The Wind Rises (2013) Review

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The Wind Rises is a biopic of Jiro Horikshi who invented the Mitsubishi AM5 a Japanese fighter plane that was used in World War 2. This was stated to be Hayao Miyazaki’s last ever feature film before his retirement making it a very important part of film history.

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I love how ambitious of an inventor Jiro is in the film, I think this is a personal thing because I am very creative myself and I am very passionate about the things that I have made so I felt very connected to this character.

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The dream sequences were my favourite part of the movie, they were all very creative and full of the imaginative imagery that you would expect from Miyazaki, this isn’t as crazy as some of his other work but it is still fantastic without going overboard.

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There was a romance built up in the movie and while it was fine, I did feel that it didn’t make much difference to the plot and if it wasn’t there I do not think the movie would have been affected.

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Spoiler ahead but I want to discuss how good the ending of the film is, its another dream sequence but at this point Japan had lost the war and it showed Jiro being regretful for making the planes but one of his heroes who appears in most of his dreams comforts him saying that his dream has been realised, the film ends on a sweet but sour note yes Jiro achieved his dream but at the cost that his dream was used to take many lives in one of the worst times in history.

The Wind Rises is a really interesting movie, it focuses more on the character and his inventions than it does the tragedy of war, I suppose if you wanted to see the effects of war you can watch Grave of the Fireflies, I really don’t know what to think of this one I really enjoyed it but it didn’t impact me the same way as Miyazaki’s other films, this one is really good and educational with some big names in its cast, Joseph Gordan Levitt, Elijah Wood, Martin Short and many others. I don’t its a movie to watch countless times but one viewing is well worth your while.

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Wind Rises

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The Secret World of Arrietty (2010) Review

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The Secret World of Arrietty was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and is based on the Borrowers book.

Arrietty and her family are creatures called borrowers, borrowers are very small people who love in the holes of regular sized peoples homes, they borrow small amounts of food and materials from humans to survive hence the name borrowers.

While exploring the outside world Arrietty gets spotted by a human named Sho, Sho is incredibly friendly towards Arrietty and considers her a friend, Sho is having serious medical issues with his heart and his life expectancy is low due to this, he values life which could be why he is so kind towards a borrower.

Not all of the humans are as kind though as the house keeper Haru finds and captures Arrietty’s mother leaving Sho and Arrietty working together to rescue her before she is killed by the exterminators Haru hired.

My favourite part of the movie was not the story or characters but the world that borrowers live in, I love their tiny home that are made out of materials from our world,it’s really very charming.

I really enjoyed the bond between Arrietty and her family as well as the relationship that forms between herself and Sho,

The Secret World of Arrietty is a really good movie that I feel may be overlooked as just a borrowers film because it really is a lot more than that, it is a borrowers movie but unlike other adaptations this is not a comedy and has a hell of a lot of heart and love that was pumped into it and is my favourite adaption of the book even if it is very loose.

If you want to watch a really good family film then the Secret World of Arrietty is for you.

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Secret World of Arrietty

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

Thank You for all of your support.

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Ponyo (2008) Review

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Written and Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Ponyo is a fantasy-film loosely based on ideas from the Hans Christian Anderson story the Little Mermaid.

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A close encounter with a fishing trawler causes a young human-fish hybrid creature to become separated from her family and trapped in a glass-jar which washes up on shore in a small town. The fish creature is discovered by a young boy named Sosuke who names it Ponyo and takes care of it.

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Sosuke wants to keep Ponyo as a friend but her father voiced by Liam Neeson is desperate to get his daughter back in order to prevent the ocean from becoming unbalanced and colliding with the land.

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Ponyo is a quite bizzare movie, not in its premise but more in things that happen, later on in the film Ponyo grows arms and legs and begins to evolve into a human and it is this form that I enjoy the most. The bond between the two children is adorable and while Ponyo is a wild and excitable character she is never annoying  and is very likeable.

7f2 I am in love with the visual style of this film, the colours used blend perfectly with the animation.

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One of my favourite designs is of the Goddess of Mercy Granmamare who is Ponyo’s mother, she is truly stunning in her design with a glow effect added to emphasise her importance and grandeur.

