Pokemon Extravaganza! Movie 02 (Dub) Pokemon the Movie 2000/The Power of One

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Rating: 4.5/10

Plot: Set sometime during the Orange League, Ash and the others are traveling to the next Gym when they get caught up in a storm. The storm lands their boat on the nearby Shamuti Island where the locals are holding their annual legend festival.

The legend states that the harmony caused by the three legendary birds, Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres, will be disturbed and cause all of nature to fall out of whack. Only the chosen one can bring together the three spheres of fire, ice and lightning to restore harmony back to the world with the help of the legendary Lugia.

If you didn’t catch that, don’t worry, you’ll be reminded about it a lot. Ash is selected as the chosen one this year because he’s a Pokemon Trainer, but as he’s going off to find the spheres for the sake of the festival, he finds that the legend is actually coming true.

Breakdown: Ah, Pokemon the Movie 2000. Even you couldn’t resist the allure of naming yourself ‘2000’ in the year 2000. One of the most annoying things ever. Luckily, that was doomed to die within a year, so yay.

I don’t have as much nostalgic love for this movie. Don’t get me wrong, I do hold nostalgia for it. I saw it in theaters with my friends when it first came out, I got excited for the release and I enjoyed the movie fine.

My problem with this movie is that it is just so damn cliché. Ash being ‘the chosen one’ is one of the most cliché plot threads ever.

The whole aspect of collecting element themed jewels might as well have ‘property of Final Fantasy and a crapton of other video games’ labeled on it.

Tampering with the gentle balance of nature by the will of an eeeevil human is also not very original (someone call Captain Planet).

The legendary Pokemon here don’t really do much besides Lugia and even it’s kinda moot. I do love Lugia and the legendary birds. Articuno is my favorite followed by Moltres then Zapdos. I just wish they had done more in the movie.

Our main baddie is also completely forgettable in my opinion. I don’t even remember his name, which, for the record is Lawrence III. To be fair, though, I don’t think the dub ever gives his name. He suffers the same fate as the three Trainers from movie 01. But it’s much more forgivable for them to be nameless. They were forgettable side characters, even though it would’ve been crazy easy to just add in an introduction line for each of them. This is the main villain of the movie.

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I remember he likes collecting legendary things and had an ancient Mew card that he started his collection with (I remember getting one when I saw this movie. Still have it. 🙂 ) other than that, he’s just boring.

Notice how I wrote an entire synopsis for this movie without even mentioning this guy once? And you know what? That was in no way intentional. I completely forgot about him until I had already started writing the actual review. I wish I was lying.

On the Japanese release of this movie, the audience members were given a booklet which contained background information on the character…..Which I find a tiny bit dumb. I mean, it’s nice to have your own little booklet of information, but shouldn’t that information be…ya know….in the movie?

The plot is way too obvious giving us really no room for surprises. This is made even worse with the recited legend which literally lays out the entire story nearly beat for beat, and made increasingly worse since the legend is the first thing stated in the movie and is frequently being repeated.

Apparently, the original doesn’t explain as much, but the dub’s version explains the entire movie. How the hell can you have any tension when the entire movie’s story is laid out on a plate for you right when the movie begins and it’s constantly being relayed to you throughout?

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It’s definitely not all bad, and I can at least be thankful that this movie’s not ungodly preachy like the first movie, but it has its flaws.

For the Bulbagarden comparison of this movie, see here.

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Our movie starts out with a shot of the three islands; Fire, Ice and Lightning, and a sneak peak at Slowking. I’ll get him out of the way right now, I do not understand Slowking. We have two really entertaining Pokemon in Slowpoke and Slowbro then we get….a talking sage-like unfunny Slowking…..for no reason. What does this thing do during the movie besides stand there and tell us things we already know? I have nothing really against the Pokemon, but why does his character exist?

Lawrence III is in his flying base thing while his computer explains that the three titans of the elements fire, ice and lightning are Moltres, Articuno and Zapdos respectively. The islands containing said Pokemon are on islands adjacent to Shamuti Island and goes to capture them for his collection with Moltres being first on his list.

I would question the mechanics of that entire ship, but this is a world where a small ball can shrink and capture huge monsters.

Wait, was he already at the island? Because it’s like he didn’t travel far at all. If he was, why was that information about the birds even given? Wouldn’t he have known all that before now?

At Fire Island (considering Moltres’ Japanese name is Fire, this island doesn’t seem like such a secret location of Moltres…) Lawrence starts attacking the island with ice bombs, which prompts Moltres to come out. When Moltres emerges, Lawrence uses his super rings of technology to trap Moltres and capture it in his ship…..And that was Moltres ladies and gentlemen! Give it a round of applause!

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He says he’s going to go after Zapdos next, then Articuno and finally draw out Lugia before we get our title card.

Man, 4Kids was really feeling the electric guitar in this opening sting. Kudos on matching the drum beats with the lights on the word ‘One’. That reminds me; seeing as how this movie was not in any way advertised as Pokemon: The Power of One (at least no where around where I lived, and my VHS copy says Pokemon the Movie 2000) I was confused as hell by this title when I first saw it. It doesn’t even say Pokemon the Movie 2000: The Power of One it’s just Pokemon: The Power of One.

We fade in to Ash, Misty and Not-Brock on a boat heading to their next Orange Island destination that is never given, but I’ll assume is a Gym. Not-Brock suggests that they should let their Pokemon out for some fresh air and that prompts our movie theme which is okay. Just seems like a more pop-ish sounding version of the Orange League theme.

Unlike Movie 01, 4Kids actually doesn’t give a crap that there’s no background audio from the Pokeballs, Pokemon or humans during the song despite the fact that you can see that the video prompts sound.

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Surprisingly, all of the Pokemon in the current group make an appearance. Charizard isn’t left out because it’s still out of control, I suppose, and Snorlax doesn’t stay out because he’s too heavy for the boat.

We also see that Team Rocket’s following them in their signature Magikarp sub.

Pikachu’s acting oddly, as if it senses something, but none of the other Pokemon are being disturbed. Is it just because Zapdos is the next target or is Pikachu secretly a Psychic type? Or is this this an hidden power of the almighty Messiahchu?

A storm comes about because I guess the Pokemon movies love storms. We just had one in the short!

The captain, Maron, says they’re at Shamuti Island, which is very far from their intended course. Luckily, she used to live on that island. What a coinkydink.

Team Rocket, in their wake, makes a bunch of puns and crashes into a cliff.

Cut to Pallet Town where we see Delia Ketchum tending to her garden and her Mr. Mime sweeping the grass.…….Why is he sweeping the grass?

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Professor Oak comes up to chat and we get this line:

Professor Oak: “Well this is the time of year when the sun shines every day!”……..What time of year is that? I assume summer, but the sun shines in every season. There are rainy/cloudy days in summer too. Is this an actual saying?

The weather takes its cue and starts to get really crappy. It rains heavily for about five seconds, stops then starts snowing and we see that an aurora has appeared in the sky. All sorts of Pokemon start going nuts in response to the weird weather.

Professor Oak says that, since Pokemon, like animals in real life, are more in tune with nature than humans, they can sense when something’s wrong. Since the Pokemon are acting so weird it must mean something’s very wrong.

Yeah, this would’ve had more weight if not for the random five second downpour, snow storm and sudden aurora lights that came and went in ten seconds preceding said Pokemon freakouts. Pretty sure we could gauge from that that something was horribly wrong.

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Back on Shamuti Island, Ash and the others have arrived at the shore and are met with natives wearing traditional garb and odd masks. They scare Ash and the others for a bit until they realize that one of the villagers actually knows their boat captain, Maron. The villager woman, named Carol, explains that they’re preparing for their annual legend festival. She’s too old to be the maiden of the festival, so her snarky brat of a little sister named Melody will be taking her place.

Maron introduces Ash to the group and explains that he’s a Pokemon Trainer. Before she can introduce the others, the villagers go nuts because he’s a Pokemon Trainer and apparently that means he’s the chosen one from the legend. Well, wait, Misty’s a Pokemon Trainer too. A Gym Leader at that. Why can she not do it? Was it just because Ash was introduced first?

Melody says he’ll do as the chosen one for the festival and gives him a welcome kiss on the cheek, which makes Misty visibly perturbed. This is our first indication that this movie will have a pro-AAML (Ash and Misty Love) slant.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully support AAML. My problem with this part of the movie, as with any AAML I see now, is the fact that now I know this pairing will likely never ever happen, especially since the show essentially got rebooted and Misty hardly ever makes appearances anymore.

And there’s the frustration that is the weird TraceyxMisty BS they apparently have in later seasons. Made even worse by the fact that I think Tracey’s supposed to be around 15 and Misty’s 10……Now watching AAML just makes me sad.…

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Melody asks if Misty’s his little sister, Misty says no. Then Melody asks if she’s his girlfriend, which she is appalled by and says is gross, but Melody says she doesn’t think so.

