Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 37 – “Char and Sayla” – The Reasons For Masks

Char and Sayla

“Char and Sayla” picks up where the last episode left off except that Sayla comes down to the planet to confront and stop Char. Around this time another fleet of Zeon’s attack as well. This episode is great at giving us a glimpse into Char and Sayla and the motivations they have in hiding their names.

The episode was directed by Ryoji Fujihara and written by Kenichi Matsuzaki.

The story involves Sayla’s arrival in the Texas territory as Amuro and Char continue to fight as Zeon attacks with another force in an attempt to stop White Base 7.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Amuro – We learn in this episode that Amuro is one of the newtypes which are basically mutants and that’s how he’s been so adaptable in battle. We also see his wondering about Lalah and curiosity on what’s going on with Sayla continues. He is powerless as he loses power even though he destroys Char’s latest Gundam.

Mr. Bright – Listens in on Sayla’s conversation but trusts her and lets her keep the gold that Char sent her when she admits it was Char who sent her it and the letter. You can tell he truly is a good guy through his actions.

Char – Char’s name is Casval and he Sayla are the children of the founder of Zeon, Zeon Zum Deikun but were taken in by Jim Rahl when their father was killed by Degwin Zabi (though most believed he was pointed to as the successor not knowing it was pointing out who killed him). Rimba gave them false identities which is the identity Char has adopted since all he has is vengeance so he can make a better world where the newtypes live as examples to all. We see how complicated he is now too as his end goal intentions are good his way of getting their is just not.

Sayla – Sayla’s name is Artesia (mentioned in earlier episodes) but she hides it too as she doesn’t want to become a political prisoner of the Federation and is scared her adopted family in the crew will leave her. Like Char she hides to protect herself from the consequences of her family name. We see she wants the Federation and Zeon to stop fighting too as she is connected to both sides. She received Char’s gold too and whether she goes to Earth as he wanted for her remains to be seen.

Okay: Confusion – The confession of identities is a little confusing as we are given a lot of backstory really fast. I wish this episode had given more time to explore this though since we get the motivations of two amazing characters. It isn’t bad, but it is a little confusing.

This was an amazing episode and a must watch so you get why Char fights and why he and Sayla have the names they do. Sayla is once again given a choice and we understand what drives Char to continue to fight more fully. It also introduces what everyone has been going on about “Special” in regards to Amuro. Newtype are X-Men basically and Amuro is a newtype.

Final Score: 9 / 10. Solidly great.

Sleepy Hollow – Season 2, Episode 2 – “Kindred” – To Fight Fire With Fire

http://thefairytalesite.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/202SH-Ep_202-The_Kindred-Int_Carraige_House_1143_f_hires1.jpg

 

We continue our review of “Sleepy Hollow,” with the 2nd episode of the 2nd Season, “Kindred.” This episode gives us more of the relationship between the Horsemen and also shows how far Ichabod is willing to go for the people he loves.

“The Kindred” was directed by Paul Edwards and written by Mark Goffman and Albert Kim.

The premise of the episode is that in the books they found in the archives Abbie and Ichabod discovered how to raise the Kindrid, an undead soldier created by Benjamin Franklin who only needs a part of the Headless Horseman (They have his head) to raise him to fight for them. Around this time the new Sheriff has arrived and soon arrests Jenny when she’s found with the weapons they’d be taking when they rise the Kindred. From the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Ichabod Crane – This is usually a given but he is once again the main drive of the story and gets a lot of good exploration in this episode. As Abbie brings up, “Maybe Katrina is your weak point, just like my sister is mine.” This vulnerability is also why he chooses to face the Horseman of Death, the Headless Horseman Abraham rather than his son Henry. We also witness him willing to raise the Kindrid (an undead monstrosity made of soldiers) to take on the Horsemen. We see how connected Abbie and he have become and also get a great comedic moment when he takes down the banking system for helping make society a culture of debtors.

Abbie Mills – Much like a companion on “Doctor Who,” except in this case with a more equal footing, Abbie is there to call Ichabod out and fight the Horsemen with him. We see how things have gotten tense with her sister again as her sister was put in prison for what they all were doing to try and raise the Kindrid. She’s worried about disappointing her sister again, losing her job once the new Police Chief finds out what she’s doing and of course failing everything.

