Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Character Spotlight: The Rebels

As we saw in the Ahsoka trailer (click here to watch if you haven't already) it seems that our fan-favorite Jedi’s show will almost be a direct continuation of the Rebels cartoon. Multiple characters from the series have been confirmed and others are likely to be referenced. So let’s highlight each member of the Ghost’s team so that you’re getting ready for Ahsoka.

Kanan Jarrus

At the time of Order 66, he was known as Caleb Dume, padawan of Jedi master Depa Billaba. After Master Depa was killed by Clone Troopers, Caleb escaped because of the Bad Batch (you can see that scene in the series premiere of The Bad Batch), who weren’t affected by Order 66. He’s not seen again, at least on the screen, until the beginning of Rebels, where he has joined Hera’s crew on the Ghost and forsaken the Jedi identity. But when force-sensitive Ezra joins the crew, he takes the young man as a padawan. Throughout the course of their many battles and missions, Kanan ends up going blind in a lightsaber battle and ends up sacrificing his life for cause.

Hera Syndulla

Captain and pseudo-mom of the team, Here's family previously appeared in Clone Wars. But chronologically her first appearance, like Kanan, was during The Bad Batch. As an adult, she's the Ghost's captain and the team's original link to other rebel cells. Her romantic  relationship with Kanan makes her decisions as a leader that much more impressive. During the Rebels epilogue, it's revealed that Hera was pregnant when Kanan died, so maybe we'll see young Syndulla-Jarrus in Ahsoka.

Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios

Supposedly the last of the Lasat race, he carried that trauma with him throughout the series… until he found other Lasats and helped save their race. But for the most part, throughout Rebels, he was just the big brother that harassed Ezra and hatched schemes with him. Though, in my opinion, his biggest contribution to the rebellion was inadvertently recruiting Agent Kallus to their cause, while trapped on a frozen planet with him. He was last seen as a cameo during The Mandalorian (see episode 3x05 "The Pirate").

Sabine Wren 

A Mandalorian child drafted into the Empire, but she left the Empire after becoming disillusioned. Aboard the Ghost, she's the resident artist, painting anything from her quarters to a TIE fighter. With all the emphasis on Mandalore lately, especially during the latest season of The Mandalorian, I wonder how that'll play into Sabine's story in Ahsoka. It should also be noted that Sabine held the Darksaber for a time, before handing it over to Bo Katan… but as we learned in The Mandalorian, that didn’t turn out so well for her.

C1-10P “Chopper”

If R2-D2 is the sassiest droid, Chopper is the angstiest. This metal can of fury isn’t afraid at any point to deactivate any given droid or to push someone into a pit. After a mission during the Clone Wars, Chopper was found by Hera on her home planet. Somehow he also had a knack for blending in among Imperial droids. How? I don’t know. Side note: There’s an Easter egg during Rogue One where you can see Chopper on Yavin 4.

Ezra Bridger

An orphan found on Lothal, he follows a similar story arc to Skye on Agents of SHIELD (who I’m still hoping to see on Secret Invasion–have I mentioned that yet?). He becomes Kanan’s Jedi apprentice and, like Anakin, gets tempted by the Dark Side at times. In some ways he was Harry Potter-esque, running head first into danger without a second thought. I’d argue it was his Harry-like behavior and his Force connection to the purrgil that ended the Empire’s occupation of Lothal, as he and Grand Admiral Thrawn were sent into deep hyperspace. 

Alright. So now that you know the Rebels and read a couple spoilers, go watch Star Wars Rebels. You still have time before Ahsoka premieres!

Monday, May 29, 2023

Android 16 Secret History


While I was watching Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, I was geeking out about fan theories becoming cannon. In this post I am excited to talk about what recently became cannon about Android 16! 

artist: unknown

As many of you are already aware Android 16 may appear to be threatening with his intimidating size, monotone dialogue, and dangerous appearance, however he is truly a gentle giant. He is calm, friendly, and embraces nature and humanity with loving kindness. The only hatred he has is towards Goku who he is programmed to kill. Can't really blame him, Goku is a terrible Dad. Akira Toriyama based Android 16 on the Terminator portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger which makes him that much cooler. 

