Category Archives: Uncategorized

Winnie the Pooh and Vinni Pukh

About a year ago, ace-reporter Jordan Thompson (who has just returned from Fort McMurray) and I, hit Assiniboine Park to shoot a fluff piece on its upcoming spring changes.

Well it turned out to be more than a fluff piece. It was a tubby-little-cubby-all-stuffed-with-fluff piece.

Yes, those are lyrics from Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, actually remembered, and not researched by me. Winnipeg took its obsessive claim to Winnie to the next level by adding a permanent museum to that crazy pavilion dedicated to the half-witted bear.

Here’s the story. It’s a longy, so you can skip ahead to the Pooh goodness at 2:00

I can’t find anything on the website verifying whether the forever-intended museum lasted a full year or not, but I can tell you something that the museum did/does not include.

Vinni…Pukh.

Winnie the Pooh’s devious Soviet counterpart. A complete and utter masterpiece.

For those curious about how I rate the four Winnie the Pooh formats (original animation, Disney animation, weird stuffed-animal puppetry, Vinni) it goes as follows:

1. Original
Absolutely beautiful drawings, soft pastels and delicate line work, expertly simplistic.

winnie the pooh classic patch

AWWW
http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/classic%20winnie%20the%20pooh?language=it_IT

winnie the pooh and piglet classic

This is a reproduction someone made on Deviant Art, but it still preserves all the original cuteness.
http://leon2137.deviantart.com/art/Winnie-the-Pooh-Classic-180692899

2. Vinni
I love this crazy Bolshevik bear. The animation is completely mesmerizing, and there are several other key differences that make Vinni a superior Pukh.

–  The characters are DEEP. Winnie is a bonified idiot, and Vinni is philosophical, pensive and manipulative. Both Vin and Win often sit for long amounts of time lost in thought. Vin does it so he can backward engineer-rationalize his actions. When Win does it it’s because it only takes the slightest non-paradox to throw him completely off his logical orientation.

vinni puhk eeyore

In Vinni Puhk, the character of Eeyore is tear jerkingly depressing for real. Complete with real ironic laughter and open mocking of Pooh

winnie the pooh eeyore

Not much of a character, but I guess I sort of put up with it.
Never really gave a shit about this guy, no matter how in your face s/he got with their depression.
http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/bisonho?language=pt_BR

– The animation is WILD. The opening sequence isn’t done in that “Oh look, an animator expertly crafted something to look like a kid had drawn it but it still looks professionally minimalistic”. It actually looks like creepy kids drawings, played over a plinkity toy piano sequence.

– YOU CAN’T LOOK AWAY. Vinni takes frequent breaks in his pensive pauses to take long empty stares at the screen. Boring into your soul!

vinni puhk and piglet

Also, extra points for these awesome cultural shocks:

– The scene in the first episode where Vinni asks Piglet if he has a gun and he replies “of course”

– The fact that Winnie’s head is stuffed with fluff and Vinni’s bargain head is stuffed with sawdust.

– Winnie the Pooh sings tons of whimsical giggly songs. Vinni instead participates in a series of weird chant marches laced with “parump pum pums”, Piglet in tow as some sort of second in command.

*Neither plus nor minus: In Winnie the Pooh, a good most of the characters are very androgynous, whereas in Vinni, they seem to be more conventionally gendered. It didn’t really add much to the story, but an interesting character decision either way.*

3. Disney
All Vinni awesomeness aside, Winnie the Pooh Disney edition is still a pretty cool guy. In its early days the show offered some solid content, much darker than you can expect for children’s entertainment today. And some of the longer narratives were really intensely emotional. (Remember the Cassie narrative, when Rabbit takes in that orphaned bird?!) Also, I always loved how in the movies, they used to break the fourth wall and remind us that they were in a storybook, by panning out to reveal the letters, which often swirled about to mimic the weather and environment.

