SSBS – Megaman NT Warrior | Episode 5: Robotic Fish Gone Wild Review

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Plot: Lan, Yai, Maylu and Dex are recruited by the tech-hating/fish-lovin’ Maysa to get out and do physical activities instead of staying inside playing with their NetNavis all day. When WWW causes more havoc in the city by unleashing all of the fish from a robotic aquarium, the kids will have to utilize what they’ve learned about fish by Maysa to fight them.

Breakdown: Today’s episode starts with Maysa, the fish salesman, bursting into the kids’ fancy treehouse base as they fight their NetNavis. Maysa hates technology and NetNavis, so he demands that the kids do as he did as a kid and go out and play.

Now you may be wondering why they’re listening to a man none of them are related to and has no actual authority over them.

Well…

Dex: “Tell me. Why are we doing this, Lan?”

Lan: “Don’t make Maysa mad. Otherwise, he’ll throw fish at me again.”

Pretty sure you can have him arrested for that. Or just….go home?

Maysa makes them all run, even though they all cheat by using rollerblades, skateboards and scooters. Then he makes them do push-ups, climb a tree 100 times, swim 100 laps, then he hits tons of baseballs at the kids, demanding they try to catch them, which is beyond unsafe. They’re literally weathering a hail of baseballs being shot at them at like 40mph.

I’m sorry. I thought you just wanted them to go outside and play. Why are you training them like they’re soldiers heading off to war tomorrow?

As this all goes on, WWW gathers for their next big chaotic plan – letting all of the robotic fish at a local robo-fish aquarium out and cause chaos in the streets. I actually think the idea of a robo-fish aquarium is pretty cool. Designing fish that look and move exactly like the fish they’re emulating while also avoiding capturing and potentially harming real fish is awesome, although I can imagine it’s not the same thing as actually seeing the real fish. Robots are really cool, I love them a lot, but I don’t think robots would be able to adequately replace the experience of seeing the real thing.

WWW creates a bunch of jellyfish virus things, which turn the floor of a virtual space all wavy and watery, and they let out all of the fish.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Letting all of these robo-fish out would probably do nothing, right? Because they’re…ya know….fish? That can’t travel on land.

Well, these robo-fish can FLY……….for some reason. They just float around in the air like it’s water somehow. They were in water in the aquarium so I have no idea why these robo-fish are all designed to float in the air. There’s no need for such a function.

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As the kids finally rest after being run like dogs, Maysa takes the opportunity to teach the kids some ‘fun fish facts’ which means the info being conveyed here is bound to be brought back up when they fight the robo-fish.

The first fish fact is that red sea bream have different colors depending on if they’re wild or farm-raised. Wild sea bream will be lighter/brighter red, and farm-raised sea bream will be darker because they’re raised in more shallow water, causing them to get sun burned.

Now, believe it or not, in some conditions, including being in shallow clear water, fish can get sun burned. However, this is not the cause of the farm-raised red sea bream’s darker color (the reason for that is unknown) and sunburning actually causes the skin of fish to turn whitish in color, not red. In fact, when fish get so much sun exposure that they end up sun burned, it’s a pretty horrific deal.

Most fish have a naturally occurring substance in their body called gadusol, which gives them great protection from UV rays, but it’s not foolproof. Just like with regular sunscreen, if the exposure is extreme enough and long enough, they’ll wind up getting burned.

The sunburns of fish involve the development of terrible sores which leave muscle tissue and cartilage exposed. Fish can suffer from kidney damage and even die if their sunburns get severe enough.

Dex: “No kidding! That’s pretty cool!” A fish having a perpetual sunburn is cool, Dex?

Maylu: “Yeah, I never knew that!” I’m sure you knowledge pool of red sea bream was so deep, too, Maylu….

Next, he explains that longfin tuna or albacore are called as such because of their long pectoral fins. This is correct.

Lan complains about how boring all of this is and asks Megaman if he can get him out of this, but Megaman refuses and says the fish facts might prove helpful. In any other situation, no….none of this information would be helpful or necessary in the slightest, but because of the obvious set up, we know they’ll reincorporate these “facts” in the final battle.

Maysa then states that jellyfish are 90% water, which is also a little inaccurate. They’re more like 95% water.

The robo-fish arrive, and Lan and Yai jack in Megaman and Glide to the location to figure out what’s going on before running away from the attacking fish.

Maysa slices a goddamn robo-bluefin tuna right down the middle with a normal filet knife, which…yeah okay.

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Maysa: “That bluefin tuna weighed 350 pounds!” First of all, it was a robot not a real bluefin tuna. Second, even if it was a real bluefin, how can you tell the weight by merely looking at it? Finally, adult bluefin tuna weigh between 500-550 pounds, so why are you acting like this one, if it is the weight you claim, is some giant? As a robot, it should actually weigh more than a natural one would.

Megaman and Glide reach the aquarium’s server and discover the new watery area inhabited by Sharkman.

Under the water lies the viral jellyfish. Megaman’s outnumbered and can’t do much without a Battle Chip, but Lan is too busy running from the robo-fish, specifically a shark, to upload one. Suddenly, Maysa has an idea. He tells everyone to stop running and stand really still. They do so, and the shark just floats on by.

According to Maysa, sharks are attracted by activity, so if you stop moving they’ll just avoid you.

No….that’s not right.

It’s true that movement has been known to prompt some shark attacks, but for the most part people typically get attacked by sharks for looking too similar to seals (in silhouette) and hanging around bait fish, which is why a lot of shark attacks happen while people are sitting on surfboards or lying on boogie boards. Attacks commonly do happen when a person is basically still, just hanging out in the water.

However, most importantly, sharks don’t hunt humans. There are instances where sharks will attack completely unprovoked, but they almost always try to avoid people. The odds of a shark chasing down a group of people like this is slim.

Not to mention that he’s acting as if movement is either the trigger for the predatory sense and removing it will make them docile or that they have some sort of t-rex-esque ‘their vision is based on movement’ thing, which is also very wrong both for sharks and t-rexes.

The most damning thing about this whole scene is, even if what he said was true, he’s assuming the robo-shark will work exactly like a real shark and not pursue them anymore when they stand still. That might make some sense, but still be very risky, considering they do seem to be designed to emulate the fish as much as possible….except, ya know…..the flying thing. If they were truly designed with as much tech as possible to emulate their respective fish perfectly, there’s no way they’d be floating in the air right now. In fact, there’s no way they’d be functional because they wouldn’t be able to breathe outside of water.

Lan: “And here I thought fish facts were stupid!” His fish “facts” are kinda stupid, Lan, so…yeah.

Maysa: “Having a PhD in fishology finally paid off!” This is likely a joke, I think anyway, but the study of fish is ichthyology.

The shark comes back and chases them all again because Maysa was being so loud. I thought it was movement, not sound, that attracts them, Maysa.

Back in the virtual space, Megaman continues to have difficulties fighting off the jellyfish because the water is slowing down his response systems. Megaman jumps out of the water and back to land again to escape the jellyfish. However, he’s not safe. The jellyfish all merge to create one giant jellyfish virus and float out of the water.

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In the real world, Lan and the others are cornered in an alleyway by the shark, and despite the loud yelling being what attracted the shark before, supposedly, Lan and Dex keep yelling because Lan is frustrated that he needs to leave to jack in and help Megaman but he’s trapped.

Seeing how much Lan cares for Megaman, Maysa offers to be a decoy for the shark so Lan can escape and help Megaman. Ya know, if the shark really does act like a shark, maybe try punching it in the gills or nose a few times and poke its eyes.

Despite their concerns, Maysa runs off, the shark follows and the kids head to the robot aquarium to make a direct link to the server. When they arrive, they’re confronted by a kickass robo-squid. The squid actually looks bigger than the aquarium so where the heck was this thing stored?

Lan knows he doesn’t have time to hesitate, though, so he just maneuvers his way under the squid’s tentacles and enters the robot aquarium.

He connects to the mainframe and uses his Cyber Sword Battle Chip. Megaman slashes up the jellyfish, but it quickly repairs the damage and even grows larger.

So, uh, Glide….you wanna, uh,…..do anything at some point? Glide has literally just stood in one spot this entire time. Why is he even here?

The jellyfish creates a tidal wave that crashes over Megaman and Glide. Lan only has two Battle Chips left – neither of which can help him in this situation. Suddenly, something whizzes by Lan’s face. On the wall next to him, he sees a metal fish skeleton embedded in the wall with a new Battle Chip hanging from it – the Electro Sword. Points to whomever saw electricity being the key to beating the 95% water jellyfish virus the instant they mentioned that fact. Fewer points if you knew that mostly because of Pokemon.

Maysa totally threw that, by the way. There’s no one else it could possibly be.

Also, this isn’t technically Lan learning any lesson. If he saw a new Battle Chip being gifted to him specifically and none of his other Battle Chips were useful, of course he’d use it to try and beat the jellyfish.

Despite being able to easily hit the jellyfish before, it’s too fast for the electrified Megaman to hit now….for some reason. Sharkman comes up and attacks the jellyfish…..oh….Sharkman is Maysa’s NetNavi isn’t he? I bet you anything he is.

This feels a lot like Coach Mountain from Medabots who acted like he vehemently hated Medabots and wanted his students to stop spending time with them, but then it’s revealed that he has his own Medabot and actually participates in Robattles and he’s a big hypocrite.

Megaman has his opening to strike, so he does, electrifying the jellyfish and deleting it.

Glide: “Well done, Megaman! Excellently executed!” Yes, and you did a great job being a useless tin can, Glide. Seriously, why was Glide even here? I swear he never moved a muscle.

Sharkman introduces himself to Megaman, claiming he wanted to do this on his own but Megaman’s help was welcome. Despite acting like an enemy, he asserts himself as an ally before taking his leave.

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Megaman: “Sharkman? I thought he was just a legend.” Really? What’s so special about him?

Lan reunites with the others, giving full credit on his win to Maysa for teaching him about jellyfish. He looks at the fish skeleton thing in his hands and wonders where it came from. I wonder that too because Maysa is nowhere near Lan. Even if Maysa had someone else give Lan that Battle Chip, who could it have been and how? Lan was in a tiny cramped control room and no one else was around.

Cut to Maysa who is standing on top of a tower with the robo-shark impaled on the top pole. What the frick? What happened there? I want to see that battle not Pikachu vs. Tentacruel.

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Also, despite them not fully revealing it in this episode, I totally called it, Sharkman was Maysa’s NetNavi. Reading up a bit more on him, I guess he’s not the same hypocrite that Coach Mountain was and his seemingly anti-NetNavi ways are more of a cover, but if that’s true why did he get so worked up about physically training Lan and the others? Shouldn’t he be happy that they’re spending so much time battling their NetNavis?

————————————-

Even though it was kinda cool to see the robot fish, particularly the squid, and Sharkman’s really cool-looking, the episode as a whole was just dumb and pointless. The fish “facts” they learned weren’t actual facts most of the time, the ones that were facts were inaccurate on the details, and the aspect of robo-fish escaping an aquarium and flying all over town tormenting people is just silly. Not as silly as having the main conflict of an episode being getting a little girl to the potty so she can go tinkle in time, but still.

If I seemed nitpicky about the fish facts it’s only because the episode as a whole relied on them. If you’re going to center an episode about fish facts, then maybe check to see if the fish facts are actual facts. It annoys me so much when kids shows act like they’re being educational but they’re really being half-assed about actually teaching anything. Granted, it’s not like this information would ever be useful in real life, but you should still give an effort to actually teach kids something. Teaching is pointless if the information isn’t accurate.

The stuff about the shark might actually be kinda dangerous. The odds of a kid coming into contact with a shark are extremely low, but if they learned from this show they’d think their best course of action during an attack would be to keep very still and quiet, which may very well get them killed.

I still don’t understand why we dedicated so much time to having the kids do all of that physical training. It never benefited them. It was a huge waste of time. The episode should have been Maysa pestering them to learn about fish for whatever reason the entire time. It is good to teach kids that they should put their devices down every once in a while and go out to get some sunshine and exercise, but if you’re going to make that seem like hellish work with no payoff then you’re giving off mixed signals.

Next time, apparently the next episode is one they skipped and instead we’re getting one about hypnosis and MagicMan.


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My Poke-Pinions | #46 and 47: The Paras Line

Paras

Name: Paras’ name is the same in English and Japanese, and it’s based on the word ‘parasite.’ I get what they were doing with this name, but I spent my entire childhood and most of my adult life believing its name was meant to be a play on the word “Paris”…..Just ‘Why is this little mushroom tick named after a city in France?’

Am I the only one who thinks its name would be a million times better if it was just Para? Heck, even Rasite would mesh better than Paras, if you ask me.

No fun facts this time because nearly every other country just kept Paras’ name the same because I guess no one gave enough of a damn about Paras to come up with a better name. In Cantonese, they made Mohguchuhng, which means ‘mushroom bug’ and that’s the best we got.

Design: Paras’ design is fine….It’s a bug….with mushrooms on it. It’s kinda cute, I guess…a little.

Sprite-wise, R/B looks really off. Its eyes are on top of its head for some reason, and it looks like it has a bit of a snout.

Yellow has a similar coloring issue as Oddish, Gloom and Vileplume. It’s extremely orange with barely any other discernible colors.

Everything else is fine, however, we do encounter something I’ve never seen before once we enter Gen III.

In Gens I and II, Paras is a deep orange color

and its shiny is this incredibly ugly light yellow-ish brown color. Seriously, this one of the least appealing shinies I’ve ever seen. It’s horrible.

In Gen III, however, they switched the color palettes. Now the regular version is a more yellow-ish color

and the shiny is a deep orange?

And in FR/LG the shiny has yellow mushrooms for some reason.

In later Gens, the color gets changed again to a deeper orange while still not being quite as deep of an orange as the shiny.

Shiny:

As I mentioned, it’s a darker orange Paras. They took a Paras, turned up the color saturation and called it a day.

At least we no longer have that gross Gen II shiny, though.

Dex Entries and Backstory: No matter if Paras is boring at face value, there’s no denying that it does have some creepy and interesting backstory to it. Paras is a bug with parasitic mushrooms on its back. The mushrooms are sought after as ingredients in vitality medicines. Paras spends its days constantly eating tree roots, but it is never satisfied because the tochukaso mushrooms on its back steal all of the nutrients from the host body, meaning the actual body of Paras is technically always starving. In Crystal, it’s even explained that the parasitic mushrooms are actually telling Paras to eat the juice from tree trunks.

Paras lives such a sad life. It’s constantly being starved by the mushrooms on its back, and those same mushrooms are plucked off by medicinal researchers. The mushrooms just grow back when they’re cut off, so it’s not even like Paras is freed after this. Jeez.

But as we’ll see, Paras kinda has it easy compared to Parasect.

Also, even though Paras, to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t have an alternative Alola form, the Dex entries note that Paras’ mushrooms don’t grow quite right in the Alolan environment.

Design-wise, the tochukaso mushrooms are based on caterpillar fungus, found in Southern China, Bhutan and Nepal. These mushrooms latch onto the larva of ghost moths, kill them, frickin’ mummify them and eventually sprout a fruiting body that is used in herbal medicines in China. In folk medicine, it is believed that the caterpillar fungi has great properties since it is a rare merging of animal and vegetable. The fruiting bodies of caterpillar fungus contain Cordycepin, which has been found to be very useful as a therapeutic compound, such as treatment in depression, and it has recently found some success in combating leukemia. I couldn’t find where they got this information, but the tochukaso page also says the fungus is used as a aphrodisiac, and that it treats fatigue and cancer.

I won’t go on and on about the caterpillar fungus since this is all you need to know in connection to Paras, but check out that Wiki link – it’s fascinating.

The body of Paras is said to be based on the cicada nymph, which….

I dunno, I guess maybe. In the legs at least.

The concept of Paras is also suggested to be based on ants that sometimes get parasitic mushrooms, also known as zombie-ant fungus, attached to them that takes over their brains and juts out of their heads and back. The fungus legitimately does turn them into mind-controlled zombies since, once the fungus takes over, the ant will be compelled to climb a leaf stalk and stop at exactly 25 centimeters, which is the optimal height for this fungus to grow due to having the best temperature and humidity. The ant just hangs there with its mouth latched onto the leaf while the fungus grows. Eventually, the fungus grows a bulb full of spores that will bust and rain spores all over the ant’s unwitting brethren who will then also be infected by the fungus and turn into zombies themselves.

Again, read the Atlantic article I linked to here. It’s incredibly interesting, gross and creepy as hell.

Finally, the mushrooms could be based on massospora, which is a type of fungi that commonly infects cicadas and produces a psychoactive effect.

Parasect

Name: Parasect’s name is less distractedly familiar than Paras’ name. It’s fine. It’s a combination of ‘parasite’ and ‘insect.’

Like before, its name is the same in Japanese and English, and every region barring China (in Cantonese anyway) keeps the name the same. In Cantonese, Parasect’s name is Geuihguchuhng, which translates to ‘giant mushroom bug.’

Design: Parasect technically looks fine. It has one giant mushroom instead of two small ones. It retains the poky pincer front legs, and the vacant white eyes definitely reflect a darker aspect of this Pokemon that we’ll go over in a second.

It does look a bit too much like a hermit crab, though. If you’re not looking at it from the right angle, the mushroom on its back can just look like a cone-esque shell.

Sprite-wise, the coloring issue Paras had doesn’t seem to have ever been present on Parasect. It was more orange-y in the first Gen, got a bit too red in Gen II, but then stayed consistent at red and orange-red/burnt orange, until Gen VI where it suddenly became gold and a fleshy pink color for some reason? It’s really, really ugly now.

Shiny:

Gen II’s shiny is the same yellow-brown gross mess than Shiny Paras’ was. However, in later Gens, it has more of a gold or light/yellow-orange appearance to it, which is pretty nice.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Unlike Paras who is only partially compelled by the parasitic mushrooms on its back, Parasect is fully taken over by it. The parasite is so firmly in control of the bug portion of Parasect that Ultra Sun even states that the bug is mostly dead, leaving the mushroom as the main living organism. If the mushroom is ever somehow removed from Parasect it will stop moving and presumably die.

Parasect typically live in cool, dark places, though, again, this is by will of the mushroom since that is where mushrooms thrive. Parasect will sometimes move in swarms that attack trees, drain them of their nutrients and kill them, simply moving on to another tree when they’re done.

Parasect is constantly spreading spores from its mushroom. These spores are used in medicines in China, and yes they outright say China several times, once again muddying what world Pokemon is meant to take place in.

I had wondered how Paras gets infected from birth, because its Dex entries stated that spores are sprinkled on them from birth, which is what causes the mushrooms to grow on their backs. I got my answer when Crystal explained that, when Parasect is so drained of energy that it dies, the mushroom will leave spores on the Pokemon’s eggs, seemingly infecting the newborn Paras.

That. Is. Horrible.

In Gen VII, Parasect starts having territorial disputes with Shiinotic, and the spores from Alolan Parasect are not considered as good as those in any other region, but, again, Parasect never got an alternate Alolan form.

And that is Paras and Parasect – the usually overlooked, underappreciated walking tragedy of a Pokemon. These two still aren’t climbing any favorites lists for me, but I can’t deny that they have a really interesting story to them, even if it is terribly sad. Their entire species is geared towards suffering and basically becoming a zombie. And they don’t even have a chance at birth. They’re infected in the egg. It’s awful.

Next time, it’s the Veno line!


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Cyborg 009 Full Review Project: 1966 Movie

Plot: Nine individuals are kidnapped by the evil war-mongering organization known as Black Ghost. While in their clutches, they’re forcibly turned into cyborgs, meant to act as weapons of war. The cyborgs manage to escape Black Ghost, but they soon return to destroy the organization and stop their evil deeds once and for all.

Breakdown: In my last manga volume review, I mentioned that 007 suddenly changing into a child, whom I dubbed Lil’ 007, was a forced change to help advertise the Cyborg 009 movie that was being released around the same time. Well, this is that movie, baby.

