[TV/Horror] Buffy The Vampire Slayer – 20th Anniversary

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the first airing of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”. I got into it sometimes in September of 1997, as it was part of the late Saturday night programming on one of the French TV free-to-air channels. I did not know back then that is was inspired or an attempt to revive the story of a 19XX movie also called “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, that have similar plot line but for some reasons never went over in Europe or at least never got the exposure it needed. Up until now I did not watch that movie maybe because I could not find the opportunity to put my hands on or perhaps because I am reluctant to watch a cheesy teen-movie from the 80s? I don’t know but lets refocus our attention to the TV series.

At first, I thought it would be just another series, a improbable collision between “Beverly Hills 90210” and vampire themed TV series. Turns out I was wrong and got hooked to it for almost all of the seasons (although I started to let it go by the end of Season 6 for some reasons). The story plot maybe simple but yet it quickly grows in by the characters: the story starts as we follow Buffy Sommers (played by Sarah-Michelle Gellar) and her mother Joyce moving in Sunnydale, a typical Californian suburbia. Things starts pretty mellow as she got introduced to her high-school and things start already to look interesting: Buffy comes in with a probation from her previous school as we was found guilty of arson (she burnt down a whole gym to kill off vampires). This curious detail is rapidly followed by her introduction to Giles, the school librarian. He somehow was aware of her coming and welcomed her with a big old book written “Vampyr” on it, mentioning she maybe surely interested to read into it.

We are also introduced one by one to what will become the “Scooby Gang”, an hodgepodge of various characters very similar to the “Breakfast Club”. All different representative of the teenage tribes: the cheerleader (Cordelia, played by Charisma Carptenter), the nerdy girl (Willow, played by Alisson Hannigan), the dropout student (Xander, played by Alexander Lavelle), the weird but cool guy working on his garage band (Oz, played by Seth Greene) and the mysterious and handsome stranger (Angel, played by David Boreanaz).

The pilot quickly transition from a teenage TV series straight into vampire hunt during the concert scene at “The Bronze”, the local hang-out bar for teenagers. This is where a couple of vampires started an attack on the public and Buffy reveals her true power: a vampire slayer, knowing how to fight (Gellar holds some Tae-Kwan-Doo belt) and give them their death wish with a spike straight into the heart.

All these different ingredients made the series great: the main character was a teenage girl, away from the “blonde stereotype” knowing to kick butts and impale vampires. She had everything to be popular and yet she is an outcast, gravitating around her small circle of friends and her duty as a Chosen one. Buffy struggles to conciliate her school life and her professional life and surely brings on the parallel with many students trying to transition into adulthood by combining part-time jobs and academic performance.

Buffy was indeed a remarkable icon of what many GenX-ers were ongoing back then, growing in a single parent family, dealing with popularity in school and not fitting into the mold. Transitioning from teenage years to adulthood and the turbulences going on with. It brought on some hard times about feelings of love (Buffy/Angel, Xander/Anja), heartbreak (Willow/Oz), death (Angel/Buffy/Joyce), not living to your parents/mentor expectations (Faith and her rebellious stance against the Order, standing by the wrong side and becoming an outcast amongst her friends for the mistakes she had done). Even the most impeccable character (Giles) had his own inner demons, his own dark secrets from his teenage years (we learned that Giles back in his teenage years was a punk dealing with occultism, enough to cause some serious damage).

 But certainly one of the best moment by its ability to break down the 4th wall was that famous episode in which Joyce (Buffy’s Mom) dies at home from an hemorrhagic stroke, right in the middle of a school day. The whole episode is about that day, no music and a clear and nervous photography bringing us as a witness of the moment. We are here, watching Joyce dead and seeing Buffy frantically try to revive her, calling 911, and getting to learn the abrupt news from the doctor: her Mom is dead. Facing death in your teenage years is not easy, facing one of your parent’s death is even less easy. Facing your only parent’s death as you are just trying to get out your teenage years is simply heartbreaking and we as the audience see one of the most gentle character left us without any chance to say goodbye.

