Monthly Archives: June 2014

Buy It or Leave It? Snake Oil

I had a problem.  If my roommates and I had five or more friends over at our apartment, we would be highly limited to the games we could play.  The only board games we could do were Resistance, Cards Against Humanity (CAH), and Once Upon a Time.  I wanted to expand our repertoire before I got sick and tired of these games.

So one day, my girlfriend pointed out a board game at the toy store called Snake Oil.  I read the description and I was immediately hooked.

Snake Oil is similar to Apples to Apples (AA).  Okay, so one player is the buyer; the buyer draws a random card from the buyer’s deck and plays that role (like Caveman or Castaway).  The other players, the salesmen, look at their six cards and combine two of them together to create a product for the buyer.  Then, each salesman will show the buyer their combination and talk about why they should buy their product.  The buyer will choose the best product and the salesman will keep the buyer card.  At the end of the game, the salesman with the most buyer cards is the winner.

You want to look sharp when you are cheering on the players, right?  But you don't have the time to shave your legs??  Well with the new Razor Underwear, you can keep your legs constantly shaved while still looking good!

You want to look sharp when you are cheering on the players, right? But you don’t have the time to shave your legs?? Well with the new Razor Underwear, you can keep your legs constantly shaved while still looking good!

Like AA and CAH, part of the fun comes from the card combinations and how wacky they could be.  However, most of the enjoyment originates from the salesmen.  They have to take their nonsensical invention and turn it into a special, you-just-gotta-have-it product.  As such, this game sets itself apart from AA and CAH in that the salesmen play actual roles in the game instead of just sitting in the sidelines.  I have seen many product combinations that would have been a bust had it not been for their silver tongued salesman.

However, again like AA and CAH, Snake Oil can wear on you if played too long.  As such, it’s best to play this game in short rounds, either through time or the number of complete rounds you take.

I also think the game suffers from some boring nouns (such as “stool”).  This is a family game so you can’t go too risqué but I still think they could have extended their vocabulary to more unique nouns including animals.  I know I have been stuck with cards that were pretty meh and I was just burning through them hoping to get something good.  This has tempted me to combine some of the cards from AA or CAH with this game to create a more dynamic and hilarious setting.

But to answer my problem from above, this game has certainly offered a new experience for us to play and I like it.  I’m glad I bought it cause I like it and so do my friends.

Buy it? Buy it if you want more party games and are looking for something light on rules and short on time.  Buy if you are also a fan of CAH or AA.

Or Leave it? Definitely leave it if you want a more involved, strategic game.  This game is meant to be played with fun and not for the sake of winning.  Also, if you don’t care for AA or CAH you might want to leave this one alone as well.  However, I still recommend you try it out anyway cause I think it’s different enough to really be its own entity.

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Harry Potter and the Parallel Themes, An Analysis

The Harry Potter series is one of the best, most intertwined series I have ever read.  Items briefly seen and characters mentioned could play a key role in a later in the series.  We see Hagrid mention of Sirius in book 1, Voldemort’s horcruxes in book 5, and the Polyjuice Potion in book 2.  However, there’s something else that makes J. K. Rowling’s wonderful series all the more intertwined.  Something that I would like to refer as *cough* Harry Potter and the Parallel Themes!

Okay, imagine the seven books in the series.  Smack dab in the middle is book 4.  Ah yes, the Goblet of Fire, a very important addition in the series.  It stands at a doorway between children goodiness and young adult realism.  Books 1-3 were not as dark or as foreboding as books 5-7 and had more uplifting endings.  Indeed, you can feel this transformation come forth as you read GoF; terror at the World Cup, former Deatheaters make their appearance, the first emotional death, and the rebirth of Voldemort.  It’s no wonder many people, including my sister, like this book the most.

Now imagine this.

Imagine that book 4 is the focal point of the series.  As you step farther and farther away from this mirror, certain themes, plot points, and characters that you were once introduced to now become reintroduced with a stronger focus.

