So, I just finished watching the finale of Wander Over Yonder. I felt doing something like this was appropriate.
For the uninitiated, this was a show about a fuzzy, overly-optimistic alien named Wander who travels across space with his best friend/steed/muscle, Sylvia. Together, they travel and look for other aliens in need of help, whether it’s small favors or need of rescue from villains looking to conquer their planet. Among said villains is Lord Hater, a skeleton-man with magic powers who seeks to become “The Greatest in the Galaxy” by conquering every planet with his army of eyeball soldiers known as The Watchdogs, led by Hater’s right-hand man and true brains behind his villain operation, Commander Peepers.
The show was created by Craig McCraken, best known as the creator of The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends. Through this body of work, he became one of the first “celebrity animators” to people of my generation, where his name is almost like a brand in and off itself, synonymous with a mixture of adventure, screwball comedy, outlandish scenarios that mix the mundane with the bizzarre, and memorably over-the-top characters. The style of animation, character design, and writing associated with his shows became fixtures that fans could latch unto and identify as symbols of his work, and it’s been interesting to see how he (and his evolving team of associates) continue to evolve those basic tools and adapt them to new ideas.
In terms of scope, the show seemed to be the least ambitious of the three he’s done at first glance. PPG was primarily about satirizing superhero tropes by embodying them through a trio of kindergarden-aged superheroines and their oddball adventures. Foster’s was a surreal take on the idea of children outgrowing their imaginary friends (i.e. whatever symbol of their childhood they’re supposed to represent) by making said friends become real-life characters and showing what happens to them after their kids move on (or, at least, when they’re “supposed” to). So, it doesn’t seem like there’d be much to compare in a series that’s mainly about a guy who may be too kind for his own good, and believes that with enough kindness, anyone can be a friend. However, this is only one part of a bigger whole, and it’s the way the show bounces this concept with its other characters where the show becomes something truly memorable.
You know me! I can’t even look through my DVD collection without finding a way to turn it into something fun for the site! Almost everything I do is preceded by the question “how will I be able to turn this into an awesome post?” and lo and behold I have done it yet again! One of my favorite comedians is Christopher Titus and as luck would have it I’m going to be seeing him live in less than a week, so I figured now would be as good a time as any to take a look back at his career and how his work has been a great influence to me. I guess we should start this by answering the most basic question first. Who is Christopher Titus?
I love being from a screwed up family
Christopher Todd Titus was born in Castro Valley California in 1964 to Kenneth and Juanita Titus. Throughout Christopher’s childhood, he had to deal with his manic depressive, paranoid, schizophrenic mother who was in and out of his life as well as his mean alcoholic dad who did his best to raise him right but was dealing with demons of his own. Most of his life story is told to us from his first major stand-up special Norman Rockwell is Bleeding which he had performed for years before getting it adapted into a TV show on Fox in 2000 simply called Titus; though to be clear, the recording you can find of that special was done a few years after the TV show had ended. Whether or not all of the stories about his life are true is something that can be reasonably questioned as my cursory research produces little evidence outside of his own personal accounts for what he had to go through, and since a lot of his appeal (at least for me) is the frankness, sincerity, and openness with which he talks about rough subjects, the material NOT being true would certainly hurt that image (like when Robin Williams’s off the cuff delivery style is undercut by the fact that he would always tell the same stories on every talk show he did). Personally, I don’t have a reason to question him or what he went through, and on the off chance that he DOES stretch the truth for comedic effect (in a memorial to his father at the end of an episode of Titus, his father says that only ten percent of what we hear is the truth), I still feel his comedy fills a need and speaks to an audience that very few comics have been able to reach. Probably the comedian that comes the closest would be Marc Maron who had a similarly rough life (though mostly AFTER his childhood) and frequently bares his soul to the world through his stand-up routines and his WTF podcast, on which he did in fact interview Christopher (one of the show’s better episodes in my opinion). The first time I ever heard Christopher’s comedy was when Norman Rockwell is Bleeding had aired on Comedy Central’s Secret Stash* which was (or maybe still is, I have no idea) a block of time around midnight or one in the morning on the weekends that would show movies and stand-up specials with the bad language intact, not to mention Girls Gone Wild commercials. Needless to say that I watched Secret Stash A LOT when I was in middle school, and even managed to stumble upon some great comedians in the process. The one comedy special that stood out the most for me though was the aforementioned Christopher Titus special, and it’s honestly something I would put in the top ten if not top five comedy specials that have influenced me greatly, some of which include Denis Leary’s No Cure for Cancer, Bill Maher: The Decider (he hit his peak during the Bush years), George Carlin’s Life is Worth Losing, and Whoopi: Back to Broadway. Now by the time I had discovered him, it had been YEARS since he had established himself and also years after his television show. What happened with that exactly?
As is tradition with any convention, you end up spending way too much on stuff you’ll never use that’s much cheaper on Amazon. I’m certainly guilty here, but I think I got a pretty decent haul overall for what I ended up paying and have decided to share it with all of you! I’ll first talk about the merchandise I picked out and then we’ll do an unboxing of the grab bags that I purchased from some of the tables! Let’s get started!!
Throughout this adventure, I learned one very important thing. I. LOVE. SAILOR. JUPITER!!
We took a look at some of the panels last time around, but now we’re getting to the BIG ones! The panels hosted by two of the current giants of anime here in the United States which are FUNimation and Aniplex! No point in dawdling! Let’s get started!!
FUNumation Industry Panel
I’m not sure what I was expecting from this sort of corporate event, but it ended up being an advertising bonanza with them showcasing their recent releases, what they plan to release for the upcoming season and the streaming services they are currently offering. Right now, you can gain access to FUNimation’s entire back catalog of shows in one of two ways. With a Sub Pass, you can watch any anime that FUNimation has rights to the subtitled version of as well as their subtitled Simulcasts. With the All-Access Pass though, you can access that as well as all their dubbed anime, as well as a couple of extras not available for the Sub Pass.