Before going into fan theories and what became cannon, let's take a step back and talk about Android 16 history. 


In Dragon Ball Z, after Dr. Gero awakens Android 17 and 18 from their sleep, 17 and 18 awaken 16 despite the warning from Gero. After he is activated, they set off to kill Goku. As the saga progresses 17 and 18 are in danger by another creation of Dr. Gero, Cell. Cell’s mission is to become perfect and in order to do that must absorb android 17 and 18. Sadly, Cell succeeds and becomes perfect Cell. Up to this point we see android 16 not partaking in any battles; he only intented to fight Goku, but when his friends are “killed” he goes against his programming and fights Cell instead of Goku.


Android 16 fights against Cell a couple of times and in both scenarios, he is defeated. His last attempt destroys himself completely, being the first character that we love to never return, even though there is a mystical dragon that is able to grant wishes. Android 16 memory chip couldn’t be repaired. However, the destruction of Android 16 gave Gohan the rage he needed to be the first to transcend to Super Saiyan 2. 

Fans have speculated that prior to Android 16 being an android he was the embodiment of Dr. Gero’s son. This is the reason why Dr. Gero didn’t want Android 17 and 18 to wake him up because he wasn’t a completed version of his son. He didn't have his son’s memories therefore he was a different person in the shell of his son. He made him stronger than 17 and 18 because he couldn’t bear his son to die again, but when he found out that he wasn't his son he deactivated him and put a bomb in him so he could be fully destroyed when the time comes, but Dr. Gero never had the heart see his son die a second time. This is my interpretation of this fan theory, but there is some cannon behind it, but before I dive into that, I need to talk about the fan theory of Android 16 mother. 

In the video game Dragon Ball FighterZ we meet a new android that was created by Dr. Gero named Android 21. She was the main antagonist in the story and believed to be the mother of Android 16. In the game we never get to fully know her relation with Android 16, but their was the speculation until Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero came out.

In the first few moments of the movie, we learn a lot about Android 16 origins. First of all, we learned that his name is Grevo and that he served in the red ribbon army, where his Dad worked. This villainous army went after Goku when he was a kid. He died, probably accidentally by kid Goku. We learn that Dr. Geero’s wife, Vomi, was indeed the embodiment of Android 21. We don’t know how she died, but she did. 

Grevo (Android 16) before his death, must have had a child because Hedo, the super-intellegent scientist is the grandson of Dr, Gero and Vomi. We don’t know who Hedo's mother is. In the movie Dr. Hedo, is manipulated by the Red Ribbon army to create androids superior to Dr. Gero’s and uses them for their own purposes. 

The purpose of this post is not to give a summary of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. If you are a fan of Dragon Ball and love Gohan and androids then you will enjoy this movie.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Friday Creature Feature - Mockingjay

“A mockingjay's a bona fide bird."

"And it sings in your show?"

"Not my show, sweetheart. Yours. The Capitol's anyway."

―Lucy Gray Baird and Coriolanus Snow

This year we’ll have the first Hunger Games movie in eight years. The new book, Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, is set to have its movie released in November. Last year, I wrote about the story’s depiction of Coriolanus Snow and his descent into villainy. But before we see Coryo on the big screen, I wanted to spotlight one of the unique creatures of Panem: the mockingjay.

To refresh your memory, here’s a brief Panem history lesson. During the Rebellion, the Capitol started creating mutts for their war against the Districts. One of them was the jabberjay, which was capable of recording and repeating human speech. Kind of a covert reconnaissance drone to spy on the Districts. However, the Districts figured this out and used the jabberjays to feed false information.

When the Capitol realized the deception, the jabberjays were released into the wild to die off. But… They started mating with mockingbirds to create the mockingjay species. A slap in the face of the Capitol. While the mockingjay species couldn’t parrot human words like the daddy jabberjay (all jabberjays were male to avoid breeding… we see how well that worked out), the mockingjay could still copy tunes sung, whistled, or played. 

