Sorry about the lack of posts in recent days. I have some important things going on right now, and it might be a bit before I (semi)regularly update again. I am planning on continuing the “Smile Precure vs. the World” thing, and after that talking about a certain time-travelling sci-fi show that I have a rather complex relationship with. Until then, though, I have to figure some things out and also deal with the pesky thing known as real life. Sorry again.
My favorite television show of all time is Kaiketsu Zubat. I love the atmosphere, the setting, and the style, but what’s most impressive to me is how it can be so many things at once. It’s funny, but also dead serious. The hero, Ken Hayakawa, is kind of an egomaniac, but he has a heart of gold. The villains were always garishly dressed and over the top, but many of the evil acts they did could feasibly be done by actual sociopaths. which made them genuinely horrifying. It was a show that could channel Adam West’s Batman and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, often at the same time. Overall, it’s an unforgettable experience that stays with most people who have seen it, which unfortunately is not as many as it should be.
One of the hallmarks of the show was that in every episode, at some point a group of foot soldiers from the Consortium of Evil, Dakkar, would be harassing some innocent bystander(s) (who were women or children disturbingly often), only to be interrupted by Hayakawa strumming his guitar and making his entrance by way of the coolest looking shot possible given the setting. He would then proceed to beat everyone up before meeting up with the current evil organization’s hired goon, an assassin renowned for a particular skill. Hayakawa would then claim that this person is only the second best in Japan at his specialty, and point at himself when inquired who was the best. What followed was usually the highlight of any given episode, the Hayakawa showdown: the challenger would attempt to show Hayakawa that he was indeed the best in Japan at his skill, only for Hayakawa to prove him dead wrong.
These were the scenes that showcased the great Hiroshi Miyauchi’s talents the most. If it were anyone else playing Ken Hayakawa, he would have come off as smug and condescending. But with Miyauchi in the role, Hayakawa was given a roguish charm that lent a massive heroic quality to Hayakawa’s bragging. When he claimed he was best in Japan, you knew you were in safe hands, and that he would never allow an innocent to be hurt under his watch. Hell, Ken Hayakawa made my list of fictional heroes way back when, a list that is in sore need of an update.
In total there were 32 episodes of Zubat, and with the exception of the last 2, every one featured a Hayakawa showdown. And to honor this wonderful show, I am counting down my personal ranking of all of them. Be warned, though. The descriptions alone will blow your mind with awesomeness. The only way to top the rush you feel will be to watch the show itself, which you can do by visiting the wonderful folks at Millionfold Curiosity. Thank you guys for all your hard work!
You read the title. You clicked on it. And you’re ready to argue why a season you liked should be higher or more likely, a season you hated should be lower than the bottom, but it’s my list and my opinion. So let’s get started. Read More
Oh, Sailor Moon, how I’ve missed you (and making fun of you)! And many others had, too, or else we wouldn’t be getting the huge glut of SM related stuff right now. In addition to the new anime, there has also been a sorely-needed re-dubbing of the 90’s version, which had Johnny Young Bosch as Artemis! I don’t watch nearly enough (dubbed) anime to have especially strong feelings about Johnny Young Bosch, but I have seen more than enough Sailor Moon to have lots of love for Artemis.
But anyway, the new anime, Sailor Moon Crystal, is the first production of Sailor Moon in a while that people watched and made money, because no one gives a crap about the tokusatsu version (always a damn shame) or the musicals. I guess it’s a fact of life that Japanese people will never be seen as existing in the third dimension with normal-sized eyes. So, for all the hype, and all the delays, was it all worth it? Well, no, not really.
