Saturday, January 19, 2013

X & Y: The New Pokemon

*sigh* Well, it was inevitable but it's still a disappointment to me all the same. When I heard about
a big worldwide "Pokemon" related announcement earlier in the month, one which would be revealed
on a special Nintendo show by the president of Nintendo himself, I was crossing my fingers that he'd announce the discontinuing of the main "Pokemon" franchise since it's gone as far as it could go, so now there'd only be spin off games and merchandise. Sadly, it wasn't to be. He instead announced the sixth generation of "Pokemon" would be coming in the Fall of this year, after the "Best Wishes" series of the anime ends. So that means two new game versions with a whole new region, new lead characters, a new professor, new rivals, new gym leaders, new Elite Four, a new Champion, a new evil team, and loads of new amateurishly designed Pokemon. Oh joy.

Look, as much as I've loved the "Pokemon" franchise, there has to be a stopping point somewhere.
In my mind, Generation V was that stopping point, since it was the generation that really put out all the stops. That they are moving beyond it is a sure sign that the franchise that had already been on
a downward slope since Generation III has finally sailed over the shark. To understand why I think that, I'll have to get into what looks...wrong about this upcoming generation. But before that, I have
to clarify all that Generation V had that makes me think that it was the pinnacle of "Pokemon":

  •  The "Black" and "White" games were the first games since "Red" and "Blue" to be named after colors. (Unless you count "Gold" and "Silver" as colors as well as metals.)
  • The games were on the same console as the last generation, except they were clearly meant also for the 3DS like these new games will be made for.
  • The quality of said games was the best since Generation II.
  • The names are poignant in that black and white are two opposite colors of the rainbow spectrum: darkest and lightest, beginning and end.
  • Many of the concepts applied to the games were moldbreaking, and once a mold is broken, it's hard to step back without it feeling like a cheat OR to step forward without it feeling redundant and losing it's specialness.
  • This generation broke the "each generation/region/Pokemon" gets weaker trend.
  • The male and female PC protagonists were full grown teenagers for once.
  • Not one, not two, but three rivals in one generation! (Cheren, Bianca, and Hugh)
  • The storyline of the evil team and legendary Pokemon actually took center stage in the first games, being everywhere you went, getting many characters involved, and ultimately overtaking the League quest at the end of the game when Team Plasma actually attacks the Unova League and you have to defeat them for good right there and then!
  • The aviliciously delivered message of tolerance and acceptance of different ideas, beliefs and opinions, whether they be truth or ideals, was probably the deepest thing "Pokemon" has ever taught aside from the conflicts of Team Galactic from the previous generation.
  • The villains, Team Plasma, were initially portrayed as the animal-rights type complainers who saw the bad implications of Pokemon from the start. Their king N is an antagonistic version of your standard Pokemon hero, the boss Ghetsis is the most evil villain in the main series, and Dr. Colress shows fascination in Pokemon taken to a warped extreme. Also, maybe I'm overthinking things, but is Team Plasma's signature letter "P" as in "Pokemon?" And is "N" as in "Nintendo?" "G'cis" (Ghetsis) as in "Gamefreak?"
  • I associate Gen 1 with Spring, Gen 2 with Fall, Gen 3 with Summer, and Gen 4 with Winter. Gen 5 has all four seasons built-in to the games depending on the month!
  • Unova has the epic large vastness of Sinnoh but does it correctly!
  • Even the ugly Pokemon were used to good effect and some were even memorable!
  • Instead of a third version/special edition, "Black" and "White" got a sequel in "Black 2" and "White 2", which has never been done before. This contributed to some poor critical reception and bad ratings. Personally, I think this same sequel ought to have been released as "Pokemon Grey Version". That would've made things easier since making the sequel into two games again feels like a cheap and desperate cash grab. But the point is, the third version was a sequel rather than a special edition.
  • "Black 2 and White 2" finished exploring everything good in this generation and brought it all to a satisfying close. The appeal of the generation and franchise was fading fast.
  • Iris is clearly the ultimate Champion of the whole franchise, having a young age like Blue, Dragon Types like Lance, a former Gym Leader status like Wallace, the same gender as Cynthia, and the position formerly held by Alder.
  • The biggest attraction of the sequels, the World Tournament, just screams "Grand Finale!" It literally brings all five generations together so you can battle trainers and Pokemon from all the past regions of all the previous main games! That is spectacular!
  • The flop of "Black and White 2" following the success of "Black and White" should've discouraged Gamefreak from making any more main "Pokemon" games for quite a while.
  • The anime series based on Generation V, "Best Wishes", was the first season of the "Pokemon" anime since Generation I where the quality was actually consistently GOOD!
  • Said anime season featured Ash and Team Rocket's boss, Giovanni, finally facing off, something that was anticipated by fans since Gen I. It also gave closure to Team Rocket, the recurring villains since Gen I. And it's last act ("Episode N") had a full-on continuous epic storyline of N and the evil Team Plasma fighting for the fate of the legendary Pokemon of the White Ruins, Reshiram, taking center stage. The anime paying this much attention to plot, characters, and continuity had not been seen in a looong time! This has all the signs of a series finale for the anime adventures of Ash and Pikachu. But nooo...
  • By contrast, the main manga series "Pokemon Special" lagged a lot in it's "Black and White" story arc, which aped the games storyline and plot points but with less charm and many hindrances. It's surprising how underwhelming this arc was: I just could not get too invested in it until around the last third. And then just as Gen V was closing, the arc was wrapping up and it's sequel arc just beginning! A sure sign that Kusaka should throw in the towel and wrap up the manga so it concludes along with the franchise. But nooooo...
  • Five already seemed like a good enough number to end generations on anyway.
That fifth point is worth repeating since it's probably my biggest issue. After you've achieved something so mold-breaking and awe-inspiring as Generation V, how do you top it? Where do you
go from there? If you go back to the formula of the previous generations (stopping the villain's plans before winning your last badge, heading to victory road, beating your rival again, facing the Elite Four and the Champion, and getting in the Hall of Fame. The credits roll - The End), that would be taking some major steps backwards, which would disappoint the fans who've been spoiled by the escalation and prominence of the plot in these games. On the other hand, if you keep doing what this generation did (having the evil team's story be prominent all the way to the end, with the baddies attacking the league, a legendary Pokemon faced down, and the main villain as the final boss. The credits roll - The End), it cheapens the Team Plasma story considerably and becomes a new formula in of itself. It will stop surprising and impressing players. (Actually, "Black and White 2" shows this well - in it, you defeat Ghetsis and thwart Team Plasma after you've won your last badge, which is what should have happened with Team Galactic. and then you head for the Unova League to face your rival, the Elite Four, and Champion Iris as the final boss before you get in the Hall of Fame, the credit roll -The End. Sounds like a step back, right? But suppose Ghetsis had been the final boss again? That would be TACKY.) The best way to have handled this would have been packaging the sequel as just "Pokemon Grey Version" where you could choose a "Black" mode or "White" mode depending on what game you last played. That Gamefreak couldn't do that shows the limitations of the games as they are right now, and why continuing on instead of revamping the series probably isn't such a good idea at all.

So...what about Generation VI? What are the signs that indicate it might suck ass? Well for starters, there's the titles of the new games. "Pokemon X" and "Pokemon Y".

 The X version and the Y version. They've abandoned naming the installments after colors or gems for naming them after letters. Two
of the last freaking letters of the alphabet. What's the third version going to be, "Pokemon Z?" That'll lead to several DBZ jokes if it's true. It really seems like they're not even trying here anymore.

 Ah, but then it gets worse! The new starter Pokemon don't even look like Pokemon anymore! I mean, they just look so cheap and dumb!

Let's see: the grass-type starter is some sort of chipmunk.

Gee, we've never had that before in "Pokemon!"

The fire-type starter is a fox. A fire fox!

Gee, we've never had THAT before in "Pokemon!"

And the water-type starter is a frog or toad.

  GEE, we've never fucking had THAT before in "Pokemon!"

This shows a huge problem that's plagued the franchise since Gen III. Not only are most of the new Pokemon that get created too numerous, ugly, and cheap, but they're uncreative and unoriginal too. We've seen these Pokemon before, and they were much more appealing and memorable the first time around. We don't need them recycled as "new Pokemon" over and over again. And honestly, the first time I caught glimpse of these new starters, they looked like parodies of Pokemon or fan-created Pokemon rather than the real deal. If the ultimate handling of "Black 2 and White 2" wasn't already an omen of the franchise jumping the shark, after seeing this bullshit there's no mistaking it.

Plus, the whole notion of more and more Pokemon, regions, and whatnot really clutters up the world of Pokemon. It makes a series and a concept that was once so simple to be more convoluted than it needed to be. Come on, are we meant to believe that in this hugantuan world, each and every region is filled with people who dedicate their lives to this race of 600+ creatures that make up the entirety
of animal wildlife of this world? Get a life, people! You're making yourselves look like total DWEEBS!

 Now there are SOME things that look promising about this generation and it's games. It's the first main "Pokemon" game with 3D graphics, and it looks fantastic. The Kalos region itself seems to be heavily inspired by European culture. From the grassy plains and farmland, the village-like towns in the distance, that Eiffel Tower looking structure, the way the tall mansions and bridges look, and just the whole atmosphere is very European. This does look like a fun and interesting place to see. I'm just not sure it's a worthwhile addition to the world of Pokemon, at least not the world they've built up to this point. It's like a whole different world on it's own. Perhaps this is where Fantina came from? And even the 3D graphics have their downside since this is the first generation to not use sprites. Part of the games' original charm was their simplicity. While each generation kept advancing the graphics and gameplay capabilities beyond their simplistic roots, they still maintained the charm by using 2D graphics and sprites for the characters and Pokemon, in and out of battle, with only a touch of 3D getting added in the previous generation. But now everything in this new generation is full 3D: the environments, the characters,
the Pokemon, and even the battles! It looks like a portable "Stadium" or "Colosseum".

 And while I'm not a big fan of the new legendaries being a stag and a bird (gee, never had those before in "Pokemon"...), I do like two things about Xerneas and Yveltal. One is their designs. I love how Xerneas's antlers down to his neck makes the shape of an X, and how Yveltal's wings and tail spread out makes the shape of a Y. And that's.... actually very clever and creative. The other thing is that while they're not original as far as legendaries go, they're the most original MAIN legendaries we've had in years. For the first time since Gen II, they're NOT generic dragon-type creatures. They're just a deer and a condor.

