Hi I'm Dranzerstorm
You may remember me as a regular contestant on the caption battle contest.
Welcome to Retro Retrospective, my world dedicated to the old guard of the Otaku world; expect some reviews of the old & obscure, and in-depth geeky knowledge with the occasional top ten and I now have a logo.
Little info about me
Well I'm British and I'm in to all things animated and nostalgia.
I've grown up with every cartoon going and have watched hundreds of anime.
Oh and to answer a question I was asked once, no I don't wear glasses in real life, I would wear Loke's sunglasses though.
From one movie to another, this time it's Captain Harlock but not a live action but a CGI version.
Captain Harlock is the broody captain of the Arcadia, a ship powered by Dark Matter, crewed by a ragtag band of space pirates, his mission is to steal all the detonators to use on certain planets to trigger what's known as the Genesis clock that would reset time and space in a bid to rid himself of the guilt of being the man responsible for reducing Earth to a Dark Matter wasteland, stopping them in their path is the Gaia Sanction who after a war over the Planet Earth forbid everyone to return to it hiding the fact that Captain Harlock already ruined it for everyone.
To try and stop this plan, a boy named Logan infiltrates the Arcadia only to start sympathizing with Harlock's cause.
Captain Harlock is a massive franchise, there are too many named anime series that he stars in for this movie to really make sense, so the story feels restricted to newbies and I find that to be a shame, Harlock himself is the embodiment of awesome, it's hard not to gush over one of the most infamous swashbucklers in all anime and he's well backed up by a decent performance by David Matranga in the dub which is of course Genjo Sanzo in the Saiyuki dub. However my reservations about this film are similar to that of Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, it's the CGI, it doesn't suit anime, while I can see the effort gone into it, it can make the characters feel wooden as a result as the over reliance on exaggerated facial expressions that anime is built on it makes them less angry character more angsty teenager, this not well backed up by the female pirate Mimay who basically the designers took one look at Samus Aran and said "copy her", surprised Nintendo didn't slap a lawsuit on it.
If there is something to take from it, it's that it looks incredible as a film and Captain Harlock is every bit as awesome in this film as he is in the anime, if not better, but I feel it needs a selection of notes to try and welcome the new fans in.
Final Verdict: Captain Harlock is worth gushing over in visuals and the title character himself but try and dissect the story and you'll get lost easily.
This review is a rarity and somewhat a litmus test into how well anime translates as live action, this is Yatterman.
It's a typical episode of Yatterman complete with Dorombo Gang vs Team Yatterman until they stumble upon a plot to steal the Skull Stones which are needed to control time, after a couple of battles it ends in a final showdown between Yatterman and the boss of Dorombo, Skullobey.
Yatterman as an anime is fine if a little formulaic, this imagining of it is strange, for one thing it's just wrong for any robot to be sexualized, poor decision on the director there, also a subplot about Doronjo falling for Gan is just as bad, not the concept but the execution, it really comes off as forced as a result and don't get me started on Gan himself, in the anime he's lazy, a little single minded but at least good hearted, in this film he's a jerkass and you wonder why his girlfriend Ai sticks around.
It's not entirely terrible, the villains are actually accurate to their anime depictions, a couple of clever moments during the fight scenes and a well played 4th wall joke about the villains actually seeing their original voice actors is very good but everything else is bad, thank god there's no dub but if it were a piss take dub it may have saved it.
So if you want anime to work live action this is not the one to show people.
Final Verdict: Cringeworthy at best, facepalm inducing at worst but not the most terrible live remake of an anime, that'll always be Dragonball Evolution but when you set the bar that low to begin with it doesn't take much to step over it and I felt Yatterman live action was looking at the low bar rather than the higher ones set by the likes of Death Note.
Now for a treat, this show is a rarity that comes only once a generation and were going to talk about it, presenting the Mr Hell Show.