She invites them to the legend banquet and tells Misty not to get jealous, which just pisses her off even further. You know what’s annoying me? I can’t find Melody’s age anywhere. She looks like she’s at least a couple years older than Ash and Misty, though she may be the same age as Tracey which may or may not make this situation slightly icky.

The festival starts and we cut to the banquet where we hear this…

Maron: “So she said ‘No, but I have Krabbies!’ Ahahahaha!”…..What the hell was the start of that joke?! That seriously sounds like a play on words to implicate someone having crabs. Am I looking too much into this? Because I never noticed that until now.

Misty’s still stewing over Melody’s comment about being Ash’s girlfriend, and we see Melody come out in her purty festival garb playing the legendary song, AKA the theme of this movie, on her little seashell ocarina.

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Tracey and Ash are enamored by her, but Misty calls her a show off…..well…considering she’s putting on a show….yeah. Also, she’s just dancing a little bit while playing the song, it’s not like she’s got a pyrotechnic display set up.

We hear applause afterward but no one in the audience is visibly clapping so I dunno.

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Dragon Ball Movie 2: Sleeping Princess in Devil’s Castle Review

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Rating: 4.5/10

Plot: Goku has arrived on Roshi’s island to train under him, but a boy named Krillin has arrived to request the same thing. Roshi only wants to take on one student, so he offers a race to decide who gets to be his pupil. There’s a legend about a sleeping princess who has been held captive in a castle called The Devil’s Hand under the absurdly fittingly named Lucifer. Whoever saves the princess and brings her back to him wins. But there’s more to this ‘princess’ than you might think.

Breakdown: Returning to Funimation back in its early days. How quaint. This was picked up by Funimation when they were making their trial runs with Dragon Ball, but this movie was a special release completely uncut and unedited, meaning all of the text remains in Japanese, including the credits, at least certain versions – the one that I have included them anyway.

This is yet another movie that Harmony Gold also dubbed but damn it all if I can’t find that version. We also have a couple more HG name changes to note, one them being hilarious.

By the way, doesn’t that plot just sound like the most cliché thing ever? A princess is being held hostage by an evil being and it’s up to our valiant heroes to save her? Was that like the first story plot ever made?

Our plot is set up by our narrator saying a sleeping princess is trapped in some castle by a freaky demon thing and actually scares me with the odd and creepy animation they’re using here. That was unexpected. You legitimately caught me off guard.

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We get the opening theme which is the original Japanese version. No idea why. Funi already had a dubbed theme made for Dragon Ball and their own title card. To be honest, I prefer Funi’s version over the original. The vocals are fine, but the music is awful. It’s a shame because the Funi version that was finalized for the entirety of the series is one of my favorite themes ever.

Oh well, at least I don’t have to see that lame title card again.

This movie continues on from the previous adventures from the last movie, so I guess these movies are in their own little canon. Goku is flying around on his nimbus catching some food as he heads to Master Roshi’s house to ask to be his student. Goku here is voiced by Ceyli Delgadillo as opposed to Saffron Henderson from the previous movie. You may know her as…….No one else. Apparently she voiced young Dende in the older dubs of Dragonball Z as well as the kid that Yusuke saves in the first episode of Yu Yu Hakusho, but her role as Dende was redubbed in the remastered versions of the DBZ series and I barely remember what the kid from YYH sounds like.

She does a pretty good job, and I don’t have any real complaints beyond that same weird feeling of having a different voice actor play a well-known character.

He meets back up with Master Roshi and asks to be his student, but he says he doesn’t take on many students and wonders if Goku has what it takes. Huh? In the last movie he performed the move that took you years to create and master in about two minutes. That doesn’t show you that he has potential?

Goku hears something and they look outside to see a small boat paddling in the distance. It’s everyone’s favorite bald guy, Krillin!

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Krillin here is voiced by Lauren Steele, who was never replaced as his VA barring when he became an adult.

Oh and Krillin’s HG name is the hilarious one I was talking about.

You…you ready?

You sure?

Okay, here it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…..It’s Bongo!

…..BONGO! Funny – he doesn’t look like the guy from The Mosquitoes…..If you get that reference, you earn a hug.

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Krillin makes a grand entrance by jumping from his boat that is still pretty far away from shore, but ends up getting his head stuck in the sand. He asks to be Roshi’s student as well, presenting him with a dirty magazine as a gift.

Roshi only seems to want to take on one student. Krillin presented him with a gift when Goku did not but Goku arrived first and asked first, so he decides to give them a test to see who should get to be his student.

The test is one of legend that is incredibly dangerous. They have to save the princess from the plot—I mean legend has it that a Count named Lucifer (yes, Lucifer. She’s literally being held hostage by the devil) put a spell over a princess to put her in a constant state of sleep. Hey, you stole Maleficent’s gig! Their task is to go to the castle and save the princess. Whoever does the actual saving gets to be his student.

At the bare bones, this story’s as cliché as humanly possible, but Dragon Ball never makes things that boring.

As the story concludes, we see our first glimpse of Launch

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or as she’s known in the HG dub, Marilyn.

Her voice actress(es) isn’t (aren’t) the same here, but they emulate her voices pretty well and I never paid much attention to Launch anyway. During the series she was just kinda there and meant for comedy. I don’t blame you if you didn’t pay attention to her or remembered her either. Akira Toriyama has reportedly straight up admitted that, at a certain point, he completely forgot Launch even existed.

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Roshi forbids Goku from using the nimbus to prevent an unfair advantage against Krillin and merely points them in the supposed direction of the castle.

Krillin trips Goku as they start their race, but not like that matters because it’s Goku.

The race continues and Krillin continues to try all sorts of tricks to make Goku fall behind, even cutting a rope bridge and making Goku fall hundreds of feet into the rocky waters below. Krillin, there’s a difference between little underhanded tricks to win a race and attempted murder.

He also takes a bus and rides a herd of buffalo to get there faster, but Goku catches up on foot.

Meanwhile, back on Roshi’s island, Bulma, Yamcha, Oolong and Puar come for a visit. The only significant voice change here is Bulma who is played by Leslie Alexander and, from what I can find this is the only voice acting role she’s ever done. I don’t like her as Bulma because she sounds way too much like a shy 40 year old librarian than the loud screaming teenager I know her as.

Goku and Krillin arrive at the Devil’s Hand while Bulma and the others catch up to them to see them/visit or help them I dunno. However, their plane gets attacked by some monster and they crash land.

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This movie’s villain is weird. He’s named Lucifer but he looks and acts like a vampire and he has an assistant named Igor. You’re meshing so many evil icons together…

Bulma wakes up in a beautiful bedroom, and Lucifer tries to sweet-talk her, but she demands to see Yamcha and the others.

Krillin and Goku make their way through the castle and see a whole army of monsters charging at them. However, they pretty much ignore them and run over them. One monster stays behind – a typical looking demon thing with….pink horns and a pink ribbon circling its head? And a little pink puffball sidekick?…..Okay.

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The army comes back, but Krillin won’t have any of that and starts kicking some ass while Goku faces off against the whateverthehellthatis who fights with….giant orange lollipops?……Did I eat the wrong brownies a minute ago?

Once the candy man is dispatched, Goku goes to help Krillin with the others and we get a good ol’ fashioned ass kicking montage. It’s here where some of the voice acting gets a little lame, but it’s not too bad.

However, pinky gets back up and starts Master Asia-ing everything. Goku demands that he release the princess, but he tells them that the princess isn’t a girl.

Goku starts to take him on, and Krillin decides that this is his opportunity to split.

Unsurprisingly, the thing with Bulma is a trap and they really want to drain her blood with a needle for a ceremony they’re having.

Krillin gets carried off by a pterodactyl and Goku pursues him. Goku calls his flying nimbus to save Krillin from falling into the mouth of a sea monster. He tries to set Krillin on the nimbus, but since Krillin doesn’t have a ‘pure heart’ he falls right through and Goku has to save him again.

The pink and red monster thing gains the ability to fly by putting two balls of green fire beneath his feet and sends out his army of flying monsters with machine guns to chase after Goku and Krillin on the flying nimbus—You know sometimes I need to take a step back and realize how silly anime is sometimes…Ahhhh.

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They fight for a bit and Goku takes the pink and red monster thing down by leading him into the mouth of the monster that was going to eat Krillin before and he gets eaten. However, they remain pursued by the army of monsters behind him.

Meanwhile, the monster army is taking their sweet time sucking out Bulma’s blood. Oolong, Puar and Yamcha are in disguise in the crowd keeping an eye on her. Just as she’s about to be poked with the needle and just as Yamcha’s about to run to her aid, a giant explosion occurs overhead. Goku and Krillin fall into the Sleeping Princess’s canopy bed where they discover that there is no princess in terms of a girl. It’s actually the name of a giant jewel. Okay, if it’s not an actual princess, why is it being held in a canopy bed? What’s the point besides to further confuse people?

