SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 15

SSBS CFV EP 15

Plot: Emi decides she wants to try her hand at playing Vanguard, so Shin suggests having a practice cardfight with one of Aichi’s friends. Morikawa leaps at the chance to ‘teach’ her, really just itching to finally take down someone with his beloved grade threes. Misaki loans Emi her deck to get her started and the match begins. Can Emi’s first match be her first victory?

Breakdown:

Last episode review: “Can Morikawa manage to defeat a little girl on her first match?….That’s a serious question.”

The answer is no, no he can’t.

And thank god. It might be hard to believe a little girl who barely knows anything about Vanguard to win her first match, but it’s even more unbelievable for Morikawa to win any match period.

At least I can take solace in the fact that everyone else is as exasperated with Morikawa’s antics as I am. Seriously, he straight up throws away a grade zero unit just so he can litter his side of the field with grade threes. That doesn’t sound so bad until you learn the main reason he loves grade threes so much – their twin drive. However, as Kamui points out, only those in the Vanguard circle, of which there is only one, can use twin drive, so it’s entirely pointless. And his throwing away that unit made it so he couldn’t use the drive trigger for his actual Vanguard anyway.

I’m learning this game as I go along too. I’m only slightly more knowledgeable about it than Emi is, and even I’m rolling my eyes at Morikawa whenever he plays. How many times does he have to have that ‘OH MY GOD, I HAVE NO GRADE ONE OR TWOS’ moment before he finally gets the hint that his deck is horribly unbalanced? And even when he gets grade zeroes, ones and twos on his first draw, he opts to discard and redraw so he can get more grade threes. He is ridiculous.

Morikawa aside, we finally get to see Emi take the stage, and she is just a peach. Her imaginary version of Cray is a pretty field with butterflies and a bunch of moons and flower petals. She chooses monsters based on how cute they are and literally throws herself onto the game table when Morikawa attacks because she doesn’t want her units to get hurt and doesn’t want to guard with a unit in her hand for the same reason. It’s silly and adorable and I love her to death.

Emi’s not an idiot, either. While Kamui, Shin, Aichi and even, sometimes, Morikawa give her information and advice from the sidelines, Emi is able to work through the basics of what she needs to do rather easily since she’s seen Aichi and the others cardfight a few times at this point. She even catches Morikawa in a technicality that no one else caught – the aforementioned problem that his Vanguard had in using a drive trigger. He wasn’t allowed to use the trigger unless there was a unit of the same clan on the field, and the only one he had of that clan was a grade zero he threw away for the sake of summoning another grade three.

Morikawa’s not all that irritating through most of the match, in spite of his incessant stupidity. He actually does seem like he’s just pumping up his ego but is still kinda teaching Emi when the theatrics stop. Nearly every turn is him being a grade three fanboy while everyone groans at his antics and Emi just stares at him confused. However, once he gets a few damage, he starts mocking Emi and that’s when he gets irritating. Dude, it’s a little girl on her first Vanguard match. Get a clue.

At least Emi doesn’t pay his mocking a single mind. She just keeps being confused at him or ignores it.

The match was pretty entertaining for a first-time match with Morikawa. It was nice to see Emi throw her hat into the ring, and I loved watching her play. Not only did she seem to be having fun, but Aichi fondly watching his little sister get into the game he’s grown to love while giving her advice was too cute.

Even Kamui was pretty cool in this episode. He is obviously trying to wedge his way into becoming Emi’s Vanguard teacher to be closer to her, but he’s also legitimately giving her the rules and information about the game as a fellow player.

This episode was a strong example of the great dynamic the whole main cast has. Even Kamui’s friends played off of the story well and had some funny reactions. I love when all of the characters click so well together, even if Morikawa gets annoying. Plus, it was a nice refresher episode for those still trying to get the rules of the game down pat. I even learned a few new things.

I hope we see Emi build a deck of her own and play more in the future.

Rating: 8.5/10

Next time, the regional qualifiers are here. The Card Capital representatives make their way to the arena, but Shin and Misaki are mysteriously absent.

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Exploring Disney’s Castle: Pinocchio (1940)

Rating: 7/10

Plot: A toymaker named Geppetto made a marionette named Pinocchio. Despite his awesome ‘stache, he couldn’t find a woman to mate with him and make him a child, so he wished Pinocchio was a real boy. His wish is granted by a fairy because fairies just do that, but she only brings the puppet to life. In order to become a real boy, Pinocchio has to prove himself to be a kind and moral young lad. However, he doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong so a kindly cricket named Jiminy gets assigned to be his conscience. Then a bunch of weird stuff happens.

Breakdown: While Pinocchio isn’t the closest nostalgic Disney feature in my heart, I do look back on it it fondly, and I remember getting the VHS for the movie way back when I was a wee lass. And, wow, unlike Snow White, I just could not refrain from nitpicking and seeing this movie with a more adult view.

Don’t get me wrong, I still really like this movie, and man I do loves me some of that painted Disney magic, but I was just picking apart the story and then realizing that the second half is one trippy confusing little ride. Not mention how many times I had to stop myself from thinking a scene was pedo-y….

Some things I can’t nitpick too much. I was going to say it’s dumb to send Pinocchio off to school when he’s only been a sentient pile of wood for less than 12 hours, but then I remembered that they seem to live in a weird world of anthropomorphic foxes and cats (even in a world with pet cats. It’s Pluto and Goofy all over again) so that’s not really an issue anymore. And seeing as how Pinocchio’s existence is also completely brushed off by fellow kids, I guess a puppet coming to life is just another day in Italy.

To get to the actual issues though, I’m confused about the fairy’s logic. She specifically says Geppetto deserves a son, but she doesn’t fully bring Pinocchio to life and instead makes him go through a trial of being a good person before he can actually be human. That’s okay I suppose, but then there’s the fact that he has no sense of what’s right or wrong and he’s naïve as all hell. So Jiminy is assigned to being his conscience, but dammit all if he doesn’t suck at it. He doesn’t really give any advice on what’s right or wrong to Pinocchio ever. He just points out that one person is bad without reason once.

