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Monday, August 24, 2015

Carranger Episode 4 Review: It's Time To Eat!

Super Sentai is known for the giant monsters and many series have different ways of changing that. Carranger though still has the most bizarre concept for making a monster grow the size of a building. Even how this episode starts out is just odd. Usually we see the villains planning things out, but things start out with a fight. Not the usual type of fight though, the villains have a strife with themselves. Gynamo gets hit by Zonnette again and this causes all of the other monsters to laugh and for some reason Grotch laughs the hardest. Gynamo gets mad and tries to attack Grotch and it causes him to run to Earth and that is how things start. I was just at a loss here, but again this is Carranger so things will keep on getting strange. So the villains here are not organized at all and for this episode they just happen to stumble around on a way to defeat the Carrangers.
When Grotch gets to Earth he decides that he wants to test out Earth food because he was hungry. Again these are the villains and one just wants to settle his stomach. This then leads to Grotch finding the kid from the previous episode, Ichitaro. Now kids have had different reactions to the monsters of the series, but I can’t really remember the last time the kid stuck his tongue out and smack the monster with a stick! Grotch does not even attack the kid then, he simply just asks the kid for some good food. Ichitaro treats Grotch just like a normal person then and gives him some ideas. What is going on with this show, so far there is no action or even villainous action happening at all in this episode. While at the same time this is too enjoyable. Now an act of villainy does happen when Grotch takes Ichitaro hostage when his mother comes around. All he needs though is the delicious Earth food that Ichitaro told him about. This is all for food here! Now I want to eat, I’m going out for lunch!
Well I got back from lunch and now the mother just got back and gives the food to Grotch. The best part is that Grotch is clearly not holding Ichitaro hostage anymore and is sitting right next to Grotch as he waits for his food. The mother even stays around and so does Ichitaro as Grotch just hogs down the food that was given to him. This was just the creature that just held your child hostage, take that child and run for it! Watching Grotch eating is amazing though so I do not blame them for just watching. Something happens though, Grotch starts reacting to the food and he grows gigantic! Somehow Earth food can make these guys grow to the size of buildings. This is part of the same franchise that had monsters grow giant because of the villains have some sort of technology they had to make and plan to use. In Carranger it is just food that Grotch just found because of an angry dispute.
Things keep on getting better because this episode brings back the gag from the previous episode of Ichitaro just going to his father about the situation. Alright I get the last time why the kid would get his father and the father tried to fix things himself, but there is a giant monster in the city right now! When the father even hears of this news from his child, he just takes it like there is bully at his school. All logic is really thrown out the window for this show and that is why the writing for it is amazing. How does one write nonsense like this and make it work out? That is thanks to the show just accepting this sense of reality and not really trying to explain it or be serious either. This is parody and it could be one of the finest forms I have seen.
So the heroes also hear about the giant monster and when they arrive things do start to play out more like the usual. This is the first giant monster appearance and the heroes really do not stand a chance since there is no mech around at the moment. The heroes try to blast the monster with their blasters and even the Formula Nova. Nothing works out and my favorite part is when the Carrangers try to bash Grotch! They know the lasers are not working, so get those melee weapons out and keep slashing and hacking! This does nothing to Grotch and he even grabs Red and I love the use of props here. There is the giant hand that is grabbing Red and I miss those days when these giant props had to be made. Also the show had to use camera angles to show that Grotch is a giant and even the use of green screen and zooming out. Again it was those tricks that made me love the creative process of these shows. The tricks made the shows have style and personality.
So with Grotch’s recent discovery he now has a plan to defeat the Carrangers and it is to find more of that Earth food! Gynamo calls for the number one eater of the gang because that is an important title to have. Literally this show shares the absurdity of the assassins from Zubat with their gang members. So there is MM Mogu and together they catch Ichitaro and unlike last time, the poor kid is actually scared. This is only because of Mogu as Grotch gets the same treatment from the kid again. Ichitaro calls home to get the same food again, but this time it is his father who has to get it. Again this is literally a hostage situation and the pay is food, just what is this show? Then the father even treats thing normally, first of all I’m surprised this father is so easy to convince to get food, well I would guess Ichitaro told his father he was held hostage. For some reason I do not think that though since the father does not freak out or anything like that. He is a man who did just try to walk into a situation that deals with a giant monster, so he is a really calm man.

