Yu-Gi-Oh GX Episode 4: A Quintuple Combination! VWXYZ | Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: It’s the monthly exams, and advancement to the next rank is possible for our boys in red if they do well enough. In an effort to get rid of Judai (again…) Cronos snakes the new shipment of rare cards that just came in for the sake of giving them to Jun so he can make him face off against Judai in his practical test and wipe him out. However, Judai’s not going down so easily.

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The original doesn’t say that the ship has been fighting off attack subs or anything since they left. They just said they need to protect that case at all costs…..Wow, with several battleships and helicopters, that briefcase must hold something incredibly valuable and not something silly.

Oh they’re rare Duel Monsters cards….yeah, that’s worth tens maybe hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment and manpower to secure during a journey. Then again, Kaiba owns this place, so I can’t be too surprised that he’d burn this much money for cards.

Also, the captain says to prepare for landing not to speed up. Hope you like crashing, dub.

While I’m shocked that they left in Shou praying to Osiris for help, they leave out the reason why he has Monster Reborn cards everywhere. He’s being symbolic because passing the monthly exam and possibly advancing him to Ra Yellow will be like resurrecting him from the dead. Also, Shou doesn’t imply that not passing this test will leave him in Osiris Red forever like Syrus does.

Speaking of the test, why exactly are they having an advancement test so soon? I can’t imagine much real time has gone by in the series. They only just enrolled.

They remove a sweatdrop from Hayato as Shou leaves.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Judai just keeps repeating that he’s late whereas Jaden says that Chumley made him a five course breakfast presumably to make him miss the test. This was slightly poked at during a dub line insertion where Chumley said he’d go to plan B, however, this plan doesn’t make sense to me. If he’s partaking in the exam too (which he shows no indication of doing over the course of the rest of the episode, in fact I’d be hard pressed to say that he ever leaves the dorm), cooking him all of that food and supposedly eating with him would make him just as late as Jaden.

The lady recognizes Judai as a duelist and points out that he’ll be late since he has a test today. He replies by saying it’s no matter because he can’t ignore an old lady in trouble. In the dub, the lady believes Jaden’s from the auto club and Jaden says to not let the red jacket fool her because he’s just a person doing a good deed……Wait, red jacket? What does that have to do with an auto club? Am I missing something?

Daitokuji says nothing while Banner points out that they have 45 minutes left in the test.

As Shou sleeps, he keeps saying “Big bro, sorry.” in his sleep I guess because he feels guilty for leaving instead of ensuring that Judai got up even though he did try several times. Judai walks up to him and whipser-yells “Unforgivable!” Shou wakes up and Judai says that studying to the bone has no point if he’s just going to sleep through the test.

In the dub, Syrus keeps saying stuff about dueling in his sleep. Jaden walks up and says he didn’t know this was an oral exam. Syrus wakes up and Jaden says maybe Syrus should focus more on sleep instead of staying up all night hold Slifer seances…..Oh, we’re passing that off as a séance and not prayer? I honestly don’t know how to respond to that because saying that’s skirting religion sounds incredibly dumb when he was praying to a poster of a Duel Monster.

Also, how did Jaden know he was doing that at all? He was asleep that entire time.

I don’t get it. If this exam is an advancement exam, why are the Obelisk Blues there? They can’t increase in rank anymore besides seniority or graduating. Is it just mandatory testing for them?

Asuka thinks to herself that Judai’s a half hour late and that shows lack of respect/concern over the importance of the written exam. Alexis thinks to herself that Jaden’s 15 minutes late and he better hurry if he wants any chance at finishing.

Daichi’s inner monologue is roughly the same, but he also states that it’s weird how Judai has such poor studying skills and manner in the classroom yet he’s still such a skillful duelist. The dub basically says that his lack of studying skills and poor classroom manner are keeping him from being a great duelist.

They cut out a shot of an Osiris Red as he asks himself how a guy like Judai could beat Cronos.

Judai says that the practical test is what really matters, not the written exam, while Jaden says if there were a test in melodrama, Syrus would get an A. This seems so dumb to me. Why even have the written part if it can be offset at all times by practical duels? Judai/Jaden gets crappy grades and is a crappy student and he fails constantly in his written schoolwork, yet because he’s good in duels he constantly skates by, even supposedly being the closest one to advancement in Osiris Red since he beat Chronos in the entrance exams despite getting abysmal marks on the written portion of that too. I know practical skills do count for a lot, but you can’t make the written parts practically moot in exchange.

I find it funny, in a weird way, that the only students piling on top of each other and going crazy for the shipment of rare cards are the boys. I don’t even see any girls in the room.

The Group of Students Pounding the Door (dub): *robotically* “Guards! Guards! Guards!”

………….WHAT THE UNHOLY HELL WAS THAT!? Why were they talking like that?! What were they repeating “guards” in unison!? Why weren’t they raising their voices?! What the hell did I just witness?!

In the original, the students just ask what’s going on….

The envelope originally said ‘Sold’ in Kanji whereas the dub envelope is predictably blank.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The girl at the counter looks mad when Judai runs up to them because he calls her ‘old lady’ (maybe mistaking her for the lady from earlier) before correcting himself and saying ‘miss’. In the dub, Jaden does call her ‘counter girl’ which could be kinda offensive I guess, but it really just looks like she’s bitchy for no reason.

“SP-Pack” is removed from the booster pack.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Judai looks sad during the conversation about the booster pack because Shou accidentally calls Judai a mutual enemy, which is from his conversation with Hayato earlier. In the dub, he looks sad because Syrus implicates that without the booster pack Jaden may fail….I don’t see why. Jaden’s beat Crowler, I think he can beat other Slifer Reds…

Finishing off that conversation, Judai just tells Shou to take the deck so that they can use the time they have until the practical exam to perfect their decks together. In the dub, he says he may fail sometimes but he never fails.

The old lady, Tome, introduces herself properly to Judai and Shou while she doesn’t do that yet in the dub and instead calls Jaden ‘Auto-club’ while telling him that she owns the card shop.

Syrus: “How do you know her, Jay?”

Jaden: “Uhh, I think it was the carburetor.”

What the? That doesn’t answer his question at all.

You’re seriously telling me no one in the school recognized Crowler? I know he had on a hat and coat as a disguise, but he wasn’t changing his voice in the slightest and you could still see his long trademark blonde hair.

Jun’s friends don’t clamor over Chronos’ ‘style’ with having a bunch of cards in his coat like the dub does.

Jun points out that it’s Chronos and includes that ‘it’s the guy who got beat by Judai’. In the dub, he says ‘You look better all covered up.’ Yeah, make fun of your teachers. That’ll get you ahead.

Daichi originally thinks to himself that if Judai wins they’ll be in the same dorm and it seems incredible that a first year rose up so quickly. In the dub, he thinks the duel is a trap and only a fool would accept.

They insert shots of the characters talking to extend the scene.

Judai calls Jun ‘Manjoume’ while Jun corrects him and says ‘Manjoume-SAN’. This can’t be mirrored in the dub, really, so Chazz just says ‘Bring it!’

I guess the whole thing of calling Winged Kuriboh ‘partner/aibou’ like Yami and Yugi used to do is never going to be included like it really never was in Yu-Gi-Oh either.

The duel is one turn in (just Judai/Jaden making a play) and all he did was summon Elemental Hero Clayman and we get those overly dramatic splitscreens with other characters gasping. *Gasp* “He made a very basic first move with an otherwise unimpressive monster! My heart can’t handle this excitement!” I think they just wanted to pretend it was a really epic move or something since we were cutting to commercial, but come on, that’s just unreasonably lame.

Eyecatches:

A zoom in on Daichi as he’s talking and a far away shot of the duel is removed.

A kinda far shot of Jun talking is removed.

Jun has already explained the other special ability (Switching one of Judai’s creatures into attack mode) but this time we get the splitscreen on Shou and the shot of Shou is him reacting to the fact that Clayman has such low attack and is now in attack mode. In the dub, since they removed the shot of Chazz talking, he had no time to explain the card before the splitscreen. Instead, the splitscreen basically interrupts Chazz and Syrus just wishes his turn would end already before Chazz finally explains.

VW-Tiger Missile is changed to Heat-Seeker Blitz, which actually sounds better.

Chronos clamors over Jun’s skills while Crowler basically says Jaden’s not as impressive as everyone thought.

Shou says playing in defense mode isn’t like Judai. This line is omitted in the dub and we just cut straight to Bastion explaining that this could be all he can do right now. I should mention that Syrus also says that it’s not fair, and I would fault this on 4Kids since that’s not the same line Shou had (he just said ‘B-but’ there) but Shou has also had a slight habit of saying certain legit moves weren’t fair and even said so earlier when Jun showcased the abilities of Frontline Base.

Asuka thinks to herself that this can’t be all Judai can do right now. In contrast, Alexis says the duel is a complete mismatch and asks ‘How can he duel when he doesn’t know what he’s fighting?’ What does that line even mean? Cards are played in concealed manners (face down) all the time. It’s hardly a newly conceived tactic. Plus he only has one card face down right now.

Unless she’s talking about the fact that Chazz seems to have plenty of new cards in which case boo-friggety-hoo. Like anyone really shows their opponents their entire decks before dueling. Jaden also has new cards and has fought Chazz before so I can’t make heads or tails about what she means by this.

They cut a shot of Chronos gushing over the battle and how Judai will lose soon.

Another mention of ‘Manjoume’ ‘Manjoume-SAN’ is omitted.

Eh…this next one is a change, but technically it’s hard to call it wrong. A Hero Emerges allows the opponent to select a card from the opponent’s hand to summon at random if it’s a monster. Jun chose the card on the far left while Chazz chose the far right. The shot of Judai grabbing the card is kept the same. The thing is, neither version indicates which perspective is supposed to be used here; Jun’s or Judai’s. The original chooses Judai’s (Judai’s left) while the dub chooses Chazz’s (Chazz’s right) yet both can be correct. I’m still going to fault 4Kids here though because they have the original script and there’s really no need to change the line since it can make sense from both angles.

Another one I’m uncertain about noting, but here goes. Judai says he trusts his deck, and as long as he has monsters willing to fight by his side in his deck, he’ll never stop fighting. In the dub, Jaden says he’s not done because he has all sorts of ‘vicious monsters’ waiting to get at Chazz. The original instills loyalty and trust in his monsters and his deck as a whole while the dub is just macho “I’m gonna kick your ass with my scary monsters!” stuff.

Well, this is weird. Before, the SP-Pack text was the only text removed from the booster pack. The logo was left alone. In the dubbed flashback, the logo and text are both removed now. Guess they got digital paint happy.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Not TOO happy, though, because before the little white oval where ‘SP-Pack’ was written was also removed, but this time it’s not. Consistency is fun.

The dub omits mentioning that Winged Kuriboh can reduce an opponent’s attack to zero with its special ability with his V-Z’s own special ability (I really hate cards that have a laundry list of special abilities. It’s understandable when the card is insanely difficult to summon, but seeing as how cards that are insanely difficult to summon constantly get miraculously summoned in this franchise, it’s hard to not get annoyed by it.)

Judai: “Our life points are the same at 1000 now. Wouldn’t it be funny if I drew a monster that had 1000 or more attack points right now?”

Jun: “What kind of crap are you spewing!? As if it’d be that easy!”

….It’d be pretty damn easy, really. It’s like…one of the easiest things ever if you have a well-balanced deck. It’s definitely a lot more believable than achieving the crap you’ve done in the span of two turns, Jun. This also isn’t present in the dub, it’s just Jaden gloating more or less.

Love the stock crowd gasp sound effects, 4Kids. You’re really amping up the quality.

I love how the other duels on the arena already concluded and absolutely no one was interested in watching them.

Samejima says the trust in Judai’s deck, the loyalty to his cards and his passionate dueling soul are the reasons that Judai is being promoted to Ra Yellow. In the dub, Shepherd just says that a Slifer Red has never fought an Obelisk Blue in the tests and showing great courage to not only take the challenge but also to win is inspiring, thus he’s being promoted. But, again, he beat a PROFESSOR in Obelisk Blue for his entrance exam but was booted to Slifer. Why is beating a student of Obelisk Blue so much more impressive?