But it all comes back to the sudden announcement of this generation. The trailer was opened up by a shot of CGI Pikachu. And really, the fact that this long-running franchise can never shake off this Generation I Pokemon as their mascot shows there's something off about the whole thing. So while this new generation, these new installments, and all the new products they bring might be interesting in their own right, the series just isn't "Pokemon" for me anymore. Or at least it's not MY "Pokemon." My "Pokemon" lasted for five generations, culminating in the World Tournament of the previous games. This new series of Pokemon stuff, I dub "New Pokemon." (or essentially "Pokemon 2.0"). It might be an okay series, but there's a huge void left behind from Generation V that can never and will never be filled. This rebooted franchise exists in that void now. It doesn't exist in my heart the same way as the old "Pokemon" did. It's a sub-section of one of my all-time favorite canons: "Pokemon."

Update: Here's another big problem I'm seeing with this generation: the designs. Not just the Pokemon anymore, though they are ugly as sin. But the human designs seem lacking this time around, which is actually pretty surprising given how good Ken Sugimori usually is at designs. Has he been taking lessons for Takao Unno here? Is it actaully Takao Unno designing these characters? In any case, only the two player characters and Professor Sycamore have standout designs. Admittedly, the designs for Tierno, Trevor, Shana, and Viola are growing on me, but they all still seem more generic than Sugimori's usual work, and a step down from the designs we were getting out of last generation. There's just a certain style and flair that they lack, odd given how I'd expect it more than ever in the Poke' France that is Kalos. And speaking of...

We have a new evil team based entirely around style and flair, called Team Flare. Get it? It's a double meaning pun for style and fire? Har har! They're like Team Magma's gimmick crossed with Team Rocket's motives, 'cause guess what? They're a bunch of greedy assholes whose sole purpose is to make money. I know that the "self righteous villains who want to use Legendaries power to make a new world" thing was getting old, and I'm glad it's stopped after Team Plasma did a nice twist on it, but really...just money? At least Team Rocket had world domination on top of that goal. There'd better be something less simple than just this, or else Team Flare will be a huge downgrade as far as evil teams are concerned. Also, they look so goofy. I know I shouldn't judge based on that since Teams Aqua and Magma looked goofy too but were actually an improvement over Team Rocket's Johto incarnation, Team Galactic looked goofy but were actually epic, and the Team Plasma knights looked goofy but were even more epic. But if these guys have no interesting motivations or characters among them, then...they're just goofy! And that is so lame.
 So we've gone from Ghetsis to...a Dr. Robotnik expy? 

 Oh, and WHO'S THAT POKEMON? Seriously, who is this Pokemon? Mewthree? A new form of Mewtwo? An evolution of Mewtwo? Whatever it is, it's the "awakened" Mewtwo and a Generation VI legendary. It's not the Pokemon or the design that bothers me, but the purpose behind it. This is still essentially Mewtwo, the original "most powerful, ultimate Pokemon". The genetically created psychic Pokemon with badass abilities and powers that are virtually god-like. The Pokemon cloned from the oldest and rarest Pokemon of all, Mew. The Pokemon who has never been touched since the first Generation. So WHY are they bringing him back into relevance and giving him an upgrade now? Why now, five generations later? I'll tell you why: after introducing so many huge, epic, mythic god-like legendaries, (especially in Gen IV with Arceus and co.!) Gamefreak realized that Mewtwo, the once ultimate Pokemon, had become small potatoes next to these ones. It's concept had been utterly cheapened by all the non-man made legendary Pokemon that exist and apparently have existed since the dawn of time. So Gamefreak is trying to put Mewtwo back in the spotlight and rerail it into the most powerful Pokemon again, by tampering with it's nature and giving it this celestial new form. But in doing so, they're only exposing just how off the rails this franchise has gone. We've seriously gone so far with Legendaries that we've come all the way back to Mewtwo? How about Lugia and Ho-Oh or Celebi while we're at it? 

 And if there was any doubt that this franchise has officially jumped the shark, this eliminated it from my mind. The very nature of jumping the shark requires a series to have exhausted it's initial premise and completely worn out it's welcome, so it resorts to cheap novelty and desperate gimmicks to keep itself alive, but instead only shoots itself in the foot and loses the audience. When Satoshi Tajiri stepped down, Junichi Masueda baited the shark. The fin was spotted ever since the third generation, it was rapidly circling in the fourth, and the franchise put on those water skis and jumped in the fifth. Enter the sixth generation, and we seemed to have landed right over the shark at last. Full 3D, chromosome game names, ugly ripoff Pokemon, generic characters, stupid villains, the resurrection of Mewtwo, and a formula getting beaten to death were already novelty gimmicks enough. But this tops them all: the introduction of "Fairy type Pokemon." We've had no new Pokemon types since Generation II! After three whole generations, Gamefreak finally decides to introduce a new one. Which includes an ugly "Eevelution" of the most whored out Pokemon ever, and pre-existing Pokemon getting retconned to have always been partially this type! Again...WHY NOW? This defines cheap novelty and desperate gimmicks. Gamefreak is clearly running out of good ideas and so desperate for new ones that they pull this crap. Sorry, but I've grown so disillusioned with these creatures that a new type of them does not interest me in the slightest. None of these new features do. They just make me want to watch as the franchise drowns in it's own decay and becomes shark chow. Good luck out there, New Pokemon!

 BUT WAIT! It gets WORSE! If Fairy types weren't enough of a desperate ploy, we get this - the three Kalos starters you get at the start aren't the only starters you get in the game. Professor Sycamore also lets you have...Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle! Yes, there are really going there. They're grasping at every possible way to make these games sell and become a worldwide hit, and one such way is to try and appease gewunners with this. Making the original Gen 1 Kanto starters available in such an overpacked game that's taken the franchise so far away from it's simple roots is actually kind of insulting to me. 

 BUT WAIT! IT GETS WORSE! You don't believe me? YOU DO NOT BELIEVE ME? Well THIS is the final nail in the coffin. Not Fairy types, not the Kanto starters: THIS is what confirms this generation to be one of the most blatant shark jumps I've seen for a franchise in recent years. Mega Evolutions. Special evolutions that evolve Pokemon into their Mega forms. That's what the Mewtwo evolution belongs to, and he actually has two of them! I think you can control how it's done too. So not only are they throwing out uber strong fully evolved forms for many pre-existing Pokemon, including the Kanto starters, but they're ripping off Digimon! Unbelievable. I'm at a loss for words at all the desperate novelty gimmicks they're pulling with this one generation. And I cannot see how anyone can deny a loss of magic here.

 There's also a new XY anime series. Somebody kill me...

 Just look at all those ugly-ass Pokemon! Yeesh! My estimation for when "Pokemon" might REALLY end is in Generation 7 or 8. Why? Because we'll officially have around 1,000 pokemon by then. Do they seriously think the kids won't catch on? And to think, this franchise began with the tagline "Gotta Catch 'Em All....."

....Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

He IS a Magnificent Bastard?


                              Lord Cutler Beckett - Most definitely NOT a Magnificent Bastard!

Now that I've covered the Magnificent Bastard, I'll talk about it's counterpart trope: the Smug Snake. An easier one to cover than Magnificent Bastard or Complete Monster: a "snake" refers to a villain or antagonistic character who is slimy, sneaky, cowardly, manipulative, and petty. The "smug" means that they are very, very high-and-mighty and overconfident in themselves and their abilities. They view themselves as a Magnificent Bastard and at times might even come close to being one, but in truth they are just bastards with delusions of magnificence. A snake with a superiority complex. Or as the laconic definition states, an arrogant, unlikable manipulator whose overconfidence is his/her downfall. A key sign that a villain is a Smug Snake rather than a Magnificent Bastard is how they react to their plans going wrong. Rather than stay calm and in control, or implement a pre-prepared plan B or C that could turn things around in their favor, they break down and act in desperation. They let their ego overtake their awesome, and thus get done in by their pride. This type of villain is easy to come by.

The official Trope definition is this: The Smug Snake is a type of character (usually cast as a villain) who tends to treat friends and enemies alike with equal disdain. They almost constantly speak in a sarcastic tone and punctuate most of their sentences with a smirk. While they aspire to be a formidable and awe-inspiring adversary, they often end up just being a Big Bad Wannabe, failing in the face of more cunning villains or ending up as their servants, in which case they'll generally be The Starscream. Others that fall under this trope are simply in it to bug the good guys and take advantage of their moral insecurity.

A key character trait common to Smug Snakes is overconfidence. The Smug Snake is usually too arrogant to be rattled. Most often, they will think themselves to be the Magnificent Bastard. While they may believe that they have the situation under control (whether they do so through blackmail, coercion, or simply being in a position of authority), there will usually be a hole in that plan that they failed to consider. Perhaps they underestimated their opponents' abilities and claimed themselves unbeatable, or maybe they made a really stupid mistake along the way. Once that realization hits, expect the Snake to lose their cool right before everything starts falling apart for them. They are not necessarily entirely incompetent or ineffectual, however, and may succeed with at least part of their goals, but they are still lacking that charm and grace that the Magnificent Bastard possesses. Often a Know-Nothing Know-It-All as well, to inspire added bile, though still enough to take the 'sympathetic' out of Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain (the best of them are Insufferable Geniuses heavy on the former and light on the latter). If a Smug Snake considers himself a Magnificent Bastard, then he is a villainous Small Name, Big Ego.

Most of the time, a writer will purposely introduce a Smug Snake as a target for audience hate by making them Kick the Dog or bend the rules to get their way and come out smelling like a rose. Basically, this is a villain that's made to be hated and the audience will enjoy hating. This, like all other tropes, can backfire if misused. If the writer still tries to foist the character as a Magnificent Bastard when their previous actions have proven otherwise, the audience will likely stop enjoying to hate the character, and instead genuinely hate them as much as they would The Scrappy or The Wesley. Evolving a Smug Snake into a true Magnificent Bastard could be doable, in theory, but shouldn't be attempted lightly, and has only been pulled off successfully in fiction a few times. Ever. Of course, the author might deliberately doing this, playing a villain up as a Magnificent Bastard when it comes to getting the power he craves, but proving to be so inept at wielding that power once he finally has it that he ends up as a Smug Snake instead.

