Update (3/28/19) What I’m Doing (If I even know)

Hey everyone! Twix here, explaining…things.

Where I’ve Been?

I haven’t really been ‘gone’ per se, but my activity has been rather erratic.

Basically, the reason I’ve been updating so inconsistently is because my attention has been pulled in a few different directions lately. I’ve been an active…I guess I’ll say ‘staff member’ (?), in the #SaveDaredevil campaign, which you probably are aware of by now if you follow me on Twitter because that’s pretty much all I’ve Tweeting about for the past three months. I was particularly busy during the last week of February because I was helping organize a fanworks event over the course of that month.

My dog, Skye, recently had some medical issues and she pretty much needs round-the-clock attention. She’s elderly and has a lot of stomach issues. There’s nothing life-threatening that we’ve been able to see, in fact, the vet said her health is much better than most dogs her age, but it’s still a long-standing issue that eats up a lot of my time.

Work has kinda been a nightmare, and student loans are starting to eat away at me.

I’ve been trying to get back into my art with varying degrees of success. I’ll probably share some here when I get back into the swing of things.

What I’m doing

As an update to what I’ve been doing lately for anime and stuff, I recently finished Terror in Resonance, which was really good. I’m currently watching Attack on Titan season 2, which, so far, is much better than season 1, in my opinion. I’m watching the dubbed version of Pokemon movie 11: Giratina and the Sky Warrior.

For manga, I recently completed Enigma, which was fairly good, and I’m currently reading Vol. 9 of Boku Wa Imouto ni koi wo Suru, because I enjoy wallowing in the abyss. This is the second to last volume, so I’m nearly there. It’s about the achievement now, guys.

I’m nearly done plowing through the rest of Tokyo Mew Mew for SSBS, but I’m not sure what show I’ll try to plow through next. Maybe a cartoon.

What I Plan on Doing

As for future projects, I’d like to do more editorials, but it’s kinda hard for me to 1) Decide on topics and 2) actually post the editorial once I’m done because for some reason I’m more self-conscious posting those than I am my reviews. I have a bunch of topics jotted down but I’m trying to work up to getting them done.

I’m also planning on making a spin-off of my SDC series, which is Sub/Dub Opinions. Basically, I’m going to give my opinion on an English dub that isn’t SDC material, but done in same format. IE I’ll be watching an episode Dubbed and Subbed side by side and noting the differences.

Since it’d be ridiculous to do full series analyses for this, I’ll be randomly selecting one episode and comparing that, basing my opinion on the analysis from that episode. Unless I have prior knowledge of a full sub and dub job, which is rare. Only rule for this series is that I had to have finished watching the series is either sub or dub.

I was also musing about doing select character analyses, opinions on fictional worlds and exploring the inspiration and backstories behind series, but these ideas are much more spotty. I tend to go off on new ideas for series without realizing I have a bunch of other blog series that haven’t been tended to or had many completed entries lol They’ll probably be sporadic like the My Poke-Pinions series if they come to pass at all.

I also considered making an art series for this blog where I make a picture per anime I’ve reviewed. Kinda killing two birds with one stone.

My birthday’s this Saturday and I wanted to do something special for it, but I have no clue what to do lol I’ll get back to you.

That’s about it for me. I promise to keep updating fairly regularly and bringing you guys new and hopefully fun and interesting posts. Thank you guys so much for continuing to read, like and comment on my posts – it means the world to me. 🙂

Hell Girl: Two Mirrors Episode 10 – Anna Sone’s Intimate Holiday Review

Hell Girl two mirrors episode 11.png

Plot: Hone Onna tells the story of how she fell into a situation with a good-for-nothing bum of a screenwriter named Tetsuro. He has a nasty habit of getting women to fall for him, using them for a place to stay, food and money, then leaving them for the next best thing or when the relationship inevitably falls apart due to Tetsuro’s behavior. While she remains good friends with his other failed relationship prospects for quite a while, she soon learns that he is Ai’s next target. But who is the client?

Breakdown: If there is one episode I distinctly remember during my first watch of this series, it was one that irritated me enough to mention in my personal blog numerous years ago when I was getting started in reviewing. I didn’t give it a real review, I just mentioned the insanely stupid reason behind the person getting sent to hell.

But let’s back up because there’s a lot more to this episode than I gave it credit for back then.

This is an odd episode in two ways – One, the tone is noticeably much lighter than many Hell Girl episodes. Two, Hone Onna plays a big part, and an actual one at that. Not just being relegated to the sidelines and commentating, but actually participating.

Hone Onna giving this guy the time of day in the first place seems odd. They do note that Tetsuro has an irresistible pathetic puppy dog face, but Hone Onna should have no issue with combating that. She didn’t even meet him through a Hell Girl case – that comes much later down the line.

As for Tetsuro himself, it’s hard to really have sympathy for the guy because, like everyone says, he truly is a good-for-nothing mooch. He does appear to have a strong passion for filmmaking and writing, but he’s too lazy and self-absorbed to do anything with it.

The last girlfriend he had almost convinced both the girls and the audience that maybe he really does just have a self-confidence issue and would go very far if he had someone who was supportive by his side, but he completely ruins that and any hope you might have for him near the end.

She gives him three million yen, which is almost 30,000 US dollars, to use for a budget for a new movie he wrote. He miraculously gets a producer to hear him out, but once he learns how much work it will be to get the movie made, he throws his script into the river and loses his girlfriend’s money gambling on horses.

Hell Girl two mirrors episode 10 screen1

This one scene makes you lose any sympathy you might have had for his situation. It’s not a lack of confidence or life getting him down, it’s pure laziness and lack of caring for other people. He doesn’t even care a little bit that he lost his girlfriend’s money. When she kicks him out, he goes crawling back to his trio of exes, including Hone Onna.

And, truthfully, the best part about this episode at this point really is watching Hone Onna get to be human for a while and have some fun while not working. She gains actual friends here, and I loved that. It’s a different dynamic than with her and Ren and Wanyuudou. Here, she gets to cut loose and enjoy herself.

But, eventually, we have to get to the dumb part.

As I mentioned way back in the day, a storyline like this would lead you to assume the one who called Hell Girl would be a jilted ex-girlfriend, perhaps even his last ex who lost all of that money.

Nope.

Let me paint a picture for ya.

He takes the girls on a road trip to scout for shooting locations for some reason. As he parks the car in a ramen shop parking lot, he badly scrapes the side of someone’s car. Instead of owning up to it, he pulls a hit and run.

Hell Girl two mirrors episode 10 screen2

When they stop at another location, he accidentally dumps coffee all over some guy and, again, tries to scoot away instead of owning up to it or apologizing.

The guy who got coffee spilled all over him was the owner of the car.

And the owner of the car is the client.

Yup. This dude was so pissed that Tetsuro scraped his car that he called Hell Girl, though how he knew his name is beyond me. He’s an unknown character with his face half cast in shadow with a baseball cap, and the only interaction he had with Tetsuro was the hit and run. I guess he could’ve looked up his license plate number? And then the coffee thing was the tipping point, I suppose…..

Japan must have an epidemic of sociopathic idiots wearing baseball caps, because someone who looked eerily similar to this guy was also in the first season and killed a nurse for seemingly no reason.

We’re not stopping there with the silliness, either. This guy was driving a Toyota AE86. Why do I bring that up? Because they named this character Toyota Hachiroku, which literally translates to Toyota 86…..So, either his parents hated him or he loved his car so much that he named himself after it.

Speaking of the car, if you were going to have such a dumb plot based on scraping a car, could you not have chosen one that wasn’t an ugly POS? Apparently, this is a very popular style of car, and much of its popularity is stemmed from its appearance in Initial D, but, dammit all, it’s just ugly to me. What’s even weirder is that the Wiki page of the car lists many pop culture references to itself, including many very obscure ones, but Hell Girl, despite the most blatant reference ever being included in one of their episodes, fails to make the list.