That’s right, we’ve finally reached the first animated venture into the franchise, the 1966 Cyborg 009 movie directed and written by Yugo Serikawa and co-written by Takashi Iijima.

The movie is a reimagining of the origin story of the 00 Cyborgs, condensed to fit a full storyline in a little over an hour. There are many changes to the origin story made throughout this movie. Some changes I really liked, others not so much. Some changes were made for understandable reasons, like animation limitations and time constraints, and others I can’t find a single goddamn reason for.

Let’s enjoy a gentle stroll down Cyborg 009’s first movie.

The movie starts out with Joe Shimamura in the middle of a race. I haven’t posted it yet, but in my review for volume eight I mention that Joe becomes a famous racecar driver after a four year time skip in a time of peace. I kinda wondered why he became a famous racecar driver because he had never expressed an interest in racing before. But I guess it kinda made sense because his trademark power was super speed.

Him choosing a profession where he easily became famous, especially considering he technically had an edge in his cybernetics giving him vast knowledge and skills in piloting vehicles of all types, was more confusing, though. You’d think he’d want to keep a low profile.

However, this is not a movie based on volume eight. Quite the contrary. That part of the manga was actually based on this part of the movie.

Joe was the most drastically altered character in the entire movie. They removed his delinquent backstory, seemingly made him full Japanese instead of mixed race (marked by him having black hair instead of his trademark brown hair…..barring that one time he went blond.) and just made him a….really good racecar driver?

Qfsgxsq0 o

They boring’d the hell out of Joe, and I really have no clue why. Is it just because they didn’t want their main hero being a delinquent?

The fact that they seemingly made him full Japanese instead of mixed race is the most disappointing, though. A big part of his backstory was that he was constantly ostracized for his appearance. He never felt like he belonged because he was a mixed race boy living in 1960’s Japan. That was also one of the factors in him becoming a delinquent. The fact that the 00 Cyborgs accepted him fully without caring about his heritage was very important to Joe.

Now he’s just a normal Japanese guy who became a successful racecar driver? Couple that with the fact that they retained the whole spiel about 009 being the best cyborg on the team because he was the latest model with all the best powers and that he becomes a combat specialist and leader of the team immediately just cuz (acting like he’s a seasoned war vet even though there’s no way he has any battle experience) put in a dash of saying he’s also the bravest of them for no real reason, and you just made yourself a Gary Stu, good sir.

Black Ghost operatives cause Joe’s car to crash. He’s unconscious, basically dead, and they kidnap him right under everyone’s noses, which confuses me.

In the manga, all of the people that Black Ghost kidnapped for this project were specifically targeted because they were down-on-their-luck individuals who wouldn’t be missed by many people, if any at all.

You have Ivan, who was just a baby, being willingly offered to Black Ghost by his father after his mother was killed, Jet who was running from the law after accidentally killing a rival gang leader in a street fight, Francoise who was just an average French girl who lived alone with her only family being her brother, Albert who was trying to escape Germany during WWII with his wife, who perished in the escape, G. Junior who was out of work and living on the streets due to discrimination against Native Americans, Chang who was an impoverished pig farmer whose situation was so bad that he was about to commit suicide when Black Ghost found him, GB who was a drunken washed up theater actor, Pyunma who was a resistance fighter who had just escaped being sold into slavery, and Joe who was a delinquent orphan.

It’s too risky to take people who are high-profile. Many people will miss that person and there will likely be an endless investigation into what happened to that person reaching out into current day where there will 34,000 podcasts and Youtube videos with titles like “Hurricane Joe: Gone with the Wind” “Joe Shimamura: Vanished in the Blink of an Eye” “Crashed Out of Existence: The Joe Shimamura Story” and “joe shimamorra was turned INTO A CYBORG?! #TRUTH”

Not to mention you’d be parading around a famous person as your cyborg? Keep in mind, the cyborgs have so much of their bodies replaced with cybernetics that they don’t age. People would start asking questions after a decade or two.

They also kidnapped Francoise who, in the movie, was a successful/famous ballerina, which is what she becomes in the manga in volume eight as well. So now they have two famous people on their team. They also have a baby and a young child, whom, for all we know in this timeline, are being furiously sought after by their parents.

Joe is turned into a cyborg by Black Ghost, and he later wakes up in some dark warehouse with a spiffy new version of his uniform. Instead of the uniform colors he had at this point in the manga, which was green with a yellow scarf, or even his most well-known colors, red with a yellow scarf, he is sporting a white uniform with a red scarf.

P0v3kwwq o

The rest of the 00 Cyborgs are wearing lavender uniforms with no scarves because they’re not the leader.

Oh, wait, back up, did I say the rest of them? I meant all except one.

Because, of course, they had to put the lone girl in the group in a goddamn pink uniform.

Can you not find enough femininity in friggin’ lavender?

When Joe awakens, he’s suddenly met with a voice telling him that the test will be starting soon. Unlike in every other iteration, this voice isn’t 001 communicating with him telepathically. Instead it’s….who I think is Gilmore? It’s hard to tell with the voice. I don’t know exactly how he transmitted the message though since Gilmore doesn’t have any powers. Maybe it was a PA system or something built into his head?

Joe, now known as Cyborg 009, is quickly attacked. He’s buried under tons of rocks, but survives and escapes easily, he’s chased and shot by a fighter plane, but he can run away really fast and survive getting shot in the back repeatedly.

Oh yeah, one other thing they changed with 009…..they took away his accelerator switch.

Yes, his main claim to fame, the thing that made him mostly unique among the crew, is absent in this movie. Supposedly, this was because of either animation limitations back in the 60s or budgetary constraints, but I can’t buy that. Joe’s acceleration powers should be really easy to animate. You just animate running and freeze everything else. Hell, sometimes you don’t even have to show everything frozen. There are plenty of moments where they show 009 using his accelerator and choose to put him over a black background. Heck, you don’t even have to do that. Just make off like he looks like he’s teleporting.

But 009 is still heralded as the best cyborg of the line because he supposedly has all of the powers of the previous cyborgs in the line, even though we know that’s not true. In fact, he actually might have fewer powers in common with the other cyborgs as he does in the manga because it’s possible 002 kept his, admittedly weaker, accelerator.

009 passes the test with flying colors after downing the plane by ripping it apart with his bare hands and causing it to crash. He’s met with the other 00 Cyborgs as well as a slew of other Black Ghost operatives, including Dr. Gilmore.

001 looks okay. I think he looks a bit too large, but overall, he’s designed pretty accurately, barring his hair color which is brown here. His hair color’s not technically inaccurate since it fluctuated throughout the series, but he’s usually known for his silver hair. Sadly, 001 also got a major power downgrade in the movie as his only power is telepathy. He kept his heightened intellect as well, but his telekinesis seems to be entirely gone.

His telepathy is largely useless here as well because they also gave him the ability to TALK. Why they did that when it gave them an excuse to not animate his speech is beyond me.

They took the ultimate deus ex machina from Cyborg 009 and basically turned him into a pretty useless cyborg baby. I wonder if this nerf at least allows him to avoid that pesky weakness of needing to sleep for 15 days straight.

Yzisdhcw o

002 looks way too angry. They elongated his face upwards and slanted it forwards to give him this almost comically angry face. They also gave him brown hair instead of his usual red hair, and they, for some reason, added a hook to his nose.

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003 looks quite a bit different. Her hair is much longer, and she’s now brunette instead of a blonde. She also has INSANELY HUGE and VERY CREEPY blue eyes. Even for anime and even for Ishinomori’s typical style they’re way too big. I think they did this to highlight that her senses were her main powers, but no one else has any physical attributes changed to reflect their powers, so I’m left to believe that 003 is either an alien or a My Little Pony.

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004 has a horrid haircut. It’s not even like an actual haircut. It’s like someone took the clay pot they made in art class and plopped it on his head. His original hair color is meant to be gray/silver. 004 actually has powers added to him. They gave him missiles in his elbows in addition to the ones he usually has in his knees, and both hands house machine gun fingers instead of just one. I like this change because it makes him a little more badass.

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005 looks pretty decent. Some shots make him look stretched out, though. Also, his face markings were changed a little.

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006 was basically drawn to be even more stereotypical than he already was. They darkened his skin just slightly, kinda deflated his face and gave him a Fu Manchu mustache instead of the thin handlebar-esque one he typically sports.

007 is Lil’ 007, only his head is kinda caved in for some reason. His powers are left alone, which only muddies the limited animation/budgetary constraints excuse for 009’s lack of accelerator even more. How is it easier/cheaper to animate a character who constantly transforms into other things than it is to animate a character with super speed? Or did they allocate all of their budget towards animating his transformations that they didn’t have enough left over to properly animated 009’s acceleration powers?

I really think that Lil’ 007 was leaned into a bit hard with this movie. He gets basically as much screentime as 009 and he gets a big dramatic hero moment in the end, complete with speech. He’s also the only one, besides Joe and Francoise, who gets his fate explained in the epilogue. They really wanted to push this movie towards kids. The tone is noticeably lighter with more comedic moments and the fact that the new war that develops later in the movie is between two fictional countries – The Caesar Republic and the country of Divine – instead of two real ones.

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008…….*sigh* Poor 008 can’t catch a frickin’ break.

He already had a problematic design by default, but look at this.

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His lips take up half his face, and his nose was enlarged by about 700%. What the hell were they thinking when they did this to him?

They convince 009 to come with them, Dr. Gilmore acting as a hostage (he’s in on it and helped orchestrate their escape out of guilt.) and a massive battle ensues between the rebelling cyborgs and Black Ghost. They’re confronted with the usual suspects in this franchise; faceless thugs with laser guns, tanks and fighter planes.

They steal one of Black Ghost’s fighter jets and take off. 009 is able to pilot the plane flawlessly. 001 explains that he was already a masterful racecar driver, and his cybernetic brain enhanced his driving/piloting skills, allowing him to be an expert with any vehicle instantly. That actually does make a lot of sense, and I’ll take that as being his unique power over the others.

It’s weird how some of them have powers that correlate their own personal stories, but some of them don’t. Like 006 has fire powers, which greatly help him in his later career as a chef. 007 can transform into anything, which is something very reflective of an actor. 004 and his wife were shot up and blown to hell, so he’s loaded up with guns, missiles and explosives. But no one else really has powers that correlate to their personalities or stories. That would’ve been pretty neat.

Anyhoo, it’s during this aerial battle that we get to see all of the 00 Cyborgs’ powers on display. It’s a really cool moment and battle. They’re forced to take an emergency landing on a nearby island.

It seems like they’re in the clear, but 003 quickly points out that there are spy dolphins nearby, transmitting their location to the enemy. 009 kills the spy dolphin, but a whole slew of enemy robot underwater dinosaurs with missiles in their throats attack. Ya know, typical Tuesday.

009, 002 and 004 take them out in a really exciting battle, but they’re still not done.

003, for some reason, sounds really happy to share the news that they’re being approached by a whole fleet of fighter jets and ships. She’s smiling and everything. The voice acting combined with the smiling leads me to believe some wires were definitely crossed with the intended tone of this scene.

The amount of firepower that Black Ghost is sending their way is, honestly, way overboard. Look at this insanity.

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And this isn’t even showing the numerous submarines chasing them.

All of this just to retrieve or destroy the cyborgs. The money that they spent just launching all of those planes and ships would probably cover the expenses on making nine new cyborgs and just letting these ones go. I get that they might not want this technology to get out to the general public, but still.

009 knows they can’t fight all of that firepower, so he concocts a plan to steal one of their subs.

Somehow 008 looks even worse in this shot.

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009, 007 and 008 head underwater to defeat the other spy dolphins and steal themselves a sub. Cue extended scene of Lil’ 007 shenanigans, including turning into a birthday cake that says “Happy Birthday Day”….???

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Happy Birthday Dan? I dunno.

Anyway, screw that little punchline. 008, you’re up!

To his credit, even though this is his lone time to shine in this movie, shine he does. He zooms around the sub so fast that it starts disrupting their equipment, and when he reaches the nose, he simply stops the sub dead in its tracks with his bare hands.

That was so badass, even the doors of the sub are going “Dang!”

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009 attaches a transmitter to their sub that tricks them into surfacing. 008 is such a baller that he’s just standing on top of the sub smoking a pipe when they come up.

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009 and 008 force the Black Ghost operatives out of the sub and take it for themselves. When the whole team is aboard, 009 has 003 send out a Morse code message to Black Ghost claiming that sub number 557 has been commandeered by the cyborgs when they’re really on sub 556.

557 gets the shit bombed out of them from above and below, killing everyone on board.

Good job, guys. We immediately went from peacefully acquiring a Black Ghost sub to turning a dozen people into chum in one scene. Simply amazing.

009: “That went well.” It sure did, you loony.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that they did that to distract Black Ghost and make them think that they were dead, but the 00 Cyborgs are supposed to be largely against killing. They typically only kill as a last resort. That’s why so many of their enemies are robots. And that’s why 001 made a point in the beginning that the planes that were following them were merely drones, even if they implied they were being piloted by people considering a bunch of Black Ghost soldiers were ordered to head to the planes to pursue the cyborgs. They wanted the green light to cause a bunch of destruction without the implications that they were slaughtering people. 006 was fully MELTING PLANES IN MIDAIR. No one wants to imagine the people in there melting like candles on the surface of Mercury.

For anyone thinking the sub may have also been a drone, they show the people inside as it’s being attacked.

Since Black Ghost is off their tails, they decide to head to Green Reef – a secret island hideout/laboratory belonging to Gilmore where not even Black Ghost can find them.

After a small time skip, we see Francoise and Joe relaxing on a cliffside as the sun sets. Joe says it’s only a matter of time before Black Ghost finds them. They should take the initiative and strike at them first, hopefully taking them down once and for all.

Francoise, however, vehemently refuses. She is tired of war, she’s tired of fighting, and she’s definitely tired of death. She shares her backstory with Joe, explaining that she was a successful ballerina until WWII arrived in France. After a very dramatic montage of the attacks, we learn that Francoise’s parents were both killed in the war, which is why she hates it so much.

I actually love this change. It adds so much more to her character, explains where her parents are and gives her a very good reason to already hate war and fighting long before the others do. The fact that she still also has the reason of her heightened senses forcing her to see and hear every atrocity of war that happens within 50 kilometers of her makes her situation all the more horrific and tragic.

After hearing Francoise’s story, Joe responds in the best way possible……by giving her a big ol’ smile.

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I really think there was a disconnect between the artists and writers somewhere.

Joe convinces her to rejoin the fight by telling her that, if they don’t stop Black Ghost, then more people will suffer like she did. It’s rather open and shut, but the entire thing makes for a big romantic moment for the two of them.

When we next see Black Ghost, they’re preparing for their next scheme. In order to draw the 00 Cyborgs out of hiding, they’re going to send two fictional nations into war – the Caesar Republic, which I think is meant to reference the Roman Republic, and Divine….which…I don’t know what that’s referencing, if anything at all. There’s no information on this stuff on the Fandom page or the Wiki or any other source.

The best I could find was Carthage, which was the real Roman Republic’s biggest enemy, but I can’t find the connection of the names. Carthage means “New town” which doesn’t sound very ‘divine’ to me, so…..*shrug* Maybe they just bullshitted some names, or maybe I’m a geographical dummy, I dunno.

The troops for Black Ghost are being lead by some new character who looks like a huge naked goblin.

His name is Beagle.

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And no, you can’t take him seriously because of both of those facts.

To make it even less plausible to be scared of this guy, his has a cat that he strokes menacingly. Bonus: This cat is meant to be an evil version of Tom from Tom and Jerry. And if you don’t get that the first times you see the cat, don’t worry, near the end of the movie 007 will turn into a carbon copy of Jerry so they can have a nice comedic chase.

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The Fandom page explains that Tom and Jerry was just reaching Japanese shores at this time, so it was probably just meant to be further grasping at that young child audience.

The 00 Cyborgs learn the news of this burgeoning war, so they decide to head to the battlefield to put a stop to Black Ghost’s evil manipulative ways.

009 calls upon 003, 6 and 7 for the mission. Leaving 001, 2, 4, 5 and 8 on shore doing nothing for some reason.

Why does 009 only take three people with him, you may ask? Because it’s hard and expensive to animate nine people in battle conditions, silly. And they’ve already done it twice, so we gotta cut some expenses.

However, I really have to wonder why he chose this lineup specifically. 003 I get because she can get recon easily and from a distance. Lil’ 007 I guess I get because he’s also good in covert situations and spying. But why 006? And why not any of the others, especially 008 considering they’re heading off on a submarine? Actually, put that last question in your back pocket. We’re going to bring that back up in a few minutes.

When they reach the shore of the Caesar Republic, 003 overhears a Black Ghost operative making a deal for weapons with one of their military leaders. As they continue to spy on them, 003 is suddenly just grabbed by a pair of metallic black arms and kidnapped right from under the noses of the other three.

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Which is bullshit.

For god’s sake 003, your only use is to see and hear things that the others can’t. You’re unofficially known as the radar of the 00 Cyborg team. You’re telling me a cyborg or robot or what have you sneaked up behind you – in the goddamn woods – and was able to grab you without you making a sound? Come on.

The other three are able to tail her in the submarine by tracking a beacon in her headband, but Beagle shows up to stop them with his mind-controlled giant octopus.

How much would you believe me if I said this is actually mirroring a plot point from the manga? Actually, only partially because the one in the manga was just super aggressive because of radiation from the war polluting the ocean.

Worried their sub will be crushed by the creature, they head out to fight it.

006, while underwater, shoots flames at the octopus numerous times.

See why I’m confused about bringing 006 along but not 008?

Apparently, fire can exist underwater in the right circumstances. All you need to do is force oxygen, fuel and heat together, but 1) I don’t know if 006 has the means to do that. As far as I’ve ever known, 006’s fire breath works on the same principle that a flamethrower does. The fuel is thrown/expelled and then ignited. With people who ‘breathe fire’ it’s the same thing. They keep fuel in their mouths, hold up a flaming stick and spit the fuel out on the fire to create the stream. But 006 has no method of delivering the oxygen as far as I know, so I can’t see this working.

And 2) even if he could create fire underwater, I doubt he could make it into an accurately shot stream like that.

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Anyway, this poor octopus is blown apart, sliced up and even has one of his tentacles ground up with a grater, which is nightmarish to think about. The idea of grinding up the limbs of any creature is gross enough, but the grater in question was Lil’ 007. I can’t imagine the feeling of limbs being ground up in what is basically my torso……

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Once the octopus is defeated….

Lil’ 007: “Something else is coming!”

006: “Sharks!”

009: “Not just sharks….sharks with guided missiles!”

We’ve already seen these sharks in the manga before, but there’s something about these lines that really makes me want to re-embrace what a beautiful amalgamation of genius and goofy nonsense this franchise can be sometimes.

So they start blowing up the missile sharks, which is a cool sentence to say, but poor sharks. These animals aren’t doing anything wrong, they’re just being controlled or manipulated by Black Ghost and yet they all have to suffer such horrible fates.

Meanwhile, someone else is suffering a horrible fate – 003 is going under the knife again to alter her brain so she’ll be fully controlled by Black Ghost…..which just brings up a huge issue with this entire franchise that I’ve already discussed a little before – why don’t they just mind-control them entirely? They must have the technology. Weren’t they even working with Ivan’s father, Gamo, who worked exclusively with technology involving the brain? Instead they just hope that these people they just kidnapped and mutilated and had their lives ruined forever will just hop up and say “Well, golly gee, Mr. Black Ghost, I sure will be your tool of perpetual war!”

In the manga, it takes them until 0013 before they finally realize that they should put some failsafes in these cyborgs, but even then it kinda backfires on them.

By the way, they actually do perform the surgery and she’s not only fully mind-controlled later, but she basically turns into a weird monster for some reason? More on that later.

The trio reach the shores of Phantom Island. Some robot snakes show up and attack the three.

