Eiken Episode 1 Review

gbolp6t

Rating: 0/10

Plot: Boing, boing, boing, banana, boing.

Breakdown: Warning – This review contains screencaps and language that is not suitable for younger audiences. Reader discretion is advised.

I’ve been wanting to review this series for some time now mostly because I see this as the pinnacle of pandering in terms of fetish anime…….except maybe Seikon no Qwazer, but one brain aneurysm at a time.

There are a lot of ecchi shows out there that bank on fanservice alone, but this is basically Fanservice: The Series. It’s not even like regular fanservice – it’s specifically nothing but fanservice aimed at people who have a thing for ridiculously huge breasts. Not just anime ridiculous breasts, but like ‘How are they not dead by now?’ breasts.

Because I think it would be redundant and/or short to just write off this series based on that, I decided I would be kind enough to walk you through both episodes of Eiken. Ready your bras.

Episode 1: The first shot of the first episode is of a banana peel on the floor. See, bananas are phallic symbols…..That’s all I got.

We get narration from our main character, Densuke, as he explains facts about his school, Zashono Academy – the building of which is also a big ol’ phallic symbol.

EIKEN 1.png

Also, it’s Den-Skay. Little to no emphasis on the ‘su’ part. Not Den-Su-kay, dub. He’s basically every male protagonist in every harem ever. Modest, bland character design, practically no personality and he’s completely forgettable.

As we see our first shot of Densuke, we also see a good chunk of the female student body, and not one of them has a cup size below DD.

EIKEN 2.png

Also, what the crap is up with those uniforms? This is like Kaichou wa Maid-sama levels of ugly. The boys have normal dark clothing yet the girls get fugly yellow, green and purple garbage. At least it doesn’t involve plaid, but that sweater vest isn’t helping any.

A girl runs into him, and they both fall over due to the banana peel from earlier (Damn kids and their banana peels. Haven’t they ever seen a comedy sketch!?) And somehow someway this causes her to fall on her back and him to fall on top of her. Physics, what’s that? They even show the fall in slow motion, because we really needed to see her teddy bear panties, and he’s clearly falling backwards on his back and she’s falling forward on her front, making the mistake even more obvious.

Apparently he’s a kid that a lot of people are gossiping about because he scored highest on the entrance exams to this supposedly prestigious academy because that’s what they yell when they see him fall over. That will never matter, but enjoy that information.

He realizes that he’s not just on top of the girl, he’s squeezing her shirt balloons. Her tatas are also so big and squishy that his hands are practically melting into them. I don’t have a chest quite so comically large, but I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t happen.

EIKEN 3

The others are getting on his case for groping the girl, Chiharu, and even though it was an accident, I actually find it justified because even after he realizes what he’s touching he still squeezes them twice.

A mech comes flying out of nowhere with a girl, Kirika, riding on the side with a shot of her bra weights literally flapping in the wind. She has ridiculously long purple hair and seems to have the biggest bazongas thusfar.

EIKEN 4

You’ll also note that hey had to get Phallic Symbol High in a better shot in the background with her too.

She tells Densuke that he’s been selected to join their club, the Eiken club, or as the dub likes to call it the Ai-ken club. Because why learn proper Japanese pronunciation when dubbing a Japanese show? That’s just silly.

She kidnaps him and tries to force him to sign up I guess because he literally is the perfect description of a Gary Stu character, and most importantly, not joking, because he touched another club member, Chiharu’s, ‘extra F-cup boobies’. I’ve been trying to avoid that word for comedic effect and moderate censoring (because I really don’t want the SEO of this blog post to be 80% keyword – boobies) but that is a direct quote from the show.

She eventually forces him to sign with his thumb print by forcing him down on the paper and sitting on his head. And she wears no underwear. You can’t see anything, but you can plainly tell.

As the deal is sealed we get our opening theme song. The song itself is completely generic and forgettable. The background animation is blah, but the main character runs through a generic background as he bumps into the various members of Eiken. Oh, they’re giant versions of the members and he always bumps into their hot air balloons.

EIKEN 5

After that, we see Chiharu standing behind the same background as the wind gently blows both her hair and her chimmichangas around. Okay, look, I gave a pass to the whole Kirika thing on the mech because the wind was likely really intense as she flew around and I would suppose something like that might be possible with winds that strong (sincerely doubt it, but I don’t think Mythbusters would tackle this one), but come on. There’s not understanding milk balloon physics and being concerned that the people behind this have never seen or felt real ones before. They’re not made of the same material as flags!

Blah blah panty shots, blah blah random girl crotching Densuke to the face, blah blah random hula hoop session for all the characters to make their watermelons bounce around some more while simultaneously giving us plenty of panty shots. Also, Densuke looks ridiculous during this whole thing.

EIKEN 6

Blah blah making the credits bounce on one of the girl’s oingo boingos. Can we end now? Thank you.

Densuke’s alone in some building with some woman, and the dialogue is making it seem like like they’re about to do the bedroom tango. What they’re really doing is some insanely dumb form of fortune telling where they crawl around on the floor and try to pass a rose between their lips. If it falls or something, she can then tell his fortune. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Anyway, he doesn’t put the rose in her mouth and she says from the way the rose fell that he’s going to suffer misfortune, be beaten up and some opposing character will cause him grief.

Cut to later, oh and there’s a double balloon blimp in the sky. Guess why. Because they look like boo–

Densuke gets called over by his friends to look in a window and we see the female student body having their physicals with all of them being topless and/or braless talking about how big Chiharu’s chichis are.

He gets caught. and Kirika’s practically impressed that he’s a peeping tom….Kirika’s weird.

I’m gonna take a time out here to say the art is awful. I won’t go so far as to say it’s some of the worst I’ve seen but ew. If you’re going to get into the business of ecchi, at least be skilled enough in art to make things visually appealing. Between the stupid designs only blown up to ludicrous due to their chest sizes and the gross color schemes, no wonder even people who like even the stupidest of ecchi hate this show.

BATBBMWSCREEN6

Now’s also as good a time as any to get the intros to the other club members out of the way.

The person behind the mech and a lot of other weird tech things around, like what looks like a nuke and a….possibly a giant bear thing…Don’t ask questions, just move on – is a girl named Kyoko who is actually flatchested (Alert the media.) I would say that this is due to her age as she’s the second youngest of the group but there’s another girl named Komoe who is actually younger than Kyoko and she has the same case of ‘parachuteforabra-itis’ that the other girls have. I guess we needed two loli characters – one for the ones with a chest fetish, the other for those who don’t.

I will also mention that the Wiki page was kind enough to actually provide the worryingly precise chest measurements of all of the girls in the series…..Just in case you needed to know that vital information.

The fortune teller from earlier is named Grace and she also doesn’t have particularly huge human utters.

And then there’s Sensei, who doesn’t have any name beyond ‘Sensei’ or in the dub ‘Teacher’. Her shtick is that she’s a whiny basketcase.

Finally we have the characters we’ve already met, Kirika, the psycho who apparently loves perversion, and Chiharu the shy one.

These characters are so paint-by-numbers that they’re friggin color coded. Not kidding at all. Chiharu has red hair, Kirika has purple, Kyoko has light blue, Grace has blond, Komoe has bright pink and Sensei has green.

Densuke tries to help Komoe get something in a high cabinet (Geez, those cabinets are like 7 feet off the ground, who built this place?) As they try something new, Kirika walks by….sucking on a banana.

BATBBMWSCREEN7

Okay, look, I’m not dumb, I get the joke. Haha. But I always found that joke to be dumb, and my reasoning’s going to be just as stupid…..Who sucks on a banana? It’s not a damn lollipop – it’s a banana! It’s one of the most fragile fruits in existence. Babies can eat them whole before their teeth come in! It’s not like it’s even tempting to try. Bananas aren’t particularly sweet, especially not enough to want to suck on. An apple, maybe. A plum, sure. But not a damned banana.

They get the idea to hold Komoe up to let her reach the cabinet, but, surprise, Densuke is being suffocated by her boom booms. It’s not even like this is an ecchi shot either because despite them being in the shot, they show it from the back so you can’t even see what’s going on.

Teacher walks up to them after that plan fails to suddenly bawl about how she’s been teaching at the school for over 12 years and not one student ever remembers her name. Also, she actually pronounces Eiken correctly…..Well…I guess she IS the teacher.

Densuke tries to cheer her up by saying, as the club’s adviser, only she can can help them out of this problem….Grab a goddamn step stool you lazy sons of bitches…..

She freaks out in delight that one of her students actually respects her and needs her help, so she does the logical thing and hug-humps Densuke….

She says two heads are better than one, and I bring this up because there are THREE of them, so that saying doesn’t work, and we see Kirika walk by….sucking on a hotdog.

BATBBMWSCREEN8

1) Who sucks on a hotdog?!

2) Really? You’re going to do one of the oldest ecchi-esque jokes in existence twice in a minute and a half? Comedy legends you lot are.

