The Case of How to Rate Your Dragon

Hey Cassettes!

So far this May, we have covered Pokemon, Godzilla, and now, DRAGONS. Unfortunately we weren’t able to use the studio this week (we were traveling) so instead we recorded on location!

We made a list of our top 10 movie dragons! Based on ability, plot significance, design, and personality, we ranked our favorite fiery reptiles.

This episode is special for a few reasons. Not only is it slightly shorter than our other cases, it’s also the last full-length episode for May! Next week we will be taking a brief hiatus, but we will be back in June.

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As always,

Thanks for listening!

We ranked each dragon on a scale from 1-10 in four categories. Those categories were: Ability/Power, Plot Significance, Personality, and Design

10. The Hungarian Horntail from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Hungarianhorntail

  • While this dragon only appears for a short time in the film, she certainly makes an impact
  • We ranked the Horntail highly for its ferocious design, but gave her lower scores in personality and plot significance

9. Maleficent (in dragon form) from Sleeping Beauty

Maleficent-Dragon

  • In dragon form, Maleficent is truly terrifying
  • We love her classic English dragon design, as well as her color scheme and climactic role in the movie
  • It wouldn’t be fair to judge Maleficent on her human traits, so we only focused on her dragon characteristics

8. Dragon from Shrek

Dragon from Shrek

  • Being that Dragon has limited screen time and no dialogue, we focused more on her design and personality
  • As we were giving out scores, we decided that Dragon beat out the first two dragons on our list for her surprising personality

7. Saphira from Eragon

Saphira

  • It’s no secret that Eragon is not a fan favorite (or a critical one for that matter) but we tried to separate this dragon from her movie
  • We did not give Saphira a great score for design, but we were impressed with her connection to Eragon and her ability to communicate telepathically
  • Being the main character’s dragon, we also gave her a higher score in plot significance than the previous entries on the list

6. Haku from Spirited Away

Haku

  • This shape-shifting dragon plays a pivotal role in the Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away
  • Haku’s design and personality are unique in that he is the first dragon on our list that does not breathe fire
    • Instead, Haku is a river guardian and is a great example of an elemental dragon that isn’t connected to fire
    • His shape-shifting abilities also hearken back to older mythology where dragons were considered intelligent and magical beings that could shift into human form
    • His design fits that of a Chinese dragon but with a Japanese animation twist that sets him apart

5. Falkor from The Neverending Story

Falkor

  • As far as practical effects go, Falkor was the gold standard for the mid-80s
  • With a strange design that (somewhat) follows the book description, Falkor has the head of a dog and the body of a fish
    • This design is closer to the classic Chinese dragon design, where dragons did not need wings to fly but instead swam through the air as if they were a fish in water (hence the scales)
  • We didn’t give Falkor a great score for design, as he may be considered creepy to some viewers. BUT we love his unique dragon type (a Luckdragon) and his optimistic nature

4. Smaug from The Desolation of Smaug

Smaug

  • When we think of a great dragon antagonist, Smaug definitely comes to mind
    • We gave him a clear 10/10 for design, no question
    • Smaug is the epitome of the classic English dragon
      • He’s proud, greedy, and extremely homicidal
    • We also gave him a high score in ability, as we believe he is the most powerful dragon on this list

3. Mushu from Mulan

Mushu

  • We ranked this sassy reptile highly for his hilarious personality, and strong plot significance
    • Although Mulan is the main character, Mushu helps drive the plot forward by fulfilling the role of comic relief and keeps the younger audience engaged
    • Mushu is a little self-serving, but he does risk his life to help Mulan save China

2. Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon

Toothless

  • With his jet-black skin, green eyes, and blue glowing scales, Toothless is the only dragon on our list with a 10/10 on design
  • Toothless also scored high in ability, personality, and plot significance, giving him second place on our list
  • We had an incredibly hard time deciding between our number 1 and 2 choice, Toothless scored 35/40 in our ranking while our number 1 scored 36/40

1. Draco from Dragonheart

Dragonheart Draco

Dragonheart

  • Finally, here is our number one choice! We have to say, it was really tough
  • Ultimately, we decided that Toothless has a better design than Draco, but we ranked Draco higher for his ability to wield magic and his completely selfless personality
  • In the Dragonheart universe, dragons are an intelligent species with their own culture and language. This sets Draco apart from the other dragons on this list
  • If you haven’t seen Dragonheart, you should give it a chance! Please be advised that it has 1990s CGI and is a bit cheesy, but it has a beautiful score and is a must-see for any dragon fan!

