This post is very last minute and considering I did not write a post for March, so I am trying to make up for it by writing one for this month. Since Easter Sunday has already come and gone, I thought it best to reflect on what I have learned through Lent which I decided take an active part in for the first time. For Lent, I decided to give up binge watching Crunchyroll and Funimation as well Netflix (unless I watching it with my Mom) and in turn would give the time over to developing consistency in reading my Bible or other activities that didn’t involve watching a screen. It worked to a degree, however I ended up substituting my craving for video entertainment with Youtube which did have an impact on my intended purpose for Lent. Regardless it still was step in right direction and I learned a few things as I read through my Lent and Easter Reading Plan that I was able to access via BibleGateway.com.
As I read through various scripture passages about the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice, I could not help but compare what I had seen in My Hero Academia. There was a scene that stood out to me as I was watching the first season back the summer of last year which involved the main character Izuku Midoriya and his classmate Katsuki Bakugou. It’s shown to the audience that Bakugou has been bullying and belittling Midoriya for years nicknaming him Deku, an alternate reading of his first name which literally means “one who can’t do anything.” We see that he puts down Midoriya every chance he gets and mocks the very idea that he could ever become a professional hero.
This builds to the moment in the second episode where Midoriya sees Bakugou in the clutches of the fluid villain that All Might rescued him from earlier. When he recognizes that his classmate is in danger, Midoriya’s first instinct was to run in and try to save him. In that instant the insults did not matter, the vandalism of his hero observation notebook did not matter, even the years of verbal and emotional abuse did not matter. What mattered was that Katsuki Bakugou’s life was in the balance and that he had to do something. Izuku Midoriya best illustrates this when he says, “Kacchan, I couldn’t just stand there and watch you die.”
Even though he had every right to hate Bakugou for terrible things that he did, Midoriya did not want to see him die. In the same way God couldn’t just stand by and watch us die in permanent separation from Him, even if we are at fault. Romans 5:6-8 describes this best:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Like Katsuki Bakugou, we think we were powerful and that we can make it on our own. However, the truth is we are powerless because we are trapped by the suffocating power of sin which also makes us enemies with God. Like Izuku Midoriya, Jesus Christ was willing sacrifice himself so we could be saved from the power of sin if we accept the gift of life that He gives us. That is agape, that is unconditional love.
For those are not familiar Rankin-Bass was a movie production company that created animated features. What they are particularly known for is their Christmas Specials, some of which are considered classics even to this day. When I was very young I remember, when December rolled around, we would borrow Rankin-Bass Christmas Specials that my Nana had on VHS tapes. When DVDs became more popular and we were then able to buy our own copies of the Specials. For this list I will be reviewing the Rankin-Bass Christmas Specials that I have watched since I was child since they are the ones I am most familiar with.
4. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
The very first Christmas Special that Rankin-Bass ever did and this definitely their most memorable of all their Specials. Inspired by a popular song written in 1949 based off a children’s book that was written 10 years before that, it tells the story of Rudolph the Red Nosed who is picked on for nose’s glowing hue of red and how he ultimately saves Christmas by lighting the way for Santa and the other reindeer on a foggy Christmas Eve. It is a simple story but is effective in its message that one’s unique traits can serve a purpose regardless of how others may view them initially.
3. A Year Without a Santa Claus
Based off of a book by the same title, where an under-the-wheather Santa Claus decides it would be better stay home having lost hope that people even care about what he does to prepare for that Christmas Eve sleigh ride. While Santa’s name is in the title he is in some ways a secondary character with Mrs. Claus acting as narrator and the main driving force for the plot. But who really steals the show are the step-brothers Snow and Heat Meiser who perform their own musical numbers praising the snow and heat respectively. While this Special does have the continuity errors (which I will not go into) it contains important lessons about believe and as well as giving.
2. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
This is Rankin-Bass’ first attempt at the origin story of Santa Claus taking cues from another popular song of the same title. I have yet to see a better origin story for Santa because they create a great story of how Santa initially started out, all the while answering that probably every young child has raised to their parents regarding this Christmas legend. Raised by toymaker elves after being abandoned by his family and even the authorities, Kris Kringle (as he was called then) decides it is his mission to bring joy and play to the children of Sombertown despite the law that forbids toys. Think Robin Hood, except he makes toys. I enjoy Santa Claus as he is portrayed this feature because he is such a joyful man who gives from his heart even when the circumstances seem bleak.
