Digimon Adventure 02 Episode 4: King of Darkness, Digimon Kaiser Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: The Chosen Children are determined to free the Digimon who are under the Digimon Emperor’s control. Gabumon, caught up in the mess, sends out an SOS. Yamato and the others arrive to help him as well as some captive Digimon, but a Redvegiemon and his Vegiemon cohorts won’t let them leave in one piece. With a control spire over their heads, Daisuke butting heads with everyone and V-mon getting into trouble of his own, they’ll need to find some way to make Gabumon evolve to help get them out of this mess.

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Entire Series Edit: The clips for the recap are different from the original, but the recap itself is the same.

Title Card: DigimonA02EP4SCREEN8

Title Change: King of Darkness, Digimon Kaiser is changed to Iron Vegiemon.

Taichi says they should get back to school because Koushiro and Miyako are probably worried. Tai says he can smell the cafeteria food from there, to which Davis responds that it’s the peanut butter and jelly bean sandwich he’s had in his pocket all week.

Cody: “Yuck!” My sentiments exactly, Cody.

The dark towers are called control spires in the dub.

They cut out Gabumon getting hit by Redvegiemon.

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Also, everyone giggle at the fact that the Digimon Index Screen shows Redvegiemon as Red Vagimon.

Subbed: DIGIMONA02EP4SCREEN3

Dubbed: DIGIMONA02EP4SCREEN4

And shouldn’t veggie be spelled with two g’s?

I kinda like Redvegiemon’s dub voice over the original’s. I dunno, there’s just something about him sounding like his VA is doing a Jack Nicholson impression that gets to me.

Originally, Redvegiemon says the punishment for trying to escape is 100 hits. In the dub, the punishment is smelling his rotten roots. This is to cover up the fact that Gabumon is getting pretty badly beaten in this scene. Likewise, all of the shots of him getting beaten are removed and the dialogue is merely Gabumon saying the smell is gross.

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They keep in the final strike, which sends Gabumon flying, but they edit in Redvegiemon going down to the ground in the dub where he didn’t in the original.

They obviously completely change the song that Yamato sings, but they kinda sound similar. I pretty much really like both of them. However, I remember the dub song gets repetitive throughout the series since it seems to be the only song his band sings…

Needless to say, the rock puns in the next scene aren’t in the original.

Jun says she gets all the cute boys to sign her shirt, but it’s a perfectly white shirt. You can’t even see where Matt just signed it.

Jun originally doesn’t say that she hasn’t washed the shirt in two years nor does Takeru say that there isn’t much room on the, again, perfectly white shirt.

The e-mail that Takeru receives from Miyako is translated for the dub.

Subbed: DigimonA02EP4SCREEN14

Dubbed: DigimonA02EP4SCREEN16

Tailmon originally said that the TVs that are strewn about the Digital World can be used to send an SOS to the real world. Agumon did the same thing in a previous episode. In the dub, Gatomon asks why the things on top of the TV are called rabbit ears. She believes they should be called cat ears since rabbits don’t sleep on top of TVs, cats do.

Another instance of very clear ‘poop’ being changed to ‘digisludge’.

Daisuke berates Takeru for not having any ‘telepathy’. Iori corrects him and says he means to say ‘delicacy’ and then Hikari, Takeru and Iori laugh at him. In the dub, Davis again gets TK’s name wrong calling him TA. Cody laughs that Davis forgot how to spell TK and the others join in.

In the dub, Patamon acts like a prisoner, which he shouldn’t considering he’s wearing a fake dark ring.

I don’t get it. Why is it perfectly okay to show V-Mon pinning down a Vegiemon and punching him repeatedly in the face, but the earlier scene with Gabumon had to be censored and changed to him smelling gross roots? It’s basically saying ‘Good guy beating up bad guy (who is really just a good Digimon under the control of an evil being) is perfectly fine. Bad guy beating up good guy, showing the wrongness of the situation and creating deep sympathy for Gabumon, is bad.’

(Late-Stage Edit: After doing more comparisons on the other Digimon series…..yeah, it really does seem to be a double standard with Saban that the good guys are commonly censored when being hit, but the bad guys rarely if ever get the same treatment. Is it because little kids might get upset when their heroes are hit while they’ll be happy when their enemies are hit? I really struggle to understand this.)

Daisuke just says that his sister always talks bad about him behind his back. She doesn’t like him, but he doesn’t like her either so they’re even. In the dub, Davis lists off all this embarrassing stuff about him that he thinks Jun told TK, like chewing his toenails, sucking him thumb and wetting the bed.

Yamato gets mad because Daisuke is badmouthing Jun. Matt gets mad because Davis has a big mouth….but really all he said was that Jun badmouths him and then went on to explain completely embarrassing stuff about himself, so I don’t see why Matt would get that mad about it. He also only spoke with her for a minute, so for all he knows she does indeed constantly talk shit about him behind his back. At least in the original, there was the added comment of saying Daisuke dislikes his sister to help justify Yamato’s anger a little.

Takeru doesn’t add the fact that Daisuke’s younger than Yamato thus he ‘doesn’t know any better’. And TK, really, you’re using that excuse? He’s the same age as you are, and you know better than to act like that about your siblings.

V-mon just says ‘Daisuke’ before the scene cuts back to the others. In the dub, Veemon starts a knock knock joke.

The Gazimon say they’ll go find a rope as thanks for saving them. In the dub, they say they’ll hang onto each other and make a rope out of themselves so they can ‘hop down the bunny slope’. You’d think Gabumon would refuse and just say to help him get a rope, but nope he says it’s a great idea….

It’s very brief, but they cut a tiny sliver of the first strike Redvegiemon gives to V-mon and put a white flash in there to help censor the punch.

Attack Name Change: Red Hot Machine Gun is changed to Chili Pepper Pummel.

Attack Name Change: Hazard Breath is changed to Stink Jet.

For some reason they remove the yellow strike marks near V-mon when he gets slammed down by Redvegiemon.

They do the same ‘cut out of a bit of the strike, add a flash’ censorship when Veemon’s getting beaten.

They cut out the strike to his stomach.

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They cut out two more hits to V-mon’s face.

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They cut out V-mon trying to crawl to Daisuke and then getting hit in the back….Wow, that’s pretty sad.

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They technically remove the shots of V-mon getting beaten, which is just reshowing the previous beatings being treated as new ones. They keep the overlayed shots of them, but they only show stillshots of each beating instead of showing the animated version like the original does.

In addition, the four-way splitscreen showing V-mon’s pained expressions is supposed to come on one piece at a time. In the dub, they all show up at once.

They remove another strike to V-mon’s stomach.

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They remove recycled animation of V-mon getting beaten some more and instead just steal a stillshot of it to show him standing up against Redvegiemon.

Daisuke offers to take V-mon’s place in the torture. Davis just tries to convince Veemon that he’s happy now to……I….uh…don’t know. He got into this to cheer Davis up, but he can’t get out because Davis is saying he’s happy. He could just give up, but he’ll still keep getting beat anyway.

Again, the strike to V-mon’s head is slightly cut and a flash is thrown in to censor it a bit.

They remove more of the beating, which, again, is really just slightly altered recycled animation.

Another stomach strike censored with a little cut and flash.

Redvegiemon originally says he’ll send V-mon to hell. He obviously doesn’t do so in the dub. As a bonus, Yamato and Gabumon don’t originally tell V-mon to duck when he’s about to get hit again, he just does it on his own.

Entire Series Edit: Like the original series, there’s a vocal song accompanying every evolution in the original. It’s the same every time, though changed between types of evolution. In the dub, they also use the same song for Digivolutions, but it’s just the Digimon theme song.

Redvegiemon just screams when he’s on fire. In the dub, he says ‘I’ve heard of grilled vegetables before but this is ridiculous.’

Revegiemon asks what he’s been doing the whole time. In the dub, he asks, when he sees the dark ring, if he got married when he was asleep.

Taichi says they have to destroy the spire at the Gotsumons’ home as well. They just say they’re taking them home in the dub.

Daisuke apologizes for his behavior and the fact that V-mon got into trouble because of it. V-mon then says Daisuke’s matured quite a bit now. In the dub, Yolei says she’s happy the Gotsumon are gone because they’d scratch her CDs just by touching them. Cody then says that they’d clog the sink everytime they’d brush their teeth. Davis says that they were still pretty cool.

Because the final shot of the original fades to white, they have to use a stillshot of Ken’s face taken from earlier in the scene and place it at the very end of the scene to add ‘To be continued’ and the final narration in the dub.

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This episode was….meh. Nothing really interesting happened, though this is probably the most edited episode of Digimon I’ve ever dealt with so far. Usually all I have to note in these series are dialogue edits, but they did a lot of censoring here. It wasn’t 4Kids level, but still.

Other than that, Davis was a brat, the Vegiemon and Redvegiemon weren’t threatening very much outside of the extended beatings. The story was just more ‘rescue Digimon from controlled evil Digimon’ and there was a lot more recycled footage than usual. The main revelation for this episode was the spawning of the control spires and learning that their new mission is to destroy them all, though Davis has a really good point in saying that the Digimon Emperor could just build more. The old Digimon can’t protect all those areas.

Next episode looks like basically the same episode only replace Yamato’s presence with Joe, Daisuke’s little character development with Iori’s and put snow on it.

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Hell Girl (Manga) Volume 1 Review

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Plot: A horror anthology that chronicles the stories of the clients of Hell Girl – a mysterious girl behind a website where you can input the name of someone who has wronged you and get the opportunity to exact immediate vengeance on them by sending them to hell. However, curses come home to roost. The price for this service is damning your own soul to hell – but only when you die your natural death.

Your grievance shall be avenged….

Breakdown: Oh what? You thought I was done with Hell Girl for now just because I said I wasn’t going to review Three Vessels until October? Psshhhtt. We still got manga to review, my friends!

Hell Girl’s manga is…something. It’s a bit odd. You see, the manga started just a month after the anime started running and ran along side it. In fact, it ended right before Three Vessels aired, so my timing is right on the money.

It’s not so much adapting the anime nor did the anime adapt it. It’s just kinda its own thing while also still being the same thing….do you get what I’m saying?

Good, because I don’t.

Considering this is an anthology, it doesn’t really matter that much anyway.

This also isn’t the only manga to the Hell Girl name. After Three Vessels aired (technically, it debuted a month before Three Vessels ended), a manga called New Hell Girl started up. Then we got Hell Girl R. Then we got Hell Girl: Enma Ai Selection, Super Scary Story (I’m not being a smartass, that’s the actual name) that actually came before Three Vessels aired, back in 2007, yet didn’t end until 2012.

However, whether I can actually find and review any of these manga will have to be an answer for another day. So far, no dice.

Something that creates quite the difference between the manga and the anime is the art. The anime’s art is fairly unique, especially where Ai herself is involved. Everyone has between toned down yet normal anime-ish styled designs or they go for a more realistic route with smaller eyes and more, for lack of a better term ‘normal’ features.

Ai’s design is quite notable and unique. She has a realistic eye shape, but it’s greatly enlarged in order to give her that signature haunting stare. The ruby red of her eyes in stark contrast to her black hair really create an air of horror around her. Kikuri, as much as I dislike her as a character, is also very unique even from Ai. She has a very similar eye shape, but she has even less in terms of visible scleras and her eyes are purple with odd reflections, giving her an insect vibe.

The manga is pretty much just typical shoujo style. Ai herself doesn’t really look anything like what you probably know her as. She has the usual anime/shoujo eye shape with an eye color that is way more brown than it is red (on the covers anyway – the manga’s in black and white, as usual). She’s also almost always given an angry or ‘evil’ expression, which goes directly against the emotionless front that Ai is supposed to have at all times. Even her notable hime haircut doesn’t go unaltered because her hair is frequently very sharp and flowing in the manga.

Honestly, Ai barely looks any different from nearly any other girl you’d see in a shoujo series.

It’s not bad, it’s just not…Ai.

All of the other characters are also given very shoujo styled appearances, which, again, isn’t bad, but it kinda reduces the horror aspect of the whole thing.

Another difference is that, right off the bat, Ai very frequently appears to her clients and watches them, usually in the form of a student in their school. This is mostly unheard of in season one of Hell Girl, and even when it does become common for her and her team to investigate or watch clients, it’s usually only after a contract has been made and not usually so blatantly, especially with Ai herself. In the manga, it’s even common for her to use her own name when she’s doing this, and that’s just ridiculous from an anime standpoint. In the anime, the Hell Team are usually the ones who act as humans and do recon. When they have to give a name, it’s always an alias.

If what the artist, Miyuki Eto, says in the notes is any indication, it seems like she’s taking her notes of the main canon stuff, in regards to how Ai looks and how the system works, from the anime, because she mentions that Ai had bells on her bracelet in the anime and had to work the bells into later chapters.

She also notes, however, that she doesn’t get to watch anime a lot because her TV antennae needs to be setup in a certain way for her to watch it. (So she doesn’t get at least story notes on how the anime is working?) However, it seems like that’s just a preference of hers to do it that way because in chapter four she talks about coming up with the dog’s name, even though the dog already had a name in the anime version (Candy.)

It says the stories themselves are written by the Jigoku Shoujo project, whatever that means, so maybe they’re leaving Eto to her own devices when it comes to the finer details. I really don’t understand how the people working on the Jigoku Shoujo project organized the anime and manga this way, seems really sloppy and inefficient, but what can you do?

Even though I will likely make comparisons to the anime every now and then, please note that this is not an AniManga Clash entry. There are too many stories that weren’t adapted/mirrored for me to feel comfortable giving it that label, and like I said the anime isn’t even really an adaptation. However, when stories are adapted/mirrored I will make notes for the sake of completion.

It should also be noted that Hell Girl’s manga supposedly changes quite a bit the further along you get. Before I started doing the review, I read only about ten chapters, so we’ll have to find out if this is true later.

With that said, let’s delve into each story in volume one.

Chapter One: From Within the Darkness

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Hey, I’m super consistent, which is why I’m going to open this review by saying the first story from the manga that I just said was very different from the anime in its stories is very similar to the first episode of Hell Girl.

In that episode, From Beyond the Twilight (even the names are similar) a girl is pressured into doing worse and worse acts because a bitchy girl and her friends are blackmailing her. It eventually gets so bad that when she hears of Hell Link she decides to contact Ai and send her tormentor to hell.

That same story is used here, but there are numerous differences. The characters are entirely different and so are the main circumstances. In the anime, the client, Mayumi, is blackmailed by Aya, the target. Mayumi was entrusted with a large sum of money that the class had raised for charity only to have it go mysteriously missing. In order to ensure the class and teacher never found out and didn’t accuse her of theft, Aya offered her a loan to cover the money.

In the manga, the client, Mari, is blackmailed by Hayase, the target. Mari had been accused of shoplifting a CD from a store and Hayase had gotten her out of the mess by vouching for her to the cashier.

In the anime, Mayumi is driven to stealing from her mother in order to pay off the debt to Aya, but even after covering the sum, Aya claims that’s only good enough to cover the interest on the loan. It comes to a head when she brings her to the red light district and basically tries to whore her out for a meal. She then takes pictures of Mayumi with the men and blackmails her with those as well.

Turns out, Aya had been screwing her over from the start since she’s the one who stole the donation money.

Mayumi contacts Hell Girl, but she doesn’t come, so Mayumi tries to commit suicide, which is when Ai suddenly decides to make her appearance and give her the doll.

A short while goes by when Mayumi discovers that, even though she hadn’t stepped out of bounds with Aya, she still posted the photos of her with the men on the school’s server, which nearly destroyed her life and future. Devastated, she pulled the string and sent Aya to hell, allowing her life to return to normal.

In the manga, Hayase and her friends use the shoplifting incident to blackmail Mari into copying her schoolwork and buying A LOT of things for them, which eventually leads Mari into draining all of her savings and stealing from her parents several times. She was even caught by them on one occasion, which earned her a slap in the face from her father, though she still couldn’t get up the courage to explain why she was stealing. Mari pretty much knows from the instant this all starts that Hayase was the one who stole the CD and was using the situation to blackmail her. Mari wanted to get into a really good school and, supposedly, couldn’t do so if she had something like that hanging over her.

Unlike in the anime, Mari does not get the additional blackmail of having her photo taken in the red light district with seedy men. She is, however, still driven to suicide because she believes she has no choice.

I feel like this is the ultimate differentiation between the two stories.

Stealing nearly $1000 USD is way worse than shoplifting a CD already, especially since it was only an attempt (She got stopped in the doorway because the alarm went off) and she wouldn’t get charged or anything since the cashier already let her off (in fact, they have a security system in the store, which is how she got caught, so couldn’t she just ask to check the security footage to see who put the CD in her bag?)

They blow this situation up way too much in the manga. She drains her savings over this. She steals from her parents over this. Mari also seems to have absolutely no trust that anyone she loves would believe her over Hayase, which is silly because even one of her friends notes what a slimy person Hayase is – mentioning that she’d always pick on her and, get this, STEAL HER STUFF. She’s such a terrible person that even this friend says she wishes Hell Girl would take her.

If there’s one person she could have definitely told about this, it was her friend, but she still supposedly couldn’t risk it.

What’s even stupider is that, in lieu of the sketchy photo blackmail in the anime, the big crescendo in this story is that Hayase tells her to get her something, but Mari doesn’t have the money, so Hayase tells her to shoplift it….and she does….and her aforementioned friend catches her.

Guess what she was stealing…..Just guess. Anything. Shoot out suggestions. I’ll wait.

In the meantime, let me tell you that this was the event that made her want to attempt suicide via jumping off a building.

Got some ideas in your head?

Kay.

They’re wrong.

She stole snacks.

Snacks.

SNACKS!

Pocky and cornchips were all I was able to make out, but yeah, snacks.

Let me remind you that she had already resorted to repeatedly stealing from her parents, even getting caught by them once. Yet this is what tips her over the edge into calling Hell Girl and attempting suicide.

Snacks.

I don’t even know why she decided to steal from her parents anyway. Draining her savings, I get, kinda, even if I still find this whole setup a bit silly. But stealing from her parents? That’s a much bigger crime than trying to steal a CD, if you ask me. And she already got caught for stealing from her parents, and they were not happy, so why even bother trying to placate Hayase anymore? You think they’ll care that she attempted to steal a CD after that?

And even after all of that, she still does what Hayase says and she still flips her shit…..

Over stealing snacks.

She kinda shot herself in the foot too, because if she had just told someone about this before she was driven to steal from her parents, she likely would have gotten off a lot easier. The fact that she stole from her parents and then stole the snacks would actually be levied against her if Hayase mentioned she shoplifted the CD. She was digging her own grave in all sorts of ways.

Oh and another thing the manga and anime have in common in this chapter/episode, Ai waits several hours until the poor girl is attempting suicide in both versions for her to finally appear after being called. What the hell, Ai? What’s your problem?

I’m not one to call out characters for attempting suicide based on what I think is ‘worth’ having those thoughts over, but there’s no contest that Mayumi had a much more significant reason than Mari did. Being accused of being a teenage prostitute would do much more damage to your reputation and future than being accused of stealing a CD, or even stealing from her parents or even stealing SNACKS.

The hell torture in this chapter is also pretty benign as Hayase is basically just accused of shoplifting stuff and being sent to jail before she gets taken to hell. It’s nothing to clutch your pearls over.

In the end, it seems like Mari’s life is back to normal, sans the black mark on her chest designating her for hell when she dies her natural death, as expected.

I do have to ask though, in each version of this story, the target had a bunch of friends who knew of the situation and were partaking in the blackmail. Couldn’t they just pick up where the target left off and continue harassing the client or is this another one of those mysterious circumstances where life gets magically improved after the target is sent to hell, as if the Hell Team has some sort of reality-bending or time travel powers?

Chapter 2: Sweet Trap

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Hey, look, a chapter that’s so similar to a Hell Girl episode that even the titles are the exactly the same this time.

I suck at this.

Anyway, this chapter is very obviously mirroring the episode Sweet Trap where a young aspiring baker named Hiromi opens up a cake shop. Her old teacher, Mirasaki, seemingly gives his blessing, but turns on her when he makes her look like a recipe thief on live TV. Her business is entirely ruined by this, somehow, so her younger sister, Yuko, takes it upon herself to use Hell Link and send Mirasaki to hell.

Quite honestly, it’s one of the sillier entries in the franchise because it didn’t seem like realistic circumstances nor did they seem like bad enough circumstances to warrant sending the dude to hell. He was a prick, but it’s hard to say he was enough of a prick to deserve immediately being sent to hell or Yuki damning her soul either.

Also, the hell torture in that episode is one of the goofiest I’ve ever seen.

What of the manga version?

The manga version is basically the same in regards to characters (Hiromi is left alone, Yuko is Yuka in the manga and Mirasaki is Morisaki.) but quite a bit different in regards to both the circumstances and the hell torture.

In the manga, Morisaki used a magazine article to claim he made the recipe that belonged to Hiromi – he didn’t back her into a corner by giving them back to back TV spots where they’d unveil new recipes and she’d be stuck because he unveiled her, “stolen”, recipe that she intended on unveiling on the show first.

Still, people found her to be a rip-off of Morisaki and went to his shop instead.

After that, he kept spreading terrible false rumors about her bakery like saying they use frozen ingredients instead of fresh, they use rotten fruit and their kitchen is absolutely covered in insects. He also sends out his employees to bust her windows, steal all of her product and even steal her recipes so can he use them himself.

Hiromi was under so much stress and was working so hard to build her reputation and make new recipes that she ended up being hospitalized.

Yuka couldn’t take watching her sister suffer anymore, so she contacted Hell Girl, but, like last time, she didn’t come immediately like she’s supposed to. She waited until Yuka was picking up a knife and was ready to kill him herself! Ai, please, timing!

The anime was so much more lackluster in this department, because Hiromi’s downfall was entirely that one recipe being stolen and everyone instantly refusing to go to her store afterwards, which caused her to shut down almost immediately.

In the anime, Yuko was driven by both guilt and anger because she was the one who gave Mirasaki a piece of Hiromi’s cake to try, which allowed him to somehow know the exact recipe and steal it before she unveiled it?

In the manga, Yuka is just tired of watching her big sister suffer and work herself sick just to keep getting kicked down by Morisaki.

Ai reveals the reason Morisaki did all of this – he used to steal all of Hiromi’s recipes when she worked at his shop. When she left, his quality went down, so he started stealing her recipes from her shop and trying to ruin her.

