2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas Special Review: Itsudatte My Santa! Review Part 2

Rating: 5.5/10

Plot: Santa and Mai are now living together and have been for the past six months. They’re enjoying their summer at the beach when an old friend of Mai’s, Shally, arrives to tell her that she’s taking over the area. Mai has to leave and go back to school. Her teacher, Noel, says that she’ll grant her until Christmas Eve at midnight to say goodbye to Santa.

Breakdown: Time to tackle the second half of the stale Christmas fruitcake…at the beach!

Episode 2: “Christmas Once More”: We start out with recycled footage from the first episode’s opening, segueing into a short sepia-toned flashback clipshow of Mai and Santa throughout episode one. Mai narrates about meetings and farewells before we transition to the beach where Mai asks if Santa would like her to rub suntan oil on his back.

The crowd overhears and think she means something dirty by that, and, amidst their clamoring, she slaps Santa again for thinking dirty thoughts.

Oh goody, a complete beat for beat and nearly line for line rip off of the joke from episode one, except this is actually stupid because of the crowd. She specifically said ‘suntan oil’ and they’re at the friggin’ beach where ‘suntan oil’ has to be a pretty commonly uttered phrase. Did they honestly think they were going to get oiled up and do the nasty right there in front of everyone? What perverts.

And Mai is still being a little bitch because she, again, slaps Santa for thinking dirty thoughts when he’s not even blushing or looking shocked in this scene. The crowd makes their assumptions and Mai smacks him again. Because when other people are pervs, it means everyone is.

Mai makes her big declaration, again, that she’s Santa Claus and thinking such thoughts about her is just awful.

Mai gets hauled off by the cops….again—Can I just copy/paste the first episode review and preface it with ‘In summer’? Because that’s what this is basically amounting to.

I don’t get why she’s being hauled away this time. She wasn’t seeming like she was propositioning Santa – they just misinterpreted what she said about suntan oil. And even if she did mean oil for sex or something, that’s still not grounds to be arrested. She has to actually do something first.

Mai pops up sans police escort again and berates Santa for not helping her, but they’re interrupted by the first non-first episode scene which is a little girl with pink hair saying ‘she’s’ coming over and over. It’s Mai’s little sister…..Maimai……….from the ‘country of Santa Claus’.

Guys….you’re being insanely lazy right now….Like…mind-bogglingly lazy. A little effort? Please?

We see that the ‘she’ Maimai is referring to is another Santa coming up from a geyser in the water….So….Santas are waterbenders now? Or is it that they can control the sea because it begins with S!?

The girl, named Shally, the Santa who briefly spoke to Mai while out on her sleigh on Christmas in episode one, bursts towards Mai saying she really wants to catch up, but first Mai has to leave because two Santa Clauses cannot handle the same area. Mai says her grandpa designated this area to be hers, but Shally says she’s more deserving of being Santa Claus of the area because all Mai has done for the past half year is screw around with Santa instead of training or studying.

…Yeah, that’s actually very logical. How has a half year gone by without Mai gaining enough magical power to go home anyway? Surely someone would’ve come for her. It just seems like she’s 1) Not making an effort to get home and 2) She’s not making an effort to work at being a Santa.

Mai defends Santa after Shally calls him worthless by yelling in a similar manner as Santa did in the beginning of episode one saying he’s a precious person who still believes in Santa (Well, yeah, anyone would believe in Santa if they met him and went on a Christmas sleigh ride delivering presents with magic. Faith isn’t faith if you have extensive proof of the thing you have faith in.) She blurts out that he was born on Christmas Eve and was named Santa because of it, further connecting it with the scene this is mirroring.

And of course Shally, like Mai did in that scene, laughs her ass off at this even though, again, they’re all Santa Clauses thus it can’t be THAT funny that a guy is named Santa. Is it seriously the fact that he was born on Christmas eve that’s the kicker?

After the laughter, both Mai and Santa run off comically while crying EXACTLY LIKE THE FIRST EPISODE. Can someone please do something original?

Shally grants my wish by challenging Mai to a contest to see who’s more deserving of being the Santa of that region. The contest is merely making S word items appear. Shally keeps one-upping her by making ‘gorgeous’ versions, really just giant versions, of all of the items that Mai is making.

How the hell does she…or Pedro have enough magic to keep doing the S item magic yet not enough to get them back home?

Santa tells her to stop, but Mai says she can’t because she doesn’t want to leave and give up being with Santa. Somehow she gets around to summoning a giant frog because she said ‘Snake and friends’ If that’s not cheating I don’t know what is. The giant frog is about to crush her, but Santa saves her.

Shally has a bit of a hissy fit about not being the villain, just doing what she’s told because she’s such a good Santa. Then Mai summons a sun room, or at least she says she does, one never appears for her, and Shally reflexively makes a gorgeous version, causing a huge sun room to fall on her.

It’s way too hot and sunny to be in there, especially for someone from a snowy region, so Mai summons (again, merely verbally) a coral reef…oh excuse me, a SEA coral reef. As opposed to all those land coral reefs. Shally, again, makes it gorgeous, breaking the sun room into a million pieces and crushing her.

The match is over after Maimai pops the reef with a needle…..?? and they go eat some watermelon while we get our backstory on Shally. She and Mai were classmates in Santa school and they were neighbors growing up, but while Mai is still a trainee, Shally passed her tests as a Santa Claus and was even placed in advanced classes.

Mai tries to defend herself, but Shally scoffs and says, if she really were any good, she wouldn’t have a toddler-like figure (again, a rehash from episode one….and why does Santa need to be a busty Playboy model in the first place?) and she’d be able to do more than just create S named items. Shally also mentions that, despite the fact that she did so last Christmas, Mai’s apparently not allowed to deliver presents.

Wait, how does she have an area designated to her at all if she’s not allowed to deliver gifts?

They have a small fight and Shally stomps off while Maimai says that she’s still hungry. Oh and haha, she eats a huge boatload of food and is still hungry. That’s not an overused joke or anything.

Mai goes off to buy her more food while Santa babysits.

Back with Shally, she’s so distracted by stewing over Mai that she accidentally bumps into someone, causing their watermelon…to fall….and smash into….pieces…..This better not be the gang lead—YUP. The same gang leader from episode one and his gang…*sigh*

The gang leader yells at Shally, but in a slight twist on episode one, Shally starts yelling and beating up the gang leader…though still in the exact same manner that the gang leader was beating up on Santa in episode one.

The gang yells at Shally in much the same manner as ep-you get the idea, but Shally changes it up a bit while still doing the same spin move that Mai did in that scene. She kicks the watermelon pieces, makes them ‘gorgeous’ and drops them on their heads….which is still nearly the same as the truckload of saury from episode one…..

While Mai is out shopping for food, she bumps into another person from ‘the country of Santa Claus’ named Noel who seems to be a higher up and a bit of a motherly figure to Mai. She says she has no choice but to obey the board of directors (There’s a board of directors for Santas?) and leave, but she’ll give her until…..Midnight on Christmas eve to say goodbye….Midnight on Christmas eve—That’s six months to say goodbye. You’re quite lenient.

Shally is eavesdropping on their conversation and says she’ll do Mai a solid and help her say goodbye to Santa. She yells this proclamation and does a ‘ho ho ho’ laugh over and over….while both Mai and Noel are mere feet away….Seriously, do they have the power of inaudibility and invisibility or is this just poor planning?

Shally tries to give Santa and Mai time to talk…while they’re playing volleyball…against each other no less, but Maimai keeps ruining it by smacking the ball into Santa’s head….Why would they talk about that or anything while playing volleyball? Especially if it’s supposed to be a personal goodbye.

Cut to later that night where Santa, Mai and Maimai are watching fireworks. Shally sneaks over and asks if Mai’s talked to Santa yet. She says no, and Shally takes Maimai away thinking she’s the cause again, which makes Maimai bite Shally.

Basically the exact same thing happens over and over at a hot spring, another hot spring, a bench, and out on the street. This cycle goes on for months….

It’s now December again because we had to get to Christmas somehow, and Shally starts freaking out that Mai won’t be able to say a proper goodbye to Santa and learn his true feelings before she’s forced to go away….

Okay, I have some questions. 1) Why is Maimai here? Has she been here since the end of episode one or did she really just pop up from nowhere at the start of this one?

2) If Mai admitted to Santa that she fell in love with him and they kissed twice in episode one, and they’ve been living together ever since, I find it seriously doubtful that his feelings were never brought up.

3) In another six month time period, Santa and Mai have REALLY never been given a moment alone? Maimai is constantly with them? I know she’s Mai’s little sister, but if she really did pop up from nowhere in this episode, why doesn’t she just go home? It probably would’ve been better to just start this episode in December to not make it so unbelievable, but I guess they really wanted to get those girls in bathing suits…

It’s now Christmas eve. Time really flies during repetitive montages. Shally’s getting increasingly stressed because the deadline’s fast approaching and no progress has been made, so she makes up a nice planned date for the two of them. Shally calls Santa up to discuss the plans and he’s actually super happy about this Christmas now since he has Mai, Maimai and even Shally to celebrate with.

Once Shally gets off the phone, she talks to Maimai about behaving for a change since this is her final chance to give the two of them the time that they need to sat their goodbyes. She starts lecturing her and getting really emotional when Mai walks in and hears what they’re saying.

She’s surprised….even though she knew about this, besides the whole Shally plan thing, and says she simply can’t say goodbye to him, because saying goodbye will mean that she’ll definitely be leaving for sure.

