Monday, October 24, 2016

Jared Watches Sailor Moon Crystal: Episode 6 - Tuxedo Mask

It's late, so we only have time for one episode tonight. And even though I warn him that this one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, Jared wants to watch just one.

Okay - here we go!

When last we left our intrepid heroes - cats came bearing gifts.

Luna: That is the Moon Stick. It's yours now.

Jared: Moon Stick? They are terrible at naming things. That is a TERRIBLE name.

Sometimes, I think I married a twelve-year-old boy. Sometimes, I'm not much better.

Me: Wait until they get to the "Cutie Moon Rod."

I don't think he believes me.

The opening credits roll.

Jared: I don't think I've commented there on the opening thing where they swoop straight into her hair - WHOO!

Jared: So, when they change the theme song, do they change the animation too?

He's heard me complain about the Season 3 theme song - which is the WORST thing on the planet. But we'll get there.

Me: Oh yeah - they change the whole thing. Don't get me started. But that's not until Season 3. This sticks around for these first two seasons, with a few minor changes.

That's not spoilers, so shut it.

Jared: Oh, that thing where they're all crammed together under the umbrella - Ami's sitting there petting Luna. Luna's cheating on Usagi again...

OMG - SHE TOTALLY IS! How did I miss that...
We finally get to the first scene of the actual episode...

...sort of.

Jared: Tuxedo Mask. Who is not wearing a very good mask, but whatever.

Mamoru Chiba wakes up from a nightmare about a fierce battle taking place. A princess (gee, I WONDER...) yells for someone to find the Legendary Silver Crystal.

Jared: Hm... doesn't quite make sense.

Me: Why?

Jared: Okay - that was her in a past life. Didn't she already have the Crystal at the time? Why did she have to tell him to get it?

Dreams... memories... wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey...

Usagi meets up with her friends, who comment on how she's early and didn't oversleep.

Usagi: I've been having a lot of weird dreams lately.I wake up and then I can't go back to sleep!

Jared: Then, shouldn't she be more tired?

Flashback to Usagi's dream...

Jared: Those are really big pauldrons.

That's the shoulder-thingies the prince is wearing in case, you're like me, and had no clue those had a name. If you did know - well, I'm an idiot. I make no claims to the contrary.

Usagi (still lost in her thoughts): Who are you, Mystery Man?

She turns a corner and runs smack into somebody in a genuinely hilarious moment. Even the Crystal-haters have to admit it.

Me: Ask a stupid question...

Usagi: Not you again?

Mamoru: Bun-head? You should watch where you're going. You could get hurt.

Usagi: Same to you, pal!

Their bickering really is endearing.

Me: He's making an effort to be nice.

Jared: He really is.

Me: I don't even know that he's making an "effort." He's just being nice.

Ami: That shirt! I recognize that uniform! It's from Moto-Azabu, the very elite private high school.

Jared:'s just a white dress shirt. That guy in the background is wearing the same kind.

Usagi: I know his name. It's Mamoru Chiba and he's always mean to me.

Jared: Is he now?

Mako: Aha! So you do know him!

Usagi: It's not what you're thinking!

Jared: Yes it is!

Suddenly, a news report about a mysterious person named "Tuxedo Mask" comes on every TV in the Juban District. And we have to see them ALL. Including Ikuko Tsukino's.

Jared: *bursts out laughing* She's playing with Luna!

Me: Luna's cheating again!

Jared: Wait - we never see... Usagi just shows up with a cat and her parents are all "Okay, you can have a pet."? Stray cat wit a bald spot.

Me: Some people when they see a stray animal, they have to take it in.

Luna (to herself): Tuxedo Mask... what are you up to this time?

Jared: She's a suspicious cat...

Me: She could rule the world.

While we were talking about stray cats ruling the world... Tuxedo Mask's announcement in the news has caused a fresh round of gossip around town. And he has to go to the tops of buildings and brood about it.

Jared: How does he ever get up there? How does he get down?

I have a theory -

Tuxedo Mask: I will find the Legendary Silver Crystal. I don't care what it costs me.

Me: You're gonna regret that one, dude.

The image of the news report zooms out and we see the Dark Kingdom watching The Creepy Crystal Ball Channel.

Jared: I love how they're not watching actual news people in the studio in their crystal ball. They're watching the TV through their crystal ball,

The Dark Kingdom: Too cheap to spring for cable.

Beryl's Boys quibble about who is going to Earth to take a crack at finding the Silver Crystal next.

Zoicite: Nephrite may have failed, but I, Zoicite, will not.

Me: It's like calling numbers at the DMV.

Meanwhile, Team Sailor listens while Luna explains more of the plot. They're meeting at the Arcade after closing for some reason.

Luna: Depending on how [the Silver Crystal] is used, it could blow up a whole planet easily.

Jared: Blowing up a planet while you're standing on it is a terrible plan.

Luna: Right now, I must learn more about who our main enemy is.

Me: You know, some of the girls could help her out with that.

Jared: Like, maybe the genius? Just saying...

But we aren't to the point where Important Information gets shared among our main characters. That comes after death and destruction and misery come to the Sailor Guardians. Because... it builds character? I have real issues with the in-universe person who set this plan up in the first place. Nasty theories too. But that's for later. Spoilers, sweetie.

Usagi (looking at the Sailor V game's sleep animation): Huh? That looks like the Moon Stick Luna gave me.

Jared: She has the Moon Stick just in her bag?

Sailor V (in the game): Don't be afraid! You can do it! You're Sailor Moon!

Usagi (inner monologue): Did Sailor V really just talk right now? Or did I imagine it?

Jared: It's interesting that they haven't addressed the fact that there's another Guardian running around.

Usagi (talking to the group): Is Sailor V a Guardian of justice too?

