SSBS – Zoids Chaotic Century Episode 3: Memory

SSBS - Zoids Chaotic Century Episode 3

Plot: Fiona and Van get lost in a sandstorm but are saved by a mysterious drifter with a Command Wolf named Irvine. After sharing a meal and telling Irvine about their situation, they sleep through the night and find Irvine has left.

They reunite with the Shield Liger and Zeke and go on with their exploration. They find some ancient ruins of a fortress from a long-since over war being guarded by a wounded pilotless Gordos Zoid. Irvine arrives, blowing the place to smithereens in an attempt to acquire Zeke.

Gordos is revealed to be the Zoid of a soldier who used to reside within the fortress yet was left behind when they decided to vacate due to its damaged leg. It vehemently defends the fortress yet again, getting damaged even further by Irvine and his Command Wolf.

Van stops to help do some rough repairs on Gordos before Irvine strikes again. Fiona and Zeke get separated from Van, and he becomes trapped under some rubble, but Gordos arrives to help him.

Back in his Shield Liger, Van faces off against Irvine and nearly loses, but Gordos comes to his rescue, bearing the brunt of another barrage. Irvine, now outnumbered, decides to leave. Likewise, Gordos turns to go back to its post. Despite Van’s pleas for Gordos to not return to the fortress and driving home the fact that the soldiers he had befriended back in the days of the war were either now dead or at least longer since gone and never returning, Gordos decides to stay behind and wait for them for as long as it’s functioning.

Breakdown: Irvine was one of my favorite characters, though considering Zoids is one of those shows I followed closely in my younger days but remember barely anything about it now, I guess I’m not surprised to find that Irvine’s first episode is one where he’s an asshole. He had his kind moments, but the majority was assholery.

We’re getting a tiny bit more backstory on the Zoids world today and even a tiny tidbit of insight into Fiona when she finds a pillar with gibberish lettering on it that mesmerizes her. She finds that she can read it, but is only able to decipher ‘Zoid Eve’ before passing out.

The story of Gordos was quite sad, and somehow I’m more bummed out that Gordos actually survived this episode than I feel I would be if he ‘died.’ The thing is, in the end, Van says, with triumphant music playing and sporting a smile, that Gordos will wait for his pilot/these soldiers for another hundred years if he has to, which is a massively weird tone to be putting on this situation.

Why is it a happy or a triumphant thing for this poor damaged Zoid, who was left behind by these soldiers for, quite frankly, dumb reasons (his leg was damaged, yeah, but he was more than functional enough to leave the area if he has been able to protect this area for over 50 years and survive two battles with a Command Wolf.) to decide to live in denial for the rest of its possibly immortal existence waiting for people who could neither be bothered to find a way to bring him with them, come back for him later or died in the war/of old age or something and will never come back? That is insanely sad.

Sure, he’s a Zoid, and I’m sure there’s a forum thread or two dedicated to the idea of Zoids’ souls and if they pass on to some garage in the sky, but I think it would’ve been better and, yes, less sad, if they had him take the blast from Irvine and then ‘die.’ It would finally give Gordos peace and, depending on whatever religion exists in Zoidland, possibly be reunited with his fellow soldiers.

Instead, this poor innocent Zoid is left to his own purgatory until he finally does get taken out by another threat. I would say until he runs out of power, but he’s been in those ruins for over 50 years and still has ample amounts of power to spare.

As a final note, the battles in this episode were more poorly animated than they have been. They mostly amounted to running at each other and having a brief push fight. I laughed out loud during one ‘action’ shot during Gordos’ battle with Irvine the first time around.

They didn’t even animate OR DRAW damage to the ruins as Irvine was blowing shit up every which way. I was starting to think these blasts were really just harmless and it didn’t click for the characters, but one blast blows a wall up and a bunch of debris lands on Van (and he’s somehow entirely unharmed after….) Zoids has never been pretty or nicely animated, let’s just be honest there, but I think we can chalk this one up to being a budget episode.

Final-final note – Fiona, you exited a tunnel, assumed you were safe without noticing the GIANT ROBOT WOLF about ten feet to your right. (Zeke didn’t even notice it when he had the proper POV!) and then when Irvine’s about to attack, acting like you’re trapped, you don’t think to just….run back into the tunnel and go back to where you started? Come on.

Rating: 7/10


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Episode One-Derland: Kekkaishi

Plot: Yoshimori Sumimura and Tokine Yukimura are the youngest of their rival clans. Their families are heirs to the Hazama style Kekkai technique, giving them the powers to contain, battle and destroy ayakashi – monsters with immense power who threaten the land.

The Kekkai users or Kekkaishi are tasked with protecting the Karasumori school – a building that was built on top of the burial ground of Tokimori Hazama himself. He was born with a strange power that drew ayakashi to him and increased their power exponentially in mere moments. Even after his death, the power still resonates within the school grounds.

A young Yoshimori used to want nothing more than to shrug off his responsibilities as a Kekkaishi. He hated the constant training, always getting his battles interrupted by Tokine, the fact that his older brother seemed more suited for the job despite not being a legitimate heir, like him, and the fact that their roles as Kekkaishi put a real strain on his and Tokine’s friendship.

Tokine, on the other hand, loves her role as a Kekkaishi and excels at it. She’s stern with Yoshimori, but only because she realizes what a dangerous and important job it is.

One day, Tokine badly wounds herself trying to protect Yoshimori from an ayakashi that he failed to properly dispose of due to being tricked by it. Ever since that day, he’s felt a heavy burden of guilt and has vowed to become stronger so he won’t get anyone hurt ever again.

Breakdown: Hey, it’s Kekkaishi! That show everyone’s heard of, but no one ever seems to talk about ever.

Even when this show was airing on Toonami/Adult Swim, I really heard no one talking about it. The best I managed was someone mentioning the OP on a ‘Best Anime Opening Theme Songs’ list, and I’d agree with that.

I caught a bit of the show here and there when it was airing on TV, but it never caught on with me for some reason.

Now that I’ve finally sat down and given it a full chance, I’m happy to report that I really liked it.

Is it breaking new ground in the shounen genre? No. At the end of the day, it’s still a show where it’s the MC’s ‘destiny’ to beat monsters and protect the land and those he cares about. At the very least, he’s not a prodigy MC. In fact, he’s quite inept, at least so far, at being a Kekkaishi. Even when we cut to present day where he’s older and more focused, he’s still overly headstrong and makes a bunch of mistakes.

The thing more people remember about this show, at least I do anyway, is the unique aspect of the glowing boxes, also known as Kekkai. Despite just being, well, glowing boxes, they’re useful for a plethora of purposes, and it’s a welcome change up from the typical ‘blam-blam Imma firin’ mah lazar’ powers most supernatural shounen shows get.

As a first episode, it lays down the groundwork extremely well – maybe a bit too well, because they went way overboard with those text-boxes that explain every little thing, but it’s not a big deal. In one episode, we firmly establish the backstory, the enemies, the lore, the characters and their motivations – and the pacing never felt off-kilter.

Yoshimori is a little annoying, but he’s also very relatable. He doesn’t want to get out of being a Kekkashi at first because he’s sick of the training and being out every night – he’s sick of being bad at it and knowing that being a Kekkashi and even part of the Sumimura family prevents him from being close friends with Tokine.

He’s also emotional and greatly sympathetic towards others, even perceived enemies, which is something I greatly appreciate in my shounen protagonists.

His grandfather is more annoying than anything. The worst part of this whole episode was the five-ish minutes of him just screaming at Yoshimori.

Tokine is also a good character. You can tell she still wants to be close friends with Yoshimori again and feels the strain of their families and responsibilities impeding on them. She’s a great Kekkashi, even if she does seemingly ‘take’ Yoshimori’s targets and kinda treats him poorly when they’re older.

I was very disappointed to read on the Wiki that she’s regarded as the weakest Kekkaishi when she’s so good right now. I am sick to death of female fighters getting nerfed in action anime just because ‘hurr hurr penis=power, go battle an ayakashi in the kitchen lol’ I really hope that I’m wrong about that and the Wiki’s just wording things poorly, but seeing as how I’ve found several sources of this label, I’m inclined to believe it. Can someone who’s actually seen all of the show or read the manga tell me otherwise?

He didn’t get much screentime, but I really liked Yoshimori’s father. He reminded me a lot of Sakura’s father from Cardcaptor Sakura. He’s kind and very supportive.

The art and animation is okay. The character art, particularly with the noses, never meshed that well with me, but it’s not really bad. The animation is nothing special, but alright.

