Lonesome Ghosts Review

Lonesome_Ghosts
I always tell myself that I’m not afraid of ghosts, but watching shorts like this one reminds me that they could be deadly if they were real. Intangibility, Invisibility and reality warping are just the tip of the iceberg for this trio of ghouls. It’s really hard to deal with opponents that are this versatile and skilled in combat. It naturally makes for a good adventure though and this may be the best of the classic Disney shorts. It’s nonstop action as we get the hyped team up of Donald, Mickey, and Goofy.

The three of them are called to a haunted house to deal with a ghost problem. Mickey eagerly accepts the mission and brings along his squadmates, Goofy, and Donald. The three of them are ready to tackle any challenge that comes their way, but they’ll definitely have to use every skill at their disposal if they want to come out on top. Once they get in the house there is no turning back. Not that our brave heroes would run though, the only one who would beat a hasty retreat is Goofy and even he claims that he isn’t afraid of ghosts.

Donald is still my favorite member of the 3 and he does the best against the ghosts. He actually lands a solid haymaker. While the ghost may have quickly bounced back to mess with him some more, it was a satisfying moment. Donald also doesn’t show as much terror as the other characters. Goofy does the worst of course. While he looks so bad throughout that it is pretty funny, you just wish he could be a little more useful at times. Stabbing himself is not the way to win fights. As for Mickey, he’s determined, but he definitely felt outgunned the whole time. He’s a good team leader, but we know his group wouldn’t do too well without Donald.

The animation is consistent and looks really good. Especially when you consider just how old this special is. Disney was certainly ahead of its time in the animation department. The music is also fairly good. Perhaps it isn’t very memorable, but it gets the job done and sets the stage for the hype encounters with the supernatural. The special is only a little over 10 minutes so it definitely ends pretty quickly. While that means we don’t get to see as many pranks and shenanigans as I’d like, it also results in the pacing being quite fast. It doesn’t slow down for an instant and there is really nothing negative to say about this special. It’s a fun way to spend 15 minutes and the premise was just really good. I think it’ll be tough for a Disney short to pass it anytime soon.

Overall, If you haven’t started watching the classic Disney shorts yet, now is a good time to start. This one is very accessible for new viewers and you’ll be able to get the character personalities right away even based on just a few minutes of action. It’s also good to start with this special since you see the three big characters right away as opposed to seeing them separately for a while. It’s hard to name a more iconic trio than these guys.

Overall 7/10

Advertisements

Hanazuki: Full Of Treasures Review

maxresdefault
There was a brief theatrical short that played before the MLP movie so I figured I’d review this as well. It was very short so it’s not as if there was much time to get used to the movie. If the point of the special was to get me interested in the film then I can’t really say that it worked. It seems like a pleasant enough series though and I’m sure that it’ll get better but it just didn’t hook me.

So there’s this little girl who is babysitting 4 stars. One of the Yellow stars is really petty and decides to steal Hanazuki’s gem that she got from a sleeping fairy and dashes off faster than you can say “Wakka Wakka.” Hanazuki chases after her mischievous friend and they land on the forbidden side of the moon. They are chased by a giant monster and nearly fall into the lava, but the monster has been moved by the power of friendship and saves them. Hanazuki then scolds the star by giving it a turn on the slide and everything is happily ever after.

I mean, there wasn’t too much crude humor here aside from the monster drooling on the heroes every once in a while so that’s a good start. I think that the main problem here in the end is simply the fact that the characters aren’t as charismatic as the ponies. Whether you think My Little Pony is amazing or simply spectacular, the concept is fairly original. You can already get sold on the show by the fact that the characters are ponies and unicorns with mysterious powers. We’ve had a lot of human shows so one about them having fun in space can be fun, but it’s been done before. I think the characters are supposed to have powers as Hanazuki glows when she’s happy, but I’m going to need more moments like that to really sell the concept for me. Also, I already don’t like the mini stars. They just come across as really petty and are just dragging Hanazuki into trouble. At the end of the day, there wasn’t really anything wrong with the special though. At least it was over in a matter of minutes and didn’t drag on. It’ll be a pleasant enough series.