And although the character design is less appealing to me, the backgrounds retain a lot of their original charm.

winnie the pooh heffalumps and woozles dream

Eternal props to this Blustery Day scene for freaking me out for the rest of my life. What you don’t see here, is the split second later where the balloons start drinking their own innards.
Courtesy of: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/blustery%20day?language=fr_FR

winnie the pooh rain gif

BAM! Take that literature.
And the rain rain rain came down down down in rushing rising rivlets.
http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/blustery%20day?language=fr_FR

Last Place: Puppets

TV51

URGHH these guys again.
Insipid looking puppets in their 1960 NBC debut
(Image from Wikipedia)

Animation turned puppet fails at least 100% of the time. The same is somehow not true in reverse, as conclusively proven by Harry Potter Puppet pals. (Wallow in references with me!) Anyway, nothing wrong with the genre, but puppets be puppets, stay out of the second dimension.

Watch the “puppets-ruin-animation-theory” as demonstrated here, where the beloved Homestar Runner franchise instantly transforms from hilarious into worst-thing-ever.


There, wasn’t that horrifying?

Anyway there are only three episodes of Vinni Puhk, so you should probably watch them all, starting with the inaugural episode here. According to Wikipedia, these characters adhere a little closer to Milne’s original text.

Island Themes: Lanfuest Quest vs Jak and Daxter

DACAPO and Gaumont Animation just released the first animation test from India of their new children’s show Lanfuest Quest. I covered a little bit about the production on my old blog, where I communicated my shattered dream of voicing an animated skank. My rejection as a voice actor on the show not only robbed me of the opportunity to voice a cartoon skank, but a cartoon skank that COUNTS AS CANADIAN CONTENT!  I know, obviously this dream is beyond the deluded grasp of a regular live-action skank like me.

Still excited to see the screen test though! Obviously I would have preferred the show in good old 2D, but such is my excitement to see animated productions in Winnipeg that I’m more than willing to let this one slide.

Here’s the screen test:

Lanfeust Quest (26 x 26′) Animation Test from Gaumont Animation on Vimeo.

The first thing that struck me (and only thing afterward, because I became instantly obsessed) is how much the look and feel is EXACTLY like Naughty Dog’s Jack and Daxter the Precursor Legacy, which is the first installment of their Jak game franchise.

jak hanging

Wow check out that similar landscape.
The rope bridges, the little islandy things.

Why the Jak Franchise is the Greatest

This will probably need some explanation, since although all three of the games in the Playstation trilogy, Jak and Daxter, Jak 2 and Jak 3 (also some shitty racing game, and a weird bug killing game on the PSP- but we’ll just ignore those) made it to the Playstation greatest hits collection, yet in my travels, none of them seem to have been played by or heard of from anyone.

jak on zoomer

These games were awesome. They had everything I like: characters with pointy ears, tons of vehicles, third person platforming, magic and melee, guns that are nowhere near realistic and therefore actually fun. Goggles, so many goggles- and actually reasons for wearing them sometimes (the third game is mostly set in the desert). AND SO MANY ANIMATED SKANKS to dream about voicing.

jak - kiera ashlen tess

Keira, Ashelin and Tess
(Tess and Ashelin aren’t introduced until the second game. Ashelin is some kind of fighter and Tess is a gun manufacturer)

The trilogy started with lighter themes, but eventually grew to be pretty dark as the main character (Jak) grew to be more angsty and muscular through experimentation with dark eco. The plot becomes a long saga to find the lost creators of the world by relating to the magical units of creation, eco, with the characters falling upon tons of political-type themes and obstacles. \

Additional game-darkening bonus: the annoying Ottsel character (Daxter) eventually stops ranting about bedtimes and switches to discussions about the mystical way bikini-clad girls jiggle.(Sexist, which I hate, yet still somehow less annoying than insipid child-Aaron-Carter-Type problems) ie:” I spilled juice on the couch :O .”

What is an Ottsel?

For all those who don’t know what an Ottsel is, it’s a Cheetos looking orange thing that is a mixture between an Otter and a Weasel. Remember friends, this is Naughty Dog we’re talking about, annoying creature combos is their calling card.

Or have we already forgotten about (ignore the watermarks. Being an artist, I try to use screencaptures and official concept art instead of fan art):

dingodile

Dingodile

rilla roo

Rilla Roo
(You can’t see the tail, but this “rilla” is also part kangaroo, as the name would suggest.)

