OreImo, Episode 1 Rant

This isn’t a series written poorly enough that I can write entire essays on why miniscule details or single lines are the greatest affront to creative thought like I did with SAO. With that out of the way, I figured I’d at least enjoy myself by writing my comments as I watch this anime.

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That isn’t to say this anime doesn’t have moments that utterly enrage me. Foreword done.

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This is Kyousuke, the protagonist of the story. He’s your typical unassuming dude just trying to get by in life. Fortunately for all of us, he’s not some closet otaku or pervert or anything of the sort. In fact, as we go along on this series, you’ll see that he’s actually the most normal, level-headed character in this universe. Well, him and the girl who’s got the hots for him.

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This is Manami, said girl who has the hots for Kyousuke. She’s cute, she wears glasses, and she’s about as normal as Kyousuke. You’d be forgiven for thinking this anime will focus on their budding relationship as they grow even closer throughout the rest of their high school career. Sadly, this isn’t the case. I wish it were, but it isn’t. Because OreImo isn’t about Kyousuke or Manami. It’s about another character, one I don’t want to bring up quite yet, because once I do, she will be the focal point of nearly EVERYTHING wrong with this series.

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So in a rather lazy exposition dump, we are informed of Kyousuke’s sister, her accomplishments and what poor Kyousuke has to suffer because of it. All he wants is a simple, quiet life. And he shares this while simultaneously hitting on Manami. This is why I like Kyousuke; he just does his thing, coyly casually complimenting the girl he secretly has the hots for just as much as she does. It would help if he just asked her out, but we cannot have a protagonist in a relationship. No sir; he must be single so the fandom can ship him with anyone they want.

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It’s contrived but funny how all the topics in class turned out to be about little sisters given the subject matter. It’s like if you didn’t realize what trash you were watching, this will hammer it home. The fact that even Kyousuke points it out highlights how self-aware the anime can be, but rarely does much with it.

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Enter Kirino, the little sister of Kyousuke and bane of my existence. Yes, more than my hatred of SAO, this character is a personification of everything wrong with both anime and this series and EVERYTHING in general. She may look unassuming now, but trust me, it will only go downhill from here.

Kyousuke politely announces he’s home, but the girl doesn’t even have the common courtesy to say hello. She just continues talking on the phone. Rude little bitch. But whatever, as long as she doesn’t disturb our protagonist, all is well. Kyousuke gets a drink and then leaves for his room. Half way up the stairs he realizes he left the (coffee?) out of the fridge and heads back to the kitchen to put it away.

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This is where all the problems of the anime begin. Kyousuke bumps into the girl, knocking them both to the floor. Kyousuke, being an educated young man with proper manners, apologizes to his sister and offers to help her up.

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Kirino the little cunt slaps his hand away! Fuck you then, bitch. This is but a taste of the kind of person this little brat is. Angered for no real reason, Kirino leaves in a huff. After she does, Kyousuke picks up a DVD of some cheesy kids anime from the floor, realizing it must’ve dropped from Kirino’s bag.

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At that moment his mother comes home and somehow Kyousuke ends up in this position. To hide the fact he had that DVD on him. What cracks me up is that his mother just shrugs off this bit of weirdness and leaves him on the floor. Does Kyousuke normally do stuff this outlandish?

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Kyousuke comments that his social life was nearly killed by being seen with that DVD. How? It’s clearly not yours, so there’s no guilt attached to it. If his mom had seen it, he could’ve told the truth and said “I found it under the table”. What’s so bad about that? If it’s not his, and it’s not hers, it has to belong to one of two other residents in the house.

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Got to love his mother’s ability to walk in on him like this though. Again, he should just admit he found the thing and be done with it, but I guess it would look bad on his part no matter what. Even if his folks checked the rest of his room and found nothing else like it. Whatever, contrivances to get the plot rolling.

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Mentioning the anime at the table was a good move. Love how Kirino just froze on the spot. I know that feeling, let me tell you. But Kyousuke knows now that it belongs to Kirino, so mystery solved. Not that it was a hard mystery to solve in the first place; it’s obvious his own folks wouldn’t be hiding a fucking children’s anime in their living room.

Kyousuke leaves the house to go to the store, when on his way out he notices his bedroom light turn on. This was expected, as going out was just an excuse to bait Kirino into his room to catch her looking for the DVD in question.

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Because this is what we needed to see as soon as Kyousuke walked into his room. This shot is way too pandering considering Kirino is like… 13?

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After essentially getting Kirino to confess the DVD was hers, Kyousuke gives up on torturing the girl and hands her the DVD. He doesn’t care anymore at this point, so whether she continues to deny it and “tosses it” or keeps it is entirely moot. And that’s really the best way to go about this mess.

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But unable to let this just be a one time thing, Kirino asks this question on her way out. And of course this was to be expected, because this anime isn’t about Kyousuke getting with Manami, but about cockteasing him with his younger sister. There’s a million disgusting, wrong things about OreImo, and this ranks high, and while it might be something of a spoiler to say this is where the anime is going, but I don’t care. This is an old series way past its prime and everyone knows why they watch this garbage.

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Kyousuke’s answer was the correct one and the incorrect one at the same time. Who is he to judge what his sister is into? But it’s also the way to allow someone to teach you all about their perversions. And that’s essentially what we’re building up to.

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And then out of no where in the middle of the night, Kyousuke is slapped awake by Kirino. Why the fuck? You couldn’t do this during the evening before he was sleeping? Kirino takes Kyousuke to his room just so she can talk about her disgusting hobby. I don’t know what it is yet “technically”, but I know what it is. She’s into perverted shit. Of course, she opens with her needing “counseling” to not make it immediately awkward that she’s about to share her porn collection with her elder brother.

