Law make their appearance which gives it an edge, but I also love Sabo and Fujitora. Koala and Pekka are not too bad, but the real highlight is seeing Sabo and Fujitora on the cover with Luffy and Law. Sabo is a character that I have really enjoyed despite him making me wish Ace was still alive. Fujitora is just badass and fun to read. Overall this volume just gives me a look and reminder of some of my favorite characters, so it gets bonus points.

28. Volume 44

Ah yes, the end to the Enies Lobby battle between the Straw Hats and the World Government. The fight is over Robin of course who is front and center on this cover. Her overall design to me is a little much and is sexualized of course which is nothing surprising, but it always stood out to me as being a little much. That is not what I notice first though, the main point of this cover is the fight between Luffy and Lucci which is one of the all time best fights in the whole series. The cover looks fantastic with both of them on it and I just love how it looks as well as remembering how awesome that fight is between them. A true highlight moment for Oda and Luffy.

27. Volume 42

This is the opposite side of the coin for the previous cover that featured all of the Straw Hats on the cover. I like this cover more because it shows how much more series CP9 is and how uniform they are as a group. CP9 has been one of my favorite enemy teams to see and the cover really highlights all of the important members that we see our crew fight. The designs are all unique and the black background makes it even cooler. I just really like everything about this cover, except for Spandam. Screw Spandam, he sucks.

26. Volume 18

This volume gets credit for having the first Ace appearance on a cover. I remember this volume fondly from back when I was in high school reading One Piece for the first time. I think Ace is an awesome character and his reveal to be Luffy’s brother was an important point as well as the hints at the bigger One Piece world. I don’t care so much about the other characters on the cover as much I do care about how cool Ace’s design is. This cover has more sentimental value to me, so it gets an edge.

25. Volume 93

Speaking of Orochi from earlier, we get a look at him on this cover and yes he is ridiculous, but I love the unexpected design. We also get some of the new characters surrounding Luffy and Zoro. The only one that’s very notable is Queen who makes his first cover appearance and is very interesting design wise, but I really like it. Zoro looks right at home in his Wano outfit and of course is bloody like he always is. Seeing Zoro and Luffy on a cover together also gets me excited, but to top it off we also get Soba mask Sanji on the side. Everything in this cover highlights some of my favorite things about Wano and I just really like it.

24. Volume 1

This is the original volume that started it all. It has the sense of adventure on the introduction to our first three main characters. It’s a memorable cover that I will always remember and like for what it began the series with. There’s not much else to say about this cover.

23. Volume 61

This cover falls right next to volume 1 for showing us the updated version of the same cover after the timeskip. I will always remember the day that I got this volume and how excited I was. It’s awesome that we got to see Luffy, Nami, and Zoro in the same spots, but updated with the new designs. I also love that we get to see all of the other new members to show us how far we’ve come since that first volume. It’s just great.

22. Volume 94

We get to see some of the newer members of the scabbards with Luffy as well in his Wano outfit, but that’s not at all why I like this volume so much. It’s one thing to get Big Mom or Kaido on the cover, but when you have them both on the cover together to show that they are either about to fight or up to something shady then it just tops the beautiful cake of how cool a cover can look. Of course we know now that they team up, but seeing them face off on a cover is just awesome and I absolutely love it. Also the green background is very nice as well.

21. Volume 87

The only thing that can top having Kaido and Big Mom on the cover is when we get a cover that gives us a rampaging Big Mom along with her children and Katakuri in the forefront. This cover is just awesome and is the villain cover of the Whole Cake Island arc. I love everything about this cover whether it be the light blue background or all of the character designs. One thing I will let you know right now is that Katakuri is one of my favorite characters, so having him on the cover is very telling of how much I like him as well as all of the Big Mom family members no matter how weird they are.

And so we have closed out this third to last part on a high note with what I would say are some expected covers and some not so expected I’m sure. There are a lot of covers here that I love, but now we finally get into the covers that I believe are absolute top tier covers for One Piece. Like always, be sure to comment below or send us an email at TowerCityMedia@gmail.com and be sure to follow us @TowerCityMedia

Ghiblisgiving: My Neighbor Totoro

I am aware there is a moving missing. Grave of the Fireflies by Isao Takahata came out before this film. But, due to what I must assume are licensing and rights issues it’s not streaming anywhere (thanks why I use Surfshark… no NordVPN… no, I’m not cool enough to get sponsored). Doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to watch it, but for now I’ll power through and circle back if I find the time.

In the meanwhile I always wondered what the Studio Ghibli logo looked like before Totoro came out. I mean they needed to have something, but it seems odd that I can’t imagine the study without it. Odder still that I never saw the film.