Zam the not instantly obviously dog-lizard

crash bandicoot

and Crash Bandicoot (just kidding, bandicoots are reaaaaaal)

Probably, but that’s beside the point.

Here’s some of the characters you can enjoy if you go out and get the Jak series.

Jak and Daxter Characters

jak transformation

Jak
Plucky mute child who becomes an angsty magical adult.
Evidently good at fighting
P.S. Look at that “shoe” original Jak is wearing. I’m sure that toe-separating fabric comes in really handy tackling the mountainous island terrain

daxter

Daxter
Whiny buck-toothed human, transformed into an ottsel through the magic of “daarrrrk eco”.
Can be found hanging off of Jak’s shoulder

kiera

Keira
Mechanic, inventor and Jak’s original love interest.

samos the sage

Samos the Sage
Master of green eco (which apparently has something to do with the environment)

Are these characters starting to look  A LOT like the ones in the first video yet?
Also, check out the inside of that cabin: porthole windows, slanty shelves the works.

OK

Obviously this is a super coincidence resulting from the fact that all island-themed 3D animation, draws on the same design ideas. (It’s not like Donkey Kong Country the TV show didn’t look like this too) But I enjoyed these games so much as a kid that any excuse to talk about them is definitely good enough for me.

Haha look- same characters again! Old Sage Buff Adventure Type Whiny Short Sidekick Hot Chick in a crop top Bonus here for the addition of the mustache character

Haha look- same characters again!
Old Sage
Buff Adventure Type
Whiny Short Sidekick
Hot Chick in a crop top
Bonus here for the addition of the mustache character

Anyway, here is the intro for the first game. It starts at about 29 seconds in.
Also don’t worry, that hideous red-haired child turns into a much less (but still very) annoying ottsel within seconds, so you don’t have to put up with him for long.

Don’t forget to listen for that similar island music!

Anyway, high hopes for the show. High hopes that somebody will FINALLY talk to me about the Jak trilogy.

P.S.: I just discovered that there is actually another non-racing game in the Jak series that came out in 2009. I didn’t find out about it because it’s not promoted by Naughty Dog. They only served as co-developers, with High Impact Games as the main developer.

  

Liking ponies before it was cool isn’t hipster? Friendship is Magic Review: Seasons 1 & 2

When I was a child, my two favorite things were cartoons and horses. Therefore, the My Little Pony franchise was a magical godsend that absorbed nearly all of my free time. When I was eight, my manic-encyclopedic knowledge of pony-marking conventions even helped me win a My Little Pony colouring contest – landing me in an additional $200 worth of merchandise (not that I didn’t already have hundreds of dollars of merchandise).

When I was a child, it was anything thing I could do to trick somebody, ANYBODY, into watching My Little Pony with me. And now I find out adults everywhere are watching it bribe-free?

Sign me up.

I think that My Little Pony might be the only thing that it not hipster to have liked before it was cool. Telling my friends that I had watched it years before it was this popular offered me no additional street cred. No surprise there.

I was a little hesitant to get back into it though-since it got it’s cult start on 4chan, it has seemed like a pretty elaborate ruse. There has been hundreds of animations that secretly cater to a more adult audience, but none that are aimed at such a young crowd, and none with such overwhelmingly stereotypical feminine themes.  A bedridden week with a violent stomach bug put these fears to rest though, as I resorted to turn on, what I hypothesized might be, the only show with plot lines comprehensible to me in my nauseated state.

These are my findings:

Animation

The animation is a masterpiece! simplistic and adorable, with proportions just exaggerated enough to make for good stylization. They even animate their manes as one little blob, pulling and tweaking it to give it movement when the characters run. This is a stark contrast to the horrible stubbly cow-ponies of yore, with their gaping bovine-lashed eyes and their horrible mixture of too much realism and too much fantasy all rolled into one.

rainbow dash

Wow- could this be any more of an improvement?
I love flash-style animation

old ponies

Ew look at these stumply little buggers-DATED

Using a Barbie comb I used to brush their stringly strands of plastic hair and wonder why the figurines legs were so short, color combinations so jarring, and cutie-mark symbols so indecipherable. ( I would often receive ponies with shit that looked like bowtie pasta stamped on their rump- the boxes offering me no explanation).

