Thursday, October 22, 2015

The future, my sis's b-day, and The Martian

Ok, so technically it's the 22nd in Malaysia right now. But, y'know, I'm very bad at posting things either consistently or on time. Seriously, my Top 5 Transformers Prime characters series and my Over the Garden Wall reviews are telling you the same.
So, yeah... It's the future! (Or at least it was yesterday). Cue awesome Back to the Future theme!
Also it's it was my younger sister's birthday today yesterday! It was rather low key, same with my fifteenth birthday. Wonder if that's going to become a trend... It was a fun family day, though. And- Oh, yeah! We saw The Martian in theatres, per Hawk's birthday request.
How was it? Well, I really enjoyed it. I found the whole thing to be rather tense and emotional. I legitimately didn't know if the main character, Mark, would get out of his situation alive. Seriously, I was expecting him to die in the end, and then I would've been really upset. But no, instead we got a happy and uplifting ending! The build-up to said ending was absolutely great, and it makes one feel really happy to see all the genius things the main character does in order to survive. You want to be smarter when watching him.
So, yeah. Great movie, good birthday celebration, and I bought Hawk Tim Burton's Corpse Bride as a present.
Anyhoo, that's all for now. Hopefully I will post SOMETHING related to reviews or Top 5 lists next time around. Nadi OUT!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

OtGW review: Schooltown Follies

[WARNING! This post contains spoilers for Over the Garden Wall! If you have not seen the series, SEE IT! Then you can come back and read this]

"A is for the apple that he gave to me, but I found a worm inside. B is for beloved that I call to him before he left my side."

"So, Beatrice, you sing the high part. Wirt, you sing the really high part."
"What?"
Beatrice, Wirt, and Greg are walking down a clear forest path. Greg is singing a song about going to Adelaide's house, to the annoyance of both Wirt and Beatrice. As Greg tries to assign certain parts of the song to them, Wirt stops to tie his shoe. Beatrice tells Wirt to keep walking, which he does (not tying his shoe), and she tells Greg that they are not doing any singing. When Greg protests, saying that they have to do something fun, Beatrice continues to say that they don't have to do anything.

"Greg, don't you want to be more like your brother? Just always doing what you're told?"
"Huh?"
"Just a pathetic pushover who relies on others to make all his decisions?
"Hey, what? I'm not a pushover!"
"Hold on, Wirt, let me get to my point."
"Fine."
Greg continues to protest, and Beatrice starts a lecture. She tells Greg to be more like Wirt: a pushover who always does what he's told and can't make his own decisions. Wirt denies being any of these things, but proves Beatrice's point when she tells him to be quiet. When Greg notes this doesn't sound fun, Beatrice says, "The world is a miserable place." According to her, life just isn't fun. This upsets Greg, and he says that he will do what he has to do. Beatrice is pleased to hear this, and requests that they pick up the pace. Beatrice and Wirt then realize that Greg is missing. He's run off on his own, saying that he needs to do his part to make the world a better place.

"No, he doesn't have a brain, he can't learn anything. Let's go, Wirt, c'mon! [whistles] Here, boy!"
"What? Did you say something? I can't hear you because I'm too busy doing what I'm told."
"What? What're you…? No, no! Let's go!"
"Oh, no. See, I'm a pushover, remember? I have to do what she tells me to do."
Greg soon comes upon a schoolhouse, which he has no desire to enter, and continues running along. Not far behind, Wirt and Beatrice are searching for Greg and happen upon the same schoolhouse. Thinking perhaps Greg went inside, they go to investigate. Inside the schoolhouse, the teacher (with a class composed of anthropomorphic animals) admonishes Wirt for being late to school and tells him to sit down. Beatrice tries to escape from the situation by saying Wirt doesn't have a brain and thus can't learn anything. But to Beatrice's surprise, Wirt goes and sits down. Annoyed by Beatrice's condescending comments, Wirt tells her that since he's a "pushover" he has to do what the teacher tells him to do. Beatrice tries to entice Wirt to leave by saying Greg might be in trouble, but that is disapproved when they see Greg outside.

"Whew, that lady's got some baggage."
"What's that? Young man, go to the dunce box!"
Beatrice tells Wirt that since bluebirds have short lifespans, the brothers are literally killing her every moment they delay. Wirt doesn't care. The teacher, Miss Langtree, tells Wirt that she won't have any nonsense in her classroom. She has had enough nonsense from her two-timing boyfriend, Jimmy Brown. And not only has Jimmy Brown appeared to have run off, but Miss Langtree's father is threatening to close the school and there is also a wild gorilla on the loose. Miss Langtree then starts singing the alphabet, using each letter to represent something concerning her missing boyfriend. Beatrice says that Langtree has a lot of issues, a comment that Miss Langtree thinks came from Wirt. As punishment, she sends him to the dunce box. Wirt happily obeys in spite of Beatrice's protests, and Langtree resumes her song.

"So my theory is hotdogs are not actually dogs, regardless of what they teach you in school. But you guys don't go to school, huh? I'm gonna stick with you guys."
Outside, Greg is hanging out with some other anthropomorphic animals who are not going to school. Greg, happy to be with kindred spirits (others who don't like school), suggests that they play Two-Old Cat. The animals don't know how to play and Greg plans to show them. As they go around trying to find two old cats, a gorilla comes running out of the bushes. Greg and the animals scatter. In the school, Miss Langtree is still singing her song and Beatrice tells Wirt that she is not happy with the situation, a sentiment that Wirt is perfectly fine with. The school bell is rung, and Miss Langtree assumes that it's already lunchtime. In actuality, Greg and his animal friends are trying to warn people about the gorilla. After a short chase, they manage to knock the gorilla down and go to hide out in the school, where they file into the dining room.

"Oh, potatoes and molasses: If you want some, oh just ask us. They're warm and soft like puppies and socks, filled with cream and candy rocks!"
Lunch time is rather dreary. The potatoes are bland and Miss Langtree's piano music is slow and sad. Wirt tries to eat, but Beatrice snaps that no one told him to eat yet. Greg, determined to make things better, spies a jar of molasses on the shelf and gets an idea. He asks Miss Langtree to play a livelier tune and she happily obliges. Taking the molasses, Greg sings a nonsensical song about potatoes and molasses while mixing the two together. Everyone soon joins in the song, playing some form of musical instrument. It seems that everything is brightening up, but then Miss Langtree's father comes in.

"I didn't invest in a school for fun! I thought we were trying to do important work here! Teaching animals to count and spell!"
The man is unhappy that his money appears to be going to waste. He only wants important work to be done at the school, teaching animals how to count and spell, not have fun. Miss Langtree begs her father not to close the school, promising it won't happen again. Mr. Langtree is determined to ensure it won't happen again: he takes all of the musical instruments and orders Miss Langtree to put everyone to bed.

"Ok, Wirt, I'll admit it. You seem like a pushover, but you're not."
"Oh?"
"Deep down in your heart, you're a stubborn jerk! When are you gonna give this up?"
"Maybe never! Maybe I'll never give this up."
Everyone, including Wirt, Greg and Beatrice, goes to bed. It's clear to Greg that all the animals are upset, and he himself is disappointed that in trying to make the world better, he only made things worse. Beatrice, meanwhile, admits to Wirt that she no longer sees him as a pushover. Instead she now sees him as a stubborn jerk and asks when he is going to stop being so. Wirt, in ironic defiance, says that perhaps he'll NEVER give up. This gives Greg an idea. Encouraged by Wirt's "never give up" comment, Greg tells Wirt that it's time to save the day.