So the villains are clearly going to become big again and this is going to be a huge problem for the heroes. Even if they are thinking for a long time, they cannot find any solution to take down the large enemies. You get it! I’m using as many words as possible that mean tall, big, huge, etc! One part about this scene that confuses me is why are they in their suits? I guess not all the actors could show up for a shooting so I guess they had to voice it over. The only choice they got is to somehow get on their level and I love how Pink literally thought they would have to get huge and she found that embarrassing. What ends up happening is that the dream cars the heroes have are identical to the ones of the great constellations. Since they have that connection all they have to do is dream that those cars become big and hence those cars can literally be the great car spirits. Then when that is done they can transform into the great fighting god!

The cars become large and meanwhile the father has gathered the food for the villains. So everything is coming together, the episode is almost going to end and the heroes and their mechs. High chance the episode will end with a cliffhanger as the next episode will begin with the first mech fight of the series. All the monster has to do is eat the food and become large enough to destroy the city. Mogu eats the food and it seems he is getting the same reaction and then he actually shrinks… Wait… why did he get tiny? This is where the episode ends and it leaves on the question on why it failed this time. Also the show literally found a counter to the villains’ plans will it ever be used… maybe? Still that is a way to end an episode by giving a surprise, sure the hype for the fight is gone, but I am left with laughter so either way I am happy.
I keep saying Carranger is strange and the show just knows how to keep making that true and even stranger at the same time. We had an episode that only started with the villains being moronic and somehow it leads to giants appearing in the series. Even how the mechs appear in the series is pretty much by chance as well. The heroes just happened to have cars that looked like the great car spirits. Still this was a very different episode in how things were being presented here by making things happen by chance and what also helps is how the characters react to the situations. It’s a strong A episode in my book.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hurricane Polymar Review

Well it has been a long time since I have reviewed something that was not Toku related on this site, but I did say I am going to do more posts like these to help my writing in general. Also I guess since this is not a professional site and just a blog, I can let drafts and such through. Now if some are bothered by that, please tell me, but for me I like finding my own mistakes and learning from them. When I just delete when I am just typing, the mistake just vanishes from my thought and I can easily do it again. I have to notice it to make one hundred percent sure that I don’t do it again. Anyways for this review I actually got back into anime which is a shocker for me since it has been rather hard to get into it for myself. My problem was I kept looking for what was new and did not look back. Then I remember the video game, Tatsunoko VS Capcom and looked into Tatsunoko shows. First I watched Tekkaman Blade and while not one of my favorites, it did make me remember why I loved watching anime in the first place. Tekkaman Blade is a perfect representation of 90’s anime along with the classics during that era. I can say the show was strong and I did have a blast, but there were problems I had with it. That will be for a later review though because I jumped back even further and watched a show from 1974 and wow this show amazed me.
Hurricane Polymar was indeed made in 1974 and I think that year is really important because I did try to get what Polymar was about. The year 1974 is quite an interesting one for Japan because of what was happening before the show’s creation. 1966 had Ultraman which easily created a boom for transforming superheroes, but the big focus here is Kamen Rider. The franchises started in 1971 and then in 1973 we had V3. Polymar to me feels like it is a parody of the first two Kamen Rider shows, but it doesn’t say it is crap or anything, it is just showing how silly things actually look. Remember for the 70’s the effects were different and the costumes can range from great to “What the hell am I looking at?” Polymar clearly holds that idea and just keeps a silly tone to the whole thing along with the fact that people are getting murdered and crime is running all around the world. There are also some other observations I made with Polymar as I will get to that within the plot.
Polymar has twenty-six episodes to its run and the series is heavily episodic which does remind me of old school Kamen Rider or even old school Toku in general. There is the villain of the week and the heroes fight that villain and then it is rinse and repeat. With this show, it follows the three characters of the Kuruma Detective Agency as they constantly spy on the International Police to find out about possible cases. Joe Kuruma who calls himself the next Sherlock Holmes always tries to get to the case first, but he is not the brightest of detectives as he just gets in the way. Then there is Teru who owns the apartment for the agency and for some reason still keeps them around even with Joe’s three year debt! Teru is hot blooded and even though she knows how much of a goof Joe is, she still decides to work with him to solve some cases. Then there is Takeshi who is a boy who helps Joe with spying on the International Police, but whenever trouble comes around or even when his father, the chief of the International Police, he makes a run for it. So what these people deal with are deadly gangs that dress in silly suits based on animals and each different gang has their own grunts and such. Pretty much every episode deals with a new Shocker. With the detective and police completely useless who can possibly stand up and fight off these evil crime lords, Takeshi can... wait what?! It seems the young boy has been hiding a secret as he wears a special helmet called the Polymet that lets him transform into Hurricane Polymar! Takeshi even has a completely different attitude when he is not around the agency as he is rather serious and sharp. He knows where to find the gangs and knows how to vanish while keeping his identity a complete secret. With Polymar around the evil gangs that steal from the city and murder the innocent cannot stand against his fists of justice! The question is, what exactly is Polymar and why does Takeshi have it? More importantly why does he keep it a secret?
