Monthly Archives: May 2014

Reaction to WiiU Converter for Gamecube Controller

Nintendo of America revealed today on their twitter account that the WiiU version of Super Smash Bros will be playable with Gamecube controllers.  I AM PUMPED!

When I heard about this I was deeply surprised.  Nintendo taking a step back and using Gamecube controllers on the WiiU is a shocking move on their part.  From this little reveal, there are already big and great things ahead for Nintendo.

The fact that Nintendo is now allowing Gamecube controllers combined with the “For Glory” online mode means that Nintendo is recognizing their hardcore audience.  They are connecting to them while still embracing their casual audience.  As such, I expect we’ll see more news in the future, not just on Super Smash Bros, but other games as well that will appeal to the hardcore gamers.

But they are introducing an add-on converter to the Wii U.  This converter will cost them money and they want to make sure that it is worth it.  As such, I strongly believe after looking at the photograph that Nintendo will sell new Gamecube controllers!  I’m really excited about that.  The Gamecube controller is one of the best controllers in video games.  It feels so great in your hands and the buttons are placed in just the right manner.  Also, many of the old controllers have become broken, dirty, or unplayable.  If Nintendo decides to sell new controllers many of us would gladly buy them just as we did 13 years ago.

This WiiU converter also means that Super Smash Bros won’t be the only game that will be compatible with the Gamecube controller.  If Nintendo will allow it, other games can latch onto them as they can serve as great multiplayer controllers.  Mario Party could work well with it and hell, though this is doubtful, they could add an update to Mario Kart 8 so it too could be compatible with the controllers.  In all honesty, these controllers are way better than the WiiU gamepad and the Wiimote, please Nintendo, make it happen!

I was already pumped for Super Smash Bros on the WiiU and now I’m almost doubly pumped, I’m really looking forward to see what Nintendo has to offer to us at E3!

What are your thoughts on the WiiU Gamecube controller converter?


He Died as He Lived: Karl Patterson Schmidt

It is not unusual for naturalists to die in the field, they are constantly exposed to dangers of all sort whether they be organisms, natural disasters, or even from man himself.  It’s also not unusual for naturalists and scientists in general, to be killed by the very thing they study.  Herpetologists have been killed by snake bites which would otherwise be not fatal had they been close to a medical facility.  Yet Karl Patterson Schmidt’s death is unusual for two cases, the first of which was that he died in Chicago.  Yet the second reason, and perhaps more interesting, was that he documented his own sickness as the venom took hold of his body.

Karl Schmidt was a prominent herpetologist in the mid-1900s.  He was president of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists from 1942 to 1946, he was the zoological curator of the Field Museum from 1941 to 1955, and he named over 200 species of animals.  His prominence of the field is inarguable.

Yet despite his herpetological knowledge, he was bitten by a boomslang snake on September 25th, 1957 and died the following afternoon.  The boomslang snake, AKA Dispholidus typus, is a colubrid snake that can be found in Africa.  The boomslang has hemotoxic venom which prevents blood clotting.  The venom is stronger than other famous venomous snakes such as cobras and mambas.  Extreme care must be used when handling this dangerous animal.

Boomslang Snake

It begs the question why Dr. Schmidt was bitten by this lethal animal at the Field Museum of all places.  Well, he was supposed to identify the snake for Mr. Truett of the Lincoln Park Zoo.  When Curator Inger handed Schmidt the boomslang snake, Schmidt did not take the special precautions needed for handling it and was subsequently bitten on the thumb.

Schmidt and Inger were unalarmed by the bite.  The boomslang snake was very young and only one fang penetrated the skin 3 millimeters deep.  Schmidt shrugged off the bite but instead of moving on with his day, he decided, in true, scientifically enthusiastic manner, to document the nature of his health in response to the bite.

His “death notes,” for lack of the better term, were published by C.H. Pope in 1958.  And I have to say, after reading them, I am filled with forlornness.  Here was a man, enthusiastically documenting his health as it was deteriorating before his eyes without realizing that he would die soon. Dang, man.

Here’s an excerpt from one of his writings

“9:00 PM-12:20 AM Slept well. No blood in urine before going to sleep, but very small amount of urine. Urination at 12:20 AM mostly blood, but small in amount. Mouth had bled steadily as shown by dried blood at both angles of mouth.”

Schmidt is meticulous in his writings as he documents his temperature, diet, vomiting, and so forth at the time they happen.  As such, his writings give us a very unique and personal look at the effects of a boomslang bite while being objective about it.  Indeed, had Schmidt known that he was in peril, his documentation may have been rushed, confused, and mismanaged.

His notes stop the following morning when he thought he was getting better.  But after noon, he had troubled breathing and soon died shortly before 3:00 pm due to respiratory paralysis.  It is presumed from the autopsy report that his trouble breathing came from hemorrhaging in the lungs.  The autopsy also revealed hemorrhaging in the renal pelvis and the small intestine which accounts for Schimidt’s documentation of blood in his urine and bowels.

Dr. Schmidt’s death was tragic, but we gain much knowledge from it.  We now know of the effects of a boomslang bite and when they will happen.  But at the same time, I can’t help but think how much hubris Dr. Schmidt had.  Even when he was bitten by a known dangerous snake, even when he was witnessing the disastrous effects it had on his body, even when he was in reach of medical aid, he did nothing about it and died.  The irony stuns me.

