Don't know if you remember the post I made a while back about Best Student Council, but the jist of it was that it's a fun little series, but I'm not in a hurry to watch it. So it was only a couple of days ago that I got the next volume since that last post, but the very first episode on the disc opened with a scene that reminded me why I keep watching it. You see, part of the concept of Best Student Council is that the main character, Rino Rando, has a puppet that has a life of its own, although it still needs a hand. And in this episode, another character finds a similar puppet:
The series is at its best when it focuses on the silly/absurd things like this and not when it tries to put the focus on the characters' mysterious/tragic pasts (and seriously, everyone on the student council has some kind of tragedy that lead the president to inviting them to her school). However, in this volume, the episodes got much better at blending the mysteries with the humor (for instance, this episode has plenty of puppet antics, but also hints at just what is up with Pucchan and Leon, seen above, and blatantly talks about how Rino's got some kind of powers, maybe related to the puppets?), making the backstory parts more palatable at least.
When I first saw the titles of these episodes on MSN's guide, it mashed them together so it looked like the first one was called "Respectable Delectable Star of Light" and the second was called "Star so Bright." Thus, I thought that it was going to be a two-part Christmas episode, although I should have realized what was going on, as it wasn't the first time MSN had bled the titles into each other (although it was the first time that happened in the Sushi Pack guide). While the episodes that actually aired where not quite as good as a Sushi Pack Christmas would have been, they were still pretty good.
Respectable Delectables - "I called this meeting for a good purpose." "Lunch, I hope."
At a hotel/convention center somewhere in Wharf City (or maybe some other city entirely), Apex calls roll, while Oleander voices her displeasure at the continental breakfast. Sir Darkly is also unhappy, but that's normal for him. Titanium Chef and the Legion of Low Tide arrive slightly late, but Titanium Chef is already ready for lunch. Apex directs everyone's attention to the table setting he arranged, but since there's no food on it, no one is pleased. The Collector also shows up, by the way.
While Apex tries to get everyone to shut up, the Sushi Pack watches them from a monitor inside their juice cooler hideout, which has been moved to the hotel hallway for the occasion. Ikura and Maguro have doubts about Tako's plan, but they wait to see what will happen. Apex calls up for drinks, and Tako reroutes the call and convinces him to order juice instead. With a not-so-quick delivery by Ben, they're in! Just so we know, Tako reveals that they found out about the convention by tracking Apex's communications and Oleander's phone calls. Ikura's ready to leap into action, but Tako would rather use the opportunity to figure out what evil schemes the villains are up to.
Apex tries to get down to business, but the Legionnaires guess he wants to take over the world, and claim that plan is old hat. The other villains agree, and start to leave. Apex, understandably annoyed by now, uses his forcefield powers to grab everyone and force them to listen to him. But not even this keeps the villains from grousing about the rooming arrangements. Apex demands respect, and abruptly drops them all. He then uses their shocked silence to finally get to the purpose of their meeting: coming up with a plan to stop the Sushi Pack once and for all. Hearing this, Ikura once again wants to leap out, but Tako makes him wait as the villains brainstorm.
Oleander comes up with a plan to send the Pack to an amusement park and tamper with one of the rides so that the Pack is flung far out to sea. The Collector illustrates his plan to trap the Sushi Pack in a "really, really deep hole" on a chalkboard, but it gets voted down due to the fact that the villain would have to dig it themselves, with no guarantee they'd be able to get out. Titanium Chef recommends luring the Pack onto a cruise ship where they'll fall asleep in the sun and fry, which is acted out by the Legionnaire Players. But the others nix it, especially when Titanium Chef's claim that he "knows sushi" is undermined by the Legion's behavior. The Pack laughs at the villain's lack of propriety, but stops short when Apex proposes a plan that reveals he was fully aware of the Sushi Pack tracking his communications. All that remains is to trap them in a space container and blast them to the sun.
The other villains, unaware that Apex's plan is already underway, laugh at it, so Apex shakes up the juice machine and out fall the Sushi Pack. But even faced with the actual Pack, the villains can't agree on what to do with them, so Apex claims them for his own. Until his rocket boots run out, that is. The Pack takes advantage of the villains' squabbling to corner them and trap them in a net. As they fly off with the villains in tow, Tako thanks the others for sticking with his plan, which Maguro chalks up to the mutual respect they have for each other. And off they go to deliver the villains to the local prison.
This is another one of those episodes that doesn't really benefit from being written up. There are just too many lines that I can't cover without it veering off into a complete tangent. So definitely watch this one, and enjoy the villains snarking on each other. Also, Apex had a different voice in this one, for some reason.
