Digimon Adventure 02 Sub/Dub Comparison – Episode 2: Digital Gate, Open!

Plot: Miyako and Iori finally get their turn to go into the Digital World, but when Daisuke and V-mon get kidnapped they’ll have to find their new Digieggs and discover their partner Digimon, Hawkmon and Armadimon to save them from the Digimon emperor.

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Title Card:

Title: Digital Gate, Open! Is changed to The Digiteam Complete! Which is not really true since Ken is a part of the Digiteam and TK and Kari have yet to get their Digieggs/New Digivices at this point.

Iori and the others talk about how they have to get home soon or their parents will worry. Cody and the others talk about the various awful foods they’ll be having for dinner when they get home. Even though I don’t see how stuffed peppers and salad is that bad. I love stuffed peppers.

Jyou says he has a national test tomorrow. In the dub, he says he has an oral test on laryngitis.

I love how Izzy in both versions says the other computers don’t have open gates, but you can clearly see that all of the other computers are off.

Taichi doesn’t say the reason he’s having trouble in high school is the girls being much older (they’re the same age as him. Well, okay, upperclassmen, no.) He just says he’s having trouble adjusting to the workload.

Miyako says her clothes look cool. Yolei says her clothes make her look like she’s part of the cool crowd….What cool crowd is in your school, Yolei? What kid considered cool or popular wears a pilot hat, a vest, puffy bright red pants and boots? I’m legitimately curious.

Iori says they have to help Daisuke and V-mon. Cody says he wants to go home. Brave little loyal Cody.

Ken doesn’t make a bad pun about him ‘hanging out’ in the original. He just say that Daisuke’s finally awake.

V-mon doesn’t make a joke about the great view. He just tells Daisuke that he was captured.

Cody: “This Digivice you were kind enough to give me is starting to make noise.” This line is basically the same in the original, but Iori just says his Digivice is reacting to something. No one in the group gave Cody the Digivice, it was sent to him when the Digiegg of Courage was picked up.

What is up with the placement of the Digieggs anyway? Daisuke’s was by itself, Iori and Miyako’s were together, Hikari and Takeru’s were together and the remaining eggs are scattered. Is there any logic to the placement or is it just because the plot said so?

Only Miyako and Iori’s Digivices are reacting when they approach the temple. The rest of the group take note that theirs aren’t responding to anything. The reason for this is because the Digivices are reacting to Miyako and Iori’s respective Digieggs. In the dub everyone’s Digivices are reacting, and not only that but Sora can tell just from a tiny red dot on her Digivice that it’s detecting a building.

At this revelation, Piyomon asks Tentomon if it’s because of the nearby Digieggs in the temple. In the dub, Biyomon reacts to Sora saying that there’s a building nearby and says there’s no buildings besides the temple, but it’s closed. Tentomon then says they couldn’t book enough weddings or Bar Mitzfahs. While it is a pointless change, that joke is a little funny.

Also, Biyomon and Tentomon know about nearby Digieggs when they’re clearly looking for Digieggs? Why didn’t they say anything before?

I’ve always been a little bothered that Iori got the Crest of Knowledge. Wouldn’t that better fit Miyako or is that just me? She’s the super-nerdy Izzy fangirl. It only makes sense. She should’ve gotten Love and Knowledge while Iori got Sincerity/Empathy and Reliability/Honesty, especially considering that Iori had a problem with empathy later in the series after Ken joined.

He is fairly smart, but he’s more about feelings than brains. But, of course, Miyako got Love and Sincerity because they were the two GIRLS crests. Pft.

Name change: Armadimon is changed to Armadillomon.

His Index screen is changed to reflect this.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Oh great, notes about dialects….I suck at this. Armadimon speaks in a Nagoya dialect and adds “dagyaa” to a lot of his sentences because I guess that’s common. Armadillomon doesn’t do the same, but he has a southern accent if that’s supposed to be our replacement for that.

Hawkmon originally just says “That is a problem, then…” without being rude. In the dub, Hawkmon is almost offended at the rejection to fight and calls Yolei a ‘defective human’. Ouch. Feel that new Digidestined love between partner and Digimon.

I know I’ve mentioned how I was ambivalent about Hawkmon and Armadillomon before, but now that they’ve appeared and actually said words, I’m starting to get annoyed for some reason. Hopefully the original will make me appreciate Hawkmon’s relationship to Miyako and Armadimon’s relationship to Iori better as well as V-mon’s relationship to Daisuke, because, as it stands, I still just don’t like this season’s Digidestined/Chosen Children or their relationships to their Digimon much.

Miyako thinks to herself that Sora’s hands are warm when she’s holding them on the Digiegg of Love. In the dub, Sora’s speaking over this and says she’ll also be Yolei’s friend for life.

Name Change: Holsmon is changed to Halsemon. In my opinion, I think the dub’s is better even if it’s only slightly different.

His Digivolution screen and Index screen are changed to reflect this.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Armadimon’s Digivolution screen is also changed to reflect his name change, but since it’s constantly spinning in the background, I’ll have to ask you to trust me since getting a screencap would be irritating.

Here’s another thing that always bugged me about this series. All of the armor Digimon say something related to the crest that they have as a title. Flamedramon says “The fire of courage!” Halsemon says “The wings of love!” Shurimon says “The samurai of Sincerity!” Raidramon says “The storm of friendship!” Submarimon says “The reliable guardian of the sea!”

What does Digmon say?

He says…”The drill of power!”……one of these things is not like the others!

In the original, he says “Steel knowledge!” What was wrong with that? He has steel drills. Steel. Knowledge. It sounds a lot cooler and makes a lot more sense than the ‘drill of power’.

The stupid thing is that they actually recognize that they screwed this up because much later in the series they make Digmon say “The drill of knowledge!” then he makes some joke about how he wanted to add that in there. I forget which episode it was, but I distinctly remember that.

More lazy animation. You can clearly see that when it transitions from Sora and Miyako to Iori and Izumi that the background didn’t change in the least, only the characters in the shot did.

We get a sincere moment from V-mon as he says that he’s been waiting his whole life to meet Daisuke and now that he has, there’s no way he’d turn around and become the Digimon Emperor’s slave, even with a dark ring. In the dub, Veemon says he’d never be his slave so he might as well destroy him. Ken agrees and sends the ring down, which makes no sense since the ring won’t destroy him. Veemon tries to get out of it by saying he was just kidding.

Attack Name Change: Halsemon has two attacks – an eye beam and a beam blade that comes from his wings. His eye beam is called Red Sun while his wing attack is called Mach Impulse. In the dub, both of these attacks are called Tempest Wing.

Digmon says they’re there to rescue V-mon and Daisuke and V-mon thanks him. In the dub, he says ‘sorry to burst in on you’ while Veemon says ‘you could’ve knocked.’ I have a grave feeling a lot of Armadimon’s lines are changed in the future.

Tailmon tells Ken that he won’t get past her. In the dub she says ‘this litterbox ain’t big enough for the both of us.’

Wormmon originally say he won’t let her hurt Ken. In the dub, he says ‘keep your claws to yourself you big bully.’ Oh yeah, She’s the bully. Uh huh. Makes sense.

Another problem, common in many dubs but more noticeable than usual, since the original line to start armor Digivolution is ‘Digimental up!’ it forces the dub kids to say ‘Digiarmor energize!’ like ‘Digiarmor eneeeeeerrrrrr-GIZE!’ due to the lip flaps.

Flamedramon tells the other Digimon to aim for the black rings. In the dub, he just tells the others to show them what armor Digimon can do to slaves of the emperor.

Attack Name change: Flamedramon has a secondary attack called Knuckle Fire – it’s when he shoots fire from his hand. In the dub, it’s also called Fire Rocket like his other attack.

The Snimon in this dub sounds awful. He sounds so bored. This is especially hilarious when he says his Twin Sickles attack.

Digmon originally says nothing but his attack name. In the dub he precedes this with “Guess we’re the drill team!” Because Drimogemon is also drill themed…haha. See what I mean about his dialogue?

Digmon’s attack is kept the same, for those wondering – Gold Rush.

There’s no joke by the Digimon that were slaves about getting the emperor a cappuccino, they just say the pain of getting attacked was nothing compared to being the emperor’s slave.

After Daisuke says they should go home but before we see them transporting, we see a closeup of Ken as he says “I wonder what Digimon I should play with next.” This is removed.

Taichi just says Fujiyama-sensei has a lot to talk about. In the dub, Tai says Mr. Fujiyama was talking to him about the birds and the bees. Wow, Saban. A sex reference for no reason? You naughty dubbers, you. However, he follows this up by saying when it comes to girls Mr. Fujiyama has a lot to learn. Did he get the explanation of the birds and the bees wrong or is Tai clueless when it comes to sex?

While both versions bring this up, most of the scene in the computer room is talking about how the new Digimon followed them and how they reverted to their In-Training/Baby II forms when they transported. Iori also says that they didn’t mean to take them, the Digimon followed them.

Patamon and Takeru then wonder why he and Tailmon didn’t revert back to their earlier stages when they came back….and they never give an answer! Hooray! Takeru says it might be because of the different Digivices, but Patamon and Tailmon continue to transport back and forth without reverting even after Takeru and Hikari get their new Digivices.

I’d wager it’s because they’re older and more experienced in Digivolving, but it’s one of those things that is never explained.

The dub, as I said, covers a bit of this but they don’t ask why Patamon and Gatomon didn’t revert and there’s no question about how or why the new Digimon followed them. Iori’s line is also changed to make him wonder how his small in-training Digimon could turn into a ‘huge’ Digimon like Digmon.

In the original, Piyomon and Tentomon said they stayed behind because they want to try to find out more about the Digimon Emperor. In the dub, there’s no explanation as to why they were left behind, but they reiterate that they’ll be okay since the emperor never comes out at dark.

To add tension to the regular ‘to be continued’ thing, they super-impose the removed scene of Ken from earlier onto the final shot of the episode. They also change his line to “Oh really? Well excuse me if I don’t go shaking in my boots.”…which makes no sense because it’s not like Ken can hear them, especially not since they’re now in the real world.