Ponyo is not one of my favourite films and its far from one of the best films from Studio Ghibli but it melts my heart with how cute the story is and its hard not to enjoy its silliness at times, I don’t watch this one often but every now again I need a little bit of Ponyo to brighten my day.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Ponyo

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Pom Poko (1994) Review

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Pom Poko is a dramatic comedy film about Raccoons who want to stop a development project that may destroy their home. The film was directed by Isao Takahata

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In 1960 Tokyo Japan, a group of Raccoons are forced to leave their home in Tama Hills after greedy humans knock it down to build a new developmental project. This upsets the Raccoons who want to get revenge on the humans and get back their home.

The Raccoons end up fighting with each-other when they disagree on the best way to deal with the humans, some want to scare them away while others would rather kill them off.

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According to Japanese folk lore, Raccoons are able to transform and this ability is present in the film and plays a major role, many of the Raccoons have forgotten how to transform so they need to practice this ability to have any chance of scaring away the humans.

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While they do well in learning to transform they have to call in the help of three transformation masters, these masters help the Raccoons to pull of a spectacular parade of horrors which is the best scene in the movie. Its filled with strange imagery and weird scenarios.

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I love the transformation scenes of the Raccoons but its the regular formation of Raccoon that is my favourite they are so cute and even though they are animated they are quite realistic in design.

Recognisable names are Jonathan Taylor Thomas who plays Shōkichi and J.K. Simmons who plays Seizaemon.

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Pom Poko is a truly wonderful movie its full of charm and comedy that you will remember for a very long time, It tells its plot through a serious issue that happens to forests and homes of woodland creatures all over the world. You may be a human reading this but you will definitely be rooting for the Raccoons of Tama Hills when you watch Pom Poko.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Pom Poko

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

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My Neighbour Totoro 1988 Review

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My Neighbour Totoro has become quite an iconic film over the past few years, it has become so popular that it became the logo for Studio Ghibli

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, My Neighbour Totoro’s story is that of a family who have decided to move to a new home they have moved to a fairly quiet location in the countryside, I imagine that they moved here to live a peaceful life style but little did they know that where they have moved to is also a hangout for many different spirits.

In any other film this would usually lead to a scary or spooky movie but surprisingly in this film the spirits are just there and they don’t seem to alarm or bother anyone in the family.

As you may have guessed one of the neighbouring spirits is the huge Totoro who has a surprising resemblance to the Pokemon Snorlax.

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The two girls Mei and Satsuki discover Totoro and the entire film is essentially them interacting with him and that’s what sort of makes it so good, Totoro is a very peculiar character as he seems very human he likes to take naps, he catches the bus (well a spirit bus, which also a cat) and in general he doesn’t actually do much, he doesn’t have much dialogue so making him a lovable character is mostly about the pacing of his actions and the animators really nailed this one on the head, yeah Totoro doesn’t do much but he is so well animated that every time he smiles, bounces or yawns its hard not to love him and the timing of these actions are its difficult to explain without me just telling you to watch the movie but if you do will see what I mean.

The family are great in this movie the dad is a hard working individual but he is also seen to be a lot of fun in many scenes of the film but by far the best characters are the two sisters, these girls honestly seem like real sisters in real life the older sister can at times be bossy but caring and the younger sister is excitable, very curious and genuinely quite innocent

Like I said not a lot goes on in this movie there is a climax near the end of the film but its nothing too crazy so don’t get your hopes up.

I’m not huge on the music in this film it’s not bad I just don’t think that its very memorable but the animation is really something special, at times the animation looks similar to every other Studio Ghibli film but every now and again something really cool and interesting will show up, everyone loves Totoro and his character design but personally I don’t think anything can top the cat bus its so bizarre that this movie has a bus that is also a cat but it looks so cool that you just really want to ride it.

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My Neighbour Totoro is a special film as its surprisingly brilliant, not a lot goes on in the movie but everything is so well paced and well animated that the entire film is very memorable, the animation and character designs are pretty superb and every character in this film is interesting and likeable, if you ever want to watch a movie that you can chill out too and also appreciate its brilliance then My Neighbour Totoro is the film for you.

