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Friday, December 13th, 2013

(4 happi penguins | pet da penguin )

Subject:Pigeon-Holed: The Mentalist Flips Fans the Bird OR Red, Red Whine
Time:8:40 pm.

99189_D0043b-425x283
He should have stayed in bed.


Remember the NBC one-hour crime drama Profiler from the mid nineties? It was a show about Samantha Waters, a criminal profiler for the FBI whose husband had been murdered by the elusive and mysterious serial killer called "Jack of All Trades". As she hunts heinous criminals for the government, much like the folks on CBS' Criminal Minds do now, she also tries to bring her husband's killer, who is obsessed with her, to justice. Spoiler: It turns out that Jack was posing as a bumbling sheriff of a town in California. The big serial killer everybody was hunting for three seasons of the show was essentially Barney Fife, played by character actor Dennis Christopher.

I watched the show regularly, but decades later, I can't recall whether that story arc's conclusion satisfied or not, but I can't imagine it did. (Though the crossovers with Pretender were cool.) On the other hand, the end of reoccurring villains George Foyet and Ian Doyle in Criminal Minds were a tad more fulfilling. Well, at least until years later when Hotchner is hallucinating that he's in a movie theater sharing popcorn with his dead wife and Foyet. That was just silly.

When Bruno Heller, the man who brought us the HBO series Rome, first created a series about a an ex-conman who could pass as a psychic because of his keen powers of observation who solves crimes with law enforcement, I had little interest in it. I may have watched a couple of episode here and there, and thought it had a neat gimmick, but didn't really find it compelling enough to make it a regular watch on my TV schedule. The first episode that caught my attention was a repeat of the Season 2 finale, "Red Sky in the Morning", which found our hero, Patrick Jane, tied to a chair with bubble wrap, and face to face with his wife and daughter's killer, the infamous serial killer dubbed "Red John". But Red John was masked in this occasion. Several seasons later, guess who this enigmatic recurring menace ended up being? Spoiler: It turns out that Red John was posing as a bumbling sheriff of a town in California. The big serial killer everybody was hunting for five and change seasons of the show was essentially Barney Fife, played by character actor Xander Berkeley.

pjmeetsrj
Kind of a mix of Yosemite Sam and Elmer Fudd.

And they say creativity on TV is dead.

Like Profiler, The Mentalist wasn't entirely dedicated to the hunt for its main protagonist's nemesis, with mostly stand alone episodes and then the occasional dedicated to the real "mythology" of the main villain. Week to week, Patrick Jane, a mirthful trouble-maker observed, provoked, and deciphered murder mysteries, intentionally manipulating the people he met to bring killers to justice. Of course, he always made enemies, and sometimes it came back to bite him, but often the people he met ended up thanking him for revealing the hard truths about their lives. All the while, the Red John mystery remained.


The Red John material really started stacking up over time, and by season 6, there was a finely woven tapestry, decorated in Red John's signature blood-painted smiley face. At that point, Bruno Heller let it be known that soon the viewers know who Red John was, one of seven suspects Patrick Jane narrowed an extensive roster down to. Season 6 would be the season it all went down, the great reveal we had waited five years for, all the while pouring over the clues and suspects. And all that time it was Sheriff Thomas McAllister, that one guy from that one episode in the first season, who hadn't been seen again until this sixth one. A character who had no connection to the Red John case.

I say "all that time", but it was plainly obvious, and maddeningly insulting, that Bruno Heller, who had created the show and written most of the key Red John episodes, pretty much just picked a random name out of a hat. Not only was it a character that had barely been a character, not only did almost none of the clues point to this character, but the episode that revealed it, had wrapped up, killed off the main villain of the series, was embarrassingly silly.

Let's talk a bit about Red John in-story, who he was as a killer, how he worked. He came into prominence in the late nineties to early aughts, murdering several women with a linoleum knife. Usually he uses a taser to stun his victim, then binds them. He tends to slash the throat and then stab about the body. His signature is a smile drawn on a wall within short distance of the body, in the blood of the victim, with a rubber glove. His victims are usually female, but he has killed men before, either because they interrupted his killings or out of necessity to cover his tracks, by taking out a confederate. He is tech savvy, and has hacked into law enforcement databases, virtually undetected, to leave taunting clues. He is able to set up aliases and at least one phony version of himself, another killer posing as him, deliberately to fool Patrick Jane. He has a wide network of connections both in and out of the law enforcement community. He has a deep obsession with Patrick Jane, wanting badly to make him a friend at times, to bring him into his fold of followers. Above all things, however, he is a showman. He sees himself as an artist. He does not tolerate unauthorized fakes. Like Jane, he has a strong sense of theater.

pjsky
And a skywriting budget.


Patrick Jane angered Red John by appearing on television in his phony psychic capacity and making judgements on his character. In retaliation, Red John murdered Patrick's wife Angela and daughter Charlotte. Thirsty for vengeance, our devastated ex-fake psychic joins the California Bureau of Investigation and under the supervision (handling, really) of Teresa Lisbon, Senior Special Agent. He solves murders as part of the team, in the hopes of one day finding and exacting reprisal on his bloody nemesis.

