Monday, June 30, 2014


So the guy who directed a very large amount of Power Rangers is going to do a South Korean tokusatsu series that's basically a hybrid of Iron Man and various Kamen Rider-style tokusatsu series.

And this means that the protagonist flies around flying jet planes and kicks missiles.

Your argument is invalid, that guy just kicked a missile.

-Signing off.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#126)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)
The Less Massive Index (Posts #101-#110)
The Second Less Massive Index (Posts #111-#120)

(I excluded xenomorphs despite apparent canonical mentions of them because, well, they're another case of mostly being easter eggs; the actual "information" on them comes from outside [that is, non-Star Wars] sources. For a humorous example of a wiki absolutely refusing to draw upon the immense amount of material that could fill in the blanks, see the ever-entertaining Transformers Wiki, which has a page [on the subject of Star Wars, no less] which takes this idea and runs with it. ...It's among my favorite pages on the whole wiki, and that wiki is among my favorite websites on the entire Internet.)

1251. Xan. Xan are quite humanoid, looking a fair bit like typical saucer aliens, and are described as mammalian.

They must be awfully far from having what most consider primary mammalian traits, though, because if their environmental temperature hits freezing, they apparently immediately conk out, and if it gets much colder, they quickly die.

So are they just used to warmer temperatures, or are they actually ectothermic mammals and more vulnerable to changes?

Rating: 2/5. Kind of an interesting mix of odd features, considering how little there is to go on. They'd hardly need anything to hit 3/5.

1252. Xaxax. The Xaxax were inhabitants of the Unknown Regions, that big ol' mass of supposedly uncharted space that provides occasional allies and frequent antagonists. They were super-advanced, leaving behind all sorts of neat technological tidbits, including an artificial planet.

A group called the Guardians was formed to collect this technology and keep it from falling into the wrong hands, but over time, the organization, well, became the wrong hands, and they looted the artificial planet and started hoarding the technology for their own vague and sinister uses.

Rating: 3/5. Simple idea, but cool beans.

1253. Xexto. Xexto are short, long-necked four-armed guys, and the genetic base from which the Quermians were derived by the Arkanians. Since the Quermians are quite tall, the tiny size of the Xexto comes across as rather comical.

Xexto have two brains that perform different functions; one is in their head and one is in their chest. Considering how tiny and gangly they are (their entire torsos can't be more than half again as large as their heads, and must support their six very proportionately long arms plus an equally long neck which is topped by said head), I'm trying to figure out where they keep their internal organs. There wasn't room for what's supposed to be in there in the first place much less something extra, and you're telling me their higher cognitive functions are linked to something in there? Wow.

Xexto lead high-risk lifestyles because on their homeworld they're pretty low on the food chain thanks to their size and needed to rely on speed and reflexes to avoid danger; in other words, their natural state is supposedly running around dodging things.

Rating: 2/5. ...These guys kind of lose points for that whole stupid tiny body thing. It doesn't always bother me, but right this minute it's infuriating.

1254. Xi Charrians. Xi Charrians are known to be insectoid and to have founded and follow a religious order called Xi Char.

Hilariously, the dedication of this religious order is to precision manufacturing. It takes all kinds, I suppose.

Anyway, they're mostly known for their droids, starships, and droid starships, and most of their known work is seen being used by the Trade Federation and often notable for looking somewhat insectoid in design.

Rating: 3/5. I do find it a bit screwy that in Star Wars, all droids with unusual body designs were designed by aliens with similar body designs, though; would that mean that IG-88, who was built using a weird junk lamppost, was built by lamppost-shaped aliens? That'd be dumb.

1255. Xi'Dec. The Xi'Dec are a sort-of insectoid species known for being highly variable in appearance for the purpose of being adapted to a wide range of environments and presumably other reasons.

"Presumably" other reasons because one of the Xi'Dec's most distinctive features is a whopping 180-plus known sexes, so variable they could easily be mistaken for different species. In fact, one known issue with the Xi'Dec interacting with the galaxy at large is their apparent tendency to mistake non-Xi'Dec for rare Xi'Dec sexes, and they're prone to randomly proposing marriage to such individuals. (Xi'Dec families with a diverse array of sexes in their membership tend to be wealthier and more influential for whatever reason, and rare sexes are highly valued because of this. Also, one Xi'Dec apparently once used the stereotype of proposing to random aliens as part of a ruse to rescue a fellow Rebel agent. A human Rebel agent.)

Even more amazing is that different Xi'Dec sexes may use different means of reproduction, such as laying eggs, bearing live young, budding, and more.

