Sunday, December 30, 2012

I think I've killed a pony

But it's okay. The critter re-spawned ...and wants more of the same. how odd!
Care to aid her to her doom? If you like racing games of the button-tapping variety, that is.

To quote the creator himself:
"Retarded concept?
Half assed animations and scripting?
Probably hundreds of errors and problems?
Sounds like best game!"

So whatcha waiting for? Click here to Go Fast!

Oh, Flufflepuff... You're one crazy speed demon!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Littlest Pet Shop - an initial review

I prefer reviewing full series after they're done, but I've just seen the 9 episodes of "Littlest Pet Shop" that are out so far and decided to share my thoughts.

A note for the impatient: so far the series is not without flaws, but shows potential. I found myself putting up with it more than enjoying it. Rating thus far -

So... let's take it from the top!

Series name - "Littlest Pet Shop"
It's a 2012 animated TV series created by Hasbro to go with the pre-existing toy line sharing the same name. The first episode premiered on November 10th and new episodes are shown on a weekly basis on Hasbro's own channel - The Hub. It's produced by DHX Media's animation studio in Vancouver, just like My Little Pony: FiM and Pound Puppies. (More info on the wiki page).

The style and animation
And the screenie above tells you plenty. Unlike with My Little Pony, the animators couldn't just re-draw the characters to suit their needs. Hasbro wanted to promote a toy line without ruining it peculiar charm:
Gotta hand it to the creative team - with just a few very subtle tweaks they've really toned down the "creepy" and made the extremely top-heavy animals a bit more believably-mobile.

So we know what it looks like. How does it animate?
First off, let me point out that the voice acting is wonderful.
Now then, the animals are actually a treat to watch! Surprisingly fun and natural movement. The humans, on the other hand, move in a very stiff and lifeless manner, like shadow puppets and show nearly expressionless faces. No doubt, the visual storytelling suffers so much because it's a girls' show and everyone "has to look pretty".

The Story and Target Audience
Nothing too elaborate here. Blythe's the protagonist and she works at the pet shop. She's an aspiring fashion artist/dress-maker and makes outfits for the pets. I'd guess she's in her early teens. After landing on her head from a considerable height in the very first episode she's gained the talent of communicating with animals. The episodes tend to focus separately on Blythe's social life and what the silly technicolor animals are up to in her absence. Sounds scary so far.

While our protagonist isn't a girly fashion-obsessed bimbo as such, but more of a creative, geeky semi-outcast and is at very least bearable, there's no denying it's a girly show that doesn't have a great deal to offer to anyone who isn't a girl aged between, I'd say, 10 to 14. 

The advertising campaign for it was geared towards fans of My Little Pony, as we can see in this promo, which shows Blythe as a whacky chick, who's cool enough to hang with Dashe. I'm sure it got some attention from bronies, but will they stay? At this point, I very much doubt it. These pets got nothing on ponies.

While the LPS does have a few things going it's way, it's slow-paced, the pop culture references are there, but very few. There's a whole lot of girliness to put up with. The animals are meant to be fun and, I assume, entertaining for younger kids, while being cute enough for older girls. I mostly found them eating away at my patience. You can tell that most of the characters are still "flat" and need plenty of work done on their personalities. The stories are very predictable. I found myself mostly waiting for obvious bits to be over, rather than anticipating a plot twist. 

Also, has anyone else noticed this paradox? Shows geared towards older kids/young teens tend to be extremely primitive compared to the ones meant for younger children and their parents. LPS illustrates this vividly I'm afraid.

The Final Verdict:
Littlest Pet Shop is a so-so cartoon that might develop into something worth watching, considering the talented staff involved who are just getting started. Right now though, if you're not a somewhat girly girl aged around 10-14, you might find it boring.

Foxy's rating at the time:

The good: The voice acting is beautiful.
There's some top-notch clever comedy buried under the layer of "dull".
Minka the spider monkey is actually really fun, expressive and surprisingly well-balanced as a character, who's also animated exceptionally well. While being pink and hyper, she's neither girly nor annoying. She really livens up the pet shop.

The show has token goths amongst its background characters, at least one of which has a hilariously unfitting job at an ice cream shop. (It amused me. I'm calling it a plus).
While not a masterpiece, this isn't nearly as dumb as "Bratz" and the like. 

The bad: The humans are far beyond the proverbial "zombie line".
There isn't enough going on in the episodes.
Zoe's face is begging for a punch.
Hasbro's idea-recycling ways are quite apparent. Plenty is taken from My Little Pony.

The odd: Pepper the skunk starts to smell when she's emotional. The scent serves as a mood indicator. She stinks if she's unhappy, she smells like perfume when she's cheery and leaves dark magenta mist instead of the foul green one in such cases.
Apparently, green geckos have hair.
The style bears a faint but unmistakable resemblance to "Happy Tree Friends".
Blythe has a different outfit in every episode and seems to be the only character to do so.

I think I've bored Minka

Zoe's finest moment

Could it be?

