Episode One-Derland: Yosuga no Sora

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Plot: Sora and Haru are twins whose parents just recently passed away. They decide to sell their apartment and go back to their old house back in a very small town in the country. Every female, including his sister, wants to ride Haru’s meat wagon, and that’s pretty much all you need to know.

Breakdown: “But FiddleTwix, you said you hate harems and actively try to avoid them!” you yell through your computer screen. Oh yes, yes I do. But I also have a problem with reading terrible reviews on anime. On one hand, I give some of these shows a shot just to see if they have earned some form of redemption in my eyes. On the other hand, boy is it fun to watch terrible anime and then tear it a new one.

My first glimpse into this was through THEM anime reviews who basically said it was crappy soft-core hentai and left it at a one paragraph review amounting the show to being less enjoyable to merely watching 12 episodes of blank screen. Now that is something to spur my interest.

So I got around to watching the first episode and just from this episode alone I can see all sorts of problems.

First of all, there’s no story so far. Yup. One whole episode and no story outside of the plot synopsis I just gave you, and that information is only given to us in the middle of the episode. Narrative story flow? What’s that?

Want me to give you a full synopsis of the entire episode? Okay. Sora and Haru arrive in the town, grocery shop, greet the neighbors, Haru goes to school (Sora can’t because she suffers from ‘wtfistheresomethinginthewaterinJapanincrediblyweakyetgivennodiagnosis-itis’ And believe it or not, Haru actually describes her problem as ‘She’s weak and whatnot.’ Thanks Doctor.), we find out that Haru and Sora kissed when they were like ten (And I mean, legit kissed, not a little peck), Sora gets mad that he was late coming home, everyone with a vagina pervs on Haru and we end the episode with Sora imagining Haru about to French her as an apology for forgetting his phone at home with the episode-ending ‘cliffhanger’ being a horny Sora taking off her clothes at Haru’s bed propositioning him for sex.

Yep, that’s it.

Second, the other characters. There are several other characters introduced here, all of which being girls because duh. I can at least give most other harems some slack for usually taking time with the interactions with the main male lead and not flying head first into ‘Every girl needs to change her panties at the sight of him’ stuff. This show, oh god, no. Every girl, and I mean every single one, coming to a grand total of six, so far, is lusting after Haru like this is an all-girl’s school built on an aphrodisiac factory immediately after catching sight of him.

Okay, not all of them are really lusting after him at this point, but most of them are, and the ones who haven’t gotten to the point of causing moisture damage to their desk chairs whenever his name is brought up very clearly have a gigantic crush on him just by glancing at his perfect face.

Because of this, they have to give a car crash of introductions to make sure that fans of every route get a little taste of their lust for him before the episode’s over. Did I say ‘route’? Why, that would indicate that this is based on an H-game. Boy howdy, a crappy softcore hentai harem anime based off of an H-game. That never happens!

While we do get little tidbits into the personalities of each girl, I honestly couldn’t keep up enough to even get their names partway memorized. It takes some kind of talent to make the audience have difficulty keeping up with a show that has absolutely no story so far.

The only two you really need to worry about at this point are Sora and Haru. How do they fare as characters?

Well, Haru’s fine. He’s….perfect. He’s kind, smart, caring, very responsible, sociable, hard working, overall very happy, a teenage Adonis with the light and breezes of heaven following him around in case a girl gawks at him—he’s a Gary Stu. There ya go. If there’s one negative character trait that I’ve been able to squeeze out of him so far is a very common one of Gary Stus….he’s a doormat. Otherwise known as the ‘my only flaw is that I’m too nice’ flaw.

Sora, on the other hand, is a completely unlikable little twat. It seems like they’re trying for the tsundere trope with her, but she is just a complete little grumpy bitch. Yeah, I understand that their parents died…some time ago, but she never seems to think about them nor bring them up; all of her thoughts are wet dreams about Haru.

The only way they seem to be gunning for even remotely tsundere-like qualities in regards to the other half of the equation is that when Sora is done being a bitch, she grabs onto Haru’s shirt with a few fingers. This in combination with her clinging to her stuffed rabbit and the fact that her alternate hairstyle is pigtails pretty much establish her as a loli trope above all else. Did I mention she’s 16?

She’s entitled, she likes absolutely nothing but junk food, the Internet and Haru, she rarely smiles, she’s jealous of every girl who comes near Haru, she’s very abrasive and bossy taking stuff that doesn’t belong to her with a snide remark and wasting their measly grocery budget on junk food (Gee, I wonder why she’s so weak.) and she’s just plain creepy with how horny she is for her twin brother. That ending scene I mentioned? She’s not even sweetly or shyly asking Haru to ‘make love’ to her or anything. She is repeatedly asking him in a creepy voice to make her orgasm while she strips.

And let me make it clear that while the target of her affections being her brother does make the situation squickier, the way she acts would be creepy with anyone.

You like Haru because the show kinda forces you to, especially giving him the bonus sympathy angle of being an orphan, but the only other really prominent main character is so hate-worthy that you can’t stand watching any scene with her. The other girls are annoying in their own rights, mostly with their crushes on Haru, but their scenes with him are way more tolerable than any scene with her.

Oh yeah, there’s a chibi-comedy rehash of an early scene as a pre-end-credits scene in which one of the girls, lonely (apparently going to a singles group when she’s still in high school….) and recently catching a glimpse of sex incarnate himself goes home to have a completely necessary masturbation scene. Yup.

The art, animation and music are really the only saving graces so far, and even that’s not fantastic. Some of the design choices are questionable, such as making some of the characters look too thin and sometimes having odd faces, but it’s overall pretty decent. The backgrounds are really well detailed and the environments, while not being particularly memorable, are well designed.

Final verdict?

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Okay, I’m cheating. This decision is really for your own sake. I’ll be continuing it just to see how far the rabbit hole really goes…..I’m regretting that choice of words immediately. But yeah, it’s really not worth a look at all unless you have a thing for incest or smacking around bad anime.

Recommended Audience: Considering this show is considered a soft-core hentai and basing from this episode alone, I can say with certainty that this show is definitely for ‘mature’ audiences. In the first episode we have several instances of near incest with one incestuous kiss, one instance of non-sexual nudity and one instance of partial nudity taking place in a masturbation scene. 17+

Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01 (Manga) Volume 1 Review

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Plot: Taichi is a very talented player of the V-Pet game, Digimon. When he tries to enter a tournament, he’s disqualified for having an unknown Digimon, V-dramon, known by the nickname of Zeromaru or Zero for short. He eventually got transported to the Digital World; a world where Digimon are real. After he teams up with Zero, he is told by one of the great leaders of the world, Holy Angemon, that the Digital World is in danger of destruction by someone named Demon. Since a good tamer makes a Digimon immensely more skilled and powerful, he sends them on a mission to collect the five tags needed to enter Demon’s castle and save the Digital World.

Breakdown: I’m a big fan of Digimon, and I’ve always been interested to see if there was a manga version. Much to my delight, there are several with this being the first. Much to my confusion, it’s not really even close to the same as the anime.

Let me back up. Digimon, as a franchise, is actually derived from Digimon V-Pets, little devices aimed towards kids where you could raise a virtual monster. Sound familiar? Of course it does, it’s one of many Tamagotchi clones. More to the point, Digimon V-Pets were specifically designed to be aimed towards boys since Tamagotchis were aimed more towards girls. To push the masculine aspect even further, the Digimon V-Pets included the ability to sync up devices and battle other Digimon.

This manga is based off of those V-Pets and the anime was ‘loosely’ based on the manga.

Since the differences are so drastic, I want to handle this as a purely standalone feature with no animanga clash hanging off of it, but I know some people will be curious as to the main differences between the manga and the anime, so the sate those curiosities I will list all of the major differences at the start of each review.

