Saturday, August 31, 2013

A look back at the characters from Avatar the Last Airbender: Part 3 Supporting Characters

As I said during the initial retrospective, Avatar the Last Airbender even makes the side characters memorable. Since there are so many, I'm going to just cover three of my favorites.

Cabbage Guy:
My cabbages!
Come on, you guys all knew I'd mention him at some point. Though he wasn't a major side character, he was still memorable. Mostly used for comic relief, he also served as an interesting way to somewhat foreshadow impending events. While he never actually participated in any fights, the guy shows up wherever there was going to be a major or climactic arc. The dude has some of the worst luck I've ever seen. Not matter where he goes, the Aang and the others are always there to mess up his stuff. The dude just can't catch a break.

King Bumi:
Possibly the only surviving friend Aang had before he was frozen. The mad king of Omashu. This dude is hands down my favorite side character in the show. The dude is the ultimate personification of the crazy old man stereotype. But don't let his looks fool you, he is a powerful earthbender. While he may look old and frail but he can still mess people up.
It was sweet knowing that Aang hadn't lost everything. From his creative approaches to problems to his bending prowess, this crazy old man is all kinds of awesome.

Uncle Iroh:
Zuko's uncle and the Fire Lord's brother. He treated Zuko like a son and even went into exile with him to help him hunt for the avatar. A powerful firebender. He is known as the Dragon of the West, a name he earned by supposedly slaying the last dragon in existance. A funny and sweet old man. He carries the comic relief along with Sokka.  Like his brother and Azula, he is powerful enough to lightning bend and he even created a technique to redirect lightning by studying the movements of waterbenders. He is the entire reason Zuko made the choice to side with Aang. He lost his son when he tried to invade Ba Sing Sei before the beginning of the series and one of the saddest scenes in the series as a whole is when you see him in Ba Sing Sei visiting his son's grave on his son's birthday. Seeing Zuko turning against him was almost heart-breaking for me.

Order of the White Lotus:

The Order of the White Lotus is basically a group of old warriors spanning across the four nations who seek everlasting peace in the world. Though they don't appear until season 3. The most prominent members are Jeong Jeong, Iroh, Bumi, Pakku, and Piandao. All of them are masters of their specific art and Aang and his friends met each of them on their journey. Since some of them don't have much backstory, I'll list a bit about them and their introductions in the series.
left to right: Jeong Jeong, Bumi, Iroh (center), Pakku, and Piandao
Jeong Jeong: A former Fire Nation general he trained general Zhao. He became a wanted man in the Fire Nation after jumping ship and leaving the Fire Nation army.

Bumi: The mad king of Omashu (I've already talked about him so I won't repeat myself).

Uncle Iroh: The Dragon of the West (again I've already talked about him).

Pakku: The greatest waterbending master in the Northern Water Tribe.

Piandao: A great swordsman and the one who taught Sokka the way of the sword.

A look back at the characters from Avatar the Last Airbender: Part 2 The Villains

What good are heroes without great villains for them to play off of? Time to dive right into the villains from the show. The most prominent villains Team Avatar fights is the Fire Nation Trio: Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai. While the show has a few recurring villains, I'm only going to cover the major ones.

Zuko's sister and apparently a firebending prodigy. She and her friends Ty Lee and Mai have been dubbed the Fire Nation trio by the fans. Azula is, for lack of a better term, psychotic. From start to finish she was insane even during her initial introduction, you could tell that some wasn't quite right about her. She is evil, cold, cruel, and manipulating. Unlike most firebenders her flames burn blue instead of orange. This is likely due to her ruthlessness and would explain why even though her father is stronger, his flames don't burn as hot as hers. In order to prove her ruthlessness in season 3, her response to the idea of facing down possible Earth Kingdom rebellions should the Fire Nation take over was to incinerate the entirety of the Earth Kingdom. She is also one of the few firebenders who can bend lightning. In season 3 her sanity completely fractures, she begins to see hallucinations of her mother, and suffers a complete mental breakdown.
o_o Take whatever you want! Just don't hurt me Azula!
I actually pitied her in the end. If you thought she was scary before she became completely unhinged, she becomes downright terrifying after she snaps. She is a great driving force for Zuko's overall growth throughout the series. Despite her overly apparent insanity when she was first introduced, her friends were strangely loyal to her.

Ty Lee:
Chi blocking...thats gotta hurt like hell!
A circus performer and childhood friend of Azula. She is pretty much the complete opposite of Azula personality-wise. While she isn't a bender she has excellent hand-to-hand combat and acrobatic skills. She is the girliest out of the Fire Nation trio and always as a cheerful attitude to her. Despite not being a bender she is more than capable of holding her own in a fight with benders. She can temporarily render their bending useless and even immobilize them by striking certain pressure points. While she can be annoyingly obedient to Azula at times (even during Azula's psychotic moments), she does show that she has a mind of her own at some points, such as when she immobilized Azula during the Boiling Rock prison break before she could kill Mai.

If Ty Lee is the complete opposite of Azula, then Mai would be middle point of the group personality-wise. She is by no means cheerful, and doesn't usually show a lot of emotion except when Zuko is involved. She plays her role nicely enough and I found her love story with Zuko sweet. Like Ty Lee, she is not a bender, but she is extremely agile and an excellent marksman. She uses mostly throwing knives when she fights. Like Ty Lee, she can be a little overly loyal to Azula but finally she decided to save Zuko at the Boiling Rock prison breakout thus choosing to abandon Azula.

Fire Lord Ozai:
The father of Azula and Zuko. The show did an decent job of showing how powerful he was going to be even if you didn't even hear his voice until the very end of season one. You don't even actually see him until somewhere around the middle of season two or the beginning of season three. We don't get much from him other than the usual "powerful bad guy that wants to take over the world" vibe. His entire reasoning for doing so is that Fire Nation is the greatest of the four nations and must "share" its prosperity with the world via military force. After hearing about Zuko's numerous failures to capture the avatar, he assigned Azula to the task, thus beginning Zuko's long arc of development.

A look back at the characters from Avatar the Last Airbender: Part 1 The Heroes

Since I didn't want the original retrospective too run too long, I barely glanced over the characters. Well lets jump right into it starting with the heroes. I may have some difficulty putting the characters into words so please bear with me.

Aang is the avatar. Despite having the weight of the world on his shoulders in the beginning, he was originally more concerned with what ever kid wants to do: Have fun. Its rather heart-breaking when you first think about it. Here you have this kid whose lost everything, everyone he ever knew is likely dead, and its all because he has this grand destiny forced upon him. His journey from a kid to a hero is really one of my favorites. He is normally the one to try and keep the peace among his friends and also tries to resolve disputes in the villages they visit on their journey, both due to his role as Avatar and his upbringing as an Air Nomad. Those two roles complement his fun-loving personality very well. His dilemma at the end of the series was really well done. He had to choose whether he should kill Ozai or stick to his principles.