Jenny Mills – Takes the fall for Ichabod and Abbie and ends up in prison by the new police chief. We see how the 13 years of her being locked up has made it difficult for her to trust as when Abbie tells her to wait, she says not to take so long this time.

Abraham / Headless Horseman / Horseman of Death – We see Abraham is more complicated than he appears as he calls out Katrina on how Ichabod got Abbie out of Purgatory in a day versus how long she had to suffer there and that he wants her to love him of her own free will. She eventually convinces him to wait trying to force things for this reason and we see the human side of the Headless Horsemen and the potential he has to change too.

Henry Parish / Horseman of War – War is the current leader and antagonist we interact with this season it’s looking like, much like Death was last season. He continues to be one of the best characters on the show as he calls out Katrina on her hope for him and the fact he is soulless and cares nothing for her and Ichabod and also calling out Death saying they need to act and continue their plans to bring back Moloch. He sends his avatar in the battle against the Kindrid before giving Detective Irving a visit.

Detective Irving – Orlando Jones is great again in his interactions with the new chief who plans to send him to the psych. ward for his confession and give him the worst treatment since she sees him as a threat and liar and later we see him sign a contract accidentally in his own blood when War as Henry Parish comes as the Lawyer his wife recommended. Things are not looking good for Detective Irving at this point.

The Kindrid – The Head of the Horseman of Death on a soldiers body…it is a great design and it was wonderful to see that the most he can do is stall them. He isn’t an unstoppable force but does give Abbie and Ichabod a new tool to fight.

Katrina – Katrina becomes a mole for Ichabod and Abbie when she sees the Horsemen plotting to raise Moloch again but we’re left wondering about her confession as Abraham pointing out how long she waited for Ichabod hits a nerve. At this point she could go either way given how complicated Abraham is becoming. I like this given she is a powerful character getting to make her own choices.

Okay: Detective Reyes – Played by “House of Cards” Sakina Jaffrey, Detective Reyes is the new sheriff in town who is skeptical about all that has happened and blames it on the cartels. She is mostly antagonistic and we don’t fully get why as most of her tender moments are with Abbie since she knew Abbie’s mother. She isn’t bad but so far she’s pretty one note. Hopefully she gets developed the way Orlando Jones as Detective Irving was. For now she’s just potential.

This was a great episode that continues “Sleepy Hollow’s” mythos (the Kindrid) and quality as characters are explored and the weaknesses of characters are revealed. Katrina is Abraham’s and Ichabod’s weakness, Jenny is Abbie’s weakness and so far War’s weakness remains  a mystery. This is good since it gives us more to explore in regards to his character.

Final Score: 9 / 10. Solidly great, just a rough start for Sakina Jaffrey as Detective Reyes.

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 36 – “The Duel in Texas” – The Pride of M’Quve

The Duel in Texas

“The Duel in Texas,” is very much a M’Quve episode as we find he has fallen into the trap most Zabi’s have of wanting to take Amuro on their own to show Char that they deserve respect. I was hoping M’Quve was above this, but what can you do. It is still an enjoyable episode.

The episode was directed by Shinya Sadamitsu and Yoshiyuki Tomino and written by Masaru Yamamoto.

We first learn that Gihrin has moved Zeon headquarters to A Baoa Qu as the final line of defense against Federation forces and also putting out a double rank advancement for whomever defeats the Gundam. The story involves M’Quve entering his own Gundam and luring Amuro into a trap in the Texas area that is a wasteland that Char is using to test Lalah’s abilities. The story lines meet when Amuro enters and Char decides to go and help M’Quve so Kycilia won’t be shamed. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Sayla – We see her take on and do lots of damage and destroy many of the Zeon ships before Kai joins the battle later to help take on the Gundams. She’s improved a lot and the Zeon Captain is surprised one ship can do so much damage.

Amuro – Amuro faces off against M’Quve and at one point Char in his new Gundam over the course of the traps set on Texas. He fights M’Quve and kills him even when Lalah begs for him to stop as he’s already one. In this we see Amuro has no sense of attacking to incapacitate, he is just like Char in he fights to kill.

M’Quve – We see his pride (the Zeon’s and their pride) at stake when he duels Amuro for Kycilia to show up Char and when he’s later rescued by Char he asks Char to stay out of it, leading to M’Quve’s death. He was a good character though, he was the planner and scheme and his Gyan is pretty great.

