Don East’s Animation Year In Review Part 1

Posted: January 1, 2011 by doneast in Animation, Animation Reviews, Don East, Rememberance

So, 2010 is over and with that another year of memories of days gone by both good and bad.  And there were some new cartoons and well, Sketch & RaccattackForce aren’t the only one that can do retrospectives here so here is Don East’s 2010 in review!

Note: I didn’t watch GI Joe Renegades, the Avengers, & My Little Ponies Friendship Is Magic so I won’t talk about them.  And despite temptation, I’m only talking about Western Animation, not Anime.  Panty & Stocking, consider yourselves lucky for now.

Young Justice: When it was announced there would be a cartoon based on the 90s equivalent to Teen Titans, Young Justice, I was actually excited if just for the fact that characters like Tim Drake & Bart Allen would finally appear in an animated adaptation.  But then along came Comic-Con where I curse to the skies when I find out that Robin, who looks a lot like Tim Drake, is Dick Grayson again and the Impulse looking Kid Flash is Wally West.  And may I remind you that Dick & Wally haven’t played the role of the sidekick since the mid-80s.  I’m sick of it; every Batman cartoon usually has Batman a few years into his career, Dick Grayson becomes Robin, Barbara Gordon becomes Batgirl, most of his rouges gallery gets introduced for the first time, and if we’re lucky, Dick as Nightwing in an episode set in the future.  I grew tired of that since “The Batman”, I don’t want to see stuff the creators grew up on, I want to see stuff from my youth.  I want to see Tim Drake as Robin, I want to see Barbara Gordon as Oracle, I want to see Dick Grayson as Nightwing in Bludhaven, and most importantly of all for me: I WANT CASSANDRA CAIN!

Can I ask Greg Weisman fans a question: Why is it wrong for Disney to make a movie about gargoyles that has little to do with Greg’s Gargoyles but uses the name because it’s available yet it’s okay for Greg to make a cartoon that’s called Young Justice that has little to do with the Young Justice comic but uses the name because it’s available?  And they’re really pushing the fact that it’s in a different universe, going as far as making a timeline.  I find this to be a major waste of time since because once episodes 52 or 65, Young Justice ends and with that any story to come out of this “universe” aside from fan fiction.

Anyway, the pilot is pretty straight forward, Not-Tim-Drake!Robin, Kid Flash Not-Impulse, & Aqualad (Who’s a new version of the character made for this series that’s already been put in the main DCU) want to be treated as legitimate heroes so they sneak into the Project CADMUS building and investigate it.  There find them harboring mind-controlling creatures called G-Nomes and a clone of Superman called Superboy.  They convince Superboy to join them and be free of CADMUS’ control.  After a fight with the super villain Blockbuster that brought the house down, the League lets the teens have their own team and base, supervised by Red Tornado (one of the few things that they got right from the comics) and then they’re joined by Miss Martian, the Martian Manhunter’s “niece” (five bucks that’s a lie).  Why didn’t they have her go with the others in the story?  Oh wait, that’s right it’s a cartoon based on a comic, no girls allowed!

The main characters just didn’t click with me, Not-Tim-Drake!Robin & Not-Impulse are annoying with their constant jokes (Whelmed isn’t a funny word, quit saying it) and Superboy’s dialogue can easily shortened down to…

“DON’T CONTROL ME!  YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!  I WANT TO BE FREE & MAKE MY OWN DECISIONS!”
Christ, which Superboy is this?  Kon-El or Prime?

"Women Are From Mars, Men Are From Mars... Wait, that's not right."

There are only 2 characters that I liked, one is Miss Martian and I only say that because from what I’ve read about her, she’s the fun character I latch onto.  (Please she’s a cute green skinned redhead :P)  Too bad she’ll get pushed aside in this like Starfire, the only thing I liked about that other cartoon about a team of young DC heroes.  The other one I like is Aqualad, who comes off as the only sane man in this and has the making of a good leader.  But according to the episode listings Batman will assign Robin as team leader even though he has proven to be incompetent as a leader, never knew Batman is a stage father.

All in all, I’m not that impressed with it except for the animation, that was good.