Shally and Maimai try to convince her that it’s for the best that she give him a proper goodbye, and we somehow segue into Shally talking about being Mai’s friend. She insists that, despite their differences in power and skill, she’s still Mai’s friend.

They flashback to when they were kids and apparently Shally was always teased for some reason, but Mai always stayed by her side no matter what. They were separated by the Santa school because Shally, having great grades, was sent to advanced classes while Mai lagged behind. However Mai said that they would still remain friends no matter what, even if she can’t stop time.

Santa Clauses give hopes and dreams to children….except the ones who are becoming Santas. We rip them away from their friends for the rest of their lives merely based on their grades…..HO HO HO!

Mai then realizes that she has to say ‘thank you’ to Santa instead of goodbye and also thanks Shally for being her friend.

…Did…Did I enter into a completely different show? I was ranting off the rails a second ago and now it’s all emotional and actually making an iota of sense.

Mai arrives at the Christmas tree where she and Santa first met and breaks the news to him. He takes it incredibly well and just tells her to go on and come back as soon as she can. He’ll wait for her even if takes a year or two. He wants to see her as a full-fledged Santa, and he knows his feelings won’t change no matter how long she’s gone.

Shally shows up, happy that Mai finally got the chance to say goodbye, but sadly it’s a mere five minutes until midnight….wait, really? How long were they talking back home? She made the reservations, had a short conversaion with Santa, had a short lecture to Maimai, talked a bit with Mai, Mai arrives at the tree has a short conversation with Santa and suddenly hours have passed? Eh?

Anyway, the point is that now Santa and Mai have no time to do all the stuff Shally planned for their date, so as a special Christmas present to Mai, Shally and Maimai transform (sans nakedness) and stop time to give them the time they need to have a nice date.

They fly off on Pedro and the sleigh even though Mai doesn’t transform and they go off to have their date.

They go to an oddly empty restaurant to….sit there because the cooks would be frozen in time….They go to the amusement park and ride rides that are motionless because the operators are frozen in time. All the while we get a nice narration from Mai about how lucky she is to have Santa and how her feelings will never change either, even if she’s forced to leave.

The date ends and they both agree to not say goodbye since they will see each other again someday. Mai thanks Santa like she wanted to do and is content in leaving now that she knows she will return one day with Santa waiting for her.

She’s literally beamed up….somewhere and says her farewells to everyone. We get more somewhat touching narration from Mai as she continues to fly up and they just have to ruin it by making her transform. Because nothing says ’emotional moment’ like watching asses and boobs grow in front of your eyes.

She flies off on Pedro back to the school, Santa thanks her for believing in him, and she tells them/us to believe in her and believe in Santa Claus.

Our end credits now include stills of Maimai and Noel, and I did find Maimai’s Santa outfit to be pretty cute.

Hey if they’re gonna rehash stuff, I can too.

Mirroring the end credits scene from episode one, Noel suddenly appears on Santa’s doorstep with Mai. She throws Mai into his house and says it’s not Mai who escaped from preschool, it’s Maimai who needs to be dragged back…..Wait, huh? I thought this was about the higher ups making Shally replace Mai as the Santa for the area and Mai needing to go back to get more training. What is all this about an ‘escape’?….And Santa preschool? This mistook Mai for a preschooler or does Mai suck so much at her job that she’s in preschool for it?

We get a preview for episode three, The Third Christmas, which includes stuff like a giant reindeer mech. This preview is actually a joke….which saddens me deeply because look at that thing.

I demand a Christmas themed Gundam Series.

This needs to be a thing, dammit.

So….does that mean the end credits scene was also a joke? Good, because it completely ruins the ending.

Bottomline: This was surprisingly much better than episode one. Santa is almost like an entirely different character here. He’s very mature and actually enjoyable to watch. Mai is also much easier to watch even if she does rehash that moment from episode one in an even bitchier fashion.

Maimai, while seemingly being unneeded outside of forcing an intrusion upon Mai and Santa, wasn’t really annoying as she doesn’t speak much. Her mannerisms are cliché and unfunny, but she’s not annoying.

Shally is a decent enough character. It’s made apparent from the getgo that she’s not a bad person and dislikes being seen as such. She just follows orders to a tee and has a bit of an ego. This makes it easier to take her basically changing her attitude entirely to becoming a mostly nice character. Plus, you can really tell that, despite the fact that they push each other’s buttons, they actually do care about each other.

The biggest issue I have is that the first part is WAY too reliant on mirroring the first part of episode one. It’s ridiculous how much they repeat just ‘In summer’.

The fanservicey transformation and end credits scene do create a drastic tone change on what is otherwise a pretty emotional and nice second half. In fact, the second half is so nice it’s really hard to tell that you’re watching the same show. It’s not too bad though if you just muscle through the transformation and believe that the end credits scene is part of the preview joke.

While it is better written than episode one, for the second half anyway, there are still a bunch of issues with the story in terms of plot holes and inconsistencies.

It also takes half the episode to even seem Christmas-y, but what is there is actually pretty sweet.

As a couple, even though they could be more fleshed out, Mai and Santa are pretty cute, barring that one scene I mentioned. You can tell how much they care about each other, and you can believe them more as a pairing because now they’ve spent six months to a year together instead of two or three hours. They also now have some structure to their relationship seeing as how Mai did help Santa finally enjoy Christmas, his birthday and maybe his life again.

Finally, I would’ve liked some sort of update on Santa and his relationship with his parents or friends, but nope. It’s not a huge deal, but it would’ve been nice.

Overall, this was a nice surprise. It’s a decent enough Christmas special if you ignore/glance over a few things. You could probably skip episode one entirely and enjoy this fine as a standalone. It’s nothing fantastic, but it was quite a bit better better sitting through this than episode one.

Merry (late) Christmas everyone! And remember; believe in Santa and you might find that she brings you a special present!…..As long as it begins with S.

Additional Information and Notes: Itsudatte My Santa! was directed by Noriyoshi Nakamura, who also directed numerous episodes of Mister Ajikko, and it was based on a manga by Ken Akamatsu. It was produced by TNK, and is currently licensed in the US by Funimation.

Episodes: 2

Year: 2005

Recommended Audience: Brief boob and ass shot, minute fanservice. 13+

Christmas Special Review: Itsudatte My Santa! Review

Rating: 2/10

Plot: A boy is left all alone every single Christmas, which makes him hate the holiday and never believe in the magic of Santa. When a girl shows up proclaiming to be Santa Claus, she wishes for nothing more than to make him happy this Christmas.

Breakdown: Let it be known that I went into this wanting to review a good stand-alone Christmas special for the holidays. Anime doesn’t get a whole lot when it comes to Christmas specials, especially stand alone features. I’ve seen the Christmas specials for Cyborg 009, Azumanga Daioh, Ai Yori Aoshi and a few others, but I’ve never really seen a stand-alone anime based on Christmas.

In comes Itsudatte My Santa – an anime special made by the same person who made Love Hina, a harem anime I’ve never seen and have never really wanted to see either.

Reviews that I’ve read about this series are ultimately mixed, but siding on the negative. In fact, the only article-based review I’ve found was completely negative. I did find some pretty positive reviews on it, though. So it seems I’m left at a crossroads. I really want this OVA to be good since it may give me another Christmas special to watch as a holiday tradition.

I made a deal with myself before I wrote this review an even before I watched the anime that I would post it before Christmas if I enjoyed it enough, to give people an early Christmas gift, and I would post it between Christmas and New Years if I didn’t like it, to avoid putting a damper on the holiday.

So, yeah, you can not only tell my feelings based on the rating, but also when I released the review. Hooray!

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We start off with narration and a flashback from our main lead wondering when it is that people stop believing in Santa. The normal rate, he presumes, is when children enter elementary school and start understanding reality more clearly. Or it could be due to accidentally seeing presents hidden around the house before Christmas or catching their parents in the act etc. For him, however, he never believed in Santa. His parents were always away for Christmas, and all of his gifts were mailed to him.

He was always lonely on Christmas, even if he points out that his grandma was there and even baked a Christmas cake for him every year.

Not only did his parents ditch him every Christmas, but they told him that if he was a good boy, not only would Santa come, but THEY WOULD COME BACK HOME. What dicks.

“Oh sorry son, we still can’t make it back for Christmas. Guess you must’ve been a little asshole. Maybe next year.”

He states again that, no matter how good he was, he was still alone on Christmas, even though in this very shot we see him being held back by his Grandma and whom I assume is his Grandpa beside him. I understand missing his parents every Christmas, but you can try to enjoy the holiday with your Grandparents whom seem to care about you greatly.

Thus, he doesn’t believe Santa exists and hates Christmas.

Cut back to present (hehe, puns) day where the first line we hear is a girl asking if the main character wants to spend the night with her. Everyone around them hears her, because obviously the middle of Tokyo is just so quiet, especially in the midst of Christmas, and they start gawking and chattering about what she said. She sees the blush and look of shock on the boy’s face and instantly slaps him for thinking dirty thoughts.

If there’s one thing I do know about the creator of this show, Ken Akamatsu, is that slapstick (literally) is kinda his thing, especially when it comes to males being the abuse victims.

This is completely unwarranted. This strange girl randomly walks up and the first thing out of her mouth, and the second, no less, is ‘Do you want to spend the night with me?’ ANYONE’S first thought, as portrayed by the crowd, would be instantly jumping to sexual insinuations. The main character didn’t even say anything, he just sat there with a shocked face and blushed. Yet, nope, he deserves a huge slap in the face for taking that ridiculous line and thinking it’s something dirty. Bitch.

