Anime, Cartoons, Comics! Plight Vol. 1, No. 7: Cast the Power!

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This was a tough decision on which to choose for this, but hopefully my own personal idea of choosing only stuff I've actually completed works well enough here.

Also, I'm using 2 webcomics for this, as technically they're a bit of a different beast compared to standard ones... but I'll give a minor disclaimer of sorts to one of them (there is a reason I'm posting it, don't worry).

As this is my first time with this, hopefully you guys don't mind my selections, and hopefully I'll even educate you on some of the stuff I tend to view. It may not necessarily be the type of stuff that interests everyone, but then again, that's the beauty of this; everyone has different preferences. This is actually to give insight into them, since I'm fairly certain there's no one on Polygon that has viewed this (except for Pokemon, at least, this saga of it).

So... why don't we get this started?

Since I'm doing 2 here, I'm mainly going to try and condense this as briefly and effectively as possible. Give you an idea of what each of them are, and then post links to their archives for easy viewing.

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This is a fairly neat webcomic series that is actually very well drawn to the point where it's now featured on a standard manga website. But that's only part of the appeal. See, this is mainly just a story about a girl who happens upon a raccoon named Woo (who can also talk, obviously), and of course the many adventures and misadventures that occur. We also get introduced to other characters, from Sandra's friend Larisa, and her _eventual_ boyfriend Cloud.

An interesting aspect about this one is that it likes to make reference to other media... without being to overly blatant about it, most of the time. Hell it even does a fairly decent job of parodying Calvin and Hobbes without ripping it panel for panel.

As it's progressed so far, every character has had their backstory told in some fashion. Some are surprisingly more dark than others. On that note, it's all natural stuff anyways, so it at least fits the context.

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Link: Sandra and Woo

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Okay, some words of warning with this... it does involve anthropomorphic characters, but on the bright side, this is actually explained, and not just there for... well... reasons. On the other hand... it does still contain a lot of the same baggage you might expect with that sort of thing, but it is played for laughs for the most part. Even still, you've been warned.

So yeah, this one starts off as any other fanservice-y webcomic series... then eventually picks up a plot involving biologically modified soldiers, the anthros, and gets into some amusing drama between several characters. The further you get, the more things happen, the more backstory gets told, and the more some major plot details unfold. In fact, at the point it is now, it's almost completely devoid of the stuff it started out with, which is kind of an interesting direction to take it, all things considered.

One of the aspects I do love about this, is that MLWF likes to change up it's artstyle surprisingly often. It does have it's own actual artstyle, but... for absolutely no reason, it changes it up just for the sake of difference. Some work surprisingly well... others are bit of weird choice (hell, one of the recent ones actually Animal Crossing styled characters).

Again, lots of references to be had as well, and even some amusing 4th wall breaks here and there... and this amusing quirk the artist developed involving just writing "stripes" on the main characters tail... to save time, I guess? It's even funnier when some official merchandised art of the character also has the same trait despite having the time to draw it.

That said, it's not for everyone. I checked it out for one reason, but stayed for entirely different ones. If you can get passed the bigger hurdle, it's actually pretty good.

Oh, some samples too, just to give you an idea:

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Link: My Life With Fel

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Back in 2006, I remember TeleToon (at the time, the Canadian version of Cartoon Network) introducing several new shows to it's lineup (one of which I might do later on once I actually finish it). One of these was _Di-Gata Defenders_.

The story starts off with the standard Fantasy plotline of a great evil that was vanquished in the past, but is now starting to get restless and break loose... and then the main plot of the series kicks in. 4 kids, the "new" Di-Gata Defenders, set off from their training to locate 4 stones containing the evil, then need to bring them together, to then re-vanquish - for good - using an all powerful stone that is also designed to seal another the guy controlling said evil.

And that's the "general" version of it. Believe me, it starts off pretty standard, but goes through enough twists, turns and events that sort of affect and tweak how things were supposed to go. Which is also standard for fantasy, but I found this to be done quite well. And that's before season 2 comes along, alters the plot even more, and eventually leads to so many plot twists and changes that it's amazing half of them don't get killed off... which some of them sort of do (assuming you count the antagonists, because that's kind of important).

But what really ties all this together is the use of the actual series namesake, the Di-Gata stones. Think mana, but in stone form, and depending on what type of stone, and what markings are on these stones, changes their properties. The coolest aspect, is that you can combine different stones for different attacks, defenses, and varying uses. Most of the main characters also have a "guardian stone", that serves as sort of their... er... ..."pocket monster"? Well, that's sort of what it amounts to, really.

I think what I liked about this, was that it managed to keep things going, and have surprisingly good character development, and you keep learning new things about characters and their world. Though season 2 does get pretty damn dark, all things considered. Sort of Lovecraft-like, but not quite.

Here's both season openings:

Okay, season 2's intro spoils _a lot_. Yeah, it does tell you that things are going to be changing, but it also lets you know the tone of this season is going to be a lot different from the previous one.

Also, the only way to view this series these days is from someone on youtube by the username "DGD". I'd post a link, but I don't know exactly if it's something that would be allowed. That said, considering it's been about 7 years, I don't think it's that big of a deal, but still.

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Yeah, I know, X/Y just came out, and pretty soon the X/Y anime will debut this Thursday, but you know what? I'd like to talk about one of the previous generations of the show that actually didn't do half bad all things considered. And personally? It's my favorite of the bunch, even if Unova did start off pretty damn good.