Here's one I actually had. The blossoms indicate skill in....gardening maybe?

Here’s one I actually had. The blossoms indicate skill in….gardening maybe?

Yeah- there's the brush. Pretty hideous right?

Yeah- there’s the brush. Pretty hideous right?

These characters are an 10000% improvement. My only animation complaint is that the boy-ponies seem to suffer from Winx Club Syndrome. An animation symptom that results from when a severely girly franchise attempts to include boy characters and severely botches the attempt to translate masculine features into their animation template.

Here have a look.

The Winx Girls- Note the excessive levels of girly-ness

The Winx Girls- Note the excessive levels of girly-ness

These guys look terrible- what a mess. (except Timmy, the nerd, who is moderately ok)

These guys look terrible- what a mess. (except Timmy, the nerd, who is moderately ok)

Now take a look at some of the terrible looking boy characters in My Little Pony. WARNING: Searching ANY of the pony boy characters will immediately result in TONS OF FAN PORN

This thing is named Fancy Pants – really? Fan porn involving this guy? Yes. If this thing had a sound assigned to it, it would be *nyahem,*

 

Big Macintosh- Apple Jack's older brother

Big Macintosh- Apple Jack’s older brother- apparently a stud.

Episodes and Characters

I had originally assumed that this show was so popular with adult audiences because of its humor (because this is usually the case for similar shows). But this show isn’t very funny overall. It does however have an extremely watchable quality. It’s definitely not grippingly suspenseful or action packed, but it has a structure that allows you to put on ten or so episodes in succession while you hammer out some mindless work. And it leaves you positive feelings.

The episodes follow the growing friendship of a handful of girl-ponies, all of which are actually pretty well-developed characters and cover a broad range of relatable personality traits. Also the voice work is hardly grating at all for a children’s show, Ashleigh Ball and Tara Strong had a hand in this one

Here I have boiled them down to their essence

Rainbow Dash – Pegasus Athlete, arrogant and competitive. Interests include: speed.
Pinkie Pie – Party-loving ditz
Twilight Sparkle – Bookish, Type- A unicorn
Apple Jack – Tomboy farmgirl pony with apple- related skills
Rarity – Snobby, fake English accented unicorn. (Also a talented designer, and business owner)
Fluttershy – Shy-ass, kindly Pegasus who caters to the every whim of random animals
Spike: Twilight Sparkle’s dragon-slave.

my little pony cast

Usually they learn something about friendship, and report back to Twilight Sparkle’s mentor Princess Celestia, neatly packaging the episodes into didactic bows.

Occasionally you will be exposed to an episode where uncannily irritating younger-type ponies, Apple Bloom, Scootaloo (even the name is annoying) and Sweetie Bell (have you noticed that compound names are really common in the series?) try to find their one special skill and transform their embarrassing “blank flanks” into flanks plagued by vague markings indicating a highly specific and often menial skill.

For example, Pinkie Pie’s one true skill is “parties”, outside of which she is largely unskilled. Party skill allows Pinkie Pie to throw an irritating amount of social gatherings for no reason, where the festivities 100% percent of the time include cupcakes and a conga line. As far as I know, her parties don’t bring her any income, and other than Twilight Sparkle, who is still a student, she seems to be the only unemployed pony in PonyVille.

I can see how this “one true skill” idea could be really inspiring to kids though. I mean, I wish every that every time I wondered if I was really meant to make cartoons, I could look down at my ass and see a mystical tattoo of a Wacom Tablet.

However these three pony childrens’ skills are made impossibly obvious in the first episode they appear in, and from then on we watch them flounder about, actively destroying the town while managing to do everything other than the ONE THING THEY ARE EACH COMPETENT AT.

scootaloo and sweetie bell

Scootaloo and Sweetie Bell: Looks like they done f****d up again

Other Considerations

I really appreciate the care given to developing the pony universe this time around. The ponies are all properly employed (although I use the term employed loosely- the town seems to have some sort of communist setup, where most of the ponies are employed performing basic nature functions like making rain and feeding animals.) , PonyVille is just one of many other pony related cities scattered around the world and there’s a number of other magical creatures that have their own societies. They have also established the universe’s magic rules fairly comprehensively. Everybody has some sort of traceable family, and hasn’t just come out of thin air. Very well done for a children’s show. Way to go executive producer Lauren Faust!

