Ballmastrz 9009

I can’t believe I’m getting sucked into another juvenile obsession, but for the past couple of weeks or so I’ve been hooked to Mallmastrz 9009. Let’s see if I can at least limit this one to just one post that will hopefully just fizzle out.

It’s the latest gimick that Adult Swim has come up with to keep its young-in-their-20s-audience (plus myself) addicted–seems like a kind of cheep rip off of Rick and Morty, but different–I mean, there are obvious connections–Gaz Digzy is obviously a female spin off of Rick the irresponsible alcoholic (genius pending) and Ace is obviously a young naive and innocent Morty on the cusp of his pending adolescence, and Gaz has been thrown, whether at her own hands or otherwise (depending on how you want to look at it), into the position of “overseer” of this young child.

But it is different. Whereas Rick and Morty features the brave duo jumping in and out of reality portals, living the high life in the multiverse, Ballmastrz is secluded to a very narrow and specific time and place (the year 9009 I’m presuming), a kind of post-apocolyptic time and place–you know, a wasteland after the nuclear holocaust, the story of the survivors of what’s left of the human race after what they call the “RAD” wars (still don’t know what that means… but it wasn’t “rad”… it was “bad” :smiley: ). ← Incidentally, I’m suspicious that maybe Christy Karacas, the creator of Ballmastrz, wasn’t inspired by episode 2 of season 3 of Rick and Morty. Ballmastrz almost strikes me as the story of those people–the Mad Max, white trash community that we see in that episode of Rick and Morty–like Christy was inspired to tell their story, or at least the background of that reality in the Rick and Morty world–a sort of “connecting” of his world to that of Roiland and Harmon.

Like Rick and Morty, it’s a whole swack of wacky characters and surreal situations that they find themselves in. But unlike Rick and Morty, Karacas seems to give little importance to explaining the weirdness. At least in Rick and Morty, for example, we understand that fish Rick and Morty are simply from a different reality, a reality in which Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith happen to be fish-like creatures. But in Ballmastrz, we have these guys:

…among the reporters asking Bloody Marinara (I think) questions about the Lepton’s next big game. We have robots, aliens, wolves, cyborgs, and all manner of weirdos just there, plopped right into the scene with no explanation except that this is the year 9009 and, I suppose, anything’s possible. We see a lot of this in Ballmastrz, which is not a bad thing, just one of the differences between this series and that of Rick and Morty.

But anyway, the world of Ballmastrz 9009 is a post-apocolyptic distopia centered around one thing and one thing only: the game! ← They don’t actually have a name for the game, it’s just called The Game. It is orchestrated, overseen, and invented by a sort of demi-god who calls himself Crayzar:

A sort of sex-less androgynous god-like genius who has amazing pearly white teeth and what look like a couple of black eyes, and of course a full dose of lovely albino-like blond hair flowing down to his (her?) shoulders for the full androgynous I’m-confused-which-sex-this-is liberal PC demon-look that makes him (her?) seem extremely intelligent and in full control. And really, I haven’t seen a lot of background development in the series so far (but I’m only four episodes in) about how Crayzar came into power, but it’s clear so far that he invented “The Game” as a solution to the “RAD” wars:

“Use the ball to kill. Use the ball to score. Thanks to the game, there’s no more war.”

…and has ruled over the world (or at least the current game-oriented regime) for thousands of years, and possessing an almost spiritual or supernatural “prowess” over the world–a real fucking freak-of-nature if I may say so myself, but themz the kards this world is dealt.

Anyway, the game isn’t that complicated. There are two teams that play on a field. Each one has a goal. Each team must throw their ball into the opposite team’s goal. ← Like soccer, right?

Here’s where it gets a bit complicated: there are two balls. Each team has it’s own ball. On your way to score a goal against the other team, using your own ball, you may kill other players. That’s right. You may pummel your ball through the guts, or any appendage including the head, of members of the other team. Not to worry. As soon as you die (or seconds before) your body gets teleported into a “reconstruction” chamber where a substance called B.E.H.O. (Biologically Engineered Healing Organism) covers you and within seconds/minutes heals you so that you’re ready to get back in the game.