Jared: Oh, well there you go.

The next day, there is a TV special on the Legendary Silver Crystal. Complete with an "expert."

Jared: How do they find EXPERTS about these things? They only heard about it yesterday!

Me: Well... three guesses who THAT is.
Zoicite, fooling NO ONE.

Jared: But this really happens! Something weird happens and suddenly an "expert" shows up out of nowhere on the news to explain it! But yes - it's obvious that that's one of the bay guys. Even before they got to the glowy-mind-control-DOOOOOOOM.

Usagi gets home and find her mother digging through drawers and closets for reasons-yet-unknown.

Ikuko (in a zombie-robot voice): I can't find it. It's not here... or here... or here. I can't find it anywhere. Where could it be?

Jared: She has very purple hair.

Ikuko: The Legendary Silver Crystal. Where is it?

Jared: They don't even know what it looks like! How are they supposed to find what they're looking for.

Me: The plan was not very well thought out. Especially when you have housewives digging through their sock drawers. And their kids' sock drawers. And all those other little hiding places that you put things that only moms can find.

Luna and the other Guardians confer via communicator about the newest round of brainwashed Tokyo citizens and decide to meet at the Arcade.

Jared: And it only took them several hours. Although - the time shift's been a little odd here. 'Cause it was nighttime, then it was daytime, now it's nighttime again.

The team gets to the Arcade and Luna reveals the hidden bunker under the Sailor V game.

Jared: But that's okay, because - SECRET BASE! That you get to with a cat pushing buttons.

Me: That not even the Arcade owners know about, apparently.

Jared: Who is the owner?

Me: I'm not sure.

Jared: Maybe Luna's the owner.

Me: You know, she could be! She writes Motoki's paycheck!

Jared: Signs it with a paw print!

Fanfic writers, get on that please.

Jared: Of course, clearly the bad guys have loads of money too. Considering they set up an entire cram school to use as cover. Real estate is not cheap in Japan.

Me: Well, when you can brainwash people, you can whatever you want.

Jared: That's Professor X's secret.

While we've been writing fanfic about Luna's small-business-owning side activities, Usagi's insisting vehemently to the rest of the group that Tuxedo Mask is not their enemy, because warm hands and lending strength, etc. Which leads to everyone (except Usagi) realizing the obvious.

Mako: Usagi, it almost sounds like you've fallen in love with him.

Me: I'm... not sure that you could quite make that claim yet.

Jared: Not especially.

Me: Fangirl crush, maybe. But not fallen in love.

Usagi: You're all wrong! You don't understand!

Me: "I'm a teenage girl!"

Jared: Her running off does enforce that a bit, though.

Quick montage of all the times Tuxedo Mask saved Sailor Moon, complete with Usagi's frantic inner monologue about how he's always saving her life. Including the time they both fell off the balcony together.

Jared: Except that time he didn't save you. He actually failed there, just for the record.

Me: He even said that she saved him that time.

Elsewhere, Zoicite (still in his "Silver Crystal Expert" disguise) laments that the ordinary citizens of Juban have failed to do what the Dark Kingdom wanted them to do.

Zoicite: These human beings are pathetic. None of them have been able to find the Legendary Silver Crystal. They're no use to me.

Me: But you expected them to find it hidden under a trash can or something!

The Sailor Guardians (not transformed for reasons unexplained. Other than Toei needed to fill time with transformation sequences) show up, taunt Zoicite over his failure, and then transform.

Jared: Is Jupiter's pose supposed to be meaningful?

Me: Not really. It's just a pose. They all have a different one.

Jared: Oh. Okay.

I like it when he asks questions like that :)

Wherever Usagi is, she's struggling to get where she's going.

Usagi: I feel so weak and dizzy...

Jared: So how is she getting her energy drained?

Me: Slowly.

Jared: But they're supposed to be immune to that crap, aren't they?

Me: The other girls are closer to the center of it, so it's not bothering them. She ran off and hers is actually going a little slower than most people.

Tuxedo Mask shows up just in the nick of time. Of course.

Jared: 'Course, the fact that he's immune to it indicates that he has some kind of powers.

Tuxedo Mask insists that he didn't do the worst of this situation, but he did start this mess and for that, he's sorry. Also, he needs to find the Silver Crystal for... reasons.

Tuxedo Mask: And I don't have special powers to help me...

Me: Yeah, you do.

Jared: He has travel powers!

Usagi sympathizes and explains that she doesn't feel like she's good enough and that she can't lead everybody.

Usagi: I guess... all we can do is try harder.

Jared: Except for the whole "Protect Everyone" but, she's actually doing pretty good at being vague enough here.

While Usagi and Tuxedo Mask are having ~*~a moment~*~, the other girls are fighting Zoicite and are actually doing pretty well for themselves. Mercury's Bubble Spray actually got a straight hit on the guy. But then they realize the camera's back on them, and they all go down like punks.

Jared: And of course they all got taken out with one volley.

Usagi starts heading that direction.

Jared: Why is she walking? Where is she going?

Me: She's being pensive.

Queen Beryl appears to gloat and taunt and just generally be evil. Kitty boob dress and all.

Jared: See what I mean?

Me: Yep. And now I can't un-see it.

Look at the purple outline. The two cats are
looking at each other. One ear sticks up on each.

For the record: "Kitty Boob" is my invention.

Beryl: Sailor Guardians, my name is Queen Beryl. I command the Four Kings of the Dark Kingdom. And I have sent them to obtain the Legendary Silver Crystal. Once I secure it, the Dark Kingdom will rise again. Then every human being on Earth shall perish.

Jared: What's the point of ruling an empty world?

Me: To say that you did it? I dunno. Villains don't think these things through.