The anime showcases seven and later eight children each with their own Digimon, and these children are referred to as Chosen Children. It’s not until season three where the kids are described as Digimon Tamers. Also, Digimon have never been heard of in the real world beforehand, except in Digimon Tamers.

In the manga, only Taichi is present. And he doesn’t even have Agumon; instead he has a V-dramon. Also sound familiar? Yeah, he’s the Adult version of Daisuke’s Digimon, V-mon, from Adventure 02. Weird, huh? Also, this Taichi is quite a bit different from his anime counterpart. He’s much more laid back and excitable, kinda like Daisuke only much less stupid and jealous.

As for any of the anime’s Chosen Children Digimon making any appearances, we get Gabumon, named Gabo here. He’s a bit neurotic and follows Taichi and Zero on their journey. Gomamon, named Gon here, is roughly similar, but he’s more responsible than anime!Gomamon, and eventually becomes tasked with being the guardian of the oceans after evolving to Ikkakumon. Greymon makes a brief appearance, but it’s an enemy and doesn’t even talk. Known Digimon such as Whamon and Etemon (called Etemonkey here) make appearances, but no other Chosen Children Digimon except maybe counting Leomon, who is more strict and uptight here.

The Digivice is still a thing, but it’s different. First off, it’s a super cool kick-ass watch I’m mad at the anime for changing. Second, it doesn’t prompt evolution, at least not yet, and instead shows the stats of other Digimon and allows Taichi to communicate ‘telepathically’ with Zero to give him precise commands that no one else can hear.

The crests are gone, but there is something similar in the tags. Unlike the crests which embody traits and help prompt Perfect level and Ultimate level evolution, the tags embody elements in earth, sea, sky, spirit and iron, and their function is to enter the castle that Demon lives in.

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I think that’s everything important, so let’s address the actual story for this volume.

This is a pretty damn simple story, which is to be expected since it’s based off of a game that is literally ‘raise monsters, fight them’. Taichi is transported to the Digital World because of a great leader named Holy Angemon/MagnaAngemon. While he looks entirely different from the MagnaAngemon of the anime here, apparently he looks very similar to MagnaAngemon’s priest mode, which is never shown in the anime.

Anyway, he requests his help in saving the Digital World from a terrible virus Digimon called Demon. I would call them out on their uncreative name, but the main villain for much of the first series was called Devimon….

Taichi and Zero are the only ones who can do it since Tamers bring out something very special in their Digimon – something that makes Zero incredibly powerful. Something else is brought up to support this; Taichi has ‘Ichi’ or ‘One’ in his name and his partner is Zero. The Digital World’s base is data, which is binary; a series of ones and zeroes.

With good intentions, Taichi and Zero can restore and protect the data, but failure would result in data deletion. This is further supported when Whamon explains that the good guys are all data and vaccine Digimon while the bad guys are virus types, since viruses delete data. Taichi proves his worth time and again as his teamwork, tactical skills and friendship as well as Zero’s trust and faith in Taichi lead them to victory time and again even against Perfect level Digimon.

I will say, this does cheapen the manga a bit. Taichi pulls something out of his ass nearly every chapter. Zero will maybe take one hit, sometimes a couple, then Taichi will have a eureka moment and instantly defeat the enemy. While he does train, the fact remains that the training seems inconsequential when these moments arise. Teaching Zero to swim was vital, yes, but the way he beat Marine (Marinedevimon) had really nothing to do with swimming. Triceramon was beaten in the first try without training.

The plot is similar to the anime in that he has to beat several Perfect level Digimon in order to get to the big bad, like the dark masters, and that the big bad is a virus Digimon who wants to destroy the Digital World.

Taichi and Zero make a great team. They have a wonderful dynamic and friendship that seems real from the very start. I would like to see their origins sometime to get a better idea of the foundation of their strong bond.

The enemies, besides maybe Etemonkey, don’t really have personalities besides ‘Urgh, I’m evil.’ It’s a very black and white, good versus evil, light versus dark story so far with not really much in regards to tension. That’s not to say it’s at all bad. It’s a very entertaining manga so far. You can just sit back and have some fun with the story and characters. I don’t want to say it’s watered down in comparison to the anime, but it kinda is so far. We’re one volume in and he’s already got two tags. He’s zooming through these challenges like nobody’s business.

Hopefully we get a bit more tension in the second volume, but I’m alright with keeping a lighter tone if need be. Still, maybe slow the pace down a bit.

Rating: 7.5/10

Recommended Audience: A Digimon dies, but not really since Digimon don’t really die….unless you’re evil, in which case, screw you. Other than that, nothing. E for everyone.

Final notes: Why was Anime!Taichi screwed out of his awesome yellow cape? First the Digivice now this? You did me wrong, anime. You did me wrong.

Three-Year Blogiversary!

WordPress just pressed the word that today is my Blogiversary!

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The Anime Madhouse is now three years old. Seems like just yesterday I was changing its diapers, burping it and making formatting errors that make me cry. I think I’ve done much better this year in regards to uploading more and more (even though I completely spaced on doing my Valentines Day special. Whoops) and we even got a much needed facelift for the place last month. (Yes, at three years old you need a facelift, blog. Wait until you’re five, we’ll get you a boob job.) Thanks to everyone who has been reading and commenting on my posts. You’re all love incarnate. ❤

Well, okay, you’re not Cupids because I am not going back to the diaper phase.

Here’s to three years and onto year four!

 

Cartoon Step-By-Step: Xiaolin Showdown Episode 1

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Plot: Many years ago, the forces of good and evil battled against each other over the shen gong wu, numerous powerful artifacts with the collective ability to conquer the world in the wrong hands. Dashi, a noble warrior with the power of the shen gong wu fought fiercely against the Heylin witch Wuya and came out triumphantly, sealing her in a box. In and effort to prevent the power of the shen gong wu from ending up in the hands of evil, Dashi hid them and scattered them across the globe.

Centuries later, a monk named Omi, the dragon of water, learns that three new students will be joining him under the guide of Master Fung; Raymundo from Brazil, Kimiko from Japan and Clay from America. While they’re very rough around the edges, particularly to Omi, they have to quickly get their act together when Wu Ya is revived and sent to partner up with the self-proclaimed evil genius bent on world domination, Jack Spicer. Since Wuya has no corporeal body of her her own, she decides to use to him to gather the shen gong wu and get a real body as well as allow him to conquer the world.

Omi, Raymundo, Kimiko and Clay set out after the shen gong wu with the sensing capabilities of Dashi’s old friend, a small transformable dragon named Dojo. They continue to clash with their personality and culture differences, causing them to lose the Mantis Flip Coin, a magical coin allowing you to easily flip and leap, but they manage to get the Two-Ton-Tunic, Dashi’s old armor that is seemingly impenetrable but weighs a lot.

When they get to a third shen gong wu, the Eye of Dashi, Spicer and Omi get to it at the same time, causing them to fight over it and triggering a Xiaolin Showdown; a contest between two beings set in an alternate dimension where the winner gains the right to own the shen gong wu. Unfortunately, it’s a race across several extremely tall pillars, giving Jack a major advantage with his Mantis Flip Coin and leaving Omi in the dust with his Two-Ton Tunic. Utilizing some lessons he’s learned from his new friends throughout their journey, Omi overcomes the Jack Bots that Spicer sends to attack him and manages to come out victorious. Later, at the temple, Master Fun reveals that he new students were meant to teach him as much as he was meant to teach them as they are actually dragons themselves; Raymundo, the dragon of the wind, Kimiko, the dragon of fire and Clay the dragon of earth.

