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Guest Post: Gotta Catch All of My Commentary On Various Pokemon

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
What a TRUE delight here on! Here is a guest post from one of the greatest individuals on the planet, Danielle! She is jumping on my blog for this post about Pokemon because it very much fits my aesthetic more than her's. While on the surface we may seem like we differ, we're actually quite similar. Pokemon is one of our shared loves. She has her info at the bottom, make sure you check out her pages. You can find her calling me often when I'm on Twitch. ;) We're goobers but we have a blast together. Thanks, Peanut!

I'm super thankful Kaity let me hop on here to guest post. I'm a blogger too, but usually about fashion, style, decor etc, not cool stuff obvi. (Also disclaimer, we didn't read each other's intros and they sound identical. #twinkies always haha) If you were a kid in the late 90’s and early 00’s, Pokemon ruled your life. I was obsessed with the TV show, can still sing the theme song by heart (#1 on Kaity’s list of best TV Themes of course), and would look forward to every day after dance class going next door to buy a new pack (hoping for a Charizard) or card sleeve for my binder. I literally fought with my brother on the reg on who could take the Official Pokemon Handbook with them to school. There’s no rhyme or reason for this post tbh. This was born after a FT when Kaity was wearing an Ash Ketchum hat. I just essentially picked random Pokemon and shared my thoughts on them because I have a lot of thoughts of course. I have even more opinions after going through a list of the OG 151 now.

Squirtle - Still my very favorite Pokemon. Every girl in elementary school’s favorite Pokemon. I mean I had various Squirtle merchandise and also a wood cut out on my wall among other things.

Beedrill - Ummm there’s nothing scarier to me than a bee/wasp hybrid that stands on two legs. I never realized it until now. You just can’t compare this guy to let’s say, Onix or even Pikachu tbh.

Jynx - Opera singer? Woman? I’m just not sure. What is her/it’s power? Singing Aria’s and breaking windows? I’m just confused.

Charizard - Second to Pikachu, probably one of the most iconic Pokemon. If you had a holographic Charizard, you were a god and probably the coolest kid around.

Mewtwo - The Pokemon that sparked this post actually. He has issues and might be the most emotionally unstable Pokemon, but for good reason. I mean he was created to be evil. I’d be angry and emotionally unstable too.

Gyrados - If you were patient enough to wait for the abysmal Magikarp to evolve, you have a treat in one of the scariest Pokemon out there even though it looks like a glorified Chinese New Year Parade Dragon.

Snorlax - Me in Pokemon form. Spends all the time eating and sleeping. I’m not even sad about it. I feel like he should win just based on being every 20 something out there.

Meowth - I’m not a cat person at all and I could not stand Meowth. He was annoying and associated with Team Rocket. I wish I had DVR back then because I would have fast forwarded through every one of his scenes with that ridiculous voice of his. Also, I can’t remember why he talked and other Pokemon didn’t. Was is it a Spiderman esque mutation situation? This is like the Goofy and Pluto predicament in Pokemon form.

Porygon - Obviously named after Polygons and what elementary school kid ever had a positive reaction when they thought of math on their favorite show? None. Also, apparently seeing it on TV gave people seizures IRL...according to the internet, so make of that what you will.
Pikachu - If you didn’t like Pikachu, there was something inherently wrong with you. He is THE Pokemon above all others. Even if he wasn’t your numero fave, he was definitely in your top 5 just for the sole reason of being Ash’s best friend and companion. Plus, he’s amazing branding for Pokemon, which is right up my alley. If you see Pikachu, you immediately think Pokemon. Everyone should take a page out of their book for establishing a brand.  

Kadabra - Far too much for my sweet baby self to handle. He freaked me out with the spoon bending and the mind powers. I distinctly remember when they went to the Saffron City Gym to and battled Sabrina’s Abra when it evolved. It clearly still Haunts me (Get it? No? Okay haha) to this day.

Jigglypuff - Also so adorable and should maybe teach Jynx how to sing.

Psyduck - Me when whenever I have migraines. I constantly run around and complain while grabbing my head. Pretty useless if you ask me?

Machoke - He basically looks like a UFC fighter complete with a belt and tiny shorts. It’s pretty uncomfortable now to look back at…I mean I guess it's better than having two sets of muscle arms.

