Since I haven't written any real essays, here are the snippets from my livejournal concerning Zoids. Good God I talk a lot about Zoids. Eh, it's okay, I guess. My dream job would be designing Zoids, so it's only natural that I would enjoy talking about them.
In other news, I blame Jordan for getting me into watching Zoids. I liked today's episode. I am officially a Raven fangirl. He said a grand total of one sentence the entire episode, but I was mesmerized whenever he was onscreen. He didn't say anything. He was just there. Is it possible for an animated character to have stage presence?
Zoids continues to be amusing. I'm adding Thomas to the list of characters to whom I am a fangirl. Raven was also cool at the end of the episode, but I'm taking off points because of a bad line of dialogue. He said, "It was slice meeting you." And then he shot Thomas' Zoid with an energy beam! There was nothing slicey about it. It's not like he took out an energy sword and sliced him, or cut his zoid in half, or something like that. He shot him with a freakin' energy beam. It's like saying to someone, "Have a nice trip," only instead of tripping a person, you hit them in the face with a banana cream pie. Sigh. Raven's cooler when he doesn't speak.
In related Zoids news, I've almost convinced Jordan that he needs to set up a website for Thomas and Zeke as a couple. (In the last episode, Thomas tried to confess his love to Fiona, but because of sitcom-like antics, accidentally confessed his love to Zeke, a sentient robotic dinosaur. Zeke was frighteningly happy about the idea.) I'm thinking about calling it "Destiny." I could draw a picture of Thomas in a tux and Zeke in a wedding dress and a little picture of Fiona in the background saying, "My organoid is getting married!" which is sort of what she did for a different person in an earlier episode...and I'm getting slightly frightening, aren't I?
I liked Zoids this morning, and this afternoon. I noticed something strange. I'd previously noticed that although Karl Schubaltz (guessing the spelling) doesn't have a facial mark, his brother Thomas does have one. In this morning's episode there was a brief flashback of the brothers' childhood, and Thomas didn't have the mark when he was little. He looked about 12 or so. But when Raven's childhood was shown, he had his mark, and he looked about 9 or so. It makes me wonder what the face marks really mean. Both imperial and republican citizens have them. People of all ages have them. Van has the same mark as his father, but Raven's is different from his father's. Thomas has one but Karl doesn't. Fiona and Reese have them, and they're not like other people. No one ever mentions them, but they're there.
It makes me want to write a short story about how Thomas got his. If only I could figure out what they mean. Well, I have a premise. Now I just need to work a plot around it. Sadly, this is how I get most of my ideas for stories.
Subject: More reasons to love Thomas Richard Schubaltz
Before anyone gets really confused, Thomas is a character on Zoids, not a real person. You can start breathing again.
If there were a character on Zoids who really needed a hug, it'd be Thomas. I'd also say Raven, except he'd probably kill me five times before my body hit the ground if I even attempted to hug him. Thomas is probably the person who is most made fun of, most rejected, and most beaten up. And yet, he still goes on. I think I need to set up a small website for him. I'm thinking about calling it SOS--Save Our Schubaltz. He's in definite need of protection.
In this morning's episode (morning episodes are about a week or two behind the afternoon episodes) it was a repeat of the one where Thomas tries to tell Fiona how he feels. It's very, very funny. He isn't successful, although he tries at least three times. In the end, he decides to wait to tell her until he's a strong enough person that he will tell her because he loves her, not because he wants a certain answer in return. I think it's very adult of him. It's nice to see him mature throughout the series.
Yesterday, Thomas was informed that Fiona, the object of his not-so-secret affections, is in love with someone else. After a moment of total shock, he came to the decision that her happiness was more important than his love for her, so he would do everything possible to make sure that she was happy with the person she loved. You can really see his attitude change--he still loves her, but he realizes that she won't ever feel the same way, so he stops pursuing her and instead tries to be the best friend he can be. He's still upset about it, make no mistake about that, but he's learning a new way to treat her. I'm interested to see if he talks to her about this in today's episode.
