spotto: (hong kong *STAAAAAARE*)
I saw some Xena gifs on my dashboard earlier and that lead to a thought about something completely different, but sort of in the same nostalgic light. My brother watched Xena a ton when it was airing and I was but a child then, but sometimes I stuck around and watched with him. I really loved Gabrielle. There is one episode I actually remember watching where Xena was being forced into this sort of torture rack with hundreds, maybe even thousands of nails lining the board, but she had such amazing body strength to not only keep herself from being punctured but managed to like punch or kick off her assailant or someone. I also remember Xena dying (or maybe she was just incapacitated, the memory is a blur) and Gabrielle had to find some sort of weird bean-like food to revive her.

Then I remember my brother playing Final Fantasy IV and he named the green summoner child after me, who was eaten at some point and I got upset, but eventually she returned as an adult to kick-ass. He also played the Sailor Moon Another Story RPG, and Sailor Moon, which is getting an awesome remake in the coming months, is an extremely nostalgic thing for me. My brother loved it to the point  that my mom knew what Anime we were watching and even bought (probably bootlegged) VHS SUBBED Sailor Moon movies for my brother. (I liked it too, but at the time I think my brother did even more) And of course of my favourite cartoon growing up was probably Powerpuff Girls.

Now the one reoccurring theme in all of that are female characters. This isn't a coincidence or anything. I'm a girl and naturally are drawn to girl characters because they should be role models to me and y'know, also being a girl should identify with them a tad more than the boys. But that wasn't always the case obviously. My brother also watched the first season of Digimon and I watched it with him every Saturday morning. More seasons of Digimon came by later (I watched the second one, but my brother did not as he only enjoyed the first) and skipped the third because it seemed really slow and boring to me (well at least now I appreciate the greatness that was Tamers P:) and then for some reason returned to Digimon in season four despite its unpopularity because holy shit sentai! I watched Power Rangers a ton as a kid too, though I was especially young when the first Mighty Morphin series aired, so I don't recall too much about it. Even today sentai is a thing I could pretty much easily get into, but its target demographic is a bit too young for me to really enjoy now. (I watched one season of that parody/meant for older-audiences Akibaranger series, but found it a bit too ridiculous and silly to continue watching the second. Maybe someday I'll pick it up!) But these two were sort of general type things, didn't have a favourite character to gravitate to, just enjoyed the concept and story. (such as this wondrous cartoon called Weekenders, but I think I've said enough of it for now P: )

And now for the other end of the gamut, introduced to me by the great medium that is VIDEO GAMES! My brother always played these girly RPGs of girly franchises like Final Fantasy and Sailor Moon, meanwhile I was beating people up in LF2 and beating people up in NHL97 and beating mushrooms up in Mario and beating...well basically I didn't really play any RPGs aside from Pokemon. A majority of these types of games have pretty much 99% male characters, what with the beating up associated more closely with the testosterone Y chromosome.  But hey me and my two guy friends and my dude cousin were all about the video games. Yes, when he played Halo on the Xbox I would watch because first-person made me dizzy. Every time I went over it was either a hockey game (to the point my uncle stormed downstairs and turned our Playstation off because it was so late...but it didn't seem like we were being loud in the first place?? My uncle's not a nice person lol) or Worms on Playstation or Gundam games (I don't remember its title!) in Playstation or...WWE on the Nintendo 64. Or my other dude friend with his N64 and always playing Mario Party and Pokemon. 

Anyway this could lead into a huge rant about why I enjoy female friendships/shippings so much these days, traced back to my years of childhood where all my guy friends were super nice and awesome and all my girl friends either told me I'd turn into a boy if I hung around boys too much, or that boys shouldn't be allowed and lock themselves in my room on my birthday while I stood outside with my crying cousin or getting into a fight with that girl because I was tired of being the one always wrong and playing the idiot male stuffed animal being the buttmonkey to her superior female stuffed animal and what was I talking about again?

Oh, Beyblade.

That's right, the first anomaly is Beyblade. It's a show with 99% guys, aimed towards boy audiences (seriously it was so shounen it wasn't funny) and had extremely poor writing in at least one of the seasons, extremely poor action scenes in one of the seasons, and extremely poor design in one of the seasons. And it was not a video game that I enjoyed with guy friends. Oh no it was a show that became my first fandom, populated with many other girls around me. So after thinking about everything beforehand and having my mind deviate to irrelevant memories like that last paragraph, I wondered to myself...why did I enjoy this show so much?

We must go to the source, that being the one episode that drew me into the series. I always cited that Max's utter adorableness in the one season two episode when he is trapped in a collapsed building with his enemy, Mariam, as the thing that started it all. Max was super cute, was super friendly, and one thing I really liked about his voice in particular is that usually an adorable little boy with hyperactive tendencies would be given a high voice, but here his voice actor was maturing and his voice was quite low. Even though it was low the acting was quite good (at least that I could tell of a dubbed show anyway) and he was still spunky and happy despite his low voice, making Max extremely unique in my eyes. Sometimes typecasting voices to certain types of characters makes them a lot more boring than they could be. After all, it's not always that someone you know also has the most fitting of voices too, right? Wouldn't that be too much of a coincidence? Max actually sounded like a young boy and not a girl voicing a boy because every young male has a high voice and they aren't still that young age when going through puberty either, amirite???

