Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Adult Animated Comedy Web Series Episode Review: Camp Camp - The Order of the Sparrow

In the first season finale of Camp Camp, David examines his love of Camp Campbell and tries to bring back a ritual from his days at the camp as a kid in the 1990s. However, no matter how hard David tries, he can’t manage to please the camp kids and his co-counselor Gwen.

David tells the children that whoever proves to be a good person and respect nature the most will win a prize. This leads to a funny sequence of events where the children try their hardest to be good and respect nature, but inevitably fail as they are just as dysfunctional as they always have been.

Things go haywire when the prize is revealed, leaving Max to decide what he is going to do to David. The entire first season was the season of Max, as he made friends and navigated camp life. His arch was leading up to this episode, and it was concluded in the most satisfying way possible while still being true to Max's character.

The thing I appreciate the most about "The Order of the Sparrow" is that it takes racism head-on. It tackles a practice that was common in camps and even showed up in many beloved films that took place in an American summer camp in the 20th century. David has Gwen and the quartermaster dress up as “Indians” with faux-indigenous feather-adorned bands on their heads. David wears a band with many feathers and claims he is the chief, going so far as to make the inauthentic battle cry sound that was common in many forms of entertainment but was not authentic in the slightest.

I love how the children immediately view it as racist and point it out. Neil immediately points out that calling indigenous people Indians isn’t correct and notes that Max is the true Indian as his parents came from India, then points out the overt racism of David’s offensive attempt at a battle cry.

The children act as the viewer surrogate here, as looking back at camp rituals where white Americans wore inauthentic headgear and made sounds that were never uttered by indigenous people is no longer viewed as harmless fun. It makes the children rightfully cringe at David’s antics.

This is something I’m glad the show dealt with. Like its adult animated comedy predecessor, South Park, Camp Camp is never afraid of tackling tough subjects. Also like South Park, it occasionally misses the mark but gets it right more often than not. This episode is definitely one of the latter.

The season was originally slated for ten episodes, but it was extended to twelve. The extra two definitely weren't squandered. It allowed episode nine and ten to flesh out the personality of some of the background characters while leaving episodes eleven and twelve as the conclusion. The way it was written and executed even feels like it could have worked as a series finale, but thankfully Rooster Teeth opted to create more episodes. It also works great as a season finale, as "The Order of the Sparrow" is executed beautifully. It deals with the evolution of Max in a satisfying, and heartwarming, way.

Final Verdict:
5 out of 5

Monday, January 30, 2023

Puzzle Game Review: Dr. Mario

Dr. Mario is a unique take on the falling block puzzle game that was popularized by Tetris. Because of the huge worldwide success of Tetris, every game in the genre is ultimately compared to it. Dr. Mario managed to stand out and became a popular puzzle game in its own right.

The game, at one point during development, was known under the title of Virus. By the time it was released, Nintendo's mascot Mario was a doctor throwing the pills into the jar of a mix of three different colored cartoon-styled viruses. 

The viruses are eradicated by two-colored pills. Four of the same color, either through pills or a combination of pills and one or more viruses, causes the color line to disappear Tetris-style. Any remaining pills then drop down to the viruses below. 

The control is satisfyingly simple, making this a true pick-up-and-play experience. The Nintendo Entertainment System controller is utilized perfectly for this. Pills can be moved right and left with the gamepad. Like Tetris, pressing the down button on the four-way gamepad causes the pill to drop faster. Both the A and B buttons are used to rotate the pills. The A button will rotate the pills to the left whereas the B button rotates them to the right.

There are three speeds available, low, medium, and high, or low, med, and hi as displayed in-game. Levels can be chosen, with more viruses being added as the levels progress up to level 20, which has 84 viruses. After a cutscene, the game continues past level 20 however the virus count stays at 84.

Speaking of cutscenes, with the exception of lo-mode with a cutscene that appears only after level 20, they pop up after 5 levels. They consist of objects flying over a tree that contains the three colors of viruses on top. These objects are all somehow satisfyingly weird, ranging from a chicken to a flapping book. The ending cutscene, with the final fate of the viruses, is only shown after level 20 on hi-mode.

