Friday, November 14, 2014

Is It Worth It? Sailor Moon Season 1 Part 1 DVD Review


It's November, and that means turkey, ridiculous sales on the day after, and for some nerds the release of the original Sailor Moon anime on DVD and Blu-Ray. After being acquired by Viz Media, Sailor Moon gets her anime digitally restored, uncut, and completely redubbed. After watching the streams on Hulu back in September, I was pleased with the results of the dub, though I did have a couple of nitpicks/issues with it. Anyway, now that the DVD is out, I'm going to give a mini-review based on the main content, presentation, bonus content, and price tag. Let's get started!

Main Content

If you read my post "Sailor Moon Viz: The Good, The Bad, and Those Ugly Nostalgia Goggles," you already know how I feel about the new dub. If you haven't, I'll give the highlights for this one. The dialog was well written, the casting for the most part was well done, Viz kept true to their word and left the anime uncut, and dropped episodes from the original dub finally make an appearance with an English audio track. The only flaws of note are that the English voice track is too highly defined compared to the music and sound effect tracks, and Shingo (Usagi's younger brother) has a voice that just sounds a little too old for the character's age. I was hoping that these two issues would have been fixed before the release of the DVD and Blu-Ray, but sadly they still exist. I will say that on the DVD the audio issue is barely noticeable while I'm sure on the Blu-Ray it sticks out like a sore thumb. Overall rating for the main content remains at 8/10.


The DVD case (Left) and the cardboard sleeve (Right)
The box art of the DVD case is pretty simplistic, yet sort of bland. Buyers are given a gradient pink background with 90's Sailor Moon vector art and "Sailor Moon" printed in an elegant font. There are also some accents on the corners which are holographic/metallic on the cardboard sleeve, but a gradient gold on the case insert. I personally think they could have made something more eye catching than this, but that's me.

Funny how you can barely see Sailor Moon or Sailor Mercury while Sailor Mars stands out.
The discs are a single color with darker tones used to make outlines of the three Sailors we get in this first half of the season. The art is well done, but on discs 1 & 2 Sailors Moon and Mercury (Respectively) are barely visible.

The three menus from the first disc.

The menus seem to share the same trait as the box art, well some of them anyway. The main menu is given a much more eye catching background while the episode select and setup menus could use a bit more. What really gets me is how they show the episodes on screen. Note: I usually have it set to stretch SD footage to fit my widescreen TV.

By the way, I'm using a stretch to fit screen option on my Blu-Ray player.

The episodes have what is called pillar boxing, meaning they kept the footage plastered at a 4:3 scale with black bars on the sides. This would normally be fine, except that it does create some issues with the subtitles for signs written in the Japanese kanji. This is most noticeable in the episode "Scent of a Monster: Chanela Will Steal Your Love." See screencap below.

I think Viz forgot to buy oops insurance.
Overall, the presentation is okay for a first set, but I think that Viz should try a little harder to make the future releases a little more pleasing to the eye instead of the current bare bones art. In addition, the pillar boxing just messes with the video presentation, and while Viz has said they will remove this in future releases, I really wish they had the foresight to fix this before they made this release. Presentation score: 6/10.

Bonus Content

Ah, yes, the major draw to a lot of DVD and Blu-Ray releases, the bonus content. For Sailor Moon Viz, it's kinda sad in both releases. On the DVD set, you are given a quick montage of Anime Expo's Sailor Moon events. Nothing notable there, sadly. The other features are trailers, the first being Viz's official announcement trailer for the Sailor Moon DVD release (Which has been out for a while), and a pair of other Viz Media releases. Weak.

The Blu-Ray offers these same features, plus a behind the scenes featurette of the dub recording and art galleries. The Blu-Ray release also includes an 88 page art booklet. Art gallery feature in the disc and an art booklet? Pick one or the other!

DVD buyers get a smaller set of bonuses leaving them forced to buy the Blu-Ray if they want a behind the scenes featurette. Overall, the features could be better and DVD buyers should not be left out of anything that could be a real behind the scenes bonus, which draws a lot of people to these releases in the first place. Bonus content score: 5/10.


