SSBS | Bakugan Episode 4: Dan and Drago

Plot: After throwing Drago into the river, Dan confronts his classmate, Ryo, who is very knowledgeable about Bakugan, yet has never played it. Despite Ryo being very courteous and bashful, Dan becomes infuriated at him when one of his classmates states that Ryo’s so knowledgeable on Bakugan that he might even be able to beat Dan in a Brawl.

Nearly having his laptop broken by Dan’s outburst, Ryo is approached by Masquerade who recruits him, claiming he could be the best Brawler around with his knowledge, and his strategies should be respected. Without Drago by his side and facing a super-strategic first-timer with a Doom Card on his side, can Dan manage to win?

Breakdown: *Deep breath* Okay, Bakugan. I am a reasonable person. Maybe you’re just struggling to get through this first handful of episodes. I get that. So, let’s put the water under the bridge, the exact same place you threw Drago, and try to move on.

Ahem.

Today’s episode starts with a really sloppily edited and written scene with Dan’s friend guilt-tripping him and trying to get him to go find Drago. He stubbornly refuses and goes to lay on his bed without shutting off the computer or closing the video chat.

“Dan, come back!” He’s just laying on the bed about two feet away from the computer. He can still hear you and talk.

Meanwhile, Drago and underwater shenanigans.

The next day at school, Dan starts ragging on this kid named Ryo who, despite never having played Bakugan before, likes to analyze the data from battles and make up strategies for certain scenarios using his computer. So, pretty much Bakugan’s version of The Chief from Beyblade. Dan believes there’s no strategy to Bakugan – it’s all about who has the most power….This Bakugan prodigy, one of the best in the world….Has early Yu-Gi-Oh Joey syndrome. Or Morikawa from Cardfight!! Vanguard syndrome, take your pick.…..

I’m not kidding – Dan is MYSTIFIED that there’s actual strategy involved in this game.

They pronounce Ryo as ‘Rye-oh’….

One of their classmates says Ryo knows so much, he might even be able to beat Dan in a Brawl, and Dan becomes enraged. He mocks Ryo some more, despite Ryo being perfectly pleasant and nice this entire time, and challenges Ryo to a Bakugan Brawl. He tells him to put his money where his mouth is unless he’s afraid to show that his data isn’t worth spit, but Ryo didn’t say a damn thing, the other kid did. So he’d be putting his money where some other kid’s mouth is.

Dan gets so pissy that he rushes up to Ryo’s face to the point where Ryo stumbles backwards and drops his computer.

For a change, the other kids actually call Dan out for being a dickhead and defend poor timid Ryo and his possibly broken computer. Dan doesn’t own up to it, though, and just runs out of the room claiming it wasn’t his fault when it 100% was.

While Dan sulks later that night, Ryo is contacted through his Bakugan simulation software by Masquerade. Ryo states that he’s perfectly content simulating Bakugan, acting as if it’s a chess game, as opposed to playing the actual game. Masquerade claims Ryo wants to prove to the world that he has the skills and knowledge to be an amazing Brawler, and he can help him with that if he joins his mission.

The next day at school, Dan actually seems like he might be about to apologize, but Ryo suddenly challenges him to a Brawl, revealing that he has one of those Duel Disk-esque things from Masquerade. Dan accepts the challenge.

Dan: “This geek is going down!” So much for apologies, apparently.

Ryo sets down a Doom Card, and they both set down their first Gate cards.

Ryo sends out Fear Ripper. Dan puts down another Gate card and summons Pyrus Terrorclaw.

Ryo….draws a card from his shirt? I’m not sure that’s allowed, but whatever. He places another Gate card and summons a dark praying mantis thing. He then uses the ability card, Marionette to….grab…Terrorclaw and…..somehow that allows the praying mantis thing to beat him.

Wiki Response – Apparently, moving Terrorclaw to Darkus Mantris’ spot….lowered its power enough to beat him…or something?

Anyway, Terrorclaw is now in the….the Doom Dimensionpbbbttthahahahaha. That will never not be funny.

Ryo recalls his Mantris for some reason, and we’re off to round two.

Dan calls out Juggernoid while Ryo summons….the Mantris again. Why recall it if you were just going to call it back out half a second later?

Juggernoid attacks Mantris, but Ryo uses the ability card, Companion, which…sends both of them to the Doom Dimension?

Wiki Response – I guess that’s exactly it’s function: it kills both an opponent’s Bakugan and your own. *shrug*

Dan is offended that Ryo let his own Bakugan be a sacrifice to beat his, but Ryo says they’re all just tools and parts of his strategy.

Round three – Dan sends out Robotallion and uses the ability card, Robotallion Enforcement. That….beats him….I guess?

Wiki Response – Robotallion Enforcement powered up Robotallion by 50g, which gave him a 40g lead over Fear Ripper. However, they never show Robotallion attacking. They both get engulfed in flames, return to their ball forms and, I guess we’re left to assume that Dan just won that round because of that.

Round four – Ryo sends out Reaper, and Dan thinks this match is clinched because Reaper is standing on a Gate card that will give his Pyrus cards an extra 150g, meaning Reaper won’t be able to beat Robotallion. Boy it sure is nice when the show actually EXPLAINS what’s happening.

Dan sends out Robotallion and activates his Gate card, but Ryo counters with Dimension 4, which nullifies his Gate Card. Now without the g boost, Reaper is able to beat Robotallion, giving the match to Ryo.

Dan finally actually, legitimately lost…..and I feel numb. I thought I’d feel happier with Dan finally losing, knock him down a peg. But, remember, I am reading the Wiki page for this episode….He wins the rematch later on, so this whole thing just seems somewhat moot besides guilting Dan enough to go after Drago.

Also, despite the fact that time stopped at the start of the Brawl, the second they get back from the pocket dimension, it’s suddenly looking like there’s going to be a storm.

Ryo and the other kids walk away, leaving Dan on the ground beating himself up over losing his Bakugan. And if there were ever a more inappropriate time for the commercial break to bust in going ‘Stay tuned for more Bakugan: Battle Brawlers!’

Dan has a welcome moment of self-reflection as he laments on not learning anything over his battles and being the cause of his Bakugan being sent to the Doom Dimension.

There’s also this –

Wiki: “When Dan was thinking about his battle against Rikimaru, the flashback of the battle is entirely different. None of it occur [sic] where Siege deflected Drago’s attack on him by the gate card. Thus this is more of an alternate timeline scene since Drago broke free from using his ability and waited for the gate card to open.”

Okay…..Wiki, I think you’re being a little generous with the ‘alternate timeline’ explanation. I think a better one would be ‘The writers were too lazy to remember what happened there, so they bullshitted something.’

He, rightfully, beats himself up for being so self-absorbed, then rushes off to save Drago from the river.

Drago…sparkles or something, allowing Dan to finally find him.

Once the symbolic and literal clouds clear, Dan apologizes to Drago, and despite the fact that Drago also admitted he was unfair and apologized to Dan in private, he doesn’t share such a kind sentiment in response to Dan’s apology.

Drago: “You are not completely useless to me, so why should I not take advantage of you as much as I can?” Stop. Please. I’m tearing up.

Dan: “Do you really mean it?” Why are you acting like that was a sweet thing to say?

Oh my god, that embarrassingly animated shot of still-frame Dan and slide-animation Drago. Wow. That’s a special thing right there.

They start a rematch with Ryo. Fear Ripper is called out by Ryo first while Dan sends out a horned demon thing. They show that Dan’s learning by pointing out that he suspects a trap.

His suspicions are confirmed when we basically get the exact same song and dance as before with Mantris and Marionette. Ryo also opens his gate card, which grants Fear Ripper another 80g, making it a match of 400g vs. 320g.

Dan activates Fire Wall, which decreases Fear Ripper’s attack by 50g….Obviously….he failed math and the demon thing is sent to the Doom Dimension.

Dan: “Just trust me, Drago! Okay?”

Drago: “I trust you!” He threw you in a river and left you there for over a day and only retrieved you when he finally felt the sting of loss, knowing you were his best Bakugan and could give him the best chance to win in the future.

But okay.

Round two – Dan calls out Drago, and Ryo…calls out…Fear Ripper again. I didn’t even see him recall him that time. Whatever.

Ryo then uses the ability card, Slash Zero, which grants Fear Ripper 80g, making its attack 400g to Drago’s 340g. Dan protects Drago by using the gate card, Intercept, to stop Fear Ripper from attacking Drago.

Dan summons a Mantris of his own and also uses the ability card, Marionette, to take control of Ryo’s Fear Ripper and set it on Mantris’ gate card, which is Mind Ghost and even the Wiki doesn’t help me here as, apparently, doing that sent both Mantris and Fear Ripper to the Doom Dimension. Dan does explain what this does, as it’s basically Companion, I guess, but why the card activated on its own when Dan placed Fear Ripper on it is beyond me.

Logically, there’s no way Dan should’ve even known Ryo had that card, let alone had it out on the field. That wasn’t strategy – that wasn’t even heart of the cards bullshit – that was a guess and luck.

Dan: “Well, you see, Bakugan is really a strategic game. You have to read your opponent’s mind and anticipate his moves.” Literally, I suppose, because the only way you could’ve possibly have known Ryo had that card out was if you actually read his mind.

Also, shut up.

Ryo: “I don’t understand! He actually managed to double-cross me!” You’re not using that word right.

Round three – Ryo summons Reaper and quickly disposes of Dan’s Mantris.

Round four – Reaper and Drago face off. Dan is anticipating that Ryo will use Dimension 4 this time, which actually make sense.

Dan activates his gate card, which looks like another Fire Wall, so Ryo tries to counter with Dimension 4 again, but Dan reveals this is a character card, which isn’t affected by Dimension 4, meaning Drago gets the powerup.

Dan’s whatever card doubles Drago’s power to 680g as opposed to Reaper’s 370g. Even though it’s entirely pointless because the power gap between the two Bakugan is now massive, Dan powers up Drago even more with a Boosted Dragon card, making his attack level a ridiculous 880g. Yes, I’m going to prove I’m not all about power by needlessly powering up my already overpowered Bakugan.

The match goes to Dan.

Yay.

At least Ryo and Dan make up and look forward to a nice non-doomy match someday.

And by ‘someday’ I mean ‘never’ because Ryo never appears again. Shame. He’s much more interesting than Shuji anyway.

Dan takes a break from bragging about himself to his friends by bragging about Drago (and himself by proxy – even mentioning he went up a rank) Then Dan gets all cuddly and kissy (literally) with Drago’s ball. This series let me say that sentence.

The end.

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This definitely was the most tolerable episode so far. Dan was a prick in the first half but got more likable in the second. He pulled some stuff out of his ass to win the rematch with Ryo, and, honestly, I think he was dumbed down for the first match. Dan has showed much more strategy than that, and the idea that he’s such a high-ranking Brawler without understanding that this game involves strategy is ludicrous.

Either that, or Bakugan is a broken game, which it very well may be because I’ve been watching for four episodes now and I still can barely make heads or tails of what’s going on without needing the Wiki. Explain card effects. Name the Bakugan and cards every time you show a new one. Don’t just expect the audience knows this shit.

