The Legend of Wan Was Amazing!

I'm a Lion Turtle. You're argument is invalid.

I’m a Lion Turtle. You’re argument is invalid.

So here’s the really frustrating thing about The Legend of Korra.  Last week, we learned about the origin of bending and Wan, the first Avatar, in a two episode arc.  It was pretty damn amazing.  The art direction was phenomenal.  I love the watercolor textures and style of the backgrounds.  The Lion Turtles were fucking amazing.  We learned a lot more about the Spirits and what they have to do with the world.  And we got to see a lot of growth from Wan.

It was absolutely amazing.  Best episodes yet.  And that’s the frustrating part!  They clearly know how to develop characters, to make them interesting and flawed, to set up conflicts that are complex and nuanced.  They can do all that in just two episodes.  So what the hell is going on with the main show?

After seeing Wan’s arc, I could buy the argument that since they have more episodes to play with, they’re taking their time with Korra.  I don’t know.  I nearly gave up on the show when they gave Korra amnesia.  I always look at that as a crutch.  Oh, our hero needs to rediscover themselves so we the audience can be reminded why they’re the hero? Then you failed at your job because we shouldn’t need a reminder!  But meeting Wan was really awesome and it sort of gives Korra a fresh start.  Which is annoying because she shouldn’t have needed a fresh start.

Sooooo I’m still going to be watching Korra like I was anyway.  But now I’m kind of excited to see where the show takes her.  I’m willing to spend more time with her even if she annoys the shit out of me.  Wan figured his shit out in two episodes.  Maybe it’ll just take Korra a little longer.  BUT THEN WHAT THE FUCK WAS SEASON 1 FOR—no nope, I’m not gonna rage quit.  Let’s just give the show a chance.

After 22 Years, Army of Darkness 2?

Because America!

Because America!

Horror and sequels go hand in hand.  So it should be little surprise that Army of Darkness 2 is a thing that will happen.  What is surprising is the timing.  The first one came out 22 years ago.  Bruce Campbell isn’t as spry as he used to be.  Certainly, he’s still got all the charisma of his younger self, but Ash will be 56 when we see him on screen once more.

Actually, that sounds kind of funny now that I say it out loud.  Watching a middle aged guy take on an army of deadites totally fits with the tone of the original.

Now the real question, will this be going off the theatrical ending where Ash is back home in the present or the Director’s Cut ending where Ash oversleeps and wakes up in a post apocalyptic future?

From: Bloody Disgusting

Legend of Korra Season 2 so Far Has Been… eh

KorraTwins

Boyfriend, your show is meh.

This will be a bit spoilery for Season 1 of Korra so click away if you haven’t watched it yet.

On paper, The Legend of Korra has everything I want in a show.  It’s got a diverse cast with various flaws and strengths.  The costume design is superb.  The setting is an Asian inspired take on steam punk which is totally refreshing.  The animation is absolutely gorgeous.  Best of all, we get return to the world of bending which I absolutely fell in love with in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

So why am I struggling so much to keep up with Season 2?

Though I felt it was a little uneven, overall, I had a blast with Season 1.  I was so excited to see how the world had evolved since we last left Aang and the crew.  Pro Bending was an awesome addition.  Teenage angst and romance was pitch perfect for Korra’s age group.  The fight choreography was excellent and the animation completely blew me away.

Still, I had some major problems with how the season ended.  I felt that last episode tied everything together way too conveniently.  How amazing would it have been if Season 2 was all about Korra trying to live without her bending?  Is the Avatar more than just the embodiment of bending?  Is there something deeper that made Aang, Roku, Kyoshi, and the entire line special?  Season 1 could have laid the ground work for a much deeper exploration of Korra and her role as the Avatar.  Instead, she got her bending back in a weird little Deus Aang Machina that completely jumped me out of the show.  I also didn’t like that she got her airbending by punching with great anger.

I understand that the show runners didn’t know if they were going to get a second season so they wanted to wrap things up.  But it just felt rushed.  And I’m one of those sick fucks who wouldn’t have minded a cliff hanger ending.

So we’re four episodes into Season 2 and it’s a little unfair to judge it as a whole just yet.  But it really feels like the show just rebooted itself.  Korra is a cocky jerkface who used the Avatar state to win a race in the first episode.  I almost rage quit right there.  It’s like Season 1 never happened!

