SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 32: Princess Fight – The Hero Can’t be Bought for Money

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Plot: Mint decides to invite the other Mews to her family’s famous annual tea party. The girls are all very suspicious of Mint suddenly doing something nice for them, but she convinces them to go with the promise of meeting one of Ichigo’s favorite pop idols.

At the tea party, Mint, Zakuro and Pudding fit right in, but Ichigo and Lettuce feel out of place in such a fancy environment. They’re about to head home when a flashy helicopter arrives to literal fanfare. With a deafening cackle, a young girl emerges. She proclaims herself to be Mint’s eternal rival, Kanna Saionji, but Mint denies even knowing her.

Kanna shares a tale of her attending this same tea party seven years ago. It was a ‘fateful encounter,’ according to her. Mint walked by her as she was eating at the party…..and that’s it.

In a last ditch effort to jog her memory, she gives a big introduction to herself, but Mint still doesn’t care. She just sighs and walks away, leaving Kanna in the hands of her friends. Ichigo comes to the realization that Mint really only invited them to babysit Kanna so Mint wouldn’t have to deal with her – something Mint denies.

Angered at continuously being ignored, Kanna challenges Mint to a duel. Ichigo and the others ask why a duel is necessary, and Kanna proclaims that it’s a duel to see who’s really worthy of princessness. As she’s monologuing, Mint and Zakuro quietly exit.

Zakuro tells Mint that she believes she knows Kanna more than she lets on and that she seems to worry about her a little. Mint says she’s just an annoying girl who pesters her every year at the tea party, but she also annoys her because her arrogance and abrasiveness remind her of her old self.

Angered by Mint’s sudden and rude departure, Kanna is more determined now than ever to defeat Mint and determine who is really worthy of princessness.

As Mint gets news that a special item is right on time to be delivered to the party, Kanna finds her and prods her some more. Mint has had enough. She finally tells off Kanna, claiming she’s only doing this because she’s lonely and is trying to make friends with her. She tells her that no one will open up to her if she’s not open to others and to stop playing this ridiculous game.

Kanna acts like she has no idea what she’s talking about, and their conversation is soon interrupted by a crash. The horse-drawn carriage carrying Mint’s delivery has been overturned by Kisshu.

Kisshu claims there’s Mew Aqua in Mint’s delivery. He tries to grab it, but Kanna nabs it away, claiming something with such a lovely name as Mew Aqua must be something worthy of only a princess. Mint demands she give it back, but she vehemently refuses. She says she’ll give it back if Mint admits defeat against her.

Kisshu interrupts and attacks her by turning a spirit of one of the guests into a Chimera Animal. Mint and the others transform into their Mew forms to battle. The pterodactyl-like Chimera Animal attacks Kanna, but Mint manages to save her.

The girls do their best to combat the Chimera Animal, but it’s very powerful. It breaks through Pudding’s Pudding Ring Inferno and takes Zakuro and Lettuce’s attacks without issue. It’s also incapacitating them with a sonic blast time and again.

Mint tells Kanna to run away, but Kanna refuses since that would be admitting defeat to Mint. Fed up with her stubbornness and immaturity, Mint slaps her across the face and berates her. Kanna and Mint are about to be attacked by the Chimera Animal, but Ichigo jumps in the way, taking the full brunt of the assault.

It’s about to finish her off when The Blue Knight suddenly shows up, slashes the Chimera Animal with his sword and saves Ichigo. He tells her that the weak point of the Chimera Animal is in its mouth. She has to attack when its mouth is open.

Giving the signal to Mint, she tricks the Chimera Animal into opening its mouth. Mint shoots an arrow at Ichigo, and she deflects it into the Chimera Animal’s mouth with her bell. Now weak, she finishes off the Chimera Animal with a Ribbon Strawberry Surprise and the battle ends.

Kisshu checks the box and finds no Mew Aqua so he leaves.

Kanna is in awe of the Mews and asks if they’ll be hers, with no limit on how much she’ll pay them. Mint interjects and says friendship is not something you can buy. You need to open your heart to others to obtain it.

A flashback from Kanna reveals that she was always given everything she’d ever wanted. Her parents bought her everything, even her friends, but they weren’t genuine. When she met Mint, she was snubbed by her, and Kanna realized that Mint was different from everyone else. As a result, she always envied her.

Mint reveals that the contents of the box was a tea set. She was making a surprise private tea party for her friends, which is why she invited them to the main tea party. Kanna stands in silence as she listens to the girls have fun, but Ichigo decides to invite her over. Kanna reluctantly agrees, and she starts to enjoy herself. Still wanting to keep up her facade, she declares that she’ll invite them to a much better tea party at her house next time and that Mint remains as her eternal rival.

Kanna leaves in her helicopter and the girls bid her farewell, even Mint, who seems to be content that Kanna might finally be changing as a person, just like she did.

Breakdown:

– I’m glad that the girls are very suspicious of Mint’s intentions with this invitation instead of blindly believing her. Not that Mint never has good intentions, but when it comes to stuff like this, she always looks down on the others, to say the least. They even outright say that she’s never done anything nice for them, which, honestly, I think is a bit of a stretch. She’s not the friendliest person, but she’s done nice things for the other girls. Never to this extent, but still.

– Glad to see the chemistry’s back between the girls, too. These past handful of episodes have been really brutal for them as a group. It’s been Ichigo City.

– Ladies and gentlemen, I present the ugliest helicopter ever.

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– The ‘fateful encounter’ flashback is hilarious.

– If they’re trying to make Kanna seem worse than Mint, they’re doing a terrible job. She’s already a million times more entertaining and less bitchy.

– Ichigo: “I bet she has no friends.” What a horribly rude thing to say. I’d be more apt to question how Mint has any friends.

– Kanna: “Shut up, filthy commoners!” Alright, getting a little bitchy.

– Why is there so much blushing in this episode? It seems we can’t go a full minute without seeing a character blush for no reason.

– I’ll give props to Mint for rushing into investigating the situation immediately and telling her grandmother to take care of her guests.

– I love Mint’s reaction to Ichigo seemingly accusing Mint of having Mew Aqua delivered to the party.

– Hahahaha! Kisshu called Kanna a bitch.

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– Oh okay, so I guess now we’re just ignoring the secret identities entirely and are just transforming mere inches away from other people. Smart.

– Yay for giving Mint a full transformation sequence, though. It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve seen someone besides Ichigo do that.

– Oh my god! She’s the only one whose transformation we get to see! Someone catch me, I feel faint!

– Mew Mint: “Now, make your escape!”

Kanna: “I’ll never run away before you!”

Just documenting proof that Mint did indeed transform in front of her, revealing her “secret” to her without hesitation. Granted, it was a difficult situation. Most shows have something that knocks out very closeby witnesses so they can transform without fear of being caught. At this point, I have to assume that at least a handful of people know who the Mews really are, even with their ridiculously obvious name connections and lack of masks. Are these people all just really nice and agreed to keep their secret or is this all plot convenience?

– This Chimera Animal is quite powerful for being made out of the spirit of some random rich guy at a tea party.

– I have to say, this is one of the more intrusive saves by The Blue Knight. This whole situation has nothing to do, really, with Ichigo, yet the focus is yet again on Ichigo and her knight in shining…..blue….clothes. It would’ve been better if either Mint saved her or if The Blue Knight tried to save one of the other girls for a change.

….Does…he…ever try to save the other girls when they’re in danger? I know who he really is and why he’d be drawn to Ichigo, but it seems like a dick move to only show up when she’s in danger.

Kinda have to wonder if he just has impeccable timing or if he realizes Ichigo’s in a battle and waits in the shadows until she’s in direct danger so he can swoop in.

– And yet again he instantly knows the weakness of the Chimera Animal and just tells Ichigo how to defeat it, and she does. Friggin’ girl power, brought to you by a guy.

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– Oh well, at least she lets Mint participate in the final attack.

– Ichigo’s bell can reflect other Mew attacks now? Okay.

– Oh nevermind, it’s a pre-final blow. Ichigo gets the real final blow because of course she does.

– I love how Kisshu opens the box, realizes it’s not Mew Aqua and just leaves. What is with all of these Mew Aqua misidentifications? Some of them kinda make sense, like the necklace, but others are just baffling, like the crystal ball and the tea set.

– How the hell did that tea set survive a horse-drawn carriage crash and falling to the ground about three different times?

– The special item really was a tea set?….Why? Why did it need to be specially delivered? What’s so special about it? Why did it start out in a safe on a ship? I get the message – that the real treasure was a nice private tea party with her friends, but I’m still confused as to why this was a super special delivery.

Unless the delivery was the tea itself, which makes even less sense.

And why did Kisshu think this was Mew Aqua? No way in hell did this thing give off any signals. He justifies it at the party by saying if Ichigo’s where this thing is then it must be Mew Aqua…..That is probably the dumbest explanation he’s given so far.

Ichigo is rarely ever by actual Mew Aqua, and every time they’ve suspected it otherwise has been a false alarm. Not to mention that he’s been following this thing since it got on the highway, far away from Ichigo. Grasping at straws is an understatement to say the least.

– You do feel a bit for Kanna. She’s a product of her environment. Rich people are already known for being really fake. Growing up in a world where your parents buy your friends, and you’re well aware of their disingenuous nature, has to be lonely. It’s hard to know how to make friends, either. Even if they’re not directly bought off, they might only like you because you’re rich.

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Mint may be bitchy and condescending, but she doesn’t come off as very fake. Her lies are usually quite obvious, and she’s not afraid of telling you anything bluntly. As of this episode, it seems she has the most trouble being honest with things that make her seem nice, like this tea party.

– Speaking of which, Mint invited her friends for legit reasons and scheduled a private special tea party just for them, perhaps even because she knew they might be uncomfortable in the larger fancy setting. Mint gets major props in this episode.

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I thought I’d dislike this episode because it’s Mint-centric and I was not looking forward to the fancy environment or Kanna, but it was actually really good.

Mint is the most tolerable she’s ever been. In fact, she’s been pretty….awesome? She did a nice thing for her friends out of nowhere, she even seemingly cared much more about the private tea party than she did the big fancy rich person one. She developed as a character by having disdain for someone she finds similar to how she used to be before she met the other Mews. She took initiative in protecting the people at the party and Kanna, no matter how much she annoyed her. She was blunt with Kanna without being a bitch, and she even managed to get to do something in the final battle.

Her character arc, if you will, went full-circle by showing Kanna the way to true friendship and leading her away from the synthetic rich person’s social life. We also got some cute moments with her and Zakuro. They were subtle, but Zakuro gave some small smiles that indicate that she’s proud of how much Mint has matured.

Kanna was much less annoying than I had feared. She’s more flashy than she is condescending and there were only a few instances where she seemed bitchy. Kanna seems like a nice enough girl, she just feels she has to put on this loud boisterous persona in order to get attention or be liked.

Even the Chimera Animal and the other girls were much more properly fit into the story than they have been lately.

Only a few things noticeably irked me, and they were pretty much the norm at this point. The Mew Aqua detection was laughably written, we’re just throwing the secret identity thing out the window, The Blue Knight was completely unnecessary and took the flow of the episode way off, Ichigo got the final attack again and Mint didn’t even get the pre-final blow to herself.

Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. Good job, writers! You got me to like Mint! Whoo! I’m proud of you! Keep it up!….Please.

Rating: 8/10

Next episode, Pudding’s engaged to a fully grown man?! Martial arts?! Her daddy’s talked about again?! Outdated marriage traditions!? Gasp!