But I rarely ever mentioned the other part of this source, Mariam. When you think about the female characters in Beyblade...everything sort of falls short. The VERY first female character introduced in the show was a girl who wore complete pink, basically being the pink counterpart to Rei and not being especially original in the process. Supposedly she is meant to be the female love interest for Rei (eventually, they do get married at the end of the manga) but that has to be the least interesting love interest you could ever make for a male character....A PINK COUNTERPART to the character. Whether or not Mao/Mariah's personality was interesting at all (I don't even remember! I think she just spent all her time talking/thinking about Rei since it was his character arc and thus has nothing about her as an individual at all) it's still pretty disheartening that the first female character introduced is someone like this. (You gotta start somewhere right?) But the very next was some girl in the American team who wasn't memorable at all. She also didn't have much of a role compared to pink cat girl. And as far as I remember those were the only two of the female gender that existed in season one...sad, huh? Unless Max's mom counts. :X

So season two comes by and there is this mysterious female character in a brown cloak along with other mysterious brown cloak people. She has one line and is super mysterious but is already more interesting than every female introduced combined including this Hiromi/Hilary chick who might just be around to be Takao's love interest or something because she never picks up the sport of spinning tops at all. WHAT IS HER PURPOSE!? Just to support? A cheerleader??? Anyway the mysterious brown cloak people disappear and we instead get these friendly spinning top enthusiasts who end up using experimental cyborg wrestling animals in order to steal the main characters' wrestling animals! Oh no!! Salima had potential, but she was sadly reduced to Rei's second love interest who didn't develop much of a personality besides being really stupid. Man this arc was really stupid and these side-characters were really stupid. The only thing that was really interesting about all this is apparently, in the non-bowdlerised original, Kai's roommate at some private boarding school was also manipulated into using experimental cyborg wrestling animal, but it was so powerful he went insane and died. (I mean why else did he show up as a spirit later on when Kai was facing the same experimental cyborg wrestling animal???) Anyway even though Kai found his roommate to be an annoying fanboy, the fact that he was victimized by these evil people and he failed to protect him haunts him, and pretty phoenix feathers fly everywhere as he achieves his pained vengeance.

Oh and Max was hardcore (and really dumb) this arc, so that was cool too. But I digress, Salima ended up stupid and then bland when she was good again, another boring potential love interest for Rei (combine this with the supposedly angsty Kai episode and there's no need to wonder why Yaoi was so rampant in this fandom) and so we wait yet again for some sort of female character that was worth anything, anything at all. 

Finally the best arc in the entire series began, the Saint Shields. Is it a wonder the only female character worth anything (and I mean ONLY, not ONE OF, ONLY) was a part of this arc? Okay so Dunga was stereotypical dumb muscle, short green-haired kid had no personality besides being a rat, and Ozuma was stubborn bull horn crazy dedicated serious "COMPLETE OUR MISSION" dude, but as a whole the four of them complimented one another perfectly. It is very refreshing when the most interesting character with the most interesting development as side-character has ever and will ever see in this series, comes from the female in the group, Mariam. Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen. The reason I loved Beyblade was because by sheer chance, I happened to watch the best part of the entire series. No wonder I rant about things so much. You are drawn to something because it's so good but the rest of it is crap, like an amazing trailer that spoils everything and the stuff you actually pay for in theatres is worth jackshit.

So Max and Mariam are battling as per usual because they need to steal the wrestling animals from their owners to protect them, sort of like those Team Plasma dudes in Black and White (but not really in B2W2) but then some architect or construction worker epically failed at their job and the building came down just because a few spinning tops smashed into a few support beams. (Well as far as I can remember) Maybe that's why the building was conveniently abandoned, who knows. (I think there was some sort of machine summoning ANCIENT wrestling animal that did so, a dinosaur or something but eh, I'll still blame the planners. They should have foreseen a dinosaur wrecking the place and planned accordingly!) Miraculously our main character and side character survive because people dying can't ever be shown death in children's shows despite what happened a dozen episodes ago. But that character was very minor so no one cares. What was fascinating about this sequence of events was at the time such a thing was very foreign to my young, inexperienced eyes. Max being the shorter, nicer kid despite being the boy, and Mariam being the taller meaner kid despite being a girl. Even though I've had poor experiences with friends of the girl variety media had taught me still that girls must be nice and petite and conforming and guys must be alpha manly males that save all the damsel in distresses' days. I'm not sure why this was so emphasized in my mind considering all the shows and media I mentioned paragraphs ago that were nothing of the sort. Well some of them were of the sort, so close enough.

Anyway one thing happened that I hadn't really seen too often aside from Hey Arnold! (and that example is an extreme one, as well) and that was a girl who hates you and is your enemy and has misguided views, starting to melt in your presence because you are nice to her. They still try to hold up their bad girl image, but hey, maybe this boy isn't so bad after all because he didn't die in a collapsing building either and they worked together to find an escape and oh my god you hurt your shoulder let me bandage it up with my headband holy crap this is so cute and the character development and the amazing designs of both characters and the unique circumstance the two are in WOW! Also Mariam's wrestling animal is a shark and Max's is a turtle. A SHARK, supposedly a very badass vicious creature very few traditional females would enjoy as an animal, is MARIAM's while Max gets a cute docile little turtle (okay it's not cute or docile or little at all, but it's still a turtle) emphasizing his defensive prowess. SO DIFFERENT, SO REFRESHING! SO CUTE! SUCH FRIENDSHIP.