Breakdown: Xiaolin Showdown is a show that I watched as a kid, but I didn’t keep up with it very closely. It kept my attention and I enjoyed it perfectly fine, but I never got around to sitting down and watching every episode.

First episode wise, this is a very good way to kick off the series, even if there are some very convenient aspects such as all of the dragons being assembled right before Wuya gets released from her box and somehow being able to utilize every minor thing Omi has learned from Raymundo, Kimiko and Clay. Like the ‘using your weight to your advantage’ thing works perfectly here, but the Jack Bots actually had huge on-off switches and Jack was so slow that he not only let Omi catch up to him, but he also let him pull down his pants?

We learn a fair amount about each character. Omi is a very serious, almost too serious, Xiaolin monk who treasures perfection and hard work, but also has a huge ego on him and is a bit headstrong. I do have to wonder if his character design could be construed as a bit racist though. I mean, I’m not sure why Omi was designed like that, but he’s a Chinese kid with bright yellow skin………..

He’s also voiced by Tara Strong.

Raymundo’s lazy and a bit of an ass, but I assume that will get better later. He’s voiced by Tom Kenny. Give the guy credit for range – I never would’ve guessed that.

Kimiko’s a bit too into technology with none of it being useful at all (even that Pac-man-like game. Who plays a game by poking one button over and over? And is it really playing a game if the little guy keeps eating even if you’re not touching anything, he doesn’t move, the food doesn’t move and there seems to be nothing to avoid?) but she’s kinda sweet in how protective she is of Omi. She’s voiced by Grey DeLisle who doesn’t seem to be sporting a voice that is very similar to any of the voices I know her as such as Sam from Danny Phantom and Vicky and Tootie from Fairly Odd Parents. She seems to have pretty good range.

Clay’s pretty cool and he seems to do the most outside of Omi. Plus, like I mentioned, his was the best advice. He was voiced by Jeff Bennet.

Master Fung also has a nice balance of traditional Xiaolin master and contrasting humor.

Jack Spicer still stands out to me as both a really good and a fairly stupid villain. All of the pieces are there, but he needs the opportunity to prove himself to me a bit more. Though, who cares? He’s voiced by Danny Cooksey and that’s all that matters.

The only one I didn’t much care for was Dojo. He’s a comic relief talking animal sidekick and that’s all you really need to know. He’s like a less-funny and less-energetic Mushu from Mulan….and I don’t even like Mushu. At least Dojo can turn into a huge dragon, though. Also, he’s voiced by Wayne Knight. Make of that what you will.

The story is, admittedly, on the ‘been there, done that’ spectrum with the forces of good and evil battling for items that hold great power, but the fact that all of these items have their own unique powers and not just some generic ‘power’ is a breath of fresh air. The main characters also having the power of the elements isn’t that clever either, but I will say that it’s nice that the main-main characters (Omi and later Raymundo) don’t have the power of fire. It’s also nice that the lone girl in the group wasn’t given the power of love or flowers or some crap.

The art is pretty stylized and nice, with only some things looking a bit ugly. The animation’s not fantastic, but it’s reasonably fluid and works to bring the characters and action to life.

The music’s also very fitting and nice to listen to.

This episode had quite a bit to plow through, and I think it did a pretty good job. It’s a bit fast-paced, but nothing overwhelming.

Rating: 8/10

Next episode, Clay gets some spotlight when he’s mocked for his slow and steady method of combat. He’s left on his own to get a shen gong wu when his friends get trapped by Jack Spicer.

3×3 Eyes: Seima Densetsu Review

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Rating: 4.5/10

Plot: Four years after the ending of 3×3 Eyes, Pai is still missing and Yakumo continues to search high and low for her. He eventually finds her living as the high school girl Pai, or Pa-bo, Ayanokoji, and she has no memories of who she really—Oh come on. Amnesia? For the love of crap. Anyway, she doesn’t remember who or what she really is, who Yakumo is or anything else about her life before four years ago. Yakumo and she decide to go off and find a way to unlock her memories, but Benares is still around waiting to resurrect Kaiyanwang.

Breakdown: Pbbbbbbbbbbbbttttttttttdisapointmentbbbbbbbtttt.

Damn shame too. I was actually looking forward to some resolution but nope. Just a ton of confusion, the always cliché since the beginning of time plot point of lost memories and an ending that, while being unexpected at least, was just plain stupid and still resolved nothing.

I will give this series some credit. The pacing is at least better than it was in the original series. It plays things out at a fairly decent pace now with three episodes coming in at 45 to 50 minutes long each instead of four episodes with a half hour each, but that is just weighed against the story issues, continuity problems and even the fact that the show is basically ignoring most of the first series.

The show’s main issue of amnesia really does just make you roll your eyes and facepalm, and it negatively impacts this show hard. Even when it’s done well, amnesia stories are just so overplayed in every medium. Oh and let’s not forget the little thing about Pai already having some modicum of amnesia in the last series as she wasn’t able to remember anything before she started journeying to become human. So now she has compounded amnesia. That coupled with the fact that she already has dual identities makes her a head case for the textbooks.

To make matters worse, the amnesiac Pai, or Pa-bo, is extremely annoying. Whereas Pai was very innocent, cute and even funny, Pa-bo just cries and calls out the names of various people when they get hurt. She’s very much your typical whiny female lead, mostly useless, and that’s just painful. I missed the crap out of Pai during this whole show and she never returned once.

Yakumo used these past four years to get much more badass, and I welcome that change because it was something I really wanted out of the first series. However, since Yakumo went up in badassness and Pai got a major downgrade, he’s now pretty much the typical knight in shining armor who just fights and tells Pai to run away.

We have some new characters to play with this time around.

Jake MacDonald is your stereotypical loud, incredibly rude and violent American character who only cares about money, money and more money. He wishes to enter the Holy Land of the Sanjiyan in order to gain everlasting youth because somehow this will make him a millionaire and not a government experiment.

Neparva is a Tibetan monk who has been helping Yakumo for some amount of time.

Tin Zin is a funny old master monk.

Ran Pao Pao is a feral demon child who has the ability to turn into a giant four-armed crazed demon. While she was initially controlled by some random bad guy named Choukai (who also has the most annoying laugh ever), she befriended Pai because she was kind to her and now acts as her servant.

And no, no old characters besides Pai, Benares and Yakumo appear in this series. No Ling Ling. No Mei Shin. In fact, no mention of them whatsoever is in this series, which is incredibly weird considering they still have the statue of humanity that is needed to turn Pai into a human.

We do learn more about the Sanjiyan (though calling them ‘holy demons’ kinda threw me. In addition to being an oxymoron, they were just called flat out demons in the original) and we learn a little bit more of Pai’s past, such as the fact that her real name is Parvati the Fourth and she was actually engaged to Kaiyanwang before he became all evil. Why he became evil or how child Pai sealed him away when he slaughtered all of the Sanjiyan without issue is never explained, but something’s better than nothing.

The ending was just…..so weird. Follow me here. Amnesiac Pai wasn’t even Pai at all. In order to seal her memories (instead of just killing her because Benares wanted to use her power to strengthen Kaiyanwang when he awakened) Benares used a demon snake and turned it into three diamond symbols. During their battle at the end of the previous series, he used his attack to strike her head with the symbols. The snake, or Hawasho, didn’t just seal Pai and Sanjiyan’s memories, the snake became the new Pai that they’ve been conversing with this whole time….

I was side-swiped by this. Not many mysteries end with ‘And she was a snake the whole time!’

Hawasho has two choices at the end, either obey Benares’ orders and forget about all of this yet again to live out her life with her friends like she wanted or she could recite a spell that would release the snake from Pai’s body, unleashing the real Pai and Sanjiyan and simultaneously destroy both him and the altar of Kaiyanwang.

