Finding Ghibli Merchandise in Tokyo and Kyoto Japan

Let me start with this link to all the Donguri official shops in Japan and then move on to my personal experiences and other shops
https://www.kanpai-japan.com/travel-guide/donguri-official-ghibli-shops

In Tokyo

Tokyo Station’s Character Street, two minutes away from Tokyo Station’s Yaesu exit, inside First Avenue Tokyo Station, you can find the shop named Donguri Kyōwakoku.
Find more info at the link, including detailed instructions on finding the shop:
https://matcha-jp.com/en/2039

In the Akihabara shopping hub of Tokyo there is a shop called Kotobukiya that has many of the same items that you would find in the other Ghibli stores listed here, you can find them on the first floor in the back corner
http://en.kotobukiya.co.jp/kotobukiya-akihabara-store-floor-guide/

In Tokyo Shibuya area the Mega Don Quijote has a decent selection of stuff on the second floor toy area.
28-6 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 154-0042
03-5428-4086
https://g.co/kgs/oyPDNv

In Kamakura Komachi Dori Shopping Area, the Ghibli shop technically has two floors but they are two side-by-side boutiques. Here there are a few items that I didn’t see elsewhere
どんぐり共和国 鎌倉店
〒248-0006 Kanagawa, Kamakura, Komachi, 1 Chome−5−6 松秀ビル
0467-24-7705
https://g.co/kgs/baHm32

In Nakano Broadway
And of course if you are at Nakano Broadway you wont need to go far to find some truly outstanding stuff both new and vintage. Start on the second and third floor. I saw a large, extremely rare hebikera (flying centipede) toy/model from Nausicaa and Laputa: Castle in the Sky robot stackable game

In Kyoto

Google “Ghibli shop Kyoto.” Two locations will pop up in Gion neighborhood. They both have unassuming store fronts but are surprisingly large on the inside, especially the one with the cafe (the Northernmost of the two). They have many wonderful items at various price points that puts the Tokyo Ghibli Museum gift shop to shame. It is a short walk between the two shops and I found unique items in each so visit both if you can! And if you’re not interested in Ghibli then disregard. Happy to answer any questions

Donguri Address: 363-22-2 Masuyacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0826, Japan

Ghibli Studios Shop Kyoto Address:  〒605-0862 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 清水2ー224

2019 Saturday Morning Cartoon Party: Dungeons and Dragons edition

This year the theme for my annual Saturday Morning Cartoon Party was… Dungeons and Dragons! I included cartoons in which the characters played D&D (in some version or another) but also some cartoons that were set in a fantasy world similar to D&D (Visionaries, Gummi Bears, Korgoth of Barbaria). It’s a long list and there were actually some cartoons on theme that I didn’t include due to time constraints (Voltron “Monsters and Mana”; My Little Pony “Dungeons & Discord”

Here’s the final schedule:

  • Here’s the cereal buffet!

At about the halfway point I did trivia. Here are the questions – how did you do???

  1. In the Dexter’s Laboratory episode “D&DD”, Dexter’s character is Hodo the Furry Footed Burrower. To what D&D race is this a reference?

2. In the Futurama episode “How Hermes Requisitioned his Groove Back” which iconic D&D monster guarded a corridor in the Central Bureaucracy Headquarters?

3. In the episode “Mazes & Mutants” the ninja turtles LARP in the sewer tunnels, perhaps an homage to which 1982 movie starring Tom Hanks?

4. The classes of the children in the D&D cartoon are: ranger, barbarian, magician, thief, cavalier and acrobat. Only one of these is a class that’s available to play in the Basic Set of D&D (1977). Name that class.

5. IN the D&D cartoon, Venger has a sycophantic servant. The type of creature and the name it goes by are the same two words. What are they?

6. In the Adventure Time episode “Dungeon” Finn comes across an ooze that resembles which classic 6-sided monster from D&D?

7. In the Simpsons episode “Home Goes to College” Homer plays D&D with his new geek friends. His character was slain by what creature/race?

VOICE ACTOR SECTION:

8. In the 2012 TMNT series, Raphael is voiced by an actor who famously played a hobbit on the silver screen. a) Who is the actor? AND b) What is the name of the hobbit?

9. In Futurama episode #216 “anthology of interest 1” which creator of D&D guest starred?

10. Zummi Gummi is voiced by Paul Winchell, He is better known for voicing which cartoon tiger?

HAPPY DAYS, Donny Most, 1974-84

11. Eric the Cavalier was voiced by Donny Most, who is best known for playing “Ralph Malf” on which live action TV sitcom?