The Smug Snake will rarely be a Draco in Leather Pants (though it is possible, especially if the character is physically attractive — the Trope Namer himself is an example).

So why did I put this up? Well oftentimes there have been Smug Snakes that have been mistaken for Magnificent Bastards, even though the distinction should be pretty obvious. So therefore, I shall go through fiction again and list villains who are definitely not Magnificent Bastards and are more likely Smug Snakes.
*Please note that if a villain who was on my Magnificent Bastard list also appears on this one, it's because they either started out as a Smug Snake or devolved into one overtime.* SO...
* - Indicates either villains who double as Smug Snakes or villains who had potential for magnificence that wasn't fully realized in the work.

Disney Animated: The Evil Queen, Stromboli, the Coachman, John Fowlfellow, Lampwick, Man, Ronno, the Ringmaster, Lady Tremaine, the Queen of Hearts, Captain Hook, Cruella Deville, Kaa, Madame Mim, Edgar, Prince John, Sir Hiss, Madame Medusa, Professor Ratigan*, Bill Sykes, Percival Mcleach, Gaston, Jafar*, Scar*, Ratcliffe, Frollo*, Clayton, Rourke, Jumba Jookiba, Scroop, Alameda Slim, Rico, Goob, Dr Facilier, King Candy/Turbo*, Prince Hans*, the Duke of Weselton, Alistair Krei, Robert Callaghan, Mayor Lionheart, Dawn Bellweather, Mr. Big, Maui, and Tamatoa

Disney Spin-off: Lobster Mobster, Forte, Abis Mal, Mirage, Mechanicles, Quint, Zaruche, Ares, Queen La, Tublat, Samuel T Philander, Dr Hamsterviel, Marina Delray. Cedric and Wormwood, etc.

Disney Live: Cutler Beckett, Davey Jones, Blackbeard, Cruella Deville, Meredith Blake, Kalabar, Trout Walker, Warden Walker, Mr. Sir, Dr. Palaski, Dr. Reinhardt, the Nome King, Princess Mombi, Val Horrigan, Shamus McTiernan, Mrs. Chesterfield, Richard Thanatos, Tiara Gold, Jesse, Miles, etc.

Pixar: Sid Phillips, Hopper, Al, Stinky Pete, Randall Boggs, Syndrome, Chick Hicks, Chef Skinner, AUTO, Charles Muntz, Dr Z, Miles Axelrod, Hank the Octopus, Thunderclap, and Jackson Storm

Lord Of The Rings: Feanor, Smaug, Gollum, Saruman, Grima Wormtongue, and Laketown's Master

Star Wars: Nute Gunray, Watto, Sebulba, Pong Krell, General Grievous, Greedo, Grand Moff Tarkin*, Orson Krennic*, Agent Kallus, Maketh Tua, the Inquisitors, Boba Fett, Bib Fortuna, Jabba The Hutt, Prince Xizor*, Supreme Leader Snoke, General Hux, Captain Phasma, Kylo Ren, and Unkar Plutt

Kingdom Hearts: Jafar, Ursula, Hook, Oogie Boogie, Riku, Braig/Xigbar, Xaldin, Vexen, Zexion, Saix, Scar, Sark, the MCP, Lady Tremaine, Evil Queen, Jumba Jookiba, Vanitas, Data Roxas, Frollo, CLU

Harry Potter: Lord Voldemort, the Malfoys, Gilderoy Lockheart, and Dolores Umbridge

Chronicles Of Narnia: Queen Jadis, Miraz, Prince Rabadash, Shift the Ape, and Tarkan

Pokemon: Gelardan, Lance, Apollo, Vicious, Archie, Maxie, Nascour, Evice, Snattle, Ardos, Gordor, Harley, TR*, Ash, Butler, Dr. Yung, Phantom, Blake Hall, Mr. Kincaid, Charon, Hunter J*, Paul, Zero, Marcus, Grings Kodai, Leon, IO, Sird, Dr. Edward, Purple Eyes, N, Colress*, Zinzolin, and Ghetsis
New Pokemon: Lysandre (Games), Malva*, Team Flare, Archie, Maxie, Matt, Courtney, Zinnia, Alva, Guzma and Faba

Avatar: Admiral Zhao, Jet, Master Yu & Xin Fu, Hama, Fire Lord Ozai, Hiroshi Sato, Tarrlok, Yakone, Unalaq, Vaatu, Hundun, Zaheer & the Red Lotus, Aiwei, the Earth Queen, Prince Wu, and Bataar Jr.

Batman: Rupert Thorne, Roland Daggett, Carmine Falcone, Sal Maroni, John Dagget, Clayface, the Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy* (sometimes), the Penguin*, the Riddler*, Dr.Crane/Scarecrow, and Tony Zucco

DragonBall: Commander Red, Tao Pai Pai, Master Shen, Raditz, Zarbon, Freeza, Dr. Gero, Cell*, Babidi, Buu*, Garlic Jr, Dr. Whelo, Dr. Kochin, Turles, Lord Slug, Cooler, Paragus*, Bojack, Hoi, etc.

The Legend Of Zelda: Aghanim, Twinrova, Vaati, Zant, Bellum, Chancellor Cole, and Ghirahim

Super Mario: Bowser*, Wario, Waluigi, King Smithy, Queen Valentina, Grodus, Grubba, Cackeletta, Princess Shroob, Tatanga, Beldam, Count Bleck, Fawful, Megasparkle Goomba, Antasma, and Wart

Spider-Man: Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin (sometimes), Miles Warren/The Jackal, the Lizard,
the Chameleon, Electro, Mysterio, Eddie Brock/Venom, Jason Phillip Macendale, and Silvermane

Yu-Gi-Oh!: Shadi, Seto Kaiba*, Mokuba Kaiba, Gozaburo Kaiba, Noah Kaiba, Weevil Underwood, Bandit Keith, Marik Ishtar, Ziegfried Lloyd, Priest Akhenadin, Kagemaru, Yubel, Darkness, and Sayer

Digimon: Etemon, DemiDevimon, the Dark Masters, the Digimon Emperor, Arukenimon, Yamaki, Makuramon, Impmon/Beelzemon, Zhuqiaomon, the D-Reaper, Mercurymon, Lucemon*, Gotsumon, SaberLeomon, Akihiro Kurata, Yggdrasil, the Royal Knights, Tactimon, Lillithmon, Chuchumon,
the Death Generals, Ewan Amano, Lord Bagramon*, Quartzmon*, and the Rival Xros Hunters*

Gargoyles: Demona, Jackal, Hyena, Hakon, Proteus, Tony Dracon, the Archmage, the Magus, Puck*, Oberon, Macbeth, Coldstone, Fang, Shari*, Dr. Sevarius, Margot Yale, and John Castaway*

Superman: Lex Luthor (sometimes), Zod 2, Metallo, Parasite, Toyman, Mr Myxtzptlk, and Mongul

Final Fantasy: Xande, Golbez, Zemus, Gilgamesh, Emperor Gesthal, Professor Hojo, Ultimecia, Queen Brahne, Kuja*, Seymour Guado, Kinoc, Mikka, Lady Yunalesca, Judge Ghis, and XIII villains

Sonic The Hedgehog: Dr. Ivo Robotnik *(sometimes), Ixis Naugus*, Mammoth Mogul*, Black Doom, Mephiles, Drago, Fiona & Scourge, Nac, Snively, Enerjak and Dark Legion, and the Iron Dominion

Where Is Carmen Sandiego?: Lee Jordan

Darkwing Duck: Negaduck and Steelbeak

Duck Tales: Gladstone Gander, Magica Despell, Ma Beagle, Phantom Blot, and Flintheart Glomgold

Gravity Falls: Gideon Gleeful, Benjamin Blendin, and Robbie Valentino

Gummi Bears: Duke Igthorn, Lady Bane, Sir Willoughby, and Tad Pole

Rescue Rangers: Fat Cat, Professor Norm Nimbnul, and Aldrin Klordane

Tale Spin: Don Karnage, Colonel Spigot, Dan Dawson, Doug Benson, and Thadeus Klang

Teen Titans: Slade (Seasons 1-2), Brother Blood, Blackfire, Malchior*, and Trigon The Terrible

Yu Yu Hakusho: Mr Akashi, Mr Iwamoto, Sakamoto, Hiei, Gouki, Rando, Gonzou Tarukane, Butajiri, Dr Ichigaki, Zeru, Rishou, Shishiwakamaru, Suzuka, Karasu, Elder Toguro, and Gatekeeper Itsuki

Jim Henson: The Skeksis Chamberlain, the Gorgs, Tex Richman, Constantine and Dominic Badguy

The Powerpuff Girls: Sedusa, Him*, Princess Morbucks, the Gangreene Gang, and Dick Hardley

Death Note: L*, Higuchi, Mello, Near, Demegawa, Kiyomi Takada, Teru Mikami, and Light Yagami*

Hey Arnold: All villains who aren't La Sombra

El Hazard: Katsuhiko Jinnai and Lord Galus

Slayers: Eris, Copy Rezo, Kansel, Gaav, and Hellmaster Phibrizzo*

Looney Tunes: Wile E Coyote, Sylvester, Tweety Bird, Daffy Duck, and Bugs Bunny (sometimes)

One Piece: Alvida, Morgan, Helmeppo, Buggy the Clown*, Kuro, Don Kreig, Arlong, Mr. 3, Wapol, Eneru, Spandam, Foxy, Shiki, Vander Decken, Admiral Akainu, CP9, Caesar Clown, and many more

Haruhi Suzumiya: Computer Club President, Student Council Boss, Emiri Kimidori, Taniguchi, Sasaki, Kuyo Suoh, Kyoko Tachibana, and "The Sneering Bastard" Fujiwara

Sailor Moon: Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, Queen Beryl, Alan and Ann, Rubeus, Esmeraude, Safir, Prince Demande, Wiseman/Death Phantom, Kaorinite, Witches 5, Mistress Nine, Queen Nehelania, Grand Zirconia, the Amazon Trio, Sailor Iron Mouse, Sailor Tin Nyanko, and Sailor Metal Papillion

Beyblade: Any and all villains

Berserk: Minister Foss and Corkus

Black Lagoon: Chaka of Washimine

Bleach: Sosuke Aizen*, Gin, Tousen, Luppi, Nnoitra, Szayel, Aeoniero, Tsukishmia, and Gotei 13

Naruto: Mizuki, Gato, Orochimaru, Kabuto, Gaara, Neji, Pain, Sasuke Uchiha, and Obito Uchiha

Code Geass: Mao, Clovis, Jeremiah, Viletta, Suzaku, Diethard, V.V, and the Chinese Eunochs

Full Metal Alchemist: Shou Tucker, Father Cornello, Frank Archer, Dante, Envy, and Pride

Revolutionary Girl Utena: Touga, Saionji, Nanami, Ruka, and Souji Mikage

Rurouni Kenshin: Kanryu Takeda, Raijuta, and Gein

Scry-Ed: Emergy Maxfell, Kigetsuki, and Koji Mujo

Candy Candy: The Reagan Family

Eureka 7: Truth and Naru

Monster: Half The Cast!