There were clues aplenty. At the end of the first season, we learn he had a blind lover, Rosalind Harker, who describes him as being "just under six feet tall, not muscular, but not soft either, short straight hair, a gentle voice, rough, strong hands" and adding that "he smelled of pine and nails and earth" and enjoyed the music of Bach. In Seasons 2 and 3 it's uncovered that he has operatives working within the CBI and FBI respectively and enjoys the works of William Blake (or at least "The Tyger", which comes into play later). By season 4 we see that he employs other killers that orbit around his charismatic lead, covering up his loose ends. Jane even encounters a fake Red John in Timothy Carter, part of a husband-and-wife kidnapping and murder team. At the end of Season 4 we learn that Red John sees his work as a "higher calling" that he wishes to bring Jane into. Jane also becomes embroiled in the life of Lorelei Martins, one of Red John's mistresses, and a killer in her own right, who in Season 5 gives him a startling clue: Red John is somebody he's met, somebody he's shaken hands with. This, and the revelation that Red John worked on the Visualize cult's Elliston farm in the 1980s, leads to a seven person suspect list at the end of Season 5.

In between those clues we had suspicious characters like Brett Partridge, a creepy forensic tech with a love for bloody crime scenes, Brett Stiles, the leader of a cult who Red John has some connection with, the bumbling fake psychic Ellis Mars, thrill-ionare Walter Mashburn, the PR-hungry CBI boss Gale Bertram, mysterious Homeland Security agent Robert Kirkland, and others. But by the end of Season 5, Patrick Jane had it whittled down to seven.

The seven final suspects that Jane narrowed down from a list of thousands (and yes, we're supposed to believe that Patrick Jane's memory is so focused that he can literally remember thousands of people he's shaken hands with since the murder of his family) are an interesting bunch. For one, some of them are obviously not Red John even by simple logic. Second, the one who is Red John shouldn't even qualify for the list. And third, Red John sent a message to Jane at the end of Season 5 telling him that he knows the list, too. And the list is as follows:

rjsuspects
Pictured: Marshall Applewhite, Lex Luthor, The Guy From the Rival Frathouse, Nelson Muntz, Christopher Walken, J.W. Pepper, Andy Dick


- Brett Stiles: Leader of the Visualize cult and way too old to be Red John (sorry Malcom McDowell, but you couldn't overpower a Roomba)

- Gale Bertram: CBI boss, has always been suspicious, but semi-comical

- Ray Haffner: Former CBI supervising agent turned private investigator and member of Visualize who would be an excellent Red John, honestly

- Reede Smith: FBI agent assigned to take custody of Lorelei Martins and a fatty fatty bom-batty (along with Haffner, my other choice to be RJ, but I can't remember why, exactly)

- Bob Kirkland: Homeland Security agent, has been pulling strings behind the scenes and has a keen interest in Patrick Jane, as well as a Christopher Walken-ish quality

- Thomas McAllister (the guy who actually turns out to be Red John): Dopey corn-pone sheriff of Napa County, who was only in one episode before his appearance on the list

- Brett Partridge: Forensic tech for the CBI who loves blood spatter, admires Red John, and was the bar none fan favorite choice for Red John

This list, I now realize, was complete bullshit.

Jane's original list is based solely on the hand shake clue. From this, we can already eliminate Stiles, Smith, McAllister, and Partridge, none of whom ever shook Jane's hand (at least, not before Lorelei let slip the clue). What is the reasoning behind including them on this list? I'm still waiting for it. Don't try to ply me with ideas about "shaking hands" being metaphorical. Lorelei Martins repeats the clue on the video message Red John forced her to read before he killed her, which was delivered in the Season 5 finale. And three of the suspects actually did shake Jane's hands. The entire list is based on that clue!

In fact, here's a quote from Jane when discussing the list with Lisbon (emphasis mine):

"I recalled all the names of the 2,164 people that I've met and shook hands with since Red John murdered my family. I might have missed one or two, but not many. 807 of those names were women. And Red John's probably not a woman. Another 949 were men that I had brief encounters with that I never saw or heard from again. That leaves 408 names, and Elliston Farm will exclude so much more. We're getting close, Lisbon. We're getting close." - Patrick Jane, "The Red Barn" (5x13)

couldbe
"Of course, I could be wrong and this whole thing is crap."

Jane pointedly refuses to believe Red John is anyone he had brief encounters with. Which, again, must rule out Thomas McAllister, who, before Season 6, only appeared in his debut episode, a one-off case with nothing to do with Red John. So why is McAllister on the final list of seven suspects? Even if he shook McAllister's hand off-camera (which would be complete bullshit in of itself), we aren't ever told that. There is zero reasoning behind his inclusion. If Bruno Heller was planning to make him Red John any time before Season 6, why did he choose the one person who most certainly could not be? Even considering misdirection, we don't get a single line of dialogue to declare that.

I could understand if it turned out the handshake clue was bullshit but there was an explanation for why Jane knew it was bullshit, but there isn't any. It just somehow was. Why, then, was Jane suspicious of any of the others if the handshake clue was a front? Or was his suspicion of them also a trick? There's no evidence of it. There's no evidence of any of Jane's thinking beyond the one clue Jane and the audience are given by Lorelei Martins, on which the entire suspect list is based.

trustlorelei
And who wouldn't trust those ti--- I mean, that honest face?

Sheriff Thomas McAllister is Red John. And yet there is no reason for him to even be on the list of seven suspects.

Season 6 was touted in the commercials for being "Red John: The Final Chapter". However, it wasn't at first clear how soon they'd be wrapping it up. Right away they killed off the fan favorite suspect, Brett Partridge. Then it turned out Red John also murdered Jane's old psychiatrist, who left some vague clues about Red John being middle-aged, self-possessed, a good whistler, and having some kind of fear, probably of heights. Jane seemingly weeded out McAllister when he helped him out on a rooftop in Napa, but noted his fear of birds. Then it was revealed that Bob Kirland was actually a demented killer bent on revenge on Red John, sort of a cracked mirror version of Jane, willing to kill the people on a fake suspect list Jane constructed in case he was spied on. Kirkland was murdered by Reede Smith as an operation by a secret organization of corrupt law enforcement players, called the Blake Association.

blake
"Take that, Lord Byron!"