The film, by the way, follows sisters Satsuki and Mei as they move to the countryside with their father. While moving in and exploring their new home the girls find that they have some unexpected but not unwanted spirits in the troll (interesting translation) Totoro and his mythical friends. Of course their life is not perfect. With a sick mother in the hospital, and a busy father they must find ways to live and fill their days with life, and their neighbor can help.

Ghibli and Miyazaki are often compared to Disney and their stable of animated films. Interestingly the previous films don’t really feel like Disney films. Totoro on the other hand totally feels like one.

Totoro feels like a storybook. It’s mundane world made fun by a trickster character and his minions and friends are the plot to many an actual children’s book. Classics like Cat in the Hat and Puff the Magic Dragon and the like all come to mind and all feel true to the spirit of this film.

A film, by the way, which should be incredibly boring yet is not. Most of the film is just hanging out with Satsuki and Mei. Watching them go on adventures or spend time with their dad or Totoro and his forest spirits. Not much honestly happens but the characters are honestly so fun loving and hyper-energetic that you fall into their rhythm. Seeing the world both normal and magical from the perspective of the little girls makes even the boring act of laundry or growing seeds into something fun.

It’s helped immensely that the sisters, played by real life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning, having an amazing chemistry (for obvious reasons) and totally fit the roles of the girls. Satsuki has to act more mature than she lets on while Mei is far more emotional but open to new things. Their interplay, especially early on, sells the film the most. Well that and the father.

It would be easy to overlook their father played by Tim Daly (the voice of the best Superman). He’s kind of nothing. Just a generally nice guy who works hard and cares for his family. Of course it’s in the details that he shines. His ability to turn any event into a supernatural game or fun adventure builds the themes of the movie without even thinking of it. He just so easily and naturally turns the mundane into the games the girls play with simple framing. He is the backbone of the story more than a giant cat guy.

Not to say the giant cat guy isn’t important. But Totoro, the movie, is about facing life with the imagination and heart of a child. When seeing the world through their inventive eyes everything becomes fun. It’s not just dust but soot spirits. Acorns don’t grow because of rain and sun but from a cats magic. The wind blows because it’s a cat bus carrying its passengers across the fields. These are great visuals that help both us and the sisters keep their mind off the hardship in their life. Only the secret is that anyone can do this. They face hardships in the film, but they are often worse because they don’t try and find whimsy in it. Not to say you always need to. It’s okay to be sad, but being only sad doesn’t help you grow.

The animation this rime around is still smooth but far subtler than Castle in the Sky. That movie focused more on the grand adventure. This decides to keep it tight like the story. The character movement is far more detailed. The scene of the girls running around the house is great for all the little touches. Same can go for even simple interactions or Totoro moving. A lumbering furball like that needs to really feel furry and he does. Of course the standout is interior of the cat bus and how it moves and breathes with the ease of a real cat. It’s not as visually stunning as a train chase, but just as impressive.

It’s hard to place this film. On one hand this type of slice of life family film is not my thing. It’s valid and a really good story, but not for me. On the other it is just so incredibly charming that having to rank it as 3rd only because it’s not nearly as fun as Castle in the Sky is sad. It’s a movie that kind of deserves its spot. It’s simple, but so is the life and eyes of a child, and that’s okay sometimes.

Movie Rankings

1. Nausicaa: The Valley of the Wind

2. Castle in the Sky

3. My Neighbor Totoro

I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013 say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!

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One Piece Volume Cover Rankings Worst to Best #40-#31

I just want to take a minute to gripe about something that is such a minor issue, but I’ve always had a problem with. The first half of the story before the timeskip in America, had each volume separated by arc on the actual volumes. You could also see where the arcs begin and end when you have them all lined up. We even got arc titles for Sabaody, Impel Down, and Paramount War. Now I understand that we are going to the New World and each arc is essentially connected in some way, but it’s annoying now to have everything up to Wano being titled “New World”. There were plenty of volumes for you to have them separated by “Fishman Island”, “Punk Hazard”, “Dressrosa”, and “Whole Cake”. They do eventually make the change for Wano, but it doesn’t make any sense to me and I wish they would rebrand them by arc like they did in the first half. Anyways, let’s continue to #40-#31!

40. Volume 49

This cover should not be as high up on this list as it is right now, but there’s something about the absolute ridiculousness of it that I think is peak One Piece comedy. If you have read One Piece but haven’t made it this far and just pick up the volume to look at it, you will likely be so confused and so interested at the same time that I think it makes this cover perfect. You have Nightmare Luffy, Nami in a wedding dress, and the super Franky battle form with the rest of the crew sort of making a giant. It’s all wacky and crazy and I love the representation on the volume cover. Peak One Piece comedy. 

