Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) The Zeta Project

Plot: The Zeta project was a top-secret government program in which an android named Zeta was created as an assassin to take out suspected terrorists. When Zeta realizes that some of the people he was killing were innocent, he vows to be non-violent. However, the NSA believes terrorists have reprogrammed Zeta to be on their side, and they pursue Zeta relentlessly to keep him out of enemy hands.

As Zeta rushes around to prove his innocence, he meets a young homeless orphan girl named Ro who helps him out after Zeta rescues her from a gang attack. Together, they seek to find Zeta’s original programmers to prove his innocence once and for all.

Breakdown: The Zeta Project was definitely a show I remember from when I was a kid. However, I don’t think I ever watched it. I remember promos for it, I remember what Zeta looked like, and I remembered the name, but I’m almost certain I had never watched it back then.

It’s a shame, too, because this show show seems really great so far. The plot and tone all sound a bit too serious for a kid’s show, especially since we’re dealing with the actual United States government and the NSA, just in the far future. Flying cars and lasers and whatnot. Make no mistake, however. This series, at its core, really isn’t that much more serious than any other animated superhero show running at the time. Definitely more grounded and serious to a degree, but not so much that you’d be left wondering why this is even a kids’ show.

Zeta is immediately likable. He has my robot bias locked in, but he’s genuinely sweet and kind. Ro is also a really cool…..kid? I have no idea how old Ro is. She’s at least old enough to drive. Her situation is sadly all too realistic. She’s an orphan who grew up in foster care and doesn’t remember her family at all. As a result, she falls in with a gang, but manages to escape from them when Zeta shows up.

I really love Ro’s attitude. While she’s a bit on the selfish side sometimes, she’s a good person and always seems to do the right thing. She’s also pretty funny sometimes, and she has a lot of style to her.

I’m incredibly interested in the story so far, which actually makes me want to hesitate with this series. It was canceled after only two seasons, and it never managed to finish the story at all. I’m basically on a one-way ticket to unsatisfied feelings…..

Why was The Zeta Project canceled? Especially considering it was doing quite well and was even nominated for an Emmy?

Two reasons.

First, this series premiered in January 2001. Just nine months before the events of 9/11. You know what kind of show networks didn’t typically want to touch after 9/11? Any show that depicts the government and especially the NSA in a negative or scary light while also talking about terrorists a lot.

While this was a hurdle, the series creator, Bob Goodman, was able to convince those at Kids WB! to continue with the series with the condition that the talk of terrorists be reduced to little to none.

Despite basically winning this fight, the second reason came over the horizon – Kids WB! became more controlling over the direction the show would be going in the future, which stifled Goodman’s creative vision. He left the show as they were in talks for season three, and interest in the series waned heavily once he was gone, so the show never got a season three.

Over the years, there have been rumors and hints that the series would continue on in some capacity from a rebooted live-action TV series to a comic book continuation to a DVD special, but none of them have ever come to pass. As far as I know, it’s been quiet on the Zeta front for many years. While you can never count out any series possibly being revived in today’s reboot/revival/sudden continuation world, I’m not really holding my breath for The Zeta Project news anytime soon. It’d be really cool if it happened, but it’s a longshot.

I do look forward to watching the rest of the series, and I’m fully prepared to take the bittersweet hit of being left without a proper resolution when I reach the end of the this road, but I wish it was a hit I didn’t need to take.


Continue Yes

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Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun/Flint the Time Detective Episode 23 (22 for the Dub) Unita of the Land of Time | Sub/Dub Comparison


Plot: The group learns of a mysterious Space-Time Monster named Unita who is able to freely roam in the flow of time and space. As they try to rescue him from TP Lady, Genshi and Ototan find themselves in the Land of Time where Toki-G finally explains the entire situation to his best Space-Time Detective.


Title Change: Unita of the Land of Time is changed to Enter the Unicon.

Contrary to what the title implies, Unita’s name is not changed to Unicon. That’s the name of his bad transformation.

They insert a couple of shots of Rei and Yamato talking before the screen of Unita.

Name plate removed:





Yamato doesn’t mention having food in every decade like Goodman does.

The usual pre-time travel additional filler is particularly fillery today. They do bring up that they don’t know where or when they’re going, but Jillian notes that they’re going to the Grand Canyon, which is supposedly one of Unita’s favorite places. It’s mostly information we’re going to learn in a minute anyway.