A waterbender. She and Sokka found Aang frozen in the glacier. She has no formal training as a waterbender and had to learn a lot of it on her own. Kind-hearted and caring though she doesn't react well to even the slightest betrayal. She also occassionally acts as a semi-mother figure to the others and is the most cautious. During their journey she found a semi-training partner in Aang while she taught him the basics of  waterbending. Her character arc near the end of season one is one of my favorites both due to the lesson it teaches and because you get to see how much her bending skills have grown. Originally, her dedication for her training went slightly overboard when she stole a waterbending tutorial scroll from a group of pirates who then went after her and Aang.

A non-bender. He is Katara's older brother and he helps carry alot of the comic relief in this series. Out of Team Avatar, I'd have to say he is my favorite since you get to see just how much he has changed and grown as a warrior throughout the series. My favorite scene with him is when he essentially gets intoxicated from drinking cactus juice in the Earth Kingdom desert. At the beginning, even his fights were mostly for comic relief which really pointed out his lack of skill due to him being neither a bender or a trained warrior. That changes when they arrive at Kyoshi Island and Suki teaches him the basics of hand-to-hand combat thus beginning his journey down the path of the warrior culminating with him becoming a master swordsman in season 3. He is very creative and has a great mind for strategy in the later seasons.

Toph Beifong:
The blind Earthbending prodigy and a fan favorite character. Despite being blind since he was born, she found away to "see" in a sense by feeling vibrations with her feet which is why she can respond to attacks with such speed. She can also apply this ability to feel people's heart-rate to tell if they are lying, though that trick doesn't work on people like Azula. She learned to the purest form of earthbending from the Badger Moles. Because she was blind, her family wanted her to just stick to the most basic moves but she began practicing in secret from her family and using her skills to compete in underground earthbending tournaments as "The Blind Bandit". She is rather tomboy-ish and reckless which sometimes puts her at odds with Katara. She is even able to bend metal by targeting the earth-based impurities in the metal.
Toph discovering how to metalbend
She is my third favorite out of the heroes just because of how outrageous and powerful she is. Interestingly enough, she is the only character in the show to get a last name.

The disgraced Fire Nation prince and arguably the hero with the most growth. While he originally wanted to capture the avatar to restore his honor and win his father's love and respect, he did free the Aang from the Fire Nation's clutches on more than one occasion in the first two season. Drama-wise, he has the best character arc of the heroes. This is due mostly to his inferiority complex when he is around his sister. His internal struggle is one of most realistic I've seen so far.
The blue dragon symbolizes Azula's influence,
 while the red dragon symbolizes Iroh's influence urging him to choose his own path
Constantly being torn between his perceived need to earn his father's approval or choosing his own path. All the while unknowingly being manipulated by his sister Azula. His Uncle Iroh is actually the tipping point for his decision. His dilemma was by far the most nail-biting and I didn't know if he'd side with his father or not.

Suki is going to be a little more difficult for me to put into words since she didn't get a lot of developement so I don't have much of an opinion on her. She is leader of the Kyoshi warriors and like Sokka she isn't a bender. Despite not being a bender, she is a master of hand-to-hand combat and for the most part can hold her own with Ty Lee or Azula. She showed up sparingly throughout the series and didn't get much development until after the Boiling Rock prison breakout. She was the one who taught Sokka the basics of hand-to-hand combat.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Volt : one of the most interesting villain group ever in sentai

From left to right ; Gash, Gou Omura/Dr Obler, Great Professor Bias, Dr Kemp/ Kenji Tsukigata, Dr Mazenda/ Rui Senda

Liveman has one of the most powerful main stories in Super Sentai history: the heroes are three students of a Science Academy where only the most brilliant people are able to attend. Two years before, three fellow students who were the heroes's friends, fled the academy to go in a mysterious spaceship, after killing two of the heroes's best friends. Two years later, the Academy is attacked and almoqt everyone is killed, and it's revealed that the people behind the bloodbath are none other than the three students who fled two years before, and have joined Volt, a mysterious organization which aims to take over the world. The heroes, who wanted to avenge their comrades, and had anticipated such a confrontation, have trained themselves, creating special combat suits and building mechas to become a fighting team, the Liveman. The story follows the Liveman's fight against Volt, and their former friends who became their mortal enemies.

One of the reasons Liveman is so powerful is because the enemies and the heroes have a strong history between them, know each other, and as such, the fight is much more personal. But, even more important, the Volt members are really interesting because of their interactions with each other, and their motivation in their action.

Let's start analysing the Volt group :

1) The main trio : Dr Kemp/ Kenji Tsukigata, Dr Mazenda/ Rui Senda and Dr Oblar/ Gou Omura

Those three were formerly the heroes's friends and fellow students, but they became corrupted into joining Volt, and became cruel and ruthless cold blood killers who would stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Rather than talking about each one of them separately, I'm gonna talk about the three main components of their personality which played the most important role in their decision to join Volt

a) Pride/Arrogance
Kenji, Rui and Gou knew they were some of the most brilliant people on Earth, since they were able to study in the very prestigious Science Academy where only the best could be. As a result, they had a very high opinion of themselves and pretty looked down upon people not as talented as them. As a result, because of that great pride, it wouldn't be very difficult for them to see themselves as the only people worthy of being on Earth, because people who were not as smart as them are worthless in their eyes. When Bias sent them the test to join Volt, he knew that he just needed to take advantage of that pride to make them join him, since he was only selected the best ones: being able to join Volt was the ultimate evidence for Kenji, Rui and Gou that they were the best.
While all three of them were arrogant, Kenji/ Kemp is probably the most arrogant of them, as he always talk to people, even his fellow Volt memebers, as if he were superior to them. Even younger, Kenji had such an high opinion of himself that he didn't feel he needed to thank people who had helped him. In all his actions, Kemp shows that he feels that his genius allows him to get everything.
Because of his pride, he was unable to leave Volt even when realizing he was a pawn for Bias and was destined to have his brain taken, and he pretty much allowed Bias to take his brain and turning his body into a mindless beast. It's only after hearing Megumi's touching words about how life is beautiful that, in his pitiful state as a living brain, he at last rebelled with his fellow living brain comrades into rebelling at last, and allowed themselves to be destroyed to have revenge on Bias's treachery.
Interestingly, Gou Omura, unlike the others, was raised to think that he was different and superior to the others, because his mom always told him so, and made him study all the time because it's what a genius should do.  As such, his pride seems more to be something he had forced on him, rather than his true personality, and it's one of the key elements of why he had a potential for redemption that the others didn't have.

