Animorphs

90’s Kid’s TV shows on iTunes…Finally

Recently, I’ve had the urge to watch the Disney movie Brink! since it has been a good four or five years since I’ve seen it.

Hulu has added movies like Johnny TsunamiStuck in the SuburbsTiger Cruise, and a few other Disney Channel Original movies recently.  Yet, I can’t seem to find Brink! on the sites I usually go to to enjoy didn’t have it.  Yet, out of slight lack of something to do while sitting at a school computer, I decided to see if iTunes had it and it does.

While looking at the iTunes page for Brink!, I noticed how The Secret World of Alex Mac also is on there.  It looks like there is just the first and second seasons, as well as a Retro Essential four episode collection.

There is also Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3 of the Animorphs tv series, which is based off of the book series by the same name.  Granted, I doubt I’ll be buying Alex Mac or Anirmophs any time soon, it’s slightly exciting to know that some of the shows I grew up watching are accessible on iTunes.

Animorphs: The Message

In KA Applegates’s Animorphs: The Message, Cassie is the narrator and we get a few more questions about the world of the Animorphs.  We also get more information about the world of the Animorphs.  And these two things go hand-and-hand with each other.

One of the things that we learn right off the bat is the Cassie is that she is sassier than we may have thought in the first three books.  Granted, most of the sassiness we read in the first chapter is mostly how Cassie narrated what was going on with the squirrel morph.

1996 Cover

We also find out at the start of the book that both Cassie and Tobias have been dreaming very similar dreams.  The dreams that the two have been having come off in some ways as a SOS and when they talk to the other Animorphs, they discover that they are the only two that are having these dreams.  The only real thing that Cassie and Tobias know about the dreams that they involve water, so the group decides to go the Ocean – which kills the idea that I had about this being in Montana, but rather on the West Coast – the two hear the thought speak.

With the exception of Tobias, none of the other Animorphs where in morph form, and humans cannot thought-speak unless they are in morph and Tobias didn’t say what anything.  Leading to the wonder: “Who said that” since they knew it also wasn’t Visser Three.

With the group not aware of who the mystery mind-speaker – most likely an Andalite unless another alien race can mind-speak – is and knowing that they are at the bottom of the ocean, there is only one way to figure out who it is.  Morph into dolphins and swim to the bottom of the ocean of course.

2011 Cover

Yet, the first attempt of finding the mind-speaker, the group – minus Tobias – attempts to swim there as dolphins.  As they swim in the ocean, they get into a fight with some sharks and Marco’s dolphin tail is badly injured.  Cassie is the one that comes up with a quick plan for him to unmorph and then morph back again into the dolphin since being injured doesn’t affect the DNA of an animal.

Once Marco is safe again and a whale, yes a whale, tells Cassie where the mysterious mind-speaker is.  Of course, the Animorphs are in a race against the Yeerks and time to reach the mind-speaker that could turn out to be a great aid to them since they have information about the Yeerks that could prove to be helpful.

The one thing that irks me about this chapter in the fight against the Yeerks is that we are given enough information in a sense to figure out that the setting of the story is on the west coast since we know, based off of how it sounds, that Tobias’s aunt lives on the east coast and his uncle doesn’t and since we know that there are black

bears, not grizzly bears, in the area means that there is no way for them to be on the east coast.

All though it seems that the Yeerks don’t know much about Earth, it seems safe to say that the fact that we were able to figure this out doesn’t seem to mean that the Yeerks will.  Then again, it seems that once Yeerks infest their hosts, they are able to read the host’s mind to figure out different things that are useful in terms of controlling the host.  So who knows what the Yeerks do and don’t know?

Yet, we do learn some stuff about the Andalites in the book, such as it will take up to two years for back up to arrive.  Granted, we find this out towards the end of this book.  We also find out that the Animorphs are able to mix the DNA of different specimen within the same animal family, i.e. two different dolphins.

Some things we don’t find out really, even though we get some speculation, is why Cassie and Tobias where able to receive the SOS that they did.

