web analytics
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?

Sep 272013
 

Like many of you, video games have been a big part of my life growing up with iconic characters that are still popular even today. Wreck-It Ralph provides a whole new perspective of that world. Who would’ve thought that after the arcade closes every night, the characters of every game come together and can travel to different game worlds, thanks to a public transportation area called Game Central Station. I haven’t seen anything like that since Captain N: The Game Master.

There are quite a few classic video game characters featured from franchises like Street Fighter, PAC-Man, Q-Bert, Sonic the Hedgehog, Frogger, Dig Dug, even King Bowser makes an appearance. However, this movie is not about any of them. It’s about Wreck-it Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) the villain of Fix-it Felix Jr., who wants to be a good guy because he feels lonely and unappreciated. In a way, this game reminds me of classic Donkey Kong.

At Anime Festival Orlando 2012, I met Kyle Hebert who voiced Ryu from Street Fighter.

Ralph isn’t alone though. Other video game villains can relate to how he feels. Can you believe that they actually have a support group for these guys?

The hero of Fix-it Felix Jr. of course is Fix-it Felix Jr. (voice of Jack McBrayer), who has jumping ability much like the Mario brothers and a magic hammer that can easily fix anything as good as new. Although Felix and Ralph are enemies in their game, there’s no real hatred between them, but the other characters are another matter.

Ralph is now determined to win their respect by getting a medal, but since only heroes can earn medals, he goes to a military sci-fi shooter game called Hero’s Duty. There he must fight Cy-bugs and climb the tower, which isn’t easy. The Cy-bugs become whatever they consume and unlike other video game villains, these creepy bugs are wild monsters. The only way to control them is with a giant beacon that works like a giant bug zapper.

Ralph does get the medal, but it doesn’t go smoothly. He accidentally brings a Cy-bug with him as he ends up in Sugar Rush, which is a go-kart racing game in a world made of candy and ice cream. The racers inside this game remind me of the characters from Strawberry Shortcake.

One major issue for video game characters is that if they are caught out of their game, the players will think the game is broken and will possibly end up unplugged. To keep that from happening, Felix goes to find Ralph along with Sargent Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch) the hero of Hero’s Duty. She is one tough chick, but I think it’s cute that Felix has fallen in love with her.

Meanwhile, Ralph meets Vanellope Von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) who is one of the racers in Sugar Rush, but is also a glitch. She steals Ralph’s medal and he’s determined to get it back, but after seeing a whole different side to Vanellope, they become friends.

A common term mentioned throughout the movie is “Going Turbo”. At first I thought it had something to do with Street Fighter 2 Turbo, but it isn’t until much later on when the meaning is finally revealed. Years ago there was a racing game called Turbo Time and the hero Turbo loved the popularity. Then when another racing game came along, Turbo got so jealous he snapped, which led to both games getting unplugged for good. No one has seen Turbo since, but he sure left his mark in the arcade community.

This is by far one of the most creative films I have seen about video games in a long time. It’s nice to know that the 8-bit era can still be as popular with today’s standards as it is nostalgic.

One last item: At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I got to meet Ralph and Vanellope at a character greeting.

Jan 022012
 

That’s right. The speedy Sega icon has been around for 20 years and still continues to grow in popularity. At Holiday Matsuri 2011 there was a presentation about the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.

It all started in 1991 with the first Sonic the Hedgehog game for Sega Genesis. Originally, Sonic was actually based on Mario with his basic running and jumping skills, but made simpler. Mario needs two buttons to run fast, but Sonic only needs one and he runs much faster than Mario, which makes the platform game play a whole lot smoother.

A year later there was Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for Sega Genesis, which contains more of that smooth platform action and introduces Sonic’s young partner Tails the fox. Tails keeps up with Sonic with the use of his two tails that work like helicopter blades. I admire Tails’s abilities. With Sonic known as the fastest thing alive (according to the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon), that’s the kind of speedy skill one would need to be an equally matched ally.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was also the first Sonic game with 3-D bonus stages as well as Super Sonic, which was based on Goku from Dragonball Z. I never would’ve thought of that.

With the success of these titles, Sonic became a cultural icon and had four cartoon shows. First there was Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (1993-1996), which is the wild and crazy version about Sonic and Tails having fast paced comedic adventures.