The Drummer Boy
A simple story again that takes inspiration from a popular song by the same name which follows young drummer boy named Aaron. Having developed a distrust of people since the tragic death of his parents Aaron keeps to himself and his animal companions Joshua the camel, Samson the donkey and Baba the lamb. Well that is until a greedy caravan owner Ben Haramed weasels him into performing for the crowds in the hopes of making a quick buck. After some mishaps they encounter the three kings who are following the star which is guiding to the stable in Bethlehem where the newborn Jesus is lying in the manager. I love how this event is viewed from an outside perspective of the traditional Christmas story and how Aaron’s outlook changes from one of distrust and hate to one of faith and love when he encounters the one who become the Savior of the world.
This will be the first Christmas post of the month of December I hope to do a few more leading up to Christmas, so stayed tuned for updates. Thank so much for reading and Merry Christmas.
I decided to continue watching Dungeon and Dragons TV series and needless to say it was an experience just like last time. Again the episode stats with its origin story intro which if they just made it longer would have been a proper pilot episode. Okay, I complained enough about that last time. Time to move on.
The episode opens with the kids wandering through a desert again and under the light of four suns! Honestly how are they not dehydrated. Then we also figure out that they have not seen Dungeon Master for 2 days. Some guide he turned out to be! He leaves children to wander around in a desert with 4 suns in the sky without giving them directions or water. To make matters worse they come across and a giant scorpion and they all are forced to make a run for it.
A rotund knight appears around the same time and ends up being trapped between the scorpion and a blue scaled dragon. But this is a good thing for both creatures become distracted from their prey as they decide to duel each other. The kids come out of cave they were hiding in and mistakingly believe that the knight had saved them, and of course he accepts their praise. After introducing himself as Sir John and exchanging pleasantries the knight goes on his way.
It is in this moment, Dungeon Master chooses to appear once again, scaring the crap out of Eric in the process. He gives the kids their new mission in which they need to defeat a monster known as the Beholder in order to return the valley it resides in, back to its natural beauty and an extra bonus is that it will open a portal so they can return home to the 1980s. Dungeon Master also explains that “Only beauty can beat the eye of the Beholder.” (Sigh) With a title like “Eye of the Beholder” I should have known where this was going to go.
We then switch focus to Sir John and he faces some unhappy townsfolk. It is confirmed that he is rather cowardly and the town is unsatisfied with his work. He is given one more chance to commit an act of bravery otherwise they will fire him and cast him from the village along with his son. I am guessing the reason for his hesitance to risk his life because he is a single father having to raise his son alone. This would be forgivable if was the first time, but as we are told they have been kicked out of other towns for the same reason. Seriously Sir John if you so bad at being a knight, maybe you should seek a new line of work that doesn’t involve risking your life.
We return to our young heroes as they make their way to the Valley of the Beholder, but unfortunately they encounter “Snailmen” creatures who capture them and place them in bags. Uni the unicorn is the only one that escapes and he just so happens to bump into Sir John as he searching for some brave act to commit. Sir John is afraid go further and Uni has to force him to follow him come by snatching away his torch. By sheer luck they encounter the “Snailmen” and Sir John frantically waves his torch which scares them away (it was established before they are sensitive to light). Kids praise Sir John again (much to Uni’s chagrin) and Diana picks a flower and gives it to him as a symbol of their gratitude.
The kids then ask him to help them find and face the Beholder, and Sir John of course is hesitant for it would require great bravery. They reply saying that he is the bravest person they have met since they have been in this world, which is ironic since we the audience know he is not. As they reach the valley Sir John decides to volunteer to scout ahead so he can gather his thoughts. Venger appears to him and using his son as leverage forces the knight to lead the kids an ambush so that he could take their magical items.