If you want to read the death notes yourself then check out Pope C.H., 1958. Fatal Bite of Captive African Rear-Fanged Snake (Dispholidus).  Copeia, 1958, pg 280-282.  It’s a short but dour read that should be read by snake enthusiasts everywhere.

Thoughts and Review of Godzilla 2014 by a Godzilla Fanatic (Spoilers)

This movie has garnered negative and positive reviews from both fans and critics alike and I can certainly understand why there is a clear divide.  I want to address some of the fans criticisms but first here are my basic thoughts.

I like this movie, I really do.  It’s not a great movie and it’s not the best Godzilla movie either but it’s still pretty good.  Monsters fight, buildings crumble and people fled in terror, that was all I was looking for and by Godzilla I got it!  Everything in between was not that good but the stuff that worked, REALLY worked!

The two MUTOs were cool and atypical in appearance compared to your average Godzilla villain.  I liked the concept of having a small, flying male and a large, earth-stomping female.  It’s not often that Godzilla fights two villains at once and as such, this was a real treat to watch.  Also, the MUTOs’, and by extension Godzilla’s, backstory I thought was perfect.  All Godzilla films have these crazy scientific theories that have NO basis in logic whatsoever and this was no exception.  Large monsters used to live on the surface and then burrowed underground to feed on the radiation there.  Perfect!  That’s all I need!  An explanation where the monsters come from and why they are appearing now, love it.

BTW, I thought it was cute that the male and female MUTOs did a little nuzzling when they first met each other.

The fights were good but I wish I could have seen more of them especially the first one.  Seeing the first fight should have been a priority since we are seeing Godzila in action for the very first time.  Even though it would have been just a smackdown, I would have still loved to have witnessed it.  That said, the final fight was amazing with a series of battles that build upon each other to a climatic finish.

I remember distinctly near the end of the movie that this Godzilla hadn’t done his atomic breath yet and I was worried that wasn’t going to happen.  But wait!  His tail spines were glowing!  I leaned forward in anticipation, making excited noises much to the chagrin of my fellow movie watchers.  And then…BLLLLLLAAARRGGGH!  The atomic breath came and I was like “Yeah! Alright!”  I was thrilled when that happened and right there I knew that this was Godzilla, no doubt.

But the best part had yet to come, when Godzilla fought the female MUTO for the last time. The two titans struggled and I was giddy with excitement.  I asked myself how were they going to end this fight.  And then, Godzilla grabbed MUTO’s jaws with both of his hands and I was like:


I gave a grunt of excitement and thought Godzilla was going to rip MUTO’s jaws in half similar to what he did to Anguirus or what King Kong did to the T-Rex.  But something even better happened.  His dorsal spines glowed with power and he released a might atomic breath into the monster’s throat.  I was then like:

Super Saiyan reaction

I screamed with excitement and I was the only member in the rather stiff audience that was whooping and hollering.  I wanted him to take the now disembodied head and throw it to the ground like an adrenaline-filled football player throwing his pigskin to the ground after a fantastic touchdown.

Godzilla was also great, he definitely reminded me of Godzilla 2000’s Godzilla.  He was a neutral force that did whatever he wanted.  That is definitely my favorite rendition of Godzilla and I’m very happy the film went for this choice.  He’s fighting cause he wants to fight and if people or buildings get in his way then so be it!  He also had personality and I really felt for the guy when things got tough for him.  Also, for those who’s saying this Godzilla is…he’s always been fat, look at his thighs and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Now, let me focus on the criticisms that many people had for this movie.  Mainly: the characters were flat, we don’t see much of Godzilla, and for the few critical die-hard fans, this was not Godzilla.

Characters were flat: For over a year, I have been watching Godzilla films that I have never seen before or haven’t seen for a long time.  As such, I have a pretty good understanding of some of the most popular tropes in these films.  One of the most used tropes is flat characters.  This is pretty standard in a Godzilla film.  Godzilla 2000, Godzilla: Final Wars, and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah are some of the rare exceptions to this.  Those characters were fun and memorable.  Everywhere else though I’m like, eh, whatever, don’t care.

This wouldn’t be a problem for the film except that we got Bryan Fucking Cranston in it.  He plays his role so damn well that I forgot he was Walter White and an actual character in a Godzilla film.  I felt for him, I moved for him, I wanted him to succeed….and then he died!  I was shocked that he died and was sure for a minute or so he would revive due to some radiation pulse or whatever.  But nope!  He straight up died!  The rug was really pulled underneath me when that happened.  Which meant we were stuck with his son, Sargent Boring.  Now this was a character I did not care about!  He nor his family!  But he had a purpose and he served his purpose well.  I was hoping he would die but alas, that was not the case.  The good news is that hopefully, if we’re following traditional Godzilla films, he won’t be in the sequel.  Fingers crossed!

Though I did like the Asian scientist Dr. Slackjaw (his expression throughout the whole film) and his assistant Dr. Concern.  I wanted to know more about them, what’s their story??  I hope they make a return as they can keep on spewing the crazy scientific theory stuff that makes Godzilla films great.

Godzilla does not appear often: This I sort of agreed with but at the same time, many of the films in the franchise also follow this formula.  Less is more.  At the same time though, I did wish we could have seen more of the big guy, particularly wider shots of him instead of close ups.  Godzilla 2000, also a reboot, saw Godzilla a lot, hell, we even saw him near the beginning and I’m not talking just his spines or whatever, the whole thing.  This could have been changed if we had at least saw more of the first fight.