At around the same time was Sonic the Hedgehog (1993-1994.) This version is edgier with characters that are not featured in the video games.

The third cartoon series was Sonic Underground (1998-2000), which only features Sonic and his siblings Sonia and Manic on the search for their long lost mother. I didn’t like this version as much because it’s nothing like the video games or the other two shows. Seriously, why would Sonic need a guitar to fight evil?

Last, but not least, is the Anime version Sonic X (2003-2006). This features Sonic, Tails, and other new characters on the search for Chaos Emeralds before arch nemesis Dr. Eggman does. He was always known as Dr. Robotnik before, but in Japan he was always called Eggman.

One of those “newer” characters is Knuckles, who started out of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 for Sega Genesis. He’s a bad dude that’s very gullible, which is why Eggman always manages to trick him into doing bad things, even though Knuckles is actually a good guy.

Another interesting part of the presentation was some of the old Sonic commercials. Ones like for the Sonic 3 toys at McDonalds, which I have the Knuckles toy, and for the first Sonic game when the announcer asks, “Why can’t he be like that good boy Mario?” Remember that one?

When Sonic CD came along for Sega CD, it featured some Anime cut scenes much like Sonic the Hedgehog Movie. Though I was a bit disappointed that Sonic the Hedgehog Movie wasn’t mentioned in the presentation.

Other Sonic games followed like Sonic Heroes for Playstation 2. Not much was mentioned about this one and I never played it, but I remember the trailer very well because it was one of many previews on the TMNT  (2003 version) DVDs. It features four teams of three characters, all of which were on Sonic X. They include Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as well as Rouge the double agent, Rose that’s a rabid fan of Sonic, and Shadow the Hedgehog who is not evil, just misunderstood. Here’s the trailer that I found on YouTube.

Many video games based on the Olympics were unsuccessful, but that changed when Mario and Sonic Olympic Games was released for the Nintendo Wii.

For the first time, two of the biggest franchises were brought together to compete in a series of athletic events. There was mention of a concern that many of the characters were not dressed for it.

For instance, why would Mario and Luigi compete in overalls? At least Peach and Daisy decided to wear athletic attire. It would be very difficult to play sports in a long dress.

One of the most recent Sonic games was Sonic Generations for Playstation 3. It contained many bits and pieces from other Sonic titles, the levels are more graphical and you can play as two different Sonics, the classic and the modern versions.

I did enjoy this presentation. Sonic has certainly come a long way over the years. What’s next for this blue hedgehog and his friends? Only time will tell.

Apr 252011
 

Now here’s a clever game show that features classic video game titles on a completely different level. It’s called Nickelodeon Arcade (1991-1992), hosted by Phil Moore.

Two teams of contestants move Mikey, the video adventurer, across a game board on the screen one square at a time. I think he was based on Mike, the young hero on the NES video game Star Tropics, who had a yo-yo as a weapon.

Each square contains puzzles, trivia, prizes, points, video challenges, and an enemy. Depending on which land Mikey goes to in Mikey’s World is the enemy Mikey has to face, who could be hiding anywhere. However, the enemy attacks are very mild and repetitive, but I still find them interesting.

Those enemies include a Witchdoctor who blows Mikey up like a balloon with a voodoo doll, a Dragon that burns Mikey’s butt, and Smooch Aliens that like to kiss on Mikey.

Then there are more intense enemies like a Ghost that scares Mikey away, a Djinni who turns Mikey into a chicken, and a Hammerhead Shark that pounds Mikey into a coin with his big nose.

And let’s not forget the more lame enemies like Game Over the Bully who creams Mikey with a pie. (Real bullies are more brutal than that.) Blackboard the Pirate who threatens Mikey with a ruler. (No, not as a paddle.) And Silly the Kid who is a baby cowboy with baby bottle pistols. (Need I say more about this character?)

The video challenges are also great because they feature video games from Generation X like, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Battle Toads, and others.

In the final round, the winning team goes into the video zone. That’s when the contestants are the characters in a video game, which really sounds like fun. There are three levels. Each contestant goes through one, then they both take on a game wizard. It could be Merlock the lighting wizard, Scorcha the fire sorceress, or Mongo the armored strongman. (Not to be confused with Mongo from Blazing Saddles.)

To defeat him/her, all you have to do is steal the wizard’s three orbs floating around, which sounds simple. Even though there’s a life meter and unlimited continues, the only true “Game Over” is the time limit because the contestants only have 60 seconds to get through it all.

