Tsumi to Batsu (A Falsified Romance)(Manga) Chps 70-END Review

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Rating: 8/10

Plot: After a meeting with Mr. Goi, Miroku has to make a decision about his future with Echika.

Breakdown: I read the first 69 chapters of Tsumi to Batsu last October, and while I had some problems with it, I really enjoyed what I had read.

Now I’ve had a chance to read the rest of the series, and I’m satisfied with how it ended. I mentioned in my previous review that the best endings for this series would have to be either Miroku getting caught or turning himself in, and that did happen. I won’t say which to avoid major spoilers, but there ya go.

He has a very interesting conversation with Mr. Goi which sends the events of the ending into motion, but we get sidetracked slightly when Sudo shows back up to play a game with Miroku and Echika, but it also closed out his story and explored his views on the situation quite well. I am a little weirded out that they legitimately had a moment where Sudo and his friend Huang bonded over dumping the rotting body of a prostitute over a cliff….

The romance part gets more explored here with Miroku and Echika, and despite the major flaws in both of them, their relationship does make sense. I’m not even really sure if there’s so much of a relationship and moreso of a co-dependency, but that’s a call for the reader to make I suppose.

Miroku does get a lot better in regards to personality after his conversation with Goi. He still shows some signs of sociopathy, mostly in the fact that it’s taking him an inordinate amount of time to understand that no matter how much of a bitch Risa was, it was wrong to kill her and Hikaru. Even by the end, he’s only starting to gain some modicum of remorse for it.

I will say one aspect that I thought was very disappointing was the lack of a final conversation with Yoshino. Everything he did beforehand was for Yoshino’s sake. He didn’t want her to ‘have’ to marry that rich businessman in order to support him, so he murdered Risa for the sake of her money, after justifying it by stating her death would be for the best for many people.

They don’t even speak together in all of the 20+ chapters beyond chapter 69. They do speak to each other when Miroku’s in prison, but we don’t see what she’s saying. Closure with her was necessary, in my opinion, yet we really got none. It’s kinda implied that maybe she did get married to that guy but maybe got together with Miroku’s old roommate after news of Miroku’s actions came to be public, but I could just be reading too much into it.

In the end, this was a fantastic story and a great character study. It starts to wane on you with all of its depressingly dark tones near the middle, but luckily you also start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel at chapter 70.

The art is simply gorgeously detailed, even if Miroku’s face still got on my nerves sometimes. I know he’s not going to look fresh and proper since he’s struggling so much emotionally and mentally, but his expression hardly ever changes and his eyes just got to be depressing to look at. Then again, that’s probably the point. When he finally smiled near the end, I smiled with him because damn that was refreshing, even if the circumstances were sad.

Give this a look-see if you can stomach some really heavy and dark subject matter. It’s a great read.

Additional Information and Notes: Tsumi to Batsu was written and illustrated by Naoyuki Ochiai. It was published by Manga Action.

Volumes: 10

Chapters: 93

Year: 2007 – 2011

Recommended Audience: Very dark tones, attempted suicide, actual suicide, a couple sex scenes, full frontal nudity, rape from the previous section, prostitution and murder. 17+

Episode One-Derland: Sakura Diaries

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Plot: Touma is up for college entrance exams, but as he’s relaxing in his hotel room a mysterious girl arrives at his door acting like a call girl. While he didn’t request her services, she seems to be acting like he already has an appointment with her, and he struggles over the decision to lose his virginity to her. He suddenly decides against it and throws her out of the room, making her very upset. However, she’s not so much upset that he didn’t want to sleep with her and more upset that he didn’t remember she was his cousin, having only met once when they were children.

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I imagine everyone has seen a show where the ultimate reaction is ‘this show would be alright if the characters weren’t so terrible.’ Well, chalk up another entry in that list.

Sakura Diaries follows Touma as he prepares for college entrance exams. As he’s getting some last minute studying in, a girl arrives at his hotel room acting like a call girl. Touma is completely confused, but considers taking advantage of the situation for the sake of losing his virginity to a pretty girl.

He continues to get more and more tempted as the girl starts stripping down to just her panties and even watches porn with him before inviting him into bed. He continues to struggle with his decision, but ultimately decides that he wants to save himself for a woman he loves.

Stopping right there, everything seems all fine and dandy up until this point. It’s obvious something is up with this girl, but Touma is too dense to remember her. Also, it’s admirable that Touma doesn’t want to just lose his virginity to some random call girl, no matter how attractive she is.

But that’s where the good points end. You’d think that Touma would kindly say that she’s made a mistake and that he wasn’t interested in her services before kindly asking her to leave, right?

Nope.

Instead he flips right the hell out at her, angrily saying that he doesn’t have time for this BS and demanding that she leave. He throws her out into the hallway while she’s topless and throws her clothes at her before telling her to leave him alone and slamming the door.

Whoo, yeah, you’re certainly Prince Charming, aren’t you? Yes, I could see how this situation could be a nuisance, but she was being completely kind the whole time and wasn’t even pressuring him into doing it. Why be a total asshole to her?

The girl gets upset at this and calls him Tonma through the door, which is his childhood nickname. Hearing this, he opens the door back up and the girl asks why he doesn’t remember her before calling him an idiot and running away.

We later learn that her name is Urara and that she’s Touma’s cousin. Though they had only met once when they were children, he still left a lasting impression on her and she wanted to cheer him up before his entrance exams.

While I do believe Touma is largely in the wrong, she let this prank go on for way too long and went way too far with it. Normal people might keep up the charade for a minute or two without actually doing anything, then if the person is still not getting it they’d reveal it. She not only kept this going for quite a while, but she also took off all of her clothes except her panties, watched porn with him and got into his bed inviting him for sex all the while wondering when he’d remember her.

She had yet another opportunity to make this reveal when he opened the door back up, but instead she just ran off. I can understand why she did, he was being a dick, but she could’ve cleared it up with him after calling him an idiot and before running away.

After this happens, he has a nice wank and she writes a message of good luck to him on the window of the train she’s riding. That’s a nice contrast to their relationship before it even gets started.

The next day, we see that Touma has failed all but one of his entrance exams because he has a cold. He blames his cold on Urara because she sneezed once before running off. Yeah, she showed no signs of being sick and sneezed once in his general area, so it’s totally her fault. Not that it matters much because the cold seems to be one of those three-hour colds and is cleared up before the third act.

Since he doesn’t want to return home to run his family’s business, he decides to go for his last choice, Keio University, though it seems like it’s out of his league. When he arrives on campus, he meets a beautiful girl named Mieko, which is somehow pronounced ‘Mei-koh’ and not ‘Mee-koh,’ ‘Mee-eh-koh’ or even ‘Mai-koh,’ who looks exactly like Urara just with a different hairstyle. He instantly falls for her because she’s hot. He makes it his goal to get into Keio and make Mieko his wife.

He has such a weird approach to love. On one hand, he appreciates romance and saving himself for love, supposedly. On the other hand, he pervs on hot girls all the time. And on the third mutant hand, he vows he’ll make a complete stranger his wife. He’s like a weird mix between a young girl, a teenage boy and a middle-aged creepy man.

The next day, he arrives at the school for his entrance exams only to find Urara there. He becomes enraged again, blaming her for his failure on his exams, calling her a stalker and telling her to leave him alone. Even after she hints again that they know each other by asking him to remember her and calling him Tonma, his only response is telling her that he has nothing to remember and demands that she never call him that again.

He hasn’t even made an effort to remember her, even with the hint of the childhood nickname indicating that she’s a childhood friend. As a topping on this awfulness sundae, he swats the bento box that she kindly made for him out of her hands while yelling at her, causing it to fall on the ground.

She rightfully points out what a terrible thing he just did before running away crying. Touma picks up the lunch, which seems to have a photo in it, but who cares?

Later, Urara wishes Touma good luck again while she’s warming up for tennis and even goes so far as to think that Touma didn’t mean to drop the lunchbox.

1) He didn’t drop it – it was in your hands and he backhanded it out of them in a fit of anger.

2) He didn’t mean it?! That was a purposeful backhand. Either he meant to smack the lunch out of your hands or he meant to smack YOU.

At Touma’s exams, Mieko shows up again, and he spends forever perving on her and imagining him coercing her into sex. Because I guess right in the middle of your college entrance exams in a university classroom with a person you barely know and in front of about 100 people is that sweet romantic moment you were saving yourself for.

Touma sees his results posted on the wall and the episode ends.

While the episode does a decent job at establishing these characters, you don’t want to root for any of them. This will supposedly be a bit of a love triangle anime, meaning we’ll have to root for someone, but Touma is a pervy dickwad, and, while Urara is nice enough, she’s also pretty damn creepy and almost a doormat.

Her only two interactions with Touma in recent years involved him perving on her, screaming at her twice, embarrassing her twice, insulting her, and ruining a gift she made for him. Most normal people at that point would just accept that the person has changed since they were kids and give up, or at least take the time out to clear things up with him somehow, but she keeps forgiving him when no apology has been offered and doesn’t bother to even try telling him who she is.

As for Mieko, she’s nice and hot and supposedly very smart, though we only know this because she’s trying to get into Keio.

Since the only two characters with actual development are not likable enough to root for, and I don’t want to root for anyone with Touma at this point, it makes the series start off on very shaky ground. And do I even need to mention the ick-factor of them being cousins? It just makes the possibility of romance support even lower.

The story would’ve been perfectly fine, albeit bland, had the characters not been terrible. But they are….

This doesn’t even seem to work as a proper romance because we keep flip-flopping between Urara’s romantic side and tons of pervyness from Touma.

On a technical level, the art and animation are bleh. It’s not that bad, except maybe with Touma sometimes, but it’s also not that good either. Plenty of care seems to have gone into the fanservice, though. Shock beyond shocks.

The music is actually pretty catchy with the OP being the highlight there with some fresh instrumentals for an anime.

The voice acting, English Dub, is okay. Urara is alright, as is Mieko, and Touma is usually okay, but he’s shaky when he tries to sound legit angry. He just doesn’t put any energy into it.

Final Verdict:

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The characters might get better over time, but as we explore time and again in this review series, first impressions are very important and starting off poorly with aggravating characters and the shattered remains of a romance plot does not make me intrigued for more. It’s not bad enough for me to want to continue just to see how bad it gets, and I don’t have high hopes that it will be good enough in the end to warrant it either.