Hell Girl two mirrors episode 10 screen3

Testuro’s hell torture is actually one of the more entertaining ones we’ve ever had. They put him in numerous movie scenes and have him suffer in various ways like burning him up in a scene where he’s trying to save the girls from a fire and a dated-even-back-then Titanic reference where he gets swept away by the water.

This all leads up to one of my favorite scenes in Hell Girl where the final appearance by Ai is done in silent movie form. It’s fitting, really cool-looking and it adds a very eerie atmosphere to this otherwise goofy episode.

Hell Girl two mirrors episode 10 screen4

Whether or not he deserved to go to hell is not really up for debate this time. Yeah, you can’t really sympathize with him. Yeah, he treated his girlfriends like disposable food, sex and money machines. Yeah, he was lazy and self-absorbed, but it’s hard for me to say he really deserved to go to hell for all that.

In the end, Hone Onna is forced to wipe her friends’ memories of her and leave them forever, which saddened me deeply.

This is an interesting episode with a very stupid Hell Girl plot. I know it would’ve been predictable to have one of his exes send him to hell, but it’s better than a random dude he doesn’t know sending him to hell because his precious Toyota AE86 got scraped and he got a little coffee spilled on him.

Two more notes before we end – There’s a bizarre scene where we see a live-action music video briefly as the original Hell Girl theme plays. This is the real music video for the song, Sakasama no Chō, sung by SNoW. This isn’t the first time they’ve played this song in the second season, but this is the first time they’ve included live-action footage. It was really strange.

Second, this episode was supposedly in memory of Ed Wood. I’m not sure how to take that.

Next Episode….

…..Previous Episode


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My Poke-Pinions: 013-015 – The Weedle Line

Weedle

Name: Weedle’s name is either a mixture of ‘worm’ and ‘needle,’ pointing to the spike on its head, or a different way of saying ‘weevil.’ I like Weedle’s name. It’s pretty cute and fitting. Plus, it’s fun to say.

In the original Japanese, it’s called Beedle, which is a mixture of ‘bee’ and ‘needle,’ which may seem more fitting, given its evolution, but I can’t help but think it’s saying ‘beetle’ which doesn’t fit at all.

Design: Weedle’s design is pretty cute. Not nearly as cute as Caterpie, but I think that’s kinda the point. (Hahah, the point! Get it!?) I was never a fan of this shade of brown/dark orange it’s got going on, and its mouth kinda weirds me out.

As a side-note, though, look at this early design work.

…..It looks like a clown with no arms or legs.

In terms of sprites, Weedle’s stays pretty unchanged and fairly boring throughout each Gen. The only exception is B/W/BW2 where Weedle gains a very weird and creepy animation.

Shiny:

Weedle, like Caterpie, also went the gold route for their shiny, but they messed it up a little. Weedle’s shiny has a more subtle golden color most of the time to the point where it looks dull. Other times, it looks very yellow to the point of being an eyesore.

Cry/Voice: I like Weedle’s game cry, but I don’t find it very fitting for a little worm. It sounds more like a cry for a vicious small animal or something.

In the anime, Weedle’s voice is very weird, and I attribute this to the fact that they chose to have Weedle say its name instead of making a noise, like Caterpie. I don’t think this option works well for Pokemon who don’t have visible mouths. It makes it sound too obvious that this is a human saying a word instead of an animal making a noise. The actual voice is fine. It has a nasally ‘bug-ish’ voice, but the fact that it says ‘Weedle’ instead of just making a noise hurts it.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Similarly to Caterpie, it’s to be expected that Weedle’s backstory and Dex entries are a little dull…and they are.

Weedle’s most notable feature is, of course, its poisonous barb. Its bright colors are meant to fend off predators, even though, honestly, Caterpie is brighter colored than Weedle. It eats its weight in leaves every day, and it uses its powerful nose to sniff out the best tasting leaves. Also, yes, apparently that big red ball on its face is mean to be a big ‘ol nose. Thanks for giving my clown joke more validity.

In terms of design, Weedle is based off of a wasp or hornet larva.

Fun Fact: Weedle’s name was used in the naming of a real life insect – The stentorceps weedlei, a species of wasp. It was named as such because it, like Weedle, has a needle-like protrusion coming out of its head.

Kakuna

Name: Kakuna’s name is just a changeup of ‘cocoon.’ I really like Kakuna because, even though it’s only changed through spelling and one letter, it sounds really cool. It’s very snappy and fun to say.

It’s Japanese name is literally just ‘Cocoon’ which is somehow even lazier.

Fun Fact: In France it’s called Conconfort….which sounds like a furniture brand they tied into Pokemon.

Design: I really like Kakuna’s design. You’d think that having two cocoon Pokemon in the same gen would lead to redundant designs, but they do a fantastic job differentiating Metapod and Kakuna. First and foremost, though it’s damn near impossible, Kakuna seems to have more of a dynamic pose than Metapod. It’s upright and seemingly curved towards you, like it’s being offensive.

Kakuna also has a very clear expression – and it’s pissed. Fitting of a Pokemon about to become a pissy bee. The overall patterns and shape are also more interesting than Metapod’s design, and the color is striking.

In terms of sprites, Kakuna had a weird feature in the first gen. It seemingly had barb-like arms, which are weird for a cocoon to have, and I’m glad they got rid of it in future installments.

Otherwise, Kakuna’s sprites through the gens have stayed relatively the same. The only real note I have for them are that I love how Emerald’s sprite glows.

Shiny:

I really like Kakuna’s shiny. It has a cool bright green color to it that makes it almost seem like it’s glowing.

Cry/Voice: Kakuna’s cry is actually pretty cute. It’s like its purring. I don’t really think it fits the Pokemon, but I like the sound.

As far as I can tell, Kakuna barely makes any sound in the anime.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Kakuna’s Dex entries are exactly what you’d expect them to be – It’s….a cocoon….

Outside of having a poison barb that it can extend when threatened, that’s pretty much it.

Its backstory is equally uninteresting because, as you’d expect, it’s based on the pupa of a honeybee.

Beedrill

Name: Beedrill’s name is a combination of ‘bee’ and ‘drill.’ I’ve always really liked Beedrill’s name. It’s not the most mind-blowingly creative thing in the world, but it’s snappy, intimidating and cool.

In Japanese, its name is Spear, which I think is a bit too on-the-nose, but fitting. I think, given the style of Beedrill’s drills, it’d be more fitting to call it ‘Joust’ or something. It’s also noted that, in reverse, the katakana of Spear スピアー is アピス or Apis, which is the genus for the honey bee, which is kinda cool.

Design:

*Design Meeting*

Designer 1: “Hey guys, how do we make bees even more frightening?”

Designer 2: “Make them…three feet tall?”

D1: “Good, good. What else?”

Designer 3: “Make it so that they can sting you without losing their stingers and dying? Also their stingers are the size of traffic cones.”

D1: “Great! Maybe a little more. What else?”

Designer 4: “Give it drill arms?”

D1: “That’s straight out of a nightmare. Good job everyone!”

I love Beedrill’s design. Even though I don’t like bees, they somehow made a bee Pokemon look awesome. It has a sleek look, is very intimidating and has friggin’ drill arms. What more could you ask for?

Sprite-wise, nothing of real note until Crystal where it gets a pretty cute animation where it twitches its head back and forth and flaps its wings.

Ruby and Sapphire are fine, but then Emerald becomes terrifying with that vibrating and separating animation.

Still just good, but nothing notable, beyond that. The back sprites for Gen IV are pretty dynamic and cool, though.

Gen V gets a constant animation, and that’s awesome.

Mega:

What more could I ask for? How about this sleek, stylish son of a bitch?

Damn, Mega Beedrill is incredible. Look at that thing. It’s like someone mixed a Beedrill with another Beedrill and then fused that with a fighter jet. It’s awesome. Even small details like the indents on the stinger and the visor-esque shaping to the eyes are fantastic.