….Previous Episode

Yu-Gi-Oh GX Episode 1 Sub/Dub Comparison

 

Plot: Judai Yuki is an aspiring duelist preparing to take his entrance exam into the Duel Academia. When one of the teachers at the school, a high ranked professor named Crowler, learns that a tardy upstart who scored low on his written exams wants to take his final exam, he decides to teach this student a lesson and uses his own deck to duel him himself. However, Crowler learns a lesson as well – never underestimate your opponent.

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Theme Song: The opening theme song is changed. Instead, we get a fairly catchy theme called Get Your Game On. Yes, it’s lame, but at the very least it’s an ear worm. I’m kinda disappointed because Yu-Gi-Oh actually had a really great theme song (“it’s time to DUDUDUD—DUDUDUDUDUDUEL!”) and instead we get this generic song. 4Kids did seem to get worse and worse with theme songs as time went by. We went from making one of the best and most memorable English themes to date with the first Pokemon theme to this and later to One Piece and Mew Mew Power

To be honest, I’m not crazy about the opener in the original either, I think it’s one of those songs that needs to grow on me. It’s okay. But it seems kinda….clusterfuckish?

Music: You know the drill with 4Kids dubs. Always background music, most of it being 4Kids’ score, hardly ever any silence and whatnot.

Entire Show Edit: As with the series preceding it, the cards are painted to only show their type color, attack and defense powers and the picture for the card to avoid getting in trouble with whomever controls that stuff.

Judai originally tells us that his train was late, which is making him late for his exam. However, he takes this in stride and says it’s just another test being thrown at him. In the dub, Jaden, with a serious look at first, says he’s completely prepared for the exam barring him being late, but he doesn’t care because it’s not like he can get detention if he’s not even accepted yet.

This is kinda subtle, but it shows us differences in the character throughout the versions. Judai seems to take everything like a challenge that he’s more than willing to face. Jaden seems like a prepared yet lazy idiot. I’m not going to like Jaden as much as I like Judai as time goes on, am I?….I’m not going to like Jaden much period, am I?

Name Change: Judai Yuki is changed to Jaden Yuki. I will never fully understand why 4Kids chooses to change a Japanese first name but not a last name or vice versa. I know it’s less Japanese, but it’s still Japanese.

This is our first glimpse at Yugi’s older self in the series. Though they never show his face above the nose, he obviously looks and sounds exactly like Yami did. Fans speculate that this solidifies that Yugi is Yami’s reincarnation, and that very well might be true. Then again, that would mean that Bakura’s Yami Bakura’s reincarnation? Though the looks are pretty much the same, Bakura’s nothing like Yami Bakura. Also, I’d hate to imagine timid little Bakura growing up to look exactly like Yami Bakura.

Also, how did Judai not immediately recognize him? Yugi’s not exactly a face or moreso a hairstyle you forget easily, particularly when you’re an aspiring duelist.

The title card is missing, and in it’s place, they misplaced the opening theme. In the original, the opener was played at the very beginning of the episode. In the dub, it’s after Jaden meets Yugi. I have a feeling this will be this way through the entire series.

Also, the title’s kinda….well, fans might be kinda miffed by it. It’s Yugi’s Successor. While Judai is our new hero for the show, ‘successor’ kinda implies that he surpasses Yugi. To the best of my knowledge, while we have had several new heroes, the general consensus is that none of them can surpass Yugi.

Title Card:

If the title card is different each episode, I may update it like I do with Digimon, but it’s pretty generic so it might not change. Yu-Gi-Oh’s never changed, as far as I know.

Clips for the opener are kept relatively the same, but 4Kids changes several of them and switches places with a lot of them.

Opening narration tells us that the school is a part of Kaiba Land. In the dub, we get PA announcements about the exam, and Crowler, in regards to talking about the duelists who fail the exam, says “good luck at Duel Monsters Community College.”……..Guys, tell me that’s not a thing. I know later we learn there is an actual Dueling college, but also community college? Tell me this isn’t a thing!

More narration tells us that the Duel Academia’s exam consists of two parts – written and practical exams. Those who get high enough grades on the written exam move on to the practical exam. Those who pass the practical exam are enrolled in the school and placed in a dorm based on their scores.

In the dub, Syrus has inner monologue running instead, saying how it’s hard to concentrate with all of the academy kids staring at him and how he wishes he were already enrolled.

They cut out another overhead shot of the separate duel arenas as the exams are being conducted.

The Life Point counter has been drastically altered in the new series.

Subbed: 

Dubbed:

While the new one for the original is pretty generic and similar to the previous series in the original, barring it’s color changing instead of flat blue, the new one of the dub is drastically changed. It’s gold with several decorations on it, and in addition to a number life point counter there’s also a life point gauge to the side.

Also, the LP count on Daichi is wrong. Originally he had 3000 and in the dub he has 3200. Both versions still have him going down to 1300 after the damage calculations, though.

The original exam proctor for Daichi’s duel was telling him that there’s no way he can reduce his life points since he has a super defense deck.

In the dub, he mocks him by giving him a fake multiple choice question. “You have two monsters staring you down. Do you A: Throw in the towel, B: Beg for mercy or C: Cry home to mama?” Daichi originally just follows this by giving an explanation of his next move. In the dub, he responds to the conductor’s taunts by saying “D: None of the above.”

Originally the Ring of Destruction card was a collar with grenades on it (Someone call Jigsaw) In the dub it’s just a collar with fireballs on it…..On the card anyway. I guess 4Kids thought animating fire was too much so they just made them into little red egg things.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Yes, I also think it looks like he’s wearing Christmas lights on his neck.

Name Change: Daichi Misawa is changed to Bastion Misawa.

One of Chazz’s friends has a southern accent for no reason whatsoever. His other friend sounds like a stereotypical idiot.

Chazz: “We went to Duel Prep school for three years…” TELL ME THIS ISN’T A THING!

Name Change: Jun Manjoume is changed to Chazz Princeton. Yes, with two Z’s…and yes, 4Kids basically did everything in their power to make a ‘jackass rich guy’ name.

Jun originally says there’s no room for two kings of Duel Academia. In the dub, he says he’s going to teach these punk duelists the hard way – the Chazz Princeton way. Because if there’s one way to solidify your status as a douche, it’s speaking in third person.

Shou explains that your exam number is your test rank on the written exam. Daichi was the top of the class which means he’s number 1. Shou was 119 and Judai was 110. Shou tells him that the lower ranked duel exams were over already, which meant Judai had a very short window to duel.

In the dub, they don’t keep the ranks. They just say Bastion was the number one student in the written phase and that they just barely passed. To make Jaden freak out about his exam, Syrus’ dialogue is changed to telling Jaden that Bastion’s duel exam was meant to be the last one of the day.

Crowler: “Did you just call me ‘sir?”

Registration guy: “Well, yes. I’m fairly new here and–”

Crowler: “I’ll have you know I have a PhD in dueling. I think I’ve earned the title ‘doctor’!”

…….A….p….A PhD….in dueling….did you hear that guys?….A PhD….in dueling…..a dueling….doctor…..hahahahahahahahahahah….HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!…..Oh, doctor, please tell me what trap card would be best in this situation! AHAHHHHAHAHAHA THAT’S A NICE USE OF LIKE 200,000 DOLLARS! Ahhh…The only thing that’s getting me through these ridiculous claims is that these supposed titles and institutions only exist in the dub…..so far.

Cronos originally said that someone so low rank doesn’t deserve his exam if he’s tardy.

Cronos also sneaks Italian into his speech for whatever reason in the original. In the dub, this isn’t present.

Name Change: Principal Samejima is changed to Chancellor Sheppard.

Name Change: Cronos De Minici is changed to Vellian Crowler.

Samejima originally tells Cronos that he heard a new applicant might be refused because he was late due to a train incident. He tells Cronos to accept the exam applicant since their job is to train a diverse group of duelists and give everyone a fair shot.

In the dub, Sheppard calls up to check to see if everything’s okay since he doesn’t want a repeat of last year where apparently Crowler dismissed a third of the potential applicants due to calling him ‘mister.’ You’d think that’d be a firable offense, but I guess there’s only so many duel doctors in the world.

Cronos originally doesn’t want to test Judai because the school’s only for the dueling elite, not some low ranked slackers, and wonders why Samejima’s defending him. In the dub, he explains that there are enough talentless students at the academy already.

Shou asks how Judai’s so confident since he only ranked nine levels higher than him in the written exam. In the dub, Syrus just comments on how confident Jaden is and wonders if he’s really that good. Basically the same, but they’re still omitting the ranks.

Name Change: Shou Marufuji is changed to Syrus Truesdale.

Cronos’ original title was Chief General Director of Practical Application. In the dub he’s Department Chair of Techniques.

Judai doesn’t insult Cronos by saying he thought he was the academy mascot like a majorette or a cheerleader (and nice way to insult your exam proctor. I’m sure that’s great for your end grade.) He just says that due to Cronos’ great title he must be expecting a lot from him.

Jun’s friends initially speak about how surprised they are that Cronos himself is doing the exam, which makes what I now completely believe to be a Draco Malfoy clone, Jun, very angry. In the dub, Chazz’s friends say that Jaden’s got quite the attitude, which makes Draco mad for some reason. What, is he super defensive when Crowler’s involved?

Nitpick, but the Duel Vest is originally called a Duel Coat….And that thing looks ridiculous and seems really impractical to wear.

 

The Attack and Defense indicator is also changed for the new series. There’s less decoration in the dub, but still.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Not even going to bother talking about the catchphrase for this series, Get Your Game On. I find it really annoying, yet less so than Believe it! But moreso than It’s Time to Duel! And I find it just dates this show badly like other slang 4Kids has put in here like “tight.”

Cronos’ original inner monologue was analyzing Judai’s first turn. Taking from the fact that he used an Elemental Hero on his first turn, Cronos believes Judai must be some sort of small town hero. In the dub, he just thinks about how he’s going to fail Jaden.

Cronos calls Judai’s deck a dropout deck (I guess dropout is a common sleight to Judai in the original) In the dub, Crowler says he remembers uses cards like those when he was a naïve rookie.

Judai then thinks to himself that Cronos is insulting the deck he put his life into, In the dub, Jaden doesn’t have any inner monologue, Crowler’s still speaking.

Cronos originally says “That’s what they call being a frog in a well. Ribbit ribbit.” In the dub, he tells Jaden he shouldn’t speak out of turn.

His original dialogue points to an old Chinese fable about a frog in a well who would brag about how great his life was. However, his viewpoint was narrow because he only knew of life in the well. One of the animals that he bragged to decided to take him out of the well and show him the world above, which made him change his viewpoint and realize there’s a much bigger world beyond the well. This is basically Cronos saying Judai’s naïve since he’s only seeing what’s in front of him and not beyond….However, him going ‘ribbit ribbit’ makes it seem like he’s calling himself the frog so something might’ve gone wrong here.

They don’t refer to Cronos’ deck by name in the dub. It’s his Dark Ages deck.

As expected, the commercial break eyecatches are edited out. If these change in the future, I’ll update them.

 

 

Shou marvels at how Cronos summoned an eight star monster suddenly on his first turn. In the dub, Syrus says Jaden’s nuts for taking on that legendary monster. Gotta say, for legendary, that thing looks like ass. It could easily be a three-star monster and I’d see no difference.

Name Change: Ryo Marufuji is changed to Zane Truesdale. And oh wonderful, he’s voiced by the same guy who voices Mark in Mew Mew Power. What a treat….At least it fits Zane more than Mark seeing as how Zane’s older. Still not quite old enough for the voice, but better.

Name Change: Asuka Tanjouin is changed to Alexis Rhodes.