12. Brendan Small co-created Home Movies. he went on to create and provide voice and music for which cartoon series featuring the heavy metal band “Dethklok”?

Dethklok

13. Name the comedian who guested on the premiere of Harmonquest who also voiced Mr Peanutbutter on Bojack Horseman, Deputy mayor Cunningham on Bob’s Burgers, and Gladstone Gander on the new Ducktales.

14. This actor voiced Uni and Tiamat in the D&D cartoon, but also voiced Elminster and Korax in the Baldur’s Gate video game. Who dis?
Hint: he is probably the most prolific voice actor in cartoon history – his most recent imdb role is in the 2020 film Scoob

TIE BREAKERS…

Dirk the Daring, Princess Daphne and the evil dragon Singe are characters in a 1983 arcade game that went on to become a short-lived saturday morning cartoon. What is the name?

In Stranger Things season 1, what is the name they give the monster which they borrow from the D&D game they’re playing

ANSWERS BELOW!

  1. HALFLING
  2. BEHOLDER
  3. 3MAZES AND MONSTERS
  4. THIEF
  5. SHADOW DEMON
  6. GELATINOUS CUBE
  7. ELF
  8. A: SEAN ASTIN; B: SAMWISE GAMGEE
  9. GARY GYGAX
  10. TIGGER
  11. HAPPY DAYS
  12. METALOCALYPSE
  13. PAUL F TOMPKINS
  14. FRANK WELKER
  15. TIE BREAKERS Dirk the Daring, Princess Daphne and the evil dragon Singe are characters in a 1983 arcade game DRAGON’S LAIR
  16. In Stranger Things season 1, the monster name which they borrow from D&D: DEMOGORGON

Top Five D&D-Themed Cartoons

Now that the 2019 Atomic D&D Tournament has concluded (Congratulations Kim, Ren, Carolina and Kieran!) I thought it might be fun to look at some of the best cartoons that feature Dungeons & Dragons!


1983: Dungeons and Dragons (Marvel/TSR) – The series featured six everyday 80s kids who rode a D&D carnival ride into another dimension, are given the coveted (by Venger, voiced by Peter “Megatron” Cullen) Weapons of Power by the enigmatic Dungeon Master, and joined by Uni the unicorn. Lots of great eps but “The Dragon’s Graveyard” in which the kids stop running and face Venger (with the aid of Tiamat the 5-headed dragon) is intense!

1994 : Reboot “Wizards, Warriors and a Word From Our Sponsor” (Mainframe) – Bob, Dot, Enzo and Mike the TV must learn to work together to overcome traps, giant spiders, and battle carrots in a game called “A Dungeon Deep.”

Dexter’s Laboratory “D&DD”

1997: Dexter’s Laboratory “D&DD” (Cartoon Network) – As Game Master for the game “Mazes & Monsters,” Dexter cheats dice rolls and is obsessed with killing his friends’ characters. When his sister Dee Dee takes over the game the kids have a lot more fun, except Dexter who is forced to play the role of Hodo the furry-footed burrower.

2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “Mazes & Mutants” (Nickelodeon) Paul Ruebens (Pee-Wee Herman) plays a nerdy mutant who makes the heroes’ LARP (Live Action Role-Play) into reality…or does he?!?

2016 Teen Titans Go “Riding The Dragon” (DC/Warner) – Robin’s adherence to the rules of “Dragon’s Fire” sucks the joy out of the game for the rest of the team. An important lesson for all Dungeon Masters out there!

SPECIAL MENTION:

Superfriends “Lord of Middle Earth” 1979

1979 “Lord of Middle Earth” – Superfriends Season 4. Not good, but definitely notable as a very blatant “homage” to Tolkien, as the heroes quest for a magic ring so they can defeat the evil wizard who has turned them into ‘trolls’ (hobbits).

Other notable shows:
Home: Adventures with Tip and Oh “Lords and Lasers”
Spongebob Squarepants “Dunces and Dragons”
My Little Pony Friendship is Magic “Dungeons and Discords”
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power “Roll With It”
Voltron Legendary Defender “Monsters and Mana”
Gravity Falls “Dungeons, Dungeons and More Dungeons”
Regular Show “But I Have A Receipt”
Amazing World of Gumball “The Master”
Harmonquest (any episode)

Fight Fire with Fire Movies

Beware – the season of forest fires in BC is nigh. FIRE BAD… unless it’s portrayed in a movie for our entertainment. Here are my top 3 fire scenes in film AND the top 3 takeways from wildland firefighting training that my firefighter friend Allan wants you to know

#3 fire tip: Never ever EVER throw cigarettes from car windows.
#3 movie scene: A young girl with telekinetic powers loses it at the prom, and starts an electrical fire in Carrie (1976)

#2 fire tip: If you live in an area where evacuation is possible, keep an emergency evacuation kit in your vehicle.
#2 movie scene: after a few false starts, Kurt Russel deals with the titular monster in the Thing (1982) in the original “kill it with fire” moment.