Also, good on them for insisting on using the plural conjugation “Pegasi” for Pegasus, instead of adopting/inventing some new horrible child-friendly term, like Winglies or Flybellas or some shit.
Speaking of which- the way they animate their little wings folded against their bodies is adorable enough to warrant watching the show on its own.

Verdict

Will I watch the third season. I don’t know why, but definitely yes. I liked it then and I like it now. I will also watch the recently confirmed fourth season, coming this winterLong live ponies.

Also did I mention that Build-a-Bear Workshop has a new pony constructing line?

Here it is. It seems a little limited though- very Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie heavy- either way- I’ll be right back…I have some cotton stuffing related business to take care of.

 

 

Soul Eater: The Reverse Sonic Underground Theory

Netflix Canada has always been kind of a bittersweet medium, especially for animation enthusiasts. First, there is no animation section- animation in Netflix land is strictly anime.

This is fine, except that anime almost ALWAYS has an extremely involving long-term narrative. So you constantly find yourself sucked into the first 12 episodes of what seemed to be a benign little show but is actually the tip of a convoluted multi-verse demon iceberg, at which point (the climax of the first season of course) you will without fail discover:

THE THREE RULES OF THE NETFLIX ANIME WASTELAND

1. That the show is from 2005, has completely disappeared from the cultural canon and is of no relevance to anyone anywhere.

2. The show actually has 7 seasons, the first two of which are on Netflix for regular human viewing, and the rest of which are locked in a vault deep within the catacombs of Tokyo. Did I mention the last ten of those episodes were never translated into English?
Also in order to understand half of what goes on you will need to watch the 3 preceding series’s in the super-secret multi-verse, which are peppered on a series of asteroids that are lost in deep space.

3. That while you were reading Wikipedia to the information of these lost episodes’ whereabouts, the complete synopsis was SPOILERED out of existence by an over-eager fan. Go ahead- take a look at the Wiki page I visited to do some supplementary research about the anime that I will cover in the rest of this post; you will instantly have the last 10 episodes destroyed for you as they were for me.

The point is that however fickle Netflix may be, I found a sweet anime oasis in the series Soul Eater.

Now keep in mind- you will have to watch more than 3 episodes to start liking it.
I have noticed a common theme with the structure of anime plot arcs that I am coining ‘The Reverse Sonic Underground Theory’.

REGULAR AND REVERSE SONIC UNDERGROUND THEORIES

Sonic underground cast

The regular ‘Sonic Underground Theory’ is a narrative bait and switch (also coined by me- surprise!) Named for one of my favorite childhood shows Sonic Underground.
In Sonic Underground, the first episode is a massive two-part epic, where an exciting premise is launched. Dr. Robotnik (I chose Robotnik over Eggman, not just just because it’s my preference, but also because it’s the name they use in this series) develops a machine that ‘roboticizes’ people- turning them into controllable cyborgs for his personal army. He uses this power to dissolve the monarchy and turn the land of the show into a militarized state. Flash forward – the triplet royal heirs (obviously Sonic, and his never-to-appear-again-ever siblings Sonia and cult favorite, Manic) are reunited by a soothsayer, activating their latent magical powers. They begin a quest to find their lost mother and defeat Dr. Robotnik!


Look, it’s all neatly described here in the theme song. “Dun dun dun dun bwaaaaaaaaa SONIC”

SYNOPSIS OF EVERY EPISODE AFTER THAT: Random-ass battles in different terrains, repetitive catchphrases “IT’S SPIN AND WIN TIIIIMMME”, copious blue streaks of light, and occasional references to their mom to tie it all in. (This insanity lasts for about 60 episodes, only forty of which were even produced, and the series never came close to a real conclusion.)

Thus the definition of the Sonic Underground Principle: Introduce amazing premise, unleash it’s full animated wrath into the pilot, stir up interest, then release 38 episodes of insipid bullshit.

