Wish Upon the Pleiades (Web Series) Review

Plot: A girl gains magical abilities and stumbles upon a group of other magical girls who take her in to their group as a new member to collect stuff and fight evil. Well, kinda.

Breakdown: Gainax, maker of such greatness as Nadia: Secret of Blue Water, His and Hers Circumstances, the Cowboy Bebop movie and more had a love affair with the car company Subaru to make a magical girl anime.

Trippy, huh?

This is not a full out series, instead it’s a series of four less-than-ten-minute short webisodes called “nights.” It’s a really quick watch, however, that is its biggest flaw.

The story starts out with our main character, a girl named…..Guess. Go on. Guess. You’ll never get it…..Give up? Her name is….Subaru. I know, right!? God, how lame to name her after the leader of the Crimson Knights from .Hack//Sign. Pfft.

Subaru gains odd abilities, and by that I mean transmutation circles shoot from her hands when she touches walls which seem to give her access to secret magic rooms in the school. These abilities lead her into two rooms. The first is a greenhouse where she meets a boy/girl named Minato who has an awesome character design.

The other room leads her to the other magical girls meeting area. There’s girl with black hair, girl with blond hair, girl with purple hair and awesome friggin’ hat. I mean look at that thing.

That is an awesome hat. I know it seems like I’m glossing over these girls but…..so did the show. In total, the show is under 30 minutes long so we obviously can’t delve into everyone’s personalities too much, but there is literally no information given about these girls barring their names.

Except for Aoi, the girl with, of course, blue hair. She’s rather rough around the edges and seems to dislike Subaru (must be a Toyota person) but even her relationship to Subaru is glazed over. She seems to dislike her a bit, but sometimes it seems like her insults and pushing her away from the group is her protecting Subaru. One day in the rain, she apologizes and they’re instantly friends. That’s it.

The point of these magical girls is to, not making this up, collect magical engine parts for an engine that will send their club president, a blob of green goo, back to his home planet. No explanation as to what he is, where he came from, why his engine parts seem to come with magical girl abilities complete with new outfits (one girl even gets a ship captain hat) just accept it and move on.

They achieve this through magical flying brooms or sickle-like things that, not making this up again, make engine sounds when they’re turned on. And not just any engine sounds. According to several commenters on the video, that’s specifically the engine sounds of a Subaru Boxer.

When they sense a magical engine fragment, they fly out, catch it in a giant star design and store it in a glass container.

Their enemy for this show, who is also collecting the engine fragments because they supposedly hold great power, is the aforementioned Minato. He seems to be just as powerful if not moreso than the girls since he’s keeping the fragments for his own power. And, of course, being the bad guy, he wears black torn clothing.

In the final episode, Minato launches a big attack on the school to get the girls’ fragments which are in no way, shape or form protected. They’re in a glass jar on their club table. Way to go, girls!

The jar floats out into the void Minato has created, but Aoi grabs it before it floats away. Minato launches an attack on Aoi to get the fragments but Subaru stands in the way of the blast, somehow absorbing it or something and using its power to fly towards Minato without her Subaru Boxer.

She hugs him and he starts reverting to a good guy. She tells him that she saw the same stars he saw the night before. He’s about to hug her back before his earring shines red and pull him into the nothingness. He tells her that he can’t be with her yet and that she should return to her friends. After all is said and done, she goes to the room she met Minato in and sees a few flowers growing on the floor, the end.

Did you catch that? Because I didn’t skip over anything, really. That’s the whole show. This is a problem with shows this short – you can’t cover anything really well. This isn’t the kind of plot meant for a short story – it’s meant for a full-out series. As such, it’s really just incredibly confusing and very poorly paced. The plot itself is fairly generic magical girl fare, too. Girl randomly gets powers and in the end she gets the best ones because of the power of heart or something.

I would say that the girls don’t really fit the stereotypes of magical girl groups, but I don’t know enough about them to say. Subaru does fit the shy freaked out newbie who is always brave to save her friends, and Aoi does kinda fit the friend who seems to butt heads with the main protagonist but is really her best friend trope.

