It's Christmas time so it's time for some special reviews, I'll be doing three this year along with a special Walk of Fame entry and a Christmas themed UAFC battle over on Fantasy Zone.
You're in for a treat as I start with Disney's latest juggernaut, Frozen.
Frozen begins with two princesses, who during a routine playtime using the elder sister Elsa's winter powers goes horribly wrong when younger sister Anna gets struck by Elsa's powers; she doesn't die but some nice enchanted trolls were kind enough to wipe the incident from her mind but it serves as a catalyst that separates the sisters from each other for many years until a storm kills the King & Queen. Through virtue of being the eldest child, Elsa is crowned Queen, but is still nervous about her powers which seem to not only be getting stronger but getting harder to control. During the coronation, Elsa's first confrontation with her sister for many years goes horribly wrong when Anna's attempt at a fairy tale romance with Prince Hans not only gets refused but a trigger phrase from Anna causes Elsa to snap and nearly kill half the people in the ballroom with an ice attack, this actually gets much worst as her over blown emotions freezes all of Arendelle as she runs away to the mountains which she seems to get to rather quick; after the show stopping song from the "Wicked" Snow Queen, (Cookie for guessing the reference) Anna gives chase to her sister along with an Iceman named Kristoff, his reindeer Sven and a live wise cracking snowman named Olaf; but as soon as she confronts her sister in her makeshift ice castle, Anna is struck again but this time more serious as the effects begin to freeze her permanently so it's a race against time to save Anna's life while Elsa avoids being killed by the bad guys.
From there it's spoiler territory and believe it or not there are some people who haven't seen the film.
So the big question is, does the movie deserve it's hype?
No. It doesn't. It's over hyped majorly and here's why.
Don't get me wrong it's a decent film but there are many points where the film loses itself and it's mostly around the fact that there are too many songs and not enough story, not made any easier when you consider that this wasn't billed as a musical, it is a strange criticism but most Disney films knew when to draw the line; in Frozen there is clearly a time limit before Anna freezes to death yet some of this time is wasted when the trolls try to pair her up with Kristoff, it comes out of nowhere and is not needed.
So why is Frozen so popular that it easily outsells most other franchises in the Disney universe?
Well it's because the lead characters Anna & Elsa are so well made that they made this average looking movie look like an Oscar winner; it also helps that "Let it Go" is one of the best and catchiest songs Disney has ever made, not to mention that Disney successfully made a winter film that can hold it's own on Christmas and as some song writers know, a good Christmas product is enough to retire on and the stars of Frozen will never need to work again and Disney would of made more than double it's losses from the Lone Ranger flop.
So it's less the actual film but more everything else around it that make it so popular with pretty much anyone, even it's harshest critics cannot help but utter "Let it Go" whenever it's on, it serves a purpose over the Christmas period and like it or not, it's here to stay.
After reviewing a series which I would seriously consider as my best anime of this year lets move onto something which could be considered my worst anime of this year, this is Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero.
Akatsuki is a Rogue Hero, in other words he saves the worlds he travels to but only to satisfy himself; his latest conquest brings with him Miu, the daughter of a Demon Overlord he slayed, but to avoid suspicion the pink haired busty demon girl along with Akatsuki himself get enrolled in a special school for people with supernatural abilities and quickly draws the attention of the student council, seeing as Akatsuki is a bit of a dick and a huge over confident pervert, he uses his unique ability to manipulate his chi as well as the chi of others to his own ends whether it's triumphing over a monster or using it for perverted means if only to piss off other characters, that's kind of it really, the story doesn't have a clear ending as the manga is still going but for what's available at the moment it doesn't really encourage me to find out what happens next and that's a huge problem.
With only 12 episodes to work with, it's barely able to introduce most of the characters without completely losing focus and many of them are really not that likeable; Haruka Nagase gets special mention here as she reminds me of a sick mixture of Naru Narusegawa and Asuka Langly Shoyru.