Hey girls? Guys aren't so bad. Hey guys? Girls aren't simply your pink counterparts.  So the end of this arc has the traditional beat each other up in the sport of spinning tops. Mariam predictably loses to Max, but learns that since Max is rather competent perhaps stealing their wrestling animals to protect said animals from evil people isn't the right way after all. Then we had that pretty awesome episode where Rei decides he don't need no wrestling animal to fight off the wrestling animals...and almost gets crushed by an abandoned roller coaster, but his tiger is too loyal to let him die so stupidly and escapes the rock itself. (This episode is also a reason all that rampant yaoi isn't so puzzling after all even though, as far as the creator's intentions were concerned, the episode is just to show off how badass Rei really is)

Ah, where was I? Now I did say this arc is the best in the entire series. For some reason the third season was rather popular among the English audience despite bombing in ratings in Japan, thus being the last season. You see every season is crippled by a significant flaw, so unfortunately there is no perfect season to point towards. The first season had linear storytelling and thus was pretty easy to develop the characters and show off the spinning tops. The story and "gameplay" as I will call it, using video games terms, was really well-done. (That being the action scenes of the spinning tops smashing into one another) but the design of the characters was atrocious, likely putting off many fans (and so I will call this the "graphics") who may have played it. Imagine season one like an NES game or an Atari game but it still had a compelling, if simple, story and really good gameplay. The gameplay will draw in the intended audience and the story keeps everything organized and coherent so no one gets confused or bored. Luckily certain characters have a rustic charm in this style, or at least don't look too crappy so it even drew in those outside of the target demographic. 

Then the second season ramped up in the story, but the story put so much emphasis on the wrestling animals that it really screwed over the gameplay, that being the action scenes. Many people who really enjoyed those scenes were put off by this season despite the graphical overhaul. For me since I am not the target audience, I don't care all too much how the spinning tops are handled so it didn't bother me too much, but the major target audience probably was so they put far less spotlight on the wrestling animals next season, that being season three. Also while the graphics improved some people did not enjoy how cartoony it looked (the sudden youth of all the characters!) but to me it looked super duper cute. :D

Finally the third season sacrificed story this time around for gameplay and graphics. 99% of the new characters had no development or were bland, and the old characters suddenly forgot their development (Kai) has no consistent characterization (Rei) for some reason went backwards in design (Max, why is his hair bleached?? What happened to his super cute colour scheme of dark blue, red, and yellow?? WHY) and people who went backwards in their development (Takao). But hey at least the spinning top part was improved. You'd think with the action scenes and the graphics being so nice more people would watch, but because the story (which is far more important in a show than a video game thus the flaw of using this analogy) was all over the place and silly that it detracted from the show itself. Every new female character had piss-poor development too, so that department was not improved on whatsoever. Sure everything looks good now but it doesn't read good and thus its poor ratings despite an audience of yaoi fangirls (that was the only audience that was still watching in Japan apparently at the time. I've no clue how they came to that conclusion either. It's still a failure because they aren't the target demographic)

And that is why I liked the show. 

