Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru (Manga) Volume 10 (FINALE) + Full Manga Review

Plot: Who cares? This crap is over!

Breakdown: Our first chapter of the final volume starts with Iku and Yori seeking refuge at Yano’s house since Yori has effectively kidnapped Iku. They didn’t even stop to get dressed – they’re just wrapped in a sheet. Yano lends Yori some clothes and dresses up Iku in a maid outfit because of course he does. He even mentions that seeing her in that costume is reawakening his lolicon tendencies…….Can we go one chapter without making me feel icky?

He brings them to his family’s summer home to crash for a while and leaves.

Yori, realizing he never took Iku’s feelings into consideration and asked if this is what Iku wanted before disowning their parents and kidnapping her while naked, asks Iku if this is what she really wants. If it is, she has to kiss him. If not, she can leave right then.

Go choke on toothpicks, Yori. It’s a little late to be asking her if this is what she wants. I don’t care if you admit that – it’s still too late. And, again, you’re basically blackmailing her with ‘stay with me and be my lover or leave and never see me again.’

Here’s exactly what he tells her.

Yori: “You choose! Be mine, or agonize for your entire life over today’s events and become some other man’s woman!” Gee, that sure isn’t worded in a way that is coercing her into one option over the other and isn’t said in a demanding tone.

I will concede and say that Iku has seemingly legitimately fallen for him at this point, but I can never really be certain if she is actually in love with him or she’s trapped in a delusion of love born of panic over possibly losing him. Yori has fucked her up ten ways to Sunday over the course of this manga, and she’s, quite frankly, stupid, naive and easy to trick.

Iku: “I don’t like you…..but….I love you!” *deep sigh* I’m beyond tired of fighting for you, Iku. I have more than extended my fair share of defense and leniency with you. You deserve whatever sex dungeon he locks you in for the rest of your lives.

Yori: “If Iku can hate the unreasonable and bossy me, then I can forget this love. However….the aggressive and forceful me, Iku not only accepted, she seriously replied to me! That was the first time….I felt regret.”

I hate you. Hate. Hate. Hatehatehatehatehate. HATRED. HATE.

You’re only now, for the first time, feeling regret over how you’ve treated Iku?

Now, that she finally admits she loves you too?

Now, that you’ve disowned your parents and subsequently taken her from her family?

Now, that you’ve kidnapped her in the middle of the night while you were both nude directly following the aforementioned kidnapping?

Now, that you’ve treated her like some object you’re entitled to because your Mom never told you that you were only half-siblings, which would barely affect anything.

Now, that you’ve emotionally manipulated her for the better part of two years at least?

Now, that you’ve repeatedly borderline sexually assaulted her several times?

Now, that you’ve made your feelings and relationship to Iku public to many people and essentially destroyed her social life back home should this ever spread, which it certainly will. especially if Tomoka is still in communication with their home town?

Now, that you’ve given her yet another blackmail-y ultimatum which was acting as a test to see if she’d love you even acknowledging that you’re a massive dickhead who knows he acts like a dickhead yet makes no effort to be a better person?

NOW?

…..Now.

Go to hell. Now.

We cut to a flashback of Yori overhearing a conversation Iku was having with her friends, asking what age they’d like to get married. Iku says she’d be fine never getting married as long as she’s with the person she loves.

Yori then flashes back to their mother confirming that they were technically still siblings, and he comes to the realization that he can’t make Iku truly happy. All he wants is one last memory with her before he leaves her.

*sigh* Alright, look. For the sake of Iku’s future, even though I doubt it’s bright either way considering she has no skills, knowledge, common sense, hopes, aspirations or interests and tends to attract attempted rapists, yes, leaving her would probably be best.

That being said, again, it’s kinda fucking late for this. The damage is done, Yori. You’ve gone too far to turn back now. Turning back at this point will only further confuse and hurt Iku. You are the epitome of a human disaster.

Oh that ‘one last memory’ was sex, if anyone was wondering. Because that also won’t do more damage or anything.

But, hey, let’s also make it gross. Iku says she doesn’t want to have sex right now because she’s all sweaty, but Yori says he likes it that way so he can fully experience Iku’s smell.

For good measure, let’s keep the creepiness up. Iku says it’s too bright. He can see her too well, and it’s embarrassing her. She asks to turn the lights off, but Yori vehemently refuses.

The next chapter is sex….Sex on the floor….the hard tile floor. That was the memory you wanted? You could’ve at least bottomed, Yori. Have some courtesy.

Hair sniffs: 9

Then they basically dick around for a while….Not in that way – showcasing more of Iku being terrible at everything like making god awful food and losing ten games in a row while playing video games, only winning the last game because Yori let her.

They dick around some more, again not in that way, then head to a church where they find the familiar white clover.

Yori: “Iku, did you know the clover is a flower that existed when Adam and Eve were in paradise?”

………Oh no.

Yori: “Since they committed a taboo, they were banished from the Garden of Eden.”

Please, no. You can’t be serious.

Yori: “When they were banished, they said to remember only the happy times.”

It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion.

Yori: “Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and some people say that act alone had the meaning of ‘doing the most intimate act.’”

You’re not making me do this. No. I’m not comparing the story of Adam and Eve with Yori and Iku. I’m not doing an in-depth analysis on the symbolism of Adam and Eve to see if it could justify Yori and Iku’s relationship.

The fact that this is even here is insulting to me. Not even on a religious level, just in general. I’ve never looked at the story of Adam and Eve in a positive light. You’re not supposed to. It’s literally the fall of man.

It’s not some beautiful love story, it’s not about committing a taboo because you love someone that much – it’s two idiots screwing over the human race for all of eternity because they thought they should listen to a snake over God and couldn’t resist eating fruit from one of two trees in all of the Garden of Eden when there was perfect food sources everywhere.

And the act of eating the fruit wasn’t intimate. It was just her offering it to him.

It’s literally –

Snake: “Yo, Eve, eat this fruit.”

Eve: “God said I shouldn’t.”

Snake: “Who cares? Do it. It’s real delicious and stuff.”

Eve: “Okay. Hey, Adam, want some fruit from this forbidden tree?”

Adam: “Sure!”

*Humanity Fucked*

Their taboo also wasn’t that they loved each other…..They were kinda….meant to love each other. She was literally made for him. And if you even start to tell me that her being born of his rib is a mirror of Yori and Iku’s incestuous relationship, I’m just leaving. I can’t even.

But, hey, considering these are two idiots leaving a path of destruction in their wake, maybe there is more to this connection than meets the eye.

That is the second time I’ve gone off in this volume. I’m not even done with chapter two. Dear god.

According to whatever source he’s getting this from, clovers were brought with them from the Garden of Eden when they were banished because, I guess, after defying God and being booted from paradise, developing feelings of shame and making their lives exponentially worse for all eternity, they thought ‘Hm, we should bring some souvenirs with us. Let’s grab this random plant.’

When Yori first gave Iku the clovers several volumes ago, he was trying to tell her ‘Even if I have forsaken God, I still want you as my lover.’

They enter the church and both pray. Yori prays for him alone to be banished from Heaven since he is responsible for the taboo. Oh, you didn’t think you were bound for hell already? That’s cute.

The next chapter, Yori tells Iku that they’re going home. Not the beach villa home – their actual home, back with their parents. He claims this has been his plan since their dad caught them together. I feel I need to reserve my energy for the rest of this review, so let’s just say ‘Bullshit, go to hell’ and move on.

Yori tells her it’s completely outside of the realm of realism for them to run away together. It’s all just a dream.

Iku pushes him down on the pew. She yells at him claiming he hasn’t even tried anything yet to help them build a future, he’s just needlessly throwing away every idea. He claims he loves her, but he won’t even make the effort to try, despite everything he’s done. She just wants to be with him no matter what.

Yori asks her if she’s ready to fully give up her parents, because that’s the price for them being together. For good measure, he states Yano told him their mother fell ill. You withheld this information from her just to possibly use it in an ultimatum? I’m losing track of how many terrible things you’ve done, Yori.

The very next page, they burst home. Yori was telling the truth. Their mother is quite ill brought on from stress in her tirelessly searching for Iku and Yori since they left home. She’s lost weight, as has her father. Even Inu-Yori wouldn’t eat as long as Iku was gone, but started gobbling up food as soon as she got home. They don’t give a time frame for how long they’ve been gone, but considering their parents’ conditions, I’ll guess a couple or a few weeks.

You guys never even thought to buy a throwaway phone and call, even just to assure them you were okay? Jerks.

The chapter ends with Iku devastated that she caused her parents and Inu-Yori such pain. Despite what she said earlier, she’s now struggling with the idea of giving up her parents forever for Yori.

The next chapter opens with the entire family enjoying a meal together. For a fleeting moment, Iku believes they might actually be able to ignore everything that has happened and be a family together again. Doesn’t take long for the other boot to drop, however, when Yori mentions going to rest.

Their mother suddenly snaps at this, demanding to know where they’ll be ‘resting.’ Yori, with that same dumbass supervillain smirk on his face, replies “Where? Isn’t it obvious? In our room….because we are siblings.”

She forbids them to be alone together ever again. She demands they sleep in separate rooms and do everything apart. Yori points out the obvious problem that she can’t monitor them all the time nor can she do it forever.

Suddenly, Yori comes to realization that, if he truly wanted things to go back to normal, he never should’ve abducted her.

No. You’re supposed to be super-smart. There’s only so many instances of ‘Oops, I never realized this insanely obvious repercussion of doing (blank). My bad!’ that I can believe. You’re a manipulative house of dicks. Burn in hell.

Yori tells them all that the only option is for him to leave the family. His dad tries to stop him, but he’s made up his mind. Iku and Yori meet in their room, and Iku tries to convince Yori to stay.

One more for the road –

Hair sniffs: 10

Yori asks Iku if she wants him to cut her hair since she stated sometime before that she had wanted to, but Iku knew Yori liked it long on her. He starts to cut her hair, symbolizing their ending love and him leaving since he’s cutting off “16 years worth of hair” and they reminisce about a time when they were younger.

Yori would braid Iku’s hair every day, and a boy made fun of him for it because braiding hair isn’t something boys should know how to do. Iku didn’t want Yori to be made fun of, so she learned how to braid her hair.

Yori explains that he gave the boy “a brutal beating” when that happened, because he took away his “privilege to stroke Iku’s hair.” Psychopath. Nothing new here.

When he gets done cutting her hair, he wishes her to have good memories of him after he leaves. She starts crying and asks him once again to not leave. He puts her to bed, claiming they’ll talk about the future in the morning. That was the last time Iku ever saw Yori.

The last chapter starts with Iku and Yori’s conversation continuing from what we heard before. He claims he’ll go away to some place where she’ll never see him again and their lives will move on after some time. She may forget this love and move on, or she might not ever get over it, but they’ll never see each other again. Yori leaves, taking one last look at the house and remembering the good times with his family before leaving for good.

In the middle of the night, Yano gets a text message telling him to take care of Iku. Realizing Yori left for good without that conversation he promised in the morning, Iku falls into a deep depression. She stays locked in her room, not eating for five days. She loses so much weight that the ring Yori gave her falls off. I guess she never looked at the damn thing because she only now realizes it’s engraved with a message that says he was blessed to have her in his life.

Iku blames herself for Yori leaving.

Iku: “This is all because of my weakness.” No, this is 99% because Yori’s a prick. That 1% is reserved for your utter lack of pretty much any positive characteristics.

She decides to finally eat so the ring won’t fall off again. When she grabs a bowl, she finds a note in it from Yori saying ‘Don’t oversleep. You must eat your breakfast!’ She then finds or remembers a slue of other notes reminding Iku to do various daily tasks.

Iku: “If I cannot become a woman who can stand on her own two feet, it will be impossible to continue any form of relationship. Such an obvious thing….I finally understand it for the first time.”

Good. Good girl. Become a strong independent woman. I’ll be rooting for you. Ya know…I’m actually kind proud of you, Iku. Maturing so much. I’m certain that this will stick and you won’t instantly revert to the overly dependent dumbass you’ve been this entire serie–

So the next page has Iku ready to intensely study for entrance exams to Tokyo University…….because she believes Yori will be there.

God.

Damn.

It.

Of course, Yano points out the obvious that there’s no way Iku would ever get into Tokyo University, even if she went to cram school.

We instantly cut to ten years later. If you needed a boost of inspiration in your life, let me tell you that the most incompetent and dependent idiot in the world, Iku, somehow managed to get a great job and earn enough money to travel the world at 26. She’s in London on business and has been looking for Yori for ten years. Of course she has.

She’s also keeping in contact with Yano I guess because he’s either feeding her money or because Yano is upholding his promise to take care of Iku….or both.

Iku: “I need to rely on my own strength to allow this love to become ‘one ordained by fate.’” Iku, it’s hardly ‘fate’ if you’re combing the globe for over a decade searching for him.

She goes to the local university’s library, and we see that Yori has become a junior lawyer. After some near-misses in their meetings, they finally cross paths. As Yori and Iku’s eyes meet, and they finally embrace once more, Yori thinks to himself “I love my younger sister.”

End.

Thank god.

But also, what?

How is this even happening?

I thought Iku couldn’t give up her parents, that’s really why their relationship would never work. You don’t stop having parents once you become an adult. You still can’t pretend they’re not related – Yori doesn’t even seem like he changed his name. If this is really insinuating that it was ‘FATE’ that they met back up several years in the future once Iku had ‘matured’ and learned to be more self-sufficient, then….the blame really is being put squarely on Iku being weak?

Fuck off.

Don’t get me wrong. Iku was and possibly still is one of the weakest, most dependent, dumbest, poorly written sacks of female I’ve ever seen. How the neurons in her brain fire without a note from Yori, I don’t know.

However, all of this is undoubtedly almost entirely Yori’s fault. If he could’ve kept it in his pants, not been an emotionally, physically and sexually abusive twat all this time, if he could stop being a psycho for five minutes, none of this would’ve happened. I can guarantee Iku never would’ve fallen for Yori. They probably would’ve gone their separate ways in college because god knows she’d never get into the same university. He would’ve lessened his crusade to get into his sister’s panties, and she would’ve gone off to flunk clown college and married some guy who would be cool with supporting her for her whole life and enjoyed the bonus storage space in her skull.

This entire series, if this last part is meant to be taken as fact, was meant to build up to Iku becoming more independent so she could have a real relationship with Yori when that was never the real problem. And Yori’s big moment of development is leaving Iku to pick up the pieces of her broken family, who now realize she had a sexual relationship with her brother for a couple years, her social life, which was undoubtedly screwed over from the rumors, and her love life, which seems like it was non-existent after Yori because who can top that perfect specimen of man?

Meanwhile, Yori, making off like he made some grand sacrifice, gets to go off, start a new life for himself overseas, everyone completely unaware of his escapades in sister boinking, becomes a successful lawyer and eventually gets exactly what he wants – Iku. Go. Drink. Molten. Lava.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the ending of the OVA was better. They had a small fling, he realized what he did was wrong and left. His parents never found out, there never was any scandal in his family, only Yano and Tomoka knew the truth about them, but Yano would never tell and Tomoka didn’t seem like she was far enough along in her bitchy development to do anything with it.

Oh well. Like I said, they deserve each other. I still feel bad for Yano, though. Now he’s spent ten+ years chasing Iku to no avail. Granted, he’s almost as bad as Yori anyway, but I’d rather have her go with him than Yori.

But we’re not quite done even now. We have three bonus chapters to go through….Oh happy day.

The first bonus chapter takes place before Yori admits his feelings for Iku. He’s giving her a piggyback ride home, he tricks her into saying she wants to do it with her, changes the subject abruptly and says he just wants to be by Iku’s side forever.

That sure was worth the ink and paper.

The next chapter is a more developed story of something they flashed back to briefly in the next to last chapter. Little Yori is about to be a prince in a play. He wants Iku to be the princess so he can pretend they’re getting married, but their teacher won’t allow it because Iku’s too dumb to remember her lines.

Yori vows to get Iku to learn her lines, but he works her too hard (even withholding food from her until she says the lines he wants her to say) and she falls unconscious with a fever. I know this is a trope, but either Yori’s a slave driver or Iku really is the weakest person alive.

