Happy New Year!

Just wanted to pop in an say Happy New Year, everyone! I think this year has been pretty good for the Madhouse. I’ve definitely been meeting my goal of updating more often, I’m almost done uploading all of my Tokyo Mew Mew/Mew Mew Power comparison, and I’ve had plenty of great conversations with some of the commenters on my posts. You guys continue to be awesome around here, and I love you all for it (not in that way. Well, some of you maybe). I’ve also discovered and enjoyed many new blogs, some of which you can catch on my sidebar over yonder. I plan on somehow making a big blog promo post sometime, so you guys can see a bunch of new anime, gaming and more blogs around WordPress that I’ve enjoyed and deserve more exposure.

 

I have all sorts of stuff planned for 2017, which hopefully won’t get sidelined by me graduating college and finding a new job to pay for those soul-sucking student loans. I went over most of this in my last site update but first and foremost we’ll be updating the layout of the blog sometime in January to get a fresh start on the year. I’ve already narrowed down the choices by quite a bit, so hopefully we’ll get that going soon. Also, feel free to give some suggestions or ideas for stuff for me to review or sub/dub compare or just fun things for me to partake in or post or add to the site (if I can) and whatnot. I’m always up to try new stuff.

 

As a final note, I’ll be doing three more reviews for A Very Animated Holiday Special sometime this week (one Kwanzaa, one Hanukkah and one New Years) and then it will end. Like always, I can’t seem to stick to a deadline 😀

 

Let’s make 2017 a great year, everyone! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

wr8gxn3

 

 

 

Tokyo Mew Mew/Mew Mew Power Episode 19 Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: The girls and guys of Mew head to the beach for some vacation time. We learn that Lettuce, ironically, doesn’t know how to swim, and when she meets a girl named Iruka who is being bullied for being afraid of the water, she takes it upon herself to learn how to swim alongside her.

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The first scene was originally a flashback/fantasy of Shirogane talking to Ichigo about the trip to the beach and her imagining BK speaking to her in a similar fashion. This is replaced by a repeat of the final scene in the last episode.

They edit out a shot of Lettuce before the title screen.

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A shot of the cabin is replaced by a shot of a palm tree.

They remove numerous shots of Zakuro taking off her towel as well as a shot of the guys gushing over her.

Here’s your visuals, pervs:

 

Here’s a weird edit: They leave in the shot of the guys gushing over Zakuro with hearts in their eyes but they remove half of the guys from the shot because……They defied the laws of physics?

Subbed: tmmep19screen23

Dubbed: tmmep19screen22

They also replace a shot of Mint gushing over Zakuro for what was supposed to be an earlier shot of the guys gushing over Zakuro with heart eyes. Dunno why. They’ve been really supportive of MintxZakuro this whole time.

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Ah, here you are, you awful paint edit, you. Not the last of these if I do remember correctly. Lettuce’s bathing suit is digitally altered as she’s sitting to cover some of her thighs and more of her butt. However, they do it in such an awkward manner that it makes her look like she’s wearing a damn diaper. The fact that her bathing suit is white certainly doesn’t help this.

Subbed:tmmep19screen8

Dubbed: o5tolqu

So you can show all the girls in bikinis that you want, but diaper them up when they’re sitting because that’s just too risque.

As Ichigo explains the finless porpoise (or the black finless porpoise in the dub), a text box with the Japanese name ‘Sunameri’ is on screen. In the dub, it’s erased. This happens with each subsequent explanation with the other animals as well. Also, we’re 19 episodes in and they’re just now educating us on the various animals that their powers derive from?

Subbed:

Sunameri – tmmep19screen9

Iriomote Wildcat – tmmep19screen10

Parakeet – tmmep19screen11

Dubbed:

Sunameri – ohxcgbh

Iriomote Wildcat – nuprjfx

Parakeet – typryna

Also–

Zoey: “That’s weird. You’re infused with a fish!”

You know, for a person who is about to go on an encyclopedia-esque ramble about the specifications of sunameri, you got the most basic and simple fact that most people would probably know about the thing incorrect. Sunameri, black finless porpoises, are mammals not fish.

And for the sake of nitpicking, sunameri are also not dolphins. They’re porpoises and strongly resemble dolphins both in appearance and behavior, but they aren’t dolphins. And if we wanna get unnecessarily annoyingly nitpicky, yes, adult finless porpoises are typically not black in color, making their name seem odd, but babies are mostly black with a little gray.

While we’re at it, while they don’t go into nearly as much detail with the other animals, and they don’t even tell us Kiki’s and Renee’s in the dub, they still make more mistakes. Mint’s animal is listed in the original as specifically a “White throated Lapis Lazuli Parakeet” or for the sake of simplicity, a parakeet.

In the dub, they seem to change this to a lorikeet. While, again, the two are related in their species, being basically ‘cousins’ in relation to the parrot, they are still different species with several differences such as parakeets being small while lorikeets are fairly larger, they have different diets, typically different color patterns, and even different temperaments.

I got all that information and more from a Google search and less than two minutes out of my life. What’s your excuse, 4Kids?

They cut out a short scene of Lettuce talking, explaining that she simply doesn’t swim and that it has nothing to do with the Mew powers.

Both Ichigo and Zoey say that they may be infused with iriomote wildcats, but they have no desire to play with mice. Yes, the whole chasing butterflies, landing on your feet no matter what and your insane desire for fish doesn’t count towards cat behavior, huh?

Mint agrees and says that while she’s infused with a parakeet, she has no desire for karaoke. In the dub, she says she rocks karaoke.

Pudding says she was eating meat long before she became a lion and when her animal card pops up, chibi-Ichigo has to explain that Pudding is once again confusing her animal with a lion when she’s really a golden lion tamarin, a monkey. When the girls look at Zakuro, she sprouts wolf ears and says ‘what? Do you want me to eat you?’ since her animal is a grey wolf. All of this is removed as with a shot of a palm tree again and I really have no idea why this was removed. Was 4Kids getting sick of having to paint so much or did they just get tired of all this education?

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Pudding and Kiki basically say the same thing, that Elliot’s a great surfer, but Kiki’s line is this;

‘Dude, he’s totally rippin’ some nard (?) barrel!’………….That’s it 4Kids, I’m taking the record player!

Corina: ‘And here I thought they were total geeks’ Well, one of us was right in our assumptions because I thought you were a bitch.

They edit out a shot of a sea slug before we see Tarb.

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Tarb: ‘I’m tellin’ ya, the stuff you find down here is totally whack!’ One more line like that and you’re not going to the sock hop either, 4Kids!

They edit in a shot of the jellyfish before the commercial in the dub and a shot of a palm tree after the commercial ends.

Name Change: The kid that’s being picked on is named Iruka. In the dub, she’s Cassandra.

Because I guess they couldn’t find a suitable English name to make this work (Ariel might’ve but eh copyrights) a line is forced to be lost. The kids picking on Iruka make fun of her saying it’s ironic that a girl named Iruka (meaning Dolphin) can’t swim. In the dub, they just say she’s afraid of some monster in the water.

Ichigo and the others merely tell the boys that it’s not nice to pick on a lone girl like Iruka. In the dub, Corina tells the ‘losers’ to get lost and Zoey threatens to show them what it’s like to be picked on. Because that’s a mature lesson for the kids right? Being bullied? Call them losers and threaten to bully them back!

The boy calls Ichigo ‘oni-baba’ or ‘old hag’. In the dub, he calls her ugly.

They remove a shot of….uh…I don’t know how to really describe this, but after Ichigo gets super angry at being called an old hag, she becomes pure white and cartoony and spins around, but this is removed.

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Ichigo laments on the kids’ behavior and says ‘kids these days’, which prompts Mint to say that saying such a phrase really does make her old and then she goes all cartoony again. Since the line was changed, Corina just says to let it go and Zoey doesn’t go cartoony.

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Iruka has the “word” ‘PiPo’ on her shirt. This is erased from the dub.

Subbed: tmmep19screen19

Dubbed: fz2ihm0

A shot of the girls is removed after Mint says that Lettuce and Iruka can learn together.

They remove a short scene where the girls ask how she’s going to try to teach Iruka to swim on her own when she doesn’t know how.

Zakuro says it’s hard as a swimmer to know what a non-swimmer feels like. In the dub, she says the plan might work, especially if Bridget learns her true identity. I don’t even know what she means by that.

Slightly nitpicky, but Iruka says she still loves the sea and in fact does know how to swim. Cassandra says she wasn’t always afraid of the water and doesn’t mention the fact that she can swim.

Iruka says she was reaching for an ark shell. Cassandra says she was reaching for a periwinkle.

So wait, her story has nothing to do with monsters and everything to do with a near-drowning experience? Then why were those kids making fun of her for being afraid of ‘monsters’ in the water in the dub?

Iruka talks about the various things she loves about the sea and how she’d love to be able to swim so she can be free in the water again. In the dub, Cassandra basically acts like she wants to learn how to swim in order to have those kids stop bullying her. Yeah, kid, it’s not like bullies don’t just move on to other topics of ridicule when they find a suitable target.

Lettuce wants to jump into the water to hopefully give Iruka the courage to swim again. In the dub, she says something about having to face your fears and mentions that she read something like that on a fortune cookie once.

Mint doesn’t ask how Lettuce’s glasses are still on….and nice, your friend nearly dies and you’re more concerned about how her eyewear wasn’t lost in the sea.

Lettuce thanks everyone for saving her, Bridget laments over how stupid it was of her to jump into the water.

Cassandra: “I’m a failure at seven.” Who talks like this at seven?

The girls seem to be in Hawaii in the dub as Wesley says ‘And as they say on the island ‘Ahaaina’ which means ‘gathering for a meal’. In the original, Japan being an island and all, they’re just on a Japanese beach. And this is the first indication that they’re on an island in the dub period. I figured the dub placed them in California and they went to the beach considering that going to said beach wasn’t taken as that big of a deal. That was word for word what he suggested; going to the beach. The beach is a far cry from ‘wanna go to Hawaii with me?’ Even if they live in a state close to Hawaii, that’s still a long trip and a plane or ship ride away.

The line in the original was just ‘itadakimasu’, which is a common Japanese phase said before eating that is usually translated as ‘Thanks for the food/meal’. They did match this line, just in a different foreign language so…good job?

Iruka says it’s time to move on. Bridget says it’s a beautiful day.

The original lifeguard doesn’t say anything before we see his face. He yells to the swimmers to get out of the water because it’s dangerous. In the dub, they make a joke out of this. The lifeguard tells himself to stay calm and then we see his face as he yells to the beachgoers to “run for (their) lives, for the love of Pete!”

Corina: “Cyniclons!”

Kiki: “Who would’ve thought!?”

Quite literally everyone watching ‘would’ve thought’.

Ichigo asks why Pai and Taruto are there. Taruto says it’s none of their business and Pai says they’ll leave the sea the way it is. Zoey surmises that the two are talking to the girls. Tarb asks if the girls missed them and Sardon chuckles and says ‘Good one, my ironic young friend.’ Good what? Asking enemies if they missed you is like the most overused villain quip ever uttered. That’s not even really irony, either. Are you studying humans through Alanis Morrisette?

Taruto says their new chimera animals look like they’re from outer space. Ichigo points out that they’re typical sea life just made larger. Pudding’s in the background marveling over the animals while Zakuro points out that it’s going to rain soon. Taruto then gets mad that everyone’s ignoring their creatures and not being scared.

In the dub, Tarb just says how great the new predasites are, Zoey just acts unimpressed by them and we cut the scene with Pudding and Zakuro talking to jump straight to Tarb getting mad saying that it took him a long time to find good creatures.

This episode basically solidifies that the girls really don’t give a crap about who sees them transform. Then again, I suppose when your superhero identity is literally just putting ‘Mew’ in front of your name, it’s pointless either way.

In the original, we only see Lettuce and Ichigo transform and they actually both get full transformations. We don’t even get clips of the other girls transforming. In the dub, it’s a complete mashup.

THEY EDITED OUT THE MOTTO AGAIN! YAY!

The starfish monster yells ‘Starfish, Charge’ when he does his attack. He’s silent in the dub.

The jellyfish monster yells ‘Electric shock attack’ when he shocks the girls. He’s silent in the dub.

When Pudding and Mint are shocked, they do that cartoony thing where you flash back and forth from them to their skeletons. In the dub, the skeletons are removed. I can’t even begin to tell you how many kids cartoons I’ve seen this gag on, not to mention that 4Kids has no problem showing skeletons, but hey, since when do they make sense?

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Mint only points out that there seems to be no weakness to these creatures. Corina wants to run off and head to the mall.

Name Change: The boys who were bullying Iruka are named Komura, Takeshi and Yousuke. In the dub, Komura’s changed to Tommy and the other boys are left unnamed.

The starfish says as he tries to smash Lettuce to ‘stay down’. In the dub, he’s silent again.

They cut out a shot of Iruka and Komura spinning around in the water with Lettuce following.