Jared: That'd be boring, just living in an empty world.

Me: You haven't seen that part in Once Upon A Time, where Regina curses everything and nobody remembers their lives in the Enchanted Forest except her and she's all "What's the point of ruling if no one knows who you are?"

Usagi deliberates with herself. She can't possibly transform into Sailor Moon in front of Tuxedo Mask! He'll know who she is!

Tuxedo Mask: Well, Sailor Moon? What are you waiting for? Hurry! Transform!

Jared: Oh snap! He knows who you are!

Me: Of course he knows!

Jared: Yes, I know. It's complete obvious considering he came to her bedroom to get her for the last thing!

Usagi freaks out because she can't throw fire or ice or lightning like the other girls can. Like that's been helping them out lately.

Me: You can chuck your tiara! And you make laser beams fly out of your forehead!

Jared: I get that she didn't realize that he knew up until this point. But, how could she not... HE CAME TO HER BEDROOM WINDOW!

Me: Logic is not her strong suit. Especially when she's having anxiety over so many other things.

It's panic time and Luna's even yelling out "USAGI!"

Jared: Okay, Luna - they're called "Secret Identities!" I mean, really?

Me: She talks in front of people!

Jared: She's talking in front of the bad guys! The bad guys now know her first name! That's like, Peter Parker's first rule. Don't let them know your name. 'Cause then you get crap like - Mr. Sandman shows up in front of Aunt May's house and breaks it down. And then he's mad because Peter's not there. He's at college or something.

Secret identities are Serious Business.

Jared: What do the little glowy bits in her hair buns do? 
Had to get this off YouTube, 'cause trying to get
clean screengrabs of the transformations on Hulu
is next to impossible.

Me: The red jewels? They look pretty.

[Note: Yes, I know they made her sonic-scream-power-thing in the first episode work. But that never happens again.]

Jared: Then there's the little... thingies... in the hair too.

Me: Barrettes?

Jared: Sure.

Jared didn't grow up with any sisters, so his knowledge of female hair accouterments is severely lacking.

Sailor Moon launches into her "I am the Pretty Guardian... In the name of the Moon..." schpiel.

Jared: Who is she saying that to? She's still not there.

But she does get there and faces down Queen Beryl.

Sailor Moon: I am Sailor Moon. I am the leader. So please, Moon Stick, help me save them!

Jared: Talking to a stick, huh? And that is still the Worst Name Ever.

Oh, how little does he know...

Me: They talk to a lot of inanimate objects.

Tuxedo Mask: Sailor Moon! Do it!

Travel powers.
Jared (slightly freaking out now): See? See? HOW did he get there?? HOW DID HE GET THERE? He said he had no powers! He's either completely oblivious to what powers constitute. Or he's just short-selling himself.

Me: Probably both.

Beryl takes Zoicite (who took the blast from the Moon Stick and is now unconscious) and they bugger off.

Jared: Nice bit of Pieta plagiarism.

Me: What?

Jared: That sculpture of Mary holding the crucified Jesus. 

Me: Oh.

I knew what it was. He just changed gears from ranting about Tux's non-power-powers, to what famous Renaissance art the animators took inspiration from/liberties with.

Jared: And now she's back to being tired. And hey! She's back to where she started too!

Me: They can obviously fly.

And no, I'm not a fan of this framing-composition-thing.

Jared: Her eyes are up there, man.

Neither is my husband. Friends, I chose well.

Jared: What is it with you and kissing unconscious girls??

Me: Well, just her.

Jared: Okay, unconscious girl.

Me: I think that was just him bending down to pick her up. I don't think he actually kissed her there.

Jared: Fine, we'll give him that one.

Usagi (unconscious inner monologue): His embrace feels so familiar.

Jared: And there's Sailor V, who's been useless so far.

Usagi wakes up in an unfamiliar bed, in her school uniform.

Jared: Wait - now she's not transformed! Last time, she fell unconscious, but she was still transformed!

Me: Last time, she fell asleep. This is falling unconscious from over-exertion. There's a difference.
Usagi wakes up and takes in her surroundings, including a mysterious pocketwatch that showed up while she was knocked out. She's excited at the prospect at meeting Tuxedo Mask in person!

Jared: Might want to consider where you are. 'Cause you've got no idea.

And guess who shows up to greet her when she wakes. No, seriously. Guess.


Jared: Except her. Like, seriously lady!

Jared: Goodness gracious, she is oblivious!

And that's where the episode leaves off. Until next time!

Next Time: Episode 7 - Mamoru Chiba, Tuxedo Mask

Previously: Episode 5 - Makoto, Sailor Jupiter

One Jump Ahead

Review/Recap of Once Upon a Time Episode 6.05 "Street Rats" - SPOILERS!

Can I just say how great the opening of this episode was? You've got Jafar going on about the rise of thievery and crime in Agrabah and how it will not be tolerated... meanwhile, Aladdin is just casually stealing random crap from the marketplace stalls.

Way to be vigilant there, Jafar.

So, here's an episode where events in the past parallel events in the present. Kind of Once's bread and butter. And I must say - it's nice when the parelleling events involve different characters on both sides. It's one of the things I liked most about the Frozen arc - showing that everyone has problems. Not just Snow White. And it allowed the show to branch out into other stories without having to shoehorn absolutely everybody in a set time-frame.

Also - Jafar was... not quite the bad guy. Well, he was. But he also had his own agenda that I don't 100% disagree with, even if he is a scumbag otherwise (Wow. If that doesn't sum up Election 2016, I don't know what does). It's like finding out someone you completely despise likes the same sports team that you do. You feel icky about it, but you're not going to change your mind just because of that. But you still need a shower every time you think too much about it.

