I really can’t– honest and for truly. I can’t think of what to say about Disney’s “Amphibia!” And not in the sense that it’s “Already Been Said;” it’s more like “How Can I Put My Thoughts Into Words?” I don’t know– and I’m a little worried about that. And it ties back to my reactions to the opening seasons of this show and its Sister series- The Owl House. I did a post for each of these shows when they first came out, and said that I liked The Owl House more upon first glance. Then Season 2 of “Amphibia” happened, and……….. go check that out. We’ll get into why it’s worrisome in a minute, but for now- Let’s Gush About The Ending.
YES. ALL THE “YES” IN THE WORLD. I loved that finale. The anime-esque battle against the core and the FRE@KIN’ MOON made me smile so wide my face started to hurt!! And the Animation in that scene, and their Calamity Forms- I almost died from zeal. If I had to say my one problem with the finale, then it would be the reveal of the Spell Anne used that killed her. Coulda foreshadowed that a little better if you ask me. Then again; I can’t think of any point after Mother Olm’s introduction when they could have, and they didn’t have a lot of time, so…… what do I know?
But…………….that leads into my problems, I guess? I liked season 1, but I didn’t fall for the show until Anne went full on Super Saiyan Blue and started darting around and fighting in mid-air. So I guess my problem is: Did I like the show because it was good(which it IS, all things considered- I’m not saying it was bad)? Or did I only start to like it when it went full anime? And heck; what does that say about The Owl House? Or am I making an issue out of nothing? ‘Cause writing this out; I’m starting to realize that a show can be just “Good” at the start, and hook you in in an instant. Thanks for listening.
……………………………………. I didn’t introduce the show, did I? I get it’s important for someone who read a review to see if the show is worth watching(It Is), but I also feel like some prior knowledge- at least the what the series is about- is a given. Now I could do my usual “Trying To Sound Smarter Than He Is” and try to dive into the themes of the story- OR I can give a brief overview of the story for new fans. Which will I do?
……….. I think I’ll try a bit of both. From the mind of Gravity Falls Storyboard artist Matt Braly; “Amphibia” is the story of 13 Year Old Anne Boonchuy as a case of “Peer Pressure” pushes her to steal a mysterious Music Box from a thrift shop, and ends up being transported to a land of talking Amphibians. At first; she was just kind of “there-” no real strong opinions one way or another, and just did whatever her friends would tell her to do. But through her time in Amphibia; she grew into a strong, confident person who would go on to save the entire Multiverse from………… well, we’ll get to that…….
In all honesty; this show reminds me a lot of Gravity Falls– it’s comedy of “It’s Weird An You Need To Accept It” and honestly the way it looks. It even boasts a number of references to Gravity Falls like the season 2 episode “Wax Museum,” or even a few cameos of Bill Cipher. And even the final Villain was channeling that “Chaotic, Wacky, Slightly Bi-Polar, DEADLY” energy from the Snappy Dressing Triangle. Which also an aspect present in who many suspect to be The Owl House’s Final Villain. Which makes sense because Dana Terrace-creator of The Owl House– was a storyboard artist and animator on Gravity Falls as well! Noticing a trend, huh? But can you BLAME em?
Gravity Falls is a really popular series- one of their biggest in a LONG time. And it’s in part because of Bill. What fan of Gravity Falls will tell you they didn’t like Bill? So naturally Disney would want shows from people who worked on it to have some of that some behavior. They found an archetype that works, so they’re gonna run with it until it starts to become repetitive! Though I think that both Darcy and the Collector are different enough to say that it’s not “overdone” yet. We only got 2 more like him; it won’t be played out until you get to 10 of em. Whereas Bill is a “Force Of Chaotic Weirdness;” Darcy’s more like an Evil Dictator, and the Collector is just a child if we’re being honest. Though there’s not enough on him to say much else.
To focus on Darcy for a minute; YES. If she feels a bit chaotic; that’s more because “She” is more like a “They-” a hive mind of like 10 different people that mostly agree, but have a lot of influence from their host body, making them a little more childish. But that also makes them……… Dangerous. Just watching their battle with Grime and Sasha made me think a lot about Spinel from Steven Universe: The Movie– cracks a joke when they cut your fre@kin’ arm off. Seriously; I can’t believe Disney let that happen. Then again there wasn’t any blood. Like at all. Same thing happened in the season 2 finale; Marcy got stabbed in the chest and………….Wow I’m just diving on in, ain’t I?
