Hello everyone and welcome to Plight, your forum home for all your comic, anime, and cartoon related needs. Shall we begin?
Featured Comic: Revival
Revival tells the story of a rural Wisconsin town where the dead have risen and returned to their regular lives. The series, which started last summer, is written by Tim Seeley and drawn by Mike Norton with covers by Jenny Frison. Revival is billed as a "small town noir" in the vein of Twin Peaks but it's also a brilliant satire of zombie fiction.
Revival does a lot with it's premise of the dead returning to life. Seeley covers the pivotal event from almost every conceivable angle. While the comic chooses to focus on the residents of Wassua, it also hints at the larger implications that something like this would have on the political, scientific and religious landscape. It's interesting to watch the town become little more than a game piece for politicians, news pundits, and religious leaders while the residents of Wassua are stuck in a CDC mandated quarantine. Seely does a great job of giving a larger context for the event and makes the story feel much more believable in the process.
Besides the central story hook, Revival also has an awesome cast of characters. The events of the first arc mainly focuses on Dana Cypress, a smalltown police officer who suddenly finds herself keeping the peace between the living and the dead. Along for the ride is Dana's sister Em, who was murdered under mysterious circumstances and yet finds herself alive. Revival also features Blaine Abel, the best snowmobile mechanic / exorcist in Central Wisconsin. Abel is one of the most menacing and yet oddly sympathetic comic anti-heros in recent years. He also has a Limp Bizkit song as his ringtone, which clearly means he's evil and not to be trusted.
Revival is a wonderfully layered story with fantastic characters and an attention grabbing premise. I absolutely fell in love with this series and hopefully you will too.
Featured Cartoon: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a 2009 stop-motion film adapted from the Roald Dahl story of the same name. The film was released to critical acclaim despite poor box office reception. It has since gone on to become a cult classic among fans of animation. The film follows the titular Mr. Fox, a former thief who retired from stealing chickens in order to start a family. When the Fox family moves to a new house located near the three largest farms in the area Mr. Fox falls back into his old ways.
First things first, this movie looks absolutely gorgeous. Anderson's vintage 60's sensibility and attention to detail fit perfectly with the medium of stop motion. The individual "actors" for each of the characters look awesome and the movie uses practical stop motion effects in a way that is entirely unique. Smoke, water, fur, and fire all look great in this film. The cinematography in this film is also top-notch. I seriously wish I could just print some of the shots in this film and hang them on my wall.
In addition to looking great this movie also sounds great. The voice cast is a cut above, including George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartz, and Bill Murray. Also the soundtrack in this film is great. The score is memorable and songs by The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones help to solidify the sixties style that the visuals evoke.
None off this stuff would really matter if Wes Anderson's script wasn't as smart as it is. Anderson takes Dahl's original story and reimagines it as a bizarre cross between an indie comedy and a heist movie. The whole movie has this off-kilter stop and start dialogue that is initially jarring but gives the movie a comedic rhythm all it's own. It feels as if every joke in the first half of this movie is later expanded on in the second half; from the use of the word "cuss" as an expletive to Mr. Fox's fear of wolves pays off perfectly. The movie also deals with the themes of mortality, responsibility, and existentialism, which are all pretty heavy for an american animated film. It's a smart film that wiill probably appeal more to adults than children.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is an exceptional movie with high production values, great voice-acting and an intelligent script. If you're a fan of stop-motion or Wes Anderson's other works than this movie is an absolute must. Just cussing watch it already!
Featured Anime: Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop is a kung-fu, pop art, sci-fi noir extravaganza directed by Shinichirō Watanabe. The anime series was produced by Sunrise, the studio best known for the massively popular Gundam series. Cowboy Bebop is often credited as one of the series that popularized anime in the west. The series takes place after earth has been abandoned and humans have colonized the rest of our solar system.
The series follows the misadventures of the crew of the Cowboy Bebop spaceship. The cast consists of Spike Spiegel, a bounty hunter with a mysterious past; Jet Black, another bounty hunter and an ex-cop; Faye Valentine, a gambler with a severe case of amnesia; and Edward, a child computer hacking genius. Initially the writers seem to only focus on Spike but as the series progresses, each of the side characters get their own episode.
Almost every episode of Cowboy Bebop is self contained aside from Jupiter Jazz and The Real Folk Blues, both of which are two-parters. This leads to some really interesting and visually diverse vignette style episodes. Some Episodes like Heavy Metal Queen and Brain scratch are based around different types of music, while others like Mushroom Samba and Pierrot Le Fou change the entire genre of the show. Cowboy Bebop has some pretty daring episodes later in it's run, some of which falter (I'm looking at you Boogie Woogie Feng Shui) , but the majority are thrilling experiments in genre.
The sense of style extends to the animation which is absolutely gorgeous. Unlike most modern anime shows Bebop was produced entirely with cell animation. Every episode looks as fluid as water despite the age of the animation technique and the art direction is almost timeless. Everything about Cowboy Bebop is built to last and it looks amazing on Blu-ray if you can find it.
The voice acting and score in this show are also excellent . Cowboy Bebop's dub is almost universally regarded as the measuring stick that all other anime dubs should be compared too, and for good reason. Steve Blum's voice work as Spike Spiegel is a confident and occasionally haunting VA performance. Wendee Lee and Beau Billingslea also do great work as Faye and Jet respectively. Even Melissa Fahn's performance as Ed eventually grew on me. The soundtrack by Yoko Kanno is also absolutely stunning. It's a score that can stand on it's own yet punctuates every scene perfectly. Also I can't write this and not post Tank! by The Seatbelts. It's like the law or something.
Cowboy Bebop is a masterpiece. The music, the animation, and even the episode structures all add up to something that is exceptionally stylish and endlessly rewatchable. The series is currently kind of hard to find since the DVDs are out of print in most regions but Funimation will be rereleasing the series on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital sometime later this year for North America. There's also a Blu-ray set available in UK/Australia which comes with a pretty cool artbook if you don't mind importing. If you can find it, it's an absolute must watch!
Well that about wraps it up for this time folks! If you want to try your hand at writing a plight of your own sign-ups are open to absolutely anyone. Just leave a comment with your preferred date below. Once again, all credit for the banners go to Nipah. Lastly, just because you guys are pretty cool, here's a papercraft Gurren Lagann!