Smile Precure!/Glitter Force Episode 2 Sub/Dub Comparison

SP SDC EP2 SCREEN5

Plot: Akane is an ace in volleyball, but when Miyuki sees her during a league match, she does much poorly than she did earlier in a match with her classmates.

Later, Miyuki finds her practicing very hard under a bridge. She stops for a minute, and Miyuki sees drops fall from her face. Believing her to be sad from doing poorly in the match, Miyuki rushes down to cheer her up only to find that what she believed to be tears of sadness were really beads of sweat from working so hard. Miyuki offers to help Akane practice, and she agrees.

The next day, Akane has another volleyball match, and it’s going a lot better. However, Wolfrun’s not one to let a good day end well. He starts another Bad End and summons a volleyball themed Akanbe. Miyuki transforms to take him on, but she wastes her attack and cannot gather the energy for another.

Akane starts to snap out of her Bad End daze when she realizes Miyuki’s in danger. Wanting to protect her friend, she takes on the Akanbe by herself. Her intense determination prompts her Smile Pact to appears – She is actually Cure Sunny!

Akane transforms into the fiery warrior and takes down the Akanbe. Having saved the day, Akane, accepts her role as a Precure to save the world with her friend, Miyuki.

——————-

Title Change: Burn! It’s the Hot-Blooded Cure Sunny is changed to Kelsey….*sigh*…..Kelsey gets a Makeover…..

While I’m glad they left in the bowing scene, I feel like what they did to it makes it lose points. In order to keep the bowing in there without daring to say this is a Japanese custom, they say that it’s a traditional Jubiland greeting. This is kinda clever, but it also makes it seem….I don’t want to say offensive, but it’s edging that way. They’d rather say this is some goofy fantasy greeting than just admit that this takes place in Japan.

They remove the ‘sound lines’ over Candy when her stomach growls.

Subbed: SP SDC EP1 SCREEN1

Dubbed: SP SDC EP2 SCREEN2

Dub!Candy: “My tummy does that when I get hungry.”….Did…you need to explain why your stomach was growling? Is that a traditional Jubiland tummy rumble?

Why is Miyuki/Emily acting like she’s never heard of there being other Precure/warriors besides her? Last episode, Candy said it like three times in the dub and at least once in the original. Plus, the opening scene to this episode has her reminding us and her of that fact.

But, of course, Emily the psychic remembers. While Miyuki is just psyched to hear there are other Precures, Emily suddenly remembers that the other warriors are the girls from her class that she saw in her dream.

The two beings behind Wolfrun are silent in the original. In the dub, they say ‘The Big Bad Wolf is huffing and puffing again’ Get it? They also make little comments throughout the short scene with Ulric.

Hino Special Attack is changed to Sledgehammer Slammer. It’s only a volleyball move, though.

Nitpicky, but Nao says Akane’s the ace attacker in the volleyball club. In the dub, she says Kelsey’s the best attacker in the league.

Kelsey: “I always knew she was a brainiac.”

Lily: “I don’t get it.”

I don’t get it, either, Lily. For context purposes, Emily hit the ball with her face. That’s still part of her head, but the ‘brainiac’ thing just doesn’t work.

Also, in the original, Akane ‘praised’ Kise’s ‘whimpering receive’ and Kise insists she wasn’t crying.

Miyuki…just kinda selects Akane and Kise to be Precure because Akane’s sporty and Kise’s…gentle. I don’t know why Kise’s criteria is working for her here, but okay. In the dub, she decides now’s the perfect time to tell Kelsey and Lily that they’re Glitter Force Warriors.

Ya know, Candy, if you wanted Precure to be a secret maybe tell Miyuki that before sending her off on a mission to find the other Precure….

Candy tells Miyuki that Precure is a secret and not just anyone can become one. She asks how she can find the real Precure, and Candy says she doesn’t know. Miyuki says that it can’t be too hard to be one if a klutzy airhead like her is one, and Candy agrees, making Miyuki mad. She yanks on her cheeks and tells her she’s not supposed to agree with that.

In the dub, Candy says she can’t just blurt out the Glitter Force thing to them because they’d never believe her. Emily asks how she should tell them and Candy says she doesn’t know. Emily becomes frustrated because there isn’t much of a Glitter Force with just her and Candy agrees. Emily starts yanking on her cheeks for not being supportive.

Name Change: Yuka is changed to Jasmine….Must resist urge to reference Aladdin…Stop, Twix….You won’t even make sense with it….Just stop.

Miyuki says that your happiness disappears when you cry, so Akane should smile. Emily tells her that, as you long as you keep trying, you’ll always get a happy ending.

Eyecatches: SP SDC EP2 SCREEN3SP SDC EP2 SCREEN4

I’m going to say this right now – if the ‘poof poof glitter’ stuff is in every one of the other girls transformation sequences, I…am going to die while doing this comparison. My internal organs all deteriorated to the flimsiness of tissue paper going through the Mew Mew power in my face for 26 episodes. I will not survive this.

So, please….Saban…have mercy on me. I beg you.

So all of Wolfrun’s monsters are named Akanbe and, likewise, all of Ulric’s monsters are called Buffoon…..Really wish they had chosen something different because it’s impossible to take that name even a little seriously. You might as well name them ‘Disposable idiot pawn.’

Oh goodie, they’re keeping in the ‘we’ve got spirit, yes we do! We’ve got spirit, how ‘bout you!?’ thing….Do they not hear how goofy some of this stuff sounds?

It’s not often you see magical girl shows include such realistic newbie things like missing an attack or running out of energy early on because they’re inexperienced. They usually just have trouble remembering to do this or that. Good job, Smile Precure.

Miyuki says she’s not crying because, if she was, her happiness would go away, so she has to smile. Akane then repeats what she said about smiling. In the dub, Emily says she’s not crying, it’s just sweat, like the misunderstanding with Akane earlier. She’s not going to quit before the happy ending. Wolfrun pulls back in surprise while Ulric goes ‘yeech’ I assume because she said she was sweating.

Miyuki catches herself and says she wasn’t supposed to admit she was Miyuki because she’s supposed to keep her identity a secret. In the dub, she says she’s technically Glitter Lucky now.

They kinda dumb down Miyuki’s speech, which is a little amazing since it’s already incredibly simple. She says friends are always there for you, in the good times and bad. No matter the situation, friendship makes everything better. When she yells out she says that friendship really matters.

In the dub, Emily recaps that Kelsey was the first friend she made in school, and that when she was nervous on her first day, Kelsey made her feel better. When she yells out she says ‘Friendship is the most awesomest thing ever!’

Uh oh, Saban also adopted 4Kids’ fear of scenes with mouth flaps being silent. During the flashback mashup, it’s silent barring the music. In the dub, they add in the voices.

And, like 4Kids, they get the lines wrong in the flashback. Because, goddammit, it is so hard to go back and see what was said. Actually, they made more work for themselves by having them re-do the lines for the flashback when they could’ve copy/pasted the takes from the flashback.

Akane hears Wolfrun calling Miyuki a weakling and becomes upset that he has the audacity to make fun of her friend. The dub is basically the same, but she also says she thinks the reason Ulric puts down friendship so much is because he doesn’t have any friends. I’m getting flashbacks to the YMS review of Cool Cat Saves the Kids where Adam criticizes the movie (and the book the movie is based on) for basically saying that all bullies have no friends and good people have lots of friends.

The dub kinda makes no sense. In the original, Candy says that they’ve found the second Precure. In the dub, she says Kelsey has accepted her destiny as part of the Glitter Force. Uh, no she didn’t. All she did was try to save her friend. She agreed to nothing.

Wow. Akane’s transformation kicks ass. We went from using a glittery makeup poof to put on clothes to friggin’ fire bursting onto her body to make her outfit.

The differences for the transformations are nearly the same barring…yes, oh god, yes, they got rid of the ‘poof poof’! All she says is ‘Glitter bands – Glitter boots’ Thank god. And instead of saying ‘I’m glittertastic’ she says ‘This girl’s on fire!’ Bless you, Kelsey.

Akane’s post-transformation speech is ‘Dazzling sun! Hot-blooded power! Cure Sunny!’ Kelsey’s is ‘When you mess with me, you’re playing with fire! I’m Glitter Sunny!’

Emily: “Just like in my dream, it’s amazing!” Yes, Emily, we get it. You’re psychic in the dub for no discernible reason.

Akane is a little embarrassed by saying ‘Dazzling sun! Cure Sunny!’ but Miyuki says it’s great because a ‘dazzling sun’ fits her passionate personality wonderfully. In the dub, Kelsey’s kinda embarrassed at calling herself Glitter Sunny. Emily runs over and says she looks great. Kelsey asks if it’s too much, and Emily says it’s not and that her clothes match her hair. Then she proceeds to tell her about all the cool accessories and powers she’ll get now. Because why compliment her on her personality when you can say she looks pretty and that she’ll get cool accessories and stuff now?

At Miyuki’s compliments, Akane says that the sun does indeed fit a superhero such as herself. Kelsey gets excited at Emily’s mentions of powers and says she always thought she’d make a great superhero.

Attack Name Change: Sunny Fire is changed to Sparkle Fire.

Candy: “Channel your glitter spirit into your glitter pact!” Stop. Adding. Glitter. To. Every. Thing. Also, what’s the difference between glitter spirit and regular spirit?

Ya know, as cool as the attack is….I can’t not call BS on her Precure attack just so coincidentally being a volleyball move.

Attack Name Change: Sunny Fire is changed to…wait, what the hell? I already did this. Why did Candy say one attack name but the actual attack is something entirely different? Oh whatever. In the dub, it’s (Glitter Force) Fire Spike, which is better.

Akane asks what the Cure Decor is. Candy explains, Akane says she still doesn’t really get it, but she’ll give it a try. In the dub, Kelsey says she won a prize, Candy explains that it’s a Glitter Charm and that they need to collect them to save her world. Kelsey teasingly asks how many of them there are and says she hopes there’s a lot. I don’t like this change. It makes it sound odd. Does Kelsey want the road to Candy’s world’s salvation to be long and arduous? Does she want more people in her world to be put at risk?

They omit Akane requesting that Miyuki call her ‘Akane’ instead of ‘Hino’ since they’re friends. This wouldn’t work in the dub because, in addition to people not commonly calling each other by their last names in west….the dub girls…don’t have last names. Good job, Saban.

Instead of doing this, Kelsey says they’re more than teammates, they’re friends.

Candy originally wonders if kids who truly care about their friends are the ones who become Precure. In the dub, Candy says that, in spite of the powers and magical accessories, friendship might be the most powerful thing of all. I kinda prefer the dub line, even though it is insanely cheesy.

Again, they include the creditless end credit sequence in the dub. I honestly don’t get it. This whole sequence is pointless to watch time and again unless the credits roll over it.

——————————

You can find my opinions on the episode as a whole here.

Dub-wise, this episode did fare a lot better than the first one. In fact, a decent chunk of my notes were about the way they wrote certain lines that diminish their impact or meaning, though they retain the message. It’s still important to note these things, in my opinion, but it could’ve been a whole lot worse.

The most I’m disappointed with is the omission of the connection between her fiery passion and determination and her role as Glitter Sunny. We got to focus on Emily and, kinda, why she’s called Glitter Lucky, even if Happy makes much more sense, but they pretty much lose the personality connection in the dub. It focused more on friendship than determination or passion.

Next episode, Cure Peace’s debut!

…Previous Episode

SSBS – Yu Yu Hakusho Episode 3: Kuwabara – A Promise Between Men

SSBS - YYH EP 3

Plot: Kuwabara and his friends save Keiko from a bunch of thugs, but their actions land them in trouble back at school. The bastard teacher Mr. Akashi is more than happy to lay out the punishment for them. The terms: No fighting for a whole week or else Okubo loses his part-time job privileges. Okubo desperately needs this job since his mother is too sick to work, his siblings are too young to work and his father’s not in the picture.