Eric, who is getting more more suspicious, calls Sir John out when he says he is not joining them in their fight with the Beholder. But the knight still leaves and the kids are captured by the evil one eyed monster. Venger holds his end of bargain and gives Sir John his son back making the comment that his son is braver than him. However Sir John’s son inspires him to go back and save the young heroes. In the process it is discovered that the beauty of the flower that Diana gave to Sir John is the key to defeating the Beholder and at its defeat the portal back to Earth is opened.
Despite being anxious to go back home, Bobby can’t bare to part with Uni. This hesitation is further amplified when Venger comes back to take his revenge on Sir John for betraying him and kids decide to stay behind to come to his aid. To Eric’s credit (being the spoiled prick of the group), he does come and help too even though he could have easily gone back home. In the end Venger retreats and the valley becomes beautiful. Before the episode closes Dungeon Master who is unseen by the kids scares Eric again when he attempts to sit down on a rock only to leap out of his skin at hearing an unexpected honk of a horn.
Again like last time this episode still very cheesy, but still not too bad. There was a good lesson about how not judging people by appearances, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There was some humorous moments especially between Eric and Dungeon Master as well Sir John and Uni. Maybe this series is getting to me despite myself. Anyway we’ll see what happens when I review the next episode. Thank you for reading.
I have written a review for season 1 of My Hero Academia on Fandom Factory, but I also wanted to write the supplementary piece on how the world of My Hero Academia is differs from the world of X-Men. On the surface they appear the same, genetically super-powered individuals that fight to save the world and have special schools to help train the next generation how to use their powers. However there are 2 differences that have a major impact on how the world views these superhumans.
The first difference is the number of people who have powers. Mutants are in the extreme minority; I mean they are minority of minorities. Time to take a page from MatPat’s Film Theory to show just how few mutants there are in the X-Men universe. While very little is mentioned in the comics, cartoons or movies about their population, I was able to get a rough estimation thanks to the numbers mentioned in Sentinel Massacre of the mutant population of Genosha in Earth 616 which was estimated to be between 16 to 17 million. Since the source stated that more than half of the world known mutant population died in the massacre, I calculated that the mutant population at its height should have been at minimum 32 to 34 million.
While this may seem a big number just remember the population of United States alone as of this year (2016) is about 323 million. And when the calculations are all said and done out of the current world population of 7 billion, the mean of the known mutant population of Earth 616 is five hundredths of a percent (0.05%) when rounded up. In contrast in the very first episode of My Hero Academia we are told that quirk users make up 80% of the world’s population; that means 5 to 6 billion people are quirk users. That is a huge majority, in fact with those statistics it is more likely to be quick user in My Hero Academia than it is to be a mutant in X-Men.
The second difference involves the average age in which an individual whether mutant or quirk user “receives” their powers. Mutants manifest their power during puberty (starting at age 13 or 14); it also can present at birth especially if their mutation has a physical effect on their bodies. Now there has been the stereotype that teenagers are impulsive and rebellious; combine that with superhuman abilities you have a recipe for prejudice and hatred. Teenagers are going through a lot already since they are transitioning to adulthood, but add superhuman abilities, which they don’t fully understand themselves and people persecuting them out of fear of what they could do, let’s just say they got more than they bargained for. The term mutant itself derives a negative connotation have towards individuals that have inhuman abilities (not to be confused with Marvel’s Inhumans…they are completely different from mutants). Needless to say it is not easy being a teenaged mutant in the world of X-Men.
In My Hero Academia it is a totally different story. The average age that a quirk user manifests their quirk is 4 years old or it can be present at birth like with mutants. People are less likely to view a young child with fear (unless they have paedophobia…trust me it’s a real phobia), plus with an 80% chance of them or someone they know developing a superhuman ability, they are not going to look at anyone as a threat much less themselves. Even the term they use to refer to their powers, quirks, signifies the causal acceptance of these unique traits that just so happen to be superpowers. Plus discovering that ability at such a young age gives more time for them to learn more about their quirks and to control them better by the time they reach adolescence.
In the end those despite the differences that create a world that rejects superhumans and one that embraces them, both worlds still have discrimination. In X-Men, the prejudice is directed towards mutants because they are different from the norm and are feared because the power they have. This much is obvious and very familiar from the ardent comic book reader to the causal moviegoer. However, in My Hero Academia it is those without a quirk or the quirkless, as they are sometimes called, who are viewed in the negative light.