The Introduction – It is great seeing that Dozle’s death is having consequences, from Degwin, the leader expecting Dozle’s defeat and Gihrin’s actions to strengthen the war effort. The past episodes have consequences, which makes the series great.

Char – Char helps M’Quve but let M’Quve’s pride destroy himself in the end as he saw M’Quve’s pride and ivory tower approach a waste (and every hurt against the Zabi family is a win for Char). It was great seeing that side of him again, that he will help but he’ll also let others destroy themselves if it serves him. He also manages to put up a good fight against Amuro which continues next episode.

Okay: Lalah – She doesn’t like fighting but she’s serving Char and Zeon? What? She is a confusing character who I really don’t get at this point.

This was a great episode and good way for M’Quve to go. I was hoping he’d get to go out with a super weapon though rather than Gundam vs Gundam which seems to be the status quo for how Zeon’s get defeated. Still has some great Char and Amuro moments though and we get to know M’Quve better too.

Final Score: 9 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 35 – “Big Zam’s Last Stand” – The Strength of Dozle Zabi

Big Zam's Last Stand

 

“Big Zam’s Last Stand” is the completion of Dozle Zabi’s arc from the last episode, and they do a good job completing it! It says a lot when you have a named Federation character die, especially if they die on the Trojan Horse. Who I’m referring to I’ll show in the assessment, but the fact that Dozle pulls this off in his Big Zam makes him a very worthy foe who gets a great death.

The episode was directed by Osamu Sekita and Yoshiyuki Tomino and written by Kenichi Matsuzaki.

The story is the title. It is Dozle Zabi’s last stand in his Big Zam Gundam armor. During the battle he has his men retreat as he annihilates the Federation’s forces with his powerful Gundam and eventually starts targeting the Cruisers too. It isn’t until Kai, Sleggar and Amuro work together that they figure out how to face him. The story unfolds from there.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Amuro – We see Amuro’s fear when he faces down Big Zam and also when he faces Dozle Zobi who is firing his weapon at Amuro in his Gundam. To Amuro’s eyes he sees a dark specter which might be the violence that Dozle feels towards his enemies.

Mr. Bright – Does a great job being a supportive friend to Mirai and facing off against Dozle and making sure that all his the White Base 7 crew get back safe. You get why he’s the commander of the ship in this episode.

M’Quve – His arrogance leads to him almost not picking up Dozle’s wife and kid. It takes a soldier calling him out. Didn’t mind too much since he’s a manipulator and didn’t know if it was personal in order to complete wipe out Dozle’s line for the sake of ambition or Kycilia.

Dozle Zabi – Destroys most of the Federation Gundams and a lot of the fleet on his own, and is only taken out because 3 of the main crew face him and manage to get underneath the suit. Regardless he fights to the end and protects him men by fighting on his own allowing his men time to retreat. He was a good and honorable soldier and leader. It was great how he got to go.

Okay: Sleggar – He dies! I’m glad he does too as he finally gets to do something good and help Amuro defeat Big Zam. Never liked the character, but at least he got a noble death and got to show how dangerous Dozle is.

Okay/Con: Mirai – Mirai is attracted to Sleggar, why? He slapped her. I don’t understand and Sleggar doesn’t either. I guess the writers needed to give her characterization since they weren’t exploring her possible romantic interesting in Mr. Bright. Mr. Bright does give her a break though which is when her and Sleggar kiss and Sleggar gives her a ring. It all kind of came out of left field.

This was a favorite episode, since much like the Ramba Ral episode we got a full exploration of the character of Dozle Zabi and had sacrifice, showing that the Trojan Horse is not invulnerable and can take losses. It makes me excited for the rest of the series as there are still more Zabi’s to face. Sleggar won’t be missed, but at least got a good death…for me the true drama was with Dozle though and the lengths he went to fighting to the end to protect his family and men.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 34 – “The Glory of Solomon” – The Federation’s Strength

The Glory of Solomon

 

The Trojan Horse is finally properly in the war! This is great as it shows us just how powerful the Federation is and gives us a chance to explore another of the Zabi’s…Dozle Zabi. I’ll get into what I mean more in the assessment.

The episode was directed by Hiroshi Hisano and written by Kenichi Matsuzaki.