It seems like a doable task, even with Kuwabara willingly taking every beating that the many thugs who have a vendetta against him and his friends dole out. He even commands them to target him and only him so his friends won’t suffer.

Mr. Akashi suddenly adds another condition: Every boy in the group must earn at least 50 points on the upcoming physical science test. Most of the boys are confident that they can meet this challenge since their scores in the previous test weren’t too bad, but Kuwabara reveals that he got a measly seven points on his last test.

Desperate to help his friend, Kuwabara starts studying like never before. He’s hitting the books hard, but his many rivals in the area are hitting him even harder. Yusuke decides to try and help his friend by reaching him in a dream the night before the test. He helps him study while he sleeps, and he seems set for a passing grade the next morning.

More thugs try to jump him while he makes his way to the test. Yusuke is helpless to protect him until the boys accidentally knock out a schoolgirl that Yusuke is acquainted with. He possesses her and beats the hell out of the boys without Kuwabara even noticing.

Kuwabara’s test goes well, and he’s able to determine that he passed before he even got his grade by copying his answers and checking them after the test was over. He and his friends are ecstatic, but Mr. Akashi is devastated that his plan didn’t work. Mr. Iwamoto, his bastard partner in crime, helps him by erasing the last answer on the test, giving Kuwabara a failing grade.

When Kuwabara gets his grade, he’s furious, but he’s even more enraged when he notices that Mr. Akashi erased the final answer on his test. Fed up, Kuwabara attempts to hit Mr. Akashi, but Yusuke ‘stops’ him and tells him to not give up everything he just did for Okubo for the sake of beating an idiot teacher.

Kuwabara relents and walks away. Mr. Akashi looks on in satisfaction until Mr. Takanaka shows up and reveals he knows what Mr. Akashi and Iwamoto did to his test. He demands that he change the grade and honor the conditions that he set for Kuwabara and his friends.

Okubo and the others share the good news with Kuwabara as Yusuke and Botan watch them up in the sky. She reveals that Kuwabara couldn’t hear him or feel him back there, but he probably felt the communication of his intentions through Yusuke’s feelings.

Kuwabara looks up into the sky, seemingly sensing Yusuke’s feelings again, and thanks his lost buddy for his help.

Breakdown: Episodes like this are a shining example of why I love this show and these characters so much.

It also exemplifies why Kuwabara is a precious cupcake, protect him.

Every second of this episode, barring the enraging Mr. Akashi and Mr. Iwamoto, makes my little jaded heart flutter. Kuwabara and his friends protecting Keiko, Kuwabara and his friends fiercely sticking together as they get unfairly punished, them also sticking up for Okubo when he gets targeted, Kuwabara asking, without prompt, for the bullies to target him and only him with their beatings, Kuwabara taking the beatings without an ounce of retaliation, Kuwabara doing all of that hard work studying to get a good grade for Okuko to keep his job, Yusuke helping out Kuwabara several times in various ways, those little moments between Kuwabara and his friends at the end as well as his look to the sky to thank Yusuke and his smile back down at him – how can you not feel all warm and gooey?

When people ask me why this is my favorite fighting anime, I just think of episodes like this. Particularly this one, to be honest, because this is one of my absolute favorite episodes of YYH.

In addition to being a wonderful friendship episode, it’s also a perfect melding of the action aspect with the gentler moments. Yusuke beating the crap out of those jerks as an innocent schoolgirl is just golden. It sucks that the Toonami airing cut out him viciously kicking one of them over and over in the groin.

It’s also great how they perfectly mixed this episode as both a story that highlights the strength of Kuwabara’s friendship with his inner circle with his friendship with Yusuke. We barely even know anything about his other friends at this point either, yet you feel like you know them quite well in this episode.

We haven’t got to focus much on the friendship aspect of Yusuke and Kuwabara’s relationship yet, so this was a great opportunity to show them as more than just rivals, and it gives a lot of backing behind Kuwabara’s outburst at Yusuke’s funeral.

I guess the only thing left to say about this episode is….

Fuck Mr. Akashi and Mr. Iwamoto.

Rating: 10/10

Next time, Yusuke’s revival is getting closer and closer, but his reincarnation might be put in danger when his house catches fire. There’s no one in the house to save Yusuke’s barely living body, and it’s up to Keiko to save him. Can she get Yusuke’s body to safety or will she die trying?

…Previous Episode

SSBS – Smile Precure! Episode 2: Burn! It’s the Hot-Blooded Cure Sunny!!

SSBS - SP EP 2 TITLE

Plot: After watching her amazing display in a volleyball match at school, Miyuki watches Akane in a volleyball club match. However, she does poorly and is seemingly losing the chance to be the ace attacker on their squad.

Later, Miyuki tries to cheer up Akane, but she finds that Akane’s not disappointed – she’s more determined than ever to get better to earn her spot as ace attacker. Miyuki offers to help her practice, and she agrees.

The next day, Akane does much better in her match, but the day is sullied when Wolfrun reappears. Cure Happy’s not enough on her own. Does Akane have the inner fire to become a Precure herself and save her friend?

Breakdown: I feel like Akane will be my favorite character in the future. I like her attitude and her spirit. She’s got a good sense of humor without being a jerk about it, and she’s got plenty of fiery passion and determination.

That being said, one of the things that confuses me about this episode is the message.

Akane is amazing at volleyball and blows everyone away when she plays with her class. In the club, she does terribly. After one afternoon of hard practice, she’s suddenly on ace attacker level?

It would’ve helped if we knew why Akane was playing so badly in that match. It might just be a matter of bad luck or having a bad day, but then what’s the lesson? Never giving up and trying your hardest is good, but considering there’s no reason for her bad game, it seems odd. She’s not overcoming anything or working through anything if she already had the skills and confidence to begin with.

Either that, or they’re saying she didn’t stack up with the league players before and, after one afternoon of hard practice, she’s on her way to ace attacker?

Maybe they could’ve had her be uncertain with herself in the club, but she’s much more confident in her abilities in class games because there’s not as much pressure. Then, with the help of Miyuki and the practice they had together, she becomes more relaxed and confident in her club matches. She had the determination in her, hence why she was working so hard, but the help of friendship allowed her to shine through….like the sun!

I’m so clever.

Plus, Cure Sunny is a badass. That fiery transformation. That kickass attack – a flaming volleyball spike of death! It is convenient that it’s a volleyball move, but it’s a million times more awesome than a heart shaped sparkly laser. In addition, I like that it seems like Sunny has super strength above Happy’s because that gives her something else to differentiate herself.

Rating: 8/10

SDC Episode 2

Next Episode, the debut of Cure Peace!

….Previous Episode

Episode One-Derland: Log Horizon

Plot: Elder Tale is one of the most popular MMORPGs on the market today with over 20 million players worldwide. The game becomes reality for hundreds of thousands of players when they find that they are now within the game world, having taken over their game personas. They can feel, smell, touch and taste everything within the world of Elder Tale. One question remains, however – what happens when they die?

——————

Being a fan of MMORPGs and a franchise with a similar story, Dot Hack, I got into this rather easily. It even sorta grants a wish I had at the end of .Hack//Quantum which was “I wish we got to see more of a widespread “trapped in the game” epidemic, since this was such a flash in the pan.”

Though, I will say, like the Dot Hack anime, the first episode is fairly slow. Not as slow as Sign or Roots, but still slow. Not much happens is all. They realize they’re stuck in the game along with thousands of other players, our main characters gather together and they have a fight with some monsters.

It is definitely more fun than the intro episodes of the aforementioned series, but structurally, it has similar flaws.

As a first episode, it establishes much of the necessary information such as our main characters, and subsequently their character information, the game world itself, some of the social groups like the Crescent Moon Alliance and Shiro’s former group, the Debauchery Tea Party, and some of the basics of MMOs as a whole. I’d say it’s a success in all areas.

I like our main characters so far, though Shiro is slightly boring, I can see him getting a lot more interesting with his strategist abilities. Naotsugu is a little charming, and Akatsuki seems like she could be bad-ass, though I’m worried that she’s a little too moe. Marielle was pretty funny as well. I was concerned she’d be an overly clingy love interest for Shiro, but she acts luvey-duvey with damn near everyone it seems, so it’s fine.

The art and animation aren’t that stand out or fantastic, but it’s alright and flows fairly well.

The music is also alright. The OP was great but the rest of the music I could take or leave.

Final Verdict:

cbxcz0k

Some of the commenters on this series stated that this is a ‘better’ or ‘fixed’ Sword Art Online, and since I’ve never seen SAO, I don’t much care about that. However, I am very interested to see where this story will go, and how it may or may not sate my desires for more MMORPG related titles.

My Poke-Pinions: 007-009 – The Squirtle Line

Squirtle

Name: Squirtle’s name is a mixture of ‘squirt’ as in a squirt of water or a small child’s nickname, and ‘turtle’ because…..turtle. Apparently, it might also poke at squirrels because of the shape of its tail. I have never heard of that, and it kinda blew my mind.

I love the name Squirtle. It’s very bouncy, memorable, and if I ever have a pet turtle, you bet your ass I’m naming it Squirtle…..and I’ll get a second named Donatello.

Its original Japanese name is Zenigame, which literally translates to ‘baby pond turtle.’ Also, it was revealed in Black and White that the ‘zeni’ portion of its name is an allusion to the pattern on its shell. It looks like an old coin and an old term for money was ‘zeni.’

I like Zenigame. It’s a very cool word with an adorable meaning, and it rolls right off the tongue. I do prefer Squirtle, however, because it has more zip and isn’t as much of a mouthful.

Fun Fact: In German, it’s known as Schiggy, and I find that endlessly adorable for some reason.

Design: Like Charmander, Squirtle’s design is so straightforward that it’s almost exactly just a cartoony turtle…..but it’s an ADORABLE cartoony turtle! Look at those big expressive eyes! Look at that widdle beak and big smile! Look at it’s tiny hands and feet! Look at it’s curly tail! Look at it’s cute shell! It’s so adorable!

I have a Squirtle plushie, and it was one of the first pieces of Pokemon merchandise I ever got. And it’s adorable too! I just want to hug it.

The colors are nicely chosen. If you’re not going to go for the turtle-y green, which is reserved for Grass types, basically, a cool baby blue will do wonderfully.

In regards to sprites, Red and Blue’s always looked….cute but goofy? It’s like Disney tried its hand at drawing it.

Yellow is adorable.

Green’s is like a baby for whatever reason.

Gold, Silver and Crystal are alright. Ruby and Sapphire’s look like it’s teaching math class.

Emerald looks like it’s teaching math and roll back and forth on your butt class.

FireRed and Leafgreen are fine. I find Diamond, Pearl and Platinum to be hilarious because it looks like it’s tap dancing.

The newest generations are consistently alright, except the most recent incarnations have Squirtle in a zombie stance for some reason.

Shiny:

I’ve always really loved Squirtle’s shiny form. It has a beautiful lighter blue color on the skin, which makes it look cool, and I love the contrast with the lime green shell, which is a very fitting throwback to actual turtles.

My only complaint is that the earliest versions of this sprite also have a green tummy, which I think is too much.

Cry/Voice: Truth be told, Squirtle’s cry was always a bit obnoxious to me. It’s loud, it’s grating and it doesn’t sound like it fits very well.

I’ve always loved Squirtle’s voice in the anime. It’s very unique and fitting for the character. I’ve always thought it sounded very vaguely Donald Duckish, but maybe that’s me.

Dex Entries and Backstory:

Ash’s and FireRed’s Pokedex Entry: “Squirtle. This Tiny Turtle Pokémon draws its long neck into its shell to launch incredible water attacks with amazing range and accuracy.”

Long neck?

Artwork by TeleDildonics

……???

