Dissecting the Disquels: (Peter Pan 2) Return to Neverland

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Rating: 7/10

Plot: Wendy has grown up and now has children of her own; a daughter named Jane and an infant son named Danny. She raised them on the stories of Peter Pan and everyone seemed to love them.

However, when Wendy’s husband is sent to fight in the war, Jane is told that she needs to take care of the family until he comes back. Taking the promise with utmost seriousness, Jane puts aside childish stories of Peter Pan and Neverland in lieu of responsibility and lists. Her mother and brother try to retain her childhood, but it’s not until Peter Pan himself intervenes that Jane truly sees the light.

Breakdown: Okay, here’s the deal….I never much paid attention to Peter Pan. It was just one of those movies that never caught my interest for some reason. Even the Peter Pan segment in Kingdom Hearts, one of my favorite games ever, just didn’t appeal to me. I don’t know exactly why as there’s nothing inherently wrong with the franchise outside of the little brat Tinkerbell, but eh. Let’s see if the sequel can spark some Peter Pan excitement in me.

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We start off with a pretty cool opening as we see Tinkerbell flying through the clouds creating silhouettes of all of the Peter Pan characters, and eventually we see the actual Peter Pan on a ship in the sky.

This movie takes place in the future (future as far as the last movie is concerned anyway) where Wendy is now an adult, but still always believing in Peter Pan. Wendy now has a family of her own, and her daughter, Jane, takes the reigns this time around.

I would fault this for being yet another Disquel that relies on the main character from the first movie’s child possibly rehashing the experiences of the last movie, but according to what I’ve read, Jane is actually a legitimate character in the Peter Pan books, though not thoroughly explored in the books apparently.

In addition, this is a reversal on Wendy’s character. Whereas Wendy was about doing all that she could to enjoy her childhood and not grow up, Jane is all about putting aside childish things and trying her best to grow up. And….yeah, reversals of the parents’ story is also a Disquel thing. Lady and the Tramp 2, The Little Mermaid 2, The Lion King 2, to a lesser extent.

As we get our first song of the movie, we also get our title screen. It should be noted that this movie isn’t technically Peter Pan 2 – it’s Peter Pan IN Return to Neverland, according to the title. So…is Peter a side character in his own franchise now? Well, I guess considering Tinkerbell’s little series doesn’t seem to include him, people must only want everyone but Peter Pan.

The song by the way, is ‘The Second Star to the Right’, a remake of a song from the original, and it’s pretty nice.

Our story begins in England in the….midst of World War II…..I’m sorry, this is one of the more light-hearted and non-serious movie franchises under Disney, right? World War II? In Peter Pan? That’s like seeing Donald Duck in Nazi German–

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………Oh…..well then…..*cough*….Carry on.

Jane’s father is sent off to fight in the war and leaves Jane to protect her mom and baby brother while he’s away.

Aw now, don’t be sad, Jane. Everyone knows only mothers die in Disney movies.

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…..Okay, there are rare occasions, but usually no.

We cut through some time and see the town in shambles as children are being evacuated to the countryside to help keep them safe. I commend Disney for a bit here, because that’s actually historically accurate.

We see Jane wandering around the rubble with her dog, and it’s both narrated and implied by dialogue that Jane has lost sight of the fun of being a kid in such harsh times. I-…I’m sorry; is this a character flaw? It is World War freakin’ II, and she has been tasked by her father to take care of her mother and infant brother. I think she has every right in the world to be focused more on survival than hopscotch.

Back home, Wendy takes Danny into the bomb shelter after air raid sirens go off. He’s scared, but she comforts him by saying the bomb sounds are more like cannonfire from pirate ships, just like Captain Hook, and Danny dons a Peter Pan hat to play pretend.

We cut back to Jane and the dog who are trying to get back home, but the dog nearly gets caught up in a bomb blast… Think of the happiest things, it’s the same as having wings, take the path the moonbeams make, if the moon is still awake, you’ll see him wink his eye, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly…..if you get hit with an air strike……..

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Jane saves the dog in the nick of time, and makes it back home.

The item she was retrieving was a gift for Danny’s birthday; a pair of socks, which Danny dislikes and Wendy responds awkwardly as being ‘practical’…..I’d say socks, even mismatched, during World War II would be a pretty nice gift actually. In order to make the gift more interesting to Danny, she uses the socks as hand puppets and pretends that they’re Peter Pan and Captain Hoo—is Wendy obsessed?

Every single time that she’s been on screen so far it involves her doing something Peter Pan related. She made a Peter Pan doll for Jane, she made a Peter Pan hat for Danny and it seems like whenever something happens she just makes it better by bringing up Peter Pan. There’s nothing wrong with that, but she still seems very personally fixated.

Anyway, as Jane listens to the radio for news and ideas for supplies that they might need, Wen—Holy crap, Jane has way better handwriting than I do. Geez. She’s like, what, eight? I write like a coke addict in an earthquake and she’s basically a teacher in calligraphy.

Wendy tells Danny the story of Peter Pan stealing treasure from Captain Hook just for kicks, and that somehow makes him a hero or something. Jane starts to listen to the story with a smile, but once it’s over she puts her headphones back on and brushes it off as BS.

Again, I don’t really blame her. Even if she is still at an age where she may still believe those stories, it’s incredibly hard to believe stories of magic flying unaging children and pixie dust when, again, you’re in the midst of World War freakin’ II.

The air raid ends and they go back inside. Jane chastises Wendy for filling Danny’s head with silly stories, and Wendy tries to reply but a knock at the door stops her. As Jane carries Danny to bed, Wendy meets with an old soldier at the door who says her children are to be evacuated in the morning. Wendy’s shocked as she hadn’t even been able to tell them that the evacuations were even happening, but accepts the soldier’s message.

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Wendy tells Jane about the evacuation, but Jane vehemently refuses to go both because she simply doesn’t want to leave and because she promised her father that she’d protect both Danny and her mother. Wendy asks Jane to promise to protect Danny and keep telling him stories about Peter Pan because he needs them to cope, but Jane flips out and says that faith, trust and pixie dust are all nonsense. Danny comes into the room and disagrees with his sister, but she points out the reality of the world they’re living in and how believing in that stuff is foolish.

Danny then runs off in frustration while Wendy scolds Jane for speaking to Danny like that. She tells her that she thinks she’s mature, but she has a lot to learn.

Here’s where I’ll give some leeway into this being a flaw with Jane. It’s perfectly normal for her to wish to give up ‘childish’ things like playing and listening to fairy tales since she has put the weight of her family on her shoulders, forcing her into adulthood. But she’s also trying to rob Danny of having a childhood at all when he’s barely out of diapers.

It’s obvious to her that these Peter Pan stories do offer him comfort and help keep him and Wendy sane and happy during these tough times. It’s counter-intuitive to try and rip that from him for no reason. There’s nothing he can do to help himself right now. He’s too young to do anything useful. Keeping him safe, fed, watered and clothed doesn’t require taking away his happiness. Look at Grave of the Fireflies.

Jane is likely just taking everything too far, but she is doing it in a realistic way.

This still holds the problem of it being too much of a character flaw in Jane. The only reason that Danny and Wendy are seen as the more, for lack of a better word, ‘rational’ ones here is because we know that Peter Pan, the lost boys, Captain Hook and pixies are all real. But even knowing that they are….she still has a point!

If magic, Peter Pan and pixie dust exist, it’s difficult to believe that they do given that they live in a war zone. I also understand that the real point is to not let reality rob you of your inner child and that tiny part of you that believes in magic in some form, but that’s a hard message to sell when the reality that is robbing you is World War freakin’ II.

