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Remembering Trap Door

I feeling wistful, in a mood to reminisce about moments from my youth, and I find myself pondering a little stop-motion animation that ran for a short time in the 80’s, and though it was originally released before I was born I was fortunate enough to experience a great deal of it thanks to the miracle of VHS.

The forty episode run featured the young manservant of dark and clearly haunted castle, Berk cleans, cooks and generally tends to the every whim of The Thing Upstairs, a disembodied voice with generally disgusting body parts. Berk’s only company is Boni, an animate skull prone to headaches and pessimism, and a fat and hyperactive arachnid called Drut. The regular five-minute interludes into their lives and their daily activities always coincide with the appearance of some terrible entity or dark monstrosity that has emerged from the dread portal in the cellar, The Trap Door. (more…)


Top 10 Space Battles

GeekOut Top 10s

Space… the final frontier, and like any untamed wilderness there are always struggles and conflicts for the resources and strategic advantages they might offer. While the physics, tactics, and possibilities offered by all out space-combat might go under utilised and appreciated in modern media, there’s one thing we can do in film, TV, and games, and that’s make it look epic!

Though the loss of life may be tremendous, and the horrors of war are made even more heartbreaking when the fallen are cast adrift in the endless dark… but damn it looks pretty! Here’s the Top 10 Space Battles.

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TV Review: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

Are you prepared to listen to a tale of serious misfortune and misery? The serial misconduct of those caring for three children; the Baudelaire orphans? Lemony Snicket advises that you are better off just looking away. But if, like me, you have a morbid fascination with watching things people tell you not to, this might be the series for you! So don’t adjust your screens, it is time to review Lemony Snickets A Series of Unfortunate Events.

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Review – Iron Fist

At last, the final Defender steps into the lineup. We pass from noir and pulp into a more Wu-Xia film style, the student’s voyage of discovery, facing his enemies without and within, trust is gained and lost, demons are mastered, and the day is… well. Iron Fist drew a lot of hatred before release on two grounds, the first was cultural, the second was quality. Let me start by addressing the cultural matter as briefly and succinctly as I can. We try and avoid getting into controversial matters where we can but this needs to be said:

A: If we make a martial arts series starring an asian guy it’s a racial stereotype.
B: If we make a martial arts series starring anyone else it’s cultural appropriation.
C: This is called a no-win scenario.
D: Danny Rand was always a white guy! It’s kind of the point, child of rich industrialists plunged into a culture where he is out of place, his competitive nature drives him to obtain the highest honour in K’un-Lun… but that’s backstory, I’ll get back to that.

I’m not trying to offend anyone here, this is a cold statement of fact. Can we please judge Iron Fist on it’s quality? It won’t end any better.

In The Green Corner – Danny Rand

My name is Danny Rand. After fifteen years in a pocket dimension I have returned home to save my city, but in order to do that I need to become something else… a ten year old having a tantrum.

Ok, that may not be an entirely fair comparison, but it’s an easy one to make. Both return home from a long period of intense and at times mystical training with a mission in mind concerning the company that their parents own, and have to struggle to reclaim their company from the hands of those who are responsible for some serious criminal activity in the area. Oliver Queen has learned a great sense of personal responsibility over the course of several seasons, but by this point he’s already overcome his juvenile habits over the course of five years of torturous “education”.

So why am I still getting “brat” from Danny Rand after fifteen years of discipline, martial arts training, and spiritual guidance?

The duty of the Iron Fist is to guard the gates of K’un Lun, a pocket dimension, a slice of heaven, one that’s sought by many but who is only accessible every fifteen years. Danny wants, and obtains the role because of his natural competitive nature, but for reasons listed in the spoiler below he returns to New York. He is the sworn enemy of the Hand, the drug-dealing ninjas we’ve come to know and love, so when he discovers they’re heavily active in New York he sets about efforts to root them out.

Minor spoilers, When he has begun his duty he realises how tedious the life of an Iron Fist will be, Danny ups and leaves. This has a rather predictable outcome, which becomes more predictable when he’s reminded constantly about the duty he has shirked, nut not only is this a wholly predictable ending but the “grand reveal” is badly composed and blandly delivered. End Spoilers.

