Happy Halloween!

Hey everyone! Just wanted to send a quick Happy Halloween to you guys. 🙂

Stay safe, remember that there is no such thing as going overboard with a costume idea, share the candy love and never assume someone’s ‘playing around’ if they suddenly go missing and you start hearing noises. Just grab your emergency flamethrower and shoot at wherever you hear the noise.

Just kidding. That’s horribly dangerous. Grab your protective gear and then use the flamethrower. You don’t want to burn your costume. 😀

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Animating Halloween: Recess – Terrifying Tales of Recess

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Plot: Butch tells some scary stories just in time for Halloween.

Breakdown: Alright, Recess! Yet another nostalgia bomb for me. I loved Recess. It’s one of those shows where I think it started and ended very strongly. They even got their own movie, which I hope to review sometime. Today, however, we’ll be addressing their Halloween special, Terrifying Tales of Recess.

I love a good horror anthology, as you can likely tell. But does Recess really have it in it to tell funny spooky stories?

As bookends to each story is Butch, Third Street’s resident story teller and bearer of bad news, addressing the audience with some information on each story. The first story is Children of the Corn Chip, which is about a ‘mystery’ involving a shop keeper getting attacked by a monster. TJ and the others have to determine who the monster is, what caused the transformation and stop the monster before it turns everyone else into monsters.

This was….kinda lame. It would’ve been better if they didn’t show the monster was Corn Chip Girl at the start and that the tainted item was corn chips. They could’ve just had the shopkeeper talk about some untested food and then Galileo (Gretchen’s computer) could reveal that the item was corn chips, leading them to Corn Chip Girl. It’s just not a mystery story with any sort of twist if you show us who and what it is at the very first scene.

Well, I guess there is a twist….Gus damn near murders Corn Chip Girl by knocking her off the roof. He tries to explain that monsters turn back to normal when they’re up that high and falling or something (it’s very poorly explained) and that he knew Mikey would catch her, but 1) They never explain well why he figured the height or fall would turn her back and 2) there’s no way he could’ve been entirely certain that Mikey would catch her. Geez.

The second segment is called When Bikes Attack. It’s about Mikey’s beloved bike, Pegasus, coming to life in a thunderstorm, angered that Mikey left it out in the rain. This is a pretty entertaining story and it doesn’t even have a happy ending like the first one basically did. The situation is more ‘frightening’ and out of control, and there are more funny moments.

I don’t have much else to say about besides that, so let’s move on to the final story, which is Night of the Living Finsters. This story centers around a hole that the Diggers dug. Seeing them run out of the hole screaming, Lawson dares Vince to spend the night in the hole all alone. Unable to refuse a dare, Vince does it (though how he’d prove it, I don’t know). TJ and the others arrive to support him, but since the rules of the dare were that Vince had to be alone, he triggers what is basically playground rule-breaking mojo.

The ground shakes and reveals the underground graveyard of Ms. Finsters ancestors, who all come back to life and chase the kids through the school. It ends in that familiar ‘it was all a dream?’ and then ‘dunanana, it wasn’t’

This was an alright story. It was a tiny bit scary-ish, but it didn’t really have any particularly funny moments.

All in all, this was a fairly entertaining Halloween special but I think Recess could’ve done a bit better. Maybe it’s just not suited to the anthology format and needed a full episode of just one story?

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 5 Episodes 11, 12 and 13 (FINALE)

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Plot: A high school girl treasures her beautiful hair, and she’s constantly getting praise, adoration and even awards for its beauty. Like many vain people, she is constantly looking in the mirror. There only needs to be one prettiest girl. Just one.

Breakdown: Maybe I didn’t think the victim problem through. Yeah, it sucks to watch bad things happen to good people, but watching them happen to jerks just gives you a sense of catharsis when they finally meet their fate instead of rightfully giving you the feeling of horror for them. I have failed to apply my long-standing horror movie credo to horror anime. If we hate the main character, the scares are significantly diminished. I am shamed.

That being said, yeah, the scares in this one are diminished fairly badly because the main character is just a straight up narcissistic bitch that you really wouldn’t mind seeing get her just desserts. Still, the plot twist was clever and damn it all to hell I do have a thing about scissors. I have watched a lot of horror movies, anime and the like. I can stand a lot of terrible, horrific things when watching them, but I nope right the hell out when it comes to a few things. 1) Nails (Go to hell, Higurashi no naku ni), 2) scalping (Go to hell, Saw 3) and 3) friggin’ scissors. The sounds, the snipping people up just nope. Nope. Nopenopenope.

Episode 12 – The Last Bus

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Plot: A woman barely manages to catch the last bus after a bad day at work. She’s fed up with her life at the moment and decides to get some rest on the ride home. When she awakens, she finds that the entire bus is now empty except her and an older woman who starts talking to herself. At first, she believes the woman is merely creepy, but is soon startled when she realizes that she’s telling a story that sounds suspiciously like what’s currently happening to her.

Breakdown: I found this entry to be pretty good, but not one of the strongest stories this season. It’s creepy because it’s a very real circumstance, and who doesn’t get slightly creeped out being on the last bus or walking around late at night? This whole episode had a very real nightmare type of feeling, even down to the fact that the colors and ambiance noticeably changed to something softer and dream-like when the woman woke up.

However, I do find the whole setup to be weird. Was she targeted just because the start of her story matched the one from the woman in the story or is it just the fact that she’s a woman on the last bus? The fact that her life at the moment was crappy seemed to have no connection to the actual horror aspect of the story, yet we hear it three times. She’s obviously not the same woman from the story since they look so different.

It just seems like this horrible thing happened to this random woman and nothing connected back to her besides the fact that she got on the last bus.

Episode 13 – Seductress

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Plot: A private eye is investigating the disappearances of men at a local bar. In particular, there’s a woman who frequents the bar who piques his interest. What’s the secret behind Mantis Bar?

Breakdown: Horror….scratchy rough art style….film noir?….Yami Shibai, you’re trying to seduce me.

