Category Archives: Animation

Jem and the Holograms Movie: It’s Only the First Trailer

I apologize for not posting this earlier, when the trailer was released last month. I was busy and forgot that I made this article. So, enjoy!

This was my initial reaction when I saw the trailer for the upcoming Jem and the Holograms movie. I still stand by my Twitter statement. However, I can’t say that it will be a bad movie. In fact, my prediction that the movie itself will be a simple, “meh”.

Yes, I know it’s not the same Jem and the Holograms that many like myself watched when it aired in the 80s or on the Discovery Family (formerly HUB Network). But let’s think about this. This is the same reaction that people were giving when they showed Sony Animation’s Smurfs movies or Michael Bay’s rendition of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So far, I can vouch that the first Smurfs movie from Sony Animation was…odd (Hank Azaria’s performance didn’t help). However, I will not say anything about any movie until I see the full feature. That’s how it should be, right? I mean, I remember dissing Super Mario Galaxy when it was first announced, but after playing it, I really loved it.

It’s inevitable that mainstream media (e.g., Hollywood movies and TV shows) will change a franchise, especially a franchise that is about 30 years old. And yes, sometimes adaptations fail; sometimes, they succeed. However, when you change something that is dated to make it modern, you have to make it timeless. Even Jem and the Holograms, a series that screams 80s mainstream from the outrageous fashions and slang to the magic or technology, can be made timeless. From the initial trailer, the only thing we see is the bad fashion sense and a plot that looks like it was ripped from a Disney Channel movie.

I know fans of Jem are angry that there little or no reference to the cartoon. I sympathize with them. Director John. M. Chu could have put in more effort into making the movie a bit more like the cartoon. He could have added “The Misfits”, which could add a rivalry subplot. He could have Jerrica be a computer nerd to program a hologram using the program, Synergy. I mean, Jem did say the catchphrase, “Showtime, Synergy” in the movie; he can’t have her say it for no reason, right?

Right now, from what the first trailer has shown, it looks very underwhelming. Regardless, please remember that this was only the first trailer for the Jem movie. We could see “The Misfits” and thanks to that iconic line mentioned, we might have Synergy in our story. But for now, we’ll have to wait until the movie is released and prove whether or not this movie is “truly outrageous”.


Don’t Jump to Conclusions on News About Your Favorite Franchise: The Steven Universe/Uncle Grandpa Crossover

This February, Cartoon Network announced that there would be a crossover episode of the two shows, Steven Universe and Uncle Grandpa. When I heard this announcement, I was uneasy. But when I got to watch the crossover episode (titled, “Say Uncle”), I had a good laugh. Continue reading


Awesome Stories from StoryCorps

Every person has a story they wish to share. This is the purpose of StoryCorps, a nonprofit organization dedicated to allow people to share their unique stories to the world. Some of the stories are made into animated format and are found on their YouTube page. Here are six stories told by people through StoryCorps I recommend watching (of course, you can see more through their Youtube page or listen on their website). Continue reading


The Importance of Character, or Why Sailor Moon Crystal is Not Perfect

It is very common for a manga series to be made into an anime. Sometimes, the anime adds things that are not found in the manga to either give a different take or just to make sure the manga is ahead of the show. There have been arguments over which is better for each series: the manga or the anime adaptation. So, of course, some anime had been re-done to match more closely to the anime. In the case of Sailor Moon Crystal, to me, the original 90s anime and the manga were better. The main reasons: character development and expression (or in the case of Sailor Moon Crystal, the lack of it).

First, let’s focus on the main story of Sailor Moon. A fourteen-year-old girl named Usagi Tsukino is given a pendant by a strange cat, who tells her she is the legendary hero named Sailor Moon, and that she must find her fellow Sailor Soldiers and the Legendary Silver Crystal in order to find the princess, restore the Moon Kingdom, and fight the evil that is responsible for the destruction of the kingdom over a millennium ago. Over the course of the first season, they have managed to succeed. However, the series has not ended, as now they have to rebuild the kingdom and maintain peace on Earth from more evil forces.

Now, let’s recall of what I had said earlier about what made SMC different from the 90s anime. In the original anime, the series was stretched to focus on more fight scenes with some character development, particularly the friction between Usagi (Sailor Moon) and Rei (Sailor Mars). Because let’s face it. Usagi is not actually the perfect hero. In fact, she’s an irresponsible, clumsy, lazy, ditzy crybaby. Throughout the first season, Rei often berated Usagi for her behavior, particularly when she doesn’t take her role as a Sailor Soldier seriously (there have been episodes where Rei scolded her for forgetting the Moon Wand or for not coming to meetings). Over time, particularly when the Moon Princess is revealed, she saw Usagi’s kind and motherly nature when needed the most, making Rei (slowly) gain respect for Usagi. In Sailor Moon Crystal, we saw Usagi befriend Rei by telling her she is special and instantly Rei vows to protect her. See how the original anime was more interesting?

In addition, both the manga and the original anime had a balance of light-hearted comedy and drama, easily drawn in the character’s expressions. The manga had the characters drawn cute and cartoony when the story became light-hearted and slightly more realistic when the plot turned serious; the 90s anime kept that tradition from the manga; SMC had a more realistic, and somewhat restraining, expression and focused more on the drama. In short, both the manga and the 90s anime was more lively and expressive than SMC.

Another comparison between 90s Sailor Moon and Crystal with the scene involving Usagi and Mamoru

However, Sailor Moon Crystal is not terrible. I do appreciate them focusing on the main plot instead of dragging the series too much (this is why people tease Dragon Ball Z and why some people prefer to read the manga). Also, Sailor Moon Crystal is beautifully colored, but not exactly have great art with the very skinny character designs and the unnecessary CGI cel-shaded animation in the transformation sequence. Speaking of which, I appreciate SMC kept some the elements found in the transformation from the original anime, while at the same time remain faithful to the original manga story.

I still stand by my statement that Sailor Moon Crystal is nothing more than a pretty face. However, the anime has finished only one story arc so far and there are about a few more arcs left, assuming they still follow the manga. With that being said, I will keep watching the series with an open mind.


Nostalgic TV Channels: Not a Necessary

Nostalgia is a wonderful feeling, and sometimes we crave to bring back what had made our past enjoyable. Television networks recognized this and made networks just to bring back classic shows. I remember my Ma was filled with joy when the Nick at Nite channel launched, and she saw shows like “Room 227” and “Welcome Back, Kotter”, not to mention classic commercials to add the nostalgia. I was thrilled when Cartoon Network launched Boomerang, and I saw parts of the old Cartoon Network, from the shows they broadcasted to the classic bumpers and shorts they played through the break.

However, over time, networks like Boomerang aired shows that have not long gone off the air on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon’s Nicktoons Network and Nick at Nite aired original shows and not-too-old shows. So, people would request a channel for nostalgia shows. This is a nice idea, but there are a few reasons why having something like this is not necessary. Continue reading

Top 5 Winter Holiday Specials

With 2014 finishing its run, I am going to start my resolution early and try and make this blog more than just “Games to Beat” update list. So, to get this started, or restarted since my early days of blogging, I am going to give you a top 5 list of holiday specials, and when I say specials, I mean shorts, not feature-length films (Sorry Nightmare Before Christmas).

Why top 5? It’s just simpler that way.
Continue reading