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Anime & Toons: What Are You Watching?


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I noticed recently that Durarara!! series 2 starts in January, so it would be great if series 1 reaired. I think [as] lost rights to Durarara!! back in 2013, though.

I was glad to find out Durarara got a second season. So many questions needing answers.

But the pricing for legal copies is nothing short of ludacrious....the absolute cheapest I've seen season one going for is 45 dollars, and the special edition Blu Ray I've seen go for over 100 dollars. What fresh hell is that?

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Drat!! I've been too busy to watch Durarara!!x2. Thanks for the reminder. (It's on Crunchyroll, FYI.) Looks like D!!x2 will have 39 episodes total, split into 3 cours, so I've got like a year to catch up, at least.

 

And I haven't kept up with the DVDs, but Season 1 is available on Hulu as well as Crunchyroll, both dubbed and subbed.

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Cartoon Network/Adult Swim is trimming its Toonami block. Now it's going to run between midnight-3:30 a.m., with the usual reruns afterward. Worse, they took one of my favorite shows (One Piece) and plopped it down at 2:30 a.m. Oh, and they're going to be showing Kill La Kill starting next Saturday. Judging from the mini-trailer they shown, it should be memorable.

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Saw the first two episodes of Kill La Kill. It's . . . .interesting. I take it afterschool clubs and activities take a high precedence in Japan. And it looks like KLK loves its fanservice. Is anyone else keeping up so far?

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Yep, that does sound like something I would complain about. I remember liking the humor on Young Justice, though. Wally and Robin in particular had some really good lines, IIRC. But yeah, other times we were definitely laughing at Young Justice, not with it. Seriously, how many times did Superboy’s shirt “accidentally” get ripped off to expose his perfectly sculpted abs?

 

Saw the first two episodes of Kill La Kill. It's . . . .interesting. I take it afterschool clubs and activities take a high precedence in Japan. And it looks like KLK loves its fanservice. Is anyone else keeping up so far?

I finished the series today, actually. Originally, my intention was just to catch up with Toonami, but I quickly discovered that Kill la Kill is not a show I want to think about for 6 months while it airs weekly. What it lacks in originality it tries to make up for in ecchi-ness and VOLUME!! So loud and noisy…so much shrieking. And so much Need Moar Lens Flare meme used to

cover up testicles

. I’m not sure I’d recommend Kill la Kill, but if you find anime like Excel Saga fun, you’ll probably like it.

 

Two notes:

  1. The second half is better than the first. I was reminded of Eureka 7, which spent like 30 episodes rehashing lame teen clichés before suddenly getting to the point. (And once Eureka 7’s storytelling had a focus, it was awesome!) Kill la Kill is similar in that its second arc refocuses on the themes introduced in the pilot, and so it suddenly has a larger purpose and much more interesting subtext. The second half even manages to give relevance—dare I say logic—to some of the weird crap in the first half.
  2. The sub is better than the dub. I couldn’t take the yelling anymore, so I switched to subtitles and lowered the volume after about 10 eps. A good decision, it turned out, because the Japanese voice acting has noticeably better line delivery and nuance, IMO. The shouting and shrieking is still monotonous, but at least it’s funnier.

 

PS. Deep thoughts about Kill la Kill ep 16 from Mecha-Guignol. (Major spoilers, obv.)

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Just checking to see who else watched the premiere of Transformers: Robots In Disguise. It'll air at 6:30 a.m. on Saturdays at Cartoon Network, which doesn't show that much faith in the show. Here's my first exposure to it. .  . I think it skews young, like Transformers Animated, as opposed to the last TF series, Prime. Oh, and Optimus Prime is some sort of Jedi ghost that leads Bumblebee around. Okay, then.

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Heads up: With the end of Gurren Lagann tonight, Toonami/[adult swim] is bringing in Sword Art Online II to fill the gap. I saw both seasons of the original SAO, and it should be interesting to see what happens to (looking up Wikipedia) Kirito this time. SAO II goes into the 1 a.m. slot, displacing Naruto Shippuden to 2. One Piece, sadly, remains at 2:30, though "reruns" of episodes air on the following week at 8:30.

 

ETA: If anybody missed out on Attack On Titan, it'll rerun at 3 a.m. starting next week, replacing Deadman Wonderland.

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I totally forgot to post about Kids on the Slope!