Finn Jones – who you might recognise as Loras Tyrell – does his best, he manages quite a bit with the material like Rand’s struggle to overrule his emotions in order to harness his powers, the realisations that he hasn’t even begun to discover his powers and purpose, how his trusting nature finally collapses under betrayal after betrayal and the need to embrace his enemy to destroy someone he thought was a friend. Let’s not blame Finn Jones here, it’s not his fault that the Fist’s powers just manifest whenever most convenient and vanish whenever most dramatic, or that Rand can’t spot the bad guy staring him in the face, or just accept his damn responsibilities! He’s got a hard task to win us back for the dramatic finale…

In Every Other Corner – The Hand

It’s not entirely fair to lay the blame for the boring story at the feet of the protagonist, bringing the heroes down to street level has brought a new level of threat to the previously indomitable “super-hero”. Daredevil faces down a ferocious beast of a man presiding over a kingdom of fear, Jessica Jones is pursued by a man who can control anyone with a voice and wants her absolutely, Luke Cage‘s most terrifying enemy is his own skin when he needs medical attention.

Where was the terrifying power of the Hand we have come to fear throughout the Defenders series so far. Daredevil series 2 showed us how terrifying ninjas can be! Oh sure we can laugh off Naruto and guys in pyjamas right up until we watch the hospital siege, or the raw power of Madame Gao, the one person in the world who earned the fear and respect of Fisk. We know that the Hand can raise the dead, but the methods by which they do this are horrifying beyond description, certainly far beyond your Saturday morning Spider-Man.*

So where were the Hand in Iron Fist? Manipulating Rand Enterprises, selling heroine to keep the “ghetto” down, and helping kids get out of that ghetto so that they show absolute gratitude to the Hand for giving them a purpose. Cunning, terrible, not scary! And Madame Gao – who should have been a centre piece for the series and the kind of silent dread the Hand could bring – started Iron Fist looking like a real master, a floor to herself right under Danny’s nose to run her criminal enterprises, an undead corporate tool under her heel, and a legion of killers at her disposal, none of which she needs as she floors the greatest heroes in the world with a touch and hobbles away. That lasts for a few episodes towards the beginning and then… nothing.

That leaves Danny to face off against a bunch of kids while he deals with his angst.

Fortunately they’re not the only threat to the Iron Fist’s fragile ego.

Meachums, Meet the Meachums

A highlight! And a big one. Former childhood friends of Danny and the children of co-founder of Rand, Ward and Joy Meachum have been running Rand Enterprises for quite some time following the death of father Harold. Tom Pelphrey plays Ward as the rage-filled, pill-popping, and tortured pawn of several higher powers. He goes off the hinges and spirals out of control only to be pulled back from the brink shortly after falling into it. Jessica Stroup is the kindly but business savvy sister Joy trying to understand how an old friend could suddenly return from the dead, deal with her brother’s lies and drug addiction, and slowly breaking under the strain.

And finally Harold, not dead, in hiding in a luxurious penthouse from which he controls the actions in Rand Enterprises via a network of puppets including his beaten and belittled son. David Wenham plays the abusive father excellently, he keeps telling his son that everything he’s doing is for him, so Ward should do everything he’s told because he’s an idiot and owes his father everything. This has been made worse by the fact that he was resurrected by the Hand to do their bidding; not only does he channel his frustration at being out of control of his life into his son, the process makes the recipient more and more likely to lash out at those you love.

By gods, I love Harold Meachum! A couple of spoilers in this paragraph but it’s worth it. The scene where he rises out of the swamp like some morbid Solomon Grundy and stumbles around recovering from death is darkly comical in a way that unnerves you just enough to brace for every terrible thing he does from that point onwards. You feel the tension whenever he and Joy are in the same room, “Dear god Joy, get away from him!” and the escalation of his hatred towards his son is stunning. I’ve seen Wenham in a variety of very different roles but I’ve never seen him as terrifying before.

The entire Meachum family makes Iron Fist worth watching, and elevates it to merely second worst in the Defenders series so far.

All Together Now

Between Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and a season of Daredevil that didn’t quite meet standards, I feel like we’ve had a rough ride to get to the Defenders. It was an amazing start, Daredevil set one hell of a tone for Jessica Jones to build onto. We’ve gone through the best of noir, shot for pulp and made a half-hearted attempt at Wu-Xia, so if we can pull it out of the bag for our ensemble piece I’ll be happy enough.

