Plot: Humanity is reaching out farther and farther into space to colonize, learn, explore and discover. With so much to explore, it’s hard to think that it ever ends. Will humanity find everything that it ever wished for beyond the stars or were humans not meant to traverse outside of earth at all? This is a collection of somewhat connected short sci-fi stories filled with adventure, friendship, mystery, tragedy, love, family and amazement.
Breakdown:….Best manga I’ve ever read.
Not kidding. I cannot sing the praises of this manga enough. I love sci-fi, I love anthologies, especially when there are links between the stories, the art is PHENOMENAL, the stories are intriguing and beautifully written, the characters are realistic and likable and I recommend this manga to anyone who finds the premise even the slightest bit interesting.
It’s hard for me to think of any things I didn’t like. The ending concluded a certain early storyline, and while abrupt and a little confusing, still seemed like a great and fitting end to the series. Like most anthologies, some stories are stronger than others, and some of the stories, called ‘Nights’ are just a little weird or confusing. Time traveling birds is all I have to say in that regard.
The style sometimes seems inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is great, and takes some notes from other more well known stories of sci-fi. If this has been a big project made in homage to the sci-fi space genre as a whole, then it succeeded in being a truly honorable tribute.
Bottomline: I know this is short, but this is really a masterpiece in manga. It’s beautiful in all respects, and I suggest everyone give it a read.
Additional Information and Notes:
2001 Nights was written and illustrated by Yokinobu Hoshino. This manga had a spin-off book called 2001+5 that I’m excited to watch as well as an anime movie of the same name and a two episode OVA called TO both of which I’m looking forward to….get it? Hehe.
As a bonus, here’s some of the awesome artwork shown in this series!
Recommended Audience: It’s all tastefully done, but the series does contain some nudity, slight bits of sexual situations, minor swearing, a little bit of blood and death as well as disturbing imagery. The subject matter might also be over the heads of children much of the time. 14+
Plot: The kids find yet another oddity in the Digital World, this time in the form of a trolley car. While some of the mystery surrounding Matt and TK is unfolding, Seadramon attacks the group. When Matt gets himself caught by Seadramon, Gabumon must Digivolve to save his friend.
Title change: Not much of a change, really. The original’s called The Blue Wolf, Garurumon! While the dub’s called simply Garurumon.
In the original, one of the kids asked Taichi why Agumon was the only one who Evolved back in episode two. Taichi calls Agumon over and asks him. Agumon says he doesn’t know, which causes Taichi to comically nearly fall off of the cliff they’re on.
In the dub, it’s like Tai is writing a letter to the audience saying that they’ve got awesome new Digimon friends who Digivolve into awesome creatures like Agumon did in the last episode. Tai calls Agumon over and tells him that he likes him when he’s Greymon and asks why he doesn’t stay that way all the time. Agumon says he can’t/doesn’t know how and then he says that even superheroes need a rest (Agumon really shouldn’t know what superheroes are.) and that causes Tai to comically fall for some reason.
A little bit of subtlety is missed in the dub. Originally, Takeru falls down and Yamato asks if he’s okay. Taichi turns around as they’re running and says “Takeru’s okay to go, right?” Takeru says yes, gets up and runs off while Yamato looks slightly upset.
In the dub, TK falls down and Matt acts like it’s a bother saying “Come on!” Tai turns around as they’re running and tells them to hurry up. TK says “Okay” and runs off while Matt looks slightly upset.
If you’ve seen the series or maybe this episode, you’d catch why Matt actually seems upset. He was babying his brother when Tai knew he was perfectly fine. When he got up like nothing was wrong, it favored Tai’s belief instead of Matt’s and also instilled a feeling of insecurity. And that was your psych minute of the day.
Originally, Mimi just says she’s tired and sick of walking and Taichi replies that it’s just a bit farther. Mimi says if she walks any farther her calves will get fat (I’m guessing she means big because exercise is kinda the opposite of gaining weight.) Agumon responds by saying fat calves are beneficial because they’re stronger and you can do stuff like kick dirt better, but Mimi’s not amused. Palmon chimes in and says that she likes flat feet with long roots (I guess insinuating that she might also get those from walking too long.) and Mimi’s not amused by that either.
