youtube

Jurassic World Official Trailer - Review by Science, to a Student

So, as most of you already know, the new Jurassic World trailer is out.  It was slated for release today, but for whatever reason came out two days early.  As I haven’t had time to fully analyze it until this afternoon (thank you, holiday free time!), I’ll just go ahead and do it now as was scheduled.

So, what to make of this trailer?  I will refrain from commenting on the plot, the sadness many feel at not having the original cast and then the accompanying knowledge of that being at once desirable yet an unrealistic scenario, etc.  My interest in all of this is predictably concerning only one thing: the dinosaurs (or in this case, all of the prehistoric/extinct animals, mosasaurs included).

The first dinosaurs we see are what appear to be some sort of ornithomidid, perhaps like the first film’s Gallimimus.  They seem to be a bit different from the ones from the original Jurassic Park film in color, possibly size, and the way that they hold their tails (not as rigid as you  might expect, the first film had them sloping slightly downwards, whereas this new film has them held up in the air, perhaps to make them appear more birdlike).

I admit I enjoyed seeing some sauropods other than Brachiosaurus and the barely-there individual in The Lost World that served as nothing more than a motorcycle obstacle course.  We do get to see a pair of Stegosaurus as well, a little more colorful in the plates than the ones in The Lost World it would appear (which is an improvement in my opinion).

Now it’s time to take a look at one of my favorite animals of all time, the mosasaur.  One of the first things I noticed are the palatial teeth (possibly similar to the pharyngeal jaws of eels).  This is entirely accurate, and the filmmakers deserve some points for depicting these here. If my eyes do not mistake me I think I spy some dorsal ridges on the back of the mosasaur, not unlike the old paleoart representations (like this famous Heinrich Harder painting).  To my knowledge it is no longer believed they possessed such ridges, however.  It’ll be interesting to see whether or not the film reflects the most up-to-date research in mosasaur tails or not (hint: think shark, not eel, at least some of the time, research pending), therefore I must withhold my approbation for now.  I sincerely hope they don’t take the crocodilian approach such as that seen in the BBC series Primeval.  In my humble opinion, if any modern analog should be used, it would be the varanids (monitor lizards), often considered to be the closest extant relatives of the admittedly difficult-to-classify mosasauridae.

It is once again unclear what genus or species this animal is supposed to be, and to be fair, when so much is up to artistic representation when reconstructing past life, how could anyone be entirely sure what the filmmakers are intending to depict without their specific confirmation?  To me, I’m going to go with Tylosaurus for now just based off of the size (T. proriger probably, if they bother with the species, but then again they never really do in these films), but even that seems to be massively exaggerated.  It may just be me or it may just be the perspective, but Tylosaurus was on the upper end of the mosasaurs in respect to size, and even that one didn’t really get to beyond fifty feet or so according to current findings.  So either it just looks that way or they blew up the size…which I suppose they can do.  Besides that thing we all know about where “Jurassic Park” dinosaurs aren’t really dinosaurs at all, if they’re genetically modifying dinosaurs, why not mosasaurs, too? 

And that’s where the real curiosity begins: genetic engineering!  (In a Jurassic Park story?  Whuuut?  Who’d a thunk it?)

"We have learned more in the past decade from genetics than a century of digging up bones," intones the voice of Bryce Dallas-Howard as "Claire" in the film (sci-fi fans may remember her as John Connor’s wife Kate in Terminator Salvation as well as in many other roles), a statement that as a paleo buff/fanatic makes me grumble and growl, but is perhaps supposed to (More arrogant individuals tampering with nature?). (As a side-note, “Claire” was the name of the robotic baby Stegosaurus used in production of The Lost World.  A possible nod?)

"A whole new frontier has opened up," she continues.  "We have our first genetically modified hybrid." 

Cue Chris Pratt as “Owen” (Starlord from Guardians of the Galaxy, Emmit from The Lego Movie, and Andy Dwyer from Parks and Recreation) as he speaks for all the Ian Malcolms of the audience.  “You just went and made a new dinosaur?  Probably not a good idea.”

Exactly what kind of dinosaur-monster has been created is left in question.  The trailer gives us only a few clues.  It appears to be a theropod dinosaur, and is said to be an intelligent predator.  A voice (apparently Owen’s) says “She’s a highly intelligent animal…she will kill anything that moves.”  It has the obligatory theropod foot: three-toes, digitigrade stance, and a small, high-placed hallux.  It possesses three manal claws, according to both the claw marks on the paddock walls as well as a brief glimpse of the animal itself.  The claws seem longer than most theropods, and in a curious fashion are, at least to me, reminiscent of the oft-discussed alleged semi-opposable thumbs seen in Troodon, what many consider to be the “smartest dinosaur.”

Official word isn’t out yet, but for many months fansites have been touting the name “Diabolus rex” and saying this fictional animal is crossbred with a Tyrannosaurus, possibly a Velociraptor and a snake, and almost certainly a cuttlefish, in order to give it camouflaging capability.  (Wouldn’t a chameleon make more sense in this situation?)  What will this dinosaur (Can we call it a dinosaur at all now?) end up looking like?  We won’t know for sure until June 12th, 2015.

However, we do have a possible glimpse.  [Spoiler warning!]  LEGO has apparently obtained the license to a line of Jurassic World LEGO toy sets, and if these images are correct, we now know what this “Diabolus rex” will look like.

Besides the scene with the four Velociraptor running alongside Chris Pratt aka Owen on his motorcycle (where they are for once cast as the good guys as they appear to be trained, or perhaps controlled, by the humans as rumors suggested, which to me I admit feels quite lame), we do not know what other dinosaurs will be featured in the film.  If the previously mentioned LEGO photos tell us anything, we’ll get to see our old favorite the Tyrannosaurus rex again.  Then again, I should count the seabirds flying over the Sea World-esque mosasaur tank, shouldn’t I?