Rating: 4/5. This is amazing.

1256. Xylans. The (ambiguously licensed, which is in this case the proper replacement phrase for "ambiguously canonical") Xylans are largely unknown, except that they built a planet-sized droid called Kalonn and ordered it to exterminate "all life in this galaxy."

It is of course possible that they did this a long time ago, and it's also possible that they live(d) in a different galaxy.

All we really know for sure is that Kalonn was the 102nd droid in a series of "Exterminator" droids. Think about that.

Rating: 3/5. Yah, they're basically pretty close to the Builders from the Saberhagen Berserker novels. I fail to see the problem with that.

1257. Xyrass. These ambiguously licensed beings apparently resemble skeletons, have needle teeth, and have tough skin.

They're apparently primitives and use poisoned arrows for hunting tormenting (mutilating, killing, or driving mad) their enemies.

Rating: 3/5, for the jeebies I'll probably have later.

1258. Yagai. The Yagai (singular Yaga) are an odd-looking insectoid race with nine opposable digits on their hands, giving them considerable dexterity which they apply to technical pursuits.

After the rise of the Galactic Empire, genetic engineering was used to create a beefed up Yagai subspecies called Yaga drones. We don't know who exactly did this; by implication, it was the Imperials. Such drones weren't seen as citizens by the Yagai at large.

The Yagai were taken to be so friendly to the Empire that the main problems in policing them was controlling their overzealousness, but as it happens, they liked to use their technical skills for subtle sabotage despite overtly submitting entirely to Imperial rule. This submissive behavior was entirely to avoid provoking massive Imperial retaliation, as the Imperial occupation was pretty oppressive.

Rating: 3/5. Eh, I like 'em.

1259. Yahk-Tosh. Yahk-Tosh are basically Hutts with pointed teeth. They're believed to be somehow related to Hutts despite having too many arms (the entry says six, I don't see more than four [well, actually, I see three, but the guy in the picture might have one tucked back]); on the other hand, supposedly the t'landa Til are related to the Hutts and they have six limbs. Despite being big slug things, they are quite strong and fast (as is also true of Hutts that aren't feeling lazy.) I initially mistook them for having eyes on stalks, but they actually have sort of stick-shaped horns instead.

The Yahk-Tosh, like Hutts, are resistant to Jedi mind tricks, and at least one individual (the only known individual), Gar-Oth, was also a powerful telepath able to use his mental powers to control his droids.

Said Yahk-Tosh also was interested in marrying an almost-human princess of the land of Hyrule some primitive planet or another.

Rating: 4/5. Eh, they're kind of "Hutt-lite."

1260. Yaka. The Yaka are large, powerfully built near-humans. Traditionally, they supposedly were pretty dim, but the Arkanians (see the link above), the galaxy's most mad sciency mad scientists, gave basically all of them computer brain implants that put them at an essentially genius level. (Completely incidentally, it has been speculated that the implants found universally among the Ganks were some sort of beta testing for the Yaka implants.) While this has icky ethical implications and whatnot (and the Arkanians are said to debate it), Yaka society is highly advanced and they maintain the implant process themselves in the present.

Because they have fast-thinking computer brains, they tend to have twisted senses of humor coming from the boredom of their brains having less to do than their bodies can provide them, and Yaka apparently are prone to being practical jokers; supposedly their senses of humor can range into being dangerous.

Supposedly, their implants also are why they don't emote much. Which... is weird.

Rating: 4/5. There's a certain amount of unfortunate implications here, but at least it's somewhat acknowledged in-universe, and "genius bruiser with a sense of humor" is one of the best possible character types, so...

-Signing off.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Game Review: Ghost Hacker 2

Some time ago, I reviewed a game called Ghost Hacker.

Generally speaking, I was (and still am) pretty positive about this game; I think it's pretty great.

Ghost Hacker 2 has some things about it that are arguably improvements, but it also takes steps in directions I don't like at all.

The good: The enemy variety is still good, and while there's some filler in the form of "2.0" enemies that are just significantly powered up versions of other enemies, some of the new enemies, particularly this "Centipede," are improvements on similar enemies from the first game.

(Specifically and particularly, the Centipede is similar to the Medics and Reapers of the first game in how it works, sharing health instead of healing guys, but whereas the Reapers are slightly overpowered and the Medics are HELLA overpowered, the Centipede is perfectly balanced and more interesting to watch in action to boot.)

There are... less pleasant new enemies, but they're forgivable because they still are things that make you consider gameplay more carefully.