The music is really good. Not sure it’s a soundtrack I’d run out and buy yet, but I really love the OP, the ED is good and the BGM is pretty nice.

The voices, English dub, were good, though I’m questioning whether Laura Bailey is fully-suited for Tokine. Love ya, Laura, I’m just not sure you fully fit her yet. Judgment pending.

Final Verdict:

Continue Yes

I was pleasantly surprised by this episode, even if it is fairly generic. Being generic isn’t necessarily bad as long as the execution and style is interesting enough to hook my attention. I look forward to the rest of this series and hope that it’s a lost gem, not rightfully buried under the sands of time.


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Smile Precure/Glitter Force Episode 7: Where Could it Be? Our Secret Base Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: Unable to talk about Precure stuff in public, the girls use the portals in the Wonder Library to find a secret base all their own,

————————–

Miyuki: “We place the Phone Decor in the Decor Decor…” She just said ‘decor’ three times in one sentence. Perfect example of why the name of the box is terrible.

Pop originally says he’s happy to see they’ve mastered the phone décor. In the dub, he asks if there’s any news to report or anything he can help them with.

Akane said the UFO was a crow, but Kelsey says it was a pigeon.

Title Change: Where Could it Be? Our Secret Base is changed to The Perfect Hideout.

The dub inserts an exterior shot of Emily’s house after we cut from school, probably because that’s where the original’s title screen was.

The first book Miyuki took was Alice in Wonderland. She doesn’t mention the title in the dub.

The second book she takes is Heidi, and the third is Cinderella. For some reason, Netflix removed that shot.

The final book she takes is Anne of Green Gables. The dub, again, omits this.

A closeup shot of Miyuki after the portal opens is removed.

Reika says she hopes she remembered the combination for the portal right. In the dub, Kelsey is saying it’s so wild how they can all open portals in their bookshelves.

Yayoi says it’s great no one got lost. In the dub, she says it’s great no one fell down.

Nao says that it’s especially impressive considering they’ve never used portals from their own houses before. In the dub, April says it’s just like soccer – gotta practice.

Okay, how the heck did Miyuki’s scarf get caught on a tree branch that high up when she was on the ground?

Candy’s kinda cute when she says ‘And they all fall down, kuru~~’ In the dub, this line is ruined because Candy says ‘No roughhousing in the library!’

Nao says if they can go anywhere in the world, they might as well go someplace nicer. In the dub, she says they might as well go back behind the air conditioners if they stay there because it’s dirty and there’s no furniture.

For some reason, Miyuki and Yayoi both yell out ‘Nicer?!’ when Nao says that. In the dub, they yell ‘And it’s dangerous!’

I thought the portals worked by everyone needing to think of the exact location before they enter. Miyuki’s mind wandered in the previous episode, which is how she got lost. However, when Reika says she has an idea for a place and they ask her where, she just says ‘Why don’t you see for yourself?’ and opens a portal. That shouldn’t work…

Reika specifically says they’re on Mt. Fuji. I don’t know why they decided to omit this detail because they have said time and again that the portals can take them anywhere in the world, which means this doesn’t de-Americanize the show, but all Chloe says is it’s a high-altitude weather station.

The Kanji for ‘The road ahead’ is changed to ‘GF’ It’s actually a very good paint edit since it tracks with the flapping so well…..really loses the oomph of Reika’s big road of hardship to something as grand as Mt. Fuji speech, though.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Chloe writes a poem as a mission statement instead of giving said speech in the dub. It has…basically the same message, but it’s made to be…well…humorously dorky….You can tell because when she’s done…Netflix adds a record scratch when they cut back to the girls….You’re so original and clever, Netflix.

Being fair, the original kinda does the same thing thing by slowly stopping the heroic music, but it’s not as blatant or eye-roll-worthy as the record scratch.

Honestly, Reika’s idea wasn’t bad. I’m not sure if anyone works in that station on Mt. Fuji and you never really know when someone might be there, but it’s one of the most remote locations in the world with a, what I assume is, a relatively warm and accommodating facility to use. April mentions there’s no furniture there, either, which I get to a degree….There have to be at least a few chairs, but yeah, I get it.

The writing on the box Reika has is removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

So I’m guessing all of them will open a portal without telling the others where they’re going. Why even establish that rule about everyone needing to picture the location if you’re not going to follow it?

Yayoi snips at Reika for choosing a stupid location, but then she chooses a MOVIE SET CURRENTLY IN USE for her ‘SECRET BASE’ location?!

Akane admits that she and Nao are two peas in a pod because she likes girly cute stuff too. In the dub, she says she never pegged April for a cutesy girly stuff type, but she can see herself relaxing in that room.

They omit the mention of Akane wanting to eat some okonomiyaki while relaxing in the room.

The sign that says ‘Plush toy section’ is changed to ‘Furries and fuzzies’………..Uhmmmm……so….who wants to be the one to tell Netflix what a furry is?

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Also, Nao, you should be intelligent enough to know that a toy store isn’t anywhere near private…..

The sign that says ‘Stuffed Shop’ is changed to ‘Plushie’s Playhouse.’

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Wait, now they’re even ignoring the bookshelf aspect? Because it seems like they went right from running in the street to running into the next base location.

Is Akane a crazy person!? A zoo, especially inside of an exhibit, is a really stupid place to put a secret base. Emphasis on SECRET….and more emphasis on NOT GETTING YOUR BODY RIPPED IN HALF BY A GORILLA!

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Wait, wait, wait….they entered through…a fake bookshelf? Well, how the hell does THAT work?

Yayoi yells at Reika for quietly contemplating their situation. In the dub, Lily yells that this is a terrible place for their secret base.

Akane: “I just thought nobody would disturb us in there, ya know?” In a public gorilla exhibit at a zoo!?

Miyuki brings out the Anne of Green Gables book. In the dub, it’s The Magic Meadow. I’m not sure if Netflix thought there’d be copyright issues or they just BS’d something for no reason.

Additionally, Netflix leaves the girls nameless whereas, in the original story, they’re Anne and Diane.

Lily: “Will we fit? There are four of us.” Will you four preteen girls fit……in a clearing….in the woods………Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Why does the dub even bring up that the spot is by where she used to live, and Emily asking if it’s too far?….They’ve just come back from the top of MT. FUJI….Or I guess just a mountain in the dub. Surely that’s not farther than a spot near her old house.

The games the little kids originally come up with are ‘Grown-ups’ and ‘tailor.’ In the dub, it’s ‘tea party’ and ‘store.’ I kinda like the dub’s version better.

A good joke is removed in the dub. Wolfrun originally says he wants to make it clear that he’s not smiling, he’s grinning menacingly. In the dub, he says the little girls should know not the wander around in the woods because a big bad wolf might come out.

Is Wolfrun seriously just randomly targeting some little girls in the forest?……I realize now that that’s the big bad wolf’s forte and feel kinda silly asking that.

Ya know, Pierrot could’ve been revived ages ago if all of the enemies just went out to different locations, sucked up the energy and then left and did it a few more times. The clock doesn’t go back down when the Precures succeed in defeating the Akanbe, and if merely two girls worth of energy is enough to make it go up one, it’d be easy as pie.

They remove them applying their powder right before their pose again.

Rock, Paper, Scissors!: Draw this time. We both chose scissors.

So, yeah, altogether, they now have two and a half minutes worth of recycled footage they can use in each episode with the girls’ transformations. Including the OP and ED, that’s probably like five minutes worth of recycled footage they can use in every episode.

Miyuki says she won’t let Wolfrun ruin these girls’ special spot in the woods. In the dub, she says that she can’t believe he turned an oak tree into a monster and that it’s terrible for the environment to do so.

Miyuki says she always forgets how high she can jump (Wait, if the other girls can jump just as high, does that mean jumping isn’t really Miyuki’s special ability?) Emily asks if anyone has hedge clippers.

I really like how Wolfrun is drawn/animated in this episode. I dunno why.

Miyuki yells that this spot in the forest is the most special place in the world. In the dub, she calls Ulrich a ‘mangy old flea bag’ and tells him to keep his mitts off of it, which ruins the impact of the scene, if you ask me.

The Akanbe’s attacks don’t have names in the original. In the dub, they’re Buffoon Bulldozer and Buffoon Bash.

