Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monthly Wrap Up-Avatar Book 1

                 This is my least favorite season of the show, oddly enough. When most people hear me say that, they act very surprised. The problem is that 'worst' does not denote 'bad'. In fact, this season is still better than most, if not almost all, western cartoons. This season just had a bit of a rough start, but managed to get it together early enough for an all-around great season.

My thoughts in Scores
Chapter 1, The Boy in the Iceberg-7
Chapter 2, The Avatar Returns-7
Chapter 3, The Southern Air Temple-7.5
Chapter 4, The Warriors of Kyoshi-8
Chapter 5, The King of Omashu-9.5
Chapter 6, Imprisoned-7   
Chapter 7, The Spirit World-8.5
Chapter 8, Avatar Roku-7.5
Chapter 9, The Waterbending Scroll-8
Chapter 10, Jet-9
Chapter 11, The Great Divide-1
Chapter 12, The Storm-8
Chapter 13, The Blue Spirit-9
Chapter 14,  The Fortuneteller-6
Chapter 15, Bato of the Water Tribe-7
Chapter 16, The Deserter-8
Chapter 17, The Northern Air Temple-7.5
Chapter 18, The Waterbending Master-9
Chapter 19, The Siege of the North Part One-9
Chapter 20, The Siege of the North PartTwo-9.5

            Wait a second! Tomorrow is March! And you know what that means! It's Shonen Month!

Character Study-Zhao

               Zhao is a great character. I think he was and still is under-appreciated because of being shown up by later villains. The guy is the perfect starting villain to me, and for a variety of reasons. In terms of personality, he works great. He's cocky, intelligent, ruthless, easily angered, and a little unstable. He doesn't develop really, just has some...aspects that were revealed over time. Mostly the raging insanity. Without him, the first season wouldn't have worked nearly as well. Mostly the reason Zuko is sympathetic at all is because he is able to play off Zhao's douchebaggery. His eventual fate, without spoilers, is a perfect representation of him as a whole, cocky arrogant and spiteful.

              Zhao is voiced by JASON ISAACS! The guy is decently prolific, but all you need to know is he plays Lucius Malfoy. The man has the perfect voice for this character, and fills it with as much arrogance, anger, and just plain sliminess as is humanly possible.

             Zhao's color might surprise you. Red, oddly enough, is his secondary color, not his main one. His main color is Black. The guy is very passionate sure, but what he wants is power, fame, and to go down in the history books as a great commander. And he is literally willing to do anything to do it. That is the essence of Black, really.
                      Overall, Zhao is my favorite villain of the series so far, and a definite contender for my favorites in any other western cartoon as well.

Character Study-Katara

              Katara is another weird character to discuss. She is, I'm pretty sure, the least popular member of the Gaang. Is she my least favorite member? Yeah. But is she a bad character? No. She's strong willed, motherly, playful, moral, uptight, and will go out of her way to help the helpless. She doesn't change much over the course of both the season and the show, and for good reason. Who she is a complex, and at times troublesome, but it's more a help than a hindrance, so she really doesn't need to change. Something is partly revealed this season that is prominent in both the next seasons, but I won't discuss it until next season. (If I remember then. Someone remind me then!)

           Katara is played byMae Whitman. You may remember her as Roxy from Scott Pilgrim! Seriously, I just found this out and screw everything else she did, that is awesome. Oh, and she was Lisa Miller in Scott Pilgrim VS the Animation. (Which they should just redo as the whole series, like 4 episodes a book. PLEASE?) She is really good, and makes Katara who she is. The soft voice that easily becomes annoyed, enraged, and scary, and is most memorable as those last three, works great.

          Katara is a pretty easy character to map out. She's White. No second color, just White. She's moral as all hell, compassionate, quick-to-judge, inflexible, and great for the healings.

          Overall, Katara is a really good character, but in the way she works with the others and the story, not so much one who you watch the show for or is very often a personal favorite.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Character Study-Iroh

             Iroh is another favorite of the series for me. He is hilarious, insightful, wise, and makes Chuck Norris look like a bitch. There isn't much to talk about with him, especially because that, in the series proper, he is static. He does not develop at all throughout the story, mostly because all his development happened years before the story starts, and are only vaguely mentioned.

           His voice actor is a...rough subject. I'll just talk about his first voice actor for the time being, and discuss that hornet's nest when the changeover happens. He is/was voiced by Mako, a legendary actor whose famous roles include Aku from Samurai Jack, The Wizard from Conan the Barbarian, and many other works. The guy is/was phenomenal, and his role as Iroh did more than solidify the character, he fortified it. His voice made the character early on, and for that I praise him.

         Iroh is Red, yes, obviously, but his second color is interesting. The Red is where his passion, drive, and individualism comes from. His second color is White. He says he studied Waterbending, and it shows in his fighting. He also is very moral and believes in Order. A very White character. Odd how he and his nephew have the same colors?
                   Iroh in an incredible character, and the best pro/antagonist in the show (besides Sokka). His good heart and great jokes made him incredibly endearing, and Mako's performance will forever live on, on our DVD shelves.

