Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cartoon Update!

Ack! Nobody told me that Cartoon Network has been airing Gigantor at 5:30 in the morning on weekdays! (Eastern time, of course.) Yes, it's the original American translation of the black and white R/C giant robot show (Tetsujin 28). Yes, it's pretty bizarre. Yes, that theme song is catchy. Yes, I've got a whole November's worth of shows to catch up on.

Gigantorrrrrr... Gigantorrrrrr...

Magical Doremi, airing on the Fox network at 8 AM, is probably the feelgood show of the season. It's aimed at fairly young kids (school age or below). Three school friends have become "witchlings" (apprentice witches, with powers that only work after a really cute magical girl transformation) to learn how to help a witch they accidentally turned into a mushroom. (Apparently, calling a Japanese witch a witch is a bad thing for her.) So now after school they work in the witch's magic shop, making and selling magical items, to earn the "spelldrops" that power their wands. (And no, kids that age aren't allowed to work in Japan. There was actually an episode where they fell afoul of child labor laws, and got out of it by claiming they were just volunteering. It was a stitch.) In their copious free time, they help out people who visit the shop, and negotiate with the visiting witch who sells them spelldrops.

Over on Kids' WB at 8:30 AM, The Batman is in its third season, and is currently going strong. Batman is no longer a vigilante hiding from the police (so Detective Yin has vanished from the show). Commissioner Gordon has showed up and instituted the Batsignal, and his teenage gymnast daughter has volunteered her sidekick services as Batgirl. This was not entirely appreciated by Bruce, but he's become resigned to her presence. OTOH, Bruce knew Batgirl's secret identity from the first, but Barbara Gordon still hasn't figured out who she's really working with.

Winx Club isn't all nearly as good this year. But it's on twice a Saturday (they're trying to use the first showing of it on Fox at 8:30 AM to keep girls from changing channels to watch The Batman. Whatever). Anyway, this year the three annoying seniors from the witch high school who got expelled, took over the world, and then graduated to doing hard time, have been broken out by An Evil Force With Batwings and put to work as his servants. Over at the fairy high school, the Winx Club gained new members: a refugee fairy princess and six fugitive pixies. The Evil Force With Batwings wants the power of the pixies and their hidden village, so much anti-pixie intrigue has ensued. Furthermore, the Evil Force With Batwings is apparently the dualistic result of having Bloom, our protagonist (a red-headed fairy princess raised on Earth by adoptive parents), possess all the remaining power of her destroyed world of dragonfire fairies. (Good must be balanced by Evil, yadda yadda... what Manichee crap! Wouldn't it be better to say that Evil is scared of Bloom and is trying to take her out while she's still young?) Meanwhile, one of the prison guards (sometimes angel-winged guys called paladins) has transferred over to the fairy high school to teach, and all the girls are drooling over him; and Flora, the only Winx Club member with no romance last year, appears to have met someone over at the hero school. (Hey, how come girls can be fairies or witches, and guys are stuck just being heroes? Isn't there a mad mage school or something?)

Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! is still one of the better cartoons on the air. It's an entirely American show aimed at younger kids, yet also includes some fairly deep themes and plotlines. For us adults, the retro stylings recall Battle of the Planets and other old anime giant robot and sentai shows. The kid and his five monkey robot buddies are still fighting the Skeleton King and defending Shoogazoom City, while drawing upon the Power Primate. Big revelation was that the monkeys were actually invented and built by the guy who later became the Skeleton King! He felt himself inexorably becoming evil, thanks to being possessed by some outside force, and so made the monkeys in a desperate bid to defeat himself. Will it work? Stay tuned!

One Piece is off the air right now. Too bad. It's good pirate fun. The current incarnation of GI Joe, OTOH, is pitiful.


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