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So it turns out Kirino has a massive collection of eroge (that’s porn games for the uninitiated) and merchandise of Meruru (the children’s anime she was trying to hide earlier). Immediately she goes into gush mode about all this stuff she owns. It’s how everyone is given the opening to be honest about what they love. Of course I understand Kyousuke’s hesitation given what she’s into is eroge. To the show’s credit they handle Kirino’s hesitation about it all quite well. At least Kyousuke isn’t an ass about it all. You like porn? Cool, so long as you pay for it. And since Kirino happens to be a middle school model, she’s apparently got money to burn. It’s a wonder her parents don’t keep an eye on her income and expenditures. But whatever, apparently in Japan you’re independent as soon as you’re out of diapers.

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The fact Kyousuke didn’t know about Kirino being a model is also outlandish to me, who grew up in a family where information about every member was essentially public knowledge. I guess we can chalk it up to Kirino being so estranged from her brother that she kept even this a secret from him. And he just didn’t care, which is also fair given how much of a cunt she is. Don’t take my soft approach right now to mean anything else, Kirino is still a bitch.

Kyousuke finally asks about the porn, and why Kirino is into specifically the objectification and sexualization of “little sisters”. Which is sick when you sit and think about it.

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Though her reasoning for liking is weird but hey no one really gets why people like things sometimes. How she started is also lazily glazed over. She HAD to have started liking them after trying one out at SOME point. Don’t see why they didn’t just say “it was because I saw it on this one site this one time”. It’s still a creepy thing to be into, sorry. And she has to be into them sexually, too. She’s old enough, no matter how much she claims she likes how “cute” they are.

In the end, Kirino asks if she should share this secret hobby with her parents, to which Kyousuke says no. Which again makes sense, never mind the fact she’s a middle schooler buying and consuming porn, her parents wouldn’t understand (as we’ll see later on with how utterly retarded their father is).

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And like the good brother he is, Kyousuke offers to keep her secret (not like he has much of a choice) and help her however he can. Though I don’t see why Kirino would need his help with anything given she’s kept it under wraps all this time. But fine, whatever. We need a set-up, right? Otherwise the narrative goes no where.

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But it doesn’t end there for today. Oh no, not minutes after Kyousuke says good night and goes back to his room, Kirino comes back to slap him awake again. This time? To get the boy to play some eroge in the middle of the night while she watches. Umm… disgusting?

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I like how Kyousuke’s answer to the question is to kick the little girl out of bed without question. It’s a prick move, sure, but it’s just a video game. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t do it in real life… or would he?

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The look on the little girl’s face in the game following the event is a bit heart-wrenching though. Kyousuke I hate to agree with Kirino but that was a heartless thing to do.

Their parents are heavy sleepers though. I’m pretty sure I’d notice if someone was kicked out of a chair and crashed onto the floor, especially on the second floor of a house. The noise is insane. And they’re practically screaming at each other. Are the walls soundproof? Apparently not given they were worried about the parents overhearing. Consistency is all I’m asking for.

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Thankfully Kyousuke finally told her to piss off because it was 3 in the morning. This seriously couldn’t wait? We’re in for another long series of angry Browny…

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OreImo, Episode 1 Rant

Sword Art Online, Episode 15 Rant

Yes, it’s quite a shame that after over a year of leaving behind my desire to rant about Reki Kawahara’s incomprehensibly popular trash anime and light novel series I have returned with a possible vengeance. What brought me back? Well, the fact that a THIRD season of this garbage is in the works. And will be adapting Book 9 and onward. Something I had once planned to talk about in a series of blog entries as I read them. Which I have been, for the most part. But alas, time marches on, and in my laziness I have allowed the anime to catch up with me. For the most part.

Why then have I decided to continue talking about the rest of the anime thus far? Well, because I’m rarely one to leave things half finished, you see. Now, while I could point everyone to Digibro’s phenomenal hour-long video on why SAO sucks on almost every conceivable level (and I shall: CLICK HERE), I like to offer my own take on this series. Because it’s what Browny does, share his opinion online. Don’t matter how insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things, I like doing this. So, without further ado, let us begin Sword Art Online’s second (and possibly worst) story arc.

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So we open with what appears to be a flashback to Episode 11’s events, back when Kirito and Asuna were enjoying their honeymoon on some low floor of Aincrad. While I am tempted to talk about how fucked up it is to be having fond memories of a time when they were essentially IMPRISONED within their own minds, the fond recollection quickly turns into a mildly unsettling nightmare for Kirito as he wakes up in his own bed back in the real world. Recall that he did manage to escape the “Game of Death” that was SAO in the previous episode.

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Fuck off. You’re a murderer and a sociopath you bastard.

On a minor note, the new opening music is not quite as catchy as the first story arc’s music. But what is taste?

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And right off the bat we’re being fed excuses to ship characters together in the future. This is Suguha, Kirito’s not-really-his-real-sister who has been mentioned briefly in the past. In the two years Kirito was trapped in SAO, she’s been living her life like normal, looking to be a rather well-adjusted young woman with a healthy hobby and social life. We’re treated to a few shots of her concern for Kirito, which I guess is normal. After two years the boy is suddenly brought back from the dead so to speak, and all Kirito seems to do is remain cooped up in the house. What gets me is that we see scenes of Suguha visiting Kirito back when he was trapped in the game, but never one of his mother? Did his mother not give a shit her son was potentially a turnip? I guess it makes no difference to her, he was a loser turnip before SAO, now he’s just a loser turnip in the hospital instead. I say score one for Kirito’s folks.

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Though to be fair, we do see like 2 seconds of his mother being happy he’s awake again, but that’s about it. She cannot be allowed back in the plot anymore lest she actually do MOTHERLY THINGS and keep the boy from the trouble he’s about to get himself into.

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Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I get the feeling Kirito is surprised his sister continued her life while he was in SAO. As if he expected her to just STOP until he came back. I say this in a mean spirited way, of course. I’ll take any opportunity to shit talk the protagonist I hate him so much, but I’m clearly reaching here. Episode 15 is one of the slowest, most boring episodes because almost nothing happens as we establish the stakes for this story arc.