Yori feels insanely guilty….for all of five minutes. We later see an unconscious Iku, still sick with fever, playing Sleeping Beauty opposite Yori. They changed the play to Sleeping Beauty because she’ll barely have any lines to remember, and she’ll be allowed to sleep through a good portion, I guess. Then he kisses her to wake her up. The end.

….So, what I’m getting from this is….Yori forced his sister to partake in a play because he wanted to play pretend marriage with her and kiss her, ran her like a dog until she was sick and unconscious because he really wanted her to keep the role, and the school, for some reason desperate to keep Yori as the prince (The girls in his class practically protest, complete with a sign, for him to be prince, but the only reason any of them would want that so badly is if one of them got to play opposite him, so I don’t get it), changed the entire play so Yori would still be the prince in the play instead of a tree, not even caring that they were putting a sick unconscious child on stage and allowing another child to kiss the aforementioned unconscious child.

Does the horribleness ever stop? The manga is technically over and it’s still happening. Someone please help me.

Also, apparently the teacher is such a doormat for the girls in her class that she agrees to Yori’s terms in regards to letting Iku play opposite him when another girl already has the part. The girl in question, named Rika (whom I don’t remember at all if she’s an established character) clearly doesn’t agree with this arrangement, but since the other girls are so insistent on just rolling over to make Yori happy, she’s forced to play a tree. This manga isn’t for children, but this is such a terrible message. As long as you’re cute and people love you, you’ll have everyone bending over backwards to give you literally anything you want – even if it’s completely unfair to everyone else! Iku didn’t deserve to have the lead in the play, and Yori didn’t deserve to have everyone cater to his screwed up fantasy.

The final chapter is the story of how Yori adopted Inu-Yori.

He went to a pet store looking for a high-energy corgi.

Yori: “If Iku takes it for a walk every day, she can definitely lose some weight.”

HORRIBLE. NEVER. ENDS.

The female corgi liked him, which I assume eventually becomes Inu-Iku, but he turned her down because he wanted the dog to be in his stead as he was gone, so he chose the male……….He chose the male because he wanted the dog to be in his stead. I thought it being a companion so she’d never be lonely was the point of this. What does the dog having a dic—forget it. I don’t care.

Manga over.

——————————–

Well…..that sure was…..*exasperated sigh*

This manga has a 7.08 rating on MAL and a three-star rating on Anime-Planet.

How?

Why?

….What?

I’ve said my piece on this manga by now, but to wrap things up, this is a terrible manga. This is a terrible thing. These are all terrible people doing terrible things. No character is really likable. Even the dogs end up being a little creepy. This is a terrible ‘romance’ story that never really felt like a romance. Like I said in the tags of volume nine, the story actually is serviceable, but it’s completely burned down to the ground and pissed on by the unlikable and infuriating cast.

Yori’s a rapey jackass who admits flatout that he’s mean, bossy and forceful, and that’s just the tip of the assberg. He never tries to change his ways, and any instance of him doing something good is usually laced with terrible implications or motivations.

Iku’s a complete imbecile who spends her time either acting like a toddler, crying at something Yori’s doing or responding to things going on her around with that HeroineFromAmnesia-esque vacant stare. It’s hard to believe someone so stupid and useless actually exists. Scientists would probably want to study her brain, if they could find it.

They love each other but, despite all this, we never really learn why. Yori only has bad personality traits. Even when he’s going out of his way to care for Iku, he’s still a jerk to her and everyone else. Iku is kinda nice, but her uselessness and stupidity as well as complete lack of characterization outside of her over-attachment and dependence on Yori make her incredibly frustrating to watch.

It’s Yori’s lust and obsession stirring up Iku’s crippling dependency to the point where love is an illusion. The ending may contradict this, considering Iku did eventually stand on her own two feet, but I don’t know if she got that job because of Yano (his family is filthy rich) and her focus is still entirely on finding Yori to the point where I think the only reason she became independent was find Yori, ironically.

The only two emotions this manga made me feel were apathy and anger. The only part that I legitimately enjoyed was the story of Takuma and Mayu, and they left that plot on a damn cliffhanger. Did they ever get together? Did he really die when he hit 20? We’ll never know, but hey, let’s watch Yori sexually assault Iku again, and then we’ll watch Iku be so stupid she forgets how to walk. Quality writing.

I didn’t think this series would get substantially worse than the OVA, but, goshdarnit, you proved me wrong and then some, manga.

If I’ll throw it any bones, I’ll say the art was alright. Like I mentioned in my AniManga Clash!, the art style is basically exactly the same as the anime, but the manga’s was noticeably better. Just slightly. It still looked weird, especially with the mouths and the fingernails, but it was alright. Very typical shoujo style.

Please don’t waste your time or brain cells on this manga. Trust me. It’s not worth it.

Recommended Audience: There’s several instances of nudity but really only in regards to breasts as the crotch region is usually fully airbrushed out. There are numerous sex scenes, but they never get that graphic. I feel I can easily put a rape trigger warning on this series as there are tons of instances of flatout sexual assault and borderline rape, even if they paint it as romantic. Plus, there’s just a lot of squicky creepy talk and gestures. Incest alone is probably a flag for many people. There’s no violence, swearing or blood/gore. 15+


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 25 – Yuzuki Review

HGTVEP25

Plot: The truth has finally been revealed to a distraught Yuzuki – she died when she was a child and everything she’s been experiencing over the past year has been nothing but an illusion. When she learns the truth of her death, she has to decide whether or not to take up the mantle of Hell Girl.

Breakdown: As much as I’ve been ragging on Yuzuki, and as much as I didn’t care for the previous episode, I still held out hope that the reveal behind Yuzuki’s true backstory would be serviceable. I had little hope it would be so good that it would be worth all of the episodes of Yuzuki being a bland sack of drywall dust, but from all I heard about this season I did hold out hope that her story would be alright. Fully bracing for mediocrity, I watched.

And my response was….

I have been trying really, really hard to not lose my temper when writing reviews lately because it tends to make me come off as unfair and grumpy. Well, I’m not worried about that right now, so I’m letting ranty!Twix have a moment out of her cage today, because fuck this, this is brain-bleedingly stupid, fuck this, why, why, why? 25 episodes….for THIS? No, fuck you, Hell Girl: Three Vessels. I’d rather have a full 26 episode run without any main storyline than this steaming heap of garbage.

I had to pause the episode at least three times to exclaim out loud how stupid all of this was. This is next level stupid. How anyone thought Yuzuki’s story was anything but insanely poorly written and purposefully exaggerated to ridiculous levels does not compute with me. It just doesn’t.

Okay….backing up and calming down a tad. Obviously, we have to establish why Yuzuki is considered a replacement for Ai as Hell Girl. She needs to have some sort of deep vendetta or something that would make her a proper candidate, right?

What could such a young girl have gone through to have this vendetta?

Yuzuki’s family life was very normal when she was young. In fact, it was pretty much unrealistically Full House brand saccharine. So, this being Hell Girl, of course things have to go horribly wrong.

HGTVEP25SCREEN1

Yuzuki’s father was a bus driver. One day, the brakes went out, causing him to t-bone another bus. He lost his life in the crash, and at least one other person was confirmed to have died as well. We never get confirmation on how many people died or were injured in the crash, but Yuzuki’s father and some girl or woman died.

The bus company completely denied that their bus had suffered from any malfunction or that they were at fault at all. They wouldn’t place any blame on the driver either, but they didn’t say it wasn’t him, so everyone just assumed that Yuzuki’s father was to blame for the crash, which is dumb because several reporters stated that some of the survivors from the bus asserted that the driver said the brakes failed right before they crashed.

Apparently, in this ridiculous version of the world, everyone completely believes the official statement of a bus company who would obviously rather – prepare for an awesome joke – throw one of their drivers under the bus rather than accept any responsibility for a fatal crash. And not a one of them would want to believe the survivors who know firsthand what happened when they were there and witnessed it.

Why wouldn’t there be an official police investigation into this? The only investigation that was cited was the internal one the bus company ran.

Everyone also acts as if he crashed the bus on purpose or something, calling him a murderer and such, which makes absolutely no sense because no one ever presented any theory as to why he’d ever do such a thing on purpose. He wasn’t suicidal, he was a great guy as far as I saw, and I’m certain plenty of people would vouch for him, but nope. Just grr, this awful bus driver man who fucking DIED in the accident and left behind an ailing wife and young child is a monster who obviously crashed the bus with malice.

In any other situation, people would probably have a lot of sympathy for the driver’s family at least. It was a terrible accident that they had nothing to do with. There’s no reason for them to suffer for any of thi—‘Fuck you, viewer!’ says the writers.

It’s time to put the patented Hell Girl ‘people are nothing but evil stupid shitbags’ writing into….

For some reason I still cannot wrap my head around, everyone, and I do mean everyone, starts to treat Yuzuki and her mother like they’re monsters – as if they’re the ones who crashed the bus and did it completely on purpose. As if they all lost precious loved ones in the accident while Yuzuki and her mother laughed maniacally from the street corner while pissing on a pile of everyone’s family heirlooms.

It’s not just the adults either. All of the children in Yuzuki’s school avoid her or write ‘Murderer, disappear’ on the chalkboard because of the terrible things their parents told them about her, which, again, I can’t imagine what they could possibly be saying. ‘I don’t want you associating with that Yuzuki girl again. She’s somehow responsible by proxy for a terrible bus accident her now dead father caused, I think.’

Really, even if Yuzuki’s dad did cause the accident on purpose, which is a HUGE stretch with absolutely no evidence – even it being his fault at all holds little water because of the witnesses – isn’t it enough punishment that he died in the accident? Isn’t it bad enough that Yuzuki lost a father and her mother lost her husband? Why would any of these people, let alone ALL OF THEM be such malicious, horrible scumbags that they’d torment Yuzuki and her mother like this?

I haven’t even scratched the surface of how overblown this behavior is.

It’s not just whispers and people being rude, oh no. They plaster her apartment door with papers that say various horrible things like “God of death,” “Murderer,” “Leave,” “Fall to hell,” “Die,” and “Disappear.”

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An employee/co-owner at the local grocery store not only doesn’t want to sell food to Yuzuki, but she detests that her co-owner, who was childhood friends with Yuzuki’s mother, decided to hire her since they were low on money after the death of Yuzuki’s father (It’s mentioned that Yuzuki’s mother was offered money by the bus company, probably to decrease the chances that she’d sue them, but she refused it.) She even knows that she’s ill, but that only makes her hate the decision more because she can’t do as much work while sick even though she’s trying her best.

I’m still not done. That same childhood friend decided that while Yuzuki’s mother, the one who just lost her husband in a terrible bus accident like not even a month prior, is having a terrible coughing fit (spoiler alert, she’s dying) would be a great time to hit on her, but she rejected his advances and ran off. She said she quit after that, but it’s moreso implied that the guy fired her for it because he’s super pissed the next time he sees Yuzuki and won’t even let her buy food at the store….

Yuzuki’s mom tries to solicit help from their relatives, but each one turns them down. Seemingly for the same reasons as everyone else, so apparently this condemnation is so terrible even family is turning their backs on them. Lovely.

But, hm, how can we go even further with this? How can we assure the audience that all human beings are complete and total irredeemable rotten monsters?

Ah, yes. How about when Yuzuki’s mom gets deathly ill no doctor will see her. I am not kidding. Yuzuki’s mom is turned away at every local hospital and doctor’s office all because of this moronic bus accident bullshit. I paused for several minutes and yelled at my computer screen when I saw this. NO ONE WOULD BE THIS TERRIBLE FOR SUCH RIDICULOUS REASONS, LET ALONE AN ENTIRE TOWN.

Compare this story with that of Ai or Takuma. Ai was treated as a monster because of rumors involving her having weird powers, and because she was seemingly the cause of much suffering in her village for escaping the Seven Sending ritual that was meant to bring prosperity to them. Takuma was framed for the murder of his mother and putting his father into a coma while also being blamed for every Hell Girl incident in his town and everyone accusing him of being a devil child who wrecks stuff and flippantly kills animals.

Yuzuki was the daughter of a bus driver who got into an accident that killed an only confirmed two people, one of which being some no-name no-face person that no one ever references outside of her parents when she initially died, the other of which being himself. Nothing else happened. And yet they’re being treated WORSE than Takuma was. Yes, I’m not kidding. Because at least Takuma’s father was able to get medical treatment, and Takuma was fully allowed to visit him. At least Takuma was able to go out and buy things. At least Takuma had a few people who were willing to try and clear his name. And Takuma’s case was so unreal and ridiculous that I made a running joke about how ludicrous it was becoming.

And Takuma’s town full of horrible people did have some modicum of legitimate reasoning to hate and fear Takuma, considering everyone was convinced he was both a parent murderer and a demon with the power to make anyone he wants vanish. It was only the circumstances revolving around why the evidence for these assumptions initially kept piling up that was convoluted. He was ‘coincidentally’ put in the middle of so much shit that it was insane. Once the wheels were in motion, everyone just kept abusing the ‘Takuma did it’ excuse for friggin’ everything awful, particularly Hell Girl vanishings, that realistic (for the most part) mob mentally set in rather violently.

In addition, both Takuma and Ai were directly the targets of the ire of their respective villages/towns. Yuzuki and her mother are merely related to the target of everyone’s hatred here.

Literally NO ONE will stand up for Yuzuki and her mother – not even the survivors of the crash who went on record saying it was a brake failure will come out of the woodwork. Yuzuki’s mother is dying in front of everyone, and no one will give a single shit – not even doctors in hospitals. Even mass murderers would be able to find medical treatment because doctors have a duty to treat people who are sick and injured, even if they don’t like them or are the worst scum in the world.

Yuzuki is running around town in a panic when her mother collapses after coughing up a bunch of blood, desperately trying to find her help, but no one will listen. They either turn her away or ignore her, saying, and I quote “Children’s problems are negligible.” “Making such a big fuss. She probably has a cold or something.” Granted, I have no idea why Yuzuki doesn’t just call for an ambulance, but knowing this backwards-ass episode, the operator would probably be like “Oh, you’re the kid of the evil bus driver. Yeah, your mom can go die. Call us when she croaks. We’ll have a pizza party. Without you, of course. I hope you die too.” *hangs up*

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Yuzuki’s mom is literally hobbling down the street, supported by her like four-year-old daughter, she’s pale with dark circles under her eyes and may as well have a giant neon sign over her head that says “I’m going to take a dirt nap soon.” and everyone just stares at her with sheer hatred in their eyes.

This story might be made a bit better if Yuzuki’s father survived the crash, but wound up permanently injured or disabled because of the wreck, and he grew hateful and bitter because of both his injuries and how no one would believe that he didn’t cause the wreck. And many more people died in the accident, like practically everyone in both buses, and he was one of the few survivors. Everyone would start treating Yuzuki and her mom like crap too for their association with him. Yuzuki’s father would become so far gone that he wouldn’t care about Yuzuki or his sick wife anymore. Maybe, and this is going a bit far, admittedly, Yuzuki’s mom would die out of nowhere because she hid the severity of her illness to not worry Yuzuki or bother her husband. And then, fed up with everything, Yuzuki, who’d I’d imagine as being slightly older in this scenario, would kill her father because he was the cause of everything, and then she’d somehow get some revenge on the people in town who made the situation a million times worse.

This is coming from a place of a genuine desire to help this story be better, by the way, because there is really a good deal of potential in Hell Girl, especially for something like finding Ai’s replacement, but this is just ridiculous. This entire town would run laps around Takuma’s town in regards to being overly evil and ‘we ran an x-ray and we’re afraid there’s literally nothing in your skull’ levels of stupid. I’m not a great writer either, and this suggestion isn’t even that good to be honest, but it’s really all I could come up with while still keeping the bare bones of what they gave us. If I want to be honest, Yuzuki’s story probably needed to be scrapped and just rewritten from the ground up.

