By: Gregory Weagle HA! I made another funnie! - Splinter, TMNT II Movie
Well it took a lot longer than I thought; but 4Kids finally released their new SmutBox.....FOXBOX lineup for the Fall of 2004 and it is now time to do a proper preview while making a lame attempt to make fun of my favorite whipping boy: The FOXBOX...also known as the SmutBox.....also known as the Dirtbox. I guess I have one more editorial to write after all. YAY!! Well; so much for having NOTHING (and Gregory means NOTHING) to write about this year. Last year was the best year for my favorite jokegun in the sense that only The Cramp Twins and Cubix: Robots For Everyone were the worst progams on earth while Sonic X, Funky Cops and Shaman King rocked my world and gave me an excuse to watch it on Saturday mornings instead of doing my fanfics. However; you cannot rest on your laurels and the fall season is approching at warp speed; so let's get some work done before I start the preview.
Let's begin with the show that have been cancelled: The Cramp Twins are officially gone! YESSSSSSSS!! The worst show in the history of television is gone from the FOXBOX. Sure it will be on YTV this summer; but that's YTV for ya. Cubix: Robots For Everyone is gone as well and thank goodness for that too. I cannot see why that show was on since it had low ratings to begin with; even Cramp Twins had fair ratings. Hey; smart people do watch stupid television. Ask anyone who's watched MXC; it's stupid but at least it was very funny. Ultimate Muscle (final mark is **** by the way; the second greatest improvement in history next to TaleSpin which went from DUD to *****. Although Kid Muscle did it a year less than TaleSpin did though.) is off as well and before you say that I killed the show due to my hatered for the show early on will you please stop. The Torjan Crown was the last episode in the entire saga of Ultimate Muscle; so the show has come to an actual conclusion. Unless 4Kids buys the rights to the first saga of Ultimate Muscle from a long time ago or there is a third saga that I'm not aware of (and that might happen); then the show is finished for good. It wasn't due to lack of ratings or lack of quality though. And sadly; the best show on the FOXBOX will also meet it's demise: Funky Cops; possability due to either low ratings or The Cramp Twins leaching off of FC's heat. My guess is that it was a bit of both. However; Funky Cops should get another half season at least so that it doesn't become another series that no one gets until its too late. However; that is television for ya...sometimes trying to be fresh can be bad. So that means Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Shaman King, Kirby Right Back At Ya! and Sonic X will all return to the FOXBOX. This is not much of a surprise since all four cartoons were really good and Shaman King's spirit unity angle hasn't run stale just yet. Kirby is currently the only animated series that has stayed the course throughout the FoxBox's life and kudos to it since it was the only good show on the FOXBOX in year one...although Ultimate Muscle improved greatly after season one and kudos to it too.
Now before I get to the previews on the new shows; I need to do a few reviews since 4Kids added two more shows before the fall lineup for the Spring and Summer lineup. I should note that anyone who is waiting for me to review WINX Club which will debut by the time you read this will have to wait until the next editorial on the FOXBOX (which probably won't be available until November or December or even January). By the time I finish this; WINX Club will only have one episode aired and it's not enough for the proper review. However; I do have some comments in the preview concerning this so it's not out of the woods yet. Anyhow; 4Kids added Marathon's Martin Mysteries (Canadian-Anime: anime elements created in Canada for those who don't know. There another phrase to add to the TaleSpin Rants Guide.) and also added a small three minute cartoon sketch based on the Incredible Crash Dummies (Who Sold Out like Brock Lesnar). So how did these shows fare.....Read on.....
