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REVIEW: Voltron Dub.DVD


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Zac
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Joined: 05 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 12:13 am Reply with quote
LeoKnight25 wrote:

Objectivity is what journalism is all about and sadly it's lacking in most of the major news bodies out there today, including this site.


If you think film reviews are supposed to be about "objectivity" then you haven't done a whole lot of reading on contemporary critical theory.
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Zalis116
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Joined: 31 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 12:57 am Reply with quote
Zac wrote:
Vicserr wrote:

and to the kid, read this and get schooled in how to write a proper review


Is there a rolleyes in the world big enough for this condescending crap?

Mr. Kimlinger has no need to be "schooled" in how to write a "proper" review, especially by a butt-hurt fanboy who can't handle negative reviews of things he likes without whining and crying and tossing around big-boy adjectives like "objectivity" and calling the reviewer and the entire site's credibility into question. If you can't just admit that you disagree with the review, then you have some issues.

But then I knew this review would provoke a response like this.
Of course there's a rolleyes big enough for this, and I know because I originally stole it off these forums when someone else answered the same question coming from you:

Of course, I also expected this same reaction from such a negative review of a well-respected series, but to be honest, I kind of missed the contentious Talkback threads that arose from reviews like Speed Grapher Vol. 1 or UFO UltraMaiden Valkyrie Vol. 1. (I'd link, but the reviews don't properly connect to the old (locked) discussion threads, and forum search is failing me right now.)

I have to ask the people bashing the site, are AoD's reviews really all that "professional"? Have a look at this review of Naruto Box Set 1 and tell me it's up to "professional" standards -- the punctuation is sloppy, and numerous "but the spell-checker said it was right" word confusions abound, like curser for cursor, waste for waist, and the infamous it's / its mistake, the last of which Chris B. himself is frequently guilty of. Okay, okay, you say "Zalis is just being his usual grammar Nazi self," but what about the equivalent review of Voltron Set 1? If Carl's review is too far gone on the "haughty intellectual" end of the spectrum, then surely the AoD review treads close to the opposite, "blind-eye fanboyism" end of that same spectrum of critical rigor. It basically says, "It looks a little dated and grainy, but the packaging and extras are great, and you should check this show out because I loved it when I was a kid, even though it's cheesy and campy. Oh, and it's hilarious to watch your cat when the lions roar in the menu sound loop Laughing" So if I don't have a cat, the show sucks? I'm not trying to start any AoD-bashing or ANN-AoD wars here, only that reviews' value from each site vary depending on what you're looking for. *EDIT* But since AoD's Voltron review is being presented as evidence in this discussion, I have to say a few things...

In my case, I can trust ANN's reviews to be well-written and informative about the quality of the story, characters, animation, music, and acting--essentially, answering the question, "How good of a series is it?" AoD's reviews, on the other hand, tend to focus on how good of a release a given DVD is, with less emphasis on artistic or story elements. That's not a bad thing in and of itself, but it may produce misleading reviews if there's a big discrepancy between the techical and artistic quality of some anime volume. And in all the reviews I've read on ANN(and I've read quite a few), I can't remember a single instance where the popularity or nostalgia value of a series affected the actual scores. Please, tell me that isn't the case in the overwhelmingly positive AoD review. Does that mean that I think Mr. Coulter is a bad reviewer, or that AoD has no credibility? Not at all, just that I disagree with that review. (There, I said it.)

Honestly, I did see Voltron on TV when I was a kid, and I loved it back then...however, I'm not sure I want to watch or pay for 50+ episodes if the actual quality of the show is this bad. In the end, maybe it's better to let these nostalgic things stay in the past, and not try to force rose-tinted glasses over my adult eyes. There's other, better anime to watch now, and not all from the CGI era, either.
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HitokiriShadow



Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 6251
PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:08 am Reply with quote
I love how reveiwer's integrity and profesionalism (is that a word?) is called into question whenever fanboys/girls see a show they love get slammed.

The review DOES take the shows age into account. That doesn't make the show any better. The problems with the animation and story were not because of its age, it was because it was just bad. Deal with it.
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 14546
PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:43 am Reply with quote
Leo+Zalis:

AOD reviews=I hate this show, because it doesn't fit my pre-conceived view of what
the dvd specs should be like, even it's the same version that was available on the R2 import. Otherwise, it consists of, "I like this show, because I'm just trying to be popular and relevant, even though I spend more time watching hentai than an actual episode of the latest hit from Japan."

