Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon Episode 8: The Dream Gazing Trap Review (Spoilers!)

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Plot: Towa, Setsuna and Moroha pursue the four-eyed owl demon, Yotsume, who is fleeing back to Kyuki in a panic. She instructs him to use the power of her rainbow pearl in conjunction with his dream gazing ability to discover the weaknesses of the half-demon princesses.

He does just that, downing Moroha, Towa and Takechiyo, but Setsuna is immune because of her inability to sleep and dream. As Setsuna battles Yotsume, the other three dream about memories buried deep in their minds, revealing some mysterious events from their past.

Setsuna manages to defeat Yotsume on her own, allowing the others to wake from their slumber.

However, Kyuki has obtained the memories revealed in the dreams via the rainbow pearl. Now she must face the half-demon princesses herself.

Kyuki’s rainbow pearl possesses the ability to absorb demon power, which makes all of their attacks useless. Since they were hit with the dream gazing attack, which absorbed their demon power, Towa can’t call her sword and Moroha can’t become Beniyasha. Only Setsuna is left to fight, but she’s fairly powerless either way since she relies on demonic attacks.

Moroha reminds Towa that she possesses a similar ability to Kyuki’s. If she can absorb Kyuki’s demon energy, she can get some of hers back. Towa allows herself to get hit by Kyuki, which does indeed rejuvenate some of her demon energy and allows her to call her sword. She attacks the pearl directly, but it’s no use. She didn’t have enough resolve in her swing to actually cut the pearl out.

Setsuna saves Towa from another blow, but she ends up getting knocked unconscious as a result. Seeing her sister injured while trying to save her again angers Towa to the point where she can generate her sword and use what we now know is Sesshomaru’s Azure Dragon Wave. The wave fells Kyuki and knocks the rainbow pearl out of her grasp.

Riku, who has revealed himself as an incredibly powerful being who actually commanded Jyubei to send the girls out to defeat all of the Perils, finishes off Kyuki incredibly easily and obtains her pearl.

For their troubles, the girls earn a bag of gold from Takechiyo, delighting Moroha.

Two Perils down, two to go.

Breakdown: Twix getting to the most current episode of Yashahime before the next one drops? It’s a Thanksgiving miracle.

So, wow, there is a LOT to cover in this episode. Like…a lot a lot. Let’s get started with a good ol’ fashioned breakdown.

– Riku’s actually some insanely powerful being who is a very important ‘client’ of Jyubei’s to the point where Jyubei and Takechiyo are subservient to him. Let me tell you straight out a line which kinda damages most of the current plot. Jyubei asks why Riku is sending the girls to kill the Perils if he can do it easily. And Riku flippantly says that he hates the Perils – he only kills those he loves.

It’s very unclear whether Riku’s actually a good or bad guy right now, but…he wants the Perils dead…can ‘easily’ defeat the Four Perils, and he won’t – for a very stupid reason. Okie dokie…

It downplays the power of the Perils as a whole, which makes their defeats at the hands of the girls seem less impressive. This is highlighted later when Towa defeats Kyuki and Riku says it was a ‘half-assed Azure Dragon Wave’ that took her out.

It’s disheartening to have one of Towa’s biggest moments in battle so far be farted on like that. ‘Pfft, weakling Peril defeated by weak attack. Pfft.’

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Oh and, yeah, he said he doesn’t kill those he hates, only those he loves, yet uhm, wait, who delivered the killing blow again? *checks notes* Ah, yes, Riku….He even told Kyuki that he hated the Perils as he killed her. Contradictory character, you are.

– Speaking of Kyuki, let’s talk about her quick defeat, shall we?

But before I go off, a positive note to help balance things out. Ahem. I really like Kyuki’s design both in her false form and her true form. They are pretty cool designs. And now back my grumpy criticisms.

Kyuki is a peril that has been built up for a few episodes, and she’s the first enemy that the girls properly face now that we’ve caught up with the first episode’s initial scene, yet she’s defeated and killed in HALF AN EPISODE.

HALF.

Don’t even get me started on how stupid the entire battle itself was. Kyuki’s ability to absorb demon energy is a good threat, but absolutely nothing about the actual battle makes a lick of sense.

First of all, the fact that she obtained their dreams? Had absolutely no bearing on the battle. They don’t even bring it up after she faces them. She didn’t learn of any weaknesses they had, which was the intention, yet she acted as if her getting the dreams from the pearl was to her benefit.

Second, hoo yeah, it is a BIG problem that Kyuki can absorb demon energy, making all of their demonic attacks useless. Sure is a shame none of them has spiritual abilities and sacred arrows which are the polar opposite of demon powers and are, in fact, meant to purify demon energy. Sure is a good thing they didn’t remind us that anyone in the group had these abilities in the first part of the episode by having that certain someone use those abilities against Yotsume and nearly defeat him that way.

Third, does Setsuna, this trained demon slayer, not have any abilities for slaying demons outside of her own demonic powers? Why does she keep using her demonic abilities when she knows they’ll just be absorbed? It makes her look really stupid. She could have used that opening to cut out the pearl herself with her naginata. That’s just a traditional weapon.

Fourth, the way Towa resolves this makes even less sense. Moroha’s like “Hey, remember, Myoga said you have a similar ability to absorb demon energy.” And then she frickin’ Iron-Reaver’s Towa in the chest to make this point! I was flabbergasted. Although, points for giving me a chance to use the word ‘flabbergasted.’

Towa absorbed demon energy through her sword last time. There was never any occasion where getting hit by demon energy allowed her to absorb it into her body, yet somehow Moroha was so confident that she could do this that she nearly maimed her friend to test it out.

The Iron-Reaver not only doesn’t hurt Towa, but it doesn’t even rip her clothes. This isn’t the first time this has happened – Inuyasha also Iron-Reaver’d Miroku in Movie 02 and didn’t rip his clothes – but why? All the Iron-Reaver does is leave a big purple claw mark on Towa’s chest to show that she actually absorbed the demon energy.

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Took the words right out of my mouth, Towa.

…Hold the phone. Now Towa can absorb demon energy through her body via attacks…..Why has that ability not been shown until now? Wouldn’t every demon attack she’s taken so far just leave a mark on her instead of actually hurt her? It’s not as if Towa did anything to prepare for this, either. Moroha just swiped her out of nowhere.

Moroha says Towa can absorb any demon attack as long as she can withstand it. If she can’t, she’d end up getting killed.

Towa heads out to challenge Kyuki, but Kyuki swipes at her with her paw, leaving a claw mark on Towa’s chest. Even though that wasn’t a demonic energy attack (it was literally just her pawing Towa) it still allows Towa to absorb Kyuki’s demonic energy and get her sword back.

This shouldn’t matter because it’s a sword made of demon energy, meaning Kyuki would just absorb it again. It would an absorb-off.

Towa attacks the pearl directly, trying to pop it out of Kyuki’s mouth, but she fails because she doesn’t have enough resolve to succeed. After Setsuna pushes Towa out of the way of another attack, Setsuna winds up unconscious. Towa is devastated because her weakness got Setsuna hurt again, just like it did ten years ago. Channeling her inner shounen protagonist, this allows her to get a massive increase in power, which allows her to do the Azure Dragon Wave, which, from the way Riku was talking earlier, I thought might be different than the other dragon attack she had before, but it’s not….So they’re making a big to-do about her using an ability she already had?

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Who cares anyway? It’s a demon-energy based attack, right? So, logically, Kyuki would just absorb the power and—whoops, she’s defeated by it.

….So uh…this was the demon who wanted to usurp Kirinmaru, eh? Either the girls, Towa specifically, are way too OP or these Perils are weaker than a newborn baby made of feathers.

Riku kills Kyuki by simply tapping his earring, which I still believe is probably another rainbow pearl, and she just fades into dust. Could he have killed her that easily this whole time?

– It’s confirmed that there are seven rainbow pearls, which means someone didn’t learn their rainbow colors. Silver is not a rainbow color. Maybe gold can pass for yellow or orange, but you ain’t getting a pass for silver. Moriah Elizabeth would be ashamed.

– Riku made off with Kyuki’s rainbow pearl and no one noticed, cared or mentioned it. The girls just completely forget that Kyuki had a rainbow pearl. And they forget this even before she’s killed. I don’t even think they noticed that Riku killed her. They’re literally about 20 feet away and not taking notice of anything Riku’s doing.

Speaking of being oblivious airheads, Towa happily greets Riku as if he’s an old friend and not a guy who just framed her for stealing a valuable sword from a powerful shogun lord and nearly got her killed.

And that’s the end of the episode. The battle may have been a jumbled nonsensical mess, but—Oh wait. You probably want me to talk about the dreams. That is mostly likely the main reason you clicked on this post in the first place.

Ladies and gentlemen, the dreams~~~

– Moroha, Towa and Takechiyo all get hit with Yotsume’s dream gazing ability. Moroha and Takechiyo’s dreams get mixed up because Setsuna used her cyclone ability near them. I don’t know why or how either. I guess so neither Takechiyo nor Moroha would properly remember the events of their dreams for some reason?

Moroha has Takechiyo’s dream. In it, he’s being ‘given’ to Jyubei as a servant by Miroku, which leads me to believe Takechiyo is indeed Hachiemon’s kid. Is this another case of a kid of one of the original characters not remembering where they came from or who their parents are and/or their parent is dead/trapped somewhere?

Still wondering why Sango’s been missing entirely too. This is another instance where Miroku is seen, but not Sango. Getting increasingly concerned.

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Why is Miroku giving Takechiyo to Jyubei as a servant? Dunno. What connection does either of them have to Jyubei? Dunno. All I know is that Jyubei, at this point, calls Takechiyo a ‘young lord’ and Hachiemon is an ‘elder’ who is connected to Takechiyo. Also, he says he can’t treat Takechiyo the way he was treated before, he needs to be put to work, for some reason, implying that he was treated rather well, perhaps like royalty. What exactly did Hachiemon get into after the series ended that made him so important?

Miroku, by the way, still has his face obscured by his hat for some reason, and they’re not even allowing him to talk. He’s communicating purely through head nods in this flashback. Why? I can’t think of any reason why they’re doing this. He does still possess the ability to talk – he spoke to Setsuna, even though we didn’t see or hear it – so why? It’s always really awkward when shows try to mask cameos of old beloved characters by making sure they just barely have a presence by obscuring their appearances and not letting them talk. Especially Miroku of all people. Miroku practically had a silver tongue. There’s no reason he’d be communicating purely through nods.

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Baby Morohaaaaaa!!~~~

Takechiyo has Moroha’s dream, which is the one everyone’s been waiting for. In this dream, Sesshomaru and Kirinmaru are together for some reason and they’re seemingly facing off against Inuyasha and Kagome.

Just to drive the weirdness of the obscure cameos even further, Sesshomaru is cloaked in shadow and doesn’t talk….but Inuyasha and Kagome are shown fully and audibly speak.

Kagome cradles a baby Moroha and gives her Inuyasha’s mother’s rouge. She tells her that she and Inuyasha agreed that, if they had a girl, they’d give that to her. (Well, that’s sexist. This series has proven men can have some mad makeup game.) That’s real sweet, but I still can’t stop thinking about the Kikyo aspect of that whole thing.

Kagome then tearfully hands Moroha off to Hachiemon, telling him to take care of her before she and Inuyasha, presumably, follow Sesshomaru and Kirinmaru into a temple for some reason. Their ultimate fates are never shown. I don’t really know how Moroha’s remembering this, considering she was a baby at the time, but at least we have a little more information on what happened to Inuyasha and Kagome. Doesn’t really alleviate any concerns that they died or anything, though. Does this mean that Moroha was raised by Hachiemon?

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This also might confirm that Inuyasha didn’t give his robe of the fire rat to her, so where did she get it if that’s indeed what she’s wearing?

Towa’s dream is about Setsuna’s ability to sleep being stolen by the Dream Butterfly. In an interesting development, we see the Dream Butterfly flying to the Tree of Ages, who is the one in control of the butterfly, and sprinkling what it absorbed from Setsuna onto a sleeping Rin. This seems to imply that there’s a connection between the two conditions and, possibly, if they kill the Dream Butterfly, Rin might wake up too, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s not that simple.

This dream really confuses me because there’s no rhyme or reason why Towa is seeing this. She wasn’t there to witness Setsuna getting attacked by the Dream Butterfly, and there’s absolutely no way she knows of Rin’s current state or that the Dream Butterfly is connected to Rin. The only way I can think of this working is if she’s psychically connected with Setsuna, which is possible (there is that belief that twins are physically linked and whatnot) but even Setsuna wouldn’t know about Rin…..would she?

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In the end, none of them even talk about the events of the dreams, which is rather frustrating because I keep feeling like they’re purposefully stalling as much as humanly possible to avoid actually developing the backstories of the girls and what happened to the original cast. I should give some leeway here, because they were in the middle of a battle and didn’t have time to chat about the dreams, but I still feel like it’ll be a while before they discuss any of it, which just doesn’t feel realistic to me. Though, lest we forget that they all still remain completely uninterested in talking about their origins or parents in the slightest.

All in all, this episode is….eehhhhh….okay. It wasn’t a bad ride, and I appreciated the parts with the dreams, but the battle with Kyuki was a complete mess, and the dreams left me more confused than anything. I’m all for nostalgic fanservice, but they’re not even doing that right. Why are some old characters being hidden from us but the main friggin’ characters are fully on display? Miroku better have some badass facial scar or something.

At the end of the day, I can’t help but remember a tweet I saw a couple weeks ago where someone was saying something like ‘Yashahime continues to display its amazing ability to put too much plot into an episode while also not really furthering the plot.’ And….yeah that is pretty much what they’re doing.