(I hate enemies that disable towers, but I must admit, the Glitches from this game are relatively fair, especially since one can put range boosters on the towers and keep them away from the creeps.)

Now, the bad: The towers are a distinct step down from the first game's.

They're mostly the same, but changes to the way they work take away from what made the first game unique. Primarily, whereas the first game required one to match colors of the upgrade points with the upgrades* (in order to encourage experimentation and use of different features than just cramming the same upgrade on four times), the game designers chose to use a variable cost system, where towers and upgrades cost more the more you use them.

Allow me to say that there is no system of encouraging use of diverse features that I hate more than I hate variable costing. The fact that the game gives you outside-of-normal-resources instants helps here, I suppose, and you can't actually lose material by recycling/selling stuff, but it's still terrible. (EDIT: Wow, for the longest time that was an incomplete sentence for no apparent reason. I must have been tired.)

They also added cooldown for the towers/upgrades in the pregame section. That also stinks.

This doesn't completely wreck the game for me, but I'm always going to think of it as "that screwy sequel."

*Admittedly, this system has problems, because it creates a lot of waiting for the colors to be what you want to be (they change at random while you've selected the tower and are waiting to place it). I appreciate that it has issues, but even the long wait is less offensive to me than the dumbing down and cost variability.

-Signing off.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Also, Kreon Optimus Doesn't Give A Care

(If anyone cares about the Godzilla Vs. Gamera thing at all, found Godzilla 2000 today.)

In other news, the guys who do those Kre-O stopmotion advertisement/minimovie things are still having way too much fun.

"Somehow I got jet wings, aaaand... we took out the badguys." "OH! And we blew up the pyramids! KABOOM!" "Obviously!"

Yeah, that's about as good a summary as you can get out of that movie, or so I hear.

-Signing off.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#125)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)
The Less Massive Index (Posts #101-#110)
The Second Less Massive Index (Posts #111-#120)

1241. Wodes. Wodes come from a high-gravity world; supposedly, this means that they tend to step heavily.

Uh... Perhaps they just have different instinctive reactions or something, but you know they call all that goofy stuff moonwalking and the Moon's gravity is really very light, right?

Rating: 1/5.

1242. Wol Cabasshites. Wol Cabasshites are weird sort of sluggish things. They're pretty small for things that can house roughly human-sized brains, with only tongues half their own length for manipulating their environment, and minimal to no locomotive abilities. They eat metal and absorb energy from plasma, and don't need to breathe so that they can survive in vacuum. They have second brains which control their digestion, exchange genetic material for reproduction by licking each others' tongues, and puke up their stomach linings to reproduce (the resulting blob of flesh pupates into a small Wol Cabasshite). They communicate by means of carefully modulated magnetic fields; they can "sing" to each other, but need to touch non-Wol Cabasshites to communicate with them this way.

Wol Cabasshites apparently are a non-technological species, but are deeply contemplative philosophers, spending most of their time sticking to things and contemplating the nature of the universe.

There was one in Jabba's palace that, like many other denizens of the place, was taken by the collective to be a non-sapient creature; he tried to lick passers-by to communicated with them.

There was also a Jedi Wol Cabasshite.

Rating: 5/5. Spectacular.

1243. Wookiees. Lots of people regard Wookiees as being these fuzzy doggy sidekick guys, which is a rather unfortunate result of them being furry and not speaking intelligible dialogue.

See, Chewbacca was roughly two hundred years old when he appeared in the movies (an age that Wookiees consider to be the prime of one's life). The reason Han got along with him so well was because he'd been virtually raised by a Wookiee. It'd be too much to say that Han thought of Chewbacca as a surrogate father, but he certainly didn't see Chewbacca as anything less than an equal.

That thing he said about Wookiees tearing arms off probably was one of those things he could only get away with because he is, essentially, an honorary Wookiee-in fact, he's also literally honorarily a part of Chewbacca's family. (If you pay attention, Chewbacca's temper isn't actually very noticeable except in scenes where Han is in serious danger. The man rescued him from being beaten to death while he was a slave and later [illegally] freed him. Of course he's going to react strongly to that.) The reason he takes the lead is because he's the better pilot and because he and Chewbacca live in a racist/speciesist society where Wookiees are treated particularly poorly and not speaking English/Basic is potentially a serious handicap.

Wookiee "pups" supposedly are almost a meter (three feet) long at birth. ...Sheesh, guys, Wookiees are pretty big, but that's still huge.

Befitting their size, Wookiees produce a huge variety (at least five, which is a lot of different named kinds for a Star Wars species) of extremely potent liquors, which will lay puny humans flat on their backs.