This is where a majority of the parody comes from is that the hero himself pretends to be a fool and does not keep his stoic attitude. The thing is that when Takeshi is serious he does remind me of the first Kamen Riders and what is funny is Polymar and V3 share a similar laugh before going into battle. Also with the fact there are villain gangs for each episode and how silly they can be is pointing to Shocker. The thing is that the serious tone is still around which really makes this interesting mix. I can still laugh at some of these villains and how they fight, but this is how they murder officers and innocent people which can create a terrifying image for them. Some of the villains do amp things up as well like the Butterfly Gang that flew in the air and spread poisonous powder on the city. Again hearing about men dressed as butterflies sound silly and then there is the fact they are causing chemical warfare! There is also how the police and detective can be complete buffoons is a joke on how police are useless in Toku shows even if they had two shows to base that off of. It is also funny how the show has a detective agency with a detective that is not clearly the best at his job, a lady who owns the place and tries to kick out the two, and the hero who hides his true potential from others and has to keep his identity a secret... did Double have any inspiration from this?
So from this point you can probably tell that I am in love with this show since I made a connection to Double. First of all... the Double part has nothing to do with it. Secondly, yea I do love this show. Hurricane Polymar is like Tekkaman Blade in the sort of way that I got interested in Toku, but with the old school ones. Sure the effects have not dated perfectly and can look quite silly, but there was a strong presentation value and some ground breaking development for superheroes for the time. Hurricane Polymar easily has the older style of animation and I miss those days of hand drawn animation. Then there is that Polymar excepts the silliness as reality. There is also the fact that this show is easily my cup of tea which cannot be for everyone I know, but things can get weird. Like for one of the eavesdropping scenes, they put a bug on a cat and then the cat gets distracted by a female cat... yes there was implied cat sex in this show, perfect! Even with the formulaic episodes the show had, I was always surprised by each one which is thanks to strange moments like that. The villains are creative as well as some of the best ones would have to be the White Wolf with mecha wolves, the Helmed Crickets, the Robo-Birdmen, the Doberman Assassins, and my favorite goes to the Butterfly Gang. All of these villains were silly as concepts and yet in action they are dangerous foes as the show really amps up with them. At first the gangs simply seem like common humans with some weaponry and then we get to people like the Butterfly Gang that caused chemical warfare as previously mentioned.
Also an honorable mention to the Cobramen!
To add onto the silliness there is even a dog that is highly intelligent and thinks for himself and yet cannot talk to the others. Also he is only one who knows of Polymar’s identity. The dog is called Baron… I can think of so many jokes right now. Anyways I love this dog he can seem quite old and he does play dead a whole lot and yet he adds so much to the show. Joe is by far my favorite as he can be a bumbling detective at many times and yet he can have his moments as well. He even comes with some of the best comedic moments in the show like a whole episode where he dreams he becomes Holymar and rivals Polymar. Teru even shows off her combat skills and then even the police can actually get the villains by surprise, not all the time, but sometimes.

Now I am heading into some spoilers so if you want to skip them, go right ahead this will be the only warning. I lied there are two warnings, no really skip this paragraph if you don’t want spoilers. Really you are still here? I thought I locked the door, get out! Alright now onto the spoilers! The secret behind Polymar is what you expect mostly because of the Kamen Rider connections. Takeshi acquires the helmet from a scientist that was being attacked by a gang of villains who wanted to use his research for evil! Takeshi argues with his father about how he should be protected, but his father wanted to use him as bait to catch the gang. Takeshi disagrees with his father and storms into the building to save the professor, sadly he has been terribly injured and so with only a few moments in his life left, he entrusts Polymar to Takeshi. The man tells Takeshi to train and become strong so that he can fight the evil of this world. Keeping the Polymet a secret from his father he is scolded by him because he is blamed for the death of the scientist and for letting the gang get away and on that day Takeshi vanishes and trains to become the hero that man wanted him to be. Also in that episode we do learn of what Polymar is and I love his concept. He is based around the idea of polyatomic compounds which causes Polymar to not only be incredibly strong, but also have the ability of transformation. Again this is after the cyborg heroes known as Kamen Rider and this show goes even further with a scientific theme. I am amazed a concept like this was not worked with more because you can do so much with that idea of compounds and molecules. Polymar is still a surprising take on superheroes, well at least to me because I don't know many heroes that mess around with molecules.
