I finally had a chance to sit down and watch Season 4 of RWBY—something I was really looking forward to after how much I enjoyed the previous season. With everything seemingly in ruins, Season 3 left me wondering how Team RWBY and their friends would be left to pick up the pieces and Season 4 did not disappoint. Though not as action-packed as the season before it, Season 4 finally took some time to give both the main characters and the side characters some much needed development. However, some of these developments left me feeling a little confused and questioning why the writers took that path (and not in a good way). And while RWBY’s world continues to improve in terms of diversity, at times it felt like a mirror of the name of one of the season’s episodes: one step forward, two steps back.
Out of the three available seasons, some of you will be pleased to know that after watching the third season (finally), I can safely say that Season 2 of RWBY was the worst one. I had a few complaints about the overabundance of exposition without being given a reason to care about it, and character development that seemed to go backwards instead of forwards. Season 3 may still not have been a perfect season, but its narrowed scope allowed me to actually care about the dangers befalling Beacon Academy and the students in attendance.
Recently I’ve been getting into the new magical girl series The Miraculous Ladybug, and though I’m only part way through the released episodes, I have to say it’s pretty enjoyable. The show focuses on the young Marinette, a normal high school girl who, through the power of a magical tool called a “miraculous” (and the aid of the small imp that comes along with it), can transform into a ladybug-themed crime fighter. She’s joined by her partner Chat Noir (aka Marinette’s crush Adrien, unbeknownst to her), who has a cat-themed miraculous of his own. Together they battle against the evil Hawk Moth indirectly, purifying his evil butterflies that possess people through their negative feelings. It’s standard magical girl series fare for the most part, but what I find most interesting about Ladybug is how downplayed the magic is compared to other series in the genre.
While Season 1 of RWBYheld all the untapped interest for me that a show could possibly have, Season 2 faced the problem of me already knowing a lot of the things that happened in it—for worse or… mostly worse. While many of the pacing problems from the first season seem to have been worked out, the second season faces the typical problem of many intermediary parts of other stories. There was too much to set up in not enough time, and not enough reasons to really care about everything that was happening. Yet despite itself, Season 2 still managed to introduce some important aspects to the Remnant’s universe and some really cool villains, in addition to some (very) small moves towards more diversity.
I’m not necessarily the best at taking my own advice. So when I said more than a year ago that everyone should be watching Steven Universe, I had intended to follow suit. With the exception of an episode here and there, I unfortunately didn’t get around to watching. In a way, I’m glad for it—I’d much rather marathon a show than wait for weekly updates. With the announcement of Cartoon Network renewing the show for another two seasons, though, dreams of watching it all at once (in the near future) were all but dashed, and I finally sat down to watch the entire series alongside my brother.
Me after catching up.
We’ve discussed a couple of Steven Universe‘s elements before, all in glowing terms. Today will be no different. As much as I want to gush over Pearl’s unmistakable queerness when it comes to her relationship with Rose Quartz, another underlying theme has caught me off guard with the subtlety and the delicacy with which it was written. Steven Universe is, of course, not the first show to tackle the subject of grief. Yet the way it’s approached in this show is so nuanced that I’m left feeling it in the pit of my stomach long after the episodes have ended.
While the announcement of the Oscar nominations were a while back at this point, well-deserved grumblings are still going around within the general public about what was nominated and, in some cases, what wasn’t. Many believe that the exclusion of The Lego Movie was either a horrendous oversight or a case of critical pretension at its worst, but there had to be something about the other movies that gained them enough clout to be on the list in the first place. While I think a large reason of why Big Hero 6 made the cut was due to its status as a Disney flick, out of all nominations the one that stuck out to me the most was Song of the Sea. Animated by Cartoon Saloon, the story looks at the story of a young boy and his friend, a young girl who just so happens to be a selkie. Unfortunately, as this movie wasn’t showing in either of the theaters in my town, nor could I find it online, I didn’t get to see it as I had planned. But, all was not lost! This turned out to be the perfect opportunity to finally sit down and watch Cartoon Saloon’s other critically acclaimed film, The Secret of Kells from 2009, and oh my god you guys, it seriously deserves all the hype it gets.
In dabbling through Tim Curry’s filmography a bit more, I have to wonder if he’s been a little type-casted as the charismatic villain; not to say that he isn’t great at it, but I have yet to find a film where he isn’t one of the main antagonists, if not the antagonist. Today is another case of the latter, and again he shines, but luckily I’m not clinging to his small amount of lines as the saving grace for the entire film. Yes, even though Curry’s part is proportionally smaller than any of the other leads, the film is good enough on its own that I’m not left wanting.