"Ok, I think he's asleep. Let's go steal his stuff!"
"Huh?"
Wirt, Greg and Beatrice sneak out of the schoolhouse and into the woods. Unfortunately, Greg doesn't really have a plan. Then they spy Mr. Langtree. He laments to himself, saying that his home and life savings went into making a school for animals. He regrets that he needs to sell the musical instruments just so he can keep the school open. With the school problems, Jimmy Brown having run off, and the wild gorilla on the loose, Mr. Langtree just wishes that something would go right for once and falls asleep underneath his coat. Greg now has a plan: steal Mr. Langtree's stuff!

"What is this?"
"It's a benefit concert for the school."
"Ah, isn't it grand? All these fine people giving out of the goodness of their hearts? Not like my Jimmy Brown."
In the morning, Mr. Langtree wakes up to see that all the instruments are gone. He is very upset about this, until he stumbles upon a musical performance. All the animals are playing the musical instruments and people are coming to watch and give them money. Mr. Langtree wonders what is happening and Wirt tells him that it's a benefit concert to raise money for the school. Miss Langtree is very happy about this, but starts to go into another lament concerning Jimmy Brown. All of a sudden, the gorilla pops out and tries to attack her.

"So, want me to tell Greg it's time to get going?"
"Nah, let him have his fun."
Mr. Langtree, panicked, tells Wirt to do something. Wirt attempts to run at the gorilla, but trips on his untied shoelaces and falls against the gorilla, knocking it down. The gorilla's head flies off, revealing Jimmy Brown to have been in a gorilla suit. Jimmy explains that he joined the circus so he could buy Miss Langtree a wedding ring, but when he got stuck in the gorilla suit, everyone was too scared to help him out. Jimmy and Miss Langtree share an embrace and everyone cheers. Mr. Langtree happily reflects that something finally went right and Greg starts singing Potatoes and Molasses on the concert stage. Wirt asks Beatrice if he should tell Greg it's time to go, but she decides to let Greg have his fun. As they watch Greg conduct the concert, Beatrice tells Wirt to tie his shoe, which he does.

(Sort of) REVIEW TIME!
Ok, so where do I start? I'm going to start with saying that I am not a professional reviewer, and so I can't really call these things reviews. They're more like personal opinions. I try really hard to see how certain things fail, and I'm sorry if some of them go completely over my head. This episode in particular is going hard underneath that microscope because, while I personally enjoyed this episode, among many Over the Garden Wall fans this is considered one of the weakest episodes. I haven't seen anyone who's actively disliked this episode, but it appears that most people agree that it isn't the best episode. I am going to try and see why.
Now, I'll say this again: I rather enjoyed this episode. It isn't my favorite episode, but I never thought of the episode as bad, weak, or boring. (That spot goes towards most of episode 8, but more on that later). The atmosphere was much lighter and more storybook-ish compared to the previous episodes. And this appears to be the most common criticism - pretty much the only criticism - toward this episode.
I can see where the people are coming from with this complaint. I mean, just in the last episode we had this incredibly atmospheric and creepy story. And in the episode before that. we had a demon dog chasing after our protagonists! We're pumped for another dose of surreal creepiness, and what do we get…? Anthropomorphic animals, bright and cheerful atmosphere, and musical numbers. It feels like a disappointment to not receive a tense and atmospheric episode, or a fast-paced and shock inducing episode.
Again, this is the most common complaint I've seen regarding this episode, and again I understand where it's coming from. Now allow me to deliver my personal opinion on this.
When I first watched this episode I was admittedly surprised by the change of pace. I actually wasn't aware of how surprised I was until I moved on to the next episode and realized, 'Hey, that was a weird episode.' However, I didn't think that the lightheartedness made the episode weak. I find that the episode helps you notice just how dark and atmospheric the overall show really is, as well as give you a break from all the darkness. It would be rather discouraging if every episode was dark and tense. The characters and the viewers would never be able to catch a break!
And really, the fact that people were already associating a certain atmosphere with the show after only two episodes is rather impressive. Two episodes in, and people were already thinking, 'Ok, Over the Garden Wall. I know your style. Come at me.' Then the show played with our expectations, giving us something we weren't ready to associate the show. The show didn't stay within its seemingly established boundaries of dark and atmospheric, but showed just how diverse it could be.
If you say this episode seems out of place and you don't enjoy it as much because it isn't as dark as the past episodes, that's fine. I understand. Me personally, I rather like this episode. Thank you for listening to my rambling, and let's move on to a different subject because I really need to wrap up this long over-due review.
How were the characters in this story? I thought that they were good. I found the interaction between Wirt and Beatrice to be fun to watch, with Beatrice's insults being met by a rather passive-aggressive counter-attack. The little conversation where Beatrice says Wirt is a jerk rather than a pushover is one of my favorite moments in the episode.
Greg got more screen time in this episode, and we get to see a little bit more than the goofy and oblivious little kid. He's goofy and optimistic for a reason: he wants to light up the world through that goofiness and optimism. I like the part when Greg realizes that his fun fest just made things more miserable. I wish the writers had developed that more, but I supposed there is only so much you can do in a short time frame.
Beatrice and Wirt also get some development in this episode. Wirt is becoming more confident and independent (which he proves, ironically enough, by pointedly depending on what others tell him to do), and Beatrice sees that the world isn't always and doesn't have to be a miserable place.
The music in this episode was more upbeat and childish, kind of like something you would hear in an old cartoon. And of COURSE I kind of have to talk about the best known song in the series: Potatoes and Molasses. This song so easily gets into your head, and I've seen mixed reactions of love and hate towards it. I kind of like the song myself, but my favorite song has got to be the teacher's song: Langtree's Lament. Seriously, it's a freakin' clever song! Look up the full song if you want to see what I mean.
So, I'm really hitting the time limit on how long I should be taking to write this episode review, so I better wrap it up. I liked this episode, and while it certainly isn't my favorite episode, I never found it weak. Just unexpected. All in all, I give this episode the overall rating of 8.9/10.
Join me next time when I review the upcoming episode: Songs of the Dark Lantern.

[Check out this charming little fanart of Miss Langtree and her class by mintyburps on Tumblr]

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Artemis Fowl movie!?