Anyway, at the very end of their ropes, and with Yuzuki’s mother clearly at death’s door, Yuzuki’s mother decides to bring Yuzuki to an old rickety shrine where she plans on mercy killing Yuzuki via strangulation before she dies herself. She’s stopped before her hand even reaches Yuzuki’s throat by the sounds of some passing teenagers who pray at the shrine briefly. Almost immediately after they leave, Yuzuki’s mother dies.

Yuzuki buries her in cherry blossoms under a cherry tree. Her eyes turn red, which lead me to believe that she was about to go kill someone or, I dunno, burn her whole town down or something. It would’ve been way too much for a little kid to do, but it’s not anymore unrealistic than anything else in this episode.

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……Nope.

She gets the red vengeance eyes and then goes home to clutch her teddy bear and…..die. Of what, I don’t know. I assume dehydration or starvation or something. She didn’t look like she was dying or was ill when she left, but she just falls asleep on her bear and never gets up. Her corpse is seriously as Ai and the others presented to her. She is just a pile of bones on a teddy bear, which only adds to the confusion of this episode.

So no one thought to check up on Yuzuki? No one ever went back into that apartment? No one ever smelled the stench of dead child?

Back in the present, Yuzuki, whose form also confuses me because I don’t understand why she’s a teenager if she died as a small child, willingly accepts her role as Hell Girl now that she remembers her horribly written tragic backstory. No argument, no nothing, she just accepts her role with open arms.

Also, her assistant is now Akie, who I guess is seriously in hell, which I guess means that the series DID happen….somehow? But they weren’t really friends as teenagers because Yuzuki died as a child? There was a brief scene where the young Yuzuki ‘met’ young Akie, but all that happened was Akie passed by her, gave her a candy and left. She never even introduced herself. So….I don’t really get why Akie is considered so precious to her outside of being the one person who showed her a slight bit of kindness while everyone was being a freshly baked pan of frosted bastards.

Isn’t Akie really confused right now? Like, ‘Wait, who are you? Why am I serving you? I met you for 11 seconds as a little kid and gave you a candy? What?’

Yuzuki’s whole present-day situation is extremely confusing to me. So she left this world full of hatred with a desire for vengeance, if her red eyes were any indication, and she supposedly didn’t pass on to either heaven or hell because she was wandering in this realm because of those dark feelings, if Tsugumi is to be believed….So Ai and the others prepped her for being the next Hell Girl by aging her up and allowing her to live a mostly happy-ish life with good friends that she never had before in addition to having her mom and dad still be alive and speaking to her, just not physically there, while also briefly having her skim by most of the clients they had in the interim, hopelessly “trying” to stop them or maybe not it depends, with her one major moment of slipping in this illusion being witnessing Akie get sent to hell, and all of that really just made her vehement AGAINST Hell Correspondence. Did they even know ahead of time that Akie would be sent to hell? Was that part of the plan? What exactly was the goal here? I don’t get it. Wouldn’t they have been better off just teaching the little girl version of Yuzuki about how to do Ai’s job?

Ai didn’t just transfer her role to Yuzuki. She put her soul back inside of Yuzuki to make her Hell Girl, which makes even less sense. Hell Girl is a role Ai was given. She shouldn’t need to be a part of Yuzuki’s soul to pass on the baton. They act like Ai is gone, Yuzuki tells the Hell Team to leave because Akie’s her assistant now and their previous master is gone, but Ai literally went into Yuzuki’s body. She didn’t pass on or anything. I don’t get it.

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Why is Yuzuki even being given this role? Ai was given the role as a punishment for slaughtering her entire village in vengeance after she was killed by them and betrayed by her closest friend. She needed hundreds of years of watching how vengeance causes suffering to understand her wrongdoing and eventually accept her pain and move on. Yuzuki didn’t do anything. Her eyes turned red, then she hugged a teddy bear and died. She may be a wandering spirit filled with vengeance because of how badly everyone treated her and how their actions basically caused her and her mother’s deaths, but she didn’t do anything to warrant being given this job if it’s really meant to be a punishment. If anything, they’re putting someone in a role who will surely abuse it because they’re clearly now glorifying the act of vengeance.

Case and point, the first thing Yuzuki says when she becomes Hell Girl is that she won’t send someone sinless, like Akie, to hell ever again. She’ll purify the world. Problem is, Hell Girl doesn’t have that power. She is bound by the rules of her role to never reject viable clients or target people who haven’t been marked by clients. That’s a big part of why her existence is so tragic. Even if many of her targets aren’t innocent, she has to ferry a ton of nice people, children etc. to hell all the time since they’re clients. And she also has to let some of the worst people in the world to run free. The one time she chose to attack people she had a personal vendetta against cost her more time as Hell Girl. And the one time she refused a ferry was a test to see if she could really let vengeance go.

The point is, Yuzuki is now Hell Girl, none of this feels ‘earned’ and I am much angrier than I ever thought I would be after watching this. And what’s even worse is this is only going to get…..well….worse…Because, as I mentioned before, this shift isn’t permanent. Yuzuki does not stay as Hell Girl, and Ai doesn’t get relieved of her duties quite yet. We have to go through one more episode to return to the stupid status quo, and I can only hope they don’t manage to piss me off anymore….

Next Episode, the ending. At this point, I just wanna plow through it so we can also plow through Fourth Twilight to see Ai finally pass on for good.

….Previous Episode


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Pokemon Extravaganza | Movie 11 (Dub) Giratina and the Sky Warrior Review

Plot: A Shaymin is minding its own business when a nearby Dialga gets attacked by a Giratina. They drag Shaymin into the scuffle, and Giratina pulls Dialga into a different dimension – a world opposite ours called the Reverse World. Giratina wants revenge on Dialga for causing spacial disruptions in the Reverse World due to the disturbances in time and space that it and Palkia caused in the previous movie.

As they fight, Shaymin uses Seed Flare and opens a portal out of the Reverse World. Dialga follows, but not before trapping Giratina in a time loop that robs it of its portal creating powers, leaving it trapped in Reverse World.

A mysterious man named Zero monitors the confrontation, intent on capturing Giratina for his own nefarious purposes.

Meanwhile, Ash and the others discover Shaymin and help it journey to the flower garden for the Flower Bearing – a festival that the Shaymin of the area partake in to move the garden. Zero pursues them, aiming to capture Shaymin in order to get Giratina. Ash, Dawn and Brock do everything in their power to protect Shaymin, but that’s easier said than done.

Breakdown: Like I’ve stated before, we’re so far into the later parts of Pokemon that I honestly never bothered to learn too much about this movie before now. I will say that I’ve definitely seen and heard more about Shaymin in this movie than I have Giratina, and that’s just kinda weird.

Giratina is one of my least favorite Legendaries mostly due to its design. I find it to be very weird and unappealing. It’s too creepy for my tastes.

Shaymin is a Legendary I’m just okay with. I like that it can change forms, but I don’t really get the point of it. I suppose you could argue that it doesn’t need a point, many aspects of animals and nature don’t have points or major purposes, but they still have them. I just feel like maybe they couldn’t decide on which form to keep so they kept both of them.

For the record, though, I like the sky form a lot better. Land form looks like a cute-ified chia pet.

I don’t have much else to say about the movie beyond that, so let’s get into the review!

As always, you can check out the comparison from Dogasu’s Backpack here.

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We start off with a real game-changer – the world of Pokemon! Not much to note here besides I just listened to the new voice of Exeggutor for the first time – Could the VA sound more bored?

Also, Ryperior is a dork. Rhydon is much more intimidating, better designed and just overall better. I’m perfectly fine with Magmortar, even if its face is doofy, but Ryperior, go home.

Wow, they made Ash’s introduction kinda epic with that sunrise behind him.

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Out of all the Pokemon you could’ve shown Pikachu battling in the beginning, why an Electivire – a Pokemon who barely feels electric shocks?

After that, we get the opening to the real story, including the introduction of Shaymin the hedgehog.

Shaymin! It can kinda move!

Shaymin! It’s got an attitude!

Shaymin! It’s the most annoying hedgehog alive!

The most annoying hedgehog alive!

Dialga soon shows up – HEY! Dialga! You already got your own movie! Go home! Shoo!

Giratina, hailing from a parallel dimension called the Reverse World, causes a dimensional shift which thrusts Dialga, Shaymin and Giratina into a vortex leading into the Reverse World.

Giratina and Dialga battle in the Reverse World because two Legendary Pokemon cannot share the same space without duking it out. Shaymin, getting caught in the battle, gets so panicked that it also causes a dimensional shift and escapes Reverse World. Dialga, after fending off Giratina, follows Shaymin through the same rift.

The rift closes, Giratina tries to make its own to follow Dialga, but finds that it can’t enter the rift it created. Due to Diagla, it is now caught in an infinite time loop in Reverse World.

The title animation this time around isn’t bad, per se, but it is confusing. We see a bunch of exploding snowflakes, water, the Sprint logo, lines that turn into shapes that turn into water Pidgey, then we get more water followed by the title card. Lots of water for two Pokemon who are, in no way, based on anything relating to water.

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No theme song in this movie, by the way. I’m really starting to miss it.

Back with Ash and co., Ash apparently needs to be reminded to wash his filthy-ass hands before eating because his mother thought it was more important for him to change his underwear incessantly than to teach him proper hand hygiene.

Cue all the Pokemon being let out for meal time, yay!

Shaymin arrives behind their backs and starts eating the pancakes Brock made for the humans in the group.

*watching Shaymin eat the pancakes*

Dawn: “What is it?”

Brock: “A Pokemon!” No shit, Brock. Everything that is not an inanimate object is a Pokemon…..and some inanimate objects are Pokemon!

It acts like a little shit, destroys Brock’s grill, sucks up the smoke from the grill and….explodes.

Can I say I’m glad Shaymin’s finally talking? Because it was incredibly annoying just saying ‘Min!’ over and over.

Also, Shaymin’s a dick even when it can talk. Lovely.

Dogasu noted this behavior as being refreshing given the overtly saccharine cute Legendaries we’ve gotten over the years, but I wholeheartedly disagree. You can have a good personality without being an overly sweet Pokemon. A jackass personality is still annoying to watch. You can make the argument that, as a character, Shaymin gets better, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still incredibly irritating either way.

Shaymin has a fever so they bring it to the Pokemon Center.

Nurse Joy: “It’s Shaymin – the Gratitude Pokemon.” Pft, don’t you mean Shaymin – the Irony Pokemon?

This Nurse Joy wears old lady glasses for some reason. Hope that fact enriched your life with knowledge.

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Ya know…..It’s been 11 years at this point….is anyone else bored to tears of Brock’s ‘Hit on a girl then get dragged away by someone’ shtick?

Shaymin is brought out and continues to be a little shit.

Shaymin: “Oh please! I never need healing! But I do get hungry!”

Ash: “That sure doesn’t sound like gratitude to me.” I like when we agree on things, Ash.

Nurse Joy reveals that Shaymin has the ability of Seed Flare – it intakes polluted air, such as the smoke from Brock’s grill, turns it into light and water and expels it from its body.

Dawn: “Shaymin! You’re really something, aren’t you?”

Shaymin: “I am, aren’t I?” Rrrgh.

Nurse Joy further reveals that the more the air is polluted, the bigger the explosion. A Shaymin once sucked up so much polluted air that the resulting explosion destroyed an entire forest. Wow…..that power kinda sucks a little, doesn’t it? Imagine if, when Suicune purified water, a nuke went off immediately after. Kinda negates the point, doesn’t it?

Oh and Shaymin expects to be thanked for not causing a bigger explosion, by the way…..It’s going to be a long movie, isn’t it?

I don’t really know why Dawn is so jazzed about this little grass stain.

Shaymin demands to be taken to the flower garden for the Flower Bearing – a gathering of Shaymin that happens once a year where the Shaymin migrate from one flower garden to a new location to create a new garden. No reason given as to why they do this – it’s just a thing they do.

Team Rocket grabs Shaymin, but, as they make their escape, they’re dragged through another dimensional rift to the Reverse World. Dawn and Ash get sucked in as well, leaving Brock as the only one left on the other side.

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Dawn and Ash are suddenly targeted by Giratina, who is seemingly after Shaymin. A strange man named Newton Graceland appears and helps them escape. Side note, part of this world is low gravity, and I found it adorable that Piplup was flapping its wings and acting like it could fly. Poor flightless bird.

Newton is a researcher investigating the Reverse World. He explains that the Reverse World is a dimension just like ours only opposite, which really makes zero sense because it’s pretty much exactly like our world only warped like a funhouse mirror with a weird sky and funny physics. Also, there are no people or Pokemon besides Giratina, who acts as the master of this realm.

That being said, the Reverse World is pretty nicely designed.

Newton states that disturbances in Reverse World started cropping up more often when Dialga and Palkia started fighting, believing their territory was being impeded upon for some reason. Ash then….recalls that happening….and Dawn brings up…Alamos Town….

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa……whoa….wait….This movie….is a direct sequel to Movie 10?

I know that seems like a stupid statement, but the movies seem to exist in their own little canon, even separate from each other. The fact that this movie is not only acknowledging a previous movie but also building its plot from it is….pretty much unheard of. This isn’t a complaint, it’s a very interesting turn of events, but it kinda threw me for a loop.

The disturbances are actually toxic clouds of gas, and Giratina was upset at this pollution of its world, so it traveled to the real world and captured Dialga to take its revenge. Shaymin’s little freak out allowed Dialga to escape, so now its in Giratina’s crosshairs too.

Giratina attacks again, this time grabbing Shaymin.

YAY!

But it turns out to be Substitute, and Shaymin’s fine.

Booooo!

Newton leads them to a portal that leads to the real world and they make their escape.

Shaymin: “Thanks to me, you’re all safe and sound. Aren’t you grateful I’m around?” What the shit did you do to help them get out of there? Ash is going to bring up that Shaymin’s the reason they were ever in danger in the first place in a minute, but really, what did Shaymin do to help them escape? Newton’s the one who lead them back to the portal.

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Also, Shaymin has this incredibly irritating running gag shtick of jumping on Ash’s head and yanking him in various directions as he tries and fails to tell him which way the flower garden is. It’s not funny. It got old real fast. They keep doing it.

Zero shows up and—I’m just now realizing, this character named Zero has a massive zero on his shirt………Okay.

Zero sends his Magnemite, Magneton and Magnezone army after the group in order to capture Shaymin. They manage to escape on a train, and then we interrupt the plot for Shaymin to be an annoying little compost heap again complaining that he’s hungry.

Ya know, Dawn’s irritating me almost as much as Shaymin in this movie because she’s constantly coddling it and ignoring it’s bratty behavior. I wouldn’t be as bothered if not for the fact that I know she wouldn’t be doing all of this if Shaymin weren’t a super ~kawaii~ Pokemon.

Anyway, let’s stop the plot some more by talking to some randos on the train about how wonderful Shaymin is. Whoopee.

One of the randos has a bouquet of gracidea flowers, which are nearly identical to the flowers on Shaymin. People give them to others when they want to show gratitude because it’s so similar to the supposed gratitude Pokemon. Upon sniffing the flowers, Shaymin transforms into its sky form.

The only real thing from the comparison that I feel compelled to note at this point in time is the fact that Shaymin has two voices in the dub whereas, in the original, it has the same voice throughout. The sky form clearly has a boy’s voice while the land form is girlish.

I don’t really have anything to add to their comments, so I’ll just copy/paste this segment.

Dogasu: “Ignoring the whole “cute little things are girls, brave adventurous types are boys” sexist BS for a moment, the reason the voice change doesn’t make any sense to me is because Shami doesn’t actually talk. It’s using telepathy throughout the entire movie. So why, why, would it suddenly start thinking in a young boy’s voice (or, as some have pointed out, Zoey’s voice) because it changed form(e)s? Wouldn’t it just do what the Japanese version does and just think in the same voice regardless of any transformation?”

I would like to hold on the sexist BS for a second though, because that is totally sexist BS.

On the upside, though, the voice change is actually fairly welcome because it doesn’t matter if Shaymin’s telepathically speaking on doing the Pokemon shtick of saying its name (which is only the ‘Min’ part usually, by the way, which somehow makes is even more irritating) Shaymin’s land form voice is like a cheese grater made of chainsaws on my ears. At least sky form is more pleasant to listen to, even if it’s still a brat.

