Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sushi Pack - Deep Freeze and Satel-lightening

Part one: Deep Freeze (Warning: The majority of the puns to come are indeed intended)
The girls trick the guys into spring cleaning by calling it a "top priority mission," and they fall for it, since they were hoping to show off their skills. At least they get a choice of sweeping/dusting vs. laundry. They take the latter.
While Maguro and Kani are cleaning, the ice dispenser goes off and who falls out but Mochi Mochiato, the only female member of the Legion of Low Tide. Ignoring their questions (such as, what is she doing there?), she gushes about how much nicer their headquarters is compared to hers (complete with cutaway to the remaining members all huddled on one couch). Kani is instantly suspicious, but Maguro wants to have an open mind, especially when Mochi compliments the feng shui. Kani continues to snap at her despite Maguro's warnings, and Mochi tries to get them to make plans to meet up later on, but Kani just makes fun of her girly-girl traits (and I don't blame her. Isn't Mochi supposed to be 'cold as ice?' That's what it says on the website, anyway). Finding they have a mutal like of Jelly Fish Tingle Egg (some musical artist that Kani doesn't like), Maguro and Mochi bond. And since Maguro just happens to have tickets, Maguro and Mochi make plans to go to his concert. But Kani still wants to know what Mochi's doing there, and threatens her with an electrical plug if she doesn't tell the truth. Without actually giving her a chance to talk, Kani insists that she's there only to spy, but Mochi says it isn't so--she just wanted to make some friends. Kani doesn't buy it, but Maguro's heart is melted, and she goes after the retreating Mochi. Kani stops her, wanting to know why Maguro wants to be friends with Mochi, acting totally jealous, which Maguro calls her on (Kani also describes Mochi as cute, which she illustrates by getting little heart eyes, and I so wish I could get a screenshot!). Kani denies being jealous, saying she's only concerned, so Maguro reassures her that they won't stop being friends if ("and that's a big if") she and Mochi become friends. As Maguro leaves, Kani demands that she find out what Mochi was doing in the ice dispenser, and insists again (as she'll do for most of the episode) that she's not jealous.
Out on the street, Maguro calls after Mochi, who freezes her in her tracks, but warms up to the idea of hanging out together. So we get a montage of them doing cute things together in size appropriate ways (trying on dresses -- for dolls, using ice cream, or maybe cream cheese or yogurt, to give themselves facials, swimming in an aquarium, etc.) with Kani spying the whole time. Eventually Kani is brought to tears by this apparent double-crossing.
Later, the rest of the Pack is hanging out in some kind of pink liquid, using bagels (or maybe donuts) as inner tubes. Kani makes her displeasure known, but Tako theorizes that Maguro just wants a new friend, leaving Kani to wonder what's wrong with the old one(s). The kid, I think his name is Ben, takes out one of the bagels and eats it, making me really question what that liquid is. He's there to deliver the the moral of the day (which is almost all he ever does) of making new friends and keeping the old ones, too. He also tells Kani that he trusts Maguro's judgment, even if she doesn't. Ikura is on her side, though: no member of the Low Tide can be trusted! Wasabi points out her jealousy, but wisely paddles away before Kani can get her pinchers on him.
Meanwhile, Mochi's friendship with Maguro has not gone unnoticed by the Legion of Low Tide. When confronted, she tries to deny it, but Fugu apparently has video in his eyes (freaky! yet cool) and shows indisputable proof. She tries to convince them it's okay by saying that she and Maguro have a lot in common, but Titanium Chef (who is awesome, btw) strides in to tell her that they do not actually have anything in common. And now, we get some great anvilicious "She's different, we don't tolerate people sushi who are different" dialogue (although I do like Toro's quip: "We can barely tolerate ourselves."), ending with Titanium Chef forbidding Mochi from seeing Maguro, with the promise of the worst punishment of all if she disobeys: ridicule. As a taste, the others tease her most mercilessly until she begs them to stop in tears.
Back with the Pack, a similar confrontation is taking place. Although Maguro insists that the team comes first, Ikura isn't convinced, and goes to "put a stop to it" himself. He meets up with Uni (the black sea urchin) in a junkyard, and accidentally agrees to a rumble, turning the episode into a West Side Story homage.
Tako chews out Ikura for getting them involved in a rumble, but concedes that they have to show up to prove Maguro is one of them and Mochi is not. Maguro insists that she won't fight Mochi because they're friends. Over with the Legion, Mochi swears the same thing, but Uni feeds her a line about Ikura telling him that Maguro was only using her. We don't get to see her reaction, though, as it's already night and time for the rumble. Unagi draws a line in the dirt, but ends up on the wrong side of it, so everyone switches sides.
While the others prepare to rumble, Mochi confronts Maguro about using her, but Maguro tells her Uni was lying. Mochi isn't sure that Maguro isn't the one lying, but before they can hash it out further, Kani shows up and admits that the rumble is all her fault for being shellfish (seriously, that's what she said) and wanting to keep Maguro as a friend all for herself. Is it too late to stop the rumble? Maybe not...
Everyone else is posturing, totally ready to get going. But Kani makes an announcement just in time, publicly owning up to her jealousy. She even goes as far as to say that the rumble would never be happening if it wasn't for her. Unagi states that oh yes it would, since the Legion and Sushi Pack can never be friends. But Kani overrides his opinion with a friendship speech. It looks like things are going to be okay for Mochi and Maguro, but Uni yanks Mochi back over to their side and tells her to "Stick to your own kind." (I told you this was West Side Story!) The Legion still wants to rumble, but the Sushi Pack just leaves.
Later, the Titanium Chef uses this as an example of the Pack's weakness, and Mochi feigns having learned her lesson, but still goes to hang out with Maguro and now Kani, too. They take pics together to cement their friendship, and Kani asks yet again what Mochi was doing in the ice dispenser way back when. Mochi replies that she was spying on them in order to tell their secrets to the rest of the Legion, and then goes on her way with a giggle. Maguro and Kani are pretty sure she was joking, but decided to keep their doors closed, just in case.

Personally, I think it'll be interesting if we find in a later episode that Mochi's girly-girl demeanor is just an act, and she's really "cold as ice" underneath. Still, I can't say I blame her for wanting to hang with the only other girl sushis around, act or not. And don't worry, Kani, I think you're plenty cute.

Part two: Satel-lightening
The Pack is kicking back and watching TV, when Ben (finally, confirmation) shows up with a towel and tells them it's time for yoga. Despite the episode not being over, everyone except Kani goes forth and starts meditating. Kani's absence does not go unnoticed, and the others don't buy her excuse of yoga making her crabby. But Ben, always handy with the examples, sprays the yoga-ers with what looks like Squeezy Cheese, but is (according to him) fast-drying donut frosting, making it hard for them to move. He then instructs them to bend over and touch the counter like that. Tako is the first to do it, but Ben's point is that it's hard for Kani to do yoga because she (apparently) has a hard shell, being a crab and all, so don't jump to conclusions. Personally, I thought that the lesson was going to be that Kani was a couch potato and that when you don't move around enough, it's like being covered in frosting, but whatevs.
Now safely out of yoga, Kani indulges in watching the Crab Channel, and we pan up to the sky where a satellite is orbiting Earth, until a comet hits it, sending it on a crash course to Earth and knocking out all the TV stations. Kani blames Ben for not paying his bills, but Ben tells her it's karma telling her to stop watching so much TV (see, I knew that lesson would come up). The satellite lands in the middle of a nearby park, freaking out the townspeople, even though it doesn't do anything but stand there. A kid hits it with a rock, so it starts zapping stuff while spouting pseudo-quotes from TV shows and movies. The police show up, but are of no use. The police chief tells the mayor, who calls in the army.
Back with the Pack, Ikura and Wasabi has a nonsequitery conversation about rodeos and clowns, and Ben notices tanks rolling in, bringing the Pack's attention to the satellite. The army is useless against the satellite's electro-magnetic blasts, so they take a commercial break.
After the break, the Sushi Pack is ready to take on the satellite. Tako comments that they've taken on worse, but when Maguro asks when, Tako can't actually think of anything. So they leap into action, but since the satellite is so big, this takes a while, long enough to banter a little with the satellite and figure out that it talks like a TV set. Regardless, they attack, but they are pitifully underpowered. Even Kani's pinchers are useless. So Tako thinks about things from the satellite's point of view, utilizing his "many heads routine" (which I think is nifty, but others may not).
While Tako's thinking, Kani, flipped on her back by the satellite, tries to get up herself, but is not flexible enough. Ikura helps her up, but the satellite strikes! Fortunately, Wasabi is able to ward off the attack. Tako starts to think that the satellite isn't actually attacking them because it wants to hurt them, but might be confused or scared, or even just tired. Just as Tako announces that the satellite won't hurt them, it sends out a blast, which Kani is able to block with her forehead (due to her having an exoskeleton). Tako reminds them of Ben's lesson earlier, and suggests putting themselves in the satellite's place. But the satellite is still attacking them, making it a little hard to do that. So Tako expounds a little about how everything on Earth is new and strange to the satellite, especially them (Ikura doesn't see his point, however). It's clear to Maguro that they have to calm the satellite down, and so she shares some of her chi with him while spouting new-agey babble. The others ask her to ask him what's going on, and together they get to the bottom of things. Apparently, the satellite was asleep when the comet hit, and it just wants to go home. So Tako somehow flings him back into space, and then sagely comments that "What goes up, must come down." Ikura comments that he sounds like Maguro, but she just blithely says that he's putting himself in her shoes, and Tako quotes the TV show they were watching earlier, rather than admit to anything, and the episode ends with everyone sharing a laugh.

