Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun/Flint the Time Detective Episode 6: The New World and Cocolon Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: The Space-Time Monster that controls weather, Cocolon, has been spotted in the Atlantic in 1492. He’s in the hands of Christopher Columbus, and TP Lady has her eyes set on taking over the expedition and ruling over America.

—————————

Title Change: The New World and Cocolon is changed to Coconaut, which I assume also means;

Name Change: Cocolon is changed to Coconaut. Also, I would swear that dub name implies ‘astronaut’ more than poking at the word ‘Nautical’ but maybe that’s just me. (Also, it took me way too long to realize this was also meant to be a play on the word ‘Coconut.’)

As the kids are walking through the park, Genshi continuously chants “Friends!” over and over. In the dub, Sarah asks him why he’s so happy and he responds that it’s a beautiful day, it’s lunchtime and since it’s Friday they don’t have to worry about homework until Sunday night.

Tokio specifically says he needs an 80 to pass the Space-Time Detective exam. In the dub, they don’t mention the exact score he needs, just that his score of 35 isn’t enough.

Sora points out that it’s Tokio’s dream to join the Time Bureau. In the dub, she says if he can’t do math properly, then, when he’s a Time Detective, he might add up the years wrong and bypass Hannibal and meet a cannibal.

….*lip smack*

There’s a lot wrong with what she just said.

First of all, add up what years? You just need to know what year something is in and then go there.

Second of all, Hannibal? As in….Hannibal Lecter? The fictional character? You can’t go back in time to meet a fictional character. Unless you’re Talen, I guess.

Third, I’m pretty sure if you intended on going back in time to find Hannibal and you found a cannibal….You’d have succeeded in your goal, because Hannibal IS a cannibal (that’s even one of his nicknames – Hannibal the Cannibal.)

Fourth, even mentioning cannibals should be a no-no, but also directly referencing Silence of the Lambs?….In Flint The Time Detective? What are you smoking, Saban? That’s hardly appropriate.

Genshi originally mistakes the word ‘normal’ for meaning something to eat. In the dub, he hears Tony say ‘Goose egg’ and asks for a goose egg to eat. The dub actually makes more sense because the original makes it sound like Genshi wants to eat children (Tokio said ‘normal kids like me’) It also makes it seem like Genshi’s never heard the term ‘Normal’ which I’d assume is impossible at this point.

I get that Tokio wants to be a Space-Time Detective on his own merits, but he already basically is one considering he always goes with Genshi on his missions.

Cocolon’s name plate is removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

They suddenly splice in Jillian appearing on screen again right before we cut to the shot of Flint…for some reason.

Professor Yamato just tries to remember what important event happened in 1492. In the dub, Dr. Goodman asks if it’s the year Elvis walked on the moon….This man has a doctorate….

Sora just recites part of the rhyme based on Christopher Columbus (In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…) In the dub, Sarah has to correct Goodman that it was Neil Armstrong who walked on the moon, and not in 1492. Then she remembers Christopher Columbus and mentions it, but the shot cuts off too quick so she has the end of her sentence cut off a little.

Also, yeah, this episode is about Christopher Columbus. Obviously, this was back in the day where people still hero worshiped the guy and just washed away everything bad he did while also making false or exaggerated claims about him – which still goes on pretty frequently today. It’s a little uncomfortable watching this now,

Sora says that Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492. Sarah says he discovered America. Both claims are still wrong (Not only were there indigenous people living there for many, many, many years before anyone else stepped foot on any of the Americas, so it’s impossible to say anyone ‘discovered’ them, but Leif Erikson arrived in North America nearly 500 years before Columbus did.) It should be noted that, even though they’re only saying ‘America’ in the dub, it’s clear they’re just referring to the United States – which he never set foot in at all.

Yamato doesn’t say anything after exclaiming that the kids are going off with Genshi again. In the dub, he asks them to bring him back a souvenir like a ‘Columbus World Tour’ t-shirt or a sailor’s hat. Again, this man has a doctorate.

Flint: *as he’s sinking underwater* “I got a sinking feeling!” *sigh*

They splice in a speaking shot of Flint right before they yell for the ship, but the editing is weird. He says “Well, why couldn’t she put us onboard?” but cuts off in the middle of ‘board.’ So, even though they purposely spliced in this shot to put in this unnecessary line, they didn’t put in enough of the shot to properly insert the line. Perfect work, Saban. Top Notch.

Columbus doesn’t ask who their king is in addition to their country of origin, like the dub does.

Have we gotten confirmation that they changed their country of origin to the United States? Because they’re flatout asked what country they come from, and while Genshi states it’s Tama City, Tokyo (He’s stopped before he can also say Japan), Flint says they’re from the USA.

Surprisingly, the rest of the scene goes the same either way. Columbus says he’s never heard of that country (Which makes sense, because Tokyo wasn’t known as Tokyo back then. In 1492, it would’ve been a small village called Edo.) and in the dub, since the USA doesn’t exist yet either, he also doesn’t know of their country. And in both versions they also explain that it’s a small area that probably isn’t well-known or on a map.

Why are they so shocked to see Christopher Columbus? They were transported to his exact coordinates on the ocean. Three ships picked them up. The guy looks like pretty much any depiction of Columbus. Yet when he says his name they’re all mind blown.

I like how the dub even points out how weird this is. Sarah says she’s starting to think this is Columbus, and Tony responds “Weird hat, three ships – of course it is.”

Going even further with that, they cut out the shocked reaction the kids all have to Columbus saying his name and add in a repeat shot of Sarah and Tony talking, just to have Sarah say he’s shorter than she pictured.

Columbus offers his hospitality and says they can stay on the Santa Maria but only if they work. Surprisingly, the dub has him being more of a jerk. He accuses them of being spies, but offers to let them stay anyway since he, for some reason, can’t throw them overboard.

Yeah, he’ll call for the slaughter of people, hunt down any natives who flee from him with a pack of dogs who would either bring them back or rip them apart (Sometimes eaten), maim and dismember people as punishment, enslave thousands of natives and force them to gather gold, sell children into sexual slavery, let his crew cut natives with their swords to test how sharp they are, drive natives into such terrible living conditions and terror that they were committing suicide in droves  – but he draws the line at throwing some strange kids overboard. Oh nosirree bob.

He’ll only let them stay if they submit their allegiance to the Queen Isabella and work on deck.

Due to a commercial break in the dub, they put in an extra shot of the ships so they could work in more off-screen dialogue. They also kinda break the fourth wall by someone telling someone else to stop talking in sailing cliches.

They repeat Tony sweeping in a circle.

Originally, they just give Sora more laundry. In the dub, they tell her what laundry needs to be done in cold water and which needs to be done in hot water. Saban, you are remembering what time period this is, right?

The display on Ridon isn’t flickering in the original as it is in the dub.

They insert a repeat shot of Pterry tapping the display with his beak while he’s explaining what’s wrong with it.

They remove TP Lady’s goofy smile before her fantasy.

The subs didn’t offer a translation on TP Lady’s little heart sign thing, but as far as I was able to gather, it says daitoriyo (Daitoryo), which, as you can guess, is just ‘President.’

Subbed:

Now, you’d think Saban would write ‘President’ or ‘President Petra Fina’ or something while painting over this, right?

…Nope… And I want you to guess what they wrote to replace it, because you will never, ever guess what it is. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I had to pause the video for several minutes just trying to figure out why they put what they put there.

Start guessing.

Give up?

….They wrote E=MC2

Dubbed:

…..If anyone can even begin to unravel the mystery that is what the hell that means in context to anything that is going on in this scene – or this episode even – please tell me, because my brain short-circuited trying to wrap my head around it.

They remove another shot of TP Lady’s goofy smiling.

They play the shots of Petra Fina and the masked man dancing in reverse so they gradually get further away from the camera instead of closer like it was in the original. I don’t know why.

Originally, the masked man wants to toast to TP Lady’s eyes. In the dub, he says he’s sick of holding the mask and asks her if she has any string. I thought this joke was kinda funny because I, too, was wondering why he’s holding the mask instead of wearing one that actually attaches to his face in any way.

Another shot of TP Lady’s goofy smile removed.

Originally, TP Lady’s little Space-Time Monster detector made a soft beeping noise when it was activated. In the dub, it makes a hinge-squeaking noise as the little parts on top moved back and forth. It’s just weird because it makes it seem like the device is clearly broken and Petra Fina is crazy.

The original doesn’t mention anything about their seasickness involving eating too many oysters as the dub does.

They insert an external shot of the ship right before the shot of the lantern. Just in case you forgot they were on a boat.

So, wait, Cocolon has been around since Columbus was a little boy?….Then…why did Rei send them to this exact time period to retrieve him? Wouldn’t it have made more sense and been less risky to send them to when Cocolon first appeared in the time stream rather than when Columbus was right about to do the most notable thing of his life? I don’t mean grab him before he saves Columbus, but maybe right after?

Speaking of which, why was Cocolon just randomly floating out in the middle of the ocean like that? How long was it there?

Surprisingly, this part of the episode does kinda reflect a part of Columbus’ past. He did become shipwrecked once before his expeditions to the Americas. In 1476, when Columbus was about 25, he was on a commercial ship that was attacked by the French. His ship was sunk and burned, and Columbus was forced to swim to the nearby Portuguese shore.

Also, hold the phone. They’re saying Columbus would’ve drowned when he was a kid without Cocolon. Yet, before the time stream was littered in Space-Time Monsters, Columbus still existed and his story was still the same.

Tony: “I have a feeling that this history business has a lot more comedy than we’ve been lead to believe.” Errr…..technically, he’s right, but in this circumstance, it’s more horror.

(Also, originally Tony’s line was about feeling lost when you don’t have something to guide you.)

Columbus originally says he can always continue on as long as he has Cocolon. He’s his treasure. In the dub, they make it out like he’s a bit more selfish. They make him say he doesn’t need courage, because as long as he has Coconaut, he’s a hero and he’s great. The original makes off like Cocolon’s his friend who gives him the confidence to do these things. The dub makes it seem like he’s using Coconaut as a tool to do great things so he can take all the credit.

They added a repeat shot of the ships after the commercial break for…reasons?

Mite originally chastises Dyna for saying his line first. He then proceeds to say he’s TP Lady’s number one helper. Dyna follows up by saying he’s the number two helper. In the dub, Mite yells at Dino for calling them thugs when they’re really henchmen.

Why did TP Lady stamp Cocolon’s hat? And why did that work? Is the hat actually a part of his body?

They remove the name plate saying “Bad Transformation: Waru Cocolon.”

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Name Change: Waru Cocolon is changed to Coconaut-Kon.

They put the eyecatch animation in after the group is captured. I can’t tell if there was a commercial break there, but that wasn’t where the eyecatch was originally, which was right as Dyna and Mite were about to take Cocolon from Columbus’ bed.

Kyoichiro specifically says to himself that he’s saving Sora. In the dub, he doesn’t mention Sarah.

Sora doesn’t yell up to Kyoichiro the way Sarah does to Merlock.

Name Change: Narugami Kyoichiro is changed to Merlock Holmes. Yeah, it’s very lazy and awkward. It’s supposed to be a joke because we find out later that he’s a fellow Time Detective, but he has a very clear vampire motif and blue skin, so you’d think they’d have made a name based on those factors, but nope. Just ‘hurr he’s a detective so let’s call him Sherlock Holmes’ only they were eating like cereal or something at the time so it came out ‘Merlock Holmes’ and they were like ‘eh’ and kept it.

The thing is that the wordplay on his name won’t even make sense until we learn that he’s a Time Detective, which we won’t until episode 12.

Sora originally points out that Kyoichiro disappeared, not realizing he wiped out off of the pillar due to a tidal wave. In the dub, since Sarah sees him fully and is even trying to talk to him, she witnesses Merlock wipe out and fall after throwing a dagger to her;

Sarah: “Whoa, what a nerd!” Excuse me!? The guy just saved your life, he could very well be dead due to the fall or drowning right now, and all you have to say is ‘Whoa, what a nerd’? Kindly fuck off, Sarah. Wow.

They splice in a reaction shot of Sarah right after the wave hits but right before Merlock falls.

This is kinda nitpicky, but it’s bothering me – how did Genshi smacking Oto-tan into the water make the raft shoot up and forward several hundred feet? They didn’t even bother making the strike create a massive wave or something – he just hits the water and they fly off.

Waru Cocolon can’t talk, just as his previous form can’t. In the dub, Coconaut-kon talks, which is strange because his previous form can’t communicate in anything but his name and yes or no signs.

Another piece of audio is clipped. When the second sailor says ‘Aye, glad you’re back, sir.’ the audio is cut off right in the middle of ‘sir’ so it sounds like ‘suh.’ This also isn’t a sloppily edited insert or anything – they just didn’t time it well or record the line to the proper length.

They splice in a shot of the sail tilting from earlier right before Flint slides around a second time. Ya know, in case you forgot the ship was rocking back and forth.

Has Putera been ‘fixing’ Ridon this whole time by just smacking her beak into the display?

Putera just asks Professor Yamato to send a Space-Time Monster quickly. In the dub, Pterry mentions that the food on the ship has been awful…and he says it before mentioning that their ship is sinking. I get that that’s the joke, but it also makes Pterry look like a bit of an idiot.

Yamato asks which of the Space-Time Monsters will volunteer for the mission. In the dub, he specifically sends Mosbee.

This is the first time a Space-Time Monster has been sent to help Genshi and the others with a mission. Apparently, when they’re sent after the others have already gone ahead in the time stream, the monsters go into their egg form and come out of the tail pipe of Ridon….Keep in mind, Ridon is shaped like a dinosaur…so they’re emulating it pooping out an egg. I know, I know, I’m immature, but it seems intentional so I have to note it.

They repeat a shot of Goodman talking after Mosbee goes through the time stream.

They repeat and reverse Pterry flying down and Flint talking after Mosbee frowns.

This is in both versions, but everyone is being pretty massive jerks to Mosbee for trying to help and even acting like they’re bummed they got him for backup in the first place. Yes, he messed up a little, but they’re just being assholes for no reason. All they said was ‘Help Genshi’ without context or direction, and it froze stuff, like it’s meant to do.

