Monthly Archives: November 2014

DBZ Battle of Gods is Definitely a Fan’s Film

We’ve all been there before.

You and your friends are major fans of a certain franchise. A certain topic of interest that comes up now and then is the perfect movie that would justify that franchise. The movie has to be done in a certain way, with a certain director and with certain actors playing certain characters. In your mind, it’s the perfect movie and that is why it’s just too good to be true.

Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods, however, comes the closest to achieving that fan’s perfect movie.

I wouldn’t believe it myself had I not seen it. When I heard about Battle of Gods I was interested to watch it but certainly not any time soon. However, when I finally watched it I was floored by how hilarious and amazing it was. Granted, it’s not a good movie but it is certainly an exceptional Dragonball Z film.

I want to hone in to two main points why I thought it was good, one is that they brought back the original English voice actors from the tv series and two the humor and art quality is great.

Bringing back the original voice actors made the film more enjoyable than it could have been. It would have been distracting to hear other actors voice Goku, Vegeta and the others. As such, I was able to be instantly familiar with the characters again like they were long lost friends. Props to Funimation for making sure that happened.

The second main point is the humor and animation. It looked so good to see Dragonball Z in stunning HD animation. That was fantastic and I look forward to more movies using that same style. The humor in the film was also top notch, I especially liked the scene where Vegeta is doing his best to entertain Beerus by making himself look like a fool.

These two main points are what make Battle of Gods a fan’s film. This is further enhanced by the inclusion of the original show’s theme, some good fighting sequences, some ridiculous power levels, and some great character interaction.

Ironically, the main downfall of Battle of Gods is its filler. The whole sequence with Lord Pilaf could have been entirely cut and no one would have bat an eye. It gave the film some unnecessary padding and honestly, who cares? But truth be told, it wouldn’t be Dragonball Z without some filler!

I was surprised to hear before watching the Battle of Gods film that there would be a sequel. This amazed me because I remember the trailer specifically states that Beerus is the strongest being in the universe. How were they going to top that?

I thought I had found the answer when Battle of Gods revealed that there were actually multiple universes with other Gods of Destructors and Creators. Cool, I thought, that’s what the sequel is going to be about.

Nope, it’s Frieza! Frieza! How can he be a credible threat? Many of the characters can take him on, hell, even Krillen can take on Frieza! My roommates and I were discussing how Frieza could be a threat to the Z fighters and we came to the conclusion that it would be something like this…

Frieza henchmen come to Earth and get the Dragonballs, they use the first wish to bring Frieza back and the second wish to make him the most powerful being in the universe. Boom, that’s all you need.

Regardless how they make him strong, I’m looking forward to Frieza’s Resurrection! If they do everything in the new film that they done in Battle of Gods then it will be wonderful. I’m especially hoping they bring back Frieza’s original voice actor, Linda Young, as that would be amazing. And finally, I’m looking forward to Frieza dying all over again.

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Reaction to HORI Battle Pad for Wii U

Unlike a lot of people, I decided to opt out of the Super Smash bundle as I thought it wasn’t really necessary to own another Gamecube remote when I already have four.  Instead, I decided to get the game and the Gamecube remote converter separately.  Unfortunately, despite my preorder, the Gamecube converter was already sold out and won’t be expected to ship to me until the middle of December.

Fortunately, before the release, I preordered  the HORI Battle Pad for Wii U (Mario Version) with Turbo.  Lots of title fluff for just a Gamecube controller that connects to your Wiimote.  That’s basically what it is too!  If you have more than four players who just have to have a Gamecube controller than these controllers can solve that for you.

The fact that this is a wireless controller means you aren’t constrained to how close you have to be to the TV which is nice.

But the main thing I want to say is that it’s basically like a Gamecube controller with some exceptions.  For one thing, it lacks the reassuring weight that the normal controllers have and I assume that’s because the important stuff is on the Wiimote and the controller simply acts as a button receiver.  There’s also an extra Z-button on the left side of the controller.  The shoulder pads also lack the usual “pressing-down-until-it-clicks” method.  They’re just simple buttons which I find funny but I assume they’re designed like that so they could imitate the Wii U Pad.

The Turbo buttons are also strange but basically they’re similar to the NES Max.  While pressing the Turbo button you then press another button and it does that action for a certain amount of times per second.  I haven’t used them yet as I haven’t found them necessary so I can’t comment how well they work or not.

