The Badger On: Cowboy Bebop (Anime)

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In my other blog, Pop Goes the Badger, I have mentioned that Cowboy Bebop is my favourite anime of all time. Since it is so, I thought that I would do a bit of a review of the show as I do a re-watch of this show once a year, usually during State of Origin time.

For those of you who have never head of the show before it was made in 1998 and is set in the year 2071 and follows the lives of a space bounty hunters (Cowboys) on their ship the Bebop. The crew of the Bebop are

Jet Black – Owner of the ship and ex Inter Solar System Police officer who is now a bounty hunter. He has a mechanical arm.

Spike Spiegal – His partner and former hitman for the Red Dragon Syndicate. His right eye is fake and he is a devotee of martial arts.

Faye Valentine – A con artist with amnesia and severe gambling problem. She was cryogenically frozen after a space shuttle accident. Looks like she is in her early 20’s but is actually in her 70’s.

Edward Wong or Ed – An androgynous teenage girl who is the one of the galaxies best hackers. She is odd, funny and never walks properly or with shoes on.

Ein – a Welsh Corgi he is known as a data dog and is very intelligent and shows that he is very aware of what is going on around him as he was able to hack into a gaming system when Ed wasn’t. Ein and Ed provide the comic relief.

Most of the episodes are one shot stories of the team trying to get a bounty but there are episodes that are part of the plot of the show. These episodes are usually in regards to Spike or Faye and deal with their pasts. Spike, with his time in the Syndicate and rivalry with Vicious, his former partner, and Julia the woman he loves and who he is searching for. Faye’s story is about trying to find out who she is and where she is from.

It is not just the story or the characters that made this anime wonderful it is also the music which is composed by Yoko Kanno.  It blues and jazz inspired with the character of Jet being a fan of the genres and why the ship is called the Bebop. All the episodes or sessions as they are named after a genre of music or particular song with the Rolling Stones having three ‘sessions’ named after their songs (Honky Tonk Woman, Sympathy for the Devil and Wild Horses).

The show is funny, entertaining and charming. You will fall in love with crew of space misfits and will be left with wanting more, especially an answer to the final scene in the show. It was rumoured at one time to be made into a live action movie with Keanu Reeves to play Spike, not good casting in my opinion. There is a anime movie called Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heaven’s Door which is also great and should be checked out.

SEE YOU SPACE COWBOY!!!

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P.S Instead of a trailer I have included a bit of a music video with one of my favourites songs from the show.

 

 

 

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The Badger On: Riverdale (TV)

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Two in one week, I am not sure if I have done this before and if I have it is definitely been a while. Admittedly my writing motivation/inspiration has been waning a bit. I think my depression for the first time is overtaking my anxiety. Hopefully I will kick both in the ass and my need to write whether it be reviews, my regularly blog, general writing or return to Harry Potter RP will return.

 

Well any who, todays review is on the Archie comics TV series Riverdale which is shown here in Australia as a Netflix original series though in America it is shown on the CW, the network responsible for all those wonderful DC related shows that I do love so much. I can’t say that Archie is a big thing here in Australia, I mean I am aware of who the characters are and their character tropes, if that is the right word to use. I think though it is more through cartoons and such and not the actual comics that I am aware of who they are.

 

This show has come as a little surprise to me as I expected that I would treat it very much like I did the Shadowhunters TV show, a guilty pleasure, but it is so much better than that. The characters are well defined and that acting is generally very good and the writing is also very good and the show seems to be run well but then Greg Berlanti and his crew generally do a good job.

 

This show is narrated by Jughead (Cole Sprouse of the Sweet Life of Zack and Cody from Disney TV fame) and tells the story of the mystery of high school football star Jason Blossom murder and the general goings on small town Riverdale. Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) a normal boy who is/was having an affair with his music teacher Miss Grundy and was on the riverbank when they heard a shot fired. Jason Blossom was reported missing and then found dead from gunshot. Due to their illicit relationship they did not report hearing a shot, though Archie wanted to due to guilt.

