SSBS – Bakugan: Battle Brawlers | Episode 3: A Feud Between Friends

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen7

Plot: Dan and Drago have yet to meet eye to eye, but Drago extends an olive branch as he sees Dan as his one chance to save his home. Things go great for a while, but when Dan is challenged by a boy named Rikimaru, who has been given a Doom card and a Bakugan by Masquerade, tensions between them come to a boil. Is this partnership not meant to be?

Breakdown: Alright, Bakugan. We keep getting off on the wrong foot. I want us to have a healthy relationship. So let’s see if we can mend some bridges today.

The episode starts near the end of a Bakugan Brawl between some unnamed boy and Ricky, (His original name’s Rikimaru, but some kids call him Ricky, and then he introduces himself to Dan as Rikimaru, but it sounds like Ricky Maru, like the Maru part is his last name and—screw it. I’m calling him Ricky.) an angry egotistic dickwad. I’m already sorry I’ve given this show more chances.

Ricky’s sick of getting seemingly low amounts of…some points for beating low level brawlers and yells out for a real challenge. Masquerade mysteriously shows up, hands him a Bakugan Ball and tells him it has all the power he’ll ever need….Uhh, he wasn’t asking for more power. He was demanding a challenge. Giving him an extremely powerful Bakugan is the opposite of giving him a challenge. You essentially made every future challenge that much easier.

Cut to Dan who is doing some exercises while making a sad attempt at an army march song that include lyrics that proclaim he’s the best Bakugan brawler. I really am loving Dan. He’s such a likable character. I can only hope he gets even more full of himself as time goes on.

At least I can give it to Drago for trying to drill some sense into Dan’s stupid skull.

Drago: “Hey! Put me down!”

Dan: “Not until you promise to stop dissing me!” Urghghghghghghg.

Later, Dan has an online conversation with the girls while scrubbing Drago.

Drago: “Mmmm right there.”

I want to turn this episode off now.

Also, I thought Drago hated being scrubbed. He blew his cover in the last episode to demand that Dan stop scrubbing him.

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen2

Julie: “You’re so lucky, Dan. I’ve searched the web, and you’re the only one I’ve heard of with a talking Bakugan.” What? That directly contradicts the end of the first episode where tons of people were hearing their Bakugan talk. Why are we having such terrible continuity three episodes in?

They blather on for a bit, then we get Marucho chiming in to give a play by play justification for calling the Bakugan brawl between Dan and Masquerade from the last episode a draw.

The next morning…

Dan: “Morning! I’m starving!” *Ridiculously quick off-screen eating* *BELCH* “Thanks Mom!”

I hate you more with every passing second.

Realizing that he needs to use Dan to save his world, Drago tries to connect with him.

Dan: “You called me by my name.”

Dragon: “You don’t mind, do you? I can call you something else if you’d like.”

Dan: “Nah, Dan’s good. They call me worse things at school.”

We interrupt this program for a sudden change in Dan’s character. From all we’ve been shown so far, Dan’s an extremely popular kid both at school and online. Where is this ‘they call me worse things at school’ stuff coming from?

Drago and Dan agree to work together as a team, getting along almost creepily well, and you’ll never guess who shows back up…..Shuji a-freakin’-gain.

Thank God the brawl is mercifully brief this time, amounting to nothing but a final attack, but why does this moron keep popping up?

Dan: “Yeah, everything’s been aces since Drago started seeing things my way. Although, I don’t know what made him change. Something I said maybe?”

Julie: *while swooning* “Well, you do have a way with words.”

I hate you all more with every passing second. Also, yup, unpopular mocked schmuck he is.

Runo suddenly announces that she got herself a talking Bakugan off-screen without even an explanation in dialogue as to where she came from. How dandy. It’s a Haos Tigrera and I already stopped caring.

The next day, Dan bumps into Ricky who is not only revealed to have gotten a Bakugan ball from Masquerade, but also a…Doom card….Pbbbthahhhahahahahaaaaa….The Doom Dimension is funny enough without calling the card the Doom card. I won’t be able to watch anyone play it without imaging Gir singing the Doom Song now.

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen3

The game starts, they set a bunch of gate cards and Ricky sends out his first Bakugan – Robotallion.

Drago expresses concern since Ricky is using Water attribute cards, which I guess are strong against Fire attribute, but I thought last episode they had Wind be stronger eeehhhhhhhh….

Also, Drago’s ball can float now.

Dan doesn’t pay attention to Drago’s concerns because he’s too full of himself. Dan sends out another gate card, and I don’t get why gate cards seem to be sent out willy nilly now. Then he summons the male Garudamon from the first episode.

Ricky sends out another gate card, making a grand total of five out now, and summons another Bakugan, a big blue turtle. Enter Blastoise joke here.

Drago continues to express concern to Dan over Ricky’s odd moves (Putting two Bakugan out is odd now?) but Dan still doesn’t care.

He sends out yet another gate card and summons a….griffin….lizard thing, which Drago immediately advises against. (Also, Dan says it’s weird that Ricky’s summoning all of his Bakugan at once, yet here he is doing the same.)

Figuring he now has him right where he wants him, Ricky summons Aqua Siege.

Dan activates his watch to tell us, literally, word for word, that Aqua Siege is strong.

Ricky activates an unnamed ability card that creates a tidal wave, which sends all of the Bakugan on the field to the…..pbbbbt Doom Dimension….Guys, seriously, make a better name for this place or I won’t survive this series.

Also, what a horribly OP card. In the anime, the way you win is by destroying three of your opponent’s Bakugan. If that counts as defeated, you could one-hit win in just a few turns, as long as you refrain from putting all of your Bakugan out.