It’s a SPOLIER review, so………… I kind of think you guys were watching a long with me. Unless you’re like me and watch Spoiler Reviews before consuming the actual product. I’m a weirdo like that; I don’t really care about spoilers for stuff like Avengers: Endgame or Spider Man: No Way Home. But I HAVE vowed that I will avoid spoilers(maybe even just stay off the internet) when it comes time for the Big one. Anyone who’s been reading this blog for any amount of time will know what I’m talking about. Plus it’s kind of rare that I get to see Movies like that; I don’t have a f*ckin’ million streaming services, or the funds to spend on every single movie that I want to see. So………. that’s just how I’ve come to watch movies.
Trying to stay on topic: My Favorite Character. Sprig, Polly, Marcy, Darcy, General Yunnan- Maybe Sasha. There’s a lot of likeable characters in the series, but I think Sasha might be my favorite. Have to watch the whole thing again to say for sure.
It’s thinking about characters like Sasha that I start to wish for the series to have been a little longer. Because we saw the Beginning’s of her Redemption arc- SKIPPED The Development Part- and we saw a Sasha who was, for the most part, a different person. Like she told Darcy in the final confrontation: “She’s Not That Person Anymore.” We didn’t see her go from Season 1/2 Sasha to where she was by that point, and………. while I didn’t dislike her development; I would have liked to see how she came to grow with the people of Wartwood. We saw how Anne was able to mature thanks to them; how would Sasha have changed in a similar situation? Though there was a Multiverse Ending Problem To Deal with so we probably wouldn’t have gotten the Light Hearted, Character Focused Episodes. But I think we’d get more of a parallel to the “Barrel’s Hammer” episode from Season 2 that she would end differently.
Thinking about it; that was probably the episode that made me like Sasha. And I was already more or less sold on her with Season 1’s finale. But THAT EPISODE– seeing her say “F*CK THAT NOISE” when Grime suggested giving up on getting the Hammer. It was like the “Sword In The Stone” trope, and instead of her being the “Chosen One” that would pull it out- she took it by Sheer “Force Of Will.” And like; she did have some kind of “Destiny-” she and the other 2- but it was about their choices. The series wasn’t “pre-ordained” to go the way it did; the prophecy was set up in such a way that they were still able to act independently and do what ever they wanted.
I think that that’s the best way to handle a “Destiny” plot; let the character’s act of their own volition, and have that influence the outcome of the prophecy. Maybe I’m reading that Barrel’s Hammer Scene Wrong- I just like it when characters say “F*ck That” to a trope and do what they want with it.
And that wasn’t the only moment of hers that was cool; there was the Battle Sequence in the 3rd Temple- the whole episode, really. The first 2 temples had these Elaborate messages that also served as good character moments, but the 3rd temple just asked “Do you lift, bro?” No tricks; no “new angles” or “different perspectives to see- Fight. And win. Which is exactly what Sasha did. In that room where the Gravity was constantly being upped; she removed her weighted gear, dodged the Toad Golem’s attacks, and Won. She tapped into her inner Piccolo- and WON.
It’s more of what I said earlier: I kind of wish that the series were longer!! We could have seen more of Sasha and Marcy tapping into their Calamity powers. By the time we saw the full extent of what those powers were; Sasha and Marcy’s connections to the stones were already severed (ala Season 2). But we could have at least seen it when she was having her battle against General Yunnan. There are several things I might do differently if given the chance, but I don’t know how it would affect the flow of the story. All I know is that I wanted to see more of Sasha. And I think that any character that makes you want to see more of them is a pretty well written one.