b) Vanity
By caring mostly about their genius and despising everything else, the three villains were certainly vain. A key element of their vanity was how they changed their form to look less human, and more like their own creations, and display their powers. But the one who showed the most vanity is without a doubt Dr Mazenda. Indeed, a lot of her plans involved her corrupting humans into being her slaves, and it's obvious that she really appreciated having people worshipping her. A great example is episode 9, where Mazenda uses a perfume to make men fall in love with her and do everything she says, and follow her orders : a good example was her being able to manipulate Jou and Yuusuke into worshipping her: she had obviously fun when they did see her as their big love. Likewise, she had fun having strong young high school rugby players being her slaves thanks to one of her brain beasts, and she also liked manipulating kids. There are two great symbols of her vanity : her use of a perfume she created and the fact she made her body more and more robotic to keep her beauty forever. However, at the end, when Mazenda realized she's been manipulated by Bias and was nothing else than a pawn who was there to be used and to have her brain taken, and was mortally wounded by Bias after changing her brain into a machine, she realized how vain she was, forgetting how important life is and how the world is beautiful.

c) Beneath the pride, an hidden low self esteem and a deep need to be aknowledged and praised for their skills, intelligence and actions

While Kenji, Rui and Gou were thinking of themselves as much smarter and superior than most people, there was still one person that they saw as even more brilliant of a genius than them: the leader of Volt, Professor Bias. As such, they needed more than anything Bias's praise, because it was needed to fuel their self esteem, because beneath their arrogance, the three doctors had in fact deep insecurities and self doubts. When Bias was unhappy with them, it was the ultimate pain for them   (and it was even more painful since the other volt members never failed to tease them) and they would do anything to earn back his respect. They were even ready to do painful sacrifices : for example, Mazenda had a very complex opinion of love : while she did everything to show how much she despised love, because it was what Bias thought, the Twin Zuno arc showed that she cared about love much more than she would admit it, and that discarding it completely was a painful step for her.
But the one whose motivations was the most dominated by his need to be praised by others is obviously Gou/Obler. Gou was arrogant, but it was obvious that he needed even more than the others to recieve praise, and he would do everything to be the best in order to show he's worthy. When Kemp and Mazenda used power ups, but kept their human apparence, Gou wanted to go even further and discard his human body for an even better body. Gou would do everything to show Bias he's the best, and whenever he was told that he wasn't worthy, he would feel into despair and risk everything to show he's as good and even better than his comrades. But the real reason behind that was that since the beginning, he had to be the best to gain his mother's approval. His mother saw him as a genius, and he needed to be a genius to make his mom proud. Even if he wanted to play, he couldn't because his mother felt that it wasn't worthy of an activity for such a genius. However, Gou only was forced to realize it when he saw a Brain beast who was pretty much a clone of himself, starting to play because he had fun doing it instead of having people brainwashed into studying the Volt bible. Soon, he lost Bias's respect and was desperate to earn it back. However, it was obvious that there was another person whose approval Gou wanted to earn: his mother. When Yuusuke made Gou's mother realize that she played a key role in her son's transformation into Obler, because she was the one who never stopped telling him he was special and that he needed to be the best, there was again hope for Gou/ Obler. Indeed, Obler heard at last from his mother what he needed to know since the beginning: that he didn't need to be the best, he didn't need to be a genius: what he needed the most was to be aknowledge for what he was, without being under pressure into being above the others. As a result, Obler risked his life into protecting his mother from Volt, and managed to leave the evil organization, and become human again.

The Liveman had many painful encounters with their former friends turned enemies. While they felt a lot of hate against them, there was also sometimes the hope of seeing them realize the errors of their ways and having them leave Volt and even, perhaps, become friends again. And indeed, one of them, Gou Omura managed to leave Volt, and managed to become friends again with them, notably Jou, whom he was the closest with. Feeling intense guilt about his actions in Volt, Gou sought his redemption through religion and helping the Liveman as much as he could. However, Kemp and Mazenda remained their enemies until the very end, and they only realized their foolishness when it was too late : the final dialogue between Mazenda and Gou is very telling, because while Mazenda pretty much despised Gou, at the end, she realized that he was the lucky one, leaving Volt and keeping his humanity  before it was too late.

2) Bushijima Arashi/ Dr Ashura
Arashi had a very different background than the other Volt members: unlike them, he wasn't a genius, but a brutal thug who wasn't even able to count without the help of his fingers: because he only had 10 fingers, he wasn't even able to count above 10. Arashi was a criminal even before joining Volt, as an underworld leader. However, very aware of his limited intellect, he had deep resentment against the Academy's students, because of his deep jealousy of their superior intelligence. Arashi however was very strong physically. Bias soon realized Arashi's potential, and took him to enhance his intelligence by technological means, turnng him into Dr Ashura. As Ashura, Arashi had at last the intelligence he so wanted to have, and became a dangerous enemy of the Liveman, and a strong rival for the other Volt members. He tried to use his new intelligence to be the best, wanting to surpass the other Volt members, to show how he could be better than them, despite having his backgroung as a former idiot. However, Ashura was notheing else than a pawn for Bias to motivate Kemp and Mazenda into doing their best. He pretty much discared Ashura when he didn't need him anymore, and when Ashura was about to discover his secrets, tried to kill him and stripped him of his intelligence. Arashi was furious against Bias, and he did everything to get revenge against him, ultimately sacrificing his life to destroy a Brain Beast. Arashi was pretty aware of his weird fate, but at least, he chose his own end, dying in combat.

3) Guildos and Butchy
Those two characters have been introduced as aliens that joined Volt to study with Bias. But they were in fact mere robots, created by Bias to put pressure on Kemp and Mazenda into doing their best and earning a 1000 point brain. They aren't really interesting characters, but they embodies the cruelty of Bias, who created fake memories into their robotic brain, which made it very painful for them to discover the truth about their nature.

4) Gash
A robot who was Bias's closest follower, helping his students into creating their Brain Beasts, making them grow big and even sometimes being involved in fights, where he showed his ruthlessness, but, most importantly, was the only one aware of Bias's true plans, and in charge of getting the geniuses's brain. He remained at Bias's side until the end, even making him believe in his victory to keep him happy when he was about to die of both old age and his ship's explosion.

4) Great Professor Bias
The Leader of Volt, he's luring young geniuses into joining him to take over the world and to have it ruled by geniuses, the only people worthy in Earth. He had great talent into manipulating young people by taking advantage of their pride, and, more importantly, their deep need for praise and aknowlegment. However, his true aim was to collect brain to make him be young forever by using the geniuses's brain's energy. He needed new "1000 point brains", because he would lose his youth if he didn't regularly took brain energy. For that purpose, needed to develop his pupils's mental skills to improve their brain and making them become "1000 point's brain". He would do everything to make geniuses being able to get the 1000 points brain improve their skills, even bringing more rivals to them, either other people or even robots he created. He didn't care for his pupils's well being, and would be ready to discard their lives if it could help his purpose. At the end, he tried to conquer Earth by brainwashing all people on Earth into worshipping him, but was stopped by Yuusuke. At the end, he used Kemp's brain, that he was able to collect, to keep his youth, but ended up turned into a kid. However, he was still as cruel as before. But after a last confrontation with Megumi/ Blue Dolphin, the people he took the brains decided to rebel against him, and Bias ended up losing his brains, and turned old again, without hope to reverse the process and he ended up dying as a senile man, without even realizing what happened around him.

