There’s a lot more going on in Mavka, The Forest Song than just be an adaptation of the poem by Lesya Ukrainka.
Shout! Studios Release Date: Aug 15, 2023
Available to order on Amazon USA
It seems opinions about the Russian invasion into the Ukraine have filtered into children’s entertainment. When it hits that hard, that’s because one side doesn’t want the fighting, and prefers that all countries get along. When the conflict in Mavka, The Forest Song rears its ugly head, just how this title character can be a protector depends on faith.
Although the commentary was most likely not Lesya Ukrainka’s intent in her original 1911 play The Forest Song, what’s modified for this animated treatment certainly makes callbacks to other similar works, like Fern Gully than anything Disney would produce.
Keeping up with Transformers Earthspark can be tough. It can be found on Paramount Plus, the streaming service and Nickelodeon (USA) but when not everyone subscribes to either, tuning in from another country requires patience. I’ve lost track of when YTV would finally offer the remaining episodes; this station didn’t immediately offer them and recently, this network started cycling the first half all over again rather than offer new episodes (to which not even Nick has aired).
What I’ve learned after acquiring the home video release is that it is great at connecting to the G1 series. Those classic moments were reproduced in cel animation, and that’s enough for me to say I love the presentation! Also, this new series evolves the premise that’s defined this franchise for a long time. There are certain episodes which had me wanting to pause and rewind to search for Easter eggs, and the mid-season finale “Age of Evolution” sets up a world where newly formed allegiances are challenged.
This month brings Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger and Kamen Rider Ryuki to home video, courtesy of Shout! Factory.
Before Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, there was Super Sentai! This original presentation consists of many series only a superfan of the Tokusatsu genre can make sense of. Not only do we have the (fill in this blank) type ranger titles, but also there’s Kamen Rider and Cyborg 009. They’re all part of the megaverse, a term I’d rather use than meta.
What’s offered started hitting Japanese airwaves in the mid-70s, and to know where everything crosses over means really remembering all that’s been broadcasted since. Thanks to Shout! Factory for providing me with the releases lately, and they’re definitely shows I’m proud to play for my young nieces and nephews in hopes they’ll become fellow otakus.
First, I’ll look at what’s released this week and work backwards:
Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon is an inspiring fantasy movie adventure of a young heroine and her thrilling journey to save the endangered Amazon rainforest.
Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon is finally here in North America, on home video, courtesy of Shout! Kids. I’ve looked at this movie a while back (review link), and what I offer is a quick look at the bonus material that’s included in the DVD release:
From the Press Release:
AINBO: SPIRIT OF THE AMAZON is an inspiring fantasy movie adventure of a young heroine and her thrilling journey to save the endangered Amazon rainforest. Directed by Jose Zelada and Richard Claus (The Little Vampire and The Thief Lord) with a Peruvian-Dutch co-production among Tunche Films (Lima) and Cool Beans (Amsterdam), AINBO: SPIRIT OF THE AMAZON is a strikingly visual and colorful animated movie bolstered by vibrant storytelling, a strong young female lead character, fascinating folklores, and the relevant theme of deforestation and environmental conservation.
This character study about the inner workings of this Polynesian family in the movie Easter Sunday isn’t too deep. It’s at least entertaining.
Joe Valencia (stage name Jo Koy) is a comedic talent worth noting because he cites two comedy legends—Robin Williams and Steve Martin—as huge influences. Both made successful transitions to the big screen, and to be on par in Easter Sunday will take a lot more work.
He can do it. This movie sees him getting top billing, and its success must go beyond being a family sitcom about a Filipino household coming together for their Asian style holiday. The theatrical release in August and home video issue in Oct is unusual, but I welcomed this change of pace. The bonus material is nothing to rave about, and the best takeaway is that it was filmed during the pandemic. As for what it took to bring two of my favourite entertainers to this production, I was hooked.