This week we’re jumping into an overnight, free-to-play brawler; one of the best Japanese dubs we’ve heard in a while; and a look inside a fringe subculture of anarchists.
MultiVersus is a free-to-play brawler that’s an overnight hit
MultiVersus, the new fighting game from Warner Bros., has proven to be more than just a Smash Bros. clone. Developed by Player First Games, the free-to-play brawler, out now in beta, features a truly bizarre assortment of playable characters from across the Warner Bros. Discovery portfolio, including “Scooby Doo” favorites Shaggy and Velma, Finn and Jake from Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time,” LeBron James (from his “Space Jam” role) and Arya Stark from “Game of Thrones.” It shouldn't work as well as it does, but MultiVersus has miraculously become an overnight hit, rising on the Twitch charts and attracting the attention of the pro fighting game community.
‘Belle’: A tale as old as time, with a modern twist
The latest movie from Japanese animator Mamoru Hosoda is a visual feast of film, featuring gorgeous color work and animation alongside stunning set pieces and character design. The film is a take on the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast” with a modern twist that helps the movie transmit relevant themes about the internet, social media and human connection in ways a more straightforward adaptation couldn’t.
The English voice cast, which includes lead actress and singer Kylie McNeill performing the film’s original songs, translated from Japanese, also makes the dub one of the best I’ve heard in years. “Belle” released this week on HBO Max, and it’s well worth the time of any Miyazaki fan or those who’ve been acquainted with recent fantasy hits like Makoto Shinkai’s “Your Name” and “Weathering With You.”
The pay-to-play of popular podcasts
The podcast industry has ballooned into a powerful pillar of the modern media industry, but a dark secret of the guest appearance circuit is the rampant pay-to-play. Some guests are forking over as much as $50,000 to appear on popular pods, according to a new report from Bloomberg, with hosts and guests rarely informing listeners of the deal. The story sheds light on what appears to be a widespread practice in podcast categories like wellness, cryptocurrency and business, undermining the integrity of shows that are effectively running advertising without disclosure.
How a fringe subculture is born
HBO’s new documentary series “The Anarchists” is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the stunning growth of a fringe subculture of anarchists who fled the U.S. to Acapulco, Mexico, to try to build their utopian world: no state authority, taxes or drug laws. The director, Todd Schramke, is deep within the community, having befriended many of its high-profile personalities over six years of filming. The series, which airs its fifth episode on Sunday, offers a profoundly intimate look at the personal lives of a sprawling anarchist community, its flagship conference in Acapulco and how the whole affair devolves into crime and tragedy.
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