I find it kind of interesting that Tako appears to be the leader, with Maguro as a close second. It's odd, because Ikura seems more of the stereotypical leader type, if you know what I mean. And he was the one that met with Uni in the previous episode. But in the episodes I've seen, in the battles it's almost always Tako who's calling the shots. Which makes sense, since he's the designated thinker, but still, he's blue and the leader is usually red (not that I know that much about sentai team dynamics, but still).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bartleby Watch - Disc One

If, like me, you want to maximize your chances of watching an episode of Sonic Underground with Bartleby in it, look no further. Here I will make note of what episodes Bartleby appears in. Note: I'm using the episode order on the DVD. On the first disc, we have:

1. Beginnings: One short scene. He accompanies Sonia to a seedy club, complains that she's hearing "imaginary" music, and is shocked when she leaps on stage.
3. Harmony or Something: One short scene. Interrogated by Robotnik, he disavows knowledge of Sonia's whereabouts and goes into finger-twitching fear when he sees Lady Windimere's fate. This is also the first time his engagement to Sonia is mentioned.
4. To Catch a Queen: Just a mention. Early in the episode Sonia is looking through a catalog to get him a present, but decides "Bartleby can wait" when she hears news that could lead them to the queen.

And that's it for Disc One. Disc Two will have more, but I'm not sure when I'll be able to get to it.

I don't get it

(click for full-sized Mythtickle)

I'm posting this because I had to have my mother explain what exactly the punchline was here. I thought it was some kind of pun, but no matter how I tried pronouncing syrah, I couldn't make it sound like any phrase I'd heard. So I showed the strip to my mother and told her to tell me what reference I was missing. She instantly burst out laughing, because apparently a syrah is the wrong wine. I don't drink, which is why I didn't get it, I guess. So yeah, if you were wondering, now you know.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sushi Pack - Go With the Glow

Ah, the episode that made me a Tako/Maguro shipper. By the way, what does the glow in the title refer to, anyway? I just can't figure it out.

It's a hot day in Wharf City, and Maguro and Tako are fighting over the airflow of the A/C; she needs it to help her concentrate so she can practice her levitation, and he needs it because it keeps his ink, which he uses for painting, from drying out. For no particular reason, Kani announces that Ikura's taking a shower (apparently he doesn't very often). Meanwhile, somewhere else, Unagi and Fugu, two members of the Legion of Low Tide, are fighting over who gets to flip the switch that will get rid of the Sushi Pack once and for all. We get a bit of back-and-forth between Tako and Maguro's argument and Unagi and Fugu, but then the switch is thrown, and electricity goes out all over the city.
This means no A/C, bad news for the perishable heroes. Maguro tries mind over matter to beat the heat, but Tako complains that they need to take action. Maguro insists that they should all meditate to conserve energy, but Tako disagrees, so Maguro replies, "I disagree--with you!" (It's the delivery. She completely makes it sound like a "your mom" comment, so much so that it wasn't until weeks later that I realized what she actually said.) Tako responds by illustrating their situation as he usually does. "No electricity, no air conditioner, no Sushi Pack!" Although Maguro cautions him not to get worked up, Tako wants results, and the two remain at odds (Kani and Ikura are somewhere else during this scene, and Wasabi just watches, in case you were wondering).
Back at the bad guys place, we find that they didn't just knock out the power, they siphoned it to their hideout, so they can keep cool. Speaking of people not being in the scene, where are the other members of the legion? We only see three during this entire episode. Maybe the Titanium Chef took the others out shopping, and Fugu, Unagi, and Toro stayed home and decided to work on an evil plot, and things just snowballed from there. Anyway, Unagi wants to wait for the Sushi Pack to spoil, but Fugu wants to go and make sure that their plan is working, while Toro doesn't do anything but sit in the snow generated by the super-powered A/C. Ah, that's why Kani and Ikura were missing in the previous scene. Parallels.
The Sushi Pack try to keep cool in buckets, and Wasabi, the only one not bothered by the heat (Kani mentions this by saying he's "hot stuff all the time," and he even winks), helps out by fanning them, and that kid that runs the organic bakery they live in (I can't remember his name) shows up with the last bucket of ice in the whole city. Ikura loses it, and Kani flops out. Maguro once again prescribes meditation, but Tako, his ink completely dry, calls for action. The kid recommends seeing things from the other's POV, but they ignore him. Tako and Maguro's fight incites Kani, but we don't get to see her snap before the commercial break.
By now, the Legion's hideout is covered in ice and snow, Fugu is almost frozen, and Toro's a snowman. Unagi seems to be just fine, although he is surrounded by electricity. The Sushi Pack has the opposite problem, and even Maguro has lost her concentration. Wasabi bursts into tears, anticipating the death of his friends, and the kid shows up with a transistor radio. The news reports the cause of the blackout, and the Pack realize that the Legion must be behind it (Kani and Ikura's "too hot" expressions are too cute! I wish I could get screenshots). Tako and Maguro realize that their arguing kept them from figuring this out, and the two make the cutest sheepish faces ever. The kid delivers the Aesop of teamwork (which they have to learn almost every episode, I've noticed) and how that means putting aside your differences. The Pack take one last leap into the ice water, and then call for Wasabi so they can strike a pose before taking off in their plane toward the Legion's hideout, which is glowing in rainbow colors from all the electricity. (One thought: doesn't the plane have air conditioning? Why didn't they just hole out in there? I guess they didn't want to waste gas or something.)
The snow is starting to overtake Fugu, who is certain the Sushi Pack is already fried, and Toro is too frozen to even speak, but Unagi claims to be still powering up and warns Fugu not to push him. Fugu calls this creepy for some reason, sparking another argument, which pushes Toro to unthaw himself and complain about them, effectively joining in. The Sushi Pack watch from above, amused, although Tako and Maguro realize that they weren't being any better earlier. But Kani reaffirms their newly reconciled state, and the group splits up to take action. Whether they actually did this is unclear, because when they make their dramatic reveal, everyone strikes a pose against a shiny background, obscuring where in the layout they actually are.
Fugu and Unagi go after Maguro, who (at Tako's suggestion) levitates out of the way. But then Toro shows up and is defeated simply by Tako throwing ink at him, after Maguro asks him to "paint me a picture." The two engage in slightly flirty banter throughout this whole thing, and then Maguro uses her telekinesis to unthrow the switch, turning off the siphon and restoring power in the city. The bad guys get their second wind, but Kani traps them under a metal pot. They escape, but then Wasabi burns them and Ikura pelts them with slimeballs until they run away, each blaming the other for their failure (except Toro who says it's both Fugu and Unagi's faults). And the Sushi Pack wins the day.
In the plane, Tako and Maguro both compliment each other on their respective powers and how they put aside their differences for the sake of the team. And then Tako turns on some music so they can groove all the way home.

The thing is, I don't really get how they put aside their differences and/or saw things from the other's POV. They basically just did what Tako wanted to do in the first place (take action). I mean, this really wasn't the kind of situation where they were both right. But I admit, I don't really care all that much, as all the Tako/Maguro interaction makes up for it.

random bit from Sonic Underground

Why, yes, I AM made of awesomeRewatching the series (and skipping ahead to the eps with lots of Bartleby), I noticed that in "Come Out Wherever You Are," Bartleby's last name is announced as Dresden, but I seem to recall (and if I would dig out the VHS, I could confirm this) that he was called Bartleby Monclaire in "Bartleby the Prisoner." Not that I'm that surprised at a lack of continuity for a character that was mostly comic relief, but it makes me wonder whether anyone else has noticed this.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oscar Nomination Thoughts

Looking at the list of this year's nominee's, all I can think of is how boring this year's show is going to be, if it happens at all. And what's up with not giving Hairspray a Best Song nomination?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Short Szark ramble

(Click for full-sized "I Win" Fantasy)

I'm really enjoying the return of Szark to Dominic Deegan, for one reason only: his haircut. Seriously, every time Szark shows up, he looks better and better. And really, how can you not love his expression in the second-to-last panel here? It's just so cheesily happy.

