Plot: Genshi, Sora and Tokio head to 16th century Italy to retrieve the art-based Space-Time Monster, Monarisu, who is already in the clutches of TP Lady. She intends on using Monarisu to force Leonardo da Vinci into painting her portrait and replacing the Mona Lisa.
Title Change: Monarisu’s Smile is changed to Plumella. Which means….
Name Change: Monarisu is changed to Plumella….Why? I have no clue. Monarisu is obviously a play on Mona Lisa, and plenty of kids know about the Mona Lisa. I don’t even understand what this new name means. I don’t think anyone else did either because her fandom page doesn’t explain it.
They add an establishing shot of the Land of Time before we see Old Timer.
This next change is odd, but also fixes something in the original. Tokio laments that he has the Space-Time Monsters as models, and Sora comments that they’re kinda cute. Suddenly, the monsters all jump at Tokio, and he says he’ll draw more seriously. I feel like there was a missing line in there somewhere because, if the monsters were offended by Tokio’s very, very slight jab to the point where they’d gang up on him and yell at him, certainly they’d do it immediately and not wait for Sora for finish her comment. Also, he was trying to draw seriously beforehand, which is why he was muttering about the Space-Time Monsters giggling and moving around.
In the dub, Saban replays the bit with Tokio talking from before in order to give him a line after Sarah talks. While his previous line stays about the same, they add Tony saying it’d be easier to draw a dancing octopus and that working under these conditions is insane, which makes the Time Shifters yell at him. His comment still isn’t really worth yelling at him, but it’s better than them just randomly jumping him.
There was originally no cutaway to Rei speaking before Yamato speaks to her.
Like usual, the departure sequence is extended to show the kids going to the basement and Goodman talking to them before they go. This time, he yells out to bring back some fresh pasta. They also add in an exchange where Goodman asks Ms. Grey out for coffee, which she refuses, and then Goodman happily proclaims that she’s crazy about him. Can someone please write him up for sexual harassment? She’s not interested in you, dude, and she keeps telling you to knock it off.
As they leave, Genshi just says his typical line as they go. In the dub, Flint says he hopes they had cheeseburgers back then.
When they start walking, Genshi asks if renaissance is food, to which Tokio says it’s not. In the dub, Flint asks where everyone is.
Sarah neglects to mention Michelangelo when mentioning famous renaissance artists when Sora mentioned him.
A sign is digitally painted from ‘EiRuLE’ to ‘Trattoria.’ To Saban’s credit, a trattoria is an actual thing in Italy – it’s basically an informal ristorante or a place to get take-out. However, I really don’t know why they changed it. I don’t know what an EiRuLE is, but that just means I really don’t know why it would warrant being removed. Unless Saban was concerned it was a real trademark or something.
When we zoom in on the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the screen cuts to black whenever we jut towards TP Lady’s mark. In the dub, they removed these cuts.
Name Plate Removed.
Monarisu is super adorable. Just thought I’d let you all know that.
I actually have an issue with the original here. Original TP Lady tells Leonardo da Vinci to paint her instead of Mona Lisa because she wants to be known as the world’s most beautiful woman. First of all, the Mona Lisa or Giocondo is not a person, like she seems to be implying. It’s just the title of the painting. The (most likely) model for the Mona Lisa was Lisa Gherardini/del Giocondo, whose husband, Francesco di Zanobi del Giocondo, commissioned a painting from da Vinci meeting the specs of the Mona Lisa. Da Vinci wasn’t really making money at the time and needed a source of income, which is what many people assume was the reason why da Vinci, who typically refused to do portraits, decided to do this one.
Secondly, the woman depicted in the Mona Lisa isn’t really known for being the most beautiful person in the world. While many people praise the painting for its overall beauty, and beauty is subjective, most historians agree that she was painted very faithfully and that, even by that era’s standards of traditional beauty, the model wasn’t really that far up above average. As I’ll discuss later, she’s a romantic icon, but that’s for reasons beyond beauty.
Third, if they’re messing with history here, then even if da Vinci chose to paint her instead of the Mona Lisa, it still wouldn’t work to make her a famous beauty. Not because the replacement of the image would, by default, cause issues, even though that’s also a factor and one we’ll have to deal with soon enough, but because the Mona Lisa’s fame is attributed moreso to it being stolen in 1911. Before that, the painting was more or less overlooked in terms of importance or value. It being a da Vinci painting, of course it was valued, but it wasn’t really something of any high status until it was stolen. As this CNN article explained;
“If a different one of Leonardo’s works had been stolen, then that would have been the most famous work in the world – not the Mona Lisa,” said Noah Charney, professor of art history and author of “The Thefts of the Mona Lisa.”