Other characters aren't much better with Akatsuki being the only standout among a sea of mediocrity that is this Anime's cast.
But I suppose when you advertise yourself starting with "From the Makers of Queen's Blade" you leave yourself open for heavy criticism and with bad characters, unfinished story, poorly executed attempts at fanservice boarding on uncomfortable it's not really going to leave such a heavy impression. Majikoi was better than this, heck Senren Kagura, Ikki Tousen & the actual Queen's Blade is better than this. Dub is normal, nothing worthy of noting but Alexis Tipton's performance as Haruka Nagase grates on the ears a bit.
Final Verdict: There's nothing in this anime you can really take away, it's just one big disappointment, I'd give it a miss.
Now to review something I know some of my friends would appreciate, time for Girls Und Panzer.
Miho Nishizumi is a member of a prestigious family that practices sensha-do the way of the tank or Tankery in English, (which seems to be a sport aimed at women only, because Anime) but an incident during a match causes her to switch schools and turn her back on the sport, upon entering Oarai Girls High School, which for some reason is on a giant aircraft carrier, Miho finds she can't escape her heritage as she gets drawn into Tankery after a less than subtle threat from the student council but knowing that her new friends are willing to stick by her, she returns to the sport she's trying to avoid and gets thrust into the national championships again.
Girls Und Panzer runs slightly differently compared to your average Moé Military as the research as well as the attention to detail to the tanks far outweighs the fanservice in the show, so much so that World of Tanks actually used the series to help promote the game for the Japanese market.
I like it when a series is so willing to show off it's creativity and the concept is just so fun you can't help but get sucked in; Miho could easily have been a lousy character or a dreaded miracle rookie type but proves to be balanced enough to be a good lead character who is well backed up by the supporting cast despite having too many characters to really give any depth to, an issue it suffered late in the 12 episode series where a new unit joins up only for them to be shot down before anything happens and the viewers are left wondering if it was worth putting in these characters in the first place.
The dub has a habit of being drowned out by the music track but shouldn't be an issue in the sub version, otherwise the dub is solid.
The problems are relatively minor and easy to ignore so it won't take away the experience from the battles and it's the battles that really sell the show.
Final Verdict: Minor problems aside, Girls Und Panzer manages to succeed in showcasing a great story, give us good characters and keep everyone's attention with some epic battles. It's definitely worth a watch and I kind of wish it didn't end so soon as it needs more episodes.
After reviewing some terrible cartoons lets resume normal play with a review from the Dot Hack franchise with Dot Hack Quantum OVA.
In this story, the leads are a group of school girls named Asumi, Iori & Eri who all play "The World" online game but an incident during a guild battle draws them into a more desperate situation when Eri gets thrown into a coma after being PKed or Player Killed in the wrong zone, so it's up to Asumi & Iori to find out the problem and retrieve their friend before it's too late.
Now I attempted Dot Hack Sign a long time ago and found it boring and extremely slow paced, it didn't help that I don't play multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft so half the time I didn't know what they were talking about but come today I'm a little more educated on the subject but the OVA refused me entry as without knowing the full history of Dot Hack, a new viewer will be left in the cold. Oh well I did get this DVD for free after selling some old films so I'm not complaining and the characters are quite charming, especially lead character Asumi who makes me smile, and the dub was well done enough to not give me a headache.
So does this make me like Dot Hack? No, but I don't think so badly of the franchise anymore.
Final Verdict: If you're well versed in the Dot Hack franchise then you'll have no problems watching Quantum and you'll like the breath of fresh air the characters bring, but if you're new to the series, then it's not worth investing further unless you're willing to search around bargain shelves for the PS2 games; without the original story as a guide, you'll get lost straight away.
Well it's come to this, time to reveal my worst animated shows of all time, looking back on these made it all the more painful. Some choices come directly out of left field well others are more obvious. Let us begin.
