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Voltron The Legendary Defender Season 4 Review [Minor Spoilers]

I’ll be honest, I don’t have much to say about season 4 of Voltron.  Not because it wasn’t amazing, but because it literally is season 3B instead of an actual season 4.  This is more the fault of Netflix new wonky system of making a full season, and instead of releasing it fully releasing it in chunks.  I feel like because of that new format, Voltron season 3, and 4 had less impact than other Voltron seasons.  But first and foremost, let me get into what I liked.

 

This season starts exactly where season 3 left off before the backstory episode for Zarcon.  Keith is still piloting the black lion, but pulling away from the team because he doesn’t feel like he’s worthy of the responsibility.  Once again, good story arc for Keith and Shiro – who obviously wasn’t ok with not piloting the black lion, but was adapting to his new role as support in the castle gracefully.  Likewise, Allura was dealing with her insecurities, with not feeling like she’s up to the task of piloting the blue lion.  Overall, everyone was adapting, adjusting, and in the end overcoming their different character arcs.  We got some really funny filler episodes – one that was pretty meta humor-y, and in a way commenting on how some people generalize certain characters on the shows they love (done far tactfully than the My Little Pony FiM episode that did the same thing in my opinion) and once again, it would have been better to have it splitting up the more serious episodes if this season had been distributed all at once, than 7 episodes in June and 7 now.  Because of that, Allura, and Keith’s story arcs got dashed a bit – we barely see Keith in this season, if you watch it stand alone without season 3, and Allura’s story arc coming to the conclusion it did in the final episode seems a little odd if you don’t see why she was feeling this way in season 3.  That being said, I love Lance and Allura’s developing relationship – I’m very, very close to shipping them both!  The way Lance supports Allura, and helps her get out of her head and believe in herself is so great.  They compliment each other well, as Lance seems to also want to be able to support Allura in a non-joking way and actually genuinely understands and encourages her.  Lance’s story is one that sneaks up on you in the series, but seeing him develop from class clown into a reliable, more sensitive and understanding person (while still being class clown cuz come on that won’t change) is a part of the series I love and cant’ get enough of.

 

Pidge’s story arc from the very beginning is resolved in an episode as well, and emotionally by far it’s the strongest episode for me.  Bravo to Pidge’s voice actress, when she broke down in that episode I was really feeling for her!  I won’t spoil if she finds Matt or not, but I will say this story resolves satisfyingly and doesn’t feel like it was rushed because the entire motivations for Pidge were laid out in the first season.

 
Lotor’s arc this season was great too!  How the season ended was fantastic.  But, once again…
This isn’t a slight to the show.  As I said in my first paragraph, I love Voltron – it’s my favorite series to watch right now.  But Netflix…I get you want to make money, but this new system of 7 episodes now, then 7 later just doesn’t work for a plot based, character driven show like Voltron.  If you want a shorter season, with a beginning and end to a plotline, then ok:  it probably wouldn’t be as good, but it would work.  Calling this season 4 when it’s clearly the 2nd half of season 3 you held back to get more viewership later in the year to me is really tacky, and a detriment to the flow of your shows.  Like I said before, it just makes all the stories less impactful, and it’s frustrating to people who want to watch the entire season when it’s released, but they know if it’s a 7 episode season, it’s only going to be half of one.  So what are fans left to do?  Either wait for both seasons to drop, binge those for a more cohesive story and deal with it, or watch half of the season when it’s released, then the second half when it’s released.  I guess you could also watch both seasons when they’re released then binge all 13 episodes after that, but why should I have to do that when the entire season should just drop when it’s going to drop?  Calling this season 4 is really just because it was released after season 3, but literally this is the second half of season 3 and I don’t appreciate Netflix holding the second half of this season ransom.  It feels like a major cash grab (it probably is) and feels like I might as well be watching it on television if they’re going to pull stuff like this.
At the end of the day, I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes in production.  If this is the only way to keep Voltron going then I guess I’ll deal with it.  But, I have a feeling it’s just something Netflix is doing because they can and it’s frustrating.

 

 

But yeah, none of that is on the staff for Voltron:  This season is fantastic!  If you want to see the second half of what I think is the best season yet, watch it now!  I’ll probably go binge seasons 3 and 4 just to see how the plot flows, how about you?

