Animating Halloween | Hell Girl: Three Vessels Episode 10 – The Goldfish in the Mirror Review

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Plot: Kazuya’s parents are constantly at odds with each other. His mother is obsessed with being viewed as beautiful and is addicted to buying new elegant kimonos. His father is pretty much done with her. He detests that she’s constantly spending their money for clothing and usually ignores her or berates her whenever he’s home. Kazuya’s mother really only gets the adoration she desires from a kimono salesman named Saito who is taking advantage of her for profit.

Breakdown: I feel like this story shouldn’t have been a Hell Girl episode, but, on the other hand, if Hell Girl really existed, I could totally see something like this happening.

Kazuya’s family life is rather sad. He’s taken up a part-time job as a paper boy (apparently those still exist in Japan?) which is how Yuzuki, girl of a thousand nothings, knows him. He didn’t take this job to make extra money for himself, in fact his family is rather wealthy and he gets quite a lot whenever his father gives him money. The reason he’s taken the job is to help cover his mother’s kimono buying habit.

His parents have very obvious problems. His mother doesn’t tend to do much housework or mothering, choosing instead to spend her days fretting over her appearance and being buttered up by the kimono salesman, Saito. She still obviously loves her son and husband, but she’s off in her own little delusional world where everything is centered on her beauty and she seems painfully unaware that her husband doesn’t give a crap about her.

His father also seems to genuinely loves Kazuya, but he’s clearly fed up with his wife. Even though he definitely comes off like a bit of a prick, it’s hard not to sympathize with him. His wife acts like a doting housewife, but she neglects doing household chores because she’s too busy preening herself, and she won’t stop spending inordinate amounts of money on kimonos.

Kazuya believes all of the problems in his parents’ relationship stem from the kimono salesman, Saito, who is admittedly a prick but also obviously not the main problem here. Kazuya clearly doesn’t understand the complex issues involved with such severe marriage problems. Makes sense given he’s barely a teenager, but still. He’s a bit too naive, especially considering that he seems pretty mature for his age. He fully understands the weight of the decision resting on the string pull and spends quite a lot of time debating whether or not he should do it, yet he can’t see that sending his target to hell will likely do nothing.

He not only believes that Saito is the main problem in his parents’ relationship, but he also gives every bit of money he gets from his job and from his father to his mother by sneaking it into her pocketbook. She believes the money is from his father and that he’s discreetly trying to tell her to buy more kimonos…..

This being Hell Girl, of course he pulls the string, and, sadly but predictably enough, it fixes approximately nothing. No one even seems to notice the dude is gone, and another equally slimy kimono salesman starts buttering up Kazuya’s mother soon enough. The whole situation is very depressing because Kazuya just accepts his fate even though his actions didn’t help a damn thing. He even shows Hone Onna a book on hell and flippantly states that he’s going there someday.

I just don’t understand the point of this episode. All it is is sad and a little stupid. Nothing really happens….Nothing changes. Kazuya’s now set to hell and he didn’t even get anything out of the ordeal. Hell Girl simply couldn’t have helped in his situation. Saito wasn’t the problem, nor was sending him to hell cathartic, and sending either of his parents to hell would’ve probably just been damaging to his life, so…..why is this a Hell Girl episode?

Not even the hell torture is that interesting. It’s just the hell team parroting back Saito’s own skeevy manipulative words to him and assaulting him with goldfish. The only cool thing that happened was Ai riding a golden dragon….I realize I probably made that sound much more entertaining than it was – it wasn’t.

In another series, this setup would actually be pretty good. Maybe it would show the kid dealing with misplaced anger, trying to help them see their problems and try to fix them, and either helping them reach a healthier place together or accepting that it simply can’t work but also knowing that it’s not the end of the world.

But this isn’t another series, it’s Hell Girl.

Rating: 3/10


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Animating Halloween | Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie (+ Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh) Review

Plot: It’s Lumpy’s first ever Halloween, but he’s finding the occasion much too scary to enjoy. When Pooh eats all of the candy in the Hundred Acre Wood, Roo and Lumpy head out on a quest to find the legendary Gabloon, who can supposedly grant their wish of mounds of candy or turn them into “jaggedy lanterns.”

Breakdown:

Disney: “Hey there, Twix!”

Oh….Uhmmm….Hi there…Disney….???

Disney: “We heard you recently finished watching and reviewing all of the Disquels!”

Yeah, I did….

Disney: “Do you want a BONUS Disquel experience!?”

….What are you implying by that?

Disney: “Here’s Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie!”

