Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

And Now, Zero Expressing His Anger Through Crappy Voice Acting.

Yeeeeeaaah….. That really stunk.

Seriously, I could’ve done better than that.

Anyway, I think it’s funny that ever since Mega Man X came out, Zero has always seemed like one of the more popular characters in the franchise.

The clip above notwithstanding, it’s easy to see why.

He has a flashy and unique design, his theme music was bad ass, and his first appearance in the series involves him saving your ass from Vile, a character who was impossible to beat at that point in the game.

Add in the fact that in later entries in the series he is given a beam saber, and you have the template for a bad ass supporting character more than capable of eclipsing the popularity of the rather vanilla protagonist.

Pictured: Someone who just creamed his pants upon reading the words "beam saber."

In many ways, I think of Zero as the equivalent to Trunks from Dragonball Z.

For whatever fuckin’ reason, back in elementary and middle school, Trunks was the bees knees.

You remember those holographic Dragonball stickers all the kids pasted on their binders?

Well, pretty much all the kids I went to school with that had them, went to great lengths to hoard the Trunks ones.

Remember these? I think I still have a few pasted on my bed frame...

While I admit that Trunks’ design is pretty slick, what with the Capsule jacket, purple hair and (useless) sword, at the end of the day I was always confused with my friend’s appreciation for the character.

Taking into consideration his actual role in the series as opposed to his appearance, I always saw Trunks as being kind of dumb.

Like Zero, he had one of the more bad ass debuts in fiction, however from that point on his abilities are quickly overshadowed by everyone around him, and when he finally does catch up, he’s too dumb to use his powers responsibly.

Pictured: When juicing goes too far.

Indeed, I fail to see the beauty of Trunks’ soul.

That being said, while I happen to like Zero quite a bit, he’s never really been one of my favorites in the series.

Mega Man X4 marked the first time in series history that players were given the option to play through the entire game playing as Zero, and perhaps not surprisingly, his storyline was quite a bit more involved that X’s.

I guess that’s to be expected when you’re dealing with a character like X who has virtually no personality outside of his belief that “Humans = Good, Bad Robots = Bad.”

Over the course of several (poorly) animated cutscenes, it was revealed/hinted that Zero was not only originally a savage and villainous Reploid, he was also responsible for EVERY BAD THING THAT EVER HAPPENED.

ALL HIS FAULT!!!

While I think it’s cool that they made him the bridge between the original Mega Man and the X series, in the form of making him a product of the late Dr. Wily and progenitor of the Maverick virus; at the same time I think it’s this aspect of his story that kind of ruins him.

As with Trunks, I like Zero’s design, and I like his character, but when one factors in all the stupid shit he’s done throughout the series, it’s kind of hard to hold the same level of appreciation for him.

That being said, congratulations Mega Man X4, not only did you plant the seeds for making Zero look like an asshole, you also fucked him over by casting his role with an English voice actor from Mega Man 8.

And we all know how bad those guys were….

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The Best MAN!!! #8

Click me, I took hours to make...

Well folks, after a week straight of nothing but Mega Man related blogging, we’ve made it to the big finale.

That’s right, today we’re gonna’ be taking a look at the 10th anniversary game of the Mega Man series, Mega Man 8 on the Sony Playstation!

As previously explained Mega Man 8 will be the final installment in The Best MAN series, as I haven’t played Mega Man 9 or 10, and thusly don’t feel qualified to elect a Best MAN for those games.

That being said, let’s dive into Mega Man 8!

8’s story was, much like 7, somewhat more involved than previous entries in the series, largely due to the unprecedented inclusion of hand-drawn anime cutscenes.

At the time of it’s release, Full Motion Video (FMV) was already old hat, however after the release of the Amiga 32CD, Sega CD, 3DO, and other such CD based consoles, many game developers saw fit to include FMV in their games, resulting in the technology being en vogue for much of the 90’s.

Mega Man 8’s FMV sequences were fairly entertaining, and decently well-animated, however the English voice acting was absolutely atrocious.

For real man, Dr. Light sounds like fuckin’ Elmer Fudd after a stroke, no joke.

He also stutters.