This Akanbe was pretty damn boring. All it did was smash stuff with its branches. Also, how completely and insanely random that Wolfrun happened to choose a spot in the woods that just so happened to be the spot Miyuki used to love that they just so happened to be visiting at the same time even though it was at her old town and that two kids just happened to also not only choose that spot to be their secret spot but also be there when they arrive so Wolfrun can have someone to target for some reason.

Today’s Cure Decor is a ring….Hm.

Candy: “That’s the prettiest bling so far!” Urhghh

I really wish April would shut up about furniture. Just bring some chairs if it’s so important to you.

Whatsadnaskdjhdsfkjhsadfhsadhsadjhgah! The Star Decor is a……house making…furniture making….decor? Alright, I’m just going to stop trying to make sense of the decors.

Nao teases Akane by asking who it was that objected to the Magical Library as their secret base in the first place. In the dub, she teases her by asking if it’s alright that the library doesn’t have gorillas.

—————–

For my opinions on the episode as a whole, check out my episode review here.

As for the comparison, it fared pretty well. There were more paint edits than I was expecting, but it was tame as pudding compared to what I’m used to with other shows. Many of my notes are just about the episode itself. I was a little bummed they chose to edit out the mention of Mt. Fuji for no other reason than Americanization, but what can you do?

I’m more bummed that Netflix seems intent on talking about books as minimally as possible. Miyuki loves books. Books are a big part of the plot and her desire to go to that spot was built on a book plot, yet they do everything they can to just not talk about books. Did they adopt 4Kids’ disgusting take on ‘Kids don’t read, they just enjoy purty pitchurs’?

Edit and Important Final Notes: It’s been brought to my attention that I have been mistaken during this entire comparison. Netflix only distributes Glitter Force – it was actually dubbed by Saban. I won’t be retroactively editing my previous posts, but I apologize to Netflix for this error and will correctly attribute all problems with the dub to Saban. Sorry for my misinformed posts. I will be more careful in the future.

Next episode….

Previous Episode


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Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01 Volume 7 (Manga) Review

Plot: Neo nearly kills Omegamon while trying to take down the Aliases, but both Hideto and Omegamon manage to escape to tell Taichi what’s been going on.

Meanwhile, the other Aliases, now imprisoned by Neo, give Rei a chip with Arkadimon’s data on it. If Zero and Taichi can use that data, they’ll might have the advantage they need to win.

After Hideto and Omegamon reach Taichi and relay their information, they set off. On their way, they run into the fierce Callismon, a Digimon Neo made from some of Arkadimon’s power. Callismon has set out to stop Rei and bring her back to the castle, but Taichi and Zero save her, showing off Zero’s new powers after his newest data overwrite.

Taichi and Zero leave an unconscious Rei in the hands of Gabo as they set off towards the castle and stop Neo once and for all.

Breakdown: I’ll be honest, this volume’s a bit boring. Not much really happens in it. Callismon is such an obvious speed bump. He’s there to solidify some of Zero’s new power and that’s about it.

Rei never gives the chip to Taichi because she’s unconscious, and we learn that Zero should never use Dragon Impulse again for fear of a more massive and possibly fatal data overwrite.

We also learn that Neo can create Digimon, but it’s too little too late for that revelation, is it not? The final showdown’s coming up very soon, and even Neo himself outright states that Callismon was essentially an experiment. He only had a small amount of Arkadimon’s power, and he was using him to see how powerful Taichi and Zero really were.

One last minor story element is solidifying that Neo really doesn’t seem to give a crap about Rei or making a world for her to walk in – he just wants both worlds under his thumb for himself. We already knew that, but there is 100% no signs of remorse or caring in his face. It’s just the same cocky smirk he always has no matter who’s talking to him or what they’re saying.

Even Ken faltered in his expressions and speech when he was challenged in such a way. If they try for a redemption with Neo, they’re going to have to work incredibly hard for me to believe it.

Other than that, we have another bonus chapter, this time with Digimon Frontier’s Takuya!….Which means they skipped Tamers…..feh.

I guess understand why they skipped Tamers, because it’s not set in the Digital World, but they do go there in later episodes. You could write something to make it work.

The bonus chapter is the best thing in the volume. Even though I’m not a huge fan of Frontier, it was nice to see the generations come together….though that does raise a metri ton of questions in canon.

Takuya is upset at Kouji for taking the last hit in a battle where he did most of the damage (and loot distribution is complete BS when it comes to last hits.) Kouji cooly brushes him off and explains that he hates attitudes like his. Takuya goes off to pout only to be transported by a Jijimon into a weird parallel Digital World that is being ruled by an evil Metamorphmon, who can copy any Digimon’s data and transform into it, restoring its power to full when it does.

Jijimon summoned two saviors, Taichi and Takuya, to save them. Takuya, at first, thought that Taichi’s and Zero’s fighting arrangement was terrible. Why have a tamer and a Digimon when you can be the Digimon and fight on your own? He thinks Spirit Evolution is much better since you rely on your own strength to fight.

Takuya runs into battle headfirst and doesn’t listen to a thing Taichi and Zero are trying to tell him about teamwork. He gets in the way of their strategy by not even trying to listen and, after getting their asses kicked, he berates Taichi for not being able to handle his Digimon. He then tells him to let him do everything.

Metamorphmon returns, and Taichi and Zero run into battle since Takuya is too wounded. Zero, as a Digimon, has a faster recovery rate. As Takuya watches them battle, he realizes that they have a lot of advantages as a team. Taichi can see things that Zero can’t, and they can communicate strategies that work on Taichi’s keen eye and his tactical instinct and Zero’s power and trust in his partner.

Takuya thinks back to the earlier battle with Kouji and realizes that it was better for Kouji to take the final hit because he wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings and could’ve been attacked without warning. Kouji was trying to have his back, and he saw it as taking the spotlight in a battle when battling isn’t about being the strongest or getting attention.

Takuya overcomes his injuries for the time being and Spirit Evolves to help Taichi and Zero. Utilizing their strategies and trusting them as teammates, they manage to take down Metamorphmon, but it’s not that simple. He tries to copy Vritramon, but Takuya devolves. Since Metamorphmon can’t copy humans, he seems stuck. He tries to copy AeroVeedramon, but he Dragon Impulses his ass before he’s able to complete the copy.

With the threat defeated, Taichi, Zero and Takuya return to their proper worlds having learned that there are many styles of fighting, but fighting in a team without teamwork never wins.

I really like how this story played out, and it’s a great way to address the criticisms Frontier had in not having partner Digimon. This chapter isn’t saying one or the other is best, but that relying on your friends for help and support to protect you and achieve victory is always best.

I think Takuya may be a little OOC, but I’m not sure I know Frontier enough to say that. Also, they just said that Dragon Impulse was way too dangerous to ever use again, yet here Zero is using it without a thought. I get that this is probably non-canon, but still.

Rating: 7.5/10

Next time, we’ll finally see Neo vs. Taichi. How can they hope to take down Arkadimon?

Recommended Audience: Nothing worse than usual. 8+


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Hell Girl: Two Mirrors Episode 15 – For the Sake of this Country Review

HGTMEP15

Plot: Yuriko and her father have been doing nothing but relentlessly campaigning to overthrow the current administration, whom they blame for all of the country’s hardships. They spend all day and night campaigning for the upcoming election for Prime Minister, neglecting school, work and everything around the house, leaving everything up to Yuriko’s mother, Harumi.

Their lives are falling apart, and the blame always rests with the current Prime Minister. If he was gone, their lives would get much better. Or would they?

Breakdown: I hate politics. Let’s just leave that there.

Instead of trying to make a political message here like many other shows would try to do, this one really doesn’t. It’s moreso exploring how it’s not healthy to allow yourself to be consumed with hatred for the government to the point where you start destroying your own family for ‘the cause.’

It’s great to be involved in politics, it’s awesome to actively try to make a change for the better, but when it gets to the point where you’re skipping school, not even trying to make a living for your family and dumping the finances on one person in your family who is literally making themselves ill trying to keep up, it’s time to take a step back.

Yes, the government can and commonly is the cause of many problems, but a lot of the time the best thing to do is band together and work hard as a team to help everyone through it. Send out your political support however you can, but never forget that the people around you are the most important things and they have the real power to make things better.

It’s also not right to have the mindset of ‘the government is to blame for literally everything.’ I can’t tell you how tired I am of seeing something happen that is completely unrelated to the government, whether it’s a good or bad thing, only to see someone turn it into something political.