Who's who, Brony-style.
Just for fun, to all you bronies.
Blythe is Twilight Sparkle with Rarity's dressmaking talents and Fluttershy's ability to talk to critters.
Minka the spider monkey is Pinkie Pie. Even her colour scheme is mostly preserved. Her party-throwing talent is swapped for one in modern art. The fourth wall breaking abilities remain intact.
Zoe the dog is annoying. She's also got Rarity's personality, minus the talent and all redeeming qualities. In addition to that, she's stolen Twilight Sparkle's colour scheme.
Penny Ling the panda is Fluttershy. Talent changed from "the stare" to rhythmic gymnastics.
The rest of the characters seem suspiciously underdeveloped. Isn't that an interesting coincidence! (Okay, I'm kidding. At least I hope I'm not onto anything here).

Friday, December 21, 2012

Freaky Friday

There are few things freakier than creative taxidermy. This particular specimen was made in the UK and fetched £330 at auction. As the artist herself states, the odd human-like look was intentional. And for those wondering, the fox died of natural causes.

The fox's story seems to stop there, as far as the Western side of the web is concerned. However, this character became pretty big in Russia of all places. It's even made the news. The creator started getting fan mail on a regular basis, which has inspired her to make a couple more pieces like this. No doubt, they'll pop up soon enough.

Aside from its overall freakishness, it was the fox's dazed look that brought it popularity, and the critter became known as "Stoned Fox". It inspired a ton of photo-manips that spread like wildfire all over "Runet".  Here's a few examples:

"You've got some serious issues, my friend"

Friday, August 17, 2012

Freaky Friday

Perhaps not exactly what gangsters mean when they say: "you'll be sleeping with the fishes", but a striking image nevertheless!

Sleeping with the Fishes by Zilla774

Friday, August 3, 2012

Freaky Friday

Nothing seriously messed-up this week. Instead - one of my favourite pictures, since it's summer - the perfect time to go swimming and to eat lots of fruit!

Tasty by Einen

Friday, July 20, 2012

Freaky Friday

Oh dear. I very nearly forgot it was Friday. But fear not, I have indeed got something freaky for you. I also haven't posted anything pony-related for a while, so how about we kill two birds with one stone?

Pinkie-Pinkamena by pig-fish

Friday, July 13, 2012

Freaky Friday

What we've got here is a lion made from old tires. I found this creature rather striking - to me he looks like a grotesque mutant on the prowl. The first photo is my favourite. I think this beast would look even more impressive at night.
You can find this lion in Yerevan, Armenia. The author is a Korean artist - Yong Ho Ji . You can find even more tyre creatures on his website.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Freaky Friday

A feature all you Minecraft fans might enjoy: A bunch of block creatures! 
These are from Laura Bifano's "Menagerie" series.


Monday, June 11, 2012


I saw this image today and thought it was awesome. And that's the sole reason behind this post.
by/автор zgul-osr1113

Friday, June 8, 2012

Freaky Friday

Just one image this week, but I think it deserves a standalone feature.
"William" by Derek Walborn, ladies and gents.

"William took to the basement. He needed someplace dark. Soon everything would be better. Soon everything would change."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Prometheus - a spoiler-free review

Overall rating:
Expectations exceeded? Yes. Though to be honest I haven't bothered expecting anything other than beautiful visuals
Disappointed? Not in the slightest
Writing: I've enjoyed the film as a an undivided experience, if the expression makes sense. There weren't any faults in the script that threw me back into the real world. So from what I could tell, the writing's decent at very least.
Special Effects: Nothing stuck out to me as CG. I've really enjoyed the visual integrity of this movie.
Acting: Flawless
Action/Drama: We've pretty much got an entire cast full of interesting and well-developed characters and there's plenty going on!
Worth watching: Yes. In fact, it's worth a trip to the cinema, otherwise you'll miss out on some rather stunning visuals (I've seen the film in 2D by the way and therefore have no idea how well the 3D was done).

As I've already said, I really like the movie for its characters. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that not a single one of them was useless or annoying. You can actually enjoy the film without waiting for someone to die already!
David has to be my favourite out of the entire crew. I won't elaborate, as I'm sure you'll see why when you watch the film. I was also mildly amused at how closely he resembled the nazi's idea of a perfect man (and before you assume anything about me, I think that racism is incredibly stupid).
I think the film is very well paced. There aren't any scenes that drag or go too fast. Also the story doesn't fall apart despite the fact that there's always plenty going on.
Another thing I found to be a real treat was the interior of the space ship. I loved the "oldschool" chunky look of it and how modern sci-fi features were integrated into it in a rather classy way, without ruining the overall feel of the place. I have no idea if that was an intentional nod to any sci-fi classics, but it brought a few to mind.

All in all, it's a beautiful film that really "sucks you in". It might be a bit early to tell, but I think Prometheus has made it into the top 5 on my all-time favourites list.

Purely for the sake of being different and not using the images everyone else is, here's a painting inspired by the movie. It's made by Radojavor and you can find the high-res version here.