Hell Girl – Two Mirrors Episode 24: Chain Reaction Review

Plot: Everyone in town has been going insane with Hell Girl’s power. People are disappearing left and right, and each client is using Takuma as a scapegoat to shift suspicions away from them. Detective Meshiai continues to investigate Hell Link in order to get his missing sister back, stumbling upon an interesting book on the matter from a familiar friend in the process.

Meanwhile, Hotaru is brought on a messed up tour of the realm of eternal twilight by Kikuri. What truths will she uncover there?

Breakdown: Previously on “This Kid Can’t Catch a Fucking Break,” Takuma was literally and figuratively damned by the entire neighborhood after more people started blaming him for bad things happening around town. Specifically, some Hell Girl clients were explaining away the disappearances of their targets to the cops by saying they saw Takuma with them at the time of the disappearance.

A detective examining the missing persons cases, Seiichi Meshiai, was suspicious of the boy as a result, but he maintained his innocence since there was no actual evidence against him. People were claiming that, in addition to his own mysterious hellish powers, Takuma was continuously using Hell Link to send people to hell, which is why these people were disappearing. Meshiai especially didn’t believe that, but it didn’t stop the neighborhood men from staking out his house night after night. The group was lead by a man who directly blamed Takuma for his target disappearing, wishing to throw suspicion off of him even further.

Yoshizaki, the woman who sent Kakinuma, the one who initially started the horrible ‘devil’s child’ rumors, killed Takuma’s mother and assaulted his father so badly he fell into a coma, went to the police station to help clear Takuma’s name a little, but ran away when questioned about Hell Link. On her way home, she crashed her car and died. At her autopsy, Meshiai noticed an odd black mark on her chest.

Meshiai’s little sister, Hotaru, seemed to have even more sympathy for Takuma and believed he was innocent of everything being accused of him. However, she still thought he knew more than he was saying and thought Hell Link was nothing but a silly rumor.

To change her mind, Kikuri whisked her away to the realm of eternal twilight….while she was still in Takuma’s house….

Meshiai headed to Takuma’s house to find his sister, with the neighborhood watch men in tow since they watched her go in. Takuma let them in, but lo and behold, Hotaru had vanished. The man who lead the stakeout pinned Takuma against the wall and tried to force him to confess that he sent Hotaru to hell, but Takuma wouldn’t.

Suddenly, the man vanished himself. He was the target of the wife of the man he sent to hell earlier. She targeted him to avenge her husband. One of the neighborhood watch members rushed out of the house in fear, ready to spread the word of his first-hand witness to Takuma’s ‘powers’ over town. Meanwhile, Meshiai didn’t know what to think, but knew he had to find his sister. Takuma was once again left alone with his increasingly troubled thoughts.

And now….

Is it possible to hate a whole town of people? Because I hate this town of people.

If they aren’t flippantly sending people to hell at the drop of a hat and blaming Takuma for it, they’re spreading rumors about the kid and continuing to torment him.

In a way, this is a very interesting (read: depressing) look at humanity. So few of the clients in these past few episodes truly seem to grasp the weight of what they’re doing, like most of the clients we see in one-shot episodes do. Damning yourself to hell to get rid of someone you hate is a heavy burden, but every client in this episode just seems to be petty dicks who don’t give a single crap that they’ll go to hell when they die.

Even if ‘the devil’s child’ is a literal get-out-of-jail-free card for these assholes, Ai still always informs them of the price of their actions. They just don’t care.

While some of these people do seem to have legitimate, albeit petty, reasons for hating the people they’re targeting, like blaming their parent for their current mess of a life or detesting that their husband is never home and doesn’t pay attention to the client anymore, it gets to a point where it’s just ‘I just hate you, lolbai.’

And I can understand a little once it reaches a point where it seems like the whole town is damned, but are there so few people who would refrain from killing someone anyway? And if the whole town is damned anyway, why bother killing these people in the first place? Takuma’s gonna strike them down with his Damian powers sooner or later, right? Why sign on the dotted line on your hell contract just to get them there a few weeks, days or even hours faster?

There was one circumstance where I almost felt bad for someone calling Hell Girl. She said the town is such hell now, and she thought she was damned to hell anyway just being there. But then she flips her evil villain switch and goes ‘But if I’m going to hell anyway, I’m going to take someone with me and blame the devil’s child for it!’ Like, come on. Is there a single person in the entire town besides Takuma and Meshiai that isn’t a raging lunatic dickwad?

And if you thought the townsfolk were scared of Takuma before, holy shit, has it gotten so much worse. The newest rumor is that if your eyes meet with Takuma’s, you’ll eventually disappear. It’s not just whispers and glares anymore. People are screaming, shaking and fumbling over themselves in his presence. Takuma went to the grocery store and the cashier broke his eggs trying to get them to scan because she was shaking so much. So she fell over and groveled on the ground for his forgiveness.

Oh yeah, don’t feel too bad for that cashier. She’s the bitch I mentioned in the paragraph preceding that one….

There’s a group of girls at that same grocery store who flip out over seeing Takuma, and one of them meets his eyes, and then later the girls are trying to send each other to hell because fuck if I know.

Everyone is going insane. Over the course of just one night, there are several people in the same town that are sent to hell. It’s become such a widespread issue that even companies are struggling to stay functional because so many of their important employees are disappearing. To say Ai and the Hell Team are busy would be a massive understatement.

This situation actually brings to light a question I had a while back – what happens if all of the Hell Team are out as dolls at the same time? The answer is

They don’t really address it, sooo….yeah. Also, doesn’t Ai cater to all of Japan at least? If all of this attention is being directed to this one town, are they even visiting other places at the moment? Also, also, if everyone is blaming Takuma for this, why has no one yet tried to send him to hell?

Back with Hotaru, she’s having a blast being scared out of her mind at the sight of the true face of Ai’s grandma and learning all of the horrific secrets of Ai’s world.

As she learns this first-hand, Meshiai learns about it by reading a book he got from the library. A book written by….

HAJIME!

He’s never shown from the front and he looks kinda worse for wear, but Hajime wrote a book on the truth about Hell Girl, which is pretty much just explaining how she works and not so much explaining her actual backstory. I assume that this is what Ai’s grandma tasked Hajime with in order to earn his escape from the realm of eternal twilight.

He paid for the publication of the book out of his own pocket with the aim of, supposedly, having the story reach anyone who would listen and spread the word. For what reason? Who really knows? Maybe it was Ai’s grandma, trying to get more people to invest in the legend and use the service so Ai would get closer to her goal of being relieved of her duties. Maybe it was Hajime wanting to warn others or inspire them to not use it because of the very real danger. It’s not really that clear.

Hajime never appears in the series again (I know I said that last season, too, but technically that brief shot of him here could constitute as a flashback since it was showing him writing the book) and it’s kinda implied that he passed away. None of the police can track down anything about him outside of information on the publication on the book, and no one can confirm whether he’s alive or dead.

Tsugumi shows up and also kinda implies that he’s dead because she explains that the book was something he wanted to leave behind and she looked as if she was going to cry when she begged Meshiai to believe Hajime.

Yes, Tsugumi shows up too. She shows up in person briefly. She was seemingly called by Kikuri, but for what purpose, again, I can’t be certain. Maybe to give him more of a reason to believe the story? Even though she didn’t say much – she didn’t even tell Meshiai her name, which would have been useful because Hajime mentions her at the end of the book.

Hotaru’s exploration into the realm of eternal twilight leads her to the space which holds the thousands if not millions of candles that are lit when clients pull the string. Hotaru comes to conclusion that this proves Takuma is innocent and not a devil’s child because she can’t find his name, but, girl, there are so many candles, there’s no way you searched through all of them.

Either way, Meshiai kinda ‘proves’ Takuma’s innocence the same way. After learning that clients gain a black mark on their chests after pulling the string, he goes to Takuma’s house and asks him to show him his chest to see if he has a mark or not (Even though, you’d think Hajime would have included a note that, I strongly assume anyway, once you’ve sent someone to hell…that’s it. You most likely can’t use the service again because your soul, which is used as payment, is already damned. You can’t damn yourself twice. So, obviously, Takuma is not responsible for the string of disappearances anyway. I guess it could be to also clear him of the disappearance of Kakinuma, but Yoshizaki already did that, presumably.) Takuma agrees, and Meshiai sees that there is no chest mark.

But then, as the show goes, things just get worse.

The neighborhood watch/stake out dudes/defense squad/dickheads whatever they want to be called, see Meshiai talking to Takuma in his doorway and one of them approaches him. When Meshiai reveals the information about the mark, the dude stops him from leaving and threatens him. When Meshiai grabs him, he realizes the guy has a mark – he’s used Hell Girl’s services and is also using Takuma as a scapegoat. If this information spreads and clears Takuma of any wrongdoing, the attention will go back to him.

The dude beats the hell out of Meshiai and convinces his cronies to follow suit by claiming Meshiai’s in cahoots with Takuma. The poor kid can do nothing but slam the door in shock at what he’s seeing and just try to block it out by curling up on the floor.