Mmmmmm……..Oh yeah, this episode’s silly. She’s really a praying mantis in a human suit who eats the guys she seduces. Get it? Because female praying mantises eat their mates? Also, get it? The bar is called Mantis Bar? Hurrr.

This is definitely the most disappointing entry of YS5, which is a shame because this episode had so much going for it, like I pointed out. The anticipation of horror, the amazing art style, the film friggin’ noir atmosphere. I am a total sucker for film noir. I paused and did an embarrassing ‘squee’ when I realized they were doing that. Why did they have to ruin it? I was even praising this season while waiting for the finale to be released, saying that every season so far has had at least one major flop of an episode. They’ve had slight ups and downs, but the season has been mostly consistent so far. Now we get this.

Being fair, this entry isn’t really a ‘flop’ per se. It’s just disappointing and slightly silly. I was freaked out when her arms fell off, but then I practically giggled when they were replaced with the praying mantis arms.

To be clear, the man who dies in this entry is not the private eye – it’s a completely unrelated man. Which leads us to the actual end of this episode.

Actual spoilers, though I already have spoiled a good chunk.

In order to tie up the series, I suppose, the episode ends with the private eye witnessing the man’s death. We fade out to a shadowed picture of the narrator’s mask and then cut to the private eye waking up on a bench in the park. He wonders what his case was really about when we see the Yami Shibai narrator walking away with his bicycle and stage. He says that the truth of the case was lost in the darkness as the opening music plays behind him and we get our title card (the intro was noticeably missing this week)

Soooo…..was that a dream? Was that a Yami Shibai show he fell asleep at? Was he stuck within a Yami Shibai play? It would’ve been more impacting and maybe made more sense if the private eye was someone we’ve known the whole time or at least someone from the first episode.

This episode does seem like it’s also tying into the observation that this season was focusing almost entirely on women. Either women were the victims or the monsters in each story. I still don’t know what the hell the season was trying to say about or explore about women if that’s the truth, though. This episode might’ve been a cautionary tale about not being promiscuous since this woman is obviously not picky about who she sleeps with and the guy basically yearns for her because she’s a hot woman who sleeps around. *shrug*

Full season Yami Shibai 5 review coming up!

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 5 Episodes 9 and 10

Episode 9: If You Want to See Ghosts

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Plot: A college student shows her friend some ghosts by telling her to look into the reflection in her eyes. She says her friend taught her how to see ghosts using that same method when she was younger. Certain things weren’t meant to be shared….

Breakdown: Weakest entry of S5 so far, but still not too bad. This is the first entry that lends itself more to a traditional anime style, though not too severely to be that distracting. The movement and appearances of the ghosts just isn’t scary and the ending was predictable from the instant she said she hadn’t heard from the original friend since she shared the power with her.

Not much else to say about it, really.

Episode 10: Flower Reading

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Plot: A man is caught in the rain at a bus station when he meets an odd little girl who has a thing for flower reading (The “he loves me, he loves me not” thing). Her predictions are always right. The flowers will show you the truth.

Breakdown: Yami Shibai does this once in a blue moon – they’ll give us a story that’s supernatural but not seemingly meant to be spooky or scary at all.

This is a very beautiful and sad story. Even the artwork is absolutely perfect for this tale. It’s slightly sloppy, in a good way, and sketchy with some colors being natural and many others being odd, surreal and even beautiful, like neon lights and rainbow colors.

I didn’t expect the twist this time around, both because it’s clever and, again, Yami Shibai typically doesn’t do stories like this. This was one of my favorite episodes so far. Well done.

Spoilers! I am a little confused as to what this is, though. I feel like this is some form of temporary purgatory or transition place that they’re in. The only reason I say that is because 1) She says the rain will never stop and 2) the only person who looks completely normal here is the man. The couple who were behind him were drawn completely in solid color and the girl has big red eyes and an extremely bright shirt. She also predicts that she won’t go home, meaning she’s either meant to stay there, guiding souls, or she’s also trapped there for the time being, herself being a spirit meant to find her way to either heaven or hell eventually.

Either way, it’s a great story, but I wish that had been cleared up just a tad.

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 5 Episodes 7 and 8

Episode 7: Hide and Seek

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Plot: A young boy named Takeshi is on his way to see his grandma for the first time. As they drive through the village, he spots an extremely old and broken down house with what seems like a little boy in the window. He asks his grandma about it, and she sternly warns him never to go near that place since that’s where the crone lives. Takeshi and his two friends decide to forego the warning and go to the house to play hide and seek. But what’s really hiding in that house?

Breakdown: Okay, we have officially jumped back into complete scariness. This might actually be the scariest Yami Shibai story of all the seasons so far.

The ‘only women and girls’ theory might not hold water here as the main character is a young boy, but he has two girl friends and the grandma is another main character soooo…maybe?

The start of the story is predictable enough, even calling back a little to The Crow Children in set up. Kid sees an old abandoned building with someone seemingly inside it, so he and his friends go to investigate and bad things happen. But dear God, the bad thing that happened. That thing freaked the hell out of me just with a shot of the top of its head.

While this is one of the best Yami Shibai entries, it’s also one that has a really sad ending because the victim is a child, and the circumstances surrounding this ending are even sadder.

Spoilers! After the bad thing happens, the parents and everyone but seemingly the grandma forget that Takeshi ever existed. Seriously, it was bad enough what happened to him, but now he’s but a flickering memory in Grandma’s head? Kid didn’t deserve to go out like that for mere curiosity.

Episode 8 – The Neighbors

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Plot: A woman named Kana gets a great deal on a nice apartment. Her friends joke that this is probably one of those situations where there’s a creepy reason why the price on such a nice place was so low.

Yup.

Breakdown: This season has a real knack for taking a fairly predictable set up (durr, I wonder if the neighbors are freaky durr) and just flipping you on your head in the second half of the episode. I’m not lying when I say nearly all of these episodes so far have had me genuinely surprised (some jump or jaw drop worthy) on their twists. Halfway into the series and this is eons above what we’ve been getting in recent years. If they keep up this pace, I’d even be so bold as to say this is even better than the first season.