39. Volume 48

One of the simplest volume covers, but still one of the coolest. I love my giant monsters like Godzilla and Oars served as the Godzilla of this storyline. It took the whole crew to take him down, but it came down to Luffy being the one to make the biggest moves against the giant. They are both highlighted on this cover as being the two biggest factors in the fight against each other. I really love this battle and how ridiculous it is, but it is also the first telling of how the Straw Hats might not yet be ready for some bigger threats in the New World. Especially with how easily Oars jr. was taken down in the war.

38. Volume 20

This is one of the last few earlier volumes to make it on this list, but something about this volume tells so much, without saying that much. You have all of these guys facing each other as they all stand on their own sides, while all fighting over the same cause. You have pirates, criminals, marines, royalty, and rebels all fighting over Vivi and the kingdom of Alabasta. It’s a simple cover that means so much more when you really take a harder look at it. I just love how much political and personal adversity is at work on this cover.

37. Volume 76

One of my favorite characters is Law, so him appearing on a cover is automatically going to get some bonus points. This one again like many others has lots of color which always looks great. We get to see a lot of the major players on this cover with the Straw Hats that elected to stay behind and help fight the Donquixote pirates. It is a bit of a testament to how much stronger they got since they only needed about half the crew to take down Doflamingo and his crew. Granted they had some help which we also see on this cover. Overall it’s just appealing and looks great having both Luffy and Law teaming up right in the center. It’s awesome.

36. Volume 68

This is my second favorite Punk Hazard cover. I think there are only three anyways, but I really like all of them. The light blue and white of the snow is what makes this cover standout for me. I also like how Caesar is above looking as if he’s manipulating everyone which in a way he is, but the best part is seeing Luffy, Law, and Smoker standing together. They are some of my favorite characters and this cover shows that they are teaming up against Caesar. It’s a simple cover, but everything works great and I just like it a lot.

35. Volume 40

Forget the enemies in the background for a minute because I really don’t like them, but Blueno isn’t bad. The highlight though is not the characters so much as it is just Luffy and what we see. The steam rolling around him shows us the new event that happens in this volume in his fight against Blueno. Unfortunately Blueno was the victim of being a test for Luffy to show off his Gear Second. It’s a badass moment and one that I will always remember. It was sad that Blueno had to be fodder for Luffy in this moment, but it’s because of the moment that I remember him as much as I do. This cover gets credit for having the first look at the new Gear Second and is the main reason why it’s ranked so high.

34. Volume 45

There is a lot going on with this cover, but all of it I absolutely love. I remember when I was buying the volumes, I used to look up the ones I didn’t have just to get excited for eventually getting them. This was one of my most anticipated volumes to get and I will always have strong feelings for it. The cover is one of the first major, what’s going on in the world covers and I think it does it the best. We see Garp with Helmeppo and Coby which is just awesome, especially seeing a more grown up Coby. We also get the meeting between Whitebeard and Shanks which is the first time we see them together. I think I was mistaken with Volume 25. Finally, we get Blackbeard and Ace facing off. There is so much revealed and so much that happens in this volume that it not only gets credit for the cover, but also all of the events that transpire within. This is the volume that really blew open the doors on the One Piece world.

33. Volume 56

A mixture of both new and old characters. Ivankov is a little weird but plays a major role in this arc. The design is outlandish and that is represented with how big his/her head is on the cover. The coolest part though is seeing Jinbei on one side and Crocodile on the other side of a team up between them and Luffy. Some of my favorite movies are Shawshank Redemption, and Escape from Alcatraz so I’m a sucker for prison break stories. This volume covers a lot of the break out and also gives us that old saying of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” so we see the return of Mr. 1 and Crocodile as they help Luffy escape. The purple background color is also a good addition to work with Ivankov.

32. Volume 43

A lot of times in big arcs we get a cover of our crew followed or preceded by a cover of the enemy crew. This is one of those covers in the Enies Lobby arc. We see all of our Straw Hat crew that shows us the great comedy with the look of Luffy, as well as a showcase of everyone ready to fight. The biggest highlight though is that of Chopper in his monster point form which is a badass moment and looks incredibly appealing on the cover. All of the other Straw Hats are ready to fight as well and it just makes for a great cover. 