There’s every chance that the Defenders may very well cast Iron Fist in a light that makes this series more enjoyable. Truth be told there’s a lot went by that was too unremarkable, and so I haven’t remarked on it. Colleen Wing, Davos, a few moments where I feel like the narrative was trying and failing to make us wonder what the truth was. Actually I can sum all three up in one go, we made to wonder if the Hand really are the bad guys (yes, yes they are) because of Davos’ affirming of Danny’s constant repeating that the Hand are evil and must be stopped, Colleen makes a fair point about how they blindly accept what they’ve been told and how the Hand have done great things for these kids but – oh no wait I guess actually they are bad, moving on.

The presence of Davos and the symbol of the Steel Serpent all but confirms Gao as Crane Mother at this point, along with a casual remark concerning The Order of the Crane Mother. If that’s the case a short delve into storylines involving them both point to a narrative in which Jeryn Hogarth (Jeri to us watching along at home) is likely to get kidnapped and saved by Colleen Wing and Misty Knight. It would also make Gao something far more terrifying than we have even glimpsed so far.

Do I need to mention Claire Temple at this point?

Yes, I do. Because dammit she’s the only one who demonstrates that the Hand are a terrifying force to be reckoned with, and gives us a horrifying account of the hospital siege and the events that led her to wander New York trying to make herself better and stronger. But to be honest, her vehemence only serves to highlight how ineffective the Hand are this time around, and I was more terrified of the hospital administration than the ninjas. Plus now Claire has sweet claws!

There’s more I could easily cover, but Iron Fist simply doesn’t grab you as thoroughly as it should. I’m suddenly a little concerned for the future of the series. At least I was until Netflix showed us this:


*I’ve been reading a lot of Carnage comics of late, and I’d actually like to see Spidey get the R-rated treatment just to see the horror that the more interesting Marvel villains can wreak.


Top 10 – Inspiring Leaders

GeekOut Top 10s

To be inspired; to be led by someone you can look up to. Sure, their goals might not be noble, their vision might be distorted, or they might literally have light shining out of their butts, it doesn’t matter. These are people that should be looked up to, whether or not they are actually an effective leader, or a good or a bad leader makes no difference to us. They inspire their people to the best of their abilities.

So join us as we count down our Top 10 inspiring leaders. This is going to be quite a hard fought list! (more…)


Babylon 5 In Depth – Beauty In The Dark

There is something intensely beautiful about Babylon 5, despite the age and the increasingly dated characters. It has an aesthetic of its own that sets it apart from any science fiction before or since, and perhaps that’s in the design of the universe, the uniqueness of every race and their diversity, perhaps it’s in the epic musical score that underlies those moments of intense action or dramatic importance. Personally, I think it could be the philosophies and views espoused in the series, both subtly and overtly.

There is a scene in the episode “There, All Honour Lies”, very brief, in which Kosh is teaching Sheridan lessons that he will need to win a war of minds with the most powerful military forces in the galaxy. In the lesson, Sheridan is ushered into a dark place of the lowest part of the station, crawling on his hands and knees where he is greeted by a hunched and faceless figure who sits in silence until given something. Sheridan carries no cash, but instead places the metal bar that denotes him as command staff into the beggars bowl. As soon as he does, the dark chamber comes alive with shrouded figures identical to the beggar, singing in one angelic voice as the angelic Vorlon stands outside, entranced. One moment of perfect beauty.

Why?

Shedding Labels

The inquisitor sent by the Vorlons to “test” Delenn and Sheridan asks one question, over and over, “Who are you?“. Names, ranks, titles, none of them are the right answer, and he inflicts pain and suffering until both of them acknowledge that as individuals they are meaningless, but that their role stands for something. It is not long after this moment that the actions of Earth cause the crew to denounce and declare independence from Earth, and symbolically shed their uniforms, replaced by a blank uniform devoid of symbols.