3) Who follows up eating a banana by eating a hotdog? Those tastes do not belong together at all.

4) Way to recycle animation.

So what was Teacher’s solution? To have both her AND Komoe climb up on Densuke’s shoulders to reach the cabinet….that they still can’t reach. But don’t worry. This time you can see Teacher’s thong. I have a hard time believing someone as insecure as her would wear a thong but whatever.

Also, uhm, question. How did you guys put the stuff into the cabinet? Take that method to REACH THE CABINETS NOW YOU DUMB SACKS OF DUMB.

They eventually reach what they need and eat lunch. Kirika asks Densuke how it was when he saw Chiharu’s bare flesh pillows. They talk about boring crap involving food for a while until Komoe decides to freak out and dance which makes her sweater meat flop all over the place. While dancing, she falls on another banana peel which leads to an intense discussion over politics.

Pbbthahahaha, just kidding. It’s more slow motion fanservice.

This fall takes forever and they cover practically every angle they can to show Komoe’s flopping bouncy houses, her panties, as well as Densuke reaching for said bouncy houses to catch her and Teacher’s panties in several angles. Somehow this fall causes them to defy the laws of physics again and fall backwards, making Teacher’s dress go all the way up to her shoulders to display her in her bra and showing that Densuke is grabbing one of both of their orbs of power.

Oh yeah and because Teacher was trying to make more noodles, they got covered in noodles too….Long white wet stringy noodles. I guess I can at least be happy they weren’t eating anything with mayonnaise.…

BATBBMWSCREEN9

I feel like I need to censor almost all of these screencaps.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Martin Mystery

46i1t6t

Plot: Ego-driven paranormal maniac, Martin, his hot-headed slightly skeptic step-sister, Diana, and Java the Caveman work for a secret organization called The Center, where they combat supernatural forces. Martin, Diana and Java are sent on their latest mission to France where several children have mysteriously gone missing, leaving being an odd goo behind as the only clue. Martin deduces that the boogeyman is really behind this, kidnapping all naughty children and leaving them for eternity in his bog. Can the boogeyman be stopped?

Breakdown: Annoying main characters? Check.

Trying desperately to shove over-the-top anime style comedy into our faces whenever possible? Check.

Bad animation? Check.

Expressions that don’t match what’s being said half the time? Check.

Lack of sound effects at noticeable points? Check.

A bunch of teenagers working for a secret organization where there are odd entrances everywhere? Check.

Untold amounts of things that make no sense? Check.

We truly have something made from Marathon Media and Image Entertainment – the same companies who produced Totally Spies! Also known as “we don’t know how to get out of this formula” inc.

I remember Martin Mystery being advertised quite a bit when I was a kid. And I definitely remember them advertising the crossover that Martin Mystery did with Totally Spies! However, I never once sat down and watched a single frame of it. I dunno, it just never caught my attention.

Now that I’ve given it a shot, I’m quite glad it never caught my attention.

To get this out of the way, this show is harmless and less annoying than Totally Spies!, but that’s basically saying ‘Drink this! It’s not as disgusting as urine!’ The subject matter is also more interesting than Totally Spies! with paranormal monsters instead of ridiculous spy villains. Still, this show is basically using the template for Totally spies! just aiming it more towards boys.

———————————-

The first episode starts off with Martin, Diana and Java at school (Java acts as the lunch worker. No idea how or why) Martin makes an idiot out of himself trying to hit on some girls when he has pudding in his teeth and then he spills some of his food on Diana sparking the running side-plot of this episode. She claims Martin is such a slob that he can’t stay clean for 24 hours. They make a bet on that statement, and the loser has to give Java a foot massage.

They go through a “SECRET” door in the fridge of the cafeteria to the home base, The Center. This is so obvious it’s ridiculous. Yeah, Totally Spies! had the girls be swept away from wherever they were, which was unrealistic, but at least they were usually transported so quickly that no one would be able to notice. Martin yells to use the door in the fridge, points at it as he’s yelling, they slowly open the door wide, the doorway friggin’ glows and they take their sweet time walking through it. Anyone could walk in there at any time. Even if the doorway had some cloaking device or something, plenty of kids just saw the lunch guy, Martin and Diana disappear through a fridge.

They get briefed from female version of Jerry named MOM, who gets them up to speed on the plot and they head off. After some detective work and another kidnapping, they decide to set a trap for the boogeyman. What is this ingenious trap, you may ask?

Using innocent children as bait, with their parents oddly easily obtained consent even though they’re aware of the situation, they hope to manhandle the boogeyman into submission or capture him in a net. Did I also mention this boogeyman can create portals and can turn into a multitude of maggots? (alright, points given for creativity)

Martin, Diana and Java follow the boogeyman through his portal and are thrown into the boogeyman’s bog. While Diana and Java land in the water, Martin lands on land. I know what you’re thinking (or maybe not – you probably forgot about this dumb plotline already). “Hey, that means he lost the bet, right?” You’d think, but no. And, also no, he didn’t use some gadget (he has them because of course he does) to save him or some clever idea to avoid it. He just lands in it. On his back. Then he proclaims that he ended up being completely clean after that.

Uh, yeah Martin….no. Just no. You’re in a bog. A swamp. A marsh. A quagmire. They are wet areas no matter if you’re in the water or out. They’re muddy, they’re gooey, they’re swampy. They’re swamps. There’s no way you land flat on your back in a bog and not get dirty. I don’t care how dry that piece of land could possibly be, you’d still get dirty. I could land flat on my back in my front yard after a drought and still get dirty.

What’s worse is later he falls in the bog again, this time on his front, and they’re still making off like it’s fine because it’s land. Dirt is dirty. What is so hard to understand about that?

They find the kids in the bog and manage to escape the boogeyman’s world. But they still have to figure out how to beat the boogeyman for good. That requires replacing the final page of a book about the boogeyman that they took from the library that the first girl was taken from. Java and Martin combat the boogeyman and Diana suddenly arrives with the final page from they-forgot-to-write-that-part-land. She reveals that the ending states that the kids return the boogeyman to his book, and that’s how he’s defeated.

After sealing the boogeyman away, it’s revealed that, during the whole hoopla, Martin somehow got a tiny yellow stain of unidentified stuff on his shirt, making him lose the bet.

Guys, you had an out. Just have Martin just some of the gook from the book on his shirt before he locked the book. Or have him be all dusty after he caused two clouds of dust from the mountain of books he landed on during the fight (That happened and there was no mention of the bet. Yeah it seems stupid to mention such a thing during a battle but A) no one in these series ever cares if what they say is appropriate for the situation and B) this was a guy who refused to follow the boogeyman through his portal earlier in the episode because he was afraid he’d get the gunk on him. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen)

MOM shows up and congratulates them while Martin arrogantly takes all the credit. These surprisingly British locals from this French town also thank them and the stain suddenly falls from Martin’s shirt. Seems the stain was a small piece of paper from the library, so he didn’t lose the bet afterall, making Diana the Java masseuse. The end.

————————————-

As a first episode, it does fine. They introduce the characters and the world they live in perfectly fine. The main story is alright, and I do like how they portrayed the boogeyman, but he’s defeated and worked around very easily. The side plot served no purpose whatsoever and Martin should’ve lost it at least three times if anyone pays attention or uses basic logic. In the end, it’s the fact that the show itself is stupid and one of many of basically the same show from Marathon and Image that really hurts it.

I don’t like Martin much at all. He is one of so many of that dumb as hell trope ego-tiscal main lead who has nearly everything go his way or he somehow makes everything come out on top for him if he does suffer a setback. Usually these characters have some form of redemption in that they truly care about the victims or their duties but, no. Martin loves the supernatural, he loves investigating it and seems to be perfectly willing to put the mission and lives at risk if something petty that might chip his ego is in the way. He seems to do this job to see supernatural things and be proven as right all the time.

Diana is flatout annoying with how much she bickers with Martin. And her main character shtick makes no sense. She’s basically a skeptic, which is illogical since she works for an organization that is specifically designed to combat paranormal threats. She’s voiced by Kelli Sheridan, but she’s yelling so much that I don’t care.

Java is a caveman. He talks like a caveman and is strong. I have no clue how or why they’re partnered with a caveman, but there he is.

Final Verdict?

750spsl

If you hate or dislike Totally Spies, you probably won’t like this much better. It’s loud, obnoxious, there’s not much effort put into the story, there’s even less put into the little details of continuity, logistics and plotholes, and it gets to a point where it all melds together into white noise for me. I may subject myself to an off-the-cuff Cartoon Step-By-Step or some singular review, but for now this is being dropped to my ‘no’ bin.

Recommended Audience: Kids might find the concept of the boogeyman here to be kinda scary maybe. Other than that, nothing. 5+

Dissecting the Disquels: Beauty and the Beast – Belle’s Magical World

nmw91ph

Plot: Yet another mid-quel taking place sometime after the wolf attack but before the confrontation with Gaston, this movie consists of four short stories about Belle and the Beast and their adventures in the castle.

