Author Archives: The Mithril Guardian

About The Mithril Guardian

I like stories.  Whether they’re on film, in song, or in print, I always remember a good story.  They remind me of paintings.  People cannot see them without learning something.  So it’s a good idea to look at a story from as many angles as possible.  I can watch the same movie a million times and still I will learn something that I did not know before.  Thoughts on the Edge of Forever is where I get to focus on what I learned from stories; what was not obvious the first time, the second time, or the umpteenth time. Earlier posts are written in the form of letters, usually to specific characters, to point out what I saw in a particular story or heard in a piece of music. Some of those letters, though, are like letters to the editor. Why did someone write a story this way and not another? Would the story have turned out better if the writer had done something different? These ‘letters to the editor’ will probably never be answered by the writers - the characters certainly will not answer anything - but their contents are still up for debate. After all, unless you ask a question, you will never get an answer. Still, civil ground rules apply. Any foul language or other form of abuse will not be tolerated in Thoughts on the Edge of Forever. I mean, who wants to be around the guest at the dinner party who is being nasty? Practically nobody, since people go to a party to have fun, not to hang around a grouch. So let’s have fun! The Mithril Guardian

The Quick and the Dead

Louis L'Amour THE QUICK AND THE DEAD book cover scans

“That man…the one who had coffee here.   He killed the man in the loft.”

“You’re alive, Duncan.  It’s all right.”

“A man is dead.  He was killed because of me.”

“He was killed because he was a thief.  When a man takes a gun in his hand against other men he must expect to be killed.  He becomes the enemy of all men when he breaks the laws of society.”

Exchange between Duncan and Susanna McKaskel in The Quick and the Dead by Louis L’Amour

The Quick and the Dead: Louis L'Amour: 9780553280845 ...

“You got no time to study out here.  You see, and you act.  Only you don’t shoot at movement.  You never squeeze off your shot until you know exactly what you’re shootin’ at.  Tenderfeet, they shoot anything that moves.  They kill cows, horses, dogs an’ each other.

“Out here we kill just what we need to live, just like a wolf does, or a bear.  Not to say they won’t kill once in a while just to be killin’, but they’re animals, boy, you’re a man…or about to be one.” – Con Vallian speaking to Tom McKaskel in The Quick and the Dead by Louis L’Amour

Spotlight: Thundercats – Snarf

Old School Evil: Top 5 Worst Mascots

I hope no one thought I forgot my promise to revisit the Thundercats universe! Since the series was the subject of my final post in 2019, this blogger wanted to put some new material between that article and this one. Hopefully, you will find it was worth the wait, readers.

As JorgePR correctly guessed last year, the focus of today’s post is none other than Snarf. His full name is Snarf Osbert, but because he despises that name he usually goes by his species’ moniker. If the naming convention seems odd, that is because it is. Snarfs are known as such because of the sound/word they always say (which is, of course, “snarf”). Their species name precedes their given name.

The system is reminiscent to how the Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans address one another. In the Orient, a person’s last name always comes before the one they were given at birth. Only family members or close friends may use someone’s first name in a familiar manner. Strangers, or those who know each other only casually, must always speak to one another using their last names. To do otherwise is considered quite rude.

Going back to the series, Snarfs are a lizard/cat species somehow related to the humanoid Thunderians. We are never told how, and we do not really need to know. After all, if your protagonists are humanoid cats, then why wouldn’t most of the friendly animals and/or sapient species from their homeworld be cat-themed as well?

Snarfs typically act in the capacity of servants to Thunderians. The only known species to be inherently incapable of committing evil (they only perform wicked acts when under mind control), Snarfs are quite happy to serve. Even if they work for a bad master, once he is removed they will search for a new Thunderian whom they can happily wait on, cook for, or for whom they may babysit. Though they eventually become an independent race, this comes about as a matter of circumstance and is not due to a revolt against their Thunderian rulers.

Iron Lords are GO! | The H.A.M.B.

