Pokemon Extravaganza! Movie 06: Jirachi – Wish Maker (Dub) Review

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Every 1000 years, the Millennium Comet is visible from earth for seven days. Ash, May, Brock and Max take a break from their Pokemon journey to visit a festival meant to celebrate the Millennium Comet. While enjoying a magic show, they meet the Great Butler and his assistant, Diane, who give Max a crystal that contains the wish-granting legendary Pokemon, Jirachi, as he’s the one Jirachi has chosen to befriend in order to emerge from his slumber.

They become fast friends, but it soon becomes apparent that Butler had malicious motives for giving Jirachi to Max. He wants to use Jirachi’s power and the comet to power a machine that will clone a Groudon as revenge against Team Magma.

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I don’t really know if there’s anything I can say here. Like I said in my Gotta Dance review, I only caught this movie on TV once or twice. I really wasn’t keen on getting into it for a few reasons:

1) I was still salty about Misty leaving.

2) This movie’s main character is Max. I am not a fan of Max.

3) Despite liking him, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jirachi.

I still watched it when it aired on Cartoon Network and I didn’t remember entirely all that happens. I was either watching something else while watching that movie the first time or I just wasn’t paying proper attention. I don’t have much else to say about my previous experience with this movie beyond that.

The poster is really good yet again. I have to wonder why only the starters and Pikachu are on it, but it’s nothing major. Looks fantastic otherwise.

Dogasu’s comparison of the movie can be found here.

Let’s get on with the show then, shall we?

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Since Misty is now gone, we need to make a new ‘World of Pokemon’ opener, but this one’s a bit different….and awesome.

This ‘World of Pokemon’ opener moreso focuses on the legendaries and the Pokemon lore as a whole. The thing that’s really cool about it, though, is the fact that they showcase each of the legendaries that have been spotlighted in all of the previous movies and in the TV show. They even show Ho-Oh first because technically that was the first ever legendary to appear in the show.

Mewtwo follows, and he’s wearing a huge scarf for some reason, then we get Lugia, Entei, Celebi, Latias and Latios (though it must be a different Latios) and Kyogre….who must’ve appeared in the show before this I guess. Each of their shots are extremelycool, too. Entei’s and Lugia’s in particular look amazing.

Cut to a Pokemon battle in a stadium and – oh my god, those are different Pokeballs!

Man, it’s so rare to see different Pokeballs in this show. What’s that black one? It’s awesome!…..Wow, I think this is the most excited I’ve gotten during any of these movie reviews and I’m only at the World of Pokemon opener. Hopefully this is a good omen.

Anyway, we – oh my god, the person throwing them is Ruby!

I’m so unreasonably happy right now!

The narrator continues on saying that Pokemon are sometimes used in battles alongside Pokemon trainers, and Pokemon and humans live together in peace and harmony. However, there are some evil people who want to use the strongest Pokemon for their own malicious means, such as Team Magma’s pursuit of Groudon.

Cut to a cave where two people find a big crystal that supposedly holds the key to granting their strongest desire.

Now we’re with Ash and friends, further explaining their stories. Well, Ash’s dream of being a Pokemon master anyway. The narrator doesn’t even bless the others with names just ‘friends with hopes and dreams of their own.’

Also, you think I’m joking when I call him Messiahchu?

Since when is Pikachu so fast that he doesn’t break surface tension? I don’t even think he’s using Agility!

The narration keeps going with basically saying dreams are great, but be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. Obvious moral is obvious.

We get our title screen and…..really good CGI?…..What the hell were the good CGI guys doing when Gotta Dance was being made?

Ash and the others are walking around in the middle of the night looking for some festival that is meant to celebrate the Millennium Comet, a huge event since the comet only appears for seven nights once every 1000 years.

They reach the location where the festival is supposed to be, but find it to be a completely empty field. They take a break to eat and soon after fall asleep when they’re awoken by the festival workers setting up.

The credits are playing over this…..

But….but…..but what about the theme song? They started not including the theme songs in the movies? That’s a sin or something isn’t it? Outside of the awesome World of Pokemon opener, it makes the opening really lackluster.

Wow, even the CGI trucks look really good….Seriously where the hell were you animators in the short?

We see our main CotM and antagonists, basically, Butler the magician and his assistant, Diane, using cute tricks with balloons to make crates and tents suddenly appear and assemble. The place ends up looking good, but I don’t think that assembly montage was ‘opener-worthy.’

Cut to the daytime where Ash, May, Max and Brock are having fun at the festival and we see Team Rocket throwing fliers for the Great Butler’s magic show. Way to litter, guys. I really never understood why people thought that was a good way to advertise. Yes, it’s exposure but it’s also really annoying.

Ash and the others find one on the ground and decide to go to his show.

Dogasu’s comparison does make a note about this poster. There’s Japanese text at the bottom of the title that is basically the exact Japanese translation of the English words, The Great Butler’s Magic Show. In the dub, they erase this text, which isn’t anything new by far. This is 4Kids. However, it is a new thing for the movies, because, outside of titles and credits, the text has been left alone in the movies.

They explain how this paint edit in particular is dumb because they left half the Japanese theme song to this movie completely untranslated, which is very much a rarity for them. They also have the full Japanese song and the Japanese title card available on the DVD, so it’s yet another ‘missing the forest for the trees’ moment for 4Kids. Maybe they’re just so used to removing this stuff that they did it on instinct.

What I’m more focused on is the sloppiness of this edit. If there’s one thing I can always (backhandedly) compliment 4Kids for is that, when it comes to the editing involved in their changes, they’re pretty good about whitewashing nearly every trace of the fact that they changed it. While their text replacements leave much to be desired most of the time, they’re pretty good when it comes to removals. They’re so good that there have been numerous times when I’ve tried to catch a screencap of the painted shot and it just goes by so quickly that it’s either incredibly difficult or close to impossible to get the shot.

What they do may be stupid, but they did get pretty damn good at it – Usually, anyway.

Nelvana and DiC also do similar edits sometimes and they suck at it for the most part. I remember those edits that Cartoon Network would make on Yu Yu Hakusho to censor blood and middle fingers and they were horrible at it. Colors never matched, the paint would shake in a very distracting manner, and it just looked awful.

I can think of several instances where their paint and editing is off, but 4Kids was basically the best in the business at what they did. I’ve probably missed minute details that they’ve edited away in my SDCs simply because I don’t have hawk eyes or the patience to go through episodes frame by frame.

The shots of Team Rocket throwing the fliers is perfect. You can’t tell a damn thing was changed. Then when they show a close up shot of one of the fliers on the ground, there’s one frame that they neglected to change.

What’s worse is that, in addition to erasing the text, they seem to have moved the shot a bit, making the screen jump when it cuts to that shot.

This is the frame they neglected to paint:

This is the frame post-paint:

Granted, their ‘after’ shot is a little better because they made the G visible, but that’s still no excuse. This is such sloppy editing from 4Kids that I’d actually say I’m disappointed in them. They rarely ever miss frames, and editing mistakes that make the screen jump are a once-in-a-blue-moon deal with them.

The reason I brought up Team Rocket throwing the painted fliers is the fact that those are numerous, much smaller posters being thrown through the air. Meaning you have way more things to paint that are constantly moving and changing angles. That’s a very hard and time consuming paint edit that they did perfectly.

This is a mostly static shot, up close. There’s no reason for this. For shame 4Kids’ editing staff. For shame.

….Last thing about this poster, I promise…..Shouldn’t it be ‘Welcome to THE Great Butler’s Magic Show?’

Cut to the magic show where magic happens. Butler is wowing the audience with his magic and he makes Diane and the stone they found earlier in the cave appear in a puff of fire and smoke. The stone is CGI, and, on its own, it looks fantastic. Diane is traditionally animated…So yeah, it looks wonky when they try to meld the two in one shot and make the CGI move with the regular animation. It just doesn’t look right.

Max starts hearing a voice emanating from the stone talking about wishes and the comet, so he rushes the stage like a crazy person. Ash soon joins him to bring him back to his seat, but Butler and Diane decide to use them as volunteers in their act.

I’m gonna stop right there and explain why I don’t like the fact that Max is technically the protagonist of this movie.

I don’t much care for Max as a character. I find him to be a little annoying know-it-all. He does love Pokemon, yes, and he definitely has a passion for training. But the fact of the matter is that he’s annoying to me because of his attitude and the vibe he gives off. Even his voice irks me.

There’s also little point in him being there. On the episodes that do follow him, they mostly just focus on the bare basics in terms of the spirit and technical aspects of Pokemon training, which makes sense considering Max is too young to be a trainer, but it’s boring to watch unless you’re just that new to the franchise.

If it is to help welcome newbies who may be getting in on the new generation….We have May for that don’t we? Isn’t she supposed to fill the newbie role? I know she becomes a coordinator later, but my point still stands. Plus, he seems to be pretty booksmart in regards to Pokemon, so it’s a little contradictory.

Other than that, his episodes mostly center around his childishness, which also makes sense because child, but that doesn’t make it any better to watch.

Speaking of not being a trainer….Max isn’t a trainer. Thus what he does is essentially nothing in episodes that don’t center around him. He basically takes a seat as yet another Ash companion who is there to be there and not much else.

I guess I understand why Max is the main character in this movie, because it’s cuter to have a younger kid being best friends with a cute Pokemon over the older kids. Plus, the other kids have Pokemon they treasure and Max doesn’t get to actually ‘have’ a Pokemon often.

Still, couldn’t they have just as easily used a new CotM? They did it in movie 04. Max will be gone from the franchise entirely in….what, two or three years? And I will say it makes me stew a bit that who I consider to be the second most useless Ash companion (three guesses who the first is) gets a movie to himself but Brock and Misty never did and this really never happens again as Ash or a CotM takes over in practically every other movie.

I won’t say Max doesn’t grow over time. He does mature and gets slightly less annoying to my recollection. However, we will never see the fruits of this labor. The last we see of Max is him back at his dad’s gym still working on becoming a trainer some day, and I will bet everything I own that we will never see that day.

He’s barely made a cameo since his departure and in order to actually see him as a legit trainer, we’d need to hop ahead three years to make him ten, and Pokemon just doesn’t age people. They may change their character designs a bit, but no aging. Worse yet is the horrible idea of making Ash 13! *gasp*

If anything, Ash has been de-aged recently with the new character designs.

I don’t remember him being quite a big annoyance in this movie, but I’m still not looking forward to an hour and a half of Max spotlight.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Ash and Max are set to perform the trick of ‘the burning box’ which requires them to escape from a box before it bursts into flames. May bitches about not being in the show and Brock does the same because he wants some of Diane’s booty.

They start the trick and decide to make it more interesting by, instead of using flames, using a Dusclops’ Hyper Beam to destroy the box.

Meowth: “They’re stuck in a dark place with impending doom and no way out. That sounds like my life.”

Wow, that’s…kind of dark, 4Kids.

The Hyper Beam goes off and the bottom of the box falls out at the last second, sending Max and Ash under the stage. The Hyper Beam looks weird in this movie. It charges blue and then looks like fire when shot instead of the yellow beam we know and love.

They continue to ride under the auditorium and pop up back in the audience.

As they take the applause, Team Rocket ditch their clown outfits and nab Pikachu as well as Butler and Diane’s Mightyena and Kirlia.

Butler defeats them with Dusclops, Pikachu lends a hand and Dusclops sends them blasting off.

Once the show concludes, Butler tells them that the rock is supposedly housing the sleeping wish-granting legendary Pokemon, Jirachi. He only awakens once every 1000 years and in order to awaken he needs two things – 1) The Millennium Comet needs to be visible and 2) He needs to find a friend.

We’ll be right back with Care Bears: Wish Maker in a moment, but wow that is some crazy coinky-dink. Jirachi can only be awoken when the Millennium comet comes around, which it only does once per 1000 years. How convenient that they happened to find it right as the comet’s set to come in that very night.

They realize that Max is the one Jirachi has chosen to be its friend, and additionally his ‘wish-maker’ if what Jirachi said earlier is any indication….No criteria needed, it probably could’ve talked to anyone or everyone in the audience, but there ya go. Butler hands the rock over to Max since he has the best chance of awakening Jirachi.

Later that night, Ash and the others enjoy the festival some more. May decides to buy a wishing star, which looks kinda like a dreamcatcher. The cashier says that the wishing star is a neat little contraption with which you use in conjunction with the seven days of the comet. On each day of the comet, you fold down one of the points and make a wish. When the final day is done, your wish will come true.