 

They Were 11 Review

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Rating: 6.5/10

Plot: Several hundred years in the future, earth has ventured out into the reaches of space and successfully colonized. In the meantime, earthlings have met with beings from many other planets and star systems, and  they have reached an age of widespread peace amongst all species.

Out in space is a prestigious school called Cosmo Academy, and those few who are able to pass their final tests will be guaranteed positions of power in any field that they choose. Graduating from this academy is viewed as one of the highest honors and achievements.

Tada has made it to the final exam, which consists of being teamed with nine other individuals and left on a ship, completely on their own, for 60 days. If one person fails in their duties on board, they all fail. If they call for help, they all fail.

However, there’s one problem. Their team was supposed to consist of ten people, yet there are eleven people when they arrive. Someone’s not meant to be on the ship. At best, they’re a stowaway mooching a free ride or trying to sneak into the test. At worst, they mean to do great harm to the students. Can they survive until the exam ends?

Breakdown:

Warning – Spoilers

Another feature I caught onto from reading THEM anime reviews, and they didn’t really like it, even in spite of the three star rating.

However, as I was watching it, I thought it was perfectly fine. Definitely not without its flaws, mostly in the plot holes, but it wasn’t bad in my opinion, nor was it laughably bad.

The premise is really interesting to me. While not the most original story in the world, they do manage to do some interesting things with it. The characters, barring one, are all pretty likable and even the ones who get on your nerves really only do so with understandable circumstances. They redeem themselves several times so that’s not much to gripe about.

Characters

Toto Ni – I’ll be starting out with the least seen/least important characters. Obviously, in an hour and a half long movie, eleven characters are difficult to flesh out. Not to say they didn’t all have their moments, but some we learn little to nothing about. Toto ni is the youngest of the group. An alien from the Sava group, the best I can figure from the prologue is that he wants to learn about plant life. Toto ni is a wimpy little kid who doesn’t say or do much. In fact, I was wondering how he got so far into the test to begin with.

Chaco Kacka – A Terran (new fancy name for ‘earthling’) Chaco…exists. He gets more screen time than Toto ni, but he has no real personality. He apparently starts a small trading company….Dunno why you’d go to such lengths for a small trading company but whatever floats your boat.

Dolph Tasta – Another Terran, Dolph is….something else. He’s our resident doofy looking fat guy with an equally doofy voice (by Steve Blum, yay!) And I swear to god, if Chumlee from YGOGX had an ancestor in the distant future, Dolph would be it. They look so much alike, barring the hair, it’s scary. And oh yeah, he has a big red nose…..and his name is Dolph…..and his nickname is literally ‘red nose’…..Uh huh. He wants to be a judge of the interstellar court.

Vidmenir Knume – From a non-aligned nation called Vidnu, Knu, as he’s called, is one of the only aliens here who actually looks like an alien. He’s a scaly, very tall human-like creature. I take what I can get.

Knu is always extremely calm and is commonly the voice of reason in the group. He’s also very knowledgeable on several subjects. Knu went on to be a poet……a poet….you went through all this to be a poet. Not really too surprised, given his personality, but come on. When you’re guaranteed basically any job you want by passing this insanely long and difficult test, why aspire to be a poet?

Ganigus Gagtos – Nicknamed Ganga, where he is from is never explained, but he’s definitely not from earth. On his planet, a terrible disease plagues basically every person, and no one has an expected life span past the age of 30 because of it. He’s an experimental subject in that his blood was replaced with some kind of algae that is meant to combat this disease. Ganga is a very mature, smart and responsible person who is one of Tada’s loyalest allies. He’s taking the test in order to gain the knowledge and resources to rid his people of this disease forever.

Doricas Soldam IV – Another alien who looks exactly like a human, except his weird orange and blue jumpsuit, Doricas is irritating in that he is constantly pointing fingers accusing people of being ‘the eleventh,’ insulting people and being unpleasant. He doesn’t tend to let his irritating behavior and attitude get in the way of their jobs, but he does get pretty grating. He aspires to be an administrator of his planet.

Amazon Carnias – Another Terran, though where on earth he’s from I don’t know. Would it be too obvious to think it’s the Amazon? He’s from some place where hunting is a huge part of their lives, and has numerous scars covering his body from fierce hunting trips.

He’s not very mature and tends to goof off a lot, but he’s also one of the group who seems to fly off the handle with accusations very quickly. Despite this, he can keep a level head when needed and is very skilled. He ends up becoming a….musician? Seriously? Didn’t he say earlier that he wanted to be a space engineer? How’d he go from that to musician? I know he showed he loved music, but he specifically stated that his goal was space engineering.

King Mayan Baceska – Mayan is simply taking the test as a challenge since he’s already the king of a nation/planet. As such, he’s pretty much immediately set as the leader of the group. Mayan does carry himself like a king. He’s very refined and logical, and he tries to make decisions for the better of the group as a whole and not just himself. While he is the most suspicious one of the group, he tries not to point fingers and instead backs his suspicions with evidence. He also doesn’t work as a dictatorship. He utilizes voting and respects the opinions of all of the other group members. Despite this, he can still fly off the handle and act irrationally.

Glenn Groff – The only other semi-alien-looking alien here, Glenn’s basically human-looking barring the bump on his head and red pupils. Glenn’s a very respectful and kind individual who does his best to help. You know how I mentioned there was an epilogue? Well, it’s one of those epilogues that shows still frames of the characters followed by a short excerpt of what happened to them after the movie.

Glenn died. Yeah. He died while trying to protect one of his students during training. Thanks movie. He was a really likable character to just kill off for no reason. What is this? Stand by Me?

Frolbericheri Frol – Oh dear God….I watched this movie for ten minutes and thought ‘Well, this actually seems like a good movie. What are the complaints about?’ and then she opened her mouth. My god, what a grating sack of crap. From the second she’s on screen, she’s yelling and screaming and getting into fights. Granted, she has a bit of a reason. She looks exactly like a girl (I’ll get to that in a minute) and the group is flabbergasted when they discover a WOMAN on board.

Let me put this into perspective. When Knu, scaly giant, took off his helmet and revealed his face, the group was slightly taken aback. When Glenn, bumpy headed demon eyes, did the same, they also were slightly perturbed. Frol takes off her helmet and they all audibly GASP and look like she just ate her own face. How is it that this takes place in a universe where galaxy-wide peace and acceptance has been established yet sexism is still alive and well? Hell, it seems like it’s gotten much worse.

From her outburst at their assumptions, I just thought that she didn’t like being treated like a woman, especially in a group of guys. However, much later on, we’re under the impression that her outburst of being insulted at being called a woman insinuated that she wasn’t one, and that she was just a really feminine guy and has been treated as such the whole time. I don’t recall them ever addressing her as ‘he’ so it threw me for a loop when the big reveal comes later on.

The big reveal in question is when she goes to take a shower. That’s when we see that she’s completely flatchested and has the physique of a guy. The fact that Amazon doesn’t react to her taking off her shirt is what first indicated that she was being treated as a he. Later, when an incident occurs in the shower, Amazon sees Frol full-frontal and realizes that her basement has neither a box nor a joystick.

Frol has no genitalia, and she’s I guess a reverse hermaphrodite…Right? Hermaphrodites have both male and female genitals so having neither would be a reverse? On her planet, everyone’s born as a hermaphrodite, but treated as a girl. When a person reaches adulthood, they are given hormone injections to allow them to become either a man or woman.

Under government law, only first borns have the choice of becoming male or female. Everyone else is forced to become a woman. Because of this, females greatly outnumber males, but men have it made. While women are forced to be housewives and pop out children, men have the freedom to do whatever they want. In addition, due to the greatly uneven ratio of men to women, they commonly practice polygamy.

Frol made an agreement with her government. If she passes the test at Cosmo Academy, she can become a man and live a cushy misogynist life bangin’ all the chicks. If not, she has to become a woman. A prospect so awful she cries about it several times. Eek.

Frol may have the most fleshed out story, even in deep competition to our actual main character, but she’s so unlikable and annoying. She has a Southern accent, however the hell that works considering she’s from another planet, and all she does is complain and yell and scream and bitch and moan and act pushy and urhghghgh.

Wanna know something else? She’s voiced by Wendee Lee. Yeah, one of the few female VAs with a huge range from guy to girl and an equally large range between great and grating, provides the super annoying hick voice of this woman. You make me sad.

What’s even worse is how her story ends. She contracts an illness that forces the crew to call for a rescue, which is grounds for failure. She’s devastated because she can’t wait three years for the next test before she’ll be forced to become a girl. Tada offers to have her come to his planet, as a woman, and marry him.

Their romance has been a bit forced, mostly because Tada seems awkward when he’s in romantic or flirty situations, Frol is too annoying to root for and their chemistry is kinda off. However, we reveal later on that, because they made such good decisions during their test and made the right decision in saving Frol, they actually come out first in their class and pass with flying colors.

So yay she gets to be a guy now and live a good life, right? Nope. She decides to be a woman and live as a housewife with Tada.

Yeah, she despised and feared the thought of being a woman and a housewife so much that she went though all of these trials, tribulations and red tape to get the chance at being made into a man and cried over the fear of possibly not getting her wish yet, in the end, she chooses to be a woman and a housewife because pbbbbttt love?

Why can’t she be a man and marry Tada? If this truly is a universe of peace and acceptance, I can’t see how they’d have an issue with a gay couple. Isn’t she committing a bigger sin by being the bane of all galaxy-wide existence IE a woman?

They don’t even say she does anything else in the epilogue. She and Tada graduated and got married was their little excerpt. Great use of that Cosmo Academy degree or whatever it is.

Tadatos Lane – Tada is our main character. He’s an empath who slowly starts learning things about his past while on the ship. I don’t understand how he can be as insanely smart as he is and have such a good ‘intuition’ yet he doesn’t remember incredibly scarring and impacting moments from when he was four.

Tada’s very likable, but he’s pretty bland. They don’t really explain what he wants to do once he passes his test. He just wants to achieve the high honor and score a great job. They don’t even explain what he did after the events of the movie besides marry Frol.