One of the most interesting elements about Volt is how most of the main villains died in a karmic way, not because of the heroes's actions, but as a result of their choices and the consequences of following an evil leader who was using them and manipulated them by flattering their ego. While the Liveman did everything to stop Volt's evil actions, and managed to stop Volt's evil plans as much as they could, at the end, Volt ended up destroyed from within, because an organization who didn't care for life wouldn't be able to protect even its own members.
At the end, all the death and destruction caused by Volt ended up being a complete waste, with plenty of good people being destroyed for no purpose at all. It made the Liveman even more aware of how even a small life is important, and that it as much more important than showing how smart and brilliant one could be.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A look back at Avatar the Last Airbender

With Legend of Korra returning for its second season soon, I figured it was about time that I took a look at the series that started it all and one of my favorite cartoons of all time: Avatar The Last Airbender. Since most people reading this have already likely seen the series (and three seasons is a lot to cover), I'm going to focus more on my initial reactions to it rather than getting into a lot of the plot. I will however cover the plot of the first episode.
From left to right: Sokka, Suki, Toph, Katara, Zuko, and Aang
When I first started watching it, I was in middle school, and didn't quite know what to think of it after seeing the initial trailer. So I decided to check it out one day and oh boy, I had no idea that I was in for such a ride. I had been starting to become a fan of kung fu movies back then but this show basically cemented my love for them. The animation was impressive, fluid, and has a semi-anime look but what really caught my interest were the fight scenes (the animation really shines here) and the fact that each of the bending styles were based on different martial arts. Water was based on Tai Chi, Fire was Northern Xiaolin kung fu, Earth was Hun Gar (or in Toph's case Chu Gar southern praying mantis kung fu), and Air was based on Ba Gua.

Team Avatar:
Aang: The last airbender and the avatar, technically 112 years old. Frozen in a glacier, he is found by Katara and Sokka who help him look for bending masters after the Southern Water Tribe is attacked by Zuko.
Katara: The young waterbender who, along with Sokka, found Aang frozen in the glaciar. Due to being the only waterbender in the South Pole she had to learn alot of stuff on her own.
Sokka: Though not a bender, he has a great head for strategy and eventually becomes a master swordsman. He also carries a lot of the comic relief in the show along with Uncle Iroh.
Toph: A blind earthbender, yet she can see by using her feet to feel sound waves coming from the earth beneath her. Tomboyish, and a great ally to the team. She even invents metalbending.
Zuko: The disgraced prince of the Fire Nation. While at first he wanted nothing more than to capture Aang for the sake of his honor, his Uncle Iroh eventually made him question this path and after a nail-biting soul searching arc for him, he joined the team.
Suki: One of the Kyoshi warriors. Like Sokka, she isn't a bender but she is a master of hand-to-hand combat and is able to hold her own against the likes of Ty Lee and Azula.

Uncle Iroh: Though he is technically a side character, he was almost directly responsible for Zuko resolving his identity crisis. A funny yet sweet old man, he is also a powerful firebender. He even left the Fire Nation to help Zuko with his quest to capture Aang.
That old man is badass
The Villains: Some of the most consistent villains they face are Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai. Though they don't show up until season two.
From left to right: Ty Lee, Mai, and Azula
Azula: The princess of the fire nation and Zuko's sister. After Zuko fails to capture the avatar, the task is given to Azula, which is what intiates Zuko's identity crisis. She is cold and ruthless. Her flames burn blue instead of the usual orange.
Ty Lee: A non-bender who has impressive acrobatic skills and is a childhood friend of Azula. She is able to hold her own with benders and can temporarily render their bending useless and even immobilize them by striking pressure points.
Mai: A childhood friend of Azula. A non-bender. She is an excellent marksman and will usually fight with throwing knives.
Fire Lord Ozai: The head of the Fire Nation and father of Zuko and Azula.

Side characters: Avatar the Last Airbender has an astonishingly detailed world for a kids' show with very memorable characters and even the side characters are great. King Bumi is my personal favorite.
Seriously, who wouldn't love this crazy old man? XD
A lot of the side characters they introduce serve a purpose, and many of them even return to help out during one of the later battles in the final season. Rarely do they waste characters in this show. Even the side characters that you only see twice are memorable. The older characters are especially memorable though that may be due to their fights scenes. Come to think of it, this show had a lot of "badass old man" type of characters in it.
Case in point!
From left to right: Jong Jong, Bumi, Iroh (center), Pakku, and Piandao
The Order of the White Lotus has a lot of "badass old men" type characters. Despite the war raging, the Lotus Society is made up of members from each of the nations seeking a peaceful world.

The beginning: The series begins at the Southern Water Tribe. Two siblings, Katara (a young waterbender and the only one in the south pole) and Sokka are out hunting one day when they stumble upon a boy and his pet sky bison frozen in a giant glacier. This boy is Aang and he is the last of his kind. He is an Airbender and the new avatar (a reincarnated person who can use all 4 elements who has existed throughtout his and acts as a sort of peace keeper between the four nations). Aang's growth as the avatar isn't complete as we learn he only knows airbending. Aang is able to escape the glacier and falls in love with Katara at first sight. Despite being the avatar, Aang acts just like you'd expect to a kid to act. He cares more about having fun.
Not long after Aang is freed from the glacier, the Fire nation tracks him down. Here we're introduced to the disgraced Prince Zuko, who seeks to capture the avatar to restore his honor as well as earn his father's love. They attack the Southern water tribe and take Aang prisoner. Katara and Sokka rush to save him. As the fight ensues, Aang reaches his emotional limit and he triggers the avatar state (a state that temporarily unlocks his full powers as the avatar) and is able to defeat Zuko and they escape on Appa. Realizing that they can't remain in the Southern Water Tribe, Katara and Sokka set off with Aang to help him find masters who will teach him the other 3 elements so he can defeat the Fire Lord and stop the Fire Nation from taking over the world. Thus begins their epic journey.

You really get a great feel for who the characters are and their motivations, they don't seem like the usual one-note characters you get in kids' cartoons. You even get to see Aang grow from a fun-loving little kid to someone worthy of his destiny to save the world and he still shows that he knows when to relax and have some fun. You even learn how avatar state and the cycle of rebirth work as well as how the avatar is tied to the spirit world. The avatar actually has a lot of presence in the world and you get to see how Aang has affected this world in his past lives, both the good and the bad. You also get to see how Sokka grows more and more as a warrior throughout the final season.

The world really has this massive feel and quite a lot of detail to it. The locations, the cities they visit, and even the nations themselves don't feel like just places or destinations they need to go to just for the sake of the story. Everything in the world has its own unique feel to it. Nothing about the villages feels generic.
Even though a lot of it could be considered filler, its enjoyable and it really helps build up the personality this world has. From the four nations to even the smallest villages, I found myself wanting to learn more and more about this world. They even go so far as to explain how the 3 of the four bending styles came into being.