 

 

Godzilla: King the of Cases

Last week we discussed monsters that fit in your pocket. This week, we’re talking about the biggest monster of them all! Some may even call him the king of monsters. We’re talking, of course, about Godzilla!

  • A Brief History of Godzilla
    • How was he created
      • Godzilla represents the abuse of the earth through atomic weapons and the destruction that the atomic bombs caused
      • Tomoyuki Tanaka is credited with the creation of Godzilla
        • He was a producer of Toho Studios
      • Shi No Hai
        • Death Ash created by Hydrogen bomb testing affecting fishermen, which was the event that inspired the story for the first Godzilla film
        • Godzilla is an allegory for the atomic bomb and its horrible aftermath
          • In certain shots he was meant to look like a mushroom cloud 
          • His skin was rough and bumpy, modeling the injuries sustained from the Hydrogen radiation 
      • Ishiro Honda directed the first Godzilla film called Gojira (1954)
        • Derives from the Japanese words for Gorilla (Gorira) and Whale (Kujira)
    • When did he first appear
      • The first film in 1954 was a box office hit and got the attention of the western world
      • Levine was the American director who bought the rights to Godzilla and re-cut it as “Godzilla King of Monsters”
        • Levine only left in 40 minutes of the original Ishiro Honda movie.  He then created his own shots as filler to tell his version of Godzilla
        • The film was a critical disaster
      • The original movie did not get a western release until 2004
    • How was he received
      • The first film was a massive success both critically and monetarily
      • The only Godzilla movie nominated for best picture (Japanese Movie Association Awards)
        • They won for Special Effects
    • The Suit
      • The first Godzilla suit weighed 200 lbs
      • Every suit was made from scratch up until 1984
        • As the movies went on each suit became lighter
        • Originally stop motion was to be used, but due to the large cost associated with it they opted for suits and dubbed it “Suitmation”
    • The Roar
      • Created with a resin coated glove rubbed against a double bass in an echo chamber
  • The Godzilla movies
    • Thirty-two movies produced by Toho in Japan
      • Which were the most famous?
        • Showa Era of films
          • Gojira (1954)
          • Rhodan (1956)
          • Godzilla Raids Again (1959)
            • Introduction of the first other monster: Anguirus
            • Resembles Ankylosaurus
          • Godzilla v. King Kong (1962)
            • The first time Godzilla was shown in color
            • And it was the first Versus film; The first time they really drifted from the meaning of the original film
          • Mothra vs Godzilla (1964)
          • Ghidorah, The Three-headed Monster (1964)
          • Destroy All Monsters (1968)
      • Heisei
        • Mecha-King Ghidorah
        • Godzilla vs Mothra (1992)
        • ‘Redesigned Godzilla Jr
        • Godzilla vs Biollante
        • Godzilla vs. Destroyah
      • Millenium
        • Godzilla 2000 (1999)
        • Godzilla: Final Wars
    • Three American adaptations
      • Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956)
      • King Kong v Godzilla (1963)
      • Godzilla 1985 (1985)
    • Four Hollywood films
      • Godzilla (1998)
      • Godzilla (2014)
      • Godzilla King of Monsters (2019)
      • Godzilla v Kong (2020)
  • The Other Monsters
    • In Godzilla King of Monsters, there will be other monsters featured
      • Toho Monsters (meaning they come from Toho studio)
        • Godzilla
        • Mothra
          • Female monster
          • Earth’s guardian, Mothra is the “good guy”
          • In Larva form, she can string-shot
        • Rhodan
          • Reluctantly helps Godzilla, and will flee and the first sign of danger to his life
        • King Ghidorah
          • Will forever be in battle with Godzilla, and is considered the arch rival
      • Non-Toho Monsters
        • Baphomet
        • Typhoon
        • Abaddon
        • Bunyip
        • Methuselah

The Case to Catch ‘Em All

 

In the late 1990’s, Pokemon fever swept the world. Starting in Japan, the game was developed by Satoshi Tajiri.