This wasn’t the creepiest or scariest episode, but it was still pretty great. We have the absolute most realistic art designs so far and they add to the atmosphere very well.

A couple of jump scares happen, but one is pretty well done and the other is predictable with a not even all that scary face accompanying it. I really didn’t expect the twist again, and it’s pretty clever.

Another thing I’m noticing about this series is that I don’t care as much about not knowing the backstories of these entities as I was in previous seasons, even the first. I guess my theory that creepiness and scares can make up for it holds weight.

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 5 Episodes 5 and 6

Episode 5: Shadows of Women

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Plot: A woman gets jealous when she finds evidence that her husband is cheating on her. She wants answers….and she’ll get them….Though she may regret it.

Breakdown: This one wasn’t particularly scary or even creepy, but it was very clever. I didn’t get the twist until the absolute ending, and they definitely took the story in a direction that I never would’ve expected.

The art this time was changed a bit, and while it didn’t add to the creepiness all that much, it was a really cool addition. The art style is basically the same, but it’s done with what seems like watercolor crayons. Also, for some reason, the ‘paper dolls’ for lack of a better word, seem like they cast more of a noticeable shadow in this episode.

Someone in the comments also pointed out something interesting that I should’ve noticed earlier. This season seems to be putting total focus on female victims. The ‘kids’ at the start are actually all women and girls. Every episode so far has had a female main lead. And the ending theme silhouettes are all of women. I don’t know why this season is going down this path or what it’s trying to do, if anything at all, but it’s interesting either way.

Episode 6: Giveback-sama

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Plot: A high school girl is distraught after losing her boyfriend to a girl she thought was her friend. She comes across an odd story in a library book about a being named Giveback-sama. You call her as the clock nearly strikes midnight and merely ask for whatever you want back and she will deliver it to you. However, there’s a catch. You must call her back the next day at the exact same time to thank her for what she’s done or something terrible will happen.

Breakdown: This one’s fairly predictable due to the story actually saying straight out that ‘something terrible will happen’ if she doesn’t call her back, so obviously she’ll either forget or something will prevent her from calling. However, there is a twist that was a little clever and I did drop my jaw near the middle.

Again, a commenter made a theory as to what the twist was about, and while it does make a good deal of sense, there’s one aspect that doesn’t make any sense to me.

They said that it seems like the friend might’ve used Giveback-Sama before the girl, and forgetting to call her back caused her untimely death. When the girl went to make the thank you call, the friend came back as a spirit to prevent her from doing so in order to get her killed as well, I suppose as revenge for getting Tomo (The boyfriend). A sort of ‘if I can’t have him, no one can’ situation. However, the entity is called GiveBACK-Sama, so I’d think she’d have to have him before the girl to ask Giveback-sama to give Tomo back. *shrug*

Without this theory, you just have to believe that the friend died because of the girl’s request and she came back as a spirit to stop her from making the thank you call as revenge, which, admittedly, does make a little more sense. What do you think?

Cardcaptor Sakura Episode 9 Sub/Dub Comparison

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Card (s) of the Day:

Sword: A…well, sword, the Sword card is unique in that its cutting power depends on the feelings and thoughts of the user. If you have little will to fight your opponent, the Sword card will merely stun the enemy. If you put your all into the battle, the Sword can cut through basically anything.

Plot: Sakura, Tomoyo and their friend Rika buy some brooches from a shop while trying to cheer up Sakura about Li. However, things get complicated when they discover that Rika’s brooch is actually the Sword card in disguise. Can Sakura save her friend from the power of Sword?

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A shot of Tomoyo looking at Sakura from a ways away in the hall is cut.

In the original, we see a shot of Sakura in the light of the window. She’s approached by Rika who gives her a tiny flower because she seems sad. Sakura accepts it and thanks her then thinks that Rika is very nice and mature. This whole scene is edited out.

 

In the original, Sakura tells Li that the clothes he was wearing last night were cool and asks if all people from Hong Kong wear clothes like that because she saw a boy wearing robes just like his in her dreams. He’s surprised by this and tells her that the robes are family heirlooms that she couldn’t possibly know about, but when she reiterates that it was a dream he tells her that at least she has enough magical power to have premonitions in her sleep.

In the dub, the dream is never mentioned. Lee tells her that she’s no Cardcaptor and she replies that, if that were true, then the book wouldn’t have chosen her. She babbles for a bit before mentioning that she doesn’t have robes like he does and he gets super defensive saying that the robes are special ceremonial robes and she doesn’t even have the right to speak about them. Then he basically says that she should tread on thin ice around him.

Name Change: The class president named Yamazaki is changed to Zachery.

In the original, Yamazaki tells Li that, despite the fact that he’s new, it’s his turn to do the daily chores, which are cleaning the blackboard and singing and dancing during recess. Sakura whispers to Tomoyo that singing and dancing aren’t part of daily chores, but she smiles and shrugs. Li asks Yamazaki if they really do that in Japanese schools and he says yes as he grabs him to go clean the board. We end the scene on Yamazaki telling Li that he’ll have to sing afterwards.

In the dub, Zachery tells Lee that he’s class president and is assigning him to clean the blackboard. A shot of the blackboard is edited out because JAPANESE and Sakura tells Tomoyo that Zachery’s little white lies saved the day as he grabs Lee to clean the blackboard. We end the scene on Zachery telling Lee that he’ll have to clean up gum later.

A shot of the classroom door and kids exiting from it is edited out.

Dub kid in class: “Good night, Mr. Turretta!” Good night? It’s still daylight out.

In the original, Sakura thinks to herself that she’s having the same dream about the cards again before noticing that Rika is staring at the teacher with a smile on her face. In the dub, Mr. Turretta tells the kids in class that there’s a test tomorrow and specifically tells Rita that she needs to pass it.