Based on my observations from the first season, I gathered the main character Izuku Midoriya was teased and bullied in the classroom of a public Japanese middle school just because he didn’t have quirk. While we see no cases outside of Midoriya, from we do see the bullying he experiences by his classmate Katsuki Bakugou goes unchallenged by the other students and more importantly the teachers. Now this could be an isolated occurrence, but even so it gives the impression that bullying of people who are quirkless is condoned at Midoriya’s middle school. Or it could insecure teenagers picking other insecure teenager but instead of picking on them for their height or braces they’re picked on for not having a quirk.
Whatever the case maybe, no should be treated any lesser just because they are different. As a Christians we are called to love everyone regardless of their appearance or background and there are a number of passages in the Bible that address this. In James 2:1-5, it explains why no one should exhibit favoritism:
“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?”
It is so easy to discriminate, whether be it race, gender, status, weight, height…you name it there is a prejudice for it. It’s because as fallen individuals we feel to need to put others down to make ourselves feel better. We judge people from the outside and forget what is inside. But this is not how God sees the world and this thought elaborated in the Old Testament passage in I Samuel 16:7:
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height for I have rejected them. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ ”
Regardless what’s visible on the outside, what ultimately matters in is our hearts. What do our hearts reflect? Is it hatred towards those who we deem different from us, or is it love towards our fellow human beings?
Technically while this is not the only trailer Disney has released, this is the first time I have seen any promotional material for Moana. I mean I have caught glimpses before, but I kept myself from watching so I could write a “First Thoughts” post when the time was right. Now the time has come…wow that sounded more ominous then it was supposed to. Anyway on to my initial impressions of Moana.
What stood out to me when I was watching the trailer was the presence of the ocean. I mean there is water in almost every shot within this trailer and I am sure the same is true for the movie as well. I was impressed animation and how they made the ocean look look realistic and how its appearance changes depending on what is going on a particular scene. Just like Frozen’s focus was on snow and ice, Moana is going to be focused on water and the ocean. The only different the movie’s title is the main character’s name instead of a verb (or adjective) for freezing conditions.
And while we are on the subject Moana herself she appears to be an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances. Extraordinary in the sense that she goes on a hero quest to save her people by teaming up with the demigod Maui in order to prevent an oncoming disaster. Now as the trailer clarifies Maui is a shapeshifter, demigod of the wind and sea, and hero of men. He has great power, but seems to have a pretty sizable ego as well. Needless to say Moana is very brave not only in seeking him out but also in calling him out when he makes the wrong assumptions about her. Of course having the ocean for a friend also helps especially when the demigod of the wind and sea throws you off your boat.
This trailer while it gives a taste of what is to come, I am the first to say I am not entirely sure what it is. The story of Moana is based of Polynesian mythology from the Central and South Pacific Islands which the state of Hawaii is a part of, and I am not as familiar with those stories as others are. Whether I watch it in the theaters or wait for the DVD/download release it will be interesting to see the journey that Moana and Maui are going to take.
Now just as I promised here is my first review series and the TV show I will be reviewing is…Dungeons & Dragons. When I saw this Dungeons & Dragons DVD collection at a local bargain retail store for a dollar (yep seriously it was one dollar) and I thought I’d give it a shot. I guess I shouldn’t have expected much, but then again I was hopeful that it might be entertaining. And what you know it had a lot of 80s cheese and was also more confusing that I thought it was going to be. So this is my summarization of my initial impressions on Dungeons & Dragons‘s pilot episode “The Night of No Tomorrow.”
First we have the introduction to the story and characters that is done in the span of 2 minutes. Talk about suspension of disbelief…or not in the case of 6 teens and pre-teens ending up in a world of magic just from riding a theme park ride. Probably my major compliant about this episode is that they don’t take time to set up the story and characters. I would have loved to see what the kids were like in our world and then see their adjustment to the fantasy world right after it happened. However this first episode seems more like a follow-up and you feel like you are missing something when you are watching it for the first time. Despite this I will do my best to summarize the plot.