The bending styles themselves have quite a few variations as well, the ones with the most variations are water and earth. You get to see waterbending being used to heal, control the water in other people's bodies, and the show even goes so far as to show a style that is only practiced in the Earth Kingdom swamps (foggy swamp style). Earth's variations are metalbending (something created by Toph), Sandbending which is mostly practiced in the deserts in the Earth Kingdom, and Toph's own style of earthbending. In a great bit of ingenuity, certain bending elements are able to be combined to create substyles of bending like air and water mixing to create cloud bending or water and earth creating mud bending. Fire even has a secondary style: Lightning bending which only the most powerful firebenders can use. There is even one guy who has a style unique to him. Sokka dubbed him "Combustion Man" and he can shoot fire from an eye tattooed on his forehead. I'm not even sure what to call that style.

Foggy swamp style
Sand bending
Blood bending
Toph Metal bending

The series even has a really great character arc for Katara at the northern water tribe and even has her experience culture shock as she realizes that though they came from the same place, the policies of the Northern Tribe are quite different from the Southern Tribe, i.e. women being forbidden to learn to use their bending for battle. That arc has one of my favorite fights: She goes head to head with the Northern Tribe's greatest master, Pakku, and you get to see just how much Katara has learned on her own. Its a shame they left that out of the live action movie.
Overall, the series has an excellently detailed world with very memorable characters with great moments and is astonishingly beautifully drawn with jaw dropping fights. It does an excellent job of mixing the action, the comedy, and the drama. So if you haven't checked it out already, I really recommend it, and I especially recommend it to any kung fu fans out there. This series is one of the best cartoons I've seen to date and I'll be honest, I cried when it ended.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The 3 most aggravating Kamen Rider characters I've seen so far

I'm usually a pretty forgiving guy when it comes to toku characters characters in genral. However, there are some characters who have aggravated me beyond belief and even made me despise them. Here is the list of Kamen Rider characters that I just outright cannot stand and surprisingly, Decade isn't on the list. At the time of this post, I've seen Ryuki, Faiz, Decade, W, Fourze, half of Den-O and 4/5 of Wizard.

3. Shuji Mihara/final Kamen Rider Delta:
This guy doesn't stir up much hatred from me, more like major annoyance. He only served to add to the already depressing mood in Faiz. Constantly whining about how he wished he never came back to town or that he didn't want to fight. His indecision actually ends up putting one of his friends in the hospital. I remember shouting at him a few times "They're trying to kill you! You're going to die if you don't fight, you moron!" or "Man up or give the belt to Kiba!". A reluctant character like this would normally be interesting, but this guy came off as more of a crybaby than anything else which didn't do much to help my opinion of him given the already depressing atmosphere in Faiz. There were a lot of points in which he was left with no other choice but to fight and he just waited until a friend of his almost died before he decided to fight.

2. Satoru Tojo/Kamen Rider Tiger:
This guy...I can't tell you how mad he made while watching Ryuki. He earned this spot on my list not only through his actions but because of his hero complex and outlook on heroism. While he was an interesting character at first, his idea of heroism got on my nerves after a while. His idea of being a hero means that everyone you've ever associated with has to die. Even going so far as to kill his mentor and attempting to kill one of his friends just to follow his idea of "Heroism". I have no sympathy for those who turn on their friends. He is nothing more than a blood-thirsty hero wannabe. It would've been nice if he had at least questioned his mentor's views on heroism instead of just blindly adopting them. So many times I shouted at my screen saying "You are not a hero! You don't deserve to be a hero! Stop acting like you're one!". Granted, he did redeem himself somewhat before he died (its the only reason he is ranked number 2), but I still couldn't help but laugh like a madman when he met his ultimate fate and even replayed that part three times when it happened.

1. Masato Kusaka/Kamen Rider Kaixa:
He is by far the one character on this list that I hate the most. Every time I think about Faiz, I can't help but imagine myself slamming his head into a wall and taking the Kaixa belt. He is a badly written anti-hero. He is the perfect example of someone who should not be a rider. This guy has some kind of vendetta against Takumi and spends a lot of time just beating him up for no reason or just making him look bad all the while spouting that Takumi doesn't deserve to be a rider because Takumi doesn't think that all Orphenochs are evil. I can't tell you how many times I wished Takumi would've ripped his throat out in self defense. He is utterly pointless and serves no other purpose than to force drama with Takumi. I don't care how tragic his backstory was, it does not give him a reason to be such a cruel jerk, especially when its shown that he was actually a nice guy before said incident! Every time he opened his mouth, I wanted to slug him. What is worse is that the show actually makes me cry for him in the end, which only serves to make me despise him more.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What makes someone a true Power Rangers fan?

This question has been burning in my mind for a few months ever since I had a debate with someone who dared to say I'm not a true fan because I didn't share his views. He said that a being a true fan means you have to love every season. While that would be a good response in theory, its not quite my definition of what being a true fan means. After months of deliberation, I have finally been able to put my definition of a true fan into words. Note: I'm also going a little in-depth about my issues with MegaForce.
To me, the true PR fans are those who've stuck with the franchise through the good seasons, the bad seasons, and the down-right awful seasons (Turbo). They are the ones who see the entire franchise as a whole, not just as "what happens after MMPR". However, being a true fan also goes further than that. The true fans are the ones who are willing to call the franchise on its crap when it screws up. They are the ones who believe the franchise could be so much better than what it currently is. If you've spoken with me about MegaForce before, you already know how I feel about it and how often I'm willing to call it on its screw-ups. I give MegaForce a lot of crap because I believe it could be so much better than it currently is. The franchise has been alive for 20 years and MegaForce really isn't showing much of that experience writing-wise (which at some points have been painful for me). I don't expect gold (though it would be nice), but I expect decent/tolerable writing. The acting is a different story all together due to a lot of them being first-time actors but I'm hoping they get better. It feels more like its gone back to day one standards. With that said, I do dream of the time when the franchise returns to the days of the out-standing writing/acting of Time Force or the great writing/action/comedy of RPM. The fact that its a kids' show doesn't matter when it has had such a profound effect on the childhoods of its fans. It certainly doesn't excuse hit or miss writing.

Some have asked me why I keep watching if I don't like what the show or franchise is doing. My answer is and will always be this: I keep watching because I'm a fan of PR and have grown up with the series as it too has grown. Plus it was my introduction to the world of tokusatsu in general. My point being that I'm not going to let a bad season or two throw me out of the franchise. Heck I stuck around after Turbo, Overdrive, Jungle Fury, and Samurai. Does that mean I'm not going to point out its faults when I see them? Of course not, because I believe it can show more of what its learned throughout the years. I complain because I care about the franchise since its been a huge part of my life. Even after discovering Sentai, I continued to watch PR and for the most part I didn't let the Sentai versions color my thoughts/opinions of their PR counterparts.

