SSBS – Medabots Episode 5: The Old Man and the Sea Monster Review

SSBS - Medabots Episode 5 Screen1

Plot: On a trip to the beach, Ikki and Metabee face off against a bunch of jerks who want them off their beach. Meanwhile, there’s a sea monster looming in the shadows.

Medabot Debuts:

Sharkkan: A SAK Medabot, Sharkkan’s design is based off of a shark. Sharkkan is an aquatic Medabot that can move very swiftly in the water. It also has arms in the shape of shark jaws.

Tentaclam: A CLA type, Tentaclam is based off of an octopus. Like Sharkkan, it is an aquatic Medabot that can move easily in the water. Tentaclam has two pincers on the ends of its arms that can be detached, shot off and latched onto nearby objects before being pulled in by cables.

Robattles:

Ryan vs. Ikki: Winner – Ryan: Metabee forfeited his legs.

Ryan vs. Ikki (Rematch): Winner – Ikki: Metabee earned his legs back.

Breakdown: Ikki, Metabee, Erika and…..I’m gonna be honest – I don’t know who the frick this guy is. It has been a hot minute since I last picked up Medabots, but I legitimately can’t remember who this person is, they never say his name in this episode, and, for the life of me, I can’t find a way to Google who this is. No one seems to match his description in the Wiki’s character list. He’s an adult, I guess, and that’s all you need to know.

Anyway, they’re all taking a quaint trip to the beach. The adult dude falls asleep while the kids head off to swim. Metabee has a scuba mask on for some inexplicable reason.

Metabee: “Swan dive!” That was not, in any way, a swan dive. You might as well have just stepped off the ledge.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 5 Screen2

When Metabee dives in, he freaks out when he realizes the water is salt water, which will make him rust. How’d he know the water was salt water? Why did Ikki take his Medabot to the beach when he can neither swim nor tolerate salt water?

By the way, does anyone want to tell him that all water makes metal rust? Salt just speeds up the process.

Ikki: “Oh come on. Medabots don’t rust that fast.” Still a shitty way to care for your Medabot. Ya know, the one you couldn’t afford in the first place.

Metabee sulks on the beach after Ikki tells him to just leave the water if he’s going to be crabby.

Metabee: “Ugh, I can’t believe Ikki let me go into the water. Me plus water equals rust. Rust plus me equals me getting ripped up the gill, ya know what I’m sayin’? GegegegegeGEKOW!”

No, Metabee, I don’t know what you’re saying. But I am about to research whether robots can have strokes.

First of all, now you’re just saying it was the water, not salt water, that you’re averse to. And you’re also mad at Ikki for “letting” you go into the water because water makes you rust…..Kinda makes you seem like an idiot if you knew water makes you rust but you went in the water anyway. At least when the salt was the reason you could make the argument that you didn’t know ocean water was salt water and Ikki should have told you.

Additionally, it’s a bit ironic that you’re mad about him ‘letting’ you do that when you were just adamant a minute ago about not being his to control.

Second of all, what in the glitchy matrix just happened to you near the end there? I can’t even tell if I accurately transcribed the last words before the gibberish correctly, but then you go off and spout random noises like someone was electrocuting your ass.

Three beach brats come over and start bullying Metabee, even poking him repeatedly in the head with sticks. Ikki arrives and he seemingly gets angry with Metabee for some reason? Once they have a little spat, Ikki tells the jerks to go away, but they’re locals so, like a beach movie set in 1954, they tell him to leave their beach because strangers aren’t welcome.

They then reveal that the local sea monster also hates strangers.

Later, at a restaurant, Ikki asks the owner if she knows about the sea monster. She noticeably gets very nervous and tries to avoid the question. Erika says, if there is a monster, they should investigate. The owner tries to warn them to stay away from the rocks of the beach when a bunch of people run by the restaurant screaming. They claim to have seen the monster, but none of them can agree upon what it looked like.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 5 Screen3

Ikki and Erika head to the beach to investigate only to find that it’s entirely abandoned due to sea monster sightings……Uh, yeah, calling it right noe, this is some Scooby Doo bullshit right here.

Also, the entire beach was cleared out because of sea monster sightings? No skeptics, no people who think they’d be safe on the sand, no people with Medabots who might try to fight it – just a couple of tweenagers and their Medabot?

Erika is psyched about figuring out the scoop behind this sea monster, but Ikki couldn’t care less.

They spot a mysterious old man sitting quietly on a rock playing a shamisen by the water. Metabee tries to talk with him, but he only gets a few words out of the old man.

His Medabot, Tentaclam, arrives and catches a huge net full of fish. They then walk off together.

The three jerks arrive wondering why Ikki, Erika and Metabee haven’t left yet. Blah blah blah, the leader, Ryan, challenges Ikki to a robattle.

Ikki boasts that he and Metabee have never lost a robattle…..so yeah, now that he said that he’s totally going to lose.

Ryan’s Medabot is Sharkkan, and he immediately heads into the water. Metabee tries to follow by boat, but his bullets can’t hit Sharkkan underwater. Suddenly, Metabee gets very dizzy and nauseous. He’s so sea sick that he has to forfeit the match, surrendering his legs to Ryan.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 5 Screen4

Yes, you read that right. Metabee, the undefeated Medabot, lost his first match…..because he got sea sick.

Metabee, the ROBOT, lost because he got sea sick.

Metabee, the robot without a stomach and balance sensory systems/perception systems that don’t work in any way like a human’s would……got his first loss, via forfeit no less….by getting sea sick.

This is monumentally dumb.

At sunset, Ikki and Metabee lament their loss – Metabee wearing a goofy pair of spare legs that I think he got from Banisher.

Ikki: “He knew Metabee couldn’t swim, so he tricked him into a water robattle. Seems like cheating.” Uhm, shut your stupid lying mouth, Ikki.

Metabee didn’t even try to swim, so you’re already wrong there. Ryan didn’t trick HIM into anything. He and his goons just egged you on a bit, and YOU accepted a challenge for a robattle. Finally, using an aquatic Medabot in the water is just using the Medabot the way it was intended to be used. If anything, it was quite even. If he used his aquatic Medabot on land, he’d have a major disadvantage, but Metabee would have a huge advantage. If you had just said ‘Metabee don’t go in the water.’ then either the robattle would end in a stalemate because neither party would choose to leave their respective areas, or Skarkkan would leave the water because he was sick of waiting.

Basically, both of you are idiots, but Metabee’s less of an idiot because….

Metabee: “Nah, that’s just good strategy. He just won it fair and square.”

Of course, he loses some points with his next line.

Metabee: “Urgh, I’d love a rematch, but where am I going to learn how to swim?” I thought you plus water equaled rust and you didn’t want rust? Now you want to swim?

But again, just DON’T GO IN THE WATER. Even if you learned how to swim, he’d still be at a major advantage because he’s a full aquatic Medabot with parts and weaponry designed for water robattles. Why give him that?

Ikki and Metabee have a brain blast, so they head to see the old man. They beg him for help in getting Metabee ready for water robattling. The old man loans him some spare legs from his Tentaclam. And, of course, Ikki and Metabee being the way they are, they bitch about the free shit they’re getting.

Metabee: “They’re so old.”

Ikki: “Do they even still work?” No, Ikki, he gave you non-working garbage because he’s trolling you.

Metabee jumps in the water, but he soon capsizes. Seems like just getting aquatic legs isn’t enough for him to function properly in the water, which makes sense. After all, the rest of him isn’t designed to be in the water.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 5 Screen5

They beg him to teach them how to deal with sea combat, and yeah whatever – what time is it?

The sun is going down quite a bit. Where is adult dude, and why are you guys not heading home yet? Your parents obviously aren’t here, you took a bus, and I can’t imagine that they approved of you guys staying at the beach overnight.

We then get a training montage of them doing a bunch of Karate Kid-esque chores for the old man. This montage clearly takes place over several days because we see more sunsets and implications of mornings. Again, where is adult dude and why are you guys not home right now? Are you missing school for this?

After the training montage, Ikki and Metabee collapse in the sand begging for water. Why is Metabee, the robot, asking for water?

The dog that’s with them, I forget to whom it belongs, brings them water bottles that look oddly like baby bottles. Ikki chugs his water and Metabee pours his on his head….because the Medabot who hated water at the beginning of this episode has suddenly decided that pouring it all over his head is the best thing ever.

Ikki and Metabee hear Erika screaming in terror of the sea monster. However, the ‘sea monster’ trips, and reveals that it was just the three Medabots owned by the beach jerks covered in seaweed. They made up the stuff about the sea monster to keep tourists off the beach. Yup. Scooby Doo’d.

Also, I weep for humanity if literally everyone was scared to death of this thing.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 5 Screen6

Ikki and Ryan start a rematch. Metabee uses his Tentaclam legs, but this time he’s able to stand upright as the legs help him float on the surface. His training was meant to improve his sense of balance so he could stand on water, which…okay, but that solves literally no problems they were having. Metabee already had a boat, which allowed him to float on top of the water, soooooooooooooooooo…..???

Also, I don’t think that simply not being in a boat would prevent you from getting sea sick while floating on water, so what happened to that problem?

Whatever, Metabee still has problems fighting Sharkkan because he can move super quickly in the water and Metabee’s shots can’t hit him. Moreover, Sharkkan is now taking the offensive by hitting Metabee with torpedoes and leaping out of the water to strike at him directly.

Ikki is incredibly frustrated because he has no idea what to do to gain the upperhand. Metabee can now float on the water without issue, but he still can’t swim, giving Sharkkan a huge advantage. The old man reveals that the secret to this fight is in Sharkkan’s shark design. It gives off a warning before it strikes, and Ikki deduces that he means the dorsal fin peaking out over the surface before it strikes.

…Well…uh…duh. How did you not notice that before now? It’s the most signature thing about sharks. You show a dorsal fin sticking out of the water, people instantly think ‘shark.’ How are you this slow, Ikki?

The next time Sharkkan strikes, Ikki notices where he is via the dorsal fin, warns Metabee that Sharkkan’s behind him and Metabee is able to get a direct hit with his guns when Sharkkan comes out of the water.

Sharkkan is defeated, and Metabee gets his legs back.

SSBS - Medabots Episode 5 Screen7

At sunset, because they’ll apparently never go home, Ryan explains that his dad taught him that tourists are bad because they pollute the beach with their trash and they ruin the environment, so they decided to bully and scare every tourist away from the beach with their makeshift sea monster.

I guess this was supposed to be foreshadowed when Metabee threw his scuba mask on the sand, because that’s when they first met the beach jerks. It was also shown that the beach was filthy when the beachgoers were scared off, but they never draw attention to the littering. I had to go back and rewatch sections just to see if this out-of-nowhere PSA had some build up to it because it was never brought to the audience’s attention through dialogue.

Also, you’re kinda terrifying the locals too, if that restaurant owner was any indication. Unless she’s in on it.

Ryan and Ikki mend bridges, and the old man bids Ikki and Metabee farewell. He allows them to keep the Tentaclam legs as long as they always remember to respect the sea.

Our final shot is of adult guy still asleep on the beach, now horribly sunburned. Uh, can we get an ambulance? Because this guy has clearly been asleep for about a week, and he probably has third degree burns by now.

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It’s at this point in the show when you really have to accept that this series is just plain bad. And it’s not only bad – it’s lazy. It’s probably one of the laziest series I’ve ever watched. Everything about it is just the bare minimum they can do without paying an iota of attention to the question “Does this make sense?”

One of the most basic things you can do when writing a story is establish a conflict, work out a resolution and resolve it. But this show can’t even do that correctly. I am still confused as to what Metabee’s actual problem was. First it was saltwater, then it was just water, then it was that he gets sea sick, then it was that he can’t swim, then it was that he couldn’t work the Tentaclam legs correctly.

The solution to any one of those problems was just to teach Metabee better balance so that he can stay on the water’s surface, but that doesn’t make any sense. He’s a robot. If he has balance issues, it’s either because of his design or his programming. You can’t really teach a robot balance. Not to mention that, while some of the chores the old man had them doing could be considered training in balance, like pulling the old man while they’re on stilts, most of it had nothing to do with balance.

He had them carrying wood, pushing one of those giant wooden crank things, blowing air onto a fire, carrying him on a giant rock up a mountain, giving him a frickin’ massage, which was just plain creepy.

A lot of shows do this, where they reference The Karate Kid’s training sequence of seemingly doing random chores only to show that it actually had practical applications in the student’s journey, but then a lot of them screw it up by not actually coming up with ways these chores applied to their practice. This is one of the worst examples.

It’s even more pointless because Metabee balancing on top of the water didn’t even do much. He could have defeated Sharkkan this way in the boat. All he needed to know was that you can detect Sharkkan via his dorsal fin. And Ikki didn’t even figure that part out on his own – he had to have the old man practically spell it out for him.

I will give this episode this much – there were quite a few funny expressions and even some funny lines. And I will never get tired of Ikki’s voice actor’s complete inability to scream in a believable manner. Just the terrible voice acting as a whole, honestly. I have a feeling this series was mostly a ‘Thank god, a paycheck.’ job for most of them. I don’t blame them for barely putting in any effort. Why do that when the series itself doesn’t? It makes for some funny moments anyway. That’s why I keep enjoying watching Medabots. It’s lazy, silly and stupid, but it has a lot of fun and ridiculousness to keep me entertained most of the time. Even if I’m just preoccupied trying to do the mental gymnastics around their writing choices, I tend to enjoy myself.

Plus, I do really like the designs of Tentaclam and Sharkkan. I wish we had seen the other jerks’ Medabots. We see them very, very briefly, but we never learn what they are, and the angles on them are so poor I can’t even remember what they looked like.

Next time, might as well keep in with the Scooby Doo-ness with some G-g-g-GHOSTS!


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Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun/Flint the Time Detective Episode 15 (14 for the Dub) The Hero is Redman | Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: Genshi and the others head to 20th century Japan where they meet the superhero space-time monster team, Redman! While they have the best of intentions in helping people, they cause a lot of havoc in the process.

——————————————-

Title Change: The Hero is Redman is changed to The Cardians.

They add in two establishing shots after the theme song and before the shots of Redman.

Name Changes: Redman Red is changed to Blademan. Redman Yellow is changed to Thud. Redman Blue is changed to Arrowman. And Redman Pink is changed to Snapper.

Also, their team name was “Redman.” In the dub, they’re the Cardians, which I think is a cute way to change their team name based on their card suits while making a play on the word ‘guardians’.

So let me get this straight…..Red/Blademan is a blademaster. Yellow/Thud is super strong. Blue/Arrowman is an expert archer.

….And Pink/Snapper……AKA the only girl of the group……specializes in taking pictures. Not only that, but of course she gets the hearts suit.

Genshi is happy that the Redman come in so many colors. Flint guesses that they each have unique powers.

Originally, Rei said that the Redman have a strong sense of justice. Genshi then asks if justice is something you eat. In the dub, Jillian says they’re more interested in publicity than justice lately, and Flint asks if publicity is something you eat.

Saban actually adjusted their timeframe here. Originally, they were told that the Redman were in the year 1999, which is current day when the series is being aired (The series started in 1998, but it’s most likely 1999 by this point.) Saban, however, licensed and dubbed it in 2000, so they changed the target date to 2000.

Genshi stutters and mutters to himself about the word ‘justice’ before asking if it’s a juice. In the dub, Flint asks if it’s lunch time.

After Flint’s lunch comment, they add in Goodman hitting on Jillian again. I don’t know why they keep doing that. It’s not funny and it just makes Goodman come off as a skeez who can’t take no for an answer.

Typical extension of the scenes in which they get their time card and head off.

Goodman: “Hey, guys, get me one of the Y2K preparation kits! That’d be good for a laugh or two!” Oh Saban, you topical bastards. That won’t get dated at all, promise.

Sarah: “Wow, we’re in a big city!”…Big cit–?…I just realized. They didn’t say that you guys were supposed to go to Tokyo. Since when is Saban less accurate in these details than the original? Don’t tell they’re 4Kidsing and desperately don’t want kids to know they live in Japan. I thought they established that before.

In the original, the woman and the guy were arguing because Yamato (1999 version) bumped into the guy . He tries to calm them both down, but they both snap at him, claiming he’s the cause of this mess. He backs down and laughs nervously, but the guy grabs him by the shirt telling him he has no place laughing when a girl is sticking up for him.

In the dub, the woman is accusing the guy of stealing from her purse, which he denies. Goodman tries to break it up, but they both tell him to butt out. He backs off and laughs nervously. The guy grabs him and asks what he’s laughing about.

In response to Yamato running away from the situation, Genshi points out that he ran. Sora and Tokio then say in unison “He’s the worst.” In the dub, Flint calls him a chicken and Sarah and Tony say in unison “Bawk bawk bawk.”

Name plate gone.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

What the hell? They kept in Yamato’s cigarette? It’s not lit, but what the hell? Even old shows tended to have any instances of smoking censored. They even draw attention to it in the dub. In the original, ‘99!Yamato goes on explaining how he didn’t actually run away. In the dub, the kids point out that he’s smoking and ‘00!Goodman says he is. He’s been meaning to quit, but he hasn’t had the time….? I don’t know how that makes sense, but whatever.

To their credit, they are definitely putting the smoking in a bad light. They make the kids yell at him to quit immediately, and even his girlfriend tells him he shouldn’t be joking about smoking. (In the original, the kids were exclaiming a repeat of his excuse for running in disbelief, and his girlfriend chastised him for not fighting the guy on his own.) But it’s still so weird to see this.

In really funny moment, ‘99!Yamato tries to explain himself to his girlfriend by saying “If I were injured, it would hurt.” Since the entire conversation was changed in the dub, ‘00!Goodman says “Sorry. How about I quit next year?”

When his girlfriend hits him, she walks off saying “You’re the worst.” In the dub, she says “Don’t call. Smokers are losers.”

Oto-tan says that she has an admirable fighting spirit. In the dub, he says even cavemen know smoking’s bad. Pretty sure the only smoking cavemen know about is the “me make fire” kind.

There’s an establishing shot of the park via a shot of a faucet for some reason before we cut to the kids talking to the Redman. In the dub, it’s removed.

Oh my god. There is no way Red didn’t slice the driver of this car in half.

Sora says they have to take the Redman back home. In the dub, she tells Flint that he can’t join the Cardians because his costume doesn’t match theirs.

When Genshi and the other Redman (I’m not using the plural incorrectly – that seems to be the way they address themselves in a plural manner.) run off, Sora asks where they’re going. In the dub, she tells him she wasn’t making fun of Flint’s clothes.

Saban adds in a closeup shot of Petra’s face twitching right before they get to the kitten. She explains that she plans on getting all of the Cardians now.

Nitpicking, but the group clearly say “Guardians” when they catch the kitten, not “Cardians.”

The person playing the bully is completely unfit for that role. He’s like six but he sounds like he’s 30.

In the original, everyone keeps saying “Redman are so cool!” Toki-G says it and goes “Oh now I’m doing it too.” In the dub, since they don’t retain the original line, they have Old Timer say “Those Cardians really float my boat! Oh no. Now I’m starting to do it too.” Doing what? Just…liking them?

TP Lady also parrots the “Redman are so cool!” line. In the dub, she says “Those Cardians are so dreamy!” Dreamy?…..Are you….attracted to the foot-tall muppet-esque Super-Sentai creatures?

TP Lady says it would be boring to be good. In the dub, she says she’d have to get a whole new wardrobe if she turned good.

Now that I think about it, it’s pretty trippy to hear Petra talk about wanting to be the leader of this Super Sentai-based team. She’s voiced by Barbara Goodson, who voiced Rita Repulsa in Power Rangers – which is also a Saban production. Power Rangers was retooled from old clips of Super Sentai (and continues to be to this day, I believe) combined with reshot footage for American/Canadian audiences.

It’s even funnier considering the name she comes up with for her proposed new team with the Redman/Cardians is the TP Rangers/The Four Fabulous Fighting Card Rangers.

They repeat the same closer shot of Dyno talking to mockingly says “I bet you think the Cardians are going to appear.”

