Winter 2023: Anime Preview


At the tail end of 2022, I really enjoyed keeping up with SPYxFAMILY and Chainsaw Man as it aired. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with watching seasonal shows, as I have a tendency to take on too many that I then can’t keep up, and I can’t manage to binge anything alongside.

You’d think that I would learn from that, but no. I haven’t, and there was just so many shows that looked really cool, so I couldn’t resist!

I’ve watched at least the first episode of each of these shows, and they’re making up my Winter 2023 roster. Here are my initial thoughts!

Tokyo Revengers Season 2

Tokyo Revengers has fast become one of my favourite anime. I love the whole concept of it, from the time travel to the gang wars, and the characters are really fun and well-written. I’m so happy we haven’t had to wait long for Tokyo Revengers season 2, and even more happy that things just jump straight into the action. There’s no recapping, no rehashing of the story, it’s just straight on with things. I’m so excited to see where the story goes this season, it seems like it’s going to be an eventful one!


Buddy Daddies

I’ve seen Buddy Daddies hailed on Twitter as ‘the gay SPYxFAMILY’, and whilst there are similarities, it’s a lot more than that. The two protagonists, Kazuki and Rei, are roommates who are the antithesis of each other. Whilst Kazuki is warm and outgoing, Rei is an introvert, preferring the company of cats and games than real people. It’s a really interesting dynamic, that though outplayed has a fresh perspective in Buddy Daddies as Kazuki and Rei are contract killers, working together as a duo to take out their hits. In this first episode, we see Kazuki and Rei taking out a contract who is a mafia boss specialising in human trafficking. Whilst on the job, Kazuki meets Miri, a little girl who is searching for her father, who is… you guessed it, the mafia boss he is there to kill. After taking out the hit, Kazuki tells Miri he is her father, setting up the whole series for a really cute family dynamic. I’m really excited to see where Buddy Daddies goes and how the trio develop.

buddy daddies

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel – Northern War

As a massive fan of the Legend of Heroes games, I was really excited for this anime this season. I wouldn’t say I’m let down, necessarily, but I may have overhyped it in my mind because of my love for the games. Giving an alternative perspective to the conflict seen in the games, the premise of the show is an interesting one. Whilst the story feels quite compelling on first watch, and I’m interested to see where it goes, the show itself feels let down by the animation. Scenes feel a bit choppy, and some characters are given better treatment than others which is indicative of how important they are in terms of the show but it means that it lacks cohesion as a result. I’ll still keep watching due to my love of the Legends of Heroes series as a whole, but it won’t be the show I rush to watch every week.


The Ice Guy and His Cool Female Colleague

This is probably the show I’m least excited about at the moment. The concept seems really cool – the descendant of a yokai is an office worker, and when he gets emotional he loses control of his ice-powers. There’s also a normal human love interest, and what seems like a pretty colourful supporting cast. My worry is, as with all slice-of-life anime, that not a lot will happen and it’s just going to feel a bit flat, but I’ll give it a chance and see how it goes!

ice guy

Bungo Stray Dogs Season 4

Another returning show this season, and I’m so excited to have Bungo Stray Dogs back. It really is one of my favourite shows, and imagine my shock, my joy, my excitement when the main focus of the season seems to be my (second) best boy Rampo-san. I was worried I had forgotten everything that happened in the prior season of Bungo Stray Dogs before I started watching, but it seems like it doesn’t really matter at the moment due to the season starting in the past. I can’t wait to learn more about Rampo-san, and hopefully remember things about the last season.


Well, that’s all I’m watching this season, along with continuing Blue Lock and IDOLiSH7, and trying to binge a few things. What are you watching this season? Anything you’d recommend?

2023 challenges

2023 Challenges: The Beginning

2022 wasn’t a great year for me and the challenges. I set my goals way too high, with too many categories and then achieved not a lot. It’s always disheartening when you don’t reach your goals, even if they’re non-consequential like these challenges are, but even so it’s meant to be fun! I don’t want to be here writing every month that I didn’t get anything done!