She decides to do this after kissing Yakumo, which considering we now know she was a snake this whole time is kinda icky. I don’t even know why Benares gave her that choice. Dumbass.

After this, Benares is gone, Kaiyanwang can no longer be resurrected I think and Sanjiyan has returned. Pai’s personality is sleeping for some reason so Sanjiyan is running the body now, and she decides to stay in her holy land to recharge until Pai comes back out. Sanjiyan is also being oddly kindhearted for some reason. She’s come out twice in this series and both times she was pretty OOC. I mean, the first time was understandable because she didn’t remember who or what she was so she was acting like a crazed psycho out of frustration and confusion, but kindness out of her when she remember who she is is just weird.

She tells Yakumo to wait in Tokyo until the day Pai finally awakens, but that’s not all. Sanjiyan has somehow granted Hawasho with the life of Pai Ayanokoji now sporting brown hair instead of black, which is even stranger because Sanjiyan still has black hair when she’s supposed to have brown….And Pai’s eyes are consistently covered up for some reason. She also has no memories, again, of her adventures with Yakumo.

This part was also quite odd to me…..Yes, even outside of the obvious. It’s not like we knew Hawasho before this happened. It’s a non-character that was introduced 20 minutes into the final episode. Sure, we know Hawasho as Pa-bo, but that was the demon snake’s personality while trying to fulfill Benare’s wishes. Hawasho was technically the one with amnesia. We’re basically supposed to be happy that a random snake demon got her happily ever after.

While this ending did end the big issue with Benares and Kaiyanwang, in a really really really unsatisfying way especially considering that Kaiyanwang never got revived, it barely even addressed the main theme of the entire show which is to make Pai human. They didn’t even unlock the secrets of the Statue of Humanity in the previous series. Who knows if they ever did it because it was last in the hands of Ling Ling and Mei Shin, neither of which are even mentioned in this series.

I guess we’re just supposed to assume that down the line Pai becomes human and Yakumo gets his humanity back as well and they live a happy human life ever after, but why waste all of this series on amnesia when you could’ve been addressing the main story all along?

Art and Animation: I actually think both are a step down from the original. It doesn’t look as detailed, Pai’s fang is suspiciously missing, and the animation seems kinda clunky at times. The colors also seem a bit off, as Pai’s eyes look almost pink sometimes and like I mentioned her hair is black for some reason throughout most of the series instead of her regular brown.

Music: I still really liked the music, even if it didn’t seem as memorable as the original.

Bottomline: It was just such a disappointment. Supposedly the manga fleshes out things much better so I’ll probably check that out, but I really wanted the anime to be great. Don’t get me wrong, there were still various cool parts, touching scenes and funny lines, but not nearly as endearing or awesome as the original series.

Recommended Audience: Yakumo’s still immortal so he continues to flex his gore muscles. Several other characters also get pretty badly wounded to the point where I have no clue how they survived. There are a couple of instances of bare female chest, one from a mannequin demon and a few more from demonized Ran Pao Pao, which considering she spends half of her time as a small child can actually be kinda squicky. She’s also naked as a child several times. Some mild swearing, no sex. 14+

Dissecting the Disquels: The Fox and the Hound 2 Review

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Rating: 2.5/10

Plot: After Tod and Copper meet, but before they grow up, they go to a festival where Copper joins a band….That’s about it.

Breakdown: You know, if there was one Disney sequel I was really dreading, it was this one. This is a midquel. Yes, not sequel; midquel. Disney, please, learn the difference. This takes place somewhere between when Copper befriended Tod and when Copper went off on his hunting trip.

Now, for those who never saw The Fox and the Hound, let me give you the low down.

Start of recap; Skip for Midquel review

An older woman finds a fox cub near her house. The fox’s mother was apparently killed, so she adopts him as her own. She names him Tod because he acts just like a toddler. In a neighboring house lives a grumpy old man and his old hunting dog, Chief. He recently got a new puppy to train as a hunting dog called Copper.

Copper and Tod soon meet and become friends, but due to the anger between their two owners and the fact that Tod is a fox and Copper’s a hunting dog living with a veteran hunting dog and a hunter, they find their friendship complicated. It’s made even worse by the fact that the hunter, Amos, is more than willing to kill Tod if he ever causes him trouble.

Copper and Tod try to remain friends, but find it incredibly difficult. Eventually, Copper is taken on a hunting trip to be properly trained to be a hunting dog and he won’t come back until the next spring.

Both Copper and Tod grow up in the meantime and Copper eventually comes home. Tod wishes to continue their friendship, but Copper is very hesitant because he knows what the Chief and Amos would do to Tod if they ever caught him on his property.

Tod eventually does cause trouble at Amos’ house, which causes Amos, the Chief and a reluctant Copper to chase after him into the woods. This leads to the Chief getting injured. Copper blames Tod for Chief’s injury and basically cuts off the friendship with a hint at wanting revenge.

The woman, Widow Tweed, eventually concedes to the fact that having a fox as a pet, especially with a hunter and hunting dogs living next door, isn’t a good idea. So she takes Tod out into the woods and leaves him there to become a wild fox again, which would actually be a pretty bad idea, wouldn’t it? He may have instincts, but he’s been raised his entire life to be a domestic pet. He doesn’t know a damn thing about living in the woods.

Anyway, as fate would have it, he’s set up with a girl fox named Vixxy by an owl named Big Mama who has been watching over him since he was left at the house. Big Mama, by the way, is no where in the midquel. That’s both saddening and a bit of a relief. Despite some initial negative feelings, a quick yet great song and some nudging by Big Mama makes them quickly fall in love.

They live in peace together until Copper and Tod meet again as Copper’s on a hunting trip. Copper and Amos chase Vixxy and Tod and try numerous ways to finally take them down. The chase eventually leads to Tod getting thrown into the river and getting hurt. As Amos is about to take the kill shot, Copper steps up and stands in his way to protect his friend. Amos concedes and takes Copper home and Copper and Tod both realize that they can never be together as friends in the world that they live in, but their friendship still stands.

End of recap, for those who wish to skip.

It’s a rather depressing-ish story for a Disney movie, to be honest. I mean, such great friends can’t be friends based solely on the basis of their species no matter how hard that they try. And this was Disney in the thick of the Disney Princess/Fairy Tale period.

For The Fox and the Hound 2, I guess they wanted to lighten the mood because it’s mostly all zany antics and Copper joining a band of singing dogs…..Yeaaaaahhhhhh….

The movie starts out with zany antics that go on for a full ten minutes in a 70 minute long movie. Copper and Tod, both back to puppy and kit form, are out playing and chasing a cricket. Copper messes up and falls on a fence and the cricket gets away. He mopes and says he’s useless.

Then they see a bunch of cars carrying stuff for a local fair. Distracted by a car containing singing dogs, Copper falls into the road, almost gets run over and mopes about how he’s useless. Can someone please get this puppy some medication or something?

Amos calls Copper over for a hunting lesson, which makes Copper happy because he thinks this will be the one thing that he’s good at.

Did someone say zany antics? 😀

Amos tries to teach Copper how to hunt down a rabbit for a hunting dog competition at the fair. He does this by tying a sack of sand or something in the shape of something not resembling a rabbit to the Chief’s tail and making him run. Copper tries to follow the scent but gets turned around and finds Tod instead. Frustrated at getting turned around, Copper loses his grain of self-esteem again. Tod tries to explain what to do by telling him to

toucan

and howl when he finds the target. Copper tries to practice howling, which leads Amos and the Chief to find Tod.