The big draw behind Crystal was that it would be a faithful adaptation of the manga, which I think may be overselling the original story a bit, because despite its importance, in my opinion the first two arcs of the manga aren’t especially great. Hell, the Dark Kingdom Arc was kind of a slog to get through for me. It was the Infinity arc where things really took off. Taking the relatively short chapters of the manga and transplanting them to a 25-minute episode is only going to hurt them. Oh, sure, there were a few “changes”, but they are inconsequential at best. In the end, this new anime feels like what it is: something that Toei threw together fairly quickly to make a buck off of the long-time fans, and attract new ones who never read the manga. And I am going to spend an inordinately long period of time making stupid jokes about it. Be prepared for the ride. Read More
Last time: Shou was being all angsty, an old monster from the classic Ultraman shows attacked, Ultraman Ginga got some random new power, and Hikaru made a friendship speech. I kicked myself for not making a reference to Dark Precure. Repeat 8 times, and that was the first half of Ultraman Ginga S. Now, the more varied conclusion. Read More
So, my dad finally got around to spending his hard-earned cash on spoiling me, so I can actually properly work on the next update! As to whether or not I’ll actually do it…
Looks like need a new computer after all…
Last time: Dolph Lundgren met Brian Benben, who acted like a massive dick, and the two discovered that rap music is killing people. Also, the greatest Christopher Lambert role to ever not be played by Christopher Lambert. Let us continue. Read More
Yeah, yeah, I know. I promised a movie this week. However, some things came up, stuff screwed up, and so you’re getting more Sailor Moon. However, I promise that I will recap a movie next week. I am eager to take a break from Super S too, you know. Especially after an episode with a title as riveting as “Hearts that Communicate! Chibiusa and Pegasus”.
The episode begins in another one of Chibiusa’s dream sequences, in which Chibiusa asks for Pegasus to interact with her more, because she wants to be friends with him. His response is simply, “I can’t do that.” And Chibiusa instantly accepts his answer and calls it a night. If this scene was a pencil, it would be useless because it has no point whatsoever.
As usual, Zirconia is chewing out the Amazon Trio for their failures. While she is re-iterating the importance of capturing him, Tiger’s Eye questions what would happen if the owner of the beautiful dream in which Pegasus is residing finds out about Pegasus’ power, and “she tries to do whatever she wants with Pegasus.” His words, not mine. Hawk’s Eye replies that if someone with a beautiful dream discovers how much power she possesses, her dreams will become corrupted into something ugly, and Pegasus will have to leave, thus explaining why Pegasus will not open up more to Chibiusa. That actually makes a lot of sense, and it’s nice to finally have SOMETHING about Pegasus explained for a change.
Following this illuminating discussion, Tiger’s Eye calls upon his shadow, Hebihanabiko. Since she is a shadow, like Pegasus, if she can sneak into Pegasus’ body, she can instantly find out who Pegasus is hiding in. It makes no sense, really, but the fact that Tiger’s Eye is actually changing up his schtick a bit is something to be appreciated. Also, Hebihanabiko can steal hearts or something. So she’s pretty dangerous and stuff. Of course, if this episode is like anything before it, this will all lead up to nothing in the end.
Meanwhile, we finally get to Chibiusa painting scenery for art class. And she’s wearing Groucho Glasses. Because. When her teacher comes to inspect her work, she says that it is to impersonate a painter she saw on TV the other day. So this painter gets inspiration from wearing cheap Halloween costumes from Party City? Her teacher says that although Chibiusa’s picture is very good, she cannot give it a good grade because the assignment was to simply paint the landscape, but Chibiusa added Pegasus in there. Chibiusa’s friend Kyuusuke Sarashina points out that this incident explains why their teacher is still single. It’s nice to know that Chibiusa hangs out with people who are just as likeable as she is.
The teacher, Ms. Morino, laments how horrible she is at handling children. This is a lot of words and exposition for “she’s the next target”. Tiger’s Eye tries to pass on this job to his colleagues, but they both decline, Hawk’s Eye because Ms. Morino “doesn’t make his heart race”. So if the next target was a defibrillator, it would be right up Hawk’s Eye’s alley! Fisheye declines because, you know, he’s gay. Tiger’s Eye ends up thinking that this is better, because he will receive all the credit for Pegasus’ capture anyway.
As Usagi and Chibiusa are busy going home from shopping, Usagi bumps into Ms. Morino. As Usagi jokingly tries to ask how much of a demon Chibiusa is, Morino replies that Chibiusa is popular, and can easily makes friends, to the point where she herself is jealous. As Ms. Morino is walking by, sulking as usual, she bumps into Tiger’s Eye, incredibly subtly disguised as a… guy who rescues worrisome women from their worries. Is there a name for that? Well, “counselor” works, but anyone who would stay in a room for more than 30 seconds with a “counselor” dressed like Tiger’s Eye is either stupid or David Bowie.
So Ms. Morino explains her problems to Tiger’s Eye, saying that she has always wanted to be a teacher, but now that she is one, she has no idea how to interact with her students. Tiger’s Eye’s solution to her problem is, of course, to attempt to get it on, with the same desirable results as always (desirable for Ms. Morino, anyway). So Tiger’s Eye reveals himself in record time. Meanwhile, Usagi and Chibiusa are picked up by Sir Onelineanepisode Mamoru Chiba, before hearing screams in the distance. And the commercial break.
