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Feb 032016
 

Following the success of Avatar: The Last Airbender is the follow-up series The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air. This takes place 70 years after Aang and his friends defeated Fire Lord Ozai and restored peace to the four nations.

After Aang passed on, a new Avatar was born. She is a water bender named Korra that’s headstrong and eager to face any enemy that comes her way. You’ve got to admire her bravery and skill, and you certainly don’t want to mess with Naga, her pet polar bear dog.

In Avatar: The Last Airbender each season was focused on Aang mastering each of the other elements. This time, Korra has already mastered water, earth, and fire. In the first season, she struggles with air bending. Now you’d think that fire would be Korra’s biggest struggle because it’s the opposite of her element, like when Aang struggled with earth bending. It turns out that air bending requires patience in a spiritual manner, which is not one of Korra’s strong points.

Of course, Korra is not alone. She gains allies that eventually become the new Team Avatar. Let’s start with Tenzin. This wise air bending master is Aang and Katara’s son and one of the highest councilmen. He’s very serious most of the time, which is why it’s so funny when his temper goes off, stepping out of character.

Here’s a cool cosplay of Tenzin at CollectiveCon 2015.

Tenzin also has a family, which includes his wife Pema and their three children; the calm and collective Jenora, the fast talking Ikki, and their hyperactive brother Meelo. These kids are close with Korra, but can be a handful at times.

Then there’s Mako the fire bender and Bolin the earth bender. These brothers are a pro bending team called the Fire Ferrets. When Korra joins the team, she progresses as the Avatar. However, their friendship goes further than just being teammates.

Another important ally is Asami. She’s a non-bender that’s very inventive. Her relationship with Korra was rocky at first, mostly because both girls had feelings for Mako, but eventually they become friends.

Don’t worry. Some of the characters from the original series are still around like Katara, who is now a master healer.

If you thought Fire Lord Ozai was a dangerous foe, there are new villains that are even more intense like Amon. He is a masked man that has the power to take away bending powers. Amon believes this will make the world more peaceful, but there’s an even bigger mystery behind this guy.

I met Steve Blum, the voice of Amon, at CollectiveCon 2015.

This was certainly an interesting series so far, but Korra’s adventures are only beginning. Check my blog for Part 2 to find out more.

Jan 272016
 

LEGO toys have been around for a long time. I know because I used to play with LEGO when I was a kid. However, It wasn’t until about the late 2000s when LEGO took well known franchises and made video games, then eventually animated features with a cute style of humor.

One such feature is Lego Batman: The Movie – DC Super Heroes Unite. Apparently it’s about Lex Luthor trying to become President of the United States with help from the Joker by using destructive means to make it happen and it’s up to Batman to stop them.

Robin also helps out and so does Superman, despite how Batman only believes that he can only rely on himself. That’s a bit annoying but not nearly as annoying as Superman is when he talks in the third person. What’s the point of that?

The action is cool. As Joker disrupts an award ceremony, it gets real interesting when the other major Batman villains like Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face, Riddler, and Harley Quinn help him out.

Steve BlumRob Paulsen

I met Steve Blum, who was the voice of the Penguin, at CollectiveCon 2015 and Rob Paulsen, the voice of the Riddler, at MegaCon 2014.

What’s real common in LEGO features is buildings and machinery falling to pieces as well as being put back together. Lex Luthor has a weapon called the De-Constructor that can tear powerful black objects apart like Batman’s vehicles and it’s powered by Kryptonite.

After Luthor breaks Joker out of Arkham Asylum, Joker frees the other Batman villains who even include Bane and Poison Ivy. It’s so cool how Batman and Robin keep them from escaping with exciting vehicle chases.

 

Then it all comes down to a giant Joker robot that runs on Kryptonite. As much as Batman hates to admit it, he needs help. That’s when the Justice League comes to the rescue. Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Cyborg all make an appearance.

This was a good LEGO movie. Lately many of the modern straight-to-DVD Batman movies have been darker and more brutal. In comparison, it’s nice to see that this one is a least a little bit lighter for a change.

May 132015
 

Just last weekend I attended CollectiveCon 2015 in Jacksonville and one of the voice actors I got to meet was Steve Blum. He has done quite a few characters over the years. Here are the ones I remember best.

Amon from Legend of Korra: He is the first major enemy that Avatar Korra faces and probably the scariest. This masked individual has the ability to take away a bender’s power as a way to make everyone equal in order to live in peace. His victims only end up living in misery. You see, a bender’s power is a part of them, but then once it’s taken away…

Lord Zedd from Power Rangers Super Legends (Playstation 2 Game): We all remember Lord Zedd from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series, but in this Playstation 2 game things are different. Zedd appears from a different timeline and intends to alter the course of history by wiping out every Power Ranger throughout time. There have been many tougher villains than Zedd in the franchise, but do you think he could succeed where they have failed.

Dhalsim from Street Fighter 2 V: He’s a wise monk from India that’s a master yoga fighter. In this series, Dhalsim teaches Ryu and Ken the Hado technique. It definitely helps explain how the Hado-Ken fireballs came to be. Dhalsim also mentions teaching Hado to Sagat years earlier, which would explain his projectile power as well.

Speed Demon from TMNT (2012 version): This character was only in one episode, Race with the Demon, but stands out as one of the creepiest mutants on the show so far. Speed Demon is a mutant car that purposely drives people off the road and runs on mutagen gasoline, but it’s really what’s inside the car that’s creepy. Whoever drives the car gets possessed and becomes a grotesque monster. They don’t call this mutant Speed Demon for nothing.

Thunder Hawk from Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie: He’s a highly muscular Native American wrestler. T. Hawk only appears in one scene in this movie as he takes on Ken Masters in a street fight seeking glory and honor by defeating him. Of course T. Hawk fails, but afterwards that’s it. I’m sure he was only featured as a way to fit all 16 street fighters in one feature. Some characters are more involved in the story line than others. Steve Blum mentioned that this role was one of the very first in his career and hasn’t seen the entire movie straight through.

Special Note: Steve Blum also voices the Ring Announcer that announces the match between Zangief and Blanka, which is a very memorable one from this classic Anime movie.

What are some of your favorites?