December 17, 2010 § Leave a comment
When I was in late elementary school and early middle school, there was an animated TV series on a channel called Cartoon Network that embodied everything I loved in this world. It was a series of hundreds of episodes of Japanese characters with outrageous hair flying all over the earth at speeds faster than light and shooting waves of energy out of their hands that could destroy entire planets.
Dragonball Z told the story of a man from an alien race that still looks just like a human being who must defend the earth from a number of powerful foes along with companions he meets along the way. It develops into quite an extensive set of characters, all of whom play a unique role and contribute to the saving of the planet. I should also mention that they spend nearly a third of each episode powering up their energy by turning their hair blonde and spiky.
This was simply the most superior action show in the world because it had the most superiorly strong characters ever created. Not only can they fly at unimaginable speeds and demolish the Eiffel tower with a fist, they are also indestructible unless when fought with by another alien. The scope of this story spans all across multiple universes as well, travelling into other dimensions such as the afterworld at times. They can even wish for Earth’s entire population to come back from the dead if they collect all of the seven “Dragonballs” spread across the planet. There is simply nothing they can’t do.
I remember arguing in fifth grade with my friends who the most powerful person in the world was. Someone would name a random character, but then somebody else would say, “well can he survive a barrage of tanks,” or “can he annihilate an entire galaxy?” In the end then, there was no one that could take a Dragonball Z character down.
I suppose this is what made the show so impressive and entertaining to me. I would watch I and see the unbelievably incredible things that would happen in it, but I would also find it somehow realistic and imagine myself doing what they were doing. A childhood fantasy sort of thing. It might have also been because I was in a phase where I loved Japanese anime.
I vividly remember when I was maybe 10 years old going o my neighbor’s house to watch a DVD set of it that he had with him, but he made me go out at some point in the middle because the box said it was for ages of 13 and up, so he didn’t want me to see the bloody scenes(he was also a few years older than me). I also remember seeing those scenes soon at another time, but they weren’t too bad because it was still a rather innocent program, even with all the violence that it revolves around.
It’s odd, because I still find it very entertaining when I watch it now. I have a little smile, a grin, on the whole time as I am sitting there, maybe just because of the nostalgia. I recall that I would always be drawing the characters from the show, and it somehow made me feel closer to them. Now that I think about it as well, this might have been one of the earliest experiences I had of drawing that could have made me realize how much I enjoyed it and was good it, because from then on, I was always drawing all of the cartoons I watched.
I feel now like this played a rather large role in my life, as I would sit down every week and watch the newest episode up until the end where it would give me a sneak peek at what would happen the next week. I also went so far as to buy a Dragonball Z tee-shirt, and I would get weird gaming magazines from Hawaii that had a Dragonball Z quiz on it that I entered for a chance to win a cash prize.
I was absolutely fascinated with it, but maybe thanks to that have I developed my interest in Japan. So maybe its effects have stuck with me in the long run, and hopefully this will be a show that I never get tired of and I never forget where it came from.
December 12, 2010 § Leave a comment
I watched Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes.
Here is a trailer of it:
It is a new cartoon, made in August of 2010. However, I still really enjoyed it. There is a kinda of slapstick humor that never gets old, and Tom & Jerry have perfected it.
I noticed an interesting thing when watching Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes. Even though most of the other characters talk, Tom and Jerry never say a word. Even Jerry’s mouse friend speaks, but for some reason Jerry must communicate via images and interpretive dance. It actually reminds me of Transformers. The main link between humans and the robots in Bumblebee, the robot that can’t talk. Because he can’t speak (except via radio dialogue) we feel more at ease with him as a character. It humanizes him and gives him a weakness that we can sympathize with.
Alright, back to my main point. The endless chases, the comic gags, the laughably overdone stereotypes: they all combine into a laugh-a-thon. They take the ordinary and inflate it to ludicrous proportions. For instance, at one point Sherlock Holmes works out that the evil mastermind is going to try to steal the crown jewels from the Tower of London, using a laser powered by stolen diamonds focuses a solar eclipse. How does it work it out? From a dropped button, a feather, and a newspaper clipping. It is funny because they take the classic image of the super-sleuth working out an evil plot just in time to save the day and warp it into something just plain silly.
The slapstick humor doesn’t go amiss either. The repetitive gag is a staple of Tom and Jerry, for instance in this movie Tom repeatedly gets pitchforks or other other sharp objects embedded in his rear.
I still enjoyed watching the Tom and Jerry film. Almost none of the old cartoon humor is lost on me, and I think i’ll take that as a good thing, rather than me finding it hilarious that Sherlock Holmes is sent on a literal wild goose chase is a sign of immaturity. Wow, my grammar sucks. Oh well.
No memories surged up form the depths of my mind, but maybe that is because Tom and Jerry wasn’t something lost deep in my past. I’ve always had a soft spot for the silly practical jokes and slightly crude humor of cartoons.
I’ll leave you with this clip. Almost 8 million views. I guess I’m not the only one who still finds Tom & Jerry funny =D
December 9, 2010 § Leave a comment
I initially wanted to re-read Harry Potter for my childhood memory project. However, since I had already read the first 4 Harry Potter books at least 10 times each I was kinda hesitant to do it again. Harry Potter is the real representation of my childhood; however, Tom & Jerry was another one of my favorite childhood memories.