Breakdown: Oh boy. Just what I always wanted. Another crappy Disquel that isn’t really a movie so much as a bunch of episodes for a TV series that never happened stitched together like some sort of gaping wound….

At the end of my last Beauty and the Beast Disquel review, I noted that I had some hope for Magical World since Enchanted Christmas turned out to be okay.

I should learn never to have hope.

Soon after I finished that review, I started looking up reviews and info on Magical World, and hoo boy it’s much less well-received than Enchanted Christmas.

Not many people have a good word to say about it beyond ‘well, it’s a decent enough thing to entertain your very young kids with for an hour’. You know what else can entertain very young kids for an hour? Making pies out of dirt. An hour-long loop of fart noises. Playing ‘how much crayon can I get on the wall before Mommy or Daddy starts screaming?’

And do I even need to bring up the obvious again? Just as a refresher; this midquel is pointless. Most midquels are pointless, but the ones for Beauty and the Beast are especially pointless because they usually in some way involve mending bridges between Belle and Beast or worrying about if they’ll get together or not and whether they’ll turn back to people or not. We’ve seen the movie. They do. Tension over.

What were they even thinking trying to make this as a TV series? Were they really planning on making a TV series based on the midquel adventures of Belle and Beast? How much time went on during that short interlude between the wolf attack and Gaston? How much material could you possibly justify? It would just end up either being filler crap about the servants or the same arguing to resolution shtick that Belle and Beast go through nearly every time they see each other. That makes some damn good entertaining television.

This is actually one movie where it would really only work as a TV series if they focused on the original couple’s kids. I’m not exactly certain what they’d do with that, but at least it would be fresh material.

Enough stall tactics; let’s break this down.

Segment one – The Perfect Word

BATBBMWSCREEN1

We start off with Belle and Beast having a meal together. Belle is trying to tell Beast about a new book she’s reading, Cinderella (well, that’s kinda meta isn’t it?) while Beast is trying to be civil and kind to impress Belle.

Beast has a hot flash and can’t stand the heat in the room, but he’s advised to not open a window because it’s still winter and the servants and Belle will be very cold. He tries to bear it for a while but ends up demanding to have the window open anyway. He goes on a tirade saying he doesn’t have to be considerate of others because it’s his castle and he’ll do what he wants. He has a huge-ass temper tantrum, smacking away a new character, Webster, in the process.

Webster is a dictionary. Yup.

Belle says he’s being rude and foolish. She storms off and Beast flips the table in anger.

Later, the two refuse to apologize until the other apologizes. They’re so adamant in not being the first to apologize that Webster, LePlume, a fountain pen, and Crane, a stack of papers, decide to forge a note to Belle pretending to be Beast apologizing.

Let me pause for a second and say, why yes, LePlume does indeed literally translate to ‘The pen.’ Between this and Webster, you guys are being so damn creative with your naming today. Only one that is a bit creative is Crane, which, from what I gather, was based on Thomas Crane, the owner of a paper mill that Paul Revere stabled his horses in and became one of the most widely known paper distributors ever.

But really, if you had to become an object, how much would it suck to be a stack of paper? You’re vulnerable to basically everything, except rocks if decision making games have taught me anything, you’re limited in supply and you’re disposable.

They forge the note, and Belle, who has been crying and waiting on baited breath for Beast’s apology (even rushing to the door and fixing her hair when she thinks he’s come to apologize….) accepts it and goes to apologize to Beast as well. Because apparently calling someone rude and foolish when they have a gigantic hissy fit because they’re hot and physically assaulting someone because of aforementioned frustration is something that warrants apology.

BATBBMWSCREEN2
She’s clearly in the wrong.

They make up and Beast tries to listen to Belle reading him a book. However, he’s loudly eating a snack as she reads, so she can’t concentrate enough to continue. Beast decides to control himself and puts aside the snack for later, telling her to continue. Cogsworth praises him for his restraint and says he wouldn’t want to have to write another apology letter.

At this, Beast is both infuriated and confused since he knows no such thing about a letter. Belle shows it to him and Webster, LePlume and Crane admit what they did. Beast chases them throughout the castle, and Belle tries to protect them from his wrath. He spares their lives, but banishes them from the castle and says if anyone tries to offer them comfort, he’ll punish them.

If you think about it, at least two of these guys are as good as dead anyway. Remember, Webster’s a book and Crane is a stack of paper. They’re out in the snow. Crane should’ve been dead shortly after hitting the ground and Webster would surely die in an hour or so.

The three traipse through the woods, hoping to find help at the nearest town. Because yeah, I can see everyone being helpful to talking library items.

Meanwhile, Belle beats herself up for not being the one to apologize to Beast….Girl, you barely had anything to apologize for. You rightfully called him rude and foolish after he blew up, blasted winter winds into the room and bitchslapped Webster. Sure it’s not nice to insult people, but stop acting like you were more in the wrong than he was because that could not be further from the truth. It’s not in the same atmosphere as the truth.

The three get lost and end up back at the castle. They don’t want to enter the castle because they’re afraid of what Beast will do to them, but Belle insists they come inside to get warm and dry. And in the cases of Webster and Crane, to get all wrinkly, weird-feeling and discolored. She says that the Beast may do and say terrible things sometimes, but deep down inside he has a good heart.

….He just kicked out three of his servants into the dead of winter and offered them no means of protection. Two of these servants could have easily died or at least suffered serious damage/injury the instant they hit the snow. But yeah, he’s a precious flower.

BATBBMWSCREEN3

Beast overhears this, and as Belle tries to warm up them up, he apologizes to her for his behavior and apologizes to Webster, LePlume and Crane as well. As he leaves he says in a creepily happy tone “That was so easy! I feel happy now! Happier than I can remember!” Uhh….even people who aren’t raging assholes have difficulty admitting they were wrong and apologizing. It’s hardly easy, and considering it took days of pouting and more temper tantrums including him literally screaming “I will NEVERA…POLOGIZE!” I’d say it was pretty hard for you, furball.

And just making up with Belle makes him that happy? Yeah, sure.

Oh yeah and there’s a side plot with Lumiere having an argument with a chandelier and also having trouble apologizing. This is basically filler because it’s just reinforcing the lesson, and the only reason I really bring this up is because the chandelier’s name? Chandelieria. Yeah, that’s what they decided to name her. Chandelieria.

At least when they gave LePlume his name they were using the French word for pen that English speaking countries don’t use. The English word for chandelier IS chandelier. If you’re going to be that lazy, let’s just call Lumiere ‘Candlestick’ and Cogsworth ‘Clock’.

And I’m calling bull on that being her name because almost always is her name being pronounced just ‘Chandelier’ Sometimes it sounds like ‘Chandeliera” but I always figured that the ending ‘a’ was a part of the accent. Never do they ever sound like they’re adding ‘ia’ to the end.

After that subplot is over, they extend the episode even more by them all reflecting upon the lesson of forgiveness.

And we’re still not done because we have to slice in a song break for some stupid reason. Couldn’t have put that in the middle of the episode or something? It’s just so jarring because after the scene on the veranda it, by all means, seems like a ‘fade out to credits’ moment. The music swells, we fade to black and then we get a random song.

BATBBMWSCREEN4

The song is called ‘Listen with our Hearts’…..and it’s still repetitive parroting of the forgiveness lesson. Belle and Beast have lots of trouble communicating properly, they fight a lot because of it, but later when they’ve had time to cool off and take the time out to understand the other, they make up and love and romance and blah blah. The song itself is actually pretty decent, but it is so jarring in its placement and is really just more filler.

Holy crap, what a load of……well, crap. That whole shitstorm happened all because Beast had a massive tantrum over being hot. I get that he probably runs warmer than most people because of the fur and all, but it’s winter and they’re not near a source of heat or anything besides Lumiere and Chandelier, and, no, I’m not adding the ‘ia’.

There’s really nothing that seems to be spurring on his near heat stroke. Really, any normal person would just say ‘Excuse me, Belle, but I feel overheated. I am going to get some fresh air. Would you like to join me?’ If Beast was too perturbed to think of saying that himself, you’d think Cogsworth or Lumiere would suggest that. But no, he demands the window be open and then goes on an asshole spree. Between the massive mood swings and the hot flash, I’d say Beast is just going through menopause.

Then they have to act like friggin’ five year olds and do that stupid ‘I’m not apologizing until he/she apologizes’ crap. Something that probably could’ve been fixed if they reminded Beast or Belle of the rose and their current situation.

But, again, no, they have to make up a lie that was inevitably going to be uncovered and Beast has to completely overreact. His servants have done much worse to him without them being punished too severely yet lying in an effort to fix his relationship to Belle is something banish-worthy? Especially in the middle of winter. Especially when the servants are porous pieces of stationary.