In short, a true fan isn't someone who says they like a series (anyone can say that), they must be willing to call a franchise on its screw-ups. Sorry if I went too far into the MegaForce tangent.

Joker's Retro Look Back: Batman Beyond

Now I am a huge fan of "Batman: The Animated Series" it was a strong adaptation of the comics with great animation and storytelling, put in some good voice actors and good execution and you have one of the best cartoon series ever. After it's run from 1992 to 1995 on Fox, "Batman: The Animated Series" started to air on the WB and after a while WB ordered more episodes for the series. This new series of sorts would be titled "The New Adventures of Batman." The continuation ran from 1997 to 1999.

Now around 1999 just as "The New Adventures of Batman" was about to end WB announced a new animated series for the Batman but a new look. This new series was "Batman Beyond." "Batman Beyond" was a continuation of the two previous animated Batman series but set in the future.
Now going into it when I was young I was hesitant because I was so use to the Batman animated world that seeing it go into the future felt off to me but once I started to watch it I was hooked and to this day it is still one of my favorite cartoons to this day. It is kind of funny actually when I was a young kid I liked it and then when I was in High School I re-watched it and I loved it. So now as a college student I re-watched the first two episodes again "Rebirth" parts 1 and 2. So how does the series still hold up let's find out.

First let's listen to our opening:

Yes, just all the yes. I love this theme, it may be a minute long but in that one minute you are just rocking out and kicking ass. When I first heard this opening as a kid I loved it and actually one of the reasons I continued to watch it. I love it so much that I even have it as my ringtone. So yeah the opening theme is great both musically and animated.

Now on to "Rebirth" part 1
We open up in the year 2019 (20 years after "The New Adventures of Batman") to an abandon building where we see a bunch of kidnappers counting their money after being payed a big ransom. But lurking in night is Batman with a new look to him. Just as they finish counting the money the head guy tells one of his lackeys to finish off the girl, but just then our cape crusader comes to save the day. After looking like he has the upper hand, something happens, he begins to feel pain in his heart.
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(Uh Batman you don't look so good. To many Pizzas?)
Batman begins to look like in a lot of pain, after thinking he has taken care of the kidnappers he begins to untie the girl when the head kidnapper attacks Batman from behind. Batman is clearly weak and getting his but beat. Just as the Kidnapper is about to finish Batman when Batman sees a gun on the ground, Batman picks up the gun. O_O
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(Why Batman Why?! This isn't like you! T_T)

With that the Kidnapper runs away due to fear that Batman was going to shoot him. The police quickly arrive and arrest the Kidnappers while Batman gets away. Batman takes off his mask and we see that he has aged. He is out of breath, bleeding, and worst of all he was going to use a gun. Batman looks in shock at what he has done and realizes that he just can't do it anymore, he maybe old and may want to protect Gotham but he broke his own rule and a life that started because he lost his parents to a gun is ended because he used a gun. Batman I mean Bruce Wayne retires. Batman is no more!

We see that time passes, Gotham looks more futuristic and technology has advanced. We go another 20 years into the future to the year 2039 and we see how Gotham has changed. Bruce Wayne and Wayne Enterprise has merged with another company Powers Technology run by Derek Powers to create Wayne-Powers Enterprises. And it seems crime is worse than before. While on a subway train, a guy in a jester outfit comes in and makes graffiti. He sees if anyone smiled and sees a defenseless woman. This guy begins to start mugging her but no one seems to want to help, except for one teenage boy. Enter 17 year old,Terry McGinnis.
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Terry stands up to the jester thug guy and gets some good hits on him. Eventually the jester runs away and Terry comments saying "Jokerz." So by his first appearance Terry seems to be a good kid or at least a kid that hates seeing people harass people and injustice. Then we cut to his school where we see Terry in a wrestling match, some words are exchanged and then the guy Terry was wrestling, Nelson
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(No not him)
spits in Terry's face and punches Nelson in the face. Terry is dismissed by the coach and leaves.

Later we cut to Warren McGinnis, Terry's father, who works for Wayne-Powers, he is contacted by a co-worker named Harry to tell him to meet him. Warren meets Harry and gives Warren a disk, what is on the disk is unknown but Harry seems to be scared, fearing for his life, and also doesn't look good either. He look at is hand and it looks blackish. Suddenly Mr. Fixx appears, Mr. Fixx is Derek Power's personal assistant. Mr. Fixx comes to get Harry and take him away. Later Powers talks to Warren and tells him that something happened to Harry, he was involved in an accident and that he is having the medical crew look at him to help him. Warren leaves but not before Powers asks him about a file, Warren says he has no idea what Powers is talking about. Powers seems to believe it but then when Warren leaves, Powers looks to Mr. Fixx seems he knows that Warren is lying.

We cut to home where Warren is looking over Harry's files. Warren is shocked at something that Powers in doing. Then Terry shows up telling his father he is going out. His father tells him that he is grounded. They get into a heated exchanged where we learn that Terry was a trouble maker, he has a consular and his parents are divorced. Terry was probably sent to live with his father due to his rebellious behavior. Warren tells Terry that is anger will always get him into trouble, he can't control it and that is why he always gets in trouble. Warren tells him that he can't expect to get anywhere in life if he keeps on letting temper get the best of him. Terry then comments saying "Yeah, I'll be a big success just like you." Warren looks sadden by this and Terry leaves. As Terry leaves a vehicle shows up and parks near the McGinnis home, inside the vehicle is Mr.Fixx.

Later at a club Terry meets his girlfriend Dana, while waiting in line for the club a gang appears. They are known as the Jokerz gang appears to cause some chaos. Terry once again doesn't like these guys causing trouble and fights the Jokerz. He effectly is beating them using his athleticism and skill. The Jokerz rebound and Terry escapes on a motorcycle. The Jokerz give chase and eventually the chase ends up at Wayne Manor. At Wayne Manor Terry almost runs over some old guy and crashes. The Jokerz catch up and are about to fight Terry when suddenly the old man shows up teling the Jokerz to leave Terry alone and get off his property, meaning this is Bruce Wayne only older much older.
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(You've gotten old Bruce.)
A fight ensues and despite his old ag Bruce still kicks butt and Terry also shows his skills in fighting. They are able to defeat the Jokerz and they run away. Terry thanks Bruce for his help but we see that despite being able to do it, fighting puts a strain on his body. Bruce clearly isn't in the best of health and asks Terry to help him get to his medication. Terry helps him and gave Bruce his medication. Terry thanks Bruce for his help but Bruce falls asleep. Terry is about to leave but Bruce's guard dog Ace is at the front so Terry decides to call his father instead. As Terry is about to call his father, he hears a bat screeching. Behind him stuck in a clock there is a bat stuck. Terry manages to pull the clock open and cause a secret passage to open. Terry walks down the passage and it leads him to the Batcave. Terry looks around and finds all the old Batman suits (Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl, and Robin along with the Batman Beyond suit). Here Terry figures out the Bruce is Batman. Terry's about to touch one of the suits when Bruce comes up and hits Terry with his cane, telling him to get out.