Final Word: Fine, I won’t call the sidekicks, but I also won’t call them Young Justice.  The series will premiere this coming Friday.

Transformers Prime: Oh man, did I ever have it out for this one since it was announced.  You see I love Transformers Animated, it was one of the best action cartoons of the last decade in my opinion.  But it really got the shaft, Hasbro didn’t release the toys until the tail end of the second season only for the toys to have quality issues and then Hasbro pushed aside TFA in favor of (Primus help me) Revenge of the Fallen, and Cartoon Network aired the third (and final) season early Saturday mornings.  Hasbro’s deal with Discovery Kids to make the Hub was the final blow, since the Hub is competition, CN cancelled the Hasbro owned show.  So yeah, the Hub killed Transformers Animated, enjoy the Doogie Howser reruns!  And in its place is Transformers Prime, not as bad as some incarnations but just so bland in comparison to TFA.  The fact that it’s produced by the guys who wrote the first two movies & written by Duane “The Batman” Capizzi doesn’t help things.

First off, they decided to shoe horn this into the timeline as the video game War For Cybertron despite several continuity issues.  For example, in the game Bumblebee looks like his G1 counterpart and sounds like Ichigo Kurosaki, in Prime he looks the movie version and sounds like R2-D2.  Megatron was voiced by Fred Tatasciore in WFC but in Prime it’s Frank Welker impersonating Fred Tatasciore.  I know there are tie-in materials that explain most of the continuity issues but somethings are major plot holes.  Example Dark Energon, the macguffin for both game and serie, work differently.  In WFC it’s capable of destroying machines and buildings but in Prime it can bring the dead Transformers back to life.  In Prime, Megatron acts like he just discovered Dark Energon even though it played a major part of his plans in War For Cybertron.  I haven’t seen continuity errors this bad since Transformers Cybertron.

The designs for the robots are a mess, it looks like the artists tried to pander to G1 fans, Movie fans, & Animated fans at once and failed miserably.  Starscream looks anorexic, Prime doesn’t have a nose, and every time I look at Megatron’s face I laugh at how unintentionally funny it is.  I hate to see what the toys look like when they’re eventually made.

The Autobots are comprised of Optimus Prime, who acts as your figure he would, looks and sounds like the movie version except for the lack of lips & a nose and thankfully doesn’t act overly violent like in Revenge of the Fallen.  Bulkhead is well, Bulkhead from TFA only now he has a gun, also I’m put off at how he now sounds like Omega Supreme, seriously they managed to get Ernie Hudson & The Rock to voice characters but couldn’t get Bill Fagerbakke back?  Arcee is more or less the main character so far, speaking as fan of the character, I say this is an improvement over her role in TFA.  The only thing that bothers me is that she’s a motorcycle again and that’s because: 1. It means this is more likely to be made into a toy instead of one based on G1 Arcee and 2. Reminds me of Energon where the “Motorcycle Arcee” concept originated.  I don’t like this Bumblebee, namely because he doesn’t talk but beeps all his lines, that kind of slag is for Mini-cons, not a full-fledged Autobot.  Ratchet is probably favorite; he’s composite of his G1, Movie, & Animated forms with the Animated traits being the most prominent which is good since I loved watching that old cranky medic-bot in TFA.  He also shares my views on the human characters, which I’ll get to in a moment.

There are only three real Decepticons, Megatron, Starscream, & Soundwave and only Screamer is worth talking about.  I don’t like him, his design is bad, they should’ve stuck with Tom Kenny because Steve Blum isn’t a good choice, and he didn’t do that much except standing around and look menacing.  Okay so he killed Cliffjumper in the first episode, big deal.  Animated Starscream successfully planted a bomb on Megatron that lead to his temporary death, terrorized Detroit, and overpowered all the main Autobots in his show’s opening mini-series.