TP Lady, Dyna and Mite are being very funny today, but the dub keeps ruining it. In the original, Dyna and Mite fake evil laugh, pause and laugh again several times before conversing with each other about waiting for the Redman because they’re bored. In the dub, they do repeat the laugh gag, but it’s ruined because they have Dyno says the laughing is hard work….

They insert the “BAGON!” screen right after the Cardians arrive, which makes no sense because they’re acting like they hit Dyno and Mite, when they clearly hadn’t yet. Also, they keep the “BAGON!” card after they do hit them, making this even more confusing.

I figured this would get cut. In the original, they show Dyna and Mite beaten up and thrown in the garbage. Mite’s butt is on full display. Instead of finding some way to censor that, they just cut the shot altogether.

Both TP Lady and Petra thank the Redman/Cardians for saving her, but in the original all Red says is “Red” because that’s all he can say, like any other space-time monster. In the dub, he asks her what’s wrong, which doesn’t make any sense. All she did was thank them, and they already saved her from the danger.

In the original, TP Lady explains what her P mark does while acting all dizzy and disoriented because she was spinning around a lot to stamp their heads. In the dub, they make off like she’s mocking them. Despite the fact that she’s clearly acting very dizzy, there are even spirals in her eyes, they just have her say “Neener neener neener” over and over. Saban, dizziness exists in the west too…

TP Lady corrects Genshi in her name by saying she’s TP Red-dy now….which sounds really dumb. In the dub, she just says she doesn’t take orders from him.

Oto-tan laments on TP Lady having another evil scheme. In the dub, he says “Remind me never to eat at your restaurant.” It actually took me a minute to get this joke…..Haha….she doesn’t take ORDERS from him….hahah….Ha.

Name Plate removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Name Change: Akuman is changed to Cardiancon.

I actually don’t understand this evil form. Is the evil jester + centipede thing a Super Sentai reference I don’t know of? I get that maybe this is the Joker of the suits, but that’s the best I can gather. Everything else is confusing me.

After the commercial break, they show TP Lady yelling at Akuman to attack Genshi. In the dub, they remove this and insert the shot of Flint wielding Rocky that was meant to come after Cardicon started attacking.

Oh my god, in the crowd…it’s that voice actor who can’t help but do a bad imitation of John Wayne in every Saban dub he’s ever in.….

I love how they have never once had to cover up a space-time monster’s existence or explain away a battle to anyone nearby before, but now they suddenly feel the need to so for absolutely no reason.

Originally, Tokio explained that the reason this battle looked so amazing was because it was American special effects for a movie being shot. In the dub, he just marvels that they’re filming a monster movie in their town.

Again with Genshi making additional conflict just because he’s hungry. Why don’t they have a rule to feed this kid before they go off on an adventure? It’s not like they don’t have the time – they literally have a time machine.

Instead of showing Genshi smashing through the window, they cut away to a repeat of that comic “BANG – BAGON” screen.

Petra: “Now do the same to those meddling kids! Make them dance the macarena!” First of all, Cardiancon didn’t make Flint dance, so I don’t know what you’re on about. Second, yeah, Saban, make that macarena reference. Date this show so hard you leave bruises.

I don’t know why, but Saban makes the old lady so much meaner in her speech than she is in the original. It was originally a very sweet speech about how kind Redman was, and how, in a world where people tend to just watch things happen instead of taking action, Redman leaped in to help them and they were happier for it, even if they caused some trouble. In the dub, she does say this more or less, but she also goes on to say ‘Well, I guess you’ve decided to take the easy way out. Listen up! I’d whack you with my cane if I could reach you!” And then Cardiancon and the music react like it’s such a sweet gesture. What the hell is this? Why would you change her sweet speech into her being so harsh for no reason?

Originally, TP Lady, Dyna and Mite laugh about how stinky her speech was, and TP Lady says it was almost as stinky as Dyna and Mite’s socks, which makes them go all wiggly and fall down…..I get the joke, but it’s just awful. In the dub, Petra says the awful speech is killing them, which makes them go all wiggly and fall down. It’s still a lame joke, but I actually prefer the dubbed version this time.

Slight white flash added when Petra whips Cardiancon in the face.

Oh wow. So….now de-transformed, TP Lady calls on Redman to fight more. Red jumps up and we get an INSANELY overly long sequence where he’s trying to spell out “o maeto ore to ittai ichi de shoubu da?!” which means “I challenge you to a one-on-one duel.”

He does this by charades because he can’t talk.

O (behind) is mimed with him smacking his butt at them.

Maeto is shown by dragging Mite out.

Next, Red comes out dressed as a matador to convey ‘ore’ because l and r are interchangeable in Japanese.

He brings out a door (to.)

He acts like he’s in pain (itai.)

He throws a ball into the air to signify ‘one’ (ichi.)

He holds up his hand (de.)

He brings out a soy sauce (shouyu) and points out the label (fuda.)

Then he repeats the sequence again, but faster, for them to get the entire sentence together.

This would have been so much better as a joke if they found some shorter way to convey this, because, as it stands, it was very annoying to sit through.

Now, there are two huge problems with translating this scene. First, the time shifters of the dub can talk, so there’s absolutely no reason for Red to start playing charades to convey his words.

Second, there are obviously a lot of complications in trying to make these charades work with English words. They barely work with Japanese words. Like, how would this sequence translate to a native English speaker? A bullfighter’s butt might come through your door and hurt your hand so put soy sauce on it?

I have to actually commend Saban for even attempting this, because this looked so impossible I was convinced they would probably just have Red challenge him straight out and cut the charades, but nope. Saban left in this whole sequence and made something fairly workable. So, what was it?

*deep breath*

Flint: “To the rear with friends, this is a challenge, and he who goes out crying leaves one with the upper hand.”

Flint and Petra: “A DUEL!?”

FLINT.

FIGURED.

THAT.

OUT.

Leaving the fact that Flint is so stupid he used to think friends were a food aside, how in the name of Zordon did ANYONE get anything coherent from that jumbled jigsaw puzzle of a charade?

…..Even though….ya know….it’s kinda generous to call that coherent. Saban, I give you all the credit in the world for even attempting this, bravo, standing ovation, I’ll buy you a bouquet of flowers later, but that is some crazy-ass word salad. The second half of the sentence is workable, but what was that starting portion? I keep thinking I’m hearing it wrong, but I have the volume on max and I can’t hear anything else but “To the rear with friends.”

ALSO, don’t think my eagle eyes missed the fact that you totally cut out the part with the soy sauce bottle because you just couldn’t think of any way to work that in, and you never gave a reason as to why Blademan was even doing charades to begin with when he can talk. Flint does say “Why didn’t you just say so?” but Blademan never answers.

So why are they acting like it’s only fair if Blademan uses his sword but Genshi has to fight without Oto-tan?

Sarah: “Go get ‘em, Flint! Show ‘em who wears the loin cloth around here!”

Tony: “Uhhh…….All right!”

Sarah, sweetie, that didn’t make sense.

Tony, sweetie, I get that you’re a slave to lip flaps, but that was awkward for everyone. Please never do that again.

The stare down was originally silent barring background music. In the dub, Blademan thinks “I bet he’s thinking what his next move should be.” and Flint thinks “A cheeseburger would taste really good right now.” You just ate! Why is your only shtick food?

Tony thinks “Wow, what if Flint loses?” What if you had faith in your friend to beat a foot-tall cosplayer with a fencing sabre that has a rubber tip on it?

Sarah thinks “Maybe they’ll call the show Sarah Time Detective.” First of all, are you responding to Tony’s thoughts? Because that’s weird. Second, WOW, you think your friend might die and your first reaction is taking over the show? Third, nice way to break the fourth wall, Saban. Finally, Sarah, you’re not a Time Detective, technically, so that wouldn’t happen.

Old Lady: “I’m too old for this stuff.”

Kid: “I’m too young for this stuff.”

*snort* Alright, that was pretty funny.

Cat: “I need a catbox.” Aaaaaaand you ruined it.

After that, the scene remains silent, because it’s supposed to be a tense buildup to the duel, but the dub suddenly adds narration over a PA system from some unknown person, even telling us not to touch that remote before the commercial comes on. Can you please shut up, Saban? Also, you’re using up your fourth-wall break allowance pretty quickly today.

They cut out a shot of Genshi facing Red, probably due to the incredibly awkward angle where we can see Genshi’s butt cheeks for some reason.

For some reason, they cut out Dyna and Mite responding to TP Lady claiming she was never going to replace them by saying that’s a bunch of baloney.

The dub doesn’t include the detail that TP Lady was born on October 12th, making her a Libra.

The original just said her horoscope said to be wary of something gigantic. The dub says to beware of giant robots.

Name Plate Removed:

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Name Change: Super Redman is changed to Cardian Master……Kinda wish they used this opportunity to make a Megazord reference.

Pterry: “It’s like a monster movie!” You mean it’s like a giant robot movie…..because there are no monsters, only giant robots.

They censored out the cat robot getting punched in the face…..because now we apparently can’t even show violence towards robots?

This music in the original sounds remarkably similar to the battle music of Pokemon….Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun did first air in 1998…..Hm…

The cat robot’s Super Deluxe Brilliant Gold Mechanical Cat Punch is changed to Super Deluxe 9 Megawatt Gas-Filled Tuck and Roll with Extra Cheese Power Punch. Were you guys competing with yourselves to see who could make the most nonsensical word salad or something?

I don’t know how TP Lady/Petra Fina keeps reading anything in this horoscope book. There are no words in either version – just simple drawings of the images that correlate to each astrological sign.

Also, I missed this the first time, but there’s an illegible word written underneath “Butterfly” in the magazine in the original, but it’s painted away in the dub. I have no clue why.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

They removed that random word, but they couldn’t be arsed to fix “Scorrio” to “Scorpio”?

Okay…so…you’re not allowed to show the robot getting punched in the face, but you can show the giant sword go clean through its body, its eyes roll back in its head, split in two and then blow up?

TP Lady says she wishes she had read the magazine before now. Dyna and Mite say they read it every month. (They read the horoscopes every month? Isn’t that a daily or weekly thing?) In contrast, Petra says “Horoscope schmoroscope! Anybody could have seen that coming! RATS!”

They switched the shot of Toki-G to a closeup of him for some reason.

New ending theme for the original. It’s a good song, but the visuals are strange. It’s just an onslaught of shots of Sora….sitting there and looking at the camera. There’s a shot of her looking at a floating, rotating black pyramid in the sky, another of her looking at the sky while standing on green water? She keeps looking at a flower and tries to hold the sun in her hands. I don’t get it.

———————————-

All in all, this episode’s a huge mess. It’s so sloppy, I’m actually kinda flabbergasted. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the premise – team of ‘heroes’ is all for justice and saving people, but end up unwittingly causing trouble – but everything else is so weird. First of all, I get why this episode is taking place in the 90s, to seemingly capitalize on Super Sentai, but there’s no important ‘historical’ figure to focus on.

We got to see Dr. Yamato’s distant relative, who for some reason looks exactly like him, but he didn’t impact the plot in the slightest. He’s a big coward and….that’s it. After his girlfriend dumped him, he disappeared entirely. We never even get a glimpse of him after that, and he’s never mentioned again. What was the point of showing him here? If it was to set up the Redman saving people, there are much better ways of achieving that. Just show that woman getting attacked by the thug and getting saved by the Redman. The end.

I thought with the emphasis on heroism and Yamato being a coward that they’d help him be braver and maybe be the hero in the end so he could get back with his girlfriend. Afterall, she even said directly how he was supposed to be her hero. But nope. Pointless.

In the dub, Jillian said they were more preoccupied with publicity than justice, but we never saw anything like that. They just took pictures after every save, so that was misdirect.

There’s a sudden random shift to an anti-smoking PSA in the middle of the dub too.

The stuff about them causing trouble also didn’t do much. They didn’t care, and no one around them yelled at them or ostracized them. They didn’t apologize, either. Pointless.

What the hell was their bad transformation thing? I still don’t get it. It was a demonic Joker/centipede with a scythe? How does that relate to Super Sentai or tokusatsu?

Why was there a one-on-one western or samurai-esque duel added? Is that a thing they do in Super Sentai? Because it just seemed like an excuse for more padding since most of it was just all of the characters standing completely still for over a minute. The old lady, kid and cat pleading with him to change back should have been what made him change back – not winning a duel with Genshi.

Admittedly, the episode was salvaged a tiny bit by also having the Redman’s super transformation be in this episode as well, and TP Lady, Dyna and Mite got some hilarious moments, but other than that it was so disjointed and didn’t even feel like it had an actual story. I’m especially disappointed that Saban didn’t take this opportunity to just have a blast making Power Ranger jokes. Even if that meant changing the original script quite a bit, it would have been welcome because the original was already a disaster. You have the rights to the show, you have Barbara Goodson, you have a Super Sentai parody episode sitting in front of you – what more do you need?

But no.

Even the original barely did anything with this premise.

I had my hopes up pretty high for this episode too. :\

Next time, we’ll be heading to 16th century Italy to hang out with the space-time monster, Monarisu, who is basically the opposite of Horurun in that she turns people into art.


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Animating Laughter and Frustration: The Goofy Mess of ToonMarty

Finally, after years of doing Episode One-Derlands, I actually finished a cartoon that I featured there.

ToonMarty is a French-Canadian cartoon created in 2017 by Sardine Productions for our old friends, Teletoon. It’s about a happy optimistic boy named Marty who gets into various shenanigans in the toony world of Toonville with his friends, Burnie and Holly.

When I first watched this show, I was pleasantly surprised because, honestly, it didn’t look like it’d be worth much of a damn, but I actually found myself liking it. It wasn’t making me bust a gut or anything, but I fully enjoyed the episode that I had watched.

Cut to nearly a year later, and I’m reminded of ToonMarty as I’m looking through my saved series on Tubi, so I thought why not binge watch it and finally get one of these full-series cartoon reviews completed for a change?

So I did!

And I ended up feeling….very, very, very mixed.

I ended up also using this binge watch as an experimental show to try making a tweet thread about my thoughts on each episode, so if you want to see my brief responses to each episode, click here.

The experiment failed, by the way. I won’t be doing that again.

As you can tell just by skimming the thread, this series has pretty decent highs and fairly low lows. One minute, I’d be singing its praises, and the next I’d be frustrated beyond belief, then I’d be very bored. To get a better idea of what’s right and wrong with ToonMarty, let’s break everything down.

The Citizens of ToonVille

Marty is our main character. When lightning struck a billboard for ToonMart, ToonMart Marty being the mascot, he was brought to life. I mentioned in my Episode One-Derland post that I thought it was odd that they never explained his origins in the first episode, nor do they explain it in the theme song. He obviously has no parents and seems to live in ToonMart, which is very weird without context. If I had never read the description in the Wiki, I’d be terribly confused. I assumed that they would explore his origins in the second episode or at least later on – it’s the friggin’ plot to the show and the backstory to the main character.

But nope.

We never learn, outside of meta information, what Marty is. We just know he’s the mascot of ToonMart for some reason. For all the average viewer knows, Jack just hired someone off the street and used their image for advertising. It doesn’t ever really matter, but it’s still a very weird detail to overlook.

Onto Marty himself, he has very poor character consistency. Sometimes, he’ll be sweet and adorable and precious, but then other times he’ll be very selfish and childish, and many times he’ll be incredibly obnoxious.

I mentioned that Marty reminded me of Spongebob quite a bit, only not quite as annoying, but I take back that last part. They’re about even on that playing ground now. Marty lives for his job, is extremely happy and peppy, and is quite clueless and naive. On the more negative side, Marty loves playing pranks, being loud and destructive. That’s why he’s such good friends with Burnie, a character we will definitely need to talk more about in a second. He’s usually harmless, but he doesn’t seem to realize where the line is until he’s long since crossed it.

The show has a habit of finding ways to torment Marty for no reason. It’s not constant, but it is there and it did get very frustrating. They acknowledge that Marty is meant to be this pure, cute beacon of sunshine that everyone loves, but the show still loves to find ways to make him suffer a lot when he doesn’t deserve it. This happens a lot in episodes where either he and Burnie do something together and he gets the blame or Burnie does something on his own and Marty gets the blame.

Marty is always at his best when he’s just embracing being a toon. He’s very proud of his toon nature, and it’s always entertaining to see him bouncing around and goofing off. I wish they had just kept him that way the entire time.

Burnie is a human pustule. He’s Marty’s best friend – the Patrick to his Spongebob for sure. He’s a lazy, food-obsessed moron. The thing that sets him apart is that he’s the son of a super villain and has fire powers and flight. I mentioned in the Twitter thread that Burnie was starting to come off like a middleground between early seasons Patrick, where he’s a dummy but he’s adorable and entertaining, and late seasons Patrick where he’s just a complete and utter asshole.

I am here to report that I was also wrong on this part. He’s late seasons Patrick – in fact, he’s worse, in my opinion.

Burnie’s shtick is that he’s a lazy idiot, sure, but his more spotlighted character traits are that he’s a selfish, destructive, uncaring pile of sun-baked garbage. He hates Holly for no reason and is constantly making fun of her, pulling pranks on her or making her life miserable, and he’s always getting Marty into trouble. He only cares about himself, and unlike Spongebob and Patrick, you never really feel like their friendship is genuine.

It always feels like Burnie is just friends with Marty because the writers say so. Marty is friends with Burnie because he’s too much of a goshdarn nice guy to see the problems with Burnie most of the time. He has fun playing pranks with him, but that’s about it. He hardly ever holds Burnie accountable for his actions, and Burnie NEVER holds himself accountable for his actions. He’s usually being reeled in by Holly, but Holly almost always ends up being ignored, insulted, harmed in some way or D) all of the above.

You’d think a character like him would constantly get comeuppance, but he doesn’t most of the time. He comes in, causes trouble, acts like a prick, then the episode ends without him paying any price usually. The few times he does get his just desserts, it is beyond a welcomed sight.

Burnie has a pretty good and unique backstory in being the son of a super villain, but they surprisingly don’t do much with that aspect of his character. He frequently uses his fire powers and uses his flight to avoid walking, but outside of some clear daddy issues and some infrequent encounters with his father, it’s very much an underutilized part of his character, which is a shame. I’d much rather explore that than deal with him being a jerkass.

I did mention in the Twitter thread that, at the very least, they acknowledge that Burnie’s a complete annoying asshole….but asshole characters are only really funny if they get their comeuppance, and just because your other characters recognize that a character is annoying doesn’t mean that he’s not still annoying. You have to introduce some likable character traits to him otherwise you’ll just spend every second of his screentime wishing he’d be locked in a cage at the center of the earth.

Holly is like some mixture of Sandy and Squidward. She’s a robot, but also the token girl of the group. She’s the smartest, most mature, and she acts as a grumpy straightman to Marty and Burnie’s shenanigans. Holly is constantly on the receiving end of torment from these two, which is never justified like it commonly is with Squidward. And like I said, she and Burnie hate each other with a passion for really no reason.

I really liked Holly. Outside of one or two instances, she was likable, nice and interesting. Her being a robot is especially interesting because, despite being a cartoon, robots are not technically ‘toons’ in the traditional sense. That’s one of the reasons why Holly’s the straightman in their dynamic. As a robot, she has a weird/sometimes quite poor sense of humor, and she’s always the voice of reason. They act like Holly doesn’t actually have emotions sometimes, but that’s very much not true. I don’t know why they imply that.

Unlike Burnie’s backstory, I don’t think they squander Holly’s robot nature too much. I wish they had done a bit more with it, but it was the best out of the three main characters.

Toonville is filled with many other frequent faces like Jack, the owner of ToonMart and Marty’s boss/father figure. I would say he’s the Mr. Krabs here, but he’s really not. He’s an old curmudgeon who keeps Marty in line when he can, and that’s about it. I liked him for the most part.

Suki is a spoof of anime, most specifically Sailor Moon. I thought Suki would be way more important than she actually was. She’s right up front in the title card, she’s in the promo poster, and the first episode put her on display for quite a bit. Plus, she’s Marty’s love interest. However, she is mostly just a background character for nearly the entire show. She pops up in nearly every episode, but it’s only for about 15 seconds and usually has absolutely nothing to do with the plot.