They’re giving us the absolute bare bones of information each time they bother giving us some. Keep in mind, the dream stuff didn’t even matter to the plot of this episode. Kyuki didn’t use the information for any purpose. She mentioned that she tweaked Yotsume’s dream gazing ability in the rainbow pearl to absorb demon energy, which also doesn’t make any sense, and that’s about it. She already knew the girls were half/quarter-demon. All the dream gazing served to do was give a little more information to the audience about what happened to the original cast – information that is only about 1% useful.

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Moroha’s hair is extremely light in this flashback. It’s in a shade that lies almost exactly between Inuyasha’s silver and Kagome’s black. Why is that?

I’m not saying back up the exposition dump truck onto my needy little head – you can’t shoot off all the fireworks at the start of the show, that’s boring – I’m saying they need to find a better way of dealing with the stuff in the past to make the overall story flow a little better. Following a trail of bread crumbs to your destination doesn’t work well when the bread crumbs are half a mile apart and you sometimes find a bunch of bread crumbs in one spot, but they’re spread out in the middle of a fork in the road.

I was continuously getting concerned about the power spikes in Towa, but I guess I shouldn’t because she’s still considered a weakling to actually powerful characters like Riku? Even though she’s mowing down Perils one after another in record time.

Inuyasha had a talent for making even low-level demons seem like a legit threat. Yashahime has a talent for making high-level demons seem like they’re weaklings. Remember these are the highest generals of Kirinmaru – a demon meant to be matched in power only by Inutaisho and Sesshomaru and who is also seemingly our main antagonist for now. If they’re not having significant problems with the Perils (Two have been killed so far, and we’re not even in the double-digits of episode numbers), why should I be in the least bit concerned about Kirinmaru?

What has Kirinmaru even done yet? Nothing, besides sit in the shadows and tell his troops “Take out the girls and bring me pearls. Yes, that rhymed.” Also, if Kyuki thought she could take on Kirinmaru with four out of seven rainbow pearls and she’s as weak as she was, then even his underlings don’t find him to be that much of a threat.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not begging for another Naraku – please, dear god, anything but that – but still. I don’t much give a damn about him right now is all.

Next episode, it seems we might be getting another full-on filler episode, but maybe it’ll be fun.

Final notes: Yes, I did forget that Sesshomaru had an attack called the Azure Dragon Wave in the movies and The Final Act, so it makes sense that Towa would have this ability. In my defense, it’s been years since I watched The Final Act or any of the movies, and my memory is breathtakingly awful.


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Thanksgiving Special: Rocko’s Modern Life – Turkey Time Review

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Plot: Rocko celebrates his first ever Thanksgiving (As he’s originally from Australia) but is shocked to hear from Heffer that turkey is usually the main course during the holiday. Chaos throughout O-Town ensues when all of the turkeys in town congregate to Rocko’s house.

Breakdown:

Hi. I’m Fiddle D. Twix. Wishing you and yours a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday to all in the US. And to all not in the US, have a great day, and keep being safe.

I thank you all for joining me on this holiday. I know the year has been…Hm…what’s a polite way to say ‘hellish dumpster fire’? But the holidays are always here to bring goodness and cheer no matter if you’re with family and friends, whether in person or remotely, or if you’re just enjoying a quiet holiday on your own. I still try desperately to keep the holiday spirit no matter what the rest of the year spits in my face, so I hope you enjoy this year’s Thanksgiving special and the coming A Very Animated Holiday Special reviews over December.

So sit back, relax, warm up by the fireplace gif and join me for Rocko’s Modern Life – Turkey Time.

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Remember how I said that most Thanksgiving specials tend to be kinda boring because they all pretty much follow the formula of “family makes a big deal of dinner, dinner gets ruined, they salvage the night anyway and realize the holiday is about family and friends, not food.”? This special breaks off from the norm, because it’s Rocko, of course it would, silly.

Rocko is celebrating his first Thanksgiving in America with Heffer there to show him what goes into the dinner. They get everything they need at the grocery store in terms of veggies and stuff, but then Heffer reveals that they need a turkey. Rocko is confused as to why they need to invite a turkey to dinner, but they go to Conglom-O’s turkey giveaway and get a live turkey. All the while, Heffer is giggling that Rocko believes they’re just having dinner with the turkey.

When they arrive home, Rocko is devastated to learn that Heffer meant they were going to kill and eat the turkey for dinner, not eat with it. He can’t kill the turkey because it’s so cute, and even though Heffer acted like it was no big deal, he finds that he doesn’t have the heart to do it either. They decide to just hang out with the turkey and eat a veggie turkey for dinner, but that’s where the problems start.

Somehow, the other turkeys that were being given away by Conglom-O all escaped and took refuge at Rocko’s house somehow knowing he would protect them. Rocko’s got no problem protecting the turkeys, but word gets out that he has the only turkey in town since he got a turkey before the giveaway started. So, yeah, it’s still hitting some cliches – most notably being the ‘everyone gets a turkey ON Thanksgiving’ thing, which rarely ever happens, in my experience. Also, why is everyone getting a turkey from a free giveaway that Conglom-O is having? Do they not carry turkeys in the stores, or does everyone want a live turkey? Seems like an unnecessary amount of work. Why is Conglom-O having a massive live turkey giveaway anyway (Where the setup is literally ‘show up and get a free turkey’) That’d be a huge loss of profits, wouldn’t it?

Nitpicking aside, everyone in town demands that Rocko share his turkey. And, remember, they only believe he has one turkey. Apparently, that’s meant to feed like 30 people.

Rocko, pressured into doing it, does give them exactly what they want, a big turkey dinner…after he does a hilarious….and I don’t know how I can say this without it being taken the wrong way but….sexy dance in a turkey costume (Unless that is one of the turkeys, in which case, this is even weirder….They never did show him getting in or out of a turkey costume…..) They even set up the living room like a strip club. It’s really funny but also very weird.

Everyone eats the turkey and happily leaves, but then they discover that the turkey was actually a jumbo veggie bird. They turn back to see Rocko in the middle of a flock of turkeys and they set out to kill them all so they can have an actual Thanksgiving feast.

They’re about to kill the birds via dropping a grand piano (+pianist playing dramatic music) on top of them, but, like Rocko and Heffer, they find that they’re too cute and can’t do the deed. Mr. Bighead, though, won’t have it. He has no sympathy for the birds and, in a fit of rage, disperses the turkeys and demands they let go of the rope holding the piano. They do, but Mr. Bighead’s the only one they hit with it.

Later, the turkeys all get a big feast, reprising the sexy dance setup, only this time it’s Mr. Bighead with a bag of turkey food, much to the delight of the turkeys. And everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving except Mr. Bighead because he’s an ass.

The end.

I only barely remembered watching this episode as a kid, but it’s a good one. This story was definitely refreshing for Thanksgiving specials, and it made me laugh several times. It’s a good time to be had all around. Rocko’s Modern Life adds its own style to the event, and they never opt for anything cheesy.

It is a tad on the dark side for a kid’s cartoon, though. That’s not a bad thing, of course, and Rocko has always been on the more mature side (See: Turkey strip tease), but it is kinda uncommon for a kid’s holiday special to focus so much on killing, even if they never outright say to kill them (Due to censors. They do directly allude to it as much as possible, though, including but not limited to Heffer making that throat-slitting motion and going ‘Gaaaaccckkk’). I can’t imagine any kid was traumatized by this episode on the revelation that turkey comes from, well, turkeys, especially since images of live turkeys are everywhere around Thanksgiving, but I still have my doubts that an episode like this would fly today (hehe, turkey, fly, hehe.)

This episode does have some additional bittersweet notes to it, though. It was written by Spongebob creator Stephen Hillenburg before he eventually went on to create Spongebob three years later. This was also the season in which Hillenburg was made a director and producer for Rocko’s Modern Life. Turkey Time was the last episode he (co) wrote before the series ended, though that’s not really saying much considering my final bittersweet note is that this is the first part of the series finale of Rocko’s Modern Life.

While, technically, the actual ending for the show was considered Future Schlock (the episode in which Rocko, Filburt and Heffer get shot into space for 20 years) the episodes were switched around to allow the Thanksgiving special to air closer to the actual date of the holiday, making this and the following segment, Floundering Fathers, the official series finale. That is, of course, until the movie, Static Cling was released 24 years later. (I have watched the movie, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.)

If you want to have some laughs this Thanksgiving, give it a watch. You won’t regret it.

~Happy Thanksgiving!~


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Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon Episode 7 – Meeting Through an Apple Review

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Plot: Setsuna leaves Towa behind without telling her when she and her fellow demon slayers go on a mission.

Annoyed, Towa decides to just set off on her own to find the Dream Butterfly at the base of Mount Musubi. Along the way, she meets a mysterious pirate named Riku who has become separated from his ship and crewmates. After sharing her food with Riku, he gifts her the real kikujumonji, with Towa unaware that he had stolen it from its owner, Deputy Lord of the Kanto region, Ogigayatsu Hiiragi Danjo. As terrible luck would have it, Hiiragi’s men find her and arrest her for the theft, somehow knowing that she’s from another world.

The lord and his aide interrogate Towa on the future of their clan since she’s from the future and even has a history book of Japan with her. As this goes down, Setsuna convenes with Moroha back near Kaede’s village. They’re now tasked by Junbei to fight another Peril, Kyuki, but Setsuna has to retrieve Towa. Takechiyo reveals that Towa appears to be near Kyuki, so they make a beeline for her location. However, they’re intercepted by Kyuki’s polar bear apparition, Fubuki.

They’re unable to fell the massive ice-wielding bear because the form before them is not its main body.

While listening to the lord’s aide go on about the story of Inuyasha and Kagome defeating Root Head, Towa sensed the real body of Fubuki, which was a small bear cub in the rafters behind her. Channeling her energy through her hands, she shot at Fubuki, causing it to lose concentration while simultaneously alerting Setsuna to her location. Moroha was able to pinpoint Fubuki’s real body and shot at it with a sacred arrow, finally defeating the beast.

The two headed off towards the mansion to save Towa, freeing her and ousting the lord’s aide as the owl demon, Yotsume. They decide to let him live, believing they can get valuable information from him. As Moroha and Setsuna take chase, Towa retrieves her modern day items, including the Japanese history book and Kagome’s old bike seat, and sets off to join the pursuit.

Breakdown: Ah, so now we’ve come full circle. We’ve finally reached the scene that we saw in the first episode.

Also, Towa’s an idiot.

Oh, sorry, I must’ve had something in my throat.

Anyway, Towa’s an idiot—oh darn, there I go again.

I mentioned in the first episode review that I was blown away that Towa was seemingly scared to death of changing the past and that was in direct contradiction to how Kagome basically played it, which was ‘lol who cares? Nothing I do here changes the future. Look, I got married and had kids in the past and nothing changed in the future. It’s all good.’

I also mentioned before how her mannerisms now don’t match how she was acting in the first episode. Let me tell you what Towa did in this episode before we reached the scene that we saw in the first episode.

First of all, this is unrelated to the time thing, but she smelled water from a ways away, yet apparently couldn’t tell freshwater from saltwater (She thought she was leading Riku to the ocean – she found a river instead.) which is something even people without a super sense of smell can do…

Second, still unrelated to the time thing, but she saw Riku basically do waterbending and asked “Is that a magic trick?” Towa, you’re well aware supernatural powers exist. You should be asking if he’s a demon right now.

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Third, finally related to the time thing, she invites him to picnic with her, showing him a full spread of modern foods, including potato chips, pocky, ramen, gum (Why does she have gum out at a picnic?) bullshit-that-those-aren’t-brown-by-now bananas and maybe-I’ll-accept-the-apple’s-okay apple.

Fourth, as if giving him these foods wasn’t bad enough, when he comments on the apple being really good she says “Selective breeding has come a long way, and things taste better now.” TOWA! Come on!

But the final nail in the stupid coffin? She tells him to give the core back to her once he’s done with the apple because she doesn’t want the seeds to sprout in the past and change things for the future…..The contradictions occurring right now are insane.

Good on you for realizing that it’s dangerous to allow a foreign apple tree to possibly grow in the feudal era, but if you don’t want to change the timeline so badly, Towa, maybe don’t prattle on about future stuff and put a big neon sign on your forehead that says “YO I’M FROM THE FUTURE!”

Even Kagome didn’t advertise that she was from the future this much. She actually tended to have some discretion when she was using modern day things around the average person, like saying her medicine was special herbs and stuff. Most of the time, she simply wouldn’t give an explanation as to what the item was. I think there were one or two occasions where she’d give someone something from the modern era and actually say what it was, but she’d never say anything like ‘Oh, when you’re done with it, destroy it because it might mess up the timeline. I’m from the future – that would suck.’ She’d be more open around the main group, of course, because they knew who she was and they trusted each other, but that was about it.

I had to double-take when Towa said that last line. I thought maybe she said it in inner monologue because surely she’s not that stupid, right?….Wrong.

This just makes the part about Towa being pissed that Moroha brought that history book to the feudal era all the more confusing. I thought, when I watched the first episode, that Moroha was with her and packed it. But no. Moroha was off to meet Junbei. Towa had to have packed that herself. So she’s mad at Moroha for bringing it to the past but not at herself for putting it back in her backpack?

Obviously, some of the stuff Moroha initially packed is being left behind in Kaede’s village because the backpack is very normal-sized when Towa is traveling with it even though it was massive when it first came through the portal. Why wouldn’t you leave the book behind, too? All it is is excess weight. That book has no relevance to your pursuit of the Dream Butterfly. Hell, it’s so dangerous, considering Kirinmaru’s intentions, that you should have locked it up or burned it or something.

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Speaking of Towa, though, she, at least, is getting better at sensing demon energy….and she has another new ability. Granted, this one is rather minor, but she now possesses the ability to concentrate her energy into her hand and shoot off energy spikes from it. It’s good that she’s getting more skillful, but, like I said, she’s kinda growing a bit too fast. Are they keeping her sensory abilities down to balance that?

