Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SSC Sneak Peeks

Via a French flickr account, I've discovered the aged-up versions of Peppermint Fizz and Apple Dumpling. Of course, I knew that we'd see Peppermint Fizz's new look in the upcoming DVD (coming out August 12, I believe), and I'd already sorta seen Apple Dumpling's from a sticker book I got a little bit ago, although that was her drawn style and not animation style.
All in all, I like Peppermint Fizz's new style. I was a little worried about what they'd do to her, but I think the long ponytail suits her, and I like the little-brim style hat for her. As for Apple Dumpling, I don't really have anything to say about her, but at least her aged-up style is consistent with her look from "Baby Takes the Cake" on the Cooking Up Fun DVD (except for the pigtails, but personally, keeping her entire look from that ep would have made her look too old).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Custard Lives!

As I've mentioned before, there's been an uproar about the (very little) information posted about the latest SSC revamp, mostly based on that article in the Times. One of the things it mentioned (and people got upset about) is that Strawberry traded in her kitty, Custard, for a cellphone. Now, when I read that, I didn't believe it for a minute. While anything is generally possible, I didn't think that Hasbro would remove something so integral to the SSC mythos. And as you can see from the above image, I was right.
Thanks go to Youjo for clueing me into a French SSC forum, where I found the above image, which is taken from a sticker included in a pack of American Greetings Properties stickers, which I'm assuming was distributed at the Licensing Expo back in June.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sushi Pack DVD - Every Body is Some Body

All right, here's the episode from the DVD, free with any Sushi Pack purchase at Carlton Cards and American Greetings stores.
Every Body is Some Body
At this episode's start, the Sushi Pack are waiting for the train for some reason. If they need to go somewhere, why not use their plane or motorcycles? We know that Ikura has one, and Wasabi is rumored to have one, too, so I'd imagine they all have their own. Of course, the only reason they're taking the train is to set up the plot. Two plot points, to be exact. The first: apparently Mayor Martin promised to both clean up the city and make the trains run on time, neither of which has happened. Wasabi claims he could do a better job running the town, but Tako simply tells him to walk a mile in another man's shoes as the train finally arrives. And who should be riding the train but -- you guessed it -- the second plot point: a returning-for-the-first-time villian, Dr. Naught! Who happens to be wearing a key (that he stole from the museum) carelessly around his neck. But at least he has a good reason for being on the train, unlike our Sushi friends. Apparently, that key unlocks a precious artifact from a temple that is accessible from the subway, as we learn when the Dr. (who is some kind of cyborg) pushes a button on his wrist, stops the train, and burrows through the walls. He unlocks a pedestal and confiscates an urn, vowing to use its contents to rule the world. Fortunately for the Pack, the lid on the urn is pretty tight, buying them enough time to follow after the doctor and detain him.
Seeing where they are, Tako and Maguro deliver the absolutely ridiculous backstory of The Temple of the Sea-Unicorn, a tale of how the regular seahorses worshipped the Sea-Unicorn for the power of the dust on his horn, which let him mindswap with people. But he abused his power and the seahorses rose up against him, stole his horn, and put it in the urn. Can you guess where things are going to go?
Later, back at the museum, Mayor Martin introduces the exhibit based on the artifacts collected from the temple, explicitly stating the Sushi Pack's hand in getting the stuff, stating that heroes like them make his job easier. Once again, Wasabi states his perception of the mayor's job, but rather than laugh in his face (as I would have done), the mayor just tells Wasabi that it's a harder job that it seems, and lets slip his secret desire to be a member of the Sushi Pack. But there's no time to think about the implications of that, as Dr. Naught appears from nowhere! Again pushing a button on his wrist, he now has the ability to disappear at will. Not just disappear as in become invisible, as Tako learns when he tries to nab the doc, but as in not there at all. Since there's no way to hold him down, the Sushi Pack calls his bluff and pretends to leave, but as soon as the doctor approaches the urn, they go after him. The mayor stands in front, but ends up getting knocked over, as does Wasabi. He catches Wasabi and the urn, and the lid suddenly comes open.
The next thing the mayor knows, the Sushi Pack is gigantic! (Apparently, Dr. Naught turned them huge in an earlier(?) appearance, and the mayor makes reference to this.) But no, as Maguro explains, he's just gotten mindswapped with Wasabi. The mayor, of course, is estactic! Now he can finally be a hero! And he practices by aiming fireballs at the rest of the Pack. Meanwhile, Wasabi in the Mayor's body calls for the mayor's assistant over the intercom. Now that he's the mayor (sort of), he's going to fix all the problems that Mayor Martin couldn't handle. Now Mayor Martin laughs at Wasabi and warns him that "running a city is harder than you think." The mayor's assistant arrives with a hand mirror, and Wasabi admires his new body and gives out some orders. Fortunately, the assistant can understand him, for, as she tells Tako, most politicians speak some form of gibberish.
Back at The Green Donut, Tako leads Mayor Martin (now called Mighty Martin) through some training to see if he has what it takes to be a Pack member. The mayor tries talking down a monster, and when he shoots his fireballs, he has no aim whatsoever. Meanwhile, Wasabi meets with the mayor's constituents and lays forth his new policies, which may actually be illegal. But through the interpretation of his assistant, he gets the point across: implement that policies or be fired.
The Pack has to handle a break-in by Dr. Naught's androids at the microchip factory, but Mighty Martin again tries talking rather than action, letting them get away with the chips. The robot with the chip delivers it to Dr. Naught in jail, giving him the final piece to his latest invention (the "Naught Shocker." Is that supposed to be dirty?), which he uses to esape from prision yet again. Later, Sophia Tucker reports on the mayor's new laws against dirt, which resulted in the arrests of plenty of citizens for rather benign acts of dirtiness. Thus, the citizens protest, and Wasabi finally realizes (with the help of the assistant) how hard it really is to run a city. The realization comes too late, as protestors break into the building. Wasabi heads for the hills, but ends up in the museum for some reason, just as Dr. Naught shows up yet again to get the urn. Wasabi tries to attack, but the Mayor's body isn't up for it, so Dr. Naught just takes the key from around the mayor's neck (I haven't mentioned this, but the mayor started wearing the key around his neck and Wasabi kept it there) and gets the urn. Luckily for Wasabi, the Sushi Pack shows up right at that moment and attack! But Dr. Naught fights back and shoots the Pack with a laser from his finger, except for Mighty Martin, who goes careening into the urn, knocking it into Wasabi's hands. Wasabi gets an idea and opens the urn, letting the powder engulf him. Unfortunately, this played right into Dr. Naught's plot (as near as I can figure out), and he grabs the urn as well, preparing to mindswap into the mayor's body. A bit of quick thinking by Maguro gets Dr. Naught's dust trapped in a jar.
By the next scene, everything has been sorted out and the mayor and Wasabi are back in the right bodies. Mayor Martin repeals the laws Wasabi created at a press conference and thanks the Sushi Pack for getting rid of Dr. Naught once and for all. The Pack, in turn, tell the mayor that he's a hero for running Wharf City, and the episode ends.
The best part of this DVD is that the old end theme is included! "Restaurant, about to eat myself some sushi. But then they started talking to me..."