Yep, this rant sure was all over the place.
spotto: (flutts)
So even though no one reads this blog as it's really just a personal blog for me to vent about meaningless things in the grand scheme of things, one thought likes to pop up in my head all the time. What if this blog did have many readers!? Instead of saying anything I wanted I had to be careful of potentially controversial opinions! Then I wondered if there were topics people would be tired of if I had an audience here, and I already know. People would tell me to shut up about Negima because holy crap, I can continue ranting on it forever. It really is less about analysing and me just spewing out senseless anger at how the ending was handled.
Filli Vanilli is starting to go down that path as well. But lately I've realized while the episode itself was alright (the Ponytones song is super catchy and Fluttershy/guy singing/Big Mac with a larger role is super cool, among some minor grievances I had with the episode) only like two minutes of the episode consisted of that damnable beast that considered itself Pinkie Pie! And suddenly my rage flares out and I wish to decimate and assault this episode with hateful word missiles and nukes! Oh look, I did it again.
It's matter how good or decent the episode was, if it fucks up my favourite character I simply cannot overlook it. Others might be able to but I can't, really I can't. Of course that episode leads me into a huge rant about Pinkie Pie herself as you may have seen in an earlier post. Then my ideas begin being rehashed because I've pretty much touched upon all her episodes multiple times in multiple ways! Why am I fine with The Last Roundup but have a problem with A Friend In Deed? That episode had a great aesop and an amazing song, but how it led up to the aesop was dumb, but at the same time the comedic value was off-the-charts! Then Pinkie ends up having rather divisive episodes and if it weren't for season four's amazing Pinkie episodes I'd be sitting here complaining even further about all this!
I mean Pinkie's episodes are usually good, but a lot of the times either Pinkie is off or her friends are. MMMMystery on the Friendship Express was both! Oh, it is very admirable that Pinkie never suspects her friends at first because they are her friends! But her friends did eat the cake and tried to get away with it...why? Because they suck that's why. No self-control, no admitting to their crimes until they're caught, no guilt. I can see why Pinkie would be so angry but to pounce and attack them, perhaps over-the-top reactions are in-character for our prancing pink pony, but whenever I see her cause physical pain to Rainbow Dash I cringe. The poor mare, what did she deserve to have her hair pulled? Okay sure she bit off a part of the cake, but for Pinkie to assume she had pink hair hidden away on her head made her very very stupid.
So basically everyone was dumb. Unless you're Twilight. Twilight is always right! Until she isn't. But that usually isn't too often. Then you go "well it's a kids show, so this type of aesop is necessary for the kids" and then I go "but these ponies are adults! It'd make more sense for a CMC episode to have this type of moral!" Even then Scootaloo probably has more self-restraint than her fellow pegasi and Rarity. Maybe such a moral would work better if the execution of such an episode wasn't so juvenile. On the other hand Scootaloo has such excellent episodes like Sleepless in Ponyville and Flight to the Finish, so if a little filly has better, more mature episodes than you something is wrong. Again AND luckily, Pinkie has the power of amazing showtunes (A Friend in Deed), popular guest-stars (Pinkie Pride) and infamy itself (Party of One) to chug her characterization along. 
Fuck, I'm doing it AGAIN. Goddamnit. Well, to fix this problem let's talk about a topic I HAVE done so before, but not to death yet. That's right, the horse lives on!
More Reasons why Weekenders is superior to Recess
Why am I still talking about this? I dunno.
But Recess was the one that got the movie. Recess got the better timeslot in comparison to Weekenders. Recess.
Recess is fifteen fucking minutes. Lunch was way more preferable because you had like half-an-hour to do anything. Sure it takes up some time eating, but you're still hanging out with friends and doing no work at the same time. Plus who doesn't like eating!? I LOVE EATING! Food is great! Recess is fifteen minutes of attempting the jungle gym or the monkey bars and skinning your knee in the process. I still remember that fateful day I went to the nurse's office. Lunch? I'D BE EATING FOOD, ENJOYING MY NUTELLA SANDWICH instead of injuring my poreclain kneecaps!
Recess? Pft. I recall crying under the oversized rather dangerous slide after hitting my head. I recall the teachers segregating the big kids from the small kids, and basically this area of the schoolgrounds was where the older kids were allowed to go, but no little kids could come. THE ADULTS did this. It wasn't some hangout only the super awesome children could be at simply because the super awesome children were always there and denying entrance to anyone beneath them, themselves, the adults did it!
So there's this Disney show on TV glorifying all that is recess. The playround monitor was this evil old woman who hated children. Our main characters were all these kids representing each stereotype. You have our hero, wearing his hat backwards because he's the super cool rebellious leader. His almost as equally awesome jock friend and their other friends the nerd, the tomboy, the dweeb, and the sensitive poet guy. I liked sensitive poet guy. He was the only decent character.
But even if the main characters had some sort of depth, the side characters were all cardboard-cutout caricatures. There's the upside-down girl on the bars. Every recess she is always there, being upside-down. Then you have the diggers with actual shovels and hard-hats. Now unless they were constantly playing in the sandbox like toddlers there was no reason for digging people to actually exist. If I brought a shovel to my elementary school and started digging holes like nobody's business I'd be dragged to the principal's office faster than I can unearth a shovel of dirt! Then you had an actual king and your stereotypical asshole prep girls.
These stereotypical asshole prep girls were so similar and had no distinction whatsoever that they all shared the same name. This is probably what infuriated me the most about this show because I ALSO share this name. Not only do I despise my name because of how common it is, a popular kids show spells out how completely common it really is and then assigns the name to a bunch of complete douchebags! Then, to drive the point further the tomboy girl secretly also shares the name but hates it so much she uses her last name!
What does that teach the impressionable children, Disney!? MY NAME IS EVIL!!!
And it is this show that gets the movie, this show that gets the better timeslot over the intelligent show, the Weekenders.
And I know why the Weekenders wasn't as successful despite its clever and witty writing. The character design isn't one to be fancied about. Everyone has big large weirdly shaped heads and their eyes are tiny and far apart. They even lampshade it multiple times in the show itself. It's too bad they couldn't have perfect facial and head proportions so they'd look like absolutely everyone else like that one movie Disney released recently about some snow queen princess person and her sister or whatever. The adults in this show weren't useless at all and the children often confided in them for advice. 
But that is very uncool to kids. TALKING TO ADULTS!? Why would we do that!? Instead the kids should always be the ones who solve the problems themselves and adults are actually useless as hell and somehow function in society despite all that! Kids should become horribly rebellious because not listening to authority is the coolest thing to do! In reference to the caricatures of Recess, a particular (and very good episode) brings this up. Tish, the resident smart girl gets a B. Now usually if some really smart kid ends up getting a lower-than-average grade, they usually freak out when in reality there is no reason to really freak out. It's okay to get a B. It's a B! That's still above average! And it only happened once! However Tish didn't care, but EVERYONE else cared because they were like "IF YOU GET A B, You can't be the BRAIN! You have to be some other stereotype!!" And then they try getting her to adopt some other personality and character.
The aesop? People are three-dimensional and cannot be defined by one aspect of their selves! THIS IS GOOD! The main character isn't some super-cool rebellious leader kid! He's paranoid, neurotic, sarcastic, intelligent and hilarious! I love Tino and wish more main characters in kids media were like him. All these male characters these days have to be badass and perfect and super hot-blooded and stupid or dumb or something else stereotypical. Also all of their names are pretty uncommon so I don't run into that horrific problem Recess had. Plus they all had a great amount of diversity. Only one of them celebrates Christmas! You have ambiguious Eastern European heritage and a fucking pagan! Like holy crap!  
