World Book character sheets ARE ALL ONLINE. (plus other goodies.)

It’s only taken me…what, 10 years now? But–it’s true–after major fan demand, ALL THE WORLD BOOK CHARACTER SHEETS HAVE BEEN SCANNED AND ARE ONLINE.

They’re up as individual images for the moment. I need to transcribe the last ~45 and will start to…okay, eventually…put the images and text into a document/PDF. (I was going to say that I had done this with the World Book, but the PDF version actually does not have any images in it. Something else to add to the to-do list!)

For those who have been asking me (for YEARS now), I am truly sorry for the delay. Just…you know…life and stuff. I hope that these have been worth the wait!

Well, in other news…hello! Stuff is definitely in the works. It’ll be quite a while yet but a redesign/update of the site is in progress, to finally dust it off, clean it up, and bring it into this decade of web design.

A few things of note, sent in by some awesome people over the months:

Alexandre has captured the Sega Genesis PoDW soundtrack and converted it to mp3s for our listening pleasure. ** will host these files on this site once I update **

Neike has edited and uploaded an incredible collection of screenshots of locations and creatures, the Treasures of Rule, and more.
** will host these files on this site once I update **

Brittany contacted me about a doll she spotted on eBay a while ago. It’s a doll of Ren that I’ve never seen before, and even the original listing has no real information on it beyond “Made in Korea.” Do any of you know know anything about this? See below…


Jakub, and possibly some others, have been working on building out a wiki for PoDW.

Sony/”Konway” has uploaded a few choice videos: the end credits of Dark Water, the Dishonor cut scene* with Roddy McDowall vs. Frank Welker

Want a hi-res scan of the background image behind episodes 1-13? Doug pointed out that the original painting was up for auction at Heritage Auctions a while back but the image is still there.

And deviantART user DanFelix has been maintaining Dark-Water-Pirates, a collection of fanart from across the website. People have created some really interesting, clever, and fun pieces lately.

*I refer to this as “cut,” though some people were fortunate enough to see the show on TV with this clip included. Different stations made subtly different cuts to the show.

That’s it for all, but hopefully not for long. Cheers! Thank you so much for your support and kind words–I never say it enough, but I deeply appreciate your encouragement and enthusiasm over all these years.

Music and merchandise finds

Happy spring, Northern Hemisphere citizens! Time to share a couple of recent PoDW Twitter finds:

For those of you familiar with the Sega Genesis PoDW game, somebody put together a great clip of himself performing the Sega game’s Janda Town theme music. The layering of the different sounds and lines is really great and spot-on. Check it out!

Also, Ian has set up a RedBubble site with apparel with the PoDW logo on it! The only thing: he’s using a version of the video game logo that may be a little blurry/artifacted when it’s enlarged. But it still looks great, and RedBubble provides some pretty cool options: varieties of shirt types, colors, and sizes, to fit your taste. At SF conventions I attended in the past, I always made it a point to wear a PoDW shirt and/or bring the up in panel discussions, to get it back on people’s radar one way or another. The more people who do stuff like that, the better the odds are that eventually enough people interested in a reboot of the show will get noticed. So…you never know. 🙂

And if I haven’t linked to this yet, Nate has done in a few months what I haven’t gotten around to in many years, and ripped a few video clips of the Dark Water miniseries–specifically, 2 clips with Roddy McDowall voicing Niddler (something I know a lot of you have been really curious about), as well as the miniseries opening.

Oh! OH. I DID make an update…to the contact page. (Better than nothing, right…?) It was horribly outdated–I’ve removed my Facebook link (I deleted–not disabled, but fully deleted–my profile last summer), and added links to Twitter and my (pretty outdated) personal website. I’ve also cleaned up the language somewhat, and apologize sincerely if anything on there was a little too blunt or offputting.

That’s it for now. I’m quite busy…preparing to move this summer for the 3rd time since November (I’ve had surprisingly horrible luck with living situations during my 1.5 years in Boston), playing in a lot of orchestra/opera concerts, presenting at a conference in a few weeks, and looking forward to finding some free time in the summer for personal and/or portfolio-padding projects. (Like this site, perhaps?) Now that the sun no longer sets by 4:30pm, life is pretty wonderful again. 🙂

I hope you’re doing well, too!