The shot of her attack did made me realize that Towa doesn’t have ‘claws’ so to speak, nor does Setsuna. How does the quarter-demon have claws, but Towa and Setsuna don’t? It’s just very weird that Moroha consistently has more dog traits than either of them and acts more dog-like on top of that.

As for the episode as a whole, it was fine. Riku was okay. He’s pretty mysterious, but that’s understandable considering he wasn’t here for long and he’ll be back later. I find it very intriguing that he’s actually a pirate – if he’s not lying, that is.

Is it weird that I absolutely loved Fubuki? That little bear was adorable, and I want a plushie of it right now.

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It was confirmed that there are indeed more than three rainbow pearls as Kyuki has one that is purple. So…are there seven? That still doesn’t make much sense considering silver and gold aren’t rainbow colors. Also, dun dun dunnn, Kyuki wants to overthrow Kirinmaru once she has the girls’ three rainbow pearls. I’m sure that’ll work out for you, sweetie.

It’s also possible Riku’s earring is another pearl considering it obviously has powers and looks very similar to the pearls, but I guess we’ll have to see on that one.

Uhm…not much else to say about the episode besides that. We’re back to the beginning, if that makes any sense, so now we’re officially making headway in the plot.

Speaking of that….

Next episode, holy crap, do I see Inuyasha, Kagome and Rin in that next episode preview? I do believe I do! They’re not actually going to appear, it seems, because I think they’re just in a bunch of induced dreams, but still I’m very excited to see what’s up with them, especially in regards to the pasts of the girls.


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Hell Girl (Manga) Volume 3 Review

Chapter 11: A Gloomy Job

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Another story that wasn’t mirrored in the anime, A Gloomy Job focuses on a middleschooler named Mayu who is trying to save up money for a trip to the beach with her friends, but she can’t earn the money quickly enough without a job. She decides to lie about her age in order to work in a theme park for just long enough to earn what she needs.

She lands the job and instantly befriends another employee named Aida. Working under the attractive and charming Nakatani, she enjoys her time working in the theme park. Until, that is, Aida falls ill and starts missing work. Mayu is concerned, but doesn’t think anything too severe has happened until she learns two things – Aida supposedly told Nakatani that she was leaving for another job after she came to pick up her check, and Aida’s sister told Mayu that she hasn’t seen Aida in three days.

She goes back to the theme park to pick up her check, but before she can ask Nakatani more questions she accidentally knocks a handbag over, spilling its contents. Among the items is Aida’s last paycheck.

Mayu confronts Nakatani about it, and he reveals everything. He sent Aida to work in a ‘shop.’ He shows a photo to Mayu depicting Aida crying as she’s grabbed by a bunch of seedy men. Apparently, Nakatani makes a habit out of luring young girls who are desperate for money down to the theme park for some good quick cash. Then, when he’s about to give them their paycheck, he blackmails them somehow and forces them to work in the ‘shop.’ For Aida, she needed the money from the job to pay for tuition to beauty school, and he blackmailed her by taking risque videos of her and posting them on the Internet. For Mayu, she needed money for her trip, and he found out she wasn’t allowed to be employed due to being too young.

Nakatani tries to get her to cooperate to work at the ‘shop’ too, but Mayu isn’t having it. To force her into submission, he throws her into the haunted house attraction that emulates a ride through hell. He pushes her into the pit, breaking her leg.

She still has her phone, so she threatens to call the cops, but Nakatani simply laughs and throws money onto her, claiming he’ll easily be able to frame it as an accident – a middleschooler faking her age for a job and trying to steal money from her employers accidentally falls into an attraction while trying to escape.

Instead, Mayu uses her phone to access Hell Correspondence and sends Nakatani to hell. After a pretty decent hell torture scene, we cut to a little while later where we see Mayu in the hospital recovering from her broken leg. A detective informs her that they were able to save Aida thanks to her testimony, but Nakatani is still missing.

With the familiar black curse mark emblazoned on her chest, Mayu laments that the grown-up world is no place for a kid like her.

I liked this story alright, but, logically, there’s a bunch of stuff that doesn’t make sense. Most blatantly being that of, golly gee Nakatani, I’m so sure no one will suspect you of wrongdoing considering every girl who comes under your employ goes missing or will be found murdered….There’s only so much fudging the time cards will do for ya, buddy.

And, really, “You can’t call the cops because it looks like you stole money and tried to escape.” Uhm, first of all, Aida is missing, and the last place she was seen was in the theme park, meaning Mayu has leverage in getting the cops to snoop around on that. You kept an incriminating photo of her on your phone and supposedly uploaded lewd videos of her to the Internet mere days before she went missing. Not to mention that you kept her paycheck and purse for no other reason than because you’re too stupid to destroy evidence.

Second of all, you really think Mayu’s stupid enough to DIE in this pit, suffering for days or weeks of a broken leg, starvation and dehydration just because she’s afraid that she might get charged with stealing $85? As a minor? And the theft story makes no sense anyway. She decided to steal from the place in which she was employed….on pay day? When the only reason she took the job was to get five days worth of wages, of which she was also getting overtime because Aida was missing? And, what, she decided the best escape route wasn’t just, ya know….taking any walkway in the park and instead thought it was better to go through the haunted house?

Come on, dude, be less dumb.

Chapter 12: The Cheat

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No anime mirror this time either. This story focuses on Saori, a girl who is attending a prep school to get a recommendation for a prestigious high school. Her father used to teach at that school before he died, and she wants nothing more than to attend the school and make her father proud.

However, she does very poorly in classes because she’s not good at studying. She’s always bottom of the class in exams and worries that she’ll never be able to get into her father’s school.

The class president, Hayasaka, who is always number one in class, offers to tutor her, and he’s such a good teacher that she catches on extremely quickly to the material and shoots up in the exam scores. Hayasaka is so impressed with her hard work and progress that he asks her to go out with him and she happily accepts.

He gives her a nice ring, her mom gives her some money as a reward for doing well at school, which she spends on contacts to replace her glasses, and everything seems to be looking up. She even manages to beat out Hayasaka for the top spot in exam scores.

When that happens, everything starts going downhill again. She loses her ring, which devastates her, and she develops a cold after looking for it in the rain, which makes her unable to do as well on her next test.

The shit really hits the fan when her teacher calls her in and points out that her English paper is the exact same as Hayasaka’s, and since Hayasaka was a good student from the beginning, he instantly suspects her of cheating this whole time. He also says he was planning on writing a letter of recommendation for her father’s school, but now he’s reconsidering.

Every student goes really overboard with their reactions. The insults I get, but they started TEARING UP HER TEXTBOOKS the instant they hear about the accusations. She’s shocked when she tries to get Hayasaka to defend her and all he does is call her pitiful for what she has done.

No one, not even her mother, will believe that she didn’t cheat, so she decides to contact Hell Girl and send Hayasaka to hell….which is weird, because she doesn’t know at this point that Hayasaka did it.

I mean, there are no other suspects, but still. She doesn’t have all the information yet.

With a straw doll in hand, she overhears Hayasaka explain to one of his friends that she was legitimately being nice to Saori at first to help her out, but didn’t realize she would start surpassing him in scores. He couldn’t stand for that, so he decided to make her sick to start tanking her grades, then he swapped their answer sheets and copied her paper to frame her for cheating.

Upon hearing this, Saori pulled the string and Hayasaka was ferried to hell. His hell torture is pretty entertaining. The Hell Team tests him by asking him questions as he hangs over a pit filled with acid. For every wrong answer, he’ll be lowered in. He answers correctly, but is lowered anyway because they accuse him of cheating. After some more questions, Hayasaka’s rope breaks and he falls into the acid.

Afterwards, that familiar hellish magic seems to be worked again because Saori has been cleared of her accusations, everyone loves her now and she’s got the grades to go to any high school she wants. She aims to someday be a teacher like her dad, even with that curse mark emblazoned on her chest.

This story was very, very predictable. The instant you see Hayasaka you know he’ll be the target, and the instant he offers to help her you know he’ll sabotage her. Saori is a very likable main character, though. Her motives were sweet, and I really felt bad for her since she was trying her best but just couldn’t understand the material through studying or the manner in which her teachers were conveying.

It sucks that she was manipulated by Hayasaka. In another universe, that would have been a great origin for a romantic couple in a shoujo series. Cute class president helps a girl get into the school her deceased dad once taught at and helps her realize that she really is very smart but she just learns in a different manner than others. Meanwhile the guy could be under a lot of pressure to be perfect or something and she helps him relax and let go of perfectionism. But that’s a story for a different manga, I guess.

Chapter 13: Love Betrayed

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This is the story of Kana, one of two managers of a soccer team captained by her boyfriend, Ogata. There are strict rules against interpersonal relationships between those in the soccer club, so they keep their relationship strictly under wraps.

The only one who knows of their relationship is Kana’s best friend and co-manager, Yukari, and she’s obviously the target. This is one of those stories where they try to keep the target a secret. They’re doing all sorts of shitty things to the MC and we have to figure out who it is before the MC does. But they make it very obvious. Razor in the laundry? Gee, the only other person who touches that is Yukari. Her new shoes that she bought to match Yukari’s all cut up? Gee, that’s another thing related to Yukari, and she also knows where your locker is. Window suddenly broke in the room you were alone in, burning your leg with scalding hot water? Gee, Yukari, the one who took you off field duty and knew it’d be your turn to make tea, do you know who did this?

Granted, it’s obvious from the get-go. Any story that has two girls who are best friends and one cute popular guy being involved with one of them will always play the ‘I hate you because I liked (Guy)!’ card.

To their credit, they did throw me off the scent for a minute. A guy on the soccer team named Yamane appeared and it seemed he might have been harassing Kana because he was jealous of Ogata, being passed over by a scout for him, and knew they were dating. A shirt of Ogata’s had also been destroyed, which indicated more of an attack on him than Kana. Yukari tells her that he called her and told her he was the harasser and that he was in a nearby park. She told Kana to meet her there so they could confront him.

Yamane approached her before Yukari could arrive and tried to stab her with a knife. Yukari arrived to stop the attack and convinced her to not tell anyone or else it could negatively affect Ogata and the team.

The next day at school, the coach calls Kana into his office and shows her a picture that was sent to him that depicted Yamane and Kana during the attack, but it was staged like he was embracing her. Since relationships between club members is strictly forbidden, he tells her she should quit.

Ogata is also about to confront Kana about a photo that was sent to him, but before he can talk much, Kana decides to break up with him, fearing for his safety.

Kana believed Yamane was responsible, Yukari suggested she call Hell Girl on him, and with a smirk, she basically gave herself away entirely – yeah she was behind everything, but let’s keep going. Kana is indeed about to call Hell Girl on Yamane, but Ogata suddenly calls and Yukari is sent to hell.

We finally get Yukari’s evil….and completely stupid plan. She was indeed the one who was harassing Kana, though Yamane was the one who ripped Ogata’s shirt. Yukari blackmailed him with that information into attacking Kana so she’d quit being manager. She wanted her to send Yamane to hell so her loose ends would be tied….but….that doesn’t make any sense nor does it solve anything.

Yukari’s main goal was to get Kana to quit as manager so she could go to the county sports meet with Ogata without Kana and possibly also get her to break up with Ogata. But if she sent who she believed to be her harasser to hell, she’d be free to go. So, if she just didn’t quit and said there was nothing going on between her and the now-gone Yamane, or if she said she saw the error of her ways and broke up with him, then….she’d be fine to go.

None of this should have lead to her breaking up with Ogata either. She wouldn’t even talk to him about the photo. And if she did believe Yamane was responsible for all this, then breaking up with him wouldn’t be for his safety since Ogata’s the main target of Yamane’s ire.

How does Kana sending Yamane to hell even help her? She was already blackmailing him so he’s not much of a loose end to tie up. She literally says “If you’d sent Yamane to hell, my plan would have worked!” Uhm, how? Does sending him to hell make her quit the club? She already broke up with Ogata, isn’t that what you wanted? She probably would have quit after that anyway because being in the club with her ex around, especially when she didn’t want to break up with him, would’ve been too tough for her.

Now you might be wondering how Yukari got caught and how the target shifted from Yamane to her. Well, right as she was about to enter Yamane’s name into the system, Ogata called and told her that the person who sent him the photo was someone who knew of their relationship. What the picture showed and what was in the message are never seen, but Kana figures it out since Yukari is the only one who knew of their relationship.

Her motives were not only her own love of Ogata but because she had never liked Kana. She always hated her, in fact. Yukari found Kana annoying, especially when she made gestures like buying the same sneakers as her.

Her hell torture is okay but kinda boring. Basically, she watches the school staff watch a bunch of videos depicting her concocting her schemes and then a fake Kana who is crying blood asks her questions about why she did it. In the end, she’s lost to a sea of skulls.

After that, Kana is happily back with Ogata, but she’s now destined for hell herself.

This story was a big mixed bag. On one hand, I applaud them for realizing the predictability of the plot they set for themselves and trying to throw the reader off course, but on the other hand….they just went with the obvious culprit in the end anyway, so their efforts were pretty much ruined. I was actually about to eat some humble pie when Yamane came up. I was like “Yup, Twix, that’s what you get when you’re all cocky. You were wrong and an idiot.” But nope. I was right and a smart brain person.

Bonus Chapter: Tacking Stitches

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Returning to the anime for a tad, we have Ai’s backstory, which is being given in a different manner. The backstory is the same, but how it’s presented is different from the anime.

A girl named Rie has been dating a boy named, coincidentally enough, Sentarou Shibata, for a few years now. However, she’s recently spotted him getting friendly with another girl, so she called Hell Correspondence to get revenge.

Rie starts having second thoughts and tries to give the doll back to Ai, but they try to explain to Rie that hatred drives humans. Living in hatred is much harder, and she’s taking the easy way out by giving the doll back. To highlight this, they give Ai’s backstory in regards to Sentarou and the Seven Sending ritual.