Sheridan offering up his command bar builds upon that image. By taking away his symbol of command he takes a step towards humility, making himself more equal to the humble surroundings, connecting to them and appreciating them. In removing a label given to him by others he becomes more his own man, allowing him to define himself. Every step takes him away from a faction and makes him a part of the greater whole. You witness the moment of revelation on his face – kudos to Bruce Boxleitner for that subtle moment – and he embraces a new enthusiasm from that moment on.

Finding Beauty Everywhere

Much like when he visits G’Kar in his telepathic fugue, Kosh offers another lesson of light in places of shadow, hope in the midst of despair. Desperation causes us to resort to incredible measures, but a moment of clarity when the universe is crashing down around your ears is the only way to resolve the worst of situations. On their way down to the choir, Sheridan makes an off-hand comment about how Security Chief Garibaldi would go mad if they found them down in Brown Sector he’d go mad, just to impress how dangerous that part of the station is as a last-minute exaggeration before that singular moment of perfection.

Kosh lays the groundwork for a moment that comes later, for which a minor spoiler alert is in order – At Z’ah’adum, when Sheridan plummets to his death he is found by Lorien the First One, who encourages him to give in to the darkness utterly, to stop struggling and clinging to life and simply die, or else he could not be resurrected. Would Sheridan have simply lay down and died without the lesson, or would he have fought on, ultimately dooming himself and the galaxy in the process?

A Note On The Song

The song is Puer Natus Nobis Est, a Gregorian chant for Christmas. A Latin song for a human holiday rather puts pay to the notion of the choir being pac-ma-ra, but let us look at the translation:

A child is born to us and a Song is given to us upon whose shoulders authority rests,
and His Name shall be called, the Angel of Great Counsel
Sing ye to the Lord a new song for he has done wonderful things…

Incomplete, but sufficient for now. The Christ comparison is easy to make, a saviour who dies and is reborn, nice and easy, but Puer Natus Nobis Est never mentions the name. Sheridan bears the woes of his government while facing down a great darkness, but would also come to be the highest authority in the galaxy as head of the Interstellar Alliance. The Angel of Great Counsel could refer to Sheridan’s power to resolve more with words and advice than with application of military force.

I’d be open to other opinions on the choice of song. It’s not enough to merely dismiss it as a beautiful chant and a comparison to a saviour character, the use of Peur Natus has relevance, for which I am open to debate, please join me in the comments or over on our Facebook page.

I would challenge anyone to watch this particular moment in Babylon 5 and draw their own conclusions. It is beautiful, poignant, and not discussed nearly enough.


Robot Wars: House Robot Carnage

Not going to lie here, this season of Robot Wars rather snuck up on me, I found out that it was coming back on the day it aired so I had a lot of hype to cram in to a few hours, but it’s all good.

After last season was heavily advertised on the back of how awesome the rebuilt House Robots looked it must be said that their involvement in the autumn season was rather minimal, confined rather strictly to the corner patrol zones (CPZ) with no means of traversing between them. In the second season the producers included a narrow perimeter patrol zone in between the larger corner areas that meant the House team presented a much bigger threat. In addition, they’d be set free to do far more terrible things to immobilised fighters, sadly no longer the case, although it does make repair time a little easier on the builders. (more…)


Top 10 Unfitting Characters

GeekOut Top 10s

When you’re making a cast of pirates, do you ever think of putting a bouncy ball in amongst the crew? Not really. When you’re making a story about war, do you ever think of putting scantily clad ladies all over it? Probably not. What about those times you’re designing a fantasy RPG and you design one of the main characters to be… A robot? Ah well, at least we remember these characters, right?

These characters stand out amongst the crowd; they’re odd-balled, they’re different and that’s why we remember them the most. They are against the grain of the rest of their cast – And today we’re listing down our Top 10 most Unfitting Characters. STOP! Before we continue with this, just be aware: If a whole series is weird, chances are the character actually fits in.


Top 10

10) Tails Doll – Sonic Racing R

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The Tails Doll, a character who is so insignificant, so useless and so basically average that you’d hardly believe that they’d put it in the game at all. Let alone the fact that it’s a character that didn’t exist within the Sonic universe before going into Sonic Racing R, you’ve got what’s basically just a filler character who barely fits in with the lore and mythos of the Sonic world. Yes: There’s definitely a lore behind it, don’t question it.