And you know maybe a reason I liked this show so much was because it didn't deal with school at all. Oh sure there are a few plots that might bring up or directly deal with school projects or what have you, but it just deals with their freetime which is A LOT LONGER than fifteen minutes, during the weekend! The kids sense of entertainment is playing pool and games as the arcade, or sampling foreign food at the museum. This is the same stuff I would find rather fun to do because I played pool a lot as a kid and enjoyed video games. Sampling food and going to museums (assuming I am interested in the exhibits) is also something I am not privy to doing. The kids were also very normal in social status. They ran into bullying occasionally but they weren't on the bottom of the social ladder or anything; they were usually just left alone. It's not like their portrayal of the "cool kids" was particularly impressive. (usually there are more than two cool kids and that one episode where one was struck down, usually there isn't a loner cool kid...I'm just saying)
Though I did like how they portrayed the "popular" kids, where the one girl they interacted with was a complete douchebag, but the episode implied she was really the only douchebag of her clique. "They didn't get me a present for Flag Day!" Well of course they didn't you ungrateful bitch, it's just Flag Day. Her friends seemed very down-to-earth and normal from what we were shown of them even though they had like zero lines. What does this mean? That just because people are popular doesn't mean they must be complete utter assholes. 
But not only did they not have to deal with stereotypical school/high-school problems, the show really focused a lot on literally every episode. It wasn't the whole lot of them trying to overcome the evil adults or fight against some horrible bully, or defeat a tyrannical teacher, no the kids were trying to deal with their own issues within the group. Sometimes there were other plots at play, like say the career aptitude test episode or something like that, but a lot of it was friendship. The standard jealousy episode, or the two having a fight, or Jennifer Love Hewitt appearing out of nowhere. It was great!
I think the characters too, were fully fleshed out and very believable. One episode Tish was speaking like an old TV's detective because she had marathoned the show the night before or something. THIS IS WHAT PEOPLE DO! Or at least nerds do! No show portrays nerds properly at all! They just go "ha ha ha he said something smart or something specific to some really obscure hobby so we laugh!" (I'm looking at you Big Bang Theory! D<) The joke isn't Tish loves detective cop movies or whatever and it's a big part of a character, it was just written in for an episode because they could. Because people do that. They might, and it would be a one time thing, do something for that day because they were influenced by something. Like how we all talk like pirates on Talk Like a Pirate Day because it's a day about pirates. YA DIG!?
I'm sorry. The Weekenders is just so underrated in comparison to a show that really peeved me off. I heard the teacher character in Recess was really hilariously progresive though. (Like she was passing out history textbooks, but remarked that history is written by winners, so minorities get very little representation and the textbooks are likely inaccurate in some fashion or another in the process) Such a remark would fly over all the children's heads. So inevitably something about Recess must be smart or interesting, but all the things I pointed out pissed me off too much to really find the show all that entertaining. 
Now both these shows no longer air. In the context of modern children's shows, I really only know of MLP. I know there are plenty of wonderful kids show existing today like Adventure Time and Gravity Falls, but I think one reason (besides the cute ponies themselves) that draws me so much to MLP is in its title "Friendship is Magic". No kids show since Weekenders has really touched upon friendship all that much that I have watched anyway. So whenever MLP touches upon friendship as a theme it is extra special to me. I don't mean in episode one and two where friendship is a rainbow beam of death that can reform or turn ponies to stone, but episodes that deal with the issue in a realistic context. Ticket Master is a largely forgettable episode; hell, I usually forget it, but runs with the age-old formula of not having enough tickets to invite all your friends, so you have to choose a few out of your group and suddenly all your friends do favours for you so they can be chosen to go to wherever it is you have tickets to.
The Weekenders also had this concept. A large reason I cared little for the episode in MLP was because it reminded me very much of that one episode in The Weekenders. In hindsight I think how both shows handled that conflict had good and bad points. Tino got so frustrated by his friends and people outside of his group giving favours he just flung the tickets at them instead and didn't take any for himself. But his friends were like "oh shit we're being inconsiderable pricks" and bring the tickets back to him. I especially liked how Tino ended up actually choosing, just by seeing who had a poster of the band of the concert they were going to. Instead of choosing someone because "hurr I like you better than my other friends" he had a pretty smart of way of deciding.
What I liked about the episode in MLP? Well, it was the start of season one's prevailing arc and is still, even if the keys in season four or the Equestria Games episodes have yet to be concluded, the best prevailing arc they'e done. So they couldn't simply just bring one or two ponies, all of them had to go for a few other episodes to even work. In the Weekenders, the concert was wrapped up in its own episode. I suppose this gives MLP the excuse so that they did all get to go, but I think that all whole is a cop out.
Tino ends up taking all his friends to the concert because his tickets were passes and not tickets, so it was all a misunderstanding. Twilight and co. went because the hostess of the party is the goddess princess of the land and can do whatever the hell she wants including purposely sending fewer tickets than needed to force a friendship lesson on Twilight--er I mean, can allow as many people as Twilight wants to go to the Gala. Either way solving the conflict by allowing everyone to go anyway seems far too optimistic for my liking, but optimistic outcomes are to be expected in children's shows so I'm just nitpicking.
Unfortunately even a show called Friendship is Magic is not always themed around friendship. Let's see, 3 was friendship, 4 was stubbornness, 5 was friendship, 6 was showboating, 7 was fears, 8 was friendship, 9 was racism, 10 was...Pinkie, 11 was organization, 12 was self-identity, 13 was sportsmanship, 14 was shitty clients, 15 was creationism, 16 was confidence, 17 was biting more than you can chew, 18 was self-identity, 19 was underestimation, 20 was secrets/jealousy...well a few of those can also be considered friendship but a majority of the first 20 simply aren't. So...hmmm. Not that the Weekenders touched on friendship all the time either, but I love that theme and always want to see more of it!
Anyway this rant is not in any way properly organized at all, so here's an impromptu MLP song ranking list!
1. Apples to the Core
2. Apples to the Core
4. Apples to the Core
5. Apples to the Core (reprise)
6. So Many Wonders 
7. Smile Smile Smile
8. A True, True Friend
9. This Day Aria
10. What My Cutie Mark is Telling Me
11. Becoming Popular 
12. Bats
13. The only good song in Equestria Girls, you know the one
14. Find the Music in You (Ponytones)
15. Any other song Fluttershy sings 
16. The rest
ok the music in this show isn't so clear-cut that I can rank them all properly so yeh
97. every other season four song
98. Raise this Barn
99. Generosity
And here are my favourite singers in order!
1. Pinkie Pie
2. Pinkie Pie
3. More Pinkie songs please, I don't care if she already sings most of them
4. Rarity
5. Pinkie Pie
6. Apple Bloom
7. Applejack
8. Rainbow Dash, but it depends on the song (At the Gala RD solo is really good, everything else RD is meh)
9. Fluttershy lol
10. Twilight
Ideally some sort of duet with Pinkie and Rarity, with Apple Bloom on harmonic vocals and then RD getting a tiny solo somewhere. I have no idea what context this song would come about. 
Wait one more thing about The Weekenders. I never understood why that show never aired on the weekends and only aired before, the weekend is usually anticipated at the end of the week, so its timeslot was very, very nonsensical. I do not understand Disney. I hate you Disney.
Yeah that's it bye. 'been Spotto or something.
spotto: (Default)
warning: original Japanese and dub names interchanged because I watch both and can't decide on a name