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Hmmm…..I can’t really add this to the sexism because it’s not the dub’s doing, but why is Shaymin so much braver and battle-ready in sky form than it is in land form, where it’s basically a wimp?

The Magne-army finds them and they start battling.

If there was one set of Pokemon that was crappy to have constantly get beaten by Ash and co, it’s the Magne-line. They’re Iron and Electric, but here they are dropping like flies to an Electric type, a Grass type and a Water type…..

Just for the record, Magnezone is fugly.

Shaymin: “It’s ‘Thank Shaymin’ time!” I’ll thank you if you leave this movie.

Now they’ve moved onto a boat for the other leg of their journey. Brock talks about how the river they’re on was created by a glacier that eroded the—

Ash: “A glacier?”….Yes….A glacier.

Dawn: “Looks cold!” Yes…..glaciers are…..very…cold….So you guys never went to school, eh?

Enter about five minutes of dicking around.

At least some of the visuals are nice. They got the water CGI really nicely done this time around.

Brock mentions that Shaymin will be leaving them when it gets to the flower garden, and Ash suddenly looks sad…..for some reason. Apparently he’s going to miss the obnoxious little turd he’s done nothing but fight with this whole movie. What? Did the whimsical dicking around change his tune about it?

He does switch gears and says it might be a relief, but he’s clearly covering.

Back with Zero, we see old video footage that shows that Zero used to be Newton’s assistant. They wanted to harness Giratina’s power to move freely between the Reverse World and the real world.

A portal to the Reverse World suddenly appears in the water next to the gang’s boat, because the portals appear on reflective surfaces because…Reverse World I guess. They get sucked in, Zero follows suit, and Giratina confronts them in the Reverse World.

I guess Shaymin does get a personality change when its in its sky form because instead of cowering and pushing them to run away, it actually attacks Giratina first and challenges it to a battle.

Ash: “You go, Shaymin!” Yeah, you go with the challenging the massive scary Legendary Pokemon who wants to EAT YOU to a Pokemon battle you clearly can’t win! Whoo!

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With the help of Pikachu and Staravia, they try to take it down, to no effect, but the sun sets, causing Shaymin to revert back to land form since the sun needs to be up for it to maintain sky form. Also, because it’s land form now, it’s a weak wimp again.

Also, because they’re stupid, Giratina’s now more pissed than ever.

Shaymin: “Give. Me. FOOD!” Forty minutes until the movie is over. Dunno why I suddenly checked that.

They manage to escape with the help of Newton again. However, Shaymin is kidnapped by Zero and the others are restrained.

Zero: “This place is beautiful….but people destroy it.” He says while looking at one of the toxic clouds made because of damages to time and space made purely because of Dialga and Palkia going at it – the non-human Pokemon who aren’t homo sapiens. I swear to god if we get on another ‘man is evil’ stint in this friggin’ series, I’m walking out.

Zero directs one of the toxic clouds to the gang and brings Shaymin over to it. They act like Shaymin is sucking in the poison to save them, but Shaymin has shown time and again that it will automatically suck in polluted air without thinking about it, so they really could’ve just put Shaymin in the cloud without trying to kill Ash and the others and it still would’ve worked.

He’s trying to force Shaymin to use Seed Flare in order to release Giratina into the real world, and it works. Everyone gets sucked in through the portal back into the real world and Giratina is set free.

Brock: “That’s a glacier!” Yes. Brock. Thank. You. This movie has been sponsored by The International Glacier Foundation.

Newton reveals that Giratina never wanted to eat Shaymin at all – in fact, it was trying to save it from the Magne-line and was only pursuing it in the first place to get it to use Seed Flare to allow it to escape to the real world. Soooo….is that supposed to be Giratina’s redemption or something? Because it was still trying to kidnap it and force it to do something against its will.

Zero uses a massive machine thingamajigger on his airship to kidnap Giratina. His scanners reveal that Giratina has regained the ability to move freely between the real world and the Reverse World because coming to the real world somehow ended the time loop Dialga put him in.

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I should’ve asked this earlier, but how does a time loop stop you from moving between dimensions? If we’re dealing with moving between dimensions, interdimensional spaces, if you will, wouldn’t a better enemy to focus on be Palkia, the master of space? The Pokemon that has been shown to have power over interdimensional portals? Why choose Dialga for this? It makes no sense.

Also, how does ending a time loop restore those powers?

How was Giratina caught in a time loop when, outside of losing its portal powers, it didn’t have any other issues behaving normally?

Newton reveals that he designed that machine. He originally intended on using it to harness Giratina’s power and gain the ability to move freely between the real world and the Reverse World, but he deleted all of his work when he realized the only way to accomplish it would be to sacrifice Giratina. Newton was vehement against doing this, but even though he deleted his work Zero seemed to remember the specifications of the machine and built it himself.

Zero: “It won’t be long before the Reverse World is all mine. And I will rule there like a king! Muahahahahahahaha!” Yes, that almost entirely void of life world that’s filled with a bunch of weird physics and is built like a MC Escher painting will be all mine! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Your motives are dumb.

Newton, Ash and Dawn take Zero’s hover-glider thing that he left behind for some reason to confront Zero and save Giratina. Shaymin transforms into sky form since they arrived at the garden without realizing it and it follows them to the ship.

Ya know, if nothing else, the cinematography in this movie is really good.

Also, Pokemon being held in a force-field cage – here’s hoping Ash reprises his habit of tackling force fields here!

A battle in the air commences with the Magne-line until they reach the ship. Newton infiltrates the ship to stop Zero while Dawn and Ash combat the Magne-line on the deck.

I know that they can’t destroy the force-field, but can they not destroy the arms that are generating it?

Newton reaches the control panel, racing against the clock before Giratina’s power is…sucked up or whatever this machine is doing to it. It just says it’s scanning, so I don’t get how it’s killing it. He forces me to recall that painfully stupid scene from NCIS where Abby and McGee are both typing on the same keyboard by upping the ante by typing on a keyboard and also having four robot arms type with him.

Newton’s hack works, stopping the scan at a dramatic 99%. The force field starts to wane, but whatever he did to stop the force field also caused the ship itself to fail. The ship starts falling out of the sky.

Newton: “I’m sorry. To shut down the system, I had to shut off the engines too.”

Ash: “So what does that mean?” Okay, come on, even without schooling, you can’t be this dumb.

They escape from the ship on the glider thing, but Giratina falls off into the waters below. Zero makes his escape in a little….vehicle thing that dives into the water, and the ship crashes into the mountainside.

Giratina emerges from the water but topples over, seemingly on its last legs.

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Ash: “Giratina, come on!” He’s not saying this in a sad, pleading manner – he’s yelling this like he’s scolding Giratina for dying.

Shaymin tries to help Giratina by using Aromatherapy and yelling ‘SHAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY” about thirty times, which is even annoying in its sky form voice.

Anyway, Giratina’s fine. Yay. There wasn’t a lot of tension there because if they really wanted us to think Giratina was killed by the power scan…absorber thing, they wouldn’t have shown it being able to get out of the water under its own power.

Zero’s little plane thing emerges from the water, and, after a Power Rangers-esque kinda shitty quality CGI compared to what we’ve gotten for the rest of the movie cutscene where the plane kinda transforms, Zero attacks Giratina for some reason then escapes into the Reverse World.

He somehow managed to get enough information from the scan to utilize Giratina’s power, clone it and put it in this little emergency plane thing even though the scan only got to 99%, Newton hacked the whole system to make it impossible to do anything afterward anyway and he somehow managed to do all of this in the time it took for the ship to crash.

This whole thing reeks of them being unable to write themselves out of a hole once they stopped the machine and saved Giratina. ‘Uh oh, there’s still 20 minutes left in the run time – give Zero the portal powers anyway.’

He starts attacking these little real world bubbles that are all over the Reverse World. Damaging them damages the real world, even though it pretty much just seems like all that happens when you destroy one is a small explosion occurs.

Why is he doing this? I. Don’t. Know. It was never established that Zero wanted to destroy the real world, only that he wanted to rule Reverse World. He’s pretty much just pulling villain shit out of his ass and running with it.

He claims he’s destroying the real world because the real world is destroying the sanctity of the Reverse World and dammit, I told you not to go down the route of ‘man is evil’! Dialga and Palkia caused the disturbances in Reverse World, come on!

His shenanigans cause Regigigas to awaken. Oh boy, only 85% into the movie and we get a random other Legendary appearance. I remember reading it was in this movie, but I honestly couldn’t give less of a shit about Regigigas. It’s one of my absolute least favorite Legendaries.

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Zero’s purposely trying to break apart the glacier in the real world to….Uhm….destroy the nearby village….which will….accomplish….something……I guess.

Dawn: “If this keeps up, it will destroy the flower garden!” Why does that matter? They’re just flowers. They’re not important. And wasn’t the flower festival thing a ceremony where they move the flower garden anyway?

Giratina and Ash try to take down his plane while every Pokemon able to do Ice moves in the real world are trying to slow down the glacier’s descent, to little success.

Regigigas appears with a massive herd of hilariously CGI’d Mamoswine, and they all try to physically stop the glacier from advancing.

Meanwhile, Zero has taken down Giratina and is about to finish it off, but Ash intervenes.

Ash: “Hey! You stop destroying this place, Zero!” Or I’ll tell my mommy!

Zero: “If anything is destroying this place, it’s the real world!”

So, let’s just go over some things. The real world and the Reverse World are co-dependent, one cannot exist without the other. Zero knows this. To protect the Reverse World, he’s destroying the real world, which will supposedly cause the destruction of the Reverse World.

In short, Zero’s an imbecile.

At least Giratina attacking Dialga made a little more sense. Dialga actually was one of the parties responsible for the toxic clouds. I’m not exactly sure why they’re still appearing so rapidly if Dialga and Palkia basically ctrl+z’d the damage, but they were the ones who started this.

Come to think of it, when he realized Shaymin could purify the toxic clouds, why didn’t it occur to him to use the Seed Flare powers to help Reverse World?

Dawn: “You can do it, Regigigas!” Yeah, only you and not the thousands of Mamoswine trying to help it.

Shaymin sucks up a toxic cloud in an effort to save Ash again, and it uses Seed Flare to open another portal. With the help of Giratina, they knock Zero into the real world and he crashes his ship, damaging his system. Dawn’s Bunneary and Swinub as well as all of the Ice move knowing local Pokemon freeze Zero’s ship. Zero’s systems start failing entirely, and he’s unable to save the data on Giratina, meaning he can’t remake his portal machine. The moral of the movie is – always backup your data.

Seriously, how did he have the time to transfer that data to the plane thing within the ship but didn’t have any mode of backing it up?

Zero: “All of my glorious plans, ruined.” All of my glorious plans of ruling an empty hellscape and destroying one world which would inevitably result in the destruction of the world I was trying to rule, ruined.

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Shaymin enters the portal and transforms back into land form because–

Shaymin: “I’m really not good with the cold!” *shrug* Also, if you’re not good with cold, why did you put your flower garden so close to a glacier?

Giratina starts magically fixing the damage in the Reverse World…..It can do that, I guess, and fixing the damage stops the glacier from advancing. Giratina, Ash and Pikachu re-enter the real world through another portal.

Chalk this up to another movie where Ask flies on a Legendary Pokemon, but I am forever sad he didn’t try to tackle something that would throw him across the room.

Is there any purpose to Giratina’s two forms if both of them can fly? Is it just that the dragon/serpentine version is more aerodynamic?

I love how Ash casually ignores the Regigigas. He’s seen so many Legendaries he doesn’t even care anymore.

Giratina spends a minute with the group before flying off, supposedly to go find Dialga again….Uh…is that not still a problem? Guys? Hello?

Ah, who cares? More Shaymin are arriving, and it’s time for the flower festival thinger.

Shaymin: “Ash, I must say, I’m grateful to you too.” Is it ‘emotional redemption for the annoying pissant character’ O’clock already?

Shaymin makes its tearful goodbye, and the festival starts. They create the sky bouquet together, flying in a spiral and making a tornado of the flower petals from the garden. All of the Shaymin fly away, off to create another garden.

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Ash starts—I know you’re not starting to cry, Ash. Because then I’d have to shank you. All of the Pokemon you’ve said goodbye to, all of the friends who have left, you don’t cry for, but Shaymin, a Pokemon who’s been a snotty little brat to you for most of the movie, you start getting teary eyed over. Rrgh.

Not even Dawn’s crying, and she always liked Shaymin.

The movie ends with the gang all looking to the sky with smiles as they watch the Shaymin head off into the sunr—are we seriously not going to bring up Giratina’s bloodlust for Dialga again? That could cause some major problems. Is this ever followed up on in another movie? Hello? Guys? What about the toxic clouds in Reverse World? Are we ever going to bring those up again? I thought they were a threat to the stability of the realm, thus also threatening our world? Hello? Writers? Is anyone paying attention?

The credits roll and there’s not much of note in the background animation besides three things. 1) The gang all send gracidea flowers to their parents. I thought that was sweet. 2) A bunch of Aron and Lairon are eating Zero’s ship, I guess to ensure the audience that the machine won’t be found and used by someone else. 3) Zero got arrested, and Newton, for some reason, happily lends him a hand to get out of his plane, and Zero kinda smiles back….is he supposed to be redeemed now? That was not earned if he is.

The song for the credits is ‘This is a Beautiful World’ sung by Aaron Brotherton. It’s a pretty nice song. Definitely grows on you, even if it’s a little repetitive.

And, yes, the whole credit reel rolls without seeing Giratina at all. For all we know, the fabric of time and space will come crumbling apart when Giratina finds and murders Dialga and Palkia. The end.

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This is one of those times where I have to vehemently disagree with Dogasu on their evaluation of this movie. Even though I’m only up to the 11th movie, I’d find it difficult to say it even makes my top ten favorite Pokemon movies list.

Our Legendaries this time are a little brat of a hedgehog with an annoying voice and a somewhat ugly Pokemon with fairly unimpressive powers who may or may not be an asshole. I grew to like Giratina as a Pokemon a bit more through this movie, but really only design-wise. Its main notable power is making portals to and from the Reverse World, which is a barren wasteland of a world that looks like someone put a blender filter on our world. Palkia’s more impressive than that – it can move freely between all dimensions.

I still can’t believe they ended Giratina’s role in this movie by saying it’s probably going to go find Dialga. That’s not a good thing! Why is no one concerned?! They should have ended with Giratina returning to the Reverse World and attempting to clean up the damage and maybe, somehow, get rid of the toxic clouds.

The plot this time around is also….boring. We absolutely have to get Shaymin to the flower garden to be in the festival. Oh wait, we really don’t because there are plenty of other Shaymin who can do it. The only thing that will happen if it’s not there is it will be disappointed that it missed the festival. I’m quite certain it can find the new garden location and partake next year.

The main plot with Giratina was also nothing special. I greatly respect that they tied in this movie to the last one. They’ve really never done that up until this point. Granted, Dialga all but vanishes after the first act, but, still, the fact that they even built a plot around the repercussions of the previous movie’s events is well-appreciated.

However, Zero’s motivations make—here comes an awesome joke, are you ready for it? I’m brilliant. Here it comes – ZERO sense!

He wants to capture Giratina and scan it to obtain its power to move freely between Reverse World and the real world. This will, for some reason, kill Giratina. He got the power even without a full scan or killing Giratina.

His REAL plan was to gain this power in order to become ruler of the Reverse World – a mostly empty warped version of our world.

Then his REAL-REAL plan is to go there and destroy the real world by destroying parts of the Reverse World in order to save Reverse World because he thinks the real world is what’s causing the toxic clouds even though he knows full well that it was Dialga and Palkia who did it and that destroying the real world destroys the Reverse World and he has to basically destroy the Reverse World in the first place to destroy the real world and–

It’s like they were making up his motivations as they went along, and they never reached a point where he was making sense.

I’m also shocked that they left the issue about the clouds alone. Are we meant to believe Giratina stopped them when it healed all of the damage from Zero? Because if it can do that, why attack Dialga? Why is this even a problem?

