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May 202015

Vic Mignogna

I am so glad that I got to meet Vic Mignogna as CollectiveCon 2015, since he was such a nice guy. He voiced many Anime characters. In fact I can still remember at John Swasey’s Q&A panel at Anime Festival Orlando 2010 that Vic was like the Brad Pitt of Anime voice actors. These are the roles I remember best.

Spirit Albarn from Soul Eater: This demon weapon is Maka’s father and Dr. Franken Stein’s former weapon partner. Spirit tends to be easily angered and reacts to things in a hilarious manner, especially when it comes to his relationship with his daughter. Good thing Lord Death knows how to calm him down with a Reaper chop to the head.

Vega from Street Fighter 2 V: Being one of the most popular characters in the franchise, this Spanish cage fighter needs no introduction. In this series, Vega is a suave 18-year-old bullfighter that has a thing for Chun Li. As a cage fighter, Vega is very brutal. However, I don’t understand why his match with Ken Masters had to drag out for three episodes.

 photo Dextera.jpg

Dextera from Kiddy Grade: He’s the right hand man of Eclipse and is well respected among the GOTT, along with his partner Sinistra. He doesn’t show much personality, but is a strong leader with plenty of strength and speed.

Are there any other characters you’d like to add?

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?

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.

Mar 152013

Highly skilled warriors have always been both inspirational and interesting heroes in pop culture. From martial artists to “chosen ones” with special powers, these ladies really make an impression with their amazing skills. Here are some of my favorites, who I find fascinating.

#10) Red Sonja (Brigitte Nielsen) from Red Sonja: This warrior is not only highly skilled with a sword, but also has an amazing jumping ability. I like to think of Sonja as a pre-Xena kind of warrior woman, even though she is difficult, especially when it comes to winning her heart by defeating her in a fair fight.

#9) Yim Wing Chun (Michelle Yeoh) from Wing Chun: Now here’s a martial artist like no other. She not only has fast reflexes, some of which are highly exaggerated, but also has a comedic wit. Wing Chun makes all of her fight moves look so smooth and easy that not even the toughest bandits can touch her. Her only limit is that she never kills. She only toys with her foes. It’s all part of what makes Wing Chun a big favorite of mine.

#8) Alice (Milla Jovovich) from Resident Evil films: Amazing combat skills and smooth moves are what make her the hottest heroine in the franchise. Whenever faced with ravenous zombies, mutant canines, or other dangerous beasts, Alice will fight it. Alice’s abilities are so extraordinary that Umbrella Corp decided to make many clones of her, which keep getting killed in their deadly obstacle course. It just seems so wasteful.

#7) Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: She was once a high school cheerleader, only to receive the strength and skill of a type of warrior called the slayer. Now Buffy spends much of her spare time battling evil supernatural beings from vampires to demons and sometimes the rebellious slayer Faith with her martial arts and comedic wit. Luckily, Buffy never has to fight alone.

#6) Helen (Gina Torres) from Cleopatra 2525: She leads the trio of freedom fighters and is the only one who can communicate with the anonymous Voice because of the receptor inside her ear. Helen is a courageous fighter, but has a personal grudge against Creegan for murdering her father. Whenever Helen faces Creegan she struggles to stay focused on the task at hand. Luckily, her teammates Sarge and Cleo are always there to watch her back.

#5) Princess Amelia (Amber Benson) from Attack of the Gryphon: She is the princess of Lockland and a noble leader. Whatever the adversary, man or beast, Amelia shows no fear, especially when there’s a task. I admire her devotion, but she hardly ever loosens up. I wonder what Amelia does on her leisure time when she’s not fighting battles, or going on quests to save her kingdom.

#4) Beatrix Kiddo a.k.a. the Bride (Uma Thurman) from Kill Bill: She was a trained assassin specialized with any kind of weapon. When Beatrix decides to give up that lifestyle, she gets hunted down and nearly killed by Bill, her lover and sensei. Although Beatrix’s main focus is revenge, I sure admire her will power. Even against overwhelming odds, she never lets up.

