Dragonball Z – The New Threat

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by Joshie Jaxon

Dragonball Z is the continued adventures of Goku, from Dragonball. I personally didn’t get into DBZ until the Cell Saga, so for me, looking at the older stuff can be a little hard at times, because I know who lives/dies/returns. I try to suspend that knowledge for you, dear readers. I’m not gonna be the guy shouting, it was his sled. Rosebud is a sled. Dammit. Spoiler alert. I should just delete that. Nah. Where was I? Oh yes. Despite starting in the Cell Saga, I’ve since gone back and watched from the beginning sagas on. As well as some of the original Dragonball, and all of Dragonball GT. As a cartoon/anime/manga geek, you can trust that I’ll continue to bring you quality material, from experience drawn on several media formats. On with the show!

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Like any good series premier, we get some voiceover. This time, a slight recap from Dragonball. Five years have passed since Goku and his friends saved the world from the evil King Piccolo. Since he was defeated it has been an era of rebuilding, healing, prosperity, and peace. Unknown to them, a new threat is hurling through space, to bring the era of peace to a crashing end. Damn that’s good stuff. It’s sets everything up so that newcomers don’t feel left out, but doesn’t drone on so that the hardcore fans get bored.

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Chi-Chi is calling out for Gohan, saying it’s time to come home. In the woods, Goku is selecting a tree. We see him punch it, and it topples to the ground. Next we see him carrying it home. Hey, Chi-Chi, check out my massive wood. She has, that’s how they got Gohan. Speaking of which, where is he? Neither of them knows. Parent of the year award goes to…? Joan Crawford? Really? Well, at least she knew where Tina was at all times, unlike these two. Oh well. Maybe next year. Chi-Chi tells him to take Nimbus to find Gohan. They don’t wanna be late to Master Roshi’s.

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Pink emu farm. A farmer bales hay into the back of his truck. He sees something streaking through the sky, and crash. He’s so dumbfounded that his cigarette just hangs in his open mouth. Side note, I’m sure that was edited out in the broadcast, since most references to sex/drugs/alcohol are, but as these are uncut DVDs I get to see a random farmer enjoy his bad habit. Who says uncut things aren’t fun? Anyhow, the farmer drives himself closer to the wreckage. I’m sorry, something crashes, I’m going in the opposite direction. It’s never good.

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This is no exception. The farmer realizes this isn’t a meteor, since it’s metal. It opens, and Raditz emerges. Raditz is serving up the biggest hair in series history, until SS3 Goku years from now, as well as shoulder pads, hip pads, fur belt, mid calf boots, and a garter. He floats up to ground level, and the farmer tells him that he’s trespassing. Raditz checks his scouter, and determines the farmer to be weak. When the farmer shoots at him, Raditz catches the bullet, and flings it right back. He detects a strong power level in the distance and takes off. Prepare yourself, Kakarot! What’s a Kakarot?

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Gohan is crying in the forest. He misses his daddy, and wants to go home. He’s got such watchful parents. He chases after a giant butterfly. He just wants to look at it. If only the tree had an elevator. His request, not mine. He gives up and wanders off, running into a sabertooth cat. It snarls, and drools. Gohan must be tasty. Gohan decides to try playing dead. Ol’ saberfang licks him, ravages his hat, and takes off with it. Gohan’s hat has the four star dragonball on it. Since they don’t cover what the dragonballs are for newcomers, I’ll quickly explain. Gather all seven together, and you get a wish from the great dragon, Shenron. The four star ball was a gift to Goku from his grandpa Gohan, whom the little crier is named for. Little Gohan chases the saberkitty to get his hat back. In his chase, he runs himself right off a cliff, and I presume passes out from the fall.

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He wakes up hanging from a branch by his tail. Oh yeah, he’s got a tail. They really want you to have watched the original, and don’t explain the whole tail thing either. Goku had one as a kid. It’s been cut off, so he doesn’t go apeshit. Literally. Being his son, Gohan has a tail too. Goku still can’t find his son. Gohan continues to whine, and wander. He finds a pretty bird, and tries to talk to it. He ends up falling in a river, and calls for his mommy and daddy to save him. Not gonna happen kid. They don’t know where you are.