Sure, Jafar was trying to rule Agrabah by mind-controlling the Sultan and stopping Princess Jasmine and Aladdin and be the slimey villain. Definitely a Certified Bad Guy. But for the overall story-arc - I agree with Hook in the end. Keep those shears in your jacket pocket, just in case.

The last resort, if you will.

Yes... it doesn't hurt that Jafar was played by Oded Fehr. I've had a wee fangirl crush on him since The Mummy.

Evil is yummy.
What else in this episode? The Evil Queen impersonated Archie. That can't have been pleasant for her. She who has to change into a new villainous outfit every scene? Wearing glasses and practical loafers? Please.

Zelena is still my favorite. I harbor a slight hope that she and Baby Robin will go back to Oz and be mother-daughter Wicked Witches together. We still don't know what happened to the Sisterhood back there. I think that storyline needs to be revisited.

Henry. Poor, poor Henry. I honestly hadn't thought about his role in Emma's Savior-ness until now. That he would feel guilty for bringing her to her ~*~destiny~*~ in the first place. But that was extremely well-done. Especially after the (supposed) blow of discovering that Aladdin was really dead...

...Except he wasn't. He just did some special magicky-thing to make it seem like he was never in Storybrooke. Because the town sheriffs were too busy saving the world (but what was Will Scarlet's excuse? Was he just a poor representative of the Fairy Tale Thief Guild? Look, the two have eerily similar accents. Certainly not the same actors, but there's a lot in Aladdin that reminded me of Will.)

Anyway - that's the Aladdin episode - the one the ABC suits were DYING for everyone to stick around for and boost ratings. I haven't seen whether it was successful or not. But there is more to come. And I'm still sticking around.

Next time - IT'S A HOOK EPISODE! YAY!!!

I'm sorry - what were y'all saying? All I see is a wet-n-shirtless pirate captain :3

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rumple Ruins Everything. Again.

Recap/Review of Once Upon A Time Episode 6.04 "Strange Case" - SPOILERS!

Okay, they're getting a bit better at this "Weave Unrelated Stories Into Traditional Fairy-Tales" thing.

Of all the episodes they've done where they tried to hammer home the point that Rumplestiltskin Is A No Good Very Bad Dude - this might be one of the better ones. Before, it was pretty anvilicious that they wanted him to be the unrepentant villain and you can only hear that so many times before you want to punch yourself in the face, rather than hear it again.

But this one... I have to give them props for. I can't think of a major criticism about it. Which is a first (or it's the head cold that's making my brain fuzzy right now).

Once Upon a Time is a show about good and evil, light and darkness, and opposition. That is why it made No Sense to me that Regina would try to divide her darkness from the rest of her, especially after so long of dealing with it (just one of my Great Many Complaints about last season's finale). It's like - you don't have pure villains and pure heroes. And yes, they've tried to make Princess Rainbow Sparklepoo (Snow White) have a teensy-tiny-bit of darkness on her heart, but really - no one buys it. Not really, anyway. I'll definitely believe that Charming has his share of darkness when we finally get to his part in all this. But Snow? Not so much. She yells at the dwarves when they annoy her and she makes snarky comments. But she's not "dark."

Anyway - where was I going with this? ...Oh yeah - Rumple. He's still an ass. He's also not sorry for it, which is a switch. Though he still tries to act sorry for Belle who - PRAISE AND GLORY BE - she's not falling for it anymore.

Maybe Robert Carlyle should cut his hair more often (it's for another movie he's in. Kind of nice that the OUAT people found a way to make it part of their story, rather than shoving a wig on his head for the rest of the season. For all their brilliant costuming wizardry, they have a really hard time getting wigs just right.)

This was also a great Belle episode. Probably the first one we've had in a great long while. The Jekyll and Hyde flashback story did help drive that point home - Belle wanting Rumple to be a better man, vs. Mary wanting the passionate and possibly-evil/dark Hyde rather than the timid Jekyll (though that's who ended up killing her. And he totally did it on purpose - I saw how he shoved her out the window).

Belle, on the other hand, just wants to be safe and at peace. Instead of turning toward her family or her husband, she turns to friends. It still tickles me that she's living on the Jolly Roger, while Killian is off to live with Emma (it was cute that Belle worried about Killian not having much to take to Emma's. They really are a sweet friendship couple).

I think this is also the first time I have genuinely enjoyed Mr. Hyde. Before, he was just a bloodshot dude in a cravat, but seeing his genesis was actually quite interesting. It was a nice reminder that he and Jekyll are really the same person. The monster-y guy didn't just appear out of nothing. Also, Jekyll going postal on Belle was a good indicator of that.

Snow going back to teach - yeah, I saw the whole "Take the kids bowhunting" bit a mile away. Once is not a subtle show.

Is there ANY story that wasn't tainted by Rumple's interference? I think I would be more surprised if we got a story where Rumple wasn't the bad guy or trying to manipulate events for his own ends. I know that's his schtick, but there have to be other schemers in the fairy-tale-story-verse.

And... that's all I've got for now. Brain's still a little muddled, so there might be more to go over later. For now - have a Next Time promo -

I can hear the ABC boardroom sighing with relief. The appearance of Aladdin and Jasmine should get that audience back.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Airship Pirates RPG - Lady Novella "Penny Dreadful" Reed-Brooks

Our group is taking a bit of a break from Dungeons and Dragons to play Airship Pirates, a steampunk RPG from the band Abney Park, based on one of their songs.

First I'd heard of either, but so far it's pretty fun.

I started fiddling with a few online doll makers on Doll Divine so I could have a visual representation of my character. Bear in mind, these aren't perfect. You're limited on what these doll makers are programmed with, but it works for what I need. In addition to my character's story (what I have so far), I've included these pictures along with links to the online doll makers I used to create them (click on each one to get a bigger version).