Also, the balls can talk. They are not only used by the team, but members of the team. They each come with their own unique personalities and styles:

The Host/MC/Narrator of The Game - Team: unknown (might not even be on a team)

Boom Boom Ball (I think) - Team: The Boom Boom Boys

Misfit Ball - Team: Misfit Murder Squad

Ashigara Ball - Team: The Ashigara Princesses

Baby Ball - Team: The Leptons

^ That’s Baby Ball, the Leptons’ ball, the worst team in the league… and at the same time, our protagonists:

Ace Ambling: As with Rick and Morty, Ace Ambling is at least one of the protagonists in the story, and like a toss up between Rick Sanchez and Morty Smith, it’s questionable which between Ace Ambling and Gaz Digzy would be the protagonist (if we had to pick one). But unlike Rick and Morty, in which it really is a toss up (for me at least), I think the candidate for protagonist in Ballmastrz leans more towards Digzy than Ambling. Nevertheless, if there is any glue that hold the Leptons together, it has to be Ace. A young, innocent, naive boy on the cusp of adolescence (he pops a boner in episode 4), there’s nothing he believes in more than teamwork, and on a team like the Leptons, he sure has his work cut out for him.

Baby Ball: The official ball of the Leptons. If you want a succinct description of Baby Ball, think Bender from Futurama. 'Nough said. Even the voice is uncannily similar.

Duleena Duneeda: Duleena Duneeda, or DD as her friends call her, is not only the team “pretty girl,” but a real Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character. A total sweety with a huge heart when you get on her good side, but a psychopathic ball of rage who won’t hesitate to tear you limb from limb when you get on her bad side. For the most part, she seems to at least be able to limit her rage to screaming when she’s around her team mates, but unleashes some wicked kung fu Jacky Chan moves on strangers when they get in her way (see the bar fight scene in episode 7).

Flip Champion: Flip is bar far the weirdest member of the Leptons, maybe even in the entire series (surpassing even Crayzar), and at the same time (IMO), the most complex. He is essentially a human torso who wears a sensory deprivation mask that looks like a traffic light. He willingly removed his limbs so as to (as far as I can tell) perfect his martial arts without having to depend on them (like a crutch). I’m not sure what the sensory deprivation mask is all about, or if it really deprives him of all his senses (he certainly seems to be able to carry on a conversation, suggesting that at least his hearing is intact… or maybe even this is picked up by his well-honed sixth sense), but it presumably works to deprive him of vision at least. He is able to handle objects using his navel as a towel fight between him and DD demonstrates.

But wait, there’s more! Flip has a secret weapon that he puts towards the Lepton’s advantage during game time: UMBILICUS!!!

:arrow_right: :arrow_right: :arrow_right: :arrow_right: :arrow_right: :arrow_right: :arrow_right: :arrow_right: :arrow_right: :arrow_right:

Umbilicus is… how shall I describe it… something like a light saber that Flip can project from his navel. It’s like an extremely powerful laser beam or energy ray that serves as a weapon. Flip gives it a lot of buff (for he’s sacrificed quite a bit to get it: his limbs and his sensory modalities) but almost every time he uses it, it turns out to be a flop. Gaz even grabs it in an attempt to intervene in a bit of horseplay between Flip and Baby Ball, saying, “Enough with the tentacle porn!” The story behind how he got umbilicus keeps changing every time he tells it. The original story, in Flip’s own words, is: “By removing my arms and legs, and wearing this sensory deprivation mask, and the study of dark tantric scrolls, I maximized my anomalous 12 pack rectus [?] of dominance, refocused my chi through the third navel chakra, and awakened the ultimate outy!” A real learned and well disciplined warrior, Flip Champion is.