What what also great was the inclusion of many things, little details about what we go through during our adolescence. For instance, the opening credentials was performed by Nerf Herder. Rock and its different iterations (punk, metal, alternative, indie….) was the common music playlist for many GenXers and was acting as an inclusive media into the Buffy-verse. But it was not only the opening sequence, it was also part of the social life in that universe. For instance, Joss Whedon was ensuring to use “The Bronze” local concert as a link to reality inviting small rock bands to perform in almost each episodes.  I still remember an episode in which K’s Choice was performing at The Bronze.

Joss also allowed the exploration of different facets of a teenager’s life have to deal with: inclusion and fitting into a group, exploring his/her sexuality and even touching LGBT issues (Willow for instance moving from an heterosexual relationship with Oz into a lesbian relationship with Tara), hate and jealousy (that episode of Tara dying from the jealousy of some nerds, killing her with one of their inventions), self-destruction and suicidal tendencies (I found the character of Spike matching this very-well), path to redemption and getting back in track (Angel’s path to redemption) and ultimately performing the ultimate sacrifice (when Buffy jumps into the vortex in one of a Season finale, giving her life for the sake of the whole humanity).

Rarely such TV series marked a whole generation (especially the GenX generation) as Buffy and even after all these years it shines into my psyche on how this TV series helped me move on into my transition from teenage into adulthood.

[TV/Sci-Fi] Star Trek 50th Anniversary: How I learned to stop worrying and love being a Trekkie.

As 2016 closes to end with its many tumultuous and tragic toll over this year, I wanted to also highlights some of the good things that happened on a personal level this year. One of them is discovering “Star Trek” through watching “Star Trek The Original Series” as 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the original series on NBC.
For a long time now since my initial exposure to Star Trek universe when I was a kid, the airing of the original (remastered) episodes on BBC America provided a plato how I learned to stop worrying and love being a new member of the Trekkie family. As I am finished up binging on the original series (I am in the almost done with the first-half of Season 3, watched the original movie and the two JJ Abrams movies), I thought it would be great to put that into a blog and why I think Star Trek surpasses Star Wars in many aspects, at least based on my binge level and current knowledge of the lore.
My first experience of Star Trek was maybe when I was 3-4 years old, when the series was aired on some French public TV channel. I was intrigued but quickly stopped by my Dad skepticism about the seriousness of the series, impersonated by Spock Vulcan trait (in other words his pointed ears). So this eagerness was stopped and stayed latent until now, as I moved into Star Wars and fueled by the misconception that Star Trek was boring. This I feel define the rivalry between team Star Wars and team Star Trek.
Indeed both are different and addressing two distinct philosophies: the former is highly impregnated by religion and beliefs (indeed Buddhism, Zen and other religions have highly influenced Georges Lucas) whereas the later is driven by logic, skepticism and critical thinking (that I guess why Star Trek is highly popular amongst scientists and also a trademark of Gene Roddenberry humanism). It is also driven by their very distinct plot development: the former constitutes a clever blending of sword & buckler (lightsabers) and Western (the famous Han solo cantina duel) whereas the later prone the diplomacy approach before the use of violence (even there, the crew use their phasers on stun mode) to solve a hard-time situation. This lack of action in the latter is probably why folks often chastise Star Trek as a boring series due to its lack of action (the first Star Trek Original Motion Picture was indeed exemplifying this stereotype).
However, “Star Trek – TOS” provide a much richer environment than Star Wars although being 10 years older than then Star Wars. In Star Trek, we are not dealing with the Star Wars skeleton crew. We are dealing with a whole navigating team, each with their own expertise, pros and cons. We have Captain James “Jim” P. Kirk (played by William Shatner), a charismatic and womanizing ship captain, seconded by Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy), a Vulcan science officer and champion of logic. Contrasting with Spock personality, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (played by DeForest Kelley) provides the mercurial and hard-boiled doctor, using any of the situations to verbally joust with Spock.
In addition, we have key elements that made the series very innovative by its cultural inclusiveness and progressive views:

  • Lt. Nyota Uhura (played by Nichelle Nichols), a Afro-American woman in place of the key communication officer.
  • Lt. Hikari Sulu (played by Georges Takkei) as a Japanese helm officer. Sulu is the man behind the “USS Enterprise” maneuver into warp drive, putting the defenses on and firing phasers and torpedoes against hostile encounters.
  • Ensign Pavel Chekov (played by Walter Koenig) a Russian second-in pilot
  • Lt. Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (played by James Doohan), easily recognized by its strong Scottish accent, key engineer that have the spaceship “USS Enterprise” run in good hands. He is the man behind the transporter that made Star Trek as it is.\
  • Nurse Christine Chapel (Majet Barett, Roddenberry love affair and second wife), assistant to McCoy and Spock secret lover.Aside from taking (limited) control of the ship during absence of Kirk, none of them are dispensable (unlike Star Wars in which almost everyone knows how to fight and fly the Falcon Millennium). Almost each episodes of Star Trek is centered about the discovery of a novel planet and its inhabitants or around a spaceship encounters. This is what I love about Star Trek: they don’t go blindly into a planet. They scan it, study it, define its composition and identify any presence of living beings. Even after living beings, the crew stands on a strong ethos driven the Prime Directive: do not interfere with the population technology or beliefs. Observe and limit interactions. Sounds sciencey no? It is. Many things that are appearing in Star Trek have crossed the science-fiction into the science: the use of miniature storage device that almost look like flash drives, the health monitoring system in sick bay that is now a common device in every hospitals….There are things that still into the science-fiction realms like the Tricorder, the propulsion system called warp drive…..The Original Series spans on 79 episodes split in three seasons. Overall most of them are interesting but there are also inequalities: some are excellent, some are just kind of a reheated episode, some are completely weird or infamously bad.

    These are some of the greatest episodes that i recommend to watch. Season 1 is certainly one of the best season as there are many episodes that made my favorite list:
    Season 1 (1966-1967):
    – S01E04: “The Naked Time”. In this episode, the crew is investigating the death of a federation outpost, only to be contained by a transmissible parasite that makes the crew hallucinating and schizophrenic.
    – S01E05: “The Enemy Within”. A damn good episode! One of the few written by Richard Matheson (you may heard his name as a screenwriter for many “The Twillight Zone” episodes and “I Legend”). In this episode, a malfunction in the transporter results in having Kirk personality split into two Kirks: the good-hearted Kirk and the evil-minded Kirk. This is the episode in which Kirk appears completely insane!
    –  S01E07 “What Are Little Made Of”. In this episode, the crew investigates a distress call from Dr. Roger Korby, an exobiologist that is also Nurse Chapel long lost finance. He has been working on creating humanoids replicas and try to use the Enterprise as a vehicle for dominating the world.
    – S01E10 “The Corbomite Maneuver”. In this episode, the crew face an encounter with ah alien spaceship, putting the crew into a nerving mouse-and-cat game.
    – S01E11-E12 “The Menagerie”. Based on an unaired pilot repurposed in this 2-part episode. It sees Spock mutiny decision to follow Captain Pike’s order, former USS enterprise commander.
    – S01E14 “Birds Of Prey”. This is the first episode that introduce us to the Romanian faction, one of the faction at war with the Federation. It is also has this classical feeling of chivalry that was noted in WW1 air and sea battles.
    – S01E16 “The Galileo Seven”. This episode is one of the most stressful as Spock and the team are stranded on a transport shuttle crashed into an hostile environment, fighting form their survival and trying to get back into the Enterprise.
    – S01E18 “Arena”. This is probably one of the classical episode that looks weird and outdated but yet fascinating. In this episode, Kirk and the captain of a hostile spacecraft (a paper-mache reptile) are put on a planet with only their intelligence and natural resources to develop lethal weapons, as only one will leave this place alive.
    – S01E22 “Space Seed”. This is an important episode as it introduces us to “Khan”, one of most fearsome foe of the Star Trek Universe.
    – S01E23 “A Taste Of Armageddon”. Thats another great episode by the political meanings. The Enterprise crew arrive in a planetary system that appears thriving and  peaceful, only to see that a 500-year war has been running between two factions. A virtual war but with deadly civilian tolls, as each faction have to disintegrate its own civilians as “collateral damage”.
    – S01E25 “Devil in the Dark”. This is the episode that was used in one video made from someone of my home region, using a vernacular regional German dialect (Alsatian), with a creature (referred in the parody as “la merde de l’espace”) that terrorise a mining company. One of these weirdest episode highlighted by Spock mind-melding with the creature.
    – S01E26 “Errand Of Mercy”. Not a great episode but worth in the list as it is the first episode to introduce the Klingons (their appearance and language will greatly differ in the subsequent iterations).
    – S01E28 “The City on the Edge of Forever”. Certainly one of the best episode due to its dramatic tense. Following an accidental injection, a delusional McCoy beams himself into a planet hosting a time-travel portal transporting him, Kirk and Spock into the 1930s depression-era. Kirk and Spock faces not only the dilemma hold by the Prime directive but also the consequence of saving someones death on the historical timeline.

