Smile Precure!/Glitter Force Episode 6 Sub/Dub Comparison

SPEP6SDC7

Plot: The five Precure are finally assembled! Candy’s big brother, Pop, arrives to check up on his sister and share the story of Marchenland and the Precures to the girls. While Nogo’s minions are collecting energy to revive their master, the girls need to collect the Cure Decor from the Akanbe to free Marchenland’s queen and save the world.

But first things first – what will their catchphrase be?

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The girls originally say in sequence that they’re all together. In the dub, they count up for five to show that they’re all together, but it kinda falls apart because Candy’s the one who says ‘five’ instead of Miyuki because she prompts the count.

The banner is wiped clean of text.

Subbed: SPEP6SDC1

Dubbed: SPEP6SDC2

Yayoi originally asks what the monsters really are. In the dub, Lily repeats April’s question about why they have powers.

Miyuki asks what the monsters are after. Emily tells Candy to tell the others the story she told her.

Akane asks what they’re supposed to do about the monsters. Kelsey asks why Candy won’t tell them.

The music is pretty funny in the original because it gets slower and slower until it stops as Candy gets increasingly nervous about the girls’ questions. In the dub, this effect is lost and we’re just left with typical goofy music.

Candy originally doesn’t know the answers to the girls’ questions at all. In the dub, Candy forgot the story she told Emily. I don’t know why this causes such a freakout because, if Emily knows, surely she can just relay the information.

The book originally calls Miyuki a ‘fair maiden,’ but he doesn’t in the dub.

Like Candy uses the suffix ‘-kuru’ a lot, Pop uses ‘-de gozaru’

For the record, Pop is adorable.

All of the books have the text removed from their spines, as usual.

Subbed: SPEP6SDC3

Dubbed: SPEP6SDC4

Title Change: The Team’s Assembled! We Are Smile Precure! Is changed to The Library of Legends.

Majorika’s dub voice when she says ‘Seriously?’ is hilarious (In a good way).

Miyuki doesn’t keep interrupting Pop during the story like Emily does.

Name Change: Royale Queen is changed to Euphoria.

The box for the Cure Decor is originally called the Decor Decor. In the dub, it’s called the Charm Chest. I actually like the dub’s name a lot better because 1) it’s not ultra repetitive and 2) They refrained from using the word ‘glitter’ in it, so I have to give them points for that.

Name Change: Joker is changed to Rascal. I was going to question why, seeing as how he came out of a Joker card, but I can imagine they didn’t want DC to sue them up the ass.

Akane just says ‘That’s me!’ when her picture shows up. Kelsey adds ‘I rock!’

Joker….jokingly points out that there’s only five Precure. Rascal asks how they can beat five Glitter Force Warriors when they couldn’t even take down two.

Akaoni repeats with a scoff that there’s only five. Brute says he could take on fifty of them.

Majorina says she could take down 100 Precures. Brooha claims she can defeat 500.

Wolfrun says he doesn’t care if there are 1000 of them. Ulric, oddly, claims he could be 555 of them.

I’m really surprised they left in Joker licking his lips like that.

Anyone else get confused when characters in magical girl anime seem to know and acknowledge magical girl tropes? Like, are magical girl shows a thing in these universes or are they pounding down the fourth wall?

The eyecatches are starting to repeat themselves now. If they change, I’ll post them.

I did not just hear Emily say ‘Awesomesauce’ Nope. It didn’t happen. I refuse to acknowledge that. No.

The original first catchphrase was ‘The five of us are….Goprecure!’ In the dub, it’s ‘It’s us, of course! The Glitter Force!’ They nix that one, but, hey, it’s a million times better than Mew Mew Power in my face.

Akane shoots that one down because they’re not Goprecure. In the dub, she says it’s not exactly brilliant.

Pop originally says he doesn’t understand what they’re doing. In the dub, he says that’s the tenth catchphrase they’ve come up with and they’re not getting any better.

I see you sign!

Subbed: SPEP6SDC5

Dubbed: SPEP6SDC6

The book-gates are changed to just magical portals. Both names are really lazy if you ask me.

I would ask why Miyuki/Emily thinks a penguin is talking to her, but considering all of the other oddities in her life at the moment, I’d say that’d be relatively normal.

The Akanbe this week is an empty soda can? That’s the best thing you can find in a park?

Please don’t tell me they were seriously waiting all that time to transform just because Emily wasn’t there and they didn’t have a catchphrase…..Lives are hanging in the balance, guys.

Not sure why Kelsey randomly yelled out ‘Watch out, world!’ when she transformed.

Wait, so in addition to their post-transformation sayings they’re also going to have a group catchphrase? That’ll eat up a lot of time.

Rock, Paper, Scissors: I won this episode! I chose rock, it was scissors. 🙂

The original group catchphrase is “Our five lights will blaze a path to the future. Shining bright, Smile Precure!” In the dub it’s “Time to blaze a way to a happy ending! (Emily: “Ready girls?”) Shining Bright! Here comes the Glitter Force!” It actually didn’t change as much as I feared. Surprised.

I love that they got shot immediately after all that, though. It’s like another potshot to magical girl tropes.

Emily: “Sneak attack. No fair…” Sneak attack? They were right in front of you the whole time, and you just spent nearly two whole minutes doing your shtick.

Pop’s voice deepens when he transforms in the original. It doesn’t do so in the dub.

Candy says Pop can transform. In the dub, she says he transformed into a trash compactor because he’s really into recycling.

Now Emily’s back to the cheerleading chant. Yay.

Sooooooooooooooooooooo…..in the episode that celebrated the Precures all being together for the first time…….they needed Pop to defeat the Akanbe and everything else relied on Miyuki? (They didn’t transform until she got there, they all fell together from one attack by the Akanbe and only Miyuki was called on to give the final blow. They all slammed Press!Pop together, but was that even necessary?) Bit underwhelming.

Oh so the cell phone Cure Decor is a real phone that can communicate through dimensions. That’s actually really cool…..still think it’s a bit odd to have it look like a modern cell phone, but at least it has a real purpose.

The promise of always saying goodbye with a smile is basically kept, but the dub adds in the silly adage of ‘turn that frown upside down.’

Aw, the picture in the book of Pop saying goodbye actually plucked my heartstrings a little. That was so bittersweet and cute.

The really sad music in the original isn’t helping. Someone please do something silly because I’m starting to get misty.

Oh no worries, I’m instantly cleared up by the dub not understanding ambiance at all with their goofy soundtrack and stupid joke by Kelsey. Thanks.

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You can find my opinions on the episode as a whole here.

As for the dub, it fares very well. There are only a few line changes here and there and only a few minor paint edits. The ending was bungled, but, being completely fair, the mood does change to goofy near the very end either way, it’s just that the dub ruined it earlier with their goofy song and joke.

I’m shocked the catchphrase really wasn’t changed much, and even though I can imagine having all of the individual girls’ phrases and the group phrase together will be more repetitive and time-consuming than normal magical girl shows as episodes go on, I’m not too concerned.

Next episode, the girls try to select a spot for their secret base!

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SSBS – Smile Precure! Episode 6: The Team’s Assembled! We Are Smile Precure!

SSBS - GF EPISODE 6

Plot: The five Precure are finally assembled! Candy’s big brother, Pop, arrives to check up on his sister and share the story of Marchenland and the Precures to the girls. While Nogo’s minions are collecting energy to revive their master, the girls need to collect the Cure Decor from the Akanbe to free Marchenland’s queen and save the world.

But first things first – what will their catchphrase be?

Breakdown: This episode was moreso recapping what we already knew what with the backstory of Marchenland and the goals of both sides. We learn a little bit more of the story, get introduced to some new characters – Pop and Joker – we solidify the girls as a team and give them a catchphrase.

I did enjoy several aspects of it. First of all, I like how some parts seem to harmlessly poke fun at magical girl tropes. As a fan of magical girl shows, I always like a little ribbing at those cliches.

Secondly, I LOVE Pop. He’s so cute yet cool and brave. His relationship with Candy is also very nicely constructed. He realizes Candy’s a bit sensitive, scatter-brained and frightened, but also respects that she works hard, is brave when the situation calls for it and is willing to do everything she can for their cause. Pop worries about her, but he’s isn’t overbearing about it.

Joker’s also pretty entertaining and I look forward to what he’ll bring to the table in the future.

Finally, the ending was so well-directed and sad that, even though it was just temporarily saying goodbye to a character who debuted in this very episode, I was still getting a bit misty-eyed.

I don’t much mind the recapping as we could benefit from sitting down and fully talking about everything that’s lead to this point, so that’s not a negative to me.

However, I didn’t much appreciate that so much time was dedicated to finding a catchphrase. I thought it was a cute joke that they were even bringing up needing a catchphrase, another nudge to magical girl tropes, but then I realized how serious they were about it and I just kinda wanted them to move on.

I also thought this week’s Akanbe was embarrassingly lame. He was a beefed up soda can who shot soda cans….that’s it. Majorina won a game of cards against the other villains to face the Precures again and she uses her opportunity on this recycling PSA.

What’s even more embarrassing is that the girls actually nearly lose to this thing. In another bit of a magical girl trope joke moment, the girls are instantly shot when they complete their long transformations, personal phrases and group catchphrase. I thought they’d more or less brush it off and kick ass together as a team, showing off how awesome they are now that they’re finally together….but no.

