Plot: One month ago, Danny Fenton’s life changed forever when he walked through a ghost portal of his parents’ invention and accidentally activated it while inside. The incident made him half-ghost, allowing him to maintain the look of a regular boy but also gaining ghost abilities and the ability to transform into a more proper ghost form, Danny Phantom. Unfortunately, Danny’s activation of the portal has also made it so that ghosts can sneak into the human world and cause havoc. Danny’s taken it upon himself to stop these ghosts with his powers while trying his best to keep his powers a secret from everyone else but his two best friends, Sam and Tucker.
In the series premiere, Danny’s first opponent is a lunch lady ghost that attacks Casper High after Sam changes the menu to exclude all meat items in lieu of an ‘ultra-recyclo-vegetarian’ menu, much to the lunch lady ghost’s disdain.
Breakdown: Ah, Danny Phantom. A simple tried and true tale that, to be honest, we’ve heard a thousand times before, but done in such a way that brought a fairly fresh spin on the story with plenty of memorable characters and storylines along the way.
Actually, put another way, it’s like the story of Spider-man but melded with Ghostbusters.
And, really, if you want to dissect this, it is a whole bunch of clichés. An unpopular kid who has trouble fitting in at school, bullied by the school jock who gets away with nearly everything, also targeted by jackass teachers, is given abilities that make his life even more complicated. The only two people who know about his powers are his two best friends, the tech genius, Tucker Foley, and the opinionated goth chick, who is obviously set to be a love interest, Sam Manson.
His parents are basically two bumbling idiots who never catch onto Danny’s secret in the least and are always causing trouble for him with their weird behavior in ghost hunting and odd inventions. However, they do help out inadvertently sometimes by inventing things Danny can actually use, even if his parents have no clue how to make them work.
His sister is the one who seems to break tradition here as she seems to fancy herself a psychologist in training who always tries her best to seem adult and mature. She deeply cares about Danny and worries about his well-being growing up in a household with such odd parents.
Our first enemy, the lunch lady ghost, is admittedly not very threatening. In fact, not many of the first season ghosts really were. However, that’s alright here. We’re just being introduced to the world and the characters, so having a somewhat silly ghost who actually can hold her own, even if her attacks are silly, is fine. They’re all mostly meat-based, even if she has some pyrokinetic abilities. Most of her abilities can be eaten or squished, but they can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when Danny doesn’t have a good grip on his abilities quite yet and even has trouble keeping his ghost form.
It’s interesting that the only reason the Fenton Thermos starts working is seemingly because Danny puts some of his ghostly energy into it, but does that fix it permanently or does he need to keep feeding it that way when he needs it? Because other non-ghost characters use the thermos in the future.
The conflict between Sam and Tucker felt a bit odd in this episode. Usually they reserve episodes where the main character is caught between two fighting best friends for when they’re a bit more established, but here they just jump right in. I won’t say it’s a bad part of the episode, because it does highlight one of the main character traits of Sam in a decent manner, though I don’t think the same can be said of Tucker.
While I’m pretty sure the fact that he loves meat stays true throughout the series, it’s never really given any more real attention in the future to my recollection. Plus, I find it kinda immature that Sam doesn’t drop the issue when the school starts being attacked because she changed the menu. I know I said the Lunch Lady Ghost isn’t a big threat, but it’s still possible for her to hurt people, especially with her minor pyro powers, and Sam still won’t budge an inch.
Other than that, the only real notes I have is that there aren’t many jokes that work very well in this episode. Either that or they just don’t hold up very well. Jack had a few entertaining lines, but that was about it.
Next episode – Parental Bonding: Danny asks his crush, Paulina, out to a dance, but has to deal with a dragon ghost in the meantime.
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Plot:…….Uhh…..A bunch of girls in some special guard thing fight some guy who wants to destroy the world and….stuff happens
Breakdown: WARNING – LONG RANTY REVIEW. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
This was…..an experience. I’ll give it that. I don’t know what kind of experience, but it was one. I don’t have much for introductions here, so let’s just get on with the show.
I can tell you something right now, I hate the artwork. I hate art styles that have the hair covering the eyes when it completely covers one eye or another and leaves in the linework for the eyes while covered by the coloring for the hair. That looks so lazy it’s insane.
On top of that, it’s incredibly annoying. I can usually ignore it, but there’s this one character with a bunch of orange yellow hair that hangs in front of her face that covers practically the entire side of her face and the linework for her eye shines right through it, making it look horrible.
The main girl, Maki, as well as some Soviet soldier who comes out of nowhere that we’re expected to know or connect with also have hair that covers half their faces. The soldier is the worst as her hair veers off into some huge spike that doubles back towards her face. You’d think they’d want as much hair out of their face as possible considering they’re soldiers, but I guess her eye goes right through it anyway, so why bother?
There’s one scene later on when one of the girls is naked lying splayed on her stomach and the art makes her look like a damn body builder when she looks slim in every other scene. (Warning, buttshot.)
Then you have people with long pointy faces like in Vampire Hunter D.
There’s also the main villain, but I’ll give you that taste of insanity in a little bit.
The animation doesn’t fare much better. It’s choppy and there are several scenes that seem like cardboard cut outs being panned over a background. In one episode with a character named Ed, I was laughing my ass off at how he was just sliding all over the place like the animator put butter on his character shot.
The CGI is mostly okay, but it contrasts badly with the awful traditional artwork. While objects made in CGI look perfectly fine, the ground and certain locations look pretty damn bad.
Another note: Gotta love when they don’t bother to spell-check anything that’s supposed to be on US technology. Not just any US technology, this is supposed to be the US government’s, specifically the president’s, computer system.
That’s not a one-time thing either. It happens constantly. Later the screen spells “Cancel” as “Cancell”, “Deceased” as “Decased” and the prison called Neo Purgatory is always spelled “Neo Pagatory.” Don’t bother spelling that focal location of our entire plot correctly. Oh and lest we not forget this gem.
I wanna have that stitched on a pillow.
Sometimes they even misspell their own characters’ names like Terrie Canione (Terry Canyon) and Mariryne (Marilyn).
Okay, okay. Let me see if I can somehow mend the insanely broken plot of this movie. Keep in mind, this is movie is so broken and hard to follow I had to do research after watching this movie to understand what was going on and I still have little clue, especially in regards to the ending.
The movie starts out by telling us in super-fast subtitles (on the raw footage, though my subs were also broken) that war repeats itself, some meteor shower occurred and something about an angel falling. I couldn’t follow any of it. I guess no one else could either because none of my sources even mention this. The text also basically says that men are to blame and women are the only ones who can do anything about it. Oh God, I’m watching ICE again, aren’t I!?
It’s the year 2026. The death penalty has been outlawed in the United States, and now those meant to be on death row are held in an underground prison in the crater of a nuclear bomb explosion called Neo Purgatory. Just roll with it – this is the least of our problems.
After that, we’re introduced to our main girls – Maki, the Japanese named American leader of the girls, Doris, aforementioned girl with annoying silver and orange hair, Marilyn, some chick with yellow hair that has purple lines in it, Naomi the lone black character becoming a double threat by also being a glasses girl, Naomi also has kids that don’t matter, and Katherine, a red haired little brat I want to murder who sneaked on board their attack helicopter.
With them is Giga, a giant mech, and Link, a little robot pink rabbit thing who acts like R2D2 in the helicopter and doubles as an alarm clock and convenient portable computer.
They work for the Guard of Rose which consists of only them. According to the Wiki, they’re the special guards for Neo Purgatory….Which makes no sense considering that their headquarters are stationed pretty far from there. Also, why would they need a specialized helicopter, a rabbit robot and a giant mech to guard such a place?
Link, by the way, is an official police robot. The government purposely made that thing to look like a pink rabbit.
Also, if their credo is so much “women fighting men’s violence” then I really don’t understand their purpose at all. Are there no women on death row/Neo Purgatory? Are women just the kindest gentlest creatures ever? Could’ve fooled me with all the gun fights and killing.
What kind of name is the Guard of Rose anyway? They guard Neo Purgatory. Are women roses? Is the prison a rose?
We see them fighting some rebels at Neo Purgatory who have missiles somehow (Outfit the prison filled with serial killers and rapists with accessible missiles immediately!) Katherine, a stowaway on their helicopter, is detained by Giga and their helicopter gets shot down. Before you can say “shortest movie ever”, Giga exits the helicopter and catches it, slowing it down just enough to not kill everyone. However, Giga’s badly damaged and needs repairs. This means he never does anything for the rest of the movie…..They have a giant mech and do nothing but that with him. Cheers.
US soldiers find them and rescue them from the wreckage as we cut to our villain preparing for more villain things. His name is Donn Canyon, though these subs seem to like calling him Tone Kane, (Not sure which is better to be honest. One sounds like a cartoon cowboy the other sounds like a cheesy action movie star.) and he looks like this.
Yes, you are currently seeing this. This is a Fist of the North Star character after doing the fusion dance with Vash the Stampede, shooting up 400 gallons of steroids and inexplicably wearing an outfit with tons of tubes, pumps, bolts and, for reasons beyond my understanding, scissors and extractors. Look at him. Just….look at him. Just stare in awe at how his character design was greenlit.
