Thursday, December 24, 2015

shorts SHORT Review: A Kidnapped Santa Claus

A Kidnapped Santa Claus
By L. Frank Baum
Adapted by Alex Robinson (Writer & Illustrator)
itbooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Welcome to another shorts SHORT Review for the winter season where we look at the odd life and times of Father Christmas. Santa Claus bounces back and fourth between this being of distress and a hero (sometimes villain). It's interesting to see him as these different lives. Especially the tales that have him being helped by a hero that he'd know about, but didn't know of the evil that would attack him. This is seen in the films Nightmare Before Christmas and Santa Claus Vs the Martians, both films intended to steal Santa away and keep Christmas for themselves. And this is the theme of the comic A Kidnapped Santa Claus, a tale about dæmons that want children to walk their caves, so they can enjoy their specific and individual suffering, plot in a nutshell, though there's so much more to it than this little summary.

Santa Claus in this story is an impossibly tall man, though this is because of the helpers and workers that invest their time and desire to give back to the world. We follow over the shoulder of Wisk a Fairy that works side by side with the Jolly Red Man himself. The Workshop has more than Elves, since this is a L. Frank Baum story, and this is a 1900's story, so the fey have a wide interpretation, since the elf is a broad term. It's more defined today, though it was a general expression for magical creatures, mostly humanoid, but not always. There's a lot of helpers in the Workshop at Santa's, but these are the main ones. We have Faries (who work in the office and hand in hand with the Knooks) that help in all departments,  there's Pixies (which are like boy fairies, though without wings, closer to Brownies) that help in the stable, Ryls (the one's who make the toys, gift wrap, and pack) a bit grumpy and goat-headed, and Knooks (they are literal pug faced beings, so adorable) who tailor and organize the workshop. It feels a bit like a Role Playing Game's Bestiarium, since they talk about each dæmon's too. It's a wonderful introduction of all the characters in the book, within 5 pages, all the information that's needed to complete the comic. The plot is a joy, personally an improvement to the original work, though this is with help to the author and his contemporary writing.

Professor Steeping, Gom, and Tea Steeping all trading gifts and warm thoughts.

Speaking of contemporary skills, from the character designs to the inking, adept talent was spread through out this short story. I loved Wisk's design and the warmth I felt from Santa, even though he's a drawing, it felt like the man was beaming with positivity. Also the dæmons' human forms to trick Santa into their specific trait was wonderfully executed. Subtle uses of weight within the hair and clothes, also the wonderful expression of negative space and pacing was excellently projected. The expression of emotion and visual emotion is amazing, poses and panel use was superb and immersive.

My favorite part is the classic L. Frank Baum, where someone gets their head lobed off and it's reconnected later. I love that about his stories, it's interesting that weapons aren't deathly, though they're still dangerous. One of my favorite missing head moments of L. Frank Baum is The Magical Monarch of Mo, that mischievous purple dragon and his appetite for kings' crowns. Don't worry the King is fine, though it's just annoying more then the end for him (and I think a few other characters in that story). Anyhow, Alex Robinson is an alumni of the School of Visual Arts and has made a wonderfully illustrated tale of the Flying Postman and his airborne platoon. If you're like me and love heavy use of ink and full detailed shorts then you're in for a treat of a visual tale.

I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
Support the creator, check out the links and read the short.
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Keep well and Stay well.

shorts SHORT Review: Manga Claus, The Blade of Kringle

Manga Claus: The Blade of Kringle
Written by Nathaniel Marunas
Illustrations by Erik Craddock
Razorbill (I'm really not sure who they are, but it's a word in the description page)
Published by Penguin Group - Penguin Young Readers Group

Welcome to another shorts SHORT Review, let's keep in the Winter Theme and venture further into the weird world of Santa Claus, this time we're joined with a Samurai Santa, well another Samurai Santa. I guess this would be more of a Ronin Jolly Red Man, House of the Flying Postman? Mostly this is the type of story that makes me happy by title alone, but the interior art creates a different joy. Since the style reminds me of PvP (Player verse Player) by Scott Kurtz or his action RPG webcomic Table Titans. Though this is where things go wrong, it plays more with drama, then the comedic, the writing has the full intent of a horror movie, but the art of that for a jape on the genre.