His backstory is pretty interesting, but, like I said, it’s a little confusing that he’s so smart and intuitive yet he can’t remember very important events from when he was four – including his mother dying before his eyes. I get that four is a very young age, but some people can remember stuff from when they were as young as two. I can kinda remember some stuff from four years old. Why does he seem to suffer from amnesia about this.

Story Issues and Lingering Questions

They specifically state that Tada just has ‘a very good intuition’ and isn’t psychic, yet mere seconds later he’s touching palms to get a clear ‘reading’ on whether on not people are lying and it’s solidified that his talents are indeed ESP.

Why were all those bombs on the ship? I find it hard to believe that all of those bombs were put there by the instructors.

Why did Tada turn down the cooler thing if he wasn’t influenced or ‘the eleventh?’

What was the purpose of influencing Tada to turn the circuit back on if not to injure Ganga?

Why is Ganga not punished for sneaking on board the ship? How does sneaking on board even help him in regards to the test? Surely they’d find out what he did and disqualify him.

And probably the biggest plot hole – How was Glenn the eleventh if Ganga admitted he was the eleventh?

Both of them weren’t meant to be there, and Glenn was purposely planted to throw the count off to create a situation to test the team. Wouldn’t that mean that there should’ve been twelve people in that team? Why were they even asking ‘but who was the eleventh?’ at the rescue ship when, like I said, Ganga admitted it earlier?

Granted, I never would’ve guessed that either Ganga or Glenn were the eleventh. Well, maybe Ganga a little because of the fact that he kept getting injured and making Tada look guilty, but not Glenn. He was just relevant enough to be a valid surprise yet kept hidden enough to not be obvious. Still, the reveal kinda doesn’t work when you already had an eleventh established.

Art and Animation: The art and animation aren’t great, but they’re perfectly fine for the year. There’s much worse that has come out of 1986. The character designs are decent enough even if Chaco, Dolph and Tada have dumb hair styles and some of the color choices are kinda weird.

Music: The music’s forgettable, but pretty nice.

Voice Acting: English  – The acting on some of the characters such as Tada, voiced by Curtis Jones, are a little hokey. Even Steve Blum himself delivers some lame dialogue. I can’t really fault him on those few lines though. Not even his dulcet vocal cords could save some of these lines.

Speaking of Mr. Blum, he actually voices three characters here; Dolph, Amazon and Mayan, and he exercises quite a bit of range here. However, it should be noted that he uses a different pseudonym for each credit. He’s credited as David Lucas for Mayan, Steven Jay for Dolph and David Jeremy for Amazon. David Jeremy isn’t even listed on his Wiki as one of his pseudonyms. Steve Jay is the biggest clue as his full name is Steven Jay Blum, but why use that credit on Dolph when the best work in this feature was as Mayan?

Other than Frol, everyone else was decent.

Bottomline: Yes, there are glaring plotholes and inconsistencies with the story. Yes, it’s very dated. Yes, some of the epilogue entries are just dumb. However, I don’t find it bad at all. The situations are tense, the characters can be fun when they have time to relax, and you do care for most of them even if you don’t learn a great deal about some of them.

The premise is pretty interesting and they do bring enough to the table in terms of twists and other parts of the story such as Tada’s connection to the ship to spice things up a bit more. I’d gladly watch it again, and anyone who’s up for that warm old animation style, some interesting situations and maybe some cheesiness, I’d gladly recommend it. It’s not perfect, but I had fun.

Additional Information and Notes: They were 11 was produced by Kitty Film. It was directed by Satoshi Dezaki and Tsuneo Tobinaga. The film was based on a manga by Moto Hagio. It was dubbed in English by the now defunct Central Park Media.

Runtime: 91 minutes

Year: 1986

Recommended Audience: No blood, some incredibly minor violence, no nudity, no sex,  they’re even too shy to talk about genitalia in the proper terms. E for everyone.

Dissecting the Disquels: Pocahontas 2 – Journey to a New World

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Rating: 6.5/10

Plot: Due to Ratcliffe’s lies about what happened in the previous movie, the King has decided to send out an armada and declare war on the natives. Ratcliffe has supposedly killed John Smith to keep him from talking and now it’s up to John Rolfe to try and mend bridges by bringing the chief of Pocahontas’s tribe to England as an ambassador.

Pocahontas goes in his place, but London is a much stranger world than what she’s used to. She’ll have to learn to dress and act accordingly or else she’ll have no chance of stopping the attack. Meanwhile, she develops a closer relationship with John Rolfe.

Breakdown: The original Pocahontas movie was both greatly loved and greatly ridiculed for being so far off from the original story of Pocahontas. Pocahontas was around 11 or 12 years old in the actual story, and John Smith was merely a friend. There’s nothing implying any sort of romantic entanglement between him and Pocahontas. That as well as various other aspects, like John Smith wasn’t nearly that attractive in real life. Oh and magic leaves/trees/wind.

This movie, shockingly enough, is closer to the original story. However, there are still numerous changes in order to fuse properly with the first movie.

Though it is mentioned that “several” years have passed since the events of the first movie, no actual number of years is given. However, the original story states she was about 21 when she went to England. Since Pocahontas was 16 in the original movie and about 11 in the actual story, she’s probably around 26 in this movie, which is actually supposed to be a few years after her death.

John Rolfe goes to Jamestown to talk to Pocahontas and her tribe. She decides to go with him as an ambassador to stop war on her people and to take the place of her father since he refused to go. In the actual story, she was already married to John Rolfe and had a kid with him before going to England.

Also, I believe she just went to England simply to live there. There was no great mission, though her marriage to Rolfe did create a nice period of peace between the settlers and her tribe. She also changed her name to Rebecca somewhere between Smith and Rolfe.

The thing about John Smith faking his death and not contacting Pocahontas is accurate. The circumstances behind it may be different, but it did happen.

Okay, so “closer to the original story” does not mean “entirely accurate.” This is Disney; you have to give them quite a bit of elbow room.

Now onto the movie. I wasn’t in love with original movie, but I watched it several times as kid. I liked the songs and art more than anything. The actual story and characters were mostly okay to me. Really preachy and cheesy, though.

And this sequel……is surprisingly decent. It’s nothing amazing, but it seems like a decent sequel to the original movie at least for a direct-to-video sequel. And it’s a decent closing to Pocahontas’s story……….beyond all the genocide and dying at age 22 and whatnot. People who really shipped Pocasmith © were pretty damn pissed at this movie, though. But let’s get to that later.

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The movie starts out in London where we see John Smith running away from a bunch of soldiers on the rooftops. He eventually slips and Ratcliffe appears and slams his foot down on Smith’s hand sending him into the waters below. Oh no! John Smith died by falling into the water and we never see him surface nor do we see his body. That must mean he is dead! There is absolutely no chance that they are screwing with us. This is 4 reelz!

I should mention that the only voice change in the entire movie is with John Smith. I actually thought the VA for Pocahontas had changed since she sounds younger here, but it’s the same one. Mel Gibson decided not to return to this movie. Maybe he was too busy being a crazy anti-semite. But they did hire his brother, Donal, to do the voice work instead. To his credit, he does sound very similar to Mel, but not quite similar enough to go unnoticed.

Ratcliffe appears in front of the king and basically tells a bunch of lies about what happened in the original movie. He says John Smith was a traitor plotting with the Powhatan tribe to start a war and save his own skin. In order to prevent an attack from the tribe, King James sends out John Rolfe to speak with the chief and bring him back for negotiations.

We then cut to Jamestown where it’s winter, which means the animators really didn’t want to even try to match the landscapes and great art of the original movie. They just splashed white all over everything, put a few bare trees around and boom, Carnation instant landscape. Now with 95% less creativity.

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We discover that it has been “several” years since the events of the last movie and at least a few years since John Smith’s “death.” In the meantime, many new colonists have settled in.

Pocahontas’ best friend whose name escapes me as she was only in two minutes of this movie and had about as many lines as Meeko tells her that she needs to move on. And, after a song break, she does. Yay! She buries his compass in the snow (because snow never melts, right?) and moves on.

I must say that, while the songs aren’t that good, they’re at least several degrees better than the drek I’ve been listening to with Cinderella 2 and Hunchback 2. ‘Where do I go from Here?’ Is actually pretty good and memorable as well.

A new ship has arrived at the dock and Pocahontas goes to investigate. She has a run-in with a racist merchant which prompts an attack by the warriors of her tribe and a retaliation from the guards on the boat. However, she steps in before anyone starts attacking.

John Rolfe then steps in and says basically the same thing that Pocahontas says, which causes them to stand down. While John Rolfe is pleased with himself for stopping the attack, Pocahontas is enraged that John Rolfe butted in. DAMN YOU PALE SKINS AND YOUR NEED TO INTERRUPT PEACEMAKING WITH MORE PEACEMAKING!

He overhears some women talking about Pocahontas preventing war and he believes Pocahontas is the name of the tribe leader. When he meets the tribe leader and offers a horse as a gift for him, the chief reveals that Pocahontas is the name of his daughter and Rolfe is shocked to see that it’s the same girl from before. He begrudgingly gives the horse to Pocahontas and starts speaking with the chief.

He asks the chief to go back to England with him to negotiate with the king, but the chief refuses to go with him due to distrust of his people. Pocahontas decides to go in his place. Though John Rolfe doesn’t like the idea, he decides that it’s the only way to prevent war and that it is a viable option since she is royalty.

They embark on their journey with her bodyguard Uttamatomakkin, also known as Uti, who is arguably the funniest new character. His stone face and deadpan responses are just great. Uti is voiced by Brad Garret of Everybody Loves Raymond, which is odd because Uti barely says one line in this movie. Must’ve been the easiest paycheck he ever got. Also, what is up with Brad Garret and Disquels? He was in Tarzan 2 as well.

He is based on a real person of the same name who was also Pocahontas’ actual bodyguard. In real life, he was told by the chief to put a notch in a stick for every pale face that he saw in England to understand their numbers and strength, but eventually he gave up since there were simply too many people. He does the same exact thing in the movie, throwing away a tiny toothpick sized stick in the middle of a song about London as he was making notches during the entire song.

Flit, Meeko and Ratcliffe’s dog, Percy, who stayed behind with Pocahontas in the last movie, stowaway on the ship.