Star of Light, Star so Bright - "That ruby's worth a million, and I can barely see it!"
Late one night, Titanium Chef and the Legion of Low Tide break into the safe of what I'm assuming is a bank, and quickly begin to bag up the cash therein. But Titanium Chef warns against taking any change, for it would be too noisy. Predictably, the Sushi Pack shows up, but Titanium Chef planned for this: he and the Legionnaires don night-vision goggles, and Unagi zaps the power, rendering the whole place pitch black. While the Pack fumbles (except for Wasabi, who has learned to harness his glow-in-dark powers since Darkness and Spice), the Legion gets away.
Later, Sophia Tucker reports from the scene of the crime. Seems this isn't the first time the Pack was bested during a nighttime heist. Wasabi fangirl that she is, she still has to question how effective the Sushi Pack has been lately. Ikura is insulted, but Tako takes it as a sign that they just need practice for the future. Ikura's all gung-ho for an obstacle course in the Green Donut, and for some reason, Maguro suggests that Wasabi should be the one to ask for Ben's permission. Wait, wasn't Ben not being able to understand Wasabi a plot point in at least one episode? What's Maguro up to? True to form, Ben doesn't understand a word of Wasabi's "Why we need to use the Green Donut at night" presentation, but he agrees anyway. Mostly because he's distracted by the investor who's coming to visit the shop the next morning. With the right push, he'll help Ben set up a Green Donut franchise! So as long as the shop doesn't get messy, Ben is fine with whatever they want to do.
Meanwhile, the Legionnaires complain about how little their share of the money from the robberies is, but Titanium Chef explains that he had to use the rest for the ingredients to make his latest recipe: Chocolate Blackout Mousse! (Sounds tasty :d) The mousse will create a fog as dense as the darkest night, and give Titanium Chef free range of the town. There's only one ingredient still needed: a blob of wasabi.
As the Pack gears up for their training, Wasabi starts to tell the others what Ben told him about the franchise guy, but when Tako makes him the leader of the exercise, all thoughts of it fly out of his mind. With Kani's night-vision goggles, the Pack can see in the dark, but Wasabi manages to get them by shining a light off of Kani's head and blinding Tako, Maguro, and Ikura. The entire training makes quite a mess of the shop. The next morning, the sleeping-in Pack are woken by Ben's tortured screams: the Green Donut has been compromised! The Pack (minus a still sleeping Wasabi) reassure Ben that it wasn't vandals, but the fruit of their practice, which they were apparently too tired to clean up the night before. They promise to help him clean, but it's too late, the investor arrives!
And thus Ben is rejected off screen. As he dejectedly cleans, the rest of the Pack apologizes for not cleaning up, since they didn't know that the investor was coming that morning. Of course, Ben points out that he told Wasabi, which is news to the other Pack members. When questioned, Wasabi tells the others they don't understand, but they understand that he wanted to be in charge enough that he disregarded Ben's warning. As Tako questions his own decision to let Wasabi lead, the lump of mustard sheds a few (hilariously cute) tears, then storms off. That night, the Pack is alerted to another nighttime caper and take off in the Sushi Craft, minus Wasabi, who went patrolling in his own plane.
Landing outside a jewelry shop, Tako predicts that it's another one of Titanium Chef's traps. Wasabi lands shortly thereafter and runs right into it, despite Ikura trying to warn him. Inside, Titanium Chef does indeed have a trap, and goes through the requisite 'bad' acting, with Wasabi none the wiser. He takes the bait and lobs a glob of wasabi at the Titanium Chef, who ducks out of the way to let it fly into his pot of mousse. With the recipe complete, the mousse begins to spread, creeping toward Wasabi as Titanium Chef gloats.But the rest of the Pack leaps in, putting the moves they practiced the night before to good use. Tako advises Wasabi to heat up the mousse, while he distracts Titanium Chef by grabbing the sack of jewels. Hi then whips the Chef into a frenzy by tossing the jewels around indiscriminately. While Titanium Chef isn't paying attention, he uses a pearl to trip the Chef up and puts him out of commission.
Meanwhile, Toro squares up against Maguro, but is easily taken out by her telekinesis, which she uses to simultaneously spin him and Uni, and fling away Mochi to boot. Unagi plays with Kani, but she manages to discharge him with a piece of pipe, and Ikura bluffs Fugu into trapping himself in a doorway. Titanium Chef finally comes to, only to realize that his mousse is no longer creeping. Turns out Wasabi overcooked it. First despairing, and then full of rage, Titanium Chef calls for the Legion to regroup, and they form a unified front against the Pack. But Wasabi uses Kani to blind them, and they retreat...straight into the police's clutches.