IGN reviews=Oh wait, I can't find them, because the site is a mess with all the banner ads.
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Vicserr



Joined: 26 Apr 2004
Posts: 480
Location: Carolina, Puerto Rico USA
PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 10:37 am Reply with quote
GATSU wrote:
Leo+Zalis:

AOD reviews=I hate this show, because it doesn't fit my pre-conceived view of what the dvd specs should be like, even it's the same version that was available on the R2 import.


Nobody likes a shoddy product, dvd producers should stick to the spec to keep problems to a minimun and even after close to 10 years of dvd production, they still mess it up, and let's not talk of the ones that mess a product up on purpose, like widescreen DBZ or Manga Ent. releasing Dangaio with an entire episode missing.

Quote:
Otherwise, it consists of, "I like this show, because I'm just trying to be popular and relevant,


But at least they give you the reasons why you should like or dislike the show instead of bashing it from the get go. Even with the spelling mistakes.

Quote:
even though I spend more time watching hentai


At least for me that better than the "pretend it doesn't exist beyond the Anime Encyclopedia" entry, Hentai is Anime too.

Quote:
than an actual episode of the latest hit from Japan." .


Maybe that's because AOD concentrates on what's available commercially in R1.
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Onikuno



Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Posts: 21
PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 10:29 pm Reply with quote
Two things I take from this review.

1. The reviewer obviously did not grow up with the show like the majority fanbase.

2. The reviewer went in expecting WAY too much from a US version of an anime from the 80's.

You can't review Voltron like you would a series today. It's an edited version of Go-Lion meant for a different era. The US anime industry has grown quite substansually in the past twenty years. It's almost like critiquing a 2 year old's drawing ability compared to painting in an art museum. You have to grade on a curve.

It's fair to say that if you liked the show before you'll love this release. WEP and Media Blasters did a fantastic job and made it WELL worth the wait.
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Steventheeunuch



Joined: 10 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 2:53 am Reply with quote
Onikuno, it's vaguely similar to my question about Key's review of Kodocha vol. 9, where one of the negatives against it was "mediocre artistry", considering it's basically a continual, hyperactive 90's Japanese Lizzie Macguire cartoon. The thing is though, since it is still Anime, and since it can be sent to and reviewed on this site, it will inadvertantly be put up against other contenders for Anime fan's money.

Now, if you went to a site where they specifically reviewed children's cartoons, where the reviewers were expected to review it from a nostalgic P.O.V, you'd probably get a more agreeing and positive review. You also have to realise that that when you're reading a review on something like entertainment, where the enjoyability is something that can fluxuate and wildly vary from person to person, you'll get negative reviews no matter how good, bad, or indifferent a thing is, because it's all a matter of opinion. Sure, some opinions are more valid considering they've come from people who might have studied and gain notoriety or whatever from that respective feild (film, animation, film theory etc), but you shouldn't rely on reviews of properties you already like to further justify you liking them. You like something that's considered trash in the eyes of someone else. This is not new nor paticularly exclusive.
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Strephon



Joined: 15 Sep 2006
Posts: 177
PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 2:56 pm Reply with quote
Steventheeunuch wrote:
Now, if you went to a site where they specifically reviewed children's cartoons, where the reviewers were expected to review it from a nostalgic P.O.V, you'd probably get a more agreeing and positive review. You also have to realise that that when you're reading a review on something like entertainment, where the enjoyability is something that can fluxuate and wildly vary from person to person, you'll get negative reviews no matter how good, bad, or indifferent a thing is, because it's all a matter of opinion. Sure, some opinions are more valid considering they've come from people who might have studied and gain notoriety or whatever from that respective feild (film, animation, film theory etc), but you shouldn't rely on reviews of properties you already like to further justify you liking them. You like something that's considered trash in the eyes of someone else. This is not new nor paticularly exclusive.


Speaking for myself, my problem with the review isn't the negative conclusion; viewed impassively, a lot of the comments are at least somewhat accurate. My problem is the combination of a) the wholely unnecessary insulting tone to the entire review, which seems reflective of the part of Net culture that sees snarkiness as the highest form of dialogue; b) the aspects of the review that take the series as a personal attack on the reviewer (see the last sentence, for example)--that might be okay on a weblog, but a reviewer for a website like this needs to be able to have a larger perspective; c) the refusal in most cases to put the show's problems in the context of other childrens' shows of the time, both American and Japanese (the one time this is done it's presented as a negative); and d) the dismissive references to the nostalgic episode of the show, which both ignore the fact that nostalgia is the only reason for this product to exist in the first place and stop just short of being insulting to those who are nostalgic for it.