    Season 2 (1967-1968):
    Season 2 was also very good but some episodes have this feeling of “deja-vu” by using a plot already explored. These are my favorite Season 2 episodes in my list:
    – S02E04 “Mirror, Mirror”: Another great epidote in which a disturbance in the transporter beam leads to a mix-up between two parallel universes, sending Kirk and its teammates in which the Federation is more like a pirate and terrorizing organization.
    – S02E06 “The Doomsday Machine”. Another favorite episode. In this episode, the Enterprise faces a huge doomsday machine that is fueling on planets and galaxies that he swallows. He sees the demise of an another spacecraft and captain that will make the ultimate sacrifice as a ship’s captain.
    – S02E10 ” Journey To Babel”. A unique episode as it brings various races of the Federation into the Enterprise, in particular Spock’s parents. All on a “whodunit” intrigue as well as a unique father-son relationship makes this episode unique and original.
    – S02E15 “The Trouble with Tribbles”. THE episode with the fur balls!
    – S02E16 “The Gamesters of Triskelion”. One of the action-packed episode seeing Spock, McCoy and Kirk becoming gladiators.
    – S02E17 “A Piece of The Action”. What would Star Trek would like if it took place in the 1920’s Chicago prohibition-era? Well this episode!
    – S02E21 “Patterns of Force”one of these episodes using a planet as a mirror to human history, in particular to something looking like the Nazi Germany. Worth the seeing.
    – S02E24 “The Ultimate Computer”. Before computers were even outside, this episode had this visionary feels as it predicts the danger of considering any computer devices as fool-proof, devoid of any “bugs”. Wargames’ WOPR or Terminator’s Skynet anyone?
    – S02E26 “Assignment: Earth”. An odd but fun episode, playing with Star Trek colliding with modern-day (1967-69) Earth, straight in the line of “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” (S01E19) episode.
    Season 3 (1968-1969):
    Season 3 in my opinion started to go into weird direction, brining some of the worst episodes and maybe explaining why the series was plugged off. This seasons feels like a roller-coaster as it feels an a succession of “yeah” and “meh” episodes. Here are some of the best and worst episodes that I was given to see:
    – S03E01 “Spock’s Brain”. The worst episode in my opinion, just look at the plot: A lost civilization sent a woman into the Enterprise, put everyone to sleep to steal Spock’s brain. Not only Spock remains alive without a brain, even better McCoy find a way to make a remote-controlled Spock!
    – S03E02 “The Enterprise Incident”. Maybe of the best of that season, in which Kirk and Spock decide to stealthy steal a Romanian technology. One of the few times Spock kicks away his logic and use his seduction to the female Romulian ship captain  to plot the theft. When James Bond collides with Star Trek, it makes one interesting episode.
    – S03E03 “The Paradise Syndrome”. Another terrible episode in which Kirk becomes amnesic and fall in love with a Native-American like indigenous inhabitant and becomes a God-like symbol.
    – S03E05 “Is There in Truth No Beauty”. Another terrible episode in which Kollos, a Medusean ambassador is locked into a box due to transportation, any human seeing Kollos (in other words the inside content of that box) become insane before dying. I never knew that psychedelic visuals would make someone to die, unless you are on LSD. I guess that was maybe the message behind that episode “Don’t do drugs”.
    – S03E07 “Day Of The Dove”. Thats another great episode in which Kirk and a rival Klingon ship have to work together to fight a common enemy, an energy-made creature feeding on anger and violence.
    -S03E08 “For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”. Not a great episode but worth mentioning as it has the only episode in which McCoy have a love affair with a priestess from a drifting spaceship turned into an asteroid.
    – S03E09 “The Tholian Web”. One of the darkest episode. As Kirk investigates the wreckage of USS Valiant, the crew faces multiple challenges that put them into the most challenging situation: a disease that makes crew members bezerk, Captain Kirk declared dead by Spock only to be found lost into another dimension running low on oxygen, the attack of a Tholian fleet resulting in major casualties and mechanical damage, putting Spock and McCoy into the most tense decisional fight in decision making.