Ryo initially tells us that Cronos has yet to lose after summoning that monster and that he must be taking this duel very seriously to bring it out. In the dub, Zane comments on how gutsy Jaden is for not even flinching at such a monster.

The Golem’s Ultimate Pound attack is changed to Mechanized Melee.

Shou says that the Golem’s ability, to reduce the opponents life points by the difference between its attack and his monster’s defense points defies the rules…No it doesn’t. While I do like to take any opportunity to call out cheating in these shows, that effect is perfectly legal and other monsters and cards have similar abilities. If it was against the rules, it wouldn’t be written on the card.

Judai says he’s honored to have such a prestigious professor at the academy dueling at his peak against him. In the dub, Jaden just says he wants to go to the school even more now because he’s enjoying the duel so much.

Judai doesn’t gloat in his head in the original.

Judai/Jaden isn’t in the least bit freaked out that his card just winked at him?

They changed the transition to the flashback with Yugi. Instead of a slightly wavy fade in and out, 4Kids uses this jarring bubble/fish eye lens transition.

Not sure why Cronos isn’t taking Winged Kuriboh more seriously. Granted, it is Kuriboh, but is he forgetting that the Kuriboh collection was one of Yugi’s, the King of Games, signature creatures? That doesn’t mean Judai knows how to play him well, but he should know better than to discredit it like that.

Wh…what? Asuka and Ryo talk about how it’s weird, yet also fascinating, that Cronos didn’t know of Winged Kuriboh’s effects and Ryo says the dueling world is boundless and even the best don’t know everything. This is kept the same in both versions but……..Well, okay…but he has a PhD….in DUELING PBBBBTTHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH–…Oh sorry. Anyway, he’s a duel doctor – You’d think that’d mean he’d extensively know all of the cards of the King of Games, at the very least.

Burstinatrix’s outfit is censored.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

We don’t see or hear Cronos talking before we see the splitscreen of Ryo, Asuka and Jun on screen. I guess 4Kids really didn’t think kids had the memory span or math skills to know that Elemental Hero Flame Wingman had less attack points than the Golem so they added the scene to shove it down their throats.

Daichi also says that Elemental Hero Flame Wingman is only summonable through fusion instead of repeating and explaining again than it has less attack points than the Golem.

The dub seems to have a fetish for what I call ‘frame-switching’ transitions. Basically where one scene ‘shoves’ another out of the way. I have no idea why, but for some reason it makes the show completely RADICAL and TIGHT!

Wow….Skyscraper’s such an OP card. In the original, Judai explains that Skyscraper’s ability is to increase an attacking Hero card’s attack by 1000 points if it’s attacking a creature with higher attack points. In the dub, it’s just that Skyscraper by default raises the Hero’s attack by 1000 points. Either way, that’s almost unfair it’s so powerful. And it’s not like there’s any criteria for using it either, it’s just a field magic card. Wow.

EMFW’s Skyscraper Shot is changed to Skydive Scorcher. Which does sound better, in my opinion.

Jaden: “And because of my Wingman’s super power…” It’s a special ability not a super power…

Judai’s final catchphrase is changed. At the end of a duel, he says “Gotcha!” while sometimes adding “That was a fun duel!” In the dub, he says “That’s game!” Judai also doesn’t say “Throw down a face-down.”

Not surprisingly, the dub completely omits the ending theme and the next episode previews. The ending song is okay, but the background animation is lazy. It’s just recycled moving still shots going over and over on a card background.

Next episode will have Judai dueling with Jun and the new students of Duel Academia get assigned to their dorms.

Nina Needs to Go! Review

Plot: I’ll explain in a second, I promise.

Breakdown: This one goes out to Dr. Tic Tac for totally forcing me to watch this. All blame on them. I’m not even sure they’re a real doctor.

Eh, I’m kidding, Tic Tac. You’re good people. This one’s on me. I just make poor life decisions. 😀

This is a bit of a stray from my usual fare as, today, we’re dealing with a show on Disney Junior centered around rushing a small child to the bathroom. I have said I’ll give pretty much any show a shot. And this is a bit of a rabbit hole I jumped into.

Almost every episode is exactly that – rushing Nina to the bathroom in various locations because she has a poor sense of understanding when she has to use the bathroom.

Each episode is two and a half minutes long, there are 19 episodes in total, and they all have the aim of teaching little kids about not waiting to go to the bathroom. Listen to your body and use the bathroom when you suspect you might have to go not when you’re….say….at the top of mountain on a skiing trip and the closest bathroom is at the bottom of the mountain. Kid’s in a snowsuit too. You’re screwed.

There’s another episode where Nina’s camping, so there’s no bathroom to find, but she demands privacy and can’t find it because there are animals everywhere. In one of the instances of finding a spot that wasn’t private, they came across a deer…watching her with binoculars…..I am…extremely disturbed.

Just for those wondering how that episode ends, her Nana comes along…she reveals that she can communicate with animals and she recruits them to build Nina a bathroom with sticks and rocks…instead of just asking them to please go away and give her some privacy.

The humor’s also not that good. It has its moments, but it’s not that good. What can you really expect in a pee-based mini-series, though?

Nina has an active imagination and she’ll just talk about things until something triggers her thinking about something related to water or something around her with remind her of water. Like this guy totally realistically pouring this bottle of water into this cup.

NNTG1
How do I water bottle?

This thought will immediately bring her to defcon 1 in the bladder department and her parents, brother or, most commonly, Nana will have to rush her to the bathroom before it’s too late.

Several reviewers have said they dislike this show for its potty humor, but outside of water=gotta pee, I didn’t see anything I would qualify as such. Either people are really reading into this series or I’m not getting something.

While her parents and brother are normal…her Nana’s…a secret agent?…Superhero?…I…uh….Whenever she takes Nina on her adventure to the can, she does risky stunts and uses gadgets to get her there as quickly as possible. She also has an incredibly annoying catchphrase of ‘That’s why I always carry an umbrella!’ Get it? Because her umbrella is a deus ex machina. It can become damn near anything.

Her parents don’t seem to know this about Nana, even though, in the first episode, she clearly brings Nina to the roof of the train right in front of her father. Her father being a complete idiot is also a theme.

Nana’s seemingly omniscient because she appears right in the nick of time anywhere Nina has a bathroom emergency, even if there’s literally no other reason for her to be there.

This was the first problem I really noticed with the…’story’ so to speak. When a kid is about to burst, it’s probably not a good idea to bring them along on adrenaline-filled stunts like this. Just nonchalantly walking on top of a train (it’s safe because they have helmets) and then Mary Poppinsing over a gap between train cars.

Or skiing down a mountain and darting around obstacles and going over jumps while Nina’s riding in Nana’s purse like a teacup dog. May I ask how the hell they even expected this three year old kid to ski down the mountain? Was someone going to carry her while they were skiing or was she going to ski down by herself? Neither answer is the right one.

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Seriously, some of the stuff they do is really dangerous and, considering the target audience, sets a bad example for kids. Bathroom being cleaned on one floor of the mall? No worries, just use an umbrella and zipline down to the next floor instead of asking the guy politely to wait a damn minute or else he’ll have to use that mop for something else.

Gotta go potty while stuck in traffic? No worries, just run out into the road doing whatever without looking both ways. I know it’s a traffic jam, but the cars are moving. In that same episode, they hitch a ride onto a wrecking ball and crash themselves through a billboard to reach the bathroom.

Nina always makes it to the bathroom in time and she always comes out claiming that will never happen again because now she knows not to hold it.

It’s here where most people have their biggest issue with the series, and what I assume is what got it canceled (Or canned! AHHAHAHAHAH)

On IMDB, and even on the official Disney Wikia page for this show, people were complaining that this series was actually having the opposite effect on kids than the creators originally intended. Instead of teaching young kids to listen to their bodies and go to the bathroom when they feel they might need to go instead of waiting until it’s an emergency situation, kids were choosing to purposely hold their pee because they believed if they did so they’d get to go on cool adventures to the porcelain throne like Nina.

And, of course, this lead to a bunch of accidents…..a…flood of them, if you will. HAHAHAHAHAH LAUGH WITH ME!

One reviewer on IMDB even stated a friend of hers had a perfectly potty trained daughter who suddenly started holding her pee on purpose, shouting ‘I NEED TO GO!’ when it started getting bad and then having accidents all because ‘that’s what Nina does.’

Many people on Youtube also pointed out the stupidity that her parents won’t teach her to go before they leave no matter if she feels she has to or not. You can’t trust a kid to be honest when they say they don’t have to go to the bathroom, especially at that age.

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I didn’t know where else to mention this, but during one episode they trip the alarm near the crown jewels while trying to get to the bathroom in the tower of London and have to escape….Oh and in this episode, we see the queen rush to the potty, if you ever needed that visual.

Another problem is that, well, this is a series of shorts with the exact same structure each time. Which means, what, class? That’s right! Nina never learns a damn thing. Despite every single episode ending with the same line of ‘That’ll never happen again, because now I know. Don’t wait to go.’ each episode has her waiting to go….and it happening again…because now she doesn’t know, apparently.

She doesn’t learn. Why would she? Like the kids who now have stained pants and angry parents, she knows each time she does this that she gets to have action-packed adventures to get to the latrine.

Something else you need to know about this series is that it was sponsored by Pull-Ups…and….someone suggested that this whole series and the mess that resulted from it…is a conspiracy to sell more diapers. I think that’s going a bit far….then again….why would a diaper company be promoting good potty training lessons?

Also, Nina pees magic twinkles or something. I dunno. Every time she uses the bathroom it sounds like Tinkerbell’s shaking off in there.

The art and animation is insanely simplistic and cheap, but, as much as I hate to say this, it’s suitable for a toddler show. It has bright colors and simple designs which kids would like. The animation is cardboard-cutout slidey Flash animation, but it’s not terrible. It’s pretty alright in the action scenes.

The music is blah, but fine, and the voice acting is alright. Nina is a little on the irritating side, but she could be worse. Also, famous anime voice actress Colleen O’Shaugnessey voices the mom. How utterly random.

All in all….no. Just…no. I can’t recommend it to anyone over the age of three because there’s nothing to gain from it in regards to, like, production or comedy or anything, and I can’t recommend it for parents or small children because it might actually reverse or slow down their potty training and cause accidents.

Even if the message worked, this series doesn’t need to exist. Such a simple concept does not need 15 episodes, no matter if they’re barely over two minutes each, in order to drive its point home. One is all that’s necessary, really. This should be a series about varied little lessons Nina learns, not the same lesson over and over that she never learns.

Being fair, it seems like they were going that way in the end, because there are four special episodes that they started making right before they got canceled that show Nina learning different lessons that have nothing to do with her bladder.

Nina Needs to Go to Sleep has the adventure be getting her upstairs without alerting her parents and getting her to sleep. And guess what? That episode actually has a lesson that kinda works. Can’t sleep? Read a book. Only way that can blow up in your face is if the kid turns out to be a bibliophile and stays awake to all hours of the night reading.

Then again, the way to get to the Nana adventure is by staying up past her bedtime and sneaking behind her parents’ backs…..

Well, Nina Needs to Go to a Fancy Restaurant has her learning good manners, which is alright, but then, in order to have an adventure with Nana, her meatball flies away and onto a dirty plate, they hop on top of a row of dirty plates to grab it, she grabs it off the dirty plate with her bare hands, Nana uses spaghetti as a whip to get onto the chandelier, the meatball flies back down, rolls onto the floor, she slides around on a wet floor sign, all the while Nana is chastising others for incredibly minor manners violations and then they use the mop to get back to their seats.