We’ll see what is revealed as time goes on.  In the meantime, I’ll be watching and commenting here, so check back for more.  Thanks for reading!

Science, to a Student

P.S. Near the end of the trailer, why is the camera shown flying towards the running, screaming crowd in an almost aerial fashion?  Pterosaurs once again?

P.S.S. The viral campaign mock website www.masraniglobal.com shows a photo of a Spinosaurus skeleton (which makes sense, considering the third film as well as the current hubbub about Spinosaurus). 

Edit:  Whoa!  I just noticed!  The LEGO “D. rex” backs my opposable thumb hypothesis (see here), but also includes four digits, not just three.  Hmm….

2

Girl Online - Zoe Sugg

Rating | ★★★★☆

Goodreads | Published November 25th, 2014 by Atria / Keywords Press

That was like a breath of fresh air. You know it’s air. You know what’s coming. It isn’t anything new or groundbreaking. But it fills you up and makes you happy. It’s basically a “feel good” book and it succeeds. (For those of you who are wondering, yes I do know who Zoe Sugg is, and I do like her youtube channel, but this review is a review of her novel not her videos).

Penny is, of course, a reflection of Zoella herself, and that does actually add more meaning to the book, but let’s forget about that for a second. Penny suffers from panic attacks and anxiety. She has a loving family and an adorable best friend named Elliot, but she suffers in school from her clumsiness and her anxiety. To escape everything, she creates an anonymous blog, GirlOnline, where she talks about her life. Thousands of people relate to her and begin following her.

Just when things are going okay, the worst happens, and Penny decides to leave on a vacation to New York City with her parents and Elliot. There she meets an adorable boy named Noah. (Can you guess what happens next?) Yeah, they fall in love. Noah makes her feel better about herself.

Obviously, it’s very clichéd. Girl meets boy. But it’s pleasantly adorable. Noah is not the “bad boy” that we are so used to seeing. Penny is utterly relatable. We’ve all embarrassed ourselves at some point. We all have that moment in our lives when we believe “my life is over.” But this book gently points out that one moment doesn’t define us. There will always be a bigger challenge ahead, but just as you overcame the first one, you will overcome the second. 

Penny teaches us that it doesn’t really matter what everyone else thinks. They only have one percent of the story. They don’t know you, and yet they’ll still try to judge you. The important thing is to ignore them, and take solace in the people who love you unconditionally. 

Girl Online is a sweet, humorous read, and reminds people to love themselves. It’s clearly something Zoe Sugg (Zoella) has experienced herself, so it has an underlying the impact. She’s not just saying you can overcome the challenge; she’s done it herself. It’s not the most brilliant book, but it is a book I enjoyed and laughed and smiled at. It’s got all the right pieces put together correctly, and I recommend it.

This review has been cross-posted to Goodreads.

~ Kaizoku Sentai Gōkaiger: Review ~

image

If you were with Super Sentai Series for a long time, you know that usually Anniversary shows aren’t that good. At best. Back when Toei used to count years instead of teams and when Battle Fever J (バトルフィーバーJ) used to count as the first Super Sentai thanks to copyright problems between Toei and Ishinomori Shōtarō-sensei (creator of Kamen Rider, Super Sentai Series, Robot Keiji and many other amazing titles), 1989 show, Kōsoku Sentai Turboranger (高速戦隊ターボレンジャー) introduced the idea of making all previous teams to meet together and it sure looked great, but unfortunately, the whole thing ended up as a short special (sometimes counts as the first episode of the series), in which heroes from the past wish new ones good luck, while the series itself was so extremely generic that there was almost nothing to remember about it.

image

The next attempt to make Anniversary series, that also officially added two original series (Himitsu Sentai Gorenger / 秘密戦隊ゴレンジャー and J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai / ジャッカー電撃隊) to Toei’s timeline, happened in 1995, in Chōriki Sentai Ōranger (超力戦隊オーレンジャー) series, which turned out to be one of the most unlucky series in whole Super Sentai history. Series itself brought a serious drop of popularity, while thanks to how military-based concept with a lot of destruction didn’t fit in 1995, when a lot of bad things happened in Japan and caused a lot of casualties, Toei simply panicked and tried to fix the show on the way, but only ended up killing it completely. The result was that Ōranger became another series with literally nothing special about it aside from main concept.

image

2001 series, Hyakujū Sentai Gaoranger (百獣戦隊ガオレンジャー), tried to avoid this circle of bad luck and introduced the idea of counting teams instead of years (and also celebrating every five years instead of every 10). Which was actually a really nice idea thanks to how Gorenger series last two years instead of usual one (1980 series, Denshi Sentai Denziman / 電子戦隊デンジマン was supposed to get second year too, but Toei was unable to keep actors together and series ended up getting direct sequel called Taiyō Sentai Sun Vulcan / 太陽戦隊サンバルカン) and before Battle Fever J introduced the first giant robot in Super Sentai Series, there was the whole year taken by Toei’s Spider-Man adaptation (スパイダーマン), so, counting years didn’t have much sense anyway. Maybe thanks to that Gaoranger was unable to become the best Anniversary series for the time being, especially thanks to how it used hell of a lot of CGI and shined really bright thanks to that. Unfortunately, it was aired only two years after Seijū Sentai Gingaman (星獣戦隊ギンガマン), which had extremely similar concept. Similar suits, similar moves, etc. So, it was really hard to stop thinking about it as “Gingaman v.2”.