Like a fattie.

The end result was a series of fairly entertaining, but often times, all too tempting to skip, cutscenes.

There was 1 scene in particular though that I remember keeping an extra save file (it was a Playstation game, of course you could save!) for just so I could watch it over and over again:

It seems kind of lame now, but when I was 10, that was the coolest thing ever.  Even though my Playstation would freeze during it just about 90% of the time…

Anyway, the story of Mega Man 8 is based around a capsule of “evil energy” that falls to Earth.

EVIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.

This energy grants it’s wielder great power, and multiplies by feeding off of it’s host’s evil intent.

Think the Venom symbiote from Spider-Man.

And now, gentleman, for your viewing pleasure: A T-Rex wearing the Venom symbiote.

Dr. Wily of course gets his hands on this evil energy and uses it to power his latest creations to tangle with Mega Man.

In the meantime however, an intrinsically “good” robot from outer space named Duo (the big dude in Dr. Light’s lab during the video) crash lands on Earth, only to awaken halfway through the game to serve as an ally to Mega Man.

That is, not before trying to kill him, of course.

On the side there’s also a very Dragonball Z-esque “Goku and Vejita” dynamic that plays out between Mega Man and Bass.

Basically, Vejita, I mean Bass; has an inferiority complex, which results in him attempting to use the evil energy to grant him the power to defeat Mega Man.

Oh Bass, we do this dance again and again, and yet you just don't seem to learn the steps, do you?

I like Bass, really, I do; but he’s a total pussy in Mega Man 8.

Haha, get it!? "Bass!"

Mega Man 8 was vastly different from any Mega Man that came before it.

From a presentation standpoint, it was easily the most graphically intense iteration of the series, well, pretty much, ever.

The animations were silky smooth, and the music was excellent all-around, with most of the tracks being quite memorable.

Although from a cosmetic standpoint Mega Man 8 was a drastic departure from the norm, and undeniably, an improvement, the gameplay was merely different, and not necessarily for the better.

One of the comments I received on my Mega Man 7 post from yesterday made note of the fact that the game was slower than the NES games in the series.

I failed to address this in my post, and for that I apologize, however it is an incontrovertible fact.

Mega Man 7 was a much slower-paced game than it’s predecessors, and Mega Man 8 followed suit by being even slower.

THIS FUCKING SLOOOOOWWWW.

The sprites in Mega Man 7 were very large, excessively so, and thankfully 8 addressed this by increasing the screen resolution, while at once one-upping their level of detail.

Despite being a sidescroller like every other Mega Man game, 8 was a much more vertically oriented game.

The screen orientation was “taller,” and Mega Man’s jump controls were changed so that he jumped higher than normal, however, due to his much slower walking speed, his horizontal jumping distance was toned down a bit.

While definitely a much slower-paced, and in-fact, much easier game than it’s predecessors, Mega Man 8 was still quite fun.

TONS OF FUN.

New gameplay features in Mega Man 8 were plentiful (for a change).

The shop from Mega Man 7 made a return, though this time around it was run by Mega Man’s sister, Roll, and the currency used there consisted of an extremely finite, and difficult to acquire, supply of bolts scattered throughout the robot master stages.

Items in the shop consisted of equipment to dampen the “knock-back” effects of getting hit, decrease the charge time for a Mega Buster shot, change the function of Mega Buster, and a variety of other things.

Part of the fun of the shop was the fact that not all of the items were all that useful, such as the one that increases your climbing speed, or the one that disables your Mega Buster!

I greatly preferred this shop system, as unlike 7, where all you had to do was “farm” for money by killing enemies, purchases in 8 felt much more strategic.

A Hummer: THE strategic purchase.

In addition to the shop items, there were also a total of 4 Rush items, all granted to the player after defeating minibosses during the robot master stages.

While virtually all of the Rush items were nothing more than novelty items that could net you a nice item or two here and there, I always thought it was a neat idea to turn Rush into a motorcycle and ride him into battle.

PIMP.

But, that’s just me.

In addition to the changes made to the overall pace of the game, Mega Man 8 also featured some truly inspired level designs.