Segment two – Fifi’s Folly

BATBBMWSCREEN5

This one can be summed up rather quickly. It’s the fifth anniversary of Fifi (the feather duster) and Lumiere’s first date. While Fifi is super excited about it, Lumiere just barely remembers. He asks for Belle’s help in not only making the night a replica of their first date, but he also needs help writing his feelings out on a cheat sheet since he has trouble doing it on the fly.

As Belle helps Lumiere in secret, Fifi follows them every step of the way, getting increasingly angry as she believes Lumiere is romancing Belle in the same manner that he romanced her on their first date. Because, yeah, I’m so sure he’d seduce Belle and screw over their chances of being turned back to humans….oh and yeah, Beast would turn him into a pile of melted wax and brass if he ever found out.

When everything’s set up for the date, Fifi explodes in a rage of jealousy and anger, consistently calling Belle terrible names behind her back. She decides if she can’t have her great anniversary date with Lumiere, no one will. So she cuts the strap of the ‘sleigh’ about three quarters of the way to ensure that Belle and Lumiere will crash and friggin’ DIE when they have their sleigh ride.

Oh and just to prove how stupid and angry Fifi is, she doesn’t realize that having a sleigh ride in a modified punch bowl pulled by a small dog-footrest would be a bit on the impossible side for Belle….

Fifi’s about to leave the castle forever when she’s stopped by Lumiere who explains that the date was for their anniversary. She’s slightly embarrassed, but since she did most of her jealous insanity in secret, she goes on the date just fine. She even gets on the sleigh ride, simply hoping the strap won’t break the whole time. Because it’d be way too hard to say ‘Oh my, Lumiere, this strap seems like it’s been frayed! Perhaps we should replace it before our sleigh ride, my love!’ Nope, better risk your neck…or…handle.

BATBBMWSCREEN10
A candlestick doesn’t have to do much work to make himself look hot.

The strap breaks and they go out of control, resulting in them flying off the side of the mountain and barely hanging on by a branch. Also, Lumiere needs to make up his mind on how he sweats. Several times before this he sweats by having the candlewax on his head melt. Later, he sweats regularly.

As Belle and the other household items try to reach them, Lumiere admits his love for Fifi and he and Fifi are saved.

So yeah….that was pretty dumb too, wasn’t it? I mean, a story about Lumiere and Fifi, fine. But we know that Lumiere’s not trying to date Belle so half the episode with Fifi seeing more and more evidence to the contrary is completely pointless and wouldn’t even make sense if we didn’t know by seeing them preparing for the date.

Fifi’s a goddamn psycho. Why should we feel happy that a bitch who tried to kill Belle and Lumiere out of jealousy got her man? I wanted nothing more than to pluck her feathers by the end. I also wasn’t aware that Lumiere and Fifi were a legit couple. He flirts with so many women, it’s hard to believe he’s in a relationship.

Oh and Beast was not in a single frame of this episode. Some Beauty and the BEAST series they were making.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Digimon Adventure 01 Episode 7 Sub/Dub Comparison

Digimon ep 7 main

Plot: Jyou’s at his boiling point as he tries to be smart and safe while the others keep joking about their situation and not taking things seriously. In an effort to protect everyone from the dangers of Infinity Mountain while trying to get a view of the island, Jyou takes it upon himself to sneak out and climb the mountain on his own with Gomamon following behind. But when the gentle Unimon gets hit by a black gear, both Jyou and Gomamon will need to protect everyone.

———————————-

Title Card: Digimon ep 7 title

Title Change: A Roar! Ikkakumon! is changed to Ikkakumon’s Harpoon Torpedo!

Also, that is another awesome title card.

Gomamon isn’t berating Joe for complaining about the cold in the original. It’s also a pretty out of place line since it’s the very first line we get. We don’t hear or see Joe complaining before this so it just seems weird.

Joe: “I’m allergic to fur…” No one brought up fur, Gomamon just said to think warm.

Mimi doesn’t bring up snowmen, nor do the Digimon ask if a Snowman is a Digimon from their world. They just keep talking about snowball fights.

In the shot of Takeru, Taichu, Yamato and Koushiro talking, you can’t hear what they’re saying. Jyou’s talking over it all about how a massive temperature drop and snow wouldn’t be fun – it’d be a serious situation because it would make it incredibly difficult to make camp. In the dub, you can hear the boys talking and Joe has no dialogue. The boys are also talking about how the snow will all fall on Joe’s head when it happens and they can’t wait to see it.

A pretty significant point here is left out as Jyou says he has to protect everyone because he’s the oldest. It reflects that Jyou’s not just a stuffy worry wart who can’t relax, but that he’s taken it upon himself to be the one that ensures that everyone stays safe. While it can be argued that he’s a worry wart anyway, in this situation he believes he doesn’t have the luxury of goofing around and not being serious because someone has to be responsible and watch out for the group’s well-being in more ways than one.

They get the next part basically right, but the reason the group can smell the hot spring is because they can smell the sulfur. The dub seems to imply that they can smell the steam, which doesn’t really make sense.

Jyou originally points out that everyone’s cheerful yet he can’t be because he holds the responsibility. In the dub, he talks about how it would be big trouble if these eggs got them sick because there’s no doctor around.

Yamato says the eggs would go great with soft rice and everyone agrees. In the dub, he says the eggs would go great with ketchup and while TK agrees with that sentiment, Sora says it sounds gross. I guess eggs with ketchup is more American than rice.

I have to wonder what kind of eggs those are. There are no chickens in the Digital World, are there?

Despite the fact that dub Matt says he liked ketchup on his eggs, he later requests salsa (That’s a thing too?) In the original, Yamato says he’d like mayonnaise on his eggs, which, while maybe sounding weird, isn’t that odd considering egg salad and deviled eggs.

Sora says she likes sauce on hers (what sauce, I don’t know.) In the dub, Sora just responds to Matt’s comment about salsa.

Koushiro says he likes his eggs with ponzu on them, which is basically citrus fruit juice. In the dub, while they could’ve said something like lemon or orange juice, they decided to have him say—wait for it……Mustard and jellybeans….Okay, the ponzu stuff was a little gross but quirky. Mustard and jellybeans? Just…why?! Why would ever even think to try that?!

Takeru also originally agrees with Taichi in the others that saying the ponzu stuff is weird whereas TK says it sounds good.

Mimi says their suggestions are weird then follows it up by saying she likes her eggs topped with sugar and maybe some natto (fermented soy beans)….Dub Mimi says she likes them covered in maple syrup and cherries. Ya know, I’m gonna have to side with Joe here, what is wrong with just salt and pepper? I mean, ketchup’s okay, and I really like cheese on them, but a lot of these suggestions are just gross. I understand that’s sorta the joke, but ew.

The group also responds to Mimi’s favorite with disgust, but in the dub TK, while looking grossed out and covering his mouth with his hands, mind you, says it probably tastes good.

Joe originally says that the Japanese culture is falling apart due to, yes, their bizarre egg preferences. Dub Joe leaves this out.

Joe doesn’t mention anything about Yamato squeezing his arm like dub Joe does. And he barely touched Joe so I dunno what that was about.

Sora’s the one who explains why Tai wants to climb Infinity Mountain in the original over a shot of Tai arguing with Yamato. In the dub, Tai’s the one saying it. The same happens with Yamato.

Yamato says that he’s not going to let Tai’s recklessness get them into danger. In the dub, Matt tells Tai to put his fists down when he talks to him and says Tai keeps trying to bully himself into being leader.

Joe doesn’t mention anything about being good at climbing in the original, he just says he has to be the one to climb Infinity Mountain.

Gomamon claims Joe’s not being honest with himself (which could be a poke at his future crest since it’s Honesty in the original) and says he was really scared of going up there alone because he felt he might be helpless.

In the dub, Gomamon says under his breath that he sometimes has to trick Joe (in reference to saying he’s not following Joe, he has stuff to do on Infinity Mountain.) Joe asks if he said something and Gomamon says he was saying it’s a nice night for a walk. Joe tells Gomamon he’s crazy and Gomamon replies that that’s okay because he has more fun that way.

Joe originally says that he doesn’t quite trust Gomamon on Unimon being a nice and gentle Digimon since similar information like that has been wrong in the past and Gomamon doesn’t deny this. In the dub, they skip these lines and go straight to saying that the stream must be Unimon’s watering hole and that he’s coming down for a drink.

Also:

Gomamon: *as Unimon’s drinking* “I told you he was a nice Digimon. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Yes because drinking water…means you’re nice?

Unimon’s dub voice ruins his whole majestic image, in my opinion….He has no voice in the original, just horse noises.

Attack Name Change: Holy Shot is changed to Aerial Attack. I like the original better.

Greymon originally just says nothing and gets up when Tai asks if he’s okay. In the dub….he responds by saying “I’m stylin’, dude!”…….Uggggghhhh.