From this overview you might have an idea of how our Snarf fits into the series. Hired on as Lion-O’s nanny, the young prince’s growth spurt in the stasis pod does nothing to dampen Snarf’s affection for him. Acting as a sort of surrogate mother figure, he is hardly ever away from the new Lord’s side for most of the series’ run. Generally, if you see Lion-O, Snarf is somewhere nearby.

The first to awaken from his stasis pod, Snarf immediately goes in search of Lion-O. On finding him, he opens his stasis pod, and the two reunite – though the young man’s pride makes him a bit brusque with his former nurse. It is through his efforts that Lion-O is able to wake the other Thundercats and save them from an attack by the Mutants. Of course, this little fact seems to go unnoticed by the rest of the gang, leading Snarf to mutter some complaints about how he “did nothing at all. Just found the sword. *snarf, snarf*

As you may have guessed, this is a running theme in the narrative. Plus, due to his small size and lack of fighting ability, Snarf tends to retreat from violent situations. In fact, some would say that the yellow streak down his back is appropriate because it hints at his cowardly nature. Overlooked by the enemy and taken for granted by the Thundercats from time to time, Snarf didn’t seem to serve much of a function beyond comic relief.

These may be some of the reasons why fans came to hate him so much. (His repetitive “*snarf, snarf*!” didn’t help, either, I think.) In a series full of warrior cat people, Snarf seemed to be storytelling dead weight. He whined and complained, ran from most fights, and had a rather prissy way of talking to the heroes, as though he was older and more mature than the rest of them…..

….Which he may actually have been. If you study Snarf’s face, general design, and listen to him speak, Snarf does appear to be the oldest member of the cast. Only Jaga may have surpassed him in age. Add to this his skill at housekeeping and knowledge of people – specifically Lion-O, his charge – and this reading gives meaning to a lot of Snarf’s behavior. He is not a warrior or even a housekeeper. He is everyone’s mom, uncle, and aunt all rolled into one.

Mr. Ping and po, kung fu panda, wallpaper, poster

An equivalent character would be Po’s dad, Mr. Ping, the goose from the Kung Fu Panda series. Mr. Ping is not a warrior. He whines and complains about everything, guilt-tripping Po into doing whatever he wants him to do (e.g. spend the Winter Festival with him at the restaurant). Since the entire franchise is comedic, Mr. Ping’s attitude isn’t as annoying to most as it would be if the story were played straight. The reverse applies to Snarf, as his behavior is not meant for comedic effect (most of the time).

One has to look no further than his relationship with Lion-O to see the proof of this. Although he could misread him from time to time, the one member of the group who knew the young Lord best was Snarf. He could usually tell when something was bothering the Prince, why the latter was upset, or when he was worried about something/someone. This was an invaluable skill that came in handy on several occasions. Not being as close to the other Cats, Snarf had to rely on Lion-O to explain why they did certain things or why he was worried about them.

Though he tried his best to help take care of the Thunderkittens as he had Lion-O, the brother-sister act’s notorious nose for mischief usually thwarted him in this area. He never became as close to the twins as he could have, probably because he hadn’t known them long enough. It appears that Snarf knew the future Lord of the Thundercats from the time he could toddle, if not from the time he was born. He only met the twins after or around the time Thundera died, making it harder for him to develop a similarly respectful rapport with them.

Snarf Takes up the Challenge | ThunderCats wiki | FANDOM ...

While he was not a fighter, Snarf did prove to have mettle. In one episode, he had to face Mumm-Ra alone after the ancient monster had captured the other six Thundercats. Snarf, despite his terror, used his small size and wits to sneak into the Living Mummy’s temple. Once there, he freed his friends to do the fighting he couldn’t.

He also utilized an ability which he apparently developed while living on Third Earth. By whistling various notes, Snarf could communicate with almost any animal on the planet, ranging from unicorns and deer to giant bees and bats. Through these twittering notes he was able to ask these animals for help and secure their strengths to aid him or his friends. Although not a flashy power like Cheetara’s speed or Tygra’s invisibility, it was a skill that came in very handy on more than one occasion.