She proclaims she’s Santa Claus and gives dreams and hopes to children, thus it’s awful to think such a thing about her, even though it was such an easily misconstrued sentence that even the cops are quickly taking her away for prostitution.

Santa got arrested for prostitution……I don’t have a joke, I just wanted to say that.

As the main character is about to leave, the girl pops up out of nowhere sans police escort and says she can detect loneliness and sadness on Christmas with her….hair antennae….Because that’s something Santa has right? She detects this in our main character, and says that, because she’s ‘Santa’ and spreads hope and dreams to children, she wants to spend the night with him to make him happier with her Santa powers—okay, now you’re just trying to sound like bad Christmas themed porn.

He runs away only to be latched onto by ‘Santa’. He keeps proclaiming that he hates Christmas and doesn’t believe in Santa, so she should just leave. She doesn’t understand how such a person could exist, so she pesters him for the reason behind his hate.

Surprisingly, he doesn’t mention the stuff with his parents first. Instead he yells that he was born on Christmas Eve and that his parents named him……Santa.

His parents…..must hate him.

I can’t really give any other explanation. The whole thing about not being there for him on Christmas is dick-ish, but maybe understandable if they had to be away for some reason. Saying they’d come home for Christmas if he was good enough was just awful. Naming him Santa is a ticket to asskicking and mocking throughout his life, let alone Christmas. Ditching him around Christmas when it’s also his birthday on Christmas eve is just terrible. Naming him Santa with all of that crap piled on top is borderline evil.

And, really, his parents named him Santa because he was born on Christmas eve? People have named holiday themed names, sure. There are even people literally named ‘Christmas’ but out of all the names associated with Christmas, why choose one you really can’t recover from? One you can’t even really shoo aside with a nickname?

So….’Santa’ (the girl one) starts rolling around on the floor laughing her ass off that he’s a guy named Santa born on Christmas Eve. Yeah, you spread those hopes and dreams you bitch. And who are you to talk when you introduced yourself as freakin’ Santa Claus? Is it the whole ‘born on Christmas eve’ thing that pushed you over the edge into hilarity?

I guess we’re also supposed to take that everyone in the crowd’s laughing too since it sounds that way, but they’re not animated to be laughing.

He runs away, upset because that’s the very reaction that makes him hate Christmas—Dude, pick a lane. Do you hate Christmas and Santa because of your name and birthday or because of your insanely douchey parents?

However, girl Santa stops him, apologizes for laughing, says she’ll do anything to make him happy and begs to allow him to spend the night with her.

Seriously, you’re just doing that on purpose now.

He denies her, however, and runs away yet again.

Later, as he’s getting a drink, girl Santa arrives yet again to pester him and we get this line;

“I’ll bring you something tastier, Santa!”

She actually means, however, that she’ll dump pounds of saury on his head, because apparently another of her powers is to make things that start with ‘S’ appear from nowhere because Santa begins with S.

Airtight logic, that is.

He manages to get away again and we cut to a video arcade. Damn, I miss arcades. He’s playing a fighting game when, surprise, girl Santa pops up and says he should play a real version of that game. He gains the power of sambo, the martial art, because sambo also begins with S.

Later still, he’s gawking at a game world icon when girl Santa pops up saying a real world icon is better. She uses the power of her ‘Sample dressing room’–Okay now you’re just cheating. You can make anything a legit S word if you purposely put an S word in front of it.

“Oh gee, I’d sure love a bicycle for Christmas. But it doesn’t start with S. Hm. I know, I’d love a SUPER COOL bicycle for Christmas! *poof* Yay loopholes!”

She uses her ‘Sample’ dressing room to dress up in various outfits and tells Santa to take pictures of her. However, her outfits (and subsequent light fanservice) turns the pervy crowd’s attention to her instead of the game world icon and they start practically dogpiling on her. From how they’re bunching up on her and making grabby hands, I was expecting some huge grope fest.

They escape from the crowd only to bump into some gang leader, causing him to drop his cake. Santa offers to buy him a new one, but the gang guy says it was such a special cake that you need to order it three months in advance (?!) so he just starts beating the crap out of him.

Girl Santa won’t stand for this and kicks him in the head. She then says she and Pedro will take him on for getting in the way of her cheering up Santa. The gang believes she’s talking about Pedro San Jose, some giant guy I can’t find information on. But she’s actually talking about a small plush-toy-like Reindeer that sits on her shoulder.

Pedro the reindeer. South Park was right.

Pedro whips up a Three-Sectional Staff, because staff begins with S. I’m annoyed that they keep bringing up that these things are popping up because they start with S. We know our letters, anime. Thanks.

Isn’t this also cheating? I know S for staff, but technically the correct name for her weapon starts with T right?

She also brings up a whole bunch of other stuff that starts with S for really no reason whatsoever like a set square, a salamander, a seafood gourmet set and a samba festival.

The gang leader is sick of girl Santa’s games and starts fighting her again while Santa leaves. However, through the power of sloppy editing, he decides to also join in the fight.

He knocks out the gang leader, but the gang wants revenge. Pedro’s now powered up by the fact that Santa helped them fight, so they dump a truckload of saury on the gang, showing that his power is 30% increased.

They make their escape and we cut back to Santa’s house where girl Santa, now introduced as Mai (get it? Mai and Santa…..My Santa?) is taking a shower. Oh thank god. I was worried we wouldn’t see anyone shower in this Christmas special.

Mai says she’s A Santa Claus, implying there are several, and that she’s currently in training.

Mai tells him not to peek at her, but he says he wouldn’t anyway because of her ‘baby-ish figure’ (IE Small boobs) and that he likes women who are more filled out.

She gets insulted and points out the fact that she is more buxom when she’s transforms, but she can’t transform due to lack of power since fewer and fewer people are believing. Why…why do so many Christmas specials use the ‘Santa’s running out of power because fewer people are believing in him’ plot line? It is the plot of a bulk of Christmas specials involving Santa. It’s ridiculous.

Santa picks up Pedro, which apparently is a big nono since this prompts Mai to open the door to the shower and warn him about it, even if nothing happens. Then she throws everything she can at him for looking at her naked body when he said he wouldn’t. Another thing that is not his fault.

If someone suddenly opened the door while in the shower, it’s kinda hard not to look. But nope, he deserves to get all sorts of crap thrown at him and somehow what I think is a fridge crushing him.

See, even he points out that it’s her fault. Bitch.

Continued on Page 2

Pokemon Episode 2 Analysis: Pokemon Emergency!

Poses for picture – still can’t get a clear shot of their faces.

Character Debuts:

Officer Jenny: Despite the seeming lack of police assistance in actual emergencies most of the time, there are cops in the world of Pokemon. Most of them, the prominent ones anyway, are Jennys. In practically every town ever, there is an Officer Jenny. They all look exactly the same and are somehow all related to each other. Officer Jenny is sometimes accompanied by a Growlithe.

Nurse Joy: Just like the Jennys, there are also identical Joys who are all related to each other in every Pokemon Center in every town. Nurse Joys are usually assisted by Chansey. I honestly don’t know why none of these Nurse Joys ever wanted to go the extra mile and become a Pokemon doctor, but whatever.

Team Rocket: While Team Rocket as a whole is a large organization, it usually merely refers to the trio of Jessie, James and Meowth. Jessie is a vain and greedy woman who rarely has a moment of kindness. She also seems to hold the most power in the group and kinda acts as the main leader since James and Meowth are regularly frightened by her. Jessie used to be a very poor and kind child, but the rest of her backstory is a big web of mess.

James is slightly nicer when the situation calls for it, but he is also very vain and greedy. Unlike Jessie, he was actually born into a filthy rich family, but ran away from home because he didn’t want to be forcibly married to the obnoxious Jessibelle.

Meowth is one of the few Pokemon in the world who can talk, and this is made even more impressive since he’s also one of the few who can talk without the assistance of psychic powers. He taught himself how to speak human language and walk on two feet in order to impress a female Meowth named Meowsy, but his efforts ultimately made him even less appealing in her eyes, and he eventually went on to join Team Rocket.

Plot: Ash takes an injured Pikachu into the local Pokemon Center for treatment, but the place is soon attacked by the malicious Pokemon thieves, Team Rocket. Ash as well as the girl he met in the previous episode, Misty, try to battle them, but to no avail.

Instead, the center’s backup electrical supply, a team of Pikachu, shock the trio, and their electric power brings Pikachu back to peak health somehow. In order to take them out fully, Ash uses Misty’s broken bike to generate power through the headlight and power up Pikachu enough to deliver one final Thunderbolt, causing the entire Pokemon Center to explode by igniting the gas from one of Team Rocket’s Pokemon, Koffing.

Team Rocket take note of Pikachu’s incredible power and vow to capture it no matter what. Meanwhile, Ash continues on his journey by heading through Viridian Forest, which leads directly to Pewter City, the site of his first Gym match. Misty follows him, determined to get Ash to pay for her ruined bike. As they travel through the Viridian Forest, Ash spots a Caterpie and readies a Pokeball for its capture.

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– The title card is looking a bit more normal, but they still use the Pokemon logo to say ‘Pokemon’.

– Oh….so I guess, from what Dexter says anyway, that the function of the Pokedex in the anime is really more for the trainer’s benefit in providing information and advice and not keeping a log while trying to see and capture all of the Pokemon, IE Completing the Pokedex. Hmph.

