Wednesday, January 28, 2015

MMA for the non-MMA fan. It's time to start watching!



I’ve been watching professional sports now for almost my whole life. I was a fan of the NBA since I was around 7, I was a one time baseball fan, I’ve always enjoyed football, and boxing was always a top priority in my household growing up, but there is one sport that trumps them all in my book and it’s a sport that I’ve loved for several years now and will continue to do so until the day I die. That sport, ladies and gentlemen, is Mixed Martial Arts. Mixed Martial Arts (or MMA) has been in the public eye since the early 90’s when the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debuted a tournament style format that saw fighters competing to become the last man standing. And to be brutally honest, it was terrible. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s when the UFC adopted the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts that the sport gained a legit following from sports fans due to the much needed regulations which weeded out the true athletes from the beer bellied bar brawlers of years past. Since these rules have been put into place MMA, mainly the UFC, has thrived and become a fixture on sports television with special events held on FOX, FOX Sports 1, Spike TV, Fuel, Versus, and Pay-Per-View. That success has brought some other companies into the fold such as Bellator MMA which holds live events on Spike TV, and World Series Of Fighting which currently holds events on NBC and NBC Sports. Needless to say the sport of MMA is thriving with multiple companies being showcased on television and one (UFC) bringing in massive PPV buys and selling out major arenas all over the world.
   Since becoming a fan of the sports it has become apparent to me that the athletes who compete in high level MMA are not your typical athletes. These guys do insane regiments which consist of 8-12 hours in the gym per day during all seven days of the week while they’re in camp training for a fight which is an insane amount of dedication, more dedication than anyone else in any other sport. I quickly started to see athletes for what they were, losing respect for most athletes who compete in conventional sports and dropping any recognition for the word “athlete” as it pertains to baseball players as a whole. How could these guys even come close to calling themselves athletes when their level of work is a mere fraction of someone who competes in high level MMA, mainly the UFC? Any which way athletes who train in MMA are without a doubt the greatest athletes in the world today, bar none. Guys like Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, GSP, Cain Velasquez, Anthony Pettis, Benson Henderson, Edson Barboza, Anthony Johnson, Rafael Dos Anjos, Conor McGregor, and many more are the pinnacle of what this sport is all about and thats conditioning, strength, ability, and smarts, and my hat is off to these fine fighters who help making this sport what it is. My hat is also off to the legends of the octagon who have paved the way for the above fighters to make a living, especially guys like Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, Tim Sylvia, Forrest Griffin, Tito Ortiz, and BJ Penn.
  Now, if you've ever thought about getting into MMA now is the time to do so. You have amazing fighters putting it all on the line in 2015 with some amazing fights already having taken place. Just earlier this month we saw Jon Jones successfully defend his World's Light-Heavyweight Championship against Daniel Cormier in a highly competitive fight and we've seen Anthony Johnson demolish Alexander Gustafsson in a #1 contenders bout for Jon's title. We've seen the sports most exciting (and outspoken) fighter, Conor McGregor, rise from obscurity to become one of the best in the world, and he'll get a chance to prove it this spring against Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo. We're about to see the return of Anderson Silva, the greatest of all-time, after suffering a broken leg in an attempt to get his World's Middleweight Championship back last winter. In February we'll get to see former champion, Vitor Belfort, try to win a title in his second weight class when he clashes with the Middleweight World's Champion, Chris Weidman. And finally we'll see the Lightweight Championship on the line later this year as well as the Heavyweight World Championship in the summer when Cain Velasquez defends against Fabricio Werdum. There is so much to look forward to in MMA during 2015 that it could really become a banner year for the sport, and with it's strong ratings, huge PPV buys, talented fighters, and smart marketing it's only going to get bigger and better.
   
     If you're interested in checking out some classic fights then I'd look no further than many of Chuck Liddell's offerings from 2002 onward, especially his battles with Tito Ortiz, W. Silva, and Randy Couture. I'd also seek out some fights between Forrest Griffin and Tito Ortiz, GSP and Matt Hughes, Couture and Tim Sylvia, Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski, as well as anything with Anderson Silva or Jon Jones. Seriously, there are so many amazing fights out there to seek out that I'd probably break my keyboard typing them all out. If you've ever had a thing for classic boxing than check UFC out because you'll see a lot of fantastic boxing mixed with muay tai, ju-jitsu, wrestling, karate, judo, and other forms of fighting. It's truly an interesting mix of styles hence the name of the sport being Mixed Martial Arts. Also, if you're a classic boxing fan and are sick and tired of the sports current state of bullshit than look no further than MMA. After years and years of watching boxing and watching MMA the one thing that really shines through is that fighting within a league, such as the UFC, you're in NO position to duck other fighters. In boxing we often see boxers hiding behind their managers and their promoters as to why they can't or won't fight other fighters and they duck one another because they enjoy fighting other fighters that make them look good. I hate that more than anything. In MMA the league assigns you you're next opponent and the fighters show up and enter the cage to do their thing. No ducking, no games, no bullshit. And that's the way that professional fighting should be. Period. 

