Cartoons · TV Shows

Voltron: The Legendary Defender Season 8 Review [Spoilers]

It’s over my friends.  After 2 some odd years, Voltron The Legendary Defender is over.  It’s been one heck of a ride, but I won’t say that the ending is something…that I liked, or that I expected.  In fact, the ending made me so furious, that I had to decompress over the weekend after binging it all on Friday.  I went to the reddit for Voltron to talk to other fans, which is something I’ve never done for the show, that’s how upset I was.  But after taking some time, I think I’m ready to talk about this.  I need to talk about this so I can get my feelings out about it, and move on with my life.
I have a lot to say about this season, and the show as a whole.  So I’m going to do a series of 3 posts, this one just talking about season 8, the next one talking about Voltron as a whole, it’s flaws and positives, and the last one…talking about the ending.  In particular, something that happened in the ending.  It’s probably not what everyone is thinking of, but it’s the thing that affected me most and I really need to write a post about that specifically, along the same lines as the 2nd post in this series:  What I think they were going for with that choice, why it wasn’t executed well, that sort of thing.

 

That being said, the first half of this post is going to be spoiler free.  The 2nd half is going to have spoilers, because it’s unavoidable when talking about a series finale.  But I’ll be sure to label spoilers with a big old heading so you can leave if you don’t want to know what happens in the ending.
So with that out of the way, let’s get into my general thoughts of season 8!

 

GENERAL THOUGHTS

 

The season starts out very well, giving us the resolution to story arcs that were lingering for quite some time.  After the first episode, we start the season with some backstory for a certain character, then go right into the rest of the season having action, some “filler” episodes, and the ultimate ending of the series.  The filler episodes this season were the best of the series, in my opinion:  They got the themes they wanted for the filler across and lightened the mood, but at the same time they propelled the plot forward – which is something that previous filler episodes haven’t done before.  They usually would put the plot at a standstill, then next episode would pick up the plot again.  But seeing filler that leads into plot, and that grows characters was nice, and I wish we had more of that throughout the rest of the series.

 

The character moments are few and far between in this season, but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.  The characters bond was pre-established, so we didn’t really need to see them interact as much as in past seasons.  I really enjoyed what we got though (seeing Pidge and Allura acting like sisters in the first episode was one that certainly warmed my heart) and just seeing the culmination of the six main characters relationship was such a treat.  Seeing how Keith, Lance, and Allura grew throughout the series especially was nice.  Like they are completely different characters between the beginning and the ending, and their character arcs were handled well..for the most part.  But we’ll get to that in the spoilers section.

 

The villain of the final season was a major lead up that also was something culminating throughout the entire series, and I really liked it.  Not only was it a personal battle for our Paladin’s, but it also was a matter of saving their universe, and multiple others.  Once again, the villain  was handled excellently…until the ending.  The action was on point, and the stakes just kept on ramping up higher and higher…but then the climax just utterly fell flat, and felt rushed, and like the writers  had expended all of their energy getting to the point of the final battle, only to realize “Crap, how are we supposed to resolve this?”.

 

Of course, the answer is AlluraXMachina!

 

But that, once again, is getting into spoiler territory. So I think at this point, it’s time to talk about it.  The thing that’s going to just make Voltron a great series, instead of the amazing series it could have been…

SPOILERS!  SPOILERS!  TURN BACK IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS!!!!!!

 

OK so.
I loved everything about this season.  Sure, there were certain things that just weren’t answered, like what happened to all of the Shiro clones, and a lot of stories mentioned that just…weren’t addressed or touched on again, like Veronica trying to make friends with Acxa, and that whole ex-Lotor’s General’s crew having that episode was nice but it wasn’t really closure.  That the other General popped up, wanted to kill Keith, and then just decides not to because of a few nice words was choppy writing, and it feels like it was something that the writers wanted to have more time with but couldn’t.  Lance and Allura, though there was lead up throughout the entire series for it, when it actually happened we just got a phew scenes of it, and it didn’t feel like it got as developed as it should have when they actually got together – they just had their relationship go from 0 to 100, and even though I loved they’re fluffy moments, I would have liked to see the actual relationship take time, just as much as them getting together did.