They watch the fireworks and, of course, there’s a Pikachu one and, of course, it’s the biggest one.

They also show a Psyduck, Treecko, Lotad, Torchic, Beautifly and Mudkip…..wow, that was just a big collection of random Pokemon Ash and his friends have owned. Huh.

Can I take the time out to step back and show how crazy Max seems right now?

He’s hearing voices only he can hear and he’s carrying around a rock, cuddling it and treating it like it’s alive. I, you and the Ash gang know or believe there’s a Pokemon in there….but no one else does! I’m surprised more people aren’t staring at the kid giving hugs to the giant purple rock. I can’t be the only one who thinks it’d be funny if it ended up to be just Butler yanking the kid’s chain or Ash and the others humoring him until the guys in white show up to take Max away.

How is Max dealing with lugging that rock around this whole time, anyway? It’s really quite big to be carrying around like a teddy bear.

They see the Millennium Comet, May makes her wish and Max falls asleep. May pats his head and Max mutters for his mommy. Aw. That is kinda cute.

May starts… I suppose I’ll call it humming even though she’s moreso going ‘doodododdodododo’ and another note Dogasu made here was that they left in May/Haruka’s original Japanese voice for this song……which I find baffling. Is Veronica Taylor really that bad at singing that she can’t pull off a ‘doodododododdooododo’ song in her female voice? I’m not really complaining, I’m just curious.

May explains that the song is a lullaby their mother would ‘sing’ to them, and as she ‘sings’, the rock glows and we cut to the woods where a green light is flowing through everything. It looks exactly like Celebi’s time travel effects. An Absol views this and runs towards the rock.

Jirachi emerges, and I will say that Jirachi is very cute…..Not as cute as Mew, maybe on par with Celebi. They also selected an equally cute voice for the little guy.

Diane arrives somehow knowing what happened and tells the kids they can sleep in their bus for the night. Remember kids, if a carny you barely know says you can sleep in their bus, it’s A-Okay!

Diane then runs off to tell Butler who happily receives the news, revealing that he has big plans for the little star—Evil plans! Muahahahaha!! He doesn’t have the voice to pull this off but MUAHAHAHAHAH!

Back with the kids, Max wants to test out Jirachi’s wish-granting powers. So, being a kid, he wishes for a bunch of candy.

Jirachi’s tags glow and he floats up in the air, but nothing happens.

Max: “There’s no such thing as someone being able to grant wishes! I knew it!”

See, this is the kind of crap that makes me dislike this kid. Also, when the hell did you ever say that? You’ve been believing each and every thing about this situation since the instant you heard Jirachi’s voice. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have snuggled with a rock for the past six hours. Little brat.

Jirachi’s wish-granting abilities start working and candy starts popping up all over the bus. I don’t know when crackers and cheese became candy…..but I like cheese, so I’ll allow this.

However, it seems that Jirachi works on the laws of equivalent exchange because we then cut to the vendors at the festival having their candy and foodstuffs disappearing.

Once Max’s wish has been granted, the others fight over who gets the next wish, even going so far as to play tug-of-war with poor Jirachi until they burst out the back door of the bus.

Diane and Butler arrive and explain that Jirachi grants wishes, but the hitch is, like I said, he really just teleports things that you wish for. He doesn’t make them from thin air…..So….Jirachi’s a kidnapping and theft machine. Kinda takes away from the mysticism of this legendary doesn’t it? That also means there’s a crapton of wishes you simply can’t make because of this fine print. This is the least impressive legendary ever.

At least they’re giving rules and restrictions to how this magic works, which is more than I can say for a lot of magic things in kid shows….but when something is a wish-granting machine, you kinda just accept that it grants wishes. The fact that it just steals things makes him a really….lame legendary…that you’d probably get arrested for using.

May flips her lid after discovering what Jirachi did and demands him to ‘get rid of the problem’ which prompts Jirachi to transport May into the pile of candy. I uh….don’t get it? May’s the problem? Because she’s yelling? Or did Max find her to be the problem at the moment and Jirachi was only obeying him? I dunno. Also, how does putting her mere feet away into the candy pile ‘solve the problem’?

Jirachi, exhausted from ‘granting wishes’ goes to sleep, but Butler assures Max that he won’t return to hibernation until the comet leaves at the end of the week. Meanwhile, the kids are doomed to bringing back the candy themselves.

The next morning, Max and Jirachi go off to play while Ash and the others prepare for the show. Apparently, Ash and Brock are clowns now while May’s a stagehand.

Jirachi starts causing trouble as it steals Max’s glasses and coaxes him to chase him while Max tries to help May keep a big lighting tower from falling over. The tower falls on May, causing a mess and she blames Jirachi, even if that was equal parts Jirachi and Max’s fault. Max could’ve stayed and still helped. He doesn’t need his glasses to push a tower up.

Max gets his glasses back and, surprisingly, isn’t mad at Jirachi for nearly causing severe harm to his sister. The Absol from earlier appears and starts attacking Max. Butler notes that Absol only appears in front of humans when a great tragedy is about to occur.

May tries to stave off Absol with Torchic, but has no effect. Ash tries Pikachu and does a little more, but still doesn’t faze Absol much. Jirachi says Absol is there for him and he uses his teleportation powers to teleport Pikachu and Torchic to the roof of the tent.

Absol suddenly directs his attention to Ash and the others and charges toward them. However, Butler triggers a trap door in the stage that sends Absol to a cage and puts him to sleep using Kirlia’s Hypnosis.

Jirachi then falls asleep again for some reason. He sleeps for 1000 years at a time. Does he really need to nod off after doing the littlest thing?

The second night is over, we can hear Jirachi snoring in his sleep through telepathy somehow, and May heads out to use her wishing star again. When she’s done, she spots Butler walking away from the bus where the kids are sleeping. He’s kidnapped Jirachi and put him in a weird device thing he has in his stage. Diane tells Butler that Absol is trying to bring Jirachi back to Forina, the land in which he originated, and that they should let him go back to where he belongs, but Butler ignores her.

He activates the machine, which causes Jirachi pain, and claims that when Jirachi sees the comet with his ‘true eye’ his ultimate wish will come true.

He holds up a glass container with a fossil inside of it and we get a flashback. Butler used to work for Team Magma as a scientist. He was presenting the council of Team Magma with the fossil, which was from a Groudon, claiming that he would create an actual Groudon from the fossil before their eyes.

He fails, claiming he needs a better power source, and is fired from Team Magma as a result. He reclaimed his fossil and vowed that he would make a real Groudon no matter what.

The flashback ends and Butler prepares the machine. He forces Jirachi into opening his true eye with Dusclops’ Psychic, and a beam of light bursts from the eye towards the comet only to return and crash into the stage.

Max and the others arrive and try to protect the wounded Jirachi. Diane pleads with Butler to stop, he claims he’s doing it for her. She says she doesn’t want this, and Butler shoves Diane out of the way to get Jirachi before Max escapes with him.

The gang escapes, and before Butler can pursue them Absol escapes from his cage, attacks them and runs off.

They continue to escape in Butler’s bus, and Mightyena somehow catches up and places a tracker on it.

Diane explains Butler’s backstory again and we actually hear Butler’s legit evil laugh which itself is laughable.

May: “Groudon?”

Brock: “Isn’t that the legendary Pokemon rumored to incredible powers?”

No no, it’s the one legendary Pokemon on planet earth that does not have incredible powers. Oh wait, no, that’s Jirachi!

The only thing we really get from this that we may not have already known is that it’s not Jirachi’s power that Butler is using. He’s merely used as a channel to take power from the comet and use its power instead. So yeah, Jirachi’s one major talent is to take things that don’t belong to him…..Team Rocket should steal this legendary.

So far we’ve had;

Mewtwo, who could do a gigantic list of things with his psychic powers from building a laboratory from scratch, perfecting the cloning process or making an apocalyptic storm.

Moltres, Articuno and Zapdos who basically control the entire ecosystem of the world – plus Lugia who keeps them in line.

Unown who create their own legit realities from scratch.

Celebi who can heal wounds and travel through time as well as psychically make gigantic grass monsters.

Latias and Latios who have sight sharing abilities and the ability to transform or become invisible.

Then we have Jirachi….the thief. He’s supposed to be a wish-granting Pokemon – that’s not outside of the realm of belief for this show. Why is he so seemingly blasé compared to the other legends?

The group decides to head to Forina to bring Jirachi back home…..which is…understandable but a dumb plan. Even if Butler didn’t put the tracker on them, do they really think Forina is the place to go? That’s where Butler found him, Absol’s been trying to bring him back and Diane suggested that they should bring him back earlier. Do they really think he’s pounding his head going ‘where could they possibly have gone!?’

It’s night three, May makes her wish, Jirachi telepathically snores and May and Diane have a chit-chat. She explains that she’s known Butler since they were kids, and she always knew they’d be together. We get a pretty nicely done flashback with everything in warm colors and the kid versions of Diane and Butler in silhouette, which I find to be pretty cool. Butler’s practicing magic on her and after calling him great, he dons the name ‘The Great Butler’, which is good for his magician career and if he ever decides to become a butler.

The flashback ends, and Diane laments how much Butler has changed since the good ol’ days. She can only hope that he’ll return to normal once the comet leaves.

The next day, their journey continues. I want to point out that there’s a shot during the ‘next day’ montage where they get stuck in the mud and even Jirachi is helping push the bus out but Pikachu’s just chillin’ behind them. Messiahchu is above this menial labor!

Night four and day five go by with May and Max seeming increasingly worried and sad.

As we reach night five, May makes her wish and points out that there’s only two more nights left, which upsets Max and makes him run off.

Ash joins him and explains that, while Jirachi may go away, they’ll be friends forever, because true friendship lasts no matter if you see them or not. He gives an example by saying he had to say goodbye to a friend and he misses her everyday. He makes some strained facial expressions as he speaks, but he says they remain friends and will always be such. Ladies and gentlemen, the last known AAML poke. I believe anyway.

Too bad this is a dub-exclusive line. Funny how, even after she’s gone, 4Kids still wants to keep the spirit alive. I miss her too, man. I miss her too.

Does anyone else really wish we got more of ‘older brother’ Ash?

Day six and the gang arrive at Forina. Ah, it’s beautiful. The landscape is crisp. The Altaria are singing. The Tropius are eating the slightly better modeled CGI fruit from the slightly better animated CGI branches. Truly a paradise.

Night six, May makes her wish, Max goes to bed and May hums her lullaby again.

Day seven – judgment day—Er I mean, the last day with Jirachi. The gang is lead by Absol into the cave where Jirachi usually sleeps. Once night falls, he is beckoned towards the comet, but Max pleads for him to grant his wish of staying by his side. However, Jirachi can’t escape the comet’s call and floats up to open his true eye in preparation for the absorption of the comet’s energy and his 1000 year hibernation.

Diane explains that Jirachi collects this energy not only for itself but also for the sake of the land around it. While he sleeps, the land of Forina feeds off the energy to grow and thrive.

As Jirachi is about to collect the energy, mechanisms appear from the cave walls and trap Jirachi in a ball of light. It’s Butler, if that wasn’t obvious, and after one of the most overused jokes in villain history and trapping the gang in a purple lightning cage, he starts his preparations to gather the energy himself.

The process starts, and Pikachu tries to break through the cage to no avail. Hey Ash, aren’t you gonna run into it head first, thinking you’re the Hulk or something?

*doesn’t*

….Wha….eh….Why are you being smart and mature in this movie!? I demand you cease this nonsense at once and go fling yourself towards danger!

Absol and a Flygon from Forina come to destroy the mechanisms creating the cage, and Flygon gives Ash and Max a ride to Butler’s giant platform thinger.

Butler’s revival of Groudon is going smoothly, but Ash and Max arrive to save the day. Butler reveals that he has a friggin’ Salamence and commences aerial battle with them……Awesome! I haven’t seen an aerial battle since Movie 03.

Ash sends Max and Pikachu off to stop the machine and save Jirachi while he distracts Butler in the air. Now you’re being logical? Who are you!?

They do so, the process stops and the gang manages to escape Butler’s evil clutches and Jirachi’s perfectly fine now. May and Max even have a little moment. Awww.

Despite the process being interrupted, a Groudon is emerging from where the energy was being displaced. And it looks AMAZING.