image

The first real attempt to make something different for Anniversary was in 2006 series, GōGō Sentai Boukenger (轟轟戦隊ボウケンジャー) that tried to turn its own episodes in some sort of tributes to previous shows, but thanks to how there were way too many copy / pasted stand-alone episodes (also called “fillers”) before and there were actually some series almost fully made from those (Turboranger, Chikyū Sentai Fiveman / 地球戦隊ファイブマン and many more), the idea didn’t work. Just because we’ve already seen all those fillers for like a million times before and the fact that Boukenger series brought them back as tributes didn’t change the fact that it was really boring to watch all that again. Moreover, even though Boukenger series had amazing concept, it was even unable to finish its own story properly and some important fact were told only in official guide. Which was unbelievably bad thing for 2006 series. “Want to know what’s that mysterious person’s true identity? Buy yourself a guide!”. All that wasn’t cool to say the least.

image

So, that was a history of Super Sentai SeriesAnniversary shows. Why am I telling you all that? Well, of course, it’s because the series I’m going to review today, is Anniversary one too. It was a pretty long introduction, but it’s really important to understand the importance of what Toei did in their 2011 series, Kaizoku Sentai Gōkaiger (海賊戦隊ゴーカイジャー). Not only they finally got out of that bad luck circle, they also made a huge revolution in the whole Anniversary thing. You know, it’s fun, but it’s even hard to find where to start. I think I’ll start where Boukenger left and say that Gōkaiger won’t even try to do the same thing. Turn the old fillers into Anniversary tributes was a bad idea and Toei sure learned their lesson. Instead, they tried to find something unique for their new Anniversary team. And they sure did it.

image

I don’t know who was the first person to introduce the idea about so-called Ranger Keys, but the guy deserves a medal. Or two. Or three. Or 35. To make it short, in Gōkaiger series Earth met the biggest danger ever - a huge fleet of Space Empire Zangyack. All 34 existed Super Sentai fought it and were able to win, but as the result, all of them lost their powers and those powers ended up scattered across the whole Universe. Every hero’s power ended up in so-called Ranger Key and the one who’ll find such key will be able to use the power in it and turn himself / herself (female person can use male hero’s power and vice versa, so, a lot of gender bender stuff included here) into the power’s owner. Like the one, who have Akarenger’s key, will be able to become Akarenger from Gorenger series. How great is that? There’s no words to describe how. And for more than one reason.

image

The most obvious reason is, of course, that Gōkaiger series is the biggest present for hardcore Super Sentai fans Toei ever made. Because seeing a heroes, whose goal is to collect all Ranger Keys to obtain “The biggest treasure in the whole Universe”, turning themselves into various heroes from the past - from Himitsu Sentai Gorenger to Tensō Sentai Goseiger (天装戦隊ゴセイジャー), is absolutely amazing thing. It’s like totally new experience, something that we’ve never seen before. And thanks to how 34 previous teams mean almost 200 heroes, Gōkaiger series was limited only by imagination of screenwriters (and trust me, they had a lot). But that’s one thing. Another one is that it’s simply the best commercial solution Toei and BANDAI (who’s producing all kind of toys and video games based on Super Sentai Series) ever found. Since Gaoranger series, Super Sentai shows became highly oriented on toys selling (selling toys was always I high priority, but Gaoranger series brought the idea on brand new level) and some series were even ruined a bit by it. Like Ninpū Sentai Hurricaneger (忍風戦隊ハリケンジャー) and Samurai Sentai Shinkenger (侍戦隊シンケンジャー), in which toys felt like something that series didn’t really need and even felt like something with totally different and much more childish design than the main thing. But thanks to how BANDAI was in need to sell a lot of various toys, Toei kept adding various weird stuff nobody actually asked for. Karakuri Balls, Hiden Disks, you name it. In Gōkaiger there was simply no such problem. As I already said above, previous shows presented Toei with almost 200 heroes and by selling all of them as Ranger Keys, that can be putted into henshin devices called Mobilates that can name the team of corresponding keys with sound, Toei and BANDAI were able to make a fortune.

image

Everybody wanted to have Keys with their favorite teams, even adults, who used to love some series in the past, and since this series will also try really hard to make heroes from the past likable, it’s like Toei found a gold mine. A gold mine that not only didn’t ruin the series itself in favor of toys, but actually made it extremely fun and exciting to watch. No, really, Ranger Keys are one of the best ideas Toei ever found. The idea was so good that actually, judging by how poor most of the previous Anniversary series were, there was no need to do anything else to make Gōkaiger a huge success. Heroes, who can turn into any hero from the past as the main concept is good, fresh and exciting enough to make series interesting. But thankfully, Toei didn’t stop there.

image

Thankfully” because, even though Gōkaiger’s main concept won’t give you any time to think, when you’ll finally able to, you’ll think about how copycat heroes aren’t enough to make its own face for the series. I mean, OK, heroes this time can become anyone, but who’re heroes themselves this time? Who’re Gōkaigers? What’s interesting about them, aside from how they can copy anyone? It was a really dangerous trap for Toei, because such thought had a huge poaaibility to become a deadly aftertaste for the series. Aftertaste that was even able to kill DVD sales. Like “OK, it was exciting to watch, but since I don’t care about Gōkaigers themselves, I don’t really want to re-watch their adventures much.” Thankfully, Toei thought about that too and tried to make their series not only exciting, but also interesting to watch. And again, there’s a lot of things to say. But let’s start from the beginning.