After the kids trap a multi-headed dragon creature called Tiamat, the Dungeon Master (who looks like a more human version of Yoda) appears and tells them that they might find something that will help them return home in the village of Helix which is having a millennial celebration the magician Merlin’s banishment of fire-breathing dragons that had plagued the town. But he warns the kids that they might come across Venger (the enemy of the series and voiced by Peter Cullen of all people) and they will know him by his white hair. Or is hare?
After he vanishes the kids make their way through the desert and come across Merlin’s floating castle. After they climb up a ladder leading up to the castle they are greeted by Merlin himself who holding a white rabbit. They initially were suspicious of him due to his white hair but it’s soon revealed to be a toupee. He tells them the story of Helix again and one of kids Eric (the annoying jerk of the group) says he’s had enough and proceeds to leave only to encounter Tiamat again. How she got into a floating castle in the sky? She flew of course. The kids and Merlin trap the multi-headed dragon in the castle’s dungeon.
The kids are about to leave for Helix but the magician Presto (I can’t believe that’s his name) decides to stay to learn more about magic from Merlin as his apprentice. Merlin instructs him to stir the cauldron, but while he is out of the room Presto takes a look at the book he’s instructed not to look at in order to find a spell that will help him and his friends return home.
Unfortunately the spell that Presto casts unleashes the dragons that Merlin had imprisoned. It is soon after that he discovers that Merlin is not Merlin at all but Venger (remember the white hare aka rabbit) who used Presto to release the dragons because only his “good” magic could undo the original Merlin’s spell. This begs the question: Why did the original Merlin cast a spell that could be undone? Anyway while Presto stands there dumbfounded Venger takes his hat and Presto doesn’t do anything to stop him. Come on man, you can at least struggle with Venger for your hat. You might not succeed in getting it back but you can still try can’t you?
After the dragons commence their attack on Helix the kids quickly figure out what happened and head back to the sky castle to find Presto. They face Venger who says if they hand over their magical items and he would let them go. It is actually really surprising having a villain whose initial goal does not involve hurting or killing the heroes/heroines. The rest of the kids refused to so, at least they don’t just stand there and let Venger take their weapons like Presto.
They come up with a plan to counter Venger by releasing Tiamat from the dungeon they trapped her in while Presto casts the spell to seal the dragons again, saving Helix in the process. The kids escape from the castle where Dungeon Master appears again and returns Presto’s hat. How did Dungeon Master get Presto’s magic hat back? No time for that, the kids are now off on their next adventure as they try to find their way back home to the 1980s.
While it is not the worse show ever I realized after watching this first episode that there was a lot I did not understand. I think it’s due to the fact that I am not the intended audience; it was intended for the young people who grew up during the early 80s. That’s all well and good but this prevents it from being universally understood and only serves to date the series even more. To those you have fondness for Dungeons & Dragons I am glad you can enjoy it for what it is. As for me the only enjoyment I had was in awkwardly chuckling at it. I plan to watch all the episodes on the DVD despite my cringing and convey my thoughts on them for future posts. Who knows maybe it’ll get better or perhaps I am glutton for punishment but we’ll see how long I last.
First of all let me say that while I am not a huge fan of Adam West’s Batman I do appreciate the fact that he played the first Batman ever even if was the groovy Batman of the 60s. While the show was campy, it was the kind of campy that can be enjoyable. Remember this show came out around the same time as the original Star Trek series which could boast of a lot its own campiness as well. But I am getting off track here, back to the topic at hand. When I saw this trailer with Adam West reprising the iconic role in animated form I knew I had to check it out.
We are treated with the sight Batman and Robin tied up and about to be roasted on top a TV dinner: a predicament worthy of the original show. As they go about their pun-riddled bantering (again worthy of the show it came from) they talk about the film. And that’s it. It is surprisingly simple but that is what makes it so effective. Nowadays trailers give you a basic synopsis of the movie and sometimes you get more than you should.
The minimalistic approach they went for peeked my interests but without going too deep into spoiler territory, and they pulled it off with such humor which makes this a fun trailer to watch. I especially enjoyed the self-awareness Batman and Robin demonstrated when they were promoting the release of the movie. While there is little to speculate on, what is known currently is that Adam West and Burt Ward will be reprising their role as the dynamic duo along with Julie Newmar as Catwoman; the characters of Joker, Riddler and Penguin will also be making appearances in this feature.