Percy actually gets drunk from drinking rum on the ship, which shocked the living crap out of me. They even put RUM in giant words on the barrels.

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Well, now we know why the rum’s always gone.

They arrive in London and aforementioned London song happens since Pocahontas is so fascinated by how different London is to her home. I’m surprised she isn’t flabbergasted at the complete lack of any nature there.

They arrive at John Rolfe’s home where we’re introduced to another funny character, Mrs. Jenkins. She is very nice, nearly to a fault, and is blind as a bat without her glasses. She also constantly makes tea. Despite her lame blindness gags, she’s a very likable grandmother-like character. She’s voiced by Jean Stapleton, whom you may remember as Edith from All in the Family.

John Rolfe goes off to meet with the king, and King James tells him that unless he’s impressed by Pocahontas as a civilized princess, he will let the armada sail and war will erupt. Ratcliffe suggests that he invite her to an upcoming ball to get a good understanding of her. The king agrees and sends Rolfe off.

Rolfe is stressed out because of this sudden turn of events. Acting accordingly at a ball and not crossing any of the numerous boundaries that are set in royal surroundings is incredibly difficult even for people who live there, let alone a person who doesn’t even know the slightest about their culture. However, Pocahontas agrees to try her best to be presentable and proper during the ball for the sake of her tribe.

We get a scene of Pocahontas in her underwear entering Rolfe’s room. Get your mind out of the gutter. The only reason I’m even bringing this up is because Rolfe gets very embarrassed at her clothes and I found this very odd.

I get that it’s “underwear”, but it’s oldtimey underwear. Ya know, that stuff that’s like a damn jumpsuit? I know, being a gentleman and given the time period, it’s still not out of the question that he’d be embarrassed, but it just seems so weird because it’s actually covering way more than her original clothes were.

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Pictured Left: A streaker – Pictured Right: Modesty in the 17th century

We get a musical montage which I guess is supposed to be a mix between a love song and a makeover song. Oh well, it’s much less painful than the one in Cinderella 2.

She comes out looking great, even has white powder on her face. I know that massive amounts of makeup were quite common in 17th century England, but is this kinda….white face? Is that a thing?

She and Rolfe have a slight ‘moment’ when he gives her a necklace to wear and she removes the one that her mother gave her.

They go to the ball and despite some initial awkwardness, the king seems to like her just fine and the more likable queen also enjoys her presence.

During this ball we see a drunk man. Well, I just don’t know. Is Disney trying to throw off their new rep or something and get back to their old one?

We get to dinner and a show where Ratcliffe squeezes in what I guess is his villain song, but is basically “Pocahontas can’t be trusted, but I’m not gonna outright say that” Then we get to a bear-baiting scene, which is where a couple of guys poke at a trapped bear with spears and that’s supposed to be hilarious.

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Pocahontas is obviously appalled by this and stops the show to protect the bear. As the king shrugs off the bear as a mere animal and nothing more, Pocahontas calls them the real savages. As a result, the king has her and Uti imprisoned. Would it be redundant to say that this movie makes English people look really bad? It does. Later Ratcliffe even slashes up the flag of England with his sword.

John Rolfe paces in his courtyard trying to decide what to do when a cloaked man approaches him. Gee I wonder who that could be. John Smith’s totes dead, so I guess it’s a mystery.

John Rolfe and mystery man enter the tower with the mystery man acting as Rolfe’s prisoner. The mystery man distracts the guards by running away while Rolfe rescues Pocahontas and Uti.

They share a hug when the mystery man reappears and shows himself to be JOHN SMITH!?

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They escape the tower and we head back to Rolfe’s place because….they’d never look there? Pocahontas and John Smith have a less-than-touching reunion. They hug and say that they missed each other. John Smith explains that Ratcliffe lied about his death, but he used that to his advantage. Pocahontas asked why he never wrote to her and he basically says “I started a bunch of letters, but I never sent any because…well, no reason really. Just felt like being a prick.”

Pocahontas decides that she must go off to save her people from the impending attack. John Smith wants her to go into hiding and let the war happen while John Rolfe wants her to stand up for herself and her people by going.

Boy, Smith turned into a bit of a jerk since he left didn’t he? Yeah, let all of your people die and protect yourself. Afterall, I maybe still care about you a bit. This is probably to simplify the love triangle….angle as much as humanly possible. Wouldn’t want any question as to who she’s going to end up with. Then she runs off into the forest.

Pocahontas reprises her Where Do I Go from Here? song, wipes the white powder from her face and returns to the boys after Smith and Rolfe determine that Rolfe’s in love with her.

Rolfe, Smith and Pocahontas have a weird dynamic. Rolfe and Smith play off of each other well, acting like only slight romantic rivals and more like buddies. John Smith’s acting like a bit of a jerk in this movie, so I can’t much root for Pocahontas and him here, though I guess that’s the point.

I will admit that Pocahontas and Rolfe have an interesting relationship just in terms of how it came to be. Initially they hated each other, albeit for a dumb reason, but they did. This is very uncommon in Disney movies in general. Most Disney romances involve love at first or second sight. This one actually took a bit of time.

This romance is also weird because I believe it’s Disney’s first ever rebound romance. I can’t think of any other instance in a Disney movie where the main character had a love triangle or even another romantic interest….Maybe Pirates of the Caribbean, but you always knew she’d go with Will.

However, there’s not much romance involved here. They only sing a duet at the end of the movie as a credits song and it’s more of an “our romance will unite our worlds” song instead of an outright love song. They never really share a big romantic moment. I guess I should say they have a very subtle love, but maybe it’s too subtle?

Pocahontas announces that she’s going to stop the armada and the boys follow her. As the king is having a meeting, Pocahontas intrudes and tells him that everything Ratcliffe told him was a lie. This is proven when John Smith reveals himself to the king and claims that Ratcliffe lied about his death along with everything else.

As a big stir starts in the crowd, Pocahontas tells the king to listen to his heart and his wife gives him a smile and a nod before he gives in. However, he states that Ratcliffe has already left with the armada, so Pocahontas, Smith and Rolfe go off to stop him.

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They manage to catch them just as they’re about to leave. They have a pretty nicely animated battle that leads to a sword battle between Ratcliffe and Smith. Smith wins out and stupidly gives Ratcliffe his sword back telling him to sheathe it. Boy, I hope that doesn’t bite him in the ass.

So it bites him in the ass as Ratcliffe uses the motion of him sheathing his sword to cover up his grabbing his gun. But Rolfe saves the day by knocking Ratcliffe overboard with the sail. He’s arrested and we cut to later on.

Pocahontas and Rolfe have a moment. Rolfe has been assigned to the King’s royal court or something and they skirt around what they want to say. They’re about to say it when Smith comes back and picks up Pocahontas saying that he’s been given a boat.

Then he tells Pocahontas that they can sail the world and whatnot, but Pocahontas explains that she doesn’t want that. She tells him that they used to walk the same path, but now she’s found a different one. He quickly understands and they part ways. Pocahontas turns around and notices that Rolfe left as well.

Cut to her departure back home and she notices Rolfe is still gone, but says goodbye to Mrs. Jenkins. Uti also stays behind in London with Mrs. Jenkins and the bear from the show….Why? I don’t know. Maybe he liked her sandwiches so much he decided to stay.

The boat departs and she sees Rolfe on the ship. He’s decided to give up the cushy job and head to her homeland where he’ll be shunned by the tribe and everyone will wonder what the hell is up with Pocahontas and white people.

They kiss and sail off into the sunset. This also didn’t happen. She stayed in England until she died, which was only about a year after she arrived. Also the stuff about changing her name to Rebecca. But I guess Disney wanted a happier ending.

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The art and animation are surprisingly pretty good for a Disney sequel, but there are some things that bug me.

First, even though everyone is kinda off-model from the original movie, John Smith looks terribly off for some reason. Something about him is very wrong. Like his head is too thin or he’s malnourished or something.

Second, all of the shots with the boats are CGI, which don’t look too bad, but it’s distracting a lot of the time.

Finally, the background art is not nearly as vast and epic as the original movie. The King’s meeting room or whatever that was was beautiful, but not much else.

The movie is actually fairly funny as well. Uti and Mrs. Jenkins made me chuckle several times.

Bottomline: All in all, this is actually one of the better Disney sequels, and I applaud Disney for trying to be more historically accurate, to a degree anyway. I noticed that this movie does tend to get quite a bit of flak, even for a Disquel, and not surprisingly most of the complaints are about the fact that Pocahontas ended up with John Rolfe instead of John Smith, even though, like I said, that is what happened in real life.

Some people were even calling her a SLUT in reviews and comments because she decided to go with him over Smith. Because, ya know, if you don’t end up with your first love, you’re a big ol’ whore. And ya know what, even if the real story did have her ending up with Smith, once she reached an appropriate age anyway, this story would still be just fine.

If you look at the ending of Pocahontas in a different light, you can actually take it as Pocahontas and Smith basically cutting off their romance since they know they’ll be apart for at least several months or even years. I guess a lot of people take the last shot of the movie as a kind of promise to wait for Smith to return to her, but you could interpret it as her saying goodbye to him.

Hell, for all we knew, Smith was never coming back. He never said such a thing. The chief just said he was always welcome in their tribe and Pocahontas said she’d always be with him (in his heart/spirit).

They agreed to part ways. She didn’t want to leave her tribe to be with him (even though, that’s actually kinda cold considering he’s seriously wounded as he leaves. A festering gunshot wound and a several month boat trip; it’s a miracle he lived) and he couldn’t stay because they didn’t have the resources to treat Smith’s gunshot wound.

The fact that Smith didn’t write her or visit her after he got better is actually somewhat understandable. When you have a fleeting romance with someone and it ends up with you basically having to part ways, it can be really difficult to be the one who feels compelled to start the first lines of communication after that, especially if the ending truly was a goodbye. Pocahontas moving on to someone else that she’s grown to care for is healthy and completely understandable as well, especially considering how much time has supposedly gone by since Smith’s departure.

Even seeing him alive and well and finally reuniting after all that time, it makes perfect sense that their feelings changed. And let me remind everyone who thought or wrote ‘slut’ or the like in response to this; Pocahontas only ever pursued Rolfe romantically after properly breaking it off with Smith after finding out he was alive.

