Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Classic Who Review-Genesis of the Daleks

             Ooh sweet TARDIS. I love this serial. I now understand why it is considered one of the best parts of Doctor Who. I am going to try and keep this somewhat brief so those interested can find the serial themselves and view it. The Time Lords send The Doctor and his companions back to Skarro, so he can stop the Daleks from ever existing. The story of the war going on is great, The Doctor has some great moments, and Davros steals the show. The man is completely insane, yet definitely The Doctor's equal. I give this serial four stars out of four, or the rating "Ooh you Sexy Thing." Laters.

Watashi wa Anime ga daisukidesu-Clannad: After Story

              Yup, I finished it just yesterday. I am very conflicted over After Story. I'm going to start with the reasons this is voted on Anime News Network as the best anime of all time, and why I love it. The story hurts. It takes the hinted at theme from Clannad, that change can hurt but you have to roll with it and try to live your life as best you can, and really brings it into the forefront. This anime goes in directions I haven't seen before, made me cry, and I loved it the entire time. Not only that, but along the way it isn't just heart-jerkingly sad, but also beautiful, adorable, and hilarious. On a storytelling level, Clannad is amazing, and maybe one of the best anime ever made.

               So, why am I conflicted? Let me start with this fucker.
            That is Samuel, my good friend and cohost on The Brony Bookclub. It is from his insistence that I have watched Clannad so fast. I will thank him for this, but I will also Clockwork Orange the Cupcakes animation to him for a few hours. I cannot stand the ending to Clannad. Not only is it in general a lame device, it specifically destroys the entire point of the show. I will not spoil it, but I will reiterate that it is impossible for an ending to destroy the theme of a show more. I still love Clannad: After Story, but this terrible ending has taken it from a Top 10 contender to a definite Top 20 spot. If you disagree, we can discuss it over email at grottocast@yahoo.com Do not comment about it here, I do not want to spoil it at all.

Classic Who Review-The Sontaran Experiment

                  I find it really hard to talk about this serial. It's just kinda dull. The Sontaran is dull, the humans are dull, even The Doctor and his companions are kinda dull. The biggest thing I can remember thinking when watching it was how incredibly padded out it was, despite being far shorter in episodes (2) compared to the usual fare for these serials (4). I give this serial 1 1/2 stars, or the rating of, "A Blue Boringer." Laters.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Classic Who Review-The Ark in Space

           Before I start, a fair warning as of the episodes I shall review this is the one I saw the longest time ago, literally months. I rather enjoyed this episode, despite the flaws. Those flaws being: the awful acting jobs on everyone not The Doctor, Sarah, and Harry; the terrible effects; and the overall meh story. What really sold the episode to me was how it developed The Doctor, Sarah, and Harry. The Doctor had a great line, about how of all the species he's seen, Humans are by and large his favorites. In general it's the episode that acclimated me to Tom Baker's Doctor. With Sarah I felt connected to her for the first time, with her very funny scene of crawling through the vent. And Harry was pretty good too, really playing up the whole Naval Doctor thing. Overall, it's a slightly above average episode for me, but only because of the writing and acting of the leads. Laters.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Classic Who Review-Robot

                 That is right, I am watching Classic Doctor Who again. And due to lack of interest in black-and-white stuff right now, I skipped ahead to the Fourth Doctor. The plot for this one is pretty simple: The Doctor has just regenerated, and a group of scientists who want to rule the world use their Robot to steal the codes to all the nukes. The problem is the Robot was programmed to respect human life, and driving it to hurt people drives it crazy. It has a silly ending I won't spoil, but I still enjoyed it. The Doctor was great, I am really liking the actor so far. Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan are good companions, though they didn't get to do much in this one. For my first meeting, I really liked the Brigadier and his right-hand man Benton. The Brigadier really helped solidify his character with a great line. Overall, it got me excited for more of this Doctor, but as an episode it was just average.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The EGS Initiative: Sisters

           Arc 4-Sisters: At school, a bully named Tony picks on Tedd, who wants revenge. We're introduced to Susan. At Moperville South, the school Justin and Nanase go to, Nanase tells Justin she was never really attracted to Elliot. He thinks she might be gay, to which she vehemently denies. After school, Tedd runs into Elliot's house, saying he's in trouble. He was testing the gun's Girl Form on himself, to see if it would work on Tony, but now the safety is broken and Tedd's stuck as a girl until he fixes it. Elliot comes up to Tedd later, not sure if he's turned back or not because of how girly he looks. Tedd has, and the statement pisses him off, and in his rage he hits Elliot with the gun. (PLOT POINT WAY DOWN THE ROAD.)

            It turns out he'd set the gun to Female Variant Number 5, which makes the person look more attractive, bisexual, and release pheromones making guys and girls attracted to you. And the gun broke. Elliot will be stuck this way for a month. Elliot tells his parents, and they barely react. They're used to weird stuff. Elliot goes to school claiming to be Elliot's out-of-town cousin, Ellen. Grace has done some research, and found a mystical artifact called the Dewitchery Diamond said to cure anyone cursed into another form. And it's being held in a barely watched government warehouse. As they drive to the warehouse, they have Sensei Greg watch Tedd's house to make sure Grace is safe.

             He and Grace discover that the TF Gun has changed how she morphs, before she conserved mass between forms, but now she doesn't because magic. They are then contacted from a Tedd from a different universe. They call him Beta Tedd. He gives her a warning we don't see yet. Meanwhile Tedd and Elliot have reached and easily broken into the facility, and find the diamond. Elliot touches it, and he does become a man. However it also creates a clone of Elliot who is still a girl. She is confused, because she has all of Elliot's memories. Tedd theories that since the form was only going to last a month, she might as well. She kinda snaps, vowing to ruin Elliot's life. (On another critical tangeant, this scene is mostly well done. You really feel for Ellen, and the fight is pretty awesome.) They fight, and she escapes with Elliot's car.