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Goku finds the cat in the hat, and asks where he got it. His tone gets less friendly on the second request, and kitty gets scared. Short version, Goku gets the hat. Meanwhile, Gohan is rolling, rolling, rolling down the river. Goku finally spots him, and after the mandatory near save, followed by a chase, and obligatory waterfall, cause, yeah, father, son and hat are reunited.

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Elsewhere, Raditz is flying over a city. It’s worth noting that there are several animal citizens there. As in anthropomorphic bears and such. It’s the norm, and no one seems to care. I know there’s relevance there, I just don’t recall when. Raditz calls the people miserable vermin. In the mountains, Piccolo can sense a strong power approaching. It can’t be Goku. Raditz lands, and apologizes for dropping in. He’s looking for Kakarot, and thought based on power, that Piccolo was him. Piccolo tells him to get lost. Oh, he’d like that. Raditz tells him that his power level is only 322. There’s no way he’s an earthling. Piccolo doesn’t want any trouble, too bad Raditz does. Piccolo hits Raditz with his strongest blast, and he doesn’t even flinch. Raditz is ready to retaliate when he detects a power level that must be Kakarot. He leaves Piccolo in one piece, and follows his scouter to what must be the largest power level on the planet. Piccolo is shaken by the encounter.

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Raditz talks to himself as he flies. Have you forgotten your pride, Kakarot? We’re Saiyans, the mightiest warriors in the universe. He can still remember them sending him to Earth as an infant. They had high hopes for him. Why hasn’t he completed his mission? Kakarot!

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The voiceover tells us that in Raditz search for Kakarot, he found Piccolo,  one of the strongest fighters on the planet, will he find Goku next? Next episode, Goku will discover the secrets of his past. That seems like a spoiler, but perhaps it’s unrelated. I don’t know anything. It’s my first time. Yeah, I’m not buying it either. I bet I say that to all the boys. I’ll just leave you with what I assume it a bad translation, or a possible innocent statement I’m taking dirty, that’s in the credits.

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Seriously, I think Raditz needs to wash his junk. Goodnight everybody! 

-JJ

Character Crush-Eponine

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-by Bevianna Bones

And now I’m all alone again, no where to turn, no one to go to…without a home, without a friend, without a face to say hello to…

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Whoops! Sorry guys, got all caught up in my angst. Guess it was inspired by the wife mate going out of town…but before we start, let’s be clear on one thing; this CC entry is about Eponine as a character…much more Frances than Samantha, but sadly Google image search kept giving me things I want to unsee.  Such as…

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I have no words…

I’m finding it très amusant that little miss sunshine keeps popping up in Eponine image searches, I’m also hoping that it’s because she was on track to play the role in that blaspheme of a movie; and not because she is nearly a modern day Ep what with all those angsty tweeny songs…

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Eponine’s Errand 2.0…

Anyway, getting back on track, since the mid 80s who else has been the role model for forlorn teenage girls than dear old ‘Ponine? No one, that’s who.  On My Own is the quintessential anthem for anyone who has ever had an unrequited love. A martyr for those who have lived and loved so deeply and not had that feeling given back in return. Everyone who has even been fourteen can feel for her. Some take it to the extreme. Some of us wore trenchcoats and saucy hats to school and pined for our muse. 

She had a tawdry childhood, although her folks did what they could for her. Mommy loved to lavish in how spiffy she looked in her little blue hat, for some little girls know how to behave.  Things went south when the man came and took their little slave girl away, and ‘Ponine was doomed to a life of thievery and trenchcoats and saucy hats on the streets as a result of it.  She met a boy that she wrapped her whole world up in, in hopes to escape the tawdriness; betrayed her father, dealt with a short term gender crisis, and ultimately gave her life for someone who didn’t even know she was there. Life sucks and Eponine taught us that with pretty song and saucy hats. Heart her.