Godzilla 2014 was not made by Toho and is not portrayed in a giant rubber suit: This is probably the most stupid complaint to me.  Just because Godzilla is not portrayed in costume or his film was not made by Toho doesn’t mean he is not Godzilla.  He’s big, he’s reptilian, and he has an atomic breath, boom, that’s Godzilla.  Take Batman for example, he has had many incarnations during the 75 years he has been on Earth; some were campy, some were serious, some were down-to-earth, some were not, but all shared the basic understanding of who Batman was.  Godzilla is the same way, he has had many forms in the Toho films, he has been represented in comics, video games, tv series, and so forth.  They were all Godzilla.  And Godzilla 2014 is without a doubt Godzilla and a good one at that too.


Well, this review has gone on long enough so I’m going to wrap it up.

Pros: Godzilla, the MUTOS, the 3rd fight, Bryan Cranston
Cons: Sargent Boring and his family, only glimpses of the first fight, Godzilla theme was not in this movie
Final Godzilla Rating: 4/5.  Go see this movie in theaters while you still can even if you’re not a Godzilla fan, it’s well worth your time.   The bland characters bring the film down a few notches but this is made up with everything else the film has to offer.  Here’s hoping King Ghidorah will be in the next film!!

Also, in the future, I’ll write an article comparing all the Godzilla reboots together (i.e. Godzilla 1985, Godzilla 2000, and Godzilla 2014).  What they got right and wrong and how they affected the franchise.

Nostalgia Filter Test: Jackie Chan Adventures

Full thoughts and review of Godzilla (2014) will be posted next week. For now, enjoy this article on Jackie Chan Adventures!

Nostalgia plays a role in our grown up lives but how much of that clouds our passion for our childhood obsessions?  This is part of a series where I’ll critically analyze a series from my childhood and see how well it still holds up. Enjoy!


For my free time these past few weeks, I’ve been watching Jackie Chan Adventures on Netflix.  I wanted to rewatch some of the good episodes while trying out seasons 4 and 5 as well.  How well as this series held up?  Pretty good I have to say!

This is probably one of the best shows out there that’s centered on a celebrity.  Though the real Jackie Chan doesn’t lend his voice to his character, he’s still involved in the show as seen in his end-of-the-episode “Hey Jackie” shorts along with his brief cameos in the intro.  Plus, Jade Chan is voiced by Stacie Chan who is actually Jackie Chan’s real life niece!

One thing you’ll probably not hear many people praise on the show is its animation which is alright but definitely better than some modern cartoons’ flash animation style.  However, it’s the story, characters, and voice acting that really pulls the show together. Most of the characters are pretty funny.  Jackie, Jade, Uncle, and Tohru lead the way with some of the best comical moments the series has to offer.  The running gags can be a little overdone but they usually give them enough spin to keep them fresh.  The fights can be frenetic, just like a Jackie Chan movie and that’s fun to watch.  The show really gets creative at times, especially with the use of props, scenery and magical devices.

A primary focus on East Asian folklore gives the show a unique flavor that doesn’t feel stereotypic or watered down.  Uncle’s chi spells seem genuine, especially with the chi spells’ ingredients such as blowfish or lotus flowers.  The standalone episodes also break the East Asian focus by expanding on global folklore such as El Chupacabra and Stonehenge which is definitely needed.


What’s nice about the show is that each season can stand by itself as they have a definite beginning and end with many conflicts in between.  Season 1 saw the 12 Talismans, Season 2 had the 8 Demons, Season 3 saw the Talismans in animal form, Season 4 had the Oni Masks, and Season 5 had the Demon Chi.  I think the show really took off starting Season 2 as now we have an established universe which is now expanded on and played with.

In fact, Season 4 was probably the JCA’s most creative season.  The season broke away from the Chinese focused plotlines and into Japanese folklore via the Oni Demons.  Now, Uncle is nearly helpless and Tohru’s importance is expanded on.  Also, I loved what they did with the Oni Masks.  They took a concept, Oni Masks give the mask wearer the power to summon a unique shadowkahn and the mask can only be removed by a unique spell, and ran with it.  They did concepts like a dog wearing a mask, or a mask is split into two, or a mask is revived via the Rat Talisman, the list goes on.  I liked it and though it wasn’t as strong as Season 2, it was still enjoyable.


I wish I could say the same thing for Season 5.  Oh God, why.  I watched a few episodes of Season 5 and I had to turn it off because it was not worth it.  The show had definitely run its course with reused plotlines.  Also, Drago was just not a good villain, especially when compared to his father, Shendu.  And I absolutely can’t stand Ice Man, he’s just sooooo anooooyinnnng.  God, shut up.  Overall, Season 5 just felt stale and I’m glad they canceled the show after that.

But back to Season 2, I think the main reason why this season worked was because of Shendu and his brothers and sisters.  Seeing Shendu in a position where he had to beg, gravel and be frustrated was a delight.  The demons were really fun and I especially liked the Moon and Sky Demon.  The Demon World episodes were also some of the best in the series as we see our heroes at their lowest but even then they still won the day.

ONE MORE THING, it’s funny to see Shendu transform as the series progressed.  We initially see him as a demon who was obsessed in conquering the world to eventually obsessed in killing Jackie Chan.  It’s very amusing.

Anyway, Jackie Chan Adventures has held up well.  Go see it if you have some free time this summer.  I suggest you start with Season 2 and go through to Season 4.  But skip Season 5, bleh.