*the robot snake breathes fire towards 009*

009: “Are these things robots?”

No, no, 009. These are rare Firebending Snakes. You must have missed Phantom Island and accidentally landed on Shuhon Island.

Sadly, none of the 00 Cyborgs beyond 001-009 are shown in this movie, but we do get a brief encounter with a robot that looks and acts an awful lot like 0011. However, it’s not even clear if this robot spider is actually a cyborg. He has about two lines and then dies.

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Something else weird about 006 – The robot shoots fire at them, and even though 006 is meant to withstand insanely high temperatures, he still reacts to the fire like it’s too hot even for him, which I sincerely doubt.

Once the snakes are destroyed, Lil’ 007 splits off from the group to infiltrate the base by himself. 009 and 006 go another way and find 003 unconscious and tied to a chair. When they wake her up, they’re shocked to find her face all monster-fied and that this whole thing was a trap.

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I was really shocked to see that they actually did go through with the surgery on 003. The last shot of the surgery scene did suggest that they were seconds away from cutting into her, but a surgery to make her a mindless slave is something you’d think would get interrupted by the heroes.

Also, I guess they altered her height real quick too because she’s towering over these Black Ghost soldiers. Either that or Black Ghost set up a recruitment drive in a middle school.

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Beagle and his goons corner 009 and 006. One of the soldiers conveys to Beagle that they caught 007 as well. They’re about to have the same procedure performed on them when the soldier from before attacks Beagle. Surprise! It’s Lil’ 007 in disguise!

Cue the overly long heroic speech they let Lil’ 007 have for some reason.

After completely demolishing Black Ghost’s forces so easily it’s almost sad (and bear in mind that it’s only three of the nine 00 Cyborgs fighting them) 009, 6 and 7 corner Beagle. They think they’ve won, believing Beagle to be the big boss of the entire organization, but Beagle reveals that he’s not actually the final boss. He’s one of those annoying decoy final bosses who eats up all of your resources right before they throw you into the REAL final boss fight that comes out of nowhere.

At this point, I was getting really excited because I thought they’d reveal Skull here….but no. He’s not in this movie at all.

Instead, the real final boss is not given a name. He’s just Black Ghost Leader….Also, he’s not even given an original design. They took the design of the central hub of 0012 and made that the design of the Black Ghost Leader.

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To say I was disappointed would be a massive understatement. You traded Skull, one of the most iconic villains in classic anime/manga, and traded him for a brain in an upside-down salad bowl.

….Okie dokie.

BGL immediately kills Beagle for failing him, and then he explains to the cyborgs that he’s been around much longer than they think he has. He was responsible for the first two World Wars. He very easily triggers these wars with just a little manipulation. He feeds off of greed and the pain and suffering of war. He even states that he’s not human, which is something reinforced by the fact that he uses the term ‘human’ as a derogatory term. He also says that he didn’t create himself, or I guess more to the point that he didn’t start out like a normal being and then eventually became corrupted into the being he is now. He came into existence as an embodiment of the greed of humankind, which I guess is why his organization is so set on war profiteering instead of being a ‘take over the world’ type deal.

But that just begs the question as to where the brain came from and why he rides a giant crockpot if he’s just the embodiment of greed. Seems a little inconvenient, is all.

You can argue back and forth about who Skull really was – in no iteration do we ever learn of his backstory – but he was a cyborg who was constantly getting upgrades that left him as the most advanced cyborg, which is why the final battle with him is such a big deal. His character design is very imposing, even with his manga version’s sadface look, and, as his name also suggests, his presence just screams ‘death.’

I just can’t understand why they used 0012’s central hub as the design of BGL here. 0012’s actual hook was that she was a sentient immobile murder house. If you take that away, her design is in no way intimidating.

BGL decides to use 003 to finish off the cyborgs using a special laser gun that can take them out with one shot. He traps them within a super strong metal box and sends 003 in. However, 009 strongarms her, accidentally causing her to shoot the glass surrounding the brain of BGL, which for some reason causes the rest of his robot body to start blowing up. Flawless design there.

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That’s another silly aspect of this design. His brain is obviously his weak spot, so why does he keep it in a glass case on top of the robot instead of secured in the middle of this hulking behemoth so it’s as safe as possible? Again, it made a little sense in the manga because 0012’s house was protecting her central hub and her brain.

003’s back to normal again somehow, which is very confusing. You guys operated on her brain, yet you made her mind-control completely reliant on the integrity of a brain in a jar? Also, why do the changes to her face instantly go away when she’s freed?

Anyway, BGL is not going to die quietly. He has an H-bomb hidden on the island that will explode in five minutes. That’s right. He’s going to kill himself, all of his surviving subordinates and destroy all of his equipment in an H-bomb explosion just to kill four of the nine 00 Cyborgs. That’s some crazy nonsensical dedication. Oh well, at least he’s giving them a five minute head start.

They’ll need that head start too because they need to break out of the metal box. Using 006’s flames and the lasers of their super guns, they slowly manage to weaken the metal enough to break it by throwing a giant…..electronic box thing, I dunno what that is.

When they get to shore, they find that their sub is being commandeered by Black Ghost operatives. They won’t allow them to board the sub, but the rest of the cyborgs arrive to blast them away and save the others.

002: “We came because we figured something like this might happen.”

Then…why didn’t you just go with them in the first place?

They escape, utilizing the sub’s ability to turn into a plane, and watch as the island is disintegrated. Black Ghost is seemingly gone now. And the narrator explains that peace came to the world once more….So…Divine and the Caesar Republic stopped warring because Black Ghost disappeared?

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The movie wraps up with an epilogue that explains that the cyborgs “returned to their original forms” which, huh? That’s impossible. I’m pretty sure they’re still cyborgs. And they returned to their homes and old lives. Joe returned to being a racecar driver, Francoise returned to her life as a ballerina, Lil’ 007 returned to his life as a ‘mischievous brat’ in London, and no one else matters enough to mention.

Just know that they all returned to their normal, happy lives, but they still knew that one day they might need to return to action again should Black Ghost resurface. They can only pray that will never happen.

The end.

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And that was Cyborg 009’s first movie, and I really enjoyed it a lot. It was exciting, it was fun, it was a little funny, and as far as retelling the events of the origin story while also wrapping up the entire Black Ghost conflict in one barely over one hour long movie goes, it did a pretty good job. It obviously felt kinda rushed, and I’m really, really disappointed that basically every cyborg barring 009, 003 and Lil’ 007 had to be completely amputated, in terms of character exploration anyway. They did get some really cool moments in battle, and at least they went through the unique powers of each, but I’m really disappointed that we don’t at least get some nice non-battle moments with them or even learn their real names. Hell, we don’t even learn Lil’ 007’s real name despite them shoving him into the spotlight quite a bit.

They also didn’t do that good of a job giving them distinct personalities. Everyone, again, barring the main three, act about the same. Joe takes the role as leader, Francoise is the emotional one and Lil’ 007 is the clown. Everyone else is just a nice, brave and responsible person. 006 is kinda goofy, but that’s about it.

They crammed a lot of cool enemies and battles into this movie, which I appreciate greatly, but I actually kinda wish they’d toned it down a tiny bit or made the movie longer because it was almost too much stuff going on too quickly.

The animation was decent for the time. It’s an anime from the 60s, you’re not going to get anything too impressive, but some shots looked pretty damn good……and some looked really laughable.

There’s a shot near the end where 009 and 003 are fighting each other, and Lil’ 007 and 006 are just bobbing their heads as a reaction, and it reminded me of a badly animated ‘What is Love?’ meme gif.

The music’s pretty good. Very fitting and impacting. Nothing horribly memorable, but still good.

All in all, I had a lot of fun with this movie, and I’d gladly watch it again. I’d also suggest it as a fun watch for any fellow Cyborg 009 fan or anyone who doesn’t mind some classic anime cheese. It’ll be a little while before we cover the sequel to this movie, Cyborg 009: Monster Wars, but I look forward to covering that and seeing what else these movies have to offer.


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 22 – Flower and Moon Review

Plot: Yuika is an up and coming star in the world of modeling, known for her brash and pushy attitude. Her twin sister, Sumika, is a more timid and studious type. Sumika typically stays to the background being Yuika’s ‘shadow.’ She pretends to be Yuika in order to do her college work, take her exams and even stand in for her at work sometimes. Sumika is far from an innocent flower, though. They’re two sides of the same coin in the worst way.

Breakdown: I really, really thought this episode was finally going to get Yuzuki’s main plot rolling since a good chunk of the first half is dedicated to her struggling with her destiny of becoming Hell Girl. The end of high school is approaching, and her school counselor is questioning her about her plans for the future, but she doesn’t really have any.

Dreams and the future are two concepts that give Yuzuki pause lately.

And that’s it. She just can’t think of anything when she thinks about the future or anything she dreams of being. She’s such a boring character.

The most interesting thing we got from her was the slightest implication that something very bad happened when she was a kid involving her mother, but that’s about it.

I’m also starting to believe that maybe Yuzuki is….crazy? She suddenly seemed to lose contact with her mother, even though she stated that she used to call and talk to her parents every day, and I’m now realizing that we’ve still never seen either of her parents on screen – not even in pictures. I actually kinda hope it’s something like that, because at least that has the potential to be interesting.

After that, it’s a typical Hell Girl story. Although, the way they inject the story of the week is quite odd. Yuzuki is just walking down the sidewalk and she’s suddenly approached by Sumika, who apologizes profusely for the ashes from her flame-less fire seemingly getting on Yuzuki, but it’s clear that the smoke is only barely even slightly near her, so I doubt any ashes got on her. Also, if you didn’t want to bother nearby people with smoke and ashes, maybe not start a non-fire smoke signal in your two-foot wide yard right by the sidewalk?

She then invites Yuzuki to enjoy the warmth from this non-fire….When it’s not even noticeably cold out.

One of the pieces of paper making up the “fire” blows onto Yuzuki’s foot. It’s a picture of Sumika and her twin sister, Yuika, as teenagers. She clearly doesn’t want Yuzuki to see this picture…..so again…I ask…why are you doing literally any of this? Why the “fire”? Why not just tear up the pictures? Why not set the fire in a place that won’t immediately draw attention from passersby? Why invite Yuzuki over to enjoy the private picture fire? You make no sense, lady.

Anyway, absolutely nothing involving Yuzuki has any bearing on the Hell Girl story today. What a surprise.

The real story is fine, but I feel like it’s basically treading water we’ve already treaded. Most notably, I was really reminded of the season one episode, A Night Among Traveling Entertainers.

You have a pair of twins, one of which is the bitchy star, Yuika, and the other is the timid doormat, Sumika. Yuika treats her sister like garbage and acts incredibly self-centered. She’s always telling Sumika to do her college work for her and even pretend to be her so she can take her exams for her.

Sumika comes off as a nicer person, but the twist is that she really isn’t deep down, which is pretty clearly foreshadowed by her burning the pictures earlier. While Sumika isn’t as mean as Yuika, she is self-centered and conniving.

When Yuika gets herself injured because she was a drunk moron, she demands Sumika take her place in a photo shoot so she won’t ruin her career. Sumika does great at the shoot and even earns a lot of positive attention because she’s being so much kinder and gentler than Yuika.

Not only that, but Sumika clearly covets Yuika’s boyfriend, Masato. While Masato does love Yuika, he gets along great with Sumika, and Yuika is, well, not a pleasant person, so you do kinda root for him to be with Sumika…..for a minute.

This whole conflict with the boyfriend comes to a head when Sumika pretends to be Yuika and tricks Masato into having sex with her….ya know…raping him.

He realizes only after the fact that she was actually Sumika, but his actual feelings are quite iffy. He seems like he feels bad about cheating on Yuika accidentally, but he’s not getting angry with Sumika, and we cut away before we can get any further information on what went down.

Yuika has been following her and becomes enraged when she realizes what happened.

After this, Yuika’s wound heals and she and Sumika basically fight for Yuika’s life.

They’re both dressed identically, so there’s no way to tell them apart.

One of them calls Hell Girl and pulls the string, sending the other twin to hell. It’s meant to be ambiguous, and the viewer is supposed to decide which twin was the client and which was the target, but there are several hints as to the identities of each, and I think it’s pretty clear that Sumika was the target.

They do obscure the name on the candle at the end. You can only see the ‘ka’ part of their first names. The rest is covered by a wax drip. However, what you can see of the kanji that is covered doesn’t match the way Yuika writes her name.

Masato breaks up with the woman who has the doll. He had never entered into an actual relationship with Sumika, he only slept with her once, so it seems weird that he would ‘break up’ with her.

The woman in the boat acts more like Sumika than Yuika. She asks “Am I not supposed to chase my dreams? Even though I wanted to be myself….” Yuika was always herself. She was a selfish bitch in front of people, and she was a selfish bitch in private. Sumika, on the other hand, had to hide behind Yuika’s persona in order to get attention while still being herself. Sumika was a kind person, but, as I said, she had a more nefarious side to her that was more scheming and selfish.

Finally, and the most obvious piece of evidence. It was established early in the episode that the only concrete way to tell Yuika and Sumika apart was a flower-shaped birthmark on Sumika’s lower back. That’s how Masato proved it was Sumika when they slept together. They specifically zoom in on Yuika’s bare back at the end of the episode and show that it has no markings on it. I even watched it frame by frame to make sure not even partial marks were shown – they weren’t.

The only thing that doesn’t mesh with this is that Yuika is notably more pleasant in the press conference at the end. Maybe she was humbled by the experience. Or maybe Sumika was actually the client and she just covered up her birthmark with makeup for whatever reason.

I’m 98% certain it was Yuika who lived and Sumika who got sent to hell. If true….eh, I don’t really care either way. Yuika was a bigger bitch than Sumika, no doubt, but Sumika was also a slimy bitch who basically raped Masato – no matter if he chose her in the end or not.

All in all, this episode was pretty okay. I liked that they were at least trying to create a fairly wide gray area here, and I appreciate the attempts at masking who the client and target were, even if, in my opinion, it was a bit easy to figure out. I am getting very annoyed at Yuzuki, though. They better throw her story into high gear in the next episode, because it really feels like it’s a road to nowhere.


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SSBS – Medabots Episode 5: The Old Man and the Sea Monster Review

SSBS - Medabots Episode 5 Screen1

Plot: On a trip to the beach, Ikki and Metabee face off against a bunch of jerks who want them off their beach. Meanwhile, there’s a sea monster looming in the shadows.

Medabot Debuts:

Sharkkan: A SAK Medabot, Sharkkan’s design is based off of a shark. Sharkkan is an aquatic Medabot that can move very swiftly in the water. It also has arms in the shape of shark jaws.

Tentaclam: A CLA type, Tentaclam is based off of an octopus. Like Sharkkan, it is an aquatic Medabot that can move easily in the water. Tentaclam has two pincers on the ends of its arms that can be detached, shot off and latched onto nearby objects before being pulled in by cables.

Robattles:

Ryan vs. Ikki: Winner – Ryan: Metabee forfeited his legs.

Ryan vs. Ikki (Rematch): Winner – Ikki: Metabee earned his legs back.

Breakdown: Ikki, Metabee, Erika and…..I’m gonna be honest – I don’t know who the frick this guy is. It has been a hot minute since I last picked up Medabots, but I legitimately can’t remember who this person is, they never say his name in this episode, and, for the life of me, I can’t find a way to Google who this is. No one seems to match his description in the Wiki’s character list. He’s an adult, I guess, and that’s all you need to know.

Anyway, they’re all taking a quaint trip to the beach. The adult dude falls asleep while the kids head off to swim. Metabee has a scuba mask on for some inexplicable reason.

Metabee: “Swan dive!” That was not, in any way, a swan dive. You might as well have just stepped off the ledge.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 5 Screen2

When Metabee dives in, he freaks out when he realizes the water is salt water, which will make him rust. How’d he know the water was salt water? Why did Ikki take his Medabot to the beach when he can neither swim nor tolerate salt water?

By the way, does anyone want to tell him that all water makes metal rust? Salt just speeds up the process.

Ikki: “Oh come on. Medabots don’t rust that fast.” Still a shitty way to care for your Medabot. Ya know, the one you couldn’t afford in the first place.

Metabee sulks on the beach after Ikki tells him to just leave the water if he’s going to be crabby.

Metabee: “Ugh, I can’t believe Ikki let me go into the water. Me plus water equals rust. Rust plus me equals me getting ripped up the gill, ya know what I’m sayin’? GegegegegeGEKOW!”

No, Metabee, I don’t know what you’re saying. But I am about to research whether robots can have strokes.

First of all, now you’re just saying it was the water, not salt water, that you’re averse to. And you’re also mad at Ikki for “letting” you go into the water because water makes you rust…..Kinda makes you seem like an idiot if you knew water makes you rust but you went in the water anyway. At least when the salt was the reason you could make the argument that you didn’t know ocean water was salt water and Ikki should have told you.

Additionally, it’s a bit ironic that you’re mad about him ‘letting’ you do that when you were just adamant a minute ago about not being his to control.

Second of all, what in the glitchy matrix just happened to you near the end there? I can’t even tell if I accurately transcribed the last words before the gibberish correctly, but then you go off and spout random noises like someone was electrocuting your ass.

Three beach brats come over and start bullying Metabee, even poking him repeatedly in the head with sticks. Ikki arrives and he seemingly gets angry with Metabee for some reason? Once they have a little spat, Ikki tells the jerks to go away, but they’re locals so, like a beach movie set in 1954, they tell him to leave their beach because strangers aren’t welcome.

They then reveal that the local sea monster also hates strangers.

Later, at a restaurant, Ikki asks the owner if she knows about the sea monster. She noticeably gets very nervous and tries to avoid the question. Erika says, if there is a monster, they should investigate. The owner tries to warn them to stay away from the rocks of the beach when a bunch of people run by the restaurant screaming. They claim to have seen the monster, but none of them can agree upon what it looked like.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 5 Screen3

Ikki and Erika head to the beach to investigate only to find that it’s entirely abandoned due to sea monster sightings……Uh, yeah, calling it right noe, this is some Scooby Doo bullshit right here.

Also, the entire beach was cleared out because of sea monster sightings? No skeptics, no people who think they’d be safe on the sand, no people with Medabots who might try to fight it – just a couple of tweenagers and their Medabot?

Erika is psyched about figuring out the scoop behind this sea monster, but Ikki couldn’t care less.

They spot a mysterious old man sitting quietly on a rock playing a shamisen by the water. Metabee tries to talk with him, but he only gets a few words out of the old man.

His Medabot, Tentaclam, arrives and catches a huge net full of fish. They then walk off together.

The three jerks arrive wondering why Ikki, Erika and Metabee haven’t left yet. Blah blah blah, the leader, Ryan, challenges Ikki to a robattle.

Ikki boasts that he and Metabee have never lost a robattle…..so yeah, now that he said that he’s totally going to lose.

Ryan’s Medabot is Sharkkan, and he immediately heads into the water. Metabee tries to follow by boat, but his bullets can’t hit Sharkkan underwater. Suddenly, Metabee gets very dizzy and nauseous. He’s so sea sick that he has to forfeit the match, surrendering his legs to Ryan.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 5 Screen4

Yes, you read that right. Metabee, the undefeated Medabot, lost his first match…..because he got sea sick.

Metabee, the ROBOT, lost because he got sea sick.

Metabee, the robot without a stomach and balance sensory systems/perception systems that don’t work in any way like a human’s would……got his first loss, via forfeit no less….by getting sea sick.

This is monumentally dumb.

At sunset, Ikki and Metabee lament their loss – Metabee wearing a goofy pair of spare legs that I think he got from Banisher.

Ikki: “He knew Metabee couldn’t swim, so he tricked him into a water robattle. Seems like cheating.” Uhm, shut your stupid lying mouth, Ikki.