Overall, there’s not much that this special can do for you one way or the other. The animation isn’t bad, but it’s a clear step down from My Little Pony and doesn’t feel like something out of 2017. You can’t really tell if the series has a plot from this either. I hope fans of the show enjoy it as it gets longer and the lore gets explored more, but I won’t be taking that journey at this point. I wouldn’t mind if theaters started doing this more often though as having a short before a movie sounds pretty good to me. It just makes you that much more hyped for the film as you get a few extra minutes to shoot around theories in your head.

Overall 6/10

Attack on Titan: A Sudden Visitor: The Torturous Curse of Adolescence Review

OVA_2_Cover
It’s time for another Attack on Titan OVA. You’ll be happy to know that this one is the best yet. It approached dangerous territory when the characters decided to go hunting, but the special did a pretty good job of handling it. It wasn’t perfect, but it managed to save itself as there was no blood or anything. It would be a little dicey if this was a long show were that kept happening or a movie with repeated scenes of this, but as a one off it wasn’t fatal.

This special should really be called Attack on Jean. He’s a pretty minor character in the main series, but he effectively got his own special here. Jean wants to get a cushy job in the Interior so he won’t have to fight Titans for a living, but this is proving to be difficult. His best chance is to do well in a training exercise, but then his teammates destroy this chance by just being better fighters in general than him. Jean doesn’t take this too well and hastily accepts a cooking challenge against Sasha. If he wins, she’ll have to stop up staging him every day of his life. The battle is on, but can Jean really win?

I do have to say that the remixed opening was handled pretty much perfectly here. We see a lot of shots of Jean running around and trying to be relevant and then at the end when the music is ramping up we just have him walking around since he usually doesn’t get to do much during the climax. It’s emotional yet also very fitting for the character. The soundtrack in general is easily 5 star material as we get most of the show’s famous themes from the first season. It’s just consistently amazing. The visuals are also pretty good. You’ll recognize the green energy effects the show loves to use and all of the character designs are on point. It’s not an action this time around so it’s hard to say just how good it is in the end, but it’s certainly good enough for me.

One thing that is interesting to note is that Jean is a whole lot meaner than usual. In the main series he’s not the nicest of guys, but he’s still pretty even tempered as he just tries to get promoted to a safe job. In this special he’s mean to his Mom for no reason and even threatens to punch Sasha. He resorts to stealing/cheating and just has absolutely no moral compass. I suppose it’s part of the humor, but I can’t imagine his fans would be too thrilled about this. The Mom subplot in particular felt random since in the flashbacks Jean was actually a nice guy and I suppose we are led to believe that joining the army corrupted him. He’s just not the nice guy that he used to be anymore.

The ending is also really cheesy so I wasn’t thrilled with that. We all know who should have won the cooking contest based on the two dishes. On the other hand, we can also assume that the wrong choice was picked because the judge was incredibly drunk. At least he was in character as I’ve never liked this guy. He has some hype but never does anything with it and is content to boss everyone around from the sidelines. Not the kind of guy you really want on your side.

As I mentioned before, there was one tricky scene where the heroes decide to hunt a boar for no good reason. Unfortunately they do nab him, but it was at least not done in a violent way. It’s a nice consolation. That’s really is for negatives and minor gripes. Beyond that, the special had really good pacing along with its soundtrack and graphics. It did a good job of embracing its comedic nature without going too far. For example, a good scene was when everyone transformed into Titans and could only watch as someone started taking everyone down. It was a nice high budget action moment that was certainly one of the highlights. It was just a good amount of fun.

I also liked Eren’s cameos as he called Jean out and also didn’t let Mikasa do all of his work for him. Eren likes to contribute so he will get strong enough to stomp all of the Titans. It would have been cool if the special could have kept in the scene where Eren beat Jean up, but at least the highlight is up on Youtube so you can always pause the special and quickly watch it during the beginning where it would have been perfectly thrown in. In case it wasn’t too clear, I was on Sasha’s team for this mission as Jean just didn’t do anything that made me want to root for him. He was basically the antagonist in this one after all.