– James in episodes 2 – 8 isn’t voiced by his most notable voice actor, Eric Stuart. He’s instead voiced by Ted Lewis who does quite a few roles in 4Kids productions such as Tracey and Giovanni in Pokemon, and Bakura and Bandit Keith from Yu-Gi-Oh. He does have really good range, and he fits the role pretty well here, but I can see why they’d replace him with Eric Stuart if his role was going to become more comical later.

– Likewise, Meowth also has a different voice actor in the earlier episodes, episode 2 – 31, Nathan Price, who does the role more low-key than Maddie Blaustein will later on. I honestly can’t decide which voice I like better. Maddie’s is more fitting for the comical parts while Nathan is better at being more sly. Plus, Maddie says ‘Meeeowth’ a little better.

– I will take a minute to enjoy the more serious Team Rocket for this episode. I do love them as comic relief sometimes, but it would be nice if they were an actual threat.

– Why did Jenny feel the need to jump her motorcycle into the Pokemon Center? Yeah, risk more injury to the already injured Pokemon. And it really took them until nightfall to get there? How big is this city?

– It’s weird to me that Pikachu is so injured after just taking a few Pecks by a couple Spearow, especially given that he’s strong against Flying types.

– Nurse Joy’s a bit of a bitch here. People must come there all the time with Pokemon at least in Pikachu’s condition, considering how many attacks there are in Pokemon and the fact that their lot in life is usually to fight, yet she chews Ash out for letting Pikachu get moderately hurt when she doesn’t even know how it happened. That’s like a doctor yelling a parent for letting their kid scrape their knee.

– Why is the Pidgey that comes out of the cuckoo clock green?

Must be all that awful hospital food.

– And here we get the only mention ever of Ash’s deadbeat not-caring-whatsoever-about-his-family dad. I would complain about this, but at this point does anyone really care who Ash’s dad is? Yes, it’s a mystery, but no answer will really be fulfilling now. Plus, he’ll just be a target for hatred considering he never seems to talk to or otherwise communicate with Ash or Delia. I do not believe for a second that they always talk off-screen or never ever managed to bump into each other during their journeys.

– It took four days for Ash’s dad to get to Viridian City?…..Why? Jenny said all of the other Pallet trainers had already passed through. What was keeping him so long? Maybe I’m wrong about Ash’s dad. Maybe he’s like Flint and completely sucked at training and was too ashamed to show his face around his family again. There. That’s a suitable story for Ash’s dad. You’re welcome.

– Delia: “Spreading your wings and soaring like a Spearow!” Uhh, I’d change your wording, Delia, considering the main reason he’s feeling like crap right now is because of a flock of Spearow.

– Delia: “And are you changing your underwear everyday?” He hasn’t even been gone a full day yet. Are his underwear made of the same material as the notes in Inspector Gadget and they’ll blow up after a period of time?

– The legendary Pokemon on the board at the Pokemon center are interesting. Ash believes the blue bird is the one he saw earlier, but it’s an Articuno not a Ho-Oh.

Ho-Oh won’t be introduced until Johto. I’m not even sure what this really indicates. Did Ash just think it was the same because the outline is kinda similar or the anime creators screwed up?

I would think he’d believe Moltres looks more similar given the coloring. Also, for some reason, Arcanine is up there. I know that he’s given the moniker of ‘legendary,’ but why? Is there a legend about Arcanine somewhere? Because he’s just the evolved version of a fairly easy to find Pokemon.

– Oh my God, there’s text everywhere. I feel so unreasonably happy.

– I still find it funny that Oak’s all ‘There’s no way you saw a legendary Pokemon’ here and yet not a year goes by now where Ash doesn’t see/battle with/spend time with a legendary Pokemon. It’s so common now that he’s become totally used to it.

– Misty: “You’re what happened to my bike, you little loser! This is what happened to my bike after you stole it to save your Pokemon!” Yeah, he sure is a loser because he cared more about his Pokemon’s well-being than a hunk of replaceable metal. Can you get less annoying soon so I can start hating Ash, please?

– Misty: “I don’t want any of your lame excuses, Kid! Just gimme a new bike right noooooooooowwwwwwww!!” First of all, kid? He’s the same age as you. Second, nice tantrum.

– What ‘procedure’ was Joy performing anyway? She put on rubber gloves, went in and came out with Pikachu having a lightbulb on its head while connected to some black box and some electrical box but no bandages or anything else on its body. He got Pecked a few times, he didn’t have his electricity sucked out him.

– Ash: “Listen, I’m sorry about your bike. But I’m going to need some time to make things right.”

Misty: “NO WAY! I FELL FOR THAT LAST TIME!”

Fell for what? He said he’d bring it back someday and accidentally got it destroyed. He hasn’t even been gone a full day, so he could’ve been intending on giving her a replacement bike someday. Though, considering how crazy expensive bikes are in the Pokemon world, I can kinda understand her anger.

– They have radar that detects aircrafts in Viridian City? Ones that can specifically identify the craft as belonging to Pokemon thieves? Where are these in future episodes?

– I am weirded out beyond belief by those Pikachu in the Pokemon Center. They not only chant, but they hold out their paws like robots and have mouths that are way too big.

– Why do they need to be on a treadmill anyway if they produce power on their own?

– The hell is up with the eyes on that Pidgey?

Can Pidgey not look normal today?

– It’s amazing that Team Rocket is so intimidating during the early episodes that all of the Pokemon actually refuse to fight because they’re so scared just by seeing Ekans.

– I still don’t understand why Misty let Goldeen out. Either this was poking at the fact that all Pokeballs look identical and thus it must be hard to determine who’s in what without customizing them or she’s just an idiot.

– Misty: “You know as well as I do that a Water Pokemon can’t battle on land. I was just warmin’ up!” There are so many things wrong with that.

Let’s start with, no, only SOME Water Types can’t battle on land. How were you ‘warming up’ by letting out a Pokemon that you knew couldn’t battle on land? Did you need to warm up your Pokeball throwin’ arm? Even if it was a distraction or something, what good would that do considering they’re standing in front of the only exit?

– Oh, I guess it wasn’t the only exit……There were no other visible doors to that room besides the one Team Rocket burst through and were standing in front of the whole time, but whatever. Still didn’t do much because after Ash and Pikachu escape, they’re immediately followed by Team Rocket.

– Why did Pikachu even need hours of ‘treatment’ if just being dogpiled and shocked by a group of Pikachu seemed to make him good as new?

– How did any of them survive that explosion? Pikachu’s in the ICU for being pecked by a few birds for a second or two yet is perfectly fine when in a building that just exploded and created a fire so big it looks like it took out a city block.

– How did Team Rocket get away?

– Now that I’m really thinking about it, Pikachu’s attack really isn’t a decent reason for them to be so insanely obsessed with catching Pikachu. It was essentially given a buff to begin with in regards to the bike and the only real reason anything substantial happened was because of the reaction with Koffing’s gas.

– I can’t believe it took me so long to question this, but isn’t it impossible for Team Rocket’s balloon to be ‘popped’ and send them flying all over the place? Wouldn’t it just gently float down? It’s not a helium balloon.

– How is the computer perfectly fine? They’re literally sitting amongst the rubble that once was the Viridian City Pokemon Center with a desktop computer that’s not even dirty.

I didn’t know Nokia made desktop computers.

– Narrator: “Will Ash capture the Caterpie?” Seeing as how the next episode is titled Ash Catches a Pokemon, I’ll go ahead and say no.

——————————————–

This episode was pretty okay. It was sillier than I remember it being, and I already remembered it to be a tad silly. Team Rocket pose a threat for a change, but they don’t even go the full episode without being downgraded to comic relief. Plus, I do have to say that the start of their obsessive mission was just not really worth it.

I’m starting to think that after a certain point, catching Pikachu was no longer about catching it for its power or rarity but purely because of a personal vendetta.

Misty’s still annoying here, and Ash is still relatable and likable, even if he still has a lot to learn.

I also really like the linear set up of the first handful of episodes. I miss having an actual story instead of ‘Leave home on journey’ ‘Go to gym’ ‘filler’ ‘gym’ ‘filler’ ‘another gym’ ‘filler’ etc etc etc. The only times filler isn’t really filler in later episodes is usually just when Ash catches a Pokemon – those incredibly rare occasions. Plus, after he gets his party filled, he hardly ever gets more.

Certain aspects are still bugging me like mentions of Ash’s dad knowing they go nowhere, another mention of the other two Pallet trainers that also goes nowhere, but it’s still pretty decent.

Next episode, Ash Catches a Pokemon. Caterpie joins the group (Oh sorry, spoilers!), one of the rare times Ash catches a Pokemon without needing to spend an entire episode bonding with it. We also get the rare treat of him catching two Pokemon in one episode, marking Pidgeotto’s debut. I really love Pidgeotto – hate the hell out of how he gets treated over the series. We also have a cute little episode just getting to know Caterpie and seeing it trying to bond with Bitchy—Err, Misty.

Previous Episode…

Digimon Adventure 01 Episode 2 Sub/Dub Comparison

CUBONE–I mean, GREYMON!

Plot: The kids are still trying to find their way back to camp when they come upon some odd phone booths on a beach. The phones are utterly useless, but while Joe tries to make them work, the others try to get some food in them since they haven’t eaten all day. While separating rations, an angry Shellmon attacks the group. All of the Digimon are too hungry to fight except Agumon who ate some food with Tai earlier. Since they’re the only ones with strength to fight, Agumon must Digivolve to beat Shellmon.