Presenting - Lady Novella Reed-Brooks, otherwise known as the vigilante "Penny Dreadful" -

Made with link
Made with link
Some background - 

My character is a high-class lady named Novella Reed-Brooks. I stink at coming up with names, so I fired up a Victorian name generation and, after a couple of tries, I got Novella as a first name. How can you pass that one up? The surname is a combination of a couple of last names the generator gave me and it's customary in this RPG that high class individuals have hyphenated last names.

Novella is the middle daughter of a Neovictorian family who, basically, was bored with her lot in life (as many high-class ladies are). One of her brothers was in the military and taught her a few things about weaponry, just as a side-hobby when he was home on leave. Novella was interested in it, so he kept teaching her, even against their mother's will. Novella also helped her mother with various charitable endeavors in helping the poor and the needy.

But Novella realized that these people's lives would not be permanently helped by rich people giving out food and clothing and money. Those things get stolen by the criminal elements in power in the slums. What they really needed was those corrupt politicians and crime bosses to be shown that they are not above the law.

Hence, the masked vigilante "Penny Dreadful" was born.

Made with link
Pictured here with a gun because I like this costume
better than any of the others. This doll maker doesn't have
a parasol, though.
Penny Dreadful started going out and patrolling the more dangerous parts of the city. She didn't have access to her own weapons and wasn't sure how to carry much more than a small pistol. But she learned the martial art of Bartisu - which involves the use of a cane or staff. Novella adapted it so she could use her parasol (yes, I'm cribbing that from The Parasol Protectorate). Over time, she targeted bigger and bigger fish in the crime world. Even to the point that she could spy on corrupt officials in government, thanks to her standing as a lady (it's amazing what these arrogant jackholes talk about when they think "only" a simpering young miss is listening at some society function).

Made with link
I can't decide if this is meant to be Novella or Penny.
Probably both.
Basically, she's Green Arrow (Batman's too depressing).

The people who'd been victimized by the crime bosses nicknamed their heroine as "Penny Dreadful" because she reminded them of those heroes of the downtrodded in fictional tales published in penny dreadful novels. In fact, some enterprising individual started writing down her exploits (with a few embellishments) and selling "The Adventures of Penny Dreadful" as penny dreadful novels. Novella didn't mind the liberties taken with her story - someone was making a living with their writing. Better that than starving. Plus, the government officials who were determined to find her were annoyed by it, so that amused her greatly.

Made with link
Eventually, the government sent the police force out specifically to stop her and it slowly became too dangerous for her to continue. Though she certainly tried her best.

That's when she met VIVA-3

VIVA-3 is an undercover automaton - she's a "Peeler" (a robot meant to aid police in apprehending criminals), but in the body of a Doll - which has very different talents than a Peeler (Dolls are meant for more "social" situations). VIVA was sent to investigate and find the identity of the vigilante and apprehend her. VIVA caught Penny Dreadful and discovered who she really was. And suddenly, VIVA wasn't all that interested in punishing Novella. But neither of them could very well return.

Made with link
So, the two of them ran off and joined the crew of the Airship Rum Runner. Now, they are pirates/mercenaries who take jobs to help protect the weak and victimized around the world, rather than in just one town. And Novella is the ship's gunner, so she gets to operate cooler equipment than she used to when she was on her own (think Zoe from Firefly). But she still sticks with her trusty parasol when the going gets tough. And she's a dab hand with it, no denying that.

Made with link
So far, Novella's met one fan of hers, who asked her to sign a copy of The Adventures of Penny Dreadful. The man reads the books to his daughter and he does all the voices for the characters. Meeting Mr. Pinter tickled Novella to no end. Currently, Novella and the Rum Runner crew is heading to rescue several princesses who were kidnapped for political ends to eventually start a war.

There you go. That's what I have so far. I may update this as we go along, but for now I just wanted a place to put the story that wasn't just the Notes app on my phone. And I like the pictures I have of Novella. They all look vastly different from each other. I can't decide which one I like the best. I might fiddle around with some other doll makers (goodness knows there are plenty) and make more versions of her. It's quite fun!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

That Time A Disney Mouse Saved The Day

Recap/Review of Once Upon A Time Episode 6.03 - "The Other Shoe" SPOILERS!

Yeah... so I liked this episode. Quite a bit. It felt like a throwback to the first season (bringing back Cinderella and filling in the rest of her OUAT!verse story helped a ton).

This is going to be a "Stream of Consciousness" post, because that was the best way for me to do this.

First off, Hyde is kind of... pointless? Other than to just be an info-dump source for the Land of Untold Stories.

Hook with the baby. Too damn cute. Foreshadowing? Yeah, probably. Especially given what happens in the end of the episode.

Snow helping the prince track down Cinderella was a nice touch. One of the few times that she was shoe-horned into the story and it didn't actually feel like she was shoe-horned in.

The whole flow of the story felt like it this narrative belonged here. Even down to Emma tracking Ashley/Cinderella with her shoe. AND Snow's determination to make Storybrooke an Actual Functioning Town with a school and things - that's not the worst things she's ever thought of (though Dr. Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll as science teachers might be a little sketch). It's like... they decided that they're going to make Storybrooke the town that it was originally meant to be. With fairy tale characters running a modern(ish) small town in the real world. But this time, without a curse forcing them to do these things.

Still waiting for that Once Upon a Time and iZombie crossover. If this episode didn't already bring it together.

Also - Gus-Gus was in this episode! I ADORE the mice from the Disney Cinderella, so that was a great touch. Also nice that Gus had his little shirt and hat. TOO CUTE!

AND Gus was basically the hero of the flashbacks portion of the episode!

