animation

Nintendo Direct [11.5.14]

Well, Wednesday sure brought wonderful news to me in the form of a Nintendo Direct.  First Hoenn remakes (my favorite pokémon generation), now Majora’s Mask (my favorite Legend of Zelda game) 3DS?!  Nintendo really loves me.

"Something is on the way," says Satoru Iwata, "and it isn't just the moon."

“Something is on the way,” says Satoru Iwata, “and it isn’t just the moon.”

You can watch Nintendo Direct here on Youtube, but here’s what you need to know:

  • Majora’s Mask 3D trailer.  That’s the first few minutes of the Nintendo Direct, and it is completely epic.  It’s set to come out spring 2015.  My question: how soon can I preorder it?!
  • Codename: STEAM for 3DS, in which Abraham Lincoln is a character.  Awesome?  This game is also available spring 2015.
  • Mario Kart 8 DLC.  I already bought the combo pack of this and got my Yoshis and Shy Guys– I’m just waiting on the courses, karts, and characters.  The first bundle featuring Link and a Legend of Zelda course is available November 13.  Ahh so close!
  • Kirby and the Rainbow Curse!  Y’all know I love Kirby when it comes to Smash, but I don’t think I actually own any other Kirby games?  Anyway, I’m loving the idea of this Wii U game.  Clay Kirby sounds like an uncontrollable mess that I am so, so down for.
  • Amiibo, little figures you scan for content that I never thought I’d need… well, I might actually need some.  They do stuff for Super Smash, Hyrule Warriors, and Mario Kart 8, which are all games that I already own or have payed to own.
  • Sonic Boom is coming out very soon.  I will probably pick this one up.  It’s really just Knuckles that looks bizarre.  There’s a new panel in StreetPass themed for the occasion!
  • Mario and Luigi in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.  I honestly had no idea what this part was about and it was a little unnerving.
  • PIKMIN!  I absolutely love Pikmin 3, which is sadly my first foray into Pikmin.  It’s nice to see that Nintendo is still doing stuff with Pikmin.  Shigeru Miyamoto has made a few animated shorts with these buddies that are available for download in the e-shop for $5.  I’m down!
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X for Wii U looks absolutely insane and this became a must-have for me.  I haven’t played Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii, but I am really interested in hunting down a used copy of that as well.  This one’s coming out next year, hopefully.
  • Splatoon for Wii U gets it first new trailer since its premiere at E3.  This game looks like a cross between Tony Hawk Pro Skater’s Graffiti mode and Portal 2 to me.  The single-player mode seems secondary to the online multiplayer, but this colorful game is stuck in my head.  It’s set to come out in Q2 2015.

 

So, basically, I’m throwing all of my money at Nintendo, as usual.  Anything from this month’s Nintendo Direct strike your fancy?

Favorites Week: South Park

Whereas the last two shows I’ve written about for Favorites Week may fall in my top 10 or so, today’s show sits solidly in the top 5.  South Park may be lewd, crude, and ridiculous, but this show– despite it’s liberal use of low humor– is smart, and hilarious.  Matt Stone and Trey Parker might be able to reduce themselves to a 4th grade thought-level to tell these stories, but within a week’s time span these days, they are able to create truly valuable satire and commentary.  Sometimes this show does gross me out a bit, but for the most part, I am impressed, and laughing my head off.  Here are my favorite South Park episodes:

 

Rainforest Shmainforest

Jennifer Aniston guests lending her voice to Miss Stevens, the leader of an environmental choir called “Getting Gay with Kids.”  As a former show choir kid, I totally love this name.  Mr. Mackey forces the boys to join as punishment for making fun of the cause.  They embark on a tour to Costa Rica that doesn’t exactly go as planned.  Cartman tries to make the creatures of the rainforest respect his authority, and by the end, even Miss Steven hates the rainforest. My favorite gag, maybe in any South Park episode– Kyle says, “Miss Stevens, you have a bug on your back.”  “Oh really?” she responds, “Could you brush it off?”

Kyle: Um, no.

Kyle: Um, no.

 

Towelie

This could actually be my favorite episode of anything ever.  The concept is so ridiculous, that reading the Wikipedia version of it is enough to crack you up.  It starts out with the boys receiving an Okama Gamesphere, a new video game system.  Then a talking towel, Towelie, shows up reminding the boys, “don’t forget to bring a towel!” but then asking them to get high.  They notice various agencies are in search of this genetically engineered towel, and their Okama Gamesphere is stolen as ransom.  Throughout the episode, the boys are completely unimpressed despite aliens and government conspiracies, and literally just want their system back.  Even though Towelie is “the worst character ever,” according to Cartman, he’s absolutely hilarious.

 

The Jeffersons

It should be noted that this episode obviously was created before the death of Michael Jackson.  It’s a bit in bad taste of his memory.  “Mr. Jefferson” is a complete parody of Michael Jackson, who acts like a child and neglects the needs of his son, Blanket.  In addition, he appears white and at one point, his nose falls off.  What really gets me about this episode is what happens when the police are after Mr. Jefferson, in attempt to frame a wealthy black person.  A spotlight hits the front door as Mr. Jefferson tries to leave his house and he lets out a Michael-style, hee-hee!  That one note is enough to literally make me laugh out loud.