In the original, Tomoyo asks Sakura if she has some free time after school. Sakura asks why, and Tomoyo says it’s because Rika knows of a cool shop in town that she wants to visit. Sakura then thanks Tomoyo because she knows that she’s inviting her out to help cheer her up.

Tomoyo’s inviting her out because she wants to be with Sakura as long as possible. Then we get a shot of the both of them in a flowery frame. Sakura basically scratches her head in flattery as Tomoyo smiles. Yamazaki shows up again with a mop saying that they can go wherever they want after school as long as they remember their cleanup duties after class and Sakura agrees.

In the dub, Tomoyo says they should go to her house after school and Sakura agrees. She suggests having a study session together since Rita really needs to study for that test. Then there’s some talk about rollerblading and the scene just ends.

A shot of Rika telling the girls that this is the shop that she was talking about is edited out.

Numerous shots of all of the items in the shop such as dolls, fine china, curio cabinets and more are edited out.

They cut out a scene where Sakura’s looking at various items in the shop and Tomoyo apologizing to Rika for forcing her out there with them, but since Sakura was acting so gloomy she really wanted her to come. Rika tells her that it’s okay because she was worried about her too.

In the original, Sakura has to think for a bit to get the brooch that she wants. Tomoyo asks her if she’ll buy it, she thinks for a bit and says yes, but then starts crying in a cartoon-y way saying that it’ll use up her allowance and she won’t be able to buy treats for a while if she buys it. In the dub, we cut straight from her picking up the brooch to the next shot.

In the original, Kero’s yelling at his game because I guess he died or lost or something. In the dub, he’s cheering for some reason.

A shot of the teapot and cups are edited out.

In the original, Tomoyo asks Sakura if she needs help with the tea. Sakura declines and tells her that they can sit down. Rika apologizes for being at her house so close to dinner time, but Sakura says it’s okay since her father and brother will be out past dinner. Sakura goes to the fridge to get some dessert and they eat it. They compliment Sakura’s dad on being such a good cook before looking at their brooches.

In the dub, Tomoyo tells Sakura that Rita’s really scared about the test (odd, she’s smiling and shows no signs of duress, but okay) Sakura says that she knows and tells Rita that they should start studying by telling her to spell (it’s a spelling test) ‘parallel.’ She does, and the scene of Sakura going to the fridge and getting dessert is edited out.

Sakura tells her to spell ‘brooch,’ and she says that word’s a tough one and that maybe they should look at the new brooches that they bought to give them inspiration. A shot of Sakura’s goofy face that was originally after the girls complimented her dad is edited out.

In the original, they’re all clamoring over their brooches. Sakura tells Rika that hers looks great on her because she’s so mature and pretty and stuff like that really suits her. In the dub, Madison tries to spell brooch b-r-o-w…..Sakura’s speaking scene is edited away leaving only her smile before her expression falls, which is odd because she is talking in this scene, and no mention of Rita being pretty or mature is included.

Though no scenes are edited away or anything, after Rika initially attacks the girls there’s a commercial break in the original. In the dub, I guess it wasn’t the right time for one because we get an AWESOME zoom-in cross-fade transition. Editing, man.

In the original, as Sakura and Kero are running away from Rika, Kero explains to Sakura that the power of the Sword card relies on the will of the user. If you think “don’t cut” the sword will simply stun the enemy, but if you put your might into the sword, it can cut through practically anything. In the dub, Kero basically says the Sword card is dangerous and to just get it.

So I had a bet running with myself about how this next scene would go. In the original, Sakura uses the Illusion card to show Rika the person that she cares about most. She’s surprised when she says it’s their sensei.

My running bet would be either they’d do like the boggarts from Harry Potter and it’d be what she fears most instead of what she cares about (despite that being the function in the Illusion episode) or they’d somehow change the shape or put a picture on top of the spirit to make it look like Yamazaki. It was the former. The big reveal, even though there were numerous hints, is that Rika has a crush on her teacher.

In the dub, she’s scared to death of him. Rika goes from a mature and pretty girl with a crush on a teacher to a stupid girl who’s failing spelling (and maybe school entirely?) and is the target of scholastic abuse by her teacher. Hoo. Rah.

In the original, we fade to black after Kero leaves and before we see Yukito because I guess it was supposed to be a big reveal that the person walking by was Yukito. In the dub, the black fade out is gone.

A front shot of Sakura’s goofy face as she’s awkward about the situation is gone.

In the original, Yukito grabs Syaoran’s hand to help him up after he got knocked down by Kero and asks him if he’s alright (Which seems odd to me seeing as how there’s an unconscious girl in this scene, but whatever). Dreamy music plays as Syaoran blushes and stares at him before he runs away like last time. In the dub, the hand hold, helping him up and the dreamy music are edited out. Julian just says that Lee has a cool outfit, which makes him blush and run away.

I kinda don’t get the dub. If the hints of the crush (which is really an attraction to a power I won’t spoil) are gone, what is the logic behind Lee’s inability to be around Julian?

A shot of Yukito, Sakura, Rika and Tomoyo is edited out after Syaoran runs off. Also, the following shot of the Library sign is replaced with a shot of the school.

In the original, after Sakura gives Rika her brooch, we get a fairly long shot of Sakura with spiral eyes rambling in her head about how she can’t explain to her that she can’t give her back her brooch because she turned it into a Clow card. Rika accepts the brooch and Sakura thinks about how kind, mature and wonderful Rika is again before the teacher enters the library. Sakura greets the teacher and walks out of the room before we end the scene with Rika’s smiling.

In the dub, we cut straight away from her giving her the brooch to the next scene because spiral eyes and wanting to edit out as much of the teacher as possible, I guess.

Tori: “That kid gangs up on my sister then shows up at our house?!”…..”Gangs up” on her insinuates that there was more than one person involved…hence gang…Every time Lee’s confronted Sakura, it’s been alone.

