Animating Halloween 2021 Update

Hello visitors of this little ol’ blog. Hope you’re all staying healthy and happy.

October is just around the corner, which means Animating Halloween is coming up real soon. With that, I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is Yami Shibai has released two new seasons since the last Animating Halloween, which is AWESOME because I really thought Yami Shibai was over and done with. The tradition continues!

The bad news is things are kinda hectic right now. I’m moving soon-ish (numerous variables are keeping that up in the air. It’s kinda frustrating.) and I still have to do a bunch of stuff in preparation of that. Plus I have other personal things to handle. Animating Halloween is still on for sure, but posting once a day as I usually do during October may not work for me right now. To not rob you of Animating Halloween goodness, I will do a rollover AH day into November for each day I miss in October.

I know my posting habits aren’t spot-on either way, but I wanted to at least give you guys a heads up this year. I love doing these month-long review specials and it always makes me disappointed when I don’t manage to complete it, both for you guys and myself. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and I want you guys to be able to celebrate alongside me. 🙂

Finally, if you have anything you’d like to see me review for Animating Halloween, feel free to make suggestions. As a reminder, I will review anything as long as it’s mostly animated or is a graphic novel/manga of some sort and, of course, related to either Halloween or horror.

Have a Happy and SpooOooooOOOOoooookkkkyyyy Halloween, everyone! And thank you all for reading! 🧡

Animating Halloween 2020 Close-Out + 1000 Posts! + Other Updates

With the rise of the sun in November’s first dawn, we close out this year’s Animating Halloween. I hope you all had some ~spooky~ fun with it. I certainly did, even if I nearly didn’t manage the one-post-a-day schedule. (Sometimes I posted past midnight…. D: )

As per usual around the Madhouse, though, the end of Animating Halloween means it’s time for me to slow my roll. I tend to take November easy blogging-wise since it’s sandwiched between two months in which I have everyday posting events. I’ll still be posting regularly, but not as often as normal. In the mean time, if you guys have anything you’d like to see me cover for A Very Animated Holiday Special this December, feel free to throw them at me.

In other news, as of my Corpse Party: Tortured Souls review, I’ve reached 1000 posts on my blog! I had no idea I was close to this milestone and I have no idea of anything I can do to celebrate, but it’s really cool to think that I’ve got 1000 posts under my belt. And I thank you all for reading however many of those 1000 posts. 🙂

I hope you all have a happy and safe November! ♥

~Twix

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Mighty Magiswords

Plot: Warriors for hire, the clumsy sibling team of Vambre and Prohyas, trek out on quests as they collect magiswords – powerful swords of an endless array of shapes, sizes and powers.

Breakdown: I hate that this disappointed me as much as it did.

I had heard a decent amount of good chatter about this show before I finally gave it a watch, and….I just….I didn’t enjoy myself.

My first impression of Mighty Magiswords is that it’s one of those shows that tries too hard, and, as a result, it ends up just basically being a lot of noise. All of the characters are loud and have overly exaggerated mannerisms. Normally, I wouldn’t have much of an issue with that, these are cartoons afterall, but everything goes at such a breakneck pace that you can’t really absorb the jokes when they come along. Some of the jokes hit with me, but everything else was like driveby comedy.

I honestly had such difficulty following along properly that I couldn’t even absorb the main characters names, which is especially odd because the theme song is one of those ‘explain the plot’ songs. I had to look at the Wiki to get their names jotted down. At least I remembered enough to make a suitable plot synopsis.

The hook of the magiswords is interesting, and I can see where the concept would make for a lot of comedy, but I can also see this shtick getting old fast. Basically, magiswords are a grab bag of pretty much any power they can think of from completely useless, like tomatoes and bacon powers, to somewhat good like making your arms super muscular.

The main characters seemingly already have a plethora of these swords that they can wield whenever they please, though it’s impossible to know exactly which ones they have. There was one battle in this episode, and they were whipping out magiswords with chewed bubblegum powers, laser pointers and even frog missiles.

In some ways, this show is kinda reminiscent of old, old, OLD cartoons where they’d pretty much just pull the world and everything in it out of their asses while they do kooky shit and bounce around, but in many others it reminds me of some irritating modern shows, like The Mighty B!, and that’s not a good thing.

Maybe I’m just an old curmudgeon who can’t find a taste for these mile-a-minute insane shows that rely heavily on randomness and yelling for their comedy, but this one just didn’t hit with me.

The art is alright, though there’s not a lot to make it stand out much. I do like that they made Vambre at least a little curvy and stocky instead of being overly stick-ified, but that’s really all the notably positive stuff I have to say in the realm of the art and animation.

I didn’t even really notice the music too much. That was another thing that just kinda got swept up in the rushing waters of this show.