Now for the action of the show as I am a complete gushing fan boy over it. This was when people had to be hand drawing for all of the animations and to my surprise the animation is excellent. There are some flubs here and there, but this was the 70’s I remind you. The animation is full of life and what really shows that is that Polymar has a unique way of fighting. A friend of mine told me he has a Palm Strike style which could also work with his name when I think about it. Polymar though focuses on big attacks all the time or repeating attacks. So he can easily bash someone’s head in, repeat strikes to the neck, or do both. The animation really helps with showing his strength as well as there will be many times Polymar will hit someone so hard, their suits start to tear apart. Polymar is strong with grapples as he can literally create tornado throws and slam people into walls and ceilings. Polymar is simply one of my favorite heroes for simply how he fights. What is also strange and yet awesome is that he can transform into vehicles like a jet, drill, submarine, or even a roller. Polymar does come with some weaknesses as well and it can be fun to see him overcome them.
Overall, Polymar became one of my favorite shows in general. It is a highly creative show not only for its time, but I still think it stands up today. The animation is some of the best I have seen for an action show thanks to the high amount of details it can have. Then the show is just a constant surprise which keeps making watching it so much fun. The characters are all likeable and how the villains vary really keeps things fresh. I am so glad I looked into an older anime series because this gave me more fun than for over six or seven years of anime.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Some Thoughts On Kamen Rider Ghost

Well Kamen Rider Ghost has been shown to the fans in leaked and offical images and I just want to say somethings about this new rider. This is the first quick thought post I am doing where I will not be doing much editing to these types of posts. I am aiming for raw thoughts here. Either way for Kamen Rider Ghost so far I have mixed feelings about this guy.
To start things off I will look at Ghost's design as of right now. For the default form, I really love it! I was surprised by the use of orange for the suit, but it works very well. I also did some little research about the Ghost Moth and some do have a hint of an orange stripe on them, so maybe Ghost is based on that type of moth. The mask is an Oni mask which helps his theme out and the belt is nice. The only part I don't like is the big lever on it, but at least the middle part looks like an eye and gives it an eerie feel to it. Finally, I am a fan of that hoodie it may not work for all of the designs, but I do like this touch for his suit. I just hope the hood won't get in the way of fights. Overall I am a fan of the default form for Ghost, the use of orange and black is great, the belt, mask, and chest give off this ghostly feel, and the hood is a nice ribbion to this package.
Some other forms have been revealed as the gimmick of his forms is going to be based on famous people. So Ghost is using ghosts... Sadly for me this is where the ghost theme starts to die here. I understand the concept, but the execution is sloppy here. Be honest here folks, if you didn't see the default form and just look at these three, can you really say he is a ghost? I mean we got a boxer design here how does that show off a ghost? Personally this concept would work better if they used people that has connections to some darker themes. Maybe like Poe or to the extent of people like that. I won't lie, I like the concept, it is silly and can lead to some great creativity, but this creativity really gets away from the idea of a ghost. I bet there will be some other forms that could work with this better like I feel this Beethoven form can work out because of the grey color scheme, but who knows they could mess it up. One more thing then, why is a form with an apple motif BLUE?!
For Ghost's weapon of choice is can be different weapons and again I like that concept and since Ghost will be switching to forms with different powers this should work... sadly the execution drops again here. Look at this sword, does this look like a weapon that a ghost will use? Why couldn't the default form of the weapon be a scythe, you know like a Grim Reaper. Hell while I am on that, why couldn't Ghost's forms just be based on other spirits like the reaper and such? I would think that easily could have done better with a ghost themed rider. There could also be other famous ghosts from both ficiton and real life stories. How many times has Davy Jones been talked about? I know that is more of a place and not a character, but you can work with that and make it a pirate ghost form. The weapon for that form could have been chains or an anchor. There is so much that can be done here and the weapon we get is pretty generic looking. I mean really if you change the icon and put other hero icons on it I bet it wouldn't look that strange. The sword just has generic all over it, while the design for it could have had a candle look to it and have bits of fire and such.
Some final things to say then would be what the hell is that thing above the text?! This is supposed to be a ghost rider, correct? First off the ghost ship is nice, but what it transforms into is terrible. I think it is supposed to be a chameleon, but what does that have to do with Ghost? I guess the connection is that since Ghost is changing colors that could mean that this beast will change along with him. That is my only guess for why this creature is used. Also the story of the series so far is odd because it just sounds like an adventure and then Ghost is just going to stumble into something else. Hopefully this does not mean the first batch of episodes will be Ghost just getting new icons to use for form changes and then we will just jump to the plot. Sadly, I bet this will happen because toy sales and all of that. Bandai wants to get more stuff out as soon as possible for the kids.
