Dissecting the Disquels: Tarzan and Jane

jurs4sj

Plot: Jane tries to plan something for her and Tarzan’s first wedding anniversary. A full-episode clip show ensues.

Breakdown: I mentioned in my Tarzan 2 review that Tarzan actually did get its own series; The Legend of Tarzan. It’s a series I didn’t remember at all, in the slightest, even through promos, and I kinda understand why. It only had 39 episodes and two technical seasons. Though, I don’t quite get why it was canceled. According to the Wiki page, the show was actually received fairly well, critically, and it was even nominated for a Daytime Emmy award and two Golden Reel awards.

I only found that the reason the reruns stopped were because Disney replaced them, along with reruns of Fillmore! And Buzz Lightyear, with a block of Recess.

This movie is sorta a reverse Atlantis 2 or Cinderella 2. Whereas those movies were three episode long pilots to TV series that would never be, this is a three episode long series finale chimera of sorts. It’s made of the final three episodes of The Legend of Tarzan. The segments are mended together through Jane talking to Terk and Tantor about what she should do for Tarzan and her first wedding anniversary.

I will never understand these types of movie. When you think about it, it is literally just the main characters sitting down for a half hour per segment explaining an event in detail when they were all there for it. This whole movie could be finished in a few lines.

“I was thinking of throwing a party.”

“That might make Tarzan uncomfortable. Remember the last time you tried to introduce him to English culture?”

“Oh yeah. That didn’t go well. Well, maybe we can exchange gifts.”

“Gifts? Like diamonds!? Remember the last time Tarzan got you a diamond?”

“Oh yeah. That was a disaster. What about a nice dance?”

“I don’t think so. Remember the last time Tarzan danced?”

“Err, right, I guess. Well, I guess we’ll do nothing. Thanks for destroying my marriage, Terk!”

END.

What’s even weirder is that they’re also explaining events they could have no knowledge of because they weren’t there. Like how does Terk know in detail things that happened in scenes with only Tarzan and the professor? Did they write a transcription of the conversation?

What’s particularly strange about this is that these episodes aren’t lost or anything, nor was the movie released as the finale and then separated into episodes like Kim Possible’s finale…the first finale anyway…..it is merely the final three episodes of the TV series, released prior to the movie, made into flashbacks with some new footage put between them as a framing device.

So, essentially, this movie is trying to rip kids off. If the kid was a fan of the show and wanted to see the new movie, they’d feel really screwed because they’d merely be watching a full episode clip show of the end of the series instead of an actual movie.

I’d almost say that The Legend of Tarzan was just not a profitable series at all, so they decided to release this ‘movie’ to milk a little more cash out of it. They already have 95% of the animation in their archive, just make the framing device and cash in.

————————————————–

The movie starts off with Jane and Tarzan playing around in the trees when she suddenly decides to leave. She tells Terk, who has a really terrible voice actor here, by the way, and Tantor that she plans to make a nice party for their first anniversary. Terk and Tantor say that might not be a good idea and use a previous run in with British customs as an example. Thus they relay the entire story to Jane; a story she was entirely present for while Terk and Tantor were barely in it.

Then our first segment begins. Our first segment or episode is one titled in the series as Tarzan and the British Invasion. Jane’s three prim and proper friends from finishing school come to the island to ‘save’ Jane from the ‘wild man’ they had somewhat misheard about. They’re weirded out yet understanding about Jane’s decision to live in the jungle with her new husband the ‘wild man’.

Tarzan obviously makes the girls uncomfortable with his less than proper manners and actions, but both parties remain civil. When Tarzan leaves to get some food, the girls claim that Jane has changed and don’t show much appreciation for the life she has in the jungle. In an effort to prove to her friends that she hasn’t changed, she prepares a fancy picnic for them the following day.

Jane invites Tarzan along, but he feels like she’s embarrassed by him, especially when she tries to get him to wear his father’s old suit. He refuses to go, and Jane goes to the picnic without him.

Jane starts her picnic with her friends when the panthers, Nuru and Sheeta, attack. They manage to escape, but find themselves lost in the jungle.

Meanwhile, Tarzan has a conversation with Jane’s father about the situation. He tells Tarzan that Jane has done everything to adapt to his life, ways and customs, so doing the same for her for one day shouldn’t be that big of a deal. He agrees and goes off to change into his suit for the picnic. However, when he arrives at the spot, he finds the picnic ruined and determines that Nuru and Sheeta attacked, chasing the women into the jungle.

Back with Jane, she starts getting back into her jungle groove as she tries to do everything in her power to navigate her friends back while also trying to keep them safe. When the panthers arrive again, Tarzan shows up to fight them off. Eventually, the panthers are beaten, Jane is reunited with Tarzan and all of the women get the hots for him.

Jane’s friends bid her goodbye having now accepted and fully understood why she lives the life that she lives. Tarzan asks if she ever gets homesick and while she admits that she does miss London sometimes, she’s become a different person in the jungle, and she likes it.

This episode is actually pretty good. Tarzan in particular got some surprisingly funny lines. I put that mostly on his voice actor, Michael T. Weiss, as his delivery for some of the lines was really hilarious.

“Actually, I never knew my parents. They were murdered by the leopard, Sabor.”

*gasp*

“In this room.”

*gasp!*

“Right there!”

And simply;

“I GOT FRUIT!” If that could be applied anywhere as a meme, I’d really want that to happen.

The story was predictable but also pretty well done. I’m glad that while Jane’s friends were believable prim and proper ‘ladies’ They weren’t bitches like I expected them to be. They’re legitimately Jane’s friends and while they may get a bit fed up with the jungle world sometimes, they try to bite their lip for Jane’s sake.

Jane was also alright, and I understand where she’s coming from. Even if you like what you’ve become, it’s difficult to have someone say to you, in a negative way, that you’ve changed, especially when the people saying it are good friends. She didn’t get into an argument with Tarzan over the suit thing nor is she really ashamed of her husband, she was just trying to get Tarzan to play along in order to prove herself to her friends.

Since Terk and Tantor dash the party idea, Jane suggests that they merely exchange gifts instead. Tantor asks what kinds of gifts men give women in England, and Jane lists off some examples while Terk deduces that one of these gifts is diamonds. Terk then reminds Jane of the last time Tarzan tried to get Jane a diamond and we get our second segment titled, creatively enough, Volcanic Diamond Mine.

Two crooked diamond hunters enlist Tarzan’s help in getting diamonds from a volcano. Tarzan agrees to help despite his distrust of the men as long as he gets a diamond to give to Jane since he believes she’d want one like the women in England get.

Jane notices Tarzan acting suspicious so she starts tracking him down with her father and Terk—and holy crap, I just now realized that Jane and her father are speaking with the animals…..

My embarrassing obliviousness aside, I’ve never seen the series, but is this ever explained at all because her Disney wiki page says nothing about how she and her father acquired this skill. I mean, I suppose Tarzan may have taught her, but she really learned fluent gorilla and elephant in less than a year? That’s even more unbelievable than her learning it period. I guess she and her father must’ve been visited by the shaman from The Wild Thornberrys.

Tarzan and the two diamond hunters arrive at the volcano and start mining diamonds. When Tarzan starts deciding which diamond to keep for Jane, one of the pair claims he’s not getting any diamonds and that they’re going to kill him to protect their diamonds since they don’t trust him. Jane and her father arrive right as Tarzan is being attacked.

The two diamond hunters exit the cave but not before blowing the place up to kill Tarzan. While their plan failed miserably as they now have no way of retrieving the diamonds either, Tarzan, Jane and the professor survive. However, the explosion has caused the volcano to start erupting.

Using a pick and some rope left behind, Tarzan and the others make it out of the cave and through the top, but the magma continues to rise. Then we get something completely stupid. Tarzan breaks off a piece of stone from the side of the volcano and surfs the magma wave. This is so nonsensical even the characters are questioning it.

Jane: “Is this…possible?”

Professor: “Who cares as long as it’s working!?”

I can give them being so close to all this magma without burning up, but riding it on a stone like a wave of water is just silly.

The diamond hunters are cornered up a tree by crocodiles as the lava makes it way towards them, but Tarzan swings by on a vine that I suppose is just held up by the clouds and saves them.

They’re later arrested, I supposed for attempted murder, and the segment ends.