 

I loved it, and not just because it’s a Shinichiro Watanabe anime. It’s a wonderfully poignant story about friendship and family set in the 1960s. It’s about cultural change and conflict in way that I haven’t seen much of in anime. In reality, Kids on the Slope doesn’t say anything new about the 60s, but it still manages to surprise both in its plot and its emotional depth.

 

And also there’s lots and lots of Jazz. The music is incredible, though the soundtrack won’t supplant Cowboy Bebop or Wolf’s Rain or even Darker than Black on my list of favorite Yoko Kanno soundtracks. (Not that that should take away from the Kids on the Slope soundtrack in any way.)

 

As for Watanabe’s direction…there are a couple fight scenes early on that are creative in way that announces that this is a Watanabe show. But then the story settles into drama, and the direction becomes more staid. Except for the music scenes. I realized late in the series that the jam sessions were seriously visually complex—they’re the show’s action sequences, it turns out, and so they are where Watanabe’s direction excels.

 

I did have to adjust to the show’s character design, which annoyed me at the beginning. I had difficulty telling characters apart because they have the exact same face but with different hair—both boys and girls. I’m guessing this was a stylistic choice, but it started to feel like just poor artistic range. It also distracted me that one of the teenagers looked like a 30-year-old longshoreman. That his look was intentional and even an important plot point made me forgive everything, though.

 

Anyway, as I mentioned in the earlier post, I didn’t make it through Kids on the Slope when it first aired. So, I am so glad I gave it a second chance. It’s bittersweet, but wonderfully so.

 

It also manages to make double entendres like “I want your enormous talent” funny for once. Now that’s rare in anime.

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also didn’t care for YJ’s pattern of letting important, seemingly more interesting events occur off-screen, and then info-dumping about those events rather than exploring them. (Example: Red Arrow’s story in both seasons.)

 

 

Agreed!  YJ should have run at least 4-5 seasons.  I thought the 5 year time skip was too soon in its depiction;  we should have had 2-3 seasons of the original YJ team while gradually bringing in more YJ members.  The original team had a lot of stories to tell, and skipping ahead 5 years made me feel like we lost out on a lot.  I was hoping to see the original Wonder Girl (not that I didn't enjoy Cassie as WG), and a better development of Red Arrow's and Arsenal's storylines during that period (since this adaptation had the two exist at the same time) and of course Nightwing rescuing Wally.  I was also mad at CN for canceling the show just as the Darkseid  storyline was getting started.   Last I heard, Greg Weisman was working on the latest Star Wars animated series, so it'll be a while (if ever) before he can come back to YJ.  I'd settle for a mini series or a  DTV series for some answers. 

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weyrbunny . . .  out of curiosity, did you ever get into Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes? While DC Comics usually get their act together when it comes to cartoons, I figure that this Marvel series struck a perfect balance between the comics and the movies. Alas, it only last two seasons, then Disney XD replaced it with the more movie-centric Avengers Assembled, which features the movie team and Falcon. A:EMH is the superior series, as least I'm far as I'm concerned.

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I watched a handful of episodes of...I can't tell which Avengers show. It was on after late-night Ultimate Spider-Man reruns? Back when Disney XD was burning off Tron: Uprising in the middle of the night? Neither of these facts is helping me Google. I don't remember any distinguishing details, either–the Hulk and Iron Man were fighting...something. Mostly I remember finding Peter Parker's inner monologue funny for once on Spider-Man and being annoyed that Tron: Uprising was cancelled just as it was getting awesome.
 
Anyway, thanks for the recommendation. I'll add Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes to my never-shortening list of shows to watch.
 

... and of course Nightwing rescuing Wally.

 
 The thought of this made me smile. And then I realized that I was happy about someone drawing one fictional character rescuing another fictional character, which made me question my choices in life for a second. But then I got over it.

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I watched the first two seasons of USM. It was nice, though not as good as Spectacular Spider-Man, even with a wicked cooler Aunt May, and a better use for Ben Parker than as Peter's Achilles heel. I DVRed a lot of the third season, then I deleted it to make room for other stuff. It just isn't a priority for me anymore. Also, the monologues can be a bit weak, and there's no bromance between Luke and Danny a la the comics canon.
 