Shiny:

I adore Shiny Beedrill. The shades of green and blue work with each other very well. It looks somewhat alien, to be honest, which is cool.

Cry/Voice: Its game cry is low-pitched and intimidating without seeming unfitting for a bee. It’s a bit buzzy so it fits rather well.

Its anime voice is disappointing. While it’s to be expected that an insect gets a high-pitched voice, Beedrill kinda loses its intimidation factor when you hear ‘Beeeedrill.’ It should just be a low pitched-hum or something.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Nothing really surprising in the Dex entries. It flies super fast, is very territorial, tend to fly in swarms and has three extremely large and venomous barbs.

As for its design origins, it’s, of course, based on a bee. However, the Wiki states that the design was most likely inspired by the Asian giant hornet. I was going to comment that the one negative about the shiny is that it’s not very fitting to a bee, but, surprisingly, the shiny version does seem to be based on a real bee – The agapostemon. It has a very unique bright, metallic green look to it. Go figure.

Next up, the Pidgey line!

Previous – The Caterpie Line


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Ojamajo Doremi Episode 3 Sub/Dub Comparison: Transfer Student from Naniwa! Aiko Debuts

Plot: There’s a new kid in town, a girl from Osaka named Aiko. Doremi and Hazuki don’t exactly have a warm welcoming with her as they find her brash and insulting. But when Doremi uses her magic to follow her one day in order to get dirt on her, she finds that Aiko has a very humble home life with a single dad who works extremely hard to make ends meet while Aiko herself is responsible for a lot of housework. When Aiko purposely neglects to tell her father about the upcoming parents’ day at school, Doremi decides to help out her new friend with a little witchcraft.

———————————-

Before the theme song in the original, we see Aiko getting excited about moving to a new town as she goofs around on a jungle gym. This is removed from the dub.

Originally, Doremi was upset because her family ate all of the steak that they made for Hazuki (in guise as Doremi). In the dub, she’s mad at her sister because she said ‘Look under there.’ Making Dorie respond with ‘Under where?’, leading to the classic joke of haha, she said ‘underwear.’

In the original, Aiko says she can see Doremi’s panties, then laughs and says she’s dumb since Doremi’s wearing shorts making it impossible for her to see her panties. In the dub, Mirabelle says she can see their epidermis and laughs when they freak out saying epidermis is another word for skin.

Okay, so let me get their straight. Saying ‘underwear’ is okay, in fact they edited the scene to specifically say the word, but implying that another girl can see Dorie’s underwear is not okay……So I suppose we won’t be getting the classic gem of ‘I see London, I see France, I see Dorie’s underpants’ anytime soon then?

Also, this line change kinda makes this scene look worse. Saying ‘I can see your epidermis’ then covering your groin? Seems more like they’re making innuendo for her junk….

Name Change: Aiko Senoo is changed to Mirabelle Haywood.

Side note, Mirabelle’s voice is the most grating and annoying so far. Congrats.

The joke edit carries over into the next scene where Kotake, the boy who’s been teasing Doremi throughout the series, tries the same trick. Doremi yells the explanation of the prank, making her seem smart for not falling for it. In the dub, she just says she’s heard it earlier.

Name Change: Tetsuya Kotake is changed to Todd Washington.

After the teacher walks in the room, some girl who looks really snotty gets up and tells everyone to bow. They do and greet her good morning. This is removed.

Aiko points out that Doremi’s in her class, and the teacher asks if they’re already friends, which Doremi denies. In the dub, Mirabelle acts like Dorie’s going to bully her and asks her not to do so since she’s new. Her teacher then asks if she’d like to go to the principal’s office and Dorie declines. Nice to see that our new character is a continuous brat.

They paint over and reanimate the shot of Aiko writing her name since A) it’s in Kanji and B) her name was changed anyway.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Also –

Mirabelle: “In case you can’t read, my name is Mirabelle P. Haywood.” Apparently you can’t read because there’s no P in there.

Also, originally, Aiko was saying that the Kanji for her name is written with the symbols for ‘L’il sister’ and ‘tail.’ In the dub, since this can’t be mirrored, it’s omitted.

Aiko is from a town in Osaka. Mirabelle is from a very small town called Butter Corn Ridge.

Some brat in class is amazed that they have a real Kansai person in the class now, which slightly irks Aiko. She then tells them to call her a ‘Naniwa-ko’ which I surmise means ‘Osaka kid’. Then the boy and his stupid friends mockingly apologize while following up by saying puripuri~ which, I don’t know if I’m not getting the right word here because the only meanings I’m getting that make any sense are ‘cranky’ and ‘bad smelling’. The latter makes a little more sense considering Aiko responds by saying ‘Yuck!’ but surely just saying ‘bad smell’ can’t make you want to say ‘yuck!’

In the dub, the boy asks her, calling her by the obvious joke of her name which is ‘Hayseed’ → Haywood, how to milk a pig. She corrects him on her name then says you can’t milk a pig, only cows. Actually, you can technically milk a lot of things, including pigs.

milk

The boy follows that up by mockingly saying “Just so you know, you can tune a piano but you can’t tune a fish!”……As many times as I’ve heard that stupid joke…..the fact that it needed such a lengthy set up and doesn’t even work at all with said setup…..is just…..I felt my soul rot a little is all.

Surprisingly, they kept in the group name of these dumbass boys, the SOS trio. Their names, Sagawa, Ota and Sugiyama make up their title in the original whereas their dubbed names, Simon, Oliver and Stewart make it up in the dub. Also, they call themselves keepers of justice in the original whereas they call themselves the class clowns in the dub….Ya know, there’s a difference between ‘class clowns’ and ‘idiots who think they’re funny.’ The former usually gets laughs from people who aren’t them.

Aiko makes a joke out of their names by saying she thought that it stood for ‘sukuyounonai oboke sanbaka,’ which translates to ‘three worthless idiots.’ In the dub, she does the same thing but says they’re ‘stupid, obnoxious and smelly.’ I will give them props for actually adapting this as much as they could.

Wait, so Dorie says ‘Ah, it’s you!’ and nearly gets sent to the principal. These boys disrupt class, make fun of Mirabelle’s name, where she comes from and her accent. She retaliates by calling them stupid, obnoxious and smelly. And the teacher just laughs and brushes it off like nothing? But Dorie says one innocent thing and nearly gets sent to the principal? Does she just have it in for Dorie? What the hell?

The dub teacher is seriously telling Mirabelle to share her favorite crayon color? Is this pre-k?

Mirabelle keeps the line about liking to sing, but Aiko says she’s not good at studying but loves gym whereas Mirabelle says she loves computers and shucking corn.

Aiko tells Doremi that she has a funny name. Mirabelle tries the same trick on her but with a different word, this time ‘cilium’ IE eyelashes, but Dorie just gets angry that Mirabelle’s even trying another trick.

While Aiko tells Hazuki to call her ‘Ai-chan’, Mirabelle doesn’t do anything similar in the dub.

While Aiko says Doremi’s reactions and personality made her forget that she saw Hazuki earlier, Mirabelle just flat-out calls her forgettable.

Aiko says she likely didn’t pay much attention to Hazuki since her clothes scream ‘Stuck-up bookworm’. Mirabelle says Reanne is plain and that there’s nothing special about her. I get that Aiko is written to be either a brat or someone who just doesn’t realize when they’re putting their foot in their mouth, but damn this kid’s irritating.

What kid in the class yelled ‘Mirabelle for class president!’ just because she caught chalk? Is this why politics is so screwed?

Also, the papers behind the kids are now and will always be painted.

The teacher says even the boys never cleared so many vaulting boxes. In the dub, she says it’s a new class record.

Aiko’s tag is removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The other girls have their tags removed too.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Name Change: I assume this is Reika Tamaki or Josie Huffington in the dub.