    – S03E10 “Wink of an Eye”. A very boring episode in which Captain Kirk moves at the speed of light following the incursion of some aliens inside his ship. The only noteworthy moment in my opinion is when Captain Kirk went the extra mile, above the call of duty with the female alien :p.
    – S03E11 “Eylaan of Troyius”. An interesting but also weird episode, with Kirk having to discipline a tin-foil clad but spoiled princess and a sabotage by some Klingons. We knew Kirk was a womanizer but making up with a princess-bride was priceless.
    – S03E12 “Whom God Destroys”. An overall okay episode taking place in a space asylum taken by Garth of Izard, a former Starlet captain turned psychopath (and capable to take others apparence). What make this episode very interesting? Two things: seeing the false Captain Kirk getting loco as Scott refuses to beam him inside the Enterprise, the cruauty of Garth that does not hesitate to let suffocate Marta (her love affair from Orion) by exposing her to deadly poisonous gases but also to explode her alive remotely all on the prime-time screen.
    – S03E14 “The Mark of Gideon”. A bizarre episode in which the Enterprise try to establish diplomatic contact with the habitants of the Gideon Planet. The only problem is that such planet is overpopulated by mute folks in spandex moving using Brownian movement. Choosing Kirk for helping to control the population is certainly sarcastic.
    – S03E19 “Requiem For Methuselah”. I liked this episode as it has some Twillight Zone twist to it. The Enterprise is beamed down a planet to harvest and extract some ryetalyn to treat some a Rigelian fever outbreak (I wonder if there is any association  with the Ritalin drug used for ADHD patients). At the surprise of the captain, they found two humanoids on the planet that not what they appear to be.
    – S03E20 “Way to Eden”. Oh my, this is an awful episode. Imagine hippies into space looking for their ashram and raising a mutiny inside the Enterprise. Ugh!
    – S03E21 “The Cloud Minders”. An interesting episode by its inspiration for Lando Carlissian’s cloud city of the Bespin planet. It has also a strong inspiration with Fritz Lang “Metropolis” by the social class divide (the intellectually poor are relegated to terranean surface, whereas the rich ones are living in the clouds).
    – S03E22 “The Savage Curtain”. Another interesting one, as the crew of the USS Enterprise are encountered by a replica of Abraham Lincoln, only to be forced to participate in a gladiators game similar to “Arena”. Kirk, Spock and Lincoln team with Saruk (a legend amongst Vulcan history) into a deathmatch against some of the greatest villain of Earth History including Gengis Khan and Captain Green. The second time that a rock-based alien is the center of attention.
    – S03E23 “All Our Yesterday”. This is a must-watch, one of the best episode by its darkness and probably the first time Spock showed his human emotion. The USS Enterprise is visiting a planet that has 4 hours to live before its destruction by its star that became a nova. Spock, Kirk and McCoy are beamed down into a library and greeted by the last librarian. At their surprise, the librarian tell them everybody else have left into safety (despite their lack of knowledge in rocket science and space exploration). The trio discovers the fate of its population as they are trapped in some holographic portals.
    – S03E24 “Turnabout Intruder”. The last episode before NBC cancelled the production. Also one of the worst episode of TOS franchise. Captain Kirk is visiting Camus II following a distress signal from Dr. Lester, a scientist and former Kirk love affair during its time at the Starfleet Academy. Using an ancient device, Dr. Lester traps Kirk and use it to switch minds. This episode is awfully bad essentially for the mostly misogynistic allure of it. The whole  plot is centered on Dr. Lester venality, as women are barred from becoming Starfleet Captain. Dr. Lester also use many mysogynistic techniques such as “slut-shaming”, physical and verbal violence (she tries to kill Kirk imprisoned in Dr. Lester’s body several times) and “gaslightning”.