31. Volume 84

I originally had this cover lower to start with, but slowly started moving it up the more I got to look at it. There are two awesome things to make note of on this cover. The first being the Vinsmoke family. Sanji’s siblings and father take center stage with each of their unique colors and appearances. They are badass and the designs are great and I hope we get to see more of them down the road. The other important thing to note is Luffy and Sanji at the top of the cover. It’s simple and only shows their face, but it’s the placement that I like so much. The Vinsmoke family is at the center, splitting Luffy and Sanji. Luffy is bloody and battered while Sanji is clean and unhurt. They are also facing away from each other representing their split and fight that they have. I grew to love this cover the more I got to looking at it so I moved it up to here.

It was a struggle just getting everything to feel right up to this point, but I managed to do it and feel comfortable with my results. I’m sure with this part as well as many others, we will have differing opinions, but it’s all fun. As I’ve said before, I welcome any differing opinions on any of my rankings and actually look forward to seeing where everyone else places some of these other covers on their own list. Please comment below or email us at TowerCityMedia@gmail.com and follow us @TowerCityMedia

Ghiblisgiving: Laputa – Castle in the Sky

Nausicaa was a major passion project for Miyazaki and his team. It was also based on his own manga series of the same name so of course he would want to do it justice. Of course he can’t rest on his laurels forever and had to come back with a new hit, Castle in the Sky.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky is far more of a classic family adventure film than Nauscaa was. In that this film follows Pazu, an assistant to the coal miners in a small town. His life changes when Sheeta, a mysterious girl floats down from the sky with a Crystal both pirates and the military are after. The two then must band together in order to find the secret behind the crystal and how it connects to the floating city of Laputa all while dodging the military colonel Muska and female pirate Dola and her family of misfits.

The film is less story or idea driven than Nauscaa was, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less energetic or has worse pacing. It’s even arguable that the pacing in this film is better. There is far more connective tissue between scenes and events. The structure is tighter, and there is more setup and pay off. The fact that we are given time to sit in Laputa before the plot shows up gets us more invested in the location and it’s meaning than the quick bursts of location in Nauscaa.

Even with the better pacing the characters are weaker than in Nauscaa. Well, the main duo of Pazu and Sheeta do not hold a candle individually to Nauscaa. They are much younger and more generic. Both hardworking, adventurous, and forced to grow up early, they work great as a pair and seeing their bond grow is legitimately sweet. It is kind of easy that Pazu just so happens to want to find Laputa just as the person to help him shows up, but the initial jumpstarts for these far more family affairs are like that. Once it gets going it works. Mostly. Their voice actors, James Van Der Beek and Anna Paquin, do their best to match the characters but just don’t fit the more throwback look of the character designs.

This vocal problems seems to only affect them as they try to give much more grounded performances. The rest of the cast seems to get it let loose like the film wants. The standouts in that regard is the pirate captain Dola played by Cloris Leachman, and her family. They get to be totally wacky but earnest. They fit perfect in a far more cartoonishly evil world. Same can be said for Mark Hamill’s Muska. Muska, the secret king of Laputa, gets to go all out and hit every vocal range he can. From the more subdued Skips like performance to the menacing Ozai, and off the wall anger of the Joker. He gets to have a ball and it shows in his voice.

It also shows in the movies animation, which was clearly where most of the focus went. That is not a bad thing. A simple story told well, but with some of the most expressive, colorful, heightened-realistic animation you can see it is worth it. So much thought and time clearly went into how everything would move. From the fantastical airships, to the machinery, to the people who live in the world. The little touches Nauscaa had are taken to the next level. The characters scramble, I mean like a dog on hardwood, scramble. It’s more impressive, though with the crowd shots of individual people moving and doing their own thing, and the drifting of the giant planes. It was all taken to the next level and just looks amazing.

That doesn’t mean there is no story. It’s just a lite version of Nauscaa’s appeal and purpose of nature along with how humans need to act in order to get along with it. Muska’s hatred and annoyance at Laputa getting overrun with nature contrasted to Sheeta’s awe being the best example. That’s as far as it goes though. It is not nearly as deep as Nauscaa but is a better time.

Both this and Nauscaa felt like passion projects to an extent. This just felt like more of an animation showcase than a serious story. It is far more commercial and has kid appeal. That’s not a problem. It is one of the better child focused adventure films. It is incredibly inventive and thrilling but doesn’t feel nearly as personal. Not every movie has to be. Sometimes it’s okay for a movie to just be fun and show really cool imagery and it succeeds at that.

Film Rankings:

1. Nauscaa

2. Castle in the Sky

I’m cleaning house and selling some media. If you would like to buy comics, manga, or cards I owned and used follow this link: https://ebay.com/usr/connorfahy1013 say you’re a reader and I’ll be happy to discount any item for you!

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