It seems the problem with Frontier is that the writers had plans for Takuya, Kouji, and Kouichi, then realized they needed more characters because the season didn't have Digimon to step-in as their partners, and thus be potential candidates (or at least bounce off of) to develop. So they decided to add some kids that weren't your standard noodle boy, that being the overweight kid, the female kid, and the younger kid. Unfortunately since they had no plans, it felt like they just did whatever they wanted for them, saw that their arcs didn't work, and so eventually gave up and made it the Takuya and Kouji show. 
Of course, when I read reviews that also assume the writers simply stretched out parts of the season to even make that 50 barrier, they probably didn't have enough story in the first place either, which adds a little credibility to my theory. It's the opposite of the 02 problem which has a million characters good and bad, with a million plot points that all lost its bearings and as a result, ended with plotholes galore. 
This is rather disappointing because Frontier had the least amount of characters to develop to date. Adventure started out with fourteen characters in the very first episode, introduced all at once with constant stat screens. Four seasons later and they decided to devote a good six or seven episodes to Takuya and Kouji losing horribly to two random Royal Knights. 
What's even more irritating is how easy it could've been to mitigate those problems. You wouldn't need to stretch out a bunch of Royal Knight episodes if the other four just had their own Fusion/Double Spirit Evolutions as well. There's no need for everyone to turn burst mode or bio-merge or whatever, but there's absolutely zero reason for the other kids to not have the fusion evolution at least. So as the other four get those evolutions, there's four episodes you don't have to devote to the Royal Knights pummelling our heroes anti-climatically and destroying more parts of the Digital World.  Episode Forty where Tomoki confronts his bullies could've been a fine episode for him to fusion evolve, except maybe his penguin form might cause a laughing stock considering he deliberately avoided using his human spirit unlike everyone else. Obviously this episode should take place earlier in the season, say before the main duo get their unity evolutions or whatever they were called.
Have everyone in a fusion-form finish off Cherubimon, and then the unity evolutions where the less important kids give up their spirits cause the demise of the Royal Knights instead. Then they would fight Lucemon for a few episodes, fail, Kouichi dies, and then Susanoomon shows up with every remaining kid fused instead of just goggle boy and loner kid. At least even if there are a few annoying episodes where the Royal Knights destroy them, it'd be all of them as a team instead of a few of them sitting on the sidelines trying to chuck snowballs at them.
I'm not here to just harp on Frontier however, considering it's probably my favourite season subjectively thanks to nostalgia and my love of the whole sentai theme with animal-themed armour. (Wild Force was my favourite Power Rangers season!) They're only third (or second considering I tie Adventure/Tamers) but they're second because of this nostalgia. In my brain I should know better, but in my heart, Frontier is there to stay. There's a lot of issues Frontier covers that other seasons don't seem to touch on as much. Bullying for example was something I strongly identified with, so seeing Tomoki being so heroic to those bastard kids in the aforementioned episode forty ended up being one of my favourite episodes. The kid actually does become a better person in this season, so he's pretty much my favourite kid of the entire franchise. (Yes, more than TK and Kari!) He's up there with Ikuto, who is probably second.
As for Zoe/Izumi...let me start by saying, as a kid, I never actually noticed her very skimpy/fanservicey outfits as Digimon. No seriously, I didn't notice how much skin Kazemon and Zephyrmon were showing at all. It didn't really bother me, or look like anything out of the norm. I thought Kazemon was cool because she had that same visor thingy the angels and my personal favourite Digimon of all time, Silphymon had. So I thought she was in the same league as them despite being pretty terrible at fighting. Zephyrmon looked like a cool ninja lady, which was rare for me at the time as most ninja people were men. I was really, really high on the episode she received the beast spirit because for once, the girl was the one that had to be depended on as the guys were helpless, and Zoe did not have any trouble controlling her beast form at all. 
Looking back, Izumi is not really the paragon of Digimon females, but somehow she worked for me as a kid, so I actually see her as one of my favourite Digimon characters and yes, that is sort of sad. She was better than Sora in my opinion and despite Mimi's impressive development, my patience for her whining in Adventure was a minimum. Yolei was very...eccentric, and while Rika is considered to be the best female character Digimon has to date, I'm never really fond of the cold and stoic standoff-ish character. So that left me with Izumi and still leaves me with Izumi because Yoshino is terrible.
Which again, is sort of sad.
Oh I forgot about Hikari...never cared for her. Gatomon was cool though!
Overall I did not generally like Digimon for female characters or as role models, and objectively they really only had one, arguably two awesome girls in the franchise. (What is Xros Wars?) But they do need to be somewhat competent at least if they're not going to have a lot of depth or importance. Even if characters are not the biggest part of Digimon for me (this includes the guys, yes) they still needed to be likeable for the season to be strong. Unfortunately I did not enjoy Savers whatsoever for the very reason that none of the characters, save sometimes Ikuto, did anything for me.
As I said before, cold and stoic does not do, ruling out Touma. If only that one episode where he was utterly ridiculous in his suit trying to impress Masaru's sister was more frequent. Yoshino is terrible and Masaru is fine for a boy growing up and seeing this badass teenager punch giant demons in the face, but not for me. I never thought Digimon would really ever have such a character in its franchise. It always had its share of idiot heroes, but never a guy so hot-blooded that his mantra to life was fist-fighting every punk out there and bonding with his Digimon in the exact same way. Digimon was always about necessary fighting, not eager blood-knight fighting. He was too shounen for me, which I find kind of odd because Savers was advertised as being targeted to an older audience, instead it ended up being the opposite of Tamers.
Tamers was supposedly targeted to kids, but as a child I completely skipped the season finding it slow and dull. As an adult I now appreciate its wondrous storytelling and three-dimensional characters. Savers I had assumed would also be something like that, but ended up feeling like a terribly-dubbed kids anime on the Disney Channel, and this was me watching the original Japanese. Yoshino may have ended up as just a bland female instead of downright terrible had her voice-acting not been the worst performance I've ever heard in any form of media ever, which was highly discouraging considering I used to think of Japanese voice-acting as a very professional and talented field of work. 
Considering Ikuto did not show up until at least fourteen episodes into the season, and started actually showing depth instead of his overdone "humans-are-evil" shtick halfway through the series, Savers was agonizing to go through. Luckily there were some decent side-characters, including the badass Mercurimon and that ferret Satsuma had. One reason Silphymon ended up being my favourite Digimon ever was due to Hawkmon (but Gatomon being awesome helps too) and how he did not have to have matching genders with his partner. I thought it happened again, except the Digimon this time being a female and thus a female character I could fall back on every time Yoshino opened her mouth, but it turns out it was just a very feminine-sounding male. I had never been so disappointed in Digimon.
Sure it had those two expies of the Hypnos girls, but I never had much thought on the Hypnos girls themselves so why would I care about the ones here now? We can't even assume their Digimon are of the other gender, except maybe because KnightChessmon looks like a robust male. Then again, the Piyomon this season is a brightly pink bird who happened to be male this time and was partnered with Masaru's sister, who was alright. But what does that mean for Yoshino? That not only is she the token girl, her Digimon is even more of a token girl!? And had Yoshino not had such an inexperienced voice-actor, Lalamon would be in the spotlight for worst female ever. What the hell did she do besides be useless and then be fanservice?
And yes, it was pretty easy to notice her fanservice. Even my oblivious child-self could not ignore the wiggling ass during Rosemon's evolution. What the fuck happened, Digimon!? WHY!? It's almost like the target demographic for this season was strictly male teenagers...and suddenly everything makes so much more sense.
I could complain about Masaru's near-invincible father or how flat and stereotypical BanchoLeomon ended up being, but I'll end with something usually considered Savers' strength. Don't get me wrong, Kurata was a despicable shit, but he pretty much ended up being the entire cause of literally everything bad in the season. Ikuto's parents are dead!? KURATA!! Masaru's dad is lost!? KURATA!! The Digimon want to kill us all? KURATA!! Touma's sister is sick and there's no cure? KURATA!! Isn't there a sole problem in this entire series that can't be traced back to Kurata? I guess he technically didn't invent or pass on whatever made Touma's sister sick. Touma's the only one whose individual angst can't really be traced back to Kurata, but he meddles with him anyway. Yoshino has no angst, or whatever that piano sibling stuff that came out of nowhere and disappeared just as fast was supposed to be. It's hard to feel sorry for her when she's the only one whose family never appears at all, and said sisters never really step into her life to give her actual angst. It's hard to feel sorry for her feeling inadequate around everyone else when she's inadequate around everyone else for ninety percent of the season. And when they had other chances to give us something to work with, they never do. Everyone gets Ultimate at the same time and she ends up sharing with Ikuto for burst mode, telling us nothing new or interesting at all. Writers, WHY DOES SHE EXIST!? 
See, this wouldn't be a problem (except Yoshino, she will always be a problem) if Savers wasn't supposedly aimed at an older audience. If the conflict can all be traced to a single source, and it ends up being an irredeemable power-hungry psychopath, it paints everything very black and white. If Kurata did not exist, everything will be a-okay! Or maybe he's so unbelievably outrageously reprehensible that other shady people/Digimon can't possibly make a splash. Either way, every problem leading back to a single extremely evil dude makes the show feel more like a kids show and less like a show supposedly aimed at an older audience.
I almost wished I watched the dub instead so the atmosphere of the story would be more fitting. The dub cut a bunch of the darker aspects and actually directed the season for kids. Also Yoshino's voice actress is probably infinitely more superior and so she could be more tolerable, or at least ignorable. They probably didn't utilize a very one-dimensional high-pitched voice for Lalamon, but I guess there really was no point for a different voice considering Lalamon was so one-dimensional. Every season's strongest point is when the sixth ranger character is developed and slowly brought into the party. For Savers, it was its only watch-able arc. I guess that's what a lot of people say about Frontier, but at least Frontier had a respectable, awesome ending and not that bullshit Savers had.

