Plot: Jonouchi finally has the upper hand on Ryuzaki by using Honda’s Barbarian card in conjunction with his own. However, Ryuzaki has one more card up his sleeve – his most powerful monster, the legendary Red-Eyes Black Dragon; a card that is almost as rare as the Blue-Eyes.
Ryuzaki destroys both of the Barbarians in one shot. Joey actually brings this up in the dub with the line “How could he torch them both with one shot?” which, funnily enough, brings to light all of the other times when that has happened. Even Joey himself did that with Mai. Rex just says “Those who defend together are destroyed together”…..which isn’t true. They do give themselves a bonus, but they don’t die when one or the other dies.
In this episode they finally fix the specifics of the Time Wizard. This time he needs to spin a wheel and land properly with a 50/50 chance.
They get rid of the word BOM! In the scene where Tristan punches Joey because I dunno. And they change it to “shove” again, even though he was clearly punched and Tristan has his hand in a fist.
In the original, Mai tells Jonouchi and the boys not to peek while Anzu takes a shower. In the dub, she compliments him on good cooking.
They completely edit out Mai’s backstory simply because it involves gambling…..which, oddly enough is a focal point of the entire show (Almost every duel has something riding on it; star chips, cards, battle city cards, souls, etc) and is a very common theme in Jonouchi’s decks. Also, isn’t it stated that Bandit Keith was into underground dueling for money? Though that might also be original version exclusive.
Mai’s backstory was that she was a blackjack dealer on a cruise ship and traveled the world watching wealthy people gain and lose money on card games. They were always focused on money and power, and she found those people to be shameful. Eventually, she got fed up with them and started hating people, so she left the profession. It doesn’t explain at all why she started basically doing the same thing nor why she chose Duel Monsters as her game of choice, but it’s something that would’ve been nice to include in the dub.
In the original, Mai views Anzu and the boys’ friendship with melancholy, like she sees something she lost in them. In the dub, she just says they’re useless as friends.
They edit out Jonouchi and Honda trying to go into the shower after Mai says it’s okay. Yugi’s holding them back and Mai hits them with another BOM bubble.
All of the Japanese text on the food packages is removed.
Jonouchi doesn’t have the same kind of fantasies as Joey does. He just explains how everyone has a card they relate to or treasure. 4Kids wanted to foreshadow what was going to happen in literally minutes..…
This episode was pretty good. Time Wizard’s showing to be a little bit OP, even if it is a gamble, but I guess Jonouchi deserves some OP cards, especially when Yugi’s deck is littered with them. The second half was pretty nice. We got some of Mai’s backstory, in the original anyway, and it was a good change of pace to see Mai hanging out and being kind.
Plot: Ash’s Gym battle with Blaine continues with Pikachu cornered between the fearsome Magmar and the molten hot pit of magma below as he stands inches away from the edge of the arena. Pikachu barely misses getting hit by a Fire Blast, earning him a burn mark on his back and nearly forcing him into the magma below. Pikachu is okay, but Ash can’t stand to risk Pikachu’s life any further so he surrenders.
As Ash takes Pikachu to the hot spring to recover, Team Rocket devises a plan to steal Magmar – trick it into dropping its guard and then hit it with freeze blasts. The frozen Pokemon will then be transported to their boss. Their plan fails miserably as Magmar effortlessly melts the ice almost as quickly as it is encased by it.
Panicking, Team Rocket unleashes a barrage of freeze blasts to the surrounding rock, causing it to crack and break apart. Blaine is alerted to the situation and Ash and Co. go with him to help. The Gym is falling apart at a fast rate and, even worse, the magma is going out of control. Soon, the rocks will burst and the entire island will be flooded with magma, killing all of its inhabitants.
Team Rocket blasts off, and Blaine commands Magmar to stop the magma flow with a wall of rocks. Only Fire Pokemon can withstand the heat enough to help, so Ash calls on Charizard…..who promptly naps.
Magmar is left to make the dam alone, but every time a decent amount of rocks is stacked, the magma pushes them away. Magmar simply can’t make a dam fast enough on its own. Respecting Magmar’s power and determination, Charizard agrees to help out. The two of them together make the dam more effective more quickly.
Brock decides to send out Geodude and Onix to help, since Rock Types don’t mind the heat, and Misty sends out Staryu (and Ash, Squirtle) to help keep the Pokemon cool with Water Gun. After a lot of work and a lot of rocks, the dam is successfully made and the island is saved.
Ash initially thinks this act has earned him a Volcano Badge, but Blaine offers a rematch for the Badge instead. Using an arena made on the top of the volcano, over another lava pit, they start their one-on-one match. Blaine sends out Magmar. Ash is about to send out Pikachu, but Charizard insists on battling, wanting to test his strength against an opponent as tough as Magmar.
Ash is excited that Charizard will finally battle for him, even if he shows that he still doesn’t respect him. The battle heats up quickly, no pun intended, as Magmar and Charizard maintain a pretty even playing field throughout the match. However, the tides soon turn when Magmar grapples Charizard and dives into the magma with him.
This move, despite being lethally devastating, is considered legal by Blaine since the lava pit itself counts as a part of the arena, thus Magmar is violating no rules by dragging Charizard down there, despite the horrible implications.
Ash starts mourning Charizard, but there’s bubbling in the lava.
Sure enough, Charizard flies out of the lava, Magmar still latched to his back, and starts shooting up into the sky. With a Submission and a powerful Seismic Toss attack, Magmar is soundly defeated and Ash earns his Volcano Badge. Charizard, however, goes back to his old tricks immediately and Flamethrower’s Ash in the face before having his own victory celebration in the middle of the arena.
With his seventh Badge in hand, Ash wonders where he’ll earn his eighth and final Badge before gaining entry into the Indigo League. Brock tells him that he never beat the Gym back in Viridian City. Ash wonders why Misty never told him of a Gym in Viridian City, and she explains that they were fighting back then, though she doesn’t remember why. Brock nearly reminds her of the bike Ash busted when they first met, and Ash does his best to change the subject and walk off. Misty remembers, however, and reminds him that he still needs to pay her back for her bike.
It’s off to Viridian City and the battle for the Earth Badge!
– Alright, alright, alright, this is completely unimportant and kind of silly but I swear this has been driving me nuts for years and now I finally have a platform to point it out.
In the flashback to the previous episode, when Ash is talking to Pikachu right as Pikachu is stuck between Magmar and a fall into a pit of magma, surely ending his life, Ash says ‘You’ll feel 100% soon, Pikachu.’
Obviously, this is not only the wrong line, but this line was taken from after the title card when Ash is bathing Pikachu and trying to soothe his battle wounds. I don’t know if this was a mistake in the editing room or this was something 4Kids consciously did (Wouldn’t put it past them) but still, how did such a mistake even happen? It’s a clip mashup recap. That’s one of the easiest things in the world to edit. Just take clips from the episode and put them to new music with a voiceover. It would make more sense if they accidentally put this audio clip over the audio for that scene, but nope. It’s purely the ‘100%’ audio.
This drove me nuts as a kid because it’s just so hard to miss and so awkward. It’s a very inappropriate thing to say at that scene. It’s like it’s implying that Ash is okay with Pikachu getting hurt because he’ll be treated soon after.
– Narrator: “As Ninetales won the first round with its Ember attack!” Nope. That was a Fire Spin.
You can tell because the clip you’re playing shows the fire…spinning……Also, it literally takes two seconds to check the last episode.
– Narrator: *In regards to the battle against Rhydon* “It was Pikachu to the rescue with another electrifying effort!” Don’t remind me…
– Flashback!Blaine: “Come out, Magmar!” That’s not what he said – he said “I choose Magmar!”
Flashback!Ash: “What’s that?” That’s not what he said during that shot. He said, “Mag….mar?” Dogasu from Dogasu’s backpack/Bulbagarden stated that they suspect this episode was made when Riddle Me This was likely still in production or at least not solidified, as that’s the only way they can explain how screwed up the dialogue in the flashback is. However, not having the right lines is different from taking a line later in this same episode, one that’s completely nonsensical in this context, and using it in the previous shot. 4Kids really doesn’t have an excuse with that one.
Plus, technically, 4Kids does this all the time. When they make cuts to insert commercial breaks in their shows and then replay the last scene when they come back as a mini-recap, they very commonly change the dialogue for whatever reason. Their theory is still sound, but I can’t help but think this is just more 4Kids sloppiness.
– Narrator: “Pikachu is in real Pika-peril!” Narrator, Pikachu is about to be burned alive or melted in molten magma. Maybe now’s not the best time for cute wordplay.
– Ash: “Pikachu! Duck for cover!” That’s actually pretty smart seeing as how Fire Blast’s shape leaves a big gap in the bottom. If you duck, you should be able to avoid it, especially at Pikachu’s size.
– High five to Ash for stopping the match. It definitely shows his growth, particularly when you remember his first Gym match with Brock. However, maybe I should dock that to a high four or something because I think he waited a bit long to call it off. When Pikachu was cornered between an insanely powerful Fire Pokemon who wasn’t affected by electricity and a pit of magma, that would’ve been the time to raise the white flag.
– Blaine: “The hot springs will help it recover from its injuries.” I know people say hot springs have medicinal or therapeutic properties, but are hot springs really wise for treating….burns?
– Ash: “Hey, Blaine, where ya goin’?! You have to give me another chance!” Why are you stopping him from leaving? He never said he wouldn’t give you another chance in the future, and you obviously can’t have one immediately.