Final Verdict:

Continue no

I can see how some people might like this series, and maybe I’m just missing something, though I’m certainly not the first person to have these criticisms. As far as I can see, it’s just not my cup of tea.


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Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Wakfu

Plot: Yugo is a mysterious child who was adopted by an innkeeper named Alibert. When Alibert found Yugo in the forest, a message was magically conveyed to him – This boy has incredible power; the ability to manipulate Wakfu, which, as of now, manifests itself in the creation of portals – and when he grows up he’ll need to embark on a journey to find his true family. Several years later, Yugo discovers his latent abilities and Alibert reveals the secret of his past to him so he can finally start his journey and find his real family.

Breakdown: This series is based on Wakfu, the MMORPG, which is a sequel to another MMORPG, Dofus. I’ve never played either game, though I have heard pretty good things about them.

That being said, I’ve also heard great things about this series. It’s even popular to call it France’s answer to Avatar the Last Airbender. I think my jury’s still out on that claim for now.

Yup yup, this is a French cartoon (and just to sate people who might bring this up – it can also qualify as an anime) And my experience with French animation is surprisingly limited, mostly contained to Totally Spies, Code Lyoko and Sonic Boom, which is weird because I love those shows…well….two of them.

Other than that, I’ve seen a handful of French short animations, which tend to be largely and heavily artsy. Not that that’s bad at all, but I have to be in the mood for that.

As an intro, this first episode does okay. It’s a bit too quick with the pacing, though. Especially near the end where they basically jump from ‘Oh Yugo has portal powers’ to ‘Yugo, you’re destined to embark on a journey to find your real family. I know because the magic floaty glowing text told me when I found you.’ in about five seconds.

It doesn’t really do proper world-building though. I was struggling to write the plot section because I wanted to include aspects of the world but I soon realized that they didn’t really explore it very much. I caught glimpses of dragons and magic and Wakfu, though they don’t really explain what Wakfu is – I know Alibert and Ruel are bounty hunters, but I don’t understand why their main weapons are shovels.

The main enemy is a robot guy thing named Nox, and he seemed really interesting and cool, but I’m kinda unclear on what he is considering this is a largely fantasy-based world yet he’s clearly a robot/cyborg thing.

Speaking of characters, I found myself liking mostly everyone so far. Yugo’s a cool little kid. He’s responsible, he’s always helping out his father and I like his comedic moments. I especially enjoyed his brief bits of banter with Alibert, such as when they’re being attacked by someone possessed by a demon, customers run out of the inn and Yugo starts panicking because they didn’t pay their bill, but Alibert assures him by saying he’ll remember their faces.

Alibert is pretty cool too. He seems like he’s a great dad and an equally great bounty hunter.

Ruel is greedy, but entertaining. He provides some good information and can seemingly hold his own in a fight, despite his age.

The only one I didn’t much care for was the mysterious cloaked dragon guy who left Yugo in the woods. However, I’m 99% sure that’s just because his voice acting coupled with his animation really throws me off. I was shocked to learn that he was voiced by a woman. No wonder the insanely deep voice sounded artificially distorted and weird.

Speaking of voices, apparently, despite the love of this show, most Wakfu fans vehemently suggest not watching the dub (Especially S3, which features an entirely new cast.) I kinda brushed it off because most people bark ‘Dub bad!’ without any real justification for it, but yeah….it was kinda justified. Half of the cast is perfectly fine. Not amazing, but fine. I especially liked Yugo and Nox’s acting. However, the other half is either unfitting to the point of the voice not really fitting any living being I can think of, like dragon dude, or the acting is really strange like they’re reading from a script that only has one to five words per page.

I’m not going to harsh on the dub too badly, however, because the English dub was produced by the series own producer, Ankama, done at Flix Facilities LLC. and it was funded through a Kickstarter. The third season, however, was co-produced and dubbed by Netflix.

I really liked the art in this series. It’s very stylized while still being fairly simplistic. The colors pop, the landscapes are quite beautiful and the characters are all very distinctive from each other with easily identifiable silhouettes, there some cool design choices in regards to hair and clothing. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I want Yugo’s hat thing.

However, the animation will take some time to really gel with me. This series is animated entirely in Flash, which, while being a joke to a lot of people, is still an incredibly useful animation program. And let me make it clear that I am very aware that there are many great and beautifully animated series that were animated in Flash. Some of my favorite cartoons were made with Flash.

The thing is, it’s also cheap and easy enough for most animators, no matter their experience or skill level, to use, which leads to the market being oversaturated in series that tend to look like trash and give the software as a whole a bad name.