And, really, what Space-Time Monster did they want? Their options are kinda limited. It’s either Mosbee, the monster who can create ice, Jitterbug, who makes people dance uncontrollably, Eldora, who turns things to gold, or Talen, who has the power to transport people into storybooks.

So Flint flies overboard and Tony says “Whoa” in the most bored tone imaginable. Yeah, your friend is probably dead….Whoa. Tony must’ve been possessed by retro-Keanu Reeves for a second.

For the record, Tokio originally yelled out Genshi’s name in a very concerned tone and very loudly.

Name Change: Super Mosbee is changed to Mosbee Master.

The name plate for Super Mosbee is removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Coconaut-Kon: “I’ll huff and puff and blow you away!”

Flint: “That is some bad breath!”

But…the wind isn’t his breath….???

They insert the same shot of Tony and Sarah after Columbus tells Flint to knock off Coconaut-Kon’s hat just to have Tony point out that it’s crazy to think that would work. See, Tony, this is really why you can’t be a time detective. The mark is on his hat….remove hat….remove mark.

Though, maybe he has a point because, despite the hat being removed from his head, it doesn’t change him back or pacify him. *shrug*

Why is Genshi beating the living hell out of Cocolon yelling for it to become nice again? Especially after he already got the hat off. Genshi is always about being nice to these monsters and using friendship to change them back, only fighting when he has to. Why is everyone being an asshole today?

Flint is technically a little better, but not by much. He’s yelling that he doesn’t want to hurt Coconaut, but he needs to stop the storm…so yeah, beat the hell out of him.

Okay, I have to ask, how potent is Putera’s memory erasing ability? Because, remember, Columbus met Cocolon when he was a young boy. In order for all of this to be erased…she’d have to basically erase his memories of everything up to that point, right?

Toki-G: “The important thing is a normal guy that did his best and did a fantastic job.”

Old Timer: “But Columbus is still recognized today for his courage and determination in the face of overwhelming odds.”

They insert some more shots of Old Timer to extend his scene.

Genshi’s mouth is moving way too fast for his snoring. The dub actually tries to match his breathing with the erratic animation and makes it sound like he’s hyperventilating in his sleep.

———————————

Well…this was a thing. A very confusing and uncomfortable thing. I don’t blame the show runners for this storyline, they’re basically just parroting what they probably learned in school too, and keep in mind this show was made in 1998-99 (2000-01 in the dub) so it’s no shocker there, but still, to say this episode didn’t age well is a massive understatement.

Not but 24 hours ago (at the time of this writing; over the Fourth of July weekend) several statues of Columbus were destroyed by protesters. And while I don’t agree with destroying property like that (I think it’s much better to push through official channels to have these statues and other monuments and flags removed and either put into museums or stored away) I just think it’s a strange feeling, especially in the current state of things, knowing the real story behind Columbus in contrast to what I just watched and what I learned of Columbus when I was a kid.

I’m not sure if they still tell the same story about Columbus in elementary and middle schools as I was told when I was a kid, I’d hope it’s at least clear of the popular misconceptions (I don’t expect lower grades to be taught about the darker stuff) but it is interesting and kinda scary how much people can change a narrative for their own purposes and basically make an entire generation think a certain thing about certain people – whether for the better or worse.

I know this is a silly 90s cartoon about a time traveling detective caveman, and technically this is the point in time where he hadn’t done anything bad yet, but still – it perpetuates false information and paints the guy like he’s, at worst, slightly whiny and cowardly but still redeemed as a brave and strong captain who wound up doing great things in the end.

Did the guy have fierce determination to prove he could achieve his goal? Yes. He pretty much literally had a psychotic amount of determination to do so, basically near damning himself and his crew to death several times just to push on and see if he could find the mainland of Asia (Which is why he took so many repeat expeditions even though he was convinced until his dying days that he still reached the islands of Asia.)

Did he do a ‘fantastic job’? No. And only partly because the main point of his mission was never achieved.

He had very notable skills at sea, and he was known as being a very good navigator (Particularly a master of ‘Dead reckoning’) and admiral, but his crew was constantly either near or in mutiny and reported terrible things back to the king and queen when they returned to shore.

In between expeditions, he was stripped of his power as governor and viceroy of the newly claimed lands and was jailed in Spain because of his tyrannical ruling and vicious behavior to both natives and Spanish settlers. (Not the best first impression to someone sent to be a justice administrator to see gallows with several Spanish settlers hanging from them.)

Granted, he was released six weeks later and was still sent out on one last expedition shortly after, but he did get arrested for his actions.

You can also say Columbus had a bit of romanticism in him in regards to finding new beautiful lands, seeing animals and plants that he had never known before and working out this western route to Asia, but that’s tarnished by all of the other terrible things he talked about in his journals. Here’s a good example courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine;

“In almost the same breath, he described the Arawaks’ gentleness and innocence and then went on to assure the king and queen of Spain, “They have no arms and are all naked and without any knowledge of war, and very cowardly, so that a thousand of them would not face three. And they are also fitted to be ruled and to be set to work, to cultivate the land and to do all else that may be necessary, and you may build towns and teach them to go clothed and adopt our customs.””

And that they were “so full of love and without greed, and suitable for every purpose, that I assure your Highnesses that I believe there is no better land in the world, and they are always smiling.”

And lest we forget his intense fixation on finding lots of gold.

Technically he was also told to take dominion over whatever islands he discovered in his expedition, and he did that, so….mission accomplished there….but he even technically bungled that because Queen Isabella hated slavery and Columbus decided that a nice souvenir to bring back to Spain from his second outing was several hundred slaves. And when told by the queen to not enslave people anymore (and to treat the natives well), he still did it anyway because he found it was convenient.

Did his actions open the door for European colonization in the Americas? Yes, but 1) that very likely would’ve happened either way. With how things were progressing, the Americas would have been ‘discovered’ by Europeans very quickly anyway – it had, afterall, already been ‘discovered’ perhaps even more than once before Columbus. And 2) Whether or not that’s a truly good thing depends heavily on what lens you’re looking through.

Yes, we wouldn’t have the world/countries we have today if it wasn’t for that, but there were a lot of horrible things done to get to this point, both intentionally done (Everything I’ve already mentioned and more) and unintentionally (all the diseases brought here.)

Who really knows? The world may have been a better place if the Americas were ‘discovered’ and settled in a different manner, in a slightly different time by different people. It may also have been worse. We can’t really know for sure.

Even if you choose the rosier glasses, you still need to recognize that the guy did terrible things and was far from a hero who deserves his own holiday.

(Speaking of that, I read up a lot about Columbus for this post, but I recognize that I’m not a historian, this is a largely debated topic and I’m also a bit of an idiot, so if I got some stuff wrong here and you want to correct me about it, feel free to drop a comment down below and I’ll edit this post accordingly.)

But getting back on track for the episode as a whole, Cocolon is an interesting Space-Time Monster, and it was cool (pun not intended, but take it anyway. You’re welcome) that we got to see our first super transformation in Super Mosbee. He looks pretty cool in that form, and I look forward to more super transformations and utilizing the collected Space-Time Monsters in the future.

Tokio’s microscopic subplot is completely unresolved, though. He’s frustrated because his poor grades will probably keep him from becoming a Space-Time Detective, and at the end of the episode TP Lady (In her teacher disguise) is giving him a rough time in class and he’s still failing.

I’m still really confused about how Cocolon has fit into time for so long, and why it doesn’t affect Columbus to have what is certain to be years of memory erased, unless it’s just specifically memories of Cocolon which got erased.

Also, I don’t really understand how the story has worked if Cocolon was there the whole time. If, in the past, before they left, Cocolon was with Columbus the whole time, that means that at some point Cocolon did help Columbus find his way to the (long-ass) western sea route from Europe to Asia. Hm…Would they have even survived such a long voyage if they found the right way?

Well, this is an anime about time travel, so I guess we’re due to give Oda Nobunaga a visit with the debut of Tanegun!


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

My Poke-Pinions #027-28 The Sand Line

Sandshrew

Name: Sandshrew is a combination of—I’m gonna just assume you know what it’s a combination of. It’s not really difficult. As for whether I like it or not – I do. It’s a bit overly simple, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s still memorable and cute.

And hey, at least they didn’t simplify it to a hilarious level like just calling it ‘Sand’ or something, hahah! Isn’t that right Japa–(image of name plate in Wiki)

………*lip smack*…….Moving on.

Design: I’ve always thought Sandshrew had such a simple yet incredibly cute design. It’s a shade of yellow that’s not too loud, it has an adorable face, cute little paws and I love that brick-like design on the yellow parts.

In regards to the sprites, I can say with certainty that practically every Gen is varying levels of adorable. Even right out the gate in Red/Blue, Sandshrew is sitting there look so adorable. I just wanna cuddle it.

The back sprite for Gen I is kinda weird, but that’s all I really have to say in that department.

Crystal is where it gets really cute. Look at that little itching animation and tail wag. N’aw!

Gen III is adorable, but Emerald is a little silly because I don’t know why it’s just flailing its arms like that. It’s still adorable even with the animation, but it’s a little goofy.

It’s in Gen IV where things get strange. The animations are just erratic. DPP makes it look like it’s trying to be a rabbit,

and HGSS makes it looks it had too much coffee.

Gen V is really adorable with its subtle little head shake.

As usual, Gen VI is just okay.

Alolan Sandshrew

I love that there’s an Ice (and Steel) version of Sandshrew, and I adore the igloo theme they got going on here, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s, ultimately, pretty much just a recolor of original Sandshrew. It has a band on its face and its ears are designed to look more like igloo entrances, but it’s still just a recolored Sandshrew. Nothing wrong with the recolor, I really love it, but I can’t ignore that.

Shiny:

I’ve mentioned before that a lot of people tend to hate green shinies, but I actually really love Shiny Sandshrew. I think it’s a very vibrant and cute shade of green – and for some reason it makes me think it’s a gummi bear, which just makes it even cuter.

Shiny Alolan Sandshrew is pretty cool (no pun intended) too.

The yellow underbelly is replaced with a dark glacier blue, and it fits extremely well with the ice motif.

Cry/Voice: Sandshrew’s anime voice is actually quite….horrible. It’s a very unfitting and screechy voice. The good thing is Sandshrew doesn’t tend to make noise very often.

Sandshrew’s game cry is equally screechy though not as horrifying. It’s not that memorable, but it’s a tiny bit fitting I guess.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Most of Sandshrew’s Dex entries say the same thing – they dislike water and mostly enjoy burrowing in dry sandy areas such as deserts. If they are threatened, they protect themselves by curling into a ball. The plates on their backs are extremely strong and act as armor.

Some other entries note that dew will form on it overnight if it gets particularly cold, and one entry mentions that, should it get too wrinkled from moisture, it will seek out the heat of a volcano and dry off there.

The Dex entry for Alolan Sandshrew is actually a little ironic because, completely contrary to regular Sandshrew, Alolan Sandshrew supposedly cannot curl up into a ball because of their armor-like back plates that are hard as steel. Alolan Sandshrew were said to come about after Sandshrew fled a volcanic eruption and decided to live in the nearby snowy mountains. Given the physiology of regular Sandshrew, I’m not sure how it lived for so long that it adapted into this polar opposite form, but I guess it’s not completely unbelievable.

It’s also a tradition to play a curling-like game with them by sliding them across the ice and seeing how far they can go. They use this super-sliding nature to assist themselves in the wild by sliding full-force into their enemies.

In terms of design, Sandshrew was based heavily on armadillos. The inspiration for its supposedly poisonous claws may be derived from shrews, of which they also share their name (at least in English) and it may also be inspired by pangolins.

Alolan Sandshrew was obviously based heavily on igloos, and the Wiki also mentions it was inspired by a curling stone because of the aforementioned game people play with them. Why they decided to do that with a Pokemon who, in no way, reminds anyone of a curling stone, I have no clue.

Sandslash

Name: I like Sandslash’s name, and, again, I’m going to assume I don’t have to explain this one. It’s different enough from Sandshrew, it has a more intimidating vibe to it, to reflect its increase in power, and it’s really cool.

In Japanese, it was originally…..Sandpan?…..That’s a little better than just Sand, but not by much because…what the hell does the ‘pan’ part mean?

According to the Wiki, they’re just guessing that the ‘pan’ part is for ‘pangolin’ which….I suppose maybe, but that’s kinda weird the way it’s arranged. Wouldn’t Sandgolin or something make more sense in regards to composition? No lie, when I first saw ‘Sandpan’ I thought they were referencing bread, because the Japanese word for bread is ‘pan.’

Honestly, I think Sandpan is a pretty goofy name, Sandslash is much better.

Fun fact: In the beta for R/B, Sandslash was originally named Sandstorm, which I think was an equally cool alternative name. Also, in China, its name is Chyūnsāanwòhng, which literally translates to ‘King of going through mountains.’ Okay. China wins here.

Design: Sandslash is just the right combination of intimidating and adorable. It’s just so cute with its big eyes and little nose, but also you know it could cause you some major pain with its quills and claws. I love the hedgehog/porcupine motif it has going for it, and it makes total sense as an upgrade from Sandshrew. The yellow and brown combo is nice, and the contrast makes the quills stand out a lot more. I also like that the quills/spikes themselves are thick and bulky to make it seem bigger and tougher.

As for sprites, R/B looks a little weird, but maybe it’s the perspective.

The back sprite is equally odd because it looks like Sandslash’s face is in the wrong spot.

Yellow looks quite normal, barring the same back sprite, and Green’s looks like someone tries to stuff it into a backpack and smushed it.

Gen II is pretty cute. I love the animation for Crystal. It can either be that it’s slashing its claws to intimidate you or it’s making a gangster-like gesture. Yes, the former makes more sense, but the latter is a lot funnier.

In Gen III, I feel like it’s about to present its butt to me. The weird animation for Emerald doesn’t help at all.

FR/LG is almost boringly normal, though.

Gen IV is pretty cute. Its animation makes it look like it’s cheering.

Meanwhile, HG/SS just looks like it’s spasming out of control.

Gen V is pretty darn cool. Not only is it slashing its claws, but it also has a neat animation for all of its back spikes and its tail.