What's extra-special about this is that it applies to my theater class. In the scene I'm doing with my partner, she's a cool middle/highschool girl sneaking out to smoke. I'm the nerd who tags along. (Yeah...that's a real stretch for me. ^_^) She offers me a smoke, I refuse, she eventually becomes disgusted with me and leaves, and I'm left alone and miserable. The acting prof said he wanted some more conflict in it, so he gave the suggestion that I have a crush on her and am trying to tell her while she's just out there for a smoke. Let it be stated for the record that I don't have a crush on her. Nor have I tried to confess my love to anyone. Now I have to figure out how to convey a crush while sticking to the limited, contentless dialogue. I realized that by studying Thomas' body language when dealing with trying to confess to Fiona, I can better understand how a person may act under that particular stress. Also, since Thomas tries at least three different tactics, I have a variety of choices I can study, so I can try to figure out the common factors, as well as how each situation provokes a different response.
Give me an artistic problem, and I break it down into mathematical/engineering components. I am very much a nerdly person. No problems with that, though. I have Thomas to help me. He's also an engineer. I think we'd get along very well. ^_^
I sketched out a really funny picture yesterday. I should post it soon. It will make less sense if you haven't seen Zoids, but I think the sheer bizarness of it will make it funny regardless. Jordan and I also discussed the prevalence of mullets in Zoids.
1. We both agree that Van has a mullet. His hair is spiky on top, but goes into a ponytail on the bottom. No discussion needed.
2. I say that Fiona has a mullet, but Jordan doesn't agree. I think the poofed out sides of her hair are hair that is cut short, but he says that it's just poofed out and then goes back into her ponytail.
3. We don't think that Raven has a mullet, but we agree that he does have a bad haircut. I rationalized it that it was because he was on the run for a long time, and couldn't exactly spend the time in a barbershop for fear of being recognized, and then he'd have to just burn the town to the ground, and that would really set him behind schedule! Jordan then came to the brilliant idea that Raven got Shadow to cut his hair for him. Shadow is an organoid (basically, a mechanical dinosaur), so he probably can't get his opposable thumbs to work the scissors very well. After Raven looks in the mirror and sees what his hair looks like..."SHADOW!!!" Because he can't just say "Shadow." He has to say "SHADOW!!!" It's a villain thing, I guess.
Subject: The Mark
Okay, Zoids is going to drive me absolutely up the wall. It's utterly ridiculous that it should bother me this much, but it does.
A good percentage of the characters, be they protagonists, antagonists, neutrals, or background people, have these fascinating little symbols on their face. Usually it's something simple, like a colored bar on the cheek or a curve above the brow. The thing is...they're never explained and no one mentions their presence, ever. You'd assume that if you were describing a person, a colorful tattoo on their face would be a good landmark for identification. They mention Raven's black hair, but not his rather unique red mark. It's almost disturbing.
There's no consistency for the marks, either. Here's a sampling of some of the characters and their marks. I made this so I could try to figure out some sort of pattern. Because it bothers me:
1. Van. Good guy. Republican. Red rectangle on his lower left cheek. It's the same mark as his father. Lower (?) middle class.
2. The Priest. Good guy. Republican. No mark. From Van's village. Middle class.
3. Moonbay. Good guy. Republican. Twin pink rectangles on her right cheek. No known family/village. Guessing lower-but-comfortable class.
4. Irvine. Good guy. (kind of) Republican. No mark. No known family/village. Poor background (I'm guessing)
5. Rudolph. Good guy. Imperial. No mark. Emperor/very high class.
6. Lady Marianne. Good guy. Imperial. Twin circles on her cheeks and (I think) forehead. Engaged to emperor/very high class.
7. Raven. Bad guy. Republican-born, Imperial-raised. Red 7-like mark and dot on right cheek. Had mark when Republican. Mark is similar but not identical to father's. Born upperclass.
8. Fiona. Good guy. Ancient Zoidian. Twin blue circles on forehead. No known past.
9. Riese. Bad guy. Suspected ancient Zoidian. No noticeable mark. No known past.
10. Thomas Schubaltz. Good guy. Imperial. Sideways red V under left eye. Upperclass. Brother does not have mark. Did not have mark in younger pictures (approx age 12/13).