Flash animated works tend to have what I like to call ‘Paper doll syndrome.’ Basically, you can instantly imagine where all of the hinges are when something is animated. Instead of moving naturally, it looks like a bunch of separate parts moving together because some unseen puppeteer wills it that way.

They also tend to have a weird bounciness to them. Like once they start moving, no matter how slight, once they stop their bodies feel the need to bounce in the other direction a bit for no reason.

Wakfu has both of these problems, but it not due to lack of skill, experience or budget. As far as I know, Wakfu’s budget was very high. The show is praised for its animation in spite of the aforementioned trends – and I can see why. It’s extremely dynamic, flows fairly well and the action scenes are done in a manner that is fast-paced without looking sloppy or weird. I definitely feel like characters, creatures and objects are interacting with their environment and that everything is real within their world.

A good chunk of my unease here is likely just a general dislike of the bouncy paper-dollness as a whole. It’s incredibly distracting to me and reminds me a lot of those cheap badly produced Flash shows that do that a LOT.

Hopefully, I just need to get used to it here.

The music is also REALLY good. I love the opening theme song, and the background music is very fitting and well-made.

Final Verdict:

Continue Yes

Honestly, I’m really not expecting Avatar-level quality here, but I think it will be a fun watch, and I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the series. I think I’ll switch to subbed, though.


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CSBS – Fillmore! Episode 7: Nappers Never Sleep

CSBS - Fillmore Ep 7 Screen 1

Plot: Principal Folsom tasks Ingrid and Fillmore with finding Duappy, a Tamagochi that has lived for over four years – longer than any other virtual pet in the country. The TV show More is planning on doing a segment on X Middle School with Duappy being the headliner, but someone has stolen it from its owner, Everett’s, house. They take the case and soon find that this virtual friend might teach everyone something about real friendship.

Breakdown: Best episode so far. From start to finish, this episode is filled with awesome jokes, good and believable characters, two great parallel storylines and even a mystery that tripped me up.

Everett’s plight can still be applied today, even if Tamagochi has long since passed as a fad. For those keeping track, Ingrid states in this episode that virtual pets were a fad long since passed even when this episode aired. Just apply the virtual pet motif to a phone or a video game, and you’d have a similar situation in a bunch of kids.

I remember having three Tamagochis or Gigapets when I was a kid. A yellow one (much like Duappy) that had either a cat or dog as an option. I had a blue one, which was, oddly enough, a Rugrats themed Gigapet (I had to have everything Rugrats when I was a kid.) And yes, I mean you could take care of the babies. And I had a red one which was a t-rex.

Just like Ingrid claims, I couldn’t keep any of them alive for more than a few weeks. I take care of my real pets just fine, but it gets to be really monotonous with digital ones. They make really cute keychains, though.

Everett’s a likable kid, but he spends so much of his time and energy keeping up a virtual friendship that he never makes real ones. Seriously, this kid is way into this pet. He has a little bed for it and makes clothes for it.

While I can say I knew from the start that Loraine had something to do with it, they still managed to trip me up by throwing a curveball and revealing that two thefts occurred. Once that was established, I basically knew who the culprit was, but between points A and B they threw another twist our way. It was written extremely well, and I hadn’t been so invested in a case since the pilot.

Might I also praise this episode for using the ridiculousness of its universe to its advantage so much? Let me give you a taste – a crowbar was used to steal Duappy, and it was a Happy Cathead (Basically Hello Kitty) crowbar. A real crowbar….a pink crowbar….a pink toy crowbar….with a Happy Cathead head on it.

CSBS - Fillmore Ep 7 Screen 2

But that’s not all!

There’s a Happy Cathead store in the mall, in which someone is reading a ‘Virtual Pet Fancy,’ and the clerk tells them that they sell cases of those crowbars every week….Cases! Of Pink Happy Cathead crowbars…a week!

They seem like they’re at a dead end until the clerk tells them to check the address book. There is an address book hidden in the crowbar that pops out when you pull back Happy Cathead’s head…..What is the purpose of this thing?! Why would you need an address book when you’re using a crowbar?!….Actually, that has many burglary implications. But the fact that this is all combined in a toy marketed towards young girls is just hilarious.

CSBS - Fillmore Ep 7 Screen 3

Then, later, Loraine’s mom tells us that she was at the mall buying lobster polish…Before you can even absorb why that might be a thing, they show her holding a bag and it’s from a store called The Lobster Polishery….So this is not only a thing, but there’s a whole store dedicated to it. My head is hurting from laughter.

The case takes some pretty real and interesting curves in the character department as well. I mentioned that Loraine is one of the culprits, but she’s not made out to be a bad guy. She liked Everett, but couldn’t get his attention since he was so focused on Duappy. She also realized that he was damaging his quality of life by focusing on a virtual pet so much and, like she had realized recently, he seemed like he wanted to change who he was.