Sure, it was harsh to tell a three year old that all that stuff wasn’t real in lieu of forcing him to face the harsh realities of war; that’s probably within the realm of telling a kid that Santa’s not real and pointing out that they live in a third world country, but it’s not like it’s entirely unreasonable for her to have such an outburst.

We then get our next song, I’ll Try, and it’s actually really good. One of the best I’ve heard from any of the Disquels. And it’s actually a pretty good stand alone song even if some of lyrics seem silly out of context. It’s basically about what we already know; that Jane feels heavy responsibility on her shoulders to take care of the family and she doesn’t have time to believe in magic and Peter Pan, but she tries and wants to believe. It’s just hard to since she can’t ignore everything that’s going on around her.

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The pirates and Captain Hook arrive at Wendy’s house and mistakenly kidnap Jane thinking that she’s Wendy. They put her in a sack and cause all sorts of damage across London in their bleh-y CGI ship before heading to Neverland.

When the pirates get back on the water, they hold Jane in a sack over the water and lure a giant octopus to her location. Apparently, this octopus is our replacement for the crocodile with the clock in its stomach. It’s shtick is the same thing, constantly tormenting Hook only with the sound of rhythmically popping suction cups instead of a clock ticking. There’s really no reason for the octopus to be making those sounds other than to be a rip-off of croc, who actually had a purpose in making the clock ticking noises.

The reason he was afraid of the croc was because he took Hook’s hand. The reason the croc kept following him was because he ate his hand, liked the taste of his blood and flesh and decided to pursue him in hopes of eating him completely. The croc also ate a clock, and the ticking sound scared the hell out of Hook because he knows the sound indicates the croc is nearby.

The reason he’s afraid of the octopus later on and is freaked out by the popping noises? Because Tinkerbell drops the octopus on Hook’s head, he ends up in its mouth, but escapes without harm. The octopus develops a taste for him so I guess he chases him everywhere….Well okay. I think I’ve delved too far into anime culture to be comfortable with this, but okay. Where did the croc go? Did it die?

Anyway, Peter Pan shows up to save the day, finally. It’s 20 minutes in for God’s sake. He saves Jane from the octopus and Tinkerbell drops the octopus on Hook. The octopus tries to drag Hook underwater to eat him, but he gets saved by his crew.

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Peter brings Jane over to a nearby rock and frees her from the bag to realize that she’s not actually Wendy, but is her daughter. Jane initially doesn’t believe what’s happening and thinks it’s merely a dream. Hook’s crew starts firing cannons at them so Peter escapes with Jane through Neverland.

They have some fun flying around, with Tinkerbell being a bitch as per usual (so how exactly does she end up with a bunch of shorts and her own spin-off movie?), and they eventually reach Peter’s house to meet the Lost Boys. Peter then proclaims that Jane will stay with them forever, be their mother and read them stories. Yeah, they’re still doing that.

The kids want to play games and screw around, but Jane declines, despite the fact that the youngest boy reminds her of Danny. She says she has to leave and walks away. Peter then points out that she acts like a grownup to which the Lost Boys reply ‘Eww’. I understand this because, again, that’s another point of Neverland, but were they looking for a mother that acted like a kid too?

We get more Hook and Octopus shenanigans where Hook actually states that he was finally rid of the croc and now this is happening. I decided to look this up and surprise surprise, there is no reason for what happened to the croc beyond Hook ‘losing’ him somewhere between movie 1 and 2.

I can imagine that they flat out didn’t want the croc to make a reappearance because of the fact that it ate Hook’s hand was probably deemed as too scary in this day and age so they replaced it with a silly octopus. Though apparently the croc, known as Tick-Tock, later makes an appearance in the DISNEY JUNIOR show, Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Yeah, this thing is seemingly too violent for a Disquel set in England during WWII, but shove it into a Disney Junior show, that’s much better.

The point is that Hook is going after Peter again.

Peter spots Jane trying to head home on a homemade raft she must’ve made in ten minutes. She says she needs to go home and make things right with her brother and mother for saying Peter didn’t exist when he does. Oh, I guess she doesn’t think this is a dream anymore.

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Despite Peter stating that she won’t be able to get home in such a manner, Jane says she has to try anyway and bids Peter goodbye. However, Jane sucks at raft building and the raft sinks before she even gets ten feet out. Peter explains that the only way out of Neverland is to fly, and he’s willing to show her how.

Back at Peter Pan’s Uninsured Flight School, Peter and the others are trying to teach Jane to fly, but she doesn’t believe that she can. Peter says all she needs to fly is faith, trust and pixie dust, but Tinkerbitch, of course, doesn’t want to give her any. Peter persuades her into doing so by taunting that if Jane doesn’t learn how to fly, she’ll be stuck in Neverland forever and have to live with them.

So, Tinkerbell responds by assaulting Jane with a sack of pixie dust. Nice. But she does get comeuppance when she sneezes from so much dust and sends Tink flying around bouncing all over everything.

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Jane fails in flying and slams into the ground. I guess Neverland basically gives you cartoon physics because Jane makes a human shaped crater in the ground and comes out perfectly fine.

As she gets out of the hole, Peter notices a list Jane made earlier and explains it’s stuff like that that makes her unable to fly.

They play keepaway with her notebook, which accidentally ends up getting eaten by one of the Lost Boys. They laugh about it, but Jane has a fit yelling at them, calling them children, saying she doesn’t believe in them and when Tink starts being annoying again she adds that she especially doesn’t believe in fairies.

Jane, you can’t really say that anymore. Call them children, sure. But you are seeing and experiencing Neverland, Peter Pan and fairies. You flew through a rainbow earlier. I’m pretty sure the time for ‘I don’t believe’ is long since passed.

Jane leaves, but Peter and the others seem glad to be rid of her due to her outburst. After she leaves, Tinkerbell falls ill and you can already tell it’s because of Jane’s comment about not believing in fairies. By the way, why is it called pixie dust if she’s a fairy and not a pixie?

Jane tries to camp outside, ending up taking shelter in a small cave in the rain as we get a clip show of times she spent with her family, specifically the time when her father asked her to take care of Danny and her mother. While this isn’t particularly needed, it does showcase why it’s easier to sympathize with Jane each and every time.

Besides the whole World War Freakin’ II stuff, she also feels a heavy burden on her shoulders and responsibility to her dad, and when she tries to be responsible people just roll their eyes and talk about fairies or they screw around and mock her. I’d be frustrated too.

She shouldn’t dedicate her life to being a stick in the mud but WORLD WAR—You get the picture. Even if Peter Pan and the others have been proven as real beyond any shadow of a doubt, it doesn’t change how she feels about her promise nor the status of things back home.

Back with Tinkerbell, they confirm my suspicions and say that Tink’s light will go out if Jane doesn’t start believing in fairies…..No idea why. Millions of kids probably don’t believe in fairies, why is Jane the case that makes Tink terminally ill? Because she’s the only one in Neverland who doesn’t believe? Because she said it to her face?

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Peter believes the only way to make Jane believe in fairies is to make her one of them; A Lost Girl.

Cut back to Jane where she hears Hook crying. She smartly takes his sword from the ground and threatens him with it before asking what’s wrong. He claims he lives in the real world and misses his mother. He can take his ship and leave to the real world to reunite with her, but Peter Pan has his treasure and his crew would mutiny if he went off without it.

He’s obviously lying, but Hook tricks her into agreeing to getting back his treasure from Peter with the promise that she will be able to go with him on his ship back home. He even signs a contract stating that he will not harm Peter, and she agrees as long as the treasure’s rightfully his….Well, of course it’s not rightfully his. HE. ARE. PIRATE. When pirates have treasure, chances are they stole it from someone.