Geppetto’s no help either because he doesn’t try to teach Pinocchio anything. He just answers every question with ‘because’ and sends the poor boy off to school not preparing him for how the kids may react or how anything in life works – like stranger danger.

Pinocchio gets into trouble because he really doesn’t know any better and then starts lying to the fairy for no real reason. The Pinocchio in this version has been shown as a very kindhearted yet extremely naïve individual, yet he somehow not only knows how lying works but he does it very naturally and without any actual prompt. Did he think the fairy would get mad if she heard about him getting kidnapped? Because that’s Jiminy’s fault, if anything.

I would say that’s a message of saying that, no matter what your conscience is telling you, it’s up to you to listen or not, which is also fine, but then I have to remember that Pinocchio has no real knowledge of anything in the world at all. Hell, he was setting himself on fire the night before because he liked how pretty the fire was.

He then gets caught by the same people without Jiminy even realizing it, you’d think he’d learn after that to keep a closer eye on the kid but no, and he gets tricked into going to ‘Pleasure Island’….see what I meant about the pedo-y stuff?

Here’s where Pinocchio pulls a complete 180 in character. I could brush off the whole thing about getting kidnapped and going off to join the marionette guy from before because he didn’t really know any better. But when he gets to Pleasure Island, he full on says that he likes being bad, so it seems that even without Jiminy he realizes that what he’s doing is wrong and is going ahead with it for whatever reason.

Oh yeah, let’s address the creepy and downright dark and confusing aspect of Pleasure Island. So a man kidnaps BOATLOADS of misbehaved boys who skip school and do no good. How no one in town has noticed that many kids going missing is beyond me. But considering that they all must be rotten boys, that must be a really awful part of town. Also, I love how it’s only misbehaved boys who are taken. All girls are innocent angels free of sin. ❤

Pleasure Island is a theme park, and I do not understand said theme park. You already kidnapped the kids – why the theme park? Just stick them in a cage or something. And wouldn’t that theme park, that inevitably gets destroyed each time the kids come, cost way more in construction, maintenance, operation and repairs than whatever you get for the kids? And this theme park is specifically designed for little brats since it has robot Indians chucking out cigars to the kids (Aw look, it’s Disney being racially insensitive to Native Americans before Pocahontas. Awww they were so precious.) kegs, and model houses specifically for the kids to destroy.

That’s not even the most baffling part about this theme park. It’s all just a front for a secret operation to turn the kids into donkeys.

Uh. Huh.

I mean, what? How did we go from an innocent story about a puppet coming to life by a fairy and having a bug being his conscience in hopes of someday becoming human to kids being turned into donkeys? I mean, come on Disney. Suspension of disbelief! Pft.

But yeah, the beer and the cigars were poisoned with….something, I dunno, that turned all of the boys into donkeys who would eventually be sold off to salt mines and farms to work until they die. Unless they were young enough to apparently retain their ability to talk because….I honestly have no clue what happened to those boys. Probably kept as a show attraction until they were too old to speak anymore and then sold off into child/donkey labor.

Not one of them were saved. Yeah, screw your happily ever after. Those little brats were never found and were probably forced to work to death. Kinda dark, there, Disney.

Lampwick might have escaped, but I don’t see how.

While this is trippy, dark and confusing, them repeating the stuff about being jackasses (and, yes, they actually say ‘jackass’) basically implies that this scene means if you’re a little brat as a kid, you’re damned to turn into a jackass for the rest of your life….I guess.

Then we get to the weirder stuff. Half-Donkey Pinocchio runs home to find that Geppetto is not there, and I can’t understand how long Pinocchio’s been gone. Last we see of Geppetto, it was the same day Pinocchio was supposed to go to school and he kept looking for him all over town. His first kidnapping took place over the course of a day before he tried to get home again, but I guess the second one took place over days, weeks or possibly months.

Geppetto’s gone and a glowing bird sends down a message to Pinocchio and Jiminy that Geppetto has been swallowed by a whale.

Ya know, typical Tuesday.

……He was swallowed by…..a whale. I can’t even understand how this happened. Geppetto wasn’t swallowed by any old whale – he was swallowed by a huge whale that is known for being particularly murderous and even swallows ships whole.

Apparently, Geppetto was out on his fishing boat when he got swallowed up. This is what confuses me about the timeline. They’re starving to death, act like they’ve been on that boat for quite some time and have little hope they’ll (they being Geppetto, Figaro and Cleo) survive in the next few days. But what was he even doing out on that boat? Like I said, last time we saw him he was looking for Pinocchio after he had gone missing after leaving for school. What was he doing on the boat then? Did he think he’d find Pinocchio out on the ocean? Or had he been missing for so long that he decided to go fishing to clear his mind over the loss of his puppet child?

Also, how could both Pinocchio and Jiminy breathe underwater? The prospect of drowning doesn’t even come up until they exit the whale. I would say this is because Pinocchio’s a puppet, but he seems to have regular bodily functions like in his reactions to the cigars. And his ‘death’ later can only be explained as drowning.

There’s also that thing about making a whale sneeze by setting a fire in its stomach which I don’t even sense make.

Bottomline: I have no idea why I was able to completely immerse myself in Snow White and just gloss over every seeming issue yet I was practically hung up on them in Pinocchio. This just got to be more trippy and dark than I remembered….and confusing, hence why three points got knocked off. But for the most part the movie does have good morals, decent characters and I can’t think of a point where I wasn’t really enjoying myself.