“There was nothing that really distinguished it per se, other than it was a very good work by a very famous artist – that’s until it was stolen,” he added. “The theft is what really skyrocketed its appeal and made it a household name.”
In fact, ironically given that I just cited one of their articles and I’m, not kidding, getting this next bit of information from a Washington Post article, The Washington Post ran the wrong image when they reported the theft. Instead of the Mona Lisa, they instead ran an image of the Monna Vanna, which was a nude charcoal sketch that some believe was made by da Vinci to prepare for painting the Mona Lisa.
So even if TP Lady did get him to paint her, and that MIGHT make the painting famous to a degree, she’d have to hope that her painting also got stolen in order to skyrocket it to the levels of fame the real Mona Lisa has. But, again, we’ll have to address this more later.
Onto da Vinci’s reply, he tells TP Lady that, no matter how much she pays him or threatens him, he won’t paint her because he only paints things he likes.
As I discussed, the original Mona Lisa was a commission that he only agreed to do because he desperately needed the money. In fact, he stopped working on it a year after starting it because he was commissioned by the Florence government to paint the Battle of Anghiari and they paid a lot more. It was a job, not a passion project – at least at the outset. Granted, he was famous for not finishing paintings and working on them insanely slowly. It’s assumed that the Mona Lisa may have been his favorite painting that he continued working on in bits in pieces throughout his lifetime in order to get it just the way he wanted it, or maybe he just held onto it because he was never happy with it and wanted to get it to the point he believed it looked acceptable before selling it, but the initial prompt to paint it was a commission.
In the dub, da Vinci is a much more rude. He tells Petra that he’d rather paint a slop bucket in the king’s royal pig sty than a “beauty” like her.
When TP Lady falls over and hits her face, she says she can’t be painted with her face looking like that. In the dub, she says her pancake makeup fell flat.
In the original, Tokio and Sora says there’s no way even Genshi could move the Leaning Tower of Pisa to its correct position, but his willingness to give it his all to try is something to be admired. In the dub, at least Sarah says that Flint will definitely move it, but they’ll just have to help him move it back later.
Uh….how about no? Do you kids know how much work went into making the Leaning Tower of Pisa stable after so many years of it sinking and deteriorating? If you correct the slant, assuming it would survive that, trying to make it slant again and keeping it stable after that would probably be impossible.
……He’s….he’s still going to do it, isn’t he?
*10 seconds later*
Yup. Yup. He did it. Why, exactly, didn’t any of them stop him? They know how crazy strong Genshi is. Even if it was a long shot, he’s a very destructive kid. He’d definitely damage the thing beyond repair.
Saban has them cutting to Petra saying “What a show off!” as Flint is pushing the tower when that wasn’t there in the original.
Tokio originally comments about how Genshi isn’t different at all after having been turned into a painting. Tony says “Pictures that talk? Is this what inspired the invention of television?” which doesn’t really make any sense. He’s already seen these talking portraits so he shouldn’t be saying something like “Pictures that talk?” now. And of course they didn’t, Tony. I get that it’s a joke, but it’s not a good one.
Originally, Sora says “Excuse me…” and da Vinci asks who they are. In the dub, she asks “Are you alone?” And da Vinci responds “Never have I felt more alone, my child.”
Tokio asks who the man is. Sora explains that they learned about him in school – Leonardo da Vinci. In the dub, Tony says it’s weird to see a caveman explaining time travel to a renaissance man, and Sarah exclaims that they have the honor of helping out the great Leonardo da Vinci.
I can’t really comment too much on this next part because I don’t really know how da Vinci thought or felt on this matter, but, in the original, da Vinci says he can’t paint for money or fame any longer. He did paint for money, of course, but he wasn’t really all that famous in life. He did gain a reputation among artists as being incredibly skilled and was even considered an artistic prodigy as a child, but his works didn’t garner enough commercial attention to keep his head above water. Even as an inventor and writer, he struggled quite a bit to sell any of his works.
For some really weird reason, it seems that Plumella doesn’t actually talk. Like in the original, she just says her name over and over. I can’t make heads or tails of this. Every other English Time Shifter has been given the ability to actually talk. Why is Plumella the exception?