Digimon is a great franchise, but I hope Xros Hunters is its end at least on the Anime front. There's too many ups and downs and discrepancies for anything truly great to rise back from the ashes once again. Besides the end of Hunters apparently had the goggle (and not goggle) boy of every season returning to help out the heroes, and then be a power source for ultimate back-scratcher Excalibur! They shafted Frontier again by never showing the super awesome EmperorGreymon. He could've appeared by already having taken the spirits from half his friends before he got there, and then Kouji could actually show up to combine with him for Susanoomon. (It never would've made a difference for other cameos since everyone else doesn't show up anyway) Instead Kouji ends up being the only lancer kid involved in a fusion that never shows up. What a damn shame and no, a glowing ball does not count. (Kouichi also appears to be dead, so take that as you will...especially when Grani comes back to life for Dukemon but then leaves before the final episode making Crimson Mode literally pure fanservice...) Having Aldamon not even scratch the enemy is rather embarrassing. Are they secretly implying that yes, it was a terrible season? Bleh.  

But yeah, Digimon. This will probably be my last rant on anything Digimon related...unless I somehow get coaxed into watching Xros Wars. It'd just be further ranting! So...yeah. 
spotto: (koi)
As the only girl who wore pants to her graduation in seventh grade, you'll be surprised to know I watch such "girly" cartoons as Powerpuff Girls, Sailor Moon, and My Little Pony. Except I don't see any of those shows as girly whatsoever, since every single one of them somehow has a large male demographic anyway! I too do not see stuff like Negima or Touhou as girly either, with its demographic being mostly male, so...