The special also added some clever homages to the main series like when Sasha hit Reiner with her elbow in the same way that Eren attacked him in the forest. It was the same exact shot and I seem to recall 1 or 2 other instances of this. It was a nice bit of foreshadowing for the people who had already read the manga. Fans of the series will definitely get more out of this than average viewers, but both should still enjoy it quite a bit. It’s ironic that the best Attack on Titan special would be the comedy one, but now we know what the series could have been if it was a parody.

Overall, Attack on Jean was pretty fun. I wouldn’t mind if the series followed his adventures, but I have a feeling it would still suffer from the same problems as the original and a big problem would be that there would be fewer Eren scenes to try and bring it back up. The ending may be a little disappointing, but I’d still recommend checking the special out. It’s just pretty fun and quite possibly the only time you’ll be able to see Attack on Titan like this. It’ll truly go down as a collector’s item.

Overall 6/10

Azumanga Daioh: The Very Short Movie Review

The_Very_Short_Azumanga_Daioh_Movie_Title_Card
I recently saw the Azumanga Daioh show so now it’s time for the short movie pilot/intro special. I enjoyed it more than the show because of its impressive pacing and improved animation. I suppose it’s easier to give a 4-5 minute short a high budget because of how short it is, but it would have been really neat if the whole show could have been animated at this high level. Aw well, it is what it is.

So, the new girl on the block has entered the school. Her name is Chiyo and her hair is detachable. One of her classmates finds this out the hard way as her hair tries to escape the building when Osaka pulls it out. This leads to a big chase scene where Chiyo gets pretty upset and Osaka realizes that it’s all her fault. Yukari makes fun of the students in another scene and Sasaki remembers that one time she got bit by a cat. A lot is constantly happening and this could have worked very well as the first episode. Everyone is still in the same class and everything, but none of them know each other yet (Except for Tomo and Yomi who were already friends) so it’s a way to introduce the characters before they all get to know each other. You see a bit of their personalities, quirks, etc. In the show they all got together almost immediately so we didn’t have much time to meet them.

As I mentioned, the animation is quite sharp here. There’s a lot more movement than in the show and all of the designs feel more modern by a few years. The colors really pop out of you and everyone is extra shiny. I’ve always considered J.C. Staff to be one of the better animating companies out there so I was surprised at the full show. This shows that they’ve still got the talent, I guess they just had to rush too much to really use it on the main show. There’s not much to say about the music. I suppose you really can’t hope to use much when you’ve only got around 4 minutes to show off.

Overall, This special is only about 4 minutes long so it’s not as if you can really say a whole lot about it. That being said, it was fun and none of my negatives from the show apply here. It’s not repetitive and none of the really unlikable characters got to appear either. Right away that was nice to see and since the special tried cramming in as many jokes as possible, we didn’t get to see any of them repeat. It was all pretty original and the pacing did a good job with that. It’s 4 minutes that doesn’t feel long but covers a lot which is always the final goal in this. I definitely recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

Good Scouts Review

MV5BOTgxYTQ3MjktNGFlNC00MTg4LWFiN2YtYjc5N2QzMzExYjg4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDE4OTY5NzI@._V1_
It’s been a while, but time to finally check out the next Disney special. Donald Duck always makes for a pretty good protagonist and this time is no different as he tries to survive the harsh elements of the great outdoors. Unfortunately, he doesn’t tie up his tent correctly so he gets splattered with honey and then a bear attacks him. Can Donald stop the bear and get back to teaching his nephews what being a professional is all about or is he doomed?

The special is super short as always, but it manages to capture the adventure rather well. The plot/pacing felt a lot tighter than usual which was really good as all of the scenes really had a purpose. When you have to tell a full story in roughly 10-12 minutes you really have to think through every scene to decide if it should be there or not. I can’t think of any scene that should have been removed. Donald was perhaps even more sputtery than usual as it could be hard to hear what he was saying, but it just increases the “Donald” effect that you like to see in his specials. His nephews were pretty solid this time around as well. They did at least try to stop Donald from nearly breaking his back on the stone tree. Perhaps they could have tried a little harder, but they did enough.

Donald also recovered from it pretty well which is why he’s such a good character. He took the whole thing in stride and even decided to play a practical joke on his nephews. It may have failed in every sense of the word and I’m not sure about the spelling of the ketchup (Was the word copyrighted back in the day?) but it showed that Donald was ready to spread the chaos. It just didn’t work this time around.