Edit: Some archive digging reveals that he actually got his hair cut when he last appeared about a year ago, but I'd forgotten since he was only around for a couple of days and then didn't show up again until now. Doesn't change my feelings about this arc, though.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake: Sweet Dreams Movie

I have this strange obsession with the revamped Strawberry Shortcake, have I mentioned this? I know that each DVD will just make my head hurt, but I'm still obsessed with watching them all.
After being in my queue for a good long while, the CGI movie finally arrived, and while it was mostly just more of the same from the regular animated episodes, there are a few things I want to comment on.
  • The abundant use of fridge logic bugged me. I mean, it's never really explained why Raspberry Torte doesn't get good dreams, or why the Pieman never got dreams at all, or how he and Sour Grapes even got to the Land of Dreams in the first place. I mean, I think the penultimate scene indicates that it was all just a dream, sure, but still, it bugs me.
  • What is it with Strawberry hijacking her friends' songs? Here she takes over Ginger Snap's song about machines, but she's also changed Orange Blossom's song about flowers in the first episode, invaded Peppermint Fizz's diatribe against Rainbow Sherbert in "The Costume Party," and who knows what other songs in the episodes I haven't seen.
  • The CGI itself looked kinda weird, especially for the characters that were originally 2D, although the original characters fared a little better. That said, I found the textures on everything to be simply amazing! Raspberry Torte's hair really stood out, but it was interesting to see all the clothes looking like they're really made of cloth and denim.
  • Take off the hats, and everyone is so cute! Why couldn't they have stayed in their pajamas to go to the land of dreams?
  • I'm sorry, but the Dreambuilders look like elves, the Sandman looked like Santa, and the whole Dream Factory just had this vibe of Santa's Workshop.
  • The Pieman's song sorta reminded me of "Pick a Pocket or Two" from Oliver!, oddly enough.
  • Speaking of the Pieman, what was the point of hoarding dreams, anyway? I mean, I feel like the writers forgot to rewrite his plan, or something.
  • I didn't like a lot of the songs when they started, but by the end, they were kinda catchy.
  • Where in the heck did Raspberry Torte and Lemon Meringue come from, since Angel Cake mentions them not being in Strawberry Land as long as she has.
  • How come Raspberry Torte (the surly jock) and Lemon Meringue (the ditzy blonde) are such good friends, anyway?
  • And why does the Pieman call Sour Grapes, supposedly his sister, Miss Grapes? Is he teasing her, or did he lose a bet?
  • Custard needs to shut up. Seriously. And why do we never get little dream sequence-y looks into her cat psyche, huh? I mean, her line "My favorite dream," coupled with the look on her face, was just begging for a quick scene of her imagining whatever that dream is (I'm thinking something involving a giant fish).
  • Angel Cake, don't be such a drama llama.
  • Where was Raspberry Torte during the Silly Dreamer number?
  • The whole "dreams you dream when you're asleep" and "dreams that are goals" being one and the same kinda bugged me in a vague way.
  • The Pieman's changed "yatatata" thing also kinda bugs me, but also kinda doesn't.
  • Dobbin (the horse) is awesome. I would put up with the most annoying character (which is saying something on this show), Honey Pie Pony, if it meant an episode of HPP/Dobbin romance. (SS-style romance, anyway, which would probably consist of the girls setting the two up on "a date" and then trying to help the horses get close, but mostly getting in the way.)
And that's about it. Once I got used to the CGI style, it was an okay movie, but it felt like there were a few scenes missing.

Comic Vocabulary

(Click for fullsize Mythtickle)
I'm just curious, is "hinky" an actual word? According to Urban Dictionary, the closest definition is "off kilter" or "vaguely suspicious," but does anyone actually use it? Furthermore, does the author of this strip use it, or did he just find it while looking for something else? I know that when Scott Adams puts out a book of Dilbert cartoons with commentary, the majority of his comments are just "such and such word is funny" or "this word = hilarity." Is part of being a cartoonist keeping some kind of file of words that sound funny? And why does this bug me so much?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Peek at my Music

Just something I thought I'd try.
Put your mp3 player on shuffle and write a little about the first ten songs for the duration of each song.

1. Lily's Eyes (The Secret Garden)
I used to love this song so much when I first heard it. I still love it, but I'm just as likely to skip it now as actually listen to it. It also would make a good song about Harry Potter ^_~ I mean, seriously, his mom's name is Lily, and everyone's always going on about how he has her eyes. But the question is, who would sing it? I mean, obviously Snape would be the Doctor, but who would be Archibald? Maybe an AU songfic where James didn't die? I don't know, but that thought always niggles at my brain when I listen to it. Also, I can only picture it as being sung by Mandy Patinkin (not any of his characters) and the Prince from Into the Woods (that's right, it's that same guy. If I had more time, I'd look up his name.)

2. The Floor Show/Rosetint My World (2001 Rocky Horror Show)
I can write a lot about this because it's over seven minutes long. I never wanted to watch the movie because I could never get beyond the huge freaky lips in the opening credits. In fact, I never did watch the movie until I caught it halfway through the middle (coming in around The Time Warp). After that, I got into the habit of watching it around Halloween. But I didn't check out this cast album until a little over a year ago, the same time I got a new car, and I drove around listening to this all over the time, so the songs remind me of October 2006, driving to Southern (where I was talking graduate classes), and blasting out Rocky Horror Show, and not realizing the character of Eddie was played by a woman until Dr. Scott showed up.
I really hate the "don't dream it, be it" section because it's slow and long. But I put up with it because I liked the next part, because at the time, I was writing a fantasy story with a bee character, so I liked to think of that part as her anthem. "I'm a wild and an untamed thing, I'm a bee with a deadly sting, etc." Not very creative, I guess, but it's fun anyway. Come to think of it 2006 was also when I got a colonoscopy as part of the ongoing process to diagnose my crohn's once and for all. I mention this only because my appointment was frickin' early in the morning, and since I had to take a laxative before it, I just stayed up all night, and RHPS was on VH-1 and they didn't show the lips part. I was annoyed.

3. Let Me Walk Among You (Bat Boy)
It took me years to get beyond the album art and actually listen to this show, but once I did, I ended up really liking it. I thought I saw info on the IMDB about a movie coming out in 2008 or 9, but I looked again recently, and it wasn't there. I really like the lyrics in this song, but sometimes I get a phantom lyric. Like I think the lyric should go one way, and it goes somewhere else. "Let me join your carpool. No! Let me drive the car!" I just love the delivery of that lyric. I wish I could keep the reprise of Joyful Noise after this track, but with shuffle, that's not possible. But it really makes the ending feel weird. Also, I'm a sorta Kerry Butler fan, and she's in this. Not this song, though.

4. There's a Fine, Fine Line (Avenue Q)
Is there anybody that doesn't love Avenue Q? Seriously? This is a song I have to be in the right mood for, otherwise I just skip it. Actually, that applies to most of the songs, when I think about it. It's weird how there are some shows that just don't work in a mix, no matter how much the songs may work when put together. I guess it's because the sound is so different. I really want to apply this song to more characters, but really, I don't go for those kinds of relationships. That doesn't make sense, but I'm out of time to explain it. Sorry. Number two spoiled me, I guess.

5. Loathing (Wicked)
I was in a class about how media is used to communicate, and for the class on music, we all brought in a CD and picked a song to play, and then the class would dissect it. Except we didn't go too deeply, since we only had so much time, and plenty of songs to go through. As you've guessed, the song I picked was Loathing. Later I felt I should have picked something else, but I was definitely going with Wicked, since I was absolutely in love with it at the time (you're noticing a trend, aren't you?). The only thing I remember from the class was the first comment was bascially, "I've never felt so good about hating someone." When I saw the show on Broadway, I was so disappointed that the choreography wasn't better. Or rather, like I'd imagined. I'd seen the other students moving as one mass, and everyone taking advantage of all the 'picking' in the background. I'm not sure how to describe it. The poking? Listen to the song and you'll know what I'm talking about.

6. This One Day (The Grass Harp)
The Grass Harp was a flop, but it has very lovely music. This is sung by the teenage nephew. I'm not sure why it's still in my playlist, though, since I don't really like it. But despite not liking it, it's pretty catchy. Which is why it isn't on my 'get rid of' list whenever I go through and cull stuff out. Plus it's pretty short. I should look up who plays the kid sometime. I like his other song better (Floozies).

