Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: Power Rangers Megaforce "Going Viral"

     The first character-centric episode of the season is always a big occasion.  It is the first opportunity for the new writing staff to depart from the formulaic opening and begin character development.  This episode, did not seize that opportunity.  In my opinion, where the Mighty Morphin' episodes of the same type provided insight into the character (the first example that comes to mind is Zack with his hip-hop fighting style, which in hindsight was incredibly racist), this one was merely used to teach a simple lesson to children.    I do commend it however for not taking the Disney Channel Approach and saying "today's lesson will be..." and at the end saying "today's lesson was..." However, if you did make a drinking game out of the episode and took a shot everytime Noah said "I believe in myself" in some form, you would die of alcohol poisoning. I think that too much of the episode is devoted to the fighting, something that was apparent from last week's episode, but I wanted to give it a chance.

Rating: 7.5/10
Spoiler: Noah got new zords and the Sea Gosei Great Megazord was unveiled.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Adventure Time News

     To those of you who like the television show Adventure Time, there is news.  First of all, next week's epiosde "Vault of Bones" is centered around Finn trying to turn Flame Princess good, against her father's wishes.  The trailer shows a few things that are of note.  Finn's demon sword is back as well as the fact that he is wearing a gauntlet.  There is no news as to the significance of this.  Also, more on the technical side, music writer and storyboard artist Rebecca Sugar is receiving her final credit as storyboard artist in the episode "Simon and Marcy" which should air, if there is no break, on March 11th.  However, I have a feeling that there will be a break or the episode will be pushed back.  Rebecca Sugar writes most of the songs from the show including "I'm Just Your Problem", "I Remember You", "Nuts" and "Fry Song."  Her role in creating music in the future is unknown, however, she will no longer be writing episodes.  To get a feeling for how much of a loss that is, here is a list of episodes written by her:

201: It Came from the Nightosphere
207: Power Animal
211: The Chamber of Frozen Blades
215: The Real You
218: Susan Strong
225: Mortal Folly
302: Morituri te Salutamus
309: Fiona and Cake
310: What was Missing
314: Beautopia
316: Jake vs. Me-Mow
326: Incendium
401: Hot to the Touch
406: Daddy's Little Monster
412: Gotcha!
416: Burning Low
419: Lady and Peebles
425: I Remember You
502: Jake the Dog
511: Bad Little Boy
Unaired: Simon and Marcy

Pretty big loss if you ask me.

UPDATE: Having just seen the extended Season 5 preview, clips from the episode "Simon and Marcy" are in it.  See the video below:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories/RE: Chain of Memories

     The sequel to Kingdom Hearts was released, not for the PS2, but for the Game Boy Advance.  The name: Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories.  The game picks up where Kingdom Hearts leaves off and you are plunged into the eccentric world that is Castle Oblivion.  Here, you are confronted with 13 floors where each one is a different world taken from Sora's memories and you need to complete the floors and fight numerous enemies including Axel, Marluxia, Vexen, Larxene, and even Riku.  The game introduces a new fighting system that is played like the card game "war" where you play cards and your card is "broken" if the opponents play a higher level card.  Upon completion of the game, you unlock "Reverse/Rebirth Mode" where you get to play through Riku, starting on the lowest basement and working up to the first floor.  The events of both stories lead directly into Kingdom Hearts II.  In terms of plot, the story is just as good as the games after it and before it.  The most common complaint is the card system and that is easily figured out by the end of the first floor.  My main complaint was that "100 Acre Wood" made the cut while the world based on Tarzan did not, when "Deep Jungle" is an integral part of Kingdom Hearts's story.