It's this same Blake Association that Gale Bertram and Sheriff McAllister are a part of, which Jane only learns of when Red John slips up, murdering a woman named Kira Tinsley that he had hired to plant a bug at the CBI, but leaving her enough life to hand Jane a linchpin clue: her killer had a tattoo on his left arm of three red dots. This ends up being the signal for the Blake Association. Jane confronts the remaining people on his suspect list to force them to reveal if they have the tattoo. An explosion kills Stiles and a completely innocent Haffner (who Jane and Lisbon hounded) and McAllister is presumed dead, too. Smith confesses to being on Red John's rolodex, but not being him, so process of elimination leaves Bertram squarely as the only suspect for being Red John.

And then, possibly the final insult, and a huge pile of excrement. Then comes the episode titled simply, "Red John".

The CBI, having been shut down by out-of-state FBI agents (since their boss has been outed as a murderer), try to locate Jane, who is looking to secure a meeting with Bertram. When he finally can and can get past FBI Special Agent Dennis Abbot and his team to meet Bertram in a chapel by where his wife and daughter are buried, he is quickly set upon by Oscar Cordero, a Blake Association flunkie, who pats him down for a gun he borrowed from Lisbon. Bertram plans to betray Jane, but Codero shoots Bertram instead. Finally, the real Red John enters the chapel, and it's none other than Sheriff Thomas McAllister.

Jane and McAllister banter a bit, pretty casually, considering that McAllister murdered the former's family, along with many others over the years. Jane reveals that he knows how McAllister faked his death during the explosion at his guest house some episodes earlier, planting a fake body that he had previously had altered DNA records for. However, Jane doesn't really have any questions for McAllister. He doesn't wonder how he knew his list. He doesn't ask what his plans are. Or anything about how he came to be. No, Jane doesn't care about those things, just the fans.

But Patrick Jane isn't real. The viewers are. After five years, we deserved answers. All we really got was this statement by Jane:

"You're an evil, sexually perverted sociopath with pathetic delusions of grandeur. The rest is just details." (emphasis mine)

It was as if Bruno Heller himself was stating that all those years, all those episodes, the mysteries, the hints, the reveals, the plans, any kind of reasoning gone into the conclusions Patrick Jane made in narrowing the suspects, those are "just details". Ultimately, none of them mattered. The list didn't matter. The handshake clue was completely worthless. Even the previous episodes in Season 6, pretty much all pointless. Red John turned out to be a guy Patrick Jane spent three minutes playing "rock, paper, scissors" with in Season 1 in an episode having nothing to do with the Red John case, who hadn't been seen again until the beginning of season 6, and if you thought the clues mattered, you're a sucker. Bruno Heller, like Red John himself, was just mocking anyone trying to figure it out.

whatno
"What? Wait, you don't want to know?"


What's Red John/McAllister even planning at this stage? He says that he's going to kill Jane, then make it seem like he and Bertram killed each other, but if he wanted to do that, why the elaborate game? What would he do next? People are going to notice that Red John didn't die after all if he goes onto killing more people with his signature smiley face. Does he plan to retire? What happened to his compulsion to bring Jane into his fold? Surely that's why he was there in person, right? Otherwise, why did he show up at the chapel at all? What about that "higher calling" Red John spoke about in the Season 4 finale?

Do we get any shout outs/references to Rosalind Harker? The killing of Sam Bosco's team? Timothy Carter, the fake Red John? Red John's time at the Elliston farm as part of Visualize? The answer to what "HE IS MAR" was, at least? Well, no. Maybe Bruno Heller is like Jane at this point, and just doesn't care. Instead, he releases a live pigeon hidden from his coat, and McAllister recoils, being afraid of birds, which gives Jane time to retrieve a hidden gun under a pew, which he uses to shoot McAllister in the gut and gun down Oscar.

Yeah. You read that right. I'm presuming if you've read this far, you probably already saw it. A live pigeon, a hidden gun, a professional policeman killed by a guy who never uses guns, and another dying on the floor because he's afraid of said bird. I'm only repeating this because I want it to sink in. The mighty Red John is, in a matter of milliseconds, completely undone by a live pigeon Patrick Jane had smuggled into the chapel in his coat.

pigeonsinpark
"Hey Lisbon, do you know where I can find a tiny bottle of chloroform and a bottle cork?"


It's unlike me to have gone this long without using profanity. I wanted to avoid it, if possible. It isn't.

Fuck you, Bruno Heller, with a live ferret, borrowing through your lower intestine. I know that, as a consumer of free media, you probably don't owe me a thing, but it's really crappy to be punched in the face this hard after years of watching this show.

But, oh, it's not over yet. Oh, no. A mysterious, unnamed woman enters the chapel and, feigning ignorance, begs Jane to put his gun down, like she's just a bystander. However, it turns out the woman is a Red John operative, and she lunges at him with a knife. The woman, who must have heard gunshots from outside and entered, tries to kill a man armed with a gun, who has killed one person and injured her boss, with a knife. Why didn't Red John have his operative, oh, I don't know, carry a gun, and perhaps shoot Patrick Jane, as to save him in case he needed it. Jane knocks the woman over with a candle (!) and pursues Red John through the graveyard, as he has slipped away while Jane was attacked.