So….If these dickheads have no problem beating up a COP with sticks and shovels just on the belief that he’s siding with Takuma, as dark as this is, why have none of these guys just broken into Takuma’s house to kill him? I know they’re afraid, but the last group had no issue slamming him against the wall and threatening him. Just straight up killing him isn’t that much further to go. It’s not like the people who already used Takuma as a scapegoat need him to live.

“Yeah, but then they’d be charged with murder!” ~some random person, probably.

Uhm, pretty sure viciously beating a cop is basically as bad as killing someone. And this town is so messed up with so much hatred towards Takuma, I can bet they’d be let off on charges somehow.

I saw people in the comments acting like this is some big town scandal and they’re all letting Takuma live so that they can continue to have a scapegoat for future events, but all of these people are so selfish and evil, why the frick would they give a crap about whether or not other people can use him in the future? I mean, if the disappearances still happen even after Takuma is killed/sent to hell, just blame his vengeful ghost or something. It’s no more ridiculous than claiming he’s the child of the devil using an evil website to send people to hell.

Please note – I’m only questioning the logistics of their actions. I don’t want Takuma to die at all. That poor kid has been through way too much.

Meanwhile, Hotaru’s trip to the realm of eternal twilight ends when Ai saves her from the space where the candles are held. Hotaru tells her, rather facepalmingly (is that a word?), that people are being hurt from the use of Hell Link and she should stop it.

I nearly had to pause and giggle at that. Like….do you think she doesn’t know that what she does causes suffering? Don’t you think if she could stop, she would? Or that if she could stop and hasn’t yet the words of some teenage girl aren’t going to get her to change her mind?

Ai just tells her that the decision to stop is outside of her control and she brings Hotaru back to her world.

We leave off with Takuma crying in his doorway listening to Meshiai get beaten, Hotaru confused on the side of the road and Ai looking on at Takuma once more. One has to wonder if Ai is feeling more guilty this season since Takuma truly is innocent in all of this.

She felt more justified before because the people using her service were typically either good people who needed to resort to Hell Link to get rid of bad people or bad people who wanted to get rid of equally bad people. Rarely was the target innocent, but even when they were, that circumstance was so few and far between that it didn’t seem worth it to argue. They had to make up some ridiculously overly pure nurse and have her be targeted by some random psycho who immediately committed suicide after pulling the string so they wouldn’t have to explain why he did it. That’s how difficult it was for the writers to come up with a circumstance where an innocent person was targeted by a Hell Girl client.

Here, not only is Takuma an innocent party who has even refused Hell Girl’s service in the past, when it could have spared him such grief and suffering, but Ai sees herself in him as their stories are somewhat reflective of each other. She not only sympathizes with him, but she probably worries about his soul – fearful that he may end up serving a horrible penance as she is.

Again, we have an episode that is good and interesting, but goddamn it is so depressing.

And I really hate to say this, but we’re STILL not at the worst part yet. Takuma has to suffer more, Meshiai has to suffer more and even Hotaru has to suffer more.

Rating: 8/10

Next episode, for all I just said about no one trying to kill Takuma, next episode….they try to kill Takuma. (In my defense, and this is going to sound bad, it took them way too long) And the angry mob of dickheads aren’t the only ones gunning for his life. An ally also tries to kill him. Dun Dun Dunnn…..Will anyone be left alive in this town after everything is said and done? Find out in the final two episodes.


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SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 49: The Awakening of Blue – Another Appearance!

Plot: As the girls get ready to open the cafe, Shirogane makes a startling announcement – there is no need to open the cafe anymore. The staff of Cafe Mew Mew is going on vacation for a while. The reason? Shirogane and Akasaka are detecting wild energy signals in Tokyo similar to those detected during the previous massive disasters in other regions in Japan. The energy is growing more and more, but the odd thing is that no physical or visible disturbances have been reported in the area.

Shirogane and Akasaka are fearing the worst. The biggest battle of their lives might be just around the corner. In order to recharge everyone’s batteries and prepare, they thought it best to let the girls have a long vacation. While they’re all clearly concerned about what the future holds, they take Shirogane up on his offer and decide to take a break.

While all of the girls enjoy some down time, Ichigo discovers that Aoyama is mysteriously missing. He’s wandering the streets in a stupor towards some unknown destination – if he has any destination at all.

Back with the aliens, Kisshu explains to Taruto and Pai that he plans on taking the Blue Knight’s power and using that to restore their planet instead of relying on Deep Blue and waiting for him to awaken. He proposes that Taruto and Pai leave Deep Blue’s side and join his mission instead. While Taruto is more than willing to help out Kisshu, optimistic that his plan can work over Deep Blue’s promises, Pai can’t find it within himself to betray Deep Blue and refuses. Knowing that they’ll likely be enemies from here on out, Pai, Taruto and Kisshu part ways.

Kisshu and Taruto unleash Kisshu’s grand master plan. Over the time he’s been separated from Deep Blue, he’s been working on creating a massive legion of over 500 chimera animals to unleash on the city. Spread out over Tokyo, the girls will be distracted away from Kisshu’s real target – Aoyama, or more to the point, the Blue Knight. He doesn’t even really want all of Aoyama. He wants to extract his spirit. That way he has the Blue Knight’s power without the fuss of having Aoyama.

His plan seemingly works. While Shirogane eventually figures out that Aoyama’s the target, the girls are way too busy fighting chimera animals all over the city to help search for him. Ichigo’s focus is on Aoyama, but even she’s getting pulled aside to fight.

Kisshu and Taruto start extracting Aoyama’s spirit….but there’s a problem. The spirit won’t emerge – and when Aoyama breaks free of their assault, Kisshu and Taruto freeze in fear at the mere feeling of the power lying beneath Aoyama’s exterior.

Despite this, Aoyama falls unconscious. The aliens are confused, but they resolve to take Aoyama entirely – opting to figure out a way to extract his spirit later.

Thanks to the energy signal Aoyama emitted before he fell, Shirogane is able to get a lock on his location and sends the girls there. Ichigo arrives first, and her determination to protect Aoyama sends a much meeker Kisshu reeling back. At her call to him, Aoyama starts transforming while still unconscious.

Yet again, things take a turn for the peculiar.

The Blue Knight suddenly glows radiantly and all of the Mew Aqua in the area starts honing in on his location. In a massive surge of energy and a flash of colorful light – a figure emerges. He looks like the Blue Knight, but as the smoke clears, the truth is revealed.

Aoyama is actually Deep Blue. He has finally fully awakened, and he’s prepared to lay claim over the earth.

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– I find it rather touching that Akasaka and Shirogane do clearly feel guilty that they put all of this danger and responsibility on the shoulders of the girls.

– All of these quiet moments with the girls (along with this sweet, gentle song) are very nice. It’s good to see them get some quiet time and reflection before the end comes.

– Yet another instance of Lettuce/Shirogane ship tease. This one’s really sweet, too. I still don’t get the purpose of this. You don’t have to make them endgame, but don’t waste my and everyone else’s time by doing this stuff and not even bringing it up in dialogue. Even with Shirogane and Ichigo they bring it up numerous times, despite obviously not being endgame.

I’m probably just a salty shipper, but you’re sinking a ship you built in port, writers. Hell, you’re not even done building the ship. It shouldn’t be in the water. Considering Ichigo has three viable love interests who are fully infatuated with her, you could let one of the other girls have one. Just…just…one.

I’m not counting that guy that Lettuce had a crush on who was both way older than her and about to get engaged to another woman. I also don’t count Pudding’s fiance, because that makes me really uncomfortable because of the age gap and I still don’t think Pudding likes him like that. I mean an actual two way street. Sometimes, it’s nice to let the other girls have–*Rambling rant alarm* Oh fine, I’ll stop beating the dead horse.

– Sooo…the girls typically have to team up to take down one chimera animal, but Shirogane has no real doubt that the girls can take on around 100 chimera animals individually? Eh, I won’t really harp on this since, if true, this is pretty much a confirmed power boost to the girls.

– Is uh…someone gonna come by and help Pudding actually destroy her enemies? Because her attack only seals them in jello.

– Also, why are the chimera animals fully disappearing when defeated? Aren’t they just infected animals? Once they get defeated, they typically revert back to normal.

– Let me guess….Ichigo’s the only Mew who gets a full transformation today.

(One set of transformation sequences later)

Yup……The other transformations were only barely edited, but still. Jimmies are a little rustled.

– Pretty badass reveal of Aoyama’s true identity being Deep Blue. I always thought that was cool.

A little ironic that his eyes glow red as he becomes Deep Blue, though. I know red=evil but still.

– Kudos to the art and animation in the episode, by the way. It’s really nice. Top notch for the series.

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Overall, really awesome episode. My complaints are really just surface level stuff, even the little mini-rant about Lettuce and Shirogane isn’t technically important, even if it does make me sad.

From start to finish, practically everything in this episode was at its best. Nice, quiet moments with the girls, even if the weight of the future is hanging closely overhead. Intriguing mystery concerning what’s wrong with Aoyama and why he’s wandering around in a stupor. The aliens going their separate ways. A massive 500+ chimera animal attack with all of the girls getting individual battles. And, of course, the reveal of our main baddie, Deep Blue, and the revelation that Aoyama was Deep Blue this whole time.