Wookiees are noted as being very adept at blending advanced technology with their traditional lifestyles, which, by the way, involve living in trees that dwarf the giant trees on Endor.

Rating: 5/5. It's... really hard not to like Wookiees. I just kind of get riled up about the degree of racism that's involved in their portrayals (by various authors); there's no less than two uses of the aforementioned quote on dismemberment on their page, many more references to the idea of dismemberment, and a reference to the idea that some in-universe slang for dismemberment is "wookinate." Sheesh.

1244. Woostoids. Woostoids are fairly stereotypical vaguely-of-the-flying-saucer-using-variety aliens in appearance.

They are big fans of order (to the point where they supported the Empire and believed that if it hadn't been so militaristic it would have been an unequivocally good thing) and fearful of the unknown (which makes them vulnerable to surprise attacks that don't make logical sense, which Grand Admiral Thrawn [of the Chiss, in case you've forgotten/didn't know/might want to reread that], greatest of the great Imperial strategists, took advantage of-the lack of logical sense involving pretending he had a weapon that could easily penetrate planetary shields mounted on one of his little picket ships). They're apparently naturals with computers and big on automation; because a large proportion of their economy could be directed towards recreation as a result, their homeworld Woostri turned into something of a tourist destination.

Rating: 2/5. I waffled a little, and then veered low just because there's nothing that jumps out at me about them.

1245. Worrites. Worrites are described as "crustacean/insect hybrids," which is kind of a silly description (if that was literally what they were, well, that would actually be a fairly specific thing, because "hybrid" means something pretty specific, and the way they use it rather comes across as "something with a few features associated with both/either" instead). They're roughly the same height as Wookiees, covered in heavy armored carapaces, and have four arms, two with massive pinchers (heavy enough to serve as useful bludgeons and strong enough to sever the limbs of many beings) and two with fine manipulators. They also have four eyestalks and are capable of learning many languages.

One Worrite who worked as a thug was often known as "the Big Bug." He's a character from an RPG, but unfortunately the Worrites don't have available stats for said RPG, and so we are left unable to use Worrite characters in said RPG. Curse youuuuu... Meh.

I'm over it, I guess.

Rating: 3/5. It'd be nice to have a picture.

1246. Wreans. The Wreans are from Wryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Wrea.

Rating: 1/5.

1247. Wroonians. They're blue and apparently boastful people.

George Lucas sort of played one in the movies, but the character was retconned into a Pantoran.

Rating: 1/5.

1248. X'ting, or Cestians. The X'ting are the major inhabitants of the planet Cestus, to which the Spider People, which they named and may or may not have exterminated, are/were native.

X'ting are insectoids, and have rather long stingers (nine inches/a quarter of a meter). They apparently switch back and forth every three years between being male and female, and their fertile periods only occur at the beginning/end of each three year cycle.

They have an art style known as "chewed duracrete" (i.e. "chewed concrete") and also are major contributors to a company that was a successful droid manufacturing corporation, whose most famous product was unofficially known as the "Jedi Killer." This machine apparently uses Dashta eels, a sometimes-sapient species that has a normally positive relationship with the X'ting, as components; this tends to drive the eels insane.

Rating: 3/5. There's a few things here I like, but there's just so many other bug people who are so much more interesting.

1249. Xa Fel. The Xa Fel are "near humans" who appear only in various sourcebooks. They're supposedly extremely similar genetically to mainline humans, but their world suffered a disaster and is super-mega-sicknasty polluted. Thus, they're more used to nasty polluted environments, prone to fainting on "clean" worlds. They also are all born heavily diseased and nasty-looking.


So if they're all mostly adapted to the nasty, then why are they all so very sick?

Rating: 1/5.

1250. Xamsters. Xamsters are sort of diminutive (relative to humans) reptochickens with big ears. Their name is simply amazing, and their homeworld's name, Xagobah, is also amazing (once one has the context of "Dagobah" to compare it to.

They live in fungus forests, hollowing out fungus trees and living in symbiosis with them-these trees also produce some pheromones that protect those covered in them from the carnivorous fungus trees that live in these forests-and use a drug that simulates death to evade enemies by faking death. Supposedly offworlders use the same drug to try to see visions of the afterlife; why all offworlders would be so specifically inclined mystifies me a bit.

They are described as "naturally peaceful."

Rating: 4/5. They're kind of entertaining.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hate The Video Title, Though (Rim Is Already In The Title, Why Do You Need To Add Basket?)