Electrode - Isn’t he just a Pokeball gone bad? Did they run out of ideas? I mean obviously not since Mew came later and he was awesome.

I hope you enjoyed my less than stellar commentary about Pokemon. [BB-K8 edit: It is extremely stellar. You hush!] I think I’ll have to do a Part 2 because I still have so many thoughts and so many Pokemon left. If you care to follow me where I don’t talk about Pokemon, you can find me on instagram, twitter, or my blog, Dani Arizona.

Recent Awakenings 9/14/2017

Thursday, September 14, 2017
Well, seems as though I haven't posted on here since May. That's my bad, guys. Things have been a bit nuts with life shifting and evolving as it does. But I'm still here. Working on some new content for the page.

As you'll notice, the blog got a face lift! The absolutely lovely Danielle recently did some major work on not only this blog but my Twitch channel too. More about the latter in a bit! I am endlessly appreciative of the work she has put in on my pages. She is always making sure that I look at legit as possible. She puts up with a lot of crap for me and that isn't lost on me. Thanks, Peanut!

So to make up for my slacking, here is a new installment of Recent Awakenings! Recent Awakenings is a collection of thoughts, cool items, videos, pictures, etc I've enjoyed recently. I hope you enjoy!

Lately, my focus has been on my Twitch channel! A few weeks ago I decided to try my hand at doing a game stream. Twitch isn't the easiest site to break into but I'm having a blast doing it. While my streams are typically dominated by my friends, I've met a few people already who are super dope. I hope to keep growing it, working on things like having a consistent schedule and generating some entertaining content. I think we are all pretty funny in the chat and I know it is fun to laugh at my goober self. If you haven't caught one of my streams yet, I tend to do so week day afternoons. I'm working on a set schedule now and will post that when it is available.

Danielle also created the stellar overlay shown below, along with the panels and general layout found on my page. Again, the work is amazing. She makes me look way better than I have any business looking. I'm endlessly grateful.

You can catch me on tomorrow around 1:15-1:30pm EST. I'll tweet as I go live. Pop in and say hi! You have to have a Twitch account to comment in the chat but I swear it is worth it. It is a fun community. Check out my channel Kaity Universe!

Which brings me to the next thing I'm really enjoying at the moment, Kingsway! You can see pictured above on my Twitch page. I just bought this game yesterday on steam and am IMMEDIATELY obsessed with it. I could not recommend it more. It is a retro PC simulation RPG. 
Kingsway is the #1 operating system for daily tasks such as skeleton smashing and loot-organizing. Trouble sorting through all your potions and swords? Don't worry! Kingsway can help you manage, and with an easy to use interface you'll have time left over for a peaceful stroll through the underworld.
I'm not sure it sounds like much but trust me, it's a blast. The real catch is that every time you die you have to start all over. Having your character that you've invested hours into die is so stressful and crushing. This was my first character who died, may he Rest in Peace. I let my viewers on the stream name the characters. I've gotten much further than a level 2 now, but this one will stings. Sorry about it, Art. You were a good one.
Check out the trailer for the game and see for yourself. It is ten bucks on steam, I got it on sale for $7.50. Worth every penny. I will be giving away a copy of it on the stream sometime in the near future so keep an eye on my twitter page and twitch channel for that!

Onto some non-video game related items... 

This Honest Trailer with Jordan Vogt-Roberts is incredible. Not sure if you've seen Kong: Skull Island but you should! I really enjoy the movie. It is a great mixture of human and monster. Often with these movies, like Godzilla (2014), they seem to almost exclusively concentrate on the human characters. I feel like that kind of defeats the purpose. Kong: Skull Island does not disappoint when it comes to kaijus. Kong is King. Not only that but the supporting cast of monsters on the island are pretty impressive as well.

Jordan Vogt-Roberts jumped on the Screen Junkies YouTube series Honest Trailers to combat some criticism he'd received in an amazingly hilarious way. The guy is one of my favorite directors working right now. While he doesn't have a ton of content under his belt, what he has released has a clear and concise vision that I simply adore. We aren't finished talking about Jordan Vogt-Roberts...