He’s working with his sons to take over Neo Purgatory and destroy humanity, but more on that later.
As the soldiers and the Guard of Rose are making a game plan, rebel prisoners show up. The mummy ninjas (try calling them anything besides that. They move and attack like Roadrunner while looking like this.
brutally attack the soldiers, cutting their heads off and slicing them open. Also, it’s nice to know we’ll still have bad guys in 2026 who sport leather, spikes and mohawks. I was worried there for a bit.
It’s here where the girls, well, Maki, Doris and Marilyn at least, show off their magic science powers. That’s the only way I can describe it. See, their suits run on some sort of energy. I have no clue what kind of energy nor where any kind of battery can fit on those suits, nor how they recharge, but they do. Their suits summon weapons from nowhere like magical girls. Doris gets a sword, Marilyn gets a Boh staff while Maki gets some sort of lightning stuff that shoots from her fists.
I really have to ask, like a common question to Final Fantasy games, why are they using swords and even more confusingly boh staves when guns are a thing? Hell, this is 2026 so they probably have way better guns. They do use pistols, but why are their specialty weapons swords and boh staves? I don’t even know what Naomi gets if she gets any weapons since she seems to play a support role, and the only things we see Katherine use are pistols.
The girls are doing well in the battle when energy bombs come from nowhere and start blowing everything up, followed by mechs shooting the energy bombs controlled by one of Donn Canyon’s sons, Terry Canyon. Terry, predictably, also looks like crap and has a thing for old hard rock. He changes the songs as he increases the intensity of his attack, and when he enters the “final secuence” He ends up blowing the girls up in the helicopter.
Luckily two guys named JC and Mike, one of which sporting a horrible looking lavender beret for no reason, sneaks on board the helicopter to save the girls and brings them to a cell in Neo Purgatory.
Maki freaks out at the sight of them when she wakes up and nearly kills them. Naomi explains that he doesn’t know who they are or what they want. JC and Mike don’t explain, but claim that Ed Canyon, Donn Canyon’s oldest son and his second in command, told them that women or the Guard of Rose have bombs in their chests and they want to see them…..Okay, if the bombs are IN their chests, how the hell would you see them? On X-ray?
Hearing this, Maki does the rational thing and throws her bra in their faces, showcasing her boobs to them as she talks about what violent filthy pigs men are. Right, you kill people with magic science lightning and guns and randomly take your top off in front of complete strangers, but they’re the violent filthy pigs. They’re so freaked out by her outburst and the sight of her boobs that they fall to the floor in a daze. Don’t worry, that’s just one of many things that make no sense.
Maki, Naomi, Doris and Katherine are fine for reasons beyond my understanding, and they suffer no injuries that affect them over the course of the rest of the movie despite puddles of blood and wounds to the torso. They notice that Marilyn is gone, and we learn that she’s been captured by the rebels.
While preparing for an assault to save Marilyn, Link detects a camera that runs across the rails of the halls of the prison and records any activity. Since Terry controls those cameras now, they’ll be caught if it catches them. Probably wasn’t a good idea to take shelter inside of the place fully controlled by rebels then, was it? It’s like if they decided the best place to hide from the Empire in Star Wars was inside the Death Star.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
Plot: Lee Ping is just entering 10th grade and is looking forward to the new school year. However, he’s framed for a massive prank, and is not only given detention all year, but he’s also grounded for the same duration. Now Lee has to do everything in his power to find evidence that will lead him to the real prankster and clear his name, with the help of a ‘gentle giant’ bully named Biffy and his friends, the Scandinavian exchange student Holger, and the wanna-be gangsta Camillio.
Breakdown: I was on edge of dropping this near the middle. The start caught me on pretty well as the series has a nice and fairly unique style to it (seemingly normal but has a splash of sci-fi and fantasy). Though the art and animation do have that weird Flash bouncing habit. You know, when the characters seem to have rubber bands in their bodies that makes them slowly move back after quickly moving forward.
I will say that prank scene was wonderfully stylized though….even if they were stylizing puke.
Anyhoo, this is a pretty interesting premise, and, in the end, I really don’t have any idea who the real prankster is. From the silhouette, it looks like a bald person with glasses, but I could be wrong. I’m not sure if the prank is worth a year of detention and grounding, though. The prank dumped paint on everyone, set off stink bombs, threw junk everywhere and worst of all the stink made everyone throw up on each other.
He avoided the prank because he was in the rest room, making it seem like he’s guilty, then evidence of the crime is found in his backpack, which he left in the gym.
This prank gives Lee some mixed responses. Some people, like the new half-cyborg Principal Barrage and some of the students are very upset with him about it, while many others find his prank awesome and he becomes popular as a result. He even forcibly becomes the new boyfriend of Brandy, a self-absorbed popular girl. I can understand why some of the students found this prank awesome and funny but the girls? Especially the preppy prima donnas? Seriously? Keep in mind, this prank not only ruined their clothes with paint, but it also drenched them all in vomit. Why would they find that cool? And what’s more disturbing, not a damn person washes up after that. Ew.
Half of the beginning and the middle part is a bit of a chore to sit through as there’s not much that’s interesting or funny happening before or after the prank. However, the very beginning and the end ‘mission’ were enough to keep me entertained. Hopefully, now that the ball’s rolling, the show will keep a better momentum.
As a first episode, it does its job well enough. It established a decent portion of the world they live in, sets up the main plot pretty well and introduces many of the most important characters in a way that allows us to know them pretty well in just a few minutes. I like Lee, though Biffy was my favorite character. I always have a soft spot for the behind-the-scenes tech guy, and he was a nice spin on that trope, and he was, by far, the funniest character.
Holger was a little entertaining, though he was a little annoying and was pretty much a stereotype of nearly any foreign exchange student in a TV show (weird, overly clingy, extremely happy and has a thick accent). Camillio was just flat out annoying and almost offensive in his own right. He always wears headphones for no reason, he speaks in the most wanna-be way possible, he wears a big gold chain with a gold watch on it. And for some reason he wears a giant fur coat. I can’t see an iota of depth to his character and I’m not hopeful we ever will see depth in him.
This just barely edged out an ‘undecided,’ and I was almost convinced to make this a ‘no’ as the more boring parts of the episode wore on, but it managed to hook me back in with Biffy and the ending.
Recommended Audience: Vomit and some extremely minor ‘swearing’ (crap and ‘I’m screwed’). Outside of that, it’s mostly fine. 7+
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Plot: Let’s go back to the beginning of The Lion King….or moreso before the beginning. To the origins of Timon and Pumbaa and a retelling of the movie through their eyes.
Breakdown: I didn’t mind Timon and Pumbaa much in The Lion King, one of my favorite movies ever. I will admit that it was a drastic tone change when they were introduced, but Disney has a habit of doing that when something particularly heavy happens (think Bambi’s mom → Oooh look at the birdies!) They had some funny moments, and they were okay in the sequel. They are some of the more tolerable comic relief sidekicks, but…I still never really liked them much.
I guess I just get tired of Timon’s snarkiness and Pumbaa’s constant fart/bad smell jokes. Moreso Pumbaa to be honest. His only bits are farting/bad smell/gross out gags and the fact that he’s fat. While he has decent banter with Timon, he’s a one/two trick pony with jokes that aren’t even funny. However, I can’t imagine I’d want to watch them in a TV series or watch a movie about them.
Luckily, both things were created. The Lion King1 ½ is a movie that answers the burning questions of Timon and Pumbaa’s story before and during The Lion King. And, hey, at least this one’s honest about being a midquel…or mid-prequel instead of a sequel….BUT….they kinda messed that up because it should really be The Lion King ½ because 1 ½ kinda sounds like it overflows in The Lion King 2. Maybe they’re trying to say that they’re taking about 3/4 of the original movie, copying it, and pasting on a new 3/4 to make 1 ½? I dunno.
Here’s the thing, this movie isn’t like other Disney ‘sequels’ in that it’s actually Timon and Pumbaa watching a movie version of Timon’s backstory, how he met Pumbaa, them raising Simba and their part in the climax. They watch the movie in silhouette in much the same fashion as MST3K, but the thing that falls apart in that concept is that they don’t riff the movie or anything, they just pop up at certain segments to make a hindsight joke or reference about the situation.
And I do have to say, these are just completely pointless and non-funny moments. Rarely is there a legit funny joke in these cutaways.
You may be wondering why this format is being used at all. Well, like The Lion King used Hamlet as a template and The Lion King 2 used Romeo and Juliet, this movie is using Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Are Dead, a retelling of Hamlet through the eyes of two dead characters, as its template.
I’m also not very keen on reviewing this step by step since the format is so different, plus it’s retelling the movie just with jokes and more focus on Timon and Pumbaa. So I’ll just break down the major aspects.
This movie counts as a prequel and midquel because it also focuses on Timon’s origins, which occur before Simba is born. Timon was born in a wasteland far away from Pride Rock – so far that you can only barely see it on the horizon. Timon lives with a group of other meerkats who are obsessed with digging and hiding from hyenas. We get that from their song ‘Digga Tunnuh’ which, while being an earworm, is one of those incredibly useless songs. It really only serves the purpose of establishing that meerkats as about as set in their worker/paranoid ways as the ants from Antz.
