Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Kousoku Sentai Turboranger Ep. 2: Did You Guys See a Fairy!? - Summary/Review

More Turborangers. The first episode was mostly just a clip-show celebrating Super Sentai so, hopefully this second episode will gives us a proper introduction to this season. Click "read more" for my coverage.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Green Phoenix - 1634: The Bavarian Crisis

 1634 The Bavarian Crisis-Eric Flint.jpg

It's time once again for me to give yet another literary recommendation by going down the line for the next book in the Ring of Fire lineup. This time around, we are taking a look at a collaborative effort between head writer Eric Flint and co-author Virginia DeMarce, who also worked on several stories in the Grantville Gazettes and the anthology story, 1634: The Ram Rebellion (Which I will cover on a later article).

Released in 2007, 1634: The Bavarian Crisis was a sequel to Eric Flint's short story The Wallenstein Gambit from Ring of Fire I (A collection of anthology stories written by Flint and others), as well as continuing the story lines from 1634: The Ram Rebellion and 1634: The Baltic War. All in all, this book plays a fairly major role in setting up the state of politics in Central Europe during and immediately following the Ostend War first set up in 1633. The book also helps to set up several players that have been very big in the years following 1634, as the Emperor of Austria finally makes a big role and the presence of Bavaria as a major regional player against the USE begins with the outcome of this book.

This makes the reading of 1634: The Bavarian Crisis a rather important stepping stone for the rest of the franchise. Which is interesting given how much I'm not taken to DeMarce's particular writing style when all is said and done.

But I will cover that in the actual meat of the article. Speaking of which, let's get into it as we take a short look at 1634: The Bavarian Crisis.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Kousoku Sentai Turboranger Ep. 1: The Great Gathering of 10 Sentai: Counting on You! Turboranger - Summary/Review

This is a strange case. When this season came out it celebrated the 10th year anniversary of Super Sentai as the 11th team, now it is classified as the 13th. Fun fact, there was a point in time when Gorenger and J.A.K.Q. were not counted as Super Sentai incarnations and Turboranger came out during that time. Anyway, what we have here is Sentai's first vehicle theme team as well as the first team of all high schoolers. Kousoku Sentai Turboranger, roughly translated to High Speed/Speeding Squadron Turboranger. Click "read more" and let's see what this first episode has in store.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Pachinko Time (Gameboy - 1989 Japan Only)

 If you have never imported a retro game from Japan, you might not have run into these. Pachinko games are somewhat of an anomaly. They are ubiquitous in Japan, however they are completely absent in the United States. Consequently, when you look into importing for the first time, the cheapest options are usually pachinko games, and ever system has them. 

Pachinko Time is a game for the Gameboy where you play as a pachinko ball walking around a pachinko parlor with access to several pachinko simulations. On each machine, you are trying to completely bankrupt the payout base of the game, Thus "completing" that machine. Completing three machines will open a path to the next pachinko parlor. If you can complete three machines, you are able to move on to another parlor with newer machines to play on.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Green Phoenix - Let's Talk...DreamWorks Traditional Animation

 DreamWorks Animation SKG logo with fishing boy.svg

At the height of the Disney Renaissance during the mid-1990s, the company Walt built stood almost completely unopposed in the field of animation. Their only major competitor from a creative and financial standpoint was arguably Don Bluth Animations, and even they were beginning to replicate the Disney formula in order to attempt to achieve some level of equal financial success, to middling results. By the release of Beauty and the Beast, it seemed like Disney was on top of the world and absolutely unstoppable under the triumvirate leadership of Michael Eisner, Frank Wells, and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Then came the unfortunate passing of Frank Wells in a helicopter accident. Suddenly the unifying element of the Disney triumvirate was broken and a power vacuum formed in the wake of Wells' passing. A battle raged for the soul of Disney between Disney's CEO Michael Eisner and the head of Disney animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg. As you can no doubt imagine by their positions within the company, the winner was a foregone conclusion and Katzenberg soon found himself fired and with a major chip on his shoulders.

Normally, that might be the end of the story. But Katzenberg had many friends in Hollywood and had been the largest force within the Disney triumvirate behind the Disney Renaissance. So when he made an alliance with Stephen Spielberg and David Geffen, DreamWorks Pictures was founded. For the most part, DreamWorks established a reputation as the edgier CGI counterpart to Disney, with some of their first outings like Antz and Shrek being either near rip-off of other Disney/Pixar projects or a criticism of the Disney corporation as a whole. And so was Disney's hegemony over the industry destroyed, ironically by the politics within their own rank-and-file.

However, in the early days of DreamWorks, a few traditionally animated films did pass through its halls. Nowadays, traditional animation is not very common from any of the studios. But I feel that the films that are spoken of tend to be exclusively from Disney.

And it is with that in mind, that today's Let's Talk... will discuss the short list of traditionally animated DreamWorks films. They don't make them anymore, but they were a vital part of the company's early history and represent a very unique aspect of the company's identity.


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Gosei Sentai Dairanger: E2 - Iiiit's Chi-Power!!! - Summary/Review

Time to continue our quest for thunder and chi. This is the second part of the intro saga that will now introduce the mecha in action. Click "read more" for my full coverage of episode 2.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Gosei Sentai Dairanger Ep 1: L-e-e-et's Tenshin!!! (Transform) - Summary/Review


It's the missing Power Rangers. Gosei Sentai Dairanger, roughly translating to Five-Star Squadron Great Ranger. The 17th Super Sentai and the source of the Thunderzords from season 2 of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. This season is an ancient Chinese themed one against an evil empire from 8000 years ago. How does it hold up? Click "read more" for my thoughts.