So what is this post supposed to be? Well, I am now going to discuss a show I actually regard as girly...under this lovely cut!
Read more... )
spotto: (Sooooolo)
I am twenty days late, despite that I still wish to write this blog post, since I somehow somehow just learned of this news now.

Brian Jacques passed away on February 5th.

Some of you might be wondering who he was, well, he was the author of Redwall. Now as a child I never liked to read, and well, right now reading isn't one of my hobbies, but the reason I started to write and read anything was because of his novels. The whimisical talking animals that defended their abbey, defended their mountain against the scourge, the wicked rats and stoats that would threaten the safety of the peaceful creatures every book. I loved the accents of each animal, and the clever foxes that donned many of the books. Even though I haven't picked up one of his novels in quite a while, I still have my favourite: Martin the Warrior, a copy I own myself. Surely the most influential published piece of literature of my childhood.

Rest in peace Mr. Jacques.


Dec. 13th, 2010 05:10 am
spotto: (Sims - Awesome :D)
So I just realized that due to my accent, whenever I say "dude" I actually say "dood".

Yeah it took that long to realize.

I bet you can never guess what I'm ranting today )
spotto: (Sims - Awesome :D)
The PPG season three review is delayed because Firefox crashed during the typing of the review. In place of that, enjoy something a little different, but at the same time nostalgic as well! I've been typing up about it lately on this LJ anyway.

Do not be scared, for Maxman is here! )


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