Recommended Audience: Well, the word ‘Jackass’ is said a few times, but I always thought it was stingy to say that’s a swear. It’s in the bible for crying out loud. Kids smoke and drink beer, but the message is obviously that those things are bad to do….and will turn you into a jackass. Plus there’s the downright frightening aspect of that whole Pleasure Island thing. But other than that, it’s perfectly fine. 5+

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 14

SSBS CFV EP 14

Plot: Kamui (begrudgingly) takes Aichi to a card shop called Card Shop Handsome to meet some national-level players and train for the regional qualifiers. Kamui introduces Aichi to Goki, leader of Team Handsome, the players who represented Card Shop Handsome in nationals last year.

Goki’s little sister, Nagisa, has a huge crush on Kamui and is constantly calling him her boyfriend and jumping all over him even though Kamui doesn’t return her feelings at all and explicitly states that he loves Aichi’s sister, Emi. Hearing this declaration, Goki defends his sister’s love by challenging Aichi to a cardfight. Utilizing a Granblue deck of zombie pirates, can Aichi find a way to win?

Breakdown: I wasn’t all that much into this episode. It was alright, but I just didn’t get into it very much. Goki and Team Handsome aren’t that interesting so far (and one of them has the annoying habit of saying ‘KABOOMY!’ for no reason) and the Granblue deck didn’t live up to the buildup, which is a shame on many fronts. I love zombies, I love pirates – why is a zombie pirate deck not that intriguing to me? Especially when it’s a little OP as well. Aichi didn’t get thrashed or anything, but Goki was never once even considering sweating.

Aichi is thinking even more methodically but yet another failed ‘heart of the cards’ instance screwed him over. Yeah, Aichi lost again, and his reaction was actually quite the typical ‘I’m gonna be stronger, like him. No, better than him!’ which kinda surprised me a bit.

Nagisa is also incredibly annoying. I may rag on Kamui for his crush on Emi sometimes, but at least he’s kinda cute about it. Nagisa is 35 pounds of irritating brat. She consciously doesn’t listen to anything Kamui says about not wanting to be her boyfriend or being in love with someone else, and she latches onto him like a leech. Not to mention that one line about tying him up to prevent him from running away. Someone’s going to get restraining orders as an adult.

While I didn’t downright hate or even deeply dislike anything in this episode, I didn’t really like it much. Even the match wasn’t all that great.

Rating: 4/10

Next time, Emi decides to throw her hat into the Cardfighting ring. Her first opponent is Morikawa. Can Morikawa manage to defeat a little girl on her first match?….That’s a serious question.

The Salty Anime Challenge FINALE Day 23: How Did you Find This Challenge, and What is One Last Thing You’d Like to Be Salty About?

Wow, the challenge is over already? Time flies when you’re salty, apparently.

I really enjoyed this challenge, and it was a nice changeup from the regular challenges. As someone who appreciates a good rant, this challenge gave me all sorts of opportunities to get some stuff off of my chest and have some fun slamming old anime adversaries.

Oddly, it even got me to appreciate some shows and characters more. The discussions I’ve had during these 23 days have given me some great new perspectives, and I think my bond with the anime community has gotten even stronger. We may not agree with everything, but not a single person gave me any sort of flak for my opinions. The mutual respect is so refreshing and greatly appreciated.

Plus, I’ve been really enjoying the responses from FuelS and Jiraiyan. Check out their challenges, if you haven’t already, and thanks to FuelS for making this challenge!

If there’s one thing I’m salty about…..it’s YOU.

Yes, you, reader! I got some salt to…pick with you! Why haven’t YOU been doing this challenge?!

Are you a chicken!?

Are you a fraidy cat?

Are you watching your sodium intake?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIKE A WUSS?!

Do The Salty Anime Challenge! If you do, share your responses with me! I’d love to read them, non-wuss!

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 22: An Anime Everyone Hates And/Or Has a Low Score, But You Love

I really struggled with this one. Outside of the typical ‘kids’ shows like shounen gaming anime, I don’t really know of many shows that I like that others hate on or that have particularly bad scores. Two shows came to mind, though, one of which is an aforementioned shounen gaming anime, but it’s for a different reason than the usual.

If you’ve followed me for the past few Halloweens, you probably know that I’m a Yami Shibai: Japanese Ghost Stories fan.

For those who have never seen it, Yami Shibai is a horror anthology series presented as a kamishibai show. I absolutely adore horror anthologies and the style of this show really appealed to me. The stories vary widely in quality in nearly every way from story to characters to art style (especially in later seasons) but, as a whole, I love the entirety of the franchise, and I’m excited about Yami Shibai 6 coming out this July.

However, the series receives a lot of flak, and it seems to get worse every season. The first season was held in pretty high regard, but every subsequent season keeps getting worse and worse responses.

The scores for the various series aren’t really that low. They range between 7.5 and 5.5.

Even so, the discussions I saw about these series on various anime sites were just terrible. It seems like they get the worst of it right when it’s in the middle of airing, but it gets pretty badly slammed. They either say the story was stupid or it’s just not scary at all, and the one comment that never goes away is ‘This series hasn’t been good/scary since the first season.’

I will admit, Yami Shibai has some major duds in their collection. Every anthology is bound to have at least a few stinkers, and the seasons aren’t terribly consistent with quality. People were pretty relentless about this series, though.

The aforementioned shounen gaming anime I chose was Duel Masters.

That random tagline’s not gonna help my case. Damn you Google images and your lack of…images!

I loved Duel Masters for the handful of months they showed it on TV. It was a pretty funny show with a cool card game being the focus. I even bought some of the cards and the GBA game for it. I had a blast playing it.

Like all shounen gaming anime, it shares many of the same criticisms like being poorly animated, having a bad story, having stereotypical leads and, of course, it carries the pall all shounen gaming anime carry – it’s just a half hour long commercial. It’s a show designed to sell toys. If it’s just those things, why does Duel Masters tend to get the pointy end of the review stick?

Thing is, Duel Masters couldn’t have come at a worse time. It debuted right at Yugioh’s peak, so it obviously gained a firm reputation as being a Yugioh ripoff, even if, besides playing card games being part of the plot, it had nothing to do with it…..Mostly.

