Archive for the ‘Cartoons’ Category

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has some fantastic references in their show. Some of the show references are subtle, some are in your face blatant. Some of my favorites are references to the original My Little Pony but I’m going to talk about some of the pop culture references  that have appeared. They also name many of the episodes after movies and tv shows, like the Secret of My Excess is named after a Michael J Fox movie, The Secret of My Success.

These are my favorite episode references:

10. Three’s a Crowd (S4, E 11)

In “Three’s A Crowd”  there are to many references to mention. My favorite is when Discord turns into Raoul Duke from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. This is such an inappropriate reference for a children’s show but at the same time, they won’t know till their older. If you haven’t heard of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, it was written by Hunter S. Thompson. The story was based loosely off drug bings and experiments with LSD. Knowing Discord is the embodiment of chaos, it fits that he would turn into this particular character.

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9. Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000 (S2, E15)/ Slice of Life – (S5 E9) for Time Turner

There is a back ground character named Time Turner. The fans have dubbed him Dr. Whooves. He was so popular fans started writing Dr. Whooves fan fiction and animating their own cartoons. In the episode “Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000,” the creators actually let him turn the time piece in the competition between Apple Jack and the Flim/Flam brothers. The fan community went insane. They lost their minds! I was pretty excited myself. In Episode 100, he has a major part of the episode. It was adorable and he wore the Tom Baker scarf. There were so many Dr. Who references, including his lab!

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8. The Mysterious Maredowell (S2 E8)

Rainbow Dash finds herself

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7. Super speedy cider squeezy 6000

6. Cheese Sandwhich as the stranger

5. Rarity is Audrey Hepburn

4. The Diamond Dogs

3. The Big Lebowski ponies

2. Power Ponies

1. Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep

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Steven Universe is the first Cartoon Network series created by a woman. That’s not the only reason you should watch it though. Rebecca Sugar is the writer, composer and story board artist for Steven Universe but she got her start on Adventure Time.  She won two prime time emmy’s for two of the shows most popular episodes, ” Fiona and Cake” and “Simon and Marcy”. If you don’t love “Simon and Marcy” you have no heart. There is a black hole where your heart should be!

Why should you really watch this show? It’s amazing. The show reminds me of 1970’s anime with a more robust story. They have songs randomly through out the series that have heart and emotion. The songs are also ear worms! (NOT THE BORE WORMS!) I can’t get the theme song out of my head sometimes for days. Aside from that, the show is fantastic. 🙂 The writing is insightful, heart warming and good for kids and adults.

The premise of the show is that Rose Quartz gave up her physical body to give birth to Steven. He’s being raised by the other Crystal Gems that protect the Earth. Garnet, Amythyst and Pearl live with Steven at the temple and his good hearted Father lives in a van by a car wash. His Dad is a bit of a hippy. He doesn’t really care much about conventional life and is happy to run the car wash and live in his cool van. Steven is slowly learning about his powers, his friends, his gem and his Mother.

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The show has lots of good hearted romping around in Beach City. You see the places Steven loves like the donut shop and the arcade. He tries to teach the Crystal Gems about being human as much as they try to teach him about being a Crystal Gem. Things don’t always go perfectly, but in the end they always find a new way to deal with each other. Even the Gems don’t always get a long.

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Pearl and Amethyst are like oil and water. They often butt heads because Pearl is a little uptight, Amethyst is a little too free spirited and Garnet is more into power over finess. Sometimes they have to fuse together and if they aren’t getting along or in agreement they can’t form an Gem fusion. It’s going to be interesting once Steven learns how to fuse. All of them have their strengths. Pearl is more about planning. Amethyst is more about quick decisive action. Garnet, as I’ve said is about might and power. She has these weapons that remind me of Hellboy’s red right hand. Steven is still learning, he tends to come up with unconventional solutions to problems but his biggest strength is uniting the Gems.

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We don’t know much about his Mother, Rose Quartz. In each episode we get little hints and glimpses of his Mother. The first episode has the most information about her. She was more powerful than the rest of the group, she loved music, she had a light cannon and her actual gem weapon was a shield. Later we learn that she often saw the beauty in everything, even in things others find gross.