In the dub, Mimi says she only walks for long distances when she’s in a mall and they’re not in one. Tai tells her to stop whining and Mimi refuses because her feet hurt. Agumon suggests that she take off her boots and socks to make her feel better, but Mimi doesn’t want to walk on the dirt. (Can’t say I blame her. Last thing I’d want to do if my feet hurt would be to walk on dirt barefoot. Grass, sand or carpet sure, but not rocky dirt.) Palmon then chimes in and says she loves the feeling of dirt beneath her feet and between her toes and Mimi says that’s gross.
Dub Tai: “Mimi wait up!” ….You do realize that Mimi’s pretty far behind you, right?
They replayed a closer shot of Tai and Agumon entering the trolley for a second I guess to lengthen the dialogue.
After Jyou suggests that the trolley could help them get home, Taichi shoots down the idea and says that it’s impossible since there are no tracks. In the dub, Tai says it is possible and maybe that’s how they’re going to get home. It’s a little funny because that trolley IS how they get home at the end of the series.
They replay another shot of Tai talking to lengthen the dialogue, but he just says “oh yeah, I forgot”
Originally, the mushrooms that Palmon sees, the ones without spots, are safe to eat according to her, but the spotted ones that Mimi sees are poisonous. In the dub, both the non-spotted and spotted ones are poisonous apparently. Also, Mimi tells Palmon that the flower on her head isn’t for looks and thanks her for her great advice on the mushrooms. In the dub, Mimi just says she’d be lost without Palmon…the Digimon she just met a day ago.
Yamato tells Taichi that cooking fish by holding it over the fire just ruins it and tells him to stick it by the heat instead. Matt says that Tai will burn his fingers cooking that way and says to use a stick. Tai then asks how Matt knows how to do that and he says he’s ‘the man’ which is two accounts of “(you’re/I’m) the man” in one minute since Dub Tai said that to Agumon in the same scene.
Another scene of Taichi muscling in on Yamato’s business is missing. Originally, Yamato asks Takeru if he wants him to remove the bones from the fish he’s eating. Taichi comes over and tells him to bite through the head and keep going which sounds a million times worse out of context.
In the dub, TK says that his mother doesn’t let him eat fish with his fingers and Matt says it’s okay. TK’s unsure, but Matt pushes that it’s okay. Tai then comes over and says that it’s fine because TK’s hanging with the big boys now. So, the older you get the more sloppy you can be? Thank God. I can finally achieve my dream of eating food like the Tasmanian devil.
Originally, Taichi asks Sora the same thing Izumi asked in a previous episode – why Takeru calls Yamato ‘Onii-chan’ when they have different last names. Sora says she doesn’t know.
In the dub, Tai asks Sora if she’s noticed that Matt seems to treat TK like more like a bother than a brother. Sora agrees and says Matt’s still learning how to be a big brother (TK’s eight, he’s not a newborn)
…..You know….it’s times like this that I really regret that I started this comparison. I mean, I know that there’s no English phrase quite like ‘Onii-chan,’ so they probably couldn’t mirror what was being said in the original, but the dub makes Matt look like an inherent ass who needs to learn how not to be an ass to his brother. In the original, he’s just overprotective because he hardly ever sees Takeru, at least so far. Maybe they could’ve made it work by having TK call Matt “Brother,” but that word isn’t as wide as ‘Onii-chan.’
Originally, Sora and Taichi conclude that because they can’t see the North Star that they must be in the Southern Hemisphere, but Jyou says that that’s impossible because he can’t find the Southern Cross either.
In the dub, the dialogue is kept the same until we get to suggesting that they’re in the Southern Hemisphere. Joe says it’s possible in the dub, if they’re even still on earth, instead of saying it’s impossible like his counterpart. What, can you mention the North Star fine but not the Southern Cross?
Originally, Taichi says to keep the girls out of the watch duty lineup. Dub Tai just says everyone can keep watch at one-hour intervals.
Taichi wanted to steal Gabumon’s fur for a blanket (as a joke.) He says he’s been dying to see what’s under the fur (….Uhhhh) and starts playfully tugging at it to tease Gabumon. In the dub, Tai insinuates that Mimi is the one who wants Gabumon’s fur as a blanket and even goes so far as to say she might CUT HIS TAIL OFF WHILE HE’S SLEEPING………
The dialogue about finalizing the lineup for lookouts is kept the same, however, that creates an error in the dub. Since they didn’t keep the line about omitting the girls from the lineup, saying that the lineup will be Tai, Matt, Izzy then Joe doesn’t make a lot of sense since they said all of them would keep watch for an hour at a time. Also, that means that they’re only going to sleep for four hours?