Peter, Jane and the Lost Boys reunite, and Peter apologizes to Jane for ruining her notebook. However, they want to make it up to her by turning her into one of them. She suggests they play Treasure Hunt, and Peter agrees, but only on the condition that she acts like a Lost Boy.

We get our next song, ‘These are the Things We Lost Boys Do,’ which is…alright. It’s not particularly bad, but I don’t really enjoy it much. It’s also the only song that’s actually sung by the characters as opposed to merely being played over regular footage.

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Throughout the song, Jane just starts having fun with all the shenanigans she and the boys are getting into and she eventually stumbles upon the treasure chest. She debates calling Hook with the whistle that he gave her, but ultimately throws the whistle away. Peter finds her with the treasure and congratulates her on winning the game by dubbing her the first official Lost Girl.

The Wiki page for Jane also confirms that she is the first and only Lost Girl on record (Supposedly because Lost Boys were made up of boys who fell out of their prams when the nurse was looking the other way. If the boys were not claimed within seven days, Peter would take them to Neverland. Girls do not become lost because, as Peter puts it, girls are ‘Too clever’ to fall out of their prams.)

They cheer, give her an honorary….wolf (?) hat like the other boys all have animal outfits and reprise the song about Lost Boys.

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Then, uh oh, one of the Lost Boys finds the whistle in the water and blows it, instantly calling Hook to the scene to capture Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.

He thanks Jane for her assistance, outing her actions to Peter, who calls her a traitor and tells her that Tink’s light is going out because of her not believing in fairies….Uhhhh, it was stated in the beginning that Peter steals from Hook and hides his treasure for no good reason besides to have fun as Hook pursues him. If it’s just a big game to him, how is she a traitor for telling him the location of the treasure? It takes away the fun, sure, but Peter can always steal it back.

In addition, Hook’s plan would’ve failed for the most part if Jane hadn’t suggested they play Treasure Hunt to begin with. All she needed to do was find the treasure, not Peter. It’s not like she needed Peter to tell her where it was, she stumbled upon it on her own.

Hook also turns his back on his promise to not harm Peter as his exact wording was to not harm a hair on Peter’s head. So he merely plucks out one of his hairs, declares not to harm it and throws it to Jane. She promises that she’ll save Peter and heads off to the house to try to save Tink.

However, it’s too late. She’s dead and boy do I feel bad.

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Oh come on, of course she’s not dead. Jane’s grief apparently sparks belief in fairies which causes Tink to regain her strength and cheer Jane back up.

Hook is having fun tormenting Peter in the most tame way possible, and finally decides to make him walk the plank while tied to an anchor. However, Jane and Tinkerbell, who is much more likable when she’s not being a jealous twat, arrive on the ship to save Peter and the Lost Boys.

She frees the Lost Boys while Tink distracts Hook and Smee, and they send the pirates overboard by flinging the treasure into the ocean with slingshots. Jane manages to get the key for Peter’s handcuffs from Hook, but he chases her up the mast and corners her.

However, she finally believes she can fly……believes she can touch the sky. And with the power of faith, trust and pixie dust, she is finally able to fly off of the mast and away from Hook. Even the pirates cheer for her, which is weird because 1) She’s the enemy and 2) she just prompted the boys to chuck their treasure overboard.

Still, she unlocks Peter from his cuffs and the anchor and they fly around together for a bit…It kinda bothers me that they’re sorta playing up a romantic angle between the two of them considering the last person he did that with was Jane’s mother….

But the cheering doesn’t last long as Hook grabs Jane and pins her to the mast with his hook. Peter cuts the rope he’s hanging from, drops the anchor on him and sends him crashing through the whole ship and on top of, you guessed it, the octopus. The octopus then chases Hook back up into the ship, damaging it even further, causing the ship to sink and dragging Hook under while the Lost Boys escape.

However, for some reason, the damn thing can’t keep ahold of Hook despite the fact that it has eight long incredibly flexible legs and suction cups, and he launches out of the water again and into the life boat that the others are on. The octopus pops back up and now wants to eat all of them for no given reason and chases them away while making the popping noises.

The Lost Boys cheer their one and only Lost Girl for saving them, but Tink brings up that, since Jane can fly now, that means she can go home. While everyone’s sad to see Jane leave, she says that she’ll miss them all and tell her brother all sorts of stories about Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. Peter and the others say they’ll escort Jane back home and they head back to London.

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Jane wakes up in front of her window (don’t worry, it’s not a dream sequence) and rushes to her mother to apologize for what she said earlier and to tell her that now she knows Peter Pan is real. Danny walks out having just had a bad dream, and Jane is quick to play around and comfort her brother with new stories of her adventures with Peter Pan.

Wendy smiles at the sight, but suspiciously looks out the window for something. Peter’s trying to catch a glimpse of her by the window and eventually the two reunite. While Peter points out that she’s changed and grown up physically, Wendy says that she hasn’t really changed on the inside.

Wendy also reunites with Tinkerbell, who gives her a shot of pixie dust, allowing her to float up a few feet, showing that she really hasn’t changed. Their reunion is short lived, however, since Peter needs to go back home. He bids Wendy goodbye as the kids also come up to the window and see Peter and Tink fly away.

And just because we have to have the most unrealistic and predictable ending possible, at that very moment, Jane’s father comes home from the war….the war that is still going so strong that they feel the need to send the children away to the countryside and told Wendy that very thing earlier in the night. He’s not injured or anything that I can see, so I have no clue how he got early leave. Also, does this mean that Jane and Danny aren’t being sent away anymore?

We see Peter and Tink smiling at the reunion before they finally head home. The End….of this hour and two minute long movie that is only 70 minutes due to the credits.

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I can’t speak as to how this movie may possibly offend the original, but the main gripes I’ve seen in reviews on IMDB are about how the characters act. Tinkerbell is supposedly more aggressive here than she is supposed to be, Peter Pan and the others are seen as being portrayed as jerks (mostly in regards to their rowdiness and destroying Jane’s book and laughing about it. Can’t say I disagree) and the fact that Peter Pan is not supposed to be some hero character, according to one reviewer – he’s just supposed to be a playful kid who screws around and gets into trouble.

I will say that the movie is more about Jane than Peter, which I think it’s supposed to be anyway, and Peter really is used mostly as a plot device to show that playing around, being childish, believing in magic and having fun aren’t particularly bad things. Granted, her transition was rather jarring and took place over the course of a song, but still we got the gist. As I stated, you don’t want to see her lose her childhood, but on the other hand you can greatly understand why she feels like she must.

Also, the fact that this is called Return to Neverland may seem misleading as none of the original human characters are actually returning to Neverland. Wendy is in this movie, but she only gets one short scene with Peter and doesn’t really fly much or visit Neverland. However, I found their reunion to be short and sweet.

Bottomline: This movie is perfectly fine. Short, seemingly pointless, but perfectly fine. I actually laughed once or twice at the Lost Boys. While Peter, the Lost Boys and Tinkerbell do get grating sometimes, they all redeem themselves over and over. Jane is sympathetic, and you root for her to finally start having fun and having a childhood again.

The art and animation are much better than your average Disquel fare. Still not as good as their namesakes’ theatrical releases, but still really nice, except some shots with the ship. The music is actually really good, even if there is a real lack of original songs and there’s only one song that is sung by the characters. It also might be somewhat weird that ‘Do You Believe In Magic?’ in the main ending credits song.

The movie’s main issue is in its predictability. While they kinda slap you in the face with World War II, the rest of the events are rather paint by numbers. You can really predict exactly what will happen through small prompts. Because of that, there’s nothing to really make this movie particularly special.

However, it’s still an enjoyable movie and far from one of the worse Disney sequels I’ve been subjected to. Maybe I would feel different if I were more of a childhood fan of the first film, but as it stands, I enjoyed watching this movie, and I’d recommend a watch to people looking for a light Disney movie.

