Body Image and Store Bought Costumes.

I know, I know, I’m not the most consistent about posting.  But I thought I’d do a quickie about something I feel is important.  https://www.spirithalloween.com/thumbnail/pc/822/c/826/830.uts Here’s a search I did on Spirit’s Boy Power Ranger selection… and here’s the men’s.  https://www.spirithalloween.com/catalog/search.cmd?form_state=searchForm&keyword=Power+Rangers&Search=Find+It&currentIndex=0&refinements=SUBCATEGORY:1321|683|695|687|685|686|687|698|1294|1302|1307|1313|1321|3335|3705|3706|3727 See the difference?  I see some option between the super-muscled look and the actual skintight numbers that the actual Rangers use.  I’ve seen a lot of stuff marketed to young boys that says they HAVE to be huge and buff, despite the fact that action heroes became sleeker and stealthier decades ago.  And the Power Rangers themselves (seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmqZFkC-1sI) are actually lightweight martial artists who rely on gymnastics rather than brute strength.  Not only does this waste fabric making the wearer look bulkier than the established design, it also delivers the message that nothing will be good enough.  It also keeps items that look like the original product off the shelves.

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Sakuracon 2016 2nd Report.

Registration cost has gone up again, so here’s another day of Sakuracon 2016 being reviewed.  I don’t think this will be how I cover it next year.  So before we continue, I have to put something out there.  I did not have my camera with me on Friday, so I used my iPod instead.  This explains the difference in image quality.  But I rolled with it.  All the way to Opening Ceremonies at 10AM. IMG_1446 watermarked(This was actually a very quick opportunity, so I had to use my phone)

Gotta love that Cybergoth style is still around.

IMG_1408 watermarked

Every Friday is Badass Beard Guy Day.  Where we dress like one!

IMG_1410 watermarked

I’m only a little confused we haven’t had this crossover yet, but very disappointed.  Shinji Akari needs the Senchi’s support so badly.  Or any support at all.

IMG_1412 watermarked for Angel

Casual fans, NAME HER IN 5 SECONDS OR LESS!  NO GOOGLE!  Then kindly leave in the comments who you think should play her.

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We miss you Bowie.

20160327_171110 watermarked

A couple years ago, I sampled a “Sakuracino” for you.  Find it here on my previous account: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZYgY1YEpAY.   A Sakuracino is still White Mocho Frappucino with Matcha and Raspberry syrup-infused whipped cream, but over the years they’ve added things like Frappicino chips and various drizzles to it.  Last year it was Hazelnut and this time it was caramel.  But each ingredient adds to the price.  Outside of the flavor cream, it can be recreated as a custom order.  This is still only available at the Nearest Starbucks, by Blue C Sushi and one crosswalk from the Lobby of the Convention Center.  By Coincidence this was the Friday that Batman V Superman came out.  This same store would soon have separate Batman and Superman Drinks to expertly ride the Vs. Trend in Superhero Movies this year.

Go over notes of Opening Ceremonies.  The convention kicked off proper with Opening Ceremonies, though there were a few Sakuracon things to do at the same time.  As soon as the lights on the stage kicked on, we were treated of Taiko during the first 10 minutes.  The drums and accompanying flute was courtesy of Seattle’s own School of Taiko.  Then there was also an AMV to welcome us, seen here: .  For what an AMV is, see the next section…

… right here!  For those unawares, “AMV” is an acronym for “Anime Music Video” where a collection of anime clips is set to a piece of audio, usually a song.  The Song for this AMV was a speedup techno cover of Smash Mouth’s “All-Star” All put together by Duchess Moon Dream of A.  This was not immediately obvious to me, as I was a bit dazzled by the fast paced animation edits onscreen, trying to take stock of all the animes I recognized.  Thankfully I still knew most of them.  I’m not an obsolete relic yet.  Yet.