           Tedd and Elliot are knocked out by the guard, who ran up after hearing the commotion. When they wake up Tedd has found out more stuff about the diamond, including the fact that Ellen won't disappear in a month. A long time ago a wizard apprentice was good friends with a nobleman, who was cursed to become a werewolf. In order to help his friend, the wizard enchanted a large diamond of the noble's to remove any curse. Sadly, it removes the curse by making a copy of the original with the curse, leaving the original fine. This left a human noble and a werewolf who was wolfy all the time, not just on the full moon. The noble died battling the monster, and the apprentice...well, I can't say. (PLOT POINT!)

           They get let out of jail, and have Elliot use Tedd's old Transformation Belt to turn half-cat, so he can carry Tedd back to Moperville. The next day, Ellen does around trying to ruin "Ellen's" good name (The principal knows the truth and would blame Elliot.) but largely fails. After Elliot is too tired to run, they catch a ride with a guy named Hedge. Greg wakes Grace up from a nightmare, and they get contacted by Tedd who gives them the full story. Ellen hears Tony making fun of Tedd, and she threatens him. She then insults the principal, and notices Sarah staring.

           Sarah confronts Ellen, who breaks down, cries, kisses her, and runs away. Then the Goo from the first story, having regenerated and being more powerful than ever and can talk, attacks. Ellen saves Sarah, and Susan pulls an alarm to evacuate the building. Ellen gets Sarah outta there, and confronts the Goo ready and willing to sacrifice herself to destroy it. Grace and Greg arrive at the scene. Susan calls Nanase about it, saying she should help defeat it. Grace explains that a Tedd from an alternate universe named Lord Tedd is trying to kill all his alternate selves, and the Goo is his monster. Ellen finds out she can shoot a beam from her hand that stuns the Goo. After an infodump, Nanase and Greg join the fight.

          Nanase tells Ellen the truth, that she won't die in a month. Justin and Susan (Who has summoned a katana) join the battle. Grace discovers she has telekinetic powers of some kind, and a powered up form. The Goo, scared by Grace, tries a smaller safer form. Ellen uses the opportunity to destroy the main body, then smashes the core. Mr. Verres gives Ellen a cover story and let's her live with Elliot, his parents accepting there new daughter easily. Nanase acts as Ellen's ambassador to everybody else. Ellen wants to start over new, as if she didn't have any of Elliot's memories. The Main 8 are together, and for the first time seem to act like a cohesive group. The End.

           Tiffany Susan Pompoms is a rich feminist made of sarcasm, cynicism, and wit. She's Sarah's best friend, and has not one but two tragic backstories. She starts out very bitchy, but gets a lot of needed development, and gets over her problems over time. Able to summon certain weapons at will, but the why is covered much later.

           The Dunkels are the most unflappable characters ever made. They are completely calm and accepting about whatever is thrown there way, yet overreact on the small stuff.

The EGS Initiative: Introduction and 3 Arcs

        (Before I start, I'd like to make an update regarding the Brony Bookclub. Due to scheduling conflicts, there will be no show this week. My apologies.)

        I think once before I mentioned that El Goonish Shive is my favorite webcomic by far, and I hold on that front. The problem with the series is that it starts out kinda meh, and takes a while before it gets awesome. So this is why I am making this, the EGS Initiative. The point is to summarize the comic up to certain points, those points being place you could start at and reasonably enjoy. It's going to be a big process, but I hope it will be a useful and fun one as well. I'm going to try and sum up things as they happen, then go into the characters. The first story arc, Introductions, will be skipped as literally nothing important happened. Before we start the real first story arc, we have to introduce the main characters. I'm going to be talking about each character has who they have become, not who they were at the beginning.

        Elliot Dunkel is a goody-two-shoes. He has a bit of a dark past, but not overwhelmingly so. He studies Anime-Style Martial Arts, and is the second best student there. He can't stand bullies. He sucks at perversion.

         Tedd Verres is a mad scientist. He is a pervert, and has a major fetish for transformations. He is also a complete nerd. He doesn't actually need glasses to see, his face is incredible girly and he hides it with them. He has been called 'gay' by bullies his entire life.

       Sarah Brown is very normal. She's an artist, and always trying to improve her skill. She's a very casual nerd. She is envious of other characters for their powers. Surprisingly brave. Up until the Hammerchlorians Arc she was able to summon giant hammers.

       Arc 1-The Goo: Elliot and Tedd are in science class. The assignment is to make goo, and Tedd's becomes alive. Tedd repeatedly claims he was not responsible, nobody believes him. They're forced to stay after school to catch it. The goo grows huge and monstrous. They try activating the sprinklers, but their principal didn't actually install real ones, because they'd be too costly. Instead Elliot blows it up.

       Arc 2-Shade: Elliot and Tedd end up in the newspaper for the events of the previous arc, and a mysterious woman wonders if they could help her. Elliot, Sarah, and Tedd go to the movies, and when they return they find a woman waiting for them. Her name is Grace, and she wants to stay with Tedd and his father for protection. Tedd's father knows her already, but by the name Shade Tail. Grace and Sarah go shopping for clothes, and when a mugger attacks Grace turns into a anthropomorphic squirrel. That scares off the mugger. She reveals to the group that she and her 'brothers' were the result of a secret operation. They were trying to make super assassins by making part animal people that could morph between full human, half animal, and full animal. The experiment ended when a being named Damien killed the scientists and took the experimental children as his warriors. Grace is a pacifist, and escaped. They agree to help Grace.

       Grace Sciuridae is a half-squirrel teenager. She's had easily the most art and character change, but at her core she has stayed roughly the same. She is a naive, kind, and caring girl. She knows nothing of social customs, having grown up in a lab. She is a pacifist, though when the time comes that she's enraged enough to fight she goes absolutely berserk. She is adorable.

       Edward Verres is Tedd's dad. He's also a high ranking member of the FBI, and his job is keeping Aliens and Magic a secret from the public. He's also one of the strongest wizards alive. He's gruff, but cares for his son. He overreacts to many things. When you are allowed to hear about what he has to say, getting him to stop may be tough.