Therefore the Reverse Sonic Underground Principle, characteristic of half of all animes: Release three episodes full of static characters, benign events and repetitive catchphrases. Then step back and reveal A SUPER AWESOME WICKEDLY DARK ANIME WITH SEXY/HILARIOUS CHARACTERS AND A PLOTLINE AS THICK AS A KNOTTLY GYM ROPE.

This is why nobody but me watched Cardcaptors. If you are like me and know about the principle, you will usually watch up to five episodes in good faith and be teased forever by your friends who walked in on you viewing any of those first episodes, (or even sat through one with you and gave up), and then noticed that you continued watching the series. “THIS stupid show again?” “YES DAMNIT!”

http://blog.chucksanimeshrine.com/2007/11/site-update-card-captors-wings-of-love.html

Ok guys, fair enough, I can see why this doesn’t look very cool.

SOUL EATER SYNOPSIS

The Grim Reaper founds the Death Meister and Weapon Academy (DMWA) for people who are able to transform themselves into weapons, and people who can wield them (meisters). These reaper-meister pairs must consume 99 kishin eggs (human souls infected by a demonic presence) and one witch soul to drastically increase the weapon’s power and transform it into ‘death scythe’ (not always an actual scythe). The team then becomes part of the reaper’s personal guard.

The main characters are three sets of weapon-meister teams:

1. Maka ( a be-skirted studious girl with bitchy tendencies and a creepy womanizing dad who happens to be the Reaper’s personal death scythe) and Soul (a brooding magical scythe, who plays the piano and is obsessed with being cool)

2. Black Star (the last member of a clan of universally hated assassins. He has incredible raw power, and incredible powers of annoyance) and Tsubaki (A doormat character who has a massive repertoire of weapon incarnations)

3. Death the Kid (The Reapers son, who has a crippling plot-squashing obsession with symmetry) and his twin sister pistols, Liz (a paranoid smart-ass) and Patty (a ditzy moron)

Soul eater castYou can probably figure out who is who by my descriptions

The weapon-meister relationship dynamic is fascinating. Firstly, in order for the meister to wield the weapon, their souls wavelengths have to naturally harmonize with each other. Once they’ve established their compatibility, they almost always move in together in the weird residential type apartments around the academy. There’s also a quasi-romantic aspect to it, because they have to pretty much be soulmates to make this kind of partnership possible. At first I thought they lived together for this reason, but then I realized it would be unfortunate if you were attacked in the middle of the night but your sword lived across town. The partnerships are usually male/female, but there is no particular pattern as to which gender is usually the weapon or meister.

Also, only the weapons eat the souls, but I don’t think the writers have actually worked out how this happens, because the only weapon character ever shown eating a soul is Soul, probably because he has a comically large fangly mouth- and it’s not too much of an animated stretch to draw him sucking one back (souls seem to be on average as large as two fists).

soul eater - giant mouthWhy is Soul’s mouth so much bigger than everyone elses?

They played with the logistics a bit once and had Liz loading souls into Patty’s magazine, which I guess would be the human equivalent of having your sister shove cartridges of power up your ass. Maybe it works like alcohol and it’s more potent that way? Who am I to say?

The animation style is a weird juxtaposition between light and dark. The colours are bright, and the Reaper is a cute cartoony character with a Professor Dumbledore-esque persona, crazy proportions and quirky mannerisms.

 soul eater- new death

The sun and the moon are living entities, that are frequently panting and spouting blood – giving off a weird pastel Majora’s Mask feel. At first I thought that they were exclusive to Death City (where the DWMA is) and that it was a place caught between realms that acted as a portal to reap souls from multiple places and time periods. I assumed this because characters like Al Capone, Jack the Ripper and the Wolf Man make appearances as humans who are on the verge of becoming kishin, but later on it starts to look like there is only one world with a finite timeline. Also Death City was revealed to be in Nevada, albeit some suspiciously Japanese-cultured Nevada.

Soul eater- moon  majora's mask moon
 Yeah, this all looks very familiar. Which is creepier- visible rotting gums or constant stream of blood?