Overall, I don't hate Ghost, I am just disappointed right now. When I heard the name I was happy because I love the idea of gothic or haunting themes for superheroes. It can lead to tons of creativity because they are areas where people don't tend to explore into too much, except for vampires... When I heard of Ghost I was expecting things to be more like his default form and his other forms could have been other famous ghosts. All I have to say is that one of the other riders needs to be a Ghostbuster.
Please let the main villian be Stay Puft!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Satoru Iwata... Thank You

Well it seems that a dark and gloomy cloud has covered the gaming media since one of the icons has sadly passed away. This is something I simply was not expecting and being a Nintendo fan ever since I was a child, really makes this death hurt a bit. I will admit when I started gaming as a young silly boy who constantly played Pokemon on his old Game Boy, I just saw it as a simple way to pass time. It was around the time of the Gamecube though I got really interested in getting way more games and really getting good. Still the Nintendo 64 is close to my heart as well since it holds many great titles and I have been looking back at classic NES or SNES games I missed out on when I was young. One thing for sure is that Iwata was a hard worker and one of the best at his craft. In days of working with Nintendo through Hal Laboratory, he did so much for my childhood. Iwata helped with the Kirby series which is my favorite of all the Nintendo franchises and even when he was president was still making some impacts for that series. When I started to pay more attention and hearing one of the guys who worked on the Kirby series was in charge of Nintendo, that got me way more pumped for the Gamecube when it was being announced. This is one of the big reasons why I put so much faith in Nintendo, because their craft never failed in my opinion. Sure there could be a bad game or so around, but that always happens. Still the Nintendo shine always came off of them even if the game was not the best. Iwata even worked on Mother 2 aka Earthbound and he built that from the ground up, that is impressive and going through that game right now that charm fits right at home for me. Iwata even managed to create the second generation of Pokemon and pretty much made Pokemon times two! He found a way to cram both the old and the new into one game and this was still on the Game Boy! Iwata even got Smash Bros to be where it was now because he gave Sakurai that nudge to finish the project. When I first heard the news and found out it was real, I paused for a moment and looked for my Kirby games because those always got me in a good mood. There was never any moment where I felt sad while playing Kirby and in the end that is what Iwata brought to gaming. He brought much joy to many games. Iwata did a great job with being the big time producer as his run of being in charge will never be over looked. Iwata did so much for my gaming childhood and he still did so much for the man I am now. Iwata is the one who gave many games the special touch that made them so great and seeing how he started with games such like Balloon Fight and ended things with producing Fire Emblem Awakening, all I can say is thank you Iwata. Because of you I got to enjoy hundreds of games and I will always remember you whenever I see Kirby smile.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Carranger Episode 3 Review: Make A Silly Face!

With Carranger for today, we get the training episode along with Red not realizing the importance of teamwork and a monster who awakens the true evil of your household appliances!
Super Sentai is known to have training episodes and since this is Carranger, the show has its little spin to keep this scene interesting thanks to the acting. There is just something funny about the faces and the noises the team is making during this. It is so over expressive that I can’t help to laugh. Also Minoru just hogs your attention the most since he is the try hard so far. Minoru has the best faces and the camera knows this and I love during the tire dragging moment you see Minoru come into the scene in one of the camera angles. Even the camera likes to make little surprises here and there.
The monster for this week is one of my favorites of the series because he has this unique personality and a unique power compared to other monsters in the series and the franchise. RR Ri has the power to change peoples’ personalities and his plan to make people insincere. Right off the bat I love this guy when he sees a woman and politely says “hello” to her. Of course the woman went off running away and Ri knew it would happen. Also what helps is that the woman screams, starts to run, stops for a moment, screams again, and then completely bolts it. The scene would be basic if the lady just straight up fled, but in Carranger they give that extra little touch to get your off guard like usual. I then love how the woman flees to her house as she tells her child about the monster as the boy asks what he looked like. Right away the monster appears in the house and for some reason I was expecting applause like it was a sitcom when he entered like he did.
The reactions keep on getting better as this is our first look with the boy, Ichitaro who is the best kid character of all Sentai. Ichitaro’s first reaction to the monster was more of a shock than actually being scared. To me it felt like how the audience would react to what just happened. Also the boy sticks around and watches for a while, again not scared, but just being surprised by what he is seeing. Then the monster uses his hammer to change emotions, but it hits a vacuum instead… oh this is going to get good. Before getting to what happens we take some other scenes with the villains and the heroes. Somehow they can even make the suited monsters be over expressive. Because Zelmoda learns he could lose his position of Deputy Leader as he goes “Oh my god!” and putting his hands over his head.