Thank you for reading my review of My Neighbour Totoro

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The Legend of Zelda: the Wind Waker (2003-2013) (GameCube/Wii U) Review

The Legend of Zelda the Animated Series……… Wait no its not

legend-of-zelda-wind-waker-hd-freeThe Legend of Zelda: the Wind Waker is one of the most beloved games of the Legend of Zelda franchise and is often considered to be a masterpiece to gaming, but it never used to be looked at in such as positive light as upon the games release it was hated amongst fans due to its less serious plot and characters and its new cheerful and brightly coloured visuals.

Before just a few weeks ago I had only played this game once while I was visiting my cousins back in 2003, even though I only played the game for a short time the memories I had playing have treasured me for many years and I always intended to return the game hoping to have as much fun with it as I did back then I have now played through both the HD remake and the original thanks to my very same cousin kindly lending me the very copy we played those many years ago.

this is a comparison review so I will be using screenshots from both versions of the game.

So how did it hold up?

You play as Link an adventurous young lad who lives with his little Sister Aryll and his Grandmother on Outset Island, its Links birthday and as a gift his Sister lets him borrow her special telescope for one day, while testing the telescope out Link notices a giant bird carrying a girl and dropping her into the forest of fairies which is located on a hill above Outset Island, Link runs into the forest and to his relief the girl is absolutely fine and she introduces herself as Captain Tetra and at the same time she introduces her crew of Pirates, Link and the Pirates decide that its time to leave the forest of fairies but unfortunately as they do the same bird snatches Aryll and takes he away to the Forbidden Fortress.

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The Pirates agree to help Link rescue his sister by escorting him to the Forbidden Fortress and after an intense mission impossible style journey to top of the fortress, Link finally reaches the top only to find out that the evil mastermind behind all of the previous trouble was none other than Ganondorf who has much bigger plans for the fate of the world other than simply kidnapping young girls and its up to Link the Hero of the Winds to stop him.

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As I mentioned above Wind Waker didn’t do so well upon release due to its change in graphics and visuals but another reason for this is its game play, Wind Waker is the most interesting Zelda title I have ever played because unlike most other games in the series that mostly focus on a serious and dark plot with side missions and other objectives thrown into the mix as a bonus, Wind Waker does the very opposite because it has a big focus on exploring and discovery and less of a focus on the main quest, at the time a lot of Legend of Zelda fans didn’t like this new change of pace and they labelled the game as being a wannabe Zelda title, personally I really like the idea that the game wants players to create there own adventures as these days I feel that most Zelda games don’t have a massive emphasis on adventure which was originally the staple of the franchise.

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Instead of a horse this time we are given a boat called the King of Red Lions, the King of Red Lions is one of the most useful characters in the game because not only does he help guide you towards your main quests goals but he is also the only way you can travel between towns, islands and dungeons, if you haven’t already guessed the majority of the game takes place in the ocean meaning that most of your objectives and goals are spread all across the world on different islands.

This is a Zelda game so there is a couple of dungeons that you need to complete in order to beat the game but like I said there isn’t many dungeons as the main focus here is side questing, the idea of exploration is really cool and I appreciate that they made this the main focus but unfortunately the map for the ocean kind of sucks due to there not being much indication of where certain areas are on the map, some of the main towns are drawn on the map but the rest is mostly blank and this makes exploring extremely difficult, frustrating and not fun.

tumblr_nigb6z4AcB1qg98wdo1_1280There is a way that you can easily indicate where certain areas are situated on the map but from my experience the only way to do this is to feed your bate (red berries) to certain fish in the ocean, I found a couple of these fish and they did help me with mapping the coordinates of certain islands but I only found a few of them so they actually weren’t that much help.

I feel that this issue could have been fixed in a couple of ways for example how about nothing is indicated on the map but once you discover a new area or island it is automatically added to the map for you.

If you go on-line you can find coordinates to the different areas an example would be that the private cabana is situated on E5 this makes it much easier to traverse the vast world of Wind Waker so they could have fixed the map problem by giving you the opportunity to purchase the coordinates to certain areas in shops or from travelling merchants in the game.

The most obvious fix to this would be to simply provide the player with a physical map of the ocean packed in with the game that has all of the coordinates written onto it (Similar to the Grand Theft Auto games).

Finally for Wii U players the map is seen on the game pad so it would have been cool and useful if we could have drawn our own coordinates on the map using the stylus and the game pad.