School Days: Makoto Itou

Trigun: Millions Knives (anime)

Mon Colle Knights: Prince Eccentro

Gankutsuou: Mondego, Danglars and Vileford

Gundam: Ghiren Zabi, Jamaican Danigan, Gady Kinsey, Jerid Mesa, Jamitov Hymem, Bask Ohm, Chronicle Asher, Fonse Kagatie, Duke Dermail, Quinze, Tsurabov, Dekim Barton, Agrippa Maintainer, Muruta Azrael, Patrick Zala, Will Sutherland, Al DaFlaga, Lord Djibril, Gilbert Durandal*, Yuna Roma, Wang Liu Mei, Abra Lindt, Ali Al Sachez, Alejandro Corner, Ribbons Almark*(truly), and Decil Gallette

Hellsing: Enrico Maxwell, Luke Valentine, Zorin Blitz, Alexander Anderson, Alucard, and Walter

Baccano: Ladd Russo*, Goose, and Huey

DNAngel: Satoshi, Krad, and Chief Hiwatari

Fruits Basket: Akito Sohma and Ren Sohma

Fushigi Yuugi: Tomo, Miboshi, Tenkou, and the Emperor of Kutou

Fate/Stay Night: Shinji Matou, Zouken Matou, and Gilgamesh*

Full Metal Panic: Gauron, Mr. Gates, and Leonard Testarossa*

Future Diary: Takao Hiyama, John Balks, and Kurou Amano

Elfen Lied: Professor Yu Kakuzawa, Bandou, and Dr. Nosou

Heat Guy J: Clair Leonelli, Mitchal Rubenstein, Echigo, and Shun

Inu-Yasha: Naraku*, Sesshomaru, Jakken, Koga, Kagura, and Kikyo

Rave Master: Any and all villains (except maybe Pumpkin Dohryu)

Shaman King: The Tao Clan, Ryu, Dr. Faust, and Hao Asakura

Vision Of Escaflowne: Dilandau, Folken Fanel, and Emperor Dornkirk

Voltron/Go-Lion: Prince Lotor/Sincline, King Zarkon, and Witch Haggar

Ranma 1/2: The Kunos, Ryoga Hibiki, Pantyhose Taro, Shampoo, Mousse, and Saffron Phoenix

Shinzo: King Daku, Kiri, Gyasa, Ryuuma, Karas, Rusephine, Devil Mushrambo, and Lanancuras

Zatch Bell: Zofis, Roberto Vile, Eshroth, Maruss, Victoream, Grisor, Zeno, Leo, and Clear Note

Tommorows Nadja: Hermann Preminger

Hannibal Series: Dr. Chilton and Mason Verger

The Hunger Games: President Snow*, President Coin, Seneca Crane, and the Career Tributes

Game Of Thrones: Joffrey Baratheon, Viserys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister,
Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Melisandre,Walder Frey, Ramsay Bolton, Theon Greyjoy,
Balon Greyjoy, Euron Greyjoy, Oberyn Martell, Doran Martell*, Darkstar, Ellaria & the Sand Snakes,
Janys Slynt, Armory Lorch, Aliser Thorne, Olly, Karl Tanner, Mance Raider, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, etc.

Shakespeare: Shylock, Don John, Tybault, Oliver, Oberon, Puck*, Lady Macbeth*, Jack Cade*, etc.

Twilight: Edward Cullen, Bella Swan, Carlisle Cullen, James, Victoria, Riley, Sam, and the Volturi

Buffy: Colin, Mr. Trick, the Mayor, Faith, Snyder, Adam, Glory, Warren, Caleb*, Eve, and Gavin Park

Once Upon A Time: Evil Queen Regina, Hook*, King George, Prince James, Felix, Greg & Tamara, Neal Cassidy, Dr. Whale, Jefferson, Walsh, Zelena, Prince Hans, Maleficent, Ursula, Cruella Deville, Isaac, Lily, Jafar*, Red Queen Anastasia*, Amora, the Sultan, the Jabberwocky, and the Caterpillar

Skies Of Arcardia: Alfonso

Radiant Historia: Queen Protea

Ace Attorney: Dahlia Hawethorne

Assassin's Creed: Cesare Borgia

Fire Emblem: Ephidel, Sonia, and Valter

Jak and Daxter: Erol and Count Vegar*

Shadow Hearts: Covenant: Nicholai

Street Fighter: Vega, Balrog, Zangif, etc.

Tales Of The Abyss: Grand Maestro Mohs

Tales Of Legendia: Vaclav, Cashel, Walter, Solon, and Schwartz

Baldur's Gate: Angelo, Isaea, Edwin, and Baron Ployer

The World Ends With You: Mistuki Konishi and Kitaniji

Warcraft: Arthas and various others

Special VG Mention: Gary Smith ("Bully")

Jem And The Holograms: Eric Raymond

DC: Grayven, Klarion, Ultra-Humanite, Alexander Luthor, Emil Hamilton, Amanda Waller*(sometimes), etc.

Marvel: The Wizard, The Leader, Justin Hammer, Baron Mordo, Surtur, Red Skull, Loki*(sometimes), etc.

Animaniacs: The Brain, Snowball, Dr. Scratchansniff, Mr. Plotz, Walt Wolf, King Salazar, Buddy, etc.

American Dragon: The Huntsman, Councilor Chang, Eli Pandarus, Hans Rotwood, and Dark Dragon

Ben 10: Vilgax, Kevin 11, Forever Knights, Highbreed, Darkstar, Albedo, Aggregor*, and Maltrunat

Captain Planet: Hog Greedley, Dr. Blight, Duke Nukem, Sly Sludge, Verminous Skumm, and Zarm

Care Bears: Professor Coldheart, Darkheart, No Heart, Beastly & Shrieky, and Grizzle

Danny Phantom: Dark Danny, Sheriff Walker, Nicolai Technus, and Penelope Spectra

Generator Rex: Van Kleiss*, White Knight, Hunter Cain, Biowulf, and Quarry

Huntik: The Professor, Defoe, Klaus, and Wilder

Invader ZIM: The Allmighty Tallest, Dib, and ZIM*

Reboot: Herr Doctor, Hexidecimal, and Daemon

Rugrats: Angelica, Josh, Rex, Coco and Jean Claude

Samurai Jack: Aku*, Gordo the Cruel, and Demongo

Transformers: Starscream, Thrust, and G1 Megatron

Thundercats: Mumm-Ra*, Grune, Slithe, Kayner, Addicus, the Duelist, Mordax, and VultureMan

G.I. Joe: Cobra Commander*, Serpentor, Destro, Baroness, and Tomax/Xamot

He-Man: Skeletor, Hordak, Evil-Lyn, Hoarde Prime, and the Snake Men

Dragon Booster: Word Payne, Moordryd Payne, Kane, and Armageddon

Jackie Chan Adventures: Shendu, Dao Long Wong, Terkuda, and Drago

Codename: Kids Next Door: The DCFDTL, Father, Cree, Chad, Chester, Mr. Boss, Heinrich, etc.

Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command: Zurg, Torque, XL, Nos-482, Gravitina, Klerm, and Evil Buzz

Phineas And Ferb: Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Doof 2, Prof. Poofenplotz, Dr. Rodney, and Evil Carl

Spongebob Squarepants: Plankton, Mr. Krabs, Bubble Bass, Kevin, Dennis, and Squilliam

Jimmy Neutron: King Goobot, Professor Calamitus, JunkMan, Meldar, Eustace, and Cousin Eddy

Shrek: Lord Farquaad, Fairy Godmother*, Prince Charming, Rumpelstiltskin*, and Humpty Dumpty

Kung Fu Panda: Tai-Lung, Taotie, Hundun, Scorpion, Jong Sung, Fu-Shi, Fenghuang, and Ke-Pa

Scooby Doo: Sarah Ravencroft, Dr. Phibes, Crump, Mayor Fred Jones Sr, Mr. E, and Nibiru Entity

Storm Hawks: Master Cyclonis, Dark Ace, Repton, Ravess, Snipe, Mr. Moss, and Sir Carver

The Simpsons: Mr. Burns, Bart Simpson, Sideshow Bob, Frank Grimes, and Russ Cargill

Family Guy: Stewie Griffin, Peter Griffin, Bertram, Penelope, and Mr. Carter Pewterschmidt

Futurama: Zapp Brannigan, Mom, Bender, President Nixon's Head, and the Nudist Scammers

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder*, Kraang, Karai, Baxter, Lord Dregg, Rat King, and Mozar

Total Drama: Chris Mclean*, Justin, Courtney, Blainely, Josh, Cody, Duncan, Scott, and Scarlet

W.I.T.C.H: Lord Cerdic, Prince Phobos*, Princess Elyon, Vathek, the Tracker, Nerissa*, and Ari

Winx Club: The Trix, Lord Darkar, Valtor*, the Wizards, Tritannus, Selina, and Acheron

Xiaolin Showdown: Wuya, Jack Spicer, Pandabubba, Vladimir, and Hannibal Roy Bean

Non-Disney Animated: Cat R Wall, Carface*, Red, Grand Duke, Toad, Beetle, Drake, Rasputin, Preed, Ptyrano, Ramses, Tzekel Khan, Sir Ruber, Kralahome, and others (usually from Dreamworks)

Literature: Count Olaf, Briar Cudgeon, Opal Kopoi, John Spiro, Minerva Pardizo, Uriah Heep, Orlick, Mrs Haveshim, Quarath, Cosmo Lavish, Mr Collins, Mr Wickham, Simon Lovelace, Vizzini, Ms Trunchbull, Cree Bega, Lord Septus, Nils Bjurman, Bill Tanner, Shere Khan, Acheron, Mag, etc.