No longer consisting purely of platforming action, 8 contained a several vehicle segments and a few maze-like stages that couldn’t be completed linearly.

While Mega Man 5 was the first in the series to feature on-rails vehicle sequences, in the form of a jet-ski ride during Wave Man’s stage,

Mega Man 8 took this concept and greatly expanded on it.

Frost Man and Dr. Wily’s tower both featured perilous snowboarding sequences wherein the player would have to alternately jump or slide to survive the course.

JUMP.

Tengu Man’s stage featured an extensive on-rails shooting sequence in the skies.

"FUCK YOU, WHALE!"

This sequence was one of my favorites in the game, as it had you riding Rush while shooting numerous enemies, all while gradually recruiting a huge DEATH SQUAD of Mega Man’s buddies to help you out.

The Mega Man Death Squad in all their glory.

Auto, Eddie and Beat all made appearances in this sequence, with Beat finally redeeming himself as the single most powerful ally you could acquire.

I'm lettin' you off easy this time... Chump.

Sword Man and Astro Man’s stages served as the first maze levels in Mega Man history.

While Sword Man’s stage was not really a maze, but rather a series of trials that had to be completed while making use of specific robot master weapons, Astro Man’s stage was one mother of a maze.

ARRRRRGHH!!!

Seriously, I fucking hated Astro Man’s stage…

Well, I think I’ve said more than enough about Mega Man 8, it’s time we got down to deciding who’s The Best MAN, for the very last time.

The Best MAN of Mega Man 8 is…

Frost Man

FROSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST MAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNN!!!!!!

Didn’t see that comin’ didja’?

You know why Frost Man’s The Best MAN?

‘Cause Mega Man 8 was the first game in the series to give it’s robot master voices, that’s why.

Okay, okay, that’s not the only reason I picked him, but it had a lot to do with it.

You see, Frost Man’s voice made me laugh as a kid.

His character was supposed to be that of a huge, powerful, dopey idiot, and his voice reflected this very well.

"I will love him, and kiss him, and I will call him George..."

Seriously, when the biggest fuckin’ robot master in the fuckin’ series leaps into the arena, smashing a bunch of Mega Man ice sculptures to show off his strength, only to yell out something retarded like:

“I’m gonna’, crush you! I will…… Beat, you!”

I just can’t help but smile.

Tune to 4:45 for example:

Seriously though, Frost Man has a lot going for him.

His “walking igloo” design is inspired and truly a sight to behold in-game with it’s vivid animations, his weapon, the Ice Wave is fun to use, (although much cooler looking when he uses it) and his stage is lots of fun to play with one of the better background tracks in the game:

If anyone could usurp Frost Man’s position as Best MAN, I’d say it would be Clown Man or Search Man.

Seriously, I actually had to rewrite a big portion of this post on account of me changing my mind about Search Man at the last minute.

The problem with Search Man is that, while he’s got personality up the ying-yang, and a cool weapon to boot, I didn’t care much for his stage.

You see, like Mega Man 7, 8 split up it’s robot masters into 2 groups of 4.

Because I rarely finished the game as a kid, the second group of robot masters were one’s I didn’t end up seeing all that much of.

Sorry Aqua Man, no one likes you...

On top of that, I’ve never actually fought Search Man without having the Flame Sword to pwn his ass with, so I’ve never really gotten to experience a real fight with him firsthand.

Clown Man on the other hand, while one of my favorite designs in any Mega Man game, suffered for exactly the same reason Frost Man was promoted.

His voice annoyed the piss out of me.

EXAMPLE

He had an extensive repertoire of interesting attacks, his stage was cutesy fun, and his weapon was not all that bad, but his voice was just painful to listen to.

Oh yeah, that and he was WAY too fucking easy…

Protip: Sticking your arms into the ground isn't a viable combat tactic. It just gets you shot. In the face.

Well folks, we’ve named our last Best MAN.

Hopefully everyone had fun along the way, I know I did.

See you tomorrow when I (hopefully) think of some other shit to write about…

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The Best MAN!!! #7

Afternoon everybody, and welcome back to the 7th installment of The Best MAN!