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A flashback immediately following the flashback of Shirogane of Iruka telling Lettuce that she’ll swim again someday is removed.

They won’t show Lettuce’s transformation because of three seconds of mostly covered nudity but they’ll keep that shot of the camera zooming right in on her boobs no problem. Feh.

Pai wonders if the light is sunameri power. Sardon says there must be something in the water causing her transformation.

Mint points out that creatures who live in the dark depths of the sea have strong reactions to bright light like the one Lettuce is creating. The dub says the same thing basically but they have to dumb it up;

Corina: ‘That bright light’s having some strange effect on those fishy freaks over there.’

All the mews have their attacks shortened yet Ichigo’s is full……It’s the same in both versions, that just pisses me off…It’s even worse considering we don’t even see the other girls’ attacks even registering. It’s like they threw the clips in under contract or something.

It also bugs me that, while at least the favoritism’s on another foot, Lettuce is the only one who ever has a transformation because of the Mew Aqua. It would’ve been nice to see the other girls get cooler powers and better transformations with the Mew Aqua instead of basically stagnating and getting jack squat the entire series.

This episode is interesting, albeit a little cliché, but there are several aspects that bug me.

Next episode, Pudding has fallen ill, but she has to take care of her siblings, her job and her duties as a mew mew. The other girls try to help her out as much as possible by trying to alleviate her workload. We also get a clearer depiction of her backstory meaning this will likely be a rough one.

….Previous Episode

AVAHS – The Proud Family: Seven Days of Kwanzaa

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Plot: On Christmas Eve, Penny and her family briefly meet a homeless family. After donating some money to them, Penny invites them over for dinner on Christmas day, much to Oscar’s chagrin. The family seems a bit odd to the Prouds, but they quickly warm up to them after they share their holiday traditions on Kwanzaa.

Breakdown: Mmm, Christmas is over now. Guess I should move on to other holidays to make this a legit ‘holiday special’ instead of purely Christmas. Well, it’s Hanukkah. What animated Hanukkah specials can I review?

……Already reviewed the Rugrats one…..The day I review Eight Crazy Nights is the day they agree to donate $1000 to every animator on that movie for every review made of it as an apology for suffering through that….And…..Wow, seriously, that’s it? Can we write to someone about this because it’s a pretty raw deal for Jewish people. While I try to find some more animated love for Hanukkah, let’s tackle a holiday I’ve never touched upon in this special; Kwanzaa.

So, how many animated Kwanzaa specials are there?…..Hmmm…..Two? Again? We’re gonna have a sit down, Christmas. This is just a little ridiculous. You’re hoarding all of the animated specials; you need to stop. Now both of the Kwanzaa specials I’ll be covering are specials I have seen in the past, which makes this particularly disappointing because I really wanted to see something new, but I work with what I have.

My relationship with The Proud Family is a bit of an odd one. I did follow the series pretty regularly but looking back on it, I don’t really know why. The characters, for the most part, are kinda annoying, some downright infuriating like Dijonay and Oscar, the animation quality is pretty awful a good chunk of the time with obvious errors littering the series, something fairly unforgivable in a Disney series, the stories aren’t very memorable and the jokes are pretty meh. They had some heartfelt moments and they tackled some more serious topics that other shows were more wary of, but for the most part I could do without ever watching any episode ever again. (But oh God I will be reviewing the movie at some point. That crazy sack of weird cannot go un-reviewed.)

But it’s the holidays, and this is my first ever Kwanzaa special and The Proud Family review, so let’s give it a full review.

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We start with the Prouds doing some last-minute Christmas shopping around town. Penny whines to have a cell phone and her dad tells her it’s too expensive so she gives them a look that would earn me a few swift smacks to the backside in my youth, but this is Disney so we can’t do that.

This was one of the most common themes in The Proud Family; Penny really really wants something and Oscar won’t let her because money or she’s too young or just because he can never be reasoned with. Oscar accidentally drops a present and a man helps him pick it up. Oscar rudely denies that he needs help saying ‘he can help himself for free’ believing he’ll ask for a handout. They see the man is part of a homeless family standing nearby with a sign that says ‘We’re the reason for the season, give what you can.’

Trudy tells him to go give them a few dollars in the spirit of Christmas, and much to Oscar’s annoyance (and his animation error that temporarily takes him out of his winter clothes into his regular attire.) he agrees. However, when he turns to give them the money, they’ve mysteriously vanished leaving only their sign behind. Trudy tells Oscar to go to the local homeless shelter to search for them and give them the money, and Oscar, again begrudgingly, agrees and takes Penny with him to the homeless shelter.

They arrive at the shelter, and Oscar decides to pretend to be giving by walking by all of the people asking for money on the street and putting a dollar in their buckets just to pull it away with a fishing line without the person noticing. I guess he justifies it by the charity people believing they got a donation, making them happy, and he gets to keep his dollar, making him happy.

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See, this is why Oscar is such an insufferable character to me most of the time. He’s not a completely hopeless asshole and he has plenty of comeuppance, but he’s still an ass most of the time. At least Penny points out how awful his trick is. It’s not even funny or clever. The ‘pull away a dollar with fishing line’ gag is very old and the only thing they do to it is make it even meaner than it usually is portrayed.

When they arrive at the shelter, they find the family and give them the money. Penny invites them to dinner on Christmas which Oscar, again begrudgingly, agrees to.

The next morning on Christmas, Penny and the others rip into their gifts like hyenas ripping into a freshly felled gazelle. Penny whines and moans that she got an obvious joke gift of a phone book, saying ‘oh look a phone book, so I can write down all those numbers I can’t call.’ Then Trudy and Oscar give her her real gift of a cell phone.

This reminds me of those videos on the Internet where a kid gets a crappy gift or ‘the wrong gift’ and they have a flip out about it, acting like their parents are assholes who ruined Christmas. Basically entitled little shits who thinks the universe owes them something for existing. Then once the parents film the reaction and have their yucks, they give the real gift to the kid and Christmas is saved.

I would not be able to give my child their real good gift if they reacted like a spoiled brat at the news of not getting the good gift they wanted. I would either put that gift away until they acted more appropriately, I’d return it or I’d give it to charity. You appreciate what you get, you little snot.

Penny’s not flipping out over her not getting her cell phone, but she is being an entitled little bitch here. She should be smart enough to take a phone book as a joke gift and put two and two together, but this is the same girl who entered a homeless shelter and asked her dad if everyone there was homeless.

After the kids open their gifts, Trudy gives her gift to Oscar even though they agreed to not exchange gifts this year and only get gifts for the kids (though that begs the question why Suga Mama, Oscar’s mother, is opening gifts). It’s a really expensive gold and diamond Wizard Kelly watch.

Oscar obviously has no gift for Trudy since he’s a cheap ass idiot. Though Trudy’s putting him on the spot by intentionally surprising him with a really expensive gift when they agreed not to get gifts for each other and outright asking where her gift is, so they’re both selfish idiots.

Look, anyone who gets caught in the ‘we said we wouldn’t do gifts for (holiday) this year’ trap, let me give you some advice. Get a present anyway. If they do end up springing a gift on you, you’ll have something to give.

If you feel like it would make them particularly happy, give it to them first. You run the risk of them not giving you a gift and feeling bad about it, but they’ll likely be happy with what you give them anyway.

Dead set on not exchanging gifts? No worry. Save the gift for another holiday or special occasion. Bonus points for giving it to them out of the blue. There is no downside to going out and buying a gift in this situation. The worst that can happen is that they don’t like it and you’ve gone so far from the purchase date that you can’t return it, which is really only a huge deal for extremely expensive gifts.

The doorbell rings and it’s the homeless family with a rancid fruitcake, coming earlier than planned. Their names, by the way, are Margaret, Joseph and their daughter Stephanie. I find it more than coincidental that the parents names are Joseph and Mary (Mary can be short for Margaret) and while Stephanie seems detached from this theme, Stephanie does mean ‘crown’ so it might be a very subtle poke at Jesus. I might be looking too much into this, but it’s not a real stretch. I don’t know why they’d have this theme in a Kwanzaa episode, especially considering, spoilers, this family is not real.

Yeah, this family are like a bunch of ghosts or something. They never adequately explain, but they’re either ghosts of a homeless family trying to spread Kwanzaa cheer or they’re the spirits of Kwanzaa. End of spoilers.

Anyway, Penny brings them gifts for Christmas and Oscar tries to pawn off their awful fruitcake as a gift for Trudy (the fruitcake is so bad, Bobby, Oscar’s brother, kicks it into the lawn and it burns through the lawn). As retaliation, she gives his watch to Joseph. Really, Oscar, you would’ve been better off giving her nothing. You had an out with saying you agreed to not give gifts to each other this year. Giving her an awful fruitcake that she knows this family just brought in is just asking her to give your watch away.

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They see that the family is not enjoying the gifts, they’re not even opening them, so Trudy asks what’s wrong. They respond that they don’t celebrate Christmas. This line by itself would be fine, but then they have to get up on their high horse and say, word for word, ‘We got tired of buying into corporate America’s end of the year profit scam.’ These Kwanzaa ghosts just turned into hipsters.

Because yes, Christmas is exclusive to America. Because it’s only existed since corporations existed and is a big fat scam to get money. Because Christmas is all about what the stores dictate.

I am well aware that Christmas has a huge problem with consumerism, which is a common theme in Christmas specials. I think this episode is trying but failing to convey this lesson up to this point, too. I mean, yeah, Oscar’s a skinflint here, but he’s always a skinflint. Sure, Penny’s a selfish materialistic brat, but she’s always (more or less) a selfish materialistic brat. She is a teenager after all.

But most people know that Christmas isn’t just about the gifts, and at its core Christmas is what you make of it. It can be a huge day for family and friends and traditions or it can be a quiet day to yourself or you can just have a day on the town enjoying the sights and sounds of the season etc.

This supposedly spiritualistic, deep and wise family fails to see the true spirit of Christmas and make of it what they want it to be. Instead they take the most cynical view on the holiday and refuse to partake in it on those grounds.

And, remember, this is a Kwanzaa special not a Christmas special. So they’re never going to show us the true meaning of Christmas or show it in a better light; they’re just going to move on to Kwanzaa and almost make an argument that Kwanzaa is better than Christmas because it holds truer values and meaning than Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong, Kwanzaa is a great holiday and I’m not arguing that Christmas is inherently better. I’m complaining that this is even starting to turn into a competition by devaluing all of Christmas in that one line and kinda showing how consumerist the holiday is through the Prouds.

After more animations errors (Dijonay is laughing in audio, not even moving her mouth in the animation. Also, being technical, Joseph gave the sign from before to Stephanie to take with her and she obviously doesn’t have it here.) Penny introduces Stephanie to Zoey, Dijonay and Sticky.

Zoey is a very stereotypical nerdy white girl with huge glasses, a wiry frame and plain styled red hair. Sticky is a very cool tech genius. Dijonay is the scum Satan scrapes off of his asscrack. I swear to God, if I ever get around to reviewing this show full out, the worst thing I’ll have to get through is any episode focusing on Dijonay. This series may not be the most memorable show ever, but if there’s one thing I definitely remember it’s how much of a huge bitch Dijonay is and how I wonder why Penny ever became her friend to begin with.

This next section is going to be kinda long because I really want to dissect this as much as possible to show how horrible these characters can be sometimes.

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So, obviously, the group keeps putting their feet in their mouths around Stephanie regarding her homelessness. Because these kids are seriously stupid assholes. ‘How can you be homeschooled if you don’t have a home?’ ‘You DO have friends, don’t you?’ ‘Why would you read a book when you can watch the cartoon?’ and inadvertently pressuring her into basically feeling bad that she spends so much time with her parents and doesn’t have her own room.

It quickly devolves from them putting their feet in their mouths or not realizing how crass they’re being to just outright insulting her. And of course Dijonay starts it off by asking her if her jeans are Guess or ‘Guess what?’ Responding to her saying it’s what’s inside that counts with ‘Yeah, what’s in yo’ pockets!’ Zoey laughs along with Dijonay here so I guess Satan has extra scum around the crack today. Sticky finishes off the asshole barrage by responding to Stephanie saying money’s not everything by calling her ‘loony’ and planning to ditch her by taking the other girls to the movies with movie passes he got for Christmas.

Stephanie says it’s alright if Penny goes since she can stay and do some reading. And despite the fact that Stephanie said she’d stay behind, Dijonay can’t help herself but be a bitch and say ‘Penny, why don’t you ditch ‘Beloved’ so we can go have some real fun?’

Penny says she can’t ditch Stephanie since she promised their parents they’d hang out. They decide to go without her, but not without Sticky saying ‘Well, we’ll catch you later….when she’s not around.”

Okay, look, I’ll admit, Stephanie has been a bit, for lack for a better word, cult-y. She calls her parents by their first names and parrots a lot of what Joseph says, starting several sentences with ‘Joseph says….’ but that’s all she’s done outside of saying her life is fine, she likes to read and there are more things to life than money. She’s smiled the whole time and has been perfectly pleasant.