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen4

Drago starts berating the hell out of Dan for acting so rash and says he should’ve focused on defeating the first Bakugan at the start of the match. Now nearly all of his Bakugan are gone.

I get what he’s saying and yet I don’t. If Dan was acting impulsively, wouldn’t that translate into blindly attacking? Dan was summoning Bakugan, Drago yelled that he shouldn’t have summoned the lion thing, for no given reason, they get defeated and he was acting rash….because? If gate cards are seen as pseudo-trap cards, wouldn’t summoning and biding your time while also amassing gate cards be seen as being patient and smart? Can someone who really understands the game help me out here?

Wait, a second – even Dan points out that Drago was telling him to bide his time and be cautious. Drago, you’re making me side with Dan and that’s making me very angry.

Dan’s not worried because he has his trump card, or trump Bakugan, in Drago. He explicitly tells Drago to do the move he did from before that broke the board and automatically ended the brawl in a tie………Soooooo….Dan’s telling Drago to cheat. Pbt.

Drago: “It’s too dangerous!”

Dan: “Ahh, just do it! Win! That’s all that matters right now!”

I’ve decided to side with Ricky. Go Ricky!

What is even Dan’s logic here? He knows full well that the ‘special move’ he’s speaking of made the match result in a tie last time. If winning’s all that matters, you’d be automatically screwing yourself over again.

If Drago’s able to resist Dan’s battle commands, as seen in the last episode, can’t he resist being summoned?

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen5

Dan summons Drago and powers him up with a Boosted Drago card that powers him up to 440. Against the 350 Aqua Siege, he appears to have the advantage. Drago doesn’t like Dan’s strategy, so he breaks free of Dan’s ability card, resulting in a 100 point loss.

Drago attacks anyway, even though Aqua Siege now has a 10 point lead on him. Drago starts getting his ass kicked, and Ricky tells Aqua Siege to hurry it up or else the gate card will activate – What? Now we have timed gate cards? I was just getting to the point where I was able to keep up without referencing the Wiki, now you’re throwing in new rules?

A gate card activates, much to the surprise of Dan, lowering Aqua Siege’s attack power by 10 and adding 10 to Drago’s, giving him the upper hand. Drago beats Aqua Siege and starts to lose control of his power again when the match ends.

Mercifully, Ricky explains what the hell just happened. He set a trap gate card which switches the attack powers of two attacking Bakugan. Drago activated it somehow. The power levels switched and Drago was able to win.

Now, follow me here because this is just weird. Drago….knew what gate card was hidden, decided to purposely break free from the ability card so he could activate the trap, switch their attack levels and win. Either that, or Ricky silently activated the trap, it took forever to finally activate, Drago realized what was happening, broke free from the ability card to reverse trap Ricky and win.

SSBS - Bakugan Episode 3 screen6

What a bunch of convoluted bullshit that, again, just amounts to Drago cheating. Whether it’s breaking free of the ability card, activating an opponent’s gate card or somehow knowing what an opponent’s gate card is without seeing or hearing it, Drago cheated.

Ricky’s all broken up about it, especially since Masquerade said he could keep Aqua Siege if he won. I don’t get what was so special about Aqua Siege in the first place, but whatever.

Dan’s all happy about his win, but Drago’s furious.

Drago: “You think that battle was close? Do you have any idea how dangerous the Pyrous Maneuver is!?” Oh there’s a name for the move that is slathered in a thick coating of cheating?

Drago continues to lecture Dan, stating that it’s not right to celebrate when several of his kind just got sent to the Doom Dimension. He says Dan will never take this seriously and that he can trust him no longer.

Dan argues that he is trustworthy and that he thought they were a team. He goes on to berate Drago for his own recklessness in his final maneuver and gets angry that Drago appears to be choosing to ditch him. He gets so angry that he decides to give him what he wants and throws him into the nearby river…..which is horrible.

Not only does he not give Drago a change to respond and possibly apologize, but he’s a mostly inanimate marble. In a river. Either he’ll spend an eternity in an underwater purgatory or he’ll slowly deteriorate and break. Way to be an ass, Dan. You could’ve just sold him or given him to someone else. Do you have any idea how much money you might get for a talking Bakugan?

——————————

This episode was slightly better in explaining some moves, but they are still throwing in confusing crap that makes no sense to non-Bakugan playing audience members while changing up the gameplay mechanics again.

Ricky has some potential to be interesting, but when you get down to it, he’s just another boring ‘pleh, no one challenges me’ character.

The brawl is almost ridiculous in how little sense it makes. I still don’t understand why Ricky sacrificed two of his Bakugan in that wave. Why not try another method of luring Dan into summoning two Bakugan and then use the wave? Why needlessly sacrifice two of your own and just pray Aqua Siege is good enough? Do I even need to point out the fact that, even so, Ricky should’ve won this match?

And why were there so many gate cards sent out if only one was going to be activated?

It’s here where the poor writing is really starting to shine through. This whole story is filled with laziness, cheating and ‘the plot said so.’ Not to mention, the pacing at the start is messed up. That montage of Dan and Drago getting along was almost humorous in how quick it was. Runo mentioning that she also has a talking Bakugan was also just thrown in there with no regards as to whether or not it fit in that scene or in this episode. Just ‘we needed to get this information out and we have an extra 25 seconds, so let’s just shove it in here.’

I can’t believe Drago was being such a senseless jerk in this episode to the point where I was defending Dan. Even if only for a moment, that was idiotic. Add that to the fact that Dan later suggests they basically cheat, and I find myself liking approximately zero characters in this show so far.

I honestly didn’t expect this show to try my patience so much.

Next episode, Dan is struggling in his brawls without Drago (he was a fantastic brawler before he got Drago, now he flounders without him?) But, don’t worry. The next episode preview spoils that he’ll get him back by the end. Yay.

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