Today we’re of course going to be exploring the tragically flat, and only 16-bit adventure in the linear Mega Man series, Mega Man 7.

Ah, I see we've reached the mid-90's era of Capcom's American cover art...

Before we delve into the utterly vanilla experience that is Mega Man 7, I feel it important to address one simple issue surrounding the stigma that seems to have arose in regards to this game.

Case in point:

Now, I can’t claim that this video’s (clever) views on the Mega Man series are at all that of the general public, however I feel that it should be said that Mega Man 7 is far from the worst of the Mega Man series.

*Ahem!* By now it should be obvious that that honor belongs to Mega Man 5

Pictured: Mega Man 5.

Anyway, despite Mega Man 7’s apparent reputation for being a shit-fest of epic proportions, the game actually had a decent story.

Not that that counts for anything in a franchise that puts zero emphasis on story.

In short, after Dr. Wily is thrown in jail at the conclusion of Mega Man 6, exactly 6 months later, 4 robots he had hidden in an underground laboratory wake up and blow the shit out of the city to free him.

Essentially, the plot is a carbon copy of the first half of Dragonball Z movie 7.

This was the coolest shit ever when I was in middle school... I'm not even kidding.

Coincidence?  I think not!

Nah, I’m just Joshing yah’, it probably was a coincidence.

Anyway, like any Mega Man game, the changes to the gameplay made in 7 were small, but fairly impactful.

Just not as much as in most other games in the series…

Several new characters were introduced, including Auto, Mega Man’s burly mechanic buddy:

"Pull my finger."

And Bass and Treble, the series’ obligatory evil clone characters:

PIMP.

While Auto served as little more than window dressing, Bass and Treble engaged the player at several points in the game, initially pretending to be all baby-faced n’shit, only to turn heel and bash Mega Man over the head with a steel chair.

"MY GAWD, WITH THE STEEL CHAIR!!!!"

Gameplay additions to Mega Man 7 included a new equipment store run by Eddie, wherein the player could purchase new items and abilities, and a brand new Rush adapter called “Super Mega Man” that combined the flight and power functions of the adapters from Mega Man 6.

Mega Man, GATTAI!!!!

It was also the first game in the linear series to allow the player to “charge” the weapons of all of the robot masters.

In addition to this, the game also adopted the “Intro Stage before Stage Select” mechanic that had been pioneered in the Mega Man X series, as well as set it’s own precedent by introducing the “Intermission” stage, that is; an unskippable level forced on the player after defeating 4 of the 8 robot masters.

PHARAOH MAN CAMEO!!!

As you can already tell, outside of 16-bit graphics and sound, Mega Man 7 didn’t really bring much to the table in terms of innovation.

In fact, despite the larger sprites and more detailed animations, the games’ musical compositions were actually somewhat weak for the series.

Even so, there were exceptions:

Just goes to show you that technical advancements don’t always mean much in regards to gameplay.

Mega Man 7 was not a horrible game, nor was it the worst Mega Man game, however; due to the hype and expectations surrounding it, the first 16-bit Mega Man game; it ended up being a pretty big letdown.

Even so, the games’ biggest shame is the fact that it is utterly average, serving as nothing more than a mere hiccup in the vast legacy of the Mega Man franchise.

Enough dour bullshit, let’s get down to who’s The Best MAN!

Well kiddo’, that’d have to be…

Shade Man

SHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADE MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNN!!!???

This one hurt me.

Physically.

Seriously, Mega Man 7 has a decent roster of robot masters, but I really only like 2 of them.

Turbo Man and Freeze Man, those are the only 2 MEN in the game that come close to being The Best MAN.

ALL THAT IS MAAAAAAAAAAAANNNN!!!!

So why the fuck aren’t either of them The Best MAN in Mega Man 7!?

Well, shut up and I’ll tell you.

Junk Man is the first guy I’d always kill, and c’mon; he’s fuckin’ Junk Man.

More like "Pile of Fail Man."

Cloud Man is a fattie.

Pictured: Cloud Man.

I actually had to look up Burst Man just to figure out what the fuck his gimmick was.

Note: I still don’t know what it is…

Seriously man, what the fuck is his deal?