Much as I hate basketball*, I actually kind of enjoyed Space Jam.

And I love Pacific Rim, so this is a thing I kind of enjoy regardless of how ridiculous it obviously is.

It's made even better, of course, by the fact that the music actually works.

*You know why I hate basketball?
I'm mostly just kind of neutral on sports in general. I'll sort of watch football if it's on in the same room, but honestly that's because when you get down to it football feels like a battle with drawn lines.
I hate basketball because 1) I'm six foot four inches barefoot, which makes me taller than most people, especially taller than most high schoolers (and I was roughly this height as of my sophomore year of high school, more or less), and 2) people think of tall people as playing basketball.
I used to be neutral on basketball, but at some point literally every new person I met during my teenage years would ask if I played it in a way that rather strongly assumed I'd say yes. I initially would respond to these with "I don't like basketball," but after the twentieth or thirtieth time, I started responding with a vehement "I hate basketball" instead. My natural disposition around most people is pretty quiet, too, and so this got quite a reaction.
It didn't help that my parents thought I should be into some sport or another, and after I proved to be terrible at soccer (I'm a really slow runner), they tried getting me into basketball, partly by demanding I shoot a large number of successful baskets in a backyard hoop they bought for that sole purpose over the course of one summer**. (Even if it hadn't enhanced my dislike for basketball, I still never had even fractionally high enough of a success rate to consider joining a team.)
Gosh, but I hate basketball.
**They probably figured that since Dad had also been tall and had played basketball in high school*** that I'd be able to get into basketball easily. Never mind that I've got roughly the same hand-eye coordination as a potato.
***Once, Dad tells me, he scored more than his entire team had in a game, and he was only on the floor for fifteen seconds. Naturally, he was the only guy who'd scored. Quite a kidder, my dad.

-Signing off.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Godzilla Vs Gamera Scorecard Continues

Since I last posted on this subject, I've found an... eclectic three-movie collection, featuring two of the early '90s-era Godzilla movies and one from '01. One of these movies features a confusing time travel plot but is probably supposed to be in continuity with the other one. (It also features this scene.)

The other one is (as per the common rebooting policy of Toho film continuity) only in continuity with the original Godzilla movie, and features Godzilla coming back as a sorta-zombie that apparently wants to avenge the dead of World War II. ...Yes, really.

And one where he fights Mothra. (Well, two, because the ghosty-zombie-whatever one also features him fighting Mothra.)

So, in terms of "releases taking advantage of Godzilla movie," all they'd need is Godzilla: The Series to tie things up at this point. (Pricewise, Gamera's definitely the winner, because we're talking about twelve dollars versus a large number of ten-dollar-plus releases.)

-Signing off.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#124)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)
The Less Massive Index (Posts #101-#110)
The Second Less Massive Index (Posts #111-#120)

("Ancient Order of the Whills" has been omitted because here's no real indication what it actually is.)

1231. Waterspouts. Waterspouts, despite their name, are apparently humanoids.

And... uh... that's all we know.

Rating: 1/5.

1232. Weequays. Weequays are thick-skinned, rough-skinned, and essentially human in appearance aside from their craggy faces. Their skin is supposed to be an adaptation against their planet's harsh desert climate. Male Weequays are generally seen wearing braids; this is because they have a tradition wherein they grow one braid for each year they've been off their homeworld; they take the braids off when they return. Otherewise, the vast majority of Weequays (including women) shave themselves bald.

They have a lot of religion, apparently; Quay is the name of one of their gods and "Weequay" means "follower of Quay." Rather comically, at least one group of Weequays purchased what are known as quays (note the small "q"), which are essentially electronic magic 8-balls that use more serious, portentious language, and took them to be connections to Quay.

Weequays are seen as stupid and taciturn because of a quirk of their biology; they can communicate with pheromones (though only within clans), and so they generally skip having names and only feel the need to use sentence fragments when speaking among themselves. Only Weequays who live among outsiders (aliens or members of foreign clans) take names, and sometimes not even then.

Weequays are forced to share their homeworld with the Houk, who forcibly colonized it at some point. Understandably, they aren't happy about this.

Weequays generally consider individuals less important than the group, and thus treat themselves and each other as expendable.

Rating: 4/5. Many aspects of the Weequays are quite alien; if they were a little less racist/disturbing and/or the Weequays looked more alien, I'd give them a higher rating.

1233. Wetakk. Wetakk have a "serpentine" build and six arms.

Except for one who fought a Jedi, who had five arms. Afterwards, anyway.

Rating: 2/5. It'd be nice to get more specifics, but I like what I hear otherwise.