The Evil Stepmother was AMAZING. I praised the look of her in last week's promo, but her character and acting was just great. If this is the only episode she's in, it was worth it.

(Can't remember what happened to the other stepsister, though. If anything. Maybe that'll get picked up later? It's okay if it doesn't. Not everything has to be spelled out for us)

Grumpy telling Emma that they got Dopey out of the tree from Season... what-cha-ma-who-zit... and that they didn't need her help for it. That REALLY should have been a bigger clue for Emma to STOP HER DAMN WORRYING because - I'll bet you dollars-to-donuts - however she gets out of this GRIM-AND-DARK vision-y scenario, it's not going to be as bad as she's making it out to be.

Sort of wish Archie had thought to point that out to her. Preferably before she swallowed the line about Hook moving in with her.

Also - there REALLY needs to be a ginormous fairy-tale wedding by the end of this season.

That's what I've got. And here's a Next Time promo -

They are REALLY desperate for people to stick around for Aladdin and Jasmine, aren't they? Sheesh...

I'm slowly getting back on board with this. I approve of where this is going. Happily. Keep it going, people!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Jared Watches Sailor Moon Crystal: Episode 5 - Makoto, Sailor Jupiter

For this installment, we are joined by our own world-dominating kitty - Plushie Luna!

One day I may show Jared the live-action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. The laughs shall be many.

The episode begins with a young woman in a school uniform walking in the rain, wondering when it will end.

Jared: Never! It will never stop raining! The world will drown!

Usagi is walking to school as well, and not paying attention to where she is going.

Luna: Usagi, you've got to be more alert! You don't pay any attention to your surroundings whatsoever!

Jared: Luna's not doing much better right now.

He has high standards for Luna.

Usagi walks out in to the road as a car is coming through. At the last minute, she is tackled out of the way by a stranger.

Jared: So, did she hear Luna talking?

He's also amused by Usagi's bunny umbrella.

The girl tells Usagi to be more careful and walks off. Usagi watches after her.

Usagi: Her perfume... smelled really nice.

Jared: Anything to distract from the near-death experience!

Me: She's in shock.

Jared: Coping mechanisms! WHEEEE!

And the opening titles roll...

Jared: Love Lightning! That's never gonna get old.

It certainly has become something of a tradition...

Jared: Oh hey - that's the goal! We do a magical girl campaign in D&D and one of them is a sorcerer. She casts lightning spells and she has to say "Love Lightning!" every time!

Me: Okay, that can be yours. She can be Akordia the Second.

Jared: Nah, Akordia's the anti-magical girl. She may be the right age, but other than that, she's dark and depressing...

These are the things we discuss during the opening credits.

Jared: Okay, her... I'm not even sure how to say this...

Me: Who?

Jared: Beryl. Her boob cups look like cat heads!

Me: What?

Jared: It's like... little horns! The purple parts!

Now I'm always going to see two Lunas looking at one another. What has been seen, cannot be unseen.

Jared: Oh sure, that'll be a great role model for little girls. A fourteen-year-old gets married to a high schooler.

Me: Better than in the 90s anime, when he was a college student.

The episode opens with Beryl berating her Boys about screwing up the last mission. Nephrite promises he'll do better next time.

Jared: Because you had such a great plan last time.

Nephrite plans to exploit that universal human weakness: Love. I chuckle knowingly. Remind me to say why in... about eight or nine episodes.

Back in the real world, Naru talks about her cousin's upcoming wedding and how she (Naru) had to try the dress on because her cousin was unavailable for the fitting. Now, granted, I don't know how things are in Japan - but usually if a bride can't make her own dress fitting, there is no dress fitting. She reschedules it for another time.

Minor quibble.

Umino comes in for his customary drive-by info dump about a demon ghost bride in a haunted dress shop. But Jared notices something else.

Jared: The shirts on the school uniforms are so unrealistic. They end right at the top of the skirt. If the raise their hands, that thing is going to ride up.

Which is why I could never be a Japanese schoolgirl.

Usagi and her friends daydream about being brides (which is where the splash image comes from), clearly not hearing the part about a "ghost bride". In her excitement, Usagi accidentally bumps into the girl who saved her from being an Usagi-pancake in the crosswalk that morning.

The new girl - who towers over everyone else - has to explain that she's wearing a different uniform because none of this school's sizes fit.

Jared: And it goes with color-theming too!

Me: In the manga, they also get after her for having naturally curly hair because they think it's a perm.

Jared: Sadly, I believe that. I mean, within a few miles of here, we've had people get in trouble for their naturally red hair.

Schools can be stupid sometimes.

Me: But she's so tall, she just towers over the guy and tells him what's what, so he leaves her alone.

Jared: It's not really that curly. It's more wavy.

A couple of boys go by whispering about the new girl and how she's some kind of "Amazon."

Jared: You know, the guys in this school are terrible gossips!

Usagi skips across the schoolyard singing about lunchtime. Jared laughs. It's quite gratifying.

Jared: Of course she has a lunchtime song.

Usagi exclaims at the new girl's lunch bag and matching box and that's enough to want to make friends.

Jared: Heh - her hair buns.


Usagi strikes up a conversation about the new girl's lunch when a loud metallic CLANK echoes across the nearby baseball field. Usagi looks up in time to see a baseball hurtling toward her face.

Usagi: Hah?

A split-second later, the new girl catches the ball one-handed.

Jared: That was just perfect! Just - "Hah?" OBLIVIOUS!

New Girl (throwing the ball back with great force): Be a little more careful next time!

Jared: Darn, missed seeing the impact.

Me: Missed opportunity...

The new girl remembers how the boys were whispering behind her back and calling her names.

New Girl (in a monotone): You shouldn't zone out like that. You could get hurt.