Overall: 8.5/10

Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: Adventure Time "Bad Little Boy"

     When fan service goes to far, something like this is spawned.  This episode attempted to emulate the first Fiona and Cake episode and failed.  The whole opening sequence went too long, and there was a legitimate 7 minutes of episode, if that.  The point of the episode, and I understand this, is to bring back Fiona and Cake, but that could have been done during the premier of the season (however that would have been far worse) the saving grace for the episode was Donald Glover's performance as Marshal Lee.  For the no doubt large amount of money they paid Neil Patrick Harris to appear in the episode, he didn't make nearly long enough of an appearance.  The musical sequence took up most of the episode which, in my opinion detracts from the episode from the episode as a whole.

Rating 7/10.  Worst episode of the season to date and it did not live up to the hype.

Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book)

    I realize that this may be long overdue, but I have begun rereading all of the Harry Potter books.  Starting, of course, with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  A little bit of background of the series, I began reading these books in 2000, when I was in first grade, as part of a feud between my mother and the mother of another kid who was already reading these books.  So, I read them and was hooked.  This is the first time rereading them in years and, now at 18, I can appreciate the pure literary genius that J.K. Rowling possesses.
     Even if you haven't read the book, odds are you have seen the movie, so I'm not going to go too far trying to block spoilers.  The story is magnificent, where The Hunger Games lags to the point where it is unreadable in the beginning (middle and end as well) this book carries the story with significant plot details.  The beginning features the introduction of key characters to the series, as well as an introduction to key, yet minute details as to what will play out in the future.  The book is well written, illustrating a higher level of vocabulary than most books written for children.  One of the most striking things about the book is the lack of specific spells, curses, jinxes, and other things of the sort.  This is significant because overly focusing on the magic aspect of the setting would, in my opinion, detract from the story.  In hindsight, one of my favorite things that is in the book is the number of references into how impossible it is to break into Gringotts.  I'm not going to talk about variations from the movie, that is for another day, but probably the coolest thing about the series is how everything comes back somehow.  If something is referenced specifically, it is almost guaranteed to be significant.

Final Rating: 10/10

Next week, I will review the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, followed by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets the week after.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

News Round Up

     Today is Thursday, February 14th 2013.  Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  Here are the most recent stories relevant to this blog:

     Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary Special has been confirmed to air on November 23rd, 2013 on BBC HD and in 3D movie theaters.  At this point, not much is known about the contents of the episode however rumors are speculating that it will feature a reunion of the past 11 Doctors.  Matt Smith's future on the show is also uncertain as he has been cast in a feature length movie named (fittingly) How to Catch a Monster.  It is rumored that he will leave the show after the next season, but these rumors are unfounded.  

     Ninfia, the new evolved form of the pokemon Eevee, has had an official western name and a new trailer attached.  The Pokemon Facebook page announced that it is to be called Sylveon and it gave a video of it in action.  The type and evolution method remain unannounced.

     Earlier today, a Nintendo Direct was held that announced many games.  First, Animal Crossing: New Leaf has a western release date of June 9th, 2013 while Europe has a release date of June 14th, 2013.  Two major games slated for this summer have been announced.  The first is Mario Golf: World Tour being developed by Camelot and features courses from both the Mushroom Kingdom and traditional courses.  The second is Mario and Luigi: Dream Team, the fourth game in the hit series.  This game takes place entirely in Luigi's dream with you interacting with the sleeping Luigi to get through puzzles.

      Also, two other relevant release dates, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon both come out on March 24th.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: Power Rangers Megaforce "He Blasted Me With Science"

    Where to talk about this, I'm not sure what there is to say about this episode, it is similar to every other second episode because it involves the requirement of the megazord for the first time to defeat the enemy.  Basically, the aliens decide to study the humans and they send down a monster that can transform into UFOs.  The rangers defeat it and it grows into the huge form.  They summon Zords and destroy it.  The only things to actually note is the name for the individual zords before they combine is now mechazords and they keep on shoving Jake/Gia down our throats.  It is obvious that Jake likes Gia.  Get over it.  Finally, this was a very generic episode that was pretty good.