Next episode will showcase Takeru and Hikari getting their new Digivices as well as their new Digieggs to make Patamon and Tailmon armor evolve. As for their armor evolutions, I really like Pegasmon, but he’s no Angemon. And Nefertimon always kinda creeped me out with her face. Also, I get her attack but it seems stupid that she essentially throws a slab of rock at her enemies…

….Previous Episode

Digimon Adventure 01 Sub/Dub Comparison – Episode 9: Clash! The Freezing Digimon

Plot: Everyone has been separated and sent to several moving islands. Taichi and Agumon confront a Yukidarumon, who has a black gear within him. After defeating him and removing his black gear, Yukidarumon uses his icy abilities to get Taichi and Agumon to the area where he saw Yamato and Gabumon fall.

Meanwhile, Yamato and Gabumon are stuck on an icy island, and Yamato forces himself through the cold to search for Takeru. After some prodding to get Yamato to rest and graciously offering him his fur to keep him warm, Yamato and Gabumon make it through the night. The next morning, they meet up with Taichi and Agumon.

Taichi’s desire to find the other side of the world that Devimon was talking about angers Yamato as he believes their one focus should be finding Takeru and the others. They end up getting in a fist fight only to be interrupted by a black geared Mojyamon.

Yukidarumon helps the boys and their Digimon defeat Mojyamon and remove his black gear. The battle uncovers a huge collection of black gears that were stored in the mountainside. The attack causes the gears to change direction, causing the island to move back to Infinity Island where it belongs, but the quest to find the others is still on.

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Title Screen:

Title Change: Clash! The Freezing Digimon is changed to Subzero Ice Punch….Wow, way to work those creativity muscles, Saban.

There’s no narration from Taichi in the beginning of the episode.

I don’t know why, but the dub adds in this old-timey car horn sound when Tai and Agumon hit the glacier.

Tai: “Hey my clothes! Only now they’re too cool even for me now.”

Agumon: “Don’t worry Tai I can give you the next hot look!” *Pepper Breaths the clothes to melt the ice*

Punzzzzzzzzzthatweren’tpresentintheoriginal.

Taichi doesn’t mention anything about the mailboxes, probably because he’s now used to seeing stuff that looks like it’s from human civilization that doesn’t work or belong in the Digital World. Tai does mention the boxes and talks about how it’s possible that people did live there at one point….while it’s perfectly clear that his mouth isn’t moving.

Taichi asks Agumon about the area on the other side of the ocean that Devimon was talking about, but Agumon has never heard of it or been there before. Tai says he doesn’t know the Digital World any better than Agumon because he’s never been to the Digital World before.

Name Change: Yukidarumon is changed to Frigimon.

What is up with Agumon’s voice when he’s giving the info for Frigimon? His voice sounds slower, lower and distorted. I know it’s not my copy of the episode, it’s just weird dubbing for some reason.

Attack Name Change: Zettai Reido Punch is changed to Subzero Ice Punch, though to be honest they got it very close considering that the translation of the attack is Absolute Zero Punch. They would’ve gotten it perfect if not for the fact that subzero implies less than absolute zero…

This is in both versions, but why is Yukidarumon/Frigimon constantly repeating his name? He’s a Digimon not a Pokemon.

I hate Frigimon’s dub voice. He sounds so dorky. He kinda sounds like Dom Delouise when he’s not even trying.

Tai: “We’re trapped like ice mice!” Wow, you guys really reached for that one. Also, doesn’t that poor attempt at a joke really not work when the saying is technically ‘trapped like rats’?

Logically, if you can barely lift something (in this case Agumon) then wouldn’t you have to have insanely strong legs to kick that same something around like a soccer ball?

Those black gears really suck if they can be destroyed with a Rookie level Digimon’s attack, even at point-blank range.

This is the second time that the dub has had the ‘good thing we’re alone out here/no evil Digimon around’ then, boom, evil Digimon appears’ shtick in this episode. They’ll be fine, though, because what could possibly go wrong?

After the seriously oddly placed commercial break for the dub, they repeat the shot of Agumon talking while pointing, making his statement of ‘Gabumon!’ seem weird.

I overlook a lot of dialogue and sounds that they add in the dub where there is none, but they add a teeth chattering sound when Matt wakes up. I just found this notable because Gabumon gave Yamato his fur to keep him warm through the night and it seems dumb to make a sound that still gives off the vibe that he’s terribly cold when Gabumon made such a sacrifice to prevent that.

The shot of Yamato thanking Gabumon and him responding is drawn and animated so strangely. Why are Yamato’s eyes wide open? Why does Gabumon look stoned?

Also, Yamato says that he hates to say it but he’s feeling completely better (yet Gabumon caught his cold) In the dub, Matt adds that Gabumon must look pretty funny without his fur on.

Okay, neither version makes sense here. In the original, Taichi says ‘So even Digimon can catch colds, huh?’ In the dub Tai asks Gabumon how he caught the cold with so much fur. Yamato/Matt then yells at him to stop making fun of Gabumon…..How is that making fun of Gabumon in either version?

He learned Digimon can catch human viruses in the original – a statement of fact, not an insult. He wonders how, out of all them, Gabumon was the one who caught a cold since he has so much fur. A little insensitive, but also not insulting. I don’t get why Yamato/Matt flew off the handle like that other than, well, he needed to, because conflict.

Oh and, dub-wise, Matt said he bets Gabumon looks really funny without his fur on, which actually IS making fun of Gabumon, so there ya go.

Yamato says he’ll swim if he has to in order to find the others. Matt says they’ll just ask Frigimon for more help.

Again, in both versions, the shot of Yamato/Matt running is repeated and sped up once then sped up more in the next repeat. I guess this is to show how fast Yamato’s trying to run or how determined he is to find Takeru and the others, but it just looks really sloppy. Pointless too considering Taichi catches up without problem in the next shot.

Ah a scene removal. Taichi and Yamato exchange several blows before the shot cuts to Agumon and Gabumon trying to stop them. In the dub, they remove the shots of the boys punching each other and only show them rolling around in the snow. Because of this change, the talking shot of Agumon and Gabumon is repeated in the dub.

Taichi says he won’t let go of Yamato even if it means they both die. In the dub, he just tells Matt to not let go no matter what.

The dub’s Digimon Index screen, this time voiced by Agumon in the dub, excludes the part about Mojyamon being a very rare animal Digimon who lives deep in the mountains.

Attack name change: Icicle Rod is changed to Ice Club

Gabumon screams because the herbs are bitter. He doesn’t explain why he’s screaming in the dub.

Attack Name Change: Bone Bone Boomerang is changed to Boomerang Bone….*shrug*

Like usual, the post-Evolution vocal song is removed in lieu of the same BG music.

Garurumon destroys the black gears in the mountain since he saw them as being an obstacle to Yamato and Takeru finding each other. He doesn’t say this in the dub.

Gabumon, for some reason, believes Devimon is the one making the black gears reverse direction when it was clearly his attack that affected them in that way.

Taichi says he’s sure that Takeru is doing his best, and Yamato agrees stating that he is his little brother afterall. In the dub, Tai says they won’t let any black gears stop them and Matt agrees. Technically, this dialogue is kinda kept in a dub-exclusive narration by Matt in the very ending. He states that he knows TK will be be alright because he has Patamon to protect him, which, while having a similar sentiment, is really putting more hope in Patamon (foreshadowing?) than faith in TK’s abilities.

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All in all this episode was…….Meh. I dunno, I feel like maybe this episode would’ve worked better as two separate episodes. Not a lot goes on, and it’s becoming really apparent that Digimon with the black gears aren’t as much of a threat as they used to be, especially considering that one was defeated with merely a rookie level Digimon in the first half.

Taichi’s half didn’t really have much in it at all. He landed on an island, fought Yukidarumon, then went to the island Yamato landed on.

Yamato’s half obviously had more do to with his concern over Takeru and obsession with finding him as well as his nice moments with Gabumon. I think his butting heads with Taichi was pretty forced, even if it’s obvious that Yamato’s really snippy today.

The art and animation are also particularly awful in this episode for some reason. While I find Yukidarumon fine, I always found Frigimon to be….nice, but his voice just is really off-putting, especially when he’s trying to battle. That voice yelling ‘Frigimon!’ is just laughable.

Next episode, we find out what Izzy and Mimi are up to. They find themselves in what seems like a temple only to be met with a Centarumon who has a black gear.

…Previous Episode

SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 38: Miracle of the Holy Night – No Secrets Anymore

Plot: Ichigo and the Mews face off against the aliens as they try to protect the Mew Aqua that was extracted from the Christmas tree. Pudding manages to stop them from accessing it with her Pudding Ring Inferno, but sadly her efforts just made things worse.

Apparently, this was all part of a trap laid by the aliens. They wanted to use Pudding’s attack as a detonator. Since it’s made of energy similar to Mew Aqua, the Mew Aqua itself becomes very active. It will soon explode and take out the entire Kanto region.

Since Pudding can’t dissipate the Pudding Ring on her own, the other Mews decide to destroy it with their attacks, but the aliens won’t let them through. Pai traps them within a swirl of wind while Kisshu tries to finish them off with a blast of lightning.

Just when it looks like it’s the end, The Blue Knight shows up and stops the attack. He faces off with Kisshu and manages to wound him. Pai and Taruto decide to flee with Kisshu since the Mew Aqua’s almost at the critical point.

The girls all lend their power to Ichigo so she can unleash their energies towards the Mew Aqua and contain it. The explosion is not fully stopped, however, so the girls create a barrier around the Mew Aqua to stop the destruction from reaching outside.

In spite of their best efforts, some of the energy was still expelled outside of the barrier. The girls are knocked backward, and as Ichigo falls, she sees Aoyama running towards their location. He’s suddenly shot with a bolt of Mew Aqua and falls unconscious.

Back with the aliens, Pai and Taruto assess Kisshu’s wounds and determine that he needs immediate medical attention or else he’ll die. Deep Blue suddenly appears and tells them to forego treatment. He was able to absorb some of the energy from the explosion and now he’s amped up more than ever to get more.