The aforementioned Jordan Vogt-Roberts also was party to one of my other favorite videos I'd seen recently. His TED Talk here is all about giving into vulnerability and taking a leap even when you're scared. I won't ruin his work here by summarizing. Just take the 17 minutes out of your day and watch it. I promise you won't regret it.

You didn't really think we could get through a post like this without mentioning Star Wars, did you? The big news of this week was the firing of Colin Trevorrow and the subsequent hiring of J.J. Abrams to write and direct Episode IX! I am on record here at about my love for the Force Awakens. Read What TFA Means to Me for the breakdown of my love and feelings for the movie. I was pretty thrilled when they announced that J.J. would be returning to finish the sequel trilogy. The man took a nearly impossible task and knocked it out of the park. Count me as super amped!

In her statement about bringing J.J. on board Kathleen Kennedy said:
With The Force Awakens, J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy.
Agreed, Queen. 

Force Friday II came and went. I had a blast with my friends and got an epic haul.

And now it is upon us again, Star Wars season. Since Disney bought Lucasfilm and started producing new Star Wars movies, it seems as though the winter months become dominated by Star Wars merchandise, advertisements, etc. While the merchandising has always famously been a huge part of Star Wars (for better or for worse,) Disney has really raised it to an art form. During the Force Awakens' run, it wasn't odd to find Star Wars items in stores you'd never think would carry such a thing.

One of the greatest aspects of Star Wars season is Force Friday. While this year was technically entitled Force Friday II, this is the third year in a row that fans have enjoyed the midnight release events. Force Friday I in 2015 coincided with the release of the aforementioned The Force Awakens. LFL made a huge deal of it, including a 24-hour live stream unboxing event broadcasted from various locations across the world. Again, the midnight release of toys is not new to Star Wars. Famously the crowds for the midnight toy release for Episode I the Phantom Menace were extra intense.

Force Friday I was my first personal experience doing the event. We waited outside for three hours, sweat our asses off, and made friends that we still are going to Force Fridays with two years later. That truly is what it is about to. One of my favorite aspects this year was the hashtag #SharetheForce. Truly brilliant marketing. Because to me, that is what makes FF and Star Wars such an experience. Sure, I'm excited to pick up the new stuff, some of which will be harder to find than others. But when I'm anticipating the event, it is the memories I'm making with my friends in line. Our little group had never met before that first event, we all come from very different lives and don't see each other in the year in between. Once a year, however, we come together to share in our common passion: Star Wars. We also all represent the different aspects of the collector types. Alan and Sarah are looking to completely particular lines or series. Eric is a completist, one of everything, please. We're all so different. That is what Star Wars is about.

My haul this year was fairly sizable. We went a little crazy. Another year under my belt felt great.

That's it for this collection of thoughts but I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments regarding anything mentioned above. You can find all my social media pages linked on the side.

And as always...

Top 5 Trilogies!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
I recently caught an episode of Collider where the guys were discussing their top trilogies and felt inspired to share mine. I think the top selections are pretty standard for most. The others reek of nostalgia for me. The lack of quality I should require on this list may bother some... But it's my blog and I do what I want.
Star Wars
A New Hope, the Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi

The first choice is about as obvious as they come. Not sure if this is widely known but I love Star Wars. I love every version of Star Wars, as you'll see later. My hope is that the sequel trilogy will one day join this list, I already adore the Force Awakens. But for now, we only have the two trilogies. This is the one that started it all. The trilogy that spurred generations of fans with a passion for a galaxy far far away. This trilogy would grace most lists. The first two entries into this infamous trio are about as perfect as they come.

Back to the Future

Back to the Future is another easy selection and can be found on most lists. Start to finish, it is the most complete trilogy I've ever watched. All three movies stand the test of time and shine brightly as their own films. The misadventures of Marty McFly and Doc Brown is the stuff of legends. I can never recall seeing these movies for the first time. They have always been a part of my life. If you asked me growing up what my dream car was, my answer was always a DeLorean. Not much has changed.