I never liked Mako.  Broody Mc Eyebrows always had a chip on his shoulder and was kind of asshole to his brother.  Not cool.  Now that he’s a cop, he’s fucking insufferable which makes it really annoying when he and Cocky Mc Avatar Pants are the leads of our show.  Their both kind of jerks so it’s little surprise when they break up.  Buuuut, they’re still jerks.

Thus far, the best parts of Season 2 for me have been with Tenzin and his interactions with Boomi and Kya.  I kind of wish the show was about him and his time at the Air Temple with his siblings and his family.

I’m also not a big fan of Uncle Mc Evil Pants.  Zuko was an excellent adversary for Aang.  He was the big bad for a while, but we could sympathize with his whole HONOR thing.  Not so with Korra.  Amon posed an interesting question about benders and normals, which almost made him sympathetic.  But the way he went about his quest was so apologetically evil that there was no way we could sympathize with him.  Similarly, Korra’s Uncle Mc Lying Face is so utterly evil that we just can’t wait for him to get punched in the junk.  We lose a lot of the nuance that we got with Aang’s arc.

With all that said, I will stick with the show.  Nickelodeon is making it easy by streaming full episodes online after they air.  And despite the negative things I have to say, I genuinely like Korra.  I recognize that she’s acting very much like a hot blooded teenager.  So in that respect, the show is doing a great job of portraying that aspect of her life.  And who knows, maybe it will all come together in the end.  But much like S.H.I.E.L.D., I’m not sure that I can recommend this to anyone who isn’t already a fan.

Gundam Build Fighters Is Kind of My Childhood Dream Come to Life!

I guess this is a week of me catching up on my Gundam!

The spiritual successor to Gunpla Builders Beginning G (which I loved the hell out of), Gundam Build Fighters is a very meta show.  Instead of taking place in a distant future with space colonies and new types, the main setting for Build Fighters is a little Gunpla store in a small town in Japan.  A young Gunpla builder, Sei, manages the shop with his mother and dreams of becoming a great Gunpla Fighter like his father before him.

I once dreamed of having a Gunpla shop.  I would have a little work area in the back where I’d put together kits for display.  It was an awesome dream.  So it’s very satisfying to see Sei living my dream even if it’s in anime form.

Anyway, back to the show.  To become the very best, like no one ever was, you must test your mettle in the Gunpla Fight.  This is a virtual battle where you get to pilot your Gunpla.  The better the model, the better your virtual Mobile Suit, although the Gunpla seem to take real damage when they fight so maybe it’s not so virtual.

Certainly, this show is mostly a toy commercial.  It’s more toy whorey than the most form changing Tokusatsu show.  Every kit that the kids build on the show will be available for purchase so you can build along.  And each kit in the Build Fighters line will have the same frame so you can mix and match parts to create your very own custom.  I think they will also be selling cards which will work with the Gundam Try Age arcade game.  I’m not entirely certain how that will work, but it sounds like the cards you get will allow you to customize your own fighter in the game which sounds fucking awesome!

It’s not the epic space opera that I usually like in my Gundam.  But it’s awesome fun.  And there are all sorts of franchise references like that one dude named Mr. Ral who is totally Ramba Ral.  Not sure if it’s a good jumping on point for new viewers (you should check out AGE), but it’s a lot of fun.

Gundam AGE Restored My Faith in Gundam

Still a better love story than Twilight. Hell, any story is a better love story than Twilight.

Still a better love story than Twilight. Hell, any story is a better love story than Twilight.

 

Long long loooooooong time readers of AZM may have noted the distinct lack of Gundam related posts of late.  The franchise lost me with Gundam SEED and it’s been a struggle to get back to it.  I tried a few episodes of OO and just couldn’t get into it and I kind of lost steam with Unicorn.  So by the time AGE was announced, I completely wrote it off.  The character designs made it look way too kiddie and the AGE design seemed like a Bandai cash grab with its changeable forms.

I. Was. Wrong.

On a lark, I decided to give it shot since the GundamInfo YouTube channel has the entire series subbed. In two days, I marathoned the first sixteen glorious episodes! I’m fucking hooked and if you’re a Gundam fan old or new, I think you’ll absolutely enjoy this series.

Generational Gundam

Be jealous of our hair!

Be jealous of our hair!

The series begins in Advanced Generation (AG) 101 and spans three generations of the Asuno family, Flit (AG 115), Asemu (AG 140-142), and Kia (AGE 164).  Each member of the Asuno family pilots his own version of the eponymous Gundam AGE.  I’ve only gone through the Flit arc so my review will be somewhat incomplete.  But I have every confidence that the next two arcs will be just as amazing.  There will be some slight spoilers, but they probably only make sense if you’re a huuuuuge Gundam nerd.