Also, the obvious product placement is groan worthy.

That being said, I could totally get on board with a full-out series, and, according to some, there will be a full series coming out sometime in the future, which is cool. I look forward to watching that when or if it gets made.

For what we have here, it’s not bad by any means and there’s nothing to truly hate on, but there’s no meat on this particular sandwich. Maybe we’ll get some ham and turkey when the series comes out.

Art and Animation: Really beautiful and easily the best part of this show, but what else do you expect from Gainax? All of the art is really colorful and appealing with cute shoujo designs and very fluid animation.

Music: Decent but pretty forgettable.

Voice Acting: Japanese – Everything was very good in their roles, but there wasn’t much range to go on.

Bottom Line: It’s a quick watch, and I’d suggest a viewing merely for the art and animation, but if you’re looking for substance, I’d probably wait until the actual series gets made.

Additional Information and Notes: Wish Upon the Pleiades was directed by Shoji Saeki and was written by Shoji Saeki and Daisuke Kikuchi. It was produced by Gainax with no English dub to date.

Episodes: 4

Year: 2011

Recommended Audience:
This is as innocent as it gets, adorably so. Some people believe there’s a shoujo-ai aspect if that bothers you, but that’s purely conjecture. E for everyone!


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The Stigma of English Dubs

 

A common facet in the world of anime fans is bickering over whether English dubs are good, bad or are simply never as good as the original. Therein lies the lair of anime ‘purists’ who constantly bash English dubs, good or not, and vehemently refuse to watch English dubbed versions of anime. If they do, it’s usually to have some points on which to bash it.

 

The reason I bring this up is because I was thinking about my Sub Dub Comparisons and didn’t want to give the same vibe as an anime ‘purist’. I am not implying by these comparisons that all dubs are bad. In fact, it’s actually fairly difficult for me to find shows that have bad enough dubs to do comparisons on besides the obvious ones. Many dubs, I’ve found, are actually pretty damn accurate in terms of translations. They may just have poor acting choices and some annoying voices. However, the exact same thing can be said of plenty of original Japanese anime as well.

 

That is another thing that really bugs me about anime ‘purism’; it acts as if all anime in their original formats are flawless and any version done in English just can’t stand up to it no matter how much it tries and that’s just ridiculous. Even some of the best anime have poor lines or bad acting in some spots. And as a side note, if someone prefers all or most of their anime be in English dub for whatever reason, that doesn’t make them less of an anime fan. It just means they have different preferences. Just as someone insisting that they watch all of their anime in the original Japanese doesn’t make them more of an anime fan. Again, that’s just their preference in how to watch it.

 

My stance? I love both. I like watching anime both in English and Japanese. However, my preferences do change based on the show, how I know of it and just how I feel I enjoy certain versions. For example, I first watched Inuyasha in English dub on Adult Swim. While the original version is fine, I feel more comfortable watching the dub. Pokemon is an anime I first watched and basically knew for a good chunk of my life as English dub and it holds nostalgia as an English dub, but I can’t deny that I grew to like the original better for several reasons (though the dub’s first theme song is still insanely awesome.) Then there are shows like Naruto or Bleach which I can watch in both Japanese and English and really feel little to no preference because both versions in terms of their acting and lines are done extremely similarly. There are even some shows that I much prefer in English like Trigun, Fullmetal Alchemist and the epitome of good English dubs, Cowboy Bebop because, to me, they just sound better in English.

 

I won’t deny that some English dub4Kidsbing companies purposely ruin some anime for the sake of money (or just because they have no clue what they’re doing), and that’s likely where a good chunk of the bad rep for English anime came from. However, there are still English dubbing companies out there who are really loyal to their source material and respectful of anime fans, and they produce good to great and even some fantastic dubs that don’t deserve to be bashed or looked down upon simply because they’re in English. Having preferences is one thing, but damning an entire subsection of the anime world simply because it’s not the original is another. Gold and crap come in all languages, people.

 

Cardcaptor Sakura Episode 1 Sub/Dub Comparison

Aw, man. This isn’t the Blue Eyes White Dragon.