I gotta say, the anime made more sense in this respect. Mirasaki, in the anime, had sexually advanced on Hiromi, but she rejected him. As revenge, he ruined her when she tried to open her own shop.

The manga just doesn’t make much sense. If he’s a crap baker and needs Hiromi’s recipes (that he seemingly needs to steal like every few days or so) to keep the quality of his shop high, why would he go to such lengths to ruin her? If she shuts down or quits being a baker, he’ll be screwed all over again.

Another note the anime had near the end of the story was Hiromi comforting Yuko by saying she’d save up the money to open a new business down the line, which pretty much made it seem like Yuko didn’t really need to use Hell Link, especially since Hiromi is still very young and can overcome such a minute scandal. Kinda makes it all the more apparent that contacting Hell Girl really isn’t necessary here.

There are no such comforting words in the manga. Things just get so bad that Hiromi’s reputation, shop and health are down the toilet and Yuka feels the only way to end it is by contacting Hell Link.

As for the hell torture, there’s no denying that the manga’s version is 300% better and less goofy. In the anime, people threw cakes at Mirasaki, called him a terrible chef, people turned to frosting and then he was eaten and fused with a cake. In the manga, he’s accused of stealing the recipes, his shop was revealed to be infested with tons of bugs, and the exterminators, who are Wanyuudou and Ren here, stick him to flypaper and, in order to kill the bugs, SET HIM ON FIRE. Wow. Yeah. Goofiness gone.

After that, Morisaki’s shop is suddenly closed down, Hiromi is getting better in the hospital and Ai moves on to take more requests.

Chapter Three: Fallen Idol

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Hey, finally a story that isn’t mirrored in the anime at all – and it’s a pretty good, albeit predictable, story.

Sakura is an actress who just landed her first leading role. She will be playing Ai Enma in a new drama about the legend of Hell Girl. She and her friend, Kaoru, are super excited about it, but as soon as she begins prepping for the role she starts getting harassed.

Someone plasters threatening messages to her forum, sends her a picture of herself getting dressed, sends her a bouquet of chrysanthemums, which are meant to be a message of condolences when someone dies, and it’s clear that someone is watching her at all times. She gets freaked out until her friend tells her it’s probably her creepy makeup artist doing it, and it’s confirmed when her manager finds incriminating photos on his computer. He promptly gets fired, and Sakura happily returns to her job. However, the instant she gets back in costume, a lighting fixture falls down from the ceiling and crushes Sakura.

Ligaments in both of her legs have been severed, and the doctors say she might not ever walk again.

In comes Kaoru, who is now gussied up to look exactly like Hell Girl. It seems Hollywood’s a pretty rough place because they’ve already booted Sakura from the role, since she can’t walk, and hired Kaoru as her replacement.

This was Kaoru’s plan all along. She had always felt like Sakura looked down upon her, something that, objectively, seems untrue, so she thought she deserved the role more than Sakura.

Filled with rage over losing her role, career and her ability to walk all because of some jealous bitch, Sakura calls on Hell Girl to take her to hell.

The hell torture this time around is rather typical bitter irony based on what she had done to Sakura.

Afterwards, it seems like Sakura’s career is still on track, getting a new role in a new movie even as she remains in a wheelchair. She states that she’s determined to get her ability to walk back and to keep moving forward. This entry is also the first time we see the curse mark in the manga.

This chapter was another that was predictable. I knew it was Kaoru the instant they showed another actress girl acting super happy about her role. A jealous fellow actress makes a lot more sense than a skeevy make-up artist, but there was also a good degree of pointlessness. I’m sorry, I just don’t understand why Kaoru did half the stuff she did. Why harass Sakura and frame the make-up artist if she was just planning on either severely wounding or killing Sakura so she could take her role? Even Sakura mentions that the stage lighting could have killed her. She could have just dropped the stage lighting on her at the start.

I thought for a minute that, maybe, Kaoru was trying to scare her into leaving the role voluntarily, but right as Sakura starts getting really freaked out, Kaoru frames the make-up artist, he gets fired and she’s back to feeling safe.

As a result, the make-up artist gets his rep tarnished and he’s fired from his job for things he didn’t do. He was a tiny bit creepy when he put his hand on her shoulder when he was trying to console her about the harassment, but that could easily just be an innocent gesture that was misconstrued. It makes so little sense, even Eto said in the notes “I worry about what happened to that poor make-up artist after he was fired even though he didn’t do anything wrong. I hope he got his name cleared.”

Hell Girl has a bit of a problem with overly evil super villain-esque targets, and this one is no exception. After Kaoru reveals she was behind everything, she might as well grow horns and have thunder clapping whenever she talks. She gleefully brags to Sakura about what she did, mocks her for being in a wheelchair/bedridden now (basically saying ‘You looked down on me, now you have to look up!’) throws a bouquet of chrysanthemums in her face and talks about how easy it was to get the light fixture to fall down. There is no doubt in your mind that this bitch deserves to go to hell, no matter if she’s still probably in her teens.

Chapter Four: The Inaudible Scream

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Oh goodie, not only are we back to stories that are reflected in the anime, but it’s also a story about animal abuse. Fun fun.

The Inaudible Scream or Silent Cries as it’s known in the anime (It’s basically the same title) is the story of Junko and her beloved dog, Lucky, known in the anime as Candy (I feel like I have to talk about this name change even further because 1) If Junko and Hanjo kept their names, why not Candy? And 2) It seems needlessly cruel to name a dog you know is about to DIE….Lucky….)

Candy was very sick and needed an operation, helmed by Dr. Hanjo. However, when Candy was having her operation (I guess the dog also got a sex change between versions *shrug*) Hanjo stopped in the middle of the procedure to talk on the phone about golf with some congressman, and as a result of his negligence, Candy died.

Junko was devastated, especially since Candy was her only family because her parents died. Hanjo’s assistant tells her of the circumstances of Candy’s death, so Junko sends him to hell via Hell Link.

The story is almost the exact same in the manga, but there are some key differences.

First, even though Hanjo had been known by the assistant to give lower quality care to the pets of patients who weren’t rich and influential, apparently, in the manga, he just takes the money of the pet owners who aren’t rich and….doesn’t treat the animals, leaving them in their cages until they die.

That’s infinitely worse but also so much harder to get away with. Hanjo is supposedly so tight with a lot of influential and powerful people that any attempts to sue him get swept under the rug, but certainly his reputation would be severely tarnished if he lets tons of animals just die in his care. It’s one thing to give priority to the animals owned by rich people, but he’s not even trying to treat the other animals for no reason.

Second, Junko’s story is actually more uplifting in the manga, even if it is still bittersweet and tragic. Junko knows she can’t sue Hanjo, but she tries to stop a little girl from giving her dog to Hanjo for treatment, fearing her dog will die too. The little girl and her mother leave the vet, but as a result Hanjo nearly strangles a dog in front of her, assaults her and tells her that the assistant that told her the secret behind his evil vet office mysteriously up and quit.

Seeing no options, Junk calls Hell Girl, but like so many times before Ai doesn’t show up. Junko is so depressed, hopeless and lonely that she tries to commit suicide by train, and THAT’S when Ai shows up to give her the offer.

Ai, seriously, what the crap are you doing? Why are you waiting until your clients are driven to either suicide or murder to finally show your face?

We also get our first glimpse of a straw doll here, complete with manga exclusive creepy scarecrow-esque face. It’s really weird because we never see Ai hand her this doll, she never explains what to do with it nor does a string get pulled. It just randomly appears in one panel. If you didn’t know of the show, you’d be very confused as to what this doll is and why it’s here.

Third, Hanjo’s hell torture is almost the same, but there are some interesting changes. He’s driving and about to hit a cat. He has no intentions of swerving because he doesn’t want to get his car dirty (Yeah, I’m sure it’ll be super clean with the blood, fur and cat gore all over it, dumbass.) He crashes because of Ai and breaks both of his legs. Wanyuudou, Ren and Hone Onna dress as doctors who are treating him, but they hilariously hand over the operation to a bunch of animals, who just hack away at him, not understanding his pleas for mercy. The anime episode ended with him in the cage begging for help for his leg while the Hell Team doctors ignored him.

Fourth, there’s an epilogue involving the little girl. Junko helps her find a better vet for her dog’s treatment. Turns out, her dog wasn’t sick – it was pregnant. And it just gave birth to a litter of three adorable puppies.

One of the puppies looks exactly like Lucky and takes a shine to Junko. The little girl gives the dog to her saying Lucky must’ve missed her so much he came down from heaven to be with her again.

No I’m not crying. There’s just water in my eyes. Shut up.

In the anime, it ended very depressingly with Junko set for hell and absolutely nothing to show for it. She had no parents, no dog and really nothing to be happy about – especially considering that her being damned to hell meant she’d likely never see her parents or Candy again.

At least in the manga they have her save a dog (or four, technically) and even get a new dog of her own to love, even if they remind her that her soul is damned to hell and she’d likely never really get to see the real Lucky ever again.

Chapter Five: Dangerous Extracurricular Activities

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This chapter is another that wasn’t mirrored in the anime. A girl named Yuu wants to work hard to get into the same private high school that her crush, Endo, is going to attend. She needs some additional work in chemistry, however, so her teacher, Yazaki, offers to privately tutor her.

It’s soon made apparent that this guy is a total creeper who just wants to get in her pants. He deliberately spills chemicals on her and makes no haste in trying to rip her clothes off, seemingly innocently (they are possibly harmful chemicals) and putting her in nothing but a lab assistant jacket.

He also invites her to what he claims is a group tutoring session at his house, which obviously turns out to be a lie – it’s just for the two of them. He quickly tries to get his hands in her shirt, but she runs off.

The next day, someone has written on the board that Yuu tried to seduce Yazaki. They also spread rumors that she was naked in nothing but a lab coat around him and that she went to his house to try and sleep with him. Yazaki is obviously the one who did this, but he’s playing the nice guy, acting like he might have just lead the poor girl on by being nice and hot.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, turns on her after this. Her friends shun her, everyone treats her like a slut, Endo tells her she’s scum, and even her mother slaps her in the face and tells her to not come home.

Jesus Christ, people. Is this guy such an angel in teacher clothing that no one wants to point the finger at him and say he’s probably the bad guy here? Just throw all of the blame on the middle schooler? Just because the guy is hot?

I wish I could say this is unrealistic, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised….

Doesn’t make it any less infuriating, though. Especially her friggin’ mother. Not listening to her and being angry with her is one thing, but she legit kicked her out of the house!

Yuu goes to a manga cafe after hearing about Hell Correspondence, but, once again, Ai doesn’t come immediately. Yuu is about to slit her wrists with a box cutter before Ai finally shows up. I am not getting this weird suicide/murder theme at all, and I hope that’s one of the things that ends after a volume or two.

Yazaki is sent to hell, where his hell torture is Ai baiting him into his creepy behavior, which promptly gets noticed by tons of people….And that’s about it. I’d say that the vindictive pedophile is probably not the best candidate for ‘most tame hell torture of the volume.’ but you do you, manga.

After that, it seems the Hell Team has done their magic because Yazaki has somehow been ousted as a pedo with several molestation victims coming forward and everyone makes their apologies to Yuu. It’s even hinted that Endo returns Yuu’s crush and that she’ll live as happily ever after as someone can in this series.

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And that was volume one of Hell Girl! Like the anime, the stories have their big ups and downs with quality. And in terms of comparisons, they did some things better and some things worse. I especially didn’t care for the whole ‘Ai waits until the client is either about to kill themselves or commit murder’ shtick. I just don’t understand it. Why is she waiting for them to do that? Just to make a big dramatic entrance?

Some of the stories were drastically improved on in a variety of ways, though, so that’s at least good.

I’m not sure how I feel about the straw doll being almost entirely absent from the first volume (According to Eto, it is in volume two onward) as it corners the clients into making this huge decision right on the spot, but it’s not that bad. Usually, the clients are in such a state that, if they had the doll, they’d probably pull the string then anyway.

I hope another thing that changes with time is the art, but I don’t think it will change that much. Again, I must reiterate, it’s not bad art. It’s just that it’s so different from the Hell Girl art I’m used to, and Ai’s design is particularly distracting.

Here’s to more vengeful stories in volume two!


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Digimon Adventure 01: Episode 12 – Adventure! Patamon and I Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: Takeru and Patamon arrive at The Village of Beginnings, which houses hundreds of baby Digimon and Digieggs. As Takeru and Patamon care for the eggs and babies, slowly falling into chaos as they cry, their caretaker, Elecmon, appears to defend them. He gets into a fight with Patamon, and tensions increase. Can Takeru help them put aside their differences?

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Title Change: Adventure! Patamon and I is changed to DigiBaby Boom

Truthfully, I’m not a fan of either title, but I’d say the dub’s is a bit better.

TK’s imaginary ‘Porkymon’ was originally ‘It’s-Probably-Like-This-mon.’ Saban should’ve at least removed the English text in the corner of the fake Index screen that has its literal name of TabunKonnamon.

They remove a shot of the cartoon pig turning around after it shakes its butt at the camera….Dunno why they’d remove that but not the butt shaking.

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TK’s Hogmon was originally KittoKonnamon, which is ‘It-Must-Be-Like-This-mon’ Again, the English name in the corner is left alone. Also, nitpicky, but the animal Takeru is referencing is clearly a hippo, not another pig.

I know it’s excusable because they’re so far away, but the walk cycle, if you can even call it that, on Takeru when they first enter the village is horrific,

The Village of Beginnings is changed to Primary Village. As much as I’ve gotten used to the dub name, the original’s name is quite beautiful.

The first introduction to The Village of Beginnings is really quiet and sweet with only a gentle music box tune playing. In the dub, not only do we have the typical doopy travel music, but we also have TK’s obnoxious dialogue about getting cotton candy etc. over it. TK, I love ya kid, but your voice is one I’ve never been fond of, at least in little kid form.

In the original, Takeru’s first line into the village is ‘It’s so pretty!’ and he and Patamon gaze in wonder. In the dub, they’re still blathering about candy, which further ruins the moment.

Oddly, the original has a bowling ball hitting pins noise when Takeru and Patamon tumble over the hill. In the dub, this is omitted. Usually, it’s the opposite.

Takeru says the floor feels like a bed. In the dub, he says it feels like marshmallows.

I saw this joke coming. The dub has TK make a joke about Punimon being ‘Puny.’ He’s just making noises of awe in the original.

Yuramon’s voice is way too deep in the dub. It’s a baby, guys, not a ten year old.

Takeru’s comment about Devimon also starting as an egg makes me think. If Digimon never die, their information just get reconfigured, does that mean that every evil Digimon who has been defeated by the Chosen Children could, theoretically, return as eggs and then grow back up to conquer the Digital World again?

Patamon: “It’s Digicode!”

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Oh come on. Digimon, I usually praise you for keeping a good chunk of the Japanese text on screen. Now you’re claiming it’s some gibberish ‘Digicode’ because you’re too lazy to throw some digital paint on this note? Don’t pull a Pokemon on me.

What’s even dumber is that there actually IS a Digimon language called Digicode (or DigiMoji or DigiLetters) and it, predictably, looks nothing like this.

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Haven’t we kinda gone over this too? In Kabuterimon’s debut episode and the episode with Mimi in the maze? Unless they’re saying Japanese text looks like DigiCode just because ‘Oooh weird squiggles all look the same’ in which case, wow, way to be racist.

TK: *Rubbing a DigiEgg* “Maybe a digital genie will come out.” TK….goddammit, you’re not this dumb.

Also, nice that you guys accidentally put the background egg layer on top of Takeru’s layer while animating the second rub.

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TK: “I’m gonna wish for a new skateboard!” TK…..please shut up.

Originally, he just keeps talking about rubbing the egg.

TK, you don’t need to be narrating every step of the flashback. We can easily see what’s happening for ourselves. Also, in the original, you can’t hear what kid!Yamato is saying. In the dub, he says ‘Atta boy!’

Elecmon’s Index screen is more involved in the original. The narrator states that Elecmon is a very inquisitive Digimon who loves playing pranks. He also spreads his tail feathers like a peacock to threaten enemies. In the dub, Elecmon is doing his own Index screen and he says he’s the caretaker of baby Digimon ‘so don’t cross wires with me!’

Attack Name Change: Sparkling Thunder is changed to Super Thunder Strike.

I don’t know why I’m mentioning this, but the Pabumon makes a fart noise before Takeru checks if it messed itself. In the dub, it doesn’t.

It really bothers me that none of these baby Digimon sound like babies in the dub. They’re not even trying.

Again, the baby Digimon layers in the background are overlapping on top of Takeru. Animators, wake up please.

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Originally, Elecmon says Takeru and Patamon were ‘coddling’ the babies. They ask why that’s a bad thing, and he says ‘coddling’ means both ‘petting’ and ‘bullying’ and he meant the latter. In the dub, he says they were playing with the babies. TK asks why that has anything to do with him, and Elecmon explains that he’s the caretaker of all of the baby Digimon.

The way Dub!Patamon says ‘Now, now, don’t get all puffy!’ is weird.

In the original, Takeru just says ‘stop…’ quietly to himself before we see the Digivice reacting slightly. In the dub, he says ‘This is very bad! He’s Digivolving!’

That line makes no sense. First of all, he prefaced the declaration with ‘This is very bad’ meaning he can’t be implying Patamon is Digivolving because….that’d be good.

Second, how does he know either of them is even close to Digivolving? Neither is glowing, and TK can’t see his Digivice right now.

Third, if he somehow can see his Digivice reacting and is claiming a Digivolution would be a bad thing, he’s somehow inferring that his Digivice reactions are about to make Elecmon Digivolve.

The only way this would make sense is if TK were afraid of Patamon Digivolving, which we’ve proven that he isn’t.

Takeru is quietly and sadly scolding Patamon and Elecmon for fighting. In the dub, he’s yelling at them.

Dub!Elecmon’s lips are clearly not moving when he says ‘Hmph, my fur looks fine!’ Dialogue when there originally was none should only be used when the speaking character is off-screen, guys.

In the original, Takeru is announcing the match as a traditional sumo match. He calls the corners ‘east’ and ‘west’ and gives Elecmon and Patamon titles like ‘Elecmon of the Vast Sea’ and ‘Patamon of the Large Mountain.’ He’s even doing the inflection properly. In the dub, TK basically announces this like a pro wrestling match. He just says ‘That corner’ and ‘the other corner’, and he calls Elecmon ‘the defending champion’ and Patamon ‘The most excellent Digimon’ which is funny because he chose this format specifically so they could fight fairly, but calling Patamon essentially the best is clearly playing favorites.

The dub is just weird because you lose the joke entirely. You’re left wondering why the hell TK is wearing that getup and why Patamon and Elecmon are wearing those cloths. The joke is lost even further because it’s supposed to be a tone shift from traditional and serious to a childish game of tug-of-war. But in the dub, the tone is kept consistent.

It’s also funny because this is one of those 4Kids-y moments where they’re missing the forest for the trees. “Oh no, kids! Those squiggly lines aren’t Japanese text – they’re Digicode! Now here’s TK in a gyoji outfit waving around a gunbai while Elecmon and Patamon sport custom mawashis.”

Another scene where the tone is completely ruined? Oh joy. In the original, the tone of the scene changes from tense to very gentle as feathers rain down on Primary Village before Patamon is declared winner. In the dub, they keep the tense tone, so the feathers just seem like an odd addition. The change in tone is meant to help signify the new respect Patamon and Elecmon have for each other, which makes the shift kinda awkward in the dub.

Oh good, another scene where the tone is completely ruined, and this time by a stupid and kinda terrible joke. In the original, Takeru says fighting between friends is okay as a kid because you make up quickly. Then he says ‘Fighting between adults….’ which is hinting at his parents fighting.

From this one line we can tell that Takeru was likely upset at Patamon and Elecmon fighting because it reminded him of his parents. As you’ll recall, Takeru and Yamato’s parents are divorced, and Takeru probably remembers hearing a lot of fighting, even though he was pretty young when they split.

In the dub, TK retains the line about kids patching things up quickly, but says that adults don’t forgive as easily because his parents are still mad at him for that one time when he painted their cat. Uhm, considering that can really hurt an animal, I’d say they have a right to hold a grudge, TK.

So, not only do we lose a nice subtle line that explains a great deal about why Takeru was so upset, but we also make TK out as an animal abuser who is pretty much implying that his parents are overreacting to his cat-painting actions….

In the original, as Elecmon is looking around The Village of Beginnings, he tells Patamon an old saying, ‘A grain of pepper may be tiny, but it’s still sharp on the tongue.’ Patamon mistakes ‘pepper’ for ‘pansy’ and believes Elecmon has eaten pansies before.

In the dub, Patamon messes up an idiom of his own by saying ‘You can’t judge a cover by its book’ and Elecmon tells him to forget the sayings for a minute while he tells him something. Then we get a kinda Lion King-esque reference as Elecmon claims all of Primary Village will be Patamon’s some day and acts like he’s his dad? I get that we don’t really have that original old saying in America, but you can still use it and have Patamon mishear it. It’s not like it’s one of those untranslatable jokes.

Elecmon originally gets straight to the point in saying that Devimon’s on Infinity Mountain. In the dub, he says a bunch of stuff about how the terrain is dangerous and they need climbing gear before TK interrupts by mentioning Devimon. Also, it never ceases to amaze me how the dub both expects us to believe these Digimon are clueless about human things yet they know about stuff like climbing gear.

Takeru says he knows something great will happen when their hearts become one. In the dub, TK goes on a tirade about laughing and friendship. The tone is the same, but it’s like TK’s not making a point in the dub.

This is strange. In the original, Elecmon calls the area near Pyocomon Village ‘Gear Savannah’ but in the dub, he calls it ‘Gea Savannah’ with a long A sound. You’d think at least ‘Savannah’ would be pronounced with a short A sound, though. A long one is probably correct, but short is typically the pronunciation in America.

The narrator has some time during the long shot of the sea to give a monologue about the upcoming battle that is topped off by seeing a small flurry of feathers, which is a cute nod to Angemon’s impending debut. In the dub, Devimon is talking over a good chunk of the first part, then we get a commercial break, then the rest of the scene is silent, making the feathers meaningless.

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I have to say, I’m a little torn about this episode. In the original, the episode is pretty cute and is a good prelude to what’s about to come, but I also feel it was kinda cheesy and a little boring. The baby Digimon are cute but get a little annoying, and the whole plot with Patamon and Elecmon felt slightly forced and under-written. If Patamon’s so mature, he should’ve just explained that they found a note telling them to hatch eggs and they felt compelled to care for the babies when they started crying. If it was such a problem, he should’ve offered to leave.

