Category Archives: Anime/ T.V.

Naruto: Shippuden, My New Obsession

After 10 straight months of watching nothing but, I am completely caught up in the world of Naruto. I’ve started performing Fireball Jutsu’s all over my house, creating Rasengans with my long time friend and avid fan, and even bought a rather expensive and very nice Shino Aburame cosplay for my own personal enjoyment. In a word, obsessed. I can’t get enough of this show, and you already know all I’m gonna do in this post is rant and rave about Naruto: Shippuden. Keep the episodes coming, I want to see Naruto: Shippuden, episode 500.

For those of you who are familiar with Naruto, I don’t need to remind you of the original story. Naruto has lost Sasuke and needs to get

Badass, character clash, as per usual.

stronger to get him back (if he can at all). After 3 years, Naruto returns with a vengeance, a few new Rasengans up his sleeve, and a new unbreakable vow and fervor. Sakura is a bit more badass, but just as useless as before (her battle with Sasori almost leaves something to be desired, Granny Chiyo did most of the work…). The new partner, Sai, is an unlovable bastard with a strange affinity for Japanese ink drawings. Everyone else is pretty legit now in Shippuden. Gotta love my Shikamaru.

So who are the new baddies in this one? Well, you have the Akatsuki. These guys were an outer force in the original Naruto with Kisame and Itachi trying to capture Naruto. The reason? The Nine-Tailed Fox that rests within him. And the other eight tailed beasts (Bijuu) that rest inside their ninjas (Jinchuriki). Sorry for any misspellings. If they get all 9 of the tailed beasts, it’s game over for the world of ninjas. And with 10 badass Akatsuki, the most relentless fighters in all the land, it’s gonna be a fight to the death. And it doesn’t stop there.

What could this be I wonder…

Sasuke has obviously teamed up with Kabuto and Orochimaru, wielding the ways of fire, lightning, and snakes. It’s all very badass, but who (other than fangirls) really likes Sasuke? He’s a bad boy, and he’s kind of a whiny biatch about his brother. (More on that later in the series.) Anyways…

Everybody has powered up and all these new Jutsu’s are being thrown around like hotcakes. Shikamaru is a Jonin, and he’s so damn smart that he’s actually super important in the main plotline. Perfection in a can. Choji is as wonderful as always, his battle with the Sound Ninja in Naruto being one of my favorite fights of all time. Neji lookin’ like a huge master, as per usual. Not a single character has become less cool than they were in Naruto original. Rock Lee, ballin’ and breakin’ hard as well.

And there’s so much I can’t tell you that is just so good to watch! All of the emotions and the brand new soundtrack that makes this one so much more adult and dramatic than anything ever before. The fluid fight scenes and crisp animation make it an enjoyable watch with every episode. I’m learning all the hand signs as we speak.

Here’s a new twist. Does anybody remember my last post on Naruto? I watched that all dubbed. BIG MISTAKE. Maile

Epic and beautiful, all-in-one.

Flanagan ruined it, and the only redeeming qualities for me were Itachi, Shino, Shikamaru, Rock Lee, and Gaara (Liam O’Brien for life). So I watched this one subbed. And let me tell you, Junko Takeuchi is a godsend. She does an amazing job as Naruto and really creates a character that feels and hell, even goes through puberty. Try to pull that off, Male Flapagan. (Every other Japanese voice actor is amazing too. Shino’s deep voice threw me off though…)

What more can I say about this show to rave about it…

There’s a character for everyone in this show. Every character has a unique personality and fighting style that anyone can fall behind. You get what appears to be the precursor and inspiration for Avatar: The

Just for funzies.

Last Airbender with the different element affinities, and plenty of strategic battles that go off so badass like. With so many versions of Naruto and the greatest one-ups-manships of all time, Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden will disappoint no one. At all.

With incredible backstories of a bunch of new characters, great all around presentation, and a fandom that can’t be beat, Naruto: Shippuden gets a well deserved 11 out of 10, my first more than perfect score ever.


Stan Lee’s Superhumans

Anddddd we’re back. Now that I’ve moved back into college and getting into the flow of school, let’s get back to some posts (and seeing as I’m sitting here at work at 12:30 in the morning, why not?). To kick things off, let’s review a show a friend of mine said was quite good and the whole first season is on Netflix. When is Netflix gonna give me a bit of money for reviewing all the good things they put on there? Get your ship in order there, Captain Flix.

So Stan Lee’s Superhumans is a pretty basic premise of a show. Stan Lee

That old ass dude just loves his skyscrapers.

loves superheroes and he (or someone who knew he would help host it) decided it would be a good idea to send world renowned contortionist Daniel Browning Smith on the case of finding real life superhumans. Not necessarily superheroes, but some pretty interesting freaks (in the best sense of the word). We all let out our inner car crash interest and tune in to shows like this without any understanding of why, but at least this one has a more wholesome feel to it.

