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Spores, Molds, and Fungus

Pop Culture Miscellania


A Belated Reaction to a Summary of Macross: The Musicalture (or The Musiculture)
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I've been sitting on this post for months now, because I was reluctant to write a review about something I was currently unable to see: a musical production that ran for a limited time only in Japan.

But Macross: The Musicalture sounded like such a fun thing, I decided to say fuck it and wrote a short reaction to the summary, a summary written by Tochiro of Macrossworld.com, which can be read here..and then sat on it for longer. But I'm here now.

When I first heard there was going to be a musical based on the Macross anime franchise, I laughed. I laughed because the idea sounded terribly cheesy, and I expected result to be a floundering, awful, but hopefully hilarious adaptation of a previously-existing Macross story.

But when information started coming out, I realized that The Musicalture (or Musiculture—the logo suggests it could be spelled either way) was something entirely: an all-new Macross story, told in the musical format, and one with a lot of potential.

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Fred Wolf Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series in Review (Most of It)
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The old Fred Wolf Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon seems to be a polarizing thing among people my age: many either think it's the worst thing in the world or the best thing, with the latter stating that all faults can be excused by the series' ironic tone.

After rewatching a selection of episodes throughout the run, and then almost the whole thing, I'm in the middle. If asked to choose firmly, I would say I like the FW show, but there's so much that's flawed I can't say that without squirming.

When the Fred Wolf show is fun, it's sweet, and when it's bad, it's toxic. There's only a handful of episodes that I enjoy enough as an adult to watch again, but I like these episodes. It's the rest that give me trouble.

So, you know the thing. It's about the title mutants, and everything else. I've read and seen a lot more Turtles material than this, but I'll never be able to hate the Fred Wolf show for being a toned-down version of the original comics. My main question is how the Fred Wolf show holds up as a thing onto itself, how successful it is at what it's actually trying to be.

And it's usually not. An ironic tone is one of the hardest things to get right, and even though TMNT is an ironic series, there's also a big lack of effort, with a lot of recycled plot devices and characters who only take an episode or two to grasp, before they start doing the same thing over and over again. Sometimes the episodes do hit the mark and become very funny, but not often enough.

But that's not to say the characters aren't likable. One of the reasons the Turtles franchise has done so well is because it gives viewers/readers four distinct protagonists that can catch the eye of a wide range of potential fans. You can choose any Turtle, and you'll see a lot of mileage gotten out of them.

I think Donatello was my favourite Turtle at one point, since I dressed up as him for Halloween in grade school, and I tend to love my fellow nerds (out of solidarity). These days, however, I don't have a favourite Turtle. I have nothing against the Turtles, there's something to like in all of them—I just can't pick one above the others, or even say I have a strong emotional attachment to any of them.

I don't say this to be "cool", just that that's how it happened. When it comes to the Fred Wolf show, Donnie is just too perfect, always inventing something to save the day. I don't like perfect characters unless they have nostalgic cachet, and Donnie just doesn't have enough. He's not a bad character, but I'm just not into him.

Raphael is the least like other versions of Raph, but as an adult, I love it when Fred Wolf Raphael acts like he's also had enough of the series' bullshit, and he's often the source of genuine laughs. I like Fred Wolf Raphael better like that, than any of the episodes that pretend he's a merry prankster rather than a wry cynic. But still, not my favourite Turtle.

Michelangelo is a dumb pseudo-stoner, but you know, he's a sweet guy. I wish his potential role as the "heart" of the Turtles was played up more.

It's annoying when anyone says Leonardo, and characters like him, don't have "a personality" simply because they're not vivacious enough. Leo does have a personality, and I've got a weakness for stoics and fussbudgets. However, I'll agree that Leo gets the most Captain Obvious lines, at the expense of showing his actual personality.

But, for me, there's a difference between liking a character and appreciating a character. Liking means you not only enjoy the character, but have some gut feeling this is "your" character, one that you're attached to in some way. So while I appreciate the Turtles, I don't "like" them, at least not at this point. But they are enough to carry a series, and a franchise.

The same thing's true for the main villains of the story: they're very funny characters, but I get tired of them eventually after I've seen all their moves.

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