Invader Zim TV Show Review

It all started when I found this post on Tumblr which people were using as a headcanon voice for a character from Homestuck and I was really curious to find out what show the voice was from, so I Googled some of the lines and found the show Invader Zim. It never aired on free-to-air TV in Australia so I hadn’t heard of it before. I looked up some reviews for it and found that is was often praised as a good show, so I watched a random episode from season 2. It didn’t seem that great to me but I decided to give it another chance and start off with the first episode and thus became hooked to a children’s cartoon. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.

Invader Zim is an animated TV show that first aired in 2001 on Nickelodeon. It was created by Jhonen Vasquez, written by Jhonen Vasquez, Frank Conniff, Roman Dirge, Rob Hummel, Danielle Koenig, Courtney Lilly and Eric Trueheart, and directed by Steve Ressel. The main cast is Richard Steven Horvitz (Zim), Rosearik Rikki Simons (GIR), Andy Berman (Dib) and Melissa Fahn (Gaz).

One of the things that struck me about this show was the odd form of humour it employs. It’s a mixture between dark humour (which I enjoy) and stupidity-based humour (which I usually despise) and yet I found the show hilarious even in parts that I would usually just find really annoying. I can’t put on finger on why that is, but I have a feeling it’s because of the charm of the show that grows on you as you watch. I think I found the later episodes funnier than the earlier ones for this reason, and the episode I originally watched to see what the show was like was a lot funnier the second time around.

For a children’s cartoon it has surprisingly good continuity. There are references to past episodes and events that occur that would make less to no sense if the previous episodes hadn’t been watched (for example, Dib possessing Tak’s spaceship). Despite this, however, the actual story progresses very little which is mostly why I’m upset about it being cancelled. It would have so much potential if it was continued with a constant storyline and had a proper ending.

For a show aimed towards ‘tweens’ and children, it’s actually quite gruesome. While there are limitations on the language that can be used and violence shown (‘bloody GIR’ was not put into the show for this reason, but can be seen in a single frame in some episodes) there is one episode in particular that is very violent. In ‘Dark Harvest’, Zim is show replacing the organs of other children and stuffing them into his own body. In fact, this very episode was mentioned in the trial of Scott Dyleski (who was found guilty of murder) because of the comments he made while watching the episode.

The show was cancelled part way through season two leaving at least twenty-three episodes and a TV-movie unfinished (you can still find the transcript for 10 episodes unfinished episodes and some audio transcripts; some fans have even drawn their own animations to fit the transcript) due to having a high budget and low ratings (although the first season was critically acclaimed with the first episode winning two awards and I personally believe that Nick just couldn’t find the right target audience for it). Although, only the first season actually aired on TV in 2001, the completed part of the second season was released on DVD in 2004 and aired in 2006. If only they had cancelled the show one day later, there would be two more completed episodes!

The show is far from perfect, the animation style isn’t what I’d call the best, and the script in some scenes is lacking. I’m not sure if I’d call this a negative but there are a few jokes that are used repeatedly throughout the series and could be seen as monotonous like when Zim asks a question that he’s already been told the answer to.

The music, like the show, is often dark with some pretty random happy pieces. A lot of the music could actually be used in movies and games designed for adults. Most of the music is composed by Kevin Manthei, except for the main title music (Mark Tortorici).

Favourite character/actor: Zim (Richard Steven Horvitz)

Least favourite character/actor: Bill (Adam Paul)

Favourite episode/scene: From the aired episodes; Dib’s Wonderful Life of Doom. From the unaired episodes; Mopiness of Doom

Least favourite episode/scene: The Sad, Sad Tale of Chickenfoot

Rating; 3.5/5

Picture Sources

All gifs and pictures: http://www.zim.wikia.com

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Attack on Titan (Season 1) TV Show Review

I didn’t really want to get into anime because there are so many to watch but my friend had recommended one to be on several occasions, and one bored night I decided to give it a watch. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.

Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人 Shingeki no Kyojinis an anime (Japanese animation) that was released earlier this year. It has 18 episodes in season one, each being approximately 25 minutes long. It is only available in Japanese dub but it has English subtitles. At first I was put off by this,  but I quickly got used to it. It is based on the manga series written by Hajime Isayama. This series in directed by Tetsurō Araki with series composition by Yasuko Kobayashi.