I actually felt kinda awkward when Smith basically expected Pocahontas to drop everything and sail around with him. Their romance didn’t blossom again after they reunited, outside of being happy to see him and knowing he’s alive; another thing that makes sense considering how long it’s been since they has spoke or were romantically involved. Kinda felt like he either had delusions of picking up where he left off with her after years of never saying a word to her or he felt entitled to their relationship or something.

The choice to have her go with Rolfe back to her tribe and live happily ever after was also a good one. Despite being nothing like the actual ending outside of her ending up with Rolfe, from a storytelling perspective and knowing this Pocahontas like we know her, it wouldn’t be a good choice to have her stay in London with Rolfe or sailing around for who knows how long with Smith. This Pocahontas belongs back with her tribe enjoying the colors of the wind.

The other thing was that people actually seemed to seriously DISlike that Disney wanted to go down a more historically accurate route. Go to IMDB’s review page on this movie. You’ll see a bunch of comments like these:

“Yes, in reality she ended up with John Rolfe, but -bleep- reality. I don’t want reality. When I sit down to watch a Disney movie I want to get lost in a world where every princess gets her (ORIGINAL) Disney hero. I REALLY don’t like new dudes with ZERO personality coming in and nabbing the princess just because “that’s how it REALLY happened”.”

“So here is what I can tell you Disney: I do not CARE how it was in reality. I wanted to see how John Smith and Pocahontas get together again.”

“I understand that Disney felt it had to keep the story as historically correct as possible but Disney films are aimed at children and as a child i couldn’t care less about historical accuracy, i just wanted the love and magic between Pocahontas and Smith to finally be restored. If Disney are so worried about historical accuracy than why didn’t they end the Little Mermaid in Ariels suicide because thats more accurate to the original story isn’t it?”

In response to that last part, you’re confusing historical accuracy (something that actually happened) with fictional accuracy (the events of The Little Mermaid never happened). People get more pissed off when historical events are changed in movies and other media because it seems like you’re disrespecting real people and real events.

People get pissed off when fictional accuracy is being played with since people have a great attachment and respect for artistic works, but considering it’s merely fictional it’s hard to feel as offended when Hollywood screws up these works as opposed to real stories of real people.

Is it a fantastic sequel? No. But I do believe it’s one of the stronger entries in the Disquel universe. If this movie really is just getting so much severe backlash for Pocahontas’ love life and for the fact that it was trying to be more historically accurate after being so ‘magic leaves’ in the first movie…..My God, people, get the hell over it.

Disney movies, especially ones with Disney princesses, get so much crap for the typical ‘Disney romances’ that are always unrealistic and happily ever after. Yet no one’s happy when a more realistic ending is presented to them.

I’m not denying that there is a lot of legitimate criticism for this movie, but this is the main focus of a lot of reviewers and commenters.

If I can compare this to another Disney classic and Disquel for a second, let’s take The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In that movie, Quasimodo doesn’t get the girl no matter how much a majority of the audience wanted it to happen, and instead Esmeralda marries Pheobos. They also didn’t end up together in the original novel, but at least the movie was kind enough to not have Esmeralda hanged and Quasimodo die in a tomb of starvation as he wept near her body.

In the Disquel we all wish never happened, they don’t try to shove the two together through Disney magic because everyone wanted it; they make him best friends with her and Pheobos’ son, Zephyr, and give him a bland as stale unsalted crackers love interest.

Not to say HND2 is any decent at all. In fact this comparison was really only brought up because Pocahontas 2 and Hunchback 2 are seriously just 1% away from each other in their Rotten Tomatoes ratings and .1 away in their IMDB ratings.

Are you people serious? Pocahontas 2 is far from a great movie, but to put it on the exact same shelf made of crap that Hunchback 2 is? Are you nuts? There’s much more to legitimately like about this movie than in Hunchback 2. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, but in as much of an objective light as I can muster, the differences in quality in practically every regard are blindingly apparent. I’m really surprised at how much just fan response is making me defend this movie.

Let’s wrap it up, though. Unless you’re a hardcore Smith purist and/or don’t want any real world accuracy damaging your views on a movie in which a real life 27 year old man and a real life 11 year old girl are rewritten to be of-age lovers, I see no harm in giving this a watch.

There are several funny moments, the story’s decent enough and it has a continuation with an actual story instead of just Adventures of Random Things that Happened After (movie).

I will agree with some reviewers and say that the romance is quite shaky. They don’t build it up enough before they decide to send Rolfe and Pocahontas off to live together in her tribe, and they, admittedly, do make Smith out to be a bit of an asshole in order to nudge the love triangle away. While I definitely sympathize with the feeling of a beloved classic being ruined by a Disquel, this one, in my opinion, doesn’t do nearly as much damage as a lot of other Disquels.

Recommended Audience: You see a dog and a person get drunk and Pocahontas in underwear that covers more than her actual clothes do. Also a bear gets tortured, but you don’t really see anything happen to him. They rear up and then the bear reacts. 7+

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Zorro Generation Z

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Plot: Diego Dela Vega, grandson of the original Zorro, has taken it upon himself to become the new Zorro when his father suddenly gets kidnapped by his political rival.

Breakdown: It’s Batman Beyond with Spanish accents.

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….What? I’m not lying. It is. The art and animation’s much crappier, the tone’s lighter and the gadgets are silly, but it is basically just a big Batman Beyond rip off. And I did my homework; it’s not the reverse because Batman Beyond was made in 1999 and this was made in 2006. And just to rile up comic fans, Zorro Generation Z was made by Rick Ungar, a former Marvel Studios executive.

Back to the Batman Beyond comparisons, some kid inherits a superhero moniker because the original one is too old to do the job (or in this case is dead) where he wears black and red with a bullet-proof cape, utilizes a bunch of gadgets and has someone back at the underground base, complete with a glass case shrine of the old superhero outfits, who gives him advice and technical support. The kid in question is snarky, always makes jokes and the opening plot line involves a threat against his father.

If you want to make a stronger Batman comparison, Diego is the son of a wealthy man who owns ‘Dela Vega Industries’ and basically owns most of the town. He’s also essentially perfect in that he’s smart, incredibly acrobatic and skilled in martial arts and even has time to be a motorcycle racer.

Pushing that out of my mind, though, this first episode still fails on several levels. The very first scene that we see of older Diego, after the flashback of him as a very excitable child, is him getting the message that his father has been kidnapped and rushing off to save him. We get no time to connect with him as a character before this. All we see him doing is racing dirt bikes.

He and his mute tech genius friend, Bernado, out-fox, if you’ll forgive the pun, a bunch of goons. Goons, who, by the way, are some of the dumbest bad guy goons I’ve ever seen.

‘Hey, maybe we should look slightly to our left to see if there are any kids climbing out of a manhole that is literally five feet away.’

‘Nah!’

‘Hey, where did those kids go? Oh my god, you mean they were behind that wall that they just hid behind 30 seconds ago this whole time? Wow!’

They stumble upon the batcav—Errr….the uhh….Zorro cave? Which really is a better lit batcave with all the bells and whistles. And then Diego just says ‘Heh, guess I’m Zorro now!’ He claims that the reason for needing a new Zorro is not just for his dad’s sake, but apparently the entire town is suffering under the political grip of the bad guy, even though I have neither seen nor heard evidence of that.

The whole conflict of this plot is really difficult to get into considering the person we’re worrying about, Diego’s father, has been nothing but a douche the entire episode. Yes, he shows concern for his son, but he tells his father, the original Zorro, to not tell his young son fairy tales, IE stories about Zorro, because he wants this six year old boy to be more interested in the real world.

And when he comes face to face with the new Zorro, of course not recognizing his own son, he still mocks him, calls him a psycho with fancy toys, and acts like a jackass even though Zorro risked his neck to save him. Why the hell should I care about this guy?

Especially when it really seems like Diego doesn’t. He’s smiling and making cute little quips throughout the entire episode, never really showing an iota of caring that his father is currently being held captive, set to be killed, by a very powerful political rival.

Wanna know how little he cares? He takes a nap in the Zorro cave while Bernado does all the work in making him new gadgets and stuff in what seems like a really small time frame. And as Bernado tries to wake him up, he acts like a little kid telling him not to wake him up and making excuses not to go to school.

Speaking of Bernado, this kid is ungodly amazing with tech stuff. He can do basically anything unrealistic-hacker-tech-genius-y in seconds, and he is really the main driving force behind this dynamic.

Oh and did I mention Zorro’s lightsaber boh staff? Yeah, that’s totally a thing. It makes the lightsaber noises and everything. I seriously believe they designed a laser sword for Zorro, like his predecessors used real swords, but it was so close to a lightsaber that they changed it at the last second to a boh staff that somehow cuts things to avoid possible copyright infringement.

Anyway, as you’d expect, Zorro comes in to save the day, bad guy acts evil, goons easily get knocked out, bad guy has one more trick up his sleeve and Diego’s dad is restrained when she appears.

Though she’s not given a superhero name in this episode, her name is the Scarlet Whip and she is very obviously the bad guy’s daughter, Maria, because quite literally no other females have been seen during the entirety of the episode, and they’re not even trying to hide her identity. She doesn’t even wear a mask, just a visor where you can clearly see her eyes.

And of course since the bad guy is just as stupid as Diego’s dad, he also doesn’t recognize his own flesh and blood. Her weapons of choice are two laser whips, because girls always get whips for some reason, and of course the laser color is frickin’ pink….Which….kinda makes her name make no sense….scarlet is a red color, writers.

She sneaks into the room where Diego, his father and the bad guy have trapped themselves and comes to help Diego. To be continued.

I really don’t think this plot warrants a two-parter but whatever.

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This show just doesn’t look appealing to me at all. Diego is too perfect and seemingly uncaring about the people he’s trying to protect. He doesn’t even have finesse like Zorro’s meant to have; he’s just forcing it. The story really seems lifted right from Batman Beyond, albeit made sillier, such as with the gadgets, mostly for the bad guys, being just doofy.

For instance, because I guess this is some time in the future, and to avoid showing real guns, the bad guys have to use laser guns and the guns are designed to look like either remote controls or small hand vacuums.

The only character who peaks my interest is Bernado, but I doubt he’ll ever get much focus, and all of his rightfully earned glory will all go to Diego. Maria’s not even interesting. She’s a rebellious daughter of an asshole and doesn’t outwardly care about her father at all.