When Terry gets back home he comes back to see the police there. Terry is alarmed and runs inside the house. Terry sees his mom and asks him what happened. Apparently the Jokerz came inside the house and surprised him at least that is what the police think due to the graffti on the wall. Terry finds out his father is dead. Terry goes to live with his mom and we find out also that Terry has a little brother as well. Terry is guilt ridden with the fact that his father is dead, he blames himself for it. The blue lighting in the animation really shows the amount of depressing and guilt Terry holds in himself. He thinks to himself that if he wasn't so rebelious and listened to his father, that maybe he could of helped his father, maybe his father would still be alive. He also lives with that the last thing they did together was argue. That is a lot for 17 year old to feel but I'll admit that even though I didn't tear up when I was younger I tear up now because living with that kind of guilt of an argument being the last thing you had with a person you cared about before they died really is emotional.

As Terry looks through his things as he sets up his room, he looks at the picture of his father and inside the picture frame was the disk. Terry looks at the disk and smells something fishy, he doesn't know what it is exactly but he knows that this may of been the reason for his father's death. Terry then leaves knowing of one person he can think of that can help him. Little does Terry know, he is being spied on by Powers and they know he has the disk now.

Terry has Dana drive him up to Wayne Manor, he tells her to leave so that she doesn't get involved in anyway. Terry uses the intercom to try and get Bruce to look at it. Initially it looks like Terry isn't succeeding. Terry can't go to the police because they are cozy with Powers and Bruce is really the only person that Terry believes can deal with this. Terry gets aggravated and says "You're no Batman you old fraud." Apparently calling Bruce out and saying he isn't Batman is what convinces Bruce to open the gate and let Terry in. Terry enters through the gate and walks up to the house with Bruce watching. End of part 1

With part 2 we find out that what was on the disk. Turns out that Powers is making nerve gas and Bruce is not very happy about that. Terry looks at the Batman suit, we find out that it has some neat features, such as flight and amplifies strength 10 to 1. Terry thinks Bruce will do something about it since he is Batman, but Bruce tells him that he "was" Batman. Bruce tells Terry to give the disk to Commissioner Barbara Gordan (aka Batgirl). Terry doesn't really want to do this but Bruce is too stubborn to change his mind. Terry says to Bruce that something else besides age is the reason why he won't be Batman anymore and leaves. As Terry is walking he is intercepted by Powers and Mr. Fixx. Powers asks for the disk, when Terry says he doesn't know what Powers is talking about and about to walk away, Mr. Fixx grabs him. Terry yells for help but Powers says that it is no use. Terry manages to break free and get away but Powers was still able to get the disk. Terry looks on from where he was hiding and has a look of anger on his face. He is not letting Powers get away with this!

We cut back to Wayne Manor, Bruce is eating soup and watching the news. Suddenly he hears ace barking and Bruce becomes suspicious. Ace comes to into the house and sniffs looking for something. Ace leads Bruce into the Batcave where the suit is missing. Bruce isn't happy about that.
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(He don't look very happy about his suit being stolen...then again when is Bruce ever happy?)

Terry of course took the suit and is trying to get the hang on the flying feature. After a stumble Terry sort of knows what he is doing. He flies to Wanye-Powers Enterprises and listens in on a conversation Powers is having with a potential buyer of the nerve gas. Powers shows him what the gas can do, first with plants, then we see the buyers reaction when the gas is used on animals. Powers then shows what the gas can do to humans. Harry was involved in an accident involving the gas and Powers shows the devastating results of the gas on humans. The buyer seems impressed and wants the gas. Powers is pleased by this but still considers Terry a threat, that could ruin his deal. Mr. Fixx shows no concerns saying "I took care of his old man didn't I." So now Terry knows the person that killed his father was Mr. Fixx. Terry is angered by this but before he can do anything the security at Wayne-Powers discover Terry. Terry manages to get away. Powers learns that someone has broke into Wayne-Powers and shocked to learn it is Batman or at least someone dressed like him.

Terry hides when he hears Bruce through a radio receiver in the suits cowl. Bruce warns Terry to return the suit, but Terry says that someone had to do something. Terry manages to get security by surprise. Terry is showing his skills as he is dodging gun fire and beating up the security. Terry looks like to have the upper hand until Bruce activates the fail safe. Terry can no longer move or fight back, now security has the upper hand. Bruce listens as Terry is getting beat up. Terry begs Bruce to turn off the fail safe, just as security is about to finish Terry off, Bruce turns off the fail safe and Terry gains the upper hand again and manages to get away. Bruce tells Terry that he has to bring the suit back but Terry tries his best to convince him otherwise. Terry explains to Bruce that the guy who killed his father is on the transport and that this is his one chance to stop him. Bruce despite his stubbornness understands how Terry feels and allows him to go and stop Powers and Mr. Fixx.

Terry makes it to where they are loading the nerve gas. Terry manages to beat security and is about to bring Powers and Fixx when he ambushed by the crane operator. Powers grabs a gun and tell Fixx to take the hovercraft into the air. Terry is grabbed by the crane and is about to be crushed when he uses the suits ability to make batarangs and throws it at the crane operator knocking him out. Terry is set free but Powers is in his sights as he begins to shoot him. Fixx tells him to shut the doors so they can take off. Terry tries a batarang but Powers shoots it. Terry then uses the last remaining canister of the nerve gas and throws it at Powers. Powers accidently shoots it releasing the gas.
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(I'm sure he'll be fine.)

Terry manages to grab on to the hovercraft. As Terry is trying to get into the hovercraft we see Powers is begging for help because he knows what this gas can do. Terry manages to make it into the hovercraft and attacks the pilot's seat. But it turns out that the autopilot was activates and Fixx attacks Terry with electric brass knuckles. Fixx looks like he is gaining the upper hand. Fixx pins Terry down and tells him he is good for a punk that thinks he is Batman. Terry Responds with "I am Batman!" Terry musters up his strength and manages to get the upper hand and knocks Fixx into the hovercrafts controls. Unfortunately Fixx's electric brass knuckles betray him, because when they hit the hovercrafts control it starts to electrocute him and short circuits the hovercraft causing it to lose control. Terry manages to get out of the hovercraft but it looks like Fixx is stuck there was the hovercraft crashes into the ocean sinking to the bottom, with the nerve gas and Fixx still inside. Looks like this punk Terry manage to stop Powers this time.

We go to the next day where we see Terry returned home with the suit under his bed. Terry's mom wakes him up telling him that they have a guest. Of course this guest is Bruce Wayne. Terry's mom asks how Terry knows Bruce and Bruce tells he that Terry defended him from a bunch of hooligans. Bruce offers Terry a job to be a part time "assistant" since Bruce knows he is old but sees potential in Terry. Bruce warns Terry there will be difficulty along the way but Terry says he can handle it. Bruce says "Very good Mr. McGinnis, welcome to my world." (Awesome line!)
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(Do you think you handle riding with the devil in the pale moonlight?)