The music was created by the chiptune pioneer, Hirokazu Tanaka. The title screen, menu, and cutscenes each contain a different tune. They are quite enjoyable in their own right, however, the tunes that are heard the most are the stage music. There are two to choose from through the menu. Chill is a slower tune, and fever is the quicker of the two. Satisfyingly, these are the most catchy tunes in the game, especially fever. That tune gets stuck in my head occasionally even 30-some-years after I first heard it.

Dr. Mario is a fantastic puzzle game. The two-colored pill formula as well as the controls are easy to understand, making it a true pick-up-and-play type of game. The music is fantastic and extremely memorable. The graphics are fun, especially the wacky cartoon-styled viruses. Dr. Mario is a highly recommended game, especially to falling-block puzzle fans. It is a true classic.

Final Verdict:

5 out of 5

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Adult Animated Comedy Web Series Episode Review: Camp Camp - Camporee

In the Camp Camp episode "Camporee", the three main camps around Lake Lilac, Camp Campbell, the Wood Scouts camp, and the Flower Scouts camp, compete in fifteen events to determine which camp is the best. This is a traditional summer camp story, but it is satisfyingly twisted in the way that only Camp Camp can.

Cameron Campbell is back in America after his attempts to try to avoid prosecution by federal agents. In typical Wood Scouts behavior, they want the Camp Campbell grounds and campers to be part of the Wood Scouts. Then, in typical Cameron Campbell behavior, he agrees to the terms if the Wood Scouts will give him their profits from popcorn sales.

The events are divided into three parts. The first five events are chosen by the Flower Scouts, the second five are chosen by the Wood Scouts, and the final five are chosen by Camp Campbell. The events range from normal, such as rowing across Like Lilac to Spooky Island, to the absurd, such as walking across a narrow board over bubbling green liquid while avoiding giant swinging metal balls with spikes. The Camp Campbell campers struggle throughout the events until Gwen has an idea. 

This episode was great as a pastiche of camp competition stories as well as fun in the whole absurdity of the events. It's always great to see the other camps, as every story needs a good adversary. Pikeman always fits well in this role, and he's just as annoying as usual, and more than a little bit creepy. It's only natural that the Camp Campbell campers wouldn't want to be under his command, which offers up a believable reason that the socializing-adverse Max and Neil would compete. It's also the first episode where the ending leads right into the next episode, although both can be viewed independently.

Final Verdict:
4 out of 5

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Animated Comedy Television Series Episode Review: Quack Pack: Episode 1 - The Really Mighty Ducks

This review was previously posted on the McMurray Internet Channel website on March 7, 2019.

Quack Pack was a 1996 show starring Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. It was based on the Donald Duck shorts, which was referenced in the theme song as it begins with the title card and music from the original shorts.

The fact that it was based on the shorts gave it a slapstick, abstract quality. This, combined with the show’s inclusion of human characters and the choice to not include characters like Scrooge or Launchpad, caused it to be negatively compared to DuckTales, a well-received show that also was on the Disney Afternoon cartoon block.

This caused it to only run for one season containing thirty-nine episodes. However, with the recent DuckTales reboot, it’s worth checking out Quack Pack again. It’s actually a fun little show, and some of the show’s character ideas actually made it into the modern DuckTales, with a few tweaks.

This is the first time that gave Huey, Dewey, and Louie had regular preteen voices rather than duckling speak. It’s also the first animated production where the twins were given individual personalities. Both of these carried over into the 2017 DuckTales series, however, personality traits were swapped. In Quack Pack, Huey was the schemer, Dewey was the intellectual, and Louie was the adventurer. In the 2017 DuckTales series, Huey was the intellectual, Dewey was the adventurer, and Louie was the schemer.