Tod runs away; zany antics in Widow Tweed’s barn as she’s trying to milk the cow. Something weird happens during it though. The Chief actually sits right next to Tod as they watch Amos flail around. Why isn’t the Chief chasing Tod? He’s not friends with Tod at all.

Because of one failed training session, Copper loses his fair privileges and gets tied to his barrel/dog house even though I don’t know why he can’t just go to the fair. Why does he need to be in the competition to go to the fair?

Copper thinks he’s a failure again and Tod tries to cheer him up be freeing him and taking him to the fair.

This is going to become a running gag; Whenever Copper and Tod agree upon something, they say “shake on it” and shake like ya know, canines do. Whenever Tod does this, his fur gets all puffy for a second.

At the fair, Copper hears the singing dogs again and goes over to a nearby building to listen. A female dog who seems to be the frontrunner of the group, Dixie, voiced by Reba McEntire, trips on a loose board while rehearsing causing her to get into a fight with her singing partner/boyfriendIdunno and she walks off before the big show, leaving him and the other two singers to find a replacement before show time. The boyfriend….dog thing, Cash, voiced by PATRICK SWAYZE? Aw, this means this was one of his last roles before he died! No one deserves that… Well, to his credit, he seems to do a very good job. Anyway, he decides that an old dog named Granny Rose will replace Dixie.

Wait, why doesn’t the human that plays banjo for them as they sing and I suppose owns them think anything of this? He doesn’t notice that one of his show dogs is missing?

Anyway, the show goes on and if you like the song where dogs bark Jingle Bells, you’ll love this segment because they’ve really just been howling their songs this whole time.

But I guess that’s not how it’s perceived in Copper’s ears, despite it being that way the last two times he’s heard them, because the song is quickly ‘translated’ for us in Copper’s head.

The song’s….ehhh not god-awful, but not good. Granny Rose sounds awful, though, to the point where the other dogs actually stop singing and their human stops playing because she sounds so terrible. Because of this, they hear Copper singing/howling along. He also sounds awful both howling and ‘translated’, but I guess he sounds less awful than Granny because Cash quickly nabs him up and prompts him to sing with them.

After the song ends, the crowd goes nuts. Cash actually whispers to Granny that the song was ‘hokey’, but the crowd loves him because he’s cute. Wow, nice bit of bitter reality there, Disney. Kinda reflects on the whole ‘Disney pop star’ craze, huh?

The dogs all praise him for his singing, which doesn’t really mesh with the previous scene, but I’m guessing they’re all buttering him up, including Tod. Ya know, I know these aren’t trained hunting dogs like Chief, but I’m surprised they were just nonchalantly walking with a fox without even thinking twice about it…..Also, why is Widow Tweed not wondering where Tod is? You’d think, everything considered, that she’d make a better effort to keep a good eye on him.

They leave as they say that he has a real future in show business once he grows up a couple of years. Tod and Copper cheer as Copper has finally found something that he’s good at.

Cash and the others meet back up with Dixie who is not happy that she was replaced by a puppy and gets even angrier when Cash decides to mock her by essentially saying Copper was so great that he could replace her fully. Dixie explodes with anger and quits the group, which makes the others freak out, bringing us another running gag which is the other dogs in the group panicking, Cash yelling SIT and them immediately doing it and shutting up. Haha. This is especially nerve wracking because a cliché plot point otherwise known as the talent scout from the Grand Ole Opry is coming in to watch them perform today.

You know, it’s at this point where I realize that this movie could literally be made with any generic dog and other animal team and it would be the same movie. There’s no friggin’ reason why this has to be a Fox and the Hound movie other than cashing in on the original.

Say what you will about the other Disney sequels, god knows I have, but at least you could tell that they were part of the original movie’s universe. Even Hunchback 2 is easily identifiable as such. This is just bland and generic and nowhere near the atmosphere or feeling of the original.

That’s another thing. To the best of my knowledge, the original Fox and the Hound wasn’t really a successful movie critic-wise. It was mostly received as average, but decent. And it’s not really one of the more well-known old Disney movies for the most part. Why try to cash in on that? For the people who actually do hold it near and dear to their hearts just to rip them open with Disney brand box cutters?

Cash tries to make up with Dixie, but fails, so he goes to recruit Copper.

Copper and Tod….are not only allowed to ride the Merry-Go-Round, but they’re the only ones on it. Not only is it improbable that a ride at a pretty popular town fair is completely empty in the middle of the day, but rides are usually turned off when no human is riding them. I mean, the operators could’ve put Copper and Tod on the ride and turned it on, but that seems kinda mean, actually.

Cash asks Copper if he’ll be willing to join the group full-time, but Copper says he’ll only do it if Tod’s allowed to join too since he’s his best friend. Cash asks Tod to sing and he proves that he’s insanely awful, so Cash says he can be the entourage, which he basically explains as being an equipment manager/lackey for Copper and the others while they sing. Tod doesn’t really want to, but since Copper really wants to join the band, he agrees.

So, let me guess, Tod gets treated like crap due to his position in the band, Copper gets so caught up in the life of a ‘star’ that he doesn’t care, Tod gets mad and leaves, something happens where Copper realizes that the band isn’t worth losing his friendship with Tod and they make up. Dixie realizes that she was being a diva, Cash realizes he was being an ass and she and Cash make up. The talent scout loves them and signs them on for the Grand Ole Opry (I don’t see how this part won’t happen since they establish that the Grand Ole Opry is the groups’ dream and the talent scout actually seems like a very nice man.) The end.

Taking all bets that this is how it goes, because I’ve seen this in so many sitcoms…

In fact, screw it, I’m gonna read the Wiki synopsis and see if that’s what happens.

some minutes later

Yup, barring some minor details, that’s basically what happens. Oh and they make it even more cliché by making Cash and Dixie make up by making them both believe that the other is in trouble so they forget their petty squabbling and make up. How utterly bland.

Oh well, I won’t bother writing note for note what happens the rest of the way, but let’s grab some notes for nitpicking purposes.

– Why exactly is it so vital that Copper be a stray to be in the band? I mean, I know the band is called The Singing Strays, but they all technically have an owner with whoever that banjo player is. They all have collars, except Cash who seems to sport a bandana and Granny with her shawl. It’s not like in The Lady and the Tramp 2 where the dogs hate humans for mistreating them as pets in one way or another and ARE all strays who live in a junkyard. These dogs love humans because they pamper them and cheer them on. Why is it such a sin to not be a stray?

– Why is their human not wondering where Copper came from or why there’s a fox running around? Why is no human in this movie wondering why there’s a fox walking around? I mean, he’s feeding both of them like they’ve just always been there.

– So the two main couplings of this movie are Tweed and Amos, who are at each other’s throats 99% of the time and Cash and Dixie who are at each other’s throats 99% of the time. I know these movies aren’t really romance movies, but why should we cheer for either of these pairings (even if the former doesn’t ….realllllllyyyyy happen.) when they’re so unlikable when they share screentime? And considering Amos is an asshole and Dixie’s a bitchy diva, it makes it even worse.

– The next song is sung by Cash with the others as backup called Hound…I’m guessing Dude. This song….just sounds wrong. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the song as a whole, but the singing just sounds bad, which means sorry Mr. Swayze…I mean, the regular verses are just fine, in fact they’re pretty good, but the chorus is just a pain to listen to for some reason. Also, like 99% of all Disney sequel songs, this song has no point. It’s basically just telling Copper how exciting it will be to be famous.

– Wow, it took nothing at all to get Copper to ditch Tod. He basically says “Oh Cash, I need to watch the fireworks with Tod” “Aw forget that, let’s go watch them together!” “OKAY! :D” Geez, way to be loyal to your friend you hound douche. Also, to make matters worse, Tod is watching them as he says this. Ouch.