This season was very much Allura’s story, which was…alright?  Once again, it just sort of came out of the blue.  Like the previous seasons had very much a tone of teamwork makes us all stronger, but in season 8 Allura just was the focal point, and as much as I love her it felt like major tonal  whiplash because this isn’t how the show was.  If we had a season format, where every character had their own season to shine and have their arcs, then focusing on Allura would have made more sense.  But as it stands, this was an ensemble piece that just decided to make 1 of the characters become the main one at its climax.

 

Along those lines, like the themes in general got a mish mosh and the tone of the show suffered for it.  Voltron is notorious for the central message that all of the heroes will win, no matter what odds will face them.  Shiro dies?  No worries, AlluraXMachina will bring him back.  Pidge needs to find her family?  No worries, she’ll find them, none of them are dead, or evil, and she’ll find them and put her family back together again.  But for some reason, in the final episode of the final season, they decide to throw all of that out of the window.
OK so this is a huge huge huge spoiler so if you really don’t want to know it, don’t read on.

 

But they set the precedent that no matter what, all six of our main characters will win the day, that none of them will die, get injured, or any of that…
Only to kill Allura in the literal last ten minutes of the show?

This was what ruined the season for me folks.  After everything we had been through, she’ dies.  Granted, she chooses to sacrifice herself to save the universe, and all its realities, but like…there was absolutely no lead up to this what-so-ever.  Allura has always been a selfless character, like it’s in character for her to do so, but I mean from a writing standpoint, there was absolutely no lead up to this.  She absorbs the Entity, which also has no real explanation to whether or not she got rid of it after a certain point (just seemed like a plot device to get some episodes going, if I’m being completely honest) and there just was no in-universe logic to why this had to happen.  I would have been heartbroken if she died regardless, she’s my favorite character, but they don’t explain any of the reasoning properly so it just feels like they needed AlluraXMachina to do her thing once again, but this time decided to kill her?  Allura, who’s suffered the most, sacrificed the most out of all of the characters, is the one who has to die, when Honerva has the exact same power set as her, had absorbed all the energy of the universe, and showed that she was willing to fix her mistakes because of a very quick heel turn because of some memory flashback provided by our favorite Altean.  Like, if there were any lead up to this what-so-ever, if they had dropped some scenes explaining why this had to happen, then it could have been better and seeing that it would be inevitable for Allura to die would have been interesting.  As it stands however, it feels rushed, forced, and an answer to the plothole they wrote their selves into.  How do we fix Honerva destroying all realities?  Altean magic, of course!

 

This is what I’m going to need an entire post to talk about.  This, it’s execution, how clunky, and unnecessary it is when they spent an entire season bringing Shiro back to life earlier in the series, just isn’t cool.  It makes an otherwise amazing series and season just feel like we didn’t get the ending we were promised from the beginning.

It honestly felt like this wasn’t the ending that they wanted.  It feels like from how the show was going,  That it was going to end with EVERY PALADIN alive, and happy, and that suffering and sacrifice has its rewards for our heroes.  That Allura lost her family, but she has a found family in the paladins and can start anew in spite of all of her life hardships.  This terrible execution of theming, this rushed resolution to the plot, isn’t new to Voltron:  Legendary Defender, but it was excusable when overall the story was enjoyable.  If we had an extra season, I wholeheartedly believe we’d have a plot much like the Shiro clone plot in which the other paladins go to save Allura from a dimension in between realities.

 

The rest of the ending was fine.  I didn’t mind the epilogues itself, but everyone but Allura getting their happy ending leaves such a bad taste in my mouth.  This was an ensemble piece, and in my opinion that means the entire team should have made it out alive.  Teamwork, and supporting each other was a huge theme of the series, so Alura alone sacrificing herself is just a bad way to end the series.  I’ll be talking about this in another article however, so I will leave it at that.

 

If you’re a fan of Voltron:  Legendary Defender, this season is like the others.  Lots of action, good mech battles, decent characters, very choppy writing and poor execution for some key plot points.  This season felt rushed, and I really think that we needed an extra 13 episodes to get the story that the writers wanted to tell.  Allura dying was just there for shock value, and as I said earlier, it really doesn’t feel like what the show was heading towards, but sigh it happened so we have to deal with it.  I shall stick to my headcannon that the Lions fly off to get Allura so her and Lance can live on his farm, and have lots of half Altean, half Earth babies.  Such a bittersweet ending, that sours an otherwise amazing series, and season.