Everett doesn’t forgive her without a thought. In fact, it seems like he was going to dump her as a friend once he found out, but in the end he realizes that his real friendship with her is better than a fake friendship with Duappy.

It’s also a great contrast to the real culprit – Biana. She and Loraine used to be best friends on the cheerleading squad, but Loraine recently had an identity crisis and quit, meaning she didn’t spend as much time with her cheer squad mates or Biana anymore. She spent even less time with her when she befriended Everett.

Knowing Loraine liked Everett, Biana knew she stole Duappy, so she stole Duappy from Loraine and framed her (well, ensured that she’d get caught anyway) with the crowbar. She knew Everett would hate Loraine and never want to be her friend again if he knew she took it but was unable to give it back. Loraine would come back to her old friends for support, so she’d have her best friend again.

CSBS - Fillmore Ep 7 Screen 4

Her intentions are more sinister than Loraine’s, especially considering that Loraine was caring for Duappy (She mentioned she was feeding and cleaning up after him) and intended on giving Duappy back soon, while Biana wasn’t caring for it (it’s doing that ‘I need food/cleaning’ beeping noise when they find it) and had no intentions of giving it back. Though, I have to wonder why she didn’t just destroy it or throw it away if she didn’t want to get caught.

Loraine wanted to be Everett’s friend and bring him into a more real world while Biana wanted to destroy Loraine’s friendship, hurt her and force her to recoil back to a life she didn’t want anymore.

In the B plot, this case makes Fillmore and Ingrid realize that, despite being partners and friends, they don’t really spend any time together outside of school just hanging out. Much of their time is eaten up by the safety patrol. They don’t even know some simple facts about the other that friends would otherwise know.

It’s true, though. Since most of the show itself focuses almost entirely on the safety patrol, we as an audience don’t really see the two of them hang out off-duty and just be friends. They definitely seem like friends, but is it just because they spend so much time together at work?

This episode also has some interesting one-off voice acting choices. I could tell Caroline Rhea was playing Everett’s mom, which is weird because she doesn’t have that much of a part. The More host is Mary Hart, a journalist and TV personality most known for hosting Entertainment Tonight. It took me a couple listens to catch on, but I knew I heard that voice somewhere. Why they got an actual journalist and reporter to play a role with about four lines is baffling. It’s cool and adds to the experience, but baffling.

They also got Steven Weber from Wings to play Loraine’s dad. Truth be told, his role was the one low point because his character had really annoying mannerisms. Plus, you can’t even tell it’s him. I only checked who voiced him because I was wondering if there were any more big names just thrown into the potluck, and lo and behold there was.

Overall, this is a fantastic episode with great obviously and hidden jokes, good characters, a great case and even great action.

Rating: 9.5/10


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Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Craig of the Creek

Plot: The Creek is an amazing place where kids from all over the neighborhood gather to explore, have fun and stake their claims. Craig, along with his friends Kelsey and JP, spend their days adventuring in the Creek while Craig works to create a full map of this utopia for kids.

Breakdown: You know what we’re really lacking in today’s animation world? Shows where normal kids just have fun being normal kids. Granted, yes, this show has an exaggerated view on kid life, at least where the Creek is concerned, but it’s grounded, humble and has a very real feeling to it.

That’s not meant to be a sleight on any show with fantastical elements. I absolutely adore shows with fantasy, superheroes, magic etc. But sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and relax with a show that is more rooted in reality. The only other show I can think of off the top of my head that has a similar realistic setting is The Loud House, and I haven’t watched much of that show.

Craig of the Creek has an air about it that’s very similar to Recess. The area they frequent is ruled by kids in various manners with each kid serving a different role or being a part of a specific group within the area. The imagination involved in both creating this world and in the kids who bring it to life is fantastic and very entertaining.

Even though, again, this is exaggerated, it’s not to the point of being terribly unrealistic.

Take this episode, for example. Craig is a cartographer of sorts. He wants to draw a full map of the Creek. There’s a spot on the map that hasn’t been explored, and he and his friends want to explore it to be legendary adventurers in the Creek. However, the area is a small spot located in a massive field of poison ivy. So they treat it like this epic adventure by getting suited up from head to toe in makeshift hazmat suits and even set up a tether with a fishing line to find their way back.

Something starts attacking them from the ivy, but it’s not a monster, it’s a kid who is immune to poison ivy. He has a big family and can’t get any privacy, so he uses his immunity to poison ivy to create a small sanctuary in the clearing of the poison ivy field where he has placed a trampoline. Craig, sympathizing with his plight, considering he has a similar situation, marks the spot as dangerous and warns everyone to stay out.