She had one episode where she was the focus, and that was mostly it for Suki doing damn near anything of note in this series.

There are many more problems with her character that I will discuss later.

Then you have Dr. Smartypants, who was my favorite character of the show. She has great lines, a very memorable personality, and I adore her comedic timing. She’s a monkey and the doctor of Toonville. She actually manages to appear more frequently than Suki despite not even appearing in the opening theme.

Super Simon is the resident superhero. He usually battles Burnie’s dad, Burnatron. While he initially comes off as very heroic and nice, he, for some reason, becomes an ass later on.

Burnatron is a villain. There’s not much to say here. He’s a slight ass to his son, but it’s never enough to justify Burnie’s terrible behavior. Burnatron can be pretty entertaining because he’s one of those villains who are more talk than action.

Carly is a parody of Hello Kitty. She’s pretty funny, and I usually enjoyed any scene that focused on her.

Lenny is a depressed sentient bench, who might as well be Eeyore. He could be kinda funny sometimes, especially in To Be Continued.

Hobo Jeb was about the closest the series had to a consistent villain. He’s a grumpy old classically designed toon. He and Marty hate each other for absolutely no reason. I understand Jeb hating Marty since Jeb’s just a mean person, but I have no clue why Marty hates him so much.

Then there’s Grizelda, who is a witch. She hates toons and goofiness, but she could be pretty funny sometimes.

Chef and Saucy Chicken are local celebrities because they star in a show that is mirroring any chase dynamic in classic cartoons like Tom and Jerry, Bugs and Elmer, Sylvester and Tweety, Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote etc. They were pretty entertaining, but their shtick gets old real fast. There are two separate episodes that explore the fact that these two need each other in order to be happy/funny. It’s basically the same story with slightly different details. Considering these two are far from main characters, this was very odd and a waste of an episode.

What ToonMarty Does Right

One of my favorite things about this show is that it celebrates, well, toons. I adore animation, and I love when shows also clearly display a love of cartoons. Everyone’s a toon who knows they’re a toon. The world they live in follows toon rules. And several of the episodes take common cartoon tropes/mechanics and play around with them in a manner that is fun, clever and unique. Anyone who enjoys animation as a whole or even simply a fan of old classic cartoons is sure to find some episodes that will get a laugh out of them.

Animated by Snipple Animation, who have their hands in a variety of projects such as the Ducktales reboot, Phineas and Ferb, the Animaniacs reboot and even the upcoming Proud Family reboot, the animation of ToonMarty is very fluid, energetic and does a good job at capturing the over exaggerated squashy-stretchy tooniness of classic cartoons. They even change up the animation style depending on the character. For instance, the characters based on older classic cartoons tend to bounce a bit more, and Suki’s animation sometimes has missing tweens and is more limited than the others.

ToonMarty also has a pretty good sense of humor. Even in the episodes that were mediocre or even bad, there was usually at least one moment that made me crack a smile. In their best moments, they made me giggle or at least consistently smile throughout an episode. ToonMarty tends to have fun with itself, and I appreciate that.

The voice acting was very well done. Everyone was very fitting in their roles, and they all brought just the right levels of energy to the characters.

The character designs are okay. They’re not most memorable or creative things in the world, but they have enough distinguishing markers to make them easily recognizable via silhouette.

The music is also alright. The opening theme really turned into such an earworm for me. I can’t go one day without randomly playing it in my head. The BGM music is okay too, but there’s one aspect of it that I’ll have to return to later.

What ToonMarty Does Wrong

There are numerous episodes that just seem mean-spirited. I already mentioned how there are several occasions where Marty gets tormented for little to no reason. In the episode Chicken Fricassee, Chef comes into ToonMart to complain about their products not being good enough to kill Saucy Chicken. In order to help his customer, Marty offers numerous products that eventually do kill Chicken, but then everyone, including Chef, Holly and Burnie, all of whom were helping him, turn on Marty and make him an outcast because Chef’s life basically relies on Chicken. Without Chicken to chase, he has no purpose as a toon. Turns out, Chicken was faking her death for the sake of having some down time, knowing Marty was suffering for it and not caring.

There’s another episode called You’re It! where Marty is randomly made It in a game of tag, but it turns out being ‘It’ is actually a disease that will kill him unless he passes it on or finds a cure. He suffers throughout all of the episode, and then the Wise Tree tricks him into doing a bunch of BS chores to unlock the secret to the cure, but she doesn’t actually know what it is.

Holly also gets a hell of a lot of abuse. In the episode, Spare Parts, Marty’s tasked with fixing Holly after she gets banged up while playing with Marty. She has only one stipulation for repairing her – don’t let Burnie be involved at all. Marty turns her off so he can repair her and, Burnie being Burnie, he shows up immediately after Marty deactivates her. Marty can’t stop Burnie, because Burnie’s a human canker sore who doesn’t listen to anybody, he takes great pleasure in destroying her body then throwing her parts in a box labeled ‘Free Garbage.’ Her parts end up scattered throughout all of Toonville, and Marty has to gather them all to reassemble her.

When Holly wakes up, even though she realizes it was probably Burnie who was responsible for her state, she still puts all of the blame on Marty and even organizes an army of cute woodland animals and brainwashes them to be bent on hating Marty.

Speaking of Burnie, I literally have written as a bullet point for this section ‘Burnie.’ I think I’ve driven the point home that Burnie is a thoroughly unlikable character, but I really need to emphasize how much he damages the show entirely.

There are so many episodes where my overall view was dragged down simply because Burnie was there and being obnoxious. No matter if he has bearing on the plot or not, his selfish, mean, rude, uncaring behavior and attitude was always a chore to sit through.

You can have characters be terrible people and still be well-written and fun. Angelica from Rugrats is a great example of that. She was the ultimate brat. She lived for tormenting the babies whether it really benefited her or not, but she had much more to her than just being a bully, and she almost always got her comeuppance for being a little toad.

Megan from Drake and Josh is a good example of a middleground between Angelica and Burnie. She was also a nightmare who loved playing pranks on her brothers, but there was a charm about her and there were some moments that legitimately redeemed her. The major issue with her, though, was that she rarely ever got comeuppance. She never got punished for her terrible behavior or her rude comments, and even though she never made it a secret that she was a demon, her parents never recognized that she was constantly doing terrible things to her brothers. This aspect of her character made her much harder to watch.

Burnie’s not just horrible on his own – he’s also a terrible influence on Marty, but I’ll explore more of that mess later.

I know some people might defend him on the grounds that he’s the son of a super villain so it makes sense that he’s so terrible, but I don’t buy that. His upbringing may have spoiled him and made him lazy and selfish, but 1) He doesn’t much care for the super villain lifestyle. He doesn’t get along with his father and is constantly rebelling against him when they’re shown together. If anything, it makes more sense and would be funnier if he were a nice and benevolent guy. He’s a huge fan of Super Simon, Burnatron’s archnemesis, so he’s already halfway there. And 2) They don’t utilize that aspect of his character enough to justify that explanation.

There are numerous inconsistency issues throughout the show. Some of them can be hand-waved due to cartoon logic, but others are harder to justify. Characters change personalities quickly, the rules of their world change a lot, and sometimes things just make no sense.

For example, in an episode called 15 Minutes to Save the World, the group realizes that, because they live in a cartoon world, reality resets at the end of the day. They decide to do whatever they want, free of consequences because the world will just reset afterwards. They’re shocked to find that, the next day, everything’s still a mess. They wonder what triggers the reset, and in the end they discover that the end of the episode marks the reset….however, that’s not the way it was shown in the episode. They showed how the reset worked earlier in the episode by having the world reset after a zombie apocalypse the instant the sun came up. Now it’s the end of the episode that triggers the reset even though the beginning of the episode is kinda, ya know, the opposite of the end?

There are some other more damning examples I’ll discuss later.

The show as a whole never reaches a point where it really breached the line into ‘great.’ Despite having some really good episodes, it just doesn’t stick in your brain very well. Even though I mostly enjoyed watching this series, I can totally see myself forgetting I ever watched it in a month or so.

ToonMarty never truly finds its footing and really lacks a distinct personality. It bounces back and forth between being about toons being toony and just being a typical cartoon sitcom. I really think if they had committed more to taking aspects of animation and being creative with them in a nearly meta way it would have done wonders for this show’s identity. Even just taking the aspect of the ToonMart and running with it to show funny shenanigans with the gadgets and the characters who use them would have been a good option.

Instead, it’s like it’s uncomfortable being itself and keeps trying to emulate other shows……which brings me to…

Is ToonMarty a Rip-Off?

I have been making a stronger effort recently to not jump on rip-off accusations. Not saying things can’t be ripped off, but I really think that the term ‘rip-off’ gets thrown around way too much lately. People really have to just accept that some archetypes, stories, dynamics etc. are common tropes in media and have likely been for years. Just because someone uses the same tropes but isn’t as successful with them doesn’t mean they’re a rip-off.

That being said, there were several times over the course of watching this show where I got major Spongebob vibes, and it wasn’t just from the main characters. Some of the stories are also reminiscent of Spongebob episodes.

Apparently, I’m not the only one getting these vibes. In my research on this show, I found one of the very few articles on the Internet that discusses ToonMarty – an entry in Terrible Shows & Episodes Wiki (Yikes) with a bullet point list of the negatives and positives of the show as a whole, and one of the points was that it is really similar to Spongebob.

The first time I really started going ‘Hey…wait a minute….’ was in the first act of Where There’s Smoke, There’s Marty, which is very similar to Employee of the Month during the first act, right down to the ridiculous wall of Employee of the Month photos and being motivated by trying to beat someone else for the title, only here it’s against Hobo Jeb for the record holder of most EotM awards. I don’t know how a guy like Hobo Jeb earned so many EotM awards, but maybe it’s just a default thing because…Marty’s the only one who works at ToonMart now, and Jack’s not going to give himself the award.

That’s suspicious, but the rest of the episode was entirely different, so I don’t think I can justify calling ‘rip-off’ there.

Then there was The Suit Makes the Super Hero, where Marty and Burnie get trapped in Super Simon’s suit and gain his super powers as a result, prompting them to cause a lot of chaos and trying to cover up that they took the suit without asking, like Spongebob did when he got Mermaidman’s belt in Mermaidman and BarnacleBoy IV, but there was no shrinking powers involved with this story.

The most shocking moment of this came in the episode Marty’s Bright Idea. This episode feels entirely unique until the ending. Toons rely on idea bulbs to stay intelligent. This is another inconsistency in the show as they barely, if ever, actually use idea bulbs in the series, but it’s a cute play on this old classic cartoon trademark. Jack gets the year’s supply of idea bulbs from his supplier and tasks Marty with safely storing them because they can’t get anymore until next year.

Burnie, of course, coerces him into using the bulbs for random stupid crap. They go through all of the bulbs in just one day. Toonville soon devolves into a brainless wasteland, so Burnie and Marty head to the location of the supplier. When I mentioned this episode in my tweet thread, I hinted as to what the big ‘rip-off’ moment was by mentioning the episode of Futurama where they discover the origin of Slurm, Fry and the Slurm Factory.

If you’ve never seen Futurama (you should), in that episode, the crew wins a tour of the Slurm factory. Slurm is an incredibly popular drink that Fry is basically addicted to. In the factory, they’re shocked to find that Slurm is actually a bunch of goo that is expelled from the butt of a giant slug/worm creature.

And, well, guess where the idea bulbs come from. Yup. The butt of a giant slug/worm creature.

It’s completely random for such a detail to be shoved into an episode that otherwise has nothing to do with Futurama, but I can’t imagine something as specific as this was not just ripped straight from Fry and the Slurm Factory. The other stuff I can find a way to excuse quite easily, but this is too on-the-nose.

Looping back to Spongebob, ToonMarty also has some background music tracks that sound reminiscent of Spongebob music in that they use lap steel guitars. Spongebob’s trademark BGM is loaded with lap steel guitars to make their music sound more Hawaiian, tropical and ocean-esque. Their most iconic musical sting is one in which a lap steel guitar is used.

ToonMarty doesn’t use these tracks very often, and it’s usually briefly, but when they do it’s very distracting. It’s not only very Spongebob-y, but it doesn’t fit very well with the small town setting they’ve presented us with.

There’s a fine, fine line between ripping something off and gaining inspiration from something. This is a subject I really had to mull over after seeing something else shocking.

In the episode, You’re It!, they show a closeup of a progression drawing to explain how this It disease has been passed on through the years. The drawing at the end is clearly Spongebob.

Being fair, there’s also a drawing of a character clearly meant to be Mickey Mouse, and another…..that I feel I should know based on the art style alone, but I can’t place it.

Considering all of the nods that they give to classic cartoons like Mickey Mouse, does this mean that they’re treating Spongebob as one of those cartoons and are just gaining inspiration from them and giving them a nod?

I have no clue why that’s there or what that could be implying. If they really were ripping off Spongebob, I doubt they’d be dumb enough to draw attention to that by having a blatant image of Spongebob right there in the middle of an episode.

So my final verdict on this matter is no. I don’t think ToonMarty is a rip-off. I just think it has such identity issues that it borrows from other shows sometimes in order to feel more secure instead of really embracing the fairly fresh concept that they had all the way through.

Marty’s Bright Idea is a perfect encapsulation of that whole problem. It’s fully embracing its own toony meta identity for most of the runtime and then BOOM suddenly you’re thrust into an episode of Futurama for a few minutes. (For the record, I do think that one moment was entirely ripped off.)

The identity issues aren’t just present in the borrowing of material. The way that the characters will change personalities on a whim or the inconsistency issues I mentioned before are both symptoms of this. I really think if ToonMarty maybe got one more season it could have cemented itself a little more and improved overall, but, sadly, it never got a chance.

Top Five Best Episodes

Before I go over my actual favorites list, I’m going to share some honorable mentions.

9A: The Barber of Toonville – A pretty funny episode that plays with the trope of toons never changing their appearance, so they obviously never get haircuts, but Burnie needs one. After he gets his haircut, it snowballs into a really good episode of funny nonsense that I greatly enjoyed.

11A: Toon-derworld – Just a really good Halloween episode that I will probably cover in full this October for Animating Halloween.

12B: Hot Tub Toon Machine – The only episode that completely centers on the classic cartoons of yesteryear also does a good job of shining a spotlight on them. I love old cartoons and wish they got more appreciation by modern audiences, so I think it’s great that they were celebrated here.

Marty ends up losing his color and becoming wrinkled and sore after spending way too much time relaxing in Burnie’s hot tub. As a result, he’s sent to an old toons home where he meets other toons that have aged out of the public eye. Marty, however, remembers all of them. When Marty winds up being in trouble after trying to help them, the old toons team up and get their old acts together to help him get his colors back and escape. In the end, the old toons stay retired and enjoy their naps, but it was nice to see them get back in the game.

15A: Senseless Burnie (The Good Parts) – This episode had a really unique, creative, and downright trippy premise that was really fun to play around with. However, the thing that dragged this episode down will be covered in the worst list….

Onto the main list….

5: 20A – Marty’s Theme

This episode was a great play on the concept of a character’s theme music. In this world, a character’s theme music drives their emotions. If happy music is playing, they’re happy. Sad music for sad etc. Without a theme band inside their heads, toons don’t feel emotions properly. Marty loses his band after they have a big fight and break up. They leave his head to go pursue independent careers.

Marty shops for a new source of theme music and decides upon a yodeling crocodile who doesn’t understand English. This makes him happy all the time, which causes a lot of problems in his life.

This episode is loaded with funny moments and is very memorable. My only note is that it would have been better if the entire episode only played whatever was set as Marty’s theme music. That way we could react along with him. Instead we get the normal score and Marty’s theme music, so it kinda loses impact.

4: 16B – Psych-O-Marty

I know I’ve written a lot about how insufferable Burnie is, but this episode helps heal that wound slightly. Dr. Smartypants gives Marty the job of ‘tooning up’ the toons of Toonville in her stead since she needs a vacation. He does a surprisingly good job with everyone except Burnie.

Through a multitude of mental conditioning techniques, including a reference to A Clockwork Orange of all things, Marty makes Burnie realize that he’s a terrible person, so he dedicates himself to being good from now on. Problem is, the fabric of the world’s reality is dependent on toons staying in their typical roles. Burnie being the polar opposite of how he normally is starts causing everything to break apart. Marty scrambles to get him to be a jerk again, but Burnie won’t budge.

There’s this…weird glossed over detail of Burnie having an evil teddy bear as a child that may have made him a jerk? It’s just “He used to say an evil teddy bear made him do everything.” ….Oh. Okay. Is that for real or did little kid!Burnie just make that up as an excuse whenever he did bad things? We never find out. We never even see the bear outside of the costume version Marty makes for himself.

The ending was the best part of the episode because it comes out of nowhere and is pretty shocking.

The only thing I didn’t enjoy about this episode was the implication that they have to keep Burnie as this horrible nightmare person because that’s just the way he is and you can’t upset the natural order or whatever. Also, it’s a bit alarming because that means literally no character can grow or change lest the world be destroyed as a result.

Technically, this is just mirroring a facet of animation. Many cartoons, especially classic ones, wouldn’t have character development, or, if they did, it would just be in one episode and wouldn’t stick through any other episode. It was the consistent formula that kept people coming back. However, when you’re talking about one of the most obnoxious characters I’ve seen in recent years, I’d rather not have the idea of him not being an asshole sandwich be shot down so firmly.

Other than that, it was a really funny episode that I greatly enjoyed.

3: 7A: 15 Minutes to Save the World

I already said quite a bit about this episode, but I did really enjoy the way they played with the cartoon trope of the world resetting once an adventure is over. I also like that they got a bit dark with it by having Jack legitimately die and stay dead until the very end. The weakest aspect of this episode, however, is how it starkly contradicts itself as I mentioned earlier.

2: 3A – Where There’s Smoke, There’s Marty

Yet another great example of them exploring cartoon trademarks and playing around with them. Marty is trying his best to earn Employee of the Month because he only needs four more of those awards to beat Hobo Jeb’s record. Marty rushes around the store trying to do a bunch of work, but all the zooming back and forth is exhausting his smoketoon. A smoketoon is the smoke version of a toon that they leave behind when they speed off somewhere. All toons need their smoketoons to travel at any decent level of speed. Marty’s smoketoon gets so fed up with his constantly zooming around that he detaches himself from Marty and leaves. Because of this, Marty is too slow to do basically any work around the store.

With his record in jeopardy, he asks to borrow Burnie’s smoketoon, who, in a polar opposite situation to Marty’s smoketoon, is actually pent up with a lot of energy because Burnie’s so lazy that he’s doesn’t tend to use his smoketoon. Burnie’s smoketoon rushes Marty around to work, which makes him exhausted and allows him to understand how his smoketoon feels. In the end, both Marty and Burnie are reunited with their smoketoons under the conditions that Marty will take it easy sometimes and Burnie will try to not be so lazy.

I really enjoyed this episode a lot. My favorite part was when the smoketoons got into a fight and created a fight dust cloud. That kinda bent my mind and gave me a good chuckle.

1: 10B – Batteries Included

I’ve always loved the idea of a magic universal remote that can do anything to the world around you. This episode is one of the best takes on that premise. I especially loved when Holly made Burnie speak Spanish and kept him that way throughout much of the episode, when they added audio descriptions to Suki (making one of about three times Suki has a good joke/scene in the series) and when their batteries ran out pressing ‘slow mo’ and they had to wait centuries for the batteries to recharge even a tiny bit. That whole time they were basically in slow mo limbo was awesome. Very memorable episode, and one I would definitely deem my favorite.

Bottom Five Worst Episodes

Time for some dishonorable mentions…

5A: The No-Toon Bro Zone – This was the first sign of rough waters ahead for ToonMarty. It was the first episode I disliked. Burnie and Marty are being complete douchebags acting as “bros” and annoying Holly to the point where she goes to her private space to relax. The boys find her in the space and realize that it’s essentially a reality-bending area where you can get anything you want if you just say it out loud.