Another post-Evolution song gone.

Attack Name Change: Harpoon Vulcan is changed to Harpoon Torpedo.

Dub Tai: “Wow, Joe, you were pretty jammin’ out there!” Stop it!

Yay they did it! They made it to the peak of Infinity Mountain……Which begs the question why they didn’t think to just take Birdramon before….Or Kabuterimon for that matter. The big fight was about it being dangerous to make the climb but if they could bypass the climb by flying, which Tai and Sora did, then….what was the point of the argument? I guess the real point was that no one was sitting down and thinking about it, but still that’s pretty damn obvious.

The big revelation on top of the mountain was supposed to be that the ocean was so vast and you could see nothing as far as the eye could see. While the dub does basically say the same thing, they don’t act like this is some drastic revelation like the original, they just brush it off.

Next up is a bunch of debuts; Leomon, Ogremon and the big baddie for this part of the season, Devimon. This is also the part where the kids get separated from each other. Things are really getting interesting now!

…Previous Episode

Pokemon Episode 23 Analysis – The Tower of Terror

Pokemon ep 23 title

CotD(s): None

Captures (Ehhhhh kinda maybe?): Ash’s (?) Haunter – Whether or not Ash truly ‘caught’ Haunter is up for debate. I’m on the side of him not catching Haunter because we never see the capture, Haunter is never in his Pokeball and it’s more heavily implied that Haunter is helping him with this one task and will then go back home.

Haunter is my favorite of the Gastly line, and the Haunter here is pretty funny. Sure his antics get a little tired, but he’s mostly funny.

Plot: After making their way through a dense and scary fog, the group arrives in Lavender Town – Home of the Pokemon Tower that is famed for its Ghost Pokemon.

Team Rocket has arrived ahead of time, and they get a sneak peak at the ghosts around the tower as they try to lay a trap for Pikachu. A nearby Gastly has some fun with Team Rocket and sends them crashing through the floor.

Ash and the others make their way into the tower with only a candle to light their way. They are continuously freaked out by the sounds of the tower such as screaming (by Team Rocket) and strange laughter (Gastly, Haunter and Gengar watching TV). Suddenly, the lights turn on and reveal a nearby feast. They pull a string, which triggers an explosion of confetti and a welcome banner.

The food and furniture then float around and attack the group, forcing them out of the room and giving Gastly, Haunter and Gengar a good laugh.

Misty, Brock, Charmander and Pikachu want nothing more to do with the Pokemon Tower. Ash is only able to convince Charmander and Pikachu to go back with him. He believes he’s found a Ghost Pokemon in its vapor form and tries to capture it, but he unknowingly attacks Team Rocket instead.

They suddenly come face to face with Haunter and try to battle it, but to no avail. Charmander succumbs to a Lick attack by Haunter and Ash is forced to recall him.

Suddenly, Gengar shows up and the two try to make Ash laugh with some slapstick humor, but Ash is less than impressed. Depressed at their failure and Ash’s comments on their comedy act, they start to disappear under the floor. Ash tries to grab them before they leave, but just crashes into the floor.

The impact rattles an overhead chandelier, which crashes into Ash and Pikachu. As they lie unconscious, Haunter grabs their spirits from their bodies, wanting to fly around with them for a while. Ash has a bit of trouble believing he’s a ghost at first, but quickly decides to have some fun by flying around and picking up Misty.

After some more fun, the three ghosts lead Ash and Pikachu back to the tower where they show them their play room. Ash deducts that these ghosts are not really threats but simply want to play with the visitors of the tower since they’re bored and lonely being stuck in the tower all the time. Despite having a good time with them, he explains that he has to go back to his body and live his life, so the ghosts tearfully part with him.

Misty and Brock, having dragged Ash and Pikachu’s bodies from out of the chandelier, try desperately to wake them up, fearing the worst. Ash and Pikachu quickly return to their bodies and reunite with their friends.

The next morning, Ash and the others leave Pokemon Tower empty-handed. Brock asks how Ash will beat Sabrina without a Ghost Pokemon when Haunter reappears and jokingly scares Brock and Misty away. It has decided to hang out with Ash for the time being and help him in his rematch with Sabrina.

———————————-

– Gotta love that trope where someone sees something scary, tells another character to look where they’re looking and by the time they look it’s gone. I’ll also say it’s a part of that trope to have the person who saw the scary thing shriek at the top of their lungs yet no one finds that odd.

– While I do like this episode just fine, I do find it to be a horrible waste in regards to what this town really is. As many fans of the games know, Lavender Town is a surprisingly depressing town, and the Pokemon Tower is home to one of the saddest moments in any of the games.

Lavender Town is filled with grieving people who share stories of their Pokemon who have passed away. The Pokemon Tower is essentially one giant Pokemon cemetery littered with Ghost Pokemon and the ghosts of Pokemon who cannot rest.

Within Lavender Town is Mr. Fuji’s House where he cares for abandoned or orphaned Pokemon. When the player arrives, he explains that he’s currently caring for a Cubone who recently lost its mother when it was killed by Team Rocket.

Once the player obtains the Silph Scope and becomes able to identify the ghosts within the Pokemon Tower, he finds the ghost of Cubone’s mom and the player has to defeat her in order to allow her spirit to pass on. It’s also kinda implied that a good chunk of the Pokemon within Pokemon Tower were killed by Team Rocket.

In the anime, however, it’s just a tower where a bunch of Ghost Pokemon hang out and Lavender Town isn’t even explored. I get that Pokemon is far from a dark or deep show, but watering Lavender Town and Pokemon Tower down this much just seems really weak. At least they make up for it in Pokemon Origins.

– While I, again, like that Ash thought to use a Pokemon to solve a problem, yet again using Charmander as a lantern, there is seriously no excuse now for him to not be carrying a flashlight. At the very least Brock, should have one. Ash has a random skull mask in his backpack but not a flashlight?

– Wait, they never even tried to turn on the lights? Nullify my last half-compliment.

– I don’t know how Ash managed to coerce Pikachu and Charmander into going back into the tower by saying they can’t beat Sabrina without a Ghost Pokemon. He asks them if they want to lose again, but Charmander never battled to begin with.

Also, if you’re getting a Ghost Pokemon to beat Sabrina, it won’t help THEM beat her Pokemon, will it? That flashback Pikachu has about getting beat by Kadabra is also kinda sad. It acknowledges that it failed and feels very sad about it, but, again, getting a Ghost Pokemon won’t help it beat Kadabra.

– Ash clearly hears people talking down a hole in the floor, so his first instinct is to shock it with Pikachu and set it on fire with Charmander? I know it was Team Rocket (so haha, they deserve it by default) and he thought they were Ghost Pokemon, but he didn’t even try to see what was down there before attacking it. He could’ve been attacking an innocent person.

– Also, why is Dexter so mysterious about Ghost Pokemon’s forms now? Just a few episodes ago, we met a Ghost Pokemon – Gastly. And it was indeed in another form – The ghost of Maiden’s Peak. However, it had no difficulty finding the entry of the Pokemon when Ash was able to aim the Pokedex towards the main ghost form.

– They did the “Ah, something’s behind you!” *they look* “You’re seeing things” thing again….

– Dexter: “Haunter – The Gaseous Pokemon. No further information found.” No furth—It’s Gastly’s evolved form. Ash even already has the Pokedex info for Gastly. You honestly don’t know that much? You’re being particularly useless today, Dexter.

Ash: “Ah?! Is that all?!” My sentiments exactly, Ash.

– Why did Charmander start making funny faces at Haunter when it was told to use Leer?

– Dexter: “Gengar – No information found.” Are you friggin’ kidding me? Gengar was the first ever Pokemon to be shown on this show. We know people own them, so there’s no excuse as to why there’s absolutely no information on them, not even a classification.

– Ash, king of terrible puns, is making fun of Gengar and Haunter’s slapstick. Pot, kettle, black.

– I guess if we accept that Ash and Pikachu died we also have to accept that Haunter was a big enough dick to laugh at someone dying.

– Alright, we can just say Ash and Pikachu got knocked out by the chandelier at this point. It does make a little bit of sense with the proceeding scenes. It’s widely accepted by many beliefs that we’re closer to the realm of spirits when we’re asleep, knocked out or nearly dead. It’s possible Ash and Pikachu are unconscious and, because they’re closer to the spirit world now, Haunter was able to pluck their spirits from their bodies and later return them.

Plus, if Ash really did die, you’d think his reaction would be more dramatic than ‘Oh no!….Oh well, let’s fly around and have fun! Wheeee!’

– Wow, Ash, you could’ve killed Misty by dropping her from that height. You don’t know if Brock would’ve been able to catch her. What an ass. It’s even worse considering that, before he grabbed her, she was talking about how worried she was of Ash, and Ash heard her say that. He doesn’t even feel bad that his friends are so worried.