#1 fire tip: When given an evacuation order, comply immediately.
#1 movie scene: John Goodman runs down a blazing hotel hallway shouting “I will show you the life of the mind!” in the Coen Brothers’ Barton Fink (1992)

Craving more pop culture on wildfires? Check out my podcast causticsodapodcast.com/2015/06/01/wildfires/

Star Trek Enterprise – Just The Essentials

So you’ve decided to watch Enterprise, but you’re not sure you’re ready to commit to all 98 episodes? Just want to get the gist of it?

I’m here to help!

These are the episodes that I deem worth watching, either because a) they’re an important part of the main story, b) they set something up that will become important, or c) they’re just plain good episodes!

SEASON ONE: 10 episodes to watch (or 11 depending on how you count the pilot)

E1-E2: Broken Bow Parts 1 and 2. In which we learn that Vulcans in the Enterprise era are assholes. This is fine. They are also very emotional. Introduces the Suliban and the ‘temporal cold war.’ Also there’s Klingons. WATCH IT.

E3. Fight or Flight. I like it, gives a sense that space is dangerous. But also sets up that Hoshi is useless. WATCH IT.

E4. Strange New World. Skip it
E5. Unexpected. Trip gets pregnant, there’s a holodeck of sorts, plus Klingons. Your call.
E6. Terra Nova. Skip it.

E7. The Andorian Incident. The Andorians claim a Vulcan Monastery is a spy post. Are they paranoid? Introduces Commander Shran (Jeffrey Combs). WATCH IT

E8. Breaking the Ice. Skip it.
E9. Civilization. Skip it.
E10. Fortunate Son. Watch it if you like Nausicaans. Otherwise, skip it.

E11. Cold Front. Remember the temporal cold war? WATCH IT.

E12. Silent Enemy. Skip it.

E13. Dear Doctor. Lots of Phlox and the rumblings of a Prime Directive. WATCH IT.

E14. Sleeping Dogs. Has Klingons. WATCH IT

E15. Shadow’s of P’Jem. Political stuff between Vulcans and Andorians. Jeffrey Combs! WATCH IT

E16. Shuttlepod One. Skip it.

E17. Fusion. The origin of the mind meld? WATCH IT

E18. Rogue Planet. Skip it

E19. Acquisition. It was established in TNG that no species from the Federation had contact with Ferengi before the Enterprise D encountered them in the first season of TNG. This episode mostly contradicts that, but it’s a fun episode with Clint Howard (Balok from TOS), Ethan Phillips (Neelix from VOY) and Jeffrey Combs (DS9). WATCH IT

E20. Oasis. Skip it.
E21. Detained. Skip it
E22. Vox Sola. Skip it
E23. Fallen Hero. Skip it
E24. Desert Crossing. Skip it
E25. Two Days and Two Nights. Skip it

E26. Shockwave Part 1. The Enterprise kills everyone and the world goes to shit. Temporal cold war episode! WATCH IT. 

Stay tuned for Season 2!

Just a Few Problems with Avengers: Infinity War…No Big Deal

Spoiler Alert.

SPOILERS!

So there’s a thing that happens very often with superhero movies, TV shows, cartoons, and even comics. I’m sure it happens with Harry Potter fiction too, or anything where there’s special powers involved.

The writers forget what the powers do. This is especially problematic with very powerful characters like Martian Manhunter. I remember distinctly watching some episode of one of the Justice League cartoons and thought “If Martian Manhunter had remembered that he can go intangible, this fight would be over by now.”

THOSE PESKY INFINITY STONES

This is a pretty big issue with the Infinity Gauntlet. Now, your average movie-goer likely doesn’t really know what the six Infinity Gems do, and they barely explore that in the film. I’m a huge nerd and I’m not even clear on this. Sure we could both look it up, but let me take a guess: (1) the space stone allows teleportation; (2) the time stone allows you to manipulate time (this one is actually well illustrated); (3) the reality stone allows you to change reality; (4) the mind stone lets you control minds (illustrated in the first Avengers film); (5) the soul stone…???; (6) the power stone…allows you beat the Hulk???