The DVD also includes profiles of all the Pack members and instructions on how to access the Beat the Heat game and Coloring Pages DVD-rom features. The highlighted option is highlighted in white, making it look like it isn't there, so watch out for that.

Overall, not too bad for something free. Also, I really like Miss Assistant. Hopefully she'll show up in some upcoming episodes.

DVD menu screen
DVD profile screen
DVD games screen
Tako Profile
Maguro Profile
Ikura Profile
Kani Profile
Wasabi Profile

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sushi Pack Goods are Go!

I am the happiest Evalana ever, seriously. I was tipped off that Sushi Pack merchandise was already in stores, so I hopped down to the mall and sure enough, there in the Carlton Cards was a whole section of Sushi Pack merchandise!
First off, the plushies. I got a little one of Tako, but there are also 12" ones and really big ones of Wasabi only. Designwise they look all right, but Maguro ended up looking like a monkey. All the Wasabi plushes have some vinyl to represent his flame, just so you know.
There are also keychains of the Pack like my Kani one up there, with silver outlining (it doesn't really show up on the photo), and coin purses of Kani and Wasabi. And the cutest purse of Kani's head that I totally would have bought if a. I were just a little younger and b. I wasn't limiting myself to $20. The best part of the bag was that her pigtails were actually little pockets that closed with velcro!
As for stationary, there are little notebooks with an elastic closure like I got, along with little spiral pads with the characters and a phrase on them (e.g. Kani's say "Pinch!" and Wasabi's say, "Pow!" I think Tako's say "Zap!" but I don't remember the other two), and post-it notes of the character's heads. And stickers! Not to mention gift bags and wrapping paper.
The oddest thing there that I saw were the canvas art. I didn't see how much they were, but I don't really see them selling a lot of them. But then again, just because I have no interest in it doesn't mean no one does.

As a special promotion, you get a free DVD with any Sushi Pack purchase. The DVD has one episode, "Every Body is Some Body," about Mayor Martin and Wasabi switching bodies (which is actually funnier than it sounds, even though you have to get through some ridiculous backstory to get to it). I'll put up a review of it and the bonus features (which mostly include things you can find on the website) later tonight, hopefully.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gaia Olympics!