Now here's the one I think more people are wondering about, especially during these times of financial hardship, and that's the price tag that comes with this release. For the 23 episode, 3 disc DVD release, it'll run about $30. For the Blu-Ray release, 3 Blu-Ray discs plus the 3 DVDs and the art booklet will cost you around $50-55. Prior to release, Amazon had the DVD and Blu-Ray releases marked at $40 and $75 respectively. Had these been the final release date prices, my rating for the prices based on the content would have been much lower. Considering the fair pricing for what is available as of now, I give the pricing a sold 6.5/10. It's affordable, but not quite worth it for a first half release. Had the prices been what I saw during the pre-order period on Amazon ($40 and $75), the score would have been a 3/10 as those would make this set overpriced for the content being sold.

Final Verdict

Time to tie all of the scores together. The final verdict will be an averaging of the four scores given. The scale will work like this:
1-3/10 = Wait until it's available at a bargain price of $10-15
4-7/10 = Buy when it's on sale
8-10/10 = Buy now, completely worth it

Sailor Moon Season 1 Part 1's average score comes to... 6.4/10 As the next sets prepare to arrive, there may be a possibility of a price drop (Though considering the second half is expected out in early 2015, likelihood of that happening is low), so I would wait until then. If you're a hardcore fan and want to own this set, then by all means go ahead, but realize that for what is given in the video presentation and other content, you're going to feel some disappointment in paying the $30 or $50, depending on which version you purchase.

Until the next review, have a nice day!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Five Night's at Napoleon's: 1st Night (Toy Story of Terror)


When I first saw advertisements on ABC last year for this special, I was intrigued. I was one of those who enjoyed the third installment in the Toy Story film franchise, and was curious about how/if they would continue the stories of Woody, Buzz and the rest with their new family. I also had my reservations, considering that some family Halloween specials tend to play it safe and any terror/horror levels would be so low as to not frighten younger audiences. Now here we are, a whole year later on this one, and it's time for my thoughts. Ladies and gentlemen, toys and dolls, Toy Story of Terror.

Synopsis (Potential Spoilers)

We start off with the gang watching an old black-and-white horror film on the portable DVD player in the trunk. Throughout, we get the usual "Don't go in there" style commentary from the gang, and Mr. Priklepants starts his usual film class lecture on horror film narrative tropes.
Frankly, I don't blame Potato Head for this.
During the trip, the car gets a flat tire, causing a few bumps in the trunk leading to Jessie being locked inside a small tool chest. While trapped, Jessie's fears start to build. What does she have to be scared of? You can either watch Toy Story 2 to get the full story on Jessie, or you can wait a minute to get the explanation.
Remember how Jessie was afraid of going back into storage in TS2?
That's right, this brought back those bad memories of when Jessie was abandoned all those years ago then left in storage by Al of Al's Toy Barn. Since Pricklepants and Trixie (The triceratops) didn't know, we got that explanation. Anyway, we then find the gang in Bonnie's (The new owner as of the end of Toy Story 3) suitcase as they check into a motel as they wait for the car to be serviced. Of course, we get more horror film narrative tropes being predicted by Pricklepants.
"BUM BUM BUMMMM!" Yeah, you're kinda taking the drama out of it with your predictions.
So the gang finds out that they'll be staying in the motel overnight, during a stormy night too I might add. After they get their room, Trixie gives the all clear and Potato Head decides to leave the suitcase to check out the amenities. Priklepants points out another horror trope, "The first one to leave always gets it."
Oh good, Woody feels the same way I do about this.
The rest of the special goes like this: The toys leave the suitcase one by one, Potato Head goes missing, the gang goes searching for him, they then start getting picked off one by one as Priklepants continues the narrative trope-telling, Jessie meets up with a Combat Carl toy who also gets picked off, then Jessie gets taken as well, and our culprit is the motel manager and his pet iguana. Turns out the motel manager takes toys (Lost or otherwise) and sells them online.
Dang, maybe I should have held on to my Woody toy if I knew he was worth that much.
So Woody gets packed to sell, and shortly afterwards Jessie is going to be shipped as well. Before he can pack her up, the manager is called away by a tow-truck driver who was sent to fix the flat tire on Bonnie's mom's car. At this time we also have the shipping truck here to pick up a series of packages, including Woody's. This leads to a rescue mission by Jessie, who has to overcome her fear of being trapped in a box by, you guessed it, being placed in a box herself. She frees a Transformers combiner and uses its box as her way in to save Woody.
"By Globatron's ghost, you shall be remembered." She's not dead, just boxed in.
Jessie's box gets in the truck, she conquers her fear, breaks out, frees Woody, and the two of them return to try and free the others before Bonnie checks out. At the last possible second, the curtain to the manager's office is torn off exposing the case to Bonnie and her mother.
"Are those my daughter's toys?" Busted!
The toys are reunited with Bonnie, they all leave, and the credits roll as per, you guessed it, Priklepants' trope-telling. During the credits, we're given a gag scene where the manager is being questioned by the police, the manager attempts to steal the squadcar and, well...
"Told you not to leave the keys in the car." "We got a runner."
Yeah, that's how they wrap up the whole thing.

