Earlier this week I finally finished watching the fansubbed episodes of Transformers Super Link, the Japanese version of the show we know as Energon. I’ve had these episodes for awhile, but I hadn’t felt up to investing the time to finish watching the series. But with TransformersCon coming up and me running the fan panel on the night before I wanted to see the whole thing and have it fresh in my mind, so I started watching from the beginning.

As I watched the series, and especially as I neared the end, I just could not believe that so many people have said that they don’t like it. It boggles my mind that anyone, especially Transformers fans, could hate this show. This show rocked on so many levels! Now that I’ve seen the entire series from start to finish, I can honestly say that this is far and away the best Transformers show ever. Yeah, you read that right. Best ever. Better than Beast Wars, and much, much better than Generation 1.

Super Link has everything I’d ever want in a Transformers show. Great characters, amazing battles, internal conflict, metaphor, symbolism, everything. Even the main human character, Kicker, was not annoying! The way that characters like Ironhide (Roadbuster) and Scorponok (Mega Zarak) grew and changed through the series due to various circumstances was masterfully done, and even characters with smaller roles, like Landmine, had a little quip here or there that cemented who they were and what they were all about. It was a huge epic with different messages about knowing ones place as a part of team, obeying orders for the right reasons, and doing everything one can to accomplish a goal even if it seems insignificant. Not morals per say, but different, and often contradictory, interpretations of messages like these that aren’t going to try and change anyone’s life around, but are there nonetheless. The ending was mind blowing and very emotionally draining. Far from simple kids’ stuff.

It’s too bad that people have been turned off by the English dub, but I can’t accept that. If you don’t like the dub, seek alternatives! Fansubs have been available from TV-Nihon. If you just can’t stand anime, grow up! Anime is here to stay and Transformers has always had more of a connection with anime than it does to North American animation, so get used to it already. If you hated Armada, suck it up and watch this show anyway. There’s no excuse. But hey, those people who call themselves Transformers fans but refuse to watch this show, it’s their loss! Most people like that just want G1 all over again. Well Super Link is not G1, and thank Primus for that!

I really hope that there are other folks coming to TransformersCon who loved Super Link as much as I did, because I really can’t wait to discuss the show at the fan panel on the Friday before. This weekend, YTV will be airing the final 4 episodes of Energon, as well as the classic Transformers The Movie, so we should all be caught up with show after that.

As for me, I’m moving on to the new show, Galaxy Force! As Alpha Q would say “Something cool might happen again!


March 14, 2005

Young Artist Battle.

This weekend was the final lesson of my Anime Round 2 class. Overall I’m pretty happy with how it went. The students, for the most part, took the material seriously, which made my job a lot easier because I’ve dealt with a few classes in the past with students who were more interested in goofing around than actually drawing anything. The course, on the whole, isn’t as much fun as Round 1 or 3, but the material is more important in the long run, so it was great to have a group that saw it the same way. Granted, some of them still have a long way to go, but I think everyone’s much better off than they were when they first started. There was a lot of improvement there.

There were these two kids, however, that are an interesting case. Two brothers, one of whom is very young, the other not much older. They jumped in during the middle of the fall session, so right off the bat they missed out on several important lessons that they’ve never been caught up with. Then they suddenly appeared at the start of this winter’s session without anyone knowing that they’d be there. I don’t think they ever arrived on time for class even once, so that was frustrating to deal with. Their mother would often ask me if they were behaving, worried that they’d start fighting like they do at home, but things never got out of hand. Most of the time they just worked on their own drawings and didn’t really care about anything I had to tell anyone, but since they weren’t bouncing off the walls or anything, I didn’t complain as not to upset the balance of the classroom. But their drawings were surprisingly very clean for their ages. I have no idea if they are going to be coming back for the next session, so when the younger of the two started talking about how he and his brother fight each other, I decided I’d have a little fun and encouraged the younger lad to fight back as hard as he could. Ahh, good times. They both seen to have a genuine interest in drawing, so I wonder what will happen with them.

So now I am off for the next month or so until I start teaching again in the Spring. Hopefully I’ll be teaching two classes at that point, Anime Round 3 with returning students and Anime Round 1 with new students. Until then I’ve got some other work to do, and while I’m sure to enjoy the break, I’m sure that I’ll be itching to get back at it again in no time.