Character Study-Sokka

              I've really been looking forward to this. Sokka is by far my favorite character in the show. He has some of the best lines, is an interesting and flawed character, and is an amazing example of a badass normal. Sokka is intelligent, logical, proud, and a warrior. Over the season he learns the war is not as black-and-white as it seemed, though he still bears a large grudge against the Fire Nation. He also realizes how much of a creative mind he is later in the season, which I like quite a bit. Oddly enough, Sokka was originally going to only be in the beginning, and be much more serious a character. However, his voice actor made him so funny that they gave him more funny lines, and the fans and creators alike grew attached to him, so they made him a main character.

           Speaking of his voice actor, the man is Jack De Sena, a comedian. The only thing I recognize him from on his IMDB page is he was Jimmy Olsen on The Batman. I wouldn't know that because I jumped that show early on like the white chick of the Titanic. The guy should get more work, his job as Sokka is great, and probably a large reason why the character is so well-loved and relatable.

          Sokka, obviously, fits in with the rest of his tribe in color. But that isn't Blue. Sokka and his tribe's main color is White. Sokka is a bastion of order, a main staple of White. It also works mechanically, because Waterbending can heal (Damage prevention and/or lifegain) and is very defensive in fighting. Sokka is Blue too, his creativity and intellictual streak show in that, but his main color is White.
         Sokka is an awesome character, relatable to most nerds in a lot of ways, and just plain cool. He doesn't develop much over the seasons, but I'll track what does develop.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Character Study-Zuko

                  Zuko is a tough topic to talk about. The man has more fangirls than every other character in this show combined. (Probably helped by his first shirtless scene in episode 3.) So I want to start off by saying that Zuko is awesome. He is seriously one of the reasons, in my opinion, this show caught on as fast and as hard as it did because of him and his uncle. Their often B plots were so good, and so much fun, that they added to the show by a lot. Having a semi-main antagonist who people can sympathize with and kinda root for is a great way to keep a show interesting, because it makes the show more than a typical Black and White moral play. However, if I ever have to read another goddamn fanfic where Season 1 Zuko is a good guy who dates Katara I am going to punch every Zutarian within a 5-mile radius. More on that topic later down the line. Zuko is awesome because he develops like any other character does. Over the course of the season, he learns to respect his grandfather more, and his need to find the Avatar learns to take a backseat to surviving.

             He is voiced by Dante Basco, also known as the Jake from American Dragon: Jake Long. Fun fact: writing that was the first time I've even thought about that show is 7 years. The guy has some serious talent though, and his job as Zuko pretty much solidifies that. In fact, screw that shirtless scene, I think his voice is the reason that he's got so many fangirls.

           It's funny, because I think no matter how much development the guy goes through, and how many times he switches sides, his color is the same. The dude is very Red, and a dash of White. He is very passionate, and is an individualist. He does what he wants, regardless of the obstacles in his way, even legal ones. The White comes from his sense of honor and duty, which run deeply with his character. The conflict, between what he whats and what he believes he needs and deserves by right, is the reason for his constant changing.
                Overall, Zuko in the first season is a great antagonist, and a large contributing factor to what kept the show interesting.

Character Study-Aang

                I think Aang is a great protagonist, and maybe my favorite in a Western cartoon is quiet a while. I think it's mostly because he feels like a kid. He's a show-off, gets bored easily, flighty and silly. But he's also wise, intelligent, and a major badass, especially for his age. His development over Season 1 is actually pretty cool. He learns not to be so cocky, to trust his friends more, it's okay to lie to a people about their history if you think it will help (okay, I'll let it go), and own up to his mistakes. I think what really makes me like Aang is that despite his tragic past, he isn't aangsty (Except in the movie, where he is very aangsty with a hard a). He sometimes is overcome with sadness, grief, or self-disappointment but what matters to me is that he doesn't let that get him down. His mood his easily changeable, and he gets out of his rare funks pretty easily.

              He's voice acted by Zach Tyler (I really want to say/type Taylor, and I don't know why), who I just discovered is 7 months younger than me. The more you know. The only other big role he had was in some movie called The Ant Bully, which I never saw. From his work in this season alone, I would say he's a pretty decent voice-actor, and young enough that he sounds more like a kid than if they had gotten a woman to do it like they usually do.

            In a new little segment, I say what color from Magic: the Gathering I think the character is. With Aang I'd have to go Blue, with a splash of white and a smidge of black in this season. I think that the Air Nomads, as a culture, were Blue. I thought of this long and hard, and it seemed much better than the seemingly more natural choice of White. White is about life gain and vigilance and a little flying on the side. How would a Air Bender heal you? Blue is the color of tapping, removal, and in general indirectly screwing with the opponent, much like the fighting style of an Airbender. Also, the 'goal' of White is to make peace, and while the monks were peaceful, from what I saw they weren't the kind to oppose others or force their wills. They were Nomads, and the Blue philosophy of 'Learning everything' seems much more their style. Plus, he learned Waterbending this season, so he gets a splash of White. The black comes from the several episodes which show his selfish side.

             Overall, I think Aang as a character is one of the reasons I got interested in the show, because they were going for a character who felt like a real kid, and never came off as trying to be 'cool' any more than a kid does at times for fun.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 20-The Siege of the North Part 2

"Zuul, motherfuck, Zuul!"
                Wow. Wow. This episode is incredible. The colorization on the second half is beautiful, Ocean-Cthulhu is badass, the Spirit World is 108% better than it was last time, it just plain wraps up the season great. See you guys tomorrow, with the beginning of the Character Studies.