Something that was really nice about this book is that it was the first one where Visser Three doesn’t have any direct interaction with the Animorphs.  It also dawns on the Animorphs that just because they have the power to morph into any animal doesn’t mean that they can’t be injured by anything that is from Earth.

Yet, I have to wonder: since the animal morphs that they have are healed from morphing back into human form, does that mean the same holds true for their normal human forms?

Something else that I have to ponder is if the Andalites knew that the Yeerks where heading to Earth, why didn’t they have more Andalites attempting to protect Earth from the invasion?  After all, it does seem like the Yeerks have had more time than, what the books make it seem, to get everything in place.  I wonder if the Yeerks had gotten to Earth prior to the Andalites defense line had, because it seems that the Yeerks have been on Earth for a while; then again, I did read this series ages ago and I could just be remembering things.

Animorphs: The Encounter

In K.A. Applegate’s third Animorphs book, The Encounter, we see how it has been a hard for Tobias adjusting to being stuck as a red-tailed hawk.

The 1996 Book Cover

The majority of the book’s plot revolves around Tobias’ adjustment to being in animal form since in the first book, he was forced to stay in the morph because of how he couldn’t morph back into human form without giving away the fact that the Animorphs are humans.

Very much of Tobias’ first narrated book gives more of an in-depth view on the other Animorphs.  With Marco and Tobias’s relationship, we see how Marco’s joking nature allows Tobias to feel more human.  We also see how that even though Tobias may believe feel that he and Marco aren’t close friends, Marco helps out Tobias by being able to escape from the mall after Tobias has a small freak out and flew into the mall on purpose.

With Rachel and Tobias’ relationship, we see the crush that he has on her grow and Rachel reveals later on that she’s always known about his crush.  But, we also how that even though Rachel has a reckless side to her, we get to see a more grounded side of her when she and Tobias discuss in her room how he feels that he’s losing a part of his humanity.

With Jake, we see how he is willing to help out someone who he really didn’t know until that night in the first book when they had their first encounter with the aliens.  Tobias reveals a fair amount about Jake: Jake has opened up his families home — mainly the attic — for Tobias to live in and provides Tobias with food; Jake called Tobias’ uncle and told the uncle that Tobias had gone back to his Aunt’s; and we find out that Jake is not only a logical leader, but he also feels emotional responsible for all of the Animorphs.

As for Cassie, we mainly find out that Jake isn’t the only one between the two of them that have romantic feelings for the other.  This is revealed through Tobias’ observation between the two in a group westing after they morph back into humans after the group has a close encounter with almost not making it out of a wolf morph.

We also find out that Tobias fears for the other Animorphs that they might not get out of morph within the two hour time limit since he seems to be losing apart of what makes him human and he doesn’t want that for the others.

All though a lot of the book deals with the characters’ personalities, we also find out another possible reason why the Yeerks choose Earth, and the other planets they’ve invaded, as a place of interest: the natural resources.

The 2011 Cover

I think the reason why this book is as essential as it is due to the fact the feel that, I at least, have gotten about Tobias being a slight mystery compared to the others and how he is the only one that has been stuck in an animal morph.  We also get to learn just how powerful the animal instinct is and how that the Animorphs need to keep themselves grounded in the sense of keeping their humanity.

Cassie basically said it best in the first book about how the group will have to use animal instincts and their own.  I believe that this book and Tobias are the vessel that proves just how powerful the combination can be throughout the whole book.  I’m not talking about being just physically powerful, but the of power human emotion.  All though there was a point when Tobias had been taken over by the hawk’s normal instincts, it seemed like Tobias’ emotions allowed him to perform slightly better as a hawk.

I think that something that is important about this book out of the first three so far is that since it didn’t seem fighting the Yeerks heavy compared to the other two, it allowed us to experience what the Animorphs’ new reality is with this war and the consequences that these teens are faced with.

Something I am looking forward to seeing more battles.  I feel that since the first five books are being narrated be each of the Animorphs, it will take a while for use into the thick of the plot.  The first three books seem to be where we are still learning the rules.

