With many eyes trained upon stories such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow this weekend, I was inspired to do a small tribute piece on the B-side of Disney's version. To think; The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad mainly came to comprise this format when it was decided that making two separate features wasn't budget-savvy. It's also worth a mention that this is one of my favorite stories from childhood, and even so today.
In the came-from-out-of-nowhere division: Animation Scoop has a review of a new DVD release, Wolfy, The Incredible Secret from France. Random Media (in partnership with Cinedigm) have now released it with an English soundtrack. “A story of political machinations, anamorphic animal hierarchy and gypsy fantasy – traditionally hand-drawn with a look that leans far away from photorealism. The convoluted English title (French title: Loulou, l’incroyable secret) actually refers to quite a few secrets, which unravel as Wolfy, an easygoing wolf, and Tom, his neurotic bunny pal, travel to Wolfenberg to find Wolfy’s mother. A gypsy has told them that she is the true princess as well as the leader of a rebellion against an evil usurper—a manipulative wolf named Lou Andréa.” Take a look at the trailer linked to the article. It won’t make much more sense, but it’ll give you an overall idea of the movie’s look and feel.
Back in the Ren & Stimpy days of boffo animation (as opposed to the more sedate, cultured world of Adventure Time today. Right.), one of the more interesting and unusual shows lived on Nickelodeon of all places: Catdog, the story of a creature who was half cat and half dog… and both of them front ends! “Brothers Cat and Dog couldn’t be more different — Cat is clever and cultured, while Dog is a naïve but lovable goofball. But they definitely share one thing in common: a body! This crazy set of conjoined twins find themselves in all sorts of silly adventures, but through them all, the two misfits stick together…whether they like it or not!” Now Shout Factory have brought together all 68 episodes in one new DVD compilation, Catdog: The Complete Series. Check it out at their web site. You even get a poster!
Discotek Media have released all 26 episodes of the original anime series Sherlock Hound in a special 6-DVD box set. “Written and Directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) during his time at Japans largest animation studio, TMS. Before he went on to create Totoro and Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki captured a whole generation of children’s imaginations with his retelling of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries using a loveable cast of canines. Sherlock Hound, released as either Famous Detective Holmes or Detective Holmes in Japan, is an anime based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series where all the characters are depicted as anthropomorphic animals, the majority dogs, though Holmes is a fox and his enemy Professor Moriarty is a wolf. The show featured regular appearances of Jules Verne steampunk-style technology, adding a 19th-century science-fiction atmosphere to the series.” You can order the new box set over at Discotek’s web site.
Now that we’ve finished up with season 1 of the NickToons Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, it’s time to start on season 2, the first six episodes of which are collected in the “Mutagen Mayhem” DVD.
For the first time, we meet new old characters like Casey Jones (who begins appearing in the credits from the first episode of this season) and Rahzar (who is new and old in two different ways) as well as new new characters, like the Squirrelanoids (which are seriously the greatest squirrel based mutants since Doreen “Squirrel Girl” Green).
Oh, and the turtles have finished with Space Heroes and have discovered anime in the form of Super Robo Mecha Force Five!, a brutal parody of old school sentai shows like Voltron and Battle of the Planets/G-Force/Gatchaman. Depending on your knowledge and nostalgia level for those old shows, these are either brilliant or just plain mean. Or both.
All in all, the second season of this incarnation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is off to a rollicking start.
Review: 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' Keys of Friendship DVD (with bonus 'Rainbow Rocks' trailer)Posted by crossaffliction on Tue 5 Aug 2014 - 01:48
The good folks behind My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic decided that what this show needs is season long story arcs. All the cool shows are doing it now. This DVD tries to collect the first real season long story arc, from season 4 of the show, and pretty much fails spectacularly to do that.
Technically, this story arc contains the two part opener for the fourth season, “Princess Twilight Sparkle” parts one and two, in which the ponies realize they need to be looking for six keys to unlock a magic box that a tree just grew. Wow, that sentence doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, but I swear, it’s what happened. Those two episodes are not featured here.
Then, five of the ponies have individual adventures, where they help someone out in a way that relates to their special Element of Harmony, beginning with Rarity and ending with Applejack, because Applejack always goes last. Two of those episodes are collected here, featuring Rarity and Fluttershy. Rainbow Dash’s episode is featured on another DVD I haven’t reviewed yet, and Applejack and Pinkie Pie are waiting for future DVD releases, despite the fact that Pinkie has the best by a long shot.
Finally, we have the season four finale, where the box is opened when Twilight Sparkle finally figures out how to get her key, amongst other things, and, I guess, “Castle-Mania” technically features Twilight trying and failing to research the box, so 10 out of 26 episodes. I don’t think we can call the other 16 episodes filler when they so outnumber the “arc” episodes, and they’re usually better anyway.
What more could you ask for on the weekend? Somehow we missed this: Empire of the Apes, directed by Mark Polonia. “In a distant galaxy three escaped female convicts crash land on a primitive world inhabited by a race of warlike apes. They fight for survival as the humanoid apes fight for their possession, body and soul. A daring escape is their only way out. Hot on their heels are the blood lusting gorillas and a prison warden bent on their return to the prison ship they escaped from.” Got it? You have got to see the trailer for this thing! Could its release on DVD have anything to do with the new Apes movie coming to theaters this summer? Nah! Well anyway, the DVD is available on Amazon.
This is the fourth My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic five-episode DVD put out by Shout! Factory, and instead of attempting to create a theme for this one, the episodes collected all feature the character Pinkie Pie.