Plus, the music was awesome – I especially appreciate them knowing when to use silence effectively (COUGHCOUGH4KIDSCOUGHCOUGH) and even the next episode preview was well done.

Yes, everyone. I am finally at an episode of Tokyo Mew Mew where I am almost entirely positive.

Told ya I’d get there.

Let’s let the goodness continue.

Next episode, Ichigo has to confront the truth about Aoyama and they all have to prepare for the wrath that Deep Blue is sure to bring upon earth.


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SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 50: Ichigo’s Trial – I Am A Mew Mew

Plot: The truth has been revealed – Aoyama was secretly Deep Blue the whole time.

Pai explains that Deep Blue is actually an amalgamation of all three beings. His spirit resided in the DNA of humans, and eventually his being split off into two mediums, Aoyama and the Blue Knight. However, his true form could not emerge unless he had met the proper conditions. Ironically, all of the conflict with the Mews triggered his Aoyama and Blue Knight forms to meet with his spirit and eventually awaken his true form. In the process, both Aoyama and the Blue Knight were erased from existence. There is only Deep Blue now.

Ichigo, paralyzed in shock, refuses to believe what she’s being told. She begs and pleads for Aoyama to remember her, but she’s only met with an icy stare that is soon replaced with an onslaught of attacks.

After Pudding and Ichigo have both been downed by Deep Blue, the girls resort to their only option – they may all be friends with Aoyama, and Ichigo may love him, but they have no choice – they must attack.

Ichigo, however, is still processing all of this. And now, she can’t believe that her friends have to resort to fighting Aoyama. While they give a good effort, the girls are quickly felled easily by Deep Blue.

Still lost in a delusion brought on by grief, Ichigo walks towards Deep Blue, showing him the bell Aoyama gave her and asking him to remember her. He swats the bell out of her hands and prepares to attack her. The other Mews stand in the way of the massive blast and get slammed into the nearby wall, causing them to de-transform.

Ichigo goes to them, still in a haze – confused as to what’s happening. Mint slaps her in the face and tells her that, while it’s understandable to need to grieve at this time, it’s also their responsibility to do what needs to be done to save humanity. She and the other Mews remind her of how much she’s brightened up their lives and all the good she’s done as a Mew, and now they need her to get up and continue being Mew Ichigo for the sake of the entire world. They return her bell to her, and Ichigo becomes reinvigorated by their words.

Just as she’s about to get back into the game, Deep Blue swings his powered-up sword and slams it into the ground, causing massive destruction within a mile radius. The Mews are able to weather the attack, but the other damage has been done.

Taruto, surprisingly, joins their side. He damns Deep Blue for his plan and supports a weakened Pudding. The other girls all get up behind Ichigo as she swallows her pain and sets out to attack as Deep Blue rears up for another assault.

As her Ribbon Strawberry Surprise and his powerful sword clash, she tries to remember Aoyama and everything they went through together. While she seemingly accepts that Pai was right and there is no Aoyama anymore, only Deep Blue, she resolves that she will wait to see his smile again no matter what.

Despite her power and resolve, Ichigo is starting to lose the battle against Deep Blue. As she staggers, Ryou (in Alto form) comes in to save her, cutting Deep Blue’s cheek in the process. Ichigo apologizes to Ryou, explaining that her voice no longer reaches Aoyama, but Ryou argues that that’s not true. There was a reason she was chosen to be a Mew, and her voice can certainly get through to him and save the world.

Ryou gives the other Mews the last bit of Mew Aqua that they have in order for them to transform yet again. Back in Mew form and ready for their final battle, the girls group up and attack Deep Blue.

For the sake of the planet Aoyama loved so much, they will defeat him no matter what.

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– I think it’s a bit overboard for Ichigo to nearly faint at the Deep Blue revelation. But this is anime, where girls are constantly fainting.

– Maybe he just figured this out right now, but Pai is talking as if he knew all along that Aoyama, the Blue Knight and Deep Blue were one and the same. If so, he’s either got a really good poker face or a lot of his past actions have become quite confusing. And if he did know the whole time, did Pai figure it out himself or did Deep Blue tell him? If so, why not tell Kisshu or Taruto?

– The solidarity that the girls have when they react to the Deep Blue revelation is quite sweet. Mint in particular surprised me by explaining that she always admired the relationship the two of them had.

– Wow. Mint’s second Mint Echo was really cool with the way she flipped and shot.

– Okay, I understand that Ichigo is really just…not here right now. She’s still in shock and everything, but when it reaches a point where she’s so delusional that she’s putting the other girls in harm’s way, that’s when I start getting agitated. Ichigo would have died if the others didn’t jump in front of her.

However, I won’t really rant about this because they do handle this situation quite well. Mint slapping her and ramming her back into reality was exactly what I wanted to see happen.

I can fully understand her being in shock and not wanting to believe what she’s witnessing, and it’s nice that the girls gave her time to weep while they took on the battle for a while, but they have a job to do and they know they can’t afford to allow her to stay like that forever. The longer she does, the more they and the world are put at risk.

It’s not that Mint and the other Mews are jerks about it either. After Mint literally slaps some sense into Ichigo, which was necessary, she and the other girls all give her sweet words of encouragement to help get her back up and into battle to save humanity. It may hurt, and it may suck, but that’s the situation presented before them.

It’s also for Aoyama’s sake. The Aoyama she knew would never want innocent lives to be snuffed out or for the earth to be destroyed by his hand. It’s not just about saving the world, it’s about stopping him from suffering the guilt of doing such a thing if Aoyama is still alive somewhere in Deep Blue.

– Okay, so the whole thing about them hypocritically destroying the environment while also trying to reclaim the earth for themselves wasn’t nonsensical, it was just the aliens wanting to ‘reset’ the world before calling their kind back to it……No wait, that’s still nonsensical. Do they have the ability to quickly regrow plants and respawn untold numbers of animal species? Do they have a whole ecosystem of their own animal species they want to transport here? I find it doubtful many animal species can live on their current planet if it’s such a challenge for their own species to survive.

They could have just left it at them wanting to destroy all of humanity and anything manmade. I really can’t wrap my head around why they’d want to destroy all living beings. Just seems like it would damage their cause or otherwise be a massive hassle for them for little reason.

– Wow, thousands of people had to have died in that first strike considering all the buildings that were destroyed.

– Pudding only mentioned needing to protect her brothers as she got up. She has a sister too.

– N’aw! Taruto holding Pudding up and asking if she’s okay. N’aw!

– Even n’awer him apologizing and Pudding saying she’s 100x stronger now that he’s here! I love these two so much.

– So…were Taruto and Kisshu also unaware of Deep Blue’s intentions on destroying the world (before reinvigorating it, I guess) while Pai knew?

– That monologue and clip show of Ichigo’s memories of Aoyama was very touching.

– Am I not understanding something? Why did Ryou need to be in Alto form when he came in? I mean, he managed to scratch Deep Blue’s face, but he could have easily saved Ichigo without transforming.

– *Ryou jumps over massive crater* ?!?!

……Well…I guess I can just chalk this up to Ryou’s Mew powers, right? Ichigo has similar abilities when she’s not transformed, so I suppose it only makes sense that Ryou has some, even if he doesn’t have an actual Mew form (outside of Alto.)

– Ryou: “You are the chosen super lady.” This isn’t the subtitles because I can specifically hear Ryou say “super lady.” I dunno, it’s just such a weird way to phrase that.

– Ryou: “So the one who can save the earth….Mew Ichigo. Only you can do it.”

Ryou: “Also, Lettuce, Mint, Pudding and Zakuro, your role…”

Zakuro: “I know. In order for Mew Ichigo to get the Mew Aqua in the end…”

Trying so hard to shove down the blatant Ichigo favoritism on display here as the girls are literally relegated to ‘helpers’ while Ichigo is ‘the only one who can save the earth.’ I am holding out that hope that maybe the other Mews have some big finale moment that I’m just forgetting about, but that line kinda dimmed that hope. It’s even more troublesome because I definitely remember the aliens’ big moment but nothing is coming to mind in regards to the other Mews.

I mean, at least they’re allowed to re-transform after all that, but still.

– And even in their last transformation of the series (I presume) they can’t give the other girls their full transformation sequences….

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I really do like this episode a lot, just not quite as much as the previous one, and, as petty as this is, yes, the only thing marring it enough for me to say it’s not at the same exact level as the previous episode is that frickin’ line about how Ichigo’s the only one who can save the earth and the other girls are basically just helping still.

Being absolutely fair, they kinda did get their time to shine…ish in this episode since they fought valiantly against Deep Blue. But even their combined efforts couldn’t make him flinch. Ichigo alone could clash energies with him head on for well over a minute before starting to falter.

And even though I did like Mint slapping some sense into Ichigo and the other girls building her back up to get back into battle, that is also technically more them getting focus because they’re supporting Ichigo.

I know, I’m sorry, it really seems like I’m harping too much on this, but I can’t help it. When I first made my review on Tokyo Mew Mew way back in the day, this aspect of the series was definitely annoying enough to note a few times. I thought rewatching this after so many years might give me a new view on this. Maybe there were moments I didn’t really give enough credit to. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as my inexperienced reviewer brain thought.