       Arc 3-Relations: Elliot realizes Sarah is interested in him, and invites her to his martial arts class under the pretense of her almost getting mugged. Tedd and Grace start dating. Sarah goes to the class, and meets Elliot's martial art friends Justin and Nanase. Elliot talks with his teacher, Sensei Greg. He sets up a sparring match between Elliot and Nanase, the two highest ranking students. Sarah and Justin watch. If I may take a critical aside, the fight is very well done, the fighting looking cool and being funny in it's parodying of anime fights. Nanase wins, and kisses Elliot. He brought Sarah there to make her understand that he is dating Nanase. Sarah runs out crying, and when Elliot tells Nanase that he brought Sarah to tell her about the situation, not show her, Nanase rightly smacks him. She tells Elliot that since he and Sarah have known each-other for a long time, and she reacted that way, this isn't some crush to let down, and he should talk with her. They do, and Sarah reveals she loves Elliot. She walks away, and when Elliot tells Nanase she breaks up with him so they can be together. Plus, it was mostly a 'friends with benefits' relationship anyway. (The following is technically another story arc, but it's related enough to count it as part of Relations.) Sarah shows up at Tedd's to find that Tedd's Transformation gun can add more forms to Grace, and that now she has cat and hedgehog/cat hybrid forms. Grace has nightmares that night, and Tedd comforts her. (Not in that way. Pervert.) Tedd reveals that he's been bullied a lot in his life. He and Elliot met when Elliot beat the crap out of a bully tormenting Tedd.

           Justin Tolkiberry is a nerd who is somewhat good at martial arts. He's also gay. That is barely relevant to his character, and the only way it is is that he really likes Elliot. Who is straight. He works at a comic book shop. His only real development is pretty recent, so I won't cover it in this initiative, or at least not for a while.

         Nanase Kitsune is a badass. She is easily the strongest of the mane cast, as well as the best magically. She is intelligent, and very kind. Her mother controls most of her life, trying to get her to go down a certain path. She has very major development, but I'll get to that somewhat soon. She's also Tedd's cousin.

        Sensei Greg is the founder of the Anime-Style Martial Arts style. He discovered it after being dumped, by watching anime for an insane amount of time. He combined his knowledge of the medium with his already extensive martial arts training to create his own style, that suprisingly works. He doesn't show up much because at his power level he's basically a walking Dues Ex Machina.

        I'll be back tomorrow to cover the Sisters Arc. Laters.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


         So...yeah. I wrote some fanfiction. Here it is. And stuff. Oh, it's pony-related. So, if you're not a brony, um, maybe don't read it? Could this post be any more mellow? No. It could not.

Watashi wa Anime ga daisukidesu-Soul Eater

      This shall be the last shonen anime I talk about for a while. I just wanted to go through the older ones, then come back to the new stuff. Or something. I kinda lost track. Whatever. Now, I have found out that a lot of people have no seen Soul Eater.
        Maybe it's just me, but this show is actually getting on in years. Let me start with the bad: some gags really don't work with me, but they managed to find solid footing pretty fast. It suffers from the same problem as the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime, but instead of a whole season of filler we get a third a season. You'd think that's be a good thing, but the whole season FMA had allowed them to set up stuff so it kinda became it's own, complete, separate show from the manga. Soul Eater didn't, and the filler ending they cobbled together seems very patchwork. The worst has the best the ending, which makes no fucking sense, and does to nothing but leaving me staring at the screen in bewilderment. It really let me down, but with the advent of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and the two doing the same thing and being made by the same animation company, maybe we can get a similar show here.

       So what's good about Soul Eater? So freaking much. First off, the action is gorgeous. And it don't mean in an animation or frame-rate sense, I mean it is just freaking amazing. I'd honestly have to say that Soul Eater has my favorite action scenes from anime. Also? The music. Both openings to the show are fantastic, and while I prefer the second one, both are up there in my favorite openings in anime. Also, I really like the cast. Mako and Soul are good protagonists; Kid and the Thompson Sisters are fun; and Black Star and Tsubaki are great. Plus, the side characters are great too. Krona is my favorite shonen rival, not counting Ryoga. His story is really well done, and I like the ending the filler bits actually gave him. (As opposed to the manga where his story tears my heart apart.) Dr. Stein is a great mentor character, and Maka's Dad is cool as well. Medusa is one of my favorite villains in recent anime. So, while it has a few flaws, Soul Eater ends up being one of my favorite anime to come out in recent yearsish. I'd heavily recommend it, and it isn't hard to find. The whole thing's one Netflix. Laters.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Comparing First Episodes-One Piece and Fairy Tail

              Yeah, I don't think this is going to be a new thing. I'm just doing this instead of reviewing the damn show, because honestly I can't review something I've seen two episodes of, and I do not want to watch any more of it. So I'm going to compare it's first episode to the first episode of the similar show One Piece.

               Fairy Tail's first episode has better animation. The fight scene at the end is, from a technical aspect, better than any in the first of One Piece. That is pretty much the only thing I can say FT did better.

               One Piece's first episode manages to get across so much. You get a good look at the main character, you learn a little about the world, you learn about the powers, you learn about where the end goal of the story is, and most importantly for me, you get the main thesis of the show. "I understand the road I've chosen in a dangerous one. If I die trying to achieve my dream, then I die." That's not an exact quote, but I love the line. It perfectly sums up the message of the show. Compare this to Fairy Tail, where afterwards I learned there's magic, and there's guilds, and the main character wants to join the guild Fairy Tail, and this other guy is already a member and has dragon powers. But what is the theme of the show? I also grew much more attached to Luffy and Coby than Lucy and Natsu. I love Luffy's nonchalance towards so many others, while also being concerned for Coby once he realizes that he actually has a dream of his own, even if it conflicts with Luffy's. Coby had half a character arc, going from a coward to brave, and it was hard not to like the kid. Lucy...um, she's a mage. And she wants to be a member of Fairy Tail. And she uses summon magic. Notice I didn't mention her personality at all? That's because I didn't remember it. I could look it up, but if a show isn't able to impress their character's traits onto me and its own, then they're failing. And Natsu is so boring. He eats a lot, he's bored, he likes to fight. But what does he want? Why does he want it? What are his morals? I don't know. Lastly, the action in OP's first episode is more fun, and has a larger impact to me.