Ai is so pissed off about this case, considering the boy’s name, that she actually tries to kill the boy herself in order to prod Rie to pull the string. Rie refuses, however. She explains that she was too hasty and wants to believe in Sentarou more so she can have a future with good memories with him. She also tells Ai that the past Sentarou probably liked her too.

Ai quits her assault and leaves. Sentarou explains that the girl was his club manager and they became close while discussing problems in the club. He apologizes and says he’ll never give her a reason to feel insecure again.

Meanwhile, Hone Onna tells Ai that Sentarou (the original) actually built a shrine in her honor. While Ai can’t say she’s forgiven him, she does say this with a smile on her face, kinda implying that she has.

While this is a sweet enough story, it’s also very lame in comparison to the anime version. I get that the anime had all that buildup with Hajime and Tsugumi that the manga didn’t have, but this version is still kinda lame. She slaughtered a whole village and lived out 400 years immersed in hatred, but one conversation with a girl who barely knows her situation telling her ‘I think Sentarou liked you too’ is enough to chill her out and have her make some modicum of peace with her past?

As for why Hajime and Tsugumi don’t appear in this manga at all (at least yet, they might be thrown in there in future installments.) it’s supposedly for a simple and kinda stupid reason – Eto thought it’d be too difficult to work in the long-running story of a man throughout this series when it’s in a Nakayoshi style. Nakayoshi is a popular monthly shoujo manga series, and considering she specifically pointed out that Hajime’s a man, I guess she means she couldn’t figure out how to tell a man’s story in shoujo style….Then just have it more focused on Tsugumi?

I get if she really thought she couldn’t make it work, though. That kinda begs the question as to WHY the manga is in such a shoujo-y fashion anyway. It’s a very depressing horror series – why choose a shoujo style for it?

Anyway, there is one more bonus chapter called Sakura Uta, but it’s mostly just Ai having a nice dream about Sentarou back in the good ol’ days. It’s kinda sweet.

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And that’s it for volume three! Surprisingly, none of the stories were reflected in the anime, barring the bonus chapters, and even those were just loosely based on the anime stories. The chapters we do have were, admittedly, lackluster. While I didn’t hate or even seriously dislike any of the entries, I can’t deny that most of them are just too silly or nonsensical. My favorites of the volume are probably Love Betrayed and The Cheat. Admittedly, Love Betrayed is similarly nonsensical, but I like how Ogata and Kana worked together to take down Yukari, and The Cheat was the best story out of the whole lot in regards to overall quality.

As for the one story they did mirror from the anime, like I said, it was cool to see the backstory itself in manga form, but the bookend story was just lame. At least the main conflict had a sweet resolution, but that’s about all I can say for it.

Next time….


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Higanjima (Manga) Volume 5 Review

Plot: Akira manages to free Atsushi from Miyabi’s mind control, and the group makes their escape. Most of them make their way across a rope bridge, but Atsushi chooses to stay behind for the sake of buying them time and getting his revenge on Miyabi. As he brandishes his sword, we learn why exactly Atsushi has such a personal vendetta against Miyabi.

Breakdown: Fresh off the heels of Atsushi being mind-controlled by the newly revealed main baddie, Miyabi, and Yuki supposedly being stabbed by him, this volume is actually more about backstory than anything.

I was relieved that the most badass person on the team wasn’t going to be a puppet of Miyabi for long, although I have mixed feelings about the backstory between the two.

Two years ago, Atsushi came to the island to get a marriage blessing from his beloved Ryouko’s parents. To do so, he had to present an offering in a shrine that the villagers were afraid of. It’s fine if you leave it alone, but Atsushi’s curiosity got the better of him and he couldn’t help but enter. There were legends of vampires surrounding the shrine, and Ryouko desperately wanted to turn back.

When Atsushi heard a voice asking for help, that wasn’t an option anymore. In a room in the back of the shrine was Miyabi who seemingly feigned being ill so Atsushi would let him out and unleash him upon the island once more.

He did, and everyone on the island paid for it. The reason Atsushi hasn’t escaped the island in the two years he’s been there, despite having commandeered a boat, is because he feels guilty for letting the vampire virus loose on the island. And the reason he has a personal vendetta against Miyabi runs deeper than infecting everyone with this virus.

Miyabi got to Ryouko and paralyzed Atsushi with a quick bite before biting her and brutally raping her right in front of him. She died as a result of being drained.

Even though the Ryouko backstory’s a bit cliché, I liked how this entire volume played out. We end on another cliffhanger in present time, even though I sincerely doubt Miyabi’s dead.

Atsushi continues to be a badass, and I commend the others, despite being incredibly weak and wounded, for trying to help Atsushi however they can from the other side of the bridge. They could’ve been gone and in that boat ten times over in the time they had, but they stayed to ensure Atsushi had a fighting chance.

Something I should note, though doesn’t really bump up the content rating too much since we’ve had graphic sexual content already, is the rape scene. Not only is it a rape scene, so of course the content rating rises here, but they do a ridiculous job trying to ‘censor’ Miyabi’s genitals. There is a closeup shot, right on, fully erect, details intact, and they think it’s censored just because it’s in silhouette.

I’m very intrigued for the next volume, and I’m especially looking forward to more Atsushi badassery. Miyabi is shaping up to be a decent antagonist, but I’d like to see more to him besides ‘he’s evil just because evil.’

Rating: 8/10


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Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon | Episode 6: The Cat Juan at the Old Temple Review

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Plot: Jyubei sends the trio off on a bounty mission to investigate the disappearances of some local villagers. On their way there, they nearly run over a girl who is being neglected by her mother since she cares more about her cats than her child.

When they investigate the village, they find that the girl’s mother isn’t the only one cat-crazy. Everyone is busy doting on the cats that are strewn about the village. Moroha and Setsuna are easily able to sniff out the scent of demon cats, but Towa’s untrained nose makes her unable to discern the problem until Moroha and Setsuna are mowing down the demon cats.

When a good amount of cats are defeated, the rest head to the mountain. Meanwhile, the villagers all snap out of their feline delusions, and the girl’s mother returns to caring for her daughter.

The three then head to the mountain where they find an old temple. Towa is baffled when the lone monk of the temple, Juan, looks very similar to Mei’s favorite idol, Julian, and believes he’s Julian’s ancestor. Juan doesn’t know anything about the demon cats, but Moroha and Setsuna sense the truth about the temple and reveal that it’s covered in them.

They lay a trap for the cats, which defeats a large group of them. After the attack, Juan reveals a story about the temple. Years ago, a priest had sealed away a demon underneath the floor, and they believe that demon might be attracting the cats.

Setsuna and Moroha go to investigate the bones while Towa stays inside with Juan.

The bones spring to life, revealing a giant demon cat, but no matter how many times they strike the cat down it manages to put itself back together.

Even though they hadn’t sensed a demonic presence in Juan before, it turns out that he’s been possessed by the main demon cat this entire time. The young and inexperienced monk performed a service for the demon to try to bring it some peace in the afterlife, and that was enough to allow its spirit to come forward.

Setsuna wants to strike down Juan to end all of this, but Towa refuses since Juan is still alive and human.

Myoga reveals that, if Towa can absorb the demon energy, she can slay the cat demon without killing Juan, citing that Inuyasha had a similar power in his tetsusaiga.

Resolute in her drive to help people and to not die until she has restored Setsuna’s dreams, memories and ability to sleep, Towa suddenly reveals a new power which allows her to bind the enemy and absorb its energy. She’s able to slay the demon cat without killing Juan.

Breakdown: If it looks like filler, sounds like filler and smells like filler, chances are it’s filler.

I think it’s safe to say this is our first real filler episode of Yashahime. Boring, forgettable villain (who doesn’t even get a name) really generic conflict (villagers are going missing) and the same song and dance for every other meaningful moment (Setsuna is annoyed by Towa because she doesn’t want to kill people and is overly sympathetic, but Setsuna warms up to her a little more BECAUSE she’s so sympathetic. Etc.)

Really, the only thing that might disqualify this as being filler is the fact that Towa gets a new ability in it, which….I have a few problems with.

First, I’m getting just a tiny bit concerned over Towa’s power progression. As it stands, the crew already has a myriad of abilities, and Towa just got a new ability a couple episodes ago, but now she also has the ability to ‘shoot’ her sword at enemies, bind them and this allows her to absorb demon energy and kill demons possessing people without killing the person.

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Second, Myoga pops up just to say that Inuyasha had a special ability to absorb demon power with his tetsusaiga….which yeah, in its Dragon Scale form, sure, but—shit, I just remembered the Dragon Scale form. The tetsusaiga has way too many forms. It’s like it’s trying to give Goku a run for his money.

Is THAT why the girls all seem to have dragon powers? That make so little sense, but that is literally the only dragon connection I remember either Inuyasha or Sesshomaru having. However, as Moroha pointed out, why bother saying that if they don’t have the tetsusaiga? And Myoga has absolutely no answer. It’s just ‘Inuyasha could do this…so…I guess Towa can too.’

Towa just suddenly has the ability to absorb demon energy, and uses this to literally bind the cat demon and slay it.

But that just begs the question, if Towa does have some sort of tetsusaiga powers….how does she have those powers? She’s not Inuyasha’s kid. Sesshomaru never had the tetsusaiga. That was kinda his shtick. I mean, I guess it kinda makes some degree of sense because the tetsusaiga was a sword forged of Inutaisho and it was meant to protect humans, and Towa triggered this power by wanting to save Juan. Maybe Sesshomaru, now committed to Rin, was able to forge a sort of tetsusaiga-esque sword of his own fang, but it’s trapped within Towa’s silver pearl and she was able to channel the ability through her energy sword?

I dunno. I feel like I’m grasping at straws.

A few final notes, though – What was the deal with the Juan/Julian thing? We’ve never heard of Julian before now, and this guy seems like a one-off character. It’s not like when Kagome happened upon Hojo’s ancestor. Hojo was an established character, even if he never mattered to the plot, so seeing his ancestor had at least a little meaning. This dude is just…some idol’s ancestor. Julian isn’t even Towa’s favorite idol – he’s Mei’s, so this is even more pointless.

I find it funny that Towa has wireless earbuds but an old iPod. Also, I guess we haven’t reached the point where Towa’s scared of people finding her modern era stuff considering she’s riding around the countryside on her bike, gives a small child junk food and keeps telling Juan that he’s Julian’s ancestor….

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You keep being you, Moroha.

Towa asks Moroha why she’s collecting all this money, but Moroha doesn’t answer her.

It is a nice little detail that Towa doesn’t have such an acute sense of smell like Setsuna and Moroha – or, more to the point, that she hasn’t trained it at all. It’s true. While some of her demon powers may have manifested in the modern era because of all her fighting, she had no real need for a super sense of smell.

The cat demon they fight here was a manga-exclusive character Inuyasha and the others fought once upon a time.

Other than that, filler filler filler. It wasn’t bad filler, but it was fillery filler.

Next episode, if the promo picture is any indication, we’re going to be introduced to another member of the cast, a ‘pirate’ named Riku.


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels Episode 13 – Six-Scripted Lanterns Review

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Plot: As the festival of the Six-Scripted Lanterns arrives, Yuzuki tries her best to forget about Hell Girl. However, she can’t hold herself back for long when she realizes that the latest client she saw in her visions happens to be Akie’s private tutor. She has a grudge against Akie’s father, a police chief, for seemingly abusing his power to screw over a case involving the assault of her father, who has spent several years in a vegetative state as a result of the assault. She has her doll in hand and is more than ready to use it, but she wants him to suffer first…

Breakdown: Oh my god, guys. PLOT! And Yuzuki DOING THINGS…..KINDA.

This episode is mostly Akie’s with Yuzuki just sorta hanging around again. Truth be told, even though Akie has been in nearly every instance that Yuzuki has shown up so far, I really don’t care that much about Akie. I mean, she has more personality than Yuzuki and she’s a little more likable, but that’s not saying much.

The client this time around is a complete idiot. And as a bonus she’s also decided to take on the role of the supervillain-y antagonist. Azusa’s father got in a fight with a drunk. The drunk guy hit her father and he fell over. He received a brain injury which caused him to slip into a vegetative state. The drunk happened to be the son of the head of a very powerful family, so he made it seem like the fight never happened and the accident was entirely Azusa’s father’s fault. Later, the son fled to America.

She tried to go to the police, but the police chief, Akie’s father, told his subordinate to make it seem like nothing happened. The investigation never came to be. As a result, she developed an intense grudge against the chief and called Hell Girl on him. However, she wants him to suffer before she pulls the string on him.

She somehow secretly gets hired as Akie’s private tutor and becomes very close to her (Again, some inappropriate behavior for an adult with a young teenager. What’s with this season?) After telling her story, she convinces Akie to move in with her (in the mansion Akie’s dad is ‘borrowing’? I don’t understand rich people.)

The Six-Scripted Lanterns festival is approaching around this time. During the Six-Scripted Lanterns festival, you’re meant to write down something you want to forget on a piece of paper, attach it to a lantern, put in some of your hair and send the lantern down the river to hopefully have your bad memory (or sin) discarded to hell. Coincidentally, the gates to hell do open briefly during this event, and Yuzuki stumbles upon the gateway. Seeing the silhouette of someone who looks oddly like herself beyond the gate, she tries to walk through, but the nurse from several episodes ago stops her, telling her that, if she goes beyond the gate, she will never return.

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We basically get confirmation that this is indeed Tsugumi when Yuzuki refers to her as Shibata-sensei, but other than giving her the warning Tsugumi doesn’t do anything in this episode.

Before she wandered to the gate, Yuzuki had put “Jigoku Shoujo” on her lantern and sent it down, but that obviously won’t work. Also, Akie tried to put “father” on her lantern, but she ultimately decided against it, blew out the candle on it and ran off.