The main humans (like other things in this show) are a real step down from Animated.  The main human is Sam Witwicky-I mean Peter Parker-I mean Jack Darby.  Seriously, this character is just Sam from the Bay movies with a different and being voiced by Josh Keaton doesn’t help from being anything besides a cliché.  He even goes on the whole “This is not my war” stuff Sam said in the movies.  Then there’s Rafael Esquivel, a 12 year old prodigy who is not just able to hack into any computer but can also understand Bumblebee’s beeps.  Seriously he’s teetering onto Gary Stu levels, no human can be this good.  Unless it’s revealed he’s part Cybertronian, which then I’ll yell “RIP-OFF ARTIST” since guess which other TF cartoon did that?  And then there’s Miko…  (BANGS HEAD ON DESK)  Fuckin’ Miko.   (BANGS HEAD ON DESK)  Yeah, I don’t like her.  You see, Sari from TFA is probably my favorite human (using the terms loosely in her case) ally in the Transformers franchise.  But when I first saw her, I had my skepticism about her because a character like her might end up being annoying.  Thanks to good writers who knew when and when not to use her in each story, character development, and Tara Strong’s performance, I loved her.  Miko is what she might’ve been with different writers to the point she can be the antithesis of Sari.  Like Not-Impulse, every time she talks, I want to see bad stuff happening to her.  I actually cheer for the Decepticons to squish that annoying thrill seeking load of pointlessness and I’m usually an Autobot person.  There is one another human worth mentioning, Agent Fowler: a government agent voiced by Ernie “Ghostbusters” Hudson who oversees the Autobots on Earth.  All he did was yelling at the Autobots like the police chief in a buddy-cop movie, get captured by the Decepticons, and get tortured by Starscream which causes him to lose consciousness & spout non sequiturs which ruins any tension they try to set up.

The action scenes are decent, it imitates the ones in the movies but there are two that I want to mention: the scenes in episode 4 where Optimus & Ratchet fight their way through hoards of zombie Transformers and the final battle between Optimus Prime & Megatron in part 5.  That last one was great because for the first time in over 20 years we see in animated form a confrontation between Cullen’s Prime & Welker’s Megatron and the animation was at its best.

Final Word: Less than meets the eye.  The series resumes in February, maybe there’s hope.

Adventure Time With Finn & Jake: A show that was supposed to go to Nick back in 2007 after its crazy awesome pilot was made but never seized the opportunity.  Instead Cartoon Network picked it up and became their first success of the year.  The plot (from what I’ve made out) is about Finn (a human boy) and his friend/”brother” Jake (a shape shifting dog) and the adventures they have in the Land of Ooh.  With nonsensical plots and fluid animation, this proves to be a fun show for any age.

Voice acting is pretty good, with voice acting veteran John DiMaggio as Jake and the young Jeremy Shada as Finn.  Tom Kenny voices the main recurring villain of the show, the Ice King and it’s always nice hearing Hynden Walch’s voice again.  And on top of that, there have been several guest voices like George Takei, Paul Reubens, & Lou Ferrigno.

But I have a couple minor issues: the second season isn’t as good as the first season, something feels off in terms of comedic timing.  Apparently someone left the show between seasons and I guess he had something to do with it.

Another that bothers me is the character of Marceline the Vampire Queen, character introduced in the preview episode that CN aired before the official premiere.  Apparently the talkback for it on ToonZone was filled with members proclaiming their love for her that teeters on disturbing a bit too much that led to it being locked.  I’ve seen the episodes with her so far and I ask her fans, what’s her appeal?  The other two episodes she appeared didn’t really entertain me, in fact I refer to her most recent appearance as “Bored Out of My Mind-osphere” because how slow and unusually straightforward the plot is for this show.  I can’t say she’s “sexy” since the art style of this show doesn’t really give any kind of detail to apply to that kind of appearance.  I mean yeah she’s voiced by Vanessa Doofenshmirtz and she can play the guitar but other than that she comes off as boring compared to the boy adventurer raised by dogs, a shape shifting dog that sounds like Bender, a scientist princess made of bubble gum, a princess kidnapping ice wizard, the girl made of clouds who talks like she’s from the valley.  I’d go as far as label her as the female equivalent to Edward Cullen.

You may fire when ready, Gridley.

Final Word: MATHEMATICAL!  SHMOZOW!  SLAMACOW!  REAGANOMICS!

"Come on gang, the plot is here somewhere!"

Scooby Doo Mystery Inc.: Ugh.

