Monday, March 31, 2014

This Kikaider Thing Looks Neat

I like tokusatsu generally, but honestly I don't know much more about Kikaider than the fact that one of the series that went into the largely forgotten and mostly disliked VR Troopers series (a show in the style of Power Rangers, with spliced Japanese footage-only the Japanese footage was significantly older and more... sloppily used*), the Metal Heroes series Metalder**, was pretty much a straight-up slavish homage to it (with much nicer costuming). Or so I've read.

That said...

...this Kikaider reboot movie thing is pretty neat-looking. I always like superpowered fights where dumb stuff like being driven into the ground happens. (It's dumb in this case because there's no way that a human-sized thing can drive another human-sized thing down into solid concrete, which I presume they're standing on, without some serious weight behind it.)

*Because the footage was an average of about eight years old and came from three unrelated shows, VR Troopers' action footage was rather disjointed and bewildering. I can't complain too much, because it means the American audience got a little taste of the rarest and most obscure of the three Toei tokusatsu long-runners.)

**I've actually read a fair bit about Metalder; I'm one of the few people who remembers VR Troopers with any fondness, and the part of the show that most interested me was always the Metalder footage, because the costumes were pretty wonderful and the fights were more unusual for someone used to Power Rangers fare. What I learned when I read into it is that Metalder eschewed the default "monster of the week" formula of tokusatsu, instead introducing a horde of minor villainous characters early on and using them liberally throughout the series, with many of these characters having story arcs and the odd heartbreaking moment***, all while Metalder periodically brutally killed them off. Metalder being an android, he apparently got pretty thrashed sometimes too-I've seen footage of a fight whose VR Troopers version had been badly edited where Metalder got caught by a scythe-like blade embedded in his shoulder and was thus suffering repeated close-quarters attacks, and rather than try to pry the blade loose, he used it to cut his own arm off to break free, and then used his own severed arm as a spear to impale his enemy.

***One of the minor villains was a dimwitted robot who loved puppies. He died because he rescued some puppies the other villains had put in a minefield as a trap for Metalder and stepped on a mine. Seriously. (In VR Troopers, the equivalent character stepped on a landmine because he was just an idiot. I don't know if I find this use of the footage even more heartbreaking or just hilarious. See also: Zyuranger's Goda, a mother monster whose eggs were eaten, being translated into Power Rangers' Fang, a male monster whose egg breakfast was stolen. I still laugh at that all the time, mainly because they depicted Fang as a total prat idiot who just happened to be nearly unstoppable. And possibly because I'm not a very nice person.)

-Signing off.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#113)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)
The Less Massive Index (Posts #101-#110)

(Turns out I was willing to do two this week after all. Kinda felt the need to not only because I ended up skipping last week, but because this week's entry promises to be pretty meh.

Also, I skipped over "Thyrsian" because the Thyrsians are a race of Echani and also come across as a super-racist concept.)

1121. Throbes. Small. Sapient. Creatures.

Rating: 1/5. Though I find their name amusing.

1122. Tikiarri. The Tikiarri (singular Tikiar) are beings who are described with the words "sleek," "dark," "predatory," and "birds."

One of those words is at least somewhat accurate. I have doubts on the others.

Rating: 2/5 for descriptive hilarity.

1123. Tinnell. They sorta look like caracals, those cats with big long ears, although they don't have those funny tufts on the tips.

Rating: 2/5, because not nearly enough cat aliens remind me of caracals.

1124. Tintinna. Tintinna, also known as T'iin-T'iin and Tin-Tin dwarves (ah, isn't that nice /sarcasm>), are rat people noted as being very friendly.

They're primitives of the "supposedly at least quite rare in the galaxy at large" type, and there being only about three named characters, you could almost believe that idea.

Rating: 3/5, because it's nice to see "friendly rat people" as a concept, even if they're still vastly outclassed by SABER-TOOTHED RAT PEOPLE. (Have I mentioned and trumpeted the virtues of the Ranat enough yet?)