Both versions, nice CGI confetti. Hey, did none of the other duelists advance? Is this like a one spot kinda deal? Because, if it’s not, then that means the other duelists got no confetti for their advancement. Nice.

Hayato talks about how insane it is that an Osiris Red advanced so quickly whereas Chumley is talking about making an ad for a new roommate and tells Syrus to make him a grilled cheese.

Judai talks about how he loves red more than the other colors for the reasons mentioned in episode two. In the dub, he talks about how much better yellow seems compared to red, but it’s nothing without Syrus. I should also mention that Jaden says ‘Congrats on passing your practical exam’ which means, yes, we completely skipped over Shou’s duel.

Judai says, in response to Shou’s emotional outburst, that this must be ‘passion red’. Jaden says it’s a good thing red doesn’t stain as bad as yellow……..wait, what? Tears don’t stain, do they? Also, even if they did, why would the stain be more apparent on yellow than red? Unless tears were red colored or—oh nevermind.

Next up, the group heads to a forbidden dorm to face a shadow duelist.


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My Poke-Pinions #(174) 39 and 40 | The ‘Uff Line

Igglybuff

Name: I don’t like Igglybuff’s name. The iggly part isn’t awful, it’s just a shortened version of Jiggly/Wiggly, but they chose poorly when they chose ‘buff’ for the ‘uff part. I think ‘buff’ and I think some overly muscular dude constantly flexing. Well, maybe there’s a good reason for that choice.

Wiki: “Igglybuff may be derived from a shortening of jiggly or wiggly and buff (a pale, soft, flexible leather; referring to its skin).” Uh……yuck. Leather itself isn’t disgusting or anything, but it’s weird that they’d make that reference when talking about a Pokemon that’s supposed to be reminiscent of a plush toy.

Why not use the word ‘fluff’? Is that not the next logical progression in the realm of cutesy ‘uff’ words? What say ye, German name for Igglybuff, Fluffeluff, which is one of the most adorable names I’ve ever heard?

Its original Japanese name is Pupurin, which is just playing off of Jigglypuff’s original name, Purin, but it’s also meant to be derived from the words puchi, meaning petit, or puripuri, which means “angrily or in a huff”….Huff. Another word they could have used that would have fit better. The word ‘fusen’ meaning balloon, is also supposed to be a part of it.

……..I……am very immature……….I don’t care for this name….because it starts with ‘pupu.’You look me in the eye and tell me that doesn’t sound silly.

Design: Hate to say it, but I also don’t like Igglybuff’s design. It’s not horrible, but it’s definitely the lowest ranked among the three in the evo line. The hair tuft at the top is really awkward, like they’re three cysts on its head, and I don’t know what the logic was with giving it red demon eyes when the rest of the line has cutesy blue eyes. I do like how its mouth is drawn in that little kitty-esque manner. At its best, it reminds me of Kirby, which is good, but at its worst it makes me want to exorcise it, which is bad.

Sprite-Wise, Gen II comes off as very creepy.

It’s like they kept the body bigger like Jigglypuff’s but also made the eyes really small. I will say that the sprite for Silver is cute because it makes it look like it’s flying.

And Crystal’s animation is pretty cute.

Nothing much of note until HG/SS where its animation makes it look WAY too creepy.

Although they make up for it in Gen V by giving it a really adorable bouncing animation.

Everything else is alright.

Shiny:

It’s a different shade of pink.

Alright, let me be fair. First, the shiny for Gen II also has green eyes, spiral and shadow for some reason (The shadow thing must’ve been an oversight.)

I like that change because that’s how it should be by default (barring the shadow). Second, I like the shiny’s shade of pink better because it comes off more like bubblegum.

Dex Entries and Backstory: The Biology section of the Wiki mentions that it lives close to freshwater streams and uses the water to gargle when it has a sore throat…..Does someone want to tell the people at Pokemon that you’re supposed to gargle saltwater to treat sore throats? Drinking freshwater would hydrate you, which is important, and gargling with cold water would feel nice for a second, but the only way to actually soothe and treat a sore throat with just straight water is with saltwater.

Anyhoo, Igglybuff is really bouncy. So bouncy, in fact, that if it starts rolling away, it will surely bounce out of control and be ‘impossible to stop’ which sounds like absolute hell. I’m just imagining there’s an Igglybuff out there that once rolled away and has never stopped bouncing.

Its legs are so stubby that it chooses to bounce everywhere instead of walking. It has a soft plushy body that feels like a marshmallow, and it even has a pleasant sweet smell that calms its foes.

Oddly, despite its evolutions, the Dex entries also state that not only is Igglybuff not very good at singing yet but it also can’t sing for long periods of time without developing a sore throat because its vocal chords are not fully developed yet. However, it is constantly practicing and gets better and better over time.

Igglybuff’s design is derived from balloons, rubber balls and powder/cream puffs. Combined with its soft, marshmallow-like texture and singing ability, it’s also said to be based on plush toys that play music to help them fall asleep, which I find to be very cute.

Before I move on, I will say that my opinion on Igglybuff lightened quite a bit as I was researching for this post. The design has grown on me a tiny bit more, and I like the aspect of it being like a plush toy, even if that doesn’t really translate given how shiny it looks. Definitely more balloon/rubber ball vibes than plush toy.

Jigglypuff

Name: Jigglypuff has an adorable and fitting name. It’s origins are….pretty obvious.

Its original Japanese name is Purin, and the origins are the same as listed in Igglybuff’s section. I like Purin more than Pupurin, for obvious reasons, but I still don’t think it fits very well. I mean…..pudding…..is not really “soft.” It’s gooey. They’re referencing the flan-like pudding in this regard, but my statement still stands. You can call it fluffy, being all eggy, but I would never, in a million years, connect pudding to Jigglypuff. Maybe some sort of puffy chewy pastry or something, but not pudding.

Fun Fact: In German, it’s called Pummeluff, which is much better than Purin and very adorable.

Shiny:

It’s a different shade of pink.

BUT

……It also keeps the green eyes throughout.

I really, really, like green-eyed Jigglypuff. Yes, it’s a terribly bland shiny overall, but I just think the contrast between the green and pink works better than blue and pink.

Dex Entries and Backstory: You probably know Jigglypuff’s main claim to fame by now – it sings a lot, and its song lulls people and Pokemon to sleep. The Dex entries are same old, same old until we hit Sapphire where it notes “When this Pokémon sings, it never pauses to breathe. If it is in a battle against an opponent that does not easily fall asleep, Jigglypuff cannot breathe, endangering its life.” Wouldn’t it just, ya know…..stop? Usually, if you try a move and it fails, that’s it. You don’t sit there for minutes on end waiting for it to succeed.

It has really big eyes, massive lung capacity, a wide vocal range. Etc. I think the most interesting entry is Ultra Moon, however, because it notes that “Recordings of Jigglypuff’s strange lullabies can be purchased from department stores. These CDs can be found near the bedding area.” I have never seen a Pokedex entry that looked so much like an ad.

‘Do you like Jigglypuff’s jams? Then check out its Greatest Hits CD available at your local PokeMart! You’ll get such hits such as “Song of Jigglypuff”, “Song of Jigglypuff”, “Song of Jigglypuff”, “Song of Jigglypuff” and its platinum hit “Song of Jigglypuff”! For more of Jigglypuff’s songs, visit Spotify, Pandora or that stupid radio function on your PokeGear that you never use.’

In terms of design, there’s nothing really of note that we haven’t already gone over except that Jigglypuff was possibly based on the legend of the moon rabbit, which is why Wigglytuff has bunny ears, why it eventually became a Fairy type (which are associated with the moon) and the fact that it uses a Moon Stone to evolve. Mmmm….Can’t really agree 100% there. Outside of evolving with the Moon Stone, nothing relates this line to the moon or rabbits. Maybe you can make the argument for Wigglytuff, for obvious reasons, but not Jigglypuff. It looks nothing like a rabbit. If anything it has little kitty ears. Also, why would the moon rabbit be a balloon? Is there something I’m missing there?

Wigglytuff

Name: Wigglytuff is one of those names I go back and forth on. It is cute and a natural fit for a final evo of a cutesy line. However, the wiggly part does kinda bother me a little. I think of wiggly things, I tend to think of worms. Also, nothing about balloons or bunnies makes me think of wiggling either.

The tuff part I’m perfectly fine with. It’s obviously meant to be ‘tough’ but it could also be in reference to ‘tuft’ like a tuft of hair a la Wigglytuff’s little hair tuft. Also, not for nothing, but I desperately want to draw Toph as a Wigglytuff now. And yes, it would be called Wigglytoph. And yes, there’s a 50/50 chance it would look like something out of a nightmare.

Its original Japanese name is Pukurin, which is, by far, the best Japanese name of the line. It also means it’s a Pokemon I can fitting call ‘Pookie.’ In addition to the name origins already discussed, the ‘ku’ part might come from pukupuku, which means cute and chubby, kurikuri, which means big and round, or fukureru, which means to expand or inflate. All very fitting and cute theories

Fun Fact: In German, it’s called Knuddeluff. Germany wins this entire evo line. Hands down.

Design: I really like Wigglytuff’s design. I love its bunny ears and its little swirly hair tuft and the more marshmallow-y vibe you get from it. Not entirely sure I’d say it’s cuter than Jigglypuff…..maybe it’s a rare tie in that regard.

Sprites: R/B is the tiniest bit derpy.

Yellow is fine, but WOW they went hard on the pink. The back sprite isn’t nearly as dark. What the heck happened there?

Gen II’s shade of pink is very sharp. I think it’s a bit too much. Gold has a nice sprite…

….but what is Silver doing?

Trying desperately to point at something important?

Crystal has a little dance and a butt wiggle and I kinda love it.

Also, it looks like they fixed the coloring on Crystal’s sprite. The coloring for this Gen basically made it nearly identical to the shiny version, so that change was even more appreciated, Crystal.

Not much else to say about the other Gens. They’re all varying amounts of adorable.

Shiny:

Again, it’s just a different shade of pink with green eyes. I do like this shiny best out of the three because it’s a really nice shade of purplish-pink. It’s like an orchid color.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Did you know that Wigglytuff is rubbery and can inflate itself? Then you know 90% of what’s covered in its Dex entries. Other than that, they really like talking about how soft and luxurious Wigglytuff’s fur is, even though it just doesn’t come off as a furry Pokemon to me. Also, it has big eyes, which is obvious, but did you also know that they are covered in tears and can wash away dust?……Like……most eyes? Cuz they can.

I’m really surprised that they mention absolutely nothing about its singing prowess. Isn’t that supposed to be the main hook of this line, outside of being a balloon? It’s like Igglybuff is the rough aspiring singer who needs work, Jigglypuff is the one kinda making a name for itself and Wigglytuff retired early because the music business is BS.

Next up, it’s time to get batty with Zubat, Golbat and Crobat.


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Yu-Gi-Oh! Episode 13: Trap of the Metamorph Pot! Flame Swordsman in Danger | Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: Bakura, suddenly appearing from nowhere, challenges Yugi to a duel using his friends’ favorite cards shuffled into his deck. He accepts, but not before Bakura reveals something shocking – he has his own Millennium Item – the Millennium Ring. He uses its powers to separate the group’s souls from their bodies and inject them into their favorite cards.

What’s more is that Bakura is not really Bakura. He’s an evil spirit inhabiting Bakura’s Millennium Ring who forcibly takes over Bakura’s body whenever he pleases in order to collect the Millennium Items for himself. He believed he could easily steal the Puzzle if he removed Yugi’s soul, but he was wrong. Yami takes over Yugi’s body after Yugi’s soul vanishes and vows to win back his friends’ souls during a Shadow Game.

———————————————

Honda is actually a gun buff in the original series, which explains why his favorite card is the Cyber Commander. However, I’m shocked they let Tristan actually have a gun. He’s a CYBER Commander, so it’s probably a laser gun or something, but still. Maybe 4Kids was still in that weird phase where they would allow guns on screen but only under certain circumstances, like with Pokemon.

