SSBS – Megaman NT Warrior Episode 2: Subway Scramble!


Plot: Lan and Maylu try to stop a runaway subway train when Count Zap and his NetNavi, Elecman, wreak havoc in electrical devices all over the city.

Breakdown: Today’s episode starts with Dex fixing up Gutsman in order to prepare him for a rematch with Lan and Megaman when he’s suddenly attacked by a robot cat who has gone crazy.

For some reason, despite being in a hospital, the doctors and nurses just leave the cat with its jaws locked on Dex’s leg. All they do to treat it is elevate it. Also, this isn’t some random pet robot cat – it’s meant to catch mice. I don’t know how bad of a mouse problem you’d have to have to buy a robot cat, but okay.

Something something Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mouser robots reference something.

At some flower shop where a new character, Sal, works, Maylu and Lan sit down for some tea. We get confusing dialogue that implies Maylu is just now learning that Dex was hurt even though in the scene preceding this, she was with Lan when he visited him. *shrug*

They discuss World Three, which are the big baddies being led by Dr. Wily. Their mission is to cause chaos within the cyber matrix, and they were obviously responsible for the fires in the first episode.

SSBS MNTW EP2 screen1

Maylu and Lan follow their teacher, Ms. Mari, into an antique shop where she’s getting her fortune told. Because kids just do that. As she’s about to ask about something that seems to be embarrassing her, Lan and Maylu decide to see what the fortune telling fuss is about.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wily enlists the assistance of Count Zap, who uses his NetNavi, Elecman, to cause chaos in every electrical device in the city, including a robot dog who attacks Dex in the street, on the same leg that the cat did no less. So….the people at the hospital just let him go without getting that cat off of his leg? Waiting long enough and with enough pressure, you could cause serious damage to his leg that way.

The dog steals Ms. Mari’s handbag, because robot dogs are nothing without their accessories, and it runs away. Lan and Maylu give chase, following it into the subway where it suddenly becomes docile again. The virus jumps, I guess, to the train and starts speeding out of control.

This woman is fully prepared to be surprised and confused when the train comes by.

SSBS MNTW EP2 screen2
All glory to the hypnotoad.

The train is so messed up that neither the engineer nor those back at the control center are able to do anything about it, and it’s speeding up so much that it’s already caught up with the train in front of it. If something isn’t done soon, they’ll crash.

Lan busts through the cab of the train with a fire extinguisher and even though the train is chockful of adults, they seem perfectly content to just let two ten-year-olds into the cab to see if they can stop it. It’s just like every anime ever says, ‘When shit hits the fan, call on a bunch of children. They’ll know what to do.’

They’re about to hit the other train, but the guys down at HQ are able to send each train down a different set of tracks, leaving them safe for the time being.

Lan jacks Megaman into the train to see what’s happening, and finds the train control programs being disabled by viruses. Megaman takes them out, but the damage has been done to the control programs, so stopping the train is up to Megaman and Lan. Megaman tells Lan and Maylu to move all of the passengers into the second car so that they can detach the second car from the first, allowing the second car to stop naturally. As they implement the plan, Megaman suddenly gets ambushed by Elecman.

SSBS MNTW EP2 screen3

Lan detaches the second car, but jumps to the first car….for some reason. I get that it’s probably to help Megaman, but he doesn’t know Megaman’s been attacked by another NetNavi. If it was to retrieve Megaman from the train’s computer….are you telling me he has to physically access the computer to ever get him back? That seems inconvenient. If these viruses can jump from one piece of technology to another wirelessly, why can’t Megaman just go to someplace that Lan can remotely access him instead of him risking his life to plug his PET back in?

The little robot dog helps him, too. It’s cute, but I still don’t get how he was instantly cured of the virus when he came on board. Viruses typically don’t fully leave one host when they’re spread to another. Put it another way, if you gave the flu to someone else, it wouldn’t cure your flu.

Lan protects Megaman from Elecman’s assaults with a Barrier Battle Chip, then sends him on the offensive with a Blaster and his CyberSword. Elecman counters with his ElecSword to make that familiar ‘they both slash, stand still and wait to see who falls’ scene. Elecman falls, Count Zap is defeated and the viruses are all gone. However, Lan’s still trapped in a speeding out of control train that is nearing a dead end. He’s able to activate the emergency brake since they’re now back in control of the train.

He activates them too late, so he crashes and dies.

SSBS MNTW EP2 screen4
Don’t pay attention to this lying screencap.


You may be wondering what the fortune teller side plot thing was about….Me too.

All it amounted to was Lan’s fortune of seeing a great wave of water coming true (the firefighters doused the train’s cab with water even though 1) the train cab and control panel weren’t on fire. It was definitely overheating and smoking, but no fire 2) small amounts of smoke should not warrant such a massive response 3) even a minor fire would be the least of the train company’s concerns right now, 4) You’re not supposed to put out electrical fires with water and 5) they give zero shits that they’re shooting all this water at a small boy.) and that doesn’t matter at all.

You may also be wondering what the point was of Dex spending this whole episode with a robot cat latched to his leg…..pretty much also nothing outside of not allowing Dex to help in the final battle.

This episode was…okay. It was pretty much the exact same plot from the last episode barring the stuff with Megaman’s introduction. There was a lot of stuff that didn’t need to be in this episode, and Elecman’s not all that memorable here. Count Zap’s even less notable. He’s just eccentric and likes to play guitar.

Other than that, there’s not much to say. I like the cute robot dog, and I’ve already expressed my confusion on the logic behind it. Was it really just a plot device to get Lan and Maylu onto that train? Surely they could’ve been doing something else like going home or heading to school.

Next episode, World Three targets the traffic signals next, and we’re introduced to a new annoying character who needs to go potty.

…..Previous Episode

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Animating Halloween: Extreme Dinosaurs – Night of the Living Pumpkins

A pterodactyl in a bunny costume is the most EXTREME!

Plot: A few weeks before Halloween, the Extreme Dinosaurs try to thwart the raptors plans of drilling for lava in a volcano and weaponizing it. They get exposed to some weird gas that turns them all into completely gentle pacifists who have no interest in pursuing the raptors.

When the raptors realize what the gas did, they try to weaponize that instead and infect millions of pumpkins with it. Distribution of pumpkins go worldwide, and the raptors hope to have an easy time taking over the country with no one to stop them. What can cure the Extreme Dinosaurs before Halloween becomes a nightmare?

Breakdown: I gave Extreme Dinosaurs some crap when I reviewed it for Episode One-Derland, but 30 episodes in, they must’ve found better footing because this was actually a pretty entertaining episode.

Halloween is basically used as a set piece here as it’s really not important to the plot at all. The raptors could just as easily be infecting chocolate bars or some other widely distributed item and the story would remain the same.

The only justification for it is that the gas, which is really microbes, need heat in order to activate, otherwise they’re harmless. Being in jack-o-lanterns exposes them to the heat from candles. That’s why the Extreme Dinosaurs got affected in the volcano. How and why such a microbe was in the volcano to begin with is never explained.

Pumpkins/jack-o-lanterns are used to distribute the microbes, and somehow a bunch of humanoid raptors got a monopoly on pumpkin selling across the entire US in a fortnight in October.

Still, the dinosaurs being extremely wimpy was more entertaining than I ever thought it would be. There’s just something very funny about a T-rex knitting a sweater, a pterodactyl hopping in a bunny costume while singing a song to the tune of ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again’ and a triceratops being preoccupied with growing flowers. Them reacting to damn near everything with a smile and a conversation was also funny.

The resolution to their behavior was a bit cheap, though. The whole issue with these microbes is that they make you insanely gentle, happy, calm and pacifistic. So what do you do to cure that? Just intentionally piss them off.

That makes zero sense. Anger should not cure anti-anger. Plus, the way they get pissed is a little too lame for me to believe.

You’re telling me they can hear that the raptors are planning to take over the country and they want to go off and have a tea party with them, but hearing that the TV is busted or seeing flowers get destroyed is enough to make their anger shine through biological manipulation?

I also noticed that they included a character that wasn’t present in the pilot, an ankylosaurus named Hard Rock. He’s a good character that adds a level of maturity and level headedness that helps even out the annoying hover-mom rule-lover that is Chedra.

All in all, this is a good and funny episode of Extreme Dinosaurs that actually makes me want to give the show another chance. However, it’s not really the best Halloween episode due to lack of Halloween atmosphere. It just seems like it’s an afterthought most of the time.

Not to mention that the title doesn’t make sense. The pumpkins never come to life.

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Episode One-Derland: The Seven Deadly Sins

Plot: Ten years ago, a slue of extremely powerful Holy Knights, guards to the King himself, were slaughtered in an instant by a band of criminals called The Seven Deadly Sins. It was rumored that, after this incident, the seven of them were quickly killed. But word has it that they’re all still alive and well, wandering the countryside.

A young boy and his pig own a mysterious bar where a girl collapses while wearing a suit of rusty armor. He helps her recover, but a group of knights show up at the bar’s door demanding to know where the person in rusty armor is in order to interrogate them on information regarding The Seven Deadly Sins.

The boy helps the girl escape, but they’re soon cornered by the leader of the knights, a massive and ruthless man named Twigo. He identifies the girl not as a member of The Seven Deadly Sins, but as Princess Elizabeth. He has his orders to bring her back alive, but doesn’t care and attempts to kill her anyway, planning to explain it away by saying she died as an incident of battle.

In an effort to save her, the boy faces off against Twigo with a broken sword, but manages to handle him with ease. Twigo finally recognizes the boy as the legendary leader of the Seven Deadly Sins, Meliodas. He defeats Twigo with ease and he and Elizabeth set off on a quest to find the other Deadly Sins in an effort to band them together to help defeat the Holy Knights, who have secretly overthrown the king and plan to create a massive war.

Breakdown:  This one was suggested to me a while ago on Twitter by @hotchocolate29, also known as Meliodas Aino. Now that I know the main character of this anime’s name, I’m going to go ahead and assume they’re a fan. I always like seeking out requests and suggestions, so here I am. Sorry it took so long, though. 😦 While I usually take a while to complete whole series, I figured after all of this wait time I at least owed an Episode One-Derland to them.

