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Who’s the Star with Netflix’s Wish Dragon?

14 Jun

Wish Dragon.pngBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Now playing on Netflix

Sadly, Wish Dragon is a very paint by numbers Disney-style product. It has elements of Aladdin, Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon all mixed in, and I’m fairly sure writer/director Chris Appelhans even drew upon the song When I Wish Upon a Star for inspiration. This blending delivers on the meaning behind the lyrics, “The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing…” but fails when considering other details. This work can’t decide if it wants to be a social commentary/comedy ala Crazy Rich Asians or a tween romance. The balancing act isn’t well done.

The introduction establishes Din (Jimmy Wong) and Li (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) as kids promising to be best friends forever, a la Lilo & Stitch. Both are troublemakers and it’s cute to see them together. Unlike this franchise, they eventually get separated. The girl becomes a model and has forgotten about her past. Her dad’s motives are good, but it turns out he has an “evil” agenda. He’s searching for that magic lamp to grant him a better life for his family. 

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Yoshikitty Wins #1 Spot Again in Sanrio’s Character Ranking

12 Jun

The results of the prestigious “2021 Sanrio Character Ranking Contest” were announced mid last week, and Yoshikitty has again captured the hearts of anime fans globally, claiming the number one spot in four countries: Italy, Germany, France, and Thailand. Inspired by the leader of the biggest rock band in Japanese history, X Japan, Yoshikitty not only has loyal anime fans, but also the passionate fan base of international icon Yoshiki backing them to the top.

The contest brings together the most popular Sanrio characters, with Yoshikitty having earned a top 10 ranking in the contest every year since 2015. This year, Yoshikitty placed 11th overall in a stiff competition against the likes of beloved anime characters Pom Pom Purin and Cinnamoroll. During the official event, which was broadcast online this year due to the ongoing pandemic, Yoshiki made a special guest appearance to express his gratitude to the fans who supported Yoshikitty.

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The Retrospective in Biography: WWE Legends

12 Jun

downloadBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Please check local listings for a repeat schedule.

A&E Network and WWE Studios are partners in Biography: WWE Legends (formerly known as World Wrestling Federation), a new run of biographies about the legends of wrestling. The decision on who to first focus on must’ve been tough. To see true alumni, namely Hulk Hogan, interviewed about their time with the talents from the past two decades, made for a great retrospective.

There are eight specials and the last documentary about Bret Hart aired last weekend. To binge watch these two hour specials isn’t possible, but to watch them over successive days than wait reveals a lot more about the sport turned entertainment spectacle. Although each piece doesn’t get into the most guarded secrets or details that can be read from a Wikipedia styled biography, I found the series to be a terrific primer to get newcomers and the curious up to date on the talents who became Stone Cold Steve Austin, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Booker T, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Mick Foley and Ultimate Warrior.

Not all of these people stood out, but I did find Booker T’s charm a total gem in the spotlight about him. From those who are still living and are looking back, they’re not talking about all the demons they faced or go into huge lengths about their youth which led to them wanting to partake in wrestling as a proper sport (the part of their life I’m really curious about). Randy perhaps had the most problems to deal with. Not even The Undertaker can exorcise them.

We get a fairly good nostalgia trip and history about what this sports entertainment business is about, even before it became a crazy arena spectacle. One nice mention is in how the South East of America operated as fiefdoms, before it eventually became one huge brand. These documentaries doesn’t always reveal how much of an influence WWE is in other media (missing the boat on crossover into comic books and cartoons) and this segment can use an expansion.

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Where to Find Studio4°C’s Children of the Sea in the USA

10 Jun

Poster image for Children of the SeaPlease visit the official website to find a screening near you.

Children of the Sea is the latest feature from Japan’s STUDIO4°C (known for TekkonkinkreetMFKZMind GameAnimatrixBatman: Gotham Knight, and others) that’s now crossed the ocean and is screening in theatres across the United States. Screenings in other countries are coming, and it’s just a matter of patience.

This highly anticipated movie is directed by Ayumu Watanabe. Longtime Studio Ghibli collaborator Joe Hisaishi (Spirited AwayHowl’s Moving CastleMy Neighbor Totoro) has composed the soundtrack. Children Of The Sea is adapted from the manga of the same name by author Daisuke Igarashi, which won the Excellence Prize at the Japan Media Arts Festival.

Plot Synopsis:

When Ruka was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora. They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea as she does. Ruka’s dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children are experiencing as they get caught up in the mystery of the worldwide disappearance of the oceans’ fish.

The Paranormal Network is about Cryptids & Mythology Too!

10 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

New Episode(s) Available Every Week
With the next Mytheries June 28 and That Bigfoot Show July 12

The Paranormal Network is growing there’s two programs worth checking out. The parent company. Joblo.com, shuffled their paranormal subjects under the new banner. I still argue cryptozoology is its own discipline, since it deals with beings that have left a trail of alleged evidence behind. However, it should be noted that this channel is still growing. There’ll be regular weekly content and of the five different shows, all of them stand out in their own unique way.

That Bigfoot Show is a short format style video blog about cryptids in context with the world of pop culture. Taylor James Johnson certainly knows his stuff. These segments have a Pokemon GO vlogger vibe as he’s in the field, on hikes in various woods, and perhaps hoping for that once-in-the-lifetime chance to catch the giant. His dialogue isn’t scripted. On any stumbles or need to edit his talk, television, cinematic or comic book b-roll is placed over his talking head moments.

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