While Holly’s gone, the boys take advantage of the space and completely trash it. Marty also spreads the word of the place to plan a massive destructive party for everyone in town. Marty’s big mouth causes everyone to move into Holly’s place, and Marty, Burnie and Holly are not allowed in. When she tries to make the best of their time in normal reality, Marty and Burnie act like bored jerks not even trying to have fun.

The only reasons that I am a little lenient with this episode are that Holly gets her space back in the end, Marty and Burnie get punished for what they did, Holly learns how to relax a little better thanks to her time with Marty and Burnie being a fellow ‘bro’ and the jokes were alright.

6A: Candy Cute – This episode has many problems – all of them focusing on why Suki doesn’t work as a character.

This is the one and only episode that focuses on Suki. As I mentioned before, Suki is the character meant to be a parody of anime, most specifically magical girl anime like Sailor Moon. Sadly, however, it’s very clear that no one in the writer’s room actually knows much about anime to make this character work well.

You guys remember when really the only exposure people had to anime were things like Speed Racer, Sailor Moon and Pokemon? And how the bare bones of jokes involving anime based purely on a single digit number of shows were ‘The animation is cheap’ ‘The characters don’t blink’ ‘Woosh lines in the background whenever anything happens.’ ‘They overemote to things and gasp a lot.’ and ‘The lip-syncing is bad.’

Well, if you know that, you don’t need to watch this episode at all or pay attention to Suki.

Bear in mind, this show was made in 2017, long after we got a torrential flood of anime in the west and after it became basically mainstream to like anime. There’s no reason the jokes should be this lazy. The only kinda modern anime reference they make with Suki is that she also has cat ears, which I’m only giving a pass to because, despite cat girls being around for a long time, they weren’t really common over here for a while.

Then there’s the Japanese stereotyping. Suki is voiced by a white woman but speaks in an embellished Japanese accent. This is not only problematic, but it also makes no sense. Hardly any character in an English dubbed anime has a Japanese accent.

If they’re poking fun at non-dubbed anime….why is she not just speaking Japanese? Why not give her subtitles? You can even poke fun at the silly details of fansubs or something. Why make her speak English with a Japanese accent? That doesn’t convey ‘anime’ to me. It conveys….I dunno, weeaboo? Or a Japanese person cosplaying while speaking English for some reason.

She’s also very much into DDR, virtual reality and she’s, for some reason, completely obsessed with candy. Is that a Japanese stereotype? I can’t imagine it’s an anime thing…right? I know Japanese candy is supposedly really awesome, though I’ve never had any, but making her obsessed with it doesn’t make much sense to me if it’s a joke or reference.

Her candy actually seems like it has powers? In this episode, there’s been a string of shoplifting incidents in ToonMart, so Marty is tasked with taking everyone’s pockets at the door (Not checking – taking). Suki leaves behind her skirt, I guess, and Burnie being Burnie convinces Marty to rummage through her pockets. She keeps a ton of candy in there and Burnie just helps himself.

Eating the candy gives Burnie cat ears, which, by the way, look nothing like cat ears. Until this episode, I thought Suki had short bunny ears, and I’m still not convinced they’re not even though they specifically called them cat ears.

Suki adores candy and Burnie becomes much more fun when he’s on the candy (this is sounding like an anti-drug episode for some reason.) However, in a very surprisingly twist, Marty reveals that he’s allergic to sugar and eating more than just a teeny, tiny microspeck of it will make him really, really crazy and sick, so he can’t have candy. He likes Suki, however, and wants to have just as much fun with her as Burnie’s having, so he pretends like he’s eating candy for a while until he flips out, eats the candy anyway and goes on a sugar-fueled rampage.

This episode as a whole is largely mediocre, but I couldn’t get over how badly they screwed up making a parody of anime. They play with so much when it comes to other cartoon tropes, but it’s like they were contractually obligated to have a character who was based on anime since it was booming in popularity, but they didn’t know what to do with her because no one on the crew knew enough about anime to actually make creative and new jokes, which is a shame.

7B – Spare Parts – I’ve already said my piece on this episode, but it really is a terrible one. At the very least, Burnie gets “cuddled” by the giant Cuddles in the end, even if Marty and Holly also get squished.

And now for the lowest of the low points of ToonMarty….

5: 10A – ToonScout Marty

Super Simon’s at his absolute worst here. He’s trying to get merit badges in the scouts with Marty. He basically treats it like a joke, wants Marty to do everything for him, and acts like an oblivious jerk the entire time. He keeps earning merit badges for stuff Marty is doing and taking full credit without a single thought. Meanwhile, Marty, who was a model scout and loves all of these activities, ends up getting scolded constantly and has all of his badges taken away in the end.

The wrap-up to this episode plus some genuinely funny moments kept the episode from being unsalvagable, but it’s really annoying to sit through.

4: 12A – ToonMart Mutt

The reason I don’t care for this episode is the rampant animal abuse. Marty is a horrible, horrible, horrible pet owner who kills every pet he gets (usually a fish.) He asked Jack if he could get a dog, and Jack agreed, but only if he could keep a fish alive for one year. Marty unknowingly killed a fish once a day for 365 days, and Holly just kept replacing them behind his back to help him get a dog, which is absolutely abhorrent.

Holly means well, but she’s knowingly getting hundreds of fish horribly killed by Marty’s hands just to give him access to a dog that he will likely also kill?

Speaking of that, Marty does get permission to get his dog, but when Burnie realizes how much of a cushy life the dog will have (he’s not aware that Marty’s a horrible pet owner) he magically swaps places with the dog that Marty would most likely want.

Marty tortures Burnie in this episode, even though he thinks he’s being a good pet owner. He’s like Elmyra only worse. I can’t believe this episode actually made me feel bad for Burnie, but when we see his horrible, swollen, injured, hungry form after just one day with Marty, I was starting to get upset.

I would normally be right on board with Burnie getting some punishment, but 1) He didn’t deserve it in this episode, really, and 2) I can’t help but imagine Marty doing this to a not-Burnie dog, and that just makes me even more upset.

At least, at the end of the episode, Marty agrees with everyone that he’s a terrible pet owner and probably shouldn’t ever get a pet ever again, but goddamn that was rough to watch.

3: 15A – Senseless Burnie (The Bad Parts)

While this episode was very funny, weird and creative, I hit a wall of hatred with this episode when Burnie started insisting that Marty eat some super duper candy coated mega burger.

Burnie loses all of his senses after being exposed to yak hair. In order to sense things again, Dr. Smartypants suggests putting a brain leech into Burnie and Marty’s heads. Burnie’s will accept transmissions of sensory input, and Marty’s will transmit the sensations. Through Marty, Burnie can use all of his senses again. Problem is, he still can’t sense anything himself. IE if he wants to smell a flower, Marty has to sniff the flower for him.

Burnie has been really looking forward to eating this super special candy coated burger thing that is loaded with sugar, but since he can’t taste anything on his own right now, he wants Marty to eat it for him. Marty is allergic to sugar. It makes his head explode. (Yes, that doesn’t mesh entirely with what was mentioned in Candy Cute.) He wants to keep helping Burnie, but that’s basically asking him to kill himself, so he refuses.

In retaliation, since Marty claims he will do literally anything else….*sigh* Burnie forces him to do a series of horrible things to himself, literally torturing him until he gives in and eats the suicide burger.

The only thing that makes this even slightly acceptable is that Burnie still feels everything Marty is feeling, so he’s being tortured too. However, when you really think about it, this just makes Burnie look even worse as a person. He’s such a monster that he’s willing to torture himself to torture his best friend to force him into doing something that will seemingly KILL HIM just because he wants to eat a burger. Fuck Burnie, I swear.

He actually sneezes out his brain leech thing while torturing Marty, regains his own senses, but then keeps torturing Marty and tries to find the brain leech because he thinks the burger will taste better with Marty’s senses than his own.

Oh and one more thing. Burnie was also taking advantage of the fact that Marty thought he was the cause of Burnie’s senselessness by exposing him to some yak hair a while back. Turns out, Burnie owns a goddamn pet yak and is extremely close to it……even lickings its eyeballs…..

The fact that the rest of this episode is so good just makes me angrier at the bad parts.

2: 13A – How Marty Got His Toon Back

This episode I dislike for three reasons; 1) It’s just boring. 2) It is the absolute worst example of poor consistency in this show. And 3) It makes 100% no sense.

Grizelda hates toons and tooniness. On her birthday, she just wants some normalcy, but the toons are irritating her everywhere. She finally snaps and starts zapping every toony thing around her and taking away their tooniness, which kinda means she’s committing mass murder in a sense because most of the things she’s zapping are sentient and they lose their sentience when she zaps them. They’re just normal objects afterward.

In comes Marty, who is at his tooniest and causing trouble for her right before giving her an explosive when he finds out it’s her birthday. She zaps him too, taking away his tooniness and making him a regular person. He now has the capacity to feel pain and can die.

There are so many things wrong with this episode I have no idea where to begin.

Let’s just start at the basics. This premise is based on the trope that cartoons can’t feel pain, get injured or die. They just squash and stretch and turn into accordions, etc. no matter what happens.

Thing is, that’s not how cartoons work, nor has it ever been that way. Cartoons survive a hell of a lot, yeah, and like 15 Minutes to Save the World explains, the world just resets once the episode is over. The status quo is never challenged once the credits run. However, the way pain, injury and death works in cartoons is that they selectively choose when to have these things happen.

For example, a cartoon gets crushed by an anvil. It would be terrible and gross for the cartoon to explode in a bunch of meaty chunks and then end the episode because it’s now dead. It’s funny to watch him get flattened into a pancake and walk off angrily.

Likewise, it usually isn’t funny if a cartoon gets bit or burns themselves or sticks their hands in a mousetrap etc. and doesn’t respond with pain.

Death can also be worked with. I just watched a classic cartoon where the main characters die in an explosion in the end and hang out in heaven playing harps and it worked just fine.

As a result, this entire episode doesn’t make any sense even in concept. And it only gets worse from here. There have been and will continue to be plenty of instances of pain, injury and even death in ToonMarty, so even in-universe this premise makes no sense.

This is basically spelled out for us because Dr. Smartypants is telling Marty about his condition….I’m sorry Dr. Smartypants, what exactly do you do all day if toons never feel pain, get injured or die?

You want to know what episode immediately follows this one? Marty’s Exploding Head – where Marty learns so much so quickly that his brain is at risk of exploding and killing him.

But it doesn’t stop there. Even if you ignore literally everything about the way cartoons typically work or even how ToonMarty usually works, they’re still completely screwing up this premise. Why? Because Marty only barely loses SOME of his tooniness. He can’t change his outfit by spinning around really fast. He can’t crash through a wall and leave behind his outline. And he feels pain and is supposedly mortal now. These are really the only noticeable changes Marty undergoes when he’s de-tooned.

Yeah, he can’t change his clothes when he spins around really fast, but golly he sure is spinning really fast for someone with no toon powers.

Yeah, he can’t zoom through a wall and leave behind an outline, but he was still moving his legs so fast that they made that cartoon wheel of legs, which shouldn’t happen if he has no toon powers.

Here’s a brief list of every instance of Marty supposedly experiencing a lack of tooniness in this episode.

Burnie drops an anvil on Marty’s head. Marty just goes ‘ow.’

Burnie drops a piano on Marty’s head. Marty hurts, but still bursts through the piano without a scratch. He does mention he doesn’t get piano teeth or a circle of birds over his head, but that’s not the problem. If you were not toony, you’d be ultra dead right now.

Burnie torments him by creating a pellet of insanely spicy stuff. Burnie bites it and just bursts out with fire breath, but Marty is forcibly fed it and experiences a lot of pain with the level of spiciness. Okay, I’ll give them this one I guess, but they’re still making him do toony stuff by making his eyes literally glow red in response. Also, eating spicy things and experiencing pain while also breathing fire – typical things toons do because the idea of eating the spicy thing and not feeling pain is typically not funny.

Burnie pushes him off a high dive. Marty crashes into the ground, leaving a crater, feels pain….but also isn’t dead or visibly injured at all.

Burnie rolls his eyes at the idea of bringing Marty to the doctor, and even repeatedly says the word ‘Waaambulance’ (remember that meme from ten years before this show was made?) Even when he’s calling an ambulance, he tells the operator to send a ‘Waaaambulance’ for the ‘huge baby.’ That doesn’t have any bearing on the logic of the plot, but I just wanted to highlight what a pile of crusty used band-aids Burnie is again.

Dr. Smartypants shows that tons of Marty’s bones are broken in an x-ray, yet he’s not in constant ridiculous levels of pain, nor is he given anything more than a head bandage…..his skull was one of the few parts of him not damaged in the x-ray, by the way.

Marty is crushed in the screen wipe transition. Being affected by transition effects isn’t a toon thing….????

Marty catches his leg in Grizelda’s door, feels pain but his leg is still stretching out quite a bit, and he comically paused for several seconds before he actually reacted to the pain, which is another thing toons do when they get hurt.

Marty jumps up and stays in the air for several seconds, which is something he should not be able to do if he doesn’t have toon powers.

Marty puts a massive pile of explosives under Grizelda’s house to make a prank so funny she’ll give back his tooniness, but then he realizes that all Grizelda wants is normalcy, not pranks and tooniness. He takes the pile of explosives away, Burnie detonates them behind Marty because I wish Burnie would die already, leaving him singed and in a big crater with no other visible injuries….and not dead.

In the next scene, he has bandages on his torso, an arm cast and he’s using a crutch.

To get the ingredients for the nice, normal cupcake Grizelda wants, they climb a mountain and Burnie chucks the dino eggs that they’re trying to get at Marty, because I really hate Burnie. The dino attacks Marty. I’d think the dino would attack Burnie for not only having the eggs but also destroying them, but why not torment Marty some more for no reason?

In the next scene, Marty doesn’t have anymore bandages or wounds than he did before. They’re getting petals from some flower, and the flower is happily offering some to Marty, but then Burnie just yanks some off of the flower because *various anger noises*. The plant grows to massive size, develops huge spikes all over it and attacks Marty, because again, let’s torment Marty for shit Burnie is doing.

A few more bandages around Marty’s face as he goes to get the lava. You’d think Burnie, the one with fire powers and flight, would be the logical choice to get this, but no. Marty has to hang down right by the lava on a rope and get it with a coffee mug. Him being this close to lava without getting burned is already pushing it for me, but the point where I really said ‘screw this episode’ was when Burnie does a goddamn cannonball into the lava, because why wouldn’t he do the absolute worst thing you can possibly imagine to Marty right now, creating a massive wave of lava that crashes over Marty….and the only additional damage we see in the next scene is more bandages. They don’t even do the typical burned look with his hair slightly on fire like the way toons normally react to getting burned.

I know I said it wouldn’t be funny to have a cartoon get realistically injured or die horrifically like they would in these real-life scenarios, and I’m not saying that should be happening in the episode, but that’s a large part of the main issue here. They shouldn’t have even tried to do all of these stupid stunts. They should have made something funny out of Marty trying to avoid getting hurt as much as possible because he’s mortal now. If pain and death are such a huge risk to him now, it’s just plain stupid to keep having him get into situations where anyone without toon powers would easily be horrendously wounded or killed.

Maybe have Holly and Burnie scramble in a panic constantly over trying to help Marty avoid all of the hazards of their world and this very dangerous adventure. Have them use their toon powers to help make up for his lack of tooniness. Or is it much harder to make something funny out of that when “Hurr hurr, Marty suffering” is so much easier to write?

After Grizelda gets her dino lava whatever cake, Marty asks if she’ll turn him back into a toon. She agrees as long as he doesn’t do anything toony until her birthday is over. He agrees to the terms and gets his powers back, but Marty quickly explodes with tooniness all over and goes nuts. Grizelda actually understands Marty’s inability to control himself, but she can’t control herself when it comes to using magic, so she turns everyone in the room into frogs.

You’d think that’d be the end of the problems in the episode, but we’re still not done.

Everyone is turned into a frog except Burnie, who is kissed on the cheek by Grizelda, which turns him into…Merlin, but it’s just Burnie in a Merlin costume, basically. Grizelda was shown earlier to have the hots for Merlin….so uhh…she picks him up and says “Happy Birthday to me.” with bedroom eyes, porn-ish music playing and Burnie quietly begging for help.

…What the hell was that? Again, I’m all for punishing Burnie, especially in this frickin’ episode, but this is crossing a lot of lines. Not only is this creepy as shit in regards to consent, but Burnie can’t be older than maybe his mid-teens at absolute best. I’d say he’s probably 12 or 13 or something, honestly. I would rather the episode ended simply with the group being frogs, but if this terrible joke did have to be in here, why not transform Jack? Earlier in the episode, it was shown that Jack was one of Grizelda’s childhood friends who also keeps playing pranks on her for her birthday. You could have worked that into it instead of basically turning her into a pedophile.

The best this episode did was acknowledge that some people just don’t like pranks and it’s not right to try to force them to enjoy them. If they want to have some peace and normalcy, respect that.

1: 17A – A Friend Too Close

I hate this episode because it’s not only bad it’s basically doing the same thing Psych-O-Marty did only worse.

In this episode, Marty and Burnie realize that they’re so destructive and obnoxious together that they’ve literally been banned from everywhere in Toonville as a duo. They get into a big argument blaming the other for being the troublesome one, and then they decide to stop being friends.

Marty starts doing well because everyone likes Marty, but Burnie’s all alone and miserable because no one wants to be his friend because he’s the human equivalent of the teeny tiny x on mobile ads that you can never hit exactly right the first three times so you end up getting redirected over and over. Unlike in, say, Drake and Josh where they did a similar plot in Josh is Done, this doesn’t result in some sweet moment or self-realization.

Instead, Marty, despite having a blast with his new friends, suddenly finds them all boring because they suddenly start talking about boring stuff. Apparently none of them want to play pranks either, even though that’s a trademark toon thing to do, as shown in How Marty Got His Toon Back. It’s not exclusively something only Marty and Burnie do. Hell, that episode even showed that Jack loved pranks, and he’s an old fogey most of the time.

On the other side of the coin, Burnie starts going insane with loneliness, even though it’s been half a day and Holly’s tending to him. He can’t stop crying, he’s pretending a plant is his friend, and he can’t even maintain a healthy relationship with his plant friend.

It’s gets so bad, and I can’t even believe I have to say this, but Burnie actually builds a bomb and says its for when he gets “a little angry and destroy-y.”……..Are we going to find some poorly written manifesto after this?

It later turns out to be a garbage and slime bomb, but they treat it like a real bomb until the end. Holly, the robot, even recognizes it as a legitimate bomb and rushes to deactivate it.

In the end, they act like Marty and Burnie are worse apart than they are together, which couldn’t be less true. Despite having Marty for herself for a while, Holly doesn’t get to spend more time with Marty because he’s too busy with his new friends. Meanwhile, Burnie’s annoying Holly because he’s so miserable when she can easily just leave. Everyone else is just fine. No one is being bothered. It’s a bright and sunny day in Toonville.

The only third party being negatively affected here is Holly, and that’s easily fixed without getting them back together. They had to tack on the bomb thing to add more severity to this situation, which is very messed up. Like, “No, Holly. You can’t leave him alone. He might commit a terrorist act.”

Here’s my solution – Marty spends more time with Holly now that he’s free of Burnie. Burnie suffers for however long by himself because he realizes no one wants to be friends with such a terrible person. Then he gets jealous of Holly and Marty getting along so well. He wants to go full-blown super villain as revenge, but he can’t bring himself to do it. In the end, I dunno….I can’t suggest any sort of ending where Marty and Burnie get back together because I just find this friendship to be extremely toxic.

Marty’s always a worse person with Burnie, and Burnie’s always an unrestrained typhoon when he’s with Marty. Marty’s a great friend to Burnie, and Burnie’s a horrible friend to Marty. The only person who keeps them under wraps SOMETIMES is Holly, and they just end up making her the butt of the joke. I didn’t come away from this episode with any sense that we got the better outcome. Burnie should just be written out.