Film: Le Chiffre, Eve Harrington, Eden Fletcher, General Koscov, Theron, Ellis, Louis Renault, Emma Temple, Colonel Zaysen, Tommy O'Shea, Gaff, Lord Coward, Eli Sunday, Nero, Rene Beloq, Walter Donovan, Lady Lucile, Monsieur Le Pieu, Howard Payne, Mr. Potter, Michael Corleone*, etc.

Most "examples" from Comedic or kiddy cartoon shows!

Monday, January 14, 2013

He's NOT a Magnificent Bastard?


                    George C. Scott as Patton immortalizing the term "Magnificent Bastard."

I've covered what a Complete Monster truly is, which villains I think of as Complete Monsters, which villains who've been labeled as such are NOT Complete Monsters, and why Complete Monster is the worst, most mishandled trope ever on TV Tropes. But there's another trope which used to hold that honor, and that trope is Magnificent Bastard. Now to me, it's easy to understand what a Magnificent Bastard is. Seeing as the name of this title is made up of a compliment ("magnificent") and an insult ("bastard"), it's used to define antagonists whom you love to hate and hate to love: one whom the audience and characters are against, but have a grudging admiration and respect for at the same time. However, for most Tropers, the definition was really unclear. So these foolish people kept on adding the label to A: their favorite villains, B: any cool and badass villain, C: any smart and competent villain, or D: any character who was like totally awesome. It was mess, much like Complete Monster is now. Magnificent Bastard was a definitive good trope: a trope that fans viewed as a badge of honor for the characters and series that they were fans of. Which cheapened it a great deal. A Magnificent Bastard should not be just any awesome villain, any smart, competent, manipulative Chessmaster, or especially any great character period. This type of character is supposed to be a mix of several competent antagonist tropes but with a special style, flare and charisma about him/her that makes him/her worthy of a "magnificent" label. It's not a headscratcher!

The official TV Tropes definition is this: If there was ever a character that deserved to be called “Magnificent”, that character is the Magnificent Bastard. The Magnificent Bastard is what happens when you combine the Chessmaster, the Trickster, and the Manipulative Bastard (a bit of Large Ham is optional): bold, charismatic, independent, and audacious. Capturing the audience with his charisma, incredible intellect, mastery of manipulation, and boldness of action, this character is a show-stealer, demanding your reverence at every turn. The term "Magnificent Bastard" was first used by General Patton in reference to Erwin Rommel in the film "Patton", upon realizing that he was facing a man who literally wrote the book on deceptive warfare. It acquired its current meaning courtesy of Lionel Luthor of "Smallville", who was given this nickname by the fanbase.
So what makes a character a Magnificent Bastard? Let's break it down:
  • He is brilliant and utterly devious, to an almost breathtaking, mind-boggling degree. Call it genius, call it virtual omniscience, but he always seems to know what everyone else is planning at any given moment, and exactly how to arrange the game so he wins.
  • He is a smooth operator. He always knows exactly what to say to position you where he wants you, always has a backup strategy and rarely loses his cool. Even if on the remote chance something happens that wasn't in his plans, you'd never know it.
  • He has a goal, he's not going to stop until he's completed it. To that end he will do almost anything. He'll move heaven and hell, and we want to see him do it! Despite his choice of tactics, he is rarely pointlessly cruel, and has reason for everything he does.
  • He is charismatic, often charming, his personality like a physical force. People tend to like him, sometimes even when they know he isn't on their side, and even those who hate his guts have to admit respect. Even when at his darkest, he has traits which one can't help but admire. This goes for characters in-universe and audience members out of it.
Other common aspects of a Magnificent Bastard include being a Large Ham, a Sharp Dressed Man of Wealth and Taste, Wicked Cultured, Crazy Awesome, and Dangerously Genre Savvy.
A key difference that separates the Magnificent Bastard from other character tropes like the mere Manipulative Bastard or The Chessmaster is the Bastard's willingness to step onto the playing field in person. The risks are obvious, but the strategic advantages are numerous.

While usually an antagonist, especially if he's the Big Bad, the Magnificent Bastard can be aligned on either side of a conflict. Hell, he's so amazing he tends to forgo the idea of good and evil all together, instead following his own agenda, choosing to aid whichever side will further his own goals. However, it's true that his penchant for manipulation at the expense of others means it's common for him to be a Villain, Villain Protagonist, or at least an Anti Hero, but heroic examples exist. Either way, he's almost always in charge of whatever organization he's involved with, or might as well be.

Aside from all the various aspects which come together to define the Magnificent Bastard, compare and contrast the Smug Snake, who may once have been a Magnificent Bastard in the making but fell short due to his own arrogance. When a villainous Magnificent Bastard becomes so over the top that he is no longer believable, then he becomes a Villain Sue. Also compare the Guile Hero, who uses cleverness, trickery and manipulation but lacks the flair and depth of-planning to elevate him to Magnificent Bastard status. Despite the term, he is not likely to be a Bastard Bastard, thanks to that person's inherent daddy issues, but there's nothing preventing him either.

Bonus points if at one point he or she (more commonly he) offers the enemy a Xanatos Gambit choice, and gives a Psychotic Smirk or Slasher Smile.

Rarely a Complete Monster, because audiences are likely to find it harder to admire such a character, but some bastards are so magnificent that they can get around this. Being a Smug Snake is a common trait of bastards trying to be magnificent.

With all that said, let me look through fiction to see whom I consider to be Magnificent Bastards:
* - Indicates bastards whose magnificence might be arguable or vary, but still have enough style and ingenuity to be solid contenders.

Disney Animated: Maleficent, Shere Khan, Professor Ratigan*, Ursula*, Jafar*, Scar*, Hades*,
Mr. Whitmore, Long John Silver, Mother Gothel, King Candy/Turbo*, Prince Hans*, and Chernabog*

Disney Spin-off: The Evil Manta, Mozenrath*, Zira*, Renard Dumont, and the Phantom Blot*

Disney Live: Mr. Dark, Kalabar II, Royal Pain, Ramsley, Jack Sparrow, and Hector Barbossa

Pixar: Henry J Waternoose, Anton Ego*, and Lotso Huggin' Bear*

Lord Of The Rings: Sauron, Glaurung, and Smaug (Film Version)

Star Wars: Darth Sidious/Sheev Palpatine, Count Dooku, Hondo Ohnaka, Darth Maul*, Barriss Offee, Darth Vader*, Grand Moff Tarkin*, Orson Krennic*, Grand Admiral Thrawn, and Lando Calrissian*
EU:  Boba Fett, Prince Xizor, Tyler Zann, Kreia, Nom Anor, HK-50 and GO-TO

Kingdom Hearts: Xehanort, Maleficent, Hades, Axel, and Marluxia

Harry Potter: Tom Marvolo Riddle, Barty Crouch Jr., Severus Snape, and Albus Dumbledore

Chronicles Of Narnia: King Miraz and Lord Sopespian (Film Versions)

Pokemon: Giovanni, Mewtwo, Ein, Cyrus, Green, Pryce/Mask of Ice, Ghetsis*, Colress*, BW TR*, Dusknoir, and Darkrai New Pokemon: Oda Nobunaga, Akeichi Mistuhide*, Lysandre*, Malva*, and Lusamine

Avatar: Princess Azula, Long Feng, Amon/Noatak, Varrick & Zhu Li, and Kuvira

Batman: The Joker, the Penguin*, the Riddler*, Ras Al Ghul, Talia Al Ghul*, Bane, Catwoman, Hush*, Poison Ivy (sometimes), Professor Hugo Strange, Anarky, Owlman, Derek Powers and Paxton Powers

DragonBall: King Piccolo, Vegeta, Cell, Paragus*, Super Buu*, Zamasu*, Freeza*, Towa, and Demigra

Super Mario: Dimentio and Bowser*

The Legend Of Zelda: Ganondorf, Yuga, Princess Hilda, and Lana

Spider-Man: Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin (sometimes), Roderick Kingsley/The Hobgoblin,
Doctor Octopus, The Kingpin, and Tombstone "The Big Man"

Gargoyles: David Xanatos, Fox, Thailog, Owen Burnett/Puck, and John Castaway*

Yu-Gi-Oh!: Yami Bakura, Maximilian Pegasus, Seto Kaiba*, Dartz*, Amnael*, Sartorius Kumar*,
Rex Goodwin, Z-One, Vector, Leo Akaba*, Declan Akaba, Dennis Mackfield, and Jean-Michael Roger*

Digimon: Devimon, Myotismon, Diabolomon, Yukio Oikawa, Daemon, Catsuramon, Mephistomon, Lucemon*, Murmuskmon, AxeKnightmon, Quartzmon*, the Rival Xros Hunters*, and Milleniummon

Superman: Lionel Luthor, Lex Luthor (sometimes), Brainiac, General Zod, the Prankster, and Darkseid

Final Fantasy: Garland, The Emperor, Exdeath, Kefka Palazzo, Sephiroth, Rufus Shinra, Kuja*,
Delia Heiral, Vayne Solidor, Barthandelus, Ardyn Izunia, and Cid

Sonic The Hedgehog: Dr. Finitevus*, Mammoth Mogul*, Ixis Naugus*, and Dr. Robotnik* (sometimes)

Where Is Carmen Sandiego?: Carmen Sandiego and Dr. Maelstrom

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gendo Ikari and Kaworu Nagisa/Tabris*

Hey Arnold: La Sombra

Darkwing Duck: Taurus Bulba

Death Note: Light Yagami* and L?*

Gravity Falls: Bill Cipher and Preston Northwest*

Teen Titans: Slade (Season 4), Red X, and The Brain*

The Powerpuff Girls: Mojo Jojo, Him*, and Gnomey

Jim Henson: Jareth the Goblin King and Long John Silver

Slayers: Rezo*, Xellos, Hellmaster Phibrizzo*, Jillas, and Valgaav*

Haruhi Suzumiya: Haruhi *(sometimes) and Ryoko Asakura and Sasaki?*

Yu Yu Hakusho: Suzaku, Sakyo, Yoko Kurama, Younger Toguro, and Shinobu/Minoru Sensui

One Piece: Sir Crocodile, Rob Lucci, Trafalgar Law, Admiral Johnathan, Donquixote Doflamingo, Marshall D. Teach/Blackbeard, and Buggy the Clown

Sailor Moon: Kunzite, Professor Tomoe, Cele Cele*, and Sailor Galaxia

Black Butler: Claude, Lau, Hannah, and Ciel Phantomhive

Black Lagoon: Balalaika, Chang, and Rock and Eda & Revy?