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Okay, now this scene does bug me. Kirito is talking about how “light” the bamboo kendo sword is compared to the swords he used to wield in SAO. Thing is, he’s no longer in SAO, and he’s relying on his clearly diminished physique to carry the thing here in the real world. As “light” as the sword might SEEM to his mind compared to the fake metal weapons he used in the game world, he MUST be feeling the utter weight of the thing with his scrawny noodle arms. His sister claims its a heavier sword than normal too, and if she says this– a girl who routinely trains with the thing and has actual real muscle as a result– I just don’t fucking buy this idea that Kirito claims it’s light.

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My point exactly, Sugu.

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Kirito is showing off even in the real world. “This real sword is too light compared to my fake muscles in the vidyagaem worldz!!” I swear Kirito would stop being so high and mighty if Sugu would just crack him over the head with that wooden sword. Swing a little harder than usual and she might even end his ass in one shot. GO ON SUGU, I BELIEVE IN YOU!

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Yes, MARVEL AT KIRITO’S STRENGTH! He can crush an empty plastic water bottle with only ONE HAND!!

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So we’re treated to a short fight scene between Kirito and Suguha, and I like how the girl starts off by laughing at Kirito’s stance. Old habits die hard, and he clearly looks like a dork adopting the stance from SAO. However, Kirito seems to move about as quickly and nimbly as he did in SAO, which again I must scream bullshit on. Remember that he was bedridden for the past 2+ years, and even after a few weeks in rehab to build up some muscle, there is NO WAY IN HELL he’s strengthened enough to do the kinds of moves he pulling against Sugu. At one point they even lock swords and SOMEHOW Kirito manages to hold Sugu back for a few moments! Considering how well-trained Sugu claims she is at swordplay, she must have far greater strength than scrawny Kirito, so how his bones didn’t snap under her weight is beyond me.

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Fortunately, Sugu does bonk the idiot. It’s a wonder the blow wasn’t enough to scramble what little brains Kirito has. Once the duel is over, Kirito mindlessly does the motion to put away his sword, same as in SAO. This is probably the most accurate thing yet depicted on this show, mind you. Suguha is naturally confused at this display.

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You hit him, Sugu. Dumbass.

Afterward, Kirito mentions that he might take up kendo again so he can spend some time with Sugu, and have the girl teach him. Naturally she’s ecstatic, as the girl exists solely to lap up any and all attention Kirito throws her way. I wish I were kidding, but honestly that’s the only reason Sugu has presence in this arc. She is a means to an end and the further along we go the more you will see this. Following this arc she will be no better than a background character. Not that she’s much of a good character anyway. At least Asuna had her moments (and later an entire arc), Suguha is trash filler meant to shiptease.

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Finally nine minutes into the episode we get some development on the plot. It turns out Asuna along with a number of other people remain trapped in a state of limbo despite the collapse of SAO. It’s been two months since that, and still these people are unable to wake up. Considering the game was deleted, why the doctors didn’t power down the Nervgear helmets and freed everyone is beyond me. I was under the impression the threat of death stemmed from the game itself sending the signals to the helmet. No game, no signal right? But what the fuck do I know, the show expects us to believe the helmet can magically kill a person in the half-second it takes to yank the thing off a person’s head.

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Now why they would believe this is beyond me. Again, Kirito has just informed us that he traded information with the government to locate Asuna. So he had to have informed them of what the AI version of Kayaba told him. And the government KNOWS the man is long dead and the only trace of him was in the game which has since been erased. I don’t think the anime even understands basic reasoning and logic.

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Meet Sugou, the villain of this arc.

What’s that? Spoilers? Oh you poor dumb fool. That’s hardly a spoiler. See?

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Sugou is clearly a creep because he’s sniffing Asuna’s hair.

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Basically, Sugou is set to marry Asuna. I mean, I know Kirito probably thought that they’d get to be together in the real world, but surely he couldn’t have been so dumb as to think the daughter of a company president wouldn’t be auctioned off in some way to secure business ties, right? I mean, that shit sounds disgusting to the average person but it’s all the rage in male-oriented countries like Japan. That, and it’s a cheap way to paint a female character as both a modern princess and damsel in distress. Reki my boy, you’re really pulling out all the stops here!

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And because subtlety doesn’t exist, of course Sugou would also lick his lips to further drive home the point that he will be marrying Asuna, making Kirito both jealous and himself horny as fuck.

Sugou goes on to share with Kirito that not only does Asuna NOT like him, she would outright reject his ass were she awake. So the fact she hasn’t woken up is beneficial to him because he plans to sucker Asuna’s father into authorizing the marriage while she’s comatose. And he shares all this with Kirito because Sugou is so cartoonishly over-the-top and thinks Kirito can do nothing to stop him. I mean, normally Kirito would be unable to stop this from happening. But this is anime, and somehow the “hero” must have his ass to tap.

And because Sugou exists only to be a cartoon villain, he continues to push the plot along by dumping a ton of exposition on us. Bad writing aside, at least we’re getting some much needed information. Turns out that the company that developed SAO went bankrupt following the incident (no fucking duh there), and maintenance of the servers fell an electronics company that JUST SO HAPPENS to be run by Asuna’s father. Well what a convenient coincidence. Why, it might even be called BAD WRITING!

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And to top it all off, Sugou is in charge of the Full-Dive division of the company. He’s basically telegraphing that he’s the reason why Asuna hasn’t woken up to someone he admits is considered a “hero” for ending SAO and could SOMEHOW– given a clue and chance– put a stop to this master plan of his. Talk about a complete asshat. But really, given how shit this whole arc is written, whatever keeps the plot moving forward is fine by me.

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So naturally, Kirito is fucking devastated that his piece of ass won’t be his after all. Normally, this is where the story would end, because what can a loser 16 year old do about a company president marrying his daughter to a business partner? ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY NOTHING. Finally, a dose of cold, hard reality.

