Sunday, May 3, 2015

Geekdom Madness 2015 - The Real Game: UnstoppableForces/Firey Personalities

The weirdness quotient rises this week as we bring you Damsels vs Dragons

Let's reacquaint ourselves with the combatants:

MATCH 1: Unstoppable Forces


Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup were created by Craig McCracken for his 1992 animated short entitled "Whoopass Stew! The Whoopass Girls in: A Sticky Situation". The characters were inspired by a doodle he made on his brother's birthday card while studying at the California Institue of Arts. The short was later picked up for a pilot by Cartoon Network, where the name was changed to the more TV-friendly "Powerpuff Girls." While the pilot was initially rejected in favor of "Dexter's Laboratory" in 1995 (which McCracken had helped classmate and future PPG collaborator Genndy Tartakovsky with), McCracken was allowed to make more shorts and the show was finally greenlit to premiere in 1998.

The show ran until 2005 (including a prequel film in 2002), when McCracken and current showrunner Chris Savino felt that despite the offer for another season, and show had run its course. They returned a few years later for a 10th Anniversary special. In 2014, a new special was created without McCracken's input. An Anime version called "Powerpuff Girls Z" was produced in Japan in 2005 baring little resemblance to the original. Finally, it was announced that she show would recieve a reboot in 2016 with an entirely new production company and cast.

The girls' base personalities were each representative of one of the original ingredients in their in-universe creation. Bubbles (in blue) is Sugar, Buttercup (in green) is Spice, and Blossom (in pink) is Everything Nice. Though naturally character development gave them rounded characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses.

In most official appearances Blossom is voiced by Cathy Cavadini, Bubbles is voiced by Tara Strong, and Buttercup is voiced by E.G. Daily. In "Powerpuff Girls Z", Blossom is voice by Emiri Katō (Japanese) and Nicole Bouma (English Dub); Bubbles is voiced by Nami Miyahara (Japanese) and Maryke Hendrikse (English Dub); and Buttercup is voiced by Machiko Kawana (Japanese) and Kelly Metzger (English Dub). No casting on the reboot has been announced other than Tara Strong's confirmation that main characters will be recast


The Xenomorph was created by Dan O'Bannon and Ron Shusett for the 1979 film "Alien." The sci-fi/horror film had a problem in early scripting phases where the writers couldn't figure out how to get the titular creature onto the miners' spaceship. After many hours, Shusett suddenly had a revelation (in his own words): "I have an idea: the monster screws one of them." This evolved into the creature's reproductive cycle of implanting an egg in a host that upon hatching would explode spectacularly out of the host's chest, exemplifying the horror of sexual violence.

This specific horror was also consciously inserted into the creature's design, finalized by Swiss surrealist Hans Rudi "H.R." Giger and based on his painting entitled "Necronom IV." O'Bannon had worked with Giger on a failed adaptation of Frank Herbert's "Dune" and convinced "Alien" director Ridley Scott that the artist was the perfect talent to create a unique monster. The Xenomorph's unique design and life-cycle has helped turn Alien into a franchise, with several films, comics, and other material under its belt (of varying quality). 

The name "Xenomorph" was never in the original scripts. Instead it was a name used to describe the species in James Cameron's 1985 sequel "Aliens." While merely a generic term for extraterrestrials, fans seized upon it and it has become the official/unofficial name in fandoms and promotional materials. In other books, comics, and interviews, the species has been given the latin names Internecivus raptus ("murderous thief") and Lingua foeda acheronsis ("foul tongue from Acheron").

In the original Alien, the Xenomorph was played by Bolaji Badejo in a suit with an anamatronic head constructed by Carlo Rambaldi. In other films, creatures have been portrayed by a combination of stunt men, puppeteers, and (in later installments) computer generated imagery. The creatures have no language and therefore have no voice other than animalistic screeches created by the sound designers on the various pictures.


MATCH 2: Firey Personalities


Charizard ("Lizardon" in Japanese) was created for the 1995 video game Pocket Monsters, later contracted and released in the US as "Pokémon". While the concept of the game was created by Satoshi Tajiri based on his childhood love on insect collecting, creature and character design was handled by Tajiri's friend Ken Sugimori.

Charizard is the final evolved form of Red/Green/Blue/Yellow version starter Charmander. Charmander and Charmeleon (second phase) are lizards with blazing tails and based on the myth of the Salamander - when Ancient Greek naturalists observed the amphibious salamanders fleeing a burning log, they mistakenly assumed that the fire generated the creatures. While the English name follows this line (a combination of "Char/Charred/Charcoal" and "Lizard"), Charizard's design takes it a step further, being based on a Western Dragon. In spite of this, Charizard is explicitly a Fire/Flying type as opposed to a Dragon type, though the "Mega Evolution" feature in 2013's Pokémon X and Y plays around with this.

Charizard has been featured on the box art of both Japanese and International releases of Pokémon Red and FireRed versions and is arguably the second-most popular and recognizable character in the series after franchise mascot Pikachu. While Pokémon cries in the games proper are created through chiptune sound effects, Charizard's roars in all other official appearances (including the Animé and the game series Super Smash Brothers) have been performed by Shin'ichirô Miki.


Abby Sciuto was created by Donald P. Bellisario for the 2003 TV series "NCIS," though most of the main characters including Abby debuted in a two-part episode of the series "JAG" that served as a "backdoor pilot" for the former.

Bellisario had wanted a character that was alternative/counterculture but defied all the negative stereotypes; Gothic makeup and covered in tattoos, but also happy, successful, and the smartest person in the room. The original script described Abby as simply "black hair, caffeinated and smart." She has since become one of the show's breakout characters.

Abby is played by Pauley Perrette, who injects a lot of herself into the role and actually had studied criminal science in New York before turning to acting as an alternative to substance abuse (her young aspirations being "to work with animals, be in a rock 'n' roll band, or be an FBI agent"). For flashbacks in the season 10 episode "Hit and Run," 10-Year-Old Abby was played by Brighton Sharbino.


Final Verdict
Match 1 is difficult to call, since the combatants there are the only two requests I got (other than a special entry later) and they both have huge and rabid fanbases. Match 2 I would predict Charizard having the upper hand in this crowd, though Abby can't be counted out. In either case, I do hope at least one of the women wins something.

As always, make sure you're viewing the WEB version of the site and vote in the polls (remember, there are two now) on the right-hand side of the screen. Polls close Friday, and results posted on Saturday. Feel free to discuss your picks in the comments below.

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