Here we get a pulse-pounding chase, wherein a man several years younger than a doddering old man with a gaping, bleeding gut wound, cannot keep up with said wounded man. Not only is Patrick slower than McAllister, but McAllister is also, somehow, able to leap through a sliding glass door of a very surprised family, get up just fine, look at everybody apologetically, and continue running. Instead of, you know, just going around the house, or taking one of the kids hostage, or stealing a car, or any number of things he had time for since Jane is so slow. The wounded old sheriff just Kool-Aids through that glass door like a rhino going through a Japanese wall. Ferris Bueller wouldn't even do that trying to outrun his parents.

ferris
But then, doors just open for Ferris Bueller.


The ludicrous Jack Benny routine ends in a park, where an ailing McAllister finally crumples onto the ground next to a pond, desperately dialing 9-1-1 for help. Red John, serial killer, pleading for help from emergency services. Jane kicks away the phone, straddles (!) McAllister, and chokes him to death, without any mercy. Then he leaves a phone message with Lisbon telling her it's over, and runs off.

Again, I must resort to salty tongue, because other language fails me. Forgive me.

Fuck you, Heller.

You, Mr. Bruno Heller, are a bilious mound of rotting pubic cheese. You are a sack of steaming whale vomit. I would rather be given an enema of molten lava than ever watch another show produced by you. While it is true that I enjoyed The Mentalist for several years, especially episodes written by you, so I cannot especially say that you're a terrible writer, but you obviously turned out to be a pusillanimous dilettante, and even writing this article churns a rage in me that even hyperbole cannot do justice to.

"But wait!" come the cries from the villagers on the hills and dales, echoing through the countryside, through the halls of my home and into my ears. "Season 6 is as of yet unfinished! Surely we will be treated with many revelations involving Red John, the Blake Association, and at least some of your unanswered questions!"

Indeed, that may be true.

I don't care.

Now, don't get me wrong. This isn't just because the guy I wanted to be Red John wasn't. Frankly, he's the only one that makes sense, given the clues, but they could have theoretically made McAllister work, at least somewhat, had they set it up better. They didn't. There was no attempt. The episode "Red John" just says, "Yep, turns out it was that one guy from that one episode and a couple of others five years later. You can't know how. He's dead now. A pigeon defeated him. Enjoy Jane in... Mexico, I think."

CBS even spoiled the reveal itself in the commercial for the episode after the conclusion of "The Great Red Dragon", in a promo with McAllister's stunt double crashing through the glass door and him from behind walking in the chapel. They showed us who it was already in the preview!

The final showdown between Patrick Jane and Red John isn't some grand battle of wits between two master manipulators. It's not even an heart-throbbing thrill ride. It's not a terrifying encounter with a dangerous maniac, either. It's an episode of William Dozier's Batman TV series from the 60s. It's garish and campy, with a sneering and scene-chewing. There's an absurd chase scene that defies any kind of reason and a frankly dismissive, mean-spirited finale that gives a giant middle finger to the dedicated long-time viewers. Hell, most of the episode isn't even about Red John, it's about FBI agent Abbott obstructing Jane and the CBI! Red John doesn't even appear until the second half of the episode and when he does, Jane gives him a look like even Simon Baker himself can't believe it's the sheriff. No, that the character of Patrick Jane can't believe it's the damn sheriff that shouldn't have even qualified for the suspect list to begin with!

Did Bruno Heller, who wrote nearly all of the Red John-related episodes, and was the supervisor of the entire series, even review the past shows before he decided who was Red John? According to an interview, Xander Berkeley, who plays McAllister, wasn't even told he was Red John until this season. It's possible that Heller himself didn't know. And the writing of that conclusion is just seething with hatred for the whole story arc, like Heller regrets ever having created Red John and wished he had given Jane less serious reasons to be solving crimes, because the episode "Red John" is viciously dismissive of the mythology.

And yes, sure, it's possible Heller may attempt some sort of reconciliation with the disappointed fans by revealing details of Red John's conspiracy to us in future episodes. However, for me at least, that ship has sailed. He had ample opportunity to wrap things up. Why should I, having watched "Red John", even bother with the show? I should keep watching for what, Heller's scraps?

Currently, we have a brand new dynamic to the show. Jane is working with the FBI out of Texas, with Dennis Abott as his new boss, and Lisbon along for the ride as he solves cases for another group of suits, promising to decode a flash drive with a list of Blake Association members. It's the last vestige of the Red John case as the show returns to mostly stand alone cases. Some people like this new direction. After the doom and gloom of the first eight episodes of the season where it's pretty much constant Red John hunting, they see this return-to-form episodic nature with a more cheeky Patrick Jane as a breath of fresh air.

I see it as placing a funeral wreath on a fresh grave.

The only thing keeping me watching it now is force of habit. If I found anything better to watch on Sunday nights, I wouldn't even think about the show. It's background noise at best. I doubt that anything that happens now can redeem what happened to it.

Red John, Red John, burning quick, why were you a small time hick? What immoral hand or eye could write thy fearful idiocy?

Bruno Heller, that was my favorite cup.

cupsmashed
"Oh wait. That's Rigsby's cup. Nevermind."


- Penguin Truth (2013)



The Mentalist - Red John's History from mtpenguin on Vimeo.


Saturday, January 21st, 2012

(pet da penguin )

Subject:Gundam AGE Episode 07 Review
Time:4:32 pm.

