Pandragon Dan

Pandragon Dan


Top Five Saddest Deaths in Animated Films

You know, there’s just nothing more heart-wrenching than seeing your favourite characters die on the big screen. I’ve talked about this before about how the death of a character can add a real emotional shock to a scene. And whilst these scenes can really impact on a story, I find that they are even powerful if they appear in an animated film.


Maybe that’s just me, but deaths in animated films get to me more so than in live action. I guess you don’t really expect things like that in animated films as they are, for the most part, aimed at a younger audience, so you expect them to be nice and jolly. So it can be a real shock to the system when they add in very really elements like this. That being said, if you look at many classic animated movies, they usually have that ONE death that will definitely hit you right in the feels.


Recently I’ve been catching up with some of the animated movies I used to watch when I was younger and was quite surprised with the hard hitting deaths of characters. No wonder I get so depressed! So today I decided to honour the lives of those characters who have passed away and whose death’s had (and still do have) the largest impact on me.


For this list, I’m looking at animated films I’ve seen who had a death that affected me the most. I also would like to point out that I made a rule of including only ONE Pixar movie and ONE Disney movie (those films could be a list in themselves!). Also, as always, this is in no particular order. And just a heads up – spoilers included!


Have your tissues at the ready as today I countdown the Top Five Saddest Deaths in Animated Films.





1. Littlefoot’s Mother in The Land Before Time


Forget all the crappy direct to DVD sequels, the original The Land Before Time is a masterpiece of cinema – a wonderful tale of family and friendship with some loveable characters. Oh and did I mention its set during the time of the dinosaurs? It’s also notable for being the first film to traumatise me as a child. I don’t think any film made me cry so much – hell it still makes me weep when I see it 26 years later!


In this particular scene that will haunt your childhood forever, Littlefoot and his family are migrating to The Great Valley after all the food in the area dries up. During the journey, we see how close Littlefoot is to his family, and how protective his mother is of him. It’s really heartwarming – but then, like with any tragedy, their happiness gets torn apart.


When Sharptooth (a T-Rex) attacks Littlefoot and Cera (a young Three-Horn), Littlefoot’s mother comes to save them, but is fatally wounded in the process. What follows a few minutes later is a crushing scene where Littlefoot finds his injured mother and she imparts a few words of wisdom and support before she dies.


Annnnnnnndddd then the tears come… :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'(


This scene is tragic for many reasons. Firstly, not only does Littlefoot have to watch his mother die, he now has to complete the journey to The Great Valley alone. And let’s not forget – Littlefoot is just a kid. When you add all this up, it makes one of the most depressing scenes in cartoon history. But that being said, we can also give credit to Littlefoot’s mother – she sacrificed herself to protect her child, making her one of the bravest heroines in animated film. And even though she dies, she is still with Littlefoot in spirit.


If you haven’t seen it, The Land Before Time is one of the best animated films you will see. It’s a tale of courage, friendship and hope, with some loveable characters and a tragic story. Just make sure you have some tissues at the ready, because this scene alone will definitely hit you in the feels!





2. Flynn Rider in Tangled


I’m sure when you heard a Disney film would be in this list, you were expecting me to include the death of Simba’s father in The Lion King. And yes, that scene is sad, but as I already included the death of Littlefoot’s Mother, I decided to use another film so as to vary it a little. Not only that, but I wanted to make it up to the readers who were upset by my last blog.


When I did my first Disney Deathmatch, with Tangled Versus The Hunchback of Notre Dame, quite a few people on facebook were quick to voice their disapproval that Tangled didn’t win. I actually was kinda surprised how much people loved this film. I’ve done numerous mentions of how I think Frozen was an overrated film and hardly got any rage from it (luckily), but Tangled I got a lot of angry people at my throat– one of my best friends I thought was never gonna speak to me again!


Let me make one thing clear – just because Tangled didn’t win it DOESN’T mean that Tangled isn’t a good film. In fact, I would say that Tangled is one of the most enjoyable Disney films of all time. In fact, I’d actually say it was a better film than Frozen, that’s how much I enjoyed it.