That being said, for 2023 I’m going to change it up and do quarterly updates. I’ve never been great at monthly updates, I don’t think a year has gone by since I started doing the challenges where I’ve managed to stick to it, so I think quarterly will be a great change and will allow me to focus on writing other content for the blog – something I threaten every year, but which hasn’t quite materialised yet.

So, with this in mind, let’s see what I’ve decided to focus on this year.

Watch 25 anime
This is the prime candidate for things I overpromise on. I’m not sure I’ve ever hit an anime watching target. 25 seems quite reasonable – 2 shows a month brings me to 24, but 24 seemed like a weird total so I rounded it up. I think this is doable, but I’ve said that before and been very wrong, so we’ll see.

Watch 25 anime movies
Same logic as before, this works out at around 2 movies per month. I can do that, that’s easy. Right?

Watch 30 films
It’s easier to watch a non-subtitled film than a subtitled one, hence the increase in total numbers for this one. Just under 3 a month. Maybe I’ll start a Friday film night.

Clear 15 games from the PlayStation backlog
I joked recently that I don’t play games, I collect them, but there’s probably more truth in that statement than I’d like. I really want to focus on clearing down my backlog. I have so many games I’ve heard are fantastic, but they’re sitting on my (digital and physical) shelf unplayed. If anything, it’s a waste of money, so it’s time to change this! I’m including PS Vita, PS4 and PS5 for this challenge, so 15 should be a doddle.

Clear 12 games from the Switch backlog
Generally, I don’t play my Switch as often as my PlayStation, but I want to change that. 12 games seems reasonable – one a month!

Get 12 platinum trophies
At my core I think I’ll always be a trophy hunter to some extent. Whilst I’ve given up on shovelware games, I don’t want to abandon it altogether. My focus on clearing my backlogs means I’ll have less time for trophy hunting but I’m certain there’ll be some crossover, so I’ve set the target at a pretty conservative 1 platinum a month.

Read 20 manga series
Another thing I always buy and never consume – manga. I have a Shonen Jump app subscription, going wasted. I want to read 20 complete series this year. I’ll probably start some ongoing series, but they won’t count for this target unless it’s a complete series!

Read 12 books
I think I said in my 2022 wrap-up that I want to set myself some better reading habits by reading a little before bed each night. With my wanting to also read manga more frequently, I’m not stupid enough to think I’ll do a tonne of ‘normal’ reading on top of that, so I think 1 book a month sounds decent.

I think this seems like a reasonable goal for all of these challenges. I have a lot of personal goals I want to work on as well, so I think these relatively low numbers will leave me time to ficus on them, and there’s enough variety in the topics that I won’t get bored in trying to achieve them as a collective. What do you think about my 2023 challenges? As always, follow me on Twitter and see my progress on the hashtag #cs2023challenges.


Anime August: The Plan


The third year of Anime August means I can call this a regular feature, right? Looking back over my previous years, I have a habit of being overly ambitious with how much anime I’m going to watch over the month – much like my targets for the yearly challenges, maybe I need a big dose of realism next year?

This year I’m going to pick 10 series and 10 movies to watch and work my way through the lists, I think that will be manageable. As always, I’m going to say I’m going to review the things I’ve watched, but will I? Who knows.

Here are my lists!


  • IDOLiSH7 Third Beat!
  • Kaguya-Sama Love Is War (first season)
  • Run With The Wind
  • Bartender
  • Made In Abyss
  • O Maidens  In Your Savage Season
  • My Love Story
  • DAKAICHI – I’m Being Harassed By The Sexiest Man Of The Year
  • WAVE!! – Let’s Go Surfing!!


  • Only Yesterday
  • In This Corner Of The World
  • Penguin Highway
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
  • Ni No Kuni
  • Bubble
  • Violet Evergarden: Eternity and The Auto Memory Doll
  • The Tatami Galaxy
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
  • Lu Over The Wall

I think these lists feel quite varied, and I’m looking forward to cracking on!