7. If This is Love (Heartbeats)
I'm not sure if this was an actual show, or a concept album, but the reason this song is on my playlist is because I went back and rewatched Arabian Knight (aka The Thief and the Cobbler), and one of the songs reminded me of it so much that I had to take the CD out of the library again (as I do from time to time) just so I could listen to it again and see if I wasn't just making the whole thing up. But no, the two were way similar. Not so much that you'd think one copied the other.
This is a show that I know I'm the only one who has ever heard of, but it starred Amanda McBroom, who might be known to people. I don't know her from anything else, actually, but that's true of a lot of people that have actually done lots of things. I like a lot of other songs from it better than this one, but over the half the songs are take it or leave it for me. Yeah, I'm done, and now they are, too.

8. How a Garden Grows (The Secret Garden)
Another song from The Secret Garden? Here's some triva, then: you can see the marquee for the show in the movie of Noises Off! which is funny, so you should see it anyway. Besides, it has Mark Linn-Baker in it. This song is a lot of fun, but I don't really have anything to say about it, other than it always reminds me of walking home from High School in the winter time. I'm not sure why, but it makes me feel old now.

9. When You're In My Arms (They're Playing Our Song)
I always feel like singing along. And yes, another memory connected to this show: I had my wisdom teeth out around the time I was listening to it. Either that, or when I found that the library had a copy of the libretto, so I took out the CD with it, so I would read and listen (I used to be obsessed with this, until I tried to do it with Company, and found out, two songs in, that it didn't really work. That, and the same happening with Lost in the Stars, got me out of the habit). That and I used to singing Workin' it Out while mowing the lawn, so that I could sing the swears outloud without getting in trouble. I was young at the time, but not like twelve or anything. I never really had a thing for Marvin Hamlisch, but I do seem to like shows he's worked on. But I don't recognize him the way I might Sondheim or Rodgers and Hammerstein, y'know what I mean? I hope you do, because that's all I have time for.

10. The Money Song (Avenue Q)
Man, I was hoping for no repeated shows, and I got two. And where are my songs from Big? That's what prompted me to do this anyway. That's it, I'm doing a bonus song!
As for this song, I always wanted to play it in my Economics class, but I never got up the nerve, partly because of the Gary Coleman part. And part of me wants to use the middle bit for actual fundraising (like I were ever at one of those tables outside the grocery store).
Y'know, I said that there's no one who doesn't like Avenue Q, but I do know someone: my mom. Ever since she saw them perform "It Sucks to be me" on the Tony's (and then winning), she hasn't been that enthusiastic about it. She doesn't know I like the show (I feigned ignorance during the Tony's), but I'd really love to see it sometime. Once it goes on tour, maybe. I'd have to drag my guy to see it, but I bet he'd get a kick out of it.

11. Evening Star (cut from 110 in the Shade)
This is another one that I either like or don't like depending on my mood. It's a very plaintive song, so if I'm in a bouncy mood, I don't want to slow down. Keep up the momentum, you know. But sometimes it's just so pretty, I can't stand but listen to it. I've also decided to do fifteen songs instead of ten and one bonus because I'm just enjoying this so much. I made this song the main song a character of mine sings in a recital, but it's kind of weird to explain because she's an original character I made up to be the sister of a character that really gets the shaft developmentwise. But I still feel dumb for making something that's probably pretty darn close to a mary sue.

12. Better (A Class Act)
A Class Act is one of those shows I discovered by pure chance, just picking up the CD at Music For a Song, a store at an outlet center that doesn't exist anywhere, but I liked for having all kinds of things, like the CD soundtrack of Rock-a-doodle, which as the full version of all the songs. But again, I just picked up this CD without knowing a thing about it except it had Lonny Price, who, as I've mentioned, is on my list of People Who Should Do More Stuff. Fortunately for me, I loved almost all the songs. I was just listening to it yesterday, actually. I love this song especially, because I can use it for almost all my ensembles, which makes it more interesting for me. Figuring out who sings what line, and all that.
A Class Act is about Ed Kleban, who wrote the lyrics for A Chorus Line, but was never able to get any of his other songs into a show. So this show was made to tell his story using only the songs he wrote, which is pretty cool.

13. Munkie's Uncle (Ruthless! the Musical)
This is sung by Bernadette Peters. It's a lot of fun to sing, too, since it's a bunch of phrases and similes mixed up. "More than a bittle lit I love you, and I'll be shipped in dit you love me, too." Stuff like that. And short.

14. What Do I Know? (Your Own Thing)
Another musical I picked up without knowing a thing about it. I mainly grabbed it because it was in Suncoast, of all things. Another store that is no longer there, come to think of it. I miss it ;_; A musical version of Twelfth Night, set in the current times, which was the 60's at the time. I like it well enough, but it sounds really very different from anything else I have. So I go through cycles of whether I feel like listening to it or not. I'm really very fickle, I guess

15. All For You (Seussical the Musical)
Yet another show I absolutely fell in love with. I first heard of it when I saw it at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, but I didn't get the album until my birthday the following February. I especially loved The One-Feather Tail of Miss Gertrude McFuzz, Notice Me, Horton, and this song. Once you get to the meat of the song, it reminds me so much of Merlock Holmes from Flint the Time Detective (which gives you an idea of when I was listening to this. Or not) that I've never been able to associate it with another character. Mainly because the song lists the many calamities that befell Gertrude as she attempted to find and rescue Horton, and that's the kind of thing that happens to Merlock all the time. Even when there's no reason for it. Comic relief and all that. "And then came the hole where I caught my sole and I rolled downhill out of all control 'til I broke my fall on a jagged shoal, for you." Seriously, one time he was just standing up and he tripped on his cape and fell down an escalator.

Friday, January 11, 2008

So I Guess I Like iTunes After All

Don't ask me why, but I've always been a bit leery of iTunes. Maybe it's because I don't have an iPod or anything (I do have an mp3 player, but it's a Sandisk). But I have to hand it to iTunes for actually having a song I've been wanting for ages now: "Ah, Men," by Alix Korey.
I first heard this song when I used to listen to Live365 more, around 2004. Mostly I listened to the stations that played musicals, but I also got into bossa nova for a while. I had three main Broadway stations I listened to, a big one and a smaller one that both played pretty standard stuff, and one that played stuff I hadn't heard anywhere else, including the song this post is about. Most stations have a random play, and that one did at first, but after a while, it started having a set playlist that changed every month or so (for instance, June was always focused on the Tonys, songs from the nominated shows, songs from shows that won before, or sung by nominees and winners). I heard "Ah, Men" early on, but then it didn't show up again for a while. I pointed this out to the guy who ran the station when I wrote to him asking where in the world he had found a copy of the Japanese version of The Goodbye Girl, a musical I was infatuated with when I was in Jr. High (during my Bernadette Peters phase). He wrote back saying that he had a single that just had the one song ("I Think I Can Play This Part," in case you're wondering) that he bought in England, and he promised to include "Ah, Men" the next time he changed his playlist. And he did, which made me very happy for the whole time that playlist was up.
Now, I'd flirted every now and then with the idea of buying the album that song was from, but since I really didn't know much else by Alix Korey, and I'd been burned by buying a CD just because I liked one song from it before (Oasis' What's the Story, Morning Glory?), so I could never quite bring myself to do it. And then just yesterday, it occurred to me that I might be able to get just "Ah, Men" on iTunes (I have a copy, but I rarely use it), and sure enough, there it was. So now I can listen to it as much as I can. And since this copy of the song isn't horribly quiet (like the one on that station was), I was finally able to "get" the ending.

A related story: When that station added "Ah, Men" for me, I of course got to know the playlist very well, so I knew when there were only a few songs to go before "Ah, Men" was going to play. Because I wasn't a paying member, I had to listen to an ad whenever I switched stations, and since the song is short as it is (only two and a half minutes), I made sure I was there at least two songs in advance. And the song right before it was a perfectly dull (and long) sequence from The Woman in White called "All For Laura." I hated that song so, so much because I was forced to listen to it to get to "Ah, Men." So much that I transfered some of that hate to the show itself (which I heard wasn't that good, anyway). And to this day, I refuse to have anything to do with it.

Fairies and subtext

I've started reading the Disney Fairies line of chapter books when things are slow at work. For one thing, we carry some of them, and their small size makes it easy to tuck them away when I'm doing other things. And since they're short, I can usually finish them during a shift if it's slow, and two or three if it's busy.

I first encountered the Disney Fairies canon when my mother gave me the first book, Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg, for Christmas. So I read it, especially since it was by the author of Ella Enchanted, which I read numerous times when I was younger. And I noted the chapter books when they came out, but I didn't think too much of them.