 

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Guys, it’s bad manners to…well, quite literally everything you’re doing right now.

 

Thank god she doesn’t eat the meatball, but screw off trying to teach good manners like this. We go from ‘Nina, use your indoor voice.’ to jumping around the restaurant like it’s Indiana Jones all to catch a meatball.

Also, her brother kinda asks if he could have the meatball, she says ‘no’ then the adventure happens. She gets a new meatball, eats half of it, but doesn’t offer the other half to her brother. Guess sharing isn’t a part of good manners.

When she goes to preschool, it’s alright. She feels left out until she lets the class hamster out the door and then Nana comes along to save it and they have an advent—oh I can see how this one might go wrong too.

There’s the final episode where Nina goes to the museum and learns to not separate from her parents or else she’ll get lost…..and she learns this by separating from her parents and getting lost so they can write in her adventure with Nana to get back to her father instead of teaching kids to find someone who works there and alert them to the situation so they can get back to their parents…..

And, again, it teaches kids that umbrellas are suitable parachute material…and that you should jump off from one floor to another with said umbrella….

 

NNTG5
Try this at home on your furniture, kids!

 

The real lesson comes off like it’s ‘don’t touch anything at a museum’ because she keeps saying that, which, while being a good lesson, didn’t have any consequences…

Also, the very end makes off like she is super happy she got lost because then she got to see everything she wanted to see and not the boring rocks her dad was trying to show h—You know what? Screw it. This whole series is a terrible idea. It has good intentions and some jokes that work, but the structure basically guarantees its failure every time, especially if what parents have been saying about it in regards to monkey-see monkey-do is for real.

It wasn’t a total wash, because I certainly learned something. I can actually enjoy myself while reviewing a preschool show. That either makes me a good reviewer or a nitpicky jerk. If I choose ‘nitpicky jerk’ can I go on an adventure with my grandma?

Yu-Gi-Oh Episode 10 Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: Yugi is finally gaining some ground on the fake Kaiba thanks to the real Kaiba helping him out. Can the combined efforts of Yugi and Kaiba stop the fake or will the Blue Eyes prove too powerful for them to take on?

———————————-

When they recap the scene before the commercial break (when Kaiba says “Yugi!”) They impose another Millennium symbol on Yugi’s forehead. They didn’t do it before the commercial break….and they redubbed the scene for some reason after it, so I dunno. I guess the Millennium Puzzle mixed its powers with the heart of the cards and killed a virtual dragon.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Like I mentioned in episode nine, the fake is not a ghost nor is it the ‘evil’ part of Kaiba. 4Kids injected a flashback of Yugi’s mind crush from episode one into this episode to push the concept of Kaiba’s evilness even further. Because making kids believe that evil can infect them is much better than an impostor dressing up as another person.

Also, why would Kaiba’s ‘evil’ part look like that? Wouldn’t it just look like Kaiba only evil, like he looked before? Or are we doing the tried, true and stupid ‘ugly=evil’ bullshit?

Side note – The music used for the fake when he reveals himself is hilarious in the original. It’s like some sort of Runescape music.

Whee, guns!

Subbed:

Dubbed:

I actually have to give them props for this edit because, if you didn’t know the original, you’d probably never know they had guns.

Pegasus threatens Croquet in the dub after he finds out Kaiba is still on the run. In the original, he just says it’s not an issue and to just enjoy the duel.

When Kimo turns his head, he’s actually thinking to himself in the original. In the dub, they change it to Pegasus contacting Kimo on some radio telling him to not let Mokuba go no matter what happens. This makes what happens in the end much less of a surprise.

It’s not the first time they’ve dubbed in the radio thing either. The first time Pegasus talks to him over the radio is a dub insert as well. In the original, it’s silent.

They edit out a scene in which the fake Kaiba pulls his cape over his head and suddenly changes his face to look like Pegasus to mock him. I guess they thought this wouldn’t make any sense since the dub fake is Kaiba’s evil self and not a guy in a suit.

Mystical/Holy Elf doesn’t have any special abilities nor does the Book of Mystic Arts grant any abilities beyond increased attack strength. Thus, Mystical Elf couldn’t have transferred its attack power to the Blue Eyes. Duelist Kingdom logic is fun.

4Kids edited out the wine on Pegasus’s hand after Yugi has that awesome speech. I guess they thought it looked like blood?

Subbed:

Dubbed:

This episode wasn’t as fun as the last because Kaiba quickly needs to run and doesn’t help Yugi anymore, so there’s no cool rival matchup after a short while. Without it, it’s kinda boring. Even with Kaiba’s deck, you know Yugi won’t lose to some goofy hired duelist. Afterall…not even Kaiba can beat Yugi with Kaiba’s deck.

Next time, Jounouchi Vs. Ryuuzaki!

…Previous Episode

My Poke-Pinion: 004-006 – The Charmander Line

Charmander

Name: Charmander’s name is a combination of ‘char’ as in something burned and ‘salamander.’ Charmander’s name, in my opinion, is really nice. It rolls of the tongue quite well while also being kinda cute.

Originally, in Japan, it was known as Hitokage, which is ‘hi’ for fire and ‘tokage’ for lizard. Hitokage’s name is cool on paper, but saying it out loud is just the slightest bit awkward to me for some reason.

Fun fact: It’s French name is Salameche….I don’t have anything to note about that besides the fact that it’s an oddly sexy word.

Design: Arguably even more simplistic than Bulbasaur’s, just being a lizard with fire on its tail, Charmander’s design is adorable. Like Bulbasaur, it has big expressive eyes and a cute smile. The orange color is great on it, and the fire on its tail is so simple yet such a solid trademark of the Charmander line.

Sprite-wise, Red and Blue are classic and Yellow is adorable.

Green looks weird because it makes it look like its nose is bigger than it is.

Silver is derpy, but cute.

Crystal’s is adorable the way it claps its paws together and calls out to you.

Other than the animations for everything beyond Gen IV looking like Charmander’s trying out for Dancing with the Stars, they’re all good.

Shiny:

Charmander’s shiny version never appealed to me. The gold-ish yellow color could be worse, and it does fit somewhat into a fire theme, but it just doesn’t look good to me.

Cry/Voice: Charmander’s cry brings up all sorts of nostalgic feelings for me because Charmander was the first Pokemon I ever used in the games. I remember hearing that cry all the time when I first started playing the games, and it’s dear to my heart.

On a more objective level, it’s a great cry. It sounds slightly cute, but also definitely sounds like a growl.

(Ash’s) Charmander’s anime voice has grown sour to me ever since I read on Dogasu’s comparison that Pokemon’s voice director, Michael Haigney, didn’t put any thought or effort into the voice. He just jumped into the recording booth, thinking Charmander was a one-off character, and tacked on a high-pitched voice to make him make a sound.

It’s hard to love a voice rooted in laziness, even if I still find it a little cute.

The fact that they were too lazy to look ahead is one thing, but they were also dumb. Ash caught Charmander in that episode – of course he was going to stick around. (I know there are some exceptions to that rule, but this is a starter we’re talking about.)

Dex Entries and Backstory: Most of Charmander’s Dex entries speak of its tail flame – and the specifics of the tail flame stay true throughout its evolutions. When it’s in good health and happy, the flame burns brightly. When it is in poor health, the flame weakens. When it’s angry, the flame grows and burns intensely. It is said that, when healthy, the flame can withstand getting a bit wet. Most notably, Charmander will die if its flame is snuffed out.

While many people associate Charmander, name wise, with a regular salamander, its origins may be based on mythical salamanders, which is a lizard-like being closely associated with fire.

I like Charmander’s story. It’s not very intricate, but it’s fairly unique. The fact that the flame dying means Charmander dies is interesting and kinda dark. It also makes you think the Charmander line has a really difficult life. Yeah, the flame can survive getting a ‘bit’ wet, like in rain, but how do you go your whole life avoiding getting it submerged or even just moderately wet?

Charmeleon

Name: The same char logic applies, but the ‘Meleon’ part is derivative from chameleons. I love Charmeleon’s name. It’s fitting and a lot of fun to say.

In Japanese, it has the much more boring name of Lizardo, which is literally just the Japanese way of saying the English word, lizard. I don’t much care for Lizardo as a name. It sounds like an annoying neighbor in a sitcom from the 80s.

Fun Fact: In French, its called Reptincel – A combination of ‘reptile’ and ‘etincelle,’ which is French for ‘spark.’ That sounds like a fairy tale character. Not really sure how much I like this one.

In other news, it’s called Glutexo in Germany, which is something.

Design: I’ve always felt that Charmeleon’s design suffers from ‘Middleman-ism’ Basically, mid-evos sometimes have the problem of looking like they’re merely filling the role of a middleman instead of establishing their own identity. There’s plenty done to Ivysaur to make it stand out on its own, and the same goes for Wartortle, but Charmeleon just seems like a middleman.

When you actually take inventory of all the differences between Charmeleon and Charmander, this seems like an unfair assessment. It’s bigger, the lines are a lot sharper, its face got fiercer, it gained bigger claws and got a horn-ish protrusion on its head.

Oh and its red.

For whatever reason, Charmeleon gained a stark red color, which is very odd. The coloring between most evos usually stays unchanged, or, if it does change, it’s usually a transition color on its way to the final evo’s color.

With the Char line, we get bright orange, bright red then back to the same bright orange.

It’s almost like they knew Charmeleon’s design was so middleman-ish that they made it red in order to allow it to stand out more.

That’s not to say I hate Charmeleon’s design, nor can I really suggest any ways they could’ve improved upon it outside of, maybe, giving him a singular dragon wing, which I can’t decide whether it would be awesome or dumb.

Sprite-wise, he looks fairly bad, especially from the back, in Gen I.

He gets good sprites in Gen II, but looks like a complete idiot in Crystal.

(“What do you mean my Thumper impression is bad!?”)

He looks like a caricature of a playground bully.

Lookin’ good through Gen III, looking even better in Gen IV. I particularly Diamond, Pearl and Platinum, because that pose is badass.

Gen V onward look great.

Shiny:

Charmeleon has the same shiny problem that Shiny Charmander has. I am just not a fan of the yellow, and somehow it seems even worse on Charmeleon. In recent generations, it looks toned down, but I’m still not a fan.

Cry/Voice: I love Charmeleon’s cry. It’s a deeper tone, but keeps the same growl effect as Charmander, which I think is more fitting for Charmeleon given its fiercer design and attitude.

Charmeleon’s anime voice is a little awkward, but I blame most of that on the name. Due to the long name, whenever Charmeleon states its full name out, it sounds really forced. Luckily, they usually keep to just having it say ‘Char’ over and over.

Charmeleon’s actual voice is fine. Its voice actor (Ash’s Charmeleon) has changed from Michael Haigney to Eric Stuart – a change I believe was definitely for the better. He adds a gruffness to the voice that is very fitting while also keeping a high enough pitch to suit its attitude. Sadly, we don’t hear much of it because Charmeleon is in all of three episodes before getting kicked to the curb for Charizard.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Charmeleon’s dex entries have more information than we’ve been given so far down the line. They focus on its fierceness and desire to battle as well as its sharp claws and powerful tail. Swings of its tail increase the surrounding area’s temperature sharply, and it will constantly shoot out flames when it is agitated or hyped up. It is always looking for new opponents and, when it finds one, it will not stop brutally attacking them with its razor sharp claws until it is defeated.

It only finds serenity after it has won a battle, and, when excited, particularly for a battle, its tail flame will turn bluish-white, something we never see in the anime, but would’ve been awesome.