Timon is, as predicted, the one who causes all the trouble in the group and is different from the other meerkats who just want to work. He wants a better life in a better home where he doesn’t have to worry about hiding from hyenas and where his life has purpose.
He has a slightly overbearing mother named ‘Ma’ (A single mother in a Disney movie? Wow.) voiced by Julie Cavner IE Marge Simpson and a great uncle named Uncle Max who is Jerry Stiller being every Jerry Stiller role. They actually parody the scene where Mufasa shows Simba the Pride Lands by giving the speech and ending it by saying everything the light touches belongs to someone else.
We also get jokes about the circle of life by implying that they don’t fit into it well because, despite the fact that they’re so low on the chain, they don’t eat the grass that their predators become. However, if they’re insectivores, then that joke doesn’t work entirely because the bugs eat the grass and they eat the bugs. There are still living beings lower than them on the food chain.
His mother tells him that, despite his dreams of a better home, it’s their place in life as meerkats to merely do what they do – dig and hide. After a mishap with Timon causes their tunnels to collapse, Timon’s mother decides he might be better suited for sentry duty.
It’s an easy enough job, but Timon screws it up by taking the mantra that sentries are supposed to follow (Scurry, sniff, flinch) and turning into a song, ‘That’s All I Need.’ It’s okay-ish, but it really gets lost in the middle and even the movie decides to cut it off early by having the hyenas interrupt it.
After the attack, he’s shunned even worse by the group and decides that he has to leave and explore to find his place in the world. He departs from his mother in what is actually a pretty touching scene and heads on his way.
He meets Rafiki after he gets lost, which may or may not cause plot holes. I do remember Timon asking ‘Who’s the monkey?’ after Simba decided to go back to Pride Rock in the first movie, but whatever. We learn that Rafiki is actually the one who taught him about Hakuna Matata. His advice leads him to ‘look beyond what (he) see(s)’ and decides that he has to go to Pride Rock to find his paradise.
He meets Pumbaa completely by chance by just bumping into him (Yeah there is really nothing more to that meeting) and Timon ‘hires’ him to keep predators away on his journey.
Now we’re at the actual beginning of The Lion King and Simba’s presentation ceremony. Timon’s unhappy with the crowded Pride Rock, so he decides to check out a little spot ‘beyond’ it. It’s here where we get the one joke that is just plain horrid.
Not only is it a massive fart joke, it also tarnishes the original presentation scene. Pumbaa doesn’t do well in crowds, and you probably already figured out where this is going from that, but let’s continue anyway.
He tries to ‘hold it in’ as he makes his way through the crowd, but can’t and ends up tooting his ass horn in such a massive way that a ton of the animals at the ceremony fall over and that’s shown as the real reason why the animals bowed to Simba…….I have to tolerate Pumbaa’s fart jokes enough as it is, but when it sets out to ruin iconic scenes it just pisses me off.
We get more clashes with The Lion King as Timon and Pumbaa wake up in their new home to the part of the movie where Simba and Nala sing ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King.’ I get that this happened shortly after the presentation scene in the original movie, but we’re also lead to assume that some time passed between the ceremony and the song seeing as how Simba is somewhat older. This movie basically says he grew up that much overnight. Unless there was a time skip in this movie too, but there’s no indication of that.
Their new home gets ruined, and their journey to find another new new home leads them through several parts of the first movie such as the hyena attack, ‘Be Prepared’ (at least the very first part anyway) and the stampede scene (Kinda morbid how they’re playing up the scene in which Mufasa dies for laughs. He obviously isn’t seen in this movie dying, but you still know that’s what happening.) but they eventually stumble upon the perfect place seen in the original movie that they actually call Hakuna Matata.
They then sing a remixed version of ‘Hakuna Matata’ that I don’t like as much, but if it matters to you they added sing-a-long lyrics to the bottom of the screen in this one.
Timon’s mom, finding out from Rafiki that he’s ‘chasing metaphors’ decides to go off to find Timon, but not before smacking Rafiki in the head and smashing his foot. I love Rafiki and everything but it is kinda funny to see him get smacked for a change.
We’re finally at the point in the movie where Timon and Pumbaa rescue Simba. This is my favorite part of the movie because it actually showcases what we really wanted to see – what Simba, Timon and Pumbaa were doing during Simba’s time growing up.
The answer is – not much.
To be completely honest, it’s not like we’re meant to expect much anyway. Simba’s time with Timon and Pumbaa was portrayed as him just screwing around for months/years, and that’s pretty much what they do. The point of these segments, however, is to show Timon and Pumbaa bonding with Simba as surrogate parents.
While much of it is comedic moments, there is a scene or two of genuine bonding. And we do see how much Timon and Pumbaa care about Simba, which was actually fairly lacking from the original movie as much of their bonding was held in ‘Hakuna Matata’ before we quickly transitioned to Nala coming back and Simba going back home. While it may not seem important, it does add to their relationship more and gives some emotional standing to the scene where Simba decides to go back home, even if they do end up living with him afterward.
We also get to see more of Simba as a ‘teenager’ which is kinda cool.
Sadly, this part is really short. The scenes with Simba growing up don’t even take up ten minutes, and that seriously sucks.
Now for my least favorite part of the movie (barring the presentation fart joke) – Timon and Pumbaa (mostly Timon) purposely trying to break up Nala and Simba for the sake of keeping their buddy around.
I dislike this scene because 1) it cuts away from Timon and Pumbaa really caring about Simba to selfishly not giving a crap about his happiness for the sake of their own. 2) It contradicts again with the original movie as Timon and Pumbaa don’t start singing ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?’ (they do finish it, though) 3) It’s a Mushu-in-Mulan-2-esque mindset of random accidents meaning two people will break up and 4) It, again, really tarnishes a pretty good scene in the original movie.
I just liked it a lot better when they just accepted that Simba was going to be romantically involved with Nala. They were really sad about it, yeah, but they accepted it and seemingly decided to respect Simba’s desires. As the saying goes, if you really love someone, you’ll let them go. It just makes Timon and Pumbaa look like selfish assholes now.
The scene after, when Simba goes back to Pride Rock, also creates an inconsistency because Timon initially said in the original movie that he thought Simba was with Nala when the preceding scene in this movie shows Timon and Pumbaa watching Simba and Nala have a fight and him running away from her. I know some liberties can be taken since this is a comedy movie, but this is still meant to be taken as canon. Plus if you give me a midquel on a movie I love, I’m going to nitpick you, it’s just law.
Timon’s mom and Uncle Max arrive and….Wait, what?! They just now found Timon?! Have they been looking for him for months/years? What the hell?
The actual climax, the battle with the hyenas and Scar, is completely different. They show none of the Timon and Pumbaa scenes that actually happened….well except the luau, and make up their own triumphant climax with the hyenas.
I’m perfectly fine with the latter because the hyenas are gone for most of this scene in their huge battle (However, this scene does essentially mean that Shenzi, Ed and Banzai never heard Scar framing the hyenas.), but I don’t understand the former at all. I get that it would’ve been slightly repetitive, but it’s a retelling – it’s supposed to be somewhat repetitive from its original version, especially when you’re focusing on the scenes that the main characters of this movie were originally in.
After that’s said and done and Simba takes his place as king, Timon and Pumbaa return to Hakuna Matata (I’m just going to have to assume that’s what the place is really named) with Timon’s mom, Uncle Max and the rest of the meerkats where they can live in relaxation.
This may or may not be the one inconsistency between this movie and The Lion King 2 because it shows that Timon and everyone else are living in Hakuna Matata now when it’s shown in The Lion King 2 that Timon and Pumbaa live at Pride Rock being Kiara’s babysitters/bodyguards, and Timon’s family is nowhere to be seen. However, there’s some time gap between this and The Lion King 2 so it’s possible that Timon and Pumbaa moved back between movies to help Simba out.
Bottom Line: And that’s The Lion King 1 ½. Despite the various inconsistencies with the original movie, not-that-entertaining every-once-in-a-while commentary and the stupid fart jokes, it actually stands as one of the more competent Disney seque—mid—pre—Somethingquel in the bunch, especially where the art and animation are concerned.
It’s also attributed to the fact that it’s a comedy and not trying to copy or cash in on the original movie. It’s just trying to have fun while paying homage to the original movie, and I’m all for that. I may not be the biggest fan of Timon and Pumbaa, but they held the movie well and many of the jokes legitimately worked, even if I still find the gross out gags to be dumb instead of funny.
Disney seems to be really good about taking care of The Lion King because, as I’ve stated before, The Lion King 2 is also one of my favorite movies. (Late stage edit: I wrote this before The Lion King 2019 came out, so please scratch my notes about Disney taking care the franchise……It’s a dark time for The Lion King now….) The tender moments felt real, and unless you’re incredibly nitpicky like yours truly, you probably would pay no mind to the inconsistencies.
The music’s alright. There are only two real original songs here – one’s not that good and gets interrupted, and the other’s just an earworm.
I’d gladly recommend at least one watch if you’re a fan of The Lion King, but if you can’t stand Timon and Pumbaa (or fart jokes), you can skip it. You’re really not gaining any massive insight into the original movie.
Recommended Audience: There’s gross out humor, mostly fart jokes, but some boogers, the average bug eating, etc. Other than that, nothing. Also, I can’t really call fart jokes and boogers ‘mature content’ so E for everyone.