Squirtle’s Dex entries are pretty basic. After birth, the Squirtle’s back swells up and hardens into a shell. It will withdraw into the shell to shoot blasts of water and foam at its enemies. It has a smooth, well-rounded shell for hydrodynamic purposes. Not terribly interesting, but that’s to be expected, really.

Squirtle as a Pokemon is merely based on turtles, so there’s no interesting backstory to go over, either.

Wartortle

Name: Wartortle is a mix between ‘war’ or ‘warrior,’ ‘tortoise’ and ‘turtle.’ I really like the name. It’s more intimidating than Squirtle, but it’s still cute. It’s fitting and the ‘tortle’ part is really unique. It’s especially cool because it’s a middleground between Squirtle (Turtle) and Blastoise (Tortoise).

I will share a pointless story, though. When I was a kid, I had a bad habit of pronouncing it as ‘Warturtle.’ and my friend had the annoying habit of condescendingly correcting me whenever I’d say it that way.

Wartortle. TORtle. It’s an O.

I get it, thanks.

Yeah, but it takes years before I correct myself in not pronouncing ‘Gyarados’ ‘Jai-ar-a-dos.’ That’s much more embarrassing, Jamie! Thanks for nothing!

……Uuuhh….*cough*

In the original Japanese, it’s called Kameil, which is either a mixture of ‘kame’ for ‘tortoise’ or ‘turtle’ or is an offshoot of ‘Kameru’ which means ‘to be able to bite.’ I’ll be honest, I don’t much care for the name Kameil. It sounds like a dog food brand. Wartortle’s a million times better.

Fun fact: In German, it’s called Schillok…I have no clue why, but that sounds like an insult.

Design: I almost love Wartortle’s design as much as Ivysaur’s. It’s another example of a great mid-evo design. It’s different enough from the other two to stand on its own without seeming like it’s just ‘the placeholder’ and it has a lot of style that the other two don’t have. I particularly love it’s ears and eyes. The ears are an adorable add-on, though I’m not sure why they get lost in the final evo (same for the tail) and the eyes are sharper and fierce while maintaining a cuteness to them.

Truth be told, I’ve never been a major fan of the tail, but it is cute when drawn well, and it adds a lot of character to it.

I also love the colors. It’s such a beautiful shade of blue.

Sprite-wise….Uh, what’s up there, Red/Blue? You’re cute, but you have a bad case of Jack-O-Lantern face.

Yellow looks badass because he looks like he’s really cocky lol.

I don’t know what’s up with Green’s. He looks like he’s pretending to be Yao from Mulan. “I am Yao! King of the rock!”

Gold’s is alright. Silver’s is like ‘Come at me, bruh!’

Crystal’s….made me laugh uncontrollably. What is up with that weird pelvic thrust animation?

I have no clue what’s up with the coloring in Ruby/Sapphire. It’s so deep blue, like Blastoise. And I don’t much care for the pose, either.

Emerald fixed the coloring, but the animation is weird, like it’s throbbing.

FireRed/LeafGreen is alright. D/P/P has a great starting pose, but what is the animation doing? It’s hopping on one foot like it just stepped on a Lego brick.

HG/SS look better because it’s like it’s calling you out and yelling at you.

I love the ones for B/W/B2/W2 because it adds a cute twitching animation to the ears.

The most recent versions are just okay. They’re very stiff and have no dynamic posing.

I don’t really like how they keep changing the coloring on Wartortle. His original artwork color is fine, thank you.

Shiny:

I’ve always loved Wartortle’s shiny. It’s such a cool purple color, and, again, the contrast with the green is fantastic. The only gripe I have is that Wartortle shares the same issue as Squirtle – in the first version of the shiny, they also make its belly green.

Cry/Voice: Wartortle’s cry in the games is alright. It’s a bit high-pitched at the start, so it’s kinda cute, but they add the lower tones at the end to make it seem more intimidating.

As for its voice in the anime, Wartortle pretty much just sounds like a Squirtle with a sore throat saying ‘Wartortle’

Dex Entries and Backstory: Wartortle’s lore has always been very fascinating to me, partially because it’s not a part of either Squirtle or Blastoise’s but equally because, when you dig into it, there’s a lot of it and it’s hard to make any sense of it.

Wartortle’s big fluffy tail is said to be symbolic of age and wisdom, which, while being cool, is also a bit weird considering Wartortle’s a mid-evo. Usually Pokemon of advanced age are fully evolved. They go even further with this by stating if you find algae on a Wartortle’s shell, it’s a sign that they’re very old.

It’s said to live for 10,000 years(!!!???) and the tail fur changes to deeper colors the older it gets.

Its tail is also said to bring good luck.

It uses its ears and tail to maintain balance while swimming, and Wartortle can also store air in its tail to stay underwater longer.

The Dex notes that scratches on Wartortle’s shell are signs of its toughness, which is also weird to note because you could say that of nearly any Pokemon if you include scars in that.

Wartortle is based off of the legend of the minogame – a Japanese legend about a 10,000 year old turtle who grew a tail of seaweed. Supposedly, the Dex fact about it storing air in its tail for use underwater is a reference to the fact that some turtles have the ability to breathe through their cloaca. Yup, some turtles have air sacs in their tummy and can breathe through their butts. Biology is fascinating and disgusting.

Blastoise

Name: Blastoise’s name is a combination of ‘blast,’ which is fairly obvious, and ‘tortoise.’ I’ve always really liked Blastoise’s name, for the most part. The ‘blast’ part is really powerful and cool, but I feel like the ‘toise’ part kinda hangs there.

It’s original Japanese name is ‘Kamex’ which is a mix between ‘kame’ for ‘turtle’ and ‘max.’ I’m alright with Kamex, though it seems a lot like a brand name.

Fun fact: In French, it’s called Tortank, which I find to be insanely awesome. In German it’s ‘Tortuk,’ which, again, kinda sounds like an insult.

Design: It’s a mix between a tortoise and a tank. What’s not to love? It’s so simplistic, just adding cannons onto a tortoise, but it works so well. I also love the color scheme. It’s the perfect shade of blue.

Sprite-wise, Red looks…..cool, but weird. It’s like he’s a gang member from the 50s and the shell is his leather jacket. The back sprite doesn’t help this theory because the dimensions on the shell are entirely off. It looks flat.

Yellow’s kicks ass.

Green’s make it look like a bear.

Gold’s alright. I really like the pose in Silver.

Crystal’s awesome both for showing the cannons ‘firing’ and its little tail wag like ‘yeah, I’m badass, and I like it.’

Ruby and Sapphire are alright. Emerald’s playing a really violent game of patty-cake.

FireRed and LeafGreen are fine. DPP is aggressively waving at me.

HG/SS is pretending to be Thumper.

And the most recent gens are alright, though they also have zombie stance syndrome.

Shiny:

I really like shiny Blastoise….mostly. I love the cool purple color much in the same vein as Wartortle’s shiny, but the shade of green they chose for its shell is a little too dark for me. Blastoise’s first shiny also shares the same green belly issue, though, with the poses, it’s not as noticeable. Also, it’s licorice flavored.

Mega:

*sigh* Mega Blastoise…..Gurl, you fugly.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some things I like about it, but it is flat-out ugly. They made it very wide, messed up its face and now it’s all hunchback.

I like the new wrist cannons, and the back super cannon is a little cool, but kinda sloppily designed and clunky. I just feel like they had a great opportunity to make this bad-ass turtle tank and messed it up.

Cry/Voice: Blastoise’s cry is friggin’ terrifying. It’s awesome, but terrifying.

Blastoise’s voice in the anime just sounds like Venusaur saying ‘Blastoise.’ Venusaur drawls a bit more, but it’s basically the same voice. It’s not a bad voice. It’s very powerful and commanding, but it’s still a bit lazy to me.

Dex Entries and Backstory: As you can probably guess, most of Blastoise’s info involves its water cannons. They’re powerful enough to blast through concrete walls and thick steel, they’re so powerful that Blastoise is intentionally heavy to withstand the forces. They’re so accurate that they can hit soda cans from 160 feet. It can use the force of its cannons for high-speed tackles, and that’s about it.

Also, Blastoise likes to crush its enemies, I suppose.

The origins of Blastoise as a Pokemon is…well, it’s a tank merged with a tortoise. Again, that’s about it. How that derived from the mythical 10,000 year old turtle with seaweed for a tail, I’ll never know. Supposedly, the cannons may be based off of the tubes that some mussels use, hence why it’s now a shellfish Pokemon, but I find that to be a bit of a stretch. How do you go from tubes used for eating and extracting feces to high-powered steel water cannons?

Next up, the Caterpie line.

Previous – The Charmander Line

Digimon Adventure V-Tamer (Manga) Volume 5 Review

Plot: Neo, Arkadimon and his army have reached Holy Angel Castle and Taichi and Zero are miles away. Leomon and Holy Angemon are the only ones left to defend the castle. However, Arkadimon proves to be just as fearsome as Neo claimed. Meanwhile, Hideto, the last Alias, and his Digimon, Omegamon, take Rei away to Demon’s castle and leads her to Neo – her brother.

Breakdown: No real notes between manga and anime.

A lot of stuff happens in this volume, but also not really. Half of the volume is taken up by Leomon and Holy Angemon’s efforts to keep Neo away from Holy Angemon castle. Despite fighting very honorably and well, they get tossed aside depressingly easily. Especially Holy Angemon who unleashes his true power of Seraphimon for the sake of this battle. I think his match is actually shorter than the one Leomon had.

Plus, it’s just increasingly annoying how cocky Neo is about every match. He’s not slightly worried about Leomon or Holy Angemon. He doesn’t even break a sweat when Seraphimon emerges. In fact, he went there specifically for Seraphimon’s energy to help Arkadimon evolve further.

By the time Taichi gets there, Leomon and Holy Angemon have long since been defeated, but he still manages to get a few blows on an even further evolved Arkadimon before Neo decides to leave.

The big part of this volume is the half with Rei, Neo and Hideto. We learn that Rei actually has the digimental on her, which is essential for evolving Arkadimon to Super Ultimate. It’s also revealed that Rei is Neo’s sister, and we even get the whole backstory on why Neo’s doing all of this.

Once upon a time, Neo, Rei and Hideto were all close friends. Hideto and Neo had a slight Digimon rivalry going on, and they enjoyed battling and talking about Digimon. One day, Hideto tries to convey the good news to Rei and Neo that he was able to merge his WarGreymon (Warg) and MetalGarurumon (Melgs) into Omegamon. However, Rei ran across the street to hear Hideto’s news and got hit by a truck.

Her legs were severely injured and the doctors claimed there was nothing they could do for her. The only reason Rei can walk in the Digital World is because the physical limitations don’t carry over. Neo’s plan is make an entirely new world from scratch by merging the real world and the Digital World, giving Rei back her mobility and allowing them to return back to that innocent time where they were all happy.

At face value, this seems alright, but once you mull it over, it’s pretty damn stupid. First of all, it’s never explicitly stated that Rei will never heal and will never be able to walk again. The shot of her after her accident just has two casts over her legs. Usually, if the injury to the leg is so extreme that walking in the future will be an impossibility, amputation would almost certainly be necessary. (Anyone with medical knowledge, feel free to correct me.) It’s possible that she has a spinal injury, but they don’t even imply properly if that’s what it is.

Second,…..really? Destroy the Digital World and the real world….to give your sister her mobility back? Don’t get me wrong, it’s noble that he wants to help his sister, but he’s willing to sacrifice the lives of countless humans and Digimon….to give Rei the ability to walk again. Even though, for all we know, she could someday recover and regain her mobility?

Guys, you can live a perfectly fulfilling life in a wheelchair. It’s not like Rei was an upcoming soccer star or they established a dream that required walking. Wouldn’t it be a better idea just to bring her to the Digital World to let her walk and enjoy her mobility again? Rei doesn’t even seem that excited or impressed that she can walk again. We don’t even know how long she’s been injured. She doesn’t really look any younger in the flashbacks.