Charmeleon usually reside in mountain regions where they are said to resemble stars at night due to their tail flames.

Charmeleon’s design origins are based loosely on a combination of a dinosaur and its namesake, a chameleon. However, it doesn’t share much with chameleons outside of its snout and head crest. The fact that it uses its tail as a powerful weapon may be poking at the fact that chameleons also use their tails for a variety of purposes.

I really like Charmeleon’s backstory, and it may give a bit more support as to why Ash, in the anime, can’t control Charmeleon after it evolves from Charmander. It seems some Pokemon just might gain a personality or behavior change upon evolving. How fitting that this happens in the mid-evo stage, like a petulant teenager. However, this does not dismiss the fact that Ash’s Charmeleon seems to get amnesia upon evolving, and the fact that the dumbass never trains it. And lest we forget that Better-Ash….Err, I mean Richie also has a Charmeleon that has absolutely no behavioral issues.

Charizard

Name: Again, keeping in with the theme, the ‘char’ part is retained and the ‘izard’ part is derivative of ‘lizard.’ Charizard’s name gives off a very powerful and dragon-esque vibe while also fitting into the Char line’s theme perfectly. It rolls off the tongue and is very memorable.

In Japan, it is known as Lizardon, which sounds about as lazy as ‘Lizardo,’ but it works a little better because it’s a combination of ‘lizard’ and ‘dragon’ or ‘don,’ which is Greek for ‘tooth,’ commonly used in conjunction with dinosaurs. Personally, I believe the dragon explanation more, but the latter is possible. Lizardon is also more imposing and is catchier than Lizardo.

Fun Fact: In France, it’s known as Dracaufeu. Not sure how I feel about that. I can barely pronounce it.

Design: As much as I, like many people, find Charizard to be an overrated orange dragon, I can’t deny that it has one of the most memorable and cool dragon designs in recent years. In essence, it’s just a very simplistic western-style dragon with fire on its tail, but it has it’s own personality, style and sleekness to it that can’t be compared to most fancy dragon designs of today.

The orange and blue color scheme really works for it, and it has a fantastic head and facial structure.

In the realm of sprites, Red and Blue seem really awkward. Why the hell is Charizard scrunched up like that? Can he not fit into frame?

His posture is eons better in Yellow, but it retains a major flaw.

The back for Red, Blue, Green and Yellow are the same, and dear god almighty, why the hell does Charizard look like Zombizard? He looks like someone threw skin onto a poorly made Charizard skeleton replica. Who greenlit that monstrosity!?

Green seems like it’s more serpentine. I can’t tell if I like it all that much. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it’s kinda cute, but it doesn’t give off a very strong feeling of Charizard.

Gold and Silver are much better designs, and thank the designers for fixing his back sprite.

His Crystal animation is also kinda cute. He just twitches his wings at you.

Ruby and Sapphire go for an even more intimidating pose, and the Emerald sprite goes further by having him roar at you, which is cool.

FireRed and LeafGreen are good.

There’s no way around this, but Diamond, Pearl and Platinum make it seem like Charizard is trying to go to the bathroom.

HeartGold and SoulSilver look like they’re trying to emulate Ash’s Charizard quite a bit with that pose, and I can appreciate that.

Looks like Black/2 and White/2 tried their hand at remaking the DPP sprites so it doesn’t look quite so much like you have to break out a shovel soon, but it’s still weird because now the animation makes it look like it’s out of breath.

Gens VI and VII now have Charizard flying, which I find really cool. Wish it was a bit more dynamic, though.

Shiny: Gen II’s shiny is a bit odd. It’s less ‘shiny’ and more ‘stained by rolling around in mud for 12 hours.’

We get better in Gen III when the colors get changed to a darker color palette that is closer to its beloved black and red, but it’s more of a very deep olive green than a true black.

Gen IV is where we finally get its kickass true black and red pattern. It is not one of the absolute best shinies, in my opinion, but it’s still awesome.

Mega: Charizard is speshul and gets TWO mega forms. Oohlala.

First is Mega Charizard X, which is the best thing to ever exist. Fight me.

I may be over-exaggerating, but I fell in love with this design. It’s like everything I ever wanted out of a Shiny Charizard design only not as much of a pain in the ass to obtain. Look at that thing! The black color with the beautiful shade of blue flames, the added blue spikes and the flames billowing from its mouth. It’s amazing.

Mega Charizard Y is what I was expecting of a Mega Charizard.

It’s basically Charizard with more points. I don’t know why so many people find Y to be so great, even favoring it over X (though I agree that X might seem more busy.) I don’t find it bad, in fact it’s pretty sleek and cool looking, but I greatly prefer X.

Well, there is one area where Y shines more – the shiny versions. Considering Y keeps the color palette of regular Charizard, it also has the same shiny colors as shiny Charizard.

Since shiny X has an entirely new color palette, they have to give X a new shiny version….and it’s poo.

It’s a widely held opinion that the worst shinies are the green shinies. Personally, the yellow ones are my least favorite and green is one of my favorite colors. That being said, shiny Mega Charizard X is a hot green mess.

Why green? Why? What part of Charizard screams ‘yeah, I’m thinking green.’? I know Charizard is named for a lizard, but come on.

They maintain the blue color for the fire and change the spike and wing colors to red. Green and blue go together, but mixing red and green will always give whatever you’re coloring a ‘Christmas’ vibe about it. Not to mention that the three colors mixed together just look like garbage.

Unlike a lot of green shinies, at least this one’s not a highlighter lime green, it’s more of a forest green, but it’s still ugly.

Voice/Cry: Charizard’s cry is a beloved classic in the games (Mostly because it’s the cry you hear in the title screen of Pokemon Red) as is Charizard’s roaring in the anime. I love Charizard’s cry, not just for nostalgia, but because it’s an intimidating growl-like tone that works well with its previous evolutions.

Likewise, Charizard’s roar is an imposing ‘I’m a dragon and I’m gonna kick your ass’ roar that really highlights how awesome the Char line’s final form is. Compare Charizard’s roar to Venusaur’s or Blastoise’s yell and it’s no contest which would make you soil yourself if you ever heard them out in the wild.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Most of Charizard’s Dex entries talk about its intense flames. They can melt almost anything and can blast through a 10,000 ton glacier quickly. Like Charmeleon, they claim that the flame turns bluish-white when its extremely angry or amped up, but no one ever sees it.

There are some odd things about its Dex entries too.

“Breathing intense, hot flames, it can melt almost anything. Its breath inflicts terrible pain on enemies.” The intense, hot flames inflict terrible pain? You don’t say.

“Charizard flies around the sky in search of powerful opponents. It breathes fire of such great heat that it melts anything. However, it never turns its fiery breath on any opponent weaker than itself.

UHM.

By the way, apparently Charizard Flamethrowering Ash in the face is now written as a form of affection?…..Right. That’s like saying your dog mauling you is their way of licking your face.

If that’s true, it sounds like damage control for making Charizard a dick for so long.

Next up, the Squirtle line.

Previous – The Bulbasaur Line

 

Pokemon Episode 48 Analysis – Holy Matrimony!

Pokemon Episode 48 TITLE

CotD(s): Jessebelle – A seemingly lady-like southern belle, Jessebelle has been an extreme nag to James his entire life. She is incredibly demanding and controlling to the point where he ran away from home because his parents tried to betroth him to her. Jessebelle bears a striking resemblance to Jessie, which has massively confusing implications.

Reappears?: To my shock and horror, yes. She reappears way down the line in Diamond and Pearl to face off with James yet again.

Pokemon: Vileplume

James’ Parents: Never given actual names, James’ parents are terribly disconnected when it comes to what their son really wants or needs. They believe marrying Jessebelle will make him happy and, like Jessebelle, go to extremes to force him into doing what they want.

Reappear?: Kinda. They appear as a flashback to James’ childhood in the same DP episode Jessebelle makes an actual appearance in.

Pokemon: Technically, they own Growlie, James’ Growlithe.

Growlie (I’m counting him): James’ beloved Growlithe. He is fiercely loyal to his master and will do anything to protect him and make him happy. Likewise, James is incredibly attached to Growlie, which just makes his decision in not bringing Growlie with him to be insanely confusing.

Reappears?: Yes! Growlie makes one more appearance in the aforementioned DP episode where he basically does the same thing he did in this episode.

Pokemon: James.

Plot: Ash notices a Missing poster as they’re traveling and realizes that it’s an old childhood photo of James. As they discuss it, a limo pulls up and a butler emerges asking what they know about the boy in the photo. They admit that they believe it’s James from Team Rocket and, in a fit of excitement, the butler whisks them away in the limo to share the details.

Team Rocket also looks at the poster and decide to follow them, though James is very reluctant to do so.

Ash and the others arrive at a massive mansion, and the butler explains that James’ parents have died that morning. He must find James quickly because he’s their only heir and, per their will, he is entitled to their estate. The catch is, he has to marry a girl named Jessebelle within 24 hours of their passing or the estate will go to charity.

The group mulls over whether they should find James and tell him about his parents. Just as they’re deciding to find him and tell him, Team Rocket literally fall from the sky in front of them. James acts as if he has amnesia and doesn’t remember anything about this family.

Jessie and Meowth, more concerned with money above all else, decide to force James into making an appearance so they can take the money and scram. They don ‘invisible costumes’ and gag James so they can puppeteer him into going along with their plan.

It, shockingly, seems to work, and the butler leads James to his parents’ coffins. Suddenly, his parents emerge from the coffins and explain that they faked their death to lure James out of hiding and force him to marry Jessebelle.

They lead him down to a room where everyone finally gets a look at Jessebelle. To everyone’s shock and horror, Jessebelle looks and sounds exactly like Jessie.

She leads them down to the basement where James’ inheritance supposedly is, but it’s revealed to be some weird torture dungeon. Jessebelle and James’ parents reveal that they knew Jessie and Meowth were there the whole time and they were using their lust for Jame’s inheritance to force him into the dungeon.

Jessebelle subdues James by using her Vileplume’s Stun Spore, which also takes down Ash, Misty, Brock, Jessie and Meowth. The butler kicks them out of the mansion while Jessebelle ‘tames’ James.

They hear a ruckus in the doghouse and Meowth translates that the dog wants to be let out. They all break the dog, James’ beloved Growlithe, Growlie, out of its doghouse and it rushes to its master’s aid. It manages to save James from Jessebelle and Vileplume and they all lock themselves in the doghouse.

James explains that being betrothed to Jessebelle is what drove him to run away in the first place. She was always incredibly demanding and wanted to change everything about him in order to conform to how the upper class does things. Her views were an extreme version of what he was already getting with his parents – suffocating rules and a complete lack of freedom. When he ran away and lived his own life, he was able to experience true freedom for the first time.

Jessebelle bursts through the wall and blasts Meowth and Jessie off. James and Growlie face off against Jessebelle and Vileplume. With an unnecessary bit of help from Ash and Pikachu, Jessebelle is beaten and runs off.

James tells Growlie that he has to stay at the estate and take care of his parents, but he can’t stick around because he has to live a life with freedom. He bids his old friend a fond farewell and reunites with his friends.

——————————

– “Ash continues his journey with Misty, Brock and their EGGS-elent new companion.” First line of the episode.

First line.

Damn pun.

Damn EGG pun. Please don’t screw around with the egg puns on me. I have bad flashbacks to Egghead from the 1960’s Batman series….People thought Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin was bad….

– I love how Ash, Misty and Brock give zero shits about being essentially kidnapped. Seriously, they’re drinking tea and everything. Don’t take rides from strangers, kids…..even if they forcibly throw you into the vehicle.