Nostalgia Filter Test Score: A-

Godzilla Week: Destroy All Monsters Melee

Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee was released in 2002 and can be played on the Gamecube and Xbox.  You can play as Godzilla along with a host of other Toho monsters.  This is an alright game that would be great if it didn’t suffer from a few key issues.

The roster is disappointingly small with only 11 playable characters with most of these being locked at the beginning of the game including Rodan.  Really?  Rodan???  One of the original monsters is a locked character?  That aside, though the roster is small, at least they hit all the important monsters including Ghidorah, Anguirus, and Gigan.  I would have liked to see Titanosaurus, Spacegodzilla, and King Caesar included in the roster as well.  That would really make this game more dynamic.  Other one-off monsters such as Orga, Destroyah, and Megalon were included so there’s no good excuse why these monsters weren’t included as well.


To the game’s credit though, the characters are diverse and really play to the uniqueness of that monster.  Gigan’s stomach buzzsaw, Godzilla’s atomic breath, and Mechagodzilla and Mechaghidorah’s weapons all give the monster their own style of fighting.  Megalon, however, is a cheap character as you can dig underground and avoid being attacked from the opponent; then you could then pop out, grab the opponent, throw him, and repeat the process.

Unlocking these characters is a drag, especially if you are new to fighting games.  You have to do it via Adventure Mode where you fight a series of monsters and then battle Mechagodzilla as the final boss.  The infuriating thing about this is that battling the monsters is easy but once you get to MechaG then the difficulty is ramped up.  Tanks and airplanes are firing at you constantly and MechaG attacks relentlessly.  I have to throw buildings at him and fire from a distance if I have a shred of hope in defeating him.

A big issue for this game is the camera angle.  Being a 3D fighting game, the camera has to swivel constantly in order to compensate the monsters’ movement.  As such, if I’m trying to get to a power-up, the camera angle can change and I’ll have no clue where it is and I inadvertently miss it while my opponent snatches it up.  This has happened many times and is quite frustrating.

The controls are responsive and the combos are easy to do but the game’s pacing is sluggish.  Attacks take their time and the monsters lumber along at a slow pace.  If this game was maybe 30% faster, it would be a fun and intense brawler.


Two big pluses are the cities and the team battles.  You can throw buildings, kick cars, crumble skyscrapers and just annihilate cities.  As such, stages like Monster Island aren’t that fun but others like North Seattle are a blast.  It really hammers in the point that this is a Godzilla game and that you’re supposed to destroy shit and have fun.  The team battles are great as you can do classic line ups like Godzilla and Anguirus vs. Gigan and Ghidorah.

I haven’t played the other Godzilla games, but from what I heard, those were baaaaaad.  I might give them a shot one day but I’m not in any rush.  This game can satisfy any Godzilla needs I have though only just.  Only to Godzilla fans could I recommend this game and even then that may be pushing it.

Godzilla Week: Minireviews-Biollante, 2000, and Mechagodzilla 1

For the past year, I have been watching Godzilla films that I haven’t seen for over 10 years or for the first time.  Here are three of them that I haven’t seen for awhile and my rating of them based on a Godzilla Scale.

 Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)

I have not seen this film for more than 10 years. I wish I could say it was as good now as it was then but unfortunately, it has not hold up well for my adult mind.

I have to wonder how my ADHD infected kid brain was able to sit through most of the film though I now believe I just fast forward through most of it just so I could watch the fight scenes. Most of the story is pretty dull and slow. Some of the scenes could have been flatly cut out.

King Caesar, though he has a great theme, was so hyped up throughout most of the film that it was such a downer when his ass was handed to him by MechaG. However, for a man in a monster suit, he was certainly nimble compared to the average kaiju.

MechaG is always a good foil for Godzilla and he served a good match for him. Having his head ripped off by the Big G was great.

The score is so 70’s cheesy that the film suffers when you have the actual Godzilla theme played with the score.

Pros: MechaG, King Caeasar’s Song, the final fight. SPACETITANIUM?!?
Cons: Slooooooooooooooooooooooow and borrrrrring plot. King Caesar was a let down. Anguirus was nothing more than a punching bag and that made me sad.

Final Rating: 2/5. An okay Godzilla film, though the second Godzilla vs. MechaG I think is a better film. Great songs though.


Godzilla vs. Biollante

Godzilla vs. Biollante is perhaps one of the more untraditional Godzilla films, particularly for the Hessai Era. For one thing, we see a rather unique monster that was never seen before nor ever seen again in the film franchise. For another, the film harks back to the original idea of Godzilla, mainly, human’s tampering of science can be catastrophic (surprisingly this concept is rarely done in the Godzilla films). Finally, the film’s pacing is also rather unique.

Even so, the film introduced two main concepts that has been repeated many times in the following films. One-a monster who’s DNA was partially made or originated from Godzilla and Two: humans with ESP.

But the film itself has its ups and downs. The special effects of this film are GREAT. This is very typical for films of this era but this movie definitely excels at it. Godzilla’s face has expression and can blink, snarl, look, and etc. which gives him life. The models and explosions for this film are also top notch, great attention to detail gives this film, like Godzilla’s face, life and believability.

However, the movie is slow, and the monster fights are rare, not very long and are somewhat one-sided. My guess for why there are few fights is that their budget was rather limited so they couldn’t spend a whole lot on the fights which is a shame. The moral at the end of the story treats us like we’re idiots and not as intelligent beings. I also don’t care for the characters (except the Corporal) and especially for the scientist who created Biollante. The scientist shows no remorse when creating Biollante and he even seemed thrilled in the idea of this monster. This would actually be a plus for the character if he wasn’t so one-dimensional.

