steven universe

Steven Universe

So here’s something hilarious; I actually thought this was going to be an easy review. “Three episodes of Steven Universe?” I thought “That’s only half an hour’s worth of animation! I can do that in my sleep! I can wrap this review up in one night and take the rest of the week off to maybe work on some other things and actually be a writer for once!”
“Oh Mouse! You are a FOOL!”

“Oh Mouse! You are a FOOL!”

Of course not. Because before I can get into reviewing Steven Universe I actually have to explain what Steven Universe is and the backstory of the show to people who have never seen it. And with a backstory this epic, I have been forced to employ special tools. Please click this link.
(NOTE this link may not work on all devises, I’m working on getting a video to embed in the post but that may take some time. In the meantime, the Mary Sue gives a good run down of the backstory)
So yeah, that is the incredibly dense and rich mythology that the series has built up over one hundred episodes and is IN ABSOLUTELY NO HURRY TO LET YOU IN ON. Seriously, this show is such a goddamn tease, I’d say it drip feeds its backstory but these aren’t even drips, these are molecules of plot moisture.
Oh goodie. Another episode where Steven eats ice-cream.

Oh goodie. Another episode where Steven eats ice-cream.

I kid, I kid (mostly). One of the show’s charms is actually how it carefully builds up its world and devotes time to the various characters that make up Steven’s social circle, whether it’s the gems, or the various residents of Beach city, or his father Greg. And all these characters are so wonderfully layered and charming that even episodes where nothing substantial happens to move the main plot forward feel worthwhile.
Except Ronaldo because oh my giddy Aunt, FUCK RONALDO.

Except Ronaldo because, oh my giddy Aunt, FUCK RONALDO.

So this show first aired in 2013 on Cartoon Network and is the creation of Rebecca Sugar, a former writer and storyboard artist on Adventure Time. At the top of this post there’s some concept art from the original pilot which was much more “Adventure Timey” in its animation and style but the actual series looks quite different. The show has a simple but very elegant art style favouring beautiful painted backdrops and clean, uncomplicated character designs. The music is also really inventive with original songs featuring in many episodes (it helps that the main and supporting cast are crammed with professional singers). But all that would just add up to a very good looking and sounding children’s cartoon. To understand what makes Steven Universe so special we have to talk about fusion.
So, when the Crystal Gems are battling a threat that’s too powerful for them to take on alone, they can fuse together to form more powerful gems. Okay, hardly revolutionary. Power Rangers, Digimon and Transformers have all used a version of this trope to one degree or other. But here’s the thing. In Steven Universe fusion is very explicitly a metaphor for, well…
giphy-1
Okay, well maybe that’s a little simplistic. The metaphor is fairly elastic and, depending on the episode, fusion can be a stand in for a romantic relationship, platonic friendship or sometimes just the hard fucking. It’s also really important to remember that within the universe (heh) of the show, it’s none of those things. In the world of Steven Universe, fusion is not sex, or relationships or anything else, it’s fusion. It’s its own thing with its own rules and norms and etiquette. This is important to remember because if you treat the metaphor too literally it can go to some weird places. Like, the episode A Giant Woman where Steven first learns about fusion and sings a song about wanting to see Amethyst and Pearl fuse. If you take it to literally mean sex then it becomes the story of a creepy little boy wanting to watch his two foster mothers fuck.
So. Don’t do that.
So today we are going to be looking at three episodes from Season 2; A Cry For Help, Keystone Motel and Friend Ship. Let’s take a look. (Oh and, needless to say, there will be spoilers both for this episode and the series more generally so be warned.)