image

First of all, Gōkaigers are… pirates. Yamada Yūki-san (山田裕貴), who played sub-leader, Joe Gibken (aka GōkaiBlue) in this series, in one of the interviews said that he was surprised about new heroes being pirates and there’s no wonder, thanks to how pirates usually are bad guys and Gingaman team even fought space pirates before. Like Uchū Kaizoku Barban from Gingaman series, Gōkaigers are space pirates and they’ll try really hard to look like ones. But what’s interesting about them is even though they’re rogues and won’t follow any rules, they also have Super Sentai Spirits in them and can’t just stay and watch villains killing people and conquering the planet. So, they’ll end up defending the Earth, but in their own way. Very showy way that is.

image

Moreover, even though Gōkaiger will be able to turn themselves into any hero from the past (if they have corresponding key that is), it won’t be enough. To get real power, they’ll need more than that. They’ll need so-called Ōinaru Chikara (大いなる力 / Great Powers). And to obtain those, they’ll need to prove that they have more than Keys. They’ll need to prove that they fully understood and inherited the most important things for those, whose keys they have in their possession now. So, it won’t be like Gōkaigers will be strong only because they happened to have keys of true heroes from the past, it’ll be like Gōkaigers will inherit all those important things that made previous 34 teams special. Toei really thought the series through this time and their new team both looks heroic and has it’s own unique face. Gōkaigers’ quest for Ōinaru Chikara is also designed as a series of serious challenges, so, series also avoiced a huge mistake that was made in Engine Sentai Go-onger (炎神戦隊ゴーオンジャー) - heroes this time won’t look like they don’t need to overcome anything. Quite the opposite, Gōkaigers will need to overcome a lot of difficulties that their predecessors overcame before them. No matter how you look at it, it’s a perfect concept.

image

Perfect concept that also allowed Toei to add another kick ass feature - guests. I mean, OK, guests were always there and Hurricaneger series even played funny tricks to us by making Ōba Kenji-san (大葉健二) eating anpan as a reference to his character from Denziman series (Ōme Daigorō, aka DenziBlue was a huge anpan lover), but this time it’ll be different thanks to how all guests will appear as their old characters from Super Sentai Series. And there won’t be just one, or two old faces. There’ll be a lot. There’ll be so many that I won’t even try to name them all. Let’s just say that there’ll heroes from all times - from Akarenger himself, Makoto Naoya-san (誠直也), to full Goseiger team in crossover movie. That will include most of the masked Sentai heroes from the past (“most” thanks to how X1 Mask and Magne Senshi won’t appear thanks to how they lost their powers in the original series) in masked forms. Which is another mind blowing thing to see in this series. I mean, seeing almost 200 heroes at the same time is something that is simply impossible to forget.

image

But let’s return to our guests. As you can guess, their main purpose here not to steal the spotlight from Gōkaigers (which is simply impossible thanks to how all of them lost their powers to transform), but to test Gōkaigers and decide if they’re worthy to use their powers, or not. And since all of the characters are unique and their corresponding teams have different personal values, it’ll be really interesting. Gōkaiger episodes will be tributes too, but not in Boukenger way. This time it’ll be much more deep, interesting and original. Like stories themselves will be fresh and new, but deep in them there’ll be something that will make us to remember about heroes from the past with guests as the final touch. Like in Tokusō Sentai Dekaranger (特捜戦隊デカレンジャー) episode Gōkaigers will need to show that they have a true pride that police officers from Dekaranger series used to have, in Kyūkyū Sentai GoGoFive (救急戦隊ゴーゴーファイブ) one they’ll need to show that they treasure every person’s life, while Mahō Sentai Magiranger (魔法戦隊マジレンジャー) will be all about courage. Toei’s screenwriters did absolutely amazing job this time and utilized each guest really carefully. They tried to avoid making them the main thing, but they always included something to make us feel their importance and uniqueness. And it’s really good for them, since this time they worked with guests like legendary Yūki Gai, aka BlackCondor from Chōjin Sentai Jetman (鳥人戦隊ジェットマン) and there was simply no chance that both old and hardcore fans would forgive poor tributes.

image

But, as I already said, tributes in this series are awesome. It’s simply the best thing of this kind ever happened in Super Sentai Series (especially thanks to how not only regular actors from the past, but also suit actors and the other important people will appear.) And not only thanks to the main thing, but also thanks to hell of a lot of small details. Let me tell you something - if you watched Gōkaiger series without watching all previous ones, you didn’t see a half of it. I’m not kidding, or exaggerating here. Remember all those hidden references in Bakuryū Sentai Abaranger (爆竜戦隊アバレンジャー) series? It was interesting thing as is, but this time it’s much more deep and complicated. Something that may look like a simple sentence for new blood will make hardcore fans to go “I see what you did there!” way and it won’t be only about words. Items, design, story details… The whole thing is literally made from beautiful small tributes. For true fans it’ll be like infinite joy to watch and re-watch this series without an end thanks to how it’s full of Super Sentai past. It’s like a heaven for otaku.

image

Talking about otaku. Special member this time will be otaku from Earth, who’s totally obsessed with Super Sentai Series and it’ll be another amazing addition to the series. Because first, hardcore Super Sentai fan in such series is something to see, and second - he’ll add variety to Gōkaiger crew. Like in Shinkenger series, special member this time isn’t our usual “I’m so cool since I’m special!” hero, he’ll play an important role in the concept and add the unique feeling. And that’s another thing about Gōkaiger. Even though I can’t say that its main story is really complicated (quite the opposite actually, it’s really straightforward thanks to how historic stuff ate most of the Gōkaigers time), Gōkaigers still have some personal stuff. Even villains got some personal inner conflicts, even though this time they’re really dull and not even close to the epicness that  we’ve seen in Shinkenger series. Villains are big in numbers this time, but aside from that they aren’t that special. Which doesn’t mean that there’s nothing interesting about them though.