So, Sir Kenneth Branagh, the guy who acts as Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a director. He is collaborating with Disney… to make an Artemis Fowl movie.
[I would insert a gif here if my computer wasn't being such a jerk about it]
AN ARTEMIS FOWL MOVIE, BRO!
Eoin Colfer (the author of the Artemis Fowl series), has delivered his approval of this, and I'm as excited as all heck. Some people are rather dubious, due to the fact that DISNEY is the company working on this. Personally, I don't have much against Disney, though I might be more at ease about this whole thing if, say, Warner Bros. was the one working on the thing.
Now, while I am not too concerned about Disney working on the Artermis Fowl movies, there are a few things I am concerned about. For now, I'm just going to be talking about my NUMBER ONE CONCERN.
The casting and writing of Artemis Fowl himself.
Artemis Fowl is an interesting character. He starts off as a sort of villain. No, he DOES start out as the villain. A pre-teen villain, an incredibly dry and snarky villain, a remarkably egotistical villain, an absolutely BRILLIANT villain, but nonetheless a villain we find ourselves rooting for. Sure, we feel sorry for Holly Short and her predicament (and I personally hated Artemis for putting her through emotional torture). But all the same, we admire and often support Artemis' charismatic attitude and brilliant plots.
Now, yes, Artemis becomes more of a good guy/anti-hero as the series goes on, and I may talk more about that and other later-in-the-series events in a different post. In this post though, I'm just going to be talking about the first book. Because I am legitimately concerned about how Artemis is handled on screen.
Artemis scares people. They're expecting a little kid, but no, they meet a cold and condescending young man. One who is a prodigy, knows that he is a prodigy, and is not averse to rubbing people's faces in it. He never comes off as an annoying kid who pretentiously flaunting his intelligence. He is pretty scary. [I would be giving example quotes from the book(s), but I appear to have misplaced them, so that's a problem].
That is very important! In order for Artemis to not come of as an incredibly annoying and pretentious, this requires effort from both the actor and the screenwriter. Artemis needs to act enough like an cold and villainous adult that Holly Short will have absolutely no qualms delivering a hard punch to his face. Yes. That happens in the book. It's a good moment because Artemis got what he deserved.
Not only that, Artemis needs to carry an authority about him. He orders his bodyguard Butler, and Butler's sister Juliet, like a professional. He is their employer after all. Again, Artemis cannot appear as a pretentious kid ordering older people around. He has legitimate authority.
There are of course times when Artemis acts like something more than a villain or employer. He is pretty much one of those villains that you meticulously analyze…

…like Loki. Only since the story is actually ABOUT the villain and not from the POV of the people facing the villain, we have a LOT more insight into what is going on in their head and why they do what they do.
Artemis wants the fairy gold to fund searches for his missing father. Artemis GIVES UP a part of the fairy gold to Holly Short in exchange for the health of his grieving and delusional mother. As much of a 'not-kid' Artemis is, nothing matters to Artemis more than family. He likewise cares for Butler and Juliet, and I would talk about the complex relationship between Butler and Artemis, but that's for another post.
Some of my favorite moments in the first book are the times when Artemis interacts with his mother. He's less of a child genius and more of a kid who just doesn't know what to do. There is the time when we are first introduced to Mrs. Fowl, and she angrily throws her son out of her room because she doesn't recognize him. There is the time when Artemis thinks he hears his mother talking to his father and he runs to her room, and is disappointed and almost horrified to see that it is just another one of her delusions. Finally, there is that one time that Artemis acted like a child, greeting his cured mother with a hug, and anticipating celebrating Christmas with her.
I'm seriously sorry if this post seems like it's all over the place. Even I sometimes don't know where I'm going with this.
Anyway, the point is, Artemis is an incredibly complex character. Most minutes he's a brilliant mafia lord, very few and vital minutes he's just a messed up kid. I would hate for this character to be messed up by poor acting and/or poor script writing. I don't know of that many child actors, so I have no idea if there is a legitimately good preteen actor out there.

These guys are the ones that fans most hope will be considered for the role of Artemis Fowl. I recognize Asa Butterfield from Ender's Game, which I don't remember that well to be honest. From what I can remember though… he might be good for the role?? And I have no idea who the other three guys are, or at least I don't recognize them. I'll have to look them up, but who knows? Maybe one of them could perform a very good Artemis Fowl.
Irish screen writer Connor McPherson will be working on the movie. Ok, I seriously don't know enough about this guy to either be dubious or hopeful. I'm leaning more on hopeful, cause HEY, he's Irish! And the Artemis Fowl series largely takes place in Ireland! Is this relevant to Artemis Fowl himself? I don't think so, but… Ugh, my brain is starting to shut down this subject.
Make this Artemis Fowl movie good, Disney! You had better make it good…

Monday, September 7, 2015

Words from Scott Cawthon

I became intensely interested in gaming because of Scott's amazing game series Five Nights at Freddy's (which I may or may not talk more about later), and even became interested in game making because of Scott. I'm just so inspired by a lone game developer who pretty much single handedly took the gaming world by storm. He saw a good story, and he did what he wanted with it. Just… Scott Cawthon is right up there with Peter Jackson as one of my biggest inspirations.
Thank you for continuing with what you're passionate about, Scott. It's incredibly encouraging.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Top 5 Favorite TFP Characters, Number 5: Knock Out

So, trying to give myself a rest from reviewing Over the Garden Wall, I decided to make a list of my Top 5 Favorite Transformers Prime Characters. My original idea was to make a Top 5 list of my favorite Justice League episodes, but the thing is, I am about two or three episodes short of making a certain judgment. In other words, I haven't seen all Justice League episodes, so I don't really know what my favorite episodes are overall until I have seen them. So until then, I went for something a little simpler: Top 5 favorite characters list.
A few years back I made an NCIS favorite characters list that listed each and every single character I knew from NCIS and ranked them from most favorite to least favorite. Even then, I soon realized the complications. There are certain characters I don't really care enough about, and so by the time I posted my top 5 characters, I began judging the other characters on how indifferent I felt about them until I could get to my least favorite character.
Here are the links to the posts, by the way, if you want to see them. I wouldn't recommend it. They are rather very bad and narrow-minded, and I have some very different opinions and better reasoning now. Also, there are some rather unfortunate typos (which I may or may not edit)... Why do I keep them around? I like to see how I've (hopefully) evolved. Please don't read them….
This time, I'm going for a different route. Just list my top 5 favorite characters! Why top 5? Because I don't think there are enough characters for me to make a top 10 list… And I'm afraid I'm too indifferent about certain characters to make a full list. I'll make one post per character, from 5 down to 1, número 1 being my most favorite character. So let's start the actual post now, shall we?
---
[PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THIS IS MY PERSONAL OPINION. IF YOU DISAGREE, THAT'S FINE, BUT PLEASE DON'T BASH ME FOR HAVING A DIFFERENT OPINION COMPARED TO YOU]

Transformers Prime is one of my most favorite cartoons in the Transformers franchise, and one of my most favorite cartoons in general. I'm sure I've said this before. It was dark, had some excellent stories, both continuous and contained, and even had some pretty funny moments. But I think what I love most about Transformers Prime is the characters. Yeah, the humans were actually pretty interesting (which is impressive), but I'm talking, of course, about the Transformers themselves.
Both the Autobots and the Decepticons had some rather memorable bots in their ranks, most of them being pretty enjoyable to watch. They each had their own personality, their own back stories, their own motivations. There really wasn't a character I disliked in the series…!
Ok, that's a lie, there just might be one possible exception… But the point is I really liked, and still like, the characters. And what do have we here? A list of my top 5 favorite TFP characters of course! Whether they be Decepticon or Autobot, they are viable for the list. So let's get started!