Yuriko’s father is a whole new level, though. He doesn’t just blame the government for everything bad that befalls him – he blames his family when he can’t find a reason to blame the government. His wife ends up being hospitalized because she’s overworked herself trying to keep themselves from drowning in debt, and not only does he not care, he claims he wishes she had died instead.

But we’re not even done. Yuriko’s father starts a fight at an important speech for their candidate, which means they need to do damage control. The campaign manager cooks up a scheme with him to have Yuriko attacked in a dark street in order to make a statement about the fact that they requested more lighting on that street, but were denied. He hopes this will make people forget about the fight at the rally and make them look better.

As if that’s not bad enough, not only does he agree to do this to his daughter, because he blames her for the campaign incident happening in the first place as she was with Harumi in the hospital, he specifically asks for them to do their worst in order to teach her a lesson about the real world. That lesson, by the way, is rape.

Luckily, Wanyuudou interferes before they can actually do anything, but still. Later, her father chews out the attackers for failing in their mission, so yay.

A few interesting aspects of Hell Link pop up today. We get error messages upon entry, for some reason. The site has never really been all too picky about the target, as long as it’s someone you have a deep grudge against, it’s usually fine. Today, however, despite Yuriko’s deep hatred for the current prime minister, entering his name doesn’t work. She gets an error message pop up whenever she tries.

Later, when she tries to input her father’s name, she also gets an error because someone already has a contract out on him. I checked through some previous episodes and didn’t find another example of this, but I could’ve sworn it was possible for two people to have contracts out on the same person but whoever pulls the string first….is ‘wins’ the right word there?

It was a pretty decent twist that the father was the target. I got to about the commercial break thinking it would be the campaign manager or the prime minister, but the instant I realized Hone Onna hadn’t shown up all episode and Harumi was hiding something in her drawer, the internal ‘dun dun dunnnn’ went off.

I’m also glad this one had a relatively happy ending. No Hell Girl ending is truly happy because usually someone innocent is also damned to hell (and this is no exception) but, still.

Rating: 8.5/10


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Pokemon Extravaganza! Movie 08 (Sub) Advanced Generation The Movie: Mew and the Wave Hero, Lucario Review

Plot: Many years ago, the land was rife with war. Two opposing factions threatened the kingdom’s safety, and a hero named Sir Aaron and his faithful partner, Lucario, were the only ones with any hope of saving it. As Lucario asked his master for guidance, Sir Aaron claimed he had forsaken the crown and abandoned the kingdom.

Baffled at this supposedly betrayal, Lucario finds himself sealed within Sir Aaron’s staff as he seems to run away when the kingdom needs him most. After Sir Aaron left, the kingdom miraculously found peace and Sir Aaron was proclaimed as a hero for whatever he might have done to save the land.

Back in the present, in the mystical and beautiful town of Rota, lies Celeran Castle where the current Queen of the land is holding the annual festival in honor of Sir Aaron. Satoshi, Haruka, Takeshi and Masato arrive to partake in the festivities. Satoshi wins a Pokemon battle tournament for the festival and is given the title of Hero of the Wave.

He’s given Sir Aaron’s real staff to hold during the festival, but suddenly starts hearing voices from within the staff. Suddenly, the staff shines brightly and unleashes Lucario who is blindsided by the new era he finds himself in. However, he quickly remembers the betrayal of his master and is consumed with confusion and bitterness, especially in the face of Satoshi with his strong bond with Pikachu.

When Pikachu is accidentally taken away by the local Mew to the Tree of World’s Beginning, Lucario is tasked by Queen Ilene to help him find his friend. Is the truth behind Sir Aaron’s ‘betrayal’ going to be uncovered along the way?

Breakdown:

PokemonM8SUBSCREEN1

20 Minute Mark

The original also has that ‘Before Monster Balls existed’ “error.” Though, coincidentally, this is explained through text on the screen instead of narration because, say it with me now, kids can’t read.

Sir Aaron is actually Arlon…..though, considering r and l are interchangeable in Japanese, it’s not too much of a stretch. Also, according to the Wiki, it’s surmised that Arlon’s name is derivative from the prophet, Aaron; Moses’ brother in the bible. 4Kids probably wasn’t going for that for obvious reasons, but considering the possible origin, it’s a totally understandable change.

It still really bothers me that Aaron doesn’t seem to give a crap about his crash-landed and injured Pidgeot.

Ya know, you’d think more people would gun for a Hero of the Wave costume in this festival, especially since the prize for winning the tournament is to be named Hero of the Wave for the year, but it seems like only Satoshi wants to.

New theme song this time around. It’s alright. A little catchy and pretty easy on the ears, but nothing too great to me.

Ilene says Satoshi is allowed to merely hold the staff, she doesn’t imply that it’s his. Nitpicky still, but eh.

PokemonM8SUBSCREEN2

40 Minute Mark

The thing I find ironic about the whole ‘The Hero cannot leave his seat’ thing is that if that were the real Sir Aaron, he’d probably be allowed to get up and join the party.

If both Haruka and Musashi fall for the same guy and both seemingly have a chance, something’s creepy.

I didn’t even notice the Celebi toy box and legendary birds merry-go-round. Damn, I want those too.

I still can’t get over how stupid Kidd’s plan is. She is seemingly such a smart and damn near perfect person yet she’s so sloppy with this.

Kojirou correctly surmises that Lucario’s been locked away for hundreds of years, not thousands.

Why does Masato instantly know what a Mew looks like but not a Lucario?

Kidd says she went there to go to the Tree of World’s origins and unlock its secrets. If that’s true, why start at the castle and why try to get the tracker on Mew?……Did….she not know where it was?…..Give you a hint. It’s that gigantic tree that’s actually a mountain. I know it’s so terribly hard to see, but use your binoculars and maybe you’ll catch a glimpse.

PokemonM8SUBSCREEN3

Hour Mark

Aura was originally called the wave.

I’m going to revise something I said in the dub review for a minute. I didn’t realize the group was actually halted by the geysers and just decided to bathe in a nearby hot spring while they waited. Chalk it up to completely derping during watching or some dialogue change I didn’t catch, I dunno. I’m still gonna call foul here a little because I really think the car could make it around those geysers with no problem.

It’s so cute when Lucario purrs.

The whole ‘Satoshi and Aaron have the exact same wave’ thing is present in both versions. Irritating and nonsensical either way.

While Satoshi does claim that Lucario’s story is a bunch of bull, he doesn’t accuse Lucario of being the one who betrayed Aaron like Ash does.

So, even in the original version Lucario says to never abandon Pikachu specifically and not ‘any of his Pokemon’. Seriously, sometimes you have to wonder how jealousy and Pokemon rivalry doesn’t come into play more often in this series considering playing favorites is so common.

PokemonM8SUBSCREEN4

Hour and 20 Minute Mark

It’s kinda cute when Haruka helps Masato climb up the crystals.

How the hell has no one discovered or studied this place yet? I know, the Regis and blah blah, but if a bunch of kids could get passed them I don’t see why adults couldn’t. Even if they had to call in skilled Pokemon trainers to help. It’s not like it’s in some inaccessible area. You can easily drive to it and walk into it. And it’s not like it’s hidden either, it’s a gigantic mountain in plain sight for miles with tons of legends surrounding it.

Hm….Listening closely to what Regice is saying, it really does sound like he’s saying Regi-Ice and not Redge-ice, despite how it’s spelled. Oddly, though, Satoshi still sounds like he’s saying ‘Redge-ice.’ I guess it’s the former, but it’s spelled like the latter? Please just add another I to make me feel better.

PokemonM8SUBSCREEN5

End

I’m starting to think that, while they don’t outright say it, these gloves somehow amplify the wave ability or somehow focus it better. Though, if so, why would a wave master such as Aaron need them and why would he take them off near the end?

Also, Aaron must’ve had small hands if Ash, a ten year old boy, can wear them without issue.

Satoshi merely says, as Sir Aaron and Lucario before him, that the wave is within him. Ash said that Lucario’s aura is with him. Nitpicky a little, but the original is basically honoring the sacrifices and lives of the wave users before him. The dub is basically ‘he lives in you’. Nothing wrong with the change, per se, but it is a change.

Here’s another weird thing; when Satoshi and the others are looking at the altered painting of Lucario and Sir Aaron, we get a closeup of Satoshi as he points out that they were finally reunited. In the dub, 4Kids chose to not include any dialogue here, so it’s a bit awkward to have a closeup of him talking with no sound. They really can’t make up their minds on how they feel about shots like that. Either that or they just put the song over all the credits and didn’t pay attention to the fact that there was voice work there.