– Okay, so if the Pokemon Tower in the anime is not a giant Pokemon cemetery, what exactly is it? I know it’s a place where Ghost Pokemon hang out, but it’s only these three and there are a bunch of things here that could not be around without people like toys and carnival rides and huge feasts. This stuff is fully functional and not covered in dust. Who built this place? Why is it abandoned? Who used to live here?

– Gastly, Haunter and Gengar only scare visitors to the tower because they’re trying to play with them. Okay.

They want to play with them because they’re incredibly bored being stuck in a tower all the time.

Why are they stuck there?

I know the lore of ghosts commonly has them being anchored to locations where they must haunt because it has a strong connection to their life or death. However, these are Pokemon – not people. And we’ve seen that they can come and go as they please. They just flew around town and the local woods with Ash just a few shots ago, and Haunter will make its way all the way to Saffron City in the next episode, even staying with Sabrina. Why are they staying at this tower if they’re so bored and lonely?

You can’t even say that they stay there for a majority of the day or something because, as was established in The Ghost of Maiden’s Peak, sun+ghosts=bad (except when it’s not), but Haunter goes into clear sunlight in the next scene and the next episode.

– Haunter needs to intervene to take their souls out of their bodies, but getting back in just requires laying down on the floor on top of them?

– Ash and Pikachu made it out of that without even a slight injury?

– Aw, Misty crying because she thought Ash was dead, aw.

– Brock: “Then how will you beat the Psychic Pokemon?”

Ash: “Hmm….Maybe I’ll just have to use my sense of humor!”

It’s kinda funny because that is exactly how he wins.

– The Ghosts are harmless, eh? They’ve tied up Team Rocket and are spinning them around endlessly on a merry-go-round. That’s not very harmless.

——————————

I thought this episode was better than it ended up being upon the rewatch. The first half is kinda boring, especially since we already have a slight grasp on Ghost Pokemon at this point, despite them changing the rules. It’s not even so much of a story as it is a ton of padding to get to Haunter randomly deciding to follow Ash (and subsequently abandon his friends at the tower) to help him beat Sabrina, which is particularly weird on the episode most people remember as ‘the one where Ash and Pikachu die.’ Even that’s not a big plot point.

It wasn’t even necessary, nor was it even truly a legitimate ‘death.’ They could’ve flown them around and had fun with them without them being ghosts.

Team Rocket’s role was entirely pointless. While I don’t like their intrusions a bulk of the time, they literally just show up to be pushed out of the way and are relegated to slapstick comic relief for the rest of the episode.

I could forgive them completely gutting Lavender Town and Pokemon Tower if they replaced it with something of far more substance, but they didn’t deliver at all. There’s absolutely no story attached to this place or these Pokemon – They just exist. This also seemed like a lazy way of introducing two new Pokemon (Haunter and technically Gengar) at once.

It’s not an awful episode, but it’s incredibly poorly handled and could’ve been so much better.

Next episode, Ash has his rematch with Sabrina. Will Haunter be enough to help him take her down, or will his new ghostly friend let him down?

Previous Episode…..

SSBS – Zoids (Chaotic Century) Episode 1: The Boy from Planet Zi

Zoids 1 title

Plot: Van is young boy who wants nothing more than a Zoid of his own to pilot, just like his late father. After being chased down by some crooked Zoid pilots, a Guysak pilot in particular named Bull, Van becomes trapped in some old war ruins.

He finds a secret passage that leads him to two pods, and he accidentally opens one of them, revealing a baby raptor-like Zoid that he names Zeke. Bull returns to finish him off, and Zeke tries to protect him to no avail.

Zeke takes Van and flies them out of the ruins, leading them to an old ruined Shield Liger. Zeke amazingly fuses with the Shield Liger, bringing it back to full form, and Van manages to scare off the enemy.

After the battle concludes, Zeke leads them back to the ruins where he prompts Van to open the second pod. Thinking it’s another Zoid, Van excitedly agrees only to find that the pod contains a strange girl.

Breakdown: Zoids was a show that I definitely followed when I was younger. Here’s the thing though, outside of the bare basics, I remember nothing of the story. I remember Zoids, I remember fighting, I remember Van, Fiona and Zeek, that’s about it. I don’t know if that says something about the quality of the show. Hopefully it’s just my crappy-ass memory.

As for this first episode, it’s pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. They establish basically what Zoids are without going into expositiony detail. They introduce Van quite well, and he’s a really likable character so far. You click with him near the end when you see how excited he is to win his first Zoid battle. His relationship with Zeke also starts out pretty strong.

The enemies…..are….the biggest weak point of the episode. The other two, who pilot Command Wolves, are just blah, which is not at all helped by their completely bored voice acting.

Bull, however, is just nearing ridiculously evil. He whines about not getting one of the cool Command Wolves from whoever his bosses are, so he takes command of a stray Guysak, a scorpion-like Zoid, and tries to prove its worth by killing Van….Yeah I’m sure you’ll look so impressive killing a small boy with a 20 ton battle robot. He justifies it by saying he witnessed something or other, but it’s pretty flimsy.

The other weak spot of this episode would probably be the scene with Van’s sister at their father’s grave. It’s just a big fat exposition dump.

The art is usually pretty good, and even the CGI Zoids look pretty nice and don’t clash too much with the traditional animation. However, there are a bunch of scenes with silly and odd facial expressions. Nearly every shot of Bull is a screenshot for the books, and even Van gets some laughable faces.

The music is pretty good, and the ED has stuck with me throughout the years. Something interesting about this series is that, unlike a ton of English dubbed shows, this one keeps the next episode previews, which I greatly appreciate even if they have a habit of spoiling episodes every now and then.

The voice acting, English, is a mixed bag so far. Van’s VA is pretty good and Bull’s is alright, but the silver haired Command Wolf Pilot was just horrible. He could not sound more bored. Van’s sister’s VA also isn’t a very good actress.

All in all, a pretty good first episode that leaves a nice cliffhanger-ish ending to have you chomping at the bit a little to see what’s up with both Zeke and the girl, Fiona.

Rating: 8/10

Next episode, we learn more about the mysterious girl from the pod, Fiona.

Episode One-Derland – One Outs

0zdo2x1

Plot: Kojima is an all-star professional cleanup batter who has won many awards for his achievements in baseball. However, one achievement still alludes him – a championship victory.

In an effort to make this year the year that they finally win a championship, Kojima has brought his team to an off-season baseball camp in order to pinpoint their problem areas and address them. When his pitcher, Nakane, injures his finger in practice, he and another member of the team go out to find a replacement pitcher to help Kojima and the team practice.

They find no luck on the streets, but a woman leads them away to a batting cage where a bunch of guys are playing a game called One Outs. In this game, bystanders bet on either the pitcher or the batter. The pitcher wins if he manages to strike out the batter or if their hits land within the infield. The batter wins if they manage to hit one ball in the outfield or further.

Nakane makes a few minor bets for a few rounds, resulting in what he believes to be 4000 yen, slightly less than $40 USD. However, he fails to realize that the bets are in American dollars, meaning that he owes $4000.

Believing that he can beat the pitcher, Toua, that has been up for the entirety of their betting string, Nakane bets that his debts be erased if he can beat him. However, Toua wishes to up the stakes of their bet from $4000 to $40,000. Nakane accepts, but under the pressure of such a high financial stake and realizing that there’s more to Toua’s skills that meets the eye, fails. They give them everything they have in their pockets, including credit cards, and are forced to leave with the remaining debt over their heads.

The next night, Kojima arrives at the One Outs game to call Toua out in order to erase the remaining debt. However, Toua again wishes to make the bet more interesting since Kojima’s such a professional player. This time the bet is $400,000. Kojima accepts and the game begins.

————————————————————

I hate baseball. And this isn’t just the typical moanings of someone who doesn’t like sports entirely. I really like hockey, and I’m pretty okay with watching football, soccer and even basketball, but baseball is just horrible to me. There are no redeeming aspects of it in my eyes. It’s boring on top of boring slathered in boring and goes on for so long you have to think some of the players believe they’re stuck in baseball purgatory. You could not pay me to sit through a game of baseball unless I’m allowed to sleep through the whole thing.

With that out of the way, the baseball aspect of this first episode really is the most trying for me. Especially considering that I didn’t get half of the terms. Luckily, fansubbers are awesome and add notes for that crap. ~~kisses2fansubbers~~

Other than that, though, it’s an interesting enough sports anime. Our main character is incredibly passionate about baseball to the point where he even states that it’s sacred to him. You can definitely tell that even those who don’t outwardly appear as passionate about the game as Kojima are still immersed in it fully……I can’t relate, but I still understand.

It’s so weird how I can relate to and understand a show where the main focus is a game based on poetry that I’ve never heard of or played better than one based on America’s past time…

Toua is interesting. He’s a bit too good to the point that it worries me. By all means, the characters point out how weak his pitches are, yet no one can get a damn hit off of him. Plus, he’s one of those quiet yet obviously cocky types that irk you the wrong way.