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This show is really important and I hope it runs for a long time. I think it’s going to be influential on other animators out there because the stories aren’t your usual smash and grab. Much like Adventure Time, there is action but they also explore the emotional needs and back grounds of the different characters. In every story you can see some element of your life reflected back at you. It helps you to stop in the midst of the noise in the world and think, do I do that? Maybe it will help us relate to kids growing up in this weird place? There are so many times they try to shut Steven down because he’s a child only to find out that he has the solution, or that they need his help. Sometimes we’re so busy trying to do EVERYTHING that we don’t realize we’re shutting down the fun in our lives or how to ask for a hand. That maybe we need to get over our own embaressment for the sake of doing what someone else loves?

Maybe I’m reading to much into the cartoon and I should go find a cookie cat?

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P.S. Love how the music sounds like old school video game music! Here is a youtube link to songs from the show!

Cartoon Network puts most of their episodes up. Here is a link to available episodes of STEVEN UNIVERSE!

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The Boxtrolls
Release Date: Sept. 26, 2014
Directors: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
Official Trailer

Eggs, a human boy, has been raised by the boxtrolls. The subterranian dwellers live in the sewers and only venture above ground at night. That’s when they forage for supplies. An exterminator is seeking to stop the nusience from bothering the residents of the town above. Eggs has to find a way to save his friends and learn what it means to be human in the process.

The Boxtrolls looks enchanting. The directors have been in the animation departments for several beloved movies (Paranorman) and in the visual effects department (Hook) as well. One of the writters I adore, Adam Pava. He worked on the glorious Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends. The voice actors are very notable including Ben Kingsley, Nick Frost and Tracy Morgan. The animation studio worked on both Paranorman and Coraline. The clay animation is very inspired by Tim Burton. The artistic design is dark, yet colorful.

I can’t wait to watch Eggs dance his way into our hearts and minds.

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Book of Life
Release Date: Oct. 17, 2017
Director:Jorge R. Gutierrez
Official Trailer

Manolo has been the victim of the bet between two otherworldly beings. Finding himself in the land of the dead he travels through three worlds to figure out his path and which world he truely belongs.

Produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by Jorge Gutierre, they bring to the screen a story with roots in Latin American stories. They worked together to bring a story to life that contains the mythology of the South America, in a Corpse Bride style movie. The main story line is a romance, Manolo is trying to get back to Maria, who he loves. Even death can’t stop him from trying to get back to the land of the living.

Everything I’ve seen of the movie so far makes me excited. The Corpse Bride was good but was missing something. I really feel that the missing element has been finally found.

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Hero 6
Release Date: Nov. 7, 200
Directors:  Don Hall, Chris Williams
Official Trailer

Hiro Hamada is a genius when it comes to robots. When a Kabuki masked villian appears, he teams up with a robot and some friends to defeat his army of nano bots.

Disney… sometimes you make the best films. We saw the trailer for this when we went to see Gaurdians of the Galaxy. It stuck with me so long, I can’t wait for it to come out. I hope it’s as good as the trailers make it seem. The two directors are responsible for some really fantastic movies. Don Hall worked on the Frog Princess and The Emperor’s New Groove. Chris Williams worked on The Emperor’s New Grove as well and Mulan. You can see the influence on the movie once you know what they’ve worked on in the past. There is a great story line supported with a humorous supporting cast. Tense situations are broken up by comedic action packed sequences. If you don’t see any other cartoon in the theater this year, please see this one.

Last week I posted about my wedding to Kane. My wedding dress was made by my Mother. She is supremely talented and has always made the most beautiful dresses for me. I still have some of my childhood dresses that were made by her hands. While I was recovering from pneumonia, my husband and I were devouring anime. We found Jellyfish Princess and I blew through the whole series in two and a half days. The show touched me. It made me think about my Mom and how much I love her. I don’t know what I would do without her in my life. I had to share this anime with her because I felt that it would speak to her on the same level it spoke to me.