People pretty much wrote off the show before they ever even saw it, if they ever saw it at all. It’s understandable, I suppose. But I think it’s undeserved.

One thing you have to know about Duel Masters is, from everything I’ve been able to gather, the dubbed version is almost entirely a different show in regards to dialogue and tone than the original. I doubt many people who have watched the dub have seen the original, but I feel the need to speak its piece in that department.

The dub tends to focus a lot on comedy. They break the fourth wall all the time, have meta humor and constantly make jokes. They even change up the editing in order to include more jokes. There’s still a ton of shounen children’s-card-gaming action, but there’s much more comedy to the dub than the original.

The original version, which I’ve never been able to find, supposedly plays all of this straight, and from what I’ve read of the plot and story of the original manga and what I saw of the dialogue in the game, I’m obliged to believe this is true.

The story, from what I can tell, doesn’t change all that much, it’s just that the dialogue, tone and editing are mostly altered to make jokes.

I will admit, I don’t remember much of the story besides these are kids who like playing Duel Masters, they enter a tournament and, of course, there are a bunch of evil people who play the game that they have to defeat because, if not, they’ll, say it with me now, take over the world!

The original does appear to be a Yugioh rip-off, to the bare bones anyway. I have yet to see any Egyptian imagery or Kaiba clones. At the very least, they’re trying to ride its coattails. However, I don’t believe the dub should share the original version’s negative marks on copycatting because 1) The game itself is a lot different from Yugioh. Not every card game involving monsters is a Yugioh rip-off, guys. 2) The dub’s really funny sometimes. Even if the story falls flat, they did enough with the dialogue in the dub to make it very entertaining.

Even today, Duel Masters maintains its horrible rep. If anything, it’s gotten worse. Reviews of the show aren’t plentiful, but what’s there is usually extremely negative. Check out this gem for example.

I particularly enjoy this section.

“CHARACTER SECTION: 2/10

There is a nerdy bunch of kids who care more about a card game, than, let’s say, finding a job or getting laid, and a bunch of costumed weirdos who control the world with cards.” Yes, ten-year-old children, go out and get a job and get laid instead of playing that children’s card game.

I will give them some leeway because they call it a Magic the Gathering rip-off instead of a Yugioh one, which is more accurate. Yeah the tapping and mana thing carry over, but MtG is far more complex and Duel Masters still does enough to differentiate itself.

I don’t even think the ‘action’ is bad. Generic? Yeah. Poorly animated? Indeed. But I have plenty of fun with it.

When they keep the serious tones, it’s actually somewhat funnier because you can clearly tell the voice actors aren’t taking the serious stuff….seriously. It’s almost like they’re purposely either phoning it in ultra hard or overacting to the max just to make the serious stuff look silly.

Maybe a part of it is my nostalgia goggles. Maybe I’m mentally filtering things. But I rewatched some clips of the show to do this entry, and I still think it stands up perfectly fine…..I did not remember the insanely poor sound production, though. I don’t know what happened in the BGM and sound effect department, but it’s sloppy as hell. I won’t defend that.

And now for your earworm pleasure, the theme song!

 

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 21: An Anime You Thought You’d Hate (Due to Genre/Tropes) But Actually Love

What has become a bit of a theme for me during this challenge?

‘You don’t like harems or fanservice?’

Mmm…I’m definitely not a fan of harems, and I can tune out fanservice. I can’t be a hypocrite and say I hate fanservice, because I, admittedly, like the fanservice meant for women.

I don’t tend to like crass humor, and humor based on fanservice or sex is not a far cry from that.

That being said – I love B Gata H Kei and 30 Sai no Hoken Taiiku.

Yamada’s First Time: B Gata H Kei is a show about a high school girl named Yamada. She has a goal of having sex with 100 guys. Problem is, she’s a virgin, and her inexperience makes her very uneasy when trying to initiate even slight romantic contact.

As a way of easing herself into the world of sex, she decides to have her first time be with a guy who is also clearly a timid virgin – a boy named Kosuda. They start a relationship, Kosuda forever unaware of Yamada’s goals and intentions, and they each go through the various trials and tribulations of trying to reach their first times.

Sounds like a stupid show, right? While I’ll admit the premise is crass and Yamada’s goal is misguided to say the least, this show is actually hilarious. The fanservice isn’t really that high in this show, which is surprising (most of what there would be is censored heavily), and while there’s obviously a lot of sexual situations, they never go that far with it. They only even get to the actual attempt of sex at the very ending, and even that is as tastefully done as a sex comedy can get.

Yamada is just so driven to achieve this goal, and it frustrates her that she can’t even get out of the gate. Poor (or lucky?) Kosuda is along for the ride (bad choice of words) and they play off of each other really well. She’s super hyped about making her journey to non-virgin-ville while he’s just confused and aroused most of the time. It’s not even like Yamada’s a pervert or anything – she gets very flustered when it comes to facing the sexual aspects of a guy. She damn near had a heart attack when she realized she gave Kosuda an erection once.

Kosuda’s not a pervert either – he gets equally freaked out, if not worse, when faced with Yamada’s body. They’re both cute little dorks, and I really liked that their relationship actually developed out of this whole ridiculous situation (at a reasonable pace, even) instead of Yamada just using him as a stepping stone to orgy city.

And don’t worry, Yamada never achieves her goal in this series, I think she even gave it up in the end, and she appears to be knowledgeable on safe sex.

30 Sai No Hoken Taiiku is a similar beast, but on a goofier level.

The show is based on a novel titled Health and Physical Education for 30 Year Olds, which sounds boring, but more to the point, the show itself is about a 30 year old virgin named Imagawa. Being a virgin at 30 is deemed unacceptable by the gods (no, I’m not kidding), so the sex gods Daigorou and Macaron devote themselves to helping Imagawa pop his cherry.