1125. Tirrith. The Tirrith are a hive-minded species of gaseous being that basically resemble floating sparkly tumbleweed. They apparently could make it rain.

There was some villain from the oft-awful Marvel Star Wars comics that wanted to mutate them into weapons.

Rating: 4/5. Because "floating sparkly tumbleweed" is a description I'm unlikely to have the opportunity to write again.

1126. Tiss'shar. Tiss'shar are a species of reptilian creature that perfectly straddle the line between "bipedal monitor lizard" and "small predatory dinosaur."

Despite the very specific insistence of Wookieepedia's article that the Tiss'shar conform to no specific stereotype (which is derived from a quote from a book that insists that no species in the galaxy does this, either-HAAAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA-excuse me, I just found something terribly painful and funny for a moment there) despite the fact that the Tiss'shar themselves are full of reptile stereotypes: Serve meat "unheated" (does that mean raw? because I eat cold meat all the time) and "attached to the bone of the creature of origin, with no attempt to disguise the source" (which reminds me of the hilarious scene from the live action Masters of the Universe movie where Teela didn't know that the "sticks" in the chicken she was eating were bones until someone explained it to her), and also they like to serve little animals whole; going naked despite their lack of a proper insulating covering; violent politics that involve frequent murder; hissy shrieking language; descriptive words including "aggressive," "calculating," and "detached," which makes it look like somebody was thinking "better not describe yet another reptile species as "cold-blooded" because that's too stereotypical-and went to find a thesaurus rather than come up with a new idea; being involved in violent professions generally; and finally, being highly successful businesspeople.

Wait, maybe that last one isn't quite so stereotypical... Unless you count that thing about the supervisors.

Anyway, apparently individual Tiss'shar are known to be very dedicated to Tiss'shar corporations because said corporations are ridiculously good employers, offering employees such crazy-good benefits and junk that foreign companies that set up shop on their homeworld have trouble hiring anybody but "less-skilled" workers.

Rating: 4/5, because while there's the big, fat old stereotyping staring me in the face, they're lizard/dinosaur people who are renowned for their business skills.

1127. Titterbugs. Titterbugs are, as their name suggests, bugs who laugh in high-pitched voices a lot.

Who do you have to blame for this? The Ewoks cartoon shouldn't surprise you, but also Paul Dini.

Rating: 2/5. I... kinda like the character design.

1128. Tlönians. The Tlönians of Tlön... existed. Then the Mandalorian Crusaders, the original conquering group of Mandalorians, wiped them out.

I would say "I like the word Tlön," but it was probably "borrowed" from something else.

Rating: 1/5.

1129. Tobek. At some point after the apparent extinction of the Qella, the Tobek "rediscovered" their homeworld and renamed it.

Rating: 1/5. ...I find it odd that an entire species is given credit for it, honestly. Were they isolated from galactic society at the time, or what?

1130. Tocoyans. The Tocoyans are a charmingly ugly species who have a culture in common with the Ktilacs and the Murachaun. Not only do they co-rule the Ktilac Regions, but apparently the three species culturally assimilated with each other pretty thoroughly.

There was going to be a Tocoyan in Return of the Jedi, but the maquette was rejected.

Rating: 4/5. This is based on the charmingly ugly appearance and their membership in an odd little cultural block.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Much Ado About Nothing Much (Gaim Henshin Sequences)

So I was watching this (rather low-quality) series of henshin (transformation) sequence clips from the most recent Kamen Rider series, Kamen Rider Gaim, whose theme is fruit, and something jumped out at me, especially with the first few clips:

It's like the otherdimensional descending fruit things (it makes sense in context... sorta) know exactly when the sequence will finish and start coming down early so they can take their time.

If it gets interrupted, do they sit there for a second, and then sheepishly go back up? I'm genuinely curious.