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Card(s) of the Day: Silent – A card that absolutely hates noise, Silent has the ability to instantly silent anybody that is making noise. It can also remove them from the general area to ensure that the noise doesn’t return.
Plot: Sakura’s on a field trip to an art museum when she runs into a boy that is trying to alter one of the paintings that he states was defaced. When they find out that it’s really the work of the Clow card, Silent, it’s up to Sakura, Kero and Tomoyo to capture the card and restore the painting back to its former glory.
Title Change: Sakura’s First Attempt as a Thief is changed to The Mysterious Painting.
Before we see Sakura drawing Kero, the dub adds in a shot of the exterior of her house. I guess because we wouldn’t have realized that they were at her house judging from the fact that they’re in her room. Yeah, I could’ve sworn her room was moved to that museum we were just in. SO CONFUSING. D:
They cut out Kero bragging about his long legs when he’s telling Sakura what’s wrong with her picture.
After the scene with Sakura drawing Kero, we’re shown Sakura eating dinner with her father and brother. She’s explaining to them that she was drawing upstairs because she’s going on a field trip to the art museum. Toya asks why she was being so rowdy upstairs if all she was doing was drawing, and she says that she can’t draw properly unless she’s talking. Toya says that she better not act that way in the museum or else she’ll get kicked out. Her father reassures her that, though she should be on her best behavior, it’s unlikely that she’ll get kicked out for talking.
This entire scene is cut for reasons beyond my understanding. I have a theory that Nelvana doesn’t like Sakura’s father, but I could be wrong. It just seems like a lot of his scenes end up on the cutting room floor.
After Sakura whispers to Tomoyo about it being quiet in there, she smiles embarrassingly and scoots away. This was edited out due to Sakura making an anime-face.
Before we see the drawing, Sakura has anime ‘cat eyes’ that are edited out.
Nelvana actually made an edit that makes sense for a change. They edited out the Japanese text that was on Kero’s edited picture and replaced it with English text that reads “What I REALLY look like.” Which is actually very accurate to what the original written.
Name Change: The kid’s dad is named Tenkai Tachibana. In the dub, this is changed to Douglas Mills.
So we have a bittersweet moment of editing. The sign under the painting is edited clean of Japanese text and is replaced with another accurate translation, barring the name which was changed as I stated. However, about 30 seconds later, Sakura picks up a tag that fell off the boy’s bag. It reads “2nd Grade, 2nd Class, Yuuki Tachibana” In the dub, the scene where we see the tag is edited out. And they were doing so well too.
When Sakura’s telling Tomoyo about the incident at the museum, she states that it could be the curse of a dead artist and makes a creepy goofy face. She then follows this up with a cartoonish crying face because that would scare her. This is edited out due to cartoon-y faces.
They edit out a short scene after they presume it’s a Clow card where they realize that their class has left without them.
Well this is just confusing. In the original, the excuse that Sakura gives to Yukito as she’s leaving the house (Yes, they kept Yukito in a scene for a change. You may take a minute to change your pants since I’m sure they were dampened from surprise.) is that she’s going to look at the moon. Yukito gives her a knowing look and then says to not forget about the tons of stars out there. In the dub, this is reversed. She says she wants to look at the stars and he says to not forget about the moon. I don’t even…
Despite leaving most of Yukito’s scene in, they edit out where Yukito leans down to talk to her and Sakura blushing because he’ll keep her leaving a secret. Because crushes and all that.
Huh, I probably should’ve picked a different line to get that screencap because that line makes Yukito look very creepy.
They also paint away her blush in the next scene as she sighs.
As Sakura’s rollerblading away she keeps going back and forth with starstruck faces and depressed faces because she’s going back and forth between gushing over Yukito and thinking that he now believes that she’s a bad kid for sneaking out. All we see in the dub is one depressed face and Sakura believing that he thinks she’s a weirdo.
After Kero says that he doesn’t know what Silent’s other ability is, Sakura does one of those DOH falls. In the dub, they edit this out, making the scene look noticeably choppy.
Well, we go from disappointed in Nelvana to ashamed, they edit off the Japanese text (at least the stuff that is legible) from the security schedule for the museum. We don’t even get a close up of the paper. It’s completely pointless.
When Tomoyo sets her watch, there’s a noticeable delay before she hits the button that’s not present in the original. I feel like this was a cheap way of lengthening the episode by a few seconds.
Another weird change – In the original when Kero’s trying to scare off the intruder, he says he’s the guardian angel of the museum. In the dub, he says he’s the god of protection for the museum. Huh. That’s the complete opposite of what 4Kids would’ve done.
When Sakura and Tomoyo are trying to explain themselves to the boy, Tomoyo mentions that they’re elegant thieves and would never tarnish the paintings. At the mention of thieves, Sakura makes a shocked face with dot eyes and says that they’re not thieves. This is edited out due to Sakura’s goofy face.
Nelvana, kindly stop screwing with me. Remember how that tag was edited out before? Well, after Sakura mentions the boy’s name to stop him from going, he asks how she knew his name and then we see the shot of the exact same tag, edited of course.
If you had no qualms in showing the tag, why did you edit it out in the first place? The only reason I can think of is to save money on editing, but if you wanted to do THAT you would’ve left the tiny map text alone.
Also, the tag only says “Alex.” It doesn’t mention his grade, class or his last name. Because only having a first name on it makes it so useful as a name tag. Why would the tag have been a clue at all if the last name wasn’t included on it!?
Name Change: The little boy was originally named Yuuki Tachibana (and the spelling of ‘his’ name kinda spoils the ‘twist’). In the dub, he’s Alex Mills.
Are you telling me that no one in the entire museum or even frequent visitors would’ve noticed that a painting was drastically different than it was before?
On their third attempt to confront Silent, Sakura holds up a sign that says “Quietly!” in Japanese, which Tomoyo follows that up with a sign that says “We don’t have much time.” Instead of leaving this in and editing the text, Nelvana completely removes this scene.
Leave it to Kero/Kero’s Corner: Minor nitpick, but Kero says Sakura’s leggings are knee-highs in the Kero’s Corner short in the dub when they’re clearly thigh-highs…..
Next episode, Thunder’s debut as well as Syaoran Li’s. A new kid arrives at Sakura’s school and already seems to have it out for her. Things are made even worse when Thunder shows up and starts causing trouble.
Badge Episode Attempts 1 and 2 – Marsh Badge: Saffron City
Gym Leader: Sabrina – ‘Blessed’ with intense psychic powers from birth, Sabrina’s been obsessed with honing her powers since she was very young, even pushing her parents away to reach more power. Her true personality has split in two – a stoic and cold woman who loves playing with her opponents, and a happy little child who loves ‘playing’ with her opponents. Despite the ‘real’ Sabrina seeming ruthless and almost inhuman, deep down, she truly just desires to make a connection with a real friend.
Reappears?: Yes, due to this being a failed Gym attempt. She makes an appearance in the episode after the next in the rematch.
Pokemon: Abra. It quickly evolves into a Kadabra. Later, she obtains a Haunter, technically.
Ash has two failed Gym attempts this episode and does not get the Marsh badge.
CotD(s): Sabrina’s father – Never given a proper name, Sabrina’s father is the genetic source of her psychic powers. His psychic abilities, however, are not nearly as powerful as Sabrina’s. He wishes for Sabrina to go back to being the happy little girl he knows she is, so he tries to help Ash both defeat her and bring out her smile.
Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock are lost in the woods, again, on their way to Saffron City. In the dead of night, a little girl appears and runs away. Ash tries to follow her to get directions, but finds himself falling off of a cliff. He quickly saves himself with Bulbasaur, and before the group can find out where the little girl went, they spot Saffron City in the distance.
They enter the city, and they’re met with noisemakers and two people dressed in Hawaiian outfits claiming they’ve won prizes as the millionth visitors to Saffron City. As they’re lead into a building, the duo reveals themselves to be Team Rocket and snatch Pikachu away from them. When they try to get him back, Jessie pushes the three onto a warp tile which teleports them into an enclosed room.
When they gloat to Ash and the others through a TV feed, Team Rocket discovers the same little girl from earlier. She freezes the duo and takes Pikachu back, returning him to Ash. Revealing herself to be more than meets the eye, the girl teleports the group outside of the room and right in front of the Saffron City Gym.
A mysterious man points out where they are and tells Ash to skip this Gym if he really wants to make it into the Pokemon League before disappearing just as soon as he appeared.
Not deterred, Ash confidently goes into the Gym and finds that it also houses some strange psychic training center. A mildly psychic man leads them into the arena and the group is slightly frightened when Sabrina scolds him with a psychic assault.
Ash is surprised to see the little girl from before on the Gym Leader seat, and is even more surprised to find that the little girl is with a beautiful woman who bears a striking resemblance to the little girl. They agree to a match on one condition – if Ash loses, they have to be Sabrina’s friends and play with her. Ash, thinking it’s a silly harmless promise, agrees.
Sabrina lets out her Abra and Ash sends out Pikachu. Despite Abra being asleep, it can use its Psychic abilities and Teleports away from Pikachu’s attacks. In the middle of the match, Abra evolves into Kadabra and psychically pummels Pikachu, even sending its own attacks against it.