The episode itself is a fun one. Professor Ludwig von Drake, a mainstay in both comics and animation, shows the twins his inventions as the twins want to use one to help them clean their rooms. Of course, being preteens, they choose the superhero machine over the room cleaning machine. Huey gets super speed, Dewey gets a massive brain, and Louie gets super strength.

This leads to a fun series of sequences where the twins use their powers for frivolous things and end up doing more harm than good. Ultimately, Donald decides to use von Drake’s machine for himself, since he can’t convince his nephews to clean their room.

He accidentally turns himself into a villain, and things get really over the top and fun from here. Donald turns the universe into his battlefield, using Saturn’s rings as a slingshot and shooting planets and stars at the twins. This wonderfully shows how abstract and slapsticky the show can get, but this is where Quack Pack shines. It’s less like DuckTales and more like Freakazoid, and that’s the show’s best quality. When an animated show has an abstract sense of humor, nothing is off limits, and this episode demonstrated that in spades.

Quack Pack is a fun, underrated show. The Really Mighty Ducks is a fantastic way to introduce the show. It’s abstract and silly and it isn’t afraid to go all out, giving a fantastic bit of animation, and some super fun and silly scenes and references in the process. If you go into Quack Pack with the mindset that you’re in for something super fun and silly, you should have an enjoyable time with it.

Final Verdict:

4½ out of 5

Science-Fiction Television Series Episode Review: Doctor Who - The Magician's Apprentice

This review was previously published on the Jupiter Beagle website on September 28, 2015.

Peter Capaldi’s second series as the alien timelord, The Doctor, begins with a bang. The first part of a two part story reunites The Doctor with the timelord he has known his entire life, The Master, revealed last year to have regenerated into a timelady now going by Missy, or The Mistress. She received The Doctor’s confession dial, which is the timelord’s last will and testament, and as she can’t open it until The Doctor dies, she realizes that The Doctor believes he only has one day left to live.

Missy recruits The Doctor’s current human companion, Clara, to help her try to search throughout space and time to find The Doctor. Clara’s massive intelligence, which is nice to see utilized again, as well as Clara and Missy’s knowledge of how The Doctor thinks, allow them to find the exact moment in time and space where The Doctor is spending what he believes to be his last day.

I really enjoy the Michelle Gomez version of The Master, so I was pleased to see that she has returned after her apparent death last year. She’s just as delightfully twisted here as she was in her debut season. We also get to see more of how The Doctor and The Master view their relationship, which has been a big part of the new run of Doctor Who, ever since John Simm’s turn as The Master during David Tennant’s tenure as The Doctor. Having Clara involved makes for an interesting dynamic, as like his relationship with The Master, The Doctor has also known Clara since childhood. They are truly the two people who know him The Doctor the best, although their relationships with The Doctor couldn’t be more different.

The new villain, a humanoid made out of snakes, is satisfyingly creepy, but it is the returning villain who is center stage in this episode. Peter Capaldi’s tenure as The Doctor seems to be about embracing the classic series, from his choice of clothing to the villains he faces. Nothing is as true here, as he meets his long hated foe, the Kaled creator of the Daleks, Davros. We learn that The Doctor did something in his past regarding Davros that he regrets, and Davros calls him out on it on his deathbed. We’re then left with a haunting finale that draws parallels to a story during Tom Baker’s time as The Doctor, which is widely named as one of the best Doctor Who serials, Genesis of The Daleks.

I quite enjoyed this episode. It was great to see Missy again, along with Davros. The cliffhanger ending works exceptionally well and does its job in making you anticipate the finale. Some things went by a bit too quickly though, such as the appearance of the Shadow Proclamation and the sisterhood of Karn. While it made sense to show them in a way, since it showed that Davros had his servant searching everywhere for The Doctor, it would have been nice to see more than a few seconds of each location. In addition, Missy’s survival is never explained, although its possible it will be in the finale. Everything else in this episode though, was top-notch, especially The Doctor’s huge use of anachronisms to make his appearance in the past known. If the next episode is as thrilling as this one, the rest of the episodes of this series will have a tough act to follow.