He tells Pai and Taruto to let Kisshu die since he no longer needs him, and commands them to go get more Mew Aqua. Both Pai and Taruto are displeased with this order, but are unable to defy Deep Blue.

Meanwhile, Ichigo attempts to destroy the Mew Aqua in anger that it hurt Aoyama, but Shirogane stops her and tells her to transform back so she can tend to him as regular Ichigo, not Mew Ichigo. The other Mews head off to collect the shards of Mew Aqua that were scattered from the blast.

Ichigo transforms back and Aoyama suddenly wakes up for a minute to worriedly tell Ichigo the situation’s dangerous before falling back into unconsciousness, seemingly recognizing her as Mew Ichigo.

Aoyama is rushed into surgery to mend his wounds. He pulls through the surgery, but the doctor expresses concern over him possibly not waking up, so she tells Ichigo to keep talking to him to help bring him out of it.

When the girls have collected most of the Mew Aqua shards, they wait for more news on Aoyama’s condition.

Ichigo confesses everything to Aoyama in his sleep, even stating that, after all this is over, she’ll go back to watching him from afar and accept his breaking up with her if he’ll only wake up. She cries over his sleeping face, which triggers a massive reaction in the Mew Aqua Ryou had left at the Christmas tree.

The reaction causes a light snowfall over the Kanto region, and Aoyama slowly starts to come to. Happy to see Aoyama waking up, Ichigo decides to make good on her promise immediately and starts to leave the room. The sound of her bell catches Aoyama’s attention and he calls for her to wait.

He gets up and says that they should go out. They go to the Christmas tree, just as they had planned earlier, and Aoyama admits that he knew she was Mew Ichigo for a long time, from way back when he first came up close to her at the special tree where his grandparents met. He had always wanted to tell her he knew, but felt it might cause problems if he did.

He admits he has secrets of his own, so he decides to tell her of his past.

He was an orphan with no memories of his parents, and he was adopted by a nice family who wanted an intelligent child. Ever since, he has strived to do everything perfectly, to be a ‘good boy.’ He was surrounded by people who depended on him, but he felt empty because he knew those people weren’t really his friends – they were people who benefited from knowing him.

Ichigo was different. She liked him for him and not for what she’d gain by being with him. She helped him show his true colors, allowed him to relax and laugh, and because of that, he fell in love with her. He doesn’t care that she’s a Mew Mew, he’ll do everything he can to keep her secret as long as she keeps being herself and helps him become happy again when he’s down.

Ichigo tearfully embraces Aoyama and shows him her present – the Tears for Christmas. She tells her it will shine if you have love in your heart. He thanks her and they happily watch the Christmas lights in peace, both knowing everything will turn out okay as long as they have each other.

Breakdown:

– I want everyone to know that I didn’t plan for this to be posted so close to Christmas. Trust me, I don’t have that kind of discipline with my posts, haha. This was just a mini-Christmas miracle, I guess. 😛

– I suppose this confirms that Mint can fly….though sometimes it seems like all the Mews can fly. I dunno, they’re inconsistent with that, but Mint definitely flew, carrying Pudding as a passenger.

– The dynamic between the humans and aliens has always interested me. In magical girl shows, it’s very much cut and dry good vs. evil, but the aliens do have very good points in their objectives. To them, the humans truly are the evil aliens destroying the planet. Sure, the way they go about reclaiming the planet is wrong, but their motives are understandable.

How would you like to be purged from your home, be forced into terrible living conditions, be promised that you can return home to a beautiful and lush planet only to find a new master species has overtaken it and ruined it? Earth’s far from a desolate wasteland, but an entirely new species has completely claimed it and turned it into something unrecognizable. You feel bad for the aliens, but on the other hand, it’s hard not to sympathize with the humans when you are one.

It’s like Shirogane says, humans have only known this world as their home too. We have people we cherish and want to protect just like they do. It’s not like we purposely ‘stole’ their home from them nor did we intentionally ‘destroy’ it.

Obviously, we want the aliens to lose, ultimately, but you also want to wish the best for them to find a new, better home.

– Since when are the aliens so powerful they can easily bat off the full onslaught of Mew attacks?

– Hehe, nice faces Pai and Taruto.

– Nice recycled animation during the barrier formation, guys. Top-notch.

– Pai: “That’s a deep wound. If we don’t treat it, he may die.”

Wow, I better turn away when the camera actually allows us to see his body so we can see this *camera turn* *totally invisible what-the-hell-does-he-even-have-a-wound wound.*

– Aoyama only woke up after Ichigo transformed back, so why is she so freaked out that Aoyama saw and recognized her as Mew Ichigo?

– They’re taking him into surgery? For what purpose?! What surgery do you perform on someone who had a magical energy shoot through them yet leave seemingly not visible mark?

– Aoyama just had major surgery, I guess, is ‘unstable’ and in a coma….yet he has absolutely no machines hooked up to him. This room barely looks different from a bedroom.

– They really couldn’t be arsed to go and fix that clear coloring error from that clip way back in the earlier episodes where Aoyama has brown hair for a minute? Good job, Pierrot.

– Can I direct your attention to how Aoyama’s body is proportioned in bed? Judging by the shadows on the sheets, he must be eight feet tall.

– Why exactly did Ryou leave that shard of Mew Aqua under the tree? That’s the first place the aliens would look when they returned.

– Probably Aoyama: “I just had a severe injury, major surgery and was in a coma for a bit, but I can get up and walk around fine. No worries.”

– I’m also pretty damn sure the nurses would ‘nope’ Aoyama right back into his bed.

– As shmaltzy as it is, it was perfect to set this revelation on a Christmas episode, especially given that the music is wonderfully fitting. That ‘Silent Night’ rendition at the end was touching.

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I may have more nitpick notes than the previous episode, but I still really liked this entire two-parter. It was, pretty much, a perfect way to have Ichigo reveal her Mew-ness to Aoyama and it was a great arc of their relationship as well.

I was pondering if maybe this would’ve been a good time to show that Aoyama’s The Blue Knight, but I swayed away from that thought because it might’ve been too much, particularly because Aoyama doesn’t even know he’s BK.

Still not sure why Ichigo believes Shirogane might be BK at this point, though. He’s explained his Mew powers, so there’s no real reason he’d be keeping that a secret too. If she’s so curious, why doesn’t she just ask?

If there was one other thing of irk to note….I’m a little peeved, just a tiny bit, that the other Mews were relegated to support again. Their attacks either made matters worse (Pudding’s Pudding Rings) or their energies were used for an Ichigo attack or they were relegated to barrier duty again.

At least this time Ichigo was also part of the barrier, but they were so disinterested in this being a big moment for anyone but Ichigo that they reused their old barrier animations that, I think, have been used twice before already, at least. Ichigo’s the only one who got a new animation and that’s just because she’s never been in the barrier formation before. And, of course, her shot looks a lot better than the other girls. Also, she’s the only one you hear when they zoom away from the shot so it seems like she’s the only one who matters in it.

However, it doesn’t mar an otherwise great episode.

Rating: 9.5/10

Next episode, Ichigo’s on cloud nine because she’s finally been honest with Aoyama. But a dreamy life can quickly turn into a nightmare.

….Previous Episode

AVAHS – Invader Zim: The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever

Plot: Two million years in the future, a robot snowman tells a group of children the story of the most horrible X-mas ever, starring our very own Zim and Dib. Zim, having just discovered Christmas and Santa Claus, decides to use Santa’s influence to enslave the humans of earth. It’s up to Dib to stop him and save Christmas.

Breakdown: How have I gone this long without ever talking about Invader Zim?

Being an old school Nickelodeon fangirl, of course I loved Zim. Some of the gross stuff was a bit much for me, but I was just starting to get into darker shows, and Zim was the perfect blend of darkness and humor with plenty of personality and wit. It truly was an incredible show….that got canceled midway through production of season two…..and the episodes they did complete of season two never even aired on TV until four years after its cancellation.

All except one.

Yup, The Most Horrible X-mas Ever, despite being last on the production list of completed episodes, is the only episode of season two that Nickelodeon decided to air before axing the show for good. Because holiday specials rake in ratings.

Now, despite loving this episode…..dammit all if I don’t remember them ever showing this when I was a kid. If they did, they didn’t air it often because I honestly don’t remember much of it.

That being said, this is a great episode and a great holiday special. I had several moments where I was legitimately laughing out loud, and both Zim and Dib had some fantastic moments and lines. This was just the right blend of dark humor and holiday goodness, much like the first Futurama Christmas special only this one was more tight on the writing.

Everything from the jokes to the dark aspects to the timing and editing was just amazing in this episode, which just makes me all the sadder that Invader Zim was cut down in its prime (I really need to read the comics)

The good news is that they’re releasing an Invader Zim movie in 2019, and watching this special just jazzed me up all the more to see it.

If there were some weak aspects of the episode it would be that I didn’t care for the song and the plotline with Gaz was really lazy and predictable. She was more of a plot device if anything. Other than that, it was a fantastic episode that I’d gladly add to my ‘Must watch every year’ list.

Pokemon Episode 50 Analysis – Who Gets to Keep Togepi?

CotD(s): None

Captures (Does Togepi have a Pokeball?): Togepi – A baby who is meant to be cute and cause Pokemon Short levels of cuteness episodes, Togepi is a largely useless character mostly used for Deus Ex Machina Metronome usage in future episodes. Despite being around for years, Misty never doesn’t treat it like a baby because Togepi is perpetually infantile until hundreds of episodes down the line where it suddenly garners usefulness, evolves into Togetic and leaves Misty forever.

Togepi is mostly easy to ignore because it might as well be a doll Misty always carries around with a string that, when pulled, makes it go ‘Toge-prrri!’ but it is the source of much frustration in the future. For now, though, it’s just the cute baby.

I will admit that Togepi’s relationship with Misty is kinda nice, even if a lot of it just amounts to Misty yelling out for Togepi and hugging it when she finally finds it, much in the same realm as a parent on Rugrats.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive at a small-town Pokemon Center. Nurse Joy relays a message to Ash from Professor Oak that requests Ash to call him. He gives Oak a call, and Oak informs him that he has a new Pokedex upgrade for him that has information on all the latest Pokemon and even has a new voice. Ash upgrades his Pokedex and bids Oak farewell.