Reika says girls are only truly great when they’re popular with boys…..Well, uh….you sure are going to have an eventful high school career ahead of you…In the dub, she says Mirabelle being good at jumping doesn’t matter because she’s the most popular, prettiest and smartest girl in the school.

Mirabelle and the SOS trio omit talking about how Aiko’s father raised her. Also, they omit saying that she can join the SOS trio since her name has an S in it (Senoo) because Mirabelle’s dub name doesn’t start with S at any point.

Doremi acts like Aiko has nerve for shopping when she just moved there…..That….bitch….?? Dorie thinks that she can’t let Mirabelle see her spying on her since it’s really weird.

The magic words for spells remain the same in the original, and in the dub they’re ‘Yellow lemons, blue sky, make me like a butterfly!’

Between the magical girl shtick, the rhyming and the butterfly stuff, I’m feeling sufficiently over-girled.

I understand the flub of only giving Doremi a butterfly costume instead of actually making her into a butterfly, but if that’s the case why did it also shrink her to insect size?

The kanji on the woman’s apron is removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Aiko calls the woman ‘Onee-chan’ which surprises her since it’s an implication that she’s a girl or a young woman when she’s clearly around 40-50. Then she says she might be a young wife, which continues to flatter the woman. In the dub, the woman asks if Mirabelle has any ideas on how to get rid of the cat trying to eat her fish and she says to get a big junkyard dog, which the woman agrees with. Yeah, that junkyard dog’s gonna kill that cat. Also, yeah, Mirabelle, you’re a friggin’ genius for figuring out that cats don’t like dogs….

Aiko needs mackerel. Mirabelle needs salmon.

The store’s sign is painted blank.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The woman gives her some extra mackerel. In the dub, she gives her some bonus shrimp.

Doremi grumbles about Aiko using such obvious flattery tactics. Dorie says “Even fish lady’s being nice to her!” A) Why wouldn’t she be nice to her? Mirabelle’s been nothing but kind to her and we have no reason to believe she’s a mean or bad person beyond this. B) Maybe it’s because Mirabelle doesn’t refer to her ‘fish lady’.

More signs painted blank.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Also, they mirrored the shot of the taxi to put it on the right side of the street. They’ve done this same thing numerous times in Yu-Gi-Oh and Mew Mew Power, so I assume this will be a constant thing. Gotta keep those American kids who can totally drive from driving on the wrong side of the street. Oh and as for everyone in other English-speaking countries who drive on the left side, enjoy your increased car accident tally.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The sign on the side of Aiko’s house is completely removed. I can’t even tell what it says.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The text on the food in the fridge is removed. This is on screen for literally two frames.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Aiko’s making takoyaki, which is basically a ball-shaped pancake filled with stuff like octopus and tempura. In the dub, Mirabelle makes her grandma’s chocolate doodles. Sure hope there’s no octopus in that….

Aiko’s dad has no nickname for her beyond ‘Aiko-chan.’ Mirabelle’s dad calls her ‘Bell-bell.’

Oh and hi Sean Schemmel.

Aiko says she can make the takoyaki since her dad’s so tired from work. Mirabelle says she doesn’t want him to make them since he’ll probably poison Dorie, implying that he sucks at cooking.

Aiko’s dad says it’s nice that Aiko’s found a friend so quickly and that he was worried she’d end up getting bullied since she just transferred. Aiko then says that she’d pound anyone if they ever tried to bully her and they laugh. In the dub, Mirabelle’s dad says some woman asked why he had to assault her ears with redneck music in his taxi. He said yes since it’s company policy. Mirabelle then cheers on her dad for saying that, he says he turned it up after that and they laugh.

Aiko says that she’ll start laundry. Mirabelle says she’s going to go around back and get….something. I cannot discern at all what she’s saying.

Aiko says her dad’s takoyaki is the best in the land, which is ironic considering 4Kids just said a minute ago that his cooking was awful. Mirabelle warns Dorie that her dad will talk her ear off.

Doremi kinda talks in an Osaka dialect as she says how great the takoyaki is and Aiko points this out. Dorie says the food is great in a normal voice and Mirabelle asks if she thinks they can put away a whole plate. So, I guess they really aren’t trying for a southern accent.

The poster behind the girls is wiped of text.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Aiko’s dad is only a taxi driver. Mirabelle’s dad has two jobs – one as a taxi driver and another making ‘something or another’ for ‘some company.’

Mirabelle adds that one of the reasons they sold the farm and left their old town was because there were too many memories floating around of her mom, who left them when she was four.

The scene gets cut after talking about her mom. Doremi says she admires Aiko because she never does anything to help out around the house yet Aiko does a bunch of stuff while her dad is doing the work of two parents. Aiko asks if she should be proud of herself and does a dramatic pose. She and Doremi then laugh.

We cut to Aiko’s dad sleeping, though I have no clue how these two elementary school girls dragged him to his bed from the living room. He mumbles something in his sleep about asking where someone wants to go and we cut to the next day. The commercial is placed right after the discussion about her mom in the dub, so I can only guess 4Kids either cut this for time or to avoid an awkward commercial placement.

I think they shortened the shot of Aiko talking about how her dad can’t take time off of work to come to parents’ day.

Slightly nitpicky, but Aiko’s dad says he could’ve asked to trade shifts if Aiko asked him earlier, but considering he doesn’t want to put his new job in danger it probably would’ve been impossible either way. In the dub, Mirabelle’s dad also says he could’ve switched shifts if she had asked him earlier, but it’s simply too late now. The original puts the blame on the situation while the dub kinda puts the blame on Mirabelle.

Aiko’s dad asks Doremi to tell Aiko that he’ll come to the next parents’ day. Mirabelle’s dad doesn’t.

Her transformation sequence is rather short, but do we really need it twice in one episode?

Apparently it’s mush mouth day in the dub. While the magic words are still the same in the original, the dub’s is ‘Just when….???….feel so bad, make a perfect copy of Mirabelle’s dad!’

The text on the top of the missing dog poster is removed…..so I guess it’s just a random dog poster.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Aiko’s dad’s clone doesn’t have an Osaka accent. In the dub, he talks like a robot.

So where exactly is this dad-clone being stashed for like five hours?

Reanne has a good point. Why is it only moms back there? It’s parents’ day, not Mother’s Day. Does no one besides Aiko have a dad? Or at least one that gives a crap? Also, where are Doremi’s parents?

The teacher asks Sugiyama to do the next question, and his mom tells him not to do it wrong. In the dub, she asks Stewart to pay attention and his mom scolds him for embarrassing her. Well, ladeeda. Your kid loves you so much he’s actively trying to say hi to you in class. What a disgrace.

Aiko yells out that she’s very happy. Mirabelle yells out that her dad’s stupid. She obviously doesn’t mean it, but still.

While both the original and dub teacher ask Aiko/Mirabelle to do the final problem, dub!teacher adds on “Feel like comin’ up here and making your father proud?” Little bit of pressure, there, Teach. She said earlier that she wasn’t good at studying, so you could be putting her on the spot. Though, I doubt it. She seems really confident that she can do—ah, nope, she can’t solve the problem. Welp….

—————————————

I actually very much enjoyed this episode. While Mirabelle is bit grating, she does grow on you throughout the episode. She doesn’t really mean to be a jerk, she just teases people and sometimes puts her foot in her mouth. It’s her dub voice that kills it for me for the most part.

The story with her dad was very realistic and endearing, and I like how Doremi’s magic didn’t really interfere with the plot at all. Her desire to help her friend leads her into telling Aiko’s dad about parents’ day, but her dad-clone wasn’t the one that showed up in the end. I will say that Doremi and Hazuki overacted quite a bit to Aiko’s behavior, but it’s more understandable in the dub where it even seems like Mirabelle’s trying to get Dorie in trouble.

Next episode, the trio of witches seems complete now as Doremi tries to turn Hazuki and Aiko into witches.

…Previous Episode


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Pokemon Episode 51 Analysis – Bulbasaur’s Mysterious Garden

Pokemon ep 51 Screen6

CotD(s): None.