Chronologically, the first time we see the jabberjays and mockingjays is when Coryo was a peacekeeper in District 12. Even as a young adult, he hated the mockingjays, as they already represented a sense of rebellion towards the Capitol. He and the other recruits were tasked at times to hunt and kill the jabberjays and mockingjays, as a form of pest control and target practice. Some were sent back to the Capitol for study, but that was only a small sampling.

By the seventh decade after the Dark Days, the residents of District 11 used the mockingjays in their orchards to help signal the end of the work day. Rue, a tribute from the 74th Hunger Games, told Katniss that she would use a four-note tune to send word from the top of the trees down to let everyone know it was time to go home (much quicker that way). This trick also became a signal for Katniss and Rue during their time as allies to indicate safety. 

But before Katniss entered the arena for the 74th Hunger Games, she was given her famous mockingjay pin by Madge Undersee. This mockingjay pin became her token in the arena and it was the reason Rue decided to trust her and become allies. It was also the mockingjays who sang Rue to sleep as she died, after copying Katniss’s tune of “Deep in the Meadow."

After Katniss and Peeta won the 74th Hunger Games, the symbol of the mockingjay became fashionable in the Capitol. During their victory tour, Katniss saw it in jewelry, tattoos, and more. For Capitol citizens, they were just excited to wear the victor’s token. However, for the rebels it was a very different symbol. A symbol of rebellion. For example, Bonnie and Twill, who were found by Katniss outside District 12, had a flat piece of bread with the image of a mockingjay to demonstrate their allegiance.

When the Quarter Quell came around, bringing Katniss and Peeta back into the arena, Effie had the idea of matching tokens for their team. Ultimately, Peeta was given a medallion with the mockingjay as his token and Haymitch got a golden bangle. His bangle was ultimately given to Finnick to prove his allegiance to Katniss in the arena. 

After the abrupt ending of the Quarter Quell, District 13 and the rebels wanted to make Katniss their symbol, their mockingjay, to rally the districts together against the Capitol. Cinna even made Katniss’s wedding dress change into one like a mockingjay during her Quarter Quell interview. If that’s not a slap in President Snow’s face, I don’t know what is. But it paved the way for Katniss to inspire the districts into revolting and for the creation of a new Panem.

For now, I’ll close where I began, with Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Specifically, a quote from Lucy Gray: "The show is not over until the mockingjay sings."

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Tower of God: Allusion to the Bible


With the second season of Tower of God (ToG) in the works and SIU stopped being off his hiatus and releasing more chapters I thought it would be a good time to write another post about this amazing franchise. For those of you who do not know Tower of God is a South Korean webtoon that has over 550 chapters released. SIU started publishing this series in 2010 and it seems like there is no end in sight; yet.

What I really enjoy about this series is there are many references to the Old and New Testament. In this post I will go over some of the easter eggs I have noticed while reading this webtoon.

Tower of God

Let’s get the easiest easter egg out of the way first. Tower of God represents the tower of Babel. In Genesis chapter 11:1-9; the people wanted to build a tower “whose top may reach unto heaven”. Heaven referring to the place where God dwells. In ToG people are selected to enter the tower and if they reach the top, then a wish will be fulfilled by God.

We know from the series there are three individuals who want(ed) to reach the top of the Tower. Rachel, one of the best antagonists ever written, who wants to see the stars, Baam who initially wanted to reach the top to see Rachel, and young Zahard for reasons unknown my guess is he was searching for power.

Ten Great Families


This one I noticed early on, but the farther you read into the series the more you understand how the ten great families are very similar to the twelve tribes of Israel. In the Old Testament after Abraham has Isaac who begot Jacob who is renamed Israel (Let God Prevail) has twelve sons and their descendants are known as the twelve tribes of Israel or children of Israel. Ten of those tribes obtained land; Reuben forfeited their right and the Levites oversaw the temple. Eventually 10 tribes of Israel were lost besides Judah and Benjamin who merged and became what is known to us as Jews. However, we believe that there will be a gathering of Israel that is happening today.