Our final chapter of the volume ends with Taichi and Zero fighting Hideto and Omegamon. The battle’s okay so far, but this is also a bit of an info dump. This time we’re learning about Zero. Not only do we learn why Zero is so different from other Digimon and why he gets so immensely powerful when he’s emotional, but we learn that his time in the land of the living may be a lot shorter than they ever anticipated. Not by battle, but by health.

The match ends right in the middle with Zero getting one good shot off, but Hideto being anything but fazed.

The first half was lackluster completely one-sided battles that feel unsatisfactory simply because they had to rush things along to get the plot furthered, and the second half was mostly an info dump. It was an interesting info dump, but it was still an info dump.

In the end, this volume is a mixed bag on both sides, essentially being more buildup, but the reveal of Neo’s backstory and Rei’s connection to this whole thing were necessary information. Despite some problems with his reasons, it’s good that he at least has a somewhat solid motivation. The thing with Zero kinda came out of nowhere, though.

Rating: 6.5/10

Recommended Audience: It’s more violent and has more blood than probably any other volume, which is odd considering it definitely doesn’t have the most fighting of all the volumes. Maybe I’ll bump it up a year. +8

Next volume, the battle against Hideto and his Omegamon heats up. Will Hideto fell Zero and Taichi or will his own Digimon give him a change of heart?

…..Previous Volume

SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 35: Don’t Cry – Lonely Little Zakuro

SSBS - TMM EP 35 TITLE

Plot: Akasaka has baked a special cake for the birthday of a girl at a local daycare named Momoka. When Ichigo delivers it, she refuses to eat it because she’s watching her calories so she can grow up to be like her idol, Zakuro. While all of the other kids happily eat the cake, Momoka goes off on her own to dress up like Zakuro.

That evening, Mint gives Zakuro and Ichigo a ride home. They see Momoka at the daycare all alone on the swings and wonder why she’s there so late.

Later, Zakuro goes out to dinner at a fancy restaurant with some colleagues when she spots Momoka alone at a nearby table. A cake in the middle of the table indicates that this is meant to be her birthday dinner, but her parents are running late. This scene reminds Zakuro of all the times she spent eating dinner at home alone.

Some time passes, and Zakuro overhears that Momoka’s parents are so busy with work that they can’t make the dinner. Momoka refuses to have any dinner herself and runs out of the restaurant.

Zakuro follows her and finds her crying against a tree. She happily surprises Momoka and asks what’s bothering her. Momoka explains her situation, and Zakuro tells her that her parents may seem uncaring, but they love her much more than she’ll ever realize. She dries Momoka’s tears with her handkerchief and gives it to her as a birthday present before offering to share a nice dinner together.

Momoka heads home and goes to sleep. As she rests, her parents visit her in her room and her father reveals the birthday present he bought her – a beautiful pendant emblazoned with gems. Since she’s asleep, he decides to give it to her the following morning.

That morning, her parents apologize to her for missing her birthday dinner, but they give her the pendant as a late birthday gift and promise to spend the whole day at her daycare’s parents day event that afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Mews are sent by Akasaka and Shirogane to follow some leads on Mew Aqua sources. They stumble upon the picnic of the parents event for the daycare and notice that Momoka is not there. She has wandered away, refusing to partake, because her parents are yet again too busy with work to show up.

Momoka suddenly loses the handkerchief Zakuro gave her into the nearby stream. Kisshu shows up offering to help retrieve her handkerchief in exchange for the pendant her parents gave her, but she refuses. Kisshu relents, but claims she’ll never leave the forest or see her parents again if she doesn’t comply. Kisshu offers a different deal – give the pendant to him and he’ll immediately send her back to her parents.

Momoka’s about to give him the pendant when Zakuro shows up, having rushed over when she found her handkerchief in the stream. Kisshu knocks down Momoka and takes the pendant, which they suspect has Mew Aqua within it.

Zakuro transforms and is about to attack, but Kisshu uses Momoka as a human shield. Pai and Taruto show up to help, and Taruto constrains Zakuro with vines. Kisshu checks to see if the stone reacts to the Mew Aqua piece they have, but it fails.

The other Mews show up, and Mint frees Zakuro from the vines with her Ribbon Mint Echo. Pai and Taruto leave since there’s no Mew Aqua. Kisshu’s about to follow, but Zakuro uses her whip to nab him out of the portal at the last second and punch him square in the face.

Kisshu is too intimidated to continue, so, frustrated, he leaves.

Zakuro wakes Momoka up and gives the pendant and handkerchief back to her. Momoka thanks her and says she had a dream about Zakuro fighting a bad person to save her. She wants to be strong just like Zakuro when she grows up so she won’t get so lonely when her parents aren’t around.

Suddenly, Momoka’s parents show up. They brought some lunch for a picnic and happily reunite with their daughter. Lettuce deduces that her parents will never want to leave her alone again, and Zakuro wishes her the best as she looks on at the happy family.

Breakdown:

– Not sure if this was intentional, but I think it’s cute they gave Momoka a fruit themed name too, like all of the Mews. Momoka can be translated as ‘peach tree flower’

– Wow, the budget got amped up in this episode for some reason. I feel like I have to assume it’s because of Zakuro. Wouldn’t want an episode centered on the model to look weird.

Seriously, though, Aoyama looks like he’s way older than he is when the animation is bumped up.

– Points for them actually giving a good message about the dieting thing, especially considering this is a little kid.

– Momoka’s bedspread is covered in pomegranates….That is too adorable.

– I really like the song break they have in this episode. It’s a very relaxing song.

– I want that pendant. Like…bad. It’s like a jewel encrusted dream catcher.

SSBS - TMM EP 35 screen1

– I love the girls reactions to Shirogane saying they can find the Mew Aqua since their bodies react to it. Plus chibi Akasaka and Shirogane, come on. That’s too adorable.

SSBS - TMM EP 35 screen2SSBS - TMM EP 35 screen3

They do have a point, though. They’ve suspected lots of things as Mew Aqua but their bodies never reacted and no one discredited the suspected Mew Aqua because of it. They haven’t had a Mew Aqua reaction since….the first season finale, I believe.

– Even though her parents love her and mean well, they really have to stop promising to be at places and events that they very likely won’t be able to make. Broken promises sometimes hurt a lot more than just straight out saying this thing can’t happen.

– Lettuce: “Sad moments have always created the strongest reactions with Mew Aqua.”….Can someone verify this? Because I don’t think that’s right.

– I was going to give Kisshu points for not just knocking down Momoka and taking the pendant, but then he does it anyway when Zakuro shows up. Why even bother with the fake-nice ploy?

– They put in Zakuro’s full transformation barring her pose in the end? Why cut out that one part?

– It’s getting really tiresome to keep having ‘This might have Mew Aqua in it!….Nope, it was just a plot device.’ plots….

– Yay, Zakuro being her badass self! You yank him out of that portal he technically has no reason to use and punch him in the face! Whoo!

SSBS - TMM EP 35 screen4

– Plus that glare to him at the end – Pure awesome. Someone please make a spin-off show with Zakuro as the leader.

– Kinda have to wonder why Kisshu never tried to use Momoka’s spirit to make a Chimera Animal, though.

– I love how he’s so offended that Zakuro actually hit him in the face.

– And Ichigo got to do nothing! Yay! I know that seems kinda mean for me to be excited over, but it’s so refreshing to not need Ichigo to pop up and take the final glory. Mint is the one who saved Zakuro from the vines, even.

– Lettuce: “Those parents won’t ever want to leave Momoka-chan by herself again.” Uhm….no. I’m sorry. I hate when they do these throwaway lines for serious problems just because we’re running out of time. You have absolutely no way of knowing this event changed them. She got lost for all of, maybe, a half hour, and they never find out her life was in danger.

You can hope she’d be more open with her feelings and that her parents would try their best to always have at least one of them home with Momoka when she’s alone, but these things take time. You can’t just assume they’ll fix such a problem so easily.

Also, this may be the subber’s fault, but I doubt they ever ‘wanted’ to leave her alone in the first place. It’s obvious they want to spend more time with her, they just preoccupy themselves with work too much.

– Why does Zakuro suddenly have bright pink lipstick on?

——————————

All in all, I really liked this episode. Zakuro shines a lot here, especially in her badass moment at the end. We didn’t get much into her past, which I would’ve appreciated, but that’s alright.

Momoka’s a bit of a brat at first, but she kinda has a right to be, at least at the level she is. I think she spoke a bit too harshly to Ichigo for no reason, but it’s understandable.

I am so appreciative that they fully made this a Zakuro episode without skewing the focus to Ichigo for no reason. We don’t even get a tiny bit of the other girls transforming. It’s Zakuro’s show here.

I’m still confused as to why no actual Chimera Animal was created. I’m even more confused as to why Taruto needed three of those parasite aliens just to make a few vines move. I’m fine with it, though, because even in the absence of a big battle, that punch and glare from Zakuro were too good.

It was predictable how this would turn out, but, again, that’s okay. I’d like it a bit less wrapped up with a neat bow, but what can you expect?

Rating: 9/10

Next time, Shirogane’s past and the background of the Mew Project is revealed.

….Previous Episode

Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 06 (Dub) Jirachi – Wish Maker Review

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Every 1000 years, the Millennium Comet is visible from earth for seven days. Ash, May, Brock and Max take a break from their Pokemon journey to visit a festival meant to celebrate the Millennium Comet. While enjoying a magic show, they meet the Great Butler and his assistant, Diane, who give Max a crystal that contains the wish-granting legendary Pokemon, Jirachi, as he’s the one Jirachi has chosen to befriend in order to emerge from his slumber.

They become fast friends, but it soon becomes apparent that Butler had malicious motives for giving Jirachi to Max. He wants to use Jirachi and the comet to power a machine that will clone a Groudon as revenge against Team Magma.

——————————————–

I don’t really know if there’s anything I can say here. Like I said in my Gotta Dance review, I only caught this movie on TV once or twice. I really wasn’t keen on getting into it for a few reasons:

1) I was still salty about Misty leaving.

2) This movie’s main character is Max. I am not a fan of Max.

3) Despite liking him, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jirachi.

I still watched it when it aired on Cartoon Network, and I didn’t remember entirely all that happens. I was either watching something else while watching that movie the first time or I just wasn’t paying proper attention. I don’t have much else to say about my previous experience with this movie beyond that.

The poster is really good yet again. I have to wonder why only the starters and Pikachu are on it, but it’s nothing major. Looks fantastic otherwise.

Bulbagarden’s comparison of the movie can be found here.

————————————-

Since Misty is now gone, we need to make a new ‘World of Pokemon’ opener, but this one’s a bit different….and awesome.

This ‘World of Pokemon’ opener moreso focuses on the legendaries and the Pokemon lore as a whole. The thing that’s really cool about it, though, is the fact that they showcase each of the legendaries that have been spotlighted in all of the previous movies and in the TV show. They even show Ho-Oh first because technically that was the first ever legendary to appear in the show.

Mewtwo follows, and he’s wearing a huge scarf for some reason, then we get Lugia, Entei, Celebi, Latias and Latios (though it must be a different Latios) and Kyogre….who must’ve appeared in the show before this I guess. Each of their shots are extremely cool, too. Entei’s and Lugia’s in particular look amazing.

Cut to a Pokemon battle in a stadium and – oh my god, those are different Pokeballs!

Man, it’s so rare to see different Pokeballs in this show. What’s that black one? It’s awesome!…..Wow, I think this is the most excited I’ve gotten during any of these movie reviews and I’m only at the ‘World of Pokemon’ opener. Hopefully this is a good omen.

Anyway, we – oh my god, the person throwing them is Ruby!

I’m so unreasonably happy right now!

The narrator continues on saying that Pokemon are sometimes used in battles alongside Pokemon Trainers, and Pokemon and humans live together in peace and harmony. However, there are some evil people who want to use the strongest Pokemon for their own malicious means, such as Team Magma’s pursuit of Groudon.