Bleach: Sosuke Aizen (SS Saga), Mayuri*, and Yhwach

Naruto: Kabuto, Itachi Uchiha*, and Madara Uchiha*

Case Closed: Ano Kata, Gin/Melkior, Dr. Narumi/Seiji, and Phantom Thief Kaito Kid

Code Geass: Lelouch, Schniezel, Cornelia, Emperor Charles, Empress Marianne, and C.C

Full Metal Alchemist: Zolf Kimbley, Father, Wrath, Roy Mustang, and General Grumman

Future Diary: Yuno Gasei, MurMur, Keigo Kurusu, Tsubaki Kasugano, Minene Uryu, and Aru Akise*

Ouran Highs School Host Club: Kyouya, Tamaki*, the Twins, and Benibara & the Zuka Club

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Dio Brando, Kars, Funny Valentine, and Joseph Joestar*

Pandora Hearts: Vincent Nightray, Xerxes Break, Rufus Barma, Oz, and Jack

Psycho-Pass: Shogo Makishima

Romeo X Juliet: Lord Montague

Rurouni Kenshin: Makoto Shishio

Record Of Lodoss War: Witch Karla

Revolutionary Girl Utena: Akio Ohtori

Rave Master: Pumpkin Dohryu*

The Sacred Seven: Dr. Kenmi

Tenchi Muyo: Kagato

Monster: Johan Liebert

Ergo Proxy: Proxy One

Eureka 7: Dewey Novak

Eyeshield 21: Yoichi Hiruma

Fist Of The North Star: Shin and Han

Gankutsuou: Edmond Dantes/Count Of Monte Cristo

Gundam: Char Aznable, Kycilla Zabi, Paptimus Scirocco, Haman Khan, Tassilo Vago, Master Asia, Wong Yun Fat, Major Ulube, Trieze Kushedera, Rau Le Creuset, Aeolia Schenberg, Regene Regetta, Ribbons Almark *(not!), Gilbert Durandal*, Lacus Clyne* (somewhat), Flit Asuno* ,and some various others

Bakugan: Mag Mel

Berserk: Sir Griffith*

Dinosaur King: Seth

Duel Masters: Kokujo

Fairy Tail: Future Rogue

Attack On Titan: Erwin Smith

Hajime No Ippo: Miguel Zail

Outlaw Star: Ron MacDougal

Magica Madoka: Kyuubey

Mon Colle Knights: Redda

20th Century Boys: Friend

Ranma 1/2: Nabiki Tendo*

Toradora: Ami Kawashima*

Blood -C: Fumito Nanahara

Durarara: Izaya Orihara

FLCL: Haruko Haruhara*

Fruits Basket: Shigure

Fushigi Yuugi: Nakago

Elfen Lied: Chief Kakuzawa

Heat Guy J: Lorenzo Leonelli

Hellsing: The Major

Inu-Yasha: Naraku*

Mai_me: Nagi Homura*

Scry-Ed: Martin Jigmarl

Soul Eater: Medusa Gorgon

Star Driver: Kanako Watanabe

Speed Grapher: Chouji Suitengu

St. Seiya: Saga, Shaka, and Radam

Akame ga Kill: Seryu and Esdeath

Divergence Eve: Jean-Luc Leblanc

Date A Live: Sir Isaac Ray Westcott

Kill la Kill: Satsuki, Ragyo*, and Nui

Macross Frontier: Dr. Grace O'Connor

Fate/Stay Night: Kirei Kotomine, Archer, and Caster

Higurashi: Miyo Takano, Shion Sonozaki, and Nomura

Mahaou Sensei Negima: Dynamis and Haruna Satome

Katekyo Hitman Reborn: Byakuran and Daemon Spade

Penguindrum: Masako Natsume and Sanetoshi Watase

Rosario To Vampire: Hokuto and King Miyabi/Alucard

Trigun: Legato Bluesummers and Millions Knives (manga)

Tommorows Nadja: Rosemary Applefield and Duke Preminger

Umineko: Bernkastel, Beatrice, Black Battler, and Lambdadelta

Vinland Saga: Askeladd Olafson

Yami No Matsuei: Dr. Muraki *(not!)

Goosebumps: The Masked Mutant

Hannibal Series: Hannibal Lecter

Twilight: Aro of the Volturi *(Film version)

Stephen King: Randall Flagg and Leland Gaunt

Star Trek: Khan Noonien Singh, Kruge, Chang, Elim Garak, Gul Dukat, Seska, and Q

The Hunger Games: President Snow*, Caesar Flickerman, Plutarch Havensbee, and Foxface*(?)

Game Of Thrones: Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, Lord Varys, Tyrion Lannister, Tywin Lannister,
Roose Bolton, Doran Martell, Wymen Manderly, Oleynna Tyrell, Margaery Tyrell, Alayne Stone,
Mirri Maz Durr, Xaro Xhoan Daxos*, the High Sparrow, Arya Stark, and Daenerys Targaryan* (somewhat)

Shakespeare: Iago, Claudius, Richard III, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Octavius/Caesar Augustus, Aaron the Moor, Petruchio, Edmund, Falstaff, Lady Macbeth*, the Three Witches, Titus, and others

Buffy: The Master, Angelus, Spike, Ethan Rayne, Darla, Lindsay McDonald, Lilah Morgan, and Holtz

Once Upon A Time: Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold, Regina Mills*, Cora, Peter Pan, Ingrid, and Hades

Ace Attorney: Manfred Von Karma, Kristoph Gavin, Matt Engrade, Luke Atmey, and Calisto Yew

Assassin's Creed: Robert DeSable and Haytham Kenway

Baldur's Gate: Amelssian, Irencius, Bhaal, and Sarevok

Fire Emblem: Naesela, Lekain, Caellach, and Manfroy

Kirby Series: Meta Knight, Marx, Magolor, and Yin-Yarn

Metal Gear: Revolver Ocelot, Liquid Snake, and Big Boss

Mega Man: Dr. Wily, Spider, Albert & Thomas, and Mr. King

Mass Effect: Illusive Man, Monrtih, Aria, and the Sovereign

Blaz Blue: Relius Clover, Yuuki Terumi, and Rachel Alucard

Borderlands: Handsome Jack

Resident Evil: Albert Wesker*

Sly Cooper: Constapple Neyla

Street Fighter: M. Bison

System Shock: SHODAN

Team Fortress: The Spy

.Hack: Ovan

Portal: GLaDOS

Odin Sphere: Ingway

Dead Rising: Tyrone King

God Of War: Zeus and Hera

Kid Icarus: Hades and Dark Pit

Metroid: Ridley and Dark Samus

Jade Empire: Master Li and Sir Roderick

Jak and Daxter: Metal Kor and Count Veger

BioShock: Frank Fontaine and Andrew Ryan

Dragon Quest: Orgodemir and Marcello*

Disgaea: Etna and Seraph Lamington

Devil May Cry: Arkham

Legacy Of Kain: Kain

Brutal Legend: Doviculus

Fatal Fury: Geese Howard

Suokiden: Albert Silverberg

Tales Of Legendia: Maurits

Tales Of The Abyss: Jade Curtiss and Anise Tatlin*

Dangan Ronpa: Junko Enoshima and others*

Grand Theft Auto: Mike Toreno

RosenkreuzStillete: Iris Sepperin

Super Smash Bros: Master Hand

Valkyria Chronicles: Maximilian

Xenogears: Krelian and Miang

Xenosaga: Albedo and Wilhelm

The World Ends With You: Joshua and Mr. H

Warcraft: Darkuru, Loken, Kil'jaeden, and Deathwing

Watchmen: Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias

X-Men: Magneto, Mystique*, Mr. Sinister, Apocalypse*, Bolivar Trask, and Sebastian Shaw

DC: Lucifer Morningstar, Sinestro, Zoom, Tao, Prometheus, Vril Drox II, Edwin Alva, Amanda Waller, Wade Eiling, Maxwell Lord, John Constantine, Black Manta, Trickster, Satanus, Vandal Savage, etc.

Marvel: Loki, Doctor Doom, Thanos of Titan, Obadiah Stane, the Mandarin, T'Challa/Black Panther, Namor the Submariner, Bruce Banner*, Bomb Queen, Baron Zemo, Romulus, Daken, Deadpool*etc.

Adventure Time: Marceline, Marshall Lee, and The Lich*

The Boondocks: Ed Wuncler Sr. and Rollo Goodlove

Captain Planet: Looten Plunder*

Danny Phantom: Vlad Masters

Grim And Evil: Eris and Mandy*

Hot Wheels BF5: Captain Kalus

Invader ZIM: TAK and ZIM *(sometimes)

Jonny Quest: Doctor Zin*

Jimmy Two-Shoes: Heloise

Men in Black: Agent Alpha

Motorcity: Abraham Kane

Archer: Lana Kane and Malory Archer

Alfred J. Kwak: Dolf

Belphegor: Belphegor

Code Lyoko: XANA

Cyber Chase: Ledge

Dan VS: Impostor Dan

Dilbert: Dogbert

Reboot: Megabyte

Samurai Jack: Aku*

Steven Universe: Navy Ruby

South Park: Lennart Bedrager

SWAT Kats: Ulysses C. Feral*

TRON Uprising: General Tesler

The Secret Saturdays: VV Argost

Star Vs The Forces Of Evil: Toffee of Septarsis

Scooby Doo: Ben Ravencroft, Professor Pericles, and MI Fred Jones*(somewhat)

Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go: Skeleton King and Dr. Mizono

Transformers: Megatron ("Beast Wars" and "Animated" versions) and Shockwave

Thundercats: Mumm-Ra* and Rataro

G.I. Joe: Cobra Commander(sometimes)

Huntik: Secrets and Seekers: Rassimov

Voltron Legendary Defender: Prince Lotor

Jackie Chan Adventures: Valmont

Xiaolin Showdown: Chase Young

The Loud House: Luan Loud (On April 1)

The Venture Bros: Monstroso and Dr. Henry Killinger and the Monarch!?