Now, last week (or maybe the week before, I don't really remember now), they called me in to cover a morning shift. And it was slow, slow, slow. Since there wasn't anyone around, I snuck off to the book section, intending to pick up a magazine or something, when Vidia and the Fairy Crown caught my eye. I remembered liking Vidia the best, because I tend to like the snarkier characters, although I didn't really like the way she was characterized. So I picked it up, and finished it before my shift was over, so I went and got another, and things just kind of snowballed from there. (One of the books I was in the middle of got sold while I wasn't there, so now I have to find it somewhere else >_<)

That's the backdrop for why I'm talking about the latest one I read (I'm not going in order, obviously), which I just finished today, in fact, A Masterpiece for Bess. Am I just cynical, or was the subtext between Bess and Quill kind of obvious? I mean, Bess feeling embarrassed when Quill catches her (as she always does) in a messy situation, and later admiring the sculpture that Quill made for her, showing her knowledge of Bess' likes and habits that "if she didn't know better, was the work of a good friend." I mean, seriously, it could not be more blatant if they tried. So was it intentional, or what? Do authors of children's books, especially series like this, generally try to sneak stuff like that in?
Also, Vidia is awesome no matter what book she's in, but there seriously needs to be more Prilla/Vidia interaction.
I should probably read Fairy Haven and the Quest for the Wand now, to see if Levine has improved on Vidia's characterization any.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A meme?! and a plug

The above is the results I got from this meme:

Make a CD cover.

The first article title on the page is the name of your band.
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4.Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result in your own journal.

I don't plan on posting too many memes here, but I liked the results of this. I like how the random article I got was for a town called Kollur, because then it looks like I'm taking a regular word (color) and spelling it all wrong, ala Limozeen. Kind of makes me want to make a real band called that. And I think the image and title work well together. I wish I'd had a bigger image to work with, but ah well.

Also, because I found this funny, go read Election Grudge Match: Mr. T vs. Chuck Norris.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Gaian Story

What's that, you ask? That is my avatar on Gaia, and I'm posting it because of those little wings attached to my hat, the Angel Mini Wings, which I have finally acquired, after dreaming of having them for three years.

I joined Gaia early in 2004; in fact, that bag I'm wearing is the Emo Bag, my very first donation item. For those of you who never heard of Gaia, it's a glorified messageboard where you get "gold" that you can use to buy items for your avatar by doing various things, like posting. Also, one of the ways the site earns money for its upkeep is by giving sealed letters with exclusive items to users who donate to the site. New letters are released each month, and the items are revealed on the 15th, although it used to be the 25th. This practice started in June 2003, when only a handful of donators got a halo. Starting the next month, each letter had a choice of two items, and more recently, some letters have three items to choose from. But in September 2003, the items were the Nitemare Mini Wings and the Angel Mini Wings. And they were pretty darn popular.
After being on Gaia for a year, I decided to get a pair for myself, and so I started a quest thread, mainly a place to make my cause known so that if anyone felt generous, they could donate to my cause. Some people did, but I got most of my gold through bumping up my thread, and voting in polls (you could get more gold for that back then than you can now). I hoarded letters each month, and even invested in a Nitemare Scarf (another 2003 donation item), but after almost nine months, my offer was simply pitiful, and inflation was running rampant. So I gave up and simply enjoyed the lump of gold I had raised. I still dreamed of owning the minis someday, but I didn't take any action.

For whatever reason, I got interested in the Gaian Exchange board last month, and I decided to see if I could sell the letters I saved from 2004. So I made a post listing what months I had and how many, and spent a little over an hour trading letters for millions of gold, raising 32 million by the time I was done. With that in hand, I made an offer to a seller, and, with the addition of the Nitemare Scarf, and a more recently acquired Angelic Scarf, she took it, and here I am, three years later, my quest finally over. And I still have 2 million gold in my account. It's so surreal. But I'm so happy, that I don't really care.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Strawberry Marshmallow

I watched the first volume of the anime Ichigo Mashimaro, also known as Strawberry Marshmallow, back in September, but I didn't get to the second and third volumes until a few weeks ago. I enjoyed the series, despite my apprehension about the character designs, so I decided to check out the manga, since I knew it was out and I'd heard that some stories played better in the manga than the anime. I went to the mall yesterday, intending to buy the first couple of volumes, but the Borders Express I went to only had volumes 3 and 4, so I got them anyway. It's not like Strawberry Marshmallow has an overarching story that has to be read in order or anything. And so I started reading volume 3, and I wasn't all that impressed with it vs. the anime, until I got to Episode 28: Cinderella.

This chapter tells the story of Cinderella (obviously) as read by Miu, so instead of the typical manga trope of having the characters act out the story, we instead get a picture book style with images of Matsuri as Cinderella, Ana and Chika as the stepsisters, Nobue as the prince, and Miu as the Fairy Godmother who ends up sticking around and living happily ever after. What made the story, though, was the additions Miu brings to the story, from stating that the stepsisters "bullied Cinderella horribly, especially on Thursdays and Fridays," to making the Fairy Godmother comment on the effectiveness of Cinderella's gown for fighting demons.

And then I read the chapter where they played with dolls, which was better than in the anime, so I decided that it was worth the money.

I really want the CD with the character songs on it, though.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

You're Strong, Tough, and Terrifc?

(Ugh, ugly screenshot! Why must copyright issues keep a DVD coming out?)

As I mentioned earlier, I recently got reinterested in the movie Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure. A little searching and I found the entire movie online, which lead me to watch certain scenes a number of times. What really stuck in my mind was Andy's introduction scene, about nine minutes into the film. Throughout the film, Andy is the character who, to counteract the generally upbeat other characters, gets to be, for lack of a better word, snarky. This actually isn't as evident later on in the movie, when it gets down to just him, Ann, and the Camel, as it is in his first few scenes, so I started thinking about it. And I came to the conclusion that when we first see him, he's not his usual self. He's in a pretty bad mood, which is understandable, considering he just spent the majority of the day stuck under a box, with no one noticing his disappearance. Even Ann didn't notice that he wasn't part of her big opening song until she saw his feet under the box. And once he is out, no one says "How terrible!" or "Are you all right?" In fact, when he kicks the box that was his captor, Ann defends it rather than him, causing him to snap at her, which is the only instance of him being mean to Ann in the entire film. This is significant stuff.

(For some reason now I'm picturing a running joke of Andy vs. the Box, ala Sasuke vs. the Log from Naruto Abridged)
(Also, I was under the impression that the box was from Marcella's aunt, who lived in France, but this isn't actually mentioned in the movie.)

While the other dolls try to find out what's inside, Andy continues to gripe, including a line I particularly like: "I'll tell ya something; I'm getting pretty sick and tired of all the dumb things that go on around here," before going into a kinetic frenzy while singing a slightly dodgy song about how he's No Girl's Toy. From Ann's amused expression, I get that feeling that he's gone on this kind of rant before. And why, exactly, does Andy get more offended at being called "maybe lazy" than "just crazy," I wonder? ^_~
An interesting thing about this song sequence is that it was mostly animated by Richard Williams, who directed the entire movie, and was the animation director for Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and the director and lead animator for The Thief and the Cobbler, released as Arabian Knight. If you want to see the song, you can check it out below:

Reruns mean something

I'm rather annoyed that Sushi Pack is not rerunning the old intro, since I'm assuming that means it's not rerunning the old ending, either. I liked the song, but I never got it taped.
Not that I don't like the new opening, mind you.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Just Like Magic, Simple as Do Re Mi

Now that my laptop has a new fan, I've been catching up on the stuff I couldn't watch for fear of overheating. Which includes four episodes of Magical DoReMi, the 4Kids version of Ojamajo Doremi, including the long-awaited episode where Onpu/Ellie finally shows up.

First, let me get this out of the way. I like the dub. I think that it is all right. I'm not saying I think it's perfect, or that it replaces the original Japanese. Some of the changes make me really mad, others I like, and some I feel 'eh' about (most of the name changes, really). But the very fact that we have Ojamajo Doremi over here in the states, where magical girl shows typically do not do well, and kids' anime does even worse, really, is a bit of a miracle in and of itself, and while we could have gotten it under better circumstances, something is indeed better than nothing.
Or it could be that I feel this way because I have access to some, if not all, of the original series and sequels. More about that later.

A little history: Ojamajo Doremi first started airing in 1999. The original series ran for 51 episodes, and it spawned three sequels (Sharp, Mo~tto, and Dokkaan!), two half-hour movies, and an OAV. Basically, it tells the tale of 3rd grader (in the first series, anyway) Doremi and the adventures she has with her friends as they train to become witches.

I first learned about Ojamajo Doremi from a site that has long been defunct, the Anime Intro Archive, which aimed to provide the openings and endings of all current animes running in Japan, and any other relevant clips the webmaster wanted to include. He always had trouble finding a way to actually get these files uploaded, but one way or another I got to see the openings of the original and Sharp, which were the only ones out at the time. Even though I didn't understand the lyrics at the time, I fell in love with the songs, especially Sharp. In fact, Sharp became my favorite of the four.