Episode 07, "Evolving Gundam"

*****SPOILERS*****
Synopsis: Captured by Zalam mobile suits, Flit is brought before Don Boyage. He questions the actions of the Zalam and Euba, since the UE could attack at any time. Don Boyage expresses his desire to use the Gundam to fight Euba. Grodek explains that the Federation isn't strong enough to fight the UE, thus his request for warships. When Euba mobile suits show up, Grodek and Flit escape among the chaos. Don goes out in his own mobile suit. Flit in the Gundam gets in the middle of the fighting factions and tries to reason with them. Suddenly, the UE attacks. Largan arrives in a mobile suit to hold the UE off while Flit takes the Gundam to the AGE system. The Gundam is fitted with new parts and arrives to help.
Comments:
I can't imagine me giving less of a shit about this show.
The introduction of the two warring factions is fine. It wouldn't surprise me if people kept fighting with each other even with a common enemy. Zeta Gundam had that. The Zalam and Euba factions have neat insignia and I'm digging their mobile suits, too. However, there's nothing about what these two groups are fighting over, and the Zalam side especially seem more like comedy relief rather than a serious threat. I'm waiting around for them to all just go away so we can get back to the real story, because this shit is about as good and integrating as the silly crap in Double Zeta.
Even Grodek was boring in this episode. We did get a nice scene with him and Flit where he puts out his hand, but past that, it feels like he's just going through the motions. Flit seemed pretty mechanical, too. In fact, all of the characters were robotic, except for the aforementioned comedy relief. At least the guy with the fro, Largan, finally took part in a battle. Though after all that waiting he easily gets his ass handed to them. I guess they're going to need Woolf again.
The Gundam AGE gets a new add-on armor that makes it look like Gundam Maxter. I hope it tackles like a football player, so at least it's over-the-top enough to come back around to entertaining.
I've gone from not caring much about this show, to liking it slightly, and now I can barely stand it. I almost hate it. The art is inconsistent, the animation is awful at times, the story is boring, and the characters are uncharismatic. Right now the show is just a waste of time. If it doesn't pick up soon, I'm dropping it. As flawed as it was, Gundam 00 was better than this.

Overall Score:

2.5 out of 5


(pet da penguin )

Subject:Gundam AGE Episode 06 Review
Time:4:31 pm.
Episode 06 , "The Light and Shadow of Fardain"

*****SPOILERS*****
Synopsis: Flit tells Emily he's not going to resettle in Tordia. Woolf visits a friend who he orders a custom mobile suit from. Flit and Emily find themselves in the middle of a mobile suit battle in the city. They're saved by a man named Iwark Bria, who takes them to the slums. Iwark tells them that the conflict sprang from the old colonial war from years past. Grodek visits a man named Don Boyage and requests four warships which he's willing to sell for military secrets. When Iwark's daughter goes missing, he climbs into his own mobile suit with Flit and Emily. After they find the girl, Iwark goes off on his own to fight the other mobile suits. Flit requests that Vargas bring him the Gundam. Once in the Gundam, Flit confronts the other mobile suits. A UE mobile suit arrives and Flit engages it, but it suddenly disappears. Flit becomes surrounded by other mobile suits.

Comments:
Emily's really starting to annoy me. It's one thing if they're planning to have her spiral down until she's crazy, but as she is now, she's just nerve-wracking. We get it, you don't want Flit to join the military. But if you're so worried about him dying, why don't you join up as well and chip in somehow, making it less likely that he'll die? I understand her frustration, but she comes across as overprivledged. You can't isolate yourself from the conflict occuring.
I wonder what the colonial wars were all about. Maybe it was just like the Federation-Zeon conflict in Mobile Suit Gundam. But actually, it doesn't appear that there's any real big difference between the two sides. We don't really find out whether or not it was a war for colony independence or what. It's just two different colored MS firing at each other in the middle of a frickin' city. Shouldn't the colony have Federation protection against this kind of thing?
Both Woolf and Grodek are ordering something. Woolf wants a custom mobile suit, which I'm looking forward to seeing (though his current white one is pretty neat). Grodek wants ships, and he's willing to exchange them for classified information. He's not a very good Federation officer. He's totally doing things for his own ideals and with his own plan. I wonder how many of the crew of the Diva, if any, know what he's up to. Surely he can't keep it up for much longer, though I doubt he plans to. I don't see things ending well for Grodek, which is a shame, because so far he's my favorite character.
Is that guy with the orange 'fro going to finally pilot a MS?


Overall Score:

3.5 out of 5


(pet da penguin )

Subject:Gundam AGE Episode 05 Review
Time:4:26 pm.
Episode 05, "The Demon Boy"
*****SPOILERS*****
Synopsis: Emily is concerned when she overhears Flit commit to continue piloting the Gundam. As the Diva nears the colony Fardain, Captain Grodek is contacted by Federation authorities who plan to strip him of his command (which he usurped). Grodeck blackmails the official who comes to arrest him. Emily confronts him about his behavior and he reveals his attack plan to her. Flit encounters a boy named Desil who gives him a strange feeling. The UE attack Fardain and Desil gets in the Gundam, taking off in it. Flit and Woolf launch in Geoaces to retrieve it, but Desil easily takes out enemy MS. Desil later meets with cloaked people.
Comments:
It looked like Grodek's actions were coming back to haunt him. However, with a little blackmail, he managed to avoid arrest. I doubt this is the last we'll hear/see of this matter, though. Grodek commandeered a Federation battleship and its mobile suits. The top brass won't stay silent on this. But I thought it was extremely smooth how he handled it for the time being. He really is my favorite character.
Emily is really starting to freak out. She's determined to stop Grodek and prevent Flit from becoming a soldier for the Federation. Her heart is in the right place- she's concerned for Flit's safety and doesn't like Grodek's dishonesty- but something tells me she's on a downward spiral of sanity. I hope they don't make her lose her mind completely. Then again, it might be more interesting that way.
Flit meets mysterious youngster Desil in this episode. Desil gives Flit the same feeling he had when he was with Yurin a few episodes back. And somehow he's not all he seems to be. I wonder if the masked man in the cloak who came to him at the end of the episode will be the Char of this series. It seems like Yurina and Desil are Newtypes, but they might not call them that in this series.

