Steampunk? Steamball? Steamboy!

Welcome back to Paradise my dear Island guests, I am dropping the steampunk greetings because I ran out!  So instead I will go with: “Good day dear guest, welcome to another beautiful day in Paradise, today we serve you this special blend of Anime-Spritz and the Movie-to.  Two parts Steampunk with a solid dash of Katsuhiro Otomo one part Star Wars and expectedly garnished with a bit of Akira.  This review will take you through my experience with Steamboy!

Akira but with Steam

Steamboy came out in 2004 and is directed by the man the legend Katsuhiro Otome himself. He is known as the man who revolutionised anime with his iconic flick.. Akira! This movie cost 20.2 million dollars and is one of the most expensive animated movies of all time. Certainly at that time. A Blueray these days costs you about 19,90 which I assume will be the dollar price as well as you guys tend to get that stuff cheaper than us. My version at least offered me the chance to choose between sub and dub and this had me pondering for a bit.  I am a sub girl.. very much but the dub cast consists of Alfred Molina, Patrick Stewart and Anna Panquin among others and it sounds absolutely phenomenal.  However the matching lip flaps stuff isn’t done as well.  As a sub-girl I watched the movie subbed. For two reasons. Anna who plays Ray, our main character fakes a british accent, and while she does it pretty good it is a fairly thick accent.. making it slightly harder for me as a non native english speaker to understand being the most important. The second the main characters being the Steam family. In Japanese their name is not translated.. so Steam and steam .. which both appear in this movie a lot.. are more separable.  Watching the dub however I think is completely justified!

The movie tells the story of James “Ray” Steam. Son of the great Dr Edward “Eddie” Steam and grandson of the legendary Lloyd Steam. Unbeknownst to Ray his father and grandfather make an invention that can propel the world into the next age of science. The mysterious Steamball. However after a workplace accident Eddie and Lloyed now follow very different beliefs. One seemingly took the side of the Americans and the O’Hara foundation.. led  by the Child-Ojousama Scarlett O’Hara St Jones and the weasley CEO Simon. The other takes the side of Robert Stepehnson, a british nationalist and fellow inventor.  When Lloyd mails Ray one of the three Steamballs, he quickly finds himself marooned between both sides and has to fight his way out of many dangerous situations so that the true philosophy of science can survive. In doing so however war between America and Britain almost seems unavoidable as Ray quickly finds out that power corrupts. It’s a fairly interesting story that does have its flaws. With the runtime of slightly over two hours this movie outstayed its welcome just a bit. For me one of those moments happened at the 45 minute mark and the second near the end. I never would have turned it off but there were points where I was like… hmmm we are treading water a bit.

America vs Great Britain

The set piece for this movie is great. An alternative take on Britain in 1866. The concept of steam having reached its limits and people trying to break it is intriguing. The quasi science behind is that people found a liquid water-like element or material that can both solidify and turn to steam within a small margin or something..with a denser base one can cram a lot more steam in small containers and make it more productive. The money hungry Americans want it to make MONEY and lots of it while the proud british want to use it for Queen and Country and to subject those who would oppose them. One of the scientists believes that we should explore all facets of science.. even the ones that can be used for nefarious gains, it is up to humans to handle them responsibly and the other beliefs mankind can not be trusted with power like  this. Science is meant to serve man not rule over them.  Ray works as a neutral perspective; he just loves gadgets and tech and thinks a tank is really cool when he sees one. He does however think a tractor is pretty dangerous because one nearly destroyed his house.  It’s where one of this movie’s greatest strengths yet also it’s weaknesses lie. It doesn’t really choose a side… until very very late in the movie. It does keep the plot exciting and shows us some amazing steampunk tech, pretty cool utilities and wonderful locales.. yet we also see a main character that doesn’t know very well what he is fighting for or who he is running from.

I do not mind this neutral approach but they back out of it hard, at one point one side is revealed to be pretty evil.. and then near the end they are not..or they regret it and flip.. I am not sure how to explain that. A lot of characters have ulterior motives, lie about their beliefs and or change them as the movie goes along  and a two hour movie is kind of too short  to tell that.  It results in a lot of idealistic speeching to get the point across the movie is trying to make but that sometimes doesn’t make sense.. like speaking about your ideals against what is essentially your boss. Or telling a kid waaaay more than you would tell a kid. As a result some of the speeches feel a bit forced. So Ray  talks to person A, maybe he can’t be trusted, Person B explains his side, Person C tells Ray to be careful and why science should be treated with more care.. but the person is confused.. so maybe it’s person D who has the right vision..who of course also speeches. In the end they are all kind of assholes..but also not?! It’s a tad much.