With the hero side of things we learn what is happening over the house as Ichitaro comes to his father to tell him what is going on. It seems that Ri’s hammer can change the emotions of anything else as the vacuum wants to destroy humans! This gets the father to not call the police or anything, but to settle it himself. The Director is simply treating this as if there is a rodent in the house and as man of the house he will take care of it. Again the faces are getting my attention again as the Director leaves his mouth is slightly open for some reason and when the team gets mad at Kousuke for not coming along you can see Youko puffing out her cheeks. Before I was writing this review I did not know what the main gag was, but I know what it is now and that would be facial expressions. There are just so many and they happen in so many scenes that it has to be on purpose. Again a show like this is being rather experimental with comedy gags and it works because back then and even now this is not all that experimented with. For the most part silly faces and over the top acting is found in “so bad it is good” entertainment. Here though it is on purpose and it does not shoot itself in the foot. There are times when being purposely over the top just will not work and some recent independent American films can show that.
So the team of four goes to fight Ri and I love how these guy fight. This is the first time where a great part of the team’s motif is showing off. The Carrangers’ actually perform attacks that represent cars! Recent Sentai has not been good with keeping themes and motifs like this and Carranger is simply one of the best with that element. We got Green Racer sliding on the floor and sliding in below the monster to attack him, representing a racing car. Blue Racer performs Hairpin Kick which references a tight turn, Yellow performs Checker Chop which is her doing chopping motions in the way of a checkered flag, and then the most obvious one, Wheel Spin Kick from Pink. She literally is just rolled up into a ball and spinning on the floor that way like how a wheel spins. Not only does this keep the action interesting, but it gets me to laugh too because who knows what these guys can pull off next.
We then get to back to Kyosuke’s car fet… I mean love for cars as he fixes the classic that his boss has. He takes it out for a run because he always wanted to ride a classic. He quickly learns he needs to put little desires like this aside as he sees the team getting beaten up and the car he admires gets affected by the Spirit Change Hammer. Even basic Carranger fans know of the face that Kyosuke makes in this episode. I bet if you just search up this character that face will come up. Then even the car gets over expressive as it becomes extremely tacky with flowers everywhere, big lips, and a weird mesh of colors. We then get the speech from Kyosuke saying that he needs to remember what being a Carranger is about even though this is episode three and him not learning it fully is quite understandable. Then even Dappu calls him out saying he should just get to fighting and stop talking to himself. 
The big fight happens and it is similar to the second episode where the weapons are being used like Fencer Sword and such. I still love the idea Ri had to make a building go berserk, I wish the mech was in the series because I would pay so much money to see a building attack the giant robot. The day is saved though thanks to Formula Nova and everything goes back to normal which makes the Director say this “Now we’re going to study! Honey call the air fleet!” I have no idea what this means and seeing the man do a little dance while saying this was priceless. The family then sees the Carrangers and gets their autographs and it is to give a boost of pride to these shy heroes. The episode ends with more training and Kousuke getting the hardest one because he was goofing off.
This was a more basic episode of Carranger compared to the previous two. Well while thinking about it the other two are quite basic as well. The first episode was the beginning, the second shown off the glorious weapons, and now we get the leader realizing what he needs to do. Carranger knows the basics though and then throws in many random factors to keep your attention and this works very well. The show is random and sporadic and that is the best thing about it. There is never a dull moment in this show and even if they have to resort to simple gags to do, it simply just works. All of the silly faces just keep getting my attention and there are many of them. This just gives me an appreciation for the craft put into this show in general because looking for details like this is rewarding when they can make you realize something or simply just laugh. The show is giving me some work to do and I am happy to do it. Carranger simply boosts up the basics with comedy and it is excellent with that as this episode gets an “A.”

Sunday, July 5, 2015

No More Heroes: A Look Into Violent Media Finale

This is the final stretch for my analysis of No More Heroes as we will be going through some of the best bosses in the game. Then we will look into Travis Touchdown himself, his story, and what all of this is trying to tell the audience. In the last part the game was really being obvious about its theme thanks to Holly Summers and Harvey then the game continues on with being obvious, but first we got to finally look into the main character himself, Travis Touchdown!