1234. Whaladons. Whaladons are basically indisputably fully sapient humpbacked whales. They live on the planet Dac, homeworld of the Mon Calamari, Quarren, Amphi-Hydrus, Knowledge Bank, Moappa (see Mon Calamari link), and also extinct mermen.

They are described as peaceful except when being territorial against the Mon Cal and Quarren, willing to attack submarines and other vessels that intruded into their territory. On the other hand, while they supposedly didn't get along with the Mon Cal, some Mon Cal could understand their songs and speech, including Admiral Gial "It's a trap!" Ackbar; apparently despite being big ol' whales they have quite a bit of high culture, including ballet (uh... huh?) and opera (okay, I'll buy that one).

Because of hamhanded old books, the Whaladons were introduced in a story about environmentalism, particularly involving an Empire-friendly corporation whaling them to cook them up and serve them to wealthy folks. Their severe decline in numbers caused an imbalance in the plankton that the Whaladons eat... although I should note that supposedly this plankton grows on the sea floor, which is, in actual fact, completely contradictory to the definition of what plankton is. (Planktonic organisms are tiny free-floating creatures that cannot fight the current of the ocean or whatever other body of water they inhabit. By definition. Such creatures only really thrive near the surface of the water.)

Because Ackbar spoke their language, a Whaladon was able to contact him and get the New Republic to undertake a mission to stop Whaladon whaling. The species would also end up surviving the ecological mundicide of Dac roughly a hundred years later at the hands of the New/Second Galactic Empire.

Rating: 3/5. ...Honestly, that's mostly pity points. I'd like to see more actually alien alien whales.

1235. Whiphids. Whiphids are huge warthog-faced furry guys. (They really are a pretty close likeness.)

Their fur is thick and they're supposedly further protected by blubber; on their homeworld of Toola, they tend to be extra-shaggy and bulky because of the cold climate, but most who live in the galaxy at large are much less so. Generally, Whiphids are nomadic and live in small groups, mostly hunting various large game for food.

Whiphids have a naturally long lifespan, ranging to about two hundred and fifty years.

In the wider galaxy, they're sort of known for bounty hunting, though there is also a particularly infamous Whiphid Jedi, K'Kruhk.

He deserves his infamy: During the Clone Wars, he was seemingly killed by General Grievous, one of the few individuals not known for his Force skills to rack up a large Jedi body count; however, even though the evac team didn't extract him, he survived, and not only survived being severely wounded with a lightsaber and then abandoned, but would then survive Order 66, rescue a number of Jedi younglings, survive being shot by a pirate, and, while disappearing from history for a while, would eventually emerge to become the teacher of Cade Skywalker, a descendant of Luke Skywalker's (probably a great-grandson, though exact lineage is ambiguous). That's right, he was around during the prequel era and then was still around at least a hundred years later, despite taking some pretty severe punishment in the interim. And then he became a major leader in the galactic government.

(Whether his hat had anything to do with it, as the fandom has speculated, is still unknown.)

Rating: 5/5. The Whiphids are simple but awesome.

1236. Whirlwinds. Whirlwinds may be gaseous in nature. (It should be noted they're from the same book as the earlier Waterspouts.)

Rating: 1/5. (No jokes.)

1237. Wind Dancers. They're supposedly naturally graceful.

Rating: 1/5.

1238. Wirutid. Except for the fact that they're actually a form of extremely unusual fungus, Wirutid are essentially almost human.

Rating: 2/5. ...And that's all we know, which is enough to get them an amusement point.

1239. Wisties. Wisties are little flame-creature-thing fairy critters (mostly human-shaped when one can make them out. As one might expect, they're native to Endor.

Many believe they aren't sapient or even that they aren't living creatures.

All known Wisties are referred to by female pronouns.

Rating: 2/5. Eh, whatever, Endor, whatever.

1240. Wizards of the Night Spirit. Also involved with Endor, the Wizards of the Night Spirit are beings from an unspecified alternate dimension, who have occasionally broken through to cause problems for Endor's natives. They're hilariously over the top big-faced gargoyle things. Their known named representative is called the Stranger, and he broke through in a sort of spacecraft when the stars were right; hence, one imagines that armies of funky gargoyle guys must be a recurring problem on Endor.

Rating: 3/5, mostly for the amusement factor of the things.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Godzilla Versus Some Gorilla*

In the interest of full disclosure, I suppose I should say: I don't really like King Kong. (Early evidence for this can be found in this post; you probably won't be able to tell unless you read the picture's title text.)