So, I talked to her about Jellyfish Princess. I probably talked about it non-stop for a month. I also probably talked about it way more than I should have. Then I rewatched, several times. So what’s it about? (Warning: some spoilers ahead)

Tsukimi loves Jellyfish. She went to school for art but hasn’t found a job. Living in Tokyo, she moved into an all women’s building that is called Amamizukan. She spends her days hanging out with her friends and drawing jellyfish. They call the building the nunnary as a joke because all the residents are unmarried women, mostly in their 30’s. Tsukimi is the youngest, she’s only 18. One night on her way home, Tsukimi makes an unusual friend, Kuranosuke, who is one of the “stylish”. Everyone at Amamizukan are female Otaku and Fujoshi. They have their hobbies and they all work for Juon Mejiro, who is a yaoi manga artist that lives there with them. Kuranosuke helps Tsukimi save a spotted jellyfish from a local fish store when it’s put in a tank with a jellyfish that will kill it. After that, Kuranosuke keeps coming around, even after Tsukimi finds out Kuranosuke is actually a guy. Befriending Tsukimi, even against her wishes, he finds out that Amamizukan is being threatened with redevelopement and hatches a wild scheme. They are going to make jellyfish dresses and sell them! The money will be enough to buy the building and save it from being torn down. In the mean time, he’s also trying to help them all learn a few things about being stylish.

Tsukimi is always thinking about her Mother. She misses her so much because she died when she was a little girl. Her Mother used to take her to the aquarium and they would watch the jellyfish. Her Mother would say, when you are all grown up, I’ll make you a wedding dress that looks like a jellyfish. She also told her that every little girl grows up to be a princess. It’s sad, sweet and hits me right in the feels. Kuranosuke can relate because his Mother is not allowed to have contact with him. He happens to be the illigitamate son of a politician. He misses his Mother and her dresses. (/spoilers)

The anime and manga are written and drawn by Akiko Higashimura. She based the comic off her own office. The Amars, as they call themselves, being her single unwed assistants. The Manga artist is based on herself. The manga is a little different than the anime, but the heart of the story really comes through. The focus is on taking Tsukimi, learning to trust in her abilities and relying on her friend. Also, Kuranosuke wants to show her that everyone can be a princess. That is the same in both the manga and the anime.

Why did I share this with my Mom? I thought we could really bond over this anime. She made my dress, which sort of looks like a jellyfish. She loves fashion, I love Japanese fashion. Secretly, my Mother loves cartoons too.

We’re still working our way through the series together. We get together and watch an episode at a time. She can’t do marathon’s like Kane and I. That’s all  I care about though, spending time with her and relating on common levels. Even though she doesn’t understand some of the references, like one of the characters is obsessed with the Three Kingdoms, she gets most of the context. While we were watching the show, she actually mentioned how much the main character reminded her of myself.  Part of me already thought that and wanted her to watch it because I could see the comparison.

If you are looking for a short series, there are only 11 episodes take time on netflix to watch, Jellyfish Princess.

“Myth is a powerful force in my life dude.” – Shelby

Adventure Time, Come on bring your friends. We’ll go to very distant lands. They weren’t kidding. In Little Brother, the eleventh episode of season six, the writers dig deep to create an artistic story sprinkled with mythological refrences.

THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD, like this poster. You know what I mean. Don’t go any further.