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Two ‘Ponines in one! Oh boy!!

My original character crush, was actually more likely on Frances Ruffelle, the original London and Broadway casting choice; crushes didn’t look any better than that in 1986. I just wanted to be her, my young little mind couldn’t translate it into anything else. And why not…look at her now, Marius was an idiot.

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What’s all this talk of rain and flowers? Your what will make my what grow?

There have been many notable Ponines over the nearly 30 year span that has been the miserablez. Besides Fran and Sam, you’ve had Debbie Gibson, Lea Solonga, Lea Michele, Ching Chang Wongy; just to name a few of the more notable ones. 

I’m sure though, most of the girls then and now, still probably adore her for her angst than her…um…assets…and…talent…
So I will leave you on that note, with a handful of some of the many, many, fan art inspired by her.  Viewers beware, a Google search of “Eponine fan art” will give you lots and lots of things you want to unsee. I haven’t been so frightened by the internet since I was searching for Tifa Lockhart images.

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I’m guessing this is an alternative universe with alternate casting and there was a twist where Eponine drove away Javert and Valjean and everyone else and all the students live. Bubblegum and Unicorns!!

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Brought to you by hangry lesbians…

-BB

Transformers – More Than Meets the Eye, Part 1

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-by Joshie Jaxon

It’s no secret that I love villains. In general, they get the best powers, lairs, henchmen, outfits, etc. They don’t have to worry about things like morality, or impulse control. They want what they want, and will do what they want to get it. I can’t exactly pinpoint where I got my love of villains, but rewatching the pilot for Transformers I think I found a part of it. You’ll see as you read further.

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Many millions of years ago, on the planet Cybertron, life existed, but not life as we know it today. Again I’ll state, I love me some good voice over. This establishes several things right out of the gate. This take place millions of years ago, by Earth’s accounting of time. Also that these robots can think and feel. Decepticons are driven by domination, and set out to destroy the peaceful Autobots. The voice tells us that the war between the two devastated the resources of the land, and the Autobots, on the verge of extinction, fight to survive. I’m guessing that means the Decepticons are winning, and in control of all the remaining energy.

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My theory is proven correct when we see two Autobots, Wheeljack and Bumblebee, stealing rods. Wheeljack transforms, and tells Bumblebee to load him up. Bumblebee proceeds to insert the rods from behind. Typical Friday night on Cybertron. Seriously, they’re off to a good start. That is of course until they run into a Decepticon blockade. Prime warned him there’d be days like this. As they escape, the Decepticons go after them, and transform into badass looking space jets. See what I mean about villains being better? Although I think they studied at the storm trooper academy, since even though they’re robots, and should be able to analyze and predict where their target will be, nearly all their shots miss. Bumblebee loses a wheel, and Wheeljack says he wants him inside him. He damaged his rear axel. Hang on to your crankshaft, Wheeljack is going into overdrive.

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They arrive at their base, and the platform retracts when they enter. How not having a platform is supposed to stop flying robots is beyond me, but at least they have the illusion of safety. That is, until is nearby street lamp reveals itself to be Soundwave. He launches awesome mix volume one, oops, it’s  Laserbeak, and sends it to spy on the Autobots through the windows. Optimus Prime tells Jazz and the others that unless a new source of energy is found, no one will win the war. One asks about the search mission. Optimus says whenever they’re ready to launch. Oh, if only they were robots that had sensors to detect spies. AMV1 returns to Soundwave to report to Megatron.

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I love Megatron. He’s got power. He can transform into a blaster. Plus he’s got an air of authority around him. Sorry, just had to fan girl for a second. Megatron says if there’s a source of energy to be found, the Decepticons will get it first. He orders Shockwave to keep an eye on Cybertron, soon Optimus will admit defeat. Meanwhile, Starscream says that the Autobots would have lost eons ago if he’d been calling the shots. Usurper! Megatron says that only a select few ever lead. Starscream says his time will come. Never!!