Nakane’s a moron. He means well in trying to find a replacement pitcher, but putting all those bets down on the batter because ‘he has to win eventually’ and not clarifying if the bets were in Yen or dollars when a lot of the players at the game are seemingly American? Come on.

Also, he’s not really dumb for taking on Toua despite seeing him win all those times since he states that he was a cleanup batter on his high school team, but he’s still a pitcher, meaning his batting game has to be rusty, and he’s seen how good Toua is.

One thing that bothered me a bit was the narrator. He’s one of those busybody narrators who cuts into the story to tell us stuff like backstory, primary goals of the plot, what’s going on in a montage, recapping stuff we just saw etc. Guys, it’s show don’t tell. Even if it’s not one of the characters doing this, it’s really annoying. He pops up all the time and won’t shut up. It really breaks up the flow of the episode.

The story is not all that great so far. Big time star is training to win a championship and needs a replacement player with an incredible one found just around the corner mixed with a plot where characters are swindled out of money and need the main character to clean up their mess (well, I guess he is the cleanup batter.) The only seriously interesting part is wondering whether Kojima can beat Toua, but since the episode ends before the game even starts, the rug gets pulled out from under you there.

The art and animation, done by Madhouse, are….okay. Most of the character art is good, if not somewhat ugly. Toua’s hair is cool, but his eyes are freaky and his body is almost grotesquely detailed and skinny. That part in the OP where you see him nearly naked is more worrying than attractive. Why he’s nearly naked in the opening, I do not know. I’m almost certain you usually wear clothes in baseball.

The animation is alright, but I don’t believe it’s some of Madhouse’s better works.

The music is fantastic, with particular notes to the awesome OP done by Pay Money to my Pain.

Final Verdict:

cbxcz0k

This was nearly an ‘undecided’ but I think the characters could be strong enough to support this show even in spite of the baseball snoozefest. Despite not liking baseball, I do have a soft spot for sports anime.

Wanderful Days (Manga) Review

wkwozx2

Rating: 8/10

Plot: Akira is a scary looking kid that everyone takes as a devil or delinquent. He’s earned the nickname of The Rabid Dog Fujishima, though he’s not nearly as bad as everyone makes him out to be. While he is a bit rough around the edges, he has a great love of dogs and is actually quite kind. One day, Akira saves a dog from being hit by a car. Sadly, he dies in the process, but his soul is inserted into the body of the dog he saved. He gets adopted by a kind girl named Hinata who takes him in and names him, coincidentally enough, Akira. As he tries to adapt to life as a dog, he discovers that Hinata is one of the few people who actually shows legitimate caring for him; both before and after he died.

Breakdown: On the surface, this looks like a really silly manga. And, yeah, the premise is a bit of a hurdle to get over, but it’s, surprisingly, a pretty good one-shot. You really feel for Akira’s plight even if they play up all sorts of the obviously awkward aspects of being a dog, even some that are played up pretty much just for awkwardness based on the fact that he’s actually a teenage boy. For instance, she bathes with him and sleeps with him, and even lets him, accidentally, put his face in her naked crotch.

Akira was just born with a really ‘evil’ looking face. Even as a baby he was feared by people, including his parents. Because of this, he didn’t have any real friends and no close relationships. He was challenged by all sorts of thugs and earned a reputation due to his fighting back, and kicking ass at that.

Hinata’s a very kindhearted and slightly airheaded girl. Her parents died and she lives alone, though she doesn’t seem to take care of herself very well since her room’s a pigsty and she constantly forgets to lock the door.

When the people at Akira’s school learn that Akira died, they all either don’t care or rejoice since they viewed him as a devil. The only one to cry or even show any sadness over Akira’s death is Hinata. We learn that Hinata actually knew Akira through one chance meeting when they were a couple years younger. She was crying and injured for some reason and Akira, also visibly wounded, probably due to a fight, stopped and tried to cheer her up and tend to her wounds.

In a pretty touching scene back in the present as Hinata mourns Akira’s death, Akira tries to cheer up Hinata in the way most dogs would – he licks her face. But not in a creepy way. It’s touching because it’s just sad all around. Absolutely no one but Hinata cares that Akira died despite the fact that he wasn’t even a bad guy; he just looked scary and had fights forced upon him. If anyone would need cheering up after that, it would be Akira, but all he cares about is Hinata’s feelings and treasuring that, despite only meeting her for a second, she was able to see him for who he was and mourn his death.

They remain as a happy family until one of Hinata’s creepy classmates comes into Hinata’s apartment uninvited (the door was unlocked – She has a bad habit of doing that). When he believes she liked Akira and not him, he attacks her with a box cutter. Akira protects her and nearly gets stabbed, but Hinata protects him and gets cut in the process. Akira then goes crazy and knocks the boy out of the apartment and into a tree.

With the threat gone, Hinata points out just how similar he is to Akira and proudly enforces the honor of the name of her lost friend Akira. With a bark (wan; the Japanese sound for a dog bark, hence the pun title WANderful Days.) he gladly accepts his ‘new’ moniker and place as Hinata’s loyal dog.

Some people pointed out that it might’ve been better if he turned back into a person in the end or if Hinata died and became a female dog to be with him forever, but I’m actually pretty okay with how this ended. Technically, the first option would’ve been fine because the soul of the original dog is still around. He’s actually the weakest part of the manga because he basically just instructs Akira to act like a dog and do perverted things. If she wanted to keep the dog and have Akira back, it could’ve happened, but time would’ve needed to reverse or something because you can’t just say he’s dead and have him get better……Then again, dying and becoming a dog isn’t any less believable.

The second option just seems terrible to me. It’s a bit predictable and I don’t want Hinata to die just to become a dog and have a dog-mance with Akira. In the end, while romance was a factor a little, all Akira wanted was a true family and someone to really care for him. All Hinata wanted was a family and someone to love. In the end, they both got that. The only thing that really bothers me is that…..Akira’s time on earth is still pretty limited. He’s a dog, and seemingly a somewhat old-ish dog at that. Chihuahuas have decent life spans, but they’re still nothing compared to how long Hinata will probably live.

Then again, I guess we’re not meant to think that far ahead and just live in the now. Akira and Hinata are happy and together, and that’s all that matters.

The art is nothing too special, and it’s done in fairly typical shoujo style, but it’s pretty good.

In the end, this is a pretty good one-shot that I’d gladly suggest to anyone looking for a touching tale of friendship/kinda romance. If you can swallow the slightly off-color premise, then you’re pretty much golden.

Additional Information and Notes: Wanderful Days was written and illustrated by Sakura Roku. It was serialized in Gangan Online.

Volumes: 1

Year: 2010

Recommended Audience: There are some panty shots and censored genital shots. Moderate violence and scary situations. 10+

 

Pokemon Extravaganza! Movie 01 (dub) – Mewtwo Strikes Back

70wcr1y

Rating: 3/10

Plot: DNA has been taken from the legendary Pokemon, Mew, to make a clone called Mewtwo, supposedly the most powerful Pokemon in existence. Giovanni, leader of Team Rocket, orchestrated the creation of Mewtwo and wished to control him in order to take over the world.

After being betrayed by Giovanni, Mewtwo decided he had more pressing matters to attend to besides the whims of a human. He wanted a purpose. He wanted to know why he existed. More importantly, he wanted to destroy the world. He wanted to rid the world of humans and Pokemon alike, leaving a world of only superior clones.

Ash, Misty and Brock get caught up in Mewtwo’s scheme along with several other Trainers who assumed Mewtwo was challenging them as the greatest Pokemon Master. Can anyone stop Mewtwo?

Breakdown: This is one of those things that is really a nostalgia bomb for me. This was the first movie I ever saw in theaters with a friend instead of my parents, and this was right at the peak of Pokemon for me. The release for the movie was insane whereas now the movies can’t even seem to get theatrical releases anymore, at least around where I live. And I loved it so much that I’d watch it over and over.

…..Now that I’m an adult, who still likes to watch and play Pokemon but sees it with a more critical eye, I……don’t like this movie nearly as much as I used to.

4Kids, despite advertising this movie like it was a cure for cancer, made several mistakes in the script and changed it severely from its original version, which I will review after this.

That aside, on its own, it’s very preachy, hypocritical and fairly cliché. At the very least, it gave us a tiny bit of insight into Giovanni, but look where that lead us. Nowhere, to the best of my knowledge. He does nothing, and he’s much more interesting and compelling in the manga than he ever was in the anime.

That’s not to say there’s nothing to enjoy here, but I have a lot more problems with it than I had as a kid and my love of the movie has definitely waned.

You can find Dogasu’s Sub/Dub comparison of the movie here.