On the female side, another 30 year old virgin named Andou is put in the same situation by the sex goddesses, Kuu and Pii. They lead the virgins to each other in hopes of killing two birds with one romp in the sheets.

I thought I would deplore this series when I first watched it. Like B Gata H Kei, this premise also sounds stupid and misguided, but the show itself is actually pretty damn crazy and funny while simultaneously providing us with a fairly realistic and likable romance. Even the relationships between the gods and the humans was heartwarming and nice to watch.

Like B Gata H Kei, it’s also a sex-based comedy where nearly all of the even slightly sexual stuff is censored – even French kissing…that is being depicted on fake faces.

There’s still plenty of fanservice, sexual discussions and some crass humor but they do it in a surprisingly tame manner…most of the time….One time, they parody DBZ and make the Spirit Bomb a Virgin Bomb that only draws energy from virgins and the bomb itself takes the shape of a giant sperm…..Yup.

It can be stupid and a tiny bit offensive sometimes, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 20: What’s an Anime Argument That You Absolutely Hate Hearing?

There are bunch of arguments in the anime world that I’m sick of hearing, but I mostly chalk it up to ‘Eh, to each his own.’ Some ‘arguments’, however, there are just no excuse for – and these are my top two choices.

English Dubs Are All Terrible.

I couldn’t think of an image to put here, so enjoy Haru being adorable.

Growing up with 4Kids and DiC, and the absolutely terrible dubbing jobs some companies did on those early direct-to-video movies in the 80s and 90s, I can totally get how dubs would get a bad rep.

But, guys, this is 2018, why are we still bitching about this? And why are we acting like dubs are the plague of anime?

We have great dubbing companies now. We have incredibly talented voice actors with passion for their work. We have people who care in the industry. It’s not perfect – oh god, no – but it’s massively better than it was back in the day. Yet it’s still incredibly common to hear ‘Ugh, I hate English dubs. They all suck.’

All of them? Really? Come on now.

‘Well, maybe one or two are okay, but the vast majority all suck.’

The vast majority? Is that why dubbing companies are bigger now than ever?

‘They just make bank on the mainstream anime that the plebs watch on Toonami and stuff.’

Mainstream? More anime are being dubbed now than ever too – from obscure to mainstream.

‘Poser anime fans love English dubs. A true anime fan would watch the original.’

Who cares what language they watch it in? They’re still following the story, they engage with the characters, they’re being immersed in the world – they’re enjoying it. You’re a true anime fan if you’re A FAN OF ANIME. I have a friend whose native language is English and lives in the US and he watches all of his anime in a German dub – is he less of an anime fan?

‘No.’

Why not?

‘Because it’s not English.’

(That last part was, word for word, a conversation I had with someone once. They were serious.)

‘But, come on! English dubs have all sorts of censorship!’

This may be true for broadcast releases, but it’s becoming increasingly rare for this to happen at all, especially now that 4Kids is off the anime road. Even if they do, the DVD release is usually uncensored and it’s typically available incredibly quickly.

There was even an instance somewhat recently of a show being censored on broadcast for basically showing child nudity and iffy sexual-ish situations with the visually underage character (Dance in the Vampire Bund – the MC looks like a child when she’s actually over 400 years old because vampire.) People got up in arms over it, and they STILL got the uncensored version on the DVD release first time out.

‘But the acting and voices in English suck so much compared to the Japanese!’

This part of the argument seems to make the assumption that all Japanese versions of anime are well-acted with fantastic voices, and that’s an epic blanket statement. Hardly anyone who makes this argument seems to understand that the original Japanese can be terrible in regards to acting and voice work too.

One of the reasons I hate this one is because so many of the people who say this don’t understand Japanese nor do they really understand Japanese culture, and thus, I have to question, do they really understand what makes for good acting in Japanese? Especially voice acting.

Sure, you can probably tell in big dramatic moments or funny moments where there are instances of intense emotions which version seems better, English dubs are frequently dinged for sounding ‘flat’, but is that just because they’re usually yelling in the Japanese version? Is it because they have a funny inflection to whatever word you just heard?

Remember when people wouldn’t shut up about how bad Naruto’s dub was? It’s actually a really good dub. The acting’s great, there are barely any changes whatsoever, the BG music stays exactly the same and the voices fit extremely well.

‘Naruto’s dub voice is grating!’…yeah…because his original Japanese voice was grating.

‘Sakura’s dub voice is irritating!’…yeah….because her original Japanese voice was irritating. And for the love of god, Naruto fans, you even got to keep your theme songs in Japanese. Do you have any clue how rare that was back then? Especially for the shows aimed towards younger audiences? Geez.

There are sucky English dubs. There are sucky Japanese versions. Neither is inherently good or bad just because they are one or the other.

It’s anime purism at its most annoying. They act like dubbers are out to ruin the beauty and sanctity of their perfect anime’s original form by even thinking about translating the dialogue, or like the disgusting English language could never compare to their glorious Japanese.

You may be wondering why I all of people, considering I compare, analyze and even make fun of the differences between originals and dubs, would make this claim. My SDC series is one of the reasons why I am so adamant about this. I actually have a very hard time finding entries for this series, and nearly all of them are kids shows from the late 90s and early 00s from companies who are infamous for half-assing dubs for money. Even dubs where I’ve heard that they’re really awful, like Sonic X, I’ve tried to do an SDC on and I barely have anything to say.

Not to mention that dubs help anime stay alive not just in the States but around the globe. You should be thankful not hateful.

You’re Not a Real Anime Fan if You Haven’t Seen (Anime)

Oh fuck off.

Is this implying that I could watch thousands of anime but fail as an anime fan because I haven’t seen one or two titles? That’s just ridiculous.

Again, you’re a true anime fan if you’re a fan of anime. End of story. There are no pre-requisites, there are no tests, there is no required reading or watching – even if you’ve just seen a couple of anime and decide that you’re an anime fan now, you’re an anime fan.