-Signing off.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#112)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)
The Less Massive Index (Posts #101-#110)

1111. Thennqora. The Thennqora caused an influence on the Saffa that was important to the Saffa paintings, which as I've sarcastically indicated in the past basically means nothing to us even though the Saffa paintings are supposedly culturally important.

Rating: 1/5. I like interconnections, but when we know nothing else about either group... eh.

1112. Theoretical Serias species. All that is known about this species is that they left some things behind; the discoverers of these artifacts presumed them to resemble humans from it.

Their existence is really only a backdrop for a story about archeological exploitation, i.e. there are less than honest people involved in the discoveries here and there, and some other people are trying to keep the discoveries "pristine" or whatever.

Rating: 2/5. Eh, that's reasonably interesting.

1113. Therans. There's a group called the Theran listeners, but it's ambiguous as to whether the Theran listeners are Therans who listen or people who listen to the Therans.

There's decent evidence for both if one examines different articles.

I'd explain who the Therans are listening to (or whatever) and why as well as what this causes them to do, but that's the subject of a more interesting article that will come later, so...

Rating: 1/5. The ambiguity of Theran listening makes it hard to give them a decent rating.

1114. Thisspiasians. Thisspiasians are four-armed omnivorous snake people with epic heads of hair. When I say "epic," incidentally, I mean they have big ol' manes of hair complemented by extremely hairy faces and beards and... basically they look like their heads are actually made of shaggy, woolly hair.

Anyway, most illustrations one sees of Thisspiasians do not indicate that they have four arms, because the upper-class Thisspiasians find their second set of arms unseemly to show in public, and spend much of their time with them hidden, often even tying them in place. This may be linked to the fact that upper-class Thisspiasians have atrophying lower arms, which may or may not be affected by actual evolutionary factors (I'd lean towards the idea that it wasn't, merely cultural, but whatever).

Being basically snakes despite their amazing hair, they like swallowing live animals, but they're aware of how this upsets many other species, and so the majority of them tone it down, even cooking their food even though they like it best very raw. There is apparently a certain movement in their culture that is annoyed about this, complaining that cooked food loses a "certain flavor."

The main known Thisspiasians are Jedi; one of these, Oppo Rancisis, was also the rightful (figurehead) ruler of his people, but abdicated the throne when it was passed to him because of his devotion to the Jedi Order. He still ended up repeatedly being involved in the affairs of the Thisspiasian monarchy even though he'd given up his place in it.

Incidentally, the title the holder of the throne goes by is Blood Monarch. Yes, please. (Yes, please, even if the monarchy always manages to be "behind the times" in a way the Thisspiasian mainstream finds embarrassing. Heck, for me that almost adds points, because it's almost like watching kids and their un-hip parents.)

Rating: 5/5. They're pretty fun.

1115. Thodians. Thodians are from Thodia.

One happened to fish a commlink out of the water for Leia once.

Rating: 1/5. Fishing a commlink out of the water does not a relevant species make... assuming that "Thodian" is a species.

1116. Tholians. The Tholians are apparently named after a species from Star Trek.

We know nothing about them beyond the fact that some in-universe actor felt honored to portray them, and since he was small, at least some of them must thus also be small.

...So are they extinct, or is portrayal of Tholians by non-Tholian actors a racism thing? I'm curious.

Rating: 1/5.

1117. Tholothians. Tholothians are described as a near-human species, but I could easily believe them to be more of an ethnic group, unless they are "ageless" in the sense of not aging-but the source that describes them as ageless seems suspect, being some sort of game thing that is probably just describing characters in fluffy (i.e. meaningless) ways.

All known Tholothians appear to be dark-skinned women wearing headdresses. One of them them had both of her parents born on Corellia.

Rating: 1/5. If we had less of this odd ambiguity here, I'd be willing to consider a better rating, but nah.