I think that as we also continue, we will really see how this war is effecting the Animorphs since it seems like they are, in some ways, still trying to wrap their heads around the whole thing.  After all, would anyone be able to fully understand what’s going on?  Let alone being in your teens.

Touching again on the possible location: we learned that there are black bears, but not grizzle bears in the area that they live in.  So we presume that they must live between the West Coast and the Rocky Mountains or the midwest.  I want to say that my gut instinct says they live in Montana or somewhere close to Montana.

Yet, I still wonder why the Yeerks choose the city that they are in.  You would think that the Yeerks would of chosen a city and state that is within a 100 mile radius of a major metropolitan city.

Animorphs: The Visitor

The second book of Applegate’s Animorphs book series, entitled The Visitor, is narrated by Rachel this time.  With a different narrator, we also get a more in-depth feel to what is going on in the war for Earth against the Yeerks.

1996 Cover

In this book, we get to see how the Animorphs are adjusting to their new roles as Earth’s last defense.  One thing we see that is starting to be affected is Rachel’s grades.

Rachel, however, understands that her grades are worth the sacrifice as she, along with the other Animorphs, go behind enemy lines by going into Vice-Principal Chapman’s house and not only finds out that Mr. Chapman is in direct contact with Visser Three, but a side effect of having a Controller for a parent.

While being undercover as Mr. Chapman’s daughter’s (Melissa) cat, Rachel and Jake — Jake morphed into a flea on rode in on Rachel without her knowing at first — run into the problem of Visser Three wanting Mr. Chapman to bring in Rachel the cat since Visser Three still believes Rachel and the other Animorphs to be Andalites and he believes that he can get Rachel to morph back into her theoretical Andalite body before the two hour morph limit runs out.

2011 Reprint Cover

Also, Visser Three demands that Mr. Chapman brings in his daughter, or rather Visser Three demands this of the Yeerk that is controlling Mr. Chapman and this causes a momentary problem that may prove to be a benefit to the Animorphs down the road.

The only problem: Rachel has to escape from the clutches of Visser Three and morph back into her human self before she’s stuck as a cat.

Something we learned in this book is that Rachel has two younger sisters, which means Jake has two more cousins. However, we don’t know Rachel and Jake are related in terms of what parent combination.  We also find out that Rachel’s parents are divorced and Rachel and her sisters live their mom.  So possibly Rachel’s mom is how she is related to Jake.

One question that arouse during this book as well, that wasn’t answered in the book, is if there is a limit to the amount of different morphs that the group can acquire.

Something I wondered about as I started reading this book was if and when the Animorphs have children, will the ability to morph and the animal DNA that each Animorph has acquired be passed down to the children?  If so, would both parents have to have to ability to morph or only one parent?  If only one parent had to have this ability, then the question would become: would it be a recessive gene or dominant gene.  All though this is a young adult book, this possibility of passing this ability along to children would of definitely helped to keep the book series going, but in a new direction.

Another question I have is that Mr. Chapman is a voluntary, even though it was through blackmail, makes me wonder how long the Yeerks had been on earth prior to five teenagers becoming our last line of defense.  After all, between the first two books, it seems that the Yeerks have been on Earth prior to the first book and for some time.  This also brings up a question of why the city that we are set in was picking for the first city and if it was the first city.

Something else that I am wonder about is, what is the Council of 13.  I am presuming that it has something to do with Visser Three, all though the hierarchy of the Yeerk chain of command has not been defined yet.

Something else that was brought up in this book is how do the Yeerks reproduce.  After all, if they have already taken over other planets, there must be a way for them to reproduce.  Also, are Yeerks a single gender species?

One thing I will admit is that Applegate did a great job at keeping a similar style of narration thus far between the first book and this one, but enough of a different tone so that we can tell that there is a difference between who’s narrating the book.

