Also This Week In Hype: Nintendo teases “NESFlix,” and Studio Ghibli announces… a theme park?
If there’s one thing pop culture as an industry is great at, it’s manufacturing hype.
It makes sense, of course. If you’re a company trying to sell something, whether it’s movie tickets or comic books, you want people to be excited to buy your product. On one hand, some may argue that “hype culture” is exploiting our emotions as consumers for the sake of generating profit. On the other hand, I am but a simple person with simple tastes. I enjoy being ridiculously excited for new things relevant to my interests. In fact, some may argue that it’s possible to be cautiously optimistic, which means you can be excited for an upcoming product while still choosing to exercise due diligence before paying money for it. What a novel concept!
So in the spirit of aggressively cautious optimism, I welcome you to This Week In Hype: a quick roundup of pop-culture news that’s driving our hype to 11.
1: Wonder Woman surpasses expectations by not being awful.
As you may have heard, a new Wonder Woman movie just came out, and consensus is that it’s at least pretty good. This is in stark contrast to some of the previous movies in the DC Extended Universe, in which the consensus cannot be properly conveyed here without using some colorful language.
Now, we’re not saying Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad are bad movies, but we are saying that a lot of other people said they are bad movies. Heck, even if you added their scores on Rotten Tomatoes together, you’d still end up with a failing grade of 52%. It’s been rough for DC fans to be invested in their respective cinematic universe, so a movie as critically lauded as Wonder Woman is what the base needed before losing interest all together. Of course, we’re sure DC themselves must be enjoying the strong opening weekend as well.
In many ways, it’s actually refreshing to see Wonder Woman enjoy this level of success. Batman and Superman have had their fair share of time in the spotlight, but it’s been a while since the Princess of Themyscira has been popular in mainstream culture. And for those who are curious, even original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter gives her stamp of approval.
2: Nintendo unveils online subscription plan for the Nintendo Switch, and it includes access to classic titles.
The Nintendo Switch has been a runaway success since its release in March, with over 3 million units already shipped worldwide. However, the console has not been immune to criticism either.
When it was announced that the Switch would require a paid subscription plan to play the console online, the gaming community feared the worst. After all, Nintendo has not exactly offered the most… ahem… state of the art online service in the past, and paying more money doesn’t guarantee the product will be better. Personally, my first time playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl online was fantastic as long as I imagined the heavy latency just transformed it into a turn based RPG.
Fortunately, it seems Nintendo is attempting to sweeten the deal a bit. At $20 a year, the service will come with an “ongoing access to a library of classic games with added online play.” In other words, as many fans have put it, we may finally be getting the “NESflix” subscription that many gamers have dreamed of. While Nintendo has only announced a paltry 3 titles for the service so far (Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight, and Dr. Mario), there’s serious potential for this to become a system selling feature for retro gamers. Let’s just hope the library updates a little more frequently than the virtual console did for the Wii and Wii U.
3: Do you like Disneyland? Introducing Studio Ghibli-land!
Last, but not least… well, the title kind of says it all.
Studio Ghibli is often referred to as “Japan’s Disney,” which isn’t a perfect comparison to be honest, but it does the job in conveying their reverence among fans of Japanese animation. However, when news broke that Ghibli is preparing a theme park to be opened in Japan in 2020, the Disney parallel became a heck of a lot stronger. Early reports suggest the park will be themed around My Neighbor Totoro, which makes sense given the movie’s titular character is still on the Ghibli logo to this day. Also, it’ll give us all another reason to get “Totoro, To-to-ro” stuck in our heads all day, so that’s something to look forward to! Even I can’t tell how sincere I’m being when I say that!
That’s pretty much all the info we have for now. As the park begins to take shape over the next three years, you can bet the hype train won’t be stopping until the place opens its doors for business.
That’s all we have for hype this week. Next week, will there be excitement for an event that’ll actually be happening that week, or will I continue to cover announcements for things that won’t even launch this year? Tune in next time on This Week In Hype!