Recommended Audience: There’s some dark themes what with World War II and all, but it’s not like you see anyone die and really this is lightest tale I’ve seen connected with World War II. It’s no Grave of the Fireflies that’s for sure. 5+

Yu-Gi-Oh Episode 7 Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: Yugi and the group are hungry and come upon some fish cooking on a cliff. Thinking with their stomachs, Honda and Jounouchi quickly go after the feast. The owner of the fish, the duelist Ryouta, confronts them. After finding out who Yugi is, he eagerly treats them to a meal and then demands a duel as compensation. Can Yugi beat the creatures of the deep or will the power of the ocean overcome him?

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I agree; if Pegasus wasn’t going to cater the tournament, he should’ve at least told the contestants to bring food…..Then again, I wouldn’t go to some strange island for three days without any food, especially if the invitation didn’t mention catering. Also, dub Yugi, why would there be burger stands or restaurants on Pegasus’s private island where the only house is his?

Honda’s survival book cover has the evil language of Japan on it, so it got turned into rectangles. What? You can’t read rectangles? This is why you should’ve gone to college.

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Name Change: Ryouta Kajiki is changed to Mako Tsunami. Like Ryuzaki and Haga, his name is also a pun in both versions as Kajiki is a blue marlin. It’s also apparently the name of a Typhoon, which adds to the pun.

Jounouchi justifies his stealing by saying the fish must be a meal prepared for them by God. Well, religion and all that so Joey just says he’ll eat first and ask questions later.

Mako’s getting the Joey treatment when it comes to his tournament rank. He came in third in the tournament that Joey participated in (Shouldn’t Jounouchi recognize him then?) In this version, Yugi just says he’s the top ranked ocean duelist (Out of how many? It can’t be a saturated field. He’s the only ocean duelist I’ve ever seen). Also, considering Yugi’s already beaten the champion of that same tournament, it kinda takes away the tension.

Ehhhhhhh wait a minute. Mako basically challenges Yugi to a duel right after he finds out who he is. “It’ll be my honor to duel you!” “Same here, Mako” basically insinuates a challenge and acceptance. This makes his infamous harpoon throw at Yugi even less necessary.

How do Yugi and Mako get onto their dueling platforms? The arena is like ten feet from the cliff and it’s jettisoned out about 70 feet from the water. The arena doesn’t extend a bridge, so what the hell?

At this point, I’m starting to get annoyed that Yugi constantly calls out Yami to help him in duels. Does Yami just burst out to steal Yugi’s limelight or is Yugi just lazy? He hardly ever duels on his own, and, if he does, Yami has an inner monologue running to help him. The more he does it, the more it seems like Yugi cheats…

Ya know, Yugi, an intelligent duelist would put their monster in defense mode if they were facing a monster they couldn’t see. Just sayin’.

I understand that tying up Mako/Ryouta was to save him from falling into the ocean, but what if the boat capsized? Then he’d be trapped and have no way out of the boat, then drown.

For some reason, they flipped the screens of the clouds coming in….no comment.

Death is a big no-no – Ryouta’s dad obviously died during that storm in the flashback and he wants a boat so that he can take on the sea again. In the dub, Mako says he noticed the lifeboat was missing when he washed up ashore and knows that he’s alive. He wants a boat to go out looking for him.

Both versions have this – you can’t attack magic cards unless it’s a specific effect of a monster or magic card. So, technically, Yugi cheated again. Though, considering this is season one, I guess it’s not the worst….That’ll come soon. Also, the moon barely affected the water when it came out on the field, but destroy it and all of the water leaves?

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This episode was okay. Mako’s fairly entertaining and his backstory is pretty sad. His story in the dub amounts to nothing, which sucks because you’re left wondering if Mako will ever find his dad.

Next episode, a mysterious star chip thief is roaming the island and it’s Kaiba’s brother Mokuba. He wants revenge on Yugi for defeating his brother and he’ll do whatever it takes to do so.

…..Previous Episode

 

Pokemon Episode 21 Analysis – Bye Bye Butterfree

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CotD(s): None, though I guess you could say that the pink Butterfree, Ash’s Butterfree’s mate, is kinda one.

Departures: Ash’s Butterfree.

Reappears?: No 😦 Though, to be fair, he does appear in some of the future Japanese OP’s and ED’s. He also appears in some flashbacks.

Final Farewell: I feel like Ash’s Butterfree had more room to grow, but definitely would’ve stagnated quickly. Plus, Butterfree’s main goal in life was to be a Butterfree. He already achieved that goal, so setting him free and letting him settle down with a mate instead of spending his whole life at Oak’s is the best option for him. We miss you, Butterfree.~

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock are continuing their journey to Saffron City when they approach a large cliff overlooking a vast ocean. Nearby, they spot a huge swarm of Butterfree, and Brock explains that they have gathered for the season of love – a time when Butterfree mate and lay their eggs across the sea. Ash asks if his Butterfree should go too, and Brock explains that if he doesn’t do it now, Butterfree will never have babies.

The group rents a hot-air balloon, and Ash sets Butterfree off to find a mate. As many other trainers join them in the air to release their Butterfree, Ash’s Butterfree is finding no luck in love in the swarm. He finds an attractive Pink Butterfree and falls head over heels, but his courtship dance is met with a swift smack to the face.

Embarrassed and dejected, Ash’s Butterfree flies down to land. Ash and the others follow and find Butterfree sulking under a tree. Ash, Misty and Brock proclaim that the best way to win over the lady Butterfree is by showing his awesome moves and abilities. With a spiffy new yellow ribbon around its neck and a new approach, Butterfree is off again to find love.

As he makes his attempts, the Pink Butterfree gives him the cold shoulder again.

Suddenly, a helicopter appears, revealing Team Rocket pursuing their latest target – the Butterfree. They dispatch a huge net and start capturing the Butterfree. Ash and the others find that they’re not of much help in taking them down in their slow hot air balloon. Ash’s Butterfree makes a valiant effort to take out the helicopter, but to no avail.

Team Rocket leaves the area with their catch, but Ash’s Butterfree, now exhausted and roughed up, is hot on their tail. Ash and the others try to keep up as best they can. They lose sight of Butterfree, but he returns to ask them for their help. Team Rocket has holed up in a warehouse in the middle of the mountains and are enjoying their sizable Butterfree catch.

Ash, Misty, Brock and Butterfree burst into the warehouse and start battling Team Rocket. While they’re all distracted, Butterfree sneaks away and busts open the cage holding the Butterfree. The Butterfree manage to escape out the door, but Team Rocket gets back into their helicopter to catch them again.

Ash and the others try to pursue them in their balloon, but they’re lagging way too far behind again. Pikachu and Butterfree team up to attack the helicopter and with a swift Thundershock, Team Rocket is sent blasting off.

The Pink Butterfree, enamored by his heroics and dedication to protecting her, reciprocates Ash’s Butterfree’s courtship dance and they become mates.

Later, at sunset, Ash tearfully bids his Butterfree farewell, knowing he has to set him free in order for Butterfree to mate and start his new family. With the sparkles of the sunlight on the Butterfree’s wings seeing them off, Butterfree also says his goodbyes to his Trainer and friend and sets off to start a new life and a new family.

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Bye Bye Butterfree For the love of God, put a spoiler tag up. Also, being fair to 4Kids, this is the exact same title as the Japanese version.

– Futurama kinda ruined this episode for me. I keep thinking back to Dr. Zoidberg dancing on a rock and battling Fry to the death for his potential mate.

– Wow, Rachel Lillis, you’re not even trying to hide the fact that you’re putting on a bad southern accent to play that Butterfree Trainer that Brock liked, are you?