Mr Hell originally started as a demotivational series of greeting cards about a painfully honest devil named Mr Hell, a collaboration between British and Canadian animators including Jeff "Swampy" Marsh of Phineas & Ferb fame back when he was working in Britain long before he made it big with Disney were involved in the creation of a late night adult cartoon for BBC2. Mr Hell voiced by the late Bob Monkhouse (his final role before his death) gives the title character some class while he goes about the various sketches with quick fire gags and sinful mayhem worthy of Saints Row. Among the many other characters with their own mini sketches are the Victorian Lady Detective who can't solve cases because of the sexist laws of 1888, Josh the reincarnation guy who starts a conversation about the subject only to be brutally killed and Serge the Seal of Death who wants revenge on the Fashion Industry for killing his parents (Surprised PETA don't use him as a mascot) yet when he gets close to finding allies he brutally kills everyone as his post traumatic stress disorder drives him to mass murder.
The writing was very clever, the jokes most of the time hit the mark and Mr Hell is such a devious bad ass that it's more than worthy of a second season but with Bob Monkhouse's death a year after broadcast and in house jokes hinting at the cost being too high to continue further, Mr Hell Show faded into the background but under the radar the DVD came out giving some of it's very small fanbase a chance to watch it all again.
This show is high on the animation rarity scale particularly in the UK and even more so in Canada and if your a fan of Bob Monkhouse it's a worthy piece of history to have.
Now onto the companion list of 10 live action shows, I already did an exclusive British list so lets do the others.
I'm bound by my rules on Pre-School shows and the fact that this has alot of animation as well as live action doesn't really make it a candidate on this list, however I will never say a bad word against this show.
10. Pee-Wee's Playhouse
A bizarre world from the mind of actor Paul Reubens, Pee-Wee's playhouse was the madcap adventure that was designed for kids with ADHD.
9. Are You Afraid of the Dark?
A surprise Canadian hit which managed to really scare you and while the safety filter was on and most of the stories ended in safety, the occasional darker ones would really catch you out and of course many jumped on that opening sequence.
8. Bill Nye the Science Guy
If you want your science lessons to be insanely awesome then Bill Nye has you covered, a fast paced comedy show full of song parodies and endless amounts of science to make your brains work overtime after schools.
7. Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Bit of a grey area as it travels the fine line between kids show and adult but I watched a lot more of this when I was younger rather than older. Watch a young Will Smith live it up with his rich Aunty and Uncle in Bel-Air. Time to make you feel old now. Will Smith is now older than Uncle Phil was in the show. To be honest Will Smith just doesn't age anyway.
6. Saved by the Bell
Before Nickelodeon and Disney packed the world with nothing but Live Action Kids shows, Saved by the Bell was the show that pretty much started the whole trend, while suffering a bit from being in the Pink Cadillac era of tv (High School setting that feels like the 50s but with plenty of 90s trends) it still manages to be significant in this day and age but it does show it's age.
5. Sister Sister
Nickelodeon's breakthrough hit that gave way to others like it, Sister Sister showcases the lives of Tia and Tamara who get separated as infants but reunite as teens under unique single parents Fashion Designer Lisa and Limo Driver Ray. One of the few twin plots that doesn't go for the obvious tropes and occasionally played some powerful moments such as when they finally learn about their birth mother.
4. Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Melissa Joan Hart originally started with Clarissa Explains It All, my sister was obssessed with it and the brother and sister dynamic in that show really put me off but Sabrina, Hart's more famous work was a lot more entertaining and really gave the live action sitcom market a boost in what can be accomplished with technology at the time.
3. MIghty Morphin Power Rangers
Haim Saban is a genius, without him I think anime would be dead because he saw something in Hurricane Rangers that would make a fortune over in the west and it did. This was Power Rangers and while it has become a cheese fest it's a very entertaining cheese fest, welcome to the world of Japanese TV and all it's weirdness.
2. Kenan & Kel
A cult classic and one of the few that's remembered among all my friends. Kenan & Kel showcases comedian friends Kenan and Kel as they get into bizarre situations usually by dumb luck or poor judgement and made even more famous for the "Who Love's Orange Soda?" line. It's so well remembered Nickelodeon started doing reruns again. (Or maybe they are desperate to win back diminishing viewers for their channel)
Now for something adorable.