Gen VI is very okay and boring.

Alolan Sandslash

I absolutely love the glacier/icicle motif they have going on with Alolan Sandslash. That was an awesome direction to go with this alt version. There’s not a lot in terms of color contrast in Alolan Sandslash, but that’s alright because the shades of blue that they chose for it are perfect.

It’s subtle, but I also like the way they changed the style of the claws. There’s a very sharp downward angle that makes the claws almost seem icicle-like too.

Shiny:

Sandslash has one of the best shinies, in my opinion. It has an awesome blood-red color on the spikes and the shade of yellow used on the body made for a more tan look that was great in contrast to the red and really gave off more of a sand vibe.

Shiny Alolan Sandslash, however, is just lazy.

It’s a darker Alolan Sandslash. That’s all. They took Alolan Sandslash’s sprite, turned down the brightness and called it a day. It’s not bad as in ugly or anything, but it’s boring.

Cry/Voice: This is probably going to sound weird, but, in the anime, it always sounds like Sandslash says ‘Slash’ while sneezing whenever it’s attacking. It’s cute, but it’s also a little funny hearing it that way.

Normally, Sandslash sounds…okay. It’s cute, but it kinda loses intimidation points on how high pitched it sounds. It’s even higher than Sandshrew, which is odd. I don’t know why the voice is so nasally, either. Like whoever voices it pinches their nose while recording.

Sandslash’s game cry is alright. It’s low and more intimidating, but not too low for it to sound off-putting or unfitting. It’s a bit too static-y, though – like it was meant for an Electric type or something.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Not too much that is all that interesting to note for several Gens worth of Dex Entries. It can blind enemies with sand, it protects itself by curling into a ball and using its incredibly hard quills as armor, it can climb trees and use its powerful claws for slashing. If or when its quills break off, they grow back in a day. They can use their quills to make enemies flinch then strike with their claws.

We do learn in Gen VII that people will use shed Sandslash claws and quills to make tools to till their farms and fields, so that’s pretty neat. However, the Dex entries for this Gen are also worded oddly. Ultra Sun claims Sandslash’s claws and horns break off….I have never heard anyone refer to Sandslash’s quills as horns. Spikes, yeah, but not horns. That’s just not accurate.

Also, in Ultra Moon, they say they ‘Park themselves in trees and go right to sleep.’ That is correct, but it’s weird that they said ‘park themselves’ like they’re a car. (I am aware that people sometimes say ‘park it’ when telling someone to sit, but in this situation it just sounds weird. I’m being very nitpicky here, admittedly, though.)

In Gen VIII, the Dex mentions that Sandslash’s spikes will feel smoother and harder if it’s in drier climates, which makes sense, and when they’re in trees they will drop berries for Sandshrew waiting down below, which I thought was sweet.

In regards to design, it has obviously drawn inspiration from hedgehogs, echidnas, and porcupines, and pangolins have been mentioned already, which I can definitely see in the face. Like Sandshrew, it is also based on shrews and supposedly have poisonous claws as a result. I keep saying ‘supposedly’ because I can’t find anything that says Sandshrew or Sandslash has poisonous claws. Only their Wiki and Bulbapedia pages say that, but I can’t find anything in canon.

The only poison ability it has naturally is Poison Sting, and I always thought that was utilizing their spikes, not their claws. In Gen IV and onward, it can use Poison Jab, but only through a TM so that can’t possibly count.

Alolan Sandslash’s Dex entries explain the same origin as Alolan Sandshrew, but also include that its icy spikes are actually steel spikes covered in ice. These spikes don’t only cause deep wounds, but they can also quickly cause frostbite, which is pretty scary. As opposed to trees, it has adapted its claws to climb icebergs. Utilizing its claws to plow through the snow, it has become the fastest Pokemon to travel within snowy mountain regions.

There’s nothing mentioning the design inspiration for Alolan Sandslash, but it’s safe to assume icicles and glaciers were a big part of it. Not sure where the steel came into play, though, because steel has nothing to do with ice, igloos, glaciers etc. Even taking its origins into play, Sandslash didn’t originally have steel spikes, so I’m kinda confused on that front.

Next up, the entire Nido-line: Both male and female!


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Shinigami no Ballad (Momo: The Girl God of Death) Review

Rating: 8/10

Plot: An episodic anime about a pure white and kind shinigami named Momo and her cat Daniel. While their main job is to ferry souls to the afterlife, Momo also likes to help the souls that she ferries with any unresolved issues left behind in the land of the living. She also likes to help the living move on past the deaths of loved ones as well.

Breakdown: If you asked me to describe this anime in one word, the perfect fit for it would be ‘bittersweet’. Just by the description you can tell that this is a depressing anime filled with death and discussions about the impact of death on loved ones. I’ve never watched an entire anime where basically every episode made me feel like crying, but you win that award Shinigami no Ballad.

However, Momo does make light of nearly every story. The unresolved business left behind by a departed soul allows the soul to rest. The loved ones left behind are then also able to get through the death of their loved one and live their lives to the fullest with what both Momo and their lost loved one taught them.

I’m a sucker for episodic anime as I really love short stories. Unlike some other episodic anime, there’s nothing that ties together these stories besides the characters of Momo and Daniel. One character from the first episode makes a reappearance in episode five to help someone else deal with the death of a loved one, and we learn that his contact with Momo left him with the power to see ghosts that he’ll supposedly lose when he becomes an adult (because….ghosts are like fairies?), but that’s it. I really wish they had left that episode as the last one because it would’ve felt like the series came full circle in as much of a way as it could, but it’s alright.

Momo is not your average shinigami. She wears a beautiful white dress, she has long white hair and blue eyes. She holds a scythe, of course, but that’s really the only indication that she’s a shinigami. Momo is a very kindhearted individual who not only wants to help departed souls with their unresolved issues left in the land of the living, but she also likes to help the living (usually ones connected to a departed soul) live their lives to the fullest.

Momo is also a tragic character, but you only get that from the opening theme song because we don’t really learn anything of Momo’s story, unlike, in the opposite extreme, Ai from Hell Girl. I guess in some ways Momo wants to be a part of the living world, but can’t. However, she is very dedicated to her goal of helping all of the people that she can. I really liked Momo, she was a very sweet and caring character.

…But then there’s Daniel. I feel like there’s some sort of unexplained dynamic between Daniel and Momo. Momo’s character design is almost that of an angel without wings. Daniel’s seems somewhat demon based. He’s a black cat with a red collar and blood red demon-esque wings. I can only guess that Momo is meant to ferry good souls to heaven while Daniel ferries bad souls to hell, sorta like Zombie Loan. However, since they never deal with any bad souls I can’t be certain.

While Daniel does love Momo very much to the point where he basically treats her like royalty, Daniel can get a little annoying because he’s Momo’s foil. While Momo is gentle and will go to great lengths to help people, Daniel is pretty blunt and even somewhat rude, and he sometimes thinks that helping people is a waste of time. However, because of his deep respect and admiration of Momo, he’s more than willing to help her.

All of the episodes are really great. I can’t think of any episode I particularly disliked. I preferred some over others, but they were all really well-written and interesting. All of the characters involved in the stories, for the most part, were likable as well.

Art and Animation: The art was meh. Nothing really to write home about. Same with the animation.

Music: I really liked the music even if Nihon reviews said it was the worst part of the series. It may seem out of place on first hearing, but it fits pretty well with the show as you continue to listen to it. Both the OP and the ED were really good even if I think the pacing of the lyrics in the OP are a little too slow and the BG music was memorable and enjoyable.

Bottomline: If you can stand up to a little depression and a lot of talk of death, this is a pretty good series. I wish it had gone on longer and that we had gotten really anything of the story behind Momo’s drive to do what she does or her character at all. It’s also a really short series at six episodes when the series could have the potential to go on for much longer. Hell Girl got four seasons yet this only gets six episodes. However, that does also mean that it’s a fairly short watch, and well worth the time.

Additional Information and Notes: Shinigami no Ballad was based on a light novel series of the same name written by K-Ske Hasagawa, which also spawned a manga version that ran from 2005-2007. The anime version was directed by Tomomi Mochizuki, who also directed Princess Nine, Pupa and Dirty Pair Flash II and III. It was written by Reiko Yoshida, who has done screenwriting work for a massive list of titles including Kaleido Star, Digimon, D-Gray Man, Rurouni Kenshin: Reflection, and Jyu-Oh-Sei.

It was produced by the now defunct Group TAC, who also helped produce Space Battleship Yamato, Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun (Flint the Time Detective) and Grappler Baki. They worked alongside Ginga-Ya, who also did some animation work on Angel Beats!, Five Numbers!, Terror in Resonance…..Oh and Yosuga no Sora. There is an English Dub available of this series, and it is currently licensed in North America by Maiden Japan.

Episodes: 6

Year: 2006

Recommended Audience: Well, there are obviously a lot of mentions of death and talking about death, but you actually never see a single person die on screen. I’d say the first episode is likely the saddest because that’s the only time that a character that we actually get to know while alive ends up dying during the episode. Everyone dies of either sickness, old age or car accidents, and none of the deaths are seen on screen. The final episode deals with the aspect of suicide and shows the character falling off of a bridge, but they cut away so quickly that you’re not even entirely sure she fell.

Other than that, though, no questionable content. No sex, no swearing, not even drinking. Though the heavy aspect of dealing with death might skew towards an older-ish audience. 8+?


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

AniManga Clash! Tokyo Mew Mew Volume 4

Plot: The Mews finally manage to find a way to destroy the cocoon that is housing a moth that could destroy all of Tokyo. Later, Ichigo and Aoyama go on a date to the aquarium when another encounter with the aliens introduces Ichigo to a mysterious man named The Blue Knight.

—————————-

– So Shirogane tries to coax Ichigo into a kiss for the sake of experimenting with her cat transformation, but then he stops and says this.

“Wait a second…You turn into a cat when you’re excited. It has nothing to do with kissing.”

*Thinks of the anime*

(HikaYagami explained to me that the TokyoPop translation is kinda off in some places, so maybe this is another poor translation?)

– Interestingly, in the Moth arc, Mint is seemingly possessed/entranced and knows exactly where to go to get the Mew Aqua, which leads her to flying up to the top of the tower and retrieving it. The other girls fight off the aliens to allow her to get to it. This is important because it’s actually MINT who gets to use the Mew Aqua Rod in this arc and use the Aqua Drops to save the city from the toxin when it was Ichigo in the anime.

Granted, Ichigo still gets the final shot because of course she does, but we were robbed of a cool moment where Mint gets 1) to use a new weapon first (All of the Mews get to use this exact same weapon at one point or another, but this is the first) and 2) a moment where Mint got to shine all on her own.

– It was especially cute because Ichigo hugs her after, Zakuro pats her head and Pudding kisses her.

– Aw cute, Aoyama kissed Ichigo’s tears away in the rain scene afterward.

– The near-kiss with sleeping Aoyama doesn’t trigger a full-body cat transformation because we already went through that plotline.

– Oh cool, another reprise of rapist cat and this time he has a ‘love leash’ the two of them will share……Is it possible to have a cat arrested?

– So Shirogane said kissing doesn’t trigger transformation, but then he kisses Ichigo to make her transform when he’s Alto. Is it just because kissing her would get her excited? Is ‘excited’ the same thing as just generally flustered from being suddenly kissed? In the anime, she does fully transform once without kissing, but then even getting little platonic pecks from friends and kissing animals (instigated by her) makes her change. Her cat transformation never ceases to confuse me…

– There’s a plotline at an aquarium that isn’t in the anime. I think this might be what the date at the amusement park originally was, but I can’t be certain. Shame, because Ichigo fights a SHARK in it.

———————–

The anime kept pretty close to the manga when adapting this volume. The major point of contention being the Mint moment, and that just makes me ultra irritated because there’s no reason whatsoever why they gave Ichigo the spotlight there outside of the anime having more Ichigo favoritism.

In most magical girl shows that have upgraded transformations, weapons and attacks, it’s common that the other team members will get something cool but the point will be made that the leader gets the coolest one – sometimes the other girls will all get their upgrades one at a time as a buildup to the big leader upgrade, and other times the leader will get her upgrade as a way of opening the door for the other girls to get theirs. It’s still blatant favoritism, but at least it’s better than letting the other team members stagnate to the point where I’m wondering why dusting the cobwebs off of their outfits isn’t a part of the other girls’ transformations after a while.

However, that positive note might be offset by the manga including another scene with rapist cat.

Hmm…

…….Nope, I’m actually going to give the manga this one today. Mint got a time to shine and Ichigo got to fight a friggin’ shark. You don’t get to rob me of those things and get away with it, anime.

Winner: Manga


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Code Monkeys

Really? That’s the quote you’re going for for promotional purposes? Okie dokie.

Plot: Set in the 1980s, in an 8-bit video game-esque version of the real world, game designers at GameaVision develop new games while basically being as unpleasant as possible.

Breakdown: The very first scene in this show is of one of the main characters humping his computer to somehow make it unfreeze.

And that was Code Monkeys, everybody.

Next time we’ll talk about…..

…..Oh fine. I’ll continue.

Let me procrastinate for a minute, however.

Code Monkeys was a show made by Adam de la Pena, who has also has his writing hand in such tasteful pies as The Man Show, Crank Yankers, Minoriteam and…Bratz: The Movie?….Okay that last one’s kinda weird, though there’s also a bunch of stereotypes in that movie too.

It was picked up by G4, the channel that had X-Play and things that weren’t X-Play.

I love how one of the blurbs by reviewers listed on the Code Monkeys Wiki page, Scott Jon Siegel of Joystiq, backhandedly shades G4 by saying “there was hope that G4 could deliver something actually watchable. [Code Monkeys] isn’t.”

Before anyone acts like I’m a prude who just wants to slam this show because of its crass humor – rude/dark comedy is not my forte by a long shot, but I can enjoy it on occasion when it’s done well. Problem is, so many entries in the ‘crude humor’ world are just ‘lol it’s funny because it’s gross or offensive.’ You want a good example of this? In the opening credits, we learn one of the characters is named Black Steve. He’s the only black guy. The joke is he’s a black guy named Steve so his name is Black Steve.