Jane asks what the story has to do with her present idea, something I was also wondering as one bad experience with a diamond shouldn’t give you diamond PTSD. Terk and Tantor then explain that Tarzan felt really bad when he couldn’t get her a gift he thought she should have for their wedding. The same will happen if he finds out he has nothing to give her for their anniversary.

Well….uh, tell him about it so he actually has a chance to get a present? This is different from the diamond because he had already been married to Jane for some time and felt bad that she missed all the English wedding stuff, especially the diamond ring. He has plenty of time to make a gift, doesn’t he? Or to find one? Maybe his mother had some jewelry, I dunno. He doesn’t have a chance to feel bad about not getting a gift for their anniversary if he knows about it and gets a gift in time.

….And again, why did this story start as an anti-diamond point? She just gave precious stones such as diamonds as an example of a gift a man would give a woman as an anniversary present. She didn’t say the diamond thing was tradition, unlike the wedding ring.

This segment was pretty bad. John O’Hurley voices one of the diamond hunters. That’s about as notable as it gets.

Otherwise, Tarzan got no funny lines, the story made little sense, the professor was an idiot, and the ending was just silly. It would’ve been nice to see Jane speak with Tarzan about this afterward like saying she doesn’t need a diamond, she’s perfectly happy the way she is, but she appreciates the thought or something. No lesson was had. Hell, we don’t even see Tarzan look disappointed or saddened that he lost his diamond. It just cuts to the hunters being arrested and the segment ends.

Tarzan leading the men to the cave was also out of character. He clearly didn’t trust the two from the start and knew the diamonds were in the volcano. He could’ve somehow gotten one himself without endangering his jungle.

After that, Jane suggests they merely dance under the moonlight. However, her father pops up and says that might be a bad idea. Remember the last time Tarzan danced?

*flashback ripple*

The third segment is called Flying Ace. It starts with Jane’s father making a radio and her and Tarzan dancing to the music when a plane makes an emergency landing nearby. The pilot is Jane’s oldest friend, Robert, and Tarzan immediately doesn’t trust him, claiming he reminds him of the leopard, Sabor. Jane brushes him off saying he’s being irrational, and Terk says he’s just jealous. Jane invites Robert back to the treehouse to catch up while Tarzan stews in the jungle.

As they’re having a nice time, Robert noticeably snoops for something. He tells Jane that he’s looking for a music box he gave her right before he left for Africa. He’d like it back to give to someone else back home. She finds it, opens it up to check if it works and they decide to relive their old days in dance class by having a dance to the music.

Tarzan walks in on them and gets very jealous before storming out. Robert says it might be best if he took the music box and left, and Jane sadly agrees. A tiny monkey runs past her feet, causing her to drop the music box, which makes it crack open revealing a code machine.

Robert reveals himself to be a double agent and the music box contains codes from the English military that he’s selling to the non-descript ‘other side’. Jane tries to get away with the music box, but she ultimately gets captured by Robert and they leave on his plane.

Meanwhile, Tarzan saves a British Airman who has been tailing Robert but was shot down by him in the start of the episode. Now realizing that Robert is indeed a bad man and it wasn’t merely him being jealous, Tarzan pursues the airplane. He somehow manages to spear the plane in mid air and climbs up the attached vine to take out Robert. Jane is forced to try to fly the plane with radioed assistance by her father.

She manages to keep it steady for a while, but loses control as it reaches a waterfall. Tarzan somehow manages to keep the plane from falling by spearing a nearby tree and wrapping a vine around the tail. Robert escapes with the music box, threatening to cut the vine if they pursue him, though he’d be too far away to do it if they just waited a few seconds for him to run.

Tarzan tries to keep the plane from falling as the vine starts to snap, and Jane hangs above the propellers, nearly getting sliced up. Robert hears her screams and decides his old friend is more important than selling the information, so he returns to the plane and saves her.

Tarzan is knocked off of the vine by a log, and the plane falls. However, Robert is able to pilot it safely back to shore. Robert is arrested by the agent, and we cut back to present time where the professor points out how hurt Tarzan was when he saw Jane and Robert dancing together, so them dancing together would just open old wounds.

Really? You had to tell the entire story from start to finish for that flimsy excuse? You could’ve just said ‘Remember when Tarzan saw you dancing with your old friend, Robert? He was very hurt, and dancing with you again might open those wounds.’ And honestly, what the hell is all this? This entire movie is ‘Tarzan can’t do this thing that was mildly connected to this 20 minute long story I’m about to tell because Tarzan kinda felt bad about it somewhere I think.’

Tarzan can’t throw a party, not even a non-traditional English one, because he didn’t fit in with Jane’s friends that one time. Completely ignore that he came to understand that he should try to do things from Jane’s culture just as she lives in his culture. Also ignore that the end of the story was a good one, and her friends came to respect and understand Tarzan.

Tarzan can’t give any presents because he felt bad that he wasn’t able to get Jane a diamond that one time.

Tarzan can’t dance because, despite the fact that he clearly had a lot of fun with Jane the last time he danced with her, he saw her innocently dancing with an old friend and had a drama fit.

Hey, let’s make the movie longer.

Jane: “Okay, what about a nice romantic dinner?”

Terk: “Dinner!? Remember the last time Tarzan ate food?”

*20 minute long story*

Terk: “That tummy ache he got made him slightly uncomfortable for a few hours! If he eats again, it could bring up bad memories.”

*cut to dead Tarzan*

Anyway, the movie’s not over. Jane laments that she can’t seem to do anything for her anniversary and now it’s night time. You guys seriously bored her with these overly long stories that she was present for…all day? Wow.

She continues to mope as she reaches the treehouse when she’s surprised by all of the gorillas throwing a party for her. Tarzan walks up to her in his father’s suit wishing her a happy anniversary. Jane deduces that Terk, Tantor and the professor knew what they were up to all along and I guess they were meant to keep her busy while they prepared the party.

Nope, it still doesn’t change the fact that the rest of the movie has been dumb because Jane found all of the excuses perfectly logical.

Not only that, but Tarzan has a gift for her; a diamond ring, made with a diamond from the volcano cave…..one he shouldn’t have since all of the diamonds melted in the volcano and the cave was destroyed in the eruption. Also, that’s quite the perfectly cut diamond you ‘found’. Where did he get the ring to go with it? The trading post?

And finally, they dance as the party goes on. And Kala’s there. She has no lines and the art makes her nearly impossible to point out, but there ya go.

The party concludes with some random out of place pop song, Tarzan and Jane kiss; the end.

———————————————————

This movie…I don’t even want to call this a movie. It’s three random episodes of The Legend of Tarzan taped together with a framing device that doesn’t even make sense most of the time. I will admit that the ending does kinda make up for the stupidity of the framing device up until that point, but not very much considering Jane found so much logic in those excuses that she ended up doing nothing for her anniversary.

If I just want to take all of the new footage as a movie, making this a very short movie out of a very short movie (1 hour, 12 minutes with credits.), then it’s just….boring. You know the movie won’t end with them doing nothing for their anniversary. Tarzan cares too much about Jane to leave her hanging in the wind.

He’d obviously do something to make her happy in his own way. Was him getting dressed up, throwing a party, getting a diamond and dancing with her showing that he’s gotten over his problems with these things to make Jane happy or was it a bunch of lies to stall Jane? If it’s the latter, that makes the rest of the movie even more pointless. It’s almost like they were stalling the audience too until they wrapped it up.

This isn’t a horrible watch for someone who’s never watched the TV series because the stories themselves weren’t that bad. In fact, they were fairly entertaining. I’d definitely say the first segment is the best, the third is second place and the second is the worst.

It’s how they poorly melded the segments with the framing that made them seem bad. But, in the end, the only audience who would really watch this are mostly people who have seen the series. And those people would feel ripped off for getting about 10 minutes of movie and 55 minutes of show they’ve already watched.

The art and animation are definitely not up to the movie standards. Hell, not even Tarzan 2 standards. It’s got that TV series ick to it, but it’s not as bad as it could be. Some of the scenes with falling CGI objects were pretty bad, though.

The voice acting is also fine for the most part. Tarzan doesn’t get any more fun line reads after segment one, Jane’s fine, Tantor sounds exactly as he did in the first movie and Terk can choke on a porcupine. I not only don’t like Terk as a character, but they somehow found someone more annoying than Rosie O’donnell to voice her.