 

The story follows the various relationships in town and what involvement if any they might have on the death of Jason. Surprisingly enough it is not so much Archie that it is the most interesting character of the show but the females of Riverdale and Jughead. Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) though is still the girl next door and in love with Archie is stronger than I thought her to be. Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) is strong and not as bitchy and more vulnerable than I thoughts she was.  Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) and Valerie Brown (Hayley Law) make up the other interesting and strong girls of the show.

 

All the parents in this show are horrible except for probably Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) Archie’s dad and Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols) Veronica’s mum, though admittedly Hermione can be questionable unlike Fred. All the other parents seem to be more interested in themselves and their image than actually anything beneficial to their children.

 

Even if you are not a fan or overly aware of Archie comics I would recommend this show as it is enjoyable and dramatic and well-acted.

 

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Trailer

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The Badger On: Logan (Movie)

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I know it has been a while. I have been to the movies a couple of times prior to this review. The first I did start to write something up but I wanted to see the movie again and didn’t get a chance to so I might wait for the Digital/DVD release of it, which should be soon. The second I actually fell asleep during due it being really hot, a heavy meal prior and popcorn during and I was tired to begin with. Unfortunately this did not impress my BF who was rather annoyed that I feel asleep.

 

So that leads to my review of Logan. Now we all know that I am more of a DC fan than a Marvel and though technically this is made by Fox and not Marvel/Disney Wolverine is a Marvel character and I do have a fondness for the character. Actually X-Man/Wolverine is probably the only Marvel creation that I do have a fondness for though Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool might creep in there.

 

I am going to admit right off the bat that I did cry by the end. This has probably been the best X-Men movie that has been made in a while and this isn’t really an X-Men movie it just has elements of it. Hugh Jackman in his final (?) outing as Wolverine/Logan’s age has caught up to him and the adamantium that has been bonded to his skeleton now poisoning him and his healing ability slowing down.  He is  wonderful in his curmudgeon best, though in his own way it is an act as he does truly care for both Caliban (Stephen Merchant) and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and he did end up caring and even seeing Laura/X23 (Dafne Keen) as his daughter by the end of the film.

 

Dafne Keen was definitely the highlight of this movie with her not speaking until the last third of the film and only responding to action sequences with grunts and screams. The way she reacted to what was going on around her was wonderful. Professor Xavier’s and Wolverine’s last moments in this movie were beautiful and horrible at the same time as Wolverine’s in particular is what brought me to tears with Laura referring to him as ‘Daddy’ for the first time.

 

Wonderfully directed and co-written by James Mangold this is a road movie where you can feel the tension of the chase by the bad guys in the form of Transigen/Reavers  who are responsible for the creation of Laura from DNA taken from Logan and the other young mutants who are trying to cross the border into Canada where they will be protected.  Like Deadpool before it this is a MA15+ movie with its violence and language but the violence to an extent was very artistic.

 

If you are a fan of Wolverine please go and see this movie as it finally gives you the Wolverine that should have always been.

 

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Trailer

 

 

 

 

 

The Badger On: Doctor Strange (Movie)

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I am going to admit right from the beginning that I was a bit ambivalent about seeing this movie. I am not one to avoid spoilers and with this one I didn’t seek out anything like I might have done with any of the other comic book movies or any other movie that I had been planning on seeing.

I saw this one because my bf wanted to see it as he has a bit of a man-crush on Benedict Cumberbatch. Even my niece who is always eager to come see a comic-book movie or any movie with us for that matter was not super eager to see. They both came out of it liking it better than I did but then I guess being a DC girl I am getting tired of the Marvel/Disney team getting it ‘right’ while DC/Warner Brothers are not so much. Maybe also I am trying my best to find fault with it just because I want to.

I am not saying that I didn’t like the movie, because like all Marvel movies it was well made, written well, acted well and the effects were great. A little background maybe. I am not overly familiar with the character so what I know comes this and cartoon movie that I had seen.

Doctor Strange is an arrogant, ego driven neurosurgeon who has a car crash and damages his hands. After spending all his money on trying to fix his hands so that he could perform surgery again he ends up in Nepal where he is taught magic by the Ancient One and eventually becomes a sorcerer supreme and a protector of the Sanctums, three building found in London, New York and Hong Kong, from Dormammu of the Dark Dimension who wants to take over the earth.