Tristan: “According to this tombstone, I’M DEAD!“ First a gun now a reference to death? Walking on the wild side today, eh 4Kids?

Also, the tombstone is edited to show Tristan’s name instead of Honda’s.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

When a duelist suffers a loss of life points in this shadow game, they suffer physical pain. When Jonouchi beats Bakura’s White Magical Hat, Bakura clutches his chest and groans in pain. In the dub, he suffers no pain and only scowls.

Regular Yugi doesn’t have any inner monologue running during the duel because his soul is supposed to be in the deck. Only Yami is in Yugi’s body during the duel. In the dub, Yugi’s talking in his head like nothing is different.

Fairly minor, but in the original, Yugi and Yami have been keeping the spirit a secret from the group. Yugi knows that there’s a spirit in the Puzzle in the Japanese version. In the dub, he just says he doesn’t really know about the spirit, but that he feels a voice calling out to him when he duels sometimes. Nice try, Yugi. Trying to cover up your cheating ways.

Yugi: “Wait a minute, Joey, I was just played so I have to move.” Just because you summon a monster doesn’t mean they’re obligated to move at all during that turn. Any monster currently on the field, unless otherwise restricted by magic, traps or effects, can act. This is true even in Duelist Kingdom. Yugi really, seriously should’ve known that….In addition, Bakura also had a face-down magic or trap card out, so it would’ve been really dangerous to attack right then….No wonder Yugi always needs to use Yami. He sucks at this.

The Just Desserts card is way overpowered in this season. Since the duelists only have 2000 LP each, you could easily end a duel in a few turns if your opponent has four monsters out.

Yugi attacks a face down monster AGAIN just because Joey said Yami was cooler than him.

Not only does 4Kids get the card information wrong on T’ea’s card when she activates her effect (I think they used the template for the Dark Magician) but they also made the card upside down…Which is weird, because they had it the right way when she started to glow….It was still the wrong CARD, but it was at least facing the right way.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Also, uhm….Huh?….The Magician of Faith’s card effect activates when it’s flipped face-up. She may have come out of hiding, but her card was never flipped face up/put in attack mode. Unless Yami did this without announcing his move.

In the original, Bakura said the merchant also sold his father a Duel Monsters card. In the dub, Bakura just says the merchant said the Millennium Item had something to do with the game.

——————————-

I like this duel arc. Seeing the group as Duel Monsters is a lot of fun even if their lives are on the line because of it. Isn’t it so coincidental that all of the group’s favorite cards have human traits? Yami Bakura was always the best enemy in Yu-Gi-Oh to me, even if I feel really bad for poor Bakura. I don’t know why he was destined to have such an awful Millennium item when he’s so kind.

Next time, the Shadow Game ends. Can Yami keep his friends out of the graveyard until the last life point depletes?


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Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapter 24 Review (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

Hey guys, who remembers that short Yu-Gi-Oh! Spin-off thinger – Capsule Monsters? I sure do!….Kinda!…I remember it existing. I remember watching some of it and being rather bored.

Fun fact: The Capsule Monsters anime, despite being based on an actual game in this old-ass version of the manga (No idea if it’s played the same way, though), wasn’t something the original anime creators wanted to make. In fact, the series never released in Japan.

Also, apparently, according to the Fandom Wiki anyway (I really question whether this is true), despite never once airing in Japan, there is a Japanese version of it. Why they dubbed it and never released it is beyond me.

Who was actually behind this spin-off no one asked for, no one paid much attention to and amounted to nothing but basically being a money sink? Why, who else but the donut bakers themselves, 4Kids?

Yup, 4Kids, for some inexplicable reason, ‘commissioned, produced and editedCapsule Monsters when Yu-Gi-Oh’s original run was reaching its final season. They also did the kinda skeevy thing of re-editing the series into a movie (Two movies, I guess, technically?) and treating it like it was a new movie based on the series. Because that’s never sketchy or annoying, especially when you’re dealing with something aimed towards kids.

At least they released the movie for free for one day on their website for some reason so some people could be made aware that it wasn’t new content….No idea why they did that, but they did.

I really have to review Capsule Monsters at some point, but back to the topic at hand….Uh…well, more Capsule Monsters.

I brought up the anime because, even when that aired, I didn’t really understand how the game was played nor did I feel very compelled to learn because the anime, to my recollection, was quite boring.

Capsule Monsters, otherwise known as Capsule Monster Chess/Capmon in the manga (sometimes) is Mokuba’s niche game in the manga. I could’ve sworn he was also a player of the game in the anime. I would have bet a substantial amount of money on that….but he’s not. Mokuba not only isn’t an avid Capsule Monster player in the Capsule Monsters anime – he’s not even in the anime. Poor Mokuba. Were you too busy being kidnapped to be in the anime?

What of the first depiction of Capsule Monsters in the manga? Let’s find out.

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The manga actually explains fairly well how this version of the game is played. Capsule Monsters are dispensed in gashapon machines, which I just learned are supposed to be called ‘blind boxes’ in America, but I have never once heard that ever. They’re also called ‘gacha’ machines, and if you play pretty much any MMO or mobile game in existence, that word awakens something visceral in you.

Yugi explains how the game is played, for the most part. The capsules all have one number between one and five on them – this indicates their attack power. Within the capsules are….the uh…well, the monsters, of course. Each player unleashes five monsters onto an 8×8 game board, of which there are 50 different types. This game area mimics the planet of ganastar….I’m not sure why that matters, but okay.

All of the monsters stay within the capsules when they’re setting the game up, so each side starts the game mostly blind to the monsters the opponent is playing, outside of their attack strength. Monsters all have their own ranges, types of attacks and effects, so strategy comes into play when moving the pieces and battling the monsters. Whoever destroys all of the opponent’s monsters wins.

Yugi’s in line to get some capsules when, in typical Yu-Gi-Oh manga fashion, he comes across an asshole. This asshole kid cuts in front of him in line then says Yugi’s too old to play the game, being in high school. This game is equated to chess and yet it’s aimed squarely at middle school and younger?

He lets Yugi get his capsules eventually, though, but Yugi’s money gets lost in the machine. He, strangely, loses his shit and starts swearing at the machine, shaking it violently. Bit of an OOC moment for him. I know he’s passionate about games, but he’s never one to have a temper like that. The old man who owns the candy store that the machines are in starts screaming at him.

Suddenly, Mokuba Kaiba makes his debut appearance, looking just as frightening and creepy as you’d expect in this manga’s art. Apparently he’s such a Capsule Monsters baller that the other kids go silent in his presence. Like Seto is a champion in Duel Monsters, Mokuba is a champion in Capsule Monsters.

So, did you guys forget that you’re reading Yu-Gi-Oh’s early manga days? You did? Oh, let me remind you by showing you this scene where Mokuba, the small child, orders these small child children of the kid nature to attack Yugi. They have a taser………..a switchblade……………..And….I’m not kidding…..A fucking Uzi.

What kind of world does this manga take place in?! Not even the chapter with an actual murderer involved a fucking UZI.

Mokuba wants to fight for his big brother’s honor, so he’s kidnapping Yugi and taking the candy shop’s gashapon machine (After throwing the owner a stack of money to pay for it.)

They bring Yugi to their secret base, which is just a warehouse, so they can play. Beforehand, though, Mokuba’s little goons try to intimidate him some more, saying stuff like he’s wimpy and they’ll burn down his house. Ya know, typical schoolyard stuff.

They cross the line when they try to touch Yugi’s Puzzle, however, because, under threat of smashing it and trying to grab it from him, Yugi instantly shifts to Yami, who flips his shit and screams at them to let go of his Puzzle.

The goons are shocked at this change, but, surprisingly, Mokuba’s not because apparently Seto told him about Yugi’s ability to transform. *shrug*

Mokuba says he stole the gashapon machine to make the capsule picks completely blind so he wouldn’t have an unfair advantage using his own capsules…..then he reveals in inner monologue that he rigged the machine, paid off the candy shop owner from before Yugi even got there and rigged the machine to give him the better capsules anyway, so….I don’t know why he even bothered trying to act like this was fair.

Also, again with making the Kaibas cheaters. Granted, in the 2000 anime, the one and only time you see Mokuba duel, against Yugi, he cheats by trying to steal some of Yugi’s star chips in the middle of the duel, but that was in desperation to keep Kaiba Corp from being sold to Pegasus.

Yugi’s capsules result in attack strengths of 1-1-1-2-4 while Mokuba’s are 4-4-5-5-5….I think anyone with a single brain cell could have deduced that Mokuba rigged the machine just on this result alone without him immediately telling us, but okay.

Before they start, Mokuba lays a bet down. Now, you’d imagine that, considering he’s playing for his older brother’s honor, his wager would be something like Yugi would have to kiss Kaiba’s feet or give him all of his Duel Monster cards or something, right?

……His wager is, if he wins, he’ll CUT OFF ONE OF YUGI’S FINGERS! He’s even holding a folding knife as he says it. What the hell is wrong with this manga?!

Yugi says, if he wins, Mokuba will suffer a penalty game.

Anyway, as expected, even though they laid out the rules at the beginning, much like with the part with Duel Monsters, they just pretty much do whatever without explaining anything. Like, what determines which piece moves how far and when? Why do formations matter all that much if you can move freely? If attack level is all that matters in battles, then doesn’t that mean the match can be decided before they even get on the board? If monsters have effects or abilities, like duel monster cards, where is this information held? In some sort of book or something? Because there’s no text on the capsules or in them.

Yami gets pummeled, only managing to kill one of Mokuba’s creatures on a stalemated attack, so he had to sacrifice his most powerful creature for that.

He’s down to his last monster, and it seems all is lost until, luck of all lucks, Yugi reveals that he was luring all of Mokuba’s monsters into a diagonal line, and his last monster, which is level one, just so happens to have the ability to literally insta-kill any monster with its attack, even if it’s level five. And it shoots this ability in a diagonal pattern, meaning all of Mokuba’s monsters are defeated in one shot.

If you think this situation stinks at all, it’s because Yugi totally pulled this win out of his ass.

Mokuba may be a cheat, but he’s still a Capsule Monsters champion. And even if he cheated in those championships (We don’t know that, but he cheated here and it’s suggested that Seto cheated in his championships, so it’s not a far cry to say Mokuba did too) he definitely knows the game well enough to play the part. He’s making observations about strategy and formation as if he’s a veteran, so he has to be pretty skilled. All of the monsters get revealed at the start of the game, meaning he had to know what that monster was and what ability it had, so he should have been very careful to not do anything dumb like line up literally all of his monsters in a perfect diagonal line right in front of him.

How does this low-level creature have such an awesome ability anyway? If it’s a simple straight diagonal line of insta-kill damage, he could kill a monster from the other side of the board if he aimed carefully. And it insta-kills even the strongest monsters, too?

Granted, they did set this up visually. As you’ll note in the first shot of the game board when they’re done setting up, the bird thing that has this ability is off on its own, further back than his other four creatures, which were meant to cut off Mokuba’s creatures on the way there and set up this line.

The problem is, though, he gambled a hell of a lot here. I know the Heart of the Cards thing has basically become a meme by now, but come on – this isn’t even Duel Monsters. Is there a Heart of the Capsules? The luck in play here is insane. What if Mokuba caught on to his game and avoided the diagonal line? What if he sent one monster off to approach from directly ahead or off to either side? Or what if he spread out his monsters even a tiny bit more? If he didn’t get all of those monsters in one shot, he definitely would have lost. And Yami never once seemed the slightest bit concerned that his plan wouldn’t work. He was sporting a cocky smirk the whole time like his plan was foolproof when it was about as airtight as a moth’s nylon stocking.

I feel like this is the anime version (Season Zero) of the duel with Seto where Seto just pulled a sudden ‘It’s a draw lol’ card out of nowhere at the last minute, right as he was about to lose.

Anyhoo, Yami sentences Mokuba to a penalty game, which is being trapped in an illusion of being sealed in a Capsule Monster capsule (and it has a level one mark on it – nice shade, Yami.) But before it’s closed, Mokuba teases that this isn’t over. Seto is setting up for his revenge against Yugi with something called Death T.