However, one thing that constantly bewilders me is the fact that this little weird possessed doll became one of the biggest talking points of the game. From the Evil Tails Doll Curse, to the Acid Remix of Can You Feel The Sunshine, it’s really out of place for the rest of this rather happy go lucky Mario Kart clone. Still: You can’t really blame them for adding a character like this into the game… He even ended up going into the comics as an evil doll.

9) Manta – Shaman King

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Manta is really small, which isn’t too much of a surprise with a name like that. He’s tiny, he’s got a strange haircut, we know him as Morty in the English dubs of Shaman King and he’s a smart guy. In fact, he’s probably one of, if not the smartest guy in the entire anime. But there’s always been a small feeling of aloofness about him – Like, he’s not all there. Almost as if he’s strung along by Yoh just because he has nothing better to do.

I don’t know why Manta decides to journey through the incredibly dangerous Shaman King tournament, but he seems to stay around because he’s friends with Yoh. Morty isn’t a shaman, but he can see spirits. He isn’t strong, but he’s smart. He isn’t even all that brave, except for rare circumstances, but you know what? The series wouldn’t have been the same without his worrying.

8) Twoflower – Discworld

The Colour of MagicSean Astin as Twoflower©RHI/Bill Kaye

The Disc is filled with people and narratives that point a big fat finger to real-world things and says “This is you, this is what you look like, you burk.” and no one but no one does that quite so overtly as Twoflower, the little man from the Counterweight Continent who goes on holiday and starts a revolution. He doesn’t quite fit in around Ankh-Morpork, as a generally quite dingy and unpleasant city a man with a cheerful disposition and a penchant for offensively colourful shirts stands out a mile, and yet he doesn’t quite fit in at home either.

He is, in every regard, the oddball, and that makes Rincewind a perfect companion because though he looks the part and generally fits in a whole lot better in society, he’s not exactly full-blown wizard material himself. However out of the entire cast of characters from the glorious Discworld series, say if they were laid out à la one of those Simpsons character ensembles, Twoflower would light up like a beacon.

7) Monkey – Time Splitters

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This little monkey packs a serious punch. I mean, it’s literally just a monkey and the game is very happy to tell you this over and over again. From the first Time Splitters, where the Monkey’s entry simply says “It’s a monkey” to Time Splitters 2, where the entry is updated to “Yep, it’s still a monkey”. He’s not a durable character, he’s not even all that great – but he can still wield a gun like it’s nobodies business.

The oddness of the Monkey knows no bounds. From it’s little ooks and aaks, to the fact that it’s simply a joke character, the fact that this Monkey became the mascot of the game is both hilarious and odd. They could have chosen the rather witty characters from this shooter, but they chose the goddamn Monkey!! Also, don’t get me started on just how many times I was killed by this little Monkey in the multiplayer modes.

6) Tex – Red vs Blue

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Amidst the warring teams of idiots duking it out in a box canyon of absolutely no strategic value it seems like a single well-trained individual would be able to massacre both sides* and get out unscathed, but it just wouldn’t be funny like the rest of the series. Red vs Blue began life fourteen years ago in the early days of the internet creativity boom, a crude animation made in the Halo multiplayer. Now it’s immense, and creators at Rooster Teeth are now a major animation studio, thanks in no small part to Tex.

Tex is a badass mercenary gone renegade from an elite military unit who brings a layer of seriousness to the comedy stylings of Red team and Blue team, acting as a “straight-guy” to their “funny-guy”. She’s better trained, in fact she’s the best, and she’s mostly there to save the Blood Gulch boys from all of the terrible forces that want them dead! And she also spends much of that time listening to their arguments and non-sequiturs wondering why she’s going to all the trouble.

*This link has rude words AND AN AWESOME FIGHT SCENE but it gets a little too rude for this site.

5) Tingle – The Legend of Zelda

tingle_artwork_majoras_maskIf you know anything about The Legend of Zelda, it’s that some characters seemingly don’t know when to quit. Even Link, the hero of Hyrule, is barely able to stop for a second. Tingle, meanwhile, depending on the game you see him in, is either a collector, a fan or other. Tingle is annoying and we all get annoyed when we see his stupid face around. Couple that face with the stupid green spandex he wears, damn it Tingle, why are you even in this game?!