But I’m getting off track here.


Anyway, in Tangled, Rapunzel wishes to leave her tower and enter the great wide world. After Flynn Rider (real name Eugene) hides in her tower after a robbery goes wrong, Rapunzel “forces” him to take her outside and escort her, so that she can find the reason behind the lights that are released every year. But, like any Disney movie, as the story progresses Rapunzel and Flynn become closer and, as you may guess, fall in love. And you know what, I actually like Flynn – he’s a really good character for reasons I will explain later.


At the climax of the movie, Flynn is wounded by Mother Gothel whilst trying to save Rapunzel. Rapunzel begs her to use her magic hair (which contains healing magic) to save Flynn, after which she promises to be taken prisoner by Gothel. However, Flynn – not wanting Rapunzel to be at the mercy of Gothel, cuts her hair off, removing her healing magic, which then causes Gothel to vanish to dust. Flynn essentially sacrifices himself to save Rapunzel, which is a very brave deed in and off himself. He then dies. And when Rapunzel’s starts singing and her tears fall, so do the audiences.


Ok, so this is kinda cheating as Flynn DOES come back to life – but before that it’s still pretty sad. I thought that Flynn was a likeable rogue and probably one of the best heroes in Disney history. Sure he’s brash, arrogant and selfish, but he’s very funny and a good man at heart. Through Rapunzel he finds something more precious than gold and in the end he is willing to give up his own life to save her. I reckon Kristoff could learn a thing or two from Flynn as to what a real hero should be like!





3. Optimus Prime in Transformers the Movie


I’m just gonna come right out and say it, the recent Transformers movies suck and Michael Bay can go to hell! That is all I have to say on that matter. However, the 1986 Transformers: The Movie is a underrated classic that kicks the ass of anything Mr Bay ever did. But it is also infamous for one of the most shocking deaths in cartoon history.


Set in between Seasons 2 and 3 of the original series, this movie is a treat for Transformers fans. The voice acting is somewhat questionable, but the movie has great action, a kickass metal soundtrack and features voice acting from Hollywood heavyweights Leonard Nimoy, Eric Idle, Judd Nelson and Orson Wells (in his final film role). However, the film does have a much darker tone than the TV series – and even include character deaths! Yes, that right, characters DIE in this film! Ironhide, Prowl, Ratchet, Brawn, Windcharger, Wheeljack and Starscream all meet their end in this film. But NO ONE could have expected that the filmmakers would pull the ultimate asspull and kill off the most beloved character of all – Optimus Prime!


Near the beginning of the film, a final battle between Megatron and Optimus results in the Autobots leader being fatally wounded. Calling together his trusted Autobots, Prime passes on the Matrix (no not the Keanu Reeves film) to Ultra Magnus (who refuses it under grounds that he is no leader). After which he gives a final speech, turns black and his head falls to the side of his bed. And at that moment, every Transformers fan scream in disbelief!


Ok, so it may be a little weird to those that haven’t seen the series, but to any fan of the show, this was a real shock to the system. Optimus Prime was a badass warrior, but he was also a fatherly figure to the Autobots, willing to lay down his life to protect his troops and the humans that they lived alongside. Not to mention he could turn into a truck, which is pretty awesome. So why did the filmmakers kill off such a popular character? Blame Hasbro!


When the film was coming out, Hasbro were bringing out a new line of toys for the Transformers franchise, so they asked for certain characters to be killed off to bring them into the series – Optimus included. However the backlash that resulted was intense and fans were quick to voice their disapproval of his death. Even Peter Cullen, the actor that voiced Optimus Prime, was surprised at how loved the character was. In fact, the backlash was so huge that they even changed a scene in G.I.Joe The Movie. In that film, Duke was supposed to die, but instead they wrote it that he entered a coma - which he then woke from at the end.


