The panel is ill-prepared for these questions, but unites once more to cover The Game Awards 2022, cool ladies, and the greatest game of all time no one is talking about yet. Brandon Sheffield reviews the animes Bleach and One Piece.

Questions this week:

  1. Do we want to talk about the FTC suing to block Microsoft from buying Activision Blizzard? (06:37)
  2. From Ash Parrish: if you could lock Geoff Keighley in a room and make him reveal the video game industry's biggest secret, what would you ask him? (09:13)
  3. Let’s try to have a sincere discussion about The Game Awards (11:43)
  4. Let’s predict The Game Awards (20:48)
  5. How have video games influenced our vocabulary? (37:24)
  6. Does a video game protagonist have to be likable? (42:47)
  7. Insert Credit Anime Review: Bleach vs. One Piece (48:32)
  8. Mek asks: has there ever been a good boss fight in a first person shooter? (54:54)
  9. Which fighting game has the coolest lady? (01:00:37)
  10. What is the Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles of video games? (01:05:24)

LIGHTNING ROUND: Improv Zone - Introducing the Nominees (01:16:20)

Recommendations and Outro (01:22:02)

Is this the best Insert Credit episodes of all time? Tell us in the forums!


Last week I was asked to watch the first two episodes of bleach, and the first two episodes of one piece, to see which I liked better. The idea was to forever solve who is the correct anime opinion-haver, whether that's ash with bleach, or jaffe with one piece.

So it turns out I have actually seen the first two episodes of one piece already, but that was around the year 2000 at my university anime club, where we watched fansubs as they came out. I was introduced to the anime club by insert credit cofounder vincent diamante, but that's another story. I don't remember much about one piece from that time, so it still felt like a blank slate - but because I had seen some of it, I decided to watch bleach first.

Let's get into it.

My notes here say "generic song of the era for intro." I think that's pretty accurate. It's got a lot of visual ideas though, and almost feels like an AMV. The first episode especially has that vibe for the first few sequences. The premise is decent - our protagonist has latent spiritual abilities and must become a spirit hunter. It's pretty clean, but his abilities are changing rapidly, which is a good setup for monster of the week episodes while keeping a tie throughout the series. But the art style is pretty rough, and the vibe is all over the place, bouncing from hardcore serious teen emotions to goofy screaming nonsense. It's got good cliffhangers, and the voices and characters don't annoy me too much, which is saying something. There's nobody who's too high and mighty, nobody whose voice is screechingly high, and not that many eating sounds. Sonically it's pretty good overall.

Unfortunately bleach is hit by one of the bigger issues that faces all anime from this era. Bleach started in 2002, basically the exact moment when anime was trying to incorporate computer effects into traditional cell animation. I'm not talking about graphical effects, I'm talking about a fake fisheye lense, or awkward pans or tilts. They looked bad then, but they look truly awful now. I don't particularly hold that against it, but it's hard not to notice. Also the ending song is terrible. Sorry!

Overal I do see why bleach is the ash recommendation. The characters don't say everything they think, so there's more room for fan fiction and interpretation in the space between the characters.

Now let's talk about One Piece.
The intro song is much better, it's a lot more fun, and feels unique. Also being from 1999 means they're using a lot less of that bad computer stuff I talked about. There's some, but it's mostly in the first couple episodes and then they abandon it. The plot is straightforward - our protagonist Luffy is a stretchy boy, and wants to become king of the pirates. His idea of piracy is very different from everyone else's, and he goes off to find a motley crew. I like the premise overall.

The colors are bright, and the characters are very straightforward in that shonen kind of way. This show is clearly intended for a younger audience, has an intro even before the opening song, then huge recaps, meaning the actual episode is around 15-17 minutes long. It's short, breezy, and easy to watch. It's also easy to ignore and come back to though.

As for the voices, I don't love some of them, and there's lots of eating sounds and talking with one's mouth full. Luffy takes some getting used to, but isn't as bad as someone like the protagonist of Black Clover, or the original Japanese dub of dragon ball, both of which are unlistenable to me. I should probably mention I'm listening to the japanese dub here, not that that will surprise anyone.

I do see why this is the jaffe choice. Characters are very straightforward and say what they think. Nobody's hiding anything, and everyone's generally nice to each other. Oh and the ending theme is ignorable.

Anyway, the cliffhangers are even better here, and I did feel more like watching episode 3 of One Piece than I did bleach, so I did - and I wound up watching four episodes of each out of fairness. The four episode test basically only furthered my lean toward one piece.

This decision isn't exactly a slam dunk though - and as a side note - basketball is great, let's get together in front of tv - but there's one thing Jaffe didn't take into account regarding the first two episodes of bleach: Leekspin.

I'm sure at one point, I knew where the leekspin animation came from, but I had definitely forgotten that it was from bleach. This isn't truly fair, because this memory is basically not about bleach at all. if you don't know leekspin, it was an AMV that paired the Bleach character Orihime spinning a leek, with the song Ievan Polkka by the finnish band Loituma. This was a huge video in the anime and general nerd-person world, and its influence is still felt today, with hatsune miku among others spinning leeks in basically every goofy Japanese video game since. Anyway, seeing it live in episode 2 of bleach and having that memory come rising back really added a lot of points.

But when all's said and done, Bleach is grim and numetal feeling. It's got that teen angst oozing out everywhere. One Piece has an imagined child's optimism, which can be distracting in its own way, but is ultimately more appealing to me in late 2022. Bleach feels like a PS2 game, where One Piece is a bit more of a Gamecube game. In the two - now four - episode test, I have to say one piece wins for me. But I don't think I'll be continuing with either series particularly. My final conclusion is if you want a long-running shonen series that feels like a Dreamcast game instead, watch hunter x hunter. So jaffe wins this round - but if you watch hunter x hunter, then YOU win.

Okay thanks, bye forever.



Frank: The Prototypes in Ed Semrad’s Basement

Brandon: Watch a few episodes of Hunter X Hunter, wishlist Hyper Gunsport on Steam

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Hosted by Alex Jaffe, with Frank Cifaldi, Tim Rogers and Brandon Sheffield. Edited by Esper Quinn. Original Music by Kurt Feldman.