I was going to give them the benefit of the doubt a little since their boss is Steve Wozniak, so maybe they were calling him Black Steve to jokingly differentiate himself from Wozniak, but they don’t call Wozniak by his first name – they call him Woz – and Wozniak is supposedly only in this episode, yet his name sticks the entire series.

Sadly, I don’t think I can put this off anymore, and I honestly think this needs a step-by-step overview in order to truly give the scope of how bad this is, so let’s get started.

—————————-

We get our theme song, which I wish I could appreciate because it’s a Jonathan Coulton song, but I can’t because it’s like they messed with the audio so I can barely hear the vocals over the instrumentals. Right at the title card, someone yells ‘I love you, whores!’ They don’t even want you to think for a second that they’re trying, do they?

Our cast of characters works in a game design company called GameaVision, and the entire show is drawn and animated like an 8-bit game, which, I’ll admit, is pretty cool and unique. They even use the video game display around the border to add some extra bits to scenes and jokes.

For instance, in the aforementioned computer humping scene, they have a progress bar at the top that says ‘Bone Level’ and slowly shows a bunch of bones as the character, Dave, reaches climax. Yup. Comedy gold. Also, they kinda edit it poorly here because, in order to, I guess, introduce the other character in the scene, Jerry, halfway through they change the name at the top to say Jerry, but the Bone Level meter is still going up, so it kinda makes it seem like he’s also about to climax.

Jerry points out the rotting donkey carcass in the room and asks Dave to get rid of it, but he says it’s useful. He points this out by pretending the donkey is a tauntaun, uses a lightsaber to cut it open and hops in to stay warm while he naps even though they’re in a warm office building and this is stupid.

Steve Wozniak comes in (he’s even voiced by Steve Wozniak, supposedly.) He owns this company for some reason and wants to know what games the boys are coming up with. Dave shows him his new game Hobo Killer where you just murder hobos. They’re not attacking the characters or anything – they’re just standing there and the character stabs them to death. How fun.

Woz calls them for a meeting, and we get a kinda clever shot where the boys walk down the street..or…hall or whatever this is, and it’s like a platformer, but there’s more inconsistency in the little display up top. Back in the office, the health meter was depicted as being a bunch of hearts. Out here, it’s a Megaman-esque group of tiny bars. It doesn’t affect anything, I just thought it was interesting…

We meet Black Steve, who is brandishing a gun, which I guess is okay considering they live in a video game world. But we’ll later learn he’s just a gun-toting trigger-happy jerk who is racist against white people. Woz supposedly gave the gun to him for game inspiration.

Black Steve tells us about his new game idea called Cracker Barrel where you literally shoot crackers (Ya know….white people) in a barrel. Also, the follow up joke is that Black Steve isn’t even a programmer – he’s the accountant. Also, that isn’t really a joke so much as them wanting to make the Cracker Barrel joke so they had to hide the fact that he wasn’t a programmer from us long enough to say that.

Wait, if he’s the accountant, why did Woz give him a gun for game inspiration?

We next meet Todd – Hmm, let’s see. A show about game programmers made in the mid-2000s that is gunning for every stereotype imaginable. Could Todd possibly be a gamer stereotype?

Would you look at that? He’s a gigantic geek, very overweight, sniffs a lot, loves food, is crazy into medieval/DnD stuff (and wears a viking helmet for some reason) to the point where he changes his speech patterns, calls his office his lair and acts like he has no solid grasp on reality, has garbage all over his office, still lives with his mom and apparently is so close with her they waste no time strongly implying that they’re either in an incestuous relationship or are just borderline.

Here’s how subtle it is;

Todd: “Mother and I share many passions. One of which happens to be OUR passion for nachos. The second is MY passion for her.”

They accompany this with a little thing in the corner that says ‘Creepy Points’ with a number going up, which is kinda cute, but you couple that with them pointing out in dialogue that it’s creepy and us already knowing that it’s creepy and, again, you’re being way too blatant with the ‘jokes’ to the point where it’s almost unfunny.

Next up on the ‘let’s meet the entire cast’ docket is Mary – who is currently in the women’s steam room. Dave comes in and promptly starts snapping pictures – even sneaking underneath her to look up her towel.

At this point, I should mention another problem crude humor shows and movies almost always have –  unlikable characters. In shows and movies that function entirely on gross-out and offensive humor, they almost have to make their characters unlikable assholes in order for them to keep making these jokes. And, as a result, you very, very quickly stop giving half a shit about what happens to any of them.

It’s like in horror movies where they tend to make all of the characters dumb annoying self-absorbed teenagers. The movie stops being scary because you start rooting for the killer to come and spare you the torment of watching them on screen any longer.

Likewise, in these crude humor shows and movies, I don’t care what happens to these assholes one way or another, so why would I care to keep watching? The only nice-ish people are treated like crap too, which is another theme in those shows and movies, so the entire experience is just unpleasant. The only way that could work is if the humor is just so goshdarn clever and hilarious that it’d be worth sitting through their crap to get to the jokes, but it’s not.

Anyhoo, Mary is the only female programmer at the company, so obviously she’s an outspoken feminist who is working on a game where she teaches girls about their periods while also making it action-packed enough to market to boys. It’s called Red Rhonda….

Predictably, Dave makes a bunch of sex jokes at her, including implying that he wants to have anal sex with her. In case you’re wondering why Dave hasn’t been fired 100x over by now, Woz basically lets him do whatever he wants.

Speaking of that, they all reach the meeting room where Dave is seen peeing in a urinal. Woz told him he could install one right in the meeting area so he wouldn’t have to let his microwave burrito get cold, but the urinal has no pipes so the urine ends up all over the floor.

Woz gives his big announcement – he’s selling the company and he wants Dave to butter up potential buyers. Why he’s giving this responsibility to such a massive idiotic jackwad, I don’t know.

And, of course, it’s very plainly obvious that Dave intends on sabotaging these meetings. We can get that from his attitude instantly turning around and his sneaky voice, but, of course, the little display in the corner has to have an insincerity meter going up just to really drive it home.

The first buyers are from Family Works – a gaming company dedicated to proving that games can serve a moral purpose. They’re dressed like complete dorks and talk like complete dorks with a dorky company, so Dave takes him to our next character introduction – Clarence.

Clarence is gay and you can pretty much predict how his character talks and acts from there just on how they’ve treated every other character.

Clarence is in some sort of weird party room with pink walls, a giant Wham poster and a disco ball. He’s wearing nothing but a speedo, and there are two very stereotypically gay men hanging out in the hot tub. The Family Works people are disgusted and leave, and the scene ends with Clarence diving into the hot tub to give blowjobs to the other two guys.

…Oh Clarence does the music for the games, in case you were wondering. He has a microphone in this room, so it’s fine.

Dave brings some investors from Canada to Todd’s office, and they pretty much give up on staying on the stereotypical gamer thing with him because what he does next just makes no sense for anyone.

He strips naked and starts doing a word association game with the guys. Dave leaves and locks them in the room, saying they’ll be in there for several hours, which seems unnecessary. Meanwhile, Todd keeps getting way too close to them and even grabs them a couple times.

What even was that? I honestly can’t make sense of what they were trying to do there. Todd is definitely out of touch with reality, but even in his mind he shouldn’t be able to make sense of what he’s doing.

The next scene nearly made me turn off the episode. It’s not just not funny – it’s just literal potty humor, par for the course – it’s the fact that they basically give you a literal countdown timer to the joke.

Here’s the setup. Clearly, there’s a turd in the microwave. It’s massive. It’s practically the first thing you notice when the scene starts. There’s a timer at the top of the screen saying the microwave will be done in one minute. Gee, I wonder if the microwave explodes with poo-poo in one minute. Oh look, Dave’s even pointing out that there’s a turd in the microwave 30 seconds before the timer is up. Uh-oh, Woz is stepping right next to the microwave as the timer winds down.

Now, to their credit, the timer doesn’t reach zero before the microwave blows up and coats everyone with poop, there was about 17 seconds left, so there’s the slightest bit of surprise there….At least there would’ve been if they didn’t also manage to screw that up by including warning beeps right before the microwave explodes. So even if you weren’t watching the countdown or taking note of the very obvious clues, the show still alerts you to the impending punchline. It’s almost like they’re trying extra hard to make sure you don’t laugh.

Why was the warning even going off at 22 seconds anyway? Usually, if a microwave has a ‘nearing end of cook time’ warning beep, it will be three to five seconds before the timer is up – not 22 – that’s such a random number.

(I know I should note that the microwave as a whole wouldn’t blow up because of poop, but I thought I’d give them that much leeway at least.)

As a cherry on this literal shit sundae, the title at the bottom of the screen that usually says ‘Code Monkeys’ changes to ‘Gross Me Out’ after this. Yes. We get it.

I can try to make this scene work better. Have the microwave running, but don’t clearly show what’s in there. They discussed Dave liking microwave burritos, so we can just think he’s microwaving one. Have the scene go about normally, let Dave subtly situate the buyers in front of the microwave then BOOM. Microwave blows up, poop everywhere and Dave just non-chalantly explains that he regularly microwaves turds or something.

It’s not a great fix of that scene, but it’s at least trying.

Anyway, Woz isn’t even mad about it because he’s an idiot.

After a transition that tells us to have a ‘Happy Turdsday’ Woz explains that his desire to sell the company is based on his love of computers, not games. He wants to make computers, even though Dave says it’s a passing fad, which is kinda dumb because computers and games go hand in hand.

Since Dave scared off all of the other potential buyers, Woz has no choice but to go for his only option – Bellecovision, which I think is supposed to be a reference to ColecoVision? Bellecovision is an ridiculously boring game company that drives their employees insane, which is the polar opposite of GameaVision, where they basically let their employees do nearly anything they want. Dave is really against that option, but it’s either them or some dude named Larrity.

Woz goes to the other employees to get their say in the matter since he doesn’t want to sell it to either of them without their blessing, which is odd because it seemed like he was fine selling it to those other buyers without asking them about it.

The vote is split with half wanting to sell to Bellecovision and the other voting for Larrity. Jerry is the deciding vote, but he doesn’t want to vote because he’s torn.

When the commercial break comes, they put a little ‘Pause’ note on screen, which I legitimately thought was clever and a little funny. But then they kinda ruin it because, instead of just immediately picking up where they left off once the pause button is taken off, where Jerry is already being asked whether he will choose Larrity or Bellecovision, they have Mary immediately ask if Jerry will choose Dave or her, and I just don’t know what that’s supposed to mean. She voted for Bellecovision while Dave chose Larrity, and I guess that’s it, but she doesn’t even know Larrity – none of them do – and I can’t see why she’d want to gun for a game company that is seen as super boring, unless she’s also meant to be super boring.

Black Steve nearly murders his coworkers for no reason, and then Jerry chooses Larrity.

The majority wins, and the company is sold to Mr. Larrity.

Our first interaction with Mr. Larrity is in the men’s bathroom where Dave is humping a condom machine to get free condoms….

Larrity is an old rich white guy from Texas and, again, you can pretty much gauge how his character is portrayed from that information alone.

He’s brought his son, Dean, along with him, and Dean is just a muscular idiot.

Larrity brings Jerry and Dave along to talk about the new changes he’s going to be making to the company. First, he’s canceling all holidays, including Christmas and…”Jew Christmas.” Again, that’s not clever at all. It’s just putting an offensive slant on it.

Larrity claims he doesn’t know anything about video games, which is a mighty weird statement to make considering he lives in a video game and is currently completing a platformer as he walks down the hall (or street? It’s very difficult to know what these platformer corridors are. They look like streets, but they’re inside the building?)

Clarence dances in wearing a bright blue and pink jumpsuit, singing out that he’s gay – and surprise of all surprises, Larrity wants to fire him immediately.

Next, Larrity demolishes the women’s bathroom to make more space for the men’s room so he can pace back and forth like a tiger before he takes a dump (I’m not even really paraphrasing.) Mary asks what the women are supposed to use, but Larrity just says it’s not his problem.

Larrity comes into Black Steve’s office and tells him he’ll be sharing an office. Before he even finishes his sentence, Black Steve shoots him because he doesn’t want to share an office. Larrity’s okay, though, because he’s wearing a flak jacket. He’s so impressed by Black Steve’s shot, however, that he agrees to let him have his own office, at least until the ‘rematch.’

They have a group meeting where Mary is immediately stifled because Larrity only cares about what the male employees are doing. The only reason she spoke first was because he said he wanted to hear what the ‘ladies’ had for him, but then he stopped her and explained that he was using ‘ladies’ as a derogatory term for the men.

Todd starts a presentation, and we get this.

Todd: “I know what you’re all thinking. ‘Todd! How can you top yourself after your brilliant game Space Blasters?’”

Mary: “Wow, Todd is such a douche.”

….Thank….You…Mary. I never would’ve gotten that from his overall behavior and the fact that, when he was introduced, his character intro screen was this:

The line is so awkwardly placed, too. Maybe it doesn’t come across like that in text, but it’s just weird that she chose right then to say that. She either should have said that after he was done with his presentation or after his first line, which was “Well, since I’m the best, I’ll go first.” It’s like she interrupted him just to call him a douche.

Todd’s game idea is Space Blasters II, which is the same game as the first one with two ships. Everyone loves it….I think? I honestly can’t tell if they’re being sarcastic or genuine.

Dave is up next with his game, Nazi Sniper, where you shoot Nazis. Larrity initially likes the idea, but then is less than enthused when he realizes the Nazis are the bad guys in this game. Get it? Because he’s a Nazi sympathizer.

Larrity introduces the new game tester for the company, his “son” Benny. The company, not him, “illegally adopted” him from Korea. And, as with everyone else, he’s basically what you’d expect a racist depiction of a ten year old Korean boy to be. The main twist being that he’s very, very hyper because Larrity has been loading him up with Pixy Stix and sugar, to keep him awake longer so he can work non-stop, and cigarettes to stunt his growth. I’m not exactly certain why they need to stunt his growth, but here we are.

Larrity finishes off the meeting by appointing Dean as head of development.