Bonus Notes

I tried really hard to find information online about ToonMarty, but it’s mostly a dry well. It’s a weird instance of a show popping into existence and flooring it into nonexistence. The show debuted on May 1, 2017 and aired an episode almost every single day until May 25, 2017 and then the show got canceled. I have no clue why they aired it like this. Power-airing a full season of a show in just one month is kinda crazy, and sounds like some form of sabotage, but I can’t be certain. There’s so little information surrounding this show that I can’t really know anything.

Nickelodeon gained the international rights to the show, but it apparently never aired in the US during its initial run, only in France, Latin America, Italy and Canada. Practically every video I find on the show is a promo from Nickelodeon France’s Youtube channel. It doesn’t seem like anyone has talked much about it. Outside of the Terrible Shows and Episodes Wiki entry, I found one IMDB review, one forum thread talking about distribution of the show, a couple of brief news articles and that was about it.

Oddly, though, Sardine Productions did create an online game based on the show called Marty’s Special Delivery, but it doesn’t seem to work anymore. I found two links for it – one is broken, and the other is Sardine Productions own web page for the game where it leads to nothing but a JPG.

The Facebook page for ToonMarty last updated on March 4, 2021 to announce that the show was heading to KiDoodle.tv, something that was also celebrated by Marty’s voice actor, Brian Froud, on his Instagram. However, the ToonMarty Facebook page hadn’t been updated since 2019 before that and then 2017 before that.

Oddly, they never noted that ToonMarty was heading to Tubi to get a US release.

Final Judgment

I won’t lie, I was a little disappointed when I finished the show because I had higher hopes for it. Not massively high, but high-ish. In the end, I think it’s good at absolute best. It can be smart and funny, and the main basis of the show is strong, but I can’t deny that the low points are exceedingly low.

I think a major factor in your enjoyment level of this show is how much you can stomach obnoxious behavior. Because, while I can handle a few bad episodes just fine, the fact that Burnie is here…..existing, is a problem for me all the way through. He was constantly ruining scenes or even whole episodes just by being there, and there’s never an episode where he’s not there. Then the frequent torment of characters who usually don’t deserve it makes things even harder to enjoy.

I don’t regret watching this show all the way through. Like I said, even in the worst episodes, I’d still crack at least one smile, and it usually had me either smiling frequently and/or laughing a few times. Plus, there were some concrete moments of high-quality comedy and goofy fun. However, whether I recommend it is another story.

I’d say it’s definitely worth a watch of at least a handful of episodes. I don’t think you’ll regret it. On the other hand, if you watch those few episodes and still want to walk away, I definitely won’t be jumping up to make an argument against your decision.

ToonMarty is not a show that was slept on or is a hidden/forgotten gem. It’s just a pretty decent show that came and went so fast, I’d expect it to have its own smoketoon. It was a fun ride for sure, but there were many problems with the show that needed be ironed out in a second season that never came. I really believe if it did get a second season, it would have made a good effort to fix the kinks and leveled up to having at least a couple ‘great’ episodes. Then again, I could be wrong and they could have just doubled down on the mess and made it worse. We’ll never know.

The good news is, if the show does interest you even a little it’s available for free on Tubi, available for free (?) on KiDoodle.TV, and Amazon Prime Video also has the series for free streaming with ads with options to purchase the episodes.


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SSBS – Dinosaur King Episode 4: Bungle in the Jungle Review

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Plot: After leaving for the Amazon to find a new dinosaur, Chomp gets separated from the group and lost in the dense jungle. Soon after, Max gets lost trying to find him. Can they regroup, find the dino and capture it before the Alpha Gang?

Breakdown: Ya know, sometimes I get really sad watching kids shows as an adult because there are certain occasions where it makes me feel my old-ness. I was watching the first five minutes of this episode and had the following thoughts.

*Max’s dad tries to give him all sorts of supplies for keeping him safe in the Amazon (barring the stupid ‘this one stops bad breath’ one)* *the supplies don’t make it through the transporter for some reason* Me: “Oh that’s a shame. They could really use those supplies. They should be more properly prepared before making these trips so they stay safe.”

*About 30 seconds later* Me: “Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, they really should have stopped off to get vaccinations too.”

“Ah, no. Don’t split up. There’s a reason the buddy system exists, guys. You’re in the Amazon rainforest, not the park.”

“Ah, good. At least Zoey and Rex were smart enough to put their dinos in their card forms to ensure they don’t lose them. Nice to see some responsible kids nowadays – what the hell is happening to me?”

Anyway…..*lip smack* This episode is boring as buckets and stupid as the last thing on Twitter that made you really angry.

This episode has no story…..like….none. Chomp gets lost for stupid reasons. Max gets lost for stupid reasons. Zoey and Rex meet a saltasaurus. The Alpha gang fight the saltasaurus with Spiny…..Zoey and Rex just…..watch. They don’t help at all. Dunno why. They just leave their dinosaurs in their cards and spectate this innocent dinosaur getting attacked by evil people. Our heroes.

The saltasaurus manages to get away because Spiny randomly lost its energy. The saltasaurus starts chasing Max for seemingly no reason – we’ll get to that in a sec. Chomp fights a crocodile, which is simultaneously the most interesting thing in this episode and yet, still, somehow boring. Chomp is suddenly able to hear Max yell out for it. Max and Chomp fight the saltasaurus despite being reunited with Zoey and Rex.

Rex: “Should we call out our dinosaurs?”

‘Durrrr, should we….help or something?’

‘Nah, they got this.’

‘Why the fuck are we here?’

*the saltasaurus gets defeated and turns into a card*

Zoey: “Did Chomp win?” No…..No….he didn’t. Chomp died and the saltasaurus did a victory transformation into a card.

Rex: “Yeah, he clobbered that saltasaurus!” You’re awful happy about an innocent herbivore dinosaur getting its ass whupped.

Max: “You fought so hard, you turned back into a card.” So, it’s probably a good idea to leave him in that state to rest, then, righ–

*instantly de-cards him*

Oh well, screw me, apparently.

They find a lizard that Max found a few minutes prior to the saltasaurus chasing him and deduce that the saltasaurus was after the lizard, not Max.

You may be wondering things like ‘What?’ and ‘Huh?’

Dr. Taylor explains this by claiming the saltasaurus was thinking the lizard was its family, since ‘saltasaurus’ literally translates to ‘lizard from Salta.’ Salta is the name of the town in South America where the fossils of saltasaurus were first found – information that has no bearing on this explanation whatsoever, but Dr. Taylor still thought to share it. It’s not like the saltasaurus knew it was Salta anyway. Salta didn’t exist back when the saltasaurus existed….They’re both lizards, so it followed it, thinking it was family.

First of all, saltasauruses were not lizards. It’s just a name. They do have some lizards traits, but they’re not lizards.

Second, this saltasaurus must have the eyes of a hawk fusion-danced with an owl because it somehow saw this teeny tiny lizard in enough detail to think it was family when the saltasaurus is massive.

Third, dinosaurs aren’t exactly known for their brain power, but it is way too stupid to believe that this dinosaur would follow this tiny lizard, thinking they were the same species. That’s like a lost lion finding a house cat and following it, thinking they’re family……Actually, that’s being a bit generous. It’s more like the Liger Zero Zoid following a cat, thinking they’re family.

Whatever, they have a saltasaurus now. From what I read, it never matters. No lessons were learned, no characters were developed, no story was furthered. This was a huge waste of time.

Oh well, at least they didn’t destroy any precious historical landmarks today.

I’m sincerely thinking about dropping this series. It’s just not enjoyable to watch. It has the intelligence level of a candy bar wrapper and it’s not fun. If anything, you have to be fun, especially for a kids’ show. I can accept plenty of silliness and, even though I find it insulting to kids, stupidity in the writing for shounen shows, but if you’re not going to be fun, why even bother?

This is a show where you collect dinosaurs, give them magical powers by swiping cards, have them fight each other, and, when they’re not doing that, they’re cool trading cards or chibi-dinos that are convenient pets. All the while, you’re traveling the world in an instant and seeing precious historical landmarks (that you may or may not destroy.) It is ridiculous that this show can’t manage to be entertaining with that premise, but they found a way.


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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 10: The Approaching Beautiful Teacher’s Secret Mask/Manga Chapter 7

(Normally I would custom-make a header image, but this chapter title card was way too cool.)

This is our first instance of a plot revolving around Honda in the anime (and…pretty much ever, manga-wise) and the only instance of Miho existing in the manga. Why she was specifically chosen to be main girl character #2 in the anime is beyond me, but just be thankful she’s not in the 2000 anime.

I suppose it might have simply been because she is really the only other female student that is ever given even a modicum of focus in the manga, which is pathetic to say the least. Usually, the main girl in a group of mostly guys in an anime will have one or two girls who are barely-there side friends just to prove that the girl doesn’t only hang out with guys or something. But nope. Manga!Anzu’s in a sausage fest.

Jonouchi brings Honda to Yugi to help him with a problem – Honda is love sick for a girl named Miho, whom he’s nicknamed Ribbon-chan because she wears a ribbon (the amount of cleverness is high.) He needs advice on a gift to get her attention. Honda doesn’t want Yugi’s help at first and is quite rude and threatening to him about it, even strangling him a few times. However, Yugi, being a precious cupcake, decides to help him anyway. And, again, being Yugi, they go to his grandpa’s game shop to find a present.

Sugoroku hears his plight and grabs a blank puzzle, citing it as the gift he used to woo Yugi’s grandma. It’s weird, I never once thought about Sugoroku’s wife before. I wonder why they never bother talking about her….then again this show really doesn’t like explaining where anyone’s parents are or who they are, so it’s probably asking too much to think they’d include information on grandparents. Though, oddly, the one person on Yugi’s family tree that we do get the most info on is Sugoroku.

Anyhoo, the blank puzzle is used for messages. You write a love note on the puzzle and break it into pieces. Your loved one will complete the puzzle, see the message and, if all goes well, return your feelings. It’s a bit convoluted, especially if the person doesn’t want to do the puzzle or doesn’t return the confessor’s feelings, but it is fairly romantic.

Honda gets Yugi to write the note for him, which takes him all night, and they put the puzzle in Miho’s desk.

You might be wondering why I haven’t so much as mentioned episode ten yet. That’s because the adaptation of this episode had to be drastically changed since Honda and Miho’s dynamic is so different in the anime, and she’s an actual main character there. They could have had an episode like this where Honda decides to confess his love for Miho through a puzzle. It’s not that difficult to change up a few things and make that plotline work.

Maybe if he was actually shot down he’d stop being such a pathetic doofus around her. But why bother trying to think about how you could adapt the story properly and maybe even develop Honda’s character a little when you can pretty much just cheat in a manner we’ll talk about shortly.

The next scene in the manga is basically adapted just fine, though. Chouno-sensei is an incredibly beautiful teacher at their school, fawned over by many of the boys, but she’s also an incredibly strict devil woman. In the anime, she merely takes some girl’s charm off of her bag since it was against the rules, but in the manga she’s known as The Expelling Witch, having expelled 15 students in six months. She’s also very egotistical and wears gobs of makeup. In the anime, she’s so strict that she is trying to coerce (Read: seduce) the vice-principal into banning all personal items from school and increasing penalties for rule breakers.

Can I take the time to point out that the show is trying to torment my eyes again? What the hell is Chouno wearing? For someone who supposedly puts so much time and effort into their appearance, she chose a butt-ugly skirt suit.

The main plot starts here in the anime, and it’s pretty much the same plot as the Honda/Miho plot from the manga with the main difference being that the one with the crush is a completely new girl named Mayumi, who has hair that matches Chouno’s gross green skirt suit, yay. She likes Jonouchi and wants to confess to him. Anzu and Miho recruit Yugi to help her confess to Jonouchi, and he suggests going to the game shop where they get the same type of message puzzle.

There is a small running gag in the anime where, whenever someone asks what Jonouchi would like for a gift, they respond by saying he likes lewd videos. I thought that was pretty funny.

Believe it or not, even though they didn’t really have to change this plot so much, the anime’s arrangement makes more sense. At least it’s canon that Jonouchi likes games. Who’s to say Miho would like the puzzle or even try to complete it? This would make the most sense if Yugi was the recipient, but no one his age ever seems to have an actual crush on him – and that includes Anzu….

In the anime, Mayumi is the one who writes on the puzzle, not Yugi. I guess this makes more sense because she barely knows Yugi.

In the manga, we only hear about Chouno’s marriage interview when she’s discussing it with the vice principal. She says he didn’t deserve her and walks away.

In the anime, we actually see her marriage interview, and she mostly seems to use it to fish for compliments on her appearance. A little boy is playing around the area where they’re having their interview and accidentally runs into her. Chouno knocks the boy down and chastises him for dirtying her kimono, calling him a brat. He runs off crying, and Chouno laments on how terribly kids are brought up these days. Then her date dumps her after the spectacle – understandably so.

The thing about this change is that it’s not just adding the marriage interview, it’s also changing her character a tiny bit. In the manga, she’s a pure cold-hearted bitch who is toying with men and punishing them for no reason.

In the anime, while she’s still just a bitch, they inadvertently make her a little sympathetic. Fishing for compliments makes her seem like she has severe self-esteem issues, and having her be the one who got dumped leaves the door open for sympathy.

The conversation later when the vice principal asks her how her date went is kept the same as the one at the start of the manga chapter, but it’s made different because they showed the interview. Likewise, the following scene where she smashes the bathroom mirror and goes off about how she was planning on dumping the guy anyway and that she only uses marriage interviews to toy with men is also kept the same, but they add in a slight bit of her being extra insulted because the guy dumped her.

In the manga, for all we know, she did just toy with the guy and dumped his ass like old mop water so she could relish in his humiliation. But in the anime we know she was dumped, and nothing in inner monologue suggested she was going to dump him, though she was obviously just using him for an ego boost. Now it just seems like she’s embarrassed and she’s trying to make excuses to save face….hehe, save face…That joke will sense a bit later.

Bear in mind that I’m not saying anything the anime is adding is making her someone to root for or feel sorry for, especially when you consider the later events, but they did add a slight bit more depth to her character by making subtle changes. It’s not big change or anything, but it’s better than just making her fully two-dimensional.

In the manga, Chouno, being pissed off, decides to calm herself by springing a surprise inspection on the class. She wants them to empty their bags and their desks and will be thoroughly punished if she finds anything out of line. Funnily enough, when she’s listing off items that are against the rules, she mentions condoms – and they’re the most prominently displayed word in the text. I never thought I’d ever see the word ‘condoms’ in anything Yu-Gi-Oh related, but here I am.

To make this even funnier, she thinks this with such a creepy look on her face, and she’s yelling it.

Miho brings out the present and Chouno takes it away, shocking everyone and embarrassing Miho.

In the anime, Chouno just tells them to get out their textbooks. Jonouchi finds the present on accident while trying to get his book.

In both versions, Chouno rips the wrapping paper off of the gift and starts slowly trying to humiliate Miho/Jonouchi by putting the puzzle together and revealing the message.

In the manga, Yugi and Jonouchi stand up and try to claim the puzzle as their own to prevent Honda from being embarrassed or getting punished. Touched by their gesture, Honda decides to take the rap anyway and admits that it was his message and puzzle. Chouno can’t know for certain which boy is actually telling the truth, so she decides to complete the puzzle to see who signed it. She’s very close to revealing the name when Yami emerges and turns the puzzle into a Shadow Game.

In the anime, Anzu decides to take the heat for it, believing she can merely tell Jonouchi it was a prank. She’s told to go to the advisor’s office later, where she debates with Chouno on the ethical nature of the strict rules that she loves to enforce, particularly those of ‘distractions’ like a harmless puzzle or a part-time job. She tells Chouno that she believes many other students are on her side about this issue, so Chouno tells her to prove it by gathering the signatures of other students.

As Anzu prepares to do that exact thing, Chouno lies to the other teachers acting as if Anzu is a threatening troublemaker who is looking to appeal all the rules in the school.

Anzu starts putting up posters and gathering signatures. She admits that doing this is both for the sake of the students’ happiness and for allowing her to work her part-time jobs without worrying about getting caught.

Apparently, Chouno was able to convince the other teachers of Anzu’s misdeeds, especially with her posters up everywhere, so they start harassing her. Her posters get vandalized, and she starts getting unfairly targeted by her teachers in class. Despite this, Anzu keeps trying her best, though apparently she has zero signatures? I thought Jonouchi was going to sign it, and wouldn’t Miho, Yugi and Mayumi sign it immediately? Maybe Honda wouldn’t because he’s all about school rules, even if he doesn’t support Chouno’s behavior, but he’s pretty loyal to his friends. Surely he’d do it if Miho asked him, anyway.

Miho explains that there’s a rumor going around school that anyone who has signed has been targeted by Chouno and her fellow teacher cronies, which either isn’t true because she has no signatures or isn’t true because it hasn’t happened, as Anzu attests.

Anyway, pre-soft-reboot Yu-Gi-Oh being what it is, of course Anzu and Yugi get bullied. Three assholes mock her and take her sign-up sheets. They push Yugi to the ground and tear up her papers. Jonouchi comes over to confront the guys, one of them ironically calling him a rule-breaker. Jonouchi, unable to stomach this abuse to his friends, tackles the guy to the ground and punches him to face.

Obviously, this a big no-no, so Chouno brings them all to the advisor office for punishment. Anzu tries to take the full blame again, and Chouno threatens her with expulsion. She releases them all, explaining that the staff will decide Anzu’s fate tomorrow. She brings the three assholes into the room for their ‘punishment’ next.

They all leave, barring Yugi, who listens in at the door. Not surprisingly, Chouno was the one pulling the strings behind the three assholes. In exchange for expunging their records, they were told to harass Anzu and Yugi and get them to break the rules.

Shocked at this revelation, Yugi triggers Yami’s emergence.

Shadow Game

So, here’s the deal. In the manga, the Shadow Game really isn’t a Shadow Game so much as Yami utilizing the power of the Puzzle to warp Chouno’s face into a crumbling jigsaw puzzle (Though, oddly, we never get to see her ‘ugly’ face) and never allowing her to complete the puzzle to find out the confessor’s name. Chouno runs off in terror and uh….that’s it. The end. Of the Shadow Game anyway. Chouno is never seen again, either.

In the anime, Yami confronts Chouno in the hall and offers to play a game. If he wins, Anzu and her friends don’t get any punishment. If he loses, he’ll keep quiet about her using the students to further her own twisted plans, and he’ll willing be her pawn. She accepts.

Yami throws two mirrors up into the air. Each falls on their respective sides of the table and shatter into pieces, which was a really sick move. Yami always knows how to do these games in style. Whomever puts the mirror back together first wins. However, there’s a catch. They each have to be wearing blindfolds.

Chouno accepts, and the game starts. Before they actually get into it, however, Yami offers Chouno a pair of gloves to keep her from getting cut.

They start putting the mirror back together, but of course Chouno just takes the blindfold off because she knows Yami won’t see her. As they work, Yami reveals that this is actually a Shadow Game – if she cheats, there will be dire consequences. Chouno doesn’t think anything of it, but keeps up her blindness act as they continue to work. He’s halfway done, but she only has one more piece. She completes the puzzle, but Yami knows she has cheated.

He calls her out on her misdeeds and starts her penalty game. Her face turns into a crumbling puzzle, and beneath the pieces lies an old ugly sagging face. Chouno runs off in horror, but that’s, surprisingly, not the full end for her. Later, we see that she’s still preoccupied with her looks and vehemently supports stern rule enforcement, but now, whenever she goes too far with it, she hallucinates her face start cracking away and excuses herself. Apparently, she’s even caking on more makeup than usual because she’s trying to cover the cracks and it won’t stick.

Meanwhile, at the end of the manga, Honda formally confesses to Miho and gets shot down. However, Yugi points out that his friendship with Jonouchi and Honda has grown as a result of their ordeal.