– Brock: *trying to prod Butterfree to mate with a pretty girl’s Butterfree* “Don’t you get it? If two Butterfree fall in love, their Trainers can meet and they can fall in love too!” Soooo….you want that girl to fall in love with Ash?

– I didn’t remember that the Pink Butterfree straight up slapped Ash’s Butterfree. A simple ‘I’m not interested, thank you.’ would’ve sufficed, Bitch-erfree.

– Ash: “Do you think Dexter could tells us how to get that Pink Butterfree to be its mate?”

Misty: “Dexter’s never been in love.”

Yeah, but it might have valuable information on Butterfree mating habits.

– Misty: “You’ve got to be assertive! Love is all about attacking your opponent first. Get in a quick punch and surprise them, and when they’re still weak take the lead and you’ll beat them hands down! Trust me, I know!”

What the fuck?

Brock: “You mean it?”

Misty: “Sure do! That’s love!”

Brock: “ARGH I WISH I’D KNOWN THAT SOONER!”

What. The. Fuck.

– Ash: “Now remember, this time just have confidence in yourself!” But he didn’t seem to have confidence issues the first time. In fact, wasn’t it Butterfree’s persistence that got him slapped?

– It bothered me for years that Team Rocket was flying such a long blank banner from their helicopter that the shot focuses on for so long. It wasn’t until I read Dogasu’s comparison on this episode that I finally realized the original shot had text on it. For those curious, the banner just has a transcription of their motto in the original version. Kinda pointless since they’re announcing their motto over the helicopter’s PA system, but at least it’s something to READ.

– Ya know, in a real situation with a helicopter flying around a swarm of Butterfree….let’s just say there’d be a lot of dead Butterfree.

– James: “It’s those little twerps again. No matter where we go, those kids are always in our way.”

You’re following them.

– James: “Ahahaha, nothing but net!” Oh, 90’s.

– Ash, even if the Stun Spore coated the helicopter…..what then? You can’t paralyze a helicopter.

– And a helicopter wouldn’t be able to fly that close to all of those balloons without a bunch of corpses peppering the landscape below.

– So, is there some reason none of the other trainers in the other balloons are lifting a finger to help out their Pokemon/the Butterfree as a collective? Either none of them have Flying Pokemon that can help or they’re all assholes.

– Yes, Misty, Ash shouldn’t let out any other Pokemon to help Butterfree because he’s trying his best to take down the helicopter. Wouldn’t want to bruise Butterfree’s pride and, I dunno, save those Butterfree.

Granted, Pidgeotto probably wouldn’t be able to do much in the first place.

– Okay, now is there any particular reason none of the other trainers are trying to follow the helicopter? I’m just going to assume the asshole thing.

– I will never not love Ash, Misty and Brock doing Team Rocket’s motto.

– HOLY CRAP! They left in, untouched, Starmie getting smacked by a sledgehammer? Ow. They even left in the sound effect. Owww.

– Is a spurt of water like a Hyper Potion to a Starmie? Also, where the hell did Misty randomly get a high-powered portable water hose?

– So it’s not okay to send Pidgeotto off to try and help because it would damage Butterfree’s pride, but Pikachu can save the day no problem? Is it because the Pink Butterfree is attracted to him now?

– Though I’ll forgive that last note because that scene of Pikachu about to shock Team Rocket is hilarious.

– And the episode just cuts off after that. Nothing else happens. Well that was a good episode. I really enjoyed it. Next episode–

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Dammit, NO. I don’t want this. You’re not gonna make me tear up again.

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Don’t play the song. Please, God, why?

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*sniff* I hate this show! Leave me alone!

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This really was a great episode. Outside of some wonky animation, it was a very fitting departure for little Butterfree. It mostly hit all of the right notes, had some pretty funny and touching writing, and the ending still gets to me. Maybe it’s just nostalgia gnawing on my heart, but I really can’t help but well up when Butterfree finally flies away.

And, as much as I rag on Ash, you do have to appreciate how brave he was to let Butterfree go. Caterpie was the very first Pokemon Ash ever caught. He has a status rivaling that of Pikachu at this point in the series. But he realized that Butterfree going off and having a family was more important than staying by his side. One of the harsher realities of life is knowing when it’s better to let go of someone you love if it’s for the betterment of their lives, no matter how much it hurts you in the process.

We may never see Butterfree again officially, and, oddly enough, I’m okay with that. He never does outright promise or say that he’ll see Butterfree again. He just says Butterfree may come back to visit them sometime maybe, which I think is a statement that he really doesn’t believe and moreso just hopes. Butterfree’s story ended and while it would be nice to see him again someday with little baby Caterpie (who would long since be Butterfree of their own by now), I’m fine with just leaving him on the horizon.

Bye bye, Butterfree.

Next episode, another of my favorites and definitely one of the weirder episodes of the series, the battle against Sabrina of Saffron City. Ash’s first failure to get a gym badge.

Previous Episode….

SSBS – Boys Over Flowers Episode 1: Declaration of War!

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Plot: Makino Tsukushi has enrolled in the very prestigious Eitoku Academy, and she has done everything in her power to stay to the background. She wants nothing more than to make her final years at the school to be peaceful and uneventful. However, when she butts heads with the biggest bullies in school, a four man group called the F4, they declare war on her, making her a target of vicious attacks from not only them but everyone in school.

Breakdown: I have no super-interesting backstory with this one. In fact, I’m pretty unfamiliar with this series. Though, still, I adore these older titles.

The OP has a very 60’s/Detective Conan music feel to it, if that makes any sense. It’s pretty catchy, though I will admit that the sudden heel drop sound in the middle kind breaks the rhythm.

Our main character is a fairly poor girl named Makino Tsukushi who is currently enrolled in a prestigious high school, Eitoku Academy, with a lot of rich kids. She has two more years at the school before she graduates and only wants to make those final two years be peaceful and quiet.

One day, she sees a boy being bullied by a gang of four guys, all of which are sons of the richest families in the school, for getting dust on one of their pants while cleaning. They are known as F.

While many students, especially female ones, find them attractive and cool, they are feared by just as many students. What’s worse? When the F4 is against someone personally, the whole school turns on them, making them a target for schoolwide bullying.

They start kicking around a garbage can and Tsukushi wonders why the boys are the way that they are, especially over something as minor as dust. One of the boys, Rui Hanazawa, picks up the garbage can and returns it to its proper position to the chagrin of his friends who want to leave the mess behind. Tsukushi gets flustered when Rui gives her a glance before leaving with his friends.

After standing up for her friend, Makiko, when she accidentally falls on the leader of the F4, Tsukasa, Tsukushi ends up as the next target of the F4’s bullying. They officially declare war on Tsukushi and, as a result, the entire school starts bullying her as well.

What’s even worse than their terrible bullying is the fact that Makiko keeps avoiding her and refusing to talk to her in order to avoid getting the bullying herself, something that she expressed concern for earlier. Makiko wanted to solidify her friendship with Tsukushi to ensure that she would never abandon her if she was bullied like a lot of other people would, yet she has become the very type of person she had worried about.

Tsukushi refuses to cry in front of her classmates and has an outburst outside of the school when she again meets up with Rui who just laughs at her anger towards him. Despite her attempts to actually speak with him civilly, he just suggests that she leave the school.

Tsukushi goes on the offensive stating that the F4 has bullied several people out of school in the same manner, but she didn’t even want to go to the school to begin with. She only went because her family wanted her to. Before she can even finish speaking, Rui leaves stating that he doesn’t care as he has no interest in other people.

Makiko meets with her in the bathroom stating that she sneaked out of class to find her desk that went missing from the classroom earlier. While she is visibly remorseful, she can’t bring herself to stick with her in public. Tsukushi understands and tells her that she should leave before she ends up getting in trouble. Before she rushes out the door, she hands Tsukushi a voice recorder in the shape of a frog that bears a recording of Makiko apologizing to Tsukushi.