Cartoons

Voltron: The Legendary Defender Season 3 Review [Spoilers]

Voltron season 3 was released last Friday, and you better believe I binged that like there was no tomorrow.  Hands down Voltron:  The Legendary Defender is my favorite animated series in the past year, it’s so well done and so impactful and aaaah this third season just added so much to the world building and lore and character development that I wanted to gush about it.
I’m really hoping that this new half season format Netflix has been doing isn’t going to be the norm, because season 3 of Voltron was only 7 episodes, and just like with Castlevania, it left a lot of plots unfinished, too many cliffhangers, and overall just felt like the season was incomplete.  The last 2 seasons had cliffhangers, like major ones, but at the same time it finished up all the major plots that were started in the beginning of the season, and the cliffhangers were more along the lines of “We finished the story arc for all characters in this season, but if you want to find out what happens for the next story arc in the next season, better ocme back cuz bam cliffhanger!” and I’m alright with that, it’s common television practice for some shows.  Season 3 however left us hanging with at least 2 major plots, and even though we found out the new big bads actual plans, we had a lot of storytelling opportunities’ opened up to us that couldn’t be explored because of the seasonal length.  I know they’ll be calling the next season season 4, but honestly I’ll consider it more of a season 3.5 because form the trailer we’re going to be picking up right where we left off with this one.

 

That being said, I enjoyed this season overall!  Even though we had a lot of plot threads unresolved, we had a lot of awesome developments, such as Allura becoming the paladin for the blue lion!  Keith is now the leader, and Lance is now in the red lion.  So we have a Voltron formation that pays an homage to the original Voltron series.  Allura is also in her pink warrior gear, which is a great nod too.  And, needless to say, she’s such an awesome fighter!  We get glimpses into her prowess with the last two seasons, but now that she’s a paladin we get to see her in all of her combat glory and ayaaaah she’s such a great edition to the team that I love.  She has a great dynamic with the others that was there already, but is growing steadily now that she’s part of the team and not just running the castle ship.  The scenes with her and Lance, and Lance and Keith were  by far my favorite storyline moments.  I’m wondering if they’re also going to make Allura and Keith a couple down the road, like in the original series but only time will tell.
The mystery with Shiro continues, as he returns from being captured once again.  We don’t really get to see much of this plot, which was frustrating, and once again I point to the season length for that:  if we had gotten 13 episodes, that particular plot probably would have been resolved and paved the way for some forward momentum with the plot.  Instead, we’re left wondering, and waiting for the resolution of  a plot started in this season that couuuuuld have finished if we had more episodes.  Overall, Shiro is just a support character in this season, who may or may not have hidden motives now?  I swear if they make Shiro a clone I’m gonna flip out, that’s so overdone but from what we saw of his story it seems like the route we’re going (please prove me wrong in October writing crew, pleaseeee).

 

Lotor is by far, the best edition to the cast.  I found with Zarcon, he just was too big bad evil for me, and didn’t really have motivations or a character that I cared about on the side of the villains.  I personally like to be able to understand why a villain is doing something, which we got in the final episode of this season with a prequel episode explaining backstory for some key supporting characters (one reveal in particular I was liek whoaaaa that was clever!  But I won’t spoil it here).  But I really like that Lotor is a really dynamic ruler, that you can get behind.  He’s a strategist, who knows how to manipulate the masses to suit his own ends and is always a step ahead of the Palladins, it’s just so fun to watch both sides fight each other and see who comes out on top because they’re both equally matched now.  I enjoy the space battles of the last two seasons, but the badguy of the week was rather one note and mindless in comparison to Lotor.  His Generals are also a breath of fresh air, because we finally get some more women in the cast!  Lotor’s entire crew are awesome femme fatales, and I’m excited to unpack their backstories, along with Lotor’s down the road.  Having a cast on the villain’s side who you want to learn more about is definitely a plus in this season for me, really enjoyed every scene Lotor and his crew were in, just as much as the scenes with the Paladin’s.