5. Knock Out

"Yes, right, you're one of those."
"Come again?"
"Never understood why any self-respecting Decepticon would choose 'automobile' as his vehicle mode when he could have flight."
"I like the way I look in steel-belted radials."
While trying to compile this short list, only three bots were instantly on the roster, hands-down, no contest. Knock Out, of course, was one of those bots. It's almost hard to say what I love about this guy in a coherent manner.
Knock Out is the Decepticon medic. He's one of the few Decepticons with a ground form, he's one of the few Decepticons without any actual weapons, he's the shortest 'Con on the show, and he is hilarious. In my opinion, Knock Out is apart of the funniest moments in the show. With Knock Out's narcissistic personality, his constant quips and sarcasm, his awfully over-confident attitude, his cowardice, and of course his obsession with having a perfect paint job…

"You painted my paint job! Prepare for surgery!"

…and the fantastic campy performance by Daran Noris, it is kind of hard to take him seriously. Both the Decepticons, Autobots, and the general audience would agree. But it's not just the humor of this character that makes me love him so much, because quite frankly Knock Out can be one scary as scrap character. I honestly wonder why any 'Con would trust this guy enough to lay down on his medical slab!
Knock Out is kind of underrated. I mean, the fandom knows of his awesomeness, but his own teammates often underrate what he can do. Sure, everyone knows that he is a medical and scientific genius, but if Knock Out wasn't such a coward, I know he would kick a lot of aft on the field. He wields a mean electro staff, and he took down Optimus Prime! And that was in his debut episode!
While I am disappointed we don't see much of Knock Out's full potential on the field, the show more than makes up for it in how scary he can be when in his element. Oddly, while Knock Out is apart of some of the funniest moments, he is equally apart of what I see as some of the creepiest/scariest moments of Transformers Prime. Knock Out can be really scary when in his medical lab. He has no qualms performing surgery on a live patient, or performing experiments on the carcass of his dead partner (and by extension performing experiments on the live human inside said carcass).
I think one of the creepiest moments is in episode The Human Factor, in which a man named Silas uses the dead body of Breakdown (Knock Out's partner) to keep himself alive. Renamed CyLAS, he proposes partnership with the Decepticons, but when he fails to impress Megatron, he is handed over to Knock Out's dissection table. And Knock Out couldn't be happier about it.

"He will be a fascinating case for study."
"I will leave no fiber or fiber optic unexamined."

Just the cold glee Knock Out shows in having both a techno-organic lab rat and revenge for his partner is enough to give me chills every time. That, and CyLAS' yells of protest while he's being dragged away. [shudder] It's hard to see Doc Knock as a doctor with his sarcastic and all around uncaring beside manner, and mad scientist tendencies. On an unrelated note, when I first started getting interested in Team Fortress 2, there was something about the Medic that struck me as familiar.

"No worries, Herr Kommandant."

I can't imagine why it is...
Knock Out's survivalist tendencies are another thing that makes me wonder why anyone would trust this guy, and attributes to both his funnier and more chilling moments. Knock Out is pretty much motivated by whatever could benifit him the most. He supports the alpha dog, he supports the winning team, he is more than willing to abandon the Decepticons if the Autobots end up winning… Which is exactly what happens by the end of the series.

"Ah, such luster."
"…"

"What? I'm joining the winning team."
I really want to know more about how this guy interacts with the others now that he's an Autobot. Seriously though, Knock Out is so intent on power and survival that he was willing to off Megatron himself! Twice! Granted, both times the big guy was helpless on his medical table, but still! That takes some real ball bearings.

"But… if I disconnect before a proper power down, the link is severed, and… the big guy will never emerge from Starscream's head."
All in all, I just love Knock Out. He's sarcastic, he's funny, he's a complete coward, and gosh he can be scary as scrap. Daran Noris does such a fantastic job voicing this snobbish, vain, pretentious 'Con, and I think that the character would not have been nearly as enjoyable without him.

[Check out this fanart of Knock Out trying to be a good and trustworthy Autobot medic by the-starhorse on Deviantart]

Thursday, August 20, 2015

ANT-MAN! Insta-thoughts

So, we saw Ant-Man in theaters a day or two ago. I wasn't able to write this post then due to the gosh awful internet, but here I am now. Anyway, so what were my thoughts on Ant-Man?
As you can see from my insta-opinion Facebook update, I really enjoyed it! I seriously, really enjoyed it! Now, it's not quite as funny as everyone was shouting it out to be. I mean, I found it funny, but not as funny as Guardians of the Galaxy. But other than that, I don't really have many complaints concerning the movie.
While there was something about the pacing of Scott and Hope's relationship that kind of rubbed me the wrong way, again, I don't have that many complaints. Shrinking is one of my favorite superpowers, right up there with the speedsters. Which is weird, because I've hardly seen ANY shrinking heroes, besides Bumblebee in the Teen Titans cartoon. Anyway, the concept always seemed so cool to me. The possibilities are almost endless when you have the ability to shrink because there's actually a whole lot of world to go around, and a whole lot of props to use. I think the best example I can think of, explaining why I love this power, is the fight scene between Ant-Man and Yellowjacket in Scott's daughter's room. They made the girl's play table their battleground, using toys as deadly weapons! Cool? Heck yeah.
It's hard to explain the atmosphere of the movie. It wasn't as high-tech, witty, or troubled as Iron Man, it didn't seem to press the high stakes and something to fight for vibe like in the Captain America movies, and of course it didn't match the enormity of the Avengers movies. It didn't even quite reach the wit and carefree humor as Guardians of the Galaxy, as I said before. That's not to say that it wasn't carefree and funny compared to most of the other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. In fact, I found it more lighthearted than Guardians of the Galaxy, but that's just my view.
Ant-Man put a heavier emphasis on the family aspect. All Scott wants is to be able to see his daughter. That's why he got out of jail, that's why he tried to go straight, that's why he tried stealing again, that's why he agreed to help steal the Yellowjacket suit, that's why he fought Yellowjacket, that's why he was willing to sacrifice himself, that's why he had the will to come back. He's just an average guy who stole a suit and became really good at using it. I told this to my mom when trying to describe the movie: "It's how I would imagine a Hawkeye movie feeling like." Sure, the scenarios would likely be way different. But the 'average family guy who happens to be really good at something' vibe would be there, I'm sure of it.
This is pretty short post since I have to babysit at the moment, but in short, I LOVED the movie. The action, the powers, the ants, the props, even the humor. I loved it. Now, quick update on my Over the Garden Wall reviews: I'm nearly done reviewing Schooltown Follies. I might take a rest from reviewing Over the Garden Wall for awhile and try something different after I'm done. I'm thinking about doing something super-hero related…
Nadi OUT.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Replay (TMNT '12 oneshot)

Saki would never forget that night. Leaping at the Hamato student with blades drawn, striking at him with intent to kill. The blow just missing, instead sending the woman he loved to a tragic fate. The flames raging about him, a symbol of his rage. Rage against himself? No, rage against the Hamato. It was his fault, turning the woman Saki loved against him. If she had only remained with him, the tragedy would have never happened.
  And through some cruel karma, the tragedy, through virtually the same players, replayed. It was almost a mirror. Again Saki leapt at the Hamato student with blades drawn. Again he struck at the Hamato student with intent to kill. And again, the blow missed, sending the girl he loved to a tragic fate.
  It was the next generation to whom it had happened to, but Saki did not miss the parallels. There were even flames raging around the scene.
  Rage, rage, rage…!
  Against himself? No. No, of course not. Saki did not miss these parallels either. It was all the fault of the Hamato clan. It was the fault of the Hamato clan that the woman he loved was lost, and it was now the fault of the Hamato clan that he could not fulfill the one missing parallel. The most he could do was leave with the promise to do so.
  "I shall avenge you, my daughter!"