After the opening entertainment was done with, we were welcomed to the 19th Annual Sakuracon by Voice Actor Chuck Huber (also a Guest of Honor) Android 17 of Dragonball and Doctor Franken Stein from Soul Eater, who has taken centerstage for opening and closing ceremonies many times before.  Still Quite Flexible he put on another of his famous Headstands before announcing several more guest speakers.  Including ANCEA Chair Christopher Louch, wearing a Portal Gun.  Louch-san introduced to families from the Make-a-wish Foundation to announce the Charity Auction.  Oh, and ready to feel old?  I mentioned earlier that this is Sakuracon 19.  But as some Poke-clad presenters mentioned, this Opening year of Pokemon Go, is Pokemon’s 20th Anniversary.

I normally wouldn’t do this blow by blow, but Opening Ceremonies closed ended on a Kabuki note.  Literally quite a few notes, actually.  And you know what they say about Kabuki theater.  It’s where we got the enduring imagery of ninjas.  A six-man band played The Imperial March from Star Wars and music from My Neighbor Totoro and a piece from 140 years ago.  Geishas and Swordsmen danced and performed behind them as they played.

After Opening Ceremonies there was the AMV contest.   In more recent times this has not been limited to anime footage, as seen here: “Soldier A” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlHLu1Oabi0 was playing in the AMV Theater, and it uses a lot of original animation.  In the contest itself, out of hundreds of entries, 38 finalists from 7 genres would compete for first in their field.

Typically, entrants in the contest use visual material produced in the last 5 years, while the audio will be more …eclectic than that.  For the purposes of this article I will only be highlighting winners of each category.  For the rest of the applicants, look here: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=125153&p=1546928#p1546928

Intro

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwyljO3FDfA

I like this introduction a lot.  It immediately snaps back returning attendees to the glories of past conventions and setting the bar to measure the current crop.  For first timers, it gets the blood going and lets them know some of what to expect without slowing things down.  I’ll be listing the winners in each category below, but keeping my thoughts on them condensed to better let you form your own opinions.

Best Drama: Not a Dream

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4yw0UNE1Ik

This song (Gasoline) is really popular to attach to this series (Madoka Magica).

Best Fun: One Hell of a Host

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qK-xxwHl0f4&feature=youtu.be

Best Romance/Sentiment: A New Day +AwwKward

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCLl0YHPbns

Awwkward

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04lKkjviMx8

A new Day

Guess which one was my favorite in the show

Best Action: Sleazy Swingers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCMwwRXMrRM

Best Humor: Ani-Mon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CsIzWIDqXY

Best Concept: Spectrum

{https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upVQb9fyWC8&list=PLOXUZLptMfXOUg4r-9uv-QkQ0MMOUK-aH&index=9}

Best Trailer: Deadpunch

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhh-0od8VRQ}

Best Technical/Artistic/Upbeat/Judge’s Choice/Best in Show: Just Funkin Dandy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuzx3p12kB4

Yes, it’s that good.

So, what do you think?  Next time rates go up, should I just release Saturday and Sunday as One Piece?

My thoughts on the Ghostbusters reboot.

I wanted to wait until the rage had faded a bit.  Are we good?  Okay.

I Ain’t Afraid of No Reboot. After Ghostbusters II, Real Ghostbusters, and Extreme Ghostbusters, each over 20 years old or more, I welcome it. If this franchise is to have a future, it needs a reboot. Especially since Bill Murray refused to commit to a third movie for so long one of the four DIED before this film reboot was released. And the rest were so old they’d physically never pull it off. It needs to reach those who weren’t alive when any of those older projects were still in production. No, it’s not made for me. But yes, I still can enjoy it for what it’s trying to do.

Look, I know this will sound controversial to a lot of people, but my Ghostbusters memories come from the world of animation.  You might recall my Extreme Ghostbusters retrospective.  As such, I remember Peter Vinkman portrayed by a man who gave a damn, rather than someone who stalled until part 3 was impossible, and only signed on in the first place for promotion of his own project.  So when I say I like or dislike this movie, it’s not based on any politics surrounding the first movie or the sea of wanton and unwanted reboots it was unfortunate to emerge in.  And that’s going to piss a lot of people off.  Because this is the internet.  And something connected to the World Wide Web seems to feed off of pure rage.  So this next sentence is naturally going to make people furious:  I think this reboot did everything a reboot should aspire to do.  The remaining faults I see with the movie AS a movie first and foremost in and of itself.