Take for example, books 3 and 5.  These two books share many things in common with each other.  The prominent role of Sirius Black, the return of the Dementors and Lupin, prisoners escaping Azkaban, and Harry’s dad’s past.  Harry’s dad seems especially important in these two books as Harry now learns so much more about him and subsequently realized that he wasn’t that great of a guy.   Harry’s relationship with Cho also plays a role.  He was introduced to her in book 3 and their tumultuous relationship ended in book 5.

Now, let’s take a step further, book 2 and 6.  This is where I began to notice the parallel events in the series.  Indeed, it’s pretty noticeable, most prominently of which were horcruxes.  In book 2, we saw our first horcrux, the diary.  And though its origins were hinted at, we were finally revealed in book 6 what it truly was, a part of Voldemort’s soul.  This was a part of a more important concept mainly Tom Riddle’s past, something that book 2 grazed over.  Of course, there are other smaller things.  Ginny’s infatuation with Harry in book 2 finally blossomed into an actual relationship in book 6 and Aragog’s old age finally bested him at the same time.  I was actually hoping throughout most of the book that we would see the Ford Anglia, but alas, that wasn’t the case.  Finally, Fawkes the phoenix was introduced in book 2 and we last saw him in book 6.

Aragog's_funeral_2

Also, this was one of the best scenes in the book AND the movie, no doubt

But what about book 1 and 7?  Going into it, I thought we would surely see the Mirror of Erised which played a strong and melancholic role in the first book.  It would only be fitting that we would see this magical device again.

Alas, again, this was unfortunately not true and I was sad because of it.  But we got something that I didn’t expect.  Dumbledore’s past.  Indeed, our only window into Dumbledore’s past was through the Chocolate Frog Cards which gave a light description of Dumbledore and his battle with Grindelwald.  Now, in book 7, we see the dark, sad, and lonely past of Albus.  It was almost too much to bear.  Gringotts made its return as well along with Griphook the goblin.  The Gringotts’ boast of being the most secure place in the Wizarding World (second only to Hogwarts) in book 1 was finally tested in book 7 and was subsequently foiled by three teenagers and a blind dragon.  This was very fascinating to me as when we first saw Gringotts, it was a magically mysterious place that seemed more strange than dangerous.  But in book 7, we see its true colors of paranoia, greed, and hate.

But most important out of all of this are the Deathly Hallows (the magical items, not the book).  True, many themes from all the other books come back to book 7 but the Deathly Hallows have their special roots in book 1.   The Invisibility Cloak’s, which was given to Harry during his first year from Dumbledore, origins were finally revealed (and why Harry’s dad had it).  The Resurrection Stone, though first seen in book 6, was hidden in Harry’s very first golden snitch.  Of which, its puzzling lock frustrated Harry through most of book 7 as he tried desperately to open it. It is a relief when he finally figures out how to open it.

I’m still impacted by that passage “I open at the close.”

Deathly Hallows

And finally, rounding it off, the Elder Wand, passed along from powerful wizard to powerful wizard, finally ending with Dumbledore.   And it’s not just the Elder Wand, the connection between a wizard and his wand was never elaborated on, save briefly in book 4, until book 7.  It is because of this importance that we see why the climatic events at Malfoy Manor in book 7 were so important.  Harry had sealed his fate, and Voldemort’s as well, when he disarmed Draco Malfoy and became the rightful ruler of the Elder Wand.

These parallel events really go to show how great of a writer J.K.R. is.  Even before she knew she had a big hit on her hands, she had been dropping themes, ideas, and characters long before their importance was established.  What’s more, she took it a step forward and made a clever series of parallel events that really helps tie the book series together.  It’s very likely that I’m not the first person to notice this, as such, what other parallel events and such have you noticed in the series?

Finally, I just wished that I could have seen the Ford Angila one more time!