Plot: Ash is in the middle of a battle with a man and his Rhyhorn with Bulbasaur at the helm. Bulbasaur takes a Take Down attack full on, and Ash tries to recall him, but Bulbasaur refuses. He wants to prove he can defeat his opponent. He manages to hit a Razor Leaf and Vine Whip, and Bulbasaur wins the match. However, he appears to be in great pain and his bulb is glowing.

Ash rushes Bulbasaur to the Pokemon Center and begs Joy to save him. Once treatment has been completed, Joy reveals that Bulbasaur’s not badly wounded, he’s just preparing to evolve.

Every year, Bulbasaur from all over the world gather in a mysterious garden to evolve into Ivysaur. The garden is nearby, and they’re just in time for the festivities. Bulbasaur, however, is less than pleased with this turn of events.

That night, he has a heart to heart with Pikachu about his views on his evolution when he’s suddenly dragged away by a slue of Bulbasaur who forcibly take him to the garden to partake in the festival.

Pikachu wakes up Ash and the others, and they run into the forest to find Bulbasaur. The forest is going crazy and they make it just in time before the entire area is blocked off with a wall of vines.

They arrive at the meeting area to find a massive group of Bulbasaur gathering around a large dead tree. They chant, and the sparkling pollen in the air revives the tree. Out from the tree emerges a massive Venusaur, who starts the festival.

They all chant together, and the Bulbasaur start glowing. Soon, they all evolve into Ivysaur. They cheer in celebration until they realize one Bulbasaur has yet to evolve – Ash’s. In fact, he’s doing everything in his power to not evolve.

Venusaur and the Ivysaur all call him out for denying his evolution, and Bulbasaur fiercely argues back. Venusaur attacks Bulbasaur with a Vine Whip, but Ash jumps in the way and takes the hit. He protects his Bulbasaur stating they have no right to force Bulbasaur to evolve. It’s up to him to make that decision.

Suddenly, Team Rocket flies overhead in their balloon and start sucking up all of the Ivysaur with a giant vacuum. Venusaur makes a valiant effort to save them, but an increase in power to the vacuum makes it start to lose its footing.

Team Rocket seems like they might get away this time as only Bulbasaur is left standing. They mock Bulbasaur and refuse to steal him, seeing him as a runt and a wimp. Bulbasaur gets incredibly angry and gives a deafening yell.

The sun rises, and Bulbasaur’s bulb starts collecting energy from the sun, revealing that Bulbasaur has learned Solar Beam. He launches the beam at the balloon, destroys the vacuum and frees the Ivysaur. Team Rocket crashes down and looks in horror as all of the Ivysaur as well as the Venusaur and Bulbasaur glare at them angrily. Venusaur sends them blasting off with a swift hit from its Vine Whip.

Venusaur walks up to Bulbasaur and extends a vine to him. They shake vines, showing that Venusaur respects Bulbasaur and his decision to stay as he is.

Later, the festival ends and the vine walls fall. They bid farewell to the Venusaur and Ivysaur as the mysterious garden disappears as quickly as it appeared.

Bulbasaur looks on with a smile, knowing he’s great just the way he is. No matter if or when Bulbasaur evolves, that will never change.

——————————–

– I want to preface this episode by saying Ivysaur is my favorite Pokemon, so seeing a bunch of them gathered like this is really cool.

However, we never really explore what makes Ivysaur cool and interesting (and, really, most starter mid-evos have this problem) and we are robbed of Ash getting an Ivysaur on his team, which disappointed me immensely.

– Misty: “That Rhyhorn must be at a high level!”….Tsk……We’ll come back to this.

– Heheh, now Bulbasaur won’t obey him. Get your shit together, Ash.

Being fair, out of all of Ash’s Pokemon, Bulbasaur is the one you’d think would’ve had behavior problems from the get-go. Squirtle being a close second. Not. Charmander…..

– Also, Rhyhorn’s Take Down is like getting hit by a tank, according to Brock. Bulbasaur gets hits head-on, literally, and only has a bump on his head.

– Opponent: “You must be a lousy Trainer, kid. It won’t even listen to you.” I know, right?

– Bulbasaur did Vine Whip without being commanded to do so too.

– Lumberjack-Themed Opponent: “You sure chopped me down to size, kid.” Hehehe, I’m a lumberjack. I chop wood. Get it?

– Even though we’ll never see it again in the series, I love the added touch of flowers blooming around soon-to-evolve Bulbasaur and later with Venusaur just willing it to happen.

Pokemon Ep 51 Screen1

– I have a bunch of questions about this festival.

1) It seems to completely ignore the concept of levels entirely, which is weird given that Misty just brought up levels again out of the blue literally a minute ago. Maybe they are taking levels into consideration and only those who have reached a certain level can participate in the festival, but it’s still odd. Why do they need a special festival to evolve if they’re already at the proper level to do so? No other Pokemon does that, to my knowledge.

How annoying would it be if you trained really hard to have your Bulbasaur evolve but you couldn’t just because, ahp, ya missed the festival. Try again next year.

It’s not like you get a formal invitation or anything, either. Ash and the others just happened to be in the exact area of the mysterious garden on the night of the festival.

Plus:

Joy: “No one knows why they choose that time. It’s different every year.” Great.

“But it seems to have something to do with the alignment of the planets and the phases of the moon.”

Just say ‘They gather in spring because it’s the blossoming of plant life’ or whatnot. No need to all this astronomy in there.

2) If there’s a festival for Bulbasaur to evolve into Ivysaur, is there another festival for Ivysaur to evolve into Venusaur?

3) Why exactly is it so vital to the other Bulbasaur to literally drag Ash’s Bulbasaur to the festival? I imagine some of it is tradition or something, but does that mean they can’t leave any Bulbasaur as a Bulbasaur?

4) I would ask a lot of questions about this specific location and why merely being there and yelling ‘SAUR!’ triggers the evolution, but the title of the episode says it’s mysterious so I guess it’s not meant to be questioned.

5) I do have to ask how it is no human being has ever set foot in it. That seems ridiculously unlikely. If this event calls Bulbasaur from all over the world, trained or not, surely some of their trainers or some researchers have followed them. The walls do pose a problem, but Ash and the others will later make it through without much issue, and you can fly right over it like Team Rocket does.

I do like the area, though. A beautiful garden just for the ‘saur line, locked by a wall of vines and meant purely for this event. Pretty cool.

5) Bulbasaur gather from all over the world to partake in this event. Is this mostly wild Bulbasaur or do Trainers have to take a considerable amount of time out of their lives to travel the world to get to this event?

I assume this can’t be the only mysterious garden or evolution festival in the entire world….right?

– I am a little peeved that Bulbasaur has such a sullen expression when Ash mentions Ivysaur. I get that he just…for some reason, doesn’t want to evolve, but Ivysaur’s great. You shut up.

Pokemon Ep 51 Screen2

– As much as I like the subtitle-free conversation with Bulbasaur and Pikachu about his troubles, much in the same realm as Pikachu’s conversation with Caterpie many moons ago…..Uh…this is actually one conversation I’d like to hear considering we never get a good reason why Bulbasaur has such an issue with evolving.

This episode is pretty similar to the one where Pikachu is given the option to evolve. In a way, Pikachu was also kinda being cornered into evolving. While Ash was very respectful of whatever option Pikachu chose, he felt like he kinda had to because, otherwise, Ash might not get his Badge.

However, evolving for Pikachu was both a point of not wanting to change his appearance (and possibly personality?) and a point of pride as a Pikachu, if you will. He didn’t want to evolve into a Raichu to beat Surge’s Raichu because it would proving Surge right – Pokemon need to evolve in order to be at their best. He didn’t want to bow to his views and say ‘Yeah, you’re right. Raichu’s just better because it’s a Raichu and I’m a lowly Pikachu.’