– It is pretty cute to see Ash bathing Pikachu. Although, that has to HURT on a burn wound.
– Ash: “If Charizard would battle, I know I’d win!” Why? It’s Fire v. Fire and Magmar is an incredibly experienced Pokemon who is basically magma incarnate. Charizard is his most powerful Pokemon, but the matchup is so iffy to act like it’d be a sure thing.
Ash: “But it still won’t listen to me…” Yeah, I don’t get it. Charizard still won’t listen after all the nothings you’ve tried to get it to obey. It’s so weird.
– There’s a very interesting and somewhat irritating comparison note/rant on this scene with Team Rocket found here.
– Team Rocket’s going to battle Magmar with an ice gun…..Uh….Huh…
– James: “A frozen Magmarita!” Did you just reference a margarita? As in, you made an alcohol reference in Pokemon? Keep making sense, 4Kids.
– They plan on tricking Magmar into thinking he won something so they can get a chance to put it off-guard and freeze-blast it….but they also decided to carry their freeze blaster rocket launchers into the room with them….Yeah, that doesn’t seem suspicious. Keep in mind, this show frequently incorporates cartoon logic – as in you always see Team Rocket pulling various items out of nowhere like the space behind them is an endless void of props. There’s no reason they can’t walk in seemingly carrying nothing.
Yes, I am nitpicking the fact that they’re NOT using cartoon logic here, but only because their real logic makes their plan completely pointless.
(Another alternative – they could have been carrying briefcases or something that turn into the rocket launchers.)
– Would Magmar really care that he won a trip to Mount Vesuvius if he already lives in a volcano?
– I love how Magmar gives zero shits about the rockets being shot towards it. Like ‘Yeah, whatever.’
– I don’t know why Blaine is suddenly all about puns instead of riddles. I guess it’s easier to write puns than riddles….
– If I’m going to go off about lack of cartoon logic, I guess I’ll keep my mouth shut about the fact that Jessie and James seemingly have an endless supply of ice rockets.
– Ash literally just told Blaine to stop the jokes, and when Blaine asks what will happen when the volcano fills with ice, he responds that it will become a snow cone…..
– So, Team Rocket’s plan was not only stupid, but their plan B was 100x more stupid and didn’t even have an end goal besides ‘freeze gym.’ Okie dokie.
– That being said, a volcano breaking apart and threatening to spew lava all over the island, killing all of its residents in a short time frame, is certainly a high-tension moment for this series.
– It’s really cute that Pikachu wants to help too. Kinda reminds me of him using a watering can to help put out the fire in Pokemon Scent-Sation.
– Blaine: “WAIT! Only a Fire Type Pokemon can withstand the heat from that lava!” I don’t think the lava at its current level is any lower or higher than it was to the Gym platform. This is either not true or Blaine knows his Gym setup is ridiculously unsafe for non-Fire Types (and people for that matter) but keeps it that way because screw you.
– I am even more annoyed than usual about Ash’s typical ‘expecting Charizard to obey out of nowhere’ shtick this time. I think it’s because his body language and voice acting make him seem more cocky about it in this episode.
– Ash: “Argh, Charizard never listens to me…” At this point, I wouldn’t listen either. Yes, Charizard is a big brat who had a personality change out of nowhere just because of evolution. However, after all this time, look at it from Charizard’s perspective.
This little shit knows you’re a powerhouse and keeps commanding you like an army general. He makes no efforts to understand you or train you. Time and again, he keeps throwing you out because you’re his trump card, expecting you to obey simply because he’s the Trainer and you’re the Pokemon. Each time you get let out is another reminder that he’s an entitled asshat who just wants to use your power to win without working with you to earn it. Wouldn’t you just continue to lose any desire whatsoever to obey him whenever he calls on you?
That coupled with Charizard’s pride makes this relationship a recipe for disaster.
I really, truly think Charizard would be more cooperative if Ash showed more maturity and respect for Charizard, even if Charizard himself doesn’t deserve it either. One of them has to be the bigger man/Pokemon and put the cards on the table.
It’s been shown time and again, including here, that Charizard can put aside his pride and his attitude if the other person/Pokemon shows some sort of strength in character to earn it. Here, Magmar is trying valiantly to save lives by stopping the volcano from erupting. Charizard recognizes its noble feats and decides to get off his ass and help. In contrast, Ash demands that Charizard help out, which leads to the predictable outcome of Charizard taking a nap.
– Seems really dumb to segue from such a topic to something as silly as this, but I don’t think Magmar have the ability to sweat.
I mean, not only would the sweat certainly evaporate immediately, but a Pokemon like Magmar wouldn’t need a biological function designed to cool off the body.
– Also, uhh, Rock Pokemon can also easily withstand the heat from the magma…..*lip smack*…Sure would be nice if we had some of those, huh, Brock?
Big strong Rock Pokemon…sorta like, eh, Rhydon or something….huh, Blaine? (You can argue that Rhydon was KO’d earlier, but Squirtle was barbecued and he’s perfectly fine to help out now.)
– It is pretty awesome when Charizard starts helping out. That little look Magmar and Charizard give each other is cool. They don’t need to say anything, they’re just fiery badasses saving the day.
– Brock: “Right! Okay, Onix and Geodude – Rock Pokemon can take heat! GO!” Oh NOW your brain starts working! Good thing you weren’t in a horribly perilous situation that could end the lives of thousa—oh wait.
– Misty: “And Starmie you can help them all to keep cool while they’re working!” The sentiment is nice, Misty, but no. No. Don’t do that. No.
First of all, we just saw the kind of cataclysmic effects that occur when you quickly cool hot rocks. I don’t know the temperature of water from within a Water Pokemon, and quite frankly I don’t want to research that, nor do I know if quickly cooling a hot Rock Pokemon has the same effects, but it’s too risky to try that.
Secondly, they’re all Fire and Rock Type Pokemon, Misty. They’re WEAK to water. Spraying them the whole time would just hurt and weaken them while they’re doing intense manual labor. (Being fair, they obviously don’t spray the Fire Pokemon, but my point still stands)
The only one this would be beneficial for is Pikachu, who shouldn’t be helping even with the Water Pokemon’s help.
– Misty, you called out StarYU not StarMIE. (I also think I mistakenly claimed Misty had already left Horsea and Starmie at the Cerulean Gym an episode or so back when that won’t happen for another two episodes. She uses them so infrequently now I legitimately just thought she already left them…..)
– It’s so sweet that Psyduck lets itself out to try and help.
– I know Jigglypuff was in the previous episode, but why the hell did it suddenly appear down here? It just randomly appears for one comedy shot running in front of the group of Pokemon as Ash chases it and then disappears for the rest of the episode. What the hell?
– Why are Squirtle, Onix, Geodude and Staryu just standing there posing until Pikachu tells them to go? Misty and Brock already gave them commands. Now’s not the time for this comedy skit. Thousands of people are about to die a horrible, horrible death.
– Togepi is super cute trying to help the others make a barrier.
– I want everyone to think about the previous note and consider why this is actually a massive problem.
The answer is ‘Togepi nearly falls to its death and becomes a fried egg all because Misty, for some godforsaken reason, thought now was a good time to put down the baby Pokemon and stop watching it. Here. In this volcano. That is breaking apart. And filling with magma. And the only reason I can see for her putting down Togepi in the first place is because she threw a Pokeball, but she’s thrown plenty of Pokeballs with Togepi in her arms, and you don’t even need to throw Pokeballs to let Pokemon out…’ The parents from Rugrats wish they could see your level of negligence from where they stand, Misty.
– Blaine: “I don’t know how to thank you, Ash.”
Well….technically, he didn’t do anything. Charizard and Pikachu did stuff, and Charizard didn’t even do it because of him – he did it because of Magmar.
Brock would actually deserve way more credit if we’re going by Pokemon because Onix was the only one throwing several rocks in at once.
As for Misty, between sending a Water Pokemon out to hurt the helpful Pokemon and nearly letting Togepi burn to death, she should probably get arrested or something.
Ash: “Are you gonna give me my Volcano Badge now?!”
Blaine: “Uh!? NO! I was going to say I’ll give you another chance to battle me for your Volcano Badge!”
I’ve mentioned before that I love this exchange, and I do for several reasons. First, it acknowledges the clear issue of Ash constantly getting pity Badges and somewhat makes up for it, especially with Blaine’s dumbfounded response to Ash’s request.
Second, it truly shows Blaine’s professionalism as a Gym Leader (regardless of his questionable Gym location) that he is downright insulted to hear Ash expecting him to just hand over a Badge for helping him.
Finally, it knocks Ash’s entitled attitude down a peg, if only for a second. Seriously, I was embarrassed for him when he asked Blaine if he was going to give him his Volcano Badge. The fact that he asked at all was bad enough, but the way he asked was just childish. (Yes, I recognize that he’s a person of child nature.)
You know how I pointed out how Ash has gotten increasingly obnoxious about how he handles his pity Badges over time? At first, he didn’t even want to take it. Then, he was very uneasy but accepted anyway. Then he was just ‘WHOO FREE BADGE!’ Now he’s expecting free Badges when he does anything for a Gym Leader.
And, again, I feel the need to bring up that Ash didn’t even do anything this time. He let Charizard out of its Pokeball and it didn’t obey him…again. That’s all he did. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention he let Squirtle out to spray the Rock Pokemon, which is the same issue as Staryu doing it) At least in the Rainbow Badge episode he braved a burning building to save a Pokemon and nearly died.
