December 28, 2012

Shadowcon Overviews- Transformers Prime Season 2

Shadowcon presents
An opinionated look at Season Two of
Transformers Prime

Great setup; poor follow-through. This can best sum up the second season of Transformers Prime in a nutshell. This is going to be a joint review with my cousin Danny again (this time I’m kind of forcing him into this position), and no, he’s not going to take up five pages talking about a battle that was referenced in an offhand comment. Also, my opinion on the season has changed since I showed it to Danny, because as it turns out, watching it as it airs gives you a different experience than if you marathon through the whole thing in a night and don’t get up until 1:00 PM the next day! So I’m going to be backtracking on some of my opinions that were spouted in a bout of fury in some of my other reviews; this isn’t retconning them, it’s just making those opinions a little more refined.

When we last saw our heroes in my last Transformers Overview, we covered Season One of this show, which left us with Optimus losing his memory and joining the Decepticons as the historical archivist Orion Pax (I covered this maxi-arc over the summer), and this sets up the main overarching arc of this entire season: the Iacon Database. The Iacon Database is pretty much the writers’ way of throwing in thousands of plot devices that our heroes have to look for every episode. Sound familiar? Yes, Transformers Armada, Energon, and Cybertron all did the same thing, only this time, the relics are actual devices with diversity, and not brainless little robots that plug onto your butt and give you the ability to grow a bazooka out of your spine. The relics are the main reason the show’s overall arc is weak; because we’ve seen all of this before, and coming after the Unicron arc from Season One, this feels like a step backward in storytelling than a step forward. I’ll hand it over to Danny so that he can give you his assessment of the season as a whole.

All right, well I feel I should warn you first that, unlike Luke, I am in no way, shape, or form an expert on Transformers. I haven’t actually even seen all of Prime, but like Luke mentioned, we marathoned quite a bit of it. As a whole, I think that the show maintained a fantastic handle on the animation, which is far better than anything that I had expected, but that sometimes the plot seemed to be letting the animation take over too much. Ultimately, unlike the first season, there did not seem to be a big twist to the season, or a new take on something that made everything that had come before more meaningful. Instead, we got a use for everything, sure, but this fell more into the “looks cool” category than the series attempting to redefine itself. Still, I thought several of the episodes were quite enjoyable, and the show was always fun and entertaining.

December 22, 2012

Top 10 Movies of 2012

Here are my Top 10 Movies of 2012, and just like last year, I did not see every movie to come out this year, so there are some movies that hsould be on here, but aren't, because I don't have infinite money spending abilities. Regardless, if you want to post your own list, feel free to in the comments section below! Let's get started!

Shadowcon Reviews- Crossfire

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 2, episode 7: “Crossfire”

Okay, so my computer’s back up, my Internet is working again, and Netflix has been nice enough to put Season Two of Prime up for streaming, so everything’s hunky dory. Great, let’s review us some Insecticons!

October 16, 2012

Something Awesome!!!

I'm the third person on Lindsey's left, your right. I'm in blue!
Stuff’s been going on! I’ve had a couple of days to let this simmer, so I think now would be a good time to share my experience with those who don’t already know (though based on the views that this blog gets, this post may be superfluous).
On Saturday, October 16th of 2012, I got to go see Lindsey Stirling perform in Phoenix! Not only that, but I also got to meet her in person since I had a Meet and Greet ticket! She is just an amazingly nice person; very welcoming of her fans! I got a copy of my arrangement of her Zelda Medley signed by her, and a copy of her album made out to me personally! She seemed pretty impressed that I took the time and put the effort in to arrange her piece, and was super generous in allowing a second object of mine to be signed (we were technically only allowed to bring one thing in for her to sign, though that rule really didn’t hold much sway, as there were several groups of people traveling together anyway). Then we got our picture taken together, giving a hearty thumbs up to the camera! The whole exchange took about four minutes (at least in my memory), but those were some of the most meaningful minutes ever for me. I’d like to add that Lindsey Stirling is a personal hero of mine, and to meet her like this just took my breath away. Just so cool!

