A Little GoLion and A Little Voltron: A Sym-Bionic Titan Tribute

Sym-Bionic Titan’s light was extinguished much too fast, we can all agree. And it also marked the end to Genndy Tartakovsky’s career for Cartoon Network. His contributions to TV animation’s style are vast. And Sym-Bionic Titan was another high point in his repertoire as he brought all his style and combined it with robot passion!

We could complain about how Genndy Tartakovsky was shafted with Samurai Jack and Sym-Bionic Titan all day but I am not here to gripe about the executive decisions at Cartoon Network. I think we are better served by celebrating what was done right with such an excellent show like Sym-Bionic Titan. Sym-Bionic Titan is a unique blend of a Japanese giant robot show with the best of comedic the sensibilities of an American romantic sitcom. We want to show you how this gem was able to combine those two very different genres and create a greater whole that was sorely underappreciated.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #109

After a full year Katanagatari comes to a close and it has been an interesting journey. Nisio Isin is still very obviously Nisio Isin no matter what he does. That means playing the with genre, winking at the audience, bizarre and sometimes immensely annoying characters, and metric tons of dialog. With 12 swords and 12 owners we have gotten a good deal variation in how the episodes felt. Some of the owners and swords were far more interesting than others but that is expected with having to create 12 pairs of antagonists and weapons. Also some of the later swords only count as swords because the author says so. I am going to assume that the episode that completely threw out the formula completely and had Nanami as the main charter was a highlight for most people.  The ending has parts that will either be very shocking or super obvious depending on who you are. It starts with a  speech that exemplifies the fact that characters do not stop talking no matter what happens. The final episode also has the prerequisite Boss Rush that seemed inevitable from the beginning. In the end everyone who had a plan involving the swords had an immensely elaborate Rube Goldberg styled plan that could have been simply solved without the swords in reflection. In fact there is some extremely sketchy logic that will probably annoy the daylights out of anyone not drawn in by the story. I enjoyed the story and like the Monogatari Series it proves he can write something I don’t utterly despise like the Zaregoto Series. But his style is still a hard pill to shallow and I can easily see why people would avoid his work like the plague.

I read Natsume’s Book of Friends vol. 1 which I was very excited about since I loved what I saw of the anime. This is the story of Natsume who can see yokai and who has felt isolation because of it. When he moves in with yet another set of relatives he starts to learn more about his long gone Grandmother who had the same power and used it to dominate the spirits. Things get hectic as spirit after spirit comes after Natsume to get back their “name, ” which his Grandmother had collected into a book. So far the stories have all been ones I watched on screen. Each has a little humor, a little nostalgia, and most times a very quiet and melancholy feel. Natsume is a really gentle soul and its wonderful to watch him listen to the stories of the yokai while also learning about his Grandmother. The artist’s lines are quite loose which adds the whimsy I am so found of to the stories. Though I have to say I enjoyed the anime just a bit more, the soft color palette and light music really added to the stories. Nevertheless, I want more Natsume and hope to find stories that weren’t animated in its pages.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #102

I finally finished up Heroman which ended up being a rather unfortunate series. Things come to a head in the final 5 episodes as we learn a little more about Joey’s father, Psy’s accident, and the seemingly random episodes like the crazy monster on the island. If you couldn’t figure it out from the 2nd opening, the Skruggs role in this show were not yet done but their new forms are a surprisingly good moment in the series. Too bad much of the emotional hooks feel disconnected, but the Skruggs’ and Will’s part to play are a welcome sight. The final battle is climatic and full of friendship so it actually rounded out the story nicely if you don’t ask too many questions. But when the credits finish you see quite clearly Bones hoped to continue the series which we all assume will never happen. This hint of more to come though highlights one of the worst parts of Heroman: Dr. Minami and his minions. I could think of a number of much more exciting things to show in order to have me hope for more, but with that preview I thought to myself, “thank goodness it is over!” I was excited and full of hope for Heroman in the beginning, but it was plagued by uneven pacing and shallow characterization for its heroes and villains alike. I enjoyed the early episodes and the final ones but Heroman fell short in between. In many ways it kind of reminds me of how Ben 10 makes me feel, it is almost good but never quite makes it.

hisuiconAlso on another recommendation from mysterious voices from the Internet on the OSMcast I decided to pick up the DS game Infinite Space. That was an excellent recommendation. It is a great space opera game that has an epic story and some great characters. There are twists and turns and betrayals and alliances made all the time. There are several major decisions that can effect the plot line you travel along encouraging you to use the new game plus feature as well. The ships in the game are super customizable and anyone who ever enjoyed playing BattleTech will be in heaven. The game has two major sections. It starts of great and then the first parts ends and the game kicks everything into high gear. So much so that the game actually has and ending and then a new opening to herald in the second half. The main problem with the game is the learning curve is BRUTAL. There are many points in the game were how the game is played changes and if you don’t learn the switch you will be murdered until you figure out how to change your strategy or how a new mechanic works. This game can easily be a lesson in frustration but I think the game is rewarding enough that it offsets that frustration. It is a fun game and I am really curious how it is going to all end.

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