                 I am not saying Fairy Tail is bad. What I'm saying is that it was not able to impress me enough early on to get me to want to watch it. Normally I'd watch it anyway, but this is a shonen series. I know this story is going to go long, so you have to hook me if you want me to watch the whole thing. Laters.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Watashi wa Anime ga daisukidesu-Clannad

              I am going to take an aside rant before I start actually talking about the anime. Namely, when I started reviewing things, what, 4 years ago, my specialty was anime. It was the medium I had the most knowledge and experience with. But since then, I took it upon myself to spread my boundaries, and watch as much as possible from the other mediums. I'm happy to say that it has mostly worked, so that now I can talk somewhat intelligently about books, live action TV, western animation, films, fanfiction, comic books, and webcomics. However, it struck me the other day that I had not started and finished an anime in a very long time. I had abandoned by original fandom, and that just would not do. So I'm spending more time on the anime side of things. And if that isn't your cup of tea, don't worry, I'm still watching live-action TV, movies, cartoons, etc.

             Clannad is an anime made by Kyoto Animation, and it is based of a visual novel game by Key. Those are the same people who made the visual novels turned anime Kanon, Air, and Angel Beats (Yes, the last one isn't  visual novel, but it was made by Key then made into an anime.) My record with these adaptations is mixed. Kanon was one of the first anime I saw, and still holds a special place in my heart as, "that incredibly sad one about high school girls in the snow." Air is odd for me: I didn't finish it because it simply failed to grab me any longer. the characters hadn't grown on me, and the only thing I enjoyed was Vic Mignogna's performance. Angel Beats start off a little slow, but ends up one of my favorite series from recent years, especially because of the frankly amazing soundtrack. So how does Clannad fair?

            Let's start with the opening. It works well, and while I wouldn't have it high up on my list of favorite openings, it's still very good and sets the mood well for the show itself. The plot is about a delinquent high school student and his best friend, who end up befriending several girls each of whom has their own story arch. (Except Ryou for some reason.) Each arc's ending is sad, though how sad depends on the viewer. The characters are pretty good, my favorites being the best friend Youhei for being a hilarious spaz (seriously, he's the Xander of the show), and one of the girl's dad Akio for being awesome.

            I'll quickly mention the animation before I move on: it works. It tells the story, and that's good. Not much to talk about really. So how did I like it? Well, I'm proud to say that unlike Kanon or Angel Beats, I did not cry once.  The first character arc's ending came pretty damn close though. Seriously, in my opinion that is the best arc of them all, it is so freaking sad, but completely heartwarming at the same time. The final character arc almost got me too, there was literally a part halfway though the episode where I was completely confused, because somehow I'm such a terrible visual novel player that I got the bad ending on an anime adaptation!

            Overall I would definitely recommend the series, it is very funny, sad, and it fills you with warm fuzzies for a little while. And really, isn't that good enough? Well, of to watch After Story!

The Brony Bookclub Episode 4-Comedy

Dear Jim Butcher,

Today on The Brony Bookclub, Sam and I had on DubsRewatcher, author of "But the Kitchen Sink." Dubs and I regaled Sam with the best synopsis we could of House of Leaves, I once again almost interrupt the guest the insist they continue with their thought, Dubs brought up FiMFiction's recent policy change, Anthropology is finished, Dubs earns this podcast the enmity of Poultron, we learned Dubs is apparently a sadist, and Sam actually had a non-Pony fic to share. Overall, we learned that comedy is very subjective, and harder to do in fanfiction than in a visual medium. The author needs to understand when to use comedy, and when to be serious. It's also better when you have an insane premise to take it completely seriously, and not tongue-in-cheek. The audience can find the recording here and the mailbag here.

Your Faithful Student,
Roy Hankins

Friday, July 20, 2012


          I'm taking a little break. The next post will be on Sunday, another episode of the Brony Bookclub. I want to blog right now, but with the recent tragedy in Colorado making me think, I'm spending more time with my friends. I should be back soon, and I have quiet a bit planned for when I do. Thank you for putting up with me. Laters.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Watashi wa Anime ga daisukidesu-Bleach

            Oh man, this is gonna really kill me. Alright, so the, like, zero people reading this who watched by old shitty YouTube videos know that this anime cause my first kinda big controversy. This was mostly caused by my poor writing, bad speech, and terrible response to comments. Let me start with this then: I do not think Bleach is a bad anime, nor do I hate it. I feel that in quality it is mediocre, and I don't really have any feeling for it one way or the other.

            On the good side, the opening (not sure which number) DTechnoLife is amazing, and one of my favorite openings to any anime ever. However, I rarely think of Bleach when I listen to it, so I'm not sure it's actually a plus. The other good-ish thing about it is that it doesn't really have anything bad about it.

            That is just my problem however. Good is not the absence of bad. While nothing about the show is something I dislike, I don't like any of it either. The characters are bland, the story meh, and the action standard. So, really, I have nothing much to say about the show except that I don't hate it. Or like it. Or care. Sorry Bleach fans. Laters.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Top 13 Favorite Movies (Kinda)

    Yeah, I just saw the Chick's new video, and it gave me the idea to do the same. The movies you would call your favorites says a lot about you as a geek, so allow me the time to list them. Oh, and it says 'kinda' because I'm doing this loose, fast, and off the top of my bookshelf's movies. Let us start with a...

            Honorable Mention-Joss Whedon's The Avengers
            This is not to say I do not enjoy the movie. (And yes, I call it's Joss Whedon's The Avengers. So sue me.) I really do. The comedy is sharp, the action fantastic, and it's about as good an Avengers Movie as can be made. Sadly, I am not a big Avengers fan, so this really didn't hit my heart like most on this list did. Sorry Marvelites.