– I have a hard time getting a read on James’ parents in relation to Growlie. They keep him locked up just because Jessebelle doesn’t like him, but they give him a massive legit mansion as a doghouse. They also don’t get rid of him even though Jessebelle hates him and James has been gone for years.

– I get that it’s the joke, but how the hell did Ash and the others not notice the ginormous mansion mere feet next to the ‘doghouse’?

Pokemon Episode 48 Screen1

– Time to rip into James’ parents horrible ‘plan.’

First off, the butler says his parents died this morning….This morning. They’re already in coffins when they died this morning. There’s nothing to indicate this is taking place any later than noon, by the way.

Second, do they always have these coffins out just in case they get a bite on their bait? Did their butler call ahead to inform them that they need to get into the coffins and prep the flower arrangement before they arrive?

Third, they’re already making estate disbursements? When they died this morning? Let the bodies cool for god’s sake.

Fourth, this plan was setup horribly. They faked their deaths so they could lure James out, either because of grief or because it would make him believe he had just inherited a ton of money. Makes sense so far. However, the way we got to this point was through a ‘missing’ poster that didn’t even have any information on it. All it had was James’ picture.

They were banking on someone seeing the picture, recognizing him enough to realize this kid was James, being there when someone recognizes the poster, ambush them, bring them back to the estate with James in tow for some reason or at least being able to find him quickly, explain the situation, bring James back, and convince him to marry Jessebelle by claiming he has 24 hours to do so or else the estate won’t go to him while simultaneously not getting an annulment or divorce the instant he realizes that they’re alive.

They could’ve just put an announcement out that claimed they had passed away, hoping the message would find James and that would trick him into the marriage.

Would that not be more effective than a single ‘missing’ poster on a walking trail in the middle of nowhere?

Fifth, the butler explains that they both died simultaneously shortly after James left because they couldn’t handle the heartbreak? Come on. James may be an idiot, but he seems to be really knowledgeable about his parents. He should never believe that for a second.

Sixth, how long has James been gone? From the flashback, he seems to have run away as a young child, and that would explain why his parents don’t use an updated photo of him, opting instead to use one of him as a young boy. Yet the butler acts like he ran away very recently and the impact of the event was too much for them.

Seventh, there was something else really wrong with this whole plan….What was it?….Oh oh yeah, it’s insanely horrible to fake your death for the sake of luring your son out and forcing him to marry someone he obviously hates. It’s horrible to fake your death period, but that’s a stupid reason above all else.

It’s also slightly disconcerting that James doesn’t seem to care all that much that his parents died. I know they are controlling and abrasive, but still.

As a final note to this, while this won’t be the last weird moment of the episode, it is incredibly odd that 4Kids kept this entire plotline intact. They say ‘passed away’ instead of ‘died’ but that’s not censoring death at all. They show the coffins full out, even the crosses, and they talk about funerals. It’s really weird.

Pokemon Episode 48 Screen2

– James mentions Pokemon Tech, which is something else questionable about his past. Pokemon Tech is supposed to be really expensive, and I think he was there at an age where he’d already be away from his parents, so how did he pay for it?

– Pokemon parodying The Dog of Flanders….I never got the reference when I was younger, but now that I’ve seen the movie, this hits a little hard. Also, more death references, what the hell? Not to mention them being cool with referencing a really sad tragedy story, not that most kids in the west would get the reference.

– I love how everyone (Barring Misty and maybe Pikachu) buys the story, though. It’s one of the funnier moments of the series.

Pokemon Episode 48 Screen3

– I also like how Ash and the others are so nice to James here. Jessie and Meowth are treating him like a human ATM, but Ash, Misty and Brock want him to be free to choose who he marries and give him the opportunity to say goodbye to his parents.

– Not even Team Rocket should be stupid enough to think those ‘invisible costumes’ should work. If you were always perplexed by the weird black outfits somehow being seen as ‘invisible costumes,’ fear not. You are not alone. This is just one of those things that doesn’t transfer over to American audiences at all. To reference Dogasu’s comparison,

“The outfits they’re wearing are the same outfits that kuroko (黒子) wear. Kuroko are stagehands in traditional Japanese theater – kabuki, Noh, etc. – and wear black from head to toe in order to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Like stagehands in the West, kuroko are meant to be ignored.”

Pokemon Episode 48 Screen4

Even with this explanation, they still shouldn’t believe this would work. Ignoring the obvious, Jessie’s bright red hair isn’t even covered. I get that numerous people are surprised that it seems to work, but even little kids should be able to catch on that the people are either incredibly stupid or faking it (it’s the latter).

Let’s be overtly generous and say they would work to trick someone – how do you get around the fact that James is clearly gagged right now?

Not to mention that both Jessie and Meowth are talking very loudly to James numerous times. Surely they have to realize that the invisible costumes don’t make it so people nearby only hear them when they’re pretending to be James. Dear god, everything about this ‘joke’ makes no sense. My brain is throbbing with stupid.

– I am really getting annoyed at this butler constantly speaking through a bullhorn for no reason.

– Why the hell do James’ parents know (and partially recite) the Team Rocket motto?

– People always bring up that Jessebelle looks ridiculously like Jessie, but can we also discuss how James’ mother looks quite a bit like Jessie too? It’s not nearly as obvious, but the design similarities are there.

– Team Rocket still believes that they can’t be seen even though the butler is carrying both James and Jessie – one under each arm.

– It’s very obvious, even before she puts the fan down from her face, that Jessebelle looks and sounds like Jessie.

– There’s never any reason given for why Jessebelle spends so much time at the mansion, even when James hasn’t been around in years. Jessebelle calls James’ mom ‘Mother’ Also, her parents are never seen nor do we know her lineage. Also, I already mentioned how James’ mom looks like Jessie, thus she also looks like Jessebelle.

Incest isn’t terribly uncommon among the massively rich folk and royalty is all I’m saying.

– I’ll be honest, I never got what we were supposed to take away from Jessebelle looking and sounding exactly like Jessie – and her having a very similar name on top of that. The Rocketshipper in me wants to believe it’s meant to be because James is attracted to Jessie, but he’s definitely not attracted to Jessebelle so this makes no sense.

Pokemon Episode 48 Screen5

Maybe it’s meant to be something along the lines of you can have two people look the same, but their personalities can differ quite a lot, and James is attracted to Jessie’s personality, but I can’t even see how that works.

In a lot of ways, Jessebelle acts exactly like Jessie too. She is extremely loud, violent and selfish. While Jessebelle’s focus is entirely on controlling James, Jessie’s is moreso on stealing Pokemon and getting rich.

Think about it. The only reason James is even in this room right now is because Jessie lassoed him and literally puppeteered him into it all for the sake of mooching off of his inheritance, no matter what he has to say about it.

This episode, given the very ending, has a somewhat heavy hint of Rocketshipping, but if James hates Jessebelle because she’s a loud, bitchy, controlling shrew who doesn’t care what he wants, why are we meant to believe he’d want to be with Jessie when she’s a loud, bitchy, controlling shrew who doesn’t care what he wants and is a physical clone of Jessebelle?

– Another problem with this episode is that Ash, Misty and Brock have no reason to be here. They’re now just commentating on everything they’re watching. Outside of being a moral voice that Jessie and Meowth don’t listen to anyway, they could be completely removed from this episode and nothing would change. Just have Jessie and Meowth find the poster and be kidnapped by the butler.

– That’s another thing – how is this inheritance plan even a thing anymore? James’ parents are alive – he won’t get his inheritance until they die, no matter if he marries Jessebelle or not. Unless Jessie and Meowth are just planning to straight up rob them, this plan lost its footing the instant James’ parents revealed themselves.

– Okay, let me prepare myself….

*inhale*…..*exhale*

WHAT THE UNHOLY HELL IS THIS ROOM!?

Pokemon Episode 48 Screen6

I was confused by it when I first watched it and I’m even more confused now. I can’t even bring myself to breakdown and analyze everything in this room. Just…what?!

They act like it’s just a strange gym, and it does have some normal gym equipment, but look at everything else! The spikes, the pendulum of death, the giant spiky mace!

And as if this weird dungeon weren’t suggestive enough, Jessebelle dons a whip and when we pan back to Ash, Misty and Brock, Brock and Misty are visibly uncomfortable and are blushing. What is even happening right now?!

Pokemon Episode 48 Screen7

– While the ‘invisible costumes’ were massively stupid, I will give props to James’ parents, the butler and Jessebelle for instantly opting to play along with it because they knew they would force James into the dungeon.

– Ash: *Seeing James being chased by Jessebelle* “Shouldn’t we help him?”

Brock: “Eh, I don’t like to get involved in these family squabbles.” Now you’re actively being inactive. Wow.

– Dexter: “Using the largest flower petals in the world….” Uh, no? Venusaur’s flower petals are way bigger.

– Also, the image of Vileplume in the PokeDex looks absolutely terrible.

Pokemon Episode 48 Screen8

– Jessebelle: “Hahahaha, sleepin’ like a baby.” Stun Spore paralyzes you – it doesn’t knock you out. His eyes are clearly open, too.

– I’m not exactly sure why they let Ash and the others watch this whole time. Unlike Team Rocket, their presence was unnecessary, and they were ‘hiding’ the whole time. Besides letting our main characters be a part of what’s going on, they should’ve thrown them out ages ago.

– Even though Ash doesn’t Dex it, he still questions what a Growlithe is when he’s seen one already.

– I love James and Growlie together. It’s nice to see something actually give legit love and affection towards him, and it’s equally nice to see something make James happy and content. It pains me quite a bit that they don’t have it be a mainstay Pokemon of his, but we’ll get to that later.

Pokemon Episode 48 Screen9

– I don’t understand. If Growlie ran away with James back then, when and why did they get split up, and why is Growlie still with James’ parents?

– James’ parents are a lot worse the more I think about them. James ran away when he was…eight or so? He’s been missing for nearly ten years, and has been on his own since he was a young child. For all they knew, James was murdered on the street or kidnapped. Yet they don’t seem like ever cared about him the entire time he was gone, and their only intention upon finding him is forcing him into marriage before he’s even turned 18. What selfish, uncaring scumbags.

You’d think, even if they always knew he was alive and well, that ten years of contemplation would make them think ‘Hm, maybe we’re being too strict with James.’ Nope, they just get even worse in their controlling behavior.

– Jessebelle breaks down one of the walls of the doghouse….and that somehow…blasts Meowth and Jessie out of the roof…..???

– Jessebelle: “Vileplume! Stun them to sleep, just like before!” Stun Spore does not induce sleep! For someone who’s had that Vileplume since it was an Oddish ten-some-odd years ago, you suck at knowing what it does. Hint – it can do more than Stun Spore.

– Why does Ash only now feel the need to intervene? Growlie is more than enough of an opponent for a Vileplume, and it ruins Growlie’s heroic moment of defeating Vileplume and Jessebelle. Just had to give Pikachu his spotlight, didn’t you?

– And now the biggest mar on this episode.

Why the hell does Growlie not go with James at the end? They explain it away by having James claim he has to stay there to ‘take care’ of his parents, but that is both cheap and a terrible idea.

Why do his parents ‘need’ him? Certainly they have a bunch of security there, and it’s not like companionship is an issue. They have each other. They’re never even seen interacting with Growlie once. They don’t seem to give much of a crap about him, at least not enough to warrant this.

They don’t really deserve him, either. It’s nice to see that James still cares about his ‘lousy’ parents, no matter what they try to do to him (or what his lack of a response to their passing would indicate) but they’re terrible people.