I love Groudon’s design anyway, but this ‘shadow’ Groudon or ‘clone’ Groudon looks fantastic. It looks like it’s actually made of lava with green (and later blue) neon shining through it. It’s especially great right before it’s fully formed. I kinda wish they have kept it more black to be honest, but this is great too.

Butler’s initially ecstatic for the creation of the Groudon, but when he realizes that he used his crest of courage for selfish means and caused a dark digivolution of him, he is shocked and appalled.

They realize that, in a polar opposite manner of Jirachi who feeds the land with energy from the comet, the clone Groudon is actually sucking up energy from the land, causing the plants to die.

Absol tries to attack the Groudon in vain, and Groudon fires back, and holy crap it looks even better when it’s attacking! I love this thing!

Groudon’s not only attacking Absol, he absorbs him into his body. The spikes on his back start to grow and change into cool little blue gooey tendrils to absorb all the other Pokemon of Forina.

Butler lands near the group and Diane asks if there’s anything he can do to stop Groudon, but he is without ideas.

Team Rocket gets absorbed next…Oh yeah, Team Rocket. I forgot to mention them. Yeah, they’ve been popping up now and then for the past half hour to just make a quick comment and then go away. Gotta remember that they exist.

Butler stares in horror at his creation and is about to be absorbed when Diane jumps in to save him and gets absorbed instead.

Is there such a thing as an emotion budget? Because he just used up a lot of it.

May and Brock get absorbed next, and just as Max and Ash are about to get absorbed, Jirachi teleports them away.

Butler, changed in his ways in the wake of Groudon’s destruction, helps out the boys and warns them that the Groudon is after Jirachi’s energy. Butler and his Salamence do everything in their power to keep the tendrils away from the boys, but one gets through the defenses and tries to grab the boys only to be stopped by Flygon.

They hop on Flygon and try to get away underground, but the tendrils continue to follow. As they inch closer and closer, Jirachi teleports them yet again. They meet back up with Butler in the air and he tells the boys that he has an idea. They can drain the energy from Groudon if they can get Jirachi back on his machine and reverse the polarity. Ah yet another problem solved by reversing the polarity. Job well done, science!

Ash initially doesn’t trust Butler, but after seeing his grief at losing Diane, he starts changing his tune. Butler’s Salamence is grabbed by Groudon and Butler falls, but is saved by Jirachi by teleporting Salamence below him.

That just leads to me question….Jirachi’s one major power is teleporting anything he wants right? Then why doesn’t he teleport everyone who is inside Groudon back to where they belong?

Also, why isn’t Jirachi getting exhausted? A couple days ago he was going comatose from teleporting one or two things. It’s been teleporting things all over the place tonight and he still seems fine, even in spite of being drained by Butler’s machine.

Jirachi says that Butler can’t be all bad because he loves Diane and that further encourages Ash and Max to go through with the plan. I feel like this past page has been kinda redundant.

Butler wants the boys to distract Groudon since he’s intent on catching Jirachi. Meanwhile, he’ll tryto get the machine running.

The plan commences, but Butler accidentally drops the Groudon fossil from the platform only to be caught in a pretty cool shot by Ash as they fly on Flygon.

Apparently, flipping the fossil’s container around reverses the polarity…Uh…kay, and they place Jirachi back on the machine. The only thing left to do is to flip the final switch, but as Butler’s about to do so, the platform starts to fall some more, causing him to slip off.

As Butler hangs on by a thread and Flygon and Salamence are absorbed, Ash channels his inner movie protagonist and pulls the switch. Jirachi starts draining the power from Groudon and putting it back into the land, but Groudon attempts to stop his efforts by trying to absorb Jirachi with his tendrils. Butler stands in his way and gets absorbed.

Jirachi’s efforts are successful and we get another really cool shot of Jirachi making another pseudo-comet, the light explodes in midair and creates a star shower as the Pokemon and everyone else reappear safe and sound.

Jirachi floats back down to Max’s arms and thanks Max for making his wish come true – giving him a friend. Awwwwwwwwwwww.

Jirachi asks for one more wish to be granted by Max – he wants Max to sing him the lullaby before he goes off to sleep once more.

Max and everyone else agrees to grant Jirachi his wish. They start sing—Hahahahahaha….ahahaha….hahahahaha….oooohhh….Oh Brock my boy….Please stop. You’re killin’ me. Oh God.

Brock sounds awful when he’s doing this song. He sounds unbelievably bored, like he just got done filing his taxes.

I know for a fact that Eric Stuart can sing. He’s got a couple of songs on 4Kids’ soundtracks that are actually good….and he’s the lead singer of his own band! Maybe slow soft songs just aren’t his thing.

For the record, Veronica Taylor is doing the ‘singing’ voice of Ash. I guess her voice isn’t good enough to sing as a girl but okay to sing as a guy.

I know this scene is supposed to be really sad and sweet, and, for the most part, it is, but the fact that this song is literally just ‘Dododooododododdodoooododdodooo’ makes it seem a little bit on the silly side. Was it really too difficult to give this song lyrics?

Jirachi thanks them all and goes back into hibernation. He reverts to his crystal form and merges back into the earth, causing it to glow.

Max bids farewell to Jirachi and says he’ll always be in his heart.

After a weird scene with Team Rocket, we cut to the next day where we learn that Butler and Diane are going to stay in Forina because as long as they’re together nothing else matters. Uh, you guys don’t want to be magicians anymore? That thing you’ve been your whole lives? What do you intend on doing in Forina?

May congratulates Diane in getting her wish and then freaks out because she forgot to make her final wish on her wishing star. She says it doesn’t matter because everyone has to make their own dreams come true (Shh, don’t tell Disney.) They’re about to get a ride back to town with Butler and Diane when Max hears Jirachi’s voice yet again telling him they’ll be friends forever.

Jirachi! It is way past your bedtime, mister! You go to sleep right now or I won’t make you pancakes for breakfast in 3015!

Max smiles and returns to the bus as our movie ends.

The end credits start and the song is pretty nice…..hey….wait, this sounds familiar….Do…dodoooodododo—It’s the lullaby! It has lyrics!? Then why not sing the song in the movie!? Aw, forget it.

Now….I’m unsure about posting this since it might just be my copy, but since I distinctly remember this also happening when I watched it on TV, I’m going to say I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

During the end credits, May gets hungry, collapses to the ground and complains. A truck drives up and as we see the surprised faces of the group, the shot jars REALLY drastically to the left after about one or two frames. The exact same thing happens in the next shot of the truck driving down the road. The shots are perfectly fine in the original version.

First frame (Group shot):

Rest of Shot (Group shot):

First frame (Truck shot):

Rest of shot (Truck Shot):

I have only one theory as to why this might be. There’s one thing that Dogasu commonly brings up in the movie comparisons – the fact that all of the movies never get widescreen releases despite the source being released in widescreen.

This has caused several issues across the movies, most notably in movie 01 and 02 where people would be cropped out of shots or shots would jarringly shift to get another character who starts talking into frame.

This is the shot in the original Japanese version:

See how everyone’s in the shot and how, at best, only May, Max and Ash make it fully into the shot in the dub? I think this was an insanely sloppy effort to get everyone’s reactions into frame. When the shot returns to the truck, the focus must’ve still been kept to the left for a frame or two and then they corrected it to be centered, making it jar there.

I don’t really get why this needed to be attempted anyway. So Brock’s not in the shot. Who cares? I’d rather have Brock cropped out of a completely pointless end credits scene than have the footage jar all over the place like it was edited by Edward Scissorhands on crystal meth.

This isn’t like in the first movie where they basically had to move the shot suddenly to get Brock into frame because he had a line and needed to be on-screen after someone on the other side of the screen said their line. There is no point here.

Now that I think about it, the earlier cut that jarred the screen also fixed the positioning, so I’m guessing the standard format cut off parts of the poster (IE, the ‘G’ I mentioned), forcing them to move the shot when it got to the close up. So it likely wasn’t because of particularly sloppy editing due to painting off the Japanese text and moreso really sloppy editing due to cropping that occurred between versions.

If this cropping is, for some reason, absolutely necessary, why not just make it so the shot moves slowly from one side to the other? A pan shot is miles above a sudden jump cut to the same scene.

The rest of the scenes are the group stargazing and pointing out Pokemon-based constellations and yup, the rest of this song is indeed in Japanese. I have to say, Bra-freakin-vo on whoever chose the woman to sing the English version of the ending song because she sounds almost exactly like the original singer.

We also get some shots of the group walking, a nice cameo by a good chunk of the group’s Pokemon at the beach, them enjoying some of the same fireworks from earlier (the exact same ones) and finally them staring off into the sunset at the movie ends.

————————————

Bottomline: You probably already got this, but….I kinda loved this movie. Surprisingly, to be honest, because I just didn’t remember giving this movie much credit back when I first watched it, but now that I’ve sat down and watched it again, this is probably the second best Pokemon movie so far.

Practically everything about it works very well. The relationship between Max and Jirachi is genuine, and their departure was saddening and well handled. The May and Max moments were pretty heartwarming. Ash was actually pretty cool to watch for a change. Butler was a legit villain with a backstory, a non-stupid, but admittedly cliché, motivation and something to humanize him. Granted, his voice does not work, but what can you do? Max wasn’t that annoying here. He was actually pretty sweet most of the time. He has his moments of annoyance here and there, but they can be overlooked.

Team Rocket’s part was basically pointless from start to finish, but since they didn’t affect anything and barely had any screentime I can’t complain too much. Speaking of which, outside of hitting on girls, Brock was also totally non-existent here again.

The clone Groudon was AWESOME……But he is one of the bigger problems in the movie mostly because they never explain in the least how this thing was made. Why was the cloning process corrupted into making this shadow Groudon? Was it just because not enough energy was fed into it or are we really going with my dark digivolution theory of using power for selfish means creates evil?

I may rag on Jirachi being a pretty lame legendary (mostly because practically every Psychic type can teleport things and him being a non-wish-granting wish-granting Pokemon is just really disappointing. The fact that he can channel energy from the Millennium Comet is really the only thing he has going for him.) but I will admit, he can be pretty damn cool when the situation calls for it. That finale was simply fantastic.

Story-wise, you can easily compare this with movie 04. That movie tried to combine action with soft and genuine moments of friendship, growth and reflection but the fourth movie pretty much failed. The conflict with Sam being ‘stuck’ in the present was a non-plot point as Celebi could’ve sent him back whenever he wanted. The conflict of Jirachi’s impending 1000 year hibernation was very real and completely unavoidable.

The Sam and Ash friendship was pretty nice and genuine, but I think it was a bit too hammy. I think they overplayed the connection between the two. They got way too close too fast all because they wanted to make the ‘ooh it’s Oak’ connection. In terms of him crying over him leaving as well as everyone else doing so was also over the top for someone who A) Isn’t dying and B) could easily be seen again in their time if they thought to research who it was in the present.

The connection between Sam and Celebi is okay, but they didn’t focus on it enough. Like I said, it felt like Ash kept taking the spotlight away from what seemed to be their story and slowly it started to be more like Ash was meant to have the connection with Celebi and not Sam.

The relationship between Max and Jirachi is a bit forced at first, downright weird when Jirachi is a rock, but the way I see it is that Max views Jirachi as kinda his first Pokemon. As a non-trainer, but an aspiring one, he has no Pokemon of his own to care for, yet he really loves Pokemon. So it’s not that far out there that he’d be really excited to have Jirachi choose him as his friend.

Additionally, the small bits with May and Max were well done as they have a very realistic relationship here. They fight, they make pokes at each other, but in the end they still love each other and aren’t afraid to show it when the situation calls for it.

I didn’t quite understand why May kept getting so angry with Jirachi, though.

Ash’s role in this movie was near perfect. He was the smartest and most mature I’ve ever seen him, even better than movie 03, and he never seemed to take the spotlight away from Max and Jirachi’s story. He obviously got focus, and, in the end, had his little hero moment, but they had just the right amount of focus on him and Pikachu.

Ash’s role in movie 04 overstepped his bounds. There were so many times where I felt Ash was stepping on Sam and Celebi’s toes and taking the story from them. Plus, he was pretty annoying and dumb in that movie.

Butler is the first villain that I would actually say is good outside of Mewtwo. He’s fleshed out, has a story, has a human connection and has a believable reason for turning to the side of good at the end. He wants Jirachi for a legit reason, he wants to create Groudon for a legit reason, and everything he does has a purpose. He was a scientist bent on revenge who created a monster in place of his dream. He realized his mistake, he paid for it, and he helped fix it. Even Diane was well-used as a character, though she’s a bit too passive for my tastes.

