My Poke-Pinions: 001-003 – The Bulbasaur Line

Bulbasaur

Name: According to Bulbapedia, Bulbasaur’s name is pretty self-explanatory. The ‘bulb’ part is indicative of plant bulbs, and the ‘saur’ part is Latin for ‘lizard.’ I’ve always loved the name Bulbasaur. It rolls off the tongue nicely, is very fun to say and suits it very well.

In the original Japanese, its name is Fushigidane, which can either be translated as ‘Isn’t it strange?’ or ‘Mysterious bulb’, the latter of which is what I believe the writers were going for. I’ve always liked Fushigidane too, even if it is more of a mouthful than Bulbasaur.

Fun fact: In the French version, its name is Bulbizarre, which I thought was really cool.

In the Mandarin version, its name is Miàowāzhǒngzǐ, which translates to ‘Wonderful frog seed’, which is just amazing. Here’s to you, Bulbasaur! You’re a wonderful frog seed!

Design: Bulbasaur’s design is very simple, but incredibly cute. I love its large and expressive eyes and the overall shape of its body. It looks perfect for a pet. I also really like its color scheme. Oddly, I believe the spots were just the right add-on for Bulbasaur because I think it would look really weird and too simplistic without them.

Going over the sprites real quick, the one for Red and Blue is cute.

It’s in a dynamic pose, and I like that. The back view makes it look derpy, though.

Yellow’s version makes it look possessed.

Green’s version makes him look derpy from the front.

Pretty normal and nice until we get to Crystal, which is also fine, but I could do without that animation. That makes me uncomfortable for some reason.

All of the other sprites look fine except for the backs of the Black and White versions. They’re fine, but the animation makes it look like it’s humping something….

Shiny:

The shiny version kinda ruins the color scheme, if you ask me. Yeah, it’s a Grass type, so green should suit it just fine, but it’s a little…too green.

Cry/Voice: Bulbasaur’s cry is cute, but sounds too much like an old Atari crash sound near the end. Bulbasaur’s anime voice has always been a favorite of mine. Whenever I feel like imitating a Pokemon, my first choice is usually Bulbasaur.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Bulbasaur’s story is pretty straightforward in all of its Dex entries. It’s a creature that had a seed planted in its back from birth. The seed slowly sprouts and grows with the Bulbasaur over time. Bulbasaur absorbs and stores nutrients from photosynthesis in the bulb, and can go days without a proper food source thanks to this storage system. The bulb itself is full of seeds.

Anime-exclusive, the bulb will glow blue when it’s close to evolving, which I believe is a fine add-on.

Another thing they only mention in the anime is that researchers aren’t sure whether to classify Bulbasaur as a plant or animal, but that’s always seemed silly to me. The entries clearly state it’s an animal that had a seed planted in its back upon birth. In fact, no matter the physiology of the Pokemon, don’t all Pokemon have to be technically classified as animals or animal-like since they’re living, breathing creatures?

Ivysaur

Name: Ivysaur’s name is on par with Bulbasaur’s, even if it has slightly less bounce to it. Like before, the ‘saur’ part is Latin for lizard while the ‘ivy’ part is alluding to the plant, ivy.

In Japanese, its name is Fushigisou, which is also not quite was bouncy as Fushigidane, but still nice. It translates to ‘It seems strange’ or ‘strange grass,’ again, the latter of which is what I believe they were going for.

Fun Fact: In French, Ivysaur’s name is Herbizarre, poking at herbs. I think Herbizarre sounds cooler than Bulbizarre and Fushigisou.

The Mandarin version of Ivysaur’s name is Mìaowācăo, which means ‘wonderful frog grass’ Somehow, not as funny as ‘Wonderful frog seed.’

Design: I adore Ivysaur’s design. They add enough to it to make it very distinct among its line without seeming like it’s purely a middleman. The flower bud is pretty, the leaves make it look much grassier, the sharpness to its face is just enough to keep it adorable while also giving it a clear tough look. The slight change to its color scheme is nice. I like the darker blue-ish green hue and the black pupils they added, plus it’s cute little ears.

Sprite-wise, what the hell is up with Red and Blue?

Green’s look like it got run over.

And all of the early back sprites look very odd, like they pushed the flower up way too high.

Silver makes him look like a super villain, which is awesome.

And Crystal makes it seem like he just ate a part of my face, which is…awesome?

Every other sprite looks pretty okay, except what is up with Black and White? Why does it look like its waving its leaves at me?

Shiny:

I like Shiny Ivysaur much better than Shiny Bulbasaur. It’s not my favorite shiny by a long shot, but the yellow flower looks nice, and that melded with the lighter green skin gives off a calm spring meadow vibe.

Cry/Voice: Ivysaur’s cry is rid of the Atari crash sound from Bulbasaur’s cry, which is nice. It also sounds a little higher pitched while ending on a deeper note, which makes it sound pretty cool, in my opinion.

Ivysaur isn’t in the anime enough for me to even remember what it sounded like (Mid-evo starters get no love in the anime. They even had the perfect opportunity to give a main character an Ivysaur, twice (Ash’s Bulbasaur refused to evolve – May’s evolved into Venusaur from Bulbasaur OFF-SCREEN, but nope. Pbt.), so I had to go check. Ivysaur’s voice is mostly just a slightly deeper and more gravelly sounding voice, which is fine, but not as nice to listen to as Bulbasaur.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Personally, Ivysaur is my favorite Pokemon – really only sharing that spot back and forth with Raichu. I can’t really explain when or how Ivysaur became my favorite, but I’ve always been a huge fan of it.

Ivysaur’s Dex entries are usually off-shoots of Bulbasaur’s, explaining that the bulb on its back has now turned into a flower bud. The bud absorbs nutrients from sunlight much in the same way the bulb on Bulbasaur’s back did, and it will start to bloom when it’s fully grown, IE ready to evolve. It’s also said to be close to blooming/evolving if Ivysaur starts spending much of its time laying in the sun.

Due to the large flower bud on its back, it can no longer stand on its hind legs (so it can’t look weird in Red and Blue….well, weirder.) and now its legs and trunk have started to become much stronger in response.

Finally, Ivysaur’s flower bud emits a very pleasant and sweet aroma, which is more just a note than anything else as it doesn’t appear to have a function.

Venusaur

Name: Venusaur’s name keeps the saur=lizard theme, and the ‘venus’ part is referencing the Venus Fly Trap, which I find odd because Venusaur’s flower in no way looks like a Venus Fly Trap. If anything, it always reminded me, oddly, of the Corpse Flower.

At least with Ivysaur, its leaves looks somewhat reminiscent of ivy leaves.

Venusaur’s name is alright, but it never hooked in with me that much.

In the original Japanese, it’s called Fushigibana, but which is a pun on the phrase Fushigi no hana – or Strange flower. I like Fushigibana. It brings back the bounce that Fushigidane had – in fact, I’d say it’s even bouncier.

Fun Fact: In French, it’s called Florizarre, which I find difficult to pronounce for some reason, and in Mandarin, it’s Miàowāhuā or Wonderful frog flower.

Design: I’ve never been a huge fan of Venusaur’s design. The flower doesn’t look all that great, the angles of the face, particularly the eyes, don’t sit well with me, and the wart-like bumps put me off, but if there are few Grass Pokemon that give off a feeling of the pure power of nature, it’s Venusaur.

In Bulbasaur’s Mysterious Garden, a Venusaur is basically portrayed as the king of this forest. Its voice even causes a tree to immediately blossom. This thing is huge, looks like a reptilian or amphibian powerhouse and, as we see in the manga, it looks like a sneaky Bulbasaur when it has its flower closed.

It’s still my least favorite of the three final evo Gen 1 starters, but I’ve gained a better appreciation for it over time.

Sprite-wise, we’re going pretty good in Red, Blue and Yellow, but Green looks like it was, again, run over by a truck.