With title in mind and the cover as the introduction of the short, I'm excited, though I noticed a few problems. Not for a lack of trying I looked to see if there was a designer, though couldn't find a name. I found three colorist Erik Craddock (the Illustrator), Marion Vitus (the Letterer), and John Green, though other then legal mumbo jumbo no one designed this book. Unless it was Illustrated and designed by Erik Craddock, but why wasn't he credited? I mean, it's not like he wasn't credited when doing other jobs in the comic, it just feels weird that a book has no editor or designer apart of the novel. I enjoy the creative design of the covers and the page layouts, I hope that the person who was in-charge of this portion of the book knows they did a great job of creating curiosity and a strong idea of what to expect within it's pages and how it's format helps the story it's self.

Tea Steeping ready with her sword for the coming battle, or just a chance to flaunt.

If you excuse the pandering and misuse of Manga and Japanese Culture, this is really a great comic and a well paced/designed story. I will burn it at the stake for being not at all "Manga" and not even trying to be "Manga", but I will stand by it being an amazing B-Movie plot and wonderful illustrations by a skilled cartoonist. For the most part it is giving the reader a taste of things that are Japanese culture and historical figures, though at the same time it's just pushing the idea of stereotypes and whitewashing culture.

Gom showing off the battle stick Tea made him, reindeer wasn't excited about making it though.

This was a fun plot, it's your basic Cheesy B-Movie plot for instance Chucky or Gingerdead Man or Sorcerer's Apprentice (either the poem by Goethe or from the Disney movie Fantasia), though there's things that bother me. Here's the few things that I felt could have been explored better. We see Santa getting a gift from his master, but nothing beyond that, just a hand off of important swords that show tradition and respect between master and student, then nothing, no reason beyond, though in the story it means everything to Santa.

Greatest part of this whole book is from page 66 till page 72, I would wallpaper my body with these pages, with ink or actual paper and glue.

Another was the origin of the "evil" elf's magic, it seemed immoral in nature, though Santa was totally okay with it in his workshop, though implores no magic user other then that one elf. Lastly, the Elf wants the nutcracker to be a ninja, just commands it to be so, since he knew the word. Howard Beckerman, a respectable man in the animation business, my instructor of many animation courses while attending the school of Visual Arts, and the man that's literally wrote the book on Animation History, told me (I'm horrible at quoting, so I'm gonna paraphrase) "Don't have magic solve your story, if there's a problem, good, solve it, don't just have it wished away." which is a point I'd want to make here. Since magic seems to have been a way to make the problem appear without a reason. Like the elf could have asked for any fighter, that would make the story even more interesting, it could have been the spirit of the rival of Santa's Master that then called an army to fight along side him while trying to kill the apprentice, Santa Claus.

Anyhow beyond this I had a great time with the designs and the over all talented individuals that took part in creating this wonderful piece. It was a fun time and masterful in expression and color design. I've said in another review that Warrior Santa Claus is my favorite, so this was an instant hit with me, though with it's bad movie premise and creative artistic style I found a charm to the comic that made it's rough superficial beginnings desirable for future creations.

I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
Support the creator, check out the links and read the short.
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Keep well and Stay well.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

shorts SHORT Review: Super Santa, Episode 04 - Vegetation

Super Santa
Episode 04 - Vegetation

Created by Mike Bell
Directed by Mike Bell
Written by Mike Bell
Santa was voiced by Mike Bell

Originally aired on Oh Yeah! Cartoons
Series created by Fred Seibert
Production Companies:
Nationally Distributed by Paramount Domestic Television
Internationally Distributed by Nelvana Limited


Our stout Santa has his last ride in this finale to the spectacular Super Santa shorts series, though this was not the intended last episode. Originally there was one last pitched and approved episode to Super Santa's adventures, titled appropriately The End. As mentioned in Episode 01: Jingle Bell Justice's review Oh Yeah! Cartoons had five unaired episodes, though I've found credits, it's either never aired or never created. It's hard to say with most television series how many have those "lost episodes" or pitches that didn't quite make it. I'd love to see the true last short of Super Santa, even in animatic form, but for the time being we'll see the last crusade of Father Christmas.