The Iron Masked Marauder may have been the first villain in these movies who was a legit villain, again outside of Mewtwo, but he was really cliché. He has no backstory, he wasn’t fleshed out outside of ‘he works for Team Rocket and wants Celebi’s powers to take over Team Rocket and rule the world.’ We never learn why he’s specifically targeting Celebi nor why he’s destroying the forest. He never changes, he never grows and even the reveal of who/what was behind the mask was lame because it was nothing.

Lawrence the Third was complete nothing outside of a collector, and Annie and Oakley were just thieves who, like IMM, wanted Latios and Latias merely for power and to take over the world. Their growth and change was really just giving up on resisting their punishment in the end.

Movie 04’s seemingly pointless and cliché, sometimes cheesy and laughably animated, action gets in the way of what could be a heartwarming story of a boy (Seriously) trapped in another time. That’s a pretty interesting story. You could also greatly build on his connection with Celebi through a lot of quiet and soft moments, but those were too few and far between amongst the insanity.

This movie had what I think is a pretty nice balance of quiet, genuine moments and action. Plus, the action had a point, didn’t seem to be in the way and was completely awesome from start to finish.

This movie is everything 04 could’ve been but wasn’t.

Art: The art, animation and CGI are the best I’ve seen them. The CGI is actually the best of the movies so far, I believe edging out movie 03 merely because of the icky Unown. The CGI here does have its spots of poor quality, but they’re quick and not very noticeable. I think a lot of this is helped by the fact that much of the CGI is done at night, making imperfections more masked.

Shame on the editors for this movie though. One screen-jarring edit is bad enough, but three?

And yes, I also don’t understand why the hell they went through so many years of releasing the movies in standard format instead of widescreen when the source is widescreen. All it does is make more problems for them.

That in itself dropped this movie down a couple of decimal points for me. It was probably fixed in future releases, if there were future releases, but the fact that this was greenlit for release on VHS and/or DVD and TV release once upon a time with these issues intact is enraging to me. Pure laziness.

Music: The music was great, though I do miss the OP. The lack of music at numerous moments was also a welcome change of pace. The ED is really nice, though the in-movie version will never sound not-silly to me. When May does it alone, it’s not too bad, but when they all did it it was hard to keep focus on the sad Jirachi departure because ech.

All in all, a pretty great movie. Not perfect, but definitely the most I’ve enjoyed a Pokemon movie since 03, and that’s really saying something.

Recommended Audience: Nothing that I remember. E for everyone!

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SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 34: The Most Important Matter – The Ability to Trust Someone

SSBS - TMM EP 34 TITLE
Why are we only now focusing on Lettuce’s artistic abilities? She’s amazing.

Plot: Ichigo and the other Mews are raising money at a charity drive with a Cafe stand. While Mint tries to contribute by peddling her 10,000,000 yen armoire, Lettuce offers to sell a bag of dolls that she hand-made herself. She’s selling them for a mere 100 yen a piece, but is okay with that price since she would’ve easily just given them away to whomever liked them.

Aoyama arrives and compliments Lettuce’s dolls. A sudden rush of customers nabs them all up in a matter of hours, clamoring over their cuteness. Shirogane arrives to see what all the fuss is about, which seems to prompt Aoyama’s departure.

Just as they’re about to close up, a woman comes by asking if there are any dolls left. Lettuce gives her the last one, a green finless porpoise. The woman compliments her on her adorable dolls and reveals herself to be Ayano Uemura, a very famous doll-maker. She likes Lettuce’s work so much that she gives her a business card and tells her to drop by her workshop.

After some encouraging words from her friends and family, Lettuce goes off to meet Ayano in her workshop. She offers to make a doll with Lettuce, and after days and days of planning, designing and sewing, they make a beautiful doll. Lettuce couldn’t be happier, and she gets even better news when Ayano says she’s entering Lettuce and her doll into a local exhibit.

When they arrive, however, they see that Ayano is claiming the doll as her own and refuses to acknowledge the girls’ claims that Lettuce made it. She even calls security to escort them from the premises. Ayano runs off from her stand in frustration and possible guilt when she runs into Kisshu.

He decides that he’s going to cause a ruckus at the exhibit just to mess with the Mews and turns Ayano’s soul into a Chimera Animal. The Mews rush in to combat Kisshu, but are surprised and confused when Kisshu states that this Chimera has only one attack, an easily avoidable web shot that can only be used once. As Ichigo is about to attack and take the Chimera Animal down, the real ability of the Chimera Animal is revealed to be using the web to grab the dolls and strike the Mews down with them, snaring them in web.

Lettuce is able to summon her castanets with her fingers, and, enraged at the misuse of preciously crafted dolls, uses her Ribbon Lettuce Rush to blast away the web. With the web gone, Ichigo is free to attack the Chimera Animal and return Ayano back to normal.

Ayano admits that she’s been in a creative slump for a long time and was nearly about to quit when she stumbled upon Lettuce’s dolls at the charity drive. She envied her creativity, so she concocted a plan to get Lettuce to design and make a doll with her so she could pass it off as her own and revitalize her career.

Lettuce doesn’t appear to even be slightly angry at Ayano’s actions. She tells her she was happy that Ayano liked her dolls. The point of doll-making is to spread happiness. It doesn’t matter who takes credit for making the doll as long as the doll itself makes others happy. She also admits that she had a lot of fun making a doll with Ayano and asks Ayano if she at least had fun too.

Ayano admits that she did and tearfully apologizes to Lettuce. Lettuce suggests that they make another doll again someday and she agrees.

Her friends all look on in pride, realizing that Lettuce is an incredibly strong person. She knew all along what Ayano was doing, but believed in her anyway. She had the strength to have hope and the kindness to forgive.

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– Lettuce’s reaction to everyone buying up her dolls is hilarious and adorable.

SSBS - TMM EP 34 screen2

– Lettuce didn’t bring nearly enough dolls to cater to all of these people. They just had a massive surge of customers and they show the stand as still being full. She came with one bag….

– N’awwww, that doll’s adorable! I looks like it’s kinda modeled to be a Mew Lettuce themed porpoise. I want it!

SSBS - TMM EP 34 screen1

– Wow, Lettuce has the nicest family ever. Even her little brother is a sweetheart. No wonder Lettuce is so kind.

– As much as I’m liking this episode so far, I saw the ‘she stole my doll’ twist from the instant she invited Lettuce over to make a doll. Not only is it predictable, but I saw this exact same plotline in an episode/chapter of Hell Girl a little while ago. There was a young woman who was an up and coming chef and she had this mentor-like person. The mentor was faltering in his creativity, so he stole the new signature recipe she had made and passed it off as his own to bring more life back into his career.

I’m almost certain this episode doesn’t end with Ayano being sent to hell by Hell Girl, though.

– I don’t really get why she invited Lettuce to the exhibit. If she hadn’t, she wouldn’t have to deal with a possible PR issue. They’d probably still find out, but still.

– Hahah! I love that Kisshu’s reason for attacking today is literally ‘Eh, I just wanted to screw with you.’

– Was kinda hoping Lettuce would get a full transformation sequence today since Mint got one a couple episodes ago. Oh well, at least Ichigo wasn’t given one either.

– Hm. Pretty lazy animation today. QUICK, ZOOM IN ON THAT STILL SCREEN A BUNCH OF TIMES TO SIMULATE MOVEMENT!

– Lettuce gets to help save the day by badassingly freeing them from the spider web…but….Ichigo still gets the final attack.

– So when do they reveal that Lettuce is secretly an angel? Because, man, the levels of understanding and forgiveness in her heart are insane.

– Looking back, what was Ayano’s long-term plan? She only made one doll with Lettuce, and certainly there’s no way she’d make another with her after finding out about what she did. Was she really going to coast on the success of one doll? What happens after that? Stealing one doll won’t bring back her own creativity.

————————————–

Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. I always really enjoy Lettuce stories. She falters and is slightly annoying in how soft-spoken she is, but she’s always hopeful and caring and is constantly trying to see the good in people. It’s hard not to root for her time and again.

Art theft is one of my instant bitch-switch flippers, and even though I knew she’d steal the doll and claim it as her own, I still felt angry when it was finally revealed. However, we didn’t go down the route of the characters lecturing her with ‘Art theft is wrong! Stealing is wrong! You’re a bad person and you should feel bad!’ Instead, we got a lesson in forgiveness and understanding the true meaning behind any form of art – spreading happiness. Or at least some meaningful emotional response.

It’s about establishing connections and sending messages to the people around you. One day you could feel like entertaining them with a big comic book splash page and another day you might feel like impacting their heart with a sad painting.

Is art theft still horrible? Yes. Should you tolerate it? Hell no. But you also shouldn’t bear such deep grudges. Let others know what they did, let whatever punishment that is about to befall them befall them and hope they never do it again. That’s really all you can do.

The animation in this episode is some of the worst we’ve had so far. Some of it is laughably horrible. The Chimera Animal this episode also felt a bit forced, but I will accept Kisshu’s hilarious excuse of just wanting to cause trouble for literally no reason. Truth be told, I’d probably take that over yet another false Mew Aqua identification.

Plus, we got to see some really adorable dolls in this episode. I really want the finless porpoise and the….whatever that was that Lettuce and Ayano made together. It looks like a Pokemon, to be honest.

Next episode, continuing on with ‘not-focusing-on-Ichigo-for-a-change’ month, Zakuro meets a little girl who is one of her biggest fans.

CSBS – Fillmore! Episode 5: Red Robins Don’t Fly

CSBS - Fillmore Episode 5

Plot: Ingrid goes undercover as a Red Robin to uncover illegal operations. While Ingrid goes in with the mission in mind, she finds herself slowly getting too comfortable with them.

Breakdown: This episode was a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, it’s very predictable. There’s no mystery as to who the perp is this time because they make it clear from the start, given the plot setup. The only thing we have to go on is wondering if Ingrid will choose to leave the Safety Patrol and become a Red Robin, which is kinda silly because we all know she wouldn’t.

The only reason to have any faltering faith in Ingrid is due to her still being excluded in some areas because she’s the new kid. Despite that, though, it’s not like she hasn’t found a place where she belongs, with the Safety Patrol, so whatever concern might exist is very shaky.

They try to make the play that Valejo is also treating her differently because she’s new, but it’s not a strong enough argument. He doubts her when she’s already undercover, but he doesn’t make his worries known to Ingrid. The only thing he says to her before she leaves is that she might be a bit too green to take on a well-known and long-standing criminal organization such as the Red Robins, which is understandable.

The aspect of Valejo worrying about Ingrid’s loyalties stemming from a similar situation happening with the current Red Robin leader was good, but the payoff was unsatisfactory. Valejo and Malika don’t even speak to each other in this episode, and Malika never turns over a new leaf or anything.

It would’ve been better if she and Fillmore got into it somehow before the case was brought up. They have butted heads on cases before, and Ingrid has been nudging the gray area on morality out in the field in the past already, so it would be very easy to integrate a bit of a fight at this point.

Not much happens to make Fillmore’s faith in Ingrid waver either. She knew they had a lot of cool stuff and missed one meeting with Fillmore. Then he’s suddenly confronting her about not falling in with a bad crowd, even if they offer acceptance, because that type of connection isn’t real. An improvement in that area would have been if they worked in at least one line of Ingrid mentioning how nice they are and how much they like her to solidify her own questionable loyalties.

You could also maybe have Valejo talk to her instead of Fillmore. He’s the one with the concerns and the past with the Red Robins.

There’s a major problem with this episode that was bugging the hell out of me. How can Ingrid even successfully go undercover? She may still be seen as the new kid, but she’s been around X Middle School for a decent amount of time now, and she’s been a Safety Patroller for quite a while. How can one of the biggest criminal organizations in the school not know who she is? Even by name?

It’s especially unbelievable given the current situation. The reason the Safety Patrol is going after the Red Robins is because they accidentally found a huge crate of ribbon candy in the lake and knew it must have been an old haul from the Red Robins – likely taking it from a competitor. Ingrid is the one who handled that discovery. The Red Robins are fully aware of this and even described it as a huge debacle, yet Ingrid’s name never came up? They never uncovered the identities of the Safety Patrollers handling that case?

Rating: 5/10 It’s not a bad case, but the writing could be better and there’s no twist or mystery to make up for the weak spots.

