Super Recaps: Dragon Ball Super Episode 1 (A Peacetime Reward: Who Gets the 100,000,000 Zeni?)

Dragon Ball Super and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Funimation

As many of you might know, Dragon Ball Z was a HUGE part of my life and is one of the most important series to ever exist; not just for me but for an entire generation who grew up with these characters and what they represented.  Goku as the Super Man for the modern era who was always there when we needed him and has the biggest heart imaginable.  Vegeta as the manifestation of our own sense of pride and anger; reforming as the series goes on and always being taught the folly of his ways.  Gohan trying to live up to the legacy of his father and trying to find his place in the world while having more than enough potential to be whatever he wanted if he could just open up and tap into it.  These stories resonated with a lot of people, and while it wasn’t always great (it started fading fast during the Buu saga), it was always important, so bringing back an official series after so long is a pretty big deal; especially now that it’s back in the US with an official Funimation dub for old fans and new fans alike (though I’m PRETTY sure most who are gonna see this are in the former category) to enjoy the way we enjoyed DBZ back in the day.  First though, a mea culpa.  I had every intention of reviewing this series as it was originally coming out with the subs, but it became clear pretty quickly that I simply didn’t have enough time to devote a recap series of that in anything resembling a timely fashion, so I decided to wait until the dub was released and do a recap of that instead.  Seems appropriate though considering I’ve never known this series outside of the dubbed version, so why would I start watching the Japanese version now?  Sure… that will work as an excuse.  ANYWAY!  Does the return of Dragon Ball usher in a new era of anime once again ruled by Toriyama’s iconic series, or is this a desperate move to squeeze a few more dollars out of a dying cash cow?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with the new opening sequence which was specifically done for the English dub and as far as I can tell is just a cover of the song from the Japanese version of Super.  It’s honestly not that big of a deal for me considering that the openings and closings were never something that connected with me in the original series either like similar shows I love from that era (Yu Yu Hakusho, Case Closed, etc), so I’m not gonna knock points off just yet.  It looks cool at least featuring plenty of well-choreographed action, though I’m annoyed that we’re STILL going with the Chi-Chi as a nagging wife jokes in 2017… or whenever the hell this came out.  It couldn’t have been any earlier than 2015, right?  The opening also confirms we’re not picking up pretty much right after the Buu Saga, give or take a few years as Gohan looks like he’s out of high school but Goten is still rather young.

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THEY’RE BACK!  THEY’RE FINALLY BACK!!  NO, I’M NOT GETTING OLD!!

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The NekoCon Diaries 2016: Fan Panel Recap

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So when you’re like me and don’t know what to do with yourself other than look at overpriced figures at the Vendor’s Hall, it’s good to have a schedule to provide some structure to your con going experience; hence why I attended so many panels this year.  Well, that and I knew I was going to recap them for the website; and that’s a win-win in my book!  Today, we’ll be focusing on the fan panels which are hosted by individuals attending the convention rather than the invited guests or representatives of some company looking to market directly to their fans.  Do these manage to have an authenticity and love of their respective fandoms that you wouldn’t find in more professional presentations?  Let’s find out!!

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90s Animation Revisited: Rejoin Your Childhood Friends

Hosted by Peggy Miller

This was the first panel I went to at the convention, and right off the bat it put me in a sour mood.  This was nothing more than nostalgia baiting with nothing even resembling insight or depth into what made these cartoons so memorable (or in certain cases, infamous).  Rattle off the name of a series, show the opening, ask the audience what year it came out, and repeat nineteen more times.  Hell, they couldn’t even stick to the decade as several of these started in the late eighties but remained popular throughout the nineties.  Fair enough I guess, but what about showing Power Rangers which was NOT an animated show?  I’ll let you all know right now that my biggest problem with most of the fan panels this year is that they’re sometimes a mile wide but always an inch deep.  This one did manage to have a breadth of content by name checking twenty different shows in an hour, but so what?  No mention of Klasky Csupo shows, no mention of how Mighty Mouse: the New Adventures from 1987 was the jumping off point for many prominent animators in the following decade, no mention of Disney Television Animation who made half the shows name checked here, and most egregiously (at least in my opinion), they couldn’t even be bothered to tell us all that the creator of Doug was born less than a hundred miles away from where we were sitting.  That’s a VERY easy factoid to just throw out there to the audience and I’m sure several people would have gotten a real kick out of it.  The only thing you’d get out of this is what you already would be bringing into it, and I just don’t think that’s much of a panel.