It is set in a world where humans are on the brink of extinction because of giant human-like monsters called Titans that suddenly appeared over 100 years ago. Due to the Titan’s appetite for humans, humanity was forced live inside three 50 metre walls. It is based on the stories of three teenagers; Eren Jaeger (Yûki Kaji), Armin Arlert (Marina Inoue) and Mikasa Ackerman (Yui Ishikawa).

One of the things that I really like about this show, is that the decisions that the characters have to make aren’t straight forward. There’s no “this is the right thing and this is the wrong thing to do”, and while you usually want the characters to do one thing, a long of the time you can’t really blame them if they choose to do the other. I love the complexity that this brings to the characters and the plot. It brings more realism into the situation and shows that a lot of the time, there are no right or wrong choices to make. Life isn’t that black and white.

The anime has a unique way of telling the viewer information that is already assumed to be known by the characters. In addition to having it casually mentioned in conversation, in the middle of every episode there are two fact sheets called “Information Available for Public Disclosure”. These give the viewer important information as well as some interesting facts about the world the characters live in.

The first thirteen episodes start with this opening theme, which I think is totally badass. It’s also what a lot of the music written by Hiroyuki Sawano for the show sounds like:

This is one of those shows that I fell in love with in the first episode. I was actually really surprised by how emotionally attached to the characters I had become in just one episode, and the way in which the writers use this to their advantage. In just the first episode, it almost made me cry. That’s in less than half an hour! However, just because this anime isn’t live action, it is not acceptable for all audiences. I would suggest people be above 13 or 15 before watching, this is not a show for children.

Favourite character/actor: So hard to choose! But probably Hanji Zoe (Romi Pak)

Least favourite character/actor: Marquis Bart (Kosuke Takaguchi)

Favourite scene/episode: To You, After 2,000 Years: The Fall of Shiganshina, Part 1

Least favourite scene/episode: Answer: Battle of Trost District, Part 6

Rating; 4.5/5 stars

Picture Sources

Poster: http://www.crunchyroll.com/attack-on-titan

Spirited Away Movie Review

Spirited Away is a Japanese animated-fantasy film made by the company Studio Ghibli. It was the third Studio Ghibli film I’ve watched (followed by My Neighbour Totoro and Ponyo) but the first one I’d watched properly in an environment without interruption. From what I’d heart of it, I expected great things. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.

Spirited Away was directed and written by Hayoa Miyazaki who has recently retired. This was one of the reasons I decided to watch this film. It was produced by Toshio Suzuki. I watched the English dubbed version which was voiced by Daveigh Chase (Chihiro Ogino), Jason Marsden (Haru) and Suzanne Pleshette (Yubaba and Zenibi).

The film turned out to be somewhat different from what I expected. I expected it to be a simple and cute story without much depth to it, but I found that it was actually quite the opposite. The start of the anime I found to be pretty creepy to my surprise, but overall it was very heartwarming and sweet, as well as adventure-filled. It even made me cry.

The drawing style is pretty amazing. I mean, most of the time it’s pretty average and then suddenly you have this stunning piece of cinematography which is just beautiful.

And, of course, really cute too (you may be able to tell, I really like the soot balls).

The pacing of the film was perfect. I was never bored, and I never felt like things were moving too quickly. It always made me want to know what was going to happen next and I felt very emotionally attached to the characters and storyline. Despite this complexity, I also think the film could be enjoyed by children as well (but probably not too young) as well as adults.

The music I found to be really sweet and pretty, it fits the storyline very well. I barely noticed it was there. The score was written by Joe Hisaishi.