[1.] Martin Mysteries: Now this show is also on YTV four days a week in the evenings (and YTV still holds the record for the best animated promos of all time.....Steam for one minute in horror sauce); so I'm very familiar with this show almost to a fault. The show is similar to a horror series in which two teenagers and one man named Martin Mystery (of course), Diana (don't remember the last name) and Java The Caveman...and please don't ask me how Java The Caveman got into this timeframe because I really don't know (If someone has an episode of Java's origins; please tell me what happened)...Their job is to solve mysteries which involve legends, monsters, the undead and a lot of zombies who have a fetish for green smile. They attend school in Sherebrook Quebec Canada and most of the mysteries take place in Canada which lends a nice touch...like another show on YTV called the boy.... (No really; that what it's called and that's how it's spelled too. I give that one *** 3/4 by the way.) Personally; I really enjoy this show; not because it was scary (because it really wasn't); but because Martin and Diana are turely funny and there actually is a way to see the differences in the characters. Unlike Marathon last Canadain-Anime attempt Totally Spies (** by the way) where all three girls looked almost alike (okay; they aren't but still) and acted alike. Martin Mysteries still suffers from the same problems that Totally Spies suffers and that is repetition (Martin tries to do something stupid, The three are summoned to a wacky lab filled with aliens and people, Mother does a stupid, but ha,ha funny experiment and gives out the assignment, Martin faces threat, Martin defeats threat, Mother/Alien Buddy congradulate them....and then repeat. It goes full circle on every episode.); however, this time since all three characters involved are so different, it at least there has been some freshening up in terms of storyline and plotline. The second problem is the overuse of anime elements and this time it's actually worse. In Totally Spies; it was limited to anime background and the eye motion. Here; it is almost like a complete anime and it is forced down our throats. Marathon should realize this: If we really wanted anime; we'd watch Sailor Moon or even the upcoming Tokyo MewMew which is ture anime instead of watching some Canadian company trying too hard to do the exact same thing. CREATE A NEW STYLE; DON'T STEAL ONE MARATHON! TaleSpin worked as the "first attempt at anime" because no one noticed (and therefore cared) that it was an attempt at anime. It still looked like an American cartoon. Plus; Walt Disney Animation Japan worked on the project with several animators who worked on actual _anime_ products and thus it has a certain amount of creditabilty on their part. Still; Martin Mysteries is a fun series to watch nevertheless and these two problems are more easily overlooked since they aren't really offensive. Not the best show on the FOXBOX; but still a far better replacement for Cubix and The Cramp Twins combined. *** 3/4
[2.] Incredible Crash Test Dummies Vignettes: I cannot believe that they did this. The famous Public Service Announcement posterboys for auto safety and seatbelts (plus the place where you can hear the late Lorenzo Music) have returned from limbo and are now involved in a series of _animated interstitials_ (That's what 4Kids calls them) which are supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, fast-paced two minute shorts. For those who don't know: The Incredible Crash Test Dummies used to be a group of real-life Crash Dummies who are controlled as puppets who would put their bodies on the line just to teach us about the dangers of not wearing your seatbelts which took place in the 1990's. It didn't matter if it was effective or not since I felt that they were at the time great role models and I never forgot to wear my seatbelt everytime I was in a car or van or truck. If the buses had seatbelts; I'd wear one there too. However; after seeing this piece of trash, I can safely say that they have become a commerical, selling-out, obscene joke. Instead of informing us about auto safety and pointing out the importance of wearing seatbelts; they've made fun of it now. There's nothing funny about what they are doing now; it's completely obscene. All these vignettes do is basically give free licence to those who say that we have the God-given right to ignore the dangers of not wearing seatbelts for the sole purpose of freedom and liberty. The worst thing about this is that the parental columns (Barbara Meltz; I looking at you!) haven't made a peep out of this stupidty. This goes to show you how hypocritical these columns are: They dedicate a whole column on condemning Fighting Foodums (as awful as that show was, make no mistake) as obscene because it makes fun of food just because the hottest topic of the day is people being overweight which will only costing up $5 billion in ten years and yet they don't even speak up when automobile collisions are the second leading cause of death next to falls,cost us $14 billion right now ($140 billion US), they don't discrinmate and the solutions are much easier to do than losing weight ever was. If I'm a parent; I'd be more worried about people not wearing their seatbelts, helmets and driving properly than weither or not they are having fun with their food or being overweight. Think about it; if we could get rid of the injuries...we could use that $14 billion/year on technologies and know how to save third world countries or even help children out of the gutter. Not to mention that it would be done in a far more effective manner than obesity. In closing; ICD was not funny and the animation sucked badly. The good news is that it is short and people hopefully will forget it. The bad new is that Safe Communities and my friend Mike LeRue will be notified of this stupidity and hopefully the FCC will crack down on this as indecent as well (I'm hedging my bets on how tough that they are on this matter; so?)....before my favorite seatbelt role models become an even bigger commerical joke. DUD
Now that those reviews are out of the way; it is now time for the previews of the brand new shows coming soon to the FOXBOX. There are four new shows coming this fall and three of them are anime; including the perfect replacement for Funky Cops, a great replacement for Ultimate Muscle and a good replacement for Cubix and The Cramp Twins...and then there is WINX Club.....Try to guess which ones are which as I start the preview. Again like last time; I'm impressed with what I see for the most part; however, there are still those question marks and they can only be answered when the shows are released this fall. So....let's begin:
Please Note: All of the material for the show is courtesy of 4Kids Entertainment's Press Release: 4Kids Entertainment Unveils All-New FOXBOX for Fall'04 from June 8th, 2004.