Voltron:  The Legendary Defender is still going strong, and you can tell the showrunners know not only the source material well, but how to expand it and make it even better.  We’re getting season 4 in October, and I simply can’t wait to see what is in store for our cast!  Did you get a chance to watch the season yet? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Cartoons

Castlevania Netflix Series Review [Spoilers]

After all the hype, it’s finally out.  Did it reach my expectations?  Mostly!  Well let me rephrase that:  Tone wise, yes, it did reach my expectations.  We got a gothic horror themed series, that doesn’t shy away from the darker parts of the franchise at all.  Good characters, good plot, really good fight scenes.  Awesome homages  to the Castlevania franchise, as well.  The series was good, but not perfect, and in order for me to dive into why it’s time for a review with some spoilers!  So if you haven’t watched the series yet, you may not want to read past this point.

 

I’m going to do this in a pros and cons format, because I don’t really know any other way to form my thoughts in regards to this show.  I’m going to start with the pros, so here we go!

 

PROS

 

  • I love the atmosphere of this show.  It’s dark, it’s creepy, and the story is introduced to the audience well.  You don’t have to have played a Castlevania game to dive into this series, but there are some cute easter eggs in there if you’ve played the games (the dried meat and food stands was my personal favorite).
  • The Characters are great. They’re using Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard as the main characters so we’re going off of the Castlevania 3:  Dracula’s curse timeline.  They’re doing a great job of making the story less Nintendo shallow fight monsters and sniz and fleshing out characters with their own motivations, development and backstories.  I genuinely felt for everyone, including Dracula and the story telling is just really well done.
  • I was so worried we wouldn’t get good fight scenes, but I had nothing to worry about. Best fight choreography in an animated series I’ve seen by far.  I love how the whip is integrated into the fights with Trevor, how Sypha uses her magic competently, and how the monsters aren’t just some derpy things that are easily taken down:  both sides have skills, and a great battle is always seen.  Not only that, but there are stakes in each battle, it doesn’t just feel like Trevor is going to win because he’s the main character (even though that’s the case).  All in all, every fight scene was really enjoyable to watch.
  • It’s frustrating to have to have this as a pro, but it was so refreshing to have a female lead, that not only was competent, but there weren’t any stupid romance between the two main characters tropes! The best example of this in the show is when Trevor and Sypha are falling down some catacombs.  Trevor grabs Sypha with his whip, then holds her by the waist to  keep her from falling.  When they land, there wasn’t any stupid “Unhand me, ugh!” “Well hmph I never”.  It just wasn’t mentioned at all, because you know Trevor was saving Sypha’s life.  Along those lines, Sypha’s gender is never mentioned at all.  Trevor see’s she’s a magician, and from the getgo is just like “OK can you do these things to help fight” like never once was gender mentioned, and it was clear they were both on equal footing and respected each other because of what they did and not because of anything gender related.  The show takes place in the 1400s, so that’s even more surprising!  Only thing that happened was Sypha being called a witch, but once again that had to do with her magic, and not with her gender at all.  I really hope this continues in the rest of the series, and if Trevor and Sypha wind up having a romantic relationship, that it grows realistically.  The entire series is realistic, as realistic as a show about slaying hordes of demons can go and it’s soooo awesome.

 

CONS

 

  • My biggest complaint about the show is its length.  After waiting so long, we only get 4 episodes, seriously?  And the final episode is pretty much the start of the actual plot!  Because of this, the pacing is so wonky and the first two episodes really left something to be desired.  Episodes 3 and 4 are fine, but after all of the lead up to getting the cast together, we really needed at least 2 more episodes to flesh out the central plot.  I would’ve preferred a full 13 episode season on Netflix, but if anything we should have gotten 6 episodes.
  • Along those lines, the pacing in the first two episodes was so wonky. Dracula’s entire backstory was done in the first episode, but his motivations could have been fleshed out more just with one more episode to flesh out his, and Lisa’s relationship.  As it stands, their relationship felt out of the blue because we cut from her being like “Show me your ways so I can heal people with science!” then next scene they’re married.  So, why don’t we get to see their relationship at all?  Even seeing Alucard as an adult in scenes afterwards I was like, “So how long were they married?  Have they been together for like 20 years, or like 2 and Alucard just grows really fast”.  Like why should that even be a question for me? His backstory should have been fleshed out waaay more, because with the way it is now it seems like Dracula just threw a temper tantrum because we didn’t see anything with him and Lisa, with Dracula traveling and experiencing humanity, or anything like that.  If we had even just seen him travelling around, then his turning on humanity would have been a lot more impactful.  All in all, the backstory for Dracula needs to be fleshed out and I hope we get that later down the line at least.
  • Another problem I had with the first two episodes was that they both played out like a video game. Like full on talking to NPCs, travelling from town to town, we gotta get from point A to point B to move the plot forward sort of gameplay only it’s a TV show.  I didn’t mind it too much but at the same time it bugged me that the plot in the first two episodes were so rushed and clunky and if the first two episodes were handled like a show, like the last two episodes were handled it wouldn’t have felt so disjointed.  When Trevor comes in, it feels like a completely different show because it doesn’t feel like a game anymore.  Dracula’s backstory felts like we were watching the opening cutscenes of a video game and like I said it just was really jarring after we got to the plot progression that wasn’t gamey.