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Launch comes out of nowhere riding a motor unicycle and steals the jewel away. She starts escaping, but Count Lucifer sends his army after her. Since she now has the jewel, Krillin and Goku pursue her, not realizing that Bulma and the others are also in trouble. Yamcha and the others make their way to Bulma and are about to rescue her when Oolong and Puar lose their transformations and they all end up getting outed and surrounded by monsters.

As Launch is makes her escape, stray hairs tickle her nose and make her sneeze, which causes her to transform back into good launch. (If you need a refresher on her character seeing as how they never explain here who she is or what her shtick is, Launch has two personalities; one being a gun-crazy thief and the other being a super sweet ball of sunshine. Besides the obvious manner change, her hair also changes color between blue (good) and blonde (bad) with her eyes also changing color from black (good) to green (bad). She switches between the two against her will when she sneezes and neither personality remembers anything the other has done.)

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Her sudden transformation causes her to crash and lose the jewel to Goku, but Lucifer grabs Krillin and threatens to kill him if Goku doesn’t hand over the jewel. He gives Lucifer the jewel but Lucifer’s army attacks anyway. Goku handles them just fine until that little pink puffball thing from earlier bites his tail, causing him to become faint. The monsters take this opportunity to beat the crap out of Goku while Krillin looks on helplessly. Later, Goku and the others are all trapped in some wall being guarded by the pink puffball.

Lucifer and his cronies begin their ritual which involves aligning the full moon with the skylight of their castle and shining the light onto the gem to ‘activate’ it. Did the writers just take every cliché around and shove them into a Dragon Ball movie?

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If you’re familiar with the series, you know what the full moon entails – Goku turning into a giant uncontrollable ape. Despite the first movie not showcasing the ape, Yamcha seems to know about the transformation and how to stop it. I only mention this because this movie as well as the first one clearly do not follow the show’s canon because several aspects such as Goku’s adventures with Bulma, meeting Yamcha and Puar, meeting Oolong, Master Roshi etc. are all pretty different from the occurrences in the show. Even this movie’s initial plot with Krillin is not how it happened.

We also have no idea what Goku and the others were doing between movies but we know they weren’t together the entire time because Goku was off on his own when he went to Roshi’s. If you’re merely following the movie’s canon, you’d be pretty confused as to the workings of a good chunk of this movie such as what Goku is, what happens during a full moon, what Launch’s deal is and more.

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King Kong Reference confirmed

As Goku wreaks havoc, Yamcha tells Puar to turn into a giant pair of scissors and he cuts off his tail, causing him to transform back.

Once that’s said and done (What was the point of that? I guess it did free them from the wall, but I don’t even know how they got in the wall to begin with.) they go off to rescue Bulma who’s still being held captive by Lucifer.

Lucifer’s big plan is to use a giant friggin’ laser beam to blow up the sun. They never explain why they need Bulma’s blood in the first place. And to make it even more annoying, they never even take any of her blood so I honestly don’t understand why that plot point was needed.

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The blood wasn’t part of the ritual in any way nor was it a part of the master plan. Were they going somewhere with that and just forgot? What would they have done if Bulma and the others never went to the Devil’s Hand? That was a one in a million chance, and they needed that blood, supposedly right then and there, for their ceremony. They also never explain what the Sleeping Princess jewel is or where it came from or what it even does really besides I guess make lasers work. RRRGHHHH.

They want to blow up the sun to take over the world

Of course

because they thrive in darkness while humans die without sunlight. They claim the sun is useless to them, but hi science. Do they realize that moonlight is only possible with sunlight? The moon doesn’t produce its own light – it’s reflecting light from the sun. That’s why the moon has shadows. Seeing as how the moon was critical to this plan and the overall workings of the jewel, they can’t call the sun ‘useless.’

Also, I hope these demons have an extremely strong low temperature tolerance.

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Goku and the others show up and they have short fight with Lucifer’s only attack being a red ball of light replayed with stock footage a couple of times. Right as the laser is being fired, Goku destroys it with a Kamehameha wave, but the blast instead backs up in the laser beam, kills Lucifer and destroys his castle. Oh wait, come on. This was another movie where Goku didn’t technically beat the baddie? Hmph.

They take a picture by the destroyed castle and show it to Master Roshi along with Launch who decided to tag along for some reason. Can she ride the nimbus? At least when she’s good Launch? Also, I love how Launch isn’t even named in this movie. They never mention it once. If you’re going to make your own movie canon, you need to explain stuff like this, movie.

Launch barely even had a purpose in this movie. She showed up, stole the jewel and lost it two minutes after getting it. Her being there had no bearing on the plot whatsoever.

Anyway, Roshi’s so enamored by Launch that he immediately accepts both Krillin and Goku as his pupils and shows Launch around the house. However, she turns back into bad Launch and shoots up the place, even shooting Roshi three times in the head. (He got better)

And the movie ends with Goku, Krillin and Roshi freaked out by Launch.

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Bottomline: I have to say, this movie’s probably one of the weakest movies based on an anime I’ve ever seen. It’s not horrible, it’s just not interesting and there are a ton of issues with the storytelling.

If you’re only following the canon of the movies, this would be pretty confusing with Launch (especially considering that, since you never hear or see her name, you’d never even know who she was) and Goku turning into an ape. The story is as cliché as it sounds, the villain is weak, the master plan is cliché and most of it is nonsensical. If this weren’t a Dragon Ball movie and included its humor and characters I would be asleep right now.

That being said, the main/only highlights of the movie were Goku and the others. There are several awesome jokes and I love watching Krillin kick ass even if he ultimately doesn’t get to do much. The only reason this movie gets as many points as it has is merely the lovable qualities of the Dragon Ball universe. If it didn’t have these qualities, it’d be an awful standalone movie.

The voice acting’s pretty good even if Funimation was just starting to take their training wheels off back then.

The music is also standard DB fare, great with it’s own style and flair.

Additional Information and Notes: Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in Devil’s Castle was directed by Daisuke Nishio, a prominent director in the Dragon Ball series with the entirety of the series, several movies and nearly half of Dragon Ball Z under his belt. It was written by Kenji Torui. The movie was produced by Toei and is currently licensed in the US by Funimation.

Runtime: 45 minutes

Year: 1987

Recommended Audience: Nothing particularly bad. There’s violence and nudity with Goku after he de-transforms. Roshi’s still a perv, but he doesn’t do anything too bad here. 10+

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Robotomy

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Plot: In a world populated by only robots, life happens. Some of its kinda funny.

Breakdown: This show seems a lot like it’s trying to be an all-robot Futurama. Starring Patton Oswalt and other people, I’m sure, this series was Cartoon Network’s attempt to make slightly more mature programming bordering between their regular shows and Adult Swim.

It did not succeed. This series stands as Cartoon Network’s shortest original series with merely ten episodes under its access panel.

While I can’t say the show has gigantic flaws, it really is forgettable, and, like I said, it’s just an all-robot version of Futurama to me, in terms of the tone of humor.

And the humor really isn’t that great. A lot of it is the typical stuff you’d expect of a robot show, while other jokes are trying to make new stuff based on their robotic environment. The latter is hit or miss, and the hits are like first base at most. It never made me laugh or break out a smile, but it made me do that internal ‘hm that was kinda funny’ thing.

The two main characters, Thrasher and Blastus, who may as well be interchangeable because, while they seem to be going for a goofy impulsive guy and straightman dynamic, they’re basically the same character. Damned if I can tell you which one is which, to be honest. The skinny one is the one voiced by Patton Oswalt, though.

To fit the demographic, this series takes place in a robot high school, which, sadly, just shoves a lot of tropes down this series’ throat, like social media, wanting to be popular, embarrassing yourself in front of your crush etc. It also basically makes this a neutered Futurama clone.

The story of this episode is everyone is joining a social media site called Frienemy. When Thrasher and Blastus join up in hopes of getting popular, they find that they have no friend requests. They send in a complaint to the website itself who offers to be their friend. They accept, but find that Frienemy, who takes the physical form of a giant floating spiky head, is incredibly clingy and possessive. They can’t escape him, so they destroy him by having thousands of robots poke him, which doesn’t make any sense because why would the website, the being that encompasses and creates the poking, be negatively affected by a lot of poking? And if Blastus and Thrasher aren’t popular in the least, how did they instantly convince so many people to poke him?

As an intro, it does a decent enough job of introducing us to their world and the characters, even if the main two are entirely interchangeable. But it doesn’t do a great job of making me want to watch more. I don’t think this series deserved a pitiful ten episode run, but it’s certainly not a very good show.

The art and animation are pretty good with some nice style here and there, but it’s not incredibly creative.

The music is meh. The opening is repetitive and forgettable while the BG music is just forgettable.

Final Verdict:

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It’s a very short series with very short episodes, and it was just entertaining enough to make me feel compelled to tell people to at least give it a shot. I, personally, won’t continue, but I can see how someone else might find this funnier than I do.

Recommended Audience: Despite their drive to hook in a teen audience, there’s not much in regards to anything that mature. One of the robots gets their innards exposed like guts, but they’re robots, so that’s basically censored. Uhhh…..I honestly can’t think of anything. E for everyone, but aimed at teens I guess.