The back sprites of the early games were just sloppy. You can barely tell what that is.

Other than Crystal’s animation looking like it’s winking at me,

and Black and White’s randomly getting its groove on,

the rest of the sprites are very good.

However, the back sprites of the most recent games….let’s just say, I don’t think Venusaur is meant to show so much ass.

Shiny:

I feel about the same way towards Shiny Venusaur as I do Shiny Ivysaur mostly because the changes are identical. It gains a light/lime green skin color with a yellow flower. Though, the flower for Venusaur is slightly more golden looking, making it seem slightly a little better than Ivysaur’s to me.

Mega:

Mega Venusaur was one of the first Megas I ever saw and….I was never a fan. They added more plumage, put a flower on its head, marked its face up a bit and put some vines in there. Sadly, I have not gained a better appreciation for Mega Venusaur over time. There are much better looking Megas out there, and, frankly, Venusaur’s somehow looks both cluttered and lazy at the same time. I prefer the regular version of Venusaur.

Cry/Voice: I’m okay with Venusaur’s cry, but it doesn’t have a deep enough tone or enough oomph for me to be impressed with it. Its anime voice is a huge step in the right direction. It’s deep toned, powerful and fitting. The only gripe I have is that it sounds a little goofy while saying ‘Venusaur’, particularly when yelling it.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Venusaur’s Dex entries are kinda boring because they say almost nothing different from Ivysaur’s except that the little flower bud is now a huge flower. Venusaur is also noted as being more powerful in summertime due to the energy it absorbs from the sun, but why can’t that be said of Ivysaur and Bulbasaur?

Other than that, the sweet scent emitted from the flower, stated in Ivysaur’s Dex entry, is said to soothe people and Pokemon. I prefer that the anime adds that it has somewhat of a power of nature, because that makes it seem a lot cooler.

Next entry: the Charmander line.

Amnesia Review

Rating: 3/10

Plot: A girl loses her memory after bumping into a fairy named Orion. She tries to get through her regular activities without alerting anyone, but soon finds out that she has a boyfriend, and hiding the secret from him proves difficult. She spends about a month with him before suffering from an accident which suddenly causes her to appear at the beginning of the same month, in a different world with a different boyfriend. The pattern keeps repeating over and over, reliving the same month with different boyfriends in slightly different worlds suffering from a terrible accident before repeating the pattern again. Will she regain her memory and find her real world?

Breakdown: I was going to review this show, but I FORGOT what I was gonna say! 😀

Oh fine.

Amnesia is simultaneously terrible and perfect.

Not a perfect show – oh god no, I mean a perfect adaptation of an otome game….to a degree.

Amnesia is indeed based on an otome or reverse harem dating sim game of the same name with a very similar plot. Like most dating sims, the player chooses who they end up dating by a series of choices. The story is tailored to your selections. When you do this, you choose a specific ‘route’ in the game and, after a certain point, this route can’t really be changed much.

There’s a severe problem in adapting dating sims to anime. Because the player can freely choose which guy or girl they go after, there’s usually no one you’re ‘supposed’ to be choosing – no specific route you’re ‘meant’ to take. That’s kinda the point. The player chooses who they want based on their own preferences.

Because of this, most dating sim adaptations go down one of two routes; Have the main character, IE The Player, go after all of them equally and turn out to be a cheating douchenozzle because of it (EX: White Album and School Days) or you can force a main relationship, pre-select a mixed ‘route’ if you will, and have the main character get into all sorts of wacky accidental-romantic situations that you won’t care about because you know the person will go with the guy or girl that was obviously selected from the get-go.

This show is ‘perfect’ in a way as an adaptation because they allow the main character to date all of the eligible bachelors without cheating or seeming like a whore. This is achieved through the magic of alternate realities.

The main character – and I know I’m avoiding saying her name, trust me, I’ll get to that in a minute – is bumped into by a fairy named Orion. The contact ends up giving her amnesia of her entire life. She deals with this for a bit and finds out that she’s dating a guy, but after a month goes by she nearly dies and ends up waking up in an entirely new reality, back at the start of the same month, where she’s dating a different guy. Lather, rinse, repeat.

So, it’s not cheating, because she’s living an entirely new life in an alternate reality! Yay space/time continuum!

That being said, this show really is just consecutive ‘routes’ played out and all of them are purely about the guy with a little peppering of how the main character affected their lives. At least until we get to Toma and Ukyo anyway.

On that note, we really have to address the characters and the various ‘routes’, but before we do I need to address the art because I’ll be including pictures.

The art is fairly unique, beautifully detailed and very pretty, but when it comes to the character designs, it’s almost too pretty. The eyes all have this weird thing going on where the colors are glaringly bright, and many characters have gradients in their eyes that make them two completely different (insanely bright) colors. It, in no way, looks natural and it’s incredibly distracting.

Then there’s the little light gradients of colors like pink and purple that usually go into the hair and clothes. I feel like most of these people are made of leaking highlighters.

One thing anime has taught me is tolerance for insanely stupid and illogical clothing choices. While the clothing isn’t too bad a lot of the time, there are some characters here and there that look more suited to be in an MMORPG than a mystery/reverse harem anime. A lot of black, bright neon colors like yellow, lime green and orange, lots of horizontal and vertical black stripes (on top of the neon colors, of course) and checker patterns for whatever reason. One character is quite literally covered in belts from head to toe.

LOOK AT HIM! How long does it take him to get dressed in the morning!? I counted, he has 25 BELTS ON HIS CLOTHES! And that’s not counting the latches on his boots which may or may not be belts as well. And there’s 10 belts merely on his left arm. I think there actually may be more hidden on his back! And this is the character most known for being incredibly logical!

Shin also wears two belts on his neck while one of the female characters wears at least six on her clothes as well.

At least Orion is supernatural, so he has an excuse for looking like a court jester’s LSD chugging nephew, but wow. Did the Joker open a Hot Topic or did the Shuffle Alliance lose their minds?

*cough* On that note, let’s get to the characters.

This is our main character. She starts out–…..Oh sorry hang on.

Uhm, I’m getting word that I put up a picture of a cardboard box instead of the main character. I’m almost certain that’s her….No?….Seriously? You’re right, the box is far more interesting. Sorry.

THIS is our main character. And she…..is the biggest….most obvious Mary Sue….I have ever seen in my entire life. You wanna know how I know that?

She has.…

 

 

 

No.…

 

 

 

 

 

Name.

You heard me. She is never given a name ever in the series. She also doesn’t have any in the game. She’s known only as ‘the heroine’ or ‘Heroine’ to make it more personal. She has a couple of fan names, but not an official one, and over the series she’s either called ‘Senpai’ or a pronoun.

She has quite literally no personality. She’s incredibly quiet and when she does speak she never raises her voice or puts any personality into her words. I get it, she has amnesia. Thus she wouldn’t be able to project as much of her original personality, but that doesn’t mean she should have zero personality whatsoever, and it doesn’t make her anymore enjoyable to watch. It gets unbelievably old really fast.

Watching paint dry on an unsalted cracker narrated by Ben Stein would be far more interesting than watching this chick for more than five minutes. I never thought lack of character would be so irritating, but Heroine pulls it off without a hitch. Bravo.

She has varying personalities and backstories in the different realities. However, the one we see has the same annoying as crap non-personality of barely ever speaking a complete sentence or speaking at all, never changing her tone, never getting angry or emotional, always speaking in such a soft and barely audible voice while hardly ever changing expression.

That very situation is why she gets an out in regards to the question of ‘Why do all of these guys like this completely boring and generic girl?’ It’s simply because they know her as someone who’s supposedly interesting.