But, of course, either way, he needed to be dumbed down and beaten without Drago around in order to have Dan realize the error of his ways and go after him.

Dan’s problem was never a lack of strategy, it was impulsiveness and recklessness. The fact that they tried to show his growth in strategic planning (And, ironically, caring for the Bakugan as living creatures) by letting two more of his Bakugan be sent to the Doom Dimension (as PART of this strategy) and magically predicting Ryo’s use of a card Dan had no prior knowledge of is just poor writing.

Ryo’s personality change was way too much for me. I’d understand if Masquerade has some sort of dark influence on people, but, as far I know, he doesn’t. He’s just really good at coercion and manipulation. Ryo went from really timid and kind to cocky asshole and back again within the course of two days. It was a bit hard to swallow, even with Dan being a jerk as the trigger.

I did like Ryo as a character, and I would’ve loved him to be a sort Chief-like character for this show, if only for the sake of explaining what the hell is going on, but alas, that’d be something I’d enjoy so of course he’s a one-off.

Next episode…..Runo….yay.


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Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun/Flint the Time Detective Sub/Dub Comparison | Episode 9: Doodling Horurun

Plot: The next time shifter, Horurun, is spotted in 19th century France in the hands of a young Auguste Rodin, the famous artist.

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Title Change: Doodling Horurun is changed to Artie.

Name Change: Horurun is changed to Artie.

While both versions start out in the land of time, Saban opted to put a further establishing shot of the land of time right before the establishing shot that the original used for some reason.

The delivery robots made a joke that pretty much couldn’t be translated. They said “Aino ni takuhaibin” which translates to “A delivery for Aino.” but one of the robots joked “Aino takuhaibin” which means “A delivery of love.”

They remove a long behind shot of TP Lady grinding all up on the portrait and instead reverse a short sequence of Dyna and Mite shrugging in confusion about her.

An establishing shot of the lab is switched out for a different establishing shot of the lab/Bureau of Time and Space. The one they replaced it with is at sundown.

Oh my god…..Horurun is such a dorky little cutie pie. I love it too much.

They skip over the sequence of the kids traveling through space/time to get to 19th century Paris. In the dub, they use old recycled footage to insert their own sequence for this because it’s really necessary for some reason.

Also, they slightly shift the shot of the kids exiting the portal from after the establishing shot of Paris to before it.

Even though it is awful, none of the original kids say the first monster drawing they see was based on a ‘bad’ drawing done by a kid like Pterry does.

Flint: “Whoa, a little self-control, Getalong!” Pot, kettle, black.

Horurun’s name plate is removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Oh wow….oh woooww…it’s like they paid Brian Donovan to give as few shits as possible when he was supposed to be in a lot of pain after getting his shin kicked.

Dyna and Mite originally point out that, even if TP Lady had Horurun bring the painting of the masked man to life, it wouldn’t be real. She responds that she doesn’t care because of the mysterious matters of a young maiden’s heart. In the dub, they don’t discuss this.

While the discussion of TP Lady’s age is kept, they don’t have them be so brash as to talk about her needing wrinkle cream.

They insert a far shot of Auguste running away before we cut back to Genshi after he jumps on TP Lady and the others.

In the original, Sora realizes the guy on the roof was Soichiro and goes “Ah! He disappeared again!” when he falls off the roof. In the dub, Sarah must believe he was a weathervane or something because, when he falls, she says “Ah! This whole town’s falling apart!” They’re continuously make Sarah oblivious to this dude in the dub, and what’s worse is that, in the original, Sora obviously knows Soichiro was trying to guide her, so she goes the direction he pointed, but in the dub it makes her look like she thinks she’s following the directions of a rickety weathervane….

A short reaction shot of Auguste is cut.

Excuse me. Are you telling me Auguste spent a full week with Horurun, constantly trying to make a drawing for his mom, and only now does Horurun use his ‘turn anyone into an amazing artist’ power on him? The day of his mother’s birthday?

Urghh they seriously just let him walk up and stamp Horurun…..Come on, guys.

Name Change: Waruhorurun (Geez, the awkwardness of that name.) is changed to Artiecon.

Name plate removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The little boy trying to mess with the Time Cycle was originally trying to use it as a toilet. Saban obviously didn’t keep that little fact, changing it in dialogue to a rocking horse, but uh…..Saban….maybe be more careful with your frames. Why do I say that, you ask? This little boy clearly has no bottoms on. And I mean, he clearly has no bottoms on. Saban, you knew the original context of the scene. You had to have known he was trying to relieve himself….you had to have noticed….that, especially when the kid is flipped upside down and you can see it peeking out from under his shirt. Come on, Saban. Don’t make me whip out 4KidsPraising!Twix. Their frame by frame censors were next level and you even didn’t try. Shame.

They changed the sign for Sphin’s game show from “Sphin’s Riddle the World: Paris Edition” to “Riddle Griddle.”

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Forgive the partial screenshot. It pans and never shows the entire sign full out.

Why is the punishment for getting the riddles wrong now a big collection of monsters? I thought, if you get three riddles wrong, you end up mind-controlled by it.

Sphin’s first riddle is kept the same (The riddle is, Sphin was taking some color photos at the zoo, but they all came out black and white. Why?)

Sora and Sarah both stupidly blurt out the correct answer to Sphin’s riddle. (She said pandas, but I guessed zebras, which still would’ve been correct.)

A shot of Auguste appearing behind Waruhorurun is swapped from before the shot of him crying and opening his arms to afterward.

Waruhorurun doesn’t talk in the original. He has really bad dialogue in the dub.

Oh so Sphin doesn’t transform today…..What was his purpose being here, then?

I find it to be kinda depressing that, immediately after Auguste says he won’t forget Horurun, Putera mind wipes everyone…

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All in all, I really enjoyed this episode. I figured I would because I love art, even if it’s silly doodles, so this story’s right up my alley. Horurun is so adorable, and I love its power.

The story itself is very sweet. Rodin just wants to make a nice gift for his mother.

Believe it not, I really like that they showed him as a terrible artist. He is about ten years old here, and that’s right when he picked up drawing. Rodin did struggle a lot in the art world before he solidified his masterful skills. He had poor eyesight that made it difficult for him to follow along in school, but he found some solace in drawing because he could get the paper up close to his face to see his progress.

Despite having such passion for art that he enrolled in an art school when he was 13, he was rejected by Ecole des Beaux-Arts, a very prestigious art school in France, three times and denied entry into art exhibitions quite frequently. In fact, he wouldn’t really be recognized as a prominent artist until he was 35 when he became so inspired by the works of Michelangelo and Donatello on a trip to Italy that his work really started taking off.

This is not only (exaggerated, but) accurate to his story, but it is a great message for aspiring young artists. It doesn’t matter if you start out poorly. With enough work, dedication and passion, you can become an amazing artist, too.

…..That being said….

The actual message of the episode is problematic.

Why? Because Rodin suddenly got insanely good art skills via Horurun’s power and…..there’s never any indication that it wore off or anything. The Horurun he drew was made while utilizing those abilities, and that same drawing was brought to life by Horurun as a sculpture for his mom. (Isn’t that risky? Shouldn’t they have taken that from him before they left for the present?) We never see him draw again after that, so we don’t know if it was temporary or not.

Toki-G/Old Timer said that he was inspired to become a great artist because he still held Horurun/Artie in his heart somewhere, which is fine for this world’s canon, but it’s also implied that Rodin could become a great artist because of the power bestowed to him by Horurun/Artie, so it kinda ruins the whole narrative I had going there. Yeah, kids, if you start out bad at art, don’t worry. A time traveling chicken might pop up and magically give you great artistic capability! Then you’ll become one of the most famous artists in the world through your unearned art powers!

Finally, in spite of wondering just what purpose Sphin even had being in this episode (It showed up only to get knocked out and couldn’t actually helped because Sora’s an idiot.) I did think the scene with that little riddle game show was the best out of the episode because it was so funny.

Next time, no new Time-Space Monsters, it seems. Instead, TP Lady has her sights set back on Love-Love!


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SSBS – Wedding Peach Episode 3: The Targeted Bride

SSBS - WP EP 3

Plot: Momoko, Hinagiku and Yuri help out Momoko’s father on a photography job at the wedding of a very prominent old member of the school’s soccer team. The entire soccer team will be there to perform for him, and they all want an exclusive chance to see their dear Yanagiba perform.

Breakdown: ~Today on Teenage Girls Do Nothing but Gush Over Boys, Uhmm…well, that sentence combined with the plot synopsis pretty much summarizes it.~

Yes, this is another episode where half of it is dedicated to chasing after boys – or, more specifically, dear Yanagiba. It’s also another episode where I continue to be baffled as to why these three girls are friends.

In this episode, they not only continuously fight about who will get with dear Yanagiba, but Hinagiku and Yuri also go behind Momoko’s back to ask her dad if they can help him out with his photography at the wedding. And they do this right as Momoko’s in the middle of explaining that her dad has this gig and that she can use it as an opening to get in. Note that she wasn’t excluding Hinagiku and Yuri from this – she was just trying to point it out. Yet they still not only stopped listening to her so they could implement her plan without her, but they also abuse her connection without asking her.

In addition, they’re initially late to the wedding, so Momoko has to do a lot of the grunt work herself. The reason Hinagiku and Yuri were late was because they were getting all dressed up for Yanagiba. Meanwhile Momoko is still wearing her school uniform. To be fair, I’m not sure why she’s in her school uniform. Her dad had time to dress up, and I’m almost certain it’s on a weekend – surely there’s something she could have worn for this wedding.

They also interrupt Momoko’s dad’s work to take his cameras so they can creepily snap pictures of only Yanagiba during the soccer team performance.

At this point, it seems less like the girls as a whole are at odds with each other, even though they are, and more like Hinagiku and Yuri gang up against Momoko, which….is actually kinda worse. Because at least when they’re all at each other’s throats they’re also on even ground, but if Hinagiku and Yuri favor each other then that leaves Momoko at a steep disadvantage in this ‘friendship.’

Other than that, we have more Yousuke/Momoko stuff going on, starting with deja vu from episode two – that being Yousuke hitting Momoko in the head with a soccer ball, laying her out flat on the floor, and then he chastises her for spacing out in a dangerous area, which is dumb as balls, because she spacing out in a wedding hall. What was he doing kicking a soccer ball in a wedding hall in the first place? Yes, he’s there for a soccer performance for the wedding, which, I honestly find to be kinda silly. That guy’s wife has to be super understandable to let them do that. But why are they not doing this stuff outside?

Granted, the actual performance is just the boys bouncing soccer balls on their foreheads and knees, which somehow gathers a massive crowd of adults, but still. There’s no reason they should be doing this in the reception hall that is filled with breakable shit, food, and people in nice expensive clothing.

That aside, these moments with Yousuke and Momoko are getting sweeter as time moves on. Yousuke is still teasing her, but it’s in a cute manner, and Momoko is starting to see Yousuke in a better light, even if she does still get irritated by his teasing, moreso when he calls her Momopi above all else. He is legitimately concerned for her when she gets hit and he playfully teases her when she tries to take pictures. Later on, he specifically tries to get her out of the building when the bride goes nuts, and basically sacrifices himself so Momoko will have a chance to escape. Momoko also collapses in despair that Yousuke did such a thing. They’re getting pretty sweet together – I liked it.