Seeing Pikachu being utterly steamrolled, Ash calls off the match. Having lost, the little girl says they have to hold up their end of the bargain now and teleports them to a strange deserted town. As they look around, they realize that the food is fake and the few people they are able to find are dolls. They come to the conclusion that Sabrina has shrunken them and put them into a play town filled with dollhouses.
The normal sized Sabrina starts to try to grab at them, and the little girl walks into the town with her ball and nearly squashes them with it. However, the mysterious man from before suddenly teleports into the town and teleports them back to Saffron City, turning them back to normal size as well.
The man again warns Ash and the others not to challenge Sabrina or else they will be lost to her toy box forever. Ash refuses to give up, but the man humiliates Ash by using his abilities to force him to dance with his pants down. He states that his psychic powers are in no comparison to Sabrina, and if Ash can’t beat him what hope does he have against Sabrina?
Ash begs the man for help in beating Sabrina. The man continues his psychic assault on Ash to get him to realize the weight of the situation and just go home.
Despite the pain, Ash is determined to beat Sabrina and continues to plead for the man’s for help. Impressed by his resolve, the man lets up and gives Ash a word of advice – the only Pokemon strong against Psychic types, besides other Psychic types, are Ghost Pokemon, and he should obtain one from Lavender Town if he wants any chance at beating Sabrina.
With Ash accepting his advice, the man leaves and Ash sets out for Lavender Town to get a new Ghost Pokemon that will hopefully help beat Sabrina and earn him a Marsh Badge.
– Lisa Ortiz voices Sabrina here. She’s not making my ears bleed as adult Sabrina, but she is as that little girl, especially when she does that horrible giggle. Even worse because the little girl needs a higher pitched voice. I still have criticism on her selection as the VA for adult Sabrina, however, because she does not sound right sometimes. I know adult Sabrina is supposed to be cold and emotionless, but Lisa Ortiz has these moments where she confuses cold and emotionless for bored.
Though, I will concede and say Ms. Ortiz does a pretty good job with her. I wish she’d used a much more toned down voice more often…
– It’s now in canon that James has kissed Ash…..
– I give Ash props for finally being skeptical of sudden odd things that seem like scams, and then I take them away for falling for it anyway.
– Hey a warp tile! Neat.
– I might be able to forgive Ash for still thinking that he was a prize winner after he was warped away if not for the fact that 1) his Pikachu was stolen by the people who told them about the prize, 2) they were obviously Team Rocket and 3) He’s a dumbass.
– Heheheh, Ash acknowledges that Jessie and James kissed him.
– Hehehehe, Ash didn’t realize until they got out of those costumes that they were Team Rocket…..wait that’s not funny. That’s sad.
– Hah! Alright, they made up for it with the gag of them drinking tea as Team Rocket does their motto.
– This is just more Team Rocket Stupidity™ They successfully caught Pikachu and trapped Ash and Co. to keep them from following for at least a very long time. So what do they do? Do they run? Hide? Go to Giovanni? Nope. They gloat to the group through a TV feed and even reveal that they could potentially get out of that room through the warp tile they came in on….
– Masked Psychic Guy: “You can’t control a Psychic Pokemon without telekinesis.” That is not true. At all. In the slightest.
– I agree with Misty and Brock, that display of ‘strength’ by Ash (struggling to physically bend a spoon) was just embarrassing.
– The random bar codes in the Pokedex return.
– And again on Kadabra.
– Man, this is the second time Ash has had to stop a match because Pikachu was just being beaten way too badly. The Indigo days were rough.
– Brock: “She must’ve used her telekinesis to shrink us!” Actually, Brock, telekinesis only allows you to move items with your mind. To transform something into another through psychic powers is transmutation.
– Nice technical nudity by the doll in the bathtub. How’d that escape 4Kids’ censors?
– And we see Ash in his undies? Asleep at the editing wheel, guys?
– Okay, this ending, and subsequently the next episode and rematch, are rife with technical problems. First of all, this whole ‘must get a Ghost type to beat Sabrina’ thing is fueled by several factors. The first of which being that Ash cannot, supposedly, catch and use a Psychic type Pokemon because they state that Psychic types can only be tamed by people with psychic powers, which is not true and will continue to prove to be untrue throughout the series.
Second, Ghosts are not, in fact, strong against Psychic types in this Generation – they actually have no effect on Psychic type Pokemon in this Generation. This isn’t really so much the writers’ faults as it is just a mess of problems involving the game.
In the game, it was originally slated for Ghost types to be strong against Psychic types, but a problem in the coding instead made them immune to Ghosts. I guess they just never played the games and went off of some notes from the original programming team or something.
Like originally planned, Ghosts were made strong against Psychic types in Generation II and onward, but the writers didn’t even get the right memo there because they decide to stick to what the first Generation sent out and later made an episode in Johto, Girafarig’s debut, where they think they ‘fix’ their initial mistake by having the town’s whole shtick being Psychic types always beating Ghost types as almost a duty in doing so. Oops.
Third, there is another Pokemon, one that is way easier to obtain, that is strong against Psychic types……Bug types. Sure, there are few Bug type moves in Gen I, but it’s still a viable and much easier option.
To be honest, one of Ash’s best Pokemon for this battle chose a really horrible time to get laid. Butterfree is both a Bug type and can use Psychic moves if taught.
Finally, why does Ash not ask how Gary and the other three Pallet trainers made it through Sabrina? We know they came through here and that they must’ve beaten her without using Psychic types since none of them are, supposedly, psychic.
I’ve always really liked this episode, and I still do. The main glaring weakness is Team Rocket’s part (what a shock) but mostly because that took up so much of the first half. I guess it wasn’t a total waste since it showed little Sabrina helping them, giving a glimpse into Sabrina’s kinder side.
I love the Psychic battle, Sabrina’s an awesome and intimidating Trainer, the plot with her family is interesting and left as an intentional cliffhanger to be resolved in the redux of this battle, Sabrina’s personality splitting into two beings is very interesting, and the dollhouse thing was an awesome way of showing Sabrina’s power and her odd yet sad desire to merely have some friends to play with.
Her habit of turning her failed opponents into dolls is both sadistic yet a legitimate effort to quell her loneliness. I do have to wonder why the dollhouse is so empty, though. Does she just not get many opponents or does her dad save them all?
It’s nice to finally have a failed Gym attempt where the rematch is not in the same episode, though I’ve always been very uneasy about how he actually ends up winning the Marsh Badge.
But enough about that, it’s time for Ash to friggin’ die! Next episode is the Tower of Terror where Ash visits the most depressing town in the game to enter the most depressing building in the game where the most depressing and memorable story of the game is conveyed….or he could screw off with a bunch of Ghosts for 20 minutes. That’s fine too.
Plot: Zoey Hanson is a normal teenage girl. She’s has a huge crush on a great guy, is a bit lazy and a little scatterbrained. While on a date with her crush, Mark, she is hit with a strange red light that grants her the abilities of the red data animal, the iriomote wild cat, and turns into Mew Ichigo.
Elliot and Wesley, leaders of the Mew Project, are the ones who granted her these powers, and they tell her that she, along with four other Mews, need to stop the aliens, the cyniclons, from taking over the planet.
Together, Zoey, Bridget, who has the powers of a finless porpoise, Corina, with the powers of a larakeet, Kiki, with the powers of a golden lion tamarin, and Renee, with the powers of a grey wolf, use a cafe as their cover as they try to save the world from the cyniclons, Dren, Tarb and Sardon and their mysterious leader Deep Blue.
Breakdown: Now that I’m a bit less enraged after going through the SDC of this show and it’s original version, Tokyo Mew Mew, I can try my hardest to find the merits of this show on its own, as if Tokyo Mew Mew doesn’t exist.
To get this out of the way, its merits as a dub effort are awful. You know this, I know this, there’s no point in getting into details since practically everything was covered in the SDC. Everyone is changed to be unpleasant as a character 98% of the time, the dialogue is constantly changed, there are untold amounts of edits and scene swaps, and the stories of the episodes are commonly changed to make them kiddier or to dumb them down. Rarely was there ever an episode that was left mostly alone. It’s, as far as I’m concerned, 4Kids second worst dubbed show outside of One Piece – and give that show credit, they kept the names the same, usually, in One Piece.
Getting back to stand-alone Mew Mew Power, I’m going to break this up as much as possible, so let’s tackle the voices first.
Zoey: Her voice is very grating. I get that she is a teenage girl, but she’s over-the-top typical teenage girly girl, and I can’t stand when she starts screaming. I feel like, in those times when she’s being all romantic with Mark or thinking about Mark, that her VA is rolling her eyes through all of it because she just lays it on so thick.
Corina: Her voice is actually fitting for a little rich snob, but she does sound a bit too old for the role, especially when she’s yelling.
Kiki: I actually don’t find Kiki’s voice to be that bad in terms of her character, but the actual sound is annoying as hell.
Bridget: She’s also pretty fitting, but her acting is hokey very often. She just can’t emote outside of timidness.
Renee: Her voice is also fine, but she can’t seem to do any emotions outside of bitch and monotone.
Elliot: Sean Schemmel does a fine job as Elliot, for the most part, but he does nothing to differentiate his voice from Goku’s, which makes it very distracting. I don’t think I’d mention this if they didn’t reference his role as Goku in the series.