Being respectful of this kid’s sanctuary and privacy means much more to him than being a famous explorer in the Creek. And even his friends go along with this with no argument.

We even get a very nice and beautiful moment after this happens when they return home.

This show has all of the markings to hit all of the right buttons in regards to characters, story, comedy and even heartfelt moments. Plus, it’s definitely appealing to child and adult audiences alike. Not only do they not talk down to the kids, but this series is basically a nostalgia bomb for adults, especially if you lived in a small town.

They introduce the characters and establish the world very well. They have the dynamic of the three main characters solid right from the start. I particularly loved Kelsey. She is definitely my favorite character so far.

Final Verdict:

Continue Yes

Craig of the Creek has a very strong start, and it has a very refreshing concept that really brings me back. I can’t want for more adventures at the Creek.


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Animating Halloween: Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween Special Review

Plot: A series of Halloween themed shorts featuring your favorite Looney Tunes characters.

Breakdown: It should come as no surprise to anyone that I love Looney Tunes. In fact, my sense of humor was probably molded by untold amounts of Looney Tunes shorts. So, naturally, when a Bugs Bunny Halloween special landed on my watch list this for Animating Halloween, I was stoked.

And was then disappointed.

I am so baffled by how disjointed this special is. It’s a collection of shorts centered around spooky-ish stories they’ve done before, particularly ones that involve Witch Hazel, but they don’t properly introduce or end nearly any of the segments. They just fade to black and then start another.

I was so confused about halfway into the special until I looked up exactly what this special was. It’s not just that these are a collection of unrelated shorts, but some of them were created nearly a decade apart from each other. And, here’s the kicker, they seemingly edited it this way on purpose to try to force a narrative since some of the shorts are interwoven to seemingly build on what was there when it didn’t.

When pasted together to make a special, especially when you’re not acknowledging when one short starts and another ends, these shorts create a giant mess. So many of these scenes just…stop. They don’t wrap up the story or even the scene sometimes, they just stop. The first story has Daffy’s nephew getting freaked out by Witch Hazel. Daffy goes to her house to prove him wrong and just vanished until the last third of the movie where he spontaneously shows up in Speedy Gonzales’ segment. Then he runs from Witch Hazel when she says she wants to eat him and she doesn’t give chase, it just ends.

This same ending happened earlier when she tried to eat Bugs. He just ran away and she let him.

Sylvester is basically spying on Bugs interacting with Dr. Jekyl as he keeps transforming into Mr. Hyde, then in the middle he has a dream about Tweety drinking the Mr. Hyde serum and trying to eat him. That was the only short that seemed like it had a legitimate beginning, middle and end, even if it was weird being spliced in with the Bugs stuff that also didn’t really get resolved outside of the Mr. Hyde serum playing a part in a couple other shorts.

Then we had another short that seemed to have a story with Sylvester and Porky visiting a hotel in the middle of a quiet nowhere town and doing the shtick of (character) seeming scary stuff, irritating (other character) when they freak out but, of course, nothing’s there when they look. The short ends with Sylvester running away out of town. The weird thing about this short is that it’s bookended by Bugs and Witch Hazel seemingly just watching all of this happening from a mile away?

Bugs breaks into her house to tell her she sucks at magic, then they both watch out the window. They see Sylvester and Porky drive by and, I guess, Witch Hazel was responsible for the mice doing all of that stuff to Sylvester, and, I guess, this impressed Bugs?

Also, the short ends with Bugs turning Witch Hazel into a girl bunny and they go off to have a date, which is a little weird.

Even though the structure was more broken than a skydiving mirror without a parachute over a mountain range, I did smile at some points…but that was about it. These shorts are definitely not the Looney Tunes’ A-game. I couldn’t even enjoy the animation because it was really subpar in some of the shorts. Also, I know they were reusing clips from various time periods in their series, but it was really distracting that Witch Hazel’s skin kept changing colors from green to white.

Overall, if you love Looney Tunes and have the Wiki guide to the order of the shorts and where they begin and end in hand, this might be a decent watch for Halloween, but I’d just as soon skip it. You’re not missing out on anything, honestly.

Luckily, this isn’t the only Halloween special the Looney Tunes have released, so I could see if Bugs Bunny’s Creature Features holds up better. However, I do believe the adults had their turn this year, so maybe I’ll hold off on that for now. It’s time for Tiny Toons to take their shot.


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Anime Madhouse Cleaning (Get it? Like House Cleaning *cough*)

KRQQ

Hey everyone! A brief update – For a long, long time I’ve been wanting to go back and fix a bunch of the posts on the site that have extremely glaring formatting and technical errors (As well as minor things like style problems and typos.) After putting it off for years, I finally got around to doing it.