[A/N Yeah, this is something that occurred to me when I first watched Vengeance is Mine. I noticed the parallels. Leo played as Splinter, Karai played as Teng Shen. In both situations, Shredder tried to do away with the Hamato, and instead brought unintended and unwanted tradgedy on the young woman caught in the middle. There was even fire consuming the building in both situations. The only thing that didn't happen was Shredder walking away from the flames with Karai in his arms, saving her and stealing her away. I wrote this on a complete whim thirty minutes ago, improvising as I went. I'm pretty satisfied with what I've made]

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Busy with busy-ness and tiredness (also friends)

You know, I did have an EXCELLENT two weeks. Two weeks ago, our family spent a whole week (and the weekend before that) at a retreat and I met a whole lot of kids like me (Christian kids who live overseas). We played a whole lot of games, went through several fun and enlightening Bible study sessions, and we just had a plain good time.
I even met a bunch of girls who are just as quirky and crazy as I am. Now, the plan was for me to write a whole journal on that week's crazy times, but then I bumped into two problems: 1) my iPad was confiscated for most of the week, and I when I did have it, I was too busy having fun to do much other than take pictures with it, and 2) when the week was over, and our family headed back to my dad's parent's house, we went on a family retreat back up to the SAME MOUNTAINS we had just left.
It was a short, but fun family retreat. My dad's parent's were there, and my dad's brother with his family. (My dad's sister couldn't make it since her family lives in Indonesia). My uncle has only two kids, three and seventeen months(?), and they are so cute! It was enjoyable to keep an eye on and hang out with them.
So, yeah… I've been busy, and after each retreat I've been SUPER tired. I'll try to get back in the groove soon enough. I just need more rest. Nadi OUT!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Strategy in preteen sumo wrestling

My youngest sister, Raewyn/Dove was telling us an awesome story from her time hanging out with all the preteens yesterday. (While all the parents are hanging out at church camp, the youth, preteens, and younger all go off to do seperate activities). So, one of the preteen activities was essentially sumo wrestling. The two kids run at each other and try to push each other out of the circle. Dove said that when it was her turn, she had already taken notice of the fact that every single kid ran at each other and tried to do just that. So she tried a different approach.
Up against a boy, she waited a bit for him to run at her first. At the last moment, she stepped aside and let him fall out of the circle. She strategized in sumo wrestling!
Yeah, I'm proud of my little sister.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

"Ain't nobody got time for that!"

Guess who's got bronchitis. Well, it isn't me. No, it's my sister, Hawk. She's had this gosh awful cough and fever for a few days now, and unfortunately it hasn't died down now that we're at church camp. Due to the severity of her cough, our dad took her to a clinic, where she was diagnosed with bronchitis.
Yes, her mind instantly went to that viral video when she was told, and our dad did say, "Bronchitis, huh? Ain't nobody got time for that!"
So, she's been given antibiotics and she's feeling better in the sense that she's not coughing as much, and she's less dull and tired. All the same, prayers would be appreciated as we spend an entire week in the mountains socializing with people.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Gosh darn tooth

I'm eating a salad. I stab a bell pepper slice with the fork and bite into it. CRACK. The noise startles me, and I feel a jolt in my teeth, which now feel a bit uncomfortable, but nothing seems to be hurting. The fork is even intact and in good condition, which surprised me a bit due to the force of the jolt and the loudness of the crack. Seeing that the fork is in good condition, I instantly check my front tooth since that's the one that feels the most uncomfortable. Still to my surprise, my tooth is fine. This doesn't convince me, however, and I check the tooth a few more times (not thinking to check my other teeth). The tooth is still fine, and I turn back to my salad.
When the salad is done, I bite into my pizza. It's still warm, which is nice, but a sharp heat darts up one of my teeth. I run my tongue over my teeth, and my tongue catches on a jagged corner. Wait, no… There is no corner.
GOSH DANG IT!
It's the tooth next to the tooth I was positive was cracked! That's the one that's really screwed! So, yeah, I chipped one of my teeth for the third time in my life. (The first time was in a swimming pool. I actually chipped BOTH front teeth that time. I don't recall the second time, but that tooth is still scarred).
This is just a little post concerning my current bane. Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying being in America so far. But having a chipped tooth is annoying and stingingly painful (more stingingly sensitive than painful, but whatever). We're going to a church camp tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it.
Nadi OUT.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Going To America; Journal Entries

It's July 4th, 12:34 AM Malaysia time, and we've just taken off. The seatbelt sign has turned off, so hopefully that means I can use my iPad right now. OH! The pilot just said that I'm allowed to! YEAH!
Dang it, these PA announcements are annoying- THERE we go, it's done, and I'm listening to Elsa singing Let It Go again. So, yeah, I created an inflight playlist using the inflight music available. Let's see, what do I have on here…
Wake Me Up by Avicii
Hey Brother by Avicii
Frozen Heart, Let It Go, and Love Is An Open Door from Frozen
Master of the House, and One Day More from Les Miserables
Handy by Weird Al
Word Crimes by Weird Al
Now That's What I Call Polka by Weird Al
And, finally, Elastic Heart by Sia
So, yeah. I don't really get to listen to these songs often. I mean, the only ones I actually own are the Weird Al songs. Oh, I just got some salted peanuts. I may or may not eat them… Peanuts usually make me dizzy. Anyway, so I'm planning to watch some inflight movies. I'll most likely watch Avengers: Age of Ultron, and possibly In Time. I watched previews of In Time a couple years back and it looked really cool. Myrddin is watching Dead Poet's Society. YEAH, Robin Williams!
That's all I've got to say for now. There may or may not be updates.
--
We're in Paris now. Not sure about the date, but it's apparently around 8 to 7 AM right now. The time is 1:38 PM in Malaysia.
So, I listened to my playlist for awhile before watching Avengers: Age of Ultron. For some reason, Pietro/Quicksilver's death hit me a lot harder than the first time I watched it. I guess I was just really tired. Oh! Gotta go!
--
Ok, back. We had to jump on a bus to get to another part of the airport. Our plane to Charlotte will take off around 11 AM. Yeah, that's… that's gonna take awhile. Anyway, so I finished Age of Ultron, then listened to my inflight playlist again. Since it was on repeat, I just let it flow, and I guess I fell asleep. Actually, I think that was the best sleep I have ever had on a plane (and that's saying a lot).
After I woke up, breakfast was served (cheese omelet with sausage), and I started watching In Time. I thought it was pretty good, even though I wasn't able to watch the last forty minutes of it since we were gonna be landing pretty soon. I spent the last twenty minutes on the plane re-listening to Wake Me Up and Hey Brother. It's official, I want those songs. I want to make AMVs with them.
Now we're in France, and everything looks really weird to me. I've seen a few Asians, but of course a very large majority of the people here are white.
Anyhoo, that's all I have to say for now. Peace out, or something.
--
Oh, my gosh. Everything here is so AMERICAN. From the lack of motorcycles on the very wide and empty roads, to the very American names on all the signs. Heck, I swear I just saw a cloud that looks like a bald eagle.
It's July 4th, 3:18 PM, American time. It's also July 5th, 3:18 AM, Malaysian time. Anyway, the point is, we're here.
The ride from France to Charlotte was… interesting. I spent the entire time watching movies. The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Annie (2014 remake), Into The Woods, and Edge of Tomorrow (minus 22 minutes). Yeah, I didn't have any sleep this time around.
We're in- Ooh, Chick Filet! We're in our grandfather's VW van now, going to our grandparent's house. I'm not feeling that tired right now, but I KNOW that I will crash if provided with a dark room and big bed. I want coffee. Anyway, that's it for now. I might update this journal entry tonight before I go to bed, and then bring it to a close
--
After living in Malaysia for so long, I keep on forgetting that the Fourth of July is supposed to mean something to me. "Is there something happening today? Like, an American thing that involves fireworks? Hey, mom…?" And then, "OH YEAH! The American Independence Day!"
Happy 4th of July, or…
HAPPY PATRIOTIC EXPLOSION DAY!
--
Our family just had a small, American dinner of grilled steaks, hamburgers, sausages and vegetables, with punch, soda and chips on the side. Then red and blue jello with whipped cream on top for desert. It was a good night. It's only 6:41 PM (American time), but I am about ready to pass out. I'm gonna take my shower and go to bed.
Goodnight, peeps! Nadi OUT.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Fandom Comparison