Card(s) of the day:

Windy: Windy is the only card Sakura was able to hold onto when she scattered the deck. Being one of the four element cards, Windy is a force to be reckoned with, but has a gentle nature.

Fly: An out of control bird, Fly grants the user the ability to, well, fly. Luckily, Fly’s weakness is Windy, so that worked out well. Fly is very frequently used throughout the series.

Plot: Sakura is a normal elementary school student until one day she accidentally sets free the power of the mystical Clow cards. Teamed up with the guardian of the Clow cards, Kerberos, Sakura must become a Cardcaptor and collect the Clow cards before they end up destroying everything.

Preface: Cardcaptors is a show that I only got to watch very little of when I was a kid. It was on some animation block on some channel that I don’t even think I get anymore. By the time I had discovered it, I had only watched a few episodes before it was yanked, but I really liked it.

I believe I discovered the series right around the time I had become a fan of Sailor Moon, so it’s easy to see how I got into it so quickly. When I finally got access to a computer and the internet, I looked up the subbed version and watched the full series. I really loved it, but I never remembered the quality of the dub nor did I really feel the need to find the dubbed version.

Some time later I see a THEM Anime Review showcasing the dubbed version of Cardcaptor Sakura, Cardcaptors, and it was a pretty damn scathing review. So, when I was looking for shows to do SDCs about, I remembered that review and gave it a whirl. Yeah….I can see why that review was so harsh.

I should note that there’s a drastic difference between this comparison and my other ones. Whereas 4Kids is really about digital paint and removing some scenes, which makes screencaps really necessary, Nelvana’s dub of CCS is really more about story changes and removing entire scenes for no real reason. Because of this, I won’t be including visuals of absolutely every shot that has been removed. That would take up way too much time. I’ll only include the pictures that I believe should be shown. If anyone wants to see screencaps of certain removed scenes, feel free to let me know.

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Series Name Change: The Japanese version is called Cardcaptor Sakura. The dub is called Cardcaptors. Some people believe this change was to coincide with the more male oriented dubbed version Nelvana was trying to create. They didn’t want to insinuate that Sakura would be the entire focus of the show. I can’t confirm that, but it is possible.

Theme Song: The opening song has been replaced with an English song. It’s not an English dubbed version of the original song. To be honest, I think the opening is pretty good in the dub and original. However, the dub does lead you to more “focus on guys” since it’s a dramatic action-y song and the original Japanese version is very much a cutesy magical girl opening.

Entire show…mispronunciation: They constantly say Sakura (Sah-kur-ah) as SaKERrah (noted emphasis on the KER). It’s semi-minor, but man is it annoying. Also, they change her last name to Avalon instead of Kinomoto. Because she needed to sound like a knock-off make-up brand.

Entire show….mispronunciation: Kero is supposed to be pronounced “Care-oh” The dub says “Key-roh”

Entire Series Edit: A lot of the BG music has been replaced.

Title Change: Sakura and the Mysterious Magic Book is changed to One Fateful Day.

Sakura sounds like a cute elementary school girl in the original. In the dub, she sounds like a somewhat snotty teenage girl.

They edit out Sakura’s giant fist and anime annoyance vein.

They edit out the introductions for everyone. Sakura just keeps blabbing on about the Clow.

Entire show….mispronunciation: Clow is supposed to be pronounced like ‘glow.’ Not like ‘cloud’ as the dub states.

They edit out the scene where Sakura’s brother leaves and she gobbles down her food to go after him.

They add a techy pop song during Sakura’s first rollerblading ride.

Name Change: Toya, Sakura’s brother, is changed to Tori.

Name Change: Yukito, Toya’s best friend, is changed to Julian.

They edit out Sakura popping up on screen when Yukito first appears and having her eyes turn into hearts as she gushes over him.

After they arrive at school, they edit out Yukito giving Sakura a candy as he says goodbye one more time. They also edit out the initial introduction of Tomoyo who has a short conversation with Sakura about Yukito giving her the candy.




Tomoyo has a bit of an implied crush on Sakura. This is not included in the dub because, as we’ll soon find out, Nelvana, like DiC, is scared to death of homosexual implications.

