Monday, June 15, 2020

Now is the Time to Watch One Piece!

The news is in, the first 130 episodes of One Piece have hit Netflix! That's just enough to get you through the Baroque Works arc, and this makes me ecstatic! I have long been a One Piece fan, since before the anime had even been released in the west, I was reading the manga in the US Shonen Jump print magazine (RIP). As a quick aside if you aren't aware, Shonen Jump now has a vault service for $2 a month with an insane backlog, and the most recent chapters of ongoing manga series' are free to everyone!

Anyway as someone insane enough to well, own all the FUNimation DVD volumes for One Piece from 2008 to the most recent release that came out June 9th this year, I figured I should write something to encourage newcomers to enjoy this fantastic series, that just so happens to be my personal favorite anime of all time.

I have an unhealthy obsession, send help.
So just what IS One Piece anyway, you may be asking. The short answer is it's an adventure story about pirates that is equal parts action, comedy, and intense drama. The story is set in a world ruled by a World Government, who enforces its will through the Marines, a sea faring military organization. They typically fight against Pirates, and most notoriously before the series begins, the King of the Pirates, Gold Roger (His name is actually Gol D. Roger, but most call him Gold Roger).

However, while the great Pirate King had obtained the greatest treasure of all, The One Piece, he was eventually caught by the Marines, who promptly set about executing him. What the Marines could never have expected was that his final words would inspire an entirely new pirate era. *que intro*

Our story focuses on Monkey D. Luffy, a young man who ate a Devil Fruit, a mysterious fruit that grants special abilities at the cost of the ability to swim. It is said that the sea hates those who have eaten Devil Fruits, and it will try to drown those who do. Luffy ate the Gum-Gum Fruit, which made his skin become as rubber. In effect, he's a living Stretch Armstrong.

Luffy has one major dream, to become King of the Pirates by finding the One Piece. To that end, he recruits many people to help him along the way, mainly because the poor bundle of positivity doesn't understand the word 'no' and reads it as 'yes'.

You may be concerned that Luffy and his crew, The Straw Hat Pirates will be hard to root for, given that the show makes no bones about the fact that pirates are not good people. But worry not, because Luffy and crew may say they're pirates but, as much as I love them, they're well...

Honestly, while Luffy does call himself a pirate, and he does love the romantic side of being a pirate, his crew are more like a ragtag group that's formed a second family with eachother off in search of adventure, kinship and treasure (although I haven't seen the entire show, only the 587 episodes that have been dubbed, but I think that's a good sample). They don't exactly going around robbing people, that said they DO run afoul of the Marines eventually, even getting wanted posters (which makes our protagonist, Luffy, waaaay too happy).

The show can be very lighthearted and comedic, especially early on, but the true strength of One Piece is in its depth, which usually ends up delivering intensely emotional scenes and narratives. I've only been focusing on Luffy so far, because I don't want to spoil you, but I think the character most likely to grab a new viewers attention early on is Nami. There's a lot going on with this thief who exclusively steals from other pirates, and I strongly encourage any new viewer to make it through 45 episodes to see her story fully fleshed out. I realize that this is a huge amount of episodes, but when considering the full show is 900+ episodes, I feel like it's a reasonable sampling size.

When you get context for this your heart will break.

If you feel like that's too long to give as a starting sample, that's fine there are other places to help judge whether you'll like the series or not, but bare minimum I will beg and plead with you to at least make it to Roronoa Zoro's flashback in episode 11. All of the crews flashbacks have pretty strong emotions running through them, and while I find Nami's to be by far the most potent (at least until much later), Zoro's is also pretty strong, and is the first one beside's Luffy's that you see. As much as I love and adore Luffy, his flashback isn't the best barometer of what to expect from the series in terms of depth.

Zoro's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Speaking of expectations let me set some here for newcomers in general. Somehow, in the anime community there's been a myth that the only English dub of One Piece is the first one, that 4Kids Entertainment put out, heavily censored. This has been a barrier to entry for many, and it shouldn't be. FUNimation began dubbing One Piece in 2007 with no censoring, and began re-dubbing these very 130 episodes back in 2008, and have continued to dub the series all the way through to today, where we're on episode 587. Do not let fear of a censored dub stop you, the dub on Netflix is the uncensored FUNimation dub.

