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Sep 282016
 
Many pop culture villains are straightforward with their evil plots. Then there are ones that use a more creative approach to either terrorize the innocent or force the hero(s) to alter their tactics when challenged. Here are some of my most favorite interesting villains who stand out in that unique manner.
Cheapo
#10) Cheapo from Stripperella: Of all the villains on this series, he is the most unusual because he’s very cheap as a crime lord. Cheapo’s resourcefulness is based on how he plans everything the cheapest way possible. However, it affects his common sense. So much so that his own henchmen appear to be smarter then him. Seriously, what criminal mastermind prefers copper to gold?
Floatzart
#9) Floatzart from Ghostbusters (1986 version): This ghostly maestro uses music to subdue his victims, whether it’s to conduct ghosts with his baton or play his float flute that’s made from a long bone. Very little is known about Floatzart since he was only in a few episodes and, like the other evil ghosts, his background from when he was alive is not revealed. I do like his style though. He is one of few musical villains that aren’t annoying.
#8) Leaky Faucet from Power Rangers Zeo: Many of the monsters on Power Rangers normally don’t stand out too often because they’re only featured once before getting destroyed, twice if they’re lucky to be brought back. In this version, Leaky Faucet is different than most. He can liquefy at will and easily sneak into water pipes in order to spread his toxins. For a machine monster, that’s quite impressive.
#7) Dr. Bad Vibes from C.O.P.S. the Animated Series: He’s a brilliant scientist that invents high tech gadgets for the Big Boss. Along with his robot companion Buzz Bomb, Dr. Bad Vibes commits crimes with unusual inventions from a circus train that can bash through buildings to speed suits that make criminals run really fast. I still can’t get over the fact that he has his brain under glass and never takes off his wild shades. I wonder why that is.
#6) Ty-Lee from Avatar: The Last Air Bender: There are many benders, but this cheerful acrobatic girl has the skill to chi block a bender’s power using pressure points. This makes Ty-Lee a very dangerous opponent along side her friends Mai and Azula. It just goes to show that Ty-Lee may be beautiful, but looks can be deceiving.
#5) Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons: Bob Terwilliger used to be Krusty the Clown’s sidekick until he was put in prison for framing Krusty for armed robbery. On each of Bob’s return appearances, he seeks revenge on Bart while coming up with crazy but ingenious plans like running for Mayor of Springfield and abolishing television, yet it’s always Bart and Lisa who defeat Bob and put him back in prison. Aside from Bob’s dangerous persona, he always ends up in funny situations. That always makes me look forward to Bob’s next appearance, since he’s only a reoccurring villain.
 
#4) Mystique from X-Men franchise: If there’s one mutant power that makes a villain tough to beat, it’s the ability to shape shift. Mystique is a unique mutant with smooth fighting abilities, but what really makes her interesting is that she can turn into anyone. If she turns into another mutant, she can use their powers against her opponents. It’s very difficult to see through Mystique when she takes another form. This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “Master of Disguise”.
#3) Live Wire from Superman franchise: She was once a radio personality named Leslie Willis. After getting struck by lightning, she became a super villain with the power to control anything electrical. Not only are her powers smooth, Live Wire can easily travel through electrical wires anywhere. What I like most about Live Wire is her witty personality. She always has something funny to say while fighting her enemies, next to Harley Quinn of course.
#2) Baxter Stockman from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise: Once again, the most creative villain is the deranged scientific genius. Stockman isn’t really a much of a fighter on his own, but he can be a very tricky adversary. Whether he’s leading an army of mousers, wearing advanced battle armor, or fighting as a mutant fly, Stockman’s skills always give him an edge that even some of the strongest villains don’t have.
 