Then there are minor issues like Brock getting a grand total of absolutely nothing to do this whole movie besides make pancakes. I nearly went this entire review without mentioning him because he is constantly being left behind. They even point it out in the movie. He gets left behind the first time they go to Reverse World, then he gets left behind when Newton, Ash and Dawn leave on the glider, and he clearly shows that he’s disappointed he keeps getting left behind. What do the movies have against Brock?

Team Rocket also could’ve been completely omitted from this movie and nothing would’ve changed, but that’s par for the course for them.

Speaking of pointless, Regigigas. Yes, it held back the glacier, but it came out of nowhere with absolutely no explanation of why it was here and left just as suddenly without a word. It’s like they wanted brownie points for getting another Legendary in the movie, like Kyogre in Movie 09. But, hey, at least I like Kyogre.

The action was decent, and the fun whimsical moments were alright, but they weren’t really up to snuff when compared to the other movies. The action wasn’t as good as Movie 10, the dicking around scenes weren’t as visually interesting as the dicking around scenes in Movie 09, the ending of ‘Pokemon doing mystical stuff’ scene wasn’t as nice as Movie 02, 04 or 05 and even the tearful goodbye wasn’t nearly as emotionally impacting as Movie 03, 04, 06 or 08.

Even the new world they introduced is rather lame compared to things like the Sea Temple, the Unown’s illusion world or even the Tree of Beginnings.

I hate to make a mass comparison, but when you reach 11 movies, you kinda can’t avoid it.

Sadly, unlike some of the other movies that I’ve borderline disliked, like Movies 09 and 07, there weren’t really any standout moments that made me want to return to this movie. Movie 09 might be dumb, but I love the Sea Temple, and the goofy moments can be kinda fun. Movie 07 might be poorly written, but at least it has the Battle Tower and the hilaradorable Munchlax. This movie really has nothing to put on the table.

The most I can say is that it could’ve been worse. Shaymin could’ve been more annoying. I mean, it could’ve been a crying baby Pokemon like Manaphy in addition to being a brat. Zero could’ve been more confused in his motivations or made out to be more generic, like the Iron Masked Marauder or Lawrence. And at least Dawn got to do more than May or Misty usually got to do in these movies, even if most of it is just doing whatever Ash is doing or cuddling Shaymin. That might be offset by them shafting Brock so badly in this movie that they actually acknowledge it.

Art and Animation: The CGI went back and forth between really quite good to kinda bad. The regular art and animation were better than normal with only a few odd shots here and there.

Music: Rather forgettable, but fitting and nice. I actually liked the ending song this time around.

Voice Acting: On the up side. Sarah Natochenny didn’t have to emote much in this movie, but the instant she did it was hard to listen to. Zero’s VA was quite good, to be honest. He really went for it.

Shaymin’s land form VA is all kinds of annoying, though. Whether it’s legit speaking and shouting ‘Min!’ over and over or being a little snot when it’s telepathically speaking, it’s irritating to say the very least. The sky form version is better, especially since it’s, for some reason, less of a dick, but even that form’s voice can’t not sound annoying when it’s yelling ‘MIN!’ incessantly.

Bottom Line: This isn’t one of those movies where it’s so bad I get angry at it – I’m more numb to it. At its core, it’s just a bland and lazily written movie. Most people would have little issue sitting through this movie, nor would I, but I didn’t really have fun at any point. Either Shaymin was being annoying and ruining it or whatever was happening was so stupid that I couldn’t get invested.

I can handle lazy writing and stupidity as long as they’re being fun with it, but this movie just didn’t give me fun. I can’t see myself returning to this movie for any reason.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go….watch this movie again….In Japanese.

Recommended Audience: They’re going back to being too scared to say ‘Die’ again – instead referring to it as being ‘no more’ or ‘destroyed’ and the closest they get to a death scene is far lighter than most similar scenes in other Pokemon movies. I can’t really think of anything of note. E for everyone!


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Update: 5/1/2022 – Did I ABANDON the Madhouse?! *gasp*

Short answer, no.

Hello my lovely word readers who direct their browsers to my little blog’s URL. It is I, Twix. Person who writes the words that sometimes make sense.

It’s been two months since I last posted in here, but if you missed my tweet about this a while ago, fear not. I did not abandon my blog baby. I’ve been here every day, actually. I’ve been on a mission to deep-clean my blog for sake of improving past mistakes, fixing issues with the blog, and removing some overly harsh/unfair/flatout incorrect/poorly articulated statements. I know I’ve said I’ve done this before, but those were very cursory cleanings. This was a ‘get some overalls, a power washer and press ‘edit’ on everything’ cleaning. Most were just spruced up a little bit for the sake of consistency and proofreading, some got a bit more of an overhaul. I thought it wouldn’t take that long, but I was obviously wrong. I’ve been working on this bit by bit since March. It didn’t click with me that I had over 1100 posts to go through, soooo…..womp womp.

My review of Pokemon the First Movie and Pokemon Movie 09 were some of the most changed with the first getting an update because I’ve had a slight change of heart and recognized a good deal of bad writing on my part, and the second was to include a significant note about the voice actor changes to Pokemon that I thought was very important to include.

Most notably across all posts, however, I have been working to purge my reviews of all number ratings. This change might be a bit confusing or maybe even annoying to some people, but I honestly think it’s for the best. I have gone without number ratings in my reviews for a year or so now, prompted by someone else posting that they weren’t including number ratings anymore, so I thought I’d give it a try, and, honestly, it’s made my blogging life a lot easier. Giving set ratings based on numbers or stars has ALWAYS stressed me out since way, way, way back when I first started writing reviews around 15 years ago (oh god….the oldness…ow.) I was always bad at it, and I always struggled trying to settle on a number, even when I allowed it to go into decimals. I don’t even like leaving number/star ratings on MAL or Anime-Planet because it seems like people always just make snap judgements without wanting to hear why I rated it that way. And, even when they do read why, they still seem focused on the number. Granted, it’s not like a cheat into getting people to agree with me, people still disagree with me all the time, and that’s fine, but I’d rather be rid of the stress of coming up with the number at all and worrying how people will accept that, as if that’s the most important part of the post, than stick with it just because that’s what a lot of reviewers do.

Other updates: Officially canceled Analyzing the Criticized: Sakura Haruno. This has been quietly canceled for some time, but just officially announcing it now. I’m probably not going to do anymore ‘Analyzing the Criticized’ again. I just didn’t think I did a good job even with how much effort I put into it. I had read more to prepare for the fourth entry, even wrote some of it and read some of the Sakura Hiden novel, but I just didn’t enjoy writing it anymore and I still think I wasn’t doing it ‘correctly’ if that makes any sense.

If you want my final say on Sakura, here it is. She’s gotten a lot better as an adult than she was ever allowed to be as a kid/teen. I respect the living hell out of her efforts to improve the mental health of children in their war-torn world – not just in Konoha, but everywhere. I also have a fair amount of respect for her as a ninja and a medical practitioner. How she was treated as a character through basically the entirety of the series was one of the story’s biggest sins. She could have been so much more, but, then again, we can say that about so many characters in Naruto – Sakura is just one of the worst examples. It’s weird how neither Sakura nor Sasuke was meant to exist in the series in the first place, but Sasuke was made into a creator’s pet because Kishimoto wound up loving him so much, and Sakura just puttered through the story on Sasuke’s leash for the most part until Kishimoto finally decided ‘Oh yeah, let’s give her something to do.’

I do stand firm in my assertion that her relationship to Sasuke is one of the worst-written most toxic and unhealthy relationships put to page or screen, and the fact that they ended up together and had a kid still rattles my brain cells. I don’t care about the pittance of affection he shows her after he becomes a good guy again. I don’t care about him smirking when she shows off her strength or him catching her after she nearly fainted in the final battle or him booping her on the forehead (Which I find far more weird than romantic. That’s more like a sibling/familial gesture of love, not romantic.) – it’s bad. He should’ve wound up alone, and she should have taken several years to mature emotionally in her romantic life before pursuing literally anyone else.

Even Sakura Hiden, which I was kinda enjoying otherwise, was constantly marred by Sakura’s annoying yearning for Sasuke. You wanna hear some of my notes from the novel?

– “We started at “You’re annoying.” and we’ve made it all the way to “I’ll see you soon.” Along with the remembered sensation of that poke. My heart feels a little warmer somehow when I think about it like that.”

Sakura, can I be real with you for a second? That is, without a doubt, the most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard in all my days of breathing oxygen.

In the course of like four or five years, much of that time being spent with Sasuke being a horrible crate of fresh assholes/a terrorist and trying to kill you twice, you went from “You’re annoying.” to “I’ll see you soon.” and got a little poke on the noggin, and that puts you on cloud nine? You have severe problems, Sakura. I’m not even joking right now. This is disturbing.

– Sakura is jealous of Naruto and Hinata when she sees them on a date. She’s jealous of Ino and Sai, who are close to confessing their feelings to each other. She’s jealous of Shikamaru and Temari. She’s even jealous of Choji and Karui.

– Sakura has a dream where she gets to see Sasuke again. It actually seems like it’s developing into a genuinely sweet and romantic moment for the two of them, capped off with a….head pat…but nope. It was just a dream. Sakura is so hard up for Sasuke’s affection, that she’s dreaming of him patting her head like a dog.

Another uneasy thing about her dream is that dream!Sasuke has a new arm courtesy of Hashirama cells, and he tells her that he’ll contact her if he has any problems with it. Thing is, real!Sasuke didn’t get a new arm, and it really feels like she’s dreaming this detail just so he’ll have a slightly bigger chance of visiting again in the future.

I never finished reading Sakura Hiden, and I’m not sure I want to. Granted, Sakura is, in my opinion, at her best here, but maybe that’s because this story isn’t even written by Kishimoto.

In conclusion, for the last time, finally, Sakura deserves a very hefty amount of criticism for a variety of reasons, but, at the very least, I can say that they could have done a lot worse. At least near the tail end of everything they made an effort to improve her, which is a lot more than I can say for some other characters. I don’t really think there’s any real defense for Sasuke as Sakura as a couple, though. If they’re happy the way they are, fine, I guess, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a dumpster fire within a dumpster fire.

Officially Canceled Smile Precure SSBSs and SDCs. Sorry, but I felt like a few series needed to be dropped to help me stay on course, and my heart just wasn’t in this anymore. However, if you do want to read some reviews and SDCs on Smile Precure/Glitter Force beyond what I’ve written, by someone much more qualified than I, please visit my friend GlitterInformer’s blog.

Officially put Dinosaur King on hiatus. I feel like I’ll probably revisit this one somewhere in the future after I’ve finished a different SSBS project, but it’s just not entertaining enough for me to keep in my list for now.

I’ve now added episode titles (both original Japanese and English dubbed) to all of my archives. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. I realized that it could be very difficult to navigate the episode lists if you only know the title but not the episode number, so hopefully this will make things a little easier.

I’ve added “Next episode….” and “….Previous Episode” links to every episode-by-episode review and SDC. This is also meant to help people with navigation. Now you can just immediately jump to the next episode or visit the last one to easily read the reviews or comparisons in succession.

I have acquired the rest of the Cyborg 009 manga beyond volume ten and the novel. So, in theory, I should be able to review quite literally everything Cyborg 009 now. However, big-ass asterisk, the thing about the manga beyond volume ten (and the novel) was that no company ever acquired or translated the rest of the manga (or novel) in English. I….do not speak Japanese. I am currently learning it and enjoying it, but I am nowhere the level I would need to be to read this properly. It’s going to be a struggle, and I guarantee manga updates will slow to a crawl once I get to that point, but I’m just thankful I have the files and can maybe sorta kinda talk about them…..maybe…..I hope.

I’m gonna have the same issues with the 1968 anime series beyond episode 16 as well. Subs stopped for that series, and I am forever sad. I’ll do my best.

Some minor updates: I fixed the Twitter social media button at the bottom of the posts, and fixed my Twitter feed over on the side. This may have just been a problem on my end, but neither was loading no matter what browser I used for months, and now they are, so hopefully I fixed whatever problem that was.

You can now see likes on comments. I had no clue how to turn that functionality on despite seeing it everywhere else, but now I’ve found it, and you can like comments and see other likes on comments.

And I think that’s all folks. I am still not done with the cleaning, but I am nearing the finish line. I think I can finally start posting again, likely sometime in the next few days, and once I’m finally done I should be back to regularly scheduled shenanigans. Thank you for being so patient with me! Thanks especially to the people who have dropped by to comment around here in the meantime. I love all your faces, and I’ll see ya soon!

~Twix


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Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun/Flint the Time Detective Episode 18 (17 for the Dub) Sub/Dub Comparison | The Super Beauty, Ammon

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Plot: After getting angry with Kyoichiro for ignoring her, Ammon is captured by TP Lady. She takes Ammon to China in the 3rd century BC to bring the infamous terracotta army to life in order to serve her and help her take over the world.

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Title Change: The Super Beauty, Ammon is changed to Bindi Master.

Entire Series Edit: I think I’ve seen this enough to call this right now – the opening establishing shot is either always replaced or has an additional establishing shot of the city added in the dub.

Ammon’s name plate is removed again.

Ammon refers to herself as Acchan. Since we don’t really have an English equivalent, she just refers to herself normally.

Once again, daytime establishing shot of the bureau exchanged for an evening one.

The dub has a pretty massive screw up right here. Rei explains that TP Lady is in China during the Qin dynasty, which existed between the years 221 BC and 206 BC. Jillian claims that Petra Fina is in China…..in the 30th century BC. That’s QUITE the difference there, Saban.

The specific city they’re visiting, Chengdu, existed as far back as 3000 years ago or the 10th century BC, but the site on which it’s built, the remains of the ancient city of the Baodun culture, date as far back as 4500 years ago or the 25th century BC. Technically, the official city didn’t exist until the 3rd century BC, which is when the Qin took it over.

Entire Series Edit: I think I can also say for certain that every time the kids go off on Ridon, Saban changes the clips to include Goodman yelling to them about something – usually about bringing him back a souvenir. This time, he tells them to bring him egg foo young.

Well, here’s a smaller screw up. When they leave, Pterry says they’re heading to the 13th century, which is closer, but still not right because, as we’ll soon see, the first thing they encounter is the Terracotta Army, referred to in the dub as just clay statues/a ghost army, which dates back as far as the 3rd century BC. The Terracotta Army was a form of funerary art, symbolically sending soldiers to protect the first emperor of a unified China, Qin Shi Huangdi, in the afterlife.

Putera says it’s odd because this period should have been right when the army was being made, but no one’s around. In the dub, Pterry doesn’t point this out.

Also, Qin Shi Huangdi’s Terracotta Army is incredibly fascinating. It’s always been one of my favorite pieces of history. Unlike what a lot of people think, they’re not carbon copies of each other. The statues were individual pieces produced from molds and stuck together. While the bases of many of the pieces are identical, they were shaped and decorated to make unique features. Each statue is so uniquely designed that it’s theorized that each soldier had a living counterpart used as a model, though that theory isn’t strongly accepted since doing that would be a huge hindrance on the production. Instead, it’s more accepted that the varying appearances were trying to encapsulate the many different types of people from the various regions in China which had been united while under Qin Shi Huangdi’s rule.

They have different hair styles, caps, builds, expressions, poses, beards, etc. In addition, when they were originally created they actually had a lot of beautiful and bright colors on them to differentiate themselves even further. The color faded over the years, however.

Here’s a picture of what a painted Terracotta soldier might have looked like.

(Image was posted to SmartHistory.org, but photo credit is listed as Charlie, CC BY-SA 4.0)

They’re not all soldiers, either. There are chariots, horses, archers, generals, waterfowl, musicians, political officials, dancers, acrobats and more. He basically had a complete society created for his tomb out of clay and bronze.

It took over 40 years for the army to be completed, and, from all we can gather through GPR, all of the pits and the tomb combined cover approximately 38 square miles. We’ve been excavating the pits of the tomb since 1974 and we’re still working to excavate it all. As for the tomb itself, that will likely stay hidden forever. The tomb is buried underneath a forested funerary mound. No one currently has the technology to safely excavate the rest of it without running the risk of damaging or destroying everything else down there. There’s also the very real risk of many unknown and known booby traps, and the high levels of mercury in the area. In addition, the citizens of China simply don’t want to disturb the resting place out of respect for the emperor.