So let’s agree to set aside the “it’s just a show, you should really just relax” mentality, and dig in to the tiny nerdy minutia like a good writer should!

it’s inferred that Thanos is a very powerful entity even without the Infinity Stones, so we don’t really know how much of his power is innate and what comes from the stones. But that’s not a dealbreaker for me.

But those Infinity Stones…oh those Infinity Stones. Given their special powers, there seemed to be a lot of super-brawling that didn’t need to take place for Thanos to fulfill his mission. Sure, they were very entertaining super-brawls, but it seemed to me that Thanos had a very specific task that was all-important to him, and he wouldn’t waste time smacking down some Avengers/Guardians/etc even if it did “bring a smile to his face” (note this line from the trailer didn’t appear in the film).

YOU FORGOT YOU COULD CHANGE REALITY

It’s established I think earlier than halfway through the film that Thanos can use the Reality Stone to turn matter, including people, into ribbons or blocks or bubbles. And yet there are melees that occur subsequently where Thanos opts to hurl moons at the heroes rather than simply willing them into inoffensive vapor. Why? He didn’t think of it? He didn’t want to? Is the most dangerous Avengers villain actually just kind of a dummy or easily distracted?

TELEPORT YOUR ENEMY AWAY

And what about the space stone’s teleportation ability? If I’m fighting Iron Man, and for some reason I don’t want to turn him into bubbles, why not teleport him away to the edge of the universe?

And speaking of teleportation, let’s talk about Dr Strange’s magical gates. He uses one early in the movie and it cuts off the arm of one of the minions. So we know it can do that. If I’m Dr. Strange and I’ve got Mantis keeping Thanos is a groggy state, why not use the magical gateway to cut off his gauntlet-wielding arm? Or better yet, his head? Or is this him keeping to his Hippocratic oath? Failing that, why not plop a portal underneath Thanos and send him to wherever he sent Loki in Thor: Ragnarok? That seemed to work. Sure, Thanos could bring himself back, but it could give the heroes a few critical, game-changing seconds in a life-or-death situation.

It is good move on the writers’ part that the Mind Stone was saved for last, otherwise I would be complaining that there wasn’t enough mass mind control throughout the movie. Iron Man and Dr Strange giving you trouble? Make them fight each other with mind control!

ATOMIZE THE AVENGERS AND THEN GET THE STONES

Another thing that bothered me…just a little bit…was this: Thanos knew who Tony Stark was, that’s stated in the film. He knew, I’m sure, that Stark was responsible for the failure of the invasion of Earth (from the first Avengers film.) So if you’ve got a giant spaceship, or a fleet of giant spaceships, presumably you have nuclear technology. We had it in the 50’s for heaven’s sake. So if you think the Avengers are going to be a thorn in your side, why not nuke them? You could beam a bomb down to Dr. Strange’s sanctorum or just have a guy walk up with a briefcase. Same thing with the Avengers compound or wherever the two Infinity Stones are on earth…and then collect the stones from the debris. Sure, I know, there are many reasons this idea might not work (protective spells on the sanctorum, for example, even though Hulk smashed through the roof no problem), but my point is, at least explore the possibility of obliterating the Infinity Stone carriers from a distance and then collecting the stones, rather than sending a couple guys for a big ol’ donnybrook. Yeah, it’s not as gripping to watch as a movie audience member, but it bears consideration, no?

NOBODY’S REALLY DEAD

The last, and most majorest of the major gripes, is killing off characters that we know are coming back. EVERYBODY KNOWS that there’s going to be another Spider-Man film and another Black Panther film. What, you’re going to have these movies without the main characters? No. So why oh why would you kill off Spidey and Panthery in Infinity War? People say that the ending of A:IW is ballsy, but this move undercuts the ballsiness in a major way, so much so that I have a hard time believing that even the characters killed by methods other than the gauntlet are going to stay dead. Sure they could make Guardians of the Galaxy 3 without Gamora, but I would be very VERY surprised if that happens, given the way they handled Thanos winning the day.

Now, I know that Avengers: Infinity War is actually only half of the story, and we’ve got the conclusion coming up in a year, so maybe, just maybe, all my gripes will be addressed and it will all make sense. I guess we will all just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I will re-read my Spider-Ham comics and hope he appears in Avengers 4.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end! Here is my Patreon if you like this and all the silly things I do.