I keep bringing up that I only sort of wish that the series was longer. From the onset; Matt Braly intended this to be a “3 Act Story.” So I don’t know how elongating it just to see some cool moments with Sasha would work out. It’s honestly the same problem that I have when it comes to Gravity Falls; I want more, but I’m afraid what would happen to the quality of the series. I can’t exactly name a character that I “hate” in “Amphibia,” but I sometimes wanted to kick Mabel in her face. Aggressive but accurate. And I don’t want “Amphibia” to have anyone like that- and I don’t want them to go into a………. well; Family Guy/ Rick And Morty/ long running animation problem where shows start to get repetitive or “lazy” with their storylines. It probably wouldn’t go that long, but you get what I mean.
Maybe extend “Part 2” to encompass Seasons 2 and 3, and a hypothetical season 4 as the finale. Or maybe each season could have had more episodes to deal with the story. Something like that. Maybe then “The Core And The King” and the whole Siege of Newtopia could get more fleshed out. Especially “The Core And The King;” Ajay’s pretty upset that wasn’t a double length episode. I am, too. So many things that I wanted to see- so little time.
………………….I’m really “building” up to a “Big Reveal-“ I just want to talk about a show that I liked. And things that I wish I’d seen. But I feel like that more I talk about the things I wish were in the show; the more I see a few more “missed opportunities.” Like; we never found out why Frobo acted the way he did- following the Plantars to Newtopia and back. Or why he had the personality of a child. That was kind of weird to me. Or how Amphibian’s like Maddie came to learn how magic and curses work. Come to think of it how Does Magic Work in this series?
The series is one of those rare lot that tries to use “Magic” and actual science in conjunction- like One Piece. Then again that’s the most random manga you’ll ever find, so maybe not that. But you get my point! It worked out well enough when it came to the Calamity Box and the stones, but how Maddie and other Amphibia residence learned about magic is kind of unexplained. It’s just one of those things that we kind of have to “accept.” Which is fine, I guess; explaining magic doesn’t tend to end well when it comes to Science.
All that aside; I think one of the best things this show has going for it are its Finales– Each season has an ending better than the last, while still working within the 3 Act Structure. Act 1 is showing us what we’re getting in for, with a satisfying closer that leaves things open ended; Act 2 saw us going beyond what we knew about the series and showed us the REAL story, and ended in “Tragedy” leaving us uncertain what would happen next; and Act 3 saw character arcs come full circle while wrapping up various storylines and giving us pay off to a lot of what was set up in the story. A concrete Beginning, Middle, And End– each of which having a wonderful ending.
You know, for how much I liked Season 3 and the way the series closed out; I think I still prefer “True Colors” to “The Hardest Thing.” I know: “Blasphemy.” But I just remember how HYPED I was watching Anne channel her Super Saiyan Blue form for the first time; the animation, music, lighting, sound- All Of It Top Notch. And for some reason watching it at night made it COOLER.
And then they put the Proto-Version of the Season 3 Opening and all that it was telling us with what was going on with Marcy and Sasha leading a rebellion. Oh my God that final scene with Marcy Holy F*ck was this on Disney Channel. Oh man……… That was a WHOLE THING, though. I remember when I woke up at 7 in the F*cking AM on a SATURDAY to get ready for work, and make sure that my brothers were up to watch the Season 2 finale. I remember going in p!~ssed. But obviously I couldn’t act like a jack@$$ just because a TV show didn’t come on- looks bad in front of the boss. So I just had to channel that into working- he says like he wasn’t cursing Disney’s name the whole time he was putting up products.
And then there was that whole 2 weeks to wait just for them to like…….. add that disclaimer? And the thing with the Itunes leak. Don’t have Itunes; watch stuff on………. websites. And I went there to see if some shows that we were watching had updated. And they HAD– but so did the “True Colors.” And I remembered thinking about……….. what the voice actors said in some videos I watched covering the controversy. I………. I didn’t. Specifically because they asked. I respected their wishes, and decided to just wait for the actual episode.
Then I had to go and visit family that was moving away from cable, and thought that I’d have to wait again. Low an behold; one of their apps or whatever had Disney Channel. Watched it, and from the moment Anne went Calamity mode on Andrias to the end of the Season 3 teaser- Pure. Zeal. The only other times in my adult life that I remember being so Hyper was when my mom got me the Real Life Gravity Falls Journal 3 for Christmas last year, or when I was watching the Gogeta/Broly fight in Dragon Ball Super: Broly for the first time. Seriously; that Marcy scene had me speechless. On par with “Not What He Seems.”