image

As for design, Gōkaiger is one of those series that will make you to really notice and enjoy it. Remember how hikama elements were integrated in Shinkengers’ suits? Gōkaiger series is trying to do the same with pirate elements. It’s like Toei tried to do more than colorful suits again and not only helmets, but also suits this time are really stylish and interesting. Even giant robot this time feels fresh and original thanks to how it’ll absorb Ōinaru Chikara to unlock the new unique features, based on whose power was used. Like there’ll be dragon from Magirangers’ powers, etc. But what’s really cool this time is… fight choreography. The one to work on it was Ishigaki Hirofumi-san (石垣広文), who started with such job on Hurricaneger stage and also did a lot of suit actor job in the past. Like he was BlackBison in Chōjū Sentai Liveman (超獣戦隊ライブマン), BlackTurbo in Turboranger, FiveBlue in Fiveman, YellowOwl in Jetman, TigerRanger in Kyōryū Sentai Zyūranger (恐竜戦隊ジュウレンジャー), KirinRanger in Gosei Sentai Dairanger (五星戦隊ダイレンジャー, NinjaYellow in Ninja Sentai Kakuranger (忍者戦隊カクレンジャー), etc. In other words, the man knows what he’s doing and he’s doing… awesome here.

image

First of all, Gōkaigers' fight choreography is 50% of swords and 50% of guns. Explosive mixture that fits pirates extremely well, thanks to how it’s hard to imagine pirate without both gun and sword. But there’s also something that makes Gōkaiger really special. I mean, after Dengeki Sentai Changeman (電撃戦隊チェンジマン) introduced bazooka-like weapons, Super Sentai Series just played with proportions. More fists in Dairanger, more guns in Dekaranger, etc. But Gōkaiger introduced something that we never seen before. It looked impossible in 2011, but it looks like there’s nothing impossible for Gōkaigers, so here comes… dual wielding! What so special about it? Yes, DekaRed from Dekaranger series used two guns long ago. But let me explain. Every Gōkaiger member will have one gun and one sword by default. Nothing new here, right? It was like that for ages in Super Sentai Series. But both will be used at the same time without changing one into another, or even putting one back. Swords and guns will be used at the same time and fight choreography for that will be just awesome. But even that isn’t the most interesting thing here. The most interesting thing is that heroes will… exchange weapon! That’s it. One character will be the best with two swords, another one will do better with two guns, but all of them will start with one gun and one sword and will need to exchange during the battle. Of course, the exchange won’t be just “Here, take this…” It’ll be much more interesting and showy. Actually, the exchange thing will be one of the most exciting things in the battles. It’s really cool, interesting and exciting.

image

And, of course, changes. Thanks to how every team has its own unique fighting style, it was hell of a lot of work for Ishigaki-san and suit actors. But guess what? Not only they were able to make Gōkaigers to fully become heroes from the past by copying their moves (actually, since most of suit actors, who worked for this series were out there for ages, they remembered a lot of old moves very well), they also added some showy elements to make us feel like there are Gōkaigers inside of those suits. And it was a actually a really hard thing to do - to imitate a heroes from the past, but at the same time to make it feel like a new heroes are inside the suits. Finally, some of the old teams got improved fight choreography. Like when you’ll watch Go-Ongers in action you’ll wonder where all those cool moves were in their original series. Fight choreography this time is that good. They even brought back an element that was forgotten right after the very first Super Sentai show - Himitsu Sentai Gorenger. I mean comic way of fighting. The one that Ōiwa Daita-san, aka Kirenger, used. Remember how it was about him? He looked totally funny in battles, he used to fall a lot, it often looked like enemies are about to get him, but in the end he was the victorious. Exactly because he was funny and used to fall a lot. Such thing was used a little here and there from time to time, but it was never used on the same level with Gorenger. Gōkaiger series made it return and shine again. When you’ll see GōkaiGreen fighting, you’ll think about Ōiwa Daita-san right away, but GōkaiGreen’s moves will also have their own twists, of course, so, it’s not like Toei just copy / pasted the old thing.

image

As for those, who made all that possible, the red one this is Fukuzawa Hirofumi-san (福沢博文) again. He played leaders for ages, but moved from his position in Goseiger series to play the hero in blue thanks to how tall Hyde (aka GoseiBlue) was. Previously he was moved from playing red leader in Magiranger series, where he wore the green suit. All that allowed Fukuzawa-san to say in DVD interviews that he played not only red members, but you know how it is about him - he’s the best as the leader. He also had a lot of fun this time with the most showy moves in the whole series. Oshikawa Yoshifumi-san (押川善文), Takeuchi Yasuhiro-san (竹内康博) and Nogawa Mizuho-san (野川瑞穂), who worked with Fukuzawa-san in previous show, were still there, so, they were able to provide amazing teamwork (especially the first two, who worked with Fukuzawa-san for a very long time), while yellow member this time is a big surprise. The most active of two Hachisuka (蜂須賀) twins, Hachisuka Yūichi-san (蜂須賀祐一) will return in the main team in his 49 (his brother, Hachisuka Shōji-san / 蜂須賀昭二, won’t play a big part in this series, but he will appear in a crossover movie as PinkFive from Bioman)! Hachisuka Yūichi-san was very active since 1985 (Changeman series), where he played ChangePhoenix and he played a lot of female heroes since then. He did it so professionally that it even affected his moves in real life (he started to move a lot in feminine way). As he said in interview, it isn’t about his personality, it’s about his job, and he’s sure doing it perfectly, in a way of true professional. Not only he was able to move like a girl, while fighting, he also captured his character extremely well. Well, everybody in this series did. And that’s probably why in the end regular actors built really strong bonds with their suit actors. No, really, you won’t see regular actors hugging their suit actors and crying during the filming of the final scene often. And you won’t often see suit actors playing friendly pranks with regular ones just to make everybody smile and feel better. In this series the whole thing was like a perfect teamwork.