They discuss the egg they’ve been carrying around for a while now as they map out a plan to head to Cinnabar Island. Team Rocket overhears them, and they target the egg since it might hatch into a rare Pokemon to give to the boss.

As they exit the restaurant, Ash and co. are ambushed by two odd egg sellers. They’re selling eggs that all have similar designs to their egg. Suddenly, the two throw the eggs at them and, in the confusion, steal their egg.

They run off with it and seemingly make a successful capture. Meowth vows to care for it and warm it like a mother, and he quickly takes to his role with passion, even sleeping and bathing with the egg.

Ash and the others manage to find them the next morning by following a trail of fake eggs that they left behind. They turn the tables and ambush them in their cabin with Geodude, Pidgeotto and Staryu. There’s a back and forth scuffle for the egg in the middle of a thick Smokescreen courtesy of Weezing. When the smoke clears by Pidgeotto’s Gust, it causes Meowth to slip and throw the egg into the air.

Pikachu manages to catch the egg and hands it to Ash. He notices that there’s something moving in the egg and it starts to glow. Misty pushes Ash out of the way so she can see it hatch. After a few moments, the egg hatches into an adorable baby Togepi.

Nearly everyone thinks they’re entitled to Togepi. Ash found it, Brock cared for it for several weeks, Togepi likes Misty the most and Meowth cared for it for a night. In order to decide who gets to keep Togepi (title drop!) they hold a tournament. Whoever wins gets Togepi.

Brock and Meowth face off first. Brock uses Onix while Meowth calls upon his trusty Meowth. Onix obviously has the upperhand, and Meowth nearly gets taken out, but he uses two buckets of water to weaken Onix and Fury Swipes to finish him off.

Brock calls out the foul, but Meowth justifies it by saying he’s merely a parent caring for its child. Since this excuse is somehow accepted, the next match starts – Misty vs. Ash.

Ash chooses Bulbasaur while Misty is forced to use Psyduck since it let itself out. Misty tries to prompt Bulbasaur to worsen Psyduck’s headache by aiming for its head, but Ash isn’t falling for it. Instead he tells Bulbasaur to lick and tickle Psyduck. Unable to take anymore, Psyduck recalls itself and the match goes to Ash.

Now it’s the finals – Ash vs. Meowth. Meowth is more determined than ever to win Togepi, but Pikachu bops Meowth’s face with his tail and Thundershocks him into an instant KO.

Meowth gets tearfully dragged away by Team Rocket, and Ash goes to claim Togepi only to find that it doesn’t want to go to him. Misty shows once again that it likes her the most. Confused, Ash uses Dexter who reveals that Togepi imprint on the first being they see, taking that as its mother. Since the first thing Togepi saw was Misty, he believes Misty is his mother.

Resigned, Ash leaves Togepi in the care of Misty who vows to love and protect him like a mother.

———————-

– I know that Pokedexes act as identification, but why is Ash holding up his Pokedex to Nurse Joy at the start of the episode? It’s also closed….

If he was showing it as an ID, why was Joy asking if his name was Ash?

– Do we really have no better way of getting messages out to Pokemon Trainers than just giving notes to Nurse Joys and hoping the recipient stops there?

– Is it necessary for this note that just says ‘Call me’ to be animated? Also, it looks like regular paper. What technology is this?

– Pbbbbt hahahahahah! The goofy expression Oak has in the first shot where he picks up the phone! It’s literally 8D

– Misty: *barges into frame* “I’m fine too!” Why are you suddenly thirsty for Oak’s attention?

– So, Ash rarely checks in with Oak at the present moment, from what Oak says. He really does give zero shits about his B-Squad….

– Wow. It is the biggest coincidence in the world that Ash’s Pokedex gets an upgrade, complete with info on previously unknown Pokemon, right before Togepi, a Pokemon not present in Gen I’s Pokedex, hatches. What are the odds?

– Why is there a Pokedex slot on this video phone if barely anyone has a Pokedex?

– Fun fact: The only differences between the US and Japanese titles are the fact that 4Kids didn’t capitalize theirs properly. You had one job.

– Ash: *looking at incredibly dirty map of the real world for some reason* “Where to next?”

Misty: “We could head to Cinnabar Island and the Cinnabar Gym.”

Ash: “The Cinnabar Gym….”

……I’m sorry…what now?

Misty: “We could head to Cinnabar Island and the Cinnabar Gym.”

………….I….wha….

Ash: “The Cinnabar Gym…..”

Where…the fuck….have you guys been headed this whole time!?

If your destination hasn’t been Cinnabar Island and the Cinnabar Gym this whole time, where have you guys been going!? Have you just been wandering around aimlessly for 20 episodes? I could’ve sworn that after the last Gym match you learned of Cinnabar Island and decided to head there. I am 100% certain I’ve heard it said at least once since then.

What are you people doing!? Make. SENSE.

– By the way, for those keeping track, it’ll still be another eight episodes before we’re in Cinnabar. Spoilers – Gary is there, meaning I guess Ash lost no time wandering around with his thumb up his ass for nearly thirty episodes. Amazing. Just amazing.

– Ash: “So, Brock, what kind of Pokemon’s going to hatch out of that thing anyway?”

I’m amazed you’ve had the egg this long and have never asked that question.

I feel ya, Misty.

Brock: “To tell you the truth, Ash, I don’t know.”

Misty: “You mean, it might even turn out to be a Tentacruel!?”

Uh, no, Misty. You can’t hatch evolved Pokemon from an egg, and you should know that, Ms. Gym Leader.

Brock: “It could be, Misty.”

Uh, NO, Brock. You should definitely know that, Mr. Gym Leader/Pokemon Breeder. Take note of the BREEDER part of that. If you don’t know the basics of literal Pokemon breeding, you should rethink your career path.

This isn’t even 4Kids having another misidentification moment. The original script said that and they even show her with a Tentacruel.

Ash: “But it could even be an Aerodactyl?”

See, this suggestion makes perfect sense because Ash found it right by where the Aerodactyl came out of the ground, and it’s a base evo Pokemon. Good boy, Ash.

Brock: “I’d like it to be a Golem.”

You’re telling me, out of all of the theories of what might hatch from this egg….Ash….ASH…has the most logical one and the only one that is even possible?….I am so disappointed in the world right now.

Also, why hope for a Golem? You have a Geodude already. Just evolve it, you lazy bum.

– Meowth: “Hey, did ya hear that? They’re hatching a new Pokemon!”

They’ve had that egg for quite some time now. How are you only now noticing it?

James: “I think he said Dragonair.”

I have to give Team Rocket some leeway on the stupidity because they’re Team Rocket, but this is getting ridiculous. It’s akin to believing a dog will give birth to a fully grown dog instead of a puppy – and numerous people believing this to be what happens instead of one person being overtly stupid.

– Ash: “So, how far to Cinnabar Island?”

Brock: “Hm, it looks pretty far.”

It’s pretty far because apparently you forgot some key things.

— Ash is a Pokemon Trainer on a Pokemon Journey.

— He is going to enter the Indigo League – an annual event wherein you need eight badges to compete.

— Badges are earned in Pokemon Gyms.

— Gyms are in set locations.

— Places are in areas.

— Time is linear.

– While we’re on the subject, buy a real map or a GPS or a bus schedule or something.

– Aw look, Togepi’s getting lost and put in peril before he’s even born. What a sign of things to come.

– Domestic Mommy Meowth is quite cute. Not sure why he suddenly shifted from wanting it for the sake of having a Pokemon to give to Giovanni and wanting it because it’s his baby now, but whatever.

– Aw, he made a little night cap for the egg.

– Ash: “They’re pretty dumb, leaving us a trail of broken eggs.”

I don’t see how exactly they did such a thing. They’d need a hell of a lot of eggs to make this trail. They weren’t carrying any eggs when they ran away, and they threw the whole batch at the group. Lazy writing to keep the plot going? Yeah, let’s go with that.

– Wait, what? So you’re not only telling me Team Rocket had a massive stash of these toy eggs hidden somewhere on their person for absolutely no reason when they ran off, and neglecting all logic in how such a thing would even be possible, AND that they somehow didn’t notice that they were leaving a clear trail of fallen eggs BUT that they ALSO walked to the edge of a cliff and….jumped down to their hidden cabin instead of going down the clearly marked trail they have for it? Not to mention that they were carrying a real Pokemon egg with them when they seemingly did this.

You couldn’t have just had them see the cabin from afar on the trail? You needed to have the trail stop right at the edge of this cliff?

– Pidgeotto’s being used for non-balloon popping purposes! YAY!

– Brock’s using a Pokemon! Yay!

– Misty’s using a Pok—nevermind. It’s Psyduck again.

Take 2: Misty’s using a Pokemon! Yay!

– I love Ash’s expression when he taunts Meowth.

– I don’t really understand how and why it seems that Team Rocket and their Pokemon can seemingly see in the smokescreens they create. And now it seems like Ash and co. can too, for this one occasion, even though, later, Ash will say he can’t see anything. They can’t be playing catch with this egg and not be able to see it.

– Brock: “Geodude, Tackle attack!”

Yeah, tackle Meowth, who is holding the very fragile egg. That’s smart.

Misty: “Staryu, Tackle now!”

Yeah, tackle Jessie, who is holding the very fragile egg. That’s smart.

– *Everyone keeps getting Tackled when they get the egg* There are non-violent ways of getting this egg, you idiots.

– Ash: “Can’t see. Pidgeotto, Gust attack! Blow this gas away!” That didn’t occur to you milliseconds after the Smokescreen went up? Did it really take you well over a minute to come to the realization that you can’t see? Also, you all should have severe lung damage right now. That’s the longest I’ve ever seen you trapped in that smoke.

– What’s this? A commercial break cliffhanger that is actually cliffhanger worthy? This episode keeps flopping back and forth between really good and really dumb.

– Let it be known that Misty only got Togepi because she was pushy and literally knocked Ash and Brock away when Togepi was hatching. If she hadn’t, it would’ve imprinted on Ash and Brock. Then the parental groups would get their underwear in a tizzy yelling ‘Ahh gay parents! Pokemon is ruining the children again!’