I was so happy after this!
After that, those of us with VIP passes got to go into the concert hall first and I promptly took up a position in the front row. Yes! The front row! Awesome! The rest of the crowd filled in then, and then the concert began.
There were three warm-up acts that preceded Lindsey herself, the first of which was really bad. The guitarist and the drummer weren’t very good, but the entire ensemble hadn’t done any of their sound checks yet, so they were still testing things out even as the concert began. Really unprofessional, and the worst of it was that the singer had a gorgeous voice, the two fiddlers were both really good… but all you could here was a pretty bad guitarist and a lukewarm drum part taking up the entirety of the sound.
I texted my mom after the first act was over, to let her know how much damage was done to my poor ears! She asked if I wanted to move back to which I declined; this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity here, and I was not going to move back! The second act was better than the first. These guys were Lindsey’s high-school band, StompOnMelvin, and Lindsey came out for one song to perform with them. After that she left, and I and several other people was left wondering if that was it! Luckily it wasn’t, as the third and final prelude commenced with reassurance that we would see more of Lindsey soon.
The third act was actually pretty good. The guy who was performing was a decent singer and guitarist, and it was interesting to see him interact with a backtrack on his laptop of all things (the sound was enhanced, obviously). I was about ready to just pull back my expectations at this point, because the tech crew began clearing the stage of everything except for a drum set and a keyboard, and I thought that it was over. Luckily I was wrong, and what followed was pure Lindsey Stirling violin rock concert venue gold!
She began with Spontaneous Me, followed non-stop by Shadows. Both were really good. I loved what she did with her live performance of these pieces (really all of them, but these in particular); she made them seem more human, probably because her violin sound wasn’t covered up by electronic tweaks and bobs and whistles. Next came a beautiful rendition of Electric Daisy! She did things with her bow in that song that were just scary! Cool, but insane.

Skyrim came next. This one was the song that really made me go “okay, she’s doing this live, and I’m really here!” This was done in an impressive way to be sure. If you’re not familiar with her version of her Skyrim theme… then first of all, what are you doing here, second go check it out, but third her arrangement of it has 107 tracks of violin and a capella tenor singing the lyrics. Well, she obviously couldn’t fit a full male choir onto the stage, so she projected a video of only the singing tracks, and then just played along to that. Now, I hadn’t been to a rock concert before this in my life, so maybe this is done far more often, but as a way to deal with the fact that she didn’t have seventy people on hand to back her, this was a great way to get around that. This also meant that the audience could sing along as well, since the lyrics were shown on the screen! The whole song was just a great time, and I, and the majority of the audience seemed to have had a ton of fun with it.
Moon Trance and Zi Zi’s Journey were both really good. Again, much like Spontaneous Me, and Shadows, these two played live sounded really human and alive and just so rich in tone and texture. That’s not to say that the album version of these songs sound bad, but adding the human element back in can make a world of difference. There’s nothing like live music!
Lord of the Rings was fantastic. I get pretty excited by this song, as you can no doubt tell in the video. She just had this aura of power around her for this whole thing. The live drums were a nice touch, and the singing portions of this really surprised me! This girl can sing pretty well, and of course the crowd was going crazy: nothing like a little nerdiness to spice up a concert like this.