Metabee didn’t even try to swim, so you’re already wrong there. Ryan didn’t trick HIM into anything. He and his goons just egged you on a bit, and YOU accepted a challenge for a robattle. Finally, using an aquatic Medabot in the water is just using the Medabot the way it was intended to be used. If anything, it was quite even. If he used his aquatic Medabot on land, he’d have a major disadvantage, but Metabee would have a huge advantage. If you had just said ‘Metabee don’t go in the water.’ then either the robattle would end in a stalemate because neither party would choose to leave their respective areas, or Skarkkan would leave the water because he was sick of waiting.

Basically, both of you are idiots, but Metabee’s less of an idiot because….

Metabee: “Nah, that’s just good strategy. He just won it fair and square.”

Of course, he loses some points with his next line.

Metabee: “Urgh, I’d love a rematch, but where am I going to learn how to swim?” I thought you plus water equaled rust and you didn’t want rust? Now you want to swim?

But again, just DON’T GO IN THE WATER. Even if you learned how to swim, he’d still be at a major advantage because he’s a full aquatic Medabot with parts and weaponry designed for water robattles. Why give him that?

Ikki and Metabee have a brain blast, so they head to see the old man. They beg him for help in getting Metabee ready for water robattling. The old man loans him some spare legs from his Tentaclam. And, of course, Ikki and Metabee being the way they are, they bitch about the free shit they’re getting.

Metabee: “They’re so old.”

Ikki: “Do they even still work?” No, Ikki, he gave you non-working garbage because he’s trolling you.

Metabee jumps in the water, but he soon capsizes. Seems like just getting aquatic legs isn’t enough for him to function properly in the water, which makes sense. After all, the rest of him isn’t designed to be in the water.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 5 Screen5

They beg him to teach them how to deal with sea combat, and yeah whatever – what time is it?

The sun is going down quite a bit. Where is adult dude, and why are you guys not heading home yet? Your parents obviously aren’t here, you took a bus, and I can’t imagine that they approved of you guys staying at the beach overnight.

We then get a training montage of them doing a bunch of Karate Kid-esque chores for the old man. This montage clearly takes place over several days because we see more sunsets and implications of mornings. Again, where is adult dude and why are you guys not home right now? Are you missing school for this?

After the training montage, Ikki and Metabee collapse in the sand begging for water. Why is Metabee, the robot, asking for water?

The dog that’s with them, I forget to whom it belongs, brings them water bottles that look oddly like baby bottles. Ikki chugs his water and Metabee pours his on his head….because the Medabot who hated water at the beginning of this episode has suddenly decided that pouring it all over his head is the best thing ever.

Ikki and Metabee hear Erika screaming in terror of the sea monster. However, the ‘sea monster’ trips, and reveals that it was just the three Medabots owned by the beach jerks covered in seaweed. They made up the stuff about the sea monster to keep tourists off the beach. Yup. Scooby Doo’d.

Also, I weep for humanity if literally everyone was scared to death of this thing.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 5 Screen6

Ikki and Ryan start a rematch. Metabee uses his Tentaclam legs, but this time he’s able to stand upright as the legs help him float on the surface. His training was meant to improve his sense of balance so he could stand on water, which…okay, but that solves literally no problems they were having. Metabee already had a boat, which allowed him to float on top of the water, soooooooooooooooooo…..???

Also, I don’t think that simply not being in a boat would prevent you from getting sea sick while floating on water, so what happened to that problem?

Whatever, Metabee still has problems fighting Sharkkan because he can move super quickly in the water and Metabee’s shots can’t hit him. Moreover, Sharkkan is now taking the offensive by hitting Metabee with torpedoes and leaping out of the water to strike at him directly.

Ikki is incredibly frustrated because he has no idea what to do to gain the upperhand. Metabee can now float on the water without issue, but he still can’t swim, giving Sharkkan a huge advantage. The old man reveals that the secret to this fight is in Sharkkan’s shark design. It gives off a warning before it strikes, and Ikki deduces that he means the dorsal fin peaking out over the surface before it strikes.

…Well…uh…duh. How did you not notice that before now? It’s the most signature thing about sharks. You show a dorsal fin sticking out of the water, people instantly think ‘shark.’ How are you this slow, Ikki?

The next time Sharkkan strikes, Ikki notices where he is via the dorsal fin, warns Metabee that Sharkkan’s behind him and Metabee is able to get a direct hit with his guns when Sharkkan comes out of the water.

Sharkkan is defeated, and Metabee gets his legs back.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 5 Screen7

At sunset, because they’ll apparently never go home, Ryan explains that his dad taught him that tourists are bad because they pollute the beach with their trash and they ruin the environment, so they decided to bully and scare every tourist away from the beach with their makeshift sea monster.

I guess this was supposed to be foreshadowed when Metabee threw his scuba mask on the sand, because that’s when they first met the beach jerks. It was also shown that the beach was filthy when the beachgoers were scared off, but they never draw attention to the littering. I had to go back and rewatch sections just to see if this out-of-nowhere PSA had some build up to it because it was never brought to the audience’s attention through dialogue.

Also, you’re kinda terrifying the locals too, if that restaurant owner was any indication. Unless she’s in on it.

Ryan and Ikki mend bridges, and the old man bids Ikki and Metabee farewell. He allows them to keep the Tentaclam legs as long as they always remember to respect the sea.

Our final shot is of adult guy still asleep on the beach, now horribly sunburned. Uh, can we get an ambulance? Because this guy has clearly been asleep for about a week, and he probably has third degree burns by now.

—————————————-

It’s at this point in the show when you really have to accept that this series is just plain bad. And it’s not only bad – it’s lazy. It’s probably one of the laziest series I’ve ever watched. Everything about it is just the bare minimum they can do without paying an iota of attention to the question “Does this make sense?”

One of the most basic things you can do when writing a story is establish a conflict, work out a resolution and resolve it. But this show can’t even do that correctly. I am still confused as to what Metabee’s actual problem was. First it was saltwater, then it was just water, then it was that he gets sea sick, then it was that he can’t swim, then it was that he couldn’t work the Tentaclam legs correctly.

The solution to any one of those problems was just to teach Metabee better balance so that he can stay on the water’s surface, but that doesn’t make any sense. He’s a robot. If he has balance issues, it’s either because of his design or his programming. You can’t really teach a robot balance. Not to mention that, while some of the chores the old man had them doing could be considered training in balance, like pulling the old man while they’re on stilts, most of it had nothing to do with balance.

He had them carrying wood, pushing one of those giant wooden crank things, blowing air onto a fire, carrying him on a giant rock up a mountain, giving him a frickin’ massage, which was just plain creepy.

A lot of shows do this, where they reference The Karate Kid’s training sequence of seemingly doing random chores only to show that it actually had practical applications in the student’s journey, but then a lot of them screw it up by not actually coming up with ways these chores applied to their practice. This is one of the worst examples.

It’s even more pointless because Metabee balancing on top of the water didn’t even do much. He could have defeated Sharkkan this way in the boat. All he needed to know was that you can detect Sharkkan via his dorsal fin. And Ikki didn’t even figure that part out on his own – he had to have the old man practically spell it out for him.

I will give this episode this much – there were quite a few funny expressions and even some funny lines. And I will never get tired of Ikki’s voice actor’s complete inability to scream in a believable manner. Just the terrible voice acting as a whole, honestly. I have a feeling this series was mostly a ‘Thank god, a paycheck.’ job for most of them. I don’t blame them for barely putting in any effort. Why do that when the series itself doesn’t? It makes for some funny moments anyway. That’s why I keep enjoying watching Medabots. It’s lazy, silly and stupid, but it has a lot of fun and ridiculousness to keep me entertained most of the time. Even if I’m just preoccupied trying to do the mental gymnastics around their writing choices, I tend to enjoy myself.

Plus, I do really like the designs of Tentaclam and Sharkkan. I wish we had seen the other jerks’ Medabots. We see them very, very briefly, but we never learn what they are, and the angles on them are so poor I can’t even remember what they looked like.

Next time, might as well keep in with the Scooby Doo-ness with some G-g-g-GHOSTS!


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Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun/Flint the Time Detective Episode 15 (14 for the Dub) The Hero is Redman | Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: Genshi and the others head to 20th century Japan where they meet the superhero space-time monster team, Redman! While they have the best of intentions in helping people, they cause a lot of havoc in the process.

——————————————-

Title Change: The Hero is Redman is changed to The Cardians.

They add in two establishing shots after the theme song and before the shots of Redman.

Name Changes: Redman Red is changed to Blademan. Redman Yellow is changed to Thud. Redman Blue is changed to Arrowman. And Redman Pink is changed to Snapper.

Also, their team name was “Redman.” In the dub, they’re the Cardians, which I think is a cute way to change their team name based on their card suits while making a play on the word ‘guardians’.

So let me get this straight…..Red/Blademan is a blademaster. Yellow/Thud is super strong. Blue/Arrowman is an expert archer.

….And Pink/Snapper……AKA the only girl of the group……specializes in taking pictures. Not only that, but of course she gets the hearts suit.

Genshi is happy that the Redman come in so many colors. Flint guesses that they each have unique powers.

Originally, Rei said that the Redman have a strong sense of justice. Genshi then asks if justice is something you eat. In the dub, Jillian says they’re more interested in publicity than justice lately, and Flint asks if publicity is something you eat.

Saban actually adjusted their timeframe here. Originally, they were told that the Redman were in the year 1999, which is current day when the series is being aired (The series started in 1998, but it’s most likely 1999 by this point.) Saban, however, licensed and dubbed it in 2000, so they changed the target date to 2000.

Genshi stutters and mutters to himself about the word ‘justice’ before asking if it’s a juice. In the dub, Flint asks if it’s lunch time.

After Flint’s lunch comment, they add in Goodman hitting on Jillian again. I don’t know why they keep doing that. It’s not funny and it just makes Goodman come off as a skeez who can’t take no for an answer.

Typical extension of the scenes in which they get their time card and head off.

Goodman: “Hey, guys, get me one of the Y2K preparation kits! That’d be good for a laugh or two!” Oh Saban, you topical bastards. That won’t get dated at all, promise.

Sarah: “Wow, we’re in a big city!”…Big cit–?…I just realized. They didn’t say that you guys were supposed to go to Tokyo. Since when is Saban less accurate in these details than the original? Don’t tell they’re 4Kidsing and desperately don’t want kids to know they live in Japan. I thought they established that before.

In the original, the woman and the guy were arguing because Yamato (1999 version) bumped into the guy . He tries to calm them both down, but they both snap at him, claiming he’s the cause of this mess. He backs down and laughs nervously, but the guy grabs him by the shirt telling him he has no place laughing when a girl is sticking up for him.

In the dub, the woman is accusing the guy of stealing from her purse, which he denies. Goodman tries to break it up, but they both tell him to butt out. He backs off and laughs nervously. The guy grabs him and asks what he’s laughing about.

In response to Yamato running away from the situation, Genshi points out that he ran. Sora and Tokio then say in unison “He’s the worst.” In the dub, Flint calls him a chicken and Sarah and Tony say in unison “Bawk bawk bawk.”

Name plate gone.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

What the hell? They kept in Yamato’s cigarette? It’s not lit, but what the hell? Even old shows tended to have any instances of smoking censored. They even draw attention to it in the dub. In the original, ‘99!Yamato goes on explaining how he didn’t actually run away. In the dub, the kids point out that he’s smoking and ‘00!Goodman says he is. He’s been meaning to quit, but he hasn’t had the time….? I don’t know how that makes sense, but whatever.

To their credit, they are definitely putting the smoking in a bad light. They make the kids yell at him to quit immediately, and even his girlfriend tells him he shouldn’t be joking about smoking. (In the original, the kids were exclaiming a repeat of his excuse for running in disbelief, and his girlfriend chastised him for not fighting the guy on his own.) But it’s still so weird to see this.

In really funny moment, ‘99!Yamato tries to explain himself to his girlfriend by saying “If I were injured, it would hurt.” Since the entire conversation was changed in the dub, ‘00!Goodman says “Sorry. How about I quit next year?”

When his girlfriend hits him, she walks off saying “You’re the worst.” In the dub, she says “Don’t call. Smokers are losers.”

Oto-tan says that she has an admirable fighting spirit. In the dub, he says even cavemen know smoking’s bad. Pretty sure the only smoking cavemen know about is the “me make fire” kind.

There’s an establishing shot of the park via a shot of a faucet for some reason before we cut to the kids talking to the Redman. In the dub, it’s removed.

Oh my god. There is no way Red didn’t slice the driver of this car in half.

Sora says they have to take the Redman back home. In the dub, she tells Flint that he can’t join the Cardians because his costume doesn’t match theirs.

When Genshi and the other Redman (I’m not using the plural incorrectly – that seems to be the way they address themselves in a plural manner.) run off, Sora asks where they’re going. In the dub, she tells him she wasn’t making fun of Flint’s clothes.

Saban adds in a closeup shot of Petra’s face twitching right before they get to the kitten. She explains that she plans on getting all of the Cardians now.

Nitpicking, but the group clearly say “Guardians” when they catch the kitten, not “Cardians.”

The person playing the bully is completely unfit for that role. He’s like six but he sounds like he’s 30.

In the original, everyone keeps saying “Redman are so cool!” Toki-G says it and goes “Oh now I’m doing it too.” In the dub, since they don’t retain the original line, they have Old Timer say “Those Cardians really float my boat! Oh no. Now I’m starting to do it too.” Doing what? Just…liking them?

TP Lady also parrots the “Redman are so cool!” line. In the dub, she says “Those Cardians are so dreamy!” Dreamy?…..Are you….attracted to the foot-tall muppet-esque Super-Sentai creatures?

TP Lady says it would be boring to be good. In the dub, she says she’d have to get a whole new wardrobe if she turned good.

Now that I think about it, it’s pretty trippy to hear Petra talk about wanting to be the leader of this Super Sentai-based team. She’s voiced by Barbara Goodson, who voiced Rita Repulsa in Power Rangers – which is also a Saban production. Power Rangers was retooled from old clips of Super Sentai (and continues to be to this day, I believe) combined with reshot footage for American/Canadian audiences.

It’s even funnier considering the name she comes up with for her proposed new team with the Redman/Cardians is the TP Rangers/The Four Fabulous Fighting Card Rangers.

They repeat the same closer shot of Dyno talking to mockingly says “I bet you think the Cardians are going to appear.”

TP Lady, Dyna and Mite are being very funny today, but the dub keeps ruining it. In the original, Dyna and Mite fake evil laugh, pause and laugh again several times before conversing with each other about waiting for the Redman because they’re bored. In the dub, they do repeat the laugh gag, but it’s ruined because they have Dyno says the laughing is hard work….

They insert the “BAGON!” screen right after the Cardians arrive, which makes no sense because they’re acting like they hit Dyno and Mite, when they clearly hadn’t yet. Also, they keep the “BAGON!” card after they do hit them, making this even more confusing.

I figured this would get cut. In the original, they show Dyna and Mite beaten up and thrown in the garbage. Mite’s butt is on full display. Instead of finding some way to censor that, they just cut the shot altogether.

Both TP Lady and Petra thank the Redman/Cardians for saving her, but in the original all Red says is “Red” because that’s all he can say, like any other space-time monster. In the dub, he asks her what’s wrong, which doesn’t make any sense. All she did was thank them, and they already saved her from the danger.

In the original, TP Lady explains what her P mark does while acting all dizzy and disoriented because she was spinning around a lot to stamp their heads. In the dub, they make off like she’s mocking them. Despite the fact that she’s clearly acting very dizzy, there are even spirals in her eyes, they just have her say “Neener neener neener” over and over. Saban, dizziness exists in the west too…

TP Lady corrects Genshi in her name by saying she’s TP Red-dy now….which sounds really dumb. In the dub, she just says she doesn’t take orders from him.

Oto-tan laments on TP Lady having another evil scheme. In the dub, he says “Remind me never to eat at your restaurant.” It actually took me a minute to get this joke…..Haha….she doesn’t take ORDERS from him….hahah….Ha.

Name Plate removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Name Change: Akuman is changed to Cardiancon.

I actually don’t understand this evil form. Is the evil jester + centipede thing a Super Sentai reference I don’t know of? I get that maybe this is the Joker of the suits, but that’s the best I can gather. Everything else is confusing me.

After the commercial break, they show TP Lady yelling at Akuman to attack Genshi. In the dub, they remove this and insert the shot of Flint wielding Rocky that was meant to come after Cardicon started attacking.

Oh my god, in the crowd…it’s that voice actor who can’t help but do a bad imitation of John Wayne in every Saban dub he’s ever in.….

I love how they have never once had to cover up a space-time monster’s existence or explain away a battle to anyone nearby before, but now they suddenly feel the need to so for absolutely no reason.

Originally, Tokio explained that the reason this battle looked so amazing was because it was American special effects for a movie being shot. In the dub, he just marvels that they’re filming a monster movie in their town.

Again with Genshi making additional conflict just because he’s hungry. Why don’t they have a rule to feed this kid before they go off on an adventure? It’s not like they don’t have the time – they literally have a time machine.

Instead of showing Genshi smashing through the window, they cut away to a repeat of that comic “BANG – BAGON” screen.

Petra: “Now do the same to those meddling kids! Make them dance the macarena!” First of all, Cardiancon didn’t make Flint dance, so I don’t know what you’re on about. Second, yeah, Saban, make that macarena reference. Date this show so hard you leave bruises.

I don’t know why, but Saban makes the old lady so much meaner in her speech than she is in the original. It was originally a very sweet speech about how kind Redman was, and how, in a world where people tend to just watch things happen instead of taking action, Redman leaped in to help them and they were happier for it, even if they caused some trouble. In the dub, she does say this more or less, but she also goes on to say ‘Well, I guess you’ve decided to take the easy way out. Listen up! I’d whack you with my cane if I could reach you!” And then Cardiancon and the music react like it’s such a sweet gesture. What the hell is this? Why would you change her sweet speech into her being so harsh for no reason?

Originally, TP Lady, Dyna and Mite laugh about how stinky her speech was, and TP Lady says it was almost as stinky as Dyna and Mite’s socks, which makes them go all wiggly and fall down…..I get the joke, but it’s just awful. In the dub, Petra says the awful speech is killing them, which makes them go all wiggly and fall down. It’s still a lame joke, but I actually prefer the dubbed version this time.

Slight white flash added when Petra whips Cardiancon in the face.

Oh wow. So….now de-transformed, TP Lady calls on Redman to fight more. Red jumps up and we get an INSANELY overly long sequence where he’s trying to spell out “o maeto ore to ittai ichi de shoubu da?!” which means “I challenge you to a one-on-one duel.”

He does this by charades because he can’t talk.

O (behind) is mimed with him smacking his butt at them.

Maeto is shown by dragging Mite out.

Next, Red comes out dressed as a matador to convey ‘ore’ because l and r are interchangeable in Japanese.

He brings out a door (to.)

He acts like he’s in pain (itai.)

He throws a ball into the air to signify ‘one’ (ichi.)

He holds up his hand (de.)

He brings out a soy sauce (shouyu) and points out the label (fuda.)

Then he repeats the sequence again, but faster, for them to get the entire sentence together.

This would have been so much better as a joke if they found some shorter way to convey this, because, as it stands, it was very annoying to sit through.

Now, there are two huge problems with translating this scene. First, the time shifters of the dub can talk, so there’s absolutely no reason for Red to start playing charades to convey his words.

Second, there are obviously a lot of complications in trying to make these charades work with English words. They barely work with Japanese words. Like, how would this sequence translate to a native English speaker? A bullfighter’s butt might come through your door and hurt your hand so put soy sauce on it?

I have to actually commend Saban for even attempting this, because this looked so impossible I was convinced they would probably just have Red challenge him straight out and cut the charades, but nope. Saban left in this whole sequence and made something fairly workable. So, what was it?

*deep breath*

Flint: “To the rear with friends, this is a challenge, and he who goes out crying leaves one with the upper hand.”

Flint and Petra: “A DUEL!?”

FLINT.

FIGURED.

THAT.

OUT.