So, if I get this right, the way they would’ve liked her is if she admitted her life as a homeless person was miserable, if she bitched and moaned about hanging out with her parents so much and being obsessed with money and materialistic things.

This is both an incredibly heavy handed way to show the stigma of homeless people, increase the consumerism/selfish angle by a million and, again, highlight how awful Penny and her friends can be. Oh and yeah, this is the only scene these characters are in this episode so they’ll never learn a damn thing or change their attitudes. Hooray.

Also, no you didn’t promise your parents anything Penny; you specifically asked your parents and hers if you could go together to the mall to meet your friends, which you didn’t even end up doing anyway. You met them on a street corner because street corners are easier to draw. This entire scene was pointless if the only goal was to make Penny exacerbated with a homeless person. You already showed her being materialistic and selfish, there’s no need to add her being annoyed with Stephanie over things that don’t even make sense.

Back at home, Oscar and Bobby try to put together a play set for Penny’s little twin brother and sister Bebe and Cece, but fail miserably. Joseph, a former construction worker, easily puts it together in seconds.

Oscar: “Well, I see why you’re still out of work. It looks rickety to me.” *sigh* And he jumps all over it, showing it’s perfectly sturdy.

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Please take note of Oscar’s expression here. He’s taking a lot of pleasure in the thought of destroying this thing to make Joseph look like a fool.

He calls the babies to the play set but gets angry when the babies would rather play with the box than the play set.

Oscar: “I work hard for the money, even harder to put the thing together and they’d rather play with the box!”

Joseph: “That’s because the box is not what’s important.”

Oscar: “Yeah, but the working hard sure is. But I guess you wouldn’t know about that.” *SIGH* Yeah, he’s homeless so he’s obviously not a hard worker. He’s just a lazy bum looking for handouts and free food even though he’s asked you for nothing directly.

Joseph: “That’s where you’re wrong. You have three beautiful kids, Oscar. You should spend more time with them.”

Oscar: “You mean quit work and hang out in the streets all day like you do!?” *SIGH* Yes, Oscar, I’m so sure that’s what he meant. Also, I’m even more sure that’s what really happened to him. He just decided on the construction site one day to quit his job and be homeless. Though, I will admit, it does seem like they purposely don’t pursue any sort of financial benefits for the sake of getting a home or anything. I guess that’s fine, but they’re acting like possessions and having a home ruin you. They only do that if you let them.

This insensitive blather carries on when Joseph asks him what Oscar’s nice home and things really amount to and asks if these nice things are really worth the stress…..Wait….no….no….he’s not REALLY arguing that Oscar should quit his job and spend all his time with his family. Right?

I mean, yeah, it would be nice if everyone could stop working and just spend time with their families, but people do need shelter, medical care and education etc. Things that require money.

And his philosophy kinda falls apart when you remember that he and his family were asking for handouts at the start of the episode and happily accepted the money Oscar gave them. He wouldn’t have had that money to give if he didn’t have a fairly decent job.

Now to the women where Trudy asks Margaret about how she feels about her situation. She says it’s liberating because she used to be just like Trudy – bending over backwards to maintain the things in her life, which is reflected in Trudy washing her dishes I guess.

She got tired of things controlling her life. Trudy tries to defend herself by saying she may love her house, but she’s not overly attached to anything. To which Suga Mama responds by smashing her good china, making Trudy flip out a little.

Again, this argument is placing full blame on the things. I will admit, if you live with even slight comforts like a bed or a roof over your head, it can be easy to get attached to them. But the control of that attachment is in your hands.

If you have a philosophy of things being unimportant and the most important things in your life being family and spirituality, then you can be the richest person in the world and still maintain the philosophy. You have to have the willpower to not let your things control you; things don’t inherently control people.

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I really hate this shot. It even comes with that ‘twinkle’ sound effect like she’s a little angel taking passive-aggressive shots at so many aspects of their lives.

Later, as the family is about to leave, we learn that they’re vegans, which is also a completely fine aspect of their lives and would have stayed fine if they didn’t go the extra mile.

They sickened everyone to the point of not being able to eat Christmas dinner by telling stories about how turkeys are enslaved before being pumped with steroids and slain.

Nice, guys. They invite you to dinner so you refuse to eat anything (even the vegetables?) and then ruin their dinner by making them imagine tortured enslaved turkeys and guilt tripping them up a wall.

And how did it not come up that they were vegans before or during dinner? It had to have been mentioned during the turkey torture spiel. I’m sure Trudy would have fixed them something they could eat if they mentioned it. It has to make the dinner even more awkward when the only people at the table who won’t eat anything are the homeless people.

Oscar kicks them out, adding the brick in the face for more anti-greed messages by saying they ruined their ‘favorite most expensive holiday of the year’, only to have them reappear later. They legit break into his house and decorate for Kwanzaa excusing themselves by saying he invited them to spend the holidays with them and since they don’t celebrate Christmas, they decided to share their Kwanzaa festivities with them.

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First off, Penny specifically invited them for dinner not to ‘spend the holidays’ together. I must’ve forgotten that this show has as many story inconsistencies as it does animation errors. Second, even if that was the case, that’s no excuse to break in and mess with their stuff.

Penny, hearing there’s another holiday to celebrate, decides to flippantly say that she could use a headset to go with her new cell phone right in front of them. Good job. Also, if I keep getting bitch-slapped by materialism messages in this episode, I’m going to go to the hardware store and buy the most expensive hammer they have to smack myself repeatedly in the forehead.

Stephanie says that Kwanzaa’s not about gifts; it’s about instilling strong values and becoming in tune with the past, present and future. I’ll address this in a minute.

Oscar tries to kick them out again, but Trudy wants to celebrate Kwanzaa so they stick around and start the festivities. Suga Mama, acting as elder, pours a tambiko and say a word in praise of a worthy ancestor. Taking the chalice, she says ‘Habari gani’ (how are you?) and the others respond, as another animation error turns the whites of Joseph’s eyes brown, “Umoja” (unity in the family and community) Each person then takes a sip from the chalice as they say a word in praise of an ancestor who has contributed to the spirit of unity.

Suga Mama toasts to her deceased husband Percy, and Penny toasts her mother for not disowning her for acting like a spoiled brat. So there’s that car crash of character development. Don’t worry. None of this has any bearing on anything in the future. Oscar’s up next and he toasts Nebraska in hopes of winning his bet.

Stephanie then lights the first candle for Kwanzaa, Umoja for Unity.

The next day, they arrive for the second day of Kwanzaa and Trudy lights the candle in celebration of Kujichagulia or self-determination. Somehow this is reflected in Penny wearing a headband and hugging Stephanie.

The next day, Margaret lights the candle for the celebration of Ujima or collective work and responsibility, reflected in Trudy, Oscar, Suga Mama and Puff (Suga Mama’s dog) working together to change a single diaper.

The fourth day, Joseph lights the candle for the celebration of Ujamaa or collective economics, reflected in Oscar giving all of the money in his wallet to the people he bilked a few days ago.

The fifth day, Penny helps Cece light the candle for the celebration of Nia or purpose, reflected in Penny reading the bible. Sure hope there’s nothing Christmas-y in there!

The sixth day, Bobby helps Bebe light the candle for the celebration for Kuumba or creativity, reflected in Bobby playing drums and Penny painting an African mask.

The final day, Oscar lights the candle for the celebration of Imani or faith, reflected in everyone praying.

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After the festivities are over, they practice another important facet of Kwanzaa; Zawadi….friggin’ gift giving. Yup, after all of that anti-possessions stuff and specifically saying that Kwanzaa isn’t a gift-giving holiday, they suddenly remember that, hell, yes it is.

Okay, it’s important to remember that they’re giving gifts like books and African masks (that Penny made) as gifts, and typical Kwanzaa gifts aren’t like the usual Christmas stuff. They’re traditional Kwanzaa celebration items and things that were hand made, but they’re still things. They’re still gifts. They’re still possessions. This is pretty hypocritical is all.

The family leaves with all of the Prouds gaining a new view on the holidays and their lives as a whole, which, like I said, won’t have a bearing on anything after this episode. Felix, father of Penny’s frenemy, LaCieniga, and Oscar’s best friend arrives and says he had to cut his holiday in Acapulco short because his construction foreman quit on him. Oscar suggests Joseph for the job and Felix agrees to give him a shot.

Oscar and the rest of the Prouds arrive at the homeless shelter again to tell Joseph the good news. We learn Bobby frequents the homeless shelter, taking advantage of the free food. *sigh*

As I mentioned before, the big twist is that the family they’ve been celebrating Kwanzaa with doesn’t exist….mostly. There is no record of that family ever being at the shelter, and no one but the Prouds have ever seen them. However, there is a white family with an out of work construction worker named Joseph, a mother named Margaret and a young daughter named Stephanie who made the sign the Prouds saw at the start of this whole thing.

Hearing that Oscar has a construction job available, Joseph asks about it and Oscar gives him the information and recommendation before leaving. They wonder why someone would impersonate a homeless family, but they’re thankful for the values they helped instill in them, including appreciating their heritage and family and sharing it with others.

As the Prouds walk away in all their poorly animated glory, the sign gets picked up by an off-screen Joseph and the sign leaves little twinkly trails behind.

Not content to leave it at that simple ending, we cut to some time later where the Prouds arrive back home to see that there’s a huge tree in the yard.

Bobby: “That fruit cake I threw out the winda’…”

You threw it from the doorstep, not the window.

Anyway, the fruitcake somehow grew into a massive fruit tree and at the very top we see the family dressed in dashiki waving to the Prouds before walking off into the sun.

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Well, that was pretty long for one of these reviews. And I gotta say, this episode kinda blows.

The stuff actually about Kwanzaa is fine, but a majority of the special is holier-than-thou blatherings guilt tripping people for having stuff and money or even stuff like eating meat and dairy products.

It’s also noticeably slamming Christmas and the people who celebrate it for its consumerism which is really a reflection on how Christmas has been exploited for profit, not that it was specifically designed for such a thing.

The disappointing part of this Kwanzaa special is that Kwanzaa isn’t even mentioned until the second half of the episode. Seven days of festivities and celebrations mushed into about nine minutes. They also didn’t set up the development of the characters through Kwanzaa very well.

Like I said, Oscar and Penny aren’t really acting any worse than they usually act. They’re acting better after the Kwanzaa festivities, but the festivities are a montage with only one five second shot per day barring the three second shots of the candle lightings.

They literally sit the characters down and basically go through the seven main values and celebrations of Kwanzaa, just listing them off, and suddenly everyone’s changed in a millisecond, being happy and being charitable and forgetting materialistic stuff. They spent so much time on the anti-materialism part of the episode that the actual Kwanzaa special falls to the side.

Why did these Kwanzaa spirits or whatever appear to the Prouds anyway? Just because they were one of millions of people being a little greedy on Christmas?

And let me just say this straight out; nearly everyone is unpleasant in this special. Puff, Bebe and Cece and Trudy are the only people who aren’t slimeballs or complete and utter asswipes at some point in this episode. Bobby’s the only one who’s being funny, but that one exchange showing that he exploits homeless shelters for free food puts him into the slimeball category.

This family is meant to be someone you’d wish to be. They’ve valued family and spiritualism above all else. They’re not ‘prisoners of possessions’ or whatnot. They’ve seemingly reached a level of enlightenment in their lives.

But these aren’t people I want to emulate at all. Their constant smug smiles, their complete lack of any real-world problems (they don’t see their poverty as a problem so neither am I) their holier-than-thou attitudes, their condescension, their rudeness; it’s another reason why I wish the Kwanzaa aspect had been more prominent because then they would’ve definitely would’ve been more tolerable for most of the special.

Oscar’s being obnoxious, Penny’s being selfish and rude, her friends are being total dickheads who don’t even learn a lesson here (and why were Zoey, Dijonay and Sticky able to see Stephanie if no one but the Prouds saw them?) Thank god LaCieniga wasn’t in this episode. I can only bet how horribly she’d react to homeless people who devalue possessions and money considering she’s a huge spoiled rich bitch.

It’s just not a very effective Kwanzaa special to me. The parts with the Kwanzaa celebrations are lacking to say the least and they spend way too much time getting to Kwanzaa. Ironically, we spend more time in Christmas Eve and Christmas than Kwanzaa.

It covers the bare basics of the Kwanzaa traditions, but I really wanted to be more immersed in the holiday. Instead, I just end up almost feeling bad for buying gifts for Christmas and having a roof over my head. It’s not funny either, but then again, like I mentioned, the show rarely was.

And one of the points of this family doing this for the Prouds is to get the real Joseph a job so he can get a home and make life better for his child, when Joseph was chastising Oscar for doing that same thing? What’s even weirder, the real Joseph says he doesn’t want his daughter to live the way they’ve been living anymore which is why he wants the job so badly. So either homelessness isn’t the massive pile of possession-less rainbows the Kwanzaa family said it was or these people are way too attached to those possessions they don’t have.