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Little Brother focuses on a new character spawned from Shelby’s tail. Shelby is throwing a party in Jake’s violin. The party turns into dancing and Shelby is jealous of Dancing Bug.  Shelby does some parcour to impress a girl. Losing his grip, he falls and cut’s off his own butt. Being a worm, the butt comes to life. Shelby is shocked because he has a little brother and names him Kent. His little brother is annoying and so he asks Jake for advice on dealing with a little brother. Jake tells Shelby to give him a sword and go on adventures. What Jake meant was to build the same kind of relationship he has with Finn, where they go out and adventure. Those adventures build on their friendships. Shelby wants quiet time though, so he gives Kent a sword and sends him out into the world. Due to his youth, Kent doesn’t know fear and he runs into the tree to find adventure. Once inside the tree he encounters an evil white rat gnawing at the roots of the tree. The Rat kicks his butt and he wakes up in the leafy village amongst the roots of the tree. Waking up, Leaf Beard, tells him he had the stuffing knocked out of him by the Rat King. Kent drinks dew offered him and then embarks on a quest to build a sword to vanquish the Rat King. First, he is tempted in the hall of singing crystals with infinate wealth. With no use for wealth he passes the test and gets Mystic Ore. Second, he is tempted by love and offered one of three wives. He has no need for love or the responsibility of family and passes the test. He receives the Mystic Earth. Thirdly he is offered the chance to drink from a magic sprind and receice Life Eternal. He’s just born and has no concept of his own mortality so he has no need for eternal life. Passing the final test he receives the sacred flame. Bringing them back to the Blacksmith, they make a sword called PUNCH PARTY!  Facing the Rat King, he senses Kent’s power and offers him the chance to become a God. Kent refuses. Using the sword Kent takes the teeth of the rat king but lets him live. Shelby sees what Jake and Finn have and realizes how much he misses his brother. Returning home Kent recites his tale and Shelby writes down the story told him. Shelby is forelorn because he has to say good by to his little brother. Since he took the dew of the underworld he has to return there, by their law. That Spring, the tree bloomed for the first time.

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Little Brother is  a classic mythological story that is influenced by the Persephone tale and the tale of three temptations of the Buddha. If you aren’t familiar with Persephone she was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. This is Persephone light, so you get the idea. Persephone was sought after by Hades, the Lord of the Underworld. He abducted her and as long as Persephone didn’t eat or drink anything she could return to the surface and her Mother, Demeter. Persephone ate 6 pomegranate seeds while she was there but the Gods struck a deal. Persephone had to spend six months in the Underworld and then she could spend 6 months on Earth. In protest Demeter decrees that while her daughter is in the Underworld, nothing shall grow and the Earth shall grow cold. This is why we have the seasons. The basis of Kent’s story shares many of the elements in the Persephone story and results in his need to return to the roots of the tree. In the episode it was the dew of the Underworld instead of the food of the Underworld, but same concept. Hopefully that also means he will return every spring.

The Buddha, when he reached enlightenment he sat beneath the Bodhi tree. Mara, the Demon, sent three temptations to try and keep him from his path. The first were his three daughters, the temptation of the flesh. The two stories vary here, one version says that they threw the elements at him to scary him. Another says they lead soldiers to war with him and he won with his virtue. Lastly, Mara whispered how proud he was to instill pride. The temptations that Kent face are very similiar, the daughters, the wealth and eternal life. Kent was offered three temptations while traveling with in the tree. He was so new to life that nothing but what his brother asked him to do mattered.

There are many comparison’s visually to the Nutcracker and to Lord of the Rings in the episode as well. Here are a few little galleries.

The Evil Rat King looks like the Rat King in the Nutcracker. Look at his cute little crown.

The broken sword reminds me of Aragon’s sword from the Lord of the Rings.

The writing of the book is like in the Hobbit.

Why is this important?

Lots of little kids have little brothers, so they relate to the daily annoyance of having a younger sibling. They also relate later in life not having a great relationship with their siblings, pushing them away and never spending quality time together. We go out into the world and slay our dragons. Those days in the sun can never be recaptured. That person we become can never be affected in the same way by that relationship.

The episode also has an environmental message about the roots of the tree of life. The roots are the basis, reaching deep into the earth and carrying nutrients to the highest point. Chewing at the roots keeps the rest of the tree from florishing.

Over all, this is my favorite episode in the series. I had goosebumps at the end when Shelby said it was the first time the tree had bloomed. Adventure time is definately maturing as the series goes on. They are still doing silly episodes but this one was fun and serious at the same time. The writing showed depth, playing on the themes of regret and finding your way in the world. They cover life, death and rebirth. I hope they continue to write episodes that show this much depth and intelligence. It’s worth watching and then rewatching a few times to get all the references and subtext.

Good job guys and gals. Keep up the good work.