Dreaming of Dreamworks: Antz Review

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Rating: 7/10

Plot: Z is a worker ant who feels like a nobody. Part of a huge colony where hardly anyone has a real identity or personality, Z wants to break away from all of them and be his own ant. The colony’s princess, Bala, also wants to break away from her boring duties as princess to have some ‘fun’ with the workers and meets Z at a bar. They hit it off, but are torn apart by the horrific norms of society. However, when a general, Bala’s fiancee, has a terrible secret plan to wipe out all of the workers and create his own colony with soldiers, it’s up to Z, Bala and his friends to save the colony.

Breakdown: Going through all of Dreamworks’ productions this time, and Antz is first on the list.

A lot of people are quick to dismiss Antz because so many people saw it as a blatant rip off of one of Pixar’s first babies, A Bug’s Life. I can see that, given the fact that both take place in ant colonies and both have a ‘different’ and ‘weird’ main character who falls in love with their colony’s princess. I can also easily see this since even the studios were arguing over who was really copying who. In addition, their productions were going at at the same time. Antz actually debuted a couple of months before A Bug’s Life, so I kinda wonder why Antz is labeled as the rip off if it came technically before A Bug’s Life.

Pixar did make more money off of their movie than Dreamworks did, but Pixar also had about 20 mil more in their budget to work with than Dreamworks. They seem to be pretty square in their releases and productions yet A Bug’s Life is always seen as the triumphant one. Let’s differentiate these two.

At face value, this plot is actually quite a bit different from A Bug’s Life in that there’s no dictator-esque group of people squeezing the colony of every bit of their food….but there is a nazi-esque general who believes that the worker ants are useless and wants to kill them all in order to make a new colony with the princess and the soldiers.

There’s no circus group that helps out, but the main character does lie to a bunch of people in order to feel good about himself and gain support.

The main character’s not an awkward outcast inventor….but he is Woody Allen….take that as you will.

There’s plenty that is different with this movie. Some different good (No annoying child ants!) and some different bad (Z is not very likable, in my opinion. Also the artwork is weird to me sometimes.)

I guess that is my main problem with this movie. I never grew to like Z. Maybe because I never liked Woody Allen, but he is just so damned annoying, and he really is just Woody Allen as an ant. Z doesn’t like the fact that he seems to be insignificant and this is only reinforced when people….reinforce it.

There is a hive-mind way of thinking in the colony, as expected. There’s no individualism, no free thinking, no real choices; just doing what you’re told to do and doing it for the sake of your colony. A Bug’s Life worked in a similar manner, but they were far brighter and upbeat about the situation like everyone was in their roles because they wanted to be not because they didn’t know any better.

Z’s so different because he actually thinks for himself. Ooh what a rebel. This wouldn’t be that bad if he wasn’t so…..vocal about his character being mindless robots….He’s a goth kid without the black is what I mean. Always prattling on about how everyone just does what their told and never thinks for themselves and–

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Yeah that.

Not that he doesn’t have a point; they don’t do anything but what they’re told. But it’s just thrown in your face so blatantly. And of course Z setting one example causes a huge shift in everyone’s mindsets and causes everyone to revolt against their work.

Thing is, the scene where they showcase this makes it seem like individualism=laziness. They were told to do nothing but work, but their work had a point – to help the colony. Yet the instant they’re like ‘hey we can think for ourselves’ no one wants to work or help at all anymore.

The colony really is a bunch of, forgive this term,…sheep. They change their attitudes so quickly back and forth that you nearly get whiplash at how quickly they turned on their almighty hero Z in order to follow the antagonist.

The art and animation were also…..blech-ish. I didn’t mind the character models all that much. The ant designs were also much different than what we see in A Bug’s Life. In fact, that’s a bit of a gripe I have with that movie. I know black and red aren’t really appealing colors to work with, but blue ants? Bright blue ants? Really?

The ants here have a much less cartoony design than Pixar’s, and they’re colored in a more realistic brown color. It works okay, but that art, especially where Weaver was involved, looked claymation-ish. Or almost unfinished. I get that Dreamworks was just starting out with this but still, not grade A work. The animation is good, though. A little on the stiff side. There never seemed to be any moments where it seemed funny or unnatural….Well, okay, the human scene was weird. You never see his/her torso and the walking just seems so slow.

In the end, it was a pretty enjoyable movie that kept my attention, but I don’t think I’d ever have a reason to watch it again. Despite having enough to stand on its own merit and not be compared to A Bug’s Life....A Bug’s Life is just a more enjoyable movie to me.

Recommended Audience: Another fairly significant difference between this movie and A Bug’s Life is that this has more adult humor in it. A good chunk of the jokes are really jokes for older audiences and there are several instances of swearing and some allusions to sex. Nothing major, obviously, though. 7+

One Piece (4Kids) Episode 1 Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: Coby is young aspiring Marine being held against his will by the pirate captain Alvida. When they discover the odd boy named Luffy hiding in a barrel, he turns Coby’s and Alvida’s lives upside down with his determination and courage…..and his ability to stretch his body like a rubber band.

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Preface: Oh yes, people. We are going there. Unlike Sailor Moon and Tokyo Mew Mew, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an episode by episode comparison for One Piece, so yay. And if there is….well, I’ll do this for fun anyway. 😛

This is a complete and utter mess. If you like One Piece, you probably know this. I’ve been a moderate watcher through time, but I never got around to keeping up with it and even I’m pissed off at some of the ridiculous edits they made to this series. Well, light your lollipops and load your hammer guns while we tackle 4Kids’ dub of One Piece.

Theme song: I don’t think I need to mention that the theme songs have been changed for this series, especially considering how infamous this particular dub song is. But just for the sake of thoroughness, 4Kids replaced the traditional Japanese OP and graced us with a rap song. Which is a damn shame because the original song is awesome.

Shockingly, however, they kept the OP’s graphics almost completely intact. That might be the only time outside of Pokemon that they’ve ever done that.

Also, later on, when we get more characters, the theme song is changed to adjust to them instead of going through the trouble of making a new theme song. Which is weird. They had no qualms about making new theme songs for Pokemon every season – why just edit One Piece’s instead of changing it? Many fans are glad that 4Kids lost their license when they did because they were worried about how the song would sound with even more characters added seeing as how just adding Sanji and Chopper to the song made it incredibly sloppy.

Entire Show Edit: 4Kids being 4Kids, a lot of music is changed and added where there is silence.

They edit out where the guy who says “can’t a guy get some shut eye?” (He really says “You guys suck” in the original) turns and looks above the mast. Why? I dunno. Also, for a guy who is pissed that people disturbed his nap, he sure does have a big grin on his face.

Title: Most of the titles aren’t changed very much, but others are, so I’ll be noting them all. I’m Luffy! The Man Who’s Gonna be King of the Pirates! is changed to I’m Gonna Be King of the Pirates!

This isn’t really important, but they edit out the freeze frame of the pirates running towards the camera before Coby’s about the swing across.

After Nami reveals her pirate clothes, Coby enters a room where the barrel we’ve been following is. After he mentions that he’s found a big barrel, that’s when Nami rides the zipline to Alvida’s ship. 4Kids changed this to having her do the zipline right after she shows her clothes and editing out the scene with Coby.

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They edit about a second of showing Nami’s foot when she kicked that pirate. But we all know where it was. Ouch.

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In the original, Coby believes he’s found a barrel of wine. The other pirates say they’ll help lighten his load by drinking it. Coby says Alvida will kill them if she finds out, and one of the pirates tells him she won’t if he doesn’t blab and he agrees. In the dub, it essentially goes like this “I found some water, it’s really heavy” “We’ll help you out.” “Okay” Also, the wind up to break the barrel before Luffy shows up is more drawn out in the original.

They do some friggin’ weird editing to Luffy’s mouth when he says he had a great nap. I guess this was because Luffy’s mouth wasn’t moving in that scene….????????? And instead of drawing out his yelling, they shorten the scene again. Notice the cheeks. Forgive the slightly iffy gif editing, I thought the end was cut off enough.

Luffy mouth fixed

They edit out a white flash before showing Coby quivering on the floor after Luffy breaks the pirates’ swords.

They edit out Luffy explaining that his ship was caught up in the whirlpool.

They edit out Alvida’s iron mace hitting the first pirate in the face and then falling on the remaining pirate’s heads after the other guy gets sent overboard.

 

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The eyecatches for the commercial breaks are edited out, which is disappointing. This week we only get Luffy’s Wanted poster, but other characters will be added in future episodes.

Eyecatch: OPEP1SCREEN6

In the original, Coby explains why getting ‘One Piece’ is impossible. In the dub, he berates Luffy for wanting to be king of the pirates or even a pirate at all because they’re terrible.