Pinkamena “Pinkie” Diane Pie is a hot pink Earth pony who lives in Sugarcube Corner, a sweets shop and bakery where she works; occasionally, with supervision, as a baker, but mostly as a party planner, which is her magical talent. That description makes her sound boring. She isn’t. As she represents the Element of Laughter, a distinction she won by making fun of some trees one time, she’s the show’s designated comedy relief, despite it already being a comedy cartoon. Basically, she’s the one who’s allowed to get away with jokes deemed too silly even for the average brightly colored cartoon pony.
Pinkie Pie’s episodes tend to be the funny ones.
Review: 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' Princess Twilight Sparkle DVD (with bonus 'Equestria Girls' review)Posted by crossaffliction on Sun 25 May 2014 - 11:25
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was the first The Legend of Zelda game to be released with a brand new console (in this case, the Wii, though it was also a GameCube release). It also instantly became the furriest entry in the series, as the newest incarnation of Link had the ability to transform into a wolf with the help of his new sidekick, Midna.
Twilight Princess tells the story of a race of people who live in a twilight realm that is a separate world from the main series setting of Hyrule. They are apparently invading Hyrule, and the land is covered in a magical twilight, which causes Link’s lupine transformation. He eventually meets a mischievous imp named Midna, who offers to help Link, but appears to have ulterior reasons. Freeing Hyrule, and unraveling Midna’s mysterious past and her connection to the titular “Twilight Princess”, is the driving force behind the plot of the game.
Wait. Oh, dear. This is embarrassing. Turns out, I was supposed to be reviewing Shout!Factory’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Princess Twilight Sparkle" DVD, not The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Uh, moving on …
The Criterion Collection has been around since 1984, making 2014 the thirtieth anniversary for the film collection that all but invented the modern idea of DVD bonuses. During those three decades, as the collection added "important classic and contemporary films," they included a single animated feature, despite releasing nearly 700 movies on Laserdisc, DVD and Blu-Ray.
That changes with the movie with 700 on the movie case's spine in the collection, which will be released Feb. 18. Wes Anderson's adaptation of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox becomes the second animated feature to join the prestigious collection.
Criterion Collection, February 18, 2014, dual format Blu-ray/DVD (3 discs, 87 minutes, color, 1.85:1 ratio, English) Criterion store price $31.96
Correction: The original headline implied Fantastic Mr. Fox was the first animated feature in the collection. The Criterion Collection released an out of print Akira Laserdisc, making Fantastic Mr. Fox the second animated feature in the collection. Sorry for the error.
One of the most talked-about furry phenomena from a decade ago was a silly little series of animated shorts called Happy Tree Friends. Here’s how the distributors describe it: “Happy Tree Friends is the cult cartoon sensation with over 1 billion views. The cartoon is drawn in simple appearance and combines cute forest animals with extreme graphic violence. Each episode revolves around the characters enduring accidental events of bloodshed, pain, dismemberment and/or death.” Got that? Well now Flatiron Entertainment have released Happy Tree Friends: Complete Disaster, a 4-DVD box set which includes 13 half-hour TV episodes and 75 short cartoons. Amazon has it for sale, of course. Ouch!
This is the first DVD release of the newest incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; this CGI cartoon debuted last year on Nickelodeon, and has been well received by fans of the older versions of the Turtles, as well as a newer fanbase in its target audience.
This DVD contains the first five (or six, if you count the “Rise of the Turtles” as a two-parter) episodes of the series. It also contains a smattering of bonuses, which are a bit better than the bonuses of the other animated series I’ve reviewed DVDs for. Unlike that other show, the creators of this series have been a bit less willing to let everyone and their dog upload episodes to YouTube, so the DVDs are a bit more necessary (though of course you can still get the episodes legally online for about the same price as the DVD, or cheaper).
Review: 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Adventures in the Crystal Empire' DVD (with bonus Season 1 DVD review)Posted by crossaffliction on Sat 20 Jul 2013 - 23:40
I don’t mean I don’t find the various ponies sexually attractive, though that’s also true. I know, it surprised me too. I’m not much of a butt guy, for one thing (you poop with those, that’s not sexy), and I have a strict “two legs good, four legs bad” policy about cartoon animals, Nala from The Lion King being the only exception, of course (though I guess kangaroos could be problematic).
Not only is the plot of the show not altogether very interesting, plots in general aren’t very interesting. To bring this review’s song quote into the mix, plot is what Bond villains do; the interesting thing is what happens when a character such as Bond stumbles into this plot and starts shooting the villain’s henchmen in the face.
That’s why I watch this show; characters and gratuitous violence. Allow me to explain in this DVD’s episode breakdown.
The collection focuses on the work of Eastern European artists - Ankor Wolf, Aspeel RaraAvis, Augustine Mayer, Blackwervolk, LexXxy Nickson, NaurEvan, Fox Avril, Neichet, Richard N. Diego, DJ ShadowWolker, Vasory88, Vatarius [Arxas Project], Veemie and Worgen [Pioneer Chris]), but includes Fox Amoore, GreatFox and JayB.
Rabbit Valley Comics has expanded its digital product offering to include short stories by Graveyard Greg, digital versions of 2 The Ranting Gryphon's stand up comedy videos, as well as audio collections by JackRabbit and 2.
Rabbit Valley launched the digital items store this February, with novels by Alflor Aalto and Wolf and a host of comic books, including Spooo Presents titles, Circles, Fast Boyz Delivery Service, and The Royal Tale.