Tag Archives: KidsWB

The Untapped Potential of the Sheep Talisman

Happy Year of the Sheep everyone!

To celebrate this New Year, let’s talk about what some may call the most useless talisman in the great cartoon series, Jackie Chan Adventures.

Finn, Jackie Chan Adventures, Talismans

“Astral Projection…Motion to the Motionless…Yin/Yang? How come I get all the loser powers?”

For those who forget, the Sheep Talisman has the powers of astral projection. Basically, the user’s spirit leaves the host body and is able to fly around unseen and infiltrate people’s dreams. The body is lifeless until the spirit returns to the body.

Now, when you compare this talisman to other, more flamboyant, talismans like Snake, Ox, Dragon, and Rabbit…it looks kind of lame. And truth be told you have the show to thank for that! The show doesn’t use the talisman to its full potential! The only time it is used is either when an episode focuses specifically on it or when all 12 talismans are featured (with one exception which I’ll get to in just a moment).

Even the other, supposedly useless talismans, were embraced more often than the Sheep Talisman. For instance, the Rat Talisman was used to revive the Lo Pei statue, Jackie when he was a puppet, and of course, Mighty Moose many times. The Tiger Talisman was even used several times on Jackie, once by Jade (correctly I might add), and even Captain Black when he was wearing an Oni Mask.

You see, one of the cool things about Jackie Chan Adventures was that it used the talismans even if they weren’t essential to the plot. They were kind of like a last resort or even a solution to a tricky problem the protagonists encountered. All talismans were vital or important in one form or another except for the Sheep Talisman.

Astral Projection, Sheep Talisman, Tohru, Hak foo, Jackie Chan Adventures

It can even be a problem from ignorant users which leads to hilarious results

But what could have they done with the Sheep Talisman? Well, several things come to mind.

One: Infiltration. You can go through walls, be invisible, fly, and be silent. No one can detect you unless they have some sort of magical or spiritual aid. Jackie and his crew could have used the talisman to learn about a crucial plan from the Dark Hand.

Two: Spiritual Possession. Shendu was able to possess Jade’s body while she was using the Sheep Talisman.   This opens up to some interesting plot concepts. Maybe there’s this lifeless object or spirit-less person that Jade or Jackie could take over and control temporary. Maybe you need that person’s fingerprint to access a super secret safe or bank? That would have been awesome.

Three: More Dream Watching. Remember that exception I was talking about earlier? Well, in the season 2 episode “Armor of the Gods,” Jade puts Uncle to sleep using a sleeping potion because he was being cranky. However, later, she needed the anti-demon potion from him to take down the Earth Demon but he was still sleeping hard, what to do? Ah ha! The Sheep Talisman! In the lone episode it was used (to the best of my knowledge), Jade uses the Sheep Talisman to infiltrate Uncle’s dream and learned how to make the potion from him.

Jackie and crew could have used the Sheep Talisman for certain missions involving dreams. Perhaps a Sandman-like villain was stealing people’s energy while they are sleeping. They could use the Sheep Talisman to hop from dream to dream and take down the Sandman villain in the surreal world of dreams. That would have been a funny episode.

It’s a shame that none of those three situations, save for that one episode, came up because that would have taken a talisman that everyone perceived to be useless and made it important. It could have been used as an infiltration tool and that would have made it awesome. Sometimes, you can’t solve your problems by using force; if you want to get ahead in life then you’ll have to be as sneaky as a sheep.

There will still be an article for next Monday but it won’t be the usual length as to accommodate for this special article.

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!

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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.

talismans

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.

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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-