That being said, this isn’t even really a prize or a thank-you kinda thing. Blaine said they’d have a rematch again sometime, and didn’t Erika say that it’s in the league rules to accept all challenges? Pretty sure that includes rematch challenges.
– Alright, so this makeshift ‘Gym’ has always greatly confused me.
1) How did the lava get way up there?
2) How is it being held so close to the brim? Is it a man-made pool of lava?
3) Where did those pillars come from? They’re all spaced apart basically evenly and are at the same height, indicating again that this arena is man-made.
4) If it is a man-made arena, what is it for? Training for Blaine’s Fire Pokemon?
5) How did they even get up there?
6) WHY are they even up there? Is it really necessary to have this match anywhere other than a perilous pit of molten rock?
When you think about it, this place is even more dangerous than the actual Gym. At least there you have a wide platform to walk on, even if there are similar pillars to get to the platform. Here, you just have a bunch of pillars as your arena. One false move and you’re the Terminator at the end of Terminator 2.
– Blaine: “Since my Gym has been wrecked, would you object if we held our match right here on the volcano?” Uh….you already made the climb up there and took positions at opposite ends of the arena. Pretty sure you guys agreed upon this beforehand.
– Blaine: “Let’s make this a one-on-one!” ‘Because there’s not enough time left in the episode for anything more than that!’
– Ash’s sense of entitlement is totally rubbing off on Pikachu. Ash hasn’t announced his choice yet, but Pikachu still steps up like ‘Of course, it’s going to be me. Pftt who else?’
Why would Pikachu think Ash would choose him anyway? We already know Magmar is immune to electricity, leaving Pikachu with only physical attacks at his disposal. This wouldn’t be too bad in any other situation, but 1) He’d be fighting a Magmar, meaning I think any physical contact with him would equal deep, searing pain. And 2) the arena is now a bunch of pillars, meaning he’d have an incredibly difficult time attempting any physical attack.
– Ash: *After Charizard doesn’t pay any mind to Ash calling him out, focused too much on Magmar* “Oh….guess Charizard could still use a little training.” He could use ANY training period. Do you think that when Charizard does things that benefit you, not caring about the benefits to you at all, that counts as training? You’re a backwards little waffle.
– As cool as that explosion looked, fire combining with fire should not make an explosion. To be honest, I’m not even sure how those two Flamethrowers collided like energy beams in Dragon Ball Z.
– Again, as cool as it was to see Charizard physically stop the Fire Blast with his bare hands and deflect it into the sky, it should not be possible to grab and throw fire. Then again, maybe Fire Blast is somewhat solid-ish considering it’s flying through the air while maintaining its shape.
– How is Magmar running towards Charizard during the Skull Bash? He should be hopping at least a little considering their battlefield is pillars.
– Also, Charizard can fly, he specifically extended his wings while watching Magmar come towards him and yet he still somehow failed to fly even a little and got hit.
– That bit was saved by Charizard slickly saving himself from falling into the lava.
– The shot where Charizard flies into the sun and then shoots straight down into Magmar was awesome. (However, Ash didn’t tell him to do that.)
– Ash: “Rrrgh, it’s against the rules for Magmar to pull Charizard into the volcano!” I don’t think there’s a specific rule about that. Probably because if you brought up that issue with the Pokemon League they’d go ‘Blaine has a Gym in a WHAT?!’ and shut the whole thing down.
However, Ash does have a point. I do believe it’s very much against the rules to MURDER YOUR OPPONENT’S POKEMON!
I don’t know if all Fire Pokemon have the ability to withstand being submerged in molten lava and maybe Blaine knows this, so he’s not worrying about Charizard very much – I feel like this has to be false, just because I’m trying to imagine something like Vulpix swimming in lava and my mind keeps drifting to dark scenarios that make my heart hurt.
Then again, the alternative is that Blaine just had a ten-year-old’s Pokemon murdered in one of the worst ways imaginable and he just doesn’t care. In which case, what a friggin’ psychopath.
Then again again, it’s also not a good look for Ash to be more concerned over Blaine breaking the rules than….ya know…the murder.
– Blaine: “Magmar didn’t cheat. You agreed to using the volcano for our Pokemon battle didn’t you?. Under the volcano is part of the volcano too.” First of all, they’re in the volcano, not under it – that would be underground and under all of the magma. Secondly, why do you think he’s talking more about being out of bounds than…ya know…the murder?
– It does break my heart when it finally hits Ash that Charizard might be dead.
– Ash: “Charizard! Let’s show Magmar your aerial submission attack!” Lots of people seem to point out that this is probably a dub flub since ‘Aerial Submission Attack’ isn’t an attack, but I honestly just think Ash is describing the attack (It’s an attack, it’s aerial and it’s Submission….) Maybe that’s just me.
Still, Ash, this is the first time Charizard ever uses Submission (or Seismic Toss, for that matter) so how do you even know he knows these moves?
– Magmar should certainly be dead after being flown up to the clouds, thrown so hard it actually had a fiery aura around it when it was falling and landed face-down. I don’t care if it landed in the lava pool – it would not live through that.
– I usually get a little annoyed when Ash gets Flamethrowered by Charizard, but this time he kinda deserved it. After all that fuss, after getting Charizard to listen to his commands if only for a minute, after thinking Charizard died in a horrific fashion, after Charizard earned him the win and his seventh Badge, all Ash has to say to him is ‘Yes! Charizard, return!’ No ‘thank you,’ no nothing. Just ‘Get back in your Pokeball!’
– Ash: “I know that Charizard will learn to obey someday!” I don’t like the way this is worded, because, again, it just sounds like Ash is expecting this to be something Charizard will do on his own instead something he needs to be taught in training….
– I like how they bring up Misty’s bike again. They haven’t mentioned it in many moons, and it solidifies that Misty follows Ash at this point because she wants to, not because she’s pestering him for a bike.
All in all, this is still one of my favorite episodes. It has great action, animation, direction, music choices, tense moments and the final battle was simply awesome – one of the best battles in all of the Indigo League episodes.
Blaine, in my opinion, definitely proved to be the most brutal and difficult of all of the Kanto Gym Leaders here, edging out Sabrina, in my opinion. Yes, she’s very scary with her dolls and telekinesis, and yes, she’s incredibly powerful, but she was still defeated by the joy of laughter….Meanwhile, Blaine is holding his Pokemon battles over volcano pits, nearly murdered two Pokemon and used a Pokemon so powerful it was matching Charizard blow for blow.
Also, it’s not a secret that I really don’t care much for the Earth Badge match, but that’s a story for another day…
Magmar is an awesome Pokemon that I’m sorry to say we don’t really see that often. Even though it has a size disadvantage and can’t fly, it still gave Charizard more than a run for its money, and it’s cool to see them have a sort of respect between warriors type of relationship.
However, I am really getting worn out on Ash continuing to expect Charizard to just up and obey him at every turn when he does absolutely nothing to change the situation. His cocky attitude doesn’t help. I know I won’t get off this, but it does bother me a lot. Not to mention that it’s a bad message to send to kids. Have a problem with something? Don’t try to fix it. Just wait. Eventually, it will work itself out. This episode in particular is a shining example of that bad message because Ash doesn’t train Charizard at all and yet he still wins his Volcano Badge with him, even if Charizard goes back to disobeying afterward.
What if Charizard didn’t give a crap about respecting Magmar? Not only would Ash have certainly not won his Volcano Badge in a reasonable time frame, but they also might not have created the barrier in time and thousands of people could have died – all because Ash won’t train the damn thing.
Also, the plot device of the episode, Team Rocket, was just a bit too forced. Trying to capture Magmar, especially considering it beat Pikachu, is very understandable, but there was absolutely no reason for them to completely decimate the volcano with freeze blasts. How would that help them at all, and why did they not think it stupid to blow up a volcano that they’re currently inhabiting?
Still, love the episode, love the two-parter arc, love the Gym’s destruction and racing to stop the magma, love the final battle. It’s just a lot of fun from start to finish.
Next episode, we have some fun with another starter evo final form – Blastoise! With Wartortle! And Wartortle are awesome!
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Plot: Yai and the others are held hostage at school by a crazed rare BattleChip collector named Mr. Higsby intent on obtaining Yai’s rare and expensive BattleChips.
Breakdown: Today’s episode introduces us to the rare BattleChip-crazy Mr. Higsby, who is surprisingly not part of WWW (World Three), and his NetNavi, Numberman, who actually has a pretty cool design.
Mr. Higsby is a guest lecturer at Lan’s school, talking about fighting viruses and utilizing BattleChips.
Later, Yai brings the group to her log cabin in a tree. She had her daddy build her a secret base in her yard. The secret is the treehouse/log cabin shifts into a high-tech building designed for 3D netbattling.
The group instantly jack in their NetNavis to try it out. It’s here where I have the honor of pointing out that when Maylu jacks Roll in, she does it while twirling in front of a pink background covered in hearts and sparkles. Come on, guys, be a little more realistic. At least add in a unicorn and a few rainbows.
The whole 3D netbattling thing is meant to be impressive, but the way they went about it makes it so that….it’s kinda not. From what we see of the 3D stage in a far shot, it just looks like they superimposed the typical shots of what we usually see in the net onto a big platform in front of them. And then when they start battling, they just switch back and forth from the characters to the scene in the net, which is how it typically goes anyway.
In conclusion, nothing changed, and I just wasted your time.