Final Verdict:

4 out of 5

Platform Game Compilation Review: Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Super Mario 3D All-Stars, like its two-dimensional counterpart, is a compilation of Super Mario games. However, due to the advancements in technology, this compilation contains the original games which have been emulated, although sometimes enhanced, for the Nintendo Switch.

This compilation contains three games across three platforms. The games included are Super Mario 64, originally released on the Nintendo 64, Super Mario Sunshine, originally released on the GameCube, and Super Mario Galaxy, originally released on the Wii.

While the games have been updated to high-definition. Super Mario 64 is still in a 4:3 aspect ratio. Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy are presented in a 16:9 ratio. All of the games run in the Switch's native resolution of 720p in handheld mode and in 1080p in docked mode.

Super Mario 64 includes some enhanced textures to make up for the increase in resolution. Even more welcome is the inclusion of support for the wireless Nintendo 64 controller that Nintendo released for Nintendo Switch Online.

Super Mario Sunshine is the most impressive of the three games, as a lot has been done to make the game look and play great on the Switch. It is presented in true widescreen, which is very welcome. But, the thing that makes this worth playing over the original game is that it contains multiple control modes. It can be played with the original GameCube controls, or with updated controls that make it play more like a modern 3D Super Mario game. GameCube controller support is also available to those who have a GameCube Controller Adapter.

Like Super Mario All-Stars before it, Super Mario 3D All-Stars contains an excellent selection of Super Mario titles. Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy are all classic 3D platformers. It's especially nice to see the addition of Super Mario Sunshine, as the game doesn't get the attention it deserves. With the option of a modern control scheme, Super Mario Sunshine is more accessible than it ever has been before. It is a little weird that Super Mario Galaxy 2 isn't included, but that exclusion doesn't put a dent in the value of this game. It's well worth picking up for fans of the 3D Super Mario games or just for fans of 3D platformers in general.

Final Verdict:
5 out of 5

Friday, January 27, 2023

Animated Fantasy Television Series Episode Review: Steven Universe Pilot

This review was originally posted on the McMurray Internet Channel website on March 5, 2019.

The Steven Universe pilot was originally released on YouTube and the Cartoon Network website, however, it has since been removed from both websites. It can still be watched as it was included on the Gem Glow DVD and the Season One DVD and Blu-Ray releases.

Watching the pilot is interesting because, other than the dramatically different art styles, the show is actually amazingly quite similar to what we got in the finished product.

Garnet has two gemstones here, which became a major plot point in season one of the television series. She also appears to be the leader, as she directs the other Crystal Gems on what to do.

Amethyst has the carefree, childish persona she had in the early seasons of the show, as demonstrated here by bringing the crystal skull home and then giving Steven the hourglass even though she knows it is dangerous.

Pearl is depicted as cautious here as well, demonstrated by how she tells Steven that he can’t see the hourglass as it is extremely powerful. She’s a bit out of character when she says that Steven will look like a clown if he sings his song in battle, but the way she bashfully covers her mouth when she softly laughs afterward is pure Pearl. Plus, the way Amythyst laughs uproariously and Garnet admonishes them not to make fun of Steven is definitely true to the characters they have on the aired version of the show.

Then, there’s Steven. His song is absolutely the highlight of the episode. It’s an extended version of the song "We are the Crystal Gems", which would become the theme song of the show. Steven’s song in this episode is so great that it was later used, verbatim, in the official extended version of the song.

As for Steven’s personality, he is exactly the curious, immature boy that he was in season one of the show. I could definitely see him accidentally use the hourglass to use a comeback when Lars insults him, which is exactly how season one Lars would act. Season one Sadie would definitely admonish Lars when he teases Steven as well, even though she had a crush on Lars at that point.

Plus, Garnet using the hourglass to win the battle after she learns that it can only be used for comebacks is exactly how she would do it in the show as well. Honestly, I prefer this use of the hourglass to the one that we got in the show in season one. Steven forming a band with past versions of himself called Steven and the Stevens was fun, but it didn’t really fit into what the show became after season one. It’s one of those weird one-off episodes that really doesn’t fit into the mold of the rest of the show.