 

Toren’s Guide to Star Trek Voyager Season 7

Click here for Season 1
Click here for Season 2
Click here for season 3
Click here for Season 4
Click here for Season 5
Click here for Season 6

UNIMATRIX ZERO PART 2

Oh snap you think that Tuvok, B’elanna aknd Janeway are borgified but they still have their individuality thanks to the Doctor! The queen threatens to destroy the entire borg collective which for some reason makes Janeway worried for a second. Seven kisses her literal dream man. 5/10

IMPERFECTION

All the wee borgs are taken away to live their lives except Icheb. Then Seven’s important borg bit fails and she will die if they don’t get a replacement from some other borg. Dead drones don’t work so Icheb gives up his, which he of course can get along without because he’s immature or something. 6.7/10

DRIVE

I thought B’elanna and Tom were already married but I guess not, so Tom proposes just when B’Elanna thinks it’s not going to work out between them because Tom loves racing more than her. 6/10

REPRESSION

Some ridiculous Maquis Bajoran mind control expert did a number on Tuvok years ago and now he’s spreading his mind control to all the Maquis on board until they mutiny and take over Voyager. It’s the Manchurian Candidate in space! Also we learn that there have been Bolians on board, I guess they were hiding for 7 years. 5.5/10

CRITICAL CARE

The Doctor is stolen and ends up in a hospital that gives medicine that could cure fatal disease lower class to the upper class that merely extends their lives. The Doctor is on ethically shaky ground when he breaks the rules to … 8/10

INSIDE MAN

Deanna Troi sets up Lt. Barclay on a date. But before that, an evil, cleavage-sporting dabo girl working with the Ferengi appropriates Barclay’s hologram that he sent to Voyager, so that the Ferengi can get Seven’s nanoprobes via a “geodesic fold” which will kill the crew. Kim eats green pie at the end. A bit anticlimactic but not bad. 7/10.

BODY AND SOUL

 

Doctor in Seven’s Body 7/10

NIGHTINGALE

Kim commands an alien vessel 5/10

FLESH AND BLOOD

Holograms revenge against hirogen 7/10

SHATTERED

Oh no! Another space cloud! This time it causes different parts of the ship to exist in various time periods, and only Chakotay can pass through. It’s like a clip show from previous seasons but he interacts with them. Also we get to see Voyager in the future with a grown up Naomi Wildman, which we know will never come true because of what happens in the series finale. Not bad at all, really! 7.3/10

LINEAGE

B’Elanna is pregnant and she wants to make the baby non-Klingon because of daddy issues. 8/10

REPENTANCE

prisoner is cured 7.5/10

PROPHECY

Klingons in the delta quadrant, of course they meet Voyager, why not? It’s all part of a Klingon prophecy, so that works out. Tom accepts a bat’leth duel and Neelix gets laid. 6/10

THE VOID

Janeway makes a mini Federation to get out of the void 7/10

WORKFORCE

Crew abducted, the Doctor becomes a command program. Janeway falls in love. 7/10

HUMAN ERROR

Seven neglects her duties and gets it on with holo-Chakotay. 6.5/10

Q2

In a rehash of “Q Who” a Q has to learn how to be a decent entity by becoming human. 7/10

AUTHOR, AUTHOR

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

FRIENDSHIP ONE

10

NATURAL LAW

oh no!/10

HOMESTEAD

Goodbye Neelix

RENAISSANCE MAN

Sabotage traitor!/10

ENDGAME

so long! /10

 

FLICKED UP 2017: The Movies I Did And Did Not See

From worst to best:

Alien: Covenant
Alien: Covenant – a pile of garbage.

Bushwick – an interesting idea not executed well

Power Rangers – stupid but sometimes entertaining

Bright – ham handed and mostly nonsense

Get Out – great potential wasted; motivations unsold

War for the Planet of the Apes – excessive schmaltz

Life – predictable rehash

Okja – some great parts and some terrible parts

It – too many characters

Kong: Skull Island – stupid but fun

It Comes At Night – Not as advertised but still good

Human Flow – opened my mind and heart

Free Fire. Highly entertaining

The Last Jedi – flawed but at least it took risks

Killing of a Sacred Deer – not for everyone

The LEGO Batman Movie – fun and silly with heart

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – Much better than the original

The Big Sick – great except I didn’t care about the girl

Wonder Woman – end fight a shitshow, otherwise grand

Coco

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 – more of the same, which is good

Atomic Blonde – a joy to watch

I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore – compelling w/ great performances

Brigsby Bear – original, weird in the best way

Thor: Ragnarok – good action good humour

Wind River – quite good really.

Lady Bird – great character performances

 

Darkest Hour

Spider-Man Homecoming – the best villain in the MCU

Baby Driver – love interest barely works but everything else kills

Dunkirk – intense, crushing, best soundtrack

The Shape of Water – 8/10

Logan – the superhero movie we needed

Blade Runner 2049 – refreshingly paced

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – bold, funny, dark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unseen (As of Yet):