– Copper tells Tod that he forgot about the fireworks because he was so busy with Cash. WOW. A lying hound douche, too! Impressive.

– Our next song is by Dixie and it’s basically a blues-ish country song to Tod about how being in show business actually kinda sucks. It starts out pretty good actually, but as the song gets bigger and bigger and then the farm animals sing and…..*cough* This song has a couple of lines that can be taken the wrong way. Like “He never howls your name” and the chorus which states “Good doggy, no bone” Am I being sick or does that just sound wrong?

– I’m 100% sure there’s no way to accidentally trigger it so that a Ferris wheel goes so fast that it falls from the supports. Also, if that happened, that would be friggin’ tragic, like the first mission from Hitman: Blood Money, not comedic.

– I’m also 100% sure that any elephant would be too heavy to ride on a tilt-a-whirl. If it wouldn’t break into pieces, it’d surely stop spinning or have insane difficulty spinning.

– I’m also 100% sure that you’re thinking there’s no way this insane BS is in a Fox and the Hound movie; well it is.

– I’m….fairly certain that if a Ferris wheel ever did, for some reason, come free from it supports, it’s highly unlikely that it would easily roll around the fairgrounds. The cars would likely cause it to topple quickly. Also, Dixie would be dead ten times over if she was riding in one of those cars while it was doing that.

– So the antics of a kit and a dog destroyed the entire fair? Wow. Just wow.

– The next song is actually pretty good and surprisingly no one is ‘singing’ it, it’s just a background vocal song. It’s called “Into the Blue Beyond.” Hm, it’s actually so good it almost doesn’t belong in this movie. However, I do have to say that song is sorta ruined-ish because the scene behind it is so cliché. After all of the hullabaloo, the fair being destroyed and the group’s chances of getting picked up for the Grand Ole Opry dashed, Dixie feels regret for what she has done as does Tod. And cliche number….

  1. It starts raining.
  2. It gets dark.
  3. Dixie sees the group getting sadly petted by their human as they bask in failure.
  4. The sign for their group ends up falling in the mud.
  5. Widow Tweed looks at Tod as he curls up in a ball in the car knowing he’s sad about something.
  6. Tod sees Copper sitting out in the rain (odd, he could be in his barrel house thing staying dry, but this is emo-er.) Copper sees him, gets an angry expression and makes a point to turn his back towards him and sit down.

About the only thing not cliché about that scene was Widow Tweed accidentally running the talent agent off the road, his hat falling on Tod’s head and then continuing to drive away. Hit and run much?

– I don’t really understand how the talent agent is interpreting the final song. If I try really hard to imagine all the lyrics as barks and the howls as harmonizing….it’d sound pretty bad. The only reason I could see him dancing to it is if he could actually hear the lyrics….

Barking Jingle Bells. Dance to that. Dare you. Also, where the hell did the banjo music come from? Their human was left back at the fair.

– I know I already said the ending of the whole Cash/Dixie plotline was gonna be cliché, but it’s as cliché as humanly friggin’ possible. I was mind-blown by it.

– Wait, did Cash propose to Dixie? What? Oh sure, Disney, let’s get right on that dog marriage right after that bear marri–

bb2wedding

…..Lion mar–

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….mermaid mar–

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…..You win this round, Disney….

– What? Are you telling me that they’re honestly putting a bunch of howling dogs on the RADIO!? Okay, the Grand Ole Opry I could somewhat, tiny itty bit believe because it probably would hook in an audience of some kind, but the radio!? You’re seriously going to put howling and barking dogs on the radio? Yeah, that would happen in real lif—The Jingle Bells barking song plays on the radio sometimes in winter doesn’t it? You win this round also I guess, Disney.

– Why are Amos and Widow Tweed eating pie together happily at the end of this movie? Widow Tweed tolerates Amos at most and took pity on him when he was injured in the first movie. They’re not friends. Did these people even watch the first movie?

– Jeff Foxworthy was apparently in this movie I’m guessing as the banjo player? Wow, talk about reaching for a big name just for the sake of having a big name. His part is so minor and you can’t even tell that’s him. I never even knew his name was Lyle.

– Guess what we end on? Go on, guess. Give up? TEN MINUTES OF CREDITS…..IN A 70 MINUTE LONG MOVIE. What….the hell…..Oh and three of those minutes are a recreation of the slapstick shenanigans from the beginning of the movie where we wasted another 10 minutes on pointless shenanigans. Haha happy days! You’d almost forget that in the end these two are torn apart by the laws of nature and the norms of society.

===========================

Dear God, this movie is a slap to the face in light of the original. It really is. It could’ve been worse, I mean hey at least most of the songs were fairly decent, but it is a midquel that 1) didn’t need to exist at all because the original movie portrayed the message that this movie was trying to give just fine, just like Tarzan 2, 2) Seems to have no idea why the first was good because they try to match really nothing from it and 3) is a cliché on top of a cliché wrapped in a cliché and gently toasted with a side of cliché.

When you can read the plot of a movie and give a detailed explanation as to what will happen in it without ever seeing a frame of the actual movie and be almost 100% right, you are doing it wrong. And I must reiterate that this movie could’ve been done without the original characters and nothing would’ve changed. Replace Tod with a cat, Copper with just a regular dog and boom, same movie.

It’s like…..you know Super Mario Bros. 2? How it was a completely different game at first, but had Mario sprites coded onto it to make a Mario game? That’s this movie. This movie is Super Mario bros. 2 except not fun.

The only fairly memorable part of this movie was the little girl who I guess had the job of chaperoning the talent scout around the fair. She kept getting him into all sorts of dangerous and stressful situations as a result of attractions in the fair and she just kept on like nothing was happening with a big smile on her face and a spring in her step. In the end, the talent scout is actually afraid of this girl. Why wasn’t this movie about her? Her small bits were the most original and entertaining of them all by a long shot.

Art and animation wise, the movie fares okay. I mean, the art is better than Hunchback 2 or the Aladdin sequels, but not really on par with Pocahontas 2 or Brother Bear 2.

Music wise, this movie fares better than most of the others I’ve seen. Reba McEntire does a good job singing when she’s not overdoing it, but some would probably be put off by the fact that most of the songs are country and banjo songs. I know I got annoyed by it after a while and my dad listens to practically nothing but country music. Patrick Swayze is the same, he’s fine when he’s doing verses, but when he gets to big choruses it just sounds wrong.

Story wise, no….I’ve already given my take on how lame, stupid, predictable and almost insultingly bad this story is. If I say it again, that’s going to become a cliché.

The voice acting was actually pretty good. They got the voices of all of the original characters pretty well and the new characters are also fairly well done.

Bottomline: Don’t watch this movie. Don’t give Disney that pleasure. Watch the clock as the time changes. I guarantee you it will be less predictable. Score-wise, I’m giving the good fellows in the music department, Reba and Mr. Swayze a point for making this movie slightly more bearable. Even if the other songs were meh, the Into the Blue Beyond song was at least worth the extra point. The scenes with the little girl get the .5 points.)

Recommended Audience: I’m probably reading too much into those lyrics I mentioned before, but there’s that. Other than that, nothing. E for everyone.

Sailor Moon Episode 6 (Placeholder)

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Plot: The theme this week is music, and Jadeite is planning to suck the energy out of the people of the world with a special noise through the use of a popular pianist’s music. However, when Jadeite’s minion needs a special tape that the pianist has made for his one true love in order to achieve this, Usagi must retrieve the tape and beat the demon to ensure that love is protected.