 HOW THE REVERSE SONIC UNDERGROUND THEORY WAS TEMPORARILY ABLE TO WRECK THIS AMAZING PREMISE

As some strange attempt at character differentiation, each male character had one theme sentence that served as the base for all of their dialogue in the first few episodes. For example a zombie character’s dialogue would always run something like: “I would let you win, but that’s not the kind of man I was.” or “I used to be the kind of man who would say yes in a situation like that” or even “let me see your hammer, I was the kind of man who was good with tools”.

Soul, whose central theme was coolness would wake up and say shit like : “I don’t think today’s going to be a very cool day” or “studying for tests is so uncool” or “you’re being the opposite of cool right now”.

And sometimes Death the Kid would just see something a little off kilter, yell “NOT SYMMETRICAL” or some variation, and collapse from a nosebleed.

Another weird oversimplification was that each of the witches has some sort of transfiguration spirit animal that serves as the source and theme of all their powers. Fine. Except every time they’d try to use magic, they’d have to pull some kind of pokemon-saying-variations-of-its-own-name dialogue, so you’d get a spell like “Fribbit ribbit, frog ribbit kribitt ribbit” or sometimes it was even reduced to something like: “pumpkin PUMPKIN pumpkin PUMPKIN PUMPKIN PUMPKIN! *glass magically fills with alcohol*
(Also did I mention that this gem of a spell comes to us from a magical cat whose schtick is to turn into a naked woman and ask whatever man is around to bathe with her- which is usually followed by the character in question getting a wicked nosebleed from what we can assume is concentrated lust).

Prompting the internet to create this

http://browse.deviantart.com/art/SE-Motivational-Nosebleed-154138812
Haha, thanks Deviant Art for this bit of gold

This video (and the above screenshot) is from the episode where it all turns around – even though all that happens is an exam and there is none of the cool demon fighting shit that the show is actually about.
Somehow all of the annoying static characters transform into intentional parodies of themselves and from that point on it all takes themselves a little less seriously. Maybe the writers realized they had hammered too hard and shattered the characters. 4:22 is probably the best moment in the first season – Black Star attempts to thieve the test answers, has the shit beaten out of him and is hung up by his shirt bleeding down the blackboard. Soul thinks he is trying to communicate the test answers to him.

And so, somehow, all of these insurmountable irritants dissolve early in the first season and magically leave behind an awesome show. What can I say other than Reverse Sonic Underground Theory?

Donatello does machines?

Ok,

So everyone at this point has already heard that there will be a new Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles film released in 2014. Surely they have also heard that this is a Michael Bay film, and that the working title is shortened to “Ninja Turtles” to reflect the fact that the characters will no longer be mutants, but instead some sort of turtle aliens.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2013

 This version will feature live actors for the humans and CG for the turtles.

No status update on how teen-aged they will or won’t be, but if they’re looking to fill time with multiple extended scenes of sewer skateboarding, pizza eating and Cowabunga yelling like they did in the last  film of the franchise as a whole, TMNT, a non-teen-aged alien ninja turtle will be a tougher sell.

Typical Michelangelo cut scene sample from TMNT: “Half pipe? More like sewer pipe! COOOOOOOOOOOWWabunga!”
(Seriously, in a two minute skateboard cut scene, I counted over 5 catchphrases uttered to nobody but the audience)

Such a party dude he is.

Which brings me to my next point, almost.

I will always have a spot of resentment for cartoons/comics that are made into live-action films .Not that there haven’t been ones that were very nicely executed, I have to begrudgingly admit that X-men (generally) and at least the first Iron Man, captured and condensed themes that it might have taken a bit longer to get a sense of in their original form, creating watchable standalone entities that didn’t (completely) bastardize the franchise. And keeping in mind that I’m admitting that with full knowledge that Disney bought Marvel in 2009 specifically to extend their marketing past princess incarnations and into young boys.

We don’t care how epic you’ve become Mickey, come back when blades flip out of those weird little black glove-holes of yours. Also, Goofy is probably the reason why the cool kids don’t want to hang out with you. (Goofy = WORLD’S LEAST RELATABLE CHARACTER)

Goofy-kingdom-hearts-502051_640_520

 Watch in annoyance as Goofy single-handedly almost ruins the Kingdom Hearts series

Anyway, Fox and Marvel respectively made those films, and I’m sure we can expect a lot different now that the ball is in Disney’s court.