While I would be hard-pressed to say they likely abuse Growlie, it can be assumed that he’s regularly locked up because of Jessebelle. Speaking of her, Jessebelle will probably do everything in her power to get rid of it. Growlie is one of the only things standing in her way of forcing James into marriage.

He probably wouldn’t have an easy time on the road considering Team Rocket regularly starves and never has a real place to live, but I think he’d sacrifice all that to be with his best friend.

Pokemon Episode 48 Screen10
I really like James’ expression here.

Not that I’d particularly like to see Growlie as a bad guy. If anything, Growlie is a symbol of James’ good side. Making him a member of Team Rocket, despite the significant and interesting power shift, would tarnish Growlie’s image.

Still, I at least would’ve liked a better reason as to why he couldn’t go with James. The one they came up with just seems to lazy and nonsensical.

I feel like the writers had this nice backstory laid out for James, knew they wanted him to have a great Pokemon at home to connect with, but couldn’t figure out how to fit that Pokemon into the regular storyline so they agreed to have it be a one-off character. He is reprised later, but, truth be told, while I haven’t seen it, that Diamond and Pearl episode sounds like a massive rehash of this episode.

Hearing Growlie howl as James walks away is heartbreaking. I wish they would’ve done more with this story.

– Why do Jessie and Meowth assume James suddenly changed his mind and married Jessebelle willingly and decided to stay at the estate? He was talking about how miserable Jessebelle and his parents made him as a kid, then they blast off and the next scene they’re in they’re lamenting over James leaving Team Rocket.

– As much as I like the Rocketshipping moment at the end, in hindsight, it seems really disjointed. Jessie goes from being dead set on forcing James into marrying Jessebelle for the sake of leeching off his inheritance to being sad he’s ‘leaving’ for no reason to happy that he’s staying.

Pokemon Episode 48 Screen11

Every moment that they wasted on Ash and Co.’s discount pointless recaps and reactions should’ve been spent on making these Team Rocket moments a little better. Have Jessie be at least reluctant to marry James off once they see Jessebelle or have her battle Jessebelle or something. Like I mentioned earlier, Jessie is being as much of a shrill harpy as Jessebelle is this entire episode yet they make the ending sweet Rocketshipping.

—————————

I still really like this episode, and my main fault is really just with the Growlie issue. Everything else is basically a testament to James’ poor upbringing or just bad writing. Jessebelle is a good concept, but they have to make her more different from Jessie in order to have her truly work as a character.

The invisible costume shtick is kinda funny, but you have to be willing to accept that Jessie and Meowth are about ten times stupider than they normally are in order for it to work.

The episode still has a lot of fun moments and jokes, and the animation is higher quality than it normally is. Plus, it’s always nice to get some backstory and insight into our main cast.

One of the reasons the Growlie thing hurts so bad, aside from what I’ve mentioned, is Growlithe is one of my favorite Pokemon. It’s an adorable fiery powerhouse. The fact that we missed out on having one on the main team (and potentially an Arcanine later!) is disappointing to say the least. He could’ve rounded out the animal sidekicks! (Dog→Cat→Mouse) Plus, Growlie got very little screentime as a whole. He appears two-thirds of the way into the episode and is dumped at the end.

Next episode, our introDUCKtion (I’m so sorry) to Farfetch’d – the Pokemon who’s never not a douche.

Previous Episode…

SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 31: Father’s Back – One-Game Match for Ichigo

SSBS - TMM EP 31 SCREEN

Plot: Ichigo’s father finds out about her relationship with Aoyama and he’s furious. He wants nothing more than to break them up.

Aoyama calls the house one night, and her father takes the opportunity to meet with him and give him a piece of his mind. He rushes off on his scooter, so Ichigo transforms and rushes after him.

When her father meets with Aoyama, he tries to forbid them from dating, but Aoyama politely refuses. Ichigo’s father proclaims that they’re too young to be dating. They have too much left to do on their own, and they’re not mature enough to fall in love. Aoyama agrees that they have much more left to do, but they cannot deny their feelings. They’re real and shouldn’t be ignored no matter what age they are.

Ichigo’s father decides to challenge Aoyama to a kendo duel for the right to date Ichigo. Aoyama agrees.

On the day of the duel, Ichigo’s mother sits her down and explains her father’s behavior. When Ichigo was born, she was very small and had to struggle to stay alive. The entire time she was in the hospital, her father would visit her all the time, cheering her on. He loves her more than anything else in the world, which is why he’s so protective of her.

Additionally, he and Ichigo’s mother had a similar circumstance when they were younger. They too met and started dating when they were in junior high, and Ichigo’s grandfather greatly disapproved. Like Ichigo’s father did to Aoyama, her grandfather also challenged her father to a duel for the right to keep their relationship. Her grandfather kept getting knocked down, but he always got back up. He got up again and again until he finally gave up and let the two of them date. In a way, the duel and the resistance of Ichigo’s father made their relationship stronger and proved their love to be true.

Meanwhile, back in the duel, history seems to be repeating itself. Ichigo’s father is getting defeated quite badly by Aoyama. Even though they agreed to a single point win, her father is not acknowledging the hits as valid and keeps getting up. Her father manages one big burst of energy and forces Aoyama to the ground, knocking his sword away. As her father is about to land the winning strike, Ichigo arrives and stops the match.

However, neither of them is willing to concede until the match is properly won. As Ichigo’s father is about to land his strike, Ichigo steps in the way. Using Aoyama’s sword, she deflects her father’s strike and protects Aoyama. She proclaims that they’re not doing anything wrong, but if he demands a fight, she’ll face him.

Her father flashes back to the fight he had with Ichigo’s grandfather where the true ending of the match is revealed to be the same as is happening now. Her mother took up her father’s sword and stood against Ichigo’s grandfather to protect their love.

Realizing the situation at hand, Ichigo’s father laughs and gives them his blessing before leaving the dojo.

Breakdown:

– I find it hard to believe that Ichigo’s dad never knew she was dating Aoyama. She never seemed like she was keeping it a secret, and her mother knew. They’ve been dating quite a while now.

– Wait, the scene ended without Ichigo arriving at the meeting?….So her transforming was 100% useless? Is there a transformation quota or something?

————————–

I was about ready to write this episode off for the first half. It’s basically the same double standard BS of protecting the daughter fiercely when she gets a boyfriend, but if the genders were reversed, this would be no problem.

Ichigo’s father vehemently hates Aoyama without even meeting him and is more than ready to force these two apart for no real reason. He even has the gall to ask Ichigo how far she’s gone with Aoyama at the dinner table, no less.

But….

The second half makes up for a lot. The fact that Ichigo’s dad is so protective because she nearly died as a baby was a good justification, even if he did go overboard, and the parallel of her situation with Aoyama and her parents was quite sweet. It wasn’t so much protecting her from terrible boys than it was proving their relationship and love to be strong enough. He wanted to see if they both found it worth fighting for.

It’s still a bit on the sexist side. I have to imagine he might have done this to everyone Ichigo might have dated had she not met the love of her life in junior high. She didn’t even say she was in love – the only thing she and her mother told him was that he was her boyfriend.

I just can’t get behind the whole ‘fighting for the right to date someone’s daughter’ thing. Ichigo literally has no say in this unless she puts herself in the line of fire.

I still enjoyed the latter part of the episode for what it was worth. It was very sweet and definitely strengthened the bond between her and Aoyama. Even if the grounds for the duel are damn near medieval, it’s admirable that both Aoyama and her father will go to such lengths for Ichigo.

…..That being said, this is more filler. It’s not bad filler, as you can get by my lack of notes, but it’s filler. They practically insult you with this week’s transformation. She transforms to run after her father to stop him from confronting Aoyama, but it’s not like she’s running any faster than she would as regular Ichigo. Not to mention the fact that the transformation was entirely pointless anyway. She transforms, runs through the city like an idiot and gets lost, so she never even gets to the meeting.

Oh but where are the other girls? Where they’ve pretty much been fastened to the floor for the past five episodes – back at Cafe Mew Mew. We cut to Ichigo at work like three times. The girls all have a one-sentence reaction to what she’s doing each time and then we cut back to the plot. They were seriously just shots to remind us that the other girls exist.

There was also noticeably no chimera animal or Kisshu and friends today, either. It’s been extremely slow-goings since the first season finale.

All in all, this is a nice episode, but can we please get to more action-oriented episodes? Even slightly?

Rating: 6/10

Next episode, I seemingly get my wish. Mint and her friends are at a tea party, and they meet a girl who claims to be Mint’s eternal rival. Kisshu arrives to crash the party, believing there to be Mew Aqua at the event.

…Previous Episode

SSBS – Saint Seiya/Knights of the Zodiac Episode 2: Burn! Meteor Punch of Pegasus

SSBS - Saint Seiya Episode 2

Plot: Seiya has arrived in Japan right as the Galactic Tournament is starting up. The Galactic Tournament is a series of matches between those who have earned Bronze cloths for the sake of winning one of the 12 Golden Cloths. Seiya has absolutely no interest in joining, however. His one goal in coming to Japan and the tournament arena was to deliver the Pegasus cloth to a man named Mitsumasa Kido, who ran the tournament.

Six years ago, Kido separated Seiya from his sister after their parents died. He shipped him off to Greece and told him he could only return and be reunited with his sister once he acquired the Pegasus cloth. Now that he has done so, he wants to see his sister.

Saori Kido, Mitsumasa’s granddaughter and current runner of the tournament, gives him terrible news. Not only is her grandfather dead, but Seiya’s sister went missing from the orphanage almost immediately after Seiya was shipped off to Greece. Saori was never told where she was, if her grandfather had anything to do with her disappearance.

However, she is very keen on getting Seiya to participate in the tournament, so she offers to lend her resources and money to him to find his sister should he win the tournament. He’s still not interested, even after also being pressured by the owner of the Unicorn cloth, Jabu, who used to know him in the orphanage.

He goes to the orphanage, known as The Foundation, for clues and meets with his old friend, Miho, who is currently helping care for the children there. She tells him that she also doesn’t know where his sister might be, but suggests that he try to get her to find him by fighting in the tournament. It’s a massively publicized event, and he has a good chance of having his sister find him if he participates.

Seiya agrees, thanks Miho and goes to join the tournament.

His first match is against the owner of the Bear cloth, Geki. The Bear Saint has massive power in his arms, and he boasts about killing hundreds of bears with his bare hands, no pun intended. He tries to strangle Seiya to death, and it seems he has him down for the count until Seiya remembers what Marin once told him when he was a child.

When fighting someone more powerful than you, find the main source of their strength and attack it. Since Geki’s strength is in his arms, he starts crushing the armor on his arms with his hands. He breaks free and uses a flurry of kicks too fast for the human eye to catch to destroy Geki’s cloth and knock him out of the fight.

Seiya’s next match is against Jabu. Who will win a battle of the horses?

Breakdown: We’re getting slightly rushed with this episode because not only do we get thrown into the tournament and see our first match, but we also have to acquaint ourselves with backstory and several new characters.

I love tournament fighters, so I’m not really complaining about the latter, though I will mark something down on that in a minute, I’m moreso complaining about the former.

Seiya’s backstory is pretty good, but I won’t deny that it feels very rushed here. I feel like we needed a full episode to develop this firmly instead of having it crammed into the first part of this episode. The inclusion of Miho felt particularly rushed, especially considering she’s obviously being set up as Seiya’s love interest.

The tournament half was good, and it was nice to see Seiya struggle during his first match instead of flippantly blow his first opponent away just to show what a badass he is, which he did a few times in the start of the episode, but the manner in which he would achieve victory was a little too obvious from the beginning.