There hasn’t been a lack of trying, though. Plans for excavation have been proposed numerous times since the discovery of the tomb. In addition to curiosity, proponents of excavation claim they want to open the mausoleum and start removing artifacts to actually help preserve them since the site rests on a seismic zone and grave robbers might get to the artifacts before they do, but the proposals are always shot down for the reasons stated before. Even the opening and excavation of the nearby tomb of the emperor’s grandson was rejected because they were concerned that tomb was so close to the emperor’s that opening it might cause damage to the main mausoleum. At best, we can hope we get imaging technology that gives us a peek into the tomb, but in the realm of actually opening the mausoleum and taking a stroll through there, I highly doubt we’ll ever be able to do that any time in the near future.

I’m getting really off-topic, but there’s no historical figure present this episode, so I thought I’d at least discuss the Terracotta Army because I think it’s really cool. Check out the links I provided to learn more. It’s very interesting, and I only covered a small portion of the topic here.

If I had more notes on this, it’d be that, obviously, in the show, the soldiers are all depicted as being exactly the same (quite simply designed as well) and, despite just being made, there is absolutely no color on them. I’m feeling pretty lenient here, though, because I don’t expect a low-budget kid’s anime from the 90s to animate an army where everyone has a unique design while also being statue-esque.

Dyna says “It went well, didn’t it?” And Mite responds “You said it!” In the dub, Dino asks how much longer they have to wave the fans, and Mite adds that his arms are tired.

Ah, so that’s why Ammon was with Vlad the Impaler. Because her powers are like a vampire that sucks the life from living things. Only she also has the ability to transfer the life energy to non-living beings to bring them to life as well. Cool.

They add the sound effect of bowling pins falling down when the soldiers get revived.

While both lines basically mean the same thing, Merlock says “I’m here to claim Bindi, Petra!” whereas Kyoichiro just demands Ammon be returned to him. The reason the dub line bothers me is because it treats Bindi like property instead of a friend.

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Dubbed:

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Name Change: Ankoku is changed to Bindi-kon.

Flint: “Wowwee!” Wowwee, that sure is dated.

So they suggest that Genshi just turn Ankoku into a monster egg………doesn’t that imply that they can just shoot the fossilization beam from the start instead of going through a lengthy battle every time?

Toki-G: “If a Space-Time Monster is dominated by a dark heart, they can’t be turned into a monster egg.” Well…..That’s dumb. I mean, I guess I already explained why having that function would be dumb anyway, but the explanation as to why that can’t work is just silly. I thought the explanation would be that they have to be in their tiny forms in order to be fossilized because Ototan doesn’t have the power to fossilize something that big.

They insert an extremely brief flash of white when Merlock hits the rocks. Because that’ll sure trick kids into thinking he…didn’t…hit the rock?

Okay, the white flash thing is something I think happens a lot more than I’ve noticed because I keep seeing it now during this battle, but it’s so quick that I needed to notice it the first time to tell myself to check the rest of the time. It’s definitely not the first time I’ve seen this flash, but it was so quick that it’s literally blink-and-you-miss-it. This is such pointless censorship, if you can even call it that. It’s not like it cuts anything but a frame out, and I guarantee those frames didn’t show anything more violent than what was shown otherwise.

Sora: “The Terracotta soldiers….”

Tokio: “Combined!”

In the dub, Sarah points out that the combined statue is huge. Tony says “At least it’s not moving.” and because the opposite has to happen in order for that to be funny, the opposite happens, and we’re immediately shown the giant Terracotta soldier moving.

Originally, Mite grabs hold of Ankoku’s tentacle as its sucking the life from Dyna to try to yank it off of him while he yells “Hey, you have the wrong guy!” In the dub, for some reason, they changed it to having Mite hug the tentacle and yell “Oh thank you for not hitting me! Thank you!” Dude, your best friend is DYING.

Name Plate removed.

Subbed:

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Dubbed:

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Name Change: Super Ammon is changed to Bindi Master

Oh my god, Saban was being so lazy with Petra and Dino’s next lines. In the original, Dyna says “Ammon transformed and became….” while TP Lady finishes with “Super Ammon!” In the dub, they let Dino have all these lip flaps go silent and only let one word out, “Wow” while they load up all of Petra’s lip flaps with “Wow wow wow wow wow wow wow.” No idea what they were going for here, if anything, but that was awful. Please don’t do that again.

Oddly, though, Mite’s “You said it.” line is kept exactly the same in the dub. *shrugs*

Why exactly doesn’t Ammon remember anything of what happened? No other Space-Time Monster has suffered amnesia after being stamped/bad transformed. And even if she did, wouldn’t she still have her memories from when she was Super Ammon? The stamp was gone by then. This makes no sense. She just lost her memories immediately after transforming back into her normal form.

Also, doesn’t that kinda mean this entire episode was more or less pointless? Outside of Kyoichiro gaining a better appreciation for Ammon, I guess, the episode was also supposed to be character development for Ammon in helping her understand that Kyoichiro does care deeply for her, despite ignoring her earlier. Also, it may have helped her realize she was being a bit of a brat for running away just because Kyoichiro had to work and couldn’t pay attention to her. Wiping her memories just wipes any growth that she may have experienced during this episode.

In the original, Ammon says she’ll fight whomever hurt Kyoichiro, not realizing it was her. In the dub, Bindi’s basically worse than she was before because she says he better not be thinking about canceling dinner on her again or he’ll be sorry. He’s clearly hurt and very weak from an event you don’t even remember, but yes, bitch about your dinner plans….

They intercut shots of Tokio talking so they can skip over Kyoichiro’s explanation of his genetic trait. There’s no point in this. All this edit does is allow Tony to whine more about how he has no chance of being a Time Detective since Merlock’s a vampire (originally, he also included Genshi in his complaints, asking if normal people have a chance at being Time Detectives if the only two he’s seen so far are a caveman and a vampire). Originally, Kyoichiro assuaged Sora’s concerns by saying he doesn’t drink blood or do anything evil like a vampire. He’s just “slightly more immortal than the average person.” whatever that means.

Ammon’s lack of development here is highlighted when she slaps away Sora’s hand when Kyoichiro starts sweet talking her and holding her hand. *sigh*

In an odd edit, Old Timer kinda highlights that they edited out additional information on Kyoichiro. Originally, Toki-G said he’s happy all of them are getting along, and he’ll be counting on Kyoichiro and Genshi a lot from now on. In the dub, Old Timer says they’re taking the vampire news better than he thought, and there will be more time to actually discuss that later. I still don’t get why they didn’t discuss that now….I am wracking my brain trying to figure out why they cut that.

They add a white flash to Genshi getting hit in the head by Ototan, but this time they also noticeably remove Genshi’s reaction face.

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All in all, this episode is…..pbbbttt pointless. And cliché. How many times have you seen the plot where some immature character is being ignored by someone so they run away, get into trouble, and the person who ignored them comes to their rescue and everything’s made okay because of that? It’s a pretty tired old plot. And, again, cliche’s aren’t inherently bad, but they don’t do anything with this one to make it interesting or unique. In fact, they pretty much make it worse by having Ammon forget literally everything that happened so her bratty entitled behavior doesn’t stop or at least lighten up. Like I said, if anything, she got worse.

I never thought Kyoichiro was really neglectful of Ammon, so anything he learned seems superfluous. Their little moment together was sweet enough, I guess, but it wasn’t all that impacting. It was very much going through the motions of both this very plot and the typical plot the show always has of the Space-Time Monster being brought back to their senses by flashing back to good times with their friend. At least we finally know, for the most part, what Kyoichiro is….unless you watch the dub, where they withhold some information for no reason.

I won’t complain about the lack of a new Space-Time Monster this week because we never really explored Ammon’s powers during her debut, and, being honest, they’re really cool. Her bad transformation is alright, and her super transformation is……pretty…..but also really confusing.

How did we go from a snail who can transform into a giant hermit crab to a….very human fairy being? Also, what do snails and hermit crabs have to do with healing or sucking away life energy? What’s funny about Ammon is that it seems like her most powerful or useful version is her base version because Ankoku seems to focus more on sucking life from things and Super Ammon seems to focus more on healing/restoring energy while normal Ammon can do both seemingly just as powerfully as her other forms.

I also won’t complain about the lack of a historical figure this week because I got to research and discuss the super cool Terracotta Army…..What I will complain about, however, is that they destroyed many of the Terracotta soldiers. Dozens were smashed into a pile of rubble and no one cared. I understand that the Terracotta Army we know now also has a bunch of soldiers that were destroyed either due to age or damage from excavation, but still. I really don’t like when kids’ shows think it’s fine to act like they’re even slightly educational and then spit in the face of what they’re educating the kids about.

Also, despite this being the time period when the Terracotta Army was being built, there’s literally no one around. Not the emperor, not the workers, no one. It’s a completely abandoned area. It’s just weird.

The dub really didn’t have many edits this time around, except for the loads and loads of white flash ‘censors’ and some….very confusing edits like the lip flap thing with TP Lady and removing Kyoichiro explaining his clan’s nature. Because apparently Saban can never leave well enough alone.

Next time, we’re introduced to the Easter Island head themed Space-Time Monster, Moaiwa!

….Previous Episode


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CSBS – American Dragon Jake Long Episode 5: Act 4: Scene 15 Review

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Plot: After wrestling it away from the Huntsman and Huntsgirl, Jake is tasked with protecting a scarab beetle that has the power to bring the dead back to life.

Meanwhile, he tries to get the attention of Rose, but finds that she’s preoccupied with an upcoming play about Antony and Cleopatra. In order to get closer to Rose, Jake decides to try out for the role of Antony.

Back with Huntsman and Huntsgirl, doubts begin to form in Huntsgirl’s mind about pursuing the beetle any further, believing the dragons probably already sent it back to Egypt. Huntsman refuses to give up the mission, stating it is their destiny to hunt down all dragons and kill them. Not only that, but the beetle is vital to their clan’s future.

He brings Huntsgirl down to the mysterious catacombs where he reveals the tombs of the past fallen Huntsclan members. He plans on using the beetle to bring them all back to life, creating a new army of Huntsclan warriors and wiping out dragons for good.

The next day, Jake lands himself the part of Antony, and he and Rose decide to practice their lines at his grandpa’s shop that night. She suggests practicing the kissing scene since it’s so vital to the play, but Jake, having never kissed a girl before, starts panicking and awkwardly babbling his way through the conversation. His state of panic leads him to accidentally releasing the beetle.

Jake tries to play it cool at school and gets another rehearsal date with Rose, this time at her house, even though she was reluctant to let Jake come over.

That night, Jake is amazed to discover that Rose lives in a massive castle-like mansion with her uncle. They’re about to rehearse the kiss when Rose suddenly freaks out. Her uncle has arrived home. She quickly hides Jake under the table before discretely throwing him out, citing that her uncle is very strict and doesn’t allow visitors. However, Jake lost the beetle again during the chaos after it had sneaked into his backpack.

Jake decides to bring Rose to Trixie’s house to rehearse. They prepare for the kiss scene again, but they both notice the scarab beetle fly out the window. Not wanting to alert the other of their secret identities, they make up a few excuses to quickly rush out and fight over the beetle. After the fight is over, the Huntsman arrives and takes the beetle for himself, revealing his plan to Jake.

Back at home, Fu Dog explains that the Huntsman is probably planning on using the beetle for a spell that brings dead people back to life. Under the light of the full moon, the Huntsman can indeed bring his ancestors back to life – and the moon just happens to be full tonight, the night of the play.

Later, with the help of Spud, Jake learns the location of the tomb of the Huntsclan. He, Grandpa and Fu head there to stop the resurrection, but they’re too late. Several Huntsclan members have been revived, but Fu Dog manages to grab the beetle to prevent any more from coming back.

Jake grabs the spell book and burns it, causing the revived Huntsclan members to die once more. The struggle continues between the Huntsman, Huntsgirl and the dragons, with Huntsgirl accidentally getting her leg injured in the process. Huntsman takes Huntsgirl and leaves, and Jake has just enough time to make it back to the play for Act 4 Scene 15, the big kiss, which is a good thing because without Jake and Rose, the play has been a disaster. Spud and Trixie have had to take the reigns, and it’s becoming an embarrassing display.

Jake makes it in time, but is shocked to see Spud taking over the role of Cleopatra. Rose couldn’t make it back in time, and Trixie was being so obnoxious that they yanked her. He’s forced to kiss Spud, much to his disgust.

The following day, Jake meets back up with Rose who apologizes for missing the play, citing that she got a sprained ankle at a family event. Jake is slightly suspicious as the injury seems very similar to the one Huntsgirl got, but brushes it off and finally asks Rose out on a real date.

She agrees, much to Jake’s delight.

Breakdown:

– Huntsman has a robot in his fireplace specifically designed to take off his glove to reveal his dragon birthmark? Talk about disposable income.

– What is with the trope of auditions having a string of complete idiots? I’ve been to plenty of auditions for school stuff before. They’re never entertaining. It’s just people reading the same lines over and over and being varying degrees of bad to okay.

– It’s kinda funny that Jake tries to be this smooth ladies man ‘mack-daddy’ but the instant Rose mentions practicing the kissing scene, he becomes a complete doof. Quite a realistic portrayal of a 14-year-old boy.

– I appreciate that Fu Dog is supportive about Jake being nervous about his first kiss.

– Jake: “Seriously, my church isn’t this big!” I never knew Jake was religious. That seems….a little…strange considering the various mythos that are real in this series. How does that work?

– Nice Darth Vader reference when Huntsman puts his helmet on.

– Of course the spell can only be done on the night of a full moon, of course the full moon’s that night and OF COURSE the full moon is on the night of the play.

– Why is Jake acting like, as long as he comes in before Act 4 Scene 15 (the kiss) that he’ll still be able to do it? Bringing in an entirely new actor in the middle, or moreso end, of the play for no reason is pretty stupid even for a junior high play. Not to mention, it’s a little insulting to the understudy to bail until you decide to show up then take the best scene in the play all for yourself.

– Why would they not have an understudy for Cleopatra? Why did the woman running this play not notice until Spud was out there doing both roles?

– I love how the cover of the Huntsman’s ancient spell book is literally just a picture of a skull and the word ‘Spells’

– Why would getting the beetle out of the moonlight not stop the Huntzombies but destroying the spell book does?

– They don’t actually have the balls to show the Jake/Spud kiss, but they do let you hear the audience gasping in response. I think they’ll probably skip the episode where the parents’ groups whine about the gayness.

– Macy Gray was in this episode!?! The hell?! She played the woman who was running the play and Trixie’s grandma. Two extremely small bit parts. Wow. Talk about a wasted cameo.

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This episode was fairly good but really, really cliché. Like, appallingly cliché. The school play kiss, the nearly missing the play, the nervousness because the school play kiss is a first kiss, the trying to keep a double life a secret while trying to do two really important things on both sides, the school play falling to pieces because the leads are missing etc. It’s all really old hat.

The aspect of bringing the Huntsclan back to life was interesting, but the payoff was really weak. The ones that did get brought back were no more powerful than any other brainless lackey, and they all had the same character design. They were also beaten in a predictable and easy manner. Not to mention that it was ridiculously easy to find the Huntsclan’s tomb. Spud found it through a few minutes of searching on the Internet…..SPUD found it.

I like that Jake and Rose’s relationship isn’t one of those annoying super-slow burns and that the development is realistic. It’s also nice that they’re allowing us to see Rose’s double life as Huntsgirl. It puts the audience in a unique position of connecting with her as well as Jake while knowing, and dreading, that their happy little romance will likely come crashing down once he finds out the truth.

Many similar shows would have the audience in the dark just as much as Jake is, and the big reveal would come later. This arrangement is much better.

………………….Seriously, Macy Gray was in this episode!


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 13: Targeting the Female Students – The Prophet’s Fang/Manga Chapter 5

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Hmm, this is a 90s anime taking place in a school. Aren’t we due for the ol’ fortune teller episode?