So how did this fare in my eyes? Good…..but plenty of room for improvement. As a first episode, the show does a pretty good job at establishing the world, the main plot, the backstory and our main characters. They actually do a little too good of a job on the backstory part because I feel like they repeated the story of The Seven Deadly Sins a bit too much.

The story isn’t anything to write home about. It’s a pretty typical tale of super powerful sword-wielding warrior bands together with a group of other super powerful people in order to take down an evil group of powerful people under the pleading request of a princess.

Despite the fact that these guys are called The Seven Deadly Sins, I see nothing relating to the actual seven deadly sins. They’re not named as such individually and I haven’t heard nor seen any powers relating to it. It’s possible that it’s just a title, but that’s a missed opportunity if it is.

Still, with a strong cast of characters and good enough writing, even a seemingly stale plot can be a gem. And I believe they do have a pretty strong crew here.

Meliodas is pretty likable. He’s very laid back and not overly dramatic about his desire to help and save people like a lot of shounen anime protagonists. Still, I feel like he might end up as an annoying main character over time simply because he seems a bit overpowered. He blew away the bad guy of this episode without even batting an eyelash and he never seem concerned in the least. Either he has to be badass enough to let this slide or he has to face some challenge very soon. Staying like this will just drain all of the tension out of the show.

Elizabeth….is….nice….Maybe too nice. Who wakes up to someone shamelessly squeezing their boob over and over and doesn’t even react? Meliodas does it again later and she still doesn’t react. Plus, like a typical princess, she seems very much inclined to the damsel in distress trope. That trope is even more painful when you have legit knights and she’s a real princess.

Then we have Hawk, Meliodas’ talking pig sidekick……Hawk is awesome. It’s very difficult for me to enjoy talking animal sidekicks since they always seem more annoying than they are endearing, but Hawk’s just great. Practically every line that comes out of his mouth is funny, and he has great chemistry with Meliodas right off the bat. He also serves as a great foil for Meliodas on several occasions.

Twigo is probably a one-off bad guy, but he’s just a bit ridiculous. He kills everyone just because he doesn’t care. He doesn’t get some pleasure out of it, he really just doesn’t care. He’ll even flippantly kills off his own men. He doesn’t have to kill Elizabeth, in fact he has orders to bring her back alive, he just doesn’t care. I guess he just wants to kill people for some reason.

In the art department…..Okay, call me a hipster, call me old, call me a nitpicker….I just don’t like the newer styles of anime. This show has a look about it that a lot of new anime seem to have. The characters more or less have ‘baby fat face’ syndrome where there’s a lot of overly rounded edges in the face, the details seem sparse, the lines appear too thick and even the colors seem too saturated for my tastes.

I will say that all of these things, except the baby fat face thing, are probably to make more fluid animation more easily. This is actually kinda odd because shows like these tend to have moments where the animation is ridiculously cheap then they have moments that are so fluid that I feel like they’re rotoscoped. The art’s not particularly bad, and the animation can be very great sometimes, I just want to be honest in saying that the art style is really not my taste.

Music-wise, nothing really hooked with me so far but it’s very fitting for the story, tone and theme.



It may have been a slightly disappointing first venture, but I believe this episode showed that there is enough here to keep you entertained even through the tropes and cliches. I hope this series only gets better as we move on.

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Animating Halloween: Regular Show – Terror Tales of the Park (I)


Plot: Three short stories of horror told by the characters on Halloween.

Breakdown: Me and Regular Show haven’t really meshed well in the past. I’ve watched a couple episodes before and never got into it. Then I reviewed the New Year’s special and, again, was less than impressed. But it seems like, much in the same realm of The Simpsons and The Treehouse of Horror series, Regular Show seems to like getting into horror stories for Halloween specials.

The first entry in Terror Tales of the Park is Creepy Doll, and it’s fairly weak. It’s about Pops getting rid of some stuff from his house when he comes across a doll he used to love. Mordecai and Rigby tell him to get rid of it because grown men with dolls are ‘uncool’. He tries to get rid of it, but it keeps coming back with a thirst for drawing on faces. It has some entertaining moments and somewhat funny lines, but the doll is nowhere near creepy enough in design. It just looks like a fairly real little kid. All it wants to do is draw on faces, and the climax is practically spoiled when they focus on the incinerator downstairs.

The next segment is Death Metal Crash Pit. Mitch and Hi Five Ghost find an old RV in the woods and want to chuck it into the crash pit. When he opens it up, however, he unleashes the ghosts of a metal band who used to use that RV as a touring bus. They kidnap Mitch and Fives, claiming they’ll crash the RV into the put for them with them in it.

This one was better than Creepy Doll, but still wasn’t that great. It wasn’t scary at all, but it was funnier. Plus the ending is ridiculous in more ways than one, though not necessarily in a bad way. I do like Mitch and Fives the most as characters so far.

The final segment is In the House and, I gotta say, I was repulsed (in a good way) and impressed. The story goes that Mordecai and Rigby go out trick-or-treating and Rigby wants to go to one more house before they go home. He’s pissed when the house he visits turns off their lights and refuses to answer the door, so he eggs them only to find out that the house belongs to a wizard who is now out for revenge.

This segment doesn’t pull punches with the horror. It is one of the most disturbing Halloween specials I’ve seen in years. They behead a character, rip another’s skin off, and they even allow guns and Evil Dead references.

The most disappointing part of the episode is, by far, the ending. The payoff is seen from miles away, and I was even saying what would happen out loud the instant Rigby started turning into a door.

Still, there’s plenty of creepiness, freaky moments and even some moderate laughs in here.

Overall, it’s a pretty entertaining Halloween special and I look forward to watching the others. It’s even making me rethink giving Regular Show as a series another shot.

Yami Shibai 4 Review

Plot: A continuation of the horror anthology told as a series of kamishibai productions.

Breakdown: When I first went into the fourth season of Yami Shibai, I was met with a tidal wave of negative comments and reviews. People hated this season with a passion, but I was more than open to it because, well, I really love this franchise. While they have had their share of bad stories, I wasn’t ready to write off this season from the start.

Episode 1: Tongue Clever-ish twist, but confusing to the point where I can’t make much sense of it at all. It’s also not that creepy or scary.

Episode 2: Fish Tank Not scary, creepy or clever. It has the most cliché of all horror story plots and only kinda gets points for using a monster that I’ve never seen done before.

Episode 3: Sewing Shears Again, not scary and very cliché. Points only go to the kinda creepy monster and the aspect of shears.

Episode 4: Red High Heel  Good idea, nice start, poor execution. Disappointing. I still think my suggested ending would’ve been better.

Episode 5: Night Bus Best episode so far, but still not very strong.

Episode 6: Guess Who? Getting better. This one is creepy, off-putting and clever, but the only thing that gets me is the logistics of what exactly happened and who that girl even was.

Episode 7: Footsteps Middle of the road. I should dock it off for reminding me of the toilet episode, but I feel nice today.

Episode 8: Cassette Tape I really enjoyed this episode, even though the animation is even more sparse than normal. It’s mostly just the shots of the tape recorder. Creepy, amps up the tension nicely and uses its concept very well. I just wish the box had been better explained.

Episode 9: Grinding Teeth Creepy focal point, cringey (in a good way) sound effects, not too bad about halfway in, drops the ball and falls flat. Disappointing.

Episode 10: Calling Crane My favorite of the entire season. While the game itself is just weird, this is a very beautifully drawn and colored episode with plenty of creepiness and atmosphere.

Episode 11: White Line Clever and creepy with a unique enough premise and freaky visuals. A lack of live-action shot is distracting due to the break in continuity, though.

Episode 12: Snow Hut I still can’t decide on how much I really like this episode. It’s clever, but not scary. It has some creepy visuals, but it makes me sadder than anything else. Plus, it really bothers me that they never explain why this snow hut needs someone occupying it.

Episode 13: Underground Walkway You ever have those moments where you’re watching a horror movie and you want to yell out to the screen ‘Don’t go in there! Who the hell would go in there?! Turn around! Does this look safe!? Go back! You ran into a scary person! Turn around! What is wrong with you?!’? That is this episode in a nutshell.

Is it the worst entry? No. But it does require major stupidity to pull the plot off and the twist isn’t that scary at all. Being a disappointing season finale, especially when you’re following up the awesome season three finale, is just not cool.

Bottom Line: Despite shaking off the naysayers, this season is, by far, the weakest of the seasons so far. Each season has had their problems. Season one was the strongest, though was damaged by the stupid toilet monster story. Season two had plenty of good ideas, but ultimately ended up a largely ‘meh’ season with poor execution. Season three relied a bit too heavily on monsters for my taste and changed into a format that was slightly difficult to get used to, though ultimately paid off very well.

Season four didn’t do anything different except made the narrator tell the whole story, which has its ups and downs, and include one live-action shot per story, which is largely pointless. It had many silly or meh stories and ended with absolutely no fanfare.

Additional Information and Notes: Yami Shibai 4 was produced by ILCA and is currently licensed in the US by Sentai Filmworks.

Episodes: 13

Year: 2017

Recommended Audience: No worse off than any other Yami Shibai season. 10+

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Boku wa Imouto Ni Koi wo Suru Volume 4 (Manga) Review

Plot: Iku and Yori start high school apart, and that’s not all that’s changing. Tomoka has somehow managed to get accepted into Yori’s school, and she has every intention on winning Yori’s heart. Iku and Yano have started new jobs as wait staff at a restaurant, despite Iku’s inability to do anything without destroying everything. Iku is doing her best to save money for trips to see Yori, but a new problem has emerged. Yano has fallen in love with Iku and declares war on Yori for Iku’s heart.

Breakdown: I will admit that the first chapter starts out fairly well. In a sitcom manner, Iku goes to where Yori lives to visit him just as Yori goes back home to visit Iku for their birthday. The comedic back and forth between both Yori and Iku and Yano and Yori is nice, but it’s quickly ruined.