 

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As a child, Tajiri enjoyed capturing insects near his home in Tokyo. This hobby inspired him to develop a game that would give children the same experience. Originally, the game was called “Capsule Monsters” and was influenced by a TV show called “Ultra Seven.” In the show, the protagonist used large animals to battle and kept them in small containers between fights. Tajiri also imagined using the GameBoy link cable to transfer the small monsters from one console to the other.

Tajiri formed “Game Freak” (a game developing company that was named after a short lived magazine) and attempted to pitch the game to Nintendo but was unsuccessful. But when a famous developer named Shigero Miyamoto (Super Mario, Legend of Zelda) pitched it to Nintendo and got the funding they needed to develop the game. The name was changed to “Pocket Monsters” due to trademark issues. Six years later, the first Pokemon games were released.

On April 1st, 1997 the Pokemon anime premiered in Japan. The main character was named Satoshi (later changed to Ash for the Western release) after the creator and was based on a character Red, from the first Pokemon manga.

The show debuted in North America in the same month that the games were available; September 1998. The trading game (the bane of Robin and Marci’s existence in grade school) was made available to children in North America in January, 1999.

The first 4 seasons of the show used cel animation and the fifth season was digitally animated, starting with the episode “Here’s Lookin’ at You, Elekid”

There are 21 released movies with a 22nd one to release this year (Not including the movie Detective Pikachu).

Pokémon: the First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back

  • Ash, Misty, Brock, and several other Pokémon trainers travel to an island, under the pretense that they will be battling a superior Pokémon trainer, only to discover the genetically engineered Pokémon Mewtwo, created by a scientist for Giovanni of Team Rocket, is there and is planning to take over the world with other cloned Pokémon.

Pokémon: the Movie 2000 – The Power of One

  • Takes place on Shamouti Island where Ash is roped into a festival honoring Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, all of whom are being captured by Lawrence III, a Pokémon Collector who also wants to capture the legendary Pokémon Lugia.

Pokémon 3: The Movie – Spell of the Unown

  • Ash, Misty, and Brock try to retrieve Ash’s mother from Molly Hale, a lonely little girl whose father has disappeared and is being taken care of by the Pokémon Unown who have created an illusion of the Legendary Pokémon Entei.

Pokémon 4ever: Celebi – Voice of the Forest

  • Ash meets up with Sammy, a boy from 40 years in the past, and the Mythical Pokémon Celebi, who is being hunted down by the evil Iron-Masked Marauder of Team Rocket.

The Pokémon anime series was largely credited for allowing anime to become more popular and familiar around the world along with Dragon Ball Z. This is especially true in the United States, where the two highest-grossing anime films are both Pokémon films. (Number 6 and 10 worldwide).

Episodes Mentioned :

Charmander-The Stray Pokémon

Related image

Here Comes the Squirtle Squad

Image result for squirtle squad

Island of Giant Pokémon

The Song of Jigglypuff

Dig those Diglett

Go West Young Meowth

The Spongebob Square-Case

On May 1st, 1999 an sea sponge applied to work at The Krusty Krab as a fry cook. Showing off his unrelenting optimism and cooking skills, he won the hearts of Mr. Krabs (his future boss) and children everywhere. Now 20 years later, Spongebob Squarepants is a cultural icon.

Spongebob Squarepants changed Nickelodeon and cartoons forever. He was a beacon of humor in times of struggle, giving Americans reasons to laugh. The world was in need of his talents, and Spongebob was READY.