Wesley: His voice is completely forgettable and doesn’t really fit the suave and cool character he’s supposed to be.
Dren: His voice is okay. He doesn’t get the cute lines down as much as…..uh, another show with the exact same character that I’m not supposed to talk about. His voice can be fun, slippery and malicious, but it’s not terribly effective.
Tarb: Gary Oak is a brat. I can’t say anything bad about that.
Sardon: His voice grew on me, but it just sounds so weird.
Mark: I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to give Mark this voice. He sounds way too old. Like I said in the SDC, this kid is supposed to be 15 in the dub yet he sounds like he’s in his forties and probably smoked in his youth. This is by far one of the worst voice casting choices I’ve ever seen.
Mini-Mew: His voice is actually really good. It’s a bit annoying since he talks quite a bit, but the choice of voice was good.
Zoey: At her best, Zoey is a typical self-absorbed materialistic teenage girl. She can be nice enough, but she has way too many moments of being snarky, bitchy and overall unpleasant. She’s obsessed with Mark to the point of willfully wanting to abandon her duties as a Mew, IE saving the world, just to be with him. It’s incredibly hard to want to root for her or her relationship with Mark because of how unpleasant she is to watch.
Corina: Self-absorbed, lazy, bitchy snob. She rarely has moments where she’s being genuinely kind, and even these moments are turned around to be sarcastic or bitchy. She also doesn’t really have much of a backstory beyond being a lonely rich girl.
Bridget: She’s one of the more tolerable characters, but man is she boring. Her voice and lack of range in emotion mixed with her personality make her really bland. Even her backstory isn’t very interesting.
Kiki: Kiki’s a little entertaining and not quite as annoying as I feared. However, there’s little in terms of filter between her brain and her mouth. I would say she just has no tact, but many of the instances of this come off as bratty instead of just putting her foot in her mouth. She does have the best backstory of them all though.
Renee: She comes off as cold and mean, and at best she’s a seemingly cold older sister type. She can be nice when she wants to be, but these moments are also ruined most of the time by adding in stereotypical teenage girl attitude. You don’t really get to know anything about Renee besides a few character traits as the show doesn’t explore her backstory.
Elliot: He’s very abrasive most of the time and a downright asshole several times, but there are circumstances when he’s trying to be nice. These instances are sometimes ruined by poor dialogue choices or tone of voice, but not as often as the girls. We never delve into his backstory or why the Mew project came to be.
Wesley: Wesley’s a dork. I couldn’t quite find the right word before, but yeah, he’s a dork, especially after the way he was talking in episode 25. What the hell was that, anyway? People on the Food Network don’t talk about food that much.
Mark: Mark is really nice, but down to the bare bones, he’s really boring. He plays kendo, he’s adored by girls, he’s a perfect guy, but he’s boring. His droning insurance salesman voice in no way helps.
Dren: He’s a fine villain, but a bit too cartoony to ever be taken seriously. He has a really stupid manner of speech that is very effeminate and littered with dumb cutesy nicknames and silly wordplay.
Tarb: Well, they weren’t wrong, he’s a brat.
Sardon: Probably the only of the three I would ever take seriously, but his voice makes it close to impossible to do so.
Deep Blue: Kinda pointless to talk about him. He’s a mysterious voice from the shadows who commands his lackeys to do everything and wants to rule the world. His voice is ridiculous, and he’s a lot like Giovanni from Pokemon except he somehow manages to do less on his own.
Blue Knight: There’s also not much to say about him. He’s this show’s Tuxedo Mask, though he doesn’t show up nearly as often as TM does in Sailor Moon. He’s obviously voiced by Sean Schemmel with a sore throat and he does nothing but save Zoey, protect Zoey, and give her pep talks before vanishing.
Outside of using animals, fighting aliens and using DNA instead of magic as a magical girl power base (which is pretty silly to note as an original thing since they must still be relying on magic to a degree) it’s on par with most other magical girl anime dubs. Typical teenage girl voices, overly girl-ifying everything most of the time, and following roughly the same character archetypes and structure. Renee and Kiki kinda break the character archetype mold, though.
The ending is completely unsatisfactory, obviously, since the dub project was canceled.
The stories can sometimes be goofy, but I never expect full seriousness out of magical girl shows. They are usually aimed towards kids and are partially comedy shows.
The dialogue is bleh. If I can compare this to a similar-ish show and not the original show for a second, take Kim Possible. Both aimed at kids, both focus on teenage girls as the main heroes, both are no strangers to very girly things such as pop music, cheerleading, and of course, boys. The dialogue in that show, while being lame sometimes, mostly in the catchphrases, was overall snappy, realistic and, best of all, funny. The dialogue in this show is lame, forced, dated, not that realistic and not funny.
The music is very poppy, very girly, and the lyrics are almost always nauseatingly girly and lame. However, the music department at 4Kids is very good at making earworms in terms of their melodies. Their insert songs during the emotional scenes are forgettable, but ‘Supernatural’ and ‘We’ve Got the Animal Instinct’ admittedly grew on me. The OP is very catchy as well.
The art and animation don’t stand up to the average western cartoons and even many of the anime typically found on the same block. Better than Yu-Gi-Oh, but that’s like saying being beaten with a branch is better than being beaten with a plank of wood.
Pierrot really did blech work on this show. The colors pop, the transformation scenes are well done, and when they actually decide to use their budget the show doesn’t look half bad. However, most episodes look like crap for the most part. The animation is average at best, and the art can be horrible at worst.
Is There Anything The Dub Did Better Than The Original?
I can’t really avoid comparing the two versions here as I really want to give 4Kids some credit.
Yes, they did something better than the original and you probably already know what it is – giving the other girls more time to shine.
While I doubt this was made with fairness between the characters in mind (it’s probably a marketing strategy both for their soundtrack and their character merchandise) they do give more focus to the other girls when they can in terms of showing them transforming and doing their attacks. In the cases of Kiki and Bridget, they even make up additional attack names for them to seem more diverse even when they don’t do anything different.
The original has this really nasty habit of favoring Ichigo far more than even the average magical girl show favors the leader. The other girls get what they get at the start and usually get nothing more. Mint can kinda fly, though she usually just floats. It’s possible she can also talk to birds. Zakuro might be able to talk to dogs/canines in general. Lettuce was able to turn into a mermaid twice with Mew Aqua. Pudding got jack squat.
Ichigo, however, gets three different weapons, three different attacks and always gets the final shot. She has cat ears and a tail pop out when she’s upset and she eventually turns into a cat fully.
While one can argue that those abilities are the curse of this project, it would be better to give similar abilities to the other girls. After all, they’re supposed to be itching to be back to normal, right? If transforming is a choice, this Mew project deal doesn’t affect the other girls nearly as much.
Have Mint sprout wings or talons. Have Pudding sprout monkey ears and a tail. Have Renee sprout dog ears and a tail. Have Lettuce…..uhhh….sprout…a fish….tail? Hell, just have them take on animal behaviors like Pudding jonesing for bananas, Lettuce having irresistible urges to swim, Mint wanting to eat bird seed, Zakuro chewing on bones.
You can get really creative with this yet they never do. They don’t even explain what everyone else’s animals besides Ichigo’s are until more than halfway into season one. She gets practically all of the focus in every episode unless it’s a special character-driven episode, and even then focus shifts to Ichigo much of the time.
It was a nice change of pace to have more focus on the other girls, however minor it may be. Is it really so much to ask to properly showcase a TEAM show without always having the focus and all the fun stuff go to one damn character?
They also had a few moments where their dialogue or story changes were better than what was originally there. Slightly….Just slightly.
Bottom Line: It’s a terrible, horrible, butchered little dub, and I stand by my statement of ‘Second worst 4Kids’ dub ever.’ It’s an average dubbed magical girl show at very best, and I don’t fault anyone who liked this show as a kid.
I never got into it as I was too busy watching Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon and Digimon. Doing/reading sub dub comparisons on those shows makes me cringe sometimes with how awful the dubs can be, but elements of the original version still shine through, just like it does here, and I can see how people would be allured by that. It doesn’t seem to do much harm to kids in terms of messages, it just doesn’t have much to offer. There are and were better similar shows out there for kids to watch.
Recommended Audience: Ichigo’s boob shadows and Kisshu’s stomach/groin lines were painted away because they were too risque. I think no one can argue with E for everyone.
Plot: A boy named Nori realizes that he has the ability to make his imagination come to life by writing it and drawing it in his diary. When he creates a pig with this power, he furthers his abilities when the pig rams his snout into his head, allowing him to instantly create anything he imagines without the help of his diary.
Breakdown: Before I start, I want to mention that Tokyo Pig is aimed towards a pretty young audience. I’m not usually one to review shows aimed at particularly young audiences, but this one doesn’t seem like its target audience is too young to warrant aversion.
That being said, the only real way to express my feelings on this show so far is by examining the episode step by step.
We start out with a weather girl who will annoyingly be popping up about every minute or so to make pointless and not funny observations. She explains that the weather will be full of pigs today. Well, okay. I don’t think my umbrella can withstand that, but okay.