But he does serve a purpose, so it’s not all lost. However, just because he serves a purpose, it doesn’t really mean he should be there. In all honesty, he wasn’t too bad in Minish Cap, when really he mostly served as a way to deal with all of the Kinstones. He’s been around since Majora’s Mask, so you can bet your butt that he’s not going anywhere soon. Actually, probably not a bad idea, considering he usually has useful stuff on him. Let the fairy fantasizer be, I guess.

4) Kon – Bleach

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I feel like somewhere in Shonen Jump’s contract there is a requirement for a fluffy and adorable character, or just some bracket with “Grim and Gritty” at one end and “Childish and Adorable” at the other, and all Shonen Jump properties must fall somewhere inside that bracket. So in a world of lost and murderous souls put down by a semi-divine enforcement agency with a solemn duty to save the living from the dead… put in a teddy bear. Make him wear a dress sometimes.

Kon… why? He serves the very occasional purpose for a story, or maybe he just gets a narrative of his own from time to time, and it’s usually better than the filler arcs. He’s a constructed artificial soul placed into a vessel that he brings to life, and while he’s mostly there to occupy Ichigo’s body while he’s on Shinigami duty and saving the world, off-duty he lives inside a fluffy teddy… maybe a lion? On the bright side, he’s just as irritated about the whole thing as we are.

3) Chiaotzu – Dragon Ball

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This one has always confused me, because Chiaotzu is a tiny little human. A tiny human who has always seemingly been able to fly. A tiny human who has always been at the side of Tien and a tiny human who doesn’t look at all like the rest of the humans from Dragon Ball. Now, don’t get me wrong: Dragon Ball is full of ridiculous characters, as we all know and love it for… But Chiaotzu? He seriously seems more out of place than the rest. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it before, but now I think I know why he’s so misplaced.

According to the Dragon Ball Wiki, he’s supposed to be like a Chinese Vampire. From the way he floats around the place, to the way he attacks with his arms stretched out, he seemingly is a perfect fit to this description. Even the white skin and red cheeks are a reference. Dragon Ball is full of myths and fantasy stories: Heck, it was originally even a loose adaptation on The Journey to the West… But Vampires..?

2) Squirrel Girl – Marvel

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Ok, so Marvel have got just about everything in their arsenal so far as superheroes go. Every viable superpower from the incredible to the insignificant, the terrible to the ridiculous. If a reasonable backstory cannot be conjured then the mutations of the X-Men can always fill in the blanks. That Squirrel Girl exists is not a shock, at most it’s a mild surprise, and the only reasonable response is “Seriously?”, to be repeated, louder, when you find out she’s one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe!

Doreen Green is a human with squirrel attributes born of some odd genetic quirk, a long fluffy tail, robust buck-teeth, claws, agility, and yes, the power to talk with squirrels. With this incredible arsenal of abilities she has killed Thanos, bested Deadpool, and turned aside Galactus himself. She’s good enough to beat Wolverine in a straight fist-fight (no claws allowed), she’s got her own Iron-Suit, and amongst the foremost members of the Great Lakes Avengers.

But she’s a SQUIRREL! And she made friends with the World Eater! Deadpool just doesn’t hold up to that, so if you were expecting him on this list then clearly my friend, you don’t know Squirrel Girl.

1) Giygas – Earthbound

Giygas is literally the embodiment of evil. That’s what it represents; that’s what it is. It’s pure hatred in an ethereal form. It’s also a villain that we’ve grown to both fear and respect at the same time. From that menacing music, to the frightful appearance of Giygas, this is a terrifying concept for most people, as he says some of the creepiest dialogue in the game. Words like “I… Feel… H..A..P..P..Y.” Creepy.

However, Giygas is probably one of the most unfitting characters of any video game made to date. Earthbound is renowned for being really surreal and silly. I mean, one of the enemies is the New Age Retro Hippy, who likes to get rulers out and measure… Stuff. We don’t know what, but that’s one of his attacks. Couple this with the colourful characters, the zany plot and the lovable story behind it, Giygas comes completely out of the blue. Even though you spend the whole game preparing for it.