While I got pieces here and there of information and video clips, it wasn't until I was in college that I got to see full episodes. Dokkaan! was in full swing then, and there was a certain IRC chat room where people could go and get raw episodes from all the seasons, provided the right people uploaded them. This was how I finally got to see the FLAT4 in action and why I saw more of Sharp than any of the other seasons, but that's a post for a different day. But the episodes uploaded were all realmedia files, in two parts, and not the best quality. In February 2003, Dokkaan ended; we all cried at the touching ending and got depressed because that was the last season. But we burned the episodes we had to CDs and looked for Japanese fanart.

That summer I went to Japan and had a good time. Among other things, I got the Sharp CD that had all the FLAT4's themes and the collected character songs, but I also rented the VHS volume that had the episode where Onpu debuted, since I hadn't seen that one, and I was curious about it. I mention this because of the four episodes I watched today, three of them were from that video. So it was interesting to see how 4Kids handled those episodes. But I only vaguely remember what happened (I fell asleep during one, too, so I didn't remember that one at all) in each of them, so I can't really comment too much.

Anyway, 4Kids started airing Magical DoReMi in Fall of 2006, and after 26 episodes, it disappeared from their line up, only to show up again online this past November. This secretly gives me hope that they'll at least dub Sharp, if only so I can know whether they'd call Hana-chan Flora, Blossom, or some specific flower, like Lily or Rose. And if they ever dub Mo~tto, I hope that they make Momoko French, although with that blonde hair, if she became Dutch, I would laugh so hard.

The thing is, it's kind of hard to find anyone who likes both versions of the show. Most fans of the original hate the dub with a fiery passion, and the only fans of the dub I've met have been very young people on the 4Kids forums, which seems to indicate that the only people who actually like the dub are those who "don't know any better," so to speak.

In spite of that, I like the dub. And I love the songs, which is blasphemy to most Doremi fans. I hope that some day there'll be a CD released, but I'm not holding my breath. But seriously, I miss the Witchling Sing-alongs, which aren't included on the online episodes. And I have to say, Ted Lewis is perfect for Oyajiide/Ferdagio. All the more reason to hope that 4Kids dubs and releases Sharp.

One last note: you may have been wondering about the original title, Ojamajo Doremi. The ojamajo part is quite untranslatable, since it's a complicated pun. First off, "jama" means something in the way, an obstacle, and when used to refer to a person, it usually means someone you don't like and would rather do without. The kanji used for jama is in two parts, and the 'ma' part just happens to be the same as the 'ma' of "majo," witch. In the series, Majorika (Patina in the dub) made up this name for Doremi, and frequently calls her this, basically meaning "a witch I wish I didn't have to deal with." The 'o' part is just to make it more personal. Most people translate the title as Bothersome Witch Doremi, if they translate it at all. Hence why almost all other versions are called Magical Doremi instead. It's just easier.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Adventures in Care-a-lot: Oopsy Does It

Didn't I say I was going to write this two months ago? Well, better late than never. Here's Oopsy Does It, the first entry in the New Style Canon.