But you know what? And you might think me a fucking loon for admitting this but…

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I actually, genuinely feel sad here.

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For once, and probably only this once, I am moved by a scene in this shitstorm of a show. Because this moment? Kirito breaking down in tears over the crushing reality that the person he loves will soon be stolen away from him? It’s probably the realest scene the anime will ever deliver. It’s heartfelt, and genuine, and by golly the voice actor nails that sense of utter destruction that’s gripping Kirito in that moment. Kirito as a character is a piece of garbage that should not be felt sorry for by anyone ever. But as a general plight of someone who fears losing the person they love most in the world?

Right in the feels, man.

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And just like that, the entire moment is shat upon by Suguha. Because we had to immediately slap the scene with a reminder that because Sugu and Kirito aren’t brother and sister but actually cousins, her wanting his dick is TOTALLY okay. Fuck off.

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The next morning, Kirito receives an email from Egil (one of the dumber characters if also coolest looking) with an attachment. It’s a low-res screenshot of a character from a game that happens to look JUST LIKE ASUNA! Why, what a lovely coincidence, huh?

But by now, I think we all get it. It’s just this shitty story’s way of getting us to move on from plot point to plot point without actually putting in actual effort.

Fuck Fairy Dance.

Sword Art Online, Episode 15 Rant

Time Spent =/= Challenge

One of the latest crazes to hit the mobile market is Magikarp Jump, a perfect example of the thought put into your typical game for smart phones.

In Magikarp Jump, you’re tasked with feeding one of the titular Pokemon with berries or training it with equally repetitive tasks as to raise its JP stat until it reaches the maximum level. You then bear witness to automated “league challenges” which require no real input from the player and require no skill whatsoever. If your Magikarp has a higher JP total than the opponent, you win. If you don’t, you keep feeding the fish, training it, or if it’s already maxed out you get a new one and start the whole process over again.

And all this is achieved with a single input: tap the screen.

You tap it to feed the fish. You tap it to have the fish flop against a punching bag or tree. You tap the dialogue prompts to move the “plot” along.

There is nothing to this game. Hell, I hesitate to even call it a game. There’s no fail state to speak of, either. While it’s possible to “lose” a league challenge, it means nothing. In fact, the “game” is designed in such a way that losing is a necessity to be done with your current Magikarp so that you can get a new one at the starting level and stuff it full of food and tree bark to reach the level of the previous fish.

It’s also possible for your Magikarp to be killed. By wandering bird Pokemon. By rogue Voltorb that explode and kill the fish. These instances are perhaps some of the funniest, darkest moments ever seen in Pokemon. Being a kids’ series of games and media, the mere mention of death is almost taboo; the earliest games touched upon it with locales such as Lavender Town’s Pokemon Tower, which was later converted to a radio tower. But having your Pokemon die and permanently removed from the team? Never.

Shame that here in Magikarp Jump it means nothing. The potential dozens of fish you choose to feed and throw against hard surfaces renders any attachment you have to a single fish moot. You’ll probably have a fondness for the first fish, or some random one you give a funny or meaningful nickname to. But once that one has either been devoured by a wild Pidgeotto or retired after reaching its highest attainable level, you’ll never get to interact with it again. At most it’ll be seen swimming in the background of the main screen.

Which brings me to the point I wanted to touch on: time as a substitute for challenge.

Mobile games I feel draw much of their inspiration from arcade cabinets of old: their job is to suck a few minutes of your time along with a few dollars from your pocket. In the olden days, the dollars were guaranteed, the time was not. After all, you could drop some coins into a cabinet, and not 20 seconds later you’d be slapped with a GAME OVER screen because these games were designed to be ridiculously hard for that very reason.

Nowadays, it’s been reversed. It’s the invested time that’s guaranteed, while dollars are a gamble at best. The mobile market’s one (arguably) positive feature is the public’s predisposition to cheap gaming. If your game costs anything more than free, you’d be hard-pressed to sell copies. So instead, microtransactions were born. The core game is free to play, but everything is slowed to a glacial pace, with cash incentive to speed the process up. And for most people I imagine, time is money is so hardwired into their heads that it becomes easy to loose some spare bucks just to push this “game” along.

And don’t even get me started on this cancerous “gacha” aspect that has infested most Japanese mobile games. Recent examples include Fire Emblem Heroes, but I’ll write a Browny Blog on THAT some other day. I’ll just say now that if you have ever spent even a single dollar on that game or anything like it, I not only pity you, I think less of you as a person.

But this is a bit of a tangent I feel. Obviously I have issue with microtransactions and the general seediness of mobile games designed solely to suck cash from weak-willed individuals. What I have most issue with however is the growing tendency to make these games so easy that it stops being a game.

Magikarp Jump is a prime example of this: there is no way to win or lose. You just keep tapping away mindlessly at it until you grow bored. There’s no takeaway from the experience, no sense of satisfaction from achieving anything. Because nothing is ever achieved. You getting your fish to Level 25 means nothing; it’s just digital proof that you have not only the patience but willingness to spend X amount of time tapping on your phone screen.

Would a game that is borderline unfair to play due to cheap difficulty be better than something like Magikarp Jump? I don’t know– probably not. But I feel that at the very least it would engage the player more on some level.

And at the same time, I just know that such a game would be universally hated by the ignorant masses who just want to turn their brains off for 100 seconds at a stretch as they wait for a bus, stop at a red light, or casually ignore friends and family at social gatherings.

And boy is that not a grim takeaway from all this.

Time Spent =/= Challenge

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 10-6

I like Disney. I grew up with the company, and watched every one of their feature films. From canon to direct-to-video, I have seen it all. But the most important ones are the Animated Canon, 55 films that began with Snow White and ends with Zootopia (until Moana releases as film 56).