Honourable Mentions

Okay, we’ve seen some downright weird characters today. But don’t you worry, we’re not finished yet. Here are two more examples of characters that really do not fit within their properties… But yet, they kind of do in a story-related fashion. You’ll see what we mean…

Mr Poopybutthole – Rick and Morty

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Here’s an example that makes itself. The little yellow blob in the top hat joins the cast of Rick and Morty during an episode that generates all manner of kooky and poorly conceived characters like Bacon Samurai, Reverse Giraffe and Pencylvester. All of them are introduced through a series of flashbacks that make it seem like they’ve been in the series the whole time, but they’re all parasites that shapeshift into wild characters to prey on those whose trust they acquire.

The way to spot a parasite is to check your memory to see if you have any bad memories of the beloved part of your family. If they’ve never shot you, kicked you in the face or abandoned you to some terrible fate then they’re a parasite, and need to be killed. They clear out the house of all of these crazy and wacky characters they once thought were friends and settle back down to a meal of the crummiest people in the family… and Mr Poopybutthole. Oh but it turns out that he’s real, which we find out when Beth shoots him and hurts a real friend, a friend who has never hurt her.

I guess sometimes it pays to fit in, just a little more. Mr Poopybutthole is there to stand out, to be “wrong” compared to the others, because he’s the punchline to an episode that makes a huge joke out of badly introduced characters who just don’t work.

Khajiit and Argonians – The Elder Scrolls

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Not a character, but there’s something a little jarring about the bestial races of the Elder Scrolls games when you first begin. Having the sapient cats and lizards pop up in the choices for playable races mixed in amongst the variations of Man and Mer starts out as unusual until you get used to seeing them around, and their particular cultural quirks, and in Morrowind being unable to wear boots or helmets was a nuisance, albeit one that made sense.

They never seem more out of place than in Skyrim however. Cold blooded Argonians in the freezing north? Desert dwelling Khajiit treading the snow instead of the warm sands they adore? There are opportunities for them both in the proud nation, more so than for the displaced Dunmer who are hated and shunned by the more nationalist Nords, but I cannot imagine that any one of them would rather be anywhere but home.


Okay, now will you kindly stop sending me pictures of Jelly Jiggler? I understand he’s pretty weird, but we’ve been through this: Some series are just too weird to have any one unfitting character. But alas, we’re done with weirding everyone out with these rather odd characters who happen to just be there. It’s time for you all to help us for our next Top 10 – I wonder how fitting these selections will be?

That’s it for this week, we can finally stop thinking about the evil that is Giygas. Hopefully, we’ll be saved by the unbeatable Squirrel Girl and who knows… Perhaps Chiaotzu will finally have a new use. But what did you make of this really rather unfitting list? Did we do good, or did we do bad? Did we order the list the way you would have? As always, let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


Babylon 5 In Depth – G’Kar, The Messiah

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Religious themes run through Babylon 5 like veins, angels and demons, faustian bargains, prolonged discussions on the nature of the soul and gods, but it’s no mere battle of good vs evil. Even the character you might believe farthest fallen shows himself capable of redemption, and his most bitter and vengeful enemy manages to forgive him.

This is the tale of Ambassador G’Kar of the Narn, last of the governing body known as the Kha’Ri. Proud, stubborn, and wrathful, G’Kar represents a people who have suffered greatly at the hands of the Centauri, centuries of slavery and oppression, their homeworld ransacked of its resources, and countless deaths even before the bloody struggle for liberation. The role is played by Andreas Katsulas, and given that the role calls for a great deal of emotional extremes backed by incredible gravitas, all under a layer of prosthetics, it was a tall order made of him. (more…)


Babylon 5 In Depth – The Sad Tale of Londo Mollari

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Now to start going deeper.

It is clear which actors truly loved what they were doing in this series, and while the series also has some golden examples of terrible acting it also features some of the best performances in science fiction history. I’d like to start with Peter Jurasik in the role of Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari. There will be spoilers in abundance from this point onwards…

Mollari begins our story as someone forgotten by his government, given a position deemed to be of negligible importance, representing the Centauri Republic in the Earth Alliance diplomatic and trade station just about to open it’s doors. Given the fate of the previous Babylon stations it was practically a death sentence for any sent to take the job, so Mollari is found to be living his life to the decadent extremes that his people are accustomed to, cramming his life with as much joy as he can before he’s either killed or dragged home. (more…)