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 19-The Siege of the North Part 1

Date ruined.
              This is a great episode. The coloration during the Zuko VS Katara fight is great, it was nice to see how she has improved, Zuko and Iroh get good moments (including the first mention of Lu Ten), and some advancement on the Sokka/Yue front. It also gave Yue a moment that made her far more human for me. (When she and Katara have a "Say what?" face.) Another great episode, though it doesn't quite compare to the next, and last of the season.

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 18-The Waterbending Master

                Hells yeah! This episode rocks. It's funny, but now that I think of it, Season 1 pretty much has a 3-part finale, and this is the real first part. The visuals are amazing, the waterbending fight is one of my favorite in the series, and it has callbacks to both The Blue Spirit and The Waterbending Scroll. Easily one of my favorites of the season.

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 17-The Northern Air Temple

"Bitch you just jealous of my Avatar swagger."
                 This is an alright episode. It's got some development for Aang, some Sokka being awesome, and the beginning of a new technology for the fire nation.

(BTW, I'm sorry for the lack of updates, but it was a little vacation at my folks house and I was barely on the computer.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 16-The Deserter

                 I really like this episode. It gives us some nice glimpses at Fire Nation culture and them as a people. Katara learns her to heal people, Aang kinda learns to Firebend, and Sokka is sarcastic. The performance at the beginning and the fight at the end are both very well choreographed, and I really enjoyed it. It's just, what I would call, a typical but good episode of the show. No bullshit, just fun and awesomeness.

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 15-Bato of the Water Tribe

                   Yeah, this episode is hard to describe for me. On the one hand, the side character June and her pet make their first appearance, there's some good action, and Iroh is extra humorous. My problem is that it isn't a fun episode to watch. I get what they're saying, I agree it should be said, I've felt what Aang felt many a time, but it isn't fun to watch. So in the end, the episode ends up being very "meh" for me.

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 14-The Fortuneteller

                     This is, in my opinion, another overplayed episode. I'm pretty sure it's mostly a personal thing, because I don't think it's a bad episode at all. My problem is that I am on Sokka's side of things 100% this episode, and the rest of the cast makes me rage. I'd like it better, but at the end when he points out that if there is actually any for of fate, it only works because people do not consider it and act on other stimuli, the villagers are like, "So what she was still right." That really pisses me off. And I'm not sure what message the creators are setting up here.The villagers are portrayed very dumb, so it might be behind Sokka, but it also gives the villagers the last word. I don't know. Seriously though, I have had moments like Sokka does here in reality, especially because my mother believes that everything that happens was meant to for some purpose, which I think is bullshit. Oh well, the rage is vented. See, that is why blogs are good. They're great for venting pent-up anger.

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 13-The Blue Spirit

                 This was one damn good episode. The action was fan-tucking-fastic. It was much funnier than I remember it being, and not just the typical Avatar jokes but some drier humor as well. It also managed to give us a great hint to where Zuko's path would lead, while still having him be very in-character in the present. It's no wonder why it is considered by many to be one of the best in the season, and maybe in the show as a whole.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 12-The Storm

                   I think this whole episode could be properly summed up with Linkara's "TIME FOR BACKSTORY" running gag. It gives us Zuko and Aang's backstory, some development for Zuko, Iroh gets to redirect lightning for the first time, and Aang aangsts. but not in a bad way. Honestly, I think this was relatable and well deserved angst. Plus, it diminished the amount the rest of the season had, which is great. Like ripping off a band-aid.

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 11-The Great Divide

                Yeah. So. I didn't hurt as bad as I thought it would. I laughed twice, and some of the animation was nice. But the stuff that isn't good, really sucks. The story is really bad. Two tribes that are so poorly written "People of Hats" it scares me, and ending that's moral makes me shake my head in disgust, and no good action to take you away from it. The worst thing is even with an incredibly dumbed-down plot, I still have another problem with it. Okay, I can understand Katara and Sokka arguing, they're siblings and we tend to do that. The problem is that they give Sokka to the Chaotic tribe and Katara to the Lawful tribe. That is not their characters. Sokka is an overthinker with a plan for everything, and is always unwilling to take extra risks. Katara is willing to do anything she thinks will help their side, isn't afraid to get dirty, and is much more emotional. I would even go as far to say that Sokka is Lawful Neutral, while Katara is Chaotic Good. They really screwed up who-got-what here. So, yeah, that was not fun. Oh please let the next episode be awesome.

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 10-Jet

                   Hells-to-the-motherfucking-yes I love this episode. It is easily one of my favorites of the season. And not for the reason you think. Two more "Just realized this by watching it again" things hit me when I was watching just now.

                   Firstly, Jet is heavily mischaracterized by the fandom. Now, I could be wrong here or I could be the last guy realizing this, but Jet is not at all what he seems to be in this episode. And no I'm no moron, I mean in a different way. Jet portrays himself, and many people see him as this, as a charismatic, kind, passionate, underdog with a grudge against the Fire Nation. Not only should kind be thrown out, so should the bolded. He is not the underdog here, and neither is he some kid doing the best he can. He is a leader in the cold, detached acting sort of way. Every word he says and every part of who he is is just a way to get what he wants. He doesn't have feelings for Katara really, he just sees here as a resource to be tapped for victory. His great speeches he gives to his army aren't from the heart, they're mapped out to play with their emotions. The specific word choices he uses are made to get people to see things his way. This makes him a much better villain for me.