Ben 10: Vilgax*, Zs'kayr, Aggregor*, Princess Attea, and Proctor Servantis

Generator Rex: Van Kleiss* and Black Knight and Caezar Salazar?

Dragons Of Berk: Alvin the Treacherous and Viggo Grimborn

Kung Fu Panda: Lord Shen, Tong Fo*, Heilang, and Master Junjie

Shrek: The Fairy Godmother*, Rumpelstiltskin*, and the Pied Piper

My Little Pony: Discord, Queen Chrysalis, Lord Tirek, Adagio Dazzle, and Celestia*(somewhat)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ch'rell/The Shredder* and Agent Bishop

Total Drama: Chris Mclain (TDI), Heather, Alejandro Buerometo, and Mal*

W.I.T.C.H: Nerissa*, Prince Phobos*(sometimes), Shagon the Hate, and Will Vandom*(somewhat)

Non-Disney Animation: Rothbart*, Hexxus*, Mok Swagger*, Eris, Chichack, Gru*, Dag, Don Lino, Pitch*, Skipper, Dr. Blowhole, Soto, Captain Gutt, Carface*, Belladonna, Jenner, Warren T Rat, etc.

Literature: Count Dracula, James Moriarty, Artemis Fowl, Senna Wales, Morgan LeFey, Odysseus, Dr. Fu Manchu, Long John Silver, Fagin, Valmont and Metruiel, Saint Dane, Kronos, Lord Vetinari, etc.

Live TV: JR Ewing, Jim Moriarty, Dexter Morgan, Alfred Bester, Londo Moralli, Morden, Sheridan, Morgan Pendragon, the Master, John Hart, Azrael, Don Draper, Alex Russo, Sylar, Mr. Linderman, Noah Bennett, Nathan Petrelli, Angela Petrelli, Ben Linus, Sherry Palmer, King Silas, Adelle Dewit, Lord Ba'al, Gaius Baltar, Cain, Crowley, Ryan O'Ryley, Percy, Arnold Rothstein, Gustavo Fring, etc.

Film: Addison De Witt, Matai Shang, Graham Marshall, Tony Wendice, Harry Lime, Bill Cutting, Daniel Plainview, Bill, Hans Gruber, Simon Gruber, Bill Daggett, Norman Stansfield, Agent Smith, Merovingian, Jackie Brown, Dalton Russel, Rotti Largo, Hayley Stark, Gordon Gekko, Mr. White, FrankNFurter, Hans Landa, Ian Howe, John Shields, Andy Dufrene, Vito Corleone, Peyton Flanders, Jason Bourne, Calvin Candie, the Man With No Name, Sweeney Todd, Mike Wilson, Sarone, Herod, James Hook, Freddy Krueger, Catherine Tramell, Lord Summerisle, Keyzer Soze, Vincent Price, etc.

There are actually alot more examples in TV, Film and Literature, but I don't need to list all. For any other villains I missed, it's worth remembering to run them through the Magnificent Bastard criteria test. If more than one criteria isn't met, then the villain is not this trope. But these guys that I have listed here I feel most definitely are, so this here's a tribute to some of fictions' greatest bastards.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

YOU ARE CHILDHOOD!

Since a new year is upon us now, I'm looking back at my lost youth. So for this entry, I shall list what canons define childhood for me and my brother, and why.

DISNEY - This one gets out of the way first because it's so obvious. Disney is part of everyone's childhood, isn't it? I mean, it's Disney! The best of the best when it comes to animation and what can be done with animation. Disney: we all associate it with its' animated film canon, it's cartoons, its' theme parks, it's TV shows, it's channels, even it's live action movies, and the rest of its' various merchandise. We associate it with the unforgettable stories and characters that can be found in those. We associate it with fairy tale revisions, enjoyable adaptations, and very fun and/or heartfelt moments. We associate it with messages about believing in dreams, making friends, valuing family, finding true love, being yourself, and living happily ever after. And we also associate it with
a greedy company, bad business decisions, and crappy sequels, but that stuff gets outweighed by what we love about Disney. Above all, Disney is about magic. A magic that you're exposed to in your childhood and it sticks with you for the rest of your life. Disney is family entertainment and the purest kind of magic that can be found here on Earth. And it all started with a mouse. If you didn't grow up with Disney, have grown out of Disney, or just plain don't like Disney, than you have no soul.

WINNIE THE POOH - Our favorite sub-canon of Disney, this is probably THE childhood thing for us. It is what most defines childhood innocence and the spirit of fun, adventurousness, and bliss that comes with it. And it's a children's franchise that is just impossible to outgrow. There's enough wit, whimsy, and appeal here for an older crowd to enjoy and appreciate too. I love the world of the Hundred Acre Wood, I love all these characters and their various quirks, and I freaking love all the stories that have been and could be told with them. We always loved watching stuff with Pooh and friends when we were little, and whenever we did (and still do!) put those characters in the games we'd play, it always made everything better! Everything is better with Pooh, you just cannot go wrong there. I'm sorry, but I have to quote Doug Walker here: "Who doesn't love Winnie The Pooh? He's like one of the most innocent thing on the planet. I think there's a law prohibiting people from not liking him! As a kid, I liked it fine. But watching it now years later, actually, it's alot better than I remember it! There's just this sense to it...this atmosphere, this real likability to this world they've created. It's very laid back and slow paced but at the same time, these characters are just so interesting and so...nice that you really enjoy spending time with them. You don't care if nothing interesting's going on, you could just have a conversation with any one of these people and you'd probably be very satisfied! Just these characters are very enjoyable and the situations they get into are very enjoyable. It's clever, it's nice, it's friendly, and really enjoy it: I like it just as much as a kid as I do as an adult. It takes me right back to that same familiar place I enjoy, and I always love coming back." *sniff* Beautiful. Just...word on all of it. I could not have said it better myself, Doug. The appeal of Winnie the Pooh can never be overstated. He's a willy-nilly silly ol' bear for all ages.

CARE BEARS - Care Bears countdown! Yeah, this franchise is strictly for little children. But back
in the 80's and 90's, it wasn't a bad kiddy franchise. I grew up with the Care Bear plushes, the "Care Bears" book series, the DIC "Care Bears" show, the Nirvana "Care Bears Family" show, and the three "Care Bears" movies (the first one being the best!) It's one of the first fictional canons I can remember ever being into. Tenderheart, Grumpy, and Braveheart are still my favorites. And I still do immensely enjoy that first movie and consider "The Care Bears Family" to be among my favorite cartoon shows. While it's far from something I'm into anymore in this day and age, I still enjoy and appreciate it for what it was in my childhood and what it represents. And there is no shame in that.

ARTHUR - The children's book series by Marc Brown, but more importantly and prominently, the animated series based on them, which has displaced and outlasted them. As with Pooh, this is something I still enjoy as an adult like I did as a kid. It's really smartly written, the characters are mostly enjoyable, it's got a great format with two story segments in each episode except on special occasions, there's a great timeless atmosphere with the layout of Elwood City and the various music and sound effects that accompany it, and the stories they tell are often very good. Honestly, I'm surprised that this show is still running and they've still got the creative steam in them to tell such stories. It seems like this is one of those shows where the possibilities for stories and subject matter are endless. Many things have been explored and explored well by these characters, and it's always alot of fun to see how it all goes down. And there's that theme song by Ziggy Marley: it's got such
a great rhythm to it! It's got it's strengths and flaws, but is overall a great show to watch at home.

THE DISNEY AFTERNOON - It includes toon shows like "Adventures of the Gummi Bears", 
and "Duck Tales", and "Chip N Dale's Rescue Rangers", and Tale Spin", and "Darkwing Duck", and "Bonkers", and "Goof Troop", and "Aladdin the Serious" and "Gargoyles". AND it's Disney! How could this not be a big part of my childhood? I remember watching these when they were on both the old Disney Channel and the Disney Afternoon block itself. And the CD of catchy, memorable songs from the program. The quality of these things is excellent and still holds up today.

DR SEUSS - The world's greatest children's book author who brought us several wacky, whimsical, completely bizarre, out-there, and unique stories and characters that are all fun, charming, and timeless. The books themselves and the animated specials based on their stories. This is another one of those things like Disney and Pooh that once you get introduced to it in childhood, it hooks
you in and sticks with you for life. Dr Seuss' works are beloved and world renowned for a reason.

SESAME STREET/THE MUPPETS - This is also up there with the aforementioned things as one that is probably part of everyone's childhood. Jim Henson's muppets in their own comedic canon, and the puppet characters on the educational PBS Kids show "Sesame Street." They have you once you've been introduced to them and will not leave you throughout childhood and the rest of your life. Muppets and "Sesame Street" are some of the first things we see in childhood. And with the Muppets, I love the characters, the comedy, and exactly what can be done with them. Blending actors and Muppets together is always a treat, and the Muppets have pretty much taken on a life of their own because of it. They are now worldwide celebrities and personalities in their own right. While with "Sesame Street", I love these characters too (except for Elmo), how edutaining it is, how much quirkiness it has (usually letter and number related), and even how unintentionally frightening it could be. The music is great too: the "Sesame Street" theme song is one that doesn't leave your head after you've heard it a good few times. The show was the heart of the PBS Kids station while it was still strong. I mean, it's other big shows like "Barney"  that's not going to be sticking with you after childhood 'cause they're too kiddy. So it's just this and "Arthur" that satisfies my childhood nostalgia. Anything Muppet-related and from "Sesame Street"s glory days are recommended for young and old.