We Found Love was really neat, because Lindsey did not play the violin for this (at least for the majority of it)! She sang… the whole thing… by herself! Her voice is really quite lovely (her album doesn’t do it justice), and it was very cool to see her fully utilize it here! The parts she did play with the violin were obviously good too, and this song stuck in my mind more so than some of the others because of how shocking it was to see Lindsey sing and not play for the majority of the song.
As a little treat between her more famous pieces, she also gave us a look at what her version of Can’t Touch This by Michael Jackson would look like if she ever did a music video of it. She can moonwalk! How awesome is that?!  Along with that, she also played her version of River Flows in You. Again unexpected, this was a great break from the more note-heavy songs that preceded it. She proved with this that she can do proper vibrato (thank god), and that you don’t have to play fast to play beautifully. These two pieces were a great way to set the crowd up for the final third of her concert, which had one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in my life in it.
Crystallize began the awesome trio of songs here, and it was good. I have a love-hate relationship with this song in particular, because I personally think it’s overrated. Does it suck? Absolutely not; it’s a great piece, full of lovely minor chords and cadences and vibrations, but people seem to have this misconception now that this song represents the best that Lindsey has to offer, which is not the case at all. My favorite original composition of hers is Shadows because it has a simple melody and a cool triplet backbeat and presence running throughout the song. But this still is not the best that Lindsey has to offer; that comes later. Crystallize, however, was played very well (her dance moves were stunning with this), and if you’re not me, you probably love this song which is totally fine; I do too, by the way, I just don’t consider it her best.
Transcendence was the finale to her concert proper, and this is what blew me away. In this piece, her dance moves are displayed in full force… as she actually did her famous limbo move while playing her violin! All the way down, and all the way back up! I caught it on video and was thunderstruck!!! Amazing! How the hell does she do that while playing her instrument?! I just… oh my god! So that was what really stuck in my head after the concert was that move right there! The rest of the song was amazing as well; intonation was pretty good (this song is hard for Lindsey to play well in tune, and even harder to play while dancing, I imagine), and, while she was probably exhausted, she kept any tiredness hidden very well. All smiles all the way.

After this, the audience went wild, demanding an encore. Now, three things went through my mind when she came back out to obey the audience's wish to play another song:
1) What else is there to play?
2) Why didn’t she play her Phantom of the Opera Medley?
3) Oh my god, she’s going to play her Phantom of the Opera Medley!
And she did, and it was superb. Her version of Phantom is, in my opinion, the best that Lindsey Stirling has to offer in terms of her composing and performing abilities. The medley is a bitch to play; so many fast runs, trill, turns, scales… its just insane, but the thing that really makes me love this is that it combines a classic opera piece with rock, which is after all what Lindsey set out to do: make the violin a modern instrument. Seeing this live just made my jaw drop even more (it fell through the floor, see), because she played this on an acoustic instrument. The original was played on an electric violin, and with that, she was able to do a whole lot more in terms of being able to cover up mistakes and enhance slides and trills, but here, she has to contend with the fact that an acoustic violin is at a severe disadvantage when it comes to sounding electronic. I took a class this summer at the Mark O’Connor camp on how to make an acoustic violin sound like an electric one, and let me tell you, its not easy. Here, Lindsey makes it look so easy, and she hits almost everything right (she messed up on her final cadenza run right before the keys and drums came barreling back in, but still)! This was a great way to end the concert!
My mom said that when she met me outside (she was in the far back of the concert hall), I was just grinning from ear to ear! And I can believe it, because the whole experience literally changed my life! After seeing Lindsey live, I just feel so much more empowered now. I’m a pretty good musician, but there are things that I am not good at: my long bow strokes (playing from the frog to the tip), playing in tune up high, sight reading, and meeting her and seeing her perform live just makes me feel so much more empowered and confident in those areas of improvement. This was a life-changing experience that I will never forget, and I can’t recommend seeing her live if you get the chance enough. It’s just incredible!

I also bought a poster, but forgot to include it in these shots. It's the Crystallize poster; for all my critiques of the song, I've gotta say, that poster rocks!

This made me so proud of myself!

The experience of a lifetime!