             Secondly, they only use the word "instincts" right once here. the entire episode they bag on Sokka going by his instincts. But he isn't. At the end, when he goes the wrong direction, he is. But when he's telling them they should walk, not fly, that is logic. When he tells them not to trust Jet, that's logic. I don't think of this as a flaw, they're kids and probably the best word they knew for logic was instinct, even though they're far off on the right definition.

           My ramblings non-withstanding, this is a great episode. It plays with your emotions, has some fantastic fights, and shows Katara's badassery for the first time. Also, to Jet fangirls out to kill me, bring it.

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 9-The Waterbending Scroll

                  For the longest time I did not like this episode. Mostly because of the A plot. It pissed me off that Katara, who has been a waterbender for years, is showed up by Aang in his first lesson. But then, as I watched in again, I realized that was the point. You're supposed to me mad like Katara is, because it does suck when you introduce a friend to something you take pride in being good at and they quickly become better than you. It happens in real life, and is just as upsetting. It also makes sense, Aang is a natural at it because he's already learned it hundreds of times before. It also makes it so much sweeter later when Katara's hard work and practice kick Aang's natural talent in the ass.

               The B plot is a lot of fun. Iroh and Zuko both get great lines, and it adds to their already great characters. The episode has very above-average action at this point in the show. There are several fight scenes, and each is creative and interesting. I also really like the pirates, and how they're not just the average Anglo-Saxon pirates we're used to. Overall, it is a very good episode.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 8-Avatar Roku

                 There isn't much to chat about with this particular episode. There's quite a bit of plot established, the first blatantly good Fire Nation character, and some Sokka coolness. Again, a good episode, but not that special of one. There's no great fight scenes, no amazing dialogue or character developments, just some important plot. Blah. Laters.

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 7-The Spirit World

             I never realized before now, but this episode is very important for the season. The A plot introduces the Spirit World (though not as cool as it will be later) and gives Sokka a great character moment where he refuses to let Aang face the threat alone, damn what anyone else says. The B plot, however, totally steals the show for me. It gives us the confirmation of Iroh's badassery, Zuko chooses to save his uncle over chasing the Avatar, and in the final fight Iroh steals the show without Firebending. He kicks the ass of a squad of Earth Kingdom soldiers with the chains they put on his hands. On the whole it is a damn good episode, very funny and cool. Laters.

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 6-Imprisoned

               I have never really understood why this episode is so damn popular. It's one of the most played on TV, and was even one of the few adapted into the movie. My guess is a combination of: Haru and the first hint of Kutara, though I think hint is the wrong ward, accident is better. I'm not dissing the plot, I think it's decent. Some of the later scenes are great, and I like how it plays with the typical escape scenario. But the first half or so is kinda dull to me. The only thing that really stands out is the afformentioned plot goodness, and George Takei as the villain. Seriously, that man turned a one-off throwaway character into a memorable adversary. Overall, an average episode. (Also, yes this is the 100th post. I had something more special planned but technical difficulties arose.) Laters.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

First Impressions-Rookies

                      Stallion, it is so hard to open a new tab to post this. I am on the 61st chapter of this manga, and I started it at like 6pm. I am tearing through this thing. Goddamn you Benzaie, recommending great manga! It's about this awesome teacher, who is tasked with turning a bunch of thug high-schoolers into a baseball team. It's funny, heartwarming, inspiring as hell, and it really makes you give a crap. I'm in the middle of their first game, and I get swept up in the game like the characters do. I absolutely love this manga so far. I haven't gotten into one in so long, it's a fresh of breath air. Wait, strike that, reverse it. Read this, immediately. BACK TO MY READING!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 5-The King of Omashu

                   Damn I love this episode. It's really funny, it's the first episode with the Cabbage Merchant or the Earth Kingdom for that matter (Kyoshi Island doesn't count), the King is a riot, the fight scenes rock, and it's just an all-around good episode. It's so good I think that the movie would have been slightly less awful if they'd chosen to adapt this episode rather than the one the follows it. But that's a story for another day.

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 4-The Warriors of Kyoshi

                   Man this episode started off bad. In an early comedy part I was astounded at how terrible the animation was. I've never remembered seeing that bad of animation in Avatar before. However, the episode improved from there. The ending fight was great, Sokka go some needed development, they showed that Aang liked Katara, they showed how the fights actually had impact on the people and places around them, they showed Aang resourcefulness, and Suki was introduced. Nothing of any import happened on the Zuko angle, but his day was last episode. Overall, there isn't much to say but that it's a damn good episode.

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 3 - The Southern Air Temple

                 This is a really divided episode for me. The A plot is...just okay. Some of the things it establishes (the Avatar cycle, Avatar Roku, Momo) are good, but it is also the cause for many of the unfair jokes about Avatar. Seriously, you could chock up 20% of Ember Island Players jokes to this episode. You could say it set the mood for the show as a whole, but it still isn't at its best yet.