There are several gaps in the original storyline where things were happening offscreen, that were fleshed out and defined here.  We see it happen.

Base of operations.  In the original, the firehouse was a place is aquired as a joke, that explores Ray’s inner child, is described as terrible for their purposes, and later is primarily useful for the storage space for the reactor.  In this version, it is the cool space, 2 of 3 really like the Fireman’s pole, rather than just the enthusiastic kid.  It’s big, clean, pretty, no complaints about the neighborhood.  It’s instantly loved, but out of their price range.  So they have to settle for a Chinese takeout place that’s a running gag for terrible service. Even though the gag’s overdone, the setting really is crap by comparison.  But they take it because it’s what they can afford.  I had similar experiences searching a new apartment, and I’m not the only one.  The firehouse is their reward for saving the city.  It’s their happy ending.  Which seems reverent to me.

 

The logo never had any scenes in the first movie where they were developing it or inspired by it.  There’s a silly scene where we’re still being introduced to Kevin and he presents weird Rule 63 versions of the classic logo that looks like ironic or demeaning fanart of the classic logo.  Then several others that, while certainly more creative, also don’t work.  They find the logo proper in subway graffiti during their first call.  They then make that their logo.  We never saw ideas being passed around for the logo in the first one, or how they got the final design.  Speaking of which, in the show promo, the logost is walking down the street and literally the first ghost they battle.   Guess who finally takes form and goes on a rampage.

Bill Murray and Peter Vinkman.  Vinkman was a sexual predator in the first film.  His character establishing scene had him conning a woman he could later “Hustle” as his administrator put it during his firing.  “You are a VERY poor scientist, Mr. Vinkman,” indeed.  He was what my mother called a “Junk Scientist.”  The degrees and the title, but nothing of substance.  He acted like he didn’t believe any of it, even after he’d seen an actual ghost.  He asks a visibly shaken woman (who looks like she’s just seen a ghost, which she literally had) if she was menstruating during the questioning, and kept up this attitude when it was Ghostbusting was his livelihood, trying to nail their first client.  And I already mentioned the Bill Murray troubles the past movies had.

Thankfully the reboot puts a fresh spin on ALL of this.  Erin has a professional reason for distancing herself and acting cynical.  She wants tenure.   Her background into the paranormal is a one-hit KO to that goal and she knows it.  So she removes herself from her old passions to build a future, which means pushing a dear friend into her past.  Vinkman only ever bonded with Ray in the movies.  Ray was the only one he touted for the cheering crowds, and Vinkman was the only one Ray invited to the library haunting.  That friendship is greatly embellished, explored, and mended here.  We don’t just see them reacquaint, and also details how they met.  Did comics or cartoons ever detail that between VInkman and Ray?  Also, Erin creeps on the sexy secretary Kevin, and rather than normalize it, the others try to discourage her.  Because ewww.   He cannot function to literally save his own life and she wants what from him?  Also, we’re not supposed to sympathize with anyone who relies on PMS stygma.

Finally, JUSTICE!  Not the girls’ clothing store, but something to appeal to everyone who wanted a Ghostbusters 3.  Even after Ghostbusters 2.  Bill Murray stalled that into the ground, and Erin releases their first catch and that kills him (or at least his cameo).  He was the Walter Peck of this movie, and the whole time I was looking at him, I kept thinking the classic quote “This man has no dick.”   I was glad they so quickly subverted that plot thread, and kept things more unpredictable.