Interestingly, there are shots of more talking later with Brock in the gondola, but there’s no audio from it in the original and the same is said of the dub. *shrug*

The original’s ED….is actually not as good as the dub’s in my opinion. The dub’s was similarly moderately high in tempo, but with an air of somberness in its lyrics. The original’s is a bit overly happy with no real somberness to the lyrics.

—————————————

Overall, yes, I would say, barring some minor changes and mistakes and the totally predictable ‘let’s skirt around death’ thing, this is definitely 4Kids best dubbing effort that I’ve ever seen from them. The music, most of the writing, a majority of the voice work, the relative lack of edits outside of those that are ‘necessary’, I’m damn near proud of those idiots.

Of course, it’s a bittersweet ending, just like the movie, because it’s yet another reminder that 4Kids had it in them all along to do solid dubbing work and they just chose to be….well, 4Kids.

It’s a shame because dubbing companies for anime aimed purely towards kids isn’t really common anymore. Nelvana’s still dabbling in a couple of shows, DiC hasn’t done an anime since Knights of the Zodiac in 2003; and that’s pretty much all the main ones that still exist to my knowledge. 4Kids could’ve been a great dubbing company for bringing anime to a younger audience in America, but they never cared about anything but money.

I’m not gonna say 4Kids didn’t at least help expose younger audiences to anime. Part of my doing these comparisons was because I used to love old 4Kids dubs like Yugioh and Pokemon. They obviously had a huge impact on many kids of the anime resurgence back in the early 00’s. 4Kids took up most of Kids WB on Saturday mornings, and they took up so much of it that it was eventually full out changed to 4KidsTV at a certain point.

Problem was, most kids didn’t realize that what they were watching was anime. It was so Americanized and filtered that most kids took it as cartoons with weird art. 4Kids never understood that these shows can have a widespread appeal without whitewashing every single thing out of it. I may never have known that what I was watching was anime without the help of a friend of mine who was actually into anime for real and pointed out Japanese versions of stuff like the Pokemon games and Sailor Moon to me.

Every time that I do a comparison with a 4Kids show, I know most of these edits are pointless and stupid, but when they actually do a great job dubbing something I get even more angry since they seem well in the knowledge that what they do to shows is mostly pointless and stupid. I know these shows need some tampering to coincide with American laws, such as the card paint edits in Yugioh because of advertisement laws in kids shows and some instances of violence, alcohol and whatnot, but to say 4Kids went above and beyond the call of duty when it came to edits is a huge understatement. They were just determined to be as kid-ified, paranoid, xenophobic and MURICA’d as humanly possible.

They weren’t even good with money and covering their ass legally what with the several lawsuits from Pokemon and Yugioh’s creators. Their greed lead to their downfall, and it’s both a good thing and kind of a waste.

Sorry for the big tangent, but since this is 4Kids final excursion, I felt it fitting to get that off my chest here. Plus, I don’t have much else to add about the movie. It’s still a great movie that I would gladly watch again. The original Japanese version is only a tiny bit better, mostly in regards to voice acting and not including the very minor changes.

But now, we have to move on from 4Kids. It’s Pokemon USA’s turn up to bat.

Recommended Audience: There’s several mentions of death and some tense moments where you think several characters have died, and a couple of characters do die. However, it’s presented in such a way that’s not horribly traumatic or anything. Still, maybe, just maybe, a parent or guardian would be nice to have around with kids watching this. Just to be safe. 7+


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Sunshine Blogger Award x2!

Hey everybody! Lesley of Lesley’s Anime and Manga Corner and Bloom Reviews nominated me for more Sunshine Blogger Awards! Thank you very much for the nominations, guys, and go check out their blogs now if you haven’t already. There’s plenty of anime and manga reviews, discussions and just overall goodness for ya. 🙂

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog so that other people can visit them
  • Answer the 11 questions put to you by the nominator
  • Nominate 11 bloggers of your choosing and provide them with a new set of 11 questions to answer
  • Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts
  • List the rules and display The Sunshine Blogger Award logo within your post or on your blog site

Let’s start with Lesley’s questions!

1) What was the first anime that you watched that made you realize that you were a fan of the medium?

This question I had to give some deeper thought that I first anticipated, because while I definitely remember the first few anime I watched that started me on this path, it’s hard for me to say which series made me truly realize that I was becoming a fan of anime as a medium.

I’ve mentioned before that my first few anime were Pokemon, Digimon and Sailor Moon, then I watched a bunch of stuff like Yugioh and Beyblade, things on Toonami, shows on Adult Swim etc. I had watched a lot of anime before I think it truly clicked with me that I was a fan of anime.

I remember, when I was much younger, G4 Tech TV had an anime block on very late at night. I didn’t have access to the channel on my bedroom TV, and at one point my dad even put a timer on the thing to make the power to it cut at a certain time so I wouldn’t stay up to crazy late hours.

But when I could, I’d sneak downstairs where the living room TV had access to the channel and watch shows on that block. Even though the block had several series, the one that always stood out for me was Crest of the Stars. I think when I realized I was sneaking around to watch anime, particularly that one show, was when I came to truly realize I was an anime fan.

Shortly afterward, I was ordering Anime Insider magazine and getting into making AMVs and truly immersing myself in the medium.

2) Which anime series is your favorite and why?

Fruits Basket. Even though it’s somewhat of a hot button topic now that the reboot is out, I still really adore the original 2001 series. It has a perfect mixture of humor and drama, and I love nearly all of the characters. Outside of it obviously being unfinished in regards to the manga ending, it’s hard for me to find many flaws with it. And it’s a rare case of me having seen a series fully in Japanese and English and loving both.

3) Which anime character do you feel most resembles you?

My answer to this question used to be Haruhi from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, but now I feel like I look a bit more like Hange from Attack on Titan.

4) If you ever have kids, would you consider naming one after an anime character? If so, which name and why?

True story: So before Jaden Smith became a joke, I considered naming a possible future kid of mine Jaden because of Jaden from Yugioh GX. I just liked the name, and it might not count because I’m not too attached to the character. Plus it’s an English name and I don’t think that’s what you’re going for here.

For either a boy or girl, Voyager. It was the name of a one-off character on Pokemon The First Movie and I fell in love with it. It’s badass, it has an anime background, it’s mysterious, what more could you ask for?

5) Is there a manga or light novel series that you’re currently reading?

As of this writing, I’m reading Higanjima, which is a horror manga, I’m finishing off Digimon Adventure V-Tamer. I’m re-reading Fruits Basket in a weird read-watch-watch along with the original anime and the reboot. And I’m reading Tokyo Mew Mew for the sake of an AniManga Clash.

6) If you could be best friends with an anime character, which one would it be and why?

I’m feeling Luffy for this one. He’s a ton of fun, a great friend, incredibly loyal and he’d kick the ass of anyone who’d do us wrong, or at the very least give me the confidence to kick their ass.

7) Are you a fan of any particular anime director? If so, who is it and why?

I’m probably going to go for the somewhat cliché route and say Satoshi Kon or Shinichiro Watanabe. I don’t much follow directors unless they have really really notable works under their belts, and these were the ones who came to mind. Satoshi Kon made some insanely creative and thought-provoking features while Shinichiro Watanabe has such an amazing style in storytelling and building the world for you that it’s hard to not get immersed in it.

8) Do you have a favorite anime studio?

Would it be too obvious to say Madhouse? Bones coming close second.

9) Do you have a favorite mangaka?

Not really. Maybe Yukinobu Hoshino, the creator of the 2001 Nights manga.

10) Do you have a favorite anime animal character?

I’ve gone through this question a few times, so I’ll change it up and say TurtleDucks from Avatar the Last Airbender….It’s a duck mixed with a turtle. How does that not spawn love in your heart?

11) Is there anything else you want to say in addition to the other questions that I asked?

I feel like I should take this opportunity to say something inspirational.

So….

Something inspirational.

Now for Bloom Reviews questions!

1) What was the scariest movie or show you’ve ever watched?

It takes a lot to actually scare me in regards to stories and movies and such, but I have always been freaked out by the Halloween movies (well, most of them) Even though I absolutely love them (Not the Rob Zombie ones….) they do make me consider leaving the lights on at night after I watch one, and I do feel a bit of paranoia during watching.

Michael’s mask as a whole, at least when they do the lighting right so you can’t see his eyes, is one of the most haunting things I’ve ever seen, and the original movies have a great sense of pacing and suspense.