Iku, the easily lead dumbass she is, goes to a hotel room with Yano under the excuse of them getting something to eat, which they can’t do in a restaurant with Inu!Yori. She chows down then passes out in his bed because of course she does. I should mention that Yano was teasing Yori on the phone by saying if he didn’t get there soon he’d start doing perverted things with her. This seemed like innocent teasing between friends until he lead her to his room….where he proceeded to lick her ear as she was sleeping.

“I’m not dumb!” *proceeds to be dumb*

Knowing this series, I can bet if Yori hadn’t burst into the room shortly after, Yano would probably molest her much further. Looks like my predictions on his character being ruined from subtle hints in the OVA may have been correct. So far, he is the most likable character, though, outside of Nakamura. I don’t know what that says about the quality of this series.

When Yori arrives, he puts the ring on Iku, but they can’t even do that simple gesture without making Yori into a possessive creepy jackoff. The instant he puts it on her, he calls the ring a ‘collar’ and says he bought it so that other men would stay away from her. He even seems to state that Iku is so dense that she probably doesn’t realize their relationship is incestuous…..

Well, that was a chapter alright……oh, yeah, it ends with Yori pretending to start to rape Iku as she pretends to sleep. Aw, how romanticreepy.

The next chapter, thankfully, doesn’t go any further than him licking, sucking on and biting her finger. We’ve gotten to the point where that’s restraint…

They have some nice banter again, this time about the gifts. She loves her ring, though feels guilty that all she got him were some miscellaneous items you could buy at a drug store like a shampoo hat and an ear cleaning kit….Though, again, they even have to make that creepy, because we then see Yori getting a hard on because Iku’s cleaning his ears. I know there are many fetishes out there, to each his own, have at it….but none of them, zero, should involve ear wax.

I think you’re far too filthy to be cleaned at this point, Yori.

Surprisingly, again, though, despite the temptation, the chapter just ends with the two sleeping on the floor.

The next chapter opens with Yori and Iku showing each other how they look in their new school uniforms through email, and Yori fumbles with trying to take a picture of himself with his phone.

Again, starting out cute and innocent enough. Iku is attending a high school with basically everyone else she was with in junior high, such as Yano and Nakamura. Meanwhile, we get a twist in Yori’s story when Tomoka suddenly shows up stating her father transferred to the area recently and, using her connections to Yori, somehow (since he’s the only one who passed the entrance exams) she was accepted into the academy.

She quickly tries to get her mitts all over him, though Yori wants none of that. A blackened text bubble indicates that Tomoka’s not giving up so quickly, though…..

….Okay, Tomoka was a bit bitchy before and undoubtedly possessive….but this whole job transfer is fishy as all hell. If I wanted to be this paranoid, it sounds like Tomoka somehow coerced her parents to move there when she found out about Yori’s decision, somehow screwed with the exams to get her entrance, then she could take advantage of her close proximity to Yori to rip him from Iku.

If that’s even slightly true….holy shit….that is some soap opera level insanity.

Yori in the top left has one of the most real and severe condescending expressions I’ve ever seen. It’s like he’s telling her through his eyes that’s she’s trash to him.

The rest of the chapter is pretty benign. Iku has conflicted feelings about Tomoka not going to her school, but she’s unaware Tomoka is at Yori’s. They meet a new girl named Mori, though I haven’t gotten a good hold on her as a character yet. They note her strong personality, but if anything she comes on a bit too strong for me. Finally, we get more indication that Yano is romantically interested in Iku.

Next chapter……You remember what I quoted in volume three? “Iku, who cannot do anything.”? I always thought, despite evidence to the contrary, that such a statement couldn’t be completely true. Iku has to be competent at something. She doesn’t get good grades, she’s needy and dependent to the point of a vague mental disorder, she’s clumsy, she’s incredibly naïve, she has no backbone, she doesn’t seem to have any talents – but she has to be competent somehow.

No, no, not really.

The start of this chapter has Iku getting a job as a waitress at the restaurant in which Yano works. I assume he pulled strings to get her hired because she….cannot do….a God. Damn. Thing. She can’t take orders, listing off tons of foods when the customer merely ordered one thing. She can’t carry a tray of food without dropping it because it’s heavy and hot. She can’t bus a table without breaking every dish on it. She can’t wash dishes without breaking them. She cannot complete a single waitressy task without a complete disaster.

She, rightfully, gets fired, but Yano saves her job since their boss is desperate for the girls that Yano is attracting to the place, and he threatens to quit if she goes.

She’s great at being terrible.

Despite getting her a job and saving her from getting fired, Iku treats Yano like crap just because he playfully teases her every now and then (She doesn’t know about his true creeper-ness at this point) She tells him to go away and says she’ll ignore him, except when he asks about Yori because Yori is the moon, sun, stars and earth beneath thine feet. You’re kinda lead to believe Yano’s being a bit pushy here, but apparently Yori actually asked him to escort her home because she’s just too much of a naïve dunderhead to come home on her own too.

Iku has gotten this job because she’s trying to save money to pay for the train fare for her and inu!Yori to visit Yori, despite him saying he’d pay her travel expenses.

The chapter actually goes fairly well for the most part. Yori longs for Iku, Iku tries her best to work hard to get to Yori on her own, and Yano’s not being a creeper either….but of course we can’t end the chapter without something creepy and terrible happening.

Iku tries her best at her job when, of course, a fat, disgusting, sweaty pervert comes in. He purposely spills his water so Iku will lean over the table to clean it up, and, when she does, he gropes her boob. Iku freaks out, spilling food all over him. He pretends he didn’t do anything and becomes outraged that his supposedly expensive clothes are ruined. Yano tries to intimidate the man and defend Iku, but Iku’s boss believes the customer and demands Iku pay for his clothes and apologize or else she’ll get fired.

Everything about this page makes me angry.

She gives in because she has to keep the job to visit Yori, and she ends up losing all of the money she saved, making her start all over again. Even though, again, Yori said he’d be more than happy to pay for her travel expenses. After the incident, Iku starts crying and calling herself an idiot, and Yano suddenly hugs her, much to Iku’s surprise.

End chapter.

Let me be clear and state that I don’t blame Iku for what happened nor am I mad that she didn’t stand up for herself and tell this pervert and her unsympathetic boss to fuck off. I am, however, annoyed at why she buckled.

Other than some sort of weird sense of pride or something, Iku has no reason to want to keep saving her own money to visit Yori if he’s financially capable of paying her way. Her paying the pervert and apologizing is basically her saying she’s fine with coping with the random groping pervert and doing horribly at this job to save money that she doesn’t really need just so she can snort a couple hits of Yori to get her fix.

The next chapter starts with the continuation of the hug, which is brushed off rather quickly as Yano cheers her up and then gives her some playful ribbing. Yori suspects that Iku is starting to like Yano since she brings him up in conversation more and more, which makes sense considering they both go to school and work together. Iku completely denies it, however. Yori is fed up with Iku trying to work and get the money to visit him, so he decides he’ll get a job and visit her instead….

Wait, I thought he had no money troubles, which is why he offered to pay for Iku’s travel fare whenever she wanted. He didn’t seem to have trouble buying that seemingly expensive ring or visiting home at the start of the volume. Now he needs a job?

I do love the back and forth between Yano and Yori when they’re not being creepy assholes.

He tricks Iku into believing he’ll get a job as a host. When Yano visits him to see what’s up, he discovers Yori’s actually a gas station attendant. They spend the rest of the day on amusement park rides and teasing each other when, on the Ferris wheel, Yano drops the bomb on Yori that he likes Iku. The rest of the conversation is not shown, but Yori doesn’t seem to react much, and the next page doesn’t show a newspaper headline of ‘Teenage Boy Viciously Murdered in Ferris Wheel.’

The next day, Yano gives Iku a bracelet he got at the amusement park that has a little inu!Yori-esque charm on it and tells her Yori got it for her, when that’s not true. He’s about to tell her what they talked about and the chapter ends.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……This volume has gone on way too long without something horribly creepy and borderline rapey happening. Oh whatever will I do if this volume ends without me feeling the pure darkness of hatred in my soul?

The final chapter starts with a continuation of Yano and Yori’s conversation. Yori takes his confession extremely well. He doesn’t get mad, he doesn’t even react much at all. Yano says he’s not backing down and he’ll declare war on Yori for Iku’s heart, and Yori accepts his challenge with a non-threatening smile. Half of this scene is done in comedic chibi-style, by the way. Quite the contrast between this and how he acted around Nakamura.

Back with Yano and Iku, Yano drops the bomb on Iku that Yori told him that their relationship is incestuous. Iku flips out in panic, worried she won’t be able to be with Yori anymore, but Yano says he’ll keep her secret.

He’ll keep her secret……

Under one condition……….

She has to love Yano. She has to be his. She has to give all of her love to him.

Why do so many guys want this girl so badly? I can’t wrap my head around it.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally broken out into creepy sexual abuse blackmail!

Yano is completely serious about this threat, physically intimidates her and even licks her neck to get her to agree to it.

Do I need to replace the hair sniff counter with a lick counter?

To Iku’s credit, she does slap him, refuses his advances, says she hates him and storms off into the house without agreeing to his terms. It seems Iku does have a backbone if you threaten her Stockholm syndrome.

And that’s the end of volume four. Final thoughts?


It’s actually the most tolerable volume so far, and that’s probably because Yori’s away from Iku for most of it so he can’t be a creepy pseudo-rapist. However, Yano, despite being the most fun character, is pushing the gas pedal on his creepiness, peaking with, of course, the blackmail.

Iku continues to be a huge ball of dependency issues, now compounded by an unwilling dependence on Yano since she literally cannot do a damn thing for herself, but she impressed me in the finale a tiny bit.

Story-wise, this volume doesn’t advance much. Iku and Yano get jobs, they all start high school, we get a brief glimpse at Tomoka who seems to have gone rogue, but the only important progressions are Yano admitting to Yori that he likes Iku and the blackmail.