I get annoyed by bitchy characters and jerks. I get annoyed by characters who act like idiots and think they’re funny, but I can usually ignore characters who have no personality. The main problem here is that the personality-less person is not usually the main friggin’ character. How can you even give a shit about what’s happening to her or who she really is or what her true memories really are when she doesn’t even seem to really care? How do you care about someone who, by all means, is just nothing? How do you care about her relationships with these guys if she shows no actual interest in any of them? If she just instantly ignores her previous reality’s boyfriend for the next? If she even thinks of anything at all. It is by far the biggest issue in this series.

For a rantier rant on Heroine, see my entry on her for The Salty Anime Challenge.

The guys in the series are based on card suits. In fact, their specific routes are labeled as such; diamond, hearts, spade, clubs/clovers and joker. Why?

The first boyfriend is arguably the most boring with Shin, the heart route. Shin’s somewhat abrasive and a bit closed off, but he’s still a kind person who is childhood friends with Heroine. The Heroine in the hearts reality is apparently a nice girl who joined a band and liked to sing, though apparently she wasn’t good at it and only recently got somewhat decent.

I’d like to point out that the Wiki notes that as her only skill. Something she’s only passable at and only exists in one reality is her character’s only notable skill. Geez, her blandness might be affecting her alter personalities.

Shin’s big backstory is that his dad killed a man when Shin was a kid. Because of that, he was bullied and most kids kept away from him either on their own or because of their parents. Only Heroine and his other childhood friend, Toma, stuck by him. Eventually Heroine and Shin started dating a few months prior to the start of the hearts route.

That’s pretty much it. I honestly don’t know why he’s seen as the most canon choice outside of Ukyo.

The second boyfriend is a little more interesting with Ikki, the spade route. Ikki is the resident bishie god that every girl adores. In fact, one of the few plot lines that runs through most of the stories is Ikki’s batshit insane ‘fan club’ who bully Heroine quite often either because she’s friends with Ikki or because she’s dating him, depending on the route. They do all sorts of awful things to her and she just takes it instead of confronting them or trying to retaliate or telling anyone because that would require her actually doing something.

Ikki’s story is that he wished on a star as a child that girls would love him and he soon found that his wish came true. He could instantly gain the heart of any woman that he wanted if they looked into his eyes. In fact, he wears sunglasses in his route sometimes to combat this ‘condition.’

Because of this ‘power’ he found he couldn’t get close to people either due to his popularity and rabid fangirls or because he figured anyone who did love him would just be under the power of his charms. He eventually just decided to screw it and dated a bunch of different girls, gaining the reputation of a playboy.

The Heroine in this route didn’t fall for his charms, which peaked Ikki’s interest as he’d never been rejected by a girl. He decided he’d do his damnedest to get her to love him. In the visual novel, this is apparently because she had a playboy father and didn’t like that attitude, but this is never stated in the anime.

Ikki’s personality is pretty bland. He’s a nice guy, polite and really calm, but that’s about it.

The third boyfriend is more interesting in terms of their actual relationship, which was a surprise, with Kent, the clubs. Kent is a very intelligent mathematics major who is pretty damn robotic, yet he still has eons more personality than Heroine. That is just amazing.

In my opinion, he’s actually the most interesting and entertaining character in the show.

He’s very logical, blunt and cold, yet is still fairly kind and caring when he wants to be. His relationship with Heroine almost seems to be like a training session for Kent to be more human as he’s slowly learning how to act more normal and warm to people the longer he’s with her.

He is completely clueless when it comes to their relationship, and he frequently does awkward things like constantly text her ‘good night’ and ‘good morning’ by her wishes without ever including any other messages, or sitting in complete silence in his office with Heroine for hours at a time while he studiously works because he noted she wanted to spend more time together. It’s not that he’s an asshole, he just legitimately doesn’t know what to do.

Sometimes this awkwardness is cute and funny, but other times it’s just awkward.

Heroine, in this reality, isn’t really well-explored. What a shock. She’s apparently not very upfront with her wishes in their relationship, and they frequently argued mostly in regards to his awkward and cold nature. Oddly enough, the amnesiac Heroine’s kindness or lack of yelling gives Kent hope that he can have a good relationship with the other Heroine as well when she jumps to another reality.

 

*exasperated sigh*…..Ahhhh…Tomaaaa….

Toma is the fourth ‘boyfriend’ and the prompt of the diamond route. Toma’s a pretty cool character in the few other times you see him in other realities, mostly the heart route, as he’s a pretty easy going and fun loving character. In fact, I was really looking forward to his reality, and he was in the front running for my favorite character. In this route, he’s still basically like that…for a bit.

In this route, Ikki’s fan club is out in full force because they don’t like how nice he is to Heroine. It’s hinted throughout the route that this reality’s Heroine is cheating on Toma with Ikki in secret and his fan club is getting agitated with her. They start pulling a bunch of awful pranks on her like filling her mailbox with garbage everyday and giving out her personal information online to shady people who seem to think she’s an escort or something. Toma has been protecting her from these pranks, but there’s a few issues here.

First of all, he is not really her boyfriend in this reality. Neither is Ikki. She just assumed Toma was her boyfriend here because she’s gotten used to the shtick and Toma rolled with it because he was in love with her, subsequently taking advantage of her amnesia. The Heroine in this reality is again childhood friends with Shin and Toma but liked Toma more because of how much he cared for her. In fact, she’d cry on purpose to get Toma to pay attention to her. However, she didn’t like the fact that he always seemed to like her as a friend or sister and never saw her as a woman, so she was asking Ikki in secret for advice on the matter.

Second, Toma becomes completely obsessed with ‘protecting’ her and keeping her away from Ikki.

How obsessed? Well, let’s see – he steals her cell phone and makes her believe that she broke it, takes advantage of her amnesia to pretend that they’re boyfriend and girlfriend, practically needs to be where she is at all times, makes several comments in a rapey vein about how, since he’s a man, he can’t control himself around her, practically demands that they be together 24/7, drugs her regularly to make her sleep so she’ll stay with him, oh and there’s that little thing about KEEPING HER IN A DAMN CAGE AGAINST HER WILL FOR DAYS! An actual cage! Look!

EMOTE, YOU REACTIONLESS SACK OF BRAN FLAKES!

This just….what the hell?! Oh and if that’s not bad enough, in addition to Heroine being so stupid that she hears Orion warning her about Toma drugging her and not to eat or drink anything he gives her and just decides to do it anyway without a thought, because she’s a massive dumbass, her response to all of this is just ‘aw, but he just wants to protect me. I’ll forgive him for everything even though he probably would’ve imprisoned me forever and maybe raped me if he never found the diary.’

He actually says lines like this:

“If I take all of you by force, will you see nothing but me? Or will you break?

If I can’t protect you, should I break you?”

But of course little miss ‘dumb as a brick with about as much personality’ doesn’t get angry at this at all. She doesn’t even seem scared. She has the same reaction that she does to everyfuckingthing. ‘Well, this is happening now.’

And you wanna know something else? Something really creepy? Toma is a fan favorite character….BECAUSE OF THIS. I thought it was in spite of this, but no, you can find all sorts of ‘Toma: The Obsessed’ fan stuff out there. What is wrong with you people!? I liked Toma a lot too, but that was before all of this stuff. Seek help!

I just realized that hat makes him look like a taxi driver.

WARNING: We’re touching upon stuff that actually matters to the plot now. While everything else is completely inconsequential to the overall story, this one actually does tie into everything. Spoilers, is what I’m getting at.

Ukyo is the final boyfriend and supposedly her original and ‘real’ world lover. He’s also the Joker of the suits. Ukyo is another string in all of the realities because he approaches the Heroine in all of them seemingly knowing that she’s jumping between realities. The final route takes place in his reality where he is dating her, but there’s a catch.

The reason for the reality jumping was that she was Ukyo’s lover but she died in Ukyo’s world. He wished to see her live past her death on August 26th, and his wish was granted by a passing god named Neil.

It’s really not entirely clear, but apparently she hops from world to world and lives out the month of August in another reality. Ukyo is allowed to jump as well with Neil’s help to watch her for that month, which grants his wish.

