Thursday, July 30, 2009

Astro Boy episode 6 "Grass Boy"

Astro "helps" some other kids in a row boat show up some richies in their motor boat. he "helps" them right out of the lake and into the woods, where they spy a strange plant. Astro then relates the story of the weird plant.

this entails an alien invasion that tries to take all the Earth's water.

weird story, and sort of predictable to me (but kids may have been surprised). the animation is improving, even this early on. did rich kids always look down on poor kids? I mean, if they are in boats on the lake, come on. there had to be some kind of etiquette back then. but Tezuka's designs are always cool and fun.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ultraman Mebius

after I finish up with the Mebius series (the last 6 episodes) I think I will start at the beginning and do my patented capsule reviews (only fitting for an Ultra series, don'tcha think?) of said series.

or... maybe I'll start with the original. sure, it's been done by tons of other people, but it's not like I don't enjoy watching the series'. then move on to any others I might be able to watch episodes of with subs or dubs. I have several here and there from most series, but I don't have full runs for most of them. good thing I can watch 'em at work during down times.

one of the great things about Mebius is returning to the original series of Ultras. the newer ones have been OK for the most part (I did quite enjoy Max) but seeing the original Ultras battle again, plus their human forms (especially getting to Leo and 80, who never seem to get much love elsewhere) is just fantastic.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Astro Boy 4-5

these are based on the US DVD sets that have been released, by the way. and Astro is definitely growing on me.

"The Sphinx" one was quite interesting- Astro runs out of energy and some eville men trick him into find a hidden cave to steal valuable equipment. he is only given small amounts of power so he can't fly away. I like the Sphinx character a lot.

"Cross Island" Dr. Sinister escapes and plans to steal treasure from Cross Island. another boy robot- Bobo- helps him. Bobo wants to be powerful like Astro, but things don't go as planned.

the animation isn't really that great- Hanna-Barbera was actually better at the time, in terms of fluidity. however, Tezuka makes excellent use of multiple panes to shoot through, giving the cartoon a great 3-D look (more spectacular in black and white as well) that US tv toons never got back then. that, and the inventive camera work really hide the animation "flaws".

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Astro Boy 1,2 and 3

and only 101 left... the Japanese title will be after the English ones.

anyway, the "Birth of Astro Boy" is just that. his creation, his creator's rejection, etc. not my favorite episode.

"Colosso" (Frankenstein) comes to life when robots are assigned to manufacture other robots, and can't do it. he goes berserk, takes up with some gangsters and then gets fixed.

"Expedition to Mars" Astro is put in command of the second mission to Mars. there he deals with robot prejudice and an alien invasion.

a couple things struck me about these episodes- death for one thing, was everywhere. the human version of Astro gets killed by a car, and the annoying commander in #3 sacrifices himself to stop the alien invasion. and they admit it! usually US versions would say something like "oh, he's banged up, but he will recover soon and has learned a valuable lesson." not here!

and Tezuka's humor- evident also in Kimba, the White Lion, is truly funny. it's lots of little bits here and there, but there's usually no dialog with it, so it has to work on it's own. and it does. he also designs the weirdest, coolest alien critters in #3. ima have to do some screen grabs from there, as they are very cool. not in the least be realistic, which makes it even better!

so Astro is growing on me. he was pretty whiny in those first two episodes, but the third one was fun. he's no Prince Planet, but he'll do for now.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

there he goes

I have never been a huge Astro Boy fan, simply because I never saw him growing up. I understand the cultural significance of the cartoon (and do love Kimba, the White Lion). however, I am going to watch the run of Astro Boy in the near future, and see how it looks. I've watched the first disc already, and he comes off pretty whiny at times.

boy, I wish I knew how to format pictures better.

anyway, I'm still a much bigger fan of Prince Planet than ol' Astro.