The second half of the episode has Pluie trying to destroy this day of love by having Jama-P possess the bride and get her to attack everyone. She emits a sort of….I honestly don’t know what it is. Poison? Knockout gas? Either way, everyone in the reception hall gets knocked out because of it, except Momoko, who transforms into her wedding dress because I don’t know. I thought we established the Wedding Armor Peach mode was 100% more practical. Is she unable to use Armor Peach without transforming into the wedding dress first? If so…..Why? And…more why?

The possessed bride goes outside to find a bunch of newlyweds just hanging out on the lawn…for some reason, (Are weddings cheaper if you do them in bulk?) and she attacks them as well.

Oh and speaking of Momoko’s incredibly impractical wedding dress that she was stumbling over in the last episode – she somehow got on top of a cross (on the roof of the church) while wearing that thing.

SSBS - WP EP 3 1

Hang on, I need to check my notes. I had something really profound to say in response to this.

Uhm…

Oh yeah, yeah.

No.

There’s no way in hell she got up there wearing that wedding dress. WHY is she even up there wearing that wedding dress? I understand it’s all dramatic, but that’s not a good enough reason.

Also, she jumped off of that cross and not only landed on her feet, but she didn’t break her heels. I don’t know why I’m so bothered by that because a lot of other magical girls wear heels and jump from high places with no problem. It’s just a thing that happens in these shows – it’s definitely not the most unrealistic thing in this genre….It really has to be the wedding dress motif. It’s making me notice this stuff.

So, at first I thought maybe Momoko would win her battle without changing into Armor Peach – she had brought back the bride’s memories of her love of her groom, which seemed to break the spell….but it didn’t, so Momoko changed into Armor Peach/Fighter Angel, whichever it is, I prefer Armor Peach, and won that way. I totally don’t feel like her being in the wedding dress was a complete waste of time. No sirree. She totally had to be in that wedding dress to remind the bride of her love. Necessary = yes.

Everything’s back to normal, everyone’s okay, the ending kinda-ish ruins the cute moments Momoko and Yousuke were having because no one remembers anything about the attack or the poison gas, so he thinks she’s crazy when she tries to thank him for saving her during the whole debacle. Which, I guess, means everyone just woke up on the floor with a bunch of stuff busted and never questioned it in the slightest, like…even a little. Momoko only took a few minutes to get back in the reception hall, and everyone was just sitting around laughing at the tables.

The end.

This episode was certainly the best one so far. The gushing and bickering over Yanagiba wasn’t quite as annoying as it has been, there were some very good moments between Yousuke and Momoko and even the story of the bride and groom was pretty sweet. I’m still annoyed at the dress thing, for some reason, but I guess that’s just something I’m going to have to learn to deal with.

Next time, Yuri becomes Angel Lily!


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Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon LIGHTNING ROUND CATCHUP! Episodes 10, 11, 12 and 13 Reviews

Episode 10 | The Gold and Silver Rainbow Pearls

YASHAHIMEEP10

Plot: Set out on another bounty, the girls face the conjoined demon brothers, Ginka and Kinka. Their kind, Ka Demons, are born two at a time, with each sibling sharing a body. They can only separate when one or the other dies, so they hatch from their eggs fighting each other until one of them dies.

Seeing that Towa and Setsuna carry Rainbow Pearls in their eyes, the brothers decide to team up temporarily so they can possess the siblings and fight using the pearls’ powers. Setsuna is able to regain enough control over her body to use special demon slayer poison to drive them out, but they still make off with the Rainbow Pearls.

Towa and Setsuna head off in pursuit, leaving Moroha behind on accident.

Ginka and Kinka meet with Joka, their clan’s leader, to deliver the Rainbow Pearls to her. She proclaims that she’ll finally get her revenge on Sesshomaru now, but the hitch is that the brothers won’t be praised for their efforts – they’ll be absorbed into her body.

Ginka is taken first, and the brothers who had once been viciously at each other’s throats, to the point where they were leaving deep scars in each other’s bodies and were destroying the neighboring lands, suddenly reach out for each other. Kinka desperately wants to save Ginka and even teams up with Setsuna and Towa and agrees to give up the Rainbow Pearls to do so. Setsuna, who has regained some of her memories from watching the brothers in their familiar situation, receives a fiery but temporary upgrade to her naginata to allow her to cause more damage to Joka.

They make a valiant effort to take down Joka. Setsuna even deals the final blow with a fiery Scourge of Swallows.

However, it wasn’t enough to save Kinka and Ginka, who are finally separated but too wounded to survive. Ginka passes first, leaving Kinka to lament their tumultuous relationship. He believes siblings connected by blood are always destined to die together no matter what and that, even though they hated each other, they were each other’s reasons for living. Kinka finally passes, and the brothers disappear in a sparkling cloud of ash.

The pearls return to Setsuna and Towa’s eyes, and an angry Moroha finally catches up with them, devastated that Kinka and Ginka are nothing but ash with nothing to bring back to Jyubei.

Breakdown: Well, at least Towa didn’t get another power this time, and Setsuna got a pretty good time to shine, but why exactly wasn’t Towa allowed to participate at all in the final battle? Why did it have to exclusively be Setsuna and Kinka? I know Setsuna wanted to try and understand these siblings, but wouldn’t she be able to do that more easily if Towa was participating too?

Also, I love how they keep highlighting that siblinghood means so much to Towa…..and then they leave their cousin behind and don’t even notice let alone care.

They were getting ready to chase after the brothers on Takechiyo. Moroha asked them to wait a second so she could get her weapons. She’s gone for about four seconds, tops, and Setsuna and Towa just hop on Takechiyo and leave. They don’t even acknowledge that she was talking, they don’t acknowledge her chasing them and yelling for them to wait (and, remember, they’re dog demons. They have super hearing. There’s no excuse.) nor do they even point out that Moroha’s not with them when they arrive. But Towa’s still all about how important siblings are and their bonds and pbbbttt. Look, I do get that siblings are closer than cousins, and Moroha’s technically their half-cousin, but they all have so little in terms of blood relatives that you’d think they’d at least not act like Moroha’s not even there half the time.

It’s starting to resemble their attitudes towards their parents and I don’t like it. Remember, the opposite of love is not hate – it’s apathy.

The story between the brothers is alright on paper, but there are a few issues that need bringing up.

First, these two characters are recycled from The Final Act, and they both died in that series. Unless it’s a massive coincidence that these two look and are named identical to those characters, this just seems really lazy. This is also the second time in a row they’ve recycled an enemy from The Final Act. What exactly is going on? Creativity kinda dry in the design and writing department, guys?

Second, Joka has a massive vendetta against Sesshomaru. Why?

Did they just mention him for the sake of mentioning him? Is this one of those Naraku moments where just mentioning him means they expect brownie points for making it part of the overall plot? Come on.

And for those drawing a blank on The Final Act stuff, no, she wasn’t there. So, pbbbbt.

Third, it seems so convoluted for these two to suddenly start acting like they give a shit about each other after engaging in a fight to the death since birth. Their battle has given them deep scars and has left the surrounding areas in ruins. They themselves admit that they hate each other, but apparently not wanting someone else to absorb their brother and their fight being their reason to live is enough for this sudden shift in their eyes. I am aware that this circles back around to what I mentioned earlier about how hate is not the opposite of love, but, considering the circumstances, it’s hard to draw a positive emotional connection between these two.

Once Ginka is captured, they’re constantly calling out for each other and calling the other ‘brother’ they’re reaching for each other and holding each other. And we’re supposed to feel bad that they died in the end. Who knows how many people died in the wake of their battle, but they were siblings so this is sad I guess.

Good thing they weren’t cousins, because then no one would give a shit.

Fourth, it really seems like the Rainbow Pearls did absolutely nothing to power them up, like….even a little. Even with two in their possession, they were both felled by Joka incredibly. They didn’t seem different at all.

Setsuna has recovered bits and pieces of her memory….but she’s also a complete idiot. She sees little parts of the fire from when she and Towa were kids, and she kept asking who that girl was who was trying to save her……

Golly, what a mystery.

Let me make a wild guess, though. Let’s see. White hair. Red streak. Red eyes. Calling you “sister.” About the same age.

Seriously, how can she even ask this question? Even if she doesn’t recognize/respect Towa as a sister, she can’t deny that, biologically, she is. They must have the same scent, Moroha pointed out as much, and they both know they’re Sesshoumaru’s kids. Unless she thinks she has a triplet who also has white hair, this is ridiculous. Oh well, at least she got some cool attacks this episode, even if, I assume, it was purely a one-off considering she can’t get fire from Kinka anymore.

Episode 11 | Curse of the Man-Eating Pond

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Plot: Moroha witnesses a murky pond eat a bird, but Towa and Setsuna don’t believe her. After the sisters part ways with Moroha, they meet a pair of young siblings, Hikomaru and Chiyo, who have recently lost their parents to the pond.

Towa and Setsuna, with Moroha meeting them later, resolve to kill the Venom Snake demon supposedly living within the pond to avenge the parents of these siblings.

When they confront the demon, Moroha and Setsuna become weakened by the poisonous gas, but Towa, somehow, is immune from its effects. The Venom Snake is revealed to be joined with Drifting Pond – a demon that consumes ponds and becomes the water itself while also protecting its resident, in this case, Venom Snake.

Towa gets drenched in poisonous pond water by Drifting Pond, which makes her fall ill, but Setsuna is not affected by it. Myoga surmises that Towa and Setsuna have different types of immunity to poison. Setsuna is immune to venom/poison liquid but not gas and Towa is the opposite. Moroha has no such immunity to any poison, so she can’t help.

Realizing their affinities, Setsuna decides to tackle Drifting Pond while she leaves Venom Snake to Towa.

Setsuna learned earlier that, many years ago, a wandering sage planted medicinal herbs around the pond for the sake of purifying it, but the herbs were in a patch a good distance away from it. She uses her Cyclone Burst to attack the herb patch and direct them to Drifting Pond, purifying the demon and killing it.

Towa lands the killing blow to Venom Snake, and once the battle is over the pond is once again crystal clear and beautiful.

Breakdown: Worst animation of the series so far, hands down, which makes sense because this is pretty goshdarn fillery.

So, one more Towa power for good measure, but at least it came alongside a new Setsuna power. And Moroha gets screwed over again because of course she does. Towa and Setsuna don’t even go get her when they realize she actually did see the demon in the pond, which could be valuable information for their battle. Nope. Moroha got worried about THEM when they didn’t come home so she went looking for THEM. Then when she was actually engaged in the battle, she gets insta-poisoned, sidelined and attacked by Setsuna.

At the very least, Setsuna muttered to herself that Moroha better dodge her attack, but….Moroha was poisoned and kinda paralyzed……..And she….didn’t dodge it. I mean she didn’t die or anything, but she clearly got hit by it. Oh well, at least Moroha got to do other stuff this episode…..like choke on pancakes and be forced to clean Jyubei’s shop…..*huff*

Also, while it actually kinda weird to see Towa try to sleep on Setsuna, Setsuna’s roll dodge was awesome. Slick girl.