Rating 9/10

Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: Adventure Time "Little Dude"

     Two weeks from now, we will be dealing with Fionna and Cake.  Why this exists, I cannot tell you to be honest, but to bide time before that, this week's episode was "Little Dude."  The basic premise is that Finn's hat comes to life when he and Jake try to become friends with it.  They later find out however that it was created when it touched a flower sprout that grew on the head of an evil wizard who buried himself, making the hat evil.  So Finn, Jake, and the wizard go after the hat who first possesses a candy person, then a Gumball Guardian.  They defeat the hat by turning animating objects in a good alignment to attack the Hat-Gumball Guardian and remove the hat.  In the end, the wizard animates the Hat with a good alignment and sets it free.
     Do not worry, Finn is getting a new hat.  DO NOT PANIC.
     Anyway, it is obviously a random episode but, unlike the last few, this one should have repercussions in future episodes.  There is now a wizard that can animate evil objects running around which could signal a way for the Lich to return.  That is an extreme case and it is more likely that his character arc goes the way of the Magic Man.  It was a good episode purely because of the dark undertones of the wizard having an abusive father and caring mother and it is that level of character development that is not standard in Children's Television.

Final Rating: 9/10

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Review: Power Rangers Megaforce "Mega Mission"

     Another year, another season of the hit children's series Power Rangers.  This season, we have Power Rangers Megaforce. Let me start out by saying, I'm NOT going to review this like I would review a show with a deeper meaning like Adventure Time and I am not going to look critically at it or criticize it on the level I would criticize a show like The Newsroom.  This is a children's show and should be viewed as such.  This week's episode was called "Mega Mission" and following the proud tradition of every team of rangers before them, the Megaforce Rangers begin their formulaic journey of taking down the enemy group, in this case invading aliens.  I'm not going to do an in-depth plot synopsis of this episode because, if you watch the pilot of any other season, it is essentially the same.  The thing that sets this episode apart is the stark difference in quality between this season and its predecessor,  the acting is tons better, the story is relatively more realistic, the characters and their relationships seem more realistic and less forced.  Also, there are a number of throwbacks to Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers with Ernie's making a return in the form of a frozen yogurt place, the characters and colors are similar in personalities, and Gosei was trained by Zordon.  My only complaint is that I would have used this episode in a similar way to Power Rangers Dino Thunder's episode "Legacy of Power" to show off all the past teams and their achievements.  For some reason, I think the Lightspeed Rescue team will be important in the future.

Rating 9.5/10

Review: Adventure Time "All Your Fault"

     Last week, the episode aired was "All Your Fault."  It was an episode about the Lemongrabs and has no repercussion on the rest of the series.  The premise is that the Lemon Kingdom has run out of candy to feed them so Princess Bubblegum sends Finn and Jake there with candy seeds.  They find the kingdom over run by starving Lemon people and they have to go to the dungeon of the castle to find Lemongrabs.  When they find them, they learn that Princess Bubblegum left the method of creating people from candy behind and the Lemongrabs couldn't control their urge to create life.  They used all the food to create life and decide to storm the Candy Kingdom to create more life.  They use a giant lemon creature to attack but Finn and Jake stop him by activating his heart and giving him feelings.
     As much as the title would suggest, it really is not an important episode for the long term, unless something unforeseeable happens in the future.  The episode was funny while Finn and Jake were searching the castle and they reacted to all the messed up lemon people.

Final Rating: 8.5/10

Upcoming episodes:

2/4: Little Dude-Finn's Hat comes to life
2/9: Preview of Bad Little Boy-Genderswap with Marshall Lee
2/11: No new episode
2/18: Bad Little Boy
2/25: Vault of Bones-Finn worries Flame Princess may be evil

Pokemon Meloetta Event

     For those of you in America, the legendary Pokemon Meloetta will be available at Gamestop from March 4th to March 24th.  Meloetta is a Generation V legendary Pokemon that has multiple forms.  In Black 2/White 2, its form changes when it learns the move Relic Song.