That title is very awkward. Also, again, what did you mean by that? This is a Winnie the Pooh movie. It can’t be a Disquel.

Disney: “Watch it and seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!”

*sigh* There’s something seriously wrong with that guy.

Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..

I get it.

So yeah, this isn’t a Disquel. It was a direct-to-video movie made in 2005 that was a sequel to another direct-to-video movie, Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, which I’ve never seen. It WAS made by DisneyToon Studios, who were notorious for making the Disquels, so make of that what you will.

Why am I comparing it to a Disquel otherwise? Before I answer that, let me ask you a question. Why do you think Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh is lumped (haha, puns) in on the title?

That’s right, you guessed it! They pulled a total Disquel move. This movie includes the ENTIRETY of that special played off like a flashback. There is only a little more than a half hour of new animation in this hour long movie.

I mean, it is a little better than having three episodes of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (of which Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh is based from) stapled together with hardly any new animation, but still. Lazy, lazy, lazy pricks trying to get money for old rope while ripping off people who have already seen that special.

It’s really jarring, too. This movie came out in 2005 and has sharper animation as well as stronger lines and more saturated colors. Boo to You Too! came out in 1996 and has obviously lower quality than the movie we’re watching.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the fact that they shove in the entirety of Boo to You Too! as an example of how Lumpy can be brave and enjoy Halloween highlights the fact that….this entire movie is basically just a copy of that special….Like…nearly beat for beat.

Piglet/Lumpy is too scared to enjoy Halloween, which nearly causes him to ruin the holiday for everyone else. He’s encouraged by his best friend Pooh/Roo, but it takes Piglet/Lumpy mistakenly believing Pooh/Roo is in danger to get him to brave the scariness. Meanwhile, Pooh/Roo and friends mistakenly believe Piglet/Lumpy is in danger and try to save him. When Piglet/Lumpy believes he’s defeated the nonexistent threat, he finally enjoys Halloween with his friends by his side.

There’s another reason they would have been way better off if they had omitted the Boo to You Too! segment. I’ve never seen it, and I never would never have noticed it was a rip-off of that story if they hadn’t literally shoehorned it into this movie to force me to take notice of their plagiarism. Good job, DisneyToon. You never cease to disappoint.

On its own, it’s a pretty alright movie, same with Boo to You Too! Predictable, sure, but that’s pretty much to be expected with any Winnie the Pooh story. However, I can’t ignore how lazy and obtrusive it is to just chuck Boo to You Too! into this movie.

Give the TV Frankenstein’d Disquels some credit. At least they didn’t tend to ruin their entire movie’s structure by including stories from unaired or aired TV shows that had stories that were exactly the same as their new bookends. Imagine if, in The Little Mermaid 2, they had a scene where Ariel was talking to Melody in the middle of the movie and she went “This reminds me a lot of what I went through at your age.” and then they just played the entirety of The Little Mermaid before cutting back to the main movie.

I wouldn’t be AS bothered if it was just another random old Halloween special crammed in there. It’d still be intrusive and lazy, but it’d be adding some variety of content. Here, though, it’s very clear that this story is just a revamp of Boo to You Too! and they shove this fact in your face.

Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie is a perfectly fine Halloween watch, especially for little kids. It teaches good lessons, and by that I mean it teaches the same good lessons twice in a row, and there are some pretty entertaining and heartwarming moments. If you’ve seen Boo to You Too! though, it’s probably best to keep your finger on the fast forward button. Lumpy’s a very cute character, even if he is a bit too much like Piglet, and Roo was always one of my favorites.

The art and animation is pretty nice, especially for DisneyToon Studios. There was one moment that nearly made me barf though, and that was when they did a completely overly done slow motion cheer in the climax. Seriously, what the hell was that? Saving money by barely animating that part? The musical numbers are also pretty decent, although I can guarantee I’ll forget all of them by the time I’m done writing this review. I just really, really, REALLY wish they had chosen to make the entire movie original instead of putting in an old special to pad it out.

And as sad as it is to say this, I learned that this isn’t the only Winnie the Pooh movie they’ve done this with. They also did the exact same thing with A Very Merry Pooh Year by jamming in Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too in the middle of it…Guess I have something to look forward to this December….

Most of the same points can be said of Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh, barring the art and animation note, which takes a few hits because of the tighter budget and being nearly a decade older than our feature presentation, and, of course, the fact that it’s an entirely original story with nothing placed in the middle of it. It’s a cute Halloween story that people of all ages would enjoy this time of year.

Ratings:

Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh: 7/10

Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie: 4/10


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