Originally, Mimi was thinking to herself as she fell asleep that she really wanted a bath. In the dub, she thinks that her feet still hurt.
Izzy and his aliens rears their ugly heads yet again. Originally, Izumi thinks that it’s going to be a long day spending all day tomorrow with everyone. (Hm?…..Does that mean Izumi doesn’t like being around them or socializing period?) In the dub, Izzy wonders why a trolley car is there and wonders if it was the aliens.
Originally, Jyou hopes that everything will be back to normal when he wakes up. In the dub, Joe hopes he doesn’t get monster cooties….Really, Saban? Monster cooties? I know this is Joe, but come on.
Yamato says that he has a tendency to fly off the handle and be overprotective. Maybe that’s why Takeru’s more attached to Taichi than he is to Yamato. Taichi asks Yamato what Takeru is to him and Yamato replies that they’re brothers and that their parents divorced so they’re living in separate houses.
In the dub, Matt basically says that he’s getting stressed from being in the Digital World and having to take care of TK. Tai then asks if they even live in the same house and Matt says no. They’re half-brothers (Whaaaaa?) and because of that I guess they don’t see each other much.
I don’t understand this at all. I’ve watched this series numerous times and I could’ve sworn they’ve stated that they’re actual brothers but their parents are divorced. Why is this changed? I don’t understand. Is divorce somehow taboo? I need to keep this in mind later in the series because I know they mention divorce somewhere.
The harmonica music is changed in the dub. There’s not a huge difference in the music styles, but the dub’s definitely sounds peppier and jazzier. Also, I love this scene. It’s like a parody. Emo Matt runs off in the middle of a tough conversation to sit alone at night and play the harmonica. Hah.
Taichi doesn’t insult Yamato’s harmonica playing like Dub Tai does.
Audio error?: In the shot of Gabumon and Matt reacting to the tidal wave in the dub, it sounds like Tentomon’s voice is coming from Gabumon as he’s going “Whooa”
The Digimon Index screen for Seadramon is misplaced in the dub. Originally it appeared right after Tentomon told us who it was and was followed by the narrator giving the explanation of what it was.
In the dub, the Index screen appears only a moment after it debuts and no information besides his name is given. The Index scene is left silent, which is kinda dumb. Tentomon could’ve easily given that information. Why change where the Index screen appeared and leave out the information on it?
Tentomon originally says that Seadramon rarely attack, but asks Taichi and Agumon if they did anything to upset it. They try to deny it (Taichi accidentally got an ember on his tail) before being flung around by Seadramon.
In the dub, Tentomon doesn’t mention this and says that they’ll be fine as long as it doesn’t see them. Then, without cutting away, Tentomon says that Agumon and Tai jinxed them and now it sees them. They did nothing during this shot so I don’t know what happened there.
Another audio error: Agumon calls for the Digimon to attack and Gabumon’s voice responds….Well, Gabumon’s swimming to the island that the others are on with Matt so why is his voice with them?
Gabumon originally says that he simply doesn’t have the power to save Yamato from Seadramon. In the dub, he says that he has a find a way to save him.
Also, Gabumon originally Evolves because he’s thinking that he’ll never be able to hear the gentle melody of Yamato’s harmonica again if he doesn’t find some way to help him. In the dub, he says he doesn’t understand what’s going on (What’s to understand?) but, and direct quoting here “What’s a little stinky fur compared to a friend like him?”….Ya know, that line basically insinuates that the main reason Gabumon couldn’t do anything was that he didn’t want to go in the water and get his fur wet and stinky….
Another vocal song is edited out during the Digivolution.
Originally, Tentomon states that Garurumon’s fur is supposedly as strong as the legendary metal, mythril. In the dub, he says it’s as strong as steel.
Attack name change: Seadramon’s Ice Arrow is changed to Ice Blast.