– I will admit, Togepi is pretty cute. I will savor it while it is still cute.

– Building on that, I used to have an electronic Togepi that would rock back and forth and go ‘Togeprrri!’ I loved it, and I have no clue if I still have it now. I doubt it works, if I do.

– Ash: “Hey! Now that Dexter’s been upgraded, he should have the answer!”

Dexter: “Togepi: The Egg Pokemon. Specific information about this Pokemon is still unavailable.”

Best. Upgrade. Ever.

– While you should leave the question of ownership up to Togepi, Misty’s a bit of a bitch thinking she’s entitled to Togepi just because it likes her. And this exchange is interesting.

Misty: “Well, maybe you should’ve taken better care of it.”

Ash: “But you never took care of it!”

Misty is arguing that Togepi doesn’t like Ash as much as it likes her because he didn’t take care of it well enough when she never took care of it. Give the points to Ash for pointing this out, because she’s being a complete unfair hypocrite.

– Meowth: “Oh yeah? I took care of it more than all of ya put together.” Uh….bullshit.

You cared for it for one night. Ash has probably taken care of it for at least a few days, and Brock has seemingly cared for it for at least weeks.

– Meowth is disqualifying Jessie and James from the tournament because they never helped care for Togepi. If Ash and the others agreed to that, shouldn’t Misty be disqualified too?

– I know it’s perfectly legal, but Brock is really choosing Onix, of all Pokemon, to fight Meowth? That’s a little dick-ish. Granted, Meowth doesn’t have a (fair) chance against any of Brock’s Pokemon, really. The other choices are a smaller rock and a fire breathing fox. His best bet would be against Zubat, and even there he’s at a technical disadvantage because Zubat can fly.

– I will never not be entertained by Meowth battling while pretending to be his own trainer.

– I also find it adorable that Pikachu is playing with Togepi with his tail while all this is going on.

– Brock really has a thing about nearly killing small squishy Pokemon. First he tries to crush Pikachu with Onix in the Boulder Badge episode, now he’s trying to squash Meowth with Onix.

– As a kid, I always wondered why there were two random buckets of water in the stadium. Thanks to Dogasu’s comparison, I now know it’s because there was originally a sign above the buckets that said to use them in case of a fire…..….These two buckets of water….and not a fire extinguisher….were meant for that….just in case…this stone/concrete structure…caught fire.

My god, my most recent scans show dangerous levels of plot convenience! If this goes on, Togepi might learn Metronome!

– First, Meowth using the water is totally cheating. Disqualify his ass. The fact that Ash and Misty seemingly accept his ‘I’m merely a parent fighting for its child’ defense is insulting.

Second, merely splashing some water onto Onix should not have made him susceptible to a Fury Swipes attack.

Third, all of this should not have been enough to knock Onix out. That’s just ridiculous.

– I love the annoyed tone in Brock’s voice when he’s announcing the next match. I’d be pissed too if I cared for the egg all this time and then got cheated out of my one chance to claim the Pokemon that hatched from it.

– Misty: “Ah, yes, just as I suspected. You chose Bulbasaur.” Really? You suspected he’d use Bulbasaur? Why? Wouldn’t it be more logical to assume he’d use Pikachu, or is Pikachu still in the ‘I won’t battle friends’ camp?

Also, what Pokemon were you prepared to use against Bulbasaur? All of your Pokemon are at a type disadvantage against it.

– Oh my god, guys. Ash is actually learning from previous events and making clever strategies as a result!

 

– The whole Bulbasaur vs. Pysduck match is just hilarious. It’s also really cute when Bulbasaur starts licking Psyduck’s head.

– I’m pretty sure this is the only time we ever see Psuduck recall itself into its Pokeball.

– I love how there’s so much tension and dramatic buildup for Pikachu and Meowth’s match, and then it’s just insta-ended by Pikachu’s Thundershock. That look on Meowth’s face when he realizes what’s about to happen is gold.

– It’s also pretty weird how Meowth never has these feelings of motherly affection towards Togepi ever again.

– Even though this basically means the entire tournament was a waste of time, I like that they resigned and let Togepi pick its Trainer/mother. Not only is it what’s best for Togepi, but it also shows that Togepi’s not a prize to be won.

– Dexter: “Togepi is imprinted with the first image it sees after it hatches, thinking this is its mother.” Hm, that’s a very interesting fac—Hey wait a minute! You said information on Togepi was unavailable, you lying piece of junk!

– I never understood how Togepi’s feet have such a wide range of motion considering they have no slots in the shell to move properly.

– The final shot of Ash and Brock is funny, but you also have to feel for them. Out of everyone, one of the two were the most deserving of getting Togepi. Ash found it and Brock incubated it. I kinda have to wonder if Misty only got Togepi, from a writing standpoint, because she’s the girl of the group….

—————————-

Overall, I really love this episode, even though I ended up with many more notes than I thought I would about the more technical aspects of it.

Meowth caring for the egg like a mother and the tournament were hilarious and well-written. I haven’t been so thoroughly entertained by an episode from start to finish in a long time. Team Rocket fit into the episode well, even though I’m still not sure why they didn’t take the egg from the start, and no one was being annoying, not even Ash, who actually played each round incredibly smart. Even the facial expressions were spot on and hilarious.

Taking Togepi’s future tropes out of the equation, it is very adorable in this episode. Misty really didn’t seem like she deserved Togepi considering 1) she never cared for it as an egg, and 2) she only imprinted on Togepi because she was pushy. She became a…pretty good Trainer/mother for Togepi, but in my opinion, she’s not all that great in that department.

She obviously cares a great deal for Togepi and sees it as a baby, but she also seemingly stunts its development because it stays as a stagnant baby for a very, very long time – longer than any other baby Pokemon we’ll ever see. She doesn’t train it at all nor does she teach it anything. She just carries it everywhere and lets it be cute.

Seeing as how Togepi has to have solo adventures, he’s also prone to getting taken or lost. Pikachu then takes over the stressful role of saving his ass.

I have to wonder how the series would be had Ash finders keepers’d their asses. Perhaps caring for a baby Pokemon for a prolonged period of time would help mature him, like it sorta did for Misty. Maybe he’d become more responsible and make better choices. Maybe he’d be like a lot of kids doing that ‘this egg is a child’ assignment for school and accidentally drop him and have to replace him with another Togepi. I dunno. It’s interesting to consider.

Next episode, IVYSAUR! YAY!

Previous Episode…..

AVAHS – 6Teen: In a Retail Wonderland

Plot: During the holiday season, Caitlyn becomes a professional shopper and finds herself losing the drive to shop after breaking up with her boyfriend. Nikki tries to avoid an embarrassing vacation to Acapulco with her parents. Jen tries to deal with increasing pressure at work. Jude gives everyone odd Christmas presents. Jonesy works as a wrapper but finds his turf impeded by Ron. Wyatt deals with his anti-Christmas boss, Wayne, who is forcing him to work on Christmas.

Breakdown: I haven’t watched much of 6Teen, but I think I’ve noticed a big flaw in it. There are too many plots running at once.

It’s a 21 minute long episode and we technically have six plots running at once, and each plot needs to merge with another at some point. I get that a lot of these quick problems are meant to reflect the everyday issues (albeit exaggerated) that teens would encounter while working at a mall, but it’s a big car crash of plots.

Caitlyn loses her drive to shop after she breaks up with her boyfriend, Connor. He’s apparently never been brought up before now, we only see him once, he gets no dialogue, and Caitlyn gets over her funk because he was a ‘loser’ wearing antlers for his job, which, as Nikki points out, is hypocritical because Caitlyn wears a lemon hat at hers.

Nikki doesn’t want to go on vacation with her super-Christmassy parents. Caitlyn tells her to go because they’re going for her and deciding to go is just as much a gift for them as it is for her, so she goes. This one, despite being equally quick as the others, was probably the best plot. Also, what profound words from a girl who just got over her boyfriend because he was deemed unworthy of her attention because he wears antlers at his job…..

Jude, who is my favorite character so far, just floats around giving random gifts to people and sometimes kinda contributes to a scene.

Jen is perpetually pissed off at her boss because he’s a jerk, I guess, and she learns yoga and meditation to calm herself, but she still pulls bad numbers and risks being fired. Caitlyn gets back her drive to shop again and orders all sorts of stuff from Jen at the store, saving her job….the one she hates.

The plot with Jonesy doesn’t even get resolved. He gets tasked to be a gift wrapper and is actually very good at it. Seeing the good money, Ron, the security guard who…hates the teens (?) muscles in on his turf, proving to be a good wrapper too. He offers Jonesy an assortment of cookies, he eats the security guard gingerbread man and that’s it. I have no clue what else I’m supposed to take from that.

There was an even smaller plot involving him decorating the mall Christmas tree and it obviously being set up to fall at the end of the episode….and it does.

The weirdest breakneck plot, though, is a sudden Christmas Carol parody. Wayne, Wyatt’s terrible boss at the movie store, doesn’t want to promote Christmas movies because, in his words, they suck. To make matters worse, he forces Wyatt to work on Christmas.

As he naps, he gets visited extremely quickly by the ghosts of Christmas Past, represented by Jen, Present, represented by Wyatt, and Yet to Come, represented by Jude. Jen shows us that Wayne used to be so into movies, Christmas movies in particular, that he’d refuse to go to the bathroom while watching one and would pee his pants all the time because of it.

Wyatt then shows us that he’s now an ass who doesn’t like Christmas movies….so there’s no explanation as to why he’s this way. It’s just ‘You used to be nice and love Christmas movies, but now you’re a twenty-something dick who doesn’t.’

Jude BS’s his way through his part, and it’s kinda funny. It all culminates in him just telling him to be a better person.

Somehow, this does indeed cause him to pull a 180 and he suddenly becomes incredibly nice and Christmassy, to an almost weird level. He gives the teens a big bag of chips and…I guess it’s meant to imply Wyatt gets Christmas off now.

There’s nothing seriously wrong with this special. It’s perfectly fine. I got some smiles out of it, but no laughs. It just has a bit plot web problem. No plot is the main one and they all run at once, some into each other, making things more complicated.