1118. Thrakians. The Thrakians are native to the Hapes cluster ruled by the Hapan, a smallish but scrappy star nation whose rulership is matrilineally descended from pirates. (Just throwing that out there, because it deserves to be thrown out there, even if I've nixed the Hapan as an entry once.)

The Thrakians themselves are insectoid beings who once communicated only via pheromones; one day relatively recently (mere hundreds of years ago), they discovered they could communicate by clacking their mandibles, and they found this to be so thrilling even three hundred years later that they took it as a sign that they had been blessed by a higher power.

Rating: 2/5. That's pretty cute, really.

1119. Thranta riders. Thranta riders are a species known for riding thrantas, flying creatures originally found on Alderaan and found on a number of other planets thanks to being exported. They seem to be a bit on the nudist side (probably safe for work), and have brightly colored skin in many colors and like tattoos.

They're known for putting on "aerial rodeos" and for otherwise being secretive.

As with a number of alien species from Star Wars, they're derived from concept art that wasn't used in the movies themselves.

Rating: 2/5. Mostly because they're interesting background texturing.

1120. Thrella. The Thrella are extinct, but they left behind some interesting statuary on their home planet of Mimban. (Modern inhabitants of Mimban include the Coway and the Mimbanites.)

When I say that their statuary is interesting, I mean that from my recollections of the descriptions of it, the statue in question clearly was depicting Cthulhu. That makes this the one Star Wars Lovecraft reference I can think of that predates the entrance of the Kathol Rift into Star Wars fiction.

Rating: 3/5. Alan Dean Foster, you sly dog, you. (The rating goes a little high despite the fact that Splinter of the Mind's Eye is a bit questionable as a piece of Star Wars fiction and the Thrella's role in it is incredibly minor, because the Mimban setting is delightfully well-built for one that plays so minor a role in the mythos as a whole.)

-Signing off.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Usual Post Is Not Arriving

Sorry, no Star Wars post this week. (Maybe I'll do two next week haha probably not.)

Clearly I'm not the US Post.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Afraid I Don't Know What "Kanpai" Means, Though

Actual premise of an actual television series that is going to air in Japan soon:

A group of costumed superheroes (in the Japanese tradition) hang out at a bar after work.

Its actual title: Kanpai Senshi After V, "senshi" meaning warrior-i.e. it's about these guys "after five."

I love how they obviously weren't even trying when they did the choreography and special effects.

-Signing off.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pretty Random Post

After I put up that Power Rangers theme medley cover the other day, I discovered this video, wherein the performer runs his voice through four octaves, which is a thing that, if one knows stuff about this sort of thing, sounds darned impossible.

On an unrelated note, apparently Disney's Gargoyles got an official YouTube posting at some point. While I'd really rather own DVDs than watch it there, this is easily the next best thing.

-Signing off.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#111)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)
The Less Massive Index (Posts #101-#110)

1101. Telfreyans. The Telfreyans were mostly human-like aliens; they were probably green, although that could have been dramatic lighting.

They apparently went extinct because they openly rebelled against the Empire, and their homeworld was Base Delta Zeroed (bombarded from orbit until it was completely uninhabitable) in response.

Rating: 2/5. Poor dead probably green guys (pity point rules apply).

1102. Teltiors. Teltiors are known for their hands, which have three extremely dextrous fingers, giving them better skills in the fields of surgery and pickpocketing than most.

Male Teltiors tend to wear ponytails, while female Teltiors tend to shave their heads. Oh, noes, their tertiary sexual characteristics are confusing!!1! /sarcasm>

They also have vestigial tails.

Many Teltiors are associated with the Loag, a cult of assassins, or with the Cult of Those Who Redeem, a cult that pretty much worships the Jedi Order as an organization because they defeated the Loag. Yeah, whatever.

Rating: 3/5. Mostly because I like the "small number of fingers with high dexterity" concept.

1103. Temolak. The Temolak are renowned technology scavengers, like a number of other species, with similar nonviolent behavior patterns and nonconfrontational natures, filling a vital niche wherein they refurbish abandoned trash and sell cheap but solid goods to those who can't afford top of the line new products.