The story involves the Trojan Horse joining the Federation assault on Solomon Base, the headquarters of Dozle Zabi. From here the story unfolds as we get glimpses into the man of Dozle Zabi and the crew of White Base 7 as they take place in their first full scale battle and military operation. The story unfolds from there.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: White Base 7 – Seeing the crew in action here is awesome as we get to see them cooperating with a larger force and being the ones to break through to board Solomon with the Federation Gundams. Sayla, Kai and Mr. Bright get special mentions.

The Federation – The Federation isn’t completely decedent on Gundams to win the day the way Zeon is. We see them use a special weapon made of mirrors to break down Solomon’s defenses which make Amuro boarding the base possible.

Amuro – We see him in top action here working with Sayla and Kai to get close and board the base.

Hayato – Finally some characterization! He feels inadequate because he’s in competition with Amuro and when he has to leave the battle due to getting injured he is dwelling in his self pity that no one can pull him out of.

Dozle Zabi – Dozle is a fascinating character. We see him caring for his wife and child before he has them leave when the Federation forces board Solomon. It is than he gets in to his own Gundam and has his forces to do the same for the final standoff. He is an interesting character in that he keeps comforting his wife that all is okay even as things are not looking okay. The Zabi problem of pride is very apparent in this character since he doesn’t send for help until the Federation has already boarded the base.

This was a great episode! We finally get to see and explore another member of the Zabi family and we see the Trojan Horse in action in a large scale battle with lots of other Federation ships and Gundams. I definitely recommend it.

Final Score: 9.2 / 10

The Goonies (1985): An Over Indulgent But Good Children’s Coming of Age Tale

The_Goonies

 

“The Goonies,” is a good but not great film. I get into the reasons for this later but a huge portion is it is hard to take any of the villains seriously and product placement.

“The Goonies” is also a film I hadn’t seen for years, so seeing it again with new eyes also gave me an appreciation for everything that worked and didn’t work in the film. The story was written by Steven Spielberg, with Chris Columbus doing the screenplay while Richard Donner was one of the producers and also directed the film. The other producer was Harvey Bernhard.

The story involves a group of kids called The Goonies made up of Data (Jonathan Ke Quan) the inventor, Mouth (Corey Feldman) the bully, Chunk (Jeff Cohen) the nervous kid who likes to eat a lot and tells tall tales and Mikey (Sean Astin) the leader. They live Astoria, OR where their homes are being foreclosed on and go on a quest for One-Eyed Willie’s Pirate Treasure when they find a map in Mikey’s father’s things. Around this time the Fratellis are being chased down the cops and go out in the woods to hide. From here the story unfolds.

Here is the assessment of the film:

The Pros: The Goonies – The Goonies are great characters. I’ll describe why below.

Data – Ke Quan is fantastic in this role! He isn’t annoying like when he played Short Round in “Temple of Doom” and is a super creative character, with lots of inventions that they put to use to stop the Fratellis and get to the treasure. We learn later his dad is an inventor too. His arc is his facing of his fears as he is the one of the ones who wants to leave when they have a chance to escape up the well.

Mouth – Mouth goes from being a prick to a nice guy. This is partially due to his attraction to Stef and in the end they both balance one another out as his laid back attitude rubs off on her and her caring attitude rubs off on him. Hated this character for the first third because of how much of a bully he was to Chunk. He acts as translator of the map since he knows Spanish.

Chunk – This is the character who becomes friends with my favorite character, Sloth Fratelli in the movie. He is anxious but uses that to his advantage when he stalls the Fratellis during his questioning. It is also his kindness that leads to Sloth breaking them out of their cell and saving the Goonies.

Sloth – The abused and deformed Fratelli who just wants to be cared for. This character is great and has been completely shaped by television since that’s all his mother and brother left him in his cell. For this reason we see him adopt the hero role when he is treated with kindness and saves all the Goonies at the end as well as being taken into Chunk’s family. He is by far the best character in the film and shows not to judge by appearances.

Stef – She started out really annoying but came around and was the one who actually had a character arc out of all the teenagers traveling with the Goonies. She finds joy in the adventure in the end and is there to add perspective to amazing places like the wishing well.

Mikey – Is the leader of the Goonies played by Sean Astin. His role is fighting to keep their homes from being foreclosed on and driving the adventure forward. When they have the chance to escape he tells them that they need to take of their parents now as they’ve been taken care of and that they should take risks and not live with regret. He is a kind character who was a good choice for the lead.