2) Are there certain genres of TV shows or books that you stay away from or hate reading? Why?

I pretty much avoid any reality show that is literally just ‘watch (blank) live their lives.’ Watch a famous couple live their lives, watch a family of little people live their lives, watch a bunch of spoiled rich snobs live their lives, watch a bunch of famous spoiled rich snobs who also happen to be little people live their lives, watch this unreasonably large family live their lives etc. etc. etc. (Just in case I stepped on toes with the little people comment, it’s great to give everyone representation and show their struggles, but at the end of the day 99% of it is still watching normal people live their lives.)

I don’t know how we reached a point where just watching other people do the most mundane stuff with the most obviously fabricated drama thrown in became such a big sensation. My mom likes a ton of these shows, so I’m forced to watch some of them sometimes and I just don’t get it. I especially don’t like when they focus on the rich people living their lives, and yes some of that might be based on jealousy, but other times it’s just because of how ridiculous these people are disconnected from the real world and conceited at that.

I forget the name of the show, but there’s a rich famous couple, I think the guy is a wrestler, and they decided to make friends with their neighbors by sticking action figures….of themselves…into the mailboxes of their neighbors.

I say ‘pretty much avoid’ because I do watch some reality TV, but most of it is competition shows or things with educational value.

3) Who was your first celebrity/character crush and why?

I think it was the Blue Ranger/Billy/David Yost from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Not only was he very likable, cute and super smart, but damn if he didn’t get hot in later seasons. David Yost also seems like he’s a great guy IRL, so if I was going to have a first character/celeb crush, I’m glad it was him. Shame he left the series, and even bigger shame as to the reasons why.

4) What was one show your parents hated you watching but you watched anyways?

That’s a real tough one because I was a goody two-shoes most of the time and my parents had a pretty good hold on what I watched. I guess Pokemon might qualify here. They never liked me playing the games or watching the anime because, at the time, their religious beliefs skewed them into thinking it was unhealthy for me to watch. But they still bought me Pokemon stuff, same with my Grandparents, who had the same beliefs, and I still watched it every chance I got.

I’ll sneak in another mention here because I know my parents wouldn’t have been happy if they knew I was watching the Adult Swim block on Cartoon Network. Not like anything on that block was horribly adult, especially back then, but they certainly wouldn’t have let me watch it anyway.

5) I’ve recently gotten addicted to podcasts, do you have any recommendations for podcasts or other talk shows you enjoy listening to?

I don’t really listen to a lot of podcasts, but my personal favorites are Sawbones, which is a medical podcast where they talk about a lot of interesting aspects of old and new facets of medicine – The hosts are a married couple, and they bounce off of each other very well and have a great energy about them – the Nick Animation podcast, which is awesome for anyone interested in animation and the BTS stuff involved in their favorite old and new Nicktoons, and If I Were You, hosted by Jake and Amir (previously) of CollegeHumor, which is basically an advice podcast where they give both funny and serious answers to inquiries.

6) I’m currently relaxing on vacation right now. What’s your favorite summertime or beach read?

I’m not the biggest reader (at least of regular novels – I read western comics and manga a lot). Also, I don’t tend to read much while on vacation or at the beach. I’m usually chilling out some other way. I guess I’ll say any Star Wars novel, because those tend to be really relaxing to me for some reason lol.

7) It’s starting to get towards the end of summer. What’s one aspect of this season that you look forward to the most? Vacation? A certain event? Warmth?

I tend to not like summer too much because I am miserable in the heat, but I do like swimming, roasting marshmallows and going to the local fair the most.

8) Conversely, Fall is pretty much upon us. What’s one thing about the season you’re really looking forward to?

Now you’re in my wheelhouse! Fall is my favorite season! And I’d have to say it’s a tie between Halloween and seeing the leaves change color.

9) Tell me about the style of your blog and why you picked the color, banner, and subject matter that you did.

My blog’s style, as you can probably tell from the name, is just general craziness. Initially, I had a much lighter blog theme and only the banner was really crazily designed, but once I switched, I had a bit more fun with it. I picked darker colors with some bright/glowing contrasts in my second (technically third or fourth, considering I tried a couple other briefly before settling here) theme because I think that lends itself better to the crazy type of tone going on.

I made my banner myself. I basically looked for shots from anime that had stuck out in my mind for being particularly over-exaggerated or insane. I fiddled around A LOT with fonts, colors and background designs before just reaching one I liked after hours of trial and error. I did purposely throw some purple in there because purple’s my favorite color.

I picked the background image after searching Google for insane anime-related pictures and just stumbling upon it. I thought it was, forgive the pun, insanely awesome and fit perfectly in my page. It was also the background of my menu on my first blog theme, but you couldn’t see it well.

When I first started doing anime reviews, I had been inspired by a lot of Internet reviewers at the time, and I had been somewhat known for my rants, ramblings and weirdness, so I figured a blog with a crazy ‘madhouse’ theme was best suited for me.

As for why I chose anime, manga and animated features to review and discuss here, I simply started doing it a long, long time ago on a long-since dead website. I kinda enjoyed writing and I loved anime, so I started writing posts about it in the website’s blog section since that was the place relegated for personal opinion pieces and whatnot. It took me a little while longer to branch out into reviewing western animation and several years more before I started reviewing manga.

I try to stay within the confines of anything animated since that’s what I know best. I also love horror movies and comics, but I am definitely not comfortable enough to review those. I just don’t know enough to talk about them as a whole in enough depth to give them justice.

Also, despite still keeping a tone of craziness and fun in here, I do now try to keep a stronger balance with serious analysis and exploration when the situations call for it. Never giving up the Madhouse, but definitely want to give more quality for your views.

10) What about blogging drew you to make your own blog?

I really didn’t have much experience with blogs before starting one of my own. I did start posting on a blog on the aforementioned website/forum, and when I moved to another forum where I started doing these reviews more formally, even though we did have a blog section, I mostly posted in official review threads.

My drive for seeking out a real blog was to have a place all my own where I could organize my reviews and other writings, particularly because, by that point, I had started writing several other series such as Sub/Dub Comparisons, my Pokemon movie/short/episode reviews and even my special reviews for holiday specials.

I was spread out all over the forum, and the forum was mostly dead by that point. I didn’t have really any readers at all and I felt like I was bombarding an empty land with my writing for no reason. Even though I still don’t have the biggest audience, I still feel like I’ve built a home here and have people reading and even responding to my work, which makes me feel much more content.

11) Is there anything about content creators in particular or content creation in general that you find annoying or frustrating?

I can’t really think about one encompassing thing about content creators that annoys me. It’s mostly just things specific content creators do because of their own specific style or personality.

Myself, though, I find trying to convey my opinions in a manner that is both entertaining but not devalued by the entertainment aspect to be frustrating. I want my blog to be enjoyable to read. I strive to be funny while also providing a valid opinion and interesting information about what I’m covering. Finding the balance is insanely difficult to the point where I feel like I rarely, if ever, actually find it. I’ll re-edit posts several times trying to find this balance and so many times I feel like I just have to compromise for one or the other.

My Questions

1) Have you ever completely changed your opinion on an anime or manga after rewatching/reading it again or because someone shared some compelling thoughts about it?

2) What is the most ridiculous reason you’ve seen for someone not liking something?

3) What flying animal or device from any anime or manga would you choose as your primary mode of personal air travel?

4) What was your favorite subject in school and why?

5) What character in an anime or manga do you think suffered from the worst example of backwards character development/devolving? (IE, they started out fine or even good but got progressively worse over time?)

6) What’s your favorite board or card game to play?

7) In your opinion, which anime/manga character had the most pointless death? (Spoiler tags)

8) Besides anime or manga, what’s something that you can talk about endlessly? Like once you get going on the subject, time flies?

9) No shipping hate, but which shipping in anime or manga makes the least sense to you but somehow ended up canon and/or endgame?

10) Did you have a toy, doll etc. that you never went anywhere without as a child?

11) What plot twist in an anime or manga basically ruined the entire series to you?

I’m opting out of tagging people this time around, so anyone who sees this and wants to give it a shot, step right up! 🙂

 

SSBS – Smile Precure! Episode 7: Where Could it Be? Our Secret Base!

SSBS - SP Ep7

Plot: The girls are in desperate need of privacy in order to talk about Precure things. They each use the portals in the Magical Library to find a suitable spot.