Elecmon, harsh as though it may be, was perfectly within his rights to attack because they were intruders touching his babies and letting them run loose all over the village. For all he knew, they really were attacking them since they were all crying. He should’ve heard them out a bit more, but that’s all.

The one being treated as the unreasonable one is Elecmon and no one else. Elecmon’s the one who has to learn a lesson, and he learns it through tug of war. It’s not like he even realized something about Patamon during the match or when he hit the block. It was literally them playing tug of war, him losing, then Elecmon’s all smiles and giving Patamon a bunch of praise before he apologizes. Patamon never apologizes even though, in my opinion, he was technically more in the wrong.

And don’t get me started on the animation. There’s no excuse for the layering thing to happen twice, and the overall animation is on the lower end of the spectrum for this show.

The dub is a mess of bad jokes and ruined tones. The whole meaning of the episode almost ends up getting lost because it’s like Saban completely missed the point or didn’t care. The dub is basically a hollow shell because of it.

Also, even though they have a decent amount of Takeru and Patamon bonding, I think the episode should’ve been more focused on their friendship, considering what’s to come, rather than focusing so much on Elecmon and The Village of Beginnings. Yamato and Gabumon had way more development in their episode than Patamon and Takeru did here.

Not to mention, now that I’m older, how glaringly obvious is the hanging thread of ‘We’ll be best friends forever!’? That’s almost as bad as telling someone you love them before heading off alone in a horror movie.

Next episode, one the preview just completely ruins from start to finish, Angemon’s debut! Ready your tissues.

.Previous Episode


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AniManga Clash! Yu Yu Hakusho Volume 1

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Preface: It’s no secret that I love Yu Yu Hakusho. It’s one of my favorite anime, and it’s my favorite shounen fighting anime. (Naruto, DBZ and One Piece are up there, and HunterXHunter is looking to be very strong competition for top spot as I get further into it, but YYH has maintained the top spot.)

However, I’ve never read the manga before. I’ve never even heard or read up much about it before, either. So I figured, since I’m also doing a Shounen Step-By-Step on the series, it’s the perfect opportunity to also dive into the manga and do an AniManga Clash on it.

So let’s not waste anymore time and explore volume one of the Yu Yu Hakusho manga!

Chapter One: So Long World

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(First episode review and summary) Yusuke smokes in the manga when he’s about to chew gum in the first episode.

The wake is a lot less dramatic in the manga. Atsuko sits for half of it like she does in the anime, but she does it with this cartoonish blank face as opposed to just a blank face. Additionally, Kuwabara doesn’t attempt to hit Yusuke’s picture and end up bursting into tears in the manga. The picture in question is a cartoony picture of Yusuke, though to be honest the one they used in the anime seemed really weird to me. Like he was a much younger kid looking back at a camera, but he was obviously the same age.

The anime doesn’t include a really sweet flashback (Well, part of this flashback is in the anime much later.) Atsuko thinks back to the last time she saw Keiko so forlorn. It was several years prior when Yusuke got a bad cold.

He fell into the river after running from Keiko after he flipped her skirt. Keiko was adamant to not leave Yusuke’s side and was very upset about how sick he had gotten. The next day, despite still being sick as a dog, Yusuke decided to suck it up and go to school because if he took a sick day Keiko would continue to worry as she was the day prior, and he didn’t want that. When we cut back to present day, Atsuko slightly berates her son for making Keiko sad again before basically passing out on the counter.

It’s a shame because this is an adorable flashback that adds to Keiko and Yusuke’s relationship quite a bit and even gives us some more glimpses into Atsuko as a caring mother, if only slightly. I mean, she is still blaming him for leaving.

Chapter Two: The Test for Revival

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(Episode 2 review and summary) Keiko is blaming herself heavily throughout all of chapter two. The last thing she said to Yusuke was ‘Just die!’ and now her last exchange with him keeps replaying in her head. The anime doesn’t include this, which is a shame because Yusuke comforts her (in his own way) and combats her guilt before he tries to tell her about his body being cremated.

Apparently, in the manga, they implement a restriction on Yusuke after he possesses Kuwabara. He can’t infiltrate people’s dreams or possess anyone until the test is over. But this restriction wasn’t in the anime. In fact, much of the episode about Kuwabara and his friends is centered on Yusuke helping him through his dreams and possessing people.

Chapter Three: Time to Begin!

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This story is actually pretty different from the anime version, and that’s quite disappointing because, in the manga, this chapter is one of very few where the focus is entirely on Yusuke’s feelings for Keiko and vice versa.

In the manga, Yusuke is told that he only has one more day to talk with any loved ones, specifically Keiko (or his mother) before the test to get revived formally starts and he’s completely barred from communicating with them. Why is he barred from communicating with his closest loved ones? No idea. Just cuz, I guess.

Because of this, Yusuke has a chance to give his ‘last words’ to Keiko in person instead of a dream, because she might not believe the dream is really Yusuke talking to her. Yusuke must possess Kuwabara, because he has higher spirit sensitivity, find her, convince her that he’s Yusuke and pass on his final words before his possession window closes in 30 minutes.

In the anime, they continue on the plotline from the previous chapter about trying to prevent his body from being cremated. Originally, Keiko was convinced enough by the dream sequence of Yusuke telling her to check to see if his body’s still alive that she ran to Atsuko’s house in the middle of the night to do so. She was successful, though Atsuko had already discovered Yusuke was alive because Atsuko opened his coffin to smack him one more time and noticed his face had color.

In the anime, she’s somewhat convinced by the dream, but decides to not tell Atsuko about it out of fear that she might upset her even further. Yusuke has to find a more convincing avenue of telling her, so we cue up the Kuwabara plot to tell her in person. I don’t much care for this change because we go from a sweeter plot of Yusuke rushing around to give one last message to the girl he loves to a race to save his body from being cremated with sweet moments with Keiko interspersed throughout. The sweet moments are still very sweet, but it’s more romantic in the manga.

The rest of the story goes the same in both versions, basically. Yusuke possesses Kuwabara but runs into all sorts of problems while trying to find Keiko including accidentally pissing off Keiko’s parents by ‘posing’ as Yusuke and running into a ton of thugs that Kuwabara and his gang have challenged in the past.

However, he does indeed find Keiko and convinces her that he’s who he says he is by grabbing her boobs and joking around about it, which is something Yusuke has more or less done since they were kids. She slaps the fuck out of him, yelling out his name, and she instantly knows he really is Yusuke.

This is where the two stories shift again. In the manga, he only asks her to wait for him and have faith that he’ll return to her. She agrees and tells him she’ll wait forever. In the anime, obviously, they have to add in the part where he tells her that he’s taking a test to return to life and that he needs her to take care of his body until then, including stopping the funeral so he won’t get cremated. Then the conversation ends with the aforementioned dialogue exchange.

Again, this scene is still sweet and romantic, but it loses something when the other stuff is piled on there. It’s much more emotionally impacting if he’s simply rushing around to tell the girl he loves his ‘last words’ to her than it is to have him tack it on at the end of telling her stuff she has to do for him to help him out.

Oh and the anime adds Kuwabara taking advantage of the fact that Keiko was hugging his body when he was possessed by Yusuke to get in some hugs from a cute girl only to have Keiko slap the fuck out of him again. This was unnecessary but it did kinda highlight that Keiko truly knows Yusuke and could tell when Kuwabara had taken over again. However, I don’t think Kuwabara, Mr. Honor over there, would continue hugging Keiko like that to be a little pervy.

After Yusuke is saved in the anime or just after he returns to spirit form in the manga, Yusuke looks on at Keiko and proclaims that he must go back now because he promised her. He even says he’ll never do another bad deed again if he can come back to life (though he thinks to himself that fighting’s not a bad deed.) In the anime, Yusuke just checks the spirit egg, which is feeding off of his spirit energy. He wonders if that’s a good thing because he thinks he only did good things that day, but Botan wonders because he beat up a lot of people too.

This is actually a point where they lost a sweet moment entirely. I love that Yusuke has a newfound determination to come back to life for Keiko, even promising that he’ll never do another bad deed if he returns. The anime’s ending isn’t necessarily bad, but this romantic gesture is completely lost.

Chapter Four: The Old Dog and the Wolf

This chapter never made it to the anime, and I’m very glad for that because, even though I can’t bring myself to say it’s a particularly bad chapter, it is still insanely sad, and I don’t much care for Yusuke’s behavior in it.

The chapter involves a boy named Shota grieving over his dying dog, Jiro. His bitch of a mother coldly forces him to go to school while Jiro is on death’s door, and a bunch of asshole kids bully him about his dog when he arrives. Botan and Yusuke are watching, knowing that the dog won’t live until Shota returns.

They’re right. Jiro dies while Shota is at school and he’s completely devastated by it to the point where Yusuke thinks this may be the tipping point for the kid to commit suicide.

Jiro’s spirit won’t leave Shota’s house because he’s worried about him. Yusuke comes up with a plan to appear to Shota in his dreams, pretending to be an agent of hell trying to ferry Jiro down to hell because he won’t go up to heaven. He even uses a thorny leash and kicks him over and over, which I thought was really overkill. I get that Jiro is dead, but if hell is a place in this universe and you can feel pain there, it’s not a stretch to say Yusuke is actually hurting the dog.

Shota, in an effort to save his dog from hell, beats up Yusuke and tells him to leave Jiro alone. Yusuke relents, but says he’ll come back for Jiro if Shota continues to be a crybaby and wimp. He won’t let that happen, and an angelic Botan takes Jiro up to heaven.

The next day, Shota’s mom was apparently replaced by another woman because she actually offers to allow him to stay home from school today. Yeah, his dog is hours away from death, so you scream at him, act like the dog doesn’t matter and force him to go to school. Dog’s already dead? Oh honey, you can stay home today.

Bite me, lady.

Shota, however, declares that he must be strong and go to school because he made a promise to Jiro and he’s going to keep it.

At school, the bullies continue to be dicks, even going so far as saying that once his dog dies (they’re unaware that he died) they’ll chop him up and make dog stew. This time Shota fights back and tells them if they ever talk about his dog again, he’ll beat them both up. Because the chapter’s almost over, of course they relent and Shota’s off to start a new life as a confident young man who will be forever worried that the slightest show of cowardice or soft-heartedness will be a one-way ticket to hell for his beloved doggo. The end.

This chapter really pulls me in two directions. First of all, it deals with the death of a pet, and that’s a very sore topic with me. If you want to see me cry, just show me any story that involves animal death, particularly dogs. It’s almost instantaneous with me.

Second of all, I can’t really get behind Yusuke’s methods for helping this kid. Sure, he pretended like he legitimately got his ass kicked by Shota so he’d get a boost of confidence, but he also threatened the kid basically saying if he ever went back to having feelings and not attempting to beat up two kids who were way bigger than him that he’d send his dog to hell.

Third of all, they were worried that Shota was in such a bad place that he might commit suicide soon, so they decide saying that his dog is going to hell because he’s such a wimp is the best course of action? They’re incredibly lucky that worked, otherwise they might have blood on their hands.

Finally, the ending was really cliché and, realistically, shouldn’t have worked. As far as I can tell, standing up to bullies does tend to make them back off, if you’re dealing with one bully, but in this situation the power balance was a bit too much – it was two bigger sociopathic kids against little Shota threatening to beat them up. They not only relented after he told them off, but they were so stunned and in total fear of him that it was a bit comedic. He didn’t even hit them – he just grabbed one of them by the collar.

I won’t say this was a bad chapter, even if it does have several objective problems, but it did make me really uncomfortable and sad.

Chapter Five: Christmas of the First Year

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Another story that was completely lost from the anime – and it was a Christmas special. Yeah…I never knew there was a Yu Yu Hakusho Christmas special but here we are. It kinda threw me for a loop because that implies that Yusuke’s been dead for MONTHS now. Remember, the episode with Yusuke saving Keiko with his spirit egg happened in summer. I had no idea there was so much of a gap between him getting his spirit egg and actually being revived. I guess this is so we can see Yusuke doing more good deeds while dead instead of him just doing a couple like he did in the anime.

As for the chapter as a whole, it’s very sweet. There’s a spirit of a girl (She’s never given a name) who has been waiting on a park bench for over a year. She’s very adamant about not moving because she agreed to meet a guy she liked, Kenji, on that bench on Christmas of last year, but she suddenly fell very ill, lapsed into a coma and died. Botan wants to help her move on, but she will only leave if she’s able to see Kenji to apologize for standing him up, whether he can hear her or not. They make an agreement – if he’s not there by their meeting time last year, noon on Christmas, then they leave. They wait until 1:30, because she says he’s always late and finds that charming about him.

Kenji, surprisingly, does show up, but he’s there to meet another girl. When they talk about how late he was, he mentions the spirit girl. He explains that he loves to leave girls waiting for him. On that day on Christmas, he had a 10,000 yen (1000 dollars) bet running with his friends that she would wait over five hours for him to show up, but she never showed and he never talked to her again, implying he doesn’t know she’s even dead. He also mocks her before heading off with his girlfriend.

The spirit girl can’t find it within her to get angry with Kenji, however, especially when she states that she would have waited the five hours if she hadn’t fallen ill. She is, understandably, devastated, though. Yusuke is angry that he can’t beat the crap out of Kenji, and he’s frustrated that the spirit girl won’t get angry either, so he decides to help her forget about him and move on instead.

He takes her on a date – movie, seeing the sites, going on a roller coaster etc. as best they can since they’re spirits. At the end of the date, he tells her to tell Kenji off by yelling into the city, but she just yells out a note of thanks to Kenji because, if it wasn’t for him, she’d never have met Yusuke and had such a nice time.

She happily departs from this realm knowing that there are better people than Kenji who are probably waiting for her on the other side. If she can manage to find someone even half as nice as Yusuke, she’ll be happy forever.

Yusuke, while glad that the girl passed on with no regrets, is not as forgiving of Kenji. Somehow breaking the laws of appearing to humans, he’s able to speak to Kenji over the phone, acting like one of the girls he’s burned by his games and he also appears to him as a ghost to scare him. Botan ‘lets’ him just this once, but I really don’t understand how he’s doing this or why, if he’s able to appear to humans, he hasn’t been allowed to do so with his family or friends outside of dreams.

No matter, though. The jerk had it coming to him. It even looks like his current girlfriend isn’t too happy with him now. Not that she should have been from the very beginning, though. He talks about the girls he’s emotionally screwed around with, brags that she’s a new one just like the others and implies that he’s currently doing this to many other girls.

Chapter Six: Lonely Journey

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Yet another story never told in the anime. This one is about an old man who is close to death, so Botan and Yusuke are keeping an eye on him. He’s a bitter old man who doesn’t trust anyone and throws the kindness of others back in their faces, but he wasn’t always like that.

He used to be a very kind old man who loved spending time with his family, particularly his grandson, Shinji. However, his daughter/son and son/daughter-in-law along with Shinji died in a terrible car accident. His family fought him over the estate, so he became distrustful, got rid of most of the estate and closed himself off from others.

Botan and Yusuke spot a tanuki wandering around the old man’s house, and it’s confirmed that in this universe animals can see and interact with spirits. In addition, animals like foxes and tanuki can transform. This is a rather young tanuki, and it explains why it’s watching the old man.

When he was a little baby tanuki, he got his foot caught in a snap trap. The old man and Shinji freed the tanuki from the trap and patched him up, saving his foot and, ultimately, his life, so he wanted to repay them somehow. When he learns that Shinji has passed and the old man is close to death, the tanuki decides to transform into Shinji to keep him company on his dying days, but he can only do it at night.

The old man is very happy to have Shinji around, even if it’s only at night, and his last days (or nights) on earth are made so much better because of it. As the old man is reaching his end, his final request is for Shinji to stay with him until he goes. But the sun is rising, and the little tanuki’s time transformed is about to be up.

Surprisingly, the old man reveals that he’s known all along that ‘Shinji’ was actually the little Tanuki. He knew he was just trying to provide him with comfort, so he played along. He still wanted the little tanuki to stay with him until he passed, and the tanuki tearfully honored his final request.

The old man finally passed on to reunite with Shinji and the rest of his family, and the little tanuki went back off into the wild.

This story was pretty heartwarming and sweet. I won’t lie, I teared up a bit by the end, but….you notice how Botan and Yusuke had really nothing to do with the actual story? That’s a bit weird. They really were just reacting to what was going on and talking about it. They had no effect on the story whatsoever besides telling the tanuki about the old man’s family, and he could’ve figured that out on his own.

Chapter Seven: Promise

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(Episode 3 review and summary) The next chapter finally matches back up with the anime (or vice versa, I guess I should say) as they cover the story where Kuwabara needs to both stop fighting for a week and get at least a 50 on his next test in order to save his friend, Okubo’s, job.

The anime adapted this story pretty well. They didn’t really omit anything nor do I remember them including anything notable. There are some notes here and there that I don’t remember being in the anime, like the first scene being Yusuke visiting Keiko at school to see how she’s doing, and Yusuke explaining that he thinks his mom makes money to support them by….extorting a cop. Atsuko: Mother of the Fucking Year.

Also, there’s a little character blurb off to the side about Keiko and uh…..Ya know, I could write a whole post about how shafted girls are in this series (As much as I love Botan, she’s still just an assistant – as much I enjoy Keiko and Yusuke’s relationship, she gets to do fuck all over the course of the series and doesn’t have that deep of a personality – Atsuko’s a horrible mom – Yukina’s as literal of a damsel in distress as possible, complete with being locked in a tower, and certified love interest etc. The only really good female character in the series who fights and does important stuff is Genkai.) I had to pause and just sigh because her little character blurb said this:

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Yes…Keiko’s hobbies are….cooking….and cleaning…..There’s nothing wrong with enjoying cooking and cleaning, but, Keiko, for God’s sake, you’re really not helping the pseudo-sexist vibe this series gives off whenever women are involved nor are you making yourself any more interesting as a character.

Anyhoo, I’ve always really loved this story. It’s a very sweet example of how dedicated Kuwabara is to his friends and how much honor he has a person. It highlights the friendship between Yusuke and Kuwabara very well too. Beforehand, you really just think they had a mutual respect for each other and weren’t really friends, but this episode truly shows that their bond was a lot deeper than just fightin’ buddies.

Chapter Eight: A Short Lived Revival

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The final chapter of the volume does a bit more for Keiko’s character, but not so for Atsuko who, AGAIN, has left Yusuke all alone and even has the balls to say in a note to Keiko that Yusuke is ‘sleeping like the dead.’ What the unholy hell, Atsuko?

In this chapter, Yusuke is temporarily reunited with his body. Apparently, if his body doesn’t get some activity from his soul every month after being revived, then his body might actually die from the lack of energy.

Botan tells him to just sleep the entire time he’s in his body so he can more efficiently recharge his batteries and so he doesn’t accidentally interact with his mom or Keiko, which will break the terms of his revival and make it so he’s unable to come back.

Yusuke, of course, doesn’t listen to her advice and goes off in public anyway. Like in the anime, though in that case it was after he’s officially resurrected, he decides to stay under the radar for the most part. In the manga, he doesn’t slick back his hair, and that’s his only disguise. In the anime, he also puts on sunglasses.

Like in the anime, he bumps into a few people and is just happy they can see and feel him. Even when a couple of thugs try to mug him, he’s just happy that he’s alive and corporeal. These thugs are from Kasanegafuchi Junior High, whereas in the anime they were from Rugafuji Junior High.

The rest is altered from the anime, however.

Yusuke manages to scare off these thugs by nearly strangling one of them. The one who nearly got strangled is so pissed, he decides to take out his anger on one of Keiko’s friends, who accidentally bumped into him. He kicks her to the ground, and Keiko, not taking an iota of shit, slaps him across the face.

Kuwabara’s friends, sans Kuwabara because he’s actually off studying, confront them instead. Keiko’s friends manage to convince her to leave and let them handle it. However, almost as soon as they start to leave, Dai(Daisuke), the thugs’ leader, arrives and swiftly beats the snot out of Kuwabara’s gang.

Keiko turns around and demands he stop, smacking him in the back of the head with her bag when he ignores her. Dai grabs her face and threatens her. Meanwhile, Yusuke is off playing pachinko, completely unaware of what’s happening with Keiko. Even if he does learn about it, it would mean his certain death if she sees him.

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I’m actually quite astonished about how little the manga, so far, has been adapted in the anime. Only a week or two seems to go by after Yusuke’s body is revived when he’s finally brought back to life for good, but in the manga he’s been out for at least a month, given that he’s only learning of this body recharge thing now, and I have to imagine it’s way more than that – bear in mind the thing about it one minute being summer and the next it’s Christmas.

Do I fault the anime for omitting all of these stories?….Yes and no. I could’ve done without the story about Shota, for obvious reasons, and while the story with the old man was really sweet, it really had absolutely nothing to do with either the main plot or Yusuke or any main character. I’m on the fence about whether or not I’d like this cliffhanger plot with Keiko to have stayed. On one hand, it’s a bit of a badass moment for her, and she gets few in the course of the series, if any. On the other hand, the badassery leads her to be a damsel in distress – complete with impending rape implications….

I get that they probably wanted to rush Yusuke back to life so he could finally get into some Spirit Detective action, but I can’t deny that it would have been nice to at least see a couple more stories of him being a ghost and helping people or spirits out. I’m especially disappointed that we didn’t get that Christmas special. It could easily be altered to not be a Christmas special if the timing or whatever is an issue, and it was a very sweet story about an equally sweet girl. Plus, Yusuke’s being a big teddy bear in it, and that’s rare to see, even when he’s with Keiko.

The parts that were actually adapted were done well, and the anime’s changes were mostly made for the better, especially that wake scene. There were some snippets of information here and there that were lost, but it was nothing too bad.

I’m actually at a bit of a loss as to how to determine a winner here. Only about half of the manga so far, if that, was adapted to anime form. I don’t feel like the side-stories that were lost were so vital that it should damage the anime’s score too much, but I also feel like we simply got more out of the manga.

I want to say ‘Tie’ here, but…

Winner: Manga

I’m mostly giving this round to the manga because I think they really should have explored more stories while Yusuke was a ghost in the anime, and I think they did some of the adapted stuff just a tiny bit better – by a barely noticeable margin. The anime did the wake better, but the manga did the brief reunion with Keiko better as well as several other quieter moments with her.