At this point, I'm pretty sure that Gravity Falls fandom is the Sherlock fandom of cartoons…
[by imaplatypus on deviantart]
And that's all I have to say…
GUYS, A TALE OF TWO STANS IS COMING OUT THIS MONTH AND THE CRAZY IS STILL ESCALATING.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why Transformers: RID '15 is secretly TF: Animated

While watching Robots in Disguise and enjoying the characters and adventures that the writers have created, I started drawing some parallels between this show and 2010s Transformers Animated. Mainly between the original teams. Let's start with the team members and dynamics, shall we?
The main character is a young and inexperienced leader, who doesn't have much confidence in their leadership skills or potential for greatness. They also fight with EPIC melee weapons (axe and spear).

There is that 'responsible' character who comes off as a stick-in-the-mud, but certainly isn't above making jokes or comments at the expense of other teammates. Usually...

…the hip and energetic one who doesn't want to take scrap from ANYONE. They have a tense and often childishly argumentative relationship with the stick-in-the-mud. They've self-proclaimed themselves as the fastest-thing-on-wheels/fastest-bot-around.

The medic/mechanic/scientist. Yeah, there isn't much to say about these two.

The big, clumsy and lovable green one who you just want to hug! They're foreboding due to their size and strength, and thus often misunderstood. They're gentle giants, except when their friends are threatened.

Now for the humans. There's the kid with the I-can-take-care-of-myself attitude. They don't seem fazed by anything, and would probably give that kid from Home Alone a run for his money.

The kid's rather eccentric father. He isn't the best parent, since he's often caught up in his work, but he still adores his kid. Ironically, the kid tends to be more responsible than their father.

Robots in Disguise '15 is the only Transformers cartoon since Animated that has shorts. At least, as far as my knowledge goes.
Career Day short (Transformers Animated)

Sticky Situation short (Transformers: Robots in Disguise 2015)


Well, that's all I have to say for now. I know, it's rather abrupt, but I have hit a time crunch. Believe me, I've drawn several more parallels while making this post, but… eh. I'm planning to make a short review on the first thirteen episodes of Robots in Disguise, that is if I have the time. Oh, yeah, our family is visiting America. We're leaving on Friday. So, 'til all are one!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Recent interests

My cold is still raging within my body and it is gosh awful! I was planning to make a Robots in Disguise post, but I'm still too tired to do that. So what else can I do? Make a boring list of what has caught my interest these past six months. In order. My head is hurting already.

Star vs. the Forces of Evil
One of the first things that caught my attention this year, I actually didn't expect to like this cartoon as much as I do now. I mean, I heard it was created by a story board artist for Wander Over Yonder, a cartoon that didn't really interest me. (I tried, ok)? But only watching the first half episode, I was instantly in love with the world and characters of Star vs. the Forces of Evil. Star Butterfly and Marco Diaz's relationship is definitely one of the highlights of the show, giving me a kind of Kim Possible/Ron Stoppable type of feel when it comes to their charm as a duo.

Portal
Some of you should already know this, since I've mentioned it in past posts, but I've recently gotten into Portal. I first came across Portal in a parody. Somebody had taken Five Nights at Freddy's characters and put them in Portal. (If you know Rebornica and Mysticbaconslice, then you probably know what I'm talking about). I was curious, so I looked up Portal and was surprised to see it was a video game. So I watched a Blitzwinger do a let's play of both Portal games and I instantly loved it. It seems like such a simple game, but it has such appealing characters and an excellent story. Also, J.K. Simmons voices a character, so that's something. I'm planning to get the games soon enough…

Over the Garden Wall
Anyone who's been paying attention these last few months or so know this. You can read the story of how I first got into Over the Garden Wall here or, if you're to lazy to click a link, I'll just tell you. Last year, around December, I introduced a friend to Gravity Falls. She enjoyed it, and said it reminded her of Over the Garden Wall, which she recommended to me. I said I would check it out, but I didn't actually go out of my way to do so until this year. And OMG, it is among one of the best cartoon series I have seen… If you want to read my full praise on this fantastic miniseries, just click the 'here' link above.

Creepypasta
I don't know what to say. I never really understood creepypastas. I mean, I knew a few of the more popular ones, mainly just Slenderman and Jack the Killer, but otherwise I didn't know scrap. Then I listened to a couple of them on CreepsMcPasta's youtube channel. Intrigued, I decided to go out of my way to figure out what creepypastas were. Things kind of left off from there. I don't obsessively read creepypastas, but I do read a few every couple days. Check out the Creepypasta wiki. It's where I've been reading most of them. So far, The Smiling Man is the only creepypasta that has succeeded in scaring the heck out of me.

Team Fortress 2
Well, this is… interesting. I'm not sure if this counts, since I'm not as fully into this as I am with the other things on this list. Then again, this is a list of interests, not obsessions, and yes Team Fortress 2 caught my interest. I'm not an avid video or computer game player, but I can dig them. However, first-person-competitive-shooter games have never really appealed to me since their dark and gritty atmosphere just left me feeling bored and feeling bad. Then I caught notice of Team Fortress 2. Bright Pixar-esq animation and gameplay? Hey, I can dig that! So, yeah… I went out of my way to look things up, and I've been becoming steadily more interested. And hey, it's apparently free to play! I want to shoot people.

Bioshock
Gosh, dang it… This grabbed my interest about three days ago, and WOW. I'm kind of jealous about just how awesome this story was. Actually, I'm pretty sure I had a story idea akin to Bioshock awhile back, but whatever. The only thing I regret about getting into this is that I didn't get to play the game and figure out the story myself. Yeah, whenever I get into games, I hardly EVER actually get to play the game myself. The Nancy Drew games series is the only exception. Anyway, alongside Portal, Bioshock is a game I would be willing to spend money on.

That's it… Yep, that's it. Not sure what else to say. 'I seriously went out of my way to find these gifs', I guess. Anyhoo, Nadi OUT.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

OtGW review: Hard Times at the Huskin' Bee

[WARNING! This post contains spoilers for Over the Garden Wall! If you have not seen the series, SEE IT! Then you can come back and read this]

"Along the fields of straw and stover, clocked in 'til the work day's over. Time’s a gentle stream, longer than it seems… Patient is the night."