Despite gaining a newfound resolve and a better respect for herself, she is still the victim of harsh and even violent bullying. As she’s being assaulted (and nearly raped?) by a group of boys from the school, Rui appears again telling them to let her go, even though the boys are directly under Tsukasa’s orders.

Tsukushi is very grateful to Rui for what he did, but he merely says he doesn’t like stuff like that (violence, sexual assault or possibly both? I mean, I have to assume it’s sexual assault because the F4 has to have been violent with plenty of people) before leaving. Again, Tsukushi gains a second wind and becomes determined to carry on through this.

The next day at school, Tsukushi comes prepared to battle against the bullying. When the F4 shows up, she kicks Tsukasa in the face, plasters a red slip on his face and responds to his war declaration with one of her own. Now excited to face the school year, Tsukushi prepares for war.

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There are a bunch of things that I liked about this first episode. For starters, Tsukushi is a great character. While the bullying does affect her, she also comes back with a vengeance. She won’t stand for this behavior whether it’s to her or others, and I really respect that. She’s also notably hurt by Makiko’s somewhat betrayal, but she has enough maturity and understanding to forgive her for it.

While I am a bit miffed at Makiko for not standing up with Tsukushi when the only reason Tsukushi’s even in this mess is because of Makiko, I also understand her position. It takes a lot to stand up to others and stand with your friends, especially when the bullying is this bad. Does this make her a coward? Maybe, but then again we all have to look within ourselves and ask if we’d honestly do the same thing.

Plus, she kinda made up to her a little, and she’s clearly beating herself up over her decision.

The F4 (which stands for Flower Four, by the way. It’s supposed to highlight how pretty the guys are, but what a dumb nickname to allow to stick when you’re trying to be intimidating) are realistic bullies. They’re entitled little shits who act like they run the school because their daddies are the richest in the land and most people follow them either to be cool/popular or because they’re afraid of them. They are a bit over the top, but it’s not anything terrible. They’re not like supervillains or anything, they’re just assholes.

Rui…..*sigh* I don’t know what to do here. The worst part of this episode, in my opinion, was Rui. Tsukushi is obviously falling for him even now yet, despite the fact that he saved her once, there’s no denying that he’s partaking in the bullying merely for staying loyal to the F4, and he even seems like he mocks Tsukushi about the egg in her hair from the bullying. He states that he doesn’t care about her story or problems, he has no interest in other people at all, is never going to give any secrets or info on the F4 and wants her to leave the school.

The three main points of Tsukushi’s interest in him are the fact that he’s cute, he picked up a garbage can and he saved her from those boys. That’s it. That’s what separates him from the other jackasses and makes him so cool.

And really, when you think about, Rui had to have known that Tsukasa called for that attack. They stick together so much that he was probably even there when he did it. If he really was a good guy who secretly cared about her, he’d stop the attack before it started not after it was already happening. For all we know, it was a fluke he arrived at the right place at the right time considering how far she ran away. If he were just a few minutes later, she could’ve been raped or at least seriously injured.

He’s not as much of a douchenozzle as his friends. That’s it. Yet Tsukushi is putting him on a pedestal. Until he actually steps up a bit and shows that he has a true caring bone in his body and not just a ‘I don’t like sexual assault’ attitude, I can’t see much that isn’t dumb about this crush.

Then again, I also developed a crush on someone who bullied me simply because they opened my stuck locker to help me get my lunch money out when I was really hungry one day……Hey, cut me some slack. I was 11. She’s like 15. And the situation is different. And shut up.

The art is actually pretty bad for early/mid ’90s. I would’ve guessed it was mid ’80s. The animation is also just okay.

The music also seems stuck in the ’80s, most notably the OP. The BG music is fine, but spots of silence seem awkward. The ED is decent but not very catchy or memorable.

The sound effects, though, ech. I don’t know what went on in the sound booth, but there are scenes where a lot of action is going on yet there are so few sound effects and those that are there seem weird or aren’t making enough noise. This is especially prominent in the attack sequence that starts with no music. The silence mixed with the weird sound effects makes for a very odd sounding scene.

All in all, I expect this series to become something pretty good and I did enjoy this first episode just fine, but the Rui thing will definitely keep bothering me until he gets some development in him.

Rating: 8/10

Next Episode….

Episode One-Derland: Yosuga no Sora

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Plot: Sora and Haru are twins whose parents just recently passed away. They decide to sell their apartment and go back to their old house in a very small town in the country. Every female, including his sister, wants to ride Haru’s meat wagon, and that’s pretty much all you need to know.

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“But FiddleTwix, you said you hate harems and actively try to avoid them!” you yell through your computer screen.

Oh yes, yes I do. But I also have a problem with reading terrible reviews on anime. On one hand, I give some of these shows a shot just to see if they have earned some form of redemption in my eyes. On the other hand, boy is it fun to watch terrible anime and then tear it a new one.

My first glimpse into this was through THEM anime reviews who basically said it was crappy soft-core hentai. They left it at a one paragraph review amounting the show to being less enjoyable to merely watching 12 episodes of blank screen. Now that is something to spur my interest.

So I got around to watching the first episode and just from this episode alone I can see all sorts of problems.

First of all, there’s no story so far. Yup. One whole episode and no story outside of the plot synopsis I just gave you, and that information is only given to us in the middle of the episode. Narrative story flow? What’s that?

Want me to give you a full synopsis of the entire episode?

Okay.

Sora and Haru arrive in the town, grocery shop, greet the neighbors, Haru goes to school (Sora can’t because she suffers from ‘wtfistheresomethinginthewaterinJapanincrediblyweakyetgivennodiagnosis-itis’ and believe it or not, Haru actually describes her problem as ‘She’s weak and whatnot.’ Thanks Doctor.), we find out that Haru and Sora kissed when they were like ten (And I mean, legit kissed, not a little peck), Sora gets mad that he was late coming home, everyone with a vagina pervs on Haru and we end the episode with Sora imagining Haru about to French her as an apology for forgetting his phone at home with the episode-ending ‘cliffhanger’ being a horny Sora taking off her clothes at Haru’s bed propositioning him for sex.

Yep, that’s it.

Second, the other characters. There are several other characters introduced here, all of which being girls because duh. I can at least give most other harems some slack for usually taking time with the interactions with the main male lead and not flying head first into ‘Every girl needs to change her panties at the sight of him’ stuff.

This show, oh god, no. Every girl, and I mean every single one, coming to a grand total of six, so far, is lusting after Haru like this is an all-girl’s school built on an aphrodisiac factory immediately after catching sight of him.

Okay, not all of them are really lusting after him at this point, but most of them are, and the ones who haven’t gotten to the point of causing moisture damage to their desk chairs whenever his name is brought up very clearly have a gigantic crush on him just by glancing at his perfect face.

Because of this, they have to give a car crash of introductions to make sure that fans of every route get a little taste of their lust for him before the episode’s over. Did I say ‘route’? Why, that would indicate that this is based on an H-game. Boy howdy, a crappy softcore hentai harem anime based off of an H-game. That never happens!

While we do get little tidbits into the personalities of each girl, I honestly couldn’t keep up enough to even get their names partway memorized. It takes some kind of talent to make the audience have difficulty keeping up with a show that has absolutely no story so far.

The only two you really need to worry about at this point are Sora and Haru. How do they fare as characters?