They edit out Luffy’s punch and him holding his fist above Coby’s head afterwards. They change it to Coby freaking out because he thought Luffy was going to hit him, when he claims he wasn’t going to. This is a perfect example as to why 4Kids never should’ve gotten this show to begin with. If you’re even too afraid to show somebody getting a quick (comedic) smack to the head because they’re flipping out, you cannot dub this show properly. Period.

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Dubbed: SUBDUBCOMPAREOPSCREEN9

Instead of Luffy giving an inspirational speech about following your dreams, the original Luffy just said he does what he does because it’s what he wants to do. He wants to become a Pirate King and he’ll die for his dream.

Entire Series Edit: For reasons beyond my human understanding, they change any instance of “Marines” to “Navy.” It’s not just a simple dubbing error, either. The Marines have hats that clearly say “Marines” and 4Kids edits them to say “Navy” I can’t even say that maybe 4Kids is confusing Marines for Navy, because it’s obvious that they’re making a conscious effort to change it, even when it’s in English. I guess 4Kids hates the Marines…Or the Navy….I can’t figure out which this is offensive towards…

Name change: Zoro is now Zolo. I know this one is controversial, but I think we can give 4Kids a pass here. Many people believe Zoro’s name was changed due to copyright issues with the creators of Zorro. However, in Japan, L and R are interchangeable. Like how Rupan Sansei is known to us as Lupin the Third. Or how Kirara from Inuyasha is spelled Kirara, but it’s okay to call her Kilala. But, for all I know, maybe they did do it because of Zorro. I’m just trying to cut 4Kids a break for a change.

In the original, Luffy calls Alvida a fat lady and they show the pirate crew and Alvida frozen in shock that he said that. In the dub, Luffy responds to Coby saying that she was the prettiest by asking when his last eye exam was and they edit out the frozen in shock scene to when the pirates start talking.

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Instead of actually showing the flashback, Coby just hears Luffy’s words from before repeat in his head as the shot switches back and forth between him and Luffy.

Attack Name Change: Gomu gomu no pistol is changed to Gum gum blast, because even mentioning guns is terrible…

Before the pistol hits Alvida, there’s a bunch of snapshots that show the pistol about to hit her, complete with shutter sound. In the dub, they jump straight to impact.

 

They edit out Luffy hitting Coby again, even though it’s completely offscreen.

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This is a great introduction to Luffy and I pretty much like Coby. Alvida’s a bit too much of a joke for me to feel any sort of tension here, but the episode’s fun and a nice start to the series.

Next episode, Luffy and Coby team up to free the legendary pirate hunter, Zoro from the clutches of the spoiled twat Helmeppo and his father, a captain in the Navy, Captain Morgan.

Pokemon Episode 25 Analysis – Primeape Goes Bananas

Pokemon EP 25 title

CotD(s): None

Captures: Ash’s Primeape – A rowdy Pokemon that Ash first met as a Mankey. Primeape is too uncontrollable for Ash to handle most of the time. On the few occasions he considers using him, he usually opts against it. Don’t get attached to him.

Plot: Ash contacts Professor Oak to show off his four badges, but is furious when Oak is completely unimpressed by the news since Gary and the other Pallet Trainers who started at the same time as Ash all have five badges and already went through Celadon City. Not only that, but Oak also claims that Gary has caught 30 Pokemon so far, while Ash only has a grand total of six.

Oak lectures him on making more progress as a Trainer before ending the call, subsequently taking Ash down from his new badge high and making him very depressed. He’s determined to go to Celadon City and get his fifth badge and to catch more Pokemon, despite Misty and Brock saying it’s not how many Pokemon you have, it’s how well you train the ones you’ve got.

Suddenly, a Mankey appears and wants one of Brock’s rice ba—donuts. He gives him one, and Ash tries to capture it without weakening it first. Mankey easily avoids capture by throwing the ‘donut’ at the Pokeball, capturing it instead.

Infuriated at the attempted capture, Mankey starts chasing the three – and once a Mankey starts to thrash, there is no stopping it. Brock attempts to calm it by throwing a donutty donut to it, but it just bashes it away and continues its pursuit.

It finally catches up to Ash and beats him up, taking his hat as a prize. Ash is enraged since that is his treasured hat. He won it at the official Pokemon League Expo. Ash climbs up the tree that the Mankey is on, but gets beaten down when he reaches the top.

Team Rocket takes advantage of Ash’s condition and distraction to walk up and demand Pikachu. But when they start assaulting Mankey, it seeks them out as its new target. Enraged even further, Mankey evolves into the fierce Primeape.

Team Rocket brushes off the appearance of Primeape and goes back to trying to get Pikachu, but Primeape won’t be ignored and punches Jessie so hard that it sends her flying face first into a boulder. Enraged at the attack on her beauty, Team Rocket launches a full-out attack on Primeape, but Primeape wins out easily.

Pikachu tries to retrieve Ash’s hat, which has fallen on the ground, but Primeape stops him. As Primeape happily puts the hat back on his head, Ash commands Pikachu to Thundershock him. It hits, but only makes Primeape even angrier.

Brock decides to take another approach. He believes that Primeape is not actually angry and that he’s just scared and lonely since Ash tried to capture it and James kicked it. He tries to calm him down and hug him, but is met with a brutal beating.

Primeape continues its relentless pursuit of Ash and the others. Ash and Misty split up, and Primeape doesn’t even think twice before continuing to follow Ash since he was his main target from the start.

Team Rocket tries again to capture Pikachu by digging a hole in the middle of the road to catch Ash and Pikachu as they run from Primeape. It works, but Ash just commands Pikachu to Thundershock them to get them out of his hair. Now cornered by Primeape, Ash, determined to catch more Pokemon and achieve his dream of being a Pokemon Master, decides that enough is enough.

He sends out Squirtle and douses it with a Water Gun, but the attack seems ultimately ineffective.

He recalls Squirtle and sends out Bulbasaur to attack with its Razor Leaf, which is also completely ineffective.

Charmander’s up next with a few Flamethrowers, but Primeape easily dodges them and punches Charmander square in the face. It starts brutally beating up Charmander when suddenly the flame on its tail starts growing exponentially. Charmander has learned Rage – a powerful ability that gets stronger with each attack. Like Primeape, a Pokemon using Rage won’t stop until its opponent is defeated.

Charmander continues to get beaten up, but is able to hold its own. With one powered up Flamethrower, Primeape is defeated, but not before Pikachu shows the forethought to grab Ash’s hat before it becomes a casualty of Charmander’s fire.

With Primeape sufficiently beaten, Ash manages to capture it.

Team Rocket re-emerges, and Ash decides it’s a good time to introduce his new Pokemon to their faces. Primeape sends them blasting off, and while Ash thinks he’s got Primeape on his side now, he’s quick to punch him right in the face.

After running so far from Primeape, Ash and others find Celadon City is incredibly close. With a new Pokemon by his side, Ash goes off to get his fifth badge.

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– Instead of getting off of his lazy ass to pick up the phone, he waits until Ash’s Krabby picks it up and brings it to him. Bear in mind, I’m talking about the whole phone, not just the receiver. And also bear in mind that the phones in this era are basically the size of old Macintosh computers.

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– The thing about Ash’s Pokemon capture update with Oak being stagnant is actually made a lot funnier when you realize that Ash not only hasn’t captured any new Pokemon since Mystery at the Lighthouse (Holy crap, it was really that long ago) but he actually has fewer Pokemon now than he did then. Remember, that episode was where he captured Krabby and talked to Oak about his capture rate, leaving him with a grand total of seven Pokemon at his last check-in. He recently released Butterfree so he went from seven Pokemon to six.

Being fair, though, Gary’s Pokemon number has also decreased. In Mystery at the Lighthouse, Oak said Gary’s captured 45 Pokemon, but here he says that Gary’s caught 30. He could mean he’s caught 30 more since the last update, but it’s not worded like that. Also, I can’t fault 4Kids for the flub here since this error is also in the original Japanese version.

– Oak: “Pokemon training is a lot like writing poetry. I can’t write a good poem without rhymes…” Actually, while he may just be talking about his own poetry skills, lots of good poems don’t rhyme nor is it a rule that poetry has to rhyme. I know. I struggled like hell when I had to write poetry in school, both rhyming and not.

“And you can’t be a good Trainer without catching more Pokemon!” That’s also technically not true. Your skills as a Trainer are reflected in how well you battle, how well your Pokemon obey your commands and how good of a relationship you have with your Pokemon. You can have all of the Pokemon in the world and still be a shitty Trainer. Having numerous Pokemon just gives you more options. I guess it also does give you a wider range of experience with various types of Pokemon, but still.

– Obligatory (Courtesy of Dogasu at Bulbagarden): http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x81zbl_they-re-really-donuts-we-promise_news

Eric Stuart really does sound like he’s having a ball selling those ‘donuts’ as hard as he can. I can bet on one of the takes he says something along the lines of “Nothing beats a jelly-filled riceball—err, onigiri—I mean Ricenut—DONUT.”

– Speaking of Dogasu, the narrator butts in as Ash looks at the path to Celadon City just to ask a cliffhanger-ish question of whether he’ll catch up to his rivals or be left in their dust. I always thought this was out of place and just awkward considering the Narrator typically stays quiet outside of the very beginning and end.