Cut to a cave where two people find a big crystal that supposedly holds the key to granting their strongest desire.

Now we’re with Ash and friends, further explaining their stories. Well, Ash’s dream of being a Pokemon Master anyway. The narrator doesn’t even bless the others with names just ‘friends with hopes and dreams of their own.’

Also, you think I’m joking when I call him Messiahchu?

Since when is Pikachu so fast that he doesn’t break surface tension? I don’t even think he’s using Agility!

The narration keeps going with basically saying dreams are great, but be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. Obvious moral is obvious.

We get our title screen and…..really good CGI?…..What the hell were the good CGI guys doing when Gotta Dance was being made?

Ash and the others are walking around in the middle of the night looking for some festival that is meant to celebrate the Millennium Comet, a huge event since the comet only appears for seven nights once every 1000 years.

They reach the location where the festival is supposed to be, but find it to be a completely empty field. They take a break to eat and soon after fall asleep when they’re awoken by the festival workers setting up.

The credits are playing over this…..

But….but…..but what about the theme song? They started not including the theme songs in the movies? That’s a sin or something isn’t it? Outside of the awesome World of Pokemon opener, it makes the opening really lackluster.

Wow, even the CGI trucks look really good….Seriously, where the hell were you animators in the short?

We see our main CotM and antagonists, basically, Butler the magician and his assistant, Diane, using cute tricks with balloons to make crates and tents suddenly appear and assemble. The place ends up looking good, but I don’t think that assembly montage was ‘opener-worthy.’

Cut to the daytime where Ash, May, Max and Brock are having fun at the festival and we see Team Rocket throwing fliers for the Great Butler’s magic show. Way to litter, guys. I really never understood why people thought that was a good way to advertise. Yes, it’s exposure but it’s also really annoying.

Ash and the others find one on the ground and decide to go to his show.

Dogasu’s comparison makes a note about this poster. There’s Japanese text at the bottom of the title that is basically the exact Japanese translation of the English words, The Great Butler’s Magic Show. In the dub, they erase this text, which isn’t anything new by far. This is 4Kids. However, it is a new thing for the movies, because, outside of titles and credits, the text has been left alone in the movies.

They explain how this paint edit in particular is dumb because they left half the Japanese theme song to this movie completely untranslated, which is very much a rarity for them. They also have the full Japanese song and the Japanese title card available on the DVD, so it’s yet another ‘missing the forest for the trees’ moment for 4Kids. Maybe they’re just so used to removing this stuff that they did it on instinct.

What I’m more focused on is the sloppiness of this edit. If there’s one thing I can always (backhandedly) compliment 4Kids for is that, when it comes to the editing involved in their changes, they’re pretty good about whitewashing nearly every trace of the fact that they changed it.

While their text replacements leave much to be desired most of the time, they’re pretty good when it comes to removals. They’re so good that there have been numerous times when I’ve tried to catch a screencap of the painted shot and it just goes by so quickly that it’s either incredibly difficult or close to impossible to get the shot.

What they do may be stupid, but they did get pretty damn good at it – Usually, anyway.

Nelvana and DiC also do similar edits sometimes and they suck at it for the most part. I remember those edits that Cartoon Network would make on Yu Yu Hakusho to censor blood and middle fingers and they were horrible at it. Colors never matched, the paint would shake in a very distracting manner, and it just looked awful.

I can think of several instances where their paint and editing is off, but 4Kids was basically the best in the business at what they did. I’ve probably missed minute details that they’ve edited away in my SDCs simply because I don’t have hawk eyes or the patience to go through episodes frame by frame.

The shots of Team Rocket throwing the fliers is perfect. You can’t tell a single thing was changed. Then when they show a close up shot of one of the fliers on the ground, there’s one frame that they neglected to change.

What’s worse is that, in addition to erasing the text, they seem to have moved the shot a bit, making the screen jump when it cuts to that shot.

This is the frame they neglected to paint:

This is the frame post-paint:

Granted, their ‘after’ shot is a little better because they made the G visible, but that’s still no excuse. This is such sloppy editing from 4Kids that I’d actually say I’m disappointed in them. They rarely ever miss frames, and editing mistakes that make the screen jump are a once-in-a-blue-moon deal with them.

The reason I brought up Team Rocket throwing the painted fliers is the fact that those are numerous, much smaller posters being thrown through the air. Meaning you have way more things to paint that are constantly moving and changing angles. That’s a very hard and time consuming paint edit that they did perfectly.

This is a mostly static shot, up close. There’s no reason for this. For shame 4Kids’ editing staff. For shame.

….Last thing about this poster, I promise…..Shouldn’t it be ‘Welcome to THE Great Butler’s Magic Show?’

Cut to the magic show where magic happens. Butler is wowing the audience with his magic and he makes Diane and the stone they found earlier in the cave appear in a puff of fire and smoke. The stone is CGI, and, on its own, it looks fantastic. Diane is traditionally animated…So yeah, it looks wonky when they try to meld the two in one shot and make the CGI move with the regular animation. It just doesn’t look right.

Max starts hearing a voice emanating from the stone talking about wishes and the comet, so he rushes the stage like a crazy person. Ash tries to bring him back to his seat, but Butler and Diane decide to use them as volunteers in their act.

I’m gonna stop right there and explain why I don’t like the fact that Max is technically the protagonist of this movie.

I don’t much care for Max as a character. I find him to be a little annoying know-it-all. He does love Pokemon, yes, and he definitely has a passion for training. But the fact of the matter is that he’s annoying to me because of his attitude and the vibe he gives off. Even his voice irks me.

There’s also little point in him being there. On the episodes that do follow him, they mostly just focus on the bare basics in terms of the spirit and technical aspects of Pokemon Training, which makes sense considering Max is too young to be a Trainer, but it’s boring to watch unless you’re just that new to the franchise.

If it is to help welcome newbies who may be getting in on the new generation….We have May for that don’t we? Isn’t she supposed to fill the newbie role? I know she becomes a Coordinator later, but my point still stands. Plus, he seems to be pretty booksmart in regards to Pokemon, so it’s a little contradictory.

Other than that, his episodes mostly center around his childishness, which also makes sense because child, but that doesn’t make it any better to watch.

Speaking of not being a Trainer….Max isn’t a Trainer. Or anything else, for that matter. Thus what he does is essentially nothing in episodes that don’t center around him. He basically takes a seat as yet another Ash companion who is there to be there and not much else.

I guess I understand why Max is the main character in this movie, because it’s cuter to have a younger kid being best friends with a cute Pokemon over the older kids. Plus, the other kids have Pokemon they treasure and Max doesn’t get to actually ‘have’ a Pokemon often.

Still, couldn’t they have just as easily used a new CotM? They did it in Movie 04. Max will be gone from the franchise entirely in….what, two or three years? And I will say it makes me stew a bit that who I consider to be the second most useless Ash companion (three guesses who the first is) gets a movie to himself, but Brock and Misty never did, and this really never happens again as Ash or a CotM takes over in practically every other movie.

I won’t say Max doesn’t grow over time. He does mature and gets slightly less annoying to my recollection. However, we will never see the fruits of this labor. The last we see of Max is him back at his dad’s Gym still working on becoming a Trainer some day, and I will bet everything I own that we will never see that day.

He’s barely made a cameo since his departure, and in order to actually see him as a legit Trainer, we’d need to hop ahead three years to make him ten, and Pokemon just doesn’t age people. They may change their character designs a bit, but no aging. Worse yet is the horrible idea of making Ash 13! *gasp*

If anything, Ash has been de-aged recently with the new character designs.

I don’t remember him being quite a big annoyance in this movie, but I’m still not looking forward to an hour and a half of Max spotlight.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Ash and Max are set to perform the trick of ‘the burning box’ which requires them to escape from a box before it bursts into flames. May bitches about not being in the show and Brock does the same because he wants some of Diane’s booty.

They start the trick and decide to make it more interesting by, instead of using flames, using a Dusclops’ Hyper Beam to destroy the box.

Meowth: “They’re stuck in a dark place with impending doom and no way out. That sounds like my life.”

Wow, that’s…kind of dark, 4Kids.

The Hyper Beam goes off and the bottom of the box falls out at the last second, sending Max and Ash under the stage. The Hyper Beam looks weird in this movie. It charges blue and then looks like fire when shot instead of the yellow beam we know and love.

They continue to ride under the auditorium and pop up back in the audience.

As they take the applause, Team Rocket ditch their clown outfits and nab Pikachu as well as Butler and Diane’s Mightyena and Kirlia.

Butler defeats them with Dusclops, Pikachu lends a hand and Dusclops sends them blasting off.

Once the show concludes, Butler tells them that the rock is housing the sleeping wish-granting legendary Pokemon, Jirachi. He only awakens once every 1000 years, and in order to awaken he needs two things; 1) The Millennium Comet needs to be visible and 2) He needs to find a friend.

We’ll be right back with Care Bears: Wish Maker in a moment, but wow that is some crazy coinky-dink. Jirachi can only be awoken when the Millennium Comet comes around, which it only does once per 1000 years. How convenient that they happened to find it right as the comet’s set to come in that very night.

They realize that Max is the one Jirachi has chosen to be its friend, and additionally his ‘wish-maker’ if what Jirachi said earlier is any indication….No criteria needed, it probably could’ve talked to anyone or everyone in the audience, but there ya go. Butler hands the rock over to Max since he has the best chance of awakening Jirachi.

Later that night, Ash and the others enjoy the festival some more. May decides to buy a wishing star, which looks kinda like a dreamcatcher. The cashier says that the wishing star is a neat little contraption with which you use in conjunction with the seven days of the comet. On each day of the comet, you fold down one of the points and make a wish. When the final day is done, your wish will come true.

They watch the fireworks and, of course, there’s a Pikachu one and, of course, it’s the biggest one.

They also show a Psyduck, Treecko, Lotad, Torchic, Beautifly and Mudkip…..wow, that was just a big collection of random Pokemon Ash and his friends have owned. Huh.

Can I take the time out to step back and show how crazy Max seems right now?

He’s hearing voices only he can hear and he’s carrying around a rock, cuddling it and treating it like it’s alive. I, you and the Ash gang know or believe there’s a Pokemon in there….but no one else does! I’m surprised more people aren’t staring at the kid giving hugs to the giant purple rock. I can’t be the only one who thinks it’d be funny if it ended up to be just Butler yanking the kid’s chain or Ash and the others humoring him until the guys in white show up to take Max away.

How is Max dealing with lugging that rock around this whole time, anyway? It’s really quite big to be carrying around like a teddy bear.

They see the Millennium Comet, May makes her wish and Max falls asleep. May pats his head and Max mutters for his mommy. Aw. That is kinda cute.

May starts… I suppose I’ll call it humming even though she’s moreso going ‘doodododdodododo’ Another note Dogasu made here was that they left in May/Haruka’s original Japanese voice for this song……which I find baffling. Is Veronica Taylor really that bad at singing that she can’t pull off a ‘doodododododdooododo’ song in her female voice? I’m not really complaining, I’m just curious.

May explains that the song is a lullaby their mother would ‘sing’ to them, and as she ‘sings,’ the rock glows and we cut to the woods where a green light is flowing through everything. It looks exactly like Celebi’s time travel effects. An Absol sees this and runs towards the rock.

Jirachi emerges, and I will say that Jirachi is very cute…..Not as cute as Mew, maybe on par with Celebi. They also selected an equally cute voice for the little guy.

Diane arrives somehow knowing what happened and tells the kids they can sleep in their bus for the night. Remember kids, if a carny you barely know says you can sleep in their bus, it’s A-Okay!

Diane then runs off to tell Butler, who happily receives the news, revealing that he has big plans for the little star—Evil plans! Muahahahaha!! He doesn’t have the voice to pull this off but MUAHAHAHAHAH!