Son of a Nerd

When I was 11 or 12 years old my father took me to his downstairs workroom and pulled out a stepladder.  Setting it up, he stepped onto its top ledge and reached for a box that was on his highest shelf.  He pulled down the box and laid it gently on his countertop.  He turned to me and said, “When I eventually pass away, you will inherit all of my comics that I have collected since I was your age and even younger.”

Looking inside the box, I saw comics that were born during the Silver Era of Comics.  Archie and Batman were quite common but most important were his Amazing Spiderman comics.  He bought the very first ten issues and more of Marvel’s famous superhero.  They were all in relatively good condition with the Spiderman comics now in a protective covering that prevented wear and tear on the decades old paper.  Not only did I saw them but I read them as well.  He allowed me to read his precious collection which he had kept for all these decades; it speaks volumes to know how much trust he had in me.

And after reading them, I have to say, they’re pretty good!  Stan Lee and Steve Ditko did a great job in the writing and characters of the story.  I also learned for the first time of Doctor Octopus’ origins.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t shallow.  He wasn’t naturally evil; in fact, he was just a nuclear scientist who used his arms to help him in his experiments.  An explosion at his lab however twisted him into becoming dark and that’s what led him to being Spiderman’s foe.  The Sandman issues were pretty good as well as they definitely highlight Peter Parker’s cleverness and ingenuity.

I would say that my father’s love for comics is similar to my love for video games, a fad that was quite popular for the time despite being frowned upon by some adults.  In a way, the video game cartridges I have, though still cheap, will probably one day be as expensive as my Dad’s current comic collection.  Even now, games like my Earthbound game have already doubled in price in just several years.  In the future, my other video games will probably follow suit.

My Dad’s love for nerdiness does not end there though, he also likes Star Trek and he remembers watching that show a lot when he was in college.  He’s also a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I like watching that show with him as it’s pretty relaxing and enjoyable.  It was especially a treat when we saw the Star Trek movies as they were great and he got to enjoy them on a nostalgia level.

As such, I was lucky enough to have Michael Dorn, the actor who plays Worf in Star Trek: TNG, sign a birthday card for him.  He was at a nearby comic convention this year and I bought tickets for it so I could meet him personally.  Worf and Data were my Dad’s two favorite characters so I knew this was my best chance to give my Dad something special.  Once he signed it, which was amazing, I carefully sealed up the envelope and gave it to my Dad several weeks later.

That was my only present to him that year.  And when he read the funny card and opened it up to see that Michael Dorn had wish him a happy birthday he reacted with shock and delight.  I could see tears welling up as he realized what I had done for him.  Right there and then, I knew I had given him the best birthday present ever.

birthday card

Actually, this was not the first time I attempted to have a celebrity sign something for my Dad.  I tried to get Stan Lee to sign my Dad’s first issue of Spiderman several years ago when I was at Comic Con.  Alas, Stan charged 100 dollars per signing and I didn’t have that kind of money.  I’m super bummed that I didn’t do it though.  When I told my Dad why it didn’t happen he became convince that we should do it and that he would chip in the money for the autograph.  We’re now hoping for Stan to show up in a nearby convention so we could have the man himself sign the very thing he’s famous for.  I think that would be one of the most wonderful things ever and I hope that we can achieve it; an autograph from a legend to two nerds and a special comic.

Ancient Animals and their Fakemon: Stegosaurus

Stegosaurus: Ornithischian Dinosaur, Late Jurassic

Ask anyone in the street to name three dinosaurs and they’ll probably give you Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, then StegosaurusStegosaurus is one of the most famous dinosaurs due to its instantly recognizable anatomy.  The big lumbering body with a comically small head, the mountainous back with huge dorsal plates, and the long spikes jutting from its tail; yes, no other dinosaur, save other stegosaurians, fit this description.  Stegosaurus was discovered by Othniel Charles Marsh during the Bone Wars in the latter part of the 1800’s.  As such, it has had a rich history of scientific curiosity and pop culture influence.