According to the comparison, this line of dialogue was originally said by Oak and was an audio flashback to what he was saying on the phone. Since his Japanese VA is the same as the Japanese Narrator, 4Kids got confused and gave his line to the English Narrator, even though you’d think just the translated line itself being identical to Okido’s previous lines and not sounding like something the Narrator would say would be a big hint.

– So, Brock and Misty agree that being a good Trainer isn’t about how many Pokemon you have, it’s how well you train the ones you’ve got. If you focus on that, then the Pokemon you’ve trained well can easily help you increase your capture rate. Of course, Ash doesn’t get any of this and focuses purely on capturing more Pokemon, but it’s weird that Misty and Brock have a better understanding of what it means to be a good Pokemon Trainer than Oak does.

I know Oak’s not a Pokemon Trainer (actually, technically, he kinda was when he was a kid) and they’re Gym leaders, but being an authority on Pokemon and a man who sends new Trainers off on their journeys every year or so, you’d think he’d know better.

– 25 episodes in. 25. Goddamn. Episodes. In. And Ash is still too stupid to realize that you can almost never capture a Pokemon by just throwing a Pokeball at it without weakening it. He’s facing an energetic Fighting Pokemon, of all things, and just throws a Pokeball at it. I’m cutting off my ‘give him a break, he’s a rookie’ leniency right now. He’s done this several times at this point. He’s just being an idiot.

– I love Mankey mocking Ash’s capture style.

– It’s also a bit funny seeing Ash so sensitive about his hat here considering that, in a few years, he’ll replace that hat, replace it several more times and never ever put that hat back on.

– Holy crap, they left in James kicking the Mankey away? Early 4Kids really did let more violence slide……except that dumb slap in episode 2. I’m sorry, I can’t get over that when watching these more violent episodes.

– This is the second time James has caused a Pokemon’s evolution by kicking it away (Magikarp being the first). I wonder if he has some mystic unknown evolution stone wedged in his foot.

– I know Brock fancies himself as a Breeder, but he was pretty stupid to believe that Primeape was just scared and lonely when Dexter gave several full explanations as to why it was attacking everyone.

– I always liked Charmander’s proud little poses at the end, even if it might be a glimpse into his later cocky side.

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– Oh god. I don’t think I can get a screenshot that would do it justice, but Pikachu’s derpy face from faraway as they see Celadon City on the horizon. Yikes.

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This episode was alright. It’s got some funny moments, with the almighty donuts being one of them, and I like Primeape, but it’s really just one long shtick of running from Primeape and getting beaten up by him. It’s nice to see Ash get a fairly powerful Pokemon, but he never trains it and, because of that, his appearances are damn near non-existent until its departure, which will come depressingly soon enough.

Watching this in hindsight is almost a joke. Yay, Ash, you captured Primeape and are making some semblance of progress to catch up to your faceless and nameless Pallet Town rivals and Gary, but you’ll never train it, you’ll never use it and you’ll be back down to your pathetic six Pokemon count in a handful of episodes. Not to mention, you’re still far behind them because, by the time you’re done getting your fifth badge, they’ll all probably have their sixth or seventh in their hands. Plus another bunch of Pokemon captures. Good job.

Team Rocket was also being completely uncreative by just waltzing up to Ash and demanding Pikachu then following that up with the tired pitfall trap.

Next episode, Ash has to deal with a bunch of girly girls and their perfume and rainbows at the Celadon Gym. But how can he get a badge there if he’s banned for hating on perfume?

Previous Episode….

SSBS – Megaman NT Warrior Episode 1: Jack In! Megaman!

SSBS MNTW EP1 title

Plot: In the year 200X, everything is connected via a virtual network. In this virtual network, people use PETs which are used to communicate to their NetNavis – their own personal virtual assistants, friends and battling companions. These NetNavis are used to combat an evil organization known as World Three who frequently attack the network with viruses.

In particular, a boy named Lan Hikari and his NetNavi, Megaman, as well as his friends and their NetNavis, aim to rid the cyber matrix of all viruses and crime.

Breakdown: Megaman NT Warrior is a show I was very much aware of when watching shows like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh back on Saturday morning anime blocks like Kids WB, Fox Box and 4Kids TV. I was aware of it, and I watched it on occasion, but I never really got into it. I don’t know why. I was and still am a Megaman fan, and I don’t remember really disliking it at all, but I never hopped on the NT train.

This first episode gives us the main background of the world they live in as well as fairly good introduction to Lan, Megaman and his friends.

Lan starts out with a clearly lame basic NetNavi that is somewhat modeled like Megaman. In battle with one of his friends, Dex, and his Gutsman, he tries over and over with battle chip (power ups) after battle chip to defeat him and they do nothing. Gutsman easily wins and Lan’s NetNavi is forced to logout. Dex is solidified as a cocky brute while Lan is the underdog who has to deal with a basic, non-customized NetNavi that can’t stand up against a customized one like Gutsman.

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Lan’s NetNavi is damaged and his PET suggests not using him in net battles anymore, further frustrating Lan. A fish salesman named Mesa acts as our audience surrogate as Lan explains to him about PETs or Personal Terminals as well as NetNavis and net battles – Which really didn’t need to be explained to us because of the prologue, but I’d rather be given too much information than not enough.

As fire trucks whiz by, we learn that there’s been a rash of ovens spontaneously catching fire all over town. Lan worries about his mother’s oven, but she claims she had it checked out by a technician earlier and it’s fine, which means it’s not fine.

Lan gets a letter from his father in Borneo that contains a customized NetNavi disk. It’s never established why he doesn’t have his own customized NetNavi. I can only assume that is costs quite a bit to do so?

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The customized NetNavi is, of course, Megaman. But Lan is disappointed that he doesn’t look like a super cool huge NetNavi warrior and even wishes for his old shitty broken NetNavi back.

Wow….Screw you, kid. You whine and bitch and moan over not having a custom NetNavi, you finally get one that looks perfectly fine and could be a great warrior, especially with battle chips, and like a spoiled child you whine that it’s not good enough and basically want to send it back, not even considering that, at the very least, it’s a more presentable and functional NetNavi than your old one. You should uninstall and send it back, you unappreciative brat.

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Megaman alerts Lan to a kitchen fire and Lan’s mother can’t put it out. Apparently she’s too stupid to grab the fire extinguisher that is literally a foot away. However, even Lan’s use of the fire extinguisher cannot quell the flames, so Megaman tells Lan to jack him into the oven’s computer so he can check for problems.

Megaman finds that the oven’s cyber matrix is being attacked by a swarm of computer viruses, causing the intense flames……Why does an oven need a cyber matrix?…..Why does it need to be connected to any network? I will admit, humanity somehow made it logical for a fridge to have Internet access, but an oven? He blasts the viruses away, causing the fire to go out, but sees a weird NetNavi in the flames of the matrix before it disappears.

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Excited about the powers of his new NetNavi, Lan challenges Dex and Gutsman again to a netbattle at school where I guess they just learn about computer stuff.

Dex is that kind of annoying character who’s always an ass and cocky as hell, but obviously has a huge crush on the only girl of the group, Maylu, and constantly hits on her. Even Gutsman has a crush on Maylu’s NetNavi, Roll.

A stereotypical Scottish man (borderline offensively stereotypical as he prattles on about kilts and bagpipes…) who is behind the fire-setting NetNavi gets orders to destroy Megaman from, you guessed it, Dr. Wily. And if you haven’t caught on, Lan and his family, most clearly his father, are allegories for Dr. Light. (Hikari → Light) Lan’s first name is also a reference, though not to the games. It’s in reference to a LAN or local area network – a short range network between a handful of computers.

Dex and Lan have their rematch, and Dex is far from impressed at Lan’s new NetNavi. However, Megaman proves that his small stature does not reflect his own strength as he easily bats away Gutsman’s fists.

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The oven bursts into flames at Maylu’s place in the middle of their rematch, and Roll rushes over to beg Megaman to help….because I guess she can’t do a damn thing…or even try. *sigh*

Are we seriously doing a damsel in distress story? First Lan’s mom handles a kitchen fire by calling her 11 year old kid down to handle it while she whimpers behind a counter and fails to use a fire extinguisher, now the only other female character’s NetNavi is only good for getting help for her when she’s in trouble – and not even the fire department kind.

In addition to the fact that Maylu’s only role in the episode so far is to be drooled over by Dex while Roll’s role has been basically being a secretary for Maylu and being hit on by Gutsman. Sure, Roll smacked Gutsman after, but still.

Lan and Dex rush to Maylu’s house to save her while Megaman and Gutsman go through the Internet to her oven’s cyber matrix to help take down the viruses. There, they meet FAITH AND BEGORAHAGGISREDHAIRANDSCOTTISHTHINGSACH guy and his Torchman after taking down the little viruses that were setting the fire.