After the break, Tiger’s Eye manages to peek at Ms. Morino’s dream surprisingly uninterrupted, and comments on how beautiful it is. Of course, nowadays, “My dream is that kids will like me,” means different things entirely. Of course, Usagi and Chibiusa’s transformations are not that far behind. Best of all, their “in the name of the moon” speech claims that teachers are “everyone’s friends”. Yeah, right.
The ensuing battle is incredibly lame, with Tiger’s Eye throwing some dull things like whips and knives at the duo, before being assaulted by Tuxedo Kamen, all in less than 10 seconds of screen time. So with himself cornered, and Chibiusa about to call out Pegasus again, Tiger’s Eye finally calls upon Hebihanabiko to capture Pegasus by inserting her head into his body. It’s only seen from a distance, by the way!
As Pegasus appears to be turning to stone, Chibi Moon also spaces out, as Hebihanabiko is now inside Chibiusa’s dream, having finally found out where Pegasus is residing. The shadow Lemure attempts to sway Chibiusa by offering her ownership of Pegasus, but she finally refuses because she wishes to be friends with Pegasus, and getting him to do everything out of obligation would be pointless. Good girl, Chibiusa, you tell her! With this declaration, Chibiusa regains control of her dream, and Hebihanabiko is forced out.
So one extended Moon Gorgeous Meditation later, Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen are more than a little curious as to what exactly happened with Chibi Moon. However, the previous scene was a little too much plot for this particular season to handle, and it’s brushed off. More importantly, we enter Ms. Morino’s dream, where she is encouraging imagination in her adoring students. Back in the real world, Ms. Morino asks why Chibiusa submitted her picture with Pegasus inserted in it. Chibiusa responds that it was to capture her initial feeling that the scenery suits the presence of a Pegasus. Although Ms. Morino laments that she cannot give her picture a good score, she privately tells Chibiusa that she really liked it.
Back at home, Chibiusa notices an urn that appears on her windowsill. This is a weird communication device thing which can allow Chibiusa to communicate with Pegasus whenever she wishes to. When Chibiusa asks for Pegasus’ real name, he refuses to tell her, but Chibiusa doesn’t mind, because they can take their time now and become friends.
This episode is really darn good. And while it doesn’t exactly advance the plot per se, it genuinely feels like something is accomplished by the end, something which I sadly cannot say for most of the previous episodes. The major downside here is that the subplot with Ms. Morino is not particularly interesting, and doesn’t even really feel needed beyond providing the Amazon Trio with a target. However, its strengths mostly outweigh its shortcomings. Said strengths largely lie, somewhat surprisingly, in the relationship between Pegasus and Chibiusa, which reaches a level of depth that has not been seen as of yet, and unfortunately will not be seen often again as we go through the rest of the season. This episode actually offers a viable explanation as to why Pegasus has not been displaying much character in the past, nullifying a lot of my “Pegasus is bland” jokes in the past few weeks, something which I always encourage. It sets up potential development between him and Chibiusa very nicely, and to add icing on the cake, offers Chibiusa a rare crowning moment of awesome. I can safely say that this is the first episode in a while that really feels impactful. But alas, it is not to last.
But we can keep these positive feelings hanging for now, because next week, I start a movie review, and will actually follow through this time! Until then, have a very happy new year, and work towards your resolutions!
Edit: Damn, I misspelled quite a few words that first time. Not that I don’t usually make spelling errors or anything, but that was ridiculous! It’s slightly less repulsive, now.
One may notice that this post is not exactly feature length. That’s because apparently WordPress is against my publication of content. Basically, the story is, I had just finished my post for this week, and published it. Then, suddenly, when I decided to check up on the blog, it turns out that the post was not appearing on the site. Baffled, I checked up to see if it had been posted, and there is apparently no record of this post having ever existed at all. In other words, all of my writing over the past week has been for nothing! Of course, I should probably inform any potential readers of this tragic occurrence, because not doing so is kind of a dick move, hence the existence of this paragraph. I apologize for this event, and I hope that things will turn out better next week. Until then, happy new year, and get working on your resolutions!
Update: Apparently WordPress doesn’t actually hate me, but is a really big troll. It turns out that the post took several hours to go up for some reason, but in that few hours, there was no trace of anything at all. I think I might go insane. But yeah, it’s up now. So there.