I’ve been going through almost every post on the Anime Madhouse for going on a month now and I think I’ve fixed a vast majority of these issues. Obviously, they’re still far from perfect, but they’re much better than they were. A handful are exponentially better (I’m embarrassed that some of these even saw the ‘Publish’ button) some are just spruced up a tad.

Hopefully now that the Madhouse is cleaned up a little, it’ll be more suitable to invite people over for tea and brunch.

And, as always, thank you guys for continuing to read, like and comment my stuff. You all are the bees knees. 🙂

~Twix

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Motorcity

Plot: A man named Kane took over the city of Detroit, promising to turn it into a utopia only to build an entirely new city on top of it called Detroit Deluxe and strip the citizens of their freedom. In the old Detroit, now called Motorcity, people live in rough conditions, but at least they have their freedom. A team of rebels called the Burners are at war with Kane to reclaim Detroit and free the citizens above. Lead by the former Kane cadet, Mike, along with Julie, Chuck, Dutch and Texas, they have to utilize fast cars, futuristic weapons and high tech gadgets to win the war for Motorcity.

Breakdown: Hm, I sure have been reading a lot about networks screwing over their shows lately. I should take a break and watch a fun cartoon.

*one episode later*

Wow, that was a lot of fun! Hm…I wonder why it only has 20 episodes.

*one depressing article read later*

Dammit!

Why do networks do this? Why do they even pick up certain shows if they’re just going to screw them over, sending them on a crash course towards failure?

Networks seem to do this to varying levels, and I don’t get it. You don’t want a show? Don’t pick it up. Why bother going through with production and airing if you’re just going to treat the show like garbage?

Here, wander down the rabbit hole. https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ScrewedByTheNetwork

But for now let’s focus on the topic at hand, Motorcity.

Motorcity is no masterpiece. It has a pretty worn out plot, and even has a lot of cliché character archetypes at work (Except Texas, because Texas is awesome) but it’s a refreshing visual experience with a lot of style. It doesn’t seem to aim to be more than a really, really fun action show about cars.

And that’s fine. This is entertainment. It’s meant to be fun.

I had fun with this episode, and it does a decent enough job establishing all of the necessities such as the world they live in, most of the characters (I think they need to flesh out Dutch and Chuck more because they seem to both have the same job and personality quirks at this point.) the antagonist, the conflict and, right at the forefront, the style.

This is one of the more stylized shows I’ve seen in a long time. It’s simultaneously rough and very polished. It has a sort of ‘animated short’ feel to it, if that makes any sense.

The only problem I had with the style is sometimes the bright lights and lack of contrast in certain scenes makes it difficult to make out what’s going on in action scenes.

Oh and did I mention that Brendan Small of Home Movies and Metalopcalypse did the music for the show? And that Kel Mitchell came out of the woodwork to voice Dutch? AND that Mark Hamill voiced Kane? How can you cancel a show where Mark Hamill plays a villain? That’s blasphemy!

So what did Disney do to screw over this show?

I direct your eyeballs to this article.

http://www.toonbarn.com/other-cartoons/happened-disney-xds-motorcity/

To sum up – Motorcity got canned, before it even finished its first season, because of bad ratings. Understandable. But why did it have poor ratings?

Let’s go down the article’s list.

1) The timeslot was moved around frequently.

Want to make it very difficult for people to follow a show they like? Screw with the time slot. How many times have you enjoyed a show and then tried to watch it on the time and day you thought it was on only to see something completely different and then have to look up the new timeslot because the network is too stupid, lazy or conniving to properly advertise the change?

Frequent time slot changes are also a sign that the network just doesn’t give a crap about the show. For a series where the first season wasn’t even followed through all the way, there’s no excuse to keep changing the time slot.

Also, this is something mentioned in the TV Tropes listing, but they also didn’t air reruns of the show until 2015 for no reason. The show initially ran in 2012.

2) The show went on hiatus right as it was gaining a fan base.

I have no idea what this hiatus was about, but that explains why it took nearly a full year to air a twenty episode long season. Hiatuses in a show’s infancy are incredibly damaging. You don’t want to pour water on a fire before the spark even catches.

3) The episodes were aired out of order.

This one is just bullshit. There’s no excuse for this. Why the hell would you air the episodes out of order? It’s confusing for the viewer and makes for a miserable experience trying to follow the story.

3a) Most of the episodes were leaked, and when the hiatus ended, they restarted on the episodes that were leaked.

This one is something I found on the Motorcity Wikia’s petition page. I couldn’t find much info on this, and it’s so bizarre, so I thought I’d add it as a subset.

Is this implying that Disney knowingly leaked these episodes to damage ratings upon airing and then purposely aired all of the leaked episodes after the hiatus was over to further damage the numbers because why bother watching something that was leaked online?