I really don’t understand why Akie isn’t even trying to talk with her dad about this. She has absolutely no proof that her father did what Azusa is accusing him of, other than Azusa’s word, yet she dropped out of high school (I don’t really understand why she did that.) and moved out immediately after being told this story without giving a word of explanation to him as to why. She also nearly symbolically disowned her father entirely.

I should point out that she and her father had a very good relationship before this all went down. She definitely should have trusted him enough to at least bring up what was going on. But nope. The plot said we not only have to have Akie pick out her own tutor and never have her meet with Akie’s dad, so he wouldn’t recognize her as soon as he met her, but we also have to have her not discuss the reasons behind her moving out or turning her back on her father in the slightest. How do you expect us to fill twenty minutes?

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Her not talking to her father about Azusa’s situation is even worse than that because we as an audience never hear his side of the story. The only version of the story that we hear is Azusa’s. Maybe she’s delusional. Maybe this is a conspiracy theory. Maybe she’s just straight up lying. Maybe she’s mistaken. Who knows? It IS kinda weird that she somehow knows that the chief specifically told one of his subordinates to cover this up, to the point where she can quote him about it. Either way, her situation is sad, but she’s objectively a terrible person, as we’ll soon see.

When Akie comes back home during the festival, we get some more uncomfortable flirting, which leads to Azusa telling Akie that she should shower. I would say ‘Don’t worry. She’s not telling her that to prep her for sex’ but it seems kinda silly to focus on that once I explain why she actually told her to take a shower….

As Akie showers, Azusa calls some skeevy guy over and allows him into the shower to rape Akie. See? Terrible person. While this is going down, Azusa calls Akie’s father to taunt him about it, believing he’ll certainly be too late to stop it. However, Yuzuki….somehow knew Azusa was going to do something bad so she called Akie’s dad and rushed over to the mansion, catching them seemingly before the rape could happen, but considering how long he was in there I can assume she was definitely molested in other ways.

Realizing her plans were ruined, she makes a break for her straw doll, but Yuzuki wrestles it away from her and Azusa finally flees. Akie’s dad was going to pursue her, but Akie stopped him for some reason. I guess I won’t ding her much for this because she’s clearly traumatized, but dude, call for some other officers to find her. She just tried to have your daughter raped!

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Why is she smiling in this shot?

Akie is collapsed on the floor in tears, so Yuzuki thinks it best to leave for now. She wanders down the river when Ai’s spirit suddenly shoots into her. Ai emerges from Yuzuki’s body now with a new body of her own…..Okie….Dokie. At least we’re finally free of that magical girl transformation sequence.

Mysteriously, Ai says only “The rest is up to you…” before walking away from Yuzuki. She wonders what that could mean when the straw doll suddenly vanishes from her hands. She rushes back to Akie’s place where Akie is seemingly all better now? Dressed, happy to see Yuzuki and not a tear in her eye…..Okie….Dokie. They run to each other calling out their names and reaching for each other like the ending of a cheesy romance movie when Akie suddenly vanishes.

From the shadows, Azusa smirks with a red string hanging from her finger….

We’re spared a hell torture, but Yuzuki’s eyes flash red as she silently screams out Akie’s name in the rain.

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Okay, I’m going to try to explain what happened. So, here’s something I never considered before. It’s quite possible that Azusa changed her target. That would explain why the doll vanished from Yuzuki’s hand. I don’t think I’ve ever wondered how you would ‘fix’ it if you knew you chose the wrong target. Like, if you blamed someone for something happening but you later found out someone else was responsible. If you found that out before you pulled the string, I guess you can contact Ai again and get a different doll for the new target.

It’s either that or she was targeting Akie all along and the doll just returned to her somehow. I’m not very convinced this was the case though since the doll has never returned to anyone before, barring one or two occasions where Ai interfered, but she has no reason to do that here. I think she changed her target to Akie as a way of making Akie’s dad suffer since her plans to have her raped went bad. She was probably just planning to have her raped, let the dad stew for a bit and then she’d pull the string on him, but she changed her mind when the attempt was unsuccessful. Now Akie’s dad has to live the rest of his life mourning the loss of his daughter, which is a hell in itself.

It’s also possible that she did that to punish Yuzuki too since she was the reason her plans were foiled.

Nonetheless, they certainly provided enough proof that Azusa is a shitty and stupid human being.

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It was stupid enough for her to focus her rage on the police chief when it’s far more logical to target either the drunkard or his father, but the way we had to trickle down to Akie is more stupid than I can convey in words. Even when it came to the worst targets and the shittiest clients, they typically never considered sending someone to hell just to make someone else suffer – mostly because that’s not how Hell Girl works.

You’re only supposed to be able to input the name of the person you deem as causing you the most suffering – the person your vendetta is actually against. She shouldn’t be able to target Akie for revenge because, out of everyone involved in this story, Akie did the least to her. Hell, in the end she helped her by telling her dad to not pursue her. She had more reason to input Yuzuki’s name than she did Akie’s.

I believe it would have been the most logical to kill the drunkard. Not only is he the cause of all of this and a main target of Azusa’s anger, but sending him to hell would make his father suffer because he’d mourn his son’s death.

That still leaves the police chief, but the main people who were responsible for the suffering of her and her father would be taken care of.

Yet somehow we had to take the most convoluted and nonsensical paths possible to end up at Akie being the target.

And all for what? Just so Yuzuki would have the drive to actually get off her ass and do something about these Hell Girl visions instead of being a background prop the whole time.

Akie got fridged. Let’s just admit that. She needed to die, specifically via Hell Girl, in order for the “””””””””Hero”””””””””” to become driven enough to actually start being an active participant in the story. The writers just couldn’t come up with a decent way for someone to realistically target Akie directly, so they went to the hoop store and did some jumping.

When you really think about it, Akie would have been a better Ai replacement than Yuzuki. She has a little more personality, is a little more likable, has a more interesting background (that we’ve been made aware of, anyway) and this could have set up something for her easily. For example, say everything went nearly the same, maybe cleaning up some of the lazier and stupid aspects, but everything in the story goes roughly the same. Azusa sends Yuzuki to hell for ruining her plans and that’s the last mental straw for Akie to take at this point. It would still be fridging, technically, but it’d make more sense, and I’d rather lose Yuzuki than Akie, though it’s kinda hard to give a crap about either of them.

The very end of the episode has Yuzuki passing by a woman on the street and hearing bells. She informs us that a new pain was only just starting. Considering this was the mid-season finale, I get that.

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So…..that was a big stinky mess.

The only good things that came out of this episode are Ai getting her body back and the confirmation that the nurse from before was Tsugumi. Everything else is just a big tangled ball of plot contrivance and stupidity. Oh well, at least things are starting to happen in the main plot now. Here’s hoping Yuzuki becomes interesting in future episodes.

Rating: 2/10

Next episode….


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Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon Episode 5 – Jakotsumaru of the Red Bone Palace Review (Spoilers!)

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Plot: Moroha has split off from Towa and Setsuna to do more bounty hunting since she has a debt to pay off. She’s told by a corpse dealer, Jyubei, to retrieve the head of a demon she slayed previously named Tokotsu. She had only brought back his headless body before, and he’s currently being brought back to life by his son, Jakotsumaru, by stealing the bones of people and animals from the nearby villages and feeding them to his skull.

With the promise of a bag of gold for her troubles, Moroha heads off to slay the beast and his son.

Meanwhile, Towa and Setsuna get information on the location of the Dream Butterfly, but Setsuna is more interested in demon slaying missions. Coincidentally enough, the closest mission is investigating the boneless corpses of the villagers, which of course leads them back to Moroha to face Tokotsu.

Tokotsu happens to be one of four beasts – referring to themselves as the Four Perils—under the command of Kirinmaru, much to Setsuna’s annoyance because it means they might be accidentally walking a path that will eventually lead them to fulfilling the wishes of the Tree of Ages. They explain Kirinmaru’s plans to Myoga, but he is perplexed because he knows Kirinmaru as a being who would never do something so treacherous as destroying the fabric of space and time.

Moroha also reveals that she didn’t slay Tokotsu. She has no memory of the battle and suddenly woke up in front of Tokotsu’s headless body. She took the red rainbow pearl in his armor for herself and brought the body to the corpse dealer for a bag of silver. She has no idea who actually killed Tokotsu.

Nonetheless, she faces off against Jakotsumaru and Tokotsu once more, and Tokotsu asserts that Moroha is indeed the one who killed him. Towa wants her to apologize and return the money she got for his corpse, but Moroha refuses as a matter of pride and blazing her own path in life.

She battles against them for a while, and then decides to use her secret weapon. Applying a special rouge, she is able to gain the memories of Inutaisho as well as a massive increase in demonic power. She calls this form Beniyasha. She’s able to slay Jakotsumaru easily and even badly wounds Tokotsu, but she suddenly passes out, having run out of energy. She’ll be out cold for at least 24 hours.

Setsuna and Towa pick up the slack and slay Tokotsu once and for all. The bodies of the demons are atomized, however, meaning no bounty for poor Moroha.

Breakdown: Okay, I guess I’ll concede a bit here. Unlike what I thought in the previous episode, they didn’t go down the episodic route yet. Things were definitely happening, almost to the point of exposition-dump-y levels.

First and foremost, I called it – they confirmed that Setsuna and Moroha were only in the modern era for a few days. But somehow Setsuna became a skilled violinist in that time.

Secondly, somehow, Setsuna and Towa haven’t connected the dots that they’re technically cousins with Moroha? Or if they have, they haven’t acknowledged it.

Third, Towa’s a bit too naive here, to the point where she’s almost kinda stupid. She’s seriously like “Apologize to him” and acting like they shouldn’t slay these demons when she saw firsthand that he’s been ripping the skeletons out of living beings to feed them to his father. By the way, thanks for the imagery of a bunch of dogs having their skeletons ripped out through their mouths. I wasn’t aware an Inuyasha sequel would bring me nightmare fuel. The scenes with the bandits getting their bones ripped out was also horrific, but those poor dogs….

Back to the point at hand, she actually views it like THEY’RE the bad guys in this situation and hesitates in both fighting and slaying them as a result. She even laments Jakotsumaru’s death. I get that she’s not nearly as battle hardened as Setsuna or Moroha, it’s to be expected that she’d be more put off by killing, but these are killer demons who are also currently trying to kill them.

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It could be argued that Tokotsu didn’t do anything to warrant being killed the first time, that we know of anyway, but that’s about it. I don’t think there’d be a bounty on his head if he hadn’t been doing something bad in the first place anyway. Remember, he’s a bone-eating demon. I can assume he’s habitually eaten people. Towa has to be convinced by Setsuna that their crimes are nothing compared to those of Tokotsu and Jakotsumaru, which…duh.

Even Kagome had no real qualms about demons being killed when she first arrived in the feudal era. And, remember, it’s not like Towa is averse to violence. Her whole backstory is nothing but fighting people.

This episode is fairly Moroha-centric, which means we finally get more of her story. She’s apparently in deep debt to Jyubei for some reason and is using her bounties to pay it off. She also knows Myoga – and, yes, he’s here, which just adds even more questions.

Myoga’s a great big exposition dump in this episode, like he has a tendency to be. He explains all about the Four Perils, how Moroha has demon powers from Inuyasha and spiritual powers from Kagome, he also explains the deal behind Moroha’s rouge, which was brought up in episode one but never really explained or shown until now.

Apparently, somehow, Moroha not only has, out of all of his descendants, blood tasting the most similar to Inutaisho’s despite being only a quarter demon, but she has rouge which originally belonged to Izayoi, Inuyasha’s human mother. Inutaisho gave it to Izayoi as a present and it somehow made its way to Moroha. When applied, the rouge allows her to channel the memories or powers or something from Inutaisho, giving her a huge boost in strength (and allows her to use a couple of familiar abilities – Iron-Reaver Soul-Stealer and Blades of Blood) She names this form Beniyasha, and it’s implied that she was Beniyasha when she defeated Tokotsu the first time, but doesn’t remember it because the form only lasts less than a minute before she’s wiped out, falls unconscious and doesn’t awaken for 24 hours.

This is fine and dandy and all, it gives her a way of boosting her strength a little more considering she’s a quarter-demon, though her unique ability to use spiritual powers and demon power was already enough in my opinion, but…where the hell did she get that rouge? And why does it suddenly have powers?

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I definitely remember the rouge. Inuyasha gave it to Kikyo, if I’m not mistaken. But he obviously didn’t have it after the fact (I’d be shocked if Kaede kept it for 50 years and, for some reason, gave it back to Inuyasha.) and, like I said, it didn’t have powers. So either the rouge just doesn’t affect humans and Kikyo didn’t sense anything about it or they bullshitted this out of thin air. Not even Expositionyoga explains why the rouge gives her powers – he just explains that it was a gift from Inutaisho to Izayoi.

Also, uhm, can we talk about the faux pas Inuyasha seemingly pulled here by giving a gift he gave to his late lover to his daughter born of another woman? ….Yikes.

SUPER LATE STAGE EDIT: Holy. Shit. I just remembered something. Didn’t Naraku destroy the rouge Inuyasha gave to Kikyo? Did Inuyasha have more than one of those things or are they being super sloppy with their continuity?

How did Myoga go this whole episode without explaining where Kagome and Inuyasha were? And why does Moroha neither seem to know nor care about any of the information that she does obtain about them?

We also learn that Tokotsu had the red rainbow pearl and Moroha just snatched it very shortly before she was brought to the modern era….*shrug* Why did Tokotsu have it in the first place?

I just kinda assumed Moroha got it from Inuyasha somehow or she was born with it, like Setsuna and Towa had theirs in their eyes. But nope. She’s just a thief who stumbled upon it.

They still haven’t really explained what the rainbow pearls even are or if there are more than three. I get that they’re jewels infused with great power, but that’s about it.