The shot downs all of them, they nearly get stomped on and Pop has to turn into a giant can press, subdue the Akanbe and wait for the girls to, forgive me for saying this, sit on his face in order to crush the Akanbe.

Pop’s ability to transform is cool, but him jumping in to save the day really took all of the wind out of my sails. Like yay, Smile Precur–*BLAM* “Ugh, we can’t do anything now.” Oh…I mean…yay Pop!

Not to mention that, while it’s more subtle than a lot of shows, they’re starting to show their leader favoritism here. They wait until Miyuki arrives on the scene to transform…for no reason. I might understand if they transformed and fought but prolonged the fight because they wanted their first full team fight to be together, but they didn’t even transform until Miyuki arrived. Then Candy told Miyuki to give the final blow attack when the other girls were available.

I can’t imagine they’ll get to Tokyo Mew Mew levels of favoritism here, but it was giving me that vibe and I hate that vibe.

All in all, while this wasn’t the most fantastic episode ever, expected of a more or less recap, and it was certainly disappointing for a full team debut, I did enjoy this episode. My enjoyment was mostly because of Pop (Someone find me a Pop plushie. I will love you forever), but outside of the battle, it was a solid episode.

Rating: 7/10

Next episode, the girls try to select a spot for their secret base!

….Previous Episode

Pokemon Episode 54 Analysis – The Case of the K-9 Caper

Pokemon Episode 54 Screen 1

CotD(s): None

Plot: As Ash, Misty and Brock continue on their journey to Cinnabar Island, they’re caught in the middle of a police pursuit. Jenny and several other officers are chasing a thief with a bag of stolen goods.

Pikachu doesn’t want to attack him because of the gun he’s holding, but Jenny’s Growlithe tackles him to the ground and disarms him. Seeing the gun out of the thief’s hands, Ash commands Pikachu to attack with a Thunderbolt. However, Jenny and the other officers scold Ash for attacking, revealing that this was a training exercise for the police squad’s Growlithe team, and the ‘thief’ is actually a fellow officer.

They clear up the misunderstanding, and Jenny formally introduces the Growlithe to their new friends.

Ash and the others are invited to eat a meal at the police training school. Ash is frustrated that Pikachu wasn’t brave enough to take on the thief when he had a gun. Jenny offers to have Pikachu train with the Growlithe the following day. Ash excitedly agrees, hoping Pikachu will become as brave and strong as Growlithe.

The next day, waking up before the crack of dawn, Ash and Pikachu are run through the obstacle course, racing Jenny and Growlithe. However, they soon find the course to be much harder than they first thought. They struggle through each obstacle while Jenny and Growlithe make it across relatively easily.

Even though they’re exhausted from the training, Ash is determined to toughen Pikachu up.

Just then, Team Rocket bursts in with a plan to capture the Growlithe. They first spray a gas around the Growlithe to make it so they can’t smell. Then they spray helium around the group to make their voices high-pitched and squeaky. The Growlithe can’t smell their Trainer nor can they recognize her voice.

Next, Team Rocket dresses up in police uniforms and uses voice modulation to change their voices into Jenny’s. The Growlithe now obey them instead of Jenny. They order the Growlithe to tie Jenny up and prepare to load them into the van. Ash and the others are helpless since they left their Pokemon back in the room.

Team Rocket tries the same trick with Pikachu, but to no avail. Pikachu knows his trainer and his best friend no matter what he sounds like.

Pikachu shocks the Growlithe, but expends all of his energy. The Growlithe aren’t down for the count, and Jessie commands the Growlithe to attack again. Jenny, now free, attempts to stop them, but the Growlithe she’s been training most closely with bites her on the hand. As it digs its teeth into her hand, it suddenly remembers being raised by her and all of the good times they had together.

Realizing its mistake, Growlithe releases Jenny and apologetically licks her hand. The other Growlithe follow suit and turn on Team Rocket. They turn tail and run away from the Growlithe as they bite and bark at them.

Ash tells Jenny that more training at the school isn’t necessary. He doesn’t need to try to make Pikachu into the perfect Pokemon. He’s great just the way he is. With that, Ash, Misty and Brock bid Jenny and her Growlithe farewell as they continue their journey to Cinnabar Island.

——————————–

– I will give 4Kids props for keeping the gun.

Brock: “Look! That must be him!”

Misty: “He looks like a thief to me!”

…..I know you’re children, but do you really need to even discuss whether this dude looks like a thief? He’s wielding a gun, carrying a big sack on his back and is running from a bunch of police officers yelling ‘Stop, thief!’ Does he need a lapel pin that says ‘Hello, I am Thief.’?

– How is it that Pikachu has a healthy fear of guns, but these kids don’t? Keep in mind, they’ve had guns in their face plenty of times, and they’ve seen people being shot at.

Not to mention, in the next episode, Ash will see a glint in the forest, instantly assume the glint is from a sniper rifle and make a big fuss panicking over it. Yet here he’s faced with a criminal who clearly has a pistol and he pays it no mind.

– Ash hears that one of the Jenny’s has sicced her Growlithe on this guy, the Growlithe has handily disarmed him and tackled him to the ground, certainly he’s going to be arrested soon, but yet Ash’s sends out Pikachu anyway. Why?

– In fairness to Ash and the others, why the hell would you need to give this guy a gun (They don’t mention if it’s fake, but even if it was, it looks insanely real.) to do a mock police chase through public woodlands? Moreover, why not have an ‘Abort test’ signal when innocent people are clearly in the way?

Why Use the Pokedex?: Ash, you’ve used your Pokedex on a Growlithe before. Remember? Episode 33? The Flame Pokemon-athon?

– Growlithe is one of my favorite Pokemon, by the way, and I’m a dog person so I’ve already got a bit of a soft spot for this episode.

Pokemon Episode 54 Screen 2

– Ash: “Did you see the way that Growlithe tackled that robber, Brock? It was braver than Pikachu!” Tact, Ash. Pikachu is right there.

Brock: “But the officer playing the thief was holding a gun. You can’t expect Pikachu to attack somebody like that.”

I could swear Pikachu has attacked at least Team Rocket while they were wielding guns before. Nevertheless, he’s certainly attacked people with BOMBS before and that’s much worse.

Misty: “Brock’s right! I bet you never even thought about how badly Pikachu could’ve been hurt.”

I can’t believe I didn’t note this when it happened, maybe because he sends Pikachu into all sorts of dangerous situations in the first place, but yeah, Ash was pretty dumb right there.

Ash: “Of course I did!” So you’re admitting you knew you were putting your Pokemon in lethal peril. And all for what? A petty thief?

Brock: “Wait a minute, I hope you’re not thinking of having Pikachu train with the police, like Growlithe.”

What’s wrong with that idea? It would give Ash a better idea of when it’s appropriate to attack opponents and how to approach them safely, if at all, if they have weapons like guns.

Ash: “What’s wrong with that idea? It’d make Pikachu even stronger.” Yes, because clearly the problem with this entire situation is Messiahchu isn’t strong enough…..

– I find it kinda funny that a Dodrio is acting like a rooster crowing. We’re a ways away from any chicken Pokemon, so it’s understandable, but still…..Odd how the Torchic line really wouldn’t seem like they would fit any better doing that.

– Do Ash and the others not have pajamas of any kind? I know it’s a joke in cartoons to have the characters always wearing the same outfit, makes it easier for animators and designers and whatnot, but they seriously can’t throw some pajamas their way? What do they carry in those bags if not at least one pair of PJs? I mean, Ash doesn’t even take off his jeans or belt, Misty doesn’t take off her suspenders, and Brock doesn’t take off his vest that is full of random stuff. That has to be really uncomfortable.

– I really like that Ash has to do this course too. It’s all too rare to see Ash actually training alongside his Pokemon. It’s rare enough to see him training period.

Pokemon Episode 54 Screen4

– So Jenny’s running this course too, huh?….In…those clothes? I never really gave it much thought, but Jenny’s officer uniform is horrible for doing any sort of strenuous exercise. She’s wearing a pencil skirt and frickin’ HEELS. She shouldn’t be able to do a brisk jog, let alone a military-esque obstacle course.

There’s especially no way in hell she should be able to climb that wall, especially as easily as she did.

– Pikachu never tried to climb the wall, but he should’ve been able to do it much more easily than Growlithe, being a rat.

– Brock: “This police canine training stuff sure is tough. Are you sure you still want to go through with it?”

Ash: “Of course I’m still going through with it ‘cause I want Pikachu to be the best.” Again, wasn’t the problem. Even if Jenny and the other officers and the Growlithe weren’t pursuing that thief, even if the thief was real, Pikachu was perfectly in the right to not attack him. You’re a ten year old Pokemon Trainer, not a vigilante. Just because you beat Team Rocket every week doesn’t make you Batman.

Brock: “But don’t you think Pikachu’s a great Pokemon just the way it is?”

Ash: “Yeah, Pikachu’s great. But I want it to be just as tough as Growlithe.” This plotline is really not making sense to me. Ash pretty much acknowledges that he made a mistake sending Pikachu out against an armed criminal. But the issue is continuously that Pikachu wasn’t tough or brave enough, like the trained law enforcement Pokemon. Why is no one pointing this out to Ash? He’s making Pikachu feel like a weak coward all because he was an idiot.