By the way, I know all’s fair in love and war and stuff, but blackmailing Iku into a relationship isn’t fair in this little competition they have going. If she ever does show affection for Yano or start dating him, it will be because of the blackmail not because she legit loves him.

Plus, having a competition for Iku’s heart just further trivializes this whole situation and turns Iku into a prized possession……and she is actually described as a possession in the final chapter. Lovely.

It’s a damn shame is all. Yano and Iku would actually make a fairly good couple if Yano didn’t devolve into this creepy son of a bitch. I almost feel like this competition is less for Iku’s heart and more to see who can be the creepiest asshole.

So, how will this blackmail go? Will Tomoka turn out to be an even bigger major bitch? With Yano out-Yori Yori? Will I ever figure out why anyone would be attracted to anyone in this story? Find out next time on the manga I wish I weren’t reading!

…..Previous Volume

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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 4 Episodes 11, 12 and 13 FINALE

Episode 11: White Line


Plot: A teacher is working late one night when she spots a young boy in a tattered school uniform drawing chalk lines on the yard. As she goes to investigate, she finds the boy has vanished, but the white line has been drawn into the school. Where does the white line lead?

Breakdown: This one’s pretty clever and unique. It’s not the creepiest or scariest story in the world by a long shot, but I enjoyed quite a bit, especially the ending, and it’s one of the stronger entries this season.

The art style this time around is kinda back to being a little more anime-ish, but not too badly. It’s also like the lines are much crisper and sharper than they usually are and like the coloring is fuller and more vibrant.

There’s no live-action shot this time around, which was weird, but the narrator was delightfully entertaining, especially at the end.

Episode 12 – Snow Hut

And then he gets shot through the eye…..Oh sorry, that’s Saw II.

Plot: A young boy and his older brother decide to build a snow hut. As his brother goes off to get something for them to eat, the boy spots another snow hut across the yard. Oddly, this hut has no entrance, but it seems like there’s a small flickering light inside. The boy is curious to see if someone is in there, but some things are better left alone.

Breakdown: I wanna say this one works, but it kinda doesn’t because it’s one of those stories that I find sadder than scary.

The idea is fairly unique and the scene with the other snow hut is creepy, but it’s not creepy or scary enough for me to ignore the fact that I feel sadder for the fate of the boy above all else.

The live-action shot this time around was of the candle in the snow hut, and it’s pretty effective given that you see it from the hole in the snow hut, which does obviously lend itself to an easy jump scare.

The story is also one I can’t wrap my head around. Why is there some sort of snow hut prison out there? Who is in it, and why does it seem to need to have someone in it? The family seems to have no choice but to do what they seem to be intending on doing, but I don’t get it.

The art style this time around is a very scratchy almost sketchy or storyboard type of art style that I….think works in its favor? I can’t really decide.

Episode 13 – Underground Walkway

Someone should’ve told him he’s in a horror anthology.

Plot: A college student gets caught in the rain and decides to take a creepy, unfamiliar underground walkway to the station. He learns that you don’t do that.

Breakdown: Really? After the awesome ending season three gave us, you end the fourth season with this? It’s not a particularly stupid or bad entry, it’s just very predictable and meh. Not to mention, you want to clock out the instant he enters the walkway.

Gee, an unfamiliar, dark, dank, creepy underground walkway with flickering lights and no one else but a freaky worker around who’s trying to direct you down an even creepier and darker walkway and keeps chanting ‘it’s only dark at first.’? I’d sure nope out of there probably before I even got beyond the entrance. Dude, it’s rain. Just deal with it. Go into a shop until it passes. Get on a bus. If the alternative is ‘creepy, dark, dank underground walkway I could swear wasn’t here before’ exhaust every other option first….and still don’t do that.

The art style is basically identical to Snow Hut here, which is fine, and the live-action shots may be some shots of the tunnel (it’s really hard to tell) and the shot of the footprints, which add nothing to the creepy factor.

Like I said, not the worst entry, but certainly a disappointing one, and definitely a disappointment as a season finale. They didn’t even do anything clever with the narrators this time around outside of change them out every episode, which would be more impacting if the opening showed them in a different area with different kids every time, but it doesn’t. They don’t even alter the end credits. Pfft.

I’ll be releasing the full Yami Shibai 4 review soon enough, but first, I just realized that they released Yami Shibai 5 this year. Yay!

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Pokemon Extravaganza! Movie 04: Pokemon 4Ever – Celebi Voice of the Forest (Dub) Review

Plot: A boy named Sam (who is totally not Professor Oak) is transported 40 years to the future (Ash and the gang’s present) by the legendary Celebi after outrunning a Pokemon hunter. While trying to find a way back to his time, Sam, Ash and the others have to deal with a new threat who wants to use Celebi for malicious means.

Breakdown: Okay, I’m going to address something that might be confusing to some people reading this—why I don’t bother talking about the American posters for the Pokemon movies. I’ve been making it a habit to discuss the Japanese ones simply because they, for some reason, tend to be bad with the first being downright awful. However, the American ones have always been fantastic, in my opinion.

The first was simple, yet effective with Mew and Mewtwo facing off and the, at the time, entire roster of Pokemon behind them.

In Movie 02, they actually made what is my favorite Pokemon poster with the Pokeball like a planet, Ash’s (? Is that even Ash? He actually looks more like Red…) silhouette with his Pokeball to the sky and surrounded by tons of Pokemon under the Legends. That was just fantastic.

The third movie’s was somewhat ripping off the Japanese poster with Entei’s picture, but it was changed up plenty to actually mirror one of the best scenes from the movie.

All of the American posters have gotten rid of the clipart clutter and the pointless additions and have made great posters that I never felt the need to bring up….

Until now.

What is this? Celebi’s fine. The ripple effect is fine. The lake shot is fine. What is Ash standing on? He’s floating in mid-air or he’s simultaneously standing on an also-floating Suicune and Celebi.

Why is he making that pose? With his hat backwards, that means that’s his capture pose.

Why is IMM almost microscopic, and why is he standing on his spider robot like that?

Why are they showing the God-awful grass monster thing?

Let’s address that title, eh? Pokemon 4Ever? Gee, 4Kids, you must think you’re clever as all hell for not only replacing a part of a word with a number, but also recycling the same for=4 joke thing from your own goddamn name. Ending any title with ‘Forever’ just seems lame anyway.

Though I did praise the poster designers for getting rid of clutter, there’s one character who kinda needed to be in this poster…..Ya know, Sam. The guy who’s supposed to be the other main character? I mean, his spot on the Japanese poster is depressingly small, but at least he was there. He gets nada in America.

Here’s where we kinda start falling off of the nostalgia wagon a bit for me. I never watched Pokemon Movie 04 in theaters simply because it never showed in any theaters close enough to me. And, according to Bulbagarden, that’s not surprising.

Miramax released the movie theatrically in an extremely limited manner, and those theaters that did have the movie never kept it for more than a couple weeks, if that. This was hindered even further by the fact that they did no advertising for it. In fact, the first time I even found out there was a fourth movie was because I saw a commercial for the DVD release.

Not only was this movie a box office bomb (because of the extremely poor marketing and theatrical release strategy) but was also critically hated and panned by fans as well. Ouch.

Soon after watching the commercial, I went out and bought the DVD, but I never got much into the movie. I like Celebi and Suicune and everything, but after loving Movie 03 so much, it failed to impress me. Especially with the blech-y CGI. Apparently, this is Dogasu’s favorite of the movies so far alongside Movie 05 so maybe I’ll see it in a better light once I’m done rewatching it for this review.

By the way, am I the only one kinda pissed at how Raikou was sufficiently snubbed in these movies? Entei gets a whole movie to himself, Suicune gets a significant part here and a decent part in the main series, and what does Raikou get? A special three-part episode in Pokemon Chronicles – that series people watched just to see the usually forgotten side characters left behind (IE the BetterThanAsh squad) actually do stuff on their own without Ash.

The main characters of the arc he was in, The Legend of Thunder, didn’t even include any known characters – it was three completely new characters made up for those specific episodes. Poor Raikou.

There’s a very significant change between the two versions that I was debating on bringing up here or in the sub review. I would usually bring it up in the sub review, but let’s just address this incredible moment now. It’s a moment of utmost stupidity that shows that 4Kids thinks so little of their audience that they are actually willing to lose their precious money, quite a lot of it in fact, to shove a plot point into the faces of the audience. But more on that later.

For more information sub/dub comparison wise, see Bulbagarden’s comparison here.


We start with narration from Brock for some reason (Brock killed the other narrator! CALL THE POLICE!) giving us the regular ‘World of Pokemon’ shtick as we see a bunch of Pokemon.

I recall this part of the movie specifically because it is one of the extremely rare times you ever see Porygon. Yes, the Pokemon so banned that even its evo stages are sufficiently banned from being shown in the series. They might appear for a second or two, like Porygon does here, but they will never be given spotlight in the show ever again.

Ya know, I joke about Messiahchu because he’s so glorified, but if anything Porygon and its evos sacrificed itself for the sake of the show’s mascot. Everyone salute!

The Wiki makes a weird note about this shot – Porygon’s the only Pokemon to be shown behind a chain link fence. What’s that note supposed to imply? That they purposely put Porygon behind the fence to make a statement about the character? “Oh yeah, we let Porygon in this shot, but it’s behind a fence, guys! Don’t worry! You can’t get seizures through a fence! DON’T SUE US!”

After going through the motions of the ‘World of Pokemon’ opener, we get Ash’s backstory…..Why? I’m all for sprucing up the old footage, but if you’re watching the fourth Pokemon movie, chances are you know Ash’s backstory by heart.

And let me get my nitpicky gloves on. Ahem, Ash wasn’t wearing his regular attire when he got Pikachu. He was wearing his pajamas because he woke up late. In fact, that’s actually somewhat important because he only got Pikachu instead of the Squirtle he wanted because he slept late and was only able to get a leftover Pokemon instead of the three main starters. Yet they actually remember that Pikachu’s Pokeball has a little lightning bolt on it.