Also, this chapter ends with a pretty cool illustration of a little dice game you can play to try and beat Kaiba. I might try it for myself sometime. It’s a neat little addition.

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So, uh, this chapter was pretty messed up, wouldn’t ya say? Uzis and switchblades and threatening to cut off people’s fingers – all brought to you by elementary school students. Fun fun.

The story is alright. I still think that ending was complete bullshit, but it’s not like this series is a stranger to bullshit wins. Mokuba’s a friggin’ psychopath in this version, and I can’t really tell if I love that or hate it. In the 2000 anime, he’s kinda Seto’s morality pet more or less, but, on his own, he’s really not all that interesting. He’s basically Tristan just with more of a purpose (behind the scenes anyway) and 10000% more kidnappings. He’s a nice little kid with a good sense of justice and very strong loyalty to Seto, and he’s very forgiving, but he’s just not that interesting.

Can I even say this version of Mokuba is more interesting, though? Because he’s just a nutcase. There’s nothing likable about this future mob boss besides his desire to avenge his brother’s honor, and that’s kinda watered down by the fact that he doesn’t even try to face Yugi/Yami properly before cheating. The little prick cheated before he even MET Yugi.

I actually like the concept of Capsule Monsters here, even if I’m still kinda confused about it. I hope it becomes a little clearer when we revisit the game later (at least in Season Zero. We might revisit it again in the manga, I’m not sure. The manga and anime will stray away from each other quite a bit in the future.) I’m not holding my breath, though because even the Wiki page for it says some concepts are just flatout poorly explained, like abilities.

I thought I remembered Capsule Monster toys being a thing when I was younger and turns out I was right. It was very shortlived, obviously, and didn’t get a lot of distribution in stores, but apparently they pushed it enough for me to remember it being in my local Walmart for probably a month before it faded in obscurity.

Also, it seems like this version of the game is played differently from both the manga and anime versions.

Not only that, but apparently there was a video game version of Capsule Monsters made for the Playstation in 1998 called Yu-Gi-Oh! Monster Capsule: Breed and Battle that was only released in Japan. Golly, a video game released in 1998 where you collect monsters in small balls and raise them to help them evolve into stronger monsters that you will use to battle other monsters. How did that not immediately take off?

To my surprise, there was another video game that came out in 2004 based on Capsule Monsters for the PS2 titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum. I had followed the Yu-Gi-Oh video games pretty well when I was a kid, but I didn’t have much money to buy many of them, and I never once remembered seeing this game in stores. Maybe I did – the box art is just the slightest bit familiar – but, again, they didn’t seem to push this game very well. I remember them pushing the Dungeon Dice Monsters game, and I bought that, but the Capsule Monsters game is a blur at best.

Also, it’s weird that they spelled ‘coliseum’ like that, isn’t it? You don’t typically see it spelled that way. It’s usually spelled ‘Colosseum.’ Ya know….like, uh, hm what’s a good example?…..Uhm….Oh, how about Pokemon Colosseum….the game that was also released in 2004?

I’m just poking fun at the Pokemon connection, really, because Capsule Monsters does seem like a fun game and honestly isn’t a ripoff of Pokemon, given the board game aspect and chess-like strategies. I just think it doesn’t do a good job of explaining how different it is out the gate. You hear ‘capsule monsters’ and see that the blurb is just ‘collect, raise and battle monsters in small balls’ and you can’t help but think ‘Pokemon rip-off.’

And, to be completely fair….the concept name of Pokemon was literally Capsule Monsters, so they’re kinda asking for it.

I think if it had taken off more I would’ve definitely gotten into it. Maybe not so much because I was spending enough money on Yu-Gi-Oh cards without buying packs of small toys that probably cost even more. It just seems like, no matter how much they tried, they couldn’t get this game off the ground. They really hit their stride with Yu-Gi-Oh/Duel Monsters, but I think you could still make something great with Capsule Monsters. It’s a shame, really. Seems like a missed opportunity. Maybe the timing wasn’t right or something.

Final Notes: This episode is only extremely lightly referenced in episode 11, and that’s because the Capsule Monsters game played there is basically a mirror of the one played here. Literally everything else is different, including there being a different opponent.


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Sailor Moon (DiC) Episode 11 (8 for the Dub) Usagi vs. Rei, Nightmare in Dreamland | Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: Usagi, Rei, Ami and Luna are spending the day at a local amusement park to investigate a string of mysterious disappearances that they believe is linked to Jadeite and Queen Beryl. However, Rei and Usagi’s constant bickering is holding back progress on the mission. When Ami gets trapped in a youma’s spell, Rei and Usagi need to….kinda sorta work together to save her and the other people who have gone missing.

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Title Change: The title of the episode is actually accurately translated, but they omit a part. It’s actually Usagi vs. Rei, Nightmare in Dreamland whereas the dub just has Nightmare in Dreamland.

A short bit of the opening scene where we see the gate to the shrine and see Usagi, Ami and Rei talking with Luna is edited out.

The book that Usagi likes is actually a Sailor V manga. In the dub, she says it’s a book called “Sailor V Goes to Hollywood.”

Ami wasn’t talking to Luna about Usagi and Rei fighting in the original. She was too enthralled in Rei’s encyclopedia.

The girls reacting to Luna’s outburst is edited out.

Originally, Luna tells the girls that they need to focus on finding the princess. Usagi then asks how they’re supposed to find the princess, and someone says something like there must be a big sign on them that labels them as the princess. Luna hesitates, and Rei says, if there’s not a big sign, then it’s impossible to find her…..Right, that makes sense. No one ever found anyone without a giant sign on their bodies labeling themselves as such. In the dub, Raye and Serena keep fighting because the moral of this story has something to do with getting along.

Ami suggests some investigative work to help them along with their Sailor duties and shows them a paper with a story on an amusement park called Dreamland where many people have disappeared. Luna thinks it’s a great idea, and they decide to go. In the dub, Amy suggests that they go to Dreamland as a sort of vacation because they’re going stir crazy with each other. The thing about the disappearances is brought up like an afterthought. Hey, we should go to this great new amusement park that happens to have a bunch of people go missing in it!

The newspaper with the story on the amusement is removed of most of its Japanese text in lieu of English scribbles. I guess that’s better?

Subbed:

Dubbed:

They translate that but they don’t translate/remove the plaque with the giant Japanese text outside of the park? Weird.

The security guard, who is obviously Jadeite, doesn’t deny that people have gone missing in the original. He just says that they haven’t gone missing at the park and the disappearances have nothing to do with the park. In the dub, he basically says the missing people in their entirety are rumors set forth by their competition. Yeah, tell that to their families.

Some of these line reads. “I’m gonna REPORT…you.” That didn’t even match the mouth flaps. Nice job, DiC.

Usagi tells Rei that insults are no way to treat her senpai…Usagi’s older than Rei? Or is she talking about the Dream Princess? Anyway, no American equivalent so she just says Raye is wrong.

The castle thing is called the Candy House. In the dub, it’s called the Sweets Dream Factory.

In the original, as Usagi picks up the rabbit and shows Rei, Rei brings up the fact that Usagi’s name means ‘rabbit’. Since Serena doesn’t mean ‘rabbit’, the dub couldn’t do the same thing, so they just had Raye berate her for not being serious again.

The panda driving the train (It’s an amusement park thing) says he’s getting the stop signal. In the dub, he says he has to stop for two turtles crossing the tracks.

The dub kinda makes Serena look like a hypocrite when she makes fun of Darien for being on the train when she is as well. In the original, she also makes fun of him and even laughs at him for riding the toy train, but it’s for riding it by himself not for doing it at all. I guess riding the toy train with another person who is way too old for that makes it better, Usagi?

Ami thinks that they might find some clues in the Candy House. In the dub, she thinks she can’t believe Serena’s missing out on all the free sweets.

Originally Usagi was crying at the door because she was worried about Ami. In the dub, she whines since the door to the Sweets Factory is locked and she wanted a cookie…..

Because of this line change, Raye tells Serena to think of Amy, to which she replies that Raye’s being mean. She’s being mean for pointing out that you’re being a crybaby over a cookie when your friend could be in danger? Right.

Also, she immediately follows this up by asking Raye if she has any feelings……..What? She’s (in the dub anyway) the one worried about Amy. You’re the one being an inconsiderate ass worried more about your sweet tooth than your friend. In the original, Rei tells Usagi to stop crying over everything, to which Usagi replies by asking if she even cares about Ami and calls her cold-hearted.

What the hell is up with way they make Raye’s English VA say “Mars power!” in this episode? She draws out the word Mars so long like she missed a cue or something. “Maa….aaa…..a……aaaaaa….rrrrSSSSSSSS POWER!”

Rei’s original chanting for her removal sutra is gone again. In fact “Entire series edit” this because I’m pretty sure we’ll never hear it.

Rei also does the same chanting she does when she’s just performing her regular priestess duties. In the dub, Raye says she calls upon the power of Mars and fireballs or something.

I have to say, this is definitely the creepiest monster-of-the-week they’ve had so far. I mean, look at this thing.

And before that, her headless body floated above the ground and spun slowly in mid air. Eheghyghgfhsd.

The shocked stillframe of Rei and Usagi with pure silence is priceless and I’m so glad they kept that the same way in the dub. It’s like they’re mirroring the audience going ‘What the hell!?’

The demon this week is named Durimu (Dream), but in the dub she introduces herself as “your dream dolly”….which….may or may not be creepier.

Usagi mentions something about maidens as she’s trying to do her motto. Rei stops her to ask what she means by maidens, and Usagi brushes her off. In the dub, Raye asks Serena if she wants her to just blast the demon to which Serena declines.

As Durimu starts another dream, Luna tells Usagi to not fall for her tricks again. Usagi says that she won’t, but Rei says she’s not so sure about that. In the dub, Luna tells Serena that she has to learn to use her tiara faster. Serena says that at least she acted brave and didn’t let Raye take over, but Raye replies that she should’ve.

I love how Rei’s all “Hey, don’t cry because Ami might be in danger or worse, we need to focus on the mission!” but the instant she sees Tuxedo Mask she completely loses focus and gushes over him.

A short scene of Rei and Usagi looking very confused about what just happened is edited out. I don’t know why.

Any reason why Tuxedo Mask’s mouth isn’t moving when he’s talking to Rei/Raye and Usagi/Serena?

Wow, nice pointless panty shot on Rei as she jumps down onto Durimu, original version. The jump is kept in, but they carefully edit out the panty shot. Not getting a screenshot for that one.

This episode brings us a pseudo new attack move made by Sailor Moon and Mars. Sailor Moon uses her Moon Tiara Action while Mars uses her Fire Soul to turn the tiara into a kind of fire/molten tiara. It’s really cool.

Serena: “Moon dusted!” First of all, awful pun. Second of all, that was a joint effort with Mars so that doesn’t entirely work. In the dub, Usagi just says “We did it!”

So no one in the park is going to question why a giant well-known castle in the amusement park suddenly vanished? Okay.

Usagi yells at Rei for supposedly having a bigger ice cream than she has, but Rei argues that Usagi picked out the one that she wanted herself and it’s ridiculous that she thinks hers is bigger. Usagi then tells Rei to trade, but she refuses and chases her around until she spills her ice cream. In the dub, Serena yells at Raye for slurping her ice cream, Raye says she should talk, calls her a meatball head and Serena chases her until she drops her ice cream.

Next episode, it’s the love boat! And demons and stuff.

Previous Episode


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My AniManga Clash-ish Thoughts on Angelic Layer

I haven’t watched Angelic Layer in quite a long time, but it still holds a place in my heart. It’s a rare shouJO gaming anime that had likable characters, a fun game to focus on and a decent story. It had its problems, but none of them were so severe that it badly damaged my perception of the series.

When I started reading the manga of Angelic Layer, I really thought I wouldn’t even wind up writing one of these posts because, frankly, there wasn’t much to talk about. The anime and manga, as far as I can remember anyway, were pretty well matched for several volumes. There wasn’t much in regards to changes to the story or characters, so what was there to say other than ‘Yeah, they’re pretty much the same.’?