"The WINX Club tells the story of five fantastically fashionable teenage girls who use special powers to transform into magical fairies and save the day. Influenced by top Italian designers, the series ties together key girl topics of love, friendship, magic, music and fashion. Master toy licensee Mattel is scheduled to debut its magical line of dolls and accessories this fall. The toy line is expected to be complimented by videogames and trading cards specifically designed and engineered for girls, as well as exciting fashion, apparal, shoes, accessories, stationery and jewelry to debut in Spring 2005."
My Thoughts: When I first saw this show; the first thing that came up to my mind was that it was a way to cash in and take advantage of the Harry Potter explosion that has happened over the last five years or so. That alone is not surprising nor offensive to me as TaleSpin was considered a way to elevate sales of the Jungle Book (groan). However; after reading this, It revealed to me that this show will probably be no different from shows like Lizzy McGuire (which sucks badly), or even Mary-Kate and Ashley In Action (although that show wasn't too bad all things considered and New York Minute (look out for Frank Welker in there somewhere) was impressive if a bit mindless.) with the difference being that the characters aren't real. My main worry is that the tie-ins are going to be direct from the show which is illegal in America (although the influenced designs from Italy will not apply in this case); however, I'm sure that 4Kids will be smart as they were with Yu-Gi-Oh! and the cards. I did see the pilot episode from the show and it was all right for the most part; but it looked like the girls were treated great and the boys were treated pretty badly. However; the whole concept of this seems to point to a all-girls show which doesn't work well in past history outside of Kim Possible and this show will be competing directly with W.I.T.C.H.E.S. which will probably be even better and much tighter in script writing. I'll give WINX Club 13 episodes to prove itself and improve and if I don't see that; it will not get any higher than ** 1/2. You have been warned.
"As a young boy in a small port village, Monkey D. Luffy was inspired to become a pirate by his childhood hero "Red-Haired" Shanks. But when he accidently ate the cursed Gum-Gum Fruit, he gained the power to strech like rubber....at the cost of never being able to swim again! Despite this limitation, Luffy vowed to grow up to become king of the pirates, and find the greatest treasure of all- the pirate Gold Roger's legendary "One Piece". Created by Eiichiro Oda, ONE PIECE was introduced in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump which has a weekly circulation of three million, in 1997. ONE PIECE garphic novels in Japan have sold more than 100 million copies in 33 volumes. It has already gained a wide fan base in the U.S. through the monthly Shonen Jump magazine as well as the four graphic novels that have been released to date by VIZ, LLC. The property also boasts five theatrical releases, eight videogames, and more than $1 billion in retail sales in Japan since 1999, with more than 70 licensees producing toys, games, apparel, stationary, home furnishings, collectibles and more."
