Fighting evil by moonlight

I was a little uncertain about writing about anime around here. I’ve been an anime fan since I was a kid, and was the type of person who said that anime was far superior to western animation. I was a lot younger back then and was fairly short-sighted and I’ve since changed my toon — pun totally intended — And now I feel that anime…

A quick aside: I know that the Japanese word for anime comes from animation, which in turn comes from the word anima. I know the Japanese use it to describe anything animated, but I’m not Japanese. So when I say anime, I mean Japanese animation. I will also never use the term “Japanime” to describe it, even though I love portmanteaus, that’s pretty much where I draw the line.

…and cartoons can share the stage with equal dignity.

So for my first post about anime, it’s only fitting that I talk about my first time experiencing it.

Thinking back to my first anime experience, it would have to be watching Sailor Moon on YTV as a kid. I was living in Ottawa at the time and it came on after school. I would rush home just to watch the Adventures of the long-haired heroine. Before I even realized that the show was aimed at girls, I was hooked.

The show’s continuing narrative from episode to episode was what, unbeknownst to me, captured my attention. I couldn’t miss an episode because it was like skipping a chapter in a book: you wouldn’t know what was going on.

The visuals were stunning and the characters were very believable. I didn’t know or care that Sailor Moon came from a country far away, and just enjoyed it for what it was: the adventures of a girl with superpowers.

My favorite Character was always a toss-up between Amy…

Another aside: I know the Japanese characters’ names, but I’m using the dub version for simplicity. Some people who read this didn’t grow up to become a giant nerd like me and watch the Japanese version.

… and Lita, Sailors Mercury and Jupiter, respectively. I definitely identified with Mercury, being the smart kid who was excluded from lots, and only had a few friends. But Lita represented something to me later on. The girl I wanted for my wife. She was motherly, loved baking and was a strong independant woman. Not unlike my fiancee.

Remember: When searching for Sailor Moon pictures, turn SafeSearch on to not ruin your childhood.

So this show is probably the first show I was ever, ever, ever obsessed with. I needed to know more. Voice actors production studio, manga, everything!

I’m not going to get into too much detail here because there’s just so much about the voice acting I loved. Instead I will gush about someone who came into the show later on.

The most unique voice I ever heard came from one Sugar Lyn Beard. I was somewhat obsessed with Sugar. Everyone thought her high-pitched voice was way too piercing, while I loved it. I’m a Geddy Lee fan too by the way. Sugar was a DJ in Toronto, and was also the host of the Zone on YTV for a while. I wish she had a twitter feed so I could link to it. Sugar played Rini, Sailor Moon’s child from the future, during the later seasons. Her voice was perfectly suited for it. High-pitched enough to be innocent and child-like, but with the emotion needed for the character. I’ve said before, when the actors are good, you forget that there’s an actor behind the mic. Sugar was able to do that for me. And she’s very easy on the eyes.

This is the face of a great actress.

So why should you watch Sailor Moon? It had a great story, though predictable, and featured some awesome characters. Watch either version, and I guarantee you’ll love it.


Is he strong?

So I took a week long Hiatus, having lots to do with school and work stress, and I’m feeling much better so let’s get blogging again.

Recently, I posted a poll asking you, the readers, to pick my next blog post. I gave you 4 choices in cartoons: X-men, Classic Spider-Man, 90s Spider-Man and Batman: TAS. The last three shared an equal number of votes, so I’m going to choose which one to talk about.

And the only fair way to do that is to pick one. Luckily for one of you, I chose Classic Spider-Man.

With the campy theme song — the Ramones cover is much better — and that basic style of “animation” —  I use the term loosely — the show is just way too funny to not talk about. To be honest I don’t know if I can do it without degenerating into image macros, but I’ll try.

We’ll see how long that lasts!

To be even more honest, I only watched a handful of episodes. And I wasn’t about to lose half my day to watching episodes on YouTube, because we all know one is never enough.

So the story is centered around Peter Parker, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, or something, you know that he’s also Spider-Man.

You know what? I’m not going to run down the whole plot for you. You know the deal. It’s a superhero cartoon. He fights villains, tries to get the girl. Just like every other incarnation of this franchise.

