So, today is a special day for me. And why is that? Well, it’s because today is my birthday. That’s right, as of today, I have successfully navigated the seas of time to the point that I am officially 32 years of age. What makes that even better is that 32 is my lucky number. Go me! But I’m not going to babble on about it too much, because that would be rather dull for everyone. Instead, I’m going to cover a bunch of random things that have little in the way of things to connect them.
Anyone who looks through this site will have noticed that I watch anime, and that I sometimes like to review it. What is not apparent from the site content is that I also watch animation from the West. I have a great deal of love for everything from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to How To Train Your Dragon, I’m excited for Zootopia / Zootropolis, and shows like Chowder and The Amazing World of Gumball provide much mirth for me and my kids. Recently, I started on a new Western animation journey: Avatar: The Legend of Korra.
There were so many reasons that I wanted to check this out. First up, I’d seen some writings on the net about the lead ending the show in a lesbian relationship. In a kids show, that’s still pretty rare, and in my humble opinion, it really shouldn’t be. Anyone who has read my work on The Spark Form Chronicles, or even who knew my previous webcomic Tales of the Winterborn, will know that I tend include same gender pairings in my work, so for a mainstream show aimed at a younger audience to do so too was a big thumbs up in my book. On top of that, while I wouldn’t call myself a fan, I had no issue with Avatar: The Last Airbender. Having not disliked it, I was curious as whether the sequel series would grab my attention better. The snippets of animation that I’d seen looked smooth, the character designs were interesting, and the action looked phenomenal. So I gave it a shot.
Sky+ gave me a means to speed through the first half of season one, and that was enough to prompt me to check Amazon and discover how cheap the seasons were on DVD. In short, I bought all four. As it stands, I’ve only gotten through seasons one and two, but I have no intention of stopping there. As a brief summary, the show moves along at a wonderful pace, the story is far more interesting than I expected, the action is as awesome as it looked, the humour is genuinely funny, and the voice acting is great. The biggest pro though, are the characters. Take the titular character, Korra. She’s a wonderfully flawed lead that both makes mistakes and is given plenty of growth throughout both seasons. And the key players in the supporting cast? They’re much the same. They have flaws, they develop, and they all play off each other in a wonderfully natural way.
In short, Avatar: The Legend of Korra is fantastic and I highly recommend that you all check it out.
Next up, I made a rediscovery this week. You see, I enjoy audiobooks and radio dramas. Eventually, I’ll write something about the amazing BBC adaptions of Lord of the Rings and Neverwhere, but for now I’m going to talk about something else. I stumbled across a reading of Men At Arms from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. It’s been a long time since I read the book, but it’s one of those novels that has stuck with me since childhood. I have very clear memories of being off school sick and sending my Mum out to buy me Discworld books to cheer me up.
Men At Arms is a story about The Watch, Ankh-Morpork’s equivalent of the police. It also introduces a bunch of new characters, including Angua Von Uberwald. Now, I have always loved shapeshifters. Most people I knew were still hung up on how cool vampires were, but me? Vampires bored me and werewolves were the way to go. To this day, Angua is a favourite of mind, both in terms of Discworld characters, and shapeshifters in general. In fact, she’s right up there with Mercy Thompson for me.
The main thing I wanted to say here though is that, having not read the book for such a long time, I had forgotten how much I loved the book. Listening to the reading instantly brought back memories of jokes as they were happening, and with this came the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you’re reading a good book. The admiration I have for Mr. Pratchett and his work is immense. He was a wonderful author, by all accounts an even better person, and he is undoubtedly a sad loss to the world.
Finally, I’d like to briefly return to my old stomping grounds of pro-wrestling. My near ten-year foray into wrestling (as both a performer and a booker) left me with some wonderful memories, and to this day, I remain a fan. So, as a fan, I would like to recommend one of my favourite matches. From New Japan Pro Wrestling’s J Crown Tournament in 1996, I give you Ultimo Dragon vs Shinjiro Otani (Link takes you to Daily Motion). This match is one of my favourite lightweight matches to come out of any country, it’s a great showcase for Otani, and it’s part of a tournament with a cool concept (the winner got eight belts). What more could you want?