Now, even though I have gained more respect for certain aspects of this series on this rewatch, the favoritism thing….has only gotten worse the more I analyze the episodes. Before, I was really only complaining about how the girls don’t get more weapons and attacks or animal traits when not transformed like Ichigo does, or how Ichigo gets like every guy falling in love with her but the girls get practically nothing in the romance department, but now I realize how much the other Mews regularly take a back seat to Ichigo. Sometimes, they’re in the trunk!

Like I said, that bit of hope that my horrible goo pile of a memory is working against me is the girls each have their own bright moments to shine in the last two episode is still alive, but each episode episode that goes by makes me increasingly worried.

But enough of that malarkey, we’re heading into the final stretch and the entire world’s on the line! Can’t Ichigo’s voice truly make it through to Aoyama, if he is still inside Deep Blue somewhere? Can the Mews save the world from Deep Blue’s destruction? And what of the other aliens? Will they stand in their way?


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Hell Girl: Two Mirrors Episode 23 – Distrust Review

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Plot: Takuma continues to be targeted by people in the neighborhood with glares and rumors, and they’re getting worse every day. Now, he’s being directly blamed for disappearances caused by Hell Girl clientele from the clients themselves. As people get increasingly paranoid of Takuma, more people are demanding he be arrested, even though there’s not enough evidence to arrest him for anything.

No one will believe his story about Hell Link, and those that do believe Takuma is using Hell Link over and over to make random people disappear whenever he pleases. A new detective and his little sister investigate the disappearances and Takuma’s possible connection. Will they be the only ones to believe him? Or will Takuma continue to suffer alone?

Breakdown: Previously on “This Kid Can’t Catch a Fucking Break” Takuma, unjustifiably labeled as a murderer and ‘The devil’s child’ around town, finally found a friend. After drowning in loneliness without his parents and being shunned by everyone else, finding someone who neither knew nor cared about his sordid past and was willing to befriend him was more than welcome. Things looked up for about 12 hours until his new friend not only left town but was sent to hell soon after.

And now….

I warned you before that things for Takuma were only going to get worse. Well, welcome to worse.

While Takuma didn’t get blamed for Seri’s disappearance, he is getting blamed for another Hell Girl victim – and this time it’s entirely on purpose. Some asshat who sent a guy to hell because he made fun of his singing ability (I’m not kidding…) claimed that Takuma ‘ambushed’ them while walking home (Because a ten-year-old can totally ambush two grown men) and the guy who was hellbound walked off with him, never to be seen again.

You know how I frequently find Hell Girl stories bittersweet because I feel bad for the clients since they’re also booking a ticket on the cruise line down the river Styx? I don’t feel that for this guy. How ridiculously villain-esque is this dude to not only send a guy to hell for making fun of his singing but also to frame a CHILD on it?

It’s not even just that. All of the recent Hell Girl related disappearances seem to be getting blamed on Takuma either through simple rumors or the clients blaming them on him. Of course, there’s no evidence to pin anything on Takuma, but the rumors are getting so out of control that the men in the neighborhood, including the asshat who framed him, have started monitoring Takuma’s house at night, even implying that they might be rearing up to kill him if these activities continue.

It’s not only Takuma, either. It seems like no relatively good person can catch a single break.

Yoshizaki returns. She’s the woman who sent Kakinuma to hell – the man who started this whole ‘devil’s child’ thing and murdered Takuma’s mother as well as assaulted his father and sent him into a coma. She felt bad that Takuma was being blamed for what was partially her actions, so she decided to go into the police department to explain that Kakinuma had purposely vanished and Takuma had nothing to do with it. This testimony does help clear Takuma of those suspicions, but the main thing was accusing Takuma of the assault on his father and the murder of his mother, so this doesn’t really mean much of anything. I guess it’s the thought that counts. At this point, I’ll settle for anyone trying to help this poor kid.

Thing is….she dies immediately after going to the police station. Yup, dies in a car crash on her way home.

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I can’t make this stuff up. The world of Hell Girl is, for lack of a better term, cursed.

But hey, let’s keep this hell train going. We’re introduced to two new characters – Detective Seiichi Meshiai and his little sister, Hotaru. Meshiai has been tasked with solving the string of disappearances in the area lately that are all connected to Hell Girl. Like I mentioned, Takuma is being heavily blamed, either indirectly or directly, for the disappearances. Even though Meshiai is suspicious of Hell Link, he doesn’t put enough stock in the idea since it just seems like an Internet rumor to him.

Hotaru actually seems like a better detective than her big brother and figures out certain aspects of Takuma’s story that he couldn’t, but she’s still barking up the wrong tree because, like her brother, she doesn’t believe in Hell Link. She believes Takuma is entirely innocent, but he’s hiding something about the circumstances of his father’s assault and Kakinuma’s disappearance that is entirely non-supernatural.

Surprisingly, the Hell Team is watching over Takuma this entire time, and it seems like this time they’re not there for the sake of another client. They’re there because they appear to be legitimately concerned about Takuma. They want him to tell anyone who will even feign to listen about what happened to Kakinuma just to reach for the chance that someone may believe him and clear his name.

This is pretty big because rarely do they ever actively intervene in anyone’s lives, especially someone who is not a client.

But even this act of kindness goes horribly wrong and Takuma has to pay the price for it.

Hotaru meets with Takuma at his house to interview him about what happened during his father’s assault. Upset that Hotaru doesn’t believe for a second that Hell Link is real, Takuma goes off to his bedroom without another word. While the Hell Team tries to talk to him about it, Kikuri kidnaps Hotaru and takes her to the realm of eternal twilight.

Let me repeat that – Hotaru goes missing after several witnesses see her enter Takuma’s house.

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Have I mentioned I hate Kikuri?

Aforementioned asshat practically tortures poor Takuma into confessing that he used Hell Link to send Hotaru to hell, but Meshiai is actually the more reasonable one here and starts pulling the asshat off of him.

As terrible luck would continue to have it (or…maybe good luck in a way?) at that very moment, the wife of the guy who was sent to hell by said asshat reveals that she’s a client of Hell Girl. And, for some reason, she decided to pull the string just now, at the worst possible moment.

I say this because the guy disappeared while he was hurting Takuma, which obviously makes it seem like Takuma has the power to make people disappear. Another guy who was with the asshat crawled away from the scene, surely to spread the word on what he witnessed, so the rumors are sure to get out of control now. On the other hand, Meshiai now realizes that the power of Hell Link is real and may possibly be open to believing Takuma’s innocence.

At the end of the episode, Takuma isn’t arrested or anything and Meshiai is left with a tangled mess to sort out as he tries to get his sister back. Meanwhile, Hotaru wanders through the realm of eternal twilight and starts making her way towards the familiar house.

All in all, this is a good episode, but it’s also horribly depressing because every nice person keeps falling into terrible circumstances. Even though the asshat did get sent to hell in the end, I didn’t feel much in a way of catharsis because poor Takuma is going to be getting heat 100x worse now, Hotaru’s been kidnapped, Yoshizaki is dead (and in hell) and Meshiai lost his sister.

Rating: 8/10

Believe it or not, things are still going to get worse. Shit is going to hit the fan in the next episode.


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Higanjima (Manga) Volume 4 Review

Plot: Akira and Atsushi have finally reunited, and he reluctantly agrees to go help save Ken. They take advantage of the night of the full moon, when they’re not permitted to feed and aren’t as active. During their mission, Atsushi conveys valuable information about the vampires.

The vampires were all once human. The vampirism is actually a kind of virus that is passed through blood. They’re damned to be vampires forever, but there’s an even worse fate.

They need to drink human blood in order to stave off an even worse transformation – turning into a crazed monster called a devil.

Akira, Atsushi and the others have the bad luck of coming across a devil during their rescue mission. While they manage to save Ken, they cannot escape the devil. Even worse, the master of the island, Miyaki, has found them. He has mind control powers that they refer to as Psychic Jack, and he can control the devils all he wants.

However, his sights are truly set on Atsushi, whom he’s finally able to grab ahold of a brainwash. He sics Atsushi on Akira and in an effort to stop the fighting Yuki gets stabbed.

Breakdown: This volume amps up the stakes (lolpuns) even more as we learn that the vampires aren’t even what the group really needs to worry about, which is good because they were getting killed a little too easily for it to really be the main threat, no matter if they were slaughtering others.

Now we learn that the vampires can turn into devils, which are much more of a threat and much harder to kill. They need to prevent the vampires from becoming devils, but there’s the catch that they need human blood as a sort of medicine in order to stop it.

But that’s not the concern once we get down to it. The main concern is the devil before them and Miyaki. I assume Miyaki is our big baddie, and he seems fairly interesting so far. The fact that he’s a vampire with mind-control powers isn’t really new, but it’s pretty neat. Plus, he already turned Atsushi against them and even dealt a possibly fatal blow to Yuki.

This volume definitely amped up the action, though I’m sad Atsushi might be a mind-controlled puppet for however long. I like his character, so I’d rather him actually be….ya know…a character.