A shot of Yukito checking Toya’s watch is edited away. Maybe Nelvana hates telling time now…

In the original, Sakura gives Yukito chocolate as thanks for bringing Rika in the house after she fainted. Syaoran looks on in horror before fumbling through his pockets for something. He presents a box of chocolates to Yukito before running away again.

I have to say, Syaoran’s so damn adorable during this scene. He’s all embarrassed and whatnot like a shaking bunny.

In the dub, Lee insinuates that he’s getting upset because he’s the one who brought Rita into the house, which is false. Also, if he was, wouldn’t Julian be all like “What? I didn’t do that.” We immediately cut to Lee running away after that.

Tomoyo whispers to Sakura that she believes that Syaoran has a crush on Yukito too and that now she has a rival both in capturing Clow cards and romance. She then freaks out as Yukito’s and Syaoran’s pictures are overlayed behind her.

In the dub, Tomoyo whispers to Sakura that she put up the video of her capturing Thunder on her website last night, which makes her freak out, then she says she was kidding as she films her reaction to put up on the website. Nice friend you got there.

Leave it to Kero/Kero’s Corner: Today’s Leave it to Kero segment is actually pretty funny. Kero’s tasked with doing an overview of Syaoran’s ceremonial robes, but since he hates him, he speeds through the explanation giving little to no detail and even says to skip the rest at a point.

Then he gushes over what a nice guy he is to honor Syaoran with a Leave it to Kero segment even though he’s such a despicable guy.

The dub’s version is played out rather normally. He does say that Lee has some nerve to call him a stuffed animal, but goes about the rest of the segment in normal speed and he even seems to play Lee up during the segment.

Also, forgive me as I know I’ll go back and forth between calling Syaoran, Li and Syaoran. I have no clue why. Maybe because the dub calls him Lee.

Dub Kero: “Though personally I think Sakura’s battle costumes are a little more happenin’” HAPPENIN’?! Look, I know this show is somewhat dated and there IS quite a bit of lame dialogue in the dub, but happenin’? This show was dubbed in the 90’s not the 70’s…

Next episode, Flower’s debut. Sakura and Tomoyo learn that their moms used to be the best of friends once upon a time, but they also find out that Tomoyo’s mom despises Sakura’s dad. When Sakura’s dad and Tomoyo’s mom meet after years of never seeing each other, how will react? Oh yeah and there’s flowers in there.

…Previous Episode

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 5 Episodes 3 and 4

Episode 3: The Crow Children

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Plot: A young girl named Sae is on her way to visit her grandma for the first time with her mother when they meet a creepy old lady dressed in black that the local children call ‘the crow lady’.

Breakdown: I would’ve guessed this was a spin-off to Children of the Corn when first looking at that title.

This episode’s a bit on the predictable side and doesn’t really get at all creepy or scary until the final 30 seconds or so, which is a bit ironic because this is one of those stories that just ends in a moral and not anyone being perpetually tortured, going crazy or dying. That was a welcome twist considering the main character of this story is a cute little girl.

It’s definitely not the scariest or creepiest entry, and they even throw in a jump scare near the end, but I thoroughly enjoyed this episode.

The art is back to the way it was in episode one, which is nice, but the episode also clearly has much less animation than most other episodes, if that was even possible.

Episode 4: Copycat

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Plot: Haru is a young woman who just finished her college orientation. She’s surprised to find that her old childhood friend, Yukari, has also gotten into the same school as her. Yukari always copied everything that she did. Wore the same clothes, bought the same things, pursued the same dreams. It was flattering and fun throughout childhood, but as you get older, you need to develop your own personal identity. What happens when someone’s personal identity is yours?

Breakdown: This is, I believe, our first story that isn’t inherently supernatural. It is really just a story about a crazy friend who is doing everything in their power to copy someone else. The twist at the very end is what throws you for a loop.

One of the main aspects about this story that sits uncomfortably with people is that I’m certain many people have, at one point, had a friend with similar traits to Yukari. I’ve even been in a somewhat similar situation. It’s very awkward to deal with a friend that you do really like but is either intensely clingy or is trying to do everything you do to be just like you. You know trying to talk to them about it, even kindly, will likely hurt their feelings, but eventually everyone hits their breaking point.

Yukari does reach that boiling point of incredible annoyance, which is quickly offset by her insane creepiness. She is dead set on copying Haru as much as humanly possible.

….And I’ll just leave it at that line.

Pokemon Episode 32 Analysis – The Ninja Poke-Showdown

POKEMON EP 32 TITLE

Badge Episode: Fuchsia City – Soul Badge

Gym Leader: Koga – An extremely skilled and serious ninja and Pokemon trainer, Koga specializes in Poison types. Though this doesn’t seem to happen in the anime due to lack of basically anything related to the Elite Four, Koga does eventually become an Elite Four member.

Reappears?: No.

Pokemon: Koga keeps tons of Voltorb as a trap in his dojo, but the Pokemon he uses in battle are a Venomoth and a Golbat.

50px-Soul_Badge

CotD(s): Aya – Younger sister of Koga, Aya is Koga’s ninja student. Aya has a lot of determination and skill as a ninja, but is ultimately felled by inexperience and overconfidence. Her dream is to be a great Pokemon Ninja.

Reappears?: Yes, actually. She reappears way down the line in Johto once in another Pokemon Dojo where she is learning Pokemon Jujitsu. It’s never explained why she is no longer learning under Koga, however.

Pokemon: Aya’s main Pokemon is a Venonat. She keeps it through the Johto episode as well.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock are lost yet again (They were right – Apple Maps sucks) as they search for the Fuchsia City Gym. They take a break near a stream and Misty takes this time to let out Psyduck for a drink while Brock lets out Vulpix for a brushing. After Misty expresses her displeasure over her ownership of Psyduck for the umpteenth time, they depart to search for the Gym some more.

They stumble upon an old mansion and decide to stop there for directions, but it seems like no one’s home. As they investigate, they discover that the house is full of traps such as trick doors, electric shocks from hidden Voltorb and invisible glass walls. They spot a Venonat who appears to be leading them somewhere, but they continuously run into trap after trap.