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Back at Autobot HQ, they are ready to launch. After they do, Megatron and the others follow suit. Two asteroids collide with one another, and the impact makes the ships shake. Optimus has Ironhide use the lasers to blast a path through the rubble. Not being stupid, the Decepticons follow safely behind them. Wait, they got detected. Alright, not completely stupid. Starscream says to just blow them away, since they’ve been spotted. Maybe he would make a good leader. Megatron says no, he wants to see what they’re after. Prepare the tractor beam! They connect to the Autobot ship, and a fight ensues. It is interrupted when the gravity of a nearby planet starts to pull them down. The tractor beam breaks, and the two ships crash in separate locations. Information I’m sure will be relevant later.

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We see the area the Autobot ship crashed in, complete with it’s Decepticon passengers. The landscape changes, and onscreen text tells us it’s four million years later. I’m gonna guess that on this universe, they’re what caused the dinosaur extinction. The nearby volcano erupts, which jostles the ship, and powers part of it on for some reason. We pan around to see all the broken robots, both good and bad, all over the ship. A probe leaves the ship, repeating “explore, explore”. It scans a fighter jet nearby, and relays the info to the ship. The ship starts repeating “repair, repair”. Uh oh.

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It fixes up the closest robot, and as luck would have it, it’s a Decepticon. The ship loads the new jet design for him to turn into, and repairs him. Wait a second, this is a civilization of intelligent, feeling, spaceship traveling robots, and the ship can’t tell friend from foe? Seriously? The jet drags Megatron to the beam, and it repairs him as well. Either Optimus is an idiot, or he’s arrogant, to not at least consider that an injured enemy could get on his ship, let alone his arch nemesis. Soon all of the Decepticons are up and about. Megatron says they aren’t in Kansas anymore. The jet asks if Cybertron still exists. Megatron says it must. They will take the resources from this land, and build the ultimate weapon. Starscream starts blasting, and Megatron tells him not to waste his energy. Starscream was just saying goodbye. He fires one more shot, and causes a landslide.

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Sadly, had he listened, this next part wouldn’t have happened, and they may have succeeded. However, the rockslide shook Optimus into the path of the scanner for the repair beam. The probe scans a diesel, and soon Optimus is back on his feet. Stupid Starscream. Meanwhile, Megatron finds an area where they can build a new space cruiser. He orders preparations to be made, pointing out a nearby power plant that can be used for materials. Starscream borrows awesome mix volume two, I mean, Rumble, from Soundwave. The group fly off to destroy the plant.

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Optimus is busy telling the Autobots that this new planet is full of resources, and figures the Decepticons must know that too. He sends Hound and Cliffjumper to go searching for them. Cliffjumper says he’s gonna boot a Decepticon right in his turbo charger. That’s my purse! I don’t know you! Sorry, wrong show. At the plant, Starscream tells Rumble that one day he’ll be listening to his orders. Rumble tells him that Megatron is merciless, and can’t be beat. Starscream says he’ll find a way. Everyone has a weakness. You’d think four million years would chill him out a bit. Oh well, time to wreck things.

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Hound and Cliffjumper find the Decepticons, who have already made lots of progress on their base. Hound uses a small dish to hear what’s going on. Soundwave is telling Megatron they can take our earthly resources, make them into energon cubes, and fly them home in the new cruiser. Fun fact, I used to use mini marshmallows as energon cubes as a kid, and stick them in the Transformers that had a spot I could put them in. Cliffjumper has a giant bazooka from somewhere, and says he has Megatron in his sights. Not really. He misses, and now the Decepticons know you’re alive. Why they didn’t disable the repair device after their own were taken care of is beyond me. AMV1, Laserbeak, is sent to follow them. The two Autobots split up, figuring one of them will get back to prime. AMV1 manages to shoot Hound, and send him rolling down the mountain.