Smile Precure!/Glitter Force Episode 1 Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: Miyuki loves picture books because they all have happy endings. She hopes to apply the lessons she’s learned from picture books to her own life to find happiness in every day. One day, she sees a picture book fall from the sky along with a cute little fairy named Candy. She explains that she’s from Marchenland, but has no time to talk. As Miyuki tries to process what just happened, Candy disappears.

Miyuki tries to adjust to her life in a new school when a wolf monster named Wolfrun tries to bring despair to the world so he can revive his fallen emperor, Pierrot. Candy is trying to assemble the Precures to stop him and save her world.

Miyuki falls into a weird library after messing with a glowing book in the school’s library and is shown a portal to Candy’s location where she is fleeing from Wolfrun. Miyuki escapes the library and races to protect Candy. She’s no match for Wolfrun, but she won’t give up. She won’t allow Wolfrun to bring a bad end to everyone when she can achieve a happy ending with enough effort.

Her bravery and hope triggers a Smile Pact to appear before her, and she’s prompted by Candy to use it to become Cure Happy. She does so and, after some trial and error, manages to take down Wolfrun’s house monster, Akanbe, and send him packing. Miyuki is now tasked with assembling the other Precures to retrieve the lost Cure Decors and save both of their worlds from destruction.

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Oh dear, I accidentally made a Shoujo Step-by-Step entry for Smile Precure when the suggestion was a Sub/Dub Comparison. But, eh, this is much too recent. It’s probably not that bad. I’ll just give the first episode a looksie and make a few footnotes about it in the SSBS review.

*One bad decision later*

Arhrhrhghghgggggggggggggggghghghghgh!……..geh……Saban….Why? Netflix…WHY? I thought we put dubs like these long behind us. This was released in 2015….On NETFL—WHY?!

Okay, okay…let’s calm down….and go through the episode….somewhat ironically, step-by-step.

Title Change: As you can probably already tell, the show’s title was changed from Smile Precure! To Glitter Force. I don’t really mind it being changed because Smile Precure just doesn’t seem like it would mesh with western audiences….but…Glitter Force? I was almost dying of girly overload before I even pressed ‘play.’

The original episode doesn’t start with the theme song. It starts with a vague unrelated and oddly quiet scene of the Precures posing, entering the picture book, the picture book flying away and then a bunch of balloons flying overhead. The theme doesn’t start until Miyuki has met Candy and runs to school.

Theme Song: The dub’s opener is much shorter, but does contain clips from the actual opener. The songs are also entirely changed. The original’s is pretty okay. I don’t really love it, but I don’t dislike it. The dub’s is catchy, but the lyrics are almost entirely just ‘Glitter force’ over and over with some generic lyrics thrown in.

Episode Title: In the original, the episode is titled ‘A Star is Born! All Smiles: Cure Happy.’ In the dub, it’s ‘An Exciting Beginning.’ Did the intern stay after hours an extra five minutes to come up with that one?

Also, the original has title cards, while the dub….puts their title on screen…..transitioned with sparkles and a glittery sound effect.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

I have my worries that this show will be Mew Mew Power levels of irritating to compare because we’re already starting off with another scene change – and the scene we’re starting from in the dub isn’t even from this episode.

I refuse to let you force me into doing as much work as I did with MMP, Glitter Force, so until we get to that scene in the original, I’m not going to compare this scene – I’ll just analyze it.

Name Change: Miyuki Hoshizora is changed to Emily. Like in many English magical girl anime, this name change ruins the meaning behind it. Miyuki can literally be translated to ‘happiness’ while Hoshizora can be translated into ‘starry sky,’ alluding to her light-based powers. According to her Wikia page, her name literally translates to, altogether, ‘The starry sky of happiness’

Emily, on the other hand, only means ‘rival’ ‘laborious’ and ‘eager.’ I don’t know much about the series so far, but I’d say the only one that suits her is ‘eager.’

Emily is shown sleeping in her bed, wishing she’d have a familiar dream of her and the other Precure – I can assume they’re not called Precures here then, right? We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. She dreams of her and the other girls transforming – thanks for spoiling the other girls transformation sequences a bit, by the way.

The Smile Pact is changed to a Glitter Pact.

In order to activate the Smile Pact, the Precures say ‘Precure Smile Charge!’ In the dub, it’s ‘Glitter Force Makeover!’

The Smile Pact originally just says ‘Ready’ when activated. The Glitter Pact says ‘Activate Glitter Pact.’

After Miyuki says her line, the Smile Pact says ‘Go go go! Let’s go happy!’ In the dub, Emily says ‘Magic Glitter Puff! Here we go!’

Blah blah blah, they’re all transforming.

“It’s like a fairy tale with girl power and makeup!” My….soul…is…rotting.

Miyuki’s magical girl motto is “The light of the future, shining bright! Cure Happy!”

Emily’s motto is “A fabulous shimmer, a glow in your heart! I’m Glitter Lucky!”

I’m…a little annoyed by this name change. Isn’t Miyuki called ‘Cure Happy’ because she wishes to find happiness in every day and believes in everyone finding happiness in their lives? Isn’t her name also meant to point at the Bad Ending vs. Happy Ending theme we’ll have going here soon?

Her view is that people can change their happiness for the better if they try hard enough. You can’t change your luck no matter how much you try. What was wrong with calling her Happy? You can change the ‘cure’ part, whatever, but why change Happy?

Wow, guys, for real? You not only spoil the other girls transformations…but also their second forms? For absolutely no reason?! Come on. Why even let me watch the rest of the series? Just tell me how it ends so I can go on with my life.

Now we’re actually at the scene that episode one starts with. Emily blames her lateness on the unnecessary dream she had. Miyuki is just late for no reason.

Miyuki doesn’t mention that the butterfly she sees is good luck, but I’m assuming we have to jam mentions of luck in here somewhere.

Also, hi Laura Bailey! Thanks for being here so this dub can be tolerable.

Like a lot of magical girl anime sidekicks, Candy has a speech quirk – she tends to say ‘Kuru’ a lot. Also, yes, Candy is frickin’ adorable. In the dub, Candy does not have any speech quirk.

Miyuki asks if Candy is a cat, dog or raccoon-dog/tanuki. Emily asks if she’s someone’s toy, if she’s expensive and where she can buy one. I’ll answer that – No, she’s not a toy, but there is a toy version of her, and yes, she’s expensive. There’s one on Amazon for 85 bucks. Have fun.

Is it a change if Candy originally introduces herself as a fairy and in the dub she calls herself a pixie?….Fairly Odd Parents says I should. I will.

Candy is originally from Marchenland. In the dub, it’s Jubiland.

Marchenland is the land of picture books. Jubiland is the kingdom of happy endings….Hey, I know a place in the seedier part of town that also calls itself ‘the kingdom of happy endings’! *wink wink wink*

Also, hi Debi Derryberry! What a completely random place to see you. For those unfamiliar, she voices Zatch from Zatch Bell as well as Jimmy Neutron.

Miyuki asks Candy if she’ll be her friend. Emily asks if she’s the kind of pixie that grants wishes.

At this point, I think it’s safe to assume all of the BGM is replaced. It’s not bad, and I’ll be sure to note if it’s particularly inappropriate for a scene.

They edit out Miyuki freaking out internally for a while.

Oh my god, even the digital paint is back in full force. In the original, Miyuki’s name is written on the board behind her. In the dub, it’s painted away.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Name Change: Akane Hino is changed to Kelsey. Like with Miyuki, her name also has meaning. In addition maybe being a sendup to Rei Hino of Sailor Moon, the Hino part translates to ‘of the sun’ or ‘sun’ and ‘field’ and Akane is meant to be ‘madder red’ or ‘sunset,’ altogether meaning ‘madder red sun field’ or ‘madder red sun field sunset.’ Grammatically, that doesn’t make much sense to me, but I lifted that from the Wikia, so take that as you will.

Kelsey means ‘brave’ or ‘ships victory.’ I’ll accept that as being fitting, but there’s lost symbolism.

Akane originally tells Miyuki to introduce herself. Kelsey asks if Emily’s playing charades since she’s great at them.

Originally, Miyuki is stuttering through her introduction. In the dub, she suddenly blurts out part of the pledge of allegiance. I don’t think I’ve seen many dub jokes that would literally only be understood in America, but Saban did it. Good job.

Okay…so the dub….makes off like Emily’s psychic? Because they make a point to show her as Glitter Sunny after Kelsey shows her face to her when this shot isn’t present in the dub because, at this point, Miyuki has no idea about Precures nor who the other Precures are. Then she thinks to herself ‘She’s from my dream!’

Name Change: Cure Sunny is changed to Glitter Sunny.

Akane says Miyuki’s a bit of an airhead but focuses deeply. Kelsey says Emily’s not very good at public speaking.

Akane says Miyuki likely has a little brother named Mitaro Hoshizora, which literally translates to ‘Let’s look at the stars!’ because he really loves stars. Kelsey says Emily’s a transfer student, she thinks it’s nice to meet them and she waves her hands a lot. I guess that last part is a joke to anime and cartoons sometimes overdoing the nervous hand waving thing with shy characters.

Might I just say that Akane comes off as much more jovial and playful than Kelsey? She just seems like she’s making fun of Emily while Akane seems like she’s trying to break the ice for Miyuki.

Also, hi Colleen O’Shaugnessey! You’re kinda following me this week, aren’t you?

When Nao/April has her line, we’re again interrupted by a shot to Emily and the flash to April’s transformed state, Glitter Spring.

Name Change: Nao Midorikawa is changed to April. In addition to this maybe being a sendup to Lettuce of Tokyo Mew Mew (??) Midorikawa literally translates to ‘green river’ while Nao means ‘straight’ So, basically, a straight green river.

April is, surprisingly, very fitting. In the original, her Cure form is Cure March, alluding to spring and wind, so April is a nice name here.

Name Change: Cure March is changed to Glitter Spring.

Reika says introductions are something you should do for yourself. Chloe says it’s alright for Emily to be nervous because everyone’s nervous on their first day.

Like with Kelsey and April, Chloe’s appearance is also followed by a shot to Emily and a flashback to Chloe’s transformed state, Glitter Breeze.

Name Change: Reika Aoki is changed to Chloe. Aoki can be translated to ‘blue wood’ or ‘blue tree’ while Reika is meant to be translated here as ‘beautiful’ or ‘elegant.’ Altogether, it’s meant to say ‘beautiful blue tree’ or ‘beautiful blue wood’ but I prefer the former.

Chloe means ‘green herb’ or ‘fresh blooming’ which makes zero sense given her power and seems like a rough draft name for April.

Name Change: Cure Beauty is changed to Glitter Breeze.

Might I say that this name change also makes no sense? Nao/April’s power is wind….Why would Chloe, whose power is ice, be named Glitter Breeze instead of April? Why not Glitter Snow or Glitter Ice or something?

Did they just have too many ideas for names for Nao and not enough for Reika that they just gave her hand-me-down names?

Akane says Nao’s kinda like a gangster. Nao yells out ‘gangster?!’ in response while Miyuki also says ‘Gangster?’ In the dub, Kelsey says April’s tougher than most of the boys at their school. She says she’s not that tough and Emily says ‘nice to meet you.’

Akane says all the guys think Reika’s a real hottie. Reika then says ‘Hottie?’ In the dub, Kelsey says ‘She’s so perfect, it’s almost scary.’ Chloe then says ‘I’m not perfect.’

They omit Akane stating she moved from Osaka….which might mean….Oh god. They might be pretending this series takes place….In America!

american 2

Yayoi tries to speak in Akane’s defense to Miyuki stating that she was just trying to loosen her up by messing around. In the dub, Lily sounds…a little like an idiot. She says she liked Emily’s introduction and especially liked the part where she said her name was Emily (That’s really the only thing she said) because she had a hamster named Emily.

Name Change: Yayoi Kise is changed to Lily. Kise means ‘Yellow river rapids.’ while Yayoi translates to ‘March’ and I think lines keep getting crossed on both ends or else people just have a lot of ideas for names for Nao and keep chucking them to others.

Lily’s name, while being another spring themed name, means ‘pure’ ‘innocent’ or ‘cute’, which I, oddly, find more appropriate than Yayoi.

Name Change: Cure Peace is changed to Glitter Peace.

Fun fact! Supposedly, in the ‘Smile Warrior’ dub, she’s called Warrior Peace….if there were ever a more contradictory name.