What imbecile tells his opponent where his true power lies in the middle of a fight? That’s almost as bad as telling someone where your weakness is. The instant he said ‘My true power lies in these arms’ I facepalmed and said to myself ‘well, now he knows what to attack, you idiot.’ If you manage to take away someone’s source of power, they’re helpless. Hubris, Geki. Hubris.

Then we get an almost insulting scene where Seiya flashes back to his studies under Marin, where she shares the aforementioned lesson. Since Seiya’s a child in this flashback, I wasn’t bothered that it was included, but I could feel my blood pressure increasing when they flashed back to Geki saying his true power lied in his arms, then again when they repeat Marin’s lesson, then again when Geki repeats what he said, then they do it again, and again, and again – we get it! Most people would’ve figured it out on their own without a single flashback, but apparently the writers and editor think we’re so dense that we can’t piece together such a simple strategy.

I also found it stupid that Geki has such massive strength in his arms, but instead of ripping Seiya apart or incapacitating him and beating or crushing him to death in a few blows, Geki gives Seiya ample time to come up with a strategy as he slowly strangles him. He’s not even really aiming to strangle him – he wants to build up enough strength, incredibly slowly, to snap Seiya’s neck, which is something people without bear strength can do in a matter of seconds but Geki wants to savor it I guess.

Seiya breaks Geki’s cloth, so…does that mean the Bear cloth no longer exists?

It was an entertaining match for a little bit, but then the rest of the match is a prolonged strangling session until Seiya is able to break free and give his badass finale move – this time in kick flavor.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode, but it has a bunch of logic issues and the pacing needs work.

Rating: 7/10

Next episode, we meet the Swan Saint and the tournament continues.

…Previous Episode

SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 30: Be Honest! Unspoken Love in the Crystal Ball

SSBS - TMM EP 30 SCREEN1

Plot: Aoyama has been kinda flaky lately, so Moe and Miwa bring Ichigo to the school fortune teller, Mariko, to see what’s up. Mariko manages to quell her fears by telling her to trust him more and be honest about her feelings to him. She also ‘psychically’ sees that she and Aoyama are a great match for each other.

Ichigo meets up with Aoyama later that night, and he’s happy to see her. He apologizes to her for being so flaky and states that kendo club is eating up all of his time lately.

Later, everything’s going great for Ichigo and Aoyama, and she’s so happy about it that she seeks out Mariko to thank her. She finds Mariko at the soccer field and notices that she’s staring at a soccer player named Shunsuke. She quickly deduces that Mariko has a case of unrequited love for Shunsuke and believes him to be dating someone else.

Ichigo overhears Mariko giving Shunsuke some psychic advice to be honest with the feelings of his loved one and admit them to the girl at a park with a fountain on Sunday.

When Ichigo finally meets with Mariko to thank her, she admits that she was eavesdropping on her and Shunsuke’s conversation. Mariko doesn’t want to butt in and ruin Shunsuke’s love for another girl, so she wants to support his efforts and ensure his happiness.

That Sunday, Ichigo goes to the park and finds Shunsuke. She hides behind a tree and is surprised to find Mariko also hiding. Ichigo encourages Mariko to go be honest about her feelings, like she told her to be with Aoyama, but, Shunsuke being her childhood friend and love, she still doesn’t want to get in the way of his love.

They’re about to watch Shunsuke meet his crush when Kisshu suddenly appears, demanding Mariko’s crystal ball. They’ve detected Mew Aqua within it and will not leave without it. Ichigo tells Mariko to run, but Kisshu pursues. Shunsuke sees Mariko in danger and jumps in the way of Kisshu’s soul-extracting ability.

He creates a chimera animal with Shunsuke’s spirit, creating a giant elephant monster, before nabbing the crystal ball.

Ichigo struggles with the chimera animal, and the other Mews show up to help by trying to get the ball away from Kisshu. Mariko also gets knocked out, but Ichigo’s too preoccupied with the chimera animal to help her. The Blue Knight rushes in to help Ichigo and gives her advice on how to defeat the creature.

Ichigo manages to take the chimera animal down, but the crystal ball breaks in the scuffle. The ball was merely ordinary crystal afterall since Mew Aqua would never break like that.

Mariko and Shunsuke wake up, and as Mariko is about to leave Shunsuke to have his date in peace, he tells her to check her email. She sees that he tried to ask her on a date in the park at the fountain, but failed to get the message.

They confess to each other, after having a bit of a back and forth bicker, and the girls look on in content, happy their friend has found love.

Turns out, Mariko was faking at being a fortune teller anyway and quits after her ball is broken.

Breakdown:

– Yeah, bring Ichigo to a fortune teller to help understand why Aoyama’s being flaky instead of just telling her to ask him what’s up. Well, we needed a plot I suppose.

– Mariko: “Oh sorry. I scare people because I’m unfriendly.” Pbbbahahahahah!

– I like Mariko. She’s actually a pretty good advice giver under the guise of a fortune teller, and I like her personality. Although, is this problem really an issue of trust?

Aoyama’s being flaky and brushing off Ichigo, though not being that rude about it. She’s worried that he’s losing interest in her. That seems like a valid concern given the evidence. She trusts Aoyama. It’s not like she thinks he’s off with some other girl or is doing something bad – she just worries that Aoyama’s no longer emotionally involved.

To her credit, Mariko later tells Ichigo to be honest with him about her feelings, which is much better, but the trust thing still bothers me a little.

– Also, hi, budget episode. I see you’re giving everyone swollen cheeks today.

– Why did Shunsuke’s spirit become an elephant?…..Why did it yell “I’m an elephant!” when it arose?

– Yes, Ichigo, transform right in front of Mariko. Who cares about secret identities anyway?

– Ichigo had to be told by The Blue Knight that this elephant monster was slow….Come on, girl.

– What is up with the falsely identifying Mew Aqua? It seems silly the types of things they’ll wrongly detect. Granted, the ball did glow a bit earlier, but that doesn’t really mean anything. Ichigo would’ve sensed it, had it been active enough to glow.

– Yay convenient amnesia! Is that officially a magical girl trope yet?

– This plot was already insanely predictable, but the reason the meeting happened without her knowing she was the girl he was trying to confess to was because she failed to check her email? Wow.

—————————–

I liked this episode because I found Mariko to be a very good character, in spite of being a flash-in-the-pan-we’ll-never-see-her-again character. I believe she had better chemistry with Ichigo and was more interesting than either Moe or Miwa. I’m sad to see her go…..but, that being said, like I mentioned already, this plot is very predictable.

Right when they set up her unrequited love and this nameless, voiceless potential love interest for Shunsuke, you know exactly what’s going on and what will happen. There are zero surprises. The other Mews seemed like an afterthought, yet again, the Blue Knight showed up for all of three seconds just to spout out the obvious trick to beating the Chimera Animal, and even the problem with Aoyama wasn’t very well-written.

Seriously, Aoyama of all people was seemingly sneaking around just because he was busy with kendo? He’d tell Ichigo that as soon as it became any sort of issue. She mentioned he canceled a date the previous weekend – he would’ve definitely told her then.

While the animation didn’t technically suffer, the art was terribad in this episode. Swollen cheeks, weird angular designs and warped faces weren’t that distracting but they were certainly noticeable.

These issues didn’t distract a great deal from an otherwise enjoyable episode, but there were still there.

Rating: 8/10

Next episode, Ichigo’s dad finds out that she’s dating Aoyama and is livid about the situation. Will he stand in the way of their love?

….Previous Episode

Episode One-Derland: Gasaraki

Plot: Uhm….pbbbbttt…..A mech pilot dances and tries to summon Satan?

Breakdown: I’ve seen a lot of boring anime in my time.

And this is one of them.

I swear to God, if I wasn’t falling asleep while watching this, I was trying to understand what half the cast was talking about.

The first half of the episode has our main character, Yushiro, piloting a mech in a simulation. He infiltrates some building and is about do…something when they stop the simulation. This part of the episode is only there to tell us that Yushiro is special somehow because…his heart rate increases substantially when he’s on a mission?

The second half has Yushiro in somewhat of a Noh dance. It’s quite the jarring transition, actually. I was questioning whether the video spliced in a different show or something.

The dance takes up the entire second half, and we soon realize that he’s meant to use this dance to go into a trance and summon something called ‘The terror,’ which is about as bland as humanly possible.

A girl…in a…spiderweb cocoon? Contacts him psychically, tries to kill him, but fails. There are people manipulating the girl. He keeps summoning the terror then stops as they enter the final stage because the girl told him not to.

And that’s it. That’s the episode. Just add about 150 lines of ‘science’ or ‘magic’ babble that is never explained and imagine I hired Ben Stein to recite all of that.

Holy hell, it is massively boring. Speaking on a first episode basis, it fails on practically every level. I don’t know anything about the world they’re living in, outside of it seemingly meant to be set in modern day Japan, I think.

I have no clue about any of the characters – not even Yushiro. There’s one ominous bad guy manipulating Yushiro. There’s another ominous bad guy manipulating the blue haired girl. They both look very similar outside of one wears glasses. The girl is…..I have no clue. I would say she’s nice, but she tried to psychically murder Yushiro for no given reason sooooo….

Yushiro’s the worst bland offender. Not only do we barely get two words out of the guy before the end of the episode, but his face is obscured through 98% of the runtime. He’s wearing either a half-mask or a full face mask for all of it. When he does talk, he’s only repeating what the blue haired girl said about not bringing back the terror, and finally tells it to go back when it’s nearly summoned. And he can’t even add a drop of emotion to that.

It’s like it’s a big reveal when he finally takes off his mask. Like, ha! I have an identity! But his face is absolutely forgettable (It’s like when people saw Kakashi without his mask for the first time. Lots of buildup for “Oh, it’s normal”), and his actions after he takes it off are the polar opposite of anything epic. It’s not worth the psuedo-buildup at all.

Yushiro has a sister, whom we learn even less of, he was…taken from his home (?) and he’s special somehow. That’s all we know about him.

I feel like there might be something interesting here in terms of ideas, but the best I’ve heard about this show’s plot in reviews is – Kavik Ryx of Nihon Anime Reviews “However, to its credit, there are moments dealing with the SSDF and Japan’s economic crisis that are quite riveting. What is done with real world politics is absolutely uncanny, in a good way. There is something to be said when an anime’s highpoint revolves around the price of grain exports.” Oh boy, I can’t wait for that….grain…export….crescendo….

I’ve been told that the first episode is universally seen as a major weak point of the series because it leaves the audience with very little information and fails to grip the viewer in any way. Supposedly, you need to watch at least the first four episodes to get any sort of real grasp on the plot and characters, but, I’m sorry. You can’t give me dirty dishwater as an appetizer and expect me to order a four course meal.

Nearly every full review I’ve read of this anime tops out the rating as mediocre at best, and a lot of the praise seems to be going more towards the production values than the story or characters, so I don’t even feel compelled to make the trudge on the promise of something better.

I will say this, though. This was one of the most realistic uses of computers I’ve seen in a while. They move the windows, we get to see the cursor, they use menus and everything. They don’t just bash on their keyboards and have ten thousands things happening at once.

It also has pretty good art and fluid animation. The mechs are uninspired, and nothing strikes me as amazing, but it’s nice.

The music is also a positive. The ED in particular was gentle and calming…which is a tad problematic when you’re already falling asleep.

Final Verdict:

750spsl

If you have a lot of patience, do like some have said and watch the first four episodes to see if it grips you. However, I can’t see myself returning to this. I need much more substance in a first episode to justify going through more boredom.