The monster itself, Biollante, is like the film in that it has ups and downs. On the one hand, it’s great they came up with an original idea for a monster, but on the other hand, really? A plant? Plant complaints aside, the monster is very well done. In this modern era, Biollante would have DEFINITELY been in CG but not here. Here, she has so many different parts moving and interacting with its environment. She’s alive and menacing and not stiff or nonthreatening. A big departure from an obvious guy in a monster suit.

Pros: Rad 80s Godzilla theme (and the music in general), special effects, original plot, Erica’s face suddenly appearing as Biollante dies, Biollante.
Cons: Fights are few and far between and are boring, the unsympathetic characters, the moral, Biollante.

Final Rating: 3/5. Go see it for a different Godzilla film and for great effects but only if you feel like it, there are other Godzilla films of the same era that are much better.


Godzilla Review: Godzilla 2000

The last time I saw Godzilla 2000 was in theatres where it was released internationally in (not surprisingly) 2000. Seeing it when I was ten years old left an impact on me because seeing the big guy on the screen was pretty cool to say the least.

Now, seeing it again almost 14 years later, I have to say that the film stands pretty tall. If you are looking for a good, modern, typical Godzilla film, this is it. It does the job well and it leaves you satisfied.
There are several things in this film that, when combined together, leaves a satisfying Godzilla experience.

For one thing, I liked the humans in this film! They were original, had different personalities, and I genuinely cared for them. I liked the interactions between the two scientists as they were like a couple of kids playing with their new toys. Granted, they didn’t do much to affect the plot of this film but that can be overlooked.

The dubbing in this film works to its advantage. Being deliberately corny gave the film a needed tongue-in-cheek manner. As such, the moral of the film seems in place rather than awkwardly inserted as in Godzilla vs. Biollante.

What’s also different about this film compared to other films is that Godzilla is treated as a natural disaster that strikes every now and then. The people of Japan by now are used to him but not tolerate him. I thought that was interesting especially since this was a reboot for the Godzilla series.

I also liked this film’s Godzilla. He wasn’t good, evil, anti-good, or anti-villain. He was plane neutral with some personality quirks. If you got in his way, he’ll blow you up! Simple as that. This can be seen in his battle against the antagonist as you can see him think through the battle. And when that doesn’t work he’ll just jump right in it without thinking and see what happens (literally)!  Also, is design is very well done, one of the best in the series IMO.  The only Godzilla model I have is based off of the 2000 version.

Finally, the music is top notch, best in the series so far. The best scene in the movie is Godzilla walking slowly through the city, ready to take down the big bad, all the while the music slowly builds to a climax. It’s the same Godzilla theme that we all know and love, but the slight tweaks to it makes it perfect and thoroughly enjoyable. Cut to minute 1:07 at the link and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Pros: Overall good, typical, Godzilla film that hits all the right notes.  Best ending quote ever in a Godzilla film.
Cons: Nothing extraordinary pushes it to a great Godzilla film.
Final Rating: 4.5/5

“But then why? Why does [Godzilla] keep protecting us?”
“Maybe because…Godzilla is inside each one of us.”

Godzilla Week: The Half-Century War by James Stokoe

Godzilla: The Half-Century War by James Stokoe is a short but stellar comic book series that does the big G justice.  The plot focuses on soldier-turned-“glorified weather watcher” Ota Murakami who documents his run ins with Godzilla since his first attack on Japan in 1954.  As his Godzilla obsession takes control of his life, Ota tries desperately to stop the King while simultaneously thwart Dr. Deverich from destroying mankind with his monster attraction device.

Great read; here are some of my favorite points (warning, some spoilers)

The art is appealing to look at.  James Stokoe enthralls you with his art which is both clean and sharp.  The setting is bathed in an eternal sunset of colors which compliments the dour nature of the comic.  The only bright moments seem to come from Godzilla’s radioactive breath and his glowing dorsal spines.  Also, Godzilla and his monsters look good which is always a bonus.

half century

The nods to the films are appreciated.  Stokoe respects the franchise and references many different things from them without having them seem out of place.  The weapons are one of them; from masers to black hole guns, whatever the Anti-Megalosaurus Force technology division came up with, it more than likely appeared in the films.  These references give the story familiarity without it losing originality.

Mechagodzilla’s design change as the series progressed.  This is one of my favorites.  Mechagodzilla first appeared in Ota’s story in the 1980s and was based off of the MechaGodzilla from the Heisei Era of films.  It then appeared again in 2002 (the same year that Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla came out) and it received an upgrade that was based off of the Millennium Series.  The characters even talk about how bits of the original Godzilla were in the new Mechagodzilla, something that GAM also did.

Japan does not get a royal beating.  Japan gets attacked in the first issue but after that, Ota and Godzilla go global by “visiting” places like Vietnam, India, Ghana, and even Antarctica.  I like, it really drives the point that this is a global catastrophe.  Japan shouldn’t be a magnet of monster attacks, all the other nations should get a beating as well.

amf force

The specialized A.M.F. forces are amusing.  This is also one of my favorites.  When other monsters start popping up, the A.M.F. responded by making specialized forces for each of the monsters.  We only get to see these forces in one issue but they speak volumes.  I like it how the Mothra force are hippies who drive a van that has a psychedelic Mothra painted on it.  I also laughed at the Hedorah forces.  Poor guys, they look like they seen hell.  One of them wears a protective suit while the other one looks like he’s five minutes from meeting his grave.  I want to see adventures with these guys!