September 25, 2012

Shadowcon Reviews- Rock Bottom

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 1, episode 19: “Rock Bottom”

            I’m going to be taking my style in a different direction for the next couple of reviews, partly because I want to try something new, and also because the subjects of these reviews have either simple or non-linear plots, so my normal “take you through the piece while analyzing it” method of writing won’t work with these. Our first outing, “Rock Bottom”, has a simple plot: characters get trapped in a cave and have to struggle to survive. There’s not much more plot or story to this episode than that, so I’ll be instead focusing my efforts on discussing the art, emotion, and character interactions. This means that I’ll be assuming that everyone has seen this episode (though that really should be a given for any of my reviews here), as I won’t really beat around the bush or give a detailed synopsis of how the characters got here or why something is happening. So, with that out of the way, let’s get started.

September 18, 2012

Shadowcon Reviews- Scrapheap

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 1, episode 7: “Scrapheap”

Back in my “Convoy” review, I mentioned that it and today’s episode are two examples of a typical Prime episode, in that they’re both straightforward and have a steady plot and characters, but nothing really jumps out at you. This isn’t bad, as it gives the show something to measure itself against, and these two are just fun episodes. “Scrapheap” introduces us to the Scraplets, it lets us explore some of the Transformers’ weaknesses, and it gives our supporting characters, Ratchet, Bumblebee, and Bulkhead, room to shine, while Optimus and Arcee are pushed back to a pretty good B-plot.

A Look at Lindsey Stirling

Why I love Lindsey Stirling

As some of you may know, I’m a pretty big fan of a mild YouTube celebrity named Lindsey Stirling, a self-proclaimed “Hip Hop Violinist”. That, to me, barely describes her many styles of music, as she has since branched out into a number of different genres. From her classic hip-hop style to dubstep, Stirling has captured the essence of how to make the violin a modern sensation, which is something that I have not seen done before her or since her arrival into the celebrity world.

July 27, 2012

Shadowcon Reviews- Orion Pax, Part 3

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 2, episode 3: “Orion Pax, Part 3”

As we enter our final review for this epic arc, I’d like to point out that I’ve managed to go non-stop for seven weeks with this, and I feel pretty proud of myself. Hey, it may be petty, but I take a victory or two where I can get it! So Arcee and Jack reach Kaon and the Key’s signal raises a buried vault door. I like that the arena floor that the two are standing on is the same as the one seen in the flashback in “One Shall Rise, Part 3”, when Megatron was seen as a gladiator, crippling his opponents on this very arena platform. The raising of Vector Sigma’s vault door attracts the attention of the vermin that hatched at the end of last episode, leading to a vicious battle between Arcee and the now-named Insecticon. I’ll comment more on the Insecticons when I review “Crossfire”, but for now, I will say that Arcee may have finally met her match, as the Insecticon’s fighting is just ruthless.

July 24, 2012

Shadowcon Reviews- Orion Pax, Part 2

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 2, episode 2: “Orion Pax, Part 2”

We start Part 2 off right where we left off. Orion’s pretty confused as to why Starscream called him Optimus Prime, and Starscream quickly backpedals and says that Orion merely reminded him of someone else. I love Starscream’s confused look at Optimus, and how he quickly plants those seeds of doubt in Orion’s mind, of how Megatron may be lying to him, and of how he may not be asking all the right questions.

July 10, 2012

Shadowcon Reviews- Orion Pax, Part 1

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 2, episode 1: “Orion Pax, Part 1”

Transformers Prime was something that I thought would never make it to Transformers television: it had everything that I was looking for in any television show: characters, plot, good acting, good directing, and on top of that, brilliant action and suspense. Season One’s finale was awesome, and left me and several other people with the question of how the writers were going to top it. They already played their trump card with Unicron, and they did it in a somewhat unique way, with mixed to positive results, so what were they going to do with Season Two? Well, Season Two hasn’t finished yet, so I can’t really answer that. But, in my view, Season Two has been going downhill from its start. Now, there have been exceptions. The last four episodes before the summer hiatus (episodes 12-15) built an engaging simultaneous arc with each other that felt like it was leading to something, and by the way episode 15 ended, it looks like it is, but the majority of Season Two hasn’t really had the same punch and shock-and-awe factor that Season One dealt to us, and I think the reason for that is because we were already dealt the Unicron story, and its hard to top that, in any form of Transformers media.