image

So, action in Gōkaiger series is something to see. Even if you think that you’ve seen everything, this series can surprise you with full blast hurricane action with twists and amazing small details. Action sure has a lot of spotlight here. Which doesn’t mean that there’s nothing for regular actors to do. Even though Gōkaigers will aim for their mutual goal, all of them have their personal one too. All of them have interesting backstories and unique complicated characters. A girl from ruined planet, who wants to buy a planet for orphans, a princess, who joined pirate crew to give people from her ruined planet a hope to live… Even though story this time is all about challenges and don’t have much personal twists for Gōkaigers, there’s still a lot of feelings. It’s just all of them accumulated around two things - heroes from the past and Gōkaigers’ personal stuff. To tell you the truth, Toei was able to create one of the most likable characters in history exactly thanks to how touching it is about their personal stories. And probably thanks to that actors, who played them started to love them so much.

image

We already seen some really dedicated actors before. Like Beppu Ayumi-san (別府あゆみ) from Magiranger series and Suzuki Shōgo-san (鈴木勝吾) from Shinkenger, who cried a lot when filming was over, but this time when filming of the final scene was over, the whole main cast cried. Even boys. Cried so much that they were literally unable to speak. It was included on DVD / Blu-ray as a part of Making Of movies and it’s sure something to see. I mean, you won’t often see such dedicated cast. Such dedication helps them a lot with their acting, but what’s the most important here is that Gōkaiger cast is made of actors, who’re great just because of what they are. Like Ichimichi Mao-san (市道 真央; aka M • A • O)’s face and what she can do with it is totally priceless and Toei sure used it, Yamada Yūki-san (山田裕貴) really fits his character thanks to how he has really manly appearance, while actually he’s very sensitive inside, etc. I can’t say that anyone here can beat Aiba Hiroki-san (相葉裕樹) from Shinkenger series when it comes to acting skills, but they’re absolutely great in their own way and, what’s more important, they’re on their right places.

image

And, of course, narration. Gōkaiger series using Boukenger formula, where narrator’s voice is also an important part of toys (remember how great Ōta Shinichirō-san / 太田真一郎 did in Boukenger?), but bringing the idea on brand new level. In one of the interviews Seki Tomokazu-san (関智一), who’ll narrate this series, mentioned Ōhira Tōru-san (大平透), the very first narrator in Super Sentai Series, who narrated a lot of series in a row, and Seki-san took a very important thing from him. And that thing is - passion. In Super Sentai Series there were a lot of narrators, who did really, good, but after Ōhira-san it felt like a lot of them missed something. Missed some sort of spark. And that’s what Seki-san brought back in an absolutely epic way - spark. Henshin into various heroes from the past this time will be great not only because of the idea itself, but also because Seki-san’s voice. And the fact that he’ll also voice finishing moves is just amazing. I really wonder if it’s even possible to forget his epic “Fi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-inal Wa-a-a-a-a-a-a-ave!!!~” Since I’ve seen all Super Sentai shows, which means that I’ve heard Ōhira-san at his best, it was really hard to surprise me with the narration, but Seki-san did it and did it oh-so-great.

image

Finally, soundtrack. It’s fun, but it’s probably the series’ most weak point. But not because it’s bad, but because it’s the only part of it that isn’t ideal. Lack of character songs and cheapest ending since Go-Onger series (yes, another generic “rap” without proper rhyme that any musician can compose in a few minutes) are a serious punch for musical part, while the main theme didn’t try to make it any easier. The thing is - this time it’s really soft. Yep, even though we have really showy kick ass team here, the main theme is really soft. Up to the point where you’ll remember Kyōryū Sentai Zyūranger and Gekisō Sentai Carranger (激走戦隊カーレンジャー). But the thing is - there’s a trick in main theme. It didn’t try to be cheap like ending and you’ll need time to get into it. Main theme is trying to bring the feeling of freedom. “Open sea” feeling of pirate adventures. Which fits series absolutely perfectly and adds a lot to the main concept and showy part. Such main theme was exactly what Gōkaiger series needed, but as I already said, it’ll take some time to understand it fully, thanks to how usually main theme is better to be as showy as possible. A lot of other songs on soundtrack are all about experiments too. Like Hagane no Kokoro GōkaiSilver song mixed hard rock, soft pop and gypsy-like melodies in one single track to create something absolutely unique. All that is really cool and sure worth buying on CD, but if you’re not a huge Project.R fan, or aren’t ready to pay for anything with Mizuki Ichirō-san (水木一郎) in it (even though it’s always a good idea), it may take some time for you to start loving this OST. Aside from extremely poor ending, it may be really tricky and full of experiments. As for the background music, it’s all about Yamashita Kōsuke-san (山下康介) this time and with such promising motif he was able to do a lot of good things.

image

So… wow… It’s a lot of text this time. 10 A4 pages actually. But, you know, when it’s about Gōkaiger series, it’s impossible to tell about the most important things in only a few words. Just because it’s the most complicated thing ever happened for Super Sentai Anniversary. Finally, after a lot of years, Toei was able to break their Anniversary curse and achieve a huge success. And the secret is - Gōkaiger series is extremely likable for new blood and at the same time make old fans to cry from joy thanks to all those amazing tributes and references. Gōkaiger series’ magic is that it can connect generations with its amazing showy fight choreography, likable modern characters and deep thoughts about the past at the same time, but make sure to remember what I’ve said about - if you didn’t see all previous shows, you didn’t see a half of this series. Gōkaiger’s attention to the past is so deep that sometimes it’s simply impossible to understand what’s going on without knowing about the originals. Gōkaiger series is the biggest present true Super Sentai fans could ask for and serious message to new blood - don’t underestimate the past!