Godzilla’s bemused reaction.  I didn’t know it was possible to give Godzilla a facial expression but by God did Stokoe do it.    The look on Godzilla’s face when he realized his atomic breath didn’t work was funny without it being silly.  I like it.

In this end, this is a great series for you to read even if you’re not a Godzilla fan.  There are only five issues so you can easily get through it in a lunch break.  I haven’t read any other Godzilla comics but I doubt they can meet my expectations on a good Godzilla comic after Stokoe had set it so high.  Give it a shot.

Godzilla Week: Kid Memories

Of childhood icons that inspire both fear and awe, none can do it best than Godzilla.

He is the embodiment of destruction, the personification of nuclear warfare, the paragon of antiheros, the King of the Monsters.  He is one of my favorite icons ever and this week, I’ll be celebrating the King with five articles covering him from movies to comics.  I hope you’ll enjoy them as they were fun to write.


As a child, my love for Godzilla knew no bounds.  I religiously watched his movies, I pretended I was him, and I worshiped him.

My first memory of him came when I was four, when I was at a friend’s house and was playing with his Godzilla toys.  They roared when you pressed the button on their bellies.  At the time, I didn’t know what these monsters were, but at such a young age, I found them frightful.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember what the first Godzilla film I watched was.  The first memory I recall was when I borrowed Godzilla’s Revenge (debated to be one of the worst Godzilla films) from a friend’s house and watched it again and again.  However, by then I was well into being a Godzilla fan and I loved watching his films.

Oh God why

Oh God why

The best part about being a kid was that you didn’t care about plot continuity in the films even if it mattered (which was rare).  Ghidora may be dead in the end of one film but then he’s back in the other and I wouldn’t question it at all.

TNT showed a lot of Godzilla films.  I remember staying up late and hiding in the basement with the blanket over the TV to prevent it from disturbing my family members.  I would sit two feet away from the pulsing screen and watch the Godzilla films intensely.  They would usually show the classics from the 1960s.  AMC also showed a lot of Godzilla films during October but that gradually died off as the channel moved away from their classic movie lineup and more into modern shows.

Mystery Science Theatre 3000 also did Godzilla vs. Megalon and I remember watching that one a lot as well for it was a winning combination of MST3K AND Godzilla.  You can’t go wrong there. “He’s got a tree! That’s not the Godzilla we know!”



Unlike nowadays, the Godzilla franchise was surprisingly good at releasing Godzilla films on VHS to the U.S.  And being a kid that grew up in the 90’s, I got to see the just released films that were all the rage in Japan.  The Heisei Era of Godzilla films was definitely a great time to be a Godzilla fan, ESPECIALLY a Godzilla kid fan.  Return of Godzilla, Biollante, King Ghidorah, Mothra, MechaGodzilla, SpaceGodzilla, and Destoryah.  Most of these films can be considered some of the best of in the entire series.  The two that stood out to me the most though were definitely Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and Godzilla vs. Destoryah (more on those films and my reaction to them later).

Some films though were just out of my reach for viewing, my town once did a special Godzilla exhibit to celebrate a Godzilla Anniversary.  In it, I saw the pictures from the fabled Destroy All Monsters film, a film that I had never heard before but instantly I wanted to see it and its glorious monster rumble.  This was a time when the internet was still young so I didn’t know what other Godzilla films were out there.  Alas, many of these films I never got to see until I was an adult.

I remember when I was six or seven I had a Godzilla kid’s book that I would read abundantly.  It was about Godzilla and his pals on Monster Island where they found an egg that later hatched into Mothra.  Good stuff.

Taken from "Who's Afraid of Godzilla?"

Taken from “Who’s Afraid of Godzilla?” originally scanned by

My friends were also Godzilla fans as well.  When we saw Godzilla vs. King Kong, there was a heated debate on who won the fight.   I, rightly so, declared that Godzilla won it, my friend, however, declared King Kong was the actual winner.  Either way, watching Godzilla films with your friends definitely enhances the experience.

Speaking of which, I only went to two Godzilla films in theaters when I was young, both of which were with my friend.  The first was Godzilla 2000, and let me tell you something, that was amazing.  Seeing the big guy on the screen really was a special treat.  The second film was special though.  My local theater did a Godzilla Anniversary and showed the first Godzilla film in its original dub.  I had reached the right age, about nine or so, to appreciate that film.  It was intense, moving, and special.  You can debate which Godzilla films are the best in the franchise but the best, hands down, was the first one.   A film that’s not only a good Godzilla film but a great cinematic film in general.   It was so potent that it spawned not only its own franchise but the kaiju genre as well.  And man, I was glad to see it on the big screen.

Stay tuned for more Godzilla articles!

Ancient Animals and Their Fakemon: Introduction and Dunkleosteus

Since 2007, I have been working an extensive side project that combines two of my favorite things in life; Paleontology and Pokemon.  Basically, it was pokemon that was directly inspired from actual paleontological animals.  It was originally supposed to be a fanfic where ancient pokemon were coming through time portals and the protagonist had to figure out why it was happening before major damage happens.  However, the story was so big that I didn’t have the time or patience to do it.  The idea also resurfaced again years later when I came up with the notion of having my ancient fakemon in an RPG.  It too didn’t work out.