Final Thoughts

After sitting through the whole almost 30 minutes of this, sadly I can't really say too many good things about it. While I do give props to them using the original voice cast out of Toy Story 3, the writing just felt bland and rushed. The "terror" elements were underplayed while they overplayed Jessie's fears, thus making the whole thing feel as if they tried too hard. The humor was weak due to the overuse of Priklepants's constant narrative trope telling, and the good jokes were too few and far between. If Pixar was given more time to try and flesh this story out it could have been better, but as it is this is very weak as a family Halloween special. Final score: 6/10

Congratulations, you survived night one! Join me in night two, where we look at another Halloween special.

Until the next review, have a good day!
-Napoleon Jonamite

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sailor Moon Viz: The Good, The Bad, and Those Ugly Nostalgia Goggles

On September 5-6, depending on your time zone, Viz Media released the first few episodes of their dub of the original 1990's Sailor Moon anime. To think it was only about three months ago that Viz made the announcement of acquiring the rights to this series and the reboot Sailor Moon Crystal. While we waited for the DVD and Blu-Ray release, we were treated to clips of the new dub audio. There was excitement, there was skepticism, there were fanboys raging at the very idea that the entirety of the 90's anime was being redubbed when a majority of the series was already dubbed. I'll get to the nostalgia goggles issues later, but for now let us look at what Viz did right, and what they did wrong in this highly anticipated redub.

The Good

Viz said that they would keep true to the original Japanese release and keep it uncut and uncensored. Considering how heavily edited the original dub was under Dic, this would surely be an improvement over Dic's version. Viz did not fail in keeping their word. Dropped episodes from the first season have been given the dub that they deserve, originally released episodes got the much needed corrections, with no cuts to any scenes or footage from future episodes being repurposed for what the dubbers thought would serve as an enhancement of the story. I remember those changes being one of my biggest gripes regarding Dic's dub of season one, especially since some of those scenes that got deleted could have been repurposed with their censorship changes or they removed some key story elements, such as the original introduction of Sailor V.

Another thing Viz did right was the writing for the dialog. At last, no more awkward dialog that seemed like lines were skipped, no more lines that didn't fit the emotions that were shown in the animation. Viz's dialog seemed to flow more like what we got out of the subtitles for the series, making it sound more like they followed the original scripting than just making up their own lines and hoping they stick.

The Bad

Even the best dubbing companies have their flaws in their work. Sometimes it's an audio thing, other times it's acting/actor choices, and there are mistakes that can make a 4Kids dub look like an Emmy winning piece of art. Viz has made some mistakes, but nothing really on the 4Kids level as Viz has a much bigger focus on accuracy and overall quality while 4Kids... Well, just look at what they did to One Piece and I think you'll get the point. Anyway, let's see what Viz did badly on this one.

The most notable, even in the pre-release clips Viz posted on their YouTube account, is the overall audio quality. While Viz did opt to keep the original soundtrack and sound effects of the Japanese version, the English dialog track is too clean, crisp, and highly defined compared to the other two tracks. This means that Viz either forgot to upconvert the other audio tracks when they were preparing the dub, or they forgot to downgrade the audio of the dialog track to fit to quality of the other two tracks. This is a careless mistake that can make or break a dub, and right now this sounds almost like a low-end fandub than a professional level dub. Hopefully this gets fixed before the DVD and Blu-Ray release in November.