The problem here is that she still ‘dies’ in every reality…as does he? I honestly don’t get it. The point it is that they can’t coincide in the same reality. If they’re in a reality where Ukyo doesn’t belong, the world kills him and if they’re in Ukyo’s world, where Heroine doesn’t belong, the world tries to kill her….I think.

He spends the entire month warning her of the various dangers in his reality because he’s seen her die in those ways. He wants to keep her alive past midnight on August 26th because she’ll stop being killed by the world, but since she doesn’t belong there, Ukyo has to die and…he does, but he also lives past midnight and he dies and turns into light and that stops the jumping and–

Ukyo has another problem. Because of the jumping between realities and being killed so many times as well as seeing Heroine get killed over and over, he’s developed two personalities – the good or normal one and a murderous psychopath.

Ukyo’s pretty likable but it’s disappointing that the guy who is supposed to be Heroine’s actual lover in her original reality doesn’t get explored much. Ukyo’s a very kind and gentle person, who has a bit of Heroine fever in that he frequently frowns and apologizes a lot.

Because the Heroine does jack squat in terms of everything, our main plot doesn’t move in the least until episode 11, and we don’t get much information on what’s really going on until the huge exposition dump that is episode 12. And let me remind you of how useless she is by pointing out that she spends at least a month with each guy in each reality. Meaning a good four months go by and she still does absolutely nothing to regain her memories, figure out what’s causing the jumps or anything at all. She is the most benign, stagnant main character, or character period, I’ve ever seen.

That’s partially why I’m still so confused. Episode 12 slams you with all sorts of exposition, backstory and trying to tie up as many ends as possible that it’s overwhelming. It’s like they compressed what would’ve been the linear storyline and jammed it into one episode.

If there’s one final character we need to address, it’s Orion.

Orion is a fairy or spirit who bumped into Heroine, causing her to lose her memories. While he does his best to help her out in terms of regaining her memories and dealing with the various worlds that she visits, he spends much of the show being absent because he keeps being forced out of the worlds for reasons never revealed.

Orion’s a pretty likable kid, and he has to practically babysit Heroine in the various worlds because, again, she’s useless….and stupid. And as stupid as the outfits in this show are, I really like Orion’s for some reason. It’s just fun.

Art and animation: While the colors are bizarre to say the least and the clothes are just baffling, they are extremely well detailed and stylized. The backgrounds and various set pieces are also very well detailed. Practically everything is a pleasure to look at. The animation is good, but given that there’s little movement needed, it’s hard to see it really tested.

Music: The music was pretty good. While not horribly memorable, it was still nice to listen to and there are some BG tracks that are memorable.

Voice Acting: Japanese – Heroine’s VA got on my nerves because of how light and breathy she was probably directed to sound like the entire time. It’s not an awful voice, it’s how it’s presented. Everyone else was pretty good, especially Ukyo’s VA who bounces quite well between his two personalities.

Bottomline: Have no question, this is just pure indulgence for anyone who likes anime guy eye candy and wants an experience of a dating sim without that pesky game to get in the way. The plot itself is interesting but they do nothing with it until the very end. The majority of the show is just getting to know the stories of the various guys and sometimes it will touch upon the Heroine’s personality in that reality.

However, it’s not like that even really matters. It’s established that the characters are somewhat or drastically different between the realities so even if we know the various Heroines, they’re still not her in her reality and neither are the other guys. I guess, in a way, that’s good because that means Toma might not be a rapey dungeon lord, but that means that most of the episodes are completely pointless besides pasting your picture on Mary Sue McPaperpersonality and imagining you’re the one all these guys are pining after.

In the end, the story still doesn’t make much sense to me either way because of the horrific pacing with the actual plot.

Heroine makes this show a massive chore to watch. She is downright infuriating with how zero dimensional she is. And I swear if I see that dumb expression that she wears 99% of the time again, the only memory she’ll need to worry about is remembering the number for emergency services when I beat her in the face with a rock…..A rock that probably also has more personality and is much more interesting than her.

Guilty as charged, if it wasn’t for the eye candy I would’ve dropped it purely because of her.

Additional Information and Notes: Amnesia was directed by Yoshimitsu Ohashi, who barely does any directorial work, but directed some episodes of Code Geass R2, Trigun and the entirety of Witchblade.

It was written by Touko Machida, who also wrote Allison and Lillia, Boku wa Imouto—wha, really?! I can’t escape that damn show. Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru, and Lucky Star.

Animation was produced by Brain’s Base, and it is currently licensed in the US by Sentai Filmworks.

Episodes: 12

Year: 2013

Recommended Audience: There’s some self-harm and one instance of suicide, some kinda dark moments, but no nudity, no sex though there are allusions to it, no real swearing, some minor violence. 10+

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 16: Team Q4 Heads for the Regional Tournament!

SSBS CFV EP 16

Plot: Aichi, Kai and Kamui, dubbed Team Quadrifoglio for ‘four leaf clover,’ prep to go to regionals, but Misaki is mysteriously missing. Shin explains that Misaki had something to do and that she’d meet them later that afternoon at the arena. Problem is, their first match is in the morning. Don’t worry, though. That’s what alternates are for. Right, Aichi?

Their first match is against the ‘mysterious’ Team Black Magic, who all wear black cloaks and try to act dramatic and imposing. It’s Aichi vs. Kurosawa in the first round, and Kurosawa uses a deck very similar to Kai’s. This fact along with the pressure of the tournament start to get to Aichi. Will he be able to pull out a win, or will Team Q4 start off the tournament 0-1?

Breakdown: Whoo yeah, regionals! Whoo yeah, trope subversions!

While the first half of the episode is largely establishing specifics of the tournament as well as revealing who of the known characters happen to be there (it’s damn near everyone – including Nagisa, who is still a bratty bitch), the second half starts off the action of the tournament. It was to be expected that Misaki would go missing purely for the sake of forcing Aichi to cardfight right out the gate. I thought Misaki would be treated as the alternate, but apparently Aichi is.

Team Black Magic is a bit of a parody of those super mysterious cloaked teams that lots of gaming and tournament fighters tend to have. They try to act imposing and dark, but they’re obviously a bunch of goofballs in cloaks. I found them to be pretty funny, and I actually like that Morikawa is slowly starting to believe they’re real wizards for no reason after he heckled them.

They’re not to be shooed aside, either, because they are very skilled Vanguard players.

The match isn’t all that fantastic so far, except the cliffhanger is pretty good considering Alfred isn’t at full power and Aichi had to sacrifice all of his cards to get him to the level he’s at now, which means he’s completely without guards.

Also, you really don’t know if Aichi will win this match because this is a team tournament. If Aichi loses, it doesn’t matter much because it’s best of three. Meaning, he could very well lose.

This tournament utilizes the Motion Figure System we were introduced to before at the card shop, PSY, meaning we’re now jumping headfirst into the hologram fights. And this time there are two major differences.

First, the holograms on the Motion Figure System at PSY were very small, like game pieces. The fighters lorded over the arena like gods in the sky. Here, the holograms consume the entire playing field. All of the monsters are monster-sized and the fighters themselves take the spot of the Vanguard. Also, all of the cards are shown in the hologram when played. The only times we ever really see the fighters full-out anymore is when we see them drawing triggers, and even that’s not consistent.

Second…..they get some sort of special (albeit cool-looking) gloves called Vanguard Fight Gloves. According to Shin, they all bear a crystal that comes from the planet Cray…..*cough* So are these kids meant to be really gullible or is Cray meant to be a real place in this series? Because you guys may have just bitchslapped me away from my views of ‘wow, this series is really realistic.’

The gloves enhance the fighter’s experience in battle by allowing the Vanguard to track their movements and mimic them, making it seem like they’re actually leading the battle as their avatars instead of it all just being in their imaginations.