Pikachu gave a speech to Ash about this, which Ash seemingly understood, but was mostly translated to the audience through Meowth. It allowed us to fully understand why Pikachu was refusing, even though the viewer could get most of the message through the story.

….Not that any of that really matters because, as we’ll later see, Pikachu IS an evolved Pokemon.

Pokemon ep 51 Screen3

Here, there is no real ‘story’ so far. Bulbasaur’s just being faced with possible forced evolution and he straight up doesn’t want to. He’s telling Pikachu why he’s so conflicted, but the ‘story’ so far and body language aren’t nearly enough for us to understand why he’s so troubled beyond ‘eh, I dun wanna.’

In the aforementioned Caterpie moment, while that also didn’t have subtitles, the very end showed us Caterpie’s daydream of being a Butterfree, and that was more than enough for us to understand. I don’t know what they would’ve shown here, but something is better than nothing.

– Also, the music in this scene is very unfitting. It’s goofy lazy BGM that doesn’t belong in a scene where Bulbasaur’s having a heartfelt conversation with Pikachu about an important issue.

– The next scene with Bulbasaur yelling to Pikachu is a bit better because we can kinda infer what he’s saying due to the tone, desperation in Bulbasaur’s voice and Pikachu’s clear understanding….but it’s still difficult to get down pat. Pikachu stopped because of what he said, and I think he’s begging Pikachu to get Ash, but it also sounds like he might be begging Pikachu himself to help.

– Haha, Pikachu’s Bulbasaur impression is adorable.

Pokemon ep 51 Screen4

– Team Rocket showed up and got blasted off within thirty seconds. It was entirely unnecessary to have them there to begin with.

– They got blasted off, but they landed closeby enough to land immediately behind Ash and the others as they trailed Bulbasaur. That scene is even more unnecessary now.

– Misty: “There’s only one way to go now – into the garden.” You’re technically already in it.

Also, is Venusaur’s consciousness manipulating the vines or is this an actual magical forest?

– Out of curiosity, why is it so important to keep everyone out of the garden when the festival is happening? Is their evolution such a secret? I think when Bulbasaur go in and Ivysaur come out, they’ll make the connection.

– The Bulbasaur all singing is adorable.

– The whole sequence before Venusaur arrives is wonderfully done. It’s beautiful in color, tone and even audio.

Pokemon ep 51 Screen5

– I don’t think that tree is big enough to have Venusaur walk that far within it without exiting it.

– Fantastic entrance for Venusaur. He even got a commercial break cliffhanger reveal.

Why Use the Pokedex? He knows what a Venusaur is,

– I feel like there was a miscommunication with the animators and writers. Misty reminds Ash that Bulbasaur has a bandage on his head, allowing them to know which Bulbasaur is his. The bandage in question is a little band-aid. Pikachu points out Ash’s Bulbasaur, but they’re seeing him from behind, meaning we can’t see the band-aid. I think Bulbasaur was probably meant to have a bandage wrap on his head rather than a band-aid so we could actually tell from the back who it was, but the animators didn’t get the memo.

Either that or they originally set Bulbasaur to have the wrap but the higher ups thought it made it look like Bulbasaur was too injured and kids might get concerned? I dunno.

– Brock: “Hey! Don’t forget, human beings aren’t supposed to be here!” I get why the other Bulbasaur might not see them standing in plain view because their backs are facing them, but Venusaur is facing the Bulbasaur, meaning it should be able to see Ash and co.

– The chanting to start the evolution process is pretty cool. And I really like the way the Bulbasaur all glow blue before their evolution starts.

Pokemon ep 51 Screen10

– And the entire flow of the scene is ruined by Team Rocket. Hooray.

– I like how they show the leaves on Bulbasaur’s bulb opening when it evolves.

– IVYSAUR! YAY!

Why Use the Pokedex? He explained earlier that he knew what an Ivysaur was.

– I like that they also have a celebratory chant after the evolution is over.

– Ash: “This must be their evolution festival.”….Ash….sweetie….go back to the Pokemon Center and get a CAT scan. For me. I am deeply concerned about you.

– I’ll ignore how Brock seems to be able to tell that Bulbasaur is actively trying not to evolve, but what is forcing its evolution? We can surmise that Squirtle and Pidgeotto are also long since overdue for evolution, yet you don’t see them slamming their internal B buttons regularly when they ‘level up.’

My best guess is this magical glittery pollen is somehow triggering the evolution, but that just raises a multitude of questions.

Kinda have to wonder how one resists evolution in the first place. I imagine it’s like trying desperately not to have a muscle spasm. It’s something your body is just kinda doing, you can’t really stop it.

– The scene with Bulbasaur arguing with the Ivysaur and Venusaur doesn’t really need subtitles. We can infer most of what’s going on through the story at this point and body language. Bulbasaur doesn’t want to evolve, this makes the others salty (Venusaur looks incredibly offended, to be honest), they try to force him, Venusaur even tries to convince him that evolving is great by making the dead tree bloom with thousands of beautiful flowers, but he won’t budge. Problem is, like before, we don’t know why Bulbasaur doesn’t want to evolve, so the emotional impact is significantly lower than what it could be.

Pokemon ep 51 Screen7

If you wanted to be really cynical, Bulbasaur could come off as a petulant child who doesn’t want to ‘grow up’ per se. Afterall, the one consistent theme throughout this episode is ‘wow, Bulbasaur is stubborn.’

– I really like how Ash jumped in the way of the Venusaur’s Vine Whip. That was pretty cool. I like when we get scenes that show how much Ash cares for his Non-Pika Pokemon.

– In the end, no matter Bulbasaur’s reasons, Ash is right – no one has the right to force a Pokemon to evolve. They evolve or ‘grow up’ when they’re ready. It’s just that we’ve already gone over this moral several times in the series.

– I love how even Ash and the others are annoyed by Team Rocket’s intrusion. This would be a really great episode if these buffoons didn’t keep barging in.

– Misty: *As all of the Ivysaur are being sucked into Team Rocket’s vacuum* “It’s a vacuum!”

Ash: “No kidding!”

Hahahaha! They really should just let Ash be snarky more often. It suits him, when it’s not in a dickish way.

– I love how Venusaur’s all badass and grabs them all at once. However, it let numerous Ivysaur get sucked up beforehand…

Still, it shows how awesome Venusaur is while simultaneously showing how much Venusaur cares about its brethren.

Pokemon ep 51 Screen8

– How are Bulbasaur and Pikachu not flying away? They’re significantly lighter than the Ivysaur and even Venusaur is being lifted up a bit now. Even Ash and the others should be grabbing onto trees or something, yet they’re not even really having trouble standing. Hell, even Ash’s hat is still glued to his head.

– I get that Team Rocket’s just laughing at the idea of taking a Bulbasaur when they now have a bag full of Ivysaur, but it’s still a starter Pokemon. They’re very rare and valuable.

– I don’t like how Meowth’s mouth moves up and down but his chin stays still when he says ‘What a wimp!’

– Also, Bulbasaur’s a wimp? How?

– Bulbasaur yelling out loud to Team Rocket has always been a really impacting moment in the series to me. Not only does it lead to his learning Solar Beam (which means Bulbasaur’s at least level 48, meaning he should long since be a Venusaur by now. Hey, they brought up levels this episode, so I can bring this up.) but, man, his voice actor is just having at it. It’s great.

– This is also a perfect time for Bulbasaur to learn Solar Beam. Ash is getting closer to the Indigo League and he needs some more power to back him up.

– Ash: “Smokin’” If that was a reference to The Mask, I will hurt you.

– Apparently, all Ivysaur are cats and always land on their feet.

– N’aw Venusaur and Bulbasaur shaking vines.

– Narrator: “No one knows if or when Bulbasaur will finally decide to evolve – no one, that is, except Bulbasaur.” Aw that’s sweet. Also, in hindsight, that line’s very fitting just because it decided to include ‘if’ in there. Bulbasaur, to this day, has never evolved and probably never will.