I’m excited to find out how they get themselves out of this one, if they even can.

Rating: 8/10


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Blog Update: 5/14/20 – Chaos in the Madhouse

This is a surprisingly accurate portrayal of me. Even the slow frame rate.

Hey people on the Internet!

How are you? I hope everyone’s staying safe and sane during this difficult time.

I haven’t made a blog update in a while, so I just wanted to take the time out to touch base with everyone about the state of the blog and some things I have planned for the future.

First of all, I know my postings have been spotty lately. I was on a schedule of uploading Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, but now I’m kinda all over the place. It’s a combination of several factors, but the main point is I’m still going to try to keep a three postings a week schedule, but when I post during the week will probably be less predictable than it has been in the past. I’m going to try to work out a more iron-clad schedule for later in the year, but this is what I got for now.

Secondly, very minor note, but I have updated the screencaps on the Yu-Gi-Oh GX SDC to more high-quality versions.

Thirdly, both my episode-by-episode reviews of Tokyo Mew Mew and Hell Girl: Two Mirrors are going to be complete soon. I plan on having them both complete by the end of May. As a result, I’ll be needing two new series to review episode-by-episode to help with quick content flow soon.

I was considering having Space/Time Detective Genshi-Kun/Flint the Time Detective’s SDC replace TMM since I want to crack another one of those out (I’ve been doing SDC’s for way too long to not have more than one complete series. Keep in mind, these started before my blog even existed.) and Genshi seems to have the least amount of episodes.

The main issue with that is that SDC’s take quite a bit of time to write and post, considering I need to watch slowly, I need to be watching two versions of the same episode at the same time and I need to take screenshots of every change. It definitely takes longer than merely watching an episode and reviewing it, so I’m worried I’d be very sluggish here.

I don’t really want to start the third Hell Girl series until October for Animating Halloween, so I have to choose something else to fill that spot. I do have some series that I’ve been reviewing ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak (Such as all of the Dot Hack anime series for a bulk review (Up to episode 6 for each), Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero (AniManga Clash) (Also episode 6) Three-Way AniManga Clash for Fruits Basket (Manga, 2003 and 2019 versions – Up to episode four here) and a ‘Clean Slate’ review of Evangelion (Up to episode five)) but I haven’t settled on anything as of yet.

Depending on how things go, there might be even more of a lull in posting if I have continued difficulty figuring out what should replace these two.

If anyone has any suggestions for successive reviews or comparisons (Episode by episode series, chapter-by-chapter or volume-by-volume manga etc.) you’d like to see replace either of these series, especially if they’re series I’m already working on as to help get more ‘completed”s under my belt, I welcome them. ♥

Finally, I have revived my dead DeviantArt account as I have been doing a lot more art over the quarantine. I have been doing art my whole life, and it’s very therapeutic, but I tend to get into massive lulls in drawing due to lack of drive and personal factors, so if there’s anything good that came out of this it’s getting me off my ass and doing more art, even if the quality varies wildly.

As of now, this really has nothing to do with my blog (Except I make some pictures of Pokemon lol), but I do have plans in the future for doing a one-art-per-review kind of series. I won’t be doing the picture alongside the reviews as they come out, that’d definitely be something I couldn’t keep up with, but for the series and movies I’ve reviewed in the past (Yes, even the bad ones), I want to make at least one picture in some medium about it. I think it would help me exercise my abilities quite a bit, especially with styles, and would be something fun and fulfilling. Hopefully you guys would enjoy it too. No idea when I’d start this, but I thought I’d share the idea with you anyway.

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For the most part, every blog series I’ve been doing is still business as usual. I’m really trying to pace myself because I know I have such a problem with doing too much at once, which leads to me never getting anything actually done, ironically (I mean, just look at when the reviews of TMM and Hell Girl: Two Mirrors started. Yikes. D:)

I really should dedicate whole months to getting big chunks of certain blog series done before I continue on with other stuff, because where I’m at now is just ridonkulous. I have years-old documents I still haven’t gotten around to posting yet, and I more commonly write and post new stuff to stay on schedule in order to ensure all of the series at least get one update sometimes. I am very uncoordinated blogger. 😦 Just gotta keep trying my best, I suppose.

Anyhoo, that’s all I got for you today. Keep staying safe, and thanks for sticking by me through all of this. See ya soon! 🙂

Hell Girl: Two Mirrors Episode 22 – Longing Review

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Plot: A familiar face, Takuma, shows back up on Ai’s radar. He meets a wandering girl named Seri who quickly forms a bond with him – something he desperately needs now that his mother’s dead, his father’s comatose and the entire town has ostracized him, believing he’s responsible for both events. Seri has a dream of going someplace far away, and she may need to resort to less than ethical means of getting what she needs to achieve her goal.

Breakdown: Previously on “This Kid Can’t Catch a Fucking Break,” Takuma was a normal boy who had recently moved back to Japan with his famous producer father and loving mother. However, almost as soon as they had arrived back in town, they started being targeted for harassment. Piles of garbage would wind up on their yard time and again, and fliers claiming Takuma was a ‘devil child’ who killed animals were being strewn about town.

These incidents escalated until it reached the point where the mysterious harasser shot Takuma’s mother in the neck with an arrow – killing her almost instantly. Takuma was blamed for the murder. Only his father believed he was innocent. And soon, not even that would matter.

The real culprit behind the incident was an old friend of Takuma’s father – a jealous writer who felt his failure was on Takuma’s father’s shoulders. Once Takuma’s father realized who was really responsible, the man viciously attacked him with a broken bottle, leaving him on the cusp of death. Takuma arrived on scene during the attack. Just as he was about to get assaulted as well, the man vanished – he was a target of one of Hell Girl’s clients.

As fate would have it, the police arrived on scene shortly thereafter. Seeing Takuma in front of his badly wounded father and no one else in the room, they instantly suspected him. The town’s ire towards ‘the devil’s child’ got exponentially worse. Takuma’s father was lost in a coma, and Takuma was forced to bear the brunt of the whispers, glares and general hatred and fear of him all alone. No one would ever believe the real assailant vanished in thin air…

And now….

Takuma episodes are just so depressing. There’s just no real turning back for this poor kid. Even if his father wakes up and tells everyone point blank that his son had nothing to do with his assault, no one will believe him. They’ll just believe it’s a father trying to protect his son from being ostracized. Even if they get new identities and travel someplace far away, what’s done is done. This kid has an assorted box of trauma-filled chocolates.

Today, Takuma lives alone because anime just does that, okay? No parents? Live alone. Don’t care how old you are. He was let off of murder and assault charges because there wasn’t enough evidence, which is understandable. He’s trying his best to ignore practically everyone whispering about him as he goes about life, but he’s obviously badly effected by it.

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A breezy girl named Seri, who seemingly has no idea of his past, befriends him. She explains that she used to live in the area, but her house was torn down for a train station that never got built due to lack of funds. She used to love going to a nearby creek, which was also destroyed, to see the frogs at night. The frogs were a nice distraction from listening to her parents argue. She grew to love frogs so much that she even has a frog charm on her cell phone and it’s very obvious that her favorite color is bright green.

Takuma and Seri bond very quickly – he even invites her to stay at his house while she’s in town, which she accepts. Apparently, Takuma’s yard is still covered in garbage – it’s unclear whether this is old garbage from the previous Takuma episode or new garbage from townsfolk who despise him.

It eventually comes to light that Seri is involved in some rather shady business. She wants to run away from the town forever and just live freely in some place where there will be a lot of frogs. She even invites Takuma along, though he declines because he has to stay with his father.

In order to leave, however, she needs a lot of money. Thus she started blackmailing a man named Hasue. He was one of the people involved with the destruction of her home, so he was a perfect target. She lead him into having a date with her and then threatened to tell his company that he was having an explicit relationship with a minor, even though they hadn’t done anything together.

He agreed to pay her off, but he started to back out. Seri decided to visit him at his house to talk about it….with his wife present. He vehemently denied the relationship, but the wife didn’t believe him. This was just a taste of the backlash he’d get if she told everyone about them.

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As a result, he once again agreed to pay her. He’d have the money for her the following day. Takuma tries to stop her, asking her to live there with him instead of running away, but she just hugs him, gives him the little frog charm as a gift and heads off.

Now, you may be wondering where Hell Girl and friends come in.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll……..

They pop up here and there throughout the episode, but we’re not really sure why until the end. Kikuri definitely makes her annoying ass presence known, however. She barges in on Takuma and Seri eating dinner and acts like a big pest. Hone Onna and Ai have to come in and wrangle her away. Also, she’s naked when they take her back and I have no idea why….She was wearing clothes when she entered the house….

When Seri goes to get the money from the mailbox, the designated drop-off location, we see who the client is. Hasue!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

….’s wife!

Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

Legitimately, this actually surprised me. I thought for sure it would be Hasue. But nope. It was the wife the whole time. She put fake money in the mailbox and pulled the string as Seri rode away on her scooter, relishing in the sound of the bike crashing.

I’m not really clear on why she did it – was it for supposedly sleeping with her husband or blackmailing him about it? Maybe a little of both?