I would think a full-body tracker suit would be needed for this, but whatever.

I’m….not sure how cool I am with this. Like I always thought with Yu-Gi-Oh, this would be really awesome if it were a real thing, but I am more partial to them just imagining the battlefields. In a weird way, you’re both adding to and taking away from the experience by making these holograms.

The movements are no longer what you imagine them to be – they’re being imposed on you. It’s like how people are never happy with book adaptations because the TV show or movie isn’t matching what they imagined it was like. Each person has their own internal view on how things look, and if the vision is imposed on you, it makes you feel slightly disconnected.

At the very least, these holograms still aren’t as ridiculous as Yu-Gi-Oh holograms are, like when they induce pain or are seemingly so real you can stand on them.

….Or maybe not.

In the manga, from what the Wiki states, the gloves cause pain to the user whenever they take damage. Though they seem to only be used in conjunction with special systems and an antagonist team called Foo Fighter. Still, though.

Like I mentioned some episodes ago, the realness of the show made audience members connect with it better, too, because those overblown shounen gaming anime made you feel disappointed whenever you played the real thing and it wasn’t nearly as fun or exciting. Maybe that view is silly, though, I dunno.

…..I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want a pair, though. I don’t care if I don’t have any Vanguard cards – those are cool gloves.

Rating: 7/10

Next time, the match between Kurosawa and Aichi concludes. Can Aichi and his paladins pull off a victory?

…Previous Episode

Final note: Apparently, fighters aren’t allowed into nationals unless they have a pair of these gloves…..I worry for a future ‘oh god, we can’t enter the tournament because we don’t have some superfluous item we’ll inevitably find or replace’ episode. I hate to keep making comparisons to Yu-Gi-Oh, but they did this, like, twice.

My Poke-Pinions Intro Post

Welcome to my debut entry of ‘My Poke-pinions,’ because I don’t have enough Pokemon content on my blog. This series is dedicated to exploring my opinions on all of the Pokemon in existence. Here are the topics that will be covered:

– Name: I find it really interesting how some Pokemon got their names in pretty much any language, but usually Japanese and English. Some may be obvious, but others have very interesting lore to them. Names can also make or break a Pokemon. It should be fitting and roll off the tongue easily.

– Design: This includes official artwork and sprites from each generation.

– Shiny: Basically covered under their design, but shinies are an entirely different design ballpark for many species.

– Cry/Voice: Covering its cry from the games and its voice in the anime, if it currently has one. This will not cover Japanese voices, because I doubt I would be able to find clips of each one. Also, keep in mind, I’m basing most of my voicing opinions on the 4Kids dub. Until I get to Pokemon who debuted exclusively in the newer dub, they will not be considered, mostly because I don’t have enough experience watching that version.

– The entire evolutionary line: I believe in getting an entirely evolutionary line out of the way instead of putting out several entries for it. Just saves time for you as a reader.

– Dex entries: All of them, including games, anime and manga. Most of them say the same thing, but they explore interesting things about a Pokemon’s backstory or biology that are worth noting.

– Alolan versions: While I am only spottily watching Sun and Moon, I will give my opinions on the Alolan versions of Pokemon.

– Mega Evolutions (Where applicable): After getting over my old person views of ‘boy this seems contrived, silly and like they’re running out of ideas even more’ from when these were first introduced, I have grown to really love and dislike many Megas, so I will be going over these, if the Pokemon has one available.

What will not be covered, for the most part:

– Stats: I was never too deep into the world of stats, and I have never done competitive play, so unless I have something particularly noteworthy to discuss in this regard, I will not be talking about stats.

– Moveset: Again, unless something seems noteworthy, I won’t be discussing this.

– Portrayals in the Anime: This is an opinion series on the Pokemon as a species, so I won’t be giving my opinions on any portrayals in the anime (*usually). I might share some gripes about a Pokemon’s lack of presence in the anime or small notes such as that, but I won’t be discussing particular examples of Pokemon in the anime. Each Pokemon has their own personality so it seems wrong to mark them up or down as a species because of one or two examples.

That’s about it! Updates for this series might be slow, but I hope to have fun with it. We’re going in official dex number order, so the ‘Saur line is up first.

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Ruby Gloom

Plot: In a world of Gothic scenery filled with various monsters and creatures, Ruby Gloom is, oddly, never gloomy. She’s always looking on the bright side and can find happiness in anything.

Breakdown: Mmm…..Disappointing.

I wanted this show to be so much better than it was. It has a lot of potential, but a lot of problems.

The show is based on a line of stationary and other school products that had the character and Gothic designs emblazoned on them. While they were initially aimed towards goth teens and tweens, the franchise eventually switched gears towards younger children….and it shows in the cartoon.

The art is really lovely and stylized, even if the animation is typical cheap Flash animation. It’s not bad Flash animation, but it’s still just okay.

The writing is what really throws me. The dialogue and a lot of the throwaway gags work really well – it’s the story that’s obviously dumbed down to hell for kids. Let me ask you what is the laziest and obvious of ‘sitcom’ plots. If you answered ‘an easily cleared up in real life but causes ridiculous amounts of problems in sitcoms because no one communicates like human beings “MISUNDERSTANDING”’ You’d be someone who knows what a sitcom is.

Ruby starts out the story writing in her diary about a surprise May Day party she’s planning for her friends. The entry starts with ‘Dear diary, sometimes it’s okay to keep a secret from your friends, especially if that secret is a surprise party!’ She “hides” the diary in a super secret spot….on a small bookshelf in the living room….No one….would ever…suspect.

Iris, a cyclops, comes in saying she wants some adventures. And, boy howdy, a great place to find adventures is in books! Which are held in bookshelves! Diaries are books! On bookshelves!

She directs Iris to her bookshelf and leaves to prepare stuff for the party. Iris finds the diary and reads it. She justifies it by literally saying……you only live once…….I thought we were done YOLOing ourselves into stupidity. She opens it to today’s entry and reads “Dear diary, sometimes it’s okay to keep a secret from your friends….” then she stops, freaking out that Ruby’s keeping a secret from them, and runs off to panic their other friends.

She doesn’t even….

….finish….

 

 

….the….

 

 

….friggin’…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

….sentence…..

Urgh.

When Iris goes to talk to Misery, their miserable friend who is always experiencing some misfortune, they see Ruby carrying a big box and instantly conclude that she’s moving out of the house (They’re all roommates in a big Gothic mansion.) In an effort to keep her around, Iris, Misery, Skull Boy (a skeleton) and Frank and Len, conjoined brothers who are kinda air-headed rockers, decide to pester Ruby the whole day while doing things they assume she wants them to do.

Ruby is frustrated by the lack of privacy since that’s definitely not conducive to planning a surprise party, but instead of asking her friends what’s wrong with them, she consults…a psychologist who’s also a crow? He keeps smacking a bee for some reason. His name is Poe, and he has two brothers named Edgar and Allan. (Get it?)

Ruby decides to investigate for herself. She retraces her steps, prompting her to open her diary back up. She sees that it was left ‘open’ to the following day, which is odd because she never does that. However, the book was back in the book shelf…meaning it was closed….and not open to any day. She finds a bunch of cookie crumbs in the diary because not only is Iris a privacy invading weasel, but she’s also an inconsiderate bitch. Ruby knows the last time she saw Iris she was eating a cookie and deduces she read her diary and found out about the party.

She decides to use reverse psychology to make everyone believe that the ‘fun thing’ won’t happen unless everyone gives her some space…..Which…is it me or does that not make any sense? They believe the ‘fun thing’ she’s talking about is moving away, and they don’t want her to move away, so shouldn’t they not be giving her any space? These plots never work unless people are being unnecessarily vague in situations where they wouldn’t be otherwise.

Also, just as a bitchslap in the face to anyone in the audience with a lick of common sense, we get this exchange.

Ruby: “There just seems to be something else going on here.”