(more…)

Movie Deathmatch: The Final Reckoning

And so, as another year ends we face the aftermath of another Movie Deathmatch. Dammit, we must build a better world. When will the killing end?
So, as you all know, this time around I was trying to raise money for Joanna VR, a filmed version of my play for virtual reality. We were aiming to raise €12,500. We got around €3,000.
castle
Meh. It happens. We’ll sit down, work out where we go from here, figure out a new way to do it and try again. All part of the process and not one you guys have to worry about. What does concern you is the results and here they are. The winners of the increasingly misnamed Unshaved Mouse Charity Movie Deathmatch 2015 are:
3. Steven Universe
 
2. Gravity Falls.
 
1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2
Wrong winner
Oh wait. Sorry, sorry.
No, first place was actually Gargoyles. Yeah. And for those of you agitating in the comments to get people to vote for Hunchback 2? I have a list. And I will find you.
New_York_Weenie_A_Mickey_Mouse_Cartoon_Disney_Shows
Stories will be told around campfires.
Huge thanks to everyone who voted. Also, special thanks to people who gave larger donations and requested reviews outright. They were Alex Hu, Martha Brady, Michael Tyndall, JBull, Roger Courtney, Adrienne Gallagher and my brothers John, Eamonn and Donal Sharpson who donated just to make sure that I have to review three of the WORST FUCKING MOVIES OF ALL TIME. Thanks to all of you (except the last three) and if there’s anyone I’ve overlooked please let me know in the comments ASAP.
Happy new year everybody.
Mouse out

MOVIE (AND TV SERIES) DEATHMATCH!!!

Before we get on to the fun part of unveiling which of the 123 (I’M SORRY I’LL REPEAT THAT AGAIN ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FRICKIN’ THREE) Movies and TV series that you nominated made the cut, let’s go through how this works again.

  1. Make a donation of $5 or $10 to the Joanna VR Kickstarter page.
  2. Leave a message on the Kickstarter page (or an email to unshavedmouse@gmail.com) telling me who gets your vote or votes ($5 counts as one vote, $10 counts as two).
  3. We’ll be running the Kickstarter for thirty-eight days. Every two weeks, the lowest scoring three movies/series will be eliminated in entertainingly gory ways.
  4. Highest scoring three movies/series at the end of the month get reviewed. Simple as.

Mouse? I’m rich, and I believe the rules do not apply to me.

Hades

How can I get you to review a movie or series I want and skip all this foolishness?

A $25 dollar donation and I’m yours for the night, baby. That automatically gets you a review of any movie or episode of a TV series your heart desires. Anything at all. Doesn’t even have to be animated or a comic book movie. Anything. I will review a damn sexual harassment training video if you want.

What’ll you do for $40?

Two reviews.

A hundred?

Anal.

WHAT?!

Oh what are you, a cop?

Ohhhhhkay… What if I buy a review for a movie or series that’s competing in the death match?

In the case of movies, if you give a $25 donation and request a movie that loses the deathmatch, you get the review anyway. If your movie wins the deathmatch then I will contact you and ask you for your second choice and you get two movies that you wanted reviewed instead of one. Fair enough?

In the case of a TV series  that wins the deathmatch, I’ll review an extra episode for every person that gave a $25 donation for that series.

 

“And that, children, is how the Unshaved Mouse had to review Gravity Falls for the rest of his life.”

“And that, children, is how the Unshaved Mouse had to review Gravity Falls for the rest of his life.”

So, without further ado…LET’S MEET OUR CONTESTANTS!

Darkwing_Duck_(animation)_title_card

Darkwing Duck

Age: 24 (Now don’t YOU feel old?)

Episodes: 91

AKA: “DW”, “The Killer Bill”, “Ol’ Motherducker”

A grim spectre of the night, Darkwing Duck brings peerless martial arts skills and cutting edge gagetry to the deathmatch arena. Coming face to face with DW, many fighters will turn tail and run when they hear three words: “Let’s. Get. Dangerous.” ELIMINATED

Gargoyles

Gargoyles

Age: 18

Episodes: 78

AKA: “Dismemberer of the Night”

A savage and lethal combatant, Gargoyles swoops from the shadows, picking off unsuspecting opponents and tearing them to pieces before they have a chance to react. Temporarily allied with its Disney stablemates, how long can this fighter resist its own beastial nature before it turns on them? Not long. Not really…no, not long at all. Matter of minutes.