I’m not really sure what the purpose of the fake money even was. Did she want to see if Seri would actually extort them before damning her to hell or was it for the lolz?

Kikuri returns shortly after Seri leaves Takuma’s house, because she’s a purple-eyed bitch, and explains that Hell Girl is here for Seri not Takuma, something she wouldn’t divulge earlier.

Struck with this realization, he rushes off to try and save Seri only to find her crashed scooter in the middle of the road and Seri nowhere to be found.

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In conclusion, Takuma made a friend for a day only to have her both leave him voluntarily and then get sent to hell immediately after. Not only that, but he’s standing in what could be considered another crime scene. They don’t show any police there, but he technically is.

This isn’t a bad episode by any stretch of the imagination. It was nice to get an update on Takuma, even if his life is horrible right now, and I liked seeing him have a confidant. The Hell Girl angle was also well-handled. The client’s identity really threw me for a loop, and the motive behind targeting Seri is understandable, even if the exact details behind why the wife was the client are a little hazy.

However, it is tainted by the fact that this episode is a bit overly depressing. Hell Girl’s not sunshine and butterflies (Well, okay, twilight sunshine and weird glowing butterflies) but I’m already sick to death of Takuma’s life being blown up ten ways to Sunday. The kid already has a shitty enough life. There’s no reason to have whole plotlines dedicated to beating him down some more. He’s a sweet kid and it’s just difficult to watch.

No matter what light MAY be at the end of the tunnel for poor Takuma, it won’t be enough for the viewer. He’s been through too much, and we’re still not done with the poor kid.

Yes, that’s right. The next episode also focuses on Takuma as we come down to the wire in episodes. What fresh hell awaits him? Find out next time!

Rating: 9/10


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SSBS – Tokyo Mew Mew Episode 48:The Labyrinth of the Alternate Dimension! Kisshu’s Gamble!!

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Plot: Aoyama continues to have the same nightmare about Mew Ichigo crying, only now the dreams are becoming slightly more detailed. There is a person lying on the ground in front of her in silhouette and she is yelling something inaudible before he wakes up.

Later, the Mew team enjoys some rare relaxation time in the woods. They have a nice barbecue and down some tasty shish kabobs for a while before Shirogane and Akasaka reveal the true reason why they brought them to this location – there was a signal from the last bit of Mew Aqua in the region. They’re now tasked with searching a perilous nearby mountain to find and retrieve the Mew Aqua before the aliens do.

The strange mountain feels more like a maze as the girls and Aoyama search. The sky turns an ominous green color, and Macha pops up detecting a nearby alien. Everyone transforms to prep themselves for the oncoming battle, but right as they finish, the ground splits beneath them and separates them all. The Blue Knight saves Ichigo from falling off the rock on which she was standing, but he falls into the abyss below as a result.

Now de-transformed, Aoyama finds himself face to face with Kisshu – alone – and Kisshu wants nothing more than to exact revenge against the one who ruined everything for him; his plans, his trust with Deep Blue and, most importantly, his chances with Ichigo. This whole excursion to the mountain was a trap of his design – he sent a fake Mew Aqua signal out to trap Aoyama and have a true one-on-one fight.

However, it’s not so much a fight as it is a brutal beating. Aoyama is unable to transform without Ichigo around to protect, so Kisshu just gleefully shocks the daylights out of Aoyama and blasts him around like a ragdoll.

Meanwhile, the girls, now separated, barring Lettuce and Pudding, are trapped within the rocky confines of the mountain. Their power has been nullified by the strange force-field that has encompassed the mountain – a force-field that is linking them to an alternate dimension. When Kisshu has a sudden mad burst of power, sending electricity surging around the entire mountain, he inadvertently shocks Ichigo, prompting her to call out for Aoyama.

Somehow hearing her plea, Aoyama gets up, realizing that he’s always been able to hear Ichigo’s voice calling out to him. When he hears her, he gets incredible powers. His becoming The Blue Knight is all because of Ichigo.

Kisshu readies his final strike against Aoyama, which prompts him to quietly call out for Ichigo. She is able to hear his call and she’s suddenly teleported to Aoyama’s side, her power deflecting Kisshu’s attack.

He continues his assault, this time on both of them. He knocks Aoyama out and pins Ichigo to the ground, believing he’s finally claimed his prize as Aoyama is certainly beyond saving by now. Ichigo vehemently refuses his advances, however, because she insists that she’ll always love Aoyama, even if he dies – she’ll never love Kisshu or go with him.

Angered by her words, he opts to kill her instead. His threat against Ichigo’s life triggers Aoyama to transform back into the Blue Knight. He and Kisshu clash, and Kisshu mockingly talks about how he’ll make Ichigo suffer and break before the Blue Knight’s eyes.

Enraged at Kisshu’s taunts and threats at Ichigo’s life, the Blue Knight goes insane. He loses himself in a massive glow of his own power and he’s liable to explode at any moment.

The other Mews also teleport into the scene and create a shield around Ichigo, fearing the incoming explosion of power.

The Blue Knight unleashes the full brunt of his energy, much to Kisshu’s utter delight as this had also been part of his plan all along. Kisshu vanishes, and the surrounding area, including the mountain, is completely decimated by the sheer force of the Blue Knight’s power. At the center of the event is a tremendously deep crater.

Aoyama comes to, though he is clearly feeling guilty and concerned about what happened.

Meanwhile, Pai and Taruto reunite with Kisshu, having detected the massive surge of energy. He had risked his life on a gamble to test out a theory involving the Blue Knight’s power and he was proven right. Now he believes the Blue Knight is their one true savior.

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– Okay, I don’t understand a lick of what Shirogane and Akasaka were doing with this barbecue. There’s no need to trick the girls to come out to the location, if that was the reason. They’re responsible girls who are more than set in their mission at this point.

If that wasn’t the purpose, then putting on a barbecue for a while when the last of the Mew Aqua, quite possibly the most important macguffin in the world at the moment, is sitting nearby and you know it’s a race against time to get it before the aliens do, is just reckless. It would have been better to tell them ‘Hey girls, the last of the Mew Aqua was detected here. Find it, and, as a reward, we’ll have a celebratory barbecue!’

It just seems mean to put on a relaxing barbecue to give the girls a well-deserved break and then stop about an hour in and go ‘Lol JK! Go to this scary-ass mountain and find Mew Aqua!’

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– So Aoyama’s back to his silly Windows 98 background transformation again.

– Why are the girls just slamming themselves against the rockfaces as if they have the power to Kool-Aid Man their way through them? Is that a power they’re meant to have? I don’t remember them being that physically strong.

– If this alternate dimension nullifies the girls powers, 1) Why didn’t Kisshu use this alternate dimension trap sooner? Seems like it’d be easier to lure them there, get rid of their powers and then kill them.

2) How are the girls still in Mew form if their powers are null here?

– I just realized how ironic it is that these aliens have such amazing abilities, particularly those that control plants and the weather, and yet they somehow couldn’t stop their planet from incurring such apocalyptic natural disasters.

– So…how did Ichigo teleport? I’m not going to get angry at this one, I’m just confused. I know Aoyama’s voice calling to her triggered it, but was it his powers, his Mew Aqua or Ichigo’s power that allowed her to do that?

– See, another reason why it wasn’t smart to never really question or investigate how and why Aoyama had these powers and what he actually was is because, for all they knew, he was dangerous to himself or others – intentionally or otherwise.

– Now all of the girls can teleport? What?…That makes even less sense. At least with Ichigo, she had her link with Aoyama to somewhat explain it. There’s nothing to explain this.

– Wait, Ichigo has shield-making abilities too, right? Why are the other girls gathering around her and making a shield to protect her from BK’s power instead of her participating too? Maybe I wouldn’t be as irked by this if they weren’t kneeling down as if she was royalty (They don’t need to kneel to make the shield. They’ve done it while standing numerous times. In fact, this is probably the first time they’ve done it while kneeling), but even if they were standing I’d be asking why she’s not helping or why she’s the most important to protect.

SSBS - TMM EP48 SCREEN3

Also, wouldn’t it make more sense to try and make a containment shield or something instead of just protecting Ichigo under a small bubble? I know they don’t know how much power is being expelled (It’s basically a nuke) but that makes it all the more vital that they at least try to contain the blast instead of just letting it happen and killing the local flora, fauna and….Oh yeah, Shirogane and Akasaka standing nearby the mountain….

———————————————-

This episode has a lot of good about it and some bad.

First of all, this concept is very solid. Kisshu and BK finally having a face off without Ichigo and the other Mews around is a great idea. Granted, we didn’t get to see much of this fight because most of it was Kisshu blasting a defenseless Aoyama until he was nearly dead. However, the idea was very good and we did get to see some action between them.

I really liked the barbecue part, even if it’s seemingly a pointless ploy to get the girls to do Mew work that I still don’t understand. Still, I like when they’re just having fun hanging out together and all the girls are bouncing off of each other. I would have much more preferred the barbecue be some fun downtime for a full episode, though – yes this means I’m asking for filler – before we got to the heavy stuff. I don’t dislike what we got, but I was disappointed that it was cut short.