July 2, 2012

Shadowcon Reviews- One Shall Rise, Part 3

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 1, episode 26: “One Shall Rise, Part 3”

And so, here it is, the final episode of Season One, and what a way to end a season, I’ll give it that. This episode picks up right where the last on left off, with Megatron leading Optimus and his Autobots through the core of Earth to Unicron’s Spark chamber. Megatron has another vision of Unicron and his destruction of the Earth, and informs the Autobots of Unicron’s growing strength. Arcee asks how Optimus knows if Megatron is being used by Unicron to lead them into a trap, and Optimus responds as reassuringly as ever:

“We do not.”

Yeah, that question should have been posed back at the base, Arcee, not here in the Earth’s core. Back at base, everyone’s a little on edge after having a death machine in their midst not five minutes ago. Agent Fowler wants to act now, but Ratchet questions his intentions: they already have both Optimus and Megatron trying to stop Unicron from the inside, and apparently the two had worked closely before this as well.

June 27, 2012

Shadowcon Reviews- One Shall Rise, Part 2

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 1, episode 25: “One Shall Rise, Part 2”

Previously on Transformers Prime, stuff happened that was better than the entirety of the film franchise put together! This episode opens with a very funny line from Ratchet:

“Optimus, have you uncovered any further sign of Unicron’s emergence?”

“Unicron is power incarnate! And you, the last of the Primes, shall perish!”

“I take that as a yes.”

Yup, seems Optimus is indeed outnumbered, but neglects backup, as he tries once again to be the hero of the piece and fight all the Unicrons by himself.

“This fight must be mine alone.”

June 19, 2012

Shadowcon Reviews- One Shall Rise, Part 1

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 1, episode 24: “One Shall Rise, Part 1”

After a quick “previously on” segment, we’re put right back into the action of the preceding episode: that of Megatron looming over Optimus, ready for the kill. Optimus wonders why Dark Energon is erupting from the volcano as, by all previous indications, normal Energon was the only type to be found on Earth, albeit in limited quantities

 Megatron’s victory over Optimus is short-lived, as the rest of the Autobots arrive and rescue Optimus, while Megatron gloats to the stars that he now has more than enough Dark Energon to reawaken Unicron. Well, that’s bad news, and Ratchet muses why Dark Energon has been found on Earth, and why it erupted from the volcano, much like Optimus did when he was, um, getting his ass kicked by Megatron. This leads to Miko’s infamous line of “the ‘Cons killed a Unicorn?”, which is the only in-cannon Unicron/Unicorn joke in existence. Good on you, mate.

June 12, 2012

Shadowcon Reviews- One Shall Fall

            Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 1, episode 23: “One Shall Fall”

            “One Shall Fall” kicked off a seven-episode story arc that spanned the last four episodes of Season One of Prime and began the first three of Season Two. We’ll be taking a look at this epic arc, and what better way to do so than with a prophecy, ‘cause those things create tension wherever they appear. This particular prophecy, told to us and to the rest of the Autobot team by Optimus himself, tells of how a massive planetary alignment will cue a the culmination of a massive conflict “upon a world forged from chaos”.

May 31, 2012

Shadowcon Mini-Views- Marvel's The Avengers

Shadowcon Reviews: Marvel’s The Avengers

Yes, this is indeed my third time seeing it, and while I may have been a little late to the party (I saw it on a Wednesday, five days after it came out in America), I still saw it, and am here now, three and a half weeks later to talk about it! And I’d like to welcome my cousin Danny, with whom I’ll be doing this review. Say hello.