And, hey, let’s jump back to Jenny’s line about not commanding your Pokemon to do anything you wouldn’t do. Even though that statement makes little sense (human limitations make it impossible to do 90% of the things Trainers command of their Pokemon) would Ash have been brave enough to tackle an armed man? I say ‘brave’ when that’s just stupid, but by Ash’s point of view, would he?

– I love that Growlithe van. Someone buy me one.

Pokemon Episode 54 Screen3

– Okay, as much as I find this to be one of Team Rocket’s better thought out plans, I find it hard to believe that these Growlithe get this close to these officers yet it takes them until one of them bites Jenny to realize, oh shit, you’re my Trainer. My bad.

The fact that they’re confused because of their sense of smell being screwed up, I understand. Also, the fact that Jessie is using a voice modulator to sound like Jenny while Jenny’s own voice is screwed up, I also understand.

But they have eyes. They can clearly see that neither James nor Jessie looks like Jenny no matter if they’re wearing her clothes. The fact that they were confused to the point of assaulting Jenny yet Pikachu isn’t fooled for a second makes the Growlithe look like idiots.

Not to mention that, since Jenny seems to know more about what it takes to be a true Pokemon Trainer/Master than Ash does, it’s even more unrealistic that the Growlithe haven’t bonded with her enough to recognize her instantly, even without scent or hearing similar people.

Just for the sake of argument, I wanted to see what cues were most important when training or commanding a dog. I have had dogs my whole life, I’ve trained several of my dogs and I used to study dog training on my own time. My own skills with dog training aren’t the best, but I agree with these findings.

I found several articles and studies that show that body language is most important when it comes to having a dog follow your commands. Vocal commands are obviously followed and important, but body language/hand gestures comes out on top over it.

Realistically, Jenny should be able to call off the Growlithe through hand gestures.

Additionally, while I couldn’t find any information on this, I kinda doubt that the Growlithe would pay much attention to Jessie’s voice in the first place because it would sound so different not only being an artificially created voice in the first place, but also being further altered by going through a megaphone. To us, it may sound pretty much the same, but to a dog it’s vastly different. They can pick up on little discrepancies that would inevitably be caused by both Jessie’s natural manner of speech and the artificial filtering.

All in all, I give this plan a B-. They put a lot of thought and work into it, and it is pretty clever, but it makes these trained police dogs look way too easily fooled to the point of stupidity, and it makes Jenny kinda look like a poor trainer.

– Awwww the Growlithe with the little bandit masks awwww.

Pokemon Episode 54 Screen5

– Expecting the Growlithe the rob banks, I can swallow, but that balloon art heist…What the hell was that even?

Pokemon Episode 54 Screen6

And, what, are you going to somehow clog the Growlithe’s noses forever? Because unless Jenny has a perfume line with her exact essence, they won’t be fooled forever by voice modulation. Dogs rely more on scent.

Jessie: “Wait until they try Team Rocket’s….”

James: “Esopho-gas!” Pfft…..Alright, that one was pretty good, 4Kids.

– Jenny does have a point, though. Even if you make believe you’re Jenny through voice modulation, even if you somehow keep their noses clogged forever, they’re still trained to obey and uphold the law. They wouldn’t become criminals just because you say so. Again, this is kinda implying that they’re idiots who just blindly follow the orders of whomever sounds like their master.

You can make the argument that they’re animals, but they’re POKEMON. They have much higher cognitive reasoning than our world’s animals. The instant their Trainer OFFICER Jenny would order them to rob a bank, they’d probably go “What? That’s not what you taught us to do.”

– Forgive me if I’m wrong, but considering the properties of helium, isn’t impossible to get the high-pitched squeaky voice effect by just blowing it around people? They don’t specifically call this gas helium, but what other substance causes this effect?

– Just want to point out that Jessie and James are changing clothes behind the same changing curtain….

– If the effects of helium are lasting this long, they’d all be long since dead.

– Also, why does the helium not affect the Growlithe’s voices?

– Kinda random to specifically order the Growlithe to place Jenny under house arrest. Also, since when does house arrest involve tying someone up?

– Ash: “Uh oh! I know! We’ll use our Pokemon to battle them!” I have a great idea! Let’s do that thing we do to solve basically all of our problems! Ash must’ve caught a bit of Captain-Obvious-itis from Brock.

Pokemon Episode 54 Screen8

– I find it VERY hard to believe that they ALL left ALL of their Pokemon back in the room. And if they did, uh, Team Rocket, that’s more ripe for the picking and easier to get than these trained police Pokemon.

– You know, it’s not every day that Ash forgets he has Pikachu….He realizes he left his Pokeballs behind and he’s just not remembering that Pikachu is right there.

– Pikachu jumped down from nowhere to land on Ash’s head. I feel like that was his punishment for dare forgetting Pikachu for even a second.

– Either Jessie does an insanely good Ash impression or the dubbers screwed up and make Ash’s voice come out of Jessie’s mouth before she used the voice modulator.

– Still find it creepy that they have an Ash costume….

– I will admit that Pikachu’s even higher than usual voice is really cute and funny.

– Uh, Pikachu, can you chill the hell out? One or two shocks was enough to deter the Growlithe. You’re just torturing them now. Stop! This is getting hard to watch. They’re not evil Pokemon, they’re innocent police dogs getting tricked. If I want to impose my own twisted views on this, it’s almost like Pikachu is taking out his frustrations with Ash this episode, dinging his ‘lack of bravery’ in comparison to the Growlithe, on the Growlithe….

– What? You’re telling me one shock was enough to put the first team of Growlithe on their backs, but relentlessly shocking them to the point where Pikachu is out of energy and they still are able to get up and fight with little issue? Uh….Huh.

– Oh hey, Jigglypuff. That’s actually a good thing! Jigglypuff can sing, put them all to sleep and the gas will wear off in the meantime, ruining Team Rocket’s plans!

…..What…the shit?….Jigglypuff suddenly got…embarrassed? Self-conscious? And then walked away after one line? One of the few times this pink balloon might actually save the day and it just…..leaves for no reason? This isn’t an untranslatable joke, by the way, this scene is just completely random and makes no sense.

Pokemon Episode 54 Screen9
My sentiments exactly, Ash. Also, I love how Misty and Brock look pissed at Jigglypuff in this shot.

– It’s very heartwarming when Growlithe remembers the good times with Jenny and comes to its senses.

– LITTLE. BABY. PUPPY. GROWLITHE. *heart explodes*

Pokemon Episode 54 Screen10

– I can understand them having voice modulation options for Jenny and Ash, but why each other?

– Uh, Jenny? You gonna make some noise as you cuddle the pups in your weird little jutting animation? Anything? Awkward silence then? Okay.

– Aw, Ash actually learned a lesson today. It’s not the right lesson, given the context, but it’s a lesson.

– Jenny: “You two recognize what’s in each other’s hearts, and that’s what matters. I’ll try to keep that in mind.” Why are they kinda acting like Jenny made a mistake here? And maybe that’s why the Growlithe were fooled but Pikachu wasn’t? She was practically telling Ash that exact lesson earlier.

– And following up Jigglypuff’s initial pointless confusing cameo is its equally pointless and confusing followup cameo where the Narrator says ‘Uh oh’ as Jigglypuff finds the voice modulator. Why ‘uh oh’ anyway? What trouble can it cause singing through a voice modulator?

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All in all, I like this episode, but it’s kinda dull and the conflicts, both with Ash and Team Rocket, don’t make a lot of sense.

If you push that aside, it’s a really average episode with a good Pokemon at the forefront, but it doesn’t really highlight anything that’s special about Growlithe. These particular Growlithe are well-trained and brave, but the conflict makes it seem like they’re not trained well enough because they’re too stupid to visually recognize their trainer.

Additionally, I would’ve liked more exploration on the police training of the Growlithe at the very least if we weren’t going to focus on what makes Growlithe special. Canine police training is actually very interesting, and I’m disappointed that they didn’t make much of an effort to explore it here outside of doing a mock police chase and running an obstacle course.

Much more effort and thought was put into Team Rocket’s plan this week, and, admittedly, liberties can easily be taken with what I researched, but it’s still far too stupid to think the Growlithe wouldn’t recognize their owner by sight, especially considering that they likely don’t have the visual limitations that real life dogs have.

Next time, it’s the debut of Snap—Todd….Todd Snap? I guess?

….Previous Episode

SSBS – Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Episode 2: Feelings I Can’t Say

SSBS - MMPPPEP2

Plot: Lucia is asked out on a date to the spring festival by Kaito, but Hanon protests, claiming Lucia can’t be trusted to keep her mermaid nature a secret should she confess her feelings to Kaito. If she reveals her secret to a human, she’ll turn into bubbles. She goes on the date anyway, but when he starts talking about the mermaid who saved his life, she panics and runs away from him.

Meanwhile, Hanon is captured by a new enemy named Eriru, who is working for a mysterious shadowy man named Gaito, who also employs Izul. Eriru seems to have a plan to combat Pink Pearl Voice’s song, but Hanon thwarts her, and transforms into Aqua Pearl Voice. Performing a duet together, she and Pink Pearl Voice take down Eriru.

Later that night, Lucia, in mermaid form, sings for Kaito on a rock near the shore. Meeting in the water, Lucia decides to admit to her feelings while in mermaid form, her secret life as the human Lucia safe. She kisses him on the cheek and leaves.

Breakdown: This one puts a bit more substance to the story, but only a bit more and only slightly with the relationship with Kaito and Lucia.