This is the last episode that the backgrounds will be designed by Miles Thompson. The theme music is completely gone, there's no Christmas music, instead it's replaced with something that one would think of when thoughts from the 1940's and Brazil's Carnival come to mind. Straight into the short we come to Santa's workshop, his mail box filled impossibly full, he's busy checking his list, once again. This perspective of the scene versus the perspective of the character, it's interesting, since it expands the room, though makes it feel less needed in the episode. Mrs. Claus comes in the room, Emma tells Santa that all the veggies in the world are gone. Not really sure how they'd know that, though it's making the people of the world unset, though it doesn't really seem like a problem that should be Santa centered.

Then an alarm goes off in the workshop and the narrator tells the Claus' what's happening instead of seeing what happened. This is something everyone in animation has done before, though when it's a show that has many drafts, it's hard for a mistake like this to slip through, I guess that knowledge of the show being canceled allowed a few mistakes into the series. It's the first time that the Claus' have encountered something other than people or magical toys or Christmas themed antagonist, it's interesting that there's not much dialogue for this short, though the action doesn't keep the interest of the episode, this really feels like the weakest of the four.

Professor Steeping and Gom watch on as Master Reindeer Champion Tea Steeping takes out the fearsome E.G.G.N.O.G. of Cnidaria, an annual evil group that only attacks during the winter holiday season.

Moving on, we come to the Island of genetically altered veggies and fruits, as the villain tells his story and rallies the troops, it's a block of text and a lot of static shots. That's right the villain's army is giant chemically altered fruits and veggies. It's a bit interesting, though there could have been many more holiday choices or enemies that could have taken his place. This feels more like a throw away character, something just to meet a deadline. The whole plan is to steal fruits and veggies from all over the world, instead of growing it themselves on the uninhabited island. Billy West, the potato, fires a missile at Santa, who takes the sucker head on, protecting his reindeer. Santa and Emma then surrender and are taken to the main villain, he backstories giving more plot, though it's not much and it doesn't make sense why he wants to rule the world.

The best fight scene in all of the episode takes place, Santa and Emma tossing this salad of evil plants. Then the Claus' do something that doesn't make sense, they allow the bad guy to win, capturing Santa and allowing Emma to escape, since they figured out how to stop the growth formula off screen. By spraying the produce army with gas that makes all the fruit and veggies adorable and small, though they return all of the plants from once they came, it makes me wonder if they were still sentient plants.

 Above is all that needs to be said about this, it was a called in episode. It had the passion of making ramen noodles, though wonderful animation, the story felt like it would be found in a Nick Jr. pilot. I apriciapte that they loved the character enough to produce more cartoons, but this wasn't the way I wanted to see this hero go. I only hope next time I see a truly fun Santa that's lampooning spies and 1970 superhero cartoons it will end with better taste.

I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
Support the creator, check out the links and watch the short.
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Keep well and Stay well.

shorts SHORT Review: Super Santa, Episode 03 - Naughty

Super Santa
Episode 03 - Naughty

Created by Mike Bell
Directed by Mike Bell
Written by Mike Bell
Santa was voiced by Mike Bell

Originally aired on Oh Yeah! Cartoons
Series created by Fred Seibert
Production Companies:
Nationally Distributed by Paramount Domestic Television
Internationally Distributed by Nelvana Limited


This might be the most suggestive title for the four shorts, though at the same time this is the first thought I think of when someone hints to the Jolly Red Man. By title alone it sounds like the cat suit that Mrs. Claus is now appropriate for this short, since Emma would be Santa's Catwoman to his Batman. Though I feel that a lot of the choices for her design and actor is because of the Avengers film and series. Not many know about the Avengers, oh I'm not talking about Steven and his friendly followers, I'm talking about the UK series of two spies a man with a bowler and umbrella with his conspirator a beautiful high kicking woman in a leather clade outfit. Again this Santa is more like a Dwarf from D&D or Middle-Earth, an adventurer in body and soul.

In the next two episodes Miles Thompson will be designing the backgrounds, he does a great job at designing the mansion and the various locations of the world. The theme music has changed to something more gritty, less of it's holiday cheer, more like a tune from the many Batman movies. The song is currently Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, a wonderful tune, though with it's dramatic take it makes me wonder about the content of this short.