I tried Avengers Assembled, but I fell out of it. Ditto Hulk & The Agents of SMASH, though I will admit that Clancy Brown rocked as Red Hulk. I don't know if I'll get into the GotG series when it comes out. I think I'll wait for the next movie, even if that will take a while to happen.
 
ETA: Before I forget, here's the original credits sequence to A: EMH . . .



I will admit, the song did grow on me. Also, I wound up getting this sketch based on Ant-Man and Wasp. Here's hoping we get counterparts in the movies that are as good.
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This just in . . . Dragonball Z gets a new anime. It's slated to take place after the Maijin Buu saga. I would've focused on Future Trunks and a world without the other "Z-Fighters," but okay.

 

While I'm at it, here's another Marvel toon recommendation: Iron Man: Armored Adventures. It lasted two seasons on TeenNick (Teenick?), and featured a lot of Shellhead's enemies, as well as Obadiah Stane. Also, Tony Stark is not publically known as Iron Man. The potential dealbreaker: Tony and the bulk of his supporting cast are teens, and you get a hankering to throttle Pepper Potts, she's so annoyingly hyperactive. And the theme song is as earworm-y as A:EMH . . .

 

 

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I’ve been gradually watching Ouran for the past couple months. It’s an old favorite and one of the few anime that I love every episode of. Damn, is it laugh-out-loud funny. And so smart.

 

For the uninitiated—“Commoners!”—Ouran High School Host Club is a character-driven, romantic comedy about an after-school club at a fancy prep school. But mostly it makes fun of and subverts anime tropes, fanservice, cosplay, you name it. By being a meta-comedy, by making fun of the right things, it somehow manages to balance being preposterously silly and emotionally profound. Which makes it outstanding!

 

Other-Things-I-Love-About-Ouran Speed Round:

 

  • Banana Peel! Look out!!
  • Haruhi, the main character, is an intelligent, self-possessed and snarky young woman.
  • The others characters (and show) constantly make fun of the male romantic lead, Tamaki. He may be a special-snowflake golden boy, but he’s also a complete nut. So refreshing.
  • The “who is he talking to?” running gag. It reminds me so much of the “Him? Her?” jokes on Arrested Development.
  • The pink bunny mushroom cloud of doom.
  • The classical music, including (I think) Mouret’s Rondeau, the Masterpiece Theatre theme.
  • Mori, the stoic character, is so strong and silent that when he sees a bikini he really likes, he…grunts.
  • “I’m not sure moe was the best way to wrap things up.”
  • When they flash to Tamaki’s thought process and it’s just a screaming dinosaur.
  • Kyoya paints not only outside the frame but a giant mural, using every color in the rainbow.
  • This exchange: “What are you doing?” “Building a hamster nest.” “You don’t have a hamster.” (Seriously, Tamaki is so bonkers.)

 

And, last but not least:

 

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I haven’t watched a Michael Bay movie in years, but that video makes me think they’ve gotten worse. I did chuckle at the characters having sex in the elevator without apparently noticing the other guy was trapped in there with them.
 
At the other end of the spectrum, the Regular Show Brilliant Century Duck Crisis Special anime spoof with Evangelion-style credits from last Spring. (Video not available)

 

(Audio may be better on DailyMotion.)

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Sharing another YouTube . . . this is Pokémon: The 'Bridged Series. It's a warped take on the old school Pokémon, where everybody acts horribly all the time. I saw this episode premiere at AnimeNEXT this past Saturday. Really fun stuff . . . . at least for me.

ETA: Just found this cute short from Dorkly . . .

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From YouTube . . . misunderstood anime lyrics . . .

 

I remember LittleKuriboh doing something similar in his abridgement of the "Season Zero" movie from Yu-Gi-Oh! What stuck with me the most were the end lyrics: "Tourniquet/Frylock's high again." Bonus: lots of material from Maximum the Hormone's "What's Up People," used in the second opening credits for Death Note. Insane stuff.

 

Speaking of anime, I saw the DVD for Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods. Nice for Goku to hit a level that's not easily attained. I don't know when I'll see Resurrection [F], but at least I'll be familiar with the enigmatic Beerus should he pop up again, either in the next sequel or the new DBZ series.
 

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Disney XD is reairing TRON: Uprising? Its name is usually mentioned along with the movies, so I’m guessing it has benefitted from the sequel press lately. Actually: 9 reasons more TRON Uprising is the answer to Disney's TRON sequel problem.
 