What I will talk about though is the show’s budget woes. This show had the potential for something great. But it got screwed up. To save on money, the show had to reuse animations and background. I’m not even talking about Bakshi reusing two full episodes of Rocket Robin Hood either. This was before he took over.

So yeah, “who is this Ralph Bakshi guy?” I’m sure you’re asking yourself. I know I did. I knew the name but, not what he did. Short answer, he’s the Cool World guy. That’s about all I care to know about this guy for now.

I thought this post was about me.

It is about you Spidey. All about you.

Now, Spider-Man is far from my favorite mutant. My favorite superhero is probably Gambit, but until he gets his own show, I’ll be satisfied with the X-men cartoon.

Sorry Spidey. I found you to be a very bland character. In all your incarnations, you’re a guy who got bit by a spider. You only got sticky limbs and super-strength. You had to make your own web! I don’t think we can be friends anymore after the “Toby” incident.

But cheer up, you have legions of fans that aren’t me. And really. This one comes down to personal taste. The more I think about it, the more I don’t really care for this series. It’s just sort of meh in my eyes.

Look forward to a post tomorrow about a show I’m sure I like a lot better than this one.


Reader’s choice!

Before I begin, I would like to thank Danielle Corsetto and Tara Strong again for linking to me, and hopefully providing me with some repeat visitors. and for everyone who stayed, and is checking this blog out, welcome! I hope you like!

So, for those just looking at this blog for the first time, My name is Scott Houston, and this is Street Signs. I like to write about cartoons, and I hope you’ll find my posts funny and informative.

If there’s a cartoon you would like me to review, let me know and I’ll try to get a look at it.

So starting Next week, I’m hoping to change my format. Since I attend School four days out of five, I’m looking to post Monday to Friday. Monday-Thursday will be posts, just like any other, but Friday, I’m thinking about doing voice actor profiles, and how I feel they’ve influenced me throughout my life.

So for next Monday’s post, I’ll give you a choice, in the form of a poll, to decide what that first post should be.

Here’s the poll after the jump, and I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Read the rest of this entry »


Well played…

Over the last decade, almost every network has tried to replicate the success of The Simpsons, and most of the time, the animated shows they create flop within a season. But at least they get a whole season unlike today’s show.

The show lasted from May 31, 2000-June 7, 2000. By my count, that’s a week. Only two episodes were ever aired, and only 6 were ever produced. So it would seem this is possibly the worst television show ever produced, but amazingly, it’s not. It’s absurd, funny and a bit crazy, but it’s from Kevin Smith. What else did you expect? Fraggle Rock?

Of course, I a talking about the ill-fated Clerks cartoon. Starring the original clerks, Dante and Randall, as well as Jay and Silent Bob — all voiced by their original voice actors from the movie — as the show’s main protagonists, and Alec Baldwin as the antagonist/wannabe supervillan Leonardo Leonardo.

I never watched the original run of the show, but a quick scan of the internet’s most trusted source tells me that when it was aired, the episodes were aired out of the intended order. The first episode aired was in fact the fourth episode, where Jay sues Dante and the Quick Stop for $10M, and not to spoil the ending, the Jury finds in favor of Big American Party! And the Second episode aired was in fact the actual second episode, which was a clip show parody, referencing the actual first episode.

Amazingly, this scene does not take place in Russia.

The other four were released on a DVD with commentary and other special features, and I recommend grabbing that if you can. The other four episodes are pretty funny.

The animation style is pretty good and easy on the eyes, and the writing/development was done by Smith and a former Seinfeld writer named David Mandel.

On a personal level, I watched these around 2005 while working at a Tim Horton’s and could pretty much easily identify with Dante and Randall, feeling I was a mixture of both, though not as troublesome, and I didn’t have a multimillionaire villain with his own Odd Job trying to take me down. The show didn’t resonate with test audiences (or audiences period) but I definitely took away something from it. As well as having a few laughs.

Alec Baldwin does a smashing job as the villain, Leonardo Leonardo, and this is perhaps one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen him in. And, of course, Tara Strong makes an appearance as the giggling girls that embarass Dante, quizzing him about his sexual history while giggling excessive ly.

The scowl heard by dozens.