Another element of the work done badly with this is the casting choice, most notably for Usagi's little brother, Shingo. While I can give props to Viz and to Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi for making good English voice casting decisions, my personal favorites being Stephanie Sheh as our titular character Usagi Tsukino, Michelle Ruff as Luna, and Christina Vee as Rei Hino (Still waiting for her first episode so I can hear this wonderful new voice), there was an issue that came with Shingo's voice actor that bugged me. Shingo's actor, Nicolas Roye, gave him a voice that makes the younger brother sound much older than he actually is, and while there are some young 8-10 year old boys with deep voices, this one is kinda hard to forgive.

Those Ugly Nostalgia Goggles

Couldn't have said it better myself, Rei.

Oh man, where do I begin on this one? While I can understand the skepticism that revolved around the voice cast for this new dub, I found it hard to believe that some of it was so bad they would ask "Why redub this series when the original dub was so perfect?" ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME?! There were so many problems with the old dub that I cannot call it anything but garbage. The acting quality of both the Dic (Seasons 1 & 2) and Cloverway (Seasons 3 & 4) dubs was so bad that it made the acting in The Last Airbender movie seem worthy of an Oscar. The writing was worse, the plot holes due to dropped scenes and episodes were big, the censorship had double standards throughout (How can you allow a guy who is in a puddle of his own blood to be in, yet you decide to get rid of a scene where Sailor Mars literally slaps some sense into Sailor Moon?), I could go on but I don't think the blog will work if I do.

One comment that came up on the Amazon pre-order page for the new Viz DVD and Blu-Ray asked "Why can't Viz leave the already dubbed episodes alone and focus on dubbing the ones that weren't?" I can tell you why right off the bat, and it's because of something called "consistency." Do you want a constantly changing voice cast and alternating levels of what's allowed or what names the characters are given? Viz wanted to keep the original Japanese names, while Dic and Cloverway Americanized the names of almost all the characters. In addition, both Dic and Cloverway switched out actors as the series changed hands. Dic even changed Sailor Moon's voice actress partway through the series as her original voice first went on maternity leave (At least, that's what the internet says) before leaving entirely. Would you really want to hear three different casts through 5 seasons of Sailor Moon? No? Good, then be happy that there will be consistency throughout each season.

Final Thoughts

Despite the two issues that were mentioned in the bad section, I found the new dub enjoyable. Viz has done a quality job with the writing and casting. They just need to fix their audio mixing issues and do something about Shingo's age crisis and the whole thing will be great. I can finally swear off the old English theme song and calling Sailor Moon "Serena" and welcome Moonlight Densetsu and Usagi Tsukino! Final score: 8/10

Until the next review, have a nice day!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Personal Thoughts: Classics vs. Reboots/Spin-offs

While watching old episodes of Teen Titans and some old G1 episodes of Transformers, I started thinking about how the new generation doesn't know that these oldies exist. All they know of is the version of Teen Titans where they have an episode in which the word "waffles" is said throughout the entire 11 minutes of it, and a Transformers in which the designs are based off the Michael Bay versions. This is where my heart aches for this lost generation. So then I have thoughts on these reboots and spin-offs that make me wonder if it's really a loss on these new versions, or am I just a hater of change? Well, I think it's time I explained some of those feelings, and maybe give some brief points on a few of these little battles. I think you already know my feelings towards the Sailor Moon reboot, so let's skip that.

Teen Titans vs. Teen Titans Go!

This is one that I can say the reboot fails when compared to the original series. The Teen Titans series of 2003-2006 was quirky, but it knew when to be serious. Every character on the team had many layers to them, and continued to see growth as the series progressed. The quirks came from either the anime influences or Starfire's personality. These plus well written and well timed lines of dialog were what made the humor for the series.