At the end of the anime, Chouno’s plans seemingly fall apart, but it’s very unclear if Anzu got her wish to lighten up the rule on part-time jobs. Jonouchi asks Anzu what was up with the puzzle message, and like she claimed she’d do earlier, she just says it was a prank and he brushes it off. Miho tells Anzu it’s all okay because, get this, during this whole fiasco, Mayumi fell for an upperclassman and confessed to HIM, so they’re dating now.

……Mayumi, you were barely a character…but FUCK OFF. Anzu, Yugi and Jonouchi went through all of this bullshit because of you, and not only do you not help Anzu with her goal, but in the two days this was all going down you just decide you don’t like Jonouchi anymore, fall for someone else, confess to them and start dating them? What a bitch. The only reason they wrote this in is because they didn’t want this character to return and they were too lazy to write a proper resolution to that plotline.

———————————-

The anime definitely has the edge over the manga in pretty much every respect this time. In both scenarios, there’s a one-off character I couldn’t care less about (Though Mayumi is more of a bitch than Manga!Miho. At least she let Honda down gently), but the story is much more fleshed out in the anime version.

By the end, even though they added a layer or two to Chouno’s character, she was still extremely hateable. That guy who dumped her might as well be named Neo because he dodged a bullet.

I like how they showed that, even though she technically escaped the Shadow Game illusion, she’s still trapped seemingly forever, and it’s forcing her to keep changing her ways. It makes me think that this might be the case for everyone else, though considering Manga!Kaiba and Mokuba, probably not.

Having Anzu take the stage with this story was also a lot better than focusing on Honda. She’s a more interesting character, she already has a bone to pick with Chouno in regards to the rules being a hindrance on her, and I felt really bad for her when she was being harassed.

They obviously greatly improved on the manga’s shadow game, which wasn’t even really a game. And, like I mentioned, despite the punishment being the same between versions, we never see the ‘ugly’ face everyone, including Chouno, hallucinated at the end. Considering how scary this art can be when it’s just trying to be normal, they could have had a field day trying to make a purposefully ugly face, but they couldn’t be bothered.

The game itself was really cool. Yami even broke the mirrors in a cool way and put on his uniform in that badass manner where he uses his jacket as basically a cape. The broken mirrors also had symbolism in reflecting her ugly insides and being a sendup to her breaking the mirror earlier.

It’s subtle, but there are some cute little hints of Yugi’s crush on Anzu peppered throughout the episode. This was a good way to keep the theme of romance throughout, even if it was just slightly. However, it does bother me a little because, even in the soft-rebooted series, Anzu is definitely more romantically attracted to Yami than Yugi, if she even has an iota of feelings for Yugi at all. It’s just sad. The only reason they’d ever get together is if she waited about ten years when Yugi magically becomes a carbon copy of Yami, as far as we were able to tell from that one shot in GX anyway.

That’d be an uncomfortable situation. Imagine them in bed and her being like ‘Can I call you Yami or Atem?’

Overall, a decent story on the manga side and a pretty good episode on the anime side.

Winner: Anime

Next time, Miho and Yugi enter the world of Capsule Monsters.


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Episode One-Derland | Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto

Plot: If perfection exists, it’s personified as Sakamoto. He’s gorgeous, gets perfect grades, is extremely athletic, oozes charm and has pretty much everything go in his favor. Even when jealous classmates try to take him down, he easily comes out on top with style.

Breakdown: This series was suggested to me a while back, and I’m happy to report that I enjoyed the first episode very much. It’s a pretty unique premise – amping up the idea of this perfect golden hot guy character to insane levels and being so over-the-top with him that it’s actually very funny.

The world was easy to build and the characters just as easy to introduce. They seem like largely one-off characters besides Sakamoto, though, as it seems to be a repeating cycle of ‘Rrrgh I hate Sakamoto because he’s so perfect and gets all the attention. I will sabotage him!’ *sabotage fails* ‘I now love Sakamoto!’

I did think this episode had the most boring opening scene I’ve seen in a long time. Just having a faraway shot of three boys bouncing a ball back and forth with the most minimal animation they can muster as they talk about Sakamoto for about two minutes. What’s even worse is this is a running gag….

Sakamoto, as a character, is obviously super cool and exaggerated. He does everything with this flair that would otherwise come off as odd in other shows, but everyone fawns over here. He is truly perfect, and that makes for some great comedy

However……..that’s also my main concern with this show.

This series is 13 episodes long, and each episode seemingly has two stories in it. I don’t think this premise is strong enough to uphold 13 (technically kinda 26 I guess) episodes. It’s funny to see Sakamoto perfect himself out of so many situations and see how the sabotage/challenges of his fellow classmates fails over and over, but he’s too perfect. I already know he’ll come out on top in every situation without even trying. Part of the fun is figuring out how he’ll get out of it, but you still know he inevitably will.

How many times can you see him stylishly do something amazing before it gets old?

And how long can a character who is seemingly perfect from all angles carry a show? He’ll certainly never grow or have challenges to overcome, so the entire series is reliant on his shtick being strong enough to carry 13 episodes/26 stories, and I’m really unsure about that. Some of the situations are quite funny even without him, like the plot with the bee, but Sakamoto’s the main focus, so it’s iffy.

The art and animation are quite nice, even if those faraway shots make me think they’re cutting corners to save money for the more complex animation, which is fin. Sakamoto’s scenes have to be as stylish and sleek as possible.

The music was also fairly unique and pretty nice.

Verdict:

Continue Yes

Still unsure as to how much fuel this sparse plot can power this series for, but I enjoyed myself quite a bit in this opening episode, so I look forward to continuing it.


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My Poke-Pinions #43, 44, 45 and 182 | The Weed/Flower Line

Oddish

Name: Oddish’s name is pretty cute and memorable. It’s a mixture of ‘odd’ and ‘radish’ however it has been posited that it’s just the “word” ‘oddish’ like ‘kinda odd’ which I don’t believe.

Its Japanese name is Nazonokuza, which is supposedly based on nazo no kusa, which means enigmatic grass. It’s a bit long and clunky of a name, but it’s pretty fitting.

Design: Oddish is pretty cute……Yup.

There’s no much to say about Oddish. It’s literally a vegetable with a simple face and simple feet. It’s always kinda creeped me out that Oddish doesn’t have any arms, but even that’s nothing significant.

Sprite-wise, Gens I and II are way too dark. It’s less blue and green and more midnight blue/black and green.

Some of the animations are adorable, such as Crystal’s,

Emerald’s

and B/W/B2/W2.

That’s about it.

Shiny:

I’ve never been much of a fan of Shiny Oddish. It’s just a lot of green. Granted, it’s basically the same situation as Shiny Bulbasaur, but for some reason it bothers me more with Shiny Oddish. I think Shiny Bulbasaur’s shades of green are better and have more contrast than Shiny Oddish.

In Gen II, Shiny Oddish looked almost entirely different. It had a super dark green body with yellow leaves, and, in my opinion, it looked a million times better than the flat green version we have today.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Oddish is supposed to be heavily based on the mandrake plant. Mandrakes are root vegetables that kinda resemble human figures. Mandrakes are most famously known for the myth of basically being living plants. When in the ground, they look no different from other plants, but when removed from the ground, they’ll shriek. Oddish’s Dex entries just recycle this myth full-out in several games, even though I can’t remember this ever happening in any Pokemon media I’ve consumed.

It also has a scientific name, one of only two Pokemon with such a thing (The other being Kabutops) – Oddium Wanderus. At night, it will wander around the land sowing its seeds while absorbing moonlight as nourishment.

I don’t think this is reflected in either the games or the anime very well either, because I found a lot of Oddish in the games during the day, and, in the anime, I only remember them really being shown during the day. Only the TCG seems to reflect this, but even that seems to have dropped the nocturnal concept.

Oddish is also based on, as you can guess, bulbous root vegetables like onions, turnips and, of course, radishes. The leaves are meant to be in reference to snake plants, but uh….yeah, I think they’re just leaves. Especially considering that a lot of snake plant leaves seem to have yellow in them, which, unless that’s meant to poke at Gen II Shiny Oddish, isn’t reflected in Oddish.

Gloom

Name: Gloom’s name is a bit weird. It’s fine, technically, but it’s also strange. Gloom’s not really a depressed Pokemon. It just tends to be drawn in a manner where it’s nearly always frowning or at least just has a neutral expression. I guess I’d understand if Gloom was bummed all the time because literally all anyone talks about in regards to this Pokemon are that it stinks something fierce. However, it’s not noted as being depressed or gloomy or making anyone else sad.

It also took me until I was an adult to realize that Gloom’s name was meant to also be a play on the word ‘bloom.’ I was wondering why Gloom’s name was such a blunt reference to sadness and non-related to plants, but then I remembered ‘oh yeah, bloom.’ But that doesn’t even really work because the word is completely lost in Gloom. It’s just ‘gloom.’ Am I just stupid? How many people got that on the first hearing?

In Japan, it’s known as Kusaihana, which literally translates to ‘stinking flower.’

Design: I never much cared for Gloom. I don’t like its weird face, I definitely don’t like its drool, and I don’t like its weird ball-flower thing on its head. It’s not the weirdest/ugliest/creepiest Pokemon in the world, far from it, I just don’t care for it very much. At least it has arms now.

Sprite-wise, R/B is weird.

Green is like its drunk.

WHAT.

THE.

FUCK.

IS.

WITH.

YELLOW?!

Why is it so red?! It’s ENTIRELY RED! What the hell happened to this sprite?

Other than that, Silver looks drunk again.

Crystal’s animation is ueghhghgh.

Emerald’s animation make it look like it’s high.

HG/SS looks like it’s having a slight seizure.

I don’t much care for any of the sprites, to be honest.

Shiny:

Gloom’s shiny is one of the laziest and ugliest shinies. They literally just put an ugly-ass yellow filter over a regular Gloom and called it a day. At least Gen II’s shiny feels like the flower is glowing, but every other Gen’s shiny of Gloom is just terrible.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Hey, guys, did you know Gloom smells bad? You do? Well, now you know 95% of the content in Gloom’s Dex entries.

It’s smells real bad. It smells so bad, people may faint because of it. The stench is so strong, you can smell it from over a mile away. And, to make matters worse, this fact makes Gloom even creepier, because apparently it loves its own stench and will drool more after sniffing it…..eugh. When calm and secure, Gloom won’t produce its horrible stank, which is something they actually highlighted in the anime.

Outside of the constant ‘it smells bad’ the Dex entries note that the ‘drool’ coming out of Gloom’s mouth is actually honey, which, ew, that tastes good, which ew, who the hell discovered that and why? To make matters worse, while most Gens insist that only the flower on Gloom smells bad, Gen VI claims that the honey also reeks as badly as the flower, which is strange because Gen I explained that the drool/honey was used to attract prey. Don’t think it would do a good job of that if it smells horrid.

Design-wise, Gloom was also based on the mandrake, but more specifically it was based on the budding stage of the Rafflesia, which is known for its giant (and ugly, quite frankly) spotted five-petal flower and for smelling like rotten fish. It is also a parasitic flower, which is supposedly why the leaves on its head are now orange/brown – because the leaves are dying.

Female Gloom are said to be based on Rafflesia hasseltii, which have larger spots, as female Gloom do. If I can rag on Gloom’s design one more time, I also don’t care for Gloom’s female version because, being totally honest, it just looks like it has a bunch of discolored boobs on its head.

Finally, Gloom’s stench amplification abilities used as a defense mechanism are based on skunks. And the fact that Gloom’s pollen is used as an ingredient in perfume, as seen in the anime, is also a reference to real-life musk, which, despite its pungent odor, is commonly used as a base in perfumes.

Vileplume

Name: Unlike Gloom, whose name is a bit too one-note to the point where it loses the plant indication, Vileplume’s name works very nicely. It’s memorable and very fitting since it works in both the unpleasant implications and the plant reference very well. It’s a combination of vile, which is in reference to its stench, and plume as in a plume/cloud of pollen.

Its Japanese name is Ruffresia, which is obviously a nod to its real-world flower inspiration. I don’t like the way they changed it, though. It’s a clunky word, and unless you know of the genus of flower from which Vileplume is derived, you’d have no idea what it means.

Fun Fact: In Germany, it’s known as Giflor, which is ‘gift’ and ‘flor’ mixed together, which sounds weird from an English standpoint, but ‘gift’ here actually means ‘poison’ which is very fitting.

Design: Vileplume looks….fine. I was never a fan of the thick flower petals, they always gave me ew vibes, but overall it’s fine. It’s a flower….with a body, a face, arms and legs….

Sprite-wise, R/B looks…off. It’s like an Oddish ripped the leaves from it’s head and wore that flower as a hat. The perspective is very weird.

Green is the same issue, but it somehow looks worse, like it’s a bootleg sprite.

Yello—AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

How the fuck did that happen twice?! Who’s in charge of the Gloom and Vileplume sprites for Yellow? What were you on when you did this?

Other than that, the rest of the sprites are actually pretty cute. I love Silver’s pose.

Emerald’s little dance is really cute.

What the hell is happening to Vileplume in D/P/P?

Did it drop its keys?

Gen V is also odd because it looks like it’s tipping its flower to me.

Everything else is fine.

Shiny:

I would say it’s basically the same situation as Gloom, but despite also seeming very yellow-filter-y Vileplume is moreso pure green and orange than just putting a yellow filter over the original sprite. Out of the three so far, it’s probably the best, but I still don’t really care for it that much.

The Gen II sprite isn’t as different from the regular set as Gloom and Oddish’s. In fact, other than having a darker body, it looks about the same as it does later on.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Vileplume has the largest flower petals in the world, which I think is incorrect because surely Venusaur beats it? It spreads a toxic pollen around by flapping the petals, and the more pollen it contains the larger and heavier the petals are. The petals can get so large that Vileplume may have difficulty holding its head up.

Most of the Dex entries note it as being both poisonous and allergenic, but….I think if it’s poisonous it doesn’t much matter if it’s allergenic. It’s like, imagine poisoning someone and then, as they lay dying, you gloat that they’ll have acid reflux because of the poison.

The pollen is used for paralyzing its prey, which is fine and dandy, but….uh….how does Vileplume kill or consume living beings? It’s not like a Venus fly trap. It has little stubby arms and legs and no teeth. I’m trying really hard to imagine Vileplume trapping and eating its prey, and I just can’t do it. Anything I come up with is too silly.

In terms of design, we have the same info from Oddish and Gloom, but the notes about paralyzing its prey and eating it are based on carnivorous plants, as I already pointed out. Also, like Gloom, the females have larger spots than the males, but female Vileplume looks much better. At least it has a multitude of spots instead of head boobs.

Bellossom

Name: Bellossom’s name probably beats Gloom in being one note. It’s literally just an extremely slightly changed version of ‘blossom.’ At least this name is obviously related to flowers, but it’s also incredibly boring. The ‘bell’ part is meant to come from either ‘bella’ which is Spanish for ‘pretty’ or just ‘bell’ in reference to its shape.

In Japan, it’s known as Kireihana, which is a combination of kirei, meaning ‘pretty’, rei, which means ‘bell’, and hana, which means ‘flower.’ This is a perfectly fitting name for this Pokemon and it flows well. It’s also a slight send-up to Gloom’s Japanese name.

Design: Can I be real with you guys? I don’t get the point of Bellossom. There are many Pokemon from old Gens that eventually received new evolutions, and the results vary with each one, but Bellossom has always stood out to me as being particularly pointless at best and completely nonsensical at worst.

The Oddish-Gloom-Vileplume line already has three stages. It’s such a ridiculously simple Pokemon line that it doesn’t need a fourth optional stage.

But more than that, Bellossom doesn’t fit in this evolutionary line at all. At least when old Pokemon get new evos or pre-evos they typically stay consistent with what the original Pokemon was about. How did we go from a line based on ugly, toxic, rancid smelling flowers to a “cute” and “beautiful” Pokemon based on hula dancers? It doesn’t look anything like its predecessors. The only thing that comes remotely close is its face and even that’s not quite right.

The flowers on its head are supposedly Rafflesia flowers, but I’m not buying it. They don’t look like those thick gross flowers. They just look like normal pretty flowers.

Not to mention that Bellossom is one of the weirdest instances of regressive evolution I’ve ever seen in Pokemon. It’s not only purely Grass type, making it the only Pokemon in existence that evolves from a dual-type into a single-type, even Oddish was dual-type, but it’s also, somehow, the smallest Pokemon in this evolutionary line. Yes, it’s even smaller than Oddish.

Oddish is 1’8” and Bellossom is 1’4”.

Being completely fair, I have nothing against Bellossom’s design. It’s a very cute little Pokemon. Not one of my favorites, but still a cute Pokemon. I’d have no complaints about it if it was just a standalone Pokemon, but it’s not. For some reason, they decide to staple this Pokemon onto Oddish’s evolutionary line and I just don’t understand in the slightest.

Sprite-wise, G/S looks a bit off, but not bad. It had pink flower petals and leaves instead of red. Looks kinda pretty, if you ask me. In fact, I’d prefer that be the shiny version.

Crystal also has red on the leaves, which will later be green, but I also don’t mind that. It looks pretty cool.

I don’t have much to say about any other Gen. Some Gens have cuter dance animations than others, but that’s about it.

Shiny:

Gen II’s shiny is a bit strange. It’s like a denim or navy blue mixed with red. It’s alright.

Gen III is also a bit strange. It has a purple face and nothing else is different. I don’t know if it’s just the clashing of the red with the purple or something, but even though purple is my favorite color, I’m not really into this shiny.

Gen IV and beyond has Shiny Bellossom in more of a lilac purple with pinker flowers, which I think works perfectly and definitely makes it the best shiny version out of this entire evo line.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Bellossom love to dance, a lot, which is in reference to the hula dancer inspiration I mentioned earlier. They dance to worship or summon the sun, and they close up their petals at night to fall asleep, which, in my opinion, just makes this evolution even weirder because we had established earlier that Oddish was nocturnal.

When their flower petals rub up against each other, they make a pleasant ringing noise. Finally, Bellossom is said to grow more beautiful flowers if it evolves from stinkier Gloom, which….I guess makes sense but also doesn’t. Why does that matter? Also, it’s funny how the brown/orange tinge of Gloom’s leaves are meant to be indicative of the parasitic plant drawing nutrients away from the leaves Oddish had, effectively killing them, but Bellossom will grow prettier flowers if it’s evolved from a really smelly Gloom.

I just don’t understand this evo at all.

Design-wise, we already touched upon how Bellossom is based on hula dancers, but specifically the grass skirt is present and the flowers on its head are meant to look like plumeria, which are commonly worn as hair decorations and used in leis. It’s also meant to be based off of Rafflesia, but I already said I don’t buy that. Specifically, it’s based on the Rafflesia keithii, which, I’ll admit, does look kinda similar to Bellossom’s flowers in regards to the shapes of the petals, but that’s about it.

Finally, it’s bell shaped, which is meant to build on the ringing sound that it makes when their petals rub together. I don’t get what any of that has to do with flowers, hula dancers or quite literally anything related to this line. I don’t understand how flower petals rubbing against each other can sound like ringing. I don’t know why it’s bell shaped as a result. I don’t know what the bell or ringing would even mean. I guess bells are sometimes used in rituals, and the dance is meant to summon or worship the sun, so….maybe that’s the reason? It’s not mentioned anywhere. I’m just guessing. I dunno.

Next time, we tackle the Paras line!


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Hell Girl (Manga) Volume 4 Review | Alt. Title: Literally Everyone is Awful

Plot: The continuing stories of Hell Girl….

Chapter 14: Melody of Sorrow

Uhm….wow. This was one of the more ridiculously over done chapters we’ve ever seen on Hell Girl.

Seriously, it went down to supervillain-esque levels of muahahaha-evil.

Yui has a step-dad, Junichiro, whom she really loves. He’s a sweet guy who always supports her and she loves him just like a real dad. According to her parents, her real dad ditched her mother and her when she was three because he wracked up a lot of debt.