I do recommend TRON: Uprising. (It’s why I was watching Disney XD in the dead of night. Or, at all.) I remember it having a dull start—it had to burn off some lame, teen sports episodes or whatever was supposed to appeal to the Disney demographic. But once it dived into the TRON mythology and developed its characters, it was great—freakin’ amazing visuals, excellent voice acting, and a good story. Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) was the standout performance, for me. Darn good soundtrack, too.
 
Wow:
 
1n6sakSl.jpg
 
--------
 
I’m almost done watching The Critic. It’s brilliant, witty, and mean. How funny that so many of the movies that it was OK to hate in the 90’s are now considered unimpeachable “classics”.

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Yeah, they just started re-airing them at 2am. I was also into it for the artwork and soundtrack, although there wasn't much variety in the soundtrack, as I recall. They were building up something and then the series just stopped. Sigh.

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"You're watching Fox. Shame on you."
 
For any YouTube folks out there. . . what AMVs do you like? For me, I dig the stuff put out by l33tmeatwad. He's done some fun stuff with Neon Genesis Evangelion and Dragonball Z. The following video is a compilation of "rejected" AMVs. Highly inappropriate uses of Maroon 5 and "Everything Is Awesome," as well as a nice tribute to Mako from Kill la Kill.

 

ETA: Speaking of stuff I like on YouTube . . . TeamFourStar just put out their 50th episode of Dragonball Z Abridged.
 

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"You're watching Fox. Shame on you."

It was worth it, just that once!! Though technically—as I learned from the commentary—The Critic aired on ABC for a season before moving to Fox and then eventually to Webisodes.

 

I’d say my favorite quote from the show was “Like most members of America's cultural elite I worship Pan, the Goat God!” I died laughing. Speaking of dying…a close second is “I’ve been declared dead by better coroners than you!” So many applications in today’s zombie/vampire/vombie TV landscape.

 

And why isn’t “fantacrap” used constantly?!? So many shows truly are a mixture of fantasy and crap. Of all the mashups that didn’t catch on…I must endeavor to use it often. Though, usually if I think an anime is fantacrap, I stop watching after 3-5 episodes and don’t post about it. Still, I can try.

 

More in a bit on the awesomeness that is Tokyo Ghoul.

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I was so impressed by Tokyo Ghoul. It’s a flawed show, but I don’t care, because its whole is greater than its parts. And, it so frequently subverted my expectations, I still can’t believe it! It doesn’t subvert anime tropes; it deploys those constantly. But, the show isn’t interested in stepping through them the way that every other supernatural-teen anime seems to be.

 

Here’s what I mean: the pilot sets up the banal story of a special-snowflake teenage boy (Kaneki) who has to come to terms with being a zombie. And he cries a lot. And he’s going to learn to fight, of course. But Tokyo Ghoul doesn’t stay that story. It, and Kaneki, progress quickly, constantly and often violently. It’s as if the show uses familiar tropes as shorthand, so that it can devote its time to exploring the psychological horror or consequences of each character’s choices. The show even turns into an ensemble in season 2—aka Tokyo Ghoul √A—with Kaneki becoming a mystery to the audience and other characters.

 

It also uses inference and visual clues A LOT. Man, is some of the storytelling ambiguous. It does an excellent job of exploring both sides of arguments and both sides of a fight, which adds to the ambiguity. (And gets back to the theme of consequences…)

 

Tokyo Ghoul uses some common zombie or Frankenstein metaphors, by the way, to comment on urban crime, racial profiling and even eating disorders. Season 1 sets up zombie-ism as every eating disorder, I think. “Ankle-biter” takes on new meaning—heh.

 

I love the artwork and animation, of course, even Kaneki’s nightmare-fuel mask. Striking visuals abound, but being a horror show, they include really bloody, violent fight-scenes and bodies falling from the sky.

 

Anyway, the best compliment I can give Tokyo Ghoul is that I want to watch it again. I’ll miss being surprised by the plot and tension, but I can’t imagine it could be less…forlorn and haunted. How interesting.

 

A couple notes:

  • There’s now a prequel OVA: Tokyo Ghoul: Jack
  •  Season 3 is supposed to start in 2016

 

Also, the best commentary I’ve seen on the season 2 finale is A Tokyo Ghoul Retrospective; Or, “Waiter, There’s a Tragedy in my Horror Anime!” Spoilers, obv.