Lulu: Lulu doesn’t say much. If fact, she doesn’t really say anything. She’s kind of a gentle beast who only growls and snarls. Despite her menacing demeanor, she’s actually quite the cowardly being who’s probably more afraid of you than you are of her. Unfortunately, she doesn’t receive a lot of character development, at least not so far in season 1, but she is a lovable character and an intricate member of the leptons.

Leto Olet: Leto Olet is not only a palindrome but the name of this hippie peace loving passivist who would rather be writing depressing poetry about sadness and despair than manning up and playing as aggressive a game as he can. As pathetic and depressing as Leto may come off, he’s still a likable character, especially by DD who seems to like him so much that she thinks of him as her boyfriend (despite that Leto denies it… probably because he’s afraid of her psychopathic side). Needless to say, it’s unclear whether he and DD are an item or not.

Bob: Bob is the team alien (or so he seems). Like Lulu, he doesn’t say much. But unlike Lulu, he doesn’t make a sound at all. He does seem to have some kind of telepathic ability, however, as he is able to solve Crayzar’s riddle purely with his mind when the Leptons, attempt to enter his lair, are asked, “What does Crayzar miss the most from before the world was toast?” and are given only 10 guesses (not surprisingly, Bob gets it right on the last guess).

Gaz Digzy: Gaz is the newest member to the team. She was originally the star player on the Boom Boom Boys:

^ A team of real bad ass raver kids.

However, an over inflated ego leads to her own demise. Too bored with fame and success, she goes on a drunken, drug-crazed, party-girl rampage, which eventually leads to her downfall.

She becomes sloppy, abnoxious, and sinks to the level of a white trash scum. She goes to “celebrity rehab” and gets kicked out. She starts showing a beer gut:

The crowds boo and hiss. They throw bottles at her. She runs down a back alley and hides. Eventually, Crayzar finds her in a dark alley. He brings her back to his “lair,” where he tells her that he ought to ban her from the game but that would be a waste of potential. He explains that he invented the game to give players a chance to reach their full potential. ← This seems to be what he’s all about, and most likely the underlying theme of the series.

In order to give her a second chance at entering the game, he assigns her to the Leptons. The challenge is to help them win just one game. Helping them reach their full potential is (apparently) how Digzy reaches her full potential. If she can do that, she gets to get back into the game. And that’s how Gaz Digzy becomes a member of the Leptons.

So that’s the gist of it. All this is uncovered in the pilot. But to understand why it’s called Ballmastrz, one must watch episode two. So here’s the spoiler alert. A ball master is a player who, in a manner of speaking, becomes one with the ball. During the RAD wars, a special technology was invented whereby a soldier can synchronize his mind with that of a highly sophisticate machine, an orb that possessed advanced AI abilities–hence the consciousness of the balls as members of the team. When their minds were synchronized via brainwaves, the soldier and the ball could telepathically communicate and thereby enable the “ball master formation”–a kind of physical fusion between the soldier and the ball, becoming a kind of cyborg or a super-human bionic superhero:

^ Yes, Baby Ball ends up in Ambling’s crotch, and much humor is made of this.

The technology embedded in the ball is based not only on AI and telepathy, but instant biological/genetic transformations/mutations. That is to say, so long as they are synchronized telepathically–maintaining the same state of mind, no vying on either one’s part for ego dominance–they can materialize any formation they want. So, for example, in episode 7, Ace and Baby Ball fuse together into a motorcycle formation in order to provide Leto with a ride so that he can compete with “biker dude” (I’ll just call him that) in a race.

During the war, a soldier who could do this with his ball had an amazing advantage over the enemy. In the game, a player who can do this with his ball has an equal advantage. Ace Ambling and Baby Ball turn out to be the first ones in ages (so it seems implied) to be able to do this, and not intentionally at first, for they are thrown together the first few times by Gaz. This makes for the perfect motif to make the series into a comic book superhero type story.

