The Avatar Returns episode 43 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
The Avatar Returns phone tree has been activated and we’re answering the call as we head into the back half of The Legend of Korra Book Four. In chapter 407, “Reunion,” the band is back together…mostly. And it feels so good…mostly. Wu is down; Korra and Mako are on each others’ nerves; and Bolin lavabends the taste right out of some mecha suit mouths. In 408, “Remembrances,” cue the twinkling flashback music as, you guessed it Golden Girls, it’s a clip show. But oh what a glorious clip show it is! Chibi Mako tells his romantic origin story to Chibi Wu; Korra and Asami share some tea and reminisce; and Varrick shares the tale of the Greatest Mover Ever Made! And finally, in 409, we journey “Beyond the Wilds” to poke things with sticks while Korra finally confronts her inner demons, which bear a striking resemblance to a hippie prison sage Zaheer.
However, the bulk of our discussion tonight focuses on the hundreds of possible spin-off properties we hosts are dying to see in the future, including the possible Varrick/Bolin road movies, the anarchist PSAs of Zaheer, and the “Fearsome Foursome Phone Tree Saga!” (We also talk a little about the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival and the anime juggernaut that is Your Name. But really it’s all about that phone tree.)
Next: the penultimate episode of our show discussions. Only two more podcasts focused on The Legend of Korra before we put a bow on the whole TARP project with our big blowout wrap party episode. So next week we’ll be looking at chapters 410, “Operation Beifong,” and 411, “Kuvira’s Gambit.”
(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 43.)
The Avatar Returns episode 30 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Six months later…we rejoin our regularly scheduled Avatar universe, already in progress.
The Legend of Korra Book Two kicks off with a gurgle as angry squid spirits drag unsuspecting sailors to their watery graves, Korra has finally “mastered” airbending, and Mako does his best Horatio Caine impression. Chapters 201 and 202 introduce us to Korra’s uncle Unalaq, who is boring but apparently important, and Varrick, who’s just plain smarmy fun. Oh, and there’s a whole spirit portal thing the Avatar has to deal with, but really we just like Varrick. Then in chapters 203 and 204, it’s civil war all over again as boring-but-bad Unalaq leads the Northern Water Tribe in a bid to “save” their Southern Water Tribe cousins. We learn more about Tenzin’s family, including his hippie chick sister Kya, and his wild and crazy older brother Bumi. The hosts agree, Bumi 2.0 is a big improvement over King Bumi.
Also, Arlo reveals he’s had an Eska or two in his past, and Battle Athletes Victory wins the prize for most obscure anime reference on the podcast yet. Congratulations!
Next: Book Two continues with chapters 205, “Peacekeepers,” and 206, “The Sting.” Starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman.
(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 30.)
Gobbledygeek episode 237, “The Destabilized Economy of Nightmare Fish Muppets,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
During Miyazaki Month earlier this year, Paul and AJ (along with a number of their friends) discussed every feature film of Hayao Miyazaki’s career…except two. Which is why they’ve revived the concept for a “lost” Miyazaki Month analyzing 1979’s The Castle of Cagliostro, Miyazaki’s first movie; and 2008’s Ponyo, his penultimate film. Well, “analyze” might be the wrong word…for different reasons, these are two movies which don’t necessarily require a lot of thought. But the boys give it their all anyway, going over Cagliostro‘s heist picture wackiness and Ponyo‘s dreamlike simplicity, not to mention Hitler and nightmare fish Muppets.
Next: we’re on vacation…so who knows! But we’ll be back!
(Show notes for “The Destabilized Economy of Nightmare Fish Muppets.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 227, “You’ll Believe a Man Can Fly (feat. Kenn Edwards & Joseph Lewis),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Our month-long celebration of Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki reaches its bittersweet conclusion with a look at Miyazaki’s purported final film, 2013’s The Wind Rises; and Mami Sunada’s documentary about its making, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. Joining Paul and AJ for their final descent into the world of Studio Ghibli is Smoke Gets in Your Ears: A Mad Men Podcast co-hosts Kenn Edwards and Joseph Lewis. The gang discusses the parallels between Miyazaki and The Wind Rises‘ aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi, Miyazaki’s surprisingly fatalistic outlook on life, and–naturally–the grand folly of art. Plus, Joe makes an exciting announcement!
Next: leaping from one Disney-distributed universe to another, Paul and AJ enter The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
(Show notes for “You’ll Believe a Man Can Fly.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 226, “River Gods and Turnip Heads (feat. Monique Morgan & Nathan Burdette),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Bathhouses, talking fires, giant babies, grotesquely overweight witches…for this leg of Miyazaki Month, Paul and AJ enter the world of the filmmaker’s two most visually distinct yet perhaps least coherent films: 2001’s Spirited Away and 2004’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Joining them on their journey is first-time guest (but longtime background entertainer) Monique Morgan of Beacon Hills: After Dark and Nathan Burdette of On the Rocks (and AJ’s blood relative). The gang discusses the limitless imagination on display in these two films, the strengths and weaknesses of that lack of coherency, and what the movies have to say about Japanese culture and war.