But let me just end my reaction here and say if you want to play Smash Bros on the Wii U and are looking for a good wireless controller then this will work great for you!  You’ll look over its slight peculiarities five minutes in and after that you will be smashing away while having a good time!  Have fun smashing!

Would You Like to Know More? 1.05 Board Games (Settlers of Catan, Pandemic, and Ticket to Ride)

 

Would You Like to Know More? Podcast episode 5.  Final episode for season 1!  Woo!  This episode we focus on the three most famous, modern board games; Settlers of Catan, Pandemic, and Ticket to Ride.  We’ll discuss each of these three board games, their expansions, our strategies, and more!  We’ll even talk about which of these three games we would recommend to new players.  Check it out!

Special guests for this episode are Kevin Tomkins, Jared Barton, and Sean Elliot.

This episode was recorded at Six Crow Studios, you can reach them at their facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/SixCrowsStudios

Thank you to all my friends for spending their time and coming onto my show!  This was definitely fun and I’m looking forward to Season 2.  We already are planning the episode ideas but recording won’t happen until January.  If you have any suggestions or ideas for us to do, I would be happy to hear what you have to say!  Until then, thanks for listening and hope to see you again!

Ticket to Ride

Our final result for our Ticket to Ride Game

From Starter to Finish

With this week’s release of ORAS I thought I would write an article about Pokemon.  Pokemon is like second nature to me as I can write about so many random topics about it that it isn’t even funny.  But for this week I thought I would talk about where every Pokemon trainer’s story begin, the starter.

The starter Pokémon are some of the most recognized, most remembered Pokémon, especially for their respective generation.  It’s kind of bittersweet though as when each new generation is introduced, a new wave of starter Pokémon come by to represent it and the old starter Pokémon are then replaced.  But Pikachu keeps on staying that yellow bast-

Anyway, the starter Pokémon are the most important Pokémon to you.  Period.  Without them, you couldn’t have beaten the Elite Four, or acquire all eight badges, or even catch your first Pokémon.  They are the genesis of your journey.

Unfortunately, some trainers, including myself, may not keep them for all of their journey.  This is probably one of the worst sins you could commit in the Pokémon world.  Maybe you find other Pokémon you like better or maybe you’re just not a fan of them.  It doesn’t matter, you have sinned.  Go and confess your sins to Arceus (or your respective diety, I don’t want to be prejudice).

Okay, so for me, I had my starters from beginning to end in Generation I, Generation II, and Generation III.  Generation IV though was when I began to waver from this sacred tradition.  When I played the Sinnoh games the first time through I had Turtwig and then I eventually gave up on him…The second time I played through I had Piplup…and gave up on him as well…the most recent time was with Chimchar and for him I finally held onto into the very end.  I initially refused to play him because of my love for Combusken in the last game and I didn’t want another fire/fighting Pokémon.

Generation V though was when I really didn’t care.  Now let me say up front that Generation V is not my favorite generation at all.  After the amazing Generation IV, I was…not too pleased with Generation V for several reasons.  It didn’t help that I thought each of the starter Pokémon looked so…bleh.  I mean, I guess Snivy is cool…but man…Oshawott and Tepig just didn’t strike my fancy.  I gave up on them when they were only level 16 or so.  Poor guys.

Generation VI definitely fired on all cylinders.  All three of these starters were well-designed and definitely represented what a starter Pokémon should be like.  The best part was that there was not a dominant favorite starter for Generation VI.  Everyone I knew who played the game didn’t overwhelmingly go for one starter.

As for me, I chose Froakie.  When the initial line up was revealed I was somewhat torn which Pokémon I would choose.  It wasn’t until the reveal of the starter’s second stage that I made my decision.  Fennekin’s Fire/Psychic typing was tempting but I ultimately went for Froakie and his Water/Dark line up.  I can’t explain it but I just like his initially dorky look and his evolution to his final, cool and slick stage.

This is a decision that I do not regret.  Though Froakie is alright I actually like Frogadier more.  I probably stayed with this stage for most of the game.  That kind of bonding time really gets to you after awhile and I missed Frogadier when he eventually evolved into Greninja.  Many battles were won with this guy.