They get caught between two invisible walls. With seemingly no way out, Ash jumps on the nearest wall to take a look out the window. The wall suddenly collapses, sending Ash with it. Misty, Brock and Pikachu rush to his aid, but see nothing but a steep cliff down to the rocky riverside below. Fearing the worst, Misty and Brock start to mourn for their friend only to hear him screaming for help as he hangs on the fallen door.

After they pick him back up, Ash pursues the reappearing Venonat again only to find himself being stuck to a wall with ninja stars. Misty and Brock run into the room when a strange girl appears introducing herself as Aya, a ninja warrior.

Aya reveals that this place is a training dojo and challenges Ash to a battle. Aya uses her Venonat while Ash chooses Bulbasaur. He starts off with a Tackle, but Venonat dodges. Venonat responds with Stun Spore, but Bulbasaur blows it away with Whirlwind. He tries for Vine Whips next, but Venonat is able to avoid them. Venonat attacks with a Psybeam, which hits, but Bulbasaur remains standing. Bulbasaur uses a Leech Seed on Venonat, which disables it and sucks away its energy. Unable to battle, Aya recalls Venonat and the victory goes to Ash.

Suddenly, they’re interrupted by a stray Voltorb that Self-Destructs in the middle of the room. As the smoke clears, Aya’s brother and teacher, Koga, appears to berate her on her failure. Koga tells the group that they can’t leave unless they defeat him in a Pokemon battle, which works out for Ash because Koga also happens to be the Fuchsia City Gym leader.

The Gym match starts, and Ash sends out Pidgeotto while Koga starts off with Venonat. Ash instantly believes this Venonat will be just as easy as Aya’s, but Koga points out the major experience difference between the two, which is mirrored when Venonat suddenly evolves into Venomoth.

The newly evolved Venomoth uses Stun Spore, and Ash commands Pidgeotto to blow it away with Whirlwind. However, the force of the Stun Spore makes its way through the wind and paralyzes Pidgeotto. To finish it off, Venomoth uses Sleep Powder. Pidgeotto succumbs to the powder and falls asleep, making it unable to battle.

Ash chooses Charmander next, and Venomoth reprises its Stun Spore. However, Charmander blows through it with its Flamethrower.

The match is suddenly interrupted by a kabuki production put on by Team Rocket. They’re aiming to steal the Poison Pokemon of the Gym, but Koga, Aya and Ash quickly set up to battle them. Venomoth, Venonat and Charmander are caught in some sort of weird spiderweb that Team Rocket throws out, so Ash sends out Pikachu. However, he’s also caught in the same webbing.

Misty tries to call out Starmie, but Psyduck lets itself out instead. Consistently interrupted by it, Misty begrudgingly agrees to let it battle, but Psyduck just hugs Misty instead. Misty wonders what Psyduck can even do in battle and Ash helps out by lending her his Pokedex. Dexter explains that Psyduck’s first move is Tail Whip, but it gives a feeble butt wag in response.

Its next attack is Scratch, which it actually tries to do, but it ends up failing and Arbok merely pinches Psyduck’s head in a Bite. All Psyduck succeeds in doing is giving it (and Misty) an even bigger headache.

Koga triggers a trap in the room, dropping dozens of Voltorb from the ceiling. They Self-Destruct, creating a smokescreen and allowing everyone to escape into a slanted room. They try to use this time to remove the webbing from their Pokemon, but no matter what they do, even Pokemon attacks, the gunk won’t come off.

Team Rocket returns with the Voltorb collected in a sack. They continue their attack on the group, but keep getting interrupted by Psyduck, who is running around in a panic due to its intense headache. Meowth knocks it around, rejecting it from even being a possible score on their thieving spree. As Misty tries to get him back to safety, Psyduck immediately calms and suddenly triggers its Psychic abilities.

It freezes Team Rocket with Disable and blasts them off with Confusion. Psyduck’s Psychic abilities also allow it to melt the web gunk off of the other Pokemon. Koga and Aya, impressed with Psyduck’s abilities, offer to trade for Psyduck, but Misty has had a change of heart about him and refuses to ever trade him for anything.

Koga and Ash restart their Gym match by agreeing to a one-on-one fight. Ash chooses Charmander while Koga chooses Golbat. Golbat heads in with a Wing Attack while Charmander retaliates with Ember.

Golbat uses its Screech ability, which debilitates Charmander, but Charmander fights back with several blasts of a mostly blind Flamethrower assault. It manages to hit Golbat and Charmander finishes it off with a Fire Spin.

The battle and Soul Badge go to Ash. With his sixth badge proudly pinned to his jacket, Ash departs the Fuchsia City Gym and heads for the next Gym destination.

———————-

– Misty, Brock wouldn’t be able to trade you Vulpix anyway seeing as how it’s not technically his.

– Also, why are you guys not letting out any of your other Pokemon for some water or grooming? Minor favoritism irk.

– Brock: “I hope they’re not trapping us so they can steal our Pokemon.” That would be sad to have all of your Pokemon sto–

Brock: “Because I don’t want them to steal my Vulpix!”

……*sigh* Major favoritism irk. Have fun on the black market, Geodude, Onix and Zubat.

– I’m going to lay out my cards on the table right now – If there’s one Gym I always upon always forget about it’s Koga and the Fuchsia City Gym. He’s not a very interesting character (I believe Dogasu put it best when they said something along the lines of ‘His house has more personality than he does’) his Pokemon aren’t that interesting either. Aya seems to be more interesting than he is, even her Venonat has more personality than Koga’s Pokemon, and Poison types are far from my favorite types of Pokemon.

Truth be told, I almost always confuse the badge design too. For some reason, I always think the Marsh Badge design is the Soul Badge’s design. I just never correlate Poison Pokemon or ninjas with little pink hearts. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to have a skull and crossbones or a ninja star or something?