#3) Chun-Li from Street Fighter franchise: Ever since her first appearance on the Street Fighter 2 Super NES video game, Chun-Li has always been a huge favorite in the franchise with her jumping skill, powerful kicking moves, and sex appeal. There have been at least several versions of Chun-Li over the years, but her story is always the same. She didn’t become a street fighter for personal glory. Chun-Li merely wants revenge on Bison for her father’s murder. Here are a few of my favorite movie versions.

Street Fighter: Ming Na plays the role as a reporter covering the war in Shadowloo, but also goes undercover in an attempt to take her revenge.

Street Fighter 2 the Animated Movie: In this Anime film, Chun-Li is an Interpol agent. She has the same grudge against Bison, but always keeps a clear head because she knows that duty comes before personal feelings.

Street Fighter the Legend of Chun-Li: The most recent version played by Kristin Kreuk features more of Chun-Li’s background, including how she learns to use the Hado fireball from later Street Fighter video games.

#2) Xena (Lucy Lawless) from Xena Warrior Princess: She was once a dangerous warlord, but thanks to Hercules she now uses the many skills she developed over the years to become a heroic warrior. Like Hercules, Xena travels around helping others in need while making up for a lifetime of evil. Some of her fighting moves are highly exaggerated, but I admire her strength because even while Xena is vulnerable, she can still kick butt easily.

#1) Charmed Ones from Charmed: If there’s one team of women that deserve to be on top, it’s the Halliwell sisters.

Prue (Shannen Doherty) is the courageous leader. Combined with her telekinetic powers, I definitely see Prue worthy of the title Noble Warrior.

Piper (Holly Marie Combs) has the power to freeze anything in its place. Her powers eventually expand with the ability to blow up enemies. Of course it’s really Piper’s comedic persona, which usually comes from being irritated, that makes her a big favorite.

Phoebe’s (Alyssa Milano) power is only limited to premonitions, but don’t underestimate her. Phoebe’s martial art skills always pack quite a punch in battle.

Then there’s Paige (Rose McGowan), who is half witch and half white lighter. Her telekinetic power is different from Prue’s, but still just as useful in battle. It’s also neat that Paige can orb anywhere at anytime, which gives the Charmed ones more of an edge.

Aug 202012

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li is the latest Street Fighter movie to date, which stars Kristin Kreuk as the popular kung fu fighter Chun-Li.

When Chun-Li was a child, Shadowloo boss M. Bison (Neal McDonough) along with his right hand man Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan) abducts her father Xiang (Edmund Chen). Chun-Li sees it all happen, but could do nothing.

Years pass and Chun-Li grows up to be a concert pianist. She soon receives a scroll written in ancient Chinese, so she seeks out an expert to translate it. As it turns out, Chun-Li must travel to Bangkok to seek out a man named Gen (Robin Shou, who I remember best as Liu Kang from the two Mortal Kombat movies). Unfortunately, it meant having to leave her old life behind and live as a drifter, which is a constant struggle.

One night, Chun-Li fights a group of thugs in an alley. At last we finally get to see her kick butt with smooth moves. It leaves her exhausted and that’s when Gen finally lets himself be found and helps prepare her for what’s ahead. The biggest thing he focuses on is helping Chun-Li control her anger, especially after finding out that her father is still alive.

In the later Street Fighter video games, Chun-Li uses hado fireballs. They’re not exactly like what Ryu and Ken use, but they’re just as effective. In this film, it’s revealed that it was Gen who taught it to her. How nifty. Too bad Ryu and Ken weren’t there to see that.

Bison’s back-story is also revealed in this movie, which does help explain why he’s always so bent on world domination. The only big difference is that he doesn’t wear his signature outfit. It’s hard to say why that is.

One of my favorite fight scenes was when Chun-Li confronts Bison’s secretary Cantana (Josie Ho) in the ladies room at a nightclub. Oh, yeah. Nothing like a sexy cat fight to make things more interesting.

Another one of Chun-Li’s skills is that that she can leap from the rooftops. Unfortunately, Vega (Taboo) can do the same. No wonder Chun-Li is usually the best fighter against him in the video game.

Now this version of Vega is much different than I would have imagined him to be. Sure he’s always been psychotic, but this Vega is more vicious than a vain showoff.

This was a good movie based on Chun-Li’s back-story, but only a few characters from the Street Fighter video games were in this one. I found that a little disappointing.