And thus the partnership of Bruce and Terry is formed and our new Batman, Terry McGinnis is born.

The episode ends with a scene with Powers finishing his radiation treatment, to eradicate the virus. That was the good news, however there is some bad news for Mr. Powers. The medical people seem hesitant but Powers demands to know the bad news. They medical people ask for the lights of. In the darkness a green light is emitted and the laughter of Powers can be heard.
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(See he looks so happy)

So our two part premiere episodes, "Rebirth" part 1 and 2, for "Batman Beyond" are finished. So how does it hold up?

Well I have to say that this two part premiere still holds up in almost every area. The animation is still as good as I remember it may look outdated to some people but I still consider it some pretty good animation. The episodes story wise were strong as well and as I have gotten older I appreciate and understand how good the writing was for these two episodes. This was all DC Animation, Bruce Timm and crew created this themselves. Though set in the future the show feels like a Batman show, it still has the I guess you can say spirit that "Batman: The Animated Series" and "The New Adventures of Batman" had. It is a new look but same spirit. I like Terry McGinnis, he is almost the complete opposite of Bruce Wayne in terms of his story. Terry isn't a rich kid, he lost his father as a teenager, Bruce's parents were killed by a thug and a low life while Terry's dad was killed by a rich man covering his tracks, Terry has his mother and little brother while Bruce had Alfred. The list can on and on but you get the idea. But despite being opposite they are still similar, they both want and believe in justice, they both are good people despite what they show on the outside, and in a sense kindred spirits who understand each other.

This brings me to one of my complaints which was the scene when Bruce used the fail safe. My problem is that Bruce comes off more as a jerk as you can see he knows that Terry is getting beaten. This scene could of been made a little better maybe if Terry said more things to maybe convince Bruce to shut down the fail safe, maybe show a lot of Terry's determination that even though the fail safe in the suit is still active Terry is trying his best to move and even says something like "I don't care what you do to me after this but tonight I need this suit" or "I don't care if you shut down this suit I'm going to stop Powers and that man who killed my father." Or just have that scene look a little more different so that it does make Bruce not look like a total jerk.

The voice acting was really great, Kevin Convoy returns as Bruce Wayne and does a great job at portraying the old man Bruce. Will Friedle who was Eric Matthews from "Boy Meets World" is great as Terry. He definitely brings to life this trouble making 17 year old who has a good heart. Frank Welker as Ace the dog believe it or not it pretty good, I know it's just a dog but Ace is awesome and that chemistry Terry and him have is just amazing to watch for me. Sherman Howard as Derek Powers is also good. He does give off the voice of a smarmy and shady business man that is able to full people into thinking he is a good guy. Lauren Tom as Dana though not much of her is seen so I can't fully evaluate her but she does good in portraying the caring girlfriend. Michael Gross as Warren McGinnis was good as well, though only brief he portrays Warren as a good man who despite the trouble his son causes, still loves him. Teri Garr as Terry's mother, Mari and Ryan O' Donohue as Terry's brother Matt do good as well. George Takei as Mr. Fixx was awesome because he was able to give a voice to a man you just hate and despise. You feel like Terry whenever you hear Mr. Fixx voice. So the voice acting cast did a good job.

All in all Rebirth parts 1 and 2 are great episodes into the Batman mythos. It sucks you into this futuristic steam punk like world of Gotham. It shows you a Gotham without Batman for 20 years and how far it has fallen. From the thugs like the Jokerz to Powers who practically controls all of Gotham, it's a new world we are in. Terry definitely has his hands full. The writing is strong and the animation and voice work are great. This two part premiere for Batman Beyond still holds up and I look forward to watching more from this awesome series.

If you want a rating I guess my rating will be go watch Batman Beyond.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Joker's Reaction: Ben Affleck is Batman!

Previously Herotaku annouced that the new Batman for the "Man of Steel" sequel will be Ben Affleck. (Full Story here: ).

Now I noticed a lot of reaction around the internet about this news, a lot of what I saw was negative such as this:
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Or a comment saying that today Batman died.

Now that is not to say that everyone was up in arms about it. There were people who said to everyone calm down and let it play out. They were telling everyone to stop overracting.
This post I found also explains how many people felt Posted Image

And honestly I am more on the side of the people that say give it a chance. Now I'll be honest I was kind of shocked that Ben Affleck was annouced as Batman, to me it came out of no where because I hardly read anything about Affleck being considered, it was either Bale or Jensen Ackles from "Supernatural." Now would of the choice of Ackles or Bale be better than Affleck? Contrary to what you might think I don't think they would be better choices, I've seen Ackles in other movies and he is only really decent at best and Bale's Batman while I think he is okay, he is like third or fourth in terms of everyone who has portrayed Batman in live action. The reason I think Affleck can pull it off is one he has gotten better over the years in terms of acting. I know people bring up "Daredevil" when talking about Affleck and superhero movies.

But that was 10 years ago, actors get better with time and Affleck is kind of out of that phase in his life where he is considered just a pretty face. He has become an actor in a sense, he acting in "The Town" was good and his acting in Ärgo" has gotten a lot of praise. What I am trying to say is that people can and most of the time do get better with age and that all these reactions about the death of Batman as being really childish honestly. I mean Batman can't be dead who else will I have fun with when I'm causing Chaos in Gotham? Robin? Superman? Croc?

And also somethings to consider, that many of the people who have said to calm down and let it play out is look at Michael Keaton. Now from what I heard and what I found Michael Keaton being Batman was a strange choice and many people didn't like it. Well Keaton pulled it off imo. He was able to portray himself as Bruce Wayne and playboy Billionair and was able to represent the smart detective and awesome crime fighter that is Batman.
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(To think people hated the idea of him as Batman)

And I would like to bring up another actor who portrayed an iconic character in a Superhero film that a lot of people seem to dislike at first, Heath Ledger as the me... I mean the Joker.
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(Yeah I remember a lot of the negative comments and reactions people had when Heath Ledger was annouced to be the Joker.)

Yeah I remember a lot of feedback when Ledger was annouced as the Joker, a lot dealing with him being a pretty boy or just not looking menacing enough. Well to a lot of people when that movie came out and they saw Ledger as the Joker, they were terryfied and entertained by Ledger's performance and guess what some of the people that worked in making that discission are working on that "Man of Steel" sequel. So maybe there is a reason that Affleck was chosen to be the new Batman.

So overall my reaction to Ben Afflack being Batman is that I hope for the best, I think Affleck does look the part and I think he has the acting chops to do. But that all remains to be seen. So I hope for the best with the movie and hopefully Affleck will prove all wrong and be a very good Batman, not the one we deserve but the one that we need...or some BS cool sounding thing like that.