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Not a show I'm watching now, but anime related - The "google doodle" in the search results today was the following picture:

33nddhv.jpg

What does it say about me that I immediately wondered why Orihime from Bleach was the daily doodle?

(It's actually a celebration of Lucy Maud Montgomery's birthday.)

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weyrbunny . . .  out of curiosity, did you ever get into Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes? While DC Comics usually get their act together when it comes to cartoons, I figure that this Marvel series struck a perfect balance between the comics and the movies. Alas, it only last two seasons, then Disney XD replaced it with the more movie-centric Avengers Assembled, which features the movie team and Falcon. A:EMH is the superior series, as least I'm far as I'm concerned.

I love Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. I watched it on Netflix out of sheer boredom and need for background noise, and ended up really enjoying it. I'm sad there aren't more episodes. It actually made me excited for the Captain Marvel movie coming out in a few years. 

 

After rewatching A:EMH, I'm trying to watch Avengers Assemble but it's really dragging. It doesn't have the charm of the first series. I miss Wasp and Ms Marvel, and the overall team chemistry was better. Assemble is very generic action cartoon. 

 

Cam someone explain how the rights to characters works? Doom and Kang can never be in the MCU because they're part of the Fantastic Four rights not owned by Marvel, but it was ok for them to be part of the cartoons?  Spiderman also appeared before the rights were given back to Marvel. 

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Heads up . . . you know True Life? The documentary series that airs on MTV? Well, next week's episode is "I'm Living Anime." I think it's about people who cosplay a lot more than most people would. It's scheduled to air next Wednesday at 11:30. I'll probably DVR it to see if I can recognize any of the shows. I think one of the featured players is too into Steven Universe.

 

ETA for Sandman87 . . . that is a nice likeness of Orihime. Why isn't it her? No giant breasts.

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Just curious about whether anybody would be interested in seeing the original Transformers cartoon, or GI Joe: A Real American Hero. Discovery Family (fka The Hub) runs episodes back-to-back starting at 5 a.m. They also have episodes from Transformers Prime, which was an interesting CGI series, loaded with epic moments. The network also showed episodes of Jem and the Holograms, but I think they were taken down after the movie.

 

ETA: Funko to produce dolls based on anime characters. Not really my thing, and I'm not into Fairy Tail, but they look cute.

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My family eschews most holiday traditions, but we do watch anime DVDs from the library. This Christmas’s selection was The Wind Rises, Patema Inverted, and my repeated favorite, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

 

The Wind Rises is beautiful, excellently made, and with the thoughtfulness and intelligence that you’d expect from Hayao Miyazaki. But the “expect” is probably why it will never be one of my favorites; it was ultimately too expected, too...mundane. Mainstream might be a better word. Movie reviewers have heaped praise on The Wind Rises for being Miyazaki’s most mature, emotional drama, and by inference, for setting aside the fantastical or whimsical. But I think Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away—just to pick two—were far more multifaceted. They were definitely more visually creative. If it really is Miyazaki’s swan song, The Wind Rises is a worthy legacy. It just didn’t engage my imagination or provoke thought the way that his earlier films do. (Oh, and the dub is embarrassing in places: lips still moving after they stop talking! WTF Disney?!)

 

Patema Inverted has visual creativity in spades. The direction by Yasuhiro Yoshiura is Hell Yeah Awesome! too, especially the vertiginous, upside-down action sequences at the end. (I’m always compelled to watch the ending again immediately, just because it’s so thrilling.) And I salute whomever planned out all the reversed-gravity scenes. The details of who or what are being pulled in which direction(s) are so visually mind-bending in places, it must’ve taken a great deal of planning to get it right. Which it does.

 

What Patema Inverted lacks, though, is character depth. Or, maybe it simply needs more expressive dialogue for the characters, so that they’re not only serving the plot. I like the characters, but the film doesn’t give a single one a unique voice, really. Plot over personality is what the story calls for, but exploring the characters, and by extension their societies, would’ve given the story more weight. Or, gravity. (Ba dum bum ching.)

 

You know what I realized about The Girl Who Leapt Through Time? It’s hysterical. The last time I watched it, I found it bittersweet and melancholy—about lost love, lost time, and a dystopian future. This watch: physical comedy, comedic timing and there’s a TIME-WALNUT—hee! And this is why I adore The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: every rewatch, I discover new elements to enjoy.