And like I said; I wish the Siege of Newtopia was a bit longer- maybe a 2 part episode, rather than a double length one. That had a lot of potential to touch on the latent Racism between Newts and Toads that had taken such a big role in “The Three Armies.” It felt like from the transformation onward; the show was completely different- which isn’t a Bad thing at all. In fact; I like it when a story can take it’s basic premise- and flip that sh!t on its head.
It’s why the Summit/ Paramount/Marine Ford War/ Of The Best saga is my absolute favorite portion of One Piece; the story had fundamentally changed from then on, and we’re STILL seeing the effects of that all the way here in Wano!! Or the “My Villain Academia” arc on My Hero Academia. The series wasted that, but that’s a topic for………. you know.
But a “Status Quo” shift like that is something that fits with the core theme of “Amphibia:” “Change-” The Good, The Bad, and The Scary! The girls by the end of the show were almost completely different characters by the end compared to when they started out- Anne and Sasha in particular are marked contrasts. Anne wasn’t very motivated to do much of anything, letting people like Sasha tell her what to do. But by the end; she would stand up for herself and for the people she cared about, took responsibilities for her actions, and would even be the voice of reason in episodes like “Return To Wartwood” and “A Caravan Called Desire.” And do I really need to talk about Sasha anymore than I already have?
Other examples of growth and changed would be Captain Grime and Andrias- through their interactions with Sasha and Marcy respectively; they were able to make amends for what they did. Or even how Anne and the girls changed Amphibia itself by destroying the core. It’s the core theme would be, uh….. the Central Thesis of what I’m saying. So a Tonal Shift from the “Light Hearted, Sitcom Adventure” story to a struggle against a Hive Mind bent on ruling the Multiverse with actual- you know– stakes. Anne Died, guys– a God had to make her soul a new body(not even gonna touch that). And Grime lost his F*ckin’ Arm. Like……… WOW.
And that itself falls in line with the theme of “Accepting The Changes In Your Life;” nothing stays the same way forever- not even your favorite stories. Eventually they have to……… change. Especially in a business setting; gotta keep peoples attention while also getting more new viewers and readers. More shots at a few things that personally upset me about THAT series aside; even I’ve had to embrace the idea of change in my own life. My personal life, and here with my blog- I’ve had to get used to………. putting other content aside. I currently have no other posts planned right now; all the time I don’t spend at work or asleep goes to working on this post. Whereas like 2-3 years ago I was able to make like 6 posts in a Day. Where does the time go…….
Compare my earliest One Piece post- chapter 916– and compare it to the more recent 1,049. It’s not like I “cringe up” when looking back, but those early post definitely aren’t the same as what I’m doing now. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m glad I’ve improved this much. And much like Anne told that Deity: “Imagine what I can do even further down the line.” Maybe these posts will have the same level of quality and you guys won’t have to wait as long for them to come out!
But for how I react to “change” when it comes to……………. “Reality…………………” Eh; still need some work.…………… And I have no way to segway to my next point. There’s a lot that I wanted to talk about with this show- a lot that I thought I would be talking about- a lot that I wasn’t expecting to have enjoyed as much. So much that I honestly couldn’t tell you what I’m gonna talk about next. And I’m honsetly not sure if I should. When posts go on and on like this; i tend to pad it out and talk myself into missing the point of what I’m saying? So should I end it here? I will, but I kind of want to talk about one more thing: My own experience with the show!!
One thing that I’ve noticed from you guys with my Attack On Titan post is that you like it when I get a little “Personal” with what I’m reviewing. Talked about it’s relation to my real life- let’s talk about how I got into the show. For one; I’m a big fan of Gravity Falls, so a show that has someone who worked on it attached to the project to it is gonna have my attention. No longer have Netflix, so gonna have to find another way to watch The Mitchells vs The Machines and Inside Job! But yeah; I’m keeping my eye on the Gravity Falls alumni.