The Ghost of Gundam Past

To longtime Gundam fans, Flit’s arc will feel very familiar.  It’s almost like a very condensed remix of the original Mobile Suit Gundam with a little Zeta mixed in.  Flit’s personality reminds me a lot of Kamille and it’s not just his hair.  He’s so very conflicted about fighting and killing to save those he loves.  He also shouts the familiar “Gundam IKIMASU” when he launches like Amuro and Kamille.  And of course, in the tradition of “kill ’em all Tomino,” his mother dies in a fire right before his eyes which is weird because Tomino wasn’t involved in AGE.

Emily looks like a younger version of Sayla Mas.  In a way, this show kind of answers what would have happened if Amuro and Sayla got together.

Flit’s star-crossed relationship with Yurin echos Amuro and Lala so you can guess how that turns out.  I called it when they first met each other, but that didn’t make that final scene between them any less painful.  There’s also a sort of Char clone in the guise of the mischievous child, Desil, which is a pretty interesting choice for a Gundam series.  Normally, the Char clone is an older, stoic pilot with a lot of experience.  Desil doesn’t even come close to stoic, more psychotic.  So he’s not exactly a one-to-one Char clone, but the ease with which he pilots a mobile suit definitely reminds me of the Red Comet.

If you couldn’t tell by now, AGE also continues the tradition of absolutely terrible names and weird hair styles.

Call me Zack!

Call me Zack!

There are some other cosmetic references to previous Gundam series.  The Zalam faction normal suits look like Zaku.  The Diva’s final form looks like White Base. Oh, and Don Boyage sports a wicked mustache that totally looks like the Turn A.

I am the man who will stand at the top of all Gundam mustaches!

I am the man who will stand at the top of all Gundam mustaches!

If you’re not a longtime Gundam fan, you might not catch all the references.  And I don’t think they matter that much to the series as a whole.  The characters are wonderful and the plot is solid so if you’re new to Gundam, you’ll still enjoy AGE.  But for us oldschool fans, the nods are a welcome bonus.

AND HARO!!! I love Haro.

The AGE System

Hut one, hut two, hike!

Hut one, hut two, hike!

Time to talk mobile suits.  Though I know it’s a gimmick to sell more model kits, I really dig the AGE system.  The system is housed in that cement mixer looking thing to the right of Titus there.  It analyses combat data from the Gundam and builds a new component for the mobile suit that will help it adapt to defeat an enemy.  It’s essentially a high speed rapid prototyping 3D printer.  With the current advances in 3D printing, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see DARPA develop some kind of 3D weapon printer in the future.

The Black/Red Comet!

The Black/Red Comet!

Speaking of mobile suits, the Vagan enemy suits in AGE are lethal.  For the first few episodes, they tear through the Federation suits like they’re made of paper.  Conventional weapons don’t seem to do anything.  They have two forms, a mobile armor form which is three times as fast as any Feddie suit and a mobile suit form which is armed to the teeth.  As these shows go, the Gundam can usually run through a bunch of enemy suits without breaking a sweat.  But with AGE, every fight with a Vagan mobile suit is earned.  Flit gets his ass handed to him constantly.  It’s a welcome change to the franchise and one that I hope sticks around.  The stakes are raised when each fight really counts.

Two More Generations to Go

I’m really excited that I have two more Asuno’s to meet, Asemu and Kia, which also means that AGE-2 and AGE-3 are on their way.

So if you’ve been away from Gundam for a while like me, or if you’re interested in getting started with giant robots punching, I think AGE is a great jump on series for new and old fans alike.  I believe it’s still streaming on GundamInfo’s YouTube page in Chinese, English and Korean.  There are 49 episodes so be sure to get some popcorn ready.

First Impressions of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

agentsOfShield

I’ve watched the first two episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which is hardly enough to get a real sense of the show in its entirety.  Episode 3 aired last night and thanks to ABC streaming, I plan on checking it out sometime later today or this week.  But I have thoughts and a few people have asked, so I’m posting my first impressions.  I’ll do this by character.

Hacker Mc Perfect Hair

I don’t like Skye.  I’m not entirely certain what she brings to the lineup.  Fitz and Simmons are the nerds.  Melinda May is the reluctant muscle.  Coulson is the brains.  I don’t know why Skye is there and for that matter, I don’t know why Agent Ward is there either.  The relationship between the two is being telegraphed so hard that I wonder if Joss isn’t going to pull a fast one on us.  But she seems superfluous and annoying.  I don’t even care that she’s a mole. Like that’s not completely obvious to the rest of the team.