The music is also…fine. The male/female redo of Two Worlds was a little pop-ish for my tastes and I just couldn’t get into the final pop song thing, even with Terk and the gorillas kinda making a callback to Trashin’ the Camp.

Bottomline: If you haven’t seen the series and like Tarzan, give a quick watch I guess as the individual stories are pretty okay. Don’t expect much of the movie itself, though.

As for those who have seen the series, really don’t bother at all.

Rating: TV Series Fans – 1/10

Haven’t seen the series – 4/10

Recommended Audience: There are numerous guns, but no one gets shot. Nothing else beyond that, really. 6+

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) BattleTech

3iaargu

Plot: The inner sphere is a federation of numerous planets. While they lived in peace for many years, the planets within their borders have waged centuries of war against each other. During the midst of the wars, the entire federation was attacked by a new enemy who call themselves the clans. Adam Steiner, a man of royalty and high military ranking from the planet Somerset, seeks to wage battle against the clans after they take over his home planet.

Breakdown: The first episode does a meh job of introducing you to the world in which this show takes place. We’re thrown in the middle of the invasion with no idea who anyone is or what’s going on until about four minutes into the show where we get our plot breakdown via the always helpful pre-opening song narration.

After that, it still doesn’t do a great job of introducing us to the main characters. The most prominent ones I remember are Adam, who apparently maybe got a free ride in the military due to his vague royal status on a low ranking planet. He’s seemingly a noble guy who merely wants to save his home planet and he’s a responsible soldier as he still refuses to pass one of his friends in a mech piloting test or give her a second shot at the test since she showed she didn’t have the right frame of mind to pilot them.

Kylie is the student who was failed, and she’s headstrong and a little bitchy. She blames Adam for not passing her or giving her another chance even though she stupidly failed the simulation and got herself virtually killed because she wanted to be a show off. She seems to stay on the Somerset liberation team as a Banshee (plane) pilot…..However, I don’t quite get why she’s good at that but not mech battles. The same mistake she made in that test could easily apply to battle planes.

Then there’s a red headed guy named Ciro who’s just a complete asshole, a guy who is hella into his job as an officer named Hawk, another asshole who was a smuggler turned ally named Sakamoto, some chick with goggles who’s basically there to spout out information and plot developments and that’s about it.

We get no information on the bad guys outside of the fact that they have weird green tattoos on their faces, glowing red eyes sometimes and are evil.

The cast I’ve seen so far is actually incredibly diverse. While some depictions of certain races can be seen as a bit racist, mostly what are meant to be Japanese people, this show is really diverse……Then again, you have to keep in mind that no matter how diverse the cast is, the main character is still a pretty white guy.

The story itself is pretty generic. War with evil invaders and whatnot. We get some mechs which are nice and some cool action scenes given the environment that they live in. They’re really trying to stake their own claim in this genre, but there’s just not enough differentiation as far as I’ve seen.

Art and Animation: I will start by saying this show was a pioneer in combining CGI with traditional animation, and I commend them for that. However, that doesn’t mean that either animation style has stood the test of time. The traditional art is merely passable looking like it belongs more in the mid 80’s than the mid 90’s, and it really didn’t age well. The animation is filled with coloring errors, odd shifts in body parts while talking and is just not very nice to look at. The CGI has not aged well at all. It’s on par with Reboot’s art and animation, which makes sense because Reboot came out right around when this was made. It’s not so much melded with the traditional art and animation, the scene shifts from traditional scenes to scenes made entirely in CGI.

Voices: Half and half. Much of it is pretty good, actually. Others are just flat or kinda stereotype-y, though I can’t fault the actors too much for that since it was the dialogue and direction that made it that way.

Music: Completely forgettable.

Bottomline: I can see how someone would like this and have nostalgia for it, but I don’t see a point in continuing this series. It’s pretty short at 13 episodes, but I believe it’s too predictable and cliché to clinch my attention for further episodes.

750spsl

Recommended Audience: Some violence, implications of death but nothing outside of that. 5+

Digimon Adventure 01 Episode 5 Sub/Dub Comparison

idl3auu

Plot: The group finds their way to a strange factory where the only focus seems to be on putting strange parts together then taking them apart. While Tai and the others meet a black-geared Andromon, Izzy discovers a strange power source and an even stranger program that seems to have the power to react to the Digimon. When Andromon proves to be too much for Garurumon, Greymon and…why is Birdramon not helping?….It’s up to Izzy to figure out how to save the day.

———————————

Title Change: There is no real change this episode. It’s just Electric Shock! Kabuterimon to Kabuterimon’s Electro Shocker.

Title Card: pyojqmw

Dub Matt: “Check it out. Izzy’s trying to email the aliens.” No, he’s not, but thanks for bringing up that dumb dub plotline again.

Koushiro says his computer is somehow running with no power whereas Izzy says his computer just needs recharging. I know it sounds like a nitpick but a computer running on no power is far odder than a computer running on low power.

Jyou says that finding Andromon is just another sign that there are no humans around. In the dub, he says he shouldn’t help move Andromon because his mom told him not to move heavy objects since he has bad knees.

In the original, Koushiro is merely examining the battery by running over it with his hands. In the dub, he claims he’s trying to tap into the power source….with his hands?

I wouldn’t be bothered by this if he had his power cord or something in his hands and he was running over it to find a power outlet, or even if he said he’s trying to find a power outlet, but here he is literally trying to access the power with his hands. Good thing he’s wearing gloves….for no reason. In fact several of them wear gloves for no reason. Actually the only two of them who don’t wear gloves are Joe and TK. Especially strange considering they were at a SUMMER camp when they came to the Digital World.

Jyou originally berates Agumon and Taichi for trying to hit Andromon to wake him up. In the dub, Joe asks them if they remember watching a movie or something where the robot came to life and ate everyone. Not sure why robots would eat but I didn’t see the movie.

Tentomon’s narrating the Digimon Index screen for Andromon in the dub even though he’s not even in the same room with the others.

Also, Andromon calls the group ‘intruders’ in the original, whereas he calls them ‘alien intruders’ in the dub. This show really had a thing for aliens in the beginning, didn’t it?

I find it hard to believe that Andromon’s known as being one of the most powerful Digimon in existence in both versions. In the four minutes we’ve known him he’s been disabled by machine gears and falling rails twice.

While the line is roughly the same, the thing you’re telling Agumon to aim at, Tai, is the ceiling not the roof. There’s a big difference.

Sora: “No doubt!” Heh, I like that group too…..Oh crap, I just dated this show even more than before.

Takeru asks again what the machines are building. Mimi says it’s probably something really amazing like a time machine or something that makes adults and children switch bodies. In the dub, TK says nothing and Mimi says she thinks this place would be more interesting with a tour guide to explain it and then talks about what the tour guide should wear.

Izzy: “I’ve located an access panel to the internal operations!”…..It’s called a door Izzy. Just a door. Koushiro called it a door, you don’t need to show off. It’s just a door. Calm your brain, sweetie.

Taichi originally says that, since it’s dark, Andromon might not be able to see them and that they should be perfectly still and silent just in case. In the dub, Tai says it’s best to probably run away then makes a joke about how none of them are moving by saying “Or we could just stand here frozen until the monster gets us!”

Attack Name Change: Andromon’s Spiral Sword is changed to Lightning Blade.

Dub Mimi: (once the power is restored) “They didn’t pay their power bill, is that it?”

Matt: “Ya know, you have no imagination.”

…She has no imagination because she doesn’t give an explanation as to why the power went out other than not paying the power bill? In the original, Mimi just points out that the power’s back on and Matt says they should explore further.

While the conversation between Koushiro and Tentomon about learning who you are is kept roughly the same, Tentomon merely asks Koushiro if he has any desire to learn who he is instead of spending his time trying to figure out who Tentomon and the other Digimon are. (Tentomon has no desire to know who he is or where his world came from, whereas Koushiro is incredibly interested in it) In the dub, Tentomon straight out asks if there’s some deep dark secret in Izzy’s past.

Tentomon doesn’t mention anything about the others being in trouble in the original.

Izzy: “And I’m about to abandon my alien theory as well!” Thank God!

