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Dec 192014
 

Christmas is almost here and just last weekend I attended Holiday Matsuri. It’s been a while since the last time I went and for the first time I didn’t get any autographs. That’s okay because there were some great events to see. Here are some of the highlights.

There was Geekapella, a singing group with very tight harmony. They sang about video games, Star Wars, and Harry Potter. There was even a song that was a cross between Batman and Fallout Boy called Fallout Bat. That’s pretty clever.

Another major highlight was a Q&A panel with George Lowe. He was funnier than ever as he talked about his time on Space Ghost: Coast to Coast along with other shows and disclaimers.

Sailor Scouts_resized

And of course, there was plenty of cosplay from Sailor Scouts to Disney princesses.

I certainly had a good time at this Anime convention. It was a great way to start the holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

Sep 032014
 

Loosely based on The Snow Queen, Frozen is about sisters Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel) and Anna (voice of Kristen Bell), who are the princesses of the kingdom of Arendelle. They used to be very close, but a lot changes in a short time.

Elsa was born with ice power, even though it isn’t hereditary, and it gets stronger as she grows older without anyone to teach her how to use it. Elsa accidentally hurts Anna with her ice power. Although Anna was saved, her memories of Elsa’s powers had to be removed. Then instead of providing a teacher, the king and queen keep Elsa isolated in the castle and keeps her power hidden from everyone. Now how is that going to help?

Meanwhile, Anna is completely in the dark about Elsa’s problem and desperate for companionship. So desperate that on the coronation day ball, after Elsa becomes queen, Anna instantly decides to marry a prince she had just met that day.

 

The prince in question is Prince Hans of the Southern Isles (voice of Santino Fantana). He’s the youngest of 13 sons and seems to have a lot in common with Anna. It’s like they were perfect for each other.

Soon disaster strikes when Elsa ends up revealing her powers and causes an endless winter out of fear. Elsa retreats to the mountains, where she never has to hide her power ever again. This led to the song Let it Go, which is the most popular song in this whole movie.

As Anna goes in search of her sister, she finds a trading post. It’s a strange one, but not because it has a sauna. It has plenty of summer clothes, but very few winter supplies. Seriously, why would anyone want to buy summer clothes at a shop in the cold mountains?

There, Anna meets Kristoff (voice of Jonathon Groff). He has a reindeer named Sven and likes to pretend that he can talk, which is funny. However, it’s gross when they share carrots.

Anna also meets up with Olaf (voice of Josh Gad) the snowman. He’s sweet because he loves warm hugs and the thought of summer. Olaf is also funny and tends to literally fall apart, but always manages to pull himself back together again.

There’s also a race of trolls that take the guise of rocks. These trolls are friendly and became Kristoff’s adopted family. When they meet Anna, they tried to get her to marry Kristoff. They don’t feel that way toward each other, or do they.

I enjoyed this film, especially for its level of adventure. When I first saw the trailer it was misleading. It left the impression that Elsa was evil, trying to freeze Arendelle and it was up to Anna to stop her, which would’ve really made this movie interesting. It turns out that Elsa was never evil to begin with and I think that’s a good thing.

One last item: Not too long ago, I went to the Frozen parade at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Olaf

 

May 142014
 

If there’s one Disney TV special that stands out as a lost gem, it’s Sport Goofy in Soccermania. In this feature, Huey, Dewey, and Louie are on an underdog soccer team and their Uncle Scrooge provides a crummy trophy for the tournament since he’s too stingy to buy a new one. Come on, $1.49 isn’t that much.

After discovering that the trophy is actually worth millions, Scrooge is determined to win it back by sponsoring the team, which reminds me of the animal soccer team from Bed Knobs and Broomsticks. He also finds a coach to help the team, Sport Goofy, who is an excellent choice since he’s athletic, wise, and patient.

This got me thinking about some of the early Goofy cartoons when he learned how to play different sports. My most favorite was when Goofy was learning how to ski. That was hilarious.

Soon after, the Beagle Boys find out about the valuable trophy and decide to enter the tournament. Even though they never played soccer before, that doesn’t stop them from trying to cheat their way to victory. The Beagle Boys in this feature are all alike and don’t stand out as individuals like on Ducktales.

Speaking of Ducktales, this TV special is like a precedent to the series. For instance, the story takes place in Duckburg, Scrooge has a money bin (though it looks different), Huey, Dewey, and Louie have the same personas as on the Ducktales series (except that they all wear red), and even Gyro Gearloose and his little bulb make a cameo appearance.

This special was certainly a Disney classic. I’d also like to point out that Sport Goofy in Soccermania premiered in 1987, shortly before Ducktales began. That helped familiarize me with Ducktales more efficiently.

May 072014
 

We all remember the story of The Wizard of Oz. In fact, there’s a new movie version coming out called Legends of Oz. I can’t wait to see that. Oz The Great and Powerful takes place 20 years earlier, which makes it a prequel about how the wizard first got to the Land of Oz.