A dud and a stud. Nice.

Basic show structure. Daniel Browning Smith (as he will go to the ends of the earth to remind you) is being tasked by Stan Lee (because his old ass couldn’t leave the skyscraper his millions bought) to find the freaks of the world. He goes out to these locations and finds three separate superhumans per episode. Daniel B.S. (unfortunate abbreviation) never believes the B.S. (nice recovery) and gets some scientists to find out just what’s going on. I loved telling my friends about the unbelievable things I saw and even did a bit of research myself. Can’t believe I actually did (being a college kid and all) but damn it, I did.

Some are dud superpowers and others are just bizarre. I watched the show in about a day and just couldn’t stop watching

Try and get this image out of your head…

what Spider-Man creator Stan Lee was going to throw at me next. I have to say though that the psychokinetic chi master of karate was the funniest. You can’t trust what you see and fat older white gentlemen shouldn’t be allowed to run dojos. Just saying. From the blind to the flabby, and the electric to the bellyfloppers, this show has it all.

I’m Daniel Browning Smith.

After watching it all though, this show proves that human evolution is not without a sense of wonder and humor that walk hand in hand. Sure you can create a man who can withstand heat more than anyone else or survive strong amounts of snake venom. More power to you for that. But, the whole time I watched this show, I was thinking how I would ever assemble all of these men to save the world. Or if we’d all be doomed when that supervillian sends the laser our way. At least prediction man would see it coming… Maybe…

But I find being incredulous and being challenged and disproved to be a learning and growing experience. Not

You have to see this to believe it.

everything a camera shows is real, but this show made a great case for it. Death defying stunts, feats of strength, this show has got it all. So I would recommend comic fans and freak show fans alike should check this show out. It’s eye opening at the very least (although, I wish the names of the superhumans were more creative…) This short lived show deserves at least a 6.7 out of 10.


Howl’s Moving Castle: My First Miyazaki

Oh, woe is me for not having seen a Miyazaki film sooner. I’m back again for a few reviews (after vacation back home) and I thought I’d start with a film that, for me, was a revelation and fan-creating film. If only Disney hadn’t have put its grimy paws all over this film and let Studio Ghibli find English voice actors, this movie could’ve surpassed even my expectations. (But Disney is all about them big bones.) But it had Christian Bale, so it’s all good. This wonderful film about growing up

A house with a view.

and finding what you believe in is a more mature answer to the childish wonder we all find in cartoons and fantasy.

In this steampunk-like adventure story, we come across Sophie (Emily Mortimer), a young woman and local hatter in a town ruled by an aristocracy and the army. Magic is an agreed upon phenomenon and witches and wizards roam the countryside. After an encounter with a young, dashing, magical man named Howl (Christian Bale), Sophie finds herself swept away by the man’s charm. After encountering another witch later that night, The Witch of the Waste (Lauren Bacall), Sophie is turned into an old woman (voiced by Jean Simmons) and is not allowed to speak of her curse.

After this terrible twist of “Big”-like events, Sophie travels off into the countryside to escape her mother and what people would think of her. She encounters a wonderfully fun and lovable scarecrow on a stick, and, eventually, Howl and his Moving Castle. Accompanying Howl are his associated fire demon, Calcifer (Billy Crystal), and his apprentice in waiting, Markl (Josh Hutcherson). Acting as a makeshift nanny/homekeep, Sophie attempts to gain everyone’s trust, all the while searching for some way to reverse her curse. It ends up being one wild ride, indeed.

Look at that redonk detail.

I was overall impressed with this film. Like I said, I’ve never seen a Miyazaki film before and my girlfriend owned this one and wanted me to watch it. She was totally right and I wasn’t disappointed. It was a great film. Miyazaki’s style for me is completely original, unusual and quirky. His plot may have been taken from a book of the same name, but it was such a unique and off kilter movie/story/plotline that I loved what was going to happen next. It wasn’t action packed, it wasn’t magic performance filled or anything like that. It was what it was. And I appreciated that immensely.

For the most part, the voices in the film were accurately matched to each of the characters. Christian

Cosplays waiting to happen.

Bale, for the kind of frail character Howl was, was a bit of a stretch. And he wasn’t even allowed to use his British accent! What kind of crap is that when a decent percentage of the rest of the cast was British? Oh Christian Bale, will you ever be able to use your own voice? I enjoyed Billy Crystal and his comedic portrayal of Calcifer. And I was spot on again at recognizing voices when I heard both Josh Hutcherson and Crispin Freeman’s guest voicing of Turnip Head towards the end. Some of the supporting cast and background voices were a bit iffy, but overall I wasn’t disappointed.

Masterful Miyazaki.