Originally, Yamato tells Mimi and Takeru that the factory has no point. It’s just a perpetual cycle of building pieces of machinery to take them apart again. In the dub, Matt does explain this, but he concludes by acting like nothing that is within the factory can leave and that they’re trapped. How he deduced that from the production line is beyond me.

Tentomon originally says after Koushiro activates the program that he feels power surging through him and he follows up by asking if Tentomon’s okay. In the dub, Tentomon says nothing and Izzy just says they cracked the program.

Kabuterimon’s voice in the earlier episodes of the dub is awful. He sounds so monotone and bored. In fact….that may or may not be Izzy’s dubbed Dad’s voice…which also sounds awful. Luckily his voice changes to something more fitting in the later episodes or his actor changes up his style.

Another post-Evolution vocal song is removed.

This next change makes no sense. Originally Jyou asks if Andromon has a weakness, which gives Koushiro the idea to look for any weak spots on his body. Conveniently, despite the fact that his leg wasn’t sparking before, his right leg is shown to be spouting electricity. Thus Koushiro knows that’s his weak spot.

In the dub, Joe asks if Andromon ever runs out of gas, which gives Izzy the same idea, but I don’t understand how. Running out of gas and having a weakness are two completely different things. “Run out of gas? That gives me an idea! Aim for his right leg!” They try to justify this by acting like his leg is somehow his power source and that hitting it will disrupt his energy, but that still doesn’t make any sense.

Attack Name Change: Kabuterimon’s Mega Blaster is changed to Electro Shocker, which sounds way better.

Tai: “That’s wicked!” And tubular, and bodacious and other dated terms!

Originally, Andromon just said “The evil has subsided” when the gear was destroyed. In the dub, he says “That black gear reprogrammed my systems somehow.” You can probably see the problem here as it is, but basically there weren’t enough mouth flaps to match the new dialogue, thus he hangs his mouth open during the end of his sentence as we fade to the next scene. This tends to happen a lot, but this is one of the more apparent examples.

How did the kids even get to the factory anyway? And why were they trapped? I mean, the scene where Andromon tells them how to leave is the first indication in the original that they were trapped at all and we’re not shown how they’re trapped. Can’t they just Evolve Piyomon or Tentomon and fly out if there really is something keeping them there?

Andromon tells the kids that he got stuck under the machinery because he was trying to free an odd gear from the machine and got trapped, which is how the gear must’ve got stuck in him. Then Sora and Jyou look to each other mentioning another black gear. None of this is included in the dub, and Sora was just telling Joe that she was right about him being a Digimon and not an android….Not sure why that’s necessary. Gomamon already told him that when they first saw him.

Takeru doesn’t refer to the act of Evolution as turning the Digimon into superheroes in the original.

Sora originally says that it’s too bad that you can’t fix Taichi and Agumon’s attitudes by hitting them in the head. Dub Sora says now that they have holes in their head, maybe their brains will get some oxygen. Because whacking each other in the head put holes in their head?

The narrator gives us a little something extra in the original. He says that Koushiro’s laptop stopped functioning properly outside of the factory, and little did they know that Koushiro’s laptop would be the key to discovering the secrets of the world in the future. Since we have no narrator in the dub outside of Tai sometimes, this is omitted.

——————————————–

Like I said, I find this episode to be a bit hokey. I can believe that altering data and stuff around Digimon might cause reactions and Evolution, but the entire time we’ve been working on the premise that the Digimon only Evolve when one of the kids is in danger and now they say inputting a program, as long as they’re in the factory for some unknown reason, a Digimon can Evolve no problem?

Also, why was Tentomon acting like he was in great pain the first time that Koushiro typed in that program yet later when he does the same thing there is no pain? In fact, he claims he feels like he’s full of power and he Evolves right away. In addition, I’m not sure why Koushiro would be so willing to try and evolve Patamon in the sewer. He has no clue what Patamon Evolves into at this point. For all he knows, Patamon could’ve Evolved into something huge that would’ve caused the whole tunnel to collapse in on them.

Next up is Togemon’s debut…you know what that means….our first Mimi-centric episode….hoo…..rah.

….Previous Episode

Pokemon Episode 13 Analysis – Mystery At the Light House

9yot8ux
Ash used STICK. It’s ineffective, pointless and silly.

CotD(s): Bill – An eccentric and world-renowned Pokemon researcher, Bill is the inventor of the Pokemon storage system that most Trainers use for storing, withdrawing and transferring their Pokemon.

Captures: Ash’s Krabby – Krabby is a happy little Pokemon who is fairly attached to Professor Oak since he spends most of his time in his care. Krabby is seldom used by Ash, being relegated to his At-Home B-Squad, which is a shame because Krabby packs a pretty big wallop.

Plot: A quick recap of Ash’s progress leads him to bragging about his accomplishments, but he’s quickly brought back down to earth when Misty and Brock point out that Ash has had several advantages, such as being handed badges by Misty’s sisters and Brock, gaining Misty and Brock’s assistance in training and battles, and having many of his Pokemon simply follow him instead of being properly caught.

Additionally, Brock points out that Ash is actually behind in his training as most Trainers would’ve caught at least 20 or 30 Pokemon by now, not the measly six he carries with him. Determined to prove his prowess as a trainer, Ash runs off to capture more Pokemon.

After running through the woods for a while, Ash comes upon a beach where he sees a little Krabby. Armed with a stick, Ash attacks the Krabby, but the stick is easily chopped apart by Krabby’s pincers. Nonetheless, Ash throws his Pokeball and captures the Krabby. He’s left startled and confused when the Pokeball vanishes.

Misty and Brock explain that Trainers can only carry six Pokemon at a time. Anything more is transferred to wherever the Trainer got their Pokedex. Ash deduces that this means Krabby is with Professor Oak. Worried that Krabby might not be okay (or that Oak might eat the poor thing) Ash decides to call Professor Oak. They travel to a nearby lighthouse in order to use their phone and hopefully spend the night.

A mysterious voice welcomes them into his home, and Ash calls Oak to check up on Krabby. He’s delighted to hear that it’s fine, but also devastated to see that Gary has caught a Krabby much bigger than his, and Gary has caught a grand total of 45 Pokemon so far.

When Oak requests for Bill, a great Pokemon researcher and owner of the lighthouse, to give the gang some of his wisdom, Bill accepts and reveals himself – as a Kabuto.

The group is stunned to see a talking extinct Pokemon, but Bill explains that he’s actually in a Kabuto costume trying to fully understand the Pokemon, but got stuck within it.

Bill stats that, since the dawn of existence, over 150 Pokemon have been discovered, but there could be an untold amount of Pokemon yet to be found. After an inspiring speech about everything and everyone having a purpose and meaning in living, Bill explains that Trainers capturing Pokemon is important both for Pokemon Trainers and research. Afterall, many new Pokemon are found by Pokemon trainers.

However, at the moment, only one Pokemon is in Bill’s sights – a gigantic mysterious Pokemon that is the sole survivor of its species. It wanders the world looking for friends, though has yet to find any.

Recently, Bill recorded the mysterious Pokemon’s call, interpreting as ‘I want to meet you.’ Bill created a similar call that he believes translates to ‘Let’s be friends. I want to meet you.’ and transmits it out of the lighthouse in hopes of the Pokemon’s return. It eventually responds by saying ‘I want to meet you too. I want to be friends.’ Just as Bill hears this, the Pokemon shows up, calling out in a beautiful, almost musical, sound.

Team Rocket, having been trying to break into the lighthouse to steal Pokemon, is startled by the creature and tries to capture it for themselves. James shoots at it with a cannon, causing the Pokemon to lash out and start destroying the lighthouse. Bill begs for it to stay while the Pokemon remains under fire, but it refuses and swats Team Rocket away with its tail. Bill and the others watch on as the mysterious Pokemon returns to the ocean waters and disappears.

While he’s disappointed, Bill remains excited over the prospect of seeing the Pokemon again, and the others are reinvigorated with a deep love and respect for the wide world of Pokemon.

——————————————–

– We can see some other Pokemon League badges in the background during the opening that don’t follow the traditional eight that we know of. Many of them actually look like prototypes for the badges we know, and I don’t recognize any as being either of the extra two that Gary has near the end of Indigo.