The Adventure – The Adventure to get the treasure is amazing! They go underneath the town, travel through trap filled caves and have to have a skeleton piano played to reach the treasure and the pirate ship. The adventure is the best part of the story besides The Goonies.

Okay: Andy and Brand – The generic teens along for the ride. They are attracted to each other and eventually get together. Brand is also Mikey’s older brother but not nearly enough is done with that relationship.

Momma Fratelli – The only Fratelli that felt like a threat since she threatens to cut out Mouth’s tongue at one point. Besides that she’s just as much of a joke villain as her kids.

The Cons: The Villains – Most of the villains are one dimensional jokes, which doesn’t help if they are supposed to provide tension.

The Fratelli Brothers – They brake one out of prison but they never shoot to kill, they are also constantly bickering which makes their threat level go down. They have some slap stick humor moments happen to them too which doesn’t help their case for being villains worthy of fear.

The Suits – The guys coming to foreclose on 50 houses in the neighborhood to build a country club and golf course. They have no personality traits beyond dickishness and are a waste of characters. I get they are the bad guys, doesn’t mean they have to be caricatures.

Product Placement – There are two really big product placement moments…when Sloth breaks his chains to get the Baby Ruth that he and Chunk share and at the end when someone brings Domino’s which is Chunk’s favorite pizza. It isn’t subtle at all as the camera lingers on the Baby Ruth and Domino’s label.

This film is based on a story that Spielberg wrote, but you can tell he didn’t direct as the quality of the direction isn’t super memorable. I attribute this more to Richard Donner and the problems with the villains to the screenplay by Chris Columbus. It still is a fun movie I’d recommend, but it’s problems are extremely apparent. The best parts of the film are the adventure to get the treasure and the moments with Sloth and with  The Goonies.

Final Score: 8 / 10. Solidly good with problems.

Mobile Suit Gundam – Season 1, Episode 33 – “A Fateful Encounter” – When Char Met Amuro

A Fatefull Encounter

“A Fateful Encounter” finishes up the arc in Base 6 and introduces us to some new elements, mostly related to Char. I’ll go into more of what I mean in the following assessment.

“A Fateful Encounter” was directed by Ryoji Fujihara and written by Hiroyuki Hoshiyama.

The episode involves Amuro seeing more of his father’s mind falling apart and meeting the mysterious woman named Lalah who he later runs into again when he sees Char for the first time. The story unfolds from here as Conscon does a full scale assault against the Trojan Horse to show Char how powerful he is as Char is staying on Base 6.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Amuro – Amuro is afraid of Char, when they meet and Char helps him pull his car out of a rut Amuro loses the ability to thank him and takes off as quickly as possible. We see later being with his father has honed him as he doesn’t want more people to go mad from the war like his father has. He kills the most Zeon Gundams in this battle.

Char – Char has taken Lalah under his wing as it implies she is a psychic and can sense Amuro’s Gundam during the fight. They have an interesting relationship as she seems to be his protege. We also see Char’s kindness when he helps Amuro and in his time with Lalah and honoring Base 6’s neutrality.

Mirai – We see her try to protect Cameron Bloom in this episode but ends up respecting his wish to escort the Trojan Horse out of the dock to offer them more protection. She is smacked by Slagger (hate this guy) and the trying to force her to like Bloom is getting really annoying. She holds her own though.

Cameron Bloom – We see his love for Mirai in his self sacrifice and his hope for her protecting after the battle is over. He was willing to risk his own neutrality for another, which was great to see. Showing that there was more than an arranged marriage going on for him.

Okay: Lalah – She’s a blank slate at this point. She comments on nature’s beauty to Amuro when a bird dies and seems to have something with Char, but none of these are fully fleshed out.

The Cons: Sleggar – Hate this guy, he violently smacks Mirai for no reason as Mr. Bright lets Bloom escort them anyway. Can this character just die? Even Kai’s improved but this guy is still horrid.

Coscon – Risks all his forces and dies in the battle against the Trojan Horse and Amuro’s Gundam all for the sake of pride. He will not be missed.

This was a good but not great episode. I liked the moments of Amuro’s dad rooting for him during the battle and his moments with Amuro and Cameron Bloom and Mirai had some good moments too. Coscon was a waste of a bad guy though.

Final Score: 8 / 10