#1) The Riddler from Batman franchise: Batman has faced a huge number of creative villains, but none come as close as Edward Nygma a.k.a. the Riddler. Using his brilliant mind, he comes up with brainteasers that are so advanced that they often have a double meaning. Somehow, Batman is always able to figure them out. After he does, it’s so interesting to see the different angles from the advanced riddles. I’m not sure how the Riddler comes up with those so efficiently, but it’s so cool how he can make a game out of a crime caper apart from the Joker.
Jun 222016
 

Normally I don’t do follow-ups from previous top 10 lists, but I recently found other pop culture villains I’d like to add. Feel free to check my other list of Top 10 Underrated Villains for a comparison. So here’s another group of favorites.

#10) Spell Binder from The Electric Company (70s version): He is the arch nemesis of Letterman in the reoccurring Letterman animated segments. Spell Binder likes to cause chaos by magically changing letters in words, thus also changes the object, only to be defeated by Letterman who uses letters to change the words and object back to normal. Spell Binder does appear lame compared to other villains, but if you think about it, the chaos he causes is pretty effective in the long run.

#9) Scorpina from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Let’s face it. She was a standout villainess when she fought alongside Goldar. However, Scorpina was removed from the show due to lack of footage, which is understandable. On a side note, Lamy from Super Sentai Zyuranger, who was later known as Scorpina, was just as interesting after seeing what footage had not been used on Power Rangers. My only real concern was that Scorpina wasn’t written out of the show gradually. She just suddenly vanished with no explanation of what became of her.

Mezmeron

#8) Mezmeron from PAC-Man the Animated Series: Normally, PAC-Man’s enemies are the ghosts. In this version, the ghosts have a master who appears more intimidating. As powerful as Mezmeron is, he never fights his own battles. More importantly, this is the only version of PAC-Man he’s ever been featured and even then he hardly ever appeared. It would’ve been nice to see this villain more often, possibly as a final boss in the video game. That already sounds awesome.

Lorena from True Blood

#7) Lorena (Mariana Klaveno) from True Blood: Of all the vampires on this show, I find Lorena the most incredible. When it comes to love, she is very possessive and can be short tempered from time to time, especially if anyone speaks against her. Even though Lorena was slayed, I might have expected her to return later on in the series. I mean, if slayed vampires can return on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, why not on True Blood? Of course, that never happened.

#6) Lord Maliss from Happily Ever After: He’s the brother of the Wicked Queen from Snow White that’s even more dangerous. This dark wizard can turn into a dragon and has a cape that can turn anyone into stone. On top of that, no other version of Snow White has such a character. So Maliss truly stands out, even though his only true goal is revenge.

#5) Taminella Grinderfall from Muppets franchise: This classic wicked witch character is an oldie but a goodie. Whether her evil plots are scary or goofy, Taminella was what helped make the classic Muppet Fairytale specials so magical and exciting as part of the fantasy genre, next to King Goshposh and Featherstone. With the Muppets still hugely popular, Taminella has never made an attempt for a comeback. It would be nice if she did. That is, whenever the Muppets decide to make a new fantasy film someday.

#4) Vam-Mi from Ninja Turtles: the Next Mutation: When it comes to vampire women, it seems like Vam-Mi is one of the least likely to come to mind. However, this 2000-year-old Chinese vampire is both dangerous and powerful despite that she can also be a total drama queen when things don’t go right. I find Vam-Mi as interesting as she is unique. Too bad she only appeared in the four-part episode “Unchain My Heart” and was never featured in the franchise again afterward.

Cracklin the Wizard

#3) Cracklin from The Adventures of Raggedy Ann and Andy: I’ll admit that it can be hard to take this dark wizard seriously as a villain because of his intense allergies to animal hair. As the arch nemesis of the Raggedys, Cracklin is very fearsome and powerful when it comes to using magic and will do anything to become even more powerful. His reasons are unknown as well as his background, but one thing is for certain. Cracklin is not one to take lightly, even if his sneezing is strong like the wind.