Leaving the fact that Flint is so stupid he used to think friends were a food aside, how in the name of Zordon did ANYONE get anything coherent from that jumbled jigsaw puzzle of a charade?

…..Even though….ya know….it’s kinda generous to call that coherent. Saban, I give you all the credit in the world for even attempting this, bravo, standing ovation, I’ll buy you a bouquet of flowers later, but that is some crazy-ass word salad. The second half of the sentence is workable, but what was that starting portion? I keep thinking I’m hearing it wrong, but I have the volume on max and I can’t hear anything else but “To the rear with friends.”

ALSO, don’t think my eagle eyes missed the fact that you totally cut out the part with the soy sauce bottle because you just couldn’t think of any way to work that in, and you never gave a reason as to why Blademan was even doing charades to begin with when he can talk. Flint does say “Why didn’t you just say so?” but Blademan never answers.

So why are they acting like it’s only fair if Blademan uses his sword but Genshi has to fight without Oto-tan?

Sarah: “Go get ‘em, Flint! Show ‘em who wears the loin cloth around here!”

Tony: “Uhhh…….All right!”

Sarah, sweetie, that didn’t make sense.

Tony, sweetie, I get that you’re a slave to lip flaps, but that was awkward for everyone. Please never do that again.

The stare down was originally silent barring background music. In the dub, Blademan thinks “I bet he’s thinking what his next move should be.” and Flint thinks “A cheeseburger would taste really good right now.” You just ate! Why is your only shtick food?

Tony thinks “Wow, what if Flint loses?” What if you had faith in your friend to beat a foot-tall cosplayer with a fencing sabre that has a rubber tip on it?

Sarah thinks “Maybe they’ll call the show Sarah Time Detective.” First of all, are you responding to Tony’s thoughts? Because that’s weird. Second, WOW, you think your friend might die and your first reaction is taking over the show? Third, nice way to break the fourth wall, Saban. Finally, Sarah, you’re not a Time Detective, technically, so that wouldn’t happen.

Old Lady: “I’m too old for this stuff.”

Kid: “I’m too young for this stuff.”

*snort* Alright, that was pretty funny.

Cat: “I need a catbox.” Aaaaaaand you ruined it.

After that, the scene remains silent, because it’s supposed to be a tense buildup to the duel, but the dub suddenly adds narration over a PA system from some unknown person, even telling us not to touch that remote before the commercial comes on. Can you please shut up, Saban? Also, you’re using up your fourth-wall break allowance pretty quickly today.

They cut out a shot of Genshi facing Red, probably due to the incredibly awkward angle where we can see Genshi’s butt cheeks for some reason.

For some reason, they cut out Dyna and Mite responding to TP Lady claiming she was never going to replace them by saying that’s a bunch of baloney.

The dub doesn’t include the detail that TP Lady was born on October 12th, making her a Libra.

The original just said her horoscope said to be wary of something gigantic. The dub says to beware of giant robots.

Name Plate Removed:

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Name Change: Super Redman is changed to Cardian Master……Kinda wish they used this opportunity to make a Megazord reference.

Pterry: “It’s like a monster movie!” You mean it’s like a giant robot movie…..because there are no monsters, only giant robots.

They censored out the cat robot getting punched in the face…..because now we apparently can’t even show violence towards robots?

This music in the original sounds remarkably similar to the battle music of Pokemon….Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun did first air in 1998…..Hm…

The cat robot’s Super Deluxe Brilliant Gold Mechanical Cat Punch is changed to Super Deluxe 9 Megawatt Gas-Filled Tuck and Roll with Extra Cheese Power Punch. Were you guys competing with yourselves to see who could make the most nonsensical word salad or something?

I don’t know how TP Lady/Petra Fina keeps reading anything in this horoscope book. There are no words in either version – just simple drawings of the images that correlate to each astrological sign.

Also, I missed this the first time, but there’s an illegible word written underneath “Butterfly” in the magazine in the original, but it’s painted away in the dub. I have no clue why.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

They removed that random word, but they couldn’t be arsed to fix “Scorrio” to “Scorpio”?

Okay…so…you’re not allowed to show the robot getting punched in the face, but you can show the giant sword go clean through its body, its eyes roll back in its head, split in two and then blow up?

TP Lady says she wishes she had read the magazine before now. Dyna and Mite say they read it every month. (They read the horoscopes every month? Isn’t that a daily or weekly thing?) In contrast, Petra says “Horoscope schmoroscope! Anybody could have seen that coming! RATS!”

They switched the shot of Toki-G to a closeup of him for some reason.

New ending theme for the original. It’s a good song, but the visuals are strange. It’s just an onslaught of shots of Sora….sitting there and looking at the camera. There’s a shot of her looking at a floating, rotating black pyramid in the sky, another of her looking at the sky while standing on green water? She keeps looking at a flower and tries to hold the sun in her hands. I don’t get it.

———————————-

All in all, this episode’s a huge mess. It’s so sloppy, I’m actually kinda flabbergasted. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the premise – team of ‘heroes’ is all for justice and saving people, but end up unwittingly causing trouble – but everything else is so weird. First of all, I get why this episode is taking place in the 90s, to seemingly capitalize on Super Sentai, but there’s no important ‘historical’ figure to focus on.

We got to see Dr. Yamato’s distant relative, who for some reason looks exactly like him, but he didn’t impact the plot in the slightest. He’s a big coward and….that’s it. After his girlfriend dumped him, he disappeared entirely. We never even get a glimpse of him after that, and he’s never mentioned again. What was the point of showing him here? If it was to set up the Redman saving people, there are much better ways of achieving that. Just show that woman getting attacked by the thug and getting saved by the Redman. The end.

I thought with the emphasis on heroism and Yamato being a coward that they’d help him be braver and maybe be the hero in the end so he could get back with his girlfriend. Afterall, she even said directly how he was supposed to be her hero. But nope. Pointless.

In the dub, Jillian said they were more preoccupied with publicity than justice, but we never saw anything like that. They just took pictures after every save, so that was misdirect.

There’s a sudden random shift to an anti-smoking PSA in the middle of the dub too.

The stuff about them causing trouble also didn’t do much. They didn’t care, and no one around them yelled at them or ostracized them. They didn’t apologize, either. Pointless.

What the hell was their bad transformation thing? I still don’t get it. It was a demonic Joker/centipede with a scythe? How does that relate to Super Sentai or tokusatsu?

Why was there a one-on-one western or samurai-esque duel added? Is that a thing they do in Super Sentai? Because it just seemed like an excuse for more padding since most of it was just all of the characters standing completely still for over a minute. The old lady, kid and cat pleading with him to change back should have been what made him change back – not winning a duel with Genshi.

Admittedly, the episode was salvaged a tiny bit by also having the Redman’s super transformation be in this episode as well, and TP Lady, Dyna and Mite got some hilarious moments, but other than that it was so disjointed and didn’t even feel like it had an actual story. I’m especially disappointed that Saban didn’t take this opportunity to just have a blast making Power Ranger jokes. Even if that meant changing the original script quite a bit, it would have been welcome because the original was already a disaster. You have the rights to the show, you have Barbara Goodson, you have a Super Sentai parody episode sitting in front of you – what more do you need?

But no.

Even the original barely did anything with this premise.

I had my hopes up pretty high for this episode too. :\

Next time, we’ll be heading to 16th century Italy to hang out with the space-time monster, Monarisu, who is basically the opposite of Horurun in that she turns people into art.


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Animating Laughter and Frustration: The Goofy Mess of ToonMarty

Finally, after years of doing Episode One-Derlands, I actually finished a cartoon that I featured there.

ToonMarty is a French-Canadian cartoon created in 2017 by Sardine Productions for our old friends, Teletoon. It’s about a happy optimistic boy named Marty who gets into various shenanigans in the toony world of Toonville with his friends, Burnie and Holly.

When I first watched this show, I was pleasantly surprised because, honestly, it didn’t look like it’d be worth much of a damn, but I actually found myself liking it. It wasn’t making me bust a gut or anything, but I fully enjoyed the episode that I had watched.

Cut to nearly a year later, and I’m reminded of ToonMarty as I’m looking through my saved series on Tubi, so I thought why not binge watch it and finally get one of these full-series cartoon reviews completed for a change?

So I did!

And I ended up feeling….very, very, very mixed.

I ended up also using this binge watch as an experimental show to try making a tweet thread about my thoughts on each episode, so if you want to see my brief responses to each episode, click here.

The experiment failed, by the way. I won’t be doing that again.

As you can tell just by skimming the thread, this series has pretty decent highs and fairly low lows. One minute, I’d be singing its praises, and the next I’d be frustrated beyond belief, then I’d be very bored. To get a better idea of what’s right and wrong with ToonMarty, let’s break everything down.

The Citizens of ToonVille

Marty is our main character. When lightning struck a billboard for ToonMart, ToonMart Marty being the mascot, he was brought to life. I mentioned in my Episode One-Derland post that I thought it was odd that they never explained his origins in the first episode, nor do they explain it in the theme song. He obviously has no parents and seems to live in ToonMart, which is very weird without context. If I had never read the description in the Wiki, I’d be terribly confused. I assumed that they would explore his origins in the second episode or at least later on – it’s the friggin’ plot to the show and the backstory to the main character.

But nope.

We never learn, outside of meta information, what Marty is. We just know he’s the mascot of ToonMart for some reason. For all the average viewer knows, Jack just hired someone off the street and used their image for advertising. It doesn’t ever really matter, but it’s still a very weird detail to overlook.

Onto Marty himself, he has very poor character consistency. Sometimes, he’ll be sweet and adorable and precious, but then other times he’ll be very selfish and childish, and many times he’ll be incredibly obnoxious.

I mentioned that Marty reminded me of Spongebob quite a bit, only not quite as annoying, but I take back that last part. They’re about even on that playing ground now. Marty lives for his job, is extremely happy and peppy, and is quite clueless and naive. On the more negative side, Marty loves playing pranks, being loud and destructive. That’s why he’s such good friends with Burnie, a character we will definitely need to talk more about in a second. He’s usually harmless, but he doesn’t seem to realize where the line is until he’s long since crossed it.

The show has a habit of finding ways to torment Marty for no reason. It’s not constant, but it is there and it did get very frustrating. They acknowledge that Marty is meant to be this pure, cute beacon of sunshine that everyone loves, but the show still loves to find ways to make him suffer a lot when he doesn’t deserve it. This happens a lot in episodes where either he and Burnie do something together and he gets the blame or Burnie does something on his own and Marty gets the blame.

Marty is always at his best when he’s just embracing being a toon. He’s very proud of his toon nature, and it’s always entertaining to see him bouncing around and goofing off. I wish they had just kept him that way the entire time.

Burnie is a human pustule. He’s Marty’s best friend – the Patrick to his Spongebob for sure. He’s a lazy, food-obsessed moron. The thing that sets him apart is that he’s the son of a super villain and has fire powers and flight. I mentioned in the Twitter thread that Burnie was starting to come off like a middleground between early seasons Patrick, where he’s a dummy but he’s adorable and entertaining, and late seasons Patrick where he’s just a complete and utter asshole.

I am here to report that I was also wrong on this part. He’s late seasons Patrick – in fact, he’s worse, in my opinion.

Burnie’s shtick is that he’s a lazy idiot, sure, but his more spotlighted character traits are that he’s a selfish, destructive, uncaring pile of sun-baked garbage. He hates Holly for no reason and is constantly making fun of her, pulling pranks on her or making her life miserable, and he’s always getting Marty into trouble. He only cares about himself, and unlike Spongebob and Patrick, you never really feel like their friendship is genuine.

It always feels like Burnie is just friends with Marty because the writers say so. Marty is friends with Burnie because he’s too much of a goshdarn nice guy to see the problems with Burnie most of the time. He has fun playing pranks with him, but that’s about it. He hardly ever holds Burnie accountable for his actions, and Burnie NEVER holds himself accountable for his actions. He’s usually being reeled in by Holly, but Holly almost always ends up being ignored, insulted, harmed in some way or D) all of the above.

You’d think a character like him would constantly get comeuppance, but he doesn’t most of the time. He comes in, causes trouble, acts like a prick, then the episode ends without him paying any price usually. The few times he does get his just desserts, it is beyond a welcomed sight.

Burnie has a pretty good and unique backstory in being the son of a super villain, but they surprisingly don’t do much with that aspect of his character. He frequently uses his fire powers and uses his flight to avoid walking, but outside of some clear daddy issues and some infrequent encounters with his father, it’s very much an underutilized part of his character, which is a shame. I’d much rather explore that than deal with him being a jerkass.

I did mention in the Twitter thread that, at the very least, they acknowledge that Burnie’s a complete annoying asshole….but asshole characters are only really funny if they get their comeuppance, and just because your other characters recognize that a character is annoying doesn’t mean that he’s not still annoying. You have to introduce some likable character traits to him otherwise you’ll just spend every second of his screentime wishing he’d be locked in a cage at the center of the earth.

Holly is like some mixture of Sandy and Squidward. She’s a robot, but also the token girl of the group. She’s the smartest, most mature, and she acts as a grumpy straightman to Marty and Burnie’s shenanigans. Holly is constantly on the receiving end of torment from these two, which is never justified like it commonly is with Squidward. And like I said, she and Burnie hate each other with a passion for really no reason.

I really liked Holly. Outside of one or two instances, she was likable, nice and interesting. Her being a robot is especially interesting because, despite being a cartoon, robots are not technically ‘toons’ in the traditional sense. That’s one of the reasons why Holly’s the straightman in their dynamic. As a robot, she has a weird/sometimes quite poor sense of humor, and she’s always the voice of reason. They act like Holly doesn’t actually have emotions sometimes, but that’s very much not true. I don’t know why they imply that.

Unlike Burnie’s backstory, I don’t think they squander Holly’s robot nature too much. I wish they had done a bit more with it, but it was the best out of the three main characters.

Toonville is filled with many other frequent faces like Jack, the owner of ToonMart and Marty’s boss/father figure. I would say he’s the Mr. Krabs here, but he’s really not. He’s an old curmudgeon who keeps Marty in line when he can, and that’s about it. I liked him for the most part.

Suki is a spoof of anime, most specifically Sailor Moon. I thought Suki would be way more important than she actually was. She’s right up front in the title card, she’s in the promo poster, and the first episode put her on display for quite a bit. Plus, she’s Marty’s love interest. However, she is mostly just a background character for nearly the entire show. She pops up in nearly every episode, but it’s only for about 15 seconds and usually has absolutely nothing to do with the plot.

She had one episode where she was the focus, and that was mostly it for Suki doing damn near anything of note in this series.

There are many more problems with her character that I will discuss later.

Then you have Dr. Smartypants, who was my favorite character of the show. She has great lines, a very memorable personality, and I adore her comedic timing. She’s a monkey and the doctor of Toonville. She actually manages to appear more frequently than Suki despite not even appearing in the opening theme.

Super Simon is the resident superhero. He usually battles Burnie’s dad, Burnatron. While he initially comes off as very heroic and nice, he, for some reason, becomes an ass later on.

Burnatron is a villain. There’s not much to say here. He’s a slight ass to his son, but it’s never enough to justify Burnie’s terrible behavior. Burnatron can be pretty entertaining because he’s one of those villains who are more talk than action.

Carly is a parody of Hello Kitty. She’s pretty funny, and I usually enjoyed any scene that focused on her.

Lenny is a depressed sentient bench, who might as well be Eeyore. He could be kinda funny sometimes, especially in To Be Continued.

Hobo Jeb was about the closest the series had to a consistent villain. He’s a grumpy old classically designed toon. He and Marty hate each other for absolutely no reason. I understand Jeb hating Marty since Jeb’s just a mean person, but I have no clue why Marty hates him so much.

Then there’s Grizelda, who is a witch. She hates toons and goofiness, but she could be pretty funny sometimes.

Chef and Saucy Chicken are local celebrities because they star in a show that is mirroring any chase dynamic in classic cartoons like Tom and Jerry, Bugs and Elmer, Sylvester and Tweety, Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote etc. They were pretty entertaining, but their shtick gets old real fast. There are two separate episodes that explore the fact that these two need each other in order to be happy/funny. It’s basically the same story with slightly different details. Considering these two are far from main characters, this was very odd and a waste of an episode.

What ToonMarty Does Right

One of my favorite things about this show is that it celebrates, well, toons. I adore animation, and I love when shows also clearly display a love of cartoons. Everyone’s a toon who knows they’re a toon. The world they live in follows toon rules. And several of the episodes take common cartoon tropes/mechanics and play around with them in a manner that is fun, clever and unique. Anyone who enjoys animation as a whole or even simply a fan of old classic cartoons is sure to find some episodes that will get a laugh out of them.

Animated by Snipple Animation, who have their hands in a variety of projects such as the Ducktales reboot, Phineas and Ferb, the Animaniacs reboot and even the upcoming Proud Family reboot, the animation of ToonMarty is very fluid, energetic and does a good job at capturing the over exaggerated squashy-stretchy tooniness of classic cartoons. They even change up the animation style depending on the character. For instance, the characters based on older classic cartoons tend to bounce a bit more, and Suki’s animation sometimes has missing tweens and is more limited than the others.

ToonMarty also has a pretty good sense of humor. Even in the episodes that were mediocre or even bad, there was usually at least one moment that made me crack a smile. In their best moments, they made me giggle or at least consistently smile throughout an episode. ToonMarty tends to have fun with itself, and I appreciate that.

The voice acting was very well done. Everyone was very fitting in their roles, and they all brought just the right levels of energy to the characters.

The character designs are okay. They’re not most memorable or creative things in the world, but they have enough distinguishing markers to make them easily recognizable via silhouette.

The music is also alright. The opening theme really turned into such an earworm for me. I can’t go one day without randomly playing it in my head. The BGM music is okay too, but there’s one aspect of it that I’ll have to return to later.

What ToonMarty Does Wrong

There are numerous episodes that just seem mean-spirited. I already mentioned how there are several occasions where Marty gets tormented for little to no reason. In the episode Chicken Fricassee, Chef comes into ToonMart to complain about their products not being good enough to kill Saucy Chicken. In order to help his customer, Marty offers numerous products that eventually do kill Chicken, but then everyone, including Chef, Holly and Burnie, all of whom were helping him, turn on Marty and make him an outcast because Chef’s life basically relies on Chicken. Without Chicken to chase, he has no purpose as a toon. Turns out, Chicken was faking her death for the sake of having some down time, knowing Marty was suffering for it and not caring.

There’s another episode called You’re It! where Marty is randomly made It in a game of tag, but it turns out being ‘It’ is actually a disease that will kill him unless he passes it on or finds a cure. He suffers throughout all of the episode, and then the Wise Tree tricks him into doing a bunch of BS chores to unlock the secret to the cure, but she doesn’t actually know what it is.

Holly also gets a hell of a lot of abuse. In the episode, Spare Parts, Marty’s tasked with fixing Holly after she gets banged up while playing with Marty. She has only one stipulation for repairing her – don’t let Burnie be involved at all. Marty turns her off so he can repair her and, Burnie being Burnie, he shows up immediately after Marty deactivates her. Marty can’t stop Burnie, because Burnie’s a human canker sore who doesn’t listen to anybody, he takes great pleasure in destroying her body then throwing her parts in a box labeled ‘Free Garbage.’ Her parts end up scattered throughout all of Toonville, and Marty has to gather them all to reassemble her.

When Holly wakes up, even though she realizes it was probably Burnie who was responsible for her state, she still puts all of the blame on Marty and even organizes an army of cute woodland animals and brainwashes them to be bent on hating Marty.

Speaking of Burnie, I literally have written as a bullet point for this section ‘Burnie.’ I think I’ve driven the point home that Burnie is a thoroughly unlikable character, but I really need to emphasize how much he damages the show entirely.

There are so many episodes where my overall view was dragged down simply because Burnie was there and being obnoxious. No matter if he has bearing on the plot or not, his selfish, mean, rude, uncaring behavior and attitude was always a chore to sit through.