Back with the kids, Max wants to test out Jirachi’s wish-granting powers. So, being a kid, he wishes for a bunch of candy.

Jirachi’s tags glow and he floats up in the air, but nothing happens.

Max: “There’s no such thing as someone being able to grant wishes! I knew it!”

See, this is the kind of crap that makes me dislike this kid. Also, when the hell did you ever say that? You’ve been believing each and every thing about this situation since the instant you heard Jirachi’s voice. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have snuggled with a rock for the past six hours. Little brat.

Jirachi’s wish-granting abilities start working and candy starts popping up all over the bus. I don’t know when crackers and cheese became candy…..but I like cheese, so I’ll allow this.

However, it seems that Jirachi works on the laws of equivalent exchange because we then cut to the vendors at the festival having their candy and foodstuffs disappearing.

Once Max’s wish has been granted, the others fight over who gets the next wish, even going so far as to play tug-of-war with poor Jirachi until they burst out the back door of the bus.

Diane and Butler arrive and explain that Jirachi grants wishes, but the hitch is, like I said, he really just teleports things that you wish for. He doesn’t make them from thin air…..So….Jirachi’s a kidnapping and theft machine. Kinda takes away from the mysticism of this legendary doesn’t it? That also means there’s a ton of wishes you simply can’t make because of this fine print. This is the least impressive legendary ever.

At least they’re giving rules and restrictions to how this magic works, which is more than I can say for a lot of magic things in kid shows….but when something is a wish-granting machine, you kinda just accept that it grants wishes. The fact that it simply steals things makes him a really lame legendary…that you’d probably get arrested for using.

May flips her lid after discovering what Jirachi did and demands him to ‘get rid of the problem’ which prompts Jirachi to transport May into the pile of candy. I uh….don’t get it? May’s the problem? Because she’s yelling? Or did Max find her to be the problem at the moment and Jirachi was only obeying him? I dunno. Also, how does putting her mere feet away into the candy pile ‘solve the problem’?

Jirachi, exhausted from ‘granting wishes’ goes to sleep, but Butler assures Max that he won’t return to hibernation until the comet leaves at the end of the week. Meanwhile, the kids are doomed to bringing back the candy themselves.

The next morning, Max and Jirachi go off to play while Ash and the others prepare for the show. Apparently, Ash and Brock are clowns now while May’s a stagehand.

Jirachi starts causing trouble as it steals Max’s glasses and coaxes him to chase him while Max tries to help May stop a big lighting tower from falling over. The tower falls on May, causing a mess and she blames Jirachi, even if that was equal parts Jirachi and Max’s fault. Max could’ve stayed and still helped. He doesn’t need his glasses to push a tower up.

Max gets his glasses back and, surprisingly, isn’t mad at Jirachi for nearly causing severe harm to his sister. The Absol from earlier appears and starts attacking Max. Butler notes that Absol only appears in front of humans when a great tragedy is about to occur.

May tries to stave off Absol with Torchic, but has no effect. Ash tries Pikachu and does a little more, but still doesn’t faze Absol much. Jirachi says Absol is there for him and he uses his teleportation powers to teleport Pikachu and Torchic to the roof of the tent.

Absol suddenly directs his attention to Ash and the others and charges toward them. However, Butler triggers a trap door in the stage that sends Absol to a cage and puts him to sleep using Kirlia’s Hypnosis.

Jirachi then falls asleep again for some reason. He sleeps for 1000 years at a time. Does he really need to nod off after doing the littlest thing?

The second night is over, we can hear Jirachi snoring in his sleep through telepathy somehow, and May heads out to use her wishing star again. When she’s done, she spots Butler walking away from the bus where the kids are sleeping. He’s kidnapped Jirachi and put him in a weird device he has in his stage. Diane tells Butler that Absol is trying to bring Jirachi back to Forina, the land in which he originated, and that they should let him go back to where he belongs, but Butler ignores her.

He activates the machine, which causes Jirachi pain, and claims that when Jirachi sees the comet with his ‘true eye’ his ultimate wish will come true.

He holds up a glass container with a fossil inside of it and we get a flashback. Butler used to work for Team Magma as a scientist. He was presenting the council of Team Magma with the fossil, which was from a Groudon, claiming that he would create an actual Groudon from the fossil before their eyes.

He fails, claiming he needs a better power source, and is fired from Team Magma as a result. He reclaimed his fossil and vowed that he would make a real Groudon no matter what. Not sure the organization who is obsessed with Groudon would just let him take a Groudon fossil, but okay.

The flashback ends and Butler prepares the machine. He forces Jirachi into opening his true eye with Dusclops’ Psychic, and a beam of light bursts from the eye towards the comet only to return and crash into the stage.

Max and the others arrive and try to protect the wounded Jirachi. Diane pleads with Butler to stop, but he claims he’s doing it for her. She says she doesn’t want this, and Butler shoves Diane out of the way to get Jirachi before Max escapes with him.

The gang escapes. Before Butler can pursue them, Absol escapes from his cage, attacks them and runs off.

They continue to escape in Butler’s bus, and Mightyena somehow catches up and places a tracker on it.

Diane explains Butler’s backstory again and we actually hear Butler’s legit evil laugh which itself is laughable.

May: “Groudon?”

Brock: “Isn’t that the legendary Pokemon rumored to incredible powers?”

No no, it’s the one legendary Pokemon on planet earth that does not have incredible powers. Oh wait, no, that’s Jirachi!

The only thing we really get from this that we may not have already known is that it’s not Jirachi’s power that Butler is using. Jirachi’s merely used as a channel to take power from the comet and use its energy instead. So yeah, Jirachi’s one major talent is to take things that don’t belong to him…..Team Rocket should steal this legendary.

So far we’ve had;

Mewtwo, who could do a gigantic list of things with his psychic powers from building a laboratory from scratch, perfecting the cloning process or making an apocalyptic storm.

Moltres, Articuno and Zapdos who basically control the entire ecosystem of the world – plus Lugia who keeps them in line.

Unown who create their own legit realities from scratch.

Celebi who can heal wounds/bring the dead back to life and travel through time as well as psychically make gigantic grass monsters.

Latias and Latios who have sight sharing abilities and the ability to transform or become invisible.

Then we have Jirachi….the thief. He’s supposed to be a wish-granting Pokemon – that’s not outside of the realm of belief for this show. Why is he so seemingly blasé compared to the other legends?

The group decides to head to Forina to bring Jirachi back home…..which is…understandable, but a dumb plan. Even if Butler didn’t put the tracker on them, do they really think Forina is the place to go? That’s where Butler found him, Absol’s been trying to bring him back there and Diane suggested that they should bring him back earlier. Do they really think he’s pounding his head going ‘where could they possibly have gone!?’

It’s night three, May makes her wish, Jirachi telepathically snores and May and Diane have a chit-chat. She explains that she’s known Butler since they were kids, and she always knew they’d be together. We get a pretty nicely done flashback with everything in warm colors and the kid versions of Diane and Butler in silhouette, which I find to be pretty cool. Butler’s practicing magic on her, and, after calling him great, he dons the name ‘The Great Butler,’ which is good for his magician career and if he ever decides to become a butler.

The flashback ends, and Diane laments how much Butler has changed since the good ol’ days. She can only hope that he’ll return to normal once the comet leaves.

The next day, their journey continues. I want to point out that there’s a shot during the ‘next day’ montage where they get stuck in the mud and even Jirachi is helping push the bus out but Pikachu’s just chillin’ behind them. Messiahchu is above this menial labor!

Night four and day five go by with May and Max seeming increasingly worried and sad.

As we reach night five, May makes her wish and points out that there’s only two more nights left, which upsets Max and makes him run off.

Ash joins him and explains that, while Jirachi may go away, they’ll be friends forever, because true friendship lasts no matter if you see them or not. He gives an example by saying he had to say goodbye to a friend and he misses her everyday. He makes some strained facial expressions as he speaks, but he says they remain friends and will always be such. Ladies and gentlemen, the last known AAML poke. I believe anyway.

Too bad this is a dub-exclusive line. Funny how, even after she’s gone, 4Kids still wants to keep the spirit alive. I miss her too, man. I miss her too.

Does anyone else really wish we got more of ‘older brother’ Ash?

Day six and the gang arrive at Forina. Ah, it’s beautiful. The landscape is crisp. The Altaria are singing. The Tropius are eating the slightly better modeled CGI fruit from the slightly better animated CGI branches. Truly a paradise.

Night six, May makes her wish, Max goes to bed and May hums her lullaby again.

Day seven – judgment day—Er I mean, the last day with Jirachi. The gang is lead by Absol into the cave where Jirachi usually sleeps. Once night falls, he is beckoned towards the comet, but Max pleads for him to grant his wish of staying by his side. However, Jirachi can’t escape the comet’s call and floats up to open his true eye in preparation for the absorption of the comet’s energy and his 1000 year hibernation.

Diane explains that Jirachi collects this energy not only for itself but also for the sake of the land around it. While he sleeps, the land of Forina feeds off the energy to grow and thrive.

As Jirachi is about to collect the energy, mechanisms appear from the cave walls and trap Jirachi in a ball of light. It’s Butler, if that wasn’t obvious, and after one of the most overused jokes in villain history and trapping the gang in a purple lightning cage, he starts his preparations to gather the energy himself.

The process starts, and Pikachu tries to break through the cage to no avail. Hey Ash, aren’t you gonna run into it head first, thinking you’re the Hulk or something?

*doesn’t*

….Wha….eh….Why are you being smart and mature in this movie!? I demand you cease this nonsense at once and go fling yourself towards danger!

Absol and a Flygon from Forina come to destroy the mechanisms creating the cage. Flygon gives Ash and Max a ride to Butler’s giant platform thinger.

Butler’s revival of Groudon is going smoothly, but Ash and Max arrive to save the day. Butler reveals that he has a friggin’ Salamence and commences aerial battle with them……Awesome! I haven’t seen an aerial battle since Movie 03.

Ash sends Max and Pikachu off to stop the machine and save Jirachi while he distracts Butler in the air. Now you’re being logical? Who are you!?

They do so, the process stops and the gang manages to escape Butler’s evil clutches and Jirachi’s perfectly fine now. May and Max even have a little moment. Awww.

Despite the process being interrupted, a Groudon is emerging from where the energy was being displaced. And it looks AMAZING.

I love Groudon’s design anyway, but this ‘shadow’ Groudon or ‘clone’ Groudon looks fantastic. It looks like it’s actually made of lava with green (and later blue) neon shining through it. It’s especially great right before it’s fully formed. I kinda wish they have kept it more black to be honest, but this is great too.

Butler’s initially ecstatic for the creation of the Groudon, but when he realizes that he used his crest of courage for selfish means and caused a dark digivolution of him, he is shocked and appalled.

They realize that, in a polar opposite manner of Jirachi who feeds the land with energy from the comet, the clone Groudon is actually sucking up energy from the land, causing the plants to die.

Absol tries to attack the Groudon in vain, Groudon fires back, and holy crap it looks even better when it’s attacking! I love this thing!

Groudon’s not only attacking Absol, he’s absorbing him into his body. The spikes on his back start to grow and change into cool little blue gooey tendrils to absorb all the other Pokemon of Forina.

Butler lands near the group and Diane asks if there’s anything he can do to stop Groudon, but he is without ideas.

Team Rocket gets absorbed next…Oh yeah, Team Rocket. I forgot to mention them. Yeah, they’ve been popping up now and then for the past half hour to just make a quick comment and then go away. Gotta remember that they exist.

Butler stares in horror at his creation and is about to be absorbed when Diane jumps in to save him and gets absorbed instead.

Is there such a thing as an emotion budget? Because he just used up a lot of it.

May and Brock get absorbed next, and just as Max and Ash are about to get absorbed, Jirachi teleports them away.