Slash Man is cool, but uninspired, *cough!* Wolverine *cough!*

I did like the dinosaurs in his stage though...

Spring Man is lame and had one of the most frustrating stages in Mega Man history, right next Astro Man in Mega Man 8.

Pictured: Spring Man.

That leaves us with Turbo Man and Freeze Man, the only 2 MEN that I actually like in Mega Man 7.

Both are my favorite designs in the game, they have pretty cool weapons, pretty fun stages, and are tough cookies when you finally get down to stompin’ a mudhole on their asses.

Despite Shade Man’s relatively crappy design, he trumps both of my boys in every other category, hands down.

He’s got a pimp-ass weapon, he’s tough to fight, and if you hold “B” before selecting his stage, you can play a through his stage with the Ghosts ‘N Gobins intro stage music playing as the stage background music!

Not only that, but his is the only robot master stage that includes a brief story sequence wherein Mega Man runs across an injured Bass and Treble just after they fought, and lost to Shade Man.

Even though it is later revealed that Bass and Treble were in fact working for Dr. Wily, it’s worth noting that Shade Man was considered powerful enough to have believably defeated them.

That’s street cred son, you can’t buy that.

While I don’t really care much for the whole vampire schtick of Shade Man, from a gameplay standpoint, he was a very creative and unique addition to the series.

He had more attacks than most bosses, including a life draining bite and Medusa-like stone gaze.

Clearasil: It's your friend.

More importantly, his weapon, the Noise Crush, was truly awesome, as it would bounce off of walls, growing more powerful as it ricocheted.

Like I said, the thought of declaring Shade Man the best, well, anything, makes me violently ill, however I feel I’d be lying to myself if I elected one of my favorites in his stead.

Just goes to show you, that which you like isn’t necessarily what’s best.

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The Best MAN!!! #4

Well, we’ve reached the halfway point in The Best MAN series.

Yes, I am aware that there are in fact 10 games in the linear Mega Man series, however; as someone who has yet to play #9 or 10, I don’t feel qualified to determine who The Best MAN for those games might be.

Oh well, that still leaves 8 other games for me to work with.

Speaking of which, let’s get down to the matter at hand: Mega Man 4.

Awkward composition, but clearly an improvement over previous covers. Mega Man's face looks kind of pedo though...

Mega Man 4 was the first game in the series to feature the Mega Buster charge shot.

Little known fact: Mega Man's anus is located in his left hand.

This simple change in the mechanics of the gameplay would profoundly effect the Mega Man series all the way until Mega Man 8.

The charge shot allowed the player to power up their standard bullets to form a singular, larger and more powerful shot that dealt approximately 3 times as much damage as a normal shot.

While this made combating the basic enemy fodder a somewhat simpler affair, the charge shot ultimately caused the boss fights to take on a more methodical pace than was customary for the series.

In fighting the robot master bosses, Mega Man’s standard bullets were de-powered to the point in which they only did one unit of damage per hit.

In addition to this, the duration of the invincibility frames given to the bosses (and Mega Man himself) upon being struck, were increased significantly, presumably for the sake of giving the player time to charge another Mega Buster shot.

The following is an example of the horrors of invincibility frames:

In essence, the introduction of the Mega Buster forced the player to pick their shots, rather than try to overwhelm their enemies as was possible in the previous games.

Mega Man 4 also introduced a handful of new characters to the series canon.

Flip-Top Eddie, Dr. Light’s walking briefcase, made his first appearance in Mega Man 4, showing up to give the player a random item during certain stages.

Also, the game featured the first appearance of Dr. Cossack and his daughter Kalinka.

Pictured: Dr. Cossack and Kalinka.

The Russian, and therefore evil; Dr. Cossack serves as the games’ main antagonist until the latter stages of the game when it is revealed that Dr. Wily kidnapped Kalinka, thereby forcing Cossack to do his bidding.

That evil son of a bitch...

Mega Man 4 was a pretty solid addition to the series.

The Mega Buster represented a major change in the series, one that I still can’t decide was for the better or worse.

The game was very difficult, arguably one of the more difficult entries in the NES series of Mega Man games.