Todd and Black Steve meet later to plan the assassination of Larrity because everyone’s now regretting voting for him to buy the company. Yeah, killing him. That’s the logical progression of events….though I suppose he already tried to kill him once, so why not aim for that ‘pre-meditated’ label?

In order to get Black Steve to agree, he has to hand over cash, his van and his prized sword, Excalibur. When he hands the sword over, Todd dubs Black Steve the Black Knight. He threatens to kill him if that’s a racist moniker…which…yeah, of course it is. That’s a given. Why are you okay with everyone calling you Black Steve but you get all murder-y when you’re given the title of Black Knight?

Black Steve lays in wait in the vending machine and opens fire on him, but Larrity reveals that he’s outfitted all of the vending machines with bulletproof glass and metal, so it didn’t work.

Dave tries to convince Woz, who is already the founder and CEO of a company that looks exactly like Apple, just with two bites taken out of the logo instead of one, but it doesn’t work. Woz doesn’t like the changes he’s learning of either, but he has no power there anymore and doesn’t want to return to the gaming world. Instead, he tells Dave that it’s his time to shine and that he should lead the charge to make changes at the company if he’s so bothered by them. That’s actually very reasonable…or at least it would be if he were talking to anyone other than Dave, who has shown to be nothing but lazy and abhorrently irresponsible and doesn’t deserve his time to shine.

Todd and Black Steve try another assassination attempt by hiding Black Steve in a giant cake (and he’s insulted that the cake is vanilla) but it fails and he’s gruesomely murdered by a falling piano trap Larrity had set up in his office…(Remember, though, this is a video game world, so it doesn’t stick. He’s dead for a lot longer than Jerry was earlier (he died in the first platformer scene) though, and we never see him respawn.)

The rest of the employees are filling out applications at Bellecovision when Dave comes in with an inspirational speech to bring everyone back to GameaVision, which works quite easily.

Back in GameaVision, Larrity is repeatedly branding Todd like a cow, and he thanks Black Steve for ‘letting him in on his secret’…..which…I guess means he was warning Larrity of the assassination attempts for some reason. Doesn’t make any sense because Black Steve is racist against white people and would logically be super against a racist white guy, but I guess they bonded over guns? If Black Steve was in cahoots with Larrity…why did Larrity kill him with the piano? Shouldn’t that have broken their bond over firearms, or is killing each other a bonding thing between them too?

And…uh….that’s it. They take a group photo with all of the employees, and I guess everything’s all better…suddenly….with no real resolution.

We end on a scene where Dave explains that he pooped in the brownie bowl and wiped his ass with every brownie. Lo and behold, everyone’s behind him in shock having eaten the poop brownies because they’re all have no sense of smell or taste, apparently.

The end.

Finally.

—————————-

I actually had high hopes for this at first because the aesthetic made it seem promising, and the premise seemed like something I’d definitely get into, but Code Monkeys is one of the most unfunny things I’ve seen in a long time.

The only thing that’s even slightly humorous about it is some of the changes they make to the video game display. Some of them. Most of them are quite boring, and several of them just try stacking onto a joke we’re either watching or listening to, so it’s pounded into your head so much that it goes from simply not being funny to being annoying.

So many jokes act like you’re too stupid to understand them, even when they’re the most basic ‘jokes’ in existence. Every few minutes, they’re holding your hand through a joke. It’s like a stoner comedy version of Dora the Explorer if Dora thought you were brain dead.

If I ended this review with “And that’s why Code Monkeys is the best cartoon ever made.” I’m certain you’d be able to tell from everything else that I was being sarcastic. Now imagine that I added a /Sarcasm to it. A bit much for this situation since the sarcasm is very apparent – makes it less funny. Now imagine that I made a gif of a video game display where it said ‘Sarcasm’ with a meter going up and added that to it. That’s be way too blatant and just not funny at all anymore, wouldn’t it?

That is how a third of the jokes in this episode work, with everything else just being stupid ‘we can’t think of jokes so here’s something offensive’ humor.

Crude humor/dark comedy is really, really, really hard to do right. And when it’s done wrong, it fails about 100x as hard as any other comedy because now it’s not just not funny, it’s unpleasant.

You can’t confuse dark or crude comedy with just being dumb. It’s the adult equivalent of waving keys in front of a baby’s face. ‘Hurr hurr, it’s funny because it’s racist or sexist or gross. Or hey, sex is funny. Let’s just mention sex or show a character humping things, that’ll get a laugh.’

The least they could’ve done through this whole thing was give us a resolution to the conflict, but the episode just kinda ends. Nothing’s really solved. Dave did get the other employees back, but they didn’t even show them leaving until after Dave had his final conversation with Woz…which is the same scene Dave gets them back. When they come back to the GameaVision offices, they don’t talk to Larrity or do anything. Larrity just brands Todd over and over and kinda bonds with Black Steve.

Is he going to stop being a jackass now? Is he going to reverse all the changes he made? Is he still going to fire Clarence? Who knows? But they’re together now, and that’s all that matters – even though it’s very clear that they all hate each other and aren’t really friends.

I have to give credit where credit is due, however, because this does work pretty well as an introductory episode. Most of the characters are given full introductions (except Clare, the receptionist, who, according to the Wiki, is basically the other female stereotype in that she’s an airheaded tramp. Also like four other people in the group photo that I don’t even remember seeing weren’t introduced either, but I don’t think they’re all that vital since they’re not listed on the main character page.) and the setup is laid out for us very clearly.

I was kinda surprised to learn that Dave is being treated as the main character because, in my opinion, he’s the least likable character in the whole cast besides Larrity. I really thought Jerry would’ve been the focal character given he’s the most likable and reasonable, but nope. He’s basically the deuteragonist.

Other than that, though, I could live my whole life never thinking about this show again and it would be all the better for it.

Final Verdict:

Continue no

Final Notes: Code Monkeys did find an audience and was reportedly fairly successful when it aired back in 2007, but G4 still canceled it after being on the air for two seasons/one year for some reason.

In 2017, Adam de la Pena wrote a tweet saying “And then there’s this….gameavision.com” which was supposedly hinting at a revival, but that obviously never happened. Just out of curiosity, I visited the website to see if there was any other information, and all the website says is ‘© 2020 gameavision.com.’ It’s interesting because they had to have recently updated the page to say 2020, but there’s still no information whatsoever on what they might be planning, if anything.

Adam de la Pena also doesn’t seem to be working right now. His last entry on IMDB was writing for a Netflix talk show hosted by Chelsea Handler in 2016-2017 titled ‘Chelsea’ and…uh…the reviews were not good.

It seems like someone at Netflix or something tried to seed the reviews and ratings because half of the reviews are perfect scores and singing the show’s praises so much you’d think it cured cancer while the other half are giving two to one stars and saying it’s a horrible pile of garbage. And guess what? Most of the positive reviews are very clearly by bots or people who were paid off, because the reviews for that show were literally their only reviews and they had no actual profile.

From what I saw of the reaction to the show on other websites, it seems the negative reviews were the most accurate. (Fun fact: Chelsea is the only show made by Netflix to have episodes removed from the platform. They removed 66 out of 90 episodes, supposedly to help people find the newest episodes, but they have other talk shows on the service that they didn’t do this to, so it’s just really odd.)

Of course, I had to look at the IMDB for Code Monkeys too, and it has a respectable score of 7/10. However, nearly all of the actual reviews give it basically perfect scores and said things like ‘Ingenious’ ‘Hilarious’ ‘Masterpiece’ ‘Brilliant’ and only two reviews were bad to moderate, which got labeled as unhelpful.

Sure seems familiar but in an opposite extreme. I wonder if many of the people giving this series rave reviews only have Code Monkeys as their lone review, as if they only signed up to give that positive review. Being fair, several of the positive reviews also seem to be genuine, but I still feel like this was another case of rating seeding.

I’m not accusing De La Pena of having anything to do with this, if it is really a case of buying ratings and reviews, but it’s just a weird coincidence. Maybe I need to take off my tinfoil hat.

I will fully admit that maybe the series gets funnier over time – maybe there’s something good buried deep in the literal shit that I’m not seeing – but you’d never convince me this series is anything close to a brilliant hilarious masterpiece.

I wanted this series to be a brilliant hilarious masterpiece – maybe a lost gem of sorts – but it’s not. It’s just terrible. It’s a unique concept that could’ve been really great but ended up being an exploding turd in a microwave.

Like always, if you enjoy the show, that’s cool, don’t let me stop you from enjoying it, but I am moving on.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Yu-Gi-Oh! (Manga) Chapters 2 and 3 Review (AniManga Clash! Season Zero Placeholder)

Preface: I typically don’t do this, but the more series I cover in AniManga Clash, the more I might find the need to do so. Since Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero didn’t cover these chapters of the manga, I’m going to simply do a regular review on them instead.

Chapter 2: Lying Eyes

yu_gi_oh_2_3

Yugi and Jounouchi are talking about a dirty video that floating around. Jounouchi has seen it, but since Japan has strict censorship laws, he couldn’t make out anything in the mosaic censoring. Times sure were different before the Internet, eh?

A filmmaker comes to Domino High to film a documentary about bullying. When he sees Yugi, he assumes he must be bullied, so he decides to make him the star of their show. I guess just following a kid who seemingly must be bullied isn’t good enough, so he asks his assistant director to dress up like a student and beat the piss out of Yugi so they can film it and make a good scene for the documentary.

The assistant lures Yugi out back with the promises of seeing an idol he believes is hanging around the school. With the cameras in place, he beats the crap out of him. Jounouchi comes to his rescue (Noticeably holding a camera, so I think he was snooping to catch a picture of the idol who’s not there.) He tries to attack the director, but he says they’ll catch it on tape if he does. Jounouchi doesn’t realize the cameras are actually off, so the director takes that opportunity to beat him up.

As the director walks away, he says they shouldn’t worry because their faces will just be mosaiced out.

Angered by the injustice, Yugi transforms into Yami.

That night, the director muses that, next time, they should try killing someone on camera…..This guy is so ridiculously over-evil. You were pushing it having someone, a minor no less, beaten up on camera for the sake of a public feature. You want to KILL someone for a public video? Do you want to never see anything but the inside of a jail cell?

Shadow Game

yu_gi_oh_2_18

Yami arrives and challenges the director to a simple dice game. He’ll roll the die once. If the director can roll a die of equal or lower value, he’ll win. Yami rolls a six, and even though the director proclaims that this automatically makes him the winner, Yami insists he roll anyway.

The director then throws the die at his face, seemingly…trying to kill him? When it lands, he states he won since the die seemingly landed on a one, but Yami declares a penalty game for the attack and reveals that the die broke in half. One half landed on one, the other landed on six, equaling seven.

Yami punishes the director with illusion of mosaic, which alters his vision to make everything look like it’s being put through a mosaic filter. Yami’s reasoning was that he warped the reality of his subjects on camera, so he shall be damned to seeing everything through a warped mosaic filter.

The next day, Jounouchi delivers the tape to Yugi, but it ends up in Anzu’s hands and the final panel is of them chasing her to get it back.

—————————-

I gotta say, this chapter was kinda dumb. The bad guy setup was a little too ridiculous, the porn tape was an odd side plot, and the shadow game was kinda boring (even his rule breaking was lame. Did he really think he could throw a die so hard he’d kill Yugi?)

Chapter 3: Hard Beat!

yu_gi_oh_3_1

It wouldn’t be Yu-Gi-Oh without Yugi being bullied, so the chapter starts with Yugi being bullied.

A…uh…’music lover’ named Souzouji threatens Yugi into selling tickets for his monthly live karaoke show. No one ever comes to these events because his singing voice is inhumanly awful. Yugi can’t sell any of the tickets and doesn’t want to get Jounouchi or Anzu involved.

He comes across a small, timid boy named Hanasaki who was also bullied into selling tickets for Souzouji. He tries to sell Yugi a ticket, but Yugi decides instead to take the task of selling the tickets off of Hanasaki’s hands so he’ll be free from Souzouji. Problem is, Souzouji watched Yugi take the tickets and he’s none too happy about this.

Later, Yugi’s the only one at Souzouji’s show, and Souzouji’s very mad. He pulls a curtain to reveal Hanasaki, badly beaten as punishment for giving the tickets away.

Shadow Game

yu_gi_oh_3_17

Yugi is so filled with anger at Souzouji’s actions, that he transforms into Yami and challenges Souzouji to a game of silence.

In the karaoke room are Sound Pierrot dolls, which dance upon hearing any noise, even noise as light as moving your foot. The game is simple, one of these dolls will be placed in front of them. First one to dance, IE hear sound, loses.

Oddly, Yami makes no statement about what Souzouji will get if he wins, just that Yami will give his life if he loses and Souzouji will suffer a penalty game if he’s the loser.

The no-sound off starts, and Souzouji notices that Yami left the jack to his headphones perched on top of a glass. If it falls, he’ll win. It’s only a matter of time. Souzouji anxiously watches the jack, waiting for it to fall when the doll suddenly starts dancing.

It wasn’t triggered by the jack falling, however. Souzouji had left his microphone on high and never put it down. He was so amped up waiting for the jack to fall that his heartbeat increased substantially and was audible through the speakers. Yami wins, and Souzouji suffers the punishment game of beat festival.

Now his heart perpetually beats so loudly, to him anyway, that he can’t escape the noise.

Yami picks up Hanasaki and heads for home.

————————————-

This chapter was pretty interesting. The shadow game was a little boring because it was literally a game of doing nothing. I get how it connects back to Souzouji’s desire to be as loud and irritating as possible, but this is basically the game your parents made up to get you to shut up for long periods of time.

I like that Yugi has a new friend, even though I’m not quite certain if he’ll stick around.

I’m also enjoying Jounouchi, even if his part in this chapter was small. He was funny and he keeps showing how dedicated he now is to protecting Yugi and making sure he’s okay.

And now to get back on the anime track.

Episode 2/Chapter 4


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Dreaming of Dreamworks – Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) Review

Rating: 5/10

Plot: In the gorgeous plains of the old west, a stallion named Spirit roams free with his herd. He loves and protects his herd day in and day out. One day, a group of humans kidnap Spirit and bring him to an army outpost where they aim to break him into an army horse. Spirit allies with a fellow captive, a Lakota boy named Little Creek, and they manage to escape. However, Spirit is just as quickly wrangled up by the village’s tribesmen. While they’re much more kind to Spirit, he wrestles with trusting them and wants nothing more than to be set free and go back home.