I'm not saying the review needed to be a love letter, but a more even tone could have made the same points without making nostalgic fans of the show (i.e. the target audience of the product) defensive and annoyed. Or even saying "I hate the show and think it's irredemably awful, but my opinion probably won't matter to the shows' fans, who probably all bought this already when it was released three months ago" would show some acknowledgement of the idea that the reviewer's viewpoint isn't the only one that matters.
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Keonyn
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:10 pm Reply with quote
Okay, I grew up with this show as many other, but you know what? I watch it now and frankly, it sucks, it didn't age well and probably wouldn't be something I'd spend my money on. You think a reviewer would be more responsible if they let some type of nostalgia based bias take over the review? I certainly don't. It's now a modern release and should be reviewed as one, if you grew up and like it because of that then good for you but nostalgia doesn't make it great, just skews your perception and that is the exact opposite of objectivity.

Frankly I think the reviewer was being objective and I don't really disagree with the review either. Not to mention, whether you like it or not, not every review is going to go your way and whining and crying and insult others ability to form an opinion on a title just because it didn't go your way isn't the way to go about things. A review, in the end, is an opinoin, you take it for what it is and move on to the next and make your determination off that. There's no law or requirement that reviewers have to think like you and likewise it's not required you follow their recommendations. It's a description of the product and what they felt about it with their rationale explained, it's not fact and we're not a collective, feel free to make up your own midns if you still enjoy this series. Getting offended by a bad review only works against your arguments by representing a likely bias.
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Zac
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:52 pm Reply with quote
Strephon wrote:


I'm not saying the review needed to be a love letter, but a more even tone could have made the same points without making nostalgic fans of the show (i.e. the target audience of the product) defensive and annoyed.


It isn't the reviewer's job to coddle the reader. If you're so tied up in your love for some cartoon that you allow someone else's opinion of it "insult" or "annoy" you then the problem is with you, not the critic.

Frankly, I find "nostalgic fans" to get "defensive and annoyed" about almost everything, so pleasing them is nigh-impossible unless you review everything positively.
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Gage



Joined: 06 May 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 4:19 pm Reply with quote
Well it is basically the person's, who is annoyed and "insulted", problem. Not the reviewer and that is all there is too it.

And if the reader of the review has a problem or is angered by it then they could just review themselves. It's totally not the Reviewer's fault in the matter plainly. I personally do not see anything wrong with Anime on DVD's reviews. Yes some reviews need some small work but that is no reason to lash out at AoD.

Just read ANN's reviews if there is a problem with AoD's.
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Kouji



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:44 pm Reply with quote
Isn't it funny that whenever ANN has a more critical review of an anime someone always complains about how they aren't reviewing from the right "mindset" or whatever and then when they have a very positive review for a title somebody always says their opinion is biased by their obsession? Like how just a few months ago somebody wrote a very positive review for volume 1 of the FMA manga and everyone jumped on them for it because they thought FMA was the most philosophical manga ever. Now we finally do get a more critical review and everyone's complaining that it isn't thinking from a fan's mindset. Which one is it that you want? Do you want the reviews to be critical or do you want them to be all sugar-coated so that they make sure they aren't stepping on any obsessive fanboy's toes? The problem with writing all the reviews from the mindset of a fan is that the Voltron fans already know that they're going to buy this DVD no matter what anyone else says at all. So, if the Voltron fans have already made up their mind to buy it, what's the point in writing a review from their mindset?

Furthermore, ANN is not a Voltron site nor is it a review site for '80s children's cartoons. It's a site for anime in general and as such the reviews have to be written from the mindset of anime fans in general. If you want a site to review your favorite titles from your point of view, start your own site or write your own review for ANN. Besides which, trying to convince somebody who isn't a diehard Voltron fan already to buy this series because you like it out of nostalgia and for its cheesiness is like a Narutard trying to convince somebody who hates Shounen Jump anime that they should watch Naruto because they think Sasuke is cool. It's illogical reasoning that just doesn't work and never will. Furthermore, you cannot use the age of this show as an excuse for its faults. ANN has given lots of positive reviews to plenty of old classic anime including Gundam, Macross, Nausicaa, Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Gatchaman, Akira, Bubblegum Crisis, Astro Boy, and Kimba The White Lion. They've even given positive reviews to heavily edited versions of '80s anime like Robotech. So, saying that ANN didn't take the age of the anime into consideration when reviewing it shows that either you're full of it or you obviously haven't read enough ANN reviews.
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Strephon



Joined: 15 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 6:04 pm Reply with quote
Keonyn wrote:
Okay, I grew up with this show as many other, but you know what? I watch it now and frankly, it sucks, it didn't age well and probably wouldn't be something I'd spend my money on. You think a reviewer would be more responsible if they let some type of nostalgia based bias take over the review? I certainly don't. It's now a modern release and should be reviewed as one, if you grew up and like it because of that then good for you but nostalgia doesn't make it great, just skews your perception and that is the exact opposite of objectivity.