 

You Got F’ed In the A

Basically, an OC dance crew comes to South Park and “serves” the boys.  Hilariously, all the adults act like “getting served” is literally injury-inducing, while the boys are confused as to what happened.  Randy Marsh, South Park’s best character, teaches his son Stan to fight back by two-stepping to Billy Ray Cyrus’s Achy Breaky Heart.  This juxtaposed with the dance crew’s let’s see you daaaance, suckah, you got nothin’ on me is pretty fun.  Suddenly, “it’s on!” and Stan has to form a dance crew of his own to oppose the OC crew in competition.  It ends with Butters tap dancing to “I’ve Got Something in my Front Pocket for You” while sets off a Final Destination-style chain of events that kills the OC crew… so they win!

 

Sexual Harassment Panda

Aside from the name of this episode being amazing, the concept of the titular character is as well.  Petey the Sexual Harassment Panda is a mascot who talks to kids about anti-harassment behavior.  Cartman is conversely inspired to sue Kyle for calling him an explicit name.  Soon, everyone in South Park is suing everyone else.  The boys seek out Sexual Harassment Panda on the Isle of Misfit Mascots.  Other residents include Willy the “don’t stare directly at the sun” Worm, Hoppy the “don’t do stuff that might irritate your inner ear” Badger, and Oinky the “run around with scissors” pig.  (Yup, that one’s not great.)  The boys convince Petey to become Don’t Sue People Panda and save the day.  This episode also features our favorite redneck at the bar, Skeeter, who don’t take kindly to your type around here.  See clip here!

Coats?

 

What are your favorite South Park episodes?!

 

Favorites Week: Avatar the Last Airbender

Welcome back to Favorites Week, where I’m talking about my favorite episodes of some of my favorite shows.  Today, we’re talking Avatar: The Last Airbender.  I achieved very little balance here, picking mostly episodes from Book 2.   If you haven’t watched this show, I highly recommend you do!  Yes, it’s animated and yes, it was on Nickelodeon, but while certainly child-appropriate, this is not just a kids’ show!  Whatever you do, do not judge it by the live action movie which has almost nothing to do with this fantastic series.  I could go on and go, but let’s skip to the episodes, shall we?

 

 

The Cave of the Two Lovers

Looking for a passage to the earth city of Omashu, Team Avatar meets up with a vagabond group of minstrels who spin a tale of two lovers separated by a mountain and a secret tunnel than connects them.  Thankfully, these hippies accompany Aang, Katara, and Sokka through said passage providing a hilarious soundtrack to quell the badgermoles.  The comic relief in this episode is fantastic, and the cave itself showcases the beauty of the world of Avatar.

 

The Blind Bandit

This is the first episode in which we actually see one of my favorite characters, Toph.  She does appear as an apparition in “The Swamp” which very near made this list instead of this episode.  The reason why this won out is two-fold.  Firstly, this is the first time we see her in action as the amazing earthbender she is.  Seeing her in action, learning that Aang’s earthbending master is a tiny blind girl, is awe-inspiring.  Secondly, The Boulder is in this episode.  A play on wrestler The Rock, who I also love, The Boulder amuses me in the best way possible.

 

The Desert

This episode shows initial weakness in my girl Toph– the loose sand makes her truly blind as she uses vibrations of the earth to see, and she’s just lost Appa to sandbenders, infuriating Aang.  It’s a tough time for Team Avatar, but the audience gets to enjoy some absolute Sokka craziness and he hallucinates from drinking cactus juice– clip above!  Iroh, my other favorite character, gets the chance to prove his worth in this episode at the Pai Sho table, introducing The Order of the White Lotus.  There are so many hints that this man has had a rich past, and here we see the value in his experiences.

 

Tales of Ba Sing Se

Taking a break from the typical episodic format, Tales of Ba Sing Se presents us with several small stories of our characters, now inhabiting that titular city.  Though not all of the tales are important or grand in nature, there is one that is particularly gripping: Iroh’s.  It’s an incredibly sad and touching story of remembrance for his departed son, Lu Ten.  Because I love Iroh so much, this touching piece of character development makes this episode very special.

 

The Firebending Masters

Okay, finally out of Book 2!  This episode occurs once Zuko has joined Team Avatar– something I was waiting to happen for so long!  Zuko in all his teenage angst actually has a heart (raised by his awesome uncle Iroh) and wants to teach Aang firebending.  When he finds that rage once fueled him and cannot any longer, the two seek the source of firebending: dragons!  Once again, we’re treated to something visually stunning as we watch Aang and Zuko literally dance with dragons.

