American Anime

 Anime, Cartoons, Voltron (2011)  Comments Off on American Anime
Jun 252011
 

Let’s Anime!

Filthy American scum! First you bomb our cities, now you invade our blogs!

Voltron (2011 edition, eps 1 to 3)
Let’s put it this way, Sunred was better animated than this. But just as with Sunred, it’s better than it looks (mind you, yo mama! looks better than the new Voltron series).

Art and animation are horrendous. Voltron and the Lions themselves are nicely designed, and the original Voltron cast are semi-decent. But the new kid characters look awful. Which is sort of interesting, because it almost seems intentional… almost. It’s probably just plain crappy. But the fact that the kids are EXTRA shitty looking does give the impression of it being a take that to the producer/marketing guy who insisted on adding these kids on.

Speaking of the producer/marketing guy (whom we shall now refer to as Josh, for brevity’s sake), it’s as if Josh was stuck onto the writing team and they were forced to listen and integrate all his ill conceived and laughably stereotypically awful ideas into the show. The actual writing team seem to have a genuine love for Voltron though, and did the best they could to integrate these sucktastic Joshisms without it bringing down the overall quality too much. As a result of that, the new kids aren’t as annoying as they could have been (except for the chick, but at least she literally can’t drive), whilst the original cast are expanded upon and made less cookie cutter than they originally were.

Voice acting’s solid all around, Gary Chalk’s work was notable as that of General Wade. Wade is an immensely grating character who has loads and loads of dialogue, but Chalk managed to make the guy just barely bearable. Which actually sums up this show so far.

It’s a barely watchable show but it is watchable. If you’re a Voltron buff and you have nothing better to do than waiting for the next episode of Tiger & Bunny, then you should catch up on Re: Cutey Honey the Live, and then the Ultraman Zero movies. But if you’ve already done that and you’re still waiting for Tiger & Bunny, then yeah, go catch the new Voltron.

G.I. Joe: Renegades (episode 22: Cutting Edge)
Destro hires Jinx to assassinate Cobra Commander. Stuff happens, Jinx fails and Storm Shadow realizes and later admits to have accidentally murdered Hard Master. He, Jinx and Snake Eyes team up against some metal mooks, after which, he exiles himself. Leaving Jinx as the true and only leader of the Arashikage Ninja and apparently resolved his feud with Snake Eyes. Oh by the way, those were spoilers.

Not much to say about this ep really, except that it was good and you can probably watch it as a standalone. It’s a mostly Cobra-centric ep, which is cool because it means the bad guys get to shine without the good guys arbitrarily getting in the way. I kinda wished Major Bludd and Firefly would have made cameos though.

Particularly notable because the ninjas just talk everything out in a civilized manner and the Snake “Jesus” Eyes and Storm “Asian Cain” Shadow feud is resolved without the whole thing being dragged out for no reason other than that they have to be eternal rivals. Now they can just kill each other for fun, rather than having some DEEP meaningful backstory shoved into it.

Transformers: Prime (episode 16, Operation: Breakdown)
A good action ep where Lex Luthor kidnaps the Decepticon Breakdown. Stuff happens, but it all culminates into Bulkhead charging in to rescue Breakdown whilst murdering random guards. And then once he and Breakdown escape from the facility holding Breakdown, the two of them murder scores of humans in cold blood. Hell, considering the almost endless number of humans who kept showing up, they mighta racked up triple digits between them.

Miko is still fucking annoying. Like, FUCKING annoying. You know crap? You know shit? If crap and shit fucked and had a kid named Scrappy, Scrappy would the equivalent of what Mai Otome was to Mai Hime, and Miko would be the equivalent of the Mai Otome OVAs to Mai Otome (the series). In fact, Miko is like the cake in K-On!! She’s what ruined K-On!! from the fairly respectable if somewhat greatly overrated K-On.

But you should go watch Operation: Breakdown anyway. Luckily, Miko has relatively minimal involvement in this ep.

ThunderCats (2011): The Duelist and the Drifter

 Cartoons  Comments Off on ThunderCats (2011): The Duelist and the Drifter
Jun 072011
 

Episode 8 of the new ThunderCats… sucked.

While ThunderCats is nicely animated, that’s about all it has going for it. Story and character wise, it’s average for a cartoon of this sort. It peaked with the pilot and “Song of the Petalar” was mostly good (if highly flawed). But the rest of the series has thus far been very average. If I just wanted vapid eye candy, I’d watch Mawaru Penguindrum.

But this episode suuuuucked even in that context.

Two good things about this ep. One, the main antagonist is pretty cool. He’s a trash talking but competent swordsman. And his design’s pretty darn neat. I love that he has a twirlable mustache. Two, there were quite a few nice furry character models, although as seen in the topic pic, they’re mostly just hue adjusted/palette swapped.