"This is the way the woodsman told us to go, right?"
"Have you listened to anything I've been saying? For the last couple hours I've been saying…" [blows a raspberry]
"Well, that settles it. I'm gonna walk ten feet ahead of you."
A leaf gets blown off a tree branch and through a clear day sky. Wirt and Greg are still walking through the forest, and Wirt wonders why they haven't encountered a town yet. Greg, seemingly unworried, just continues to make odd sounds with his lips, which of course annoys Wirt. Greg then hears a voice calling for help, but Wirt thinks that it's nothing. He is more interested in a sign that says 'Pottsfield, 1 Mile'. There is a town not far from where they are! Greg, however, goes off to look for the source of the cry for help.

"I'm stuck. Help me out of here and I'll owe you a favor."
"Woah…! I get a wish?"
"No, no, no. Not a wish. I'm not magical, I'll just do you a good turn."
"Can you turn me into a tiger?"
"Um, no, I just said I'm not magical."
"It doesn't have to be a magical tiger."
Turns out, the cry for help came from a bush. The bluebird that the boys encountered in the last episode is entangled in thorns. Recognizing Greg, the bluebird says that if Greg helps her, she will help him. Greg mistakes this as meaning that he will get a wish, which the bluebird instantly denies (as she is not magical), simply stating that she'll give him a favor. Wirt, not knowing about the bluebird, tells Greg to stop talking to 'a bush'. Greg says 'ok', and helps the bluebird out of her snare.

"So, um, you two are lost kids with no purpose in life, right?"
"Uh huh."
The bluebird, grateful for the help, instantly wants to show her gratification by bringing the boys to 'Adelaide of the Pasture, the Good Woman of the Woods'. According to the bluebird, Adelaide can help the boys get home. Greg finds this idea exciting, but Wirt is skeptical and ultimately decides that he and Greg will to go to Pottsfield. The bluebird follows them, Greg inviting her to come with them. She is still concerned about her favor.

"So, let's small talk. My name's Greg. What's yours?"
"Beatrice."
"My brother's name is Wirt."
"Who cares?"
Wirt, Greg, and the bluebird, ultimately make it out of the woods and begin walking through pumpkin fields. Greg invites the bluebird to small talk, telling her both his and Wirt's names (and his frog's name, currently named Greg Jr). The bluebird says that her name is Beatrice and suggests to Greg that they ditch Wirt. Greg says 'maybe later', and asks Beatrice questions regarding being a bird. Beatrice reveals that she doesn't like being a bird, doesn't eat waffles, and eats maggots. Greg is a little upset that Beatrice doesn't eat waffles, and accidentally gets his foot lodged in a pumpkin. Wirt finally spies the town of Pottsfield, celebrating finding civilization, and also gets his foot lodged in a pumpkin. Wirt kicks the pumpkin off, and the party of three (plus the frog) enters the town.

"See anybody?"
"No. Oh! I see you!"
"Yeah, I see you too, Greg."
"Hey, not to be obnoxious, but an abandoned ghost town doesn't seem like its gonna be that useful getting you guys home."
The party enters the town, which appears to be completely empty. When Beatrice points out the uselessness of coming here, an annoyed Wirt goes knocking on a house door. When no one answers, he opens it to find a turkey lying on a table. The turkey raises its head. Though startled, Wirt asks to borrow a phone. When the turkey doesn't answer, Wirt apologizes for disturbing it and leaves. Beatrice asks Wirt if he found anyone, and Wirt says no. Greg asks the two of them if they hear something. There is music eminating from a nearby barn.

"You guys find this place as creepy as I do, right?"
"So, it's some kind of weird cult where they wear vegetable costumes and dance around a big thing… They seem nice enough. 
"Ok, you're in denial, that's fine. But I'm just saying, something feels off about this place…"
Wirt, Greg, and Beatrice go to investigate. Inside the barn are what appears to be several pumpkin people, playing fiddles, dancing around a maypole type object, bobbing for apples, skinning apples and corn, among other autumn festivities. A pumpkin man then accidentally bumps into the boys. Apologizing, the pumpkin man invites them to celebrate the harvest with himself and the rest of the townsfolk. Wirt then realizes, with relief, that all of the people are wearing costumes, which is confirmed by the man who they are talking to. Greg is glad that he didn't remove his pumpkin shoe. Beatrice finds the entire thing unsettling, and Wirt agrees, but says that the people seem nice enough. Beatrice thinks that Wirt is in denial, feeling that there is definitely something off about the whole thing.

"Say, aren't you a little too… early?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, it doesn't seem like you're ready to join us just yet."
"Join you? Yeah, no, I'm just passing through."
"Folks don't tend to 'pass through' Pottsfield…"
Wirt says he is going to ask someone to give him and Greg a ride home and thanks Beatrice for all her help, saying she can leave. Beatrice says that there are 'bluebird rules' that state she cannot leave their side until she has returned the favor for releasing her from the bush. Resigned to this, Wirt goes in to ask for help, and Greg takes Beatrice to the dance floor (despite her protests). Wirt encounters a pumpkin lady, who says that Wirt seems a bit 'early', saying that he doesn't seem ready to join them yet. When Wirt says that he is just looking to leave Pottsfield ASAP, this catches the attention of everyone in the barn. One of the townsfolk shut the barn doors, trapping Wirt, Greg and Beatrice inside.

"Now let me get this straight. You come to our town, you trample our crops… you interrupt our private engagements… Now you wanna leave?"
"Uh… Yes."
Wirt and Greg are soon surrounded by the townsfolk, who seem quite disturbed that the boys want to leave Pottsfield and have destroyed some of their crops. Then, a voice tells the townsfolk not to jump to any conclusions. The speaker is an enormous pumpkin head, his body being the maypole type object the townsfolk had been dancing around. The townsfolk, who refer to the giant pumpkin as Enoch, ask what to with the boys. Enoch asks Wirt and Greg how they arrived at Pottsfield, and Wirt gives a nervous and half-told story before saying that they'll simply leave. Enoch doesn't seem to like the fact that the boys have destroyed private property and interrupted the party, and now want to leave. Beatrice, who had been attempting to make an escape, has now been caught.

"Children… It saddens me that you don't wish to stay here with us. Particularly because I simply have to punish you for your transgressions."
Enoch regrets that Wirt and Greg want to leave, and says that he has to punish the boys for their crimes. (Beatrice doesn't hold back on a 'I told you so'). These include trespassing, destruction of property, disturbing the peace, and murder. Understandably, this last accusation shocks Wirt, but this turns out to be a joke on Enoch's part. However, Wirt and Greg are still found guilty of the other crimes listed. Enoch then sentences them to… a couple hours of community service.

"Hey! Buried treasure!"
"Woah, really? See, Beatrice! What'd you find?"
"A skeleton!"
Each with a ball and chain around one of their ankles, Wirt, Greg and Beatrice are put to work. They gather hay, pumpkins, and corn. All the while, the townsfolk are keeping an eye on them. Finally, the boys are set to digging holes, and Wirt celebrates that their hours are almost up. Beatrice asks Wirt what he intends to do once they're finished, and Wirt considers staying in Pottsfield, saying its rather nice. Beatrice then wonders what the holes are for, and cheerfully suggests that perhaps the townsfolk are planning to bury Wirt and Greg. Wirt brushes this aside, and Greg announces that he's found buried treasure in his hole: a skeleton.