You can have characters be terrible people and still be well-written and fun. Angelica from Rugrats is a great example of that. She was the ultimate brat. She lived for tormenting the babies whether it really benefited her or not, but she had much more to her than just being a bully, and she almost always got her comeuppance for being a little toad.

Megan from Drake and Josh is a good example of a middleground between Angelica and Burnie. She was also a nightmare who loved playing pranks on her brothers, but there was a charm about her and there were some moments that legitimately redeemed her. The major issue with her, though, was that she rarely ever got comeuppance. She never got punished for her terrible behavior or her rude comments, and even though she never made it a secret that she was a demon, her parents never recognized that she was constantly doing terrible things to her brothers. This aspect of her character made her much harder to watch.

Burnie’s not just horrible on his own – he’s also a terrible influence on Marty, but I’ll explore more of that mess later.

I know some people might defend him on the grounds that he’s the son of a super villain so it makes sense that he’s so terrible, but I don’t buy that. His upbringing may have spoiled him and made him lazy and selfish, but 1) He doesn’t much care for the super villain lifestyle. He doesn’t get along with his father and is constantly rebelling against him when they’re shown together. If anything, it makes more sense and would be funnier if he were a nice and benevolent guy. He’s a huge fan of Super Simon, Burnatron’s archnemesis, so he’s already halfway there. And 2) They don’t utilize that aspect of his character enough to justify that explanation.

There are numerous inconsistency issues throughout the show. Some of them can be hand-waved due to cartoon logic, but others are harder to justify. Characters change personalities quickly, the rules of their world change a lot, and sometimes things just make no sense.

For example, in an episode called 15 Minutes to Save the World, the group realizes that, because they live in a cartoon world, reality resets at the end of the day. They decide to do whatever they want, free of consequences because the world will just reset afterwards. They’re shocked to find that, the next day, everything’s still a mess. They wonder what triggers the reset, and in the end they discover that the end of the episode marks the reset….however, that’s not the way it was shown in the episode. They showed how the reset worked earlier in the episode by having the world reset after a zombie apocalypse the instant the sun came up. Now it’s the end of the episode that triggers the reset even though the beginning of the episode is kinda, ya know, the opposite of the end?

There are some other more damning examples I’ll discuss later.

The show as a whole never reaches a point where it really breached the line into ‘great.’ Despite having some really good episodes, it just doesn’t stick in your brain very well. Even though I mostly enjoyed watching this series, I can totally see myself forgetting I ever watched it in a month or so.

ToonMarty never truly finds its footing and really lacks a distinct personality. It bounces back and forth between being about toons being toony and just being a typical cartoon sitcom. I really think if they had committed more to taking aspects of animation and being creative with them in a nearly meta way it would have done wonders for this show’s identity. Even just taking the aspect of the ToonMart and running with it to show funny shenanigans with the gadgets and the characters who use them would have been a good option.

Instead, it’s like it’s uncomfortable being itself and keeps trying to emulate other shows……which brings me to…

Is ToonMarty a Rip-Off?

I have been making a stronger effort recently to not jump on rip-off accusations. Not saying things can’t be ripped off, but I really think that the term ‘rip-off’ gets thrown around way too much lately. People really have to just accept that some archetypes, stories, dynamics etc. are common tropes in media and have likely been for years. Just because someone uses the same tropes but isn’t as successful with them doesn’t mean they’re a rip-off.

That being said, there were several times over the course of watching this show where I got major Spongebob vibes, and it wasn’t just from the main characters. Some of the stories are also reminiscent of Spongebob episodes.

Apparently, I’m not the only one getting these vibes. In my research on this show, I found one of the very few articles on the Internet that discusses ToonMarty – an entry in Terrible Shows & Episodes Wiki (Yikes) with a bullet point list of the negatives and positives of the show as a whole, and one of the points was that it is really similar to Spongebob.

The first time I really started going ‘Hey…wait a minute….’ was in the first act of Where There’s Smoke, There’s Marty, which is very similar to Employee of the Month during the first act, right down to the ridiculous wall of Employee of the Month photos and being motivated by trying to beat someone else for the title, only here it’s against Hobo Jeb for the record holder of most EotM awards. I don’t know how a guy like Hobo Jeb earned so many EotM awards, but maybe it’s just a default thing because…Marty’s the only one who works at ToonMart now, and Jack’s not going to give himself the award.

That’s suspicious, but the rest of the episode was entirely different, so I don’t think I can justify calling ‘rip-off’ there.

Then there was The Suit Makes the Super Hero, where Marty and Burnie get trapped in Super Simon’s suit and gain his super powers as a result, prompting them to cause a lot of chaos and trying to cover up that they took the suit without asking, like Spongebob did when he got Mermaidman’s belt in Mermaidman and BarnacleBoy IV, but there was no shrinking powers involved with this story.

The most shocking moment of this came in the episode Marty’s Bright Idea. This episode feels entirely unique until the ending. Toons rely on idea bulbs to stay intelligent. This is another inconsistency in the show as they barely, if ever, actually use idea bulbs in the series, but it’s a cute play on this old classic cartoon trademark. Jack gets the year’s supply of idea bulbs from his supplier and tasks Marty with safely storing them because they can’t get anymore until next year.

Burnie, of course, coerces him into using the bulbs for random stupid crap. They go through all of the bulbs in just one day. Toonville soon devolves into a brainless wasteland, so Burnie and Marty head to the location of the supplier. When I mentioned this episode in my tweet thread, I hinted as to what the big ‘rip-off’ moment was by mentioning the episode of Futurama where they discover the origin of Slurm, Fry and the Slurm Factory.

If you’ve never seen Futurama (you should), in that episode, the crew wins a tour of the Slurm factory. Slurm is an incredibly popular drink that Fry is basically addicted to. In the factory, they’re shocked to find that Slurm is actually a bunch of goo that is expelled from the butt of a giant slug/worm creature.

And, well, guess where the idea bulbs come from. Yup. The butt of a giant slug/worm creature.

It’s completely random for such a detail to be shoved into an episode that otherwise has nothing to do with Futurama, but I can’t imagine something as specific as this was not just ripped straight from Fry and the Slurm Factory. The other stuff I can find a way to excuse quite easily, but this is too on-the-nose.

Looping back to Spongebob, ToonMarty also has some background music tracks that sound reminiscent of Spongebob music in that they use lap steel guitars. Spongebob’s trademark BGM is loaded with lap steel guitars to make their music sound more Hawaiian, tropical and ocean-esque. Their most iconic musical sting is one in which a lap steel guitar is used.

ToonMarty doesn’t use these tracks very often, and it’s usually briefly, but when they do it’s very distracting. It’s not only very Spongebob-y, but it doesn’t fit very well with the small town setting they’ve presented us with.

There’s a fine, fine line between ripping something off and gaining inspiration from something. This is a subject I really had to mull over after seeing something else shocking.

In the episode, You’re It!, they show a closeup of a progression drawing to explain how this It disease has been passed on through the years. The drawing at the end is clearly Spongebob.

Being fair, there’s also a drawing of a character clearly meant to be Mickey Mouse, and another…..that I feel I should know based on the art style alone, but I can’t place it.

Considering all of the nods that they give to classic cartoons like Mickey Mouse, does this mean that they’re treating Spongebob as one of those cartoons and are just gaining inspiration from them and giving them a nod?

I have no clue why that’s there or what that could be implying. If they really were ripping off Spongebob, I doubt they’d be dumb enough to draw attention to that by having a blatant image of Spongebob right there in the middle of an episode.

So my final verdict on this matter is no. I don’t think ToonMarty is a rip-off. I just think it has such identity issues that it borrows from other shows sometimes in order to feel more secure instead of really embracing the fairly fresh concept that they had all the way through.

Marty’s Bright Idea is a perfect encapsulation of that whole problem. It’s fully embracing its own toony meta identity for most of the runtime and then BOOM suddenly you’re thrust into an episode of Futurama for a few minutes. (For the record, I do think that one moment was entirely ripped off.)

The identity issues aren’t just present in the borrowing of material. The way that the characters will change personalities on a whim or the inconsistency issues I mentioned before are both symptoms of this. I really think if ToonMarty maybe got one more season it could have cemented itself a little more and improved overall, but, sadly, it never got a chance.

Top Five Best Episodes

Before I go over my actual favorites list, I’m going to share some honorable mentions.

9A: The Barber of Toonville – A pretty funny episode that plays with the trope of toons never changing their appearance, so they obviously never get haircuts, but Burnie needs one. After he gets his haircut, it snowballs into a really good episode of funny nonsense that I greatly enjoyed.

11A: Toon-derworld – Just a really good Halloween episode that I will probably cover in full this October for Animating Halloween.

12B: Hot Tub Toon Machine – The only episode that completely centers on the classic cartoons of yesteryear also does a good job of shining a spotlight on them. I love old cartoons and wish they got more appreciation by modern audiences, so I think it’s great that they were celebrated here.

Marty ends up losing his color and becoming wrinkled and sore after spending way too much time relaxing in Burnie’s hot tub. As a result, he’s sent to an old toons home where he meets other toons that have aged out of the public eye. Marty, however, remembers all of them. When Marty winds up being in trouble after trying to help them, the old toons team up and get their old acts together to help him get his colors back and escape. In the end, the old toons stay retired and enjoy their naps, but it was nice to see them get back in the game.

15A: Senseless Burnie (The Good Parts) – This episode had a really unique, creative, and downright trippy premise that was really fun to play around with. However, the thing that dragged this episode down will be covered in the worst list….

Onto the main list….

5: 20A – Marty’s Theme

This episode was a great play on the concept of a character’s theme music. In this world, a character’s theme music drives their emotions. If happy music is playing, they’re happy. Sad music for sad etc. Without a theme band inside their heads, toons don’t feel emotions properly. Marty loses his band after they have a big fight and break up. They leave his head to go pursue independent careers.

Marty shops for a new source of theme music and decides upon a yodeling crocodile who doesn’t understand English. This makes him happy all the time, which causes a lot of problems in his life.

This episode is loaded with funny moments and is very memorable. My only note is that it would have been better if the entire episode only played whatever was set as Marty’s theme music. That way we could react along with him. Instead we get the normal score and Marty’s theme music, so it kinda loses impact.

4: 16B – Psych-O-Marty

I know I’ve written a lot about how insufferable Burnie is, but this episode helps heal that wound slightly. Dr. Smartypants gives Marty the job of ‘tooning up’ the toons of Toonville in her stead since she needs a vacation. He does a surprisingly good job with everyone except Burnie.

Through a multitude of mental conditioning techniques, including a reference to A Clockwork Orange of all things, Marty makes Burnie realize that he’s a terrible person, so he dedicates himself to being good from now on. Problem is, the fabric of the world’s reality is dependent on toons staying in their typical roles. Burnie being the polar opposite of how he normally is starts causing everything to break apart. Marty scrambles to get him to be a jerk again, but Burnie won’t budge.

There’s this…weird glossed over detail of Burnie having an evil teddy bear as a child that may have made him a jerk? It’s just “He used to say an evil teddy bear made him do everything.” ….Oh. Okay. Is that for real or did little kid!Burnie just make that up as an excuse whenever he did bad things? We never find out. We never even see the bear outside of the costume version Marty makes for himself.

The ending was the best part of the episode because it comes out of nowhere and is pretty shocking.

The only thing I didn’t enjoy about this episode was the implication that they have to keep Burnie as this horrible nightmare person because that’s just the way he is and you can’t upset the natural order or whatever. Also, it’s a bit alarming because that means literally no character can grow or change lest the world be destroyed as a result.

Technically, this is just mirroring a facet of animation. Many cartoons, especially classic ones, wouldn’t have character development, or, if they did, it would just be in one episode and wouldn’t stick through any other episode. It was the consistent formula that kept people coming back. However, when you’re talking about one of the most obnoxious characters I’ve seen in recent years, I’d rather not have the idea of him not being an asshole sandwich be shot down so firmly.

Other than that, it was a really funny episode that I greatly enjoyed.

3: 7A: 15 Minutes to Save the World

I already said quite a bit about this episode, but I did really enjoy the way they played with the cartoon trope of the world resetting once an adventure is over. I also like that they got a bit dark with it by having Jack legitimately die and stay dead until the very end. The weakest aspect of this episode, however, is how it starkly contradicts itself as I mentioned earlier.

2: 3A – Where There’s Smoke, There’s Marty

Yet another great example of them exploring cartoon trademarks and playing around with them. Marty is trying his best to earn Employee of the Month because he only needs four more of those awards to beat Hobo Jeb’s record. Marty rushes around the store trying to do a bunch of work, but all the zooming back and forth is exhausting his smoketoon. A smoketoon is the smoke version of a toon that they leave behind when they speed off somewhere. All toons need their smoketoons to travel at any decent level of speed. Marty’s smoketoon gets so fed up with his constantly zooming around that he detaches himself from Marty and leaves. Because of this, Marty is too slow to do basically any work around the store.

With his record in jeopardy, he asks to borrow Burnie’s smoketoon, who, in a polar opposite situation to Marty’s smoketoon, is actually pent up with a lot of energy because Burnie’s so lazy that he’s doesn’t tend to use his smoketoon. Burnie’s smoketoon rushes Marty around to work, which makes him exhausted and allows him to understand how his smoketoon feels. In the end, both Marty and Burnie are reunited with their smoketoons under the conditions that Marty will take it easy sometimes and Burnie will try to not be so lazy.

I really enjoyed this episode a lot. My favorite part was when the smoketoons got into a fight and created a fight dust cloud. That kinda bent my mind and gave me a good chuckle.

1: 10B – Batteries Included

I’ve always loved the idea of a magic universal remote that can do anything to the world around you. This episode is one of the best takes on that premise. I especially loved when Holly made Burnie speak Spanish and kept him that way throughout much of the episode, when they added audio descriptions to Suki (making one of about three times Suki has a good joke/scene in the series) and when their batteries ran out pressing ‘slow mo’ and they had to wait centuries for the batteries to recharge even a tiny bit. That whole time they were basically in slow mo limbo was awesome. Very memorable episode, and one I would definitely deem my favorite.

Bottom Five Worst Episodes

Time for some dishonorable mentions…

5A: The No-Toon Bro Zone – This was the first sign of rough waters ahead for ToonMarty. It was the first episode I disliked. Burnie and Marty are being complete douchebags acting as “bros” and annoying Holly to the point where she goes to her private space to relax. The boys find her in the space and realize that it’s essentially a reality-bending area where you can get anything you want if you just say it out loud.

While Holly’s gone, the boys take advantage of the space and completely trash it. Marty also spreads the word of the place to plan a massive destructive party for everyone in town. Marty’s big mouth causes everyone to move into Holly’s place, and Marty, Burnie and Holly are not allowed in. When she tries to make the best of their time in normal reality, Marty and Burnie act like bored jerks not even trying to have fun.

The only reasons that I am a little lenient with this episode are that Holly gets her space back in the end, Marty and Burnie get punished for what they did, Holly learns how to relax a little better thanks to her time with Marty and Burnie being a fellow ‘bro’ and the jokes were alright.

6A: Candy Cute – This episode has many problems – all of them focusing on why Suki doesn’t work as a character.

This is the one and only episode that focuses on Suki. As I mentioned before, Suki is the character meant to be a parody of anime, most specifically magical girl anime like Sailor Moon. Sadly, however, it’s very clear that no one in the writer’s room actually knows much about anime to make this character work well.

You guys remember when really the only exposure people had to anime were things like Speed Racer, Sailor Moon and Pokemon? And how the bare bones of jokes involving anime based purely on a single digit number of shows were ‘The animation is cheap’ ‘The characters don’t blink’ ‘Woosh lines in the background whenever anything happens.’ ‘They overemote to things and gasp a lot.’ and ‘The lip-syncing is bad.’

Well, if you know that, you don’t need to watch this episode at all or pay attention to Suki.

Bear in mind, this show was made in 2017, long after we got a torrential flood of anime in the west and after it became basically mainstream to like anime. There’s no reason the jokes should be this lazy. The only kinda modern anime reference they make with Suki is that she also has cat ears, which I’m only giving a pass to because, despite cat girls being around for a long time, they weren’t really common over here for a while.

Then there’s the Japanese stereotyping. Suki is voiced by a white woman but speaks in an embellished Japanese accent. This is not only problematic, but it also makes no sense. Hardly any character in an English dubbed anime has a Japanese accent.

If they’re poking fun at non-dubbed anime….why is she not just speaking Japanese? Why not give her subtitles? You can even poke fun at the silly details of fansubs or something. Why make her speak English with a Japanese accent? That doesn’t convey ‘anime’ to me. It conveys….I dunno, weeaboo? Or a Japanese person cosplaying while speaking English for some reason.

She’s also very much into DDR, virtual reality and she’s, for some reason, completely obsessed with candy. Is that a Japanese stereotype? I can’t imagine it’s an anime thing…right? I know Japanese candy is supposedly really awesome, though I’ve never had any, but making her obsessed with it doesn’t make much sense to me if it’s a joke or reference.

Her candy actually seems like it has powers? In this episode, there’s been a string of shoplifting incidents in ToonMart, so Marty is tasked with taking everyone’s pockets at the door (Not checking – taking). Suki leaves behind her skirt, I guess, and Burnie being Burnie convinces Marty to rummage through her pockets. She keeps a ton of candy in there and Burnie just helps himself.

Eating the candy gives Burnie cat ears, which, by the way, look nothing like cat ears. Until this episode, I thought Suki had short bunny ears, and I’m still not convinced they’re not even though they specifically called them cat ears.

Suki adores candy and Burnie becomes much more fun when he’s on the candy (this is sounding like an anti-drug episode for some reason.) However, in a very surprisingly twist, Marty reveals that he’s allergic to sugar and eating more than just a teeny, tiny microspeck of it will make him really, really crazy and sick, so he can’t have candy. He likes Suki, however, and wants to have just as much fun with her as Burnie’s having, so he pretends like he’s eating candy for a while until he flips out, eats the candy anyway and goes on a sugar-fueled rampage.

This episode as a whole is largely mediocre, but I couldn’t get over how badly they screwed up making a parody of anime. They play with so much when it comes to other cartoon tropes, but it’s like they were contractually obligated to have a character who was based on anime since it was booming in popularity, but they didn’t know what to do with her because no one on the crew knew enough about anime to actually make creative and new jokes, which is a shame.

7B – Spare Parts – I’ve already said my piece on this episode, but it really is a terrible one. At the very least, Burnie gets “cuddled” by the giant Cuddles in the end, even if Marty and Holly also get squished.

And now for the lowest of the low points of ToonMarty….

5: 10A – ToonScout Marty

Super Simon’s at his absolute worst here. He’s trying to get merit badges in the scouts with Marty. He basically treats it like a joke, wants Marty to do everything for him, and acts like an oblivious jerk the entire time. He keeps earning merit badges for stuff Marty is doing and taking full credit without a single thought. Meanwhile, Marty, who was a model scout and loves all of these activities, ends up getting scolded constantly and has all of his badges taken away in the end.

The wrap-up to this episode plus some genuinely funny moments kept the episode from being unsalvagable, but it’s really annoying to sit through.

4: 12A – ToonMart Mutt

The reason I don’t care for this episode is the rampant animal abuse. Marty is a horrible, horrible, horrible pet owner who kills every pet he gets (usually a fish.) He asked Jack if he could get a dog, and Jack agreed, but only if he could keep a fish alive for one year. Marty unknowingly killed a fish once a day for 365 days, and Holly just kept replacing them behind his back to help him get a dog, which is absolutely abhorrent.

Holly means well, but she’s knowingly getting hundreds of fish horribly killed by Marty’s hands just to give him access to a dog that he will likely also kill?

Speaking of that, Marty does get permission to get his dog, but when Burnie realizes how much of a cushy life the dog will have (he’s not aware that Marty’s a horrible pet owner) he magically swaps places with the dog that Marty would most likely want.