I love how they completely omit the fact that Pikachu was a little turdmuffin when he first met Ash. Can’t tarnish Messiahchu’s rep.


Our actual start is in the (Obviously CGI) forest (Because trees need to be CGI) with Celebi being chased by a Houndoom 40 years in the past. Celebi is then pursued by a Scyther and gets hit.

We cut to a boy traveling through the forest as he comes across a mysterious tunnel in the path. He is halted by a woman with green hair who tells him the story of the voice of the forest – a spirit who travels through time.

She says that the time travel abilities of the voice of the forest is noted by a peculiar sound. If you hear the sound, you should stop in your tracks, because if it sees you it could whisk you away through time. The boy, Sam, thanks her for her advice and says he’ll be careful. They part ways but not before she gives him a loaf of berry bread as a snack.

Mmm, bread covered in gravel on top of leaves. Just like grandma used to make.

Cut back to Celebi’s chase scene where it’s being overpowered by the Houndoom and Scyther who are under the control of a Pokemon hunter. Celebi escapes once more and cries out loudly.

Back with Sam, who has stopped to sketch some things, he hears Celebi’s cries and sees the Pokemon of the forest running away in fright. The pursuit rushes in front of him. He runs towards the three just in time to see Scyther and Houndoom pinning Celebi down.

He tries to yell at the Pokemon to leave Celebi alone, but Houndoom shoots a Flamethrower at him to make him leave. Angered by this, Celebi wraps the two up in vines and weakly floats to Sam’s arms.

The Pokemon hunter shows up and demands that he hand Celebi over, explaining in unneeded detail what he is and what a Pokemon hunter does. Because of course Sam would hand over Celebi after learning this guy basically enslaves Pokemon and auctions them off to the highest bidder.

Sam runs off, but suddenly stumbles. Celebi activates its time travel abilities and whisks them away to the future!

We zoom out of the scene and it turns into a framed picture of the forest. We’re introduced to an older version of the Pokemon hunter being harassed by some guy in a helmet who is the actual villain of our story…..the *sigh* Iron-Masked Marauder.

I don’t really have that many qualms against this guy – he’s more memorable, interesting and threatening than Lawrence ever was, but why, 4Kids? Why the Iron-Masked Marauder? Were you going for a ‘pro-wrestler’ vibe? Because that’s what I’m getting.

He’s trying to get information on Celebi from the Pokemon hunter, but he won’t give it up. Hulk Hogan decides to persuade him by releasing one of the Pokemon the hunter captured, a Tyranitar, from its cage and using a Dark Ball on him.

A Dark Ball is a creation of Macho Man Randy Savage where not only does it automatically put any Pokemon you catch under your control (and maybe have a catching ability rivaling that of Master Balls – also maybe ignoring that a Pokemon is already captured by someone else) but it also increases their strength to max level. Wow, that’s really OP. Glad they’re never seen or mentioned outside of this movie.


He works for Team Rocket, and they have something like this? Why have they not utilized and mass produced them? They would take over the world in a week. Oh right, Team Rocket actually do something in the anime. Hah.

The now evil Tyranitar is commanded to Hyper Beam the place to ruins, even possibly killing the other captive Pokemon. In the midst of the destruction, the hunter gives up the location of where he found Celebi 40 years ago. Boy, I sure do hope Celebi didn’t travel to this exact time because that would be a heap of trouble.

We get our title screen, and I gotta say this is probably 4Kids weakest title screen attempt so far. The animations on the vines look cheap, like something you’d see on an e-card, and the actual title itself is presented like a title of a TV show episode not a movie. Also the 4Ever crap looks twice as dumb in huge bold 3D lettering.…


Hey, Subtitle! Get out of Lugia’s turf!

Wait, title screen!? That means—YAY DUMBASH AND FRIENDS!

This time, Brock and Misty are separated from Ash as they wait at a ferry that will be taking them to their next destination – Don’ttellthemwherethey’regoingbecausethatwouldestablishwhenthismovietakesplace town.

The ferry is about to leave, and Ash is going to miss it, so Brock sends out his Crobat to find him. Cut over to Ash who is about to have a Pokemon battle with an Australian trainer….named Dundee.

Really bringing your A game in the name department today, huh 4Kids? His Wiki page seems to justify this because he has a Croconaw but no, screw that. Drastically changing a character for no reason on the flimsy basis that he has a crocodile Pokemon? Ya know what? Ash has a mouse Pokemon. Better name him Walt Disney!


It annoys me when they set up scenes that very obviously show them in battle stances yet their first dialogue is like they’re meeting that very second, never introduced themselves and didn’t even realize they were going to have a battle.

Dundee chooses his Croconaw, and Ash chooses, who else, Pikachu, and we get our altered theme song for the movie, ‘Born to be a Winner.’ I always liked ‘Born to be a Winner,’ and this movie version is pretty good….though I honestly could’ve done without the out-of-place record scratches.

The battle is rather boring for a movie battle. However, Ash does take this opportunity to prove his dumbness again because, after throwing Croconaw through the air and having him crash into Dundee, leaving both of them on the ground, Ash decides to Thundershock as a final blow. Hitting when the Pokemon is down is low enough, but he actually ends up shocking Dundee too because the two were still getting up from the fall. Nice going, idiot.


As Ash goes to check on Dundee, Crobat calls him over to catch the ferry. And that’s it for your movie opener battle, hope you enjoyed it. The rest is just Ash running to catch the ferry.

sarcastic yay

As Misty and Brock see Ash running to the ferry, they wave to him and hop on the boat, but Ash is held up by a transport vehicle pulling an insanely long line of trailers with boxes.

When it leaves, the ferry has departed and Ash jumps from the second dock to get on the boat. I love this shot because he’s jumping in slow-mo and trying to reach Brock, but as he misses his hand and nearly falls into the water, the song goes ‘Born to be a winner, born to be the very best.’ Yes, born to be a winner and the very best that one is.

After the song ends, they speak with the same deckhand who has the voice of Duke Devlin. As he learns that the group is really interested in Pokemon, he tells them that a lot of really unusual ones are near where he lives and he can take them there if they want. They agree and Pikachu spots a Suicune far off in the forest. He alerts Ash and the other to it and they’re able to spot it for a second before it runs off.

And here we go. This next scene is the significant change I was warning you about. It’s one of a few scene insertions.

“But Twix!” a reader cries through their computer monitor, “Lots of shows you do SDCs for have scene insertions! Heck, Movie 03 just had one!”

Yes, yes. Scene insertions aren’t really uncommon, reader. But this one is far different. This scene is not taken from the TV show nor is it taken from another point in the movie or another movie – it’s not taken from anything.

Get this. 4Kids had contracted out the original animators and artists for Pokemon to make additional scenes to this movie that amount to over four and a half minutes of extra footage.

Now, why would they do that, you ask? You remember Sam from earlier? Well, spoiler alert, Sam is Professor Oak.

In the original, the main connection the viewers had to this was the ending shot in the credits with Kenji/Tracey finding the sketch book that Yukinari/Sam had, which is fine and dandy.

However, 4Kids thought this was WAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY the hell out of an American kid’s league, so they purposely asked the original animators to create, from scratch, specific scenes for the movie with the sole purpose of pushing this connection so far up the audience’s asses that you’d be seeing it coming out your nose.

4Kids has always done dumb things for no reason, but they are all about the Benjamins, baby. They wasted thousands of dollars to have all of this done. Not to mention how much time had to go into it. All in the name of ‘Your kids are way too dumb to ever understand this.’

I understood in the last movie how they decided to move the scene where Spencer is freed from the Unown’s purgatory place to after the Unown lose their power instead of in the ending credits like it was in the original. It may have been to make the fact clearer, but it was harmless if not better that way.

This – urgh! THIS ISN’T EVEN IMPORTANT! Does it change anything whatsoever if you never realize Sam is Oak? NO. It’s just a cool little factoid that is never brought up ever again, ever, and has no actual bearing on the plot or the series as a whole. Oak isn’t even in most of this movie!


I almost feel more insulted because of this fact. If it was an important part of the plot, I don’t think I’d care as much. But the fact that it’s not makes me feel like 4Kids is saying to our faces “Hi, brain-dead lobotomized monkey children. We know you have trouble processing information that is even slightly more complicated than toast=food, so we’re going to pay the original animators of this movie to animate more scenes to drive even unimportant points home. We spent our hard earned monies on this for your sake because we love you platonically, so remember to pester your parents to buy the DVD. That’s D as in Duh. V as in Very Unnecessary. And D as in Dollllaaaahhhhhhhhhhhssssssss!”

While I will note when scene insertions occur, I won’t be comparing the scenes until I get to the subbed version.

We cut to a video phone on a beach where Oak shows the gang a picture of a Suicune and asks if that’s what they saw. They say yes, and he says with confidence that it was indeed a Suicune.

He explains Suicune’s abilities, how it’s called the North Wind and how it can purify water. Just to really get up in your face with this, he tells them that he knows for a fact that these abilities are true. Ash asks him if he’s ever seen one before, Oak says he has once, but before he can explain when and how, the deckhand dude interrupts them saying they have to leave and they hang up.


Cut back to Oak’s lab where he’s thumbing through the book about Suicune. He asks himself if he should’ve told Ash the truth before he hung up. He really would’ve told Ash about everything that’s about to happen and about how he’s, spoiler alert, actually Sam? Honestly? Isn’t that bad for the space-time continuum or something?

Anyway, that entire scene was ordered up specially for 4Kids, and we have more coming up.

As we see the group traveling down a river to deckhand’s neck of the woods (I guess he’s never given a name) we also see Team Rocket following them in some sort of pedal-powered kite thing. Jessie’s leg cramps up, causing her to stop pedaling, and a big wind blasts them off. So soon? It’s not even 15 minutes in. They wouldn’t even be blasted off in a TV episode by now.

The group reaches a waterfall and can’t climb up, but Deckhand has a special trick to his boat. The outriggers turn into blimps and they fly over it…..I would comment on this, but this is a hell of a lot less ridiculous than the whole ‘flying a sailboat’ thing from Movie 02.