This is the the only thing about the game-play that I really dislike so lets now talk about the more positive aspects of the game

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With Link being a being a master swords man you are going to be doing a lot of sword fighting in the game and a new attack introduced in Wind Waker is a timed button command, this new attack can be triggered by the player targeting the enemy and not taking damage for a few seconds, then once the command appears they must hit the button before it disappears and if they are successful they will take hit the enemy while dealing some major damage.

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Another staple in the Zelda franchise is that in every game a new item is introduced and this time around we got the deku leaf, the deku leaf essentially allows Link to float through the air until his magic meter runs out this is useful for when you are trying to reach far away ledges and platforms, another use to this item is you can blow gusts of air with it which is mostly used to power certain mechanisms in the game luckily this particular use of the deku leaf uses no magic.

This wouldn’t be a Wind Waker review if I didn’t talk about the Wind Waker, the Wind Waker is essentially this games version of the Ocarina, through out the game you will learn new songs you can play using the wind and to the usual Zelda fashion some songs are needed in the game when others are not so important but still useful, for example if you are using the original sail while sailing you will need to sail in the direction of the wind and if you play the Winds Requiem you can change which way the wind is travelling making sailing to your destination much faster and easier, another example is the Ballad of Gales which allows you to warp to previous locations you have already visited.

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Since the game mostly focuses on everything beyond the main quest you would think that the Side Quests would be very creative and unique compared to side quests in other entries of franchise, but this really isn’t the case as some side quests are genuinely a lot of fun and really stand out such as the Pictograph Quest which has young Link taking Photographs for an aspiring photographer on Windfall Island but apart from the few like this most of the Side quest are generic fetch quests having the player collect 20 of a specific item to be rewarded with rupees or heart pieces, one of the most awesome rewards for completing one of these quests is that Link gains his own Private Cabana which was an unexpected treat.

Both the Gamecube and the Wii U version of Wind Waker have very tight and responsive controls which are expected from a Nintendo Title, the Wii U version is the most beneficial version to play if only for the player not having the need to pause the game in order to switch between items and treasure charts due to the quick and easy access to these menus on the Wii U game pad.

The Wii U port also has a less aggravating final fetch quest at the end of game due to Nintendo kindly removing the majority of the Triforce charts allowing players to only collect three of them compared to the original which made the player collect eight.

The most unique aspect to the Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker is its visuals, Nintendo decided to steer away from the realistic and dark visuals which had become the staple of the series and decided to go with something much more happy which gave more of a childlike and innocent vibe which produced some beautiful final results.

Here are a few screen shots I found of both versions of the game.

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Link looking like a boss on the bridge

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Wind Waker is a very lively and well animated game, the game itself looks like an artist has gone absolutely nuts with colours and detail, this is also the first time we have really seen Link have a personality as he clearly shows his feelings and emotions using facial expressions through out the game and by using these facial expressions Link can take some magnificent selfies using his pictograph, the graphics are outstanding and are what help make the game really stand out as a unique title in the series.

Wind Waker also has an amazing sound track that really suits the games atmosphere and charm, what makes Wind Wakers soundtrack really stand out is that it always remains fun no matter what situation it is presenting itself too, for example most of the music in the game is fun happy and cheerful but even when the game gets to its more serious moments such as dungeon crawling and emotional scenes the music changes to suit these new environments but it also keeps its fun and cheerful presence as if its reminding you not to take the game to seriously and this is a game design choice that I really enjoy.

The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker is one of the most amazing entries in the franchise due to how unique it is, it was the first game in the series to have a less serious plot, feel and pace which is a touch that I believe only this game could pull off,  the game focuses more on adventuring than it does the main quest which is something that I believe Nintendo should implement into future Zelda titles, because Wind Waker chose to focus more on side questing and exploration I wish that the game had more interesting side quests and better map system because personally this left me very disappointed, the graphics are an interesting and risky choice but they work really well and honestly help give the game more personality, the music also carries this same risk but the final result really works in this type of game.

I will probably be crucified for saying this but I don’t think Wind Waker is one of the best Zelda titles although I believe I could have been if certain aspects of the game were executed better.

I may not have enjoyed Wind Waker as much as many of its fans but I do believe that it is a very unique entry to the franchise due to its personality and its charm.