And when I say "I don't really like King Kong," I actually mean "I almost hate King Kong."

Now, I should clarify, I've never watched any of the King Kong movies (even though the most recent one is sitting in my DVD collection). The only Kong media I've ever watched was a cartoon series called simply Kong, which featured what appeared to be a clone of King Kong going on monster fighting adventures with a group of human sidekicks, one of whom used a magic gadget to merge with him.**

But here's the crux of it: Gorillas are peaceful, gentle animals, and presenting one as any degree of rampaging beast doesn't sit well with me.

Further, Godzilla has always, since I first grasped the concept of giant monsters, been really high on my list of monsters, and knowing that Godzilla lost to King Kong in a fight in a movie made by Godzilla's own studio*** has always infuriated me.

Because not only did King Kong have to be substantially larger than he had been in his own movie(s)...

...they had to invent Godzilla having a weakness to electricity (he generally doesn't have such) and then use lightning to bring King Kong back to life after Godzilla had already killed him, AND have the lightning give King Kong electrical powers.

That is some Grade A++ BS right there.

*Irony in Godzilla fighting a gorilla-based monster: Godzilla's name is probably derived from combining "kujira" ("whale" in Japanese) and "gorira" (how Japanese people pronounce "gorilla"), and early plans for the monster are speculated to have involved a whale/gorilla hybrid creature. Keep in mind they chose what is now a nonstandard transliteration for the "j" and "r" sounds.

**Amazingly, they actually used the magic merger gadget in a couple of clever ways, considering that the show was basically a cut-rate version of Godzilla: The Series, which was a great darned cartoon (that there's supposed to be a full DVD release of and I really frickin' want it darn it). The human sidekick could merge with Kong so that he'd be able to use his martial arts skills to guide the giant gorilla fighting intelligent monsters (which were common in the show because the main villain had the same type of gadget, only his would mutate the giant animal monsters into even more giant human/animal hybrid monsters; the difference was never acknowledged in dialogue); he could also reverse-merge so that they could transport Kong on a small airplane or other form of human transportation. If you're going to have characters use an impossible gadget, you might as well have them use it intelligently, and the show definitely pulled that off.

***There's an urban legend that in the Japanese version of King Kong Versus Godzilla, Godzilla won the fight, which operates under the assumption that Godzilla is more popular than King Kong in his home country. This urban legend is false on account of the assumption being incorrect: The reason Godzilla lost is because he lost the popularity contest with King Kong. Incidentally, I first saw that urban legend in what was intended to be an informative book. An informative book that was at least a little racist, thinking back; it called Toho "the clever Japanese." What.

-Signing off.

Monday, June 9, 2014

To Fight Monsters, We Created A Cheap, Cheap, Terrible Movie

I... I don't even know.

While I still think "Atlantic Rim" is a pretty clever if incredibly obvious mockbuster title, this is even worse than I expected a movie like this to be. Reminder: I watched a movie called Black Hole and managed to enjoy the nonsense plot by calling the black hole (which didn't act like a black hole) the "amazing massive space booger of death," AMSBOD for short.

What really amazes me is how they were having any difficulty fighting a monster of any size if they could build a robot that could pick the monster up and fly into space with it. Just make a rocket with whatever tech goes into that robot and have it hit the monster with grapple lines and fly off into space instead.

-Signing off.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#123)

The Massive Index (Posts #1-#100)
The Less Massive Index (Posts #101-#110)
The Second Less Massive Index (Posts #111-#120)

1221. Vray. Peaceful. Had to evacuate to escape Yuuzhan Vong.

Rating: 1/5.

1222. Vrot. Small.

Rating: 1/5.

1223. Vulptereens. Vulptereens basically look like monkey/platypus hybrids. They apparently lack central brains, but this isn't an advantage because their nervous systems are apparently wired oddly; they are known to suffer aphasia (!) if losing a limb. They supposedly aren't "smart enough" to be Jedi, according to someone or another. (Uh, unfortunate implications much?) They're also highly resistant to toxic conditions.

They apparently were long-time members of the Old Republic, having joined it between fifteen and twenty thousand years before the film era. In the same time period that Episode I took place in, the Trade Federation took possession of their homeworld and started mining it and using it as a landfill.

There was a Vulptereen podracer named Dud Bolt.

Rating: 3/5. This is mostly by appearance.

1224. Vultans. I was initially inclined to speculate that the Vultans must be some form of winged near-humans, but that isn't the case; instead, they're "pale olive-skinned" near-humans with fleshy tentacle-like things in a sort of funnel cake-like mass on their heads. (If that isn't a helpful image, just look at the page image.) Supposedly, they're known for skill with technology and for keeping up on trends and fashion.