My love for Greninja actually increased after I finished Pokémon X.  When Greninja was revealed to be a fighter in Super Smash Brothers, I was happy but not ecstatic.  But once I played him in the actual game my adoration for him just went through the roof.  He’s great!  Granted, his Substitute move has been done before but I like his Shadow Sneak and his amazing jumping and running speed.

I also like how Greninja is portrayed in fancomics as pretty lax compared to the other two starters and just goes with the flow.  Check those out.

I actually recently made a poster for my university’s local geology conference that was enspired by Greninja’s color scheme.  I pretty much suck when it comes to color palate and layout for posters.  I decided to just screw it and base the poster off of his colors and the poster looks pretty good actually!

Greninja Poster

I should do this more often. For the curious, I used the eyedropper tool to get the exact colors of Greninja and then applied it to the poster. Background is body color, border is the head frill color, box color is part of the tongue while the darker pink is the other part of the tongue

In the end, Greninja is one of my favorite Generation VI Pokémon for many reasons and the best part is how my friends really like their starter Pokémon as well.  It really speaks volumes on how awesome Generation VI has been so far.

And with the release of Pokémon ORAS this week, we can continue on with the progression of Generation VI and Pokémon in general.  I’m especially looking forward to the releases as I like the starter Pokémon a lot.

Insert Mudkip Meme Joke Here. Image from http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Mudkip_(Pok%C3%A9mon)

Combusken is actually one of my favorite middle stage Pokémon of all time.  My love for this dorky Pokémon grew first from necessity as I desperately needed a Pokémon to take down Roxanne and her rock type Pokémon.  After that, I held onto Combusken for as long as I can so he can learn his moves as early as he could.  This method of evolving Torchic early and Blaziken late meant I spent so much time with Combusken that he eventually became my favorite stage of the three.

I have yet to decide if I’m going to pick Torchic again for ORAS as I already had one trained in X and Y.  I’m tempted to train Treecko since I haven’t picked him yet but I just love Combusken so much.  Regardless who I choose, I’ll guarantee you two things; one-ORAS is going to be great and two-whoever I choose, he’ll be with me from starter to finish in the wild lands of Hoenn.

If you have read through my article then riddle me this!  What’s your favorite starter?  I’m curious to hear!

Would You Like to Know More? 1.04 Harry Potter: Unanswered Questions and Outdated Theories

 

Would You Like to Know More? Podcast episode 4, this time, we’re doing something a little different.  Instead of analyzing a franchise, we’ll be taking apart the Harry Potter franchise and dive into two uncommonly talked about topics.  Part One we tackle Unanswered Questions.  Even when the last book was published more than six years ago, there are still some questions that the books or even Pottermore website haven’t answered yet.  We’ll ask and discuss such questions like whatever happened to Fluffy, how are Dementors born, and if Albus Severus was actually sorted to Slythern.  Part 2 will cover Outdated Theories.  After every book was published, many theories arose to discuss what may happen or be revealed in the following books.  Most of these theories were falsified but we’re digging them up again to see what went wrong and why people thought those theories existed.

Special guests for this episode are Michelle Gardner, Sarah Keffer, and Ben Preheim.

This episode was recorded at Six Crow Studios, you can reach them at their facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/SixCrowsStudios

Harry_Potter_and_the_Goblet_of_Fire_(US_cover)

My Feelings on Over the Garden Wall (Spoilers)

“Harrowing,” “disconcerting,” “incredible.”  These are just a few of the words that I have heard or read other people describe Cartoon Network’s first animated miniseries “Over the Garden Wall.”  The series, with just 10 episodes and only 11 minutes each, is about a teenager, Wirt, his younger brother, Greg, and a bluebird, Beatrice, and their journey through a large forest called The Unknown.  Each episode is mostly self-contained but they together connect to form a more complete narrative.

The miniseries had almost missed me due to its low key advertising.  Going into it, all I knew was that Elijah Wood was voicing one of the characters and that’s basically it.  Along with a few short clips for the trailer, it also came with the tagline that it was a five night mystery.  They played their cards right because I was not expecting any of the stuff they threw at me.

To be blunt, it’s a standard coming-of-age storyline that is similar to Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and Grimm Fairy Tales but with a modern twist.  The heroes of our story go on strange adventures where they meet equally as strange characters such as an old man (voiced by John Cleese) scared of his mansion’s ghost, villagers celebrating the harvest festival by wearing pumpkin outfits, a girl and her creepy creepy creepy aunt (voiced by Tim Curry), and more.  These strange ministories are so delightfully charming that you can’t help but watch the next episode to see what else they’ll fine.