The art is very craggy with few details, and the colors are too saturated. I also find it weird that so many extras have blue hair when I assume it’s meant to be black.

The animation is not the worst I’ve seen but it is still pretty damn bad. In the first scene, young Diego rides on his rocking horse and the animation is horrid. It’s like he’s having a seizure. There are many missing frames and a complete misuse of fades. Later on, as Diego and Bernado walk into the Zorro cave, their basic walk cycle animation looks screwed up. They look twitchy and like someone is constantly pulling on their clothes. Not to mention I really believe they recycled the same walk cycle twice in that long shot.

I like the bright red Z transitions, but they happen after every single scene and I can see it getting very old very fast.

The theme song is catchy, but the singing is a bit too high pitched for me most of the time.

The voice acting is blech. No one seems to emote, the bad guys are really hamming it up, and everyone either seems to have an on-off accent like Diego, a super thick ‘Speedy Gonzalez’ voice, an actually believable Spanish accent or none at all.

Final Verdict?

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There’s just nothing for me here. I’d much rather watch Batman Beyond or really anything Batman. Even negating the similarities to Batman, there are much better superhero shows out there.

To clear the air, I’m not biased because I’m a Zorro fan. I’ve really never watched anything Zorro before. I know the plot, and I’ve seen a few episodes of the black and white series when it aired way back on the late night block of the Disney Vault or whatever that was called, but I haven’t had much exposure to it. If you’re a fan and you want a more modern or even futuristic take on the series, this might be more of your cup of tea, but I can’t even imagine Zorro fans would like it that much.

Recommended Audience: Very minor and goofy violence. Nothing outside of that. E for everyone!

Yu-Gi-Oh Episode 5 Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: Yugi is continuing his duel with Haga as he prepares for his most powerful monster, the Ultimate Moth. Yugi uses the new rules to his advantage and wins out, defeating Haga and eliminating him from the tournament. But that is only the first bump on the road to victory.

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4Kids seems to be putting effort into making Mai very mean. Mai’s not really humble by any means in the original, but she’s constantly throwing out “losers” and “geeks” while overall mocking the group in the dub.

Mai’s first dialogue is also changed slightly. She seems to believe Yugi can’t win against Weevil in the dub, while she simply says you can’t judge the duel due to one turn as one turn can be all that it takes to turn a duel around, as Yugi showed with his mirror force, in the original.

Okay, why the hell did Yugi attack the cocoon? He knew the defense power was 300 points greater than Gaia’s attack points. That’s like a rookie level mistake…..*cough* Though, technically Weevil made an even rookie-er mistake because he clearly summons the cocoon in attack mode instead of defense mode, which means Gaia would’ve easily won since the cocoon’s attack is 0. While we’re on the subject, Yugi cheats by using Polymerization, a magic card, during Weevil’s turn.

I don’t know why this matters, but in the original, the great moth sounds like, well….a donkey. In the dub it sounds like a bird. Neither is really…uh, accurate (How does a giant moth sound?) but the dub sounds better.

They edited out a flashback of Yugi and the group running through the forest as moths flew overhead. The flashback was to trigger Yugi’s epiphany that the Great Moth was poisoning Gaia. In the dub, Weevil just tells him what’s going on. To be fair, though, it’s not like the moths were giving off poison scales to begin with, so even the original doesn’t make much sense sometimes.

Another mention of Jounouchi’s eighth place win in the regionals is cut. Poor Joey, can’t catch a break.

For some reason, in only this episode, a picture of the loser of the duel (in this case, Weevil) pops up on screen and an X goes through his picture signifying that he’s been eliminated.

————————

This episode was the first taste into dueling weirdness. It also felt a bit Pokemon-ish with the whole ‘enemy’s wet so hit them with lightning’ trick. I would’ve liked to have seen the Great Moth fully formed, but I guess that’s okay.

Next episode, it’s Jounouchi’s first duel of the tournament and it’s with the supposedly psychic Mai. Can Jounouchi debunk her powers or will be knocked out in round one?

…Previous Episode

Pokemon Episode 16 Analysis – Pokemon Shipwreck

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And then they died

CotD(s) – None

Evolutions: James’s Magikarp evolves into a Gyarados, but he loses it just as soon as it does.

Plot: As a funeral is given in their memory after the sinking of the St. Anne, Ash, Misty, Brock and Team Rocket find themselves trapped aboard the ship as it plunges into the depths of the sea. While everyone is okay after the sinking, they must still find a way back to dry land through a ship that is quickly filling with water, is upside down, and teetering on a rock in the middle of an abyss.

As Team Rocket awakens and learns of their situation, Jessie uses her Ekans’ Acid attack to burn a hole in the floor as an escape route. However, that obviously just floods the place even further.

Back with Ash and the others, they reach the staircase and the waters that are flooding into the ship. Ash wants to try to dive into the water to make it to the deck, but the dangers of encountering a dead end, no pun intended, are very real, so Misty sends out her Goldeen to search for a clear pathway.

Goldeen manages to find two things; a dead end, and the corpses of Team Rocket.

Of course, they aren’t really dead, and once they get their second wind, they challenge Ash and the others to a match. However, once they let out their Pokemon, the ship starts to shift due to the extra weight. The group tries to direct the Pokemon to a good location to make the ship level again, but find themselves on edge after several attempts.

In order to keep the ship level and manage to find a way out, the groups call a truce and recall their Pokemon. Using knowledge that she attained while making a St. Anne replica in the past, Misty suggests that they go upwards to the hull and cut a hole in the ship to escape since their path to the deck is blocked.

They make their way through the staircases above and the fires below utilizing Onix and Bulbasaur’s abilities. They finally make their way to the engine room where they plan to cut the hole since the hull is thinnest in that area.

Ash cuts the hole with Charmander and they all attach themselves to their Water Pokemon to escape. Left without a Water type, Team Rocket panics, but James laughs and reveals that he does have a Water type, the Magikarp he bought earlier.

However, the Magikarp can’t swim and Team Rocket gets washed away as the ship finally falls and sinks to the bottom of the sea.

Back on a raft on the surface, Ash and the others decide to find some dry land by sending Pidgeotto out to retrieve anything from land. Instead, Pidgeotto finds the seemingly lifeless bodies of Team Rocket.

Ash and Co. decide the only thing to do for them is to give them a burial at sea, but as they’re about to put them back into the water, Team Rocket wakes up and reveals that they’re fine.

As the group floats in the middle of the ocean for over a day, they start daydreaming about eating James’ Magikarp only to have Meowth try and fail, breaking his teeth since Magikarp is nothing but scales and bones.

In a rage that the expensive Pokemon is completely useless, James kicks the Magikarp overboard, causing it to evolve into Gyarados. The fearsome Pokemon chases them down, eventually stopping to call upon other Gyarados to perform its special attack – Dragon Rage.

Dragon Rage creates a huge cyclone that sucks up the group and sends them flying. Will Ash and the others survive the ride? Will they ever get back to land if they do?

———————–

– So we’re still using the Pokemon logo in the title cards when they say ‘Pokemon’?

– I’m always amazed by the fact that 4Kids kept in the funeral scene at the start. They would never even consider doing such a thing not too far down the line. Not only is it a damn funeral (That somehow manages to avoid mentioning that they seemingly died) but it’s saying that all of our main characters drowned in a shipwreck.

If 4Kids were a cooler company, and complete trolls, they’d put the end credits after the final shot of the flowers sinking. I’d laugh my ass off even as a kid.

However, while we’re still on the funeral scene, let’s address some things. First of all, it’s nice that they’re treating Team Rocket well instead of excluding them due to their criminal nature. They’re put on the same level as Ash, Misty and Brock and I appreciate that.

Next, where is everyone’s families? Have they not been notified yet? It seems really weird that they’d have a funeral without notifying any next of kin.

Did they even perform a search? It looks like it’s merely the next morning. Don’t they usually have a search party out for a couple days at least before declaring people dead? At most, they’d just be marked as missing until enough time went by that they could legally be declared dead.

I know they were in a sinking ship, and that looks really bad, but it’s not like the waters were glacial and the storm subsided very shortly after the sinking. Even when the Titanic sunk in glacial waters they still sent out people to look for survivors despite the incredibly low chances of anyone staying alive in such conditions.

Finally, as much as I hate to admit it, the funeral scene is pretty moot because of the points mentioned above. Especially since, as we’ll later find out, their families really did never find out that they were in a shipwreck nor that they were declared dead. There’s no emotional reunion, they never even clear it up with the cops, and we already know that the group isn’t dead or else the series would end. This funeral scene serves no purpose other than to maybe make the weight of the event a little more apparent.

– If Ash spent all that time upside down, surely he’d be dead. Nitpicky in a cartoony universe, yes, but still.

– When you think about it, Acid is a really horrifying attack for a Pokemon to have in the anime. If it can burn through a metal floor/ceiling in seconds, imagine what it could do to a Pokemon.

+ 1 for one of the many times we’ll be seeing the gang utilize their Pokemon to solve their problems, though.

– Okay, I’m trying to follow Ash’s logic here. They agree that since the boat is sinking, going up is the best option. When Misty points out that the deck is below them and the hull is above, Ash thinks it’s a good idea to go down…..into the water…Brock does point out the obvious and dangerous aspect of this, but I just find it a little too dumb, even for Ash, to suggest that going down into the water, deck or no deck, is preferable to seeking higher ground in a sinking ship flooding with water.

Yes, there are probably fewer escape routes near the hull, but taking the water pressure of that depth out of the equation, does he really think they can hold their breath long enough to navigate through even an open pathway to the deck and still have enough air to make it to the surface?

– +1 for using Goldeen to find a pathway under water, even if that plan is very dangerous.

– Misty tells Goldeen to bring something back from outside if she makes her way to the deck…which makes some sense, but what does she expect Goldeen to bring back? They’re in the middle of the ocean. Is she just meant to bring back something that’s on the deck? Like what? A deck chair? A lifering? Really anything that could be inside of the ship could be on the deck too.

– I don’t know why, but I like when characters on the opposite side command the other side’s Pokemon to do something….Okay, I really only like it when it’s Ash and co. commanding Team Rocket’s Pokemon.