Now back to the movie. The whole movie Benedict Cumberbatch reminded me of someone else with his well-done but fake American accent and it wasn’t until the last third of the movie that I finally figured it out who and it made me a little disappointed not only in him but the movie as well. I don’t know if it his choice or he was directed to do so but his accent and performance to an extent reminded me of Robert Downey Jr and in particular his portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man. Even his appearance kind of reminded me of him. The characters do have things in common with their arrogance and egoism but still I am sure that Benedict could have found a way to portray that. Merlin knows that his version of Sherlock Holmes has enough of those characteristics  to pull it off.

All other performances were great. Though there was a lot of uproar in relation to Tilda Swinton playing the Ancient One because in the comic books it is a Tibetan male. Changing the character to a white female was seen as white-washing and also changing the sex for the change itself. Despite this she did do a really good job as did Benedict Wong as Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo, Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius and Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer. The stand out character however was Benedict Cumberbatch Cloak of Levitation as it was truly amusing along with Wong.

The movie despite have two female characters will not pass the Bechdel test as they don’t interact, I don’t consider the Ancient One’s death scene to be an interaction, let alone have a discussion to talk about a man. Of course if they did they would most likely talk about Strange and his arrogance and egoism.

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Trailer

 

 

 

 

 

The Badger On: Your Lie In April (Anime)

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Another anime and another re-watch. This one however is nothing like Fairy Tail and based entirely in the real world and has not magic or supernatural elements to it. It is however an absolutely beautiful and moving story that on both watches I have cried.

The story centres on Kosei Arima, who is a piano prodigy who dominated competition when he was young. After his mother and instructor dies he has a breakdown and stops playing as he can no longer hear the notes when he plays, though there is nothing wrong with his hearing. He also starts to see the world in monochromatic tones.

Two years later he meets a free-spirited violinist named Kaori Miyazono who brings the colour back into his world and shows him that music is not meant to be structured and rigid as he was taught by his mother and that music shows who they are by the way that they play and slowly Kosei falls in love with her.

Of course there is more to this but I don’t want to give too much away as you really need to watch it for yourself. It is a beautifully told story of love, loss, friendship and music. There is only one season of 22 episodes so it is not a slog like Fairy Tail is.

I have watched this twice, first when it was released on AnimeLab in Japanese with English Subtitles and again last week though this time with it dubbed in English and the dub is just as good. It available through Crunchyroll, Hulu and Viewster if you would like to give a go and please do as I can’t stress how wonderful this show is.

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Trailer

The Badger On: Fairy Tail (Anime)

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This is my third attempt to write a review for this show. There are just too many episodes and seasons/arcs to cover not to mention all the characters involved. Well at least I can name most of them unlike some other long running anime ( eh hem Bleach) that I have watched where there are probably only a couple of names that I remember and mainly because their roles are big and/or I like the character. It helps when you have a 8 year old niece that also loves the show and constantly grills you on it so that you don’t forget the characters.

The problem with the other attempts was that I was getting to bogged down with the characters which was making the post be way to long for my liking. I have decided instead to see if I can put together a little pro and con list and see how I go. But first maybe a little bit of an overview.

Fairy Tail Overview

The shows is set in the Kingdom of Fiore. Now everyone in this world has magic inside of them but only 10% of the populace actually use it. Those that do are called wizards and they either strike out on their own or they form/join guilds. There are three different forms of guilds Legal, Dark and Independent. The Legal ones are approved and registered by the Magic Council. The Dark ones obviously are not and are treated as criminals. Independent guilds are not approved but are not seen as criminal. There are other guilds that are non-magical guilds as well.

The purpose of the legal guild is for wizards to work together, learn their art and to get jobs. Fairy Tail is one such guild and is one of the strongest if not the strongest and one of the most well-known mainly because of the trouble and damage they cause when out of said jobs.