The soundtrack was very good, while taking on a dramatically different sound from it’s predecessors, not in composition, but in MIDI instrumentation.

Give this remix of the iconic Mega Man 2 Title Theme a listen to see what I mean:

That’s enough about that crap though, let’s get down to who’s The Best MAN!

Well, that would have to be:

Pharoah Man

PHARRRRRROOOOOOOOAAAAHHHH MAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNN!!!!!

Really, was there any doubt on this one?

Mega Man 4 was by no means a perfect Mega Man game, however one thing it did better than most was the designs of it’s 8 robot masters.

AWESOME!!!!

Consequently, the designs for the 8 bosses were not designed by Capcom’s in-house artists, but from the results of a public mail-in contest.

Thank you creative people of Japan for giving us the awesome character designs of Mega Man 4!

No wait, I take that back...

Anyway, despite the general awesomeness of MOST OF the MAN designs in Mega Man 4, none can hold a candle to Pharoah Man in the looks department.

I mean fuck, look at him!

He’s got the Pharoah headdress, the MC Hammer/Vanilla Ice-esque pointy shoulders,

That's right, The Azn Badger is a survivor of the dark time known as "The 90's."

an awesome grill covering his mouth,

Wheeljack: You Are Remembered.

and his color scheme is both intricate and iconic.

You knew I'd find a way to slip Seinfeld in there, didn't you?

Hey, Dive Man and Skull Man might be cool, but shit son, HE’S A FUCKING PHAROAH.

You guys ain't got shit on THE PHAROAH.

Despite Pharoah Man’s landslide victory in terms of looks, it takes more than looks to be The Best MAN.

Fortunately, Pharoah Man’s got pretty much every base covered.

His stage is fun and has one of the better background tracks in the game.

His weapon is badass and is chargeable just like Mega Man’s Mega Buster.

"I AM PHAROAH, AND THIS, IS MY KINGDOM!!!!!!"

Not only that, but he’s a tough customer and puts up one helluva’ fight when you finally get around to facing him…

Flash Stopper = MEGA RAPE.

Provided you don’t have the Flash Stopper.

You use the Flash Stopper and he’s just a pussy like everyone else.

Seriously, he can’t even move if you Flash Stopper his ass.

For real, any fool could whoop him like a little bitch if they used the Flash Stopper.

Pictured: Any Fool.

We’ll just forget about that for now though and honor Pharoah Man as The Best MAN that he is.

Seriously though: LIKE A LITTLE BITCH.

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Long time no see Ultraman

I miss Ultraman.

Ultraman has been absent from the airwaves since 2007, replaced by the Pokémon-esque, Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle… and the follow-up series, Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle: Never Ending Odyssey.

While Galaxy is a decent enough show, with a fun concept and plenty of kaiju battles, the acting and production values feel decidedly below average for an Ultra series. This, coupled with a distinct lack of Ultraman blowing the shit out of monsters has led me to give up on Galaxy for the most part.

Let me put things into perspective for you:

I grew up watching Ultraman.

Not only that, the first show I ever watched was the outsourced, Australian iteration, Ultraman Towards the Future, which is universally regarded as one of the worst Ultra series of all time, second only to the American Ultraman Powered.

Despite this, as a child I loved it! I remember waking up at obscene hours of the morning to to catch one of the 13 episodes every weekend, (kind of like how we all used to watch the same 2 or 3 Ren & Stimpy episodes every weekend) and loving every minute of it. To this day, I still have some of the action figures, the playset, and even the terrible Super NES game.

Whatever, this stuff was the shit when I was 5.

As a child Ultraman died to me the day he started airing at 5 AM on TNT.

I remember getting psyched after seeing a commercial for Ultraseven, where a giant ape man shot blue lasers out of his eyes, and Ultraseven struck a pose and yelled: “YAH! YAH! YAH! YAHHH!!!!”

With Ultraman Towards the Future still fresh in my mind, I tried to wake up to see Ultraseven at 5 in the fucking morning.

No simple task for a 6 year old with no alarm clock.

Naturally, I never got to see Ultraseven.

For about a month straight, I remember getting out of bed, running out into the living room and flipping on the TV, only to find that Ultraseven was not on.

