So I was disappointed to find out that skipping posting on Saturday did not cause the internet to break in half. I was half hoping that the lack of regularly scheduled Mummyboon content would cause much wailing and gnashing of teeth and that my inbox would be flooded with suicidal lamentations.
Sadly this was not the case…all I ask is your undying affection and obedience without hesitation. Is that too much?
Nonetheless you might be wondering why I no post? Well because I’ve been on holiday enjoying the wonders of Northern France and Holland (and yes it was Holland specifically before anyone gets pedantic). I’d built up a bit of a buffer before going away but didn’t have a chance to post anything between getting home and Saturday coming to pass.
I didn’t want to skip the week entirely though but I don’t have the time to put anything particularly complicated together so here are my comments on a few nerdy news announcements.
Whilst I was gone D23, Disney’s big annual fan convention happened and we learned lots about upcoming Disney projects, including one I’ve written about before Big Hero 6.
“Big Hero 6” features brilliant robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. With the help of his closest companion–a robot named Baymax–Hiro joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city. Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action and all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, the CG-animated “Big Hero 6” hits theaters in 3D on Nov. 7, 2014.
Whilst I still think San-Fransokyo is an appalling name I kind of like the notion that this is going to be a world that freely mixes bits of Japanese and American culture. The Golden Gate Bridge with Torii Gate stylings in the concept art posted above is particularly nifty. Considering this is a property that was two American guys doing their best to affectionately parody Japanese concepts and ideas that themselves were often riffs on American concepts setting it in a world that is a strange mixture of American and Japanese culture is a smart idea. It also avoids the potential problem of audiences in America being put off by a Japanese setting and too much Japanese cultural baggage.
Nintendo have announced loads of Pokemon news recently, particularly regarding the new games X and Y. Whilst Black and White basically perfected the formula as it has stood for 5 generations now X and Y seem to be shaking up the game considerably. 3D graphics and movement, customised attack animation, new ways of battling (Sky Battles and Horde battles with 1 pokemon against 5 aggressors) riding pokemon and a new type, Fairy type.
Incidentally I totally called Fairy Type back in this blog post here. You may refer to me as Nostradamus from now on.
But the only change I want to talk about is Mega Evolution.
What is Mega Evolution? Why watch the video above and find out.
Well, did you watch it? Did you find out what it is?
Fucking stupid, that’s what it is.
Okay, okay, gameplay wise this isn’t a massive deal. Pokemon that change form have been a feature of the games since the 2nd generation. Now usually these form changes don’t happen during battle and if they do they usually don’t effect stats whereas clearly these new forms will all improve the pokemon’s stats as well as alter their appearance. That’s fine by me. I don’t think Baziken or Mewtwo need to be any better than they already are but it’s a cool mechanic and it allows for four stage evolutions which was always going to happen at some point.
What I have a problem with is that it turns the game into Digimon.
In Digimon evolution is a temporary thing. You activate it for a short period and then when your monster has used that strength boost it reverts back to an earlier stage in its development. Also all these stages have terms attached such as champion stage, ultimate stage and of course “Mega”*
Evolution in pokemon is a permanent mutation with pros and cons. Although your monster gets stronger it also gets less cute and learns moves more slowly. Also it can change the typing and the ability entirely and once your evolve there is no going back. Mega Evolution then isn’t an evolution in pokemon terms, it’s a power-up coupled with a sprite change. It shouldn’t be called evolution.
I doubt it will bother me too much whilst playing the game (unless it becomes a major plot point) but it is the first piece of X and Y news I’ve actively disliked.
On a more positive note Nintendo also announced Pokemon: The Origin, a oneoff anime special that will tell the story of Red and Blue.
Who are Red and Blue you may ask? Well they’re the stars of the original pokemon games and the original pokemon manga.
“Isn’t that Ash Ketchum?” you oh so naively ask?
NO, NO IT ISN’T ASH FUCKING IDIOT KETCHUM! YOU SHUT YOUR DAMN MOUTH NOOB! RED IS AWESOME ASH IS A TEN YEAR OLD IDIOT WITH SOME KIND OF GROWTH DEFICIENCY AND…
Sorry I, may have lost my composure for a bit there.
But to answer your question more succinctly, no, Ash is the star of the anime and is very similar to Red but Red existed as a character prior to the anime and has a few key differences. For starters he is a much more seriously minded character and a far better pokemon trainer. Ash has never won a league but Red became the champion of the original league and an enemy trainer in Gold and Silver.
This new anime is the first time Red and his rival Blue will feature in a cartoon. I’m usually not a fan of the pokemon anime. It’s fine for what it is; a cartoon to get kids interested in buying pokemon games and toys and whilst I haven’t watched the original Japanese version** the English dub can be surprisingly funny at times.
Pokemon: The Origin though looks like a lot of fun. As well as pushing all my nostalgia buttons hard the animation looks gorgeous. Nintendo may have convinced me to watch a pokemon anime for the first time since I was ten.**
Last bit of nerdy news to discuss is the announcement of the new Doctor Who: this guy.
My reaction to the last two new Doctor announcements was “who?” followed by “he’s a bit young isn’t he?” followed by instantly loving them once I got to see them perform as the Doctor. So the fact that my reaction this time was “oh I know him, good actor,” followed by “oh and he’s the oldest doctor since the first, interesting.” might just mean that I have doomed Capaldi’s efforts before they begin.
Seriously though Peter Capaldi is a fine actor and he can do that turning emotions on a dime thing that David Tennant used to do in his sleep. He’s bound to be significantly less physical than Matt Smith but this is no bad thing, and the age gap means we can shake this companion/doctor romance stuff that has permeated nearly every doctor/companion relationship in the modern show.
I also like the fact that millions of fangirls on twitter are upset that they cast an older bloke because I am perverse and enjoy the misery of others. Especially fangirls and fanboys.
It will be sad to see Matt Smith go though. He is easily my all time favourite doctor. It’s all in the way he moves; like an alien who isn’t sure what his arms are for.
Sadly Steven Moffat will be staying on as show runner which is a shame. I love Moffat as a writer, Coupling, Sherlock, these are some of my favourite TV shows of all time and the episodes he wrote whilst Russell T Davies was in charge of Doctor Who were among the best the show ever produced. However, his tenure as show runner has been overall bad. There have been some highlights and some good stories but the general quality of stories has taken a sharp turn down.
So that’s my thoughts on some recent nerdy topics. Tomorrow normal service resumes with some film reviews.
* this knowledge gained entirely from the anime, I never played any of the games
** this isn’t strictly true actually, I used to watch it on the treadmill at the gym in Kobe but between running and it being in Japanese I didn’t really follow the dialogue very well. Other things I used to watch whilst on the treadmill included baseball and sumo which are a bit easier to follow without dialogue.