Additionally, he once used his skill at a game called “kick the bucket” to very good effect. How he and Lion-O developed the game is a mystery, but it proves Snarf’s courage. Though he was not and never would be a warrior, Snarf would stand up for his friends and his young charge when they needed him most. He had to be clever and quick, since his size and physical weakness made it easy for bigger opponents to overpower him. But this ability to distract or surprise the bad guys at the right moment often gave the Cats enough time to get back on their feet and finish the battle.

It also demonstrated that his tendency to be overlooked could be more of a blessing than a curse. Since Mumm-Ra and other antagonists wrote him off as insignificant, they barely paid attention to Snarf. This gave him opportunities to act that none of the other Cats would have gotten. In the end, I think Snarf was more valuable to the team than most fans would believe.

Snarf (Character) - Comic Vine

Snarf 2011

Of course, this brings us to the 2011 version of Snarf. As in the original series, Snarf began the story as Lion-O’s nursemaid. Unlike his ‘80s counterpart, however, this new Snarf did not talk. At least, he did not speak in a manner that the audience understood. Lion-O seemed to know what he was saying – or trying to say. Once again, we hardly ever saw the two of them apart. Wherever Lion-O went, Snarf was usually at his heels.

To the best of my hearing, Snarf only said one intelligible word in the entire 2011 reboot. In “The Duelist and the Drifter” he leaned on Lion-O’s leg, shook his head emphatically, and said, “No, no, no, no!” When his king agreed to the Duelist’s terms anyway, Snarf let his ears droop and murmured another, forlorn “No.” And he did so without moving his mouth.

Clearly, this blogger considered the 2011 Snarf to be a disappointment. I understand I am in the minority that actually likes the character, but reducing him to the cute animal sidekick just took something away from the franchise. That is my opinion, anyway.

This concludes the series of Spotlight! posts centering on the main cast of Thundercats. From now on, we will be discussing the secondary or side characters. Until then, readers, I leave you with a hearty “Thunder…Thunder….

Thundercats, HO!

The Mithril Guardian

Día internacional del Gato: Los gatos más recordados de la ...

Sing, Sing, Sing!

Wow, talk about some great music! Okay, the merits of Taylor Swift’s tunes may be arguable, but hearing a couple of characters perform “Shake It Off” in Sing got me hooked on this one. It is the most recent song on the whole list. Hmm, that could be taken as a commentary on a lot of modern music, could it not, readers?

Have fun dancing to the beat – and don’t forget to “Shake It Off”!

Later,

The Mithril Guardian

 

Wake Me Up, Before You Go-Go – Wham!

 

Under Pressure – Queen

 

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

 

I Want to Know What Love Is – Foreigner

 

Africa – Toto

 

Rosanna – Toto

 

Chantilly Lace – Big Bopper

 

Invincible – Pat Benatar

 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – A Review

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM poster 2 (Speed Art) by ...

While this blogger loves dinosaurs, she has never been a particularly big fan of the Jurassic Park trilogy. Horror really isn’t her thing. Yes, she does read a fair bit of Dean Koontz, and she has posted reviews of his books here at Thoughts (when she gets around to it). But the fact remains that horror really does not appeal to her.

So you can imagine, readers, how well the Mithril Guardian reacted to being roped into watching the Jurassic World films. There was some whining and a lot of sighing, but the person asking me to watch the movie with them is a good friend. In the end, I couldn’t say no.

In the final tally, Jurassic World was about as bad as this writer thought it would be. Although she likes Chris Pratt as much as the next Marvel viewer, she knew going in that he probably would not be able to save the movie. It was nice to see him playing a serious role compared to his portrayal of Star-Lord/Peter Quill, of course, but good acting does not a good film make. And there was not a lot to recommend Jurassic World in the first place.

Honestly, I did not expect Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to be any better. It looked to be an even bigger cash grab than its predecessor. The advertisement where Chris Pratt and his co-star try to bring his emotional support Velociraptor aboard a plane was funny and on point, but that was hardly an indicator of where the story would go.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Trailer Is Finally Here

To my considerable surprise, however, Fallen Kingdom was actually quite impressive. While I do not wish to give away spoilers, some must be given for context in this discussion. In Jurassic World we see that, after the previous disasters at Jurassic Park, it was decided to make another amusement park full of the prehistoric beasts. Because if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, right? Besides, this park is on an isolated island off the coast of South America. So even if things go horribly wrong, the damage will still be confined. Right?