Butler, changed in his ways in the wake of Groudon’s destruction, helps out the boys and warns them that the Groudon is after Jirachi’s energy. Butler and his Salamence do everything in their power to keep the tendrils away from the boys, but one gets through the defenses and tries to grab the boys only to be stopped by Flygon.

They hop on Flygon and try to get away underground, but the tendrils continue to follow. As they inch closer and closer, Jirachi teleports them yet again. They meet back up with Butler in the air and he develops a plan. They can drain the energy from Groudon if they can get Jirachi back on his machine and reverse the polarity. Ah yet another problem solved by reversing the polarity. Job well done, science!

Ash initially doesn’t trust Butler, but after seeing his grief at losing Diane, he starts changing his tune. Butler’s Salamence is grabbed by Groudon and Butler falls, but is saved by Jirachi by teleporting Salamence below him.

That just leads to me question….Jirachi’s one major power is teleporting anything he wants right? Then why doesn’t he teleport everyone who is inside Groudon back to where they belong?

Also, why isn’t Jirachi getting exhausted? A couple days ago he was going comatose from teleporting one or two things. It’s been teleporting things all over the place tonight and he still seems fine, even in spite of being drained by Butler’s machine.

Jirachi believes that Butler can’t be all bad because he loves Diane, and that further encourages Ash and Max to go through with the plan. I feel like this past page has been kinda redundant.

Butler tells the boys to distract Groudon since he’s intent on catching Jirachi. Meanwhile, he’ll try to get the machine running.

The plan commences, but Butler accidentally drops the Groudon fossil from the platform only to be caught in a pretty cool shot by Ash as they fly by on Flygon.

Apparently, flipping the fossil’s container around reverses the polarity…Uh…kay, and they place Jirachi back on the machine. The only thing left to do is to flip the final switch, but as Butler’s about to do so, the platform starts to fall some more, causing him to slip off.

As Butler hangs on by a thread and Flygon and Salamence are absorbed, Ash channels his inner movie protagonist and pulls the switch. Jirachi starts draining the power from Groudon and putting it back into the land, but Groudon attempts to thwart his efforts by trying to absorb Jirachi with his tendrils. Butler stands in his way and gets absorbed.

Jirachi’s efforts are successful and we get another really cool shot of Jirachi making another pseudo-comet, the light explodes in midair and creates a star shower as the Pokemon and everyone else reappear safe and sound.

Jirachi floats back down to Max’s arms and thanks Max for making his wish come true – giving him a friend. Awwwwwwwwwwww.

Jirachi asks for one more wish to be granted by Max – he wants Max to sing him the lullaby before he goes off to sleep once more.

Max and everyone else agrees to grant Jirachi his wish. They start sing—Hahahahahaha….ahahaha….hahahahaha….oooohhh….Oh Brock my boy….Please stop. You’re killin’ me. Oh God.

Brock sounds awful when he’s doing this song. He sounds unbelievably bored, like he just got done filing his taxes.

I know for a fact that Eric Stuart can sing. He’s got a couple of songs on 4Kids’ soundtracks that are actually good….and he’s the lead singer of his own band! Maybe slow soft songs just aren’t his thing.

For the record, Veronica Taylor is doing the ‘singing’ voice of Ash. I guess her voice isn’t good enough to sing as a girl but okay to sing as a guy.

I know this scene is supposed to be really sad and sweet, and, for the most part, it is, but the fact that this song is literally just ‘Dododooododododdodoooododdodooo’ makes it seem a little bit on the silly side. Was it really too difficult to give this song lyrics?

Jirachi thanks them all and goes back into hibernation. He reverts to his crystal form and merges back into the earth, causing it to glow.

Max bids farewell to Jirachi and says he’ll always be in his heart.

After a weird scene with Team Rocket, we cut to the next day where we learn that Butler and Diane are going to stay in Forina because as long as they’re together nothing else matters. Uh, you guys don’t want to be magicians anymore? That thing you’ve been your whole lives? What do you intend on doing in Forina?

May congratulates Diane in getting her wish and then freaks out because she forgot to make her final wish on her wishing star. She says it doesn’t matter because everyone has to make their own dreams come true (Shh, don’t tell Disney.) They’re about to get a ride back to town with Butler and Diane when Max hears Jirachi’s voice yet again telling him they’ll be friends forever.

Jirachi! It is way past your bedtime, mister! You go to sleep right now or I won’t make you pancakes for breakfast in 3015!

Max smiles and returns to the bus as our movie ends.

The end credits start and the song is pretty nice…..hey….wait, this sounds familiar….Do…dodoooodododo—It’s the lullaby! It has lyrics!? Then why not sing the song in the movie!? Aw, forget it.

Now….I’m unsure about posting this since it might just be my copy, but since I distinctly remember this also happening when I watched it on TV, I’m going to say I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

During the end credits, May gets hungry, collapses to the ground and complains. A truck drives up and as we see the surprised faces of the group, the shot jars REALLY drastically to the left after about one or two frames. The exact same thing happens in the next shot of the truck driving down the road. The shots are perfectly fine in the original version.

First frame (Group shot):

Rest of Shot (Group shot):

First frame (Truck shot):

Rest of shot (Truck Shot):

I have only one theory as to why this might be. There’s one thing that Dogasu commonly brings up in the movie comparisons – the fact that all of the movies never get widescreen releases despite the source being released in widescreen.

This has caused several issues across the movies, most notably in Movie 01 and 02 where people would be cropped out of shots or shots would jarringly shift to get another character who starts talking into frame.

This is the shot in the original Japanese version:

See how everyone’s in the shot and how, at best, only May, Max and Ash make it fully into the shot in the dub? I think this was an insanely sloppy effort to get everyone’s reactions into frame. When the shot returns to the truck, the focus must’ve still been kept to the left for a frame or two and then they corrected it to be centered, making it jar there.

I don’t really get why this needed to be attempted anyway. So Brock’s not in the shot. Who cares? I’d rather have Brock cropped out of a completely pointless end credits scene than have the footage jar all over the place like it was edited by Edward Scissorhands on crystal meth.

This isn’t like in the first movie where they basically had to move the shot suddenly to get Brock into frame because he had a line and needed to be on-screen after someone on the other side of the screen said their line. There is no point here.

Now that I think about it, the earlier cut that jarred the screen also fixed the positioning, so I’m guessing the standard format cut off parts of the poster (IE, the ‘G’ I mentioned), forcing them to move the shot when it got to the close up. It likely wasn’t because of particularly sloppy editing due to painting off the Japanese text and moreso really sloppy editing due to cropping that occurred between versions.

If this cropping is, for some reason, absolutely necessary, why not just make it so the shot moves slowly from one side to the other? A pan shot is miles above a sudden jump cut to the same scene.

The rest of the scenes are the group stargazing and pointing out Pokemon-based constellations and yup, the rest of this song is indeed in Japanese. I have to say, Bra-freakin-vo on whoever chose the woman to sing the English version of the ending song because she sounds almost exactly like the original singer.

We also get some shots of the group walking, a nice cameo by a good chunk of the group’s Pokemon at the beach, them enjoying some of the same fireworks from earlier (the exact same ones) and finally them staring off into the sunset at the movie ends.

————————————

You probably already got this, but….I kinda loved this movie. Surprisingly, to be honest, because I just didn’t remember giving this movie much credit back when I first watched it, but now that I’ve sat down and watched it again, this is probably the second best Pokemon movie so far.

Practically everything about it works very well. The relationship between Max and Jirachi is genuine, and their departure was saddening and well-handled. The May and Max moments were pretty heartwarming. Max wasn’t that annoying here. He was actually pretty sweet most of the time. He has his moments of annoyance here and there, but they can be overlooked.

Ash was actually pretty cool to watch for a change. Butler was a legit villain with a backstory, a non-stupid, but admittedly cliché, motivation and something to humanize him. Granted, his voice does not work, but what can you do?

Team Rocket’s part was basically pointless from start to finish, but since they didn’t affect anything and barely had any screentime I can’t complain too much. Speaking of which, outside of hitting on girls, Brock was also totally non-existent here again.

The clone Groudon was AWESOME……But he is one of the bigger problems in the movie mostly because they never explain in the least how this thing was made. Why was the cloning process corrupted into making this shadow Groudon? Was it just because not enough energy was fed into it or are we really going with my dark digivolution theory of using power for selfish means creates evil?

I may rag on Jirachi being a pretty lame legendary (mostly because practically every Psychic type can teleport things, and him being a non-wish-granting wish-granting Pokemon is just really disappointing. The fact that he can channel energy from the Millennium Comet is really the only thing he has going for him.) but I will admit, he can be pretty damn cool when the situation calls for it. That finale was simply fantastic.

Story-wise, you can easily compare this with Movie 04. That movie tried to combine action with soft and genuine moments of friendship, growth and reflection, but it pretty much failed. The conflict with Sam being ‘stuck’ in the present was a non-plot point as Celebi could’ve sent him back whenever he wanted. The conflict of Jirachi’s impending 1000 year hibernation was very real and completely unavoidable.

The Sam and Ash friendship was pretty nice and genuine in Movie 04, but it was a bit too hammy. I think they overplayed the connection between the two. They got way too close too fast all because they wanted to make the ‘Ooh it’s Oak’ connection. In terms of him crying over Sam leaving as well as everyone else doing so was also over the top for someone who A) Isn’t dying and B) could easily be seen again in their time if they thought to research who he was in the present.

The connection between Sam and Celebi is okay, but they didn’t focus on it enough. Like I said, it felt like Ash kept taking the spotlight away from what seemed to be their story. Slowly, it started to be more like Ash was meant to have the connection with Celebi and not Sam.

The relationship between Max and Jirachi is a bit forced at first, downright weird when Jirachi is a rock, but the way I see it is that Max views Jirachi as kinda his first Pokemon. As a non-Trainer, but an aspiring one, he has no Pokemon of his own to care for, yet he really loves Pokemon. So it’s not that far out there that he’d be really excited to have Jirachi choose him as his friend.

Additionally, the small bits with May and Max were well done as they have a very realistic relationship here. They fight, they make pokes at each other, but in the end they still love each other and aren’t afraid to show it when the situation calls for it.

I didn’t quite understand why May kept getting so angry with Jirachi, though.

Ash’s role in this movie was near perfect. He was the smartest and most mature I’ve ever seen him, even better than Movie 03, and he never seemed to take the spotlight away from Max and Jirachi’s story. He obviously got focus, and, in the end, had his little hero moment, but they had just the right amount of focus on him and Pikachu.

Ash’s role in Movie 04 overstepped his bounds. There were so many times where I felt Ash was stepping on Sam and Celebi’s toes and taking the story from them. Plus, he was pretty annoying and dumb in that movie.

Butler is the first villain that I would actually say is good outside of Mewtwo. He’s fleshed out, has a story, a human connection and a believable reason for turning to the side of good at the end. He wants Jirachi for a legit reason, he wants to create Groudon for a legit reason, and everything he does has a purpose. He was a scientist bent on revenge who created a monster in place of his dream. He realized his mistake, he paid for it, and he helped fix it. Even Diane was well-used as a character, though she’s a bit too passive for my tastes.

The Iron Masked Marauder may have been the first villain in these movies who was a legit villain, again outside of Mewtwo, but he was really cliché. He had no backstory, he wasn’t fleshed out outside of ‘he works for Team Rocket and wants Celebi’s powers to take over Team Rocket and rule the world.’ We never learn why he’s specifically targeting Celebi nor why he’s destroying the forest. He never changes, he never grows and even the reveal of who/what was behind the mask was lame because it was nothing.

Lawrence the Third was complete nothing outside of a collector, and Annie and Oakley were just thieves who, like IMM, wanted Latios and Latias merely for power and to take over the world. Their growth and change was really just giving up on resisting their punishment in the end.