We join Santa's workshop, seeing all the elves are colored green it makes me worry about the state of affairs for Santa's little workers. Santa seems fine, checking his list, keeping his mind occupied. The Children of the world seem to be misbehaving, Santa is feeling all the naughty children… again it's weird to hear this, though again it's usually applied to Santa when people are talking about misbehaving kids. Mrs. Claus comes to Santa's aid as he falls to the ground in pain. Emma asks him if he's picking up anything that could be making the world become more hateful and naughty. This is weird, since Santa would only be able to know what the naughty and nice children are doing, not adults or animals or minerals or vegetables (He's not a modern Major-General). There's an overpowering Naughty nature in the world and this isn't sitting well in Santa's lap.

Our Heroes pose once more, Gom taking center stage in his Avenging Elf outfit
Tea Steeping in her Master Reindeer Champion onesie and her uncle Professor Steeping as Super Santa

We meet our villain for the episode, it's the Son of Ebenezer Scrooge, it's a cute nod to the famous story, though Bill Murray will be my favorite Scrooge. He's the richest person in the world (or in the episode), there hasn't been much expansion in the world of Super Santa, it's one City and the North Pole. Still I'm glad we did get to see more from the Workshop, but the scope of where all the villains are produced are outside of Santa's Workshop, still it's a short so time restraints and all. Plan is simple, though it's hard to make sense, he bought all the "Bad Chemicals" and threw "Bad Gas" on only the children, though it shows that the distribution of the gas was everywhere, like this should be a scene out of a dystopian suburb ruins, not kids in an alley being mean to a cat. And when you think about it, poisoning a City, then convincing the civilians of the world to be bad or he'll do the same to their City, would have been a better choice. Or putting the "Bad Chemical" in school food, since only the kids were the targets and some teachers would be effected.

We pop back to Santa's Coal mine where all the elves are hard at work getting coal ready instead of toys for the good little boys and girls. Santa looks a mess, it seems the Jolly Red Man wasn't ready for the horrors of the world to come, where an Earth of only the worst live and breath. Emma showing her amazing talent as the tech wizard she is, the most intelligent person on the planet, based off of the last two episodes (spoiler the fourth episode she's  better than a genetic scientist in his own field). Also for the most part their relationship is platonic, a few kisses here and there, but it seems that Santa is more interested in his work than his wife. Yes, the show is centered around action, but hugging or good natured ribbing with his spouse, his best friend in the world, the person he'd be lost without, and the show shows nothing of the two being intimate in any romantic sort.

I think I found the inspiration of the "Bad Gas" and this episode, it's a good passing joke, though a long build up.

Emma has found the cause and Santa jumps to action, ready to help the world once more. After another "Bad Gas" joke and the backstory to why the villain is attacking Santa, we're joined in a fray between a giant coal powered robot and the Claus'. Then Emma flies into battle as Santa's knocked out. She lunges into the bout, ready to take the gigantic metal Cyclops down, when she's stopped by it's hard steel skin and goo~ed to a wall. Again this doesn't help that the title of this short is Naughty. Her struggle arouses Santa and he attacks the giant coal powered robot. The inner workings of the machine are two butlers, who come to their senses and stop Scrooge, also they quit. With all the "Bad Gas" gone, life went back to normal, it seems that money doesn't have the same effect in this world, since Scrooge is in jail, though this is a world where Santa exists and maybe magic. We end with Santa going over his list as the world drifts off into the hopeful starry sky.

This is their peak, this is the top of the mountain, this is where everything starts to crumble and show that this was the best idea in the series, though not the best execution. Again a lot of this is based on time, each short has an allotted amount of time for them to tell a story within. Still I felt that somethings could have been cut or changed to make the episode more full. In short, this is the marker that shows how this could have been a series, or annual special, but they were fishing for plots at this point. If you liked the first two episodes, then I'd suggest you keep following to this point, it would totally be worth the trip deeper into the Super Santa Lore.