2022 challenges

2022 Challenges: July Recap


Somehow I missed the June update, so you’d think there’d be a lot of progress to report on, right? Wrong.

Platinum 15 games

July end total: 4

In the last couple of months I’ve got the platinum in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and When The Past Was Around. Both very different games but both very fun and worth playing. I feel like this total is a bit light for the challenges but I’m avoiding the ‘easy platinum’ games and trying to focus on stuff I actually want to play. I think I’ll make at least double digits this year, I have a few games I’ve started and I want to clean up on as well as stuff in the backlog.

Get the platinum in Persona 4 Golden

So, I didn’t do this in July as previously planned but now the PS4/PS5 release is scheduled for the end of the year I want to get it done before that comes out so I’m going to aim to do an in-game month every couple of days.

Watch 30 anime

July end total: 4

In June I watched Sasaki and Miyano, which I really loved. I didn’t want anything in July but August is just around the corner so I’m hoping my numbers will boost!

Watch 30 films

July end total: 14

I added Thor: Love and Thunder and Murder Mystery to my totals across the June and July. I really enjoyed Thor, though perhaps I might be the only person in the world who did. Murder Mystery was fine.

Watch 30 anime films

July end total: 2

Man, just awful here. Hoping to boost this in Anime August!

Read 18 books

July end total: 9

Finally managed to read Wranglestone, which I’ve been reading since March so hopefully now I can move onto things that don’t take me 4 months to read.

Clear physical Switch and Vita backlogs

Um… Does buying more games and adding to the backlog count? No? Oh…

2022 challenges, Challenges

2022 Challenges: May Recap


April is a super busy month for me generally speaking – birthday month and all of that, so I didn’t get much progress on the challenges hence no update post. May felt significantly better, so let’s see if it was.

Platinum 15 games

May end total: 2

Games have taken a bit of a backseat lately, I have been playing stuff but just not trying for platinum’s and mostly on my Switch honestly. I haven’t added anything to my challenge for platinum trophies, boo!

Get the platinum in Persona 4 Golden

As previously mentioned, I’m just one trophy off on this one – unfortunately I need to pretty much do an entire playthrough to get to level 90 to get it. I don’t know why but I have in my head that I’m going to do it in July, so time will tell.

Watch 30 anime

May end total: 3

I watched two anime in May, woohoo! I finally finished Tokyo Revengers and also added My Dress Up Darling to the list. I have a few on the go at the moment so I’m hoping to add a few more this month.

Watch 30 films

May end total: 12

In May I watched JokerSenior Year, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Some were definitely better than others.

Watch 30 anime films

May end total: 2

I’ve been equally as rubbish with anime movies as I have with watching anime series, and I didn’t add any in May.

Read 18 books

May end total: 8

I think I’m still ahead of schedule on my book reading, but I haven’t actually read anything since March when I did the 24 hour readathon, shameful!

Clear physical Switch and Vita backlogs

The less said the better, honestly.

2022 challenges, Challenges

2022 Challenges: March Recap


After being off to a pretty shaky start, I feel like March was much more positive for the challenges and I made some headway in everything, even if the numbers haven’t jumped up a whole lot.

Platinum 15 games

March end total: 2

In March I finally managed to get the platinum in Cozy Grove. I cannot believe how long this took me in the end, and I feel like I definitely didn’t do it the most straightforward or easy way. Cozy Grove was actually my second most played game last year according to the end of 2021 PlayStation stats that came out, which just shows how much time I’ve put into it.

Get the platinum in Persona 4 Golden

I was really sick for about a week in March and I couldn’t bring myself to tax my brain too much so I played Persona 4 Golden solidly for that entire time. I have all bar one trophy, which is really quite annoying as I need to do another playthrough for it to get to level 90 and fuse one persona and then the platinum is mine!

Watch 30 anime

March end total: 1

I finally finished an anime, miracles do happen! I watched Blue Period, which I really loved a lot!