(TAKES OFF GLASSES AND PINCES THE BRIDGE OF NOSE)

Sigh…

2nd most overrated cartoon of 2010. (Panty & Stocking being the 1st)

I mean, the first episode was great and set up this darker, more realistic, (but not gritty) depiction of Scooby and the gang.  Instead we get this badly written teen dramedy that’s the worst thing to happen to this franchise since Flim-Flam.  And yes, I called this badly written, as in that somehow a Scooby Doo cartoon actually somehow gotten worse than it can be.  Look, I enjoy the old Scooby Doo shows, they’re kitschy childhood memories.  This show borders on childhood rape for me and it’s all to blame on time & story consuming shipping story.  Between Daphne trying to get Fred to notice her as more than a friend and the romantic plot tumor that is the Velma/Shaggy/Scooby triangle, despite having mystery in the title, the mystery gets the shaft in terms as story so much that Scooby’s Creek would be a better title for this show.  It’s been 13 episodes and we still don’t know much about Mr. E except he manage to employ people despite not knowing his identity or what became of the original Mystery Inc except their mascot is locked up.  It seems that in terms of writing it’s relationships first, story arc second, and mystery of the day third.

As a big fan of Velma, I can’t stand what’s this show has done to her.  She’s a controlling, whiny, forceful, bi-polar, little bitch that hardly shows the traits she originally have.  Seriously, she tried to change how Shaggy acts, if she can’t accept him for who he is, than she doesn’t really love him as she does just desperate a boyfriend.  And for that matter, why are they together?  What do they see in each other?  When did they get together?  Show, don’t tell people.

And speaking of, the mysteries are both terrible & half-assed, and make pine for the original formula.  There’re always two suspects, one who obviously not and the other that shows up halfway through the story that turns out to be the monster.  There’s no real foreshadow or clues the gang find to piece it together, no, hell they think it’s real.  Even though this is supposed to be in the same continuity as the original 1969 cartoon, but this incarnation of the gang is so incompetent makes the “What’s New” version look like the Bat Family. Instead, it’s the perp is the one to explain it.  And they give the biggest asspulls too, like the fashion model that just so happen to take a class in acrobatics or the old lady who manage to successfully pull off a cicada monster costume after watching a documentary.  It’s not funny, it’s lazy writing, it makes the writers look like a hack.  And they always do a variant of “meddling kids” as if it’s a clever subversion, even though that’s pointed out a million times already.  Hell, here’s each ending in a nutshell

Fred: Well gang, we trapped the Ghostbiker with our trap and we’re certain that it’s a real Ghostbiker and not some guy in a mask we trapped! Trap trap trap! ***MASK IS TAKEN OFF TO REVEAL RANDOM EXTRA #374***
Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, & Daphne: RANDOM RANDOM EXTRA #374!?!?
Fred: TRAPPITY TRAP TRAP!?!?
Random Extra #374: Yes, the Ghostbiker is really me, Random Extra #374 who only had one prior scene! McGreedy’s company drove my parents’ out of business so I had to get my revenge. Fortunately, despite being a teenager, I already took an advanced motor’s class, read something online about pyrotechnics, and know about the legend. I also got the mask from my cousin who owns a costume store and…
Nostalgia Critic & Casper (WHILE RANDOM EXTRA IS STILL TALKING): Exposition, exposition! Rush it out ASAP!
Random Extra #374: And I would’ve gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for you… You… Uh…
(CUT TO THE WRITERS’ OFFICE)
Writer #1: I think we used up all the alternate phrases for meddling kids.
Writer #2: Why don’t we have him say meddling kids just this once?
Writer #1: BECAUSE WE’RE TRYING TO BE CLEVER DAMNIT! [REFRAIN] Wait, I got it!
(CUT BACK TO RANDOM EXTRA)
Random Extra #374: You meddli-
(GETS PUNCHED OUT BY SHERIFF STONE)
Sheriff Stone: ALRIGHT! GET SOME!
(THE GANG STARES AT STONE)
Sheriff Stone: I mean, take ’em away, boys. I’m heading back to the Clam.
Fred: And that’s another mystery we solved, gang!
Daphne: Oh Fred, you’re so smart!
Fred: At making traps, right?
Daphne: … Yeah, that.
Velma: Oh Shaggy, how about you and me celebrate inside the Mystery Machine?
Shaggy: Velma, like, I don’t how to tell you this but I had a restraining order for you. Like, you’re not suppose to be within a 100 yards of me.
Velma: What?
(VELMA GETS HAULED OFF BY THE POLICE)
Velma: Shaggy, you spineless hippie, I hate you and your stupid dog! I love you! Call me!
(BEAT)
Scooby: And she used to be a nice girl, too.
(CUT TO A MONITOR WATCHED BY MR. E)
Mr. E: What a bunch of fucking idiots.