This episode, even though it is not canon to the series, actually does fit into the rest of the show quite nicely. Yes, the animation is more detailed and rough than the clean look the show got when it aired. However, if it was re-animated to fit in with what the show became, it would have been a great season one episode. Add a star zoom-in on Steven’s face at the end when he said “this clown is going to save your lives”, and it would fit into the show surprisingly perfectly.

Final Verdict:
4½ out of 5

Adult Animated Comedy Web Series Episode Review: Camp Camp - Mind Freakers

In the Camp Camp episode "Mind Freakers", Camp Campbell's resident illusionist performs a trick so mindbending that the camp's lover of science, Neil, struggles to explain it.

Harrison gives a performance on stage, and Neil complains about each trick. He says that each illusion can be explained by science and then proceeds to explain each one. Frustrated, Harrison performs a trick that he calls the greatest illusion of all. He means to cast it on Neil but accidentally casts it on Max, who is standing next to Neil.

Regardless of its target, the trick confuses Neil, who struggles to explain how it could have been performed. Meanwhile, Max is traumatized by the effects that the trick had on him. Meanwhile, Nikki, enthralled by Harrison's magic, becomes his apprentice.

Neil tries to convince Nikki to get Harrison to teach her the trick, however, he claims that it can only be performed by a level four magician. He also rubs it in by telling Nikki to tell Neil that the trick is easy to figure out if you are smart enough. This leads to Neil freaking out and trying to perform the trick on Nikki with science, even though he had never figured out how it was done. 

"Mind Freakers" is an important Camp Camp episode as it is the first episode that Neil comes to realize that he can't explain everything that happens at the camp. With all the weird and wacky things that occur at Camp Campbell over to course of four seasons, that is a lesson that truly needed to be learned.

Final Verdict:
4½ out of 5

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Animated Fantasy Television Episode Review: The Owl House - For the Future

The second and penultimate episode of the final season of The Owl House, "For the Future", is now available to watch. As the episode that sees the gang, together with Luz the human's mother Camilla, return to the demon realm, it has a lot to handle. It manages to juggle everything surprisingly well and handles the two-month time skip in a manner much better than the season three premiere.

It is fun to see Camilla, or "tall Luz" as one of the kids at Hexside called her, finally getting to see the demon realm. Her reactions mirror those of Luz when she first traveled there, and they are greatly contrasted by how skilled her daughter has become at navigating the demon realm after all the time she lived and was educated there.

We finally get to see just how powerful the show's secondary antagonist, the Collector, really can be. As he's just a child, albeit one with phenomenal cosmic powers, every horrifying act that he performs is treated like a game. As he turns witches into dolls and controls their actions like puppets, it seems like he doesn't realize how much he is hurting them.

It seemed a little odd that the season premiere didn't spend too much time dealing with the kids being separated from their families. In "Thanks to Them", that story thread became merely pictures that the kids drew and hung up in the empty house that effectively became their clubhouse. Here, it is given a larger focus, even culminating in a magical power overload that acts as a metaphor for clinical depression.

Adding to the depression, another character is reeling from the loss of a loved one in the previous episode. They end up comforting each other through a literal breaking of the vines holding them down.

"For the Future" does itself a favor by finally dealing with the absence of family in the lives of the children in the usual nuanced way that The Owl House handles tough subjects. The danger of the antagonists plays in the background, which is where it should be at this point in the story. That said, the final scene ties the two villains together and teases a power-packed finale.

Final Verdict:
4½ out of 5

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Adult Animated Comedy Web Series Episode Review: Camp Camp - David Gets Hard

In the Camp Camp episode, "David Gets Hard", the camp counselors discover that they need to hold a day of lessons for the camp for which the camp's bully, Nurf, was enlisted. When it's discovered that Nurf's mother signed him up for boot camp, Max and Gwen convince David to try to get tough.