Watch 30 films

March end total: 9

I watched two feature length documentaries in March; Three Identical Strangers and Tell Me Who I Am, both of which were absolutely crazy stories, I can’t believe what the people involved had to go through. Both were so interesting though, I’d definitely recommend! I also watched Turning Red, which I really liked a lot.

Watch 30 anime films

March end total: 2

I watched Jujutsu Kaisen 0 which was incredible. I really think it’s the superior anime at the moment, over Demon Slayer anyway.

Read 18 books

March end total: 8

I read quite a lot in March. I got my first Kindle, and a free three month trial of Kindle Unlimited, so I’ve been trying to make the most of that. Chelsie of The Runaway Chelsie Blog and I also had a day where we tried to read as much as we could in 24 hours (spoiler – we did not make the full 24 hours). In March I read The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson, the first and second Zodiac Academy books by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti, They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera (which I’m still not over), and finally Hector and the Search For Happiness by Francois Lelord (which I honestly could not recommend to anyone). I’m doing pretty well on the reading front!

Clear physical Switch and Vita backlogs


2022 challenges, Challenges

2022 Challenges: January Recap


January went so quick, it’s mad! I actually had a really positive start to the year for the challenges, so this recap is actually going to have some things to add to it. Let’s go!

Platinum 15 games

January end total: 1

In January I managed to get the platinum for Doraemon: Story of Seasons. True to my word when I set the challenge, it definitely wasn’t a 10 minute job and did pose some sort of challenge, so that objective was cleared! It had also been sitting in my backlog for some time so I also managed to clear a game from my backlog which I’m super happy about.

Get the platinum in Persona 4 Golden

I have not yet got the platinum for Persona 4 Golden, but I am working on it!

Watch 30 anime

January end total: 0

Okay so when I said January was going well, but uhhh… not for anime it turns out.

Watch 30 film

January end total: 4

In January I watched The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorised Bash Brothers Experience, Encanto, Afterlife of the Party, and The Mitchells vs. The Machines. A strong start on the films front! At this rate I feel like I can get this one done early in the year and free myself up for the rest of the year, which would be really good.

Watch 30 anime films

January end total: 1

I watched The Garden of Words in January, so a slow start on this front. I need to get into the habit of watching a film a week, or to pull ahead on this one because it’s one of the challenges I’ve found in the past that it’s easy to fall back on.

Read 18 books

January end total: 2

Ahead of target on this one, I have to read one and a half books a month to hit this by the end of the year and I’m actually at 2 and a half so far, so that’s a relief. In January I read The House In the Cerulean Sea and A Medal For Leroy. 

Clear physical Switch and Vita backlogs

I haven’t started on either of the handheld backlogs yet, but now my joycons are fixed, there’s no holding me back! I want to get Persona 4 done, and then I feel like I’ll be well on the way with this.


Games, Platinum Review

Platinum Review: Angels of Death


Available on: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Android
Played on: PS5 (PS4 version)

Angels of Death is a horror game originally created on RPG Maker and released back in 2015 as freeware and later in 2016 on Steam.

As far as my own experience with Angels of Death goes, I watched and loved the 2018 anime adaptation and that was my entry point into it as a property. I knew vaguely at the time that it was a game adaptation but as a horror game it didn’t strike me as a very “me” game as I’m notoriously a huge wuss – I had to get my housemate to sit next to me for moral support whilst I played Until Dawn. 

angels of death

Watching Angels of Death really piqued my interest and spurred me into playing the game. I knew I loved the characters, and knowing the plot really helped ease any anxieties going into playing, as no matter how disturbing it got I knew what was coming.

Angels of Death focuses on the protagonist Rachel Gardner, who wakes up one day in a hospital where she is receiving counselling after having witnessed a murder. She soon realises that she’s not in a proper hospital, and tries to escape. Leaving the floor of the building she finds herself in, she ends up on another floor and soon finds herself being chased by a scythe-wielding maniac named Isaac ‘Zack’ Foster. After a series of events, Rachel learns that the building she is in is the site of a murder game, where each floor is inhabited by a murderer who determines the theme of each floor. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that Rachel and Zack cut a deal with each other, teaming up to escape, and the game is spent traversing the floors of the building seeking escape and avoiding the perils put on each floor by it’s inhabitant.