Travis Touchdown is one of my favorite characters in gaming and when I finally found out what he is clearly based on it makes him even grander. Now as we know about Travis as of now is that he is in the fights because he was low on money, he wants the thrill of the fight, and he wants to fight someone better than him. Travis is clearly just being an assassin for the fun of it just like the many other bosses. Now since the many bosses show themes from violent media, what does Travis show? The main character himself is showing off all the bad elements of the gamer. This can be seen when you play the game as Travis sees everything as a game, literally. There are sprites all around the screen as he completely slashes people up. There is even a nice touch with how he kills his foes it’s a mixture of the blood showers and money showers as this covers both types of video game violence. There is cartoony violence like how Mario collects coins and stomping on foes while we could have something like heavily violent games making complete messes of gore. Then how Travis even acts is just for the fun of it since he is a gamer, there is a scoreboard at the end of every boss fight! Everything Travis is going through is just for his personal pleasure and that can even be seen with his Beam Katana. Travis literally has to charge it up by doing a stroking motion and there are many times that his weapon represents his… well you can get the idea. So when one does this stroking motion for something else it’s clearly for pleasure and Travis having to do with during fights just clearly shows he is fighting for pleasure, sounds familiar doesn’t it?
Many bosses in the game are all in for the pleasure of fighting as Travis shares this with them, but could there be more than that? With Death Metal, Travis actually saw himself in the rich man and wanted to be him. While at this time Death Metal is saying to stop fighting since there is no point in fighting and he begins lying to himself right before he kills Death Metal. Travis says all he wants is to be number one when right after he is talking about how he didn’t feel good in the end and there is many times where he says he wants a better fight. With Dr. Peace it is clearly showing regret of being in the fights and how lonely one can be is they become too blood thirsty and Travis lives by himself and is not improving his life at all, he is just fighting for no real purpose. With Shinobu she is showing how blood thirsty she is and while at the same time Travis doesn’t realize he is like her as well. Both her and Travis are affected by what they watch and are clearly just imitating what they love in the media. Then I do love how the game teases that Travis does have mercy, but in the end he shows how much he wants a grand fight since he wants Shinobu to live for the sole fact of her getting better. Destroyman with his split personalities and his superhero personification shows that he never has to question his morality. Travis shares this as well since there are moments he is lying to himself and never questions what he is doing. Holly Summers did more than be a theme or a parallel to Travis, but actually teach him something that some violence lovers need. Harvey then is pretty much just showing off the main theme of the game and Speed Buster is clearly hinting at a theme that will come back. Now the ranked two assassin is the best parallel for Travis though as I can finally get to her!
The ranked two assassin known as Bad Girl is clearly the best character to represent what Travis really is. As I said before, Travis is just in to get his jollies off. So the best way to show this is a boss that clearly represents a dominatrix. It’s pretty obvious since the first thing you will see is Bad Girl bashing gimps with her baseball bat. So there are sexual fantasies with violence and again what is a better way to show this than a girl like Bad Girl. What’s even better is that Travis is still blind to who he is as he sees Bad Girl nothing more than a perverted maniac. I just find this hilarious since this is the man who strokes his Beam Katana in combat! The best part is that when Travis calls her a pervert and not an assassin she goes and says that they are the same. Bad Girl then goes on about how Travis is not better than her in anyway and to her this is a job, the daily grind. So with Bad Girl she is getting some sexual kicks from fighting, but the difference is that she is clearly honest with herself unlike Travis. Then to end things, she has the best death in the game. Travis stabs her through the stomach, but she doesn’t give up and still continues to bash Travis. She then falls on Travis and the position she is in is rather sexual. Now what doesn’t make this sexual is all the blood everywhere, she was beating up Travis, and the fact that she is dead. This just points to the question about violence and why it is fantasized even in sexual context. This game really does cover mostly everything that is violent while there are some things that are ignored, but luckily the sequel does use them so pretty much all violent media does get covered in the No More Heroes franchise.
We have reached the end of the road now as Travis is ready to become number one, unlike previous times he decides to call the woman who has been giving him the fights. What ends up happening is that he learns he has been had. Sylvia Christel the woman who has been teasing him the whole entire game ends up being a con artist, what a surprise! Travis talks with Sylvia’s mothers and learns about her and what she has been doing. So in the end this is all... wait for it… pointless! Everything Travis has been doing ends up being pointless and again is any of this really helping Travis? Like with Dr. Peace his life was ruined because of fighting and Travis is not improving his life as well. He still lives by himself, keeps renting videos and never returning them, and still keeps up with his obsession of his anime show, Bizarre Jelly. Since Travis is number two though, he is told that he should just go on with it. Even though there is no point, Travis already got too far into this situation so why not continue? So what is left for Travis well it’s a Darth Vader rip off who makes Travis remember the real reason why he got into the fights and then the man gets killed! We get another fight interrupted as we meet Jeane.