       13-The Producers (1968)
       As a fan of comedy, it's my duty to put a Mel Brooks movie on the list somewhere, and choosing which one was a bit hard. Most of my friends would have chosen Spaceballs, and while I like the movie, The Producers is far funnier to me. Gene Wilder's acting is, as always, amazing. The jokes are some of my favorites, and my sides hurt every time I watch this thing. The only downside is it starts off slow, and the opening credits are long. Besides that, a great film.

      This movie is kind of a guilty pleasure. I grew up with this franchise, and while now I am able to understand that the sequels slowly degrade in quality, I still love them. They're fun monster flicks with a really interesting creature. Plus I love all the expanded universe stuff about the graboids. I like they're not aliens or supernatural, they are just creatures with an odd life cycle.

        11-The Prestige
       I'm always surprised when people say this is the worst Christopher Nolan movie. I haven't seen his remake of Insomnia yet, but I'd still say I like The Prestige more than Memento and Batman Begins. The acting is great, the twists interesting, and it's just an interesting movie. I am sad I don't own it, and if I see it at a Wal-Mart next time I'm in one I'll buy it. (If my faith in humanity hasn't been entirely crushed by the time I've found it.)

      It has come to my attention that not everybody has seen this film yet. My current quest is to rectify this. It's a old-style Noir detective movie set in modern day High School. The dialogue is great, the mystery interesting, and the cinematography is fantastic. This is the first film by director Rian Johnson, with his second film The Brothers Bloom having come out in 2008. (I also recommend that.) His third film, Looper, comes out this year and to say I am psyched is not an exaggeration.

       9-Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva
         This movie is on the list for several reasons. One; I am a pretty big fan of the Professor Layton series. Two; it's a pretty good movie. Three; it is, undoubtedly in my own opinion, the best video game movie yet made. It manages to capture both the gameplay and story of the series perfectly, while delivering it's own tale not done in the games.

        8-Scott Pilgrim VS The World
     Like any nerd, I have my problems with this film. It is still, however, the best Scott Pilgrim movie that could be made. Ultimately all my problems and quibbles with the film is because it's a film and not an animated series. It still makes me laugh, jump up in excitement, and tear up a little every time. Nerd salute to you Edgar Wright.

      7-Monty Python's The Life of Brian
     I think I'll find a severed Goomba head in my bed tomorrow for this. While I feel that Holy Grail is much more quotable, I like Life of Brian more. It makes me laugh more and I think the story is better. (Besides that weird thing with the spaceship in the middle. What the hell were they smoking?) It also helps that when I first saw Holy Grail, I already knew all the best parts by heart. Not true with Life of Brian, and the surprise made it better for me.

      6-Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
       I must preface this with the fact that I am not a Trekkie, even though both my parents are. I have seen one or two episodes of the original series, this movie, and the new one. I plan on trying Next Generation someday, but I am very ashamed of my lack of knowledge in this area, as it is my biggest weakspot as a nerd. This movie, however, is amazing. The dialogue is infinitely quotable, the situation dire, the villain brilliant, and Bones is on board. I like Bones.

       5-Star Wars Episode V
     For the record, I will state that I feel Wrath of Khan is in quality better than any Star Wars movie. However, I grew up with the Original Trilogy, and they hold a place (Somewhat diminished by the Special Editions) in my heart. I'm with Star Wars the opposite of what I am with Star Trek though. I have tasted the fruits Lucas has offered me, and while I still love the Original Trilogy and a couple EU books, I can't really call myself I fan. Still, Empire Strikes Back is awesome.

       4-Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
        Okay, this is gonna get me lynched. I know the problems a lot of people have with Order, but I disagree. Did it cut out stuff I wanted in? Yeah sure. But we're dealing with a long freaking movie guys. Not only that, I respect that they got all this stuff in, yet it doesn't feel rushed. Unlike the previous film in the series, it slowed down and took it's time, which is the pace I feel suits the series best.

        Yep, my Whedon movie for the list. This film, it's killing of loved characters besides, is made of epic win. I can watch in whenever and always come out of it happy. I was surprised to meet people in real life who didn't like Whedon stuff, but once they explained their positions we came to a mutual understanding. I like it when everyone is funny and has smart dialogue. I like stuff focused more on characters than on story. And this movie is that turned up to 11. The only thing that I don't like is how they handled the Reavers, but that's a rant for another day.

        2-The Dark Knight
        I think everybody on the web has talked about what makes this movie amazing to death. There isn't really anything to say, but Ledger's acting is some of the best ever, the allegories and implications are great, and it does a great job from the perspective of a comic fan and a movie fan.

        1-The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
      If you know me, this is not a surprise. This franchise has always astounded me by hitting all my geek and nerd buttons at the same time. And the film? The best way I can describe it is that when I finish the movie, I feel full. It is long, and when it is done I am literally sated for now. It's funny, it's inventive, but mostly it's just interesting. And by me and Haruhi's philosophy, that's the most important thing. Laters.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Brony Bookclub Episode 3-Type B Crossovers

        This week on The Brony Bookclub we interviewed Pav Feira about his great fan fiction, My Little Chrono: Triggers are Magic. We discussed the tenants of Fusion Fics, how to make a good one, the future of his own story, Pav and I interrupted each other at the same time, and I Squee-ed like a fangirl at the mention of a great anime. If you'd like to ask us something, comment on the show, give constructive criticism, or would like to help us, send us a letter at thebronybookclub@yahoo.com. You'll find this week's episode here. Next week we'll be having on Dubs Rewatcher, author of ...And the Kitchen Sink with a theme of Comedy! See you all next week bronies!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Watashi wa Anime ga daisukidesu-Naruto

       Now, first off, I am not going to claim that Naruto is bad. I know a lot of people who would, but I won't. I also will not explain the plot, because once I start it gets hard to stop. What I am going to talk about is how Naruto lost me. It used to hold a very special place in my heart, because it was the anime that got me to look it up on the web, and finally discover what anime was and where to find it. I don't know how long it would have taken for that to happen otherwise, but it was the catalyst. Back in the day I was a diehard Naruto fan. Now, I'm going to start with what is good about the anime.