Haru’s fine. He’s….perfect. He’s kind, smart, caring, very responsible, sociable, hard working, overall very happy, a teenage Adonis with the light and breezes of heaven following him around in case a girl gawks at him—he’s a Gary Stu. There ya go. If there’s one negative character trait that I’ve been able to squeeze out of him so far is a very common one of Gary Stus….he’s a doormat. Otherwise known as the ‘my only flaw is that I’m too nice’ flaw.

Sora, on the other hand, is a completely unlikable little twat. It seems like they’re trying for the tsundere trope with her, but she is just a complete little grumpy bitch. Yeah, I understand that their parents died…some time ago, but she never seems to think about them nor bring them up – all of her thoughts are wet dreams about Haru.

The only way they seem to be gunning for even remotely tsundere-like qualities in regards to the other half of the equation is that when Sora is done being a bitch, she grabs onto Haru’s shirt with a few fingers. This in combination with her clinging to her stuffed rabbit and the fact that her alternate hairstyle is pigtails pretty much establish her as a loli trope above all else. Did I mention she’s 16?

She’s entitled, she likes absolutely nothing but junk food, the Internet and Haru, she rarely smiles, she’s jealous of every girl who comes near Haru, she’s very abrasive and bossy, taking stuff that doesn’t belong to her with a snide remark, and wasting their measly grocery budget on junk food (Gee, I wonder why she’s so weak.) and she’s just plain creepy with how horny she is for her twin brother.

That ending scene I mentioned? She’s not even sweetly or shyly asking Haru to ‘make love’ to her or anything. She is repeatedly asking him in a creepy voice to make her orgasm while she strips.

And let me make it clear that while the target of her affections being her brother does make the situation squickier, the way she acts would be creepy with anyone.

You like Haru because the show kinda forces you to, especially giving him the bonus sympathy angle of being an orphan, but the only other really prominent main character is so hate-worthy that you can’t stand watching any scene with her. The other girls are annoying in their own rights, mostly with their crushes on Haru, but their scenes with him are way more tolerable than any scene with her.

Oh yeah, there’s a chibi-comedy rehash of an early scene as a pre-end-credits scene in which one of the girls, lonely (apparently going to a singles group when she’s still in high school….) and recently catching a glimpse of sex incarnate himself, goes home to have a completely necessary masturbation scene. Yup.

The art, animation and music are really the only saving graces so far, and even that’s not fantastic. Some of the design choices are questionable, such as making some of the characters look too thin and sometimes having odd faces, but it’s overall pretty decent. The backgrounds are really well detailed and the environments, while not being particularly memorable, are well designed.

Final Verdict:

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Okay, I’m cheating. This decision is really for your own sake. I’ll be continuing it just to see how far the rabbit hole really goes…..I’m regretting that choice of words immediately. But yeah, it’s really not worth a look at all unless you have a thing for incest or smacking around bad anime.

Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01 (Manga) Volume 1 Review

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Plot: Taichi is a very talented player of the V-Pet game, Digimon. When he tries to enter a tournament, he’s disqualified for having an unknown Digimon, V-dramon, known by the nickname of Zeromaru or Zero for short. He eventually gets transported to the Digital World; a world where Digimon are real.

After he teams up with Zero, he is told by one of the great leaders of the world, Holy Angemon, that the Digital World is in danger of destruction by someone named Demon. Since a good tamer makes a Digimon immensely more skilled and powerful, he sends them on a mission to collect the five tags needed to enter Demon’s castle and save the Digital World.

Breakdown: I’m a big fan of Digimon, and I’ve always been interested to see if there was a manga version. Much to my delight, there are several with this being the first. Much to my confusion, it’s not really even close to the same as the anime.

Let me back up. Digimon, as a franchise, is actually derived from Digimon V-Pets, little devices aimed towards kids where you could raise a virtual monster. Sound familiar? Of course it does, it’s one of many Tamagotchi clones. More to the point, Digimon V-Pets were specifically designed to be aimed towards boys since Tamagotchis were aimed more towards girls. To push the masculine aspect even further, the Digimon V-Pets included the ability to sync up devices and battle other Digimon.

This manga is based off of those V-Pets and the anime was ‘loosely’ based on the manga.

Since the differences are so drastic, I want to handle this as a purely standalone feature with no AniManga clash hanging off of it, but I know some people will be curious as to the main differences between the manga and the anime, so the sate those curiosities I will list all of the major differences at the start of each review.

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The anime showcases seven and later eight children each with their own Digimon, and these children are referred to as Chosen Children. It’s not until season three where the kids are described as Digimon Tamers. Also, Digimon have never been heard of in the real world beforehand, except in Digimon Tamers.

In the manga, only Taichi is present. And he doesn’t even have Agumon; instead he has a V-dramon. Also sound familiar? He’s the Adult version of Daisuke’s Digimon, V-mon, from Adventure 02. Weird, huh? Zero’s design is bulkier and less humanoid than Adventure 02’s V-dramon, though. I prefer Zero’s design much more. Also, this Taichi is quite a bit different from his anime counterpart. He’s much more laid back and excitable, kinda like Daisuke only much less stupid and jealous.

As for any of the anime’s Chosen Children Digimon making any appearances, we get Gabumon, named Gabo here. He’s a bit neurotic and follows Taichi and Zero on their journey. Gomamon, named Gon here, is roughly similar, but he’s more responsible than anime!Gomamon, and eventually becomes tasked with being the guardian of the oceans after evolving to Ikkakumon. Greymon makes a brief appearance, but it’s an enemy and doesn’t even talk. Known Digimon such as Whamon and Etemon (called Etemonkey here) make appearances, but no other Chosen Children Digimon except maybe counting Leomon, who is more strict and uptight here.

The Digivice is still a thing, but it’s different. First off, it’s a super cool kick-ass watch I’m mad at the anime for changing. Second, it doesn’t prompt evolution, at least not yet, and instead shows the stats of other Digimon and allows Taichi to communicate ‘telepathically’ with Zero to give him precise commands that no one else can hear.

The crests are gone, but there is something similar in the tags. Unlike the crests which embody traits and help prompt Perfect level and Ultimate level evolution, the tags embody elements in earth, sea, sky, spirit and iron, and their function is to enter the castle that Demon lives in.

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I think that’s everything important, so let’s address the actual story for this volume.

This is a pretty simple story, which is to be expected since it’s based off of a game that is literally ‘raise monsters, fight them’. Taichi is transported to the Digital World because of a great leader named Holy Angemon/MagnaAngemon. While he looks entirely different from the MagnaAngemon of the anime here, apparently he looks very similar to MagnaAngemon’s priest mode, which is never shown in the anime.

He requests his help in saving the Digital World from a terrible virus Digimon called Demon. I would call them out on their uncreative name, but the main villain for much of the first series was called Devimon….

Taichi and Zero are the only ones who can do it since Tamers bring out something very special in their Digimon – something that makes Zero incredibly powerful. Something else is brought up to support this; Taichi has ‘Ichi’ or ‘One’ in his name and his partner is Zero. The Digital World’s base is data, which is binary; a series of ones and zeroes.

With good intentions, Taichi and Zero can restore and protect the data, but failure would result in data deletion. This is further supported when Whamon explains that the good guys are all data and vaccine Digimon while the bad guys are virus types, since viruses delete data. Taichi proves his worth time and again as his teamwork, tactical skills and friendship as well as Zero’s trust and faith in Taichi lead them to victory time and again even against Perfect level Digimon.

I will say, this does cheapen the manga a bit. Taichi pulls something out of his ass nearly every chapter. Zero will maybe take one hit, sometimes a couple, then Taichi will have a eureka moment and instantly defeat the enemy. While he does train, the fact remains that the training seems inconsequential when these moments arise. Teaching Zero to swim was vital, yes, but the way he beat Marine (Marinedevimon) had really nothing to do with swimming. Triceramon was beaten in the first try without training.

