Monday, October 2, 2023

Beta's Top Ten Favorite Gundams (Part 1)

"It's a Gundam!"

As I continue dig back into my blog per the suggestion from my therapist, I find myself leaning towards a post I can been wanting to write for a number of years, and even started at some point, but never got around to posting; a Top Ten list of my favorite Gundams. 

For those of you who may not be aware, Gundam is a metaseries of anime, manga, novels, video games, and tons and tons of plastic model kits that have been a mainstay in Japan since 1979. It’s best to think of it as their answer to Star Trek, a space opera franchise with a variety of different shows, spin-offs, and sequels. While each show has some differences, the basic premise usually centers around giant robots as tools of war (as opposed to superheroes, as they were portrayed in Japan before Gundam), some sort of conflict between the people of Earth and the humans living in space, a specialized giant robot (usually called a “Gundam”) that is significantly more powerful than the standard units, and that war is hell and the realities of it are not heroic but ultimately tragic.

Also it’s a giant commercial to move plastic model kits based on all the robots in the various media. GOTTA SELL THEM TOYS!!!

(Some of) My Gunpla pile of shame

I am a fan of giant robots and Gundam in particular always resonated with me since I was a kid. Like any Gundam fan I have my favorite units across the franchise. When making this list I focused on three aspects:

1)     Functionality: What does the Gundam do, do well, and do better than all other Mobile Suits?

2)     Aesthetics: How interesting or visually appealing is the Gundam?

3)     Cool Factor: A combination of intangibles, personal biases, and the Rule of Cool.

A few guidelines before we start: 

·        To streamline the list, we’re only looking at Gundams, not other mobile suits from various shows. Otherwise machines like the Tallgeese, Qubeley, and The O would dominate the list.

·        I have decided that the Gundams from the Gundam Build side of the franchise will be considered, even though technically they are basically in-universe toys and video games rather than giant robots. For the purposes of this list, they’re close enough.

·        I will NOT be counting anything form the various SD Gundam franchise, as from what I understand those things are proper characters instead of pilotable robots.

Honorable Mention: Barbatos Lupus/Barbatos Lupus Rex. I struggled over this for months (yes, that’s how long I’ve been tinkering with this list). I think the issue is that these two versions of the main Gundam from Iron-Blooded Orphans are just different enough that I feel they don’t count as one suit, but neither one is able to make the list in its own. If I could get a version of this with the look of Lupus and the weaponry and performance of Lupus Rex it would have beaten out #10 or more.

Full list after the jump.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Adult Siblings Versus...Epsiode 82: Jumanji

This week on Adult Siblings Versus...we look at another Robin Williams family film where he has severe arrested development, but unlike Hook there are considerably more monkeys.

Robin is having a bad time

More details after the jump.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Review: One Piece (Live Action TV Show)

Currently, the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are on strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, aka the various Hollywood studios. This show, and as well all of your favorite shows and films, would not exist without the hard work of both writers and actors, the vast majority of whom are not millionaires but rather working professionals.  If you are inclined, you can help support these professionals in this trying time by checking out the Entertainment Community Fund.

Fuck the fat cats.

Live action anime adaptations have a pretty bad reputation, particularly when being adapted by Hollywood. Every once in a while, you’ll get Alita: Battle Angel, a flawed but ultimately fine attempt to adapt the source material. But for every one Alita there’s three absolutely terrible films or TV shows. From the shitshow that was Dragon Ball Evolution to the baffling decision to have Scarlett Johansson explicitly play a Japanese woman trapped in a white woman’s robot body in Ghost in the Shell (despite it being completely superfluous and very easy to just make the character not-Asian, I mean seriously, what the hell) the fact is that Hollywood has had far more misses than hits when trying to bring anime/manga to the live action realm.

It's not hard to see why it’s a difficult assignment. It is taking content 1) from one medium and making it work in a different one, 2) trying to pitch it to Americans when the original was aimed for a Japanese audience, and 3) trying to  squeeze the correct amount of content into whatever limitations the new medium has. Trying to fit tens of manga chapters into one film is hard enough, especially when you have try trick Joe Schmo America into ponying up 14 bucks to watch it. Netflix, the streaming giant who always seems to be one strong breeze away from falling over in a pile up of massive debt and investor tears, has made several attempts to buck the trend and so far they have not been received that warmly. The most recent attempt, a live action TV adaptation of Cowboy Bebop, ended up being very divisive among fans (as in, some fans thought it was fine but not at all Cowboy Bebop and other fans thought it was an abomination against God).

So when Netflix announce they were creating a live action TV adaptation of massively popular (but interestingly not particularly popular in the United States) manga and anime One Piece, there was a lot of skepticism. That manga creator Eiichiro Oda supposedly had some involvement didn’t really make it easier to swallow. From my perspective, it was tough because on the one hand I LOVE the One Piece comic and have been collecting it since 2003 (even though I’m embarrassed to admit I only own 61 volumes out of the, as of this writing, currently available 106 volumes). On the other hand, I actually don’t like the anime, ever since I saw it shortly after reading the first volume and deicide it was unable to capture the best qualities that made the comic so good. So if I’m too much of a snob for the high successful One Piece anime how the hell can I get into Netflix Presents One Piece, especially after the disappointment of Netflix Presents Cowboy Bebop?

I meant to review this when it came out
Short Version: Just go watch the anime instead

Full review after the jump.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Adult Siblings Versus...Episode 81: Revenge of the Sith

Adult Siblings back with the final film of the controversial Star Wars prequal trilogy, Revenge of the Sith. It's the "good one" so long as you ignore of the parts of it that are genuinely awful.

What are the Sith getting revenge for? Unclear.

More details after the jump.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Adult Siblings Versus...Episode 80: Attack of the Clones

 In the latest episode of Adult Siblings Versus..., we continue our look at the Star Wars prequel trilogy with possibly the most divisive film of the franchise; Attack of the Clones. Yes, that is what they decided to name it.

Jedi shall not know love, or compelling dialogue

More details after the jump.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Adult Siblings Versus...Episode 79: The Phantom Menace

 New episode of Adults Siblings Versus....has dropped, and this time we look back at one of the most controversial films in all of nerdom; Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Are the prequal apologists right and this is an underrated classics, or is this a barely watchable pile of garbage?

Pretty cool poster
Too bad about the rest of the film...

More details after the jump.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Adult Siblings Versus...Episode 78: Sister Act 2

 Another new episode of our podcast, Adult Siblings Versus…, is now up. This week we are looking at the cult classic Sister Act 2, the sequel to the big hit that features a babyface Lauryn Hill and almost no stakes.

Absolutely killer pun for a subtitle, though

More details after the jump.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Adult Siblings Versus...Episode 77: South Park - Bigger, Longer, & Uncut

Another episode of our podcast has come out. This week on Adult Siblings Versus...we look at the South Park movie, South Park: Bigger, Louder, & Uncut and discuss it's cultural impact and influence on Broadway....for some reason.

Because caring about anything is lame and you're stupid!

More info after the jump.
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