– Misty: “Caught? Ash, all of your Pokemon followed you!” Again, like last episode, no. Pikachu was given to him. Pidgeotto was legitimately caught. Butterfree was legitimately caught. Bulbasaur was legitimately caught. The only two Pokemon he has who followed him without a battle are Squirtle and Charmander.

– Why exactly did Ash decide to attack Krabby with a stick? He does have Pokemon to battle with. I don’t get his logic, and I almost want to say that capturing a Pokemon like that (outside of the Safari Zone, ironically) would be against League rules or even illegal. Additionally, why was Krabby so easily caught if the stick was hacked up to bits in less than a second? Ash didn’t land a blow, so it seems like this attack was pointless.

– Also, this whole ‘proving I can catch a Pokemon on my own’ tiny side-plot is basically moot since, like I said, he has ‘caught’ several Pokemon. He should be trying to prove that he can catch as many as Gary and the Phantom Pallet Trainers.

– The art seems a little weirder than usual. It’s like many angles are sharper than usual, and some shots are just poorly drawn.

– There are some kinda logical explanations for this, but why doesn’t this six Pokemon carried at a time rule apply for all Trainers? We just saw a Trainer with a bag full of Pokemon that he carried around. His Pokemon didn’t disappear past six.

– The assortment of Pokemon on Bill’s door is weird. Some are legends, others are common, and Mewtwo’s on there way before he was ever created……Hm. Is there something you’d like to share, Bill?

– Brock: “And I was wondering if I could use your kitchen to make some bacon double cheeseburgers for my friends here.” I should start a ‘ham/cheeseburger’ count for this series….

– I like how they reference the games in putting Bill in a Kabuto costume (whereas in the games he WAS a Kabuto and you had to change him back to a human). It’s a realistic way of portraying that scene anyway.

– This is one of those early moments that completely contradicts what we know later. Yes, Bill says there could be an unlimited amount of Pokemon in the world, but he specifically says that, on the planet, only 150 are known. We’re supposed to take the ones that appear later as having been discovered for at least quite a long time. The different regions do communicate with each other, so….yeah.

– It’s pretty obvious that, if you know Pokemon, the ‘mysterious Pokemon’ is obviously a Dragonite (albeit a giant version) I’m not sure why Bill doesn’t recognize the silhouette as such. Dragonite are rare, but not nearly as rare as Moltres or, uhm, MEWTWO.

– I always thought it was weird that Brock and Misty started dancing to Dragonite’s call. It is very pretty, in fact I’m almost positive they reuse those sounds for Lugia’s call in the second movie, but it’s not really anything you can dance to, even slowly.

– Jessie: “That’s one big Pokemon!”

James: “So size DOES matter.” Was….that a penis joke, 4Kids? Or am I just perverted?

———————————

This episode was…kinda….always….boring to me. Bill is a great person with a deep love of the Pokemon world, but this episode just seemed a little……filler-y? Which is probably stupid to say in this show.

Much of the episode is taken up talking about Pokemon world specifics that, really, anyone who’s played the games would already know. Plus, it brings up stuff that won’t matter outside of this episode like the white button on the Pokedex allowing for Pokemon transfers.

Like I said, the tiny subplot of Ash trying to show up Misty and Brock by catching a Pokemon legitimately makes no sense either as most of his Pokemon are ones he legitimately caught, even taking Pikachu off the table. Plus, this determination to catch more Pokemon also, of course, dies out with this episode. At least until the next time he decides to be that way. In addition, the starting subplot itself is dead before the commercial break.

A great and mysterious Pokemon appearing is made boring by the fact that probably most viewers would already know what it is. Yes, it’s giant, but making it giant doesn’t make it anymore fascinating. Maybe they could’ve made a less specific Pokemon silhouette or make up a Pokemon to highlight how there are Pokemon out there that have yet to be identified.

All in all, this entire episode just amounts to ‘Golly gee, Pokemon sure are the bees knees.’ It’s such deep Pokemon praise that it’s actually a little annoying at points. Being incredibly interested in something so amazing is great, but knowing how much the Pokemon world is so obsessed with Pokemon makes an episode like this feel either weird or self-congratulatory.

Next episode is the Vermilion City Gym match against Lt. Surge; the Electric Pokemon trainer.

Previous Episode….

Devilman (Manga) Volume 5 FINALE Review

oni01l0

Rating: 9/10

Plot: As humans continue to be pitted against each other and the anti-demon forces mowing down any and all suspicious people in their path, it seems like Akira’s biggest threat isn’t the demons but a majority of humanity. When Satan finally shows his face, and hope for humanity seems at it’s dimmest, can the devilman army rise up and save what’s left?

Breakdown: Well, just…wow. That was incredible…and massively depressing.

In this volume, our finale, Akira’s devil identity has been revealed on live television by Ryo, who has recently come to realize that he’s been Satan all along. Miki’s family eventually understands his plight, but tells him to leave in order to help protect the family from the anti-demon forces who may attack them for harboring a demon.

Despite him immediately leaving, the anti-demon forces storm the Makimura house and take Miki’s parents. They eventually torture, dismember and kill both of them before Devilman has a chance to save them.

Back at the Makimura household, a huge group of people are enraged that the anti-demon forces left Miki and Tare alone when they’re probably demons as well. They attack the household and despite a great effort by Miki and one of the thugs who has allied with Akira, all three of them end up getting horribly murdered by them. Miki in particular is made out to be an example, and her corpse is dismembered and placed outside the house on pikes.

Devilman is horrified by how far humanity has fallen and completely loses his drive to save any of them since they’re all lost in his eyes. However, there’s one person he still wishes to protect – Miki. When he returns to the Makimura house and finds his beloved murdered outside, he loses all hope and only wishes to take down the one who started it all.

Megaultrasuperendingspoilersturnbacknow

20 years later, humankind reaches extinction. The earth is in ruin, and only devilmen and demons remain. After a long and hard battle…..

Akira fails. He dies in the aftermath of the final battle, and Ryo sadly recants his tale to Akira’s body without realizing he is dead. Once he realizes that the man who was his best friend, the man he fell in love with, is dead, he mourns his loss as an army of angels comes to exterminate the last of the demons from the earth.

See what I mean? In the end…it was all for naught. Humanity went to hell before going extinct, the devilmen lost, Akira died, Satan and his army took over and it wasn’t even a victory for them because in the end Ryo/Satan feels like he made a big mistake and lost the only person he really cared about in the process, and the demons still end up losing in the very end.

One could say it’s a bit of a happy ending because if the angels arrived to take out the demons, there might be some plan to revitalize the earth and humanity, but in the end it’s a very dim finale.

I will say that Ryo’s reveal as Satan was really not what I expected at all. I always assumed he was taken over by Satan during the Black Sabbath, but he was actually Satan for his entire life. He assumed the identity of Ryo Asuka, who was the technical first victim of the demon apocalypse, and had his memories erased by one of his henchmen in order to truly immerse himself in humanity and understand them in order to fully defeat them. His falling in love with Akira is also what prevented him from getting killed by the demons on one occasion.

If there are a few things I feel this finale did wrong, though some of this is because I read the first volume of Amon before this.

Miko amounted to nothing. She doesn’t appear in this volume at all. Some weird-haired devilman speaks with Akira a few times, but really no other named devilmen appear which is really weird considering the devilman army is a huge part of this story. In addition, it really seemed like they were starting something with Miko in the previous volume but just forgot about her, which is a damn shame because she seemed like she’d be an awesome character.

Dosuroku didn’t do much either. In fact, I have no clue what happened to him. Akira calls him ‘Roky’ once and he entrusted him with the knowledge that he was a devilman, which implies they became good friends, but he disappears and is never even seen dying. I mean, considering all of humanity was wiped out in the 20 Year War, it can be safely assumed that he quickly died, but I would’ve liked to have seen something come of his character.

Despite Miki not being annoying for the first time in ever (except stupidly saying she won’t fight the army of people charging her house with torches and weapons intending on killing her and her little brother. I understand why, but come on. Look where you are, take in the situation and toss a molly.) and even being a little kickass, her relationship with Akira just wasn’t done well enough for me to give two shits about her dying.

She was incredibly annoying for a majority of the series, Akira treated her like crap several times and they just never shared any really good moments of connection. Near the middle of this volume, they share a nice embrace, but that’s it. The romance just wasn’t handled well enough for me to really care when she died.