Really there is not much else to say but that I am definitely interested to see what they will do in the actual film when it comes out this fall, but whatever they do I know it will be GROOVY!
Needless to say I was very excited to see the trailer for the new season of Star Wars Rebels. It was nice to finally have more substance to speculate about since the cliffhanger ending of the season 2 finale. I am sure Dave Filoni and the team will knock this out of the park just like they did in the previous two seasons and that there’ll be even more engaging stories to tell.
I am anxious to see how things have changed since the events of “Twilight of the Apprentice” and how they have impacted Ezra and Kanan in particular. We do see is that Ezra taking the stance that he will do anything to destroy the Sith especially after what happened to Kanan as well as Ahsoka. It is not his motive of protecting his rebel crew family but how he is going about it that concerns me, and I only hope he can avoid going further down the wrong path before it is too late. Oh and another big change was that he also cut his hair. It was weird at first but I think I am used to it and he does not look like Aladdin anymore which is a plus.
Kanan seems hold his own despite having lost his sight so I think he has honed his ability in the force allowing him function and fight even though he is not able to see with his own eyes. This is evident when we see him, Ezra and Rex on a mission together which involves Separatist droids from the Clone Wars. However it seems like Kanan is going to come in contact with some green ethereal being and from the looks of it he is going to be possessed by it. Let’s just say I have a bad feeling about this.
Sabine appears to have a major part to play in this season as well and with her involvement we also involve Mandalorians, those who fight with the Rebels and those side with the Empire. From the looks of it there is going to be an episode that involves Ezra. I can see the shipping memes and fan videos even now. Also Sabine has gotten her hands on a darksaber. Is it same one that Pre Vizsla had in the Clone Wars? A question that will be answered I am sure.
The introduction of Grand Admiral Thrawn has gotten many in the EU Star Wars fandom excited. I have heard nothing but good things about him and it is going to be so much fun for me to get learn more about this character as I watch this season. In one clip it seems Cham Syndulla and his people have crossed paths with Thrawn before and Cham states that they were not prepared to face him demonstrating he is a force to be reckoned with. It also appears that Hera herself will come face to face with Thrawn according to another clip that is close to end of the trailer. We’ll just have to wait and see what that is all about.
We also have Tom Baker voicing a character named Bendu which is a nod to the name George Lucas considered using instead of Jedi. I am glad they can pay homage to history of Star Wars and to Doctor Who having the iconic 4th Doctor voicing the character. This will make 2 Doctors that Filoni was able to snag to voice characters for Star Wars, previous one being David Tennant for the Clone Wars Series.
Along with newer characters we also have some old ones from last season, Hondo. Honestly Filoni and crew really like this character, and I do as well but I hoped to see some other outlaws say one certain smuggler…cough…Han Solo….cough. But who knows maybe they will surprise us and throw Lando in for good measure, since we haven’t seen him since the beginning of season 2.
Also Maul rears his ugly head and he is up to his old tricks again and it appears to involve the blending of the Jedi and Sith holocorns which may have devastating consequences. I am not a huge fan of Maul, but I will be interested to see what the future has in store for this fan favorite dark side user.
A great trailer that makes me eager about what is to come. I am debating doing reviews when the new episodes come out, since I enjoy this series so much and I like to share my thoughts. But for now I’m signing off.
I thought since discussing the basic premise of Young Justice in my last post two weeks ago I thought that I would delve a little deeper and create a top ten episode list. Easier said than done because I enjoyed all of them in one way or another, but in any case here is ten episodes that stayed with me the most (as spoiler-free as possible).