 

And those are my final thoughts on Voltron:  Legendary Defender season 8.  It had such a strong start, so many amazing nods to characters we’ve seen in flashbacks, and in the story.  My favorite interactions hands down were Allura and her Father getting to reunite, and seeing the original paladins help our favorite team in the end.  But fanservice like that doesn’t make up for the plot holes, bad execution, and pointless character death this season was plagued with.

 

And that’s what I’m left with guys.  This is where I’m at.  I went from fiery anger, to “I can’t believe they did this” to dull acceptance, and I guess that’s where I’m at now.  It’s up to you whether or not the ending will ruin the entire series for you, but for me, at this current point in time, it does and I don’t think I’ll be rewatching the show anytime soon, or watching anything else these writers produce.  I can’t bring myself to watch a show I enjoyed so much only to have such a hugely disappointing  ending be thrown at me, so yeah.

 

 

Watch season 8 of Voltron for all of the good in it, and let’s flock to fanfiction if the ending we got isn’t something that we liked.  I know I for one will be doing so.

 

 

And that’s it for my Voltron:  The Legendary Defender season 8 review.  Next post in this series, I’ll be talking about the series as a whole, and trying to dissect what went wrong, and what went right overall with the writing in this series.  Hope you come along for the ride!
Have you watched the series finale yet?  Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!  What parts in the season did you like, and what were deal breakers for you?

Cartoons

She-ra and the Princesses of Power Season 1 Review

In my older years, I got into watching old 80s cartoons.  When I watched She-ra, I was like “This show is so great, I’d love to see it redone as a more dramatic, fantasy show” so when She-ra and the Princesses of Power was announced, I was beyond excited.  Reboots are something the internet is so divisive about, but I don’t really care about the whole “It ruined my childhood shows” garbage that tends to spew when they’re announced.  The old version exists, you can still watch it.  The new version is made differently in most cases, so you can enjoy it, and it’s older counterparts equally, for different reasons.  Did She-ra and the Princesses of Power pull that off successfully?
I think so!

 

Let’s break this review down into 3 different parts:  Plot, characters, and my overall thoughts of the 1st season of the show.  I won’t be comparing it to the 80s version, because it’s such a different entity from the 80s version that you can’t really compare them.  I will say that what they did with the plot works, and they do a wonderful job of paying homage  to the themes of the original show, while modernizing them at the same time.  Both stand alone as their own thing, so if you’re in the mood for some glorious 80s camp that has a lot of heart, watch the old She-ra.  If you want a really good fantasy/sci-fi narrative, with fleshed out characters, watch the reboot.

 

PLOT

 

The plot of She-ra is very much like the plot of the old version.  Adora finds herself as part of the Horde, the bad guys, only to find out during a mission that she’s been chosen to be the next She-ra to defend the planet…from The Horde.  She decides to turn against her home and join the Rebellion to stop the Horde, and that’s the basic plot.  Now She-ra and the Princesses of Power takes this premise further, because She-ra doesn’t have He-Man to play off of in this.  So in this one, Adora is just an orphan, and still turns on the Horde.  I find this to be extra interesting, because this way she’s turning on her family that she grew up with, and they really drill that home in the narrative, both with Adora’s arc and how the members of the Horde treat her.  This more adult handling of plots and themes is prevalent  throughout, and it just shows a major care for the source material, and wanting to expand on it.
I kept on explaining the show to my family as “This is basically fantasy Buffy” and I still hold to it.  The characters are slightly different, but the core group of characters you can easily point at and be like “Adora is Buffy, Glimmer is Willow, Bow is Xander”.  This isn’t’ a bad thing, but the theming of the show in general just feels like it borrows a lot from that.  The supportive friendship between those three, to the final decision Adora makes in regards to holding the mantel of She-ra:  everything is very Buffy-esk, but in a fantasy setting and it culminates into this really interesting, dynamic story.  If you like a fantasy world, with some sci-fi thrown in, and really good character building, then defs give the plot a try.

 

CHARACTERS

 

I find this problem with most Dreamworks shows, but the good guys are all good, and the bad guys are all bad.  They try to use the dynamic of Adora and Catra’s relationship to make it more of a character piece for the bad guys, but still at the end of the day Catra is bad, Adora good.  Now that’s not to say that the characters don’t have their own arcs, and aren’t interesting on their own merits, but I do hope that we get out of that mold that is very noticeable in Dreamworks shows.