——————————-

Overall, I really love this episode. Not sure I’d place it as a favorite, but it’s still really good. We get Ivysaur, a cool look into the ‘saur line’s (weird, in regards to Pokemon as a whole and possibly non-canon in the future) evolutionary behaviors, and Bulbasaur learns Solar Beam.

It has a good, but already overused at this point, message about not forcing people to be something they’re not, especially if they’re not ready for whatever change you’re imposing on them, and has a lot of awesome moments.

The only two things that really damage it are Bulbasaur’s unclear motives behind resisting evolution (All I want is an Ivysaur to be a regular character, dammit!) and Team Rocket’s annoying intrusions.

This is definitely one of the most memorable episodes simply because of how unique it is and how beautiful the visuals are, but I can’t help thinking it could’ve been a little better.

Next episode, it’s Princess Day! Misty vs. Jessie!

Previous Episode….


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SSBS – Beyblade | Episode 2: The Day of the Dragoon

SSBS - Beyblade episode 2 screen1

Plot: Tyson and Kai start their match. While Tyson is confident in his new technique, Kai’s Beyblade, Dranzer, easily blows his Beyblade apart. Tyson starts building a new blade and preparing for a rematch, but the Blade Sharks soon set their sights on the Chief and Dizzi. Training will have to be cut short.

Bey-Battles

Tyson (Dragoon Grip Attacker) Vs. Kai (Dranzer S)

Victor – Kai

Tyson (Dragoon S) Vs. Kai (Dranzer S) REMATCH

Victor – Draw

Breakdown: Continuing on from the previous episode, it’s Tyson versus the leader of the Blade Sharks, Kai, in a fierce Bey-battle. Tyson thinks he has the whole thing locked up with his new speedy Dragoon, but Kai is far from breaking a sweat. His Beyblade, Dranzer, is actually feeding off of the energy that Dragoon is creating with its intense spinning. With one fell swoop, Dranzer lifts up into the air like a helicopter and smashes down on top of Dragoon, shattering it into a million pieces.

I find this a bit….ya know. I’ll actually let stuff like this pass. We’re going to see far odder stuff in the future than a Beyblade gaining spinning power off of another’s and somehow randomly lifting into the air and setting back down without so much as a wobble.

Tyson wants a rematch right then and there, but that’s obviously impossible, and Andrew even advises him not to since they’re obviously not on the same level.

The next day, the Chief and Andrew go to Tyson’s house to see if he’s practicing and are surprised to find he is indeed practicing, but in kendo.

Tyson: “Argh! En garde!” That’s fencing, Tyson. But nice try.

As Tyson gets more and more intense, thinking about how he’ll find a way to beat Kai, his family sword reacts with a brilliant glow. Also, somehow, this all happens and, despite the Chief and Andrew watching the whole time, neither one seems to notice that this happened….okie.

SSBS - Beyblade episode 2 screen2

They talk to him about what happened the other day and explain more about who Kai and the Blade Sharks are. They’re not just a band of punks collecting random Beyblades for kicks. Kai is searching for the ultimate Beyblade – one with the ultimate Bit Beast that no one can ever beat.

He goes on to talk about Bit Beasts like they’re both something known (flippantly saying it’s a Bit Beast) and then saying that legends tell of Beyblades that are powered by creatures like lions and dragons…..Uh, what do they think a Bit Beast is if not a powerful beast that lives within the Beyblade?

Tyson then gets the revelation that the only way to get a rematch with Kai and beat him is to build the ultimate blade….foolproof plan. Because if you had the parts and ability to do so beforehand, why were you using the less powerful blade in the first place? Andrew also points out the obvious that he’d have no chance anyway because he has no Bit Beast.

Tyson brings Andrew and the Chief to his room to show them all of his Beyblade parts to get started on building the new blade. the Chief takes this opportunity to properly introduce him to Dizzi, the Chief’s Bit Beast that was trapped in his computer after a mysterious power surge (I don’t think they ever adequately explain this, and Dizzi as a whole is a dub-only thing, so just roll with it) Dizzi is short for Dizzara. No, that never matters either.

SSBS - Beyblade episode 2 screen3

Tyson then asks what a Bit Beast is…..*rubs temples* Uggh, I don’t get this. One minute they know about Bit Beasts like they’re a common thing, the next they’re legends, the next a kid who is supposedly the best Beyblader in town has no clue what they are at all.

Also, the Wiki for this episode says this:

“Tyson is introduced to the advent of the Blade Sharks, Bit-Beasts and Dizzi, even though he already knew of it in the previous episode.” So it’s just poor writing? Kay.

Instead of giving any sort of real answer, the Chief just says that Dizzi knows everything there is to know about Beyblades, so she’d be perfect to help Tyson build a new one to beat Kai.

As they work on that, Kai shows his cruelty in…an almost laughable scene where Carlos has his blade destroyed. They spin his Beyblade in a wok, three of Kai’s goons release their blades into the arena and smash it to pieces.

The whole time, Carlos is yelling and begging for them to stop…..Dude, calm yourself. Tyson just had his blade smashed way worse than yours and he barely mourned the loss at all, despite the fact that he has a more emotional connection to the game and his blades. Certainly that can’t be the only blade you have anyway.

He’s so distraught over this that he collapses and needs to be carried away.

Kai’s goons then inform him of what Tyson and the others are doing as well as the existence of Dizzi, so he goes to investigate.

Back with Tyson and the others, he tests out his new blade, the Dragoon S, against Andrew and beats him fairly easily, but Dizzi says the power level is still too low to beat Kai…..so….it’s under ninethousaaaaaannnnddddddd?

If Kai’s blade is one that feeds off of the power of other blades, isn’t focusing on increasing the power kinda….pointless?

The Chief decides that he needs to do more research in order to help Tyson win, so he goes back home for a while. On his way back, he’s cornered by Kai’s goons, one of them wearing whatever the hell this is.

SSBS - Beyblade episode 2 screen4

For those awkward times where you want the formal appearance of pants and the breeziness of shorts, there’s this thing. Ugly bare mid-drift top not included.

They kidnap the Chief, and the kidnapping is witnessed by two guys I think I should recognize but don’t, and they tell Tyson what happened.

Kid: “We thought we could save him if we followed him, but there were just too many!”

The instant the Chief got jumped, you yelled out ‘Let’s get out of here!’ How is that a precursor to ‘Let’s follow them and try to save the Chief!’?

Tyson: “Those blasted Blade Sharks!” This accursed line!

Kid: “But you can’t beat him on your own!”

Tyson: “Well, what else am I supposed to do? Stand here and do nothing?”

Kidnapped child.

Call. The. Cops.

Tyson: “Rrrgh, aw man! I have a feeling this is going to put a serious dent in our development program…”

Aw, drat. My friend got kidnapped and that negatively affects ME.

Andrew and….Kid #1 and #2 agree to go with him to the warehouse to help save the Chief, but before he leaves, Tyson asks the Dragoon for help in saving his friend. Dragoon hears his pleas and emerges from the sword, entering Tyson’s Beyblade. With the power of Dragoon with him, he heads off to face Kai again.

Back at the warehouse, the goons try to get info out of Dizzi, but are confused when they find her acting like a fairly normal computer interface. Just as the goons are about to try to get information out of the Chief directly, Tyson and the others (including a slue of other random background children) show up.

They’re about to start a big group Bey-battle when Kai appears and accepts Tyson’s challenge.

They start the match, and it seems like it’s merely going to be a repeat of last time as Dranzer draws power from Dragoon’s spinning and flies into the air. As it descends, Dragoon spins rapidly around the arena, creating a vortex that Dranzer flies into. It seems like Dranzer will either crash or lose its spinning power, but Kai proves that the battle’s far from over.