A Goofy Movie poster.jpg

A Goofy Movie

Age: 20

Run Time: 78 minutes

AKA: “The Super Goofer Trouper”

In a very Disney-heavy field this perennially overlooked and disrespected film has nothing to lose and everything to prove. And that may just make him the most dangerous fighter of all. “You want to get nuts with Goofy!?” he yells through bloodied teeth “C’MON! LET’S GET NUTS!” ELIMINATED

Gravity_Falls_logo 

Gravity Falls

Age: 3

Episodes: 38 and counting

AKA: “The Inevitable G”

 No movie or series entered this contest with more hype. No other fighter has as much love from the crowd. And perhaps, no other fighter is as big a target or has as far to fall. Beloved though it may be, Gravity Falls should remember the fate of The Iron Giant, another highly popular fighter who was favoured to win and then got blown up by a nuke. Makes you think.

The_Hunchback_of_Notre_Dame_II

The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2

Age: 17

Run Time: 69 Minutes

AKA: “Ol’ Worse Than Cancer”

Guys, I’m just going to drop the schtick for a second. This movie can’t win. Do not let this movie win. Don’t be stupid now. This thing will be the death of us all.

Pacific_Rim_FilmPoster

Pacific Rim

Age: 3

Run Time: 132 minutes

AKA: “The very confused one”

“Help!” Pacific Rim yells, banging furiously on the bars of its cell “There’s been a terrible mistake! I’m not an animation or a comic book movie! I shouldn’t even be here! Let me out!”

“There is only one way out.” a wise old movie tells him “Win the crowd, and you will win your freedom.” ELIMINATED

swat-set

SWAT Kats

Age: 22

Episodes: 23

AKA: “The Hanna Barbarians”

SWAT Kats steps into the arena with cutting edge weaponry, EXTREME ATTITUDE and a total disrespect for spelling convention. It’s like the nineties never went away, baby. ELIMINATED

STTAS

Star Trek: The Animated Series

Age: 42

Episodes: 22

AKA: “The Terror From Beyond the Stars”

“Captain’s log, stardate…unknown. My crew and I have found ourselves transported to a strange alternate dimension where it appears we are to be made to fight for the amusement of beings of incredible power. Of course, the taking of sentient life in arena combat is barbaric and anathema to the code of any Starfleet officer but…well, that’s never stopped us before. Mr Spock, it’s time to choke a bitch.”

“Logical, Captain.”  ELIMINATED

Steven_Universe-all_characters

 

Steven Universe

Age: 3

Episodes: 73 and counting

AKA: “Cruisin’ for a Fusion”

Another highly favoured fighter, Steven Universe will stop at nothing to win the Deathmatch and return Earth to Homeworld Gem control.

Summer Wars

Summer Wars

Age: 6

Run time: 114 Minutes

AKA: “Most Righteous Death Edge of the East” 

Word of the Deathmatch has traveled even to the Far East. A lone warrior, masterless and taciturn, Summer Wars comes to test its skill against the mightiest warriors the West has to offer. Only then, will it finally be able to quell the rage that dwells within its heart.

The_Lego_Movie_poster

The Lego Movie

Age: 1

Run Time: 100 Minutes

AKA: “The Brick Shithouse”

The youngest of our fighters, The Lego Movie eschews speed and skill for pure, brute power. As anyone who’s stepped on a lego brick barefoot  in the dead of night can attest, Lego is lethal business.

Turtles_Forever_Poster 

Turtles Forever

Age: 6

Run Time: 73 Minutes

AKA: “Lean Green Machine”

Combining the techniques both old and new, Turtles Forever is an excellent all round fighter that just might have the skill and tenacity to come out on top. ELIMINATED

***

So there you have it. Head over to the Kickstarter page and let’s get some blood on the sand. Be sure to check in on 04 December to see who’s gone to their eternal reward.