If that has any sort of credibility, wow….just wow. That is some evil schemeness.

4) Very little advertising or marketing for the show.

I remember seeing some advertising for the show, but it wasn’t as promoted as most new shows. Also, I don’t see how this show couldn’t be marketable. Cars, weapons, cool stylized gadgets, the works. I get the feeling like the Disney didn’t like the tone or theme of this show and didn’t want to associate themselves with it, which why it reportedly took ten years for Titmouse, the production studio, to get the idea through Disney.

It makes sense. Disney is far from gritty, grungy or edgy. Doesn’t make it right at all, though. Again, you don’t want something? Don’t take it.

The saddest aspect of this whole situation is that Disney still owns the IP of Motorcity, so even if Titmouse tried to revive it, they wouldn’t be able to. Reminds me of the fiasco with Making Friends and Nickelodeon.

Apparently, in 2013, Titmouse tried to have both Motorcity and another of their properties that was shafted thanks to network bullshit, Megas XLR (which was canned because the president of Cartoon Network didn’t ‘get it’. They also purposely ignored any efforts to have it revived, even on Adult Swim, because they felt it was a complete waste of money.) but that, evidently, didn’t work.

I absolutely hate when networks treat a property like shit and then chain themselves to the IP so they can keep it in their back pocket in case they can make money on it some day. Or just to be assholes. They take someone’s ideas and hard work and ensure that no one can ever do anything with it ever again, as long as they deem it so. That is so selfish and disrespectful of the creators I could scream.

Final Verdict:

cbxcz0k

Motorcity is a lot of fun and can be pretty funny sometimes, especially Texas. It has a lot of potential to be more than just a fun action show, and, for all I know, the next 19 episodes could prove to go above and beyond, but it was yet another victim in a sea of network sharks.

CSBS – Rocket Power Episode 2: Secret Spot/Ice Queens

CSBS - Rocket Power Ep 2a

Plot: Secret Spot – Ocean Shores is overrun by tourists, so Otto and Reggie decide to take Twister and Sam to their father’s legendary secret spot – an incredibly secret beach where the waves are always perfect and they have the whole area to themselves.

Ice Queens – Otto, Reggie, Sam and Twister are heading to Winter Fest to participate in a hockey championship. However, their practice keeps getting sidetracked by Reggie and Clio, Twister’s cousin, constantly fighting. Clio looks down on Reggie for liking hockey and not being feminine while Reggie continuously bites back with little respect towards Clio’s girly views and sport of choice – ice dancing.

Breakdown: Secret Spot – Goddamn this episode is boring…and it’s another episode I remember like the script was burned into my brain.

Seriously, this episode….is so boring. Nothing of interest happens. The one running joke throughout the whole run time is one of the characters telling the other where the secret spot is and the information is blocked out by some loud noise so the audience, whom this information would be useless to, can’t hear it, because it’s just that secret.

They act like them going to the secret spot won’t divulge the information either. Like, why does Twister absolutely need to know where the spot is before they go? Why does Lars need to threaten the location out of him if he basically just follows him there?

The only other running gag is a really, really, really drawn out dialogue where a character will ask if they’re talking about THE secret spot and then go on to ask questions that are variants of ‘You mean the secret spot that’s really secret?’

If there’s one thing I can say for this episode it’s that I liked the little moment at the end where Otto and, especially Twister, apologize to Sam for yelling at him for accidentally spilling the beans to Lars about the secret spot (Twister gave him the information the night before, so he already knew anyway) and Sam responds by calling Twister a Squid. The look Twister gives after that and the scene as a whole shows that they’ve really grown as friends, which is saying something because Twister tends to rag on Sam the most.

I guess I also liked the twist where they explain that they never actually told them where the secret spot is – they left out one big detail, so Lars and the others end up thinking a rocky nightmare beach is the spot.

That does not make up for the boring tedium of this episode, though.

Can I ask a question that’s been bugging me for over a decade though? Is ‘shoobie’ a real word in beach-side towns? It feels like it could be, but it also feels like something they made up.

CSBS - Rocket Power Ep 2b

Ice Queens – Hey, if you want a nice taste of ‘dated’ Sam refers to a 12GB hard drive as ‘huge’ in this episode. Fun fun.

If there was one episode I was simultaneously looking forward to and dreading, it was this one. Looking forward to because I really related with this episode when I was a kid and dreading because I was really worried it would be one of those episodes that is actually horrible in hindsight.

I was, and still am I guess, a tomboy, if such a phrase is still used today (Goddamn, this whole episode is making me feel old) I was never really into extreme sports or anything like Reggie is, but being into geeky things, having mostly male friends, dressing more boy-ish, watching shows more directed towards guys and being a little rough earned me the moniker.