Ha! Can’t even tell the difference in writing yet, can you? Well, don’t worry. That’ll soon change, as he and I will be covering different aspects of this film. In terms of characters, I’ll be covering Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr., Captain America, played by Chris Evans, and Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, and Danny will be covering Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, Hawkeye played by Jeremy Renner, and Bruce Banner/Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo. He’ll also be taking a look at SHEILD, and Nick Fury, while I’ll be covering the villain of the piece, Loki. Oh, and if your new to my writing style or setup (which, hey, I don’t blame you if you are; I’ve only garnered about 100 people to follow me) there are spoilers.

So, let’s get started. Expect much gushing and geeking out.

April 12, 2012

A Look at Arcee

Transformers Prime has a very nicely defined cast, with its star clearly being Arcee. She's been the focus of my last three reviews, and being that "Partners" is the end of her arc for Season One, I figured I'd do a post about why I like her so much. Arcee, to me, is really a toned-down version of what Optimus Prime could be, if he were ever done with a semblance of emotion. She's flawed, has seen the horrors of war firsthand, and has had to keep her emotions in constant check. Any deviation from her sense of duty, and you've got a situation that culminates in the escape of a prisoner... it culminates in "Partners".
Arcee's relationship with the rest of the cast is the strongest. Her ties to Jack, June, and Bumblebee are all really powerful. She's protective of Jack, but knows when to let him go, having done so many times, often to his protest, but it ultimately does benefit him in the end. When June enters the picture, Arcee now must contend with the fact that she's now competing against Jack's actual mother, a figure who knows him far more than Arcee, who understands him better than Arcee, and who thinks that she cares more for him than Arcee. Now, I'm not going to turn this into a chick fighting arena sponsor, I'm just trying  to point out that Arcee's had to face challenges not only in combat, but in character and in responsibility as well, which makes her comparatively strong compared to her previous iterations. Her past, though presented rather clumsily in "Predatory", nevertheless is really touching. Having lost two close partners already, you can see why she's so protective of Jack, and why his mom presents a certain amount of trust issues between her and Arcee.
Her boldness as a character is exemplified in her approach to a problem. When battling Airachnid back in "Predatory", her judgment was impeded, not only because it was Airachnid who she had to contend with, but it was Jack who was in danger. Her third partner, a weaker partner than the last two, who was unable to defend himself... and he nearly got killed because Arcee wasn't there to help him. Airachnid is Arcee's greatest flaw, and the villain takes advantage of this fact. "Partners" had Airachnid come back to haunt Arcee, only this time, Arcee's emotions would be amplified by the arrival of Starscream. Both of Arcee's past partners could now be avenged at the same time. It was only because of Bumblebee that Arcee was able to stop herself from killing Starscream. I think that this development in her character was natural, and helped flesh her out as a person. It was only Bumblebee that really didn't work for me. As I said in my follow-up section of my last review, I think it would have been more effective had Optimus shown up instead. The impact on Arcee would have been the same, but it would have driven home the point that she was emotionally compromised.
Overall, Arcee remains my favorite character on the show. Her complex character and chemistry with the rest of the cast is outstanding, and she's a great fighter to boot. Unlike her previouse incarnations, she's much more of a team player, provided her judgement remains in check, and the choice to make her more of a badass was, I think, really necesary for the character's reputation. Up until now, Arcee had been portrayed as either a surrogate mother figure for the human allies, or as a male cast memeber with female accoutromonts. This itterations of Arcee takes the female side of that and amplifies it, without making it overt. Arcee isn't a bitchy schoolgirl, but she's also not a female Optimus Prime. She's a person, and that in the Transformers lore, is really rare, and a true gift to be proud of.

February 4, 2012

Shadowcon Reviews- Partners

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 1, episode 20: “Partners”

We close out our look at Arcee with this, the last episode to feature Starscream for Season One, and a pretty kick-ass way of closing out Arcee’s character arc for the season as well. The episode deals with Starscream’s supposed defection to the Autobots, and Arcee mourning both Cliffjumper, who I’ll talk about in the accompanying post, and Tailgate, whom we saw Airachnid kill back in “Predatory”. It’s a nice way to wrap things up for Arcee, Airachnid, and Starscream. So without further ado, let’s jump into “Partners”.