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Cardcaptor Sakura/Cardcaptors Episode 12: Sakura’s Never-Ending Day Sub/Dub Comparison

Card(s) of the Day: Time: A card that has the ability to control time flow as well as reverse an entire day’s worth of time at midnight. Time’s weakness seems to be Shield as its time manipulation is useless against those who use Shield.

Plot: Sakura makes a mistake during her recorder test and wishes she could retake it after she practices more. She gets her wish as the Time card reverses time back one day. While she gets another shot at her recorder test, Time continuously reverses time back one day every night at midnight but only Syaoran, Kero and Sakura retain the memories of the days replayed. Can Sakura and Syaoran capture time or will they be stuck in a time loop forever?

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A closeup shot of the board is removed despite the fact that we can clearly see it behind him in the next shot. Continuity!

The dub seems to be shoving the concept of time down our throats before we’re even five minutes into the show. The dub title is “Time and again” when the original’s is “Sakura’s Never-ending Day,” and I swear her dad has said “time” emphasized at least three times now.

A shot of the class is removed. We also don’t hear Sakura’s narration of saying that this is the first time that she’s ever heard details about what her dad does, and that, to her, archaeology seems difficult but interesting. Her dad is talking over any remaining shots.

Sakura’s dad’s topic stays roughly the same, but originally he says King Kufu’s pyramid in the Giza strip is the biggest Pyramid that remains standing today with some people speculating that it took over 40 years to build. In the dub, he’s talking about how one brick of limestone he has is all that remains of a section of King Kufu’s pyramid.

They remove him saying that supposedly 2,700,000 bricks were used to build the pyramid.

A moderately long sequence is cut. Once the bell rings, we cut back to the auditorium where the class is clapping for Fujitaka. While Syaoran’s standing on his chair clapping his head off behind Sakura, Sakura muses that she wishes all of her classes seemed that short. The bell for lunch never seems to come while the bell to end recess always comes too soon.

I guess Syaoran really is psyched about archaeology because he asks Fujitaka all sorts of questions about his lecture. He originally asks about pharaohs making curses on their tombs and people who ransack the tombs getting cursed and dying. Fujitaka says that’s a tough question and responds that not all pyramids were meant to be the tombs of the specific pharaoh who made them. Some pharaohs made as much as five pyramids in their lifetime. (While Atem was off playing card games. Pfft)

In the dub, Lee asks how, in time, the pyramids will all be gone. Aiden agrees that will happen eventually, but seeing as how they’re so massive and have stayed around for thousands of years, they probably still have some staying power left in them.

At the realization that Syaoran likes archaeology, Fujitaka invites Syaoran to his house because he has even more artifacts there. The dub has Aiden invite Lee to the university because they have a great Egyptology section. You can basically deduce why this was removed. Was it kosher even back then to invite kids to your house when you’re an adult? I know he has a kid Syaoran’s age, but still.

Poor editing strikes Nelvana again. After Syaoran finds out that Fujitaka is Sakura’s dad, he glares at her as she waves to her dad. She slows down her wave and slowly tilts her head down with a sweatdrop asking what Syaoran’s problem is now. In the dub, they try their damnedest to remove that scene with the sweatdrop but leave in like a half a second of it before the transition. Nelvana, it helps to go through the scene frame by frame when you remove stuff to ensure that there’s no trace left. Just sayin’. It looks shoddy.

The scene that follows is removed. Sakura runs to her dad as he’s leaving, he asks if his lecture was alright and she says yes. Fujitaka is pleased and asks Sakura what she wants for dinner tonight. Sakura asks why he’s asking her if it’s Toya’s turn to cook. Fujitaka explains that Toya has an exam tomorrow so he’s cooking to give him some extra time to study. As Sakura’s about to answer, the bell rings and Sakura laments that recess is over. Fujitaka says recess always feels too short and he sends her off. I guess this was either removed because too much Fujitaka or merely because the scene was fairly pointless.

Kero originally asks why Sakura’s up so late and says good little kids should be in bed by now before cheering at winning his game. In the dub, Kero’s just talking about his game before cheering that he wins. Also, they left in the footage of the game which is odd because there’s Japanese all over it.

Originally Sakura was presenting Toya and Yukito with Nikuman. In the dub, Julien says they’re pastry puffs. You know, you can just leave out what they are instead of making claims like that. Food is food.

Also, before Toya opens the door Sakura practices what she’ll say and do when she gives the nikuman to Yukito. This is removed.

Sakura says she’s feeling uneasy because she’s sleeping while Yukito’s in the next room. In the dub, she says she has to get some sleep because she has a big music test tomorrow and she’s worried she didn’t practice enough…I had music class when I was in grade school, but I don’t ever remember having music tests. Did anyone else? Am I having a serious memory blank?

Dub Kero: “What’s with the ding dong thing?” They’re called bells, Kero…..

They edit out hearing Yukito and Toya talking about the bells through the wall. I guess because even Yukito’s voice is offensive somehow.

The good news is Sakura really does have a music test in the original; a recorder test. Ah, the recorder…I don’t remember being formally tested on that, though. Had a lot of fun playing it. Hot cross buns!

Shots of Sakura’s cartoony crying face and a depressed face.

The dub doesn’t mention that Sakura has problems hitting the high D. If you made a joke in your head about that line, go to the corner.

You can’t hear what Tomoyo’s mouthing to Sakura in the original. Also, Sakura turns around to look at Madison before she calls her name in the dub. Psychic Sakura!

A shot of Tomoyo anticipating the next measure is edited out.

The original has Syaoran pretending the play the recorder beside his desk. The dub adds in the music. Because that makes sense right? Lee totally wouldn’t be causing a disturbance in music class by playing the recorder while someone else is trying to play in front of the whole class for this final exam. Good job, Nelvana.

This next scene was sorta changed and a spot was removed. Sakura says she made a weird noise in her test, but Tomoyo says she did very well on the other parts, which I guess means she still passed. Sakura then compliments Tomoyo on the job she did on her exam and says she couldn’t even tell it was the same song. In the dub she tells Madison that she really blew the test that morning and, if she could, she’d go back and do it all over again.

Originally, Sakura wonders why Syaoran’s practicing the recorder when the final is done. Tomoyo says it might be because he didn’t do very well on his test, but it’s dangerous to walk and play at the same time. In the dub, Sakura sees Lee playing and says “So he can walk and play the recorder at the same time. Big whup.” Madison scolds her, but she responds by saying he still doesn’t think she should be a Cardcaptor. Right, he doesn’t think she should be a Cardcaptor (A little bit justifiably, by the way) so make fun of him for innocently playing the recorder while walking by. Way to be the bigger person, Sakura.

A short scene is removed where Sakura asks if Syaoran moved to Japan from Hong Kong by himself with Tomoyo responding that she doesn’t know because she doesn’t know much about his family.

They remove Sakura also calling Syaoran’s kick amazing and them looking back to him with smiles.

A scene of Sakura, Toya and her dad making toasts for finishing exams as well as Sakura drinking her drink is removed. No idea why. Not like it’s alcohol.

They remove a shot of Sakura agreeing to practice more. Also, the dub insinuates that Tori did perfectly on the exams or something and still makes it seem like Sakura failed whereas in the original Toya says he did so-so on his exams and Sakura is still frustrated over making one mistake.

Dub Sakura: “Well, Tori and my dad think I didn’t practice enough. So I’M going to show THEM next time.” In the original, Sakura says her dad suggested that she go over the parts that she couldn’t manage to do on her test to get them right anyway if missing the notes frustrated her – probably to prove to herself that she can do it and would’ve been able to do it earlier if she applied herself. Then Kero and Sakura praise her dad for such good advice.

In the dub she makes off like they were mocking her for missing the notes and not practicing enough so she’s going to rub it in their faces later. And need I remind you, Sakura, that you said earlier you wished you had practiced more and admitted that you thought you didn’t practice enough that previous night.

Dub Kero: (Right after that line I just wrote) “Expect the unexpected!”……What the hell does that have to do with this conversation?! Expect that she’ll unexpectedly rub it in her dad and brother’s faces that she can play that part now? Expect that you’ll put that catchphrase in places miles away from where it belongs? Or are you saying it’s unexpected that she’ll be able to play the song? Because that’s a little insulting.

After Kero finds out that his save file’s been deleted again and Sakura leaves the room, he shakes his head back and forth crying saying “Why, why, why!?” This is removed.

Again, they make off like Sakura completely flunked the music test instead of just making one mistake. Is it just more believable that Sakura would want to redo a test she failed instead of wanting to avoid making an embarrassing mistake in front of her class?

Tomoyo asks if Sakura’s nervous, Madison asks if Sakura’s been having weird dreams.

Despite the fact that dub Sakura denied having a weird dream where she failed, Madison says her dream was wrong because she did perfectly. In the original, Tomoyo just says she expects nothing less of Sakura than to do so well on her finals.

Hm….I don’t quite get the redo of Syaoran’s kick. When Syaoran kicked the ball coming at his face the first time, he was at the top of the steps a good ten feet higher than the soccer field. The second time, he’s on the same level with the soccer field and he’s standing further ahead than he was before. If this really is supposed to be exactly the same as the previous day barring what Sakura, Kero and Syaoran do, why did the ball change direction to seek out Syaoran again?

After Syaoran makes the kick again, Sakura does say in the original that things seem slightly different, but she never builds upon what she means by that. Does that mean that everything that happened the previous day must happen to them no matter what they do to avoid it? Because that doesn’t make full sense seeing as how she made a mistake on her music test the first time and didn’t the second time.

Tomoyo says when she was designing Sakura’s outfit for the day, she was imagining a night fairy flying freely through the skies. In the dub, Madison says nothing of a fairy and says it’s for undetected night flight…..undetected night flight, huh? This thing?

This bright yellow fairy outfit is supposed to be stealthy? Whatever you say, Madison.

Minor nitpick, but Kero asks how she knew the card was in the clock tower in the original whereas dub Kero acts like he believes full-on that Sakura sensed it was in there.

Another minor nitpick, but in the original Sakura and Kero’s voices lower dramatically when time slows down like it would when slowing down an audio track. In the dub, they just speak really slowly. I’ll admit, while the original is more realistic, the dub is preferred to me because that scene is friggin’ creepy.

I believe the commercial break for the dub was supposed to come immediately after we see Kero and Sakura frozen in time. However we see a split second of the following shot of the hourglass before it cuts out.

After Kero explains that, while Time can control time, it only has the ability to rewind a whole day on midnight. They see that it’s 11:45pm and Sakura gets a sweatdrop on her face and says they’ll have to repeat the whole day again. Sakura cries that she’ll have to do the recorder test again, Kero cries that he’ll lose his save data again and they rush off to catch the card. This whole conversation as well as the sweatdrops and crying are removed. They just point out that they have 15 minutes to catch the card and fly off.

Original Kero says the card is speeding up time merely around the clock tower to be able to activate its full-day time reversal, which is super cheating if you ask me. You can’t put a limitation on a card and then give the card the ability to easily work around it.

“You have this great power over time, but the only restriction is you can only reverse a whole day at midnight.”

“Okay, I’ll just fastforward to exactly midnight.”

“Ah, wait, you can’t do that.”

“Ahp ahp ahp. You said that was the ONLY restriction.”

“Yes, but…”

“TIME MAGIC!”

Dub Kero and Sakura’s voices remain unchanged again when Time does a full-day rewind.

Kero asks why they have to keep leaving so late. If they know where the card is and what it is, why not leave earlier? Sakura responds that she had to celebrate with her dad and brother and practice again beforehand…..Wait, I’m STILL not getting what this rewind entails.

So you mean the first time the rewind happened even after she knew there was a clow card at work she still had to go home, celebrate and practice before leaving? But that makes no sense because after she practiced on the first day before the first rewind, she went to bed. If she, Kero and supposedly Syaoran are bound to do the same things they did that day, why are they free to break from that to chase after Time? That makes no sense. Is there any time travel related story that doesn’t have gaping plot holes?

Also, that thing about leaving earlier is omitted from the dub. Sakura and Kero just keep whining about having to do the same stuff three times over.

If this day has been replayed three times, why is Syaoran just NOW showing up to help? I thought he was all gung-ho about catching the cards before Sakura yet here he is ignoring the card until he gets fed up with her not catching it. Was there something he ‘needed’ to do over and over keeping him from the fight or did they not know how to fit him into the fight yet?

While there have been hints here and there about the differences in attitude between Lee and Syaoran, he’s really starting to get cocky and degrading in the dub.

Lee: “Time’s flying! I mean fleeing!”……..Ugh.

Dub Sakura: (After Lee uses his Lightning) “You backed me up!” Well, duh! He came here to help you capture Time not sabotage you. In the original, Sakura’s just surprised Syaoran had a trap ready.

Dub Kero: “Sometimes the card doesn’t always go to the one who seals it, Sakura.”

Sakura: “But why not?!”

Dub Kero: “Hey if I had all the answers, you’d think I’d look like this?”

Yeah…except you DO have the answer, you dimwit – at least in the original. Kero says the card doesn’t go to the one who seals it, it goes to the person who returned the card to its original form. Syaoran turned it back into its original form with his Lightning, so despite the fact that Sakura sealed it, Syaoran gets to keep it. Why couldn’t this rule be explained in the dub?

Originally Sakura had a kanji writing test. In the dub, it’s a spelling test.

They remove a shot of Sakura cartoonishly crying because she studied the wrong thing.

Visuals:

Leave it to Kero-Chan!/Kero’s Corner: Wow, Nelvana’s being derpy today. During Kero’s Corner, they don’t remove the edited logo until about a second after Kero popped up on screen so it covers him for like 15 frames.

Dub Kero: “The theory behind this design (Sakura’s fairy outfit) was to dress up like Tinkerbell to get past Time’s ancient form.”…………………………………….I have…..no words…..How?……What’s the actual theory? Because that makes no sense. Someone explain this to me. Please.

In the original, Kero just says the fairy costume goes well with the fact that they just switched to Summer uniforms at school.

Original Kero doesn’t mention anything about the wings boosting her magic ability (How would Madison have the ability to do that anyway?) or that they’re high-tech and aerodynamic. They’re not high-tech. There’s no tech involved period. They’re not even aerodynamic from my standpoint. In fact they look like they’d bog her down in flight.

Dub Kero: (About Sakura’s school bag) “You’d be amazed at the amount of stuff you could fit in there. About the only thing you can’t fit in there is time.” Well, seeing as how Time is a card, she’d probably be able to easily fit it in there. I get what he was saying, but given the circumstances that’s a silly comment. Originally, Kero just mentions that the bag’s very simple but functional and has a hook on the side.

Overall this is a bit of a dumb episode. Time seems like a cool card, but the episode as a whole makes little sense to me and the dub is downright irritating at points, especially considering editing errors that make me wonder if Nelvana’s editing staff wasn’t off that day and they had the janitor stand in. The premise is also a big cliché, though it may have been less of a cliché back then.

Next episode, Power’s debut! A trip to the zoo leads Sakura and the gang to finding the Power card and it’s causing all sorts of chaos.

.Previous Episode


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My AniManga-ish Thoughts on Aishiteruze Baby

A long, long time ago in a place….directly where I am now, maybe a few feet away, Twix watched an anime called Aishiteruze Baby. Twix was not one to be easily swayed by stories of little children. No, she was a jaded old grump whose thoughts would instantly jump to ‘Oh god, here comes an annoyance.’ whenever a child character would be introduced to, well, pretty much anything, which she’s now realizing is insanely ironic because her favorite TV show as a kid was Rugrats.

The point is, it would’ve taken quite the lovable little kid and a nice heartwarming story for her to really be invested in an anime centered on a little kid. And Aishiteruze Baby was that anime.

I dunno why I keep doing the storybook-esque intro. Anyway, it’s been eons since I watched Aishiteruze Baby. In fact, it was one of the first dozen shows I ever reviewed.

Aishiteruze Baby is the story of five year old Yuzuyu who has been temporarily abandoned by her mother. Her teenage cousin, Kippei, is forced to take care of her until his family can figure out where Yuzuyu’s mother is and when or if she intends on coming back for her daughter. The story explores how Kippei adjusts to being a surrogate parent to Yuzuyu while also trying to balance his own life, and how Yuzuyu copes with being abandoned by her mother as more and more time goes on.

I really enjoyed the series when I first watched it. Kippei was a sweetheart, his relationship to Kokoro, his stoic yet lonely girlfriend, was nicely done, the stories were cute and heartwarming with some well-done drama and tension, and Yuzuyu was a PWECIOUS WITTLE CUPCAKE!! She was such a little sweetie, and she was so adorable, and she loved Kippei so much, and she was so cute, and so sweet and she so cute and she was so sweet and she so cute and she was s—

*cough* Sorry.

I really enjoyed watching Kippei mature and take to his new role as a parent more and more to the point where he was excitedly doing stuff for Yuzuyu, even without anyone telling him to. I loved seeing Yuzuyu have fun with Kippei and everyone else, even if it was tough watching her whenever she’d be reminded of her mother or when she was thinking she was a burden on Kippei. While it’s not a perfect show, I really enjoyed every minute of it.

The only two real issues I had with the show were that the very serious conflicts they’d bring up were usually resolved too quickly, and there wasn’t really much of an ending, though I didn’t think the ending was as unsatisfactory as many seemed to think. I knew the manga had properly ended the show and I pretty much knew what the ending was, but it would be well over a decade before I finally sat down and read it to see if it was also void of the other problems I had with the anime.

Well, was it?

….No, not really.

Let me back up.

First of all, to my recollection, the anime did a very good job adapting most of the stories from the manga. About 90% of the story material here I remember being in the anime, loosely or exactly, so in that regard, good job, anime.

Second of all, sadly, yes, the series still has that problem of bringing up a lot of serious issues and resolving them super quickly and sometimes overly easily. I mentioned the storyline with the stalker in my initial review of the series, and that story was resolved exactly the same way in the manga.

She should have at least been slapped for this. Get a life, you goblin.

For a differentiation on this issue, we also have a story of a little boy named Shouta. He became fast friends with Yuzuyu, but it’s revealed that his mother is terribly abusive. How is this resolved in the manga?

Kippei has a conversation with his mother, pointing out that her behavior is going to drive Shouta away someday. She takes a good hard look at herself, stops being an abusive shitstain and convinces her husband to move them away to the country where it’s quiet and less stressful, which is totally easy to do considering the fact that he doesn’t have a job is one of the key points of her stress.

I’m not saying that things couldn’t happen like this in real life, but the odds are insanely low.

You need to understand something – this bitch is a monster. She wouldn’t just hit Shouta. She’d make him feel like garbage. She’d make this five year old boy feel like he was an embarrassment to her, like everything was his fault and everything he was doing was wrong. And she’d sometimes do it with a smirk. She wasn’t just terrible to Shouta, either. She was also an asshole to Kippei AND YUZUYU! But yeah, sure, one conversation with Kippei would certainly turn her around entirely and make everything better.

Believe it or not, the anime did this much better. We get more backstory on why his mother started acting this way, not that it’s much to sympathize with. She had difficulty coping with the challenges of being a parent, and, seemingly, Shouta was a bit behind other kids his age, which made her believe Shouta was an embarrassment. She quickly started taking her frustrations out on Shouta for pretty much everything and began smacking him around.

Kippei does talk to Shouta’s mom, but it doesn’t really sink in fully. Shouta accidentally runs into her when she has groceries in her arms, causing her to drop them everywhere. She slaps him so hard he fell down the stairs, knocking him out, and he had to be sent to the hospital. The doctor treating him finds all of the old bruises on his body and suggests she and her husband seek family counseling. He tells them that, if they ask for it, people will help them.

As a result, his mother realized what a monster she’s been to him, and even her husband realizes that he’s been failing as a parent. After Shouta recovers, they move to the country to be with Shouta’s grandparents so they can help take care of Shouta and her husband can have a better chance at finding steady work. The country lifestyle will also be more relaxing and hopefully relieve some of the stress his mother has. She proclaims that she’s no longer afraid to ask for help if she needs it. All she wants is to start over.

ABSCREEN1

Nearly getting your kid killed, someone suggesting therapy to you and having such a deep moment of self-reflection that leads you down a better path is more preferred than just another instance of Kippei’s Talk no Jutsu. I’m just sad Shouta had to suffer more in the anime than in the manga.

Another plotline involved Yuzuyu’s cousin, Miki, attempting to kidnap Yuzuyu. In the anime, she would carry around a bike chain as a weapon, but in the manga she wielded a KNIFE and would even threaten Yuzuyu with it. I don’t care if she never intended to actually hurt Yuzuyu, you don’t hold up a knife to a little kid.

Miki was a horribly depressed girl, to the point of self-harm and suicidal ideation. She wanted to kill herself, but she didn’t want to leave her parents without a child, so she decided she would kidnap Yuzuyu and give her to them. No, it really doesn’t make any sense, but mental illness isn’t exactly known for creating logical thought. At home, Miki’s life was a nightmare.

She wanted to oust an incident of a teacher viciously beating a student, which made all of her teachers target her. All of her classmates harassed her, even the person she was trying to defend, who just told her she should’ve stayed out of it. Her parents were no help, either. Her father even hit her when he found out about her poor performance in school.

She’s about to commit suicide via cutting her throat and jumping off a bridge, but Kippei talks her down and convinces her to go back to her family by telling her she’s still important to several people and plenty of people still want to talk to her, which is all she needed to hear.

This one I’m more lenient about. These kinds of situations diffuse under a multitude of circumstances, so I’m definitely not going to say that’s an unrealistic way of going about things. Plus, her troubles really didn’t just end there. She still had to talk with her parents. Her father, by the way, upon hearing that his daughter just tried to kill herself, nearly smacked her again while yelling “You’re still causing trouble!?” Father of the fucking year.

Her mother was much more receptive, however, and is able to get her dad to stop being a dumbass and listen to her. In the end we just know Miki is on a healthier path, not that her life is fixed or anything. She reappears later and is, indeed, getting better, which is great.

Sadly, one of those rushed resolved plotlines was the main one. Like I mentioned, there wasn’t really a solid ending to the anime. Yuzuyu was concerned she would someday forget her mother since she outgrew the pajamas she had made for her, but after talking with Kokoro about their mothers and loneliness, she felt better. The pajama plotline, by the way, is part of the manga too, but it’s quite a bit earlier. Reiko (Kippei’s older sister) finds Yuzuyu’s mother, who is apparently so far away that she needed to take a plane to get there.