Plus, I didn’t really care about what was happening. Nothing felt like it had any stakes. There was also only a little Christmas spirit here, which isn’t a terrible thing. Sometimes, it’s a bit much when specials feel the need to be overtly festive. Even though I would’ve liked a little more, it was a realistic level and there were some heartstrings pulled a tiny bit with Nikki’s plot.

SSBS – Bakugan Battle Brawlers: Episode 2 – Masquerade Ball

Plot: A new mysterious masked brawler named Masquerade is going around and taking the Bakugan of those he defeats. Dan decides to challenge him to stop him once and for all, but the game changes when Drago goes rogue and Masquerade reveals the reality behind the game.

Breakdown: Alright, Bakugan – we got off to a bad start last time. Let’s see if we can mend some bridges in episode 2.

We finally learn another Bakugan term. The little marble things the players use are called Bakugan Balls…..Pbbbbttttt *gigglesnicker* Balls. Heehehehe. Anyway, this episode starts with Runo bitching and moaning that other people are getting their Bakugan Balls…..pbbbbttt….*cough* to talk, but she can’t.

A mysterious masked boy who calls himself Masquerade challenges Runo to a Bakugan Brawl that is completely skipped over. The only shot we see of it is Runo screaming in terror as a Grim-Reaper-Like Bakugan attacks.

Annoying girl character’s first match is one that is 1) so unimportant that they don’t even show it and 2) is one she loses horribly. *lip smack* Yup. That’s pretty much what I expect of female characters in shounen gaming anime at this point.

Meanwhile, Dan starts showing off his amazing talking Bakugan to his classmates, even though, if the last scene of the last episode was any indication, many many many people have also heard their Bakugan talking so this shouldn’t be a big thing to clamor over. However, I guess Dan just happens to be in a school where, despite the fact that everyone seems to be a brawler, only his Bakugan has reportedly talked.

Dan can’t get Drago to talk, disappointing his classmates, and the topic quickly skews to Dan freaking out because he didn’t remember to do his English homework. Their teacher comes in and I guess she’s meant to be some super imposing and frightening teacher because literally every student fumbles around the classroom screaming trying to get back to their seats when she enters the room.

Legit question – has anyone seriously had a teacher like that? This is a common trope yet I don’t know any teachers who strike such fear into their students. Hardasses, sure, but no terrifying teachers from hell.

She doesn’t even look scary. She looks like a stereotypical librarian.

Drago ends up at her feet in the confusion, and she demands to see Dan after class for bringing ‘marbles’ to school.

Blah blah unimportant school stuff, parroting the conflict in the other realm blah – hey wait, back up! Dan has Drago back!? Huh!? He’s still in class!….You’re telling me this terribly frightening teacher that has all of these kids shuddering in horror just by thinking about her is so easy-going that, despite being angry enough about the toy to demand that Dan stay after class to talk about it, she instantly gives it back to him?

Maybe I did have worse teachers than I thought because so many teachers would take stuff and either not give it back until the end of school or even keep it until the end of the semester. And you didn’t even have to be playing with it half the time – Just knowing you had it was enough to get it taken away.

So of course Dan is going to screw it up. He takes out Drago in the middle of a lecture to take a toothbrush and scrub it because it got kinda dusty on the floor. Drago doesn’t like it, so he opens up and demands he stop.

Dan jumps up in surprise and tries to rally his friends to prove that Drago can talk, but before he can do much of anything, his teacher stops him and says, due to his outburst, he’s going to get an injunction for the rest of the semester, which devastates Dan. He even goes so far as to bitch at Drago later saying that his life is ruined now because of the injunction and completely blames Drago since he wouldn’t talk.

in·junc·tion

noun: injunction; plural noun: injunctions
1. an authoritative warning or order.
2. law
a judicial order that restrains a person from beginning or continuing an action threatening or invading the legal right of another, or that compels a person to carry out a certain act, e.g., to make restitution to an injured party.

Sooooooooooooooooo…..Dan’s life is ruined….either because he has a warning all semester….or because he’s being restricted from either screwing around with Bakugan balls (hehehehehehehe) in school or from making outbursts in class. Uh……huh…..I know kids overdramatize stuff, but this is probably one of the most overdramatized statements I’ve ever heard.

Also, Drago’s at fault for this?! Really!? You’re the one who, despite being supposedly scared to death of your teacher (and, hey, she didn’t do anything about the fact that he didn’t do his homework either. What kind of benign ‘evil’ teacher are you trying to pawn off?) decided it would be a good idea to start scrubbing your Bakugan ball (alright, this is just getting silly) in the middle of class just because it got a little mussed up on the floor. Then you decided it would be a good idea to burst out in the middle of the lecture trying to get your friends to listen to Drago, who didn’t even have a chance to try and speak after that.

Not to mention that the first time you tried to get it to speak, you were basically giving him commands like a dog. You’re a douche, Dan…..Hm…If my nickname for Ash from Pokemon when he’s being an idiot is Dumbash, I hereby dub thee DanDaDouche.

Dan logs on to the Internet to chat with his friends, and Runo instantly bursts out screaming at him, blaming him for her loss.

Every frame of animation that includes her face and every second of hearing her voice makes me hate her even more. What’s even worse is, while everyone else is mispronouncing Bakugan as Back-oo-gahn, she’s mispronouncing it as Bah-koo-gan (like can). For the record, it’s supposed to be ‘Bah-koo-gahn.’ Alice explains that Masquerade is going all around challenging many brawlers and he takes their Bakugan if they lose to him. Runo pathetically admits that he took her Haos Terrorclaw.

I know these types of shows get flak for taking little toys and games too seriously…but if this is our main conflict for the episode and it’s vital to take down Masquerade and stop him from taking Bakugan…maybe make Runo seem more upset about her lost Bakugan. She’s upset at first just because she seems annoyed, then she seems fine and even somewhat happy, then she paints on a frowny face and says her Terrorclaw was taken.

Who cares? I don’t care. I’ve never even seen Terrorclaw or any indication that she gave a shit about it. I especially wish someone else’s Bakugan had been taken away if we’re meant to be sympathetic. Runo, so far, is the most annoying character on the show, going neck to neck with Dan.

Oh and, yeah, how the hell is Dan in any way responsible for her loss? She never once explains her reasoning with this and doesn’t even seem that upset about it after a few lines. He doesn’t ask her either. Who starts screaming insinuations like that without even trying to explain their reasoning?

“That guy over there murdered this man!”

“Why do you think that?”

“Just cuz.”

“Skip the trial and lock his ass up, boys.”

“Next time on Law and Whatever: Really Short Case Unit”

Dan decides to take down Masquerade, which makes Alice and Julie say, I am in no way kidding or exaggerating,

Julie: “Oh Dan, I wish I could hug you!”

Alice: *sultry voice* “Me too.”

Okay, I think we can all agree that we’ve skidded past ‘Gary Stu’ vibes and are firmly in the territory of ‘self-insert jerk-off material’ All that over a promise of a challenge? And what was up with Alice’s voice just then? You’d think he promised something dirtier. Even the mood-a-minute Runo yells out “Awesome!” when he says this.

Then it’s like this scene was forgotten as they are suddenly surprised that Dan is willing to risk his own Bakugan in the matches. They share the news that Masquerade is currently in first place in the worldwide Bakugan rankings while Dan is supposedly still at 117. So….why his friends were so excited at his promise makes even less sense now. Especially given that, if he’s in first place, that must mean he’s also defeated Shun.

Also, is Masquerade traveling the world extremely quickly? To have gone from an unknown to number one in the worldwide rankings in that amount of time seems ridiculous.

Of course he owns/plays a damn electric guitar. Is he the star on the football team too?

In order to lure Masquerade to a match, Dan decides to create a challenge vlog. However, Drago calls him out on how pathetic he seems trying to act tough.

He explains that Bakugan isn’t merely a game and, even though he’s talking to a sentient marble from another dimension, Dan acts like the idiot he is and, despite stating last episode that he thinks Bakugan isn’t just a game……acts like it is just a game. Then we get our big commercial break dundundunnn moment where Drago repeats that it’s not just a game….which is pointless to make dramatic because we as an audience already knew that.

Dan’s challenge has been posted and Masquerade seems more than happy to meet him.

The next day, Dan heads to the meeting spot only to find Shuji, who wants to challenge him again. Oh goodie gumdrops, a three-peat of stupid pointless nonsense that is not entertaining at all. Even Dan straight out says this match is a waste of his time. No, Dan. It’s a waste of everyone’s time.

Just to get this out of the way, today Shuji’s using Ventus attribute cards, because why not?

You better hope this is a lazy way of teaching us more about the game.

My sentiments exactly, Dan.

They open the time-space field thing and then instantly cut to Shuji saying Dan defeated his Robotallian and Gargonoid. And I mean they instantly cut. Sliced clean through. No transition. Just ‘Let’s brawl!’ followed immediately with Shuji’s recap.

So, in summary, they’re admitting fully that this match is a pointless waste of time….and then they skip half of it.

Bite me.

Dan summons Drago, who is now able to move more freely outside of his ball. However, when Dan uses a Fire Wall ability card on Drago, he…I guess refuses to battle because he says he doesn’t take orders and his use of the ability card was useless anyway, even if they don’t really explain why. Shuji also explains that Fire attributes are useless against Wind, even though he’s defeated two of them already.

Shuji summons his Falconeer (at least we’re getting more monster names today) and uses an ability card that allows Falconeer to jump over the Fire Wall. So, Fire Wall’s not so much useless against Wind attribute cards as it is susceptible to that specific ability card. Gotcha.

Can someone please explain to me why Fire is trumped by Wind? I get that wind blows out fires, but air also feeds fire. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Fire to be weak to….Oh….I dunno…..Water? Is that too obvious or what?

With the type advantage, Falconeer gets powered up enough to take on Drago, but Drago tries to reason with Falconeer. He says the only reason Falconeer is fighting is because he’s corrupted with negative energy, but Falconeer won’t listen and bites him on the neck.