Marty tortures Burnie in this episode, even though he thinks he’s being a good pet owner. He’s like Elmyra only worse. I can’t believe this episode actually made me feel bad for Burnie, but when we see his horrible, swollen, injured, hungry form after just one day with Marty, I was starting to get upset.

I would normally be right on board with Burnie getting some punishment, but 1) He didn’t deserve it in this episode, really, and 2) I can’t help but imagine Marty doing this to a not-Burnie dog, and that just makes me even more upset.

At least, at the end of the episode, Marty agrees with everyone that he’s a terrible pet owner and probably shouldn’t ever get a pet ever again, but goddamn that was rough to watch.

3: 15A – Senseless Burnie (The Bad Parts)

While this episode was very funny, weird and creative, I hit a wall of hatred with this episode when Burnie started insisting that Marty eat some super duper candy coated mega burger.

Burnie loses all of his senses after being exposed to yak hair. In order to sense things again, Dr. Smartypants suggests putting a brain leech into Burnie and Marty’s heads. Burnie’s will accept transmissions of sensory input, and Marty’s will transmit the sensations. Through Marty, Burnie can use all of his senses again. Problem is, he still can’t sense anything himself. IE if he wants to smell a flower, Marty has to sniff the flower for him.

Burnie has been really looking forward to eating this super special candy coated burger thing that is loaded with sugar, but since he can’t taste anything on his own right now, he wants Marty to eat it for him. Marty is allergic to sugar. It makes his head explode. (Yes, that doesn’t mesh entirely with what was mentioned in Candy Cute.) He wants to keep helping Burnie, but that’s basically asking him to kill himself, so he refuses.

In retaliation, since Marty claims he will do literally anything else….*sigh* Burnie forces him to do a series of horrible things to himself, literally torturing him until he gives in and eats the suicide burger.

The only thing that makes this even slightly acceptable is that Burnie still feels everything Marty is feeling, so he’s being tortured too. However, when you really think about it, this just makes Burnie look even worse as a person. He’s such a monster that he’s willing to torture himself to torture his best friend to force him into doing something that will seemingly KILL HIM just because he wants to eat a burger. Fuck Burnie, I swear.

He actually sneezes out his brain leech thing while torturing Marty, regains his own senses, but then keeps torturing Marty and tries to find the brain leech because he thinks the burger will taste better with Marty’s senses than his own.

Oh and one more thing. Burnie was also taking advantage of the fact that Marty thought he was the cause of Burnie’s senselessness by exposing him to some yak hair a while back. Turns out, Burnie owns a goddamn pet yak and is extremely close to it……even lickings its eyeballs…..

The fact that the rest of this episode is so good just makes me angrier at the bad parts.

2: 13A – How Marty Got His Toon Back

This episode I dislike for three reasons; 1) It’s just boring. 2) It is the absolute worst example of poor consistency in this show. And 3) It makes 100% no sense.

Grizelda hates toons and tooniness. On her birthday, she just wants some normalcy, but the toons are irritating her everywhere. She finally snaps and starts zapping every toony thing around her and taking away their tooniness, which kinda means she’s committing mass murder in a sense because most of the things she’s zapping are sentient and they lose their sentience when she zaps them. They’re just normal objects afterward.

In comes Marty, who is at his tooniest and causing trouble for her right before giving her an explosive when he finds out it’s her birthday. She zaps him too, taking away his tooniness and making him a regular person. He now has the capacity to feel pain and can die.

There are so many things wrong with this episode I have no idea where to begin.

Let’s just start at the basics. This premise is based on the trope that cartoons can’t feel pain, get injured or die. They just squash and stretch and turn into accordions, etc. no matter what happens.

Thing is, that’s not how cartoons work, nor has it ever been that way. Cartoons survive a hell of a lot, yeah, and like 15 Minutes to Save the World explains, the world just resets once the episode is over. The status quo is never challenged once the credits run. However, the way pain, injury and death works in cartoons is that they selectively choose when to have these things happen.

For example, a cartoon gets crushed by an anvil. It would be terrible and gross for the cartoon to explode in a bunch of meaty chunks and then end the episode because it’s now dead. It’s funny to watch him get flattened into a pancake and walk off angrily.

Likewise, it usually isn’t funny if a cartoon gets bit or burns themselves or sticks their hands in a mousetrap etc. and doesn’t respond with pain.

Death can also be worked with. I just watched a classic cartoon where the main characters die in an explosion in the end and hang out in heaven playing harps and it worked just fine.

As a result, this entire episode doesn’t make any sense even in concept. And it only gets worse from here. There have been and will continue to be plenty of instances of pain, injury and even death in ToonMarty, so even in-universe this premise makes no sense.

This is basically spelled out for us because Dr. Smartypants is telling Marty about his condition….I’m sorry Dr. Smartypants, what exactly do you do all day if toons never feel pain, get injured or die?

You want to know what episode immediately follows this one? Marty’s Exploding Head – where Marty learns so much so quickly that his brain is at risk of exploding and killing him.

But it doesn’t stop there. Even if you ignore literally everything about the way cartoons typically work or even how ToonMarty usually works, they’re still completely screwing up this premise. Why? Because Marty only barely loses SOME of his tooniness. He can’t change his outfit by spinning around really fast. He can’t crash through a wall and leave behind his outline. And he feels pain and is supposedly mortal now. These are really the only noticeable changes Marty undergoes when he’s de-tooned.

Yeah, he can’t change his clothes when he spins around really fast, but golly he sure is spinning really fast for someone with no toon powers.

Yeah, he can’t zoom through a wall and leave behind an outline, but he was still moving his legs so fast that they made that cartoon wheel of legs, which shouldn’t happen if he has no toon powers.

Here’s a brief list of every instance of Marty supposedly experiencing a lack of tooniness in this episode.

Burnie drops an anvil on Marty’s head. Marty just goes ‘ow.’

Burnie drops a piano on Marty’s head. Marty hurts, but still bursts through the piano without a scratch. He does mention he doesn’t get piano teeth or a circle of birds over his head, but that’s not the problem. If you were not toony, you’d be ultra dead right now.

Burnie torments him by creating a pellet of insanely spicy stuff. Burnie bites it and just bursts out with fire breath, but Marty is forcibly fed it and experiences a lot of pain with the level of spiciness. Okay, I’ll give them this one I guess, but they’re still making him do toony stuff by making his eyes literally glow red in response. Also, eating spicy things and experiencing pain while also breathing fire – typical things toons do because the idea of eating the spicy thing and not feeling pain is typically not funny.

Burnie pushes him off a high dive. Marty crashes into the ground, leaving a crater, feels pain….but also isn’t dead or visibly injured at all.

Burnie rolls his eyes at the idea of bringing Marty to the doctor, and even repeatedly says the word ‘Waaambulance’ (remember that meme from ten years before this show was made?) Even when he’s calling an ambulance, he tells the operator to send a ‘Waaaambulance’ for the ‘huge baby.’ That doesn’t have any bearing on the logic of the plot, but I just wanted to highlight what a pile of crusty used band-aids Burnie is again.

Dr. Smartypants shows that tons of Marty’s bones are broken in an x-ray, yet he’s not in constant ridiculous levels of pain, nor is he given anything more than a head bandage…..his skull was one of the few parts of him not damaged in the x-ray, by the way.

Marty is crushed in the screen wipe transition. Being affected by transition effects isn’t a toon thing….????

Marty catches his leg in Grizelda’s door, feels pain but his leg is still stretching out quite a bit, and he comically paused for several seconds before he actually reacted to the pain, which is another thing toons do when they get hurt.

Marty jumps up and stays in the air for several seconds, which is something he should not be able to do if he doesn’t have toon powers.

Marty puts a massive pile of explosives under Grizelda’s house to make a prank so funny she’ll give back his tooniness, but then he realizes that all Grizelda wants is normalcy, not pranks and tooniness. He takes the pile of explosives away, Burnie detonates them behind Marty because I wish Burnie would die already, leaving him singed and in a big crater with no other visible injuries….and not dead.

In the next scene, he has bandages on his torso, an arm cast and he’s using a crutch.

To get the ingredients for the nice, normal cupcake Grizelda wants, they climb a mountain and Burnie chucks the dino eggs that they’re trying to get at Marty, because I really hate Burnie. The dino attacks Marty. I’d think the dino would attack Burnie for not only having the eggs but also destroying them, but why not torment Marty some more for no reason?

In the next scene, Marty doesn’t have anymore bandages or wounds than he did before. They’re getting petals from some flower, and the flower is happily offering some to Marty, but then Burnie just yanks some off of the flower because *various anger noises*. The plant grows to massive size, develops huge spikes all over it and attacks Marty, because again, let’s torment Marty for shit Burnie is doing.

A few more bandages around Marty’s face as he goes to get the lava. You’d think Burnie, the one with fire powers and flight, would be the logical choice to get this, but no. Marty has to hang down right by the lava on a rope and get it with a coffee mug. Him being this close to lava without getting burned is already pushing it for me, but the point where I really said ‘screw this episode’ was when Burnie does a goddamn cannonball into the lava, because why wouldn’t he do the absolute worst thing you can possibly imagine to Marty right now, creating a massive wave of lava that crashes over Marty….and the only additional damage we see in the next scene is more bandages. They don’t even do the typical burned look with his hair slightly on fire like the way toons normally react to getting burned.

I know I said it wouldn’t be funny to have a cartoon get realistically injured or die horrifically like they would in these real-life scenarios, and I’m not saying that should be happening in the episode, but that’s a large part of the main issue here. They shouldn’t have even tried to do all of these stupid stunts. They should have made something funny out of Marty trying to avoid getting hurt as much as possible because he’s mortal now. If pain and death are such a huge risk to him now, it’s just plain stupid to keep having him get into situations where anyone without toon powers would easily be horrendously wounded or killed.

Maybe have Holly and Burnie scramble in a panic constantly over trying to help Marty avoid all of the hazards of their world and this very dangerous adventure. Have them use their toon powers to help make up for his lack of tooniness. Or is it much harder to make something funny out of that when “Hurr hurr, Marty suffering” is so much easier to write?

After Grizelda gets her dino lava whatever cake, Marty asks if she’ll turn him back into a toon. She agrees as long as he doesn’t do anything toony until her birthday is over. He agrees to the terms and gets his powers back, but Marty quickly explodes with tooniness all over and goes nuts. Grizelda actually understands Marty’s inability to control himself, but she can’t control herself when it comes to using magic, so she turns everyone in the room into frogs.

You’d think that’d be the end of the problems in the episode, but we’re still not done.

Everyone is turned into a frog except Burnie, who is kissed on the cheek by Grizelda, which turns him into…Merlin, but it’s just Burnie in a Merlin costume, basically. Grizelda was shown earlier to have the hots for Merlin….so uhh…she picks him up and says “Happy Birthday to me.” with bedroom eyes, porn-ish music playing and Burnie quietly begging for help.

…What the hell was that? Again, I’m all for punishing Burnie, especially in this frickin’ episode, but this is crossing a lot of lines. Not only is this creepy as shit in regards to consent, but Burnie can’t be older than maybe his mid-teens at absolute best. I’d say he’s probably 12 or 13 or something, honestly. I would rather the episode ended simply with the group being frogs, but if this terrible joke did have to be in here, why not transform Jack? Earlier in the episode, it was shown that Jack was one of Grizelda’s childhood friends who also keeps playing pranks on her for her birthday. You could have worked that into it instead of basically turning her into a pedophile.

The best this episode did was acknowledge that some people just don’t like pranks and it’s not right to try to force them to enjoy them. If they want to have some peace and normalcy, respect that.

1: 17A – A Friend Too Close

I hate this episode because it’s not only bad it’s basically doing the same thing Psych-O-Marty did only worse.

In this episode, Marty and Burnie realize that they’re so destructive and obnoxious together that they’ve literally been banned from everywhere in Toonville as a duo. They get into a big argument blaming the other for being the troublesome one, and then they decide to stop being friends.

Marty starts doing well because everyone likes Marty, but Burnie’s all alone and miserable because no one wants to be his friend because he’s the human equivalent of the teeny tiny x on mobile ads that you can never hit exactly right the first three times so you end up getting redirected over and over. Unlike in, say, Drake and Josh where they did a similar plot in Josh is Done, this doesn’t result in some sweet moment or self-realization.

Instead, Marty, despite having a blast with his new friends, suddenly finds them all boring because they suddenly start talking about boring stuff. Apparently none of them want to play pranks either, even though that’s a trademark toon thing to do, as shown in How Marty Got His Toon Back. It’s not exclusively something only Marty and Burnie do. Hell, that episode even showed that Jack loved pranks, and he’s an old fogey most of the time.

On the other side of the coin, Burnie starts going insane with loneliness, even though it’s been half a day and Holly’s tending to him. He can’t stop crying, he’s pretending a plant is his friend, and he can’t even maintain a healthy relationship with his plant friend.

It’s gets so bad, and I can’t even believe I have to say this, but Burnie actually builds a bomb and says its for when he gets “a little angry and destroy-y.”……..Are we going to find some poorly written manifesto after this?

It later turns out to be a garbage and slime bomb, but they treat it like a real bomb until the end. Holly, the robot, even recognizes it as a legitimate bomb and rushes to deactivate it.

In the end, they act like Marty and Burnie are worse apart than they are together, which couldn’t be less true. Despite having Marty for herself for a while, Holly doesn’t get to spend more time with Marty because he’s too busy with his new friends. Meanwhile, Burnie’s annoying Holly because he’s so miserable when she can easily just leave. Everyone else is just fine. No one is being bothered. It’s a bright and sunny day in Toonville.

The only third party being negatively affected here is Holly, and that’s easily fixed without getting them back together. They had to tack on the bomb thing to add more severity to this situation, which is very messed up. Like, “No, Holly. You can’t leave him alone. He might commit a terrorist act.”

Here’s my solution – Marty spends more time with Holly now that he’s free of Burnie. Burnie suffers for however long by himself because he realizes no one wants to be friends with such a terrible person. Then he gets jealous of Holly and Marty getting along so well. He wants to go full-blown super villain as revenge, but he can’t bring himself to do it. In the end, I dunno….I can’t suggest any sort of ending where Marty and Burnie get back together because I just find this friendship to be extremely toxic.

Marty’s always a worse person with Burnie, and Burnie’s always an unrestrained typhoon when he’s with Marty. Marty’s a great friend to Burnie, and Burnie’s a horrible friend to Marty. The only person who keeps them under wraps SOMETIMES is Holly, and they just end up making her the butt of the joke. I didn’t come away from this episode with any sense that we got the better outcome. Burnie should just be written out.

Bonus Notes

I tried really hard to find information online about ToonMarty, but it’s mostly a dry well. It’s a weird instance of a show popping into existence and flooring it into nonexistence. The show debuted on May 1, 2017 and aired an episode almost every single day until May 25, 2017 and then the show got canceled. I have no clue why they aired it like this. Power-airing a full season of a show in just one month is kinda crazy, and sounds like some form of sabotage, but I can’t be certain. There’s so little information surrounding this show that I can’t really know anything.

Nickelodeon gained the international rights to the show, but it apparently never aired in the US during its initial run, only in France, Latin America, Italy and Canada. Practically every video I find on the show is a promo from Nickelodeon France’s Youtube channel. It doesn’t seem like anyone has talked much about it. Outside of the Terrible Shows and Episodes Wiki entry, I found one IMDB review, one forum thread talking about distribution of the show, a couple of brief news articles and that was about it.

Oddly, though, Sardine Productions did create an online game based on the show called Marty’s Special Delivery, but it doesn’t seem to work anymore. I found two links for it – one is broken, and the other is Sardine Productions own web page for the game where it leads to nothing but a JPG.

The Facebook page for ToonMarty last updated on March 4, 2021 to announce that the show was heading to KiDoodle.tv, something that was also celebrated by Marty’s voice actor, Brian Froud, on his Instagram. However, the ToonMarty Facebook page hadn’t been updated since 2019 before that and then 2017 before that.

Oddly, they never noted that ToonMarty was heading to Tubi to get a US release.

Final Judgment

I won’t lie, I was a little disappointed when I finished the show because I had higher hopes for it. Not massively high, but high-ish. In the end, I think it’s good at absolute best. It can be smart and funny, and the main basis of the show is strong, but I can’t deny that the low points are exceedingly low.

I think a major factor in your enjoyment level of this show is how much you can stomach obnoxious behavior. Because, while I can handle a few bad episodes just fine, the fact that Burnie is here…..existing, is a problem for me all the way through. He was constantly ruining scenes or even whole episodes just by being there, and there’s never an episode where he’s not there. Then the frequent torment of characters who usually don’t deserve it makes things even harder to enjoy.

I don’t regret watching this show all the way through. Like I said, even in the worst episodes, I’d still crack at least one smile, and it usually had me either smiling frequently and/or laughing a few times. Plus, there were some concrete moments of high-quality comedy and goofy fun. However, whether I recommend it is another story.

I’d say it’s definitely worth a watch of at least a handful of episodes. I don’t think you’ll regret it. On the other hand, if you watch those few episodes and still want to walk away, I definitely won’t be jumping up to make an argument against your decision.

ToonMarty is not a show that was slept on or is a hidden/forgotten gem. It’s just a pretty decent show that came and went so fast, I’d expect it to have its own smoketoon. It was a fun ride for sure, but there were many problems with the show that needed be ironed out in a second season that never came. I really believe if it did get a second season, it would have made a good effort to fix the kinks and leveled up to having at least a couple ‘great’ episodes. Then again, I could be wrong and they could have just doubled down on the mess and made it worse. We’ll never know.

The good news is, if the show does interest you even a little it’s available for free on Tubi, available for free (?) on KiDoodle.TV, and Amazon Prime Video also has the series for free streaming with ads with options to purchase the episodes.


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SSBS – Dinosaur King Episode 4: Bungle in the Jungle Review

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Plot: After leaving for the Amazon to find a new dinosaur, Chomp gets separated from the group and lost in the dense jungle. Soon after, Max gets lost trying to find him. Can they regroup, find the dino and capture it before the Alpha Gang?

Breakdown: Ya know, sometimes I get really sad watching kids shows as an adult because there are certain occasions where it makes me feel my old-ness. I was watching the first five minutes of this episode and had the following thoughts.

*Max’s dad tries to give him all sorts of supplies for keeping him safe in the Amazon (barring the stupid ‘this one stops bad breath’ one)* *the supplies don’t make it through the transporter for some reason* Me: “Oh that’s a shame. They could really use those supplies. They should be more properly prepared before making these trips so they stay safe.”

*About 30 seconds later* Me: “Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, they really should have stopped off to get vaccinations too.”

“Ah, no. Don’t split up. There’s a reason the buddy system exists, guys. You’re in the Amazon rainforest, not the park.”

“Ah, good. At least Zoey and Rex were smart enough to put their dinos in their card forms to ensure they don’t lose them. Nice to see some responsible kids nowadays – what the hell is happening to me?”

Anyway…..*lip smack* This episode is boring as buckets and stupid as the last thing on Twitter that made you really angry.

This episode has no story…..like….none. Chomp gets lost for stupid reasons. Max gets lost for stupid reasons. Zoey and Rex meet a saltasaurus. The Alpha gang fight the saltasaurus with Spiny…..Zoey and Rex just…..watch. They don’t help at all. Dunno why. They just leave their dinosaurs in their cards and spectate this innocent dinosaur getting attacked by evil people. Our heroes.

The saltasaurus manages to get away because Spiny randomly lost its energy. The saltasaurus starts chasing Max for seemingly no reason – we’ll get to that in a sec. Chomp fights a crocodile, which is simultaneously the most interesting thing in this episode and yet, still, somehow boring. Chomp is suddenly able to hear Max yell out for it. Max and Chomp fight the saltasaurus despite being reunited with Zoey and Rex.

Rex: “Should we call out our dinosaurs?”

‘Durrrr, should we….help or something?’

‘Nah, they got this.’

‘Why the fuck are we here?’