POKEMON EP 32 Screen1

The reason I choose to bring this up so early is because this episode is also one I completely forget about. The only thing I remember about it off-hand is the fake-out death of Ash when he leans on that wall and supposedly falls hundreds of feet to the river below. And when I do start remembering more, I only tend to remember Aya and her bright pink ninja outfit and the trick house, plus the tons of Voltorb. I even remember the upcoming scene with Team Rocket in their kabuki outfits more than Koga.

– Venonat is eternally adorable, though.

– Misty: “But isn’t that color a bit bright for a ninja?”

Aya: “I don’t need your fashion report!” Girl, trust me. You do. Even Naruto is shaking his head right now.

– I don’t think I need to tell you this, but Bulbasaur cannot learn Whirlwind. This is a translation error, Satoshi was really just telling Fushigidane to blow the spores away……but even that’s stupid. Like he has the lung capacity for that.

That move would be totally pointless to keep if everyone Pokemon could just blow it away like they were blowing out the candles on their birthday cakes. It would’ve been more believable if Bulbasaur used his Vine Whips and spun them like a fan or something….or, hey, how about using the Pokemon that’s strong against Bug types and CAN use Whirlwind?….Begins with a P….rhymes with—oh I’ve done this joke before. Use Pidgeotto, DumbAsh.

– I never realized this until I read about the episode, but despite this being the Fuchsia City Gym, Fuchsia City is never seen or visited in the series until 400 episodes later. I guess I never cared or noticed because…..well….Fuchsia City’s boring in the game’s too. Really, they might as well call it ‘Another Gym and we chucked the Safari Zone here.’

The only other notable aspects of Fuchsia in the games are the move deleter, which I have never once used because I never saw a point in it. (I usually think my HM decisions through quite thoroughly and hardly ever regret it.) and the Pokemon Zoo, which is simultaneously boring and pointless depending on how much you’ve done at this point.

– Everyone say ‘Hi!’ to Maddie Blaustein’s debut as Meowth. And you can tell she hasn’t found her footing in the role yet (she’s putting a lot of emphasis on the drawling for lack of a better term) but she will come to be one of the most beloved roles in the dub. I miss Maddie’s Meowth so much nowadays.

– He’s using Pidgeotto in a battle! WHOO!

POKEMON EP 32 Screen2
Ash: “What’s your name again? Err…Go Bird! Use Bird Attack!”

– This isn’t the first time a Pokemon’s evolved during a battle, but why and how did Koga’s Venonat evolve right out of its Pokeball?

Story-wise, is there a point? We see his Venonat for all of 10 seconds before it evolves. Why not just have him use a Venomoth from the getgo?

Logic-wise, how? It’s more than possible that it has enough exp to evolve, but why choose this very moment to evolve?

– Brock: “A metamorphosis attack!?”

Misty: “No, it just evolved!”

Brock, you should be smart enough to know what that was. Plus, when is transformation an ‘attack’? I swear, you get dumber with each episode.

– So, Pidgeotto finally gets to battle for a change and what happens? Its Whirlwind is apparently not strong enough to deter Venomoth’s Stun Spore or Sleep Powder when Bulbasaur literally blowing air out of its mouth was enough to do it to Aya’s Venonat. Level differences be damned, it’s still powder and Pidgeotto is far better at creating winds than Bulbasaur. He’s even created wind so powerful it’s caused Team Rocket to blast off.

And that’s it. It falls asleep, making it unable to battle. I would start a ‘Pidgeotto gets shafted’ tally right now, but at this point I’ve already lost track.

POKEMON EP 32 Screen3
Writers used UNREALISTIC CIRCUMSTANCES TO SCREW OVER PIDGEOTTO. It’s SUPER EFFECTIVE.

– Okay, back up. You’re telling me that a powerful Whirlwind from a bird Pokemon isn’t powerful enough to blow away the Stun Spore from Venomoth, but what looks like one of the weakest Flamethrowers Charmander’s ever done (it barely opens its mouth. It looks like it’s whistling) can knock through it easily? Blow me.

– I do love Psyduck’s pose when he comes out, though. Like, ‘Here I am to save the day!’

POKEMON EP 32 Screen4

– And Psyduck’s ‘Tail Wag’ is hilarious and adorable.

– It’s a little weird that James can identify a Pokemon faster than Meowth for seemingly no reason. Meowth, being a Pokemon I guess, usually can identify Pokemon much faster than Jessie or James. Sometimes, he identifies them faster than Ash and Co. with Dexter.

– Why did Voltorb Self-Destruct when it was at the feet of Koga and everyone else? Being a part of the mansion, Voltorb’s trainer should be either Koga or Aya. It should know better than that.

– Poor Psyduck. Hated by its owner for no reason and rejected by Team Rocket.

– Psyduck’s great and all, but the thing that irks me about Misty’s sudden change of heart is that she only did it because she realized Psyduck has value as a Pokemon – not because she found it within her heart to actually, I dunno, care for an innocent Pokemon who has done nothing to her. She was about ready to chuck that duck out the window before she realized ‘cool, it can use Psychic powers!’

POKEMON EP 32 Screen5
Misty: “Oh, PSYduck! I get it now!”

I can relate to be annoyed to hell by an animal you own. I have a very crazy, misbehaved elderly border collie who drives me up a wall. But no matter how much she annoys me or makes messes in the house, I still cuddle her and love her to death. And, truth be told, I would be scared shitless if this dog suddenly got psychic powers. Seriously, with all the badmouthing Misty gives to Psyduck, you should be worried we’d have a duck!Carrie on our hands.

– And I am still aware that trading is a real thing in the anime, I’ve already expressed my unease about this concept outside of the games, but uh, Koga, Aya, Venomoth and Venonat are right there… four feet away from you. I’m sure they don’t much appreciate you discussing trading them away for a goofy psychic duck. Especially you, Aya, who actually says ‘I’d gladly trade my Venonat!’

– Wow, Ash has had three battles today (counting the Gym match as two since one got interrupted and not counting the Team Rocket run-in since they couldn’t do anything there) and never called on Pikachu once.