The animation is pretty fluid and consistent like you’d expect it to be. I do like these simple hand drawn days. You can tell that the animators put a lot of effort into it and I still can’t imagine drawing frame by frame. That just sounds like soooo much work. There isn’t much of a soundtrack in this one, but we get all of the classic sound effects for the chase scene. You could feel the desperation in Donald as he struggled to escape before realizing that it was all ultimately futile. There is just no running away from a big bear.

Overall, I enjoyed this special quite a bit. It’s easily one of Disney’s best shorts. The cast may have been a little smaller than usual, but it just meant that we got to see Donald more. I’m waiting for a special where he challenges Mickey to something like Basketball or Hockey so we could see his competitive side come out a little more. We know that Donald never gives up and is always bursting with confidence after all. Putting him in a situation like that would absolutely make for quite the spectacle. If you haven’t seen this special yet, then I’d advise you to do so ASAP. Prepare yourself for the somber ending though. Donald knows that he’s got to keep running because if it catches him….it’s game over.

Overall 7/10

Boat Builders Review

p13025874_p_v7_aa
It’s time for another water themed Disney short. The gang has come back together for one last ride as they work to build a boat, but do they have the expertise for it? After all, as fearsome as this trio is, they don’t have a whole lot of experience when it comes to manufacturing. Maybe it’s time for them to quit while they’re ahead. The tricky part is that Minnie is sending them off so Mickey can’t back down now. Somehow…he has to find a way to win!

Each of the characters has their own plot as per usual. For Goofy, he finds a manequin in a box and quickly panics. He isn’t used to working with figures and clearly hasn’t started collecting them yet. While he panics, Mickey takes her away to be the ship’s figure head. Goofy also gets beat up by the wood boards that he had been gluing. It was a pretty painful experience for him that’s for sure. His plot was the weakest in this special.

Donald actually had a good handle on his part for a change. He was painting the ship rather well until Mickey sabotaged the controls and started slapping Donald. He tried to hint that it wasn’t intentional in the slightest, but I have my doubts if we’re being honest. It seemed a little too deliberate for him to not realize what he was doing. Donald took it in stride though and tried to fight back, he just wasn’t able to win.

Mickey’s was more about general building. He didn’t really get to do anything in particular. When the boat fell apart at the end, Mickey did take it in stride though. He just laughed it off and got ready for the next adventure. That’s why Mickey’s always been the leader of the group. Everything just bounces off of him and he keeps the group connected. Next time he should probably ask Minnie Mouse not to smash a bottle on the boat though. It actually could have made it to the ocean otherwise. Sure, it probably would have sunk rather early on in the adventure since it clearly wasn’t very durable, but at least they would have had a proper send off right? I definitely don’t understand the tradition or wasting a wine bottle and damaging the ship at the same time. It just doesn’t feel right.

This special is older than the last one, but the animation is as consistent as always. Seeing Mickey’s older design is always a little unnerving since he feels like a different character at times. This Mickey was certainly a lot more energetic and mischievous although the latter side didn’t get to show much this time. He was too busy working.

Overall, This is another good special. It’s a little more bland than the Tugboat adventure which is why it’s a star lower, but it’s still a good adventure. Once again this special is only around 7 minutes so that is really done in a breeze. I definitely wouldn’t mind if we still got specials like this nowadays. If Disney had kept it up for all of these years, they’d likely have well over 1000 by now. Of course, coming up with that many plots could be tricky. After all, there isn’t a whole lot of dialogue in these so you have to illustrate everything and that’s usually tougher in modern programs. Still, if anyone can do it, it’s Disney.

Overall 6/10

Tugboat Mickey Review

198385_1020_A
It’s time for another Disney short. I think it’s safe to say that Mickey Mouse has been in a lot of adventures but this may have been the toughest one yet. He owns a boat in this story along with Goofy and Donald. The boat wasn’t fully completed yet as it had a bunch of repairs that still needed to be done, but then the group hears an SOS signal and naturally they cannot ignore it. They have to speed up the repairs and get ready to head out, but can they make it in time?