Read what I wrote, please. I'm not saying that the reviewer needed to put in any sort of bias. I'm saying that the failure to put in acknowledgements of basic facts about the series (for example, saying something like "The animation is very poor (list examples) which is typical of cheaply-made animation of the period but doesn't look good now") makes it look like the reviewer couldn't be bothered to consider why the series is like it is, instead of just insulting it. Would anyone who read the review even know when the series was made and the circumstances under which it was released in the US? No, because in almost every case the reviewer goes for the cheap, easy shot.

To restate my point in different terms: A review written in these terms is nearly useless as a guide to the potential purchaser. Someone who is nostalgic for the show won't listen to it because it's clearly written by someone who doesn't understand that (or doesn't care). Someone who didn't watch the series originally but likes other '80s animated properties won't be able to tell how it compares to other '80s properties, because it never even mentions the decade it was created. And someone who's never heard of the show won't have any clue what the review is talking about, because apart from the references to people being nostalgic for it, there's no indication that this isn't a new show. (Don't say "they should read the Encyclopedia entry, then," because it's the reviewers job to put their own comments in a basic context. Plus there isn't currrently a direct link to the entry.)

Your statement about "I grew up with this show but it hasn't aged well" is the sort of statement the review needed, because it acknowledges the basic fact that the show is being marketed on nostalgia, not quality, and therefore has some relevance. Since the reviewer gives no indication of having ever watched the show before watching the review, then his opinion, while he's entitled to it, isn't relevant to my situation. Or the situation of most of the target audience of this release.

(And I didn't say I was insulted by the review. I said the review had an insulting tone, which it indisputably does--it's full of insults towards the show and its creators--and that it stopped just short of being insulting to those nostalgic for it, by which I meant the comment about "blinding the eyes and fogging the brain.")
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Strephon



Joined: 15 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:47 pm Reply with quote
Kouji wrote:
Do you want the reviews to be critical or do you want them to be all sugar-coated so that they make sure they aren't stepping on any obsessive fanboy's toes?


Did you miss the part where I said that I didn't expect the review to be a love letter? There's a wide, wide division between a sugar-coated mash note on one hand and a total hatchet job on the other. All I'm saying is that the review could be less of a hatchet job while still saying the same things (and would look less like the reviewer is taking out a personal grudge--when the review concludes with "...my one reaction was an overwhelming desire to throttle the show and demand that it return the hours of my life that it had stolen from me," I don't take that as a sign of objectivity).

Quote:
Besides which, trying to convince somebody who isn't a diehard Voltron fan already to buy this series because you like it out of nostalgia and for its cheesiness is like a Narutard trying to convince somebody who hates Shounen Jump anime that they should watch Naruto because they think Sasuke is cool. It's illogical reasoning that just doesn't work and never will.


Where did I say that? I don't think the review needs to be aimed at convincing people of the show's wonderfulness (I've said multiple times that I agree with a lot of the points made about the show). The people who need the review most are those most likely to buy the product--namely, those who are nostalgic for the show. Since the review doesn't address the perspective of those readers, then who is it for? People who weren't going to buy it anyway?

Quote:
Furthermore, you cannot use the age of this show as an excuse for its faults. ANN has given lots of positive reviews to plenty of old classic anime including Gundam, Macross, Nausicaa, Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Gatchaman, Akira, Bubblegum Crisis, Astro Boy, and Kimba The White Lion. They've even given positive reviews to heavily edited versions of '80s anime like Robotech. So, saying that ANN didn't take the age of the anime into consideration when reviewing it shows that either you're full of it or you obviously haven't read enough ANN reviews.


Again, you're responding to something I didn't say. Let's look at one of those reviews: the first Gatchaman boxed set. Comments in that review include:

"This 'localization' is now widely derided in fan circles as one of the most grievous hack jobs ever inflicted upon an anime title, but what many anime fans under the age of 30 don't fully appreciate is exactly how cool the series was to boys growing up in the late '70s."

"The artistry in Gatchaman has held up reasonably well over the years but does still reflect the times in which it was made. Lines are thick, explosions look very rough, colors have dulled with age, and character designs are fairly basic, with most kids looking about the same."