When action is happening however this movie is great!  The Steampunk inventions work in a really mechanical and realistic way and a slew of interesting gadgets is pulled in. Very early Ray for example has to flee from some bad guys on his steam cycle.  It as an invention that has not fully worked yet so before he can fire it up properly he has some issues and tumbles around in the wheel (it is basically one large steam propelled wheel )  .. in  trying to flee he tries to lose them by quickly hiding behind a Steam train that is coming their way..but the way rails are designed keeps the cycle locked on track. (He had a ramp to get in before)  every scene has tiers as it were. It is not just throwing punches… it is feeling out what the problem is, finding a solution and making it happen. All the fights and action scenes are conquered by clever thinking like how a scientist would.  Yes there is a powerful mcguffin but it doesnt give power as one would in Shonen.. people almost never overpowered…except for a war going on in the background..  but the action fits the tone of this movie so much. Then there are the more comedic scenes and discovery scenes that pack so much charm.. it only has too many speeches.

Well put Together

What stood out to me most is how absolutely stunning this movie is! It looks gorgeous! This is a 2004 movie so it’s 16 years old but it looks so clean!  Yes it is really brown and grey like all steampunk movies and most period pieces, yet the movie knows when it is enough and treats you to a beautiful coloured scene as well.  The details look amazing and this might be the only movie where I do not mind that they used 3d graphics in a 2d movie. It blands in so well and gives everything “mass” Wind effects, steam effects they all look SOOOO great in this movie. I am not a big visual type of person but this , this wowed me! It looks 80’s in design , quite close to Akira but  with all the commodities of modern animation. I would not describe it as realistic.. but just by looking at it you can add adjectives to every item. The heavy lever, the creaky crank. Just by looking at some parts you know how much force you would have to use to  pull it down or make it move. Pipes twist shapes from having too much pressure little glass cracks from shockwaves nearby. Ray’s aviator goggles shatter after his first crash landing.. there are so many small details

The characters are also great. Scarlett O’Hara St Johnson, who is indeed based on the character from Gone with the Wind for example seems like your typical Oujousama , she feels too good for everything.. she is super shallow but rather than having her completely overcome this it is because of said shallowness she discovers some of her beliefs or some stuff her company does doesn’t work for her.  Per example.. she talks to a person she has warm sentiments for seeming worried.. however once she founds out it will give her less money .. she thinks of him as a bad element.. influencing something else she likes..  She really wants to keep that..so her mind finds a way to explain how she can have her way.  Later on however she sees one of her machines is causing destruction.. the CEO spins it to her as a marketing tool.. so people can see what they will buy! She is against this however because she doesn’t want the “pretty things” to be broken. We see growth, as in the person learns what they want and do not want and what is more important for them.. but they do not morph into a great hero who learned their lesson.

Ray and both Lloyd and Eddie get plenty of similar obstacles in their way. Ray wants to do right.. but he is very idealistic.. he isn’t in this to do right by some or to do right by the good side.. he wants to do right for all. He also believes man is good.. and those traits get him in trouble.. but he doesn’t give up on that. He stays who he is and sticks with his choices, even if that choice is not making a choice. Eddie and Lloyd also make decisions based on this and even Simon who is but a minor character can’t help but showcase his dominant character trait .. being Greed even when it endangers his life. Yes he is weasley, yes he is your typical  “snake man” archetype..  he doesn’t do the whole chickening out thing , not really at least, however he is not stupid enough to die for his greed either. Characters stay themselves rather than being a stereotypical movie role. That can lead to a few eyeroll moments, as “in other movies, the hero would have learned by now” .. but that is just the point.. these situations happen because it just so happens to be these characters that were put in this situation and I love that so much!

