Hey there! Seeing as you’ve got nowhere else to go right now, what with that pandemic business going on right now, you might as well settle in (or settle for) another edition of Fun-Size Friday! Different day, same rules: this is my opportunity to cover whatever pop culture crumbs I managed to pick up during the last week — movie delays, tv show delays, comic book delays, and ohmygosh this is all there is, isn’t it? — as long as I keep it to two hundred words or less. No wiggle room here; we’re a lean, mean, virus fighting machine, and this machine’s kicking things off with…
FREE COMIC BOOK (MAY)DAY
Ah, “Free Comic Book Day”.
That magical May event when participating comic book stores offer a selection of new and old comic books from a number of different publishers for the very reasonable price of…well you get it. Not only is FCBD an opportunity for new readers to discover books they wouldn’t otherwise know about, it’s also a great way to get out and support brick-and-mortar comic book shops, which I can wholeheartedly endorse.
Unfortunately, in light of the purging fire that is COVID-19, there was a change of plans. Actually there were two change of plans, but the first one was aborted almost as soon as it was announced, and now it’s been indefinitely postponed. I have no problem with that, although I suspect the bigger publishers will go ahead and digitally release their FCBD titles in May as intended, which really stinks for comic book shops and retailers who are already getting jostled around by all this. I know it’s silly to rant about this when people’s lives are on the line, but it’s another reminder that there are people’s livelihoods are at stake here as well.
Not much else to say, other than uuuUUGGGHHhh.
ONCE MORE UNTO THE BLEACH
Before Naruto and long before One Piece, Bleach by Tite Kubo was the first of Shonen Jump’s “Big Three” that I really got into. Like, really got into. I first started watching the Bleach anime back in 2008 and was immediately taken in by it’s cool characters, sweet outfits, and over-the-top action. I couldn’t get enough; I watched every English dubbed episode I could find, then I switched over to episodes with English subtitles, and when those ran out I broke down and tracked down the original manga, which I dutifully — sometimes reluctantly — followed all the way to it’s conclusion in 2016.
There’s probably a joke I could make here about over-consumption of Bleach, but it’s eluding me.
Although my passion for Bleach faded towards the series end, I was still pretty gutted to hear the anime was being cancelled right before they were about to adapt the final story arc. It seemed, I dunno, unsatisfactory to cut one of the “Big Three” off at the knees right before the end. In any case, I’m glad the anime is finally getting a proper conclusion, even if it is *scans Wikipedia* seven years later?!
SPIDER-MAN: Into THE QUARANTINE
Well, here’s something nice: Jake Johnson — star of New Girl, Jurassic World, and that Mummy reboot we don’t really talk about anymore — is extending an olive branch of sorts to quarantined families stranded at home. Apparently quite a few of them are spending their self-isolation with their kids watching Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse — a film in which Johnson played the mid-life crisis version of the wallcrawler named “Peter B. Parker” — and now the star is offering to send out short “voice notes” as his animated counterpart:
By the time this post goes up I suspect firstname.lastname@example.org will already be flooded with requests, but hey, it’s a nice idea and we could all use a little more nice in the world. Incidentally, if you haven’t yet seen Into The Spider-Verse and are stuck inside with quote unquote “nothing to watch”:
WATCH. THIS. MOVIE.
You know what, screw it: even if you have seen it already, watch it again tonight. It is, without hyperbole, one of the best Spider-Man stories ever told in any medium. It’s funny, surprising, heartfelt, and ASTONISHINGLY pretty. You won’t regret it.
Ahsoka! The Mandalorian! Casting! Click-Bait Headline!
It hasn’t been officially confirmed per se, but apparently the same day Vader’s apprentice returns to screens on The Clone Wars, Slashfilm is reporting the character will be appearing in The Mandalorian for her live-action debut, played by…Rosario Dawson? That’s…you know, that’s not bad casting. Apparently this isn’t a new idea, but yeah, I can totally see it.
It’s weird; I’ve seen stuff from the animated series pop up in the movies for years now — Saw Gerrara in Rogue One; cyborg Darth Maul in Solo; The Ghost ship in Rise of Skywalker; a fourth thing I’ve probably forgotten about but someone will definitely call me out on — and yet I still feel blindsided when animated Star Wars stuff makes the jump to live-action.
I really shouldn’t be surprised at this point considering Dave Filoni — showrunner of The Clone Wars series and Ahsoka’s co-creator — is writing and directing for The Mandalorian, but here we are. It’s crazy to think that for as long as Ahsoka has been part of Star Wars, for many fans this would be their first exposure to the character. Fingers crossed that The Mandalorian team does her justice.
IN SHORT: Keep Calm, Remain Indoors, & WAtch Something Cool
I’ve mostly been spending my self-isolation getting back into anime after an extended hiatus; catching up on shows I fell out of for whatever reason and starting a couple new ones. It’s been pretty enjoyable on the whole, and it’s dragged me down some interesting rabbit holes. Case in point: I’ve spent the last half-hour or so watching sakuga compilation videos.
Sakuga — literally “moving pictures” in Japanese — is a term thrown around a lot in anime circles to describe moments where the animation goes from “good” to “HOLY COW THIS LOOKS SO FREAKING COOL HOW DID THEY DO THAT?!” It takes a lot of time and effort on the part of the animators but when it works? It really works.
What have you been watching/reading/injecting into your eyeballs this past week? Whatever it is, I sincerely hope it’s bringing you joy and comfort because, by golly, you deserve it! Whoever you are, wherever you are: stay happy, stay healthy, and stay safe.