 

They did a really good job updating the characters though.  No longer is Glimmer just the annoying fairy, and Bow the incompetent archer.  They aren’t sidekicks by any means, but them and Adora stand together as their own friendship unit, or “Best Friend Squad” as Bow puts it, and it totally works.  You can see why they are friends, and how they strengthen and grow each other, and how individually they are fleshed out characters on their own.  The supporting cast are no slouches either:  all have super defined personalities, and I can’t wait to see how we expand on them more as well.  Just a really well done job modernizing the core concepts of the 80s  characters, once again the writers knew what they were doing.

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

And that’s the biggest thing I can say about this reboot:  It modernizes everything that we loved about the old She-ra.  Like I said earlier, both stand alone on their own rights as shows, but you can see the love and care put into this reboot with the plotting and character development.  If you like a dramatic, fantasy/sci-fi magical girl adventure show, definitely check out season 1 on Netflix!  Fingers crossed we get an animated Jem and the Holograms reboot XD

Cartoons · Editorials/Opinion Pieces

My Problem With Voltron: Legendary Defender and Its Writing

I’m an avid fan of Voltron:  Legendary Defender, if my past reviews of a few of the seasons isn’t any indication.  Recently, seasons 6 and 7 dropped rather close together:  Season 6 on June 15, and season 7 on August 10.  Now usually I write reviews about each season, but for these past 2 I didn’t (I had my computer out of commission for season 6, but that’s beside the point).  I held off reviewing both seasons because honestly, there wouldn’t be much else I’d say about it that I haven’t already said.  I enjoyed it, plot points met their assumed conclusion, and new ones came up…only to be resolved rather quickly.

For me, this has been an ongoing issue with VLD.  There’s a lot of good character work, and the plot is interesting, with lulls here and there.  But it always brings itself back to being what it started as at its core:  a space opera, with drama, character development, and awesome mecha action scenes.

 

But can the show evolve past this point?  I’ve found myself asking this, especially with the last 2 seasons.  Season 7 was a full 13 episode season as well, and I feel like we’ve just gone back to status quo, as far as the characters are concerned.  Can the writing get past the basic premise of Form Voltron, save the universe?
I’m going to be talking about plot and character specific stuff beyond this point, so if you’re not caught up with Voltron:  The Legendary Defender, don’t read past this point.

 

Spoilers!  Spoilers!  Proceed at your Own Risk!!!

 

So the biggest plot points I’d like to address as far as the issue of not taking risks when writing are the Pidge’s search for her Dad plot, the Evil/Clone Shiro Plot, and the Lotor’s deception Plots.  All three of these aren’t the only plots I feel like the writing could have been better with, but they’re the biggest ones that I think had the most missed opportunities’ with them.

 

The Search For Pidge’s Family

 

I forget which season Pidge actually finds her Father, but there was such a big build up to this plot point.  We find out Pidge’s brother and Father went missing a few years before in season 1, and her entire story arc for the first half of the series is her drive to find them, wherever they are.  Through intel from Lotor, she finds out their location, goes on a hunt to find them, and ultimately does find them.  Her Father has been captive in the Galra Empire for the past few years, building tech for them.  In the end there was a skirmish  that resulted in saving Papa Pidge, but like…to me it would have been a lot more interesting if perhaps, there were more stakes than saving him?

 

 

What if it turned out that Sam had been indoctrinated into the Galra Empire, and used as a sleeper agent or mole?  Then they send him back to Pidge, and he’s secretly sending them intel from the other side of the war.  Pidge finds out, and has to make a tough choice of what to do with her Father.  She has to re-evaluate whether or not looking for him was the right choice.  Maybe she should have never gone down this path?  But instead, Sam is just instantly good, he’s saved, and no harm no fowl for our heroes.

 

Along with that plot, why couldn’t Matt, Pidge’s brother actually be dead?  There were so many red herrings that pointed to just that, but ultimately, once again, oh wait Matt is alive and all is well, he’s ready to help Voltron! I’m not saying every plot has to end in doom and gloom, but making some of the characters morally gray, or not what they seem would make the Voltron Paladin’s have to rethink and refocus, growing more as characters, and reacting differently to situations in a way that isn’t just them being the heroes of the story.  This constant cycle of the good guys are good, the bad guys are bad doesn’t work all of the time and it feels like the writers just want to keep it that way, with scarce reasons to throw a wrench in the main characters plans by shaking it up a bit with supporting characters that are actually close to them.