We get slightly more development on the enemy side, learning of a mastermind named Gaito and introducing what seemed like a more interesting enemy in Eriru, but not really. At least she’s more interesting than Queen Beryl Lite/Izul, but she’s just a bumbling as she is.

Eriru seems like she’s making a plan where the mermaids will be lured to a spot in the festival where she’s selling fish that dance to music, since mermaids love music, but neither of them are ever lured there. The only reason the fish become any part of the plot is because Hanon’s new love interest gives her one since he was handed one he didn’t want. Hanon releases it into the ocean and goes for a swim, and that somehow leads Eriru to her location, even though that’s not what she said they do.

Eriru also exposes an incredibly stupid weakness of the mermaids. Eriru has a….I want you imagine the most sarcastic overly exaggerated air quotes when I say this – “Battle form.” which is really just her turning around and back again really fast, her eyes glowing red, and her teeth getting sharpened.

When Pink Pearl Voice sings, Eriru is unaffected. Not because her “battle form” has this immunity, but because, when she turns around and back again, she also pulls down the bandanna she wears on her head over her ears, making it so she can’t hear the song.

When I first watched this, I had to restrain myself from yelling out in laughter ‘You have GOT to be friggin’ kidding me!’

Our hero.

Can be thwarted.

By a BANDANNA.

It’s not even like she’s using ear plugs or anything. She’s using a flimsy piece of fabric just pulled over her ears. Has anyone who wears like hats or hoodies ever had their hearing be noticeably affected? Even if, it’s just barely affected. It certainly doesn’t deafen you.

And she’s defeated just as pathetically easily because Hanon instantly realizes what she’s doing and, gasp of all gasps, she pulls the damn thing off with no issue. Hanon was even restrained by magic seaweed stuff courtesy of Eriru and it wasn’t restrictive enough to stop her from doing that. She only grabbed onto her tail with it.

This enemy is the biggest joke I’ve ever seen.

Oh well, at least we got to see Aqua Pearl Voice….whose outfit is damn near identical to Pink’s just….ya know….blue.

Her little microphone is also basically identical to Pink’s.

The plot with Kaito is a little better, and I thought the scene at the end was really sweet, but I really don’t get the conflict here. She can’t date him because she might confess her feelings for him, which will somehow inevitably lead to her admitting she’s a mermaid to him? Those are two completely unrelated things.

It would be different if the plot was just that Kaito has suspicions that she was the mermaid who saved him, which made her panic. Then she’d maybe want to avoid being with him out of fear of being outed. Or maybe she thought him knowing the truth would somehow hurt him or something. This just makes no sense.

I also thought her getting upset at Kaito being with those two bitchy girls was unreasonable. Kaito very obviously physically and vocally expressed that he both didn’t like these girls and that he desperately wanted to get away from them to be with Lucia, but she just instantly believed he was a jerk who’d break her heart.

We also learn just a tiny bit more of the mermaids. The sea world has been wrought with calamities lately, and it’s suspected that these issues are also causing problems on the shore. Lucia, Hanon and any other mermaid princess they find will be tasked with finding the sea goddess, Aqua Regina, to help save the world from more destruction.

Overall, this was an okay episode, but the enemy conflict today is so dumb I think I might have to check into a hospital to see if I still have brain activity, and the plot with Kaito was nice, but sloppy. The song the mermaids sing is starting to grow on me, but that might be the power of repetition because I heard it at least four times in this episode.

Rating: 3.5/10

Next episode….

….Previous Episode

SSBS – Megaman NT Warrior Episode 3: Traffic Signal Chaos!

SSBS - MNTW EP3 1

Plot: Lan, Maylu and Dex are introduced to their new classmate, Yai Ayano. Her father is the president of the massive game company, Ayanotech, and she’s super rich, cultured, talented and obnoxious. As Dr. Wily’s newest lackey, Maddy, unleashes her NetNavi, Wackoman on the city’s traffic control system, causing massive traffic backups, Yai gets caught in the mess on her way home. What’s worse, Yai needs to go pee! She needs Lan and Megaman to beat Wackoman and bring her to a potty or else she’ll be making a mess of her own.

Breakdown: Our episode starts with an introduction to Yai, an annoying spoiled little rich girl who is full of herself. Wonderful.

She introduces herself to the class with an hour-long DVD chronicling her as a person. *sigh* It’s going to be one of those episodes, isn’t it?

This entire introduction is littered with animation shortcuts and cardboard-cutout animation, by the way.

Class goes on and Yai amazes everyone with how brilliant she is. I wasn’t aware they did advanced algebra in fifth grade, but okay.

The other NetNavis are also introduced to Yai’s NetNavi, Glide, who is basically a virtual butler. He starts hitting on Roll because of course he does.

Kid who is not animated #1: “Staring contest!”

Kid who is not animated #2: “You’re on!” Meta humor or trying to explain away lack of animation? Hm.

Yai can’t eat the disgusting commoner food they have for lunch (That they seemingly eat in their classroom?) so she decides to call her personal chef into the room to deliver a proper rich person meal.

Lan and Dex stop by Yai’s house to check it out, and of course it’s massive. They want to get a closer look, so they decide to sneak in through a massive hole in the steel bar fence that is there and not immediately repaired because reasons.

Yai decides to be a bitch and sics her—OH MY GOD, IT’S THE SENTIENT LAWNMOWER FROM PIKACHU’S PEEKABOO! RUN! LURE IT INTO A SHED! THAT’S ITS WEAKNESS FOR SOME REASON!!

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They run into the tennis courts, but are soon pelted with tennis balls. They then run to a bunch of Athena statues, which, for some reason, harbor a bunch of high powered water jets?

They run from those and get caught in a giant cage. Lan decides to jack in Megaman to the security system to see if he can free them. Megaman asks Glide if he can do anything, so he pushes Megaman down a hole, which also simultaneously sends Dex and Lan through a tube that exits out into the sidewalk.

The next day, Dr. Wily’s new lacky, Maddy, sends her NetNavi, Wackoman, to cause a huge traffic jam.

Wackoman: “Red light! Green light! Wackoman says ‘No light!’” Uh, yes light. The lights are red, that’s how you’re causing the traffic jam.

Also, yes, malfunctioning traffic lights are a hazard, but they don’t cause pileups and backups for miles a second after they happen. If they did, whenever we had blackouts there’d be god knows how much carnage.

Maddy, by the way, set out to cause chaos. Because, yes, mildly inconveniencing the general populace is so chaotic. I mean, yeah, there are accidents happening and that’s risky, but really, if even ovens have their own networks, certainly hacking into the cars themselves and purposely causing wrecks would make more sense.

Also, for the record, Wackoman looks like this.

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As if having the name “Wackoman” wasn’t non-intimidating enough as it was….

Yai has to go pee, but when Maylu tells her the restroom is free, she refuses to use a bathroom without gold faucets. Okay…

Yai heads home, but the traffic is still horrible. And the police aren’t manually directing traffic….because?? What, would that make too much sense and hinder the plot?

Because she didn’t pee at school, she’s all fidgety in the car. She jacks Glide into the cybermatrix to find whatever’s causing the traffic jam and stop it so she can get home and go to the bathroom.

Boy, today’s plot sure is a nailbiter.

Megaman: “Actually, all of the traffic lights are red. That’s why no one’s moving!” So, what, they believe they can never move ever? They’ll rot in their cars and die of dehydration and starvation?

Glide has fallen to Wackoman. Though, personally, I think he’s staying down out of shame of being defeated by something called Wackoman. Megaman is jacked in when Lan becomes curious as to what’s causing the jam. He confronts Wackoman who fights with a giant bouncy ball, because why not add even less of a reason to take him seriously.

Unable to hold her pee anymore, Yai climbs out of the window of her limo. I thought she was going to cross the street and go to a public building to use the restroom, but I guess that would make too much sense, so she just…climbs on the roof of the car and stands there for some reason.

Lan shows up and she hops on the roofs of all of the cars and tells him she needs to go to the bathroom. Again, why is that deemed safer or more logical than just walking on the road? Also, you have to piss, so yeah hop around on the roofs of cars and get your adrenaline running – that’s never a bad idea.

Lan rushes her on his rollerblades through the city….

Lan: “We need help, Megaman!” Why the fuck are you asking your NetNavi for help getting a little girl to the bathroom? And why are you traveling so far to do so? You’re passing so many buildings that certainly have public restrooms.

Glide: “Megaman, please tell Ms. Yai that the nearest lavatory is in the traffic control center.” I think you meant to say, “Megaman, here’s a very poorly written excuse to bring Lan to the traffic control center.”

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Anyway, just because I know you’re on the edge of your seat, I’ll mention that Lan makes it to the control center in time and Yai makes a piddle.

Lan jacks into the traffic control center’s network and upgrades Megaman with a Cyber Sword battle chip. He’s about to defeat Wackoman but Maddy tells him to log out before he’s able to land the hit.

The traffic lights are fine now, yay, and just to top off the true emotionally impacting, soul-enriching plotline of Yai, she arrives in a pink limousine that has its own potty. Oh. Happy days are here again.

————————————

This episode was so mind-meltingly dumb I’m actually kinda impressed it even exists. It’s like Nina Needs to Go meets a traffic PSA. Who thought this was a good idea? How did this leave any brainstorming session?