Attack Name Change: Fox Fire (What?….Garurumon’s a wolf not a fox. Even the Japanese title acknowledges this. The Blue Wolf, Garurumon. What the?) is changed to Howling Blaster.
Dub Gabumon: “Flying sure is a good way to keep my fur dry.” But you were barely ever in the air during that battle and you just emerged from the water.
After Takeru thanks his brother in addition to Gabumon, Yamato says with a blush that it was nothing. Gabumon says Yamato’s too shy and Yamato says “look who’s talking.” In the dub, Gabumon calls Matt “The man” again and Matt calls Gabumon the Wolf man. This exchange doesn’t date this at all…
Sub Mimi doesn’t ask Gabumon if she can use him as a pillow. Also, the poor thing saves all of your lives and you want to use him as furniture? Jerk. 😦
Brock: The Pewter City Gym leader, Brock is a very responsible and caring teenager. His father left him, his mother and various brothers and sisters to go on a Pokemon journey. His mother left—oops I mean died then became a zombie I guess much later, thus he was left as the sole caretaker of his siblings.
Brock is a pretty level headed and knowledgeable individual, unless a pretty girl is around, and he aspires to be a Pokemon breeder. Once his father, Flint, returned and decided to take the reigns on caring for the family, Brock decided to join Ash on his journey so he can develop his skills a Pokemon Breeder. He typically offers plenty of knowledge and advice to Ash while serving as the group’s cook. He’s known for being a great chef both for human and Pokemon food. Though not aspiring to be a Rock Type Master, Brock still does seem to favor Rock types in his roster.
Badge Episode – Boulder Badge: Pewter Gym
Plot: Ash has arrived in Pewter City and notices a poster about the upcoming Pokemon League Championships on the Pokemon Center wall. In order to enter, you need to travel to various Pokemon Gyms throughout Kanto and defeat the leaders of the Gyms in order to obtain at least eight badges that will later be presented to the league as qualification. Ash gears up to join the tournament, and he’s directed to a Gym right in Pewter City, lead by someone named Brock.
Ash arrives and meets the stone-faced (hehe puns) Brock who accepts his challenge. He starts with the giant Onix while Ash starts with Pikachu. The little yellow mouse is intimidated by the huge snake made of rocks, but agrees to battle anyway. Pikachu’s electric attacks are not powerful enough to harm Onix, so Onix easily gains the upperhand.
Onix binds Pikachu, and Ash finds that he’s unable to recall him, so he’s forced to forfeit before Pikachu gets hurt.
Defeated in more ways than one, Ash laments on his loss as he talks with the mysterious rock salesman, Flint, who explains to him that Brock has an unfortunate situation. His mother ‘died’ and his father left on a Pokemon journey never to return. Thus Brock is left as the sole caretaker of his ten brothers and sisters.
Despite seeing Brock in a different light, Ash still wishes he could find some way to defeat him. Flint offers a suggestion of powering up Pikachu with the local water wheel. It’s dried up, so Ash will have to power through operating it manually like an external hamster wheel. Pikachu bears the pain while being infused with the electricity, and they get ready once again to take Brock on.
The next day, Ash asks for a rematch against Brock. With Misty as well as all of Brock’s sisters and brothers watching, they battle once again.
Brock starts out this time with Geodude while Ash starts off with Pidgeotto. However, Pidgeotto’s almost completely ineffective against Geodude, so Ash is forced to recall it. Ash then sends out Pikachu. Powered up Pikachu is able to take out Geodude with a single blow, but Onix proves he won’t make things that easy.
While Pikachu’s putting up a better fight than before, even damaging the Gym with his power, Onix is still too powerful for him and ends up trapping him in a Bind once more. Brock calls off the attack, this time for fear of hurting Pikachu, but Ash won’t stop the match.
Suddenly the small flames caused by Pikachu’s earlier attacks cause the sprinkler systems to go off, inflicting pain to Onix. Misty points out that Rock Types are weak to water, giving Ash an opportunity to take Onix down.
He attacks with Pikachu once, causing Onix to fall. As Ash is about to make the final blow, he’s held back by Brock’s brothers and sisters who don’t want Brock to continue watching Onix get hurt any further. Ash agrees and says it wouldn’t be fair to continue since Onix was unfairly damaged by the sprinklers so he leaves.