Cut to a boy named Nori (or Spencer. I think the subs might be basing themselves off of the supposedly horrible English dub sometimes) who is super excited to run home and do his homework, which is to write about the thoughts and feelings about his day in a diary. The diary won’t be read by anyone else but him, so this is one of those moot homework assignments.
Checking to see that he’s alone in the house, he writes how a strange girl in his class has been pressuring him to say that he likes her even though he doesn’t. In fact, he writes that he has no feelings for her at all and doesn’t wish to be with a girl that he feels nothing towards.
His mom and little sister burst from under his desk and in his closet claiming that they were playing hide and seek. His mother freaks out on him since she believes he was studying. She finds education to be worthless since his father also studied hard and got a good job at a company only to have the bubble burst and him end up with a title-less job at her printing plant. Yep, she is actually a mother who not only values physical labor over education but studying in her house is basically akin to doing drugs.
He leaves to go meet his friends, and his little sister discovers his diary in his desk. When he returns, his mother and sister laugh at him and mock him for what he wrote in his diary.
I would understand this if it was just the sister. Siblings just do this crap to each other. But his mom?! She’s laughing about violating his privacy and expressing his perfectly normal feelings about a girl liking him in a seemingly confidential medium. Not to mention they’re acting like he wrote that he did like her when he repeatedly expressed that he didn’t in the diary.
Look, the point of this assignment and diaries as a whole is to have a private place to openly share your thoughts, feelings and dreams without worrying about being judged. In addition to being somewhat of a cathartic experience, it helps people, kids most of all, to feel more comfortable and trusting in sharing their feelings, allowing them to create stronger relationships with people.
Taking someone’s diary and reading it, especially when it’s a young kid’s diary, is essentially shattering every benefit of using a diary. It only makes you feel less trusting of others and more closed-off in regards to continuing the diary out of fear that someone will take it and read it again.
Not really an example, but my sister forced me to write something in my diary when I first got it. I didn’t understand why, but I did it because she kept pressuring me to write it. I forget who it was about, some boy in my class I think, but she made me write “(boy) is sexy.” then she snatched it from my hands and squealed to my parents that I wrote something dirty in my diary.
I was about six years old, I didn’t even know what that word meant, and her doing that, even though I didn’t write in it beforehand, put me off of writing in a diary for many years. Which sucked because I was excited to get my first diary.
Laughing at someone for their diary entries only makes that feeling that much worse.
But I’m probably over-reacting. This is a show for little kids, right? Nori will probably have a hissy fit and run upstairs yelling about how his mom and sister are poopy-heads.
He actually has a pretty legit emotional breakdown about his privacy being violated and having his private thoughts being mocked.
In most cases, the worst case scenario here would probably be the kid not wanting to use a diary anymore for fear of the same thing happening.
Nori instead decides that the healthiest way to approach this problem and avoid any further “shame,” as he puts it, is by filling his diary with outrageous lies. Way to go, mom. You took away Nori’s feelings of trust, filled him with deep shame about sharing his personal thoughts and feelings and taught him that lying is the best way to avoid that shame all in a matter of minutes. Truly your parenting techniques are top-notch.
One of the lies he puts in his diary is that his mom would grow an incredibly long neck, which she actually does and, surprisingly, not a single person sees this as odd besides Nori himself. He quickly erases the entry and his drawing of it, returning his mom to normal and still leaving them thinking nothing’s odd.
Nori realizes that he manipulated reality with his diary…..somehow…..so he decides to test it again with something equally odd by writing that they’ll be having pencil tempura for dinner, which they do, and, again, no one but Nori finds this odd. His father actually ends up choking on a pencil, only for his mom to cure him by putting an eraser on a cheese grater and feeding his dad the shavings.
Freaked out yet again, Nori decides to write something even more outrageous and says the sky will be filled with pigs tomorrow. Lo and behold the next morning is mostly sunny with scattered pigs.
Yet again, no one finds this weird. The pigs, seeing Nori, cram themselves into his room for some reason. Hearing the commotion, his family comes up to investigate, stating that they won’t be happy if there are pigs in his room, which I don’t really understand. If they believe the pigs are just weather phenomenon then wouldn’t that be like getting mad that rain is coming in through the window?
He quickly erases the picture and entry from the diary, causing the pigs to vanish before his family comes up. However, he realizes that he left one pig picture in the diary and that same pig is in the room. His normally happy-go-lucky dad suddenly takes his glasses off, revealing his scary angry face that is apparently so traumatizing that the show won’t reveal it to us, and he demands that he “dump” the pig.
Nori reluctantly agrees, and he drops the pig off in front of a butcher shop. Nori, why? You were the one character consistently earning my sympathy so far. Not to mention that, while he does quickly return for it and I get the ‘joke’, this is the same kid who was having trouble leaving him period because he kept looking into the pig’s cute wittle sad eyes and feeling insanely guilty. It feels like the scene is reversed. Have him do something that drastic at first and then slowly whittle him down to ‘I can’t abandon you at all.’
Also, do I have point out the obvious question of ‘why not just erase the last pig picture?’
Frustrated, Nori thinks that he’d be able to keep the pig at home if he were a godzilla pig because no one would be able to stand up to him. The pig shoves his snout into Nori’s head, allowing him to transform into the godzilla pig Nori imagined. So now, somehow, Nori no longer needs the diary to make his imaginary ideas come to life – he just needs to be skull-stabbed by a pig snout.
Freaked out by the monster, Nori imagines fighter jets to combat him, which instantly come about. So now, somehow again, Nori no longer needs the stab to his skull to make things come to life – they just instantly do the moment he imagines them.
Everything starts getting destroyed around him, so Nori freaks out. However, he does take a minute to imagine how cool it’d be if another monster showed up to combat pigzilla. He instantly regrets this, but it’s too late and a three-pigheaded dragon emerges to fight pigzilla.
In an effort to save the town and stop imagining these things, Nori slams his head repeatedly against a vending machine until he gets knocked out….which is a pretty serious and downright dramatic way to solve this problem in this otherwise goofy and completely random show.
It does work, and the pig tries to wake up Nori to no avail. In an effort to save him, the pig goes to get Nori’s family, and they soon find and retrieve him from the park, thinking he merely fainted.
Back at home, the family reveals that the pig is now revered as a savior pig who somehow immediately has a collar even though they would’ve had no time to buy and give him one between being alerted to Nori’s condition and retrieving him. Because of this, Nori is allowed to keep him as a pet and Nori decides to name him Sunny Pig since he fell from the sunny skies. However, since his thoughts can be brought to life by Sunny Pig, he now has to keep everything a secret.
Okay, for the most part, this partially works as a first episode. We get a good idea of the personalities of each character, and the universe that they live in is somewhat explained, though the whole thing about why and how he suddenly has these abilities is not explained at all. How is his diary magic? Is his teacher a witch or something? Is this whole ‘every thought is instantly brought to life’ power turned on with snout stab and turned off with him being unconscious?
The tone kinda flip-flops. On one hand, it’s very obviously trying to be a light-hearted comedy show. On the other hand, you have scenes like Nori reacting to his mom and sister reading his diary and Nori’s efforts to knock himself unconscious, which honestly seem more emotional and heavier than they should be or were maybe intended to be.
A major issue is that most of the characters are completely unlikable, except Nori. His mom is an education-hating, privacy violating, emotionally damaging crazy person. His sister is essentially the same as his mom, only made more annoying by her repeated phrases and her high-pitched voice.
His dad seemed pretty good until we learned he’s apparently a hard-ass who hates animals. The weather girl is completely pointless and annoying. Nori is still a very fine character, but that scene with the butcher shop won’t leave my mind. Really, the best character is the pig, which is probably why he gets top billing.
Another annoying aspect in that regard is that the family, like the overall tone, also flip-flop in their personality. Most of the time they’re complete assholes or idiots and at the end they’re a seemingly normal and happy family.
Most of the jokes simply didn’t land with me, except one joke involving trying to translate what the pig is saying. I get that the comedy here is mostly in the insanity of everything, but simply being random and insane is not enough to be funny. However, it probably is pretty funny to a young kid.
I will admit that the final scene is pretty sweet, albeit a little predictable.
The art is obviously simplistic, and while most of it is fine, several character designs are just ugly. Backgrounds have little to no detail and are roughly drawn and colored.
I honestly would’ve been more inclined to continue had I not been so put off by most of the characters. I actually don’t mind the insane and non-sensical plot as it does open up a world of possibilities that are literally only limited by your imagination. However, considering the characters and the fact that the comedy just doesn’t fly very far with me, I can’t find it within myself to feel compelled to go on.
Plot: There’s a new game called ‘Rabbit Doubt’ in which a bunch of people, connected by cell phone, take the role of a rabbit with one person being ‘the wolf.’ As the game goes on, rabbits start dying, purely in the game of course, and the remaining rabbits have to figure out who the wolf is.
As a group of friends who play Rabbit Doubt enjoy a day of fun, they suddenly find themselves trapped in a weird warehouse with barcodes tattooed on their necks that open one door each. That’s not all – one of their own is found to be murdered, and they realize that Rabbit Doubt has turned into a real game. But who’s the wolf?
Breakdown: I was honestly conflicted about my feelings for this manga for a while. On one hand, I was really getting into it and enjoying it quite a bit. Like many of you might know by now, I do enjoy ‘death game’ stories as they usually have nice mysteries, strong characters, good stories and some creative ideas. This isn’t the most creative premise in the world, but it still a pretty good one.