The least I can say is they were more of less true to the holiday and I have to give The Proud Family props for doing a Kwanzaa special in the first place. It sparks interest in the holiday, but it doesn’t do much to celebrate it.

Maybe someone can put this special into a better light for me, but for now it’s just borderline aggravating.

Fear not, though. There is still one more Kwanzaa special to tackle, and it was done by the maestro of overlooked holiday specials; Rugrats. Will they have better luck? Guess we just have to have plenty of imani.

Final notes: But how stupid was that ending clip, though? A fruitcake tree that leads to the heavens where the Kwanzaa family is looking down on them? You guys sure the only things they were lighting during that week were Kwanzaa candles?

Tokyo Mew Mew/Mew Mew Power Episode 18 Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: Ichigo is saved by the mysterious Blue Knight. Her friends join up with her to fight off the aliens, but the mystery of who the Blue Knight really is gnaws at the girls. They surmise that Shirogane might be the knight, but does that mean that the usual distant and blunt Shirogane really has a deep desire to protect and care for Ichigo?

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In the original, the scene with Mint’s battle against the fish and Pai is up first after the recap. In the dub, the scene with Bridget and Kiki fighting Tarb and his radish creatures are the first scene.

They cut out a closeup of Zakuro’s face after she transforms.

More scene swapping. The scene following Zakuro’s transformation was supposed to be checking back with Ichigo and the Blue Knight. In the dub, they continue with Renee and Corina’s battle until it ends.

The next scene is the continuation of Zakuro and Mint’s battle, so let’s check this out.

Renee still doesn’t get a name for her attack?

Zakuro says she returned because she felt uneasy and that it seems like the aliens are dispersing them to take them out. In the dub, Renee says she was attacked by a giant carrot at the airport, which doesn’t make sense because that would mean Tarb was there and he’s at the park. She then says her agent will have fun explaining that to the tabloids. I bet he will if you transformed there to defeat it.

Next scene is the continuation of the battle between the Blue Knight and Kisshu in the original. In the dub, they’re just now starting the scene with Zoey, the Blue Knight and Dren.

However, they smush these two scenes together in the dub, so I can tackle the continuation anyway. The only real difference is Kisshu wants to know why the Blue Knight saved Ichigo whereas he just asks who he is in the dub.

Next scene in the original is the start of Lettuce and Pudding’s battle with Taruto.

Kiki: “We can’t beat these beets!” Urgh.

Corina barely ever says her attack name anymore either. Weird.

Let’s recap; Mint barely took on one of the fish chimeras by herself. Lettuce and Pudding took out a few radish chimeras before running away. Zakuro took care of all of the fish chimeras single handed and then went and took out all of the radish chimeras single handed………

Why…is she…..not….the…….leaderrrrrrrrrrrrrr?

That reminds me, why didn’t the aliens actually go after Zakuro? I know she was planning on leaving, but if this plan is to take all of them out then why not actually send a chimera after her in the original? Or at the very least wait until you can corner all of the Mews equally before implementing this plan.

Ichigo’s little fever dream or psychic communication with the Blue Knight or whatever that is happens only a few seconds after they return the scene to the fight between the Blue Knight and Kisshu. In the dub, it happens after Dren’s spin attack fails and he attacks again.

Kisshu’s line as they’re fighting is asking if the Blue Knight’s a Mew Mew. In the dub, he asks why he’s protecting Zoey.

The scene following Kisshu’s spin move thing is the continuation of Ichigo’s dream thing. In the dub, this is where the dream starts.

Originally, the silhouette of the Blue Knight slowly fades away and fades further as the shot pulls out. In the dub, we get a flash transition back to the starting shot of the tree.

A short scene of Ichigo sitting there and asking ‘why’ is removed.

You’re telling me that the Blue Knight and I’m going to call him BK from now on because I’m sick of writing that, couldn’t dodge that lunge? Kisshu gave plenty of warning, yet he stupidly used his left arm to block.

There’s no flashback to Shirogane in the first episode saying Ichigo’s heavier than she looks. So, I guess they’re seriously trying to make the Blue Knight seem like he’s Elliot.

Okay I have to stop here and go into a bit of a tangent. Like I’ve mentioned before, several of these SDCs were pre-written on a forum I moderate, cleaned up/rewritten and then posted here. When I first compared this episode, I was working off of the subbed copy that seems most common online (the version with the time stamp in the corner)

Now I’m using better HD versions that are cleaner and don’t include that intrusive time stamp. Since I want to replace all of those lower quality screencaps, I have to go back to my old ones and make sure I’m pinpointing the same shots. I mentioned in my initial comparison that I was baffled to hell because it seemed like 4Kids purposely redrew and reanimated this scene of Shirogane in order to simply change his clothes.

Allow me to explain; Shirogane shows up because he’s worried about Ichigo fighting while she’s sick. He does the same in the dub, but, like I said, he’s wearing different clothes. Sub-wise, he was wearing another of his fairly regular outfits, with a white vest and purple pants. Dub-wise, he’s wearing the clothes he most normally wears, the black vest with the white pants.

Shirogane was wearing the dubbed outfit (his regular clothes) when he was seen with Aoyama earlier. Since we can assume he was going to visit Ichigo and a day hasn’t gone by, it seems weird that Shirogane would show up to the fight wearing a different outfit.

I first thought that 4Kids actually went to the trouble of ‘fixing’ this shot for consistency purposes, which, while being farfetched, wouldn’t be outside of the realm of possibility because they did something similar in the first (second in the dub) episode where they briefly changed Shirogane’s hair color from black to his actual blond due to a supposed animation error, even if it was just for a few frames. This possibility did blow me away though because that would be a hell of a lot of money and effort to go through just to fix an error most people wouldn’t catch.

The only other possible explanation I could think of is 4Kids got a version of the raw episode that was altered after the episode aired in Japan for whatever reason.

The newer, better quality, episodes I found now have Shirogane wearing the outfit he wears in the dub, which pretty much confirms that this wasn’t a 4Kids edit.

Now, my second theory could be right, but I have another theory now. I think that, since the lower quality TV recorded episodes have this animation problem but the higher quality episodes have it fixed, the first versions were probably released on TV with this problem and the animation error was fixed for subsequent DVD releases which 4Kids must’ve gotten.

Now I’m really glad I’m going back to get better quality screencaps for this comparison because that ‘change’ was one of the biggest and most confusing moments I had in this series. Now I can lay it to rest. And let me swallow my pride and say ‘sorry 4Kids.’

For the sake of…something or other, here are all of the screencaps to grasp my confusion.

Error: sdctmmep18screen1

Dub: sdctmmep18screen2

Fixed:tmmep18screen1

Text is removed from Akasaka’s computer again.

Ichigo says she feels like she knows BK. Zoey says the same but says she feels like she knows him from a long time ago. But….BK is Mark. At least he’s supposed to be. Why would she feel like she knew him a long time ago if he’s a guy she currently knows?……………………Don’t go Sailor Moon on me, Mew Mew.

Oh, but here, the original animators get stupid. They fixed the instance of Shirogane running to Ichigo in the main scene and the flashback but when Pudding’s imagining her chibi-ized version of events, they fail to change the chibi Shirogane back into his regular clothes. He remains in his super cool purple pants. If you’re not going to go the extra mile for consistency, don’t do it at all. If anything this ‘fix’ makes the consistency WORSE. Way to go, Pierrot.

…..*sigh* Also, another instance where I must apologize to 4Kids because I first allocated this error to them. Damn you, Pierrot, for making me double apologize to 4Kids. You make me sick!

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Pudding doesn’t insinuate that Shirogane has a secret crush on Ichigo like the dub does.

Shirogane says he has no clue who BK is and denies even seeing him. Elliot does know who BK is (well, not his identity, but the knight anyway) but denies being him.

Shirogane just says to prepare for opening. Elliot says to ‘turn her (Kiki) off before opening because she’ll scare the customers.’ Jerk.

Ichigo flashes back to Shirogane’s concerns from the previous episode. However, she’s putting words into his mouth because she’s imagining him saying the words about protecting her that Akasaka thought he’d say. In the dub, Zoey’s going a mile a minute about how weird it is that she’s thinking about Elliot but can’t decide if it’s actually Elliot she’s thinking about or the possibility that Elliot’s BK.

Ichigo wonders if Shirogane is really BK. Zoey wonders if Elliot really is in love with her.

Ichigo schedules a date with Aoyama for the day after tomorrow. Zoey sets a date for tomorrow.

After Ichigo spins around gushing about her date, we see her mom on the other side of the door smiling and nostalgically saying ‘ahh, youth.’ This is removed.

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A bit of Kisshu and Pai talking is removed. (Before Pai gets angry.)

The scene is shortened further at the end, but it’s just a repeat of the talking footage from the beginning of the scene with different dialogue. However, Taruto enters the convo too and says that no matter the case, they still have to beat the Blue Knight and the Mews. Kisshu agrees.

They remove a shot of Ichigo floating by Lettuce and Pudding to the right at the beginning of the scene at the cafe.

The orders Ichigo fills are Marron Chante and Strawberry Blanc Mange. In the dub, it’s a Chestnut Sundae and an apple something. Kiki speaks over the rest, though I could’ve sworn she said appletini.

Japanese text is removed from the building.

Subbed: tmmep18screen5

Dubbed: byrhkha

They cut out Aoyama and Ichigo visiting the aquarium. Well, duh. Didn’t you see those killer fish from earlier? They deserve to be edited out.

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They remove the word ‘Bolow’ from the vender.

Subbed: tmmep18screen6

Dubbed: 8okbmas

I have no clue what Bolow means…Bolo tie?

Aoyama specifically asks if what’s bothering Ichigo has anything to do with Shirogane. Mark asks if it has to do with work.

Aoyama says Ichigo should talk it over with her friends. Mark says that she can talk it over with him any time.

They edit out Ichigo bowing and apologizing.

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Ichigo says the thought that was bothering her all day was that she thinks Shirogane is BK. In the dub, she just says she couldn’t stop thinking about Elliot.

Also, because of this change, they remove the flashbacks to both BK and Shirogane telling her that she’s heavier than she looks. Then again, they showed this earlier so I guess it’s technically a scene swap.

They also remove the scenes after the flashback before we cut back to the cafe. Pudding says she was right in her deductions and Lettuce asks why he’d transform. Ichigo says she doesn’t know but that they should keep this suspicion a secret.

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We cut to the train station where Lettuce and Pudding bid Ichigo farewell. Ichigo’s about to head home but she decides to finish some stuff up at the cafe first.

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Wait a minute, this episode technically ended on a cliffhanger yet no ‘to be continued’ Weird.

The scene shifts are getting bad and it’s really starting to piss me off. I can do comparisons all fine and dandy when the scenes match, but when I have to play tag with the scenes that I’m comparing it drives me nuts. Thank God I only have seven more episodes to do.

As for the episode itself, it’s also quite boring. I’m a little annoyed that now Ichigo is in a love square, pentagon if you count BK and Aoyama as two separate entities. Every guy’s jonesin’ for Ichigo’s 13 year old bod. It starts to wear on the nerves after a while.

Half the episode is really just dedicated to Ichigo acting weird because she thinks that Shirogane is BK. The other half is a fairly interesting battle and maybe it’d be more interesting if I didn’t already know who BK was. Again, though, that might be 4Kids intentions for BK to be Elliot somehow. I honestly don’t know and we never will know. They don’t discover BK’s identity until after episode 26 so 4Kids never gets the chance to screw that up.

Next episode, the girls and guys of Mew go to the beach for some fun. It actually ends up being a fairly Lettuce-centric episode and one that holds a very funny paint edit. It also holds one of the most infuriating aspects of this series.

This is also the episode where we’re introduced to Mew Aqua, but I don’t know if it’s called that in the dub.

….Previous Episode

AVAHS – Niko 2: Little Brother Big Trouble (A Christmas Adventure)

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Rating: 6/10

Plot: Niko has been spending a lot of time with his father, Prancer, since last year. However, his mother’s none too keen on Prancer letting him stay out late or trying to go Santa Speed. Despite this, Niko still wishes for and believes that his mother and father will get back together some day.

When Oona reveals to him that she is indeed interested in bringing a father figure back into their family, he is ecstatic since he believes his mother is getting back together with his father. However, he’s quickly crestfallen when he discovers that not only are both Oona and Prancer uninterested in getting back together, but the father figure Oona had in mind was a reindeer named Lenni.

Niko is clearly upset at this news and becomes even more devastated when he learns Lenni has a young son named Jonni. Not interested in gaining a new dad or a new little brother, Niko pushes both of them away as much as possible. But when he tries to ditch Jonni during a game of Hide and Seek, Jonni gets taken away by eagles who are working for Black Wolf’s vengeful sister, White Wolf, and it’s up to him to be a good big brother and get Jonni back.

Breakdown: Last year I talked about how Niko and the Way to the Stars was a welcome surprise in the holiday movie genre. It wasn’t a masterpiece, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable little family movie for Christmas.

Niko 2 is also a perfectly enjoyable movie, but it’s only barely Christmas-y and it’s not really as good as the first one.