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Lan manages to get Maylu to safety, but realizes that Torchman is too much for Megaman and Gutsman to handle. He goes back in the house to plug into the oven directly so he can upload the blaster battle chip to Megaman. Once he does so and with additional help from a cyber sword, he manages to force Torchman and Kilt Boy into retreating. With his victory, he gets a hug from Roll, who wasn’t even participating in any of the fight, not even with the damn little viruses. *huff*

Maylu is safe and Lan expresses his gratitude towards his new NetNavi, the end.

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As a first episode, in regards to understanding the world and the characters, it’s fine. They explain everything well enough, the world seems to function with sufficient logic, barring some suspension of disbelief, and it does what it sets out to do.

In regards to characters, absolutely no one is breaking any kind of new ground here. Everyone is very generic and textbook. Lan is obviously the ‘normal yet optimistic and excitable’ main character. Barring one instance of complete spoiled attitude, he’s as by-the-book as you get. Megaman is portrayed as a cool and powerful partner, which, while not being as cliché, is still not really interesting.

Dex is the pseudo-antagonist friend who is cocky, fat, and none too bright, but chases after the girl of the group like a steak. Gutsman is a brutish idiot who speaks in third-person.

Maylu is nice enough….plays piano and doesn’t respond to Dex’s advances. That’s about it for her in this episode. Roll is also nice enough, but doesn’t do anything in this episode but remind Maylu of her piano practice and be a stagnant life-alert button. Both are obviously being set up as love interests for the main characters, and looking at Roll’s abilities on her Wiki page seems to relegate her mostly to healing and support instead of fighting….

The bad guys are bad guys. And Scottish.

In terms of the story, it’s also been done several times in gaming anime. Main character loves a game but has a crappy version of the thing needed to play the game. He gets something that gives him a better game thing and suddenly becomes awesome.

You know, when you think about it, aren’t gaming anime subtly implying to children that they should pressure their parents to buy them more cards and cooler toys related to the game when they see these tropes? “Eh, I have a sucky character that sucks, so I suck, but now I got a super cool rare character and now I’m awesome! It’s a good thing you can get this same character at Wal-Mart for $24.95!” The oven thing is new, but it’s a damsel in distress story just with the battle taking place in the virtual world.

The only thing it really has going for it as a shounen gaming anime is the world itself and the premise as it really doesn’t match many other…..anime…..out……oh hell. It’s Digimon Tamers. Yup, replace the PETs with Digivices, the NetNavis with Digimon and the battle chips with Digi-modify cards and it is pretty much just exactly Digimon Tamers with a new wrapping….only not as interesting.

I did like this episode barring its flaws…..I can’t really tell you why outside of me liking Digimon a lot, and this world as well as net battles seem like fun. It didn’t get off to a great start, but I am actually looking forward to more of this show.

Rating: 6/10

Next Episode, Elecman emerges and wreaks havoc on the city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh wait, it’s also Angelic Layer with talking dolls. Shit.

Episode One-Derland: Cosmic Baton Girl Comet-San

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Plot: Comet is the princess of Harmonica star-world of the Triangle Nebula – one of three star-worlds, the other two being Castanet and Tambourine. In order to secure the future of their worlds, the kingdoms hope to bring Comet together with the prince of Tambourine star-world. However, on the day of the dance party in which they were supposed to meet, the prince runs away.

Comet’s parents send her on a mission to earth, where they believe he is heading, to find the prince, even in spite of not knowing his name or what he looks like. Comet, intrigued by the concept of an adventure on earth, a planet on which her mother had various adventures, agrees, but soon finds herself unable to do much without money and suffering from the culture gap. To top it all off, she is having no luck so far in finding the prince even with her companion, a small dog creature named Rababou who is able to detect the ‘twinkle’ she’s meant to be guided by.

She meets two kind twins, a boy named Tsuyoshi and a girl named Nene, who find her to be a troubled girl and decide to lend their assistance to her. In her most desperate hour, homeless, penniless and hungry, Nene and Tsuyoshi lead their mother to Comet who inquires about her situation.

Breakdown: Yay, magical girl anime! But it’s not really traditional magical girl. It’s moreso just a girl with magical powers and nifty cutesy outfits.

This episode did a good job of introducing us to Comet as well as the main plot and world they live in, but the episode as a whole feels a little hollow.

Comet is pretty par for the course so far. She’s a rebel in not really being interested in her princessly duties and is more enamored with the concept of adventure and exploring as well as possibly falling in love. She seems to have a good attitude, but she’s still a little naive, both with and without culture gaps.

The whole ‘star-world’ thing is pretty plain so far, too. It’s basically every other royalty set up just with star-worlds and nebulas in place of countries. I don’t know why these places are named after musical instruments, either.

The fish out of water story is nothing to write home about. She plays on a playground at a kindergarten because she doesn’t know any better. She tries to get food without money. She mimics an American’s weird and rude sounding Japanese (by the by, this guy is like 30 and was taking a picture of her as she woke up in the park…..) and she believes she can sleep anywhere.

The only part of this that really works is when she realizes that she doesn’t really always have the open line of communication with her parents that she thought she did. They gave her some sort of ball that is meant to log her happy memories on her adventure, and they told her whenever she felt scared or alone to look to the stars as they’d always be able to see her. But as she’s stuck homeless out in the rain without much food, she looks to the sky to see nothing but clouds.

Her mother actually gets a signal on her little ball thing that conveys troubled feelings by Comet, but she decides not to act on it since the signal seems minor and she wants Comet to learn about the twinkle of light that is always visible on earth, hope, which is when Nene and Tsuyoshi’s mom shows up.

But, I gotta say….that’s a pretty bitch move, Comet’s mom. Actually, this whole journey is a bitch move. They send her to earth instead of sending her somewhere else or going themselves because they hope that Comet traveling across the galaxy for a boy she’s never met in order to drag him back home will make him fall in love with her.

That’s all fine and dandy because they don’t force her to go, she goes on her own volition when she remembers her mother recalling her adventures on earth, including falling in love. But they didn’t even bother giving her any money or telling her anything about earth in order to fit in.

They just gave her regular clothes, taught her a few words of Japanese, which is weird considering she’s speaking Japanese the whole time, so when she switches to ‘I’m just now learning Japanese’ mode it becomes confusing, and sent her on her way.

Granted, yes, she has magic powers that can do….pbbbbbtttttt…..anything? There is never any explanation about what her powers are or what they do. They do stuff like create rocket boots and make her one dumpling to eat so far. All I got is that she has a finite amount of star power considering that she says she was saving it up. What star power is and how you accumulate it, I don’t know. But since it seems like she’s low on star power near the end for some reason, all she can do is make a dumpling to eat.

Nene and Tsuyoshi are very kind kids, but their manner of speech is a little annoying. They tend to repeat the other’s words and speak in third person.

There’s someone else I feel I should bring up named Meteo. She’s the princess of Castanet star-world. Even though she has barely two lines in this episode, from the next episode preview and her short screen time here, it seems like she’ll be the antagonist, at least for a short while, sabotaging Comet’s pursuit of the prince in hopes of getting him for herself, so there will be legit conflict in the future. Also, I assume her name’s derived from the word meteor.

The one thing that kinda drags the whole show down is that the series doesn’t really give a reason to care about Comet’s mission. We never see the prince, they have no connection, the Triangle nebula’s not in danger of war or anything should the Tambourine and Harmonica star-worlds not unite, at least from all I know, so why is the mission so important?

Art and animation wise, it’s pretty average magical girl fare. Simplistic designs with a lot of girly additions and pastel colors. Comet’s hair is kinda weird, but I love what they did with her star hair clip. They styled the hair so that it’s holding up into the star’s tail to make a comet. I thought that was neat.

Music-wise……eh. It’s average bordering on bad. It’s very poppy and girly and absolutely none of it is memorable.

In the voice acting department, Japanese, everyone was pretty good in their roles with the bearded guy whose name escapes me doing a particularly good job. However, Comet’s mom sounds downright terrible. Her voice is just so weird and low pitched that it kinda put me off.

Final verdict:

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Despite these gripes, it’s a magical girl anime. I can’t resist. It’s not really that bad of an opening episode, but there’s not really a whole lot to leave you thirsty for more. Shoujo Step-By-Step, here I come.

AniManga Clash! Boku Wa Imouto Ni Koi wo Suru (Volume 1)

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Plot: Yori has been harboring a secret his entire life -he’s desperately in love with his twin sister, Iku. One night, he finds he cannot control himself anymore and kisses her on the lips in her sleep. He starts to go further with his desires and soon finds her awakening to the shocking and confusing feeling of her brother molesting her body.

He declares his love of her and tries time and again to prod her into a physical relationship and falling for him as he has her. Obviously, the taboo and utter confusion is a lot for Iku to bear, but under the threat of losing her brother forever if she doesn’t reciprocate, she decides to slowly start giving into him.

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Why did this manga show up on my radar so soon? For those who haven’t read the anime review yet, let me sum it up – Iku’s a doormat, Yori’s a creepy emotionally manipulative rapist and, spoiler alert, incest is a social and religious taboo.