Quarterly update: international openings and character commentary

Hey, everyone, long time no see… 🙂 This is still not a website update (sorry…)–I’ve been keeping a little too busy as of late, like to the point that I don’t even turn my home computer on more than a couple of times a week these days. I’m very eager for things to settle down soon.

But I did want to post some fun finds from around the web…

Firstly, a series of international PoDW openings on YouTube: Las Piratas de las Aguas Negras (Spanish), the Swedish intro, A Sötét Víz Kalózai (Hungarian), and ~???????? ???????? (Japanese–this hilarious pop song intro by Hironobu Kageyama that will now be stuck in my head for the rest of the day. By the way, check out the “international” tagged posts to get more info on the Japanese version of the show).

Also, this great comment, from Tumblr user nijireiki

Man, I really wanna do a rewrite comic of Pirates of Dark Water.

Like, CLEARLY there were some executive meetings to make Ioz nicer, curse less, and stop referencing whorehouses; to make Niddler less of a racial critique and more of a buffoonish stereotype; to make Ren paler, less “femme,” and more competent as a leader (rather than a naïve lighthouse boy who assembles a relatively equal TEAM); and to make Tula sweeter, more helpless/less competent, less creepy (ecomancers have… side effects that come with their skillset), less revolutionary, more “femme”/scantily clad, paler, and all-around healer/mystic/team girl. (AND to make the bad guys less threatening, though, interestingly for a ’90s cartoon, death— even onscreen death— was not phased out of the show entirely.)

I think it would just be awesome to restore some of that stuff, you know? A lot of worldbuilding clearly went into Dark Water, and it’s a damn shame the show never finished and so few people know about it. :/

You know, I did wonder about whether all ecomancers’ legs sprout (or transform into) roots and branches, the way Teron’s did. He didn’t have the incandescent lightning effect that Tula did, so my assumption was that it’s a little different for everyone–kind of an organic manifestation that depends on the person.

But anyway, that bit aside, the rest of the commentary is spot-on: the characters did change rather dramatically throughout the series. I’d even argue that the three main chunks of the series (released in 1991, 1992, and 1993, respectively) show noticeable differences: episodes 1-5 are the most solid and balanced representations, episodes 6-13 are definitely more watered-down and geared towards kids, and episodes 14-21 trend towards the darker and/or more grown-up side with some of their themes and action sequences.

Though, then again, a woman with a 17-year-long obsession over a man (and then that man’s son) who died a horrible death by melting into a pool of Dark Water was in that middle block of episodes, as was a wizard being killed by his own ghastly creations after using his magic to kill many people in order to steal their gold (but yet again, that episode also has the monumentally awful and OBVIOUSLY watered-down line, “You fight like your captain, Swar–not very well!”)…but that whole block of episodes did focus more heavily on moral themes, and you can derive very clear ones from each episode.

But then in those last 8 episodes, Ioz’s temper towards Tula waxed and waned (raging at her one minute, then grudgingly acknowledging that she was capable and worthy of respect, and asking Ren not to tell Tula that he had admitted he was “a greedy fool”), Tula became a bit more badass again (though still watered-down by her obvious interest in Ren and her jealousy over him expressing interest in other women–but tempered by the fact that she really stole the show when she fake-betrayed her friends in order to protect them from the Delpha Warriors and to try to secure the Eighth Treasure of Rule), and Ren made some tough moral decisions (not leaving Bloth to die when he could have, learning greatly from his own experience of being transformed into a dagron) and grew a lot in the process. (Note that I’m not saying a word about Niddler, because I’m really irritated that he was such a great and multi-dimensional character in episodes 1-5–embittered and damaged by his service to Bloth, but a loyal and true friend with deep convictions and moral fiber–and then was relegated to the irritating, selfish, childish comic relief after that.)