Gwen and David argue about how to handle it, while Max claims he's the nastiest camper at Camp Campbell and offers to teach David how to get tough. Of course, David, being who he is, can't overcome his need to be nice. After a few instances of a funny running joke regarding weapons, Max gets a reality check when he realizes that he isn't as tough as he thought.

Gwen reveals that, alongside her liberal arts degree, she dual-majored in psychology. David tries the therapy angle, and, unsurprisingly, this doesn't work either. David then tries to handle things in his own way, but things don't go as he planned. The surprising breakthrough is funny, and it actually makes sense.

It's nice to see more background characters get fleshed out. Nurf personifies the bully archetype turned up to eleven. With the breakthrough at the end, it's interesting to see just how different his actions are in future episodes. This episode is great, as not only does Nurf receive a breakthrough, but so does the series protagonist, Max. The latter's realization will continue to build up in the few remaining episodes until the end of the first season.

Final Verdict:
4 out of 5

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Platform Game Compilation Mega Review: Super Mario All-Stars

Super Mario All-Stars is a classic compilation that defined enhanced ports. It remains a worthwhile play due to the ultimate replayability of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario Bros. 3. The inclusion of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels was an unexpected addition as this compilation marked the first time that game had been released outside of Japan.

All four games are ported from their Nintendo Entertainment System counterparts, or the Family Computer Disk System counterpart in the case of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. Because of this, they retain the same tried-and-true gameplay as the originals. There are a few exceptions to this, as it included bug fixes to remove the minus-world glitches in Super Mario Bros. In addition, Super Mario Bros. 3 is based on the Japanese version, so the block that was removed at the end of the world 8 enemy boat is there making it more challenging to jump up from the water onto the boat to get through the pipe to the enemy.

The things that make these games worth playing over the originals are the graphic, music, and sound effects upgrades. The graphics had a huge overhaul owing to the much more powerful hardware that powered the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. They are now akin to Super Mario World with more character detail as well as background elements that enhance the atmosphere. The underground levels also received an echo effect that also helps with immersion into the game's atmosphere. The music is structurally the same, however, they have been enhanced with digital instruments such as drums and horns that weren't possible on the original hardware.

Super Mario All-Stars was released on the SNES. It was later re-released through emulation on the Wii and through the online service on Nintendo Switch. As such, it is easier to access than it ever had been before. The enhanced graphics and sound may make it worthwhile to play the All-Stars versions of these games even if you had played the NES versions before. If you haven't played any or all of the included games, then I wholeheartedly recommend this compilation as it's the most technologically impressive way to play them.

Final Verdict:
5 out of 5
Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins ReviewSuper Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island Review

Monday, January 23, 2023

Comedy Pop Music Video Review: I Want Your Cray Cray

"I Want Your Cray Cray" was a song that Trish Walker, a character played by Rachael Taylor, was said to have recorded in the early 2000s in "AKA I Want Your Cray Cray", the seventh episode of the second season of Jessica Jones

To promote the episode, Marvel released the full-length song on iTunes and released an accompanying music video on YouTube. The song was created in the style of an early 21st-century pop song and the lyrics were purposefully simple and repetitive both as a parody of 2000s pop songs and because the song was said to have prevented Trish Walker's attempt at a career comeback in Jessica Jones.

They succeeded in making a song that was cringy yet catchy, which could be said for many of the 2000s-era pop songs it parodies. The music video is the preferred method of experiencing this song, as it is created in the style of the popular VH1 music video series, Pop-Up Videos. Throughout the video, comments about the song, Trish, and her mother-manager Dorothy, would pop up on the screen in text bubbles. They were even accompanied by a "pop" sound effect like the one heard in the VH1 series.

The music video is a nice accompaniment to the episode, as well as to the Jessica Jones series as a whole. The comments that pop up throughout are perfectly reminiscent of those in Pop-Up Videos, such as mentions about the movements made by Trish and comments about the backup dancers. The popup comments about Trish Walker's substance abuse and Dorothy Walker's use of her daughter to help her own social life fit within the story of the episode and within the overarching story of the series. 