Episode 12 | Night of the New Moon and the Black-Haired Towa

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Plot: Konton sends out the poisonous apparition, Nikosen, to attack the half-demon princesses. Timing is on his side, because Towa falls under the spell of the new moon, which drains half-demons of their demon powers until sunrise. In addition to that, she’s unable to withstand Nikosen’s poison as she normally would be able to, so she becomes ill and needs to be protected by Moroha and Setsuna for the time being.

Moroha manages to separate Nikosen’s head from his body, but both can act independently from each other. Setsuna hunts down the head while Moroha finds a safe place for Towa to rest. Nikosen’s body finds them and regrows his head – the one Setsuna is chasing is nothing but an illusion, so she rushes to return. Kohaku and the others meet with Setsuna and begin an assault on the mountain that Nikosen has been inhabiting and destroying.

Meanwhile, Towa, now with longer, black hair and brown eyes, has reverted to a fully human state. Towa is concerned that the same thing is happening to Setsuna and tries to go off to save her, but Moroha knocks her out to stop her from getting herself hurt.

Moroha and Myoga hole up in a cave that is protected with a barrier made from sutras and Moroha’s spiritual power, but it soon starts weakening due to the firebomb assault that the demon slayers are unleashing on the mountain.

Nikosen is able to sense and find them again, and he coats them in a substance that hardens over their bodies, essentially turning them into statues. Sensing her sister is in danger, Setsuna rushes toward them and attacks Nikosen, freeing them from their stony prisons.

The sun rises, and Towa regains her demon powers, allowing her defeat Nikosen.

Breakdown: Oh so now we’re stealing episode titles from Inuyasha, too? Neat.

This show is so goddamn confusing sometimes. I thought it was a known fact of all half-demons, even ones like Naraku, that they experience temporary periods where they lose their demon powers. (Technically, Myoga said it was a once a month deal that was different for all half-demons and Inuyasha’s just happened on the new moon, but they’re saying the new moon is the norm for all now. Jinenji was noted to transform during the day, though, so pbbbttdunno.) Now it seems like this group of half/quarter-demons simply don’t know this happens at all.

Here’s how it’s explained away for each of them.

Towa: This has never happened to Towa before coming to the Feudal era. Myoga explains that the reason it’s happening to her now is because she was originally from the Feudal era.

He legit says that no half-demon can escape the laws of the new moon, except Naraku as he was able to choose when he’d lose his powers, but then says the reason she never experienced this in the modern era is because….what? She didn’t belong there?

I will never understand exactly what this Feudal era even is. They always say it’s a different world, but it’s not. It’s the same world just 500 years in the past. Hojo’s ancestor is there, so it has to just be the past. So….like…where did all the demons go in 500 years? Why is there no evidence of real demons even existing in Japan? Why is there nothing supernatural in the modern era? And why would a modern era new moon not effect Towa? Did something happen to the moon in 500 years?

Also, oddly, besides Towa having her white hair turn black, her hair also grows to shoulder length…………..for……..reasons?

The reason for the hair color change is because the whiteness was caused by her demon half. With the demon half gone, it turns into her natural hair color. Both Inuyasha and Towa’s mothers have black hair, so their hair turns black.

Hair length has nothing to do with it, though. How would that even make sense? Sesshomaru has gloriously long locks. And even if he had short hair, they’re not Saiyans. Their hair isn’t bound by some genetic rules. There’s absolutely no reason why Towa’s hair should be long because of her losing her demon powers.

And, what, when the sun rises again does her hair spontaneously cut itself or suck itself back into her scalp?

You want to know what’s even more baffling? Her hair turns black and long because she lost her demon side, right? So why does she still have that red streak in her hair? Surely that’s a product of her demon nature. Rin sure as hell didn’t give that to her.

Moroha: Now, you’d think, being quarter-demon, Moroha would have it worse, right?

Nope.

Myoga just says that maybe quarter-demons never lose their demon powers.

I would think a better explanation would be that the purifying/spiritual abilities that she inherited from Kagome might…I dunno, somehow make it so her demon powers could never be unbound from her?

No, that doesn’t make much sense either, but it’s a little better than just saying that, for some reason, quarter-demons don’t suffer from this massive weakness half-demons have. You’d think, if anything, they’d lose their powers more often.

Oh well, I guess we can chalk this up as Moroha finally getting a benefit the others don’t have…..

Or does she!?

Setsuna: Setsuna isn’t bound by the laws of the new moon. She doesn’t lose her demon powers once a month. It’s clear she’s never even seen this happen before.

Why?

Moroha theorizes that, in addition to her dreams, memories and ability to sleep, the Dream Butterfly also stole her weakness to the new moon.

…………

Come on, really? The Dream Butterfly made her immune to the new moon? HOW? JUST. HOW!? Did it alter her blood? What the hell is going on?

What are the limits of the Dream Butterfly’s damage?

“Gee, Setsuna, you used to like apples when you were a kid.”

“Oh no, guess the Dream Butterfly took her ability to enjoy apples.”

Oh and hey just for good measure, Nikosen is ANOTHER recycled dead enemy from the original series. I can give it some leeway because Nikosen was originally only in the manga, but he’s still another enemy that Inuyasha and the others have fought and killed before. Some creativity is all I ask.

In the end, Towa saves the day……easily….by herself. Nikosen is an apparition that all of the demon slayers, Setsuna and Moroha have been having a bitch of a time trying to defeat, yet the instant Towa gets her powers back she downs him with two shots.

*lip smack*

And, uh oh, Konton now knows of the half-demon weakness…..which is kinda not as impacting as it should be because I was under the impression most demon-savvy people knew that.

Overall, the concept is fine and it did get the girls a little closer together – definitely a positive development for their group cohesion – but I was left beyond confused about the mechanics of everything going on with the new moon that I didn’t even much care about what was going on with the enemy. The writing in this episode was stretchier than taffy.

Episode 13 | The Delicious Feudal Monks

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Plot: The monk-eating demon, and one of the Four Perils, Totetsu, roams the countryside looking for monks to consume. The more virtuous the monk, the better. His appetite leads him to Miroku, who is currently undergoing 1000 days of training in order to achieve enlightenment.

Hisui, Setsuna and Towa are sent to protect him, much to Hisui’s annoyance. He believes his father is nothing but a coward who ran away from his family to do pointless training.

Totetsu arrives, attempting to suck in his target with his wind-tunnel-like mouth. With Miroku and Hisui’s attempt to get Totetsu to consume demon slayer poison, they discover that his weakness is poison, so Setsuna asks Miroku to remove a seal he put on her years ago.

She then lunges at Totetsu, who bites her arm, but she reveals that she has poison flowing through her veins. As the others catch a look at her face, it’s revealed that she’s become more demon-like.

Totetsu despises the taste of the poison and decides to flee.

Miroku replaces the seal on Setsuna and she returns to normal.

Later, Setsuna reveals to Towa that Miroku told her years ago that she had inherited poison in her veins. When her demon side takes over, it’s hard to control it. She surmises that Towa probably has something inherited from their demon roots too that has yet to be revealed.

Meanwhile, Hisui visits his mother, Sango, who is happily tending to their home while Miroku is away.

Breakdown: MIROKU AND SANGO!

YAY!! WHOO!! ALRIGHT!

……Is what I wish I felt. But this whole episode was underwhelming as fuck.

First of all, it is very bittersweet to return to Miroku so soon after Kirby Morrow’s death. I’m not watching the dub, yet, and this episode isn’t even dubbed yet, but it stings to see Miroku again knowing that Kirby Morrow’s gone…

Second of all, Moroha’s just straight up not here. She appears twice because she’s guarding some other temple, but she only gets a handful of lines and isn’t seen anymore than that.

Third, while Miroku looks a TINY bit older, with lines on his face and his hair down, Sango looks absolutely no different than she did in the original series, down to her clothing.

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For the love of god, art department, 20 YEARS HAS GONE BY. You can’t say nearly 40 year old Sango looks identical to 18 year old Sango. And the fact that they hide her face until the very end of the episode….what is the point of that? Fanbaiting? For no reveal? Or is the reveal subtly hinting that she’s a vampire or has found the fountain of youth? She must’ve had a group bath in there with literally every other original character who was an adult in the previous series.

Fourth, Totetsu’s our final Peril, which is disappointing. He’s a fine filler episode enemy, but he’s seriously the last Peril? This goofy son of a bitch? Give me a break….

Fifth, the conflict between Hisui and Miroku was just dumb. Completely dumb. I was perfectly fine with the idea of Hisui and Miroku being at odds with each other, but not if the reasoning is ridiculous.

As we know, after Miroku’s wind tunnel vanished, he and Inuyasha (though he doesn’t mention Inuyasha) still went about with killing demons for cash. This was perfectly understandable. I mean, they’re good at it and Miroku did need cash for his growing family. However, after a run-in with some unnamed demon that I think defeated him or something, it’s never made clear, he realized that he needed to get much stronger. Thus, he started his 1000 days of training deep in the mountains, which supposedly leads those who partake in it to enlightenment and some form of divine power. He’s already gone through two years worth of training and needs roughly 200 more days to complete it.

Hisui is mad……because he views his father as a coward who ran away. Hisui believes this training is pointless and that Miroku’s just a coward who left his family to pick up the slack at home.

…..Keep in mind, Hisui’s the youngest of Miroku and Sango’s children, and he’s still probably 18, meaning he was likely 16 when Miroku left. Considering it seems like demon slayers start actively going on missions at around 11 (that’s the age Kohaku was when he went out) I can’t imagine Hisui was even still being cared for at home much when he left, meaning Sango was at home by herself….and….she seems to be just fine with this. She’s smiling, she’s making equipment for the demon slayers, she still has her daughters visiting her all the time – she’s fine.

I really don’t understand Hisui’s deal. Miroku felt he was too weak to fight demons, so he went to train. They even point out that, no matter if he gets some divine power after his 1000 days is up or not, he’s still training his ass off. No training is pointless. That’s one of the most obvious things ever. He’s getting more powerful with every day he puts in effort, which he’s clearly doing. Hisui is a damn demon slayer – he should know how valuable even the tiniest bit of training is.

Does he not know a single damn thing about his father? The demons he’s fought? The amount of times he’s nearly died to protect his friends and Sango? The fact that he went toe-to-toe with Naraku many times? He believes that Miroku is a coward just because he didn’t recklessly go back into demon slaying/exorcism after a tough fight even after realizing he’s not nearly as powerful as he once was and decided he needed rigorous training to even get close to his previous level of power? Hisui’s either ridiculously ill-informed, an idiot or both.

“But, Twix, Miroku’s probably hundreds of miles away from Sango and his children. He abandoned his family, and even if you can excuse him abandoning his kids since they’re adults, he still abandoned Sango!”