Back at the Green Donut, Ben forgives Wasabi for losing him a chance at fame and fortune, claiming that as long as Wasabi learned from his mistakes, it's okay. Wasabi is so pleased that he starts glowing bright enough to be seen during the day, prompting Kani to pull out her sunglasses, which she wears even when they give the end shout of "Sushi Pack!"
So, this was a weird one. I mean, Ben doesn't seem to be the type to care about creating a franchise. But it was nice to see Wasabi actually get called out on his behavior for a change, even if Ben forgave him way too quickly at the end. And it was great seeing another Legion on Pack fight that actually had some substance to it again.
Out of the blue, last night I suddenly had the urge to see what (if anything), I could find out about the voice cast of the upcoming Strawberry Shortcake series. You may recall that the pilot episode was posted on agpbrands.com back in October, although it was taken down a month or so ago, most likely because it will be released on a DVD with certain toys come this fall.
Anywho, getting on with what I found. First off, I confirmed that Janyse Jaud is indeed the voice of Orange Blossom, and Strawberry herself is played by Anna Cummer (who, tangentially, is also the lead in Barbie's Thumbelina). Unfortunately, this is all that I was able to find out at the present. Although I did find a trailer for the Sky's the Limit! movie coming out this fall. All the footage used is from the pilot episode, though, but it shows the cover art at the end at least. I can't link to it directly, but if you go to this website and click on "Featured," you'll see an image of Strawberry that you can click on to bring up the trailer.
Edit: After finding out the voices of the new Core 7 My Little Pony animations, I'm 97% sure that Britt McKillip is the voice of Lemon Meringue. Also, you can now find the trailer for the movie on Youtube.
I'm not a very sentimental person. At all. But there is one song (and only one, really) that pulls at my heartstrings (in the sense that I can actually feel my heartstrings being pulled) when I hear it: Forever Young from the second Care Bears movie.
Man, that right there is my childhood. It's more than just nostalgia, though, but I can't quite put my finger on what it is about the song that affects me so.
A quick one this time around. Ben claims credit where none is due, and Ikura has the attention span of a gnat. But then, we already knew that.
Ben's Law - "Don't be shy, it's time to cry!"
Sophia Tucker reports on a fundraising yacht party hosted by a comedian who, despite not making any jokes, gets lots of laughs anyway. The Pack, however, are not part of this, but are going on their own boating outing. Ben wishes the Pack luck as they test out Kani's new boat, Windslicer, a transport with stealth in mind (not entirely sure how often that kind of mission comes up, though). Ikura's eager to shove off, but Maguro wants to go over the ground rules first, which he promptly tunes out. Ben warns them that "if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong," which he calls "Ben's Law." ¬_¬ Right... Y'know, it's not that he's pretending nobody ever said that before, it's the matter-of-fact expression he wears while saying it. "It's not like this concept has existed for over a century at least and was named after somebody else fifty years ago, nosirree!"
Anyway, Maguro rebriefs everyone on their positions, but what's relevant is that Ikura is the helmsman, in charge of keeping the boat on course. Tako's supposed to show Ikura how to do that, but Ikura claims to know enough. Even though the weather's supposed to be good, Ben warns them again that anything can happen, and Wasabi proves he's gullible enough to believe Ben about the whole 'law named after him' thing. With a push from Ben, they head off, and Tako starts showing Ikura how to work the controls (shouldn't Kani be doing this?). Ikura zones out, but when Tako snaps him out of it, he points out that he brought a GPS. Tako lets this slide, but warns Ikura to figure out how to use the compass anyway.
Elsewhere, Sir Darkly nurses some bad weather out at sea and makes his intention to crash the fundraising party quite clear. As the Pack heads toward Shipwreck Point (dun dun dunnn!),Tako continues to try and show Ikura what to do, but Ikura's not having any of it. The ship gets closer to the bad weather, and Ikura's GPS goes overboard, just when the compass starts going haywire. Too bad he didn't listen to Tako earlier...
After the commercial break, Ben calls Maguro over the ship's radio and tells her about the fundraising yacht party, but not because he thinks it's relevant to the plot, but because it just proves how much of a loser he is. Immediately after this, the Pack nearly collides with Sir Darkly's boat (since the Windslicer is a stealth ship, as you may recall), and quickly surmise what he's up to. Unfortunately for them, their near miss got them off track, and no thanks to Ikura, they wind up in Ship Wreck Point and, predictably, crash. Up on the rocks, Ikura throws himself a pity party for not paying attention, Kani laments her boat getting smashed up, and Wasabi comforts her (aww...). But Tako tells them they're not down yet, and just like that, everyone leaps into action to get the boat off of the rocks!