Dex and Gutsman battle Yai and Glide who win because she’s rich and has access to all sorts of rare BattleChips that make Glide overpowered, despite not being a NetNavi designed for battle. Nice to see Megaman laying the groundwork for pay-to-win games. Good job.
Anyway, since I just mentioned Yai’s rare expensive BattleChips, obviously Mr. Higsby is in her super secure server, waiting in the wings with Numberman, spying on them.
The next day, Mr. Higsby sets up to attack Yai while the entire group is helping their teacher, Miss Mari, edit the school newspaper. Why does she need all of these kids to help edit the paper? I have no idea.
Lan is slightly late to the meeting, so when Mr. Higsby locks the school down to trap Yai, he gets locked out of the computer room. Numberman/Mr. Higsby threatens to destroy the school’s computer system if she doesn’t battle him for her rare BattleChips…..I’m not sure why he doesn’t just steal the chips. I guess he’s an honorable asshole?
Yai initially doesn’t care because she says she’ll just have her daddy buy the school a new system, but Maylu and Dex point out that he can’t replace the data. I’d think any school with valuable data on their system would regularly back it up somewhere offsite, but this is a public school system so maybe I’m giving them too much credit.
With Miss Mari’s permission, and somewhat insistence, Yai begrudgingly agrees to battle Numberman. I’m not exactly sure why she’d agree to battle him. Just hand over the chips. She’s always talking about her daddy’s endless supply of money – surely he can buy her new ones. She needlessly risking her NetNavi’s life…. She jacks in Glide, but even with his fancy BattleChips, he quickly gets laid out by Numberman.
Megaman gets jacked into the system.
Maylu: “That must mean that Lan’s right outside the classroom!” First of all, how did you not hear him banging on the door for the past several minutes? Second of all, just because Megaman is in the net space doesn’t mean Lan is right outside the classroom. He could be anywhere in the school.
Numberman has a really weird manner of attacking. He rolls a big die and whatever number it lands on is the number of explosions that will occur right next to the die, which means anyone who catches onto this will be able to combat it quite easily….just…ya know…stay away from him when he rolls the die….Also, having your attack strength completely reliant on the roll of a die seems very inefficient.
The school’s security system blocks Megaman from interfering in Glide and Numberman’s fight any further, for some reason, and Lan and the others deduce that Numberman must be controlled by Mr. Higsby.
They decide the only way to end this is by teaming up against Numberman, but they need to disable the school’s security system to lower the walls blocking them from Numberman. Roll offers to interface with the walls to see if there’s anything in the code that would lead them to the password…which…makes sense, but also makes it seem like this super high-tech security system is extremely flawed.
Within less than a minute, Roll finds the word ‘dove’ and Miss Mari states that the password is the number of doves at the school, which she can’t remember so Lan goes out to count them.
Mr. Higsby: “Unbelievable. The competition will be over by the time he gets back here.”
Miss Mari: “You’re the one who’s unbelievable, Mr. Higsby!”
Mr. Higsby: “Pardon me? ….*Elvis voice* Thank you. Thank you very much.”
…………………………………………..Hello completely random Elvis impression that I doubt any child watching this would understand or find funny.
Lan counts 34 doves, which is the correct answer.
Within less than three seconds, Roll already has the second hint – ‘tennis’: the number of tennis rackets the tennis team uses…..Ya know, these numbers seem awful arbitrary. What if you get more doves? What if a dove dies? What if you buy more tennis rackets? What if the kids lose some of them?
My point is made even more apparent in the next scene. Lan accidentally enters the girls locker room and they throw tennis rackets at him. He goes into the storage room and counts the rackets there, which is the correct answer. Why don’t those other rackets count?
Anyway, the number is 63?! 63 tennis rackets?! I’m almost certain no school would buy that many rackets, especially when typically only one or two is in use at any given moment.
Another issue with this password thing is, if Mr. Higsby knows the system inside and out and is currently manipulating it….can’t he just change the password to something only he knows?
The final hint word is ‘flowers’, which indicates the number of potted flowers in the schoolyard. Again, that number can change at any given moment. The flowers could die, the landscapers might plant more without notifying anyone, some could get destroyed by the children. You guys really need a better password system.
Lan loses track counting the hundreds of potted flowers, but a mysterious green-haired woman who seems to be the landscaper and someone who knows what’s going on but for some reason isn’t interfering, tells him the exact number.
Numberman throws three dice this time…..why he wasn’t throwing that many to begin with, again, I have no idea, but with the walls down and Megaman able to access the fighting area, they’re able to save him. Numberman surrenders and relinquishes control of the school’s security system.
They confront Mr. Higsby who begs on his hands and knees for forgiveness, claiming he couldn’t control himself and that he loves BattleChips while most people don’t appreciate their value….I don’t think that’s true because most people seem to drool over rare BattleChips.
For a second, it seems like Miss Mari might actually punish Mr. Higsby….but instead she just asks him to remember back when he was a child and got his first rare BattleChip (?! How long have PETs and stuff been around?) He probably didn’t appreciate its value either, but the flashback and narration indicate it was the best day of his life……You’re really not making any sense, show.
Miss Mari gives him a second chance, even though he does not deserve it in the slightest. He hacked into a school’s security system. He held several people hostage/kidnapped them. He sprayed Dex with the school’s sprinkler system for trying to interfere. He threatened to destroy the system if he didn’t get what he wanted. He threatened a young girl into battle so he could take her rare BattleChips (If BattleChips are physical items, how does he take them without showing his face?) And he nearly destroyed a young girl’s NetNavi. We’re just supposed to forgive him because he wants to strong-arm rare BattleChips from people since they don’t appreciate them….when they do? And he was misguided all along when he didn’t appreciate rare BattleChips when he was a kid….when he did?
Anyway, to the epilogue, Mr. Higsby quit his job educating children on rare BattleChips and security systems thanks to Miss Mari’s kindness in forgiving him. He wants to do good for people now, because apparently valuable education doesn’t do that….So he’s…selling rare BattleChips.
Hey, writers, when you wanna make sense, please contact me. Your logic is about as airtight as a butterfly net.
So that was that episode, and it was actually pretty okay. The things I talked about in regards to the security system’s password being too easy to figure out is probably forgivable given this is a kid’s show, but I can’t give as much leeway to the fact that the numbers would probably change all the time and some of them make no sense.
At least Mr. Higsby is a little better of a bad guy considering he’s not out to just cause chaos like the WWW members, he actually has a goal, but I definitely don’t agree with him getting no comeuppance for his actions.
Numberman has a cool design, but for a guy who obsesses over rare BattleChips, he really doesn’t use any. He just uses that same lame dice rolling trick. I also find it really strange that Megaman was able to intimidate him so easily. A guy with a huge collection of rare BattleChips should be able to put up a better fight, especially if he makes a habit out of bullying people out of their chips.
The tension involved with running around trying to figure out the password was much more intense and interesting than last episode where we sit on the edge of our seats hoping a little girl gets to the potty in time.
I didn’t really quite get the significance of introducing the 3D netbattling system since it, honestly, looks no different to the viewer than it ever did before. It really just established that Glide could be a good fighter with rare BattleChips despite being a NetNavi not designed for battle. Not that matters because he couldn’t do anything against Numberman, even with the chips. He may have lasted a little longer than he would have otherwise, but that’s about it.
Next time, WWW targets a robotic fish aquarium. I’m not sure if a robotic fish aquarium is a really good idea or a really stupid one. Thoughts?
Plot: The backstory of Hone Onna unfolds as she follows a case in current day that reminds her a lot of her past.
Breakdown: Barring Ai, Hone Onna definitely has the saddest backstory of everyone in the Hell Team. Born as a woman named Tsuyu, her life had been one of servitude, torment and betrayal. I thought just hating the young lord, who tricked her into being sold into prostitution to help settle a debt he had, would be the worst, but nope. That award goes to her ungrateful little pissant of a friend, Kiyo.
I really don’t understand this woman. I get that she was always jealous of Hone Onna/Tsuyu, despite their close relationship, but everything Hone Onna tried to do for her, she’d brush off because she was just that bitter. The fact that it seemed like Kiyo didn’t much care that Hone Onna and another man who was trying to help her was murdered all because ‘oooh look, this douchebag bought me a pretty kimono that is way better than anything you own, onee-san,’ is infuriating. By the way, she didn’t get them murdered by accident – she ousted them as they were trying to help her escape and they got murdered as punishment.
I didn’t have an ounce of sympathy for this bitch when they revealed what happened to her after Hone Onna got murdered.
She continued her life at the brothel only to get pregnant by the guy who gave her the fancy kimono. He wasn’t having any of that, however, so he took his sword and slashed her across the stomach to kill the baby. Devastated, she committed suicide in the same river Hone Onna’s body had been dumped into.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Oh come on, Twix. You’re being a bit harsh on Kiyo. I bet she had just as terrible of a life story as Hone Onna. She made a bad decision and paid for it. Cut her some slack.” Well, maybe I would if not for her story’s resolution.
Yup, Kiyo’s not quite done yet.
Cut to present time where Kiyo is sorta-ish possessing their client of the week. While it’s very unclear exactly how much Kiyo is influencing the client, Youko, she does certainly convince her to try to commit suicide, again, via jumping off a bridge into a river, trying to replicate the circumstances of her own death.
I’m only giving half blame on this to Kiyo herself. I don’t know what circumstances turned her into this wandering spirit outside of her sad story, but she’s still knowingly doing it to continue the cycle of pain and misery through women who have similar stories to her.