Yui’s class volunteers her to play piano for a singing contest at their school in a few weeks. She really liked the piano as a little kid, but stopped playing. The instant she picks it back up, her step-dad flips his shit and demands she stop learning and tell the class to find another pianist. She’s shocked at his drastic change in demeanor, but her mom encourages her to continue learning as long as she keeps it a secret from him.

Inevitably, he finds out, and holy shit sundae, he goes berserk. He slaps her across the face and locks her in her room for days, obviously not allowing her to practice piano anymore but also not allowing her to go to school or even eat. When her friends show up to check on her, he verbally reams them for encouraging her to play piano and shoos them off. When her mother tries to sneak some food to her, he slaps her across the face for going behind his back.

After however many days, he finally has a conversation with Yui about why he’s so upset. Get ready….This guy’s a fucking lunatic.

He shows her the picture that was in her piano practice book that her mother gave her. It was a picture of her mother and her biological father, Tadase. Her father was a piano genius and was on a fast-track to big success as a pianist. Meanwhile, Junichiro was always jealous of him because he couldn’t play nearly as well. He only got more jealous when Tadase got married and had a kid.

Junipsycho pretended to be her dad’s close friend for years in college as a part of his master plan – yes, this is actually a ‘master plan’ situation – he was going to wrack up a bunch of debt in Tadase’s name, kill him and then throw his body in the river, claiming he ran off to avoid debt collectors. Meanwhile, he’d swoop in, marry Yui’s mother and become Yui’s step-father.

No, I’m not kidding, and the crazy doesn’t stop there.

I guess even the simple act of trying to learn piano was enough to get him livid about Yui possibly becoming as skilled as her father. However, even he knows he can’t keep her imprisoned forever, so he agrees to let her be free….as long as he can ensure that she never plays piano again.

The only way to do that?

SLICE OFF HER FUCKING FINGERS WITH A BUTCHER KNIFE!

As he’s about to strike, he accidentally stabs her mother in the back as she rushes in to protect her daughter. He doesn’t give a damn about anything happening right now and really seems like he’s going to kill both of them.

Luckily, Yui contacted Hell Girl earlier and decides to pull the string to save her mother’s life.

The hell torture is rather predictable, but fitting. He’s tied up and forced to play piano in hell for all eternity.

Yui’s mother’s going to pull through, and Yui decides she wants to strive to become an amazing pianist just like her father, no matter if she’s damned for hell after she dies.

Just…wow. That was so ridiculous. We’ve definitely seen supervillain-esque targets on Hell Girl before, but this guy takes the cake. He’s managed to keep his cool for about ten years to the point where Yui would never suspect him of killing a fly, but the instant she says she’s trying to learn piano for a school event he suddenly can’t keep himself from viciously violent outbursts of insane proportions. Hell, for all he knew she sucked too and he had nothing to worry about. Piano skill isn’t genetic. He’s not even a practicing pianist anymore, why would he care? Just because he doesn’t want to be reminded of Tadase?

Chapter 15: Puppy Waltz

Stop with the stories of animal abuse in this franchise! They’re not pleasant to read, even if the asshole goes to hell. And they’re all basically the same story anyway. Stop it!

I’ll spare you the story – bitch abuses, neglects and kills her dogs, nearly kills client’s dog, nearly gets client mauled by dogs, somewhat-ish happy ending for client, implied Ai helped her dog survive an attack, target can suck on battery acid through a straw made of used hypodermic needles in hell. The end.

I hope that’s the last animal abuse story I have to sit through as I finish off this franchise, because I am reaching my limit.

Chapter 16: Beautiful Friendship

This.

Chapter.

Is.

Dumb.

I wish I could just leave it at that, but considering I just screwed you out of a proper review of the last chapter, I’ll talk about this one.

Makoto and her best friend, Tsuho, are planning to go to karaoke with the other girls in their class. Tsuho decides to invite Tomita. She’s a quiet glasses girl who mostly keeps to herself, typically spending her time reading manga or being on the Internet…..*looks in mirror*…..Are they spying on me?

Tomita doesn’t respond to Tsuho, not even when she yanks her book out of her hands and mocks her for liking manga, claiming she’ll never get a boyfriend if she doesn’t stop reading stuff like that.

Makoto grabs the book back from her and tells her to stop making Tomita feel bad.

This must have been translated in Tsuho’s head as the absolute most offensive thing she has ever heard in her 14-ish years of life, because she immediately runs out of the room screaming to her friends that Makoto is uninvited from karaoke. In addition to that, the next day, Makoto finds that everyone in class is ignoring her and treating her like garbage when they actually do pay her mind. All because she was nice to Tomita….

Keep in mind, Tsuho was technically or seemingly trying to be nice to Tomita when she went over there. She was inviting her out to karaoke and she didn’t appear to be kidding, but then she quickly started being a jerk. It’s not like the class hates Tomita for any real reason, either. They just mock her and made her an outcast because, by their standards, she’s weird.

Tsuho keeps calling Makoto a hypocrite, which I thought meant we’d get some reveal where Makoto used to bully Tsuho when they were really young or whatever….Nope. It’s just….something she keeps saying for some reason.

Now, in most other stories like this, Makoto would probably become good friends with Tomita and one of them would have to inevitably send Tsuho to hell because she’s being such a c-bag.

Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnope.

Turns out, Tomita’s a total bitch too. See, if there’s one thing you need to know about this chapter is that everyone – every, single, person – is awful. There’s not a nice person in this entire chapter except Makoto. It’s like there was a zombie virus outbreak, but instead of people turning into zombies they turn into assholes and Makoto was born with an immunity in her blood.

Tomita believes her only friends are on the Internet, who express that they have similar problems, but they’re also negative towards each other in suggesting things like committing suicide. Tomita also says she doesn’t care if her ‘friends’ on the Internet are assholes, because she can just delete whatever they say to her. Still, Makoto extends an olive branch, but Tomita swats it away. She tells her they have nothing in common, she never asked for her help in the first place and to never talk to her again.

Makoto is shocked, and she continues to get bullied to even worse extents. I don’t know why Makoto is getting all this harassment. Tomita is also outcast, but throughout this entire chapter she’s pretty much left alone barring that one incident at the start and that was very mild bullying compared to what Makoto is getting.

The bullying gets so bad (and she can’t tell her mom because reasons) that she decides to join the forum that Tomita was on before. It’s a forum for victims of bullying, so she believes she can find some kindred spirits there, even if there are assholes. One of the messages she finds suggests visiting Hell Correspondence to ferry their tormentor to hell. She decides to call Hell Girl on Tsuho, but she’s apprehensive to pull the string.

She becomes even more apprehensive when one of the girls who has been bullying her musters up the courage to greet her. Then she immediately runs off yelling to not tell Tsuho she did it. Uhm….is Tsuho a high school mob boss? Why does she seemingly have all of this power over the other girls to the point where they’re terrified of what she’ll do if she finds out they had the audacity to tell someone on their blacklist “Morning.”?

After this, Makoto thinks there’s some hope for things to go back to normal. She even greets the class when she walks in, and, even though she is met mostly with cold stares and silence, some of the girls do smile back at her.

At lunch, she tries to sit with the others, but Tsuho trips her and has a big tantrum, asking her what she said or did to the other girls. She tells Makoto she’s “ruining the mood for everyone” and that she’s annoying. Makoto tries to plead for Tsuho to take her back, claiming she’ll better herself if she’s always found her to be annoying – as long as she gets her friends back, she doesn’t care.

Makoto: “I think you’re my best friend!”

This line is met with Tsuho splashing her drink all over Makoto as she’s on the floor.

Tsuho: “I thought you were my friend. But you stood up for Tomita-san. So why aren’t you friends with her instead?!”

‘I thought you were my friend, but then you had to stop my mild bullying of a person who has seemingly never done anything to me before! And that is unforgivable!’

Even in the face of everything Tsuho has done and is doing right now, Makoto still pleads for her to put that behind them and make up. And then everything immediately shifts from devilbitch!Tsuho to this.

And that was immediately followed by me saying this.

Like, seriously, what the hell? How are we supposed to believe for a single microsecond that this harpy is actually now sorry for everything she did? I mean, I guess she does change her personality on a dime, considering how drastically it changed in the start, but this is just ridiculous. Tsuho trips her because she thinks she might be winning some of the girls over again, splashes a drink all over her when she calls her her best friend and then screams that, indeed, her major sin was STANDING UP FOR SOMEONE TSUHO WAS BULLYING, and then it’s just “Oh, Makoto, I’m sorry. :’(“

But they have to at least attempt to make us feel even a little sad for Tsuho….considering the very next shot is of her being sent to hell by Tomita.

Yup, Tomita, possibly breaking the rules of Hell Girl, I’m not sure, also called Hell Girl on Tsuho, but she actually pulled the string. Tomita is ecstatic about what she’s done and rushes off to tell her friends on the Internet.

Later, we discover that Tomita hasn’t been to school since that happened, though we never find out why. I also find it very hilarious that they’re calling her a freak for spending a bunch of time on the Internet. My, how times have changed. Makoto tells herself that there will be people she’ll want to get rid of in the future, but she’ll never visit Hell Correspondence again.

And the moral of the story is that everyone’s garbage.

I’m not even really exaggerating here. The bullies come off as assholes, of course, Tsuho comes off as ridiculously petty and evil, and even the bullied parties come off looking bad. Tomita’s a bitter psychopath, the people on that bullying forum were the same, and Makoto is just flatout pathetic. She’s really on the floor on her hands and knees BEGGING to be taken back by a girl who has done nothing but make her life a nightmare ever since she did something as minor as just pointing out that she’s making someone else feel bad.

Tsuho had the entire class turn against Makoto, kept verbally harassing her and calling her a hypocrite, she got her in trouble with her teachers, the class wrote horrible stuff about her on her papers, she was told that no one wanted her around, Tsuho knocked her down and splashed her drink all over her – but yeah, sure, she definitely sounds like someone I’d like to go back to being friends with. Why don’t we go see a movie? I hear “I’m a Huge Basket of Ass: The Tsuho Story” is playing.

I’ve had bad fights with friends before, to the point where we stopped being friends, and then we made up, but never to anywhere near this level, and groveling was never part of the picture. It sends a bad message, too. You can forgive someone for treating you like crap if you want, people make mistakes, and as long as they show effort in bettering themselves, then it can all be good, but begging someone like this to go back to being your friend? And acting like YOU’RE the problem and YOU need to change to be less ‘annoying’?

This is clearly a toxic relationship. Even if Tsuho wasn’t sent to hell, I can imagine Makoto would never be able to continue being her friend without living in constant fear of somehow pissing her off and earning her wrath once more.

It would have been better if Makoto decided to continue with what she was doing and try to get the other girls to cool it and befriend her again, because it’s clear that at least some of them were acting out of fear of whatever Tsuho would do to them. Then maybe all the girls could realize they were being foolish, see what a terrible person Tsuho is and ostracize her instead. But nope.

Tsuho didn’t deserve a drop of any sort of redemption they were trying to give her in the end. Just because you go ‘boo hoo’ and have her say ‘sorry’ when she’s been gleefully tormenting Makoto this entire time doesn’t make up for a damn thing. She’s a terrible person, and I have no qualms with her being in hell.

Not saying I liked what Tomita did, though, because she embodies the opposite extreme of the stereotype of the crazy bullied kid (Bonus stereotype points: Is a nerd who spends too much time on the Internet and reads comics/manga) who ends up murdering their tormentor. The fact that she’s so giddy about it is equally cringey. This series is no stranger to enjoying revenge, but the only thing Tsuho did to her was be rude to her. Sure, she’s also an outcast, but it’s clear that she doesn’t even want anyone else to fraternize with her.

Chapter 17: Fake Hell Correspondence

Ending on a brief note since this chapter reflects a story told in the anime. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad note since the episode in question was one of my favorite Hell Girl episodes, The Fake Hell Link. Pretty much everything in this chapter is the same as the anime, barring the differences in names (Shouko Baba is Akiko Hayashi here. Ikami Waka is Sanae Shiraishi here. And finally, Mami Kuriyama/Manaka is Ochiai/Nishikawa here.) and some minor things like Kuriyama had actually tried to use Hell Link before and learned firsthand that she needed to damn her own soul to make it work, but Ochiai didn’t. She just heard the stipulation through rumors, but other than that, spot on.

I don’t think I was in the right mind to enjoy it as much, though, because I was still reeling from the previous chapter.

————————————

And that was the end of volume four!

………It wasn’t that good. Only one story in this entire volume was actually worth anything, and I’m not sure I can give it full marks since it’s mirroring an anime episode. Chapter 14 takes second place in that regard, but it’s difficult to even take that chapter seriously because of how overly evil they made her step-dad.

With the animal abuse chapter coupled with the stupidity of the bully chapter, it’s just not a good volume overall. To make matters worse, we’re also introduced to Kikuri in this volume. Joy. She only shows up looming in the background of one panel, but she’s formally ‘introduced’ in the omake at the end of the volume. So, yeah, from now on we have to deal with Kikuri. Oh well, at least we don’t have to listen to her….


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 21: Right in Front Behind You Review

HGTVEP21SCREEN1

Plot: Yuzuki meets a young boy named Kaito who is clearly being abused by his step-mother. She senses that he’s about to use Hell Correspondence and desperately tries to stop him. But there’s hell within everyone, and the challenge of freeing some people from their personal hell is easier said than done.

Breakdown: Wow. Rarely do episodes of this show leave me speechless, but…..wow.

First of all, this episode breaks your heart from start to finish. This poor kid is being abused so badly and so often that the first time Yuzuki meets Kaito he’s passing out from his injuries in the rain. He desperately wants to make his parents happy, but no matter what he does it’s never good enough. It’s not just direct abuse either. Kaito’s step-mother is pregnant, and she loves to passive-aggressively take shots at Kaito by telling her unborn child, named Mao, to not be like her troublesome liar of a big brother when she’s born.

What’s even worse is that his father is absolutely no help. But that’s the least of the problems with the father, which I’ll get to later.

The entire story is such a raw and realistic depiction of child abuse. New mom loves her biological child more than her step-child, perhaps even seeing him as a stain on their otherwise happy ‘natural’ family, so she mocks him, puts him down and hits him – always on areas that are covered by his clothing. The child doesn’t want to make waves because they don’t want to disappoint their parents. The father’s defensive of the mother and is overly sympathetic because she’s pregnant, and/or doesn’t care enough about his son to step in.

I felt so terrible the entire runtime, and that feeling only got worse and worse the further we got into the story.

Second of all, this is a case with a child client, so obviously the tensions are higher than usual. Kaito is a very likable kid whom you feel extremely bad for as you watch him just try his best and keep a smile on his face all the while he’s being treated like garbage.

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Third, Yuzuki is being more active here, which is appreciated, but, again, her presence doesn’t affect anything and she doesn’t stop Kaito from pulling the string. Ai interfered this time, showing Yuzuki where Kaito was and allowing her to watch him right as he pulled the string without actually letting her be seen or heard, but still.

Fourth, we really have to talk about Kaito’s dad. As the Hell Team watched Kaito, they asked themselves why he hasn’t yet told his father about what’s happening. I figured it would be the same as most similar situations in Hell Girl, the anime or manga, or just, sadly, real world situations – the dad wouldn’t believe him and would accuse him of being a liar or being jealous of the new baby.

Yuzuki even tries to tell the father about the abuse, but he refuses to listen and storms off.

Thing is, he does know about the abuse, and he’s known for a while…..he just doesn’t stop it because he wants to make his wife happy. She was such a catch that he doesn’t want to sacrifice what they have for the sake of saving his son, which is just as bad as if he was doing the abusing himself.

But his terrible nature doesn’t stop there.

He tries to fucking murder Kaito because he believes that’s the best resolution to the situation.

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What. The. Unholy. Fuck.

You may be wondering at this point where the string pull comes into the equation. When does that abusive bitch get her whatfor, eh?

Right as Kaito’s dad is about to drown him in a lake, he pulls the string.

And his step-mother…..

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…..Has a miscarriage.

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You read that right. Kaito’s target was Mao – an unborn child.

I remember when I first started these reviews and I wondered if there was an age restriction on who can be targets or who can be clients because surely it’s really messed up to send a teenager to hell or to expect them to have the emotional or mental capacity to understand the consequences of their actions in such a huge decision.

How times have changed.

Now we have a child client no older than eight, which actually isn’t too uncommon in this series…..and an unborn baby target.

My jaw dropped.

I never even considered that being possible. At worst, I thought the baby would die if the step-mother was sent to hell. I never figured the baby itself would be able to be targeted.

People were discussing in the comments about how this could even work. The step-mother was very close to her due date, so the baby was fully formed. And I assume that the baby had to have a soul because the deal Hell Girl offers is to get two souls – the client and the target. By all logic, we’re to assume that a baby’s soul is being tortured in hell right now, and that is one of the most depressing things I’ve ever heard.

Kaito opted not to kill his step-mother because he just wanted their lives to go back to normal. She used to be a loving parent who never abused him, but the instant she got pregnant her attitude started changing and their good times together stopped.

He always loved his step-mother. This much is proven when it’s shown that he greatly treasures an Eggman (not the Sonic one) hat as that was the first gift she ever gave him. Even when she cruelly tried to throw it away because it was ‘shabby’ which it wasn’t, he dug through the garbage to get it back because it was so precious to him. Kaito’s biologic mother is nowhere to be found, so it’s understandable that he would be so attached to his step-mother.

Since she changed when she got pregnant, he loved her and so did his father, his logic lead him to targeting Mao instead of his step-mother.

When Kaito pulls the string, his father instantly collapses in guilt over what he was about to do, for some reason (Incredibly convenient conscience timing or the power of Hell Girl?) but Kaito forgives him. Kaito goes to the hospital to see his step-mother to comfort her over her miscarriage, but also to remind her that she still has him and his father and things will go back to the way they were before when they were happy.

And that’s the way the story ends. The three do indeed return to the happy family they once were, only now, as the Hell Team point out, they’re all just biding time hiding from their own sins until they inevitably have to face them. Kaito has to deal with the fact that he killed a baby, his little half-sister no less, and damned her to hell while also coping with the fact that he’s now damned to hell. His father has to deal with the fact that he was complacent with his son’s abuse and that he tried to murder him. And his step-mother has to deal with the horrible acts of abuse she committed against Kaito.

For now, though, they laugh and have fun and manage to enjoy their lives even though they’ve all seen hell now.

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Yuzuki, for some reason, smiles at this sight even though it’s an insanely bleak image. Yeah, Kaito’s happy now, and yeah they’re all back to ‘normal’ but they all just went through a lot of fucked up shit and things are never going to be okay – especially if the step-mother winds up getting pregnant again.

There are no winners here. There rarely ever is an actual ‘winner’ in a Hell Girl story, but this is devastating at every angle.

This is definitely one of the best Hell Girl episodes I’ve ever watched, but it’s also one of the most difficult I’ve ever had to sit through.


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Cyborg 009 Full Review Project: Manga (1964) Volume 3

So immediately following the end of the last volume where 009 said he didn’t want to hitch a ride on the train because it would slow him down, volume three has 009 immediately jumping on the train and exclaiming “Wow! This thing is really fast!” Guess Joe changes his mind in a blink of an eye too.

0012’s remaining servants, barring one, make quick work of the goons who were trying to steal Kozumi’s potion, and we learn that the fourth member of their team is a seemingly ‘slow’ individual who speaks mostly in mutters. However, he also appears to be kind since he removes Kozumi’s gag, much to the annoyance of the other servants.

Joe enjoys his return to Tokyo, but he quickly realizes that walking around in a bright red outfit with a long yellow scarf is a bit too noticeable, so he heads to his old friend, Scar Nose Yasu’s, house to borrow some less conspicuous clothing. Yasu is more than welcoming of his old friend, insisting to go out and get some food and drinks for him. Problem is, he quickly realizes he has no money.

The mysterious member of the servant group comes around the corner with some bread and milk, which is good news for Yasu who quickly tries to strongarm the groceries from him.