While the Pack is laid up, Sir Darkly makes his grand entrance, mercifully interrupting one of the comedian's unfunny routines. He revels in how quickly everyone's moods shift, and even breaks out some jazz hands for the occasion. He's so busy hamming it up, in fact, that he nearly misses the Sushi Pack making their own entrance. Which enables them to get the drop on him, as one by one they take him out and ship him off, taking his bad weather with him. The comedian invites the Pack to stay, but, having heard his routines before, they take off.
Heading back into Wharf City Harbor, the Pack greets Ben by making up their own law to counter his: "If something can go wrong, Sushi Pack will fix it!"
Sir Darkly was actually kind of awesome in this episode. Maybe because he was more of a large ham than his usual deadpan. But, really, what was up with Ben claiming Murphy's Law as his own? Is he that starved for attention that he has to take advantage of his charges' lack of exposure to the world? Or, perhaps he has never actually had an original thought, and all of his advice and mentoring is cribbed from various other sources that he refuses to cite. Considering his usual failure at relating his advice to the actual situation at hand, this is probably pretty close to the truth.
One of the mainstays of my childhood was the 1985 tv-movie of Alice in Wonderland, which my father taped when it first aired, and my sisters and I watched for years afterwards. However, it had been quite a while since I last saw it, and after noticing it show up a few times while browsing through the IMDB, I checked out the whole cast list and realized that there were a ton of people in it who I had had no clue who they were when I was young, but I did know now. So I decided to watch it again, especially since it's on DVD, with the intent of taking screenshots and writing up who I knew and how I knew them (as there are a few people in it that I only know from doing this).
Well, that was my original plan, only, in the process of taking the screenshots, I got a new DVD player program, and unbeknownst to me, every time the program was opened and screenshots were taken, it saved them under the same numbers, deleting the shots taken previously. And since I watched the tv-movie in chunks, the majority of the screenshots I took from the first half were deleted. But I didn't realize this until I'd already sent the disc back. Now, I might have re-rented the disc and taken the shots again, but I also realized just how boring the entry I originally planned would have been. I mean, it would have basically just been a fairly dry (and long) list of roles. So instead, I say to you, go to the IMDB page for the tv-movie and see who's who for yourself. Then, if you feel so inclined, give it a watch.
One thing I will say about this version of Alice in Wonderland is that it is very faithful to the books -- in parts. There was one part toward the end of the second part where I thought the plot dragged terribly, but then I went back and reread the book, and it was almost word-for-word. But there are also parts that are strangely unfaithful as well. For instance, when Alice meets the Mock Turtle (played by Ringo Starr), he does not sing a song based on the three(!) pieces he had in the book, but an anthem to nonsense. Also, this is one of those specials that thinks that what makes a musical a musical is that every character introduced gets a song. Not that the songs are bad (I particularly like the Queen of Hearts' song), but it does get to be a bit much.
I've been in a bit of a slump lately, so I'm picking up on that meme that's been going around, and you may recall that I did it last year as well. What do you want to hear me talk about? Pick a topic, any topic, that you want to hear me blog about, and I'll do an entry about it.
Starting tonight, I'm going to start posting about American Idol on Twitter. You can follow along with my live thoughts on the side of my blog, and the official list will be added to a post later in the evening.
While I don't really feel compelled to write up the first half (Strawberry goes on a road trip to a see a flower that only blooms for one day every 10 years, but gets there late thanks to Angel Cake's lack of map reading skills and Banana Candy's failure in general), the Pieman's manner in his proposition made me feel that it was worth writing up the second half.
It all starts with Strawberry giving a book report on Around the World in 80 Days to her friends for no particular reason. Peppermint Fizz objects to the book's central conceit, but Strawberry maintains that anything is possible with a positive outlook. For as little reason as Strawberry has for giving an impromptu booktalk, the Pieman and Sour Grapes show up in their cart, and, having overheard their conversation, the Pieman agrees with both Strawberry and Peppermint Fizz. He then wagers all the pies in his cart to anyone who could actually make it around the world in 80 days without a jet plane. Ginger Snap, not liking his tone, automatically nominates Strawberry for the job, not noticing Strawberry's audible doubt. She ups the Pieman's ante by wagering all the berries in Strawberryland if Strawberry doesn't make it in time, and the Pieman, satisfied that he'll win, comments, "What would I do without these kids?" He leaves to parts unknown, promising to pick up his prize in 80 days' time.