Much of the movie focuses entirely on a plot that has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas. In fact, the Flying Forces and Santa and Christmas as a whole seem really tacked on. Prancer and Oona butt heads, but they never settle things between them. Niko and Prancer only spend the first scene together and then nothing.

They never would have revisited the Flying Forces or Santa’s Fell again after the first act unless two stupid things didn’t occur. First, White Wolf decided to get to Niko through his father, which is why she and the eagles attacked the Flying Forces. Piss poor excuse to get them involved. It’s really such a bother to catch one flying reindeer fawn who can’t even go Santa Speed so target the Flying Forces?

Second, Julius decides to lie about Jonni being taken to Oona by saying Prancer and Niko decided to spend time with Jonni, basically pinning responsibility for the whole thing on poor Prancer, a guy who is seemingly trying to be a good dad to Niko but keeps getting the short end of the stick. (And, what’s dumber, Julius basically becomes an honesty advocate and head shaker towards Lenni and Niko for continuing the lie HE made in the first place)

Not to mention, Santa’s Fell somehow feels even worse this time around. It never seemed too fantastical, but the factory is a lifeless toy factory with literally no one in it. No elves, no nothing. It’s self-running and maintaining equipment apparently. Santa makes a brief appearance cloaked kinda in shadow just to say hi to Niko and reunite with Tobias. And Niko visits his dad all the time but it seems like Santa hasn’t seen Niko in ages.

Well, if Christmas isn’t a big highlight, I guess the only thing we can bank on is the main plot. As a whole, the main plot isn’t that bad. It’s a predictable cliché from start to finish, but it isn’t that bad. I never felt bored or annoyed for the most part, and it’s totally harmless. However, I have to call out some laziness in the conflict.

First of all, the antagonist being the sister to the antagonist from the original movie, wanting revenge for their death; wow, that’s Disquel levels of unimaginative.

Second, the eagles are a total joke. At least Black Wolf and his pack were kinda threatening in the last movie. The eagles are just complete comic relief. The only reason White Wolf even has eagles as a posse are to get to Santa’s Fell without going the same long route Niko took in the last movie. And yes, the eagles carry her like a fish to Santa’s Fell. It’s a bit ridiculous.

Third, White Wolf is in no way scary or threatening. She’s a ‘hands-off’ ‘let my minions do everything’ villain. At least Black Wolf was proactive for the entirety of the first movie. White Wolf just sits in the shadows of the eagles’ domain and commands them to do things for half the movie. She’s not even commanding the eagles out of respect or fear, she manipulates them because they have a crush on her and later because the Flying Forces banned them from the skies for no given reason. Her eyes don’t even constantly glow like Black Wolf’s. Guess that trait wasn’t genetic.

She also wasn’t taken care of in a decent manner. She’s basically tied up and that’s it. I guess she’ll just die of starvation or else the plot really isn’t over since eventually she’ll get out of those ties and go after Niko again, even more fiercely.

Lenni and Jonni are both perfectly fine new characters. I was really worried they’d make Lenni out to be a secret jerk and then Oona and Prancer would get back together or Jonni would be an annoying little brat and I’d end up wanting to play reindeer games with his face, but they’re both perfectly nice characters.

If anything, Oona’s the one I’m more annoyed with this whole movie. She obviously sees how much Niko loves his father and wishes they got back together, so what does she do? Instead of sitting him down gently and explaining that she and his father will never work and he should learn to love their slightly disjointed family and maybe learning to lay off Prancer and then later leaning into ‘hey I’ve been dating this new guy….’ what does she do?

One day, out of the blue, after essentially leading Niko to believe that she and Prancer will be getting back together by leading the conversation and not disclosing who she’s talking about, she reveals that she’s been dating Lenni behind Niko’s back for some time now and that he’ll be moving in immediately. Oh and also, he has a young son, he’s Niko’s little brother now. Deal with it.

Then she pretty much expects Niko to be instantly fine with all of this, even though it’s clearly bothering the hell out of him. She briefly speaks with him about it, but it’s, again, basically just expecting that Niko is fine with everything.

When Lenni lies to her about the situation with the boys, he says he wants to go up to Santa’s Fell to confront Prancer and she’s all ‘whoo! I’ll go with you and give my two cents!’ Whoo yeah, he needs a talkin’ to what with his mild leniency with Niko; having fun with him and spending time with him and training him in flying and whatnot. What an ass.

Also, the reason Lenni and Jonni suddenly moved in is because she’s pregnant with Lenni’s kid. They give ‘subtle’ hints at it throughout the movie, but it’s obvious she’s preggers and both Lenni and Oona know and have known for a while. And she never tells Niko. She had to have told him some time between the final climax of the movie and the birth of the kid at the end, but she doesn’t mention it before then. Mother of the year.

We get another new character in the reindeer, Tobias, who is a pretty old reindeer living by himself out in the wilderness. His schtick is Mr. Magoo. He’s blind as a bat and frequently does silly things because he can’t see well. Also, he’s kinda looney. I went back and forth with liking Tobias. On one hand, he can be funny, but on the other hand his schtick is horribly cliché and one-note. On one hand, his backstory is kinda interesting and his life at the moment is a bit sad, but on the other hand his backstory kinda doesn’t make sense and is a bit dumb.

Last note, the thing with Niko attempting to go Santa Speed is arguably the most predictable part of this movie. It’s completely obvious that he will be able to do it by the end.

Ranting over with, the art and animation are about on par with the original movie’s though the lip-synching is noticeably worse.

The voice acting is alright, though, again, the emoting and vocal volumes need work.

The music is completely forgettable and we don’t even get a song from Wilma to spice things up.

Bottomline: I have more problems with this movie than I did the last, but it is a perfectly fine movie. If you were a fan of the original, give it a shot. If not, skip it. Also skip it if you’re looking for a fun Christmas movie. Despite the tagline being ‘A Christmas Adventure’ there is a staggering lack of anything really Christmas-y. If anything, it seems to purposely skip out on it and the stuff they do include seems really forced.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

It’s Christmas!

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Merry Christmas, everyone! And happy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa!

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I hope the spirit of the holidays is injecting you full of grade A pure holiday cheer. Or eggnog. Though I don’t think you should be injecting that straight into your body. You might just want to try drinking it.

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Edited for more Vulpix adorableness:

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Tokyo Mew Mew/Mew Mew Power Episode 17 Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: It’s summer break, and a new revelation about the aliens has been brought to the surface that makes the girls sympathize with them. But as long as they’re still hurting people, the battle rages on, even if Ichigo has an important date with Aoyama.

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Ichigo has a flashback in class about a meeting with the mews, Shirogane and Akasaka. They explain that Masha was able to get some information from the enemy while he was captured a couple episodes ago. They look in shock at the data before Ichigo is snapped out of the dream by the teacher.

In the dub, they remove this scene and instead use the beginning of the island fantasy Ichigo had last episode that was removed in the dub. She also narrates how summer’s going to be awful because she has to work at the cafe instead of spending time with Mark. Because why think of plot-related matters when you can daydream about your boyfriend like a good female?

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The ending to this daydream, where Aoyama enjoys weird food and grosses Ichigo out is officially removed.

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Ichigo is talking when she turns around and blushes. In the dub, they freeze the shot and give her inner monologue instead.

The girls say simultaneously that it’s the season of love before bidding Ichigo farewell. Ichigo repeats the line and then says she shouldn’t be thinking of such things at a time like this.

In the dub, the girls say it’s time to put on their bikinis before parting and saying they’ll see each other at the beach. Zoey repeats the line, then gets angry and complains asking why she’d ever have to be a Mew Mew. Ah, trying hard to focus on responsibilities changed to ‘Why me!? I just wanna date Mark! God, this Mew stuff sucks!’

Originally, the scene directly cuts to a continuation of the flashback. In the dub, they show a short shot of Zoey running up a hill that doesn’t come from this episode and states how the late night research sessions are killing her before cutting to the flashback. They also remove a shot of Shirogane, Akasaka and Masha from the flashback in doing so.

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The flashback is changed dialogue-wise to suit the new backstory of the aliens.

In the original, they find footage of the alien’s past in Masha’s data banks. They see video footage of their ancient race that existed far before humans (which exists because reasons), but then take note of something odd. The trees and plants are remarkably similar to those that they have on earth. Akasaka takes note of one plant in particular that is an extinct plant found only in fossils. This leads them to come to the conclusion that the aliens aren’t aliens at all, they’re earthlings – just of an ancient and unknown species.

Many natural disasters caused them to flee their planet out of fear of extinction, but the planet that they decided to inhabit was much worse than the conditions on earth with nearly unbearable weather conditions. They no longer had the ability to head back to earth for some reason and earth became a dream for their race as they all longed to return there.

Zakuro states that when these beings finally found a way to return to earth, they found it being inhabited and ruined by humans. She also states that if she were them, she’d probably hate humans too. She’s not saying this justifies them attacking humans, but she knows how they feel.

Shirogane agrees. No matter their past or their reasons, the aliens are still attacking humans and they can’t stand for that. Lettuce asks if there’s a way to reason with them, but Shirogane says no. If there was, the Mew Project wouldn’t be needed.

In the dub, the cyniclons are actual aliens from an unknown planet. They were a proud race, but the video footage of the plants somehow prove that they were polluting and destroying their environment. Just like we do, as Kiki so preachily points out. Atmospheric warming, which had started hundreds of years before, caught up with them and sparked numerous explosions, fires and volcanic eruptions.

In an effort to save their race, they escaped and headed to an unidentified planet….using the shot of earth as the picture of said planet. Yeah, it’s not like that’s recognizable or anything.

The planet they landed on was even worse than their original one suffering from horrible snow storms and harsh conditions, thus they sought out another planet to call home and eventually decided earth would be a suitable place.

Renee says she feels bad for them, knowing they watched their loved ones live in such awful environments just dreaming of a nice place to call home. Meanwhile, humans do have a nice planet that they ruin every day. She states that she understands why they’d want to take earth away from such a species.

Elliot says that it’s still no excuse to hurt innocent people. The rest of the scene plays out the same.

I don’t really understand why this was changed. At first, before I watched this scene, I thought it was to make the cyniclons much less sympathetic and their story less tragic, but the story that 4Kids came up with is fairly sympathetic and tragic. However it still paints the picture like they’re bullies who are trying to steal a planet that doesn’t belong to them instead of people who are just trying to reclaim their home from people who seemingly ‘stole’ and abused it.

It’s just really confusing. However, that’s not to say that the original backstory is perfect. It’s downright silly.

You mean to tell me that we have fossils of that same plant that Akasaka saw in the video but there are no fossils of this race anywhere? Not a single bone? No ruins of their society? They were so advanced that they had interplanetary travel down pat but they leave no trace of their buildings or technology behind? What about the damage that was done to the planet? All those disasters? Did they just stop? Did they leave behind no scars? They must’ve been happening all around the planet for their entire species to up and run.

Why didn’t they just try to seek out another new planet? Why return to earth? I know it was their home, but when they left it was a fiery wasteland. Who’s to say it wasn’t still a fiery wasteland?

I feel dirty saying this, but 4Kids may have made a more coherent backstory for the aliens than the original writers. The original is more sympathetic and interesting, but 4Kids, admittedly, just makes more sense.

Originally we cut back to Ichigo walking down the street with a weird look on her face when she bumps into Aoyama and squees because of it. In the dub, we cut back to Zoey on the hill and she sighs before we move on.

Taruto says that Kisshu’s really changed and that all of the fighting’s made him stronger. Kisshu replies that they all better work together and combine their powers in order to get the job done from now on.

In the dub, Tarb says it’s a dumb idea for Deep Blue to let Dren fight again and that he’s only going to mess things up. Dren eggs him on, and Tarb flies down and says he and Pai were doing just fine on their own. Dren says they really weren’t because the girls are still a problem. He asks Sardon what the plan is and he says it’s to divide and conquer.

After that scene, we cut to Ichigo having lunch with Aoyama, but there’s another scene swap. Instead we get the scene of Ichigo walking down the sidewalk with her weird face and then bumping into Aoyama.

Because of this, the inner monologue is changed. Ichigo was initially thinking of the recent news of the aliens’ story. In the dub, she’s thinking about how it would be nice to go on a day trip with Mark.

Ichigo just states that she has no plans for summer break, while Zoey bitches yet again that she’ll be spending all summer at the cafe with only a few days off. Zoey, your gig at the cafe is part time – you do it afterschool for a few hours and maybe on weekends. It’s not a nine to five life sucking job like you’re making it out to be unless Elliot and Wesley make it full time on vacation days. You’ll have plenty of time for fun on summer break, especially if there are no attacks, so quit whining.

Ichigo’s eating a parfait. Zoey’s eating a sundae. They’re somewhat close, especially most American versions, but still.