Perhaps one of the more controversial aspects of Stegosaurus is the function of their dorsal plates.  The first, and currently debunked, hypothesis was that the plates were used as defense.  However, this is unlikely due to the relatively thin plates and how they only covered the back and not the more vulnerable sides.  More likely were the two other hypotheses thermoregulation and display.

Stegosaurus could have used their plates for thermoregulation by rotating their bodies relative to the sun.  Farlow et al. (1976) were among the first researchers to test this hypothesis by designing a Stegosaurus model and observing how well the plates could absorb or dissipate heat.  Their results highly supported the hypothesis and they reasoned Stegosaurus could orient themselves relative to wind currents for better absorption or dissipation of heat.  Main et al. (2005) disagree with the thermoregulation hypothesis as there is no proper blood circulation structure that could adequately carry and dispel heat away from the body.  Also, other stegosaurians were more likely to have spikes than plates on their backs suggesting spikes were a basal trait that evolved later into plates.  As such, thermoregulation, if it even played a role, was not the main function for the Stegosaurus’ plates.

Stegosaurus, Walking with Dinosaurs

From Walking with Dinosaurs Episode 2

Main et al. (2005) concluded that the plates were more likely used for both sexual and defensive display.  Since dinosaurs had relatively good eyesight, the plates would have been highly useful for the aforementioned purposes.  Indeed, Carpenter (1998) suggested that if attacked by a foe, the Stegosaurus would laterally display its body to appear more menacing.  It would then pump blood into its plates to make them blush and appear frightening.  This behavior is well reasoned due to the highly vascularized nature of the plates.  Either way, it’s likely that the Stegosaurus employed both of these functions for its plates.

thagomizer

The tail spikes have a more humorous story to them.  Though some scientists simply call them “the tail spikes” others took on the more informal name of “thagomizer” which was based off of the Far Side cartoon as seen above.  Indeed, there’s really nothing else like the thagomizer and I just think the name fits.  Regardless of what you call them, there was some debate on whether the thagomizer was really used for attacking purposes or not.  Solid evidence came through in McWhinney (good lord, that’s his name?) et al. (2001) and Carpenter et al. (2005) papers. McWhinney et al., (2001) analyzed many Stegosaurian spikes and found that some of them had trauma-induced bone fractures and were healing or became diseased during their owner’s lifetime.  Carpenter et al. (2005) analyzed a healed punctured wound in an Allosaurus tail vertebra and was able to match it with the tail spikes in Stegosaurus.  Both of these evidence pieces support a willing intent for defense by Stegosaurus which in my book is pretty awesome.

Stegosaurus has shown up many many times in pop culture so I’ll try to keep the list down to the big ones.  First off, this dinosaur has been seen in several movies, initially in King Kong and later in other big movies such as The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and The Land Before Time.  It also starred in one of the most famous scenes in Fantasia; I especially remember this scene because the fight fit extraordinarily well with Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with its loud, scary music and its build up to the climatic fight.  Stegosaurus is also a favorite in many dinosaur documentaries such as Walking with Dinosaurs and When Dinosaurs Roamed America.  Finally, and on a personal note, in the science fiction book Bones of the Earth, paleontologist and protagonist Richard Leyster was delivered a head of a Stegosaurus in the prologue so he could dissect it and be convinced that time travelling was real.  I remember reading this book in Junior High and was convinced from that scene alone that if I wanted to be a good paleontologist, I better know my biology.

Stegosaurus, Rite of Spring, Fantasia

——

STEGHOST

 Steghost

Type: Ghost

Stats: HP: 120,   Attack: 105,   Defense: 70,   Special Attack: 68,   Special Defense: 83,   Speed: 49

Ability: Intimidate, Solar Power, Hidden Ability: Sap Sipper

Moves Learned Upon Leveling Up:

Start-Lick

Start-Tail Whip

7-Mean Look

11-Yawn

16-Astonish

20-Iron Tail

24-Swords Dance

29-Spikes, Toxic Spikes

35-Poison Tail

42-Amnesia

49-Belch

55-Synthesis

60-Thagomize

Learnable TMs and HMs Calm Mind, Roar, Toxic, Bulk Up, Venoshock, Hidden Power, Sunny Day, Taunt, Ice Beam, Blizzard, Hyper Beam, Light Screen, Protect, Rain Dance, Safeguard, Frustration, Solar Beam, Thunderbolt, Thunder, Earthquake, Return, Shadow Ball, Double Team, Sludge Bomb, Reflect, Sludge Wave, Flamethrower, Sludge Bomb, Fire Blast, Torment, Façade, Rest, Attract, Thief, Low Sweep, Energy Ball, False Swipe, Fling, Quash, Will-O-Wisp, Shadow Claw, Payback, Swords Dance, Psych Up, Dragon Tail,  Poison Jab, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Nature Power, Dark Pulse, Strength

Special Moves: Thagomize: Ghost Type, Power: 90, PP: 15, Accuracy: 100%.  The user builds up antimatter on its thagomizer and then attacks the foe with it.  10% chance of poisoning the foe.

Egg Group: Monster

Pokedex Description Version One: When frightened, a Steghost’s body will disappear leaving only its plates visible to confuse and scare off its foe.

Pokedex Description Version Two: A Steghost’s thagomizer can kill an attacking foe with one mighty swipe.  The victim can also be poisoned by it as well.

Evolution: Evolves from Kentrospirit at level 32.

Basic Background: I’ll be honest; I made Stegosaurus a ghost type because you could easily corrupt his name into Steghost.  But this worked pretty well in my favor thanks to those scary plates of his!  It’s also pretty liberating to not give Stegosaurus a typical type like Grass Type.  With Ghost Type, you can explore different possibilities or ideas that other types couldn’t explore.  Like antimatter!  Since Giratina is antimatter I reasoned that other ghosts could also employ the antimatter so thus, Thagomize was created.  I also realized that there wasn’t a strong Ghost Type move so Thagomize had a base power of 90 and is similar to Thunderbolt and Ice Beam.

Steghost uses aposematic coloration to confuse and frighten its enemies.  The brightly shaded and contrasting plates draw the eye to them and mute the rest of the dull-colored body.  These bright colors can warn predators not to mess with Steghost, especially how it can poison its enemies with its thagomizer.

Steghost was part of my story fairly early on and was one of the first members in the protagonist’s team.  He caught him, in his first form as a Kentrospirit, in the Sprout Tower.  The protagonist found him cowering near the top of the tower and managed to pick up the heavy beast in order to save him.  When the ghosts surrounded them near the entrance of the tower, Kentrospirit found its courage and illuminated its spines and plates creating a frightful-looking monster.  The Kentrospirit, and later Steghost, would become a steady member on the team ever since that experience.

Steghost was designed with a competitive use in mind.  He could be staller with Intimidate and the use of Spikes, Toxic Spikes, Synthesis, Will-o-wisp, Amnesia, and Yawn.  He could be a physical attacker with Grass Sipper and the use of his physical attacks and Swords Dance.  Or he could be a special attacker in Sunny Teams with Solar Power and the use of  Synthesis and special attack moves.

 

Carpenter, K., Chure, D., Kirkland, J. I., Denver Museum of Natural History, 1998. The Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation: an interdisciplinary study Part 2. Taylor & Francis. p. 137

Carpenter, K., Sanders, F., McWhinney, L. A., and Wood, L., 2005. Evidence for predator-prey relationships: Examples for Allosaurus and Stegosaurus. In Carpenter, Kenneth (ed.). The Carnivorous Dinosaurs. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. p. 325.

Farlow, J.O., Thompson, C.V., Rosner, D.E., 1976. Plates of the dinosaur Stegosaurus: Forced convection heat loss fins? Science. 192: 1123–1125.

Main, R. P., Ricqles, A., Horner, J. R., and Padian, K., 2005.  The evolution and function of thyreophoran dinosaur scutes: implications for plate function in stegosaurs. Paleobiology. 31:291-314.