SSBS - Beyblade episode 2 screen5

As the blades continue to clash, Dranzer glows orange while Dragoon glows blue. Dranzer, revealing itself to be an amazing red phoenix, and Dragoon emerge from the Beyblades and clash in the air. Both Beyblades fly out of the Beystadium and into the hands of their owners, causing the match to result in a draw.

Kai explains what Bit Beasts are to everyone before walking away. Kai shows us a closeup of his blade and it’s pretty severely cracked while Tyson later shows us Dragoon and it’s mostly unfazed. Doesn’t that technically kinda mean Tyson won?

Tyson, the Chief and Andrew talk about what just happened. Andrew promises to help him make Dragoon even more powerful, but Tyson says he doesn’t need to because his Beyblade’s now powered by Dragoon. Prepared for anything that Kai may throw at them in the future, the three part ways.

———————————————————-

This episode is pretty alright. Nothing mind-blowing, but we do get some fun battles, we get to actually see the Bit Beasts now, and since the Bit Beasts have been introduced, you can expect more of Beyblades pretty much just doing stuff on their own.

The conflict here is one that seems like it could fixed by calling the cops, but since this is a kids anime, the cops are probably too busy being cardboard cutouts sitting in patrol cars. Also, maybe they wouldn’t bother if it’s kids kidnapping kids, but the Chief is tied up and everything.

The writing is a bit screwed here, too. As the Wiki pointed out, Tyson is learning of things he already learned of in the first episode, and the whole thing about Bit Beasts just continues to get scrambled. In the end, even Andrew, who was giving the explanation earlier as to what Bit Beasts roughly were, was confused as to what Dragoon was. And Kai had to explain it again too.

Like the last episode, the solution to the battling problem doesn’t make logical sense to me. I don’t know of a solution to this issue outside of avoiding getting hit, but if something absorbs your Beyblade’s power, increasing the power doesn’t seem like it would help.

Not to mention that the final few lines of the episode irk me and exemplify one of the main problems with the series that I’ve already addressed.

Not only does Kai explain how special his and Tyson’s blades are in comparison with other ‘normal’ blades, but Tyson straight up refuses to further alter his blade or try to improve its power just because he got a Bit Beast. It highlights the problem that is Bit Beast = better than you normies.

His refusal doesn’t even make sense. He never beat Kai, and Kai also has a Bit Beast. He should be altering his blade and practicing in order to beat him in the future.

Next episode, it’s the debut of Max, my favorite character.

……Previous Episode


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Episode One-Derland: Free! Iwatoki Swim Club

Plot: Haru, Rin, Makoto and Nagisa used to swim together when they were kids. However, Nagisa went to a different school after a while and Rin moved away to a swimming school in Australia to train to be an Olympic swimmer. Haru quit competitive swimming after that, and now he’s only able to swim in summer in the ocean.

Three years later, Haru and Makoto meet up again with Nagisa, and Rin has moved back to Japan, albeit not at their school. They meet by chance in their old broken down swimming club, but Rin has changed drastically. Gone is the happy, laid back and playful Rin. He has been replaced with a cold and rude Rin with a clear animosity towards his old friends, particularly Haru.

Breakdown: Free! was always described to me as basically a gigantic load of pretty fanservice. And yes…..yes there is a lot of that.

Free! is a sports show about swimming. And friendship…And…that’s….about it.

Not much happens in this episode. I suppose they do a decent job at introducing the characters and the story, but there’s not a whole lot going on. Haru, Makoto, Nagisa and Rin, who are all known for being guys with girly names (and Rin’s sister, Gou, is likewise known as a girl with a guy name. By the way, not kidding about this. Gou points this out, and for Haru and Gou, it’s a recurring joke that they hate their names) were best friends four years ago. They swam at the local swimming club together and even won at least one competition.

Rin and Haru seemed to be particularly….not sure I’d say ‘close’ but ‘connected’ in some way. When Rin moved away to Australia to a special….swimming school – do they really have those? Because they state there are at least two of them in the world, and I can’t believe that for a second – Haru quit swimming competitively.

We never learn why, but it seems like it might have something to do with the aforementioned competition.

Three years later, Makoto and Haru are still close, but Nagisa had gone to a different school until he recently came to their high school. He tells them that their swim club is being torn down so they should go there and dig up their old trophy, which they buried because they couldn’t decide who should keep it at the time. They convince Haru to go there with the promise of being able to swim.

Let me stop right there and address two things:

1) Can you see the glaring, incredibly obvious flaw with this? Convincing Haru to go to a pool that is days away from being torn down by promising he can swim there?

If you said ‘There’s obviously not going to be any water in the pool, and, if there is, it’s probably disgusting’ you’d be right! Why it took until Haru and Rin were about to jump in to notice is anyone’s guess.

2) My only real exposure to Free! before this, outside of some AMV clips, was the abridged series, 50% Off!

In it, Haru is…an idiot, but also ridiculously obsessed with water. It’s supposed to be an exaggeration.

But it’s really not.

Haru’s not an idiot, but my god he is way too obsessed with water and swimming. How is he not constantly pruny? This guy is so obsessed with merely the feeling of water on his body that he regularly sits in his bathtub for hours on end in his swimsuit. And, as you can tell, he can easily be lured anywhere with the promise of swim time. When you mention swimming to him, he basically goes googly eyed.

Even when it’s clear he can’t just go in and swim somewhere, he’ll start undressing then and there – and he always has a swimsuit on!

Sports anime are kinda polarizing because they have a nasty habit of making the sport out like it’s the air we breathe, the blood in our veins and the light in our soul. They tend to go overboard with how great the sport is and make it seem silly. Haru and, to a degree, Free! are perfect examples of this. No one is this obsessed with swimming. It’s kinda creepy.

They meet up with Rin at the swim club, because coincidence of all coincidences that he not only recently moved back to Japan….to be in a swimming BOARDING SCHOOL – seriously, this is a thing? – but he also happened to be skulking around the old swim club at the exact same time AND dug up the trophy before them.

….Also, they recognized him because Rin used to snap his goggle strap on the back of his head before races and when he walked up to them he snapped the strap on his baseball cap….Who does that? Ever? No one. Because not only is it pointless, but it also makes you look like a douche. The goggle thing I get and have seen done. It’s just something to make them sit more comfortably. But not the hat thing.

Rin is a douche anyway, so it doesn’t matter.

There’s no reason given as to why he’s a douche now, but people change.

He challenges Haru to a race, and, like I said, it takes them until they’re in their swim suits, standing on the starting platforms before they realize there’s no water in the pool and the pool’s a broken down hunk of garbage. This is played off like a joke, but you see it coming from a million miles away.

When they learn Rin’s going to this special swim school, they hitch a ride on a train and head down there, luring Haru along with another promise of swimming. They swim, Rin shows up and Haru and him face off. The end.

See? Nothing really happens. But dammit, swimming is the bees knees.

…..So………….

……………..back to the fanservice. It’s everywhere. And they’re so blatant about it, too. It’s ridiculous. Not only do you have the pretty as hell artwork and the super detailed bodies, but you also have several shots of them undressing, usually Haru, numerous panning shots of their half-naked bodies and even hair flips, sparkles and slow motion.

It’s clear that this show is aimed more towards anyone with a terrible drooling condition triggered by pretty half-naked dripping wet anime guys instead of swimming aficionados. There’s still a heavy slant towards swimming, obviously, but the hook is the eye candy.

Does that mean that Free! is bad?

No. Like I said, it does its first episode duties just fine. It’s just a bit of a boring episode. You do wonder why Rin became such a jerk and why Haru quit competitive swimming after Rin left (Also why Haru seems to know and/or is not surprised by finding out Rin’s an ass) but it’s nothing to write home about.

The good news is, I have heard positive things about this show as a whole with the worst usually amounting to ‘it’s kinda boring/it’s below average’ and the core four characters do have a good chemistry between them. I can see this being a show I’d watch on the fly just to enjoy some laid-back stories of friendship and sports.

Verdict:

cbxcz0k


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