In fact, I was way more impacted by Tare’s death. That poor kid didn’t deserve to go out that way.

The ending also leaves a few notes to really think about. Did Akira’s cause really matter in the end? Humanity proved to be just as selfish, fearful and vile as Satan believed they were from the start. Men, women, children, babies; all of them mercilessly murdered by humans and demons alike.

You could also say that the ending is perpetuating the lesson that Satan learned. God wished to destroy the demons because they were violent and evil beings, and Satan wished to destroy humanity because he thought the same of them. When the angels arrived to supposedly wipe out the demons yet again, could this start the cycle again? If humanity is restored, is it just damned to another massacre at the hands of something else?

Despite the dark ending, I am actually perfectly content with it. Sometimes you need a story with deeply tragic ending. Not all stories can end happily. Not all heroes can save the day. We may escape into media like this to get the happy endings we’ll never have, but sometimes the sad endings can really make you appreciate the good endings; both in fiction and real life.

Devilman is an awesome series, and while it does have its problems it is still a really great read. It’s not for those without a stomach for gore or dark and tragic tones, but it’s still a great manga that I’d fully recommend.

ENTIRE SERIES RATING: Based on an average of all of the volumes, Devilman gets a final rating of 8/10

Final notes: I really loved this one shot of the people who attack the Makimura household, It’s purposely drawn erratically and colored in sloppily in order to give them people a monster-like look.

bqumi9f

Recommended Audience: There’s still plenty of gore around every corner, and a graphic small child death. A couple of instances of nudity, no sex, minor swearing, dark tones. 17+

….Previous Volume

Episode One-derland: Those Who Hunt Elves

dr9rr9k

Plot: Junpei, Airi and Mitsuko have been brought to a strange world of magic, odd creatures and elves. In order to get back home to Japan, they have to hunt down elves and find parts of a spell that are marked on certain elves in manners very similar to that of tattoos. With Junpei’s strong fist fighting skills, Airi’s trickery and disguises, Mitsuko’s skills with artillery and their signature tank, they travel the lands as Those Who Hunt Elves in hopes of one day finding their way back home.

—————————————–

Let me say that this show is just a nostalgia bomb. The music, the art style, the storytelling style – all of it just screams late 80’s…….which is a shame because this show was produced in 1999.

This show’s first episode is a bit messy. The first half is almost entirely serious and then we get comedy peppered into the second half. The plot is set up in a flimsy manner. I had really no idea where much of the episode was going in terms of whole-series plot until we got near the end, and even after watching the whole episode through I still find myself a bit confused.

I get that they’re from our world and this is a different world of magic, strange creatures and elves, and they’re not hunting elves to kill them but to find five specific elves who have magic spell tattoos that, when combined, will somehow bring them back home. However, I have no clue who the people behind the crystal ball were, why they’re trapped in this world, why and how they have a tank from our world with them or why elves are so valuable in this magical world.

For a magical world, it’s also not very fantastical. The enemies in this episode were a bunch of fish men, and they look exactly like the first image that popped into your mind when I said that, merely anthropomorphic fish with their leader being a hammerhead shark man.

The targets of the search being elves also isn’t very imaginative, and we didn’t even see really any magic come from these elves.

Speaking of the elves, remember how I said they’re looking for five elves with tattoo-like markings? Yeah, they have to get the elves to undress to see if they have the mark, and Junpei’s a massive pervert.

Story-wise, for this episode, it’s something that has become somewhat commonplace. A village is under attack by thugs who want something valuable that the villagers are hiding. The main characters come from out of nowhere to defeat the thugs insanely easily so we know how badass they are, and the villagers take them as foretold heroes of legend.

That’s not to say the series is a complete loss. Junpei is a brute, but he can be pretty funny, especially when he’s pissed off. Mitsuko seems like she’d get pretty badass over time. Airi’s the only one that I think will be a lost cause as she seems to be useless in this episode, considering she never got a chance to actually go through with her plan, and she seems like a big tease otherwise who manipulates Junpei to get him to do what she wants. Other side characters can also be funny. For instance, I smiled once or twice at the fish men.

The art is very dated, but, like I said, it’s very nostalgic. I just can’t help myself – I love the old art styles even if they do look like crap sometimes. The animation is just okay.

The music is catchy, but really dated as well. It’s very much stuck in the 80’s.

All in all, I was on the fence about this one, bouncing between undecided and no….but I’m gonna say no. It seems like a perfectly fine show, it really just doesn’t seem to offer enough incentive to make me want to come back.

Final Verdict:

750spsl

White Album 2 Review

tdevgkd

Rating: 9/10

Plot: Haruki’s light music club is dwindling in numbers, but he has a dream of playing guitar in the school festival. While he’s not very good, he practices every day in Music Room 1 while a mysterious pianist plays in the locked Music Room 2, meant for music school students.

When he starts trying to play “White Album,” the mysterious pianist from the other room starts playing with him. It becomes a regular practice session for the two while Haruki remains in the dark about who the pianist is.

Another person joins in the song, a vocalist, and Haruki discovers that the vocalist is the school idol, Setsuna Ogiso, while the pianist is his friend, Kazusa Touma. He gets them to join the light music club to quickly prepare for the festival in mere weeks, but unrequited love and blooming love are entangling the three in web with no easy way out.

Breakdown: WARNING – SPOILERS

I was dreading the hell out of this show. If you follow my reviews, you know I don’t much care for White Album. There were way too many girls given focus, their characters were all mostly ruined, Touya was an unlikable cheating asshole and no man on the show barring Frankie was likeable at all by the end of season two.

But I wanted to give this show a chance as it takes place years after White Album and no characters from that show make the slightest cameo. Rina and Yuki are mentioned and their faces are shown on posters, but that’s it.

I’m glad I did give this show a chance because it’s a hell of a lot better than the first White Album. Haruki, for starters, is very likable. He’s a little uptight, but that’s fine. His heart’s in the right place and he’s a very kind person. While he does make some mistakes, he’s human and actually feels stuff like shame and regret for them. He even feels remorse for feeling things he should be feeling for another person while with someone else. That sure is amazing, huh, Touya?

Setsuna…..got a little creepy, I will admit. The whole petting his hair while he’s sleeping even though he hasn’t taken a shower thing and her clingyness got a bit much for me, but that was very short lived and it wasn’t that terrible. I’ve seen worse, and she’s a very kindhearted character as well. The ending in particular made me see this character in a very bright light.

Touma as a character is a little grating in earlier episodes as she’s very blunt and not very friendly, but when she warms up to the group and you get to know her, you start to like her more and more as a character.

The story as a whole is entirely about these three. Unlike a lot of other visual novel anime, Haruki’s only in a love triangle.

There are two other ‘prominent’ girls in the series, one being his friend Io and another a snotty bitch who used to be the vocalist for the group, but they, like most of the other side characters, don’t do much. They’re there for support and such when needed, but nothing really focuses on them. While that is fine seeing as how that keeps the focus in the show on the three, I’d really like to get to know them a little better.

That’s another thing, I was really worried Takeya would be the signature pervert best friend who is meant to be worse than the main character to make him look better. But, surprisingly, he’s actually very likeable. He keeps Haruki grounded and is a very good friend to him whenever he needs him. He is a playboy, apparently, but he’s not sleazy or anything. I really wish we had gotten to see more of him.

As for the main story, both Touma and Setsuna eventually start liking Haruki. Setsuna admits this to Touma, but she’s too proud to admit that she likes him too despite the fact that Setsuna tells her that she knows she likes him, but they’ll be rivals for his affection.

Haruki’s pretty vague on who he really likes in the beginning as they almost leaned it towards Setsuna for a good chunk while consistently making you root for Touma. That’s the difficult thing in this anime. Unlike a lot of love triangles, I didn’t hate anyone here. I was rooting for one over another, but I wasn’t wishing for the other’s suffering. I was just wishing more for the happiness of the first.

That’s how love triangle stories should be. Why even bother telling a story about a love triangle when one character is clearly more likable than another? You should like all of the characters to enjoy their relationships and really think about who loves who most or who seems better with whom. It’s an odd fact, but deciding who you want to root for should be a somewhat sad feeling that takes actual thought and consideration because it means that another nice character suffers. If you clearly hate one character in the love triangle, it makes it difficult to root for that pairing, and makes the final outcome incredibly predictable.