——————————–

Another episode dashed by DiC to get to the other Sailor Scouts faster. Unlike the previous episode, I can honestly find no other reason for cutting this one. Don’t worry, though, we won’t have any more cut episodes until episode 40 I think. 😀

Not like it matters much anyway because god it was boring. The characters of the week, if you can call them that, were boring. Jadeite didn’t show up to fight Sailor Moon. Tuxedo Mask/Mamoru didn’t show up at all and the plotline was cliché and boring. At least I’ll have something to do next episode.

Next episode, Usagi’s town has star fever, and Jadeite’s pulling the strings to suck up the energy of those who want their five minutes of fame.

Pokemon Episode 20 Analysis – The Ghost of Maiden’s Peak

pokemon-episode-20-screen-title

CotD(s): Technically no one, though one could say that Gastly and the Ghost are Characters of the Day. Yeah, let’s just give them quick run through for thoroughness.

Gastly: A Ghost Pokemon, this particular Gastly is a unique one in that it can talk without telepathy and transform into anything it wishes. This Gastly also makes a habit out of coming to the Summer Festival for the sake of keeping the Ghost of Maiden’s Peak’s story alive by pretending to be her and whisking men away. For some reason, this Gastly is also deathly afraid of sunlight.

The Ghost of Maiden’s Peak: Name unknown, she is a spirit of a maiden whose lover was supposedly lost in a war. She waited for him day after day on the cliffside waiting to see her lover’s ship come in, but it never did and she died there, leaving her spirit and the strange rock formation bearing her image behind. Her story follows several other well-known similar tales across the globe.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive at Maiden’s Peak after their adventures in Porta Vista. While Misty and Ash are excited to arrive at a new location, Brock is sullen that he wasted a whole summer not enjoying the ‘finer sights’ of the season, such as girls in bathing suits, and didn’t find love.

They arrive on shore to find that there’s a Summer’s End Festival going on, but Brock continues to mope until he spots a beautiful woman on a dock. While he’s instantly head over heels for her, she mysteriously turns into a Gastly and vanishes before Brock can go see her.

Team Rocket schemes to take the money that is dropped on the ground throughout the festival and James catches a glimpse of the same beautiful woman Brock saw, but she also vanishes while James is looking away.

As the group enjoys the festivities, Brock continues to mope but now he’s saddened by being unable to meet the woman from before. He bumps into an old woman who warns him of a beautiful young woman who will lead him to a cruel fate.

As Team Rocket tries in vain to get some coins, James also meets the old woman who gives him the same warning. Later, a painting that is usually kept within the Maiden’s Shrine is unveiled to the public and James and Brock are shocked to see that it depicts the woman they both saw earlier. The old priest presenting the painting explains that it’s impossible that they saw that woman since she died 2000 years ago. Legend states that the Maiden’s lover went off to fight in a war and she pledged to wait at that cliff overlooking the waters until he returned to her. Sadly, he never came back (and imagery would imply he died), but she continued to wait and wait until her body turned to stone, leaving behind the statue-esque rock formation. Even today, the Maiden continues to wait until she reunites with her love.

James and Brock visit Maiden’s rock and instantly start gushing over her again. In the midst of James’ ramblings, Jessie and Meowth scheme to steal the painting and sell it.

Later that night, Ash and Misty prod Brock to leave Maiden’s Rock, but he tells them to go on ahead to the Pokemon Center, intent on watching the rock formation at least until curfew. However, when curfew rolls around, Brock is nowhere to be seen.

Meanwhile, as Team Rocket is about to awaken to steal the painting, the ghost emerges and puts everyone but James to sleep, luring him away from Jessie and Meowth. As Brock continues his rock-watching marathon, the ghost appears before him as well and takes him away.

The next morning, Team Rocket and Ash and Misty find that James and Brock are missing. They all bump into one another, prompting Jessie to the Team Rocket motto, albeit by herself since James is gone. In the middle of the motto, James pipes up to do his part, leading the group to discover him and Brock acting all giddy and weird in the shrine. With a swift jolt from Pikachu, the two come to their senses.

The old woman from before explains what happened to the guys full out. During the festival, the ghost of the maiden whisks away all of the men in the area and the next morning they’re found in the shrine with the life sucked out of them acting like zombies while babbling like idiots.

The group pays for some ‘anti-ghost stickers’ to help James and Brock, but as the night draws on, they find that the ghost is unaffected. She tries floating James and Brock away, but Brock is grabbed by Ash and Misty and James is broken from his telekinetic hold by Jessie who blasts the ghost through the stomach.

The Maiden fights back with some ghouls and Ash tries to identify them as Pokemon with his Pokedex to no avail. However, Dexter does detect a Pokemon nearby and Ash discovers that the Maiden herself is actually the Ghost Pokemon Ghastly in disguise.

The group prepare for battle, but Gastly’s transformation and hypnotic abilities prove to be formidable. Against Pikachu, it turns into a giant mouse trap. Against Meowth, it turns into a giant ball. Against Ekans it turns into a mongoose. Against Koffing it merely protects itself with a gas mask. It combats Charmander with a fire extinguisher. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Ash calls out two Pokemon at a time with Squirtle and Bulbasaur, but Gastly also easily combats them by transforming into their evolved forms, and even decided to mess with them by fusing the illusionary Venusaur and Blastoise together into the fake Pokemon Venustoise.

Ash is just about ready to give up, but Misty throws her hat into the ring by defending them with a cross, garlic and a wooden stake. While Gastly groans at the vampiric defense, he cringes when the sun rises as that is one of his weaknesses. He vanishes before their eyes and the groups return to the festival. As the festival goers send out lanterns on the water to guide the way for lost spirits, we see Gastly also departing, bidding farewell to the real Maiden.

He claims that he visits places like this frequently to keep old legends and spirits alive, and the Maiden thanks him for his efforts. As Gastly leaves, he tells her that he’ll be on the lookout for her love to hopefully reunite them and allow them both to rest in peace.

That night, Ash and Misty enjoy the final dance of the festival while Brock longs for love once more.

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– I really believe this episode would’ve been quite a bit better if they hadn’t spoiled that the ghost was actually Gastly the whole time at the very first scene. Granted, some shots of the Maiden, even before the very end, are supposedly her, but the one causing all the mischief was Gastly. The Pokedex reveal later is actually pretty clever and a good reveal. Why ruin it?

– Yes, Porta Vista that place we won’t know of for a few years. 😡

– Ladies and gentlemen, yet another prime example of how far 4Kids fell. They left that shot and scene with Brock talking about and imagining ‘bathing suits, and girls to wear them’ completely alone. Bikinis are fine, guys, but for the love of God, Jessie, have some shame with that skirt! *digital paints longer skirt*

– So, spoiling the Gastly thing again? We’re three minutes in counting the theme song, guys. At least pretend it’s a twist.

– Jessie: “People spend a lot of money at these festivals, but they never pay attention so they drop their change all over the place!” I’ve been to a lot of fairs and festivals in my life and hoo boy let me tell you how much change I’ve dropped. They give me the change, but I’m just so into everything else around me that I spill it like I’m in an infomercial. Unable to pay attention to the fact that I’ve dropped my change because of the aforementioned distractions, my change remains on the ground, amongst the other millions of coins that have been scattered by the other guests. I start to hear my footsteps turn to chinging noises. But I pay it no mind. For everything is so awesome that I cannot look down. Change does not exist in my world. My world of festivities.

Joking aside, can we all show some serious empathy for Team Rocket who have now apparently become so poor that they have to resort to crawling in the dirt at a festival hoping for some pocket change?

– Jenny is seriously going to take in a penny as lost currency? The amount of tax dollars she wasted just approaching Team Rocket and taking the penny was 100000% more than that penny’s worth. And she was really going to file a report? I don’t even think Mr. Krabs would be such a tightwad that he’d go to the police looking for a lost penny. How would you even prove it’s yours?