Ash, did someone hit you in the face with a frying pan?

They finally arrive at Deckhand’s town which turns out to be a town made entirely out of treehouses – a concept I adore and I believe was the inspiration for Fortree City later in Hoenn, which is my favorite location in that region.

They explore around, on the ground, because I know if I just arrived in a town made of treehouses my first goal would be walking around on the ground (Being clear, the houses all connect via bridges). The girl who talked to Sam before, now an old lady, shows up again with her granddaughter Diana at the same spot she met Sam. She gives them the same warning to listen for the voice of the forest and to be still if they hear it to avoid being whisked away through time.

Ash blows her off because he’s in a hurry (No idea why. Not like he has an appointment for his next Gym match, and the Pokemon aren’t going anywhere…) and they go through the tunnel and into the forest. As they theorize about what the voice of the forest is, something they would’ve known had they stopped and talked for two seconds, we see the trees glowing because of Celebi’s time travel powers.


They run because screw you old lady warning, and they see an even brighter light at the shrine. Sam reappears as does Celebi, but it quickly hides behind the shrine for some reason. The group finds Sam unconscious but alive in front of the shrine and decide to take him back to town so that Diana and her grandma can treat him.

They arrive, and Sam wakes up. He freaks out when he realizes Celebi is gone and pushes Ash. They get into a bit of a fight before Sam realizes he has no idea where he is or what’s going on.

The old woman arrives and instantly recognizes Sam. She happily hugs him, and explains that Sam is the boy from the story who disappeared from the forest 40 years ago. They wonder how Sam can be that boy since he’s still so young, but Sam also recognizes her from that day.

Later, in Diana’s house, the old woman presents Sam with his old sketchbook stating that she kept it all those years just in case he ever returned. They then explain how Sam must’ve been taken away by the voice of the forest on a trip through time over 40 years long.


Sam asks where Celebi is, but the group says there was no Pokemon with Sam when they found him. The old woman tells him that Celebi lives in the Lake of Life since it protects the forest surrounding it. Sam goes after Celebi because he believes it’s still injured. The group decides to go with him and they start their journey.

Meanwhile, we see Team Rocket up in the tree after they crashed and, as luck would have it, the group is traveling right below them. I really have to wonder how that keeps happening…

Pikachu’s pika-sense goes off and he rushes ahead to see two huge felled trees and a bunch of Pokemon gathering at a small opening between them. Ash and Sam climb up to see what’s up and find the weak Celebi in the opening. Sam reaches for Celebi, but it freaks out and psychically pushes the two away.

As Ash returns, Celebi creates awful CGI vines from the tree that start whipping at them.

I will never tire of seeing Ash get smacked.

Ash and Pikachu want to retaliate, but Sam stops them and explains that it’s just scared from being chased by a Pokemon hunter before they went through time. They decide to try to earn its trust instead. After some persuasion and a gentle pat on the head, Celebi recognizes Sam and allows him to pick him up so that Celebi can have some much needed rest.

As the group rushes back to Diana’s house, they’re stopped by Team Rocket. However, as they complete their motto, Wobbuffet comes out to do his bit and his weight breaks the tree branch they were standing on, causing them to fall. The group then takes the opportunity to leave.

However, they’re stopped yet again by John Cena in his giant robot spider. He lets out evil-Tyranitar to Hyper Beam the group in order to catch Celebi.

I love the enlarging animation for the Dark Balls better than any Pokeball. It actually looks like there’s some mechanism to make it grow and shrink instead of the almost inflating Pokeball animation we usually get.


The group tries to escape, but Andre the Giant keeps attacking them until Team Rocket intervenes with Weezing’s Smokescreen. However, they’re merely attacking him because they want Celebi now too, even though a second ago the reason was that he was impeding on their Pikachu-grabbing, and they won’t let him muscle in on their turf.

Tyranitar Hyper Beams through the Smokescreen, and Meowth actually acknowledges that 4Kids must’ve been going for a pro-wrestler thing by saying IMM looks like a Mexican wrestler. Jessie recognizes his mask and they realize that he’s a very prominent member of Team Rocket so they kiss up to him.

Meanwhile, the group is trying to get away, but Misty’s knee gets twisted so they stop for a bit. Until, that is, a Scizor and a Sneasel that belong to Triple H confront them. Ash prepares for battle and so does Sam, with a weird old gray Pokeball that you open by turning a little knob on the top.


While I would say this is a cool look at how Pokeballs used to function, I have to put my nitpicky geek gloves back on because that directly contradicts an episode from way back in the Orange League.

Remember that episode with the Gastly and Haunter who were protecting their master’s, a previous League Champion’s, Orange League trophy in his sunken ship for over 300 years? Their Pokeballs were exactly the same design as the ones used by everyone else today. In fact, the old version of the Orange League trophy has two Pokeball designs on it and both are the well-known Pokeball designs of today.

Why would Sam have what seems like an old relic of a Pokeball 40 years ago when the exact same design and technology that they use today seem to have been used three centuries ago? I guess there could be some justification for it somehow, but they never give one.

Ash lets out Bayleef while Sam lets out his Charmeleon. They battle and win against The Rock’s Pokemon and they bond a bit over their battling abilities.

Later, Ash and the others are having trouble finding their way out of the forest, and Celebi is getting worse as time goes by. However, an Ursaring and Teddiursa direct the group to follow them.

They’re passed on to a Stantler, because I guess Ursaring and Teddiursa can go no further or something. Soon after, they’re passed on to a Furret because they’re pretending the group is a baton in a relay race, I guess, but they soon reach the Pokemon’s destination, Celebi’s home of the Lake of Life.

Sam walks Celebi into the water and they see all of the Pokemon in the forest have gathered around them to see if Celebi recovers. It soon perks up and jumps out of Sam’s arms to swim around for a bit. It basks in some sunlight for a while before it starts glowing and really gets re-energized.

Celebi’s all fine and dandy and even starts playing around with the group. Ash and Sam join in the fun by swimming around in the water. Misty and Brock don’t join because they’re not allowed by side character law. They swim around with Celebi for a while, and Celebi uses its psychic powers to allow them to fly around.

Celebi then fixes Misty’s twisted knee with just a touch….Cuz it just can, okay?

After the fun is over, Celebi leads them to a tree that has tasty CGI berries on it so they can all have a snack. Ya know, Celebi really is adorable in this scene…..Mew’s cuter, but he’s still really cute.

Oh goodie….this scene. Back with Team Rocket on the giant robot spider, they complain that they’re hungry and see a peach tree nearby. They try to grab one, but end up falling off the giant robot spider. As they realize The Undertaker is leaving without them, they run towards him to catch up and the scene ends.

My sentiments exactly.

This is another scene insertion, again, completely of 4Kids’ own orders. I am not kidding.

Look, as much as I find it pointless if not insulting to add the scenes with Oak that scream that Oak is, spoiler alert, Sam, at least those do have an actual point to them. It’s still an abhorrent waste of money, energy and time, but they could justify it if they wanted. THIS is filler. THIS is entirely pointless. THIS is 4Kids saying ‘What’s that? I can’t hear you while buried in this pile of money.’

You know what else? Read the paragraph recapped the scene and tell me, does that seem funny to you at all? No? Well, trust me, it’s no funnier with the animation and dialogue either. The slapstick’s lame, the scene itself is stupid and the dialogue is particularly poor Team Rocket humor and puns.

It’s a shame, really, because I actually would’ve given this bank-humping slice of self-indulgence a bit of a pass if they did it because they had an idea for a particularly funny scene. They do tend to give Team Rocket some good material sometimes, especially in the movies. But nope. Just awful.

Back with Ash and Co., it’s bed time and Ash catches Sam staying up to sketch Celebi and Pikachu in his sketchbook. He shows all of his sketches of Pokemon to Ash, and Ash compares the sketchbook to a Pokedex….Tracey did the same thing and you never said that to him. *shrug*


While I get what he means, most people think of information on Pokemon when they think of the Pokedex, not just the pictures. Which also means Tracey’s sketchbooks, being a Pokemon Watcher, would actually be more like a Pokedex than Sam’s.

But considering who we’re dealing with I wouldn’t be surprised if Ash’s only focus when using the Pokedex was ‘ooh purty pitchurrs.’ I believe this line of dialogue was mostly included because Oak invented the Pokedex and, spoiler alert, Oak is Sam. So….Ash gave him the idea to make the Pokedex? I would ask a lot of continuity based questions right now, but I always get a headache dealing with time travel issues.

Oh and there’s this –

Sam: “I guess you know a lot about the future, Ash!” Well…yeah he’s kinda lived there his whole life. He likes to refer to it as ‘the present.’

Sam: “At least, more than I do…”

Ash: “Yeah, I guess so. But I sure am glad I’m not stuck in it like you are.”

WOW, ASH! Was your mother too busy checking the status of your underwear to teach you tact?


Sam obviously gets upset at this, though Ash tries to apologize. Sam forgives him, and he says he might actually like living in the future, but feels sad that his mom probably worried for years and might still be worried to this day. Ash can relate with his own worried mother, but his grumbling stomach interrupts their conversation.

Sam gives Ash half of the loaf of bread the old woman gave him before (I love how she’s a way bigger part of the story than Diana is yet she gets a name and the old lady doesn’t.) and it seems like it also survived its trip through time just fine.

As they laugh….because bread is funny, Pikachu’s pika-sense tingles again and also wakes Celebi up. They head off into the forest, and Ash and Sam follow to see that a bunch of Metapod are glowing, indicating evolution. They are soon surrounded by hundreds of Butterfree and marvel in the sight.

Sam: “Look at all the Butterfree!”

Ash: “I hope you’ll be free, Sam. I mean to go back in time.”

That was a nice sentiment but a dumb line.

Some nice harmonica music plays as Ash and Sam decide to climb up a tree to get a better view. They happily watch the Butterfree fly around creating sparkles against the sunrise. They put their arms around each other and spawn untold amounts of yaoi fanfiction.