The Gaian Rejected Olympic Games are so addicting! Seriously, I want to keep playing, even though I really should be going to bed. Which I will, because my wireless mouse is acting up, so I can't play the games any more anyway (and get a decent score, anyway). I'm on Team Isle de Gambino, as you can tell by my shirt (from last year) and flag (which covers my second pigtail). Right now we're only in third, but that's still better than we fared last year!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Background Images by Chun Li

There it is, the Smart Heart Library in all its glory. Where did I find such a thing, you ask? On Chun Li's website, displaying the background art he's done for various tv shows and movies, including AiCaL and MLP. Give it a look around.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

From the Top of My Brain

I'm usually not the type to hold a grudge, not because I'm necessarily all that forgiving, but because I have a short memory. I tend to forget the details of movies I've seen after a few years, who guest-starred on a series, even if I've seen that episode a couple of times, and I'm forever rediscovering roles an actor or actress has done, no matter how many times I check their IMDB profile. But then there are things I never forget, even if I've only encountered them once, and they still filter to the top of my brain from time to time. One such thing came to mind today, something that I encountered only once, back so long I can't even place it (I'm guessing sometime after 1993 but before 1996), and I can't even remember the proper title (I refer to it as Colby 6, but it has a real title). The reason I still remember it to this day is the sheer level of annoyance I get whenever I think about it. The reason it annoys me: the absolute idiocy of the plot.
First, a little background on the Colby series: back in the 80's and I guess early 90's, there was a series of cassettes (and LPs, too, but I never saw them for sale anywhere) focused on the exploits of a group of kids and Colby, who was technically a musical computer, but designed more like a robot, including rollerskates. This was a christian series, so every cassette focused on a biblical lesson of some sort. And lots of singing. I only owned two of the tapes (the first one and Save Colby's Clubhouse, although I'm not sure where it falls in the series, and Wikipedia only mentions the TV series, which I never watched, although I was aware of its existance), but I heard Colby 6 as a sampler at a christian bookstore back in the day. From what I recall, the plot goes a little something like this:
The kids and Colby are going to Winter Camp (already a dumb premise), and one of the kids, a girl, is singled out as a bookworm, more interested in reading than actually camping. Once the kids arrive at the camp, there are apparently no adults (this part only started to annoy me more recently; I didn't even register it when I was younger), and all the food is still on the now-departed bus. So the kids sing a song about how hungry they are that I still half remember to this day. They try various things to get food, including ice fishing, but one kid falls through the ice! Fortunately, the bookworm girl read about how to save people who fell through ice and the kids rescue the other kid. And it turns out the food wasn't on the bus at all, but the bookworm girl put it someplace and apparently didn't hear the other kids talking about how the food was gone and where will they get more because she was too busy reading!! And the kids cheer because now they have food, but nobody yells at her for creating the situation that caused other kid to fall in the ice in the first place! It's such an idiot plot that to this day I still get a tinge of rage when I think about it.
This also generally gets me thinking about other things that cause this level of annoyed rage in me, usually those Eggo Waffle commercials from last year or so where the Dad was always trying to get the daughter's waffles (or pancakes, depending on the product being pushed). Those commercials always rankled me because it shouldn't have been the dad, it should have been the brother! I mean, the dad probably bought the waffles in the first place, and therefore could have claimed a bite (which is what my dad did from time to time), or, being an adult, could have gotten some of his own. In other words, he outranks her, and should not have been the foil. It would have made much more sense if a brother, as an equal (as another kid if older), or a lesser (as a younger brother) to the girl, where the one to go after an extra share of waffles, right? I just get the feeling that ten years from now I'll still be recalling those commercials and the music that went with them, and still getting a tinge of rage all over again.

Also, I just want to say, unlike Colby 6, Save Colby's Clubhouse is awesome, not just because it features an actual villian (Inspector Persnickety, who wants to bulldoze the clubhouse, although not for capitalistic reasons, as one might think) with a snazzy villian song ("His name is Inspector Persnickety/And he inspects everything that he sees/He will point out each mistake/While he writes the rules he makes/--'And every clubhouse must be authorized by me!'"); it also features a female French robot who falls in love with Colby and sings a doo-wop song with the girls about "The Computer of My Dreams." (Really!) The actual conflict resolution is kind of lame, but the robots computers in love makes up for it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

New Sushi Pack Video Clips

Every time I visit the official Sushi Pack site, new video clips have been uploaded, or so it seems, which makes me very happy, as I count down the days to July 15th (among many other things, including my wedding dress final fitting, the day when Ty's Toy Box starts carrying Sushi Pack merchandise). There are six new clips, and a couple new clips of older episodes up, so check them out if you're in need of a sushi fix (and don't mind spoilers).
My favorite is "Sushi Pack in Disguise," which looks to be from a very Tako/Maguro-shippy episode ^_^ But the most interesting episode will probably be the one that the clip "De-musement Park" is from, as long as Titanium Chef and Oleander are included.