After the school festival, Setsuna confesses to Haruki and he becomes her boyfriend. They maintain a fairly nice relationship, but it quickly becomes clear that Haruki really likes Touma and vice versa and that Setsuna knows this deep down.

Touma starts becoming colder and colder to Haruki until she basically starts being mean to him to further their distance, but this just prompts Haruki to pursue her even further to figure out why she’s acting as such. His determination even leads him to lying to Setsuna on her birthday (while she’s all alone – ouch) so that he can find Touma instead of going to her party.

This is what I mean about liking all of the characters in order for love triangle stories to work. If I hated Setsuna, I probably wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about this, but I do so I felt really bad for her. And yes, this is one example of Haruki kinda being an asshole, but he didn’t realize she was alone on her birthday. Her family left on a trip for some reason. In addition, one of the reasons Haruki pursued Touma that day was to get her to go to Setsuna’s party.

When he finds her, she reveals that she’s loved him since before she even joined the light music club. He was the only one who treated her as a regular person and not with contempt or special treatment because of her mother’s fame (she’s a famous pianist). He took an interest in her, in her life and her well-being. He was kind to her and he legitimately cared.

Haruki, admitting that he also liked Touma, starts kissing her and she kisses back, but Touma quickly pushes him away and slaps him. She then doesn’t want to do anything with him since he’s with Setsuna and she’s her best friend.

That’s another note about this show. In addition to the characters all being likable, Touma and Setsuna quickly become best friends after meeting in the light music club, which just makes this situation even more heartbreaking. You not only have to take into account that one of them is going to suffer, but then there’s the lingering feeling like both of them will feel like they’re betraying the other if they do end up with Haruki.

I mused that this would be one show were I would actually root for a threesome ending. Haruki loves Touma and Touma loves Haruki, Setsuna loves Haruki and there were actually several times when Setsuna and Touma humored the thought that they would actually be great together if Touma were a guy. It could work. I’m just sayin’….

Touma states that she’s going to be living with her mother to master piano in Vienna after her graduation. Her mother went to Europe a few years ago to continue her career as a concert pianist and didn’t take Touma with her, which caused a huge strife in their relationship. After Touma proved her prowess at a recital, her mother decided to allow her to come to Vienna with her to find a better piano teacher to master her craft.

Also, Touma doesn’t have the grades to get into any actual college, so this seems like her best shot at a career.

Touma does her best to avoid the two after that, but places a note in Setsuna’s desk at graduation, leaving Haruki to abandon Setsuna to find her.

He doesn’t, but Touma calls him later, the day before she’s set to leave, to talk to him one last time. It builds up to Haruki eventually confessing his love for her and Touma talking about how it essentially can’t work, but she’ll always remember him. Haruki finds her as she was ‘hiding’ in the park outside his apartment building in hopes that she could see him one last time. They finally spill all the beans and happily start kissing in the snow.

Now we get to the final episode.

The ending makes or breaks practically any show. This is especially true in VN anime as the whole show is about the relationship(s) and the final episode is basically how we’re left to perceive how they ended up.

The episode starts off with a super censored sex scene between Touma and Haruki. And when I say super censored, I mean when the scene is on them, the screen is 50-80% black. While I’m not rooting for hardcore porn, there are ways of tastefully doing a sex scene without blacking out the entire screen. This is fine, but a bit distracting is all. I should also mention that Setsuna calls him right before they do it, but surprisingly Touma prompts him to not answer it.

Touma leaves in the morning, taking Haruki’s jacket buttons, which is tradition for people you like in Japan after graduation.

Haruki’s crushed, but Setsuna goes to him in the morning to try to catch Touma at the airport before her plane leaves. (Cliche warning at critical levels) Haruki wants to finally talk to Setsuna about everything, but she says she won’t listen until they’re on the train to see Touma.

On the train, Haruki has told Sesuna everything, yet she’s not getting upset. Haruki asks why and she says that she never liked Haruki as much as she made off. She only got together with him to give the three of them a better chance of being together forever.

While I know the actual reason why she’s saying this, this makes no sense. Starting a romantic relationship with one member of a three person friendship is basically lethal to any friendship as the remaining person will always feel like a third wheel. If she meant getting together with him in hopes that Touma would feel more determined to fight for him, then that also leads the same problem as before. And it causes undue strife in the relationship.

Anyway, it’s actually a really good scene as it shows that Haruki’s very shameful of what he did, though he has been showing regret the whole time, and at least has the balls to admit it to Setsuna and apologize in a heartfelt fashion. Even if it was after the fact and it would’ve been more responsible to do it while he knew he was in love with Touma, better a little late than never. But unlike in shows where the main character’s a dick, you can understand that this is just because he’s human and didn’t want to hurt Setsuna because he was still her friend as well.

When they get to the airport, Haruki says they shouldn’t look for Touma anymore as it wouldn’t change anything anyway, but Touma finds them instead. Haruki runs to Touma in a somewhat cheesy fashion and, despite not wanting to make Setsuna upset, she apologizes and starts kissing Haruki.

As they’re kissing, we get an audio flashback of Setsuna’s speech from the train and clips of her and Haruki together. When it ends, she says of course it wasn’t true and that she truly loved Haruki, but she knew that Touma and Haruki loved each other and Haruki didn’t feel as strongly for her as he did for Touma.

She knew they liked each other from basically the first time that she met them, yet came between them anyway because she legitimately liked and later fell in love with Haruki.

This is one of the most mature things I’ve ever seen in a VN anime. A character did something selfish, yes, but not only did they own up to it, they willingly stepped aside for the happiness of the other two people instead of continuing to be selfish. You can tell that it seriously hurt Setsuna, but she sacrificed her feelings for the happiness of Touma and Haruki. Kinda like in Rumbling Hearts only not stupid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then Touma leaves.

…..Oh what? Expecting her to stay and actually give this story a happy ending? Nope. She leaves because, as the title of the episode states, Touma and Haruki’s relationship is ‘a love that cannot be.’

Now, as you can probably surmise, I was quite pissed at this ending and was all too prepared to rant about it here. But now that I’ve had a bit of time to cool off and really think about it….I understand why she left.

Besides Haruki, she has no reason to stay in Japan. She can’t go to any college while Setsuna and Haruki are. She has nothing to do there. Vienna offers not only a big chance to reconnect with her mother, but she’ll also be learning how to play piano professionally.

I understand how, no matter how much I may want it, it’s actually more realistic (not to mention not ungodly cliché like the alternative) that Touma left instead of stayed because of a guy.

I have my own petty reasons for getting a little mad at the end considering I really wanted Touma and Haruki together, but I don’t feel I can say it’s a bad ending in the slightest.

Throughout this entire show, I can say that, given some leeway with the fanservice in the obligatory hot springs episode and the drama, this show has been realistic if anything in the way that it handles practically everything….except the guitar stuff. I don’t believe anyone can learn how to play that well after two weeks of practice. Especially not three different songs.

I can’t fault it entirely too much for the ending as everything else was just handled so well. Much better than practically every other VN anime I’ve ever seen, rivaling the quality of the Ef series. And unlike a lot of other endings that flat out ruin even good shows, like H2O, I can’t in good conscience even say that it ruins anything.

Not everything turns out the way we’d want it to is all.

A Sequel?

People in the comments kept saying something like this only follows a portion of the games and maybe there will be a next season chronicling what happens after. Supposedly this series only follows the Introductory Chapter of the game, but there’s another section called Closing Chapter which takes place three years after the events of the IC.

I haven’t read much on the story of CC, but apparently it involved Haruki being pretty severely affected by Touma’s departure to the point where he won’t date and avoids the topic of Touma and intimate contact as much as possible. But the game opens up more to allow Haruki to pursue other girls in order to get over this trauma whereas in the first part it was just Touma and Setsuna. Meaning it’s more like your traditional visual novel anime.

Setsuna and Kazusa can be selected near the end (how Kazusa shows up, I don’t know, but Setsuna has remained his friend through the years) There’s also an option to reject both of them and ‘be unfaithful,’ whatever that means.