Brock later catches up with him and offers him the Boulder Badge for his kindness towards his Pokemon. Ash accepts, and Brock reveals that he’d rather be a great Pokemon Breeder than a Gym Leader or a trainer, but since he has his brothers and sisters to care for, he can’t follow that dream. He tells Ash to do it for him.
Just then, Flint arrives and reveals himself to be Brock’s estranged father who offers to finally return home and take care of his family while Brock goes off on his own journey. They all depart for the next city and the next Gym with Ash’s shiny new Boulder Badge proudly pinned to his vest.
– $1,150 is quite a bit for a bowl of rice and a drink. That’s not even counting tips. How did they go from doing such a fantastic job repainting the Pokemon League poster to neglecting to add a decimal point after removing the yen symbol for a dollar sign? If such a tiny detail as the yen symbol was enough to bring out the digital painters, you’d think they’d catch such a thing. Hell, I caught that when I first watched this as a kid.
– With how busy Brock must be, I find it weird that he sometimes sits alone in the dark in his gym. Also, who turned on the spotlight when he first spoke?
– I really, really don’t want to complain about this, but it’s just bugging me. Why did Ash previously have such detailed knowledge of Pokemon League rules before but now he’s completely oblivious as to what Gyms are and how they work? Did he just pick and choose specific details about training to learn by heart?
– The wiki notes that there’s a graphical error before the battle begins where we see Ash’s eyes turn red, but they just look brown to me. It’s technically still a graphical hiccup as, despite the fact that Ash’s eyes are indeed brown, they’re usually colored black unless it’s a particularly detailed closeup. However, I find it weird saying that coloring his eyes their canon color for a change is a ‘mistake’.
– Brock: “As Gym Leader, I have to accept every challenge.” Odd that Dogasu’s comparison doesn’t note this. It’s possible that the original has him say the same thing, but I’m noting this in conjunction with the Rainbow Badge episode where it’s noted that Erika, in the dub, says she’s obligated under league rules to accept all challenges. In the original, she says no such thing and had actually been rejecting Ash’s challenges all day, so the rule seems like bull if it does exist in the original.
– Brock definitely had a bit of a personality change over time, eh? He went from really serious and blunt, almost mocking, to being a pretty goofy skirt chaser. Granted, he’s still very knowledgeable and responsible, but you can really tell the difference in this episode.
– Also, Brock, why are you not shirtless? You’re shaming your game counterpart with your shirt.
– Eric Stuart doesn’t really sound like he has……acting down. I would say Brock’s voice, but he’s just acting pretty poorly in this episode for some reason. He gets better with time but ech.
– Brock: “Such a weak electric attack can’t hurt Onix.” No – no electric attacks period can hurt Onix because it’s part Ground type….
But as we’ll later see, screw that logic. Messiahchu to the rescue!
– It’s understandable to feel like crap when you lose, especially as badly as Ash just did, but come on. He’s had one other trainer match in his entire life, yet he’s acting like his career is over after one loss.
– Ash: “Yeah but why has he never been in a regional championship himself?” Who said he hasn’t? Also, I’m really unclear as to how Gym Leaders are chosen. The wiki says it varies greatly either from region to region or Gym to Gym but you’d think there would be some solid rules considering they’re all under official League contracts. How did Brock prove himself to be good enough to be a Gym Leader? How did Misty? They’re not really particularly strong when you view them against other Gym leaders in the region or even the whole Pokemon world, so it’s just confusing to me.
– Behold! 4Kids purposely adding in character death for no reason! Join us in about seven years during Pokemon Chronicles where Zombie-Brock’s Mom makes an appearance.
– I would ask why doesn’t Flint tell Ash that Electric vs. part Ground is pointless, but in this episode it doesn’t seem to matter much anyway. Weird how they pay such attention to the type advantages and disadvantages from the game that it actually made them goof a couple times, yet they get this completely obvious fact wrong just to give Pikachu more limelight. Granted, neither Butterfree nor Pidgeotto would have a good shot either, they’re both weak to Rock types, but still better than a Pokemon who, by all logic, should have no effect on any of Brock’s Pokemon.
– That’s right, kids. If you want to get a badg -; don’t go out there and train. That’s for morons! Instead, torture your Pokemon by hooking them up to generators and pumping raw electricity through their bodies!