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Title Screen:

Title Change: Originally, the episode was called Explosive Evolution! Greymon! In the dub it’s The Birth of Greymon.

The dub inserts flashbacks of the Digimon’s Digivolving sequences when they’re re-meeting their newly Digivolved Digimon.

In the original, Digivolution is merely regarded as Evolution. I wanna go out on a limb here and say it was changed to avoid butting heads with Pokemon’s evolution and/or the backlash from religious groups who put all sorts of hate on the fact that evolution was being used in kids shows like that.

In the original, Takeru asks if their Evolving means that they can’t change back and Pataman answers that he doesn’t know. In the dub, TK says that he helped Patamon Digivolve and that it’s cool. Patamon says “Yup it is.”

After that, Jyou says that he’s having difficulty understanding it all and Gomamon says that it’s okay because they don’t understand it all either. In the dub, Joe says his parents doesn’t let him talk to strangers and Gomamon says he’s not a stranger, he’s his friend.

In the original, Jyou says that they should find a nearby road. In the dub, Joe says that they should stay put and Matt’s the one who suggests that they find a road.

Izumi says that the local vegetation looks like they’re in the subtropics. Tentomon agrees and Izumi asks in a surprised tone that Tentomon knows what subtropics are, but then Tentomon says he doesn’t and Izumi sighs. In the dub, Izzy says that it’d be easier if they had a compass to find out which way is north. Tentomon says that he knows, Izzy asks where and Tentomon says its the opposite of south.

Jyou continues to talk about finding a road in the original. In the dub, Joe says he shouldn’t have worn those pants because they ride up when he does too much walking.

Yamato originally says that he doesn’t want to put anyone in undue danger by going back. Matt says that he’s not scared of any monsters.

As they’re walking along, Jyou says that the trees really make him think that they’re not in Japan anymore. Yamato responds by saying that the Digimon should’ve been enough to tip him off that this place wasn’t Japan. In the dub, Joe says that the trees are aggravating his hay fever. Matt responds by asking if there’s anything Joe isn’t allergic to.

In the original, Mimi asks Palmon if she’s some kind of plant. Palmon says yes and that she can even perform photosynthesis. Mimi says that’s great and asks her to do it for her. Palmon asks her if she even knows what photosynthesis is and Mimi says no. Palmon responds by saying that she doesn’t know either.

In the dub, Mimi asks Palmon where she gets her hair done (which is a dumb question, she just recently became Palmon. Even if hair salons were in the Digital World, when would she have had the time to go to a hair salon? Also, her ‘hair’ is a FLOWER.) Palmon says that it’s natural. Mimi says that she should let her do her hair for her sometime and Palmon asks her if she thinks she puts too much emphasis on appearance. Mimi responds that she’s never really thought about it much. Palmon responds by saying that she likes her flower/hair the way it is.

Taichi originally asks Agumon if Kuwagamon is a Digimon too. He keeps saying yup to his questions. In the dub, Tai’s just talking to himself about how it’s such a cool story, but no one would ever believe him. Agumon has no dialogue in this scene. It’s slightly weird because you can still point out where he talks in the dub, but there’s no sound.

And thus begins Dub Izzy’s weird short-lived obsession with aliens. Izumi just says that phone booths randomly positioned in the middle of a beach is irrational. Dub Izzy says he believes aliens set out the phone booths as traps. I never understood this thing with Izzy and aliens in the beginning of this season, but it’s dropped completely later on, so yeah.

Yamato and Mimi originally don’t talk about ordering a pizza with the phones. They say that those phones are just like the ones back home. Jyou concludes that these phone booths are proof that they’re still in Japan. Gomamon asks what Japan is and Jyou slowly stares at him, slowly turns around and says “maybe not.”

In the dub, Joe says that the purpose of the phones is for them to call their parents for a ride home. Gomamon asks what “a parents is” and Joe slowly stares are him, turns around and says “that’s it, I’m outta here.”

Izzy again brings up aliens by saying that the aliens can bill his phone card.

All of them simply want to call their parents in the original. In the dub, Izzy wants to connect to the Internet and TK wants to look for loose change in the slots while the rest just say that they want to use the phones.

I have to admit, they made Mimi’s line better here. In both versions, Mimi’s phone says that tomorrow’s weather will be mostly sunny with a chance of ice cream. Original Mimi just says that something’s wrong with the phone. Dub Mimi says “What do you wear for that?” I know I can’t really stand Mimi, but it’s lines like these that make her tolerable in the dub. Her ditzy sounding VA makes the line that much funnier. Only Mimi…

The weird phone messages are again blamed on aliens by Izzy in the dub while Izumi just wonders what’s going on.

Original Mimi says her Digivice is on her bag. Dub Mimi says if anyone has a pink Digivice she’ll trade. Kinda funny seeing as how, in future installments, there are pink Digivices. However, in this season they’re all a very pale green/blue color.

In the original, after Takeru shows everyone his food (Why exactly did he have a backpack full of food on him during summer camp when he was just lounging around?) Mimi points out that he’s not from their school. Takeru says that she’s right. He’s visiting his ‘onii-chan,’ Yamato, for the summer and Yamato confirms.

Taichi asks Izumi why TK calls Yamato ‘onii-chan’ since they have different last names. Izumi responds by saying, since ‘onii-chan’ is also a common phrase for cousins or close male friends that he might be his cousin.

In the dub, this obviously doesn’t work the same way. English doesn’t really have one phrase that encompasses cousins, brothers, and close friends. Mimi simply asks TK if he’ll be a good little boy and share her food with her. TK says she doesn’t even have to ask and follows it up by telling Matt that she’s cute. Matt disagrees. Tai then tells Izzy that he could eat a small cow.

Originally, Yamato asks Mimi where she got all of that survival stuff in her bag. Mimi responds by saying that it’s been a while since she last camped so she borrowed her dad’s camping stuff secretly.

In the dub, Matt asks why Mimi didn’t tell them that she had a compass back when they said that they needed one. Mimi responds by saying that she thought it’d be fun to see how far they’d get without one. Plus it’s broken.

The stupidity of that statement is of sheer brilliance. Seriously. They make her seem like a dick for saying “Yeah I had this important piece of survival equipment that we needed but didn’t say anything for funsies.” then they make her seem like a moron by making her say “Not like it would’ve helped if I did say something anyway, it’s broken” Just wow. Wow.

The way that the rations are divided is different from the original. Let’s just leave it at that because I’d have to rewatch that scene like four times to get exactly the differences.

Might I say that the song that comes on when Shellmon appears in the original kicks so much ass?

Attack Name Change: Mega Flame is changed to Nova Blast (Well, in this episode, it’s Digi Nova Blast, but it’s just Nova Blast for the rest of the show) And, again, better name with the dub.

Next episode is Garurumon’s debut!

……Previous Episode

Xia Ke Xing (Manhwa) Review

Rating: 7/10

Plot: A scholar who calls himself Xia Ke stumbles upon a mysterious masked woman known as ‘Miss Ugly’. She is set to be a local village’s sacrifice to the Huang deity, and she’s accepting her fate with open arms since it’s the least she can do for the family who was nice enough to adopt her…..even though they only adopted her for the pure reason of sacrificing her in order to protect their blood daughter from being the sacrifice. However, her situation is not quite what it seems, and it’s up to Xia ke to save her.

Breakdown: Xia Ke Xing is alright, but it never really wowed me. I feel almost like this manhwa should’ve been a short story instead of continuing on past when the initial plotline is resolved.

After it is resolved, Miss Ugly, actually named Liu Yan, joins Xia Ke on his journeys since there’s really no place for her anymore and she’s lost her memories of everything from before when she was adopted. The actual circumstances surrounding her previous life are somewhat vague. A bandit that they meet seems to believe that she’s the lone survivor of some prestigious family that he used to help protect, but her illusions in the latest chapter seem to lean on the side of her being some assassin.

They also meet a bandit named Li Fung who also kinda joins them on their journeys. He’s not on very friendly terms with either Liu Yan (whom he calls ‘stupid girl’) and Xia Ke (whom he calls “Xu Xia Ke” or fake Xia Ke since Xia Ke is the name of a character in a legendary story.) His focus is that he wants to be a government official I guess for the benefit of his mother and younger sister.

After the thing with Miss Ugly, the series kind of strays off and has no real focus beyond finding out who Liu Yan really is. It feels somewhat set up like Inuyasha in that regard since we have a clear goal, yet there’s a lot of side-tracking going on during the journey. Since the manhwa’s not too far along it seems, I can’t know for sure.

Art: The art’s pretty nice when both being artistic and when being cartoonish-ly funny. The eye designs bothered me a bit, but everything else is very nice.

Bottomline: It’s a pretty good read. Nothing fantastic, but still enough to keep you interested. The characters are likable and have pretty good chemistry. The story kinda tapers off after the Miss Ugly arc, but that might get more interesting as time goes on.

Additional Information and Notes: Xia Ke Xing was written and illustrated by Jun Xiao and it was published by Star Girls.

Volumes: ??? There was been nine chapters released publicly, but it hasn’t been updated in over ten years. Safe to assume it’s canceled, sadly.