But the results of my hard work did not fade away; I had kept many entries where I meticulously wrote tons of data on these ancient fakemon.  Now that I have a blog, I thought now was probably the best time to show the world these creations.  Starting today, I will publish a post describing an ancient animal (what is it, why I like it, any interesting tidbits) and its inspired fakemon (typing, stats, moves, their initial roles in the storyline and such).  These posts will only be released on Fridays, however, not every Friday will have an Ancient Fakemon post.  I hope you enjoy them.

And brother, I think I picked a good one to start with.


Dunkleosteus: Placoderm organism, Late Devonian


Image created by and is found on

I fear this animal.

I can’t explain why exactly, maybe it’s the soulless eyes, maybe it’s it terrifying appearance, or maybe it’s something else entirely.  Whatever the case, I do not want to be in the water if this fish is swimming about.

Dunkleosteus terrelli is a placoderm, a relatively successful group of bony armored fish that dominated the seas during the Devonian Period.  This unique group of animals died at the end of the Devonian Period leaving no modern day relatives.  They are classified by their armor plated body structure which gave them protection at the sacrifice of speed.  Most of them were bottom dwellers and clung to the seafloor.  The Arthrodirans, a group within the placoderms, escaped the seafloor and actively swam in the water column.

Dunkleosteus is one of those Arthrodirans.  The largest placoderm discovered; Dunkleosteus could reach up to 10 meters in length. Its “teeth” were not traditional teeth like you and I have but modified bone that functions as teeth.  The blade-like “teeth” could continuously sharpen as the predator was feasting on its prey which is pretty wild.


Dunkleosteus status as the top predator in the seas is well founded due to its size and biting behavior.  Anderson and Westneat (2009) estimated that Dunkleosteus could open its huge mouth in about 60 milliseconds.  This rapid expansion created a vacuum which sucked water and prey into its mouth.  Once the prey was in its mouth, Dunkleosteus would then crush or pierce its prey from as high as 6170 N at the tip of the mouth to a staggering 7495 N at the back of the mouth (for reference, we can only bite at 294 N at the tip of our mouths).  This bite force is so large that only the great white shark and the alligator can match it (see Huber et al. (2005) for a general list of animal bites and Wroe et al. (2008) for shark bites).  Both of these methods meant that Dunkleosteus was feeding on prey that was both elusive and armor-covered such as ammonoids, arthropods, and other placoderms (Anderson and Westneat 2009).

Dunkleosteus, Dinotopia

Dunkleosteus has shown up a few times in pop culture.  The first time I saw him was actually in the second Dinotopia book, The World Beneath, where the armored fish snapped off the claw of the protagonists’ underwater ship and briefly fought a Kronosaurus.  The second time I saw him was again in Dinotopia only this time it was in the tv movies (where he was also terrifying albeit more angler fish-like).  Dunkleosteus most famous appearance would probably be in the BBC’s Sea Monsters where Nigel Thornberry Marven journeyed to the seven deadliest seas in Earth’s history.  Dunkleosteus and his Devonian Sea was ranked the Fifth Most Deadly Sea.  Nigel wanted to interact with a Dunkleosteus so he got into a round shark cage and tried to get a closer look at the fish.



I have to say, if that was me, that would be a big bag of nope.  Like I said before, I fear this creature so I don’t want to be ANYWHERE near this guy when I’m out on sea.  God, being eaten by him would probably be a cross between a shark and a hippo. *shudder*


Clunklesteel, Fakemon

Type: Water/Steel

Stats: HP: 82,   Attack: 125,   Defense: 125,   Special Attack: 55,   Special Defense: 78,   Speed: 55

Ability: Strong Jaw.  Hidden Ability: Hyper Cutter

Moves Learned Upon Leveling Up:

Start-Iron Defense
22-Water Sprout
29-Shear Bite
37-Thunder Fang/Ice Fang
40-Metal Sound
43-Skull Bash
50-Aqua Tail

Learnable TMs and HMs: Roar, Toxic, Hidden Power, Protect, Rain Dance, Safeguard, Frustration, Return, Brick Break, Double Team, Sandstorm, Rock Tomb, Façade, Rest, Attract, Round, Scald, Stone Edge, Rock Slide, Swagger, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Flash Cannon, Rock Smash, Snarl, Confide, Surf, Strength, Waterfall

Special Moves: Shear Bite: Steel Type, Power: 40, PP: 20, Accuracy: 100%.  Sheer Bite raises the user’s Attack by one stage after damaging the opponent.

Egg Group: Water 2

Pokedex Description Version One: Scientists can tell how old a Clunklesteel is by the amount of rust that grows on their backs.

Pokedex Description Version Two: Clunklesteel have been known to ram small boats and even pierce the hulls using their steel-bladed teeth.

Basic Background: Clunklesteel is based off of Dunkleosteus.  Clunklesteel was one of the easiest fakemon to come up and play around with.  The armor nature combined with his fish status means he makes a great Steel/Water type pokemon.  The Ability Strong Jaw also fits perfectly with his terrifyingly biting force.  His famous chompers means that biting moves like Crunch or Thunder Fang are great compliments to him.  Clunklesteel’s nature means he has great Defense and Attack at the cost of his Speed and Special Attack.

Shear Bite is a move made specifically for Clunklesteel.  The continuously sharpening of his blade-like chompers fits well as a move.  Shear Bite is the Steel Type version of Power-Up Punch.