The impact of Prime's death was probably on par with The Red Wedding from Game of Thrones. It’s a death that many fans still feel for today. So much so that, when the Nostalgia Critic did his Top 11 Saddest Nostalgia Moments, he didn’t include the death of Optimus Prime, which caused a lot of fans to lash out at him. He did make a joke about it in his next video, and even included it in one of his Top 11 Nostalgia Critic F*** Ups.


Optimus would eventually return to the Transformers cartoon, much to the delight of the fans – but this death will forever live in peoples’ minds as one of the most traumatic moments of their childhood. Mine included.



4. Gen’s Family in Barefoot Gen


Due to the somewhat disturbing content of this scene, I’ve decided not to include a picture of it. But just be warned that this section does have some parts that readers may find upsetting.


This one may be a bit of a stretch as I don’t know how many people have seen this film. But I wanted to include at least one Anime film on this list. I suppose it would be better to have a Studio Ghibli film in this list, and considering their recent announcement of their closure – or reorganisation – it would have been pretty easy to include one. However, I wanted to highlight this film as Barefoot Gen is, in my opinion, the most underrated of all Animes and one that gets criminally overlooked when people list their favourite Animes.


Starting off as a Slice of Life, it’s set around a boy called Gen and his life with his family, which is pretty decent for the most part. The first part of the film is Gen getting into mischief with his brother. However, a somewhat innocent story foreshadows a greater danger to come. Why? Because this film is set during the Hiroshima bombings.


When the bomb drops, the film doesn’t hold back showing the full horror that the hydrogen bomb is capable of. In fact, the fact that it’s an Anime shows the audience just what damage it could do. People are melted, vaporised – and there is one scene where a mother tries to shield her baby from the bomb and they are fused together. Gen survives and rushes back to his family, who are trapped in the house. He gets his mother out, but his father, sister and brother are buried under the rubble and the house is about to collapse on them. Worst still, the flames around them from the bomb threaten to burn them alive.


Gen and his mother make numerous attempts to save them and pull them out and we watch with terror, hoping that there would be a happy conclusion. But it is ultimately hopeless and he and his mother break down. Gen’s father, knowing that his wife is pregnant and seeing that they cannot escape this, tells Gen to leave them and protect his mother. Eventually having no choice but the accept, the house falls on Gen’s family and they are consumed by the fire, their screams ringing out.


Never has any Anime moved me as much as this. Gen seeing his friends burned alive by the bomb is one thing, but then having to watch as his family die and knowing he is powerless to do anything to help really rips at your heart and you feel Gen’s pain. What makes this scene especially poignant is that the creator of Barefoot Gen, Keiji Nakazawa actually lived through the Hiroshima bombings and, from what I can gather, he actually lost his family this way. I don’t know how much of this film is actually true or made up, but knowing that this is based on the first hand experience of someone that lived through it just hits you right in the heart in ways that few films can.


Sadly, Barefoot Gen isn’t shown that often, but it is fairly easy to get on DVD if you look for it. I highly recommend this film. It’s not easy to watch and will definitely bring out the tears quicker than a waterfall – but the film does serve as a grim reminder of the price of war and the lives that are destroyed because of it.





5. Ellie in Up


Yeah, you guys knew this one was coming. :) But then, as I’ve said, Up is and always will be the best Pixar movie ever – possibly even the best Disney movie of all time if you count Pixar and Disney as the same entity. One of my favourite love stories of all time, my plan is to watch this film without crying. Not succeeded yet.


At the beginning of Up, we meet Carl and Ellie as children. Carl being a huge fan of the explorer Charles Muntz finds a common friend in Ellie, who wishes to one day move her “clubhouse” to Paradise Falls. Becoming friends, Carl makes a promise to take her there one day.