Yuzuyu’s mother, Miyako, had initially abandoned Yuzuyu because her husband had recently died and she couldn’t handle the stress of being a single parent. After his funeral, she couldn’t stop herself from crying. It reached a boiling point when she struck Yuzuyu for no reason. Thus she left her kid behind in her house and vowed to return when she felt she was mentally strong enough to handle taking care of Yuzuyu properly. She doesn’t call, she doesn’t send letters, except once, and the one time she came to check up on Yuzuyu she wore a disguise and skulked around Yuzuyu’s school.

When we catch up to Miyako in the finale, we learn that she’s been counting the days that she’s been trying really hard to not cry and she got a job to save money for Yuzuyu’s care when she returned for her. When she feels she can make it through without crying, she’ll come for Yuzuyu.

Most people, justifiably, dislike Yuzuyu’s mom. I totally understand if she was struggling mentally and emotionally with her husband’s death and being a single parent, and I get that striking your kid has to be difficult to process when you’re actually remorseful about it, but she went about this in the worst way possible. She really comes off as just being selfish and stupid as a result.

Her family seems like they’re really nice and accommodating people. If family is in dire straits, they welcome them to live in their home without barely batting an eye. In the manga, even when Kippei proclaims that he wants his girlfriend, Kokoro, to live with them because she’s lonely living all alone, they’re just like ‘Eh sure! Welcome!’

Why didn’t she just come to them and ask if she and Yuzuyu could live with them? Why didn’t she ask if they could take care of Yuzuyu during the day, sleepover some time, etc. while she got her shit together and maybe sought some therapy? Abandoning her child and never really making an effort to communicate with her was one of the worst options she could’ve taken.

But we’re not even done with her yet.

In the manga, Reiko still tracks down Yuzuyu’s mother, being tired of hearing or seeing nothing from her for months on end. When she finds her, she appears to be living with a man. Reiko was enraged by this because she perceived this as Miyako ditching her kid and going to live a new life with some man with no intentions of ever coming back for her daughter.

This especially hurt Reiko because it’s revealed after this that Reiko cannot bear children, thus she has no intentions of marrying or leaving the house (Yeah, that doesn’t make much sense either.) She sees Miyako have a child, what Reiko views as a precious gift, and to seemingly just throw her away is already a massive sin in her eyes, but to do that and then move in with some guy is practically unforgivable to her.

She and Kippei have a private discussion later, and Reiko basically tells him to have Yuzuyu forget about her mother. She’s not coming back, and continuing to give Yuzuyu false hope will only hurt her in the long run. Yuzuyu was listening to this, and she was so shocked that she actually did forget her mother.

All of this ongoing trauma and Reiko’s final words about her mother basically caused Yuzuyu to have a mental breakdown to the point where she was having massive fits when her mother was brought up and she was even passing out due to the emotional strain.

Even though Kippei was having a lot of difficulty finding the heart to let go of Yuzuyu, they do decide to start sending Miyako letters and pictures Yuzuyu drew to her mother, now that they knew where she lived.

Even though Kippei was very uneasy about the idea of Miyako writing back or coming back, they still checked every day for a return letter from her, to no avail.

One night, as Reiko gets the mail, she finds a letter from Miyako simply saying “I’ll be coming to pick up Yuzuyu on her birthday.” And, surprise, her birthday is in just a couple of days. Reiko, however, doesn’t say anything because she doesn’t want to upset the birthday festivities in case Miyako doesn’t come.

Yuzuyu’s birthday comes around, and Miyako does indeed arrive to take Yuzuyu back. Kokoro takes Yuzuyu upstairs before she becomes aware of her mother’s arrival.

Miyako’s got some ‘splainin’ to do. So, what does she have to say for herself? While she’s been gone, she’s gotten a new job and has been saving up little by little for when she’d get Yuzuyu back. She realizes that she was selfish and naive, but she needed some time to be alone and figure herself out. She asserts that didn’t throw Yuzuyu away – she got away from her to protect her…..which is still bullshit.

Like I pointed out before, there were so many other options she could have taken that would have been a lot more helpful and beneficial to both her and Yuzuyu. Even if she felt she was a danger to Yuzuyu, she could have explained the situation to her sister and worked some arrangement out with her. She still could have had time to herself while also keeping in touch and ensuring her daughter that she would indeed come back for her. You don’t ditch her without barely a word, go missing and only send two letters in the several months you stay gone. Have 23 hours and 50 minutes to be alone, and at least attribute 10 minutes to a friggin’ phone call, you idiot.

“I had no choice, no matter what you think.” Fuck off, yes you did.

But, again, we’re still not done.

Reiko bitterly asks what she means by wanting to be alone since she saw her living with a man. I’ll give Miyako’s response in her own words.

“We’re….not actually living together. I met him at work. And he provides comfort to me in many ways.” In layman’s terms, he’s boinking her.

Misako (Kippei’s mom/Miyako’s sister): “Do you plan to marry him?”

“Yes, I do….I talked to him about Yuzuyu….and it took him quite a while to accept the idea. But it seems like he’s finally accepted it. So…”

Are you kidding me? This nameless dude you’re obviously boinking boinked the bad parent out of you, and then he didn’t like the idea of taking Yuzuyu in, even though she’s the daughter of the woman he supposedly loves, and now he’s ‘finally accepted it.’ like it’s an inevitability that he has to bear in order to keep his sex ticket.

My thoughts exactly, Misako.

No.

No.

No.

You’ve been gone for, what, a year at this point? And THAT’S the best you’ve been able to do? No seeking therapy? No gaining true independence? Just shacking up with some guy who, I guess, has been so kind as to stomach the idea of his fiancee’s daughter living with them.

I wasn’t expecting to actually be angry at the manga’s resolution. At least in the anime it seemed like Miyako was striving to gain the strength to return to Yuzuyu on her own, even if the method was quite questionable. Here, it’s almost like she’s expecting this guy to take care of everything. He’s got the house, he can provide money, he’ll be able to ensure Miyako doesn’t backhand Yuzuyu again, I guess. She did mention getting a job, but that’s about it – and the problem was never that they didn’t have money. It was shown that Miyako would chew Yuzuyu out for stupid shit even when her father was still alive, so this won’t fix anything.

This is so much less Miyako bettering herself and trying to become a good mom to Yuzuyu and more her improving a little and finding Yuzuyu a new daddy.

I’m not alone in feeling this way because both Reiko and Misako don’t accept her words. They blatantly tell her that her explanations aren’t good enough and they can’t just hand Yuzuyu over because of that. They tell her to go home, but also tell her that if she’s serious about getting Yuzuyu back that she has to visit every single day to prove her determination. Then, eventually, she’ll earn the right to get Yuzuyu back.

Meanwhile, Kokoro and Yuzuyu wait in her bedroom. Kokoro asks what Yuzuyu thinks of her mom, and she replies that she thinks her mom loves her. She sent her a bunch of letters, so of course she loves her (I don’t really get that either, but maybe it’s just kindergartner logic.)

After Misako sets her terms, Kokoro brings Yuzuyu downstairs, much to everyone’s surprise. Yuzuyu finally reunites with her mom, and Miyako even shows her all of the letters Yuzuyu sent her, telling her what a talented artist she’s become. However, Misako soon silently interjects, and Miyako knows she must go. She tearfully leaves, promising to come back again, much to Yuzuyu’s dismay.

Yuzuyu runs after her, and Kippei goes off to get something. Yuzuyu calls again and again for her mother, but Kippei stops Yuzuyu….to give her her shoes. He tells her to go because she’s wanted to be with her mother all this time and it’s what she’s truly wants. He tells her he loves her, in a scene which nearly made me cry, and Yuzuyu runs back to her mom.

That cracking noise is my heart breaking.

Kippei doesn’t stick around for more than a few seconds, however. He runs back into the house and sadly crumbles in front of the door, looking at the birthday cake he made her and her teddy bear lying on the floor. He’ll always cherish their time together no matter what.

Cut ahead to….I’m gonna guess maybe ten years in the future. Kokoro is rushing Kippei out the door to get him to work. She tells him he got a letter from Yuzuyu, which we see on the table in front of her teddy bear.

As we see a now teenage Yuzuyu back home, she explains in the letter that she’s still doing art, and is apparently so good at it now that she’s won an award for it. She tells Kippei that she was never lonely when her mom left because she always had her Kippei Onii-chan with her to make her lunches, take her to school and play with her. Those are precious memories to her, and she thanks him for everything he did. She closes out the letter telling Kippei that she’s always really loved him.

And as a special treat, apparently Yuzuyu and Shouta reunited and may or may not be an item now. They’re at least friends, and that’s good enough for me.

39

For all of my bitching about Yuzuyu’s mom, this absolute end did hit me more than I expected it to. As I was re-reading the passage again while writing this, I was actually tearing up, which was annoying because I just managed to get through her and Kippei departing from each other without getting misty eyed.

I really just wish we 1) had more insight as to what was going on in the future with Yuzuyu, Kippei and Kokoro at least (but all of the characters would’ve been very much welcome) and 2) that it had been less abrupt of a shift.

Still, it was a very fitting end to the series, and it reminded me all over again why I really love these two.

While we’re still on the subject of storylines that didn’t make it to the anime, however, there was quite the doozy that was omitted….Two doozies, technically. Maybe three.

Doozy 1: Buckle up, buttercup, because this doozy is….a…doozy. We’re introduced to Itagaki, or as I affectionately call him ‘Creepy Asshole.’ Technically, Itagaki was in the anime for a fleeting moment. He was an artist there, and he asked Kokoro out on a date. She refused because she was dating Kippei and…that was pretty much it.

In the manga, there’s an entire arc about this guy.

Here, he’s a baseball player, but that’s not important. He admits to Kokoro that he likes her, but she rejects him because she’s dating Kippei. Itagaki won’t stand down, however. He confesses to her again and reminds her of what a playboy Kippei is (he does have a tendency to flirt, but he’s completely devoted to Kokoro.) Still, she turns him down, but this time he’s not accepting that. He grabs her arm and forces a kiss on her. She manages to struggle away, bruising her leg in the process, and she’s traumatized by the assault. She becomes very nervous and jumpy, even around Kippei, and she becomes distant to all of her friends.

Kokoro decides not to tell Kippei about what happened, and, guess what? Creepy Asshole legitimately thinks that her choosing to not tell her boyfriend about the sexual assault is proof that she likes him more than Kippei.

Bear in mind that literally 30 seconds before he said this, Kokoro was telling Itagaki she didn’t want anything to do with him and never wanted to speak to him again. Whoo yeah, Itagaki. She’s falling for you hard….as in literally….ya know that thing she did when she was trying to fight off your sexual assault.

She, of course, shoots him down again, but the Creepy Asshole persists. This time he goes to Kippei himself. Itagaki tells Kippei that he confessed to Kokoro and that the reason Kokoro has been so distant from him lately is probably because Kokoro feels the same way.

Kippei, not being a creepy asshole, handles this pretty well and realistically. Before Itagaki confronts him, Kippei gives Kokoro her space and doesn’t get angry or frustrated with her. After he learns of the confession, he simply finds Kokoro and asks her about it, plainly wondering if she plans on breaking up with him. Again, he’s not angry or judging her, he’s legitimately concerned about their relationship.

Kokoro breaks down and talks about the assault. Kippei wants to confront Itagaki immediately, but Kokoro stops him. Instead he comforts her and reassures her, staying with her for as long as she needs him.

Uhm, I kinda can’t talk about the resolution to this plotline without moving onto doozy 2.

Doozy 2: Kokoro and Kippei end up making love as a result of this. They’re on a school trip and in a hotel room, and it just kinda naturally happens. It’s not graphic or anything, and even the implications only last a few panels, but it was a really sweet and beautiful moment for the two of them. They never sleep together in the anime.

Doozy 1 cont.: After the deed is thoroughly done, Itagaki deduces that the two of their groins did the fusion dance. And, as if he wasn’t enough of a douchebag, Itagaki acts as if her sleeping with Kippei is a betrayal to HIM and basically implies that she’s a slut for having slept with Kippei behind his back.

Itagaki: “Even though I’m here, you still went and did that as if it was okay, Tokunaga-san. I didn’t think you were that type of person.”

FUCK.

OFF.

Even after Kippei confronts him, with Kippei not even bringing up the sexual assault for the sake of Itagaki and Kokoro (they’re having this fight in the hallway in front of numerous people), Itagaki has the balls to say Kippei should give up on Kokoro and HE brings up that they kissed.

Luckily, Kippei verbally tears him a new one, and Kokoro tells Itagaki she never wants anything to do with him ever again.

Whoo Kippei!

The last we see of him is one of his friends acknowledging that his manner with girls is messed up and asks if he wants him to teach him on how to date. Kokoro briefly mentions later that she hasn’t seen Itagaki ever since that confrontation, and Itagaki was thankfully gone from this manga forever.

Doozy 3: Still building off of that entire plotline, our final doozy is a pregnancy scare. Soon after Kokoro and Kippei have their first time together, she starts developing weird symptoms and believes she’s pregnant.

Now…this doesn’t really go anywhere because she later realizes she wasn’t pregnant. Kippei realizes that he’s been a bit too preoccupied with Yuzuyu, which kinda made him not realize Kokoro was acting weird. Kokoro says she was actually looking forward to being pregnant a little, because she wanted to spend more time with Kippei. And it mostly just culminates in Kippei inviting Kokoro to live in their house so she can be less lonely and spend more time with him and Yuzuyu, which both his family and Kokoro happily accepts.

I was disappointed a little because this would have been the perfect opportunity for them to discuss the possibility of them someday having kids, but it somehow doesn’t really come up. Remember, they’re 17 so it’s not really completely illogical for them to be having discussions about someday having a family.

Something unfortunate I noticed is that Kokoro, in the manga, is actually flatter than she is in the anime. 90% of her character is her relationship to Kippei. 8% is her being lonely and the other 2% is her being stoic and seemingly cold.

Her backstory is that her mom died some time ago and her dad is getting remarried, so he’s basically kicking her out of the house for when his new wife moves in. She doesn’t seem to care, and the apartment her father gets for her is extremely nice (because her family is rich), but it’s the foundation of the running issue with her character being lonely.

It’s perfectly understandable that she is lonely, but it really is the bulk of her character when she’s on screen and not with Kippei. She’s lonely, and she either expresses it to Kippei or not. Over time, it becomes easier for her to express her loneliness and not be afraid of it. After Kokoro moves in with him and his family, she really doesn’t do much but be with Kippei and sometimes play with Yuzuyu.

She’s friends with two other girls, Aki and Mai (the latter of whom is basically just Kokoro lite with more expression in public), who are typically seen sticking up for Kokoro whenever they think Kippei has done something wrong. Aki is particularly vocal about putting Kippei in his place and blaming him for pretty much anything. In a side story, they reveal that she hates men and is terrified of them. When she was 16, a man in a trench coat flashed her, and she’s thought men were nothing but perverts ever since. She even has recurring nightmares about the flasher and panics when a man approaches her from behind.

And this is one of those plots that is resolved abruptly and in a rather unsatisfying manner.

Aki was closest to a boy named Shin, whom she had known since elementary school. She didn’t see Shin as either male or female, so their relationship got on fine. However, when he started expressing interest in girls, Aki started resenting him, believing he was indeed another pervert man.

Despite Aki’s traumas being very valid, she still secretly holds a desire to also be sought after by guys (particularly Shin). She feels like she might not be cute enough or attractive enough.

She’s suddenly spooked accidentally by a male teacher, screams and runs off. Shin finds her, she yells out that she hates men and she hates Shin and then Shin just kisses her and says “Don’t say hate! You love me!” And then she realizes he’s right because he was the one she turned to all the time, even when the flasher incident happened, and the story ends with them seemingly getting together even though I don’t remember Shin showing up in the regular story.

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You know that joke that a lot of people make about female leads in romance movies and romantic comedies? That they make it seem like all of your problems can be solved by a man? Well, apparently, even lasting trauma brought on by sexual harassment is one of those problems.

Now why did I just go through all of that for the sake of a character who doesn’t really impact the main plot at all? Because I can write all that about a character like Aki but I can barely write a paragraph on Kokoro.

Don’t get me wrong, I still adore her relationship with Kippei, and it’s not like she likes him for shallow reasons. She loves that he never says anything to hurt anybody, he’s so carefree yet caring that she feels more at ease around him, and he’s the one who is able to make her smile the most.

Problem is, it’s kinda hard to describe her without resorting to either calling her Kippei’s girlfriend or just saying she’s lonely. She’s nice, but she also comes off as cold and unfriendly sometimes. She’s also willing to be blunt about some things, especially when it comes to Kippei. She connects with Yuzuyu on a level Kippei can’t quite get because she lost her mother, but she never becomes a mother or even big sister-like figure to her.

The issue with her father, which is the most prominent part of her story that doesn’t have anything to do with Kippei, isn’t even one that’s properly resolved. She never goes back and talks with her dad or explains her feelings. The guy never gets redeemed or anything. He never pops up again after Kokoro moves out, which happens in the first couple of volumes. We don’t know if he knows Kokoro moved in with Kippei and his family, which is something you’d think he’d have words about it if he cared about his daughter.

In the anime, they did explore this aspect a bit further. We saw more of Kokoro as a kid. After her mother’s death, she became more independent and closed herself off. It took a few years for her mother’s death to truly hit her emotionally, but she slowly started becoming more and more lonely. One day, she found that all of the pictures of her mother that were hanging up throughout the house were taken down. Her father explained that she wouldn’t stop crying when she looked at them, so he put them away. Shortly after he did this, he brought home the woman he intended to marry.

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The last shot we see of Kokoro’s dad, she’s walking by his house and he’s snipping roses to help keep local kids from getting hurt on the thorns. She and her mother had planted that rose bush together, and, again, it seemed like he was wiping her memory away. Kokoro is terrified that she’ll forget her mother entirely. She’s even forgotten what her voice sounded like.

Kokoro’s dad did offer to have Kokoro come in the house to talk about things, but she refused, and that was the end of that in regards to her dad. It’s weird how one of the aspects of her character development is opening up more to others, but she never expresses her feelings to her father or mends bridges with him.

I still really like Kokoro, and the problems with her character aren’t very severe, but I just think they should have fleshed her out more to help allow her to be a stronger character on her own, considering she’s such an important part of Kippei’s life.

One other storyline that was not included in the anime was Aya and Akari Ooga. Aya is about Yuzuyu’s age and Akari is about Kippei’s age. Their situation is fairly similar to Yuzuyu and Kippei’s in that Akari is usually the one who has to care for Aya since their parents are constantly working. Truth be told, I nearly forgot about this plotline, mostly because they don’t impact the main story much. Akari’s presence makes Kokoro a little jealous, especially when they connect through the kids, and she asks him for help once or twice, but, again, Kippei is entirely devoted to Kokoro and has no interest in Akari that way, Akari also says she has no interest nor does have time for a boyfriend, and Kokoro is never seriously jealous, so it’s kinda pointless.

The biggest point of conflict in that story is Aya overhearing Akari say something like she wishes she could just live a normal life instead of watching Aya all the time, but it’s fixed rather easily by just clearing up the misunderstanding. There was also a point where Aya, Yuzuyu and Marika (Yuzuyu’s friend) got lost in the city because they were trying to find Aya’s parents, but they were all okay.

Their storyline wasn’t bad, and Akari and Aya are nice enough characters, but I didn’t see much of a point in it, especially since their situation is so similar to Yuzuyu and Kippei’s situation that it makes it seem redundant. In fact, there’s a plotline where Yuzuyu tries to walk home by herself in order to not be a burden on Kippei, and Kippei and Yuzuyu get sick after the brief story about Aya getting sick, so it’s pretty much exactly the same.

A couple more characters I want to touch upon are Marika and Satsuki.

Satsuki is Kippei’s younger brother. He’s very blasé about pretty much everything, he’s extremely mature for his age, and that’s really there is to his character. There’s only one episode of the anime that delves into his story even a little, and the same can be said of the manga.

In that story, a girl named Ayumi has a big crush on him, but she becomes convinced that he doesn’t like tall girls with long hair and he doesn’t like models (she’s a model) all because her friends are assholes who told her that for seemingly no reason. However, when she confronts him and confesses, he tells her he doesn’t dislike those things. Then it’s kinda implied that they’re dating afterward, even though she doesn’t appear again.

I just don’t really understand why he’s here. He does have a few cute moments with Yuzuyu and bonds with her a little, but that’s about it. Again, this is another situation where I don’t dislike his character or even his lone storyline, but I just struggle to understand his actual role in the main plot.

Unlike Satsuki or the Ooga sisters, however, there is one character whom I do dislike, and her name is Marika. Yuzuyu has two main friends at school – Marika and Ken. While Ken is a nice enough boy, there’s nothing much to say about him. Marika, on the other hand, is a stuck up bitch.

The end.

Oh fine, let’s be “FAIR” to the five year old. Pft.

All joking aside, Marika really is just a brat. She brags a lot around Yuzuyu, she makes nasty comments, and most of her moments are either making Yuzuyu feel bad or gushing over Kippei, whom she has a crush on.

She can be alright when she’s just hanging out, but usually she’s insufferable.

There’s one point in the anime where she’s pretty okay, though. Their kindergarten class is assigned to write a letter to whomever they deem as their special someone. Yuzuyu writes one to Kippei and Marika writes one to Yuzuyu. We never learn what it says, but the gesture is more than kind enough.

A girl in their class, Namiko, does her letter project with Yuzuyu and tells her that she doesn’t like Marika because she boasts and brags, she interrupts people and she ‘doesn’t look good in ribbons and socks.’

Marika gets angry upon hearing this and calls her a stupid jerk, Namiko cries, though she was clearly putting on an act, and sticks her tongue out at Marika as she leaves the classroom. Yuzuyu asks Namiko if she’s jealous of Marika. She doesn’t get an answer and decides to go outside to do her letter project with Marika, who is crying over what Namiko said. The end of this story is Marika asking Yuzuyu a question. She boasts and brags and loses her temper easily – is that okay with her? Yuzuyu says it is and then she says then that makes them friends.

This storyline is pretty cute and it does redeem Marika to some degree, but this also is not very healthy. Marika’s basically saying “Look, I’m a total jerk, even to you, are you cool with that?” And Yuzuyu’s just like ‘Yup!’ It’s not like Namiko didn’t have reason to say what she said. Marika IS a braggart. She IS a glutton for attention. And she’s a brat. It’s great that Yuzuyu sees the good in Marika, but she’s not really making an effort to be better. It’s like that ‘If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best’ thing.