– I don’t know why, but James is kinda adorable when he’s in love.

– They said ‘Perished’. I’m going to put that in the ‘directly mentioning death’ jar.

– Eric Stuart seems to be having a lot of fun playing James and Brock in this episode.

– Megan Hollingstead is doing a terrible job as the Maiden, though.

– Brock: “If she were my girlfriend, I’d make sure she’d never leave my sight.” Maybe there’s a reason you don’t have a girlfriend, Brock.

Also, congrats, James’ declarations of even fighting Team Rocket to keep the Maiden safe are way more romantic and less creepy than what you just said, Brock.

– Aw, Jessie tries to save James from falling.

– Brock stares at a rock shaped like a woman for hours on end……Brock….you’re starting to scare me. You could argue that it’s the effects of the spell, but we haven’t really seen any proof of any spell going on. Brock is just obsessed with girls and vulnerable, and James is just a healthy adult male. They saw a gorgeous mysterious woman and started fawning over her; it’s not that hard to believe. And if it truly is the effects of the spell, why doesn’t James feel compelled to stare at the rock for hours?

– Jeez, with that nagging, you’d think Nurse Joy was Ash’s mother.

– Why is Team Rocket sleeping in a tree?……How are they sleeping like that?

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– I don’t really mind the Who’s that Pokemon? Being Gastly, since it would moreso be a clue to what’s going on and not a downright spoiler.

– Side note: I’ve seen this episode in Japanese, and the part where Musashi/Jessie does the motto by herself until Kojirou/James chimes in is hilarious in the original. It’s also funny in the dub, but the way the Japanese VA’s say the lines are just golden.

– Ya know, considering how utterly giddy Brock and James are when they get out of the shine and the fact that their hands are up in ‘groping position’ if you’ll forgive the term, I kinda have to wonder what the hell Gastly was doing to them all night.

– So she whisks away ALL the men, huh? Because there were quite a few men at the festival that didn’t succumb to this.

– It is a weird parallel how Brock is still entranced by the ghost and in love with her, but James is scared to death and wants nothing to do with her now. Did they just not give Brock enough juice in that electric jolt or is Brock so blue balled that he’s giving into this while James’ fear of ghosts is overcoming his desire for the Maiden?

– It’s also weird how they’re keeping so much of the Japanese stuff, even some text, in this episode, but they resort to calling the o-fuda ‘stickers’. Talismans or sutras work just fine, guys.

– James, I know Jessie and Meowth are indeed cheap, but it’s quite obvious that the ‘stickers’ don’t work anyway. The ghost blew them away like they were paper airplanes. In fact, considering that you still have several ‘stickers’ stuck to you while the others have blown away, I’d actually say, somehow, the ones Jessie and Meowth got for free bummed from Ash and Misty’s purchases are actually of higher quality. At least the adhesive is.

– Jessie: *blasts the ghost with a rocket* “Hey, girl! You can’t take him!” Whoo yeah!

“You haven’t got a GHOST of a chance!” *exasperated sigh*

– James: “You really do care!”

Jessie: “It’s not cuz of you. Girls like her disgust me. Always waiting around for her man as if she were his faithful pet. She can’t stand the thought of losing him. She cries. But I’d say ‘See ya later! There are plenty more fish in the sea.” Okay, first off, I’ve always really liked this whole scene from the blast to this rescue. I’ve always been a rocketshipper and this was basically the first episode where we got slight pokes at that. Plus, it’s just a pretty nice moment between them anyway.

While I do agree with Jessie to a degree in saying no one should be so hung up on someone they love that their whole lives are dedicated to just waiting around for them, especially to the point where your body becomes part of the cliff you’re waiting on (And, hey, taking into consideration fossilization, it could possibly happen.), is it really a wonder that Jessie doesn’t get many love interests considering her attitude in the second half of that tangent? Yeah there are many more fish in the sea, but some people are worth fighting for and waiting for.

– And as an AAML lover, I always thought Misty hiding behind Ash and grabbing his arm was adorable.

– No idea why this Gastly can talk without telepathy.

– Kinda SDC stuff, but the ball that Meowth plays with originally has the text “matatabi” in hiragana written on it. In the dub it’s removed. I only mention this because it’s kinda sloppy digital paint considering that it’s moving. The lineart and some of the coloring on Meowth’s paw keeps getting covered by white when it moves.

– So they go to the trouble of removing the hiragana from a rolling ball but not the kanji from a static fire extinguisher? Okie dokie. Paint budget kinda low back then, 4Kids?

– Well it’s been more than 15 years……where the hell is our Pokemon fusion? I really mean it. Pokemon fusion is an awesome concept and it’s been a part of the fanbase for many years. I even used to make Pokemon sprite fusions. Digimon had it, why not Pokemon? It can be temporary like it is with Mega evolution and Digivolving. Are they saving it for a rainy financial year?

– I like how Venusaur and Blastoise kinda do a little fusion dance when they combine.

– That sure is a close up shot of a big shiny cross that is. A lot bigger than Zakuro’s cross necklace from Tokyo Mew Mew, it is, it is. Uh huh. Then again, I guess holding up a big gold rectangle would just be retarded.

Misty – “How about this?”

Gastly – “What’s that!?”

Misty – “It’s a golden rectangle!”

Gastly – “Why are you holding it in my face?”

Misty – “I don’t know!”

– Also, a cross. Is that more proof that Christianity/Catholicism/Judaism is a thing in the Pokemon world?

– Gastly is not weak to sunlight. However, some interesting tidbits in the same vein;

It can be blown away in heavy winds due to the fact that it’s made up of toxic gas.

Ironically, per this episode anyway, it has the ability to learn Sunny Day through TM11.

– I like that Gastly wasn’t the ghost the whole time as the Maiden actually is around and was the being that Brock and James supposedly saw at the beginning of the episode. I also like how this Gastly has taken it upon himself to keep old legends like this alive, as well as keeping the memory of some otherwise forgotten souls fresh in the memories of others. It is depressing that the Maiden is still just waiting there, though.

– Brock: “If only you were 2000 years younger….*sigh* maybe next year.” Next year she’ll still be 2000 years too old for you…..with a lover…..and still dead….and a rock formation. Get help, Brock.

Now for one of my favorite scenes of the series; the festival dance. Granted, it’s not a big deal, but I still vividly remember this scene both because all of the imagery just seemed so awesome to me (Oh wait, I mean, it’s Japanese so it scared the hell out of kid-me, 4Kids. Honest. I still have nightmares) and, obviously, the AAML shipper in me loved that Ash seemed googoo eyed over Misty in her yukata. That yukata is awesome, too. I love the Goldeen and bubble designs and the whole thing just fits Misty perfectly.

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I still adore this episode, and it stands as one of if not my favorite episodes ever, even if it’s riddled with oddities and errors. I could just be biased, but so be it. In addition to all of the nostalgic stuff, I love the festival aspect, I love ghost stories and supernatural plot lines, Brock and James were quite a bit of fun here, and it never seemed like they were wasting any of the moments they had. There were several subtle character moments, developments and even some nice psuedo-romantic moments. Granted, knowing what I know now in that Jessie and James never happens and Misty and Ash will likely never happen, it just gets the die-hard old shipper in me down.

They also had the awesome aspect of Pokemon fusion, even if it’s never seen again and ultimately wasted. While the concept is cool, Venustoise was just Blastoise with a flower on its back. If you want some awesome Pokemon fusions, check this out. http://pokefusionman.deviantart.com/

Next episode…..*sigh* Well, we all saw this coming. Our first departure and one of the saddest. Three words everyone. Bye. Bye. Butterfree. Get out the tissues.