Breakdown: Before I get to the actual movie, let’s talk about movies that have or were meant to have “silent” characters. It takes a lot of talent to pull off silent characters, because we have to gauge how they’re reacting, what they’re thinking and what they’re trying to ‘say’ all through body language. (Unless the character can/does write down their dialogue, which is a different pool to swim in.) You have an amazing opportunity in animation with this because you can manipulate the facial expressions, motions and environments as much as you want.

Take Disney’s Dinosaur, for example. While the film is praised for its imagery and animation, it is largely criticized for its lackluster and dull story with forgettable characters. Several other critics noted that the characters sounded way too modern. As one critic mentioned, they sounded like “mallrats,” and the way the dinosaurs spoke and interacted with each other took what was originally a promising movie and made it take a “nose-dive.” I found the movie a bit more tolerable but I can definitely see why that movie gets such flak in that regard.

Originally, Dinosaur was meant to be darker, more documentary-like and have no dialogue. According to the Wiki,

“The film was originally supposed to have no dialogue at all, in part to differentiate the film from Universal Pictures’ The Land Before Time (1988) with which Dinosaur shares plot similarities. Eisner insisted that the film have dialogue in order to make it more “commercially viable.” A similar change was also made early in the production of The Land Before Time, which was originally intended to feature only the voice of a narrator.”

It seems Eisner wasn’t really wrong, because the movie made back twice its budget. However, would the movie be more fondly remembered as a classic if we got the darker, more serious dialogue-free movie? Land Before Time was good with dialogue – would it have been better or worse without it? Does it moreso depend on the story and if it lends itself to being dialogue-free?

“But Twix, children are too stupid to understand the subtle nuances of mostly dialogue-free movies. They need constant jibber jabber in order to keep their attention and understand what’s happening.”

To which I respond, “What the hell is 4Kids doing here?”

This argument baffles my mind. Kids are too stupid to understand stories told without dialogue? Children, who are very underdeveloped verbally and start out learning things about life and people through body language and expressions since they can’t understand language (well), are too stupid to get movies that don’t have dialogue or barely have dialogue? Just…what?

I can understand that keeping a child’s attention through a mostly dialogue-free movie would be a challenge anyway, but….well, that’s the challenge. Isn’t it the sign of a true piece of quality when you can have something that both keeps a kid’s attention and tells a good story without needing to shovel a bunch of dialogue into their ears?

Take Wall-E, which, while not being dialogue-free, is very minimal on the dialogue, especially when compared to other animated movies. There are many scenes of silence and allowing the scenery and expressions to convey the story to us.

Ironically, while this decision was largely an artistic one, it was noted by Roger Ebert that, due to Wall-E’s use of silence and lack of dialogue, it would actually appeal to a wider audience because it would cross language barriers and appeal to adults and children alike.

Wall-E is considered a modern masterpiece in sci-fi and animation, and made nearly three times its budget in the box office.

The reason I’m talking about all this is because 1) It’s really interesting and 2) Spirit was always described to me as a mostly dialogue-less movie, and I’ve seen it praised critically for the fact that the horses don’t talk.

However, while the horses don’t talk, the humans do, which I’m perfectly fine with, to be honest, because it’s more realistic for them to talk. What I’m not so fine with is the fact that Spirit has narration running throughout the entire movie, which basically means he’s both ‘talking’ to us anyway, and the movie’s kinda cheating. Plus, his narration is not very well written and points out the obvious a lot.

For instance, mid-way through the movie, Spirit has grown to dislike humans because the colonel of the local US army unit essentially tortured him in order to ‘break’ him so he could be used as an army horse. He manages to escape with the help of a captive Lakota man named Little Creek, who takes Spirit in.

Lakota has his own horse, a mare named Rain, who loves him and plays around with him. Spirit makes a lot of surprised and confused expressions as he stares at them playing, which conveys to the audience that Spirit doesn’t understand why a horse would be so welcoming, playful and loving to a human – considering his experiences with humans to this point has been entirely terrible.

However, narration from Spirit verbally conveys what we can easily see in the animation. It ruins the scene because it has to dumb it down by outright telling us what Spirit’s thinking at the time, which is weird, because I can guarantee if this was a talking horse movie, this scene would probably be kept silent so that Spirit could later question this situation outright to Rain, which can also be done without dialogue.

The narration can simultaneously be pretentious and intrusive. The first night after Spirit’s capture, he looks up to the stars and quietly stares. We then fade to where his herd is and see his mother staring at the same sky. We can interpret this as meaning that Spirit misses his herd, his freedom and his mother. Likewise, his mother misses him as well and is worried about his safety, all the while they’re connected and separated by the wide night sky. However, before the fade transition, we get narration stating “My heart galloped through the skies that night. Back to my herd, where I belonged. And I wondered if they missed me as much as I missed them.”

I nearly had to pause when I heard the line “My heart galloped through the skies that night.” I really can’t decide if it’s pretentious in a juvenile way or just corny.

A nearly great scene is when Spirit is getting captured. His mother starts to scale a rock face to help him out, but Spirit whinnies in desperation, clearly telling his mother to take the herd and leave. The camera is close to Spirit’s face as he pleads with his mother, who is clearly devastated, but realizes that he’s right. His sacrifice will be for nothing if they all get caught.

This works perfectly, until narration, again, has to dumb it down and straight out say “I was scared, and I had no idea what was going to happen to me, but at least the herd was safe.” I only give this scene props because the narration comes immediately after his mother has already left, so the scene is almost undamaged.

Not to mention that the narration is done by Matt Damon, and you can’t not hear Matt Damon. I’m perfectly fine with Matt Damon as an actor, in fact I quite like his work, but I find him to be a terrible voice actor. His voice is fine – it’s the fact that Matt Damon doesn’t seem to be good at acting through his voice alone, which is much more common than you’d think.

That’s why a lot of big-time animated movies with cast lists loaded down with celebrities tend to falter in the voice acting department. I can’t stress how different voice acting is from stage acting. It’s the same concept, but an entirely different world.

Damon just sounds bored throughout his entire narration. He’s missing his herd – bored. He’s charmed by Love Interest – bored. He’s scared after getting captured – bored. He can put so much more charm and emotion into his voice, he’s just choosing not to.

I’m very tempted to edit this movie from start to finish and mute any moments where there’s narration besides the very start and the ending. I can tell just from the way the movie is directed and animated that this could work much better if the narration was gone.

Movies with minimal dialogue don’t just rely on body language, facial expressions and the environments to convey tones and messages, however – they also rely on music. Who do we have for Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron? Hans Zimmer for the orchestral score, and several songs by….Bryan Adams. I see someone spun the ‘Random 80’s Pop Musicians we can use in our soundtrack’ wheel animated movies love to use.

I like a few Bryan Adams songs, and I find his voice to be good, but his music here is, for lack of a better term, distracting. It’s not bad, it’s just that it doesn’t add to scenes most of the time – it takes things away.

We got our first taste of one of his songs for this soundtrack when Spirit is free and growing up, enjoying life with his herd. This song, like a lot of grand ‘whoo life is great’ scenes, is fine, but forgettable.

Then we get another song when Spirit is being hauled back to the army camp, which comes off like a poorly edited fanvid. That’s not Bryan Adams’ fault and moreso the fault of the editors and director, but it’s still distracting.

Then we get ‘Get Off My Back’ when Spirit is being ‘broken’ by the soldiers in the corral, and that song just left me feeling pulled in two directions in regards to tone. One minute you want me to feel all sad and worried about Spirit’s situation, then you have this scene with music meant to convey that Spirit’s being kickass and not allowing anyone to ride him. It’s supposed to be triumphant, but then it’s immediately followed by Spirit tied to a post and starved and deprived of water for three days before finally fully being ‘broken’ by the colonel.

This scene would’ve worked a lot better if you had a song that was more about determination and never giving up rather than aiming for being kickass and cocky to all those who dare challenge Spirit. You’d have a scene about a brave, determined being finally wavering in his resolve and faltering rather than a cocky hothead running out of steam.

If they needed comic relief at that point in the movie, they had it just a scene prior where Spirit was being groomed by the blacksmith. They weren’t aiming for breaking him at that point. He was just being trimmed and shoed. Spirit was rather funny in how he was able to keep weaseling his way out of constraints to hit the blacksmith. They even had him basically suspended with ropes by all four of his legs and he still managed to clock him.

Even that scene has a drastic tonal shift because we go from Spirit beating the blacksmith again to the colonel commanding Spirit be broken in the corral.

One of the notes that a critic had that was listed in the Wiki page said the movie would have benefited from a comic relief character, and uh, I have to say, no. Just…no. Comic relief characters are already difficult enough to do properly without making them just obnoxious intrusions into an otherwise good story, but I feel like this movie in particular would suffer from a comic relief character. The main characters already have it in them to do mild comedy scenes, just be better at it.

The next Adams song is at the tail end of the second act when Spirit gets captured again and believes his love interest is dead. On a long, somber train ride through the snow, we get a long, somber song. It’s very hard to me to tell if this scene works. The animation is all very overly dramatic and the song is also overly melancholy. It’s one of those scenes where the movie is obviously doing its damnedest to make you feel bad. He even starts hallucinating his herd as snow horses.

The final song is the finale song, and it’s triumphant song. I honestly can’t even remember how it goes, but I remember it’s triumphant.

As for Zimmer’s score, it’s alright. It’s fitting and decent, but it’s also completely forgettable, which is a damn shame. This is Hans Zimmer, the same guy who scored The Lion King, The Dark Knight and even The Prince of Egypt. ‘Alright’ is incredibly disappointing coming from him.

I’ve been awfully negative during this whole review, but I want to emphasize that this movie’s not a complete wash. There are numerous things to like. The art and animation more than deserve the praise they’ve been given. These are some of the most realistic animated horses I’ve seen in a major motion picture. They look, sound and move in an incredibly realistic manner. Even the humans have good designs and move fluidly. The backgrounds are also extremely well detailed and nice to look at.

The scenes in which the narration takes a break work pretty well. The characters, while being extremely textbook and dull are likable and believable enough.

I hate that, outside of Spirit, we don’t get a backstory on any of them. Little Creek’s…nice. Rain’s…..nice. If I had to write a character synopsis on either, I’d be lost. I don’t even have much to say about Spirit, in that regard. He’s rebellious, he’s responsible, he’s a bit of a troublemaker. He’s nice. Even the horrible, terrible colonel is alright as an antagonist, even if it is a bit silly how personal his vendetta with Spirit gets. I couldn’t count how many times those two eyed each other.

There is also that Pocahontas-esque racist-ish veil over this movie. The white men are all horrible and all the Native Americans have a damn near magical connection with the land and animals. They don’t learn English through magic wind or anything, but that kind of vibe is there. I’m not ignoring the atrocities that occurred in the Old West, particularly the American Indian Wars – by all means, tell it how it is – but….that’s just it, tell it how it is. You can have a clear line between who the enemies are and who the good guys are without going overboard.

Even his horse is angry.

Not to mention the fact that shoving both sides into those very specific corners basically waters down every human character into boring archetypes. The bad guys are bad guys because they’re mean and don’t respect the land or animals. They don’t have character – they’re less entertaining Captain Planet villains. The good guys are good guys because they’re nice and love the land and animals. They don’t have character – they’re less cheesy Planeteers.

Also, Spirit seems to bring down the whole Transcontinental Railroad by freeing some horses. Oh and, yeah, he sets the forest on fire and probably kills many people, but this is a triumphant moment because he saved his homeland from being impeded upon by a train…..for a few months, I guess, because they’re just gonna, ya know….rebuild.

Then, after a brief chase, Spirit heroically defeats the colonel by……jumping over a very wide chasm. This earns his respect, I guess, they nod at each other and then the army leaves, never to bother the kind Native American people ever again. Talk about a neck-snapping 180. He went from mustache-twirling villain to very reasonable gentleman in about a minute.

Yeah, enduring several days of torture without Spirit breaking, managing to escape as well as help another (human) prisoner escape, and pulling off every ridiculous thing in the finale – that wasn’t enough to get the colonel to respect Spirit and back off. Nah. But that was one sick jump, horse. I tip my hat to you.

Spirit: “I’ll never forget that boy, and how we won back our freedom together.”

Seriously, Dreamworks? After you decide to keep in the part of the story of Exodus about mass baby slaughter, you decide to imply that the American Indian Wars were settled and the white man left the lands and the Native Americans alone because a horse crashed a train, caused a fire, and made a big jump? Was this movie meant to be realistic or not? It seems like they were trying their best for realism until the ending.

Happy endings all around. Spirit gets the girl, he and Rain go free, reunite with his herd and that’s about it.

I went from positive back to negative again, didn’t I? I’m sorry.

This movie just didn’t hit with me much. Truth be told, it’s one of the more boring movies I’ve watched in a long time. It’s like they said ‘let’s make a movie about a horse’ and filled in the blanks from there. I don’t even feel like saying this movie was wasted potential, but I can’t see what could’ve been there.

The movie’s not funny, the action’s alright, but it’s also not all that great, the characters are all flat and not memorable. They try their damnedest to make some heartwarming moments, but I was left feeling rather cold. I only felt a little heartwarmed when Spirit hugged Little Creek and that’s only because it’s a horse giving a hug. That, by default, is insanely adorable.

The conflict is serious, but never goes far enough. They starve Spirit and deprive him of water for three days, which would be life-threatening for humans, though I’m not sure if the same could be said of horses. And what are the effects of that that we see? He licks his lips when he sees the colonel drink water. That’s it. They try to break him by riding him, but he kicks their asses. When he finally is kinda broken, it’s not impacting enough and it only lasts all of two minutes before he’s back to throwing people around and escaping.