The movie opens with the credits in the sky, surrounded by fluffy clouds. I think they're using the font Cheri. Soon we make it to Care-a-lot, where trees routinely are colors other than green and grow in topiary-like shapes. An unsuspecting butterfly makes a brief appearance before being scared off by Surprise, who is nearly hit by Wish riding a starboard. Surprise is not perturbed by this at all. Wish, meanwhile, flies into town and narrowly misses hitting more bears, who don't seem to mind. Finally, she lands and sucks the starboard back into her belly badge. Noticing a poster on the Gathering Tree, she gives everyone (including the audience) the exposition: WooHoo World is opening tomorrow!
And then we're at the park and the opening theme (you know the one) plays over a montage of Cheer, Funshine, Oopsy, Share, and Grumpy doing things in the park, mostly working on it, but generally having a good time. The song ends with Funshine lighting up everything in the park and Oopsy working on painting the Funderbolt track. Once he's done, he draws a face on his belly and christens himself "All Done Bear." However, he's painted himself into a corner, so to speak, with no way to get down. Before anyone can help him, he slips and goes sliding all the way back down in a sequence that was no doubt a lot of fun in theaters. Just when it looks like Oopsy's about to meet a sticky end, Grumpy makes a cloud to catch him. Share suggests that he "share" his work with the others, which Oopsy takes as a comment about his lack of a real belly badge. And now they have to repaint where he slid down, so everyone gets back to work.
The scene shifts up to the sky toward Grizzle's lair, with a rather longish pan before we get to Grizzle himself, spying on the Care Bears with a telescope/eyepatch. He goes on a slight rant about the Care Bears ("They make me sick," he growls), and then reveals his latest invention: the Care Taker, which will allow him to take all the Care Bears' belly badges for himself, and then take Care-a-lot as well. He goes on a maniacal laughter spree, but there's no one there to hear him ("Why is there never an audience around when you need one?"), so he calls on his one minion, Wingnut. After thoroughly menacing the little robot, Grizzle sends him off to collect the final things he needs for the Care Taker: a sun for light, a cloud for power, and a rainbow for color. Wingnut goes into copter-mode and takes off for Care-a-lot, while Grizzle predicts the Care Bears defeat by that time tomorrow.
Back in Care-a-lot, Oopsy draws a widely smiling face on his belly and declares he's "Excited Bear," perfect for a test run of the Funderbolt roller coaster. Funshine's ready, as are Share and Cheer, even though they're nervous, so Grumpy sends them off. Everyone had a great time, but Grumpy can't shake the feeling that it needs something in the middle to give it "pizzaz." Oopsy, however, is so dizzy that he draws a swirl on his belly, and then stumbles along the entrance platform, not only knocking Grumpy into a fountain, but also setting off a chain of events that leaves most of WooHoo World destroyed. I maintain that most of that would have happened once the park opened, though, despite Oopsy's involvement at this point in the movie.
Grumpy is rather upset at this turn of events, but everyone else insists that they can rebuild everything if they just work together. Oopsy is ready, pulling out a little tool, but Funshine gives him the job of setting up signs all over Care-a-lot (even though it's not that hard to find) instead. But this being Oopsy, even setting up signs could go wrong, so the others debate on how to keep an eye on him, since all of them are needed if the park is going to be up and running on time. So Cheer gives Oopsy a whistle to call her if he needs any help, which he sticks up his butt (no, really!).
Meanwhile, Wingnut is analyzing all the belly badges he can see in the park, but none of them are the ones he needs. Grizzle calls him and threatens to recycle him again if he doesn't find the right items, sending Wingnut into a panic and right into one of Oopsy's signs. He follows the trail of signs all through the town, right to Oopsy, who just set up the last sign. To celebrate, he replaces the arrow he drew on his belly in between scenes with a simple smiley face, and then knocks over all the signs, dominos-style. One of the signs falls on Wingnut, who falls to pieces. While he puts himself back together, Oopsy apologizes, asks what Wingnut is, and gives him a hand, literally. Wingnut introduces himself, but his front panel falls off. Oopsy fixes it with his multi-tool, which he also gives to Wingnut, just in case. Wingnut is touched, and Oopsy wishes his problems were that easy to fix, changing the smiley face on his belly to a sad face. In gratitude, Wingnut uses the multi-tool to fix all the signs that fell over. This gives Oopsy an idea: Wingnut can help fix the Funderbolt!
There's already a huge crowd waiting for WooHoo World to open when Oopsy and Wingnut get there. Amigo Bear shows up, speaking Spanish and scaring them both. Wingnut falls apart again. Amigo also tells them that the whole town is waiting to ride the Funderbolt, so Oopsy and Wingnut get a move on.
Funshine, Cheer, and Share are working hard, but Grumpy is not optimistic. Oopsy overhears him say that they might as well just call off the grand opening, which makes him so depressed that he goes off to cry in the middle of town. Fortunately, the multi-tool has a tissue function. Oopsy, feeling rainy, draws a cloud around the sad face still on his belly, which reminds Wingnut of his real job. He tells Oopsy that he knows someone who wants him, and even though Oopsy is apprehensive, he takes off with him anyway.
Grumpy still isn't optimistic about the park opening on time, so there's only one thing to do: Care Bear Stare! In what has become a controversial move, the new canon reveals that a Care Bear Stare bombards the target with so much good feeling that they have no choice but to be happy. It works, and soon even Grumpy is ready to get back to work.
Wingnut and Oopsy soon arrive at Grizzle's lair, and Oopsy is just in awe of its dankness and lack of color (seriously, he's really impressed by the place). Wingnut calls tentatively for Grizzle, then tells Oopsy to stay put while he gets Grizzle. Oopsy finds the Care Taker and stares in wonderment. Grizzle, meanwhile, is just coming back from the kitchen with a sandwich when he sees Oopsy, and tosses the sandwich away so he can bellow, "Who are you?" all Great-and-Powerful-Oz-like. Oopsy is friendly, but not as awe-struck as he was by everything else he's seen. He goes forward to shake hands, but trips on a cable, which knocks a remote to the floor, which sends down a crane to pick up Grizzle. Oopsy tries pushing buttons to make it stop, but only sends Grizzle flying all over the place, until he finally slips free of the crane and crashes into both Oopsy and the wall. Grizzle starts to rage at Oopsy, until he notices that Oopsy is a Care Bear. Luckily, Wingnut shows up at that moment to circumvent any violence that might have occurred. He points out the similiarity of the cloud on the list Grizzle gave him and the one on Oopsy's belly. Oopsy points out that he just drew it, and wipes it off to prove it. Wingnut is shocked, even though he saw Oopsy draw it on earlier. Grizzle is not happy to see that Wingnut brought a Care Bear with no belly badge, but stops wringing his neck when Oopsy says that all his friends have the badges on the list. Chucking Wingnut in a box, Grizzle slinks over to Oopsy and gets him to spill his life story, or at least the story about how they can't have the grand opening of WooHoo World. Taking advantage of Oopsy's feelings of inadequecy about not having a belly badge, Grizzle introduces the Care Taker as the "ultimate carnival ride," and goes into mock-agony since no one will ever get to ride it, since it isn't finished yet. He slips Oopsy the list, and Oopsy, suitably manipulated, insists that he could get the missing items, provided he could borrow the Care Taker for a day or two. Grizzle "consults" with Wingnut, and takes Oopsy up on his offer, telling him to keep it a surprise. Oopsy exults in his good luck, and draws the Excited Bear face again. Grizzle pulls Wingnut out of the box and warns him to help Oopsy and then come right back. Wingnut is resigned to his lot in life. The two take off, and Grizzle exults in his good luck, and then sings Grizzle's Bad, which I've already written about, but is still awesome.
Back in Care-a-lot, night is fast approaching. A sarcastic remark from Grumpy has Funshine mock-threatening him with another Care Bear Stare, and then it's back to work. Oopsy approaches the others and does nothing useful except drop a few hints. And then we get a montage of the others working while Oopsy and Wingnut secretly collect the needed items. First, Oopsy snags the liquid sunshine Funshine put in the Funderbolt car to make it run and transfers it to Wingnut's front panel, then he uses a vaccuum cleaner to suck up the cloud Grumpy made to help him lift the Funderbolt ramp. Unfortunately, this made the ramp fall again and break. Oopsy feels bad about this, until he sees the jar Wingnut put the cloud in. Oopsy tries to capture the rainbow Cheer conjured up to paint everything, but it stayed just outside his reach. Finally, he slips on some paint and breaks the jar he was trying to catch the rainbow in. But the paint left a rainbow imprint on his bottom, which is good enough for Wingnut, and they head back to Grizzle's lair to show off their gains.
Grizzle is not amused to find the sunshine is inside of Wingnut, but wastes no time picking him up and shaking until the light falls into the Care Taker, turning on all the lights. The sight of all that light makes Grizzle so excited that he flings Wingnut away and cutely demands the next item from Oopsy. Oopsy proffers the jar with the cloud, and Grizzle tries to open it, but has to turn to Wingnut, who pulls off the lid with ease. Grizzle, of course, has to have the last word ("I loosened it"). The cloud fills the Care Taker with power, and it slowly comes to life with moving parts and vaguely unsettling carnival music. Grizzle can hardly contain his excitement as he calls for the last item, and it thoroughly perplexed by Oopsy offering him his butt. The Care Taker grinds to a halt, and Grizzle's glee begins to disappate as Oopsy explains that his bottom is the last item, until Grizzle informs him that paint doesn't cut it. His displeasure is such that he prepares to kick Oopsy into the stratosphere, but Wingnut catches wind of this and sacrifices himself instead. Oopsy, oblivious to this whole thing blithely asks where Wingnut went and accepts Grizzle's response of "Out for snacks!"
Grizzle grabs Oopsy brusquely and tells him that without a real rainbow, the Care Taker isn't complete (too rusty-looking). He once again plays on Oopsy's feelings of inadequecy by pointing out that an uncomplete Care Taker = no grand opening, so Oopsy uses the whistle to call Cheer, since she's the only one who can make a real rainbow. Rainbow musical notes and hearts fly out of the whistle and float down to Care-a-lot. Cheer recognizes the sound(?) instantly, and while the others speculate on whether Oopsy's in trouble or just needs help, Cheer rides a rainbow to Grizzle's lair to check on Oopsy.
With Cheer's rainbow in view, Grizzle makes demands and Wingnut sets out a vacuum to suck it up. A whole lotta papers get sucked up, along with the rainbow, which is sucked right out from under Cheer. The rainbow makes its way through the Care Taker's tubes and transform's the 'ride' into a colorful spectacle. Grizzle cries out triumphantly, "The Care Taker is complete!" and engages in some maniacal laughter. Meanwhile, Oopsy thanks Cheer, who suddenly notices Grizzle's maniacal laughter. He introduces himself and Wingnut, but Cheer is creeped out by the lair's dankness and lack of color (excluding the Care Taker). Oopsy reassures her that everything is fine. Cheer inquires about the Care Taker, and Grizzle tells her that it will "literally take your cares -- away!" and then chuckles evilly. He sets the Care Taker in motion and Oopsy further explains about how the Care Taker will let them have the grand opening. Cheer insists that everyone else is working on fixing the Funderbolt, not to mention that the Care Taker is kind of creepy different. Grizzle invites her to try it, and basically pushes her on, despite her misgivings. Cheer makes her way through the innner workings of the Care Taker, and ends up having a great time. She exits out the back and is in such a good mood that she doesn't notice her belly badge dissipating and disappearing. Oopsy asks to ride next, and Grizzle finally shows his true colors, insisting that he doesn't want a Care Bear without a belly badge, since he wants them all for himself! Wingnut is shocked for some reason, and Cheer finally notices that her rainbow is gone. While Grizzle laughs at her plight and his own genius, Wingnut hits a switch in the back of his suit and Grizzle falls out. Seeing that Grizzle is just a little bear, Cheer and Oopsy advance on him (to do what, I have no clue), but his suit moves on its own and blocks them. Grizzle points out that they can't give him a Care Bear Stare without belly badges, and then berates his suit to get it to pick him back up. For some reason, his voice is high-pitched when he's not in his suit (even though it was still deep when he was outside his suit during Grizzle's Bad. What's up with that?), so he uses a modulator to get back to his regular, evil voice.
Grizzle once again voices his plan for domination of Care-a-lot, adding that he has Oopsy to thank. Cheer insists that Oopsy was tricked, but regardless, Grizzle picks them up and throws them in the dungeon ('cause every evil lair has a dungeon, of course). Wingnut is remorseful, but does nothing while Grizzle gloats some more. Then he goes to get the Care Taker ready to transport to Care-a-lot, and calls for Wingnut. Before following, Wingnut takes out the multi-tool (bet you forgot about that), but Grizzle calls him again before he can actually do anything with it. Grizzle pushes a button on the side of the Care Taker, and it compacts into itself, leaving only a star-shape that is still pretty big when you get right down to it. Also, its signature music plays backwards during the process. Grizzle then has Wingnut push it to the door of the lair, while Oopsy and Cheer sing a duet that ends up being fairly catchy, despite it's lack of rhymes. According to the credits, the song is called "The World's Mad at Me," but I think that it's better off just being called "Oopsy's Song." But seriously, the lack of rhymes, when there was such potential. I mean, if you have the line "best stuff," how can you not rhyme it with "messed up?" (Not a perfect rhyme, sure, but I would have accepted it.)
After the song, we see Grizzle riding the compact Care Taker through the night sky. Not a perfectly smooth ride, as the weight is slightly too much for Wingnut. Down in Care-a-lot, the gathered crowd fell asleep, and Funshine, Grumpy, and Share are on the verge of sleep themselves. They wonder what's keeping Cheer, but then all fall asleep, even the sun on Funshine's belly. This is right when Grizzle arrives, ready to set up the Care Taker. He calls (quietly) for Wingnut, but the robot is playing at the funhouse mirrors. Grizzle nearly gets a kick in, sending Wingnut fleeing, and is annoyed that the mirror (which made Wingnut seem tall) only shows him as diminutive. Wingnut pushes a button on the Care Taker and leaps out of the way, but nothing happens, so he pushes it again, but still nothing. Grizzle shoves him out of the way and out of the frame and pushes the button himself again and again, and even whacks it, but nothing happens. Finally he picks up the entire thing and whacks it around until it starts uncompacting. As it does, he starts to laugh maniacally again, but is standing too close and gets whacked by an uncompacting tube. He recovers and finishes his laugh as the Care Taker returns to its former size in the early morning light while a worried Wingnut looks on.
Speaking of early morning light, the time change does not go unnoticed by Cheer, although Oopsy's sniffling almost does. She asks if he's all right, and they basically retread what they accomplished in song earlier. Although Cheer tries to reassure Oopsy that it wasn't his fault, since he was just trying to help, Oopsy comes to the conclusion that things just get messed up when he does, especially since he's the reason Cheer is now badgeless. Still, Cheer tries to get him to cheer up, stating that they'll get out somehow. Oopsy, however, doesn't see how with just the two of them. Sunshine suddenly streams in the window, and they rush to see if it's Funshine, but it is not, just a reminder that morning has come and they're running out of time. At a loss, they sink back down to the floor, which is when Oopsy notices the multi-tool that Wingnut apparently dropped. With renewed hope, he brings up the cutter option and slices a bear-shaped hole in the wall. But they still have no way of getting down, since Cheer used a rainbow before, and Oopsy always got there via Wingnut. They look around for something they can use, and then one of the rockets keeping Grizzle's lair afloat starts to sputter...
Morning has broken in Care-a-lot, much to the dismay of Funshine, Share, and Grumpy, as the Funderbolt still isn't done (but everything else is, apparently), and everyone else in town breaks through the red tape to enter the park. Out of options, they pretend to still be asleep in the hopes that everyone will go away. It doesn't work, of course, and everyone wants to know what's going on. Funshine and Grumpy start to explain, but Grizzle cuts in, introducing himself as a friend of Oopsy's, and unveils the Care Taker. Everyone is impressed, except for Grumpy, who is naturally skeptical about anything Oopsy had a hand in. For some reason, Grizzle drags Wingnut out, despite the robot's reluctance, and offers to let Grumpy be the first to try it. Which he does, with Funshine and Share's encouragement. He doesn't appear to have as much fun as Cheer did, but he admits to having a little fun once it's over. Knowing that "kinda fun" is a glowing endorsement from Grumpy, everyone else lines up to ride, and Wingnut tries to warn them, but Grizzle restrains him as bear after bear climbs in.
Cheer and Oopsy continue their escape plans, although Cheer gets a facefull of exhaust in the process. Finally, the rocket is ready, and they take off. But with no way to steer, they go careening through the sky everywhich where, but eventually get aimed in the right direction.
Back in Care-a-lot, the final bear goes through the Care Taker, and everyone goes up and demands another ride, despite Grizzle's "one ride per customer" policy. Everyone's incessant nattering finally drives Grizzle over the edge, and he bellows at them all to be quiet. Taken aback by this, the Care Bears prepare to give him a Care Bear Stare, until they finally notice that their badges are gone. While everyone panics, Grizzle takes a glass sphere out of the Care Taker and reveals that the colors swirling inside are the stolen badges. He starts to reveal his backstory, but only gets as far as telling them that he's watched them all for years, when Cheer and Oopsy make the scene, crashing their rocket into Grizzle and then the fountain. But they're too late, as Grizzle places the sphere inside his suit and announces the end of Care-a-lot!
The badges' energy courses through his suit, surrounding him with green energy, but when he tries to use it, nothing happens. Oopsy figures out what's going on, and triumphantly tells Grizzle that belly badges only work when you care, which Grizzle routinely does not. But while he may not be able to harness their power, he can at least keep the Care Bears from using them. He takes the sphere out of his suit and tells Wingnut it's time to leave, but the robot, empowered by Oopsy's escape, finally stands up to Grizzle. So Grizzle prepares to leave without him. But Wingnut trips him up, sending the sphere flying. It lands on the Funderbolt track and starts rolling. Grizzle takes a flying leap and lands on the entrance platform, declaring that if he can't have the badges, then no one will, and sends a car to meet the sphere halfway. Oopsy takes a confusing tack, stumbling around, and when Grumpy calls him on it, he explains that he's trying to force an 'oopsy.' And knocks Grumpy into the fountain again, which sets off the same chain reaction that destroyed the Funderbolt the first time. And it all breaks again, proving that they didn't improve the worksmanship any when they fixed everything, and it all would have happened again, anyway. When the middle of the track breaks away, the car Grizzle sent goes flying, twirling in midair as it goes. Which is exactly the kind of thing Grumpy had been looking for to spice up the Funderbolt! Oopsy manages to catch the sphere in midair and drops the heart arch on Grizzle, but the sphere flies out of his paws! Luckily, Wingnut also makes a midair rescue, and the sphere is safe. Unfortunately, Grizzle uses his arm extensions to smash the sphere when no one's paying attention. The swirling colors fly up into the air and Grizzle leaps up and declares that they're no longer Care Bears. Oopsy points out that he never had a belly badge, but he's still a Care Bear, and Wingnut says something, too. I have no clue what he said, but everyone agrees with him. Grizzle, seeing where this is going, tells Oopsy to stop, but there is no going back now. Oopsy points out individual examples, despite Grizzle telling him that "it won't work." Everyone bands together, but Grizzle just berates them.
Suddenly the sky is filled with Aurora Borealis, the light of their belly badges coming back to them, even though Grizzle declares this is impossible. "Not when you care like we do," Oopsy says, and draws a shooting star on his belly. Grizzle, not to be outdone, says that he took their badges once and he can do it again. But before he can say anything else, he falls out of his suit again (with Wingnut whistling innocently in the background), and though he calls for Wingnut, his suit picks him up, and he can see he's about to be betrayed. Sure enough, Wingnut and his suit strap him into one of the Funderbolt cars and send him back up to his lair.
With Grizzle gone, Grumpy insists it's time to get back to work, since Oopsy may have saved the day, but he still broke the park again. Oopsy goes to (sadly) put up signs again, but Grumpy stops him, showing him the plans for the triple loop he inspired, and when the park reopens, he gets the first ride. Oopsy asks if he can bring a friend, and Cheer assumes it'll be her, but really he meant Wingnut. Better luck next time, Cheer ^_~ And so Oopsy and Wingnut ride, and the opening theme shows up again, with new verses. Wingnut keeps Oopsy from destroying the park again and gives him an airtour of WooHoo World. He also pushes Oopsy out of the way of some falling paint and gets covered himself, so everyone pitches in and cleans him up until he sparkles. Then the core five ride the Funderbolt and the movie is over.