  • Spongebob’s History
    • Spongebob was created by Marine Biologist Steve Hillenburg
    • Originally the show was to be called Spongeboy Ahoy!
    • Because Spongeboy was trademarked by a cleaning supplies company, they were forced to change the name
    • Hillenburg wanted the word “sponge” in the title because he thought children might confuse him with cheese
      • “Oh great, now the talking cheese is gonna preach to us”
    • Steve Hillenburg first developed the idea from an unpublished comic called “The Inter-Tidal Zone that developed in the late 1980s
    • He worked on Rocko’s Modern Life after studying animation
      • After the cancellation of the show, he began developing Spongebob and asked Tom Kenny who voiced Heffer on Rocko’s Modern Life to do voicework
    • The big pitch
      • Derek Drymon was the creative director of Spongebob and was the voice acting coach for the pilot
      • Together Drymon and Hillenburg made the pitch for the show
        • Hillenburg and Derek Drymon wore Hawaiian shirts and blared beach music while pitching
        • They created a tiny model of Bikini Bottom with all the characters and gave a description of what they wanted the characters to be
        • They pitched the pilot “Help Wanted” to Nickelodeon Executives and had to excuse themselves because they needed to compose themselves
        • The executives decided immediately that they wanted to do the show
  • The Voices
    • Tom Kenny
      • Spongebob
      • Gary The Snail
      • The French Narrator
      • Also known for:
        • Adventure Time
        • The PowerPuff Girls
        • Rocko’s Modern Life
  • Bill Fagebakke
    • Patrick
    • Also known for:
      •  Coach (1989-1997)
      • How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)
  • Roger Bumpas
    • Squidward
    • Also known for:
      • Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
        • Doc Oc
      • Bit parts in Disney films and TV shows
  • Clancy Brown
    • Mr. Krabs
    • Also known for:
      • CTR
        • Dr. Neo Kortex
      • Schooled
        • Mr. Crosby
      • Highlander
      • The Shawshank Redemption
        • Byron Hadley
  • Douglas Lawrence Osowski “Mr. Lawrence”
    • Plankton
    • Larry the Lobster
    • The Artist at Sea
    • Fred (My Leg Guy) Although Fred has been played by many different actors
    • Also known for:
      • Rocko’s Modern Life
        • Fillbert
  • Carolyn Lawrence
    • Sandy Cheeks
    • Also known for:
      • Jimmy Neutron
        • Cindy Vortex
  • The Flying Dutchman
    • Bryan Doyle Murray
    • Also known for:
      • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
      • Caddyshack
  • Jill Talley
    • Karen
    • Also known for:
      • Mr. Show with Bob and David
      • The Loud House
    • *Karen is played by Tom Kenny’s wife, and Karen is the name of Steve Hillenburg’s wife

Source Material

  • “Zen and the Art of Writing” essay collection by Ray Bradbury and used the noun game
    • Everyone wrote 3-6 nouns on a paper and placed them in a hat; when they pulled one out, they did a story based on that noun
  • Literary References
    • “Squeaky Boots” is based off the story “The Tell-tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe
    • “Club Spongebob” references “Lord of the Flies”
      • The Magic Conch Shell is similar to the Magic 8 Ball used by the characters in the novel
    • “Frankendoodle” references “Frankenstein” when Spongebob creates DoodleBob
  • Other References
    • Some references mentioned in this episode:
      • Toulouse-Lautrec reference:
      • In “Something Smells” Spongebob hides in his house with a mask on, referencing Phantom of the Opera. We wanted to find you a clip, but we couldn’t find a good one
  • Spongebob’s personality came from Jerry Lewis, PeeWee Herman, and Stan Laurel
  • Awards
    • Won Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program
    • British Academy Children’s International Award in 2007
    • Nominated 34 Kid’s Choice Awards and won 27
    • Best animated television production Annie Award 2005

 

Thank you, Steve Hillenburg!