Overall Score:
3.5 out of 5


Saturday, November 26th, 2011

(pet da penguin )

Subject:Dragon Ball Kai - Episode 96 Review
Time:2:24 pm.

 Episode 96, "Combine Our Power! The Mightiest, Final Kamehameha"

Episode 96 ReviewCollapse )



(pet da penguin )

Subject:Gundam AGE Episode 03 Review
Time:2:18 pm.

Episode 04, "The White Wolf"

*****SPOILERS*****
Synopsis:  Mobile suit ace Woolf Enneacle awakens on the Diva and is assigned as the head of mobile suit forces on the crew. He desires to pilot Flit's Gundam, but Flit objects. The two decide to have a duel contest to see who's a more fit pilot. The two are attacked by the UE and team up to escape. The UE's cloaking technology leads Grodek Aiona to the knowledge of who they really are. 
Comments: 

The episode introduces mobile suit racer (?) star, Woolf Enneacle, who ends up being a rival of Flit's. He's arrogant and likes to hit on women. He challenges Flit to a contest whose winner will decide who pilots the Gundam. Who does this remind you of? If Woolf were also a heavy drinker, he'd be Bernard Monsha from Gundam 0083. In fact, this episode reminds me of episode 3 of that less than stellar OVA. Only Monsha isn't a kitten eared pretty boy, so I guess he's a totally different character? Well, actually, Woolf doesn't come across quite as bad as Monsha, but at the same time, isn't as fun a character. 

I wonder what the "grand prix" spoken of is indeed a speed race between mobile suits, maybe something like IGPX. I'm already more interested in Woolf's past than his present. As head of the mobile suit forces, you'd think the most powerful suit would go right to him, contest or not. You'd want to get the most out of your best weapon, so giving him to the best soldier is a smart move. But I guess Flit knows Gundam better than anyone. Really, though, it's because he's the main character that he'll get to keep using the Gundam. It might have been different to see Woolf get it for a little while and end up not using it as well, or something along those lines. The "rivals working together dissolving their differences" route is a little played out. 

The Unknown Enemy's big ship (more ugly CG) uses cloaking technology. You don't see a lot of this in Gundam. For some reason the captain gets an idea about who they really are, so maybe we'll know by the end of the next episode. I haven't really thought about it. I just figured they were a secretive group, but are human. I'm still hoping the spoilers I read about this show are wrong. 

I'm still not impressed. 
Overall Score:

3.5 out of 5

(pet da penguin )

Subject:Dragon Ball Kai - Episode 95 Review
Time:2:14 pm.

Episode 95, "Bye Bye, Everyone! This is the Only Way to Save Earth"

"FIVE PUDDINGS! ER, I MEAN MINUTES!""I've got a tumor right up here."

(pet da penguin )

Subject:Dragon Ball Kai - Episode 94 Review
Time:2:10 pm.

 Episode 94, "The Perfect Form Breaks Down! The Super Iron Fists of Rage Explode"
"Kali ma! Kali ma! KALI MA!"TIGER UPPERCUT!

Episode 94 ReviewCollapse )

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

(pet da penguin )

Subject:Gundam AGE Episode 03 Review
Time:4:32 pm.

 Episode  03, "The Twisted Colony"


*****SPOILERS*****
Synopsis:  The crew of the Diva begin to tow the colony core filled with evacuated citizens while Flit takes on more UE mobile suits. While taking on the enemy, Flit notices Yurin's strange abilities. When the core is pinned down, with no options left, Command Bruzar sacrifices himself to save the colonists. The final UE MS retreats. While the ship tows the colony core, a mysterious figure wakes up on board from cold sleep. 

Comments: 

As expected, the Nora colony is a goner, much in the same way Side 7 and Heliopolis. Well, they were creative in the saving of colonists, using the colony core. I had thought they would be doomed before the end of the episode, but it looks like they're out of danger for the time being. The colony still exploded, though. 

I'm sure this has come up before, but Yurin seems very similar to Tiffa in Gundam X. Sort of shy and a little detached seeming, and has special intuition. Tiffa is a Newtype, so maybe Yurin is one, too. The way he seems unafraid to take on the UE mobile suit, Flit seems to be taking after Garrod or Judau Ashta. The captain already dresses like Jamil Neate. Im guessing Yurin will be Flit's love interest, but it's a little early to call it. I still think Emily will be in the Friend Zone, or else end up with the chubby kid. 
Flit has a history of looking to the Gundam as being a savior, and he was determined to protect the colonists. I think a bit more of his personality is emerging, but he still hasn't quite stepped out of the shadows of the truly iconic Gundam characters. It feels like we're only getting development as flashbacks, so instead of forward development, we're given his past to add dimension to him. It's working right now, but they'll have to follow it up in the present situation, or he'll remain just "okay" as a lead. 
I liked the core towing idea used here. It was certainly the first of its kind in a Gundam show. Just when I was thinking there wouldn't be much new. However, based on some rumored spoilers, I may end up disliking developments that are a little too creative for their own good. 