 

Honestly, those are all of my cons.  All of them are rooted in the same complaint:  too short, we needed more episodes.  We’re already getting a season 2,, but why didn’t we get at least 8 episodes in season 1 to have a lot more meat for the audience?  The 2nd season is going to be twice as long, so we’ll get 8 episodes?  I really hope we get an actual plot after setting all of the pieces in place.  It bothers me that these four episodes are really just setting everything up, and now we have to wait for more.

 

That being said, I loooove this series!  I had a lot more pros than cons, and I’m really excited to see how the story unfolds, how the characters grow together, and more awesome action scenes.  Have you watched the series yet?  Would love to hear your thoughts!

Cartoons

A Musical Moment: Here Comes a Thought – Steven Universe

There’s so much good music in Steven Universe, that it was hard to pick a track from it.  I’ll probably spotlight some more tracks from here, but I really wanted to avoid any spoilertastic songs in case you are reading, and haven’t seen the episode.  So no spotlight of Stronger Than You even though it’s an awesome song, sorry~

 

 

 

Here Comes a Thought is very self-contained, and it’s message is so beautiful.  It’s the perfect anthem for anyone who suffers from anxiety and depression, and I constantly sing it whenever I’m feeling overly stressed and apathetic.  The word play in it is so clever also! Just this section alone portrays the struggle anyone with anxiety has.  Just this simple phrase means so much:
“It’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok” the amount that that’s said has so many meanings.  The first “It’s OK” – calming yourself down, telling your mind to shut off.  The next two, calming you down further.  The final section you slowly believing the words you’re saying, and that whatever internal crisis you’re going through actually will be ok.  The melodic structure of that section too, how it starts higher then descends down the scale – as if it’s you coming down from yore anxiety attack, it just speaks volumes.
Another section I love that I’d like to highlight is this one:

 

“You’ve got nothing, got nothing, got nothing, got nothing to fear.

I’m here, I’m here, I’m here.”

 

Those three “I’m here’s” all have different meanings as well.  But before that, you have to tell yourself not to be afraid of what’s happening to you, that what you’re going through is normal and ok.  That not only are your friends and family here to support and protect you, but “I’m here” literally – I’m here, I’m not lost in my head worrying.  I’m here, and I’m grounded, and I’m going to get through this because I’m also here to live my life and these thoughts aren’t going to stop me from doing that.  Or, as the final section of the song says:

 

“And it was just a thought, just a thought just a thought, just a thought, just a thought.

It’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok.

We can watch, we can watch, we can watch, we can watch them go by.

From here, from here, from here.”

 

I love this song.  In my eyes, it’s perfection.

 

Cartoons

The Castlevania Cartoon is Coming AHHHH!

 

A while ago there was speculation about a new Castlevania cartoon that was all but confirmed, but I didn’t realize how much further along in production it was!  It’s coming in July, and I couldn’t be more excited!  A while ago, I did a post about what I was hoping to get from a Castlevania cartoon – mainly, I wanted it to be more geared towards an adult cartoon, which by the looks of this trailer, it definitely will be!  Seems a lot like an anime, and this trailer got me so pumped for the series!  Best of all, it’s a Netflix original, so it’s going to have audio description for sure!