There's...nothing...in common. They don't even call them "marks." I made that term up, because I was tired of calling them face-thingies.
It actually reminds me of a writing dare found on this thread. For those who don't want to scroll through the dares (though they are amusing), here's the one I'm talking about:
All right, here's my dare: a major character must wear a red ribbon on their lapel (or front of their sarong or robe or whatever), and the story has to refer to it at least three different times -- at the beginning, somewhere in the middle, and towards the end. However, here's the corker: just describe it; don't provide an explanation as to why it's there.
Some people in charge of character designs probably said, "Okay, what can we do to totally confuse the people who watch the show?"
"Hey, let's give random characters tattoos, but never explain it or mention it. It'll drive 'em nuts!"
"That's great! Okay, next on the agenda: How do we get more teenage watchers?"
"Well, our ratings always go up whenever a character takes off his shirt..."
"Hmm...I know! Let's have Van go completely shirtless!"
"That might be going a bit far."
"Then how about we give him a shirt with a big cutout so we can see all of his abs?"
"Perfect! Then maybe people will stop noticing his mullet!"
Maybe I went too far with that one. I just couldn't accept that there was no reason. The whole "one brother has a mark one brother doesn't" thing really bothered me, though. So I wrote a little snippet that explains my theory on it. Because I'm that pathetic. And I actually found a little free time last weekend.
Does this work? For back-story, Thomas and Van are friends who work together. They started off not getting along very well because Thomas treated Van like an immature little kid while treating Van's longterm friend Fiona like a princess. In return, Van treated Thomas like a stick-in-the-mud hypocritical know-it-all. Eventually they learned how to get along, but they still like sniping at each other. For this scene, they're getting their disguises on for an undercover mission. "Beek" is Thomas' AI. He's connected to it by an earpiece. This scene is part of a longer story I may-or-may-not finish, so if there's some stuff that doesn't fit with the flow or is completely not related to the rest of the dialogue, it's because it's important to the rest of the story. Honest.
Link, if you're actually interested in my snippet and don't mind having a part of the story spoiled.
That's it. Today was the first new-to-me episode of Zoids in about two and a half weeks. And it was a clip show. Sigh. At least we had some cute Thomas-and-Karl interaction, as well as some cute Moonbay-and-Irvine banter.
I wish I had more time for writing. Maybe I'll get some done tonight.
Friday, November 15th, 2002
Subject: I hate being right
As a joke, I set up this site last weekend. I felt the need to do something productive, creative, yet ultimately useless. Besides, Thomas Richard Schubaltz of Zoids needs protection, since it seems like he's the writers' favorite whipping boy. (Don't believe me? Check out the "Mission" page.) As of this time last week, he had been knocked out three times, hospitalized twice, and had his Zoid destroyed five times. Still, he was doing pretty well, all things considered.
This week he took to more of a background role in the stories, since the series is heading to a conclusion and the plot needs to be advanced. And then today...today...
I wanted to create a site dedicated to his protection. I did not want to set up a memorial.
True, he's Not Dead Yet. I won't believe it until I see the body. But he is unconscious (knocked out four times!) and his Zoid is incapacitated (six times!) and the gravity-destruction-wave-thing reached the back of his zoid just as the camera switched away. Thomas doesn't appear anywhere in the preview, but there was a quick scene of Irvine and Van, his compatriots, looking sadly at a large crater, which is what the gravity-destruction-wave-thing would leave behind.
I've decided to be in denial until tomorrow's episode.
Jordan? You've seen the series all the way through. Tell me it ain't so. I don't mind being spoiled.
Just a few thoughts about New Century Zero:
I'm assuming that the question of "Is Bit lucky or is he a genius?" will continue for the rest of the season. Bit sort of reminds me of Kenshin and Vash the Stampede. Both of them ended up being strongly in the "genius" category. I'm hoping that Bit ends up in the "lucky" category, just to be different.
Leena makes a great hostage. That is, unless you're the one doing the kidnapping. Then you'd best give up now. ^_^ I like her already.