Small time magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco), Oz for short, is a con artist and a womanizer. His life soon changes when a tornado whisks him away in a hot air balloon to the Land of Oz. It was clever how the scenes in Kansas were all in black and white before turning to color in Oz, just like in the original Wizard of Oz movie. Apparently this feature goes from full screen to wide screen in the same manner.

Upon arrival Oz meets the young and lovely witch Theodora (Mila Kunis), who tells him of a prophecy that a wizard named Oz would arrive and save everyone from the wicked witch. Now Oz is not really a wizard, but Theodora mentions that Oz will be the king of Oz. So how could he resist not coming clean?

Later, Oz and Theodora meet Finley (voice of Zach Braff) a talking flying monkey. After Oz luckily saves him from a lion, which I assume is the cowardly lion, Finley becomes his companion. I never knew that there were any good flying monkeys in Oz.

After they get to the Emerald City, Oz meets Theodora’s sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz). She tells Oz that he has to kill the wicked witch first in order to become king. Oz certainly has his work cut out for him now, especially since he still has to keep everyone convinced that he is a wizard.

Oz and Finley search for the wicked witch. Along the way they stop at a destroyed village made of china and porcelain called China Town. (Real clever name.) The only survivor is a living china girl (voice of Joey King). She is simply called China Girl because her name is never revealed. China Girl joins the group since she’s very persistent on getting her way.

They eventually find the wicked witch Glenda (Michelle Williams), but she turns out to be good. Glenda tells them the truth and somehow knows the truth about Oz. Just like with the original Wizard of Oz film; there are allies that are much like certain people from Kansas because the same actors play them. Finley is like Oz’s assistant Frank, China Girl is like the girl in a wheelchair, and Glenda is like Oz’s former girlfriend Annie.

 

Theodora finds out that Oz is with Glenda and her heart breaks. Evanora, the master manipulator she is, gives Theodora an apple that changes her into a heartless monster, later known as the Wicked Witch of the West. That means Evanora is the Wicked Witch of the East. Before I couldn’t tell which witch was who because in every other movie version of The Wizard of Oz that I’ve seen, the two witches were never addressed as Theodora and Evanora. They were mainly mentioned as the witches of the West and East.

Even though Oz confides the truth to some of his comrades about him not being a real wizard, he still leads the good people of Oz into battle as if it were one big magic show. Oz has certainly come a long way since he was in Kansas.

This was a great prelude to the original Wizard of Oz feature. Surprisingly, there was no mention of Finley or China Girl in any other version that I’ve seen. So what could’ve happened to them?

Apr 012014
 

He is another awesome voice actor I met at MegaCon 2014, who has had many classic characters that I grew up with and here they are.

Dr. Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog (90s version): This is Sonic’s archenemy. Nowadays he’s called Dr. Eggman, but has always been a mad scientist bent on world domination. This particular version of Robotnik is edgy and vile unlike the Anime versions that are a little more comedic. Whatever the case, Sonic always gets the best of him.

Leatherhead from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (80s version): He’s a mutant crocodile with an attitude. Unlike other versions, this one is from a swamp in the South and has the persona of a fisherman. I can still remember his catchphrase, “I guarantee.” It’s priceless.

Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins: Like the first Mortal Kombat movie, he’s a master sorcerer and the main villain. In this animated feature he’s mostly calm, but keeps attempting to break the rules of the tournament by having his warriors attack the heroes before it begins. On a personal note, I thought this voice sounded very similar to Dr. Robotnik.

Ed from The Lion King: He’s one of the hyenas that serve Scar. Ed doesn’t talk much and isn’t very bright. He’ll laugh at just about anything, just like a hyena.

Fuzzy Lumpkins from Powerpuff Girls: This pink fuzzy creature is a hillbilly with a musket. He turns red and violent when angered, which is very easy to do because he will shoot anyone or anything that even touches his property. Fuzzy isn’t much of a villain compared to ones like Mojo Jojo, Princess Morbucks, or Sedusa, but don’t take him lightly.

Zummi Gummi from Gummi Bears: Zummi is the wise spell caster of the group. Though he often stumbles on his words and tends to forget things, you can always count on Zummi for wisdom.

Mayor Manx from SWAT Kats: He’s the Mayor of Megakat City and has been for ten terms. Manx spends most of his time playing golf. He leaves all of the paperwork to Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs and takes all of the credit. There are times when Mayor Manx tries to rent out Megakat Towers to investors and it always ends up in failure. I can’t help but feel sorry for him whenever that happens.

El Capitan from Ducktales: I remember this character well. He’s mysterious and exceptionally greedy for gold. The reason I say exceptionally is because he lived for over 400 years on will power. At the end of the five-part pilot episode, El Capitan was last seen attempting to dig up the Treasure of the Golden Suns after it collapsed and sank into the earth. He was never seen or heard from again after that, so what could have happened to him?

It was a blast to have met Jim Cummings. What are some of your favorite characters that he voiced?