Me: Yeah, not having the girls gossip about her is kind of weird. I mean, guys don't typically care about that stuff, but girls will be BRUTAL with other girls.

Jared: Guys don't gossip like that, really.

Me: Especially not within earshot of the person you're talking about.

Usagi squees over the new girl's lunch and compliments her on her lunch bag and box. The new girl seems to open up more with Usagi because of it. Even though Usagi snitches a few bites of her lunch.

Jared: That is a good way to make friends, at least. Well, maybe not so much the mooching part. The complimentary part, yes.

New Girl: I just found this lunchbox at my old house, so I made a bag to go with it.


Me: She is easily impressed.

Jared: But doesn't she have a parent who cooks?

Me: It's amazing that she's met someone her own age who can cook.

Oh, and here I made the comment that the English voice actress they got for Makoto is my favorite casting choice. I know very little about Amanda Miller's past work or background, but her performance as Makoto is Spot-On-Pitch-Perfect-In-Every-Way. All the voice work in the dub is great, but Mako has an extra level of "special."  And it makes me happy because Makoto is one of my favorites - along with Ami. It's similar to how Ami is my favorite, but in a different way. It's hard to describe exactly. Regardless - it tickles me to no end just how great Miller is as Mako. I hold out a hope that Salt Lake Comic Con can get her to come at some point, just so I can meet her.

And I will probably gush over her the way Usagi gushes over Mako in this scene.

Oh, by the way - the girls finally learn each other's names.

Makoto tells Usagi that she hasn't made many friends because no one will talk to her. It's like they're all scared or something. Usagi laughs.

Usagi: Scared of a pretty girl with earrings and perfume? That's ridiculous!

Jared: She has a point.

Makoto asks if Usagi can show her around town.

Jared: Aren't they in Tokyo?

Me: A district of it, yes.

Jared: Bit big for that.

Me: It's just one local area - she wants her to show her around the neighborhood.

He accepts that answer.

Usagi's first tour stop is - what else - the arcade. Makoto plays the Sailor V game, and says it's just like fighting in real life. Usagi's amazed at Makoto's "Ultimate Attack." In fact, Makoto does awesome, until Motoki comes in and reminds her of "someone else." Also, Ami is there to meet with Usagi. 

Jared doesn't say much here, so that's why I'm just describing what's going on. I assume this means he's engrossed in the story. At least, I hope that's what's going on.

After a while - and giving their new friend a nickname - Usagi, Mako, and Ami go check out the bridal shop that's causing all these rumors - rumors so prevalent, that even Motoki heard about it (you'd think by now the girls would learn that anything that has crazy rumors surrounding it would be a place that they should be concerned with). When they get there, they spend some time looking at the wedding dresses in the window.

Jared: To be fair, this wouldn't be something that junior high kids would necessarily know about [explaining why Motoki told them about the bridal store rumors].

A couple of random women are also looking the bridal shop and talking about the rumors of missing grooms kidnapped by a ghost bride.

Jared: You know, the rumor mill around here is REALLY good! Yet no one believes it until it's too late!

Now it's Rei's turn to meet Mako. Rei almost instantly gets a... vibe... of some sort from Mako.

The conversation, of course, turns to the ghost bride rumors

Ami: Stop worrying Usagi. There's no scientific proof that ghosts are real.

Jared: You've fought monsters before!

Rei: If a weak man allows himself to be seduced, it's his own fault. I think all men are fools. I don't trust them.

Me (heavy on the sarcasm): She's a peach.

Jared: Yeeeeeeaaaaaaah...

It's not that I hate Rei - she's just never been my all-time favorite. And her snotty elitist attitude is a big reason why. I know that fandom thinks she's the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel, but I honestly don't see it.

Jared: Well, she is a shrine maiden. It's not quite a nun. I'm vaguely recalling that shrine maidens are supposed to be "pure" and all that.

Me: I suppose we could look it up. But then, there's a difference between taking vows of chastity and "All Men Are Pigs."

Jared: Well, yes. But one can lead to the other.

Me: This is true.

Back at the bridal shop, a mannequin is coming to life. Quite grotesquely.

Jared: Yes, because ugly contortions is great for seducing random dudes.

Me: She's probably trying to get off her display-post-thing.

The mannequin's eyes glow red and she hypnotizes Motoki, who's just randomly passing by...

Jared: So how is she targeting the fiance's if she's just wandering the streets like that? And who is he engaged to?

Yeah... some of the details of this episode kind of fall apart...

Possessed!Motoki tries to brainwash Makoto, and Mamoru *just happens* to see it going down from across the street.

Jared: No tux this time, huh?

Me: He didn't wear it in the episode with the Demon Bus. He was just in his school uniform then.

Jared: Yeah... it's just that the tux is so unusual. It's like - why ever wear that?

Usagi is having a dream where a mysterious voice is telling her to follow him. It's obvious who this "mystery man" is to everyone but her. Twenty-year old spoilers, you know.

She wakes up to see Tuxedo Mask in her window.

Jared: Aaaaaand... now he's Edward. From Twilight.

Me: Not really. There's a purpose behind this. He's not just staring at her while she's asleep. And he did wake her up.

Jared: Yeah, this time. He didn't last episode.

No pillows fly. This time.

Usagi follows Tuxedo Mask and wonders where he's taking her. Inner monologues are TOTALLY a thing in Crystal.

Jared: You know, on the one hand - he just took her out of her bed in her pajamas. On the other hand, having her change would be more awkward. And take time. Though I wonder if she has her brooch to transform with.

Rei and Ami show up just as Usagi finds the demon-ghost-bride.

Me: I can't decide if what Ami's wearing is pajamas or not. They look comfortable, either way.