Littered through each floor there are puzzles which require solving. These can be a little frustrating as you have to do them exactly as the game wants you to, so does tend to require a bit of trial and error even if you’ve figured out the answer to each puzzle.


There are a few sequences throughout Angels of Death where you find yourself having to run from peril, which really opens you up to the weakest area of the game – it controls very poorly. It’s hard to do anything with any kind of precision, so trying to turn corners when in a chase feels like a matter of luck at some points. It can be frustrating but there’s a liberal amount of auto-save sprinkled through the game so restarting sequences isn’t too much of a chore if you find yourself having to retry.

Visually Angels of Death is nothing special, but it has a certain charm. Having been originally created in RPG Maker, it’s fairly simplistic and rudimentary – something that can be said not only for the visuals, but the gameplay and (lack of) voice acting. The main dialogue throughout Angels of Death is completely text based, with the odd peppering of sound effects, like maniacal laughter, throughout.


Angels of Death offers interesting characters and an intense storyline to it’s players, however some of the characters do feel a little underdeveloped, and the game doesn’t really offer much insight into the reasons behind the characters actions past Zack and Rachel. It’s here where the anime comes into a world of its own and offers more lore and depth to all characters. The anime and the game work really well in tandem with each other and provide a more full experience for the consumer. Of course, it’s not vital to have both and they can be enjoyed independently of each other. The whole experience feels really special, and the plot of the game is a really well realised and put together journey.

8 stars



Moving onto the platinum trophy, it’s a fairly straightforward get. The trophies throughout are linked to certain things you have to do in each chapter – a lot being to fail at certain puzzle aspects or to get caught. The guide I used from PSN Profiles is good as it tells you when to save to avoid having to replay long sections, but you will have to read the trophy description to get this information.

My PS5 tells me I played for 9 hours, so a fairly quick platinum to get. I feel the simplicity of the trophies, coupled with the guide make this a really fun and easy platinum to get. The game itself being enjoyable makes any slog for the platinum feel minimal and definitely opens the player up to enjoying the enhanced lore in the anime.

Platinum difficulty rating:




2022 challenges, Challenges

2022 Challenges: The Beginning


Happy New Year to all my followers and readers! I hope 2021 wasn’t a total garbage fest for you all, it was okay for me but I feel glad to see the back of it! Here’s to a much better 2022!

Thinking about 2022, I want things to change. I felt like in 2021 I had my priorities totally wrong with the challenges and my focus was on things that were totally not what I wanted to really be doing. I got the platinum in a lot of games in 2021, sure, but did I play any good games? Not especially! I’ve found over the years I’ve done a few things like that, and I feel like I’d like to reprioritise things so I feel more fulfilled at the end of the year!

So, here are some slightly more targeted ~achievable~ challenges for 2022!

Platinum 15 games

I know I said in my intro that I was going to reprioritise, but I felt like it wouldn’t be Culture Shack without some focus on platinum trophies. I am going to come up with some criteria to the games I’m going to platinum so that I only get ones that actually pose a challenge and aren’t little 10 minute jobs I’ve bought just to ping the trophy. There might even be a shortlist of games I want to try to get the platinum in, who knows? This challenges leads on nicely to my next one, the first sub-challenge in Culture Shack history!

Get the platinum in Persona 4 Golden

I’ve been threatening it for years, but this year I’m finally going to do it. I’m going to get the platinum in Persona 4 Golden. I really tried in 2021, but I got caught up in other things. I first started playing the game in March 2014, so this is seven years in the making! Out of all of my challenges this is the one I’m most determined to do!

Watch 30 anime

For a self-confessed anime obsessive, I sure haven’t watched much anime lately. I really want to change this. This also comes with a sub-challenge of sorts – I want to watch one show per season. I went a bit crazy with seasonal shows the last couple of years and it was really overwhelming to keep up with, but at the same time it’s cool to be part of the hype. By paring it back to one show per season I think this will allow me to manage things a lot easier and still be part of the ‘conversation’.