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Cliffjumper returns with an ambulance and a tow truck. Hound says he’s too injured to transform. Cliffjumper is sorry he fired on Megatron. Hound says he should be sorry for missing. Hauler pulls him up, and they head back to Prime. Elsewhere, the jet is talking to three robots half his size. None of them can believe the Autobots survived. One of them must be wondering who was supposed to disable the repair beam. A car drives through the desert, and the jet has the other three transform into a camera. A Polaroid at that. Reflector is made up of three robots, but manages to fit in his hand. Then again, Megatron is handheld too. I’ll just go with it. Apparently the jet’s name is Thundercracker. The villains get all the good names, and forms, if you ignore the camera. Which I will.

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Soundwave gets a report of the vehicle in the desert. Thinking it’s a possible Autobot, Megatron orders the release of awesome mix volume three, er, Ravage. Repair guys get to the wrecked plant, but they have bigger problems. Ravage is a robotic panther. They get in the truck to get away. In the Autobot ship, Optimus is briefed on what was overheard about the energon cubes. Finally growing a pair, Prime says to organize a battle plan. They’re going after them. Mouseketeer role call! Optimus, Jazz, Wheeljack, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Jailbreaker, Ironhide, Barrage, all transform and roll out!

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AMV1 returns to the Decepticon base with word of an energy source. Megatron is pleased. Any guesses? Yep, it’s big oil. The Decepticons fly to an oil rig that isn’t there’s, hellbent on taking it for themselves. USA! USA! Oops. The puny humans throw tools and pipes at the giant robots. Yeah, fellas. That’ll work. Not! They all get knocked into the water, as Soundwave prepares the empty cubes. They compress them all from cubes of oil to cubes of glowy energon awesomeness. Starscream is excited, since they can now go home. Megatron says they’re gonna suck it dry. If they weren’t robots, I’d make a joke about this not being the first time he’s said that. Then again, robots do need to be lubricated. Make your own jokes here.

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The Autobots arrive, and Megatron transforms and lands right in Starscream’s hand. Starscream pulls his, um, trigger, and Megatron goes off. The two groups fight, and the Decepticons get most of the energon cubes as the escape. AMV1 attacks Prime as Megatron and the others take off. He blasts the support pillars for good measure, leaving Optimus and the others to swim in the oil filled waters. Actually, the good measure is in lighting the oil on fire. Oh no! There are trapped humans, and Optimus can’t free them. Having never met humans before, he somehow knows to have them keep their heads above water. We end on that cliffhanger. Wow, that’s a lot to cram into the opening episode. I don’t know about you, but I loved every minute of it.

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There’s a question I’ve always had about Transformers. Where do new Transformers come from? Do a mommy bot, and a daddy bot go to the local assembly line and pick what they like from each other’s blueprints? I know the reality is they’re built, not bred, but how do they decide what it’s going to be? I mean that in terms of what it transforms into, as well as will it be Autobot or Decepticon. What if you raise your little scooter, Vespa, to be an Autobot, but it wants to be a Decepticon named Harley? Do you get upgraded? Are they marked with their symbols at “birth”, or do they get to choose? There’s a whole morality issue in there somewhere. I’m aware that I’m overthinking a 30 year old cartoon, but I’ve got nothing better to do with my time. Besides, as an author, I know how important backstory and motivation can be. I’ll leave you to ponder those things as well. Until next time!

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-JJ

Memorable Movie Moms

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-by Bevianna Bones

Happy Mothers Day readers!! As you spend the day in celebration of all the motherdears out there, let us take a moment to reflect on my top five memorable movie mommies. The kind that really are exemplary of what it takes to be held dearest in one’s heart. Motherdear, this one’s for you…

5. Mama Fratelli/Elenor Crisp

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Nope that’s not the gun in betty lou’s handbag…stop! (or my mom will shoot!) These ladies are really packing heat! This pair of gun toting mom’s are Astoria’s finest, and their son’s will do just about anything for mommy. Just don’t ask her to take a second trip to the zoo, because she’s not so tough without her car.

4. Mrs. Voorhees

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Never has there been a mommy looking out for her little boy as much as Mrs. Voorhees. After little baby JJ drown in Crystal Lake, she took down all the youngsters who went out there to “camp.” Talk about a virgin alarm!