Aoyama tells her that they can go anywhere that she wants to go. Mark says they can go anywhere as long as they can be alone………..I probably wouldn’t have brought this up but 1) That’s kinda creepy, 2) This is coupled with another Mark Exclusive line ‘I was really hoping we could get away for a little ‘us time’ if you know what I mean’. What 15 year old talks like this? He sounds like he’s in his forties trying to rekindle the romance with his wife. Makes sense given his way-too-old-voice, I guess. Also, that other line I mentioned really makes it sound like it’s innuendo.

Pudding asks why Ichigo’s running away, and Mint and Lettuce say because it’s the season of love. Why do they keep saying summer is the season of love? I thought spring was the season of love. In the dub, Kiki asks why Zoey’s acting like such a weirdo and both Corina and Bridget say it’s because she’s a weirdo. Nice to see everyone’s back to acting like assholes again.

The original doesn’t mention anything about meeting Mark at the station at 10:00 the next day like the dub does.

After the scene with the other girls in the alley ends, we see Ichigo still backing up and rounding a corner. She lets her tail extend and then cheers. This is removed.

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Shirogane asks what’s up with Ichigo and Pudding responds that summer is the season of love. He then asks where Zakuro is and Mint says she’s at a photoshoot. In the dub, Elliot asks if Zoey’s floating (she’s floating in mid air back and forth in a cartoony fashion) Kiki says yes and he then asks what’s up with her. Corina responds that she’s going on a day trip with Mark.

The magazine Ichigo has is titled ‘Narab’. In the dub, it’s ‘Getaways’. Also, they paint away Zoey’s boob marks in her transformation and Dren’s groin lines yet they’ll leave that picture of that chick in a bikini alone? She’s even in an alluring pose.

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They remove the text from the back of the magazine.

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Ichigo gushes about putting on a swimsuit and swimming in the sea. Zoey gushes about kayaking.

After that scene, there’s a short scene of Ichigo at home still gushing over her day with Aoyama. Masha says she’s acting weird and she plops down on her bed and falls asleep. This is removed. Dunno why, but it could be because they spend a bit of time focusing on Ichigo’s bare and oddly detailed exposed stomach for a good chunk of the scene.

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Ichigo sneezes and says that must mean someone’s talking about her behind her back. She wonders if it’s Aoyama and then laughs. Shirogane interrupts and says that’s not a good thing to think about.

In the dub, since the whole sneeze=someone gossiping about you thing doesn’t exist in America, they change it to Zoey saying that’s the tenth time she’s sneezed in the past half hour and then laughs about how she guesses Alaska’s not a viable option for their trip now. Elliot interrupts and asks if she’s done mopping.

The next few lines are the same until Shirogane talks about her getting sick. He says that since the monsters have been appearing she’s never been sick once. She says she knows and Shirogane starts to walk away. He tells her to take care and then leaves. Akasaka walks in and says he wonders if he was about to say ‘if there’s any danger, I’ll protect you’. Ichigo thinks he’s crazy and then turns around and blushes. She wonders what Akasaka’s talking about before commercial. I don’t know why Akasaka thought Shirogane would say that. It’s not like he even alluded to saying it.

In the dub, Elliot tells her that he had a weird dream about her last night where she was running from something. You too? That’s funny because Aoyama has that same thing happen way later in the series. Must be contagious. Anyway, she says it was just a dream and Elliot tells her to be careful before leaving. Wesley then walks in and says Elliot believes a big attack is coming soon and she’ll have to be on call tomorrow. She says it’s not a problem but then she turns around, blushes for some reason and worries because she has her day out….with….Mark….tomorrow….But a day’s gone by already. I’m confused.

Looks like a later scene got swapped. In the original, we get our commercial after that scene and then cut to Ichigo sick in bed. In the dub, we get a short scene with Dren and the others before going to Zoey sick in bed. I guess this was because they had more time before their commercial and wanted a more threatening before-commercial cliffhanger.

Ichigo has a fever of 38.5 degrees Celsius, which is 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit. In the dub, Zoey has a fever of exactly 100 degrees Fahrenheit….Nitpicking…but still.

And oh how I’ve forgotten how ear-bleedingly awful Zoey’s mom’s voice is. Geez.

Ichigo’s dad says if she’s sick she should rest, but she says she can’t rest because she has somewhere to be. In the dub, Zoey’s dad says he heard she’s not feeling well and hopes it’s curable….well, that’s pretty dark, Zoey’s dad. Zoey says it doesn’t matter because her life is over anyway. Your life is over because you need to cancel a date because you’re sick?…..Eh, I guess it’s typical teen drama.

After her dad asks if it’s because she has a date, he dramatically proclaims that she has outstretched her wings and is pursuing a 100 year relationship, which is odd because I thought her dad was all about complaining about Ichigo dating. In the dub, he says she’s better off staying home anyway because she’d be sneezing and hacking all over the poor guy.

He says he’s going to go out for a bit that he’ll buy her some doll pancakes while he’s out. I’ve never heard of those, but I assume they’re just small pancakes. In the dub, he says he’s going out to mow the lawn and tells Zoey’s mom to tell her if her face turns blue or anything. Oh yeah her face turning blue, haha, that’s a thing that happens when people are dying! Hahaha!…Hah, seriously, why’s he making these jokes?

In the original, after Lettuce picks up, we cut to a short scene of Aoyama at the train station and then cut back to Lettuce where they’ve finished up their conversation.

In the dub, they repeat the shot segment of Ichigo talking over and over and over and over and over to lengthen the scene so Zoey can keep talking. She explains in a really fast and annoying fashion that she’s sick and can’t make it to her date, so she wants Bridget to keep trying and tell him that she can’t make it. Something that makes the scene where Bridget relays this information pointless and repetitive. The shot of Aoyama is also removed.

While the next scene with the girls is basically the same, Corina asks Bridget if she can call Mark because, quote, ‘(her) dialing hand is engaged’ because she’s drinking tea…..*siiiiggghhh* Originally, she asks why Ichigo had to get sick.

Pudding says they should pay Ichigo a visit and they briefly talk about it while the shot lingers on Shirogane outside the kitchen. In the dub, Kiki just says she has a great idea and we cut to the next scene. The shot of Shirogane is removed.

The next scene with the aliens was the swapped scene from earlier so the dub jumps to the shot of the fruit basket.

Ichigo asks why she had to get sick on the day she was supposed to be with Aoyama and Mint basically just groans. In the dub, she says she feels like her head’s going to explode and that her whole body is one big mucus membrane.

Corina: ‘Ew, gross.’ My sentiments exactly.

Pudding tells Ichigo not to worry about how she’s dressed because pajamas are sexy too. In the dub, Kiki says she looks fine and who cares if her nose is a little crusty. EW. Stop being gross and awful, Mew Mew Power. Did you forget that your target audience is young, tweenage and teen girls who likely don’t find gross things funny?

They say nothing of giving her medicine that caused her to pass out in the original, and she acts like she’s in a daze because of the sickness and is seeing an illusion of Aoyama. She nearly gushes about how much she likes him before Aoyama says her name and snaps her out of it. In the dub, she realizes Mark is really there and apologizes for missing the trip. Zoey says she thought it was a dream after Mark wakes her up and gets embarrassed.

After Pudding and the others leave suddenly, Aoyama blushes deeply before Ichigo starts talking. This is removed from the dub and I have no clue why. Zoey’s been blushing all over this episode, yet Mark can’t do it once?

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Aoyama continues to say that if anything should ever happen, he wants to be there for Ichigo, which prompts a short flashback to Shirogane smiling at her. In the dub, Mark says he had a weird dream about Zoey being in trouble last night. I don’t really get this whole dream thing. Are they purposely trying to make something out of this? Like making it still confusing as to who BK is by having both Mark and Elliot have the same dream of her in danger?

After the flashback, Aoyama says that despite what he wants, there’s not much to be done about the flu. Mark says that his dream is nothing to worry about.

Ichigo’s mom comes in and says she made tea, but then she halts and asks if it’s a bad time, which makes Aoyama turn away and blush while Ichigo breaks out into a sudden coughing fit. In the dub, she says she brought Zoey some medicine and brought Mark some too. First, this makes his blushing make no sense, and further confuses me as to why they removed the first instance of him blushing. Second….why the hell would he want some medicine? He’s not sick.

There are two scenes before we continue with Kisshu and Ichigo. In the dub, we jump straight to the continuation of Dren and Zoey after the break.

Masha tells Ichigo to run, but she points out that they’re on the second floor so she can’t. In the dub, she says she has to find the others and Dren says he wouldn’t count on finding them. We then cut the scene to show the first cut scene from a few minutes ago.

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Ichigo thinks to herself that sometimes it’s good to have cat-like powers. Kisshu then laughs and says that she really tries hard. Zoey says she thinks she ripped a seam in her jammies and Dren calls her a tree-hugger…because she’s literally hugging a tree.

Oddly enough, despite Mint’s transformation being shortened in the original, they show the full transformation in the dub. Well, the full one they’ve edited anyway.

Text on the sign on the fence is removed.

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Well here’s a confusing thing. In the original, oh and spoiler alert, Aoyama, The Blue Knight and Deep Blue are all voiced by Megumi Ogata. Three guesses why. Nice range, by the way. Though you can kinda tell between Aoyama and the Blue Knight.

In the dub, Mark and Deep Blue are voiced by Scottie Ray (and it’s easily recognizable) but The Blue Knight is oddly voiced by Sean Schemmel….Elliot’s VA….Okay, so there was some question about which guy might’ve been The Blue Knight and it’s even possible that the Blue Knight was given blond hair to further suggest that Shirogane could’ve been him, but why give him Elliot’s VA on top of that?

Maybe Mr. Ray just has such limited range that he couldn’t do the role without being so obvious that it’s Mark? I dunno. Maybe, since they didn’t have access to the second season’s license yet, they simply assumed Elliot was BK?

They add ‘To Be continued’ on the screen since this is a two-parter.

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This episode was….kinda boring. I mean, nothing really happens until the very end so it’s kinda blah. And man the dub….It’s like they’re bringing the scene swaps in full force in these later episodes. I dread what might’ve happened to this series if it continued on past episode 26.

Next episode, a continuation of the fight between the girls and the various chimera animals the aliens have come up with. However, it seems like this fight is over insanely fast because the next episode preview is more about Ichigo supposedly being torn between the Blue Knight and Aoyama.

…Previous Episode

AVAHS – Arthur Christmas

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Rating: 9.5/10

Plot: We all know that Santa delivers presents to all the little girls and boys at Christmas, but what really goes on at the North Pole? ‘Santa’ is actually more of an inherited title than it is one singular person. Generation through generation, new Santas take the helm of the sleigh, and it’s nearing the time for a tech-savvy calculating man named Steve to finally take the reins. Figuratively speaking, of course, since Steve has turned the North Pole into an ultra-high-tech hub for Christmas preparation, and the old sleigh has been replaced with an equally high-tech air ship named the S-1.

Steve’s little brother, Arthur, works in the letters department and loves nothing more than any and all things Christmas. He greatly admires his father, the current Santa, and he also strongly believes in his brother to become the next Santa.

His faith starts to waiver, however, when the ultra-efficient Steve somehow misses a girl named Gwen. He tries to convince both his brother and father to go back and deliver her present, but they decide against it, leaving Gwen in the ‘margin of error.’ Arthur won’t accept that, and is recruited by his grandfather, the grandsanta, to take his old sleigh and reindeer out to deliver the present themselves, accompanied by an energetic wrapping elf named Bryony. Can they manage to deliver the present on time, or will one little girl end up thinking that she’s the one kid Santa forgot?

Breakdown: Alright, now we’re talkin’ newer holiday traditions. Ever since I first watched this movie several years ago, I have watched it every Christmas. It is one of the very few newer Christmas movies that manages to fill me with the Christmas spirit.

Arthur Christmas introduces an interesting concept behind Christmas. Instead of Santa being one immortal being with woodworking elves, a sleigh and reindeer, it is a title that is passed through the generations (and is kinda magic considering they seem to live much longer than normal people) with a high-tech command center directing thousands of elves to deliver presents in whole towns at a time…..And Santa maybe puts down a present or two.

Like Steve mentions, the current Santa, whose real name is Malcolm, is more of a figurehead than anything. He loves the title, he enjoys being loved by the children of the world and he enjoys the fame brought on by the elves, but he does little to nothing besides go through the motions. Steve and the many elves in the North Pole handle quite literally everything. From monitoring the children to ensure they don’t wake, to delivering the presents to going through complicated maneuvers to prevent alerting dogs or setting off alarms, and even piloting the S-1. Like I said, Santa is basically escorted into like one house per town, does nothing, then when they’re about to leave, they let him set down a gift.

Steve is all set and ready to rumble for the job of Santa, and he seems more than qualified given everything he does, but he’s also not anymore fit for the job than Malcolm because he doesn’t seem to care about kids at all and sees Santa as a glorified title above all else.

Arthur is more than content working in the letters department. He loves reading the letters from the various children of the world and responding back to them. His office is like a giant shrine to all things Christmassy and Santa. I really appreciate that they didn’t have him be some bitter character who, despite loving Christmas and seeing the meaning of Christmas far beyond any of the living Santas, is angry about not being offered the job of Santa despite being a Claus. They could’ve easily gone down that route, but they didn’t.