I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
Support the creator, check out the links and watch the short.
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Keep well and Stay well.

shorts SHORT Review: Super Santa, Episode 02 - South Pole Joe

Super Santa
Episode 02 - South Pole Joe

Created by Mike Bell
Directed by Mike Bell
Written by Mike Bell
Santa was voiced by Mike Bell

Originally aired on Oh Yeah! Cartoons
Series created by Fred Seibert
Production Companies:
Nationally Distributed by Paramount Domestic Television
Internationally Distributed by Nelvana Limited


Great thing about an anthology series is the desire to keep producing popular material. Thous they make more and more from creators that got a good amount of ratings and/or great pitches for another episode. Honestly you have a good idea and can produce what they need, then you have half of everything right there. After that it's all about presentation and if it's in the budget, also the people that approve. I'm always glad to see a good and fun idea growing and continuing, so Super Santa made his return!

For the next three shorts the backgrounds will all be designed by Miles Thompson, who does an amazing job from going extremely detailed to simplified. One thing I didn't mention in the last review is the theme song, it's a beautiful splash into the weird world of Batman from the 1966 TV series. Fast paced and fun, something about the Nutcracker Suite in this trumpet march that really makes me happy. Anyhow, a giant gingerbread man starts destroying the City, the gingerbread man becomes frustrated by the appearance of Santa and Mrs. Claus that he hurls the bus in hand full of children at the sleigh of eight reindeer.

Tea Steeping gets too into character, while the others enjoy a needed rest and treat.

Santa evades the bus, though the children in the public transit vehicle start falling to Earth, Santa uses his amazing powers to fall straight into a chimney, after jumping out of his sleigh and the sky. Running to the destined decent location of the bus to stop the crying civilians before a calamity continues. Then Emma (Mrs. Claus) suggests the milk truck to take on the criminal cookie crumbling the City. The Claus' start blasting the milk at the monster baked good as it screams in horror and melts away into "ginger bread pudding" (it's poop, it's shaped like poop, it's brown like poop, though it was a gingerbread man so it's poop with frosting), then all the kids on the bus eat the pudding, just really cover themselves in it… Then we see our titular villain, South Pole Joe, at the South Pole complaining about Santa Claus, it seems that South Pole Joe wants to be loved and wants to be the Hero of another holiday. We go through a comparison between South Pole Joe and Santa Claus. How one has the tools and know how and the other just has the passion or the envy of a mad man trying to win the love and hearts of the world. His idea is in the right place, making life better for the people of the Earth, though his excision it's stellar.

There's a penguin milking joke.
(I'm just going to let that settle in)

He wants to take on Valentine's Day as his crusade in the joy of humanity. On his travel from the South Pole to -- City and misses his marked Day. Joe pulls into City on February 15th a day short of Valentine's day and tries to give joy to frustrated tax crunching civilians. All his gifts seem to put a bad taste in the civilians collective mouths, then Joe starts to attack the City in frustration of not being as good as Super Santa.

Emma and Santa put down their taxes and head South to take on the problem of South Pole Joe. After a quick fight between Santa and Joe they realize that the civilians can't get their individual taxes mailed since the fight is at the City's only mail box. Like no one thought about just going to the post office or emailing the IRS. Though it's the 90's so this wasn't really something that happened yet, email was still a thing that wasn't used beyond private connections, also wasn't readily available except if you had dial up, the mail was a lot faster. Anyhow, they stop their fight and the Claus' finish their taxes as Joe grabs the City's mail and delivers it to the mail box before the postman arrives (who never collects the mail in scene). Saving tax day… even though he was part of the problem to start with…
Ending the show with our villain being stopped, though winning the tolerance of the City, then South Pole Joe finds out through Shadowy Government suit wearing men that he has never paid his taxes and was promptly arrested (even though he lives in a part of the world that's a literal desert and off the continent that he's supposed to be paying taxes on, since this is the first time standing on their soil).

Surprisingly there are less mistakes in this short, a feat that doesn't happen often with shorts. Still a lot of problems within the short, but that's only the fault of the mundane problem that is resolved as fast as it is aggressive. This is my favorite in the Life and Times of the Super Santa shorts, a task that shows his humanity and love for all. If you're the type of person that wants a little less action and more about retrospective thinking, then this is the treat for you.