McWhinney, L. A., Rothschild, B. M., and Carpenter, K., 2001. Posttraumatic Chronic Osteomyelitis in Stegosaurus dermal spikes. In Carpenter, Kenneth(ed). The Armored Dinosaurs. Indiana University Press. pp. 141–156

Paper Mario vs. Super Mario 64

The era of the Nintendo 64 would be remembered for a host of great games that are still enjoyable to this day.  From the very start, we were given one of the most revolutionary games of the time, Super Mario 64, released in 1996.  This game revolutionized 3d platforming and served as a basis for the future in 3d gaming.  Four years later, Paper Mario was released in 2000 and some have consider it the spiritual successor to Super Mario RPG.

Both of these games are considered to be “must-haves” in the N64 line up.  But which game is the best?  Which game is in general, more fun to play?

Considering that these two games occupy different genres, this question can be hard to answer.  SM64 is a platforming game.  It has a non-linear progression in the story and you don’t have to acquire all of the stars in order to fight Bowser. PM, on the other hand, is an RPG.  It has a strictly linear storyline and you are required to collect all seven stars before taking on Bowser.  Nonetheless, both of them are, at their heart, a Mario game.

Both of these games also rank high on the nostalgia meter for me.  If you were my age plus or minus a few years, it’s somewhat likely you played these games growing up at your house or at a friend’s house.  I remember the first time I played SM64 and was astonished by the colorful graphics, the music, the world, and of course, the flying.  Putting on the flying cap and soaring through the air was amazing and it was real treat to wear that cap.  PM was a different sort of nostalgia as I especially loved the humor, the art style, and again, the music.

However, to cut right to the chase, I think the better game in the series was PM.  PM has several things going for it that make it the better game.

The first reason why was the world of the game.  Though these games were on near equal footing, PM’s world felt realistic.   We saw it not as stages but as actual places where you can walk from the Goomba Village on one end of the world to the Koopa Village on the other.  True the SM64’s paintings and castle were very well fleshed out, but I found it a real treat to explore the Mushroom Kingdom and talk to its denizens.

paper mario map

Speaking of which, that’s the second thing PM has over SM64.  SM64 felt so lonely to me as you could only speak to a few characters (mainly toads).  PM had tons of characters with varying personalities, many of which weren’t just one-note characters that said the same thing over and over.  This becomes apparent after you defeat the boss of the chapter.  The characters express gratitude for saving them and they can later be involved in certain sidequests.  Your partners also had personality, especially Bow.

Finally, it wasn’t just the characters but the game itself that had personality.  Humor filled PM through dialogue, battles, and scenery.  The Koopa Bros and their Bowser Machine, the Crystal Palace and its kooky puzzles, and Bowser and his hopeless infatuation with Peach.  And when you combine this humor with the tight RPG system, you have an amazing Mario game.

Paper Mario, Crystal Palace, Kooper

This was an especially great moment in the game. Gotta love the Crystal Palace. Image from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Bl5hGsU54k

Regardless, SM64 still does things right that PM just couldn’t achieve.  The tight controls are amazing and lend itself incredibly well to the ample wall jumping and backflipping you do in that game.  The game is also a step more difficult than PM and thus when you acquire each of those 120 stars, you feel gratified in accomplishing a difficult or long winded feat.   The open world system that I mentioned before is also nice as you can pick and choose what stars you want to get instead of following a direct path.  Because of which, I have played this game more often than PM.  If I want to kill five or ten minutes of my time, I can turn on the game, play a random stage, get a star, and continue doing on other things.  Sometimes, I get the same star twice because they’re hella fun!  Especially the Boo Mansion and Bob-omb Battlefield stars.

But even so, PM is one of my favorite Mario games.  It was only topped by one other Mario game, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, which took everything that I liked about PM and made it one step better.  But my gushing for that game will be for another time.