Thank you for pointing that out, Straw Man, but this is also just not true. Miroku lives so close to home that his daughter, Gyokuto, can walk from home to his temple in less time than it took Hisui and the others to fly there on Kirara from Kaede’s village. Sango can see Miroku whenever she wants and vice versa. Gyokuto also sends messages between the two whenever they can’t see each other. Miroku’s away, sure, but he’s still within arm’s reach.

You want to know how this two year old conflict resolves? Hisui just witnesses Miroku partaking in the battle and unsealing/resealing Setsuna and he’s all cool again.

Neat.

I can finally wipe the sweat from my brow.

What an emotional roller coaster.

Finally, I have no clue about anything that was revealed about Setsuna in this episode. I can’t make heads or tails of it. She inherited poison from Sesshomaru – specifically in just her arm, I guess. Makes sense. He had poisonous claws.

….I have no idea what the rest even is. What is the seal, really? Is it meant to seal her poison arm or her demon side? The seal is specifically in her poisoned arm. I guess she would need something to seal her demon side. Inuyasha had Tetsusaiga to seal his, but there are numerous other half-demons who don’t have anything special to keep their demon sides at bay.

If it is meant to seal her poison arm, why? Must really suck to inherit such a useful power only to have it be so strong that you need to seal it, or else you’ll trigger your demon side coming out…or something? Is that how it works?

If it’s meant to seal her demon side…..why did Miroku unseal it? Why did it need sealing in the first place? She didn’t have a seal before he met her and we know she was perfectly fine back then. Did the Dream Butterfly steal her ability to keep her demon half under wraps too? Her arm is still poison even if she’s just half-demon, right? Totetsu wanted to eat her. Just, like, cut your arm and let him taste some blood. Why does she need to become demon-y and let him bite her arm? Can she not utilize the poison claws ability? Can’t she scratch his tongue or something? Is it literally just a poison arm? What a pointless ability if it’s just poison in her arm that she can’t utilize unless something specifically drinks her blood or eats her flesh from that arm.

Inuyasha typically only became a demon under the worst circumstances – when Tetsusaiga wasn’t with him and he was near death. The first time he transforms, he’s nearly singing Christmas carols outside death’s door and was still trudging on. Here? Nothing nearly that bad has happened. Hisui got a taste of his own poison, but they have the antidote. No one’s even been injured outside of that. Is this really the battle they thought was worth unveiling her demon form?

And is that REALLY her FULL demon form? Because not only does she keep her personality in line basically perfectly, unlike Inuyasha who had an insane bloodlust, but all that changes is that she gets lines on her face and bigger claws/fangs. Her eyes don’t even change, which is the bare minimum with stuff like that.

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Inuyasha’s full demon reveal was kick-ass and terrifying. Setsuna’s is so boring I honestly don’t know why it’s here.

She doesn’t even kill Totetsu, which is the cherry on this disappointment cake. That goofy idiot drank her poison blood and still managed to get away. Inuyasha tore Goshinki apart with his bare hands when he became a demon the first time.

And after all of that…..We get no new information on anything at all involving the old Inuyasha crew. Nothing in the slightest. At least now I know Miroku and Sango are alive and well, but other than that we learned absolutely nothing about anyone else. Miroku could have at least mentioned Inuyasha. Like “Things were easier when Inuyasha was helping me fight the demons, but when he disappeared….” or implying something happened to Inuyasha and Kagome and he couldn’t save them so he trains to be powerful enough to help or something of the like. Anything. Nope.

This whole episode was pointless. It just dumped some things we wanted to see together and did nothing interesting with them. Like, golly, wonder who the last Peril is. Oh…..it’s uh…this doofus. Oh I wonder where Sango and Miroku are and what they’re doing now….Oh….nothing that interesting….Errr, well……Wonder what Setsuna’s demon form looks like and how it’ll be—oh….it’s just that….

They also act like there was no other way to defeat Totetsu besides poisoning him……How about attacking him from behind? His vacuum only works via his mouth. If you attack him from behind, it should be no real problem. He can’t even defend with his sword back there. It’s 4v1, it shouldn’t be that difficult.

Again, remember when Inuyasha first turned full-demon? Goshinki was a huge threat because he was super fast, super strong and he could read minds, meaning he knew their weaknesses and what they were going to do. He could predict and prepare for everything they were throwing his way. Inuyasha’s demon form was so consumed by blood lust that Goshinki couldn’t read his mind in that state, which is how he was defeated.

Totetsu not only doesn’t get killed, but it’s literally a matter of ‘Ew this tastes awful! I’m leaving!’ Not kidding. His last words as he runs away are proclaiming he’ll never eat half-demons again.

A final note about this episode was that it showed us the final Rainbow Pearl – the orange one…You wouldn’t even know the dude had it, as, other than leading Totetsu to Miroku, it did absolutely nothing for him. He didn’t even actually use it, I don’t think? They’re doing an awful job at making the Rainbow Pearls seem like anything worth coveting.

Oh and I guess Moroha not getting her bounty is just a running joke at this point now.

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And now I’m all caught up on Yashahime. We had some…….times.

I was going to say “We had some good times and some bad times” but……no….mostly just….times. There were some okay spots, but nothing impressive or memorable. In general, we had a lot of confusing times above all else, but this series is really turning out to be a mess.

Its pacing issues continue to be a huge problem (Wasn’t Towa trying to go to the foot of some mountain to find the Dream Butterfly? Did she just forget that? Because now she’s not even considering asking a Peril about the butterfly. She’s just like ‘We’re gonna slay you!’ And whenever they do actual, ya know, things, it’s usually too much too quickly.) Moroha continues to get ignored, things make less and less sense, and they keep doing everything in their power to not give us any information about Inuyasha and the others – even when they’re in the goddamn episode.

Does Hisui not even know that Miroku and Sango knew Sesshomaru, Rin, Inuyasha and Kagome? Do they not ever talk about their pasts? Is it not even slightly beneficial in some capacity to talk about them? We don’t even learn the actual circumstances of Setsuna and Miroku meeting or even when it happened. It must’ve happened before she became a demon slayer because Miroku’s surprised she’s with them. Why isn’t Miroku even curious about Towa? Or Moroha? Does he even know who Moroha is? He’d have to, right? Because he still knows Hachi and he was the one tasked with protecting her. You’d think Miroku would be the most invested in her since she’s the daughter of two beloved and possibly deceased friends.

I honestly don’t know where we go from here. I’m just kinda sad. Maybe my expectations are a bit too high, especially since, honestly, the original series was also plagued with a myriad of problems that still bother me a lot to this day, but this is just trying my patience and insulting my intelligence.

In addition to either copying many things Inuyasha did and doing it worse, they don’t even have the romance hook. That is the lowest hanging fruit you could have. Get some shippers on your train to keep people invested. They seem to be replacing that aspect with Towa and Setsuna’s sisterhood, which is perfectly fine conceptually, but the relationship has to be equally compelling, and it’s not.

At this point, their relationship amounts to Towa continuously trying to get close to Setsuna, emotionally and physically, and Setsuna continuing to shut her down. The physical aspect is a little cringey, to be honest. Towa hasn’t known Setsuna since they were little, and Setsuna doesn’t remember Towa at all yet she insists on trying to touch her, hug her and sleep on her all the time. Also, they just don’t have very good chemistry as siblings either. Ed and Al they are not. Admittedly. Setsuna is starting to show some caring for Towa, but I just don’t care much.

Remind me of all the migraines I had because of the perpetual “Inuyashhaaaaaaa!!” “Kagomeeeeeeeee!” yells all you want. Keep cutting my hands on the sharp edges of that annoying love triangle all you want too. Hey, just for fun, show me that shot of Kikyo pinning Inuyasha to the tree one more time. At least we were invested in all that. At least chemistry was involved.

Their cohesion as a three-person team is getting better, but only slightly, and their progress keeps getting hindered by the fact that Towa and Setsuna don’t seem to care as much about Moroha and they constantly leave her behind. I actually think Moroha and Setsuna have pretty good chemistry, but they don’t take advantage of it, and it keeps suffering because of the sidelining issue.

This last episode, Moroha was left doing absolutely nothing. She sat around waiting at a monk’s temple while Towa and Setsuna fought a Peril. Granted, it’s also getting VERY old that Setsuna and Towa keep getting assignments that coincide precisely with what Moroha’s currently doing, but if you’re going to do that shtick maybe actually let her partake in the events that are transpiring instead of just literally having her sit out.

With Inuyasha you can tell a good amount of effort was put in, even if it did have a ridiculous amount of hiccups. Yashahime? It’s hard for me to even say much effort is being invested – even in stuff as superfluous as updated characters designs. Kohaku looks awesome, Rin’s pretty, but barely any of the adult characters got an actual update after a 20 year time skip. Come on, guys. You can do better. Please do better.

Next time, we find the demon who started the fire that separated Towa and Setsuna. Will I care? Find out next time!


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 15 – The Tortoise and the Hare Review

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Plot: Usagi is known by many people as a ‘tortoise’ because she’s mentally slow. In contrast, her brother seems to be quite successful as a DJ. What could possibly lead either of these two to contacting Hell Girl?

Breakdown: I’m gonna need you to bear with me because, dear god, this episode requires so much unpacking.

It is, for the most part, certainly one of the best and most thought-provoking episodes we’ve had in Three Vessels so far. However, with that comes a lot of horribleness and questions I never thought to ask about this series before.

First of all, I never thought this series would touch upon anyone with special needs. I am actually quite baffled they went there. They never outright say Usagi has special needs, but there’s no dancing around it – she does. She can’t make a decision on what to get out of a drink vending machine without a line of 20 people forming behind her, when she always gets the same drink every time. She can’t figure out how to open her drink, which is basically a juice box, or cut a pizza. She takes a very long time to organize her thoughts and schoolwork, it even takes her a very long time to pack her school bag. She doesn’t react verbally immediately when approached. I’m not going to diagnose her with anything specific, I’m definitely not the person to do that, but it’s obvious that she has some form of special needs.

Everyone acknowledges this, it seems, but she doesn’t receive any actual help from anyone. It’s one of those situations where people acknowledge it and they make adjustments but no one’s trying to actually provide her with true care of any kind. Again, I can’t diagnose her with anything so, for all I know, she doesn’t absolutely need any sort of professional care, but I feel like someone should be doing something for her.

Second of all, the kinda obvious play on words. Usagi’s called a ‘tortoise’ implying she’s slow, but her name is ‘Usagi’ which means rabbit, implying she may actually be faster, so to speak, than people might think. Which kinda makes sense considering the ending, but we’ll get there when we get there.

Third, back on the special needs thing……I am extremely, extremely, extremely uncomfortable at the confirmation that people with special needs can not only be clients of Hell Girl, but they can also be targets. Usagi’s not terribly impaired. She makes her way through school relatively fine, I think, and her parents apparently think she’s capable of becoming a nurse because they come to her with a plan for making that her career path. But there’s no getting around the fact that she is impaired in some fashion.

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The fact that people with mental disabilities can be clients and targets of Hell Girl is horrifying and horrible. I guess if kids can be clients and targets too then Hell Correspondence really has no limits. That’s rather frightening and upsetting.

Then there’s point four, which is how badly Usagi is treated by others. In general, people tend to treat Usagi poorly because she’s viewed as annoying and hopeless, but she gets the worst of it from the people who are closest to her.