"Your time is up!"
Wirt freaks out, realizing that they really are digging their own graves. He asks Beatrice to use her claws to pick the locks on their ankle shackles, and Beatrice sarcastically asks if he wants her help. Wirt is forced to admit that yes, he wants her help, when he sees Enoch and the townsfolk coming. Unfortunately, the residents of Pottsfield arrive very quickly. Beatrice tells Wirt to stall while she works on their ankle shackles, and Wirt tries to come up with excuses when asked if the holes have been dug yet. Beatrice runs to help Greg as Wirt tells the townspeople that there were a lot of rocks that got in the way while digging the holes. Then, Greg and Beatrice run off, leaving Wirt to think that they left him.

"They're all skeletons…!"
The townsfolk still want to know what happened to the rocks, and Wirt continues to try and stall his burial. He is very quickly distracted by the sight of the skeleton climbing out from Greg's digging hole. The townsfolk greet the dancing skeleton with enthusiasm, and a second skeleton climbs from Wirt's hole. This skeleton is also greeted by the Pottsfield residents, and both skeleton are given pumpkin costumes. Wirt then realizes the truth: the Pottsfield townsfolk are all skeletons!

"And what about you? You sure you wanna leave?"
"Me? Yes!"
"Oh, well. You'll join us someday."
The townsfolk thank Wirt for 'digging up the life of the party'. Enoch, happy about the celebrations and harvest, then turns to Wirt, asking him if he is sure that he wants to leave Pottsfield. Wirt says yes, and Enoch accepts this, saying that he'll join them someday. Beatrice, having returned, demands to know why Wirt didn't come with herself and Greg. When Wirt accuses her of leaving him, Beatrice points out that she had picked his ankle shackle. He could've left if he'd wanted. The two are quick to leave Pottsfield and rejoin Greg in the woods.

"Why are you going to Adelaide's?"
"I guess in some ways, I'm trying to get home too."
"That's vague. What does that mean?"
"I don't have to tell you anything."
"Well, I sure hope that Adelaide is more helpful than that woodsman was. I think his directions were… not very good."
Wirt thanks Beatrice for helping them and says that Beatrice probably isn't honor bound to help them anymore. But, since the boys had never been in any danger with the Pottsfield residents, Beatrice says that she still has to help them. This pleases Wirt, who wants Beatrice to help them get home. Greg says that he finally knows what to wish for: that Wirt Jr (the frog) would have fingers so that they could play the guitar. Beatrice agrees to help the boys get home, and says she will bring them to Adelaide's. She also needs Adelaide's help, anyway. When Greg asks why, Beatrice vaguely says that in a way, she is trying to go home too. Wirt hopes that Adelaide will be more helpful that the Woodsman, deciding that his directions weren't that good. A leaf blown in the wind gets caught on the border fences of Pottsfield, unable to escape.

(Sort of) REVIEW TIME!
When I first watched this episode, I went through a roller coaster of emotions, the emotions that the episode undoubtedly intended for the watcher to feel. There are so many false alarms in this episode…
"Oh, no! Creepy pumpkin people! Oh, wait, they're just townsfolk wearing costumes. Oh, no! We're in big trouble! Oh, wait, we're just gonna go through a few hours of manual labour. Oh, no! We're gonna get buried alive! Oh, wait, we're just digging up live skeletons so they can join the harvest festival. Wait, WHAT?!"
The atmosphere can go from secure and cosy, to creepy and dangerous within a minute, keeping the watcher on their toes. And that's just a part of what I love so much about this episode. I really don't think any other episode in the series does this, and, in fact, I've never seen an episode outside the series that does this. It is a good story device, especially for horror and suspense, but I can see how it could be used poorly. Too many false alarms would have made the story boring and repetitive. Luckily, this episode is able to use just the right kinds and amount of false alarms, and even still manages to finish the story with a creepy note. (Which I will touch upon later).
The color pallet in this episode is gorgeous. That's another thing I've noticed recently about this series: the color pallets for each episode are different, depending on the atmosphere of the episode. It's a subtle but vital point for any cartoon or TV show: the color pallet and/or lighting matter very much to the atmosphere of your show. Much of the color pallet in this episode is slightly dulled, with a lot of brown and orange. Actually, come to think of it, almost as soon as the gang steps into Pottsfield, the sky goes grey, opposed to the more secure feeling sunlight at the beginning of the episode. This dulled color pallet gives it a cosy, old folksy type feel. In the barn, when the doors are closed and things get more sinister, the shadows cover almost everything, highlighting the colors that are seen, giving the scene an unnatural, trapped feeling. When the gang leaves Pottsfield, the sunlight comes back, and we start feeling secure again.
The music in this episode was good, as usual, setting in the right kind of atmosphere in the right situations, as music in shows and movies tend to do. But the music wasn't really the highlight of the episode. (For me at least). There is a song called Patient is the Night that plays while the gang are doing community service. It's a good song, that would probably be on my top 5 Over the Garden Wall songs list, but again, it's not the highlight of the episode.
I loved Chris Isaak's voice performance as Enoch, the leader of Pottsfield. I know zero about Isaak, and I'd never heard of him until Over the Garden Wall, but he is awesome. Isaak's voice is perfect for the character of Enoch. It's soothing and calm with its slow drawl, and yet very, very unsettling at the same time. Enoch is one of my favorite one time characters in the series, and I'm kind of disappointed we didn't see more of him, but he works just fine where he is.
I said that this episode ends on a mildly creepy note, but that depends on your interpretation. One thing that caught my attention was the leaf at the beginning and end of this episode. When I was watching this episode with my sister, and the episode closed with the leaf caught in a fence, she wondered if this little closing image meant anything significant. I suggested that maybe it means that nothing really leaves Pottsfield (assuming that the fence borders Pottsfield). Needless to say, I managed to creep out both my sister (not always an easy feat) and myself. I'm not sure if I'm right about the symbolism of that leaf (which is presumably the same leaf from the beginning of the episode, effectively book ending it), but I stand by my theory.
If you want a clearer creepy factor, the way Enoch sends Wirt out of Pottsfield does kind of send chills down your spine. "Oh, well. You'll join us someday." Yeah kids, this protagonist will eventually die and end up at this creepy place!
Now for some trivia before I wrap this up. Pottsfield most likely drew its name from the term 'potter's field'. Potter's field is a term for a place where unknown or indigent people are buried, like beggars and paupers. Mass burials would take place as well. The inspiration for this episode is pretty obvious.
Hard Times at the Huskin' Bee is one of the best episode of the series in my opinion. It's one of those things you have to watch again once you realize what the twist is, and then you start noticing certain things. (Say, aren't you a little too… early?" "What do you mean?" "I mean, it doesn't seem like you're ready to join us just yet.") The voice acting was superb, the atmosphere was fantastic, and the story was great. The animation was a lot cleaner than the first episode too. 10/10
Keep an eye out for my next Over the Garden Wall review: Schooltown Follies. This… this'll be interesting.