Image result for mighty ducks logo

The Mighty Ducks

Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, Mr Ducksworth. You would be hard pressed to find three movies that I watched more growing up than these three right here. My love for Gordon Bombay, Charlie Conway, the Bash Brothers, Goldberg, and the gang knows no bounds. So much so that during a fateful trip to California that coincided with my tenth birthday, my father took me to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks official team store and got me a jersey. It is one of my prized possessions and I still have it hanging in my closet.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

It is hard to imagine a kid growing up in the 90s not loving the Ninja Turtles. These movies represent many Friday nights in the Mason household. If I could get my parents to order us pizza and pop one of these three movies into the VCR then I knew I was in for a perfect evening. When the new movies came out, we continued on with the tradition. Nothing can ever beat the originals though. While the third is heavily panned, the first is one of the greatest comic book movies ever made. It also reminds me of the iconic Pizza Hut commercial that came on before the feature presentation. The second is heavy on the cheese but I loved it as a kid. That beautiful white VHS case is burned into my memory.

Star Wars
The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith

I've written a lot about my love for the Phantom Menace and what it meant to my childhood. The other two get less love from me on here, even though I enjoy them both as well. Revenge of the Sith is so masterfully executed, it's a crusher to watch Anakin fall to the dark side. While Attack of the Clones is panned by most, I believe it has so many redeeming qualities like Obi-Wan's noir-like detective hunt to find Jango, Anakin's brush with the dark side, and the arena fight. These three films created a successful back story to one of the most iconic characters in history, Darth Vader. I've never met a Star Wars I didn't love.

One honorable mention: The Spider-Man trilogy. Read about my love for the first one here. The third one is just so bad though. I know there are others. For example, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and many would include that one but these are mine. What are yours?

As always comments, questions, thoughts, and shenanigans are always welcomed in the comment section! Or tweet me @kaityballgame!

Until next time... May the Force be with you!

May the Fourth Be With You!

Thursday, May 4, 2017
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Happy Birthday, Spider-Man (2002)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
It is Spider-Man (2002)'s fifteen birthday! After many years of superhero movie futility, the Sam Raimi directed Spider-Man put the genre back on the map. While Bryan Singer's X-Men (2000) was a success, this movie was the one that put the world on notice. It became the first film to make 100 million in its opening weekend, grossed over 820 million worldwide by the end of its run, and is still the largest grossing superhero origin movie. Its financial success paired with winning over critics and fans alike made it one to remember.

The movie's success is centered around its approach of being both silly and serious, which is a faithful representation of the comic the story originated in. Too often superhero movies try too hard to be one or the other, not enough in between. Raimi's Spider-Man dared to make you laugh like a kid clutching old comic book pages but also strike fear into your heart as if every moment that hangs on Peter Parker's life hangs on yours as well. Long before Nolan's Batman or Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, Raimi's Spider-Man dared to land in the middle of those two thematically. While it may feel like a throwback in many ways now, it still holds strong in its own right.

When I need to put a face to Peter Parker, I think of Tobey Maguire's performance. I've gotten into arguments in backwoods Florida comic shops with smelly kids about this (actual thing that happened, my wife thought we may brawl.) I will defend this movie to the death. The VFX work was before its time and mostly holds up. The acting shined both in quality and chemistry. Willem Dafoe's performance as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin is downright terrifying. James Franco as Harry Osborn has his moments. Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane will forever have a soft spot in my heart. JK Simmons is the definitive J Jonah Jameson. Many of the movie's moments stick out to me: him trying out his abilities on rooftops (go web!), the awkward moments with Mary Jane in the beginning of the film at OsCorp, thanksgiving dinner with a demented Norman Osborn, and more. However, one remains more iconic than the rest: the kiss. Now a parody of itself, the kiss was a seminal moment.

One memory that I come back to often has to do with the time period more than anything. The movie's ad campaign and subsequent release coincided with one of the most turbulent times in United States history: September 11, 2001. Famously, one teaser trailer was pulled by Sony due to its content, which revolved around Spider-Man catching bank robbers flying in a helicopter by slinging them up with web in between the Twin Towers. Part of the movie's success, I believe, came because of the time period of its release. In times of strife, we cling to hope and heroism. What is more heroic than a kid doing what's right without thought of reward in the city that had just felt serious trauma in real life? Had Spider-Man been darker, like the aforementioned Nolan's Batman, I'm not sure it would've spoken to audiences the way they needed it to that summer. A nation in mourning flocked to theaters to escape. They didn't need cynicism, they sought hope.