"By contrast, the animation does not hold up well. While it might have been acceptable by the standards of the time, it is woefully inadequate by current standards."

"It's hardly among the best series ever made, but it's certainly an important and influential one."


It also mentions when the anime was released in Japan and the US, giving some context to these statements. By comparison, the only piece of contextualization in the Voltron review is the reference to the Smurfs and Scooby-Doo (a series that's been in production in five different decades, so that's not much context). The point of providing context isn't to excuse the problems, nor did I say it was; it's to allow the reader to make conclusions based on their own experiences by comparing them with their reaction to similar material.

I've read plenty of ANN's reviews, thank you. I've just never read one like this here before.
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Himalayus



Joined: 30 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:21 am Reply with quote
Given the length of this thread, and the length of time I took to post on it (watching them evolve is just so much fun!) I cannot reasonably quote different people and their claims, nor directly address them. Also, given the amount of ground I must cover, this reply will be quite long. Please bear with me. Or not. If you don’t want to hear it, then just skip on to the next post. I promise I won’t be offended.

The problems with my review seem to fall into these categories:

1) A lack of objectivity. This has been addressed by other members in an exceedingly intelligent manner. Nothing more need be said.

2) That Voltron was marketed at a specific audience (children) and wasn’t meant as high art. This is a comment that I find highly offensive. Not because it isn’t true (that is who it was aimed at) but because it assumes that children’s entertainment doesn’t need to be held up to the same standards as other entertainment. This is highly insulting to the creators who make superior children’s entertainment (sorry Hayao Miyazaki, but it turns out that all this time you’ve been putting forward unnecessary effort, you should have just made sloppy, simplistic crap; it’s easy, cheap, and no one cares because its just for the kids anyway). Intelligent, well-made children’s entertainment is all around us. Claiming that some sort of “double standard” is necessary insults the achievements of every single one of those shows/movies/books. Shame on you.

3) That I am not taking into account the effect that the show had on (its original) audiences and the industry (including its nostalgia value). I’m not a historian. I’m a reviewer. My job is to provide my evaluation of the series. Setting nostalgia aside (and I have zero nostalgia for the show, so that was kind of necessary) I was forced to conclude that it was crap, period.
And no matter the historical significance of a show, no matter how popular or enduring it is, the artistic/entertainment merit of a show is entirely independent of that.

4) The comment about my lack of context brings up some good points that I feel obliged to address directly. First of all, I deemed the problems with the animation, art, and music things that no amount of context could excuse or mitigate, and as such figured that providing context took up valuable space (I excised the Urusei Yatsura and Gundam comments that I will be using in the next point) better used in explaining just why it was that I considered the animation and art unacceptable. Finally, the audience that I figured would be reading this review is the net-competent anime fans who use ANN. As such, I figured that it was a pretty good bet that they would not only know what Voltron is, but also when it was produced. You-all are my audience, and you-all understood just fine. Right?

5) That Voltron is a product of its time. This argument holds as much water as an incontinent bladder. Good stories have existed in all eras. That something came from the 80’s is no excuse for shoddy storytelling. As for the technical aspects... Animation from the era was different than that of today, and often this translated into stiffness and shortcuts. Voltron’s is bad, even by the standards of the era, but this isn’t the true problem either. No, where Voltron truly failed was in the consistency of its technical qualities. As pointed out in the review, the show was rife with perspective problems and inconsistencies that are confusing and distracting. These are inexcusable. Other shows from the era, using the same technologies, have no such (or far fewer such) problems. Take a good look at Urusei Yatsura (its animation is fabulous in comparison). And Gundam (the original) not only had far superior animation and far fewer animation screw-ups but also featured great characters, realistic moral dilemmas, and oodles of political maneuvering, all the while satisfying audiences’ thirst for giant robot smackdowns. Voltron only shoots for the last one, and even then doesn’t care enough to do so with consistent animation.

6) People who don’t like my review because it doesn’t correspond to their views. Get over it. You like the show, good for you. I’ll give you a picture of me to print out and throw darts at or something, so stop cluttering up the forum.

On a more general level, someone mentioned my leanings towards “haughty intellectualism.” I know that this is problematic for some people, but it is as much a part of me as my arms, legs, or head. I do try to keep it in check (or at least make it fun to read), but sometimes it gets the better of me. I will not apologize however. Apologies are for punks.

Oh yeah, and to the nice fella who told me to suck Go Lions balls: find some for me and I will. It’d better than having to watch more Voltron.
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