Why do we keep decreasing the threat levels with these episodes? First it was malfunctioning ovens all over the city causing house fires, which could destroy homes, cause thousands of dollars in property damage, cause irreparable damage to precious family heirlooms and easily kill people. Then we had an out of control subway train, which could easily kill a large group of people.

And now…we have perpetual red lights, traffic jams, a few fender benders and a little girl needing to make tinkle.

Yai’s an annoying little pissant (lolpuns) her NetNavi isn’t much better, the plot with the traffic lights was stupid, lazy and made no sense, the plot with Yai’s need to go pee-pee was—I can’t even believe I wrote that out, it’s so dumb, Maddy’s uninteresting, Wackoman’s non-threatening and irritating just in his appearance and mannerisms – this whole episode is an assault on the senses, my intelligence and my patience. There’s nothing worthwhile here. Moving on.

Rating: 0/10

Next time, Yai is held hostage by a rare battle chip collector, threatening to delete Glide if she doesn’t give him some chips.

….Previous Episode

Episode One-Derland: Demashitaa! Powerpuff Girls Z

Plot: Professor Utonium manages to stabilize the mysterious Chemical X with the help of his son, Ken. The new and more powerful compound is called Chemical Z. During an impending weather crisis, they use the chemical to clear up the skies, but accidentally create numerous beams of Z rays which hit Momoko, Miyako and Kaoru, turning them into the magical girls Hyper Blossom, Rolling Bubbles and Powered Buttercup. They also hit a nearby monkey, turning him into the villain Mojo Jojo.

Breakdown: Even though Japan doesn’t do it to us nearly as much as we do it to them, they have remade American cartoons into Japanese anime. One of the more notable examples is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but also Lilo and Stitch, Transformers and even properties like Supernatural, Batman and Iron Man have been turned into anime.

Out of all of the shows to get the anime treatment, you could definitely make the argument that Powerpuff Girls is the most obvious target. They already sport big anime-ish eyes, fighting giant monsters is their forte, and they’re basically magical girls without the lengthy transformation sequences and accessories.

So, it’s also not a surprise that Japan opted to fully turn the girls into magical girls with lengthy transformation sequences and accessories.

They also seem like they’re manipulating American audiences by slapping the ‘Z’ onto it because, wow, what’s one of the most popular anime in the west? Dragon Ball Z.

Back when this series first came out, I didn’t hear a lot about it. I heard some things, but it was mostly in the realm of ‘…..Why?’ Still, when it came to actual opinions, I didn’t hear much. I was a big fan of the original Powerpuff Girls, but I never had much of a desire to see what the anime version was like.

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Fast forward over ten years later, and now I’ve finally decided to sit down and watch it as well as research the current reviews on it.

To say the ratings are all over the board would be an understatement.

IMDB is caught between extremely low ratings and extremely high ratings. And it’s not just hardcore fans who are in the low zone. Several people stated they hated the original series and found this series to be an insult to it.

MyAnimeList is better but also worse because their reviews are all over the place with some extremely low, some very high and some middleground, but it seems like the middleground ones disliked it more than their ratings would indicate, and one wouldn’t get off the comparisons to Sailor Moon.

I found a full-on hate post on Amino and even then they gave it a 4/10 before telling the reader to never watch it ever. Just….what?

There was one thing that was driving me to give this show a fair shot.

It has….

To be better….

Than this….

I mean, people are calling (D)PPGZ stupid, annoying and hollow, but PPG2016 is basically the epitome of stupid, annoying and hollow.

For sake of fairness, I’m not going to harp too much on the differences between the shows. I’m going to try and take it at face value as much as I can…..And then I’ll harp on the differences because I can’t not. But at least I’ll give you warning so you can skip it if you want.

Non-Comparison

This show is dumb and hollow. It’s not nearly as annoying as many reviewers made it out to be. It is a little, but not that bad. I’m mostly in the dumb and hollow camp.

I’m not expecting deep or intelligent stories from magical girl shows to begin with, but this is insulting my intelligence and suspending my disbelief way too much.

The episode is separated into two eleven minute long stories, like the original show. The first half is about the girls fighting Mojo Jojo after he kidnaps some kindergartners for the sake of stealing their candy to power his newest mech.

Why does this machine run on candy? Dunno.

Why is he kidnapping and taking candy from children instead of just robbing a candy store? Dunno.

The girls make an excuse to leave school, transform and fly to the location where they have a lame battle. The battle is particularly lame because Bubbles—excuse me, Miyako, has bubbles be her main attack, yet they are obviously no different from regular bubbles. We don’t have any way to know what the bubbles do when they actually work, so showing us that these inert bubbles are just acting like bubbles really makes it seem like they’re ordinary bubbles and Miyako’s an idiot for trying to fight with them.

Also, Butterc—I mean Kaoru keeps making baseball references when her weapon’s a hammer….

After a few minutes, the girls run low on power. Because god forbid the POWERpuff Girls have a decent enough supply of power to last longer than five minutes in a very mild battle. You’d think this would require them to charge up their powers somehow, but all it takes is randomly stopping the battle for a trip to the ice cream store to get them back to full strength.

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They take down Mojo and the day is saved.

The second half is the origin story of the girls, which you’d think would be first but whatever. One day, Professor Utonium was trying to stabilize the mysterious Chemical X to no avail. His son, Ken, and robot dog, Poochi, accidentally knocked a pastry into the Chemical X vat and it stabilized it, turning it into Chemical Z, because screw Y.

Suddenly, and seemingly unrelated to this, the climate suddenly shifts drastically. New Townsville is thrown into a blizzard within seconds. Icebergs are forming in the bay and penguins are overrunning the city. This climate shift is not just happening here, but around the world.

In an effort to stop it, Ken uses Chemical Z in conjunction with a laser gun to shoot the sky and end the weather troubles. None of what I just said makes sense in the slightest.

And it starts making even less sense when three beams of light and numerous beams of….darkness? Shoot from where Ken shot the sky.

The beams of light are all about to hit three small children, and the girls, Momoko (Blossom) Miyako (Bubbles) and Kaoru (Buttercup) all separately sacrifice themselves to save the kids because lazy writing. As a result, they get hit with the beams and instantly go through the transformation process. Speaking of which, they seem like they skipped the transformations in the dub because my copy is raw Japanese with an English track and the track goes back to Japanese for the transformation sequences.

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It is a rather entertaining transformation sequence in regards to music, but the actions during the scene are kinda boring. They just kinda dance to pad out the time. Kaoru’s is the most interesting because she also does punches and stuff.

Also, they each get weapons based on the toys the kid they were saving was playing with at the time of the beam striking them. Momoko gets a yo-yo, Miyako gets a bubble wand and Kaoru gets a comically large hammer.

Momoko, or as her transformed state is called, Hyper Blossom, is the only one to get battle spotlight in this episode and gets further unnecessary spotlight later, including a bunch of still shots behind the Professor and Ken as they talk about all of the girls. All three of their screens eventual shift to just Momoko and 95% of the end theme showcases Momoko, because why not shove that goddamn ‘leader gets all the focus’ magical girl trope down our collective throats? That never gets old.

The beams of darkness are only shown hitting one being, a monkey named Mojo Jojo. He gains a helmet and giant cape as well as intelligence and the ability to talk and fly out of this deal. If I can’t question the magical girl items, I can’t question this either.

We actually get a kinda funny scene where Mojo and Momoko realize that Mojo’s evil, followed by another hollow and lame battle with Momoko flicking her yo-yo at him. She does eventually beat him and the day is saved. Miyako and Kaoru just go about their days elsewhere because we couldn’t be arsed to give them anything to do.

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Also, Kaoru the tomboy is super upset about her outfit including a skirt. Seriously, she brings it up twice in the two times we see her after she gets her powers…

Before I get to the comparison stuff, this episode both succeeds and fails as a first episode. We see the girls in ‘action’, sure, get a…slight idea of the world they live in, but it’s a piss-poor introduction to nearly all of the characters outside of maybe the Mayor, Miss Bellum and Mojo.

We don’t even learn the names of the girls in this episode. I had to look both their actual and superhero names up on the Wiki. Ken, the Mayor, Bellum and the Professor just call them ‘The Girls’ all the time. They don’t have a single actual conversation in the entire episode, and we barely learn anything about them.

Not to mention that both stories are just kinda stupid. A mech that runs on candy? Mojo kidnaps kindergartners and puts them in a giant bird cage to get the candy? The girls stop what they’re doing to give the kids autographs? Mojo asks for an autograph?

The climate changes drastically all over the world in mere seconds, somehow spawns icebergs in seconds and somehow calls a flood of penguins to invade the city and somehow a laser created by a liquid Chemical Z shot into the sky in one city clears up all of the weather phenomenon over the world and it also gives good powers to three girls and evil powers to other beings?

Now onto the bread and butter of this review, the comparisons with the original. To be fair, I’ll mark whether or not the change actually matters to the quality of the show.

Comparison with the Original PPG

– The girls are teenagers now, not kindergartners.

– Matters? No.

You can age up the girls, fine, but it does cause some oddities like, they still keep in the line about saving the world before bed time. I’m sorry, what teenagers have a bed time? A curfew, yeah, but bed time? And if you do have a bed time as a teen, why would you advertise that?

– The girls are magical girls now, I guess, not mutant superheroes made from Sugar, Spice, Everything Nice and Chemical X.

– Matters? Not really.