We sure are!

Introducing Kokurano, a fake psychic who has everyone convinced he’s the real deal. He even has a posse of girls who practically worship him.

Jonouchi feels as though he’s cursed because he got into a bad fight and nearly got clocked by a piece of equipment falling off of a power pole, so he reluctantly goes to Kokurano for his fortune.

In the anime, he doesn’t believe he’s cursed. He just goes to get his fortune told because he wants to.

Additionally, while both the anime and the manga include the story about how Kokurano accurately predicted a classmate’s home would burn down, we don’t actually see it in the manga. In the anime, the episode starts out with showing the fire. However, the anime omits the part about the classmate getting wounded in the fire. In fact, the classmate is seen at the opening shot and he’s fine. It’s never really made clear whether Kokurano set this fire or not, but if he did, holy crap!

Since most of the people coming to see Kokurano are girls, Jonouchi decides to save face by proclaiming that Anzu dragged him here.

Love his expression when he does so.

The anime kinda mirrors the expression, but it’s better in the manga.

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The anime also changed this to Jonouchi claiming Honda dragged him here, which, in my opinion, makes the scene funnier.

Kokurano’s headband originally bore the symbol for “chou” which stands for ultra, upper, super and/or ascend. In the anime, it’s just a blank star.

Another thing the anime added to this scene was a short joke exchange with a girl student. Kokurano tells this girl, who is clearly designed to be unattractive, that the ‘dawn of her beauty’ will last forever.

More anime-exclusive stuff – Honda berates Kokurano for improperly using school supplies for his fortune telling. In order to get him to shut up, he tells Honda that he will marry the girl he’s in love with, which obviously sends him over the moon imagining himself being married to Miho.

A minor earthquake occurs in both versions, and Kokurano pulls out a piece of paper he supposedly wrote on earlier that predicted the earthquake, causing mostly everyone to gawk at his powers.

The only one of them who actually gets their fortune told in the manga is Anzu (well, technically, Jonouchi does too, but all Kokurano tells him is that he’s cursed. In the anime, he tells Jonouchi off-screen that he’ll be a policeman in Los Angeles.)

The manga and the anime differ widely here, but they also leave the core information alone. In the manga, Anzu wants her fortune told at the same time Jonouchi gets his done, and she’s flattered when Kokurano starts creepily molesting her hands in order to get a palm reading. Anime!Anzu is creeped out and disgusted when he does it to her later (which is a much better and reasonable reaction if you ask me.)

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He tells Anzu that she’ll soon meet a wonderful man and she’ll surrender her body and mind to him. Anzu is pretty willing to believe him almost immediately. In the anime, however, she’s incredibly skeptical and doesn’t even get her fortune read until we’re into the second half of the episode.

Yugi ousts Kokurano during the first round of predictions claiming that he doesn’t really believe in his ‘powers’ since he’s seen similar tricks like that before. For instance, the piece of paper he claimed he used to predict the earthquake earlier could have been one of hundreds of slips of paper with vague predictions on them that he whips out whenever a ‘prediction’ comes true.

Technically, Anime!Yugi also ousts Kokurano with the same theory, but he does it much later in the story. The reason he waits so long is because he believes Kokurano, in his own way, is playing a game. As far as he can tell, his predictions and tricks are harmless. Being such a game enthusiast, he believes revealing Kokurano’s trickery is breaking the rules of his game, so he leaves him be. Only when Anzu starts believing in Kokurano’s powers and he convinces her she has a secret mysterious admirer does he finally snap and make the accusations.

Additionally, in the manga, Yugi doesn’t care that he said those things to Kokurano. In the anime, Yugi feels really bad that he ‘broke the rules’ of Kokurano’s game all because he was jealous. I like Anime!Yugi here much better because refusing to ruin the fun of a fortune teller because he respects games so much is a totally Yugi thing for him to do. The fact that he feels bad about doing it in the end only makes him seem sweeter and more innocent.

In both versions, Kokurano makes an ominous prediction on Yugi after this point. He tells him that countless words from heaven will fall down on him and bring destruction.

As I said before, Anime!Anzu stays skeptical throughout much of the episode and refuses to get her fortune told (probably to extend this otherwise short story to fit the episode length), much to Kokurano’s disdain. He’s intent on making her his, so he persists in luring her into getting her fortune told.

Between when Anzu finally gets her fortune told and the initial fortune telling scene in the anime, there’s quite a bit of filler involving Kokurano’s predictions. Kokurano tries to convince her that he’s the real deal by the lockers, but she stands firm. There’s a scene where the group is getting ready for gym, and Jonouchi complains that he’s too stiff. He also complains that the girls get the easy task of playing tennis while the boys have to do Judo.

Continuing on from that, they meet Kokurano in the hallway. Jonouchi literally gets on his hands and knees in front of Kokurano asking him to read his fortune some more. Kokurano tells him to beware of lights coming towards him – a prediction that later comes true during Judo when a lighting fixture above Jonouchi falls and nearly injures him.

Miho pops up to….act like she’s friggin’ three years old and starts tugging on Kokurano’s cloak, wondering what’s underneath it. She has no reason to ask this – like she glimpsed something strange underneath it – she just has the mind of a toddler who took ten too many tumbles down the stairs. It’s not like this is the big reveal of him cheating or anything, either. It’s just Miho being irritating.

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Kokurano tells Anzu that there’s a mysterious man watching over her from the shadows and that, if she wants to learn more, to come see him later to get her fortune told. She still doesn’t bite, however. After she hears of the light prediction coming true, she decides to get her fortune told, curious if the mysterious man he’s speaking of is Yami.

When she actually goes to get her fortune told, the scene stays more or less the same as it was in the start of manga, barring some notes I already mentioned and excluding everything the anime already showed. Anzu gets her hands molested, Kokurano tells her about the mysterious man, but in the anime he also adds that the man will be in the science room at six o’clock.

Some minor changes in Anzu and Yugi’s plans for after school. In the manga, she seemingly told Yugi at the end of the day that she had the day off from work and wanted to go window shopping with him. He’s just gathering his things in the classroom while she waits in a different classroom. He spots a book left on a desk and decides to return it to the library real quick before going to meet Anzu.

In the anime, Anzu tells him about having the day off earlier in the day, when they’re talking by the lockers, and asks if he wants to go to a tea shop after school. Once the day ends, Anzu decides to see if the prediction was true, so she hangs out in the science room waiting for the mysterious man to arrive. Meanwhile, Yugi had just found a book lying in the hallway and decided to return it to the library.

In both versions, as Yugi is returning the book, the bookcases all domino into each other and nearly squash poor Yugi (countless words from heaven), but Yami kicks in and escapes from the danger in the nick of time. He realizes that this was set up by Kokurano. Fearing Anzu is in danger, he rushes off to save her.

Anzu is met with Kokurano in the science room. In the manga, he claims Yugi’s not coming to meet her, but since she’s not waiting for him in the anime he doesn’t make this statement there. He does, however, state that his prediction was right and that she did meet her mysterious man that she will surrender her body and mind to – him.

He uses chloroform to knock her out. The only difference between the two versions here is that, in the manga, he’s clearly copping a feel on her boob. In the anime, he’s not.

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Yami arrives and challenges him to a Shadow Game. Anzu is just about to lose consciousness at this time and tries to get a look at Yami’s face so she can finally learn the identity of the owner of the mysterious voice, but she passes out before she can.

Shadow Game

The Shadow Game today is almost entirely different barring the use of chloroform bottles and the risk being the loser will be knocked out by the chemical.

In the manga, Yami spreads a bunch of sheets of paper on a desk and places the chloroform bottle on top. They will take turns each sliding a piece of paper out from under the bottle without knocking it over. Whomever knocks over the bottle loses and will be knocked out.

They each remove some pieces of paper until one of Yami’s pulls lands the bottle on the very edge of the desk. Surely, if Kokurano tries to remove one more piece of paper the bottle will fall. Yami goads him into trying anyway, claiming, if he is a psychic, he’d be able to telekinetically lift the bottle and take a piece of paper. Too full of pride to disagree, or maybe simply delusional, Kokurano agrees and tries to lift the bottle with his mind. He pretends like it’s working, but Yami points out that it’s clearly a lie. Unable to remove the paper without knocking the bottle over, the bottle breaks and Kokurano is left unconscious on the floor with his cloak splayed out.

His open cloak reveals, as Yugi coincidentally predicted, that he had a slue of papers with vague predictions written on them so he could whip them out whenever appropriate and pretend he had psychic powers.

In the anime, the game is a bit more complex. Yami attaches several chloroform bottles to the classroom clock via thin wires. The clock is set up to snip a wire once every minute. Which wire is connected to which bottle is a mystery. They’ll each have to take turns guessing which bottle will fall each minute and try to catch it before it hits the ground.

They each take a turn, successfully catching a bottle, but then Kokurano plays dirty and trips Yami when he rushes for a falling bottle. He’s able to keep the bottle from falling by….I honestly don’t know what happened. He threw his Puzzle, the pointed bottom stuck in a wall and the string….somehow grabbed the bottle and suspended it in mid-air….I have no clue. I think Yami just screwed over the laws of physics ten ways to Sunday and back to Friday.

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There are only two bottles left now, and they’re way too far apart for the player to recover if they choose the wrong bottle. Yami eggs Kokurano on, claiming if he’s a real psychic he can just use his powers to accurately predict which bottle will fall. (Of course, if he does, that just leaves one bottle and….what, does the game just end?)

He guesses wrong, the bottle breaks, and, as in the manga, he’s splayed out on the floor with his ‘predictions’ in his cloak on display, certain to expose him as a fraud in the morning.

Truthfully, I like the anime’s Shadow Game a little better than the manga’s. The manga’s game is a little overly simple (Kokurano could have pulled the paper from any other side to prevent the bottle from falling…) Not to mention the fact that just because you have psychic premonitions doesn’t mean you also have telekinesis. Kokurano never once claimed that he had telekinesis. Why would Yami be like ‘If you’re psychic, you can just make the bottle float with your mind.’? And why would Kokurano lean into that?

The anime’s game makes much more sense because Yami’s coaxing him based on the fact that Kokurano claimed he could predict the future and this game relies entirely on predictions. Plus, I like that Kokurano tried to cheat during the game in the anime. It keeps in line with the theme of antagonists cheating during Shadow Games to open the doors to darkness. I do still wonder what would have happened if Kokurano just guessed correctly. Is the door to darkness thing that he would’ve chosen wrong no matter what?

In both versions, Yami carries a still-unconscious Anzu to safety, and she groggily muses over her mysterious savior again onto the fall back to sleep once more. However, the anime continues on and carries a very important change with it.

In the anime, while she was being carried, Anzu saw that Yami’s hand was injured (somehow. They never show it being damaged and we never see an injury on his hand before Anzu notices it.)

YGOSZEP13SCREEN10

In an added scene after that, the group all discusses how Kokurano was a fake. In a rather genuinely sweet scene, Honda is shown being depressed at this revelation because he believes it means he and Miho aren’t destined to be married. Miho walks over the cheer him up saying they can make their own futures now (unaware that he was upset specifically about his future with her.) Honda instantly gets his spring back in his step.

When Yugi runs off to join Honda, Jonouchi and Miho, calling Anzu to join them too, Anzu notices that Yugi has a wound on his hand that is identical to her mysterious savior’s wound.

YGOSZEP13SCREEN11

Yes, Anzu seemingly now knows that Yugi and Yami are one in the same. I don’t know why they rushed this revelation, but they keep on with it considering the next episode leaps WAY ahead to chapter 45.

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I thought the manga chapter was fine, but I much prefer the anime version. It fixed many issues I had with the story in the manga and even added some stuff that was unexpected but nice. Anzu was made much more tolerable in the anime than she is in the manga. She isn’t being terrible in the manga, but I much prefer her being skeptical and weirded out by Kokurano than instantly falling for his predictions, getting all swoony over her hand being groped and being gushy over the thoughts of the owner of the mysterious voice.

Yugi was also just being an adorable sweetheart in the anime. Again, there’s nothing terribly wrong with him in the manga, but he comes off as more of a spoilsport from the beginning in the manga whereas, in the anime, he’s playing along and being sweet. The only reason he loses his cool is because he was jealous, and even then he felt very guilty about it.

Honda and Miho went back and forth this episode. I liked that Miho was also skeptical of Kokurano, and her scene with Honda at the end was sweet, but her tackling Kokurano over getting his cloak off was obnoxious and completely unnecessary, and I am getting so sick of Honda’s shtick of puppy dogging after Miho. Jonouchi was also being pathetic in this episode, groveling after Kokurano, whereas he more or less has nothing to do with the plot after the initial fortune telling in the manga.

Winner: Anime

Next time, Anzu is at her absolute worst as she tries to lure out Yami at a water park. Prepare for one of the absolute worst chapters of Yu-Gi-Oh!….But can the same be said of the anime version?


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Sorette Dakara Ne! (ONA) Review

Plot: Released as a promotional ONA for the animated idol group, AGC38, this anime follows a girl named Ayano who is suffering from some kind of terminal illness or condition. Her friends desperately try to convince her to get an operation that could save her life, but she seems to have accepted her fate. However, her friends won’t let her go that easily.

Breakdown: I’m actually a little uneasy about how I feel about this one. It’s an eight-minute web release, so there is no time whatsoever for character development or even exploration. I only remembered two of the girls names by the end and would never be able to pick them out of a lineup except maybe Nene with her weird purple hair rope.

So the focus has to go purely to the story. How’s it fare in that regard?

Just okay.

Ayano has some sort of terminal illness, and her doctor says there’s an operation that they can do to possibly save her, but it only has a 2% success rate. Ayano vehemently refuses to do it.

No matter what her friends do, which is pester her day after day, she still won’t go through with it. I don’t blame her at all. A 2% success rate is appalling, and if there is a 98% chance she’d either be worse off for it or instantly die when she could just live out her sickly days doing what she wants then I completely understand her decision.

Her friends won’t stop asking her about it, though. They bring her gifts everyday and ask her to reconsider. Her closest friend, Nene, soon snaps, slaps her in the face, complains about the fact that Ayano doesn’t understand how they feel about the situation and runs off.

Okay, I understand emotional outbursts in times like this, but that was the wrong way to handle this situation. The slap is bad enough, but she’s actually straight out saying ‘Well, what about meeeee?’ Way to make someone’s terminal medical condition about you.

It takes that and learning that Nene prayed at a shrine for Ayano’s recovery that she decides to do the procedure, which I also find slightly questionable. It makes it seem like she is just choosing to take an operation with appalling odds (odds I don’t even think most doctors would operate on?) just to appease her friend. It’s a sweet gesture, but she shouldn’t feel she has to do something like that.

However, after she decides to have the operation, we get quite a few cute, but really quick, shots that warm the heart like Nene focusing more during archery because she has faith in Ayano, the girls writing ‘Hold out’ outside of Ayano’s hospital with their umbrellas etc.

Then she dies. The end.

……..Oh alright, of course she doesn’t die. That’d be the non-Hallmark Channel version. Instead, she lives, hooray, and gets to go after some guy who hasn’t been seen this entire ONA.

The actual end.

Oh, but we also get 2 minutes and 40 seconds worth of end credits. I will never understand why ONAs and OVAs that are so pressed for time will easily flush a good chunk of it away with credits. Credits are important, but they don’t have to be so long.

Art and Animation: Surprisingly really detailed and fluid for just a short ONA. Ayano’s hair bugged me a lot, though. I just wanted to reach my hand through the monitor and brush it away from her eye. Why does she like it like that?

Music: The music’s forgettable, but decent enough.

Bottomline: You’d lose nothing from watching this, especially at a paltry eight minute runtime, but you also won’t gain much from watching it either. It’s a cute little story and a shot or two may tug at the heartstrings, but you don’t know any of these characters well enough for this story to have a true impact, and the fact that the girls are so pushy about making Ayano do the surgery, something which has a much bigger chance of harming or killing her than making her better, is a little off putting.

Additional Information and Notes: Sorette Nakara Ne! was produced by Asahi Production.