Broody Mc Strong Chin

Speaking of superfluous, Agent Ward is pretty useless.  Melinda May can do anything he can do much, much better.  So why is he here?  I understand that May didn’t want to see combat, but she’s already dusted off her ass kicking boots.  Mr “Total Solution” or whatever he calls himself is just there for Skye to moon at.  And that’s annoying.  The two of them are there to give us some sort of emotional hook, but there’s no chemistry between the actors.  And all of Ward’s one-liners that would kill in the hands of someone like Nathan Fillion just fall dead.

It seems like the show wants so bad for us to really care about these two and I just don’t.

The Cavalry

I’ve got a soft spot for Ming Na Wen so to see her back in action is awesome.  I want to know more about her, why she decided to take a desk job, why she decided to join Coulson’s team.  This isn’t her first time at the rodeo so she had to have known that if she returned to the field, she was going to see combat.

The Nerds

Fitz and Simmons are fantastic!  I love the way they play off of each other.  They get so lost in conversation and bouncing ideas back and forth that they forget anyone else is in the room.  And I love the fact that the show doesn’t stop to make them explain what the hell they are talking about at every second.  These two are great which probably means they’re destined to get horribly fucked at some point.

Son of Coul

This is not the same Phil Coulson that we saw in the movies and I give Clark Gregg for giving the S.H.I.E.L.D. version of his character a little more edge.  S.H.I.E.L.D. is lying to Coulson and that thread of mystery might be enough to hold my interest through a full season.

Getting on the Bus?

I think I’ll be giving it a few more episodes.  Not sure if I’ll be doing episode reviews like I do with Doctor Who, but if things get more interesting, who knows.  May, Fitz, Simmons, and Coulson have my attention and I kind of wish the show was just about those four.  I’m a little disappointed that it’s not more ethnically diverse, but then, looking at the source material, it’s not at all surprising.

So yeah, like I said, two episodes really aren’t enough to judge S.H.I.E.L.D. in its entirety.  I’ll be watching.  But it’s not something I’m raving about just yet.

“Whoa, I’m in… Japan…”

It occurs to me that while I talked about it when it was first announced, I haven’t said shit about the new 47 Ronin flick starring Keanu Reeves yet.  Welp, this second trailer has dropped so now is as good a time as any to speak my mind.

To be honest, I’m not against casting a White guy or a half White/half Asian guy in a Japanese fantasy period piece.  For once, I’m not going to complain about Whitewashing.  I mean, they’ve got Mako Mori turning into a dragon.  It’s clear they’re not going for historical accuracy by any stretch of the imagination.  Also, Keanu’s father is hella Asian so I don’t think it’s appropriate to call him out for being just another “white” guy.

What infuriates me about this thing is that they’re pretending it’s based the actual revenge of the 47 Ronin which took place in 18th century Japan.  The story has become legend and defines what it meant to be samurai.  But unless you’re Japanese or a Japanese scholar or a Nihongofile or a GIGANTIC weeaboo, you wouldn’t have heard of the 47.  It’s not a story that’s readily familiar to the target audience of the film.  And those who are familiar with the tale will only be scratching their heads and wondering where the fuck the 48th samurai came from.  Keanu isn’t even one of the 47!

I don’t see the benefit of tying this to something that so few audience members will have heard about.  And if they look it up, they’ll be utterly confused,  “I don’t see anything about a ‘half-breed’ (guh, that’s what they’re calling him in the film) saving the day.”  It bears so little resemblance to the original tale that if it weren’t for the title or the line about there only being “47 of us,” I wouldn’t have figured it out.

It would be like a Japanese studio casting Odagiri Joe (why do you hate Kuuga, Joe? Why?!) as the hero of the American Revolution.  What, that sounds absurd?  Well it makes just as much sense as this fucking thing.

Just call it something different!  You can have your literal dragon lady and your whitish hero and your flashy swords. Just call it something new!  Hell, give your writers some credit.  They clearly didn’t think the original story was interesting enough for a film so they wrote some new shit!  If you believe in that new shit, show it off! Give it a fresh coat of paint and a new name and fuck it, I’ll promote the shit out of your weird looking movie.

The thing is, this looks like a fun little action movie. You got your demon looking armor guy walking through fire.  You got Rinko Kikuchi turning into a dragon.  You got some really cool looking creatures eating warriors.  Were it not for the dubious title, I think I would actually see this in the theater.

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