As unique as the cartoon’s origin story was, this is a perfectly fine origin story for the girls, even if it is lazy and something that’s already been used (Tokyo Mew Mew vibes, anyone?) My problem is with the ridiculousness of Chemical Z.

Chemical X was a mysterious compound and no one knew what it really did, not even Professor Utonium. It made Mojo smart and was the key component to making the girls. But Chemical Z seems like it’s a deus ex machina in liquid form. It can be used as laser….fuel, it instantly clears up almost supernatural worldwide weather phenomenon, it grants girls magical girl powers, creates themed weapons, accessories and clothes for them and grants other beings evil bad guy power.

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One could argue that making living beings out of some miscellaneous items and the chemical is just as bad, but that part of the story was based on the old saying that little girls are made of sugar, spice and everything nice. Just like when the Rowdyruff Boys were made, it was using the alternate saying for boys of snips, snails and puppy dog tails.

Also, the main origin behind the girls was that Townsville was a shady crap hole and Utonium wanted to create the perfect little girl to improve it. Thus creating the Powerpuff Girls….on accident, but nonetheless created them.

The fact that their creation wasn’t really…necessary and was entirely an accident is kinda boring. In fact, in a Static Shock Boom Baby kind of way, the girls wouldn’t be necessary at all if the Z rays didn’t also create bad guys…..

– Professor Utonium is no longer their adoptive father. Also, he has a son named Ken who is his lab assistant and a pet robot dog named Poochi who was also hit by the Z rays, somehow granting him the ability to talk even though I don’t know why this chemical…laser would be able to rewrite programming…He’s also granted the ability to call the girls.

– Matters? YES.

Ken is completely superfluous and so is Poochi. Removing Utonium as the girls’ father figure takes away a massive part of the story and nearly insults his original character development. Utonium was literally thrown into fatherhood upon creating the girls but did the best he could to love, raise, protect and teach them proper. Watch The Powerpuff Girls movie or several Utonium-centered episodes and you’ll feel a really strong familial connection.

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Also, just because I can’t find anywhere else to mention this, Ken, you don’t say ‘Bottom’s up’ when handing someone food. The adage is for drinking. The bottom of the glass goes up when you take a drink. I don’t care if it’s in a glass, you don’t drink ice cream unless it’s melted. Bottom’s up would make a huge mess on the floor. /dumb rant

Utonium never even speaks with the girls this entire episode.

He is still a father, but dammit it all if he doesn’t act like it.

What makes things even worse is that Ken seems like he’s made out to be more competent than Utonium. The professor is meant to be an extremely smart and skilled scientist. So you robbed him of one major character element and downgraded the other. Wonderful.

– In addition to that, the girls aren’t even sisters anymore.

– Matters? YES.

Why would you destroy their familial dynamic even more by making them seemingly total strangers until they unite as superheroes? Even when they’re together, I don’t feel like they’re good friends.

– They’re also not called Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup. They’re called Momoko, Miyako and Kaoru.

– Matters? No.

The name thing is bothersome because I don’t understand the need, but it’s not vital to the plot. Plus, they do technically retain their names when transformed because they’re changed to Hyper Blossom, Rolling Bubbles and Powered Buttercup…..and yes, I do think those extra titles make these names stupid.

Particularly ‘Powered Buttercup’ Not only is that too on-the-nose, but what are you going to say ‘She’s the Powerpuff Girl Powered Buttercup’? That sounds redundant as hell.

– The girls keep their super hero identities a secret.

– Matters? Not really, but it adds a layer of common magical girl stupidity to the story.

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Like many magical girl series, the girls keep their identities a secret, but don’t wear masks when they transform. Their appearances aren’t changed enough when they transform to warrant the belief that other people wouldn’t recognize them. I can’t say how much awkwardness or doofy plots this causes, but I can bet it’s quite a bit.

In the original, the girls are known heroes throughout the entire series. In fact, their kindergarten has a Powerpuff hotline right in their classroom. It removes the awkward and sometimes annoying element of trying to keep their identities and powers a secret while also adding a layer of complication in their lives that was more interesting to explore.

– Mojo Jojo still talks fast and stuffs his speech, in the dub anyway, but it comes off more like bad dubbing instead of a character quirk.

– Matters? Not really, but lessens the comedy of his character.

– The girls are almost pathetically weak in regards to stamina. Mojo’s already basically a parody of himself here, but the girls just swing around their weapons, sometimes hurting themselves more than they’re hurting Mojo, for a few minutes and they start running out of energy.

– Matters? Yes.

The original had such a good balance of action and comedy. If you want to focus more on the comedy, fine, but if the action’s so minute and lame, why even bother?

– The girls stop to eat ice cream to help regain energy (I guess?) while forgetting about and leaving a bunch of kindergartners in a cage…..

– Matters? Yes.

They seem like uncaring jackasses to do such a thing, not heroes.

– They have to be reminded to save someone who just got kidnapped…

– Matters? Yes, for the same reason I just gave. Heroes don’t do that….

– The girls have major personality changes. Momoko/Blossom is still the leader, but she’s no longer a serious, stern leader or a nerd. In fact, she implies that she pretends stuff ate her homework to get out of doing it. She’s boy-crazy, ditzy and basically unrecognizable from what she originally was.

Bubbles is still bubbly and positive, but she’s way into fashion and is ditzier than she was in the original.

Buttercup is a skateboard-riding baseball cap-wearing tomboy who detests wearing skirts.

– Matters? Yes, but mostly in regards to Blossom.

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I can’t even gauge this enough because we barely get to see their personalities over the course of two half-episodes, but Blossom definitely fares the worst here.

While Bubbles’ being preoccupied with fashion makes me roll my eyes and Buttercup’s incessant irritation at wearing a skirt makes me…irritated (and, as tomboyish as Buttercup was originally, her main outfit was a dress…..) Blossom is basically gutted from a stern serious leader with high levels of intelligence to basically your typical ‘Homework? Ugh’ magical girl protagonist, maybe worse.

It’s also irksome that all three of the girls were either gawking at groups of others or had people gawking at them when we first meet them in their origin story. Blossom was drooling over the guys in the various sports teams running by, tons of boys were fawning over Bubbles and tons of girls were gawking at Buttercup. Yup, they’re all super cute and popular and amazing and blah.

– There’s barely a narrator anymore and barely an ‘and once again the day is saved’ segue.

– Matters? No.

As sad as it is to lose those transitions and endings because the narrator was practically a character himself, it doesn’t affect the quality. To its credit, they do try to squeeze some form of it in the middle and a small line by the narrator at the end, but it’s so unsatisfactory for fans that they might as well not even try.

Also, that line about bed time makes it worse.

Final Verdict:

750spsl

It’s a lame and overly silly magical girl show with not enough comedy to back it up. There was one funny moment with Mojo, but that was it. The overall plot is dumb, the individual stories are dumb, the battles are lame and it just feels like a hollow show.

I’m not against adaptations changing things as long as the changes are for the better, but all of these changes are either superfluous or for the worse.

Fans of the show might enjoy it a bit just because it’s more PPG….technically, and it IS better than PPG2016. Then again, me setting my toes on fire is better than PPG2016.

Also, I will say that the soundtrack for the show is fantastic, especially during the transformation sequences, so if you’re a fan of anime OSTs, maybe check that out.

Hell Girl: Two Mirrors – Episode 12: Black Rut Review

Hell Girl Two mirrors Episode 12

Plot: On a quiet mountainside is a lone stretch of road where tragedy has struck. Michiro Ito’s younger brother died after hitting a dangerous section of the road where two separate roads merge together briefly to navigate around a local house. The master of the house, Kazuhito Kameoka, has refused to move since the road was put in no matter how much money he was offered to relocate. Michiro believes he’s nothing but a greedy old man who wants to maximize his compensation before moving. To avenge his fallen brother, he has called on Hell Girl, but she, surprisingly, never arrived.

Breakdown: The Hell Team is interfering a hell of a lot (lolpuns) in this episode. Like I mentioned previously, in the first season, they made a point to never really get involved unless the situation called for it, like clients or targets were breaking protocol or something. Here, I’d say they purposely stalled Michiro’s request because they knew Kazuhito was going to die soon.

Wanyuudou also stated that sometimes Ai sends out her assistants to potential clients to read their hearts before she shows up after a request. I’m sorry – since when? The only heart reading being done here is supposed to be when the clients access the website. They need to have a good dose of vengeance in their hearts to access the site and call Hell Girl. What else are you reading the client for?

I’m glad they did interfere, though, because that poor old man didn’t deserve to go to hell. He was just a nice old man who had lived in a house since he was born, and it was a house his family had owned and loved even before his time. He wanted nothing more than to live out his final days in that same house, and no compensation was enough to change his mind.

And, really, I think the people who designed the road are more at fault here. There had to be a better way to get both roads through that pass without merging them both on a sharp turn with little to no warning. There’s plenty of room on the other side – certainly they could come up with something.

We also get Wanyuudou’s backstory in this episode, but it’s actually somewhat boring. He’s a wagon wheel, if you couldn’t tell that already, and he’s felt a tremendous amount of guilt since his…..’death’ when he failed to avoid crashing over that same mountainside when he was part of a wagon. He was carrying his mistress, a princess of a nearby land, who had been attacked by bandits or enemy soldiers.

I could see why he’d take a personal interest in this case given his backstory, but it’s not the most interesting backstory in the world.

