When I was a kid I had to suffer through tons nonsensical dialog and plot devices to see cool interlocking cat robots fight crazy evil bad guys. Not so with kids today. They can turn on Voltron and see actual character development and long term plots that make sense. Not to mention bad guys with actual plans, and it all gets even better in ‘season’ three. Plus they still get cool interlocking cat robots! How dare DreamWorks and Netflix create quality programming for kids!
The biggest flaw in season three is that it is only seven episodes long, so it is missing a third act. It just kind of ends, and that is how the Voltron of old would have finished things. Just leaving kids to wonder what happened and why they all become different space explorers in the next season, but no, today’s spoiled kids get the promise of more this October. They will get to see what Prince Lotor is up to, and I am sure it will be awesome. It just isn’t fair.
Stupid spoiled kids and their awesome TV. They will never understand the terrible stuff we had to watch. Heck their He-Man and Thundercats made sense. Sure they get terrible Transformers movies, but that seems like a small price to pay for living through the golden age of television. Oh, if you haven’t watched it yet, the third season of Voltron is pretty darn great. (Shmee goes to the ocean and then shakes his fist at the tide!)
I have been watching a lot of Sword Art Online on Netflix. Like a lot, a lot. Is it is not great. It is okay, but it is anime, and I find anime oddly comforting. For me it is like curling up with hot chocolate or something, so a show that has two full 25 episode seasons is hard to ignore.
The first season is by far the best. With much better writing, and you feel for the characters that are trapped in the titular MMO. The second season there is a lot of stretching going on. Five minute conversations have become full blown episodes. You can probably skip it, but of course I didn’t. I let it is mediocrity wash over me like a warm bath.
Do you like anime. Does high school kids trapped in a full body MMO sound interesting to you? You may like it too. I would forgive you if you didn’t. Netflix’s other show Magi is better. Maybe I should review that since I watched it too? Maybe I will, we will see.
Netflix is really doing everything in its power to make sure it has all its bases covered. It has been busy licensing a lot of anime, and with Voltron and recently Castlevania, it is making some of its own. Both series are quite good. Voltron for the family viewers and Castlevania for the hardcore crowd. Castlevania’s issue may be that it is too over-the-top. It is a non-stop gore-fest.
If you remember anything about the games, you will be at home here. Dracula (Graham McTavish) has gone off the deep end, and only Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage) can stop him. There is more to it, but the beginning is the most shocking part of the series, so I don’t want to spoil it.
Adi Shankar’s fingerprints are all over Castlevania. Every scene drips with blood and violence. It holds nothing back. If you have seen his Dredd shorts on YouTube.com, you will know what you are in for. You can tell he has been dying to make something like this for a long time. It is almost a shame fellow producer and primary financier Fred Seibert (Frederator Networks, Inc.) couldn’t restrain him a little.
The voice acting is all well done. Armitage and McTavish are particularly great. You can feel their apathy and disgust with the world. The backup actors are good too. Filling in their little pieces of the world.
I can only recommend Castlevania to a small group of people. People who know what Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust is, and love it. This is like the American version of that, but with Castlevania’s lore, and buckets of animated blood. If that interests you, the series is only four short episodes long, so it is worth a view. I liked it, but I also love Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.
I have been jonesing for some anime, so I fired up ‘Gagantia on the Verdurous Planet’ on Netflix. For the most part it had what I wanted: mecha, evil squid, and a post apocalyptic world filled with massive boats. Pretty much Gargantia is the anime equivalent to Water World, but much more watchable. Not great, but it did the trick for my neglected anime habit.
In the future the human race has left Earth and is at war for its survival against the strange squid like creatures the Hideauze. That is until one day a Machine Caliber (the show’s name for mechs) pilot, Ensign Ledo, is sucked through a wormhole and deposited on Earth, a planet he was told had been destroyed. The world has gone through some changes, and it is now covered in water, so people live in massive flotillas and dredge up stuff from the ocean’s floor. It is a difficult yet peaceful life, and not one Ledo is sure he can get used to.
‘Gagantia on the Verdurous Planet’ has all the usual stuff: a random fan service episode, questions about humanity, and teenagers taking on responsibilities that they shouldn’t, but it was still well made and engaging. As a matter of fact I blew through it in a couple of days. I wish there was another season or two. Mecha Water World is just the sort of thing this anime freak is down with.
Now if you are looking for an anime that changes things up and pushes the boundaries of the medium, you will be disappointed. Gargantia is an above average standard anime tale, but that was enough for me, and one that I think a lot of anime fans like myself would enjoy. Plus it is on Netflix. In other words, if you like anime give ‘Gagantia on the Verdurous Planet’ a shot, if you are burned out on anime, or just don’t like it, you can skip it. Nothing new to see here.
My little brother and I watched every episode of Speed Race before dinner growing up. Our Mom didn’t like it because it described Speed as a “demon” in the intro song, so we had to convince her they meant “speed demon”. Anyway, Funimation has released all 52 episodes on Blu-Ray, and you can get the collection on Amazon for around $20. A word of warning though, this only has the English dub, so if you want the original Japanese version you will have to hope for a future box set, but for someone like me who is nostalgic for the crappy US dub, this is great! Go Speed Racer Go!