Yes, he’s ‘the spirit that could not be broken,’ I get it, but when you give someone that moniker and make it his defining trait, you have to get him as close to broken as humanly possible so we can cheer when he rises back up. Make us truly believe that his spirit can’t be broken no matter what. Even when he believed Rain was dead, it wasn’t as impacting as it should have been because we, as an audience, knew she’d live and that they’d reunite.

I can see how some people would enjoy this movie purely for being an easy-to-watch, pretty movie about horses, and I can definitely see the appeal to children, but it missed the mark for me. Would it have actually been much better if it had no dialogue, or at least had no dialogue/narration on the horses? Maybe. I don’t really know for certain. Maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about. Wouldn’t be the first time.

It’s a shame, really, because I wanted to like this movie. I remember seeing fanvids of it back in the day and it seemed cool. Plus, I love horses, so this should have been my bread and butter, but it just wasn’t.

I feel like I’m going to get some flak for this one because I know that, despite the fact that this movie isn’t really discussed much in animation circles, it’s still near and dear to the hearts of many people. I looked up a handful of reviews of the movie right before posting this, and yeah, all of them were mostly positive. Worst rating I saw was 3.5/5 and even that review barely had anything actually bad to say about it.

If you were able to connect with this movie in a manner in which I wasn’t and saw something there that I couldn’t, more power to you. I’m not criticizing you for liking it, I’m just stating my own opinion.

Recommended Audience: A horse gets shot, but there’s absolutely no blood. There are guns, but they rarely fire. There’s horse ‘torture’ but half of it’s played for laughs and the other half barely qualifies. You don’t even hear anything when they’re destroying their village. No nudity, sex or anything. 6+

Final Notes: In 2017, Spirit earned a spin-off Netflix series…15 years after movie debuted. It’s called Spirit: Riding Free, and from what I’ve read and heard about it, outside of the main character’s parents being Spirit and Rain, the series has nothing to do with this movie and rarely, if ever, shows Spirit. It seems to be successful with four seasons already under its belt, even though it’s barely been a year since it premiered. So if you liked this movie or even if you didn’t, maybe go give that a watch. I might watch it sometime in the future, as I also intend on watching the Disney movie spin-off TV series.

Update: Hey, so I wrote this review five years ago (yeah my uploading practices bite) but a little update on the show. It’s been eight years now and it’s STILL going. (What the heck was I on when I wrote that? It’s been five years since I wrote the review, but the three years since the series came out (when I added the notes), and it has eight seasons. Back to your regularly scheduled jibber jabber.) Which shocked the hell out of me because Netflix drools over that cancellation button.

Not only is the main series still running, but there are apparently now two spin-off series of the main series, a 45 minute long Christmas special AND Dreamworks is releasing a movie version of the TV spin-off in 2021. (Supposedly, there’s even a mobile game of it?)

I couldn’t resist and decided to finally take a peek at the TV series. Apparently, it’s not what I thought it was. I thought this would be a show about a foal or a young horse that kinda took a beat from Disquels and had the original main characters, in this case Spirit and Rain, kinda being side characters as they parent their kid…..but…nope. Spirit and Rain don’t seem to appear (granted, I only looked at the first episode) because they’re acting like this new horse both is Spirit, but isn’t.

It’s a horse that looks and acts exactly like Spirit originally did. The main character human girl, Lucky, even names him Spirit without knowing who his parents are, and Spirit is just a wild horse who isn’t with Spirit or Rain. It’s not even implied that this horse even is the child of Spirit and Rain – I got that from a blurb in the Wiki for the movie. The Wiki page for the series itself doesn’t even mention this.

The show focuses a LOT more on the human characters (of which we have an entirely new cast – no Little Creek or child of Little Creek or anything) than the horses, and the horses are not given voices or narration, which I think works in the show’s favor. This was the second theory I had in speculation of what the show would be with the first being a My Little Pony-esque show where the focus is entirely on the horses and the horses just talk naturally.

So, yeah….this show seems to be just a series about a girl and her horse with the only string tying the two together being that they reused the character model and name of the main character from the movie.

I’m not critiquing the show quite yet, that’ll probably come eventually, but that’s what it appears like to me. Feel free to correct me. Being fair, the quality of the show looks fine, but we’ll have to see how good it is sometime in the future.

Screenshots courtesy of AnimationScreencaps.com


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun/Flint the Time Detective Sub/Dub Comparison Episode 5: Chilly Chilly Mosbee

Plot: Genshi, Tokio and Sora head to Russia during the French invasion. Napoleon teams up with TP Lady to obtain Mosbee, the space-time monster that can control ice.

———————-

Title Change: Chilly Chilly Mosbee is changed to simply Mosbee.

There’s a complete unnecessary shot of the city placed before the actual start of the episode all so we can hear Ms. Grey get orders from her boss to contact Flint and the others.

Again, more unnecessary scene insertion. They insert a shot of Ms. Grey telling the kids that she needs to speak to Dr. Goodman as well as reaction shot from Tony and Sarah. Dr. Goodman is sleeping in the corner, but instantly wakes up when he hears he can speak with Ms. Grey. Finally, there’s a shot of Dr. Goodman saying a line to Ms. Grey before we cut to what was present originally.

In the original, he’s already there and is the one who picks up the call in the first place. Please stop wasting my time, Saban.

They repeat Flint nodding because I dunno.

Mosbee’s name and data plate are missing.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Professor Yamato asks if Mosbee is as cool as Ms. Jinguji and proclaims that he wants to warm her up. In the dub, Dr. Goodman says this reminds him of a nice restaurant calls ‘Meals on Ice’ and invites Ms. Grey to eat dinner there with him. That actually sounds terrible. Either it’s a bunch of frozen meals heated up or they literally serve cooked food on ice.

God the animation in this episode is terrible. There’s missing frames everywhere, and the models are really off.

They use the eyecatch animation in the original Japanese version to illustrate Mosbee for the dub right after Pterry explains the history of the time period and place they’re currently in. At least they didn’t get rid of it entirely, and it’s not that intrusive being inserted in there.

Even though Sora’s line about there being good food in Russia is basically the same, Sarah specifically proclaims that she heard that Russia has the best ice cream in the world. I’ve never been to Russia, but I’m assuming that’s not true (Not as a sleight to Russia, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve never heard a word of their ice cream is all.) I’m assuming she said this because Mosbee uses ice and Russia is cold?

This guy has a habit of speaking in song, but he doesn’t in the dub.

Wow, did they choose one of the most bored-sounding VAs to play Kyoichiro (The blue vampire dude.) in the dub.

They switch the position of the panning shot of the soldiers drawing their guns from right before the French soldier speaks with Napoleon to right after he speaks, but before Napoleon replies. Ya know, if 4Kids is the king of unnecessary paint edits, Saban is the king of unnecessary scene swaps.

Huh? In the original, Napoleon says that their only option is to accept an honorable defeat. In the dub, he tells them to fight to the very last soldier. I dunno if that can technically mean the same thing, but the original sounds like he’s telling them before they even fight that they’re screwed, and the dub insinuates that they’ll never give up.

I legitimately laughed out loud when TP Lady started calling Napoleon ‘Napo-chan’

It’s not as funny when Petra calls him ‘Nappy.’

Name Change: Mosbee’s bad transformation is called Warubee. In the dub, he’s Mosbeecon.

The name plate explaining this is painted away.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Attack Name Change: Warubee’s original attack has no name. In the dub, it’s Petra Freeze.

They insert an external shot of the ice castle after TP Lady laughs after the attack.

The shot of Napoleon getting up and talking is switched to immediately after TP Lady is done talking to after the fantasy. Also, they repeat a shot of TP Lady talking to extend her lines.

TP Lady doesn’t explain her plans straight to Napoleon’s face like an idiot like Petra does. Also, Napoleon doesn’t propose to her in the original.

They remove TP Lady’s mischievous kitty faces.

They remove TP Lady falling backwards onto the bed, making Napoleon blush, because he can see up her skirt. He even points out that he can see her panties, and she slaps him for it. The rest of that takes place off-screen during the pan out, though.

Oddly, though, they keep in the shot of him snuggling up with her lap while’s blushing.

Okay, you can’t convince me that Petra isn’t saying “Married to you? Eff off, Nappy!” I listened to that line several times. I can’t think of any other word she’s saying there.

English VAs, do me a solid and maybe emote when the situation calls for it. Flint just fell like four stories, and the best you can do is ‘Oh no.’

TP Lady says she doesn’t know any Mosbee, only Warubee. In the dub, she doesn’t make the same change with Mosbeecon.

Although, being fair, he’s not in Warubee form there, so she’s kinda wrong and the dub is kinda right, especially when Petra tells Mosbee to transform into Mosbeecon. Point for Saban.

For some reason, they replay the shot of Warubee freezing the soldiers, acting as if a new group had come in, only they mirrored the shot so it’d look different. I really don’t get you, Saban.

How are they running so well on the ice?

Napoleon tries to stop the kids from escaping, but Genshi, unable to stop quickly on the ice, slams into his crotch, making him double over in pain. The kids apologize but continue running. Napoleon gets a shot of ice from Warubee, who then kicks him out of the castle and onto the grass outside. All of this is removed, I assume because of the nut shot….

They insert the same shot of TP Lady speaking after the shot of the kids but before she says ‘Dyna! Mite!’

Okay, this is a joke that fails in both versions. In the original, she commands Dyna and Mite individually. Dyna gives her a bundle of dynamite, which makes her laugh a bit because I guess they thought she meant she was asking for dynamite? In the dub, she specifically says ‘Dynamite!’ and then laughs because it was handed to her with the fuse lit, and then asks ‘then who throws it?’ The setup and delivery just doesn’t work in either versions.

TP scolds them for striking a lady, to which they agree. Petra scolds them for doing the stupidest thing she’s ever seen. They respond ‘Yeah, ya think?’

They insert the same shot of TP Lady’s ship firing the ice spikes after Warubee attacks Genshi again. I guess because we’d be baffled as to where they were coming from, even though we literally saw them start this same assault mere seconds ago.

Uh, Oto-tan….You’re a hammer…………..hit the incredibly fragile ice spike and free your son, please. Save his life?…No. Okay.

Tokio tells Sora to run while he distracts Warubee. In the dub, he says they have to free Flint. Lost a nice, albeit small, moment for the two.

Oh NOW Oto-tan remembers that he’s a hammer. Pft.

They insert a repeat shot of Oto-tan talking after the split shot of TP Lady and the kids reacting to Genshi picking up Warubee.

For some reason, the original has a train-whistle-like sound play as Warubee lays on the floor. This isn’t present in the dub, and I don’t mind because it doesn’t make any sense.

I feel like this ‘Dyna! Mite!…Oops it’s dynamite!’ gag should’ve been done in the first episode. It just seems weird that they’re just now making a joke out of that name combo.

And, again, the gag doesn’t work in either version. It’s a bit better this time in the dub, admittedly, but the original’s is just as stupid.

TP Lady mutters ‘dynamite’ when they leave, and Mite says ‘Not again!’ In the dub, she says ‘It’s just not fair.’ Mite has no line.

Tokio chastises Warubee for continuing to fight even though TP Lady is gone. Tony basically nags Flint to run away before he even has a chance to get back up.

The dub adds impact stars after the second time Genshi gets hit. Dunno why they’re starting that now.

Genshi originally says ‘I can’t fight a friend.’ In the dub, he says ‘Ah, I’m hungry again. Time for some more ice cream.’ Also, they shift the shot of Tokio changing expression to after Genshi says this line and they repeat the shot of Warubee walking towards Genshi.

This next change is weird. In the original, Genshi’s tummy rumbles and he sits up wanting shaved ice like before. (I knew it was shaved ice. There’s no way Mosbee could make ice cream by itself…One point off, Saban!) This makes Mosbee remember the brief good moment the two had together, which I guess is enough to break him out of Petra’s spell but not enough to make him trust Genshi that he wouldn’t betray him earlier?

In the dub, it’s like they’re implying that Flint…telepathically got ice cream after stating he wanted some? His belly still rumbles after he wishes for ice cream, then he thanks Mosbee for it, stating how good it was. I think they were going for the same thing as the dub, bringing up the ice cream from before, but the arrangement of shots really makes it seem like Mosbee somehow fed Flint ice cream without him eating any.

They remove Genshi getting up, supposedly because it’s an underwear shot. I’m not gonna take a screenshot of that, just take my word for it.

The dub adds a wavy effect to the transition before and after the flashback.

They cut out Kyoichiro’s odd reaction to brushing the rose on his face….Like…did he get pricked by a thorn? Did it smell bad? What?

Again with this weird editing. They insert a shot of the group, apparently having noticed the blue guy up in the tree. They ask who he is, but he, in a reversed version of the shot of him we just saw, declines and tells Sarah farewell. I don’t get what they’re doing with insertions like this. I’ve seen dubs cut plenty of stuff out for the sake of meeting American time constraints for airing, but Saban is purposely adding in and repeating a bunch of stuff to make it run longer for absolutely no reason. Can someone please enlighten me?

They mirrored the shot of Putera erasing everyone’s memories….Why?….Please….tell me why.

They remove Napoleon grabbing his crotch. I guess it’s fear that he’ll be hit in the nuts again for some reason?

More scene shifts yay. Instead of cutting to the sepia-toned still shot of the soldiers immediately after we see the kids return home, they shift the shot of the Time Palace place and Toki-G to come before then. Also, they put the sepia-toned shot in a little screen Toki-G is watching and, as the icing on the pointless cake, they zoom IN on the shot when the original zoomed OUT.

I’m really starting to hate you, Saban.

———————————

Outside of the dub being infuriating with all of the completely unnecessary scene shifts and insertions, this episode is actually really good.

It’s definitely the most tense episode so far. Mosbee’s ability to freeze everything as well as being powerful and imposing as a big mammoth make him a really awesome enemy. The battle scenes against him were exciting. Plus his regular form is adorable. I’d totally buy a Mosbee plushie.

How he’s reverted back to normal is a little cheap, and Napoleon was placed sorta oddly here, but it’s alright.

Next time, we meet Cocolon and….oh great, Christopher Columbus…..