– This sequence with the teetering ship always annoyed me. Can such minor weight differences, on a huge steel ship anyway, really cause such drastic shifts in angle?

The heaviest Pokemon in that group is Geodude, and yes I was nerdy enough to look up their weights just because this scene annoys me so much.

Geodude weighs 44.1 lbs while all of the other Pokemon weigh between 2 and 20-ish lbs. Meaning, altogether, the Pokemon would weigh around 100 lbs, if that. Guessing that Ash and Misty weigh about 60-70lbs each (give me some leeway, I’m not up to speed on the average weights of 10 year olds) and Brock maybe 90-100 (same for 15-ish year olds) and Jessie and James 100-110 each, the group weighs, at least, 410 lbs. Why were they waltzing around the ship with no problem whatsoever a minute ago but an extra 100 lbs being set right where all of them were standing suddenly causes near ship-tipping shifts?

Why is Geodude being called back over to Brock what equalizes everything? Putting 44 lbs on one side and 454 lbs on the other makes everything okay? Why is Geodude being portrayed as a super heavy Pokemon anyway? 44 lbs isn’t that much, and Geodude, despite being a rock-like creature, is still small. Plus, doesn’t he have the ability to float? Why is he banging into the floor like he’s a pogo stick made of cement?

And after managing to make it somewhat even with Geodude on the human side, the final shot of the groups apart still has Geodude on the Pokemon’s side.

Why is Koffing even being commanded? He weighs the least at 2.2lbs, is made of gas, which is lighter than air, and he floats. Him moving would have no bearing whatsoever on the angle of the ship.

And finally, to end this nitpicky rant that might have holes in it, it took them way too long to think that recalling their Pokemon would fix the problem. Yes, recalling your Pokemon technically means conceding defeat to Team Rocket, but even if they did win, who cares?

Even if them winning somehow meant they got Pikachu, still who cares? I’m not saying that as a sleight against Messiahchu, I really mean, who cares? Where the hell would they go with him? They’re stuck in the same predicament that Ash and the others are in. They could grab Pikachu and run but they would never get far without the help of Ash, Misty and Brock as well as their Pokemon.

Even if they did somehow escape the ship with Pikachu, still still who who cares cares? They’re in the middle of the ocean and the Ash group has a way better chance of making it out first. They could just sit at the surface and wait for them, attack their unable-to-fight-in-water asses and take Pikachu back.

This whole thing is rooted in personal pride, and I’m confused as to why Brock of all people is one of the hotheaded ones here. If anything, Misty should be the hotheaded one battling alongside Ash, especially with her advantage in water, and Brock should be the voice of reason. Misty can be more levelheaded later when she’s devising the escape routes and showing off her mad St. Anne blueprint memorizing skills that still baffle me a little.

– Was everyone seriously thinking that Misty built a life-sized St. Anne? Yeah she totally builds life-sized luxury cruise liner replicas of luxury cruise liners for funsies.

– Okay now we’re at the scene that makes the whole tipping ship scene really confuse the hell out of me as opposed to merely being a slight annoyance.

Since the ship is upside down, they can’t access the stairs easily, so Brock uses Onix….Take that in, Onix…..to make a makeshift staircase in the stairwell above them.

While I will give them the proper dues for yet again using a Pokemon to solve a problem, +1, Onix….the giant snake made of boulders, weighs 463 lbs….How the hell did Brock release this thing without even having the ship shake a little bit if 100lbs of extra weight can turn the ship into a see-saw?

Also, I think his proportions are horribly misrepresented here. Onix seems a lot smaller in this shot than he actually is.

– Using Charmander to solve the problem of loss of light in the stairwell. +1

Although you’d think that a bunch of people who travel the world and always camp out would have flashlights and lanterns. You can’t argue that they may have gotten wet as none of them have been in the water yet outside of Team Rocket.

– Why would the hull be the thinnest in the engine room? That’s not a complaint, I’m just curious as to why that would be. Wouldn’t that be a really dangerous design flaw or does that hold some function?

– Ash asks Pikachu to shock him to help him think. This is the second instance of this happening (technically the first since the other one in way down the line in Johto) and I just don’t get it. Has anyone really ever felt like they got better ideas or concentrated better after getting electrocuted? It really just seems like they needed something for Pikachu to do since his abilities are zero help here.

– Using Bulbasaur’s vines to get across the gap is good, +1, but the manner in which they cross seems unnecessarily dangerous. Why go in a group and try to stand and balance on Bulbasaur’s vines, which has to be incredibly difficult, especially considering they’re vines that a small Pokemon, who merely weighs 15lbs mind you, is holding and not strong cable connected to a heavy anchoring point, when you could hang from them and go one by one making it both easier on Bulbasaur and less difficult to cross?

You could make the argument that hanging from them, even with legs and arms attached, would be more dangerous considering the lake of fire below, but if Bulbasaur’s vines can stand up just fine without any heat damage from where they are, I can’t imagine the kids would be in any danger of burns while trying to hang and cross.

– I really like the moment where James freaks out and Jessie convinces him to go across the fire together. That was legitimately sweet and a layer of characterization that is very much welcome for them.

– Mmm….Misty should really know by now that the only Pokemon Team Rocket has are Koffing and Ekans. At the very least, she should’ve checked to see if everyone had a Water Pokemon before they even started cutting the hole. She thought ahead enough to lend Starmie to Brock, there’s no excuse with Team Rocket.

To be fair, you’d think in the time it took to recall Charmander, call out Starmie, Goldeen and Squirtle, get rope and tie themselves on that Team Rocket would’ve said “We don’t have any Water Pokemon. Can we borrow some of yours, or at least share a rope if you don’t trust us??”

– +1 for using Charmander to burn the hole. Though it is incredibly dangerous for Charmander of all Pokemon…

– Hehe, I do love the scene with James revealing he has Magikarp and then the long pause when they try to escape with it only to realize it can’t swim.

– What a convenient raft they found out in the middle of the ocean….

– Guys, there is totally something you can do to find out where Team Rocket is and if they made it – send out your Water Pokemon to search for them. They’re basically directly above the shipwreck – it wouldn’t be that hard to at least conclude that they didn’t make it. What is with people in this episode not wanting to search for survivors? They just go ‘Not here? Dead. Oh well, let’s move on.’

– Ah referencing the Bible in Pokemon. Yet another thing that would never happen in later episodes. Also, does that mean Christianity/Catholicism/Judaism exists in Pokemon?

– Great use of Pidgeotto, +1, even if they already did something very similar to this earlier with Goldeen.

And like Misty did with Goldeen, Ash should’ve been more clear with his instructions beyond ‘Bring us back whatever you find.’ There is tons of debris from the sinking floating around. It could just grab some crap from the water and come back without ever touching land.

The reason the branch in the Noah story is significant is because an olive branch would be a clear indication of land.

– How did Pidgeotto bring back Team Rocket? And considering James and Meowth were floating with their faces down in the water, both of them should be dead or in desperate need of CPR.

– These children are awful calm when faced with three supposedly dead bodies.

– While I do find it kinda cute and funny the way he snaps his fingers, Pikachu was disappointed that Meowth didn’t die. That’s messed up.

– For a show/franchise that really tries to make you connect emotionally with Pokemon and makes tons of them super cute and cuddly, plus taking into consideration 4Kids harsh censorship, that is some pretty messed up imagery of Magikarp. Fileted, fried, make into marinated slices. Keep in mind this isn’t just like they’re showing plates of food, they make it a point to put a little Magikarp severed head on each imagined plate….

– Being kicked makes Magikarp evolve? Dammit, if I had known that I wouldn’t have wasted my time using Exp. Share and putting it out front to switch out in one turn….

– I love the way James says ‘I’m James, your master, obey me.’……Not in that way….

– If James really is still its master, under the belief that kicking it and saying he didn’t want it anymore wasn’t a legit abandonment of it, however the hell that works, couldn’t this all be solved by James recalling it to its Pokeball? Pokemon break out of their Pokeballs all the time ala Psyduck and Wobbuffet, but surely you could maybe recall it then tape the ball up or something.

– I also find it funny when Misty just decides to book it instead of even attempting to fight Gyarados.

– Forgiving that they suddenly got five sticks of the same length and width out of nowhere, wouldn’t those be completely ineffective in moving a raft in the ocean? The don’t have paddles at the bottom, they’re just sticks. Those might help in shallow swamps and ponds, but not in the ocean.

– You don’t typically need numerous Pokemon to do one attack, especially in Gen 1. It wouldn’t bother me as much if the attack didn’t look silly.

————————————-

Overall, this episode, despite its many flaws in logic, is still one of my favorite episodes. It has tons of Pokemon utilization, some of it pretty clever, neat and realistic obstacles, some character development, life-threatening situations and a lot of action and fun. This kind of episode is really a rarity in the series now, so it’s nice to get a taste of a more linear and less episodic Pokemon.

Next episode is the finale to this three-parter even if it could very easily be a stand-alone. Island of the Giant Pokemon. I’ve always been a bit iffy with this episode, so here’s hoping it’s better than I remember.

Previous Episode…..

Underdog (Manga) Volumes 1 and 2 Review

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Rating: 6.5/10

Plot: Naoto is a very angry and perverted college student. He lives his life hating the world around him and makes a hobby out of setting up cameras in apartments where he knows the women living there are sexually active. His entire life, he’s been known as the ‘ghost boy’ as no one ever notices him and he hardly had any friends outside of his best friend, Yuuki. One day, a woman named Noa comes to him with a proposition; she is part of an organization that holds a tournament. The winner gets to rule the world. The rules? Kill your opponent without directly causing them harm.

Breakdown: I have a bit of a thing for ‘death tournament’ titles. Something about the concept seems so interesting to me and it can make for some really cool stories and scenarios. This one is dark and interesting, but also kinda stupid and confusing.

First of all, while they do establish the rules of the tournament clearly, even written out for us, I don’t get who this organization is nor why they have the power to give the winner the ability to dominate the world. Surely, if they did control the world, allowing third parties and the cops to know about the tournament wouldn’t be a problem.

Second, the ecchi is very prevalent here and it just doesn’t fit. Yes, Naoto being a creeper does lay the ground work to put suspicions on him when he’s being followed by the cops later, but the shots of all the sex aren’t really necessary, especially when unrelated ecchi is used as eyecatches for interludes between chapters and volumes.