A final note we have to add about this episode is the totally random brief Miroku cameo. I say ‘cameo’ but he never really appeared. When talking to Towa about needing to kill demons like Tokotsu, she muttered “On meeting an arhat, slay the arhat; On meeting your parents, slay your parents. Know that the light to your path lies there.” She heard that mantra from a traveling monk and we cut to a shot of Miroku, though his face is obscured because they’re just doing that with old characters for some reason.

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If that occurred any time recently, he seemingly looks absolutely no different than he looked 15 years ago. Maybe it’s also excusable for him because I would assume monks just wear the same robes throughout adulthood, and I never saw his face so maybe he’s a bit more aged there, but still. It was nice to see him, and it’s good to know he’s alive, even though he’s kinda low on my list of must-see characters at the moment, but it was really random to drop him in there like that.

Why is he traveling now? Wasn’t he doing his demon-slaying for cash with Inuyasha? Where is Sango, for that matter? Even though her kids have all grown up, she seems to have given up demon slaying entirely if she gave her hiraikotsu to Hisui. It doesn’t seem like she lives in the village anymore. Either she’s off traveling with Miroku and she just wasn’t present when Miroku told Setsuna that or something’s wrong.

Also, WHY did Miroku tell Setsuna that, and did he know who she was when he said that? What a screwed up thing to say. ‘Go on, kill arhats and your parents. That’s how you get on the right path in life.’ Like, whaaaaa?

EDIT: I just now realized that this implies that Setsuna has never formally met Miroku, which is weird because she works alongside Kohaku and Hisui, one of which being Miroku’s brother-in-law and the other being his son. That has a lot of worrisome implications.

Oh and as a final-final note, we’re also introduced to Takechiyo, who is basically like if you merged Hachi with Shippo – he can be used for transportation by changing into a bigger floating form of himself, and he’s a tiny demon kid used for comic relief.

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Hm….I wonder if we’ll see an adult Shippo in this series sometime. Maybe not because I don’t exactly know how aging works with demons, but it’d be cool to see him all grown up. It’d be nice to know where he is, too.

All in all, this was a good episode for more establishment, and it had some really great moments with Moroha (I cheered when she did the Iron-Reaver and Blades of Blood), and I love how Setsuna’s warming up to Moroha more than she is to Towa, even calling the former her friend. It allows us to see that Setsuna is reasonable and can be friendly and sweet, but she just gets annoyed by Towa for a variety of reasons.

I didn’t much care for how easily Jakotsumaru and Tokotsu were defeated, considering Tokotsu is seemingly one of the highest ranked demons under the command of Kirinmaru. If they defeated this Peril so easily (and, remember, Moroha killed Tokotsu once before entirely on her own – she also defeated Jakotsumaru purely with an Iron-Reaver…) then the tension in the series is going to wane.

Next time, CATS!


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Pokemon Extravaganza | Movie 10 (Dub) The Rise of Darkrai Review

Rating: 8/10

Plot: Ash, Dawn and Brock arrive in Alamos Town – the location of Dawn’s next contest. Along the way, they meet the balloonist/musician, Alice, and her childhood friend, Tonio, who studies energy abnormalities. As they get a tour of the local gardens, they meet Darkrai, a powerful Pokemon who induces nightmares. He seems to be terrorizing the area, but they don’t know what he wants.

Little do they know that a fierce battle between two deity Pokemon, the master of space, Palkia, and the master of time, Dialga, has started in a dimensional rift. When these two massive powers clash, it’s only a matter of time before reality as they know it starts to fall apart.

Breakdown: Now we’re at an interesting point, because I have no clue what this movie is about – and I’ve read the synopsis several times. I definitely never got into the Diamond/Pearl era of Pokemon. I watched an episode or two here and there, but I never followed along. Thing is, I also wasn’t into watching the tail end of Advanced Generation, but I feel like I knew much more about that movie going in than I knew about this one. Maybe it was the Super Saiyan Ash thing.

It’s so odd. I always remember people mentioning little things here and there, either very good or very bad, about each movie that I hadn’t seen yet, maybe even seen an AMV or two about it, but this one I’m drawing a blank on, which is weird because this is the tenth anniversary movie.

From what I read on Dogasu’s comparison, this movie comes out as a cluster of bits and pieces of each movie so far.

Dogasu: “With this particular movie, we get an epic battle between two Pokemon (Deoxys vs. Rayquaza) in an alternate universe ruled by the Unown (Entei) who can only be stopped by a song (Lugia), a fact relayed to us by a number of flashbacks dispersed throughout the movie (Lucario). Oh, and I can’t forget about the three trainers who only exist to show off the starters’ evolved forms (Myuutwo), a forced romance that really doesn’t play out until the end (Jirachi), Pokemon-to-human transformation (Latios and Latias), and an ending that requires Satoshi to solve some puzzle in order to save the day (Manaphy).

I’m sure some of that is meant to be a sort of “homage” to the franchise’s ten-year history, but at the same time it just feels really lazy.”

I’d have to agree that it sounds lazy, particularly the ‘quelling the fighting with a song’ thing. Even before I read the comparison, I was getting flashbacks to movie 02.

Maybe the reason I’ve never seen or heard much about this movie is based in its perceived laziness. Perhaps it’s just uninspired. It can’t be because Darkrai is unpopular, because, despite my thinking that it’s a blah designed forgettable legendary, apparently it’s a surprisingly popular legendary to others. As of 2016, in a Pokemon popularity poll held by The Pokemon Company in Japan, it held the 14th rank – a rank above Lu-freakin’cario! Are you kidding me? Am I not getting something?

Maybe I’ll get it after watching the movie.

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We start out the movie with a game changer – The World of Pokemon opener! This is a new one, showcasing every legendary and main focus movie Pokemon we’ve ever seen interacting with each other in succession, which is really cool.

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When we get to Ash and the others, they even show a mashup of the previous nine movies behind them as they walk, which is also a cool nod to the anniversary.

Then we’re suddenly thrust into a space/time rift where we see Palkia and Dialga facing off. I never much cared for Palkia, but I really like Dialga. Something about Palkia’s design always put me off. That being said, Palkia’s cry sounds kickass. It’s robotic yet whale-like. It’s hard to describe, but it’s awesome.

Narration tells us that these powers who were never meant to meet suddenly met in the space/time rift, and they have to fight because….I dunno. The plot said so? At least with the Rayquaza/Deoxys match we could justify it for a bit with Deoxys muscling through Rayquaza’s territory. Here it’s basically ‘We were never meant to meet, so come at me, bro!’

You’d think the powers of time and space would work together in harmony.

Actually, this is more like the battle between the legendary birds in movie 02. They had a reason to fight too, but it was more petty than Rayquaza protecting its territory – they all wanted to rule over the elemental islands for some reason. Out of harmony, destruction would be imminent and a third-party Pokemon would damn near die trying to stop them…..Geez, this movie really has a thing for movie 02.

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The narrator is a scientist named Tonio reading out of a diary owned by someone named ‘Godey’. It’s talking about how the battle between Palkia and Dialga is enveloping the world and will drag it into chaos.

They have a cool battle for a while, scattering around randomly placed Unown for some reason. Unown, sweeties, I know you’re meant to be part of this tenth movie homage thing they have going but….go home. No one likes you. You have an unappealing design, no one wants you on their team, no one wants to hunt your whole collection, your completionist shiny hunt is a nightmare and you make me crave Alphabits.

Palkia’s shoulder….gem…thing gets cracked and the awesome battle continues. Symbolic breaking of an hourglass, ahoy!

We get our pretty nice, but kinda underwhelming, title sequence, which means–!

*drumroll*

Ash and friends!

For once in a very long time, we actually get a timeline confirmation…I think. The narrator explains that they’re traveling to Alamos town for Dawn’s next Pokemon contest, which is a nice breath of fresh air from constantly hearing ‘Ash’s next Gym battle’

They seemingly arrive at Alamos town only to find that it’s on a plateau with no other access besides a bridge that is on an entirely different path much higher up.

I really can’t get used to Brock’s new voice. It’s so deep. I’m gonna just pretend he went through late-onset ultra puberty.

A young lady named Alice, whose hair makes me think of if Pikachu’s ears and Bunneary’s ears had a baby and it somehow was made entirely out of hair, offers them a ride in her hot air balloon.

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Also, apparently Brock now has a ‘little blue book of babes.’ He’s officially a complete sleezeball now. Before, his girl-lust quirk was annoying but kinda funny sometimes. Now, he’s just creepy. He’s disappointed that he doesn’t have Alice written down in it but…how could he? He just met her.

Ah, yes, I heard about Croagunk taking the role of Brock’s new ‘ear-puller’ by…poisoning him? Okay. RIP Brock.

Alice states that she’s a hot air balloon tour guide and a music teacher. She plays a leaf whistle for a bit, and it draws all sorts of bird Pokemon their way, including a random Pidgeotto. Be still my broken heart….

Also, this Pidgeotto sounds weird….But that doesn’t matter because it’s Pidgeotto.

This ability even has a role in her ballooning because she can use the flute to ask the bird Pokemon which way the wind is blowing. Neat……Isn’t that kinda obvious in a hot air balloon, though?

Team Rocket’s following them….in a Carnivine balloon? Is this just for this movie, or did they ditch the Meowth balloon? If so, aw. 😦

They don’t stick around long, though, because they’re quickly blasted off after pissing off some nearby Drifloom and Driflim. Don’t worry, Team Rocket, I’m sure you’ll be movie-relevant again someday.

As they fly over the city, they notice two intricately designed towers called the Space-Time towers. Using his trusty Field Guide of Everything I Guess, Brock explains that the Space-Time towers were designed by the architect, Godey, over 100 years ago. That’s also where the Pokemon Contests are held.

Ash: “A hundred years!? That’s like ten years times….”

Dawn: “Times ten.”

Ash: “Right.”

We interrupt our broadcast to clumsily shoehorn in a mention of the words ‘ten years’ so we can kinda poke at the fact that this is our tenth anniversary movie. Sources claim they don’t care whether this line seems stilted and out of place. Back to our program.

Also, watch it when drawing attention to how long this show’s been going. People will start to ask why Ash isn’t 20 years old by this point (Aw, hell, that means he should be thirty now. This is just depressing me.)

Brock continues to explain that the tower on the right represents time while the left represents space….even though they just barely look a little different.

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Ash: “Hey, I coulda told ya that!” ….How?

They suddenly feel a surge of distortion, which is caused by Palkia and Dialga’s fighting. As quickly as it started, it suddenly stops.

As Alice gives Ash and co. the tour of the town, we get our opening credits and theme song. The song is not the typical extended TV theme we usually get, but is instead a song called “We Will be Heroes – The Rise of Darkrai” which has to be one of the clunkiest song names I’ve heard in a while. You might as well call it “We’re Protagonists So We’ll Save the Day – Pokemon the Tenth Movie: Buy the DVD”

The song itself is just alright, but it is fully destroyed by the background vocals. For some reason, they found it to be a good idea to have this relatively low-key song be interrupted every five seconds by a group of people yelling “POKEMON” (Pronounced “Pokeymon” here) and “DARKRAI” The Pokemon part I’ve just accepted by now because they jam that word into everything, but the Darkrai part could not feel more forced if you tried.

To emulate the same level of awkwardness, try imagining any song in your head and, in five second intervals, yell out a random name like ‘KEVIN!’

They wander around for a bit when Ash suddenly bumps into three trainers who challenge him to a match. Another Pokemon movie trope successfully checkmark’d.

This isn’t the usual trope, however, because, get this, Brock and Dawn are also being challenged. The writers remembered they exist! Yay!

Of course, Ash uses Pikachu against a Torterra. I’m not sure this was meant to be part of the homage, but the battle seriously reminds me of the Pikachu vs. Quagsire match in the opening battle of movie 03. The way it’s choreographed is strikingly similar.

Dawn’s Piplup goes up against an Empoleon by…holding its breath?….Okie dokie.

Finally, Brock’s Croagunk battles an Infernape.

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Thus we have the three trainers who exist solely to show off the evo’d starters for the region.

Dawn’s battle is actually pretty good. I love that spinning water move Piplup used (the first one), and there’s quite a bit of action for an opener battle. Sadly, however, the song soon ends and the battles end off-screen. The most we got to see was 2/3 of Dawn’s match, which seemed stalemated.

After the song ends, we just cut to them continuing their tour. Alice brings them all to a garden, also designed by Godey, which, according to Brock’s Field Guide of Wow, Really? It Has Info on This Too?, was modeled to symbolize the harmony between humans and Pokemon. Alice grew up here and knows all of the Pokemon, and this prompts Ash, Dawn and Brock to let out all of their Pokemon for some fresh air. Whatever gives you screentime, guys.

Time for pointless dicking around! Is this the real homage to the Manaphy movie?

I sure am being mean to Pokemon today.

The Pokemon all start fighting after some accidental shenanigans.

A face-off between two groups of pissed off Pokemon, two of whom are smashing their faces into each other? Are we homaging the shorts now too? Because that’s very similar to Pikachu’s Summer Vacation.

Alice plays her leaf flute to calm the Pokemon, and I really wish they just had a regular flute because the leaf flute kinda sounds like crap. Sounds like someone’s playing a Casio through a garbage bag.

And everyone got along again, hooray!

Side-note: I love Ash’s backpack for DP. I wish I had that backpack.

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A Gallade directs Alice and the others to some pillars in the garden that have been toppled and warped. A man named Baron Alberto, whose name, voice, characteristics and character design are all ridiculous, claims it was the work of Darkrai. He must’ve been Beetlejuice-summoned thanks to the theme song.

Brock explains that Darkrai is a Pokemon who supposedly gives you nightmares.

They believe they hear Darkrai in some bushes, so Alberto sics his….Lickylicky on it….Dear God, even his tastes in Pokemon are ridiculous. No one can not sound like an idiot when commanding a Lickylicky. Even its voice is stupid.