I'll admit, my reasoning behind acknowledging this movie's birthday is almost completely due to the nostalgia that surrounds it in my heart and mind. Growing up, Spider-Man was my favorite superhero. I devoured the comics. My eyes were glued to the television set for the 90s Spider-Man animated series. In 1999, my parents took me to Islands of Adventure right after it opened
so I could enjoy the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride. In the early days of eBay, back when Rosie O'Donnell was its number one fan, my dad ordered me extra silly string cartridges for my Spider-Man web shooter after they discontinued it. Many of my childhood memories revolve around your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. This movie is no different. Peter Parker was a dork like me and Tobey's portrayal in the movie showed me shades of myself, especially as I grew older.

A nearly eleven year old BB-K8 could not have hyped a movie more. (Except for maybe Star Wars Episode I the Phantom Menace three years prior.) To see my favorite hero take to the silver screen was a dream come true. My sister and one of our family friends checked me out of the fifth grade to see the first showing that day. Afterwards we went to Toys"R"Us to get me a new Spider-Man toy. I picked out the Spider-Man Sky Rider Playset, which I still have to this day and is totally rad. To a ten year old, this was about as amazing as a day gets. I remember the day the movie was released on DVD and VHS, one of my best friends and I were taken to buy it and spent the day watching it over and over again at her house.

What this movie has, above all else, is heart. You can feel Raimi's passion for the project. His vision was clear and fans can see that. I think that is why it spoke to me then and continues to speak to me now. With Spider-Man heart matters most. Many superhero movies these days seem to miss that
mark. Uncle Ben said it best, "with great power comes great responsibility." Raimi understood the responsibility of launching this iconic hero's story into theaters across the globe and did so with a large amount of success. That is this movie's legacy. It isn't a rehash and it wasn't afraid to have its own identity.

While the sequels never lived up to the first movie, the franchise truly rejuvenated the superhero genre. It continued to grow my love for the web-slinger and that love remains strong to this very day. While I saw the Andrew Garfield version and enjoyed it and am excited for the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming, this one will always be my Spider-Man. That may not be a hip and trendy opinion, but I've never pretended to be either of those. This is only a love letter to a movie that captured the mind and heart of a young girl and kept her forever in love with one of history's greatest characters.

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Top 10 Animated TV Series Theme Songs

Monday, May 1, 2017
My buddy @RKOLemonJack and I were having a fun discussion about the best animated television series theme songs. It started when I mentioned how iconic the theme to the 1992 X-Men animated series is! He mentioned his top three, objectively. It inspired me to make this list, though admittedly I will not be all that objective. Enough with the explanation and on with the tunes!

10. Doug (1991)

While most of the songs on this list have catchy lyrics, this one is catchy all on its own without the help of lyrics. If you don't immediately have the "doo, doo, doo" stuck in your head upon seeing the name Doug, then you're doing something wrong. Doug had a lot of amazing songs within its episodes, thinking particularly of 'Banging on a Trash Can,' but the theme is a cut above. Doug Funnie and his pals always made for a great viewing experience. 

9. Magic School Bus (1994)

Growing up a nerd (thanks, mom and dad,) I never needed encouragement to think science is cool. For others, Magic School Bus was an amazing gateway into the world of science. So many episodes are ingrained into my mind from childhood but the theme song alone is enough to really pull you back in. Miss Frizzle didn't mess around.

8. Rocko's Modern Life (1993)

Easily the strangest show on the list, Rocko's Modern Life certainly never was boring. It has probably the best Wikipedia summary of all time: "The series centers on the surreal life of an anthropomorphic Australian-immigrant wallaby named Rocko as well as his friends: the gluttonous steer Heffer, the neurotic turtle Filburt, and Rocko's faithful dog Spunky." Included here is the version performed by the B52s. I consider it to be the definitive version. The first season had a slightly different version of the theme, not performed by them, which can be found here. I'm still asking myself, who puts a banana in the refridgerizer?