This seems like a really interesting set up for a continuation, but then again they’re possibly adding a harem aspect to the mix. If they handle it as well as they’ve handled this series, however, I welcome a second season if they’re interested in making it.

Art and Animation: The art and animation are beautifully done. Both the character models and the backgrounds are very nice to look at. Nothing quite as nice as Ef, but still very nice.

Music: “White Album” was really starting to piss me off as that song was constantly played in the first half of the show. However, they lighten up on it later and it eventually disappears so it’s fine. The other music is very memorable and nice to listen to. Both the OP and ED are good songs as well.

Bottomline: Lingering feelings of the final episode aside, this is a very good love-triangle anime that makes you want to root for every character when you know you cannot (Threesome ending! Who’s with me? :D)

Even if you’re a Setsuna fan, you’d likely understand her situation as well to the point where you’d also accept the ending as a spoonful of medicine. It’s not like it makes her look like a bad character or anything despite how some blowhards will be quick to jump on calling any other person in a love-triangle a bitch.

The story itself is an emotional roller coaster ride, but I enjoyed the hell out of nearly every minute of it. It clawed its way out of the sewage of White Album and made something really great. Kudos. Give it a watch if you like romance anime, drama and can take a sad ending (sad on all accounts actually as Haruki and Setsuna break up AND Touma leaves them both behind.)

Additional Information and Notes: White Album 2 was based on an adult visual novel of the same name. The anime adaptation was directed by Masaomi Ando, who also did directorial work on 07-Ghost, Fairy Tail and Vampire Knight. It was written by Fumiaki Maruto, produced by Satelight, and it is not currently licensed in the US.

Episodes: 13

Year: 2013

Recommended Audience: Pretty heavy make out scenes, one insanely censored sex scene, no swearing, no real nudity but minor fanservice, no gore, obviously. Heavy drama and whatnot. 14+

Dissecting the Disquels: 101 Dalmatians 2 – Patch’s London Adventure

hpcnt8u

Rating: 5.5/10

Plot: Patch, one of the 99 puppies from the previous movie, is sick and tired of being overlooked due to him having so many brothers and sisters. As the family and dogs move, Patch is accidentally left behind and he takes this as his opportunity to run away.

Along the way, he meets his idol, the actor dog behind the TV action character, Thunderbolt. He has recently discovered that his character is going to be killed off the show, so he recruits Patch to help him do real-life heroic deeds to get his job back.

Meanwhile, Cruella, fresh out of prison, is trying to follow her parole conditions of not being near furs or dogs by visiting an art show. She sees the art of Lars, who particularly does works of art showing black spots on a white background, something right up Cruella’s alley. However, Lars is having difficulty creating more of those same works for her, so she recruits her old henchmen to kidnap the dalmatian puppies for inspiration for Lars.

Breakdown: Okay, let’s get this out of the way; I really have no emotional attachment to the original 101 Dalmatians movie nor its live action sequels nor this animated sequel.

101 Dalmatians was a movie that was just kinda there to me as a kid. It’s a movie about two dalmatians, Pongo and Perdy, giving birth to a litter of puppies. A woman fittingly named Cruella de Vil wants to skin the puppies to make a fur coat. She kidnaps the 15 puppy litter and buys/kidnaps 84 other dalmatian puppies. The movie’s one big chase scene after that’s been established and of course the puppies are fine in the end with the excess 84 puppies being adopted by Pongo and Perdy’s owners.

Nothing really that notable or memorable barring a song and a few scenes if you ask me. I still start singing ‘Cruella de Vil’ randomly on occasion. Also, taking the concept as a whole, it really seems like a huge milking of people who have a love of everything cute puppy. Hey, if one puppy’s cute, why not 99?

As for this sequel, I don’t remember if I’ve ever seen it before, but its pretty generic. Patch, one of the 101 Dalmatian puppies, feels like he’s overlooked since he has so many brothers and sisters. He gets left behind on accident while the family moves away (Because Pongo’s apparently an idiot father who thinks “anyone who’s not here, speak up” is a legit way of figuring out if anyone’s missing) Seeing this as a the final straw, Patch embraces the newfound freedom and runs off. He meets his idol, the acting dog Thunderbolt, who befriends him.

The story can be condensed in a nutshell easily. After Patch meets Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt finds out that his character in his show will be killed off soon, which spirals him into a panic. He gets the idea that he should get his job back by performing heroic acts for the cameras and papers in real life. He meets up with Patch and they do not-so-heroic deeds that reflect his actions in the TV show.

His overlooked sidekick, Lightning, takes this opportunity to steal the limelight for the show.

Meanwhile, Cruella has gotten out of prison early and has a restraining order against her. She’s barred from buying furs as a restriction on her parole and she decides to get her dalmatian fill by obsessing over a local artist’s work as it’s all black and white spots. She doesn’t get enough of his work however, and calls her cronies back from prison, who somehow got a worse prison sentence than her, to kidnap the puppies for her to get inspiration for more artwork….Seems kinda moot to kidnap the puppies to make art that she intends to use to keep her from kidnapping puppies, but we needed a story.

Obviously only Patch and Thunderbolt can save the day here. Patch finds out Thunderbolt’s a fake, he rescues the puppies on his own by emulating more Thunderbolt episodes with minor help from Thunderbolt, Cruella gets arrested, Pongo and Perdy are reunited with their puppies and we get an abrupt ending.

Not much really happens, but here’s my notes anyway.

– Do these puppies ever age? I mean, taking the live action sequels and the time skip in this movie, the puppies must be at least a year or two old now. They haven’t grown in the least. I know 101 Dalmatians is all about PUPPIES! *YAY! But still.

– The art style is quite similar to the original. However there is a distinct air of TV series style…Apparently this was indeed a spin-off to a Disney channel animated series. I honestly don’t remember there even being a 101 Dalmatians animated series, in the least, but okay. Thunderbolt apparently seems to be a character in that series too. After looking up shots from the show, the art is way worse in the TV series.

– Perdy: “Finally; no more counting!” I think you guys have this whole thing backwards. Having 99 puppies living in a small house makes them relatively easy to keep track of. Having them living on a huge ranch with what seems like no fences with two houses/one house one garage makes it imperative to count them now.

– I realize now that this movie seems like a mix between the plots of Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp’s Adventure and The Fox and the Hound 2…

– It’s a little sad that they never realized on their own that Patch was missing. They needed to see him on the front of a newspaper to even realize he was gone. It’s even weirder when you really think about it. They know Patch so well that they instantly recognize him in a picture despite having 99 puppies who mostly look the same. (You could say that the black on his eye is a giveaway, but lots of dalmatian puppies have that.) Yet they never realized he was missing.

– Why do Pongo and Perdy know that Cruella’s going to go after the puppies again? For all they know, she’s still in jail.

– Don’t understand why Patch is unforgivably mad at Thunderbolt yet is still obsessed with the TV show. He’s even still trying to emulate Thunderbolt. Guess the message here is that emulating TV shows, even the incredibly dangerous stunts, is A-Okay!

– Also, as he’s trying to save the other puppies, Patch leaves Thunderbolt there with the crazy woman who likes to skin dogs. Our hero!

– Oh and they took a scene directly from The Lion King. Remember when Simba as a cub ‘roars’ at the hyenas, they corner and laugh at him for his pitiful roar then he tries to roar a second time, this time it’s huge and powerful, and they see Mufasa roaring instead? Same. Exact. Scene. Only instead of Simba cub – Patch, Hyenas – Cruella and her henchmen, and Mufasa – Thunderbolt. Also roar – bark.

Bottomline: All in all, this is a fairly okay family flick, but it’s predictable, has little story to it, though I will admit moreso than the first movie, and its just really an ‘oh look, cute puppies!’ novelty.

The music’s better than many other Disney Sequels, though we don’t get any follow up to Cruella de Vil nor do we get any real memorable songs. The voice acting’s okay; we have Barry Bostwick playing Thunderbolt, Jason Alexander playing Lightning and Martin Short as the artist guy, Lars. The kid playing Patch doesn’t seem to be very energetic even when he goes all fanboy.

If you were a fan of the first, you’ll probably like this movie. I just can’t seem to connect with these movies and this is coming from an animal lover; particularly a dog person.

Recommended Audience: Skinning puppies may have been mentioned once or twice. If just mentioning that seriously bothers you, 7+, if not E for everyone.