How can we forget this gem?
As for the spin-off "comedy" series, Teen Titans Go!, we're really wanting this one off the air. In 2013, Cartoon Network decided to reboot the Teen Titans in a series that had little to no focus on action/adventure and more focus on "comedy." There's a reason I say comedy in quotes like that, and it's a simple reason. It's not funny, it's annoying. This series was basically made with the idea that the original series should have no influence on it, and it shows. The personalities of the originals didn't transfer, turning multi-layer characters into idiots or jerks. The show does have its moments in where it can be forgiven (See image below), but for the most part it is a sin against the original. Its humor is also based on the changes and pointing out how annoying it can be, but that doesn't make it funny. It's all anti-humor, except there is no ironic redemption. I have watched episodes of Go!, and found myself ready to change the channel within the first 3 minutes. There are other critics who have found this show obnoxious, and for reasons unknown it is still on the air.

Yes, Raven is playing with ponies. Tara Strong, everyone!
Teen Titans Go! is by far the worst series to be made, and it got awarded with a second season while a better series in Young Justice got the ax. The level of stupidity over at Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. is too damn high (And I feel bad for that joke)! Normally, I can find changes acceptable in a show, but if it guts the characters of the source material to a level in which they gain the title of Toddler Titans you know it's destined to fail. The original Teen Titans was an 8/10 in my book, while Teen Titans Go! receives my lowest score ever: 3/10. I would definitely rank this lower than the original English dub of Sailor Moon (Which I personally score at 5/10).

Transformers G1 vs. Future TF Generations

I'll admit, G1 Transformers is one of my favorites, despite the now cheesy levels it contains. Sadly, I grew up with the second airing under the name Transformers: Generation 2, which was only a select number of episodes from the first three seasons with annoying and unnecessary transition effects. Either way, I watched the original growing up before the quick transition to the Beast Era. G1 had some good stories for episodes, some of which apparently became inspirations for the plotlines of at least one of the Michael Bay films (See the plots for The Ultimate Doom and Megatron's Master Plan, and compare them to the synopsis to Bay's Dark of the Moon).

A revised edition of the classic TF logo by Hasbro. Part of their Generations toy line.

As the years went on, about thirty years, Transformers would overgo many changes. Some were good, others meh, some others were just not good. The Beast Era saw two series, Beast Wars and Beast Machines. Beast Wars was one of those shows that had many good episodes, some with character development, some would expand on the G1 lore, others were just straight up action episodes. The series has so far been declared the best Transformers series made by its fanbase. The sequel series, Beast Machines, was underwhelming. It suffered from an overcomplicated story, and a subliminal environmentalist message. That, and the radicalist religious undertones for Optimus Primal's teachings didn't exactly help. Later generations were for the most part Japanese imports. Each having their own varying degrees of success. Transformers has been a mixed bag long before Michael Bay released the first of his four films, but that doesn't exactly hurt the longevity. Because of the amount of diversity between generations, the franchise will continue to thrive even under the worst conditions.

I think this is all I have time for today, but I do promise to do more of these kinds of posts throughout the months. My basic mindset is that if it's done right, a reboot or spin-off series can be good. But if the creators/writers deviate too much from the original, it could spell disaster.

Until the next review, have a great day!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

First Impressions: Sailor Moon Crystal

Sailor Moon Crystal began its simulcast on July 5th, and it was receiving mixed reviews long before it even premiered. After the first airing, fans are divided. Primary complaints included the changes in storytelling and the art direction, including the transformation sequence. I personally have a hard time understanding these complaints. Perhaps watching it will help me make sense of it all.

Synopsis (Potential spoilers for those who haven't read the manga)

The story of the first episode is fairly similar to the opening chapter of the original manga. A notable exception is that it opens on a dream our lead character Usagi Tsukino is having about a prince and a princess meeting for a kiss.

How romantic. *Vomit*
Usagi then gets a reminder from her mother that she's going to be late for school. Of course this leads to Usagi getting ready for school in a quick panicked state, which leads to a moment of clumsiness, slipping on the stairs and riding them all the way down on her butt.

Have a nice trip, see you next fall!
Usagi then grabs her lunch, and starts her run to school. Her mother then talks about how she wishes her daughter would learn from "Sailor V."

Hey, at least she got her mentioning right off the bat.

