Friday, 29 April 2011

Monkey Challenge: Truth and the Grey Gloves Devil

So I'm about a third of the way through the Monkey Challenge - 17 out of 52 - and I've reached the point where the episodes begin to blend into one another, and the repetitive aspects of the stories begin to grow somewhat wearisome.

Watching them at the pace of one-a-week it's still easy enough to watch them, but when it comes to these write-ups I'm running out of things to say. As I am determined not to do anything that is a chore - I am doing this Challenge for fun, after all - I'm going to keep this one brief, with just an overview of the plot and then saying it's an average episode; not very memorable.

This is the one where an old woman thinks Tripitaka is her long-lost son, who went off to become a priest. In fact her son is the villain of the piece - the titular Grey Gloves Devil - who fell in with demons and became an evil magician. The two are reunited at the end and he reforms.

It's an average episode; not very memorable.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Little Bit of Politics There Ladies and Gentlemen Oh Yes Indeed

I can't vote because I am only a cat.

And I'm only two (and a half) years old.

And I'm made from socks.

But if I could vote then I would vote for Audio Visual.

My name's Big Gay Longcat, goodnight!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Monkey Challenge: The Most Monstrous Monster

(It's Man, isn't it?)

This doesn't have the most auspicious of beginnings - within the first 10 minutes of the episode Monkey has been sent away by Tripitaka (see my review of Monkey Meets the Demon Digger for my thoughts on this trope, and that was only last episode!) for killing a Unicorn-demon disguised as a human.

Fortunately this episode shows a definite improvement as the story goes on. Monkey meets his match in the form of King Unicorn, who is the equal of Monkey in a fight and who has a magic ring that he uses to counter Monkey's magic and steal the Wishing-Staff.

"We unicorns could take over the whole Earth. It's only because we're mythical and nice that we haven't." A great line of dialogue from King Unicorn there. Also "My ring could swallow the world, heh heh... and a sun or two."

King Unicorn is in love with a human woman, and he spoils both her and her son (from a previous marriage) by giving them anything they ask for - the boy has demanded, and got, every toy in the world, and when he screamed for one more the king promised to get Monkey's Wishing-Staff for the "brat."

There are a number of transformations in this episode. King Unicorn switches between his normal appearance and a more human-seeming one to be with his prospective family. To change between them he spins round while wiggling his hands and sticking out his tongue:

The woman makes King Unicorn the condition that they must be married by a human priest, so the king tries to persuade Tripitaka to do it, and when he refuses the king bribes Pigsy with a dukedom if he will persuade his master.
Pigsy has other things on his mind - having taken a more human-seeming form himself, he is flirting with the bride-to-be.

After a couple of unsuccessful attempts at getting the Wishing-Staff back, Monkey hits on the idea of disguising himself and Sandy as the boy and his mother. Sandy, however, is no expert at the 72 magical transformations, and the first attempt at making him look like the woman does not go entirely according to plan:

But once successfully disguised, the plan succeeds - King Unicorn gives into the boy's (i.e. Monkey's) demand to be given the magic ring as a toy, and once he has that Monkey quickly gets his Staff back as well.

Monkey decides that it is the greed of the woman that is the cause of everything here, and so he resolves to kill her to free King Unicorn from her influence. But the king admits it is his fault for giving in and spoiling her and offers to die in her place. This self-sacrifice convinces Tripitaka their love is good and genuine underneath it all so he agrees to marry them.

Despite the unpromising start to the episode (the sending away of Monkey by Tripitaka is all but forgotten by the time Monkey loses his Staff), this is a good story and shows well-developed supporting characters, an opponent who is a match for Monkey while not being capital-E-evil, and Monkey using ingenious tricks - not all of which work.

And the scene with Sandy transforming into a woman is hilarious.

Monday, 18 April 2011


"Brother Travis" in The Space Adventures of Little Gay Longcat isn't meant to be Travis from Blakes 7, he's a canon* character from the early days of Warhammer 40,000. Here is the original Brother Travis from the Spacewar set of Citadel Combat Cards (c.1988):

Ooh, he is a strong manny with a Strength of 10. And with his metal eye he does look a bit like Travis from Blakes 7.

Oh wait, it's the wrong eye.