I did really like this episode, though. It’s refreshing to see an episode where no one goes to hell, especially an innocent person. Everything was wrapped up nicely (a little too nicely in some points. I thought the house collapsing immediately after the old man died was a bit much) and I think it showed that, to some capacity, the Hell Team does care about their clients and even their targets. Maybe Tsugumi and Hajime got to them more than I thought.

…..Also, Kikuri poked the old man in the head after he died. I’ll let you in on a secret, I know this might come as a shock….but I hate Kikuri.

Rating: 7/10 Would’ve been higher if it didn’t drag a little, they didn’t seemingly make up new rules on how Hell Link functions and Wanyuudou’s backstory had been a bit more compelling.

Pokemon Shorties! (7) Pikachu’s Summer Festival

Rating: 8/10

Plot: Pikachu and a slue of other Pokemon are setting up for a summer festival. Their headline act that night is a singing Marilli/Azumarill, but she suddenly gets kidnapped by a Airmd/Skarmory. It’s up to Pikachu, Plusle, Minun, Nyasu/Meowth, Sonansu/Wobbuffet and friends to save her and the festival!

Breakdown: I often joked when I watched the other shorts that they were so one-note and ‘cute Pokemon being cute’ that I could watch them without any dialogue whatsoever and know exactly what’s going on.

So, of course, the first short that I’m forced to watch in Japanese raw is one that has an actual plot where the narrator is providing dialogue for all of the Pokemon….

Yes, the English dubbing of the Pokemon shorts has ended and now the only way I can review nearly any of the shorts beyond this point is by tracking down the raw versions.

Granted, there’s not a whole lot of plot to make this difficult to follow without help, but I was still thankful for the Wiki page to give a full detailed synopsis.

With that out of the way, this is a very enjoyable short. Pikachu wasn’t the main focus, in fact he didn’t really do much more than any other singular Pokemon. He might have even done less than a majority of them. The other Pokemon got plenty to do (Loved Wakasyamo/Combusken, Juptile/Grovyle and Fushigidane/Bulbasaur, even if the latter only got one very small part, it was so cute) the plot was pretty good and even Nyasu wasn’t annoying at all.

That old Madatsubomi/Bellsprout was really creepy, though.

The plot with the Bossgodora/Aggron was good but a tiny bit contrived. The Aggron and its….children (?) heard about Marilli performing at the summer festival, but they live on an island and can’t cross the water to see her. So, they did the next logical thing and kidnapped her so she could perform for them.

This isn’t too contrived for a Pokemon short, but Bossgodora is shown to have several Pokemon friends to help him with stuff, like Airmd, who kidnapped Marilli, Coil/Magnemite who chased Pikachu and the others away, and Samehader/Sharpedo who tried to stop them in the water. Why did he not think to ask if there was a big Water Pokemon around who could give them a ride? Like, oh I dunno, the Whaloh/Wailord who gives them a ride at the end because Ohsubame/Swellow heard the story from the old Madatsubomi and asked him to do it.

Also, why is a Pokemon who is not known for singing or its nice voice, and can’t even learn Sing (unless it’s bred by a Pokemon who can naturally learn it) being the headliner singer here? I wouldn’t be so bothered if not for the fact that the singing doesn’t sound like Marilli’s voice at all and there’s a frickin’ Purin/Jigglypuff singing backup! I’m not sure it’s the one we know and…tolerate, but it’s still a Pokemon known for its singing.

Despite these minor issues, this was still a very enjoyable short. It had plenty of action, comedy and nice moments all around. Even the music was great. Some of those tracks were bringing me right back into the games, and the festival song was pretty good. The ED was mediocre, though.

Recommended Audience: Why are you reading this section? You know the answer. You’re just looking for me to say something funny here, aren’t you? Well, not today, pal! I’m going to say boring stuff like taxes, congress and proofreading! Regret reading this now, huh? That’ll teach you!

Corpse Party: Blood Covered (Manga) Review

Rating: 9.5/10

Plot: Satoshi Mochida, Yoshiki Kishinuma, Naomi Nakashima, Seiko Shinohara, Ayumi Shinozaki, Mayu Suzumoto and Sakutaro Morishige are all very close friends at Kisaragi Academy. Saddened that Mayu is going to be transferring next year, Ayumi propositions them to partake in a charm ritual that will supposedly bond them all forever – Sachiko Ever After. Joining them are their homeroom teacher, Yui Shishido and Satoshi’s little sister, Yuka.

However, upon completion of the ritual, they are thrust into a strange different school called Heavenly Host Elementary. The school is blackened, wrecked, with many holes in the floor and structural damage. The place is littered in corpses and there are revenants around every corner.

What’s worse is that the group has been separated into smaller groups and spread not only over the school but also over dimensions, meaning they have no way to regroup and return home. They’re soon tormented by the revenants – attacking them and seemingly wanting them dead.

What is the secret behind Heavenly Host Elementary? And can they all return home alive?

Breakdown: It has been several years since I played any of the Corpse Party games, including the game this is directly adapting, Corpse Party: Blood Covered, so even though I remember the main gist of the story, I wouldn’t be able to give this manga a play-by-play comparison to see how it matches up.

That being said, I did really enjoy the Corpse Party games I played. I got bad ends and that anatomical model can go to the deepest recesses of hell in a coffin made of napalm, but I still got really invested in the story and the characters. It had its hiccups, but they were really well-made.

Blood Covered is an absolutely amazing horror manga. It never made me scream or anything, but I jumped once or twice and it definitely kept up a great atmosphere.

The series pulls no punches with its violence or gore, and by the end I was nearly crying, which is strange because the ending is a lot happier than any of the ends I ever got.

The story was also well-written with several twists and turns that I never saw coming. I had some moments during the Corpse Party games where I felt like the story was contrived or didn’t make full sense, but the manga does a good job ironing those issues out. The only question I really have is SPOILERS Why does Heavenly Host still exist at the end? It shows the kids who were murdered as supposedly being the new spirits running the joint, but they got their body parts back and turned good. I know the spirits still ended up being a part of the school, but I thought their spirits would dissipate or move on once the school was destroyed. What re-tainted them? END SPOILERS

While the character designs are simplistic in style, the horror elements are beautifully stylized and detailed. There are so many panels in this manga that I stopped on just so I could appreciate the creepy vibe they were instilling in the scene.

The characters were also pretty memorable and likable, barring one recurring theme I’ll get to shortly. They were all realistic characters reacting and interacting like real people. I ranted on Twitter a bit about one pretty stupid decision Satoshi made, but it’s not like people don’t make stupid mistakes, especially in horror stories. I felt particularly impacted by Yui, who never once truly faltered in her resolve to stay true and not play this out selfishly or be affected by the darkness.

Mayu never really got a chance to be affected by the darkness, and Satoshi never got affected because that might make him interesting.

That being said, I had some minor issues with the characters. Morishige and Mayu were such non-characters that I pretty much forgot about them by the time the story put the focus back on them. I almost thought Morishige was a completely foreign character wandering around.

They also don’t do much with him when he is reintroduced. We find out he’s got an almost fetish level amount of admiration for corpses, leaving the audience forever wondering if this is a trait he’s always had or if he developed it because of the influence of Heavenly Host, he spends a while searching for Mayu, whom he views as a sister, and outside of spoilers, that’s about it.

His impact on the story is extremely minimal, and Mayu’s impact is even less than that, which is worse because their stories are intertwined so it kinda comes off like they’re just here to up the body count.

Another issue I had was that I was perpetually irritated by the fact that nearly all of the female characters had a romantic obsession with Satoshi – even his little sister! (I can’t escape the incest. Thanks, manga.)

So many times the flow of the story was interrupted by someone getting jealous of Satoshi interacting with a girl, someone getting flustered, sad or embarrassed at the thought of a romantic interaction with Satoshi, Yoshiki getting jealous that Ayumi’s in love with Satoshi instead of him, someone focusing entirely on Satoshi in their efforts to escape the school when they’re all in danger etc. etc.

The only female character here, besides their teacher, who isn’t in love with Satoshi is Seiko and that’s because she’s hopelessly in love with Naomi and spends a good deal of her time teasing Naomi to go after Satoshi. Oh wait, I should mention that Mayu is also not in love with Satoshi as she’s implied to be in love with Morishige, but she’s such a minor character here that it really doesn’t matter.

It’s just incredibly irritating, especially when it comes to Ayumi and Yuka. I won’t lie that part of my irritation with Ayumi is the fact that Yoshiki is in love with her, even confesses it so, but at the very end she’s still dedicated to Satoshi and barely pays Yoshiki any attention even though he’s damn near died several times trying to protect her.

When Yoshiki starts feeling the effects of the school and it’s geared towards jealousy of Satoshi, even though it’s only a few scenes, you do sympathize with the guy because, as far as I’m concerned, Satoshi is a pretty bland Gary Stu.

Seriously, I would never be able to describe Satoshi any further than ‘He’s a nice guy and a good big brother’ Even the people who are in love with him don’t describe him any further than that. Like in the games, the manga makes off like Satoshi is the main character, but he really isn’t. Numerous other characters are more vital to the plot than Satoshi is. I just kept wondering what it is about this guy that makes him so appealing to so many girls.

As far as Yuka is concerned, she could’ve been a lot more annoying, and they didn’t focus a lot on her romantic feelings for Satoshi, but it’s still irritating, especially in regards to the fact that she acts and looks more like a damn toddler when she’s, according to the Wiki, 14 years old.