                The B plot, however, is sugar-fried awesome. It shows that Zuko has a good side, Iroh is both a major badass and a good guy, and it introduces Captain Commander Zhao. He is easily one of my favorite villains of the show, and his introduction episode shows why. He's ruthless, scheming, dishonorable, and has a huge temper. Oh, and he's voiced by Jason Isaacs. The Agni Kai at the end of the episode is, in my estimation, the first great fight of the show. The animation during it is spectacular, the choreography rocks, and it shows how awesome Zuko has the potential to be.

              So, overall, the episode is half-average and half-amazing. I guess that kinda equals out to good, but I'm not sure. Still, it showed everypony where the show would go in the future...or did it?

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Nothing of real substance today. Tired, but tomorrow starts a 4-day weekend for me. I will update frequently then, and will actually continue with Avatar Book 1. In other news, I've finished casting my Meet the Suzumiyas project, and in some time will complete that of Apollo Justice as well (only have to sort out who does Ema Skye, I got two awesome people trying out for it.). So things that aren't a blog that I have started are actually getting...done. Cool.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cracking a Goddamn Book & On the Wrong Side of the 4th Wall - Stiches

              Yeah, I count this both as a novel and a comic, so it goes in both. Stitches is a memoir by artist David Small. I was assigned to read this for my ENGL2 class, and read it I did. This is great book. It has some very funny moments, but on the whole it is a dark, depressing, strange, and just plain interesting ride down this man's past. What really propels it forward is the fact that it's portrayed from how he remembers the events, making them exaggerated. And not in the funny way. His imagination is trippy as fuck. It's funny, because as I told the class I can't really relate to David at all. My childhood was happy, in pretty much every aspect. Reading this was like listening to some of my friends tell me how shitty their childhood's were. I listen, and I feel bad, but I can't ever reciprocate any understanding, because I don't. The art is good, the writing is amazing, it's just a great book. heavily recommended to everyone reading this.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In Front of the Silver Screen-Windigo

                This is one of those 'found footage' movies. It is the story of a group of Canadian Film students in 2004, who are trying to shoot a documentary about deforestation in the middle of the Canadian wilderness. There they soon discover the legend of the Windigo is more than that...much more. So, yeah, I've put it off long enough, this is the first feature length real Slenderman movie. Yep, while the movie's characters reference him as a windigo, it's blatantly our Slender friend. So how is it?

                As a movie, pretty good. It scared me more than most of the crap Hollywood calls 'horror'. The suspense, tone, and atmosphere is pretty good, and it relies on them instead of CGI or jump scares.

               As a slender story, its average. It does better than the average vlog, but it isn't nearly as good as Marble Hornets, EverymanHYBRID, Tribe Twelve, DarkHarvest00, MLAndersen0, or CaughtNotSleeping. Why? Three reasons. The opening part before anything supernatural at all happens is way too long. The last third is really hard to follow, and it doesn't give a good enough indication of who has the camera, why anyone is doing what they're doing, or what in general is happening. And something really weird happens near the end with no warning or explanation. Overall, it's an okay movie. But it could have been much better. Hopefully Hylo will be better.

Cracking a Goddamn Book-Future Sight

                Ahhh, finally. The end of the Time Spiral trilogy. And let me tell you, I think it ended on a high note. This is probably my favorite book in the trilogy. I think all the characters pretty much peaked in awesomeness here. The dialogue was at it's best, the story was kick-ass, and just in general it didn't suffer from the problems Planar Chaos did. Very good, can't wait to start another book in the franchise. But to do so, I'll have to go back, back to the beginning!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sore Fingers-Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney

                     This is easily the most divisive game of the entire series. About half the fandom love it, and about half don't. Where does my opinion lie? Well, if you've paid any attention to me anywhere else, it's the former. It is actually my favorite game in the series thus far, which for me is really saying a lot. I love the characters, the dialogue, the story, everything. So why don't others like it? Well, it really seems to come down to two things. The first is Apollo himself, who many do not like. Why? My theory is that they're just pissed that somepony took Phoenix's limelight. Well grow up! Series evolve, and another game with Phoenix would have been good still, but it wouldn't be as good for the franchise as this. This was the series letting time progress, and bringing in new faces. I think Apollo is a great successor to Phoenix, and it's hard for me to pick which one I like better. The second reason is how much was changed. The series only kept a few characters from the previous games, and the ones they did (except the Judge) were changed dramatically from how they used to be. Ponies consider what happened to Phoenix and Ema as derailment, and bad writing. I couldn't disagree more. Phoenix's change makes sense, considering what happened between games. I find it cool that he's learned to not be so uptight, and has decided that life is easier when you don't make so many enemies. Ema's change feel very natural to me. Somepony so bright-eyed and idealistic, with such lofty goals, is easily brought down to Earth by harsh realities. Plus, you see pieces of her old self underneath all the old skepticism, mostly whenever SCIENCE is involved.