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The NekoCon Diaries 2016: NekoCon Harder

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Another year has passed which means it’s time for Doctor Scientist and I (along with Doctor Scientist’s girlfriend this time) to head back to Hampton VA and attend NekoCon 2016!  And yes, if we do this again next year, than it will be called NekoCon with a Vengeance.  With my schedule the way it is (work, website, sleep, repeat until death) I’m not one to get out much for anything other than seeing movie and making poor choices about my diet, so I really have been looking forward to going back to this convention since I got back from it last year.  So how was it?  Well considering that this is only my second convention ever, let’s just say that it’s still a work in progress for me to get the most out of my experience.  I’m not a typically social person in the first place, so being surrounded by THAT many people is nerve racking to a certain degree which kinda limited how much fun I was having at the time; rather I was focusing a lot on having a full schedule so I would have lots to talk about here.  I do have a notebook full of notes and a mountain full of things I bought, so there’s no doubt I got something out of it, but the in-between moments where I had an hour or two before the next event, I was struggling to do anything other than walk around the Vendor’s Hall decidedly not buying anything and not really talking to people either.  Oh well.  Live and learn I guess.  I DID get more pictures this year than last, so that’s something at least!

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Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Episode 30 (Grandpa Loses Control: Rei in Danger)

Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media

Episode directed by Kazuhisa Takenouchi

Welcome back to another episode of Everybody Loves Rei!  So it’s become clear that the writers here have decided that the Rainbow Crystal arc will primarily be about the other Scouts working through their love lives; a concept that MIGHT work if they could come up with good ideas on exploring that and they have yet to prove that that’s gonna be the case.   Still, maybe they can succeed with Rei where they failed with Ami and were merely underwhelming with Makoto?  Is this a new leaf for the arc that started off really well, or will we just have to ride this out until we finish up with all this filler?  Let’s find out!!

First two minutes of the episode, and BAM!  Rei’s grandpa gets hit by The Dark Crystal and starts turning into a monster!  No bullshit!  We know that Zoisite is gonna turn SOMEONE into a monster, so might as well get it done upfront!  Unlike all the other times he’s done this though, the transformation doesn’t complete as Grandpa Rei apparently has powers that allow him to resist the Dark Crystal and keep his Rainbow one intact (which I don’t THINK he’s aware is inside him, but I’m not certain about that).  Still, while the attack wasn’t quite what Zoisite wanted, there’s no doubt that the transformation process has begun and that Grandpa Rei will turn into the monster, albeit at a slower pace (similar to Joe the Crane Game Troll from episode 25).  On top of that, this JUST SO HAPPENS to be the night that Grandpa Rei takes on a bum for an apprentice named Yuichiro who at first looks like a lame knock off of Spike from Cowboy Bebop.  What, was Crazy Gramps not enough to carry this episode?

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The plight of the unemployed cosplayer…

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Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Episode 28 (The Painting of Love: Usagi and Mamoru Get Closer)

Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media

Episode directed by Yuji Endo

We’re back with another episode of Reading Rainbow Crystals!  When we last left our heroes, it was on a particularly weak note as the show had REALLY botched an Ami episode which is a shame because she doesn’t get as much of the spotlight as she should.  Now it looks like we’re already going back to focusing on the destined romance of Usagi and Mamoru which isn’t completely devoid of intrigue, but doesn’t feel as necessary as making sure the other Scouts remain a prominent part of the series rather than becoming background objects.  Still, does the show manage to give us another really strong episode in the Rainbow Crystal arc, or was the last episode a warning of mediocrity to come?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins in the bowels of Hell Corp where Queen Beryl is giving her usual speech about the incompetence of her underlings, and frankly it’s becoming clear that she’s starting to phone these in.  She’s gotten so used to failure that she can barely muster the energy to destroy Zoisite’s self-confidence with her expert tongue lashing, yet doesn’t seem all that interested in taking direct action or to come up with a plan that’s at least SOMEWHAT different from the last twenty or so that have failed.  At least with Jadeite, there was a bit of variety in the schemes!  Here, they’re just throwing goons at the Scouts and getting surprised when yet another one gets its ass handed to them!

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“Oh do whatever you like.  I’m sure you’ll fail once again and we’ll be right back in the same place next week.”     “I hate to see you so dejected, but then I also like how you’re not threatening to rip my large Intestine out and then choke me with it.”     “Oh it’s all about YOU isn’t it?”

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Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Episode 27 (Crushing On Ami: The Boy Who Can See the Future)

Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media

Episode directed by Takao Yoshizawa

We’re back with another episode of Japanese Rainbow Brite!  So far the Rainbow Crystal arc has actually been pretty solid with stories that focus more on characters and the other Scouts rather than only Usagi fighting whatever overly designed punching bag the bad guys see fit to throw at her.  It really seems to be what the Nephrite era SHOULD have been but didn’t really manage to live up to.  Can the show continue to make the most out of what can be accomplished with the new arc they’ve set up?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with a meeting in the bowels of Hell Corp as Queen Beryl is demanding a progress report from Zoisite and Kunzite; neither of whom have much to show for their efforts as Zoisite managed to lose one of the Rainbow Crystals and Kunzite hasn’t done shit.