“Summit” & “Endgame” (Season 2 Episodes 19 & 20)
The reason why I paired both “Summit” and “Endgame” is because the events flow into one another and I consider both together to be the finale for the season and unfortunately the finale for the entire series. In any case I heartily welcomed this finale for it was good to see the villains being played by the heroes after all they got away with in earlier episodes and also to see the heroes both young and old save world once again. What I liked most was the entire set-up of “Summit” which was set mostly in one location where a lot of the mysteries of the season are unfolded and explained as well as the scenes in “Endgame” where the heroes team up to prevent the destruction the world. The finale was great but also bittersweet for that one event that occurred within the last episode (those who watched it will know what I mean) and also the knowledge that unresolved plot-points will not be addressed (unless by some miracle they allow a third season to be made).
These episodes are together for the same reason as the previous entry. The reason why the season one finale is higher on the list is because I felt that there was better build-up and payoff with all the events of the season coming together into the final confrontation in which the Team really gets to shine. In “Usual Suspects” we also have revelations similar to “Summit” which was satisfying since we the audience had been waiting for the truth to come into the light (haha…those who watched the show will get the joke) and “Auld Acquaintances” demonstrated the growth of our young heroes as they face the most unlikely of opponents. This finale’s cliffhanger ending makes you want to watch the second season with anticipation of what is going to happen next.
“Denial” (Season 1 Episode 7)
In this episode the Team faces off against villainous magic users both fake and real as they attempt to rescue the Helmet of Fate and it’s guardian Kent Nelson. “Denial” focuses on Kid Flash (aka Wally West) as he comes to terms with his views of the unscientific and unexplained as he interacts with Nelson the former Doctor Fate. We are also introduced to Young Justice’s version of Nabu, the Lord of Order whose powers are connected to the helmet and who turns out to be rather possessive, literally and figuratively. This would only be the first among his recurring appearances. All in all a great episode, whose outcomes are demonstrated throughout continuity of the first season.
“Bloodlines” (Season 2 Episode 6)
This what I dub as the Flash family episode, where we see all the Flashes Barry Allen, Wally West, Bart Allen and Jay Garrick suit up. For those who know their comic book history will get a kick of the interactions that take place in this episode and even if you don’t you will still have fun as well. Impulse (aka Bart Allen) is such a funny character and I love the way he plays off of the Flash family as well the other heroes. There is a lot of laughs to be had and it was good to have this breath of fresh air before they delved into the more serious and darker elements of the second season.
“Secrets” (Season 1 Episode 18)
This was the series’ Halloween episode and it delivered, providing a main and a side storyline that were both equally entertaining to watch. In the main storyline Artemis and Zatanna battle a deranged young man who calls himself Harm who has unleashed powerful mystical force. Luckily they have help in the form of a mysterious young girl who can only say one word: Secret. In the side story we see Superboy (aka Conner Kent) and Miss Martian (M’gann M’orzz) attend their high school’s Halloween costume party accompanied by Kid Flash. The episode as its title suggests deals with secrets that not only affect events in the episode but also events that are to come. The atmosphere was great, the story was great, the character chemistry was great; there is nothing more I could ask.
“Intervention” (Season 2 Episode 19)
In this episode the Team takes it upon themselves to un-brainwash (I know that is not a word but whatever) their teammate Blue Beetle. Really cannot say any more than that, otherwise I give away major plot points for the second season. But what I can say is that I loved the way all the events of “Intervention” came together and that it was incredibly satisfying to watch.
“Image” (Season 1 Episode 21)
For this episode we see Robin (aka Dick Grayson), Kid Flash, Superboy, and Miss Martian attempt to thwart Bialya’s passive-aggressive takeover of Qurac. This is also where we see the influences behind Miss Martian’s attitude and appearance as well her fear that her friends will not accept her if she were to reveal her true self to them. “Image” has a lot to say about insecurity and self-image, which I think is a important discussion to have especially with impressionable teenage girls. An amazing message from this amazing episode, I highly recommend it.
“Depths” (Season 2 Episode 7)
Much like “Intervention” the reasons behind what makes this episode so great goes into spoiler related territory. What I will say is that this is the episode in which we see Artemis back in action after the 5 year time skip. As established in previous episodes she and Kid Flash had left the hero gig, but “Depths” shows her taking up the mantel of team archer once again much to Wally’s chagrin. Ultimately it has one of the best climaxes in the show, and believe me when I say that this is an episode you do not want to miss.