She earns the rest of my ire by what she does after Hone Onna saves Youko and confronts Kiyo. Believe it not, Kiyo still has the balls to act like she has the moral high ground with Hone Onna. Apparently, Kiyo is just so woeful that Hone Onna can’t possibly understand what she’s going through. Jeepers. Someone you love betraying you and getting you murdered? Hone Onna would NEVER be able to understand that….
The situation sucks as a whole for both of them, I get that, but Kiyo’s attitude and actions are so shitty it makes it so much more difficult to sympathize with her.
Hone Onna has been massively betrayed twice in her life, and she still managed to get up, move on and trust others, trying to help them, long after she’s died. Kiyo, on the other hand, had someone who loved her, who tried to help her, tried to free her from a life of prostitution and essential slavery, but she threw that away just to be better than Hone Onna.
And when the shit hit the fan for her, she never even apologized or expressed remorse for her actions. She was still completely wrapped up in her own problems until the very end and continued giving Hone Onna the snub. She did say she was happy to have met her one more time before she, I guess, made the conscious choice to go to hell, but that doesn’t make up for much.
You want to know what else? After all that, Hone Onna still tries to save her from going to hell and even asks Ai if she’ll pick up Kiyo at the river Styx to maybe help Kiyo like she did for her.
It’s sad, but also quite touching that Hone Onna has finally found a family that she can trust, but she had to die to get it.
As for our case this week, a woman named Youko has put out a contract on her ex-boyfriend, Makoto. He knocked her up, took a ton of her money, and left her for some other woman. He doesn’t give a crap about her or the baby and just wants her out of his life. I did proper research on this and no, this is not Makoto from School Days, but don’t worry, he still gets his in the end.
Youko has contacted Hell Girl, but she is still desperately, and I mean desperately, trying to keep Makoto by her side. She doesn’t care if he’s with another woman or never gives her money back or if he loves her or not – she just wants him to be in her life, and he doesn’t want that at all.
Youko has a friend who basically acts like Hone Onna to Youko’s Kiyo in this situation – trying to convince her to leave him and that he’s not good for her, freeing her of a life with someone so terrible, but she won’t listen.
When Makoto makes it as painfully clear as possible that he’ll never be with her in any capacity again, even being the father to his child, she pulls the string and Kiyo guides her into trying to jump off the bridge because she feels there’s no point in giving birth to a child if Makoto isn’t around. When Kiyo’s influence is torn from her, however, she pats her belly lovingly and goes off to live a good life with her baby, so there’s no arguing that Kiyo didn’t force Youko into attempting suicide.
My question is, how long has Kiyo been influencing Youko? Does she even realize what she’s done, in regards to Hell Girl? Does she know she’s damned for hell? Did Kiyo contact Hell Girl in the first place? I’d imagine not because Ai can see Kiyo, but it’s never really confirmed and that bothers me.
Finally, there’s the hell torture this time around. I’m kinda surprised we got one this episode since the current day plot took up so little time in the episode, but Makoto is certainly a big enough jackwad to warrant one. And what a weird one he got.
He’s transported to a ramen shop where there’s a swaddled baby in his ramen. He’s then drowned in ramen broth, grabbed by Ren, Wanyuudou and Kikuri, clad in bathing suits. When we pull out, it’s revealed that it’s not really ramen broth, it’s amniotic fluid. They’re all in a big womb with a giant baby sitting by them. Zoom out even more and we reveal that they’re all inside of a fish bowl, for some reason.
You’d think that’d be the end of it, but it’s not. They pull out all the stops with this one. As Makoto wakes up in the boat, he’s massively pregnant and, in Alien-style, whatever is in his man-womb bursts from his stomach.
Holy. Crap. I don’t know why they chose this guy to go all out on when there are so many people who have deserved creative and horrifying hell tortures, with full episodes dedicated to their assholery, but that was so insane and, quite frankly, awesome. Weird as hell, pun intended, but awesome.
All in all, I really loved this episode. Some parts about Kiyo were janky, and it’s very miserable, but much of Hell Girl tends to be filled with misery. At least we know Hone Onna’s content where she is and she got some closure with Kiyo. At least we know Youko is going to love and care for her baby now. Heck, we even know Kiyo’s free from wandering the earth and another dickwicket is having a literal pregnancy from hell for all eternity. It’s about the best you can get in regards to happy endings in this show.
Breakdown: ….Ya know….I was once a teenage girl. I’ve done all of the embarrassing teen girl things. I gushed over guys a lot. I loved boy bands. I even had an extended kiss with a poster….Yup. Not telling you who it was a poster of either. The point is, as annoying as depictions of teenage girls can be, and as annoying as they seem in hindsight, I have been one. I understand. I get that there is some truth to the stereotypes.
That being said, holy crap, these girls are annoying kinda sad. I thought I was watching a magical girl anime, which, admittedly, does have romance as a mainstay in the genre. But, nope. I’m watching another episode of ‘Teenage Girls Literally Have No Lives Besides Gushing Over Boys’.
What happened at the beginning of the first episode?….Oh yeah, yeah. Momoko and her friends, Hinagiku and Yuri, gushed over and fought over the hottie, Yanagiba, for half the run time.
They’ve even given him the pet name ‘Dear Yanagiba.’
It’s just getting to the point of pathetic when the three of them are at each other’s throats over whose lunch Yanagiba is going to eat. And how are they not in the least bit embarrassed to be arguing over that right in front of him?
Not all of the fifteen minutes is gushing over Yanagiba. About two are dedicated to Yousuke and Momoko having a romantic trope-off. Yousuke carries her to the nurse’s office when she gets hit by a soccer ball, and they blush. He’s forced to stay alone with her in the nurse’s office because she’s conveniently not there. They blush. After bickering a bit, he falls over onto her and their faces are all close while, not kidding at all, light, sparkles and RAINBOWS burst in from the window. They blush.
Right after that, they’re back to bickering over Yanagiba because Hinagiku and Yuri want to update him on Momoko’s condition behind her back. I have to wonder how these three stay friends.
There was one minor scene at the beginning where the baddies go over their plan, kinda. The queen says to kill everyone who is in love, loves someone, and especially anyone who is going to get married. I appreciate the effort to try to go a bit dark to off-set all this hyper love stuff, but that’s a lot of people to slaughter. Are you talking about every form of love? Even non-romantic friendship love and familial? Because that’s damn near everyone.
They’re also very blatant about her getting a fake ruby ring at the beginning. Gee, I wonder if she’ll use it as a decoy because she knows the enemy is after her real one. Oh look. She does. I have no problem with this trick as it’s actually pretty clever, but they shouldn’t have shown her clearly buying this fake ring at the start. Have it be a surprise.
As for the second half, the bad guys knock out everyone in school, including Hinagiku and Yuri, and Momoko transforms into her completely impractical wedding dress and somehow gets on the roof while wearing it.
Oh well, at least she’s getting more mileage out of it than most people who spend $4000 on a dress they wear once….Man, I’m being really negative about romance today.
I will give them props because they chose to show that this wedding dress is, SURPRISE, insanely stupid to wear while trying to fight someone. She’s stumbling all over on the roof while Pluie is slashing at her with a sword, and she nearly gets killed after losing a shoe. Good transformation choice, Aphrodite. Next time, call in the god of fashion.
Limone tells her to change her dress into Fighter Angel mode, and I feel the need to repeat myself from last time – why is this not default? What, besides wedding aesthetics, is the purpose of the main dress transformation?
Her Fighter Angel mode, which she summons by saying Wedding Armor Peach, is laughably ironic, because, gurl, you barely have any armor on. Yeah your boobs, two inches of your right thigh, your wrists and your shoulders will be very safe. Thank God you don’t have any more vital points on your body. Granted, this is probably the most armor any magical girls get, but calling it ‘Armor Peach’ is like calling me a Earthbender when I throw a rock.
Correction: Either the subs were wrong or I misread them (I no longer have the same video file to check) but, as per what someone pointed out to me and what I read in the subs for episode 4 “Wedding Armor Peach” is meant to be “Angel Amour (As in love) Peach” so my little tangent there was unwarranted. I apologize.
Limone tells her to use her brooch to use a new attack called Saint Mirior (Not a typo?) Bridal Flash, which is actually a cool laser beam….that, of course, is in the shape of a heart.
I always feel like the main character completes a tutorial level in episodes like this. “How do I fight?!” “Press B to use Saint Mirior Bridal Flash!” “Success! You’ve completed a quest!”
Everyone wakes up and the girls believe they took a catnap because it’s warm out, not remembering seeing Pluie or Jama-P before they were knocked out. Okie dokie. You girls might want to get a CAT scan.
This episode is half irritating and half pretty much just establishing more vital parts of the show. I might be able to forgive the never ending panty flooding for Yanagiba and the constant fighting over him taking up way too much time in the episode again, if not for the fact that the second half is pretty lazy.
All Pluie did was put everyone in the school to sleep and try to nab Momoko’s ring. That’s it. No clever plan. No monster of the week. No trap. Just snatch and grab. He would’ve been better off mugging Momoko for crying out loud. At least then he’d think to check her pockets.
After hearing more people say how much they like this show, I hope to enjoy it more organically in future episodes. As of right now, I’m just enjoying it for the typical magical girl goofiness that I always have a soft spot for. It does take a handful of episodes for shows to get their footing and I gave Bakugan, of all things, more leeway than this, so here’s looking to brighter days.