Yes, I’m still aware we’re talking about five year olds. If this can be a series where a stalker of Kippei’s thinks his five year old cousin is a romantic threat, I can believe a five year old can realize she’s a bit of a harpy and try to be a better person.

Granted, Namiko’s still in the wrong anyway for making fun of her socks and ribbons. And earlier she purposely got her new socks dirty because Marika was showing them off to Yuzuyu. Didn’t say Namiko wasn’t a brat too, she just seemingly has a slight reason to be a brat.

And remember this one bit of genuine niceness is only in the anime. In the manga, she’s not quite as insufferable because she doesn’t have as many scenes, but she never gets a chance to redeem herself or having a really nice moment with Yuzuyu.

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And….I think that’s all there is to say. While the anime is a bit dated in the art department, I’d definitely give both the anime and the manga a big recommend. The anime omits some parts of the manga, though how much that truly impacts your experience depends greatly on how interesting and important the Itagaki plotline seems to you (since the parts with them sleeping together and the pregnancy scare can be omitted without bothering anything) and which ending seems better to you.

While I was writing this, I found that way more people hated the manga ended than I originally thought, so make of that what you will. The general complaint was that they thought Kippei and Kokoro should have adopted Yuzuyu, and they were angry that we didn’t get much of an update on any other characters after the time skip, the latter of which is very understandable. Plus, people seemed to not realize the woman at the end with Kippei was Kokoro. *shrug*

I think both versions still provide a really great experience, though. It’s a very cute and heartwarming (and heartbreaking) story that never fails to hit the right chords with me. While you can make the argument that it’s a little melodramatic sometimes and some of the plotlines get resolved a bit too easily, I never really felt like anything was that unrealistic. Things in real life can be very dramatic and dark, and sometimes they can be put on a better path with a few simple words.

……But mostly THERAPY. Go get therapy, Miyako. Jesus. I’m glad that the future glimpse of you seems like you’re in a better place, but still therapy. Grief counseling. Family counseling. Anything. The actually abusive monster mother sought therapy – you can too.

P.S. Yuzuyu is still the cutest little kid in anime and manga. I shall love her forever. ♥


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh Season Zero Episode 3 (Chapters 9-10)

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Plot: Duel Monsters is a trading card game that is quickly gaining popularity across Japan. Kaiba, heir to the powerful and massively successful Kaiba Corp., is a champion of the game and is always looking to ‘acquire’ rare cards. He sets his sights on Sugoroku’s extremely rare Blue-Eyes White Dragon card, but his means of acquiring it lead him into the clutches of Yami and a shadow game.

Breakdown: The manga did not include a scene where Kaiba has his goons viciously beat up a student at a school for the sake of getting his Dark Magician card, which he was vehement in not handing over because it was a memento of his father. Kaiba has apparently been doing this or similar things to everyone else at this school that has rare Duel Monster cards and has possibly wiped out other schools in the same manner.

I don’t think there are enough super-special-awesome cards out there rare enough to warrant this. Considering, in the 2000 anime, Yugi has a Dark Magician card by default, there is a duelist who specializes explicitly in Dark Magician cards, Dark Magician has several variations and is one of the easiest to get strong cards ever, I sincerely doubt that card is worth strong-arming from someone, especially when Kaiba’s one of the richest mothereffers in the world.

In the manga, the story starts out with Yugi, Jonouchi and Anzu talking about the upcoming craze, Duel Monsters, at the game shop with Sugoroku. It has been popular in America for a while, but is just gaining traction in Japan. Sugoroku shows the kids his precious Blue-Eyes White Dragon card. It’s extremely rare because they stopped production on the card since it was deemed too powerful to use in the game.

Kaiba suddenly enters the card shop, and he makes no effort to hide his assholery as he looks at the cards Jonouchi just bought and calls them garbage before flippantly chucking them back at him. He also makes it clear that he’s a champion Duel Monsters player and wouldn’t sully his good name to play with an amateur, but gracefully offers to have Jonouchi duel him when he’s collected at least 10,000 cards.

If you know of the 2000 anime, you likely know how the rest goes in the manga. He sees Blue-Eyes, desperately wants it, offers Sugoroku an entire briefcase filled with rare cards for it, but Sugoroku refuses because it was a gift from a treasured friend, so Kaiba begrudgingly leaves. A very similar scene does happen a bit later on, but in Season Zero Kaiba makes a clear effort to get on Yugi’s good side first, believing he might have rare cards.

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Jonouchi was originally extremely interested in Duel Monsters. In Season Zero, he spends a little time brushing it off as a childish game.

Honda is not in this chapter at all. In the anime, he goes on a tangent about protecting the students from unlawful card maniacs who will obtain Duel Monsters cards through illicit means.

Even though we’ve never seen him before this chapter, Yugi and the others act as if Kaiba has been a classmate for quite a while. In the anime, Kaiba just now transfers to their school for the sake of finding kids with rare cards and stealing them.

If you know Season Zero, you know it takes quite a bit for me to say this – This episode’s animation quality is noticeably worse than usual….and that’s just upsetting.

The anime is setup rather poorly, if you ask me. While the manga doesn’t make it a secret that Kaiba’s a douche, the anime goes to the trouble of establishing that he’s an even bigger douche than his manga counterpart, and then they try to pull off the ol’ ‘Forget what my clearly evil character design implies – I’m a good guy! Hey protagonist, let’s be pals! Wanna come to my really cool house? Invite your friends! I’m a good guy!’ to ‘Psych, I was really a bad guy! Muahahaha!’ switcheroo. In the anime, all you’re doing is waiting for the other boot to fall because we know Kaiba’s a bad guy who steals cards.

They could’ve pulled this off cleanly if they simply didn’t have the opening scene with Kaiba stealing the Dark Magician card, which is a scene that turns out to be entirely pointless outside of showing us prematurely that Kaiba’s a jerk.

Speaking of him pretending to be Kindba (hahah, I make the puns. They are funny) anime!Kaiba invites Yugi over to his house to check out his Duel Monster card collection. Yugi brings everyone else along, and Kaiba basically says ‘the more the merrier.’ Jonouchi hates him because he’s rich but also super nice because he translates that as being snobby. Honda later hates him because Miho starts fawning over him for giving them free tickets to his amusement park.

Kaiba conveys his Duel Monsters Champion status when he reveals his card collection room which also displays several of his trophies from Duel Monsters tournaments.

Kaiba asks Yugi if he has any rare cards, and Anzu remembers that Yugi said his grandpa has a really rare card. Kaiba asks if he could see it and Yugi agrees. Despite the other setup being poor, I like this particular setup because at least now Kaiba has a reason to visit the card shop. In the 2000 anime, Kaiba overhears Yugi talking about his grandpa’s rare card when they’re in class, which he just assumes might be the Blue-Eyes. The manga just has him randomly arrive.

I find it even weirder that Kaiba would do all of this without the belief that Yugi has a rare card. Kaiba is a complete ass. He wouldn’t play Mr. Nice Guy unless he knew he’d be able to get something out of it.

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Somewhat minor, but the anime neglects to mention that, supposedly, people have killed each other over Duel Monsters cards before. Yikes.

Miho: “What!? I thought it would have diamonds or jewels attached to it!”……You thought a rare trading card for a children’s card game would have diamonds and jewels on it……Miho, please go be stupid somewhere else.

Also fairly minor, but the anime calls it Blue-Eyes Dragon not Blue-Eyes White Dragon. It’s not an issue with the subs either, I can hear it.

They point out that this next bit doesn’t make sense, but still—Honda claims it’s too dangerous to hold such a rare card and that Sugoroku should hand it over to the beautification club. Sugoroku asks why a beautification club member would care and Honda doesn’t have any response to that.

The beautification club stuff was silly enough at school, mostly because Honda keeps equating being a beautification club member to being a school prefect or something, but even if the beautification club had any say in these matters, why would he ask to confiscate a card that someone off school grounds is holding?….That an elderly man off school grounds is holding?……That an elderly man who owns a game shop off school grounds is holding?

I don’t think it’s a matter of him wanting to take the card for himself because Honda’s such a goodie-two shoes (well…kinda. He beats people up in the name of justice with Jonouchi sometimes) and I don’t think he even plays the game in the first place (His first match seems like it’s in the next scene). This whole sequence is just strange.

While the scene at the game shop plays out basically the same outside of those Honda and Miho moments, Kaiba continues to play the nice guy when he gets shot down. In the manga, he basically has a big huff and leaves.

The next scene in the manga has Yugi playing a friendly game of Duel Monsters with Jonouchi. In the anime, Jonouchi’s playing with Honda. The duel is changed up slightly, though. Honda plays the card manga!Jonouchi originally played, Zombie, and places it in the graveyard zone. The manga doesn’t have any sort of field advantage mat like the anime does, so the card just gets played regularly. Anime!Jonouchi plays the Dark Dragon card – the same one manga!Yugi played. It’s 1500 vs. 800, so Jonouchi proclaims himself as the winner, as manga!Yugi did, but anime!Yugi stops him. Since Honda played Zombie in the graveyard field, its attack points double, making it 1600, so Honda wins.

I find this increasing entertaining the more I think about it, because it’s almost like Yugi is retroactively cheating between versions for the sake of not letting Jonouchi win.

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Also, DOUBLE ATTACK POWER for undead creatures in the graveyard? Are you insane? I know Zombie only had 800 attack points, but even slightly stronger creatures would be ridiculously overpowered in there.

Honda and Jonouchi both get into Duel Monsters for the sake of beating Kaiba. I find this disappointing because manga!Jonouchi was genuinely excited about the game itself and even challenged Kaiba before he started thinking he was a jackass. Having his one drive be defeating Kaiba, and pawning off that same drive on Honda, just feels lazy and uninteresting. Granted, they never play the game again after this, in this continuity anyway.

In the manga, Yugi randomly brings Blue-Eyes to school for the day after asking his grandpa if he could borrow it….for…some reason. In the anime, Kaiba specifically calls Yugi the previous night and asks if he can borrow the card from his grandpa so he can see it up close again.

I have problems with both versions. In the manga, why would he take such a rare card with him to school? His friends have already seen the card, and carrying around such a rarity just makes him a target for ‘maniacs.’

In the anime, why wouldn’t Yugi find it odd that Kaiba would ask him to do such a thing? His grandpa’s a reasonable guy. Surely he’d let Kaiba keep seeing it. Maybe not hold it again, but he’d be able to see it. Yugi’s a bit naive to believe Kaiba would ask something like that without having ulterior motives.

By the way, why is Kaiba allowed to wear such a drastically different school uniform? Every other boy has a blue uniform, but Kaiba is allowed to wear a pure white one in the anime. Is it just because he’s rich? (Just for the sake of noting this, he only wears his school uniform in a few episodes of the 2000 version, but his uniform is the proper color there.)

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Literally just realized how gross the color scheme in his hallway is. Is there any place in this anime that has pleasant colors?

The manga only goes so far as to show Kaiba pulling the fake Blue-Eyes out of his pocket to make the switch while the anime decides to show him dropping the card to make the switch too. I like this change because it bugged me a little that we don’t see how Kaiba swapped the cards right in front of Yugi’s face.

In the manga, Yugi is the only one who notices that Kaiba swapped the cards. In the anime, Jonouchi and Honda notice and take action against Kaiba after school without telling Yugi, which promptly gets their asses kicked by Kaiba’s guards.

I can’t really decide how much this bothers me. Anime!Yugi does later reveal that he noticed Kaiba take his card, but he thought he’d reconsider and give him the chance to return it. He was heading home with the fake and I guess hoped Kaiba would come to the shop later and own up or something. Manga!Yugi, on the other hand, confronted Kaiba after school about it, begged him to give him the card back since it’s so precious to his grandfather and got beat up by Kaiba who refused to cater to his wishes.

I prefer the manga side in that regard because, while it is realistic that Yugi would give Kaiba the chance to own up to what he did and make things right, I don’t think Yugi would return home with the fake Blue-Eyes card and possibly have to break the bad news to his grandpa, who may notice it’s a fake.

Also, I’m a tad annoyed because so many episodes/chapters include the main characters getting beaten up. It starts to wear thin.

After school, Yugi walks home and is confronted by Anzu who tells him she thought he’d be with Honda and Jonouchi because they decided to challenge Kaiba. Yugi somehow puts it together that Honda and Jonouchi are back at school, on the roof no less, physically confronting Kaiba.

The rest of the exchange goes the same, essentially, but since the guards are in the picture in the anime, Yami has to beat them up before going to confront Kaiba.

Shadow Game

The manga and Season Zero share the 2000 anime’s original default life point count of 2000, which will later get bumped up to 4000, though rarely, if ever, do they mirror the real life TCG’s default life point count of 8000.

Make fun of the game in later days all you want, it is a million times more complex and entertaining than the game in the manga and Season Zero. I would’ve been really bored playing the game like this. Most of the moves are drawing and playing whatever you’ve just drawn then attacking with whatever monster you summoned. Also, there’s only magic cards, no traps, though you can put magic cards face down and have them act like traps, I think?

Oh my god, the animation for the Dark Dragon falling! That is too hilarious. It was literally like someone knocked down a cardboard cutout. Is this a rough draft version of the episode? Wow.

It’s interesting seeing the beta versions of some of the more well-known Yu-Gi-Oh cards like Holy Elf/Mystical Elf and Minotaurus/Battle Ox.

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Apparently Season Zero wants to channel Bakugan in the future for a minute here as they play a magic card, but only say it makes the monster stronger. They don’t explain how much stronger or for how long. In the manga, they explain that Growth increases Minotaurus’ attack by 20%.

In the manga, once Minotaurus is powered up, Yugi suffers several losses in a slight montage where his life points are eventually whittled down to 500. His next card has to be strong or else there’s a high chance he’ll lose, which is where Demon Summon/Summoned Skull comes into play a la heart of the cards.

What’s that? You say you thought the heart of the cards was some 2000 version bullshit? Haha, you’re silly, reader.

In the anime, Yugi only suffers the loss of Holy Elf. His life points stay the same, since she was in defense mode, and he instantly draws Demon Summon.

I don’t really mind this too much because the manga makes Yugi out to be a complete idiot who keeps throwing out weak monsters in attack mode instead of defense.

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Also, have another aged chuckle, because Kaiba notes that Demon Summon is one of the five strongest monsters in the game. Wow.

Here’s where Kaiba really differs from manga and Season Zero to the 2000 anime. In the manga and Season Zero, Kaiba cheats by pulling a Blue-Eyes out of his jacket pocket, palming it and pretending to draw it on his next turn.

2000!Kaiba, as much of a jackass as he is, would never sully his good name or his honor as a duelist and cheat (The ‘summoning a bunch of monsters on one turn’ thing doesn’t really count because that was technically in the Duelist Kingdom days where half the moves were technically cheating or making shit up.) The closest he ever got was threatening to commit suicide if Yugi chose to defeat him, but that was only because Mokuba’s life/soul was on the line. If he lost that match, he’d have lost his only chance to challenge Pegasus and save his last remaining family and one of the only beings he loved.

Either Kaiba loses another monster off-panel in the manga or they did some bad math. Kaiba went down to 1500 LP when his Gargoyle was defeated. His 2040 Attack Minotaurus was his next monster to be downed, and it was by a 2500 Attack monster, which means he should be at 1040 LP. However, the next time we see his LP counter, it’s at 800.

I want to believe the anime did this wrong as well because Kaiba’s LP only go to 1200 when Minotaurus is defeated there. However, since the anime didn’t tell us Minotaurus’ exact power boost with Growth, I can only assume it’s wrong. It’s not either 800 or 1040, so unless they changed the card effect, it has to be wrong.

A small bit of text above Kaiba’s head in the manga implies that he also cheated to win those aforementioned tournaments, so this isn’t a new thing for him.

Oh, oh….oh retro Blue-Eyes and its animation…..Wow….just..wow.

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What the…? Blue-Eyes isn’t even attacking and is, in fact, in the process of destroying itself, but anime!Yami’s life points are going down to 50? Whaaa?????

I would call BS on Blue-Eyes not attacking because he’s not Kaiba’s card, thus he doesn’t have his heart in it, his grandfather does, but I think this is just the embodiment of Kaiba’s cheating so I’ll give it a pass.

I get that it’s poetic justice for Yami to revive Blue-Eyes to fight for him, but he could’ve just attacked Kaiba’s life points directly with Demon Summon. Or are direct attacks not allowed in this version, like it wasn’t in the first season of YGO? Also, when anime!Yami revived Blue-Eyes, why did he not attack with either?

Now when it’s anime!Kaiba’s turn, like Yami, his life points start going down for absolutely no reason. What the hell is happening?

Even more weirdness because, in the manga, Kaiba loses this duel, and the subsequent penalty game has a lasting effect on him that will herald in the biggest arc of the manga. Yami attacks with Blue-Eyes and wins.

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In the anime….I have no clue what the hell happened. Kaiba draws a Gremlin, which, even with 2000 attack, isn’t enough to defeat either Demon Summon or Blue-Eyes. However…Kaiba summons him on a mountain range, I think, which, I guess, grants the card the ability called Split the Land….which automatically ends the duel in a draw…I suppose?

…..HUH!? Why did Kaiba not get defeated here? He not only should’ve lost, he should’ve got a well-deserved penalty game for cheating. But the anime decides, nah, let’s have it end in a draw? Even 2000 anime Kaiba lost. And where did Kaiba vanish to after the duel ended? What is going on!?!?

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It also makes th setup for the Kaiba arc so much weaker than the manga. Instead of Kaiba, the champion, being pissed about being defeated and basically being forced to go through hell, instead he’s just butthurt that he got a tie.

I’m a bit surprised that manga!Yami was lenient on Kaiba in his penalty game. It’s horrible to be trapped in a card and experiencing something ‘close to death’ as all of the fallen creatures torment him, but he clearly says it’s only for one night whereas we’re left to assume most of the other people who got penalty games were punished indefinitely.

If they weren’t, then why haven’t people like Ushio come back to get their revenge on Yugi? Are they just too scared of him now? Have they changed their ways because of their punishment? Tetsu got straight-up killed for sure, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think most of the other penalty games stuck unless stated otherwise so…..??

Kaiba beat up numerous people, stole god knows how many Duel Monsters cards and tried to steal Yugi’s grandfather’s precious treasure. I’m not saying all of that is worth eternal torment or death, I’m saying Yami’s done worse to some people for much less. Why is Yami so inconsistent with how he punishes people?

Also, the anime ends with a few tags – Kaiba trashing his trophy room in anger at getting a mere draw in a duel, Yugi, Anzu and Jonouchi being glad Yugi got Blue-Eyes back (somehow) and an overly long really stupid sequence of Miho riding on the back of Honda’s bike and them spending a ridiculous amount of time on the ground in a daze after crashing.

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I thought this was a good introduction to Duel Monsters, for the most part. I don’t think they do an adequate enough job explaining the rules (The manga does a lot more than the anime, but they have an advantage in being able to display fairly detailed text boxes that convey that type of info. Still, a good anime would be able to convey the information naturally), and both versions have a serious problem with keeping track of life points, but the anime moreso because both of their life points went down so far for literally no reason. Nothing was happening at the time, but they were losing points. I feel like they only did that so it would be more viable for the duel to end in a draw.

I already expressed how I also didn’t care much for the nice guy act they put on Kaiba in the anime. Like I said, that would’ve been perfectly fine if they didn’t ruin the act in the first place by showing Kaiba’s guards beating up a kid for a Duel Monsters card and establishing that he does that stuff all the time.

Kaiba’s design has been noted throughout the years as being the funniest manga/Season Zero design of all of our well-known characters because, while the Kaiba we know and love has brown hair, manga/Season Zero Kaiba…well.

Again, what is up with the screwed up colors in this show?

Do I even need to bring up the janky animation in this episode? This series has always been poorly animated, but this is lower than shoestring budget. It’s like…..off-brand floss budget. It reminded me of those old Filmmation cartoons from the 70s on occasion.

Kaiba is a good antagonist, of course, and I’m glad they left the door open for him to return in the future, but that draw wasn’t earned in the anime. He may not have been able to do anything with Blue-Eyes once he was on the field, but he still cheated. He deserved to lose. There’s honestly no reason he shouldn’t have lost either. It’s like the writers were cheating FOR them. What was wrong with the manga’s ending that they felt the need to change it? Just wanted it to seem more like Kaiba and Yugi/Yami were on the same level? That’s just silly.

Winner: Manga

Next time, some filler on the anime’s part and some not really filler but never adapted chapters in the manga.


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Pokemon Episode 60 Analysis: Beach Blank-Out Blastoise

Pokemon Episode 60 Screen1

CotD(s): None

Plot: As Ash, Misty and Brock try to catch the last ferry off of Cinnabar Island, Ash runs into a panicked Wartortle. Pikachu lets Squirtle out to figure out what it’s trying to tell them. After some discussion, Squirtle and Wartortle rush off into the ocean. Ash and the others grab a boat and make haste in their direction. Their destination? A small island not marked on any map that has a mountain in the shape of a Squirtle shell.

When they arrive, they see a multitude of Squirtle and Wartortle shells scattered across the beach, and one massive Blastoise shell sits on a stone platform up ahead. Excited at seeing a Blastoise, Ash rushes over to get a better look, but when he and Squirtle put their ears up to the shell, they quickly fall asleep.

Pikachu awakens them all with a shock, and Ash explains that the last thing he heard before he konked out was weird familiar music.

They learn from the Wartortle and Squirtle that this is the island of Turtle Pokemon, and their king is Blastoise. One day, Blastoise went for a swim, but didn’t return. When they found him, he was in the middle of the ocean and withdrawn into his shell, fast asleep. Almost as soon as they got Blastoise situated on his platform, all of the other Wartortle and Squirtle fell asleep – all except one; the Wartortle that ran into Ash and the others. It had ran to the shore in a panic to retrieve help.

As they investigate Blastoise a little more, Blastoise suddenly starts waking up. It releases its cannons, but something seems to be jammed in there – something pink and blobby with a pointy little ear.

Misty and Brock realize what’s really going on – Jigglypuff is stuck in Blastoise’s cannon and is continuously singing, putting everyone to sleep. But before they can run away, they hear Jigglypuff singing once more and everyone is knocked out.