Unlike most such species, the Temolak are rather intimidating Wookiee-sized beings who look pretty cool. Their homeworld having been harsh, they also have redundant internal organs-two hearts, two livers, four lungs.... and three kidneys. I don't know, I just think that's a funny detail.

They were forced to leave their homeworld in search of resources after the liquid water on the planet's surface evaporated entirely about two thousand years before the movie era; this is presumably where they picked up their modern scavenging habits. Due to fighting between the crews (okay, apparently they only are cowardly in the face of others?), they created the Temolak Salvage Consortium, which rather than being a true business was mostly just a group that told them where they should work so they didn't scuffle. However, the Consortium had severely punishing laws imposed on it by the Empire, and most Temolak ended up abandoning it in favor of retreating to the Outer Rim, where the Empire had less presence.

Rating: 4/5. There's a little bit of possible inconsistency, but I like the bulk of it, especially that they're big timid scavengers rather than tiny timid scavengers.

1104. Tempestro. The Tempestro are basically pterosaur people, although how much they actually look like pterosaurs seems to depend heavily on the artist.

They once had an advanced, inwardly turned society that was deeply spiritual, peaceful, and relied on the fact that they're all Force sensitive, but then a big rock fell on them from space, so now they're all warlike and primitive kind of tribal people.

At some point, an Imperial scout named Krin Koda visited the planet and discovered that they were suffering from widespread disease, and used advanced technology to bring the disease under control. Out of gratitude, they called their planet Koda's World afterwards. That's kind of an odd but neat detail.

Also notable is that their planet seems to have a disproportionate amount of two-headed species on it (at least two).

Rating: 3/5. There are a few details here that I really like.

1105. Terrelian Jango Jumpers. They are known for having prodigious jumping skills and a name that really makes me cringe.

In all seriousness, the one extant character design is unsettling me, because she looks vaguely like she's a racist caricature of something.

Rating: 1/5.

1106. Tervigs. They oppressed the Bandies. Oh, no!

Rating: 1/5. Whatever, guys, whatever.

1107. Th'iruckai. The Th'iruckai (that's a tricky name to type) are a largely primitive reptilian species, with most of their technology at the Bronze Age level. However, they have highly sophisticated knowledge of poisons and medicines, such that in the RPG scenario they were created for, they were able to poison offworlders with a slow-acting poison with only one antidote in order to coerce them into providing them with advanced weaponry.

It turns out in the more-canonical version of the scenario that a thousand-year-long war fought between the Th'iruckai polities was based entirely on a misunderstanding.

Also, the article uses the terms "tribe," "clan," and "polity" interchangeably. I'm sorry, guys, those things aren't actually interchangeable.

Rating: 3/5. I find it a little improbable that there would be a poison available on a primitive world that the Star Wars galaxy's main society wouldn't have a way to cure, but the idea that a reptilian species is poisonous culturally rather than naturally kind of amuses me (even if it's still a reptile stereotype).

1108. Thakwaash. Thakwaash are vaguely horse-headed beings of considerable stature (nine feet on average); the only Thakwaash character, Hohass Ekwesh, is also known as "Runt" because he's "only" about six feet tall. They also are immensely strong-while roughly human-sized, Runt was able to kill a powerfully built, nearly three-hundred pound man with a "casual" backhand.

The Thakwaash are known for having "multiple minds" and for being able to comfortably and healthily switch between these minds at will. They can discover or create new minds as they age, and their minds are often specialized towards specific tasks. This can give them the ability to predict others by dedicating a mind to understanding a specific person.

Sometimes their minds turn out to be insane, but this usually isn't a problem because they can switch such minds off; the most worrying mental illness among them is apparently being unable to switch a "bad" mind off.