Anyway, I’m not proud of the fact that I like this series. The animation is sub-par, the drawings are underdevelopped, and the deep philosophical intellectualism just isn’t there. To be fair, however, I think the style of cartoonism is pretty cool, but it seems like they just didn’t go the full 9 yards to create a seamless, well-animated, refined end-product with all the bells and whistles–my guess being that they didn’t have the budget so they went only half way–it ain’t no Rick and Morty–but the idea and creativity is rock solid, and if they had the money I’m sure they could take it all the way. One thing it does feature, something it shares with Rick and Morty, is character development. The characters in Ballmastrz are a diverse and interesting lot, and they each get their turn being dissected and challenged, which leads to much character development.

In the end, I’d recommend it. There’s only 11 episodes in season 1 and they’re each between 10 and 12 minutes long… a good bit of entertainment before bed.

One thing you might note, if you watch this series, is its connections to other movies or shows. Many of these are real I’m sure (intentionally or otherwise), but others I’m sure I made up with my firtile imagination (being stoned at the time of watching of course… whatchya expect?). I already mentioned its connection to Rick and Morty–Gaz Digzy being a female version of Rick Sanchez (with the bad ass attitude and drinking problem) and Ace Ambling being an obvious Morty Smith (young, naive, morally pure). They are the amazing duo of the series, Gaz being the responsible (but irresponsible) party looking over Ace. The only thing lacking with Gaz is a Rick-like intelligence. This is not to say Gaz is stupid–she actually seems quite smart–but her intelligence is not emphasize in the series (so far).

There may also be a link to Mad Max as I mentioned, but this may be a narrow focus on one Rick and Morty episode in particular.

Also, Baby Ball reminds me of Bender from Futurama. ← This one might just be me.

In Episode 2, I get the impression that Ace represents not only Morty but Captain Gabriel from my own book and that strange wizard dude on the Misfit Murder Squad reminds me of TG (the Travelocity Gnome).

Now, this clearly is the drugs talking, but it’s weird how this series is causing me to form all these connections to other stories, movies, and TV series.

Episode 3 touches on the synchronization of brain waves between the members of the ball master formation–in the Lepton’s case, Ace and Baby Ball–explaining that if both members’ brain waves are perfectly opposite each other (a perfect ying and yan in Leto’s words)–then they are connected in such a way that they can transform into ball masters. Remind anyone of Rick using Morty’s brain waves to camoflage from the Gromflomites and other Ricks? Baby Ball even calls himself the smart one in the relationship (suggesting a sort of Rick and Morty partnership between Ace and Baby Ball too… but in this case Ace wearing the pants… even if Baby Ball is smarter).

In To Catch a Princess, there’s that ball with wings on the Ashigara Princesses video game, which reminds me of the snitch from Harry Potter. Then in episode 5, there’s Deter who turns into a Golum-like character at the end, which of course reminds me of Lord of the Rings. In the same episode, there’s the stench fumes which fill the room with a green ambience, putting everyone caught in its embrace in a sort of temporary hell, reminding me of the toxic world of episode 6, season 3 of Rick and Morty–Rest and Ricklaxation.

In episode 8, there’s a parody of Thomas the Tank Engine but that’s obviously intentional.

Anyway, Gaz reminds me of my demon. In fact, when I first watched the pilot, I was almost certain she was my demon. It wasn’t just the out-of-control party girl alcoholic and drug addict that she is, but the fact that in the end she was assigned to bring the Leptons to victory, to convert them from losers to winners. ← This is sort of a mythology behind my demon. The narrative I have running in my head says that, in an attempt to escape hell and possess me, the demon (Guessius) was caught almost immediately. God (Crayzar) took pity on him (her?) and decided that rather than send him back to hell (banned from the game), he would give him a probation: teach me his wisdom, become a daemon, and if he can lift me up spiritually, he earns a pardoned. This is almost exactly the ultimatum Crayzar gives Gaz. Help the Leptons win just one game and she’s back in. And who am I in this metaphor? Am I Ace Ambling or am I the whole team, each member being just a part of my personality, including Gaz, my demon, herself.

I swear this was meant for me.

Next up for me: Fooly Cooly… this one I’m going to try without drugs… should be boring.