Again, her appearance is followed by a shot of Emily followed by her transformed state in a flashback, this time a longer shot of Emily stating that she’s also from her dream, so maybe it wasn’t a dream.

Just to reiterate that this whole introduction scene is a lot of exposition, like I mentioned in the SSBS entry for this episode, Kelsey literally says ‘Last but not least’ when she reaches Lily, because that rounds out all of the girls and no one else in the class matters.

Oddly, despite the change from happiness to luck, Miyuki’s actual introduction about loving happy endings in pictures books and wanting to find happiness in her own life is left entirely alone.

Akane asks what happiness means to her. Kelsey asks if she means like when the cafeteria serves fries instead of creamed spinach and peas.

Akake says she’s not sure she understands what she means, but she kinda does. Kelsey says she thinks Emily’s talking about sun stroke. Haha, get it? Because she’s Glitter Sunny? Hahahaha. Ha.

Teacher: “Well, aren’t you lucky?” Hahah, get it? Because Emily’s Glitter Lucky? Hahaha. Ha.

For the sake of time, thanks to that dream sequence insert I surmise, they completely remove Miyuki seeing Candy out the window, freaking out because of it, getting chastised for yelling in class, sitting back down and pouting.

Miyuki says she doesn’t want to keep Akane from her club activities. Emily says she wants to go to the library to check out a book on dreams.

Miyuki goes to search for Candy while Emily goes immediately to the library.

Because Miyuki’s searching for Candy and not the library, she first finds the music room, then the science lab then finally the library. Even if she wasn’t looking for Candy, it’s realistic for a transfer student to have difficulty finding a specific location within the school.

Miyuki says an empty library is kind of mysterious. Emily says that, with so many books, there has to be something on dreams.

Aw, they got rid of this joke. And more digital paint emerges. In the original, the glowing book is titled ‘Mysterious Doorway’ which I thought was pretty funny. In the dub, this is changed to ‘The Library of Legends.’ Also, they painted away the Japanese text on the book spines around it. Because it’s so terrible to have text in this library—oh God, 4Kids flashbacks! You had no problem showing Japanese text in shows like Digimon – why care now, Saban?

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Minor, but the light makes sounds like a lock when the books are shifted, which makes sense because it’s literally a lock. In the dub, it makes weird laser noises.

Miyuki says that the books are glowing. Emily says ‘Emily, you’re not in Kansas anymore!’ That movie reference was necessary. Also, that’s something better to say after you’ve been transported somewhere else.

They, again, remove a scene with Candy. She’s running around yelling for the Precures when she catches her first glimpse of Wolfrun.

No more eyecatches! I don’t really see the need to get rid of eyecatches all the time. Just shift them around if the timing of the commercials is off.

Eyecatches:

Emily: “Magical books! In glittery pixie dust!” Please shut up.

After Miyuki replaces Candy’s book on the shelf, it glows and falls back out, revealing a portal to Candy’s location. In the dub, they use this opportunity to give us the full backstory on the Glitter Force as told by the magical book.

I wanted to stop before I even watched the scene because I’m trying to review the original series, but the dub keeps spoiling everything.

Well, like last time, let’s just analyze the scene. The book introduces herself as the Queen of Jubiland, It was a bright and joyful world yadda yadda, it was attacked one day by an evil emperor, blah blah blah.

“Until it was attacked by the evil emperor Nogo, ruler of the Shadow Realm.”

….E…excuse me….what?

“Nogo, ruler of the Shadow Realm.”

I’m…I’m sorry, one more time.

“Ruler of the Shadow Realm.

Yeah….that’s what I thought you said….

I don’t know how to respond to this….The goddamn Shadow Realm….They HAD to know….It’s practically a meme! You can’t tell me they didn’t know! Hundreds of people working on this shit and no one stops to say ‘Hm, Shadow Realm. Where have I heard that before?’

The only way I’ll forgive this is if Nogo turns out to be Marik or Yami Bakura or something and the Glitter Force has to fight him with Millennium Items.

I was only kidding about the 4Kids stuff, but wow. Just wow. This threw me for a massive loop. If they start calling riceballs donuts, I’m out of here.

Name Change: Pierrot is changed to Nogo. I actually don’t mind this because I can’t separate that name from Studio Pierrot.

The Queen says that she is using all of her power to keep the evil at bay while Candy goes off to find the five legendary warriors to combine and make the Glitter Force, but they must retrieve the five Glitter Charms from the enemy in order to achieve their full power.

Cure Decor are changed to Glitter Charms.

Wow, spoiling their second transformed states AGAIN. You’re just being an ass now, Saban.

We don’t originally learn that Miyuki’s one of the Precures until she’s trying to defend Candy much later. In the dub, the Queen just blurts it out. She says that she has to find and assemble the other warriors to restore a happy ending to their world and hers.

Queen: “You, Emily, are our only hope!” Only you can use your main character default-leader-ness to save us!

They shifted the previous lost scene of Candy running into Wolfrun to immediately after the Queen stops talking. They still keep the book falling to the floor as cut and don’t show Miyuki peeking through the books.

Her finding out that she’s a legendary warrior so soon kinda damages the story. Miyuki tries her best to save Candy, knowing she’s just a regular girl and has little to no chance. This shows incredible bravery and firm resolve. In the dub, she knows she’s a legendary warrior before she even realizes Candy’s in trouble (She even says stuff like ‘She’s looking for me!’ when Candy is shown looking for the legendary warriors and says ‘I can’t believe I’m a superhero!’ when she continues searching for her), so she feels more compelled to find her and save her as a legendary warrior.

Signs are painted!

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Bookshop signs!

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Miyuki just says ‘Candy’ over and over while Emily says ‘I can’t believe I’m a superhero!’

More signs are painted as she chases Candy.

Name Change: Wolfrun’s changed to Ulrich.

Another sign’s painted away…Can I default to my ‘If you see a sign, it’s most likely painted’ mode? Because this is getting tiresome already. I’ll take notes for important signs.

I’m not sure the clock thing has a name in the original, but I sincerely doubt it’s the ‘Wheel of Doom.’

Candy doesn’t call Wolfrun a ‘Flea bag’ like the dub does.

Ulrich: “What a load of hooey!” Gotta love when bad guys say stuff like ‘hooey’

In the original, Miyuki just says if someone’s going to pick on someone as small as Candy, she’ll do everything she can to protect her no matter who it is. In the dub, she says she’s read enough fairy tales to know you never trust a wolf.

Candy responds to Miyuki bringing up the stuff about gaining happiness as long as you try hard enough, which leaves Candy surprised and calms her down. In the dub, Emily asks Candy what happened to all the stuff she was talking about with the happy endings and never giving up. Candy responds with “Well….”

In the original, Miyuki yells out ‘That’s what happiness is to me!’ right as Wolfrun makes his attack. In the dub, she yells “Now it’s going to be happy ending!” I find this change funny, because I can’t stop imagining how this would go if his attack landed. “Now it’s going to be a happy ending!” *STAB*

Candy: “You’re Glitter Lucky!” How do you know which warrior she is? Also, let her friggin’ transform before you keep saying stuff like that! Does this show hate surprises?!

Candy: “Now use your Glitter Puff to put on shades of power!” RRRRRGHHHHHHHGHGHGHGHGHGHGH!

Emily: “Poof poof, Glitter bands!” Oh God….

“Poof poof, Glitter boots!” Please…..no….….

“Heheh, poof poof poof! I’m glittertastic!”

I am struggling to figure out what is worse. This or ‘Mew Mew Style, Mew Mew Grace, Mew Mew Power in your face!’ I am leaning heavily towards Glitter Force….

By the by, she doesn’t say anything when putting on her outfit in the original….

Side-Note: Dear god, those pigtails. How is her neck not broken?

The monster’s name is originally Akanbe. In the dub, I can’t understand what Ulrich’s saying. Let’s jump into the credits to see if it’s listed. Ladeeda….Ch….wha? The group who sings the Glitter Force theme song is called ‘Blush’? Seriously, show, tone down the girliness. It’s getting ridiculous.

….They don’t list the voice actors in the English credits? The hell? They list them in the credits for the other language adaptations….Only the Spanish credits list this guy, so I guess he’s Bufon?

Miyuki just yells ‘I’m scared!’ In the dub, she says it’s like a terrifying circus bouncy house.

Attack Name Change: Happy Shower is changed to Sparkle Storm. I don’t much care for the former, but damn, Sparkle Storm.

Dub, you don’t have to add the word ‘glitter’ to everything magical. Please stop.

Miyuki just keeps repeating ‘Spirit!’ Emily makes a literal cheer. ‘We’ve got spirit, yes we do! We’ve got spirit, how ‘bout you?!’ No…No I don’t.

Miyuki yells out ‘I was so scared!’ Emily yells out ‘I hope I don’t have to do that everyday!’

Okay, here’s something that’s weird. The ending credits, in the original, run over a CGI music video of the girls all dancing to the music. In the dub, they keep in a good chunk of the animation and include their own music with it….but….they don’t have the credits running over it. They come after this segment and just play an ‘ending theme-ized’ version of the opening theme over a still image of the girls.

Uhm….what is the point of keeping this if you won’t use it for the credits? It just makes it seem like you jammed in half a music video for absolutely no reason.

Being fair, the song they made here is actually pretty good. Poppy and a little generic, but I like the melody.

The original song is alright and kinda catchy, but a little annoying.

They remove the next episode previews.

———————–

My views on the episode itself can be found here.

As for the comparison, this dub is brutally mangled. Being fair, the show, on its own, seems like a fine show. None of the characters seem bad, nor do they have annoying voice actors like 4Kids would opt to do (though, oddly, Laura Bailey was somehow starting to get on my nerves after a while…) but as an adaptation, this fails on so many levels.

They scene swap and insert for no reason, they spoil things in the plot for no reason, they’ve adopted 4Kids’ ‘erase all text’ policy, though they do keep the English words for the most part, they’re obviously pretending this show takes place in America, they change most of the names for no reason, they add a bunch of cringey dialogue and they change things that actually make some aspects of the show make no sense. Not to mention, it is insane how much even one episode of this is making me hate the word ‘glitter.’ I want to take a glitter hammer and throw it through my glitter computer with all my glitter strength.

Next episode, we meet Cure Sunny/Glitter Sunny!

Amnesia OVA Review

Rating: 7/10

Plot: In an unspecified reality, the employees of Meido no Hitsuji try to keep up with the competition of a local cafe by spending the week coming up with various fairs, shows and hooks to bring in customers.

Breakdown: This is one of the those OVAs meant for nothing but a little splash of post-anime humor, and it works pretty well. It’s a short one episode OVA, but it was still fun. It was nice to see the whole cast get to play off of each other for a change. They didn’t get to do that much in the anime. They have good chemistry with each other, which makes this somewhat sad because the entire time I was thinking we could’ve had more moments and fun like this in the actual series.

Ukyo even gets a fairly big part despite the fact that he’s just a regular customer and not an employee. It was nice to see him happier for a change.

The gags are fairly funny, especially when Kent tries to be a waiter and when they put on the Gentlemen of Justice show, which was basically a nod to Super Sentai complete with their respective colors and card suits playing a part.

Heroine’s role was very small THANK GOD, so that made it much more pleasant to watch too. It’s not clear what world she’s in because all of the guys seem to have a thing for her, and they all appear to realize this about the others as well because they work together to play a prank on Ukyo for getting closer to Heroine. It seems like, because of the scene at the ending, that it may be Shin’s world, the heart arc, but the guys are acting too differently and him calling her an idiot isn’t proof that he’s her boyfriend here……and I cannot believe I seriously said that.

It’s possible she’s in a different reality where she’s not dating anyone, but that doesn’t fit the anime. It’s definitely not her reality because she still has no memories.

The ending theme was different, which was to reflect the different tone. It was a nice enough song.

Bottomline: This was a short yet fun OVA that lets all of the boys shine together and have some fun which was really tragically missing from the anime.

Recommended Audience: Nothing objectionable. E for everyone.

SSBS – Smile Precure! Episode 1

SSBS - SP Ep 1 Title

Plot: Miyuki Hoshizora is a lover of picture books and is enamored with their happy endings. She hopes to find happiness in every day. One day, on her way to her new school, Miyuki sees a picture book fall from the sky. A mysterious little creature named Candy pops out and greets her before running off in search of something called ‘Precure.’ At school, Miyuki meets some new friends in Akane, Yayoi, Nao and Reika.