image

youtube
EarthBound - Not Your Typical JRPG (Zero Punctuation)

Dreaming about adventures among tall trees, sleeping beneath summits, and crossing creeks while venturing along a winding dirt path with fresh air and a view? In that dream, are your feet happy, well supported, and stable under a backpack? What is the best hiking boot for men and women? OutdoorGearLab brings you a thorough review of the top men and women’s boots in a side by side comparison focusing on weight, comfort, support, traction, versatility, water resistance, and durability in order to answer this question. From trail building in Yosemite National Park to hiking through mountains and deserts to splashing through streams, we have tested the limits of these boots in an effort to find the very best.

legend of korra episode 9 made me tear up

Seeing Korra progress on her journey to recovery and Zaheer’s lauding of her limitless abilities…it just made me cry. She was always strong and what happened in this episode confirmed it. Everything about her feelings and her acceptance RESONATED WITH ME SO MUCH

I believed in her from the start. She is strong and limitless. *******She is proof that even if you fall, what matters is how you get back up. ******

We may feel like we have limits but no. We are our own limits. The most human and amazing avatar ever is Korra. I can’t. I just can’t. It was too beautiful. It resonated so much with me. Animation has never made me feel this way before.

The writers. Bryke. You made me get the feels.

Although the dialogue wasn’t as natural this episode, the events trumped it.

Also HI ASAMI.
What a boss.
Slay.
Slay me.
Can I be her.
Thank you.
“Two of the brightest minds” indeed. she had like two lines this episode. Sadness. But at least we got to see her feisty side! BEAT HIM DOWN ASAMI. put him in his place.

Also, like wtf was Wu doing at the meeting?! Korra should’ve totally been there. Ugh. It was funny though her exchange with the city council. Republic City can be just as dumb as some Korra haters in the avatar fandom.

Love. Love. Love. Friday’s are great. I can’t wait for the next oneeeeeeeee.

(Secretly crosses fingers that Asami takes the lead on more vine business)

youtube

This Thanksgiving, we here at YumChunks give thanks for the last few years that Korracast, and you guys, have given us. So take a trip back in time with us on another very special episode of Korracast, as we look back at some of our fondest memories of the show. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tele Talk

Hello & welcome to this weekly thing called Tele Talk. This week, I’ll be briefly talking about the tv show Spaced.

I know, I’m a bit late to the party, since the show aired in 1999. I watched this around 2005 or 2006 and it really stuck with me. I watched it a few times since and every time it’s always as good. I have to say though that i’m a huge fan of the Cornetto Trilogy, so this is really my style of humour and way it’s shot. 

Its awkward, it’s weird, it’s hilarious. If you enjoyed Peggs movies, or british humour, you should really watch this. It’s not a long show and it’s to die for. Also, I think it’s on Netflix right now (not sure).

Zetsuen no Tempest

image

Hosszú út volt ez az enyém a Zetsuen no Tempesttel. Még Portugáliában javasolta az egyik barátnőm, hogy fogjak bele, mert szerinte nekem tetszene. Azt kell tudni, hogy Dianának és nekem egyébként animefronton félelmetesen hasonlít az ízlésünk. Szóval bele is kezdtem, aztán most sikerült befejezni. Nem azért, mert rossz volt, hanem mert képtelen vagyok egyszerre csak egy dolgot csinálni. Így van ez a magamfajta hiperaktív kölykökkel.

Cím: Zetsuen no Tempest
Epizódok száma: 24
Sugárzás eredeti dátuma: 2012. október 5. – 2013. március 29.
Stúdió: Bones
Rendező: Ando Masahiro
Főbb szinkronszínészek: Uchiyama Kouki, Toyonaga Toshiyuki, Hanazawa Kana, Sawashiro Miyuki

Hamlet és Prospero

De akkor nézzük is, mi ez a Zetsuen no Tempest, vagy angol címén: The Civilization Blaster? A Bones studió szállította nekünk a 2012-es évben, és ennek fényében a grafikára egy szavunk sem lehet. A két opening is jó volt, meg persze a két ending is, bár személyes véleményem szerint a második forduló azért elég feledhetőre sikerült, még ha egyébként kellemes is hangzásban.

A japán cím nagyon ötletes, kiemeli az első perctől azt, amit mi csak lassan kezdünk el sejteni az animét nézve: még ha ez egyébként egy modern fantasy is, valójában soha nem hagyta el egy Shakespeare dráma valóságát. (Mellesleg mindenkinek ajánlom figyelmébe az imént említett angol úriember A viharcímű munkáját, nem csak azért, mert ismeretében nem csak több utalást érthetünk meg az animéből, hanem azért is, mert nagyon jó.)

A történetről magáról nem érdemes sokat beszélni, mert a szükségesnél csak egy picit is több információ csökkenti az élményt. Legyen elég annyi, hogy a középpontban két fiú áll: Yoshino és Mahiro, akik régi barátok, illetve Mahiro húga, Aika, meg egy szigeten fogságba esett hercegnő, Hakaze. A világban különös dolgok sora történik, és a két fiú éppen a közepébe csöppen a felfordulásnak.

A Zetsuen no Tempest egy remekül felépített anime, és a történet logikus vezetése közelít a Steins;Gate-éhez. Feszültségben tart, a sorozat részeinek számához viszonyítva sok és jól elhelyezett fordulattal operál, amelyek előtt és után nem csak a szereplők, de a néző is tökéletesen elbizonytalanodik a végkifejletet illetően (vagy azzal kapcsolatban, mi fog következni mondjuk a következő percben).