The Best and Worst Thing About Digimon Season One

Digimon was a staple of my late childhood ever since I first found out about it near the end of 1999.  Though the series was already near half way done, FoxKids would continuously show previous episodes on the weekdays which allowed me time to catch up and become familiar with this great show and its characters.  Though I can write all day about Digimon and my childhood, I want to focus on the best thing and the worst thing about Digimon Season 1.

The Best Thing:

This was hard to pinpoint what exactly the best thing about Digimon Season 1 was.  It could have easily been the music, Izzy and Tentomon, or the digivolutions.  However, after thinking about it, I have to say it was probably the Myotismon Arc.  This was a series of episodes that really took the show to a whole new level.

The arc starts off strong with the kids trying to reunite again eventually culminating to them returning to the real world.  Once they’re back, they have to deal with Myotismon and his henchmen while trying to keep a low profile.  The arc builds and builds and peaks in the finale with Gatomon and Kari reunited and defeating Myotismon with an all-powerful Celestial Arrow.  However, Myotismon, in true vampire fashion, rises from the grave and reaches his Mega form which brought about the mega evolutions in Agumon and Gabumon.

There are a lot of things that make this arc great.  For instance, one-by-one the digidestined’s digimon digivolves (say that three times fast…) to their Ultimate form, taking on any foes that stand in their way.  This brings about new digimon foes that can challenge the kids and push them to become even greater.

The real world element is also used very well.  The kids have to guard their secret and make sure no one knows about their partners.  Also, we see what kind of effects the digimon have on the real world, something that season 3would later expand upon.  Electronic devices don’t work and most of the time, destruction happens.  But probably best of all is that we see the kids in their homes, interacting with their parents.  It is relaxing to watch them get a break after being chased by monsters for many episodes.

The best part comes near the end of the arc as episodes build to the climatic showdown.  Everything important happens in one day.  As such, the usual standalone episode format is cast aside and embraces a more connecting narrative.  Partners who have digivolved in the previous episode stay digivolved in the next one.  The digidestined, once scattered, slowly find their way to the television station where everyone, save Angemon, has digivolved to the Ultimate form to face Myotismon.

And then, death!  Wizardmon dies saving Kari and we see one of the first, real emotional blows in Digimon that struck us hard.  A kind character, who was Gatomon’s only friend, was dead and his passing catalyzed Gatomon into digivolving to her final form, Angewomon.  Then, everyone lends her their power and she strikes down Myotismon in one blow.

As such, one of the real disappointments in the series is when we found out Myotismon is not dead but still alive and in his Mega form meaning Wizardmon’s death was (almost) for nothing.  The arc should have ended there but they continued it on for two more episodes and those two episodes brought down the importance of finding the 8th child.  Speaking of arcs…

The Worst Thing:

Many shows usually have a rough start in trying to find themselves and who they really are.  Poor writing, actors unsure of their character motivations, and untested people can really stagger a new show.  Digimon Season 1is no exception to this.

When I got my Digimon Season 1 DVD Boxset more than a year ago, the first thing I watched was the Etemon Arc and I just went from there.  I skipped the entire Devimon Arc because I just don’t like it!  There are a host of reasons why I just don’t like this part of Digimon.

The first 14 episodes or so are slow, awkward, and formulaic.  The usual one or two digivolutions per episode means that the fights don’t happen often and when they do they are pretty short.

Also, with seven protagonists a lot of character establishment had to be developed, something that the later seasons’ far fewer main characters didn’t worry about.  As such, episodes two through seven were focused on a particular protagonist and that can be a chore to get through.

To be fair though, when File Island split up and we had a lot more personal time with the characters, their mini-adventures were amusing, especially seeing their now established personas bounce off of each other.

But at this point, the characters are still too annoying and the voice acting is…ehhhh.  That’s why the Etemon Arc, and especially the Myotismon Arc, was a hit as we don’t have to go through character establishment and we can have good action and story development.  Plus, you’re not really missing anything from skipping the first arc except for an angel dying or whatever.

Herculeskabuterimon

Also the worst thing was that Herculeskabuterimon wasn’t in it, I am sad.