Soaring to the Skies

The movie does fall in the pitfall of having too many finales, the final encounter has so many tiers that it stops being interesting in the final step or so. It’s still amusing but I reached a point where I would be fine with any outcome as long as it would end.  It’s not quite “you haven’t even seen my final form” levels.. but there are definitely too many elements in the end. Reason is once again those shifting alliances and believes. What starts as Small guy versus big corporate evildoers ends up as England versus America and that ends up in..  about 8 subgroups or so each doing their own things. It makes sense.. but it all is a bit convoluted and it means some plottreats do not go anywhere. There is a big thing about scuba divers in steampunk suits but one falls off the stairs because he trips and that ends the entire thing with the Scuba divers.. We see a character be built up as super important in the conflict and at one point he just stands there and watches.. while he technically was still doing things… and of course for some reason each side has the perfect counter for the other teams surprises packed and loaded on their ships.  Air Travel is still unheard of yet  when America shows something in those veins. and Brittain goes.. what the F is that thing.. they also go like “Hey now we can test out that weapon we made in case people made such a thing we were just so utterly surprised by”  It dulls the background conflict significantly.

The action with Ray and Scarlett amidst that war is finger licking good!  The story is descent with flaws, the action only has that one bigger setback. Critics rate this movie with about a 6,6 out of 10 and a 6,9 on IMDB. However I do feel those scores are way too low.  On Metacritic this movie scores an 8.7 out of 10  from the audience and that I find is a much fairer score. I would put it slightly lower due to it’s chunky runtime and excessive speeches, which I could forgive if the finale was a BIT more on point but for a movie about the glory of science, for a movie about steampunk I could not wish for much more than what I have got.  Even after finding this movie too long I kind of want  to rewatch it dubbed sometime.. not right now , not even this year anymore but I really want to watch the dub as well at some point and that has to be a seal of approval right there. A sub-girl who liked this movie so much that she would like to see if the dub would make her appreciate it even more!

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Order and Chaos 2: Four priests and a blacksmith

Hello there my little monsters, welcome back to another installment of my fanfiction work “Pokemon Order and Chaos” , the second part of this series, Welcome to Wuqu, you can find by clicking on the name or by opening the fanfiction tab on the homepage. In the last episode we saw two priests of Alola, leading Team Oblivion travel to the “world of chaos’ where another criminal team.. or the very world they live in have to be stopped, in order to protect the regular Pokémon world.
But this new world was very different then their own, humans and pokemons are enemies rather than friends, with the ones people own being nothing more than tools. Professor Azalea took Luther and Nils into a waiting room, saying their new team members would be there shortly.

A rough wake-up call
William woke up from drooling on his own hand, his head hurt, what happened? Where was he even? The blond man in an ornate black robe looked through the room, it looked like a simple bedroom, in the middle there was an old tv sitting on a carpet a weird device was sitting in front of it, to his direct north there was a desk with a computer to his east there was a plant and some pokemon-dolls for some reason, and to the north east there was a door, with a keypad. Was he a prisoner? Who would capture a priest of Kōngjiān? He was a noble servant of the goddess C’ra, the lady of rainbows, though other fates in this world honoured the same god they all worshipped a different aspect of her, his one focussing on her kindness and goodness. He was a noble man, that never got in any trouble. Suddenly William began to remember, he received an envelope that he had been selected to be a Pokémon trainer,  tributes from every city would be selected and pitted against each other in teams, and the winning team would be welcomed into the safe zone. He did not want to join in, but with Neo Aether.. he guessed there was little choice. Deducing the envelope must have been laced with a knockout agent this feeling was now more enforced then ever. That was the exact moment William found out he had been handcuffed to the bed. ‘What in C’ra’s name is going on?’ William shouted out in frustration, at that time the tv began playing a message.
‘Welcome to the wonderful world of Pokémon, you can call me professor Azalea and this is a Pokémon’ The professor being displayed on the screen took out a white headed  creature with a greenish body, holding a big flower over it’s head. The professor then continued his message. ‘Soon you will receive your very own Pokémon well most of you will, I have 6 tables with 3 Pokémon each, each team.. you will find your teammates as you continue.. can send one member to one table to pick a pokemon from. Currently there are 24 participants, so one team will have no pokemon, so it is with great sadness that i have to announce, the last team to arrive will be………executed.’  With that the message cut out, William sprang up from his bed, he had to escape this room and he had to do it now!