Ginger Snap finally realizes what she's done, but it's too late. Peppermint Fizz can't see anyway for Strawberry to win, not even when she sees the jet boat that Ginger Snap just happened to have in her garage. The Pieman shows up and sabotages the boat in plain sight of the kids (if not Ginger Snap and Strawberry, then at least Peppermint Fizz) and sets it in motion. Somehow this makes it fly. Wait, was it supposed to be a plane the whole time? Well, whichever it was meant to be, it's already on its way with Peppermint Fizz in tow. She lowers the rope ladder so Strawberry can get on, but with the sabotage done, there's no way to stop it without some major repair work, so Peppermint is stuck there. As day turns to night, Peppermint resigns herself to her fate, while Strawberry uses the stars to navigate and sings a reassuring lullaby.
Soon enough they arrive in Pearis, by way of running out of fuel. Fortunately they land in a body of water, but not without smashing a huge hole in the hull. Meanwhile, the Pieman also arrives, but by plane. Sour Grapes complains about the cost of the flight, but the Pieman is certain they'll make it back with the berries he's going to win. While he sets off to set something in motion, Strawberry and Peppermint meet up with Crepes Suzette and they fill her in on their trip so far, which has apparently lasted weeks already. Since Peppermint Fizz complained about the length, Crepes Suzette gives her and Strawberry a giftbag for the rest of the trip. She also gives them a tip about a train going exactly where they need to go.
Which is great, only the Pieman (in disguise) sets a flock of sheep in front of the tracks, stopping the train. Not about to give up, Strawberry and Peppermint singlehandedly move every single sheep out of the way. So the Pieman cuts down a tree instead. But there just happens to be a boy with an elephant also blocking the tracks, so Strawberry negotiates with him to be their guide through the jungle. With forty days still left, things are looking up, especially when Peppermint Fizz finds that the giftbag Crepes Suzette gave her has a fancy camera in it. Once they make it out of the jungle, they run into Tea Blossom, who brings them to the docks to charter a ship, unaware that they're hitching a ride with a barely-disguised Pieman and Sour Grapes.
As they sail across the sea, Strawberry figures they'll make it back in exactly 80 days. Peppermint Fizz starts to relax for the first time in the whole trip, but once night falls, Strawberry notices that the stars aren't where they should be for the direction they're traveling. She waits until morning to test her hypothesis, and sure enough, they were going the wrong way. They go to hash it out with the Pieman, but he's already there, and all to eager to reveal himself. He sheds his disguise, leading to this exchange:
Strawberry: It's you!
Peppermint: *pointing at the still-disguised Sour Grapes* And you, too.
Nice to see Sour Grapes get some recognition. The Pieman and Sour Grapes drop the two girls off on a deserted island, but they're nice enough to let them keep the giftbags. Peppermint Fizz does what she does best in this episode, complain, but Strawberry is not to be stopped that easily. She and Peppermint head into the jungle, only to find Tangerina Torta's jungletown. She gives them a chance to rest and have some refreshments, and for the first time in this trip, Strawberry starts to doubt they'll make it on time. But all hope isn't lost, as Tangerina lends them her motor scooter. Somehow the scooter gets them close to Strawberryland, but with only ten minutes to go, it gets a flat tire. Luckily enough, the giftbag had some gum in it, so Peppermint patches the hole and they're on their way again.
When Strawberry and Peppermint do arrive, the Pieman tells her she's a day too late, since he missed the beginning of her booktalk 81 days ago. If he'd heard it, he'd know that Strawberry would claim to have gained an extra day to travel because she crossed the International Date Line, just as Phineas Fogg did in the book. The Pieman can't believe it, so Sour Grapes prepares to give Strawberry the pies (wait, 80-days-old pie?). But Strawberry declines, stating she wasn't in it to win, but to prove she could do it. The Pieman continues to not believe it, but Sour Grapes, who has been a bit genre-savvy during this whole story, simply gripes about the inevitability of the protagonist winning, and hitches up the cart to leave.
While Sour Grapes and the Pieman leave in disgrace, Strawberry's friends congratulate her on making the trip in 80 days. But Strawberry just wants to sing a song about how even though traveling is fun, home is the best, which Peppermint Fizz feels free to join in on, since she went on the trip, too.
So, what, does the Pieman just hang around Strawberryland, hoping to catch the kids saying something he can turn into a con job, or was he just passing through and happened to think up that proposition? And maybe it was just me, but the connecting scenes on this DVD were just really...I want to say lame, or something like that, but that's not really it either. Superfluous, I guess. I mean, it was Strawberry climbing a mountain and talking, all the while not caring that domesticated cats aren't made to move the same way girls and puppies can.