 

Love Avatar: the Last Airbender?  Let me know what your favorite episodes are!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 1: Thoughts

IMG_0606

Let me start by saying that Sailor Moon Crystal in concept initially made me nervous. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon is one of my favorite shows ever, period. It is hands-down my favorite anime. Although I grew up with the English dub which I now despise, I caught on to the original Japanese at a rather young age. (Thanks, internet!) The anime in its original Japanese (subtitled, as my foreign language skills are limited) is the story that I am used to, accepting of, and love. For some reason, my initial fear was that a new anime series would somehow take away from that. Reading that it would be truer to the manga, I realized my fears were completely without base. I’ve watched the live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and had no problem keeping that as a separate entity. With a newfound sense of relief, I was so excited to watch the new anime, Sailor Moon Crystal.

Now I haven’t watched the first episode of the original anime terribly recently. Whenever I watch Sailor Moon, I tend to skip to a time when all the senshi are assembled— at very least, the inners. However, I suspect it was within the last year or so, and I remember that episode very well. As soon as I started watching SMC Act 1, I felt good. Usagi was late for school, and she fell down the stairs. That’s my girl! She meets Luna, gets scratched, and removes the bandages, as expected. She’s sent out into the hallway for being late, and (I held my breath through the unfamiliar princess Serenity vision waiting for what did indeed come next!) takes out her lunch because she’s hungry. Love her. She gets a 30 on her test. These are things we know (and in my case, completely love) about Usagi.

The Usagi of Sailor Moon Crystal shows much more composure than the original anime Usagi. She’s almost nicer? The exaggerated movements of the original anime are not here— it is a more graceful show. We have seen her fall once, but she’s already less clumsy than her previous anime incarnation. Even though Kotono Mitsuishi reprises her role (and seriously, thank the lord for that!) giving voice to our heroine, it sounds different, at times, because this Usagi is different. She’s not as… excitable? She’s not, like, yelling as much.

Aside from the overt Serenity foreshadowing, my first big difference comes when Usagi meets Mamoru. Though the meeting is basically the same, the attire is obviously different— he’s standing in a freaking tuxedo when she meets him! Oh you fancy, huh Mamoru? I love that Usagi says “Who wears a tuxedo in the afternoon?” and gives us that moment to laugh, but we’ve kind of only seen Mamoru as Tuxedo Mask in this episode. He was actually better disguised as Mamoru, on the street in sunglasses, than as Tuxedo Kamen-sama with open-eyed mask. The real problem: NO ROSE. Y’all, if I don’t get Tuxedo Mask theme music I don’t know what to do.

Oh, let’s talk music now that I’ve gone there— I love the new theme, but of course I miss Moonlight Densetsu! I think Moon Pride has the intensity of the Sailor Stars theme, so it definitely works. In fact, it’s already stuck in my head.  What was the first closer, Heart Moving? Moonbow invokes more of a Tuxedo Mirage vibe, and I much prefer Tuxedo Mirage to Heart Moving. As a closer, I think it’s perfect. The transformation music is different too, isn’t it? It’s not bad, just different… The new transformation sequence also really highlights the new art style; people kind of look rubbery in it.

Overall, didn’t it feel quick? The battle was just one Moon Tiara Action (I mean, Boomerang, which I’m not on board with) and done! However, as I flip through my copy of the manga, everything seems very true to form— even the word “boomerang,” as mine is a “new cover” version— except the Ami-chan foreshadowing in the end of Act 1. Ah, I love this elemental tie in with the rain! Here, I think the quick pace this series is building to is working to its advantage.

So guys, you can watch new episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal every other Saturday— yep, twice per month. I’m not loving this long wait, but I am loving SMC so far! What did you all think?!

Frozen

Yesterday marked the DVD release of Disney’s latest animated feature, Frozen.

Unpopular opinion #1: I don’t really love movies.

Unpopular opinion #2: I don’t really love Disney.

I’m Sally Sparrow* when it comes to movies.  I can count the amount of movies I’ve seen in theaters since I graduated from college on one hand.  It’s basically a Fluke that I ended up seeing Frozen in theaters, but boy was I glad I did.  I absolutely loved it!  I am a big fan of visually stunning films, but the real reason for my love is the music!

The voice cast for this movie is insane.  We have the obscenely talented Idina Menzel providing vocals for Elsa, the ice queen.  The leading lady, Anna, is voiced surprisingly by Kristen Bell.  While I knew Idina was a powerhouse vocally, I had no idea that Kristen Bell had such pipes!  She impressed me first, because we hear Anna sing before we here Elsa, but for me, “Let It Go” stole the show.  (Enjoy that above!)

When I did a little more research, I learned Christophe Beck scored this film.  That’s my cosmic connection to this film, as any good Buffy fan knows the value of Christophe Beck!  We have him to thank for the Close Your Eyes, the Buffy/Angel Love Theme.

Frozen is available on DVD and for digital rental via iTunes.  It was actually downloadable via iTunes since late February, but I didn’t realize that until I sat down to write this.  I definitely think this is worth a watch– I’m not a Disney fan, or even a movie fan, so take this endorsement for what it’s worth!

*”You only own 17 DVDs?”