Also, it’s interesting, but I guess not that surprising, that pretty much the entirety of the character development happened with the protagonists. It was still a show from the era of wanting to proper delineate good and evil, so the bad guys were simply that. They had backstories and motivations and personalities that were uniquely theirs (especially in episodes 1-5–Mantus’s cool “Of course, sir. When you let the enemy think he’s in charge, it’s easy.” line still is pretty freaking cool), but at the end of the day, they were The Bad Guys. Period.

Okay, enough of that for now. It’s nice to reflect on the show in terms of the era in which it was conceived, and in terms of more “grown-up” sensibilities (I’m now older than Ioz! haha). And it’s great to have conversations with people who continue to rediscover and reflect on the show in their own ways. I do appreciate how enthusiastic you all are–the e-mails and comments have been wonderful and I’ve seriously enjoyed the discussions we’ve had over the years. Thank you for your lasting support over all this time. 🙂 Hopefully I’ll actually update the site one of these days (weeks? months? years? sigh), clean it up, and integrate the bulk of the info from the blog, and make it up to you!

Dark Water opening on YouTube

Many thanks to Konway for the link! The original Dark Water miniseries opening is up on YouTube. (Apparently it was used in France as well, since the title graphic in this clip simply reads, “Le Tourbillon Noir.”)

It’s quite different from what we know as the “standard” opening, with the Ioz/Hector Elizondo voiceover, and that really beautiful intro sequence with the various natural scenes of Mer. But it’s pretty awesome in its own right! I saw it a few years back when I acquired VHS tapes of the original miniseries, but still haven’t been able to digitize them…luckily, someone else has been more industrious than I have!

That map sequence in particular, with the first seven Treasures lighting in various spots, intrigues me–I think they recreated it in at least one of the video games, if I remember correctly. If anyone wants to try to break this down, please be my guest–I have a headache tonight, and it’s honestly been long enough since I’ve seen the episodes that I’m having trouble trying to figure out if the Treasures’ locations fit with the locations on this map! At the very least I can see The Dragon’s Maw (center) and Mobo Mountain (right). I’m unable to make out the others, though.

It’s hard to say if one’s better than the other, since many of us are so used to the second one I linked to. The music’s different and there’s a bit more original animation in the original…I feel like the one we know works better as an opener, the scenes are arranged more logically, and the music and voiceover serve it well and serve as a better opening for the show. But that’s not at all to discount the original one, which has a kind of jaunty and adventurous feel to it.

Woohoo! Seeing this–and in surprisingly high quality for YouTube–made my evening. Check it out!

Some more Japanese info

(Thank goodness WordPress saves drafts–my browser crashed when I was writing this this weekend.)

Here’s something else: the actual Japanese title isn’t merely Dark Water, but “Michi no Umi he Dark Water,” or “To the undiscovered/mysterious sea: Dark Water”. Neat, eh? It had a limited airing, on NHK-BS2 on satellite TV. I don’t think they aired all 21 episodes, based on the air dates I found, but I don’t know that for sure.

And it had unique opening and closing theme music, sung by Hironobu Kageyama, who might or might not have been Ren’s voice actor (there’s also a guy named Takeshi Kusao cited as voicing Ren).
– The opening theme is “Aisubeki no Senshitachi”, or Beloved Soldiers.
– The closing theme is “Senshitachi no Kyuusoku”, or Soldiers’ Rest.
They’re just as cheesy and generic as they seem from the titles–I found clips of both songs (scroll down to the beige box with two sets of links; in the second list, 5 is the opening theme and 6 is the closing–each will spawn a pop-up window). For those who can read Japanese, here are the lyrics for the opening and closing. Set your browser’s character encoding to Shift-JIS for these.) Look for them if you ever go to a karaoke parlor in Japan–you just might find them!

That’s all for now, but that’s plenty!

Japanese merchandise

I just hit the freaking JACKPOT. An e-mail from a fan about Japanese releases of the show made me realize, “wait, if I can speak, understand, and type in Japanese, why not do a search for Japanese info on the show?”

There isn’t a lot out there, but I’ve found Yahoo! auctions for videos, and totally original images of the Japanese video art, within my first 10 minutes of looking.