Year: 2007

Recommended Audience: Nothing really offensive. No real nudity, no serious violence….there is one scene that is pretty hard to read considering a child ends up dying quite horribly, but it’s not really graphic, it’s mostly your mind’s eye visualizing what’s happening after. 10+

Pokemon Episode 1 Analysis – Pokemon, I Choose You!

Aw, they’re already friends. ❤

I started rewatching Pokemon from scratch a while ago, and while I was watching it I started making little snippets of notes in my personal blog on another website about certain episodes. Eventually, this lead to me making regular entries about the episodes, breaking them down and basically making mini-reviews.

As of this writing, I am up to episode 156, which is really just a drop in the bucket compared to the 840+ that are out right now. I wanted to add this little series to my actual blog, but since I only have about 50-60 episodes worth of legit entries, I have to go back and start from scratch again. Well, at least for little bit.

Plus, I’ll still be watching from where I am onwards as I’m doing it, so once I reach a certain point it’ll be much easier to make entries.

Here’s how it works. I give the full plot synopsis so I don’t have to go step by step and bore everyone with every single detail. After that, I give my notes on the specific episode whether it be errors or plot holes or just things that piss me off or make no sense, and I’ll be including aspects that I enjoy, of course.

Then I’ll give a short review of the episode and a preview of the next. I’ll also be noting character debuts, characters of the day (CotD) and Gym Matches to be annoyingly thorough. Alright, let’s start!

Character Debuts:

Ash Ketchum: Our protagonist of the entire series, Ash Ketchum is loosely based on the protagonist from the first Pokemon games, Red. He is a ten year old boy just starting out on his Pokemon journey. He’s a bit cocky and stupid, especially later on, but he ultimately means well and does learn lessons sometimes.

Pikachu: Pikachu, or as I’ll not-so-lovingly nickname him throughout the series, Messiahchu, is an Electric rat Pokemon that Professor Oak gives Ash as a starter since all of the others were taken. He started out as a complete brat for some reason, but soon became the best of friends with his new trainer, Ash, after he tried to save his life. He’s also inexplicably powerful for some reason.

Professor Oak: The local Pokemon professor and the one who gives starters to new trainers in Kanto, Oak is a Pokemon researcher, grandfather of Gary and friend of Ash and Delia. He frequently gives Ash advice and information while taking care of his excess Pokemon not in his party.

Delia Ketchum: Delia is Ash’s mother who simultaneously dotes on him and overlooks him most of the time when he visits. Delia has an odd fixation on ensuring Ash changes his underwear, but is ultimately a kind woman. She eventually ‘captures’ a Mr. Mime who keeps her company and helps around the house.

Gary Oak: Gary is more strongly based on the rival from the first video games, Blue (or Green depending on what version of the game you’re playing.) Gary’s role here is basically the exact same thing. He shows up sometimes out of the blue, makes fun of Ash and then leaves.

The biggest difference is that, unlike Blue, Ash rarely ever battles Gary at all over the course of the series. I think they battle a maximum of three times, if I recall correctly. He’s a much more competent trainer than Ash is, and is chauffeured around in an expensive sports car by cheerleaders who are way older than him. It’s assumed that Gary took the Squirtle as a starter as he has a Blastoise later on.

Misty: The former Cerulean City Gym Leader, Misty aspires to be the best Water Pokemon trainer in the world. She is also Ash’s first companion under the excuse that she’s following him to make him pay for her bike that he ruined, but it’s not long until that’s pretty much forgotten and we assume that Misty follows Ash because they’re friends.

Plot: Ash Ketchum has just turned ten years old and he’s ready and raring to become a Pokemon Trainer. His dream is to become a Pokemon Master, and he gets started on achieving this dream by getting his first starter Pokemon the next morning.

Ash oversleeps and finds that all three of the starter Pokemon being given by Professor Oak, Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Charmander, have been given to other trainers. One of which, Squirtle, being given to Gary Oak, Professor Oak’s grandson and Ash’s rival. Bummed from not getting a starter, Oak decides to take pity on Ash and give him the temperamental Electric Pokemon, Pikachu.

He and Pikachu head off on their journey, but Pikachu severely dislikes Ash and needs to be literally dragged on the journey since he’s too much of a brat to even stay in his Pokeball.

Ash finds a Pokemon that he wants to catch and tries to get Pikachu to battle. He refuses, so Ash decides to assault the innocent animal with a rock. It turns out to be an ornery Spearow who calls his friends and begins to attack Ash and Pikachu. In an effort to save an injured Pikachu, Ash steals a nearby girl’s bike (Hi Misty!) and heads to the Pokemon Center.

They’re cornered by the Spearow flock, and Ash decides to take the birds’ attacks to protect Pikachu. Seeing his sacrifice, Pikachu shocks the birds, saving Ash and starting a lifelong friendship as they finally arrive in Viridian City.

—————————————–

– I cannot tell you how happy it makes me when I see the GameBoy game opening scene shift into the anime’s version, especially since they seem to use the same music from the game too.

– What is up with this guy?

Where am I?!

– We see an odd green Pokeball, but it’s possible that it’s a Safari ball.

– It also may be possible that the silhouette of the trainer we see is Bruno, one of the Elite Four, though since this seems like a league match, I’m not sure why he’d be there. Unless the league mirrors the games in that regard and you get to fight the Elite Four afterward. I wouldn’t know, we never see Ash or anyone else get that far.

– Seeing all of the various Pokemon stuff in his room just makes me more angry for future episodes when he’ll have no idea what some of these Pokemon are like Voltorb, Clefairy and Zubat.

– It seems they don’t really pronounce Pokemon correctly in earlier episodes. It’s Poh-kay-mon, not Poh-kah-mon. Though, in all honesty, since it’s short for ‘pocket monsters’ it should be ‘pock-eh-mon’….Eh, semantics.

– In addition, it really seems like Veronica Taylor’s voice was fairly different in the first handful of episodes too. It was quite a bit deeper and she didn’t put as much excitement in his voice. I don’t know if she got more comfortable in the part or if her voice naturally got raspier with each recording and all his yelling. I’m kinda hardpressed to say that the first voice is bad. The acting’s toned down a bit much but I kinda like the first one.

– The title card’s all funny too. They use the English logo instead of just writing ‘Pokemon’ and the background’s all green, checkered and funny looking.

– Please enjoy the pun-less titles while you can.

– It still bugs me to this day that we never find out who the other two trainers from Pallet Town were. That would’ve made for some great storylines. At least include Green/Blue (Green if you’re following more closely to the English manga, Blue if you’re more towards the original Japanese version) somewhere in there. She would’ve made a great anti-hero-ish character. Or include them in the Indigo League somewhere. Don’t just ignore that they exist….

– I love seeing all this Japanese text in a 4Kids production. It’s just an amazing example of how far they plummeted.

– It kinda bothers me that Gary, a 10 year old boy, has a personal cheer squad of girls who are 16+ (considering at least one of them drives)

– Gary may be obnoxious, but I will defend to my dying day that he is a way better trainer and much more interesting character than Ash….

– Speaking of which, their first meeting is kinda weird now that I think about it. Gary acts like he’s never met Ash, but he’s heard of him. Ash acts like he knows Gary but hasn’t seen him in a long time. Much later, we learn that they were childhood friends (pre-10-years-old), so this is confusing both ways.

– Why do the Pokeballs have Japanese text on them in their first shot but not close up? ……Wait….*checks* Dammit, 4Kids, I was just praising you for this! Including them from far away is better than not at all, but I am just disappointed.

– Speaking of which, none of these Pokeballs shouldn’t even be here if all of the starters are gone. Unless Oak transfers them between balls for whatever reason.

– Oak should’ve just saved Ash the trouble and told him that all of the starters were taken and not even let him in. He at least should’ve mentioned it and immediately taken Pikachu out to not waste his and subsequently our time by showing all of the Pokeballs being empty one by one.

– Seeing as how he chose Squirtle and was going through the choices in his dream in terms of difficulty, it seems Ash was willing to go with an intermediate choice erring on easier (Bulbasaur) for a second option and just settling on the hardest selection (Charmander) for last. Poor Charmander.

– Do we ever get the origin story of Pikachu? How’d Oak get it and why was it such an untrusting brat when it was first introduced?

– Also, seeing as how we see all of Ash’s Pokeballs several times and never see the lightning bolt mark again, I’m going to assume it was just forgotten about in the art department. Not that it matters, he never uses it and the ball only appears a few times in Ash’s futile attempts to make him go in.

– Hey they show the skeletons when they’re electrocuted here! They removed that in Mew Mew Power! There, a legitimate change between early and late 4Kids. I feel I’ve accomplished something maybe.

– Delia: “I packed your sneakers…” Isn’t he wearing his sneakers? Or does he need an identical backup pair?

– Delia: “I thought all Pokemon stayed inside their Pokeballs.” Yes, Delia. They stay in there forever….and ever….and ever

– And thus starts Delia’s odd fixation on Ash’s underwear. What a momentous day.

– This episode also really showcases how much Pikachu has slimmed down over the years. What, was pudgy Pikachu not ‘cute’ enough?

– Dexter really had a ‘tude in earlier episodes didn’t he? With his sarcasm and insults. He’s also a lot more talkative. He keeps chiming in all the time with new info but in later episodes he’s basically relegated to just Pokemon intros.

– I would call Ash out for throwing rocks at Pokemon to capture them….but….Safari Zone….It’s still messed up.