7. The Flintstones (1960)

In terms of iconic theme songs, this is about as good as it gets. My dad immediately mentioned this one when we were discussing this blog post at dinner the other night. I was raised on the Flintstones, particularly A Flintstones Christmas Carol stands out to me. This is an easy one to include. This now seminal song "Meet the Flintstones" wasn't actually introduced until the third season. The first two seasons had an instrumental theme. It is hard to imagine the history of television without it. Yabba dabba doo!
6. Ducktales (1987)

Perhaps the catchiest of all the themes mentioned on this list, DuckTales woo-ooh! Based on comics about Uncle Scrooge McDuck, the series followed the aforementioned Scrooge and his crazy great-nephews through many adventures while trying to further his wealth. Ron Jones, who composed the musical scores for each episode, said this of his work: "I would not play the score like a kid's show at all. If they went on an adventure I would play it serious like Raiders of the Lost Ark." That is the show in a nutshell. It was fun but took the adventures as serious as any classic serial. This song is seriously a jam.

5. X-Men (1992)

The theme that started the discussion that led me to this blog post. It is pure nineties perfection. Without words, this instrumental song truly captures the essence of the television program. During its five-season run, much like Batman the Animated series, this show solidified the way many of us view the group of mutants we so affectionately refer to as the X-men. While there are more and more X-men movies, an absurd amount of variations in the comics, and even more animated series, this one stands aside as a great achievement in superhero television history.

4. Angry Beavers (1997)

One of my all time favorite shows growing up, the Angry Beavers is as much my childhood as anything else. This theme song, entitled "Beaver Hop," was written by Charlie Brissette. His other work also includes the themes for Jimmy Neutron, The Fairly OddParents, Ren & Stimpy, and SpongeBob SquarePants. Light on words but heavy on rhythm, this theme song is easy to love much like the cartoon it fronted.

3. Batman the Animated Series (1992)

The darkest theme to grace our list, it is the perfect intro to arguably the greatest cartoon of all time. (Avatar: the Last Airbender may have something to say about that, though.) For a collection of folks who were kids during this show's run, Kevin Conroy is the definitive Batman. This theme shares that same feeling. Composed by Danny Elfman, who composed the music for the 1989 film as well, it immediately places the viewer in the perfect mindset for the show's often dark and meaningful content and themes. It is about as perfect as they come.

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)

Cowabunga, dudes! The pizza of theme songs! Without a single doubt in my mind, this is one of the greatest television theme song of all time. This cartoon launched three decades of fandom. While the comic was successful in its own right, it was the original animated series that made the turtles what they are today. It is fun, catchy, and so fitting for the heroes in a half shell. Whether you were the leader, the machine dork, the cool ass hole, or the party dude; I'm fairly sure every kid picked their favorite based on the little bio blurb mentioned in the theme.

1. Pokemon (1998)

 Winner winner chicken dinner. The best of the best. When Pokemon hit the states, it became an instant phenomenon. With the power of the Gameboy game and card collecting game, the television show was a must watch experience for kids of a certain age. The greatest thing to come from the show was obviously the theme song, "Gotta Catch Em All." A fun tidbit about its lasting legacy found on Wikipedia: In July 2016, after the release of the mobile game Pok√©mon Go, the song had a 630% increase in listeners on Spotify. The theme is about as grandiose and epic as you'll ever find from a children's television program. If it doesn't make you want to leave Pallet Town to catch some Pokemon, I don't know what will.

I am keenly aware that there are more iconic themes that could (and possibly should) make the list. Like I mentioned at the top of the page, I went for the shows that meant something to me. But I acknowledge themes like the Simpsons, Fraggle Rock, Rugrats, and many others. This list was purely personal and by no means is definitive. 

Share with me your top ten!

As always comments, questions, thoughts, and shenanigans are always welcomed in the comment section! Or tweet me @kaityballgame!

Until next time... May the Force be with you!

The 2003 Clone Wars Microseries

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

In 2003, in between the releases of Episode II Attack of the Clones and Episode III Revenge of the Sith, Cartoon Network aired a microseries entitled the Clone Wars. While not the Clone Wars series that the Star Wars fandom now holds dearly to our hearts, which came later in 2008 and introduced the likes of fan favorites Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex, the microseries has its redeeming qualities.

It was created by Genndy Tartakovsky; also the creator and/or director of Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack, Hotel Transylvania, and more. Over its three season run, it resulted in twenty-five episodes. The first two seasons each episode lasted a whopping three to five minutes or so each, whereas the third season's episodes had a run time of twelve to fifteen minutes. The entire series comes in at just over two hours and can be found on YouTube.