I believe there are some major classics every anime fan should watch at least once because I believe they’d really appreciate and enjoy it, but I don’t have a checklist of shows that you need to complete before I grant you your ‘Certified Anime Fan’ badge.

With the English Dub thing we have purism, but here we have pure elitism. This is anime fans trying to lord themselves over others by making them seem more important or validated because they’ve seen the ‘best’ or ‘most important’ anime. I’ve found that anime fans are some of the most inclusive and kind bunch of people you could ever meet, yet we have people who say things like this to make others feel bad.

If you want to suggest things to people, do it. Don’t guilt them into watching things or make them feel like ‘bad fans’ just because you want to feel superior.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 19: Least Favorite -dere Character

Oh the possibilities with this one. Since it’s just -dere and there’s around a billion -dere types, I decided to split this into two entries: One for tsundere and another for yandere.

Yandere – Mayo from Fushigi Yuugi Eikoden

I forgot about her.

I wish I still forgot about her.

For today’s entry, I wanted to be accurate, so I looked up a list of tsun and yanderes on TV Tropes and lookee who I found! One of the world’s biggest irredeemable bitches in animation.

Fushigi Yuugi Eikoden is animated fanfiction. That is not a lie.

Mayo is a whiny little brat who devolves into a massive, malicious, malignant tumor of a person. She starts off the series whining about nearly everything in her life, treats everyone who cares about her like garbage and believes she’s entitled to Taka, the reincarnation of Tamahome and now husband of Miaka, because she had a crush on him for three years.

She hates Miaka because they got together, and she uses the book of the Universe of the Four Gods to become the new priestess of Suzaku, grant her wish of forcing Taka into loving her, magically steals Miaka’s baby from her womb, causes Miaka to go into a coma and doesn’t give a crap about her life, gives zero shits about the danger within the book because the Suzaku Seven protect the priestess and she gives even fewer shits about their lives, sans Taka, threatens to kill Miaka and Taka’s unborn child if Taka doesn’t love her and do what she says—I cannot go through the entirety of all the bullshit she pulls over the course of the four episodes of the OVA.

All that was from ONE EPISODE.

See here for a complete collection of Mayo’s Horribitch moments. Be warned, though – this review is old so the writing’s kinda iffy. Facts are facts, though.

Let me just say….While Yuka from 11Eyes is indeed terrible, Mayo’s on a different level. I can’t believe I forgot Mayo this whole time. I must’ve been subconsciously blocking her from my memory to avoid having a massive rage-induced coronary.

“But wait!” you say “How can she be a yandere where there’s no ‘dere’ side?”

Well, near the end, she pulls a 180 and acts all damaged and sweet and apologetic. And, even though she did some incredibly terrible, horrible, evil things, the other characters all up and forgive her without a thought or a doubt. She’s completely redeemed, ends up helping Miaka save the day and becomes besties with everyone.

Fuck. Off.

I’M CHEATING! 😀 Tsundere – Naru from Love Hina

Ah, Love Hina – one of the most well-known and treasured harem romcom anime. Love Hina was surprisingly popular back in the early 2000s, and it was one of those shows that was everywhere, but moreso in the AMV community. It was always a part of collabs somehow, and nearly every love song, comedy or otherwise, has been put to it.

Why is this entry cheating? I’ve never actually watched Love Hina.

Why am I putting Naru on this entry if I’ve never seen Love Hina? She’s the reason I’ve never watched Love Hina.

I was a part of the AMV scene back in its glory days. I made ‘em, I watched ‘em a lot – it was a fun expression of the fandom. Because of this, I saw a lot of Love Hina clips and learned the basic gist of the series.

The basic gist is that Naru hits Keitaro a lot, usually for no reason. But they’re totally in love and junk.

This series is basically famous for how much Naru hits Keitaro. She’s an OG tsundere.

A clip from AMV Hell 7 sums it up quite nicely. Naru and the others are questioning Shinobu (a young, shy girl) about something. She cries just because they’re insinuating that she might maybe know something about it. Naru, out of friggin’ nowhere, yells ‘Keitaro, this is all your fault!’ and punches him, sending him flying nearly off the porch. Then Keitaro says ‘What did I do!?’ and this sound clip plays.

Seriously, what the hell is her problem? Everything I read about her makes me not want to watch this series even more.

Here are some other stupid highlights brought to you by TV Tropes.

– Once she walks in on Keitaro changing and she punches him anyway! Naru justifies herself saying it was “a reflex”.

– One time, she tries to hit Keitaro on the grounds that he must be thinking something perverted.

– Another time, Tama-chan the turtle has gone missing, and Naru and Keitaro are looking for it. Shinobu has just got home and is changing her clothes, when she is scared by Tama-chan and comes running up to them clad only in her camisole, grabbing Keitaro in panic. He’s too busy trying not to choke to notice her, yet Naru still hits him “just in case”.

– Once ridiculed Keitaro’s hopes of getting with his promise girl on the basis that he’s a spineless dork. Keitaro retaliated by saying that Naru could never get with her promise guy because she’s violent. Instead of realizing how mean she was being, Naru just bursts into tears, making Keitaro feel guilty for something she started.

I’m not sure how much -dere there even is to her. I’ve seen some ‘sweet’ clips of her and Keitaro, but according to what I’ve read, she’s rarely ever nice and stagnates in character development regarding accepting her feelings for Keitaro and refraining from being violent until the very end of the series.

Non-Cheat Entry – Tsundere: Kagome from Inuyasha

Kagome’s not a big tsundere. She’s usually nice, but it is insanely common for her and Inuyasha to get into shouting matches. Plus, there’s the staple of the series in her ‘SIT BOY!’ ability, which creates the physical abuse.

Admittedly, the SIT BOY thing is funnier than the average punches and kicks, considering he’s a dog demon and all, but she’s still slamming the guy into the ground for offenses that are frequently just him putting his foot in his mouth. It was originally meant to keep him in line in terms of stealing the jewel or doing particularly bad things – it wasn’t meant to punish him for not liking a part of the lunch she made for him.

