Friday, November 28, 2014

ANI-MOVIES, *Big Hero 6

Disney decided to take their own crack at a Marvel comic, but instead of live-action they went with their non-Pixar animation department to make a full-length big budget movie. Even though the comics themselves have only really had about two mini-series, Disney went ahead and remade them in the more "Americanized" anime style similar to Teen Titans and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Set in the fictional city of "San Fransokyo" which is some kind of Japanese-themed American metropolis, and young genius Hiro spends his time in underground mini-robot battles. His older brother Tadashi convinces him to instead attend the local nerd college, especially after meeting his quirky classmates. So Hiro creates a special swarm of microbots for the entrance exam/science fair that can unite to form any shape as thought be who is wearing a mental headband. But as typical in most Marvel stories, a fire breaks out in the lab during Hiro's presentation, and seemingly takes the life of Tadashi as well as his teacher, Professor Callaghan. After a bit of grieving, Hiro reactivates Tadashi's blow-up medical android he made just before he died by the name of Baymax which looks like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man merged with the Michelin Man. Hiro then discovers through one of his remaining microbots that a masked nameless villain is controlling an entire swarm of them, and has them poised to commit some major crimes. Barely escaping from the "man in black", Hiro brings together the rest of his future classmates from Tadashi's school to help him take down this masked menace. The team consists of the sentimental Wasabi who makes some laserblades for himself, Go Go and her giant-wheeled rollerskates, quirky Honey Lemon that uses a special purse that manufactures special orbs specifically suited for a variety of uses, and fanboy Fred who isn't a student at the school but rich pockets help supply the team with the gear they need as well as give him a special kaiju-themed mascot suit. The 6 track down the Amon-lookalike baddie, but his true identity possesses Hiro with wanting him bumped off instead of bringing him to justice. The rest of the movie has our heroes trying to stop the villain from carrying his deadly vengeance of deadly revenge, but comes to a satisfying conclusion. (P.S. Stay tuned for the post-credits bonus!)

The movie was directed by Chris Williams whose only main credit up until now was co-directing Bolt, but took a good enough hold on the production to produce an exceptionally good animated movie. There are parts that seem make Big Hero 6 like more of a Dreamworks film, but it fits well enough into the Disney warehouse. It might not appear like your typical Marvel movie, but the comic it's based on is outside the given regular comics continuity since the most of the X-Men related characters were left out. However, most generic comic geeks should appreciate it, especially if your a fan of The Incredibles!

Friday, November 14, 2014

MISC. MANGA, *Gold Digger: Edge Guard

Where the regular Gold Digger manga-styled comic book series has been Antarctic Press' biggest ongoing title, there have been several spinoff mini-series, one-shots, annuals, and other specials continuing saga with some of the main cast, but mostly the supporting and reoccurring characters. One of these was not actually released through AP but from a company spun off from them, Radio Comix. John Barrett, well known in the underground comics set for furry art, wrote and drew this story about the GD equivalent of Thundercats, but was also a sequal to a short story he did for one of the Gold Digger annuals.

Set in Earth's sister dimension known as Jade, the Edge Guard are a select group of defenders made up of heroes from each region stationed in the four corners of the realm. The northern Edge Guard is made entirely of werecats, their leader Onoli, their tech jockey Thropan, the womanizing Tirga, and the brother sister were-jaguars: Sheila and Gar. Sheila is different from other werecats as all her strength and endurance come from her human form which resembles a large amazon, and she secretly has a crush on Tirga. The team investigates the emergence of an opposing force called the Dark Edge Guard made up of fox spirits inhabiting humanoid hosts. What it actually is are some kitsune spirit orbs having been absorbed by an female vampire, and after harnessing them becomes all body-builder. With the help of the remaining kitsune and a brave halfling named Cleo, the Edge Guard topple the super-vampire, but Cleo is wounded during the fight, so Onoli uses his lycanthropy to save her by making her a were-lion. The second half deals with the repercussions of this fight, with the vampire, and a conspiracy within the fox spirit society.

All in all, Edge Guard is a good enough comic on its own, and is enjoyable without having to be too familiar with any of the other Gold Digger material prior to reading it. There are some really funny moments and nostalgic fanboy references in it, as well as exceptional artwork. It's not a full-on "furry" title, but it doesn't hurt if you appreciate that style of comic.