– I tend to like Misty, but she’s pretty much a bitch in the first handful of episodes. She pulls a clearly roughed up boy and a Pokemon out of the water and 1) all she cares about is the Pokemon, 2) She SLAPS Ash for no reason (it’s cut out of the dub) and 3) She instantly insinuates that HE did something to Pikachu even though no evidence is given to support that. I will grow to loathe Ash with every fiber of my being later on, so enjoy these few episodes where Ash is actually preferred over Misty….

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Overall, this is a really good start to the series. It introduces Ash pretty well and I’m much more accepting of his cluelessness in these earlier episodes than I am in later seasons. At least he has an excuse of actually being a complete beginner here, though considering how fixated he is on Pokemon basically being his life, it seems weird that he doesn’t even know the bare basics. The beginnings of Ash and Pikachu as a team is also pretty memorable, but still somewhat cliché.

The art and animation in this episode are fairly worse off than I remember. The electric shock scenes may have been changed later on to sate the newer rules about flashes that were brought on with the Porygon episode, so that may explain why they look insanely choppy. There are just a slue of odd shots and weird animation that kept cropping up.

This episode also featured a lot less music than I’m used to with 4Kids. There’s almost always noise, but there are several periods without any BG music whatsoever and that weirded me out.

A lot of people, even I, praise the original episodes for being some of 4Kids’ better works. Deservingly so since this was one of if not their absolute first dubbing venture. However, there are still some 4Kids-isms left like erasing the text from the Pokeballs and cutting out a mere slap to the face. They also paint over a banner, but I’ll definitely let that slide since I know they could’ve just erased the whole thing and showed their support with a plain white banner.

The voice acting is somewhat stilted, and I think many of the actors, except maybe Rachel Lillis, were still getting used to their roles. They just don’t seem as comfortable or animated as they do later.

However, despite the various problems, it’s still a pretty good pilot episode that I can watch over and over. It is the start of an era afterall.

Next episode, Ash and Pikachu make it to the Pokemon Center in Viridian City, but the place is soon ransacked by Non-Comic-Relief Team Rocket. Yeah, enjoy this one episode where they’re not comic relief.

Cardcaptor Sakura Episode 2 Sub/Dub Comparison

Funny, I don’t remember Sakura fighting Venom.

Card(s) of the day:

Shadow: Shadow has the ability to collect the shadows of people and use them to gain more power. It only ‘appears’ at night and its weakness is light.

Plot: Lots of weird happenings have been occurring at school and it’s the fault of a Clow card. Sakura has to brave going to school at night to fight a powerful Clow card, Shadow.

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They edit out Sakura’s spiral eyes when Kero bops her on the head.

In the original, Sakura backtracks when she says she had someone wake her up and says it was the alarm clock. They edit out the scene where she says that and have her just say ‘nevermind.’

In the original, after Sakura greets her mom’s picture, her dad comes into the room to have breakfast. Toya serves breakfast, Sakura stomps his foot for calling her a monster, they eat breakfast, Sakura puts away her dishes, grabs a leftover snack saying she has to clean up the classroom today and leaves to go upstairs. In the dub, this entire scene is cut out.



When Sakura leaves, I think they edited in clips from the last episode to make her be able to talk longer.

When Sakura turns to take a detour, she purposely goes that way to take a small peak at Yukito’s house. He appears and they have a short conversation. He gives her a few flowers from one of his bushes to use in the classroom and she takes them to school. In the dub, they omit this entire scene. I guess they really don’t want to poke at this crush. She arrives at school without the flowers in the dub as well.




They edit out where Sakura’s frozen in shock after seeing Tomoyo’s video of her flying around in the sky.

They edit out Sakura’s scream before Kero pops out of her bag.

I don’t know why, but when Kero is rambling after popping out of Sakura’s bag, Sakura’s eyes are dot-like, not fully anime-style like they are in the dub. What is up with them and eyes?

Subbed:

Dubbed:

After a shot of the soccer players, Kero finishes the story of how Sakura became a Cardcaptor. Tomoyo gushes saying it’s amazing, grabs Sakura’s hands and asks her to show her her magic. Kero also prods her to do so. They zoom out and show they’re alone before Sakura agrees to do something small. In the dub, they jump straight from soccer to Sakura preparing to do magic.

After Kero shows that he brought the cards to school, Tomoyo asks Sakura if she has a trademark pose yet. She says trademark poses are one of the best parts of being a magical girl. Sakura zooms by the screen with swirly eyes again. In the dub, this is completely edited out and changed to Madison asking Sakura if she can film her using magic.

After Sakura says “Not at night” she imagines herself being chased by a cartoon-ish ghost and then screams. This is edited out of the dub.

In the original, after Tomoyo says she’ll go with Sakura, Sakura plops down on the floor because she thought Tomoyo was agreeing with her to stay away from the school at night. They omit this in the dub.

Immediately after that, Sakura pops up on screen as Tomoyo says she wants to capture Sakura on film being cute asking why. She answers that it’s her hobby. Kero also jumps into screen and they agree. As they zoom out of the house, Tomoyo says that that’s another reason to start work on a trademark pose and Kero agrees.

In the dub, Sakura and Kero popping up are edited out and no hint of Tomoyo gushing over Sakura or the trademark pose are left.

After Sakura changes clothes, they zoom out on the street. They keep the zoom out in the dub, but edit out the little picture bubble where Sakura complains some more.

They really don’t like Sakura with spiral eyes (which is weird, that’s prevalent in western animation too) After the Clow card attacks the girls, Sakura stands there for a second or two with spiral eyes, but this is edited out.

When Sakura says it’s floating, she’s actually supposed to be on screen when she says it. But since she’s all spiral eyed when she does it, it’s edited out. Also, the scene where Sakura is latched onto Tomoyo is edited even shorter.

They edit out the shot of the sign for the AV room. Because it has Japanese on it and if 4Kids has taught us and Nelvana anything, Japan is evil, even if you translate the text and replace it.

After Tomoyo gushes over her movie, Sakura plops down on the floor again. Edited out.

Next episode, Watery’s debut as Sakura takes a field trip to the aquarium.

…Previous Episode

E’s Otherwise Review

Rating: 4.5/10

Plot: The world is filled with people who possess psychic powers, but society shuns them away as monsters. An underground organization dedicated to training psychics to secretly use their abilities for good has recruited Kai and his younger sister to assist them in their goal. However, after a terrifying run-in with a rival psychic, Kai finds himself being cared for by two normal people in the outside world and learns that the organization may be more than meets the eye.

Breakdown: Hate to say this, but this was another series I quit watching. The first few episodes are actually fairly interesting, but it gets very boring afterward. I got through episode 8 before I decided to ditch this series.

Let me just say this, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this series, it’s just really cliche and boring. The characters are cliche and boring. The story is cliche and boring. The artwork, while being crisp and nice, is also boring. Hell, even the plot isn’t all that interesting. It doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, and I found myself sleepwalking through a good chunk of it. There’s nothing to make it stand out or hook in viewers.

After the fairly interesting first few episodes, we meet Yuki and Asuka. Yuki’s a stubborn older brother who finds it difficult to get along with Kai, and Asuka is an airhead whose CONSTANT failures in the field of cooking are a CONSTANT running ‘joke’. Almost the entire first half of episode 8 was dedicated to talking about how bad Asuka is at cooking. That’s ridiculous. I will agree though that it is insane how bad she is at cooking. I mean, she mixed coffee beans and grounds together to essentially make coffee bean soup while trying to make coffee. You will believe a person can be this stupid when you see Asuka. They bring it up so much, it’s like the creators really think this is an original character quirk.

News Flash: no. In fact, failing in the kitchen has to be one of the most over-used character traits ever, especially for moe female characters.

They should’ve just kept him at the institute. The characters there all have powers and are a lot more interesting. Sure, Gary Oak wannabe boy was a little annoying, but at least things happened there.

Then we have Kai who, while being kinda cool in the first few episodes, simply goes from pretty boring to snooze. Eight episodes in and I don’t care about him or his sister at all. That’s a big problem.

As long as I’m thinking about it, episode 8 in it’s entirety was stupid. They go to a really famous ramen shop and wait in line for an hour (an hour, for ramen. You could have it in three minutes at home. I know it’s not the same considering how good the ramen shops in Japan supposedly are, but come on – an hour’s ludicrous.) and the cook is incredibly mean. What person would talk like that to customers when they have done nothing? Imagine an incredibly snooty French stereotype chef who has his panties in a bunch and make him a ramen cook. That’s that guy. If you were that rude to customers, there’s no way you’d have the kind of customer base this place sports.

Voice acting: English: The voice acting is incredibly mediocre. No one sounds memorable, everyone sounds bored and Asuka is a pain to listen to.

Bottom line: This series is a poster child for mediocre anime. I hope it gets better later on for those still interested in giving it a viewing, but I’m ditching it.

Additional Information and Notes: E’s Otherwise was produced by Studio Pierrot, and was based off a manga series by Satoru Yuiga. It was directed by Masami Shimoda. The English version was licensed by ADV Films, but since they have gone defunct, Section23 Films owns it now.

Episodes: 26

Year: 2003

Recommended Audiences: There’s some violence and intense moments. Eh, 10+

Dissecting the Disquels: Cinderella 2 – Dreams Come True

Rating: 2/10

Plot: The mice from the original movie miss the re-telling of the Cinderella story, which they don’t need to hear because they were there the entire damn time. So, they decide to make their own storybook containing three stories after the original movie concluded.