But then I got to the ending.

And here I am.

Before I get to the ending, I would like to discuss some things regarding earlier parts of the anime and manga. As far as I remember, the anime had a more gradual buildup to Misaki eventually becoming the ‘Miracle Rookie.’ There was more in regards to her playing Angelic Layer with other people before she was flung into tournament play. In the manga, she has one match before she’s entered into the regional tournament.

Because of this, her ‘Miracle Rookie’ status irks me a bit more than it did in the anime. She is about as rookie as a rookie can be before she’s entering a major tournament – and she winds up winning that tournament. Then it’s immediately followed by the national tournament, which she doesn’t technically win, even though she does in the anime.

I say she doesn’t technically win the tournament in the manga because, even though she lost in the finals to Athena, the very last scene is the crowd cheering on her tournament win? (The announcer says ‘Here is the winner of our tournament!’ when she walks out.) She’s wearing a royal cape thing and crown at the end of the tournament – Hikaru (her Angel) even gets the same outfit. The epilogue has people calling her the Angelic Layer Champion, too. I don’t get it. Was Athena like a set champion to try and defeat once she won the main tournament? Like how there’s a league champion to defeat once you defeat the Elite Four? I dunno.

Either way, she somehow managed to make her way to the finals at least despite being almost completely new to the game when she started out in the tournament bracket as a whole.

She does practice a lot and studies frequently in between matches and tournaments, and it’s not like her record is flawless, she does lose a couple times, but so many of her matches are Hikaru struggling → Misaki struggling → Can’t give up! → Oh I figured out how to win against this highly-experienced veteran. → One-hit defeat. (And by that I mean the only hit that actually does damage. A lot of the time her hits will connect but do nothing.)

Many of her victories are one-hit wins, even though her Angel is built mostly for speed and is very light. There’s no reason why she should have such powerhouse hits that they either cause impressive ring-outs or deplete an Angel’s full health bar in one go. This is especially frustrating considering that Hikaru takes so much damage during these battles yet she always manages to keep hanging on, despite the fact that, again, she’s not built for defense – she’s built for speed.

Even when they make a huge multi-volume long deal out of Hikaru’s mystery weakness to build tension, it’s not that significant or interesting when revealed (Hikaru’s really light……We already knew that, and it’s been mentioned numerous times over the course of the series. She’s a small model built for speed. Of course her weight means she both can’t land moves as powerful as others, and she, by default, has a disadvantage against heavier models.) and it’s resolved rather quickly and easily.

Coincidentally, her weakness is revealed on a field that gives Hikaru the advantage. They were on a beach layer, so she had Hikaru grab her opponent and dive into the ocean. Since Hikaru is light, she could swim, I guess, even though it’s never established that Angels are buoyant, and her opponent, being heavy, just sank.

Being completely fair, I never got angry at this happening. I just kinda started rolling my eyes after a while and found myself not really immersed in the matches because I came to expect that Misaki would win, which, in itself, is a big problem because Misaki’s supposed to be the underdog. Her motivation is all about proving how small, seemingly weak-looking people can face their toughest challenges and come out on top. She does that, but she does it too easily. I greatly admire her passion for the game and her love of Angels, but she’s just too good too quickly to truly be relatable to anyone in the real world who would sympathize with her.

Moving onto the ending changes, we have two significant alterations to discuss – the first being Misaki’s relationship with her mother/ her mother as a whole, and the endgame romantic relationships.

Starting with Misaki and her mom, Shuko, the story still remains about 50% the same. In both the anime and manga, Misaki doesn’t even really remember her mom much. She left Misaki in the care of her grandparents when she was five years old. Turns out, her mother holds a high position in the company that developed Angelic Layer and is the Deus of Athena – the strongest Angel in the league and the Angel that Misaki saw in a commercial that got her interested in the game in the first place.

That’s where the similarities end. In the anime, the reason Shuko abandoned her daughter was because she had a neurological disease that confined her to a wheelchair. She decided to dedicate all of her spare time to researching a cure/treatment with Icchan, which incidentally lead to them developing Angelic Layer. She was so ashamed of her condition that she couldn’t bear to imagine what Misaki might think of her as she grew older, so she left her in the care of her grandparents. She had hoped that, one day, when she was better, she would reunite with her daughter. Until then, she’d cut off all communication with Misaki and keep tabs on her from the shadows.

After a bit of a dark tonal shift upon their reunion during the national tournament, Misaki and Shuko air out their feelings and work things out before their final match, which Misaki manages to win….even if it is pretty much one of the most asspull-ish wins I’ve ever seen in anime.

In the manga, the reason Shuko abandoned her daughter…….

….is almost insultingly dumb.

Something you should know about me before I go on – I have severe social anxiety disorder and general problems with anxiety. So believe me when I discuss the stupidity of Shuko’s manga backstory.

According to any info page on her character, Shuko has severe social anxiety disorder. However, it’s not actually social anxiety disorder. The manga never once uses the term. She can be out and about and live her life with little issue. She’s seen talking to Icchan and Ojirou numerous times, and, from how they talk about her, it seems she’s regularly socialized with them for years. She’s a famous Deus who participates in many tournaments, and numerous people seem to know her personally.

I’m not saying all of these factors means she absolutely doesn’t have some degree of social anxiety – you can live a fairly ‘normal’ life externally but be suffering significantly internally – but I am saying that, considering how she can cope with her anxiety enough to do all of these things, there’s no reason why she can’t cope with it enough to be with her child.

“So, why isn’t she?” you ask?

Shuko’s problem in particular is being around people she loves. The more she loves someone, the more anxious she gets, to the point where she has ‘panic attacks.’ She loved Misaki too much to be around her without freaking out all the time, so she just flatout abandoned her child at the age of five with, I guess, no intentions on ever returning.

That….is not….how anxiety works…..like even a little. Does the feeling of love make you flustered and nervous? Oh yeah, definitely. It makes everyone feel that way. In people with anxiety, it’s worse, of course, but 1) that’s usually just in regards to romantic love and new relationships and 2) if the anxiety really only comes when you’re in the presence of someone you love, the odds of the core issue being social anxiety disorder are very, very slim. That is either a symptom of some other disorder or it’s just not a thing.

One of the few things that helps alleviate anxiety is having loved ones around. They make you more comfortable, they help pick you up when you’re spiraling and they work with you to help you through the tough times. Why would a loved one make you so ridiculously anxious? Unless it’s a situation where you love them but they’re very abusive or something, but this isn’t the case here.

Lest we forget, she has a freakin’ child. She used to have a freakin’ husband. Which means she has dated, fallen in love, gotten married, had sex, gone through pregnancy, birthed a child and raised it for five years all without noping out of there because of her anxiety. They even briefly mention that her condition must’ve made life for her husband really difficult. Yet, for some reason, when Misaki turned five, she suddenly decided she couldn’t take it anymore.

You could argue that her husband dying (I think he died anyway) was the crux of her abandoning Misaki, but you’d think that one fewer loved one around would make it easier for her to deal with her love-based anxiety. Plus, her husband is never mentioned as a correlating issue here. He was only slightly mentioned at the beginning of the manga.

The most angering part of this whole plotline is that it’s all simply brushed away. After their match, Misaki chases after Shuko to reveal that she knew she was her mother since the match started. And, unlike in the anime where there’s a pretty dramatic exchange of words, their reunion in the manga is more or less comedic. Her anxiety is treated comically (Less ‘realistic panic attacks’ and more ‘cartoony turning red and chibi with little dot eyes.’) Misaki has absolutely no axe to grind with her mother, which is just ridiculous and practically makes a joke out of this whole situation – even more than it already was. In the absolute end, they simply suggest that Shuko try living with Misaki and Shoko (Shuko’s sister/Misaki’s aunt whom she’s been staying with after moving to Tokyo) and Shuko agrees.

In the epilogue, Shuko’s still very much flustered around Misaki, but they work through it by having Shoko basically tell Shuko to chill out and they live happily ever after…..Yup, that’s it. No reason whatsoever why Shuko couldn’t have been doing this from the very beginning. She’s literally just giving a single iota of effort to deal with it and it’s fine now.

Actually, let me be completely fair. Before the epilogue, Shoko mentions that playing Angelic Layer with Misaki more might help because Shuko is more comfortable while playing the game, but that’s it. Granted, there is a lot of value in having an activity that helps reduce the feelings of anxiety – art and games help me quite a bit – but that just feels so cheap and corny to act like Angelic Layer will cure her eventually and that its existence basically saved their relationship. And I mean that literally. Shoko tells Shuko that they should thank the person who made Angelic Layer when she brings up them playing more to get accustomed to each other.

Speaking of Shoko, does Shuko not love her sister enough to panic around her? She’s having a conversation with her normally, albeit with a blush on her face.

I never thought Angelic Layer would make me feel like I was too harsh on the mom from Aishiteruze Baby. At least in that situation it was a traumatic event and fear of becoming an abuser that caused her to leave. At least she tried to reach out to her daughter while she was gone. At least she attempted to better herself. At least she came back for Yuzuyu a year later. Shuko? She just bounced the instant things started getting difficult. She didn’t seek therapy, she didn’t ask for help from family, she didn’t send Misaki letters or try to communicate with her for over seven years, and she lived a fairly normal life after the fact, even becoming the top player of a game in the meantime.

She’s never held accountable for what she did. Misaki forgives her without a thought, Shoko welcomes her with open arms, and she gets to live a happy life with her child even after doing something so terrible to her for such a pitiful reason. Seven years of fully abandoning her daughter wiped away with nary a stain left behind.

Her story may not be perfect in the anime, but having a debilitating disease that leaves you in a wheelchair and being so distraught over your condition that you feel too ashamed to face your daughter anymore is much more understandable than ‘I can’t be your mom anymore, Misaki. Being around you makes me 😳.’ It’s still not enough to warrant never communicating with her for seven years, but it’s better.

They even work in the Angelic Layer aspect better in the anime by saying Shuko helped create it when she was trying to develop a treatment method (or means of helping her walk. I forget.) with Icchan. She naturally became a master at it because she was using it as a means of medical research. In the manga, she’s just an employee at the company that makes the game and, I guess, played it so much that she became a master at it. So much time spent pointlessly playing a game that could have been spent with your daughter and/or in therapy.

I know how much of a struggle it is for anyone with mental health problems to seek therapy, and it’s particularly a problem when you have social anxiety disorder (for obvious reasons. There’s a joke that’s like ‘There was a group therapy session for people with social anxiety, but no one showed up.’) but I’m convinced she doesn’t have social anxiety disorder. She has ‘flustered female anime character’ syndrome. There’s no reason whatsoever that Shuko hasn’t reunited with her daughter by now. There was barely a reason to abandon her in the first place, but there is definitely no reason why she’s left her daughter without so much as a note for over seven years.

In the anime, Shuko is held accountable for her actions, even if she is also forgiven by Misaki. In the manga, no one’s ever mad at her for what she did. Misaki never so much as makes a frown at her. Not only is that very frustrating, but it’s such a disappointing payoff for this whole running plot.

Onto more lighthearted fare, it’s time to talk about the romantic relationships.

In the anime, they tease Kotarou and Misaki getting together for a long while. If we’re gender-flipping the typical shounen formula, Kotarou would take the role of the token girl/love interest. He does know quite a bit about the game, but he doesn’t play it and mostly sits on the sidelines cheering on Misaki. Outside of the arena, he helps her by giving her advice and teaching her about fighting via his karate moves.

Tamayo is Kotarou’s childhood friend who is rather loud, physical and teasing. She loves hugging Misaki and play-flirting with her, and she loves tormenting Kotarou with wrestling moves. As the series goes on, it’s clear that Tamayo has a crush on Kotarou. However, he’s too enamored by Misaki to notice. Plus, by his own admission, he never saw Tamayo as a woman before. Once she makes her feelings clear, things between the two get pretty awkward, but he eventually warms up to the idea of dating her, which they, presumably, do at the end.