Movie 04’s seemingly pointless and cliché, sometimes cheesy and laughably animated, action gets in the way of what could be a heartwarming story of a boy (Seriously) trapped in another time. That’s a pretty interesting story. You could also greatly build on his connection with Celebi through a lot of quiet and soft moments, but those were too few and far between amongst the insanity.

Art: The art, animation and CGI are the best I’ve seen them. The CGI is actually the best of the movies so far, I believe edging out Movie 03 merely because of the icky Unown. The CGI here does have its spots of poor quality, but they’re quick and not very noticeable. I think a lot of this is helped by the fact that much of the CGI is done at night, masking more imperfections.

Shame on the editors for this movie though. One screen-jarring edit is bad enough, but three?

And yes, I also don’t understand why the hell they went through so many years of releasing the movies in standard format instead of widescreen when the source is widescreen. All it does is make more problems for them.

That in itself dropped this movie down a couple of decimal points for me. It was probably fixed in future releases, if there were future releases, but the fact that this was greenlit for release on VHS and/or DVD and TV release once upon a time with these issues intact is enraging to me. Pure laziness.

Music: The music was great, though I do miss the OP. The lack of music at numerous moments was also a welcome change of pace. The ED is really nice, though the in-movie version will never sound not-silly to me. When May does it alone, it’s not too bad, but when they all did it it was hard to keep focus on the sad Jirachi departure because ech.

Bottomline: All in all, a pretty great movie. Not perfect, but definitely the most I’ve enjoyed a Pokemon movie since 03, and that’s really saying something.

This movie had what I think is a pretty nice balance of quiet, genuine moments and action. Plus, the action had a point, didn’t seem to be in the way and was completely awesome from start to finish.

This movie is everything 04 could’ve been but wasn’t.

Recommended Audience: Nothing that I remember. E for everyone!

SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 34: The Most Important Matter – The Ability to Trust Someone

SSBS - TMM EP 34 TITLE
Why are we only now focusing on Lettuce’s artistic abilities? She’s amazing.

Plot: Ichigo and the other Mews are raising money at a charity drive with a Cafe stand. While Mint tries to contribute by peddling her 10,000,000 yen armoire, Lettuce offers to sell a bag of dolls that she hand-made herself. She’s selling them for a mere 100 yen a piece, but is okay with that price since she would’ve easily just given them away to whomever liked them.

Aoyama arrives and compliments Lettuce’s dolls. A sudden rush of customers nabs them all up in a matter of hours, clamoring over their cuteness. Shirogane arrives to see what all the fuss is about, which seems to prompt Aoyama’s departure.

Just as they’re about to close up, a woman comes by asking if there are any dolls left. Lettuce gives her the last one, a green finless porpoise. The woman compliments her on her adorable dolls and reveals herself to be Ayano Uemura, a very famous doll-maker. She likes Lettuce’s work so much that she gives her a business card and tells her to drop by her workshop.

After some encouraging words from her friends and family, Lettuce goes off to meet Ayano in her workshop. She offers to make a doll with Lettuce, and after days and days of planning, designing and sewing, they make a beautiful doll. Lettuce couldn’t be happier, and she gets even better news when Ayano says she’s entering Lettuce and her doll into a local exhibit.

When they arrive, however, they see that Ayano is claiming the doll as her own and refuses to acknowledge the girls’ claims that Lettuce made it. She even calls security to escort them from the premises. Ayano runs off from her stand in frustration and possible guilt when she runs into Kisshu.

He decides that he’s going to cause a ruckus at the exhibit just to mess with the Mews and turns Ayano’s soul into a Chimera Animal. The Mews rush in to combat Kisshu, but are surprised and confused when Kisshu states that this Chimera has only one attack, an easily avoidable web shot that can only be used once. As Ichigo is about to attack and take the Chimera Animal down, the real ability of the Chimera Animal is revealed to be using the web to grab the dolls and strike the Mews down with them, snaring them in web.

Lettuce is able to summon her castanets with her fingers, and, enraged at the misuse of preciously crafted dolls, uses her Ribbon Lettuce Rush to blast away the web. With the web gone, Ichigo is free to attack the Chimera Animal and return Ayano back to normal.

Ayano admits that she’s been in a creative slump for a long time and was nearly about to quit when she stumbled upon Lettuce’s dolls at the charity drive. She envied her creativity, so she concocted a plan to get Lettuce to design and make a doll with her so she could pass it off as her own and revitalize her career.

Lettuce doesn’t appear to even be slightly angry at Ayano’s actions. She tells her she was happy that Ayano liked her dolls. The point of doll-making is to spread happiness. It doesn’t matter who takes credit for making the doll as long as the doll itself makes others happy. She also admits that she had a lot of fun making a doll with Ayano and asks Ayano if she at least had fun too.

Ayano admits that she did and tearfully apologizes to Lettuce. Lettuce suggests that they make another doll again someday and she agrees.

Her friends all look on in pride, realizing that Lettuce is an incredibly strong person. She knew all along what Ayano was doing, but believed in her anyway. She had the strength to have hope and the kindness to forgive.

Breakdown:

– Lettuce’s reaction to everyone buying up her dolls is hilarious and adorable.

SSBS - TMM EP 34 screen2

– Lettuce didn’t bring nearly enough dolls to cater to all of these people. They just had a massive surge of customers and they show the stand as still being full. She came with one bag….

– N’awwww, that doll’s adorable! I looks like it’s kinda modeled to be a Mew Lettuce themed porpoise. I want it!

SSBS - TMM EP 34 screen1

– Wow, Lettuce has the nicest family ever. Even her little brother is a sweetheart. No wonder Lettuce is so kind.

– As much as I’m liking this episode so far, I saw the ‘she stole my doll’ twist from the instant she invited Lettuce over to make a doll. Not only is it predictable, but I saw this exact same plotline in an episode/chapter of Hell Girl a little while ago. There was a young woman who was an up and coming chef and she had this mentor-like person. The mentor was faltering in his creativity, so he stole the new signature recipe she had made and passed it off as his own to bring more life back into his career.

I’m almost certain this episode doesn’t end with Ayano being sent to hell by Hell Girl, though.

– I don’t really get why she invited Lettuce to the exhibit. If she hadn’t, she wouldn’t have to deal with a possible PR issue. They’d probably still find out, but still.

– Hahah! I love that Kisshu’s reason for attacking today is literally ‘Eh, I just wanted to screw with you.’

– Was kinda hoping Lettuce would get a full transformation sequence today since Mint got one a couple episodes ago. Oh well, at least Ichigo wasn’t given one either.

– Hm. Pretty lazy animation today. QUICK, ZOOM IN ON THAT STILL SCREEN A BUNCH OF TIMES TO SIMULATE MOVEMENT!

– Lettuce gets to help save the day by badassingly freeing them from the spider web…but….Ichigo still gets the final attack.

– So when do they reveal that Lettuce is secretly an angel? Because, man, the levels of understanding and forgiveness in her heart are insane.

– Looking back, what was Ayano’s long-term plan? She only made one doll with Lettuce, and certainly there’s no way she’d make another with her after finding out about what she did. Was she really going to coast on the success of one doll? What happens after that? Stealing one doll won’t bring back her own creativity.

————————————–

Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. I always really enjoy Lettuce stories. She falters and is slightly annoying in how soft-spoken she is, but she’s always hopeful and caring and is constantly trying to see the good in people. It’s hard not to root for her time and again.

Art theft is one of my instant bitch-switch flippers, and even though I knew she’d steal the doll and claim it as her own, I still felt angry when it was finally revealed. However, we didn’t go down the route of the characters lecturing her with ‘Art theft is wrong! Stealing is wrong! You’re a bad person and you should feel bad!’ Instead, we got a lesson in forgiveness and understanding the true meaning behind any form of art – spreading happiness. Or at least some meaningful emotional response.

It’s about establishing connections and sending messages to the people around you. One day you could feel like entertaining them with a big comic book splash page and another day you might feel like impacting their heart with a sad painting.

Is art theft still horrible? Yes. Should you tolerate it? Hell no. But you also shouldn’t bear such deep grudges. Let others know what they did, let whatever punishment that is about to befall them befall them and hope they never do it again. That’s really all you can do.

The animation in this episode is some of the worst we’ve had so far. Some of it is laughably horrible. The Chimera Animal this episode also felt a bit forced, but I will accept Kisshu’s hilarious excuse of just wanting to cause trouble for literally no reason. Truth be told, I’d probably take that over yet another false Mew Aqua identification.

Plus, we got to see some really adorable dolls in this episode. I really want the finless porpoise and the….whatever that was that Lettuce and Ayano made together. It looks like a Pokemon, to be honest.

Rating: 7.5/10

Next episode, continuing on with ‘not-focusing-on-Ichigo-for-a-change’ month, Zakuro meets a little girl who is one of her biggest fans.

…Previous Episode

CSBS – Fillmore! Episode 5: Red Robins Don’t Fly

CSBS - Fillmore Episode 5

Plot: Ingrid goes undercover as a Red Robin to uncover illegal operations. While Ingrid goes in with the mission in mind, she finds herself slowly getting too comfortable with them.

Breakdown: This episode was a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, it’s very predictable. There’s no mystery as to who the perp is this time because they make it clear from the start, given the plot setup. The only thing we have to go on is wondering if Ingrid will choose to leave the Safety Patrol and become a Red Robin, which is kinda silly because we all know she wouldn’t.

The only reason to have any faltering faith in Ingrid is due to her still being excluded in some areas because she’s the new kid. Despite that, though, it’s not like she hasn’t found a place where she belongs, with the Safety Patrol, so whatever concern might exist is very shaky.

They try to make the play that Valejo is also treating her differently because she’s new, but it’s not a strong enough argument. He doubts her when she’s already undercover, but he doesn’t make his worries known to Ingrid. The only thing he says to her before she leaves is that she might be a bit too green to take on a well-known and long-standing criminal organization such as the Red Robins, which is understandable.

The aspect of Valejo worrying about Ingrid’s loyalties stemming from a similar situation happening with the current Red Robin leader was good, but the payoff was unsatisfactory. Valejo and Malika don’t even speak to each other in this episode, and Malika never turns over a new leaf or anything.

It would’ve been better if she and Fillmore got into it somehow before the case was brought up. They have butted heads on cases before, and Ingrid has been nudging the gray area on morality out in the field in the past already, so it would be very easy to integrate a bit of a fight at this point.

Not much happens to make Fillmore’s faith in Ingrid waver either. She knew they had a lot of cool stuff and missed one meeting with Fillmore. Then he’s suddenly confronting her about not falling in with a bad crowd, even if they offer acceptance, because that type of connection isn’t real. An improvement in that area would have been if they worked in at least one line of Ingrid mentioning how nice they are and how much they like her to solidify her own questionable loyalties.

You could also maybe have Valejo talk to her instead of Fillmore. He’s the one with the concerns and the past with the Red Robins.

There’s a major problem with this episode that was bugging the hell out of me. How can Ingrid even successfully go undercover? She may still be seen as the new kid, but she’s been around X Middle School for a decent amount of time now, and she’s been a Safety Patroller for quite a while. How can one of the biggest criminal organizations in the school not know who she is? Even by name?

It’s especially unbelievable given the current situation. The reason the Safety Patrol is going after the Red Robins is because they accidentally found a huge crate of ribbon candy in the lake and knew it must have been an old haul from the Red Robins – likely taking it from a competitor. Ingrid is the one who handled that discovery. The Red Robins are fully aware of this and even described it as a huge debacle, yet Ingrid’s name never came up? They never uncovered the identities of the Safety Patrollers handling that case?

Rating: 5/10 It’s not a bad case, but the writing could be better and there’s no twist or mystery to make up for the weak spots.

Next episode, it’s a horrible (model) train wreck! When Fillmore and Ingrid find out that the (model) train was sabotaged, they have to hunt down the culprit to this (mini) disaster!

….Previous Episode