     The action is very good, and while I generally prefer One Piece and a couple other anime in that department, it's still well done. The music is very good, and gets you ready for a good time. The best thing, easily, are the characters. The cast is large and there are quite a few stand outs. Rock Lee is a personal favorite, but almost all of the main cast are very well done. Naruto himself is a great protagonist. When they delve into his childhood, it really works. The Zabuza storyline is probably the peak in quality,  but the Chunin Exams/Gaara arc is my favorite. The ending fight works very well, though I've seen the same idea done better elsewhere. (Keep that in mind, I'll bring it up again in a couple of days.)

    Now for the bad. To start off, the problem with the great cast is that the writer has no clue how to focus. As time goes on, he spends less and less time with the initial cast that drew us in, and keeps throwing in new characters, only about one in ten of which are a fifth as good as the original characters. I don't want to spend more time with Sai, I want Hinata! For the anime the filler is atrocious, between Naruto and Shippuden literally a year and a half of filler. Some of it was good, but most was really bad, and because it was filler it was a year and a half where nothing of real importance could happen. Then there's the Sasuke problem. I didn't like Sasuke at first, but by the end of the Zabuza arc he had grown on me. But then the Sasuke retrieval arc reared it's ugly head, and now I can't stand the guy. And it got worse! Every time he's shown up since then he's made me more and more pissed. At one point it started to feel like Sasuke was supposed to be the protagonist, but luckily it switched perspectives again soon after. Plus, after the initial success of Zabuza and Gaara, I haven't liked the villains much. Orochimaru started off cool, but degraded fast. The Akatsuki didn't really impress me.

   The thing that gets me the worst though is the story. Over time, the plot has become more and more sidetracked and convoluted. It keeps going off-course, and not resolving what it's set up. Off everything that has happened so far, I think only the tailed beasts and Naruto's parents were things the writer knew when he started. Like I said earlier, the Gaara fight felt satisfying because it felt like it was built up to, and everything fit just right. I haven't felt that since, and that is a shame. Let me compare this with the anime I talked about yesterday, One Piece. One Piece set up huge plot points years in advance, in one case decades, and did so where it usually wasn't obvious that Oda was leading us there.

    Again, I am not saying Naruto is bad. I'm saying that it started of very good, and I loved it. Now when my friends who read the manga tell me what's happening, I sigh and shake my head. If you really enjoy it, good on you. There's something that you enjoy that I do not, that's a point in your favor. Sorry Kishimoto, I still like you as a person.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Watashi wa Anime ga daisukidesu - One Piece

        Before I start, I must apologize. I am late posting, and I shouldn't be. I could make an excuse, but it would be lame and no one would care. I know these kind of apologies are mocked a lot, but I put them here because I honestly feel terrible I forgot to update, and that I should have upheld my promise of an update a day better. So, for the purposes of my life and sleep schedule, each day of the week 'ends' at 4am. Yes, that's when I go to bed.
       In punishment for my sin, I shall divulge a horrible, terrible secret. I love One Piece. Let me start by summarizing the show for the 8 of you on the internet who has no idea what I'm talking about. One Piece is set in a Constructed World (A setting with no connection of any kind to ours in geography or history.) where the world is one giant ocean, with some barriers separating it into four seas. It is the Age of Pirates, set off by the death of Gold Roger, and Monkey D. Luffy wants to find the legendary treasure One Piece, therefore becoming the King of the Pirates. Because he ate one of the Devil Fruits, cursed produce that grant mystical powers to those who consume them, he is made of rubber. He gathers a crew, gets a ship, and fights other pirates.

       Let me start with what is bad, the reason many do not like the show. The animation ranges, but it starts off on the closer end of bad. The dialogue is often cheesy and over the top. The characters, at first glance, are very 2-dimensional and annoying. It constantly breaks science and reason in every way you can possibly imagine. There are several filler arcs, many of which are bad. The original dub by 4kids Entertainment is probably the worst dub of all time, with a lot of unnecessary censorship and terrible casting and writing. It is, I think, the biggest reason for those who do not like it.

      Now for me to gush about what I love. The action is amazing, honestly my favorite from any anime I've seen. The dialogue is over the top, but that's the point. Everything in this show is over-the-top, because that's how it is. The drama, sadness, awesomeness, comedy, and heartwarmingness are all purposely turned up to eleven. That's part of the point. The music, both in show and the openings, are fantastic. And my favorite part is the characters. I said earlier that they can appear 2-dimensional and that's true, from a certain point of view. But once you start paying more attention, the characters have far more depth than you would have though from the silly shonen anime you heard about. Luffy is that "I'm gonna follow my dreams, eat a lot of food, and get stronger" kind of protagonist, but then he says stuff that is kinda amazing. "If I die while trying to reach my dream, then I die." And he's not blowing smoke out his ass either, at one point when he thinks he will die, he accepts it with a huge grin on his face. The whole cast is like this, and several backstories will make you cry.

     One Piece feels like it was made with a passion, and a message I agree with to a T. It is my shonen anime, and one I shall defend to the grave. Now if only Funimation would catch up on the collections and get back to dubbing the damn thing already! Laters.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Stop Rolling Your Eyes and Try It-Anthropology

            This post will be short for two reasons. A) I'd like to talk more in depth on The Brony Bookclub on the time I have the author on. B) I am not spoiling. So, basically it's about Lyra trying to discover humans, while everypony calls her crazy. It sounds like a meh premise, but it works well. It takes off in the second half though, and is in my Top 3 updating fanfics right now. It's funny, heartwarming, and full of awesome. Please, give it a try. At least up to the halfway point. Laters.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Original Versus Sequel - Paper Mario 64 VS Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

            This will be the first of hopefully several Original Vs Sequel. I'm starting with a hard one, because I love them both a ton. Paper Mario 64 (Not the real title, but useful in denoting which I'm speaking of) was one of the first games I beat, and the sequel is one of my favorite sequels in gaming history.