March 12, 2005

The Legend Continues.

This week I’ve been trying to get some more new artwork done. Things are going slowly but surely. As much as I’d live to just jam on new pieces of work all day and all night, I still have to be careful. My wrist is still not what it used to be and I’ve had a few moments of discomfort recently. Certainly not to the extreme rage-educing levels of pain I was in a year ago, but troublesome all the same. So, during extended periods of working on some art with my digital tablet, I have to take a break every once and awhile.

Usually I fill up break time by playing video games. After neglecting it for awhile, the game that took up most of my time this week was The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. This is the first home console Zelda game I’ve ever gone out of my way to play. Yesterday I finally finished it. Though as it started to become apparent that I was coming towards the end, I took my sweet time with it and went through several of the side-quests. I was enjoying the game so much that I didn’t want it to end. Now that I am finished, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it truly is a beautiful, inspiring game with a fantastic story. I especially enjoyed how the concept of the wind was used as a practical gameplay device and as a storytelling tool woven into the tale both literally and meteorically.

I understand that you could probably take any given game in the Zelda franchise and talk about how great it is for hours on end, but I think it’s important to say this specifically in regard to The Winder Waker because the visual style is so different and controversial. Some people may have been upset when the game was first unveiled with its cartoonish style, but at the end of the day they really knocked it out of the park with this one.

I loved the story of this game so much that I could honestly see it as being a movie or a TV show or something like that. There was a Zelda cartoon years ago, but I found it obnoxious. Of course, Pokemon, Kirby, and F-Zero are big Nintendo franchises that have recently been animated, and Nintendo has a sweet deal going with 4Kids to bring those shows and any future Nintendo-based anime series to the international scene. One must wonder, though… Why no Zelda yet? Recently Nintendo has expressed interest in going into animated films. Could this mean that a Zelda movie is on the horizon? I would love to see that. I don’t care if it used either traditional animation or CG or both. A movie like that could be the huge event that finally puts animation over as a valid medium of expression in the eyes of the general public.

Until that highly hypothetical event happens, we’ve got another Zelda game coming up later this year for the GameCube. Not much is known about it yet except that the style is different than Wind Waker, but from graphics alone I can say that it looks freakin’ amazing. See the new trailer here. I waited a year after Wind Waker came out before I picked it up, but this one I might have to dive into right away. I’m really looking forward to it.


March 1, 2005

R.I.P Optimus Prime

Died not from wounds inflicted on the battlefield, but from Prostate Cancer.

I speak, of course, of Robot Chicken, the new series on the Cartoon Network Adult Swim block. It’s a comedy show co-created by Seth Green and completely animated using stop motion with toys and action figures. Each episode is about 12 minutes long and is made up of all sorts of various bits and sketches of various lengths. One of the longer sketches, and the one that everyone seems to be talking about, is the Transformers parody where Optimus Prime is diagnosed with prostate cancer and dies.

Originally I wasn’t going to go out of my way to watch this, but after seeing some screen shots and hearing so much buzz around it after it had aired, I decided that I had to see what all the fuss was about and found a way to download it. Now that I have seen it, I have to admit that I did chuckle a bit. It was pretty well done, and as far as being a Transformers parody goes, the people responsible really seemed to know their stuff. It was a real Transformers parody and not just some vauge reference to the concept of Transformers. Some of the figures they used were actually highly customized to get different characters on the show. The voice acting was pretty close to the original Generation 1 cast, but the real gag came from seeing the Autobots in situations you’d never see them in, like in the showers after winning a battle, and Optimus Prime at the doctors office.

News of Prime’s death has been spreading, and even the National Prostate Cancer Coalition has issued a press release, both in the spirit of fun and to seriously raise awareness of this disease. So perhaps some good may come out of this silly cartoon.

Other, less moralistic skits involved swearing Pokemon, a smoking Teletubby, crude and violent TV show bloopers, and “The World’s Most One Sided Fistfights Caught on Film“. Some are funny, some are lame, but for the most part the show isn’t a complete waste of time. The humor is obviously not for everyone, and it’s certainly not for children, but it’s worth checking out.

Geeze, never thought I’d ever have to type the word “Prostate” so many times. Rather not have to do that again.