Not a romance for the ages or anything, but I did like this pairing. It was nice to skew away from the predictable route of having him end up with Misaki, even if their chemistry was good, and I thought this pseudo-love triangle worked very well. It feels a bit one-sided for my liking, I thought they would make a very good couple over time.

As for Misaki, she ended up with Ojirou, who is Icchan’s step-brother and a very highly-ranked Deus. He adores Angelic Layer and has a strong personal connection with the game, just like Misaki. He’s clearly enamored with her over the series, flirts with her numerous times, and, once they meet in the arena, it seems like the feeling is mutual. By the end of the series, it’s also implied that they start dating.

In the manga, neither of these pairings happen.

Instead, the pairing that you’d expect to happen, Misaki and Kotarou, wind up together (canonically, as it’s established in an epilogue that they start dating officially) and….for some reason, despite never sharing a single line of dialogue or having anything even remotely in common, Tamayo ends up dating Ojirou (again, canonically).

I have no qualms with Misaki and Kotarou ending up together. It’s predictable, sure, but their chemistry is fine and they set up the relationship well.

I am kinda bummed that Tamayo and Kotarou didn’t even get touched upon, but what can ya do?

As for Tamayo and Ojirou……just…HUH?! That pairing had no lead up whatsoever. I don’t even think they properly met. Where the hell did this come from? Their personalities could not be any more different, which wouldn’t be a big problem if we saw them interacting and understood how their dynamic worked, but nope. The epilogue just slaps us with ‘Lol ya, they’re dating now.’ I guess they did share in making Misaki flustered by guessing what her underwear looked like, but 1) that’s dumb as a basis for a relationship, and 2) They never did that together. Again, I don’t think they ever even met before. Ojirou clearly had a crush on Misaki in the manga as well. He never once acknowledges Tamayo.

What’s even more confusing is, somehow, they’ve been dating LONGER than Misaki and Kotarou. The epilogue takes place a year after the end of the national tournament, and Misaki explains in narration that Tamayo and Ojirou have been dating for a month while Misaki and Kotarou have been dating for a week.

Keep in mind, Misaki and Kotarou were practically unofficially dating when the tournaments were going on. How did this all happen? Misaki and Ojirou made much more sense, even if they didn’t have quite as much buildup as Misaki and Kotarou. It feels like a complete afterthought to put Tamayo and Ojirou together.

———————————-

At the end of the day, the anime beats the manga handily.

Reading the manga highlighted the problems with the series as a whole more than the anime did. There’s not really a lot to be gained from either watching or reading this outside of ‘believe in yourself’ and ‘being small/short doesn’t mean you can’t be strong.’ The Miracle Rookie stuff also gets very repetitive, as does everyone constantly focusing on and praising Misaki.

Gaming anime typically don’t have to have deep storylines or messages, but that’s usually because the fun action of the game makes up for that, and fun action in gaming is so difficult to capture in manga panels, especially when the art isn’t that impressive. There were numerous instances where I honestly couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. I still have no clue how Misaki won her second to last match of the nationals. She was struggling, she couldn’t figure out how to win, everyone was worried she’d lose and then, fwoop, she won somehow.

I still really like the concept of Angelic Layer, but, quite frankly, reading the manga just made me yearn to watch the anime again just so I could see the concept done better. Not only do action/sports/gaming anime already have a leg up because they can show action in a more engaging manner, but the anime simply did a better job telling this story. The anime felt like it had more freedom above all else. There was better pacing in regards to Misaki’s development as a Deus, and everything involving Misaki’s mom made much more sense and was far more emotionally impacting that what the manga came out with. The romantic stuff I can give or take, but in my opinion they even did much better in that regard.

If Angelic Layer’s plot interests you, I fully recommend the anime. I had a lot of fun with it back when I first watched it, and I think anyone with an interest in gaming anime will have fun with it too. I still wish we had gotten a spin-off or sequel or something, and I’m forever sad Angelic Layer as a game doesn’t exist….

I can also recommend the manga, but not as enthusiastically. If nothing else, it’s a relaxing little gaming title that never has the ol’ cliché of ‘The fate of the world rests on my ability to play a children’s game!’. It’s nothing deep or introspective, you won’t tear up or yell at your screen, but if the premise sounds at all interesting it will likely entertain you for a while.


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Pokemon Episode 62 Analysis: Clefairy Tales

CotD(s): Oswald – He’s not Seymour the Scientist ™.

Reappear?: No. Also, he’s not Seymour the Scientist ™.

Pokemon: None.

……And he’s still not Seymour the Scientist ™.

Plot: As Jigglypuff happily wanders along singing its song (and putting passersby to sleep, of course) it’s suddenly bonked on the head by a teapot that seemingly fell from a crashing spaceship. It investigates further to find it is indeed a spaceship – filled with…Clefairy?

Meanwhile, Ash, Misty and Brock stop by a local city for some ice cream as their continue their journey to Viridian City. As they enjoy their treats, a Clefairy suddenly appears, but quickly runs off. Misty gives chase, intent on capturing it, and Ash and Brock chase after her to stop them from getting separated. Their unsupervised bags (and ice cream) are snatched by an unseen thief.

Some time later, the trio returns to their table to find their bags and ice cream are gone. They head to the police station to report the crime to Officer Jenny, but they’ll have to wait in line behind dozens of other people who have had random items stolen, much to the confusion of both the police and the victims.

A strange man named Oswald offers a theory – Aliens. While Misty thinks it’s ridiculous, Oswald is able to convince the group of the alien culprits by showing them a picture of an alien space craft. The chef states that he saw that ship on the outskirts of town three days ago, which is when the thefts started.

Alongside Oswald, who is somehow tracking the ‘aliens’ with some sort of device, Ash, Misty and Brock go searching for the ship in order to get their bags back. They, shockingly, seem to find it as a spaceship descends from the sky right in front of them. Two ‘aliens’ emerge, kidnap Pikachu and leave. Turns out, it was Team Rocket using a fake ship hung by a crane on a building above. Pikachu has been placed in a glass case to protect them from his electricity.

Back on the ground, Ash uses Pidgeotto to cut the cable and send the ship crashing down.

As the group and Team Rocket face off, they’re suddenly approached by the same Clefairy from earlier. Jigglypuff also shows up out of nowhere. Before anyone can make heads or tails of what’s going on, Clefairy makes off with the still-imprisoned Pikachu. Team Rocket tries to chase it, but they’re stopped by Clefairy’s Light Screen.

Ash and the others take chase next, but Clefairy escapes down an alleyway. When they arrive at the alley, they find that Clefairy has disappeared. Jigglypuff points out that the sewer is the only way Clefairy could have escaped. They all hop down in the manhole and wind up in a cave.

Much to their surprise, the Clefairy has built a new rocket and spaceship using the items that they’ve stolen around town. They spot the Clefairy who stole Pikachu bringing him into the ship, intending on using him as a power source for the ship.

A countdown to the launch commences. Brock runs off to inform Officer Jenny while Ash, Misty and Oswald infiltrate the ship to rescue Pikachu. When they find him, they’re met with a slue of Clefairy who vehemently guard Pikachu. Jigglypuff walks in and challenges the whole lot of them, shockingly Pounding and Double-Slapping them all into submission.

Jigglypuff enters the control room where the Clefairy who stole its microphone is sitting in wait. The two have yet another slap-down until they’re interrupted by Oswald. He plays with the control panel and accidentally breaks off the ‘joystick’ which turns out to be Jigglypuff’s missing microphone. Jigglypuff immediately snatches the microphone and starts singing over the PA system, causing everyone to fall asleep. As usual, Jigglypuff huffs, draws on their faces and leaves.

When the launch begins, Pikachu is prompted to use a powerful electric attack, powering up the ship enough to take off. The rocket shoots through the launch tunnel and pops up under the road in the city above. Using the street as a runway and a building as a ramp, the spaceship launches into the sky.

Pikachu’s electricity breaks him out of the pod, and Ash and Misty wake up just in time to grab their backpacks and escape. However, they’re much too high up to jump out of the ship. They have one chance – jump down onto a nearby skyscraper as they fly by it. With the help of Bulbasaur, they’re able to land on the skyscraper safely.

Ash and Misty watch the spaceship fly off over the horizon, bidding the Clefairy farewell as they head towards their destination……Little do they know that the Clefairy’s ship cannot make the journey and crash lands at a campsite several miles away. The Clefairy (and Oswald) emerge from the ship and once again begin stealing things to make repairs.

Later, Ash, Misty and Brock meet back up with Officer Jenny and the victims of the thefts. Everyone somehow recovered their stolen items and they express their gratitude to the three before they head off once more towards Viridian City and Ash’s eighth, and final, Gym Badge.

—————————————————-

– Before I even got to the title screen, I remembered why I didn’t like this episode. It is just a cornucopia of stupid and confusion.

– Also, it’s a friggin’ crime, a CRIME I say, that Seymour the Scientist ™ is not in this episode.

– I absolutely hate that the ice cream place they stop at is called ‘Soft Cream.’ That’s just eugh no.

– I know that I tend to not give Ash some slack in areas when he should because he is a kid, but even at ten years old he shouldn’t be double-fisting ice cream cones, getting it all over his face (even on his nose and under his eyes) and slurping it like a thirsty dog. Apparently Delia was too busy teaching her son proper underwear changing habits and never got around to teaching him manners.

– Why does the ice cream box say ‘Lucky’ on the side?

– This perspective is really, really weird. It makes Clefairy look only a few inches tall.

– Misty: “I can’t let this one get away!” Is my memory garbo or did Misty ever try to catch a Clefairy before? I don’t remember her trying it in Clefairy and the Moon Stone.

– Not a single one of them thought to grab their bags before leaving the table? All of their money, clothes, food, emergency supplies etc. are in those bags. Why are they even chasing her anyway? Do they want to fight her for Clefairy’s capture rights or are they worried she’ll never find her way back? She’s not a dog, guys.

– Now THIS perspective is weird. It makes it look like the table and chairs are teeny tiny.

– Ash: *crying* “I never got to taste the chocolate!” Yes, you did. You had chocolate ice cream on your face, you liar. Unless you somehow got chocolate ice cream on your face without tasting it, which is sad and impressive at the same time.

Also, while they definitely should report their bags being stolen, depending on how long they were gone, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume their ice cream cones were just cleaned up by the busboys.

– Chef: “I turned my back and my pot disappeared! My chicken too!” Okay…..So….Why are you still holding the ladle and whisk? What were you making that involved a whisk and a ladle at the same time, for that matter?…..Are you seriously going to the COPS for a stolen chicken and pot?

– Mother: “My baby’s favorite bottle was stolen!” *baby starts crying* Yes, and instead of going to the store to buy another, I decided to stand in this ridiculously long line for however long until I could report this crime to the cops, who will inevitably do nothing because it’s a frickin’ baby bottle.

– Baseball Player: “My lucky bat is gone, and now I’ll never hit another home run.” Again, the cops would do nothing about this.

– Man: “The buttons on my coat are gone!” Are you friggin’ kidding me?

– Woman: “Someone stole the candles off my birthday cake.” You people are insane.

– Kid: “What about my bike horn!?” They stole the horn but not the bike?

– Brock: “I mean, who’d want to steal somebody’s bike horn or the buttons from a coat or the candles off a birthday cake?”

Oswald: “Aliens!”

….

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to discount low-calorie no-sugar knock-off Seymour the Scientist™ – Oswald. And I’m not kidding – they have Oswald do Seymour’s over the top shtick and make him obsessed with Clefairy. The major differences are Seymour was awesome and entertaining and this guy is an annoying kook. Perfect opportunity to bring Seymour back, but nope. Bastards.

– Ash: “How do these guys find us?…..” *snort* Alright, that was pretty funny.

– How and why is there such a clear picture of the Clefairys’ space craft in that book? How long have these things been toting that ship around earth? Also, the chef saw this thing, seemingly on the ground, and didn’t do anything?

– I love how Officer Jenny is doing absolutely nothing about Oswald viciously shaking the chef and shouting at him for information on the space craft. Meanwhile, Ash, the ten-year-old boy, has to stop him. She’s certainly a crime fighter for the ages….