This post is written before I revisit Tom & Jerry. I’m anticipating enjoying Tom & Jerry almost as much as I did in my childhood. The sort of slapstick humor that is the bread and butter of Tom & Jerry has a timeless humor that is always funny IMO.
I first discovered Tom & Jerry on a trip to Mexico many years ago. On a hot afternoon with nothing to my brother, sister, and I were scanning the TV channels for something we could watch. Everything was in spanish, and we were starting to give up hope. When we came across Tom & Jerry it was perfect, because it had no words!
The wordless humor of Tom and Jerry relies on its universal appeal of the timeless story of a cat chasing a mouse. Not everyone can appreciate Jon Stewart’s jokes or laugh at Garfield, but Tom & Jerry is something that can been shown nearly anywhere and be understood.
Anyway, I’m expecting I will like re-watching Tom & Jerry, especially since every now and then I TiVo an episode and watch some cartoons.
October 25, 2010 § 2 Comments
My childhood was far from normal, but fabulous nonetheless. The early years were like a combination of “Models Inc.”, “Gilmore Girls”, “Golden Girls” and a really bad Woody Allen movie. I grew up in a large house with my mother, great grandmother and a slew of colorful characters also lived with us. A fair amount of my childhood was spent on set either with my flamboyant manny while my mother shot commercials and TV shows or while I modeled the latest fashions for Macys or shot commercials for packaged snack foods or video games. I, like most children, only knew what I experienced therefore I thought these experiences were normal. By the time I turned four I had done dozens of ads and took on a new role as a kindergartner. I attended Washington Open Elementary School, a small parent participation school that boasted an impressive 15:1 student to school yard chicken ratio. Washington Open was a strange place that had a profound impact on who I am today. We had an average 30 field trips per year. Which was pretty cool except for the ones that involved actual torture. Many of these trips were like that reality show where the kids had to rule their own western town without any adult aid. We were often required to attend school in elaborate costumes to enhance our learning experience. I spent all of fourth grade speaking in nautical terminology and, like I said before, I thought all children were required to do so. I would frequently miss school to work, which was fine by me. When I went to middle school I was legitimately freaked out that we were required to wear uniforms rather than homemade prairie outfits and that we couldn’t call our teachers by their first names. We went on 1-3 field trips per year and only spoke in normal English (no nautical terms). For the first time in my life I thought that things were abnormal, I missed the weirdness.
October 20, 2010 § Leave a comment
I decided to read the long forgotten book Winnie-the-Pooh. It didn’t take long for the memories came flooding back, memories that I never expected I would have.
I was suddenly watching the mist clear to show an animated pink butterfly flee from a light orange paw. Pooh bear often chased butterfly’s, and leaves, and whatever else he can find. It was the action in which he seemed to fit most naturally. It showed his careless quest for something which he could never quite figure out. He was not the brightest bear on the block and I realized that, even at age 3. Despite his stupidity he always intriguing, he was often very philosophical. Was it the very idea of his stupidity that made him so bright? Maybe the fact that he couldn’t understand anything was what made him question everything, and in doing so question the very facts which we accept so easily as truths.
I was shocked, upon reading Winnie the Pooh, at how philosophical it was. It truly sounded like a Hindu, or Buddhist document. As I child I don’t remember thinking, all of Pooh’s questions were weird or strange. I remember thinking that pooh, though rather slow, acting relatively normal. I attribute this to the fact that, as I child, I was more similar to Pooh, and therefore didn’t realize the differences.
Winnie-the-Pooh, as I have described him, is the typical child. No responsibilities, searching for something though they are not sure what, mis-understanding, questioning everything. Does that mean then that children are not less-intelligent, they simply reuse to accept the things that we assume to be true? Perhaps growing older, and being educated, does not make you more intelligent, but rather just help you to accept the way the world is, and move on. Maybe basic education simply forces you (or allows you) to stop questioning the way the world is, and move on. This allows you to move into the more complex of the sciences, and the histories, but it also stops you from looking at the world with new eyes. After all, those who question when they are young are called kids, but those who question as adults are called philosophers.
October 16, 2010 § Leave a comment
Similar to many of you, I am sure, my father has just gotten the new apple ipad. I originally believed the device was rather stupid. It wasn’t quite a computer, but it wasn’t a phone. So what is it? and was do you us it for?
Well I still have not really resolved that question but I did attempt. While scouring the new, shiny, device, for unique capabilities I stumbled upon the ibook library. As the ipad is new there was only one book in the library, the one that comes free when you open it. It was the original, 1926 version, of winnie-the-pooh.
Obviously, I had to check it out. Clicking on the icon brought me to the old cover, displaying sketches of the 1920 versions of the main characters (seen on the right). It was very different from the high-tech, computer animated, versions that the kids I babysit see on TV and yet, they seemed so familiar. I heard my mom’s voice as it followed a stuffed bear through a dangerous forest. It sat with him on a log, mumbling *think think.. think think*.
People are always complaining about leaving books behind. I wonder what all the kids of today have lost with their new Winnie-the-pooh movies. I wonder what they have gained.
I mean, it’s not like the book doesn’t exist anymore. Kids, now adays, simply get both the familiar voice of their parents, and an strange friend to entertain them on rainy days. So maybe it’s not such a bad thing it’s just an extra thing. Reading the book with a parent allows kids to bond with their family. Watching the movies, though, allow them to build their morals and values through a non-parental outlet. It is a watered-down, children’s version of media.