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“I assure you my queen that we are doing everything in our power to get the Rainbow Crystals.”     “Do I look like an idiot to you?”     “I beg your pardon.”     “It’s a simple question.  When you look at my face, do you think that it belongs to that of an idiot?”     “…No?”     “Then why are you lying to me as if I don’t know how often you update your Facebook page?”     “…Well, I mean…”     “SEVENTEEN UPDATES IN ONE HOUR, KUNZITE!!”

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Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 (Infinity 12: Infinite – Journey)

We’re back with another episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, but it’s not just ANY episode!  We are at the end of season three which had one stated goal of winning back fans after the less than stellar first two seasons!  Did they manage to not only  succeed in surpassing the first two seasons but in also outdoing their finales?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins by recapping what had happened at the end of the last episode, mainly that Sailor Saturn was about to nuke the planet to kill General Smooze (also known as Master Pharaoh 90) and no one was particularly happy about that.  Sailor Moon is still somewhere inside General Smooze’s goop of evil, but I’m sure she’ll be just fine!  I feel like I’m starting to repeat myself…

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“We know that already!”

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Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Episode 26 (Restore Naru’s Smile: Usagi’s Friendship)

Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media

Episode directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara

We’re back with another episode of The Naru Diaries!  Part five I think…  Anyway!  Now that Makoto has officially become a member of Team Moon, we can back to that whole “Naru being emotionally destroyed” thing that was left kinda hanging after episode 24.  Will they manage to sew up that loose end with care and satisfaction, or is this an afterthought to fill out the number of episodes this season?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Mamoru having another one his Silver Millennium dreams where a very obvious Usagi is asking him ONCE AGAIN to find the Silver Crystal.  So wait, are these actual visions he’s having that someone is putting into his head?  If so, who else COULD it be besides Usagi considering the Princess here looks just like her no matter HOW much fog they use to try and obscure it?  I mean, I GUESS it could be part of his subconscious trying to give him a message, but this isn’t really a memory or something like that, so his subconscious is being REALLY unhelpful by giving out vague commands with no real direction!  Also, you may recall that the Tuxedo Mask persona is ACTUALLY a separate consciousness (I think) because Mamoru has no memories of being Tuxedo Mask, yet they made it clear in episode 19 that Tuxedo Mask has no memories of who HE is (Prince Endymion), so these dreams must not be coming from him specifically but yet another layer of his subconscious… or something.  He’s getting orders from a memory of a split personality with amnesia.  Did Christopher Nolan write this shit!?  It’s a memory of a memory of a memory of a taco!

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“And why was Marion Cotillard in my dream?  She’s only supposed to be in there on Friday nights!”

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Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Crystal Act 37 (Infinity 11: Infinite – Judge)

We’re back with another episode of The Saturn Seal!  When we last left our heroes, they had just managed to get one over on Mistress 9 due to the fact that Chibi Moon has now become SUPER Chibi Moon with the help of Hotaru’s ghost!  Still, there’s the matter of General Zod on the planet below trying to break free of the barrier put up by the Outer Senshi so that he can finally take over the world for reasons that I’m sure make perfect sense to him, so that’s something they’ll have to deal with eventually though I’m still convinced this guy is kind of a pushover.  I mean, a puddle?  Just get some giant paper towels or a Moon Powered blow dryer!  So will the Scouts’ new found source of ULTIMATE POWER be enough to stop the space tyrants once and for all?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with the Monstrous Mistress 9 barreling towards the Scouts with everything she’s got left, though it may not be enough as Sailor Moon AND Chibi-Moon have both gone Super Sailor Guardian and are preparing to stop her in her tracks; firing off one last blast together as mother and daughter in the hopes of saving the world from certain doom.  Kind of reminds me of something, but I can’t quite put my finger on it…

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“Release it Chbi-Moon!  Release everything!  Remember all the pain she’s caused!  The people she’s hurt!  NOW MAKE THAT YOUR POWER!!”     “I’m DOING it already!  Quit hassling me!”

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Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 (Infinity 8: “Infinite Labyrinth” 1)

We’re back with another episode of Grey’s Moon-atomy!  The last episode ended on quite the cliffhanger with Hotaru turning into Evil Hotaru and then proceeding to rip the crystal right out of Chibi-Usa’s uniform; leaving her in a coma and the Sailor Moon absolutely distraught.  Now that Usagi has to face the consequences of letting her daughter fight bad guys while still in grade school, she must decide how she should handle the new Hotaru moving forward.  Will she stick to her guns and refuse to let someone else’s death be an acceptable sacrifice for the rest of humanity, or will she listen to the great Mr. Spock and realize the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Chibi-Usa in the hospital after getting attacked by the full grown Evil Hotaru and her wicked hair.  We’re not sure exactly how we got from the fight to here (did the Scouts just run away?  Did Haruka teleport herself to General Zod?), but that seems a bit inconsequential considering that Chibi-Usa is… well…

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“Gee doc.  You think we should DO something about that?”

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