Jared: I guess it depends on if those are leggings or pants underneath. If it's leggings, that totally could be pajamas!

I'm going with leggings. I like Ami's comfy style.

The girls do their transformation thing, which means that Usagi did indeed have her brooch.

Jared: I haven't commented on how the pens just float there. If they let go, it'd go *fwoop* [makes falling motion with his hands]

Jared: And they're in a hurry, so the transformation sequence gets done quicker.

Me: There's three of them now, so they have to save time.

Jared: How do they decide who gets boots and who gets... heels... whatever that is.

Me: I have a theory on how this works, but it takes time. So I will wait until the end to explain. Remind me.

Jared: Okay. Yeah - 'cause you've got the over-the-knee boots with Moon and Mercury. And Mars has normal heels.

Me: And you'll see what Jupiter has here in a minute.

Mars attacks with her ofuda/fire move.

Jared: Those were cool pyrotechnics.

Mars's attack misses (her intro episode is over, after all) and the Ghost Bride gloats, while also threatening to kill Mako.

Ghost Bride: No one move, or I kill the girl!

Jared: And of course she gets a black dress.

Nephrite appears and gloats some more. Mako realizes her mistake in trusting Possessed!Motoki. Guilt Trip ensues.

Jared: I was wondering why she'd gotten mind-controlled. They normally seem to be resistant to that. Then again, she didn't get it completely...

Me: She broke out of it.

Jared: And it's her episode too.

Me: Yes. And Ami got brainwashed in her episode for a while.

Mako remembers the day her senpai broke her heart with a really mousy-looking chick. Like, really - you give up the tall and gorgeous Makoto Kino for some random nobody?

It irritates me, okay? Boys are stupid.

Mako (inner despairing monologue): Love isn't real. I don't believe in anything anymore!

Sailor Moon: Don't say that, Mako!

Jared: Wait - now she can read minds?

Me: Inner monologues are loud.

Sailor Moon: I believe that each of us has a soulmate that we're destined to be with. Someday, I'll find my soulmate.

Jared: Well, you kinda already did.

Sailor Moon: There's someone out there for you too, Mako. I know there is!

Jared: Somehow, I imagine that being Guardians doesn't leave a lot of time for finding guys.

Me: That's kind of the tragedy of it.

Nephrite's had it with this lovey-dovey talk and he and the Ghost Bride start attacking the Guardians.

Jared: You all need someone with a shield! SHIELDS! Very useful things.

Mako's done taking everyone's crap. Luna shows up with a green pen for Mako.

Jared: I'm just going to stop asking where she's keeping these things. She must have pockets SOMEWHERE!

Me: Hammerspace.

Mako begins to transform into Sailor Jupiter, without any coaching from Luna. Make of that what you will.

Me: I love her transformation, where she brings her hand back and grabs the pen. It's so cool!

Jared: Oh yeah, the others don't do that.

Screengrabs don't do it justice -

I just freaking love Sailor Jupiter, okay?

Jared: The lightning is pretty cool.

Jared: Okay, so her shoes are halfway inbetween with laces - OH the laces! They're just like on her school uniform!

Me: I never made that connection. That's not my theory, but I like it!

Jared: The rest of it's pretty close.

Sailor Jupiter: I'll fill you with regret, it'll leave you numb!

Jared: Okay, that line didn't work so well.

Me: Translation issues...

Sailor Jupiter: No one can defeat the power of love! Flower Hurricane! 

Jared: I thought her power was lightning?

Me: There's a reason for it. Japan's name for the planet Jupiter is actually forest-related. So, Sailor Jupiter gets flower and plant-themed attacks as well as lightning ones.

Speaking of...

Sailor Jupiter: Jupiter, my Guardian Planet. Bring forth a storm. And bring down your thunder!

Jared: Oh, hey - she does do the whole thing with the antenna.

Sailor Jupiter is a freaking badass. That is all.

Jared: I find it hilarious that the mannequin loses her dress, then her skin, and then finally blows up.

The monster destroyed, Nephrite disappears, and a bunch of guys in formal outfits wake up in the basement of the bridal shop, clutching mannequins in wedding dresses.

Jared: The cops here must be completely useless. All the missing guys were in the store!

Sailor Jupiter realizes that the reason she moves schools wasn't because of the guy who broke her heart. It's because of her mission as a Sailor Guardian.

Sailor Moon: Now we get to have you as one of us!

Jared: One of us! One of us!

Luna chooses now to drop the bomb that Sailor Moon is the leader of the Sailor Guardians, because all four of them have now been gathered.

Jared: But... there's five. Sailor V's out there!

Seriously. Doesn't Luna watch the opening credits?

And here we've reached the Sailor Uniform Theory part of the program -

Jared: Okay, so the uniforms are basically the same. I mean, besides the color palette. Sailor Moon's is the standard design. Mercury's is the same, except she doesn't have the sleeves. Mars has heels instead of boots. And... I guess the same as Jupiter, except she has different boots?

Here is my theory that I've had for quite some time. First, a visual aid will be useful -

Click to embiggen
My theory is that all of the Guardians' designs have something that in common with Sailor Moon's final design -

Mercury: Blue skirt and collar
Mars: Red back bow, red glove cuffs, red choker
Jupiter: Green and pink are secondary colors based off of blue and red (blue -> green, red -> pink). The placement of Jupiter's secondary colors in her uniform (minus the color of her shoes) correlate to the placement of Moon's primary colors.
Venus: Blonde hair and blue eyes - physical characteristics she shares with Sailor Moon.

Sure, it's a long shot, but I like it. And I've held onto it for several years. And SM fandom can suck it. That is also an opinion I've held onto for several years.

Next Time: Episode 6: Tuxedo Mask

Previously: Episode 4: Masquerade Dance Party