A few times I remember seeing some scary shit on in that time slot, I remember some movie about creepy old Native American ladies with bleeding eyes scared me back to sleep one time.

Knowing me, I probably just mixed up the time slot for the show, but unfortunately I never got to see that awesome commercial again, so I never found out.

Haha! Yeah, that's the one!

Following this, I abandoned my love for Ultraman for a very long time.

I remember Ultraman Tiga aired on Fox Kids when I was in middle school. Unfortunately, I was 12, and was thusly too “cool” for Ultraman. Guess I was too busy failing at swearing (“Shit balls! Damn, fuck-sauce!”) and being fat to care about Ultraman.

Then a funny thing happened.

Flash forward to 2005: I’m in college. I’m bored. I’m finally getting old enough to the point where looking back on life holds meaning. I’m finally old enough to admit that I miss Ultraman.

So what do I do?

I learn about this new fangled invention called “torrenting” and type in “Ultraman” as my first query.

Much like my experiences in the 90’s with the Heisei Godzilla series, I was very much surprised to find that Ultraman had carried on just fine without me.

Ultraman Max served as my ambassador back into the world of Ultraman. Max was good fun. Every episode was colorfully executed with obvious enthusiasm. The cast was smaller than most Ultra shows, but in many ways I feel that was its strength. Every character was well defined and seemed to serve some purpose, even that haole guy, Sean.

One of these things is different...

I loved how schizophrenic the show could be at times.

Directors and storylines rarely lasted more than 1 or 2 episodes, resulting in a show that changed identities and mood from week to week, and quite successfully at that.

I remember being genuinely impressed by both of Takashi Miike’s episodes: “Miracle of the Third Planet” and “Who am I?”, the former being one of the most dramatic episodes in the series, and the latter being the funniest.

Most impressive to me is the fact that I don’t even like Takashi Miike, I’ve always thought of him as being seriously overrated.

I never finished Max, but it remains one of the my favorite series.

Unlike this 'merch hawking whore...

After I was done with Max, I took a step back and decided to watch the much heralded Ultraman Nexus from the previous year.

Nexus was a revelation. It did all the things Ultra series don’t do.

It worked from a single continuous storyline.

It was consistently serious in tone.

It had monsters that took entire story arcs to defeat.

It had a budget and was spectacular from beginning to end.

Nexus represented a great experiment in trying to tweak the format of the Ultraman series. From what I’ve heard, it’s deviation from the status quo caused it to lose a lot of fans, but for an older, wiser Azn Badger, it was just what the doctor ordered.

Good God, someone get that child away from there!

Around this time I started following the Ultra movie series with the release of Ultraman: The Next.

It was pretty good, with exceptional effects work, great suit designs, and a killer soundtrack by the lead guitarist of B’Z, Tak Matsumoto.

There was some hokiness to it in the form of lame homages to the Top Gun anthem on the soundtrack, and an oddly placed freeze frame moment, (“MAKI!!!!!!) but for the most part it was a good time.

Oh yeah, and it tied into Nexus, so yeah, brownie points there.

Skip to 5:08 for “MAKI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Ultraman Moebius (yes I know the Japanese phonetics have it as “Mebius“, but fuck that noise) represented another falling out between Ultraman and I.

I don’t know if it’s because I got too old, or was fatigued from all of the Sentai and Kamen Rider I was watching at the time, (Den-Ou! WOOT!) but something just didn’t click for me.

I remember liking the feel of the show, and how it paid homage to the Ultra shows of old through its use of sound effects and intentional use of outdated special effects (even more low tech than usual), but as a whole, the show just kind of felt, well, lame.

The characters were varied and well-defined, but for the most part it just felt like a bunch of airhead pop-stars with an absurd amount of inane high school drama and baggage that somehow tied into finding the methodology necessary to defeat the monster of the week.

Yes, I am aware that I just summarized pretty much every Sentai or Ultraman show ever, but what I mean to say, is that this felt particularly pronounced in the 14 or 15 episodes of Moebius I managed to watch.

You see what you missed out on? Moebius punching Birdon in his chin balls, that's what!