It came out………. June 17th, 2019(he says like he doesn’t have the Wikipedia article pulled up). At that time; I remember being at my Grandmother’s house- still sitting alone in the back guest room like I used to. I was a bit of a “Shut In” back then- he says like he goes out for anything more than work and various kinds of shopping. I had heard of “Amphibia;” I wanted to watch. SO I pulled up a cartoon website, and low and behold– there they were: The first and second episodes of the series. I think actually more, ’cause I remember that they decided to “bomb” the whole first season in 1 go.
From my experience with Steven Universe; I expected “Amphibia” to air the same way- a week of new episodes, then gone for months. I watched the first episode- “Anne Or Beast?” and “Best Fronds-” and honestly didn’t know what to make of the story; I couldn’t get a proper “sense” of where they were gonna go with this. All I knew is that Anne had some toxic @$$ friends, and she was gonna end up standing up to Sasha. As for Sasha; I didn’t think she was gonna change……. much. I thought that she’d be the main antagonist for a little while. She kinda was, in like the same way that I think Gideon was the main antagonist of season 1 of Gravity Falls.
I watched more and more of the series- got a feel for it; liked what I was seeing- but like I said in the beginning: “Didn’t hit that hard.” I started getting really into it when “Prison Break” happened, but still didn’t think too hard about what was gonna happen next. Season Finale came around- liked it. Liked the music and lighting; liked Sasha’s “End. Of. Discussion.” line. Patiently waited for next season. Hearing this; it’s no wonder I didn’t do a follow up to my “First Impressions” post. Kind felt like the series was gonna stay……….. “Grounded;” wasn’t gonna get as magically or sci fi as it ended up being. Which is fine on it’s own; a story doesn’t have to go “Full Anime” to grab peoples attention- I’m just saying that it didn’t quite “hit me” at first.
Season 2 Trailer: Anne vs Sasha while Marcy holds the Calamity box in the background. “New Enemy Approaches” I thought. Yeah; I thought that Marcy would be an enemy. But no; she was a pawn for them. Turned out fine, but I still felt mislead by that opening. I really liked that sequence because it was a good way to convey what would be happening in the season; Anne and Sasha would be distracted by their own “drama” that the enemy- Marcy– would take the Mcguffin of the series away right out from under them. In fact I half expected Sasha to take the box. I knew she’d show up at the 3rd temple- her temple- and steal the box. She and Anne would fight, and Sasha would tap into some of her Calamity powers- winning and taking the box.
Thus leading into the end of the season with the Siege of Newtopia in 1 episode, and Andrias’ betrayal in the last one. I had that thought all the way up to the finale, which……… DIDN’T HAPPEN THAT SATURDAY, DISNEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like I said; I was over at a relatives house. Though it was one of those Apartment complexes, so………. hype had to be contained. Not that I could “yell my head off” where I am now. And as a 22 year old guy I guess screaming and hollering for an animated series doesn’t look good in front of people. My brother’s favorite retort whenever I get like that is “You’re 22.” Misery.
I already told you about my reaction to the season 2 finale, and…………….. sh!t kind of went left around the end of Season 3A, and I didn’t end up doing a review for the first half of the final season. But what I will say is that a longer season may have resulted in an episode focused on the Adults- the Boonchuy’s, Waybright’s, and Wu’s- meeting following Anne’s little letter to Sasha and Marcy’s families. That would have been cool to see; learn a little bit about how Sasha ended up the “Control Freak” she came to be. And see what job had Marcy’s family moving. Something simple like that.
…………………….If it feels like I’m condensing this, that might be due to the fact that I realized something as I was planning this post, and I start to do some “Soul Searching.” Didn’t see that coming, did ya? I started thinking while writing the reviews for Edens Zero and Four Knights Of The Apocalypse about something that Anne said in the second to last episode- “All In.” Something she said……… didn’t sit right in my head:
You know, before I ended up in Amphibia; I didn’t care about right or wrong. I just did what was “easy.” I let people walk all over me. And I think it’s because…….. I didn’t love myself- Not Really.