Don’t try to tell me that this isn’t hurting Pikachu. They make a point to show that it’s really painful. I especially find it stupid that Ash is like ‘I can bear moving a waterwheel with my feet as long as you bear having electricity forcibly fed into your body.’
– Do I even need to bring up how cheat-y this seems? I mean, I know there are items in the games that can improve your Pokemon’s attributes, but this is just a big fat shortcut to, as Flint puts it, ‘Superpowering’ Pikachu. The power wasn’t earned, it was taken.
– Flying types pointed out as being weak against Rock → Rock (Geodude) easily wins.
Electric types have no effect on Ground types → Beats Geodude (Part Ground type) easily with one electric attack.
– Brock: “It looks like you’ve trained it better.” Last I checked, training did not involve booster cables. Also, does he really believe he trained Pikachu that much better in one night?
– His electric attacks are hurting Onix too. Pfft.
– Misty, why are you telling him to cheat?…even more than he already was? I know he realizes this is wrong later, but A) he still attacked anyway, B) He was going to finish it off before Brock’s brothers and sisters intervened and C) Misty’s still encouraging him to do this.
Onix getting hurt by the sprinkler system is an accident – taking advantage of an accident during a match is just as bad as cheating. To put it into perspective, imagine you’re battling a Grass type and someone threw a lit cigarette on it, causing it to burst into flames. Or imagine if a Water type accidentally stepped on a live electrical wire. Would you take advantage of that and overtake them in battle or stop the match immediately? That should be common sense not an after-after-thought.
– Onix is also basically ‘finished’ before Ash tries to attack again, so this just seems cruel.
– Misty: “*sighs* Just when he finally gets a lucky break, he decides to be a nice guy too.” Wha, did you want him to be an asshole? What’s wrong with you?
– Brock: “No, you beat me both in battle and in being kind to Pokemon.” No, he didn’t beat you in either. If he beat you in battle, it would’ve been because he cheated – twice. And he wasn’t particularly kind considering he was going to attack your already beaten Onix. In competition there, you released Pikachu from the Bind earlier and gave him an out to surrender before Pikachu got hurt. He didn’t beat you in any way, shape or form.
– And thus starts the line of Indigo League pity badges. Hooray.
– How is Ash supposed to fulfill Brock’s dream of being the greatest Pokemon breeder for him if Ash is a Pokemon trainer? Also, why can’t Brock become a great breeder at home if he can still be a gym leader?
– Why did Flint need to wear a fake beard as a disguise? Couldn’t he just grow one?
I……pretty much hate this episode. Okay ‘hate’ may be a strong word, but I don’t really like it. I like the introduction to Brock, and Flint is one of the funnier minor characters, but Ash essentially cheats, twice, even if he decided to finally stop at the end, with interference mind you, and Misty encourages him to cheat.
Team Rocket’s role, while being the first pitfall trap they’ve made, is completely minor and not funny. They don’t even come face to face with Ash and Co. all episode, they just get stepped on by them at the end and appear for a couple minutes at the beginning, which I don’t really mind, but still. If they played such a small role, why include them at all? Note how I didn’t include them at all in the synopsis – they’re that minor here.
It’s not just the cheating that bothers me either – it’s just uncomfortable that Ash was that okay with pumping Pikachu full of electricity instead of just saying ‘well, guess I need to train more.’ Ya know…like anyone else would.
Or hell ‘Maybe I need to train more and catch more than three Pokemon.’ That would work too. He doesn’t even second guess this. He’s excited about doing it. Was it a big emergency that Ash had to beat Brock as soon as possible? Pikachu agreed to do it, but it still just doesn’t sit right with me.
Plus, like I said, this is the first of many ‘pity badges’ that Ash gets in the Indigo League. In fact, let’s crack out his legit badge earnings right here. X is pity, O is earned.
Pewter City (Boulder Badge) – X
Cerulean City (Cascade Badge) – X (Though, I do agree that Ash would’ve won easily had Pikachu agreed to fight. However, the mere fact that Pikachu refused to fight is sorta a testament to his skill as a trainer, isn’t it?)