Yeah, well, that plan went about as well as anyone with half a brain would expect. There was carnage, mayhem, death – and, eventually, lawsuits. Not to mention a genetically engineered dino that killed for sport and preferred human flesh to that of its fellow dinos. The aptly named Indominous Rex was eventually killed, of course. But as with all dinosaurs, the bones remain….

But who can let any of that slow down the effort to protect the reincarnation of an extinct species? We already lost the magnificent “thunder lizards” once millennia in the past. Shouldn’t we expend every resource to keep them around, despite the danger they pose to man and (specifically) modern society?

These questions become quite pressing in Fallen Kingdom. You see, the volcano on the island where the remaining dinos live is on the verge of an eruption. Anything  on the island when that happens will die – including, naturally, the dinosaurs. Unsurprisingly, animal rights’ activists jump into action to save the magnificent lizards from a second extinction. They are led by the former manager of Jurassic World, one Claire Dearing. Having broken up with Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) after rekindling their relationship at the end of the previous film, she is trying hard to save the remaining dinosaurs.

Meanwhile, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), is on Capitol Hill urging Congress to let the dinosaurs die. Arguing that cloning them in the first place was wrong, he makes the eloquent point that genetic research and successful cloning has opened up a Pandora’s Box of possibilities for Hell on Earth. If they rescue the animals now they will lose any hope of preventing genetic (and saurian) Armageddon in the near future.

For once in collective Hollywood memory, the politicians actually make the right decision. They refuse to save the dinosaurs. Instead, they vote to let them go extinct once again.

Claire and her acolytes are devastated. But before the mourning can begin in earnest, she receives a call from Eli Mills, the assistant to Sir Benjamin Lockwood. Lockwood, one of the two men responsible for cloning the first dinosaurs, has a plan to save the as many of the thunder lizards as he can. And naturally, he wants Claire to help mastermind the secret – and highly illegal – rescue operation.

But Claire knows they need someone special to bring in the lone surviving Velociraptor from the previous film. The cream of the latest crop of clones, this raptor has shown above animal empathy and intelligence. Dubbed Blue, she was the beta of her pack until the fracas on the island left her alone. Who was the alpha of the pack? The man who trained her and the other raptors, of course: Owen Grady.

Despite his (second) break-up with Claire, Owen is currently building a family-sized cabin out in the California countryside. He is also not thrilled to see his former girlfriend, who insists he dumped her when it was the other way around. Initially, he sides with the government, preferring to let the dinos go extinct again rather than let them cause more death and destruction.

However, his ex knows his weakness and is not afraid to lean on it. She reminds him of Blue, insisting that he cannot leave her to die. Even though he knew Jurassic World was and is doomed to failure, Owen still has a strong affection for the Velociraptor. And although he tries to stick to his guns, it is a losing battle. When the plane takes off for the island, Owen is on it – well ahead of everyone else.

The rest of the story is an edge-of-your-seat, rip-roaring ride. As far as this blogger can recall, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the only installment in the series to win her affection. And most of this is due to the two intertwining, timely themes that the film presents to audiences.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Official Trailer | Jason's ...

One is that nature always wins. Though it is spoiling the story a bit, the fact is that no one learned from the mistakes of the previous movie. Creating a genetically modified killing machine, which is what the Indominous Rex and its unholy progeny are, is to play God. Nature abhors anyone who messes with His order, whether they recognize that it is His or not, and sooner or later it always makes the meddler pay the piper. Fallen Kingdom demonstrates this to perfection, and it would earn two stars for that premise alone.