            This one is tough, in that neither is Portal. The stories for both are simple, especially for RPGs, a genre famous for it's overly complex narratives. Paper Mario 64's story: Bowser has stolen the Star Rod, the tool used by the Star Spirits to grant the wishes of everybody. By stealing the Star Rod and imprisoning the Star Spirits, he is able to grant his own wishes, making him invisible. After thoroughly trashing Mario and kidnapping Princess Peach, Mario must free the Star Spirits, for only their combined might can oppose the Koopa King now. Pretty simple. Now, besides the main plot, each game has a second, separate plot where Peach is the main character. In 64, Peach befriends a tiny star named Twink. Over the course of the game, she sneaks around and uses what information she can find to give to Twink, who think informs Mario so he knows where to go next.

             Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door takes place not in the typical setting, the Mushroom Kingdom, but in the port town of Rogueport. One day, as a stop on a larger voyage, Peach and Toadworth (her loyal retainer) stay there for a while. While there, Peach finds a map that is supposedly magic, and leads to the legendary treasure said to reside under Rogueport. She sends the map to Mario, but when he arrives she is nowhere to be found. It turns out the map shows the locations of the Crystal Stars, seven artifacts that are powerful alone, but when combined open the Thousand Year Door, which is said to have the previously mentioned treasure locked beyond. Mario is not the only one looking for the stars, a group called the X-Nauts are looking too, and captured Peach. Peach's story in this game involves her growing relationship with the X-Naut's computer TEC. Bowser has his own side story as well, where he hears Peach was kidnapped by someone besides himself. He goes on a quest to find the Crystal Stars as well, but is always one step behind Mario.

             The question of which main story is better depends on the answerer. To those who prefer more simple stories, 64 would seem the right answer. But for me, the main story of Thousand Year Door is much better. There's an actual twist to it, and the plot has more twists. I'd say that Peach's story is much better in Door as well. Her relationship with TEC is very well done, and by the end it's actually very touching. Plus, Door also has the Bowser subplot, for which there is no opposite in 64. So, for me, Door is the clear winner here.

            WINNER-Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

            This one is really, really easy. I'll just list all the things that Door did better: start with action commands, and you can skip the tutorials; audience; more skill involved in the special moves; better badge system; better partner system; paper curses; appeal and defense options. The only thing 64 had that Door didn't was the spin thing, which I do miss, but even considering that loss Door still is the easy winner.

             WINNER-Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

              Another tough one, we'll go step by step to see which is the victor here.
             In the prologue for 64, Mario goes to a party as Peach's castle, Bowser shows up, kicks Mario's flank, Mario wakes up in Goomba Village, gets a hammer, gets a partner, fights the Goomba King, goes to Toad Town, goes to Shooting Star Summit, finally learns action commands, reveals the trickery of the Koopa Bros, and finally heads off to Chapter One.

            In the prologue for Door, Mario gets off the boat, already knows action commands, fights Lord Crump, gets a partner, gets robbed, gets cursed, and learns where the first Crystal Star is.

            On the one hand, 64 has a long and interesting prologue. On the other, the combat sucks until near the end. Still, I'll give this one up to 64.
         In Chapter 1 of 64, Mario finds the Koopa village overrun by fuzzies, defeats them, gets a partner, attacks the Koopa Bros. Fortress, gets another partner, fights a fake Bowser, fights the Koopa Bros, and then gets the Star Spirit.

        In Chapter 1 of Door, Mario discovers that a dragon named Hooktail is terrorizing Petal Meadows, wins a quiz show, fights a gold fuzzy, gets the keys to the castle, gets a partner, storms said castle, gets cursed, fights the dragon, and gets the first Crystal Star.

        This one is tough. Door has the cool castle, the better puzzles, and a cool midboss. However, 64 has two different partners, some really funny moments, some very awesome moments, and overall feels more complete and satisfying. I'll give this one to 64 as well.
         In Chapter 2 of 64, Mario rides a train, gets a partner, (optionally) fights a giant buzzard, goes into the desert, finds a mysterious mouse who knows where the ruins are, find the ruins, gets threatened by a lame voice, gets the Super Hammer, fights a koopa dressed as a pharoh commanding Chain Chomps, and gets the Star Spirit.

        In Chapter 2 of Door, Mario befriends this little slug thing, goes into these black and white woods, tries to enter The Great Tree, fights the Shadow Sirens gets a partner, enters The Great Tree, has 10 more slug things join him, gets 90 more slug things to join him, gets the Super Boots, almost gets the Crystal Star until Crump steals it, fights Crump in a mech, and gets the Crystal Star.

      Door tried doing a lot of interesting things. The woods were an interesting style choice, the Punie's following you was something new, the stealing of the star and subsequent countdown timer was new, and the mech for a boss fight was different. However, I don't feel most of that really worked. I'm glad they tried new things, but despite that 64's simple search for the ruins, and the questing within, was far more memorable and fun. 64 wins again.
       In Chapter 3 of 64, Mario goes into a haunted forest, goes into a haunted mansion, gets the Super Boots, discovers that the Star Spirit has been stolen from Bowser's henchman already by the Boos, works out a deal to get rid of the Tubba Blubba in exchange for the Star Spirit, gets a new partner, goes in Blubba's fortress, sneaks around cause he's invincible, find out his secret, races to avoid Blubba's wrath, finds his secret, defeats Blubba, and gets the Star Spirit.

       In Chapter 3 of Door, Mario goes to a floating city, discovers the Crystal Star on the belt of the champion wrestler, becomes a wrestler, gets a partner, works on the secret of this place, gets the Super Hammer, title fights the champ, defeats the bad guy abusing the Star's power, and gets the Crystal Star.

       I am going to preface my decision with this: chapter 3 of 64 is one of my favorites of the game. It takes many risks, and pulls them all off perfectly. It is a great chapter, and I'll never say a bad word about it. However, I find Door's Chapter 3 superior. It takes an even bigger departure from the formula, has a lot of great jokes, and delivers a far more memorable experience. I'm giving this one to Door.
      In Chapter 4 of 64 (RHYMING), Mario find Toad Town under attack by a legion of thieving Shy Guys, finds their base, bakes a cake for the Gourmet Guy, defeats the Lamp Ghost, gets a partner, defeats the General Guy, and gets the Star Spirit.