I can still see the fumes from my anime review. And, hoo boy, the manga is not anywhere near better so far.

The manga actually starts out with Yori molesting his sister in her sleep, which is a major mistake to me and something the anime actually has over the manga.

In the anime, there was buildup to him eventually giving into his lust. Here, we’re just thrown into it. Also, he basically jumped Iku during an argument when this happened in the OVA, which is bad, but not as bad making out with her and groping her boobs as she sleeps.

Yori sniffs Iku’s used bath water. Just throwing that out there.

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After Yori makes out with Iku in her sleep and she wakes up, he throws his love declarations at her and starts to force her into sex. This is all within chapter ONE.

At least he admits his screwed up feelings to her right off the bat…..not like he could avoid it after she woke up with bro-tongue in her mouth.

Just like in the anime, Iku is giving in to his romantic advances because she feels lonely without her brother. It’s a fear of losing him not love that is fueling her romantic responses. Made all the worse by the fact that Yori seems to give a vague threat at what he’d do without her. Implications can go anywhere from him simply leaving to him killing himself.

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Yori admits to Iku early on that he’s dating Tomoka and even pushes his and Tomoka’s relationship further to combating Iku’s jealous behaviors and to avoid suspicions of them being together. Nice, Yori. You force yourself on your sister, basically trap her into a romantic entanglement and then blow up your relationship to another girl to push Iku away and make yourself look better to other people. You truly are an asshole and a coward.

At this, Iku gets upset and Yori’s only reaction is to smirk in shadow congratulating himself since this is seemingly proof that Iku really likes him now. So is the manga just accepting that Yori is a creepy fuck who is manipulating his sister and being an overall asswipe?

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Yori: *in class afterwards to Iku* “Why are you sulking? Why are you being so much trouble?” Why are you such a vile bag of anus?

*later, at home, right as Iku’s about to get in the bath*

*Yori corners her by slamming his arms around her to the wall*

Yori: “I can’t forgive you. You don’t have any right to ignore me.” Iku, run the fuck away. Get as far away from this emotionally puppeteering fungus as you can. Please.

More forced kissing….with looming threat of their mom coming in. She even says ‘No’ and he forces her to keep kissing….

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Yori: “I’d rather put a collar on you.” Eh, BDSM stuff is nothing given the subject mat–

“You wouldn’t be able to run anywhere. Nobody would take you anywhere. Definitely stay by my side *sniffs hair*” RUN THE FUCK AWAY, IKU. WHILE HE STILL HASN’T GONE TO PETSMART!

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Iku: “Mom, can’t I help you with something!?”

Mom: “What? You must be feeling bad all of a sudden!”

Dad: “I’ll stop giving you allowance!” Your daughter wants to help you with stuff and you threaten to take away her allowance? What is this household? Why is everyone crazy?

Iku is saying this because Yori freaked her out with that collar comment and hair sniffing, so Yori gets upset that Iku is getting upset and marches off to his room.

Oh wow. What a surprise that the sister you just sprung your romantic feelings on and you’ve been playing emotional Jenga with for a few days is having difficulty acting normal about you kissing other girls, forcibly kissing her with your mother mere feet away, and criticizing her kissing technique to boot, threatening to keep her on a literal leash and sniffing her hair on more than one occasion. What a weirdo IKU is.

Okay, I really need to make a ‘Yori sniffing Iku’s hair’ tally, because he does it a disturbing amount of times. I’ll assume it’s up to at least five by now.

Hair Sniffs: 5

Yori: *while getting it on with Iku “Because I love you….I can’t make myself stop.” I think that’s one of the official credoes of rapists.

Yori: “This time, I definitely won’t let you run away.” Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

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Yori: “If you really say ‘no’ this time, I won’t stay by your side. I don’t want to hurt you.” Proof that Yori is manipulating Iku based on her dependence on him. She can’t stand the thought of not being with Yori to the point where she’ll fake being romantically interested in him to keep him around. Her jealousy with Tomoka earlier was, like I said in the OVA review, moreso her jealousy that Tomoka is threatening to take Yori away not that she’s a romantic rival.

Also, all of this culminating together, he’s basically saying he’s leaving if Iku doesn’t return his feelings, because he’s afraid he’ll rape her. Because he’s “at (his) limit.”

So this is, literally, word for word, what I said about him in my anime review. He’s more in lust with Iku than he is in love.

He seriously told Iku to lose some weight? She’s a flimsy shoujo stick. Putting this in the ‘more emotional manipulation’ jar.

There she goes sleeping with Yori for the sake of keeping him from not going to the distant school. She wasn’t really considering it before the news hit, and the whole time she’s panicking over her fear of being alone.

And, like before, the sex scene is very awkward because she keeps panicking and seeming very scared, even implying in inner monologue that, if she didn’t do it with him, he’d leave, insinuating that she’s doing this purely to keep him around. It’s even more uncomfortable that he’s giving her orders while they’re in foreplay.

Admittedly, she does imply in her thoughts that she’s getting hot and sexually responsive, but that really could just be simple biology. An attractive guy is half naked and making out with her. I’m not sure if the Westermarck effect stands firm in tamping down sexual attraction if said person is initiating sexual contact.

I’d think, in spite of the blood and emotional/childhood connections, the body would respond to the stimulation either way. Also, keep in mind, Iku seems to be new to all of this. Yori just stole her first kiss and I doubt she’s ever tried self-pleasure methods.

To Yori’s credit, he says the sex doesn’t mean anything if Iku doesn’t love him, but also ignores her repeatedly saying ‘no!’ and ‘stop!’ which already turns this into a rape, and he actually says ‘I understand that she’s scared.’ I understand that my sister is scared and completely uncomfortable at my sexual advances, but I’ve waited long enough for this so imma keep going.

Let’s get more uncomfortable –

Yori: “I can’t stop. I won’t stop. Reason has left me. I’m running on instinct. Even if Iku is crying….I’m probably a really cruel guy. Even though Iku’s face looks like this (scared out of her mind and crying) I think that she looks more and more cute.Iku….are you scared?’ She’ll definitely say ‘I’m scared’ with that sweet voice. It will make me more passionate. More of that sweet voice. I want to see more of her sweet face. Even if she says ‘I’m scared’ I’ll probably continue.

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WHY DOES ANYONE THINK THIS SERIES IS ROMANTIC OR SWEET? This is CREEPY. This is FRIGHTENING. This is A CREEPY RAPIST RAPING HIS TERRIFIED SISTER.

And you know what else? Iku actually says she’s not afraid and Yori stops because he knows she’s not being sincere. And he’s right. She said it, of her own admission, because it’s what he wanted to hear.

My problem is that he was getting more and more pent up the more scared she looked and the more she cried. The instant she smiled and accepted him that’s when he went soft and stopped altogether.

Some people might say that’s because Yori legitimately wants Iku to love him before they do such a thing, and I think even I gave him props for that in the OVA review, but given all of the inner monologue we got in the manga, I’d actually say it seems more like he was disappointed that the situation went from a near rape to consensual. Especially with that line of saying he’ll get more passionate if he her hears her say she’s scared.

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You could argue that he just wanted to hear her voice, but considering he stopped because of her accepting it, that can’t be true. What’s the matter, Yori? Her smiling face with open arms not as sexy as her frightened face with her arms crossed and tears running down her face? Her ‘sweet voice’ saying ‘No, I’m not scared. Do it.’ not as much of a turn on as ‘No! Stop! I’m scared!’? You are a seriously creepy son of a bitch, Yori.

Also, this is proof that he can indeed control himself. He just doesn’t want to.

Yori: “Hurry up and love me, idiot.” Hurry up and fall down a flight of stairs, you creeper.

Hair Sniffs: 6

He sticks his finger in Iku’s mouth then licks the spit off it….ughughghghg.

Alright, near the end of the volume, Iku starts acting more like she’s legitimately falling for Yori, but I’m still calling foul because much of her inner monologue seems to focus on how she’s getting turned on by Yori through his scent and whatnot. That coupled with her desire to never leave him might be construed as love, but I’m not really buying it.

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I still believe Iku’s just gotten to a point where she’s confused biological lust and a fear of being separated from her brother with romantic love. In pretty much any other situation, this might be fine.

Typical teenager discovering her sexuality and learning about herself, but in this situation, given how forceful and manipulative Yori is and the possible ramifications of their relationship, this can be much more damaging than usual. At least it’s technically more consensual now, but given how the relationship started, I can’t ignore how unhealthy this situation is.

ROUND ONE WINNER: ANIME

Yeah the anime actually wins this round because it had a better start in building up tension, the art is basically identical and somehow I actually think Yori is less creepy in the OVA at this point than manga!Yori is. At least his first sexual advance on Iku was when she was conscious…..

Part 2: Yori and Iku fight, Iku finds herself a boyfriend after finding out Yori has slept with her friend Tomoka and things continue to be creepy.