I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
Support the creator, check out the links and watch the short.
If you want to stay up to date on my reviews, subscribe to this page.
Keep well and Stay well.

shorts SHORT Review: Super Santa, Episode 01 - Jingle Bell Justice

Super Santa
Episode 01 - Jingle Bell Justice

Created by Mike Bell
Directed by Mike Bell
Written by Mike Bell
Santa was voiced by Mike Bell

Originally aired on Oh Yeah! Cartoons
Series created by Fred Seibert
Production Companies:
Nationally Distributed by Paramount Domestic Television
Internationally Distributed by Nelvana Limited


In the 90's they were trying to get the lightning that Hanna Barbara caught in a bottle, there was a series on every channel that was looking for the next big cartoon. Animation and Anthology really do go well, hand-in-hand with art and making cartoon series. One of those series Oh Yeah! Cartoons, filled with various shorts, found a ton of cartoons that made up a lot of my childhood and a lot of many others who share my love and passion for cartoons. Something I enjoyed the most was tuning in (yes, I'm that old) and hoping to see a returning short that was interesting or an amazing concept once again, hoping that it made the cut in the eyes of the producers of the show. About 4 shows seemed to please them (My Life As a Teenage Robot, Mina and the Count, Fairly OddParents, and ChalkZone), but also Super Santa, a Christmas themed hero and his wonderful wife.

In Honor of Super Santa Professor Steeping takes the titular mantle
Gom is his avenging Elf, and his Niece Tea Steeping as the Master Reindeer Champion.


Designs for all the backgrounds are flat, I like how it's a separate plane from the characters. The angle doesn't reflect the plane that they're standing on, though that's something I love from a lot of UPA (United Productions of America) cartoons. Background Designs were by Tom McGrath, this was the only Super Santa cartoon he worked on from backgrounds. The character designs aren't too interesting though the fun part is what the characters can do rather than their superficial exterior. Plot is neat, Toys are coming to life and commit crime, it's great to see all the dolls impossibly attacking the City. Somehow the police were helpless, as were the national guard, it seems all the toys have super strength while attacking everyone and stealing everything.

Santa Senses are tingling!

The one thing I enjoy the most is the narrator, it's an amazing idea and my favorite parody used in a lot of Superhero lampoons. Their introduction of the sleigh, this majestic vehicle, and the Claus' is with a Superman parody "Look, up in the Sky, it's…" then the City's people start naming all the reindeer. It's cute and takes the show back to the older superhero cartoons where a hero was announced rather then surprising the villain. Emma is the tech expert in this show, also English, not the first time for there to be an English Claus, Arthur Christmas being of note. Tom Kenny does an amazing job, playing most of the characters, as a side note.

The Reveal of the villain is expected that it's a toy doing bad and forcing other toys to do bad, by… shooting it with a "bad laser", I'm never a fan of "Item X" does a thing that couldn't plausibly do desired effect. Anyhow, the bad bunny, Benny beefs-up, whipping off a curtain to a robot body, a tall exosuit that dwarfs the stout Santa. Bad Benny blares bogus blaster at Santa, tearing his shirt, which shows the Doc Savage like physique of Father Christmas. The Battle ensues, both stronger than the other thought, Benny's henchmen are stronger than Santa anticipated. Though Emma stops the toy ray, making all the toys bad, and now conciliatory allowing the Flying Postman to bear-hug the bad bunny till Mrs. Claus pops back into the picture to help out. Mind you this was from across town now she's here, she booted off a bear's head, then went straight to the warehouse without the sleigh in seconds. Anyhow, Benny the Bunny escapes, though Santa snuck a gift that blows up the escape pod over a jail, where a large inmate thanks Santa for the cute Bunny, in his best Lenny voice. Oh, Of Mice and Men, you'll always have a place in culture, even during a romp in the odd life and times of Santa Claus.

Super Santa is the equivalent of what this month is all about. The Strange and bizarre life of Father Christmas saving the day for all the good boys and girls, though in the process giving the gift of world peace. It's a great shorts that has problems, though have a fun way around them in each episode. If you like odd little adventures of the Jolly Red Man, then this is a moving image you'll want to see.

I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
Support the creator, check out the links and watch the short.
If you want to stay up to date on my reviews, subscribe to this page.
Keep well and Stay well.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

shorts SHORT Rreview: Samurai Santa

Samurai Santa: A very Ninja Christmas
Illustrated and Written by Rubin Pingk
Jacket design by Chloë Foglia
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Welcome to the shorts SHORT Review for the month of December, during this time I like to think about Santa Claus and all that he does for us. Mind you it varies from person to person and plot to plot, though in the short and long he give us hope and magic, but he wants family and peace. In this month we'll be looking at the different types of the Jolly Postman and his Flying Saucer, so get ready to feel the different life and times of Father Christmas.