When Young Zahard was climbing the tower, he had 12 party members. After some drama one of them died and the other mysteriously disappeared and had a child outside the tower named Baam. The ten remaining members scattered and became known as the ten great families. Now you may be wondering how they are scattered if they are all in the tower, that is easy to explain. They lost their purpose. The 10 great families and Zahard had a purpose to reach the top of the tower, but for some unknown reason they stopped. What I think is starting to happen is Baam is gathering the families together again and will take them to the top. Zahard hasn’t been trying to reach the top of the tower. He may have been trying to bring the families together but is doing it the wrong way by taking daughters from the ten great families and adopting them to be his princesses.

Lo Po Bia Ren

In Matthew 7 Jesus Christ gave a powerful sermon on the mount and in verse 15 Jesus says, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” One interpretation of this verse is that we should be careful who we follow because we could be deceived, enter Lo Po Bia Ren.

Before Baam enters the tower and climbs to the top, he (and others that are granted to climb) must be trained and tested. They are each split into positions that best suit the individual strengths. Baam is taught by Lo Po Bia Ren to help him become what is known as a wave controller. At the beginning he helped Baam, but once he learned that he was an irregular (someone that willed themselves to enter the tower without being granted), he turns against him and tries to kill him. 

As you can see above Lo Po Bian Ren is dressed in sheep’s clothing and we never really get to see what he looks like underneath at the beginning. As you learn later in the series the Lo Po Bia family (one of the 10 great families) can control animals and many of them are animals. Even though underneath his sheep clothing he is not a wolf this character is sharp and intelligent like a wolf.Therefore, we can relate that verse of scripture to Ren.

These are just three easter eggs that this series relates to the scriptures. There are more that I know of and some that I haven’t picked up on yet. I have personally enjoyed reading this long series. The world building is great, the foreshadowing is executed well; meaning I didn’t predict it, but once it came, I understood what happened prior. If you are interested in reading a clean series, then I would suggest reading this webtoons. It is free online, and you can access it here.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Daddy Issues: Zuko Finds His Honor

The honorary title of this blog is, “Honoring the Honorable Way of Honor, Honorably, Your Honor.”

Just wanted to make sure we understand that Zuko cares about one thing.

And that’s capturing the Avatar.


Because he is missing something he needs to regain.

You guessed it.

Is regaining your honor such a bad thing? In Zuko’s case, it’s the fuel for a maddening obsession, and the central theme of his daddy issues. He’s totally blinded to the fact that he spends two books of ATLA on a quest that's nothing more than a mockingly titled banishment. He and Uncle Iroh are a pair of royal outcasts, together in their disgrace and their longing for family who have either died, disappeared, or dismissed them.

Zuko believes he needs his father to restore to him what he lost at their agni-kai, the fateful day he signed his hatred on Zuko’s face with fire. He believes to recover means to reclaim his rightful place on the throne.

And then Zuko does the impossible and captures the Avatar at the North Pole. So why does he wanders off into the tundra? When Azula attempts to take him in, Zuko and Iroh escape and live on the run. Zuko learns that he will never find the honor that he hoped he would find from his father. He and Uncle Iroh take knives to their top-knots, and travel in disguise, branded as traitors to the fire nation. Then at Ba-Sing-Se when Azula and Zuko battle the Avatar team, Zuko bears the weight of a shared secret, that they did not actually kill the Avatar, as they tell their father they did. He also is crushed by the knowledge that his return to the throne was bought with Uncle Iroh's incarceration.

That’s rough, buddy.

Ba-Sing-Se, is a very important moment for Zuko, though, and the progress Zuko shows here gives the viewer a sense that when Zuko returns to the Fire Nation, there is still hope he won't follow in his father's fascist footsteps. Zuko learns that the Avatar is present in Ba-Sing-Se, but he follow’s Uncle Iroh’s advice, and lets him go. This decision actually causes Zuko to get sick for a few days, and Iroh nurses him back to health while he rests in the back of their little tea shop. When he wakes up, it’s as if he is transformed into a new person. Someone who is capable of being a whole human. He goes on a date. He begins to envision a life that has nothing to do with the Avatar. This is a signal of major healing from his ‘daddy issues,’ more so than cutting off the top knot. Rather than trying to fill the emptiness in him by getting Ozai’s approval, Zuko begins to ask himself what he, himself, approves of. He fights his way to move beyond his traumatic childhood, and determines to break the mold set for him by choosing to live differently.