Watch 30 films

I got so close to this target in 2021, and I think my mistake was only picking up steam in the latter half of the year so it felt like more of a chore. I can definitely do this!

Watch 30 anime films

Do you know how many unwatched anime blu-rays I have? A lot. Not in 2022. In 2022 I’m going to watch them… maybe not all, but most!

Read 18 books

I nailed the books challenge in 2021, and I really loved doing it. I was always an avid reader as a kid and the literature part of my degree really smashed that out of me. Now I’ve got back in my stride I reckon I can read 18 in 2022, that’s only a book and a half a month!

Clear physical Switch and Vita backlogs

My backlog has gotten out of hand, and I need to resolve that. I’m starting with my handhelds, and purely on the physical games I have so that I have some sort of structure. There’s 6 and 7 games per console so hopefully this won’t be too much of a task.

If you’re interested the games are as follows:

  • Our World Is Ended (Switch)
  • The World Ends With You (Switch)
  • Valthirian Arc (Switch)
  • Cafe Enchante (Switch)
  • Langrisser 1 and 2 (Switch)
  • Octopath Traveller (Switch)
  • Hakuoki Edo Blossoms (Vita)
  • Exist Archive (Vita)
  • 7’scarlet (Vita)
  • Tales of Hearts R (Vita)
  • Steins;Gate (Vita)
  • Pyschadelica of the Black Butterfly (Vita)


What do you think of my challenges for 2022? Have I bitten off more than I can chew yet again? If you have any suggestions for last minute considerations, let me know! As well as these challenges, I also have a lot of plans for the blog so I can hopefully be more active, and a lot of life goals I’m determined to achieve! Let’s make 2022 our year!

2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: October Recap


Wow, long time no recap! I said in my last update I’d get better at doing these on time and have done the complete opposite, whoops. I’m very aware I haven’t been posting so much, and I really want to rectify that, but life is hella busy sometimes you know?

Anyway, on with the challenges update! I’ll spare you a long list of everything I’ve added (or not) up until now and just do a totals kind of post, it’s nearly December so I’ll do a more detailed post at the end of the year!

Watch 45 anime

October end total: 17

Things aren’t looking so good for this one, you know. I’m having a problem where I can never seem to sit down and concentrate on anime (or games, it’s very annoying). I think I’ll be able to get up to the halfway point by the end of the year, but it’s looking unlikely this will get done.

Read 50 complete manga

October end total: 2

We might as well call this one now, because things just aren’t happening here. Time of death: 1.00pm on 4th November 2021.

Watch 30 films

October end total: 14

Almost halfway! I’m stupidly optimistic about this one, you know. I probably shouldn’t be, but I think I can do it or at least be a good way through!

Watch 30 anime films

October end total: 6

Hmmm…. I reckon a halfway target of 15 movies by the end of the year is probably more likely than the full 30, but we’ll see how it goes!

Get 35 platinum trophies

October end total: 18

I was doing so well on this challenge in the first part of the year, but as I mentioned earlier, I have really been struggling of late to sit down and play games. I think I can probably add a few more onto this total, but I’m not sure how stupidly optimistic that is.

Clear 30 games from my backlog

October end total: 1

Oh man. The backlog just keeps growing. Sure, I can sit down and watch 10 seasons of Ru Paul’s Drag Race in 2 weeks, but can I concentrate on a game for an hour? Can I heck. I’m also calling the end of this challenge, it’s never going to happen!

Play 12 Switch games

October end total: 2

So I did play Ys XI: Monstrum Nox for review (see my previous post) but I’ve not played anything I actually already owned, which is pretty shameful. I’ll be trying to fix this!

Read 12 books

October end total: 11

A challenge I’m going to actually achieve?! What a miracle! I’m actually reading my 12th book now, I’m about halfway through, so this is definitely going to get done! Hooray!