Arthur is a lovable Christmas dork, and he is my kindred spirit. I love everything about Christmas. Let me loose in any store with Christmas decorations and clothes and whatnot and, if I had it my way, you wouldn’t see me until closing. And you bet I’d wear they hell out of Arthur’s cute little light-up singing reindeer slippers.

There is a lot to love about Arthur, especially in how he’s willing to brave every frightening aspect of this journey to make sure Gwen didn’t feel left out on Christmas. And there’s a lot to worry about with him. He’s a worrier as it is, but he’s also fairly clumsy and doesn’t understand a lot of the mechanics of both the old and new Santa devices. It does not help that he’s accompanied by Grandsanta, who is equal parts crazy and absentminded. There’s a plot twist with his character that I never saw coming, and I think it works very well in the flow of the story. Let’s just say that forgetting the true meaning of Christmas didn’t start with Malcolm.

The fact that Arthur basically lives in a delusion, believing just as much in the fantasy version of Santa as most children on earth, leaves you worrying as well. You know the poor guy’s going to have his whole world crash around him eventually, and you’re just sitting there getting more and more anxious the closer he gets to the truth. It is almost as painful as watching someone tell a little kid that Santa doesn’t exist. (Spoiler alert) When that plot twist with Grandsanta is revealed, it’s the first big blow to his belief system since he believed Grandsanta was the only one who wanted to uphold the old traditions and keep the spirit of Christmas alive.

He also has Bryony with him, a female elf who is a wrapping extraordinaire and can wrap any present with three pieces of sticky tape. Despite just being a wrapping elf, she is extremely skilled and knowledgeable as a field elf who helps Arthur along the way. She gets a ton of great lines in both her quirkiness and her whimsical bluntness. I loved her, especially her punk rock character design.

I will admit, you can see where a good chunk of the movie is going from the get-go, and I didn’t much care for the ‘alien’ sub-plot with the government. I mean, I guess it adds to the gravity of the situation, but it’s mostly treated as a joke (Plus, a wooden painted air craft with people singing Christmas carols saying they come in peace, shooting oranges and chocolates is blown up with a missile and they’re all proud of themselves) But the story adds plenty of its own originality and writing to the table to keep you more than entertained throughout the whole movie.

This movie was a product of Aardman Animations. Yup, the claymation Aardman. Except here they’re bringing claymation style to full CGI animation. And it works incredibly well. While I have my problems with the facial designs, for the love of eggnog, who cares? The details are gorgeous. From the hairs on their heads, to the stitches of Arthur’s sweater (even including those little furry hairs some wool sweaters have) to the cities and vehicles and houses, it’s just amazing. This is the second time that Aardman has done a full CGI feature (Flushed Away being their first – co-produced by Dreamworks), and they definitely prove without a shadow of a doubt that they can maintain their talents throughout the mediums.

It is especially prominent in the characters themselves. While I’m not fan of claymation, I have always greatly respected how much tender loving care Aardman puts into their character work to make them seem not only alive but like they’re truly people who exist. Arthur Christmas is definitely no exception. All of the characters look, move and sound like they’re real people (okay, they don’t look realistic in regards to looking like you and me, but they look like actual living beings). Those looks on Arthur’s face when he thinks about Gwen getting her present are just beautiful.

They also interact with each other and their environments like real people. They definitely feel like a real family with familiar family problems and squabbles as well as the love and respect that is sometimes covered by those issues.

I even loved how they interacted with the elves. I feel a bit worse for the elves this time around because elves get little respect and love by the children during Christmas as it is considering they do all the work of making the toys and doing whatever else needs to be done during the rest of the year yet Santa delivers the gifts and gets all the glory. It’s like giving the UPS guy a holiday. Here, not only do the elves do all the background work like making the gifts and wrapping them etc. but they do most of the delivering too; yet they still have to live in the ever darkening shadow of a Santa who does little to nothing.

And then, like Arthur, they don’t seem to care. They just want Christmas to go perfectly for all the kids of the world. And, like Arthur, they are completely appalled when they find out that not only Santa forgot a kid, but they also aren’t going to go back to deliver the present. While it’s obvious that none of the Santas really respect the elves at all (Grandsanta’s treatment of them, Bryony included, is most terrible), it’s also apparent that they respect how they see them, much like how they respect how the majority of the children of the world see Santa. It’s only when the elves express how horrible it is that a child has been missed that the current Santa even tries to do anything about it.

Since Arthur is basically an elf himself, he is friends with most of them, despite knowing that some of them mock him behind his back for being so dorky and clumsy. I legitimately had a pang in my heart when I saw them cheering on Arthur through a video feed. They also just care about keeping up the magic of Christmas and Santa to the children, and Arthur’s the hero they need for the job.

If I’ve gushed enough, this movie has some flaws, but it is a phenomenal Christmas movie and just a fantastic movie period. I watch it every year, and I may watch it again before the holidays are over. And this is coming from someone who never believed in Santa. If you need a holiday pickup, this is one of the more recent movies to bring that warm Christmassy feeling, and maybe a little magic, to your heart.

Recommended Audience: E for everyone!

Tokyo Mew Mew/Mew Mew Power Episode 16 Sub/Dub Comparison

tmmep16title

Plot: Lettuce has fallen for an older guy who also loves reading. While she gets up the courage to confess to him, Pai decides to crash the local library for information and it just so happens to be the regular meeting place for Lettuce and her crush.

——————————————–

We start off on a bad note this episode with a scene swap. A scene of Mint and Ichigo walking through town is placed at the very beginning of the episode when it’s supposed to come way later. The actual start of this episode is supposed to be Lettuce at school.

I think the reason for this is so Corina and Zoey can narrate over Bridget’s scene instead of letting Bridget do it herself. Because screw Bridget.

They remove a shot of Lettuce slowing down as she approaches her old group of friends.

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They remove Lettuce putting her shoes in her locker and then forgetting something and running back upstairs.

 

They erase the text on the sticker, which just makes you wonder why they zoomed in on it.

Subbed: tmmep16screen5

Dubbed: vuzb3pu

Signs + Text = Bad.

Subbed:

 

Dubbed:

 

By the way, what’s up with that last shot? Why did they erase everything but the circle and square?

They remove a shot of Lettuce crossing the crosswalk.

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Corina and Zoey’s narrating is getting really annoying. Teenage gossip, with implications that Bridget is being a creepy stalker (and Corina actually says stalker) is much less sweet than Lettuce narrating about how she’s falling for this guy.

All of the books in the library have text on them…because books. In the dub, all the text is painted away. Too many shots for this – just trust me.

The book that the guy, Norihiro, pulls down is titled ‘Lamaze is not Difficult’, which was the book next to what she wanted. Embarrassed, she takes the book anyway. In the dub, the book is called ‘How to Tell Him How You Feel’. There’s no mention whether or not this was the book she wanted, but given the title change, I suppose so. I’m gonna guess 4Kids didn’t want to touch upon pregnancy topics in the least in regards to a teenage girl.

Subbed: tmmep16screen10

Dubbed: rciw2na

Name Change: Lettuce’s crush is named Norihiro Edomurasaki. In the dub, he’s Ian.

Norihiro points out that he’s seen Lettuce around the library a few times and that Lettuce seems to really like books. He points out that it’s rare to see girls hanging around libraries to read nowadays and because of that he’s taken a slight interest in her.

In the dub, Ian says he’s in his second year of college (oddly they did get his age right) and that he’s a literature major mostly focusing on Russian literature. He lists off how this means he usually reads about sad people, hunger, cold weather and poverty and jokes about how that makes him a real cheery guy.

Norihiro asks what kinds of books she’s interested in. Ian asks her what her story is because he sees her reading harder stuff like Shakespeare instead of music magazines and teen romance like he’d expect a teenage girl to be interested in. I might be paranoid, but I really feel like this is 4Kids talking here. ‘We don’t get Lettuce. Why does she read books? She’s a teenage girl. Shouldn’t she be playing Polly Pocket and gushing over Nsync and making me sandwiches?’

Lettuce says she likes foreign travel guides. She loves to look at pictures of shores from foreign lands and says it’s relaxing. Bridget says Shakespeare wrote about teen romance and then quotes Romeo and Juliet. She says she’s probably a weirdo for liking such serious stuff and then says when she wants lighter fare, she reads travel guides.

Another scene swap, because we’re still in Zoey’s little story, they fade back in on the scene of Zoey and Corina after the flashback is over. In the original, we cut back to Lettuce again heading to library to see Norihiro.

In the original, Ichigo doesn’t know that Lettuce likes a guy, so she asks Lettuce why she’s so chipper today, but she just smiles and says its for no reason. Ichigo asks if something good happened and Lettuce replies ‘not really’. Ichigo then asks if she got a boyfriend, which causes Lettuce to blush and vehemently deny it. Ichigo turns into a little chibi-demon thing because she believes Lettuce is lying. Lettuce fumbles a bit in her words of denial and Ichigo stands firmer in her stance that she did find a boyfriend. Lettuce admits it, and says to keep it just between them, and Ichigo agrees until she decides to yell it to the other girls.

In the dub, since Zoey already knows, she asks how her new boyfriend’s doing and Bridget gushes about how they talked about Dostoyevsky. Zoey doesn’t know what that is, but says it’s great. Bridget says it’s great having a secret crush and Zoey relates that it’s even better because she told Corina. Bridget freaks out that Zoey told Corina because she knows Corina will tell everyone. Zoey turns into the little chibi demon and says maybe everyone should know, but Bridget says it’s just a crush and it’s on an older guy at that. Zoey asks why her love should be a secret and Bridget says she just wants it to be one before Zoey yells to Corina in the back to keep Bridget’s crush a secret.

As the girls are thinking of Lettuce’s possible boyfriend, Zakuro thinks of a shadowed guy smoking a cigarette. In the dub, the smoke is edited out.

Subbed: tmmep16screen11

Dubbed: ktj0uy6

And here’s the big edit that still baffles and confuses me to this day, but, oddly enough, is merely a contender for the most confusing edit of the episode. As they’re still picturing what Lettuce’s boyfriend looks like, Mint thinks of a blond ballet dancer.

In the dub, this picture is removed and replaced with Renee’s picture and the dialogue is even changed to saying it must be someone cute, but everyone has their own views of what is really cute. So there’s no denying that this scene implies that Corina thinks Renee is cute and would be her version of a great romantic partner.

Subbed: tmmep16screen12

Dubbed:nttlrqr

I just do not get this. I mean, I can’t think of really any instances where 4Kids has been shown to be anti-gay, but then again there’s not a whole lot of that content in their shows besides Harley from Pokemon, and they left him entirely alone. James’ crossdressing was also left alone outside of the banned episode.

I just don’t understand why they’re purposely pushing for it here so fiercely. *shrugs* Maybe there are shipping wars in 4Kids. Maybe there was something really wrong with the ballet dancer and Renee was the only thing they could think of to replace him.

The other reason I can think of is that they didn’t want to show a male ballet dancer because it’s a guy doing something seen as feminine, but they’ve shown guy ballet dancers several times and again, James. Hell, Ash did it once or twice too.

The final theory I have is that 4Kids might have thought that her crush on Renee is so legit that thinking of another person as a romantic interest, a guy even, would be….kinda cheating on her? And they didn’t want Corina to be doing something like that? It’s a huge stretch, but it’s all I’m coming up with. This just really confuses me. The smoking thing I understand, but I just don’t get this.

When asked if he’s tall, Lettuce says no. In the dub, she says he kinda is.

Mint asks if he’s an athlete and Lettuce says no. Corina asks if he writes her a lot of poetry and she says he’s never written her anything.

Ichigo asks if he’s younger than Lettuce, but she says no. Ichigo then gets up in Lettuce’s face and asks what he’s like. Lettuce starts going on that he’s tall (wait, you just said he wasn’t) and that he loves reading but then she trails off and says he’s not her boyfriend. Zoey says there’s one thing she still wants to know, so she gets in Bridget’s face and asks if he’s a good kisser. Bridget says she wishes she knew because he’s so smart and cute and then she gushes over how crazy she is about him.

It should be noted that this line change is pretty creepy taking into consideration the original. In the original, Lettuce is 12-13 years old and this guy is 18-20. Yeah, please don’t find out quite yet if he’s a good kisser.

It’s actually kinda creepy in the dub anyway. He’s at least 20 in the dub because he’s two years into college and she’s 15 in the dub. Not as creepy, but still creepy and probably illegal.

After Lettuce blows up and says he’s not her boyfriend, Ichigo sits and coyly teases her some more. In the dub, Bridget says Ian’s not her boyfriend and Zoey sits and coyly points out that now they know his name is Ian….Uh, excuse me. He introduces himself in the flashback that you narrated, heavily implying that Bridget told you all of those details. Can’t you people keep anything straight?