In retaliation, Drago constricts the Fire Wall around them, and, according to Dan, smothers the wind and defeats Falconeer…..Uh, no. You don’t smother wind. You smother FIRE. Fire needs air to live. If you rob it of oxygen IE smother it, you extinguish the flame.

I’d say what you just did there, if logic can even be applied, is that the Fire Wall ate up all of the air and made it so Falconeer, being Wind attribute, could not exist any longer.

I just pulled that out of my ass. I have no clue what just happened. Dan/Drago cheated as far as I can see.

Despite not being the one to give the game-winning order, Dan still smirks, flicks his nose with his thumb like a trademark douchecanoe and brags that he won the match…I guess because he beat three of Shuji’s monsters? Screw it, he cheated.

Okay, wait. Let me calm down. Let’s at least check the Wiki to see if there’s something I missed that makes this legit. I don’t want to shout out ‘cheating!’ just because I don’t understand the game.

“Mysteriously, Drago gains the upper-hand possibly due to Fire Wall. But even with its effect active, Drago would still be 10 Gs short of victory. Drago would have needed to boost the power of Fire Wall in some way for this victory, but it is unrevealed how this is done. Nevertheless, Falconeer gets wiped out by Drago’s squeezing fire wall attack.”

Oh, okay, so he totally cheated. Cheers.

I hate you.

After Shuji literally runs home crying to his mommy (and, no, I’m not using ‘literally’ wrong. He legit says, while running off crying “I’m going home to mommy!”) Masquerade shows up and they start their match. Masquerade starts by throwing some weird Darkus card out which activates without proclaiming what it is or what it does.

Dan calls out his Serpenoid while Masquerade calls out Reaper. Dan’s little watch thing explains that Reaper is stronger than Serpenoid with 370g over 320g, but Dan activates his unexplained gate card which powers up Serpenoid to 620g. Masquerade activates the ability card, Dimension 4, which, while they don’t explain what it does, seems to negate the effect of gate cards and reduces Serpenoid back to 320g.

Reaper attacks Serpenoid and….sucks him into a different dimension I guess.

Next, Dan summons a Minotaur-esque creature while Masquerade summons another Reaper. They try to amp up the animation in that weird way again as Dan uses an ability card, which I can’t discern due to Dan’s VA’s inability to enunciate and the poor sound mixing. Like every other one of Dan’s ability cards, it’s a bunch of fire. Like many other of Dan’s cards, it’s never explained what this does.

Masquerade uses an ability card, Double Dimension, which negates the effects of Dan’s ability card. Reaper then defeats the Minotaur thing, sending it to another dimension. Masquerade then mentions that the card he played at the start is a Doom card. When played, it overpowers all monsters and sends the defeated ones into the Doom Dimension and can never return…..

………………The….Doom Dimension. Are you kidding me? How did this not reach even minor league meme status? The DOOM DIMENSION. That’s like something a four year old would make up.

……Or…like….son of a bitch – we actually have another Shadow Realm? Are you for real? Someone melded the Shadow Realm with the Seal of Oricalcos card and threw it into this show. Brilliant.

Drago recognizes the…..Doom Dimension. Ya know, between the Bakugan Balls and the Doom Dimension, I’m getting in more than my quota of giggling. Anyhoo, he states that the Doom Dimension is basically Bakugan….hell? Purgatory? They go there when they di–”meet their eternal demise.” Enraged, Dan asks why Masquerade is trying to ruin the game of Bakugan and Masquerade explains, again, that this is not merely a game – every match is very real.

The match continues with Dan sending out another gate card, summoning Drago and Masquerade summoning another Reaper….or the same Reaper. I don’t know. They fight and, again, Drago tries to reason with Reaper. However, Reaper doesn’t want to talk and doesn’t care about what’s happening in Vestroia. He only cares about the immense power he’ll supposedly get by teaming up with a human and battling like the soldier he is.

Reaper, being stronger I guess, attacks Drago, but Dan opens his gate card, Fire Storm, which powers him up to something more powerful I guess. Right before Dan is able to use another ability card to supposedly win, Drago activates something called Ultimate Boost on his own which ends the battle suddenly.

Okay, he’s where I get confused even with the Wiki holding my hand. Masquerade states that he spared Drago for some reason and I’m left to assume that he did….something which ended the match and saved Drago from himself. Why? I don’t know. However, the Wiki states that Drago was so powerful that he destroyed the battlefield and instantly ended the match because of it. I’m more inclined to believe the Wiki, but that just leaves me utterly confused as to what they mean by the dialogue.

Masquerade explains that Bakugan involves many dimensions and powers that could destroy the world. The only way to save the world is for Dan to defeat him.

Oh come on! Two episodes in and we’re already at a point where the fate of the world rests on a kid’s ability to play a game with marbles and trading cards? Get bent.

Oh well, at least Dan technically got defeated.

Wiki – “Conclusion
Battle is interrupted and ends in a TIE.”

Oh, go to hell! He was down by two! Even though they haven’t explained the criteria for winning in the actual show yet (yes, really) I finally broke down and looked up the rules to the damn game, which states that the winner is the first to capture three Gate Cards….Oh sorry. The rules of the anime version are actually changed from the real life game. That makes everything much less confusing /s

In the anime, it’s the first to defeat three Bakugan. Dan lost twice and even in the end, the Wiki states that Reaper wasn’t killed before the battlefield was destroyed so he didn’t even get one Bakugan defeated. Is this like calling a draw in Monopoly if I’m nearly bankrupt and I decide to kick the board to the floor? Why did Drago trigger this anyway? It wasn’t a particularly emotional or intense moment, even after they explained the super scary Doom Dimension.

Anyway, Masquerade leaves, Dan proclaims that he’ll beat Masquerade and the episode ends.

——————————–

I will admit that this episode has more card and monster names than the first episode and I learned a tiny bit more of how the game is played, I think, but I should mention, as you probably figured out, anything of merit I learned was read from the Wiki. Whoever wrote detailed play-by-plays for each Bakugan Brawl in every episode for the Wiki deserves a fresh pan of cinnamon buns.

Also, I’m going to try to turn a blind eye to what the Wiki says since I’m trying to follow along as a regular watcher of the show. No one should need to read supplemental material to understand half of what’s going on in a shounen gaming anime. It just should not happen.

Everything else about this episode is mostly garbage. Stuff with Runo? Pointless garbage I don’t care about because I care nothing for Runo, nor am I given a reason to. Plus, the scene was so short it’s hard to care in the first place.

Stuff with Dan’s teacher? Don’t care. Also, I learned that this was also completely pointless because this character, according to her bio, is never seen again and the year long detention (She specifically said “Injunction,” Wiki, but your explanation makes more sense) that Dan got, the one that ‘ruined his life’ is never brought up or enforced. Whoopee.

The battle against Shuji is entirely pointless – not just because it’s a predictable waste of time against a character who has already been beaten easily twice already, but also because Dan and Drago cheated. It’s shameless filler that they deserve to be punched in the face for.

The battle against Masquerade isn’t even interesting. He uses the same monster three times in a row, basically the same tactic twice in a row and there’s little in regards to excitement. The only entertaining aspect was the silly name of the Doom Dimension.

Drago’s final stand came out of nowhere and the finale was ridiculous. Randomly triggering something within yourself that makes you so powerful that the field gets destroyed and forced a draw? If that’s even what really happened. Give me a break.

Why did Masquerade even leave? No time for a rematch? Why does Dan seem so devastated by this? He doesn’t seem to have any emotional bond with what’s going on yet, but he falls to his knees and yells that he’ll beat Masquerade.

I don’t even care about the Vestroia stuff at this point.

Another note is that the Wiki states Dan nearly lost his Bakugan in that match but, since he didn’t technically lose, he kept them I guess. Despite the fact that both Masquerade and Drago said that once a Bakugan is in that dimension, they never come out.

There’s nothing to care about here, and I don’t even get any mindless action fun out of it because even that’s bland and boring. Get your shit together, Bakugan.

Rating: 1/10

Next episode, Dan is confronted by a new recruit of Masquerade’s, Ricky Maru. Oh excuse me, that’s supposed to be Rikimaru. Is it a law of dubbed kids anime to not pronounce Japanese words and names correctly? Also, Dan cleans Drago with a toothbrush again.

….Previous Episode

AVAHS – A Fairy Tale Christmas

Rating: 2.5/10

Plot: The King’s viceroy, Crofton, wishes to tax the villagers heavily and eventually take over as king, but the King won’t allow it. In an effort to get him out of the picture so he can take over, he gives the King’s daughter, Princess Angela, a potion to erase her memories and gives her over to his brother to raise her in the woods.

About a decade later, the King indeed finds himself lost without his daughter, and his Assistant is living the high life on all the tax money he’s collecting. Can Angela regain her memories and return to her rightful place as Princess?

Breakdown: I’d like to share IMDB’s plot synopsis of this movie. Ahem.

“When a young woman accidentally triggers to Christmas Day was begins to reflection on addiction to building the Christmas Tree from a North Pole in B.C.”

That should show how little information there is on this movie and how many people have actually seen it. God bless the random user who took the time to write a fairly proper synopsis in the Storyline section.

I’m surprised there’s actually a well-written and detailed review on that page too. Technically, there are three reviews but two of them are clearly trolling.

Wanna know something else? The IMDB page is literally the only site that has ‘information’ on this movie. The only other website with info is the page for the production studio behind the film, Waterfront Pictures.

Click that link, by the way, because its mission statement is such overly produced corporate gobbletygook it’s insane. I was getting a headache reading it.

I won’t lie. I’m not ashamed. I went into this fully with the mindset of having something to make fun of. I mean, come on. From the lazy title to the nonsensical yet still cliché plot to the bad art and animation to the characters that are so bland that the movie didn’t even bother giving them names half the time (I have the character list in front of me, and the only one I recognize is Angela, and even then I forgot her name halfway through.)

It was ripe for mocking…..and it disappointed even on that front. Don’t worry, I found a bunch of superfluous stuff to overanalyze that I’ll get to in a minute, but overall it’s just bland.