This is easily one of the better specials. As always, I like seeing the group together. Part of what makes it fun as well is the trick ending. Turns out that the SOS signal was actually a fake and it was just coming from a radio. There’s a twist within the twist though as the signal appears to be sentient because the machine starts to drown when Mickey and co. attack it. You also have to wonder what kind of show was being played since it claimed that this was the final episode. Everyone drowns in the end? Well gosh, that’s a bold ending. At least Mickey didn’t take this lying down though, the least our heroes can do is break the recording to stop others from meeting a similar fate.

The animation is pretty smooth as always. I saw this special back to back with another one that had Mickey’s classic design so it was cool to notice how it changed as the years go by. Mickey has always adapted with the times to the point where it’s hard for me to say what the best design was. He’s a solid lead although Donald steals the show as always. Goofy isn’t bad this time as his role is fairly good. One advantage that this special had over some of the others was that the jokes didn’t go on for too long and they basically all worked this time. Maybe a boat special was just what we needed.

The Donald plot had him go up against a sentient steam pusher which got in some epic burns. It had the best lines of the special. Donald may have lost the fight, but not the war. Goofy had to fight with a latch opener that kept throwing his coal back at him. Goofy definitely wasn’t going to be getting past this guy very easily. Mickey actually had the weakest plot as a drunk bird kept messing with his painting skills. There’s not a whole lot you can do with that plot after all, but the special tried.

Overall, Tugboat Mickey is a fun special. It’s only around 7 minutes so it’s over in the blink of an eye. The short length always helps for these specials so they don’t drag on or anything. If it was gonna be feature length, then you’d probably need more of an actual plot here. If you’ve enjoyed the Disney specials so far then you should add this one to your collection.

Overall 7/10

Thru the Mirror Review

Thruthemirrorposter
Thru The Mirror brings us even further back into Disney’s roots as it is a solo Mickey Mouse adventure. The good news is that this means Goofy isn’t present…the bad news is that Donald also isn’t around. Mickey can usually hold his own special no problem but he isn’t able to talk in this special. That makes the task a great deal more difficult. It’s an entertaining short, but one that could have used more dialogue.

The short starts up with Mickey’s soul being thrown out of his body. It’s at this point that Mickey realizes he may never go back to his body again so he decides to have fun messing around in the real world. He doesn’t get to stay there for long though as he enters Wonderland and must now struggle to stay alive against an army of Cards and a vengeful King. Fortunately for Mickey, he is actually a great swordsman and this is good foreshadowing for the Kingdom Hearts franchise.

The animation is nice and smooth as always. The soundtrack was more limited and less eventful than the last two specials, but it still wasn’t bad. It is definitely interesting to see Mickey’s old design here since it is such a contrast to the one we are all used too. It helps you buy into the different personality a little better though.It’s hard to imagine modern Mickey being so rebellious and messing with people the way that he does here.

What you’re probably wondering now is…was the King acting rashly or did he make the right call? I can safely say that it’s the latter. Mickey went too far when he danced with the Queen and I’m glad that the King arrived to put him in his place. The fight may not have gone as well as the King would have hoped, but it wasn’t super one sided either. He made Mickey sweat and I’m sure that the mouse will have second thoughts before crossing him again.

The rest of the Alice in Wonderland cameos and elements were fun as well. It’s definitely a legend that is used quite a lot as many different titles have been inspired by it. It wouldn’t be the last time that Disney would head back to this arena either. Hopefully Mickey brings Donald around next time so we can have some banter between him and the Cheshire Cat. At the very least, I’d like Mickey to bring along his keyblade so we can have some real fights.

Overall, Thru The Mirror is a fun special that has aged reasonably well. I would have liked it more if Mickey could talk though. Dialogue is just so important in a movie because it lets you become one with the film and only then can you embrace it to its full potential. Oh well, it’s still a fun way to spend 15 minutes and after that you can get a milkshake as you continue to remember the good ole days.

Overall 6/10

Clock Cleaners Review

BCDB Image
Mickey, Donald, and Goofy have finally found steady jobs as clock cleaners. Unfortunately the clock seems to be alive and doesn’t like to be cleaned. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are systematically attacked and defeated. We all know that they have absolutely no chance of winning here so the question is…how badly will they be pounded? I may as well say that the clock gets in a lot of serious hits. Possibly even lethal ones.