                   Overall, I see the points others make, and I can't dispute them. That is how they felt while playing the game, and nothing I say or type will change that. However, I got a different experience from it. For me, Apollo Justice is a witty, clever, fun game, and deserves more respect. It is highly recommended, even to those new to the series. (Knowledge of previous games is no problem, really.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sore Fingers-Minecraft

           Ahhh, Minecraft. The game that is always evolving, whether from official updates or through mods. The game that allows you to do whatever in Zarquon's name you want. I love Minecraft. I've been playing it for about a year and a half now (sometime before the Nether was added, don't remember the exact time). Minecraft is a hard game to review. It has simple graphics, a simple engine, simple gameplay, it's a simple game. But it's simplicity is it's awesomeness, it has no story. Nothing is there to get in the way of what you want to do. Want to make a base, ever expanding, where you hoard all the resources you can? You can do that. Want to only carry the bare necessities and just travel, exploring the near infinite world? You can do that. Want to just fight every enemy you can, just because you want to? Do it. Personally, I really enjoy going to creative mode and building huge cities and stuff. Or recreating Kanto from Pokemon Fire Red space by space exactly (always working on it). Simply put, Minecraft might be the perfect game. It is the ultimate sandbox game, and if you can't have fun playing it you haven't discovered all it had to offer. Not yet, anyway. And none of us ever will. For it is truly infinite.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Animation Outside Japan-My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic season 1

                Goddamn it. I love this show. Lauren Faust is a genius. The dialogue is stellar, the animation is great, the stories are generally good, and the characters greatly stand out among the dearth of shows out now. I have identified with every one of the Mane Six at some point. I want to say Twilight Sparkle is my favorite, but that's hard as I love all of them.  The only downsides to the show I can think of is that several episodes don't hit me the same way others do. Maybe it's because I don't have the same experiences as the ones that lead to the creation of that episode. There isn't much to say here, except please give it a fair try if you haven't yet. If you watch it with an open mind and don't like it, I won't bother you again, and I doubt any other brony will either. Mostly because we have never seen it happen. Laters.

Cracking a Goddamned Book-Planar Chaos

                    This book is very similar to it's predecessor. Because of that, I won't mention all the things it does right, because they're the same things as the first book. Instead I'll talk about what pisses me off: Teferi. I love him as a character, but for most of the book he is wasted. He acts exactly like he did in the first book, but now, for some reason, no one trusts him at all. It is eventually explained, but I spent the majority of the book hating all the characters for being massive dicks to Teferi. An okay book, but it could have been so much better if it hadn't suppressed it's best character.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Animation Outside Japan-Young Justice (Up to now)

              The problem with talking about Young Justice is twofold. The first is that it just plain isn't done yet. Hell, the first season isn't even done yet. So we're talking about an unfinished painting, reviewing a sketch still to be inked. The second is that people will undoubtedly compare it to Teen Titans. I will state the truth now: I loved Teen Titans. I grew up with it, and it remains one of my favorite superhero cartoons ever. However, I like Young Justice better so far. Young Justice isn't just more serious, but yes it is that, it is not humorless as people claim. It still has quite a bit of humor to it, it's just that it isn't the wacky humor from Teen Titans. And while I enjoyed that style as a kid, now I find myself drifting off on the silly episodes, only paying attention on the serious ones. The humor of Young Justice is more dry, subtle, and based on characters and word play. I love how they make it more realistic.

          I've heard several people claim that the main cast is 2-dimensional and boring...and I couldn't disagree more. They start out a little flat, but they develop a ton over time. And I respect that a lot. Especially Superboy, who slowly got over his angst (thank god). Especially with one of the newest epsiodes, the characters and their psyches are great and fascinating. This isn't the basic bullshit TV always does, it's complex and fucked-up. It isn't easy things that you just realize and it's gone, it's serious psychological issues, and they're dealt with realistically.

         Does this show have anything to do with the titular comic series? With the exception of the newest episode "Secret", no. But it's better than the comic. It's a damn good cartoon, and more people would watch it if it would stop going into hiatus over and over again! Seriously, if you can't do a continuous season, wait longer and get it all done! Oh well. This show rocks hard, and I seriously recommend it to all the cartoon and comic fans out there. Laters.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My new feelings in general about Doctor Who

              I've been mulling over how I feel about New Who for a while, and have come to a consensus. I enjoy every Doctor, and feel that each has something to enjoy about them, and it all comes down to preference to which one is your favorite. I'll still stick with 9 as my favorite, but that's me. I have come to realize why so many hate Rose Tyler and Russel T Davies so much. For Rose, it's not that you don't like her acting, but that you don't like where her character went and her lack of general development. I can definitely see that. But to me, for the most part, the companions are a vessel used to see the Doctor in universe. Rose served her function unobtrusively for the most part, so I didn't mind. The reason you don't like Russel T. Davies it twofold. His stories can be predictable, his endings lame, and his general storyarchs lacking. And when you compare him to Steven Moffat, which everyone invariably does, he comes up very short. These are all true. I didn't notice before mostly because I love the acting in his episodes. But what many of you overlook is this: he is good at writing dialogue, or at least I enjoy it; if it wasn't for his efforts bringing the show back, Moffat wouldn't be writing the show because it wouldn't be on the air; and if he hadn't pulled so many new fans like me into the show, Series 5 and 6 wouldn't have had the budget and allowance that made them so fucking cool. Ultimately what I'm saying is I see why you general fans have your views. However, I will never say I hate Rose Tyler because I don't, and I won't call RTD a hack writer because I liked quite a few of his episodes. I love all the Doctors and all the Companions, and all the episodes. (Except Time of the Angels & Flesh and Stone, fuck them.) Saying which ones I enjoy more is not saying I dislike the others. You don't need to knock RTD down to raise up Moffat, nor knock on Smith's acting to renew faith in Tennet. (Seriously, how can you not like 11?) So...yeah. That's what I've come to. And stuff. Laters.