Name Change: Tomoyo, Sakura’s best friend, is changed to Madison.

They edit out Tomoyo gushing some more about how Sakura’s the cutest and Sakura falling to the floor after she says this then saying that Tomoyo’s kind of strange.

“We’re on line 12” – Sub

“We’re on line 48” – Dub

After Sakura drops the baton and the two girls talk about her, there’s a scene where she is holding her head and crying. In the dub, it’s cut out.

They edit out where Sakura is looking at the whiteboard in her home after she arrives and before she goes after the…’pudding’? Is that pudding? They say it’s pudding, but, nevermind…They also edit out her mention that her dad’s going to come home late.

Dubbed version, right before the book opens: “The book from my dream…” The book wasn’t in your dream…. Only the cards, your outfit, your staff and Kero were in the dream.

Kerberos is called Keroberos in the dub. I guess to make his nickname sound more fitting? However this also kinda puts off the meaning of his name. His name is based off of Cerberus.

In the original, Kero has a cute child voice. In the dub, he has an obnoxious pre-teen boy who has at some point smoked voice.

They edit out a short scene where Kero’s back is turned as he’s trying to sense the cards.

They edit out Sakura’s reaction to Kero saying he was asleep for 30 years right before he says being a guardian’s not easy.

After Kero says a Cardcaptor is born, Sakura screams in confusion as Kero eats the…pudding? This is cut out of the dub.

As Kero is setting Sakura down after being blown away by the Fly card, Sakura’s eyes turn to spirals and she acts like she’s dizzy. Cut out of the dub.

Entire series edits concerning Sakura’s “Catchphrases”: Sakura has lines that she says most every episode. A speech she gives before she releases her wand, a line she says before she uses a card and a line she says before she catches a card. Each is changed in the dub.

Original Japanese for releasing the wand:

The key which hides the power of dark

Show your true form before me

I, Sakura, command you under our contract

RELEASE

Dub for releasing the wand:

O key of Clow, power of magic

Power of light

Surrender the wand

The force ignite!

RELEASE

Using a card:

This varies greatly depending on the card and what she’s using it for. However, at the end, Sakura always says the name of the card. Many times, the dub adds “Release and dispel!” to the dub’s scenes with card usage.

Original Japanese for capturing a card:

Return to the guise you were meant to be in…

CLOW CARD!

Dub for capturing a card:

Return to your power confined (Am I the only person who thinks this sentence just doesn’t sound right?)

(enter name of card captured here!)

They edit out where Sakura has a short bit of crying where she said she thought she was going to die.

Leave it to Kero/Kero’s Corner: Though they keep the general idea of this short the same, there are some edits. There are some things they actually forget to edit, too. They forgot to change Cardcaptor Sakura to Cardcaptors in the logo for the short. Oops.

The shorts also are supposed to appear after the credits, but I guess Nelvana didn’t want kids to walk off before seeing the short.

Leave it to Kero was originally meant to explain the main design of Sakura’s school uniform. Instead, Kero just treats it like a fashion show saying Sakura has such great fashion sense (even though she’s forced to wear that to school.)

I also love how they talk about her shoes and socks when 1) again, they’re mandatory, not her choice and 2) the shoes are barely in the shot they’re focusing on. In the original, they were focusing on her skirt, but I guess they didn’t want to focus on a little girl’s skirt for an extended period of time.

Also, they edit out where they show a rough sketch of the male uniform because it wouldn’t fit in the dub segment if they were just talking about Sakura’s (MANDATORY) fashion sense.

Also, I should mention that Kero smokes a pipe at the end of mostly every short, and it’s not edited out or painted off. Granted you never see any actual smoke, but he is holding it. Out of all the stupid changes Nelvana makes to this show for stupid reasons, the one thing that might actually be understandable to edit out, they leave. What the actual hell….

The ending is replaced by an instrumental version of the opening.

There’s no preview in the dubbed version, which isn’t uncommon for English dubs.

Next episode, it’s the debut of Shadow, and it’s wreaking havoc at Sakura’s school. Can she overcome her fears of the dark to capture it?


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