The plot is similar to the anime in that he has to beat several Perfect level Digimon in order to get to the big bad, like the dark masters, and that the big bad is a virus Digimon who wants to destroy the Digital World.

Taichi and Zero make a great team. They have a wonderful dynamic and friendship that seems real from the very start. I would like to see their origins sometime to get a better idea of the foundation of their strong bond.

The enemies, besides maybe Etemonkey, don’t really have personalities besides ‘Urgh, I’m evil.’ It’s a very black and white, good versus evil, light versus dark story so far with not really much in regards to tension. That’s not to say it’s at all bad. It’s a very entertaining manga so far. You can just sit back and have some fun with the story and characters. I don’t want to say it’s watered down in comparison to the anime, but it kinda is so far. We’re one volume in and he’s already got two tags. He’s zooming through these challenges like nobody’s business.

Hopefully we get a bit more tension in the second volume, but I’m alright with keeping a lighter tone if need be. Still, maybe slow the pace down a bit.

Rating: 7.5/10

Recommended Audience: A Digimon dies, but not really since Digimon don’t really die….unless you’re evil, in which case, screw you. Other than that, nothing. E for everyone.

Final notes: Why was Anime!Taichi screwed out of his awesome yellow cape? First the Digivice now this? You did me wrong, anime. You did me wrong.

Next Volume, Taichi and Zero face off against the evil Vamdemon, and a familiar face to Taichi appears, and he’s helping the enemy!?

 

Three-Year Blogiversary!

WordPress just pressed the word that today is my Blogiversary!

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The Anime Madhouse is now three years old. Seems like just yesterday I was changing its diapers, burping it and making formatting errors that make me cry. I think I’ve done much better this year in regards to uploading more and more (even though I completely spaced on doing my Valentines Day special. Whoops) and we even got a much needed facelift for the place last month. (Yes, at three years old you need a facelift, blog. Wait until you’re five, we’ll get you a boob job.) Thanks to everyone who has been reading and commenting on my posts. You’re all love incarnate. ❤

Well, okay, you’re not Cupids because I am not going back to the diaper phase.

Here’s to three years and onto year four!

 

Cartoon Step-By-Step: Xiaolin Showdown S01 Ep01

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Plot: Many years ago, the forces of good and evil battled against each other over the shen gong wu, numerous powerful artifacts with the collective ability to conquer the world in the wrong hands. Dashi, a noble warrior with the power of the shen gong wu fought fiercely against the Heylin witch Wuya and came out triumphantly, sealing her in a box. In and effort to prevent the power of the shen gong wu from ending up in the hands of evil, Dashi hid them and scattered them across the globe.

Centuries later, a monk named Omi, the dragon of water, learns that three new students will be joining him under the guide of Master Fung; Raymundo from Brazil, Kimiko from Japan and Clay from America. While they’re very rough around the edges, particularly to Omi, they have to quickly get their act together when Wu Ya is revived and sent to partner up with the self-proclaimed evil genius bent on world domination, Jack Spicer. Since Wuya has no corporeal body of her her own, she decides to use to him to gather the shen gong wu and get a real body as well as allow him to conquer the world.

Omi, Raymundo, Kimiko and Clay set out after the shen gong wu with the sensing capabilities of Dashi’s old friend, a small transformable dragon named Dojo. They continue to clash with their personality and culture differences, causing them to lose the Mantis Flip Coin, a magical coin allowing you to easily flip and leap, but they manage to get the Two-Ton-Tunic, Dashi’s old armor that is seemingly impenetrable but weighs a lot.

When they get to a third shen gong wu, the Eye of Dashi, Spicer and Omi get to it at the same time, causing them to fight over it and triggering a Xiaolin Showdown; a contest between two beings set in an alternate dimension where the winner gains the right to own the shen gong wu. Unfortunately, it’s a race across several extremely tall pillars, giving Jack a major advantage with his Mantis Flip Coin and leaving Omi in the dust with his Two-Ton Tunic. Utilizing some lessons he’s learned from his new friends throughout their journey, Omi overcomes the Jack Bots that Spicer sends to attack him and manages to come out victorious. Later, at the temple, Master Fun reveals that he new students were meant to teach him as much as he was meant to teach them as they are actually dragons themselves; Raymundo, the dragon of the wind, Kimiko, the dragon of fire and Clay the dragon of earth.

Breakdown: Xiaolin Showdown is a show that I watched as a kid, but I didn’t keep up with it very closely. It kept my attention and I enjoyed it perfectly fine, but I never got around to sitting down and watching every episode.

First episode wise, this is a very good way to kick off the series, even if there are some very convenient aspects such as all of the dragons being assembled right before Wuya gets released from her box and somehow being able to utilize every minor thing Omi has learned from Raymundo, Kimiko and Clay. Like the ‘using your weight to your advantage’ thing works perfectly here, but the Jack Bots actually had huge on-off switches and Jack was so slow that he not only let Omi catch up to him, but he also let him pull down his pants?

We learn a fair amount about each character. Omi is a very serious, almost too serious, Xiaolin monk who treasures perfection and hard work, but also has a huge ego on him and is a bit headstrong. I do have to wonder if his character design could be construed as a bit racist though. I mean, I’m not sure why Omi was designed like that, but he’s a Chinese kid with bright yellow skin………..

He’s also voiced by Tara Strong.

Raymundo’s lazy and a bit of an ass, but I assume that will get better later. He’s voiced by Tom Kenny. Give the guy credit for range – I never would’ve guessed that.

Kimiko’s a bit too into technology with none of it being useful at all (even that Pac-man-like game. Who plays a game by poking one button over and over? And is it really playing a game if the little guy keeps eating even if you’re not touching anything, he doesn’t move, the food doesn’t move and there seems to be nothing to avoid?) but she’s kinda sweet in how protective she is of Omi. She’s voiced by Grey DeLisle who doesn’t seem to be sporting a voice that is very similar to any of the voices I know her as such as Sam from Danny Phantom and Vicky and Tootie from Fairly Odd Parents. She seems to have pretty good range.

Clay’s pretty cool and he seems to do the most outside of Omi. Plus, like I mentioned, his was the best advice. He was voiced by Jeff Bennet.

Master Fung also has a nice balance of traditional Xiaolin master and contrasting humor.

Jack Spicer still stands out to me as both a really good and a fairly stupid villain. All of the pieces are there, but he needs the opportunity to prove himself to me a bit more. Though, who cares? He’s voiced by Danny Cooksey and that’s all that matters.

The only one I didn’t much care for was Dojo. He’s a comic relief talking animal sidekick and that’s all you really need to know. He’s like a less-funny and less-energetic Mushu from Mulan….and I don’t even like Mushu. At least Dojo can turn into a huge dragon, though. Also, he’s voiced by Wayne Knight. Make of that what you will.

The story is, admittedly, on the ‘been there, done that’ spectrum with the forces of good and evil battling for items that hold great power, but the fact that all of these items have their own unique powers and not just some generic ‘power’ is a breath of fresh air. The main characters also having the power of the elements isn’t that clever either, but I will say that it’s nice that the main-main characters (Omi and later Raymundo) don’t have the power of fire. It’s also nice that the lone girl in the group wasn’t given the power of love or flowers or some crap.

The art is pretty stylized and nice, with only some things looking a bit ugly. The animation’s not fantastic, but it’s reasonably fluid and works to bring the characters and action to life.

The music’s also very fitting and nice to listen to.

This episode had quite a bit to plow through, and I think it did a pretty good job. It’s a bit fast-paced, but nothing overwhelming.

Rating: 8/10

Next episode, Clay gets some spotlight when he’s mocked for his slow and steady method of combat. He’s left on his own to get a shen gong wu when his friends get trapped by Jack Spicer.