      In Chapter 4 of Door (MOAR RHYMING), Mario goes to Twilight Town, discovers that when the nearby Steaple's clock goes off someone turns into a pig, gets cursed, (optionally) fights an Atomic Boo, fights ??????, and gets the Crystal Star...except not. Mario then is turned into a shadow while ?????? has taken his name and body as well as his partners, gets a new partner, learns ??????'s name, fights ?????? and his old partners, and gets his body back as well as the Crystal Star.

     Again I preface my decision by saying that I love 64's Chapter 4. I love the Shy Guys, the many different variants, the fun in getting everybody's items back, all of it. But Door took more risks, and they all worked for me. It's a really fun chapter, so I'll give this battle to Door.
      In Chapter 5 of 64, Mario rides a whale to Yoshi's Island (It's not might be the one you're thinking of.), finds that the Yoshi's children have gone missing, gets a new partner, saves all the kids, meets that giant raven from Super Mario World 2, gets into a volcano, gets the Ultra Hammer, fights Lava Piranha, fights Lava Piranha on fire, barely escapes the exploding volcano, and gets the Crystal Star.

     In Chapter 5 of Door, Mario rides a ship to an island, crashes into said island, gets a partner, goes into a cave, gets cursed, fights a pirate ghost, gets the Crystal Star, and fights Crump again.

     This one is tough, partially because they're very similar. On the one hand, I really like the Lava Piranha fight, and the escaping the volcano run. On the other, the Cortez fight is really interesting. Still, I got to give it to the 64.
     In Chapter 6 of 64, Mario goes into this weird alternate world full of plants, gets some items, gets a partner, gets Ultra Boots, clears up the sky, grows a giant beanstalk, fights Huff 'n Puff, and gets the Star Spirit.

     In Chapter 6 of Door, Mario rides a nice train, solves a mystery, gets Ultra Boots, fixes the rails, fights Smorg, goes into a painting, and gets the Crystal Star.

     Which you prefer really depends on what you like in the game. For those who prefer the combat, 64 is the clear winner, because Door barely even has any. But for those like me, Door barely eeks out a victory. The fun with the passengers is great, the baddy is interesting and weird, and it's very different experience.
       In Chapter 7 of 64, Mario goes to Shiver City, solves a mystery, goes to the birthplace of stars, goes to the Ice Palace, fights the Ice King, and gets the last Star Spirit.

       In Chapter 7 of 64, Mario goes to Fahr Outpost, goes around convincing Bob-Ombs to reactivate the cannon, gets shot to the Moon, invades the X-Naut base, fights Crump, gets the last Crystal Star meets a dying TEC, and escapes just before the base explodes.

       This one is a clear victory for Door. It has more locations, more epic scenes, and the X-Naut base is very cool.
       In Chapter 8 of 64, Mario climbs the Rainbow Way, receives the blessing of the Star Spirits, invades Bowser's Castle, invades Peach's castle, fights Bowser, and saves Peach. The End.

       In Chapter 8 of Door, Mario opens the Thousand Year Door, fights Gloomtail, fights Grodus, fights Bowser, fights the end boss, and saves the world. The End.

       This one is close. Door has more boss fights, but the general build up and excitement in 64 is better. Giving this last one to 64.

       So, for the chapters,
       WINNER-Paper Mario 64

      No pics this time, no time.
      Goombario VS Goombella: Goombario is...okay I guess, but Goombella has far more personality, and I prefer her by a ton.

      Kooper VS Koops: This is another easy one. Koops at least has some personality, so he wins.

      Bombette VS Bombery: I guess Bombette had some personality, like I think she was Tsundere or something, but Bombery's old sea dog thing is way better.

      Bow VS Vivian: I really like Vivian and her story, but Bow is too awesome not to win.

      Watt VS Flurrie: Watt is adorable and Flurrie is...annoying and disturbing. Watt wins.

      Sushie VS Ms. Mowz: Sushie had some character traits, but Mowz was well set up, interesting, and fun. Mowz wins.

      Spike VS [Insert Chosen Yoshi Name]: The Yoshi is cool, with different colors and a custom name, but I found him a tad annoying, and I really like Spike. Spike wins.

      Koopa Troopa Jr VS the Shadow Sirens: Junior appears far more often, is more funny, and has a far sillier motivation. Mario walked around in his playground, so he follows him across the Kingdom, ignoring anything that can stop him, and slowly becomes a total badass, just for revenge. Awesome.

      Koopa Brothers VS Hooktail: Hooktail is a dragon, but has a really lame weakness. The brothers have an awesome theme, funny dialogue, and a hilariously bad Bowser Costume. They win easy.

      Tubba Blubba VS Grubba: Tubba is more funny, pathetic, and has a more interesting story. He wins.

      General Guy VS ??????: I really like General Guy, but he had little screentime. ?????? had more, and was more interesting overall. Mystery monster wins.

      Lava Piranha VS Cortez: Cortez is cool and all, but the Lava Piranha blows him outta the park. LP wins.

      Huff 'N Puff VS Smorg: Puff is cooler, funnier, and while not as mysterious, far more infuriating when you're a kid. Puff wins.

      Bowser VS Grodus: Grodus is generic, while Bowser is fun in his evilness. Koopa King reigns supreme.

      Kammy Koopa VS Crump: Kammy. Nough said.

      Twink VS TEC: Twink had no personality. TEC's story made me cry. Do the math.

      Add it all up and...
      WINNER-Paper Mario 64

       This one won't take long. 64 expanded and filled the Mushroom Kingdom, giving a better identity to a place we had vaguely seen in other games. Door gave us the town of Rogueport and the surrounding areas. I prefer that of Door, because it shows that the world of Mario isn't all a paradise, and bad places exist. It also did far more world-building, which is always a plus for me.

       WINNER-Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

       Well, I guess Thousand Year Door wins. This does not mean I don't love Paper Mario, it just means that I think the sequel is one of the rare few that surpasses the original. Laters.