Next episode, Momoko, Hinagiku and Yuri help out Momoko’s photographer father at a wedding. The groom is closely related to someone on the soccer team, so everyone’s there.
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Plot: On the island of Orth, a massive pit called the Abyss beckons explorers with strange creatures and valuable relics. No one knows how deep the Abyss truly is, but cave raiding is so important to the city that even children are put to work excavating the Abyss.
One day, a lowest ranked cave raider, Riko, finds herself in mortal danger only to be saved by a mysterious burning light. The light originated from a boy lying unconscious very far from her location. She believes the boy to be a robot due to his metal arms, strange metal helmet and oddly textured skin. The boy that she names Reg has no memory of who or what he is, nor does he remember anything about Orth or the Abyss.
What secrets lie within the Abyss? And where did Reg really come from?
Breakdown: I caught a few glimpses of this show in an AMV a while back and it looked interesting. The art style for the characters looked simplistic and the characters didn’t seem like they had much to them, but I was intrigued by the concept and who doesn’t love cyborgs?
Now that I’ve given it a shot, I have to say it seems pretty good. It’s a fairly unique plot and setting, and I’m really curious as to the mysteries of the Abyss, especially Reg’s origins.
They introduce the characters pretty well. Riko is a hard worker, but she’s also a trouble maker. She really wants to rise through the ranks so she can go to the same levels in the Abyss as her mother.
Nat is a bit harder to pin down. He is less enthusiastic than Riko, but is nice enough.
Shiggy seems like the brains of the group, both making them a plan to sneak into their orphanage and creating a device to awaken Reg.
Speaking of the orphanage, how messed up is this place? Granted, the classroom is awesome, even if it’s an accident waiting to happen with everyone’s desks attached to the walls, but they’re all forced to be cave raiders and give over everything they find to their superiors to help pay for the orphanage.
It’s also really unclear as to whether these are even orphans. The head woman talks about their parents as if they’re still alive maybe, and Riko definitely talks about her mom as if she’s alive.
There’s not much to say about Reg yet. Being a character with amnesia, his dialogue consists heavily of just asking questions and looking around. Plus he’s only been awake for about a third of the episode. He could be a little funny, though.
I don’t know what to make of Leader yet. He seems like he genuinely cares about the kids, but he seems like he’s keeping secrets and might be an asshole deep down.
As I mentioned, the art for the characters is pretty simplistic, foregoing noses and making everyone’s head appear very rounded. It’s not bad, and the animation is very fluid. Plus, the landscapes are really nice. Not as awe-inspiring as I’d really like of a show like this, but very good.
The music is pretty mellow and nice to listen to, and the voice acting was all very well done even if Riko’s VA was getting a little grating. It’s mostly because she’s one of those characters who basically yells all of her lines.
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Plot: Taichi and Zero’s battle against Neo and Arkadimon is reaching a peak. Thanks to the data Hideto and Omegamon gained from Arkadimon, Zero manages to dodge the Dot Matrix attack several times, draining Arkadimon of its energy and giving Zero an edge. However, Neo isn’t done yet. He uses the power of the Digimental to evolve Arkadimon into its Super Ultimate form, which can use an even more powerful version of the Dot Matrix called the God Matrix.
Zero valiantly sacrifices himself in an effort to save his friends, but just when all hope seems lost, Zero’s ability to overwrite his lost data causes him to reform into the amazing Alforce V-dramon!
Able to rewrite his destroyed data even faster and shield himself from impending attacks, Alforce V-dramon, with the help and support of Taichi, gains the upper-hand yet again.
Incredibly angered by yet another miracle Taichi and Zero pulled off, Neo yells in rage at these ‘bugs’ seeing them as nothing but accidents that he wants to wipe clear from the world – so people like Rei will never suffer from another horrific incident ever again.
Upon hearing Neo’s words, the group tries to convince him that this isn’t the way to stop terrible events like that from happening. Rei also admits that her devastation after the accident wasn’t because she lost the ability to walk – it was because Neo changed so much after it happened.
After Rei nearly sacrifices herself to get Neo to come to his senses, Arkadimon suddenly reverts back to Ultimate form. Neo’s will to fight seems to have waned, but the battle’s not over yet.
Arkadimon suddenly speaks and reveals that it’s actually Demon, having finally been able to retake the Digimon’s body after being absorbed by him. The combined version of Arkadimon and Demon proves to be too much for Zero, and Demon moves on to his true plan – opening a portal to the real world and causing mass chaos by infecting them with his Dark Virus. With them out of the way, both the real world and the Digital World will be his to command.
In a last-ditch effort to save both worlds, Taichi grabs the Digimental and uses it to turn Alforce V-Dramon into his Future form! Powered by the support of Taichi and his friends and fueled by the light of the future of both worlds, Zero strikes down Demon, destroying Arkadimon once and for all.
With Arkadimon defeated and Neo stood down, Taichi and Zero bid farewell to the Digital World and all of their friends so they can return to the real world.
Taichi meets up with Sigma, now without his mask, Mari, Hideto, Rei and even Neo as they enter another Digimon tournament…..only for Taichi to be turned away when Zero is, yet again, not recognized as an official Digimon, thus making him ineligible to enter.
Neo declares himself unfit to be a true Tamer unless he defeats Taichi, making them friendly rivals. When Neo wins the tournament, he, Taichi and the rest of the group link up for more Digimon battles as they head for the bright future Zero and Taichi set them on.
Breakdown: Going into the final volume, I was worried about a couple of things.
1) How they’d deal with redeeming Neo, and 2) How they’d manage to defeat Arkadimon.
In regards to the latter, it was a bit on the predictable side, particularly with Zero’s sudden evolution, but it was well-written and exciting. Plus, Alforce V-Dramon is too awesome. I’m so disappointed we only got him for a few chapters.
I won’t lie, I was tearing up when Zero seemingly sacrificed himself to save the others. I pretty much knew he wouldn’t be gone for good, but that scene really got me.
The reveal that Arkadimon was taken over by Demon was….not really as predictable, and it did save Demon from being merely a footnote villain, but I feel like there wasn’t enough written into Demon for his reveal to really be all that grand. He’s about as generic as his name.
His motivations are that he’s tired of Digimon being subservient to humans despite their massive powers. He plans on taking over the Digital World with his power and taking over the real world with his Dark Virus that will manipulate everyone’s emotions and cause chaos.
It’s a far cry from the plans Neo had of just flatout destroying both worlds and making a new one.
Speaking of Neo, we have to address the Elephantmon in the room – How is Neo going to be redeemed?
I’ve said a few times now that Neo’s pretty much gone beyond the point of redemption in my eyes. He’s been so malicious and horrible to pretty much everyone, including Rei and Hideto, that any redemption for him would feel cheap.
And I wasn’t wrong.
Neo’s redemption is in the ‘reveal’ that he’s been doing all of this to create a utopia, or Arcadia, so accidents like the one that robbed Rei of her ability to walk would never happen again.
He has said several times that he didn’t even so much care about that anymore. He just wanted power and to destroy both worlds. He’s even been a dick to Rei in the meantime to achieve this, and yet his motivation circles back around to his deep love of his sister and his guilt for her condition. How does that work?
Not only that, but they imply that Demon was manipulating him the whole time with the Dark Virus, amplifying his emotions and making him so ridiculously evil, which really feels like the bigger cop-out.
I feel it’s very appropriate to compare this plight with that of Ken from Adventure 02.
Ken was a tyrant. He wanted all of the Digital World under his control and every Digimon his slave. When the Chosen Children showed up, he didn’t care who he hurt, human or Digimon alike, or even if he’d end up killing Digimon or people. He just wanted power and control. Sometimes, he just wanted to see others suffer.
In a lot of ways, it was difficult to see redemption for Ken too. However, they did a pretty good job with it. He didn’t see Digimon as living, breathing creatures – he just saw them as data. He didn’t see the Digital World as a real world – he saw it as an escape – a computer program he could run off into and do whatever he pleased.
This falls apart when he starts putting the lives of other people in peril, however, especially in that episode where he pretty much made a game out of tormenting Daisuke over saving one of his friends or watching them all die.
However, you might say that’s due to madness because of his intense self-loathing over feelings of guilt with the death of his brother, Sam. It’s even possible that, given he believes the Digital World is just a game and nothing that happens there is real, that the lives of the others aren’t really in actual danger, but that’s extremely muddy territory.
Still, no matter what he believed, those actions are things he’d have to make up for, which he did. He paid for it in the loss of Wormmon, his partner, the realization that all of the pain and suffering he was causing in the Digital World was real and not a computer simulation, falling into such deep mental shock that he was essentially in a comatose state for several days, haunted by terrible memories of his past, and gets a massive tongue lashing by the reborn Digimon in Primary Village who had felt the sting of his whip firsthand. He even took it upon himself to start taking down the Dark Towers and making amends to the Digimon, no matter how harsh the scorn was from both them and the Chosen Children.
He also eventually joined the other Chosen Children to help save the Digital World time and again.
Even though it is later revealed that Ken also has something amplifying his dark feelings with the Dark Seed, that didn’t really matter. He still took responsibility for what he did and what he was. He accepted the mistakes he made and worked towards making up for them and being a better person. He also had to work on his relationships with all of the Chosen Children because, of course, practically none of them wanted to believe or trust him right out the gate.