Incidentally, Runt ended up in a washout squadron of fighter pilots because his "pilot" mind was, while skilled in technical aspects, also a wild and near-mindless (heh) berserker who tended to get shot down in simulations in a matter of seconds. He turned into a valued member of the squadron after his wingman creatively encouraged him to use that mind less. (And by "creatively," I mean "with a death threat." They got along pretty well after that, actually.)

Rating: 4/5. This is mostly on the weight of Runt as a character. If we actually knew anything about the Thakwaash themselves other than what we learned through Runt, I'd happily give them a 5/5 (as long as it wasn't stupid).

1109. Theelin. Theelin are one of those races in the ambiguously described "near-human" cluster, among those that can interbreed with other species. This is important because all known Theelin are actually only part Theelin, and it apparently isn't known exactly what a pureblooded Theelin would look like.

Apparently, the Theelin began suffering from an improbably high rate of mutation that made it impossible for them to interbreed amongst themselves (WHAT), so they started hybridizing with others (WAIT REALLY?), but the high fatality rate that ensued from interbreeding meant they were dying off quickly (YOU DON'T SAY).

There apparently was a particular Hutt that especially liked collecting Theelin slaves.

Rating: 1/5. Meh, there are tons of problems with this concept and the biology of it. Being kinda pretty isn't getting you guys out of this.

1110. Themians. Near-humans from Themis who may not have been named Themians.

Rating: 1/5.

-Signing off.

The (Less) Massive Invid's Guide Index Post (#2)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)

Yes, each progressive index post is going to link each previous index post recursively.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

If You Don't Like Power Rangers Music You Are Wrong

I'd rather been planning on doing a second index post for my ridiculously long Invid's Guide article series, but that's not happening at this point because of reasons. (Mostly my thoroughly disgusting sleep schedule.)

So have this medley cover of every Power Rangers theme song.


Yes, every Power Rangers theme song. (I always crack up at the Mystic Force one, because I tend to forget that Ron Wasserman's version of the theme, which is pretty neat, isn't the official one, so I forget that stupid flute thing and it's always taking me by surprise.)

Whatever else one wants to say about Power Rangers, its music is flipping fantastic. I recently realized that the apparent shift in my music tastes as an adult are actually me being nostalgic for Power Rangers music.

Go figure.

-Signing off.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Still Mostly Kicks

In case you didn't know, by percentage Kamen Rider is almost entirely a show about dudes kicking other dudes so hard they explode.

(NOTE: One case of a dude doing something other than kicking another dude so hard he explodes is him gouging the guy's eyes and then ripping his head off all Mortal Kombat style, so be warned.)

I think it's hilarious that the one giant monster thing's response to the incoming kick from orbit is to split open its face and shoot buzzsaws at the guy out of the opening.

I'm glad that YouTube's region thing is less of a deal than it was, or I would have had trouble being this lazy today.

-Signing off.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#110)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)

1091. Tarro. Tarro look a fair bit like humans in general, but generally have flatter noses, receding hairlines, and really severe expressions. They also have sharp teeth and clawed seven-fingered hands. They traditionally have been very isolationist.

The defining feature of the Tarro, however, is that about a hundred years before the movie era, their sun blew up for unclear reasons (rumors abound that someone was testing a superweapon, and many of the rumors suggest it was the Tarro themselves), and there were only five hundred of them living offworld. By the time of the original trilogy, their descendants' numbers had dwindled to a mere three hundred and fifty.

Not helping matters such as preservation of their culture, Tarro by nature are very individualistic and independent, and so the efforts towards cultural unity and preservation by the elders are shot in the foot by the fact that they kind of refuse to do what they're told.

Rating: 3/5. It's ridiculously more heartbreaking when a population has a little tiny group of survivors who can't stop their slide into extinction than when all of them or all but one of them are wiped out in a single stroke.

1092. Tasari. The Tasari are funny-looking reptile/bird people.

Rating: 2/5. This is a waffly judgment, because the picture's awfully small; I might bump it up if it were bigger and I could resolve the details better.

