I can’t say that this is a really good movie, but I did enjoy watching it as a piece of nostalgia. I’d completely forgotten the story, and then I slowly remembered how disappointed I was when I saw it as a kid, that it introduced so many new characters, and quickly put aside the old favorites. I remembered the animation as being top notch, and although it’s definitely better than what we were getting on TV (I was an avid watcher of The Transformers cartoon, even though I never had any of the toys — I was a G.I. Joe kid), it’s not all that great. The worst though is the music, as it’s just stuffed in there with no care on how it works with the imagery — early in the film they use “The Touch” and it’s just ridiculously out of place. But like I said, as a nostalgic trip back, it was fun.
I remember being quite interested in watching this Korean animated film when it got announced last year (even though I’m pretty tired of seeing zombies in whatever form of media), and then had sorta forgotten about it. I watched it the other night, and wow, this is a really good movie. The animation is really fantastic — super realistic, and I love the character designs, with sort of simple line work. It’s pretty dark a movie, with an ending that’s even more horrific than you’d expect. Highly recommended.
I’ve realized that when it comes to my Sunday morning cartoon sessions, I much prefer to keep it to traditional 2D animation (or if it is CG, that it’s made to look like traditional animation). That’s why I stopped watching Star Wars Rebels on Sunday mornings (although I finished up season 3 a few days ago, really enjoying the last 3 episodes, especially the Obi Wan Kenobi one) and Trollhunters (which, to be honest, is also because I just don’t find myself particularly compelled to keep watching it). Yesterday’s session started as usual with the latest episode of Samurai Jack, which again featured some gorgeous visuals (see the image used for this post) — and it feels like we’re starting to head towards the end of the series (sadly). I then watched an episode of Tangled, which is still fun, followed by another couple of Mickey Mouse shorts — one of them was surprisingly long, at around 7-8 minutes (they tend to be 2-3 minutes long). I then decided to hop on another nostalgic trip, by starting to watch classic Looney Tunes shorts. I started off with the classic “Hare Tonic” — incredible to think it was released in 1945, as it still feels so dynamic.
My buddy Matt Alt wrote a great piece for The New Yorker about the arrival of Your Name — a film I loved to death — to North America.
The best thing about this morning’s cartoon cavalcade was the happy return of Samurai Jack — it had been preempted last week because of the Rick & Morty special. An interesting episode, with the — well, sorta expected — turn of one of the daughters of Aku. I followed that up with three Mickey Mouse shorts — that’s “O Sole Minnie” pictured in the post — and then some Ren & Stimpy (with the good ol’ “I don’t like it” horse). I capped things off with the Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show. I really do enjoy these Sunday morning cartoon sessions.
I haven’t had a chance to dig into these yet, but the Film Center at Tokyo’s National Museum of Modern Art has posted 64 classic shorts — basically, examples from the birth of animation in Japan — online. More details in this article from The Hollywood Reporter.
This weekend’s cartoon cavalcade was off to a bad start when I realized there was no new Samurai Jack this week. So instead I started with the first proper episode of the new Tangled series. I still mostly like this for the art style they’re using, but it makes for a pretty fun series so far. I then watched 3 Mickey Mouse shorts, all very good as usual, especially “Panda-monium.” Then it was time for some more Ren & Stimpy, and oh man, I had completely forgotten about Log — “it’s better than bad, it’s good.” To cap things off this week, I watched the new episode of Rick & Morty that was released yesterday. I’ve watched a few episodes from the first season, and I liked them fine, but for some reason I’m not super drawn to the show. Same goes for this new episode — I liked it fine, there are a bunch of great laughs, but I’m not particularly excited about watching more.
I was in the mood to start watching another old anime series, and remembering how much I enjoyed watching Future Boy Conan last year, I dug up another old Hayao Miyazaki series in the form of Sherlock Hound (or Meitantei Holmes). Miyazaki only wrote/directed the first 6 episodes before moving on (because of issues with the Doyle estate that halted production for a while), but I’m looking forward to going through all 26 episodes. I just watched the first episode this morning, and it’s deliciously Miyazaki in style and tone.
Well, it didn’t take long for my plans to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings to switch over to Sunday mornings, and that’s because the new season of Samurai Jack airs on Saturday nights, and so it’s what I want to watch first thing on Sunday. This past Sunday I again kicked things off with Samurai Jack, which was episode 3 of the new season, and another fantastic one at that — the fight in the snow was mesmerizing. I followed that up with Star Wars Rebels, although with that series I’m running a few episodes behind — I think the 3rd season just ended, but I’m at episode 16. I then watched a couple of Mickey Mouse shorts, one of them the “Tokyo Go” one, which is just so much fun to watch. After that, I still had Samurai Jack on my mind, and so decided to go back and watch one of the older episodes. I had started watching them a while back, and so went back to that, which was season 2’s 5th episode. There were interesting parallels with what we’re seeing in the new season, as he confronts 8 deadly robots, with a scene that surely inspired the one where the sisters each get their masks. I liked going back to watching something old, so decided to follow that up with Ren & Stimpy, which I haven’t watched since back in the day. I watched the pilot episode, and I think I’ll keep watching some each week. I then capped my cartoon watching with Steven Universe. I’d heard it was good, but for some reason had never bothered checking it out. I watched the first 2 episodes, and absolutely loved them. I’m in.
I was thinking this morning — Saturday morning, to be exact — how I missed the event nature of Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid. Sure, it’s awesome to have everything on demand now — I never watch anything that airs live these days, unless it’s something that’s newsworthy or event-like (like when I watched the Oscars recently) — but there was something special and exciting about waking up on Saturday mornings and getting to watch a bunch of cartoons, at a time when you didn’t have 24-hour cartoon networks, or even much airing at any other time (I think after school cartoons started being a thing more in the late 80s and 90s). So I’ve decided to create my own Saturday morning cartoon block — the “Saturday Morning Cartoon Cavalcade” — in which I’ll rotate 4-5 shows that I’ll watch as a block on Saturday mornings. I’m not including any anime, because those shows tend to be more adult-oriented and not really the kind of thing I want to watch first thing in the morning — and besides, anime was never part of the Saturday morning cartoon experience for me. My launch lineup is going to be comprised of the following series: Samurai Jack, Star Wars Rebels, Tangled (which debuts later this month, but the TV movie that aired last week was great), Trollhunters, and The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show. Join me!