"I Want Your Cray Cray" is a fun supplement to the Jessica Jones web series. The song itself is a tongue-in-cheek parody of early 21st-century pop songs, with a catchy melody and repetitive lyrics. The music video is the preferred method to experience the song. It has oversexualized women making provocative movements, which emulate early 2000s music videos. It's the VH1 Pop-Up Videos parody that is the main joy to be had in watching the music video. It's a pitch-perfect imitation of VH1's popular series with text bubble comments that vary between humorous for the sake of being humorous and humorous expansions on the show's lore. It's well worth watching for fans of Jessica Jones, fans of the formerly Netflix-exclusive side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or just fans of the weird Marvel Comics character Patricia Walker, aka Hellcat.

Final Verdict:
4½ out of 5

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Animated Fantasy Television Episode Review: The Owl House - Thanks to Them

With the recent release of the second of three episodes that make up the third and final season of The Owl House, I thought it would be the opportune time to catch up on previous episodes. As the first episode of season three, "Thanks to Them", brings the mother of Luz the human fully into her daughter's secret life, it seems like an appropriate place to start.

The episode begins with Luz's witch girlfriend Amity, Willow the plant magic witch, Gus the illusionist witch, and Hunter the magicless grim walker, stuck in the human realm with Luz. The latter brings them to her home and introduces them to her mother, Camilla Noceda. She invites them to stay, with the two boys sleeping in the cellar and the three girls sleeping in Luz's room with Vee the shapeshifting basilisk, who has been living there since Luz went into the demon realm.

Because Disney only ordered three episodes for the final season of The Owl House instead of its usual twenty-one-episode season, the crew of the show had to stuff seven episodes worth of story-telling into one episode. They do so with a musical montage. The montage is fun, beginning with Luz revealing that she is bisexual and introducing her girlfriend to her mother. It also shows the three shopping for human clothing and Vee shapeshifting into a human form that is all her own rather than a copy of Luz.

The crew did well with what they were given, but, unfortunately, it feels like a condensed episode. Even with the montage, the revelation that the witches have been in the human realm for months threw me for a loop. The kids draw pictures of their family and mentioned that they want to go home, but the team was forced to condense their time in the human realm, leaving their anguish at wanting to go home falling a bit flat. This is something that could have been handled well in the usual seven out of twenty-one episodes that they would have been given to tell this part of the story. 

The episode is fun. occasionally heartwarming, and the ending fight with Belos the centuries-old witch hunter is awesome with the best animation ever put out by the show. It's a fun episode, however, the condensation of seven episodes into one really hurt the storytelling. The crew did their best with what they had, and it is still really good. However, if Disney gave the series the episode order it deserved, this really good story could have been great.

Final Verdict:
4 out of 5

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Adult Animated Comedy Web Series Episode Review: Camp Camp - Into Town

In the Camp Camp episode, Into Town, Max has pushed David so far that he plans to leave Camp Campbell. Max, Nikki, and Neil sneak into the camp's station wagon so that they can see what David plans to do now that his cheerful exterior has begun to crack.

The kids are disappointed when the town has few shops and resembles a 19th-century Old West town more than one from the 21st century. Neil discovers an electronics store, and Max tells him to go inside but to watch out for David so that they don't become stranded there. Despite being older than he is, Neil becomes enamored with the cathode-ray tube television sets on the display shelves.

Meanwhile, Max and Nikki check out three other shops for any sign of David. These include a bar, a shop named Muffin Tops, and a hardware store. Each stop includes funny interactions and gags. There is also a funny visual gag going on throughout the episode involving Nikki. I didn't catch it until Neil pointed it out and I rewatched the episode with it in mind. It's a series of really subtle changes that really encapsulates Nikki as a person.

This episode was fun, as it cranks the Max and David feud up to eleven. This is also the first indication that David even ever wants to leave Camp Campbell, let alone does it. It doesn't really propel the series forward, however, the sheer amount of jokes make up for it.

Final Verdict:
4 out of 5