The second expectation I see frequently is due to the series length, people fear they won't be able to commit to such an expansive series. Because Netflix has only put up the first 130 episodes of the series, that helps somewhat here but I also want to reassure you of something. While One Piece is long, carries themes and ideas well past their original story arc (fans often jokingly say the manga author, Eiichiro Oda never forgets anything), and there are many overlaying themes, One Piece storyarcs are fairly self contained.

If all you do is watch a storyline to its conclusion, you will not be left hanging. I frequently recommend newcomers take One Piece, one piece at a time (pun definitely intended). Take a story arc and run with it. Especially early on when they're short. While I am sitting here recommending 45 episodes and begging at least 11 to get a broader picture of what One Piece can really do, you needn't be concerned about 'having' to continue past a story arc, they generally end conclusively, and for what's on Netflix, I can safely say they all do.

Lastly, let's say you just downed these amazing 130 episodes and want more, but you see my massive DVD collection up there and are (understandably) unwilling to commit to a huge DVD library to see the rest. I have good news for you, ALL 587 dubbed episodes, and 900+ Japanese episodes (with subtitles) are available over on FUNimation NOW for as little as $5.99 a month (though they will try to push you to the $6.99 tier, its largely unnecessary).

So what else can I say my friends? Let's set our sails to ADVENTURE!!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Thundercats Roar is Bad, and it's NOT the Fandoms Fault

So, the buzz around Thundercats Roar has started back up with it being released (or at least two episodes of it). Surprising just about no one, after watching it I don't much care for it, but I will say it's not for the reasons I would have assumed. It's not disrespectful per se, it's just not funny, and most of its jokes come from knowing how the original series went. I completely fail to see how this would work for kids, it doesn't really explain itself or its jokes, and most of the jokes aren't funny. But honestly the show itself wouldn't make me write this, it's the defenders who seek to attack those who don't like it that's got me here.

First of all, if you like Roar, cool. Second of all, if you worked on Roar, cool. I'm not here to hate on people for enjoying content and I'm not here to harass creators.

What is NOT okay is the ridiculous levels of shaming and blaming those upset that other people don't like Roar have been doing, and the harassment those who don't like Roar are doing to those who created it.

Harassment is not okay. Don't do it. Seriously. Just because someone worked on this mess of a show does not mean you have the right to harass them. Got it? Good.

To the rest of you, just because SOME idiots who dislike Thundercats Roar are harassing creators this does not mean it is inherent to those that do. Please don't try to link the behavior of some to all who dislike the show, doing such disingenuous at best. I'm not even addressing everyone who likes Thundercats Roar, I'm specifically going at those of you who want to either trash the original, or the fans of the original as a defense for Thundercats Roar. It's not a good sign when your defense is to shit on other shows and people. So next we touch the next elephant in the room, the 2011 Thundercats reboot.

I loved the 2011 show as did a lot of fans of the original series, but some like to go on about how we 'deserve' Roar because we didn't support the 2011 reboot. This myth needs to be put to bed.

Lioconvoy on Twitter thoroughly debunked the crap out of that theory. For those who won't click on links:

link to interview:

To put it simply - Thundercats 2011 was actually doing well, to the point it had been renewed to be 52 episodes (we only got 26). The series was initially renewed so clearly this wasn't a viewership failure, but they then decided Lego Chima was cheaper to produce, and so they dropped it.

This then leads to another claim that can again be debunked thanks to Lioconvoy. There's an accusation going around that no one tried to petition the return. Not only is this incorrect, the creators themselves created a petition that went nearly 10,000 strong, but in addition, there was something screwy going on with the petition being silenced when it would be turned in. Once again, Lioconvoy's got the facts.

Okay, so clearly this is not a failure of the fandom that 2011 Thundercats failed. We supported the show, and we even supported a petition to bring it back. CN/WB don't want to make it. There's literally nothing we can do here. So that's not an argument for Roar.

The last argument I see is shitting on the original series. If you don't like it, that's fine but that's first of all no defense for the absolute snorefest that is Thundercats Roar, but it's also not a good argument against those that don't like it.