I knocked this down lower than planned as upon researching this I found out that the creator has passed away, so I'll be a little less mean to it. Basically Pelswick is about a paraplegic trying to function in normal school life. This series suffers from lack of effort as it looks cheap and with such a sensitive subject matter, didn't really achieve what it was set out to do and having scenes of bullying a paraplegic is just wrong.
9. Fleabag Monkeyface
Two kids create another kid using a toilet as a catalyst and said kid has a Monkeyface and gross out powers which is another way of saying this show is going to be entirely gross out humor which is the lowest form of cartoon comedy. At least Megababies had the art style to emphasize how grotesque it was, this show isn't even subtle, the whole show seems to revolve around the gross out theme. Gross out humor only works if the characters in show are affected by it, it loses itself quickly if everyone accepts it as the norm.
This is the only anime entry on this list, basically making fanservice as extreme as possible but oh my god, this is shameless, it's just a monstrous train wreck and pretty disgusting as well. Anime fans deserve better than this.
7. Angela Anaconda
I'm not a fan of selfish people and Angela Anaconda the hero were supposed to support doesn't deserve half the victories she gets over her enemies. The art style doesn't really make it any better, it is unique but creepy.
I didn't think Nickelodeon could get any worst until they released this show. It's about two ducks who work as bread delivery men but the show is so poorly drawn and the comedy is just terrible. Also because the leads are basically trying to rip off Regular Show they fail so miserably it's just painful to watch.
5. I Am the Greatest: The Adventures of Muhammad Ali
Many celebrities have released themselves in animated form but Muhammad Ali's cartoon was by far the worst. Other celebrities who have done this tend to remain grounded within their specialist field. Muhammad Ali was basically portrayed as a do it all action hero which smells of self indulgence which is not how I wish to remember one of the greatest boxers in the world.
4. Monster High
I blame the Twilight films for many things, including ruining literature and wrecking a movie series that deserved better (Hunger Games) but it's biggest crime was robbing the dignity of popular monsters and degrading males.
The problem with shows aimed at girls especially the ones marketing fashion dolls is that the males not only take a backseat but are flanderized so badly that it becomes an insult to watch and they only function as an accessory. In the sexism argument, it works both ways, if some shows aimed at males portray women in a negative light then I have the right to complain about shows aimed at women portraying men in a negative light.
3. Gormiti Nature Unleashed
I've brought this show up before, the original 2D version of the series was charming and had a lot to offer, this version offered us not one but four obnoxious male characters. It's basically having four Johnny Tests in one show. This is the worst business decision of all time, there's not even a female character or anyone with a brain.
2. The Cramp Twins
Another thing I hate is being dictated to, the Cramp Twins takes some of the worst traits from the Simpsons and makes them even more annoying than they were originally, I suppose a name like Cramp Twins does what it says on the tin, the characters will literally cause cramps, but what really gets me is they made Lucien Cramp to be the worst kind of eco-warrior. As a viewer I don't wish to be dictated to about these kinds of issues but I also don't want the same character sprouting about how horrible it is not to follow the eco path. Cartoons can be political, while I see nothing wrong with that since cartoons were originally created with propaganda in mind, but the difference between this and a proper eco animation like Ferngully is that Ferngully doesn't spend it's time telling me why pollution is bad it just lets the art style show you.
Before I show my number one let me give you a quick heads up over one cartoon I couldn't put on this list due to my reviewing rules.
Disqualified. Peppa Pig
The pre-school show Peppa Pig is the most annoying cartoon on TV, it showcases what amounts to a spoiled brat always getting her way. WHY IS THIS SO POPULAR!? *rages* *Calms down* Again because it's a preschool show and the audience can't defend it, I just can't put it on this list but it doesn't stop me hating it.
1. Three Friends and Jerry
This is the ugliest cartoon I've ever seen, it's about a kid that tries to fit in a group of other kids by getting dragged into their problems, the characters are unlikeable, hideous, I can't even talk about it anymore, it makes me vomit.
I'm glad it's over, I challenge the viewers to come up with anything worst than what I've listed.