After this we flash forward several years to when Ellie and Carl are married. We are then treated to a wonderful montage where we see them move into married life. Ellie and Carl settle into the “clubhouse”, making it their own home and they get jobs and eventually wish to start a family – only for Ellie to find that she is infertile, which is pretty sad in itself. Remembering the promise that Carl made, he and Ellie gather some money to pay for a trip to Paradise Falls, but real life gets in the way and they constantly have to abandon their plans (something we can all relate to). We watch as they get old, their love for each other never floundering. Eventually, they make enough money to travel to Paradise Falls and Carl tries to surprise Ellie – only for her to fall ill. It then goes from Ellie in hospital, to Carl at the end of her funeral, ending with him walking into the house – all alone.


Never have I seen a montage perfectly capture the love and pathos of a married couple within four minutes. Even though there is no dialogue, the music perfectly captures the love between the two of them and the audience feel what they feel. This is why it is especially painful for us when Ellie dies. It reminds us that we are only mortal, but love can live on forever.  And when Carl tries to fulfil his promise to Ellie, it acts as testament to the love the two had for each other.


Another scene to mention would be the bit where he reads Ellie’s scrapbook near the end of the movie, seeing all the pictures of her and Carl in the “Things I have to do” section. But Ellie’s death is especially powerful as it is the driving force for Carl and invigorates him to do one more thing before he passes away. If that’s not an act of love then I dunno what is.


I dare ANYONE to see this opening montage without crying. If you can then you are either heartless or just a stronger person than me. This montage is one of the best I have ever seen in a film and Up is just one of the greatest love stories ever told. Proof that love never dies.



So now that tears have been shed, I’d love to hear from you guys – which character deaths in animated films made YOU cry the most? Please leave a comment below to let me know.


Thanks for reading guys.







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A Couple of New Videos

Hey guys. I got some exciting news for you! I recently uploaded a couple of videos to my Youtube channel and figured that it's only fair that I share it with you lot!


The first video I want to share is the official trailer for Final Ragnarok: She Returns. I've already done a couple of teaser trailers for it, but this is the official trailer. Final Ragnarok is shaping up to be one of the most intense stories in the Draconica series so far - it's going to be a big one!



The second one is a new fan parody series I've made. Remember how the Man in Shadow said that he was going to gather an evil army? Well the bastard actually did it! He's teamed up with some of the most despicable minds to create the team of - Totalitarian Warlords and Termination Squadron!
Follow the first of his adventures here:



Enjoy guys! More Final Ragnarok stuff is to come in the following months. Keep your eyes peeled. :)







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London Anime Con 2014


Hey guys! Just shooting by to let you guys in the UK know that I'll be back at London Anime Con again this year, selling some of my books. Had some great fun and sales at the last two I did, so I'm hoping third time is the charm!


This one is looking to be a great event, with tons of Anime related activities - including cosplay, music, card games and other great stuff. Not only that, but they have some really cool special guests this year - including a very famous Anime voice actress!


Ticket are only £18 for the entire weekend if you buy online now. So if you're in the area, why not pop on down and check out all the cool stuff that will be going on there. And whilst you're at it - why not come and buy a book off me? I'll be doing some cool deals that day!


Hope to see you guys there!






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Teaser Look - Artwork for the Legacy of the Dragonkin paperback

Hey guys, sorry for the inactivity recently - been extremely busy with several things lately, work related mainly!


With the paperback of Legacy of the Dragonkin well on its way to completion within the next few weeks (it will debut at the upcoming Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013, so head towards my previous blog posts for tickets and information!) I'd tohought I'd give you all a teaser into some of the art that will be displayed in the book.


As some of you know, my previous artist Alexis M Centeno had to leave the project due to other committments, but her art will survive and appear in the novel. I'd like to showcase some of the work done by my amazing artists, Christina DeVille and Brenna Albert, who both stepped in to complete the artwork and it has been a joy to work for them! Check out some of the art they have done for me. For those who have read the ebook of Legacy of the Dragonkin, see if you can guess which scenes these are from!



I'm really excited about this book and I hope you guys are to! If you want to get a paperback copy early, then head down to the Nine Worlds Geekfest 2013. The book will also be made availalble for release online shortly afterwards.
Watch this space, more updates to follow!