*LOL. As if 'canon' in Warhammer 40,000 ever counts for anything.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Monkey Challenge: Monkey Meets The Demon Digger

This is the second episode in which Tripitaka sends Monkey away. This trope is so ubiquitous in fiction (even making its way into the film version of The Return of the King, an utterly stupid addition which that story did not need) that in this series - so full of mad, inventive plots - it is doubly unwelcome repetition.

The story in a nutshell: The pilgrims meet an old man mining his way through a mountain to, he says, make a tunnel to the other side. Taking pity on the man Tripitaka resolves that he and his disciples will help the man, no matter how long it takes. Monkey, quickly bored and wanting to continue the journey to India, uses magic to complete the tunnel quickly.

Tripitaka is angry at Monkey's laziness and banishes him. The old man turns out to be a demon, who was really mining the mountain to try and find a magic egg at its heart. He thinks the pilgrims have stolen the egg while he wasn't looking, so he captures them and is about to kill them when Monkey returns. He defeats the demon and makes it up with Tripitaka.


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Puppy's Best Book

This is Puppy's favourite book, it is The Book of Lost Tales 2 by J R R Tolkien.

Puppy likes it because it tells the story of Huan, Captain of Dogs and his fight against Tevildo, Prince of Cats (who is a bad cat). Oh, and there are some mannys and elves in it too.
Puppy's best bit of the story is when Huan beats Tevildo by chasing him up a tree!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Monkey Challenge: Catfish, Saint and the Shape-Changer

I was surprised to discover that this was an episode that I had not seen before this week. I thought I had seen all of Monkey when Channel 4 showed the series a few years back, but clearly I had missed this one. And it's a good one too.

Although as silly in its own way as The Minx and The Slug, with a large section of the episode set inside a monster's stomach, I enjoyed this one a lot more because the underlying plot held dramatic tension that the last episode lacked.

Two monsters - a Catfish-spirit and a faceless shape-changer (somewhat resembling the faceless enemy from Sapphire and Steel when not disguised as Pigsy), are locked in a conflict in which neither has the upper hand, but whenever they fight terrible earthquakes devastate the surrounding country, leading a living saint, San Cho, to try and mediate between them.

After a brief encounter with the shape-changer to begin with, the pilgrims meet San Cho and he informs them that the shape-changer is among them, disguised as one of the four. Unable to trust each other they go their separate ways until first Sandy and then Monkey are eaten by the giant Catfish.

There are then a number of really surreal scenes set in the monster's belly, in which Monkey and Sandy meet the Spirit of the Blue Pool - a fairy maiden that the Catfish had previously swallowed - and then the three of them, affected by the wine the Catfish drank, dance to a gramophone recording of the Monkey theme tune.

After this they discover that Pigsy is also down there with them, and has been down long enough that they deduce that the Pigsy they left behind was really the shape-changer.

Outside the Catfish's body, San Cho is trying to mediate between the two monsters as to which one should get to eat Tripitaka. A game of Go is the fair way, but the loser takes this poorly and a fight begins. Luckily Monkey manages to force the Catfish to cough him (and Pigsy and Sandy) up at this point, so they join the fight and win the day.

The powers of the Catfish and the shape-changer are used really well here, and the whole story fits together nicely. The humour complements the drama (the inside-the-monster sets would be impossible to take wholly seriously anyway) and so I'm glad I've finally seen this particular story.

I wonder if it will turn out there are others I have previously missed? If so I hope they are as good as this one.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Friday, 1 April 2011

Monkey Challenge: The Minx and the Slug

A very silly episode, even by Monkey standards, and not one I'm very fond of.

Pigsy goes to rescue a girl from a Slug monster, but it turns out she doesn't need or want rescued, and in fact the monster is glad to be rid of her since he already has a wife and three children (also Slug monsters).

Tripitaka eventually saves the day by accident when he attracts the girl's interest away from the Slug and to himself, and he has to flee from her attentions upon the horse.

There's not much more to the plot than that, and most of the interest comes from shapechanging shenanigans - Pigsy disguises himself as the Slug to woo the girl, and this leads to further mistaken identities regarding who is really whom.

There's also the question of why the girl has so much salt to hand with which she can threaten her Slug-husband into obeying her - why so much? Where does it all come from?

The answer, of course, is that it's just a silly story and not to be taken seriously. Fair enough if you like that sort of thing, but for me it was just too silly for my tastes.