Poe: “Have you considered asking them?”

Ruby: “Well, that’s no fun, is it?”

PbsabdbsadbsadbnsadbsadbsakjsaduhkjdwedweFUH!

That is flatout – “Why doesn’t she just ask them?”

“Then we wouldn’t have a plot.”

She gets invitations out to everyone and decides to hide in the meeting spot to learn what’s really going on with them. Iris, Misery and Skull boy state that they believe Ruby is moving out, and Iris suggests that if she’s really set on it, they’ll hold a bon voyage party. She could’ve just come out of hiding and cleared everything up then, but we still have four minutes of runtime.

Ruby decides that wallowing in her friends’ misery (no…pun intended?) is a nice coverup for her party and even later calls it a ‘joke’. Because we still need padding, her friends don’t believe her when she reveals she was never intending on leaving and was planning a surprise party. Right, instantly believe wild accusations based on evidence so flimsy it couldn’t support an ant filled with helium, but Ruby outright telling you what her intentions are, well, she’s obviously lying.

Ruby, giving up on trying to convince them otherwise, claims she was indeed thinking of leaving but realized that they’re such great people, so she decided to stay….and that works. Cut to dance montage.

Also, Frank and Len, for some reason, believe Ruby was dying this whole time and just talk about the five stages of grief before holding a private memorial service for her. I dunno.

——————————

I really feel like this series needed to be somewhere between this age level and Invader Zim age level. The fact that this is for younger children and is obviously written in such a ‘kids are stupid’ manner hurts it so much, and it’s such a waste because, like I stated, the dialogue, timing and jokes are there – it’s the story that blows.

If this is meant for younger audiences, what’s the moral here? Don’t read other peoples’ diaries because it will cause shenanigans? Find better hiding places for your diary and don’t outwardly direct people towards it? Never talk in a vague manner?

As a first episode, it works alright. It introduces us to the world and characters fairly well. We learn what a good chunk of the characters are like without them needing to shove exposition in our faces. Ruby doesn’t really come off as a character who is always happy and looking on the bright side, though, because she spends a good chunk of this episode confused, irritated and suspicious. She has a good personality, but I don’t think she’s quite at the level of being always happy.

Finally, the music is awesome. That opening theme is one of the catchiest theme songs I’ve heard on a show in a long time.

Final Verdict:

cbxcz0k

I wrestled with this verdict for quite a while because the story for this episode was just so badly written, but the jokes and dialogue worked so well that I think and very well hope there’s stronger entries here. It has everything it needs, but maybe we just got off on the wrong foot in the story department. This series got three seasons and won a few awards, so I assume there must be something better there.

Extra Notes: She has a cat named Doom Kitty. If I ever get another cat, I’m naming it that.

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 15: Thrilling! Emi’s First Fight!

SSBS CFV EP 15

Plot: Emi decides she wants to try her hand at playing Vanguard, so Shin suggests having a practice cardfight with one of Aichi’s friends. Morikawa leaps at the chance to ‘teach’ her, really just itching to finally take down someone with his beloved Grade 3s. Misaki loans Emi her deck to get her started and the match begins. Can Emi’s first match be her first victory?

Breakdown:

Last episode review: “Can Morikawa manage to defeat a little girl on her first match?….That’s a serious question.”

The answer is no, no he can’t.

And thank god. It might be hard to believe a little girl who barely knows anything about Vanguard to win her first match, but it’s even more unbelievable for Morikawa to win any match period.

At least I can take solace in the fact that everyone else is as exasperated with Morikawa’s antics as I am. Seriously, he straight up throws away a Grade 0 unit just so he can litter his side of the field Grade 3s. That doesn’t sound so bad until you learn the main reason he loves Grade 3s so much – their twin drive. However, as Kamui points out, only those in the Vanguard circle, of which there is only one, can use twin drive, so it’s entirely pointless. And his throwing away that unit made it so he couldn’t use the drive trigger for his actual Vanguard anyway.

I’m learning this game as I go along too. I’m only slightly more knowledgeable about it than Emi is, and even I’m rolling my eyes at Morikawa whenever he plays. How many times does he have to have that ‘OH MY GOD, I HAVE NO GRADE 1 OR 2s!’ moment before he finally gets the hint that his deck is horribly unbalanced? And even when he gets Grades 0s, 1s or 2s on his first draw, he opts to discard and redraw so he can get more Grade 3s. He is ridiculous.

Morikawa aside, we finally get to see Emi take the stage, and she is just a peach. Her imaginary version of Cray is a pretty field with butterflies and a bunch of moons and flower petals. She chooses monsters based on how cute they are and literally throws herself onto the game table when Morikawa attacks because she doesn’t want her units to get hurt and doesn’t want to guard with a unit in her hand for the same reason. It’s silly and adorable and I love her to death.

Emi’s not an idiot, either. While Kamui, Shin, Aichi and even, sometimes, Morikawa give her information and advice from the sidelines, Emi is able to work through the basics of what she needs to do rather easily since she’s seen Aichi and the others cardfight a few times at this point.

She even catches Morikawa in a technicality that no one else caught – the aforementioned problem that his Vanguard had in using a drive trigger. He wasn’t allowed to use the trigger unless there was a unit of the same clan on the field, and the only one he had of that clan was a Grade 0 he threw away for the sake of summoning anotherGrade 3.

Morikawa’s not all that irritating through most of the match, in spite of his incessant stupidity. He actually does seem like he’s just pumping up his ego but is still kinda teaching Emi when the theatrics stop. Nearly every turn is him being a Grade 3 fanboy while everyone groans at his antics and Emi just stares at him confused. However, once he gets a few damage, he starts mocking Emi and that’s when he gets irritating. Dude, it’s a little girl on her first Vanguard match. Get a clue.

At least Emi doesn’t pay his mocking a single mind. She just keeps being confused at him or ignores it.

The match was pretty entertaining for a first-time match with Morikawa. It was nice to see Emi throw her hat into the ring, and I loved watching her play. Not only did she seem to be having fun, but Aichi fondly watching his little sister get into the game he’s grown to love while giving her advice was too cute.

Even Kamui was pretty cool in this episode. He is obviously trying to wedge his way into becoming Emi’s Vanguard teacher to be closer to her, but he’s also legitimately giving her the rules and information about the game as a fellow player.

This episode was a strong example of the great dynamic the whole main cast has. Even Kamui’s friends played off of the story well and had some funny reactions. I love when all of the characters click so well together, even if Morikawa gets annoying. Plus, it was a nice refresher episode for those still trying to get the rules of the game down pat. I even learned a few new things.

I hope we see Emi build a deck of her own and play more in the future.

Rating: 8.5/10

Next time, the regional qualifiers are here. The Card Capital representatives make their way to the arena, but Shin and Misaki are mysteriously absent.

….Previous Episode

Exploring Disney’s Castle: Pinocchio (1940)

Rating: 7/10

Plot: A toymaker named Geppetto made a marionette named Pinocchio. Despite his awesome ‘stache, he couldn’t find a woman to mate with him and make him a child, so he wished Pinocchio was a real boy. His wish is granted by a fairy because fairies just do that, but she only brings the puppet to life. In order to become a real boy, Pinocchio has to prove himself to be a kind and moral young lad. However, he doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong so a kindly cricket named Jiminy gets assigned to be his conscience. Then a bunch of weird stuff happens.

Breakdown: While Pinocchio isn’t the closest nostalgic Disney feature in my heart, I do look back on it it fondly, and I remember getting the VHS for the movie way back when I was a wee lass. And, wow, unlike Snow White, I just could not refrain from nitpicking and seeing this movie with a more adult view.

Don’t get me wrong, I still really like this movie, and man I do loves me some of that painted Disney magic, but I was just picking apart the story and then realizing that the second half is one trippy confusing little ride. Not mention how many times I had to stop myself from thinking a scene was pedo-y….