This is my personal rankings of the films. From the worst to the best. Be warned: you may be rustled.

10. Wreck-It Ralph (Canon #52)

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What if after the arcade closes the characters that you control within the games clock out and hit up a local hub/tavern? It’s much the same idea as if your toys come to life and have a “life” outside your own. And Wreck-It Ralph is this idea.

Set in the modern day, the classic arcade cabinet Fix-It Felix Jr. has been operating for 30 years. The game’s antagonist, the titular Wreck-It Ralph, deals with the day-in, day-out hatred associated with being a villain at a “Bad Guys Anonymous” set up (which itself is kinda funny). 30 years doing the same thing has taken its toll on the poor guy, so he decides to hop into a different game to prove that he could be more than the bad guy he was designed to be.

It’s obvious the message here is that anyone can be anything they want, and that you aren’t restricted to what you were “born” to be. Or something. I’m not too good with messages.

Ralph carries the film as he should being its protagonist (despite being an antagonist in-universe), while the characters around him are all fun. I enjoyed the movie a lot, and a lot of that came from the world built here that pays homages to video game culture. I grew up playing video games after all, so it’s not small shocker this is on my Top 10. And this is probably the only film that I’d dare to say isn’t strong enough to make a Top 10 for your typical list of groundbreaking Disney films.

But this is my list. And on my list, Wreck-It Ralph earns that hero’s medal.

9. The Princess and the Frog (#49)

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Set in the 1920s in New Orleans, the film follows Tiana, a hard-working young woman whose dream is to one day own her own restaurant. This plan is thrown a bit out of whack when she kisses a talking frog in the hopes of helping him out of a pickle, only to turn into a frog herself. With no other choice left to her, she teams up with the talking frog Naveen to visit a voodoo priestess so that she could undo the curse on the two of them.

Why is this film so high up on my list? Not so much because it’s the last traditionally animated Disney Princess (though that is a big part of it). But because this was the first real instance of Disney’s return to form following the Renaissance of the 90s. It’s good enough to stand alongside the films of the Renaissance, and I’m sure that if this film had been released during the same time period, it would have been remembered just as fondly as those. And while I never bring up how these movies did at the box office, it is sad to note that this one did as “poorly” as it did. Look into it yourselves.

What do I like best about this film? The animation quality (which is probably the best Disney has ever done). Yes, I mean that: better than even the Renaissance films. The music is also pretty darn good and catchy, though it is a notch weaker than the rest of the Disney Renaissance.

But if I had to peg a single reason why this film will remain as high as it is on my list, it would be that this (along with Winnie the Pooh) were the last traditionally animated films from the company. And it makes me all kinds of sad to know there will likely never be another film of this visual caliber again.

Though I hope I will some day be proven wrong.

8. Mulan (#36)

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Set during Imperial China, the film follows Mulan, a young woman who doesn’t feel like she’s worthy of her family name. When the Huns invade her country, she chooses to take her father’s place in the Imperial Army, dressing up as a man since in those days women weren’t allowed to serve in the military.

It’s rather easy to poke holes in the narrative, but that’s not why I’m here. I love this movie, thanks in no small part to the music. As you’ll see tends to be the case for most of my Top 10. The animation style is also superb, bringing to mind what they did with Hercules (utilizing a distinct style to illicit the emotions of traditional Chinese art).

I don’t got much else to say about Mulan, really. The movie can be hilarious considering the amounts of jokes about how men are among other men (and Mulan is a woman). The songs while not as plentiful as other Disney films are all catchy, with my personal favorite being “I’ll Make A Man Out of You”.

7. The Great Mouse Detective (#26)

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If I have seen one movie more than any other in my life, it would be this one. Childhood is a strange mishmash of things that way.

The Great Mouse Detective is an adaptation of a book series that is in itself heavily inspired by the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, he of Sherlock Holmes fame. The film follows Basil of Baker Street, who is for all intents and purposes Sherlock Holmes as a mouse, who takes on the case of Olivia Flaversham to find her kidnapped father. Aided by Doctor David Dawson, Basil discovers a plot by his arch-nemesis Professor Ratigan to replace the Queen of England with himself as ruler of the country. And so it’s up to Basil to put a stop to him once and for all.

It’s no joke when I say this film inspired my love of mystery fiction, and introduced me to Sherlock Holmes in the first place. I also like the fact that Sherlock himself is the man who lives above Basil in the film.

So what’s great about this film that isn’t completely related to nostalgia? The final confrontation between Basil and Ratigan. The two crash into the clockwork of Big Ben, and it is in there that they duke it out hand-to-hand. Every moment of this scene is tense as hell, with almost no music to speak of as Basil and Ratigan come close to killing one another. Better seen than described, trust me.

It’s one of the few Disney films that I think would actually benefit from a sequel in some capacity. A shame it never got one, but at the same time I guess it makes The Great Mouse Detective all the more special.

6. Aladdin (#31)

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Poor boy Aladdin is trying to make a living on the streets of Agrabah when he meets a beautiful girl named Jasmine. She turns out to be a runaway princess, which gets him thrown into prison. He’s given a chance to escape by helping a strange old man find a magic lamp in a place known as the Cave of Wonders, which he then uses for himself to turn his life into a dream.

I don’t do justice to the film with that weaksauce synopsis. But that doesn’t matter; the movie is a classic. You know the drill by now: the music is great so I won’t say anything else about it. Also take note of that fantastic theatrical poster. Like many other Disney Renaissance films, the poster adds a certain mystic charm to the film. At least I think so.

Why is this one as high as it is? I think it’s one of the best straight-up adventures Disney has ever put out. It felt less like a fairy tale than most of Disney’s other films. I love Aladdin, and watch it over and over again rather frequently.

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 10-6

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 15-11

I like Disney. I grew up with the company, and watched every one of their feature films. From canon to direct-to-video, I have seen it all. But the most important ones are the Animated Canon, 55 films that began with Snow White and ends with Zootopia (until Moana releases as film 56).