 

What I can gather from this trailer, it seems like it’s going to merge Castlevania lore with some classic Bram Stoker Dracula vibes – at least, that’s the vibe I got from the main characters in here, seems very gothic and action based and ayaaaah I can’t wait for July!  The voice acting I already love, as well!

 

Really not much to this post, I just got linked this trailer and wanted to share.  How do you feel about the show from this trailer?  Are you gonna watch it when it airs?  I know I am!

Cartoons

Voltron: The Legendary Defender Season 2 is Beyond Amazing

When Voltron:  The Legendary Defender came out last year, I wasn’t expecting much.  I had watched the show as a kid, but all I remembered from it was cool space battles and a Princess character that I liked not for her character, but because she was the only female character in the show.  So I was surprised when I finished season 1, and got majorly obsessed with this version of the show.  Voltron:  The Legendary Defender is a prime example of a reboot done extremely well:  I wouldn’t even call it a reboot, because other than it being based on a pre-existing property, it’s completely different than any of its predecessors.  I knew a season 2 was happening, but wasn’t aware it was releasing this weekend until I saw someone mention it on Twitter, and went to look on Netflix and low and behold a miraculous season 2!  So as is my way, I binged the entire season in 3 days.

 

How does season 2 do at expanding the Legendary Defender Universe and story, you might ask?  Extremely well!

 

The end of season 1 was a major cliffhanger, that got resolved within the first two episodes.  I was really happy for that, because I was afraid that we were going to have to deal with a season long arc of the cliffhanger being resolved, but doing it in that short of an episode span allowed the show to expand not only it’s world building, but characters.  There were a few plot strings left open with Keith especially, and even though I knew how his plot was going to be resolved by the end of season 1 (it was extremely predictable) seeing how the characters bonded, and reacted to his plot twist was really great.  I loved how we got to see more of the universe, and the show artfully tackled the themes of blind prejudice, while at the same time giving the viewer so much new content to speculate about.  There are major plot reveals I don’t want to spoil that happened in the end, but those plot twists legit made me gasp while watching, they were so good!

 

Of course, being a Voltron show, the space battles were inevitable.  Once again, they didn’t disappoint!  The battles were excellently choreographed, and the audio description script to describe the battles didn’t leave anything out.  I have to say, all of the audio description on this show is so well done:  On some shows, there are big gaps when something too fast paced isn’t being described, or they just stop because you can deduce what’s happening.  On Voltron, the scripter knows when to not describe things, and when to describe things and it really keeps you engaged in the entirety of the show, instead of you checking out because of lack of description in bits.  Honestly, I think Voltron has the best audio description of any show I’ve watched on Netflix, it’s really, really well done.

 

Princess Allura in her casual clothing

And of course, I can’t leave out my girl Allura!  I freaking adore Allura so much.  What they turned her into is such a far leap from the old Voltron show, I can’t believe it.  She’s such a strong, capable leader, so fierce and so smart but she’s also this vulnerable woman who’s lost so much and she’s so multi-dimensional it’s perfection.  She gets her time to shine too, with some awesome character moments, and battle scenes that just had me going “Yeah goooo!!”.  The final three episodes, every main character pulled their weight, and every voice actor delivered stellar performances, it had me on the edge of my seat.  Just such good pacing, battle scenes, and emotional tension. Ugh, this show is just so good!

 

This is more of a speculation than a critique, and maybe minor spoilers?  But I have a feeling they’re planning to pair Allura with one of the paladins as a romantic couple, and although it wasn’t the pairing I wanted, I’m also not complaining that it’s happening.  They’ve been hinting at it since season 1, and honestly it’s developed to a point where they both have great chemistry.  I really enjoy the scenes they have together, like any scene with the two of them in it makes me go “Daaaaw”.  The final scene they had together in the season especially made me DAWWW, and if I had any doubts they were going to be paired together, that particular scene put them all to rest.  What I really like about this though, is that they’re giving their relationship time to grow.  They go through bouts of drama, but it’s understandable drama that’s caused because of another plot point in the series, and it makes perfect sense that it would put a rift between the two for a while.  After it’s resolved, you see their bond grow stronger, and their relationship overall is growing in a really well paced, really organic way that a relationship should grow and it’s such a breath of fresh air to see over the insta-love or over-dramatized relationships in other shows.