[Manga] Saint Seiya Sanctuary 30th Anniversary

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the airing of Saint Seiya – Sanctuary from TOEI animation on Japanese TV Network based on the original manga by Masami Kurumada. It was aired in France sometimes in 1987 as “Les Chevaliers du Zodiaque” (translated as Knights of the Zodiac) and from there will spawn a huge success across Spain, Portugal and by ricocheting through Latin America.
What makes this anime so awesome? Maybe a mix of different things that I will discuss more about in debt.
First the synopsis of the series. The series take place sometimes in the present era, on the eve of the Galactic tournament gathering the best martial arts fighters from the whole world. Interestingly, most of these fighters came from the same orphanage under the patronage of Mitsumasa Kido. According to the legend, every 200 years the evil force try to conquer Earth only to be stopped by Athena and an army of valiant knights, these knights being numbered as 108, the number of constellations in the sky. In the present era, Saori Kido (the granddaughter of Mitsumasa Kido) is believed being the incarnation of Athena. The birth of Athena is not known but it appears the Grand Pope in Greece plot to assassinate her, only saved by Sagittarius Aiolos, a Gold Saint. Aiolos dies on the feet of Mitsumasa by giving her Saori and his Sagittarius cloth. Back in Japan, Kido adopt Saori as his granddaughter and set her to reign on the Graude Foundation, that is in charge of the orphanage. Interestingly enough, Saori has a relationship with many of these knights as she used to wander in the orphanage and bully some of these orphans.
As these kids raise the age of 5, Mitsumasa decide to send each of these kids around the world to train to become Bronze Saints and earn the bronze cloth. The Galactic Tournament brings back all these kids now young men to fight this tournament in order to earn the Sagittarius golden cloth. However, things are not going the way it should and will trigger a frenetic chain reaction that kept the audience blast for over 50 episodes.
What makes this series so great is perhaps the absence of a single hero by its own. Yes, there is the main protagonist, Seiya (that gave the name to the Japanese title) that under the training of Eagle Marine learn to unleash his cosmo energy, such cosmo being both an energetic and psychic force capable to inflict remote damage to its opponent. We got introduced to Seiya by the first episode as he is fighting for the Pegasus bronze cloth a giant named Cassios. As Seiya is crushed in by Cassios hands, Seiya finally unleash his cosmo and earn the Pegasus bronze armor. At the beginning, Seiya compete against his former friends until the heist of the Sagittarius armor by the Black Bronze Saints (the antithesis of the Bronze Saints) headed by Phenix Ikki (brother of Andromeda Shaun) will force them to join their force and becoming a strong team. This idea of brotherhood and friendship is the key element of Saint Seiya as they all face the challenges together in all different parts of the manga.
Maybe the differences in temper between the different characters. From the cold and distant Cygnus Hyoga (still under the trauma of his mother death, trapped by the frigid waters of Finland) to the antipathic brother Ikki contrasting with the fragile and sensible mood of Shaun. Because of these different moods and strengths of each of them, at least each child could refer to one of them.
Maybe it is the endurance and perseverance of the protagonists, ready to sacrifice their life for justice, facing each week opponents each time stronger than ever. First they defeat the Black Bronze knights, to only defeat some of the best Bronze Knights (in particular, the epic fight of Dragon Shiryu and Algol Perseus in which Shiryu blind himself to avoid petrification by Medusa shield. This was also an episode that created some controversy as Perseus did not hesitate to use his shield to transform children trying to escape into stones. Not only the team defeated all the Bronze Saints that gave their allegiance to the Grand Pope and declared Saori as heretic, they also face Silver Saints that have a more powerful armor and speed to finally face on Gold Saints represented by the twelve signs of the Zodiac.
Maybe it is also the particular atmosphere and discussion raised by some characters sexual orientation. There is a discrete but consistent homoerotism in the series that may have surely intrigued young men growing into their puberty. For instance, Shaun is harboring Andromeda Bronze cloth, an armor color dominated by pink. Shaun also has this effeminate traits giving this androgyne look (this was also resurgent with Lizard Misty  Silver Saint and APieces Aphrodites Gold Saint). There is also this particular scene that surely has shaken many boys watching it. In one episode, Hyoga is trapped into a block of ice by Aquarius Camus Gold Saint (his mentor in the manga, the mentor Crystal Saint, mentor of Hyoga in the TV version) to avoid his confrontation and ultimate death. As Hyoga is untapped from his ice coffin, Shaun decide to bring Hyoga back from hypothermia by laying naked on top of him to exchange heat. That was some bold scene for a young male to watch.
Maybe it is the music of Seiji Yokohama that brilliantly mixed classical soundtrack instrumentations with metal tones giving this winning formula. The opening sequence is simply majestic, giving the tone of the whole series. Using the main themes of Yokohama and giving to Make-Up (a J-Pop band that was strongly influenced by the rock, punk and metal scene), it literally blow your inner cosmo. Just by listening to the opening, you realize how terrible anime opening and ending credits have become in 30 years. Just by watching it, you feel like to watch the whole series. This was not exclusive to Saint Seiya as a lot of anime of that period aimed to Shonen (young boys) were having this rock and rebel feel