I think I may try to beg and bribe my friends still in Japan to bid on these for me, since shipping and bidding and everything are probably domestic only.

And…dude. On (Joysound is one of the major karaoke machine/music providers there), there seems to be a JAPANESE SONG relating to the show, possibly sung by Ren’s voice actor, titled “Aisubeki Senshitachi” (“Lovable Soldiers”). Oh my god.

That’s about it for now. But that’s plenty! I only wish I’d thought of this while I actually lived there. Japanese VHS format is NTSC (I can’t remember if I tried playing videos from here over there or vice versa, though), so if my friends do consent to bid, win the videos, and ship them to me, hopefully I can view them here. We’ll see!

(By the way, I’m back from Austin and Japan; I’ve replied to all the messages I’ve received and kept an eye on my spam folder, so if you haven’t gotten a reply, please send your message again. Thanks!)

Sega music

What a totally random and nostalgic find! Project 2612 is a site devoted to archiving and sharing soundtrack music from Sega Genesis/MegaDrive games, and I just stumbled across their archive of music for the Sega Genesis/MegaDrive game. I bought (well, my parents bought for me) the PoDW Sega Genesis game in 1994, when I was in middle school. I have to admit that I did really enjoy this music when I played the game regularly then and during high school. The music is not at all related to the show’s score, but even now, it’s really not bad at all…there are definitely cheesy moments (boss battles, for example), but it’s all right. It’s been years since I’ve played it, and this brings back memories. The music is in .vgz format, but the site has a variety of plug-ins available for quite a few media players. I’m currently using the WinAmp plug-in and it works like a charm.

To the best of my ability, here’s a track listing:
1. Citadel (some of the rooms)
2. Citadel (some of the rooms)
3. Citadel (final room, where you collect the Compass)
5. Transition music
6. Title screen
7. Boss fight?
8. Menu screen
9. Andorus (inside the building)?
10. Janda Town
11. Game Over
12. Andorus?
13. Mantus boss fight?
14. Joat boss fight?
15. Boss fight?
16. Maelstrom?
17. Sunken Bridge
19. End sequence/credits
20. Opening sequence

Now if only it were possible to find an actual soundtrack for the show…that would be truly awesome. I remember e-mailing Tom Chase, one of the two composers of the show’s music (the other being Steve Rucker), many years ago after discovering his website, and he actually replied, saying that there was unfortunately no soundtrack or sheet music score available for the show.

Old blog archive: 05 August 2002

By the way, does anybody actually read this? Please comment and let me know…I’m honestly curious to see if other people actually sift through my insane, somewhat obsessive crap that I post here. I’ve gotten e-mails saying, “I read such-and-such on your site…” referring to things I did post here, which leads me to believe this isn’t just random blabbering for myself. ;o) Maybe I should add a webtracker…but yes, comment! Please! Thanks. :o)

Oh, yeah…turns out that the people who did the music for PoDW are extremely versatile. They did the soundtrack for the Powerpuff Girls movie, too! (Which rocked! And don’t you dare make fun of me or question my taste in animation for liking PPG–I’ve been a fan since it first debuted, and it’s not just some cheesy trend–if you sit down and actually watch more than a few episodes, it’s actually pretty good. Sorry, I’ve had people do that before, people who don’t know me at all AND people who know full well how picky-critical I am, and it REALLY bugs me that they won’t give me the benefit of the doubt and admit that I like it because it’s actually GOOD, and assume I like it because it’s some trend. -_-; Bah. Trends? ME?) But anyway. That soundtrack is almost totally techno-based–very interesting. :o) It’s awesome how broad Chase-Rucker’s talents are!

Old blog archive: 8 June 2002

Let me also say that the music played during the scene where the “spiritual attendant” of Primus gives Ren the Compass…it gives me chills. I love that music–they really should’ve put out some kind of instrumental soundtrack, as this series has got some totally amazing music. (This coming from an ardent music fan and a person classically trained in the violin, who’s played for 10 years–I’ve got very, very high standards for my music. ;o) )