However, what makes it a five star movie is how it presents genetic manipulation in general. The testimony of Jeff Goldblum’s character highlights just how much potential this science has to ruin Earth and mankind if it is misused. While the initial effects might have a great deal to recommend them, the implications are more frightening than those produced by the first atomic bomb. If man isn’t careful, he could unleash real Hell on Earth, doing irreparable damage to himself and the world he calls home in the process.

These are surprisingly poignant, pointed themes to present to audiences today. With all the so-called “advances” being made in genetics, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom explores just a few of the issues that could arise if man stretches out for the forbidden fruit – again. This is one of the last movies I would have expected to go in this direction, but the fact remains that the story works surprisingly well and, thus, it earned my affection.

If you liked the original Jurassic Park films, then Fallen Kingdom should be right up your alley. And even if you think the franchise is overblown, I feel pretty confident in recommending this movie to you. Unlike many of Hollywood’s recently made sequels, this one is actually more than a crass cash grab. It is actually worth your precious time and, if you want to spend it, your money.

But don’t take my word on any of this. Pick up Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and form your own opinion of it!

‘Til next time!

The Mithril Guardian

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom TV Spot Takes Us off the Island

Book Review – Star Wars: Revan by Drew Karpyshyn

Revan (Star Wars: The Old Republic, #1) by Drew Karpyshyn

If you are thinking that this blogger is on a bit of a Star Wars kick, readers, you would not be far wrong. The main reason for this is that I have had time to explore both SW timelines further recently. With all of this new information and entertainment in front of her, this blogger has had little else on her mind except for a galaxy far, far away.

And before you ask, no, I have not seen Rise of Skywalker. Nor do I intend to see it. The film was never on my radar, in no small part due to the fact that the sequel trilogy lost me with The Last Jedi. Rian Johnson insulted this writer and at least half the fan base for Star Wars with that film, leaving J.J. Abrams to make the best of a bad situation – one which, arguably, began with the poor treatment of the original characters in The Force Awakens.

There were plenty of good stories from the original EU that Disney could have adapted for film. Most will automatically think of the Thrawn trilogy, and while that would have been a great animated movie series, I personally think Disney should have done damage control on the Yuuzhan Vong story line and following arcs. As stated elsewhere here at Thoughts, doing this wouldn’t have been terribly difficult. Rather than take that tack, however, Disney chose to do what they have done. The results speak for themselves, so this author will say nothing more about them.

With that less-than-positive introduction, we turn to today’s subject. Revan is a book based on the sequel to Lucasfilm/Bioware’s runaway video game success, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. At least, I believe the novel is based on the script for Knights of the Old Republic II. It may have left some details out, but that is not necessarily a demerit. Both KOTOR games could be played for hours on end, even when the gamer knew the story so well they could skip certain sections with ease.

The book is set two years after Revan saved the Republic from his former friend and Dark Side apprentice, Darth Malak. Now married to Bastila Shan, he and she are living quietly in an apartment on Coruscant, well out of the public eye. On a city world of millions it is easy for two people – even two powerful Jedi – to disappear and stay out of sight.

But while he is enjoying his hard-won peace and happiness, Revan is troubled. For the last three nights he has awoken in a cold sweat after dreaming of a world covered in perpetual lightning storms. Getting out of bed, he rinses his face in the refresher sink before stepping out onto the balcony.

STAR WARS: The Old Republic - Let's show Bioware what kind ...

The Capture of Revan 

He is not out there long when Bastila joins him, having awoken despite his best efforts to let her sleep. The two discuss the past, with the young wife reminding her husband that he is no longer a Dark Lord of the Sith. She also laments her part in his mind wipe, realizing now that it was not a good thing to do. However, Revan is grateful for the mindwipe. If it hadn’t been for that, he reminds her, then they would never have met or married.

With the problem seemingly settled, the two go back to bed. But only one falls asleep. While Bastila gets some rest her husband remains awake, trying to figure out what the dreams mean. So far, all that is clear is that a storm is coming, one borne on the wings of his past actions. And even though it is still far off, it threatens to wipe out the Republic, the Jedi, and everyone for whom the Prodigal Knight cares.