 

I also really enjoyed the dialogue and characters this time—they have the unique personalities and voices that are missing from Patema Inverted, actually. (And the story’s ambiguities and complexities make The Wind Rises pale in comparison, too.) It’s one of those rare anime where the dub improves the dialogue, making it more layered, funnier, fuller of personality.

 

Speaking of ambiguity…previously, I accepted The Girl Who’s... ending scene ambiguity as a metaphor for Makoto’s growing up and chasing after love and the future instead of running from it. Now, I want a more literal happy ending, for Makoto’s time leap back to the beginning to have restored Chiaki to more than one time leap, for them to really meet in the future. But…that’s the beauty of the ambiguity: either is possible, and there’s always a third option.

 

I realize that none of this makes sense unless you’ve seen the movie. I’m being vague and not overviewing the plot and characters because a) Google and b) I don’t want to give away any of the twists. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is great anime, and I can’t recommend it more. Actually, you know I’ll rewatch it next Christmas and find a way to recommend it more. :) 

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I got Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts from the library. I am not in the target demographic. Basically, it's Warner Bros' reimagining of the Bat before Dawn Of Justice gives us Batfleck. I wouldn't recommend this for older viewers such as myself, aside from Will Fredle as Nightwing and Dana Snyder as Penguin. Snyder isn't as compelling in the role as Robin Lord Taylor over on Gotham, but he always does good work. Here's a review from ComicsAlliance. For some reason, the DVD includes two episodes from the more memorable Batman: The Brave And The Bold and five "DC Nation" shorts  . .. including the three-part "Bat Man of Shanghai," which justified the existence of the property

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Young Justice was such a good show.

I really like One-Punch Man, which is a very funny superhero parody. The main character is a hero for fun, but is bored because he is so powerful. He always defeats the villains with one punch, and they underestimate him because he looks so plain and unassuming.

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I’d watch a third YJ season, definitely.

 

I’ve discovered that there’s a new Bunnicula cartoon from Cartoon Network. It’s abhorrent: a s****** Scooby-Doo knock-off that seems both outdated and littered with “cool” tween marketing ploys that will immediately be outdated. Three episodes, and I’m out.

 

The Bunnicula books are a charming series of children’s mystery novels—those I highly recommend.

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Bumping up to see if anybody else is watching Pokémon XYZ. The latest story has "our heroes" attending a fancy dress ball, with Serena's crush on Ash coming to the fore. Also, her Eevee evolved into this version's upgrade, Sylveon. It's still a cutie even with the increased size.

I'm still DVRing it every week. It's painfully obvious that Ash will go through mega-evolution with his Greninja, because the process only works with Pokémon at the end of their evolutionary cycle, and no friggin' way does Pikachu evolve into Raichu. Also hoping for resolution involving Squishy, the nameless Pokémon befriended by Bonnie.

ETA: Check out the starters for Pokemon: Sun/Moon. I'm coming off an anime con, and if the announcement had come a month ago, Artist Alley would have been packed with prints of the new critters.

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Useful Japanese language note - Thanks to a link in the Monty Python thread, I now know a translation for "My hovercraft is full of eels": Watashi no hobakurafuto wa unagi de ippai desu. You're welcome.

BTW, I'm about 50% able to translate that back into English because of all the subtitled anime I've watched: Watashi no ("of me"), unagi ("eel"), desu ("it is"), hobakurafuto ("hovercraft" phonetically approximated in Japanese)

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Every wondered which anime characters you share a birthday with? Here's a site where you can find out. It's a database of birthdays of anime characters. Mostly in Japanese, but still usable. Just click on the number of the month in the green section of the linked page, then on the day of the month in the page that loads next. The list of results includes the character names in English, along with their blood type (the fans in Japan want to know!) and the show title.

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If I did it right, then I share my birthday with Jesus Burgess of the Blackbeard Pirates from One Piece. And Misa Amane from Death Note, which . . . ew. In real life, I share a birthdate with noted reality TV veteran Rob Mariano.

ETA: Speaking of Japan . . . new poll there shows Pikachu isn't the most popular Pokémon. The list goes to 100, and a few of my faves (Bulbasaur, Snorlax) are in there . . . but Pikachu in fourth place? Yikes.

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