By Thomas Duda
Although 2018 brought about a flurry of new anime titles, I have to choose “Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San” as the best of this year.
Although only part of its 12-episode run has aired, Honda-san’s focus on the experiences of the author, Honda-San the skeleton, as a bookseller in Japan can resonate with anyone who has worked in the service industry.
The series has our bookseller dealing with all manner of eccentric customers ranging from passionate fans to people who have no idea what they’re looking for, all the while showcasing the chaos that comes with working in retail on busy days when workers must balance orders, stock, and customers.
There is even an episode that tackles the concept of training for how to deal with the customers and madness of having to smile too much.
Honda-San is a “Clerks,” of anime in regards to books.
By Robert Johnson Jr.
Asst. Arts & Features Editor
Cynthia “CYN” Nabozny’s career his off to a running start, and 2018 gave her the major push she needed to succeed in today’s pop music landscape. With reflection-heavy ballads such as, “I’ll Still Have Me,” intense, catchy tunes such as “Believer,” and a powerful hit in “Moment of Truth,” landing her a theatrical feature in Warner Animation Group’s “Smallfoot,” this past September, this Katy Perry protégé has done a lot to make her name known.
After a successful summer tour with the British synth-pop band, Years & Years, CYN’s appeal and popularity will only go up from here, and I am beyond excited to listen to what pop goodness she has to offer in 2019.
She has made a “Believer” out of me, for sure.
By Zach Colten
Arts & Features Editor
“My regrets look just like texts I shouldn’t send,” sang Mac Miller on “Come Back to Earth,” the opening of his fifth studio album, “Swimming,” released Aug. 3. The tragic loss of the rapper on Sept. 7 has made insightful lines like this even more cutting, and the 13-track album is inundated with them.
Mac’s poignant and imaginative lines combine with a smooth flow and effortless wordplay, synthesizing one of the easiest, and now one of the hardest, albums to listen to of 2018. It is sweet, sonic surrender, tinged with a bitterness for the rapper’s passing at the hands of an accidental drug overdose.
Highlights include “Hurt Feelings,” “What’s the Use?” “Self Care,” “Conversation Pt. 1,” and “2009.” There are not enough words to express the artistic ability and vision Mac possessed, but this album is the perfect example of his master craftsmanship, and ultimately serves as a painful farewell to the fans he loved so much.
By Noah Barnes
“A Star is Born” is the third remake of the 1937 film of the same name. The film is a romantic drama about the life of a woman who doesn’t believe she has a voice or the face for fame, and a washed up, drunken musician. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper play the leads. This is also Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut. There was a lot riding on the movie’s success, and all things considered, it succeeds in every regard.
Lady Gaga proves herself as an actress, and Cooper proves himself as a director, who even learned how to sing and play guitar for the role. The cinematography, writing, characters – all of it is just superb. The film had me in tears, so that’s something.
This is everything a remake, directorial debut, and overall film should be. “A Star is Born” has a voice – one that should be heard.
By Lauren Paolini and Caeley Whalen
The pack is back, everyone. Fanny packs took over the accessory section in every store this year, and for good reason. The revival of everyone’s favorite ’90s staple piece gave us a fun way to elevate any look.
Whether you choose to wear it as a belt, across your body, or over your shoulder, a fanny pack is a practical, yet stylish way to make sure you have a bag big enough for the essentials while still being hands-free.
You may think the rebirth of the fanny pack is whack, but several high-fashion designers will disagree with you. Gucci, Balenciaga, and even Prada have added fanny packs into recent lines. If you don’t feel like spending more than your textbooks cost, try Urban Outfitters or Forever 21.
Feel like doing a cartwheel but want to keep your belongings in place? Then the fanny pack is the accessory for you.
By Brennan Atkins
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” is a Netflix original movie that is directed by the Coen brothers, the brains behind “The Big Lebowski” and “Fargo.” The movie is an anthology of six different western stories, and each chapter is independent from the rest of the film. My favorite of the six is the first, and in it we follow Buster Scruggs, a man whose two talents are gun slinging and song singing.
This chapter combines a musical with a western, and ends up being utterly hilarious at times. The original songs in it are catchy, and I found myself listening to them the very next day. Crazy is a great word to describe this type of movie, but it’s a Coen brothers sort of crazy, and that’s a great thing. I never would have expected a scene from a Netflix movie to make it onto one of my favorites when it comes to westerns, but I stand corrected.
Checkmate, Coen brothers.
By Andrew Wiloughby
Arts & Features Editor
I already wrote a raving review of Foxing’s third full-length album, “Nearer My God.” Since then, I’ve been waiting for a 2018 release to top it.
Here we are at the end of the year, and nothing has.
Foxing took everything they learned from their first two albums and expanded and improved every single aspect – the vocal performances are tighter, the instrumentation is more varied, the lyrics are more poetic and personal, and the scope is grander.
Each song morphs on its own while still contributing to the evolution and progression of the album as a whole.
From the self-reflexive “Grand Paradise,” to the melancholic elegy “Five Cups,” and the lovesick “Bastardizer,” the album runs the gamut of the complex emotions associated with depression.
If any lover of indie and art rock hasn’t given this album a listen yet, they’re missing out on what is sure to be one of the best of 2018.
By Nadira Wicaksana
The longest year in existence saw a plethora of superhero movies – “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” to name a few. And that’s just the Marvel side.
After the longest wait in existence, Pixar finally released “Incredibles 2” in June of this year. Millennials everywhere flocked to theaters to relive their childhoods.
The movie picks up right where the story left off: the Parrs, a superhero family who previously saved the world from a superfan-turned-megalomaniac, are now responsible for the collateral damages in the wake of their fights against evil.
Humorous, airy, and fast-paced, “Incredibles 2” explores this conflict with the government and introduces some cool new supers, and puts Elastigirl in the focus, too.
Speaking of stretchiness, who could ignore the tension between Elastigirl and Evelyn Deavor – am I right, ladies?
Forget Spider-Man and Deadpool and Aquaman – “Incredibles 2” takes the super cake this year.