I’m not going to say this isn’t factual, again, considering I don’t know da Vinci’s concrete feelings on the subject, but I will ding the dub a bit for this. In both versions, the entire focus on da Vinci here is how much he loved painting and art, which he did, but the dub also says that he loved nothing more than painting, which, as far as I’ve read, isn’t true. He seemed to enjoy science and inventing a bit more than art.
Genshi says he now has the urge to paint, and Sora says they can paint together when they get back to the lab. In the dub, Flint says he remembers painting pictures of buffalo on their cave walls back home.
Da Vinci tells Monarisu that being honest is best, in regards to painting what she wants to paint. In the dub, he comments on the depiction of Sarah’s enigmatic smile – alluding to the actual Mona Lisa, which at this point hasn’t been painted yet. The Mona Lisa’s smile is considered enigmatic because it’s just barely there, is asymmetrical and seemingly changes depending on which angle from which you’re viewing the painting and, to some degree, how you’re reading her body language. Some say it’s a smirk, others say she’s happy because she’s pregnant, others say she’s sadly smiling, still others think it’s because she’s keeping a secret or lying, some people say she’s not even smiling at all. Her entire expression is hard to read when you really look at it.
Now, compare that with the portrait of Sarah….
Yeah, it’s, uh, not nearly as ambiguous or enigmatic. She’s clearly happy. She was laughing when Plumella painted her. I don’t know if Saban knows what enigmatic means. I think they just heard that’s a common comment on the real Mona Lisa so they thought they should reapply it for Sarah’s painting.
Name Plate removed.
Name Change: Warurisu is changed to Plumella-kon.
Also, wow, Warurisu is definitely one of the weirdest bad transformations so far. It legitimately looks monstrous.
Putera explains exactly what happened to Yamato – that Genshi had been turned into a painting. Yamato thinks that Horurun would be perfect since it is basically the opposite of Monarisu. In the dub, Pterry makes a pun saying that Flint’s been framed and it’s not a pretty picture. Based on this, somehow, Goodman knows exactly who to send.
TP Lady just says to get Horurun. In the dub, she tells Plumella-kon to ‘Petra Bash’ him.
In the original, they just give Horurun encouragement. In the dub, Sarah demands that Artie shape shift, Genshi says “Hurry up!” and the only one actually giving genuine encouragement is Rocky, who tells Artie to use his courage. Sarah in particular is being really rude. She’s about as bad as Tony has been with this same issue in the past.
Name Plate Removed.
Name Change: Super Horurun is changed to Artie Master.
Tokio just remarks that the giant globs of paint Warurisu is shooting are super sticky and they can’t break free of it. In the dub, Tony says “This stuff’s clammier than cold oatmeal!”
Tony: “Don’t wimp out!” Tony, Monarisu is mind-controlled right now. It’s not being a wimp because it can’t break free of that control.
They insert a shot of Flint yelling out to Plumella-kon between when we see her claws and when da Vinci holds up the painting.
Dyna and Mite go on about finally getting their turn to take down Genshi. TP Lady gets mad and points out that they were napping before she smacks them in the head. In the dub, Petra whines about not getting her painting. Dino and Mite say they’ll make her a better painting, a velvet one, and then Petra smacks them in the head saying they have no idea about real art.
In the original, TP Lady only says she’s going to destroy the Leaning Tower of Pisa now. In the dub, she says “One Pisa with everything on it, coming up!” I get it, haha, Pisa sounds like pizza, and I guess ‘everything on it’ means she’s going to shoot at it a bunch, ha haaaaa.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa returns to its leaning state by an explosion happening in the sky near it. I guess it’s as good an explanation as any.
In the original, da Vinci tells Monarisu that no matter where she is, as long as she paints with her true heart, she’ll be able to paint amazing things. In the dub, he tells Plumella that he had lost his faith and passion in painting and didn’t enjoy it anymore until his spark was reinvigorated by her painting. He tells her that her paintings reminded him of his talent and his better self. Why did da Vinci lose his passion for painting in the first place? Just because Petra forced him to paint a picture that he didn’t even paint? That thing that went on for all of ten minutes?
Genshi tells Monarisu that they can go home and paint a picture together. In the dub, because they’re in Italy, they have to talk about going home to get a pizza pie.