The ending sequence is as well refined, as well by Make-Up and named “Forever Blue”

After the end of Sanctuary, TOEI decided to branch out and followed a non-canon direction with the second part by creating “Asgard” taking the Bronze Saints into the Scandinavian frozen lands and exploring the Nordic mythology, whereas the third chapter came back to the canon with “Poseidon”, this time a confrontation of Poseidon (impersonated by Julian Solo) and his Marine Generals.

I followed up to Saint Seiya Hades and Elysion in which the Bronze Knights fights off the army of Hades and reaches the Elysion to fight over deities. I kind of lost interest when the latest chapter “The Lost Canvas” explore the previous Holy War that took place 200 years before the original.

The anime has probably aged badly but definitively worth to be watched if you ever have chance. I am pretty sure you can grab some Mexican copies under the name of “Caballero Del Zodiaco” and I strongly recommended the original Japanese with english subtitles (Spanish worked very well for me, as I could translate some words into French and get the sense).

[TV/Horror] The Walking Dead Season 1-6 feedback and thoughts.

I admit, I have been late, very late on catching on the Walking Dead frenzy. So late that it took me this summer to hang and binge watch 6 years worth of the Walking Dead seasons in less than 6 weeks. But thanks to AMC “The Walking Dead” marathons ran every Sundays this summer, I caught it. I still have to catch “TWD” Comic book series but dang, it was worth it. So much for me to catch and hang on a TV serie, the last one that I hanged on from beginnning to end was……Lost. I guess there are several elements of Lost narrative that are also present in the TWD.
I am not gonna spoil that much on TWD but there will be elements of the six seasons discussed. You are warned.
First, the walkers, the rotten, the crawlers….in other words the living dead. They are the closest of the orginal living dead from Georges A. Romero’s “Night of The Living Dead”. Flacid, slow, flesh-eating creatures that are only ghosts of their former past life. Those bitten by them are also becoming part of the living dead as well. They are devoid of any feelings, any memories and solely relying on their reptilian brain. Indeed, this has became the main method to kill them (by stabbing a knife straight throught the temporal lobe). Again, as in the “Night of the Dead”, we dont know the origin of the outbreak, although at the end of the season 1, as Dr. Edwin Jenner (I guess it is not a coincidence he shares similar name than Edward Jenner, the inventor of the vaccination process), one former scientist of the CDC implies it is a viral infection that is present in every person. Such virus is spreading fast and transform the outbreak into an unsustainable mass extinction, enough to overrun the National Guards.
The starting of Season 1 really felt a lot like “28 days later…” as Rick Grimes (portrayed by Andrew Lincoln) wakes up from a coma to only find a deserted place in chaos. As Rick wanders around, we discover the gravity of the situation and met Morgan, the first survivor we witness as Rick. Morgan also will become a redudant character through the six seasons as we see him loosing his mind to better come back to sanity after his encounter with Eastman. The wandering of Rick in Atlanta streets on a horseback ride was surrealistic, as he will meet Glenn and seal one of the pillar of TWD. Glenn, an Asian-American, strongly remembers me from Romero’s main hero that was an antipode of the classical white man savior. Glenn is certainly the voice of reason and patience of the group that certainly made him one of my favorite character.
It seems that each season will bring one essential pillar to the team.