Speaking of Alice and Wonderland, is anyone reminded of the Duchess??? Image from http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/tv_shows/over-the-garden-wall/video/lornas-chores-clip.html

The characters’ interactions with each other are the definite highlight of the show.  Wirt’s worrywart personality clashes with Greg’s wide-eyed, highly curious and overly optimistic nature.  Beatrice tries to constantly overrule Wirt and force him to do things her way and she also gets annoyed at Greg for doing things she is totally against.    Melanie Lynskey does an amazing job voicing her.

Wirt is probably the most interesting character of the three because he’s one of the best examples of an unreliable narrator I have ever seen.  I know he’s not the narrator of the story but when he describes his backstory and his interpretation of events you initially believe him because why not?  There’s little to assume that he would directly lie to the viewer.  But once you see the actual events then everything seems to click on what kind of character Wirt is.  What I like about Wirt and Beatrice is that once the series ends they have grown as characters but they have not outright lost their original identity.  They are still who they are but with a more mature outlook on life.

But let me get to my overall feelings for this show.

This post is almost exactly how I felt about the show.

This show reminded me of something yet I couldn’t figure it out.  It was so close yet so far.  A piece here, a piece there, so many things triggered this upwelling sense of Nostalgia.  It reminded me simultaneously of old Disney cartoons like the Old Mill (which debuted on November 5th) and especially of Ichabod Crane.  Even before the penultimate episode reveal it especially reminded me of Autumn.  And how appropriate given it premiered between November 3rd to November 7th.  Even the soundtrack itself has a factor of nostalgia to it that you can’t quite place.  The music is so charming that you can’t help but be moved by it.  Some of the sillier songs have this quirk to them that you can’t help but like.

The song that took me off guard was Over the Garden Wall which was sung during the frog boat episode.  This was episode 6 of the series and by then, I had already felt the marriage of uneasiness and nostalgia that was creeping on me.  But once this song came on, I was figuratively hit by a thousand bricks.  It dawned on me by then that this miniseries was something special that transcended other cartoon shows.  I now almost regret writing my Cartoon Network Renaissance article as I could have included this show with it.

I have to talk about the last episode.  I’ll have to spoil it but I encourage you to watch it yourself on iTunes before you read any more of my article.  Anyways, by the time the last episode had premiered I was ready for it.  What started off as a seemingly innocuous series had slowly broke down my critical exterior into showing me the wonder of the mysterious and haunting.  And now, finally, Wirt has grown as a person.  He has grown to accept Greg as his actual brother and care for him like he should.  He has confronted the Beast and come out better in the end.

The real show stealer though was the Woodsman voiced by Christopher Lloyd.   He was one of the few reoccurring characters in the series.  The show played me like a fiddle as I went to and fro of whether I should trust him or not.  However, his battle with the Beast was definitely a critical moment in the series.  The creators had pulled the rug from us.  It was neither Beatrice, nor Greg, nor even Wirt who defeated the Beast but the Woodsman himself.  When he snuffed the Beast’s life, it rang a bittersweet moment.

But the final ending, of Wirt and Greg’s rescue, of Wirt’s now newly founded confidence, and so forth had sealed the deal for me.  It was so moving that I could not help but cry as I saw each of the ending scenes reveal themselves to the enraptured viewer.  I still get a little emotional just thinking about it.

I hope Over the Garden Wall returns next year, and the year after that, and so forth.  This has to be an Autumn tradition.  Where a lot of our favorite seasonal cartoon specials would come by, do their merry dance of Autumn delight and disappear, waiting to reappear again the following year.

“Nostalgic,” “moving,” “Autumn.”  Those are the words that I think describes Over the Garden Wall perfectly.

 

Would You Like to Know More? 1.03 League of Legends

 

In episode 3 of Would You Like to Know More we talk about League of Legends!  We discuss what this video game is about and why it is so popular.  We investigate how balanced the game is and which characters are underpowered and which are overpowered and more!  Finally, we recommend to new players which heroes they should play in order to get familiar with the game.

 

Special guests in this episode are Cameron Atwill, Jared Barton, and Paydon Wilson.