They know from the get-go that one of them is ‘the wolf’, so the group, despite being friends, are pretty paranoid of each other, and that paranoia only gets worse as clues to the wolf’s identity are strewn about and more people get killed.
The characters themselves are pretty decent, though none are horribly memorable, especially the main-main two of Yuu and Mitsuki, who basically encapsulate every average nice guy and gentle childhood friend/love interest/person the nice guy swears to protect couple ever.
Now, obviously the meat of this story is the ending as it will reveal who the wolf is and what their motivations are. The ending, however, is the weakest part of this story to me.
Jump down to the Bottom Line to remain ending-spoiler-free.
Now, noticeably, they put a lot of focus on talking about this girl named Rei before the actual game ever starts. Yuu and the others meet her as they’re hanging out, and Yuu recognizes her as a psychic hypnotist who used to be on TV but fell from grace when she was accused of being a fake. They spend an inordinate amount of time talking about her and more than one conversation arises about her before the game starts. It really makes you think that either she’s the wolf or she’s a gigantic red herring. She even carries around a rabbit doll.
When the group are all knocked out and brought to the warehouse, the first person found dead, before anyone even wakes up mind you, is Rei. For anyone taking this story as a mystery, which it should be, or has read or watched plenty of stories like this before, you’re likely confused at this point yet still focused on Rei. Why was she killed at the very beginning before the actual ‘game’ ever starts? Why have a game if you’re not going to give one of the players a chance? Why did we spend so much time focusing on Rei before the game started if she was going to be superfluous by chapter three?
Here’s the thing, I tend to jump to conclusions when it comes to first suspects in stories like these, but when a character is found dead I typically just accept that they’re dead unless I have reason to suspect otherwise. This leaves Rei as just being a dead body in a room for much of the manga and not really paying it much mind outside of how they’re going to use her barcode key and what she had to do with the big web of crime and lies that is revealed at the end.
Another character that seems like a big red herring is Mitsuki as she doesn’t play Rabbit Doubt. She was merely hanging out with the group since Yuu was playing. Her presence and the fact that files are found with profiles on everyone, Mitsuki included despite her not meaning to be there, put a lot of suspicion on Mitsuki near the middle.
And it does turn out that Mitsuki was one of the wolves…
Yes, you heard me, one of the wolves.
There are technically three wolves for this game; a man they find watching the security monitors, Mitsuki and someone I’ll reveal later. Now, having the man be one of the wolves is fine since he’s really just someone helping things along and is not the real wolf. He’s not the alpha, so to speak.
However, Mitsuki being a wolf and having another character be another wolf means that the structure of the mystery is ruined for the reader. If we’re meant to take the rules of the game as gospel and have no given reason to think that there’s a mastermind’s mastermind, then it seems like you’re ‘cheating’ us out of figuring it out for ourselves.
The reason Mitsuki is doing this is actually pretty dumb. She loved two people in this world; her father and Yuu. Her father was scammed out of his money, and he tried to kill himself by hanging. He lived through the hanging, and after a week went by Mitsuki wanted to talk to Yuu about it. However, he said he couldn’t do it right then as he was told to go home early and not make any stops along the way.
Mitsuki later saw Yuu hanging out with a girl named Kei, who isn’t a part of the group. Thinking they’re dating and realizing Yuu kinda lied to her, Mitsuki essentially lost the only two people in the world that she loved. So she decided to murder Kei for her ‘betrayal’ and create the game to punish liars since everyone in the group, in one way or another, was a liar.
However, she purposely refused to give a barcode to Yuu. Supposedly this was to protect him and give him a chance to tell her the truth. However, him not having a barcode when everyone else did just threw all of the suspicion on Yuu. In fact, when Mitsuki is called out as a suspect, they suspect Yuu too since he brought her there and has no barcode.
Since he never fessed up to Mitsuki, and didn’t even remember what he lied to her about, Mitsuki decided he needed to die too. It’s not until Mitsuki shows him photos of Kei’s body that she reveals what he lied about it, and Yuu counter-reveals that he wasn’t dating Kei at all. Kei was a good friend of Mitsuki’s, and she was helping him pick out a great gift for her birthday, which he was keeping in his pocket but lost somewhere during the game.
Without the gift as proof, Mitsuki doesn’t believe him, so she tries to kill him again only to end up getting badly wounded by accident. Yuu attempts to free them from the building with Mitsuki’s barcode which should open every door since she’s the wolf, but is baffled when it’s shown that a door won’t open when her barcode is scanned.
As footsteps approach, the real alpha wolf is shown to be none other than Rei.
Now this just raises all sorts of questions. Why didn’t they check her pulse to ensure she was really dead? They checked up on her body a few times – did she just sit insanely still for hours while still somehow orchestrating this game? How is she connected to the man and Mitsuki?
Well, prepare for a very weird ending that is only unpredictable because it’s just so silly.
Remember that Rei was a hypnotist? Well, when the rumor spread that she was a fake, she was bullied pretty harshly and her parents were even harassed quite a bit. It got so bad that her parents entered into a murder-suicide pact that included Rei against her will. They rammed their car into a tree and died instantly while Rei was left alive.
Yup instead of just laying low and waiting until no one gave a crap about some TV hypnotist girl anymore or trying to prove that she actually has psychic hypnotism powers or moving away or transferring her to a different school or some other logical thing, they decide murder-suicide, with their young child, is the best option. Especially using such an iffy method as a car accident. Dumbasses.
Now left an orphan, Rei wanted revenge on all liars in the world, so she created Rabbit Doubt and spread her hypnotism through one last TV broadcast. I don’t know why she’d get another TV broadcast when she’s been so firmly labeled as a fake, but there ya go. She specifically sought out people who had lost loved ones recently, and Mitsuki actually had her father die that week instead of just being in a coma like Mitsuki believed under the hypnotism. That coupled with her devastation over losing Yuu made her a great candidate to be hypnotized and made into a wolf.
On one hand, this is a pretty decent twist since you really never suspect Rei since she was ‘dead’ the whole time. On the other hand, this is really too big of a pill to swallow.
The wolf is really someone with magical hypnotism powers. And I don’t care that Rei outright says it’s not magic; she’s controlling people through hypnotism, through the TV and cell phone tones no less, to partake in a death game. No, she can’t make anyone kill another person, supposedly, but she can manipulate their minds and memories to the point where they’d be pretty okay in doing so.
It’s clever in that, despite being told of these abilities beforehand, you’d never expect that this is what’s going on…..but the reason you don’t suspect that this is what’s going on is 1) It’s never proven before the game that Rei was actually some psychic hypnotist, thus the reader has no idea that her ‘powers’ or ‘abilities’ are real, and 2) Jumping to what is essentially a supernatural conclusion when absolutely no indication of there being any such abilities or powers being used in this universe at all is a big hurdle to jump for any mystery reader.
I’m not going to say it’s unfair to the reader who wants to figure it out on their own since they did say she was a hypnotist and they did spend a lot of time giving her focus, but it just seems….underhanded to bring this up so late in the game.
Everything that is revealed to us at the end is either something we had no clue or indication to prior to the reveal, thus giving us no opportunity to solve that particular mystery, or it resorted to quasi-supernatural means that weren’t properly established, thus making us feel foolish if we said ‘Oh it’s Rei. We know she’s dead, but she was a hypnotist, so she’s probably pulling the strings and making them believe she’s dead.’
By the way, Mitsuki is the only one in the group who is hypnotized, so Rei’s not making the group think she’s dead with hypnotism. She was just laying about in realistic death effects for hours on end.
I’m not going to go so far as to reveal the actual solidified ending here, because there’s not much else wrong in that part that isn’t a reflection of what’s wrong here just on a slightly bigger and even less believable scale.
Bottom Line: The ending has quite a few problems. The first wolf turns out to be someone who is seemingly a red herring, while the alpha wolf turns out to be an even bigger seemingly red herring made into the bad guy through somewhat ridiculous means that you really wouldn’t be able to predict unless you’re fine with breaking the laws of reality within an established realistic world.
The story is pretty good outside of that, and the characters are decent enough, though Eiji is a bit abrasive. The horror aspect has some good ambiance to it, and you care about the characters enough to worry about them, especially since both the wolf and the rabbits may be threats to them. You’re never really worried that the rabbits will actually kill each other, but they lock each other in rooms that only the wolf has access to, and they leave them unguarded half the time leaving them as wide open targets.
Art-wise, it’s pretty nice. They get really very detailed on closeups and splash pages, and I especially like the designs of the rabbit heads.
Overall, this is a pretty good ‘death game’ manga. Maybe a bit too cheap with the ending, but an enjoyable and suspenseful ride the whole way through.
Additional Information and Notes: Doubt was written and illustrated by Yoshiki Tonogai, and it was published in Square Enix’s Monthly Shounen Gangan. In the US, it was published by Yen Press. Doubt has two spiritual successor manga called Judge and Secret.
Recommended Audience: The manga is essentially self-censored, leaving disembodied heads and hanged people slightly blacked out, but there is quite a bit of violence, blood and mild to moderate gore. No nudity, no swearing or sex, though. 13+
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