 

So yeah, if you haven’t noticed, I highly recommend watching Voltron:  The Legendary Defender if you haven’t already.  Season 1 lays great groundwork for the series, and season 2 builds upon the world, introducing new characters that add just as much to the show as the main cast does.  I’m trying to leave this review as spoiler-free as possible, but I love how a certain resistance group that was added to the series just flips all pre-conceptions of a certain organization on its head, and makes the characters re-think their world views.  It was a very mature move on the writers part to throw that into the series, and really made this second season even better than the first one.
Once again, season 2 ended on a major cliffhanger!  I have my fingers crossed that we’ll get another season in six months or so, because the first season of Voltron aired in June of last year.  Or, maybe we’ll luck out, and the next season will have more than 13 episodes?  A fangirl can dream!

 

Did you binge Voltron like me?  IF so, how did you like it?

Cartoons

Nickelodeon Working on a Nintendo Cartoon? Castlevania Hopes and Speculations

Last week some news dropped about Frederator Studios – the studio behind Adventure Time, working on and releasing a new video game themed cartoon after Adventure Time goes off the air.  There’s been a lot of speculation as to what IP is going to be cartoonified, but the one that I find most plausible is a Castlevania cartoon.  Other theories I’ve seen have thrown out Mario, Legend of Zelda, and a Sonic show, but since Sonic Boom is already a fairly popular cartoon, and I don’t think Mario and Zelda would be getting another cartoon adaptation after the ones in the 90s, I’m leaning towards believing the article linked above.

 

Now, with an announcement like this, every fan comes out of the wood works.  “Frederator animates Adventure time in a way that would make Castlevania look crappy!” “Nooooo WHYYYY please don’t have it like how Simon was in Captain N” “I just am going to complain before it’s even confirmed because it’s trendy to do so!”.  Ok so that last one was just me being salty, but you get my point.
With this news, I thought it would be fun to speculate what type of cartoon I’d want from a  Castlevania series, so here we go!

 

A Darker Tone

 

The only animated version of any Belmont we got, was Simon in Captain N.  That…wasn’t a good version and put the awesomeness that is the Belmont clan to shame.  I think for a good Castlevania series to work, the creators have to not be afraid to go there with its darker themes.  I have high hopes that Nick wouldn’t stray away from doing this, since the new Ninja Turtles cartoon that airs on Nicktoons gets pretty dark at times.  I mean, the entire Castlevania series circles around a vampire hunting family, so if they don’t go there it’d be super lame.

 

I’d like the darker tone to permeate not only the plot, but the atmosphere and characters as well.  Castlevania has some awesome set pieces (Castlevania IV’s first stage comes to mind, as  well as like, all of Symphony of the Night) and using some really dark, vivid colors for backgrounds, along with really atmospheric gothic music would make me very, very happy.
Awesome costumes would be a plus, too!

 

Different Character arcs

 

I picture the setup of the show like Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, where we follow a member of the Belmont Clan for a span of episodes, then move onto another family member, etc etc.  I think where Castlevania shines is it’s over-arcing family storyline, and seeing how each Belmont reacts and takes down Dracula, so that would just be super fun to watch if they did it right.

Fleshed Out Characters!

 

This goes without saying, but I want all the main characters to be super interesting!  My favorite Belmont’s are Simon and Trevor, and if they just decided to make them cliché stoic badasses that would be cool and all but it totally defeats the purpose of making an animated series where you have the opportunity to display the motivations of every character, and have some backstory that isn’t’ just take this whip and beat up Dracula.  That being said however, some great fight scenes have to be in order, since it’s mainly an action/adventure franchise that may be getting adapted and I just want a fight scene set to this track OK.

 

Honestly, everything I’d want in this series is more geared towards an adult audience, or more like if Castlevania were going to become an anime, but I can dream, can’t I?  I will have my fingers crossed that the speculation that the new series will be a Castlevania one comes true, because I think it would be perfect to adapt to a cartoon.

 

Do you have any video game franchises you’d want to be adapted into a cartoon series?  If so, what would you want from the show.