It has so little of a plot that the movie doesn’t even reach an hour – it’s 44 minutes including credits, and I feel like some parts are missing. For instance, a talking deer and talking bird mention that only the princess has a ‘true heart’ which allows her to understand their speech (just go with it.) It’s phrased like we saw a scene with them talking to Angela when she was a child earlier, but we didn’t.

Now for other things that make no sense but aren’t funny to talk about.

Why doesn’t Crofton just kill Angela? I get that this is a kids’ movie, but even in Snow White they try attempted murder when the princess is an obstacle. If Disney is being more hardcore than you, you have problems, bro.

Why does Crofton want so much taxes? He wouldn’t get all that money – The King would.

The King is really fine with all these taxes because he’s so preoccupied with finding Angela? I guess that makes a little sense, but the movie makes off like the King went on a journey to find Angela immediately after she went missing, yet later they act like he was just out for a day trip.

Crofton acts like he’ll be King if Angela’s out of the way. I dunno if he was just waiting for the 40-something King to keel over and he could take over his job considering he’s not married and Angela was his only heir. Again, I thought the King was off for years to find Angela, yet he returns with no fanfare and it’s like he never left.

How far away is Angela’s guardian’s house? They act like it’s many, many miles away, but the King gets there and back in hours and Crofton, who should be ruling the land in his stead, gets there in what seems like minutes because he somehow heard that his minions weren’t doing a good job keeping the King away from Angela’s village minutes after one failed attempt.

What is up with Angela, anyway? First off, let’s talk about the ‘true heart’ thing. What does that even mean? Does she automatically have one because she’s a princess or is it just who she is? Why does having a ‘true heart’ grant you the ability to talk to animals? Why is that the ONLY power it grants you? Why wouldn’t a true heart grant you the ability to…do…something that allows her to prove who she is to her father?

Second, why is everyone so surprised that Angela has a desire to help people? Several times, people are like ‘Why did you help me?’ and she’s like ‘I couldn’t not help you. Why, is that weird?’ Is everyone in this universe apathetic or a jerk?

Why can’t the King recognize Angela by looking at her? She has a pretty notable face, and her hair even stays the same over the years. He also somehow has a photo of her that he keeps with him.

He has Prince Charming syndrome when faced with an impostor. He gave Angela a bracelet the night that she was kidnapped – it was her late mother’s bracelet and only Angela should have it. Some bitchy impostor who looks nothing like Angela has the bracelet and he’s fully willing to believe she’s Angela when the real one’s right there.

Why are they pushing for an ‘every girl longs to be a princess, and life is sucky when you’re not one, but, yay, I am one!’ message?

Why didn’t the King use the song as a test of proving someone was Angela or not? He said only his wife, he and his daughter knew that song. The bracelet is an heirloom, sure, but 1) It could easily be lost or stolen. And it’s easy to expect your kidnapped daughter would have her bracelet stolen. 2) The bracelet is treated like it’s this unique piece of jewelry….Look at it.

It’s a simple beaded bracelet with no engravings. It has three charms on it – a star, a crescent moon and a heart. Three of the most overused symbols in history. Anyone could remake this bracelet. They probably have 300 at the village shop.

Why did they sequel bait this? Why? “She lived happily ever after….at least until…well, I’ll save that for next time.” No next time. Just now.

Did they really think this would take off enough to warrant a sequel? To be fair, the studio did come out with another animated Christmas movie, but it’s not a sequel to this one. It’s called, as creatively titled as this movie, A Very Fairy Christmas.

I might watch it if I can find it, but don’t hold your breath. Fairy stalkers are sure a creepy concept, though.

The music is actually quite tolerable for a movie of this nature. But, goddamn, they jam like 12 song breaks in a 44 minute long movie.

The art and animation bounces between ‘bad, but not horrifying’ to ‘they’re not even trying.’ They don’t do a single thing to make Angela a ‘beautiful perfect princess’ trope….which…yay? But I swear to god I had to pause the video and laugh for a good two minutes because Angela has the face of a meth addict.

The fact that the IMDB page mentions addiction makes this all the funnier.

The animation studio behind the movie, Cheshire Smile Animation Inc. doesn’t seem to have a wide library of work, but give them credit for lasting in this industry for 18 years.

Overall, this movie is a waste of time. I was never begging for it to be over or anything. It’s not horrible and the music’s actually alright. But you don’t come out of it with anything more than when you went in. I’m not even sure there’s a moral to this story…..Be nice?

Oh yeah, I haven’t really mentioned Christmas, have I? Angela gets her bracelet on Christmas Eve. The song she learns is kind Christmassy. There’s a scene midway in the movie where Angela pauses her quest to go home to stop at the miserable village. They can’t celebrate Christmas because they’re being taxed so much. Angela reminds them that Christmas isn’t about the presents, it’s about friends and family….and then she gives them all presents that she randomly has in her sled…

Christmas is…around in this movie, but it’s not at the forefront.

Episode One-Derland: Karasu Tengu Kabuto

Plot: Kabuto is the last of the Tengu, a clan that sealed away the dreaded Kuroyasha many years ago. Kuroyasha Douki has recently returned and wants revenge on the descendant of the Tengu clan for sealing him and his comrades away. Kabuto is a mighty warrior, but he still requires help to take down the Kuroyasha. He unlocks an ancient demon sword named Hiryuu and calls upon the four guardian gods of his family to help take them down.

Breakdown: Mmm smell that 80’s cheese.

There’s not a whole lot to say here. It’s one of a million ninja clan vs. evil demonic ninja clan shows that peppered the 80’s the 90’s in anime. But this one gives the main character black crow wings. Oooooooohhhhhhh~~~~

As a first episode, it does a good enough job at explaining the backstory, hero, villains and what the objective of the story is. The hero’s just as you’d think, the villain’s just as you’d think, and the intro battles are putty patroler-esque pushovers. The finale gives them these cool flying statues that blow fire, so there’s that.

The art is very dated, and the animation is nearly hilarious with that classic, always mocked, sudden zoom in to a shocked face trope, as well as the regular action animation shortcuts of cutting away during an attack to just animate a lit up slash on a black screen.

That’s not to say the action’s not fun. It’s not some of the best I’ve seen, but it’s pretty good so far.

The music is mostly forgettable, and, remarkably, that’s probably the only aspect of this that isn’t really dated.

Final Verdict:

Anyone who wants a dose of 80’s ninja cheese can enjoy this just fine, but so far there’s really nothing to draw anyone else in. I’ll keep it on the back burner.

AVAHS – Danny Phantom: The Fright Before Christmas

Plot: At the holiday season, Danny’s smile is on pause

as his parents fight to the teeth over old Santa Claus.

Year after year, the fight sparks up again

And Danny’s patience has begun to wear thin.

He takes out his anger in the zone meant for ghosts

Christmas trinkets and toys – he makes them all toast.

Meanwhile, the Ghost Writer completes his best work,

Danny ruins his poem, doesn’t care, what a jerk.

In vengeance of the story he lost,

He traps Danny in a poem world, for that is the cost.

Only when Danny learns the lesson will he be freed,

But Danny is adamant against doing the deed.

He’s determined to stay in his holiday funk,

Even when his friends and the town believe he’s a punk

Ghost Writer’s framing Danny for destruction and theft

If Danny doesn’t do something soon, they’ll be nothing left.

Can the Ghost Boy learn the lesson in time?

Or will he be stuck in a world of perpetual rhyme?

Breakdown: Is it time for A Very Animated Holiday Special again? Jeez, slow down, world.

This isn’t a must-see classic for me, but it’s still a treasured Christmas special from my childhood. It has a lot of great aspects to it. The reality-bending Ghost Writer was pretty unique and interesting. I wish we got to see more of him, especially considering how powerful someone like that can be. He even has mind-controlling/reality warping powers over the other ghosts – that’s pretty incredible.

I liked reassembling all of Danny’s old foes for the sake of having a Christmas party – that the enemies themselves planned! Danny’s the one being the grinch this whole episode yet people you’d think would be the jerks this time of year, like Sam and Danny’s foes, are caught up in the Christmas spirit and spreading cheer everywhere.

The fact that they team up with Danny to take down the Ghost Writer because he, ironically, disrespected the sanctity of Christmas and their annual Christmas truce was just awesome. I’m a sucker for plot lines where enemies and heroes team up – especially on Christmas.

I gained more appreciation for the story as a whole for this rewatch as well.

Every year on Christmas, Danny’s parents would do nothing but endlessly fight over whether or not Santa exists – Jack proclaiming he does and Maddie scientifically proving that he cannot….which is kinda strange because she’s a damn ghost hunter. Their fights would ruin every Christmas, and Danny would get less and less excited for the holidays every year until he got to a point where he hated the holidays.

Don’t know how Jazz survives it with a smile, though. She understands Danny’s anger, but she’s experienced more of these terrible Christmases than Danny and she still enjoys the holidays just fine.

When I got to the third act, I realized that they were subtly flipping the script on Danny. The Ghost Writer literally forces him to destroy Christmas for other people by ruining decorations, destroying toys and mowing down everyone’s Christmas trees. Even though they don’t point it out, he was doing to others what his parents did to him – he was so caught up in his own anger and fighting that he didn’t realize he was ruining the fun for other people.

Everything doesn’t start turning around because Danny suddenly gets all chipper for Christmas – it starts when he realizes that’s he’s ruined Christmas for everyone and gains a desire to fix it for them. Up until this point, it’s been about what he wants. It’s not even a magical turn around based on his realization either. It’s, AGAIN, his foes that come to save the day for him in honor of Christmas and gives him a taste of the holiday spirit, which, eventually, leads to the spell being broken. It warms my heart. (Also, hell yeah the Box Ghost gets a time to shine!)

The only point I didn’t like was, Danny’s such an ass about hating Christmas that he unabashedly doesn’t care that he destroyed the Ghostwriter’s masterwork poem all because it was a Christmas poem. I know he has to reach a high level of asshattery to warrant the spell placed on him, but that was still terrible.

Overall, though, I still really love this special. It’s not overly saccharine and forcing Christmas spirit down your throats. It’s a fun and heartwarming special that merely celebrates the Christmas spirit (just realizing that I’ve been making a pun this entire review…) and promotes not being a grinch to others, no matter your opinions on the day.