Neo, however, doesn’t go through the same suffering. Despite doing as much damage if not worse in this manga, his redemption amounts to him just getting a dose of reality from Rei talking to him about never giving up and her nearly getting herself killed (or killing herself? It’s never really made clear) to talk sense into him. He just suddenly realizes that he was wrong and joins the good guys.
This is an actual page.
Neo doesn’t suffer at all. Sure, he beats himself up a little for Rei’s accident, but his drive is moreso trying to wipe the possibility of tragic accidents from the world. If he sees what happened as truly an accident, he’s not guilting himself too much.
He also doesn’t own up to all of the pain and suffering he caused, both for people and Digimon. He yells when he realizes he’s been stealing the futures of others for his own means, but it only lasts about three panels.
He never feels guilt for destroying Piemon, treating Greymon like garbage and deleting him, deleting him again as MetalGreymon after he suffered so much to come back from death just to be of use to Neo, nearly destroying Omegamon, any of the other Digimon he destroyed to feed Arkadimon, wanting Arkadimon to use a slower version of the Dot Matrix so Zero and Taichi will suffer more during Zero’s death, he never apologizes for hurting the other kids or saying the terrible things he’s said – he just frowns and saves Taichi from falling off a cliff.
Never is there a moment of actual suffering or repentance. He doesn’t even stick around in the Digital World to help rebuild the place or make amends to the Digimon. He leaves for the real world and calls it a day.
There is one moment where Taichi and the others meet up before he departs for the real world, and they explain that Neo was too ashamed of what he had done to face them so he left without them….which is about a thousand times worse. Ken not only went back and faced his mistakes, he actively went into the Digital World to fix things and make up for what he had done, as much as he was able to anyway.
Neo’s such a bitch he wouldn’t even look everyone in the eye? He just lolnoped out of there and never looked back?
He did all of those terrible things and never even apologized to anyone for it. Back in the real world, Neo is just another one of the group now, even back with the friends he betrayed. The only thing he says is that he can’t be a real Tamer unless he defeats Taichi…..which is basically looping back around to his beginning motivations, only seemingly not malicious this time.
Another way they balk out on Neo’s evilness is through the Digimental. It’s only meant to activate with someone’s pure heart, so they were shocked to find that Neo could use it. His “pure feelings” of wanting to make a utopia for Rei was what fueled it…..
Pile the influence of Demon on top of that, and I guess we’re just supposed to accept that Neo’s actually a good guy and not expect him to have consequences for his actions. Bull. Shit.
He was an asshole seemingly even before he came to the Digital World, hence why Rei started becoming miserable. Even before her accident, he was a jerk. Remember when he told Hideto to just delete Wargs and Melgs because they were seen as weak in his eyes?
He also knew from the beginning that the Digital World and Digimon were real, but he didn’t care. In addition, his drive during the first few volumes was to be the best Tamer, then it evolved into him wanting to destroy both the real and Digital Worlds. I’m not sure how much Demon’s influence counts here, but I can’t imagine it’s much.
The overall battle was really great, though. Taichi and Zero’s interactions were amazing, and I love that their faith in each other never wavered for a second. They are a team of legends.
The absolute ending was good. I was bracing myself for Zero to die due to the effects of the Ancient coding within him, but I guess Zero’s going to live a long life now. I was at least expecting him and Taichi to need to part ways after everything was said and done, but I forgot that they can communicate through his v-pet device.
I was a bit upset that Piemon or at least a Digi-Egg for him was never recovered. Poor Sigma.
It’s a tad annoying that Zero STILL isn’t recognized by official sources and thus Taichi can’t enter tournaments, but he has friends to battle with whenever he wants and all he really needs is Zero by his side.
Overall Manga Breakdown: As a whole, I really enjoyed this manga. I think it’s a great read for both Digimon fans and non-fans alike. The pacing is a bit fast, but nothing too break-neck. They do slow down every now and again when it matters.
I really enjoyed the relationship between Taichi and Zero. I’d definitely rank them pretty high on my list of favorite Tamer/Chosen Children/Digimon pairings. Taichi and Zero don’t change much over the course of the series, but that doesn’t really matter. Character growth isn’t always a necessity, and I don’t think it was needed too much here. They definitely teach each other to not be so hot-headed and when to take things seriously.
Taichi and Zero pull a lot of wins out of their asses just because friendship and determination and what have you. Even Neo calls out these ‘miracles.’ I feel like this was more of a problem in the first half of the series since the second half, while still having plenty of these moments, has many more moments where they’re down and out or on the ropes. In addition, they make it clear that it’s not just Taichi and Zero winning these fights – without everyone else helping out in their own ways, hardly any of Taichi and Zero’s battles would’ve been won.
Some of the battles were really intense and creative. I especially enjoyed Taichi and Zero vs. Sigma and Piemon and the battle with Hideto and Omegamon. Despite the emotional moment getting to me, I don’t think the final battle with Arkadimon topped either, so that was a bit disappointing in that regard.
I came to really like all of the side characters, barring maybe Mari. Sigma in particular had a great story, and he’s adorable in the real world.
I loved the bonus chapters that allowed them to crossover with the anime characters in nearly all seasons. That was a fun little addition. I didn’t much care for the poop chapter, though….
My main problem really does lie with Neo as our main villain. He just wasn’t handled well at all. He was made ridiculously over-evil then we’re pretty much made to just forget every horrible thing he did and forgive him when he never even says he’s sorry for what he did just because he felt bad that his sister was paralyzed (but might be cured some day?)
The influence of Demon being a factor is way too weak for me to consider it a significant issue, and the role of Rei almost seems like a hasty mid-way rewrite since most of his motivation at the start was proving he was better than Taichi. He never thought about Rei back then.
Demon also wasn’t a compelling villain, especially as a final baddie. He’s just an evil power-hungry dude. The fact that he returned was a decent twist, but his motivations and goals are way too weak (much weaker and less interesting than Neo’s, anyway.)
Recommended Audience: There’s much more blood in this series than you’d normally see in Digimon, particularly with the Digimon themselves as Digimon typically aren’t supposed to bleed. There’s even some stuff that might constitute as gore. There’s no real swearing, nudity or sex. It doesn’t really get any worse in the final volume, and considering I’ve kept it at 8+ for most of the run, I think it’s safe to leave it that way for the entire series.
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The Dragon Ball franchise is a big part of my life as an anime fan. I’ve been following it since the original Dragon Ball first aired on Toonami. Dragon Ball was endearing and a lot of fun. It had memorable characters, interesting storylines and plenty of cool action that only got better as time went on. I instantly fell in love with it.
Then we moved on to Dragon Ball Z – the cultural phenomenon that caught everyone’s eyes with its intense action and epic fight scenes, as well as the continued development of old characters from Dragon Ball (To varying degrees of success, obviously) and new characters added to the mix all the time. Old enemies became friends, romance blossomed, families were created, new terrifying villains arrived and the earth was put in danger several times yet saved time and again by Goku and sometimes helped by not-Goku people.
But all good things must come to an end, and once Majin Buu was taken down for good, the series concluded.
In comes Dragon Ball GT – the “Let’s not talk about that” of the Dragon Ball franchise before Dragon Ball Evolution was released. Your mileage with this series probably varies quite a bit. I’ve definitely said my piece on the show a few times already, but at the end of the day, most people agree that even though the show brought some interesting ideas to the table, GT was ultimately an extremely disappointing followup to Z that once again ended with Goku ‘see ya’-ing his family – this time forever.
Luckily, considering Akira Toriyama’s very limited involvement with GT, most don’t take it as canon. Toriyama himself even treated the series as a non-canon side-story.
Then we got Dragon Ball Kai, (Or DBZKai if you need that unnecessary Z, everywhere else but Japan) and it was fine. Kai was just a remastered recut of the original Z series to basically update it, correct some things and remove all sorts of filler. Didn’t really make too grand of an impact, but it wasn’t meant to.
It’s all quiet on the DB front for a long time until 2013 when Akira Toriyama finally wants to do more Dragon Ball stuff again, starting with a new movie, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods, which I always meant to watch but never got around to, and then Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ which I never really intended on seeing just because I kinda got sick of seeing Frieza, and his golden form was ugly to me. Kinda lazy, too, quite honestly. Frieza has so many forms, he manages another and it’s just a gold-plated version of his final form?
When Dragon Ball Super came to town, I got a little interested, putting it on the backburner of the stove of shows I’ll catch in passing, which I did, quite slowly mind you. However, the more I heard about it, the less I wanted to keep going.
The fact that they retcon some stuff while not retconning others made me a little uneasy. Then we go to ridiculous Super Saiyan levels like blue, god, rose, rage, white, ultra instinct, mastered ultra instinct on top of all of the Super Saiyan forms that already existed when we, as a society, agreed it was already at comical levels merely with SSJ1-3….I just got put off. (Not to mention that all of these forms are just recolors of the same SS form. Give GT credit – SSJ4 was very unique and cool-looking, reintegrating the ape theme back into their designs in an awesome way.)
I know full well that when it comes to shows like this, tournament fighters/shounen fighting anime etc. you’re required to keep upping the ante so your audience stays interested. Many shounen shows don’t have too much problem with raising the bar over and over again, but they also have very emotional and interesting storylines as well as plenty of character development to keep it fresh. Dragon Ball doesn’t do this nearly as often as more modern shounen shows.
We have the deeply impacting moments like Frieza killing Krillin and Vegeta sacrificing himself for his family and humanity, enriched tragic storylines like Future Trunks’ timeline, drastic character development like Piccolo and Vegeta, but those are placed very far apart amidst a never-ending punch and yelling fest.