3. Norma Bates

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The first of our mommies on the list that is looking out for the purity of our youth, Norma keeps her son on the straight and narrow with volumes of indespensible advice. You’ve got to kill her Norman…she’s a whore!!  Best not take any showers while she’s home.

2. Margaret White

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Our other mommy forever looking out for the morality of the youth; Madge is always sharing the kinds of real life guidance that is so special between a mother and a daughter. Keep those dirty pillows covered; and those pimples are a great way to stay chaste. Now go to your closet because they are all laughing at you.

1. Joan Crawford

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Christina! Bring me the axe!! All the moms on this list can’t compare with the dearest mommy of them all, batshit crazy with a heart full of love. What’s that?  Leave us alone Barbara…we’re having a conversation. Bottom line is don’t fuck with her fellas, but if you do, remember she’s not mad at you, she’s mad at the dirt.

BB

Disney Mother’s Day Tribute

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-by Joshie Jaxon

Here’s a salute to all the Disney Moms out there.

Snow White

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Pinocchio

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Dumbo

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Bambi

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Cinderella

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Alice in Wonderland

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Peter Pan

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Lady and the Tramp

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Sleeping Beauty

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101 Dalmatians

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Sword in the Stone

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Jungle Book

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Aristocats

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Robin Hood

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The Rescuers

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Fox and the Hound

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Black Cauldron

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Great Mouse Detective

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Oliver & Company

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Little Mermaid

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Beauty & the Beast

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Aladdin

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Lion King

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Pocahontas

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Hunchback of Notre Dame

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Hercules

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Mulan

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Tarzan

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Emperor’s New Groove

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Lilo & Stitch

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Treasure Planet

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Prncess & the Frog

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Admittedly, there were far more alive mothers than most people give Disney credit for. For them to count on my list, they have to either be the mother of the titular character or princess, or as the titular character, become a mom during their movie.

With the exception of Quasimodo, Tarzan and Bambi’s moms, they all survive their respective movies. Massive props to all the Disney moms that don’t get the recognition they deserve.

Happy Mother’s Day, KO! I love you

-JJ

Glorious Girls of Gaming – Newsreader

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-by Bevianna Bones

Ahhh, the precious memory of one of the most glorious gals of gaming of all time. Newsreader. Yep that’s her name, it’s sad really because she is so much more than a generic title. It’s like if we called Jill Valentine the Master of Unlocking instead. Every game should have a crazed Russian woman telling you what to do. Imagine if Navi had a thick poorly done Russian accent…that would have been amazing, and that is why Newsreader is so inspiring. Newsreader deserves more. For purposes of this article I’m going to call her Elena. Thus inspired by a real life crazy Russian girl I once worked with.

Elena appears in 1995’s Krazy Ivan, which came out as one of the launch titles for the original PlayStation; it was also available for Sega Saturn and PC. Windows 95 baybuh!! The one thing nearly all video games had in common in this era of gaming was the introduction of full motion video, or FMV.  Not all games did it right, but Ivan knew what was up. This game hit the nail on the head. An openish world mech game (the mech looked like a giant Wall-E or R.O.B. from the NES days), the FMV scenes were not only well acted, as far as games go, but they held a brilliantly twisted sense of humor.

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Elena is a key element throughout the game, telling Ivan, aka you, about each level, helps progress the story, shares enemy Intel (or course, she’s Russian), and gives you recognition for a job well done. All the while with a ridiculous accent and underlying sexual tones.  “Great job, you really ran rings around him…keep it up!”  “Nice work commander! Keep it moving!!” “He’s slow, but not as big as he looks”. Ok, well maybe that’s just me being a pervert. It’s possible.

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I would have loved to see a sequel to Krazy Ivan, or a crossover of Elena in other games. She would have been perfect for any game featuring any kind of radio command station. Imagine her in Resident Evil 4, or Metal Gear Solid, or Uncharted. Shame on Sony for not making her an unlockable in PlayStation All-Stars. That would have been truly glorious.

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-BB