I never minded. I was quite content with who I was. It wasn’t like I was inherently averse to girly things, either. I had plenty of Barbies and stuffed animals and such. I even had my own fake kitchen, which I feel awkward admitting because I feel like I’m being sexist…to myself………I also had a toy vacuum, what the shit? Uh, anyway, I liked ‘girly’ things, I just wasn’t as interested in them.

Still, I was mocked for being a ‘tomboy’ by some of the more popular girly girls, and sometimes it was irritating to hear that I couldn’t do this or that or have this or that because they were ‘meant for boys.’

Something I always give my parents credit for, however, is, despite their conservative and religious natures, they never had a problem giving me ‘boy’ things like wrestler toys, Power Ranger merchandise or encouraging me to do ‘boy-ish’ things like watch and play basketball. My mom got a little irritated that I never ‘grew out of it’ when I got a lot older, but she never really made me feel bad about it.

That’s why I related so much to Reggie. She’s an awesome, intelligent, kick-ass girl who can do anything the boys can do, and many times do it better.

Here, her femininity is called into question by a clashing girly-girl, Clio, Twister’s cousin, whose name spelling annoys me. Clio is here for an ice dancing competition, because of course she is. She’s even got the pink tutu and everything. Let it be known that I am not ragging on Clio for being a typical girly-girl – that would make a hypocrite – I am ragging on her a little because she’s acting like being a girly-girl makes her better than Reggie.

I’m 100% certain Reggie would have no issue with this girl if she wasn’t acting like enjoying pink and being preoccupied with fashion made her better than Reggie. Even if they don’t like the same things, Reggie is a very level-headed and kind girl. She’d likely make friends with her anyway if she were actually nice.

This clash of the estrogen culminates in Reggie and Clio making a bet that the other can do their sport just as easily as the other can, which I’m cool with – walk a mile in the other’s shoes and all. I also appreciate that the others don’t make fun of Reggie when she’s ice dancing. They cheer her on and are impressed with her skills. Otto even says that he thinks ice dancing is cool. I liked that.

All that said, the climax of this episode is ridiculously dumb.

1 – Clio has absolutely no experience whatsoever in hockey. How was she skilled enough to make all of those great moves and even score the winning goal? Just because she’s a skilled ice dancer does not make her a skilled hockey player.

I thought I could justify this by saying she’s been hearing the others go over plays the entire ride over and she’s seen them practice, but that’s nowhere near enough to warrant that kind of jump in skill.

2 – Reggie has absolutely no experience whatsoever in ice dancing. How was she skilled enough to (nearly) win an ice dancing competition? (I say ‘nearly’ because she was DQ’d for standing in for Clio.)

Where did she learn how to do all those moves? How did she know Clio’s routine so quickly? Yes, she’s a skilled ice skater, being a hockey player, but, like with Clio, that does not make you an ice dancer.

3 – How were Otto and the others not also disqualified? Clio took Reggie’s place in the match without telling anyone. Isn’t that also cheating?

While we’re on the subject, while Clio may have agreed to risking her championship for a dumb rivalry, why would Reggie do the same? She could’ve nearly gotten her team DQ’d and wasted all of their hard work for, again, a petty rivalry.

4 – How does this fix their problem at all if both of them were insanely good at the other’s sport with barely an ounce of trying? The argument was –

Clio – “Hockey’s easy! Anyone could do it!”

Reggie – “Ice dancing’s insanely easy!”

If they both won championship level competitions with, maybe, a few hours of practice, that kinda just proves to themselves that they were right about their positions. It would’ve been better to have them in situations where there was nothing official on the line and had them try their hands at the other’s sport there. Then have them both fail miserably and gain a better respect for the other’s sport.

Maybe have them be super determined to learn more about the sport so they can show the other up then develop a real interest in it through the research and practice.

5 – I don’t quite understand how Otto and the others are even in some hockey championship. First of all, they don’t even have enough players for a true hockey match. They have four players, counting their goalie, and the usual minimum is six on each side.

Do they even have an official team in the first place that somehow lead to them being here? They only play against one team during the entirety of Winter Fest and win trophies because of it.

Finally, why does it seem like the opposing team is made up of 16 year olds? Otto and the others are about 10-12. Are there not age brackets? This hardly seems fair.

All in all, I like this episode, but it kinda feels like the ending screws everything up. It’s nice that Clio and Reggie have found some mutual respect for the other, including their chosen sports, but I just think they did it in a way that both didn’t make sense and was extremely contrived.

This episode did spawn one of my favorite, seldom used, insults, though.

Otto: “Hey! Why don’t you pick on somebody with your own steroid dosage!?”

Ratings:

Secret Spot – 1/10

Ice Queens – 6.5/10

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