Joe stops him, however, and gives back the groceries back to the guy. Being surprisingly understanding after nearly getting robbed, he happily insists that they both eat some bread and milk with him. They accept, but they’re soon interrupted by the other three servants who attack Joe.

009 is able to defeat Scarecrow, who commits suicide by swallowing his tongue, but right as the other two arrive, the mysterious member starts acting strangely. His eyes are finally revealed from under his hair, and he seems more serious and disturbed than before. He tells Joe one thing before taking the initiative and leaving with the other servants – “Thirteen.”

Throughout the past handful of pages, we’ve been intersecting to a massive humanoid robot in the middle of the sea. It destroys a ship and is later seen suddenly emerging from underground to rendezvous with the other servants. It dumps Kozumi from the car into its body and uses him as a hostage. When 009 arrives, he deduces that this giant robot is the 0013 he’s been hearing about.

009 has an incredibly destructive battle with the robot, who can not only burrow underground like a mole, but he can also detect objects above with electromagnetic sensors. 0013 can also cause massive earthquakes, has an accelerator, though it’s not as fast as 009’s, and is aiming to demolish all of Tokyo from the inside out. It even goes into the city itself to reduce the chance of military interference.

The robot very nearly kills Joe, but opts to spare him this time. He reveals that he’s repaying the kindness that Joe showed him earlier. He’s lived a harrowing life, so he truly appreciates the gesture. Joe deduces that the robot is actually being controlled by the mysterious member of the servant group – the real 0013.

Joe rushes through the incredibly heartbreaking destruction of Tokyo, even rescuing a little toddler who was crying over the crushed body of her mother. With the child still in his arms, Joe makes a plea to 0013 to stop his robot since innocent people are being killed. And if he won’t stop the robot, at least agree to travel to a more void area where they won’t hurt anyone with their battle. 0013 struggles, but Machine Gun isn’t willing to listen to any of this, so he shoots at them. In a cold display, he even says he doesn’t care about the baby in his arms and that she’ll make a fine cyborg. WOW.

Before he can continue his assault, 0013 lops off Machine Gun’s gun arm with a karate chop. Realizing he’s turned on them, Roentgen attempts to attack him, but Joe strikes him down.

Machine Gun tries to kill 0013 with a regular gun, but 0013 karate chops him in the neck, sending him flying down the flight of stairs they’re on, breaking his neck and killing him.

Joe is delighted to see 0013 revolt, but it seems 0013 still wants to fight. He directs Joe to put the girl down first so she won’t be hurt. Joe tries, but the girl is simply too scared. 0013 tries to cheer her up by making silly faces and offering her candy. She smiles, and 0013 takes her from Joe and brings her to a swing set so she can enjoy her candy and have fun swinging.

Joe and 0013 start fighting right there, accelerated so they’re only barely noticeable to the little girl. While the giant robot may have only been able to go about mach 1, the real 0013 is able to go at speeds much faster than 009 to the point where it seems like there are multiples of him.

Their fight ensues, but is soon interrupted by Roentgen, who was blinded by 009 after breaking his cybernetic eyes. Using his heightened sense of hearing, he’s able to find where 0013 and 009 are fighting and strike 0013 on the back with a few slashes of his blade, even while they’re accelerated. 0013 is not pleased by this and smacks him in the head so hard that it kills him.

Joe wants to stop the bloodshed, but before he can get a good shot at 0013, his giant robot shows up. Joe is forced to hold the little girl again, meaning he can’t accelerate (because normal humans can’t handle his speed without dying.) 0013 enters the robot, and all seems lost for 009 until 0013 retrieves Kozumi and releases him.

He doesn’t wish to cause anymore unnecessary bloodshed. He’s finally done with fighting.

We learn of 0013’s truly tragic story. Black Ghost designed him to be fully in tune with this robot, to a point where it’s extremely detrimental for him. First of all, while he can control the robot with his brain waves, he lost the ability to speak. The robot, known as 13 Robo, acted as his mouthpiece. Every thought he had was turned into speech through the robot.

But that’s not all. Black Ghost must have realized what a flight risk he was, so they installed a failsafe in 13 Robo. If he betrayed Black Ghost, the robot was rigged to explode. Realizing that 13 Robo would explode soon, he told 009 and the other cyborgs, who arrived really late to the party and did nothing, to flee.

Joe pleads with him to escape, but he refuses. Either to get the robot further away to lessen the damage or because, like the others, he believed he must die, 0013 insists on staying behind. Hearing one final plea from Joe at the last second spurs 0013 to at least try to make an escape, but he fails.

As he lay on the ground dying he writes “I wanted to become friends.” in the dirt. Joe assures him that they are friends. The little girl hops down to the ground and grabs 0013’s hand. He smiles one last time before his hand falls and he finally passes away.

Joe laments the loss of the friend and becomes more enraged than ever at Black Ghost. He vows to never stop fighting them until they’ve been destroyed and 0013 has been avenged.

I’ve always loved this plotline, and it never fails to choke me up. 0013 is such a brief character yet he makes a lasting impact. In fact, in the 2001 anime, in the end credits, a mockup of 0013 wearing the 00 Cyborg uniform was included as part of the collection of drawings of the main team, like he was spiritually with them.

It always felt like 0013 was more of a hostage of Black Ghost than any Cyborg before him. 0010 Plus and Minus didn’t really have any actual reason for being loyal to them, especially since they robbed them of the ability to have any physical contact with their own twin brother. 0011 was probably the closest example, but he was more tricked than he was held hostage. 0012 seemed to greatly enjoy her power and tormenting the other cyborgs. With 0013, he was forced into obeying.

His hostage situation was basically lose-lose. It’s either allow the robot to cause massive amounts of death and destruction/cause massive amounts of destruction yourself or betray Black Ghost…and cause massive amounts of death and destruction. Granted, at least in the latter, he could die doing the least amount of damage (not killing any of the 00 Cyborgs and stopping the robot’s rampage as well as redeeming himself in the process) as he did here,

Even though I love his story, it’s not entirely perfect. Why did Black Ghost only put a bomb in 13 Robo? Why not put a bomb or termination device in 0013 too? Putting the bomb in 13 Robo without putting anything in 0013 himself to kill him means he could have lived and stayed on the side of the other Cyborgs (and remember, he still has an even better accelerator than 009, and he has an insanely powerful karate chop technique.) Black Ghost had to bank on 0013 being too selfless and honorable to let 13 Robo explode while also sacrificing himself.

Why didn’t they just make 0013 the robot himself? They’ve already shown they’re more than willing to put human brains into giant robots and even sentient houses, so why not put 0013’s brain in the robot instead of having them be two separate beings? How is that a benefit to them, especially since the servants were always complaining about how useless he was? None of this is really a big plot hole or issue or anything, but I’m just wondering what logistics went into those decisions.

Next chapter, we’re starting off a new storyline. 004, 007 and 009 are battling with a fighter plane to help protect Dr. Dolphin and his daughter, Iruka. And yes, that means her name is Iruka Dolphin, or literally Dolphin Dolphin.

I first thought this was an error by Tokyopop, but according to the good folks at Cyborg 009’s Fandom page, Iruka really was Ishinomori’s intended name for her, and some translations opted to change her name to Cynthia to avoid this redundancy. Why did he name her that to begin with? I have no idea. I have a feeling it might have just been a placeholder name until he came up with something else, but he never did….or maybe the dude just really liked dolphins, I dunno. The submarine that the 00 Cyborgs get later is even called The Dolphin and Black Ghost uses dolphin spies……*shrug* Dolphins are cool, though, so I get it.

004 manages to shoot down the plane with his machine gun hand, but there’s a weird tank just around the corner. 004 and 007 are felled by the tank after it sends out a strange signal. After ensuring the doctor’s and Iruka’s safety, 009 heads over to see what’s happening and is also felled by the sound.

Cut to some time in the past where we see 004 shoot at leaves with his dart fingers. Hey, they came back up again! Yay! Inside the house, 007 is practicing some Shakespeare while Joe is reading comics. They get a call from Dr. Gilmore and head out.

On the way, they explain that Professor Dolphin is an old friend of his who lives in Yokohama. Gilmore went to his house, which has this weird sign out front that says “His joke fell flat.”

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????????

but when he got there, he was smacked with the butt of a gun and Dolphin was kidnapped.

They find a note from the kidnappers telling them to not call the police otherwise Dolphin dies. And it’s signed NN with a swastika.

Dr. Dolphin was kidnapped by Neo Nazis. If you didn’t expect that, congratulations, you’re everyone.

Joe takes Iruka to her dorm to get some of her things so she can stay at Kozumi’s house with everyone else in order to keep her safe while they save her father. On the drive, Iruka explains that she doesn’t know anything about her father’s work besides the fact that he has built many massive robots. He was also so entranced in his work that he constantly neglected her, even forgetting her birthday. She started resenting machines, robots and even her father.

They’re suddenly stopped in the road and gas attacked by a group of men. Iruka is quickly knocked out, but Joe is resistant to the gas due to his cybernetics. He swiftly takes out all of the men and saves Iruka. Joe tries to question one who isn’t knocked out, but he swallows a cyanide pill and dies. What is with the last handful of chapters and people just peacing out the instant anything happens?

Joe contacts 004 and 007 to tell them what happened. They come up with a new plan – let Iruka be taken by the thugs. Joe doesn’t like the idea because he doesn’t want to put her in danger, but he agrees because he knows it’s the best way to find Dr. Dolphin.

Later, the thugs wake up with Iruka unconscious in front of them, They believe Joe must’ve accidentally fallen over the side of the cliff, so they decide to take her and run. They spot the guy who committed suicide, believe he must’ve done it on accident and just chuck his body over the side of the cliff. Who would’ve thunk Neo Nazis would be heartless assholes?

Following a tracking device hidden in Iruka’s watch, the trio follows her to a runway where a plane is waiting. Not wanting her to be loaded onto the plane, because they can’t follow her that way, the group decides to strike, but not for the reasons you’d think. They mostly distract the group and sneak onboard so they can follow her to the main base. On the way, they discover that 007 forgot to pack their super guns, and apparently the place they’re heading to is really cold.

Now. I need you all to prepare yourselves for what I’m about to convey to you. I promise you, with all my heart, I am not kidding when I say any of this. This is happening. Okay? Okay. You ready? Let’s do this.

They land the plane, and outside they see….

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a bunch of giant penguins doing the Heil Hitler salute….

I will give you a break so you have time to parse that information.

Isn’t it glorious? Bask in the everything that is amazing about this. I get to review a manga that literally has the line “Nazi Penguin costumes, eh?” The Neo Nazis decided to dress up as penguins for reasons my brain cannot begin to process.

They are in Antarctica, I think anyway, but this still makes no sense. Even if there were a lot of people around in ANTARCTICA they wouldn’t be fooled by giant man-sized penguins….who are heiling Hitler! And if they would be…..is that some sort of commentary on penguins!?

I haven’t watched March of the Penguins in a long time. Is there a deleted scene with Morgan Freeman narrating the penguins as they partake in their daily reading of Mein Kampf? But they removed it after backlash from the penguin community?! They could have SS lightning bolt tattoos on their bodies. We wouldn’t know. THEY HAVE FEATHERS!

I can’t stop laughing. It’s too hilarious for this world. What was Ishinomori on when he wrote this? And where can I get some?

*sigh*….This is a beautiful day.

004 and 009 grab some of the penguin costumes to blend in, which means we also get them going undercover as nazi penguins….I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying life right now.

The leader brings out Professor Dolphin and asks him about the missing component of the mad machine mark one, which is presumably the tank from the beginning of the chapter. There was one major component Dolphin didn’t map out on the schematics they stole, and they can’t make it work without it. However, Dolphin, knowing how powerful the machine is, would rather die than give them that information. As leverage, they use Iruka instead.

They get the information from him, and 004 and 009 use that opportunity to attack and retake Dolphin and Iruka. They escape on a plane, but it’s shot down. The other fighter plane swoops in and we cut to right where we left off before. All of the cyborgs are down for the count and the Neo Nazis come in to claim their prizes, but the cyborgs come back in full force. 004 uses his leg missile to blow up the tank and that’s that.

Dolphin relays why he made these machines in the first place. During the war, his wife had been badly injured by a rocket strike. She had lost a leg and burnt her face beyond recognition. She went from being a happy, lighthearted person to a dark and gloomy individual. Not even giving birth to their daughter brightened her any – in fact, it tipped her over the edge. She never wanted their daughter to see her disfigured face, so she killed herself.

….Quite the tone change from the nazi penguins…..*cough*

As a result, Dolphin dedicated his life to creating machines that would drive the men who operated them insane – hence the mad machine mark one. His machines were always intended on working against war machines. Iruka happily and tearfully embraces her father, gleeful that he also harbored hatred for machines….

I’ll be honest, I don’t understand this all too much. So…he made a machine that was a weapon that would drive the people who used it insane…but…it didn’t do that. The Neo Nazis weren’t negatively affected – only the cyborgs were. And…you made a machine that would make the operators go insane?….Wouldn’t that make them do even worse stuff because they’re, ya know, insane now? You don’t make any sense, man.

Iruka then says “Machines are evil…” which is Tokyopop’s doing again – the original line was just her saying “Machines…” while looking scared.

Iruka and Joe give each other a pensive look. Throughout the chapter, it had been hinted that Joe liked Iruka romantically, but now she knows he’s part machine and it’s obvious that that’s something she can’t overlook.

Joe, Albert and GB head off back home to reunite with everyone else. And the Neo Nazi penguins were never seen again. 😦

In the next part of our story, the cyborgs and Dr. Gilmore head out from Japan, fearing it’s become too dangerous with Black Ghost back on their tail. They bid Kozumi a fond farewell, and we get this hilaradorable shot of 005 carrying 001 and Gilmore on his shoulders.

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Our next chapter, and yes the previous one was just them leaving, is called The Man with the Expensive Castle. Apparently, this was supposed to be called The Man in the High Castle to be a reference to the novel of the same name, but Tokyopop changed it to this stupid one because I dunno. Copyright worries, maybe? I dunno.

Anyway, masked men with jetpacks are kidnapping a little girl who turns out to the be the Prime Minister’s daughter.

The cyborgs catch wind of this and report back….which is when we meet, whom I refer to as……..*sigh* Lil’ 007.

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Okay, some backstory. Around the release of volume three came the first film adaptation of the series, which is great! The producers of the movie wanted some manga promotion, so Ishinomori wrote this specific story to tie into the story of the movie. He was fine with doing that, but they wanted one more thing. They wanted to change 007 into a nine year old kid (though he honestly looks like he’s three or four) to help sell the movie to kids.

Reportedly, Ishinomori didn’t want to do this and hated the change, but was basically forced into doing it by his editor. Initially, he wrote this change as 007’s default form de-aging due to him shape-shifting so much, and no that doesn’t make any sense, but go along with it. However, this change didn’t stick forever. He would eventually change back to his adult form without barely a mention of it, though he would occasionally slip back into child form for one reason or another for sporadic amounts of time – it’s really inconsistent and confusing.

Despite the change being forced and hated by Ishinomori, it was apparently quite popular with fans so he made it into a character for a gag series called Cyborg-Chan of which I can find really no information or images. All I know is that it was about a cyborg boy whose power was transformation, exactly like 007.

I thought this change was just stupid. I didn’t really hate it because 007 was already the comic relief so he didn’t act too differently when he was Lil’ 007 but just the fact that they now had a little kid around was annoying on a visual level. Instead of having a goofy bald dude in his 30s making sarcastic quips every now and then to cut the tension we now have a bald kid who thinks he’s funny making almost every line he delivers a joke, cutting pretty much any tension ever when he’s on screen. I tolerate him being here, but adult 007 can’t return quickly enough.

Back to the story, the kidnappers have taken several girls in addition to the Prime Minister’s daughter, and for their safe return they’re asking for….

Also, I’m not kidding. They legitimately ask for 100 billion yen.

Granted, yeah, there’s the conversion rate, which makes this roughly 945 million USD, but there’s also the fact that this took place in 1966, which would mean that amount of money today would be about 7.5 billion USD today. And just for the sake of being thorough, with inflation from 1966 in Japan, 100 billion yen today would actually be nearly 400 billion yen, which equates to 3.7 billion USD.

Joe and the others try to wake 001 to see if he can psychically determine the location of the girls, but he’s fast asleep. Like I mentioned, 001 requires a lot of sleep to function. He sleeps for 15 days at a time and then stays awake for 15 days. He’s got a few days left on his most current sleep cycle, so they move onto other options.

Over the radio, they hear that the kidnappers have established a dropoff location for the ransom money at the summit of Mt. Fuji at four o’clock…..why are they giving away that information on the radio?

009 and 002 head off because they have acceleration switches, but Lil’ 007 wants to go too. Joe, however, forbids it because he’s a child, which is stupid because we know he’s not a child, 007 even points out that he’s not a child, but we have to embrace this change so he gets treated like a child. 007 whines for a bit then turns into a baby shark so he can tag along on Joe’s back. I don’t get why he’d turn into a baby shark for that, but it doesn’t matter, he gets to go.

The exchange is starting, so the boys head into position. The kidnappers aren’t screwing around, but they also won’t show the girls until they have the money in hand. After they kill one of the government officials, the three start combating the kidnappers. Lil’ 007 helps by bopping them on the head with a tiny mallet….Why isn’t he transforming into something that can actually help or at least use his super gun?

Because then he wouldn’t be in child form and this stupid marketing ploy wouldn’t work.

They let some of the kidnappers get away, leading them to their base.

At the base, the kidnappers attack again, and this time 007 actually transforms….into a snowman. And he was able to knock out one of the kidnappers with his teeny mallet because they were stupid enough to hide behind a snowman in the middle of a fire fight.

002 gives them a lift over an electric wall surrounding the base, and after a quick tangle with some guard dogs and robots who look like they have dryer ducts for heads, they infiltrate the main room.

All of the girls are being held in glass boxes strewn about the room. A strange looking man is threatening them with poisonous gas if the cyborgs don’t stand down, but, being super fast, 009 won’t take any of that. It seems like he got more than he bargained for when they’re all suddenly thrust to the floor. The man is psychic and is using telekinesis to pin them down. The man says he needs money in order to build a massive laboratory for all of his experiments, and he’ll kidnap and/or murder all the children he needs to in order to do it. Lovely guy, this one.

He’s about to murder the girls when suddenly 001 bursts into the room with his eyes drawn in that creepy alien way I hate. The man, who, by the way, is never named, can’t match 001’s powers. Using his own telekinesis, 001 breaks the girls free and all of them rush out of the lab as it explodes, killing the man and presumably everyone in the building…The uh….end?

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Make it go away.

Yup, that’s the end of the volume. Quite the random note to end on, quite abrupt too, but it was pretty much a marketing ploy anyway.

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And that was volume three! What’s not to love about this volume besides the ending chapter? 0013’s arc was just great. Always been one of my favorites. I really wish we got to see more of that poor guy.

The storyline with Iruka may have been pretty simple and the resolution about her dad really makes no sense to me, but this was pretty much the first time the group were outwardly hated or discriminated against in some capacity because they were cyborgs, and that’s something that they really needed to cover. It was slight because she never really stated she hated them but just saying she hated machines and turning away from Joe at the end, despite everything they did for her, was enough.

Plus, it was a wholly entertaining arc on its own. I mean, come on. NEO NAZIS IN PENGUIN COSTUMES. How can you not laugh yourself into a coma at that whole section? I’m laughing writing this right now.

The main weak point is the final chapter. Not only is it the introduction to Lil’ 007, but the story is bland. Usually, bland plotlines are supplemented with character development or new characters that help pick up the slack, but here there’s nothing.

The best part of the chapter is that the main baddie is an esper, like 001, but he’s ridiculously underpowered compared to 001. Not to mention that this is one of many times 001 is basically a deus ex machina. This guy was seconds away from killing a slue of children with three of our heroes pinned to the ground, and then 001 just bamfs in there, nabs the girls and leaves. The dude doesn’t even get a name.

However, it is understandable that this chapter is so forgettable because Ishinomori’s heart really wasn’t in it, but still.

Join me next time in volume four!


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