Overall Score:

3.5 out of 5

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

(2 happi penguins | pet da penguin )

Subject:Batman: Year One
Time:4:11 pm.

Batman: Year One

****SPOILERS*****

Synopsis: Billionare Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City after being gone for years. Meanwhile, Jim Gordon arrives in Gotham, becoming a police lieutenant in the corrupt force. Wayne trains himself to fight crime, donning a bat suit to strike fear in criminals. When Gordon is blackmailed for having an affair, he has to admit it to his wife. Mobsters and policemen alike try to take down the Batman, but he avails, and Wayne even saves Gordon's son. Batman forms a bond with Gordon.

Comments:

Maybe you're wondering why I'm reviewing a cartoon that isn't Japanese. Well, come on, I've reviewed non-anime before and this is Batman.

Batman: Year One is one of my favorite Batman stories, written by Frank Miller before he went completely insane. I own a copy of the collected version. It's my favorite version of Batman's origin. The art was bold and memorable and the story really brought me into the heads of its two focuses (Wayne and Gordon). When I discovered that they were making a movie of it, I was estatic.

The story chronicles the conception of the Batman from the mind of an impatient, but determined man looking to chip away at the crusty city of crime. It also follows another man, trying to cope with being thrown in with corrupt authority while maintaining his own. You really get a feeling of Gordon's frustrations and pains. Gordon is the most human character in this story, and it's easy to symapthize with him even when he does below the board things to cope. By the end, you understand why he forms a bond with Batman.

The story sees the beginning of Batman's crimefighting career, a dry run for Bruce before he finds his motif, his struggle to even stop a pack of teens, how he effects organized crime more and more. I think it's also important to note that the climax sees Bruce without the suit and yet ready to risk his life to rescue a child. There's actually not a lot of Bruce as Batman in this feature, and yet it doesn't feel like a waste. It only strengthens the human element of the narrative when Bruce, caked in mud and filth, hands over Jim's child. He's a man who isn't afraid of getting dirty to save the innocent.

The performances by the voice cast were solid. It's no surprise when Andrea Romano (Batman: The Animated Series, Avatar: The Last Airbender) did the voice direction. Ben McKenzie's Batman sounds like a slightly younger version of Kevin Conroy's. Bryan Cranston's Jim Gordon is very world-weary but earnest. The others do quite well, even if some characters are little more than guest stars. (I noticed Steven Blum as Stan, a pimp!)

The art style is reminiscent of the second season of The Big O. That is, quasi-BTAS, but tweaked a little. It's similar to the comic art by David Mazzucchelli. It looks good. The animation is decent, too, without any conspicious CG and being fairly smooth. The soundtrack is fine, if a bit forgettable most of the time. It's all in all an excellent example of Batman in animated form. But I won't be throwing away my copy of the comic to replace with this. I'll be adding it as a supplemental.

Overall Score:

4.5 out of 5



Friday, October 21st, 2011

(pet da penguin )

Time:4:22 pm.

Episode 02 , "The Power of AGE "

Pictured: Jamile Neate and Doctor Tenma.WHO'S THAT POKE--- ER, MOBILE SUIT?

*****SPOILERS*****

Synopsis: The Unknown Enemy continues to attack the colony of Nora. Federation soldiers disagree over what action to take involving evacuation and the ship Diva. Flit tries to help a girl, Yurin, who is at first afraid of the Gundam. Deputy Commander Grodek Aiona takes command of the Diva, which launches into space. Flit launches the Gundam into space but has difficulty fighting. The "AGE System"" is activated to provide Flit support. Flit uses the DOTS Rifle to engage an enemy MS, destroying the enemy easily. But then more mobile suits arrive.

But where do they keep things?"Wait, we have an Oscar and Marker?!"

Comments:


The second episode is much like the first in that it really didn't impress me, but it didn't waste my time, either. We get to see the White Base of the show, the Diva, and we get the Jamil Neate-like Grodek Aiona. I was happy to see Marker and Oscar analogues on the bridge of the ship. We also see the Gundam use the "AGE System", which provides weapons for it. There's a lot of the second episode of the original Gundam in this, with characters looking around the damaged colony for survivors.

Apparently there's some disagreement over how to use the Diva, which leads Grodek (who I have a feeling will be my favorite character) to tie up the dreadlock guy and his cronies and take control of Diva himself. Instead of a Gundamjack, we have sort of a shipjack. What sort of ship name is "Diva"? It sounds like something Lacus Clyne should command. It's a bit of a bland design, too.


In fact, much of the episode is fairly average and Flit remains a bit bland. Though at least he isn't sobbing about his situation. In fact, he's almost eerily controlled in this situation. I don't think we have to see water works, but the least he can do is have some tangible emotion. He feels like a plug-in, project-your-own-traits-here, but I see a little potential for growth. I wonder if the girl he picked up will be a love interest for him. I have a feeling if she is, it means poor Emily is doomed to Fraw Bow Land, a stunning stretch of land in the Friend Zone. I own a condo there.

The CGI in the AGE System scene was frankly embarrassing to watch. You'd think that Sunrise would have the budget to make it not look like crap. And what's the difference between his regular beam rifle and the DOTS Rifle? It didn't seem that different, other than being a bit stronger.

All in all, I'm not blown away, but it was decent enough. Gundam shows can take a while to really kick in, so I'll try to be patient.

Awwww yeeeaaah. COMPLETELY NECESSARY.