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Ah, the Disney sequels. How pointless and utterly awful (most) of you are. I wasn’t excited about this as much as I was dreading it. I mean, come on, who wants a Cinderella 2? (Or 3 for that matter…..It exists.) It’s a pretty cut and dry story. It’s even worse considering that this movie isn’t so much a movie as it is three separate short stories comprised together to make one movie.

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The first short is Cinderella’s first day in the castle. Prince Whatshisface and King Evenmoreforgettable suddenly leave the castle to go to Plotdemandedthisland immediately after Cinderella’s honeymoon. She hasn’t even reached the door before they’re off on their carriages.

The king has an annual banquet coming up, and despite the fact that he’s supposedly completely anal about having every detail of the banquet being perfect and the fact that he was saying Cinderella had no clue how to be a princess mere moments ago, he puts the entire banquet planning in her hands. Madame Iforgotalready is tasked with training her to be a princess while she plans the banquet.

Cinderella is clearly intimidated the instant that she walks through the door, but becomes even moreso when she’s completely overwhelmed by Madame’s demands to be a presentable princess which include keeping the curtains closed, wearing dresses, standing up straight and NOT COOKING. Jeez, what a harpy. Though I do wonder about the curtains. There’s no other light source in that castle, why do they insist on keeping it so dark? So she walks out and whines and complains to the mice about what she’s going through.

Oh, I’m sorry Princess Cinderella. Is this lavish and wonderful life that quite literally fell into your slave lap not to your liking? I am so sorry for you. Have a Disney brand sad face.

She then decides to take matters into her own hands. She dons her regular clothes, takes to the streets and starts planning the banquet the way that she wants to. She invites commoners, who supposedly aren’t allowed in the castle despite commoners being invited to the ball from the last movie, makes up fun dances and makes chocolate pudding for dessert….Which is weird.

I should also mention that this entire thing goes on during a montage with a song that sounds more suited for Hannah Montana.

Everyone but Madame Underwearinabunch is pleased with her changes, but the big test comes when the King comes back! And, predictably, he’s at first enraged by the changes, but instantly changes his mind at each one. WHO OPENED THE CURTAIN >:0 –What a lovely moon! 😀 NO PRUNES FOR DESSER 😡 –HELL YEAH CHOCOLATE PUDDING! 😀

The Madame falls ill with a sudden bout of Disney princess speed-love with the King’s adviser and Cinderella and the Prince kiss. The end.

Well, how boring.

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The next segment focuses on Jaq (The mouse) He’s too small to help Cinderella in the big house she now resides in, so the Fairy Godmother, not content to let anyone try to fix their problems on their own, turns Jaq into a human. Because you were always curious what that would be like when watching the first Cinderella, right? What Jaq would be like as a human? Oh and Cinderella’s tasked with planning yet another party because no one else ever does a damn thing.

Jaq is also being stalked by the royal evil cat, Paw-paw or something. Because they needed a stand-in for Lucifer from the last movie. Kinda like how the crocodile from Peter Pan was replaced with an octopus in the sequel. This cat is also stalking Jaq as a human now because, by cat logic, and I’m not making this up, one human equals a lot of friggin’ mice. So we might see a guy being mauled to death by a fluffy white kitty. It’s like Reddit’s worst nightmare.

Skip yet another horrific poppy crap song.

While trying to explain to Cinderella who he is, he’s mistaken for some other guy who’s famous/rich/royalty take your pick. Long story short, he starts screwing everything up and this somehow causes him to make an elephant that the King is riding on at the festival go crazy. The Fairy Problem Solver comes back and tells him that this is the perfect time for him to help because all elephants are afraid of mice.

So he decides to turn back, but for some reason not at that second. He goes back and tries to stop the elephant while still in human form while FGM stands there forgetting her magic words. If only she had a song written about them! And she turns him back into a mouse right in front of everyone. Jaq is reunited with Mary (girl mouse) and Cinderella commends him for coming through when she needs him….Ya know, especially considering that he was the cause of every problem that occurred there.

Lesson learned: If you can’t help with other problems, create problems that only you can solve.

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The final segment is the one I was waiting for; the one where Anastasia, one of Cinderella’s evil bitch stepsisters falls in love. Because I know I, as well as everyone else in the world, really wanted to see one of Cinderella’s hag sisters fall in love and live happily ever after. Other than having a movie portraying what really happened to the orange and male cub at the end of The Lion King, that is one of my most valued Disney mysteries.

Oh and in case you’re wondering how long it takes HER to find her love and fall in love (At first sight of course); clocked in at 3 minutes, 21 seconds. Yes. I timed it. Be jealous of how cool I am.

Now I’m fairly certain that we’re supposed to take Anastasia’s somewhat OOCness as off-screen character development. Like she saw Cinderella get whisked away by a prince and fall in love so now she’s rethinking her own life and imagining what it’s like to fall in love. However, since we didn’t see this transformation, it’s still OOCness. And she’s still a bitch, so I don’t know what we’re supposed to feel here.

Anyhoo, as she’s in the marketplace looking for a new dress to wear so that she can find a man at YET ANOTHER PARTY THAT CINDERELLA’S HOLDING

she’s lured into a bakery by the smell of freshly baked bread and comes face to face with her true love who actually looks like a real person holy frickin’ crackers. However, she’s torn away from him after their exchange of two lines of dialogue and thus Cinderella deduces that love has been torn asunder.

I think there’s something in the water in every Disney movie ever made, and it’s probably mutated pheromones. So she tries to help by getting her various animal friends to bring them together, but ends up making Anastasia crash into the bakery getting covered in baking products and she runs out crying and embarrassed. She’s made into a laughingstock and runs to a hidden fountain (Because people hide fountains apparently). Nice going, Cinderblockhead.

Oh and Lucifer (suddenly) falls in love with Poo-poo or whatever her name is so the mice help him get her, because we need to fill up that ENTIRE hour and ten minutes, counting five minutes of credits.

Cinderella takes Anastasia to the castle to give her a makeover to get the baker’s heart. It’s here where we get another musical montage (Set to a makeover. How original.) that is by far the worst of the movie. Not only is the song awful, but the lyrics are “It’s what inside that counts” set to a makeover montage! It’s what’s inside that counts as long as you look hot.

You know what else I love? That makeover montage was 100% pointless. She and Lucifer (Yeah, the mice gave him one) go back to looking exactly the same once they leave the castle mere moments later.

Cinderella brings Anastasia to the marketplace to see the baker and Anastasia sees the baker showing a ring of flowers (Meant to be a sign of love during the party thing) to an unnamed woman who’s just his friend. It’s established beforehand that she is just his friend and that hes intending on giving the flowers to Anastasia, so there’s no tension here. We know exactly what will happen. She’ll see them together, think he’s giving the flowers to her, run off crying in despair, mope around for a while and then he’ll find her, explain the big misunderstanding and then they’ll live happily ever after.

Meanwhile Lucifer presents a bouquet of fish to Ping-pong and after deeming him physically appropriate after, I guess, another makeover and taking the fish, she falls for him too. Predictably, they decide to now team up against the mice. After getting water dumped on her head by Jaq, she slams the fish bouquet on Lucifer’s head and walks away….How was that his fault? How did that make sense? Could you really not find a better way to pan out a few minutes in this movie?

The baker looks everywhere for Anastasia, but can’t find her and the flower ring gets eaten by some random goat that comes out of nowhere, leaving him with a tattered flower. Coincidentally, Anastasia is crying on the same fountain that he came to mope on (Fountains: great for the morbidly depressed) He gives her the flower and never is the other woman brought up. Why even have that plotline…or plotdot there to begin with then? She just accepts the flower and we get Carnation instant love.

The evil stepmother and Priscilla (other step sister) see them and she tries to take her away from the baker claiming he’s not good enough to date. They then take her flower and throw it on the ground. Anastasia refuses to go with them, claiming that she’s in love with the baker (Who never gets a name, by the way. Real important character you are, Mr. Nameless.)

Somehow he deduced that she’s sweet even though no evidence was given towards that, and states that they’re also going to the ball together. Stepbitch and Priscilla who is staring at them in such a way that I can imagine yet another story like this popping up, then go away. Anastasia and baker then dance by the fountain, which transitions to dancing in the ball and then the end of that story.

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The mice then show Cinderella the book and they read it even though they just spent the last hour telling the stories and, ya know, they were all there for those events…. I guess mice have awful memories. And speaking of awful, this was awful!

Why did they need to separate it into three stories? It would’ve worked a lot better if one story (probably the last one) had been kept and fleshed out into an actual movie. Show how Anastasia developed from a bitch into a slightly nicer bitch in love. Show the emotional turmoil of transitioning from a peasant into a princess, even though that’s a stretch. Show….okay the second story’s unusable, but you get my point. This just seems like a disjointed mess of “What if’s” and “Do you wonder what happened after?”

The stories are boring, make little sense and what sense I can make out of them makes me mad.

We also end on a pop song for the credits with Cinderella references in it.

Oh and Tress MacNeille voices Anastasia here. She played Babs in Tiny Toons and Dot in Animaniacs, so that was incredibly distracting.

Bottomline: All in all, this ‘movie’ isn’t a movie. It’s three shorts cobbled together to barely pass as a TV movie. The shorts themselves are stupid and usually don’t make much sense. This might be nice for really young kids to keep them quiet for an hour, but other than that it’s just not worth your time.

Also, the team that made this movie thanks the original creators of Cinderella for their work for it was inspiration for this movie. Right….

Recommended Audience: It’s Cinderella….And Disney….do the math.