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Top Five Indie Novels That Should Be Made Into Films/TV Shows

A lot of people like to say how they want their favourite book to be turned into a film and/or a TV series. Which I think is pretty cool – I mean, what can be better than your favourite story being shown on the big screen? However, you don’t see a lot of people talking about how they want their favourite indie book being put onto the big screen. So that’s the subject of today’s Top Five blog.


Now, for myself, I would LOVE it if my books were turned into an Anime series or film, done by either Bones animation studio (who did Full Metal Alchemist) or Production I.G – but this isn’t about me. This is about five indie novels that I’ve read that I think would benefit from having a film or TV show made of their story. For any indie authors reading this, if I didn’t name your book I’m sorry in advance. That doesn’t mean I think your book sucks, I just am only limited to just five!


Also bear in mind this is based on books I’ve read only. So here we go, in no particular order.




1. A Ranger’s Tale by Mysti Parker


(Note: This book has had a different cover since this blog, but I don't have the new front cover, so I'm posting the old one)


The book series that helped me appreciate Romance novels a lot more and made Mysti Parker one of my favourite authors. A Ranger’s Tale is the first book in the Tallenmere series and a brilliant Fantasy Romance. It tells the story of Caliphany (a great character), stuck between her own desires and the wills of her abusive father. She’s also stuck between a romance between Galadin and Jayden and has to make some tough choices along the way.


A Ranger’s Tale has such wonderfully crafted characters and a great story (that actually wouldn’t feel out of place if set in modern times) that I think it deserves to be made into a film so that others can be introduced to this great series. Also, given the rise in popularity of Game of Thrones, I think now would be a great time to introduce a Fantasy story that isn’t necessarily about epic quests and slaying monsters, but personal struggles as well.


Who could we get to direct this film? How about Sofia Coppola of Lost in Translation fame? I think she would do a great job with this film, given that there is a lot of great room for character development in this story. She could direct the film from the point of view of the characters (just like the book) so that we get the individual thoughts and feelings of the main heroes – leading it to an open ended story whereby we can let the viewer decide which of the characters they’d like to support. I think it would also be great for Sofia to show off her skills, taking on a high budget idea like this one.


Naturally, I think all of the Tallenmere series could make great films. But why not start with this one and see how it goes from there?




2. A Stiff Kiss by Avery Olive


This novel I think would make a VERY powerful drama. Seeing as it deals with the feeling of loss and regret (and in some ways, forbidden love), A Stiff Kiss is almost begging for a film adaptation of it. It’s a great teen drama that also has a lot of mature elements to it, making it a great coming of age story. If that doesn’t make for a great film then I don’t know what does.


Now, the obvious choice for a director, giving A Stiff Kiss is a supernatural teen drama, this would probably be Catherine Hardwicke, director of Twilight and Red Riding Hood, amongst others. However (and at the risk of upsetting some people) I have to say that I do NOT consider her a great director and her films (at least the ones I’ve seen) are just terrible! Red Riding Hood in particular I just couldn’t finish because it was so bland and uninspired. But, of course, that’s just my opinion.


No, I think a better choice would be Joss Whedon. I know he’s mainly known for doing comic book movies (and of course Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly), but Joss Whedon is able to direct the characters in his movies with humanity and wit, so that even if they are super powered heroes, we never forget that they had emotions at heart. Also, he did direct a movie adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing in 2012, so he CAN do other things than superhero stuff. Also, he’s a great writer and director and I think he will have a lot of fun adapting this story.


Sorry if I upset any fans of Catherine Hardwicke with my earlier rant. I’m sure she’s a nice person, I just don’t personally rate her as a director. I also feel that A Stiff Kiss is such an emotional story that it deserves a director that will be able to bring out the emotional content in a way that it deserves.



3. The Plaza by Guillermo Paxton


Never have I been so moved by a novel than this one. The Plaza is a gritty, no holds barred story telling of how the city of Juarez, Mexico has been destroyed by the drug barons. It is a city where the drug lords rule and crime is rampant. Even the police, the ones dedicated to protecting the public interest are just as corrupt as the criminals they are supposed to capture. I even said at the time when I reviewed it that this show deserves to be made into a film or TV show if only to bring awareness to the problem.