1093. Taung. The Taung were somewhere between the titular hunter race of the Predator movie series and what my sister likes to call Orklingons, i.e. they basically look like they're designed to be antagonists, with big, rough, and sharp lines all over.

They're a little more interesting than that, though.

See, the Taung seem to be the original natives of the galactic capital, Coruscant. Also living on Coruscant in that prehistoric time period were apparently humans, who are ambiguously native to the planet as well. (How are humans native to the same planet as a humanoid species that's so different from them? My favorite theory, espoused by a rather nice fanfiction, is that a Star Trek starship fell into a wormhole and ended up in Coruscant orbit, then managed a controlled crash landing. My second-favorite theory is that human refugees escaped the dystopian world of George Lucas's own THX-1138, which almost became canon once, though it would have made humans "native" to Corellia if it had-which my sister likes better. Anyway.) The ancient humans, known as the Zhell, fought many long wars with the Taung, and nearly went extinct when Zhell territories were devastated by the fallout of a volcanic eruption, which caused the Taung to call themselves the Dha Werda Verda ("Warriors of the Shadow"), which makes the ancient Taung rather pretentious-and that's hilarious for reasons I'll explain.

However, since I'm talking about the Taung in the past tense and humans in the present tense, it's obvious things didn't go the Taung's way forever, and eventually the Zhell drove the Taung off of Coruscant; the Taung would take refuge on the distant planet Roon (which I will mention is known for special rocks called Roonstones-BAD WRITERS, SIT DOWN AND NO MORE PUNS FOR YOU).

There, the Taung sat on their duffs for thousands of years, until a leader roused them to new heights. The name of that leader?

Mandalore the First.

In honor of Mandalore, the Taung would then become commonly known as the Mando'ade ("children of Mandalore"-I'll note that it was translated specifically as "sons and daughters" but also that the language is canonically gender neutral and so that doesn't necessarily make sense), or Mandalorians.

But wait, you say, aren't Mandalorians human?

No, actually, not exactly. You see, while the individual Mandalorians we see are human, Mandalorian society is accepting of any species and any individual who has what it takes. When the Taung-Mandalorians set out to conquer new worlds under Mandalore the First, they basically became very friendly and assimilationist in some respects, and would accept anyone, and that tradition continues... even though the Taung apparently went extinct four thousand years before the film era.

Yes, the Taung founded the ultimate Star Wars warrior society, and then died out as far as anybody knows.

Rating: 5/5. My gosh you guys I can't even put how I feel about the Taung into words. The fact that for some reason they're the original natives of the galactic capital just makes it even more beautiful.

1094. Taurill. Taurill kind of look like six-limbed alien monkey things, and for the most part, they are.

Except that they also have a hive mind.

This sounds sinister, and it happened to be used in a way that made use of the sinister aspects, but here's the part of this that is wonderful: While the hive mind (known by the not at all ominous name of Overmind) was in the employ of a Hutt and thus obviously a villain, it was basically still a monkey, just a really smart one in command of lots of bodies.

That is to say, Overmind had a minimal attention span and was constantly distracted by the shinies.

Rating: 5/5. Kevin J. Anderson's Star Wars novels are generally rather sub-par, but every now and again he has a fantastic idea.

1095. Taï. Taï are ambiguously canonical amphibious people, described as friendly, gentle, and short and noted as being able to survive at great depths, from an ambiguously canonical planet.

Rating: 2/5. Eh.

1096. Tchuukthai, or Wharls. The Tchuukthai are big ceratopsian-shaped creatures who, for a long time at least, strongly discouraged outsiders from interacting with them by acting like extremely savage beasts, and were considered borderline mythical. They couldn't speak Basic (English) properly, and so this reinforced the idea.