Stop Rolling Your Eyes and Try It-the Great Desert

               I've had it good recently. Like, the last 10 things I've reviewed have been things I like. TIME TO BREAK THAT STREAK! The Great Desert is a Legend of Zelda fan fic by Shadsie. The premise is that hundreds of years past the latest game, something happened that forced the Goddesses to turn Hyrule into a desert. Basically, an Old West Zelda story.

             I have no problems with the initial premise. It sounds interesting, and it is. The writing itself is great. The characters work, the dialogues good, and the descriptions fit. Many concepts are great too. Like how there is a Spirit Animal for every past Link, who train the new hero along the way. Or the subplot with the Kokiri. Generally, both the general ideas and how they are executed are beyond good, they're awesome. It genuinely feels like a Zelda game being made.

             So what makes me rage? Basically, two things. First of all, despite by earlier description and all common sense, this story does not take place in the Hyrulian equivalent of the Old West. Time and Tech-wise, it is Modern day. This fakes-out the audience, makes several plot holes, and generally seems like it would work better if it actually took place in an Old West setting. (One particular earlier mentioned plot hole really bites at me. So Link, and most people, don't believe in magic. At all. But later it's mentioned that the Hyrulians and Twili are trading partners. And that Twili live exceptionally long, and trade their magic goods in the kingdom. So why does Link not believe in magic if there is a large amount of evidence to the contrary!?)

          The second point is contained in the following paragraph. It contains spoilers for those who really want to read the fic. Those people should click here and not come back until they finish the fic. Seriously. Overall, you may wonder why I generate so much anger about something that seems to be pretty good. I don't deny the quality, for from it. It is written well, and the early stuff is awesome. But to me, the greatest fanfiction sin is to make something with a good premise, write it well, then fuck it up later. You get me invested in this story, connecting with the characters, then uppercut by feelings. I still recommend, if only to see what others think.

         For some reason, the writer decided to make Zelda sci-fi. Yes, you read that right. Link and co meet the Goddesses in their crashed spacecraft. While this seriously fucks with me, it wasn't that much of a problem at first. It seemed like an easter egg, like if this was a game is was some weird thing you'd find in the middle of nowhere, and was non-canon. But nope. Instead they call upon it later, and use it heavily in the plot. Seriously dude. The modern day was fucking with me at first, but at least you could explain it away by saying that magic still worked, but it's resources had dried and were now returning to normal. But with this it just plain says, "There's no magic!" What fucking bullshit. The Zelda series is loved, at least by me, for being a genuine idealistic fantasy series in a medium full of grim cynical sci-fi. Making it into a sci-fi does not help it at all, and only serves to raise more questions. So, in summation, FAIL!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Stop Rolling Your Eyes and Try It-More Than Human

                 Does anyone remember these three little badasses?

                If you grew up in the 90's, the answer is undoubtedly yes. Don't try and deny it! Even us boys loved it, though we never admitted it at the time. It was funny, lovable, and composed of at least 70% win. The problem lies in the realm of fanfiction. Many fandoms have one type of fanfic that for one reason or another takes up a very large percentage of the fanfiction. In the case of the PPG, it is one that goes, "Powerpuffs are teenagers now. They go to highschool. They hook up with Rowdyruff Boys." And, like 90-95% of all fanfiction, it sucks. It's misspelled, and if it isn't it's just droll, soulless, and cliche. It was so common, the creators made a passing joke about it in an episode!

             However, one day a good writer, called SBJ looked at all the bad fanfics using this premise and said, "Why can't I use this premise to write a good story?" And thus More Than Human  was born. This story is hilarious, touching, sad, awesome, and fucked-up. It is not a fast, easy relationship upgrade. Each chapter is longer than most fanfics, and it still isn't done yet. It is slow, steady, and amazing. Easily one of the best fanworks I've ever seen. Read here at your leisure. Until next time, laters.

Sore Fingers-The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

                     I am a huge Zelda nerd. I've been playing the series since I was old enough to hold a controller, and it remains up there as one of my favorite game series. I've been anticipating this game for years, and let me tell you now, it did not disappoint. The only debate I really have with myself now is whether it's my 2nd or 1st favorite of the series. Yeah, it's that good.

                    The story is very well-done, capturing the simplicity of Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time with the character development and depth of Twilight Princess. The characters are pretty great. This is easily one of my favorite Link's (You can make his dialogue choices sound like Sokka!), and his relationship with Zelda is the best so far in the series. Zelda herself is pretty cool. The villains are chilling, badass, and hilarious. My favorite character has to be Groose, who goes through more development than almost any other Zelda character.

                  I love the art style they chose here. Most people like to talk about how it combined the styles of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, but it is more than that. It is an actual artistic style, called Impressionism. (Thank you Art 1.) It was chosen, in my opinion, because it perfectly suits the Wii and its graphical limitations. It looks good without having to be super-realistic, which I like.

                I absolutely love the gameplay here. For the heights it attempts to grasp, it comes close enough for me to be more than satisfied. It fucks up little enough, and when it does it is easily corrected. The level design is incredible. My roommate who didn't enjoy Twilight Princess (I know, what the fuck right?) because it was too easy will be unable to make the same complaint here. This game is hard as balls, but never unfairly so. There's a ton of content here too. I only did the storyline stuff, and it still took be 34 hours to beat.