Some things I can’t nitpick too much. I was going to say it’s dumb to send Pinocchio off to school when he’s only been a sentient pile of wood for less than 12 hours, but then I remembered that they seem to live in a weird world of anthropomorphic foxes and cats (even in a world with pet cats. It’s Pluto and Goofy all over again) so that’s not really an issue anymore. And seeing as how Pinocchio’s existence is also completely brushed off by fellow kids, I guess a puppet coming to life is just another day in Italy.

To get to the actual issues though, I’m confused about the fairy’s logic. She specifically says Geppetto deserves a son, but she doesn’t fully bring Pinocchio to life and instead makes him go through a trial of being a good person before he can actually be human. That’s okay I suppose, but then there’s the fact that he has no sense of what’s right or wrong and he’s naïve as all hell. So Jiminy is assigned to being his conscience, but dammit all if he doesn’t suck at it. He doesn’t really give any advice on what’s right or wrong to Pinocchio ever. He just points out that one person is bad without reason once.

Geppetto’s no help either because he doesn’t try to teach Pinocchio anything. He just answers every question with ‘because’ and sends the poor boy off to school not preparing him for how the kids may react or how anything in life works – like stranger danger.

Pinocchio gets into trouble because he really doesn’t know any better and then starts lying to the fairy for no real reason. The Pinocchio in this version has been shown as a very kindhearted yet extremely naïve individual, yet he somehow not only knows how lying works but he does it very naturally and without any actual prompt. Did he think the fairy would get mad if she heard about him getting kidnapped? Because that’s Jiminy’s fault, if anything.

I would say that’s a message of saying that, no matter what your conscience is telling you, it’s up to you to listen or not, which is also fine, but then I have to remember that Pinocchio has no real knowledge of anything in the world at all. Hell, he was setting himself on fire the night before because he liked how pretty the fire was.

He then gets caught by the same people without Jiminy even realizing it, you’d think he’d learn after that to keep a closer eye on the kid but no, and he gets tricked into going to ‘Pleasure Island’….see what I meant about the pedo-y stuff?

Here’s where Pinocchio pulls a complete 180 in character. I could brush off the whole thing about getting kidnapped and going off to join the marionette guy from before because he didn’t really know any better. But when he gets to Pleasure Island, he full on says that he likes being bad, so it seems that even without Jiminy he realizes that what he’s doing is wrong and is going ahead with it for whatever reason.

Oh yeah, let’s address the creepy and downright dark and confusing aspect of Pleasure Island. So a man kidnaps BOATLOADS of misbehaved boys who skip school and do no good. How no one in town has noticed that many kids going missing is beyond me. But considering that they all must be rotten boys, that must be a really awful part of town. Also, I love how it’s only misbehaved boys who are taken. All girls are innocent angels free of sin. ❤

Pleasure Island is a theme park, and I do not understand said theme park. You already kidnapped the kids – why the theme park? Just stick them in a cage or something. And wouldn’t that theme park, that inevitably gets destroyed each time the kids come, cost way more in construction, maintenance, operation and repairs than whatever you get for the kids? And this theme park is specifically designed for little brats since it has robot Indians chucking out cigars to the kids (Aw look, it’s Disney being racially insensitive to Native Americans before Pocahontas. Awww they were so precious.) kegs, and model houses specifically for the kids to destroy.

That’s not even the most baffling part about this theme park. It’s all just a front for a secret operation to turn the kids into donkeys.

Uh. Huh.

I mean, what? How did we go from an innocent story about a puppet coming to life by a fairy and having a bug being his conscience in hopes of someday becoming human to kids being turned into donkeys? I mean, come on Disney. Suspension of disbelief! Pft.

But yeah, the beer and the cigars were poisoned with….something, I dunno, that turned all of the boys into donkeys who would eventually be sold off to salt mines and farms to work until they die. Unless they were young enough to apparently retain their ability to talk because….I honestly have no clue what happened to those boys. Probably kept as a show attraction until they were too old to speak anymore and then sold off into child/donkey labor.

Not one of them were saved. Yeah, screw your happily ever after. Those little brats were never found and were probably forced to work to death. Kinda dark, there, Disney.

Lampwick might have escaped, but I don’t see how.

While this is trippy, dark and confusing, them repeating the stuff about being jackasses (and, yes, they actually say ‘jackass’) basically implies that this scene means if you’re a little brat as a kid, you’re damned to turn into a jackass for the rest of your life….I guess.

Then we get to the weirder stuff. Half-Donkey Pinocchio runs home to find that Geppetto is not there, and I can’t understand how long Pinocchio’s been gone. Last we see of Geppetto, it was the same day Pinocchio was supposed to go to school and he kept looking for him all over town. His first kidnapping took place over the course of a day before he tried to get home again, but I guess the second one took place over days, weeks or possibly months.

Geppetto’s gone and a glowing bird sends down a message to Pinocchio and Jiminy that Geppetto has been swallowed by a whale.

Ya know, typical Tuesday.

……He was swallowed by…..a whale. I can’t even understand how this happened. Geppetto wasn’t swallowed by any old whale – he was swallowed by a huge whale that is known for being particularly murderous and even swallows ships whole.

Apparently, Geppetto was out on his fishing boat when he got swallowed up. This is what confuses me about the timeline. They’re starving to death, act like they’ve been on that boat for quite some time and have little hope they’ll (they being Geppetto, Figaro and Cleo) survive in the next few days. But what was he even doing out on that boat? Like I said, last time we saw him he was looking for Pinocchio after he had gone missing after leaving for school. What was he doing on the boat then? Did he think he’d find Pinocchio out on the ocean? Or had he been missing for so long that he decided to go fishing to clear his mind over the loss of his puppet child?

Also, how could both Pinocchio and Jiminy breathe underwater? The prospect of drowning doesn’t even come up until they exit the whale. I would say this is because Pinocchio’s a puppet, but he seems to have regular bodily functions like in his reactions to the cigars. And his ‘death’ later can only be explained as drowning.

There’s also that thing about making a whale sneeze by setting a fire in its stomach which I don’t even sense make.

Bottomline: I have no idea why I was able to completely immerse myself in Snow White and just gloss over every seeming issue yet I was practically hung up on them in Pinocchio. This just got to be more trippy and dark than I remembered….and confusing, hence why three points got knocked off. But for the most part the movie does have good morals, decent characters and I can’t think of a point where I wasn’t really enjoying myself.

Recommended Audience: Well, the word ‘Jackass’ is said a few times, but I always thought it was stingy to say that’s a swear. It’s in the bible for crying out loud. Kids smoke and drink beer, but the message is obviously that those things are bad to do….and will turn you into a jackass. Plus there’s the downright frightening aspect of that whole Pleasure Island thing. But other than that, it’s perfectly fine. 5+

SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 14: The Fearsome Undead! The Granblue Deck!

SSBS CFV EP 14

Plot: Kamui (begrudgingly) takes Aichi to a card shop called Card Shop Handsome to meet some national-level players and train for the regional qualifiers. Kamui introduces Aichi to Goki, leader of Team Handsome, the players who represented Card Shop Handsome in the nationals last year.

Goki’s little sister, Nagisa, has a huge crush on Kamui and is constantly calling him her boyfriend and jumping all over him even though Kamui doesn’t return her feelings at all and explicitly states that he loves Aichi’s sister, Emi. Hearing this declaration, Goki defends his sister’s love by challenging Aichi to a cardfight. Utilizing a Granblue deck of zombie pirates, can Aichi find a way to win?

Breakdown: I wasn’t all that much into this episode. It was alright, but I just didn’t get into it very much. Goki and Team Handsome aren’t that interesting so far (and one of them has the annoying habit of saying ‘KABOOMY!’ for no reason) and the Granblue deck didn’t live up to the buildup, which is a shame on many fronts. I love zombies, I love pirates – why is a zombie pirate deck not that intriguing to me? Especially when it’s a little OP as well. Aichi didn’t get thrashed or anything, but Goki was never once even considering sweating.