Also, they spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get this girl to the bathroom….

These aren’t really major issues, but they did keep cropping up and it did get annoying.

All in all, this is a fantastic read. I found myself staying up late reading and being disappointed that I really needed to stop reading and go to bed. Corpse Party tends to do a really good job at making characters that you truly care about while also making a terrifying atmosphere and not balking on deaths. It’s a great mixture of creepiness, gore and horror, and while it does have a few issues in the character department, it’s nothing damaging enough to make me lower my score by much.

Corpse Party has several other mangas out, and I hope to review them in the near future. Maybe I’ll even get my hands on another one of the games or watch the live-action movie.

Additional Information and Notes: Corpse Party: Blood Covered was written by Makoto Kedouin. It was illustrated by Toshimi Shinomiya. It was published by Gangan Joker.

Volumes: 10

Year: 2008 – 2012

Recommended Audience: There is a TON of gore and frightening situations here. People get pulverized by getting thrown into walls, there’s a bunch of chopped up corpses, there are scenes where characters get their eyes stabbed and popped out, their tongues cut out, their heads lopped in half etc. and it is pretty detailed in its gore too. There’s a smidge of fanservice, but not a lot. No nudity either. 16+

CSBS – American Dragon Jake Long Episode 4: The Legend of the Dragon Tooth

CSBS - ADJL EP4

Plot: Haley is getting her first adult dragon tooth, which means the old one is falling out. Hearing this, Dr. Dentin, the Tooth Fairy’s assistant, steals her wand and holds her captive while he tries to steal the dragon tooth for himself. It’s said that planting a dragon tooth in soil will yield unspeakable evil and massive power.

Jake is becoming increasingly irritated by his little sister’s annoying behavior. Not only is she doing what she always does in regards to shoving how much better she is than him in his face, but now she’s being even more coddled by their parents than usual because she’s got a loose tooth.

Trixie and Spud cheer Jake up later that day by telling them they’ll be able to get into the Hip Hop Video Awards where Jake’s celebrity crush, Shaniqua, will be performing. However, his plans are soon soured when his mother reminds him that he agreed to babysit on the night of the awards.

That night, Jake, Trixie and Spud make an arrangement – they’ll each go to the awards while watching Haley in shifts.

As Jake leaves for his shift, Dr. Dentin tries to infiltrate the house only to find that it’s protected by a new shield that Grandpa put up. He has no choice but to wait until she leaves the house.

Meanwhile, Trixie and Spud try to pry out Haley’s loose tooth, in spite of the fact that her mom told her that dragon teeth must fall out on their own. Their efforts are good, but they yield no results. It seems it’s incredibly difficult to pry out a dragon tooth.

Jake returns after his shift, irritated that not only does he have to go back to babysitting but also that the house has basically been destroyed in the tooth antics. Haley tells him that Trixie suggested playing hockey since hockey players always lose their teeth. Fed up with the situation, he tells Haley to go play outside, despite the fact that she’s not allowed to play outside after dark.

Dentin nearly ambushes her, but Haley unknowingly staves off some of his tooth minions with her hockey puck before Trixie and Spud return and take her back in the house.

Jake, Spud and Trixie go back and forth to the concert and home numerous times before they decide to just take Haley with them to go see Shaniqua. As they’re skateboarding to the arena, Jake senses a threat and realizes the tooth minions are following them. Jake makes up an excuse to briefly stay behind and Haley refuses to leave, so Spud and Trixie go on ahead while Jake takes care of Dentin and the tooth minions.

Jake fights the minions again and again, but each time he destroys them they just reform. In the confusion, Dentin grabs Haley and heads off to his lair to retrieve the tooth.

Meanwhile, the tooth fairy, having escaped from near death, seeks out her old friend Fu Dog to help her take down Dentin. Realizing Haley’s the target, Grandpa comes along to help.

They meet up with Jake and head towards the Tooth Fairy’s lair. They manage to hold their own against the tooth minions, but Haley’s tooth gets knocked out in the crossfire. Dentin grabs it and plants it in the soil, turning him into a massive tooth monster. His plans now? To steal money from children to recoup the costs of the Tooth Fairy’s money for teeth tradition. He takes Haley in case he needs more dragon teeth and heads off.

Jake tries to fight him, but gets wrapped up in some cable. He tells Haley to use her dragon teeth to bite through the cable, but she doesn’t feel like she can. After some encouraging words from Jake, she’s able to partially transform and bite through the cable, freeing Jake.

In a final blow, Jake grabs a massive TV screen off the side of a building and slams it into Dentin. The burst of electricity causes him to explode in a flurry of teeth.

Now safe and sound, Jake takes Haley back home. When their parents return, they’re angry about the mess but instantly forget about it when they notice Haley has lost her first tooth.

Even though Jake missed the concert, he’s more than happy to have saved his little sister and gotten some bonding time with her. Meanwhile, Spud and Trixie ride off happily with Shaniqua in her limo sucking down sparkling cider.

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– Ugh, I always hated those tooth monsters. Anything involving teeth squicks me out.

– Yes, our villain today is an evil magical dentist.

– Also, I don’t much care for Haley. Just getting it out there.

– I find it interesting that they confirm that Haley has developed dragon powers earlier than Jake ever did (It clears up why Jake only seems to be learning the basics now when Haley can already partially transform and use fire breath etc. He only developed his powers upon reaching his teens, which means just barely before the series began was when he started gaining them) but the reasoning is a little odd. Girls mature faster than boys. I know that’s technically true, but from a mythical standpoint, that seems a little strange.

– Jake’s face when he imitates Haley, however, is simultaneously hilarious and frightening.

– Actually, Jake’s making a lot of great facial expressions today. It’s like he’s somewhat melded with a Looney Tune.

– Dr. Dentin: *After experiencing the magical shield first hand* *later, after Jake says it’s a spell* “Ah, so that’s what it is. Some kind of magic spell.” What the hell did you think it was? Some kind of electrical shield generator that dispels magical creatures?

– Why did a cat meow when Trixie finally hit Spud with the fire extinguisher? Jake’s family doesn’t have a cat….

– There is no way in hell twenty minutes went by between Trixie and Spud leaving and Haley just going out the door to play hockey. About a minute went by, if that.

– Trixie and Spud both decided to help Jake out with the babysitting specifically so he could see Shaniqua in concert….and when she’s on stage, they argue over who gets to go see her….Uh, what?

– Why didn’t they just take Haley from the beginning? Technically, they shouldn’t be able to in the first place because I doubt they have an extra ticket, but still.

– Trixie’s awful bitchy when she tells Jake and Haley to work out whatever it is on their own.

– Did the tooth fairy actually say ‘H E double hockey sticks?’ Wow…..Actually, now I’m reminded that Disney had a movie called H E Double Hockey Sticks with a good chunk of the movie taking place in Hell. Weird times, the early 00’s….

– How is taking Haley for more dragon teeth going to help? Is he somehow going to get bigger and….toothier?

– So ‘unspeakable evil’ is a giant tooth monster who steals kids’ piggy banks….Okay.

– Why couldn’t Jake bite through the cables with his dragon teeth? It’s especially strange because Haley clearly still has baby dragon teeth.

– It’s weird that the dragon tooth monster thing actually seems less powerful than the tooth minions. Sure, he’s bigger and physically stronger, but he doesn’t have any special powers and the tooth minions simply reform when they’re defeated. The dragon tooth monster doesn’t.

– Also, Jake just straight up murdered someone. Dentin was electrocuted and exploded into a million teeth. He is never seen again.

– How and why did Spud and Trixie get to hang out with Shaniqua after the concert? They’re drinking ‘sparkling cider’ in her limo and everything.

That seems like a cruel ending to a degree. They offer to watch Haley so Jake can see Shaniqua, selfishly refuse to stay home when Shaniqua’s show comes up, their selfishness and balking on their word put Haley in danger to begin with (she would’ve been safe had they stayed home) yet Jake has to miss the concert and Spud and Trixie get to hang out with his celeb crush in a limo.

—————————–

Ultimately, I did kinda like this episode. Haley wasn’t as annoying as she could’ve been, and she even had some moments where she was kinda sweet.

Likewise, Jake wasn’t as annoying as he could’ve been, given the situation, and he also had some nice moments. Trixie and Spud (Mostly Trixie) were basically asses, though. They destroyed Jake’s house and completely screwed him out of his chance to see Shaniqua while simultaneously putting Haley in danger (Unknowingly, but still.) Yet they get to hang out with Shaniqua while Jake fights tooth creatures and nearly takes the blame for their mess.

My other issues were with the enemy. I will admit, this episode did have some good action. While gross (I still hate teeth) and uninteresting in a design sense, the tooth minions were damn near invulnerable. The dragon tooth monster, while also uninspired design-wise, was a set piece for some decent action, but it as the main villain was terribly disappointing.

No wonder more people haven’t tried that dragon tooth trick. It’s just not worth the fuss.

‘Unspeakable evil’ my ass.

Even his motivation was dumb. He didn’t become a big tooth monster to wreak havoc or rule the world – he wanted to steal money from little children, dimes and quarters kinda stuff, because he was sick of the Tooth Fairy giving money away…..

Finally, I did enjoy the Tooth Fairy just because she has a really funny manner of speaking. She talks all sweet and cute, but then she says things that make you double-take. The fact that she legit called her lair her ‘Fa-la-la-la-lair.’ was priceless.