Friday, June 11, 2021

Sailor Moon Eternal - New Fans Not Welcome

 If you're into Sailor Moon you're going to love this. 

There. Easy review. Now I can go back to watching Castlevania. 

Okay, let me clarify. 

The Appeal of Sailor Moon

It's hard to clarify the appeal of Sailor Moon. To call it "girly" would imply that something being feminine is a bad thing, but when the main character is told by a Pegasus that the best way to defeat the darkness is to believe in your heart's true dreams and also she's a princess I can't think of a better term. That being said, I personally am a Sailor Moon fan, and that the appeal to me is in the unapologetic cheesiness in the whole affair. 



Interestingly enough, Sailor Moon is an interesting hero as she's not a perfect hero. She's best compared to Buffy who just wants a normal life but due to circumstance has to be a hero. These are not weak women, but women who just want a normal life, one where the biggest thing they have to worry about is who they have a crush on. Instead, with the fate of the world on their shoulders, they have to learn to bare the burden despite being young and completely inexperienced. The inspiration comes from when they stand up against the bad guys, which is a fantastic allegory of early childhood trauma, having to grow up before one is ready and finding the strength to take on additional burdens. 

Anyway, About the Movie

So Sailor Moon Eternal on Netflix is less of a movie and more of a season cut together to make a movie. Following from Sailor Moon Crystal season three, the story follows the dream story arc from the manga. 

Okay, let's try this: 

So the Outer Guardians are semi-retired and raising Sailor Saturn who was turned back into a child while living normal lives. Chibi Moon is getting ready to return to the future but first wants to spend some time with her future parents Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask. When going back to where the time key will work, they see that it's become a meeting place for people to watch the lunar eclipse, which the trio join. During the eclipse a spaceship is spotted and invites to the Dark Moon Circus appear mysteriously around town, and the Sailor Guardians find that they are unable to transform. Chibi Moon starts dreaming about a pegasus in her dreams telling her that he needs her help. 



Okay, I can't go on because it is a whole season that lasts six hours and that was barely the first episode, but TLDR there's some bad guys who want the Silver Crystal (as always) and draw power from people's suffering (as always) and the Guardians need to stop them (as always). 

It's a standard season of Sailor Moon but it's condensed and on Netflix. The plot and characters are all that we've always loved, but the real treat is the Crystal level animation. Old Sailor Moon fans will enjoy the visuals if they haven't had access to Crystal before now, which is on Hulu's premium subscription, and the experience was a treat despite being hard to describe. 

Worth It? 

Sailor Moon Eternal is great for old and new fans alike, but just for context it is made for fans. The film doesn't explain who the Sailor Guardians are, what their powers are, or establish relationships. Not every film needs to be open to new fans, and sometimes it's nice to see something that jumps right into the action. 



If you love Sailor Moon and want to try Crystal's style but don't have access to it, check Sailor Moon Eternal out on Netflix. 

Monday, June 7, 2021

Pokemon Nicknames: Harry Potter (Gen I-III)

I've recently started re-reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as I begin the series again. As I do (and as I perpetually play my Pokemon games) I'm looking for more fun nicknames to use. I'm currently using Harry Potter-themed nicknames on Yellow, so I wanted to share a few ideas I had in Gen I and beyong. And a few Fantastic Beasts nicknames as well.

PS: I'm way too proud of a couple of these.


Charizard

Norbert


Raticate

Wormtail
(also Scabbers or Pettigrew)
Bellsprout

Pickett

Zapdos

Frank

Moltres
(also Ho-Oh)

Fawkes

Furret

Draco


Linoone

Helga
Mightyena
(also Houndoom)

Padfoot
(also Sirius or Snuffles)
Seviper

Nagini
Sharpedo
(also Gible)
Krum

Friday, June 4, 2021

The One With the Reunion


For years fans have been wanting a Friends reunion. It's been 17 years and in the meantime Boy Meets World got Girl Meets World and Full House got Fuller House. But we never got to see the six Friends return to Central Perk for a reunion... until now. (Spoilers for the Friends reunion ahead, duh)

Seeing the cast reunite in the opening, one by one, and check out the sets of Monica and Rachel's and Joey and Chandler's apartment. It was heartwarming to see them reminisce and explore the memories of filming. And then enter the theme song. The original theme song, interspersed with clips from the reunion. Wow! 