As always, Donald was the most interesting member in the group. He actually defeated his part of the clock until Mickey and Goofy wrecked it. Donald’s soap voice just doesn’t get old. Mickey’s plot isn’t bad as he spends a lot of time getting beat up by a bird. To his defense, it was a pretty tough bird who wasn’t playing around! He wanted his sleep and nothing was gonna stop him.

Goofy’s plot is the weakest as expected. He gets smashed by a few golden hammers and this causes him to go loopy. He keeps almost jumping off the skyscraper so then Mickey has to save him. The effects of the hit certainly lasted a while as well since Goofy stayed that way for the rest of the special. I wanted to be more sympathetic but he didn’t handle the situation very well.

The animation is pretty nice and fluid the whole time. Disney’s style has certainly aged very well over the years which is most impressive. The designs are all iconic and they certainly got famous so the company knew what people wanted to see. The sound effects and music aren’t bad either. The main clock theme is quite catchy.

Now, I suppose the real question you’re all wondering here is who was in the right..Mickey or the bird? You may not be surprised to hear that I was on the bird’s side 100%. He can sleep wherever he wants and we just have to deal with it. Clearly Mickey wasn’t on the same page, but that’s totally on him. I’m glad that the Bird fought for his American rights and never gave up even when the going got tough. There was no tie and the victor was never in doubt. This bird wasn’t playing around!

Overall, it’s another fun Disney special to add to your viewing history and I’d recommend checking it out. The special is very short so it’s not as if it’ll take a whole lot of time to watch and it’s fairly timeless. You can watch it in any year and it’ll be just as fun as you can recall. It’s definitely interesting to see how Mickey and the gang changed over the years.

Overall 7/10

The Band Concert Review

The_Band_Concert
It’s time for another classic Disney review! In this special, Mickey Mouse is actually the antagonist for once. In my head canon, Mickey Mouse let the fame get to him and he forgot to look out for the little guys. As such, he is now the leader of a band and only allows top musicians to play with him. Donald tries to get in on the action, but Mickey reacts violently each time. He’ll have to think of something to get in on the act, but things get tough when a tornado sweeps through and carries them all off. Can Mickey finish his song or will Donald interfere again?

It’s a pretty entertaining special and I can see why people consider it to be one of Disney’s stronger ones. I thought it was more enjoyable than the others that I’ve seen as well. It’s pretty high energy the whole time. Sure, Mickey is pretty out of character, but it just goes to show that even he loses it once in a while. At least Mickey is super focused as not even the tornado could break his concentration. His team didn’t miss a beat and that’s why they’re considered as the pros.

Meanwhile, Donald Duck did his best to fit in. He didn’t let the others get him down and came with a lot of flutes just in case. I’d say that he’s easily the best character in this special. Donald is a reminder to us all that nobody can stop you from playing your tunes except for yourself. This special was a little light on dialogue so we didn’t get to hear Donald’s iconic voice as much as I’d like, but it’s still always fun to see him on screen. Donald is certainly my favorite from the old Disney characters. Another bonus is that Goofy doesn’t get much to do here since it’s just a bunch of Goofy ripoffs in the band and none of them have any lines if I recall correctly. Most excellent!

The actual song that the band was playing was pretty good as well. I definitely don’t mind old style songs for a special like this one. After all, something like Brave or Excalibur Clash wouldn’t fit so well right? I sometimes like to wonder what is better, to have a really epic song for something simple like baking a cake or to have a fairly uneventful theme playing the whole time. The latter would be forgettable, but the former would hint at something epic coming up and then you’d just be disappointed. It’s a tough question for sure.

Overall, it’s fun to check out these retro specials. They’re really short so you can breeze through them, but the animation holds up well. Mickey Mouse and the others certainly got iconic through these shorts so Disney knew how to market even back then. Still, I doubt anyone could have ever guessed just how legendary they would ultimately end up being. There are a lot of specials so it’ll probably be a while before I see them all, but I’m getting there step by step.

Overall 7/10