Breakdown: This episode was a lot of fun, even if some of the spot choices were just really….stupid. I get that, for the sake of comedy, they have to choose some spots that are really dumb, but seriously Yayoi? An active movie set? Yeah, that’s nice and private. Though, admittedly, it’s better than the gorilla pen Akane chose. (That they somehow accessed through a fake bookshelf?)

I also like they didn’t end up at the secret spot at Miyuki’s old town. I really thought they were going there, but she’s right. It’s the little girls’ spot now, and it’d be wrong to impede on that.

It was a nice little twist that the library brought them back to the library when they all thought of the perfect secret spot. The Magical Library is a great spot for them, and the clubhouse that was deus ex machina’d for them from the Star Charm is really nice.

If I had any major issue with this episode, it’s that the villain plan this time around was so weak. Miyuki and the others go to some random spot in the woods that she loved as a kid, one that was in the forest near her old house, and Wolfrun, without knowing they’re coming, also arrives at this spot to…..suck up the happiness of two little girls who have taken over the spot in the meantime.

That’s so convoluted, I can feel my brain trying to escape my skull.

And the Akanbe didn’t make up for the lame villain plot, either. It was just a tree….that smashed things.

I feel like this is one episode where a villain plot was unnecessary. The plot about the secret base selection was enough to carry the episode. Maybe have that battle time taken up with the Precures talking to the little girls and then leaving to go find another spot when they realize how much it means to them.

Other than that, though, a very fun episode, and I look forward to them utilizing their secret base in the future.

Next episode….

…Previous Episode


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My AniManga Clash-ish Thoughts on 11Eyes

AniManga Clash is a particularly difficult series for me to write for since I have to either watch the anime alongside the manga or have remembered enough points about whichever I saw/read first to be able to write a good comparison. I figured a good middleground for retroactive entries would be to check out the manga versions of anime I’ve watched several years in the past and at least give my bare bones thoughts on what I remembered to be the differences between the two and my experiences with both.

Because of this, while reading, please remember that it’s been a decade or so since I’ve watched the series and I might not get all my facts straight. Feel free to correct me, but these are my feelings out the gate.

First on the list was 11Eyes, because the alphabet. If you’ve read my 11Eyes review or my Salty Anime Challenge entries, you can probably guess that I was less than enthused to check out the manga. Being fair, the anime is not based on the manga. They’re both separate adaptations of the visual novel (which is an h-game, fair warning.) However, since I’ve never played the VN and only have sparse knowledge gathered from the Wiki, I’ll avoid talking about it.

For those who haven’t read either of those posts, let me chalk up the 11Eyes anime to being pretty decent barring two things; 1) The ending was insanely confusing and a massive cop-out. 2) The character of Yuka was beyond unlikable and one of the most psychotic jealous bitches I’ve ever seen in anime.

Nonetheless, I decided to give the manga a fair shake anyway because, let’s be real, it’s not like they could make it or Yuka even worse.

I was right. A little too right.

Yuka is 1000000000000% less irritating in the manga than she is in the anime.

….I mean…..she’s insanely boring, and somehow even more useless in the manga, but she’s grade-A certified not-bitch.

She’s not even Kakeru’s love interest, really. She’s more like a sister stand-in for Kukuri.

She doesn’t get jealous of his and Misuzu’s relationship, she doesn’t go completely off her rocker, she doesn’t act like she doesn’t care about the other fragments (in fact, in one of her few scenes where she’s actually kinda doing something I think, she’s vehement in saving them) she doesn’t try to murder/maim Misuzu by putting a razor blade in her tea and she doesn’t willfully free the main villain for absolutely no reason.

Manga!Yuka…….well…..she saves Kakeru with her powers once, and they never even explore what her powers are. Then she’s unconscious for a few chapters…..then she gets absorbed by Liselotte…..the end.

From what I know of the VN, which is little, but there are various ends and paths to take, the anime is, sadly, closer to the canon rendition, but even though manga!Yuka is more boring, I’d take her over anime!Yuka any day.

I believe they were trying to make her character have layers, which they succeeded in more than the manga, but also, ultimately, make her someone you sympathize with and feel bad for considering all she had in the world was Kakeru. She was desperately trying to make sure he never left her, but she went WAY too far with it.

It’s near impossible to sympathize with the feelings of a lonely character when she makes friends with several people then turns around and acts like she couldn’t care less if they died as long as Kakeru was okay. Or, ya know….the whole razor blade in the tea thing. Or the ‘freeing Liselotte knowing she’d likely kill everyone’ thing.

As for the ending, while I also find the manga’s to be a bit of a cop-out, they did much better with their finale than the anime did.

In the anime, everyone basically gets killed, including Yuka, because Yuka did the aforementioned stupid thing. Misuzu, in an effort to give them both one big boost of power to create a bit of hope…..has sex with Kakeru. It makes in context, oka—no wait, it really doesn’t………Anyway, it works, I think, but it doesn’t matter, they both die, then it’s revealed that the previous episode was a vision of Kakeru’s Eye of Aeon IE a dream sequence IE bite me.

Lots of stuff happens, but the main point is, Superbia, a ‘bad guy’ whisks the survivors, which at this point is Misuzu, Kakeru, Yuka, Shiori and Kukuri, away to a carbon copy of their world where the Red Night no longer exists and their fallen friends are alive again only it’s not really them because this is an alternate universe.

Also, god only knows what happened to that world’s versions of Misuzu, Kakeru, Yuka, Shiori and Kukuri.

Yuka also magically turns into a non-psycho bitch again because reasons.

Happily every after, I guess….Except for the black moon reappearing, but only visible to Kakeru, I think. That implies that either Liselotte or someone else is controlling a Red Night in their new world, which is sequel bait that went nowhere.

In the manga, the one who frees Liselotte is Yukiko, not Yuka. However, she didn’t do it on purpose like Yuka did. She was lost in grief over the death of Takahisa, so she took it upon herself to kill Liselotte, believing doing so would end the Red Night while getting her revenge in the process.

Yukiko and the other fragments are exactly who Liselotte needs to absorb in order to break free from her crystal prison and destroy the world. She didn’t know that because the Black Nights have never heard of talking to people before. (Yes, sit down and give all the exposition after several people have died in this pointless battle. You honestly could’ve just told them to stay as far away from this person, who is imprisoned and can’t move, as possible whenever the Red Night shows up, but trying to kill them and not explaining why and eventually even leading them to Liselotte, who appears to them as an innocent girl wrongfully imprisoned, begging for their help, that’s a good plan too.)

Yuka tries to save her, but gets absorbed herself.

After a giant exposition dump via Shiori who might as well not even be here besides to give aforementioned exposition dump, and a pep talk/love confession to Misuzu from Kakeru (in lieu of the nonsensical sex scene) they decide to fight on.

The manga does a much better job at handling and actually concluding the fight between Misuzu and Superbia/Misao Kusabake. It was an intense and awesome battle.

Similarly the actual battle between Kakeru and Liselotte was impressive as well. In the end of that battle, Kakeru gives his soul to gain the power to defeat Liselotte and let everyone else live. Then Kukuri gives up her mortal being through her angel thing to become a god in order to bring save Kakeru’s soul, bring everyone who died back to life and fix the world. Then her angel thing sacrifices itself, somehow, to become the god in her stead since she could not live a life on earth as a god, and he departs him her.

Then they all live happily every after….for real. No magically reappearing black moon. It’s over.

This was like a conga line of cop-outs. It makes a little more sense in a narrative standpoint than saying there are six identical worlds out there with the only difference being that one of them has a Red Night on it then switching to a backup version of the world. And it’s better to have Yukiko, Saeko and Takahisa come back to life instead of opting for alternate versions of them. I always felt like that was not only a cop-out, it was downright disrespectful of the characters from their original world. They lost their lives, but it’s okay. We have extras.

But it doesn’t end there.

After the Red Night ends and everything gets fixed, their lives go back to normal, basically. However, the battle with Misao left lasting damage on Misuzu anyway, and she felt obligated to return the five swords of the Kusakabe clan back to her relatives. To do that, she, I suppose, would have to leave town indefinitely.

In the course of the manga, she and Kakeru had developed a romantic relationship. He even confessed to her, without prompt, that he loved her. She tries to convince Kakeru that they can’t be in a relationship with each other (for….reasons?), but he convinces her to be with him, to let him be her reason for existing since she believed she had lost hers once Misao had fallen. She happily accepts, kisses him and I guess they leave to live in the Kusakabe clan household forevermore.

No mention of Yuka at all. Just their happily ever after.