Meanwhile, on the storm world of Dromuund Kaas, Lord Scourge steps out of his shuttle. Dromuund Kaas is the heart of the Sith Empire, and Scourge has not been to the planet since his academy days. He has only returned now because a member of the Dark Council, Darth Nyriss, has requested his help ferreting out assassins who have attempted to kill her several times.

He quickly learns that he was not, in fact, summoned by the Dark witch of her own volition. The Sith Emperor has implied that members of her retinue are responsible for the assassination attempts. In order to quell the trouble, he “suggested” she employ Scourge to investigate the people of her house. And any “suggestion” from the Emperor of the Sith practically counts as an order.

Should the young Sith Lord discover that the Councilor has engaged in treasonous behavior, he will of course make that report to the Emperor, at which time Nyriss’ life will be immediately forfeit. The only problem with that plan, naturally enough, is that Nyriss might catch him before he makes his report – or even after he does make it – and kill him. If he wants to live, let alone advance into the upper echelons of the Imperial court, Scourge must tread carefully.

Revan: A Star Wars Story - YouTube

Between the two of them, Revan and Scourge grope their way to a horrifying realization. As one searches for answers from his past and the other is drawn into a present conspiracy, they each discover the same terrifying solution to the puzzle. For the Emperor is not only powerful; he is stark, raving mad. And that madness will sweep away all life in the galaxy if he isn’t stopped.

As other reviewers have noted, the prose in this book is not the best. I suppose, though, that since the target audience for this novel is not the general Star Wars fan base. It is mainly meant for the people who played Knights of the Old Republic one and two.

Scourge receives more character development and “screen time” than Revan, which is a bit of a bummer. The writer may have also been told that he didn’t have to focus on the Prodigal Knight much. Still, the scenes we get with Revan are fun and give gamers who played KOTOR more time with the protagonist they pretended to be for the duration of the story.

We also get a nice look at Mandalorian culture in this book, along with some quality time given to Canderous Ordo, everyone’s favorite barbarian warrior. Although he is given too much of the limelight in my opinion, Scourge makes up for it by being an interesting guy. He is ruthless and horrible, as the Sith usually are, but he also has a twisted sense of honor that can’t help but win a reader’s affection.

There are no explicit or extreme content Warnings for Younger Readers that I noticed. Nothing the married couples in the book do is dwelt on, while the evil perpetrated by the villains remains at acceptable levels. To be perfectly honest, this blogger believes that Revan probably qualifies more as a novel for younger Star Wars fans than it does for the adult members of the fandom.

For that reason, I have no reservations about recommending it to them and suggesting more mature fans avoid the book. It’s not bad if you know what you are getting into and don’t care, but if you pick it up believing it will match the more adult entries in the Expanded Universe, you will be disappointed. This was a book designed for youngsters and die-hard fans of a video game, not experienced readers looking to spend some quality time in a galaxy far, far away.

May the Force be with you, readers!

The Mithril Guardian

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Revan, di Drew Karpyshyn

Spotlight – Zoids: Chaotic Century – Rosso and Viola

Rosso | Zoids Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Once more this blogger brings you to the burning deserts of Zi, readers! Today’s subject is not a zoid, however. No, today we are looking at two of the best characters in Zoids: Chaotic Century. These would be none other than Rosso and Viola, the bandits who became guardians of peace and justice.

If you are scratching your head over that statement, I will do my best not to spoil too much of it for you. This is a transition that should really be viewed for its full impact to have any meaning. For this reason, the discussion today will focus on the characters’ introduction and the lead up to the moment where everything changed rather than on their relationships with other cast members in the story.

All right, down to business. Rosso and Viola appear in the second episode of Chaotic Century as the leaders of the Desert Alca Valino Gang. Viola is reading their subordinates – Bianco, Nero, and Boll – the riot act for being defeated in battle by a village boy in the opening installment. The three have limped back to base following their confrontation with Van and are trying to justify their loss to the novice pilot.