What? I remember this scene, and it’s really nice. But come on, this is way beyond the line into romantic. They’re watching sparkly butterflies flying against a sunrise backdrop as they put their arms around each other.


And just to get juvenile, they are literally Ash and Sam sittin’ in a tree!

The next morning, the gang is well on their way back to town, but Rowdy Roddy Piper and Team Rocket come back for another attack. This time they actually succeed in capturing Celebi use a Dark Ball on it.

However, Ash, Sam and the Pokemon from the forest won’t take that sitting down, so they climb on top of the giant robot spider to combat Stone Cold Steve Austin. Ash manages to get the Dark Ball away from him, but the robot crashes and throws Ash from it with the Dark Ball in hand.

Ric Flair soon approaches Ash and starts crushing his fingers under his foot to get him to let go of the ball. Ash can’t take the pain any longer and ultimately lets go, giving Celebi to CM Punk yet again.

The forest Pokemon gather to confront him, but he claims it’s too late to save Celebi anyway and proves his point by releasing the now evil Celebi from the Dark Ball and commanding that it cause all sorts of ruckus. After blowing the Pokemon away, it uses its abilities to create a giant sphere of sticks and leaves, I mean of DOOOOMMM!!


I guess it leaves because next we see Ash waking up. Diana, old lady and Deckhand arrive (seriously, people, just throw out a name. Anything. Prove to me that you give a crap, please.) in their blimp boat to pick up the kids.

We interrupt this movie for cel-shaded Gamecube graphics and landscapes from 6 Angels. Did Suicune really need to be in CGI for this shot? Especially insanely obviously cel-shaded CGI? It’s bad enough they think the trees need to be CGI, particularly when we’re supposed to be so in awe of the beauty of the forest, but this just clashes so badly.

The group is surveying the destruction caused by Celebi in the forest because I guess Rey Mysterio really just wants to destroy the forest for no reason. The line for Captain Planet villains starts there, sir. We see Celebi in its completed…ahah…its….pbbt….giant spiky ball of sticks and what looks like fur. Pbbbahahahah. I’m sorry, I am….haha, it just looks like something my grandma’s cat would hack up.


The sad thing is these CGI shots would actually be pretty okay in a fully CGI film, especially for its time, but it just clashes so horribly with the regular 2D animation that makes up a bulk of it.

Back with Batista who is riding the giant furball, Jessie, who was whisked away by the winds earlier, asks to be released from the sphere, but he says he can’t because he needs a witness to his power. He wants to prove to Giovanni how powerful he is now because he wants to take over Giovanni’s job. He even states later that he wants to kill Giovanni to do so, in 4Kids-ese of course, and eventually take over the world.

Of course

To prove his point further, he demands that Celebi increase his power level to super saiyan and create…..pbbbbtttt…..hahahahaha, what is that thing? A giant grass Nobody with crab legs and wings?


Anyway, it uses its leizar beemz to destroy even more things and even starts attacking the Lake of Life.

The group confronts Celebi, but The Iron Shiek commands it to shoot down their blimp boat. They manage to land gently in the lake, because blimp boat, but that doesn’t matter because Celebi shoots them again immediately after they land. They still manage to survive without a scratch, though.

They try again when Celebi comes back, this time confronting it with an attack from Pikachu, but to no avail. Celebi charges up his death ray again but this time Sam and Ash are saved by a better looking Suicune.

Jeff Hardy takes the opportunity to catch Suicune so he sends out his Tyranitar to battle it. Brock actually GETS TO DO STUFF and sends out Onix to battle Tyranitar while Suicune tries to get Ash and Sam to Celebi. He eventually does, but Celebi just throws them off of the wheat monster.


Onix continues to battle, and actually doesn’t do half bad, which is shocking considering this thing is supposed to be max level, but it’s still obviously losing. Tyranitar heads for Suicune, who knocks it down with a Bubblebeam, and a slightly fallen Onix takes this as its cue to swat Tyranitar away 500 feet into the lake like a friggin’ boss. Really makes up for the crappy battle it got in Movie 03. He’s exhausted either way and Brock recalls him.

Sting decides to attack them again with Celebi. Suicune attacks it with a Bubblebeam, but it doesn’t faze it. Probably because Water is weak to Grass….Geez, Suicune at least try to be slightly more competent than Ash. It ends up ensnaring Suicune, Ash and Sam in its vines.

Ash and Sam end up falling, somehow, but Jessie catches them both (wow, strong lady) and tells them to be careful. Sam thanks Jessie and they head towards Celebi without freeing Jessie. What jerks.

Ash and Sam try to get Celebi to remember them to break free of the Dark Ball’s influence, but it’s having difficulty struggling against its power. Also, apparently the Dark Balls gave Celebi Sith force lightning.


They keep trying to get Celebi to remember with even the forest Pokemon crying out to help. Celebi starts having a few flashbacks but the real kicker occurs when Sam hugs it.

So they are literally saved by the power of friendship as Celebi regains its control. This also causes the Dark Ball to explode in IMM’s hands…..Sorry, I ran out of wrestler names. With Celebi good again, the frosted shredded wheat creature starts falling, knocking off IMM and forcing Celebi and the boys to escape through psychic flight. However, Celebi is greatly weak from its ordeal and is actually dying from it.

I don’t exactly know why. Just because it expelled too much energy or because the forest is damaged? Either way, Celebi’s shriveling up like the lettuce in my fridge so Ash tries to save Celebi by dipping it in the lake water. However, the forest is so damaged that the lake water is tainted and lost its healing capabilities. Suicune skips across the lake to purify the water and Ash tries again but it, surprisingly, doesn’t work.

Ash says he has to keep trying and he sits on the lakeside to feed Celebi the CGI berries that they picked earlier. Celebi still won’t move, but Ash keeps trying in vain, all the while his hands are shaking and causing the berries to fall into the water.

He starts crying and says this –

Ash: “Celebi you can’t die!”


I joke, but this is actually a really impacting scene rivaling Ash’s ‘death’ in Movie 01. They very rarely ever tackle the subject of death in Pokemon and having a focal (albeit movie) Pokemon die is a pretty surprising thing for them, made all the more surprising that 4Kids didn’t digitally paint Celebi away in this scene and say he went to the shadow realm because of the Dark Ball or something.

Sam: “Now it’s too late to choose because Celebi’s gonna die!”

Stop doing that!

Also, nice little subtle hint of preachiness with the whole ‘it was a human being who destroyed the forest!’

Everyone mourns the loss of Celebi, including the forest Pokemon and Suicune in a scene that, again, reminds me of Movie 01, which just begs the question of why they can’t use their magic Pokemon tears to bring Celebi back to life, but I digress.

There’s still 15 minutes left in the movie and we all know Celebi will pull through, so give it up, movie. How’s it go?

A time warp opens and tons of Celebi pour out of it. Apparently there are a lot of Celebi floating around the time stream and I guess they can sense when one of their own is dying or dead.

Angel of death be damned!

They carry Celebi off into the sky and create a circle of Celebi around it to start the healing process. This scene is really nice in terms of visuals and it really puts the CGI to good use instead of being pointless and ugly.

Though I would’ve chosen a better song for this scene. I know 4Kids kept the score, points to them, but the la-la-laaa-lalaaalaa just seems…I dunno. Care-beary?

So yay Celebi’s fine again and it thanks its Celebi friends from the past and future for helpin’ a brotha out, and they depart. Wait, if there are Celebi throughout the ages, where’s the Celebi for this generation if the Celebi here was the one from 40 years ago?

Celebi flies around happily for a while and is about to reunite with Ash and the others when IMM suddenly bursts out of the water and grabs Celebi again.

IMM tries to get away with a jetpack, but Ash grabs his legs and takes off with him. Celebi has the power to psychically make people fly but can’t break free of the hands of one man? Pikachu shocks the jet pack, causing it to explode and sends them all falling out of the sky. But Celebi saves Ash with its psychic powers.

IMM is not so lucky and ends up crashing through the trees. The crash knocks his mask off to reveal…..just his face.

Damn, now I’m just ‘the marauder’

So the Iron-Masked Marauder was wearing his signature iron mask….for absolutely no reason….okay.

He’s surrounded by the villagers (Diana, old lady and Deckhand anyway) as well as a bunch of the forest Pokemon who are ready to whup his ass for what he did to their home. He tries to fight, but realizes he must’ve lost Sneasel and Scizor somewhere along the line. A bunch of Bug Pokemon wrap him up in String Shot (cool, the Bug types get the last hurrah for a change) and that’s the end of him.

Back with the group, Suicune makes its departure, and it’s here where I realize Suicune has been basically pointless this entire movie. It takes nearly all of the movie before it finally shows up, is really only there to save Ash and Sam that one time and give them a ride up to Celebi, which other Pokemon could’ve done, and yeah it purified the lake, but the purification did jack squat in terms of saving Celebi. I still like Suicune, but it has a pretty pointless appearance here.

Since all is said and done, Celebi starts to bring Sam…back…..wait, it’s had ample opportunity throughout the movie to bring Sam back, what was preventing it? I mean…no, no, just that.

It was weak when it first arrived, sure, but it quickly got better and it had like a full day of good health. What was preventing Celebi from time traveling again besides ‘we needed a movie’? I guess I should take back that stuff I said about Ash with the tact because Sam never was ‘stuck’ in the future to begin with. He was just there and Celebi hadn’t decided to go back yet.

Celebi does the time warp again, and Sam knows that’s his ride back home. He and Ash exchange the whole ‘no matter where or when you are, we’ll always be friends’ stuff and Ash actually cries at this which makes me unreasonably annoyed.


He’s known Sam all of a day and a half. Sure they bonded and became friends, but he’s refrained from crying after releasing numerous Pokemon, that he has bonded with, befriended, battled with and loved for months if not years, and he’s said goodbye to other companions as well without shedding a tear for God’s sake, yet he lets the tears flow for Sam. I mean it, he starts sobbing afterward.