Favourite character: Chihiro Ogino

Least favourite character: Yubaba

Favourite scene: The train ride

Least favourite scene: When Chihiro’s parents turn into pigs

Rating; 5/5 stars

Picture Sources

All gifs: ghibl-gifs.tumblr.com (who you should check out because their blog is perfection)

One Lovely Blog Award

A little over a month ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Stationdeva had nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award! Yay! However, in that last month I’ve been really distracted by uni and everything and completely forgot about it and then didn’t remember again until two weeks ago. Then I went on camp, and then I got a bad cold and just a few moments ago I remember “Hey, wasn’t I nominated for an award a while ago?” and so here I am! A recipient of the One Lovely Blog Award:

For this award I’m supposed to give 7 facts about myself and nominate 7 other bloggers for the award. But because I haven’t been very active recently, I haven’t been reading as many blogs as I should so I don’t really have anyone new I could nominate 😦 However, I will still do the 7 facts about me!

  1. One of the reasons I’ve been procrastinating so much is because of Tumblr which I fairly recently aquired *shifty look* If you’re interested it’s sneaky-hobbit.tumblr.com but this blog is still more important to me than my Tumblr
  2. I actually do feel really bad for not being as active as I should be. And then I say I’ll try to do better but I don’t and I’m really really sorry about that! But I am trying 🙂
  3. These are a lot harder than I thought they would be…
  4. Oooh, got one! My favourite colour is purple, with blue coming in a close second 😛
  5. I’m going to start doing karate soon (once this cold goes away) and I’m really really excited for it!
  6. Most of my life focusses around my fandoms. It hard to not constantly talk about them when I’m in public 😛
  7. I’m in my second year of Environmental Science and university and I’m loving it so much!

That’s all for now, and I shall post again soon! Thank you again for the award 😀

The Host Movie Review

As far as the books goes, I liked The Host a lot more than the Twilight saga. It was because of that, that I expected this movie to be better than the Twilight films, and I wasn’t disappointed. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.

The Host is a science-fiction film based on Stephenie Meyer’s novel, The Host. It was released in 2013 and was directed by Andrew Niccol, produced by Stephenie Meyer, Nick Wechsler, Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz, with a screenplay by Andrew Niccol.

The acting in this movie was great, in fact there wasn’t a single actor in the movie that I could pick out as being bad. The main actors include Saoirse Ronan (Melanie Stryder/Wanderer), Jake Abel (Ian O’Shea), Max Irons (Jared Howe) and William Hurt (Jeb Stryder). They were just all incredible, even in scenes when the script was lacking they made it work. They made the movie far better than it would have been with a different cast.

The pacing of the movie was very slow a lot of the way through, and while I personally wasn’t actually bored during any part of the film, I would imagine that those who are into action flicks would be. The only reason I wasn’t bored was mainly because, at almost regular intervals, there were bursts of action and intensity between dialogue. Without these parts the film would have definitely dragged on. As far as the general story goes, I’d have to say it’s a chick flick with added sci-fi. Usually I’m not a huge fan of chick-flicks but the sci-fi kept me entertained, but it might not do so for everyone.

The thing that surprised me most about this film was the humour. While there wasn’t a lot of it, and it wasn’t obvious, it was there nevertheless. The reason it shocked me so much was because Meyer’s writing has literally zero humour in it. I thought the addition of it was an improvement on the book, even if it was a subtle one. It made the movie more entertaining in parts when it was looking a bit dull. Although, the style of humour was fairly subtle and might not be funny to some.

As far as it goes compared to the book, as in most cases, the book was better. I could understand why some things were left out of the movie (because they would take up too much time or would just involve long parts of just people talking) but there were some other parts that I think could have really been added to the film without taking up too much time. Like mentioning the fact that Wanda is technically female (which was a fairly important part of the plot), or that there is even more hope in the end than was shown because of the fact that ‘souls’ who had human children wouldn’t let their child become a host. These little things would have really added more for people who hadn’t read the book, and would be a great addition to those who had.

The special effects were pretty good, although they weren’t actually used very often except when showing ‘souls’ out of a body. In this respect I think they did really well, they looked almost exactly as they had been described in the novel and how I pictured them. It was perfect.

Favourite character/actor: Wanderer (Saoirse Ronan)

Least favourite character/actor: I honestly can’t pick one, they were all great

Favourite scene: The ending where they thought they were caught

Least favourite scene: Some of the scenes between Wanderer and Ian were a bit slow

Rating; 3.5/5 stars

Picture Sources

‘The Host’ poster: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Host_(2013_film)