Anime · Cartoons · Uncategorized

Why You Should Give RWBY Another Chance if You’ve Dropped it

A group shot of Team RWBY: Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang

 

I watched RWBY a while ago, when volume 3 was the last volume out.  It had gotten my attention enough to give it a shot, but it took a lot of time to get there.  Literally, it was the end of vol. 3 that made me go “Oh, this show is actually interesting now” when volumes 2 and 1 just seemed like a generic hot chicks with swords sudo anime web series, tropy characters and all.
So because of that, I dropped RWBY.  I had watched the first four episodes of volume 4, and there was so little going on I got disinterested.  I was watching it when it aired, and I’m just not a watch an episode one at a time person.  I still would see people talking about how great RWBY was, and a friend told me volumes 4 and 5 were great and they had just watched them.  So I had taken about 2 years off from watching the series, since I was watching volume 4 when it was airing and a volume comes out once a year.

 

And man, waiting and binging volumes 4 and 5 was a great choice.  The show, although I see some people complain about the slower pacing, really reached a depth I didn’t think existed when in volumes 1 and 2 it was nothing but big fighting set pieces.  Volume 4 took the time to slow down, let the aftermath of volume 3 take its toll on the characters, and allowed them to grow, breath, and develop.  When the fights came into the picture, they had weight behind them, because the story had built to that point.  I can’t see the fights, and honestly would love for audio description to be added to the show, because there are huge chunks of just awesome music, no dialogue, and then I have to read the RWBY wiki for transcripts to see what happened in the stretch of the episode that has little dialogue.  They have a lot of show, not tell in the series:  which totally works, not knocking RWBY for doing that.  But those stretches of show not tell have no audio queue’s, and usually just footsteps for a few minutes with flashy sound effects that don’t really tell you what’s going on in the scene.  Like I said, you just have to deduce what happened, or look up what happened via transcripts.
I guess that’s also a big part of why I liked the slower pacing.  Less fights, meant more auditory going on because the characters were talking, and moving the plot along with dialogue.  And then, the fights had weight, and were a liiittle easier to figure out about half of what was going on.  Volumes 4 and 5 were both slower paced, and getting our heroes back together so the overarching bigger plot to take place with every character having grown through their trials in the volumes.
It was just…nice.  No other way to put it.  I felt a connection with the characters I hadn’t felt before, and didn’t see them as “The cool one, the one who’s a tomboy”  Characters that I didn’t even like before had arcs that made me like them.  If for some reason, you were turned off from RWBY volumes 1 through 3, but saw that there was a spark of something there that interested you decently, but not enough to want to continue watching, try watching volumes 4 and 5.  The show really starts there if I’m being honest, the first three seasons just feel like a prologue.
You an RWBY fan?  Did you like it from volume 1, or did it take a while to grow on you.  Would love to hear in the comments!

Cartoons · Uncategorized

Voltron Season 5 Review

So it looks like we’re stuck with this 6 to 7 episode format for a “season” when it comes to Voltron, thanks a lot Netflix.  I totally get why they’re doing it though, they get more content and can spread it out over a few “seasons” and it’s more lucrative for them.  I will say that season 5 fixed the format a little, and gave us a concrete beginning and end to the season, even with its short run time.  But with only 6 episodes to a season, was it enough to make season 5 worth the watch?
Spoilers:  Yep!  Now onto the review~

 

All in all, we were given a pretty solid season.  The character development front was a nice boost from prior seasons, where I feel we had a pretty big focus on plot centric stuff, and a back burner to character growth.  Did season 5 strike the perfect balance between good plot pacing, and good character development? I don’t think Voltron quite hit the mark there.  I find that it has a problem with giving us a plot point, having a few episodes not even remotely related to a certain plot point, and then bam out of the blue hey that plot point came back even though it wasn’t mentioned at all because we were focusing on other stuff.  Like a good example is the whole Shiro plot point from season 3.  We had all of these other plots going, and then hey at the end of the season, remember that Shiro plot?  Here’s how it’s going to go down!  That, along with the Pidge’s Dad plot I feel like just came out of the blue when we were focusing on other, more interesting plot points and characters.  I think it has a lot to do with wanting to have a conclusive “season 5” but come on Netflix, why not just give us 13 episodes so the pacing is a little bit better?

 

But plot pacing aside, I really enjoyed the characters in this season.  The strongest writing in this season was the relationships between Lotor, and the Paladins.  Spoilers ahead, you have been warned!
SO I really enjoy what they’re doing with Lotor in season 5.  He’s the most interesting character by far, just because of how unpredictable he is.  He sides with Team Voltron for self-preservation purposes, but does wind up gaining their trust.  But the real question is, is he manipulating them?  Is he sincere in some aspects of his words, and others not?  Or is he 100 percent on board with helping Team Voltron win the war.  It’s a really interesting dynamic that keeps the viewers on their toes, and even though I’d like Lotor to have genuinely changed sides, I also have a feeling of unease that the other shoe is going to drop as soon as Lotor gets what he wants.  I do believe his feelings towards Allura  are genuine, at least, but I’m just waiting for him to kidnap her, or try and lure her over to his side or something.  Lance in that regard grows immensely, along with his feelings for Allura (to me, at least, I love that ship but LotorXAllura I love too so I really really hope he’s legit).  Lance’s development in this season reached a point that I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes the pilot of the Black Lion, just really enjoy how he’s matured over these five seasons.

 

Now the writing isn’t flawless, by any means.  The one thing I’m going to call out with the writing is how predictable it is.  We always know the paladins are going to win, we always know that even if a situation gets dire, they’ll come out on top.  Other than Lotor being more of a neutral chaotic, anyone else who we have heard about and assume is good, we meet and is good.  There was one character in particular that I would have liked to see them do something different with, and had be a secret Zarcon loyalist when they thought he was on their side but alas a missed opportunity and of course he turned out good, because that’s how he was initially presented to us.  I still enjoy the show, but it’s just such a predictable good vs. evil battle, granted with awesome fight scenes in it, but still some diverse character motivations would be nice.

 

So We find out something interesting with Keith in this season as well that I can’t wait to see what happens next.  Was a little bummed he only got one episode, and as of now he isn’t a Voltron paladin, but at least we got to see him a little in the season, even if it was one full episode with him.  But once again his character is developing nicely, so can’t complain.
Voltron season 5 seems like it’s a transitional season towards more heavier material to come in later seasons, it was a lot slower paced and focused more on the characters than anything else.  Since I enjoy character pieces over plot, I liked this season immensely, and can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

Have you seen season 5 of Voltron:  Legendary Defender?  I binged it all in one sitting!  If so, what did you think of the season as a whole?

Cartoons · Uncategorized

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!