The original Thundercats may indeed be dated but it wove both a compelling narrative and taught important life lessons, and I don't mean to brush your teeth.

Issues of slavery and freedom were discussed, for example, in one episode, Lion-O saves the Brutemen, who had been enslaved by the villains. Lion-O initially complains that they didn't thank him for this, but the point of doing the right thing because it is right, not for praise is brought into it.

In another instance, there was a story about not jumping to conclusions and the value of talking things out instead of assuming the worst in others, especially your friends, and how doing so is disastrous. If that's not a good moral lesson for today, I don't know what is.

There's several instances like this, and Lioconvoy does go into this in his twitter thread I linked to in the start as well.

Ultimately, even if you don't like the original Thundercats, that's no defense for stripping it down to an unfunny self referential comedy.

If you LIKE the comedy, power to you. A lot of us do not, and it's also a shame that neither Warner Brothers nor Cartoon Network know how to capitalize on what they have, but it's certainly NOT the fandom's fault.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Fire Force Simuldub Review

It’s a new season, and with a new season comes new simuldubs from FUNimation! In a tradition I’ve come to love, I’m watching new dubbed anime every week. Every season I at least have one, usually 2-3 shows I watch. So far the break out for me this season is Atsushi Ōkubo’s  Fire Force.
Fire Force is the story of Special Fire Force Company 8. In recent years people have begun to spontaneously combust in elevated numbers. So much so, that special firefighter units have been made to deal with this problem, though that is likely more due to the next interesting aspect. Those who spontaneously combust turn into monsters, known as Infernals, who completely lose sense of themselves and wreak havoc everywhere. The only way to stop them (and save the trapped soul within) is to destroy their cores, which are where their human hearts used to be.

That's what you get for eating Taco Bell!

Seriously just ow my soul
If the setting details don’t get you going, the main character Shinra Kusakabe’s story just might. Known by the code name of Demon, due to being blamed for the death of his family. He is innocent of this, but due to a strange quirk where he exhibits a wicked looking grin when anxious, nervous, or socially pressured, and his strong third generation pyrokinetic ability he is assumed guilty. He had made his mother two promises as a child, one that he would always protect his family, and the other that he would become a hero. The former having been made impossible, Shinra is determined on becoming a hero to honor his family by becoming a hero as a member of the Special Fire Force.

Do NOT mess with Maki
A promising start for the protagonist for sure, but the rest of the main cast are also pretty damn awesome - notably Maki Oze who is able to create spirits within fire to do her bidding, and is generally nice until she is pushed too far. Then she becomes the biggest badass fighter I’ve seen in ages and I adore her so much for that. The animation is gorgeous to look at using Ōkubo’s amazing art style (he is also the creator of Soul Eater) and fluid animation to make an extremely visually pleasing experience.

Christopher Wehkamp seriously amazes me in this role
But you probably knew that much. No, what you probably want to know, since I’m focusing on the simuldub, is how good the simuldub is. Well, it’s mostly fantastic with great performances from Derick Snow (Most notably Rigur from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime) as Shinra, newcomer Sarah Roach doing a stellar job as Maki Oze, Eric Vale doing some of his best work ever as Arthur Boyle, and Christopher Wehkamp (Shota Aizawa from My Hero Academia) doing a fantastic job as Special Fire Force Company 8’s leader, Takehisa Hinawa to name a few, but pretty much EVERYONE was great.

I REALLY wish I liked this scene
I say pretty much, because, sadly, I do have to levy a complaint against one particular performance for whom I don’t actually know did the job. Whoever did the flashback scenes as young Shinra really failed to hit the mark, there was no emotional range or weight to the voice, it came off like the were focusing all their energy on a cute kid voice but were almost monotone, not having any feeling behind things they were saying, like they were just reading the script or something. It was reminiscent of some 90s dubs I grew up with, which really is antiquated in modern dubbing. I really hope we’re done with flashbacks as those scenes really are damaged from their otherwise strong emotional weight due to poor voice acting.

Aside from that one sour note though, seriously, Fire Force is a delight to watch as a simuldub and I cannot recommend it enough, the rest of the dubbing is top notch stuff that will blow your socks off. Fire Force is destined to be a great simuldub, and I can’t wait to see where it’s going next!