Aichi is thinking even more methodically but yet another failed ‘heart of the cards’ instance screwed him over. Yeah, Aichi lost again, and his reaction was actually quite the typical ‘I’m gonna be stronger, like him. No, better than him!’ which kinda surprised me a bit.

Nagisa is also incredibly annoying. I may rag on Kamui for his crush on Emi sometimes, but at least he’s kinda cute about it. Nagisa is 35 pounds of irritating brat. She consciously doesn’t listen to anything Kamui says about not wanting to be her boyfriend or being in love with someone else, and she latches onto him like a leech. Not to mention that one line about tying him up to prevent him from running away. Someone’s going to get restraining orders as an adult.

While I didn’t downright hate or even deeply dislike anything in this episode, I didn’t really like it much. Even the match wasn’t all that great.

Rating: 4/10

Next time, Emi decides to throw her hat into the Cardfighting ring. Her first opponent is Morikawa. Can Morikawa manage to defeat a little girl on her first match?….That’s a serious question.

…Previous Episode

The Salty Anime Challenge FINALE Day 23: How Did you Find This Challenge, and What is One Last Thing You’d Like to Be Salty About?

Wow, the challenge is over already? Time flies when you’re salty, apparently.

I really enjoyed this challenge, and it was a nice changeup from the regular challenges. As someone who appreciates a good rant, this challenge gave me all sorts of opportunities to get some stuff off of my chest and have some fun slamming old anime adversaries.

Oddly, it even got me to appreciate some shows and characters more. The discussions I’ve had during these 23 days have given me some great new perspectives, and I think my bond with the anime community has gotten even stronger. We may not agree with everything, but not a single person gave me any sort of flak for my opinions. The mutual respect is so refreshing and greatly appreciated.

Plus, I’ve been really enjoying the responses from FuelS and Jiraiyan. Check out their challenges, if you haven’t already, and thanks to FuelS for making this challenge!

If there’s one thing I’m salty about…..it’s YOU.

Yes, you, reader! I got some salt to…pick with you! Why haven’t YOU been doing this challenge?!

Are you a chicken!?

Are you a fraidy cat?

Are you watching your sodium intake?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIKE A WUSS?!

Do The Salty Anime Challenge! If you do, share your responses with me! I’d love to read them, non-wuss!

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 22: An Anime Everyone Hates And/Or Has a Low Score, But You Love

I really struggled with this one. Outside of the typical ‘kids’ shows like shounen gaming anime, I don’t really know of many shows that I like that others hate on or that have particularly bad scores. Two shows came to mind, though, one of which is an aforementioned shounen gaming anime, but it’s for a different reason than the usual.

If you’ve followed me for the past few Halloweens, you probably know that I’m a Yami Shibai: Japanese Ghost Stories fan.

For those who have never seen it, Yami Shibai is a horror anthology series presented as a kamishibai show. I absolutely adore horror anthologies and the style of this show really appealed to me. The stories vary widely in quality in nearly every way from story to characters to art style (especially in later seasons) but, as a whole, I love the entirety of the franchise, and I’m excited about Yami Shibai 6 coming out this July.

However, the series receives a lot of flak, and it seems to get worse every season. The first season was held in pretty high regard, but every subsequent season keeps getting worse and worse responses.

The scores for the various series aren’t really that low. They range between 7.5 and 5.5.

Even so, the discussions I saw about these series on various anime sites were just terrible. It seems like they get the worst of it right when it’s in the middle of airing, but it gets pretty badly slammed. They either say the story was stupid or it’s just not scary at all, and the one comment that never goes away is ‘This series hasn’t been good/scary since the first season.’

I will admit, Yami Shibai has some major duds in their collection. Every anthology is bound to have at least a few stinkers, and the seasons aren’t terribly consistent with quality. People were pretty relentless about this series, though.

The aforementioned shounen gaming anime I chose was Duel Masters.

That random tagline’s not gonna help my case. Damn you Google images and your lack of…images!

I loved Duel Masters for the handful of months they showed it on TV. It was a pretty funny show with a cool card game being the focus. I even bought some of the cards and the GBA game for it. I had a blast playing it.

Like all shounen gaming anime, it shares many of the same criticisms like being poorly animated, having a bad story, having stereotypical leads and, of course, it carries the pall all shounen gaming anime carry – it’s just a half hour long commercial. It’s a show designed to sell toys. If it’s just those things, why does Duel Masters tend to get the pointy end of the review stick?

Thing is, Duel Masters couldn’t have come at a worse time. It debuted right at Yugioh’s peak, so it obviously gained a firm reputation as being a Yugioh ripoff, even if, besides playing card games being part of the plot, it had nothing to do with it…..Mostly.

People pretty much wrote off the show before they ever even saw it, if they ever saw it at all. It’s understandable, I suppose. But I think it’s undeserved.

One thing you have to know about Duel Masters is, from everything I’ve been able to gather, the dubbed version is almost entirely a different show in regards to dialogue and tone than the original. I doubt many people who have watched the dub have seen the original, but I feel the need to speak its piece in that department.

The dub tends to focus a lot on comedy. They break the fourth wall all the time, have meta humor and constantly make jokes. They even change up the editing in order to include more jokes. There’s still a ton of shounen children’s-card-gaming action, but there’s much more comedy to the dub than the original.

The original version, which I’ve never been able to find, supposedly plays all of this straight, and from what I’ve read of the plot and story of the original manga and what I saw of the dialogue in the game, I’m obliged to believe this is true.

The story, from what I can tell, doesn’t change all that much, it’s just that the dialogue, tone and editing are mostly altered to make jokes.

I will admit, I don’t remember much of the story besides these are kids who like playing Duel Masters, they enter a tournament and, of course, there are a bunch of evil people who play the game that they have to defeat because, if not, they’ll, say it with me now, take over the world!

The original does appear to be a Yugioh rip-off, to the bare bones anyway. I have yet to see any Egyptian imagery or Kaiba clones. At the very least, they’re trying to ride its coattails. However, I don’t believe the dub should share the original version’s negative marks on copycatting because 1) The game itself is a lot different from Yugioh. Not every card game involving monsters is a Yugioh rip-off, guys. 2) The dub’s really funny sometimes. Even if the story falls flat, they did enough with the dialogue in the dub to make it very entertaining.

Even today, Duel Masters maintains its horrible rep. If anything, it’s gotten worse. Reviews of the show aren’t plentiful, but what’s there is usually extremely negative. Check out this gem for example.

I particularly enjoy this section.

“CHARACTER SECTION: 2/10

There is a nerdy bunch of kids who care more about a card game, than, let’s say, finding a job or getting laid, and a bunch of costumed weirdos who control the world with cards.” Yes, ten-year-old children, go out and get a job and get laid instead of playing that children’s card game.

I will give them some leeway because they call it a Magic the Gathering rip-off instead of a Yugioh one, which is more accurate. Yeah the tapping and mana thing carry over, but MtG is far more complex and Duel Masters still does enough to differentiate itself.

I don’t even think the ‘action’ is bad. Generic? Yeah. Poorly animated? Indeed. But I have plenty of fun with it.

When they keep the serious tones, it’s actually somewhat funnier because you can clearly tell the voice actors aren’t taking the serious stuff….seriously. It’s almost like they’re purposely either phoning it in ultra hard or overacting to the max just to make the serious stuff look silly.

Maybe a part of it is my nostalgia goggles. Maybe I’m mentally filtering things. But I rewatched some clips of the show to do this entry, and I still think it stands up perfectly fine…..I did not remember the insanely poor sound production, though. I don’t know what happened in the BGM and sound effect department, but it’s sloppy as hell. I won’t defend that.

And now for your earworm pleasure, the theme song!