Leena's Dibison has sustained extreme damage in every single episode so far. It has a worse survival rate than Thomas' Dibison. I didn't think it possible.
Harry is funny, but if he says "I'm a man destined to be king!" one more time I'm going to reach through the screen and smack him upside the head. It doesn't help him that he's voiced by my least favorite voice artist, Brad Swaile. (For those who don't know, he's the one who mangled Quatre from Gundam Wing, Amuro from MS Gundam, and Kurt/Nightcrawler from X-Men: Evolution. The sound of that fake German accent still plagues my dreams.)
There's a lot of fun background things that are funny if you manage to notice them. For instance, in one scene Bit's going to take a shower, so he tosses his clothes on the floor. He tells Jamie and Brad to not bother folding them. The next scene we see of Jamie and Brad, Jamie is calmly folding Bit's clothes. They don't point this out, it's just there. I like things like that.
Brad desperately needs to buy a personality. Now.
Jamie loves his Pteras far too much. I predict much abuse for that machine. It's a rule, you know: if you're not the main character and you love something too much, it will be destroyed for the sake of "comic relief." His spontaneous hugging of the Zoid was very cute.
Today's villain had what looked like two toilet plungers attached to his headband. I don't know why.
The mysterious face tattoos have disappeared. However, we have the equally mysterious floating-pole-things Leena has attached to her hair.
I like the newest model of Bit's Zoid, the Jager Zero. Hey, any giant fighting mechanical animal named after an extremely strong German liquer is fine by me. Personally, I think more mechas should be named after alcohol.
As fun as it is, I'm hoping that we get a plot beyond "let's win a battle!" I liked the original Zoids because there seemed like there was a larger purpose to what they were doing. There's a big difference between fighting for money and fighting to protect your country, and NC0 just seems shallow in comparison. It's mind-candy, but it's good mind-candy so far, so I think I'll keep watching for now.
Wednesday, November 27th, 2002
Subject: Dinos and Guns don't Mix
One last thing before bedtime. Was browsing the headlines on Yahoo. Found this on Lion Lamb's list of the Dirty Dozen Toys to Avoid:
Zoids, “Gun Sniper,” Hasbro
Recommended Age: 4+
Description: A “posable action figure” of a creature called Sniper, wielding a gun in each hand.
Why we chose it: This toy takes the dinosaur concept and gratuitously adds a sniper element. The Gun Sniper includes “missile-launching side cannons!” The packaging promotes other Zoids, which children can “customize for battle!” They include the Liger Zero with a “Hel Digunner cannon” and Raynos, with “turret and launching cannons.” The Zoids line melds two traditional toy categories-construction toys and animals - and adds violent themes, which are then marketed to pre-schoolers.
I like that "gratuitously" they added in there. Basically, what they're saying is that children should learn to not give Kitty the bazooka.
Wait a minute...marketed to pre-schoolers? Now I feel even dorkier for asking for a Dibison for Christmas. It's staying on my list, regardless.
Thursday, December 5th, 2002
Subject: Now that's what I call a dead organoid
I found an hour or two today to do something entirely silly. This is it. It's what happens when you mix Monty Python with Zoids. It's not fantastic, but it's got some good lines.
Saturday, December 14th, 2002
Subject: My Mission in Life
Okay, a few seconds ago I was playing with my brand new Gun Sniper (it kicketh much ass--three projectiles and a mini-Leena pilot!) and I figured out what I want to do when I graduate.
I want to design toys.
Wouldn't that be perfect for me? I love toys. I love machines. I'm highly creative. I could design toys.
I think I'll be grinning for days.
Saturday, December 14th, 2002
Subject: So conflicted
[whining about what went wrong, thankfully snipped. If you're really curious, just read my livejournal on this date, but it has nothing to do with Zoids. This paragraph comes from what was funny]
The second bit is really silly on my part. While trying to remember that damned equation, I doodled a mini Gun Sniper on my equation sheet. I didn't know we had to hand our equation sheets in. Whoever checks over these things will probably be amused at my dino with guns.