The action in this is gorgeous!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Making it Gundam Style

A semi review of:

So it's been a long, long time since I've built a Gundam model kit. The newest two I have are from when G Gundam was running on Toonami, so around 2003ish. Needless to say, I haven't done this in a while. I didn't actually set out to buy this model kit initially.

I recently found my old Gundams and added them to the display atop my dresser:

My nerdiness knows no bounds

There was but one problem. My good old Shining Gundam's head appears to be missing (and my Gundam Deathscythe original is pretty unusable too). I couldn't find a suitable replacement for it, so I ordered the Master Grade Shining Gundam off Amazon.

The only problem is, it looks like it's shipping direct from Japan and won't arrive till mid February, but the tools I bought for it got here quickly. I knew my local bookstore had some Gundams so I checked their selection. Now I don't know this particular variant of the Strike Gundam, but Gundam Seed is one of my favorite Gundam series', so I do like the Strike.This appears to be a build fighters variant on it, but it was the only thing they had that was close to what I would know.

So I built this sucker over a few days. I started with all this:

All you have to do is put it together

Needless to say it was a lot of work. After the first day I just had a torso and a head and some shoulders.
If I only had some arms...
If I only had some legs...

The next day things got more interesting...

One, one arm! Ah-ah-ah!

Two, two arms! Ah-ah-ah!

I was finally getting somewhere, though looking back I made a ton of errors at this time, I didn't put the shoulder armor on properly, and missed a part of the arm, something I would discover later. Next I built some legs

You don't have a leg to stand on!
That's better

♫ We are dancing in the space!
weapon madness
Finally getting the Gundam frame together made me pretty happy but I had a long way to go. My next few steps were to make the included stand (thank you Bandai!), and the weapons for this guy. Was quite an interesting run, especially the gun that had some intricate moving parts. This was around the time I started noticing issues, mainly in noticing the sticker sheet was pretty full, and there were more parts than I expected to need to build the backpack and shield. But I'd really notice the issues with the hands - they would swivel pretty wildly and the gauntlets were always pretty loose.

Turns out I was missing some arm and shoulder parts. Something I was finally able to remedy once I noticed them, which allowed the backpack to peg in, and made the hands much more stable.


I got my model supplies at this point, up till then I was using my kitchen scissors to get at the parts. The box to the supplies was trashed, but at least I had nicer tools to do this with (which should really help when I upgrade from 1/144 scale high grade to 1/100 scale master grade). Building the backpack from there was pretty simple, and the final piece ended up looking great!

one sexy bastard

So, with that all out of the way, do I recommend building this model kit? It was fun and if it looks like something you'd like I'd say go for it, it was a nice refresher for me for an old skill I haven't used in a long time - in some ways easier than I remember it, though the real test will be on the larger size master grade. Still, I'm quite happy keeping this guy protecting my Masters of the Universe Classics Castle Grayskull.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Blog Revival

Hey y'alls, this has been an interesting day for me so I'd like to talk about it a bit. As you can see I've posted my Dragon Ball Super Broly movie review (and backdate posted my one youtube video), but otherwise this blog basically didn't exist. I actually went to go make a new one but found out my wanted username was taken. 

Well, to my surprise it apparently belonged to me, from way back in 2004 and I never did anything with it, but it was not associated with my gmail, and because it existed (and I know it was me, it had info from when I lived in Parker CO on it and all the other information definitely pointed to me), I had to figure out what email it belonged to.

I took an educated guess and was correct, it was an old yahoo email that no longer existed. I lucked out and was able to recreate that old email (SOMEHOW no one else took it) and now that it existed again I was able to connect the yahoo account online. But it wasn't that simple!

Once I had reclaimed the yahoo account I couldn't find blog access no matter what I tried! It was pretty frustrating 'till I found The Legacy Account claim page. From there between reclaiming my old yahoo email address (which will probably self terminate soon anyway as I don't really plan to use it much...) and using that I was able to put it all back under my Gmail account.

Blogger people if you ever read this I didn't steal anything this was all definitely me - though having to remake my old email account was... weird - you didn't tell me which email it was, just that it was a yahoo one... which ironically meant one of two email addresses, but I had a good guess which one it was, and was correct.