This is my personal rankings of the films. From the worst to the best. Be warned: you may be rustled.

15. The Emperor’s New Groove (Canon #40)

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Disney films typically have some humor in them, but I would never really call them comedies. Even Hercules, which was a lot more comical in tone would never be called a comedy. So to think that Disney would actually try a legit comedy is a bit strange to me. And probably was to everyone else.

Kuzco is the selfish prick ruler of an ancient (Mayan? Incan?) civilization who gets turned into a llama by his backstabbing advisor. While the goal is to kill him, our villains are so inept they fail at this, and so we follow Kuzco as he travels with a peasant named Pacha to retake his kingdom and perhaps learn a lesson along the way.

The plot is a means to an end. The end is a punchline. This movie is funny. Tons of funny, even on multiple watches. So much so I don’t want to spoil ANY of the jokes. Enjoy the film is all I can say.

14. Alice in Wonderland (#13)

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Lewis Carrol’s magnum opus (not sure if anyone else considers it this, but I do) has been adapted dozens of times. Into cartoons, live action, pornos, games; you name it, there’s probably an Alice version in existence. Sifting through the dozens of adaptations is something I like to do, since the original novel is one of my favorite stories ever. And I’m happy to say Disney’s version is not only one of the best, but also a huge influence on every adaptation since.

Alice is a curious seven year old who wanders into the whimsical Wonderland after falling down a rabbit hole, and she explores this magical place over the course of the film. Virtually everyone she meets is mad, because that’s the entire point of this story. It’s how curiosity bounces off the insanity that passes for normalcy in this world.

Disney’s version takes the best elements of both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (the sequel) and makes a single romp through Wonderland, far more cohesive than you’d imagine. I’ve seen versions that stick to the letter of the original novel, but even they tend to pale in comparison to this one. Perhaps it’s the Disney bias, but I feel this version just flows better from one plot point to the next. Some might say this is against the complete wackiness that is Alice, but to them I say: hush.

13. Lilo & Stitch (#42)

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So a mad scientist creates an abomination designed to wreck havoc, is caught and sentenced, while his creation is to be exiled to a deserted planet. But before Experiment 626 can be taken to his final resting place, he breaks free and crash lands a ship on a primitive planet. That planet is Earth, and after Experiment 626 is incapacitated, he’s taken to a dog shelter where he’s adopted by the little girl Lilo as her pet.

This movie sometimes feels like its all over the place. The first part of the scientist sent to retrieve his monster undercover makes it feel like it’s a silly movie. Named Stitch by Lilo, he was designed to destroy stuff, but is isolated on an island where there’s nothing to destroy and is being taught by the girl to be good. I’m sure there’s a message here somewhere but maybe not, and I don’t care.

The other part of this film is the struggles of Lilo’s elder sister Nani, who is trying her best to find a job since she’s in charge of her younger sister following their parents’ deaths. Lilo doesn’t make it any easier for her; not because she does it intentionally, mind you, just the antics of a child that get Nani in trouble. Add to all of this a social worker who is on the poor girl because it’s his job, and there’s a real sense of urgency and drama. You almost want to forget the silly plot of the alien Lilo adopted as a dog.

And that’s where I think the movie is weakest. The Stitch plot on its own is silly and fun, but the Lilo plot with her sister is infinitely stronger. I think the best part is towards the end, where Nani accepts the fact that she has to let Lilo go (and thus be taken into some sort of foster care) because she just isn’t equipped to look after her. There’s a scene where the two sisters share a mostly silent moment together that’s particularly powerful, and feels somehow out of place with the rest of the film.

But even putting aside my desire to have one or the other, the strengths outweigh the weaknesses. The film is about family, and part of that message is you have to take the bad with the good.

Plus! The marketing campaign for this one was great. Look up old trailers for it, you’ll have a blast.

12. Frozen (#53)

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It took the world by storm. We’ve all seen it.

So what do I think of Frozen? Considering it’s this high up on my list, I like it. Quite a bit, too. It’s got good messages, good music, a good story. It’s overall good.

But overall good isn’t good enough for me. Perhaps in the distant future when Frozen is considered a “classic” it might have a chance to rise the ranks. Given enough time, the music will grow on me more, and thus propel it into the top 10.

As of now, it’s a good film. At times I feel like the messages it pushes are a bit much, but at the same time they’re tongue-in-cheek considering Disney’s history. Maybe there’s just still too much spotlight on this one. But it is strong enough to make it this far.

11. Zootopia (#55)

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The latest film at the time of writing. Zootopia is about a bunny who becomes a cop. Treated as something of a joke in a city where animals are not all make to be of similar proportions, she strives to be the best cop she can in the metropolis of Zootopia, where word of mouth says all animals live happily together. But that’s not entirely true, and after meeting a sly fox she’s handed a case on which her fresh new career is riding on.

It’s obvious that one of the biggest reasons Zootopia got as much praise as it has is because of its great allusions to current society. We as a people like to think we all get along, but every individual knows that’s not the case. Zootopia shows us this with cartoon animals, and while many have said the metaphors to factors such as race aren’t 100%, that wasn’t the point I think.

I’m not going to get political about this of course. This is a Disney film list, and I talk about what I like about the films. Zootopia is at its heart a mystery film, a buddy cop film, and a fun look at what a city populated by animals that don’t eat each other would look like. And seeing the locales of presented here are amazing, and make me wish we could see more of it. While I doubt we’ll ever get a sequel to Zootopia, I do hope some day we’ll get shorts that showcase the various districts of the city.

Zootopia is a great example of the upward trend of Disney that began with their 2009 film outing. It sets a high bar for films to follow, and I’m certain they’ll keep raising that bar higher. It’s the latest film, so it’s also one of the easiest to go see now if you haven’t already.