In addition, other shounen shows tend to have a lot of various powers and techniques that add some spice to the mix. Dragon Ball just tends to have a lot of the same attack with different set dressing. Like one attack will be purple, another will be a big ball, one will have more lightning, one will require different hand movements to use, the other will look more glowy – at the end of the day most of the attacks are energy beams/balls, and it mostly amounts to who has the biggest beams or….balls….
It’s the same old song over and over. Some strong baddies are coming to earth, let’s train to beat them, nearly everyone dies, somehow manage to beat the enemy, wish back everyone who died. Very rarely are there lasting consequences when people die in the DB universe. Even if they die for good, you will likely see them all the time with the only real difference being them having a halo over their heads. I would say there’s also the restriction of them not being able to return to the physical realm, but not even that seems to be a hard rule.
DBZ did this to the point of overuse. They had a whole arc in GT that only happened because they used the Dragon Balls too much. It practically became a joke. Yes, they did put limits on it like only being able to be wished back twice, but even that had a lot of loopholes (You’ve been wished back twice with THESE Dragon Balls, but we can go to another planet and use different Dragon Balls! Or the other Dragon Balls have different rules etc.)
I’m getting off track here. The point is that the DB franchise has a really cut and dry formula that they use over and over with even the highest of stakes (Even putting whole planets or, as we’ll see, universes at risk) seeming like they don’t matter much. While the action and characters can still be a lot of fun and really cool to watch, it’s empty calories after a certain point.
And there’s only so far they can go with such empty action. Logical power scaling eventually gets broken beyond repair if you go too far. Goku is already constantly at the top of any ‘strongest character ever’ list, and they START this series fighting GODS and then get literal god mode. How much further can you go after that?
What’s even worse is, I was looking at the episode list and I was shocked to see Goku already achieved Super Saiyan God status at episode NINE?! What the shit?! Goku was getting his ass gift wrapped for him in episode five, barely about a day has gone by and he’s already got his god mode and is facing off against Beerus for several episodes?! Just….WHAT!? No wonder they can go through so many new Super Saiyan modes if he’s already become a god before the episode number hits double digits.
I hope I’m not giving off an air like I’m above frivolous fun or empty action, because I’m not. I’ve always been very much of the mind that as long as entertainment is entertaining, it’s fine. I will still talk about the problems, but I just want to have fun.
That’s actually one of the things I liked as I started watching Super. Unlike GT, which pretty much failed in trying to meld the fun and adventure of the original Dragon Ball with the more intense action of DBZ, I think Super is doing a good job bringing a more laid back and humorous feel to the series, at least in the first handful of episodes. Even Beerus, the God of Destruction, is a fun enemy. I like that he’s so goofy about food and actually pretty respectful of people, to a point, while also being very intimidating at the same time.
I also liked how the first seven episodes brought most of the characters together and put some spotlight on Vegeta’s family. He’s still a grump, but he’s a family-oriented grump.
I didn’t much care for Goku ditching his family again, but at least they showed him having a job to support his family. Even though they just throw that away because Hercule gives him a bunch of cash out of the blue. Not to say Goku didn’t earn that money, especially coming from Hercule, but still.
Vegeta freaking right the hell out when Beerus slapped Bulma so hard it knocked her several dozen feet backward was something I was waiting for. I saw a gif of that a long time ago, and I was itching to see it in true action. As a fan of their relationship, having Vegeta flip his shit at Beerus, a being that he was previous kissing the ass of and trembling in fear of for the past couple of hours, for slapping his wife and then him yelling out ‘My Bulma!’ as he slams on Super Saiyan mode was just beautiful.
And that was the same episode in which I finally decided to stop watching it.
Well, in addition to the problems I already mentioned, episode seven was pretty much a trial of my patience. Outside of that one awesome scene, it was seriously nothing but a back and forth of the group getting their asses easily handed to them by Beerus and characters going on for WAY too long just looking on in shock and making weird straining noises because of all the shock. I nearly shut the episode off before I got to Vegeta’s big scene, even though I knew it was coming, because it was that obnoxious.
I’m fully used to the typical long stretches of screaming associated with this show. I’ve gotten pretty numb to it by now and there’s usually something intense happening while they’re screaming. Or, at the very least, we know for certain the screaming is building up to something epic. But this is just boring constantly straining noises and shock faces. It really got to a point where I finally connected with those people who make fun of anime by making shocked faces, yelling and completely overreacting for too long.
And, as someone who has watched Speed Racer and not really gotten that weird stereotype, that’s a very bad thing.
Not to mention how Vegeta has been really annoying this whole time with the aforementioned ass-kissing and how he’s just spending most of his time in complete shock and terror, before Beerus has even done anything, either.
I don’t know which was more irritating – Vegeta acting like a scared puppy with no plans to do anything about Beerus besides keep him fed and happy or Goku who seems to give zero shits about the threat this being is posing to everything he’s ever loved and is purely focused on the cool challenge before him.
….Probably Goku in hindsight because, while Vegeta is being more annoying on an audio and visual level, Goku is being way more annoying through his illogical behavior. At least Vegeta is scared out of his mind because he’s concerned about the well-being of his home and family. Goku’s just an idiot who, again, feels like he doesn’t take threats seriously until it’s far too late.
Do I even need to bring up how bad this series looks? Has it been run into the ground too hard? ….Eh, probably, but just for good measure – Do you guys at Toei maybe wanna pull a few more dollars from your ass or give your animators more time to work? Because so many shots, and I definitely don’t just mean tweens, look terrible and the animation as a whole is very uninspired. Say what you will about how dated or cheap the older DB titles look sometimes, at least the direction is interesting and the animation is done in such a way that you’re never bored. Super, however, is.
And, no, like Sailor Moon Crystal, I don’t really care that they went back and redid the animation to look better for the Blu-Ray and DVD versions, especially since I’m working from the streaming Funimation copy. They should know how to do that out the gate now. It really seems like Toei cheaps out on the animation until they know the show is a hit and then they decide to spend a few more bucks to make it look good because then they deem it worth it.
I’ve heard that way down the line the animation gets better from the ground up, without needing to be redone, and is more consistent, but I don’t think I have the patience to wade through so much bad just to get to ‘A bit better.’
In addition, this may seem petty, but the designs of most of the antagonists for the series seem very lackluster so far. Most of the enemies in the DB series have been very memorable and striking, even when they have several forms. Even the more minor enemies had very unique designs. The creativity certainly tapered in GT to the point where they weren’t really making new villains as they were just making redesigns of old ones. Baby is probably the most notable design there, and even then he’s not much to write home about.
In Super, however, other than Beerus, I feel like most of the antagonists I’ve seen have been kinda boring in regards to design, very similarly to GT in that half of them just seem boring and the other half are basically redesigns of old characters. This isn’t a comment on their personalities as I haven’t watched far enough to explore their personalities – I’m simply making a note of their designs.
You might think I’m being really unreasonable to drop the series on those grounds, and maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m just being petty or an old grump yearning for the good ol’ days, but I think everyone knows when their time has come to drop a show and this was my time.
Outside of seeing the first female Super Saiyan, which, despite me complaining about the lack of one in GT, I felt was too little far too late, and besides seeing my boy 17 (He’s my favorite character) back and actually given a chance to shine on the good side, I don’t think there’s much for me to look forward to, really. I felt like episode seven was a warning signal that those things wouldn’t be worth my time in the end.
DBS has 131 episodes, and I just can’t find it in myself to watch all of that when I know the formula inside and out – when I feel like there’s absolutely no tension whatsoever because death and the destruction of the universe are basically par for the course for this show. It gets to the point where even the mindless action gets boring.
Also, I feel like these arcs will be very drawn out. As far as I’ve read, the first 13 episodes of the series are meant to cover the events from the first new movie, Gods of Destruction, while the second season covers the second movie Resurrection ‘F’. 13 episodes each to cover two 90 minute movies? I’ll admit that I very well could be wrong about this part as I haven’t watched enough to really know, but considering how padded episode seven felt, I can’t help but think this is probably right.
I know the other arcs aren’t meant to cover movies, but still, DB was never known for its great pacing.
Outside of a few amusing moments and some nostalgia, I just felt like I wasn’t getting much enjoyment out of the series and didn’t really think I’d get much out of anything else that came my way. Even with all of the stuff I’ve read online about future plot developments, I couldn’t really care enough to want to continue, let alone continue for over 120 episodes.
Beerus and Whis are really fun new additions, but they’re not enough to make me want to stay, especially since Beerus is also an asshole who blows up planets for fun and tries to kill people over pudding.
Let me end this by saying that if you’re enjoying or have enjoyed DBS and are looking forward for more continuations, more power to you. I don’t blame you at all for liking it, because I can see things in this series that are very enjoyable. I just think that, for the moment anyway, Dragon Ball titles have ceased being my cup of tea. I feel like there are other things I’d much rather be watching. The characters and relationships and the world they created will always be precious to me, but I’m just having trouble getting into the latest ventures and don’t have the drive to keep waiting for it to wow me.
I’m sure I’ll read some cool developments online in the future about these beloved characters (as I’m writing this, supposedly Yamcha got a time to shine in the latest manga venture) maybe I’ll grab one of the newer movies if I feel in the mood, maybe I’ll even read the manga (I am reading the manga, technically, but I’m way the way way back in classic Dragon Ball) but for now, Dragon Ball Super, I think it’s time we parted ways.
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