Whew, this was a weird fun experience just to keep one legacy useless post, a blogger address, and some user info (some of which I had to update, I'm not 25 anymore, thanks though 2006, but a lot of which I left unchanged or only added to). I'll try to make things interesting here!

Dragon Ball Super Broly Review

Dragon Ball Super Broly was surprisingly amazing. It's not -just- a dumb action fighter movie. It IS one with insane action sequences, and if that's all you needed, go freaking see it while it's still in theaters.

I have a long complicated history with Dragon Ball, and especially regarding the titular character, Broly. That is to say, prior to seeing this film I absolutely loathed the character from the old film series (for those that don't know there were old Dragon Ball Z movies back in the day that did not fit into the TV show's story, three of those starred Broly, whom in those versions was a big dumb brute whose only motivation was that as a child he heard another child crying and this upset him, the other child being Goku, so he has to kill him now for.... reasons). The old Broly was a cardboard cut out of a character who made no goddamn sense and was only popular because "his power level is maximum!"

But this movie, unlike the old ones, is actually connected to the TV series in plot and is thus a completely different story. The drama is in full effect here in this film and I cried my eyes out several times. Incidentally, this is not a terrible starting point as it shows the origins of the main characters of this story - Goku, Vegeta, and the new Broly, and how each survived the destruction of their shared home world because of, or in one case in spite of, their parents and the different ways this has impacted who each of them are.

This may all sound pretty heavy, and it can be, but it ALSO lays on the comedy in well timed doses to keep it from being a slog and there are multiple moments that had me laughing my ass off. Goku not knowing what Repugnant meaning and actually asking his adversary to define it for him, or the revelation of what Freeza wanted to wish for on the dragon balls being keen examples of this.

Visually the animation is the absolute best I've ever seen for this series, and that says an awful lot. The pretty is in full force here, and sparkling in some CGI here and there tastefully helped compliment the absolutely stunning hand animation. The soundtrack was on point, but I wouldn't necessarily call it amazing - though I really enjoyed the riff on the Dragon Ball Z theme song, Head Cha La early on.

This continuing past the end of Dragon Ball Super did concern me somewhat as I am still following it's weekly dubbed airings on the Toonami block, Saturday nights on Adult Swim. However, no major spoilers for the current arc appeared for me, much to my surprise.

The only major thing that could impede viewers is if they were not current with the show is the presence of Freeza, a longstanding villain previously thought dead. Though he was notably revived in 2015's 'Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F', he was defeated at the end of such, and so was previously thought dead, he recently made his return in Dragon Ball Super, and as such is present here.

All of this though avoids the biggest reason I loved this movie, and that's Broly himself. No longer presented as a brutish moron, Broly is now a tormented soul who engenders a good amount of sympathy. While he is the antagonist of the film, he is being used, first by his abusive father, and then by Freeza, and what ultimately sets him over the edge into a mad like rage is one of the most heartbreaking moments of the film.

I would say this film is perfect but for a bit of overuse of action towards the end that attempts to add suspense to a dramatic moment, but really just feels like padding, but this is like saying that a masterpiece cake isn't perfect because the icing is a bit too rich. I'd still call this film an absolute masterpiece, a 9/10 and heavily recommended.

Friday, June 15, 2018

My Introduction to Anime, Project A-Ko

A look at the anime that got me into anime, Project A-Ko. This is the first vieo I've ever made with Sony Vegas so it isn't super fancy, I don't know all the tricks yet (I'm used to Nero Video), but hopefully this will still entertain!

Thursday, June 24, 2004


Well now folks, this is my first Blog entry so its not really all that much but I figured a self introduction will do. I'm Laserkid, a longtime net denizen, from WBS Chat back in 1996, to's the Loudhouse and NSIDER of 1997, to the Delphiforums community in 1998, to the Daizenshuu EX (DBZ community) in 2000, or the IS community that I've been in since 1997 - I've been all over the place. You can usually find me in video game (especially if its Mega Man related) circles, or anime circles (especially Dragon Ball/Z related), or writing places (delphiforums). So with that out of the way, whats on my mind right now? Well nothing that I'd care to capture, friends fighting and all that stupid jazz. Anyway its not much but its just an introduction, I promise tha other installments will have more content to them.