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 15-11

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 20-16

I like Disney. I grew up with the company, and watched every one of their feature films. From canon to direct-to-video, I have seen it all. But the most important ones are the Animated Canon, 55 films that began with Snow White and ends with Zootopia (until Moana releases as film 56).

This is my personal rankings of the films. From the worst to the best. Be warned: you may be rustled.

20. Robin Hood (Canon #21)

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Robin Hood is an outlaw who steals from the rich (in this case, Prince John) and gives it back to the poor (who are in turn robbed again by Prince John). Seen as a hero by the masses despite not really doing anything in the long run, if you think about it. What good is stealing the money of royalty if they just take it back as “taxes”?

This is Disney’s take on the classic legend of an outlaw with a heart of gold, where everyone is an anthropomorphic animal. And it’s pretty darn good. So much of this story has become muddled by time that so long as you have core essentials the end product might turn out good. I say might because that one adaptation a few years ago did not.

Being a Dark Age film, it does have a few issues of course. The animation isn’t great; it’s messy, recycled from older films like a trace job, and even reused on a number of parts. However, the music is pretty good. Not good enough perhaps to put on your MP3 player, but the songs are catchy and move the plot forward.

However, the end of the film isn’t that great. It’s a jailbreak sequence that ends too well for everyone in a way that just doesn’t seem plausible. I know it’s a bit of a nitpick for a Disney movie, but I never once was worried that everything wouldn’t turn out okay. The lack of a true final encounter was also a letdown, considering this is a story set in medieval times. A sword fight wouldn’t have been too much to ask between Robin Hood and Prince John. Even if he was a sniveling loser the entire film.

19. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (#22)

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Framed like reading a storybook, this film follows Winnie the Pooh and his Hundred Acre Wood friends on several adventures, hence the title. All of them are likely taken from classic books, and they translate well to the screen, book and all. And that’s one of the coolest things about this film (and even the other film that came many years after); the book they reside in is as much a part of the world as the Hundred Acre Wood itself!

I don’t have much else to say about this one. There’s nothing really to hate here if you’re a fan of Pooh, and if you’re not then there’s probably nothing to change your mind. These are children’s tales told as such, and nothing more. I do have to say this is the best Pooh feature ever released, and nothing released since has come close.

18. Sleeping Beauty (#16)

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A king and queen have a daughter, and when local powerful witch Maleficent is snubbed an invitation she curses the newborn to die on her 16th birthday. Talk about making a mountain of a molehill. One of the three good fairies that WERE invited places a counter on this curse, saving the princess so that instead of dying, she’d fall into an endless sleep. Not that much better, but the loophole of true love’s kiss is better than nothing, right?

So Sleeping Beauty doesn’t have a great plot. And that’s fine; I’m more engaged by the visuals of this film. Everything has this very angular design, layered upon one another to give the illusion of depth in such a way I can’t really describe it. That’s just the forest! One look at Maleficent’s castle and the countryside of Aurora’s castle when its covered in a maze of brambles is something else entirely.

One downside to this film is that it doesn’t seem to have a lot of forward momentum. We’re given the backstory, only a short time between our lead and the prince she’s to marry, before she’s whisked away to be cursed into her deep sleep. The rest of the film (about half of it) focuses on the good fairies as they work to prevent panic in the castle and free the captured Prince Phillip, who then faces off against Maleficent in one of the most tense action sequences seen in Disneydom to date. Sure, compared to most modern films its not GREAT, but this was quite the scene back in the day, and still holds up today.

The movie comes and goes far too quickly, and it’s not a bad thing. Not a good thing either, but this state of neither isn’t bad. I guess? I’m losing track of what I want to say. Point is the movie holds up, and there’s a reason why its climax of prince versus giant dragon was referenced many years later in the self-parody film Enchanted.

17. The Lion King (#32)

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Ruling monarch Mufasa is blessed with an heir in Simba. This doesn’t sit well with his younger brother Scar, who plots to off both father and son and assume power afterward.

I’m certain everyone in the world has seen The Lion King, so spoiling it probably wouldn’t hurt anyone. But I won’t, because there’s no point to it. The film is good, featuring great voicework, terrific songs that have endured, and a story that feels timeless. Probably because it’s a retread of Shakespeare.

However, for as good as the film is (and all the praise it gets), I don’t put it that high on my personal list. As you can plainly see. I like other Disney movies; movies that resonate with me. But don’t take that to mean it’s not worth a watch because it didn’t make my top 15. Virtually any Disney movie (sans Aristocats) is worth a watch at least once.

16. Hercules (#35)

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Disney has been accused of many things. Theft, white-washing, all that jazz. And then there’s Hercules, which took Greek mythology and somehow sanitized it to the point that it hardly resembles the original source material anymore. Heck, not even Jungle Book was mangled this much.

But despite all that I love this film. I love how it looks, I love the music, and for as ridiculous as the plot is I love it, too. Probably because it’s freaking stupid beyond belief if you give it even an ounce of thought. Magic potion to turn gods mortal? Planetary alignments to make a hole in the ocean appear? The final battle against the Titans going well just because Hercules showed up?

Man, people have done whole presentations on why this movie can be considered bad. But you know what? I don’t care. Go listen to “Go the Distance”. Go watch a music video of “I Won’t Say I’m In Love”. Just bask in the delight that is this movie. Of a time when you could just have mindless fun without worrying so much about messages and what a film wants to comment on. It’s just plain, simple, stupid, processed fun.

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 20-16

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 25-21

I like Disney. I grew up with the company, and watched every one of their feature films. From canon to direct-to-video, I have seen it all. But the most important ones are the Animated Canon, 55 films that began with Snow White and ends with Zootopia (until Moana releases as film 56).

This is my personal rankings of the films. From the worst to the best. Be warned: you may be rustled.

25. Atlantis: The Lost Empire (Canon #41)

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So back in 1994 there was a movie called Stargate. It was about an ancient circular portal that sent people to a different part of the galaxy where a similar civilization to ancient Egypt still existed. And the pharaohs were all aliens who use people’s bodies as suits and they rule with an iron fist. And they ruled Egypt too until they closed the gate.