I just noticed this recently: I swear a lot more in livejournal than I do in real life. Hm.
Sunday, December 15th, 2002
Subject: Mechanics, writing, and killer robots
Visited with Jordan yesterday. We exchanged gifts. He got me a Hiei. He's so cool. (For those who don't know, Hiei is my avatar here--you know, the guy who's in all my userpictures). I got Jordan three toys, one of which was a Zoid kit. It said that it had to be assembled, but since it was labeled "8+" I thought it was a "snap the legs on" kind of assembly. Um, no. It should be labeled "for the parents of children 8+, and don't try to do it Christmas Eve because you'll never get it done on time" Between the two of us, two relatively intelligent college students with more than basic motor skills, one of whom is a MechE, it took an hour to assemble the thing.
Admittedly, it was pretty durn cool when it was finished. The first thing we did when it was assembled was to set it up in a Death Match with a motorized Spongebob Squarepants. The zoid won. It's a Metalrhimos, which is basically a metal rhinocerous that walks and has a spinning horn. It's entirely mechanically operated--no circuits or batteries needed. Just wind the knob and watch it walk. I like things that are mechanically operated. I don't know why, but I just like things that don't require electricity. Maybe because if it's all just kinetics, it's possible to see all the mechanics that make it operate. My Grandma Duffner has a doorbell that physically rings a bell when you push it. I think it's one of the neatest things in the world.
Sunday, December 22nd, 2002
Subject: Hark, that Silent Partridge Swings
Yes, I am the kind of person who would write an entire parody just for the sake of one bad pun. Don't get me started on my other idea for a parody. It's called "Flight Club." It stars Jamie and the Wild Eagle (Jamie's alter ego). It was supposed to be a throwaway joke at the end of a serious chapter. Now I've actually outlined most of the plot. Somebody stop me, I have too many stories on my plate as we speak. Speaking of which, I'm about a third of the way through another serious short that I really like. More on that if I actually get more of it written.
I have to go to the doctors tomorrow morning. I'm sick of going to doctors. (erm, that pun really wasn't intentional, aheheh) I thought I'd be given a little break over vacation, since I'd be away from Tulane and its marvelous Health Center [/sarcasm]. No such luck. ::grumblegrumble::
Wonderful supreme uber-happy boffo excellent grandiose news: The final four episodes of Zoids are being shown on January 4! Finally. Closure. I'm so glad I resisted the urge to read spoilers. I just hope my beloved Thomas survived.
I finally got caught up on the episodes of Zoids I missed. So. Zeke and Shadow are in NC0. Nifty. My opinions on Vega: I shall call him...Mini-Raven. [/Dr. Evil] Actually, I think Vega's more like what Raven might have been if he hadn't been completely traumatized when young. I like Vega. I don't know why. Maybe it's because he's cute. I think it's his laugh. I like his laugh. I missed Friday's episode because I...kind of...slept through it. I didn't mean to sleep until 3:30. It wasn't intentional. If I had known that I would sleep for over twelve hours, I would have set the VCR. Or told my parents to wake me up, since I don't think it's right to sleep until dinner. Personally, I blame the cat. I wanted to get up, she wanted me to be her personal heated blanket.
That is all. Strike that. That is more than all. That is all and a half.
Sigh...I still have Christmas shopping to do. Damn it.
Thursday, December 26th, 2002
Subject: Hooray for Materialism!
Kyle [son-of-cousin, 9 years old] liked my gift, too. I got him a Zoid. He likes zoids--he has a bunch of the mini-ones, but so far none that he could assemble himself like the one I got him. I volunteered to help put it together if he wants. Aren't I nice? heheh. It was the last Command Wolf in the store. I had to be strong, as cool as it was. It's bad karma to keep a toy you bought for a kid. Besides, as a compensation, I bought myself my first zoid. It's a Pteras. I've tried to explain to each family member in turn just how cool it is, but they don't get it. I tried to point out how the same motor that causes the feet to move quickly is also used in a different way to make the wings go up and down slowly. I think its magnificence is something only a Mechy can understand. Just for fun, I disassembled it and reassembled it from memory. I did a pretty good job--I only forgot where two nubules go, and they weren't important nubules anyway. Just for fun I stuck them on either side of the Pteras' head so it looked like Frankenstein's monster. Eh, I make my own fun.