In an effort to get Blastoise while everyone is sleeping, Team Rocket sends Meowth over, but he falls asleep as well. Going to Plan B, they grab Blastoise with a line shot from their sub and nab him up. They’re happy as clams on the sub until they hear the music coming from Blastoise and fall asleep, causing the sub to sink.

On shore, Ash and co. as well as the other turtle Pokemon wake up and realize Blastoise was taken by Team Rocket. Squirtle leads the other turtles into the water to retrieve the sub and their king. They’re successful in their mission, but Team Rocket’s not done yet. They return to their sub and change it into its tank mode. They charge after the Wartortle and Squirtle, aiming to capture them all.

Ash commands Pikachu and Squirtle to wake up Blastoise with a combination Water Gun and Thundershock. It works in not only waking Blastoise up, but also ejecting poor Jigglypuff from the cannon.

Blastoise grabs the tank and stops it dead in its tracks. With a massive collective Water Gun from the Squirtle and Wartortle and one good Hydro Pump from Blastoise, Team Rocket blasts off….with Jigglypuff inside! Jigglypuff sings yet again, causing the trio to fall asleep as their sub falls back into the ocean.

Squirtle pulls off a brave rescue on Jigglypuff as the sub explodes underwater, but Jigglypuff sings yet again on shore, causing all of the turtle Pokemon and Ash and co. to fall asleep once more.

Later, the group wakes up, with marker on their faces, as always, and they bid farewell to Blastoise, the Wartortle and the Squirtle of the island, setting off to leave Cinnabar Island and head to Viridian City for Ash’s eighth and final badge.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket, also covered in marker, sits on the remains of their sub out in the middle of the sea…

———————–

– It took me way too long to figure out what that title was meant to be playing off of, but, in all fairness, what kid would get that either? Beach Blanket Bingo a very VERY dated reference. And even if it wasn’t, that’s a really sloppy title either way. Blank-out? Who says that?

– Ash: “A War-what-tle!?” Ash, if there’s any group of Pokemon you should know about quite well, it’s the starter line. They are actually Pokemon you’ve canonically studied. Unless you just stopped learning about them at their base stages, which is ridiculous. Selecting a starter has a lot to do with knowing what they’ll (likely) become in late game, too.

– Dexter: “Its long furry tail is a symbol of its age and wisdom.”

Ash: “It doesn’t look smart.”

WOW, ASH!

WOW.

FUCK OFF.

WOW.

Also, you’re the last person on earth who should be criticizing the intelligence of others.

– Why is the one person here who’s not in the slightest bit interested in Wartortle, Misty? Brock identifies it right away and is impressed by seeing such a rare Pokemon, and Ash leaps up to use Dexter on it, but Misty just doesn’t say a word.

– How does Pikachu not understand Wartortle? It’s been established that Pokemon language is universal amongst Pokemon. And Pikachu can understand Squirtle just fine. Just seems like a lazy reason to bring Squirtle out when they easily could’ve justified it anyway.

– The return of the sunglasses!!

Pokemon Episode 60 Screen2

– Ash: “Hey it’s a pair of Squirtle Squad sunglasses!”….Err…you mean “It’s Squirtle’s sunglasses!” Or “It’s the sunglasses Squirtle wore when he was in the Squirtle Squad!” It’s not like they’re Squirtle Squad brand sunglasses or anything. Ash, you’ve had your Squirtle for a long, long time now and you’re just now realizing it kept its sunglasses?

– I love how Misty let out Horsea for this little boat trip, but it’s not in the water. (Skipping ahead, she gives up Horsea in the next episode because it doesn’t get to swim enough. Yet she’s in the ocean right now and Horsea’s not in the water. Maybe it wouldn’t be able to keep up, but what’s the point of having it sit on her shoulder?)

– I was going to ask how the island isn’t on their map, but then I remembered that their maps are all useless collections of random shapes and various shades of green.

– They notice the Squirtle and Wartortle shells littering the beach before they notice the massive Blastoise shell sitting 50 feet in front of them on a stone platform?

– Really bothers me that when Ash ‘dexes Wartortle, all he has to say is ‘It doesn’t look smart.’ But when he ‘dexes Blastoise, he’s all jazzed and rushes over to see it.

Speaking of that, it’s also a little irritating that this is the second time a mid-evo starter has been introduced in the same episode a final evo starter has debuted. It diminishes the mid-evos entirely. Charmeleon got off a little better, but not by much because Ash’s Charmander only got a couple of episodes as a Charmeleon before they got tired of it and just upgraded it to Charizard.

The mid-evos have enough problems getting any sort of recognition without their debut episodes turning out this way. And it’s a real shame, too, because Ivysaur’s my favorite Pokemon and Wartortle is one of my favorite Pokemon. I’d say Ivysaur was treated a little better than Wartortle here, but it’s still a sucky situation for both sets.

– Brock: “It’s either asleep or practicing its Withdraw attack.” Withdraw is not an attack. Also, as a turtle, does it really need to practice that move?

– Ash is really so excited to see a Blastoise that he runs up and HUGS the shell? And he says “I’ve waited so long to meet you!” I guess a Squirtle was his starter of choice, before he realized all of the starters were gone and he ended up with Pikachu (and Gary likely got the Squirtle he coveted) so maybe he’s a fan of Blastoise….but that also indicates that he’d have to know about Wartortle, which means you’d think he’d be a fan of that too, but I guess he just thinks it’s an idiot. 😐

– So they’re right by the ocean, and waking people up is commonly done by splashing people in the face with water, so it’s obvious they’re going to try that–

Misty: “Pikachu, try an electro-shock alarm clock!”

………*sigh*

– Ash says he heard music that sounded familiar….and put him to sleep. Anyone want to connect those dots? It’ll be easy. They’re so close together that you’d need a microscope to see any space between them.

– Misty: “Well, I guess we better get going.” Eghasdkasoepah—wha? You haven’t helped the Pokemon yet. Blastoise is still asleep and there’s still…’some weird music’ that is completely unknown making everyone who hears it fall asleep.

Ash: “We’re not going anywhere until we wake up that Blastoise!”

That’s more like it!

Misty: “I was afraid you were going to say that.” What is wrong with you today, Misty? These are Water Pokemon in distress, but you seem to give less than a shit about them.

– Also, I know the reason for the weird faces Brock and Misty keep making in the Japanese version (Satoshi originally mentioned the sound was like something out of hell) but faces in the dub combined with the deduction skills of anyone with enough brain power to complete a two-piece puzzle really makes it seem like Brock and Misty know what the super mysterious source of the unknown sleepy music is, but they just want to leave to avoid having to deal with it, and that’s just crappy of them.

Pokemon Episode 60 Screen3

– Why did Brock sit down and draw an entire slideshow presentation about what happened to the Blastoise, Wartortle and Squirtle? And why are they wasting time watching it when they could be helping the Blastoise?

– Wartortle ran (on water) from the island to the mainland? Either this Wartortle has insane levels of stamina and speed or this island is very close to the mainland and should be on a map. Technically, it should be on a map either way because it looks like it’s high noon, if the sun is any indication, yet they got to the island that same day on a boat pulled by Pokemon. And considering they were trying to catch the ‘last ferry’ off of Cinnabar, I’d imagine it wasn’t first thing in the morning when they left either.

– Misty: “Gee, people have been looking for the Turtle Pokemon breeding grounds for years. Could this really be it?” Again, there’s no way this island is too far away from mainland Cinnabar nor is it in some remote closed off area, so it seems ridiculous that no Pokemon researchers have found this place by now. But, of course, Ash and pals manage to access it easily because of course they do. With them finding so many inaccessible/lost locations with ease and meeting legendary Pokemon once a year, Pokemon Researchers should really just shadow Ash and his friends at all times.

– I probably took too long to ask this, but why didn’t they just shock Blastoise awake and ask him what happened?

– Ash: “Looks like Blastoise was asleep too.”

Ash…..does your brain cell ever get lonely?

– *A pink blob with a pointed ear pops out of Blastoise’s cannon*

Misty: “It can’t be!”

Brock: “I hope that’s not what I think it is!”

Ash: “Uhh, what is it Brock?”

Ash: *Hears the music* “That’s it! That’s the sound I heard!”

Brock: “Jigglypuff!”

This still isn’t over. Jigglypuff is still mostly in the cannon. Keep this in mind for a little later.

– Jigglypuff is JAMMED in that cannon, and it was pretty far down the pipe too. How is it breathing, let alone singing?

– Speaking of that, HOW did it get jammed in there? Was Jigglypuff just chilling out randomly in the middle of the ocean and somehow got sucked into Blastoise’s cannon and couldn’t get out? The cannons expel things, not suck them in.

– I really don’t understand any part of sending Meowth over to get the Blastoise. It’s clear either it or something around it is causing everything in its radius to fall asleep, yet they send him over without any investigation or attempt at protection. And when he falls asleep, they slap him around, chuck him like a ragdoll and say he was a coward who fainted….right before acknowledging that they don’t want to get near Blastoise out of fear of the same happening to them.

– They had a mechanism in their sub that could latch onto Blastoise from their spot in the water, drag it over and secure it instantly….That makes the plan with Meowth even more nonsensical.

– Gotta love Squirtle taking charge as leader and getting the Wartortle and Squirtle back to their senses.

Pokemon Episode 60 Screen4

– Misty: “Ash, your Squirtle’s a real leader!”

Ash: “Well, that’s what happens when you have a great trainer.” Squirtle was a great leader before it ever became your Pokemon, Ash. Also, it remained a great leader IN SPITE of your incompetence.

Brock: “Hm. Or maybe they’re just impressed by the sunglasses.” I get that this is a joke, but please just leave it at Squirtle being awesome because Squirtle’s awesome.

– I feel the need to bring up a note the Bulbagarden comparison had on this episode, and that was why they never discussed the possibility of Ash’s Squirtle evolving in it.

While I did herald back to Bulbasaur’s Mysterious Garden in this review, I gotta say, until I saw the comparison, I never really thought too much about Squirtle’s stunted evolution when watching this episode in particular. I don’t know why, especially since I went on about how much I like Wartortle, and I have talked a few times already about Squirtle being stunted

Logically, it doesn’t make much sense. Bulbasaur just seems to be happy as a Bulbasaur and doesn’t want the physical change – as much as I gathered anyway. Pikachu also seems to be happy and proud as a Pikachu, though this will later become a bit of a contradiction once Johto rolls around and we learn Pikachu is actually a mid-evo. Pidgeotto will evolve later, so there’s no reason needed to be given there (even if it took way too long for it to happen.)

However, we never get an explanation as to why Squirtle doesn’t evolve or even if he wants to.

….Maybe he doesn’t want to evolve because his sunglasses won’t fit anymore if he does….

– Ash, Misty and Brock: “IT’S A TRAIL!” A trail that just magically appeared out of nowhere. It’s not like this is a trail of footprints or drops or anything – it’s a massive four foot wide drag mark left behind from Blastoise’s shell – and it was right in front of them. It’s not that they didn’t notice, either – it did not exist in the artwork. It’s like the stream behind Snorlax in Wake Up Snorlax!

Pokemon Episode 60 Screen5Pokemon Episode 60 Screen6

– It is really cool how Squirtle commands these Squirtle and Wartortle like well-trained soldiers. They have formations and everything.

– Team Rocket is acting as if one Blastoise will give them the power to steal any Pokemon they want. Even if Blastoise was strong enough to do that, they acknowledge that they have to give Blastoise to Giovanni, so what gives? Or….are they talking about their little suction-cup grabber thing? Because that’s a very limited use item, guys.

– Team Rocket is being extra shitty to Meowth today. I actually feel bad for him.

– Aw, Pikachu giving CPR to Meowth.

Pokemon Episode 60 Screen7
Misty…..where is your other arm?

– Jessie: “I don’t recall asking you to save our lives.”

James: “Well, I’m grateful.” Pft, can’t help but love James sometimes.

– Ash: “I kinda feel sorry for that guy.” Me too.

…Also, his name is James, sweetie. It’s episode 60 – you should know the name of your weekly adversary by now, especially considering that, nearly every time you see him, he gives a lengthy introduction including his name.

– Aw, Ash’s Squirtle tries to stand his ground against the tank. What a brave little sweetheart.

– I was going to give the combo Water Gun/Thundershock a pass because it’s just another silly Pokemonism, and I was really just thinking they were combining the awakening effects of the water with the electricity to make it more powerful, but they had to practically make me bring it up with Brock saying this.

Brock: “Squirtle’s Water Gun is carrying the electricity of Pikachu’s Thundershock!” This isn’t so much a problem with the science, even though, going by that logic, Pikachu would be shocking Squirtle too, but it’s moreso a question of…why? Why would Pikachu need Squirtle’s Water Gun to carry his electricity? If Squirtle is close enough to reach with his Water Gun, which should have much lower range than Thundershock, Pikachu is more than close enough to land a hit.

– Ash: “Ah, it’s Jigglypuff!”

infinity iq

Seriously, Ash, how…..just….how…is it 18 minutes into the episode and you’re just NOW getting that it was Jigglypuff all along? Especially since, right before you all fell asleep the last time, Brock yelled out ‘Jigglypuff!’? You had so many clues, it’s almost comical that you never got it until Jigglypuff finally popped out of the cannon.

Again, he has the nerve to say he doesn’t think Wartortle seems smart.

Truth be told, I’m still baffled he didn’t figure it out the first time he got knocked out. You hear a mysterious song that sounded familiar and made you fall asleep. A song where the lyrics are literally, as I will now transcribe for you all, ahem;

“Jigglypuff, Jigglypuff.

Jigglypuff, Jiggly.

Jigglypuff, Jigglypuff.

Jigglypuff, Jiggly.

Jigglypuff, Jigglypuff.

Jigglypuff, Jiggly.”

And you’re completely clueless.

The point is, Ash,

– I was going to maybe give the writers a pass on the grounds of they thought we had forgotten about Jigglypuff since it does take long breaks between appearances sometimes…but nope. It appeared in the last episode and one the before that. I even noted in the last episode how it seemed like they put a blink-and-you-miss-it Jigglypuff cameo in for no reason other than to remind us it exists.

– Blastoise didn’t get to do a lot this episode, which is kinda surprising, but if the one thing it actually does is stop a tank with its bare hands and then blast it off with a Hydro Pump, I got no complaints.

– Brock: “Blastoise is da bomb!” Don’t ruin it….

– Uhm….why did the sub explode when it splashed down back into the water?

– Misty: “Are Squirtle and Jigglypuff okay?”

Why does no one care that Team Rocket is surely dead now? Either the explosion killed them or being sunk underwater while being knocked out by Jigglypuff did.

– Also, Jigglypuff is a balloon. Wouldn’t it just instantly float up to the surface and be fine?

– Oh well, it gave us another badass Squirtle moment, so it’s all good.

….Well…I guess except for the dead Team Rocket thing.

– So is Jigglypuff an idiot too? Because it’s literally done nothing this entire episode except sing over and over. It’s not even reacting to what’s happening to it. Got sucked into a Blastoise cannon? Sing. Stuck there for hours? Keep singing the entire time. Land in Team Rocket’s sub? Sing. Get saved from drowning and an explosion? Sing.

Or maybe it’s stuck in plot device mode today….

– Jigglypuff’s shtick does get very old, but drawing eyes on Brock was hilarious.

Pokemon Episode 60 Screen8

– Misty: “I don’t think this is funny! I look like a cartoon character!”

Ash: “A cartoon character?! Like THAT could ever happen!” That little meta joke might have actually worked if they didn’t make Ash go too far with it. It’s not just what he says, but how he’s gesturing as he says it and the way Veronica Taylor delivers the line. We’re not as dumb as Ash, guys. We get what you did there….

Ash’s line is so awkward either way. Misty said she looked like a cartoon character. She didn’t say she was turning into one or anything.

And they hold on the shot for several seconds after he says this, like they’re waiting for the audience to get done laughing at that zinger. What a weird moment…

– And don’t worry, Team Rocket’s alive…They won’t die because of that. They’re so durable. It’s like….they’re cartoon characters.

Pftt, like THAT could ever happen! 😀

———————————–

All in all, despite not remembering this episode too well, I ended up liking it. Sure, it didn’t highlight Wartortle very well at all, and I’m still a bit salty at that ‘It doesn’t look smart’ crack, but it was pretty entertaining in its own right, even if the “mystery” was almost insultingly easy. I get that it’s a kid’s show, but I imagine even the demo for Pokemon would be rolling their eyes that they’re not figuring out that it’s Jigglypuff.

At least Misty and Brock seemed to figure it out within a reasonable time frame, but the fact that Ash didn’t figure it out until he saw Jigglypuff full out, even with Brock exclaiming what it was earlier, even with nearly every clue in existence shoved in his face, was just a masterclass of stupidity.

You never cease to remind me why I don’t feel bad about nicknaming you ‘DumbAsh,’ DumbAsh….

It was also pretty repetitive to just have Jigglypuff constantly singing and knocking everyone out over and over. I just don’t like when Jigglypuff is given so much focus because it’s a shining example of a one-note character. It’s tired old shtick gets irritating when it just randomly pops up in any episode, but giving it essentially an entire episode is too much.

And why, if Misty and Brock knew what was going on quite early, did they not think to plug their ears or something? Why were they practically keeping it a secret between the two of them and almost didn’t want to believe it was Jigglypuff? If I were them, I’d have noise-canceling headphones or earplugs on me at all times.

Even though the episode didn’t specifically focus on him, Ash’s Squirtle was a delight in this episode. We got a return of the legendary sunglasses, and he lead the Squirtle and Wartortle of the island like he was born to be a leader – and we know he was. The things he was pulling off with them, especially when he’s barely known them for an hour or two, was very impressive. I’m just a bit disappointed we never got an actual scene between Squirtle and Blastoise – like one where Blastoise would either thank Squirtle or show a mutual respect among leaders.

And while the shtick was really tired, there is a certain charm to this episode for some reason. I don’t know what it is because around every corner is another ‘Doh!’ moment. Maybe it was just how they got through it together and all the little moments that made it much more tolerable than it otherwise would be.

Next time, one of my favorite episodes, but also a slightly bittersweet one, The Misty Mermaid!


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AniManga Clash! Tokyo Mew Mew Volume 7 (FINALE + Entire Series Champion Decision)

Plot: Deep Blue has arrived, and it’s time for the final climactic showdown!

——————————————–

– I mentioned in my review of the anime that it bothered me a little that Ichigo was so shook by the revelation that Aoyama was Deep Blue that her friends got hurt trying to protect her from her own perilous behavior. However, I also gave some leeway due to the fact that she was rightfully and lovingly chewed out by the other Mews after this occurred. They had been fighting in her stead to give her time to process and grieve, but when the situation got too dire, it was time to slap some sense into her and get her back in the game.

The manga…..WHOO BOY. I got a bone to pick with you, manga. A big bone. Dinosaur sized.

Sssooooo….in the manga….Ichigo is still too shook by the Deep Blue/Aoyama revelation that she’s in a daze just watching the girls try to fight Deep Blue….In her daze….she picks up her bell….and ATTACKS THEM TO DEFEND DEEP BLUE.

What….the hell?

She did immediately regret what she did, but she still consciously did it. No mind control, no nothing – she willingly attacked her friends. There’s a world of difference between being unable to accept reality to the point where you can’t defend yourself properly against a threat, which puts others in danger as they try to protect you, and consciously making the decision to attack your friends. I really thought she would just jump between the Mews and Deep Blue and she’d get hurt, which would be incredibly reckless but so much more understandable than attacking her friends.

That was the first time I’ve ever been really shocked while following this series. Sure the Aoyama/BK/Deep Blue revelation was surprising when I first watched the series, but Ichigo attacking her friends….wow….I just lost untold amounts of respect for her. I really don’t care about the circumstances. There’s no excusing that, if you ask me.

– Mint still chews out Ichigo, but the speech is much shorter and no one tries to bring her spirits up afterward – they just say they’ll die if they don’t fight.

– Likewise, even after all of that, manga!Ichigo seems to have much less faith in Aoyama than anime!Ichigo did because, in the manga, when she’s having her first clash with Deep Blue, she’s acting like it’s hopeless and Aoyama might have been lying to her this whole time. In the anime, she was either adamant he was still the same person or hopeful that she could get him to come back to her. Even when she was faltering, she still never gave up on Aoyama. For a girl who just tried to kill her friends for this dude, her faith is sure flighty.

– Alto/Ryou still comes in to save Ichigo, but whereas in the anime where he stopped the attack and pointlessly scratched Deep Blue’s face, here he takes the brunt of Deep Blue’s attack and badly wounds his arm as a result. There’s actually quite a bit of blood for this series.

– In the anime, Pai was really the only one who had such strong faith in Deep Blue that he realized the destruction he was about to bring and accepted it with open arms. Kisshu was silent about it for a long time, though clearly torn and upset, and Taruto was visibly upset and turned on them immediately, wanting the fighting to end. He also quickly went to Pudding’s aid after she was de-transformed from Deep Blue’s attack.

In the manga, all of them are tickled pink that Deep Blue’s going to destroy the world. They’re also taking great pleasure in the knowledge that the Mews will all die soon. Kisshu even quickly jumps at the chance to ask Deep Blue if he can be the one to end Ichigo.

– As if there wasn’t enough Ichigo favoritism around, there’s this ridiculousness. When Deep Blue’s base appears, Ichigo and the other girls need to reach it. Since the girls can’t seem to confusingly fly on their own in this manga, Ichigo asks them to lend her their power, which combines in her bell….

….and allows her to grow butterfly/angel wings???????????????????

And then she engulfs the other Mews in light that allows them to fly with her???????? And she just knows how to do this even though this is the first time she’s ever shown this ability????

I cannot compute…..What is this? It doesn’t make a lick of sense that Ichigo would have this kind of ability, even with the other Mews helping. This is the kind of thing I’d expect a Mew Aqua’d MINT to be able to do – with her, ya know, being a bird and all – but nope. Ichigo, the CAT of the group can suddenly sprout angel/butterfly wings and not only fly but extend a public transport service to the other Mew

– And just so we’re keeping score with the favoritism, the same old ‘Ichigo’s the only one who can save the world’ spiel is alive and well in the manga.

– In another grand example of the poor pacing the manga tends to have sometimes, the battle between Pai, Taruto and the Mews is literally over in less than two pages. They launch one attack at their Chimera Animal and then…that’s it. They’re defeated. Battle of the century.

In the anime, while the girls couldn’t do much against it, at least the battle between the Chimera Animal and Pai was somewhat entertaining and lasted quite a while. They were suffering from hits, they were landing hits, they were clashing and struggling – it was decent enough. This was a flash in the pan not-battle.