A Zetsuen Tempest azonban soha nem lesz képes utolérni a Steins;Gate-et, ez pedig a legnagyobb előnyének és egyben ezzel együtt legnagyobb negatív vonásának köszönhető: a logikának. Ez az anime, különösen, a történet első felében, rengeteget magyaráz, és mindenképpen többet, mint amire adott pillanatban a nézőnek szüksége lenne, mindezt azért, hogy bármi áron bizonyítani tudja önnön logikusságát. Emiatt egyes helyeken vontatottá, uram bocsá’ unalmassá válik. Persze, ez nem jelenti azt, hogy a történet ne volna lenyűgöző, a maga vontatottságában. És a negatív pontok legjobb kiegyensúlyozói a karakterek.

Yoshino, akinek ez a keresztneve egyébként

Csak a főbbkarakterekre szeretnék kitérni, a történet mozgatóira, mert egyébként a Zetsuen no Tempest rengeteg szereplővel operál. Lássuk is.

Yoshino és Mahiro barátsága különleges, leginkább azért, mert amúgy köze nincsen az animékben általában bemutatott “különleges barátságokhoz”. Arról nem is beszélve mennyire emberien “győzeleméhes” ez a két karakter, mennyire emberi módon tökéletlenek és megszállottak. Ugyanis úgy áll a helyzet, hogy ez a két srác nem hagyományos értelemben jó ember, és nem is hős: önzőek, legyőzhetőek, hazudnak, ha kell. Leginkább olyanok, mintha egy Shakespeare dráma tragikus főszereplőjét próbálnák utánozni, ennek függvényében pedig nehezen kedvelhetőek.

Aika személyisége, ha lehet, még nehezebb, az intellektualitása egyenesen félelmetessé és hideggé teszik őt, ugyanakkor az ember azon kapja magát, hogy vonzónak találja ezt a karaktert minden megfoghatatlansága ellenére, legalábbis a történet végére mindenképpen. Nem feltétlenül fogja szeretni… De vonzónak találhatja.

Hakaze valószínűleg a történet egyetlen olyan karaktere, aki az első pillanattól kezdve szerethető és pozitív (többnyire). Amellett, hogy mennyire erős van benne egy cseppnyi (esetenként egy jó üvegnyi) édes naivitás, ami tökéletesen elegyedik egymással, ezáltal pedig könnyen belopja magát a nézők szívébe.

image


credit

Mítosz és modernitás

A Zetsuen no Tempest rengeteg dologból építkezik, ez is az egyik nagy pozitívuma. A fa-motívum megjelenésétől kezdve végigkíséri a történetet, a germán népek mondavilágából merítve, de a shakespeare-i irodalom is ennek ékes példája. Eközben pedig a modern világ szerkezetei is nélkülözhetetlenek a szereplők számára, a mobiltelefonoktól elkezdve a föld-levegő rakétákon át mindenhez lesz szerencsénk, ha egyszer nekiülünk.

Én mindig szeretem az ilyen történeteket, ahol múlt és jövő keveredik, főleg, ha egyébként az adott anime nem mond értékítéletet egyik vagy másik felett, hanem mindkettőt szerves részévé teszi az egésznek. A Zetsuen no Tempestben valami ilyesmi történik.

Végső értékelés

Az kétségtelen, hogy a Zetsuen no Tempest egy jó anime, nálam olyan 8-as körül mozog a végső pontszáma. Ugyanakkor nem könnyen emészthető, és még ha jól meg is oldották a két arcot, ami a történetet alkotja, azok összefüggnek, és kiegészítik egymást, de a közöttük lévő törés még így is túl nagy az én ízlésemnek. A részek helyenként unalmasak, különösen az anime közepén, túl sok az állókép és magyarázat, a sorozat második részében pedig túlságosan elnyújtják az egyik végső kérdés megfejtését (pedig a néző számára az már régen egyértelmű), és bár – a történet szokásához híven – megmagyarázzák, utalnak ennek a miértjére, ettől még idegesítő.

Ettől függetlenül azonban az érdemeit is muszáj elismernünk: a külcsín és a belső tartalom egyaránt egyedi és varázslatos – a szó minden értelmében. Éppen ezért bátran ajánlom mindenki figyelmébe, bőven meg fog térülni a ráfordított idő. Főként, ha szeretitek a jól kidolgozott történeteket, ahol mindenre magyarázatot kaptok, és ahol minden mindennel összefügg, és minden apró részletnek jelentősége van.

Meg aztán, vannak csinos lányok és helyes fiúk is, meg olyan Bonestól megszokott fanservice mennyiség.

image


credit

‘Elementary’: Let’s Give Them a Hand
[This is a review for Elementary season 3, episode 5. There will be SPOILERS.] - In ‘Rip Off’, otherwise known as ‘Joan Takes a Holiday’, Elementary tries something a little different by running an episode without the presence of the show’s second lead, Lucy…
via Musings Of A Mild Mannered Man
Read More … ‘Elementary’: Let’s Give Them a Hand

4

"Some people will argue about how Smash Bros. “should be played” until the end of time. At one point, with the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, it seemed Nintendo had put its foot down and decided for all of us. But something changed the company’s mind in the time since. A cynic might see the mind-boggling scope and total flexibility as giving up, an admission that, just like the people who love it, Nintendo has no idea what Smash Bros. should be. But really, it’s a confirmation of what Smash Bros. has been all along: a raucous, reverent celebration of Nintendo games and the people who play them. And the best part is everyone’s invited.”

Super Smash Bros. For Wii U aims to please all who attend its raucous celebration