Monday, December 30th, 2002
Subject: And my choice proves that I am indeed fit for polite society
[note: this post is indeed about Zoids. The story referred to is the soon-to-be-finished short "Message in a Bottle," and the favorite character referred to is, indeed, Thomas. I've written other times about this story and the other one I'm working on, but as they really said nothing amusing and nothing about the show, I've skipped them over. I now return you to your regularly scheduled livejournal post.]
Yesterday, I was informed that I had a telephone call. I was busy writing at the time. My first instinct when I picked up the receiver was to say, "Do you mind? I'm in the middle of killing off my favorite character!"
But then I thought that would be rude, so I opted for the more common "Hello?" instead.
As it turns out it was Jenny, so it probably would have been okay to go with my gut response. She's known me long enough that one weird thing like this wouldn't change what she thought of me. In fact, she'd probably think it was normal.
DISCLAIMER: No favorite characters were killed during the writing of this livejournal post. As a matter of fact, if you want to be technical about it, then almost all of the characters you know are dead in my story since it takes place approximately 200 years after the end of the show. I only care about one of them, though. Nyeah.
Okay, today when I went to the mall to get nice clothes for New Years (and by "nice" I mean "sluttish" and "gothic," make no mistake) I also stopped by KB toys and, long story short, bought three zoids. They were 25% off! It was like fate! (Maybe I should go back and get that Elephander, too. There was only one left. Or maybe a Metal Rhimos. They had a couple of those. Hmm.)
My Venomous Viper, cool as it looks, doesn't work. I've decided to name him "Nova." If you don't get the joke, think about it in Spanish. I probably have to dissemble the whole thing and make sure each of the plastic nubs is cut short. It wiggles nicely when I wave it in the air, though.
My Atak Kat...okay, first I have issues with the spelling. I'm thinking that my Atak Kat would be braver if it were spelled "Attack Cat." "Hello, I am an Attack Cat. Fear my grammatically correct self!" The thing is, I put it together rather quickly, so I didn't do a good job of double checking my work.
My first hint that something was wrong occured when I attempted to wind it. "Hm, this is a little awkward," I said to myself, oblivious to everything. "It sure was a poor design in that aspect." Then I set it down on my adequately cleared off dresser and....it went backwards. Yep, I installed the motor backwards.
I haven't decided if I'm going to fix it or not. It's actually pretty funny seeing it go in reverse. It works just as well going backwards as forwards, so there's no problems there. For now I've named it "Fraidy" and have called it my cowardly mascot. What can I say? I like cowards.
I haven't started on the third zoid I bought, a Pteramander. It's like a Pteras on steroids. It's huge. It requires a battery, which most people would think of as a plus since it's more advanced, but I actually prefer things that are mechanically driven. I have this weird distrust of electricity. Maybe that would change if I ever actually saw an electron. I can see a windup motor, so I trust that. Weird.
Oh, and Jordan? Nova may not move, Fraidy may go backwards, and my Pteramander may not be assembled yet, but my Pteras can still kick your Metal Rhimos's shiny ass any day! We really should set our zoids up in a deathmatch when we get back to school.
Tuesday, December 31st, 2002
Subject: Not Dead Yet
(How many times have I used that subject line? More than once, I'm sure. The Styx rock.)
I taste like creampuffs. Creampuffs are yummy. By association, so am I.
I finally saw the ad for the final four episodes of Zoids Chaotic Century. And...Thomas is alive! Wahoo! I don't care how, but he survived. He doesn't even have the forehead-bandages-of-severe-zoid-damage. (Whenever someone's badly injured, they end up with a bandage wrapped around their forehead like a bandana. I guess this indicates severe brain trauma or something.) This means that the absolutely evil means of death I devised for him in the story I've almost finished won't be anti-canonical. Goody for me.