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh (Manga) vs. Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Chapter 1/Episode 1

Plot: Yugi is a timid kid without many friends. He’s smaller than most of the other students, and frequently gets bullied by Jounouchi, who claims he’s trying to help him be a man, and his friend Honda. Yugi’s precious treasure is an ancient puzzle from Egypt called the Millennium Puzzle that he believes will grant his wish upon completion. His wish? To have true friends. However, he’s been working on it for over eight years and hasn’t solved it.

The school public morals officer, Ushio, takes it upon himself to punish Jounouchi and Honda for bullying Yugi by beating them senseless. When Yugi arrives to defend them, Ushio agrees to let up if he pays him 200k yen as a bodyguard fee.

Yugi doesn’t have anywhere near that kind of money, so he struggles with figuring out what to do. In an effort to clear his head, he decides to work on his Millennium Puzzle. He manages to almost finish it, but is shocked to find a piece is missing. Jounouchi had taken it earlier that day and thrown it into the school pool.

Yugi’s grandfather, Sugoroku, arrives with a surprise – the missing piece! Jounouchi had secretly retrieved it from the water and returned it to pay Yugi back for defending them.

Upon completing the Puzzle, Yugi is endowed with dark powers and a stark new personality – one who punishes evil people by challenging them to shadow games – competitions where your life, soul and sanity lay on the line.

‘Yami’ Yugi invites Ushio to school claiming he’ll pay him his money. Even moreso, in fact. 400K worth. However, there’s a catch. Ushio has to play a shadow game with him to get it.

Ushio accepts. The game is simple, yet dangerous. They each take turns stabbing the stack of money as it is perched on their hand. Whoever has the most money on the knife at the end wins. Whoever has the least or stabs himself, loses.

Ushio’s greed manifests itself in a force controlling his hand. Worried that this force will drive the knife too far, Ushio opts to stab Yugi instead and take the cash. Having broken the rules, Yugi punishes him with a never ending hallucination of money raining from the sky.

Yugi reverts back to normal with no memory of what had just occurred that night. He meets with Jounouchi, who kindly offers his friendship, and Yugi realizes that his wish had come true.

Breakdown: I’ve been wanting to do an episode-by-episode review of Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero for a long time now – but why not go for the gold and also include an AniManga Clash for you guys? For those unaware, Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero is the (Unofficial) name given to a 1998 anime based on the original Yu-Gi-Oh manga.

Both the manga and Season Zero are much darker and, outside of the characters, virtually nothing like the 2000 ‘reboot’s’ plot.

In the manga (before it was essentially soft rebooted) and Season Zero, the stories are more episodic and there’s a much wider variety of games being played.

In the 2000 ‘reboot’ (Which is really just a new series that focused more on the later parts of the manga (Chapter 60 and onward) that shifted tone and focus), the plot is almost exclusively driven by Duel Monsters with only a few variations, such as Dungeon Dice Monsters and Capsule Monsters (which is also in the classic manga), popping up. That’s why Yugi is the actual King of GameS. Kinda weird to get a title like that when you really only play one game.

Since this series is so episodic, I decided to go chapter by chapter instead of volume by volume like I normally do, though there will be some exceptions down the line.

————————

Let me just point something very obvious out before we start – the art, in both versions, is just terrible. Absolutely awful. Laughable at many points. Anyone who has made fun of the reboot’s art hasn’t seen anything yet.

In a complete 180 move, Honda, who was originally a fellow bully to Yugi and best friend to Jounouchi, gets turned into somewhat of a goody two shoes in the anime. He’s a school beautification club member and was even up for student council president, but lost the election.

I never thought I’d say this while doing this comparison, especially so early, but the reboot actually did this part more accurately. Even though this version gives Honda more personality and differentiates himself more from Jounouchi, the later anime keeps him as a fellow bully and best friend to Jounouchi, later fellow friend to Yugi…..And he basically becomes a load of nothingness once he stops being a bully because, unlike Jounouchi who has a strong personality, continues to better himself and goes off to become an amazing duelist, Honda basically stagnates for all of eternity, only duels all of once, and strives to…..drive a motorcycle, hit on his best friend’s sister and turn into a robot monkey.

This is a welcome change that I would’ve actually liked to have been kept in the reboot, kinda. At least it would’ve given Honda more personality. Honestly, it wouldn’t give him more of a reason to exist, but still, it’s better than nothing. My issue with the Season Zero!Honda in this situation is that he also gets beat up later in the episode even though he wasn’t one of the bullies attacking Yugi in this version, so you kinda feel bad for him.

Honda’s role is also increased quite a bit as he was basically a background character for most of the original seven volumes of manga this series bases itself from, only getting the spotlight a few times before being bumped up a bit to a moderate side character. This change was probably for the sake of increasing the main cast size and story padding since the material is typically a bit thin to run for a full 22 minutes.

Likewise, a character who barely exists in the manga, Miho, also has her role greatly expanded to being a side character. I assume this decision was for the sake of adding a little more to Honda’s character, as he has a massive crush on her, and to maybe add more girls/fanservice to the series. Miho, in the manga, appears for only one chapter centered around Honda trying to confess his love for her through a jigsaw puzzle. At the end, she rejects him and is never seen again.

Believe it or not, the bully, Ushio was indeed a public morals committee member who strictly enforced all school rules. In fact, if the subs on the anime are any indication, he WROTE all of the school rules, which I highly doubt.

Anzu is nicer in the manga than she is in the anime in this instance. She originally says that she couldn’t stand to watch a nice guy like Yugi get harassed by Jounouchi. She further expresses her frustration with them by explaining that Jounouchi and the other boys got the girls to play basketball with them just so they could see their panties when they jumped. In the anime, she says she has to be tough or else they’d pick on her too and berates Yugi for claiming Jounouchi’s not actually a bad guy since that kind of attitude is what gets him mocked in the first place. Kinda funny how a character who will later be known for her friendship speeches is acting like a cool jerk who believes thinking the better of people is good for nothing but getting your ass beat.

Also, Yugi’s a bit of a perv in the manga…….and noses come and go.

Minor, but the manga has a misunderstanding where Yugi tells Anzu that the puzzle is a memento of his grandfather, leading her to believe his grandfather passed away. When he brings her to the game shop later, she’s shocked to find he’s alive. Yugi then corrects himself and says he meant to say it’s going to be a memento of his. That’s a bit morbid, there, Yugi.

Sugoroku is a pervert in both the anime and the manga, by the way.

Ushio originally asks for 200k yen in the manga whereas, in the anime, he asks for 20k. The anime amounts to about 200 USD, while the manga amounts to about 2000, which is why it’s a bit more understandable for Yugi to be outraged. It’s still a lot in either version, but 2000 bucks is much more ridiculous to ask for than 200.

In the manga, Ushio says he’ll pass on the responsibility of punishment to Jounouchi and Honda if he pays the 200k. Yugi pretends to be interested in beating them up for the sake of getting Ushio off their back. As a bit of a down payment, Ushio beats up Yugi for a bit. In the anime, we cut straight from Yugi reacting to the 20k fee to him thinking about how to get the money while he continues work on the puzzle.

The scene in Yugi’s room continues beyond the point of finding that the last puzzle piece is missing. In the manga, Yugi starts crying and panicking because the piece is gone. Sugoroku arrives and hands it to him stating that a soaking wet boy delivered it to the house and asked to give it to him. It was Jounouchi, but he asked Sugoroku to not tell Yugi it was him. He had gone into the school pool to fish it out as a bit of repayment for Yugi protecting them from Ushio. Yugi then finished the puzzle and instantly becomes Yami.

In the anime, Sugoroku never comes into Yugi’s room or gives him the piece. Instead, he runs to school at sundown in hopes of finding where he dropped it.

In the manga, the now Yami’d Yugi invites Ushio to school at midnight with the promises of giving him the money he ‘owes’ him. Yami reveals that he ‘accidentally’ brought 400k yen instead of 200k and claims if he wants the additional 200k that he’ll have to play a shadow game. All they’ll need is Ushio’s knife.

In the anime, Ushio is still at school, for some reason, and catches Yugi returning. He asks for the money, but Yugi says he doesn’t have it nor does he think he’ll be able to get it. Ushio then takes Yugi out behind the school for some ‘education’ in the form of a beating. Jounouchi, who had just retrieved Yugi’s puzzle piece from the canal, and Honda see this happen, return his puzzle piece to him and attack Ushio in defense of Yugi. While he lies on the ground, Yugi mutters to Jounouchi that his wish was for true friends.

As they get beat by Ushio, Yugi elaborates more on his wish in inner monologue. When he sees Jounouchi and Honda lying unconscious, he crawls over to the puzzle and adds the final piece. Upon completion, Yami possesses Yugi.

Shadow Game

In the manga, today’s shadow game is fairly simple. They each take turns placing the stack of money on their hands. Then they take the knife and stab the money. However much money they stab through, they keep. Whoever has the most money at the end of the game wins. If you stab yourself at any time during the game, you lose. If you break the rules, you end up with a penalty game.

Yami goes first. He gets less than ten bills.

Upon Ushio’s turn, Yami gives him a tip – don’t use too much strength or you’ll stab yourself. The aim of the game is to control your greed. He uses more strength than Yami, earning him more bills.

As the game goes on, Ushio pulls out ahead, but he finds himself struggling with controlling his arm as the amount of bills decreases.

As Ushio’s about to take his turn, Yami reveals that shadow games unveil a person’s true character and sort of turns that into something physical IE Ushio’s inability to control his hand. In order to win the game and save his hand, he has to learn to control his greed.

Ushio thinks there’s an easier solution to this problem that allows him to use all of his strength, save his hand and get all the money – simply stab Yami/Yugi to death.

Yami is able to dodge out of the way. Since Ushio broke the rules, Yami punishes him with a penalty game: illusion of greed. He is now cursed for all eternity to having uncontrollable hallucinations about money falling all around him.

The next day at school, he’s rolling around in leaves and garbage, thinking they’re piles of cash.

In the anime, the game is entirely changed. As Ushio walks away, he’s suddenly teleported to the side of the school’s water tower, hanging by a rope. Yami appears with the money and challenges Ushio to a game, which Ushio accepts out of pride over never having lost a game in his life.

Yami also descends down the tower, revealing he and Ushio are connected via the rope. The lower he goes, the higher Ushio goes and vice versa. He drags a trail of playing cards behind him. Each of them will take turns flipping over the cards. The higher the value, the more you ascend. Whoever reaches the top, gets the money. He neglects to explain what will happen to the loser until the game is up.

Yami indeed wins the match, but Ushio’s not done with him. He climbs up the tower anyway, accusing Yami of fixing the game in his favor. Yami briefly warns him to not break the rules or else something bad will happen. He knocks Yami off the tower and cuts the rope, seemingly murdering him. He reaches for the money only to find that it’s a deck of playing cards.

As punishment for breaking the rules, Ushio is ‘swallowed by his greed’ which equates to him being eaten by a bunch of giant worms. In real life, however, he’s perpetually locked in a nightmare and ends up huddled in a fetal position crying out that he’s scared.

————————-

I’m a little torn about this comparison, to be honest. The anime changed several things, but I can’t deny that some of them might have been for the better. Cutting out Yugi’s first beating was fine in my opinion. It didn’t make much sense to beat him then anyway. Plus Yugi trying to get out of it by saying he’ll beat Jounouchi and Honda was a little strange. He was asking for the money anyway and seemed like he’d let him off without him making that declaration.

Jounouchi did witness Yugi getting beaten up for them, but I think simply the act of standing between him, Honda and Ushio was enough to prove to Jounouchi that Yugi had guts and actually cared about them, despite what they did to him.

There was much more substantial buildup to Yugi getting his puzzle piece back in the anime. In the manga, Sugoroku just hands it over immediately after Yugi realizes that it’s missing. He never even learns that Jounouchi is the one who returned it to him (Granted, he’s also the one who took it….)

Yugi getting the piece back right before Honda and Jounouchi try to fight Ushio for Yugi’s sake is so much better. The inclusion of Jounouchi and Honda fighting for Yugi is a much better addition overall, to be honest. In the manga, Honda doesn’t do anything to earn Yugi’s friendship, and Jounouchi just gets wet. Even though Honda doing this when he was rewritten to not be a bully seems kinda unfair, it was still a cool thing to do.

Giving Honda more of his own personality was also welcome, even if it’s not the best personality. I don’t want him to be a watered down Jounouchi clone, but I also don’t want him to be such a massive bore like the reboot version is.

Miho is a bit of a question mark because she has no purpose here outside of making Jounouchi and Honda go away, which they were going to do anyway.

Anzu also kinda being changed to a slight jerk, in this episode anyway, also didn’t do it any favors.

The biggest aspect that the manga has in its favor is the shadow game, which is vastly better than the anime’s version. I don’t know why they changed it so drastically, to be honest. Was the knife thing too frightening?

The manga’s game actually involved Ushio’s greed and required a sense of self-control. The anime’s game relied entirely on luck. The only aspect that involved Ushio’s greed was in him cheating in the end. His attempt to kill Yugi there was pointless. He could’ve grabbed the money and ran, but instead he straight up murdered Yugi/Yami. However, he states he could survive a plunge into the canal and only end up getting wet, which is weird because the canal isn’t very deep and that is a very high tower.

His attempt to kill Yugi/Yami in the manga actually did have a point. It was either do that or stab his hand or risk losing the money.

The penalty game was also better or at least more creative in the manga than the anime. Him being trapped in a perpetual hallucination of money both fits his situation better and is a hell of his own design. In the anime, he’s just scared of giant worms with teeth.

All in all, it was really close, but I’ll have to give this episode to the anime. The additions and changes they made were almost entirely for the better outside of the shadow game, and while the shadow game was a lot better in the manga than the anime, it wasn’t enough for it to pull ahead.

Winner: Anime

Since the next chapter isn’t in the anime, I’ll be reviewing that as a singular chapter.

Chapter 2…..

Episode 2/Chapter 4

Final notes: I feel I should mention that the 2000 Yu-Gi-Oh series did indeed keep this backstory for Yugi, Honda and Jounouchi, but obviously it’s toned down immensely in that series. It was cut down to basically a minute-long barely-animated flashback. Also, there’s no mention of Ushio getting comeuppance in any way outside of the dub which claims he got expelled because of his actions.


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com