The easy way out
In a room next to William’s Colvill looked at the same message with a wide array of feelings. Most of them a hunger for food. His passion for edibles was reflected by his posture. He was a large greasy man , with disheveled hair and a poorly groomed beard. He smelled of sweat and cinders, the scents of his forge, a place that had been recently burned down by some circus freak fucks, who apparently were pissed at him for making weapons for Neo Aether. He lost his wife when he lost everything else… but that was when he got the invite to become a trainer and earn a better life.  Right after that he woke up here, perhaps he should not have licked the letter. Covill tried to put things together in his head, executed was a bad thing right? So that means he has to get out of the room fast? Well Colvill was pretty sure he could, and without much thinking he stepped out of the bed, noticing he was cuffed to it he lifted up the bed and slammed it on the floor until it broke. ‘There we go, I hope there is a cafeteria in the next room’ Colvill said to himself, walking to the door he noticed it was locked. Without even looking at the keypad Colvill walked to the plant, he picked it up and rammed open the door. Unfortunately for him it was something of a walk in closet, filled with weapons and armors. He found a nice hammer, but armorwise it was all leathers and kevlar and the likes.. he did not like that. So instead he used his weapon to tear up some of the weapon lockers, strapping some of the shrapnel to his body as very improvised plate armor. ‘Now this is an armor hohoho, Colvill said when bashing open the next door, not even realising it was never locked. In the next room, two guards were patrolling, by the looks of the explosives strapped to them, they were some of the many neo Aether forced labourers,  the room had been set up so there were many routes to sneak past, Colvill just smiled and readied his hammer.

Four, five…. where’s the last one ?
Luther was  playing with his skrelp knife, while waiting for someone to pop out of the vaults, he saw Azalea’s message on the tv a bit earlier, if he would get killed for the failure of others, he would drag them all along to the abyss. Loud screams came from the vault labeled number five, the others were remarkable silent. Suddenly the sound of metal hitting metal became deafening as door five began to twist its shape. But it was not Colvill who met Luther and Nils first, Vault number three opened. A young woman, wearing a black bodysuit and a bandana as crimson as her hair walked out of the vault, wielding two pistols clearly a set as their looks where mirror images of each other. Without saying anything, she sat on a chair furthest away from the priests as soon as she saw the six finger print system of the final door. ‘And who might you be my daughter’ Luther began to her. ‘Not your daughter’  was his only reply after which the woman went silent again, covering her ears at the annoying sound of Colvill destroying his vault door. Finally he was successful, the blacksmith stepped into the room looking at Luther and Nils. ‘Hey you guys look weird, do you know where we can get any food?’ was Colvill’s first line to the ‘former’ Team Oblivion members.
‘No my son, but I bet if we get out of here, there will be food aplenty’  Luther spread his arms as he said this in a welcoming motion, to which Colvill just looked confused. ‘Dad? Didn’t you die like a long time ago?’  Luther’s eight eyed masked stared back coldly. ‘Ah i see , you have not been blessed with intelligence but with great strengths, No i am not your father my son, I am Abyss Prophet Luther, but you can call me dad if you like the same goes for you lady with the rag.’  Without looking the woman replied ‘Scarlett and I won’t call you dad’.
Colvill joined in ‘I am Colvil and no  my dad is my dad , you are not my dad, he’s dead…so I think calling you dad would be very confusing’ ‘Suit yourself my son, I am just happy to see these beautiful children I will share this journey with. At that moment William escaped his vault, seeing Colvill’s bloodied hammer, two ominous looking priests, and a very annoyed looking woman, he prayed to C’ra their sixth member would be something the goddess would smile upon.  Yet the sixth vault did not open and no sound could be heard. ‘Perhaps we should retrieve our sixth member, it may not be conform the rules but I am very allergic to being executed, I think none of you take it well either huh’ Luther once more took the lead in the conversation, which immediately went dead when Colvill began hitting the unopened vault with his hammer. 