I’ve always found Kagome to be very grating. She screeches a lot, she screams a lot, she’s always yelling Inuyasha’s name and getting into danger so Inuyasha can save her.

I’ve learned to give her more leeway because she’s a teenager girl thrust into a dangerous world. Sango was born and raised a demon slayer, that’s why she’s so badass, and Kikyo was similarly brought up to be a powerful priestess. But Kagome still had plenty of time to get more useful in battle or to become a more interesting character. She does get some moments where her bow and arrow save the day, but it’s almost all Inuyasha and the others.

For the most part, she’s defined by her relationship with Inuyasha. We never learn what she really wants to be in the future or what she likes outside of typical modern day amenities. The only thing she strives to be is a person who stays by Inuyasha’s side, and she becomes Inuyasha’s wife in the end, leaving the present day world behind her. I would ask how that doesn’t massively change the ‘present day’ or her existence, but Back to the Future Part III has taught me that that doesn’t matter.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 18: An Unpopular Anime that Deserves Being Unpopular

I really struggled with this one since I really couldn’t think of a good entry. Either I was thinking of shows that were terrible but had a good following or were not bad enough for me to really get salty over and were barely known.

So I sifted through some stuff and came across something that I think fits well – Dragon Ball GT.

Every franchise has their black sheep, and this is…

….One of them.

Dragon Ball GT is ‘that series we all gleefully accept as non-canon.’ Akira Toriyama even claims it’s just a ‘side story of the original Dragon Ball Series’ Back in the day, before Kai, before Super, before the new movies, this is what we had as our ender for the beloved Dragon Ball franchise.

Admittedly, I found out that, somehow, GT is more popular in the west than it was in Japan, but it still stands as being, by far, the least popular animated entry in the entire franchise and one of the more critically slammed mainstream anime. Even THEM anime reviews only gave it a one star.

I loved Dragon Ball and DBZ when I was younger. Still do, to a degree. And when I heard they were coming out with a new series, I got hyped. When I finally got to sit down and watch the premiere, I was underwhelmed but I kept watching. I watched fairly regularly for about 20 episodes and then it was put in the ‘catch it when you see it on while channel surfing’ bin. I did watch the whole series as it reran….I think. I probably missed some of the dragon ball hunting ‘filler’. I followed the story off and on, I watched the ending and I was very sad that this was the end of DBZ.

It went out with a….

GT got off on the wrong foot right out the gate by having Akira Toriyama almost completely uninvolved in the project. It wasn’t based on any manga he had written for the series and he didn’t do any writing for it. He came up with the name and he designed the main cast character designs.

The aim of the show was to capture the original goofiness and comedy of Dragon Ball while still trying to keep the pace of the intensity from Dragon Ball Z. In order to achieve this, they returned Goku to a child state, which is pointless because he still kept his adult mentality, which is basically just a slightly more mature child mentality, and they include Goku’s granddaughter Pan, who I will rant about later. With them is Trunks, who is a glorified babysitter, and Giro, who can die in a pit.

Together, they travel the universe looking for the black star dragon balls because, if they don’t find them all within one year the earth will explode. You may be asking why such a condition would exist. Well, you’d be one of many.

The focus on the dragon ball search is another aspect they brought on from the original series, but it doesn’t work very well because their adventures are boring and lack the charm and fun of the original Dragon Ball.

Everything about this series just seems blah from the art to the music, which also isn’t performed by the original composer (and included the GT rap. Remember that? No? Merry Christmas!

Mmm look at the CGI Shenron. That is some delicious horribleness. Num num num.)

The characters are shells of their former selves, nearly all of the human characters are so old they don’t get to do a damn thing, even, somehow, less so than in DBZ (Oh wait, Krillin gets to do something…..He dies again….Just as a catalyst to get 18 into the fray.) and the villains are all completely uninspired in both design and characterization. Besides Baby, name two original GT villains. Go.

A good chunk of them are just reworked designs of existing characters like Android 17, Dr. Gero and seven different iterations of Shenron, none of which look good.

Speaking of Baby, he’s basically Kid Buu mixed with Black Water Mist.

Oh well, at least he made Vegeta look like an unrecognizable eye sore.

….Wait, that’s a bad thing.

Oh well, at least he prompted him to shave off his porn stache.

I never understood what they were going for with this look.

I will admit two things – I was always fine with Gogeta, even though he looks too much like Goku, and I thought SS4 looked incredible. The melding with the ape aspects worked very well to me, and I really liked the black and red color scheme….Don’t understand how he got new clothes from the transformation, though. I can justify new clothes through fusion (the clothes fuse too?) but not transformation.

Other than that, though, hardly anything in this series worked, and it ended on yet another ‘Goku’s an asshole husband and father’ note by having him leave AGAIN – this time for 100 years! His wife and children all died in that time and he only came back for his great-great-great-great grandson’s first world tournament fight. You can argue that he had to leave, but there are so many loopholes in that theory I can’t believe it for a second.

And, just because this is a challenge about saltiness, let’s bring up Pan.

Pan, sweetie! Congrats! You’re our first female Saiyan (hybrid at least) in the series! We’ll be sure to give you interesting storylines, some cool unique powers, at least a few awesome fights, and we’ll certainly get you to at least Super Saiyan 1 form…..

Oh wait, no.

No.

We won’t do any of that.

Instead, let’s make you a useless uninteresting pile of child who hardly ever fights, doesn’t do anything to contribute to the main storyline (besides helping Goku control his ape form with her tears…Great, Pan. You’re Princess Peach – one of your main abilities is to cry.) and never…goes….Super Saiyan.

That’s the thing I’ve always been saltiest about with this series. Pan has a desire and ability to fight. Why not at least let Pan to get base Super Saiyan form?

Here are the most common responses I’ve gotten to this question.