Video games have really changed since the 90s. That’s probably why I still find this game show a classic. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was considered retro now.

Apr 222011
 

Like cats, rabbits are adorable creatures. Some of which are funny bunnies that have been around for years and still remain classic today, from the Energizer Bunny to the Cadbury Easter Bunny that clucks like a chicken.

As a special treat for Easter, these are my top ten favorite rabbits. Sorry, this doesn’t include Playboy bunnies.

#10) Hocus Pocus from Frosty the Snowman: This little rabbit used to work for Professor Hinkle the magician. A top hat can fit over most of his body, which is hilarious when he becomes a jumping hat. It didn’t take Hocus long to become friends with Frosty and the children, even after Hinkle threatens him with no carrots for Christmas.

#9) Bean Bunny from The Muppets franchise: He joined the Muppets in the 80s and even starred in the Muppet Easter special, Tale of the Bunny Picnic. It wasn’t until The Jim Henson Hour when I came to learn that Bean is more than just an underdog bunny, who always gets turned down by the other bunnies just because he’s little. Bean also focuses most of his image on cuteness. You can’t help but love him for it.

#8) Killer rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Don’t be fooled by its looks. This little rabbit guards the entrance to the Cave of Caerbannog and can easily bite a man’s head off by aiming for the jugular. Not even an army of knights is a match this bunny’s fearsome bite as it jumps from person to person. It’s so unlikely it’s hilarious.

#7) Buster Bunny from Tiny Toon Adventures: He was the start of a new generation of Looney Tunes in the 90s. Buster is the smooth talking leadership figure of the Tiny Toons much like his idol Bugs Bunny. It certainly suits his alter ego, Mr. Popular.

#6) Babs Bunny from Tiny Toon Adventures: She is Buster’s close friend and an impressionist, who sometimes struggles to contain herself. I find her likable in that sense, especially when she imitates Joan Rivers. It’s a classic.

#5) Bunny Rabbot from Sonic the Hedgehog (90s version): This southern belle is Princess Sally’s lady in waiting. Some of Bunny’s limbs were robotizised awhile back, but she uses them to her advantage with great strength and fighting skill. It’s all part of what makes her a valuable freedom fighter.

#4) Lola Bunny from Space Jam: She’s one of the newest Looney Tunes and is highly skilled in basketball. Whatever you do, never call her Doll because she hates it. Don’t worry, she won’t clobber you. She’ll just show you up with a slam-dunk.

#3) Bugs Bunny from Looney Tunes: Like Mickey Mouse is the face of Disney, this classic rabbit is the face of Looney Tunes and Warner Bros. animation. Of all the Looney Tunes, Bugs is clever, witty, and seems to have all the luck, which is why Daffy becomes so jealous of him. Bugs also loves to eat carrots with his catchphrase, “What’s up, Doc”.

#2) Usagi Yojimbo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 version): He is a skilled samurai warrior from a world much like ancient Japan, where all of the inhabitants are various animals. The name “Usagi Yojimbo” means Rabbit bodyguard. He becomes a good friend with the turtles, especially Leonardo, when they meet at the Battle Nexus tournament. Usagi also appeared on the 80s version of TMNT, but he wasn’t as likable. He means well, but often ends up stirring up trouble as a stranger in a strange world.

#1) Roger Rabbit (voice of Charles Fleischer) from Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Comedic skill, likability, a gorgeous wife, this rabbit has it all. Of course, what really sticks out is how Roger reacts to alcohol. He goes into a blast that’s so powerful it could destroy tons of glass. And let’s not forget his famous catchphrase, “P-pl-pl-pl-please”. Although it’s been years since we’ve seen Roger on the big screen, he is one rabbit I’ll never forget.

Honorable Mention: Oswald the lucky rabbit from Classic Disney cartoons: Believe it or not, he was Walt Disney’s very first creation. After awhile, Walt Disney lost the rights to this character. So he came up with Mickey Mouse, who soon became the face of Disney and continues to be today. Oswald wasn’t so lucky after that. It wasn’t until the release of Epic Mickey for the Nintendo Wii when Oswald made his comeback by seeking revenge on Mickey for stealing his spotlight. Now was it really Mickey’s fault that Oswald became a forgotten toon for so long?