Their poetry is frikking amazing:

"When lightning rushes over the evening plains,
I return to my cold den
with a thula rat in my jaws.
Then, I smell your sweet spoor
smeared on the bones by the cave's maw.
Then, then my head fins begin to tremble
And my tail sways majestically as my mating howl
begins to fill the hollow of the night."
―Tchuukthai love poem (from The Courtship of Princess Leia)

My link to the story it appears in reveals one of the best things in one of my favorite of the EU novels: C-3PO actually tried to suggest to Han Solo that he try reciting Tchuukthai poetry to Leia in order to charm her. (Keep in mind it actually sounds really poetic and impressive in the original Tchuukthese.)

Anyway, one of the few known Tchuukthai individuals was known as Thon, and he was a Jedi Master. Because he was of mysterious origin and the Tchuukthai were poorly known and he wasn't going to broadcast he was a member of a supposedly nonsapient species, he let Old Republic bureaucrats label him a "Wharl," which doesn't seem to have any actual meaning.

Rating: 5/5. A final note: Tchuukthai is fun to say, especially if you go for standard English pronunciation for the whole word and don't do any silent consonants.

1097. Teeks. Teeks are shaggy-furred rodent people. Their very high metabolisms give them very high running speed for such a short, stumpy species, making them essentially comic book speedster characters.

The first Teek character was known only as "Teek," which strikes me as a bit of a racist retcon (i.e. making that individual's apparent name the species' name-unless I'm misremembering some things about the second Ewok movie, anyway). Anyway, while the Teeks aren't native to Endor, a number of them live there, being among the ridiculous number of species with smallish populations founded by shipwrecked people.

Many people have trouble regarding them as sapient, and they're also known for "exchanging" items in a rather too typical "our morality is super-simple" way.

Rating: 3/5. Eh, I dunno. There's not really anything about them that jumps out at me any one way or another, other than the fact that it's a little offensive how they're treated.

1098. Teevans. Teevans are basically human, but all contortionists.

Rating: 1/5. Meh.

1099. Tefauns. The Tefauns are ugly aliens with two named individuals, a Jedi named Soth Petikkin (a pretty rad name) and another known as either Kelek the Blue or Kelek the Insensate (which is an unbelievably rad name).

Kelek the Insensate (clearly this is her best nickname-and yes, Kelek is a she) was trying to run a ridiculously big gladiatorial thing, but she ran out of money and sold her stuff to pay off her debts. Which is a little disappointing as a biography for a character called Kelek the Insensate, but on the other hand it does kind of match up with "insensate."

Rating: 3/5. For appearance and names.

1100. Teirasans. Okay, this is a new one for me, and I kind of had thought I'd learned about almost all the general historical waves of the galactic history in the EU:

About twelve thousand years before the movies, a religious cult called the Pius Dea gained control of the Galactic Republic. They weren't very nice, and laid waste to a planet, rendering it entirely uninhabitable and forcing its natives into a nomadic existence. The Teirasans basically said "Hey, guys, not cool" and the Pius Dea-controlled Republic was all "WHAT YOU SAY NOW WE INVADE YOU."

What's both wonderful and terrible about this: This was known in the history books as the Twelfth Pius Dea Crusade.

Rating: 2/5. I'm giving them a point by virtue of them clearly not backing down in the face of lunatic oppressors.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Obligatory Hey I Still Haven't Seen More Than The First Movie In This Film Series Why Am I Bothering Post

I mean seriously it's been what seven years now?

I kinda like what the trailer is showing us here, mostly... even if part of it is clearly cribbing from the story concept of Marvel's The Transformers issue #20. Except with Optimus taking the place of Skids, of course, and some dad guy taking the place of the sexy lady who daydreams about the Old West.

-Signing off.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Obligatory Bizarre Unrelated Product Advertisement Post

This is the best Snickers commercial since the ones where Mr. T just straight up starts smashing stuff with military vehicles.

Mostly because this is Godzilla, and he's riding an ATV.

And who wouldn't want to see that?*

*People who are no fun, that's who.

-Signing off.