He blindly Hyper Beams the bush only to reveal it was actually Tonio and his Driflim. Tonio was investigating a space/time fluctuation in the area that lead him to the warped pillars.

Warning – Warning: Insanely clearly defined pointless love triangle detected.

Targets – Tonio, Alberto and Alice.

Prediction: Tonio and Alice get together while Alberto is consistently an idiot throughout the movie.

Suggested Action – Ignore it. It probably doesn’t impact the plot.

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Meanwhile, back in Badass Battle Land, Palkia and Dialga cause another rift, which triggers darkness to fall in the garden and Darkrai to appear.

Tonio: “It’s Darkrai.”

Alberto: *smirk* “I’d say so.”

What?….Also, I hate your face.

*sigh* Am I seriously the only one who thinks Darkrai just looks like an uninspired shadowy ghost with an emo kid haircut?

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Alberto tries to attack Darkrai with Lickylicky, but he turns into a shadow and dodges. Darkrai uses a Dark Void orb, which hits Ash. Pikachu friggin’ screams when this happens, which surprised me because he didn’t even do that when Ash got petrified in the first movie.

Ash is transported to some dream version of the garden. We get some kinda neat visuals with Darkrai’s shadow until he shows us an icky CGI rendition of Palkia. Ash tries to battle Darkrai and throws out Turtwig’s Pokeball only to have it disintegrate when it’s thrown. Darkrai starts to vanish underground. Ash spots Pikachu in the foreground and calls o—Uh, dude? Your Turtwig was straight up vaporized. Have an emotional response to this, please.

Dreamachu gets sucked into a hole that Darkrai’s creating, and Ash rushes to save him only to get swept up in the hole as well. Oh yeah, Turtwig reduced to atoms, barely notice. Pikachu’s about to fall in a hole—OH GOD, I’LL SAVE YOU!

Pikachu wakes him up from the nightmare with a shock and he finds himself in the local…Pokemon center? Take him to a human doctor, dammit! Why are there more Pokemon centers in this world than doctor’s offices? How freaked out would you be if you passed out and woke up in a vet’s office?

Ew, Joy’s new voice. Ew….She sounds like Jynx.

Tonio does some investigating and we learn the story of Alice’s grandmother, Alicia, who looks nearly identical to Alice except her hair is in one puff while Alice’s is in two.

In a nice sepia-toned flashback, we learn that Darkrai was in the garden many years ago. It was sending the nearby Pokemon into nightmares as a form of self-defense because it was very weak. It was about to do the same to Alicia, but she placed her hand on Darkrai and started playing a song on her leaf flute. Darkrai opened its heart to Alicia and lived peacefully in the garden after that.

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Reading further into the diary of Godey, he learns that Godey learned all he needed to know about a future event from a nightmare. In order to save the world, he needed to leave oracion.

Meanwhile, Alberto’s meeting with Team Rocket, who are disguised as TV reporters. Nothing happens, but in the past ten years Team Rocket has somehow gotten even worse at coming up with cover names. Jessalina, Jameson and….Meowt? I can’t understand Meowth very well when he’s saying his, but that’s what it sounds like.

Ash and the others go into the tower to check out the contest hall and, geez, that place is way too nice to just be held for a contest hall. There’s also a huge, intricately detailed, carved Pokemon mural on the wall. The space tower holds a cool looking mobile while the time tower has pendulums like a clock.

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As they continue the tour, Alice explains that Godey is actually Tonio’s great-grandfather. Tonio’s lab, which I assume also used to be Godey’s, is in the level below the towers.

They go down to the lab, and Tonio explains what he’s found so far, including a picture of Godey and Alicia that has sheet music written on the back. Ash and the others spot some music discs, which the tower uses to play music. Dawn really wants to try some, so they walk to the top of the tower to play them.

When they reach the top, we learn more tidbits about the tower. Godey built the tower as a beacon of hope to humans and Pokemon alike, and the towers are technically the world’s largest musical instrument given their massive integrated music disc playing device. It reads divots in the discs and plays the bells in the tower according to the patterns.

This whole sequence in the tower is quite nice. The towers are beautifully designed, even if the CGI’s a little distracting, and the fact that they’re a giant musical instrument is really cool.

After they exit the towers, the three trainers from before suddenly reappear and challenge Ash and the others to a rematch. Just when you think someone’s slammed the brakes on the plot, another rift occurs. Dialga’s kicking Palkia’s ass, and Palkia is running to the Space-Time Tower to get away.

Darkrai appears again, and Alberto, believing himself to be filmed by Team Rocket, ‘heroically’ calls out his Lickylicky (See? You can’t not sound stupid saying anything with that name) and attacks. Darkrai sends out many Dark Void orbs, hitting several nearby Pokemon….and none of them being Licklicky. Booooo!!

Also, I get that Darkrai’s seen as this horrifying Pokemon, but all it does is put you to sleep and give you a nightmare. You’re not hurt or anything. You wake up just fine afterwards. I mean, I wouldn’t want to have a nightmare, but there are much worse things.

Ash faces off with Darkrai, but is interrupted by Baron Alberto. It’s a short-lived battle resulting in Lickylicky getting Dark Voided.

There’s a weird image of a Bibarel, one of the Pokemon who got Dark Voided before, floating around them after Darkrai leaves.

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Jessie: “An ultra rare Pokemon!?”

James: “That flies through walls?”

Alberto: “It can’t be real.”

Yeah…it’s not like there are…..Ghost Pokemon….or anything……..

Suddenly, Lickylicky starts to glow, then Alberto glows….and then….he morphs…..into a weird Lickylicky/Alberto hybrid…..

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Well, good job, Darkrai. That will certainly give me nightmares for the rest of my life.

Back at the Pokemon Center, which is now overflowing with Pokemon who are trapped in nightmares, Tonio concludes that the real world and the dream world are merging, causing images of the Pokemon to appear in the real world as they’re having their nightmares. Alberto asked what happened to him and Tonio states that Lickylicky probably dreamed of being him, so he turned into Lickylicky….

Uhhh….Few things.

1) Why are just the images of the Pokemon and not the nightmares themselves merging with the real world?

2) Why does Lickylicky have nightmares about being Alberto?

3) Why is Lickylicky the only Pokemon with a nightmare that isn’t being chased by something?

4) If Lickylicky’s nightmare is about being Alberto, why did Alberto turn into a Lickylicky instead of an image of Lickylicky as Alberto appear?

Also, Pikachu woke Ash up from his nightmare with a shock – why doesn’t he just Thundershock the whole building?

The three nameless trainers arrive again and break the news that they’re trapped in the town by some sort of weird fog. It can’t be lifted with Pokemon abilities such as Defog, and running into the fog just returns you back to town.

Alberto blames these oddities on Darkrai (and licks Jessie…..I couldn’t not point that out) and rallies the Pokemon Trainers together to destroy him.

After Alberto and the Trainers leave, Alice pipes up and says she doesn’t believe Darkrai is behind this. Tonio even offers an explanation as to why he believes Darkrai is innocent……..so….you just let those Pokemon Trainers go off on a witch hunt, intent on ‘destroying’ Darkrai, before you decide to try and clear its name? Nice.

A flashback shows us that, when Tonio and Alice were children, Alice fell off of a cliff while she was playing. (Let me rephrase that. She stupidly ran around a cliffside with her eyes closed, running backwards at a point, too, and stupidly fell off the cliff like a stupid person.) Tonio tried in vain to catch her, but Darkrai appeared and caught her. He set her gently on the ground and quickly vanished. Alice always believed Tonio was the one who saved her, but now Tonio believes it was Darkrai who did it. That evidence coupled with the story of Darkrai opening its heart to Alicia leads them to believe that Darkrai isn’t evil and isn’t the one behind all of these strange occurrences.

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Or you could go the obvious route and point out that Darkrai only has the ability to create nightmares and can’t alter reality, but whatever.

Alberto licks Jessie again. It’s not in a perverted manner or anything, he does it whenever she calls him Baron Lickylicky, but it’s still insanely weird.

Pbbbbt Darkrai looks a thousand times more ridiculous when you give him long dancer’s legs.

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Tonio looks back through video footage captured by his Driflims over the past few days and discovers that Palkia entered the real world through the rift that occurred while they were playing music at the top of the tower.

Meanwhile, Darkrai’s getting piled on by the Trainers of the town, but it soon Dark Voids them all. I love this shot of Ledian sleeping. It can’t close its eyes, so it just looks dead.

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Alberto even tries to take advantage of his Lickylickiness to battle, but Darkrai just sends him and Team Rocket blasting off. I love how much of a point these four have in this movie.

Tonio shows Ash and the others the footage, and they realize that the Pokemon in the video is Palkia and that Darkrai has been trying to warn them of what was about to happen this whole time, since he’s the only one who could see them.

Darkrai has been telling Palkia to not come to their dimension and to go away, but the others thought Darkrai was talking to them.

Ash points out that Darkrai was trying to warn him of Palkia inside of his dream by simply…showing him an image of Palkia. Darkrai, you can communicate verbally. If you wanted to warn Ash about an impending doom, don’t be vague. Just tell him. So many plots in movies would be solved in minutes if people learned to communicate.

Palkia has been hovering about the Space-Time Towers, invisibly, trying to heal from its wounds, but Darkrai finds it and starts attacking it. Palkia does some kickass effects to the sky and suddenly the Dark Void effects are all ending on the Pokemon and Alberto.

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Tonio reveals that the sky has changed due to Palkia transporting the entire town into another dimension, meaning the nightmare effects wore off. The battle between Darkrai and Palkia rages on, and, again, the battle’s pretty intense. Dialga suddenly interrupts and lays down the smackdown on Palkia to the point where parts of the town are literally disintegrating.

As Dialga and Palkia beat the crap out of each other, Tonio points out that Godey had a nightmare about this battle, which he wrote about in his diary.

Alice is a dumb idiot of stupid and runs out to yell to Dialga and Palkia to stop fighting, only to put her in the line of fire. Darkrai saves her, though.

After unsuccessfully trying to Dark Void Palkia and Dialga, Darkrai gets the full force of both of them and falls out of the sky.

Darkrai has a slight moment with Alice and the others in the garden before it vanishes into shadow form again.

Tonio does some scanning of the town and discovers that the fight between Dialga and Palkia is causing the town to literally break into pieces and be lost to alternate dimensions. If they don’t act soon, the town and everyone in it will disappear into another dimension.

He remembers an entry in Godey’s diary which explains that the nightmare prompted him to leave oracion for the future. Alice recognizes the word and explains that it’s the title of a song written on the back of the photo of Godey and Alicia. However, doing it on a little leaf whistle isn’t going to cut it. They need to use a sound disk of the song and play it through the Space-Time Tower.

Tonio knows for a fact that the song ‘Oracion’ is not in the collection of sound disks in the lab, so they go to a much larger collection stored on the walls in the lobby. However, there are so many that they don’t know where it could be.

She has a flashback to her grandmother teaching her the song. Alicia tells her that oracion means ‘prayer’ and to always remember it. From this, she’s able to deduce which disk it is, but, really, she just matched the symbol on the photo to the one on the sound disk. I don’t get how she correlated the prayer thing into it.

By the way, this is a horrible way of storing these disks. They’re not organized at all and you need two people to spin the massive wheels they’re on to get the right one.

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The Trainers of the town try to stop the attacks of Dialga and Palkia, and Croagunk straight up punches one of their attacks away like a boss.

As Ash and the others ascend the tower in the hot air balloon (She really needs Chimchar to heat the balloon? Even Team Rocket has an actual burner…) a bunch of slightly unnecessary stuff happens like Piplup nearly falls to its death (it’s saved by Staravia) and Dawn nearly falls to her death (she’s saved by convenient ledges and a misunderstanding of physics.) and Ash falls off (saved by the same logic as Dawn’s, but less so because he was able to slow his descent).

As Tonio and Alice struggle to get by the attacks in their damaged balloon, Tonio falls to his death, and Alice is saved from an attack by Darkrai sacrificing itself. Alice manages to land safely, being saved from falling off the bridge by Lickylicky of all things (ew, by the way), but it can’t hold her. Tonio, having dodged death on his Driflim…..that he should’ve been utilizing this whole time, saves her instead.

Ash, smartly, utilizes Aipom and Turtwig to divert attacks from Dialga and Palkia while he and Dawn climb the tower. As they climb, they reach a dead end because part of the towers is vanishing. Dawn releases Bunneary and Buisel to make a bridge with Water Gun and Ice Beam (Wouldn’t Ice Beam make the bridge by itself? Eh whatever.)

I have to say, it’s not a whole lot, but I love how everyone’s Pokemon are getting to do things in this movie. They are terrible at being consistent with utilizing the Pokemon they have on them, but when they actually remember them it’s really great.

Also, I forgot Buneary has a crush on Pikachu. N’awww.

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The town Trainers use their Pokemon to attack the withering edges of the town and it actually slows down the disintegration process…..I have no clue why they’d think that’d work nor the logic behind this, but good job!

It’s nice that the nameless side character Pokemon get stuff to do too.

It’s all for naught, however, because Tonio’s readings indicate that their dimension will be destroyed if Dialga and Palkia collide one more time. Darkrai won’t stand for this and, while I’ve been ignoring the pink v. blue titan battle a la Mewtwo v. Mew, it’s hard to not notice that Darkrai obviously does a sendup to the first movie by jumping in the middle of two energy blasts yelling ‘STOP!’, seemingly sacrificing himself. It doesn’t immediately die, in fact it uses its power to stop the forces from colliding, but it’s only a matter of time.

Back with Ash and Dawn, the tower is still vanishing, and Ash and Dawn nearly fall, only to be saved by Buizel’s Water Gun. It was just a tiny moment, but for some reason I was really happy when that happened.

Darkrai’s power starts to wane.