What does any of this have to do with Atlantis? Well, someone really liked this movie and worked at Disney, because Atlantis is very similar. Set in the early 20th Century on an Earth where magical tech was a thing and steampunk currently is a thing, Milo Thatch is recruited by an eccentric millionaire who funds an expedition under the ocean to find the titular lost civilization. Traveling with him is a crew of colorful characters who don’t get nearly enough screen time to be interesting, and eventually they do find the city, which is in decline.

The good: this movie looks fantastic. The animation is stunning, the design of Atlantis, the road to Atlantis, and everything in between is spectacular. The character designs are also great, despite them being shallow characters in the end. Even the plot itself isn’t too bad.

The bad: time. This movie was only given 100 minutes to play out, which isn’t anywhere near enough. And it sucks to watch the movie reduce finding the city to a montage that lasted all of a couple minutes. Not to mention the scene that preceded it where they come face to face with the Leviathan. I honestly feel every problem I had with this movie could have been solved with just giving the film 20 additional minutes to flesh out the world.

So what was the point of the Stargate mention at the start of my thoughts? Watch Atlantis (it’s still pretty great), and then watch Stargate. You’ll see just how similar both films are.

24. Big Hero 6 (#54)

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Hiro Yamada is something of a child prodigy, and he uses his talents at robotics to rip off street thugs for tons of cash. When his elder brother convinces him to go to a prestigious school instead, he does. Only to lose his brother in an accident, which leads Hiro (and his late brother’s friends and robot Baymax) to track down what appears to be a supervillain operating in their own city of San Fransokyo.

Big Hero 6 is visually amazing, combining the landscapes of San Fransisco with the aesthetics of Japanese culture. Unfortunately, that’s about the extent of the coolness of the film.

The plot is sadly weaker than most other Disney films, feeling very predictable from start to finish. About the only thing I didn’t foresee was the villain’s intention, but other than that I could blow-by-blow it start to finish. That’s not to say it was a bad execution; this is a super hero flick from Disney, but it still pales in comparison not only to other Disney outings, but also Pixar’s fantastic The Incredibles.

However, within its weak plot with good executions was some great stuff. The characters outside Hiro are all memorable, even if they don’t get a lot of time on screen compared to Hiro and Baymax. And really, it’s Baymax who steals the show in every scene he is. You just want to hug the white fluffy robot. Be sure to stick around until after the credits for the stinger!

23. Treasure Planet (#43)

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It’s Treasure Island… IN SPACE!

Jim Hawkins becomes a crewman on a ship with a course set for Treasure Planet. On it he meets the ship’s cook John Silver, a colorful old sailor who knows a lot more than he lets on, and takes the young Jim under his wing.

I’ve read a lot about the shortcomings of this film, one of the biggest reasons cited for its less than stellar performance being poor marketing. Can’t say how true this was, but the fact I don’t remember a single commercial for this film I suppose means there’s some truth to that. But setting aside that nonsense, what do I think of the film?

I like it. That’s about it, really. It’s not fantastic, and its hurt a bit at the end through the inclusion of a robot named B.E.N voiced by Martin Short (who is simply unbearable in this role). I like (dare I say, even LOVE) the mix of 19th Century dress and B-list space age tech. The parts between Jim and Silver are great, as the two have a great dynamic and play well off each other. The entire film could have been about Jim and Silver swabbing the deck and talking and it would have been superb.

But sadly there is the adventure to contend with. There are the weaker side characters (such as most of the crew save for Captain Amelia), and there is the treasure itself. It makes sense why people say the treasure in a treasure hunt movie is the least important part of the movie. This film is great for the visuals and the animation, so watch it for those reasons.

22. Tarzan (#37)

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A ship of good British folk somehow catches fire out in the middle of the ocean. The only survivors are a family of three, which make it to the coast of Africa (somewhere) and build themselves a killer tree house. However, they aren’t long for this world, as they’re picked off by a leopard named Sabor, leaving their infant son orphaned. Said son is adopted by a family of gorillas, named Tarzan, and we watch him grow up throughout the course of the movie.

I have few problems with Tarzan as a film, shockingly enough. I love the music by Phil Collins, I like how he becomes a real badass king of the jungle, I love how when Jane and crew are introduced he learns so much from them since it’s the first time he’s ever seen other people. Basically I find little fault with the film overall.

So why isn’t it higher up on the list? Because I love other movies a lot more. But it’s still pretty good. Except the Trashing the Camp sequence. That part is kinda… meh.

21. Tangled (#50)

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In the kingdom of Corona, the queen fell ill one day. To save her life, she was given a potion from a golden flower, which then transferred its powers to her daughter Rapunzel. Unable to keep using the golden flower to maintain eternal youth, Mother Gothel then kidnaps the baby Rapunzel, since her hair is now the source of the golden flower’s magic. She keeps the child locked up for years, until Rapunzel sneaks out of her tower home/prison to go on an adventure with the thief Flynn Rider.

If I had to pick the weakest aspect of Tangled, it would be its music. And considering how important a part this is for a Disney Princess film, it’s a wonder I didn’t knock this one down several more places on my list. However, the one saving grace the whole soundtrack had was Mother Gothel’s reprise of her song “Mother Knows Best” about half way through the film.

Rapunzel herself isn’t too great a character. She’s cute, and her curiosity is nice, but she pales in comparison to the princesses that came before her. Flynn the male lead isn’t far behind, looking the part of a charming rogue without really doing anything else. Mother Gothel ends up being the best character on account of her careful planning; it wasn’t enough for her to drag Rapunzel back to the tower, she set up an elaborate ruse to trick her to come back of her own volition. Props to putting in effort where most other Disney villains do not.

Disney Animated Canon Ranking, 25-21