Viola isn’t having any of it, but Rosso takes the three men’s story as the truth. Intrigued by their description of Zeke, he realizes that the boy has an organoid in his “posession.” So he orders Viola to take the other members of the gang to steal Zeke so they can sell him to the Imperial Army in order to “regain [their] former position. Then [they] won’t be stuck playing games out here [in the desert].”

We never learn just why Rosso, Viola, and (presumably) the rest of the group were kicked out of the Imperial Army. Their skill as pilots certainly was not an issue. Given what is said in the show, it appears that Rosso and his most loyal officers were booted from the Army for offending a political bureaucrat or somehow disobeying the top brass.

Viola | Zoids Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Again, this is never confirmed in the course of the series. It is all conjecture on this author’s part, based on the hints dropped the English translation of the show. Since the two bandits do not appear in the manga at all, there is no other source of information to confirm or deny this theory. (Recently, I discovered that the manga and the anime for Zoids: Chaotic Century tell two completely different stories. Though several characters are the same, others either do not appear in the anime or are unique to the manga, and vice versa. Fans thus consider the two story lines to be set in alternate universes.) The hints in the series are just mysterious enough for viewers to come up with several reasonable guesses as to why the Imperials kicked the Gang out of the army.

In order to return to the Army, Viola leads her men in an attack on the Wind Colony, Van’s home town. When the hero’s big sister, Maria, insists he and Zeke left earlier, the bandit does not believe her. She kidnaps the younger woman in order to force the villagers to hand the organoid over.

Van, understandably, is not willing to go along with this. Escaping the village, he rescues Zeke and frees his sister. In the process he defeats the bandits once again. Realizing the others were telling the truth and that Rosso was right to believe Zeke was an organoid, Viola sounds the retreat.

After this battle Van, Fiona, and Zeke leave the Wind Colony to protect the village from repeated attacks. For seven to ten episodes after this, the Desert Alca Valino Gang more or less follows the two and their new friends across the lawless countryside. Though they do not actively pursue them, they do run into each other rather frequently.

Rosso and Viola also play a role in the growing unrest between the Helic Republic and Guylos Empire. Hired to attack an Imperial battalion to trigger the Battle of Red River and renew the war between the two countries, the Gang is hung out to dry by the officer who requested their help when the skirmish fails to spark a war. Desperate to avoid prison, Rosso decides to go after Van in a last ditch effort to capture his organoid and sell Zeke to the Imperial Army. He essentially hopes to buy back his former rank and save his and his people’s skin.

Age: Unknown

The plan, of course, fails. Rosso is arrested and sent to military prison, leaving Viola bent on vengeance for her lover’s incarceration. Her own plans are derailed, however, when she finds that Van has stopped off in her old village and become friends with her baby sister. In order to prevent her younger sister, Rosa, from learning the truth about Viola, Van lies and makes himself out to be the villain. This leaves the woman who wanted to kill him deep in his debt and with a new outlook on life.

More befalls the bandits in the course of the show, but to reveal all of that would be telling. 😉 All I can say is that the two make an excellent couple. Rosso trusts Viola as his second-in-command not only because he loves her, but because she can mentally and physically keep up with him. Both bandits are also proficient at infiltration, shown when they steal into the Imperial palace to execute a kidnapping, and they are master tacticians.

The two compliment each other very well. Rosso is a good leader, able to direct his followers and Viola from behind or at the forefront of the battle. Using the nose horn on his Red Horn, he shattered the energy shield produced by Van’s Shield Liger, and his skill with the Iron Kong was amazing. While she lacks the physical and piloting power to attack an opponent directly, Viola was quite capable as the pilot of her Redler and showed her own strategic abilities in zoid combat on several occasions.

But it was when they were given command of the prototype Storm Sworders that the two really came into their own. This was more noticeable for Rosso, whose skill took an enormous leap forward. As I said in the post on the Pteranadon-type zoid, he controlled the Sworder in a manner similar to a samurai wielding his sword. Having been the pilot of an aerial zoid for far longer, it is possible that Viola was already at the height of her ability. The fact that she was easier to take down in a Storm Sworder makes this seem fairly likely, indicating that she may have had further to go to achieve complete harmony with her zoid.