There are her three friends, who constantly express how annoyed they are that they have to take care Usagi. They talk about her like she isn’t literally inches away from them, and they directly tell her that she should show more gratefulness for them being so caring when she’s such a bother to them.

When Usagi gets a boyfriend, meaning she won’t be relying on her friends quite so much, they get mocked by some bitches who point out that someone like Usagi got a boyfriend before them – IE the tortoise managed to pass them all, which makes them all very upset so they start making fun of her even worse behind her back, calling her a perverted tortoise grabbing at men.

Then you have Usagi’s parents, who do seem to care about her and love her, but not enough to actually get her any real help or even properly acknowledge her struggles. They ask her to make a decision about a career path, and while she has been reading up on culinary school, she can’t bring herself to say anything about it. When she fails to bring up her decision, they say, somewhat kindly, that they figured as much, so they proposed making her a nurse since she’s so nice, which Usagi accepts even though it doesn’t seem to be something she wants to do.

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Usagi later expresses that she knows her parents have given up on her and that her friends make fun of her. She works hard, but she can’t make progress because she’s ‘a tortoise.’ She smiles through everything they do either to or for her to help bear the pain, which is one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard in this show.

Finally, we have her brother, Michito, who is seen as the reliable and successful sibling. He has a seemingly good career as a DJ and was even featured in a magazine (full page article and everything) and has his own CD. Her friends even fawn over him and ask Usagi for his autograph the next time he’s in town.

Michito, however, is also an asshole to Usagi. Like her friends, Michito outwardly expresses frustration with having to deal with Usagi, even/especially when they were young kids, and also partakes in calling her a tortoise. However, there is some part of him that cares about her. When he realized that Usagi had actually chosen something to do as a career but couldn’t bring herself to say it and just accepted what her parents had chosen, he confronted her about it, seemingly upset that she wasn’t confident enough to assert her own desires over those of her parents, who didn’t even think she’d be able to choose anything.

Their relationship as a whole is rather warped, though.

Yes, people, we’re touching upon incest….again.

Usagi has an admirer named Endo who appears to legitimately have feelings for Usagi. He asks her out, and they start dating. When Michito hears the news, he is enraged. Soon after, Usagi finds photos in her mailbox of Endo dating other women. On their next date, Endo explains that Michito invited him out the other night to some music event. Without explaining exactly what happened, he apologizes to her and says he has no right to be with her.

Later, Usagi meets up with Michito and it’s revealed that they’re both the clients and they’re both the targets.

Usagi is targeting Michito because he was the reason Endo broke up with her (the Wiki says Michito forced Endo to hang out with those other girls so he could frame him and force him to break up with Usagi. I guess that can be inferred by the available information, but it’s unclear. Endo did seem to legitimately have feelings for her, and he was actually upset that he had to break up with her, so I’ll believe that.)

In turn, Michito is targeting Usagi because he is jealous of the fact that he perceived her as the fortunate one. He believes she never tries hard yet always has people doing stuff for her, making life easy for her and giving her attention. He resented the fact that he was seen as the reliable and stable one, so everyone just expected great things of him and didn’t give him as much attention as Usagi.

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Yeah, I don’t much get it either. To make matters more confusing, he claims he’s quitting music because it’s not working out for him, which is directly in contradiction to everything we’ve learned of him to this point. Michito responded to that point by saying their parents misunderstood……Misunderstood what? We saw the article and the CD seems legit too. What is being misunderstood here? He is working at a convenience store, but I just thought that music still can’t pay the bills even with his success, which, considering the fickle nature of the music business, is entirely understandable. Really don’t understand his situation, but the bottomline is that he’s jealous of Usagi.

They agree to drop their dolls into the river and forget the whole thing. Michito tells her that, even as a ‘tortoise’ she can work hard and find one of many good men out there to find love with, which gives her pause because, well, he was the one who orchestrated Endo ‘cheating’ on her and their break-up in the first place.

He returns home, and SURPRISE, he’s now locked in a hell torture. Usagi went into the river after Michito left, retrieved her doll and pulled the string. Why? Flashback to a time when they were kids. Usagi declared that she wanted to someday be Michito’s bride. Michito, however, scoffed at this idea, stating no one would ever want to marry such a tortoise. We only saw that part of the flashback earlier in the episode, but now we get a continuation where Michito returns and says he’ll agree to let her be his bride IF she becomes beautiful.

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Basically, Usagi was in love with her brother since they were kids, but he always manipulated her and treated her badly. I feel like he does have feelings for her too, slightly, but he’s more invested in just keeping her down than he is interested in anything romantic with her. Control over affection, basically. Usagi got sick of Michito manipulating her like that and using her love for him against her while not reciprocating it, so she decided to pull the string.

The last shot of Usagi is her laughing maniacally while still standing in the river proclaiming that she really can do her best despite being a tortoise, which I suppose is in pride of her making the decision to pull the string when she’s had such difficulty making decisions on her own.

God. Damn. That poor kid.

Of course, the sadness of this situation is cut by the hell torture. Michito is placed within a tortoise shell in a wild west setting and the hell team, dressed as cowpokes, shoots at him with a bunch of guns, so he retreats into his shell, which gets spun around. He doesn’t believe Usagi would pull the string after they decided to get along, and he’s thrust into hell by a missile explosion.

Not the goofiest hell torture we’ve seen, but more than enough to kinda wreck the tone of what was happening here.

Overall, though, this was truly a ride to say the least. A really uncomfortable and terrible ride, but a ride nonetheless. I certainly sympathized with the client and pretty much hated the target, but I don’t feel any real catharsis at him being sent to hell, and I feel worse than normal for the client in question. It’s just a terrible situation…..

Oh yeah, Yuzuki came up. She asked Usagi to not use Hell Correspondence when Usagi didn’t even know of such a thing at the time, meaning she may have very well put the idea in her mind.


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Episode One-Derland: Red Garden

Plot: Kate, Rachel, Claire and Rose are all from different walks of life, but they have one thing in common – they’re dead….But not really. Well, yes, they are, but they’re still walking around and interacting with people – anyway, they don’t remember anything about the night they died, but mysterious ‘teachers’ show up to guide them…to murder?

Breakdown: I had plot synopsyes from other websites that I could have ripped from, but I like writing my own. So if that plot sounds confusing it’s only because this first episode is really confusing.

I didn’t know much about Red Garden going in and I pretty much still don’t, even after reading a couple of reviews on it. It tends to get middle of the road reviews, and that seems to be because the final four episodes are terrible. Several reviews I read treated this series as if it would have been near masterpiece level had the ending four episodes not been so rushed and terrible. The THEM review on it made it sounds like a damn car crash of plot development.

To tell you the truth, that almost put me off altogether, because I can stand watching a bad anime or just a couple of episodes of a bad anime to get my chuckles in, but if you give me a good anime and then tell me its finale is terrible, I feel like I’ll be investing a lot just to end up disappointed.

One of the reasons for the initial confusion is that the first episode keeps jumping between the girls. For a good chunk of the run time, it’s just constantly reminding us that the girls don’t remember what happened the night before and they’re all sleepy and feeling ill.

The opening scene does show all of the girls, now unconscious, being transported back to their houses, and we learn a friend of Kate’s, Lise, went missing and was found dead in the woods under mysterious circumstances. Everything culminates in the end with all of the girls being lead to a location in a park by a bunch of butterflies that only they seem to be able to see. They meet two people, clad in black, who introduce themselves as their teachers before instructing them to kill a nearby man who turns out to be a monster.

It’s staged very much like a thriller, which I like, but it doesn’t change the fact that the first episode is confusing. I think it does enough to keep my attention and make me want to learn more, however.

The art and animation will take some getting used to. Everyone’s very lanky with big lips and smaller eyes than you typically see in anime. It’s not really bad, but it’s just weird to me. Not my cup of tea.

The music in general is pretty nice and the voice acting is also decent.

THEM noted that this series has a very awkward habit of having the girls, for no reason, suddenly break out into sad songs and mentioned that their voice actresses just could not sing worth a damn. I honestly didn’t think anything of it when I read that, but when Kate started singing….yikes.

I was going to give her some slack because she was grieving her friend so it was probably just her emotions affecting her voice, but…..no. There’s a difference between putting emotion into your voice and sounding like someone is gently strangling you as you sing. I shouldn’t be visibly flinching at points during your song.

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While I am going to be very wary of the final four episodes, many people still seemed to enjoy it in its entirety just fine, and I think it’s worth a roll of the dice. Nothing’s really reaching out to me as ‘masterpiece’ worthy or even all that great, but I still think it will be interesting and hopefully explore some cool ideas.


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AVAHS Finale – A Very Merry Pooh Year (+ Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too) Review

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Plot: As Pooh and the rest of the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood prepare for Christmas, Roo’s question about whether Santa will arrive prompts the others to tell the story of a Christmas they shared before Kanga and Roo arrived.

Then everything falls to pieces when Rabbit decides he’s had enough of his crazy friends and decides to move away. As New Year’s approaches, the others resolve to change themselves so Rabbit won’t leave.

Breakdown: Happy New Year, everyone! May your 2021 be hopeful, positive, healthy and happy, and nothing like its bastard sibling, 2020.

Anyhoo, or anyPOOH! Hahahahahaha….please don’t click away. To herald in the new year, I thought we’d discuss one of the few animated New Year’s specials (and it is, trust me. It’ll get there.) A Very Merry Pooh Year.

As I mentioned in my review of Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie, A Very Merry Pooh Year utilized the same lazy story stuffing technique they did, which is to only make half of a new movie and fill up the other half of the runtime with a decade-old holiday special from The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Meaning that little tagline of “A Brand New Full-Length Adventure” can go suck a Times Square ball.

However, this time, DisneyToon was not involved. Instead, the animation was done by Wang Film Productions and Sunwoo Animation (Under Walt Disney Television Animation).

Now, while this practice is lazy and downright deceptive to the consumer, the main reason it was such a pall on Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie was because the story they came up with was damn near identical to the episode they shoehorned into it, so including that feature just highlighted how ridiculously lazy and near self-plagiarizing the new movie was.

Does A Very Merry Pooh Year have the same problem?

The special that is being featured in this ‘movie’ is Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too. Christopher Robin helps Pooh and the other animals of the Hundred Acre-Wood write a letter to Santa. They throw it into the wind, as it’s blowing north, and wait for it to arrive at the North Pole. Later, they realize that Pooh never asked for anything, so he and Piglet decide to get the letter back and fix it before letting it reach the north pole, which doesn’t make any sense.

First of all, Pooh wants honey. Christopher Robin knows this, Pooh mentioned it about seven times when the others were making their wishes, there’s no way Christopher Robin didn’t write down that Pooh wanted a pot of honey for Christmas.

Second, why do they need to get the letter back? Why couldn’t they just send a new letter specifically for Pooh?