But meeting you 3 has changed all of that. And those months we spent together have shown me the person I really want to be. Trap or not- I have to do this.Anne Boonchuy- “All In”
I heard that line for the first time, and…………… I didn’t understand it at all. “She didn’t ‘love‘ herself?” Was that something that was hinted at? Because it more felt like how I was around that age- or heck, even just 2 or 3 years ago. She didn’t think about the future or anything; she was kind of “blank;” and she let Sasha boss her around. Did……… Did “Love” have something to do with it? Message didn’t hit me as well as others. Luckily I recorded the episode and kept it for a week. Watched it a few more times leading up to the Finale. But I think it was on the 5th watch(Ajay would never let me hear the end of it if I said I watched it anymore than that- which I DID) that I kind of started to get it.
I think……….. that “Self Love…….” is important because you “value” yourself? She didn’t see herself as anything really more than “Sasha’s Friend-” or something to that effect. Her identity was defined by her relationship with Sasha and Marcy, and……….. the story was her- and the other 2- becoming people on their own………… I guess. This makin’ any sense to you? I hope so.
And when I finally understood what the scene was trying to say; I started to think about myself a little bit. And- whatever I thought- I kind of came back to the same thought: “That Was Kind Of Like Me.” Ajay would rip my head off for saying that, and my parents would have more than a few words about what I’m about to say, but………. meh; I’m over it. What can they say that they haven’t already? Maybe I am just projected my “Imaginary Problems” on to an animated character. Can’t figure out what the f*ck I was gonna say a day later so I must be!! Seriously; I forgot my whole point. I must have rewritten this part of the paragraph 6 or 7 times since I started again. Why am I telling you all this? ‘Cause I’m trying to remember what I was gonna say!
…………………….. I think my point was that……………. I never really wanted to do anything? Come the end of High School; it was my 3rd year playing Football and I hadn’t gotten the College Scholarship I told people I joined Football to get. Yeah, that was a thing; whenever someone would ask me why I chose Football, I would say I’m trying to get a scholarship. That was a lie; I honestly didn’t care about getting into college or “Further My Education” or whatever. The only reason I even looked into an afterschool program is ’cause my mom wanted me to have friends.
Okay; I’m starting to remember. It was that I just “did as I was told” instead of making my own desires known- making my own choice. Going into Football had nothing to do with “a love for the sport” or “wanting to meet people” or sh!t like that; I just went because…….. my family decided to “veto” Anime club- said “my life was animated enough-” “I have to focus on my education.” And………. coaches came up to me a lot asking me if I wanted to play Football. It was an “Easy Choice.“ Do I regret it?………………… If you had asked me in 2018, or heck- even 2019; I might tell you “No.” Nowadays…………. It was……….. a thing I did in my past.
But there in lies the first case; I didn’t stand up for myself- I didn’t try anime club even though I thought it was kind of interesting! I just let her- let them– push me into Sports. Just like I let my parents talk me into trying ROTC. I had no interest in the Military- I STILL don’t. But even a year or 2 ago; I let them talk me into it again. But………….. I didn’t know what else to do. I just knew that that life wasn’t for me.
I guess I’m saying that………….. I didn’t know myself well enough to say “No” at that point. Instead I just let myself get pushed into sh!t I didn’t like. So how did I come to change? Or did I even? I don’t know. I guess I just………. got sick of it, I guess? Got sick of people trying to “help” me and make me something I’m not……….. sick of the exhaustion…….. sick of running around trying to please everyone……….. sick of it. So I took a stand and………… here I am. College Flunkout; Not in the Military; working as a Sales Associate in a Dollar General in a dangerous neighborhood with mean customers; no car or house of his own; sleep deprived; and the world’s been falling apart for 3 years now………… And it’s no big deal! I’m sorry, but I HAD to do that!!! At least once before this post was over!
I have……….. another example of letting myself get pushed into sh!t, but anymore would just feel like complaining. I feel whiny enough as it is– and if Ajay ever read this he’d kill me(not that I think he will). And I’d never hear the end of it from the rest of my family either, but……… oh well. “My blog- My writing.” Hope that didn’t put you off to the whole post or to the show; it’s message just kind of “hit” me as I was writing. I hope you guys enjoyed my post- and I hope you guys liked the show. I know I did.
Thank you, Matt Braly; you made a wonderful show. I can’t wait to see what you do next. I wish I could say more, but……….. I think you get the point. Later, guys……………