Next: Miyazaki Month comes to a close, as Smoke Gets in Your Ears: A Mad Men Podcast co-hosts Kenn Edwards and Joseph Lewis drop by for The Wind Rises and The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness.
Gobbledygeek episode 225, “When Pigs (and Castles) Fly (feat. Greg Sahadachny),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Miyazaki Month takes to the skies this week with 1986’s Castle in the Sky, the first official Studio Ghibli production, about a boy from a mining town and a princess from a floating island (jeez, does this guy have a thing for princesses or what?); and 1992’s Porco Rosso, wherein a man with the face of a pig fights air pirates and evades the Italian Secret Police. Greg Sahadachny, host of The Debatable Podcast and All the Pieces Matter, joins Paul and AJ to discuss Miyazaki’s aviation fascination, how Castle in the Sky may be the perfect bridge between Nausicaä and Princess Mononoke, why Porco Rosso succeeds (or doesn’t) as a character study, and more.
Next: Monique Morgan of Beacon Hills: After Dark and Nathan Burdette of On the Rocks join us for a look at Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.
(Show notes for “When Pigs (and Castles) Fly.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 224, “Witches? There Goes the Neighborhood! (feat. Kitty Chandler & Anna Williams),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Our month-long celebration of Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki continues! After the intense, mythology-laden epics Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke, Paul and AJ turn to perhaps Miyazaki’s lightest features: the 1988-89 one-two punch of My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Joining them is author (and The Deli Counter of Justice contributor) Kitty Chandler and editrix extraordinaire Anna Williams. The gang discusses Miyazaki’s painterly detail, his use of complex female protagonists, how both films are about growing up, and why it makes perfect sense that My Neighbor Totoro was originally released on a double bill with Grave of the Fireflies.
Next: we’re taking to the skies! Greg Sahadachny of The Debatable Podcast and All the Pieces Matter stops by to chat about Castle in the Sky and Porco Rosso.
(Show notes for “Witches? There Goes the Neighborhood!”)
Gobbledygeek episode 223, “Three Princesses, a Deer God, and a Sea of Decay (feat. Eric Sipple),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Man has been exploiting nature since the first caveman picked up a rock and bludgeoned another to death with it. This doesn’t sit well with some, like Hayao Miyazaki, who has made two powerful films about the environment and the ways in which human greed corrupts it: 1984’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which led to the creation of the revered Studio Ghibli; and 1997’s Princess Mononoke, which finds Ghibli at the peak of its powers. To help Paul and AJ kick off their month-long celebration of Japanese animation master Miyazaki, another princess stops by, namely Princess Sippy Cup AKA The Deli Counter of Justice co-editor Eric Sipple. The gang discusses the ways in which Nausicaä and Mononoke tackle the same themes from different angles, Miyazaki’s shifting perspective over the years, and what both films have to say about violence and the nature of evil.
Next: Black Ice author Kitty Chandler (whose work just so happens to appear in The Deli Counter of Justice) and her editrix Anna Williams join us to discuss two lighter Miyazaki films, My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service.
(Show notes for “Three Princesses, a Deer God, and a Sea of Decay.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 128, “What’s Your Heroic Damage,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
What does it mean to be a hero? Does “escapism” have to be a derogatory term? Can good guys be as compelling as their supporting casts and villains? To explore these questions, Paul and AJ are joined by friend of the show/Broken Magic author Eric Sipple and TV writer/producer (of Angel, among other things) Mere Smith. There’s Angel talk, obviously, but also some Spider-Man and some Rurouni Kenshin, plus plenty of Eric-bashing.
Next: Rob Hunt and Joanna Gaskell from Standard Action return to tell us all about season 2!
(Show notes for “What’s Your Heroic Damage.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 108, “Grave of the Rabbits,” is available for listening or download right here.
We know that every episode of Gobbledygeek makes you cry, but this one might especially depress you. It’s Geek Challenge time once more, so Paul has tasked AJ with watching the 1978 animated adaptation of Watership Down; in turn, AJ has challenged Paul to watch the 1988 anime Grave of the Fireflies. One is about the brutal escape of a group of rabbits from their soon-to-be-demolished warren. The other is about the brutal attempts at survival made by a very young brother and sister after their home is demolished in WWII-era Japan. Both are very sad. To lighten the mood, AJ talks about watching every episode of Childrens Hospital over the last week, and both of them discuss the addition of Ciarán Hinds to the cast of Game of Thrones.
Next: as summer winds down, it’s time to take a look ahead at the Fall/Winter Movie Preview.
(Show notes for “Grave of the Rabbits.”)