One could say that it’s because, unlike his old Pokemon or the friends who have come and gone over the years, he knows he can always see them again someday if he wanted to (he just never wants to, I guess) whereas Sam is off in another time. Well, Ash doesn’t seem to consider the fact that he could meet 50 year old Sam anytime. He could’ve popped right up next to him as an adult after he vanished.

I hate to bring up time travel stuff again, but how are we living in a world where Sam was both gone for 40 years (See: old lady) and a time line where he came back and lived his life (See: spoiler alert, Professor Oak)?

Also, what about the Pokemon hunter from 40 years ago? Won’t he pick up the pursuit when it returns?

Anyway, moving on—MISTY’S CRYING TOO?! Come on! And old lady? Shouldn’t you be more happy for this considering his disappearance seemed to emotionally scar you?…Or…didn’t because he came back? I’m getting confused again.

What’s wrong with you people!?

Whatever, we get our final scene insertion which is another phone call to Sam—I MEAN SPOILER ALERT OAK! They relay their adventure to Samoak who asks Ash what’s wrong since he looks down in the dumps.

Ash says he’s sad because he had to say goodbye to a good friend who went to another time, but Samuel Oak consoles him by saying that real friendships can survive the test of time, and he’s sure he and Sam will be friends forever.

This cheers Ash up and they hear the horn for their ferry, prompting them to say goodbye to the professor, Professor Samuel Oak, which can be shortened to Sam, but Misty suddenly stops and asks how Professor Oak knew Sam’s name since they never mentioned it. They hear the horn again and start running when Brock gives us this stupid line.

Brock: “Professor Oak is amazing, he knows everything!” If there’s one line in this movie I remember vividly, it’s that. What a dumb thing to say. Yes, Professor Oak is so freakin’ smart he knows things that would be impossible to know unless he was there or SPOILER ALERT WAS ACTUALLY SAM!


And why doesn’t Oak just tell him? Not like it would mess up the time stream now.

But it’s actually not even the end of the scene insertion because we cut back to Oak’s house where he reminisces about that day while looking in his old sketchbook.

We cut back to Team Rocket who are still in the lake. Tyranitar, Sneasel and Scizor are free now I suppose, though Tyranitar still seems evil. They just decide to enjoy the waters of the Lake of Life and the movie ends.

The end credits showcase additional scenes like usual. Ash and the others bidding farewell to the people of the treehouse town, The scene I mentioned before where Tracey finds Oak’s sketchbook.

….Wait……..does that mean that…..Oak….is Sam?!

Also, this scene now creates a continuity error due to the last scene insertion. Why would Oak’s old sketchbook be all dusty in a pile of old books in the back room if he was just reading it a little while ago?

Other than that, more landscape shots including the group and other stuff. I always enjoy these. As for the music accompanying it, it’s a rather catchy little song called ‘Cele-b-r-a-t-e.’ As with all 4Kids fare, this song may be catchy but it is really irritating.

It’s fine for the first….45 seconds, but then it quickly gnaws on your nerves with how repetitive it is. It just repeats the same lines over and over and over. Just when you think you got some reprieve, the singers point out that they forgot to ‘vamp out.’ and the lead actually says –

Lead: “You mean this ain’t the end of the song?”

Singer: “Nope.”

Lead: “Aw man.”

Did you hear that? The lead singer is disappointed that the song isn’t over! What does that tell you?

What’s even worse is that, after that, they add two instances of the ‘tape rewinding’ noise just to grate on you even more. This song has references to time and rewinding so there’s your connection to the movie. As for the title of the song, well, speak the first half and first letter….See? Cele-b? Celebi! Get it?! Yeah that is oh so clever.


While I do find this movie to be better than I initially remembered, even if there are the stupid facts about the scene insertions, I can justify why this movie didn’t impact me as much as the others.

It just didn’t seem as ‘big.’

The other movies seemed to be really big and had a lot of weight to them, no matter the stupid moments or cliches. This one just didn’t seem to have as much weight.

The only thing that was in immediate danger was the forest, even though IMM did say he’d take over the world after destroying the forest and taking over Team Rocket. It would’ve sucked if the forest was destroyed, but it doesn’t have the same weight as the possible destruction of the whole world or even a little girl being trapped in a reality of her own making after the loss of her parents. It just couldn’t give me the impact I had come to expect.

I do appreciate the scenes with Sam and Ash’s friendship even if I call foul on how he was crying so much after Sam left. (Seriously, he spent no more time with Sam than he did most CotDs and he never seems bothered saying bye to them)

Celebi was a cute and interesting Pokemon, and I like Suicune even if his role was kinda moot. IMM was actually a legit villain for a change, one who didn’t seem like he was chucked into the movie for no reason and ultimately forgotten like Lawrence. They didn’t try to make him cheesy or lame, they made him an actual threat and I applaud that. Though, to be honest, he’s still not that interesting of a villain seeing as how his only drive is to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!

Sam was a likable character, even if Ash took some of his thunder. He really should’ve been the one doing most of the stuff with Celebi seeing as how it seemed like it was intending on going that way. Brock got to battle! Misty got to….twist her knee.

I am glad that 4Kids didn’t try to shove an environmentalist message down our throats, even if there was a line or two that nudged it.

The regular art and animation is a step up from the show like usual, but the CGI does just stick out like a sore thumb and is just plain ugly as a result most of the time.

Overall it’s a solid and enjoyable movie. It may not share the weight of 01 or 02 or have the sentimental value or interesting worlds of 03, but it is still pretty okay.

Recommended Audience: The word ‘die’ is said twice, so best to leave this for ages 18+

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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai Episodes 9 and 10 Review

Episode 9: Grinding Teeth


Plot: An office worker and her girl friend are out on a trip to a foreign area. They explore many tourist spots, including one odd cave filled with Jizou statues that the locals seemed to avoid. That night, the woman developed a severe pain in her tooth and was forced to seek out a local dentist in the middle of the night to get it checked out. When she arrives, she finds that her toothache is much worse than anything she could’ve imagined.

Breakdown: This had much more potential than what it became. The setup doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s one of those instances where I wouldn’t care much if the scares paid off. They pretty much didn’t.

Teeth is one of the richest wells of easy creepy content. For some reason, a lot of people are creeped out when thinking about teeth or seeing detailed images of teeth or even thinking about going to the dentist. The sound of teeth grinding is also one most people cannot stand. It’s not particularly creepy, but it is one of those sounds that makes you cringe. These topics together can easily make for at least a creepy story.

Instead it basically falls flat, and even seems kinda silly. The ending shot was unnerving due to the sounds and cliffhanger, but that was about it.

The live-action shot of the episode was of the dentist holding a pair of pliers as she was about to pull the woman’s tooth. That shot worked very well and added more elements of creepiness to it, but you quickly realize that the dentist is not the bad guy here. Though, honestly, she should’ve told the woman what was going on in order to prevent her from leaving.

All in all, another middle of the road entry.

Episode 10 – Calling Crane

These two episodes side by side really highlight how this season’s art shifts drastically between stories.

Plot: Bored of mobile phone games, a group of three girls decide to play a creepy game they heard about at school called Calling Crane. You put a razor blade and a red string into a glass of water then write the name of a deceased person on a paper 49 times and turn it into a paper crane. Once you swallow the crane, you’ll be able to talk to the person whose name you’ve written on the paper. It’s all harmless. After all, it’s just a game….right?

Breakdown: Now this is a nice mixture between a classic setup (teenage girls playing a spooky game to talk to the dead) and some interesting and creepy elements that are new and original, for the most part.

Who the hell even thought up this game premise? Even for Japanese horror games, that’s weird. You have to swallow the paper crane? That’s gross and dangerous.

This episode doesn’t really take any turns you don’t expect it to, but it is still some creepy fun made all the better by the visuals. The lines are much more detailed and made to look fairly realistic. The colors are also done in a very obvious watercolor method.

There are three live-action shots this time around. The first is a shot of the glass with a razor in it, the second is a shot of a broken glass with the razor and string sitting in the water, and the third was a shot of the paper crane. I won’t go into more details on the circumstances of these shots, but they definitely add to the creepiness factor, and I like that they amped up the amount of live-action shots for this one. Given the art style of the regular animation, it fits quite well.

I very much enjoyed this entry and hope to see at least one more like it before the season ends.

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Cartoons Step-By-Step: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) S01 Ep02 Review


Plot: As the turtles finish fixing up their new home after their old one got destroyed by the mouser robots, a news report showcases the newest invention of the world renowned scientist, Baxter Stockman. Shockingly, the unveiled creations are the mouser robots, marketed as a solution to New York’s rampant rat problem, though they’re really attack robots built for the evil Shredder.

Donatello manages to get one of the mousers working again, and they follow it as it makes it way back to the enemy’s hideout. They’re knocked off the trail, however, when the mouser bites through the supports for one of the main water lines.

Meanwhile, Stockman’s assistant, April O’Neal, notices some oddities in the mouser’s functioning and Stockman’s behavior, so she decides to investigate. She opens a secret passageway that leads into a mass mouser robot factory, but before she’s able to learn more, Stockman finds her and sics the mouser robots on her.

She runs into the sewers to get away, and the turtles quickly pick the trail of the mousers back up. They destroy all of the robots and save April, who promptly passes out when she sees that her saviors are really humanoid turtles.

Breakdown: This episode wasn’t horribly interesting or action-packed, but it was a good continuation of the plotline from the previous episode, and it introduced us to April and Baxter Stockman. I’m actually very happy at her change into being Baxter’s assistant instead of being a reporter.

I don’t have much else to say about it. There’s nothing much of note here besides it being a continuation. It was kinda fun, and I can’t find much really wrong with it. I don’t understand why the turtles want to follow the mousers so badly if they know Stockman is the one making them. And I know New York does have a bad rat problem, but no one’s really questioning the….risks or…logic involved in the mouser robots? PETA’s not complaining about the fact that they just aired a news segment where a foot-tall robot with razor-sharp teeth just ate a bunch of rats? Also, poor Donny thinking he disabled the mouser’s jaws and it didn’t take.

I love Donny, okay?

Next episode, Baxter Stockman is finally taken down!

…Previous Episode

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