Usagi's run to school includes her complaining about morning coming every day and still being sleepy. Then comes the narration by Usagi introducing herself as a crybaby and a little clumsy (No sh*t!). Along the way, she steps on something and falls flat on her face. What did she step on? A black cat.

Yes, really. A cat. Are you seriously that stupid?
Usagi apologizes to the cat, kisses it, and gets scratched. After that, Usagi notices the bandages on the cat's head and removes them, revealing a crescent moon. During a stare down between the cat and herself, Usagi then remembers that she's late to school. She arrives only to be told by her teacher, Ms. Haruna to stand in the hall outside her classroom for being late.

Maybe if you stopped arriving late, this wouldn't happen.
She then begins to remember her dream, and then decides that she wants to be a princess too. Why would she want to do that?

Why do I get the feeling this line's gonna be a running gag?
Oh, yeah, Usagi's stomach starts to grumble while she's standing in the hall. She forgot to eat before running to school. While she gets ready to eat, she gets interrupted by Haruna with the results of Usagi's test. And the results are...

Tonight on Newsbreakers: Why Usagi can't learn. Maybe it's because Usagi's teacher doesn't know jack?
Usagi's depression builds when the nerd of the class, Umino, shows that even with his "lack of study" he still got a 95. Her best friend Naru scored an 85 on the same test. Why do I continue to get the feeling that Usagi embodies all of the "blonde bimbo" stereotypes? Anyway, the day progresses and the kids in the school are discussing the latest rise in jewelry store robberies. All of which were stopped by the famous Sailor V.

Not if this show has something to say about it.
At the end of the day, Usagi and Naru decide to go check out a sale at the jewelry shop Osa-P, which Naru's mother runs. Remember how in my original Sailor Moon review I mentioned the sales were 95% off? Yeah, that makes a comeback here as well.

To quote River Song, "Spoilers!"

Usagi wants to get some of the discounted jewelry, but figures that thanks to her 30% on the test she won't be able to ask her parents for anything. She decides to toss her test and head home, but not before her crumpled test hits someone behind her in the face.

Hey, it's my favorite dumb blonde mocker who doesn't afraid of anything! This time in a tuxedo!
After a nasty encounter with our mystery man, Mamoru Chiba, Usagi stops by the local arcade and spies a poster of Sailor V, because this character is such a sensation she has her own video game at the arcade. While looking at the poster, Usagi says that she wishes she could be like Sailor V. Why?

Freaking called it! Running gag!
Usagi then goofs off in the arcade for a while before heading home. As soon as she gets inside, her mother said that she saw Umino, and mentioned his test score. Usagi's pissed at this and shows off her test score to her mother. Want to guess how well this turns out?

...Well, that escalated quickly.
While all this drama at home is going on, Naru's mom is talking about how the jewelry she sold is stealing energy from the people wearing them. Okay, looks like we have a monstrous enemy in disguise here.

Either she needs to see a dentist, or... Nope, yeah, definitely evil monster in disguise.
We return to Usagi's house, where we find her dreaming again, talking about the "bald-patched" black cat (In reference to the cat from earlier, she thinks the crescent moon on its forehead is a bald patch). Eventually the cat reappears in Usagi's room, yelling at her "It's not a bald patch! How rude of you!"

And it has a British accent? Oh, wait, no, there's no English dub yet, so no accent.
The cat, who's name is Luna, introduces herself to Usagi, and tells her of her mission, to defeat her enemies, to find her allies, find the "Legendary Silver Crystal," and find the princess. During this, Usagi receives a gift from Luna, a broach that allows her to transform into the super powered heroine, and title character, Sailor Moon.

A pretty cool CGI transformation sequence, but it lasts a whole 52 seconds!
After transforming, Sailor Moon receives a distress signal in her hair buns that is coming from Naru's cries for help at the jewelry shop. She arrives in the shop just in time to stop the monster from killing Naru. Then comes the introduction conversation.
"Who are you?"
"I am the pretty guardian in a sailor suit, Sailor Moon. In the name of the moon, I'll punish you!"

Guess this is what happens if your name doesn't end in Kardashian.
After that shot gets fired, the monster uses the energy she collected to summon her army of zombified jewelry buyers. Trust me, it's more creepy than it sounds. Part way through the fight, Usagi's crybaby nature rears its head after getting a cut on the knee. Although in a strange way, it helps her.