Otherwise, this ep’s a pile of crap. Why? Well, in previous episodes, what diminished every episode was when they tried teaching Lion-O a lesson. In the fish pirates episode, Lion-O was in a revenge rage for the whole ep, then he snapped out of it for no apparent reason and it sucked. In Song of the Petalars, he was being a smart, stealthy leader for most of the ep, but the lesson he learned was to be a stupid asshole Leroy Jenkins. It goes on and on. The show’s only good and only makes sense when Lion-O’s not the focus. Otherwise, it becomes groan inducing and common sense breaking.

The Duelist and the Drifter is an entire episode DEVOTED to Lion-O learning a lesson. It’s the equivalent of rather than having 10 summer movies and one of them being a Michael Bay movie, they decided to have every movie be a Bay flick.

By the end of the episode, everyone becomes retarded. The Duelist went from a suave swordsman to a common crook. The Drifter who was initially decent, became meh when he revealed his backstory, and then became an absolute retard during Lion-O’s showdown with the Duelist. Oh, no wait, no he didn’t. He was only mostly retarded then. He went full retard at the end when he said he was going to return all the swords that the Duelist FAIRLY and RIGHTFULLY won to their “rightful” owners (who were presumably sub par swordsmen with over inflated egos when they first fought the Duelist).

It’s a pity that THIS is the episode that Landon chose to watch. Not that TC is an otherwise great series at this point, but it’s at least usually watchably average.

Smartphones are Normal

 Anime, Cartoons  Comments Off on Smartphones are Normal
May 312011
 

Pretty sure I’ve made this observation in another post:

It really annoys me that most anime characters have crappy flip-phones. Like, most anime centers around kids. Kids are gonna be into the newest shit. They like all that social media stuff. They wanna have iPhones and Androids and whatever else is out there. But anime characters are stuck in the early 00′s, going around with these cheap-ass phones that can barely send a text message so much as post to Facebook or whatever the preferred social site is in Japan.

It takes a progressive, forward-thinking anime about animals in a cafe to acknowledge that smartphones are the norm. It’s about damn time.

That scene in this week’s Polar Bear Cafe wasn’t quite as brilliant as last week’s questioning of one’s existence bit, but I got a big kick out of how they presented smartphones as something wholly mundane. You got the usual “how does this damn thing work” bit from Penguin while the others made him look like an old man by busting out some serious touchscreen moves. This wasn’t some Eden of the East bit where the only smartphones in existence patch you in with a mysterious benefactor who can pull all sorts of financial and political strings. It was just animal dudes messing around with a cool new piece of technology.

But all of that got me wondering. Do they have to make touchscreens design special for animals? I actually did the disgusting test and was able to push a few buttons on my iPhone with my tongue, but is the phone gonna be able to handle continuous exposure to saliva? I have an Otterbox for my phone, but Llama didn’t have anything protecting his phone. Do they make phones that can handle that sort of thing for the animal market? And Polar Bear’s claws aren’t exactly dull like a stylus. If he’s using his claws to touch the screen, isn’t the screen gonna get scratched up even with a flimsy screen protector? Maybe they use some high-grade scratch-resistant polymer for the screen or something.

And if this is the case, why don’t they take the limitations of penguins into consideration? Those flippers don’t have digits and don’t have the manual dexterity of a Llama tongue, and his beak was ineffective despite Polar Bear using an equally sharp and hard appendage. It’s obvious that Penguin is having a hard time with his phone more for his species limitations and not so much with his inexperience. So, do they not take birds into consideration when making these things? Is this a sign of mammalian supremacy at work? Do we need to have some protests from non-mammal species in order to get equal representation? Maybe we need an Avian and Reptile Rights Act to get equal access and accommodations.

Also, I loved how we found out Polar Bear does his pun act less out of a love for puns and more out of getting a reaction from his buddies. You marvelous bastard, Polar Bear. You’re awesome.

Also Also, as I was writing this post I was ragging on a buddy of mine who is a big My Little Pony fan (way more so than I am) and telling him that Polar Bear Cafe presents an animal-based society that’s far more progressive and equal than that of the ponies. MLP has a caste system while Polar Bear has a fully integrated society. Some species may seem a little less equal in Polar Bear, but there’s been some obvious advances. With MLP, it’s all about the pony totalitarian government and how they put down anyone without four hooves and a cutie mark.

Polar Bear Cafe is the progressive choice when it comes to animal cartoons.

Mayhem of the Music Madams

 Batman, Batman: Brave and the Bold, Cartoons  Comments Off on Mayhem of the Music Madams
Dec 222010
 


An eh ep that was saved by this lil song and dance.

Also, notice the “What is love?” head bobbing at around 2:05?