                The orchestral soundtrack, which comes with the game, is amazing. It is probably the best Zelda score, and easily ranks among the greatest in gaming history for me. Overall, this game met my expectations, it exceeded them by a mile. By the end, I was left sad, but satisfied that such an amazing adventure can be played again any day. And that no matter how much time may go by, there will always be a Link, a Zelda, and an enemy they fight. And it will be great.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Why I Hate Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire

           Yeah, I feel the need to type out and vent my pent up rage at this. When I was a kid, the first game system I ever got was a Game Boy Color, and the first game Pokemon Gold Version. It remains today in my Top 5 Favorite Video Games, and has had a huge impact on my tastes. Soon after I got Pokemon Yellow. This allowed me to see the transition from Generation I to II more clearly. It also amplified my love of Gold. Seriously, if you ask me Gold is in no way inferior to Red or Blue, and in every way it's superior. It is by and large what I consider the perfect sequel to any game. So, as you can imagine, I was excited as hell for the next generation. My expectations were huge, as I was expecting the same kind of progression I'd experienced in the previous generation switch. What I received sorely disappointed me, and to this day remains one of my least favorite sequels in any series. A lot of people I know are puzzled by this, so I'll explain.

         Gold expanded on Red in every way it could. It had twice as many maps, 100 new Pokemon, 16 gyms, two new types, a phone system, a day/night system, a week system, and it ended with you facing off with the protagonist from the previous game. Ruby expanded on Gold in literally two ways: instead of 100 new pokemon, it had 135, you could grow berries, and it added double battles. Unlike it's predecessor though, Ruby also removed a huge amount of content. One region, 8 gyms, no new types, no phone system, no day/night system (THE CLOCK DOES NOT COUNT!), no week system, no apricorns, Team Rocket was replaced by mentally unsound environmentalists, and all characters from the previous games were gone. It was a huge step down from Gold. The only thing I can complement is the graphics, which are quite pretty. But to me, graphics are the least important of a games components. I still have had this idea in my head for years, though I'm unsure whether it would be a ROM hack or a fresh game, due to the amount of stuff involved. It would be what I was expecting for this new generation: 3 regions, 24 gyms, 3 new types, fighting Red and Gold, the return of Giovanni, double the level cap, and a calender/holiday system in tandem with the system in Gold. It would be a lot, I know, but it's what I imagined growing up as a kid.

          What do you think of the changeover from Generation II to III? Respond with your thoughts in the comments below.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cracking a Goddamned Book-Time Spiral

                Hell yeah! I love Magic: The Gathering, and have been a fan since 7th Grade. (To those in the know, I am a total Timmy Vorthos.) I love the storylines, the gameplay is fun, and smashing things with my Darksteel Colossus is so much fun. This is the first Magic novel I've read in a while, and I love it. Time Spiral is one of my favorite blocks in the series, so I was pretty excited to read this.

              For those not in the know, Magic is all about the Multiverse, the infinite number of planes of existence. The planes have only one constant: 1 out of every 1,000,000 sapient beings is born with the Spark. When a being with the Spark is incredibly stressed, sad, or angry their Spark ignites, and becomes a Planeswalker. A Planeswalker is a super powerful magic user, with the ability to planeswalk between the planes as simply as if they were walking to the next room. The center of the multiverse is a plane called Dominaria, which is featured in far more sets than any other plane.

           The Planeswalker Teferi is thousands of years old, and is mostly a kind and joking guy. One day he goes to his eternally young friend Jhoira, to tell her something important and serious. Their home plane of Dominaria is in danger. You see, over the course of the series, it has had three Apocalypses. (Apocali?) This has caused huge tears in the fabric of space and time, and will  tear Dominaria and the Multiverse apart.

          I love the case here. Teferi is made of epic win, and Venser is awesome. Radha is a bitch, but hilarious and Jhoira is pretty cool too. To writing is pretty good, it definitely helps build a mental picture of the landscape. The dialogue is damn good. I really enjoyed the story, and can't wait to tear through the next book. Overall, a great read for fantasy fans, especially those already enjoying the card game.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 2-The Avatar Returns

Summing it up: Take the previous episode, remove a lot of comedy, place with way more action, Sokka and Iroh are more in character, much better. Second verse, same as the first.

Retrospective-Avatar: the Airbender Book 1, Chapter 1-The Boy in the Iceberg

          This is a very good beginning to a great series. It shows off a lot of the things the show would become famous for excelling at. The voice acting rocks, the backgrounds and character designs are awesome, it's able to switch between funny and series fast while kicking ass at both, the soundtrack is made of win, and an interesting story. The problem lies in three main areas. They hadn't gotten the handle on how to spend the budget right yet, with some comedy scenes being just as fluid as an action scene, and action scenes that feel choppy. They also hadn't nailed down the humor yet, with several gross jokes that don't show up later at all. Lastly, several characters weren't quite nailed down yet. Sokka is far more serious and agressive than usual, and while some of Iroh's trademark quirkiness is there, there's also a scene that seems to set him up as a villain, which the original plot would have done. Still, it got me and a huge amount of others hooked right from the start. Laters.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

No real post today

It's been a good birthday. No real present but free pizza. And friendship. Lots of that.