Kisshu is just a delight in this episode. I still don’t care for him treating Ichigo as a prize and property, but when he’s being just the right level of frightening and crazy, he makes for a great villain. It’s especially impressive considering every part of this was planned by him. He got his cake and ate it too because he got to beat the snot out of Aoyama for being such a pain in his ass and being with Ichigo while also proving that Aoyama has the power to help the aliens achieve their goals.

BK’s literal explosion at the end was awesome. The coloring, the direction, the expression on his face, the voice acting, the aftermath – all of it was incredible and really drove the point home that Aoyama is a source of unfathomable power, even if he’s not aware of it and doesn’t understand it.

The two main downsides I had with this episode were the following:

1) I feel it’s redundant to even bring this up anymore, but the girls were sidelined again – and even Ichigo suffered from being totally useless this time around. The only thing she did besides get rescued three times (Once from falling, another from being attacked by Kisshu and finally from the BK blast) was act as a shield against Kisshu’s attack on Aoyama, which was either her consciously protecting Aoyama or it was convenience via BK’s power and hers.

The other girls were fully sidelined the entire episode, only miraculously popping up in the end to protect Ichigo from the BK blast, even if I still don’t understand why Ichigo wasn’t also creating a shield nor were they trying to contain the blast instead of shield themselves from it. I’m not going to harp too much on the latter because maybe they thought their shield could do nothing to contain it, but it’s not exactly the heroic option. For all they knew, there were people in the area (even besides Akasaka and Shirogane) who could’ve been injured or killed in that blast and their priority was to bubble up Ichigo.

2) I’m sorry, I’m still getting irritated at the boys fighting over Ichigo and all the prattling on about protecting Ichigo. I feel like it’s been forever since any of the girls have really done anything impressive on their own two feet, but the more they lean into this idea that Ichigo needs to be protected by her boyfriend and her boyfriend lives to protect her, the more my nerves get plucked.

I do give them props for having Ichigo stay firm in her resolve to not be treated as a prize – she’s certainly not resigning herself to going with Kisshu anytime just because things look dire – but it’s a continuing trend that has annoyed me for a while and keeps getting worse. I know this will end soon, but I still feel the need to bring it up when I see it.

I did enjoy this episode a lot, but those two problems were enough to distract me during my watch. The plot is coming down to the wire, however, so I expect my irritation will wane even further episode by episode as we approach the end.

Next episode, the city is being overrun by Chimera Animals, but Aoyama is nowhere to be found. He’s been confronted by the aliens, but something’s wrong with him. A new figure emerges….


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Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Wander Over Yonder

Plot: The ever-happy Wander and his trusty steed, Sylvia, explore the outreaches of space and save its inhabitants from the treachery of Lord Hater.

Breakdown: I’ll be honest, even though I had heard a lot of great things about this show, I went into this with unease. At face value, this series has a lot of trademarks of two other popular shows I’ve reviewed that I either hated (The Mighty B!) or just didn’t mesh with (Mighty Magiswords). And those trademarks, again at face value, were randomness being mistaken for comedy and louder=funnier, I guess.

I was really worried that Wander Over Yonder would just be another one of those shows, even if it was created by Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends creator, Craig McCracken.

However, to my surprise and delight, it didn’t turn out that way. Yes, Wander Over Yonder is very bouncy and quick, but it’s melded with a lot of clever humor, very likable characters and voice acting that is both fitting and doesn’t grate on the nerves. When I heard Wander ‘s voice, I was very shocked. It’s a rather normal voice, though obviously inflected to be cartoony and peppy a bit. Usually, the main characters in shows like this have high-pitched overly exaggerated torture device voices, but Wander, voiced by Jack McBrayer, is perfectly fine to listen to.

Speaking of sounds, however, there are some instances in this first episode where I honestly can’t make out what they’re saying, especially Hater’s minions who continuously chant something I can’t make out. Even when Wander repeats it, I can’t understand what he’s saying. It really sounds like ‘Tastes great, less filling.’ but I sincerely doubt that’s it.

The music is a nice change of pace, being of a more country style without being super western. It’s very catchy and easy on the ears.

The art is pretty unique, and the art coupled with the animation is an interesting amalgamation of Dr. Suess, old 1920’s animation and modern styles. It’s very cool, even if some shots are a little jarring.

As for how this episode works as an introduction, it’s pretty good. We don’t learn of Wander’s background or anything, but we learn a great deal of who he is, who Sylvia is, who Hater is and how their dynamic will largely play out. We also begin to get attached to these characters and get a relatively good grasp on their world all in an impressive time frame of 11 minutes.

Final Verdict:

Continue Yes

Wander Over Yonder is certainly a great example of how to do the classic fun bouncy style of cartoon correctly. It kept putting a smile on my face and I can see it being one of those feel-good shows I watch whenever I need a lift in my spirit. The only sad aspect of this is that Wander Over Yonder was canceled after two seasons, despite the massively positive reception. Another one of those shows where I missed out on something great while it was still around.


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Yu-Gi-Oh GX Episode 3 Sub/Dub Comparison: Etoile Cyber

Plot: Shou gets a supposed love letter from Asuka that is really a plan gone sour by Cronos to get Judai expelled. Shou arrives at the Obelisk Blue Girl’s dorm in the middle of the night as per the love letter’s message, but ends up getting accused of being a peeping Tom. Judai comes to his rescue, and Asuka proclaims they’ll let him go if he manages to beat Asuka in a duel.

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The Obelisk kid in the back says even kindergartners know what field spells do. In the dub he says even “Pre-Duelers” ….Like pre-schoolers….hahhahaaaaaaaaa…..Also, it’s DuelISTS. Not DuelERS so this joke doesn’t even work on a basic level.

Shou just says he got stage fright. In the dub, Syrus says he let all of Slifer Red down. Geez, Syrus it was one random question in class. Not like Red’s piss poor rep could get any lower anyway.

Also, why the hell are the three different groups being taught in the same class? If this school is segregated into three groups based on skill level and knowledge, why are all three of the groups taking the same class? Especially when the questions are ungodly easy like, “What are the various types of Duel Monster cards?”

Shouldn’t the Obelisks be in some advanced class and the Ras in some intermediate class? Just seems to me like classes where they’re all together would mean the Obelisks and likely Ras would either be learning basic stuff that they already know ten times over or the Slifers would be learning stuff way above their heads- And judging from this scene, I’d say it’s the former.

Judai says technical knowledge of the game and skill are two completely unrelated matters (well, let’s not go too far, Judai. If you don’t know even the bare basics, you can’t have much in terms of skill) and says that he’s got poor enough grades to be in Osiris Red but he beat Cronos anyway. In the dub, Jaden says to not make fun of Slifer Red students because, since Jaden beat Crowler, him making fun of them essentially means he’s making fun of himself.

After Judai gloats, we see Asuka staring at him before we get our title card. In the dub, they edit out Alexis staring at him and replay a scene of Crowler getting mad with him saying he won’t tolerate having Jaden there another second.

In the original….and I still don’t understand this….Cronos says, as he’s applying lipstick in the mirror, “Melanzane, Melanzane” which apparently means “eggplant, eggplant.”……….I’m sorry wut? Why….is he repeating ‘eggplant’ over and over? There’s a reason he’s applying lipstick (he’s forging a love letter) even though I think he wears purple lipstick all the time, but why is he saying that? Just because it’s the shade of purple lipstick?

They remove the labels on Judai’s shoes that say “Judai” either because they changed his name and were too lazy to try and just write “Jaden” or because it’s text and text is evil.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Name Change: The PE teacher’s name is originally Emi Ayukawa. In the dub it’s Vonda Vontaine….Also, 4Kids did everything in their power to make her sound like a hyper annoying aerobics instructor whereas in the original she just sounds normal.

We’re never given a reason why Shou is late in the original. In the dub I guess he went to the girl’s gym on accident…..wait, the GIRL’S GYM!? Whaa…….there’s two separate gyms for girls and boys? I think they wanted to say he went to the girl’s locker room but then switched to gym because…I don’t know. What could possibly be different in the girl’s gym? Is everything pink? Do the basketballs have the WNBA logo or something? What?

Judai says that there’s still plenty of hot water in the bathhouse if he wants to go. In the dub, Jaden says the OUTHOUSE is now free because he’s done in there…..First, I’m pretty sure that no matter how crappy the Slifer dorms are, they have indoor plumbing. Second, I guess in order to understand how weird this is, I should mention that Judai enters the dorm room…..while drying his hair with a towel….so couple that scene with saying the outhouse is now available makes me think Jaden just went swimming or took a bath in the outhouse. Ew.

Okay, I have to ask, what is up with bathhouses and women in anime? Every time I see women in a bathhouse in an anime this scene always occurs.

“Oh Female Character, your figure is amazing!”

“Oh stop, it’s embarrassing!”

“And your boobs are so big!”

“EHHH!? WHERE ARE YOU TOUCHING!?”

It happens all the time.