The Positives of Fairy Tail

If you have read my other blog you will know that my first fandom love is Harry Potter and as I have watched this show I have come to see there are some similarities between the two and I am not just referring to main characters having and using magic. For one thing Harry and the main male character of Fairy Tail Natsu Dragneel couldn’t be less alike. Same goes for Hermione and Lucy Heartfilia or if not Lucy then Erza Scarlet  and there is no Ron equivalent, well maybe Happy but I doubt that Ron would like to be compared to a flying blue cat that can talk.

The reason why I see them as been very similar is because the themes of friendship and love are both very prevalent in both stories. Though the Fairy Tail story has not finished yet but from what I have seen there seems to be another Harry/Natsu connection in that Harry was the only person that could defeat the big bad in Voldemort and it seems that Natsu is also the only one that can defeat the Fairy Tail equivalent in the Dark Wizard Zeref, though it seems that this is Zeref’s wish, which naturally was not Voldemorts.

Another thing I like and noticed is that like J.K Rowling, Fairy Tail’s creator Hiro Mashima likes to drop breadcrumbs along the way. What I mean by that is J.K would mention something early on and then it would come back up further down the track. Mashima has done the same thing along the way and I really like that in storytelling and it is shows just how much the author has thought about the story and the world that they are building.  It makes me wonder if he got a little bit of inspiration from Harry Potter when he began writing Fairy Tail.

The Negatives of Fairy Tail

My biggest gripe that I have with the show and this is not something exclusive to Fairy Tail but all anime that is based on still running manga and that is when the show defers from it the story lacks big time. The same can be said for Bleach and even one of my favourite anime’s of all time that being Soul Eater, which they really need to remake and stick to the original story like they did with Full Metal Alchemist. The Daphne Arc in Fairy Tail,  would have been so much better if Daphne was actually not in it as I am sure that Gray could have found a way to force Natsu to remember and keep the promise that he made. The Key of the Starry Sky Arc was way too long, had too much going on and even with that was still not very interesting. I can sort of forgive the Eclipse Celestial Spirit Arc but only because I love Loke and the battle between Gray and Cancer is hilarious.

The only other issue is probably a strange one and that is Erza and Jellal. I love them don’t get me wrong and they make such a great couple but the two arc’s that they have had that feature these two heavily, The Tower of Heaven and Oracian Seis, I have not enjoyed all that much. Maybe it is because one or the other was seen as weak and especially the Tower of Heaven arc I did not like seeing Erza in particular that way. Both arc were important to show their growth and how they became what they are but still I did not enjoy them the way that I should have.

Another thing that I don’t care to much for is that Lucy seems to be the go to damsel in distress. So far in the series she has been kidnapped and held hostage at least 4 times, mainly due to the fact that she is Celestial Wizard. Admittedly Erza and Wendy as well but still I am not really a fan of that kind of trope.

Well there is my review. If you like or are interested in anime or even manga and have not given this one a go please do. It is fun show and I wouldn’t be in the middle of a re-watch for maybe the third of fourth time if I didn’t enjoy it. I am currently in the Grand Magic Games arc and the Dragon battle has begun. Did I mention that there are dragons in the show and most of them are not nice.

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The Badger On: Suicide Squad (Movie)

 

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First of all I would like to say that I was suffering from a horrible head cold when I saw this movie and I don’t remember a lot of it due to it. My judgement might not be as good as a fully clearheaded badger would be (we were also in the second row from the front so the seats were not the best despite it being in reclining chairs).

I would also like to say that in preparation for this movie and also because it is my birthday at the end of the month I got a tattoo, a Harley Quinn inspired tattoo at that.

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Since I have already brought her up let’s start with Miss Quinn and the marvellous (am I even allowed to use the word marvellous considering this is a DC movie) Margot Robbie. She was absolutely brilliant and pretty much stole the movie. Look, I am not being biased because she is an Australian and a Queenslander to boot (though admittedly I am not a Queenslander, I just live there). Jai Courtney who played Captain Boomerang is also Australian was also in the movie and he didn’t make as much of an impression as Margot did but then he wasn’t given the screen time or scenes to steal, or even dialogue for that matter. The most interesting thing about him was his pink unicorn.