When was the last time you heard a girl scream on a super sonic level?
Her screams knock out the army, and practically paralyzes the monster, to which Sailor Moon throws her "Moon Tiara Boomerang" and turns the monster to dust. You know, for kids (This will probably get either a TV-PG or TV-14 when/if it airs in the US)! Oh, but what about that one character, Tuxedo Mask? He was a spectator, who then introduces himself at the end (No pep talks like the original series).

Well, that makes one of us.
At the end, the real enemy starts planning for future plots, and Naru starts talking about the incident that night.

Guess Sailor Moon's the talk of the town. Except they don't know her name.
Lastly, a little bit of foreshadowing for the next episode, which is plot of the second chapter of the manga.

Who is this girl? Find out in the next episode of DragonBall Z!


Overall, with a few little exceptions, such as the main villains being shown and the dream sequence at the beginning (Though obscured to increase the mystery that revolves around the first manga story arc), and some dialog, the episode basically follows its original source material very well.

The art direction does have a lot more similarity to the original art of the manga, but I can see the complaint that commonly comes up from the fans, and that's the fact that the girls look way too skinny, though I will say they still look more normal than they are being made out to be.

My one issue is that the transformation was way too long. Granted, this was only the first transformation in the series, but they could have made it shorter. I swear the original transformation sequence was half the length of the new one, though not quite as fancy as the new one.

This was 24 minutes that I was able to enjoy of a reboot that some were ready to swear off because it would cut the filler (Remind me how that's a bad thing?), and artistically look wrong (Time to take off the nostalgia goggles). It does make me want to see how things go from here for the remaining 25 episodes of the season/series (It is still unclear if it'll move to the second arc or not). Final score: 9/10

Until the next review, have a nice day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New Videos this Fall?

Well, it's been almost three years since I last made a review video. Between work (Finding it and actually having it), finishing school, and other personal issues, I stopped making videos and scripts for quite some time. I've finally decided to make an attempt to record some content for you guys this fall. I'm looking into making four different reviews, with one being set for sometime in 2015.

Things that are planned for this is an update to the current video format, where I'll do a mini-bit that will serve as an introduction to the content being reviewed, then a new intro sequence followed by a title card for the series, then doing my intro to the series commentary with various clips. With regards to the new intro, I had to consider a new track for the intro video due to having issues with copyrights because of the current song. I was lucky enough to find a new track on Newgrounds that I can use for the intro, and have plans to remake the video for it as I felt like there weren't enough clips of me involved in the actual intro. Hopefully I can make something work on that, if not I'll go back to the clip show setup.

Planned reviews include the following (In no particular order):
-Darkwing Duck
-Teen Titans
-Kim Possible
-Sailor Moon revisit (2015)

The reason for the 2015 release on the Sailor Moon revisit is that it'll give me time to redo/regather my notes regarding the flaws of the original English dub that I only glanced upon during my final write-up in the original review. With Viz Media recently getting the rights to the original Sailor Moon anime, as well as the upcoming Sailor Moon Crystal, there are plans for me getting at least the first season on DVD once those are released (Provided the price isn't ridiculous) and use the subtitled Japanese versions for the comparisons in the revisit. I really want to make sure that this is done right, and I really don't want a repeat of the sorta rushed feeling I got out of the original scripting and filming of the original Sailor Moon review.

I had originally planned to do Kim Possible as a quick review after Sailor Moon, but after all this time, I feel like one of the things I originally wrote in the script won't work anymore, so an old inside joke from the old Sailor Moon review will not be making a reappearance in the Kim Possible review. I may bring it into the revisit, but right now I'm not sure.

Teen Titans and Darkwing Duck? I grew up on Darkwing back in the days of the Disney Afternoon, so why wouldn't I do that one? As for Teen Titans, let's just say this new generation needs to know what they're missing when they are watching that new crappy series "Teen Titans Go!" Respect the classics, man!

Until the next review guys, have a good day!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pre-Release Thoughts: Sailor Moon Crystal Character Art

Well, I know I said I would discuss something else, but I figured I'd get something else out of the way, and it is based on something from the past.