And the show kept it going with tales from the set, past and present. Seeing Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry drop into their Barcaloungers was something special. It's like they were Joey and Chandler all over again. Matt and Matthew in their chairs together again. And then you had the whole cast playing Ross's trivia game again, this time about the series (and everyone forgot that Chandler worked in Statistical Analysis and Data Reconfiguration--to be fair, I copied that from the Friends wiki to make sure I had it right). They also told the story of how Matt LeBlanc's arm got dislocated; I had just been wondering if he was actually injured when Joey was in a sling. Turns out he was.

"It's about that one time in your life when your friends are your family."


Seeing fans from all over the world made me feel like I'm part of something. You get that feeling of community with Harry Potter, but I don't know if there are any other franchises like that. All over the world people found hope and joy and companionship through these six over the course of the last 30 years. It's given people a sense of home when they felt alone.

And it's not even just the fans who feel that. Look at all the guest stars who came back. Mr. Heckles! Tom Selleck! Christina Pickles and Elliot Gould! Even Joey's hand twin! AND JANICE!!!

Also, let's talk about Matthew Perry opening up about his fear and anxiety about the audience not laughing at his lines. Not even the other Friends knew this about him. I feel that fear. It's not about my comedy (although sometimes on here it is, I suppose) but it's about how I'm perceived by other people. We all want to be loved and appreciated. And most Friends fans know about how Matthew Perry struggled with drugs and mental health, which makes him even more relatable.

Smelly cat!!!

I know a lot of us fans wanted to see a movie or a TV special, reuniting the characters and not just the actors. But like Lisa said in the reunion special, that would involve taking apart the happy endings that everyone had in the final season. If we were never going to get that, I'm glad we got this special. It's beautiful to see the six Friends still friends almost two decades after the series ended. We all need friends like that and these six have been that for all of us at one point or another.

In the end, whether your job's a joke or your love life's DOA, they'll be there for you.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Zoey's Extraordinary Loss and Vulnerability

Zoey is dealing with some tremendous loss on her journey. The obvious loss is the death of her father, but the less obvious losses include her boss, her boyfriend (and best friend), and the life she once knew. The second season of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist deals with these losses and how Zoey faces her grief head-on. Zoey loses much more than the obvious (her father's gradual degeneration from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, his death, breaking up with Max). Zoey also lost connection with others, she lost her ability to express her own feelings adequately, and she lost the center of her world. What most people don’t realize is when they lose a loved one, it’s so much more than just the loss of that individual. The peripheral losses are often just as devastating as the loss of the person themself.  Relationships sometimes become unstable; routines get disrupted in a major way; and one may even lose their own identity. These losses are often just as devastating as the loss of the person themself, and sometimes can be even harder to deal with.

In speaking with my own therapist after I had some big losses pile up against me, I learned that those losses were affecting my ability to function in basic parts of my life. I was scared to refinance my house because I didn’t want to face another rejection. I had trouble connecting with certain friends because they reminded me too much of my best friend who took his own life. I was frightened to fully enter into romantic relationships because they would trigger memories of my divorce. I had a hard time talking to Heavenly Father because I blamed Him for a lot of my loss. And I was hesitant to be truly authentic in my life because my identity was often tied to some of the things I was losing, and so I didn’t really know who I was.

Zoey Clarke has taught me that being fearless is the only way to live. I’ve seen how unhappy and dissatisfied she was when she couldn’t connect. Who didn’t cry buckets when she and Max broke up? (C’mon, Zoey, SAY SOMETHING!) We’ve seen her break down at work because she can’t find her footing. And we’ve witnessed Zoey at war with herself because she couldn’t deal with so much loss in her life. I don’t want to live like that, and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist paints a way through devastating loss. Vulnerability. It’s as though BrenĂ© Brown were a writer for NBC!

As Zoey opens herself up and actually shares how she’s feeling, she finds connection. Zoey learns to actually SAY SOMETHING! and finds the comfort she so desperately is looking for. Nobody will ever replace Zoey’s father. Her relationship with Max may be salvageable (yay Team Max!), but it will never be the innocent peanuts and crackerjack relationship that it once was at the beginning of the season. Zoey’s relationship with Simon has irrevocably changed, and that’s not a bad thing. Her relationship with her mother has strengthened and deepend in ways that are beautiful and enrich both their lives. Even Zoey’s relationship with work, with her emotions, and with control have changed because of her loss, and because she was vulnerable. 

To paraphrase an inspirational quote, Zoey is the person in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly. She knows that if she fails, at least she fails while daring greatly, so that her place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Zoey is living.

And look at that, we didn't even mention the music!

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