Wishbone was a story telling show as the title character would tell a story from the point of view of a dog obviously done by voiceover who would replace the story main character with Wishbone himself, these were famous literacy works that may even be taught at school, everything from Shakesphere's works to Dickens, from legends like Robin Hood to old folk tales like Journey to the West. Yes Wishbone covered Saiyuki.
It was charming and had a sense of whimsy and Soccer the Dog (Actual name) is so adorable!
I'm going to do something rare and talk about live action on a blog normally reserved for anime and cartoons but since I want to try some new things lets look at some live action shows from my childhood. Keep in mind this is the British List, there is a seperate list for Nickelodeon and other related channels with live action shows, this is just the British part of the list.
The Worst Witch: Sitcom about a Witches Academy that long predates Harry Potter, the titular Worst Witch is Mildred Hubble a witch-in-training with more than a little bit of bad luck in her school time. Left off the list because it's being remade.
10. Rosie & Jim
This is a young kids show about two ragdolls that come to life and explore the world on the British canals with the owner of the Narrowboat as they come across places of interest and learn about the interesting little crafting areas and hidden gems of the British Isles along the canals of the long forgotten Industrial Revolution. The show has iconic status from the quacking duck ornament ontop of the Narrowboat.
9. Bernard's Watch
Sitcom about a boy who acquires a Magic Pocket Watch that can stop time of which he uses to solve problems, it was a very creative series but suffered from an unpopular remake.
While the life and times of a burger restaurant seems like a recipe for a bad Spongebob ripoff, this sitcom looks at the original concept of the fastfood restaurant which was intended to be a delicacy for the rich and wealthy hence the title sequence, so give them credit for being different but it's still an entertaining little show.
Sitcom about a boy who shapeshifts into a dog, very much the same type of show as Bernard's Watch, situation resolved by the powers the user possess but Woof at least tried to make it a bit more interesting.
6. Finders Keepers
A kids Gameshow where you tear apart a large studio house in pursuit of certain items to claim big prizes, me and my sister always said we could do a better job than the contestents.
5. Fun House
Similar to Finders Keepers instead ten times messier, ten times the mullet (Long story) and featured Go-Karts. This was the ultimate kids amusement park experience; may have inspired the creation of the adult ball pit. (Britain has a Ball Pit Bar in London strictly for adults, keep in mind Fun House is nearly 30 years old)
How can I not write a list like this and not include Rainbow, it's part of British TV History. The antics of the three puppets Zippy, George and Bungle in a house owned by presenter Geoffrey (Not the 1st presenter) as they did various activities. It ran for over a 1000 episodes, a rarity for a show of it's type in Britain and has cult status alongside the likes of Wallace and Gromit. Random Fact: Zippy & George share their voices with Doctor Who's Daleks.
3. The Sooty Show
The misadventures of a mute mischeivous puppet named Sooty who along with a dog named Sweep and a panda named Soo often indulges in slapstick by spraying his owner with a water pistol and using Magic Tricks for more slapstick, it's been a staple of British TV since the 50s and very little has changed apart from Sooty's owner.
Billed as the television comic, ZZZap! has a showcase of comical showcases and creative works.
Cuthbert Lilly was a clumsy man which I dub Mr Bean Lite.
Smart Arty was an artist done in stereotypical French style but actually did some creative art pieces.
Tricky Dicky was a prankster with a spy style look.
Daisy Dares was someone who challenged kids to a dare often involving swimming pools and messy gunge.
Minnie the Mini Magician I didn't remember very well, but I guess she did magic tricks.
The Handymen were a pair of hands who did little clever crafts and tricks for an audience, despite being called Handymen the hands belonged to a woman.
Before World of Warcraft turned the fantasy gaming world into a realm of mediocrity we had Knightmare. A combination of Dungeons and Dragons Roleplaying thinking set on a mixture of video game and live action as you guide a player wearing a helmet that makes them blind. The object of the game was to complete the quest without dying. Easier said than done but it was fun to watch kids try especially when they had to command the blind player.