Overall, this was a fun little movie, and a lot better, especially animationwise, than the previous CGI efforts. I admit that the bears look a little weird, but Grizzle and Wingnut really shine! Everyone having eyes the same color as themselves mostly worked, but on a few bears it looked really odd.
Storywise, I think that Grizzle is better characterized here than in the TV series, but that could be because this is a longer story. And Oopsy is definitely cuter here (personality, I mean) than in the cartoon. I mean, all his little dejected moments really got me, y'know?
Anyway, I do not regret buying the DVD, and that's all you can ask for, really.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

I'm a winner! and the Sci-Fi channel

On the 21st of December, I entered Animated View's Sonic Underground giveaway, and I checked today (to tell the truth, I forgot I entered) and I won! I'm so happy ^_^ Now I can finally, finally watch the ep about the debutante ball in good quality!
(When Sonic Underground originally aired, it was syndicated, and for some reason the Sci-Fi channel didn't show the series on Fridays, so we missed a fifth of the episodes)

This reminds me of when I was younger, as in middle school age, and the Sci-Fi channel used to show old series in the morning. They used to show Galaxy High, which made my older sister happy, since she actually remembered its original run in the mid-80's, and they also showed Little Shop, the cartoon spin-off of Little Shop of Horrors, which made me happy because I remembered watching it on Fox in the early 90's and I was a huge fan of the musical (I still love it, but I'm not as obsessed now as I was then. Maybe I'll post about it sometime). Anyway, the cartoon version reset the whole scenerio to make the main characters kids (and Audrey became Mushnik's daughter, if I recall correctly), and instead of wanting to eat people, Audrey II just wanted to eat lots of food. And there was a song in every episode. I don't actually remember if it was any good, come to think of it, but it made me happy regardless.

What I'm looking forward to in 2008

It's a new year, so I can finally stop thinking "Why are these not coming out until next year?"
  • Forbidden Broadway: Rude Awakening
  • Horton Hears a Who
  • WallE
  • Enchanted coming out on DVD
That's all I can think of right now, but I might add more later.