You may remember my old review of Sailor Moon that I did almost three years ago (So sorry for not having a new full review since then). Back in 2012, Sailor Moon's 20th anniversary, it was announced that there would be a brand new Sailor Moon anime. Details were still left unknown to most at the time, and of course multiple rumors and bits of speculation would arise regarding how the series would work. Some theories included the show being a new series picking up from where the original story left off. Others had this strange idea that it was supposed to be a movie/OVA and not a series, that the announcement was mistranslated. Well, as the months, then years, went by more and more details were released.

Here's the basic summary: It is a full new series, not a movie/OVA, it is not a forced new story, but a complete reboot, and it was going to be animated by the studio that gave us the original release of the anime. Who is this studio? Toei Animation, best known for their work alongside Marvel and Sunbow when the original Transformers animated series and movie were released, as well as the big name of anime, Dragonball Z.

Now, when you hear that an anime is being given the reboot treatment, you have to wonder what route they chose to go with for the final product. What do I mean by that? What I mean is that there are two possible options for handling the reboot. Option one is taking the original anime, cutting out any and all fillers, remaking some elements in the original to make it fit the original story, and updating the overall look of the original. This option is the one Toei took with Dragonball Z's reboot, Dragonball Z Kai. The other option is a full on reboot, starting the story over and keeping all the focus on the story, no edits, no fillers, nothing. This is the route Aniplex took when they rebooted the popular Fullmetal Alchemist with Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. Which route has Toei chosen for the new Sailor Moon? They chose to go the route of FMA Brotherhood, and this would be their best choice as there would be too much they would need to edit from the original series to make it work should they have chosen the DBZ Kai route.

Recently, it was announced that the series would get its start in Japan in July of 2014, after being delayed twice from a summer 2013, and a winter 2013 release. The series would have a full global broadcast through Nico Nico Douga, a Japanese site that works as a combination Livestream and Youtube. And now, as of April 27th, 2014, Toei released the character artwork.

(Actual art from the new anime, Sailor Moon Crystal)

Yep, this is the new art direction that Toei is going with for the upcoming release. Many fans were hoping for more than just the images posted on the internet. What could fans want more than some art splashes? How about a fully animated trailer? Well, they're going to have to deal with this for a bit longer. I bet you dollars to 4Kids donuts that there will be a trailer as we get closer and closer to the release date.

(Comparison between manga, original anime, and Crystal, in order from top to bottom)

Now for the real stuff, the art comparisons. In the image above, you see in order from top to bottom the art from the manga, 1992 anime, and the new Crystal art. Some can see some similarities between the manga and Crystal art. Others will say that the 1992 anime was a bit closer to the manga in designs. I have a hard time seeing the latter, personally. Besides, if you know what I have to say regarding the original anime, you'll see that there were a few deviations from creator Naoko Takeuchi's original vision (Primarily because both the manga and anime were running at the same time, so the anime had to make changes to work with the wait periods between arcs and chapters). While, yes, the faces do look a bit better in the original anime art, I still like the fact that Crystal's art looks a bit more like what Takeuchi had originally designed.

Either way, my hopes are high with the new series. Let's hope that Crystal can fix up what the original had messed up and rewrote, and that Sailor Moon can actually become a truly enjoyable series instead of a guilty pleasure. C'mon Funimation, please get the dub rights!

Until the next review guys, have a good day!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Welcome to the blog!

First blog post, ahoy!

Anyway, welcome Please Rewind fans! This is where you are going to find posts related to future review videos. These posts will be about the shows and specials that I have wanted to make review videos for, but thanks to either laziness or some other factors, I have not been able to make the videos for them or even finish their dang scripts. So, my plan is to once a week post a mini review on something I actually wanted to work with, and will hopefully make a video of in the future. The posts can range from really lengthy to short and easy reads for late at night. Hopefully you guys will still be able to enjoy my reviews despite their lack of video and commentary.

The first review post will be coming up this Saturday night (MST), and it will be on something that was recently made but based on something from the past. What would that be, you ask? Here's a tiny hint: Tara Strong worked on this show.

Until this Saturday, stay gold. See you in the near future.