*the saltasaurus gets defeated and turns into a card*

Zoey: “Did Chomp win?” No…..No….he didn’t. Chomp died and the saltasaurus did a victory transformation into a card.

Rex: “Yeah, he clobbered that saltasaurus!” You’re awful happy about an innocent herbivore dinosaur getting its ass whupped.

Max: “You fought so hard, you turned back into a card.” So, it’s probably a good idea to leave him in that state to rest, then, righ–

*instantly de-cards him*

Oh well, screw me, apparently.

They find a lizard that Max found a few minutes prior to the saltasaurus chasing him and deduce that the saltasaurus was after the lizard, not Max.

You may be wondering things like ‘What?’ and ‘Huh?’

Dr. Taylor explains this by claiming the saltasaurus was thinking the lizard was its family, since ‘saltasaurus’ literally translates to ‘lizard from Salta.’ Salta is the name of the town in South America where the fossils of saltasaurus were first found – information that has no bearing on this explanation whatsoever, but Dr. Taylor still thought to share it. It’s not like the saltasaurus knew it was Salta anyway. Salta didn’t exist back when the saltasaurus existed….They’re both lizards, so it followed it, thinking it was family.

First of all, saltasauruses were not lizards. It’s just a name. They do have some lizards traits, but they’re not lizards.

Second, this saltasaurus must have the eyes of a hawk fusion-danced with an owl because it somehow saw this teeny tiny lizard in enough detail to think it was family when the saltasaurus is massive.

Third, dinosaurs aren’t exactly known for their brain power, but it is way too stupid to believe that this dinosaur would follow this tiny lizard, thinking they were the same species. That’s like a lost lion finding a house cat and following it, thinking they’re family……Actually, that’s being a bit generous. It’s more like the Liger Zero Zoid following a cat, thinking they’re family.

Whatever, they have a saltasaurus now. From what I read, it never matters. No lessons were learned, no characters were developed, no story was furthered. This was a huge waste of time.

Oh well, at least they didn’t destroy any precious historical landmarks today.

I’m sincerely thinking about dropping this series. It’s just not enjoyable to watch. It has the intelligence level of a candy bar wrapper and it’s not fun. If anything, you have to be fun, especially for a kids’ show. I can accept plenty of silliness and, even though I find it insulting to kids, stupidity in the writing for shounen shows, but if you’re not going to be fun, why even bother?

This is a show where you collect dinosaurs, give them magical powers by swiping cards, have them fight each other, and, when they’re not doing that, they’re cool trading cards or chibi-dinos that are convenient pets. All the while, you’re traveling the world in an instant and seeing precious historical landmarks (that you may or may not destroy.) It is ridiculous that this show can’t manage to be entertaining with that premise, but they found a way.


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 10: The Approaching Beautiful Teacher’s Secret Mask/Manga Chapter 7

(Normally I would custom-make a header image, but this chapter title card was way too cool.)

This is our first instance of a plot revolving around Honda in the anime (and…pretty much ever, manga-wise) and the only instance of Miho existing in the manga. Why she was specifically chosen to be main girl character #2 in the anime is beyond me, but just be thankful she’s not in the 2000 anime.

I suppose it might have simply been because she is really the only other female student that is ever given even a modicum of focus in the manga, which is pathetic to say the least. Usually, the main girl in a group of mostly guys in an anime will have one or two girls who are barely-there side friends just to prove that the girl doesn’t only hang out with guys or something. But nope. Manga!Anzu’s in a sausage fest.

Jonouchi brings Honda to Yugi to help him with a problem – Honda is love sick for a girl named Miho, whom he’s nicknamed Ribbon-chan because she wears a ribbon (the amount of cleverness is high.) He needs advice on a gift to get her attention. Honda doesn’t want Yugi’s help at first and is quite rude and threatening to him about it, even strangling him a few times. However, Yugi, being a precious cupcake, decides to help him anyway. And, again, being Yugi, they go to his grandpa’s game shop to find a present.

Sugoroku hears his plight and grabs a blank puzzle, citing it as the gift he used to woo Yugi’s grandma. It’s weird, I never once thought about Sugoroku’s wife before. I wonder why they never bother talking about her….then again this show really doesn’t like explaining where anyone’s parents are or who they are, so it’s probably asking too much to think they’d include information on grandparents. Though, oddly, the one person on Yugi’s family tree that we do get the most info on is Sugoroku.

Anyhoo, the blank puzzle is used for messages. You write a love note on the puzzle and break it into pieces. Your loved one will complete the puzzle, see the message and, if all goes well, return your feelings. It’s a bit convoluted, especially if the person doesn’t want to do the puzzle or doesn’t return the confessor’s feelings, but it is fairly romantic.

Honda gets Yugi to write the note for him, which takes him all night, and they put the puzzle in Miho’s desk.

You might be wondering why I haven’t so much as mentioned episode ten yet. That’s because the adaptation of this episode had to be drastically changed since Honda and Miho’s dynamic is so different in the anime, and she’s an actual main character there. They could have had an episode like this where Honda decides to confess his love for Miho through a puzzle. It’s not that difficult to change up a few things and make that plotline work.

Maybe if he was actually shot down he’d stop being such a pathetic doofus around her. But why bother trying to think about how you could adapt the story properly and maybe even develop Honda’s character a little when you can pretty much just cheat in a manner we’ll talk about shortly.

The next scene in the manga is basically adapted just fine, though. Chouno-sensei is an incredibly beautiful teacher at their school, fawned over by many of the boys, but she’s also an incredibly strict devil woman. In the anime, she merely takes some girl’s charm off of her bag since it was against the rules, but in the manga she’s known as The Expelling Witch, having expelled 15 students in six months. She’s also very egotistical and wears gobs of makeup. In the anime, she’s so strict that she is trying to coerce (Read: seduce) the vice-principal into banning all personal items from school and increasing penalties for rule breakers.

Can I take the time to point out that the show is trying to torment my eyes again? What the hell is Chouno wearing? For someone who supposedly puts so much time and effort into their appearance, she chose a butt-ugly skirt suit.

The main plot starts here in the anime, and it’s pretty much the same plot as the Honda/Miho plot from the manga with the main difference being that the one with the crush is a completely new girl named Mayumi, who has hair that matches Chouno’s gross green skirt suit, yay. She likes Jonouchi and wants to confess to him. Anzu and Miho recruit Yugi to help her confess to Jonouchi, and he suggests going to the game shop where they get the same type of message puzzle.

There is a small running gag in the anime where, whenever someone asks what Jonouchi would like for a gift, they respond by saying he likes lewd videos. I thought that was pretty funny.

Believe it or not, even though they didn’t really have to change this plot so much, the anime’s arrangement makes more sense. At least it’s canon that Jonouchi likes games. Who’s to say Miho would like the puzzle or even try to complete it? This would make the most sense if Yugi was the recipient, but no one his age ever seems to have an actual crush on him – and that includes Anzu….

In the anime, Mayumi is the one who writes on the puzzle, not Yugi. I guess this makes more sense because she barely knows Yugi.

In the manga, we only hear about Chouno’s marriage interview when she’s discussing it with the vice principal. She says he didn’t deserve her and walks away.

In the anime, we actually see her marriage interview, and she mostly seems to use it to fish for compliments on her appearance. A little boy is playing around the area where they’re having their interview and accidentally runs into her. Chouno knocks the boy down and chastises him for dirtying her kimono, calling him a brat. He runs off crying, and Chouno laments on how terribly kids are brought up these days. Then her date dumps her after the spectacle – understandably so.

The thing about this change is that it’s not just adding the marriage interview, it’s also changing her character a tiny bit. In the manga, she’s a pure cold-hearted bitch who is toying with men and punishing them for no reason.

In the anime, while she’s still just a bitch, they inadvertently make her a little sympathetic. Fishing for compliments makes her seem like she has severe self-esteem issues, and having her be the one who got dumped leaves the door open for sympathy.

The conversation later when the vice principal asks her how her date went is kept the same as the one at the start of the manga chapter, but it’s made different because they showed the interview. Likewise, the following scene where she smashes the bathroom mirror and goes off about how she was planning on dumping the guy anyway and that she only uses marriage interviews to toy with men is also kept the same, but they add in a slight bit of her being extra insulted because the guy dumped her.

In the manga, for all we know, she did just toy with the guy and dumped his ass like old mop water so she could relish in his humiliation. But in the anime we know she was dumped, and nothing in inner monologue suggested she was going to dump him, though she was obviously just using him for an ego boost. Now it just seems like she’s embarrassed and she’s trying to make excuses to save face….hehe, save face…That joke will sense a bit later.

Bear in mind that I’m not saying anything the anime is adding is making her someone to root for or feel sorry for, especially when you consider the later events, but they did add a slight bit more depth to her character by making subtle changes. It’s not big change or anything, but it’s better than just making her fully two-dimensional.

In the manga, Chouno, being pissed off, decides to calm herself by springing a surprise inspection on the class. She wants them to empty their bags and their desks and will be thoroughly punished if she finds anything out of line. Funnily enough, when she’s listing off items that are against the rules, she mentions condoms – and they’re the most prominently displayed word in the text. I never thought I’d ever see the word ‘condoms’ in anything Yu-Gi-Oh related, but here I am.

To make this even funnier, she thinks this with such a creepy look on her face, and she’s yelling it.

Miho brings out the present and Chouno takes it away, shocking everyone and embarrassing Miho.

In the anime, Chouno just tells them to get out their textbooks. Jonouchi finds the present on accident while trying to get his book.

In both versions, Chouno rips the wrapping paper off of the gift and starts slowly trying to humiliate Miho/Jonouchi by putting the puzzle together and revealing the message.

In the manga, Yugi and Jonouchi stand up and try to claim the puzzle as their own to prevent Honda from being embarrassed or getting punished. Touched by their gesture, Honda decides to take the rap anyway and admits that it was his message and puzzle. Chouno can’t know for certain which boy is actually telling the truth, so she decides to complete the puzzle to see who signed it. She’s very close to revealing the name when Yami emerges and turns the puzzle into a Shadow Game.

In the anime, Anzu decides to take the heat for it, believing she can merely tell Jonouchi it was a prank. She’s told to go to the advisor’s office later, where she debates with Chouno on the ethical nature of the strict rules that she loves to enforce, particularly those of ‘distractions’ like a harmless puzzle or a part-time job. She tells Chouno that she believes many other students are on her side about this issue, so Chouno tells her to prove it by gathering the signatures of other students.

As Anzu prepares to do that exact thing, Chouno lies to the other teachers acting as if Anzu is a threatening troublemaker who is looking to appeal all the rules in the school.

Anzu starts putting up posters and gathering signatures. She admits that doing this is both for the sake of the students’ happiness and for allowing her to work her part-time jobs without worrying about getting caught.

Apparently, Chouno was able to convince the other teachers of Anzu’s misdeeds, especially with her posters up everywhere, so they start harassing her. Her posters get vandalized, and she starts getting unfairly targeted by her teachers in class. Despite this, Anzu keeps trying her best, though apparently she has zero signatures? I thought Jonouchi was going to sign it, and wouldn’t Miho, Yugi and Mayumi sign it immediately? Maybe Honda wouldn’t because he’s all about school rules, even if he doesn’t support Chouno’s behavior, but he’s pretty loyal to his friends. Surely he’d do it if Miho asked him, anyway.

Miho explains that there’s a rumor going around school that anyone who has signed has been targeted by Chouno and her fellow teacher cronies, which either isn’t true because she has no signatures or isn’t true because it hasn’t happened, as Anzu attests.

Anyway, pre-soft-reboot Yu-Gi-Oh being what it is, of course Anzu and Yugi get bullied. Three assholes mock her and take her sign-up sheets. They push Yugi to the ground and tear up her papers. Jonouchi comes over to confront the guys, one of them ironically calling him a rule-breaker. Jonouchi, unable to stomach this abuse to his friends, tackles the guy to the ground and punches him to face.

Obviously, this a big no-no, so Chouno brings them all to the advisor office for punishment. Anzu tries to take the full blame again, and Chouno threatens her with expulsion. She releases them all, explaining that the staff will decide Anzu’s fate tomorrow. She brings the three assholes into the room for their ‘punishment’ next.

They all leave, barring Yugi, who listens in at the door. Not surprisingly, Chouno was the one pulling the strings behind the three assholes. In exchange for expunging their records, they were told to harass Anzu and Yugi and get them to break the rules.

Shocked at this revelation, Yugi triggers Yami’s emergence.

Shadow Game

So, here’s the deal. In the manga, the Shadow Game really isn’t a Shadow Game so much as Yami utilizing the power of the Puzzle to warp Chouno’s face into a crumbling jigsaw puzzle (Though, oddly, we never get to see her ‘ugly’ face) and never allowing her to complete the puzzle to find out the confessor’s name. Chouno runs off in terror and uh….that’s it. The end. Of the Shadow Game anyway. Chouno is never seen again, either.

In the anime, Yami confronts Chouno in the hall and offers to play a game. If he wins, Anzu and her friends don’t get any punishment. If he loses, he’ll keep quiet about her using the students to further her own twisted plans, and he’ll willing be her pawn. She accepts.

Yami throws two mirrors up into the air. Each falls on their respective sides of the table and shatter into pieces, which was a really sick move. Yami always knows how to do these games in style. Whomever puts the mirror back together first wins. However, there’s a catch. They each have to be wearing blindfolds.

Chouno accepts, and the game starts. Before they actually get into it, however, Yami offers Chouno a pair of gloves to keep her from getting cut.

They start putting the mirror back together, but of course Chouno just takes the blindfold off because she knows Yami won’t see her. As they work, Yami reveals that this is actually a Shadow Game – if she cheats, there will be dire consequences. Chouno doesn’t think anything of it, but keeps up her blindness act as they continue to work. He’s halfway done, but she only has one more piece. She completes the puzzle, but Yami knows she has cheated.

He calls her out on her misdeeds and starts her penalty game. Her face turns into a crumbling puzzle, and beneath the pieces lies an old ugly sagging face. Chouno runs off in horror, but that’s, surprisingly, not the full end for her. Later, we see that she’s still preoccupied with her looks and vehemently supports stern rule enforcement, but now, whenever she goes too far with it, she hallucinates her face start cracking away and excuses herself. Apparently, she’s even caking on more makeup than usual because she’s trying to cover the cracks and it won’t stick.

Meanwhile, at the end of the manga, Honda formally confesses to Miho and gets shot down. However, Yugi points out that his friendship with Jonouchi and Honda has grown as a result of their ordeal.

At the end of the anime, Chouno’s plans seemingly fall apart, but it’s very unclear if Anzu got her wish to lighten up the rule on part-time jobs. Jonouchi asks Anzu what was up with the puzzle message, and like she claimed she’d do earlier, she just says it was a prank and he brushes it off. Miho tells Anzu it’s all okay because, get this, during this whole fiasco, Mayumi fell for an upperclassman and confessed to HIM, so they’re dating now.

……Mayumi, you were barely a character…but FUCK OFF. Anzu, Yugi and Jonouchi went through all of this bullshit because of you, and not only do you not help Anzu with her goal, but in the two days this was all going down you just decide you don’t like Jonouchi anymore, fall for someone else, confess to them and start dating them? What a bitch. The only reason they wrote this in is because they didn’t want this character to return and they were too lazy to write a proper resolution to that plotline.

———————————-

The anime definitely has the edge over the manga in pretty much every respect this time. In both scenarios, there’s a one-off character I couldn’t care less about (Though Mayumi is more of a bitch than Manga!Miho. At least she let Honda down gently), but the story is much more fleshed out in the anime version.

By the end, even though they added a layer or two to Chouno’s character, she was still extremely hateable. That guy who dumped her might as well be named Neo because he dodged a bullet.

I like how they showed that, even though she technically escaped the Shadow Game illusion, she’s still trapped seemingly forever, and it’s forcing her to keep changing her ways. It makes me think that this might be the case for everyone else, though considering Manga!Kaiba and Mokuba, probably not.

Having Anzu take the stage with this story was also a lot better than focusing on Honda. She’s a more interesting character, she already has a bone to pick with Chouno in regards to the rules being a hindrance on her, and I felt really bad for her when she was being harassed.

They obviously greatly improved on the manga’s shadow game, which wasn’t even really a game. And, like I mentioned, despite the punishment being the same between versions, we never see the ‘ugly’ face everyone, including Chouno, hallucinated at the end. Considering how scary this art can be when it’s just trying to be normal, they could have had a field day trying to make a purposefully ugly face, but they couldn’t be bothered.

The game itself was really cool. Yami even broke the mirrors in a cool way and put on his uniform in that badass manner where he uses his jacket as basically a cape. The broken mirrors also had symbolism in reflecting her ugly insides and being a sendup to her breaking the mirror earlier.

It’s subtle, but there are some cute little hints of Yugi’s crush on Anzu peppered throughout the episode. This was a good way to keep the theme of romance throughout, even if it was just slightly. However, it does bother me a little because, even in the soft-rebooted series, Anzu is definitely more romantically attracted to Yami than Yugi, if she even has an iota of feelings for Yugi at all. It’s just sad. The only reason they’d ever get together is if she waited about ten years when Yugi magically becomes a carbon copy of Yami, as far as we were able to tell from that one shot in GX anyway.

That’d be an uncomfortable situation. Imagine them in bed and her being like ‘Can I call you Yami or Atem?’

Overall, a decent story on the manga side and a pretty good episode on the anime side.

Winner: Anime

Next time, Miho and Yugi enter the world of Capsule Monsters.


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Episode One-Derland | Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto

Plot: If perfection exists, it’s personified as Sakamoto. He’s gorgeous, gets perfect grades, is extremely athletic, oozes charm and has pretty much everything go in his favor. Even when jealous classmates try to take him down, he easily comes out on top with style.

Breakdown: This series was suggested to me a while back, and I’m happy to report that I enjoyed the first episode very much. It’s a pretty unique premise – amping up the idea of this perfect golden hot guy character to insane levels and being so over-the-top with him that it’s actually very funny.

The world was easy to build and the characters just as easy to introduce. They seem like largely one-off characters besides Sakamoto, though, as it seems to be a repeating cycle of ‘Rrrgh I hate Sakamoto because he’s so perfect and gets all the attention. I will sabotage him!’ *sabotage fails* ‘I now love Sakamoto!’

I did think this episode had the most boring opening scene I’ve seen in a long time. Just having a faraway shot of three boys bouncing a ball back and forth with the most minimal animation they can muster as they talk about Sakamoto for about two minutes. What’s even worse is this is a running gag….

Sakamoto, as a character, is obviously super cool and exaggerated. He does everything with this flair that would otherwise come off as odd in other shows, but everyone fawns over here. He is truly perfect, and that makes for some great comedy

However……..that’s also my main concern with this show.

This series is 13 episodes long, and each episode seemingly has two stories in it. I don’t think this premise is strong enough to uphold 13 (technically kinda 26 I guess) episodes. It’s funny to see Sakamoto perfect himself out of so many situations and see how the sabotage/challenges of his fellow classmates fails over and over, but he’s too perfect. I already know he’ll come out on top in every situation without even trying. Part of the fun is figuring out how he’ll get out of it, but you still know he inevitably will.

How many times can you see him stylishly do something amazing before it gets old?

And how long can a character who is seemingly perfect from all angles carry a show? He’ll certainly never grow or have challenges to overcome, so the entire series is reliant on his shtick being strong enough to carry 13 episodes/26 stories, and I’m really unsure about that. Some of the situations are quite funny even without him, like the plot with the bee, but Sakamoto’s the main focus, so it’s iffy.

The art and animation are quite nice, even if those faraway shots make me think they’re cutting corners to save money for the more complex animation, which is fin. Sakamoto’s scenes have to be as stylish and sleek as possible.

The music was also fairly unique and pretty nice.

Verdict:

Continue Yes

Still unsure as to how much fuel this sparse plot can power this series for, but I enjoyed myself quite a bit in this opening episode, so I look forward to continuing it.


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