Miyuki catches a peek at Candy outside of school and goes around the school to investigate. In the library, she stumbles upon a portal to a strange room where she’s able to see Candy flying around outside again. She triggers another portal and is able to catch Candy who warns of the appearance of the evil Wolfrun – a monster hell bent on causing a Bad End for everyone in the world.

Determined to protect Candy, Miyuki unleashes the power of Cure Happy and takes down one of Wolfrun’s monsters. There are four more Precures to find in the world, and they’ll need to assemble all of them to save Candy’s world.

Breakdown: Okie dokie, so I was kinda arguing with myself over whether this series subverts tropes or walks right into them.

On one hand, you have an incredibly formulaic opening scene, then Miyuki assumes that this day feels like one in which a fateful encounter will happen right around the literal corner – and it does.

She’s a bit of an airhead, but seems different than a lot of main leads in that she’s determined to protect people from the get-go and doesn’t need a few days on superhero training wheels to get right into the fray. Sure, she runs away and screams that she’s scared, but she’s also very determined to not just sit there and give up. She is firm in the idea from the very start that people can change their destinies for the better if they just try.

The fact that she’s an (albeit picture) book lover is also a bit of a surprise. I’ve never seen a magical girl anime have a book-loving lead. And, while it is a little corny, hearing why she loves picture books was pretty inspiring.

The theme of this show seems pretty interesting. With books being a recurring theme, it’s only fitting that we have a big bad wolf enemy, but they go even further by making a monster out of a significant part of the Three Little Pigs story, a house, and having his goal be to force everyone into having a Bad End for their lives. He sends them spiraling into a very depressive state and wants to leave them doomed to never finding happiness – the exact opposite of the well-known happy endings of storybooks.

Having a villain themed like this also makes her alias, Cure Happy, all the more fitting. And my god, it is so nice to have magical girl characters with aliases again. They’re still not wearing masks, but they get different haircuts, so that’s about as good as we can get. Also, thank god for the magical girl transformation sequences…..even if it’s so girly my face might collapse. I mean…I get the target audience…but..using a compact and a makeup puff to put on her outfit?

In regards to things I think are more on the bad side, what the hell was up with that character introduction scene? They literally went through each of the Precures in terms of their names and what makes up their characters one by one in immediate succession to give Miyuki….samples on how to introduce yourself? Show, don’t tell, Smile Precure….

Also, why do all of the characters have different school uniforms in some ways? Defeats the point of having uniforms at all, doesn’t it?

After that, it’s pretty basic and paint-by-numbers. That doesn’t necessarily mean ‘bad,’ I still had fun with it, but it follows the general magical girl formula. Enemy shows up, threatens someone, main character has to transform to stop him, enemy creates a monster from something nearby, transform, ahh what’s happening?, she uses her attack and is now on a quest to save the world.

Also, final note, I realize now that this format wasn’t the way this show was suggested to me – it was meant to be an SDC in conjunction with the dub, Glitter Force, but I think I’ll still have this going alongside the SDC. Sorry about the mixup!

SDC Episode 1 – To be Posted Soon!

Next episode, Akane becomes Cure Sunny!

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Star vs. The Forces of Evil

Plot: Princess Star Butterfly is sent to earth to hone her skills with her newly acquired magic wand. She’s more than happy to use her wand to her heart’s content, but she causes a lot of problems due to her lack of experience with it. On earth, she is sent to live with the Diaz family and becomes friends with Marco, a widely known ‘safe kid’ who wants nothing more than to be seen as a risk-taking bad boy. Ludo, the villain of the story, finds out she’s living unprotected on earth and prepares to take her down. Together with Marco, Star utilizes her new powers to fight off the forces of evil.

Breakdown: Melding magical girl elements with good writing, funny comedy, fun action and instantly likable characters. I think I’m going to cry.

I have seen some of Star vs. The Forces of Evil in passing a few times, and I’ve definitely heard good things about it, but I’ve never started from scratch. The theme song snagged me in from the get go, and it’s just a fun ride all the way through after that.

I love the style of comedy. While it is loud and sometimes bordering on annoying, it never goes too far into irritating territory and hits the mark nearly every time. It has a great flow to it as well. Characters will just be talking or walking around and there will be jokes strewn about the scene – it’s great.

As a first episode, it does a great job at introducing the characters and making you connect with them instantly. From their very first lines, you know exactly the type of people Star, Marco and even Ludo are. Ludo kinda reminds me a bit of The Dark Lord Chuckles: The Silly Piggy from Dave the Barbarian, now that I think about it. Star is….a little too much in the energy department, but I think she’ll even out more as time goes on.

I absolutely love Marco, though. He’s not immediately made out to be an obvious love interest to Star (Though, there’s enough there for me to safely assume she at least becomes his crush later), and he’s not the reverse damsel in distress (A la Ron Stoppable) as he has fighting chops himself. It’s so refreshing to see these types of character pairings fight alongside each other for a change.

While we barely learn anything about Mewni, Star’s home dimension, outside of it being….another dimension….with magic, we do get a good grasp on the world they live in, the plot and their motives….afterall, the show is called Star vs. the Forces of Evil.

I will say that the second episode (This show/episode is one of those ‘two episodes in one’ deals.) wasn’t as strong as the first mostly because it recycles a very overused plot. When you have a main character who has moved to the show’s location somewhat recently, you tend to get that ‘best friend from my old town and they turn out to be a dickweed, especially to the new best friend’ plot.

This time it’s with Flying Princess Pony Head. She is a flying princess pony head…..*cough* And she does not appreciate Marco even existing. What’s weird is that, unlike in a lot of other plots where the MC will accuse the new best friend of being jealous of the old, Star instantly believes Marco when he tells of how she’s been treating him, and she chooses to defend her by just saying she’s rambunctious and possessive. Not sure if that’s better or worse.

Even though this is a VERY overused plot, they do enough with the writing to make it seem much less tired than it would otherwise. There are many funny moments, it ended one a sweet note and TIL you can apparently say ‘turd’ on Disney Channel.

The art and animation are growing on me very quickly. It’s very bright and active. In the stills, it looks great, but the actual animation took me a little getting used to. It has a problem with having the lines and colors of the bangs cover the eyes but still have the lines for the eyes come through. It’s not a major issue, but it’s a pet peeve of mine in animation. Otherwise, the art is very bright, stylish and appealing, and the animation is more fluid and real than a lot of ‘Flash’-ish shows of late.

The music is great, though maybe a bit too loud sometimes. That could be my headphones, but I don’t think so.

Final Verdict:

cbxcz0k

This is another show I’m very excited to continue. Here’s hoping it lives up to the hype all the way through.

SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 33

SSBS - TMM EP 33 TITLE

Plot: Tart has created a cactus monster in the middle of the park. The Mews try to take it down, but find themselves struggling. Pudding’s about to be hit by a barrages of spikes when a strange man in martial artist attire saves her and defeats the monster with a flurry of kicks.

Tart leaves, and the man, Yuebin, reveals that he knows Mew Pudding is actually Pudding. He is a student at her father’s dojo and wishes to be named master and successor to their family’s signature fighting style, KouEnji Kenpou. In order to do that, Pudding’s father ordered him to go to Japan to challenge the only other contender for this title to a duel – Pudding.

Pudding accepts the challenge, and the duel starts. They each balance two spinning plates on two poles and take fighting stances. They fight for a bit, but Yuebin gains the upperhand and wins the duel. He reveals another condition of the duel – should he win, he’ll be chosen to be Pudding’s future husband.

Pudding is outraged by this turn of events and refuses this condition. She commands he leave at once, and he seemingly honors the request.

Later that night, Pudding goes home with some groceries for dinner when she notices a delicious smell emanating from her house. It’s Yuebin, and he’s made beef stroganof for Pudding’s brothers and sisters. He continues to butt into her life, doing chores such as picking up Heicha from daycare and even working at the cafe.

Pudding continues to be irritated by his presence, however. Not only does she not want to be forced into a marriage with him, but everyone else is enamored with him and Pudding continuously gets overshadowed.

The other Mews start to become concerned about Pudding since she seems to be getting increasingly unhappy. They ask if anything can be done about her situation and she states she won’t know until they both meet with and talk to her father.

That night, she arrives at her house to find Yuebin is being overrun by her brothers and sisters. She commands them all to go to bed, and he explains that he was trying to dust the shelves when he was tackled by them. Pudding sees her precious photo album on the floor, damaged by the ruckus. It is a photo album specifically for the only photos and keepsakes she has left of her and her mother.

She tearfully demands Yuebin to leave the house before running away.

The next morning, the Mews find her locked up on the Mew Mew Cafe balcony. She won’t come down no matter what they do.

Meanwhile, Tart and Kisshu team up for a new plan. They have detected Mew Aqua around a popular sports arena. Their plan is to have Kisshu deal with the girls at the arena while Tart strikes the unprotected Cafe.

The Mews suit up for battle, but Pudding stays behind. She claims she has to figure out her future for herself. The other girls are forced to leave Pudding behind.

Just as Yuebin is about to leave as well, Tart appears. He wraps up Pudding in his clackers, traps Yuebin in a net and takes Pudding as a hostage.

Meanwhile, at the arena, a big boxing match is underway. Kisshu crashes the party and turns one of the ring girls into a kangaroo themed boxing Chimera Animal, Chimera Punch. The girls arrive and Kisshu leaves to find the Mew Aqua. Ichigo tells the other girls to go after Kisshu while she takes care of the Chimera Animal.

She’s unable to do much against Chimera Punch, and Tart suddenly interrupts their fight. He directs Chimera Punch to use Pudding as a punching bag instead. Ichigo tries to save Pudding, but Chimera Punch sends out her joey, Punchie, after her. Pudding is able to evade the attacks, even while tied up, but Tart tightens her binds and makes her fully unable to move.

Just as Chimera Punch is about to land a good strike on Pudding, Yuebin uses a body switching technique to save Pudding and take the brunt of the assault himself. Pudding, now free of her binds, uses her custom Pudding-style KouEnji Kenpu martial arts.

Ichigo finishes off both Chimera Punch and Punchie, but Kisshu makes off with the minuscule Mew Aqua he found at the stadium.

Later, Yuebin bids farewell to Pudding and the others. He contacted his master, and he stated he need to go back to China for much more training so he can be strong enough to properly protect his wife-to-be. Pudding bids him farewell, having gained a newfound respect for him.

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– Hooray! Starting out with action today! Whoo!

– Ladies and gentlemen, the doofiest Chimera Animal ever!

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– Out of all of the Chimera Animals they could’ve had this guy attack, why a cactus monster?…Ow.

– Nice to know the Mews are actually somewhat pointless. If a fairly good martial artist can take down a Chimera Animal without breaking a sweat (Oops, I forgot to mention – Tuxedo Mask moment!) not even needing to have it be finished off by Ichigo, surely any police force would be able to defeat them without issue.

– Okay, I am fully confused now. This dude knows who Pudding is and recognizes her in her Mew garb yet he not only has nothing to say about this, but no one’s concerned that they’ve been ousted. Are they even pretending to have secret identities anymore? How can they justify the plotline about Ichigo being concerned about Aoyama finding out she’s a Mew with this in place?

Most magical girl shows have a similar issue since they hardly ever wear masks and barely look even a little different when in magical girl clothes, but this is in-your-face extreme ‘everyone knows!’ stuff.

– Wait a minute. So they’re surprised he knew Pudding’s real identity (seriously?) and he claims he knew instantly because of the way she moved. Given that they’ve never met, I guess that’s as good of an excuse as any….but still….it’s a major problem, guys.

– I thought Pudding’s father was away on a solo journey to be the best martial artist ever, yet here he is supposedly off somewhere spending way more time with other people’s kids than his own in a dojo in China.

– I love the girls’ reactions to Pudding and Yuebin starting to duel in the cafe.

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– The duel itself is also kinda funny.

– What a skeevy thing to do to wait until the duel’s over to admit that part of the duel agreement was, should he win, he’d become betrothed to Pudding.

– Proud of Pudding for pointing out that it’s completely unfair and archaic for her father to force her into an arranged marriage, especially through such deceptive means.

– Oh hi Shirogane and Akasaka! I almost forgot you existed for damn near ten episodes.

– N’aw the TartxPudding shipping. Tart’s so jelly of Mr. Hot Martial Artist man.

– It’s funny how the aliens think Mew Aqua is found where the girls are and Shirogane and Akasaka believe Mew Aqua is wherever the aliens show up.