Vermillion City (Thunder Badge) – O
Celadon City (Rainbow Badge) – X
Fuchsia City (Soul Badge) – O
Saffron City (Marsh Badge) – X
Cinnabar Island (Volcano Badge) – O (In fact, I adore that Blaine was like ‘Hell no! You still have to battle me, idiot!’ when Ash asks if he earned a badge by helping Blaine with his Gym. It was a slap to the entire concept of pity badges.)
Viridian City (Earth Badge) – X (To a degree. He did beat Team Rocket, but he didn’t technically earn the badge properly. He never faced Giovanni, who is the actual Gym leader, leading to more confusion about how Gym leaders are chosen, plus he definitely would’ve lost if he was faced against Mewtwo. Just because Team Rocket had stronger Pokemon doesn’t make them more of a challenge. They’re still the same idiots Ash beats all the time. So, this one’s on the line, but it still counts)
I’m so glad this stops after the Indigo League.
Next episode, Clefairy and the Moon Stone. Ash and the others go through Mt. Moon on their way to Cerulean City for Ash’s next Gym Match. They meet the stranger Seymour (The Scientist™) who is researching the Clefairy found on the mountain as well as the mysterious Moon Stone.
Plot: In an alternate future, the worth of people is based on their ranks as soldiers. If you’re not a soldier, you’re the lowest class and typically live in ratty conditions with little money. The goal for most people is to become a citizen; the highest rank soldiers who seemingly have the best lives and most money.
In addition, the world is separated into separate cities that are run by computers called Little Mamas, and there is a resistance against these cities and computers that the soldiers typically fight in order to gain higher rank. A lowest class man named Grey is living with his girlfriend, Lips, when Lips decides to become a soldier to increase her rank in hopes of becoming a citizen. However, Lips tragically dies in battle and Grey decides to also become a soldier in order to achieve her dream for her. As the years go by, he greatly increases in rank and is known throughout the cities as Grey Death since he’s such an amazing soldier. However, as Grey racks up more assignments and climbs the ladder, he discovers there’s far more behind the scenes and far less to hope for.
Breakdown: This series doesn’t really start to shine much until the second half. Until then, it’s really just fighting and being awed by how awesome and incredibly lucky Grey seems to be. That’s not to say the first half is a chore to sit through, it’s not, it’s just that it takes quite a bit to get to really interesting aspects.
Let me tell you something right now; don’t get attached to any character. This manga is in no way afraid of killing off who it wants or needs to at any time.
The second half really is the most interesting part as I can’t even really think of many things to compare it to. I obviously won’t be spoiling anything, but you really start feeling depressed for the characters because humanity starts to get into really bad shape.
Grey’s a bit of a forgettable character. He’s the typical bad-ass lech who, despite seemingly not having a significant background in fighting or combat, he quickly and easily becomes a master solider above all others because of a lost loved one. He also gets unbelievably lucky and sometimes there are situations where you just go ‘He COULD NOT have survived that.’ Not to say Grey never gets injured, God no, but there are times when people are blown to bits in front of his face and he has little to no effect by it.
The rest of the characters are pretty good even if most of the women, despite being good soldiers too, are really there to get Grey laid and provide fanservice pointless or otherwise.
The story, while being really good and even pretty damn original especially for a manga made in 1980, also had its issues. It’s somewhat hard to follow the story, especially in the second half as characters pop up from nowhere and it’s like Grey knows them personally but I was just ‘huh’ing the whole way and eventually learned to just accept that this is a thing that happens quite often.
Also, the ending just left me feeling disappointed. The whole series built up to that one confrontation and it just ends on such a hollow note.
The artwork is probably the weakest point. The art, while being detailed in landscapes and machines, just falters a lot with the humans and storytelling. The humans look weird and the story’s art is arranged in such a way that you can go pages without being able to follow what’s happening very well.
Bottomline: Despite the flaws, this is a good story that is a fairly quick read. It’s not mind-blowing, but it’s definitely entertaining and fairly memorable.
Additional Information and Notes:
Grey was written by Yoshihisa Tagami and was published by Tokuma Shoten. The English translated version was released by Viz Media.
An anime spinoff movie called Grey: Digital Target was released in 1986, right in the middle of its run. I have never heard of this movie, but I look forward to seeing if it delves even more into this very interesting world.
Recommended Audience: Swearing, several instances of nudity, allusions to sex, quite a bit of blood and gore, dark tone. 15+