 

And on that note…

 

 

The Shiro Clone Saga

 

Voltron likes to build up multi season long arcs, and end them almost instantly as soon as the actual details are revealed.  We had this plot thread of what’s up with Shiro?  For 2 to 3 seasons and as soon as the cat came out of the bag, the thread was wrapped up in a matter of three episodes.  We found out Shiro is a clone, oh no!  That’s fine, cuz Kieth fought him and brought him back.  After that, we find out Shiro’s soul has been hanging out in the Black Lion, how will we get him out?  Oh Allura is magicXmachina, it’s fine.  She got him out literally in the last five minutes of the final episode of season 6.  Then in the first episode of season 7, he wakes up and is back to normal, all be it his soul is now in the clone body because his is missing…or something.

 

And all I have to say about this is, why couldn’t evil clone Shiro have been a full or half season arc?  After all of that build up, why was this story resolved in four episodes?  In season 7 after Shiro wakes up, all we get from it is a few jokes here and there but nothing more.  Real Shiro is back, it’s fine!  Don’t stop watching the show fans, it’s ok.  I mean I’m only half kidding here, with how they rush things that is indeed how some of these plots feel.  The characters don’t have time to react to their trauma, or plot developments, and the audience is just left wondering how they feel.  It’s sloppy writing, and makes the show a bit confusing as far as it’s themes go:  Does it want to be an ensemble character piece, showing these characters fighting through a centuries long universal war and growing and dealing with it?  Or does it just want to use its characters as the engine for the plot.  Either thing is fine, but trying to do both and only do both halfway is a bit jarring.

 

Lotor’s Deception

 

This leads into my next and final point.  The characters, when faced with a problem, never react in a way you wouldn’t expect them to.  There is never any sort of second guessing, never any doubt.  Allura, after being shown that Lotor was using and lying to her, instantly went gasp!  How dare you!  I’m totally on the side of my friends!

 

Lotor and Allura had a teased romantic relationship, to the point where the two have them shared the first on scene kiss.  So why, when confronted with the information that Lotor was lying to her, didn’t she ask Lotor to explain?  Why wasn’t she like wait guys, I have an emotional attachment to this character, why don’t we slow down and figure out what’s going on before turning on him.  She finds out this information right after the kiss too, so I feel like she would be a little more cloudy with her judgement.  But, we need to get to the season finale, so she just instantly believes her friends and turns on Lotor.  All in all some interesting character growth that could have been stretched a bit longer, but wasn’t.  It was rather disappointing, and even though I still adore Allura, why can’t she grow as a character through events in the plot happening to her?

 

And that is my main problem with the overall writing in Voltron: Legendary Defender.  It isn’t willing to take risks.  Why can’t we have dynamic character moments not linked to forming Voltron.  Why can’t our characters grow, and learn from their mistakes?  It just shows that our characters never had anything to learn, and overall this plot is about saving the universe, not them evolving into better people while saving the universe.

 

I won’t say that no character has grown:  Lance, Keith, and Hunk especially have grown as far as outward character traits.  But there’s no internal character growth there we see through them reacting to external plot events, every character who started out good remains good, and every evil character stays evil.  I didn’t mention this, but why couldn’t Lotor also be morally gray?  It seemed like they were going to go that route with him, but then they decided not to and make him the typical power hungry evil person.  Which, we already had with Zarcon, so why have more of the same?  Sure Lotor was different in their motivations, but ultimately they both ended the same way:  their narrow minded focus on getting what they want, when they want it.
That also is a problem with the show.  There’s a lot of flip flopping with our characters motivations, that doesn’t feel like it’s as much a fault with the characters, but a fault with the writing.  Or perhaps the format of the show?  Maybe the six to seven episode format has hindered the story telling, because I really don’t feel like this was a problem in seasons 1 and 2.  But who knows, maybe if I went back to those seasons I’d see those problems there.

 

Voltron:  The Legendary Defender is still my favorite modern animated series, but it’s lack of willing to take risks with its plot twists and characters is a problem I’m always going to have with the show.  For what it is, it’s enjoyable, but I just really wish the show would do a little more to be engaging.

 

What do you think though?  If you watch the show, do you have these problems with it as well?  Would you like the writing to take a bit more risks, or are you fine  with how the show is progressing?

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!