My Thoughts: Oh this does not suck !! After rumors of being with 4Kids and then with Filmnation; One Piece has finally found its new home in America on the FOXBOX and quite frankly; I'm drooling to see this one for a long time now. The most popular anime series since Dragon Ball Z and in my opinion a show that is right in line with TaleSpin's adventure and pirates theme. While the goal is pretty basic; I have read the series through Shonen Jump and I was impressed with what I saw. Now; the problem here has to do with the fact that this is anime and there is always the issues of what kind of editing 4Kids is about to do since we all know that 4Kids's editing practices are worse than Filmnation's and even Cloverway's. One Piece does have it's violent moments; but there isn't much blood and there's minimal cursing from what I read so far so it's nothing like Dragon Ball Z or Yu-Gi-Oh! However; there are plenty of distrubing moments which I will not list here (not because I'm afraid of what 4Kids is going to do; but I can only think of one and I'm not sure it was in Shonen Jump or not.). Of course; the real problem with 4Kids is their selection of voice actors and bad dialogue or excessive dialogue that will injure this series more than censorship ever will. I hope that 4Kids will show more respect with this series and not ride with mere success as a way to prop the show up. Still; I loved Shaman King, Kirby, Sonic X dubbed and Ultimate Muscle grew on me so there you go. Like I said previously; I rate what I see and hear; no more no less. One final note: I call it From TV Animation: ONE PIECE because that's what Bandai calls it when they create videogames for it. Cross your fingers for ONE PIECE games to come to North America ; maybe on Nintendo DS since Bandai has already announced it at E3. Best second class anime in the land to date and I'm pretty happy that it has any home at this point; even if it is the dreaded 4Kids Entertainment.
"Introducing the race to end all races: Nintendo's F-ZERO GP LEGEND. The year is 2201 and across the universe rabid fans flock to F-Zero tracks everywhere. The prizes are enormous and the stakes grow even higher when the outlaws compete to win....at any cost! But the Elite Mobile Task Force, a team of high-risk racers, stands at the ready. Driven by a need for speed and a thirst for victory, the Task Force is determined to keep the prize money out of evil hands by defeating the menacing Black Shadow and bringing peace to the entire galaxy. The licensing campaign is expected to launch in 2004/2005."
My Thoughts: So Nintendo has another third class anime adventure all lined up with Captain Falcon coming to television. I haven't seen this show yet but I used to be a fan of racing and I love Captain Falcon as a character. However; besides the 4Kids dubbing problems; I'm still not a F-ZERO fan because I've always felt that the videogame franchise was too fast for me to handle. Also; this show must get over the hump of previous racing genre titles which have sucked for the most part with the allagory going to NASCAR Heat which was really bad. The plotline sounds really similar to the ZOIDS plotline which I thought was good enough for awhile; but would get really stale after the first season so that's something F-Zero must be wary. In the end; I hope F-ZERO does suceed and it should given the fanbase for the videogame and the fanbase of racing in general.
"This Japanese animated property follows the adventures of five girls who possess the powers of endangered animals. They must battle aliens who want to destroy mankind - when they're not busy with homework and boyfriends, that is. 52 half-hour episodes are now in production and a licensing program is planned to launch in 2005"
My Thoughts: Interesting; another anime series that I've only heard about mainly because of the Gameboy Advance video game of the same name; this time from Takara, a division of Konami which makes the Yu-Gi-Oh! videogames and playing cards. I'm sure that anime purists are really proud of themselves into thinking that they made the difference in making sure that this series wasn't called Hollywood MewMew. However; I have a bad feeling for this anime series since this show is almost a dead-ringer for Sailor Moon minus the endangered animals angle. Reports are suggesting that this series is not good; almost to being as bad as Saint Seiya/Knights of The Zodiac (** 1/4) was but not as bad as Fighting Foodums was. I hope they are wrong and Tokyo MewMew will be better than that. This might be a case for anime butchery to benefit a series ala Samurai Pizza Cats because its shaping up to be like that right now. All points considered; it will still be better than The Cramp Twins and Cubix combined.
Unlike last year in which 4Kids had no expectations to suceed; this block of the FoxBox actually has some pressure on its hands with it's great run last year. Thankfully; the lineup for this Fall looks and sounds promising with ONE PIECE, F-ZERO and the return of Shaman King and Sonic X which will assure that I will be watching this block. Kirby and TMNT is good for a bit of icing on that cake and Tokyo MewMew does have a lot hope if it can prove that it's more than a Sailor Moon deadringer. That leaves WINX Club which is a huge question mark at this point and probably has the potiential to stink up the FOXBOX the same way that Cubix did; however, it was only one episode and there will still be more to come. Plus; no Cramp Twins to worry about... It all happens this fall on your local Fox Station and it might just have it to finally become the next Disney Afternoon block of old..... Maybe....That's my opinion; I welcome yours. See you next time....