Now I could go on about the sexualisation of Harley in the movie; the fact that she gets changed in front of the squad and crew and the constant butt shots of her with the skimpy shorts. But considering that this is the way she is in the comics these days and being a sexy siren is part of her character I choose not to mainly cause I am not really that big of a feminist. I do, however, prefer classic Harley and I am just glad that they alluded to her origin when she pulled out the outfit from her box of stuff. They also recreated the Alex Ross Joker and Harley cover.

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Now enough about Harley, there were other characters in the movie that were not her and not Australian. There is a dude that goes by the name of Will who was a Man in Black and played an assassin called Deadshot. Now considering his run of failures of late a lot of people were worried about his casting not only due to the failures but also because he might overwhelm the picture with his star power and his style. Thanks to Margot though this did not happen but he did play the part well and was very compelling. It would have been the Will and Margot show if a two other characters didn’t try to stand them up.

The first person being Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. Ms Waller the only person that could be considered worse than the criminals she is trying to wrangle. Viola was Ms Waller at her manipulating  and domineering best. I have to admit Viola plays that kind of role well as she plays a similar role in How To Get Away With Murder. The other person to make their presence known was Jay Hernandez as El-Diablo. Though a member of the Squad he holds back his abilities due to his past and not wanting to kill anyone. After revealing his backstory to the crew he eventually starts to use his powers and ends up sacrificing himself for the team.

Speaking of a backstories one of the things they did at the beginning when Ms Waller was pitching the idea they gave us a little backstory/bio on each of the crims in question. This was a good idea and was done well.

Maybe I should talk a little about the plot. According to my boyfriend it didn’t really have one but he said the same thing about Guardians of the Galaxy and actually I see a few similarities between the two. Both have teams of what we can call criminals (though the Squads are much worse than the Guardians) who end up working together and essentially save the world/galaxy. The only difference is that the Guardians come together semi-willingly while the Squad are forced into it for reduced time of their sentences or their heads will be blown off.

OK the plot, from what I can tell and remember I had a head cold, Ms Waller assembles the team in the off chance that someone like a Superman comes in and kidnaps the President from the White House. She uses the former model come actress with the strange eyebrows as an example. Cara Delavigne as June Moone/Enchantress is an archaeologist who finds a totem of a witch and gets possessed by it. All she has to do is say Enchantress and the witch appears.

Ms Waller manipulates the very gullible and kinda boring soldier Rick Flagg to watch over Ms Moone and they end falling in love. One night Ms Moone says the name while asleep and disappears breaks into Ms Waller home find a totem that contains her brother Incubus and releases him. They then decide that because the humans don’t worship them as they should that they, like most bad guys do, remove most of them from the world and change the rest into stone like soldiers for their army.

The Squad is assembled, Harley, Deadshot, Boomerang, Diablo, Killer Croc and Slipknot (for about two seconds) though they are told that they have to rescue a very important official and head to Midway City with Rick Flagg acting as their handler and Katana as his body guards. All of them bar Katana have a bomb implanted in their neck which Boomerang manipulates Slipknot into activating.

Harley who is in contact with the Joker the whole time, had I mentioned that the Joker was in this as well as Batman and a small cameo from the Flash. Well he is and is planning on rescuing her. Well he get a hold of the person that helped with the bombs and is able to disable Harley’s. After the Squads first battle and rescue of Ms Waller who was the person they needed to retrieve, the Joker has hijacked the rescue chopper and takes Harley. After a brief reunion the chopper is blown up but Harley is able to jump out before it crashes.

Deadshot finds the info in relation to Enchantress that they were not told about and in disgust the team go their separate ways but all end up in a bar where Diablo tells them what he accidentally did to his family and why he does not use his abilities. Rick Flagg joins them and they go and defeat Enchantress, who is doing a very strange dance, and Incubus and in the process save Ms Moone.

For their participation they all get 10 years off their prison sentences and Deadshot gets to see his daughter, Harley gets an expresso machine, Killer Croc gets a big screen TV and Boomerang gets nothing because ten years off 3 life sentences was nothing at all to him.

At the end Joker, who is alive because why would you kill him, saves Harley.

This movie also has a kickass soundtrack with the music corresponding really well with the characters themselves and also with what is going on within the movie.

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Trailer