THE HOBBIT - Ah, JRR Tolkien's classic kids' bedtime story novel that serves as the precursor to "The Lord Of The Rings." The current movie trilogy (should've been a duology!) by Peter Jackson half-adapts the story and half-adapts a direct prequel to LotR is very pleasing and well done so far, but the tone of the original book is actually nothing like LotR. It's actually very far from it: it's like a different genre entirely! The narrative is more whimsical and lemony, as are the characters, the dialogue, and many of the events that occur on the journey. And the story is simple: a wizard, a small man, and a bunch of dwarves seek to reclaim a treasure from a dragon, encountering many perils such as trolls, goblins, wolves, spiders, elves, and Gollum along the way. That's it, really. And it's all translated very well in the Rankin/Bass animated movie version, which was my first exposure to the story. It's full length, includes great voices, most of the songs are taken from the book (how cool is it that a book has song lyrics?) and it hits all the right plot points in a compressed but faithful adaptation. There are some issues I have (Gollum's design, Smaug's voice, Gandalf's design and voice), but it's overall very well handled and fun. Rankin/Bass' "Return Of The King" on the other hand...errr NO, you CANNOT adapt LotR material into an animated film, especially in this way! LotR was not for kids. "The Hobbit" was. Thus the Rankin/Bass adaptation holds up. It GOT "The Hobbit."

STAR WARS - The original trilogy and all relating to it was the "Star Wars" we were exposed to in
our childhood. It should be the "Star Wars" of everyone's childhood! It's the best "Star Wars!" Period.

KINGDOM HEARTS - As in the first game to bear that name. It's not something we played in our childhood, and yet it's very concept is like a childhood fantasy come true, the way it's presented feels like an Old Disney classic, and it captures the magic of the Disney we loved in our childhood so much that it feels like childhood nostalgia bursting to life! Just the atmosphere, the visuals, the soundtrack, the story and characters, and even the playability of the game embodies what Disney was in our youth and what it always should be. The next two installments and "Birth By Sleep" are also representative of the Disney magic, but don't capture the same childhood feels like the first KH.

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA - The whole Christian fantasy book series, but mainly it's first installment. I've talked about it before, so here I'll just mention what it was in my childhood. The BBC TV mini-series adaptation. The one with an excellent soundtrack that sets up good atmosphere and great actors portraying Professor Diggory and Maugrum...and not much else going for it. The child actors were horrendous, Mr. Tumnus was a bore and the portrait of his father was so clearly just
a human with horns painted onto him, the effects were laughably bad, there were cartoon creatures inserted in at points, the beavers were human-sized due to being guys in costumes, Mr. Beaver talks like Sam from the Bashki "Lord Of The Rings" movie, Aslan was a cheap puppet lion with a wooden voice, the sets, costumes, and production value were awful, and the White Witch's actress hams it up like mad! Seriously, she is the funniest damn thing in the series, and she's supposed to be taken seriously as the main villain? It's so bad...and yet I still enjoy it. It's a nostalgic Guilty Pleasure.

POKEMON - I've talked about this alot before too, but basically the first two generations of Pokemon were such a big thing in our last years of childhood. We first got into "Pokemon" after catching some episodes of the animated series, which is known today as "Indigo League". It was such a fun show that we were hooked on it and began to explore the franchise more. We got the Gameboy games ("Pokemon: Special Pikachu Edition" and "Gold and Silver") for Christmas and the strategy guides
to accompany 'em, we collected the trading cards, we bought the toys, we checked out the manga ("Electric Tale Of Pikachu" and "Pokemon Adventures") from our comic book store, we got lots of Pokemon-based books, devices, plushies and other tie-in merchandise, and we listened the hell
out of that "2BA Master" soundtrack CD. These were the glory days. The good ol' days where the franchise was all the rage and it's anime was not only good, but treated well by the networks it was on, given classic Saturday morning cartoon treatment. And creator Satoshi Tajiri, who could have never predicted the enormous success of his idea, was at the helm of the games, keeping things simple but magical and engaging. That is how "Pokemon" was for us and the memories are still cherished. The franchise has lost it's luster and a good deal of it's simplicity and charm over the years, but it's another one we just cannot ever outgrow. It's fun...at least for five generations....

PEANUTS - We cherished and enjoyed this series, it's stories, it's characters, and it's humor through the old Peanuts comic strips, the TV specials, and "The Charlie Brown And Snoopy Show" that used to be on the old Disney Channel before relocating to old Nickelodeon. And there were also lots of toys and decorations we had based on them too. Now wasn't that The American Teacher!

BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES - Our childhood exposure to Batman, not counting the Batman movies, any comics that came out at the time, and some bits of the old Adam West show that we saw. This is the same for most 90's kids, which is why for them, this IS Batman. It is everything you could want and expect Batman to be. A great series with a great execution, masterfully told stories,
a sense of maturity and sophistication that we appreciated even as kids but even moreso as adults, genuine excitement, a great cast of characters with a great voice cast behind them, and just such
a perfect atmosphere to it, created through great background designs and an excellent music score. This series was the subject of many Batman games we used to play, the Batman toys we bought, and that "Batman Cartoon Maker" computer game we had that was loads of fun and I still miss to this day. Technically, the show was re-branded as "The Adventures Of Batman And Robin" when we were exposed to it, but we didn't care. It was still kickass! It's a show that well earns appreciation.

DRAGONBALL Z - Ah, our Gateway Anime. We started watching it when it was airing on Cartoon Network. They were showing the old (and at the time only) dubbed version by the Ocean Group. Y'know, the one with the "Rock the Dragon" theme song, stock music, hack edits and episode trimming, extreme censorship, "the next dimension", and the original "It's OVER 9000!!!!" It was mostly pretty lousy in hindsight, but we didn't care at the time. We thought it was an awesome show. We stuck with it when the dubbing was taken over by Funimation and the show suddenly got less edit-heavy but with weaker voice actors and Bruce Faulconer music. The dub finally found it's groove with the Cell saga, the last (and best) saga we watched as kids. During all this time, we ate up all the DBZ. We recorded the show on VHS tapes, we bought manga comic books from the comic store, as well as trading cards and lots and lots of action figures. And we don't regret any of it to this day.

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME - Like "Kingdom Hearts", this is a video game we did not play in our childhood, and yet it feels like we did. The sheer sense of nostalgia and the child-like sense of wonder as you explore and adventure in this game is really, really high. It's a pure classic.

DIGIMON - Both the first series "Adventure" and it's inferior sequel, "02" were the Digimon anime we watched when it was airing on FOX Kids and whatever other channel it was on. When first hearing about "Digimon", we wrote it off as a "Pokemon" rip-off trying to cash in on that other "mon" series' success. Then out of bile fascination, we started watching it regularly. And we discovered that it was actually freaking awesome! Good storytelling, good character development, good action, and a good heart to it. The first show was so well done and the dub was alot of fun as well. And the second season...well, it was fun too. And that dopey theme song was actually insanely catchy and addictive! The Digi-fad itself was also addictive. We loved the Digi-Battle trading card game, Digivice V-pet games, and small Digimon toys that we were able to get at the time. And yes, we enjoyed that lousy "Digimon: The Movie" too! It was just a great franchise for kids, especially during it's heyday.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG - For a long time we wanted to play "Sonic" video games but weren't able to until we got PC versions of "Sonic CD" "Sonic 3 and Knuckles" and "Sonic Racing". Before then, our exposure to Sonic The Hedgehog was in three things: "The Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog" cartoon show, the Saturday morning "Sonic The Hedgehog" cartoon show, and the "Sonic The Hedgehog" comic book series by Archie Comics. These were all very fun and engaging, regardless of the varying quality. And Sonic himself is just a classic cartoon mascot character, with appealing design and personality. Like a cool mix of Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and Mario. Sadly, the blue dude with a 'tude was a product of the 90's but that's when we grew up with him and loved him best.

CARMEN SANDIEGO - This edutainment franchise was a book series, computer game series, board game series, Saturday morning cartoon show, and game show that aired on PBS during the days of our youth. And it was built around the premise of chasing an international criminal organization led by a master thief all over the world, the country, or time, to stop her plans and retrieve what she stole whilst learning about geography and history in the process. Best edutainment franchise EVER!

LOONEY TUNES - I'm sure this is up there with Disney, Pooh, Dr Seuss, and Jim Henson's works as something you'll see early in your life and will always be with you. I think. I know it used to be, and it was for us. Nowadays, the Looney Tunes just can't seem to appeal to today's kids!

ANIMANIACS - The embodiment of cartooniness for us 90's kids. The main "Animaniacs" show and side shows like "Tiny Toon Adventures" and "Pinky And The Brain" were all enjoyable, very funny, cleverly written, brilliantly animated, and just well done. We remember and enjoy them even now.

RUGRATS AND DOUG - The two big Nicktoons of early old Nickelodeon that we watched and loved. You wouldn't think a show about talking babies' misadventures and the life of a preteen dorkadoofus would be all that fun, but they were and still are. Not the best, but really good for what they were.

HEY ARNOLD - The last big Nicktoon to come out in late old Nickelodeon before Spongebob came along. And the only one that was great enough and holds up well enough to be one of my favorite animated shows. The theme song, the mood, the setting, the plots, and the characters will not leave!

SAILOR MOON - The last of the four anime we got into during late childhood. We were aware of it's existence for awhile but dared not watch it due to it being a "girly show." But we kinda got stuck watching it when it was on Cartoon Networks' Toonami block, which was also where "Reboot" and "DragonBall Z" came on. And we were pleased to discover just how much fun it really was. The hilariously clumsy, dorky heroine, the fun and distinct girls who accompanied her, the supporting cast, the awesome bad guys, and the cheesy but enjoyable superhero/super sentai magical girl antics won us over. Like DBZ, the dub (by DIC, which included bad scriptwriting, some bad acting, heavy editing, music change, "the Negaverse", and "Sailor Says") was really lousy, but was cool and fun to watch at the time, and is still a Guilty Pleasure. We grew to love "Sailor Moon" and "Sailor Moon R" due to watching them alot, and then we even checked out the original manga books at our comic store. In the very last year of our childhood, the dub of "S" and "Super S" premiered, the former of which we glossed over but the latter of which became a childhood classic and another Guilty Pleasure for us. We have fond memories of this series, and wish for the best in it's revival.

SCOOBY DOO - Namely the old Scooby Doo cartoons and "A Pup Named Scooby Doo." Probably the biggest Hanna Barbara cartoon around, Scooby Doo is another thing that's part of alot of people's childhood. In fact, that's why it's live action movie was the last thing the Nostalgia Critic reviewed!