The Webcomic Watchman

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Review #15: A Modest Proposal

THERE IS NO GOD!
Why God? Why did I already use my alloted DBZ caption when it would've made more sense here?

Title: Ninja Spirit
Artist: River Daniels
Collective: Blackie Dog Studios (not really a “collective” so much as a self-run studio)
Genre: Action with a dash of comedy and a pinch of romance
Updates: Twice a week (usually)
Link: http://www.ninja-spirit.com/

Dear Alfred R. Kahn, Chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment,

Tell me, are you in the market for another animated series that you can run straight into the ground whilst translating it for the under-18 American consumer? Do you want an even bigger share of the licensing moolah that normally goes to those “other” companies? Well, look no further than Ninja Spirit!

I know, some young intern might ask you something like, “Why would we want to pick this show up? It’s just another cartoon about ninjas!” Well, after you finish firing that dumbass for daring to question your unholy wisdom, listen to the rest of my proposal. This comic already has plenty of what your company looks for in a potential animated series:

--Stereotypical characters with funny names, including, but not limited to: Yuki Misaki the all-around good guy, Tom Brisket (no, not that Brisket) the jock, Dave Btwys-Y-Cawr [sic] the nerd, Johannesburg “Joe” Lockhart the closeted loner, Hello Kelly the cold-hearted bitch, and Key Lime “Keylie” Pitrowski the quiet girl.
---(Between this and my last review, I’m still waiting for someone to name their villain Dastardly Macaroni Salad or Doctor Snidely Evilton, so I can finally pick up a scalpel, drown my inhibitions in bourbon and then proceed to hunt down those responsible for thinking up these names.)

--A ton of action and special effects, with the bonus “Dragonball Z Syndrome” (or DBZ-S for short) you already have in One Piece and Shaman King, so you don’t need to think about complicated things like plot development.
---(For the few of you who don’t know what DBZ-S is, it’s basically a way for the artist or writer to extend fight scenes longer than they should go on, without any character actually dying or even suffering lasting injuries except in rare cases. And even then, he or she might still be quickly brought back to full strength through some deus ex machina later on.)

--People shouting out attacks in non-English languages (though you can easily switch them to more American-sounding names, lest you be accused of “insensitivity”).

--While we’re on the subject, the whole story is set in a fake, generic, Japanese sounding town (Kawasaki), despite the fact that this comic could’ve been set in southern California and nothing would seem conspicuously out of place! Hell, just give it a generic, fruity sounding name, like Orange City or Fairweather Town. Your audience won’t care!

So not only will you pick up a potentially profitable franchise, but your editors will have some of their work already cut out for them! Of course, this cartoon does contains some icky things like blood, bad language, violence, gay jokes, a few high-school romance scenes and other items that will prompt a few bible-beaters somewhere to spam the FCC until they come down on the TV station displaying this cartoon quicker than our President’s lips on Joe Lieberman’s face. But that didn’t stop you from editing a substantial portion of your series’ content before. After all, US kids don’t read anymore! You could probably cut out half the story that exists and your target age group will still eat this shit up like John Madden at an “all-you-can-eat” buffet!

And the merchandising opportunities! Think of the money you could get from making Tenko plushies for Wal-Mart, or selling special edition Ninja Spirit action figures and toys inside McDonald’s Happy Meals! Those are just some of the many ways to make money and compete with those bastards at ShoPro/VIZ who hold the Naruto license.

I just ask for a modest 20% cut of the profits. For his effort in making the franchise you will be bastardizing until he disowns it in shame, Mr. Daniels can have $20 from the profits made as well. If you need to contact me, my receptionist’s contact info is attached. I’ll be awaiting your response.

Sincerely,
Dr. Haus

Lazy-Ass Summary
Art: 3.5/5 (Coloring is decent, with some awesome effects during the fight scenes. However, the occasional animated .GIF panels might throw off some people.)
Story: 2/5 (As I said before, this comic has a case of DBZ-S. The story is your standard “find the magical item and train to defeat the evil dude” plot with some predictable twists in between the fight scenes.)
Humor: 2/5 (Starts out funny, but then undergoes a slight transformation, suggesting that Mr. Daniels might have acquired a slight case of “Cerebus Syndrome” by the end of chapter one.)
Action: 4.5/5 (If you thought the action in Naruto was well choreographed, this comic is for you. This thing has action by the ass-load.)
Characters: 2.5/5 (Maybe he was just playing around with the characters at the start of Ninja Spirit, but this cast of Power Rangers rejects takes itself way too seriously).
Overall (not an average): 6.5/10
Evil Stuff:
Lots o’ violence, some blood, cursing, gay jokes (though those taper off after the second chapter).
Final Thoughts: The webcomic equivalent of what they refer to in the movie biz as a “popcorn flick”: it’s a fun ride, and it gives you an excuse to chow down on some popcorn (or whatever staple of food comic readers prefer), but at the end of the day, there’s just nothing quite award-worthy about it.



UPDATE (7/26/06): The Doctor apologizes to Mr. Daniels the few of you who already saw this post, but the art score has been edited to better reflect my original views. I originally meant to give it a 3.5, but something probably screwed up when I was transferring it from Word to Blogger's posting thing. However, the overall score still remains the same.

If you have any complaints or conspiracy theories, blame my receptionist.

3 Comments:

  • Dr Haus, thanks for the review criticisms and all. It's my first real one and I have to say it wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. Being an artist, is akin to being a writer, in that you are always the hardest on your own work. But4Kids? C'mon, I won't sell out unless Funimation comes knocking.

    By Anonymous River Daniels, at 3:37 PM  

  • That's what I said until Funimation slapped me in the face after I pitched my idea to them. After all, who doesn't want to see a cartoon about a kid who gets story ideas from overdosing on cough syrup and writes the next Great American Novel? Commies! That's who!

    By Blogger Dr. Haus, at 7:11 PM  

  • And see Funimation just pretended they were US Manga when I called... I get no respect. And really, Funimation wouldn't have wanted your idea unless the kid could bring his novels to life and fight monsters. Even the commies would've insisted on some bears. They like them I hear...

    By Anonymous River Daniels, at 8:12 PM  

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