So, if you just skimmed down and looked at the pictures, here’s what you need to know. Watch this show. It’s good. If it were to come back ever, I would watch it again.


I’m living for the weekend!

Hey everybody that’s here from Girls With Slingshots! I hope you’ll stick around for a while and read some posts!

Today, I’m going to talk about what might possibly be my favorite Disney cartoon of all time, The Weekenders.

It aired on ABC’s One Saturday Morning, then on the Disney Channel, and it’s original run lasted 5 years, from 1999-2004. The show revolves around four friends — Tino, Lor, Carver and Tish — who always hang out on the weekend. They usually start at the pizzeria, and head to the  arcade or the mall, or somewhere else 7th graders hang out.

Tino, voiced by the awesome Jason Marsden, is the implied leader of the group — he gets first billing in the show’s intro — and generally keeps the group together, thanks to the advice of his mom. He was very relatable, and developed a lot during the series, eventually getting over a fear of clowns.

Clowns?

So what did the Weekenders mean to me growing up? Not much to tell you the truth, I don’t remember liking this show as a kid — in fact, I don’t even know if I watched it as a kid. But I did watch it in my later teens, say 16 or older, while I was still living at home, and a few times after that. And I have to say I found the writing to be pretty spot on. When I compare this to my childhood, there’s always these archetypes that show up in life. You had a friend who was the jock, the cool guy, the brain or the leader. Well, in general.

Which one am I, guys? I’m the cool one right!

So what else made the Weekenders special to me? The voice cast, along with Jason Marsden, includes Phil LaMarr as Carver, Kath Soucie as Tish, and Grey DeLisle as Lor. That’s a lot of talent that brings these characters to life, and I think that’s what makes these characters so good. When voice actors as good as these do a role, you sort of forget that it’s an actor behind the mic. To me, it doesn’t sound like Max, Phil and Lil, Static Shock and Penny the Squirrel got together to do a show, it sounds like Tino, Carver, Tish and Lor.

Oh, and before I forget, the theme song was done by Wayne Brady, who sounds like he just made it up on the spot. Which kinda rocks. Wayne Brady needs to sing more theme songs.

So did you watch the Weekenders? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section and as always try to guess what my next post will be about.

Join me next time, when I’ll be talking about a more adult show, that didn’t last very long. But I’m keeping Silent about it until then.

It’ll be better than that book for sure. Look at his face.


Interview with Danielle Corsetto at TCAF 2012

This year at TCAF, I did an interview with Danielle Corsetto of Girls With Slingshots. Thanks go to Peter Trinh for being behind the camera, and to Danielle for agreeing to be interviewed.

Look forward to more videos in the future.


Dear Journal…

So, I’m sure most of you out there watched this show. Doug was on from 1991-1994 as a Nickelodeon series, then from 1996-1999 as a Disney series.

The story revolved around the eponymous main character, Doug Funnie, as he grew up in a new town. A typical fish-out-of-water story, Doug has to make new friends in Bluffington, and even finds himself bullied. He keeps a journal, and narrates all the episodes.

Doug himself was a little whiny, naive and generally annoying. But he was likeable.

I'm non-threateningly likeable!

So what made this show good? It was definitely the side characters. Skeeter, his idiot savant friend, who made more mouth noises than a Seinfeld bumper, was probably the best. He looked like a turquoise Fido Dido (look it up) and was full of good advice for Doug.

Ain't no thang, really.

Roger the bully was pretty good, and Patty Mayonnaise lived up to her name. Other than that the rest of Doug’s friends are forgettable.

Then in 1996, all that changed when Brand Spanking New! Doug got made. Disney got their mitts on this IP and ran with it for three years. All of Doug’s friends went through major changes. Skeeter was having growth spurts, turning his arms into noodles sometimes. His fat friend Connie lost a bunch of  weight and learned to play guitar. Roger, the former trailer trash is now living next to the richest family in town.

So even though it had forgettable characters and a bland lead, the show tackled a lot of issues I was growing up with. Namely fitting in at school, and because of that, I found the show very relateable. It might not rank in my top 20 or even top 50, but if it were on TV again, I might watch it. Depending on what else was on.

We don't Suck! let's go to Honker Burger!

Join me again, next time I’ll be talk about another Disney Cartoon. Later Days!