Gravity Falls Review

March 11, 2016 no comments Posted in Animation & Anime, Film

It’s no real secret that what the Disney Channel does to it’s actors is sleazy to say the least. They take in mostly teens who have dreams of becoming big in acting and they reuse them in a bunch of different show’s then discarding them when not needed. So it’s a wonder that the Disney Channel got Gravity Falls.

 

Having just ended 2 weeks ago I feel as though this is the perfect time to reflect on Gravity Falls as a series while it’s still fresh in our memory.

Gravity Falls stars Dipper and Mabel Pines, two twins who go to live with their Great-Uncle (Gruncle) Stan at his Mystery Shack in the small town Gravity Falls. They soon meet the two other people who work at the Shack. Soos, the handy-man who functions as the twin’s sidekicks and Wendy who acts a a love-interest for Dipper for the first part of the series.

You might be thinking “Does Soos function as one for Mabel”. The answer to that is no. As Mabel is always on the prowl. Looking for anyone and everyone who will be her boyfriend.

For the first part of season 1 it would be very simple to write Gravity Falls off as just another “Random” show with an above average art budget and is in general pretty funny. But they they started creeping in more plot. Namely with the introduction of Lil’ Gideon and later on Bill Cipher. Gideon could have easily been a one off character who was in love with Mabel.  But his little involvement in the story throughout the series and his small appearances make him into a bigger and more fleshed out character which makes his redemption all the more gratifying at the end of the series.

Bill Cipher the antagonist of the series was also slowly built up in the series’ ciphers and his appearances, so by the end he’s a fully fleshed out antagonist with motivations and reasons for his actions.

Getting back to the cipher’s that another big thing about this series. Lots of codes and ciphers have been hidden in the series. Some of which reveal nothing important but some of the reveal useful information in theorising and putting together information about the series and its story.

Verdict

Gravity Falls is a fun series with great comedy, plot and visual. It is a must see for any animation fan and will likely be remembered as a masterpiece if it isn’t already.

 

Why One Piece Works So Well

February 19, 2016 no comments Posted in Animation & Anime, Film

Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial anime rock you’ve probably heard of Eiichro Oda’s One Piece. On the surface One Piece looks very similar to other long running, shounen series but it has consistently ranked higher with critics than others such Naruto, Bleach and Fairy Tale.

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So something is clearly different here between One Piece and other shows and I think I know what might be. First off let’s look at it’s structure. Right form the get-go Oda had the ending and general structure planned out and since then hasn’t really left from that path. He originally intended for one piece to only go on for 5 years but continued the series on to flesh the story out. For most the high amount episodes and chapters will be an incredibly high barrier of entry but I would argue that in the long run it helps the series. The characters are traversing an entire world stopping on each island along the way, most islands’ stories arguably out does many other series in size and scope alone. Not only that but since the character’s  goals are such lofty or in the case of some vague such as “Become the worlds greatest swordsman” or “Chart every ocean in the world” or even “become a great warrior” it makes sense that it would take a lot of time to achieve them.

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The appearance of One Piece is another determining factor.  Right from the start Oda’s art is great and only gets better over time. Not only that but Oda has a grasp on the medium he works in that few others do. He understand both what flows well and especially what looks cool in format. Luffy’s power to stretch his body already seems cool but when paired with cool perspective tricks his attacks appear incredibly flashy and badass.

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Zoro’s three sword style also looks great in the way that only a non-moving comic can make it look.

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Oda also never seems content to merely let events start and stop. There always seems to be a logical reason for why the characters move to the next place or do the next thing even if it is occasionally is obvious that things or character happen or appear just to move the story forward.

Finally, I would like to talk about the types of stories One Piece tells. One Piece especially recently has gotten much better at building up stories before they even happen. For example the whole Baroque Works saga begins in volume 12 telling the story of the Strawhats trying to return a princess to her kingdom and to defeat the a corrupt warlord so when we finally get to Alabasta it feels like a mini victory in and of itself. Similarly Fishman Island is first mentioned around volume 45 so when we finally get there it feels great along with this the Skypeia arc is famous for being a great self contained story that is just part of the overall narrative. One Piece also handles war arcs good too. Naruto was famous for having a long and drawn out war arc that tainted the ending for some. One Piece’s Paramount War on the other hand was is the best arc in the series.

I’m tempted to go into the themes of One Piece but I can tell many people are already bored of this as it it. So maybe I’ll do a follow up to this eventually.

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Thanks Again,

Kevin Smith,

Doctor Who: Series 9 Retrospective Part 1: Flooding Daleks

January 22, 2016 no comments Posted in Film, Television

Doctor Who last year, frankly, wasn’t very good.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good things to be said about it – Capaldi was a fantastic choice to play a darker Doctor, Jenna Coleman got an actual character to play, and it had many entertaining episodes. Overall though, it was a bit of a mess, a show that couldn’t quite decide whether it wanted to be a show where the Doctor can talk a robot to suicide or a show that featured the Doctor swordfighting Robin Hood with a spoon.

I’m happy to say that series 9 not only is a return to form, but one of the most consistently Very Good seasons since the return of the show. But it does raise one problem:

The Problem with Reviewing Two-Parters

Series 9 used an interesting spin on the show’s formula by having two-thirds of the series be two-part episodes, with one three-parter and only one single-episode story. This works on a number of levels, as it gives more time for characters and concepts to develop effectively and it can create a more detailed story. However, it also means that it is difficult to decide whether to judge each episode individually or the story. If the second part is amazing, can I ignore a lacklustre setup? It’s a difficult question to answer, but I’ll be judging these story-by-story. It just seems like the best way to go about it.

SPOILERS WILL BE AHEAD. SPOILERS STRAX IS WARNING YOU.

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Spoilers Strax warding off a spoiler-hunter.

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