Anyway, this exact scene happens as Cronos is outside of the Obelisk Blue dorm’s bathhouse. We can’t see inside, but we can hear the girls. In the dub, obviously this is removed. Instead we get one of Alexis’ friends asking if she wants to go into the wading pool. Alexis says no because she doesn’t want to deal with guys asking if she wants to play tackle Marco Polo which, in my opinion, just makes this scene as inappropriate as the original because that game sounds like a grope fest. Her friend reminds her in typical exposition-y fashion that it’s the girl’s dorm, no guys allowed.

In the original, Cronos plans to snap a picture of Judai in front of the girls’ bathhouse to peg him as a peeper and get him expelled. In the dub, I have no clue why getting a picture of Jaden there will ‘ruin’ him. He mentions nothing of peeping and I doubt merely being outside the girls’ dorm is grounds for expulsion. At most it’s trespassing and being out of your dorm after hours.

Asuka’s friends lament that there are no good boys who enrolled this year. They single out Judai in particular and say he’s crass, rude and full of himself. Asuka says that she doesn’t really care about him and leaves. Her friends then start gushing over Misawa.

In the dub, they talk about how Jaden was such a disrespectful jerk to Crowler in class earlier and Alexis says it was kinda cool. Yeah, it was really cool…in a totally egotistical and snobby way. Then her friends say “Yeah maybe if he had the skills to back it up.” I hate to flip-flop here, but uh, ‘if he had the skills’? He beat one of the professors at the school who was using his own deck as his entrance exam. Why do you think he sucks?

Oh and also, since it’s a bathhouse obviously the girls are naked. They’re submerged in water so you see nothing, but they are. In the dub, 4Kids draws on these blaring blue swimsuits to get rid of any suspicions that they might be naked.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Cronos is repeating “O sole mio” or “Oh my sun” in the original for….some reason. In the dub, Alexis is thinking over this that she won’t know if Jaden really has the skills to back up his attitude until she duels him herself.

Cronos just calls Shou “Signore Marufuji” in the original when he realizes that it’s Shou not Judai. In the dub he calls him “That field spell stuttering nitwit”

Asuka’s friend says there’s no way the Queen of Obelisk Blue would send a love letter to an Osiris Red…..Ya know, I’ve noticed that all of the main characters have three character cliques. Judai has Shou and Hayato; Misawa fills in when Hayato’s not around, or maybe I should say it’s really the opposite. Jun has his two cronies and Asuka has these two bitches. Hm. Anyway, in the dub her friend says there’s no way Alexis would be interested in him because she’s tall and he’s short, she’s great at dueling and he’s not, she’s really hot and he’s not. Geez, what a witch.

Asuka says she’s never write such vulgar words. In the dub she says her name’s not even spelled right in the letter, which makes no sense to me. Crowler seems to adore Alexis/Asuka and he doesn’t seem like an idiot. How many ways can you spell Alexis anyway? Alecksas?

Also, I get that Shou/Syrus was very enamored by the note, but he didn’t even bother to read all of it and see whom it was addressed to? What’s even weirder is that notes usually start by addressing the main party anyway, so this entire plot is incredibly flimsy.

They really wanna make that female gym teacher annoying. I guess she’s the master of the Obelisk Blue girls’ dorm too. She says in her grating voice that they better keep the volume down because she has Pilates in the morning. Seeing as how the island just seems to be home to the school, I don’t know where she’d be taking Pilate–…..WAIT A SECOND. I’m embarrassed I took so long to connect this but earlier Syrus said he accidentally went into the girls’ gym, right? Yet the boys have a woman as a gym teacher? Huh?

While Asuka and Alexis both come up with the same plan, Asuka’s the only one who suspects someone had planned to trick Judai into going to the girls’ dorm and pegging him as a pervert.

Eyecatches:

Is the only way to access the Obelisk Blue Girls’ dorm really just a rowboat? Must be a pain for the girls who live there…

Well, okay, I guess the big crime really is merely trespassing in the dub. You know, in one episode of Spongebob they had Spongebob, Patrick and Mr. Krabs go on a panty raid….yet 4Kids can’t imply peeping even when 100% nothing was seen.

So all of the girls barring the dorm master saw Shou and knew he was trespassing and believe he was peeping. Yet the only girls who handle it are Asuka and her friends, and the only one with authority on whether or not anyone can report him or say anything about it is Asuka? I know she’s called ‘the Queen of Obelisk Blue’ but that seems ridiculous.

The arrangement in the original is basically only using Shou as a bargaining chip. They all say he was peeping and that’s an expulsion offense. If Judai refuses to duel or loses, they’ll report Shou. So basically Judai is dueling for Shou. In the dub, they say that Syrus was trespassing and now Jaden is too since he took their invitation. If they don’t want to be reported, Jaden needs to duel Alexis.

Well, Jaden does have proof that he was invited to the dorm and I’m sure it’s not rocket science to see who sent the message even though it seems like these futuristic PDA’s/phones don’t have caller ID. Syrus may also be able to get out of it through the note. Heck, Crowler might get in deep crap if they realize it’s his handwriting.

Crowler mentions in the dub that a duel between a Slifer and an Obelisk should be interesting. Well, there have been three duels in this series so far. Crowler (Obelisk) vs Jaden (Slifer), Chazz (Obelisk) vs Jaden (Slifer) and Alexis (Obelisk) vs Jaden (Slifer). Yeah, that’ll be a real changeup.

Saw this coming from a mile away. Etoile Cyber’s outfit had to be censored.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Asuka asks if Judai is done. Judai says his turn is finished and Asuka says it’s her turn. In the dub, Alexis asks if he’s impressed. Jaden says he’s not only impressed, he might be in love. Alexis says he’s sweet and it’s too bad she has to crush him.

I’m noticing that Jaden just seems to not give a damn about his cards…or the duel as it goes on a lot of the times. He’s always saying sarcastic comments, and when his monsters die he just basically says ‘oh well.’ Judai seems to actually care about his monsters and reacts much more harshly when the duel takes sudden turns.

4Kids removes Asuka’s friends showering her with adoration and also egging on Judai and Shou. They even ask Shou and Judai if they want to try swimming naked. Shou says that’s sexual harassment and the girls say he’s got a lot of nerve saying that since he’s a pepping tom. This is all just excess dialogue that could’ve been changed yet 4Kids decided to remove the entire scene.

The only part of the audio that is ‘kept’ is replaced with one of the girls saying it was probably just luck that he beat Crowler.

Jaden: “And, thanks to his super power…” Ya know what? Screw it. Entire Show Edit: I guess, for some reason, the dub claims all of the special effects of Jaden’s cards are ‘super powers’ just because they’re hero based.

Cyber Blader’s special effect is called Pas de Deux or Dance for Two. In the dub it’s left unnamed.

In the original, Judai seems fascinated that Cyber Blader’s Attack got jacked up to 3600. In the dub, he fails to care and acts like it’s nothing.

Asuka and her friends say Judai got full of himself when he beat Cronos and imply it was likely a fluke since he’s losing now. They then say that the idea of Osiris Reds beating Obelisk Blues is just ridiculous. In the dub they just mock him and don’t say any of the above.

After this, Shou says he doesn’t care what happens to him because he knows he did nothing wrong, but he won’t let them badmouth Judai or let him get expelled when he was just trying to help him. All of this is removed.

Asuka wonders what he can do with 200 life points and Judai mentally goes over all of the facts on the field right now. In the dub, Alexis thinks to herself “You shouldn’t make promises you can’t deliver” and Jaden thinks “I hope I didn’t make a promise I can’t deliver.”

Shou says the function of field spells as a callback to the first scene. (Field spell are continuous magic cards that give the entire field a special effect.) This is removed because I guess 4Kids really hates showing when characters learn things.

Asuka’s friend originally told Judai to not get too full of himself because it was probably just a fluke that he won—Yes, yes, every time he wins it’s a damn fluke. In the dub, she says she thinks they should report them anyway.

Judai tells Asuka that she’s strong. In the dub, Jaden tells Alexis she’s “got game.”

Asuka doesn’t think to herself that she wouldn’t have turned them in anyway. I mean, she likely wouldn’t have, but she doesn’t say it in the original.

Asuka’s friend only implies in her thoughts that Asuka has a thing for Judai. In the dub she outright tells us.

Cronos says he’ll think of a way to take Judai down later since he’s tired. In the dub he says he needs to find a way home…..the pond isn’t THAT big.

————————————

This episode was very much okay as a proper introduction to Asuka, but at this point it’s very much the same song again – An Obelisk Blue underestimates Judai and then he beats them in a duel, showing how awesome he is. Even though I would probably say that Asuka, as far as my memory allows, is probably the best female duelist in the franchise at this point, she’s just never been all that interesting as a character to me. There’s something about her that’s very bland even in spite of her maturity and knowledge and skill as a duelist. Maybe I’ll grow to appreciate her more as I do this comparison, as I have gained more respect for Judai, but I’m not really holding my breath.

Also, this whole ploy to get Judai expelled is silly, but poor Shou. It always sucks to think someone likes you then you find out you were being tricked by someone else into thinking so.

Next episode has Judai facing off against Jun again. Are we ever going to see someone besides Judai duel? And four episodes in and we’re already having a rematch? Okie Dokie….


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