he mysterious Sue
Sue was just laying in her bed enjoying her music, she noticed an old guy pop up on the tv earlier which showed her a floette, which was nice but she was listening to her music and it was just at the good part. She was chained to the bed, but selected to be a trainer. They would come get her when it was time, this bed was more comfortable as the beds she had in her Fǎnwùzhí order of C’ra.  They were called the tech priests. They revered C’ra for her wisdom and her ability to promote evolution in mankind in the form of advancing technologies and new lessons to learn each day. Her walkman was one of her most precious possessions , the lyrics people made and the sounds people made really gave her an insight in humanity as a whole. And it kept her ears warm as well.
Suddenly Sue noticed 5 strange figures popping over her head… well four, the fifth was clearly a Kōngjiān.’Can I help you’ Sue asked casually. Colvill just grabbed her while telling, we need to get out of here fast.  William was kind enough to give the white haired lady with emerald eyes a weapon, but it was to late for her to get an armor, so she was stuck in her black and white priestess robes with gold painted walkman still half on her head. The group held her hand against the scanner as they did their own, exchanging names in the process. Unlike everyone else Sue did take up the offer to call Luther dad.
In the next room professor Azalea was waiting, with 3 Pokéballs on each table, even though Sue coasted it, it appeared they were the first. William however decided this was a good moment to speech. ‘You can not just execute the final team , that would be monstrous, like Colvill here killed your guards, was that worth it?  How can you be this evil , I do not want to have anything to do with your organisation’. Professor Azalea signed ‘those guards were criminals on death row, however their guild could not be entirely confirmed so they got offered this task, if they survive, they are pardoned, if you execute them, nothing had changed. They mostly are thieves who steal from the organisation for their own survival, though I can not say I condone the law, I must follow it as must you, the individual is not powerful enough to stop this organisation, and the organisation is much needed to protect us from the pokemon’
Luther interrupted  scientist and said ‘You have made pokemon your enemy in my world we are friends, you have brought this faith upon yourself’.  Azalea scoffed, it was not the people out here, that shot at Ho-oh when it attacked the capital of freedom, it was not Wiliam over here that riled up the beedrill of twisted tree forest to attack everything on sight. When your ancient king of Kalos activated that weapon all those years ago, and nearly wiped Pokémon out of existence, do you still think it’s the fault of the people living in Lumiose today?’ Luther was silenced by the man’s knowledge of his world began to wonder what he got his old self into.

A whole new world to live in.
looked as Sue walking to a table and picking a Pokéball , without even looking she opened it while excitedly shouting ‘I choose you Aipom’ having picked an actual Aipom. He walked over to a table to see if they had any names labeled, perhaps his old eyes where failing him but he could not see. As Sue let her new aipom climb her shoulders, Luther noticed his table had a Joltik, an Inkay and Litwick. As Luther grinned he picked Inkay to be his new starter. Scarlett settled for a Bulbasaur, which shared a table with a Fennekin and a Popplio. Colvill chose a Growlithe which he named Sunny Boy, he would never pick some stupid crab, or some girly plant thingy..though they looked tasty. William picked a Gastley , something he was clearly not very familiar with and Nils settled on a Houndour sharing a table with a Poliwag and an Drowzee.
With his Pokémon selected William confronted Azala again about the executions, whom assured William that in fact there was only three teams and Neo-Aether just wanted to profile how they would help themselves in a crisis, they always did that in case that the trainers would rise up against the state, Aether would already know how they think and deploy countermeasures, a mere safety protocol against rebellion, and something detailed to go with their trainer passport.
William not agreeing with this Modus operandi  noticed a second door opening, revealing another group of six. They all picked their pokémon, William especially noticed the boy named Weiss, wearing a restraining jacket, and all sorts of bugs in his hair , he picked the Joltik as his partner and challenged luther for a battle. Nils rival was a young  boy, about 15 years old, dressed in a “sentai’ cosplay, claiming he thought Nils looked like a villain and it was his way of the hero to defeat him.
Luther however declined his challenge by Weiss, his eye was caught by one of the others, the one the other team had chosen as their leader.
She walked over to the table Sue had picked her Aipom from, nicknaming it Aster.
Luther.. looked at the remarkable similarities. Her eyes shown crimson her hairs as black as ebony kept in a tomboyish model, wearing a burlap cape, that had been outfitted with some dark scales. Wearing short grey shorts held up by a simple red string, and high socks which seemed to hold up a “mega ankle bracelet’  and grey sandals. Weiss kept begging Luther for a battle, but his gaze and ears where fixed on the interaction of the two mysterious women. When the ebony haired lady went to Sue Luther’s suspicions were confirmed. She bowed for the white haired woman while saying “Hi my name is Zinnia would you do the honour of battling me?’

Thus ends the second chapter of this story, in the next episodes our heroes will face their first battle, or well at least some of them, and they will venture out in the streets to find Hobart , the headstrong Hobo, the gym leader of Rathole town. How will they deal with the issues of this new world, and what is up with people of the past showing up? Find out in the next episode!
Remember to stay hydrated, stay healthy but most of all stay pink!
Until we read again!