And finally, there’s the character of Fred’s dad, Mayor Jones; I hate his guts.  This guy is scum, so much scum that both the Democrat & Republican parties would refuse him to join.  Hell the Reform party would turn him down.  This guy constantly tries to profit off of almost every monster regardless of the damage to the town.  May I remind you that two of the monsters wrecked buildings and another turned kids into goblins(God that episode was the first Scooby Doo episode to insult my intelligence).  Imagine if he was the mayor of Springwood.

Mayor Jones: Well everybody, just because a child killer that was burnt alive by the parents of Elm Street has come back as a ghost and killing their children in their dreams where the parents can’t protect them, doesn’t mean it will harm our revenue stream!  Freddy Krueger t-shirts, Freddy Krueger tours, lay in the bed that Lantz kid was killed in!

What a piece of crap.

Final Word: Screw this show and the Mystery Machine it drove in on.

I need something to cheer me up…

Oh hell yeah!  This show is just what I need!

Come back here tommorow as I cover Regular Show, MAD, Robotomy, the second coming of Futurama, & my what I think of  Sym-Bionic Titan now.  ‘Till then, peace

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Comments
  1. Dragonpiece says:

    Very nice post, I enjoyed it.

  2. NeonSpaceman says:

    Mystery Inc is disappointing. I thought I was gonna love it based on the sneak peek, what with it’s promise of a story arc, which made me think there would be actual character development… like, y’know, Velma actually growing up from her clingy bitch phase and making her relationship with Shaggy actually work. I was wrong; it isn’t all that different from every other Scooby Doo in existence… except it’s worse because it pretends to be different.

    Panty & Stocking seems really stupid to me. Is that seriously how Japan views the works of Genndy and Craig?

  3. From how I see it, Panty and Stocking is a Japanese take on American adult animated series. Either that, or they just wanted to take on a typical American art style. Who knows: the entire crew admitted to be drunk off their asses when lying the groundwork for the series. Still shocked that P&S went from the most hated show on the internet to the most beloved overnight (am I really that oblivious?).

    I agree completely with your views on Transformers: Prime and Adventure Time. The former just feels like an animated version of the Michael Bay films, while the latter has what is an incredibly overrated character in Marceline. And your parody of a typical Mystery Incorporated ending is funny as hell. Can’t wait to read your next post.

  4. Kieran Pertnav says:

    I disagree with you, I feel like Season 2 of Adventure Time is better then ever. I think the person who left was Spongebob’s Derek Drymon, a very talented cartoonist to be sure, but his shoes were filled almost immediately by Flapjack’s Thurop Van Orman, who is a much better fit for the show, since he’s more in tune with the weirder, more psychotic elements, and also because he worked with most of the crew on Flapjack. \

    I do agree with you on Marceline however. I think she’s overrated AS A CHARACTER. I didn’t care too much for Evicted or Henchman. However, I loved nightosphere, not for Marceline, who was her usual self, but for the gags. Marceline’s dad was funny, Marceline’s song was deliciously random, the facial expressions and awkward sex jokes were all there, and dad’s final transformation into a huge frog egg/vagina monster was fantastically twisted. Plus the episode was topped off with some great cameos by LSP and Jake. Plus, there are great episodes like Power Animal and The Eyes that are just plain funny all the way through. I think Season 2 is way better than season 1, which, while perhaps a little bit (and just a little bit) more structured and better paced, just plain wasn’t as funny.

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