The amended letter with Pooh’s wishes as well as Rabbit, Tigger and Eeyore’s new better, more extravagant wishes, because everyone started going overboard, gets sent off in the wind, but the letter returns because the wind changed directions. Pooh and Piglet find the letter and panic because there’s no time to get a new letter to Santa now. In an effort to make Christmas happen, Pooh dresses up like Santa and Piglet dresses as a reindeer and they make the gifts their friends asked for. However, the gifts are incredibly shoddy and everyone’s upset about them.

They eventually find out what Pooh and Piglet have been doing and they figure out what Pooh did wrong – he waited until the weathervane indicated S for Santa when he should have waited for N for North, so it could get to the North Pole…..Which is not what happened. The weathervane was pointed west….I think. It’s hard to tell with their setup. And Pooh just said the letter would know which way to go.

They want to send the letter again, but the winds have died down. The only way to get the letter to the North Pole now is if one of them hand delivers it. Pooh immediately volunteers.

Piglet: “You? But the North Pole is so very far. What if you can’t get back in time for Christmas?”

Pooh: “It will be worth having no Christmas, Piglet, if I can bring Christmas to all of you.”

Gotta be honest, that was one of the sweetest and purist Christmas sentiments I’ve ever heard in a Christmas special. I literally went “Awwwwwww” out loud when he said that. What a sweetheart.

Pooh heads out in the now really windy snowstorm and quickly loses the letter, so he….goes home?

….Uh….Pooh? You remember what everyone wanted….Just…tell him? Santa doesn’t need the requests to be written out. How do you think mall Santas work?

Meanwhile, back at home, Piglet laments–…………Is that a fire…..they forgot to animate?

There are no flames. It’s like they’re just glowing logs……What happened here?…What is this?

Uh anyway, Piglet laments the fact that Christmas just isn’t Christmas without Pooh Bear around, even if they’ll eventually get good presents. Tigger, Rabbit and Eeyore are still excited, but they quickly agree with Piglet that it’s just not the same without Pooh Bear.

Just then, Pooh returns, delivering the bad news that he couldn’t get the letter to Santa, but they don’t care – they’re just glad Pooh Bear is back to spend Christmas with them.

Suddenly, Christopher Robin arrives on the new sled he wanted, and he’s bearing gifts that were left from ‘Santa.’ A flyswatter for Rabbit to get rid of the bugs who keep eating his carrots, a snowshoe for Tigger’s tail so he can bounce in the snow, an umbrella for Eeyore to keep snow from plopping down on him from the trees (though….he’s still homeless. His second and better gift suggestion was a new house – he lost his after the letter was sent…..The umbrella was actually meant to keep the snow off of his house……) a……thing for Piglet (he didn’t know what he wanted, so he just said anything’s fine, but that’s….I don’t even know what that is.

He’s happy with it, so I guess that’s all that matters, but I’m so confused) and, of course, a pot of honey for Pooh.

However, Pooh doesn’t think he deserves the honey since he messed up Christmas so much. Christopher Robin tries to convince him that that’s not true, and Pooh starts to agree as he stands on the honey pot and says that it makes him just the right height to give Christopher Robin a big hug. Awwwwwwwwww!

The end.

Despite some logic issues, this special is incredibly wholesome, sweet and has a great message. The holidays really don’t mean as much when the people you love aren’t there. I know that’s more of a bittersweet moral in this year of all years, but we live in an era where we can practically have anyone we want with us without actually being there in person. Is it the same? No. But even just talking to them over the phone or communicating through video chat creates a connection that is invaluable, especially in rough times.

On its own, it’s a great Christmas special that I think any Winnie the Pooh fan would enjoy.

Now, onto the actual movie portion of which there’s, again, about a 35 minutes of new material.

Kanga and Roo join the others for the holidays this year, and they decide to regale Roo about the events of a previous Christmas, which is where the old Christmas special comes in.

When we cut back to the movie, Pooh sets out all of the gifts for….Christmas…..that…..everyone else made/got each other……which…..I don’t understand. This is just like the opposite situation of the Family Guy Christmas specials. Whereas they started out with everyone giving each other gifts and then in later seasons said Santa brought them all, Winnie the Pooh is saying that Santa delivered them before, but now they give each other gifts….Huh? And Roo even starts the special by asking if Santa will come, they tell him a story about Santa getting the gifts to them even when they thought he couldn’t, but now he didn’t get anything from Santa and got a gift from Tigger, which he acknowledges…..What is happening?

…………….Also, Tigger calls Rabbit ‘Rah rah’ a couple times and I got really giddy for some reason. That’s just an adorable nickname. Was that something he normally called him? I don’t remember.

Sadly, Pooh loses Piglet’s gift. He searches for days, until New Year’s Eve (See? We got there.) However, he’s searched for so long, he’s forgotten what he’s looking for.

Christopher Robin arrives with a box full of decorations for a New Year’s party. He gives the box to Pooh so he can make the party and Christopher Robin just….disappears for some reason. Not gonna help, dude? Just proclaim you’re going to have a party and hand off the planning to someone else? Nice.

As Pooh, Piglet and Rabbit convene, Tigger drops by.

Tigger: “Wanna hear the good news? Snow does not keep Tiggers from bouncin’. Not one bitty bit!”

…………………….

……………….

…………….

……….

……..

…..

A snowshoe for Tigger’s tail so he can bounce in the snow.

so he can bounce in the snow.

bounce in the snow.

It was directly stated and shown several times in the special that THEY INCLUDED IN THIS MOVIE that Tigger can’t bounce in the snow, that’s why he needed the snowshoe, is what I’m getting at here.

After nearly destroying Rabbit’s house and his prized carrot, Rabbit snaps and declares that he’s moving away so he won’t have to put up with them anymore. He’s tired of Pooh’s obsession with honey, Piglet’s paranoia, Eeyore’s gloominess and Tigger’s bouncing. Having learned of New Year’s resolutions from Christopher Robin, Pooh decides that they should try to fix these aspects of themselves in order to get Rabbit to stay. They all agree to make their New Year’s resolutions to never eat honey, never be scared, always be cheerful and never bounce again.

Tigger ties his tail to a rock to prevent him from bouncing, which, considering he’s literally tying his tail up, actually looks really painful. Piglet asks Tigger how it seems like he’s never afraid. Tigger says he was always too busy bouncing to be afraid. Piglet starts bouncing all over the place, and he finds that it works. He’s not scared as long as he keeps bouncing.

Cool.

But then…..

Tigger, using Tigger logic, thinks that, if bouncing keeps away fear and he can no longer bounce, then he must be damned to becoming an anxiety-ridden mess who is afraid of literally everything, which quickly ends up happening because self-fulfilling prophecies. This is bad enough, but the buildup to this change is actually legit creepy. The screen starts going black all around him, even casting a shadow on Tigger’s edges, there are some creepy noises included, and we even zoom in on Tigger’s eyes so much that it affected the image quality.

I think we can ascertain what will happen with Pooh and Eeyore from here, but even that’s presented oddly.

We see Pooh rummaging around a tree to try and check on some honey without eating it, and then Eeyore walks by standing on his hind legs, in a red shirt, humming to himself and gobbling down honey. I love Eeyore….it is very uncomfortable to see him acting like this. Please stop.

He doesn’t even explain how and why he started doing this. He doesn’t say he knew Pooh was happy all the time so he decided to start mimicking him. He just suddenly appears while acting this way. From what he says, it’s just like he randomly ate some honey and started getting a funny feeling, which…I guess changed his personality instantly. And can I ask what the shirt and the walking on hind legs thing is about? He’s just now getting that there was a connection between him being happier and him eating honey, meaning he wasn’t at all trying to emulate Pooh Bear. He just decided to start doing those things…….Or….is the implication that you start becoming a Pooh clone when eat some honey? You can just be happy and eat honey. You don’t need to become a new Pooh.

Oh also Pooh’s got depression now.

Then we get this frightening-ass image.

Eeyore: “Why…I think I’m glad. SeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE?”

Hehe, frightening-ass image…

Hehe….he’s a donkey.

Hehe, seriously, someone stop this waking nightmare. I cannot take much more of this. It’s like they’re intentionally making him ridiculously creepy.

They all arrive at Rabbit’s place to show him how much they’ve changed, but since they’ve literally just changed into each other, including the same speech patterns and mannerisms, it’s just as bad if not worse than before, so Rabbit immediately storms out.

One thing leads to another, and Rabbit ends up caught in a tree with a beehive. Piglet becomes frightened for him, making him break his resolution. Tigger unties his tail so he can bounce up to save Rabbit and his carrot, making him break his resolution. The beehive falls into Pooh’s hands, which prompts him to eat the honey inside, breaking his resolution. Everyone else breaking their resolutions and being upset at it makes Eeyore so upset he forgets to be happy. This is going to sound terrible, but thank god for that.

Realizing they failed, they leave Rabbit to move out of the Hundred Acre Wood.

Christopher Robin arrives for the party, but everyone is saddened at the loss of their friend. Rabbit, however, says he can’t think of leaving friends so loyal as them, especially when they cared so much about him that they tried to change themselves to make him happy. He loves his friends just the way they are.

Piglet: “Oh Rabbit! I was afraid I’d never get to be scared again!”……..Okay, back up.

The moral of all of this is to be yourself and to appreciate your friends for being themselves because they help you be who you really are, which is fine and dandy.

However, in regards to the New Year’s resolution stuff…..what kind of message are they trying to convey there? Because it really comes off like resolutions are bad, at least in regards to ones where you try to stop doing something. Like, yeah, these traits help the characters all be who they are, but being overly afraid is bad, and it probably negatively affects Piglet’s quality of life. What sane person says “I was afraid I’d never get to be scared again!”? I get that the wording is a joke, but that’s still a concerning thing to say.

Keep in mind, the only ones who experienced positive outcomes from taking on the traits of their friends were Piglet and Eeyore. Piglet became brave and had a lot of fun bouncing, and Eeyore became happier…..and creepy. Tigger, however, became a nervous wreck and Pooh lost all enjoyment in everything. When their resolutions broke, Pooh was happy he got to eat honey, and Tigger was happy he was bouncing again, but Piglet can’t have been happy that he was afraid, and Eeyore wasn’t….happy….he was….sad? Maybe they were at least relieved that they didn’t have to pretend to be something they weren’t, but these factors still present issues.

A better lesson would be to not have such extreme New Year’s resolutions. Unless you really have serious, harmful problems, your New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t be to completely overhaul your personality. Just try to improve yourself a little.

Tigger’s resolution could have been to bounce as much as he wanted but to try and control himself indoors or be more aware of his surroundings while bouncing.

Pooh could try to learn more self-control around food, especially honey.

Rabbit could learn to unwind and not be so uptight.

And Piglet and Eeyore could seek therapy.

They all head to Rabbit’s house and count down to the new year. Pooh suddenly remembers where he hid Piglet’s gift and rushes home to get it. It’s a lovely little music box that plays the New Year’s…anthem song…..what’s that song called? It plays so often on New Year’s but I never know what it’s called.

*Google*

Auld Lang Syne!? Chalk that up as something I never would have guessed ever. They even sing the proper lyrics at the end. I feel like I’ve been living in a void my whole life.

Pooh makes his own lyrics to the song and sings them to Piglet, and it’s really cute and sweet. Everyone sings as the movie zooms out and concludes.