So... how do I do this? I mean, I'd essentially have to cover about 4 seasons worth of content... which I could do, but I won't. Because that would be lengthy, and somewhat pointless. So, instead, I'm going to explain why I think the 4th generation saga did better than the other generations in varying ways. To me, anyways.

To start off, I'll go with how it adapted the games. I think that it's probably the most important aspect to me, considering it _is_ based off of an incredibly popular and well made video game franchise, so it's not too much to ask to expect certain things from it that way, right? Good thing is, for the most part, it follows the Diamond and Pearl game "story" pretty damn well (with a few nods to Platinum, considering this thing ran from 2007 - 2011). Unfortunately, this also means it includes several points in the game that got "fixed" in Platinum... which weren't done so here. Which means we're looking at a roughly 20 some episodes of filler. I wish I were kidding, but luckily there are a few episodes here and there that do make up for it, but otherwise, it's mostly filler (game-wise, Eterna city to Veilstone):

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Of course, that's not the show's fault, it's the fact that it's adapting from poor game planning. Can't do anything there.

To continue on from that, is the inclusion of the Sinnoh region organization, Team Galactic. Considering how Team Aqua and Team Magma were handled in the previous iteration of the anime... this was a much better approach. Better pacing on the reveal, some slight clues if you hadn't played the game's beforehand, and Sean Schemmel voices their leader Cyrus (which is also amusing that he voiced another villain in the 13th movie, go figure). I rather liked that just about every location you meet them in the game, they're also there. There are a couple locations that felt... off... but at least they kept the appearances consistent enough that it worked. And the payoff was damn well worth it.

Next off, is the character development. Well... in some ways it's the _actual_ people, and in others it's the Pokemon themselves. I know there's a lot of people who dislike Dawn for whatever reasons, but I found that they did a surprisingly good job with presenting her as an amateur coordinator who's trying to aspire to what her mother was at one point (following in your parent's footsteps sort of deal). It was good to see her succeed and fail in the proper situations, and even fall into some mild depression from some failures. And the we had May show up and pretty much help fix her (which is amusing, because then they could reference Emerald just by changing her outfit. And on top of that, she was in Johto for a bit... which is even funnier due to the fact that the Gold/Silver remakes are also present in this generation).

As for Ash, well, his newest rival, Paul (I'll get to this part in a moment), is pretty much what keeps him on his toes and forces him to improve. The fact that _every_ battle against this guy leads up to Ash losing has you realizing that he's going to need to do something drastic to beat him, and he actually goes through the effort needed to do so. It's good to see him actually coming up with outlandish strategies that he's been know for since... ever. I mean, this is the guy that decided to take on a Rock type gym with an Electric type rodent long before steel type was even a thing (and ironically enough, this is repeated a few times once Pikachu learns Iron -Cleaver- Tail. Which essentially becomes the new "Thundershock" from here on out). Seriously though, this saga really showed him actually trying to be a forward thinker with strategies... and even taking a break in the form of partaking in some contests on his own. Just because. And actually doing pretty good with it.

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As for Brock... well... it got to a point where you could really start to tell he was wearing out his welcome. You could really start to feel it the instant he got himself a Happiny (if you can guess what it evolves into... I don't even have to tell you the rest of this, it's that obvious. But if not, it's evolves into a Chansey). Which, of course, it eventually does evolve, thus pretty much sending off Brock to become a Pokemon doctor (which is later shown in one of the last Best Wishes episodes. Hurray for continuity!).

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But, one of the best aspects added to this, was the inclusion of some of the anime exclusive characters. Of which there were a few good ones.

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In my opinion, he was what made Sinnoh what a lot of fans will remember it by. He also redefined the sort of rival Ash should have, to the point that Unova regressed with Trip's introduction. Paul is the sort of trainer who is only interested in the best of the best, and has only strives for power. He has no qualms about releasing a Pokemon if he deems them inadequate, or simply useless in his eyes. This is part of the rivalry between Ash, as he's essentially his polar opposite. You do eventually find out why Paul is the way he is, and it kind of refreshing to see him get his ass handed to him by a Frontier Brain (think Gym Leader/Elite 4, kind of). But really, it's his attitude and his battling style that have made him such a formidable opponent to Ash, and thus, his biggest rival.

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Without a doubt, of any antagonist introduced in this series thus far, this was one of my favorites. She's a Pokemon bounty hunter, who's so good at what she has, she's yet to be caught. But that's all, it's all in her method. Mounted on her wrist is an arm cannon-like device that allows her to petrify her bounty, carry it with ease, and bring it to whoever hired her. Her transportation is either her own Salamence, or her airship with built in cloaking. And finally, she does whatever it takes, and if you get on her bad-side, she _will_ attempt to kill you. She's even hired by Team Galactic to bring them the lake trio, which ends up being her final undoing.

And of course, to wrap up all this, is the Pokemon League, where the much awaited confrontation between Ash and Paul comes into play. It's probably one of the best battles in the series, and actually manages to top Ash and Gary's from the Johto League. Then there's the epic fight between him and Tobias, and though he loses, he puts up a damn good fight. I might also be slightly biased because it's also Latios's first anime appearance. And I'd been waiting on this for some time... maybe.

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And that about takes care of mine. I probably wrote more than most people, but I'm very talkative, and I usually tend to ramble on, and on about stuff. So, hopefully I was concise enough here. Also, this is the first one I've done, so I learned about how I should be doing this.

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