Wind Waker 6.8/10

Wind Waker HD 7.2/10

Thank you for reading my review of The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker for the Gamecube and the Wii U

If you respect my opinion, I will respect yours

By Padawan

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

You can find me on Miiverse by searching for draskafer

Also me and some friends have recently started playing games together so please check out our YouTube Channel Hoenn Rangers, We haven’t played Wind Waker yet but I’m sure we will at some point whether we play the Game Cube or the Wii U Port.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYmN8F6Q-eGOD0gp0anCdcQ

 

The girl who leapt through time (2006) Review

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Makoto Konno is an ordinary teenager, she goes to high school, hates her little sister, her emotions are all over the place and she loves hanging out with her two best friends Chiaki and Kosuke

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Apart from the fact that Makoto is extremely clumsy and a bit of goof ball her life is fairly normal for a girl of her age, but that all changes when she is asked to return some books too one of classrooms in her school, when she arrives the class room appears to be completely empty, she discovers a message on the blackboard which reads “Time waits for no one”

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She thinks nothing of this and she returns the books to their proper place but being the klutz she is, she falls on a walnut and crushes it. On her way home she is racing down a steep hill on her bike, she hears a railroad crossing ahead as it is bleeping warning pedestrians of  an incoming train, Makoto tries to use the brakes but they wont work, she hits the rail and flies off her bike straight into the oncoming train and presumably dies.

A few Seconds later she is back on top of the hill and is in pain after falling off her bike and she hears the rail road crossing warn passers by of the same train that hit her previously.

Obviously she gets very confused by this and she goes to visit her Auntie Witch

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She Explains to Makoto that she had peformed a time leap which means that she leapt through time and time traveled. We also learn that time leaps can be peformed by a lot of teenagers her age, but not many know that they have this ability.

As you may expect like any person who discovers that they can time travel Makoso starts time leaping whenever she can, she starts time leaping to get what she wants, to change how she deals with situations because if she does screw up anything she can reverse time and start again, she even time leaps so she can keep redoing her maths test until she has a perfect grade.

Makoso starts to get very selfish knowing that she can now have multiple chances at any thing that life throws at her and that nothing in her life will ever go wrong again.

At least that’s what she thought because later on in the movie Makoso notices a Tattoo of the number 9 on her arm, at first she thinks nothing of it and she carry’s on time leaping only to realise that the 9  is now a 6, this number represents the amount of time leaps Makoso has left,.

Makoso starts to feel foolish that she wasted almost of all of her time leaps and with only one left she decides that would be a great idea to time leap back to the begging of the movie so that she can get her friend Kosuke in a relationship with a girl who has a crush on him, but by doing this she ends up managing to sprain the girls ankle, since Makoso just walked away not realising what had happened Kosuke borrows Makoso’s bike and starts rushing to his house to get the girls ankle fixed but little does he know that he is heading towards the same train from the beginning of the movie.

Makoso Realises this and with no time leaps left she runs to try and stop her friend before it is too late.

The films plot is very impressive considering that a lot of anime’s are full of action, have an antagonist of some sort and are genuinely un-realistic, but with this anime its not the case at all because these teenagers act like normal teenagers, the high school looks and feels like a normal high school and even when Makoso starts time leaping she uses her new ability for non important things such as redoing karaoke over and over again, going back in time so she can eat her meals for a second time and to just genuinely avoid awkward situations, the reason I bring this up is because when I was a teenager if I this ability I would be using it in a similar manner.

The icing on the cake is the animation, this movie is beautiful every scene is hand drawn and its amazing. What may surprise a lot of people is that the animation and designs of the characters are quite simple but the backgrounds have had so much effort and time put into them that they really stand out, I don’t see this as a bad thing because its actually quite a nice change of pace considering that with most animated films and animes its the characters them selves which stand out the most compared the the rest of the imagery the film has offer, this film is a complete reversal of the usual formula and it works really well because it allows the viewer to really soak in the animation and ultimately 9 times out of ten they will appreciate the animation a lot more as well as the time and effort that went into making the film.

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The girl who leapt through time is an amazing film it has top notch animation, a wonderful cast of characters, a brilliant plot and writing and it some heart warming and heart breaking moments which are bound to bring out some emotions in any who watches it.

If you haven’t yet seen this movie, I highly recommend giving it a watch

I hope you enjoyed this review

If you repect my opinion, I will respect yours

By Padawan

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

You can find me on Miiverse by searching for draskafer