(For whatever reason, this is missing the last like three minutes, so here that is.)

The goal of the series was to show some of the long-discussed Clone Wars and to fill some gaps in between the two movies. I gave it a re-watch recently, as I haven't viewed it much since its original airing. I was blown away by how much it still holds up. I wrote two pages of notes, random observations and such. Some of them deeper than others, but a lot of them being things like "Kit Fisto!!" 

In a retrospect piece about the series with the show's creator, he spoke about how things changed as the series went on. (I very much recommend you reading the piece.) He gained more control from George Lucas with time. Initially they weren't given much to work with at all. So their goal was to drop you into various battles to show the severity of the war. This is one of their strengths, as early on it shows the Jedi's apprehension of being in the war. The tone of the episodes early on is much different from the later episodes. There is not a lot of dialogue and I was struck by how much silence could be felt throughout the episodes. As the series progressed, there was a bit more dialogue. The first season or so is very superficial but still delightful.

A few things in particular stuck out to me immediately. Anakin is much more Episode II Anakin and not just stylistically. He's whiny and brash. As the show evolves, so does Anakin. That is one thing that I really enjoy about this series. The 2008 Clone Wars Anakin sometimes leaves me wondering how he came so far between Episode II and the series, this series shows you more of that. In the same light, it shows the evolution of his relationship with Obi-Wan. At the start it is very much more master and apprentice, it then evolves to a more peer-like relationship. I don't particularly care for the stern Obi-Wan interpretation presented in this series.

Another interesting aspect is the vast difference in the relationship the Jedi hold with the Clones than in the 2008 series. They're referred to as 'Troopers' mostly, though Cody is mentioned later on in the series. In the 2008 Clone Wars you see the intense bond between the Jedi and the Clones, particularly with a character like Rex. They make them people, not just clones. It makes Order 66 that much more upsetting when you watch Revenge of the Sith.

As the show evolves, the episodes grow in quality. There are great moments like Mace Windu's interaction with the young boy Paxi Sylo after he wins a strenous battle, Padme embarking on a mission with Master Yoda and worrying about his well being, and her using C-3PO as a decoy. (Padme is still a bad bitch in this. It doesn't matter the series or movie, she's still the best.) Grievous's entrance is fairly dramatic and he seems a little OP to me but it does open you up to the idea that the Jedi can be beat. That is an interesting notion. Though now it doesn't seem so crazy, this series was before we ever saw Order 66. The moments between Dooku and Grievous are some of the show's best. "Don't let your pursuit of trinkets cloud your reality."

My favorite moment of the series was probably Anakin following Asajj to Yavin IV and duking it out. I didn't know I needed it in my life, but I did. Asajj is a point of celebration for the series, as she went on to become a fan favorite with the 2008 series. The show has other continuation aspects that really set it apart, even though now it is no longer canon. Grievous's wheezing and coughing is a result of Mace Windu crushing his lungs with the Force. It leads directly up to Episode III and shows the abduction of Palpatine, the rescuing of him being the opening scenes of Revenge of the Sith. Interesting to me that Grievous did not know Palpatine is the Emperor. They question his loyalty perhaps? Or he is just not important enough to know such a secret. The series also uses a few familiar voices like Tom Kane as Yoda and James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. They'd go on to reprise these roles on the 2008 series.

Season three gets a bit strange. Anakin, in particular takes a turn with the Nelvaan arc. This probably seems to be expected with what takes place in Episode III but the execution was just a tad strange to me. Anakin with the weird tattoos just is not my cup of tea. While that threw me off a bit, season three's strength lies in the manipulation at the hand of  Palpatine as he sets his plot to begin Anakin's turn and the Jedi's demise that we see in Revenge of the Sith.

Generally speaking, I very much enjoyed the series. The battle on Yavin IV, Luminara explaining the creation of lightsabers to Barriss (I always enjoy the inclusion of kyber crystals,) the use of Qui-Gon in mentions and in Force dreams, Shaka Ti kicking ass, and much more. There are a lot of extremely redeeming qualities to the series. While vastly different from the 2008 series, it is worth taking the little over two hours out to sit down and watch.

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