One was a Jedi at some point; another was leader of some prequel-era megacorp or another.

Rating: 3/5. They look modestly interesting and getting to describe their heads as funnel cakes amused me.

1225. Vurks. Whenever I look at Vurks, the first thing I think is "nose-heads," because their heads are shaped kind of like noses. They also have large noses. This inevitably reminds me of a villain from Power Rangers, which drove me to check the date on the Super Sentai debut of the costume; it debuted a full year before the movie the Vurks debuted in was released.

Nerdiness aside, I like the general appearance of the Vurks.

Anyway, the Vurks are one of those races who are materially "simple" BUT NOT PRIMITIVE DON'T YOU MISJUDGE US type groups, with the notable and odd custom of male Vurks remaining bachelors for their whole lives if their parents can't arrange marriages for them before they reach adulthood. They are also noted as compassionate but not unable to defend themselves... though the first Vurk to appear in the films, Coleman Trebor (...yeah, they have super-ordinary names by English-speaker standards...), was a Jedi who was gunned down by Jango Fett.

Rating: 4/5. Mostly for appearance.

1226. Vuvrians. Vuvrians are twelve-eyed beings who vary from cartoonish and hideous to reasonably cool-looking. As a result of their world lacking significant predation and wind (uh, what?), their skin is incredibly sensitive, and while it isn't uncommon for them to be Force-sensitive, they generally lack combat capacity by virtue of their low pain thresholds.

Vuvrians are, despite their homeworld's peaceful nature, naturally very inquisitive and friendly, apparently having an easy time winkling out aspects of other cultures and being natural diplomats and traders because of it. One Vuvrian trader actually was the individual who purchased Luke Skywalker's landspeeder from him in A New Hope.

Rating: 3/5 based on the nicer-looking pictures. I find the description of their homeworld ridiculous, though.

1227. W'iiri. W'iiri have six legs, plating, and pinchers, meaning they probably resemble crabs or somesuch to some degree. They possess enough strength that three of them were able to critically damage one of Xim the Conqueror's (well-maintained though incredibly ancient) war droids, which were basically smallish walking tanks, and enough dexterity to operate a grenade launcher. A number of them were part of a labor force on the backwater planet that turned out to hold Xim's lost treasure, who would end up clashing with Han Solo and others for possession of the (actually worthless) treasure. They were also mentioned in The Pirate Prince, a relatively contemporary drama written about Xim.

Rating: 2/5. I'd like to see a picture.

1228. Waroot. The ancient conflict between the Waroot and the Farangs led to the creation of a board game. Because of the age and uniqueness of the conflict, the conflict itself and the board game alike are considered of interest to students of tactics and strategy.

Rating: 2/5, same as the Farangs.

1229. Wasbo. Insectoid. Traded with Killiks during Swarm War.

Rating: 1/5. Predictable.

1230. Wasilsi. The Wasilsi coexisted with the Tikiarri in ancient times; however, despite a supposed advantage in strength, they went extinct some time ago, a mysterious event which is sometimes suspected to have been caused by a plague that only affected the Wasilsi.

...Just because the Wasilsi were "stronger" than the Tikiarri doesn't necessarily make them "superior." If they were literally more physically powerful, there's still any number of reasons why the Tikiarri might have won a conflict with them anyway, including attrition through superior breeding capabilities and the Wasilsi having a narrower diet more susceptible to ecological destruction.

Rating: 1/5.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Godzilla Vs. Gamera Update

So since I last commented on the subject, Godzilla's stepped up his game a bit: I've been able to find both the 1954 Godzilla...

...and the 1998 Godzilla, which my sister and I have currently dubbed "Unpopular Godzilla."

Gamera's still in the lead, though, because it's hard to top releasing all one's movies but one for about ten bucks. The only way that the turtle could step up that game is paying me to buy the last movie.

On the other hand, there's supposed to be a complete DVD release of Godzilla: The Series, and if I ever find that, Godzilla's score will go way up, because as I've said, that cartoon blew the movie it was tied into out of the water in every respect. (There's even a long-standing rumor that the cartoon's version of Godzilla was given more respect by Toho than the movie's, though there's not a bit of truth to it as far as I can tell.)

-Signing off.

Monday, June 2, 2014

How To Ride Your Dinobot

Whatever one thinks of the various recent Transformers media, one must admit:

Hasbro's marketing department...

...knows how to have fun.


-Signing off.