Jeane is someone Travis knew dearly from his past and you will mostly know this from getting bonus material or slowing down a certain scene. The story behind Jeane is that she killed Travis’ parents and burned down his old home. Travis ends up drinking his sorrows away and talks about it to Sylvia as she ends up making this con just so that Travis can fight Jeane. Now this is where the story gets to nonsense since Jeane’s back story is skipped, literally! There is more fourth wall breaking here as well the conversation literally talks about the age rating of the game. Again this is when the game gets the most obvious about its message about violence and they are going over game ratings which have been a part of many controversies in the past and still exist this day. Well going on with the story we find out that Travis wanted revenge on Jeane for killing his parents as we get a vengeance plot here, which was hinted with Speed Buster. Travis even feels pity for Jeane as she is a tortured soul and you can tell even without hearing her back story. To quickly summarize things up for Jeane’s story it ends up Travis’ father wasn’t all that good of a man to his first family… So in the end Jeane actually did change her life in a violent manner as she got free from her terrible father, but it’s still violence in the end. Travis even says the line, “Vengeance begets vengeance.” So even though Travis does agree with Jeane he has to kill her for the sake of vengeance and does really adding another body on the pile do something? As I mentioned before the story really got out of hand here, but for the right purpose. Travis finding out that he was tricked and having to kill his step-sister and former lover and all he gets is self gratification and nothing else changes, he’s not a hero and is still a loser.
The last part of the game is then the most nonsense you can ever see in a video game. If you got all the Beam Katanas you can get one more boss fight and that is facing Henry the man who took the ranked fifth assassin’s life. High chance this was to leave the game on an extremely high point, but there is still more to get from this moment. When you win the fight, Henry reveals a lot of twists at the last moment and again the fourth wall gets shattered once more. We find out that Henry is Travis’ brother and is even married to Sylvia. After all of that the two engage in one final blow to each other as a Rocky styled painting is shown for their final moment, even though there was a sequel! Again originally Suda 51 meant for No More Heroes to be a one off game so having the two kill each other in the end of the first game just shows the pointless violence angle. Also with Henry and Travis being brothers is a popular concept in violent media like with Dante and Vergil. So that was one hell of a ride, but what was No More Heroes trying to say in the end?
Before getting to the end of this essay, I want to add something that is important to this whole analysis and that would be the original ending of No More Heroes. There was an ending before the final product and it really proves this theory about No More Heroes. It seems that everything Travis did would have been for nothing literally because after fighting Jeane he is gunned down. The person who shoots Travis is no other than Slyvia the woman who tricked Travis. First, this really opens Slyvia’s character a bit more because during an interview one of the designers has talked about Slyvia. “Sylvia knows she’s sexy and she uses it as a weapon. She was an easy character to model because her personality was so strong. It wasn’t my intention when I made her, but early in development someone commented that she reminded them of Scarlett Johansson.” Slyvia easily uses her sex appeal for her own use which is something Jeane actually did as well. This woman is like Jeane, but her ends are far worse in a morale sense compared to Jeane actually wanting to improve her life. Slyvia is simply getting more money and then getting rid of someone who learned her tricks. This to me really opens the message of No More Heroes because one should never get too carried away with pleasures, especially violent pleasures.
No More Heroes really takes a satirical look into violence with showing how people can become violent, but at the same time it’s not saying it’s a bad thing. First of all the game itself is violent and still delivers a fun experience with that violence. Personally, I feel that No More Heroes is giving the players something to think about and while not delivering a concrete message it really does show how violent characters cannot exist in a real life situation. Suda 51 is just giving the players some food for thought so that they can realize how much violence is around in the world and giving off some little messages here and there. Some little messages would easily be about death and how pointless violence can be at times. Now Suda 51 is not saying violence is bad it can be enjoyable, but one should probably never try applying it to real life. Also any person shouldn’t let it control them or go to crazy with useless pleasures. A person’s life to full of many trials and while these little pleasures can help us relief some stress, we shouldn’t let it control us as well. Overall, players do need some food for thought at times and having a piece of fiction just getting one to think about is much better than trying to actually give an answer because then it would look pretentious and be ignored. Luckily, No More Heroes has a lot to make sure that it isn’t ignored as I highly recommend gamers to play this or even watch the cut scenes at the least, maybe if there was a No More Heroes series or movie that would just be excellent! So leave your thoughts in the comments it could be about the game itself or just some of your personal thoughts on violent media since one should keep thinking about the entertainment they watch or play.