You might think that since the Yuka thing and the ending were essentially fixed as well as I could hope that my overall opinion on the manga is exponentially better than the anime.

Well, yes and no.

While I am grateful that they wrote a better ending and didn’t bitch up Yuka, the overall experience of the manga felt very rushed and like several characters were sacrificed in the overall story for the sake of holding the focus on Kakeru and Misuzu.

Truth be told, while I think both Kakeru and Misuzu are at least as good if not better than their anime counterparts, I couldn’t help but feel robbed when it came to damn near anyone else.

Takahisa never gets a time to shine. In fact, he’s relatively useless over the course of the story because his fire never seems to do anything to the enemies. He exists, has some scenes and lines, then Saeko dies, he goes nuts, though not nearly to the level he does in the anime, and then he’s mercy killed by Yukiko after he begs her to do so, realizing his powers will never be under control again and he’ll just burn down everything around him.

I was massively pissed when we were in the middle of an unrelated battle with Misuzu and Kakeru vs. Superbia only to have Yukiko pop up out of nowhere to announce Takahisa was dead and she had been the one to kill him.

We get all of three panels explaining that Saeko was killed by a Black Knight who attacked the school, Takahisa went out of control in grief and Yukiko had to end his life. The next chapter gives us a more proper flashback to Takahisa’s breakdown and subsequent death, but that’s a far cry from the anime where we basically had an entire episode dedicated to this heartbreaking collection of moments, which started with the out-of-nowhere death of Saeko as Takahisa and Yukiko were enjoying a nice walk and conversation.

Not to mention that, while Yukiko and Takahisa are clearly on good terms in the manga, they don’t give off the air like they’re nearly as close as their anime counterparts, which makes Takahisa’s death have less of an impact. I’ll give Yukiko’s deep slip into despair after this death a pass since it is still a harrowing thing to have to kill a friend no matter how close you were to them.

Yukiko also fared well in the personality department, but I feel like handing the reigns to her on releasing Liselotte wasn’t very fair. It makes sense, but it still irritates me. Though I guess her being absorbed by Liselotte is much better than her being viciously torn apart until they get her fragment out, causing this previously immortal being to finally die.

I feel like we didn’t get as much badass Yukiko as we should’ve, which is a shame because that was one of the best parts of the anime.

Even though Kukuri’s backstory was spotty and confusing at best in the anime, if my memory can be relied on at all, they do much worse with manga!Kukuri in that they just flatout don’t give her one.

They spend a good amount of time focusing on how similar she looks to Kakeru’s dead sister of the same name. She denies being her and additionally has a last name that doesn’t match Kakeru’s. After that, they just don’t talk about her. She’s there, she does stuff, and she’s a linchpin in saving Kakeru’s soul but we don’t really know who she is or why she looks identical to Kakeru’s sister as well as shares her name.

It’s a giant blank spot and gaping plot hole that begs to be filled.

Kukuri’s VN backstory could be an entire arc on its own, and it seems to mostly explore aspects of the story that neither the manga nor anime really explored fully (And revisiting a clip just for the sake of reference, the anime’s version is still insanely confusing to me.) Since I already said I won’t really talk about VN stuff here, I’ll just leave this where it is.

Shiori’s role was also greatly diminished. Outside of the big exposition dump late in the manga, she’s just kinda hanging around and observing things. Like Kukuri, she does some things sometimes, but she doesn’t have much of an actual role.

My memory of my opinions of Kakeru alone in the anime are a bit foggy. I remember that he didn’t much bother me, but he also wasn’t protagonist of the year or anything particularly because of his perpetual dedication to Yuka the crazy lady and the yawn-worthy parroting of the typical ‘I will protect you. I’ll always protect you. I’ll always be with you’ yadda yadda spiel.

In the manga, he is determined to get the power to save people he cares about, such as Yuka, which stems from a deep-seated feeling of guilt for not being able to save his sister from committing suicide. Throughout the manga, he’s less focused on being a knight in shining armor and more of being a warrior who has a duty to protect his loved ones.

That being said, he is still pretty cut and dry. There still fails to be anything truly memorable about him as a character besides his cool eyepatch.

Even though he and Misuzu have a much more fleshed out relationship in the manga than Kakeru and Yuka did, in either the manga or the anime, he recognizes her as the warrior she is and almost never steps in to fight her battles outside of one time where it was pretty much necessary.

The line about being her purpose for living in the end did irk me a little, but I feel like that was less sexist and more overly cheesy. That whole scene was melodramatic, to be honest.

Speaking of Misuzu, I think she remains a pretty good character in both versions. I was a little annoyed at the amount of times they gave her, for lack of a better term, moe face whenever she and Kakeru were having a moment. It’s such a stark contrast to her normal face and mannerisms and feels really weird. I also don’t much care for her decision to not start a relationship with Kakeru just….because.

Some people might be miffed about Kakeru and Misuzu getting a happy ending together, but the alternative is him getting together with either psycho!Yuka or blandwithnopurpose!Yuka, and neither of those are appealing to me.

I feel I should talk about Yuka some more because I have to admit that, as a whole, blocking the anime from my mind, it IS a big issue that someone supposedly so important to Kakeru gets glazed over and almost entirely dropped by the end. The most focus she gets is in the first chapter and that’s just because she and Kakeru are literally the only characters who have been introduced by that point.

She uses her powers a grand total of once, and Misuzu seems to recognize that they’re at least fairly powerful, then she spends a couple chapters recovering from her energy drain, then she floats around for a bit, then she gets absorbed by Liselotte.

The target of Kakeru’s attention, affection and dedication is almost entirely shifted to Misuzu rather quickly.

Make him and Yuka romantic interests or not, I really don’t care. Make her a substitute sister, I really don’t care. But I do care about her being so boring and non-existent. How can I give a single damn about her being absorbed by Liselotte when I barely get to know her?

The absorption of Yukiko and Yuka should be as devastating to us as it is the remaining fragments, but I couldn’t find myself caring much at all.

I find myself similarly disappointed in both the anime and manga. While the manga has a much stronger and less cheap ending and a much saner non-psycho Yuka, it also falls very short of giving us the character development and plot elements that we needed to make a full story, or to simply make us care as much as we should. The manga would have benefited greatly from being at least two volumes longer.

If I gave the anime a 6/10, I’d give the manga a 7/10 It was a better overall experience, but it still wasn’t a particularly great one. Shame, because I still feel like the framework could make for a really awesome manga or anime. It’s just not there.

Being fair, from all I’ve read on the Wiki, I think the anime is a more loyal adaptation of the VN source material’s most canon storyline, but sometimes being more loyal to the source material doesn’t always make for a good series.

CSBS – Dave the Barbarian Episode 3: Girlfriend – Ned Frischman: Man of Tomorrow

CSBS DtB Ep 3 Screen1

Plot: 3A: Girlfriend – Dave starts dating an evil princess named Irmaplotz.

3B: Ned Frischman – Man of Tomorrow – A nerdy man from modern times gains an interdimentional zipper which allows him to travel to Dave’s era, where he plans to take over the world.

Breakdown: Episode 3A or Girlfriend had its ups and downs, but was a really solid episode. It was fun watching Dave try to be a little evil and Irmaplotz try to be nice and failing. Plus, this episode has the one joke most everyone remembers about the series where Dave ties a squirrel to a megaphone.

I liked how this episode was set up, because I was really dreading the trope of ‘falling in love with someone who turns out to be using them.’ Especially because we already had that plot in ‘Lula’s First Barbarian.’ Irmaplotz is still (half) evil and she does lay waste to the kingdom, but Dave is pretty much aware from the start that she’s evil and they try their best to work it out.

I also appreciated that Irmaplotz doesn’t completely cut off ties with Dave in the end. They can’t seem to be together, but she doesn’t promise a lifetime of revenge upon him or anything. They part on good terms and leave it open for her character to return.

CSBS DtB Ep 3 Screen2

Episode 3B or Ned Frischman – Man of Tomorrow is the strongest entry yet. It’s not bust a gut hilarious, but the story has great pacing, it has a very interesting concept, there are many clever jokes throughout.

I think the whole ‘enslaved by addiction to video games’ thing is a bit weak, but it’s not that bad. Plus, you have some really cool additions like Richard Horvitz (Daggett from Angry Beavers and Zim from Invader Zim) playing Ned and Twinkle the Marvel Horse, who is basically a My Little Pony doing a Christopher Walken impression. If you didn’t know you needed that in your life, you’re welcome.

Next Episode….

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