– This is a town where the citizens will rush to the police station (instead of doing what most normal people would do and call) for incredibly minor ‘crimes’ and will actually believe a nutjob who claims aliens stole the items. Then the cops will have a trio of children follow the nutjob, alone, and investigate the crashed space craft, also alone, while following a blinky doodad.……Ash, Misty, Brock….call your folks, have them send new stuff, and walk away.

– Speaking of which, what even is that stupid gadget? What is it actually detecting? Because as far as I see it just goes off randomly, even detecting Misty and Jigglypuff as ‘aliens.’

– Misty: “I don’t understand why we have to be part of this stupid spaceman search party.” Misty, the also ten-year-old, is the only one with sense here.

– Fun Fact: The ‘alien language’ Jessie and James are speaking when they kidnap Pikachu is ‘Nomekop’ or ‘Pokemon’ spelled backwards. No clue whose idea that was, but it’s pretty clever and works well because the word does sound odd yet still like a real language.

– I am willing to give a pass to them for being too in shock of the ‘aliens’ that they accidentally let them make off with Pikachu, but I will not give them one for being too blind to not see the cable attached to the ‘space ship’ and the giant crane on the building overhead. Granted, because they wanted to fool the audience too, this wasn’t visible to us until they were already leaving (the cable on top isn’t even visible in a wide shot – that one was flatout cheating.) but surely the characters should have noticed. At least Misty, the skeptic, should have.

– Ash: “Hey, that’s a crane.” Very good, Ash. Hindsight and post-Pika-napping is 20/20.

– Hey, Ash, Pikachu was in that ship you just made crash probably 50 feet into the pavement below….Oh, also, the frickin’ thing was in a GLASS case, which means he’s probably filleted ‘chu right now. Good job.

– Oswald: “You mean they’re not aliens?” Oswald, goddammit.

– Oswald may be an idiot, but Misty should at least apologize for breaking his dumb useless scanner.

– Oswald: “It took me weeks to assemble that scanner! What will I do if I can’t find the comic book I ordered it from!?” I at least appreciate that the show recognize what a doof Oswald is, and it’s funny that his scanner came from a comic book ad…..but….it took him weeks to assemble it? It’s a little gizmo the size of a cell phone. Why wouldn’t it be sold already assembled? And even if they were that cheap, how much assembly could that thing need? Did you need to solder all of the electronics and everything? What the heck?

– So this little Clefairy had the time and strength to put down Pikachu, remove the manhole cover, grab Pikachu, head down the sewer and (mostly) replace the manhole cover (with Pikachu still in its hands) all before Ash and co., who were like three seconds behind, caught up?

– Okay, it’s crazy for Jigglypuff to just jump down this manhole, especially when Brock said they can’t even see the bottom, but it’s the balloon Pokemon. It will probably be alright. However, it’d be ultra dumb if the humans, who are not small pink sentient balloon animals, jumped down this hole that almost certainly leads to either a quick death or horrible life-changing injuries. Good thing that would never happen, right?

Right guys?

…..Rig–

So, Ash and the others jump down after Jigglypuff.

Because they’re all just….so dumb.

So….

Unreasonably….

Dumb.

Again, even ten-year-olds should know that this is insanely dangerous. Not to mention the fact that this can be mimicked by their younger audience. Yeah, kids. If you see an open manhole, hop right in! You’ll find a spaceship and Clefairy and you certainly won’t wind up in a wheelchair, coma or dead because you fell however far onto solid concrete!

-What the hell is happening here?

Did they find a portal to purgatory?

– Okay, I’m not a sewer expert or anything, but 1) Pretty sure you wouldn’t end up falling through a series of pipes if you fell down a manhole. Again, you’d probably just crash into the concrete below and die. 2) Even if you did, I doubt you’d be able to survive the hit into the pipe as you fell, and they smack into the pipes hard several times. 3) Why would the sewer empty out into a random cave? 4) Why would the random cave they wind up in have no water at the end? There’s no water in any of this equation. It’s a real sewer line, we see the various pipes. Unless the Clefairy built this sewer system themselves, this is somehow a sewer system without water or, ya know, sewage.

– Misty: *seconds after landing in the cave* “Pikachu’s gone. Let’s go.” Nice, Misty. Also, why would you be brave enough to dive into an open, dark manhole but you don’t have the balls to weather being in a random cave to find Pikachu?

Ash: “Very funny.” Was she joking? That didn’t come across.

– *sigh* And now the cous de gras of stupidness…..the Clefairy’s new spaceship. I’m working under the assumption that everything down in this cave was built by the Clefairy and not the theory that, somehow, the Clefairy found and abandoned by working secret rocket launching facility made by humans because that somehow makes less sense to me.

So……all of this…the spaceship, the rocket, the extendable and movable staircase, the launchpad, the giant countdown thinger that descends from the ceiling, everything…….was built….using the most random garbage they could get their little pink fingers on. Baby bottle….pot….chicken….baseball bat…bike horn….birthday candles…..coat buttons….We’re also later shown a golf club, a tennis racket, a radio and a ball. How is ANY of this helping them build ALL OF THIS? I would understand if they were stealing stuff like arc welders, scrap metal, fuel etc. but ice cream? Whatever the hell is in Ash, Misty and Brock’s backpacks?…..Oh yeah, holy crap, Misty, you just got all your Pokemon stolen again. Your bag safety practices have not improved at all since the Farfetch’d episode, young lady.

This plot is probably the most nonsensical in the series so far, and it pretty much just expects to be brushed off with ‘They’re aliens, so they can make whatever with whatever.’

I am perfectly willing to accept that maybe the spaceship itself wasn’t made from junk. But it’s clearly repaired by it, and the rocket still had to have been built from the ground up by junk.

– Brock: “I’ll go tell Officer Jenny.” How? You got here via a sewage pipe that you can’t climb, and considering how long the ride took, I can bet you’re fairly far away. Is there an exit I’m not seeing?

– They have a gear system working with a soccer ball as one of the cogs, spinning on the missing pot….How is that staying there? Either something is piercing it, meaning it would be deflated, or it’s purely friction, which shouldn’t keep it there indefinitely, especially once the ship starts moving. I love how they show a few things here and there to ‘prove’ that they are indeed using the stolen garbage, but you can’t explain away the other 99.99% of the stuff around here. Like the glass power pod thing they’re storing Pikachu in. What is that made from? How did it get made?

– Oh god, the animation on Ash and the others when they run in after seeing Pikachu. This is definitely a budget episode.

– Where did all the Clefairy randomly pop in from? There’s only one entrance to the room and they kinda appeared in front of the pod.

– There is clearly power being fed into this ship somehow. Machines are running and the lights are on. Not to mention, they have tons of power if they can use that huge stadium-level countdown indicator outside. They have to have some substantial source of electricity. Why is Pikachu so vital?

– Before I rewatched this, I thought the Clefairy and Jigglypuff stuff was the worst part of the episode, but now I realize it’s actually the saving grace because their fight is hilarious. Don’t think we need to add fancy attack labels to what is essentially a bitchslap fight, but still entertaining.

– And then Jigglypuff’s curbstomping the other Clefairy because it wants its microphone back is just the icing on the cake.

– Oswald: “I wonder what this joystick does. *breaks it* Oops. I broke it.” Oswald, goddammit.

– I love that Jigglypuff immediately starts singing when it gets its microphone back.

– Ash: *hearing Jigglypuff’s song* “What’s that?”

– Misty: “It’s Jigglypuff’s song!”

Ash: “That’s a song I always get tired of.” And yet you never remember it.

– Jigglypuff sure has gotten lazy with its face scribbles. It used to actually doodle funny pictures. Now it’s just random black squiggles.

– It’s very cute that they used a little plastic hammer to boop Pikachu on the nose to make him attack.

– The Clefairy also built a tunnel system and tracks for the rocket to travel through, somehow broke up the road in secret and turned a massive section of the road into a panel that could be remotely turned into a ramp for the rocket to use. All with garbage.

– Also, all the stolen stuff just falls from the rocket as it’s leaving the hanger. I’m sure it was so vital….or maybe it was vital and the Clefairy are just shoddy mechanics.

– Chef: “Now I can cook my chicken!” You’re a professional chef who only owns one pot? Also, your stolen chicken didn’t fall out. Guess you have to buy a new one….or, if it did fall out off-screen….uh….you’re gonna cook that now?….Ew.

– All of the streets in this massive city are surprisingly void of literally any cars.

– Their runway leads straight for a massive building that, conveniently, has sloped sides.

Also, I know cartoon logic is in play here, but

….screw you.

– Why would they have it set up so that the rocket separates from the spaceship before it’s even cleared the buildings?

– I find it funny that, for a change, Team Rocket is actually blasting off in a rocket.

….It’s at least funny until that thing kills dozens of people because it not only doesn’t have a parachute, but it’s the middle of a densely populated city with no way to control it.

– They’re doing the questioning for me here in regards to Pikachu breaking itself free, but it actually kinda makes the situation worse.

Ash: “I wonder how it cracked open.”

Misty: “Pikachu’s electric attack must’ve been too much for it.”

Ash: “Like when a balloon pops because there’s too much air inside.”

Mmph.

I’m not expecting ten-year-olds with no education to know how this would happen….especially because it probably wouldn’t.

Glass can shatter because of electricity, but, considering the situation, it’s unlikely it would have happened in this circumstance. The speed and heat of a sudden BOLT of lightning, plus the shockwave of the thunder, can shatter glass. However, in the case of Pikachu, he was delivering an even stream of electricity for about a minute. This application of electricity should have heated and melted the glass, at most, not broken it.

Also, it should be noted that Pikachu’s supposed maximum amperage is 1000, while the average lightning bolt is around 30,000 amps.

Ash is right in that air pressure can break glass, but that’s not what they’re implying here. They’re making the claim that Pikachu was just too powerful for the glass to handle, which I sincerely doubt. Even if air pressure was a factor here, I doubt that pod is air tight (unless they wanted to murder Pikachu) like a balloon would be.

I’m no scientist, again, researching as I go, so if you think this is feasible then comment below. I’m actually very interested in this.

– So their bags were just….sitting there….in the same room Pikachu was being held?….Nothing missing from them? Surely, out of all the stuff the Clefairy stole, their backpacks had to have had things that they could have used in the ship.They found uses for a microphone and a soccer ball but nothing in the backpacks?

Why, it’s almost like the missing backpacks were just a flimsy plot device….and, really, that’s what they were because not only did the Clefairy not use anything in the backpacks, but how many times has Ash and co. just stumbled upon the problem of the week and just volunteered to help? The episode could have easily started with them walking down the street and wondering why there’s a huge crowd outside the police station and then they help the investigation.

– Bulbasaur landing on Ash was very cute.

– I commend the Clefairy for being able to make even a slightly working spaceship out of random crap, but it’s hard to be impressed when the thing keeps crashing and then they steal more crap to make another. How many times have they done this?

– It’s pretty dumb of those people to run from Oswald when he’s clearly wearing a cardboard box, a pot and a desk lamp. He’s also speaking clear English and has visible human hands and feet.

– Officer Jenny: “On behalf of everyone, I’d like to say ‘Thank you.’”

Ash: “Thanks!”

No, Ash, SHE wanted to say thanks, silly.

– Ash: “We’re glad you got everything back.” What the….what…..what the…..wha…..How is that even remotely possible?! Some stuff fell from the ship, sure, but if the ship was made entirely from random stolen crap then surely a good chunk of it has to be gone for good. You can’t tie up that bow, Pokemon. It’s impossible.

– I love how absolutely no one is concerned about Oswald.

——————————————

Well, that certainly was an episode.

It’s a massive overload of stupid, even for this show, but it never made me really angry or anything. Mostly, I just feel like my intelligence was insulted. Even for kids, this is some insane stretching they’re doing here. You could say it’s…..astronomical. 😀

…..Yeah, I’m sorry.

Also, it’s kinda weird that this group of Clefairy is a super-smart group of seemingly legit aliens when the last ones we saw just lived like normal Pokemon with the implications of being extraterrestrial.