Episodes: 1

Runtime: 8 minutes

Year: 2011

Recommended Audience: They don’t even show the slap, but it does discuss terminal illness and death, so probably 6+


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My Poke-Pinions | #50 and 51 – The Dig Line

Diglett

Name: Diglett is an adorable name. It’s easy to remember, cute and fitting. It’s fairly self-explanatory. Its Japanese is name Digda, which is as cute if not more cute than Diglett. Digda just seems to be based only on the word ‘dig.’

Fun Fact: In France, it’s known as Taupiqueur, which is derived from ‘taupe’ for ‘mole’ and ‘marteau-piqueer’ for jackhammer, which is pretty cool.

Design: Despite Diglett being an absolute cutie, its design is still almost ridiculously simplistic. It’s literally just four pill shapes. Pill-shaped body, pill-shaped nose…mouth…thing, and two pill-shaped eyes. It definitely works, I won’t lie, but they really didn’t pull out the creativity with the thing outside of never showing its bottom half.

Alolan Diglett

I feel like whoever made Alolan Diglett was a troll. Like, ‘What if we made Diglett a little darker and gave it three little hairs that are somehow made of metal and called it a new version of the Pokemon?’ Despite there not being much difference between the two, I don’t actually care much for Alolan Diglett. Something about those little hairs makes it somehow lose cuteness points with me.

Sprite-Wise, Gen I looks normal until Green where it looks more like a baby Diglett, which is pretty cute.

Crystal looks like it’s trying to kiss something.

I like Emerald’s animation of it going underground.

Nothing much worth mentioning after that.

Shiny:

A simplistic Pokemon comes with a simplistic shiny. All that’s changed about Shiny Diglett is that the brown color is SLIGHTLY darker and the nose mouth thing is blue. While I usually love blue shinies, and there’s really nothing wrong with this shiny, I can’t stop thinking that this looks like a Diglett that’s suffocating.

Shiny Alolan Diglett does the same thing.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Diglett digs.

Alright, they also gnaw on roots underground, destroying the crops of many farmers. Ironically, many Diglett are domesticated and are trained to work on farms since they quickly and effectively till soil. Farmers will plant tress that Diglett enjoy most around their crops so they’ll till the land when they move back and forth between them. Also, their droppings make good fertilizer….yay.

Wait, they can see their droppings, yet we’ve never seen a Diglett’s lower half?

No one knows exactly how big a Diglett is, and the size listed in the Pokedex is based purely on how much of its body peeks out of the ground.

Here’s something I found very interesting – Diglett’s skin is thin and weak. It can’t be exposed to light otherwise its blood will heat up and weaken it. In Clefairy and the Moon Stone, I criticized the fact that they said the lights being put up throughout the caves in Mt. Moon were having a negative impact on the Ground Pokemon. They stated that the heat from the lights was causing the Ground Pokemon to dry up, weakening them, which didn’t make much sense to me because Ground Pokemon thrive on dry environments and hate water. Well, I guess at least for Diglett, I have a reasonable answer.

Kinda weird that Diglett have thin skin, though, considering that you’d think it’d need tough skin to dig around in the dirt and rocks all day. However, I do have to note that, in the anime, Diglett show up a lot in the sunlight.

Alolan Diglett is stronger than regular Diglett because they dig through volcanic rock. The high iron content of the soil gave them three metallic ‘whiskers’ on their head through which they can communicate and sense their surroundings above ground.

In terms of design, Diglett is based less on real moles and more on the moles seen in Whac-A-Mole games.

Alolan Diglett’s whiskers are based on Pele’s hair, which are strands of volcanic glass found in Hawaii. It’s not metallic, it’s more pure rock closer to granite, but it does appear to be yellow or golden, mimicking the color of blond hair. The black dirt around the Alolan Diglett is likely in reference to black sand found near volcanoes and/or black magnetic sand since it’s also adopted Steel-typing in this form. That’s actually pretty neat, but considering the dirt isn’t REALLY a part of the Pokemon, it’s hard to say that I can give it anymore points for that.

Dugtrio

Name: Dugtrio’s name is extremely fitting. It’s slightly more intimidating than Diglett and reflects its…..three-ness very well. It has the same name in both English and Japanese.

Design: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first of several Pokemon evolutions where the brilliant idea was “Let’s take three of (x) and smush them together to make a new Pokemon!” I don’t hate Dugtrio, I just think the design is lazy, much like with Magneton and Dodrio. The most they do to differentiate it is give it an angry expression, but only like half the time.

Alolan Dugtrio

If someone was kinda trolling when they made Alolan Diglett, someone was top tier trolling when they made Alolan Dugtrio. When this image was first released, I laughed out loud for several minutes. This is just a Dugtrio in three stupid blond wigs. They look ridiculous. They look like they fused with Hanson. I don’t care if there’s lore here – at the end of the day, they have one of the stupidest most goofy designs I’ve ever seen in Pokemon.

Sprite-Wise, there’s not much to say. Crystal’s animation is pretty cute, but that’s about it.

Shiny:

Same as Diglett. Just a little darker and blue nose mouth thing. I think the shade of blue for Dugtrio might be just slightly deeper, but that’s about it.

Shiny Alolan Dugtrio is the same way, but looks worse than Shiny Alolan Diglett purely due to the fucking stupid hair. Because the brown color is darker, the contrast with the blond hair is much more apparent, making it somehow look even worse than it originally did. Please save me from this bleached blond hell.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Why didn’t Ash’s Pokedex have any information on Dugtrio in episode 31? It’s not a mysterious Pokemon by any means besides the no lower half thing. Hm.

Dugtrio is either three Diglett fused together for some reason and somehow or a single Diglett split off into three heads. They all think the same thoughts and act together, which is the polar opposite of Dodrio, interestingly. Although, one section said the heads will sometimes fight each other food.

It can move underground at speeds upwards of 60 MPH and can create earthquakes, and that’s about it besides stuff it retained from its Diglett form.

Alolan Dugtrio is regarded as a deity, and no I’m not kidding. Remember how I said that Alolan Diglett’s whiskers were based on Pele’s Hair? The name Pele comes from the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, Pele. She created the islands of Hawaii, and she’s a very popular and respected Hawaiian deity. Alolan Dugtrio didn’t just use Pele’s hair in its design and conception – it also used Pele herself as inspiration.

In addition to being viewed as a deity, Alolan Dugtrio is also specifically said to be feminine deities of Alola incarnate, and there’s also a curse associated with Alolan Dugtrio – keeping any of its fallen hairs will bring the person bad luck. This is based on Pele’s curse where any visitor will be cursed if they take and keep anything from her island.

Pokemon, Game Freak, Nintendo, what are you doing? I’m not Hawaiian nor can I speak for any Hawaiians, so I won’t attest to how offended they might be, if at all, but I don’t think there’s any denying that this is overall insulting. You set an entire region in a place that is akin to Hawaii, use one of their most beloved (and fairly feared) deities for a Pokemon design, and you squeeze out that janky blond turd.

Can you imagine anyone worshiping an Alolan Dugtrio? How ridiculous that would look? There are some pretty weird religious practices in Pokemon, but I would be embarrassed watching anyone praying to a Dugtrio with a perm.

What’s even more embarrassing is that the design is also based off of the look of many typical surfer dudes, particularly the SoCal surfers that likely frequent Hawaii as tourists.

The only other things of note in the Dex entries are that its metal ‘whiskers’ are heavy and slow it down, but provide it with a lot of force to go through bedrock. They also act as helmets and sensors to help it as it travels.

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And that was the Dig line. Quite the ride that was. I didn’t have much to say about regular Diglett and Dugtrio, but damn the decisions made with the Alolan versions. Diglett may be a simple little thing, but it is cute and effective at what it does. Dugtrio may be a lazy evo, but……uhh…..at least it sounds cool when chanting with Diglett. Digletty, Digletty! TRIO TRIO TRIO!

The Alolan versions can kiss my ass. Call me grumpy and old all you want about my opinions on some mega and Alolan etc. versions, but these are just insultingly bad on every level. They’re uncreative or laughably goofy at best and headache-ingly goofy and offensive at worst.

Next up, Meowth and Persian! We have a LOT to cover here.


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Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Delta State

Plot: Four amnesiac twenty-somethings with psychic powers are recruited to protect the world from fellow psychic beings called Rifters. The Rifters originate from the mysterious dream-like realm called the Delta State, and their main intent is to control the minds of everyone in the world. The four have no choice but to accept this dangerous task as it is their best chance at remembering their pasts.

Breakdown: This is one of those shows where I find myself struggling to discuss it properly.

Let’s start with the basics. Delta State is a show based on a (never released) comic book of the same name by Douglas Gayeton. It was produced by Nelvana and released by Teletoons on Canadian television in 2004, and it has the honor of being the first ever fully rotoscoped animated TV series.

The art style really makes it stand out from other animated TV shows I’ve covered. I’ve seen numerous fully rotoscoped animated movies and short films, but they typically do this to gain a more realistic appearance while also taking advantage of the creative benefits that come with animation.

Rotoscoping itself is largely viewed as a lazy form of animating since you’re literally taking frames of live action footage and tracing over them, but I do believe this form of animation was the right way to go for this specific series.

Delta State has a very….college-esque kind of vibe to it. That makes sense considering that the characters are all in their early twenties, live together and basically act like college students. Not to mention the fact that doing a Google search on this title results in mostly colleges.

The show also doesn’t have tons of background music and utilizes natural idle conversations quite well. It doesn’t feel like a show where the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of the four main characters, but by the end you start feeling the stakes.

The reason rotoscoping works well for Delta State is because of the Delta State. Technically, all of their psychic powers could be done in live-action just fine. Claire has the power of remote viewing, which can easily be done with practical effects. Martin is a telepath, which is done even more easily since no effects are needed. Philip has the power of psychometry, which allows him to have visions of past events related to items, which can also be done fairly easily with editing. Finally, Luna has precognition, which can also be done easily with editing.

The Delta State, however, is meant to be a dream-like realm – and in dreams anything can happen. In addition, like lucid dreams, various aspects of the world can be controlled with enough focus and effort. In fact, the name Delta State comes from the stage of deep sleep where delta waves develop. The Delta State sequences obviously benefit from being animated because animation allows you the same creative freedom that are necessary for dreams.

Additionally, we can gain a better understanding of how surreal or off this realm is considering that everything else is rotoscoped realistically. It’s just a normal city with normal people. The main four don’t even look like anything special. Since it’s rotoscoped and not live-action, we’re not distracted by the contrast of the live action versus the animation. It could have been fully animated as well, but then we would have lost the more realistic feeling the show is going for.

This is truly one instance where I really think full rotoscoping was the absolute best option to present the exact experience that the creators were going for.

…….But that’s not to say it’s perfect.

While the rotoscoping job was done well enough, I don’t care much for the character designs. The facial features of the people are done in such a craggy manner. In a way, it does help it stand out even more, but it’s just flatout ugly, especially the ‘noses,’ I don’t know why the noses are almost always just triangles. It baffles me. Why are they just triangles? It’s so distracting.

For everything else, I’m not really bothered by the craggyness. It gives it more of a cartoon/comic book style, and I like that. But the faces are just really….no. Martin in particular has it bad because not only does his face suffer like everyone else’s but his hair is just an anomaly. I get that it’s supposed to be spiky white hair or frosted tips, but it comes off more like his hair is Elmer’s glue, they stuck it to a wall, pulled him off when it was half dry and left it like that.

There is a sense of emptiness to the city as well, which is strange. There just aren’t that many people around. It’s understandable, because rotoscoping that many people would be a pain in the ass and expensive, but it kinda loses the realistic feeling if we’re in the heart of downtown and there are barely a handful of people here and there. Most of the time it really feels like only the most necessary people even exist in the city.

Speaking of characters, it’s also a bit difficult to get a grasp on the main four at this point. Admittedly, this first episode is a part one, so maybe the second part will allow me to get a better idea of the true personalities of each character, but so far the only one I feel I have a decent idea about is Philip. He’s a pretty nice and laid back guy who loves books. He’s also an awkward but not fully shy dude that I could definitely see myself hanging out with.

Martin seems like the looser cannon of the two guys in the group. He’s also seen flirting with Luna and saying he has a connection to her, which may or may not be BS, I dunno.

Claire is a responsible person, but not all that proactive. When Luna runs off near the end, she doesn’t do much to stop her, and when Martin confronts her about why she didn’t do more to stop her she says she was waiting for him….which….huh?

Luna is the most emotional of the group. She doesn’t care for Martin invading her privacy by reading her mind, which is totally understandable, but she also, as I mentioned, runs away near the end because she can’t take the premonitions or the mission of the Delta State anymore. This is probably fine, but I feel like it’s way early in the show for someone to be running off because they can’t take the pressure anymore.

It’s like how I felt it was weird that the first episode of Teen Titans starts with Cyborg leaving the team because he’s fed up with Robin. Stuff like that needs to be built up.

Then there’s Bodie, who was only in this episode for a short while. Bodie is their handler/mentor figure. He knows about the Delta State, does…stuff related to it, and is the one who recruited them to begin with. He seems pretty okay for now. He’s somewhat mysterious and a bit rough around the edges, but he’s not setting off alarm bells for me yet.

In regards to the story, they’ve set things up pretty well so far. Them all having amnesia of their entire lives up until two months prior to the start of the series is pretty interesting, and them all having various psychic powers instead of the same set is cool. It makes all of the characters necessary in some way or another instead of having one or two characters who outshine the whole group. I especially like how they use their powers in creative ways to achieve their goals. For instance, Claire can sense/see things psychically, and in this episode she learns she can do that over the phone because she needs to covertly see inside of a bookstore.

The idea of the Delta State is fascinating. It’s a dream-like state clearly linked to their subconsciouses, but it’s also an entirely different realm that mirrors our own world while also not. They can see little clues to their pasts throughout the Delta State, but they’re typically too busy dealing with Rifters to really focus on these little flashes of memories.

Sadly, so far, the Rifters only seem like evil psychics so far, but, again, maybe that will be better fleshed out in part two.

In this episode, they’re tracking a Rifter named Karla who initially appears to Philip at the bookstore during a book signing. They’re alone in the store because the author suddenly left due to unknown circumstances and apparently the people who work in the store don’t exist and other customers never visit. They flirt for a while, but she decides to leave since she has prior engagements. When she gives her signed book to him as a gift, he’s able to psychically see events connected to the book – the most recent of which being the author of the book running away from the store after being touched by Karla, seemingly being spooked by her doing something to him psychically.

The group, sans Luna, go off into the Delta State to investigate. They’re caught by Karla and her cronies, however. Back in the real world, Brodie and Luna start experiencing, I’d call them, glitches in the fabric of reality because of disturbances in the Delta State. Luna decides to set aside her unease about their situation and head off after them. She’s somehow able to fight off Karla’s goons quite easily, but they’re confronted by the image from a vision Luna had earlier, which was of a car approaching her. What she didn’t initially see, however, was that the person driving the car was her in the past. This revelation is where the episode ends.

As a whole, this is a perfectly good introduction to the show, especially for a part one.

I’m disappointed that it seems like this show has been largely lost to time. It’s not streaming anywhere, there are barely any articles or discussion pieces about it – it’s just kinda drifting in a void. It is on DVD, but only the first ‘season’ (I say that because there’s only one season and 26 episodes. I guess they split up the first season and called it two seasons?) and barely anyone has bought it. As of right now, the first DVD set of it on Amazon has only nine reviews, though a bulk of them are very good. Also, the description barely has anything about the DVD set like…how many episodes it has, what other features are on it, what quality it’s in, etc.

I had to do a Google search just to find what the back cover of the DVD set looks like. It has 13 episodes, a ‘The Making of Delta State’ featurette, and electronic collectible cards.

Verdict:

Delta State seems like a very cool show to me so far. Maybe not masterpiece material, but I do strongly believe that I’ll have an enjoyable ride watching the rest of the series. From the sparse amount of people I’ve seen who have watched the entire show, it is indeed a good one with a strong finale, so I look forward to sharing more of this show in the future to hopefully draw more attention to this largely ignored, but interesting and well made, series.


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