The aforementioned resentment doesn’t come from how well or poorly the films are handled. It comes from the fact that the movies are arbitrarily made live action to appeal to an ‘adult’ audience. Now that special effects technology is so advanced, I can see why developers are salivating to get their hands on a pre-packaged bin of magical powers, weapons and mounts to exploit, but what was the motivation to squeeze out live action when the ‘special effects’ were puppets and dim lighting? I’ve seen better effects in the “just cut out a few frames” days of Georges Méliès

The only reason to sacrifice the original much more believable, immersive and visually complete animated world for the shoddy, visibly seamed one, is that all too many people wouldn’t go near anything animated, let alone admit to liking it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IIILoveable movie, HIDEOUS CHARACTERS. These guys are about as appealing as the Skeksis from Jim Hensons The Dark Crystal. Also to be noted: Jim Henson movies are immensely impressive, and do not annoy me on account of the fact that they were puppet movies made for PUPPETS, not puppet movies made for animations.

Yes I would rather the films get made rather than not at all, but now after watching the films I get to stand around the lobby beside some warped-ass poster of Johnny Depp for hours and be lectured about the franchise by instant megafans, that would have scoffed at the cartoons in their original form. This also raises the question, what is worse? Staying true to animation by deploying horrible glossy PG rated CG animations? Or live action.

Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtles 2000 The 2003 Ninja Turtles are actually my favorite multi-purpose turtle. By dropping the pupils and beefing them up a bit, they look hardcore enough to carry more adult themes. I think this style would be perfectly adequate for a feature film.

I don’t know who decided that CG animation was the only acceptable form of modern animation to combat live action? But they deserve to wear contact lenses made of coarse porcelain to atone for the damage they’ve done to my eyes.

TMNTWow this looks gross.

 Still, I don’t discriminate. I saw TMNT didn’t I? And under the eye-bleedingly round and bulbous mess, lay a pretty fun and interesting plotline.

The point being, should these characters be altered to give them more relevance in modern times and more relatability to a broader audience? Probably.cartoon-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-yes-pizza-poster-AQU24894

Awwwwwwwwww

But still, how weird is this? Let’s think about Donatello for awhile.
If you are my friend and have been to a party with me, you have more likely than not heard the seedlings of this rant, promptly yelled “Shut up weirdo” and stumbled off in search of booze to drink and real fun to be had. But now you are not at a party, you’re behind a computer and probably desperate to kill time, and now my Donatello musings are starting to look tall and frosty.

Leonardo leads and Donatello does machines.
If I were to ask you what occupation is opposite to grease-monkey, you would probably say computer-nerd. The turtles of the 80s and 90s featured a Donatello who was essentially the vehicle expert.

In a typical Donatello vehicular scene, we would see the remaining three turtles who do not do machines fighting bad guys (which they do do).
They would be losing, and Leo would say something like: When’s Donny getting here? And then Don would charge onto the scene in this insane weaponized vehicle that he had been developing/fixing for the entire episode until exactly this point. Then the machine would cut the shit out of the enemies and give them just the boost they needed to win.

Check at how many vehicle references there are in the original and 2003 intros.

Don’t get me wrong, Donatello did many kinds of machines, not just vehicles, but the Donatello of today has slipped into a kind of hacker role. Sometimes he just stays back at base and does all his work remote.

So the scene would go something like this: Turtles find themselves about to infiltrate the bad guy’s lair after hours. Raphael pulls some tough-guy shit and tries to take a flying leap/sai -chop at the electric fence and is flung into the dirt. Leonardo offers him a hand, which he rejects, all the while whining “Man, (Raphael frequently uses words like “man” due to his coolness) where’s Don? He said he was going to hack into the mainframe.” “WOOOOSHHH” The double metal door opens with a big mechanized air-gust. “Alright, I’m in.” says Donatello over a headset in his nerdy Corey Feldman voice.

TMNT Donatello desk

Our little wallflower

And it makes sense, every super team needs a hacker. But all the vehicle work and all the computer work is a lot for one character to shoulder.

Thoughts?