And now we’re at the ending…..which is…..boy, it’s an ending alright.
So they erase everyone’s memories like always and leave that era to go back to their time. Da Vinci doesn’t remember anything but still has the painting of Sora in his hands. Then we see the painting resting on the floor, leaned on the wall next to da Vinci as narration explains that the Mona Lisa, one of the greatest pieces of the renaissance, is still adored even in the 25th century even though no one knows who the mysterious model was, heavily implying that this painting of Sora is now considered the Mona Lisa.
Where do I even begin?
First of all, isn’t it a HUGE Time Detective no-no to effectively erase a priceless piece of art from existence? The Mona Lisa, as we knew it, no longer exists. It’s now a picture of a pink-haired anime girl.
Also, Sora’s look is pretty damn distinctive. Wouldn’t people in the future bring it up to her that she looks EXACTLY like the woman in the Mona Lisa?
Second of all, saying that this picture of Sora is so good that it somehow managed to match the popularity and mystique and everything else that the actual Mona Lisa had is pretty damn insulting to the Mona Lisa and Leonardo da Vinci. No matter if it was a personal favorite piece of his or it was a painting he never felt was up to snuff, he put a lot of work and care into that painting, touching it up for years and years to try to bring it up to his standards of perfection. And even after all of that, he never even managed to finish it. He stopped working on it after over 14 years because his hand suffered from nerve damage that left it mostly paralyzed.
For those wondering, the unfinished aspect wasn’t in the lack of eyebrows and eyelashes. The reason the painting doesn’t have visible eyelashes and eyebrows is because those details had been lost after either fading or restoration/cleaning efforts over the years. It’s still considered unfinished purely because da Vinci never declared it finished.
Compare that to Monarisu who brushed a canvas with her tail for 14 seconds in order to paint this picture of Sora. I get that Monarisu loves painting, which is great, but that’s really, really, really insulting.
What’s even more insulting is that this change basically ignores everything that’s special about the Mona Lisa. I already explained how they don’t understand what the mystery about her smile is, but they also don’t seem to properly recognize that she was a highly romantic figure for many years and continues to be one, to some degree anyway.
Napoleon was obsessed with the painting to the point where he developed a crush on Lisa Gherardini’s descendant. Tons of men have brought flowers, poems and other gifts to the Louvre or sent love letters to the painting so often that they gave the painting its own mailbox. You’re telling me all of this still happened, but the attention was aimed towards a depiction of a preteen girl instead of the 24-year-old woman the painting was originally based on? And then we have to reapply the whole thing about the fame mostly being attributed to it being stolen. Did that still happen? I guess it must have if everything else is the same. Guess they were right. Literally any da Vinci painting could have been stolen and gotten famous from it.
How is this painting even being called the Mona Lisa anymore? The title Mona Lisa, which should actually be Monna Lisa, comes from the words Monna, which means “My Lady” (Ironically, the more well-known spelling for the painting, Mona, pretty much means the exact opposite as a it’s a vulgar term for a woman’s genitals. Woops.) and Lisa as in Lisa Gherardini/del Giocondo. Why would da Vinci randomly give this painting of this girl he’s never seen or met before the name ‘Lisa’? For that matter, why would he call a very young girl ‘My Lady’?
This is also completely ignoring that there are other aspects of the Mona Lisa besides just the model that intrigue people. The perspective, the landscape, the style, the various sometimes drastic changes that da Vinci made to the painting over the years and more are all things that art lovers find fascinating about this painting.
What of the other details of the painting of Sora?
There are none.
It’s just Sora smiling against a background of spotty blue and white. There’s nothing to catch the eye or pique your interest.
Finally, they turned da Vinci into an art thief. Considering the memory erasure, da Vinci just randomly found himself standing on top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa with a painting of a random strange pink-haired girl that wasn’t done in his style even a little bit and just assumed it was his, claimed it as such, and earned endless praise and fame from it. I’m not saying da Vinci doesn’t deserve endless fame and praise, he did a hell of a lot in science, engineering, inventing and art, plus he never earned a dime from the Mona Lisa or saw real fame for it when he was alive, but at the end of the day you’re still saying da Vinci flippantly stole credit for art he didn’t make. How did historians in the future not realize that da Vinci didn’t paint that?
Historian: “Ah yes, the great works of Leonardo da Vinci. The Last Supper, the Vitruvian Man, and who could forget this fanart of an old canceled 90s anime character?”