Clunklesteel played an important part in my story.  Originally, the protagonist had met a Clunklesteel when he was a kid and was traumatize by it and has since been afraid of the ocean.  The same Clunklesteel had come back when the protagonist unknowingly released it and a bunch of other prehistoric animals at a terrorist facility.  The Clunklesteel began to hunt him relentlessly and violently defeated the protagonist at every battle they met.  Each time, he was too scared to act confidently in the face of his feared foe.  One of the battles even cost him his pokemon.  It wasn’t until near the finale of the story when the protagonist had finally faced his fear, defeated it, and captured the placoderm pokemon.

I always imagined him as being a mindless machine and with this design that my girlfriend came up with, that mindless machine really shined through.  Don’t think, just eat and go, eat and go.

Finally, Clunklesteel evolves from Sillylepis (formerly Placoderp before that term became controversial) and is based off of Silurolepis, a primitive placoderm found in the Late Silurian.  Sillylepis evolves at level 20 to Clunklesteel and is similar to Magikarp due to both having poor stats and a poor moveset.

Alternative Names: Placodoom, Placodeath, Dunksteelus

I hope you enjoy the first Ancient Animals and Their Fakemon!  When time permits, I’ll make more of these later.



Anderson P.S.L., Westneat M.W., 2009.  A biomechanical model of feeding kinematics for Dunkleosteus terrelli (Arthrodira,Placodermi).  Paleobiology.  35:251-269.

Huber D.R., Eason T.G., Hueter R.E., and Motta P.J., 2005.  Analysis of the bite force and mechanical design of the feeding mechanism of the durophagous horn shark Heterodontus francisci.  The Journal of Experimental Biology. 208:3553-3571.

Wroe S., Huber D.R., Lowry M., McHenry C., Moreno K., Clausen P., Cunningham E., Dean M.N., and Summers A.P. 2008. Three-dimensional computer analysis of white shark jaw mechanics: how hard can a great white bite?  Journal of Zoology. 276:336-342.

And Berkeley website on the “Introduction to the Placodermi”

Friends, Board Games, and Wil Wheaton

About two years ago, I was worried about my social life, what person isn’t?  For me though, I was worried about technology’s increasing strength on my life.  It was serving more as a barrier than as a passageway towards interacting with my friends.  Desperately, I was trying to figure out a way I could interact with my friends without the use of video games, TV, or cell phones.  The answer to my problem was actually solved, funny enough, by one of my friends (we’ll call him “Mr. Pink”).

One day, Mr. Pink was talking to me about this great board game that we should try out called Ticket to Ride.  A game about building trains to connect between cities on a real-world map.  At first, I wasn’t convinced.  He then showed me a video on Youtube called Tabletop which was hosted by former Star Trek actor, Wil Wheaton.  On Wil’s show, he invites several semi-famous actors, writers, and so forth to play a board game with him.  Each episode the board game and the guests are different.  The episodes are high quality, nicely edited, and highlight the basis of the board game very well through both explaining the rules and playing the game.

Not Pictured: Felicia Day

Not Pictured: Felicia Day

I was convinced.  Almost immediately after I saw the episode, Mr. Pink and I got in my car and we drove over to our board game store.  We bought Marklin Ticket to Ride, where you play on a German map, and we played the game that night with our two other friends.

As I was playing the game, I realized that I had found the solution to my problem.  Board games.  They are non-electronic, they take a few hours to play, and they offer a (mostly) positive interactive environment for us to be in.  This was it.

Soon after, my roommates and I religiously watched Wil’s Tabletop and after every episode we would discuss if we should get the game or not.  Our board game collection is now filled with games, most of which were recommended by Wil.  You name it, we got all the greats; Pandemic, Settlers of Catan, Betrayal at House on the Hill, the list goes on.  Our bookcase can barely contain them all.  Our collection has given us the opportunity to pick games that suit our current mood and I love it!

My favorite thing to do now is to invite some random friends, who probably haven’t met each other before, and play board games with them.  Let me tell you, getting a diverse group of people together and them playing off of each other as much as they play off of the board is a satisfying experience.  Sometimes, they even bring their own games with them and that thrills me as well.


For those kinds of situations, Pandemic does a great job setting the mood.  Everyone works together to stop the looming diseases.  This really builds up the players’ trust towards one another and can break down reservations the players may have.  People take on roles that fit them and they interact, they inform, and they suggest strategies to partake in.  This builds and builds as the going gets tough and we might tooth and claw to suppress the diseases from spreading.  Even if we lose, we still have fun.  From there, it’s really up to the players what they want to play (though I like to encourage Betrayal due to its rather weird nature).  Overall, it can be a fun time.

Wil and his show was a definite influence in my social life.  And last March, I was able to tell it to him in person.  He was going to show up, along with other Star Trek actors, at a local comic convention.   When I heard this, I knew now was the best time to meet him in person and autograph a board game while I was at it.  But what board game??  Ticket to Ride seemed like the best choice since it was our first board game but the box was unfortunately too large for my backpack.  I decided to go for Powergrid, a board game that my roommates and I love to play.

I was a little nervous when I finally met the man himself.  I briefly told him that he got my friends and into board gaming and then I gave him the box for him to sign.  His eyes immediately lit up and he said, “Isn’t this a great game?  I love this game a lot!  The first goes last rule is a great mechanic.”  We talked briefly about the board game, he then signed it and I was soon on my way.  I have to say, that was probably my best encounter with a celebrity (though I haven’t had that many encounters yet).  He was kind, earnest, and he gave the time to talk to me even though there were many people before me and just as many afterwards.  Needless to say, it was a great experience, and I’m glad I got to meet the man that helped me find a new way to connect to my friends.

powergrid box