I loved the overall feel and message of this film. The style it was going for was just right for the way this movie presented itself. The music was whimsical and the animation is above and beyond a lot of cartoon films that are done here. Why? That’s because of the attention to detail and colorful style that Miyazaki and his animation crew have created with all their projects. The film is beautiful to look at and is a visual journey in itself. Hell, this movie didn’t even need much dialogue did it? I would’ve watched it just as a silent film and enjoyed it just as much. The creative ways in which Miyazaki created a world with unique aspects and inventions left me awestruck. I’m definitely in for some treats with the rest of Miyazaki’s films. I’ll give Howl’s Moving Castle a 8.7 out of 10.


6 Days to Air: The Making of South Park

This Comedy Central exclusive documentary by Arthur Bradford was a nice little change of pace to all the films and stuff I’ve been watching recently. I was never that big of a fan of South Park until I recently started watching up on Netflix, and I’ve been converted. After hearing Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s mentality of “F&*^k you to everyone”, I now find their humor (although it was always similar to mine, but cruder) right in my ballpark.

And watching how they make an episode in 6 days. Mind blowing. Seeing them in their natural work environment, and finding how accepting they can be of all ideas, makes it that much easier to like them. They work hard and fast at what they do, and they are

Trey and Matt, still kickin’ it.

part of every step, and there every day. I was shocked to see how much time and effort they put into everything, and after all is said and done, Trey still feels he could’ve done better. There are those skeptics out there of which episodes are good or not, and Trey and Matt are the biggest ones.

Gotta laugh at those poop jokes.

After all their success from The Book of Mormon and previous seasons, they come back to it with as much passion, even though they’ve done 15 seasons now. And no signs of stopping. I give them all the credit in the world for keeping it fresh and funny.

I just thought I’d write a little review on this behind-the-scenes documentary on something I found interesting and worth every minute of the total 42. If you’re a South Park fan, it’s nice to see who the people are who make the show and find out what kind of mentality they have about the show you tune in every week for. Nice and refreshing. So check it out. It’s worth a laugh or two. 6.5 out of 10.


The Ricky Gervais Show: Animated Series

After having watched and loved bother series of Karl Pilkington’s An Idiot Abroad, I went off in search of more material featuring Karl. I stumbled upon this show on HBO in a hotel room one night, and I had to check out the rest of it. Watching the progress of Karl from his pre-Idiot days to his post was quite the experience. He’ll always be a bit of a buffoon, but he’s a lovable guy with his own ideas. Leave it to Gervais and Merchant to make him look like one of the biggest raving lunatics on the face of the planet.

So there’s a basic progress to this show. Stephen Merchant, Ricky Gervais, and Karl Pilkington all sit around a table,

His head is rather round…

having “pointless conversations” about whatever seems to come to mind. The filtered through hours of audio and found these sections to be the best. This was thus turned into an animated series, after having been the world’s most downloaded podcast. I’d call that a pretty damn successful feat.

Wassup?

The first series was rather good, seeing Karl as this idiotic manc (I don’t know exactly what that means…) trying to get his ideas across to Stephen and Ricky. Through the use of literal cartoons, Karl’s ravings are turned into stylized representations with the voices supplied by the three of them. Most of the time Karl is interrupted by the other two for being just too stupid, but when Stephen lets Karl roll with an idea, you have animated magic. I can’t even handle it sometimes.

There’s Monkey News (always supplied with a jingle from Ricky), Karl’s Diary (the written down ravings of a lunatic), and a bunch of other topics that take us throughout the mind of Karl and just what Merchant and Gervais think of him. Gervais considers Karl to be his gift (or curse, either way…) to the

Animated comedic timing. Gotta appreciate that.

world and just what a twat he is. His words, not mine.

I think it is only after An Idiot Abroad that Karl actually came into himself. You can tell that he has more of an opinion and more to say more often in the third series. You feel bad for him (if you have any background on him) but you wonder why there is someone in the world that is as boring as Karl. It really is unbelievable. This show proves it, and it’s just great to listen and laugh to. (Nice to look at sometimes as well.)

Every episode ends with Ricky and the last laugh.

So, if you have the opportunity to catch this show (HBO, HBO Go, etc.) then you should. If not, catch clips of it on Youtube for a true taste of the idiocy. Karl Pilkington will truly make you think in a whole different way. I guarantee it. He’s not far off from having actual revelations and epiphanies, but he damn well says what he wants to say. He is a man of the people. And I still wanna meet him. 8.2 out of 10.


Come Fly With Me: Walliams and Lucas, At It Again

I am a huge fan of Matt Lucas and David Walliams’ hit British comedy, Little Britain. Their sketches and the characters/situations they create are groundbreaking and traditional all at once. They take the old British gag of dressing up as women and take it to the next level. They know no boundaries of race, religion, or moral. They will make you feel uncomfortable, all the while laughing at their zany antics.