The first trailer, had great music (music that later attacks them in the climax) and an excellent setup, but then it promised a Happy Madison production from another studio.  Yes, there was annoying juvenile humor in this movie, but juvenile humor was all we were promised.  And there was so much more than that.  But any running gag or new plot thread was only shown in the worst possible light or out of context or the least funny or enduring segment was highlighted.

For instance, when Erin is slimed for the first time, we see a woman vomit on her, and she says that it went into every crack.  That’s the trailer.  In the film, she has her faith in the supernatural exposed and affirmed when she sees that spirit.  She approaches in awe, and literally its first response is to vomit slime on her.  Shortly thereafter she is jumping up and down in front of a camera ecstatic about the experience and what it means, and we cut to YouTube and her boss firing her.  It’s after all that sillyness that we get an offhand comment about it in every crack.  It was actually funny several times. At one point she complains that it’s following her.  They’re obviously having fun with Vinkman getting slimed in the first movie.  Since she’s Vinkman’s spiritual successor, this girl’s got to get slimed out the wazoo.  But they still just went with the first time and made sure to suck all the humor out of it.  They felt they couldn’t appeal to any preexisiting facts so they stuck to people so young they’d likely never heard of Ghostbusters before.

Patty (the Winston) knew the city, so her everyman outsider status provides an assett.  As opposed to Winston who was there to have things explained to him, which Vinkman also did, and to be spiritual.  Patty was a student of New York city history, like Winston was a history buff in the TV show.  When the supernatural buffs spot lay lines on a hotel, she recognizes it as a spot with a mysterious and bloody past.  Also she acquires their hearse.  When we first see the original ecto-1, it’s a black hearse that Ray’s working on, with a cigarrette in his mouth.  Definitely a different time.

Now to the Manhate, no getting around this.  The Ghostbusters (specifically Erin) inadvertently kill a man, and face no consequences.  He was a legitimate ghost debunker and the Ghostbusters cite programs like Ghosthunters for why people would be skeptical.  There’s a running gag that the Chinese delivery service they order from (and move atop of) takes an hour to get up a flight of stairs or delivers a cup of broth with one shrimp or wonton in it.  By the end of the movie he just goes to the opposite extreme.  When the army shows up, they’re all dudes, and all ineffectual.  The same goes for the authority assigned by the city to handle this case.  Might as well call them Johnson and Johnson.  I’m glad they saved the possessed dance montage for the end credits.  Yet when WOMEN show up on the scene, the possessed Kevin cannot use them like marionettes and leave them frozen in the street.

So how can a sequel be improved?

Maybe not have the same joke run on for so long at a time.  Stop talking down to the audience.  I was the Gargoyles generation.  I have seen tremendous enduring support for that franchise, and I think it’s no coincidence that it took its Disney Afternoon audience very seriously.  It had John Reece Davies as MacBeth, Half the cast of Star Trek as Main Cast, recurring characters, or one off guests, and everything from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to Easter Island to the Golem as inspiration.  Meanwhile, it’s number one competition was Batman the Animated Series, which so effectively brought Noir to the small screen that all subsequent Batman endeavors have been criticized and shunned for not being more like it.  Meanwhile in this version we have Kevin covering his eyes when he hears a loud noise and having no idea what a phone is, despite being a secretary.  That’s got to go.

Explore past endeavors by various organizations to trap or seal spirits like Samhain or the Leprechaun.  Or bring in any other foes from the TV shows.  Except for the Boogeyman.  Since no one on the team is as monotone and constantly in control the same way Egon was, the childhood scars from being tormented by the Boogeyman would never carry the same punch.  Meanwhile the Grundel has faced both prior teams.  Though one wouldn’t have to manufacture a battle of the sexes to depict a team of women fighting a creature that targets children.

Also, there are 2 ghosts in the whole movie who are not amplified or yo-yoed through a portal.  One was from Erin’s childhood, and was her inspiration and motivation as well as an ongoing source of ostracizing for her.  And then in the postcredits scene, Patty is listening to a device that captures the name of Zule.  How would they tackle Zule, Gozer or the like?  And what would be the doorway this time?