– Yeah, why show the other Mews transforming at all? Wouldn’t want the props to think they’re people.

– Oh good, they show one-second long blips of their transformations as they enter the arena…after they’ve already transformed….

– Uh, the body switch is all ninja-y and cool and all, but Yuebin has the speed to have just nabbed Pudding and gotten them both out of the way instead of him having to take the attack.

– I actually have no problem with Pudding not even transforming for this battle because it lets her show off her regular martial arts skills…..but I’m salty that Ichigo gets the final attack….

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– Well, we can finally cut to the other girls doing stuff on their own by fighting Kisshu. Let’s see how they—he gets the Mew Aqua and escapes without them lifting a finger at him………Love. Ly.

– So, in the end, this plot isn’t really all that resolved, is it? Yuebin leaves because the show doesn’t have a place for him outside of this episode, he’s still betrothed to Pudding and Pudding suddenly doesn’t fight that fact anymore. Does she now want to be married to Yuebin or is she just more confident in her abilities to choose what she wants for her future for this to not be an issue?

Also, why do they never bring up Pudding’s photo album again? Is she not still mad about that? It’s an incredibly important heirloom to Pudding that held many memories of her and her mother, and it’s wrecked. Maybe not irreparably, but still.

– Kinda funny that Yuebin’s drive is now to be strong enough to protect Pudding when she beat up Chimera Punch by herself and is a superhero.

– How did I go this whole review without pointing out that, considering the age difference, this whole betrothal is very squicky?

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I really enjoyed this episode. It was a realistic and impacting conflict for Pudding, we got confirmation of where her father was (even though it’s irritating that he’s in a dojo in China. Can he not do that in Tokyo and be with his family? Take the weight of caring for several small children off of the shoulders of a young child?) we got a very emotional moment with Pudding and the entire plot, while having squickiness implied, was enjoyable to watch.

They didn’t make Yuebin out to be a jerk, which I think helped this episode a whole lot. If they had him be this sexist jackoff who treated Pudding like a precious flower who needs to be cared for, this episode would be unbearable.

It’s slightly annoying that he keeps turning around and making Pudding look superfluous. He defeats the Chimera Cactus, picks up Heicha from daycare, takes over her job, etc. I was especially hurt when Heicha stated she preferred to be carried by Yuebin over Pudding. He has no ill intentions, and, truth be told, it would do Pudding a world of good to have someone so helpful around, but it’s still slightly irritating, and you can tell that it’s getting to Pudding.

It’s not so much that he’s claiming he’s betrothed to her now, it’s that he seems to be able to do everything she can and do it better. I’m not sure how sacrificing himself for her makes her see this situation any differently, but status quo and all that.

As good as the main plot was, it felt horribly disjointed whenever we cut to Mew stuff. Today’s subject was so heavy that it deserved to be one of those episodes where we didn’t really get Mew stuff so we could flesh everything else out. We started the episode with Mew stuff, I think that’s good for today.

It could be argued that they wanted to put more of the TartxPudding dynamic in there, but you could’ve just added a few more lines to the encounter at the beginning and it would’ve done just as much as the second half of the episode.

Whenever we cut to Mew stuff in this episode, it just felt very out of place, like we were cutting to another episode. While there is fighting in both, the theme this week didn’t even match the overall plot. They had a martial arts theme going and then we jump to a boxing ring. Chinese culture is a minor theme too, so let’s have the Chimera Animal be a kangaroo? And yes, it’s a boxing kangaroo. How clever.

The Mew part wasn’t bad, it was just generic and screwed up the structure of the story a little. Didn’t damage the episode too much as I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Next time, Lettuce takes up doll-making.

Dissecting the Disquels – The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning

Rating: 8/10

Plot: When Ariel was a child, the kingdom of Atlantica was filled with music and laughter. When her mother, Queen Athena, suddenly died, King Triton, not wanting to be reminded of the pain of losing his wife, banned all music from the kingdom. Ten years later, the kingdom is dreary and rid of music. Everyone is miserable, but no one dare confront King Triton about it.

As Ariel gets more contemptuous over their situation, the girls’ governess, Marina, desperately vies for Sebastian’s job.

Breakdown: This movie…..

 

 

 

Has no right……

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be as good as it is.

Ariel’s Beginning is the last Disquel to be made, not counting the Tinkerbell movies or follow-ups like the Winnie the Pooh movies or movies based on Mickey and the gang. The last Disquel to be made before this one was Cinderella III (Actually, production on this movie was halted so they could get Cinderella III out sooner. Pbt), and I already explained how weird it was that that movie was so good.

What’s even weirder is the Disquel behind Cinderella III was The Fox and the Hound II……I don’t get how or why these Disquels have such stark contrasts in quality. Did they confirm that they were stopping Disquels in a few years so they decided to have their last two actually be good?

The animation here is definitely the best of the Disquels, even though we don’t get any shots that I would say are particularly amazing or anything (The shot at the end with the rainbow lights comes closest). They still have a budget and whatnot.

The voice acting is great, even Flounder, who almost seems like he’s aiming to be annoying.

The new comic relief is, bar none, the best comic relief any Disquel has come up with. Benjamin is Marina’s assistant. He’s a manatee who is very soft-spoken, almost in a Winnie the Pooh manner, and makes a lot of funny observations. He’s not a comic relief character we get often in Disney or nearly any form of media as this role is typically relegated to loud, obnoxious idiots.

While I am still very hardpressed to tell the girls apart, this movie does give more focus to Ariel’s sisters. Fans of the TV show or books might find them more memorable, but considering they barely get any screentime in the original movie and…..are they even in The Little Mermaid II? I usually forget they’re even there. It was nice to get some more characterization for them, even if a bulk of it is just “Attina’s the oldest and most responsible….and there are five others besides Ariel.”

While I can see many people wondering why The Little Mermaid needs a prequel, it does answer a question many people had about the movie – Where is Ariel’s mother? The answer is, she’s dead.

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I would’ve liked more time with Athena because she’s only in the opening scene and gets barely any lines. When her life and death are the main crux behind the conflict of the entire movie, you’d like to get to know her a bit more. All we know is that she looked a lot like Ariel, she was kind, she loved her family, she was deeply in love with her husband and she loved music.

Still, her death sets off the entire plot for this movie, which is good in a writing sense because it’s pretty hard to justify banning music and being so vehement about it.

However, simply banning music isn’t enough of a conflict. We still need a villain. Today’s Disquel villain is Marina Del Rey, voiced by Sally Field, because that’s about as random of a choice as anything. To her credit, Marina is a…fairly entertaining villain – leagues above Morgana anyway, but she’s….probably one of the lamest villains in Disney movies.

Which brings us to the main three problems with this movie.

1) Marina’s a weak villain.

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I give them credit for not trying for another Ursula clone, but that kinda makes matters worse. Unlike Morgana and Ursula, she doesn’t want power or the Trident, she doesn’t even want Triton’s job.

She wants Sebastian’s job.

Sebastian’s job.

Sebastian’s job.

She wants to be a higher grade lackey, basically. Imagine if they made a Lion King sequel where the villain was trying to overthrow Zazu. It’s on that same level of ‘huh?’ It takes her until the very end of the movie before she even feels compelled to kill Sebastian.

She doesn’t have any sort of magic powers. The best thing she has are a team of electric eels, which are nowhere near intimidating enough to carry her. Having your main driving force being lackeys never works.

Marina’s also very showboaty and loves to wear flashy dresses, much in the same realm of a showgirl. While you could say similar things about Morgana and Ursula, they at least had the power to make it seem like they were justified in their egos, making them seem kinda badass (Ursula anyway). The showgirl thing is just part of Marina’s character, which is fine, but doesn’t seem very unique.

The Wiki compares her to Yzma (and Benjamin is, likewise, compared to Kronk), which I can see, but at least Yzma was murderous, kinda scary, has some form of magic powers and wanted the job of empress.

2) For a movie trying to highlight how grand and powerful music is, their soundtrack is not as good as it should be at all.

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The colors are great in this movie as well.

Compared to the other Disquels, it’s very good, but if you want me to be entranced by beautiful music, you have to have more original music in the movie, particularly lyrical songs.

There’s Athena’s Song, which is very good and a great opener to the movie.

Then there’s our villain song, Just One Mistake, which is not good as a song, but is sung just fine by Ms. Field.

Ariel’s song, I Remember, is also very good. Thank you for finally letting Jodi Benson have a song after she was robbed in The Little Mermaid II. God forbid the character known for her beautiful singing voice be allowed to sing.

Finally, we have I Will Sing, which is a non-musical number song performed by Jeannette Beyardelle, which is fine.

Other than that, we have covers of samba songs, which eat up the rest of the music-oriented parts. I have nothing against mambo, calypso, samba, etc. In fact, I enjoy them, but when you’re listening to Jump in the Line (Shake, Shake, Shake, Senora) for the third time in a row, I get kinda irritated. Also, we have an instrumental cover of Man Smart (Woman Smarter) and I couldn’t even tell it was a cover. I thought it was just random calypso music.

Being fair, the background music is great. I absolutely loved that piano music that was playing during the dialogue-free scene of Triton and Ariel before she runs away. Kudos for attempting the dialogue-free scene in the first place. A lot of animated movies, especially direct-to-DVD ones, don’t try that. It was very impacting.

3) The story can be seen as a rehash of the original movie + The climax bites.

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Something Ariel likes is strictly forbidden.

Her father is seemingly being unreasonable.

There’s a scene in which Triton destroys a sanctuary dedicated to this forbidden thing.

Ariel has a heated confrontation with her father about this and runs away because of it.

Triton and Ariel make up after she realizes why he was so adamant about forbidding the forbidden thing and Triton realizes he was being too harsh and restrictive.

Someone’s killed by a boat.

All of these things happen in Ariel’s Beginning, but I’d be remiss to say this movie is a rip-off of the original. It’s certainly reminiscent, but not nearly as rehashed as some other Disquels.

Something odd about this movie is, despite taking place a year before The Little Mermaid, Ariel actually seems a little more mature, intelligent and reasonable than she is in The Little Mermaid. Also, no, we don’t get a prequel explanation as to why she’s so enamored by human stuff, BUT we do get a prequel explanation as to why Triton hates human stuff so much.

The aforementioned boat death was Athena’s death scene. In the beginning of the movie, Triton, Athena, the princesses and many Atlaneans….no that’s for Atlantis. Atlanti…cans? Atlanticers?…Atlan….fish were enjoying some time in a lagoon, singing and playing along. Triton gave Athena a beautiful magic music box, which had images of Triton and Athena dancing together within it.

A pirate ship came by, and while everyone was trying to run away, Athena was attempting to save the music box. The ship crashed into her, the music box sunk and Athena passed away. While they never outright say this in any of the movies, probably because it would’ve been difficult to show it in this movie and Athena’s story hadn’t been made in the original movie, it can easily be surmised that Triton grew to hate humans because they were responsible for his beloved’s death.

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In regards to the climax, it’s incredibly weak. It is, by far, the worst part of the movie. Marina sics her electric eels on Ariel and Sebastian to keep them from making her lose her job (even though, considering her job involves caring for the princesses, having one die on her watch likely would’ve gotten her fired anyway) The eels pointlessly stare at them for eons after having them cornered, Flounder, of all characters, saves them. Marina basically has a comedy face-off with Sebastian and, while stuck in a rock formation, tries to crush him, but ends up creating a death fake-out with Ariel, which is pointless because, being a prequel, we know she’ll live.

Then she straight up vanishes, Entirely. The plot forgets about her until the end credits, which suddenly get interrupted by her in prison. It’s like they forgot to include an ending for her until they were already editing the credits together.

Benjamin’s her prison psychiatrist for some reason. The end.

While these problems are very apparent, I still have to say this is one of the best and most enjoyable Disquels by a long shot. It might even contend TLK2 for top spot, and I never much cared for the original Little Mermaid. It has pretty good sentimentality, some good humor (I loved the scene where Marina parodies Ariel’s crescendo scene on the rock, even if it has been done many times by this point, and doesn’t make sense given that this is a prequel, thus Ariel hasn’t done that yet) and a good deal of fun. If the ending was either much darker or had about 20x more action, and it had a more serious or threatening villain, it’d definitely be the best Disquel.

Recommended Audience: They do say the dreaded d-word (died) and one character dies kinda off-screen-ish but other than that, nothing. 5+