The way I would describe Zuko’s transformation in a phrase is a shift from external validation to internal validation. Childhood is a time where we don’t have the development necessary to provide ourselves internal validation. We have to rely on the adult role-models in our lives to know how to be in the world. Our internal sense of right and wrong is heavily influenced by the values that those role models demonstrate through their actions. Later, as our brains develop we begin to have the words and cognitive tools to truly choose for ourselves, if we choose to. While the mold set by our parents and role models is strong, it's not impossible to break. Living by internally validated models make it possible to be free from toxic patterns set by a traumatic family of origin.

Speaking of toxic families, Zuko was torn between two very different parents. His inner conflict manifests in his highly unstable mood, and his poor planning of events. He has trouble making up his mind because the path of Fire Nation supremacy is full of holes, but he refuses to fully acknowledge them.

The royal family of the Fire Nation demonstrates that individuals have very different ideas about what honor means. Princess Azula was highly attached to her father, Ozai, a man motivated by the pursuit of domination, willing to achieve his goals at any cost, including selling out his older brother, and banishing his wife, the mother of his children. To Ozai and Azula, honor is about conquering and conniving. Zuko was more closely bonded with his mother, a woman whose values included kindness, and sticking up for other people. She saved Zuko’s life by leaving the Fire Nation palace forever. Despite the fact the Zuko’s journey is spent desperate for his father’s approval, he is conflicted because he doesn’t agree with Azula and Ozai’s definition of honor. Zuko does many horrible things on his quest to capture the Avatar. And yet, he also rescues the Avatar from General Zhao, disguised as the Blue Spirit. He intervenes in the Earth Kingdom on behalf of a little boy, being antagonized by brutish Earth Kingdom soldiers. Although Zuko says that he must restore his honor through his father, he is conflicted, because at times what he believes is right is the exact opposite of what his father would do.

Zuko’s Blue Spirit disguise (my true favorite character from the Avatar series), his solitary acts of selfless bravery, and his ultimate loyalty to Uncle Iroh all indicate to me that his internal conflict, and the fever-transformation in Ba-Sing-Se were steps on a journey to reaching a state where his actions are motivated by internal validation. Zuko learns to make decisions based on values beyond power and prestige. He defies his father openly, and fights down Azula as a member of team Avatar because he chooses to believe his sense of what is right will show him the world more clearly than the lenses he was taught to wear as an heir to the throne. He lost his fire-bending for a while because he lost the fuel to power his bending: contempt, resentment, and frustration. While impressive, his anger made his bending volatile, unreliable, and undisciplined. Yet, when he regains his power to bend, and teams up with the Avatar, he at last finds focus, a quiet mind aligned with the life he desires to have for the long term.

Zuko finds his honor, but not with Ozai. He finds the honor that his mother, Ursa, and Uncle Iroh intended for him to find. He finds out that there was nothing to regain from Ozai but abuse, neglect, and despair. He finds that when Azula is defeated, her effortless poise and perfection were a mask for emptiness and total, sociopathic isolation. Zuko finds that his worth never came from his throne, his bending skills, or his father's approval. Despite Zuko’s journey across the spectrum from enemy to ally of the Avatar, his worth was always totally clear to the Uncle who had adopted him as his own.

Zuko not only becomes a whole person capable of connecting with people, he is willing to apologize, make amends, and fight for truth. Holding fast to his new way of living means saying goodbye to Ozai and Azula. He is able to face the unknown, living amongst a group of misfits and strangers, and finding his way to the throne that echoes his grandfathers, Avatar Roku and Firelord Sozin, and hints at an intergenerational healing of their failed friendship. The unfamiliarity of his new world view is bearable because he has finally learned to follow deeper values. Like Iroh and Ursa, his estrangement and loneliness don’t lead to isolation. He finds honor through trust, vulnerability, and empathy. Zuko is no longer chained to his inner emptiness because he has let go of the quest to fill it.

“I’ve realized I’m free to determine my own destiny, even if I’ll never be free of my mark.” -Zuko

Determine your own destiny. That is a quest worth becoming obsessed with.