– Brock getting hit by Charmander’s Flamethrower and responding with a mere ‘ouch’ is hilarious.

– When the hell did Charmander learn Fire Spin?

And, if we’re assuming he learned this by level, that means Charmander should be at least level 46 right now. Meaning, he should be well into his Charizard stage at this point.

– I don’t know why Koga added on that Psyduck helped save Koga’s Voltorb from being stolen as a reason why Ash deserves this badge (in addition to beating him – no pity badge today) Psyduck is Misty’s Pokemon – why does that matter?

– Misty, did someone punch you in the mouth?

POKEMON EP 32 Screen6

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As you can tell by my synopsis, holy crap there’s a lot to go over here. Like I’ve already mentioned, the Gym is one I’ve always found to be mostly forgettable. In the games, Koga’s not that memorable, the battle’s nothing to write home about (I’ve never seen anyone have trouble with him) and the anime reflects this in spades.

Aya really has no point here. She is a complete time waster. I almost feel like this dynamic of student and teacher as well as brother and sister was originally written to be something much more, but so many other things got crammed in here that it took the focus away entirely. It’s even more baffling to me now that she’s one of those rare characters who actually comes back further down the line.

Half of the episode goes by with the story focusing on the trick house and Ash’s battle with Aya, which, like I said, is entirely unnecessary. If Aya wasn’t in this episode, would anyone miss her? What did she contribute? Koga could’ve easily been the one who ambushed Ash and the others, starting their match in an interesting way.

Team Rocket took up more time than they usually do, and this is compounded by the intrusion of Psyduck. I love Psyduck (usually), and I’m glad it finally got to prove to Misty that it’s not a useless sack of feathers, but why couldn’t they have used a different episode to do this in?

This isn’t supposed to be Psyduck’s episode – it’s supposed to be a Gym match. It’s meant to focus on the Gym Leader for this area and their Pokemon. This show is infamous for its filler, we even have our biggest amount of filler, 26 episodes worth, coming up after this, why couldn’t this happen in one of those?

There’s also the minor ‘issue’ of having so many Pokemon debut in this episode. Venonat, Venomoth, Voltorb and Golbat all make their debuts here.

Every Gym match so far has given focus entirely to the Gym match and Gym Leader, but here there’s so much stuff being crammed into the episode that you almost have to struggle to pay attention to the fact that this is a badge episode. Given that we’re already dealing with the most forgettable and boring Gym in Kanto, that’s a huge problem.

This is a very entertaining episode both with the trick house and with some of the shenanigans that go on, but I shouldn’t be much more impressed by nearly everything outside of the Gym match.

Next episode, Ponyta’s debut and Pokemon racing.

Previous Episode….

Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 5 Episode 1 and 2

Episode 1: Wrong Number

YS5EP1

Plot: A woman married a high-level salaryman to live an easy life with plenty of money to spare. However, she soon comes to hate her life. She despises that she has to care for their son, Hiro, and she is no longer enjoying her marriage. He’s gone all the time, and they never connect when he is home. One day, she starts getting mysterious messages coming from a woman who keeps thanking her for helping her out, but says she can’t leave yet. Confused and increasingly irritated as the calls keep coming, the woman keeps telling the caller that she has the wrong number, but maybe it’s she who has the wrong life.

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Before the episode even starts, the intro is already creeping me out. Each Yami Shibai in the past, barring season three, has started with the narrator starting the show in front of a group of kids at the park. Now the narrator looks noticeably disheveled and the kids are all blacked out in a sketch style and seemingly hanging from the ceiling or shakily floating in mid-air…..Okay. Keep this up, season five. We’re doing good so far.

How’s the actual episode fare? Pretty damn well. It’s not often that Yami Shibai has a story that stars a character who actually deserves the horrors they face. In this circumstance, even moreso because of the theories involved in the person on the other line.

Spoilers! It’s not entirely clear, but from what you can gather, the woman on the other end of the phone is Hiro’s actual mother. It’s implied that the woman killed Hiro’s mother to get with his father so she could live an easy life with a fairly successful husband. Why it took her so long to come back, I dunno, but this was Hell Girl levels of sweet justice.

The art style in this episode is back to the old classic style that the earlier seasons had, but the editing is a bit different. They add grainy film effects (not the lines but the dust specks), color filters and glares to add to the atmosphere, and while I would prefer atmosphere be achieved with direction and not effects, they are not invasive and do add to the creepiness quite a bit.

The end theme is alright, and I really like the various silhouette cards they have going on. The ending is still a bit light-hearted, but not as much as the previous season.

You’ve got good momentum, season five. Let’s keep it up.

Episode 2 – Give it to Me

YS5EP2

Plot: A woman is walking through a park on her way home from work one day when she meets a little girl. The girl admires her butterfly broach and repeatedly asks if she can have it. Unable to resist her pleas, the woman gives the girl her broach and happily goes home. It’s nice to make kids happy, but sometimes greed can get the better of you.

Breakdown: This season is still showing to be much different and better than season four. This story is pretty creative. Though, sadly, it’s another story where a perfectly kind person is trapped in the horror.

Not only do they present you with a realistic scenario that anyone might fall into, but they make the little girl and the visuals very creepy, especially at the end. This is one of those stories where I don’t really care about knowing the backstory of the creature – I’m entertained enough, and the story works fine without it.

Seriously, though, it’s nice to be….well, nice, but if a little brat is sitting there going ‘hey, give it to me!’ over and over and over, no matter how cute they are, don’t do it. 1) Their parents might not want them taking stuff from strangers, 2) They should really learn to not take stuff from strangers, and 3) it just instills spoiled behaviors. Want something? Be an annoying little piss until you get it. Come on, who would give up a brooch to a whiny kid who keeps begging for it, anyway?

All in all, though, a very solid and creepy story, and I’m looking forward to what else YS5 has to offer. Being honest, I also appreciate that they seem to be using open endings less and less, and they seem to be getting a little less reliant on the narrators.