Don’t even talk to me about Oswald. He’s not making my blood boil or anything, but he is one of more annoying CotDs we’ve had, and he took up Seymour the Scientist’s ™ role and that’s just blasphemy.

Even the art and animation were low grade today.

The one saving grace of this episode, like I mentioned, was the Jigglypuff vs. Clefairy stuff…and even that got a little old by the time the main Clefairy showed up.

This episode wasn’t terrible to sit through, but it definitely did not deserve to be the lead up to the final (Indigo) badge episode.

Speaking of which, holy crap, guys, next time we cover the final (Indigo) badge episode! It’s also the first and only time (that I know of anyway. Much later movies might do this more. I’m not as familiar.) where the movies have interjected with the main series.

That’s right! We’ve got Viridian City! We’ve got Earth Badge! We’ve got Gio-frickin’-vanni! We’ve got Gary in a Gym match! We’ve got MEWTWO, bitches!

And…..and………we have one of the most wasted badge episodes, let alone final badge episodes, to ever grace Pokemon because they spent too much time and energy tying into the movie that they didn’t bother making a good story for the main plot of the series. We’ve got a lot to go over, folks.


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels Episode 19 – Snow, Moon and Flowers Review

Plot: Kaori Nakiri is the sole heir to her prestigious family’s flower arranging school, even though she doesn’t have a desire for it. A woman named Yukina appears shortly after Kaori’s father’s funeral to reveal that she is the result of an affair Kaori’s father had and that she’s entitled to half of the estate. However, she wants more than that – she wants to be the heir to the flower arranging school. Considering Kaori’s complicated extended family and how stern they are with tradition, it’s not Kaori’s place to give the role to her, but Yukina will get what she wants no matter if it’s given to her willingly or not.

Breakdown: I’ll be honest, I went into this expecting to sleepwalk through it after watching the preview and, yeah, I sleptwalked through most of it…..Until the final third where things just got so ridiculously insane that it was like an alarm clock made of confusion went off by my ear.

The first two thirds is what you’d expect. Yukina’s a manipulative snake, I don’t care about flower arranging or the school, Yuzuki’s here, we’ll get to her later, Kaori has a thing with her childhood friend/devoted employee/love interest, Tsukio, and blah blah blah. Get to the helling already.

Well, we do.

And….uhh….huh.

Things get messy when Tsukio overhears Yukina plotting to poison and kill Kaori in order to inherit the land, the house and the whole spiel and sell it off to make bank. She never really cared about the school, dunno why she even brought it up.

When her cohort tries to poison Kaori’s drink, Tsukio takes it from her, chugs it, and tells the guy to tell Yukina that her plan has failed.

…..So, uhm….dude….what the hell? The drink didn’t need to be consumed. Just take the drink and tell her it’s poisoned. Have it tested, if need be. Why drink it?

Tsukio has three days, max, to live, and no one’s trying to bring him to a hospital or trying to get an antidote from Yukina or arresting Yukina or anything. Just, welp, nice knowin’ ya Tsu-boy!

As Tsukio lays dying, one of her family members or whoever that was reveals that Tsukio was actually her brother. Her father used to say something like Snow, Moon and Flowers, which indicated all of his children – Yukina for snow, Kaori for flowers and Tsukio for moon. Tsukio wanted nothing more than to be a vessel for the flowers, which, yes, does sound like innuendo given the circumstances, but the meaning behind these words is actually much creepier.

The guy reveals that the Nakiri school is merely the public flower arranging school that the family runs. There is actually a secret school meant purely for the main branch of the family called the Hyakki school (which I believe is a different pronunciation of the kanji in Nakiri, but I could be wrong. That’s what the opening implied.)

The man leads Kaori to the underground school…..and…..What the flippin’ flapjack is all of the this? Kaori is presented with a wall of skulls. The skulls belong to each of the former heads (haha) of the family. They believed that true beauty in flower arranging can only be achieved by arranging flowers in these skulls. According to them, flowers and death go together hand-in-hand. Her father claimed that you can tell the truth about someone who has died by seeing what flowers grow in the ground over their dead bodies.

…..Kay.

Having contacted Hell Girl on Yukina earlier, Kaori now knows what she must do – she must kill Yukina and crazily arrange a bunch of flowers and creepy plants in her father’s skull. Struck with, let’s call it, ‘inspiration’ she also realizes that Tsukio was dying for this express purpose. He knew about the Hyakki school and wanted her to use his skull to create a beautiful flower arrangement. As he lay dying in bed, she agrees to his final request.

So, yeah, uhm, what?

Where did all that even come from? I don’t know what else to say. I am flabbergasted. I guess I’m happy that it didn’t end up being fully boring, but sudden weird creepiness doesn’t automatically equal quality. Held my attention more, but it was more like it was being held hostage.

Since we’re getting closer to the end of the series, Yuzuki is finally playing a bigger role, if only slightly. Yuzuki befriends Kaori quite randomly, but she’s not really a part of her story. Instead, she gets more of a very minor B plot.

Yuzuki recognizes Ren, Hone Onna and Wanyuudou as workers at the funeral, which is shocking to them because they have the power of misconceptions. Basically, they can be out and about disguised at whoever or whatever, and, if someone sees them as two different personas, they won’t recognize them. They’ll just believe they’re entirely different people. Dunno why they can’t just change their appearances, but that does answer some questions I’ve had lately.

Since Yuzuki is no longer feeling the effects of these powers, it’s taken as an indication that she’s ‘awakening’ and Ai will need to tell her about her fate soon. Sure enough, at the end of the episode, Ai reveals to Yuzuki that she has an inescapable fate of taking over her job. One day, Yuzuki will be the next Hell Girl.

And that’s about it. I already knew that, and it was hardly a secret. I thought they already pretty much established that to us a long time ago, so it’s really only news for Yuzuki. At least things are moving along with her plot, but talk about a snail’s pace.


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Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Invincible

Plot: Growing up with the strongest superhero on earth, Omni-man, as a father, Mark always looked forward to the day he’d develop superpowers and follow his dad into the skies to fight crime. However, at age 17, he had yet to develop a single power. It seemed like Mark was destined for a life as a normal person, like his human mother, until he finally started displaying superhuman abilities. Under his father’s brutal yet caring tutelage, Mark finally suits up and gains his footing as the superhero Invincible.

Breakdown: As a big fan of superheroes and cartoons, I couldn’t ignore the hype train surrounding Invincible – especially after the finale aired and blew up Twitter with shocked and amazed reactions (I managed to avoid spoilers, though.) So, I grabbed a ticket for the aforementioned hype train, went down the tracks for a bit and….

Oh.

My.

God.

Holy.

Shit.

Okay, backing up, the first half-hour of the episode is rather by-the-books coming of age superhero story – even hitting the old beats of ‘gets beat up by bully before powers, badasses the bully post-powers’ and ‘really stupid-looking makeshift first costume.’ However, even if it is a tale as old as time, it was a really well-done version of this old song and dance. Tropes and cliches are fine if you can spin them well enough and make them memorable in your own style.

I love how they set such a grounded tone, how well-written and realistic the dialogue was and how brutal Omni-Man proved he could be, even though it’s obvious he was doing it out of love and concern. When he hit Mark for real, I audibly gasped because damn I felt that. But I didn’t hate him for doing that because, well, yeah, he’s going to have to learn how to take hits like that and to always keep his guard up if he wants to be a superhero. It comes with the job. Better he learn that with his dad than out in the field where he could legitimately get hurt.

Mark’s a bit on the bland side so far, but he’s not annoying or unlikable, which is a great thing because he so very easily could have gone that way. I was rooting for him in the end, especially when he finally donned his proper suit.

I was enjoying it all well and good, but I still had the lingering thought in my head….’Hey, when do we get to all that brutal stuff everyone was talking about?’

Then I got to the last ten minutes.

Wow.

That was one of the most shocking things I’ve seen in ages. It was like Ga Rei Zero’s first episode ending on steroids…and hulking out…..while going Super Saiyan. I really don’t want to say anything more to avoid spoilers, but I’m not kidding when I say my jaw was dropped for nearly all of the last ten minutes or so.

I was going to give this a strong ‘Yes’ before that point, but that ending just completely shattered the idea of thinking about saying ‘No.’ You can’t not continue after seeing that display.

Verdict:

Continue Yes

I enjoyed this first outing immensely and I can’t wait to see the rest of the first season, especially if the finale is as shocking as everyone was saying it was. Probably not a suitable choice for people who don’t have a stomach for gore, and maybe not for people just not interested in the superhero genre (even though, honestly, I think even those people would find something to enjoy) but otherwise, this looks like a really incredible show.


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SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 22: The Holy Dragon Descends

Plot: Aichi’s match with Gouki is heating up, and it’s closer than anyone ever expected. With the Regional hanging in the balance, Aichi can’t afford to make any mistakes. Gouki’s Granblue deck is giving Aichi more than a run for his money, but with Aichi’s newfound confidence guiding the way it could lead him to the win Q4 so desperately needs to move on to Nationals.

Breakdown: No.

Nooooooooooooo.

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Why? Why are they doing this?

Why?

Why god?

Why……are they starting Heart of the Cards supernatural bullshit now?

Let me get this out of the way – this was a GREAT match, and definitely a step up from the start we saw in episode 21, don’t get me wrong. It was neck and neck, it was exciting and there wasn’t a lot of overly dramatic BS. I’m also perfectly fine with Aichi winning. Yes, it’s a bit of a stretch for Mr. Newbie over there to beat a champion so soon, but the match was just close enough for me to not scoff at it. Plus, the plot does need to advance, so squeaking them into Nationals is fine with me.

I will tell you two things I scoff at, though –

1) Aichi’s win was, as I mentioned, Heart of the Cards bullshit. And when I say “Heart of the Cards bullshit” I mean he hit all of the beats so well I’d swear he was auditioning to be a drummer.

First and foremost, he, not kidding, heard a card from his deck calling out to him.

Said deck also glowed.

Then we flashback to a scene I honestly don’t remember occurring where Aichi and Kamui were fiddling with his deck with some cards from a booster pack. Kamui told him to not put this Grade 3 dragon into his deck right away because it was too complicated for him right now, but then Aichi, again, heard the card calling out to him, said card also glowed, and he felt he had to put it into his deck.

Second, lo and behold, of course exactly when he needed the card he drew it immediately and knew how to use it FLAWLESSLY and doing so earned him the win.

And no, the glowy stuff wasn’t just in Aichi’s head. Kai clearly took notice of what was happening. There was even some glowy ball that flew by his head.

I pretty much knew something like this was coming, given the way the OP looks, but….I didn’t want it to come, ya know? I liked staying in the more grounded reality of it just being a regular ol’ card game. I could even swallow the super-realistic hologram stuff, but no, we’re definitely delving into supernatural stuff now…Maybe it will at least not be super-dramatic ‘ahh, win this card game to save the world’ crap, but only time will tell.

2) *Misaki gets her medal for the championship*

Misaki: “Thank you.”

No. No ‘thank you.’ You give that back right now. You don’t deserve it. You did less than nothing. You weren’t even around for most of the tournament, and when it was finally your turn you passed the buck to Aichi for no reason. I mean, granted, doing so probably won them the tournament………..which is EVEN WORSE.

Oh well. We have the Nationals to look forward to. Maybe she’ll do a fraction of something there. And Nagisa and Morikawa were a little more tolerable this episode because most of the focus was put on the match. Even though, if I can give my finger one more wag, they balked out of the marriage arrangement between Kamui and Nagisa. She seemingly accepted the deal, in that she’d lay off of Kamui if Aichi beat her brother, but she didn’t. She basically wordplayed her way out saying she wouldn’t force Kamui to be her husband, but she would definitely be his wife and they’d get married immediately. Although Goki suggests waiting until after the Nationals are over. Yay?

Someone look back and see if that was her exact wording when making this deal, because I think it’s more BS.

Overall, I did like this episode quite a bit, but that Heart of the Cards moment kinda sucker punched me. Great match, but that left a bad taste in my mouth.

Next time, the gang returns to Card Shop PSY to see Team Ultra-Rare, but a mysterious red-haired stranger appears.


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