I think part of why I didn’t really care much for Moebius, is that the action felt kind of tame in comparison to Max, Nexus, or even Gaia.

The camera work was typical of an Ultra series, with lots of on-rails camera movement, and lots of zooms to highlight the action, but for the most part the choreography felt less complex and somewhat slow.

Nexus contained some really visceral and intense fight sequences throughout, largely highlighted by the Ultra on Ultra fights with Dark Mephisto and to a lesser extent, Dark Faust.

Max on the other hand, featured choreography with a lot of character to it.  The fighting was conducted at essentially the same pace as in Nexus, but given the quirkiness of the storylines, and the overall light tone of the series, much of the choreography allowed the suit actors to do a lot of pantomime that really added to the fun.

Whoever the suit actor for Max was, I’d like to shake their hand.

Although I would be even more honored to shake this man's hand. No, the guy on the right, dumbass.

Despite my general dissatisfaction with the series, Moebius proved popular enough with the kiddies to have a few movie tie-ins, the first of which being Ultraman Moebius & The Ultra Brothers.

I felt it was actually very good, good enough for me to own without feeling shame.

The second one however, Superior Ultra 8 Brothers, was not so hot. Aside from some splashy effects work, I felt like the story was a little bit too fantastical and far fetched, even for little kids.

Oh yeah, and as good as the effects could be at times, the fight between Moebius and King Gesura was embarrassingly hideous to look at. *Shudder* Gives me the willies just thinking about it…

In short, Ultraman Moebius was alright, probably worth watching for most fans, but not really my favorite. Which leads us to a series that I did finish, but really wish I hadn’t…

Ultraseven X was the last “proper” Ultra series, and in my opinion, it’s spectacularly epic shittiness was most likely the reason we haven’t seen an Ultra series since 2007.

It was a miniseries, it tried to be “edgy” and “different”, and for the most part it sucked a big, fat, Blackanese cock.

When I first saw the production stills for the show, I was mightily impressed by the suit design for the title character… and little else. The characters were bland and needlessly quirky, (tough girl with chocolate addiction, huh?) and the theme song was truly terrible ENGLISH J-Rock song that was as forgettable as it was skippable.

From the first trailer it was clear that the show was attempting to create a mood of sorts, unfortunately the costumes, props, and sets were a far cry from the standard set by GARO (FUCK YEAH!) the year before, and thusly, it came across as a pale imitation.

In case you couldn’t tell, Ultraseven X was a fucking disaster.

For an example of pretty much everything shitty about Ultraseven X, click below:

The action was sparse and uninspired and story was convoluted and full of holes despite the condensed length of the series.

Oh yeah, and the soundtrack, often times a highlight of any tokusatsu or Ultraman experience, was composed of minimalist, electronic turd-fuckery.

To be fair, Ultraseven X could’ve been alright had it been shot as an Ultra Q series and omitted any traces of Ultraseven or kaiju battles in general, but as it so happened I was left with a seriously sour taste in my mouth after watching it and desperately needed something to cleanse my palette.

Unfortunately, it’s been 3 years and my palette has yet to be cleansed.

Until now.

Now THAT'S a poster!

Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend THE MOVIE or….. MMBUGLTHM… for short.

Galaxy Legend THE MOVIE came out on DVD today and I am ready to be wowed. Reviews are positive, tickets sales were exceptional, Ultraman Belial looks like Carnage from Spider-Man, and the trailer looks FUCKING SWEET.


Yeah, don’t forget to change your undies cowboy.

I’m sure it’s not the best movie ever.

I’m sure it’s going to drag at points and have a shitty script.

Despite all this, I am excited for to see this movie because deep down, I want to like it.

I don’t want to be a cynical adult that shamefully picks apart the things he loves, I want an excuse to get back into Ultraman and be that kid waking up at 5 AM all over again.

It’s a wonderful feeling, having something to look forward to.

Outside of a brand new Ultra show featuring one of the original Ultras, (an idea I think would be a lot of fun) I can’t think anything that would make me happier than a rip-roaring, epic Ultra movie.

Here’s to fandom. I’ll let you know how the movie was in a few weeks.

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