January 27, 2012

Shadowcon Reviews- Crisscross

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 1, episode 16: “Crisscross”

Okay, so while I said that my next Prime review would be “Operation Breakdown”, I decided that that episode is less prominent than this one. This episode, “Crisscross”, combines both villains introduced in my last two reviews, and while “Operation Breakdown” is technically part of the MECH storyline, it doesn’t directly impede the overall arc of the MECH/Arcee story. This episode is also the strongest for MECH out of their three central titles, and is a pretty good Jack/Arcee story as well. Airachnid makes her return and is far more villainous than in “Predatory”. The main draw of this episode, however, is the fact that Jack’s mom finds out about the Autobots. Jack is back to his common-sense self, and bringing his mom into the inner circle was a logical move from a story point of view: she was going to find out about the Transformers sooner or later, and I think that they introduced this element at the perfect time in the season. This brought about a huge change, and elevated the elements of this episode, making it stand above its immediate neighboring ones. Episodes 12 through 16 made the bulk of the low point for the first season, and from here on out, the episodes and plots and characters continue to thicken and get better. I’m impressed that the writers were able to pull themselves out of the mud this quickly, too, considering that after this, they only had so much to do before the huge awesome ending.

January 11, 2012

Shadowcon Reviews- Predatory

            Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 1, episode 12: “Predatory”

            It’s safe to say that Arcee is the most developed character out of the entire cast. Her complex character, the development of an actual story arc, and a good chemistry with the Autobots and humans alike, makes Arcee worth watching. When done right, she comes across as a wounded soldier, one who’s able to assess the situation and take immediate action, while also letting her emotions get the better of her. Three main episodes deal with these aspects creating a loosely connected arc, and we’ll be looking at each of them over the course of the next month or so. This episode “Predatory” is the first of the three, and probably the weakest. This is in part due to the introduction of the main nemesis of Arcee, the uncharacteristic incompetence of Jack, and the overuse of flashback. That may sound a bit odd, so let’s dive in and see why things are the way they are.

January 10, 2012

Shadowcon Reviews- Convoy

Shadowcon Reviews: Transformers Prime season 1, episode 9: “Convoy”

I consider this episode to be a standard Prime episode; not bad, not great, but having enough plot to fill twenty-five minutes. This and “Scrapheap” are what most other episodes of the show are measured against, and it isn’t until “One Shall Fall” that the quality of the show is boosted considerably. That’s not to say that the episodes preceding that one are bad; on the contrary, most deliver strong scripts and moderate character development, and while this particular episode is sparse on the latter, it does manage a solid script and very few major plot holes.

January 1, 2012

Shadowcon Overviews- Transformers Prime Season 1

The last three series I glossed over, making up the Unicron Trilogy, were the three series that I grew up with. They’re also the worst of the Transformers series according to the majority of the Transformers fans, so I came in at a pretty sour patch in the Transformers timeline. This is unfortunate, because after these three series passed, there was much rejoicing.

In my view, Armada and Energon represent the point where the Transformers were really just not doing well. The series were rushed from their Japanese shores over to America, and as a result, the toy lines of each series suffered hugely because of it (I’ve discussed this in greater detail in the individual overviews, so check those out if you want to know the nitty-gritty). Cybertron followed, and it was an improvement both in the writing, and in the dubbing. Nevertheless, it was still week compared to other Transformers shows come before such as Beast Wars or even the Generation One cartoon. However, while the Cybertron cartoon suffered, the toy line blossomed, offering up what has since become a type of ‘catch-all’ series of toys, ranging from ordinary vehicles to awesome futuristic fighters all the way to animal transformers, harkening back to the Beast Wars era. With the release of the feature film the following year, the Transformers brand as a whole was beginning to set itself up for major changes. Some were good and some were, well… not really bad so much as jarring (Transformers fans hate change, you see).