I’m definitely not a prude, and I stomach plenty of fanservice and ecchi in my anime watching career, but there’s no reason for half of these sex shots to be there and there’s definitely no reason why Noa has to look like a prostitute whose boobs are planning a prison break from her ‘blouse’. Half the manga is darkness, murder and depression and the other is deranged sex.

The ‘bad’ cop, Detective Satou, is incredibly over the top and stupid. Yeah, I’m so sure that a serial killer would be dumb enough to leave his student ID and stack of peeping tom porno DVDs at the scenes of his crimes. He’d also make a big production out of attacking his sister afterward. That won’t raise suspicions. It’s not like that doesn’t reek of a frame job or anything.

But that’s really not his biggest problem; that would be his

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You know the angry ‘attack dog’ detective trope? This guy is the raging ‘Kujo’ detective trope. He is obsessed with catching Naoto to the point where he will openly torture the guy in a room full of cops, without even turning the camera off, to get him to confess. Naoto had been accused of two murders and an assault on his sister up to that point. He had no personal vendetta here, and being a detective he should be well used to murders, but nope.

He’s beating the hell out of him, he’s depriving him of sleep and probably food and water and it takes the ‘good cop’, Detective Arashiro, to finally tattle on him to their higher-ups and get him kicked off the case. Not that it matters because he still follows a tip from Naoto himself to an abandoned location, alone and fully intent on just straight up murdering him in spite of the fact that they have no evidence to connect him to any crimes.

I’m getting a bit far into this without laying out the story, so here goes.

Naoto is a miserable college student who spends most of his time breaking into apartments and setting up spy cameras to watch women having sex so he can masturbate to them. He became such a miserable person because, when he was a kid, he was constantly mocked and taunted being called ‘Ghost boy’ because he’s never noticed…..But that doesn’t really make sense because if you really were ignored constantly then you wouldn’t be mocked constantly. The two kinda contradict each other. If he was so well known that he had a nickname and the taunting was so frequent that it ruined his personality growing up then he was being paid plenty of attention, it was just negative.

His dad is also a complete ass to him for no reason, but his mom and sister clearly love him a lot.

One day, as Naoto has a sudden meeting with the police, he’s ‘saved’ by the barely dressed huge boobed Noa, who offers him an opportunity to participate in a tournament. Nearly 200 people are paired up twice a month to kill each other before two weeks are up. The hitch is that the participants can’t tell anyone about the tournament and they cannot directly harm their opponent. They also cannot hire anyone to kill them by proxy. Basically, they have to set it up so that the opponent either dies in an accident that is not of their doing or they have to kill themselves.

Naoto kinda accidentally agrees and he’s paired up with over-the-top bad guy #2, Hiuchi Masaya. He’s a serial killer who is batshit crazy. Seriously, he paints himself up in full body warpaint to commit his murders, he hangs from the ceiling to scare people like a super villain and has zero conscience whatsoever. His reasons for killing are simply to make a mark on the world.

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I told the guy at the facepainting stand to give me ‘the Joker’ and he adds kitty whiskers. I really can’t trust anyone at the state fair.

Naoto is a scared puppy throughout most of the first half of this match up as Hiuchi keeps killing people and framing Naoto for his crimes. This is not to get Naoto to kill himself or get him the death penalty as this would be way beyond the two week limit, but it’s to set it up so that bad cop kills him at a crime scene.

He is eventually arrested when his sister, Mirai, is kidnapped by Hiuchi and assaulted. He set up the room to make it look like Naoto did it, lured him to the location and let the cops tail him there.

Despite the evidence against Naoto, they don’t have enough to pin him to the murders, especially since the evidence planted in his room, a student ID of one of the victims and a severed hand of another, and his porno DVDs were taken and disposed of by his best friend, Yuuki, at the request of his sister, who didn’t know of the murder evidence.

Though, to be honest, this is another stupid point. The ID, hand and DVDs out of the way….Mirai is an eyewitness who knows her brother is innocent. She spent at least a half hour or so with Hiuchi since he was trying to trick her into believing he was Naoto’s old friend to get her drugged. She remembers Hiuchi and his alias. She remembers his appearance, his actions, what he was wearing, how he sounded, everything. She even remembered him going to strangle her after she mentioned that she was jealous of Hiuchi’s skinny build. She could’ve cleared Naoto right there and got the police to go after Hiuchi, but she lied and said she didn’t remember anything.

That’s not just dumb for Mirai, that was dumb of Hiuchi. You left an eyewitness, dumbass. Hell, you tried to strangle her in a FAST FOOD JOINT. Tons of people could back up her up on this claim. Good thing Mirai’s an idiot. Right, Hiuchi?

Right as Naoto is released, Satou reveals that Hiuchi had done something very horrible to Mirai that they didn’t notice when he had her in that warehouse. This enrages Naoto enough to finally snap and make a plan to fight back.

He realizes that Hiuchi has a pattern of attacking a girl three times before killing her, even though he didn’t seem to do this with the other two girls, and realizes that Mirai is in danger yet again. So Hiuchi, being predictable and dumb, paints himself up in his warpaint, dons a black cloak and waltzes into the hospital where Mirai is….While carrying a bag full of crossbows and weapons that are in plain sight. It’s only because Yuuki was there to stop him that Mirai didn’t get attacked again.

As Yuuki beats the crap out of Hiuchi, Naoto realizes that he’s so enraged that Yuuki will probably end up killing him if he doesn’t stop him. Despite this allowing him to win this round, Naoto decides against it since he doesn’t want the blood on Yuuki’s hands. Instead, he takes Hiuchi’s unconscious body and an accomplice of Hiuchi’s, his psychiatrist, to set it up so that it looks like Naoto is about to kill the accomplice. Luring Satou to the building across the street, it would allow Naoto to kill Hiuchi in the same manner that he had planned on getting him killed.

However, Hiuchi’s accomplice refuses to take orders from Naoto anymore, even in spite of the blackmail he has over her, and hits him over the head with a pipe. Since both Naoto and dumbass pedo doctor bitch are both too stupid to maybe tie Hiuchi up or do something to him that ensures that he sleeps through the whole thing, Hiuchi gets up and knocks both of them out, setting them up with strings to make the scene look like Naoto about to shoot the accomplice.

With Satou already in the neighboring building, Hiuchi is all set up to get Naoto killed. However, he didn’t count on Arashiro, having intelligent suspicions about the whole situation from the start, showing up and stopping him from shooting Naoto. With their backs to the wall, Hiuchi reveals that he has somehow kidnapped Mirai a-friggin’-gain and threatens her with death. End of volume two.

—————————————–

Like I said, the story is pretty good, but it’s just over the top and too insane sometimes. It keeps hugging the line between realistically creepy to stupid insanity. And really, Mirai is kidnapped again? It’s been shown that it’s not against the rules of the tournament to tell third parties about your opponents as long as you avoid telling them about the tournament. This is shown when Naoto is allowed to tell Yuuki about Hiuchi. Naoto could just tell the cops about the situation and they’d put her under secure protection.

Hell, just the fact that Naoto was framed for her attack and the murders would be enough to put her under guard yet they don’t even up hospital security after the first time a maniac with a bag of weapons nearly got into her room. Did the cops even learn about that?

A huge fight, complete with deadly weapon drawn, broke out in the middle of a hospital; bad enough for Naoto to believe Hiuchi would die from it. Hospital staff didn’t catch wind of it? I know she went to the building on her own, how she knew they were there I don’t know, but still if she was under guard they would’ve stopped her from leaving and thus stopped her from getting kidnapped again.

The characters are mostly fine. Arashiro, Mirai and Yuuki are obviously the most likable, even if Mirai was a dumbass that one time. Naoto is fine. He’s a creeper who hates the world and nearly everyone in it, but he’s not a terrible guy. He obviously loves and cares for Yuuki and Mirai. Hiuchi is a decent villain, but he’s just so over-the-top most of the time. The fact that his big backstory is being mocked for being skinny and not eating a lot is also kinda silly. Satou is completely unlikable, though.

Some might say he just has a strong sense of justice, but I just don’t think so. He’s an enraged lunatic who can’t see through his own anger to see the glaring problems in the murder case, leading him to torture a guy for something he was not guilty for. He’s itching for a perp and will mow down the sheep to get to the wolf. This isn’t a good cop or justice; this is a psychopath.

In this regard, even Arashiro is not blameless as he watched this happen and basically just said ‘if you keep this up, I’m leaving.’ Yeah, he did get him kicked off the case later, but that was only after the torture and right before Naoto was about to be cleared.

Sadly, I believe this title has been canceled. MAL and Anime-Planet list this as finished with three volumes and 17 chapters, and it lists the year as 2007 to 2009. I was only able to read two volumes and 11 chapters. The thing is, even two volumes in, Naoto is still on his first opponent of the tournament. The series was likely intended to be quite long especially if there are nearly 200 participants at the start. Unless something happens in volume three that ends everything out of the blue, and I doubt it, this manga was likely canceled.

It’s a shame because, despite its flaws, there is a pretty good tournament set up here. Usually stories like these involve direct killing and the twist of needing to find some other way to the kill the opponents is interesting and leaves it open to a lot of possibilities. I have to admit, though, I really can’t imagine an end-game here.

Art: The art is very detailed, though in a dreary fashion.

Bottomline: Since it’s probably unfinished, I can’t give this a full recommendation, but if you like these death tournament kinds of story, check it out. It’s not fantastic, but it is fairly interesting for what it is.

Additional Information and Notes: Underdog was written by Izou Hashimoto and illustrated by Robin Mibu. It was published by Young Jump.

Volumes: 3

Year: 2008-2009

Recommended Audience: While you don’t see anyone killed on panel, several people do get badly wounded. There are some corpses but none of them are dismembered or anything. Outside of an arrow to the face, they’re pretty intact. The subject matter in itself is a more mature one as is the tone. The biggest issue in this department would be the nudity and sexuality. They get about as close to showing straight up hentai as they can. They somehow manage to avoid showing genitals, even in the more graphic sex scenes, but there are at least five sex scenes in the first two volumes, two of them with underage boys, though not shota levels. 17+