And now, they bring you a new show. New characters, a new setting, but the same old tricks. It’s not necessarily overdone because we’ve seen

Taaj, keeping it fresh with the biatches.

the same style before, but they keep it fresh, just by being themselves. This time around, Matt Lucas and David Walliams are a variety of characters, all centered around an airport. In this mockumentary, entitled Come Fly With Me, Lucas and Walliams keep their fans happy with a brand new hilarious show.

Praise to the Lord they will not sue!

And what a show it is. With talking-head interviews supplementing situational comedy throughout the airport, Lucas and Walliams play over 30 characters in a feat I haven’t seen on Television comedies before. Every character feels unique and everyone can choose their own personal favorite. With the makeup being so well done, you may not even recognize Matt Lucas some of the times if you are just a casual watcher of the show.

But there is a problem people have with the program. They say it’s racist. And yes, I can admit to laughing hysterically every time Matt Lucas plays Precious, the coffee store worker. (It’s an inside joke about the name and personality, but it comes across as funny all the same.) Or, even the

All in a day’s work for Matt Lucas.

Japanese fangirls… But that’s not the point. I think this show proves that airports, despite racist characters like Ian Foot (Walliams), the airport head of security and customs, an airport is a place of a widening array of people. Unlike America, the “true” melting pot of all nationalities, an airport such as this one does have people from all over the world flying from all other places. It is a unifying experience, known simply as “flying”. Even Lucas and Walliams recognized that themselves when Moses (Walliams) approaches a Chinese man as the airport liason, and, saying, “Sprechen Sie Deutsch?”, he surprises himself with the Chinese man responding in German. And, despite all that, they show embraces and pokes fun at the homosexual community, Matt Lucas being a proud member of that group. So how could a show that pushes all the limits not go on doing so? Come on…

How much do you love Disney World?

Despite racist allegations and shots at the show’s ego in spite of being after Little Britain’s success, I’m damn proud of Lucas and Walliams getting back out there and doing more comedy. I missed them immensely and was just looking for another show to fill the hole in my comedic heart. This show did it (with the help of Snuff Box).

So set aside your politically correct mind for 6 episodes and sit back and relax and allow yourself to giggle at the occasional profanity or stereotype. I promise, when all’s said and done, you won’t be a

Get a load of that…

redneck. Or whatever you fear you may become. This show lightly grazes over a topic I didn’t know you could go over for 6 episodes for. Flying and airports. Hating the experience of flying itself, I felt this show handled a bunch of jokes that comedians have been pondering for years. “Why is airline food so bad…” And why is this show so good? 9.5 out of 10.


Berry & Fulcher’s Snuff Box

You wanna talk about dark and strange to the point of comedy? This show encompasses that idea. Seeing the faces of Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher once again warmed my heart to the sound of “Holy Shitnuts!” and Berry’s sultry pickup lines. I’m glad these two met through Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt’s The Mighty Boosh, because who knew such bizarre comedy could be made! Add some rap song about babies and Matt Berry’s whimsical singing voice and you have a campy comedy about Hangmen.

But it’s far more than that. Using their own names as the personas for their characters, Rich Fulcher and Matt Berry deliver skit after skit that may seem unrelated, and usually is. Berry wants his women and his silver cowboy boots, while Fulcher just wants Matt’s approval (and maybe some women). They both cavort around in a one room brothel/tavern occupied by cantankerous old farts, saying what they want, even traveling back in time. There’s no limits to their

The strange men who are Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher.

brashness and I loved all 6 episodes.

Looks quite old for a show from 2006…

If you liked The Mighty Boosh (and I have a blog on it from way back when) then you will most likely like this show. But it’s not a given. This show has some differences. Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher, although outrageous, have hits and misses in their show. For some people who like references in their comedy to draw from, this show has about a 20-80 ratio of referential comedy. It features no big Brit comedians, other than the occasional pop-up from Richard Ayoade from The IT Crowd and the Shaman from Boosh.

A coffee… For those awkward moments of Snuff Box.

But what I can’t get over is how bizarre this show actually is. Most sketches have nothing to do with what’s going on, and, like Little Britain, this show returns to sketches that may or may not have

Leave it to an American to make love to a lollipop…

worked out in previous episodes. It’s rather alarming to see the amount of progress made throughout this six episode series from start to finish. But if you are fans of Rich Fulcher and Matt Berry, this show will work for you.

It really worked for me.

There’s really not that much to say about this show. It’s one of those see it to believe it kind of deals. And there really isn’t anyway to describe it. So just check it out. It’s Brit comedy to the extreme of strange, the edge of darkness. It is, in a word, wonderful. 7.7 out of 10.

But really, leave it to an American on British Television to do things like this. Unbelievably witty.