– She’s a girl. Girls probably can’t go Super Saiyan.

This one, as sexist and stupid as this is, may have been feasible back in the day, but not now. Today, we know that female Super Saiyans do indeed exist. Their vaginas do not affect their ability to transform.

– She might be too young to do it.

Goten and Trunks did it when they were her age or younger. Granted, they are ½ Saiyan and she’s ¼, but we’ll soon discuss why this isn’t a factor.

– Akira Toriyama admitted that he can’t figure out the design of female Super Saiyans.

This one was the most common response, but again, stupid.

Can’t design female Super Saiyans? Mr. Toriyama, are you saying you don’t have the artistic capabilities of half the people on DeviantArt?

Draw a female Saiyan. Give her spiky blond hair. Change her eyes a little. Boom. Instant female Super Saiyan.

I really just feel like he never gave it much effort or didn’t want a female Super Saiyan until many years down the road where he felt like he had to.

Unless it took him 20+ years to ‘perfect’ the style of the female Super Saiyan.

Here’s an excerpt from the Wiki.

“The main reason why Pan never transformed in GT was because Toriyama never could quite figure out how to draw female Super Saiyans and presumably Toei Animation likewise avoided introducing any Super Saiyan forms for Pan or Bulla so as to avoid creating a design that might contradict Toriyama’s vision should he ever come up with a design for female Super Saiyans, though since Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr. resembled their male ancestors they were given Super Saiyan forms as Goku Jr.’s resembles Goku’s and Goten’s Super Saiyan forms while Vegeta Jr.’s is modeled after Vegeta’s as the traits of male Super Saiyans had already been well established by that point.”

All of this just reeks of laziness to me, if it’s accurate. There’s no reason why female Super Saiyans would ever have that much differentiation in their designs than males. And now we know for a fact that there isn’t any difference at all, except MAYBE, just maybe, their eye shape, and that’s slight.

Plus, uh, what the hell do you guys care about visual continuity? I do believe Vegeta, the Saiyan with never changing hair, has a completely different haircut and a porn stache in GT. If female Super Saiyans did have some change to their design between series, just chalk it up to ‘well, pbbt, I dunno.’

Or, hey, make a design of your own and run it by Toriyama. He’s in communication. He’s making some designs.

Also also, you don’t want to screw with the continuity of future Super Saiyan designs when 1) This was supposed to be DB’s swan song and 2) you made SS4 starkly different from how Super Saiyans have been shown so far. I mentioned I liked the design, and the Super Saiyan designs were getting a little insane (SS3 or Caveman Saiyan is laughably horrible) but it just seems so misguided to say you don’t want to screw with Super Saiyan designs when you make the most drastically different Super Saiyan design ever. Even the newer designs are just recolored Super Saiyans, really.

– Pan’s only ¼ Saiyan. Maybe she just isn’t able.

Bullshit.

Case and point – Goku jr. is Pan’s (gauging from the original Japanese) great-great grandchild. Pan’s Goku’s granddaughter. She’s ¼ Saiyan, that means her children would be 1/8 Saiyan, her grandchildren would be 1/16 Saiyan, her great-grandchildren would be 1/32 Saiyan and her great-great grandchildren would be 1/64 Saiyan. Yet both Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr., who is also 1/64 Saiyan, can go Super Saiyan at age, what, four?

The proportions on Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr. always seemed weird to me.

It’s understandable that Bulla never did it because she has no desire to fight nor is she trained to do so, but there’s no excuse for Pan.

It irritates the hell out of me and comes off as more laziness that they went ‘well, Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr. basically have their Super Saiyan designs already made for them since we copy-pasted their base character designs, so let’s have them transform and never explain why Pan can’t do it.’

It’s just very irritating because Pan was the first ever main-main character who was a girl and a fighter that wasn’t an enemy, but they did nothing with her. 18 at least got to jump into the fight again, but that was much too little far too late.

It’s such a bitch to be a female DB fan sometimes. Really the best female role model in DBZ is Bulma, who is admittedly pretty great sometimes, but doesn’t get to do a lot besides provide technical support. It was also sad to lose her for the dragon ball hunting considering she was the original dragon ball hunter in the series.

GT had an opportunity to be an epic return to form and close out the franchise in a way that would make fans proud. Instead it’s the series that fans reject, and even Akira Toriyama seems to be desperately trying to erase this from any semblance of canon. Toei’s staff tried way too hard to be Akira Toriyama and yet they didn’t try hard enough to match either Dragon Ball or DBZ and completely failed at being a combination of both.

…..Oh yeah, and Uub amounted to nothing special too. Glad those years of abandoning your family, again, paid off for you, Goku.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 17: An Anime You Have No Desire to Watch, Even Though It’s Popular

I’m not sure how popular this is exactly, but it’s a shounen jump anime and it’s on Toonami, so my money’s on quite popular. This was also basically the only one I could think of. Black Clover.

I have nothing against it – I just have no desire to watch it. It looks like someone mixed Fairy Tail with the art style of Berserk…..And that’s not appealing to me, despite liking both.

When it comes to shounen jump anime, I tend to have a soft spot for them. They can be a lot of fun mixed with fantastic action and memorable characters. I basically have the same soft spot for them as I do shounen gaming anime or magical girl shows. I even really like Fairy Tail, even though many people have said that’s one of the weaker shounen jump fantasy series to come out recently.

Sitting down and reading the full synopsis and seeing bits and pieces on advertisements, I have no interest. Orphans….magic powers….oh great, one of the characters is a prodigy. I totally missed talking about that on my least favorite trope entry…..They’re….working to become…Wizard King? Okay now you’re mixing Fairy Berserk with One Piece.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I just have no desire to watch it.

My lack of interest probably stems from my increasing maturity and refinement as an anime watcher. I need more…substance, intellectualism….and….deep….feelings of…emotion in my anime. These fantasy tales designed for small human mammals just aren’t enough for me anymore.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch Hamtaro.