© B-Sly The Gamer Guy

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ANIME REVIEW SERIES: Claymore!




Photobucket    Claymore. What can I say? This anime has been one of the most enjoyable pieces of animation I have ever had the pleasure of watching and it has left an impression on me that very few animated works have achieved. I'm going to start this review off with the story of Claymore and what you can look forward to seeing in this anime, but before reading on please keep in mind that this is just my feelings on this series and many may agree or disagree depending upon their personal taste so please don't take my word for it, go and watch it. The story kicks off with an angry monster called a "Yoma" wreaking havoc in a small village and killing many of its residents which triggers the town folk to hire a woman known as a "Claymore" (Clare) to come and kill the Yoma before it kills off everyone in the village. Through these series of events she is introduced to Raki, a young boy who's family was killed by the monster she is hunting. Raki begins to grow attatched to Clare and begs to come along with her on her journey as her cook, which was an odd request that she couldn't quite comprehend, Clare eventually agrees and the two begin to get closer and closer as the series progresses, Eventually they do end up becoming separated as the story progresses only to find each other once again toward the end of the story, which I felt was handled perfectly.
Throughout Clare's adventures she finds herself at odd's with the same organization that she serves and eventually falls into a group of girls who are beginning to see the twisted reality that the Claymore organization stands for and they make a pact to keep their own ulterior motives to themselves and stick together. The group is sooner or later targeted by the higher ups in the Claymore organization and are given a series of jobs to kill some of the most powerful Yoma's in the world as a punishment. These ultra powerful Yoma are referred to as "Eaters" or "Awakened Beings" and are the most dangerous of all Yoma. Throughout the 26 episodes of Claymore you will see many Awakened Beings and some of the battle scenes that take place with these monsters are really some of the best and most exciting fight's I have seen in an anime. Seriously, it's pretty spectacular in my opinion and I'm sure you will enjoy them too as you progress through the show. One fight in particular that was really impressive takes place between a group of Claymore and a giant Yoma, who is controlled by a young girl who is actually an ultra powerful Awakened Being herself, but has not taken on the form yet. It was really impressive and very long so keep an eye out for that one as I felt it was a real treat. I would say that this is one of the rare anime series out there that takes its action and story and blends it into a perfect mix and balances it out nicely throughout it's entire run and my hat is off to the creators for that and I wish more anime/manga writers would strive to achieve this.
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The art and animation in this series was a real high point for me and for its time I'd put it up against any other show going on at the time, CGI aside (but thats cheating). The characters looked quite a bit liuke their manga counterparts but with a little higher detail and it just worked, especially the way the Yoma's looked, very well done and I'd say the overall art production team did a phenomenal job. Too add to the amazing visuals the producers selected some amazing music for this anime also, which really helped to create an awesome atmosphere whether the viewer was witnessing a fight scene or a shot of the group sitting around and relaxing. I truly can't speak high enough of the musical score, all 26 episodes feature music that just makes the show fly right by and cliffhangers really epic. So yeah, production wise Claymore shines bright whether it be its intense story, amazing musical score, or slick animation, it just knocks the ball out of the park in almost every category. One complaint I've heard time and time again about this show is the way they handled the blood, as if the way the blood flows is some kind of a way to judge a television show or something. Seriously? We're going to complain about the blood? Get over yourself, people. That's just silly anime elitist bullshit that gets no play in this ride, I thought I'd just share the blood aspect of this show because there are those out there who may be thinking of watching Claymore with their children who may want to know about the level of violence in this show (which is pretty vast, in my opinion). Another complaint I've heard is that the show strayed from the manga quite a bit and that seemed to bother a lot of people. I'm not one of those fans who believe that the anime and manga should be 100% accurate to eachother with ZERO room for creative changes, to me....that's shallow thinking and just more elitist bullshit. I love the changes made in shows like Claymore or the original Fullmetal Alchemist and I've always felt changes are what separates the printed works from the animated spectacle, people just need to be a little more open to alterations. Consider my thought process being that if I've read the manga than I have no reason to watch the anime if it's going to be exactly the same. That would be redundant. Well, I'm out ya'll, enjoy the ratings below!


Art & Animation - 9.0
Music & Sound Effects - 9.0
Story & Writing -9.5
Fun & Enjoyment - 9.0
Overall Score - 9.0
© B-Sly The Gamer Guy