The dub fixes this a tiny bit by saying Sarah’s portrait was used as a model for da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, but that’s not much better, because, without seeing the portrait he made, it just sounds like he was copying the painting Plumella made. Plus, the rest still makes no sense. I don’t even really think you can claim he was using that painting as a reference or model because, when he’s seen painting during this narration, the Sora/Sarah painting is on the floor to his side, almost behind him. It’d be in front of him, behind his canvas if he was using it as a reference.
The dub seems behind the original in the next scene. Yamato is turned into a painting by Monarisu. Sora calls in Horurun to help by reversing the effects (can’t Monarisu reverse her own power?), but he misunderstands and brings Genshi’s painting to life. In the dub, Sarah says how awful it is that Uncle Bernie has been turned into a painting and asks how long he’s been like that. Artie randomly brings a painting to life right before Tony tells Artie to help Dr. Goodman.
And that’s that for this episode. I realize that I was edging along the line of thinking about this episode too much, but, again, if you’re going to make a series rooted in history, even if it’s a comedy, I feel like you kinda have a responsibility to think things through about as a much as a nerd on the internet with no life who compares anime dubs for a hobby would, especially since this is a history show for kids.
I don’t much care that they didn’t bring up that da Vinci was much more than only a painter or that they got little details inaccurately, but I do care about the blatant retconning of the Mona Lisa from existence in the manner of acting like the painting itself doesn’t matter. Even if it does herald back to that idea that the Mona Lisa could have been any da Vinci painting and it would have gotten famous under the same circumstances it went through – it’s still just a front profile shot of a little girl with absolutely nothing impressive about it. There’s saying that other da Vinci paintings are so impressive that they would have reached Mona Lisa level heights of popularity if they were stolen and then there’s saying literally ANY painting would have achieved that status if it was stolen and had da Vinci’s name on it.
They also treat the Leaning Tower of Pisa like it’s a crooked picture on a wall. That I’m more forgiving of because it’s just a joke, it’s not part of the plot, but still.
Also, what did the kids even accomplish today, timeline-wise? If they were trying to stop TP Lady from erasing the Mona Lisa from existence with her own painting, then, well, they didn’t do that entirely because the Mona Lisa still doesn’t exist. It was replaced with a painting of Sora.
The highlight of this episode is Monarisu being one of if not the most adorable Space-Time Monster we’ve seen so far. She is just a delight, and I love that she’s art-based. I’m a bit irked that her painting ability is so simple, though. She literally just brushes her tail on a canvas and instantly has a finished piece within seconds.
The fact that this episode puts a bit of focus on how great it is to have a passion for art was also nice. I feel like Horurun and Auguste Rodin had a stronger episode in that regard, even if that story did have a very sloppy final message. While we’re on the subject of the Horurun/Rodin episode, that one also had a better friendship. We barely got to see Monarisu and da Vinci bond at all, and what we did see of it was kinda lame. Da Vinci was really so impressed by Monarisu’s abilities in painting a pink-haired little girl that it set off a huge burst of inspiration within da Vinci and returned his love of art back to him, even if we never really understand why he lost it to begin with. They have a couple of legitimately sweet moments, but I felt that Rodin and Horurun’s relationship was better.
Overall, this episode was okay, leaning towards bad almost purely on what they did to history here. We got Super Horurun, who looks kinda cool, although he didn’t get to do much in this episode besides return Genshi back to normal. I’m not even sure what his super power is. It’s implied in the end that Horurun can reverse Monarisu’s powers without using a super transformation, so what exactly can Super Horurun do that normal Horurun can’t, besides just be bigger and stronger?
I loved Monarisu, I love having any excuse to learn more about art, and the problems I had with the episode, while definitely being significant, probably wouldn’t ruin the experience for anyone just very casually watching. I can’t imagine it would negatively affect any kid either. Not many kids would see the Mona Lisa and be disappointed that it doesn’t look a thing like Sora/Sarah. I think the one thing I will definitely put a red mark on there would be implying that da Vinci is an art thief. I’m not sure what’s worse – Implying that Rodin’s skill came from a Space-Time Monster’s powers or implying that one of da Vinci’s most beloved paintings wasn’t actually done by him and he just found it and claimed it for himself – or at the very least copied it.
Next time, we meet the Wright Brothers and the flying Space-Time Monster, Wing!
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