Ichigo asks flat out if Lettuce loves Norihiro. Zoey asks if she’s even told Ian that she has a crush on him.

The girls then yell, as Lettuce responds in silence, that she really does love Norihiro. In the dub, her silence is taken as denial that she’s told him so they yell ‘You have to tell him!’

The scene with Taruto and Pai is kinda changed. Pai is gathering data on humans and Taruto wonders why since humans are worthless. He explains that a humans’ true abilities vary from person to person. Body and mind work separately. Taruto says that this only means that humans are imperfect and Pai responds that he needs more data.

In the dub, Sardon says he’s coming up with new strategies. Tarb asks why he’s doing that because their regular strategy of ‘charging in and kicking butt’ has worked just fine in the past. Yeah, that’s why you’ve never once won against them, huh? Sardon says he needs to learn more about humans perhaps by reading their books. Tarb then asks over and over where he thinks they’re going to get human books.

Seriously, 4Kids, if you couldn’t make a line to fit all of the mouth flaps, just cut the scene and move on. No need to make him repeat the line like an idiot. Sardon then replies that they need a library card.

The scene from earlier with Lettuce going to the library was just swapped to this point.

And they changed it to something stupid. How nice. Anyway, the scene is entirely the same as the original until Lettuce gets to the library and sees Norihiro checking in. Originally, this had no talking.

In the dub, he clearly says he’ll see the librarian tonight and she giggles and tells him not to read too much. Gee, I wonder with all of the capacity of my brain cells if he’s romantically entangled with this young lady? Well, gang, looks like we have another mystery on our hands.

The book that Lettuce has is called ‘Appeal of Tahiti’. In the dub, it’s ‘Fiji: A Guide’. Tahiti, Fiji, eh they’re both foreign places, and islands to boot. Who cares if they’re if they’re over 2000 miles apart and are in no way the same place?

Subbed: tmmep16screen13

Dubbed: phes6sq

Norihiro doesn’t talk about his college work, he just says he bought the book at a bookstore he frequents, but figured Lettuce would like it better.

Norihiro talks about how he rarely smiles anymore and he likes seeing Lettuce smiling like she is now. Lettuce says he can smile more and talks about how she used to be sad and miserable all the time but now she has a better attitude on life because the people around her are encouraging. She then encourages Norihiro in doing the same.

In the dub, Ian talks about how Bridget reminds him a lot of how he used to be when he was her age, but now he spends all of his time engrossed in books. This line also supposedly makes Bridget sad because he’s pointing out the age difference between them. He continues to tell Bridget to not end up like him and that life is meant to be lived not read about. He apologizes and says that lately he’s been thinking that he hides from life in books. Bridget says she knows how he feels because she used to use books as an escape as well, but then she realized that reading was a way of connecting to people by reading about stuff like loneliness and courage.

The eyecatches are different starting now, and they’re still removed in lieu of the ones 4Kids made.

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The girls originally just hint that the book means he likes Lettuce. In the dub, they say the book’s a sign of a bigger message; that he wants to go away on an island cruise with her. Uh….huh.

The girls just yell ‘Good luck!’ In the dub they yell ‘You go, girl!’

We’re at the scene that was shifted to the beginning so let’s tackle this. In the original, Mint and Ichigo are talking about how nice it is that Lettuce has a guy now and Mint says she’s more surprised Ichigo has a boyfriend. Ichigo is about to deny that Aoyama’s her boyfriend, but then turns around, laughs and says this isn’t something to discuss with someone who has never had a boyfriend. Mint sneers for a bit before going chibi and floating off into a picture of Zakuro saying that she’s fine as long as she’s with Zakuro…..Okay, fine 4Kids, her crush is canon. That edit earlier was still stupid though.

Ichigo gets a freaked out look on her face before gushing over how nice it would be to go to an island like the one in Lettuce’s book with her boyfriend. She then fantasizes about it. The fantasy includes her and Aoyama on a beach about to kiss when Ichigo’s stomach growls. Aoyama smiles and says they should eat dinner and Ichigo agrees.

She’s horrified, however, to find the table covered in gross food like frogs, lizards and bats. While she’s completely grossed out, Aoyama is happily eating away making Ichigo freak out both in the dream and in real life which prompts Mint to just leave her while she’s crying about her fantasy.

In the dub, the girls are complaining about the long day they just had at work. Corina asks why it took so long to clean up a smoothie machine accident and Zoey points out that it would’ve gone faster if she had helped. Corina says she had other work to do, but Zoey says checking the folds on the napkins isn’t work. Corina says it is, Zoey freaks out a bit before getting a dreamy look on her face about the fact that Bridget opens the store tomorrow and not her. That’s when the opening scene with Bridget starts and they start narrating the story. Blah blah blah already explained this part – when we cut back to the girls, Zoey is gushing over the ‘geek love’ I mentioned before and Mint just walks away.

Few things;

The signs are removed in this scene.

That scene with Mint gushing over being with Zakuro is removed.

And the entirety of Ichigo’s island fantasy is removed.

You’ll have to trust me on the signs, there’s a ton of them as they’re walking through town.

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Also, considering that the fantasy sequence is used in another episode, I won’t bother getting screenies of that scene.

While the dialogue is basically the same in the scene with ‘the Beckys’ in terms of subject matter, they could not be more painfully obvious with theirs in the dub. ‘Don’t you wanna lend us money so you can be our friend?’ Try making after-school specials, 4Kids.

Lettuce is also nicer than she is in the dub. In the original, she just tells her bitchy ‘friends’ that she’s busy and can’t go with them. In the dub, she says she has better things to do.

The signs all over town are removed. And isn’t it a bit funny that in an episode where reading is one of the focal points that they still remove every bit of text they can get their hands on?

What’s that smell? It smells…kinda like….a crappy pop song, oh god no. *listens*….Eh….At least it’s not ear-bleedingly awful in regards to melody…Let’s see about the lyrics. Making friends…blah….then I saw you….blah…is this more than a crush? Yada yada….I wanted to show you how I feel, so I wrapped it in a meal…….If that wasn’t exactly what was happening here, that line would be stupid in a sea of bland love song cliches. It doesn’t even have anything to do with the other lines, it’s like they really wanted to shove the details of this scene into the song, so they made one line about cooking a meal for someone you love in an otherwise completely stale sack of ‘I like this guy a lot’.

To be fair, there’s a lyrical song in the original too. Melody-wise, it’s about as interesting. Lyric-wise, it’s a lot better.

They remove the shots of the island before the little clipshow. They also remove Lettuce getting up and an exterior shot of her house.

 

If Sardon barely knows what a library is, why and how did he make that quip about the library card earlier?

Name Change: The librarian, Norihiro/Ian’s girlfriend is originally Satsuki. In the dub, she’s Sabrina.

Norihiro thanks Lettuce specifically for encouraging him and allowing him to be a better person. In the dub, he thanks Bridget for reminding why books make him a better person and that he needs to go save the girl he loves.

Kiki: “We’re gonna turn you dust mites into dust weaks.” I actually had to think about why this is a pun for a second. You need to work on your one-liners, 4Kids.

Originally she just says today’s chimera animals are funny.

They remove Ichigo’s motto (Throw the parade!) as well as a short shot of Lettuce saying ‘you guys…’

Attack Name Change: Fuu Hyou Sen (Windy Ice Fan) is changed to Ice Wind Blast. That’s actually pretty close, so Kudos.

Well, this is no shock now, they completely removed Lettuce’s transformation scene so in the dub she just pops up transformed and attacks. I should mention, however, that while she is ‘naked’ for a bit, there is no damn reason why her transformation should be removed.

All the other girls are kinda naked for a bit, and I don’t see Lettuce’s nakedness being on screen for too long in comparison. What a load. If it was such an issue, then a short and edited transformation is better than flat out nothing. They CAN show certain segments of it because they’re included in the mashup, so I don’t get it at all. It’s also worth mentioning that all of the other girls, as I’ve mentioned, have segments of their transformations removed too anyway, so this makes even less sense.

It still bugs me that this is Lettuce’s big episode and yet she still has to call on Ichigo to ‘finish them off’.

Pudding explains that Lettuce wasn’t affected by the chimera animals hypnotizing reading because she likes books so much……well that’s dumb. In the dub, Kiki just cheers for Bridget and we’re left to wonder why it didn’t affect her.

And here we are at the other contender for most confusing edit of the series, one I can hardly find a single excuse for. The engagement ring that Norihiro gives Satsuki has an emerald on it. I dunno if that’s to give a nod to Lettuce for giving him the courage to propose, but it’s bittersweet symbolism either way.

In the dub, it’s painted white and turned into a diamond….I mean, it might just be because diamond engagement rings are the most common but…..why? Just…why? I don’t get it. This is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this edit. I don’t….I don’t get it! Why are you searching for new and improved ways to confuse and anger me 4Kids?! Why!?

Subbed: tmmep16screen19

Dubbed:  zhdzdww

The girls are quiet after they see Norihiro propose to Satsuki until Ichigo says ‘Lettuce…’. Lettuce then interrupts and says she’s alright as she sheds a tear. In the dub, they basically ruin the scene by Corina asking ‘That’s not Ian is it?’ and then Ichigo says ‘Anyway!’ while Bridget sheds a tear and says it’s not Ian and that Ian couldn’t make it. As we cut to the shot of the trees, Kiki says they saw her talking with him and Renee quiets her.

Lettuce narrates at the end again, but Zoey rears her stupid head in to narrate again like it’s her damn story. They basically say the same thing, but dammit this is Lettuce’s episode, shut the hell up!

Zoey: “After-all, if there’s anyone who has read the words ‘Tis better to love and lose than to never love at all’ it’s Bridget.” The quote is ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.’ This is an episode about reading, dammit.

—————————————————

God this episode was mangled to crap. Completely unnecessary scene shifts, story changes, scene removals etc. They’re just getting worse. And then they throw the ring curveball at me and I just get blindsided.

As an episode, originally, though, this is pretty alright. I never wanted to see poor Lettuce get heartbroken, especially since she has a grand total of two romantic interests over the course of the series and they both end up with her getting rejected, but it was pretty well-written and interesting.

Next up is the Blue Knight’s debut.

…..Previous Episode

AVAHS – The Muppet Christmas Carol

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Plot: The story of A Christmas Carol, performed by Michael Caine and the Muppets.

Breakdown:

Elephant in the room: A Very Animated Holiday Special

Twix: ………………..

Elephant: This isn’t animated.

Twix: …………………………………………

Elephant: Plus don’t you primary only review animated stuff anyway?

Twix:………………Uhhhhhhhh…..Pbbbbbbbbbbbbbbttttttttttttttttt………The Muppets are animated by the puppeteers, thus it counts.

Elephant:…..Wha…..that’s just cheat–

Twix: It’s The Muppet Christmas Carol!

I mentioned in my review of the Flintstones Christmas Carol special that my favorite version of the story was the one performed by the Muppets. Perhaps I should preface this with a disclaimer of bias and say it was partially because it was the first ever version of the story I ever watched. I still have the VHS of it somewhere. Still, it stayed near and dear to my heart, and upon viewing it this year, I have found that it holds up pretty well.

I will admit, having now seen many more serious versions of the story, seeing the mostly whimsical and comedic version brought to us by the Muppets is a bit of a jarring change, even after following up A Flintstones Christmas Carol, but it’s not unwelcome.

Plus, while they do remove Fanny from the story, they don’t skip out on Tiny Tim or the implications of Yet to Come.

Gonzo and Rizzo are hilarious as ‘Charles Dickens’ and….well, Rizzo, being our narrators for the story. Their parts are still, by far, my favorite parts of the movie. They’re hilarious.

I loved the sets, the costumes, the roles each Muppet was given and even a bulk of the songs. The writing is spot-on from the novel writings of Dickens to the comedic Muppet elements. Michael Caine also played Scrooge very well, even if sometimes he seemed to be hamming it a bit.

If I had to throw criticisms at it, I’d say I don’t much care for the designs of the spirits. Present’s design was the best. Past freaked me out as a kid and still freaks me out. I like its voice and manner of speech, but the Muppet design is just freaky. Yet to Come had the traditional ‘grim reaper’ look but the costume design just looked off. He looked like a gray geoduck with a big hole in the top…..Dirty Jobs taught me what a geoduck is.

Also, the effects have not aged well….at all. It’s borderline laughable sometimes.

I feel like some of the moments were kinda ruined by the Muppets; most notably I didn’t much care for Statler and Waldorf playing Jacob (and Robert) Marley. Splitting the character into two brothers who inexplicably died at the same time, I guess, is bad enough but the characters just kinda ruin this ominous moment by…well, being Statler and Waldorf. They show up later as employees of Fezz—Fozziwig’s company, and I think they were just fine being that one role. I just feel like that role was ‘cast’ a bit poorly.

Other than that, I still love this version to bits, and I recommend everyone watch it at least once. It’s great for the Christmas season or just to get a good dose of muppetness. Every time I watch it, I want to track down more Muppets movies. I still have Muppet Treasure Island around here too. Hmm.