—————————————

This movie didn’t have the problem that Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie had in that it wasn’t basically the same story as the included special, but I still have to ding it a little because, really, what a weird New Year’s special. It honestly makes it look like New Year’s resolutions aren’t a good thing. Granted, most people don’t fulfill their New Year’s resolutions, but they’re typically never a bad thing to set. Even when Pooh’s initially learning about resolutions by Christopher Robin, it gives off a vibe that it’s about changing yourself and that changing yourself isn’t something you should do.

But changing yourself, if your current behaviors cause problems or negative repercussions, whether for others, yourself or both, can be quite good. At least take some self-reflection into consideration. You don’t have to throw away your personality and construct an entirely new persona or adopt someone else’s, you just have to improve as a person.

It’s a little bit difficult to say that the message is bad, though, because, yes, being yourself and loving yourself and being your best self around your friends is great. That’s the way it should be. But you should always strive to be better. I dunno. I guess it’s up to your own interpretation on how good the actual message is in contrast to the bad light they put the resolution message in.

Overall, though, while it is still lazy and deceptive to include a completely separate special in this movie and claim it’s entirely a “brand-new full-length movie,” this is a mostly fun, sweet, heartwarming and festive holiday movie. Plus, it is nice to have a Christmas and New Year’s special rolled into one to cap off the year. The songs are very short, and none of them are very memorable, but they’re fine for what they are. There are some logic issues peppered throughout, but it’s Winnie the Pooh – I can mostly overlook them. The best section is definitely Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too, but the New Year’s section is still perfectly enjoyable…..barring creepy Pooh!Eeyore. That is going to haunt me for a long time.

And with that we close out A Very Animated Holiday Special for 2020. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to fill the entire 31 days, but I hope you all enjoyed what I came out with this year. I certainly had a lot of fun with it. Found some awesome entries, some weirdos and some ech, but it was all around fun. Now it’s back to our regularly scheduled shenanigans.

Happy New Year!


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AVAHS – Family Guy: Road to the North Pole Review

Plot: Stewie and Brian head off to the North Pole so Stewie can kill Santa for not allowing him to see him at the mall. When they finally reach the North Pole and meet Santa, they find that it’s not the land of magic and wonder it once was – it’s a toxic, bloody and demented factory all caused by the ever-increasing greed of people around the world.

Breakdown: Wow. I’ve managed to go up until this very moment without ever reviewing any episode of Family Guy. It’s hard to ever want to review Family Guy because it’s so inconsistent in its quality. Some episodes are abhorrent, some are alright and some are pretty good. As a whole, though, if you don’t like Family Guy or lost your taste for the ever-devolving humor, it’s hard to want to sit through it for review purposes.

I don’t watch Family Guy anymore because, from all I know and have seen of its most recent years, it’s been a steady downward spiral, but a handful of years ago I used to watch it fairly regularly and enjoyed it just fine. They definitely have gone overboard with the cutaways, they have a lot of difficulty knowing when to stop a joke (this episode is no exception) and sometimes they’re just overly dark and terrible for no reason.

I think most people will agree that the show is at its strongest when it’s focusing on one of Brian and Stewie’s adventures, and giving them an “hour” long (read: 42 minute long) Christmas special seems right up their alley.

I vaguely remember watching this special once and the only reason I remembered that I watched it was because of a scene where they have David Boreanaz (in live-action) playing the aurora borealis (Or Aurora Boreanaz because that’s the joke.) and it reminded me that Bones once had an episode where Booth hallucinated Stewie (fully animated and integrated into the live-action) throughout the runtime, and Stewie was pestering him about getting Brennan pregnant the more ‘direct’ way because she had asked Booth to donate his sperm for her to have a kid and he was having an inner conflict about it, and his hallucinations were caused by a brain tumor………Weird-ass fuckin’ episode. Love ya, Bones, but that broke the weird meter.

Anyway, the special itself is pretty alright. Most of the jokes land just fine and some even had me smiling. Obviously, though, this being Family Guy, they have to add a pretty dark and gloomy slant to this special.

You can REALLY tell the contrast between seasons here. In the first Christmas special they ever did, the worst that happened was Lois went on a stress-induced rampage and needed to be tranquilized. Here, so many terrible things happen. The elves are inbred, practically brain-dead and suicidal, the reindeer are mutated and have a hunger for elf flesh, they cut the arm off of a living elf because he was so brain damaged that he just didn’t notice and they needed his arm to coax the reindeer to fly, and Santa is so overworked in a toxic waste environment he was forced to create that he’s dying and longs for death. And lest we forget the very long sequence in which Brian and Stewie perform a home invasion, nearly (or actually?) beat a couple to death in front of their young daughter…..

Then there are contradictions in the writing. Some of which I can overlook like Santa saying they might not think he looks too bad but he’s actually 28….when he just got done explaining that, back in the day, people just wanted dollies and wooden choo-choo trains – pretty sure that era was more than 28 years ago.

Also, the first Family Guy Christmas special shows that everyone buys presents on Christmas, so why is everyone left gift-less without Santa now?

But then there are some instances where the confusion makes the entire joke not work. The aforementioned home invasion is topped off by Brian and Stewie learning that they’re not even in the right house for what they were delivering….but….the sleigh is just outside and these people are obviously good and celebrate Christmas….so….just go back out and get the right presents. Why is that the tipping point of that overly long and brutal scene?

But that out of the way, this is actually a pretty decent Christmas special, especially in regards to the songs and the message.

If there’s one area Family Guy usually shines in even today, it’s musical numbers, and this is no exception. While there are only two songs in this special, they’re very catchy, kinda funny and memorable songs.

As for the message, it’s a less cheesy but tried-and-true ‘stop being so greedy’ message. It doesn’t go so far as to basically tell you you’re bad for wanting anything on Christmas, like many Christmas specials seem to imply, but moreso just chill out and roll back with the expectations and demands. Just ask for one thing. Don’t pile it on. And….yeah, that message works just fine with me.

As much as I prattle on about the true meaning of Christmas and making of it what you want it to be, like I am some sort of Christmas special protagonist, there’s no getting around the fact that presents are a big part of Christmas. Gift giving and receiving is common in many holidays and traditions, and that’s Santa’s whole shtick. There’s no shame in it. It’s just when we go overboard with it that it becomes a problem. So dialing the greed back a bit and being happy with what you get is a more suitable message in my opinion.

Throughout the special, there are live-action interludes and narration by Ron MacFarlane, Seth MacFarlane’s father, and he does a fine job making those traditional old narration interludes funny. They’re not terribly funny, but they get the job done and his voice is actually rather nice for general narration.

Overall, if you currently hate or never liked Family Guy or Seth MacFarlane (though he hasn’t written for the show in years), this special won’t sway you into enjoying it, but it is a solid Christmas special as long as you can stomach some crass humor and gore.


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AVAHS – Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales Review

Plot: Bugs and the Looney Tunes crew partake in some Christmas stories.

Breakdown: I’ve always adored Looney Tunes, so getting a Christmas special on my review list this year was a treat.

This is a pretty enjoyable Christmas special. They have three different Christmas tales – A Christmas Carol parody, a more purely snow-themed Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner sketch and Bugs telling his nephew, Clyde, about the story of The Night Before Christmas, which starts to meld into their own situation when a Santa’d Taz comes in.

The A Christmas Carol section was okay, but I felt like they completed it way too quickly. Scrooge is instantly made good just by Bugs pretending to be a ghost and scaring him into being nice, but it’s not that bad. The Bugs sketch is the best part, though, of course – because Bugs is the best and Taz is awesome.

Not much else to talk about, so if you can track it down and you love some Looney Tunes goodness, check it out this holiday season.


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AVAHS – My Gym Partner’s a Monkey: Have Yourself a Joyful Little Animas Review

Plot: Animas has come, but Adam can’t participate because he’s a human and the holiday is all about following your animal instincts.

Breakdown: Like Brandy and Mr. Whiskers, My Gym Partner’s a Monkey is a show I was aware of and gave a chance when it aired, but I just couldn’t get into. My reasoning for this one was that it was just…..stupid. The concept is silly, which is obviously fine for a goofy cartoon. Adam is a human who gets sent to an animal school simply because his last name is Lyon and they misspelled it when they signed him up for school. The aforementioned monkey gym partner is Jake who is basically what you’d expect a sentient monkey to be. Hijinks ensue, and that’s about it. But what they do with it just tends to be stupid silly.

This episode is no exception. Aminas is obviously a play on Christmas, but it’s made stupid. Animas is all about following your animal instincts. As long as you’re an animal, you can understand what to do. But Adam is a human so he doesn’t get what you’re supposed to do, which is stuff like wearing periwinkle (and getting hit in the head with a coconut three times if you don’t) and being able to read something that isn’t written down.

This mostly just results in him feeling left out and frustrated. However, when it comes time to decorate the Animas rock, he accidentally ruins the holiday for everyone. All of the animals need to find the rock using their instincts and decorate it, otherwise Animas will be canceled for some reason. Since Adam doesn’t have the instincts to find it, Animas is ruined.

Adam decides to go back to human school since he doesn’t belong in animal school, but he’s still bummed about losing his friends back in the animal school. After sucking down a glob of wasabi from an Asian stereotype, who I can’t decide if it’s even offensive because it’s like they’re trying really hard to go overboard with the stereotype so as to make it overtly obvious so that’s the joke but the show’s not funny enough to pull it off so it’s just confusing and uncomfortable, Adam’s sinuses clear (he had been suffering from bad allergies) and he’s able to smell the Animas rock, which reeks because everyone ‘decorates’ it by pissing on it. Adam does the same and Animas is saved.

Everyone learned the true meaning of Animas, which is….I have no goddamn clue. Mr. Gills, who is a teacher and goldfish, drives home the message that the meaning of Animas is to be with your friends no matter if you ruin their holiday or not (which is kinda dumb in context because it’s hard to want to be around people who keep acting like you wrecked their favorite time of year. It’d be different if they were accepting of Adam’s inability to use animal instincts and just have him celebrate like everyone else, but they didn’t. They just kept telling him to do something he couldn’t do and acting like he was a weirdo for not knowing anything about Animas.)

Adam also said it’s about following your instincts, no matter if you’re human or animal, which….I dunno, is that meant to be a ‘follow your heart’ kinda deal?

Is there even a message in this special? It doesn’t need one, but it kinda needs something because the humor and story don’t hold it up very well. There’s a subplot with Coach Gills going through a bunch of Christmas special parodies so she can rediscover the true meaning of Animas because she’s a grinch. Despite a couple of humorous moments here, they also don’t do much with the parodies.

Finally, Adam has a couple of moments where he does like….poetry? as he tries to express how much his inability to belong at the animal school bums him out. It’s okay, but it’s also just not funny.

In the end, I really can’t recommend this as a Christmas special because….well…it’s not one, and I can’t recommend it as a neat episode of an old series because, well, I don’t find it to be one. It’s passable at best and gross/unfunny at worst. I don’t even like the theme song at all. That’s not unique to this special, but I just remembered how much I don’t like the theme song and couldn’t find anywhere else to put that not so here ya go.


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