#2) Zira from The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride: Most of the Disney villains are hugely popular, even the ones that were only in one movie. Zira is one of few who are often overlooked. Sure, Scar was an interesting villain, but Zira is even more ruthless. Even though she was never mentioned in the first movie, Zira knew Scar before his demise and seeks revenge on Simba. She’ll do anything to kill Simba, including training her own cubs to hate and kill. Now that’s just low.

#1) False Face from Batman franchise: Of all the villains Batman has gone up against, this is the creepiest and most mysterious. He’s a master of disguise and commits crimes by leaving his calling card, a false quote. False Face has appeared in several different versions of Batman, which includes Batman Beyond, but the one I remember best is his appearance in Batman (60s version). As one of the most difficult criminals to catch, False Face isn’t featured often. He’s also not on the same level of popularity as Joker, Penguin, Riddler, etc., but I think he ought to be, despite that his origin story isn’t revealed.

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?

Apr 222015
 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) is the newest movie version of the franchise that’s edgier than ever before.

It starts with news reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) who is focused on getting the scoop on the Foot Clan that’s been terrorizing New York City. Unfortunately she’s always stuck with lighter news stories, even though she wants to be a serious journalist.

April’s cameraman is Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett). He likes April, but isn’t real supportive when it comes to achieving her dreams. The last time Vern Fenwick was featured was in the 80s cartoon series as an egotistical rival news reporter. This version of Fenwick isn’t as funny, but he is more helpful in the long run.

Now we get to the turtles themselves, who don’t actually appear until much later in the movie. As regular turtles 15 years earlier, April used to care for them, along with a rat named Splinter, by feeding them pizza. The turtles were also test subjects in her father’s science lab for something called Project Renaissance. That does explain how they got their names, Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo, and Donatello.

I remember in the earlier movies when the turtles were made from animatronics and puppetry. Now they are graphical with a very edgy presence. It’s creepy at first, but once you see the turtles in action (in the style of the Transformers movies) it gets better.

Splinter is also very graphical. He taught himself ninjitsu before teaching it to his sons, but one thing that’s very different is that he has a punishment chamber called the hashi. He makes the turtles balance on different things for long periods of time if they disobey him for going up to the surface without permission.

Of course the turtles’ archenemy is the Shredder (Torhu Masamune). This time his ambition is to spread a deadly virus throughout the city with the help of scientist Eric Sacks (William Fichtner), who used to work in the same lab as April’s father.

The mutagen that created the turtles and Splinter was made to be a cure for the virus and Sacks intends to sell it after the virus is spread so he can become rich. It’s up to April and the turtles to stop him. The story plot may seem rushed, but at least that keeps it entertaining.

This movie was good, providing a new angle to the franchise. But what will become of April, now that her news career is in jeopardy from keeping the turtles a secret?

Apr 152014
 

I was glad to have met Phil LaMarr at MegaCon 2014. He’s had some interesting characters as well. Here are the ones I remember best.

Hermes Conrad from Futurama: He’s the accountant of Planet Express and a dedicated bureaucrat. Hermes never goes on delivery missions with Leela and the crew, but can be a real stickler for rules and regulations. I’ve never seen anyone so devoted to paperwork.

Baxter Stockman from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012 version): This brilliant electronics expert became a criminal after getting fired from his job and eventually the Shredder employed him. He created the mousers and has a grudge with the turtles. Stockman isn’t much of a fighter, but don’t underestimate him, especially when he’s wearing battle armor. I have to ask though. What is with that pink sweater?

Woody Daniels from Mr. T: He’s a gymnast, who aspires to be a lawyer. Woody is smart and a great team player when it comes to solving mysteries, but he had to earn the respect of the other gymnasts first just for being the new guy.

Teen Afro from Afro Samurai: Since Afro was a child, he wanted revenge for his father’s death. As a teenager, he had friends while training to be a samurai warrior and they tried to talk him out of it and move on, but he wouldn’t listen. Can you believe it?

Any favorites you’d like to add?