————————————

Our movie starts out underwater where our narrator is getting all existential on us by wondering about the meaning of life and the mysteries surrounding our existence. We’re also following a Mew flying through the sky as the narration goes on. Throughout the narration, we hear Mewtwo whispering stuff like “Who am I? What am I?” before the narrator segues into our story and a new scene.

Enter Mewtwo….’s eye, as we see him staring through a tube filled with citrus Crystal Light at several scientists. He thinks to himself that what he is seeing right now is not the same place he was in before and that he believes he might’ve been dreaming. Is Mewtwo insinuating that he remembers being a Mew or that he has the same memories as the Mew that he was cloned from?……I’m no scientist but I don’t think that’s possible.

Mewtwo breaks out of his tube and one of the scientists starts explaining the backstory of Mewtwo. He’s the clone of the legendary Mew, but he has also been genetically restructured to be even more powerful than Mew – the strongest Pokemon in existence. Mewtwo doesn’t much care for this and I can’t say I blame him. If I was created with giant balls on my fingers I’d be pretty pissed too.

9nksmlr

In his rage, he starts breaking everything in the lab with his psychic powers. I will never understand situations like this.

Scientist: “We’re going to create the most powerful being ever! Muahahaha!”

Scientist 2: “YES! How shall we contain it?”

Scientist: “A glass tube!”

Scientist 2: “….Uh….anything stronger?”

Scientist: “Weak metal robot arms!”

Scientist 2: “….Anything….else?”

Scientist: “Nope!”

Scientist 2: “Won’t it break out then?”

Scientist: “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over all the world I’ll be dominating!”

I’m actually somewhat surprised 4Kids didn’t try to skirt the very obvious fact that those scientists all died in there. They never say it, but they couldn’t have survived that and you never see them again. They could’ve pulled a DBZ and said they escaped in the nick of time.

PM1SCREEN1

Mewtwo gloats about how powerful he is. Lines like this really contradict the fact that the story’s supposed to make us empathize with Mewtwo to an extent. “I’m just a clone? A shadow of Mew?…….I AM THE MOST POWERFUL POKEMON IN THE WORLD!!!!………but why am I here? :(“

Giovanni shows up with an offer for Mewtwo. He tells him that his powers are out of control, and he has a way to focus his powers to help him take over the world. This plot line comes out of nowhere. I mean, we know why Giovanni wants to take over the world…………..he’s…..evil? But why does Mewtwo want to do that all of a sudden? Because some scientists treated him like a science experiment and he wants to find his purpose? Seems a bit illogical is all.

Giovanni outfits him with some weird armor that is supposed to help Mewtwo focus his powers, and he puts it to the test in the Viridian Gym. Mewtwo slams an opponent’s Onix into a wall and Mewtwo says “Sooo, this is my power!”…..Yes, Mewtwo, that’s your grand focused power….putting an Onix through a wall. You’ve finally found your purpose.

You blew up an island earlier without breaking a sweat, why are you impressed with yourself here?

I guess Onix-Throwing isn’t a big sport as he moves on to Tauros wrangling next. We see a montage of other battles in the gym after that with Mewtwo battling an Alakazam and a Magneton. However, most fans will note that part of that montage is Mewtwo’s battle with Gary and his Arcanine and Nidoking that was seen in the regular series. I think that’s a rare occasion where the series poked at one of the movies.

PM1SCREEN2

Despite having fun making other Pokemon float in the air, Mewtwo still feels unfulfilled in life as he desperately wants to know his purpose.

Giovanni, ever so smart, responds to Mewtwo’s queries about his purpose by saying his purpose is to serve him, and that all Pokemon are meant to serve humans – not be their equals.

In response to this betrayal and his arrogant words of stupid, Mewtwo breaks free of his bonds. Again, nothing in place to prevent this? Nothing at all? Just hope the all-powerful Pokemon with a temper will obey you without question even after you basically call him a slave?

Mewtwo blows up the place and leaves, showing us yet another shot that was included in the series.

Mewtwo flies back to the island where he was created because….Good memories there, right? He’s still moping about his purpose and then states that he’ll mow down humans and Pokemon if they choose to oppose him. He basically states straight out that he’s going to take over the world.

4Kids breaks out the CGI and we get our title screen…Ten minutes into the movie. Dang.

We cut to a meadow where we see everyone’s favorite main Pokemon protagonist, Ash,

oxbcltu

And Misty and Brock who are preparing for lunch….They also have a huge table and a parasol for some reason. How are they carrying that with them? I would say this is a set picnic spot, but it’s in the middle of nowhere.

Ash is lazing about because he’s hungry when another Trainer with a skull and crossbones bandana walks up to them. He asks if they know a Trainer named Ash from Pallet Town since he wants a battle.

…..Who is this guy? How does he know who Ash is? How did he know he’d be in this meadow? Is he just wandering around random places wondering where Ash is? I wouldn’t be so curious if not for the fact that he pops out of nowhere and leaves just as suddenly with no explanation as to anything about him, not even his name.

Ash points out that he’s….er Ash, and they have a battle as the remixed theme plays. I like the remixed theme, but it’s not as good as the original in my opinion. Ash calls out Bulbasaur first while the opponent calls out a Donphan, but Bulbasaur blasts him away with a Solar Beam that took way too short of a time to charge. Ash then praises Bulbasaur as we see that he’s being monitored by cameras.

This next part confused me as a kid and I never figured out what the cause of this was until I got older. Actually I still don’t understand what the cause of it is, but I understand what is actually occurring in this scene a little better. When Ash’s opponent calls out his next Pokemon, Machamp, the scene of Machamp emerging and flexing his muscles is shown twice. Not only that, but we see Ash call out Squirtle without throwing his Pokeball. What happened?

According to Bulbagarden’s comparison, the original footage plays perfectly fine – it’s the dub that is edited funny. They repeated the footage of Machamp emerging and flexing to seemingly lengthen the battle, maybe to match the new theme, yet cut the shot of Ash throwing Squirtle’s Pokeball to shorten the scene. The edited version is the exact same length as the original. Basically, they purposely made this scene look like it was edited with a chainsaw for no reason whatsoever.

Sense: Not produced by 4Kids.

It’s Squirtle vs. Machamp now and Squirtle easily beats Machamp with one Bubble attack…..Wow….You fail, Machamp.

PM1SCREEN3

You don’t even have a weakness to water. Go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done.

The opponent then decides to cheat (but Ash doesn’t call him out on it for some reason) by releasing three Pokemon in battle at once; a Venomoth, a Pinsir and a Golem. Not fazed by this at all, Ash lets Pikachu give one good Thundershock and it instantly KO’s all three because Pikachu can just do that okay?

Also, if you’re going to have a scene where Pikachu one-hits three Pokemon at once, why make one of them a Golem?….The Pokemon that…ya know….shouldn’t even feel Electric attacks?

Misty: “Well that sure was a shocking ending.” Someone do me a favor and find out just how many times 4Kids has made a ‘shocking’ pun over the course of the entire series. The number has to be staggering.

Cut to Jessie, James and Meowth who are watching the group with binoculars and talking about how jealous they are of the others eating a big meal while they’re starving.

James: “There’s another credit on Pikachu’s charge account.” Scratch the previous request – just check for any electricity related puns.

I should also note that Ash is feeding Squirtle and Bulbasaur here, but he’s not feeding Pidgeotto or Charizard. All Pokemon must earn their meals through battle!

PM1SCREEN4

We cut to the camera again which is now seen attached to a Fearow’s neck as it flies around. Back at Mewtwo’s redesigned island of doom, a Nurse Joy, under the control of Mewtwo, asks if she should send an invitation to them as well. I guess winning a battle like that without breaking a sweat when, logically, it should’ve been much more difficult, and managing to defy the laws of Pokemon type in that last match are pretty impressive feats.

Mewtwo sends out his messenger Dragonite to give a letter to Ash and…this never occurred to me before now, but why exactly aren’t Ash and the others amazed by this? The only exposure they’ve had to Dragonite before now has been in the episode with Bill where it was only seen in shadow as a giant and was touted as one of the rarest Pokemon ever seeing as how they had no real information on it at that time. They see one face to face playing messenger boy and they don’t bat an eyelash?

Anyway, Ash gets a card that reveals a hologram inviting him to Mewtwo’s New Island claiming that it’s a challenge from the world’s strongest Pokemon Trainer (And he’s called the world’s greatest Pokemon ‘Master’ throughout the film.)

Ash can’t wait to accept the invitation and immediately sends off his response. Dragonite starts to fly back to New Island when Team Rocket stops him with a frying pan. Well surely they’re impressed by the Dragonite and want to capture—nope, they pay it no mind. Oh well!

PM1SCREEN5

The acceptance card falls out of Dragonite’s bag and Team Rocket wonders what it’s saying ‘yes’ to. I suppose sometime afterward they also discovered the hologram card because there’s no real way they could’ve known what was going on the next time that we see them unless they did.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2