The Family: The Brotherhood
By Donte M McNeal

Based in Michigan, Donte's Playground is a blog by Donte M McNeal. His posts range from nonsensical ramblings about anime, in-depth reviews of books and television/film, to random spurts of philosophical babble.

Year End Roundup

Year End Roundup

So, 2018 is almost here. 2017 was a year that boasted a lot of crud, but that’s not to say that it didn’t have its bright spots. You can’t have good without bad after all. So, as per usual with year ends, how’s about we go over what stood out for me this past year?

Best TV Show

This one is tough, because I watched so many good shows this year. Like a weirdly amount of good shows. The Good Doctor, the newest season of The 100, The Gifted, season 2 of The Magicians, 100 Million Yen Women, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Mindhunters, The Punisher, and all the CW superhero shows and that’s just to name a few. Goodness I watched a lot of television this year…

Now, if I had to choose the best of the bunch it’d probably be a tie (which you’ll probably see a lot of down the line. What shows does the tie consist of ? Well, that’d be The Punisher, The Magicians, and The Good Doctor. Each of these shows does what it aims to so well, that it’s difficult for me to pick one. TGD asks a question: What would being a surgeon who lives with autism (or working with one) be like? What obstacles would that result in, what complications, and what triumphs? TGD does a great job answering all these questions, and Freddie’s portrayal of the titular character is some of the best acting I’ve seen all year.

The Punisher tackles what it’s like to be a vet who’s done things in service of their country and to have those things haunt and change you. It also has its fair share of conspiracies and dramatic twists, so there’s that too. The Magicians is more of the same, and that’s a great thing. The first season had complex relationship dynamics between the main cast, creative takes on magic and the ways it’s cast, and it allowed a great book to be brought to life on screen (albeit with quite a few changes). This show had me feeling a type of way when the first season ended, and season two only added to that. I love this show so much.

Best Movie

I’ve been to the movie theater basically every month this year, multiple times in some cases, because this year has been great for movies. I mean, it’s been just as good, if not better than the year tv shows had. Justice League, Thor Ragnarok, Split, Logan, Fate S/N: Heaven’s Feel, It, Wonder Woman. That’s only a handful of the ones I got off the top of my head that stood out. There were numerous others, but the one that got to me the most this year was without a doubt, It.

For those that don’t know, It was a Stephen King novel that spawned a miniseries that I saw in my childhood (and subsequently gave me coulrophobia). It’s about a being called Pennywise, who appears as a clown and feeds off the fear of those in the town he’s terrorizing. His newest targets are a group of misfit friends called the Loser’s Club, and Pennywise uses their fears in a way that is undeniably creepy and horrifying, but they work to overcome their fears to defeat this fear-devouring being. Yep, that’s the gist of the story. Seeing this movie allowed me to get a better handle on my phobia, and that’s why it was my favorite of the year (and I guess for the uber creepiness and great performances all throughout). Though, The Last Jedi was a close second.

Best Anime

You know what? This might have been the toughest for me to decide, because those that know me, know that I love anime. And I watch a lot of it every year…and I mean A LOT. Like, probably over 50 shows a year (and that’s being modest I think). My top anime for the year include, but definitely aren’t limited to, My Hero Academia season 2, Princess Principal, Boruto, The Ancient Magus Bride, Classroom of the Elite, Gintama, Konosuba season 2, Saga of Tanya the Evil, Blue Exorcist, and Welcome to the Ballroom. But it’s weird, because having to deiced between those and more isn’t the reason why this one was so tough for me. Despite all those great shows and others I watched, it was really only between two: My Hero Academia & Magus Bride, which I talk more about here.

My Hero just continues the epic-ness that was season one, though it is a much better show because it widens the scope and focuses on more of the ensemble cast. It allows the characters to grow into their powers more and they evolve as people in general, learning more about themselves and those around them, and that makes an already great show that much better. Magus Bride, is one of my most anticipated adaptations, and it hasn’t disappointed yet. The characters are interesting, the world-building is some of the best I’ve seen in any medium, and the relationship dynamics and how they evolve over the course of the show is such an experience that I have a difficult time putting it into words. So I’ll just settle on a tie between the two.

Best Book

I know what you’re thinking. Best anime was the toughest for you to decide on? What about books? Wasn’t it difficult to choose your favorite for the year for this too? To that I answer, yes and no. I read a bunch of good books this year, and I do mean a lot. There are so many good authors out there who put out great books with every release they have, but if I’m being honest, this only came down to two authors I follow almost religiously: B.C. Burgess & Belart Wright. Burgess’ Mystic Series (who’s latest book will be my first review of 2018), and Wright’s Hell’s Glitch Series are two of my favorite series to date and it’s always an emotional, entertaining read whenever a new book comes out by either of them. For that reason, it’s a tie between Hell’s Glitch newest installment and the Mystic Series newest one. Also, shout out for Matt Doyle’s Addict. That was a great one too.

So, with the year almost over, that’s what I enjoyed in my most used mediums. Next year will offer more reviews and more writing updates. If you want exclusive content, you can always join my monthly newsletter. Until next time folks, stay golden.

B.C. Burgess' Annihilation

B.C. Burgess' Annihilation

I'm Back: Oct-Nov Roundup

I'm Back: Oct-Nov Roundup