Dawn: “Ash, come back!”

No! Ash, keep running! Why would you tell him to turn around to watch Darkrai’s powers fail and then see him get blasted out of the sky? He’s doing this to buy you time. You have no time to spare to just watch something happen – RUN!

Darkrai gets disintegrated, and Dialga and Palkia return their attentions to each other.

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Ash and Dawn reach the top of the tower, but the sound disk won’t fit in the system. Dawn, connecting the symbols on the disk and the system, tells Ash to try the slot in the middle….Wow…..that was an ungodly pointless ‘puzzle’. Not to mention, we’ve already done the ‘match the symbols’ “puzzle” like ten minutes ago. It’s not that difficult. And, really, Ash sees that there are numerous slots in the machine for disks and instead of checking to see if it will fit in any other slot he just analyzes the front side of the disk like an idiot.

They insert the disk and pull the lever, but are shocked to discover that the power is out. Really? With the black sky outside they didn’t notice a power outage in a building? Where is the light coming from?

Being fair, it makes sense that the power is out considering the whole place is disintegrating.

Dawn calls out her Pachirisu and Ash uses Pikachu to power the machine. Wow, Pikachu sharing the electric limelight with another? It’s a Christmas miracle.

The song plays and it instantly culls the fighting. It even stops the disintegration. The song really is quite lovely when played on bells.

Pikachu and Pachirisu are unable to hold their attacks any longer, but the tower seems to have gained it’s own magical power and doesn’t stop the song. Far from it, in fact. It glows a golden color and the tower starts to transform into a beautiful design that encapsulates the symbolism of space and time respectively.

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The tower then grows massive golden wings of light….which I think is a bit excessive, but alright. Palkia’s jewel gets healed, and Dialga and Palkia share a small glance before Dialga leaves.

However, all is still not well. Ash and Dawn beg for Palkia to return the town back to normal.

Ash: “Palkia, can’t you see what you’ve done!? You’ve destroyed the whole town….All the….Pokemon….”

Uh….First of all, while Palkia’s not blameless here, Dialga’s the one who forced Palkia here and started this whole thing.

Second, the whole town is destroyed, to a degree, and your one thought is of the Pokemon? Not the people who probably vanished too?

Third, wait, we didn’t see a damn thing happen to any Pokemon outside of Darkrai. Why not just say Darkrai?

Also, Dogasu was right, Sarah Natochenny cannot emote through Ash worth a damn.

Palkia decides to clean up the mess, so he restores the town and returns it to it’s rightful space.

Hehe, get it? I said space.

Everything’s okay now…..but of course we have to have the overly dramatic death fakeout.

Oh no.

Darkrai disappeared from the effects of Palkia’s power. But Palkia reversed everything.

Oh no.

Oh dear.

Oh my.

Certainly the Dark of Rai is dead. Let us have a clipshow to sad, dramatic music (not kidding – they put this in the movie) to remember his valiant sacrifice…..

This whole scene is ridiculous and hard to sit through if you have a few brain cells. It’s not just the typical ‘ahhh, we know he’s still alive’ death fakeout. This death fakeout makes zero sense before they even start the damn clipshow. We have to sit through the clipshow, the music, the crying, the overly dramatic declarations from Ash, the solemn walk away – all of it – when every bit of logic is screaming ‘HE’S NOT DEAD. HE CAN’T BE DEAD. UNLESS PALKIA’S A MASSIVE DOUCHE AND LOCKED HIM IN ANOTHER DIMENSION, HE’S OKAY.’

Admittedly, revealing him as a giant shadow on a mountainside was pretty cool, though.

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His overly dramatic whooshy physical reveal ruined it a little, though.

Then we get a closeup of Darkrai and it just ends….No reunion, no wrap up, just Darkrai’s glowing eye.

Credits time!

It’s mostly random shots of places we went in the movie, then we get a series of stillframes showcasing Dawn’s contest….Anyone wanna put in their two cents if this is canon? Because Dawn loses.

Also, two of the three nameless trainers were participating in the contest – the guy with the Empoleon and the girl with the Infernape. The girl won.

Team Rocket appears and I completely forgot they were even here to begin with again.

Ash, Brock and Dawn say their farewells to Tonio and Alice….I just realized that Brock let off on Alice when Tonio came into the picture. Is that character development?

Some more random shots, then Dialga heading off to his…dimension? And Palkia doing the same. Ash and the others continue their journey….

The credits songs are ‘I Will Remember You’ sung by Kirsten Price, a song I actually like quite a bit. It’s definitely one of the better movie songs they’ve had in recent years…..and then we get “Living in the Shadows” by Chris “Breeze” Barczynski – an intrusive rap song. Guys, it’s 2007 by this point. Stop it.

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The end.

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I liked this movie a hell of a lot more than I thought I would. It gave me a better appreciation for Palkia and Darkrai, and while I can definitely feel the throwbacks to the previous movies, the references only seemed a little on the lazy side. Probably the laziest was the Unown. They are literally just thrown into the movie because….alternate dimensions is something Unown do…And we couldn’t think of another movie 03 reference, so…….here we are.

The song aspect wasn’t as rip-offy in the end as I feared. Alice didn’t save the day with her leaf and the music playing through the bells of the towers was cool. I’d definitely say the references ended up feeling more like an homage rather then just lazily cobbling together a plot from old plots.

The excuse to have Dialga and Palkia fight was practically non-existent, but I don’t care because their fight was awesome.

Alice was….a somewhat boring CotM. Tonio was much more interesting.

Dawn and Brock kinda got stuff to do, and everyone’s Pokemon got to do a little something. Not to mention that hug Brock gives Happiny near the end was adorable.

I enjoyed the aspect of the dimension breaking apart, and I also loved how they handled the visuals of the dimension crumbling. The video distortion whenever a rift was occurring was a great touch – it really made you feel like reality was coming apart.

Darkrai’s plot is very understandable. It must be difficult for a Pokemon whose main power is creating nightmares to not be outcast. I would’ve liked to have seen him and Alice have a moment after his reappearance, however. It felt like it resolved on a somewhat hollow note.

Ash was not the main forefront in this movie, which was more than welcome. It was very much a team effort, even if Ash was the one who orchestrated the resolution to the conflict. However, I can’t stress enough how much Baron Alberto didn’t need to be here. He was an annoying waste of space. He wasn’t a threat to Alice and Tonio’s budding relationship (Hey, wait, they didn’t even resolve that part of the plot), he wasn’t an antagonist and he wasn’t interesting. He seemed like he was there for terrible comic relief and to give Team Rocket an excuse for being there, which was, in itself, extremely flimsy.

The visuals were very well done this time around. The CGI was not that great, but it wasn’t nearly as bad or distracting as it was in movie 09.

The music was quite good barring the stupid rap song. If you want to keep giving homages to past movies, that was a great flashback to the tonal whiplash of the first movie’s ending songs.

There were some moments that bothered me, but maybe I was overreacting on some of those because I just didn’t have much to talk about for this movie.

Recommended Audience: I can’t really think of anything worth noting beyond the typical ‘cartoon violence’. 5+


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Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon Episode 4 – The Gateway to the Past Review (Spoilers!)

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Plot: Hearing the story of Setsuna’s plight, Towa plans on heading back to the feudal era with Setsuna and Moroha to find the dream butterfly and kill it to restore Setsuna’s memories as well as her ability to sleep and dream.

Utilizing the power of the still-alive Root Head demon who was merged with the Tree of Ages, they all take their leave, promising to return to Towa’s family someday.

However, when they go through the portal, they’re stopped midway by the spirit of the Tree of Ages who has taken on the appearance of Kikyo since some of her spirit was embedded in the tree when she pinned Inuyasha to it with one of her sacred arrows.

The spirit of the tree has a request for the daughters of Sesshomaru – find and slay the dog-demon beast, Kirinmaru, a demon who was matched in power only by his counterpart, their grandfather Inutaisho. Sesshomaru is unable to defeat him, so the task is being passed on to them. Setsuna refuses, explaining that it’s Sesshomaru’s responsibility and they shouldn’t have to do his work. Towa, however, wants to complete the task until she learns that Sesshomaru will, too, have to be slain.

As punishment for defying the spirit, it sends them to the location of the Root Head within its body. However, the three manage to slay the demon, later realizing that this means they destroyed their only means of returning back to the modern era.

The spirit of the tree has a one-sided conversation with Sesshomaru as he lurks in the shadows wondering what will become of the woman slumbering before them if things don’t go as planned….

Breakdown: Excuse me for a second.

*deep breath*

RIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!! That comatose woman has to be Rin, right? It looks like what I would picture an adult Rin to look like. What happened to her? Is Sesshomaru being blackmailed or something right now?….Is she their mother? I continue to be confused.

Anyhoo, this is more or less a segue episode to get us back to the feudal era so we can have all dem adventures, but there is a little more action and advancement. Mainly, the battle with Root Head which debuted a new attack for Towa, which, for some reason, is another energy dragon thing like Moroha’s, though Towa’s is blue as opposed to red. I really don’t understand why these dog demons keep displaying dragon powers. Is Setsuna going to get a gold one?

Also, we learned of Kirinmaru, who sounds like a pretty severe threat, going after space and time and whatnot, so I guess they justified Towa getting all freaked out over modern stuff in the feudal era from the first episode. Although, I can’t help but get a slight sense of laziness in that he’s the OTHER great dog demon. I don’t remember a lot about Inutaisho, but I’m pretty sure someone would have mentioned another great dog demon in the interim. And where exactly has he been for the past 20+ years? Is this another one of those weird situations where a villain just chills until the person or persons who are the only ones who can defeat him are of an age where they can defeat him and then he’s like ‘Ya! NOW is the time to strike!’

We still haven’t met him, though, so how good of a villain he’ll be is yet to be seen.

I love how Moroha pointed out that she wasn’t Sesshomaru’s daughter so it seemed like “Kikyo” wasn’t asking anything of her and was annoyed. The spirit replied that she’d basically be addressed in a minute….and she never was. Like, what the hell? Is it just because Setsuna and Towa refused the request so the spirit of the tree was just never able to ask anything of Moroha? Moroha was still on board with the whole thing because she’s awesome, but she was basically just accepting THEIR mission. I mean….technically, you can give the request to all three of them as she’s also a descendant of Inutaisho. Is it really necessary for descendants of Sesshomaru specifically to be the chosen ones here? It can’t be because of pure blood since they’re half-demons….

And now for Twix’s random musings of the episode.

– How long have Moroha and Setsuna been staying with Towa and her family? Because Setsuna, with no formal training beforehand, has learned how to play a song on the violin fully and seemingly flawlessly. Moe, who is a concert violinist I guess, calls her a one-in-a-hundred prodigy, but even prodigies wouldn’t be THAT good in what seems like a day or two.

– Why is it that Setsuna and Moroha aren’t confused at all by stuff in the modern era? Everything used to confuse the hell out of Inuyasha, but Moroha not only knows what a credit card is, but also uses it easily to go on a shopping spree by herself.

– SOTA NEVER TOLD TOWA ABOUT KAGOME OR SHOWED HIM PICTURES OF HIS SISTER?! ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING HE ALWAYS SUSPECTED TOWA CAME FROM THE FEUDAL ERA?! WHAT?!?!

– It is really adorable that Moroha actually loved the weird gift Grandpa gave her as opposed to Kagome who would always either trash his gifts or feed them to Buyo. It was a great moment for both of them.

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– Speaking of Moroha in relation to her parents….uhhh why does she have absolutely nothing to say about discovering the names and relatives of her parents? Does she just not care? Does she not have questions about her origins? Likewise, why isn’t Kagome’s family asking Moroha any questions like how Kagome is, what she’s been up to over the past nearly two decades, if she has anymore children etc?

Also, Moroha may or may not have mentioned to them that she doesn’t know Kagome, meaning she never met her mom and her family should be up to their elbows in worry right now in regards to her current whereabouts and condition.

Setsuna and Towa are just kinda falling into information about Sesshomaru, but they also don’t ask many questions about their parentage…..such as, I dunno, just throwing this one out there….who their mother might be. *shrug*

Also, would it make sense or not that Moroha should be able to piece together that Sesshomaru and Inuyasha are siblings and that Inuyasha’s her father? She seems to know plenty about Sesshomaru (she even knows his scent somehow) and she seemingly heard of Kirinmaru, so she should know about Inuyasha. Even without those factors, wouldn’t Inuyasha be a bit of a legend in the feudal era?

I can’t imagine Sota and the others didn’t mention Inuyasha likely being her father…..Then again, they’re obviously not very good in the communication department. They’re just like ‘YOU’RE KAGOME’S DAUGHTER!’ and everyone left it at that apparently.

– They really couldn’t go the entire series without showing that same tired shot of Kikyo pinning Inuyasha to the Tree of Ages…Do I get some sort of achievement for viewing it a million times? Because I have to be close by now.

– Why do we need the name plates popping up on everyone? On their introductions, I get, but literally every time we see a character for the first time in an episode we have to put their names on screen. It’s episode four, I’m pretty acquainted with them. I didn’t see a nameplate on Rin, though. Ya know, the one person actually showing up for the first time since episode one.…

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All in all, it’s a solid episode that served its purpose and had some great and cute moments interspersed within. And thank god Kikyo didn’t actually come back. I was probably blowing everything out of proportion before, but I can never be too sure with this franchise….Although, I was kinda right about her blowing off Moroha.

I’m not sure why the spirit needed to take on any form at all, though. Can it not just be a mysterious booming voice or something?

I don’t know how long this series is meant to be, especially considering there’s no manga to gauge anything from, but it seems we’re heading for the more episodic approach soon, and I don’t know when we’ll be formally introduced to the main villain or how long it will take to get the MacGuff—Dream Butterfly.

But who cares? Next episode seems Moroha-centric and I am HERE for that!

Rating: 7.5/10


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