Age: Unknown

To be perfectly honest, Rosso and Viola are two of the main reasons this blogger recommends Zoids: Chaotic Century so highly. Their story, which is not in the manga at all, is one of the best side arcs in the entire series. Although it got a bit sappy in a couple of places, their romance was handled well and their character growth is one of the things this author enjoys seeing every time she re-watches the show.

Normally, I would say more about their relationships with other characters in the story, but that would be going into spoiler territory for these two. Suffice it to say that Van has a greater effect on Rosso and Viola than the other way around. If they had not met and been bested by him, then neither would have become the guardians of peace and justice they were later in the show.

That’s not to say the two bandits had no effect on the hero. Without their initial, selfish desire to take Zeke, Van might have left the Wind Colony later than he did. The two were the catalyst which drove him to seek adventure beyond his home. If not for that, we never would have had a series in the first place. And later, when they become heroes in their own right, it is made clear that Van respects and counts the two as friends.

Rosso and Viola would be hard for Hollywood to cast based largely on their looks. I cannot think of any Hollywood actor who could conceivably fit the role of Rosso, though there are some actresses who could be done up to resemble Viola fairly easily. If – and that is a big if these days – a competent director, writer, cast, and crew could be found, then translating these two bandits and the rest of the characters to the silver screen would be possible. Unfortunately, though, that does not seem likely to happen.

On the bright side, if you are interested in “meeting” these two heroes, you can either buy the DVDs on Amazon or watch the show for free here. Though the first few episodes may not be impressive, if you give the series a chance it will more than reward you for your patience. But don’t take my word for it – check out Zoids: Chaotic Century see for yourself how good it actually is!

Catch you later!

The Mithril Guardian

Mentalities / Pantheon - TV Tropes

A Return to Star Wars Legends….

A couple of years ago, after several conversations with the girls over at The Elven Padawan, this blogger began posting videos about the original Star Wars Expanded Universe. This was to give fans who may be interested in reading the “Legends” timeline some extra information about the EU. This writer knows a great deal about that timeline, but since she does not have time to write about it (and still has gaps in her knowledge which need filling), she has begun posting videos for her readers to enjoy.

Below are a new set of vids on various subjects within the original Star Wars EU. There may be a few which cover familiar territory, but the sad fact is that it isn’t easy to keep track of all the videos that this blogger has picked up. And, since the old EU has been closed to new writers for the last eight years, there is only so much that fans can talk about without returning to well-known material. If that is the case, I do apologize, as I try to make sure these posts focus on things that have not already appeared here at Thoughts.

Thankfully, several the videos here go over new items and/or people. I especially enjoy the first video about how powerful “Legends” Luke Skywalker is. Some of the abilities the videographer lists in his review were familiar to this author, but there were others which were completely new. That is one video I highly recommend watching!

I hope you enjoy these vids, readers. With the conclusion of the new sequel trilogy last year, there is still a lot of Star Wars territory for fans to peruse. If the new timeline isn’t to your taste or you just want to know where the new writers are getting their ideas, then these videos should help whet your appetite for more Star Wars adventures.

‘Til next time –

“The Force will be with you, always.”

How Powerful Was Luke Skywalker (Canon and Legends)

 

Mara Jade Skywalker: Luke’s WIFE – Star Wars Explained

 

The Tragic Story of a Clone who tried to be Darth Vader’s Friend [Legends]

 

How Darth Vader Trolled an Imperial Gunner who was Trolling him in Return [Legends]

 

Luke Skywalker MEETS The Long LOST Clone Trooper – Star Wars Comics Explained

When Boba Fett saw what the Empire had done to the Clones on Kamino [Legends]

 

The Female Yoda and Why Her Death Devastated Anakin – Yaddle [Legends]

 

The Mandalorian Great Purge Fully Explained – Star Wars Explained

 

How Powerful Was Darth Vader (Canon and Legends)

 

10 POWERS You Didn’t Know DARTH VADER Had…

 

How Vader PROTECTED an Imperial Moff from Emperor Palpatine’s Wrath! (Legends)