Overall Score:


3.5 out of 5



Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

(pet da penguin )

Subject:Gundam AGE Episode 01 Review
Time:2:22 pm.

Episode 01, "Gundam, the Savior"

"Don't say my name loudly like that, Fa." Er, sorry, wrong series."This is almost as offensive as Zeta Zaku!"

*****SPOILERS*****

Synopsis: Flit Asuno, a young boy living in a space colony, and his friend Emily Armond, find themselves in the middle of an attack by the UE ("Unknown Enemy"). Flit climbs into the cockpit of the mobile suit he designed, the Gundam, and defeats the enemy attacking. But the victory is short lived when an UE ship attacks the colony.

Not pictured: Mazinger's Mother and Ideon Crossing the Delaware. "So, am I supposed to morph with this thing? Or activate my Blue Dragon card?"

Comments:

Ah, a new Gundam series. An alternate universe title, too, with all of its own personality and a variety of different aspects in contrast to other recent programs.

No, wait. This isn't that.

All right, so it's pretty much run-of-the-mill Gundam in this episode. Boy meets Gundam. Boy pilots Gundam against invading enemy. Space colony gets damaged in ensuing battle. Pretty typical. You have your kid genius who designed his own Gundam and has a female friend that tags along and is more level-headed than he is. Your doomed hometown. You have your "Gundam stands" moment. Gene and Denim are killed (we don't see who is actually piloting the enemy MS this time, though).

Oh, and a Haro. Fancy that.

Apparently in this universe, at least one Gundam fought in a distant past war, because Flit (Flit? Really?) remembers seeing a painting of it as a child. Judging by the painting, it must've been made during Georges Seurat's "classic giant robot" period rarely covered in art history courses. (Yes, I made a pointillism joke.) Is it like Turn A Gundam where there's a whole history of MS combat that lies in the past? Even the Gundam Flit designs, much like the one in the painting, seems pretty "basic Gundam". Then again, maybe it's for the best, since the viewer is forced to absorb the story and not just MS designs. But with enemy MS like the ones here, maybe I'm wrong.

Oh Flit, can a new era be born without sacrifice? (Too Giant Robo for you?) Flit seems a bit like Banagher Links, actually, but that's just a vibe I'm getting, since this is just the first episode. Poor kid's mother died right in front of him. I'm guessing we'll get some info about his father at some point.

I don't know if I like that device thingie, it reminds me of one of those card game shows or something from a super sentai show that transforms the user. I prefer the key/stick things from Gundam X. But I guess having a device like that prevents rampant MS theft.

There's really nothing outstanding in this episode. The character designs for the show make it seem more youth-oriented. It kind of reminds me of Shotaro Ishinomori or Leiji Matsumoto, but worked at so that it lacks either of their charm. It's sort of filed down and oversimplified. I didn't notice any particular track of the music, either. It was just sort of there. Kenji Kawai's 00 OST made a better first impression. Nothing particularly excellent about the characters themselves or even the plot, but nothing cringeworthy, either.

It's all pretty average.

"No, *I* have the most ridiculous character design!"
COCK(PIT)S are almost touching!

Overall Score:

3.5 out of 5



Saturday, June 18th, 2011

(pet da penguin )

Subject:Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Episode 49 ENGLISH DUB Review
Time:11:20 pm.

Episode 49, "Familial Love"

"
"Only YOU can prevent forest fires."

 

Episode 49 ENGLISH DUB ReviewCollapse ) 

 


Saturday, June 11th, 2011

(pet da penguin )

Subject:Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Episode 48 ENGLISH DUB Review
Time:10:55 pm.

Episode 48, "A Vow Made Underground"

"Huh," thinks Father. "I wish I'd brought a book or something."
 
 

Episode 48 ENGLISH DUB ReviewCollapse )

 


Saturday, June 4th, 2011

(pet da penguin )

Subject:Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Episode 47 ENGLISH DUB Review
Time:11:36 pm.

Episode 47, "Messenger of Darkness"

Father-son bonding.

 

 

Episode 47 ENGLISH DUB ReviewCollapse ) 

 


Saturday, May 28th, 2011

(pet da penguin )

Subject:Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Episode 46 ENGLISH DUB Review
Time:9:44 pm.

Episode 46, "The Creeping Shadow"

"Looking to trade up?"

 

Episode 46 ENGLISH DUB ReviewCollapse ) 

 


Thursday, May 19th, 2011

(pet da penguin )

Subject:Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Episode 45 ENGLISH DUB Review
Time:11:48 pm.

Episode 45, "The Promised Day"

Typical sibling rivalry.

 

Episode 45 ENGLISH DUB ReviewCollapse )

 

 

 

 


 


Thursday, May 12th, 2011

(pet da penguin )

Subject:Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Episode 44 ENGLISH DUB Review
Time:7:02 pm.

Episode 44, "Full Throttle"

"You know you missed me."

 

 

Episode 44 ENGLISH DUB REVIEWCollapse )

 


Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

(pet da penguin )

Subject:Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Episode 43 ENGLISH DUB Review
Time:1:59 pm.

Episode 43, "An Ant's Bite"

"I look like a WHAT?!"

 

 

Episode 43 ENGLISH DUB ReviewCollapse )

 


Saturday, April 30th, 2011

(pet da penguin )

Subject:Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Episode 42 ENGLISH DUB Review
Time:11:06 pm.

Episode 42, "Sign of a Counterattack"

"So, you're Minister of Silly Hats where you come from, right?"

 

Episode 42 ENGLISH DUB ReviewCollapse )

 


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