And the sweet moments from the aliens? Basically gone. Pai just says with a smile that it seems like the humans were stronger than them afterall, and Taruto tells Pudding that he never hated her, which makes Pudding cry out his name. Both moments are contained on one page.

In the anime, Taruto and Pudding got two very sweet and tender moments after he turned heel. He helped prop her up when she was de-transformed, and Pudding’s speech as she cradled his dead body after being killed by Pai was really heartbreaking. And while Pai’s ‘emotional’ sacrifice was rushed and somewhat nonsensical, it was at least cool.

In the manga, it’s just kinda sad and really out of left field considering they were all still having tons of fun trying to kill the Mews and destroy the earth. Taruto stuttered once before the battle started, when he was talking to Pudding for a second, but that’s about it.

Almost comically, I literally nearly laughed out loud, the next page has the girls all toppling over, near dead from exhaustion. They didn’t even get hit by Pai and Taruto’s Chimera Animal or anything – they’re just really tired.

Granted, it’s hard as hell to keep up with the timeline in this manga sometimes, especially when it comes to the other Mews because the focus is so squarely on Ichigo most of the time, so maybe they have more of a reason to be so exhausted than I’m aware of. Hm. Maybe they got blasted in the face with Mew Mew power by some bitch.

– In another weird heel-turn, despite itching to kill Ichigo earlier, Kisshu is now defending Ichigo and challenging Deep Blue to a duel to protect her. I was going to mention how he’s a bit nicer here in that he doesn’t imply that the world and everything in it can be destroyed as long as Ichigo’s okay, but he kinda lost those points where he started snuggling up on her boobs after he got mortally wounded….

There are some good things to note here, though. Kisshu seems to have accepted that Ichigo doesn’t love him, even if he’s trying so hard to get her to do so. He doesn’t care, though. He still loves her anyway and will do whatever it takes to protect her. He also manages to sneak a cheek kiss and tells her he loves her twice before passing away.

Then Aoyama just kinda appears. There’s no sudden revelation that Ichigo looks exactly as she did in his nightmares (even if she was in completely different clothes in that nightmare), no dealing with an internal struggle, just Kisshu dies and then boop Aoyama pops up.

– In the anime, Aoyama doesn’t really pay any mind to the fact that he just murdered Kisshu in cold blood – besides that Ichigo was upset about it. In the manga, he touches Kisshu’s face and acknowledges that he did this horrible thing, which I appreciated.

– In the anime, the Mew Aqua within Aoyama gets revealed when Ichigo triggers it with her emotions. In the manga, the Mew Aqua is revealed by Aoyama crying and one of his tears turning into a plant, which I thought was cool and should have been added to the anime version.

– Aoyama bubbles up Ichigo to protect her from Deep Blue, which actually panics her because Deep Blue tries to unleash a massive Mew Aqua explosion over Tokyo, which would kill all of her friends, but leave her alive.

– Aoyama’s sacrifice was similar, but in the manga he impales himself on his sword, whereas in the anime this was changed to having Ichigo attack him. I actually like the anime version quite a bit better. It showed that Ichigo was willing to do something so terrible and painful for both of them because it was what Aoyama wanted. In the manga, she’s very passive and just kinda has to let it happen.

– Anyway, Ichigo’s naked now. I don’t know.

I don’t know.

I don’t….know.

She’s about to transfer her life energy to Aoyama to resurrect him and she’s just suddenly naked.

Oh and she has her light wings back somehow, in a more angel-esque shape this time, there are even feathers flying around, somehow, even though they’re wings made of light. Cats sure have feathers.

– And now she has her clothes back on, again, inexplicably. Also, despite the fact that the others girls have all de-transformed, like in the anime, Ichigo is still in her Mew outfit, despite being ‘dead.’

– So I guess Aoyama is still magic even without Deep Blue or the Mew Aqua, because he bubbles them both up and floats them back down to the ground.

– This also means that the Mews and the aliens find out about Ichigo’s ‘passing’ on the ground, not in the base. It also means the base doesn’t just turn into a spaceship so the aliens make a quick getaway without a strong goodbye for them.

– Ichigo’s naked again, but I guess this time it makes sense because all of the Mews are naked when they transform – only makes sense to have them be naked on the de-transform.

Gotta love Kisshu’s face right as it’s happening though. Lol

– Speaking of giving the aliens their proper sendoff, Kisshu expresses that he’s fine with Aoyama and Ichigo being together, but is still clearly disappointed. Ichigo stops him before he leaves and tries to come up with the words to thank him for everything, even if it’s awkward for her. Kisshu kneels before her and tells her that the only thing he wishes is for her to be happy. In inner monologue, he also thanks her for giving him the chance to love her, even if it was hopeless.

He manages to sneak one last cheek kiss before running off.

Taruto and the others are about to head home when Pudding stops him. He says he doesn’t have a reason to stick around anymore and Pudding kisses him!

N’AW!

I remember seeing the pic of this a long time ago and was so happy. They’re so adorable.

Granted the kiss is an excuse to give him a candy drop, which just makes it…..SWEETER.

She pleads with him to not say goodbye, but Taruto says he might return sometime for another candy drop…OoooOOOOooooohhhh Taruto’s such a charmer.

– Instead of the aliens finding a bit of Mew Aqua left behind from Aoyama/Deep Blue, Shirogane just gives his last bit of it to them in the manga.

I’m not….sure I really like this version of events. Shirogane doesn’t have much of a reason to trust them. The only one who turned heel in the manga was Kisshu. The others were just defeated by the other Mews. But hey, take the last bit of this superpowerful material we’ve been spending seven volumes specifically trying to keep away from you lot.

Also, the whole ‘this itty bitty amount of Mew Aqua is enough to rejuvenate our world into being as beautiful and lush as earth so we totally didn’t need to do 99% of all of this to help our people.’ plot hole is alive and well.

They also leave without a spaceship somehow? Can they teleport all that way?

– The anime ended with the cafe shutting down, the Mews spending weeks or months apart and somehow all ending up at the cafe like they were being called there. Just then Shirogane and Akasaka explain that a new enemy has arrived and they need the Mews to take them down. Ichigo and others were rightfully confused, but Akasaka explained that the loss of powers was only temporary due to the Mew Aqua. Now that some time has passed and there’s a new threat, they have their powers back and are being called into action.

In the manga, the girls still work at Cafe Mew Mew, though some time has passed. Ichigo explains that Aoyama is now studying abroad in London to learn about red data animals, specifically the animals the Mews were based on since their abilities help save the world.

Ichigo acts like she’s okay since she’s supporting someone she loves, but the other girls know she’s secretly very lonely and sad. They come up with the plan, Mew Project W, to cheer her up. They kidnap her and bring her to a church. They put her in a wedding dress (the W stood for wedding if you’re not catching on) and have invited Aoyama to have a fake wedding ceremony.

They ‘get married,’ but not before a strange new figure arrives at the cafe (I assume she’s Berry from the sequel?)

As Ichigo says ‘I do,’ her ears and tail suddenly sprout, indicating that her powers aren’t really gone and their story is not quite over.

The end!…For now!

—————————————-

So, who wins the final battle in the finale battle in the end finally?…..Uhmmmmm….

This is actually kinda difficult. I think, out of all of the volumes, this one both has the most drastic differences from the manga version but also has the most discrepancy in whether the changes were good or not. For example, I really hate that the manga has Ichigo attacking her friends while she’s in shock. I thought that was going way too far and really tainted my view of Ichigo. The Mews get shafted enough in nearly every way possible without her basically acting like they’re the bad guys and blasting them in the face with her bell.

The Mews’ pep talk to her after the fact was also better in the anime.

However, I love the better absolute ending the aliens got in the manga, especially the really sweet moments between Kisshu and Ichigo and Taruto and Pudding, even if they were less earned.

I didn’t like that the aliens stayed firm on Deep Blue’s side, barring Kisshu, until the very end because it kinda ruins their redemption if they don’t….ya know…have redemption arcs. Or even just a redeeming scene. I complained that Pai’s heel turn was just too sudden and didn’t make a lot of sense in the anime, but at least it was something and at least it was pretty cool to watch.

Taruto’s turn in the anime made total sense, and was one of the more emotionally impacting moments of the series to have Pai kill him in order to carry out his orders. Pudding cradling Taruto’s body and her speech to him was also incredibly sweet.

Would you rather have those cool moments or two lines that take up all of one page? Pai basically compliments the Mews on how strong they are, and Taruto tells Pudding he never hated her. And that’s it. They’re redeemed.

The other Mews got even less to do in this finale. Their big battle was just one attack on some random Chimera Animal that instantly wins them the match and kills Pai and Taruto.

That’s pretty much something else to complain about, too. The Mews killed the aliens themselves instead of Pai killing Taruto, who was trying to help the Mews, or Deep Blue’s Mew Aqua beam killing Pai as he tried to sacrifice himself to save the Mews.

Granted, they didn’t technically get to do a lot in the anime finale battle, either, and both side battles ended on disappointing notes, but it was still an actual battle that lasted longer than a sneeze and things happened in it.

I guess Ichigo using the girls’ powers to summon weird butterfly/angel wings of light can be interchanged with the anime using their powers to create an attack, but the anime also wins out here because the girls were flippin’ exhausted, collapsed on the ground, when they did that in the anime – and they were doing it to create one final attack on Deep Blue, not to turn Ichigo into a flying Uber. In the manga, they were fine and this ability comes right the hell out of nowhere.

Ichigo, shockingly, didn’t even get a big moment other than her reviving Aoyama….while naked. She barely got a shot off the whole battle besides one clash with Deep Blue and that whole ‘attacking her friends’ fiasco. She gets bubbled by Aoyama and then he kills himself instead of having Ichigo attack him. Then it’s just over. Kisshu fought him properly, Aoyama fought him internally, the Mews fought him properly – the only one who didn’t really legitimately fight the main bad guy in the series was the main character.

Ichigo narrowly avoided suffering the same fate in the anime, but she did deliver the final blow to him.

The epilogue was much better in the manga, if you ask me. The anime’s absolute end just made very little sense. The girls gather at the cafe for no reason. It’s suddenly right as a new enemy is attacking somehow. Their powers have suddenly returned right then, even if we physically saw Ichigo’s cat leave her (which doesn’t happen in the manga, by the way. She just de-transforms) Shirogane and Akasaka have no guilt over throwing the girls back into Mew duty even when he promised they’d live a normal life afterwards. And we don’t learn who or what this new threat is, especially considering the main and only threat they were created for was the aliens and Deep Blue. And we never will learn who it is because the anime never got a sequel.

In the manga, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for Aoyama to suddenly study abroad and leave Ichigo behind, but the wedding was really sweet. The little bit at the end where we catch a glimpse of Berry and we see that Ichigo’s cat powers are still present was enough of a cliffhanger to want to continue on to the sequel, Tokyo Mew Mew A La Mode. Being fair, Shirogane said their powers would disappear once they weren’t needed anymore, not that the Mew Aqua had any hand in it. So her gaining her ears and tail again is both a nice nod that she’s still a Mew while subtly indicating that a new threat might be around the corner.

Logically, if we tally things up here, the anime would probably win, but I’m struggling with handing over the point so easily. I had a lot of issues with the anime ending, culminating in the opinion that it was ultimately middle of the road. I think the same can be said of the manga’s ending. What they did so much better in the manga is balanced out by what they did so much worse.

It’s a close call, and if you pulled my arm I’d probably say the anime won here, but I’m going to just say it’s a tie.

Winner: TIE

And so, we’ve come to the end of this AniManga Clash! Only one thing left to do, and that’s crown an overall champion.

Overall AniManga Clash Champion!: Anime

I wish I could say I struggled with this decision more, but I really didn’t. While the manga does have a lot going for it, numerous things I wish the anime had kept, the anime just made, overall, better choices with the way the story unfolded.

If there was one thing I was really looking forward to in regards to the manga, it was getting to see the other Mews use the Mew Aqua Rod, considering they got no new powerups in the anime. However, that was a disappointment. I got a bit too excited when Mint got her shot with it because it was the first time – and it was a moment that was wrenched away to Ichigo in the anime. When Pudding’s time came, it was also a cool moment, but, again, I might have been more excited than I should have been, especially considering the anime actually did something arguably better with this moment, and it was for the sake of Taruto and/or PuddingxTaruto. And after that point, you realize what is going on.

They literally all did the exact same thing with it. It was the same thing with each Mew. They sense the Mew Aqua, they find it and then they use Mew Aqua Drops to solve the problem. They could have had the Rod react differently to each Mew or something, but nope. It’s just copy/pasted on all four of them.

Ichigo technically remains the only Mew with actual powerups, of which she got even more in the manga than she did in the anime.

Like I mentioned before, filler also worked in the anime’s favor in regards to giving a better degree of characterization to the other Mews. While the focus typically did lie with Ichigo most of the time, the filler allowed us to have more episodes centered on the other Mews, like Mint and her brother, Zakuro and that lonely little girl, Lettuce and her one-sided crush on that guy who was about to propose to another girl, Pudding getting sick, prompting the girls to help take care of her little brothers and sisters, and several others.

In the manga, let’s be real, the other girls might as well have not been there at all. They’re glorified props with rare times where they have an actual purpose. The girls did get some small storylines here and there, but it felt more like an obligation than the author actually wanting to explore their characters.

That makes sense considering the series was originally designed to be about one girl, Tokyo Black Cat Girl, which was shown in a special bonus chapter of Tokyo Mew Mew, but then then the editorstold Mia Ikumi, the artist and co-creator (alongside Reiko Yoshida) it would be more appealing to audiences if it was a team. I don’t think either of them had any resentment towards being forced to make this change, but it’s quite possible their hearts just weren’t fully in making a team series.

We don’t even get a lot regarding Ichigo’s relationships to the other Mews. They just hang out a lot because they work and fight evil together, so they must be important to each other. The other Mews are endlessly loyal to Ichigo, and we can tell she’s fond of them, but it pretty much ends there. It definitely comes to a screeching halt during the scene in which she attacks them to protect Aoyama/Deep Blue. In any other situation like this, the main character would be far too torn between her love of her friends and her love of her boyfriend to likely do anything outside of either yell at them to stop, commit self-sacrifice or do literally nothing.

I can’t help but imagine how the series would have gone had she actually seriously harmed them or killed them. And you can’t tell me these girls don’t have endless loyalty to Ichigo considering they didn’t even actually get mad at her for doing this. Like in the anime, they were moreso mad that she wasn’t seeing the situation for what it was, getting up and taking on the actual threat of Deep Blue. But unlike the manga, the anime just had Ichigo being so out of it that she nearly got herself killed as a result. I could never imagine the Ichigo I know from the anime ever, and I mean ever, attacking her friends like that, which is probably why it was rewritten in the first place.

I mentioned how lackluster Mint’s yelling of ‘Ichigo!’ was when she realized Ichigo was dead in the anime because her VA just didn’t seem like she was putting enough oomph into it. She does the same thing in the manga, but the reason I had a problem with it here, despite having no audio accompaniment, was because the dramatic collapse and yelling didn’t really feel warranted. In the anime, she and Ichigo had a relationship akin to Rei and Usagi from Sailor Moon. They seemed like they got along the least, but Rei was basically the closest Sailor Scout to Usagi.

Likewise, despite butting heads a lot, Mint is the closest Mew to Ichigo, so it makes perfect sense, in the anime, that she would be the one to collapse and yell out her name when Ichigo died. In the manga? Not so much. They have the same relationship in the manga as the anime, but there is much less exploration into it and moments between them to build the type of relationship necessary to warrant such an outburst.

It was so odd. And the art didn’t even actually focus on Mint, so I was confused as to who was even saying that line when it happened.

Even the aliens and Deep Blue are done better in the anime. The aliens have more time focused on them and their individual dynamics, and Kisshu defecting started their actual redemption arc as a whole. He had a crisis of faith, essentially, and even though it made him go mad, it also gave him more perspective on everything and lead him to the real source of power that he needed. Him also getting severely wounded and Deep Blue abandoning him while he’s laid out on the floor also sewed the first seeds of doubt into Pai and Taruto’s heads that Deep Blue might not be so great afterall.

Taruto choosing to save Pudding instead of letting her die was also a massive turning point for him, even if he didn’t defect as Kisshu did at the time.

Having Pai be the only one who stood by Deep Blue, even causing him to kill Taruto, was quite powerful also. It was the most understandable for the stoic most non-feeling of the group to be the most loyal to Deep Blue, even under the circumstances, but it never felt like he was irredeemable. It was weak that his big turnaround was unearned, but it was still better than the manga’s explanation.

Deep Blue got more time to talk with the aliens, be more of an imposing figure lurking in the shadows and even got a tad more characterization once he was actually awakened than he did in the manga.

Speaking of Deep Blue, they don’t give any actual explanation as to his situation in the manga either. In the anime, they explained that Deep Blue was one spirit/being that broke off into Aoyama and The Blue Knight until Deep Blue could be properly awakened, in which case those personalities should have vanished, leaving only Deep Blue.

In the manga, Aoyama becomes Deep Blue and they kinda don’t talk about why or how that is. They just accept it without question. Likewise, no one talks about how or why Aoyama is The Blue Knight, either. Granted, the anime also doesn’t explore this before the Deep Blue revelation, but still.

Even Aoyama doesn’t escape this because he’s nothing but a sweetheart in the anime, but there are so many times that he’s super creepy in the manga. I don’t dislike him or anything, but it’s still unnerving to have those moments in there.

Some might say the anime is too drawn out, but I’d argue that the manga is too compressed. Yes, there are seven volumes to this story, but 80% of it feels like it’s going way too fast, especially when you compare it to the anime. The battles are the worst examples of this. So many times I was reacting to scenes going ‘What, that’s it?’ or ‘Wait, it’s over already?’ In a similar manner, there were moments where I was shocked a plot thread was still going on, like with the giant moth or the heat dome, because the manga got distracted and went off elsewhere, usually to something Ichigo was doing.

You’d think that the one thing the manga would explicitly have over the anime would be the art. Afterall, I had my fair share of time complaining about Studio Pierrot’s art and animation that ranged from ‘Good’ at its best to ‘Please gouge out my eyes with a cork screw’ at its worst. However…….eh.

The art of the manga is by no means consistently bad, it’s pretty good most of the time, but there is always at least one moment in every chapter where I’m left scratching my head as to a decision they made in the art.

You remember me being confused as to the shot where Mint yells out ‘Ichigo!’? Why was Mint in the background of that shot? Why did the speech balloon not connect to her? It honestly looked like either Kisshu or Shirogane could have been yelling that, but even they were shot from behind or not on-panel so it was hard to tell. Why are there so many moments where Aoyama gets this glazed over ‘I’m going to murder you’ look in his eyes? Is that to hint at Deep Blue or is the art just inadvertently making him look 100x creepier than he should, even when he’s not acting creepy? Why was Ichigo drawn with a massive blush and looking at Shirogane with bedroom eyes when he said she could go with Aoyama? Why was she drawn in day clothes/negligee crying in Aoyama’s future vision when she was in her Mew form when that happened (Something the anime fixed)? Why are there several fight scenes where I honestly can’t even tell who or what they’re attacking?

That coupled with the fast pacing really makes the manga a little difficult to keep up with sometimes.

I definitely don’t feel like I can give the art award to the anime either since there was just mounds of derp, and I kinda don’t forgive them for cheaping out on the series finale, of all things, so let’s just call that a tie there.

But yeah, at the end of the day, I feel more comfortable giving this clash over to the anime. I still really enjoyed the manga, there was a lot to like about it, and I look forward to A La Mode, but I was mostly just disappointed that, even though they did some things right that the anime did poorly and even did some things better that the anime did well, there were too many instances of the anime doing things better or just not doing things as badly as the manga.

And that’s that, my friends. At least until the reboot comes out. I don’t think I’ll be doing another AniManga Clash when the reboot comes out, but I’ll certainly talk about it in relation to the first anime and manga. I hope it takes all the best parts of the anime and manga, adds even better stuff to it and makes something amazing. I really do truly enjoy this franchise, and it has so much potential, they just need to draw it out.

Coming soon, A La Mode!


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SSBS – Cardfight!! Vanguard Episode 21: Rematch in the Final Match!

SSBS - CFV EP21

Plot: Aichi and Gouki are set to face off yet again, and the entire regionals are on their shoulders. Aichi manages to grasp a newfound confidence in himself and his royal knights, but Gouki’s no slouch either. He’s bringing his A-game with his Granblue deck filled with undead pirates who can return from the drop zone. Will Aichi manage to come out on top, or is he not quite at national level yet?

Breakdown: First of all, A + on that title. Doesn’t sound awkward. No sirree.

Second of all, I was half and half about this episode. On the one hand, it was great seeing Aichi get his second wind and even have Gouki on the ropes for a little bit (and Aichi’s voice actor was really going for it in some scenes) but I can’t help but feel this match so far is a little slow. I felt like anytime even the slightest thing happened we were brought back to random crap the others were doing, whether it was making banal comments about the match (Aichi’s different, he’s better, it sure is an exciting match etc.) or just Nagisa or Morikawa (Can we please write these two out of the show?) making insufferably annoying comments. The pace of the match just kept getting interrupted over and over.

And, somehow, I felt like the intensity was off here even when the focus was on the match. Maybe I’m just not feeling it because I haven’t watched the series in a while, but this didn’t feel like the start to the final match in a tournament, at least until the very end. Nothing really wowed me or impressed me, which is why, when the announcer started getting ridiculously excited about the match, I literally rolled my eyes.

Granted, Aichi has been doing well – certainly better than he did the last time he faced Gouki – but something still felt off.

Either way, I did leave a little excited to move onto to episode 22 and the conclusion (I assume) of the match because I really don’t know how this will go. It’s such a weird spot to be in. He could win and show that he’s improving substantially or he could lose and take it as a learning experience for the next big tournament they try to participate in.

Nothing about this match so far screams that it will go one way or another, so it’s really up in the air, which, as I’ve said before, is quite refreshing for this type of series.

I do find myself enjoying Aichi’s deck the more I see of it. A paladin/royal knight theme that supports each other is pretty cool and very fitting of Aichi’s character. If I ever managed to successfully play Vanguard, I’d probably want a deck like that.

Next time, will Aichi be able to take down Gouki’s undead pirates and win the match? How can he fight off two grade threes with only one on his side? Can he lead team Q4 to victory?

 


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