I can think of no other writer/director that would have the job of bringing this story to life then David Simon, creator of The Wire and co-creator of Treme. Giving that The Wire alone shows have been praised for their gritty realism and honest portrayal of a city in peril, who better than to bring the harsh reality of Juarez onto the screen. It would be a very bleak series and not one that everyone could stomach – but you can’t really tip-toe around this subject and, personally, I think this would be one of those situations where the more violent and disturbing it is, the more people will come to appreciate the dangers that the people have to suffer.


Normally Simon does tend to film a lot of his stuff in real urban areas to get that realistic feel – but I don’t think he’d be able to do this in Juarez for real. The drug barons would probably not let that happen. But I do think that The Plaza does need to be made into a TV show to show everyone what a crisis the city is in. It may actually go some way to solving the problem. I hope.




4. Vaalbara: Visions and Shadows by Michelle Horst


I kinda gave this book a bit of a hard time in my review of it, considering that I was torn between the concepts and thought it was maybe a little too dark for a YA novel, given that it dealt with the destruction of humanity as we know it. But at the same time I also thought that it was a really good story, chronicling the rise of Alchera from a simple nobody, to the one responsible for saving some of the human race so that they can make way for a new perfect world. It kinda had mixed messages, but at its core it was a really great story and, again, another “coming of age” tale.


Needless to say, it would definitely make for an exciting, high budget action film that, as long as they keep the pathos and human spirit aspect, could end up being a great summer blockbuster. As such, my choices for bringing this film to life would either be Peter Jackson or Steven Spielberg. After all, when it comes to creating blockbusters that have heart, who better than those to? You only have to Google their names to see the list of classic films that they have done to know that they would be perfect for this choice. Admittedly, they would probably try to go for a less darker ending and maybe change the emphasis a little for the purpose of making it more of a “happy ending”, but for the most part I think they could do a good job.


I just really hope that Roland Emmerich doesn’t get his hands on this, as he’d just turn it into a high budget disaster movie for the sake of it with little storyline or anything. An adaptation of this deserves time and effort to make it into an enjoyable film that is both dramatic, yet poignant. But if done right, I think it will make an amazing film.




5. One Hundred Years of Vicissitude by Andrez Bergen


Being a huge fan of Studio Ghibli, I think this is one book that would make an amazing Anime film – especially if Hayao Miyazaki got his hands on it.


Why do I think that? Because One Hundred Years of Vicissitude is full of a lot of themes that Miyazaki is fond of. The story is full to the brim of Japanese mythology and history (which he often mixes in), but also intermixes it with the World War and Hiroshima bombings, and Miyazaki is strongly anti-war (so much so that, when Spirited Away won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, he refused to attend the ceremony because he "didn’t want to visit a country that was bombing Iraq") so I think he could do a lot with this.


Not only that, One Hundred Years of Vicissitude has a very strong and interesting female lead in the form of Kohana – and a lot of Miyazaki’s film’s have a strong female protagonist. But not only that, I think the dynamics between her and the character of Wolram would make for a lot of comedic effects.


But the main reason that I think this would work so well as a Miyazaki film is that One Hundred Years of Vicissitude is, for me, a story about personal growth – looking back over your life and learning from the mistakes. Even reading this book, the ending I imagined having music by Mamoru Fujisawa (who has worked on a LOT of Miyazaki films) play over the end to capture the raw emotion of the final scene. I always felt that Miyazaki's films have a lot of heart to them, so this would be perfect for him to direct.


Reading this, it’s almost like One Hundred Years of Vicissitude could have been specially written for Hayao Miyazaki. Therefore it makes sense that he could do a great job with this film.



Those are my choices for the Top Five indie books that could become films. What are your fav indie books that you would like to see as films? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.


Thanks for reading guys. Have a great day!






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