This is my favorite type of Santa, the Warrior Santa, the brute, the big bad jolly man handing out presents and fists. For some reason I enjoy this version of Santa Claus the most and if there's one thing in my heart of hearts it's Santa leading an army of his own design into a fray, sword pointing toward the threat and blood boiling in his veins. The only peace on Earth will be those that rest in it, under six feet of soil or snow, yeah, it's a dark Santa, but a lovely tale.

Gom and Tea Steeping have a bout in the snow
Who will win? Snow or Sword!

Similar to this dream the plot talks about a desire for an epic snowball fight between young Shinobi and Samurai Santa. It's an interesting choice for Santa, since the natural enemy (and for the most part the martial training of a ninja is to kill) of the Ninja is the Samurai. Though this is a story about peace and they all seem like a more modern group of children, since they all know that Santa exists and want to be good. I've never known a snowball fight to not get rowdy, though with the proper objective and supervision the event could be a very fun way to pass the time, so I understand why Yukio (our protagonist/antagonist) would want to have an amazing winter celebration with friends in the snow.

Gom and Tea Steeping enjoy a nice snowball fight with a favorite treat of the group.

The level of detail that was put into this Children's Illustrated Novel was very well researched and taken into account for this book. It not only allows the reader to see what Shinobi would do to blend well into their surroundings (Yukio, and his white outfit), but it also gave the feeling that this was a place that not many traveled. The use of negative space really put the perspective of the World, that ninja are secret from the world, they are hidden from sight and will finish their target no matter what, if not for just the release of leaving their home. Also that there is fields of snow, all ready for packing into that perfect snowball and hurling it (playfully) at friends. Everything feel so cut from fabric, though soft and rounds, it's a great touch to the mood and characters.

Best thing about Samurai Santa was the plot didn't feel out of place, it felt like there wasn't any talking down, that Yukio was a capable ninja and able to stop a grown man and give his friends an amazing snow battle to remember. Though we find out that Yukio didn't want to take from his friends, but have them play and enjoy life, lucky for him Santa agreed. Everything about this screams fun and takes on elements of Japanese Culture, like Santa's red War paint (since it reminds me of Kabuki or a Tengu mask or Oni designs to scare soldiers in battle), the house's alarm gong (which seemed to be influenced from theater and less on ninja history, though I wouldn't put it past them to just some sort of alarm system simular), and the Shinai (bamboo sword). This is a great book to get one into the spirit of family and into the odd antics of Santa Claus. If you're a person that wants to teach a bit of culture (in a broad form) to children and have said kids want to have good wishes come true to their loved ones, then take a look at this wonderful Children's Illustrated Novel, if not for that then for the amazing artistic talent that put it all together.

I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
Support the creator, check out the links and read the book.
If you want to stay up to date on my reviews, subscribe to this page.
Keep well and Stay well.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Arthur Christmas

Hello, hello, hello or better yet, Ho, Ho, Ho, that's the right spirit of things. This is not about religion, just gonna set that in stone, but about a fictitious character and his adventures as an icon. Some might not like the idea of Christmas, though I love mythology and bringing people together, also B-Movies. So with December being Christmas heavy and full of tongue in cheek Santas, let's dive into the wonderful hokey world of Father Christmas.

The initial response to the cover/poster of the film is interest. Everything is set up and shows completely what's going to happen in the film without much going on, since it's a static image. It's a Family of Santa Claus, seems that one of them and a child are trying to get Christmas back into the Christmas that we once knew, hope and magic. Cute concept though that's something that's been done to death, still there's new features being produced to make them. Personally I like them, though mostly as TV specials, but features like this are rare so it's a joy to see a Santa Movie that's about family and the odd inner workings of the North Pole. The Part I like the most about this is it doesn't seem like a pandering film, like a movie that's trying to be something that it isn't, it's a feature that's trying to show the world that this character can be fun and maybe a little less about the religion and more about the magic and adventure, it's more about the selfless being.