2. “The Fix” (Season 2 Episode 13)
Again another episode with spoiler ridden plot points, but the best way to summarize is that Miss Martian has been abducted in order to fix the broken mind of Kaldur’ahm (aka Aqualad). In “The Fix” we see Miss Martian’s self-torture over her past actions earlier in the season and by the end we see forgiveness and redemption help her to begin not only the restoration of Kaldur’s mind but also for her own spirit as well. It is an intense ride but it is well worth the watch.
Before I get to number 1 on my list here is a few honorable mentions:
“Homefront” (Season 1 Episode 12)
“Failsafe” (Season 1 Episode 16)
“Satisfaction” (Season 2 Episode 8)
“Complications” (Season 2 Episode 16)
“Coldhearted” (Season 1 Episode 20)
This episode initially was not on my radar, but recently after re-watching the series I found a new appreciation for it. It is another Kid Flash episode and if you haven’t noticed a lot of the episodes on this list involve Kid Flash in one way or another. Anyway in “Coldhearted” we see Wally celebrating his 16th birthday which is soon interrupted because five mysterious airships are causing extreme winter conditions all over the globe. The Team and the Justice League are joining forces in order to shut them down which Kid Flash is stoked about. However much to his disappointment, Batman assigns him the errand of delivering a heart across the country for a young girl in need of a transplant. Little does Wally know of the importance behind this supposedly simple task. I love this episode because of its heart warming message which is ironic considering its title and that is why I consider it the best of Young Justice.
I hope that this list has made you interested in watching this incredible series whether it be for the first time or the hundredth time. I had fun writing this and I hope to do more posts like this in the future. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I’ll see you all next time.
(EDIT: 11/08/2016) It has just been announced that Season 3 of Young Justice is a reality and it coming soon.
Starting off my new segment of the blog “A Few of My Favorite Things” I am going to be talking about one of my favorite shows which aired while I was in high school: Young Justice.
While it was not the first superhero show I had watched, it was the first one that I watched as it was airing. So from Thanksgiving weekend premiere (which consisted of the first two episodes) in the fall of 2010 to second season finale which concluded in March 2013, I waited for each episode with anticipation. Unfortunately the show was cut too short and while it left some unanswered questions I still believe it is a great show.
Main reason I believe show was as great as it was, was due in part to the people involved in the project. One of those people was Greg Weisman who produced Gargoyles and Spectacular Spiderman and has since gone on to Star Wars: Rebels which is currently running. Honestly there has been nothing that Greg Weisman has produced or written that I do not like. I could just go on about how he is underrated as a producer and storyteller, but that is for another blog for another day.
Next let’s talk about the premise: Young Justice comes from comic book series by the same name and for those who are familiar with Teen Titans the show follows in similar lines in that the main focus is on a group teenage superheroes. But unlike Teen Titians instead of focusing on their tiny little world, they bring in many aspects of main DC Universe (Earth-16 to be exact). This means involvement of the Justice League whom the team of young heroes serves under, like a mentor/apprentice relationship.
Now the Team as it is called in the series starts with six primary members. Those members are in order of entry are Aqualad voiced Khary Payton, Robin voiced by Jesse McCartney, Kid Flash voiced by Jason Spisak, Superboy voiced by Nolan North, Miss Martian voiced by Danica McKellar, and Artemis voiced by Stephanie Lemelin. While the cast of characters grows a bit later in season 1 and even more in season 2, these are these characters serve as the main anchors through the unfolding story.
The overarching plot of the series starts in pilot episode later divided into the first two episodes of season “Independence Day” and “Fireworks.” In those episodes Aqualad, Robin, and Kid Flash in order to prove their worth to their respective mentors sneak into Cadmus research complex into to investigate some suspicious activities. In the process they come across Superboy, a clone of Superman and a product of Project Kr which Cadmus was running. An organization known as “The Light” is also introduced in these episodes and its members and their intentions are slowly revealed as the Team crosses paths in their many confrontations throughout the series. It is worth noting that there is a five year time between the first and second season which takes some adjustment but is still intriguing nonetheless.
I highly Young Justice recommend this show if you enjoy anything superhero related but also enjoy character depth as well action-packed and engaging story telling. So give a watch and enjoy the ride.