I believe from how the first two books and the first chapter of each book went, the overall story is being told from a past tense in a sense, even though the rest of the book is told in a present tense.  So I wonder then how they are recording their story since no year is stated, all though we can possibly presume that it is in 1996 when the book was copy right was issued.

I did simple Google search to see when the first blog was done in the modern sense and it looks like it was in 1995.  So in theory I guess, the Animorphs could be blogging about this war, all though there is no mention of computers being used.  I cannot help but wonder how in theory the Animorphs could be communicating their story since they are trying to keep their identities a secret.

Animorphs: The Invasion

In K.A. Applegate’s first Animorphs book — The Invasion — sets up the basic information for the series.  In the 184 pages, 27 chapter, easy and fun book to read, we learn a fair amount about our five protagonists: Jake, Cassie, Marco, Rachel, and Tobias.

The Orginal Print Cover

Animorphs: The Invasion is narrated by Jake.  Jake starts out with telling us that all he can tell us his is first name, the first names of his other friends, and that’s it for personal information.  We don’t know what town they live.  But we do know that they are in middle school.

Jake also uses a past tense tone in the first chapter, even though he put words in past tense, when he first starts out.  But as he continues, he moves into a present tense tone as we get into the thick of things about Andalites, Yeerks, and the very basic set up the Andalites verse the Yeerks war that has traveled from a distant planet to right here on Earth.

We also learn that these five 13 or 14 year-olds are giving the ability to morph into animals.  Quickly, we learn how Tobias is the only one that is completely fine with everything, while Jake and Marco both just want this to be a nightmare.  There really isn’t much reveled about how the two girls react on Friday night when the five of them head back home through the abandoned construction site that Jake, as far as we are told, is the only one that isn’t allowed to walk through there.

As the story unfolds in this book, we learn that Jake’s brother Tom is acting weird and why, even though Jake doesn’t want to believe the why at first and how Jake really feels about Cassie.

We find out that Marco’s dad is barely keeping it together after Marco’s mom mysteriously dies at a lake, even though no body was found, and that this is a part of the reason why Marco is reluctant to fight this war.  We can presume to a degree that Marco is Hispanic based on the book covers in the series.  Marco also came up with the name Animorphs, which is a portmanteau of “animal morphers.

Tobias’ story is somewhat even sadder.  He never knew either of his parents and the aunt and uncle who have raised him have sent him back and forth between his aunt’s place on the east coast and his uncle’s place.

Cassie is the only African-American of the group and is described by Jake as being an animal love, in part because both of her parents are veterinarians.

The 2011 Reprint Cover

Not much was reveled about Rachel other than the fact that she is Jake’s cousin.

During the course of four, possibly five days, that this book covers, Applegate does seem to do a pretty good job at setting up a story with plenty of story arches and plot lines.

For a book that is written for young adults that is the start of a 54 books that are directory in the story arc and several supporting books that help the story line, it is a great start.

One line that Applegate wrote really well that made me laugh was

“‘Creepy’ Rachel said.  “Like if you took cheerleaders, combined them with gym teachers, and made them all drink ten cups of coffee.'”

When I first read that, I laughed at the description.  Granted, I had read this book and the other ones in the series about 10 years or so ago.  So it wasn’t the first time I read this book, but the fact that after all of this time that it was funny when I first read it this time attests to how Applegate was able to write a book that is both good for someone in the designated age group and that big kid at heart.

All though we aren’t told a direct location of the town, I believe that since we’re given information about Tobias’ aunt and the feel that his family doesn’t have a load of money for his aunt and uncle to ship him across the country.  More than likely then, the location is then somewhere near the east coast.

Also, from the tone of this book and what we are given for information about what’s in the town and surrounding areas, this is probably a rural town.

Even though the setting of what town this is, it is still a fun trying to piece that together because it is a slight mystery that is fun attempting to solve.

One thing I don’t get about how the Animorphs conduct attempting to keep their identities a secret is why they are using their first names.  The reason why this is something I bring up is that possibly I’m reading this book from an adult’s perspective instead of a young adult’s perspective.