FernGully: The Last Rainforest is another one of those films that I watched when I was younger and never saw again for whatever reason. Being a remnant from the 90’s, rife with all that totally cool and radical (and dated) lingo, and an environmental cartoon, I wasn’t expecting it to hold up well. Apparently FernGully not only taught me about forest preservation, but also not to make lazy judgments before I re-watch something. Although the 90’s was strong here, the film more than holds up in the modern era, and even the animation remains gorgeous.
“Do you have a demonic side? Have we got a job for you!” claims the trailer for Arthur de Pins’s big screen adaption of his graphic novel, Zombillénium. The irony is that they probably don’t have a job for you. Why? Let’s just say you don’t have the right credentials. From the graphic novel’s teaser:
Francis von Bloodt, a vampire and good family man, operates the one-of-a-kind theme park Zombiellenium. But this unique amusement park doesn’t just hire anyone: mere mortals need not apply—only genuine werewolves, vampires, zombies, and other citizens from the undead community are employed.
This certainly sounds interesting in its own right, but the movie’s synopsis gives newcomers a deeper look into the darker aspects that will be showing up in the film.
In Zombillenium, the amusement terror park, monsters have the blues.
Not only zombies, vampires, werewolves and other demons are real monsters, whose souls belong to the devil forever, but they are tired of having to entertain consumerist, voyeuristic and selfish humans…
However, when little Lucy, a nice 7-year-old girl looking for her dad, is found by the skeleton Sirius and quickly adopted by all monsters, she will reveal their humanity and give them a good reason not to give up.
Souls sold to the devil? The negative impacts of consumerism? Those sound like pretty intense issues for what’s being advertised as a children’s movie, but I can completely get behind a kid’s film that’s willing to tackle said issues.
What do you mean kids can think critically about things? Preposterous! (Art by Arthur de Pins)
Any movie touted for children that doesn’t treat their younger audience as idiots is a blessing. And this isn’t me being selfish—I’m probably going to end up watching the movie for pleasure, along with a sizable portion of older viewers, regardless of the film’s intended audience. This is about raising standards of children’s media in general. The point of media should be to challenge our ideas while simultaneously bringing new ideas to light, an aspect that many companies seem to have forgotten—or are all too ready to ignore—when it comes to children. So if zombies are going to be taken once more from their tired and trite grave to get little ones thinking about important things à la ParaNorman, I’m ready to wholeheartedly support that.
Beyond my high hopes, the animation and artistic style for this film are beautiful. Lineless cell-shaded art is my weakness and ugh, everything is so fluid I might just shed a tear. I’m furious that I have to wait until August at the very earliest to see the film—as if I needed something else to add to my “I will sit here consumed with lust anticipation” list. However, I have heard nothing but good things concerning the source material, so I have high hopes that Zombillénium will be well worth the wait.
Back at my apartment, I don’t watch that much television. This is mostly because I don’t have cable, which you have to admit puts a damper on that kind of thing. However, since I’m currently visiting the rest of my family, I’ve finally gotten a chance to catch an episode of a show I’ve been more than excited for: Steven Universe. Let me just say, I was not disappointed. The Adventure Time-eqsue magical hero show is as charming as it is funny, and I could go on like this, but I feel as though this would be a perfect opportunity for a list.
Don’t let be said that I’m not a woman of my word: a couple days ago I finally sat down and watched Equestria Girls with my brother. (If you don’t remember, I made the damning promise in this post right here.) I appreciate the fact that I got to watch it with him because unlike myself, he’s an actual fan of the shows and would be able to pick out the inconsistencies between this ‘movie-verse’ and the universe created by the show. Unfortunately, even with his help I don’t think that the phrase I uttered the most during the film changed all that much from if I had been forced to watch it alone. (That phrase being “this is the dumbest shit.”) Not even ‘dumb’ in terms of Equestria Girls being a film made for an audience that is obviously not in my age bracket, but dumb in all the trite ways one would expect from a piece of media designed solely around marketing. This is not to say that it was all terrible, mind you, and some of my assumptions from the earlier post were certainly proven wrong. So let’s dive right into the plot and find where this movie went from enjoyable kid’s movie to jumping the shark.
Twilight and her friends travel to Celestia’s castle so that she may receive some lessons on being royalty from the other three princesses. During the night however, Twilight’s crown containing the element of magic is stolen by a mysterious pony. With their combined chasing skills, the six younger ponies catch the thief but only momentarily as both the crown and the mysterious pony fall through a magical mirror. In the aftermath, Celestia reveals that the pony was no other than the pupil she had before Twilight, Sunset Shimmer, whose impatience and mean nature led her to leave Celestia’s teachings and follow her own path (presumably the path of ‘evil’). Also, the mirror which the crown and Sunset fell through is actually a portal to another world. Twilight must chase after Sunset before she wreaks havoc on this unknown universe with the element of magic.