Rick becomes by default the leader of the group by default, without asking for it. Same that Jack Shepard from “Lost” did by the middle of the first season. He helps the small group of survivors located into a building in Downtown Atlanta to escape, not without leaving Merle (Darryl’s brother) handcuffed on the rooftop without the key to unlock his cuffs. As we progress through, Rick found his wife Lorie now in bed with Shane, his workmate and best friend that once saved his life during the intervention that sent Rick into a comatose. Tensions flare progressively between Rick and Shane for his wife and Carl, his son. This season also learn us a very dramatic and redudant thematic of TWD: the double grievance of seeing one of your dearests dying before your eyes and also the killing of their reincarnation as a living dead. This is certainly what makes the serie so captivating as you get sentimentally attached to many of these characters, making their separation much harder (this is why I speculate it is Eugene that will eat Negan’s baseball bat at the beginning of Season 7, unless the writers are complete jerks ready to infuriate the hardcore fans).
As the seasons go, we end up in a central location that will make the central theme of the season. In Season 1, it is Atlanta and the camp outside it, in season 2 it is Hershel’s farm, in Season 3 and 4 it is the Prison and Woodbury, in Season 5 it is the Terminus and Gabriel’s Church and in Season 6 it is Alexandria.
We see solid characters building tough to the situation such as Carol and Carl, we see hard-boiled men keeping on their principles such as Abraham and Darryl, we see fearless characters becoming human such as Michonne. We see characters that went into Hell and back as Morgan, but we also see characters forging a toughness without sacrifying their humanity such as Glenn and Maggie couple.
All brings this idea that the group finally found a safe haven in which they will be resting and possibly thrive, to only see their hope fading away in flames and torn apart by the walkers. It is probably an allegory of life in which we only learn to savior the comfort of our lives only to be taken by a natural disaster. This is one thing that this serie made me appreciate is to cherish any time of the day because it may vanish within a glimpse of a moment.
One of the remarkable aspect I have to admit is the impressive job done by the decoration and photography, that has made the post-apocalyptic environment so realistic you would expect. It we had some outbreak tomorrow that would shut down the society as we know it, we would be something similar to this.
A thematic that is also present is this idea of tribalism and clanism. We consider it in our modern society as an obsolete and archaic concept of primitive society. Yet, it becomes the essential aspect of survival. Look at Hershel’s family, the Governor’s town, the Terminaliens, the communities of Alexandria and Hilltop and finally Negan’s Saviors and the forecoming Ezekiel’s kingdom. Some are into insane cultism (as the Terminus reverted to cannibalism as their method of survival), herd survivalism (the cops holding in Atlanta’s Gray Memorial Hospital) to the closest form of democracy (Alexandria is appeared the closest of a semblant of democracy).
There are sometimes we feel the writers lost in their writings leading to a lot of empty periods broke only by intense final seasons and new seasons. In particularly I really felt a major chunk of Season 4 and a good half of Season 5. It reminds a lot what we experienced with the hatch and the early Dharma experiment.
Well, now I am back on track I cannot wait on TWD premiere in October and also giving a try to “Fear The Walking Dead” that leaves the Peach state for the arid region of Tijuana and the American-Mexican border.