Saban tries to be educational here where the original wasn’t, which is appreciated, but a fact they convey is wrong. Pterry explains that the Grand Canyon is 217 miles long, but it’s actually 277 miles long. The thing is, this note is technically correct if you follow a map from pre-1975. 60 miles were added to the official length of the Grand Canyon when they started incorporated Marble Canyon into its length and included it in the Grand Canyon National Park. This show was made in 1998-99, which is well beyond when this change was made.

However, Pterry is right in saying that it’s one mile deep in some places.

Super Unita’s name plate is removed:





Why was it necessary for Wing to hide in Ridon? Couldn’t he have just stayed out like Love-Love does?

I do like how Tokio continues to be particularly close with Wing, though. I hope Sora gets her own Space-Time Monster who connects with her.

They insert a shot of Flint talking before Tony and Wing fly off.

Tony is much ruder than Tokio is. Tokio was hoping using Wing’s power would let them show off. In the dub, he’s disappointed that their flight speed isn’t faster and calls it ‘bogus’ when Wing’s right there.

Why did they have Getalong say “Eh” after Sarah pointed out that Tony hurt Wing’s feelings as if he didn’t care?

Putera says they’ll never catch up to Unita on Ridon. In the dub, Pterry points out that he flew behind a cloud bank.

Tokio asks Wing if there’s anything he can do to help them catch up, which prompts Wing to Super Transform. In the dub, Tony just tells Wing to shapeshift.

Name Change: Jetton is changed to Wing Master.

Name Plate Removed:





I don’t know who the hell said “Follow him into the canyon, Wing!” in the dub. It sure as hell wasn’t Tony. It’s like they wanted that line in but couldn’t get Brian Donovan in that day so they just had an intern try to mimic his voice. It was weird. I almost want to say it’s Wing because that’s the only voice that’s similar but….is he talking in third-person…..to himself?

For some reason, they insert a bunch of shots of Tony acting frightened while flying on Wing Master before Flint corners Unita.

Originally, Unita refused help because he claimed he belonged to no one. In the dub, he said he doesn’t need help from a mere human.

In the original, they all just yell Unita’s name. In the dub, they tell Unita, who is already trapped in Petra’s chains, to look out for Petra’s chains.

Between when Petra opens her fan and when she starts making her proclamations, they insert a shot of Sarah talking to say “We’ve got to stop her! Can’t you do something, Flint!?” Which sounds really like something you’d say with a very concerned expression. Not this.


They remove TP Lady gloating and dancing with her fan.


The original just has Mite say they used a special chain. In the dub, he says they got the chain from a mail-order catalog.

Originally, Genshi says he’s been paralyzed. Then he apologizes to Unita for failing to save him because he’s now paralyzed (he just got electric shocked). In the dub, he sings the Old MacDonald song and then makes the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” reference before saying he’s had all the power sapped from him.

How was that chain so strong a direct hit from Ototan’s Fighting Spirit didn’t dent it, but Jetton’s missiles broke them, and Unita simply pulling on them broke them as well?

Sora yells that the ship is going to hit them. In the dub, she asks if Unita got away.

Ototan wonders where they are before Genshi suddenly wakes up and wonders where Tokio, Sora and Love-Love are (No concern for Wing? Or Putera?) In the dub, Rocky says “I don’t know where we are, but this is not relativity.” The word “relativity” wakes Flint up and he wonders where Tony, Sarah and Getalong are (Again, not Wing or Pterry.) The reason I bring this up is because Flint doesn’t know the simplest words sometimes, but “relativity” makes him think of Sarah and Tony for no other reason I can think of besides the fact that they’re relatives to each other?

When Genshi wakes up, he’s searching for Sora, Tokio and Love-Love again. In the dub, he’s telling Petra (who’s not there) that she’s under arrest.

We finally learn that the floating pig Toki-G rides on is called Buta. In the dub, it doesn’t seem he’s given a name – at least not yet. I tried looking it up, but got nowhere.

Toki-G is originally a god of time – hence the G in his name. In the dub, he’s just the keeper of the Land of Time.

Toki-G tells Genshi that the pork buns coming out of Buta’s nose (ew) are real. In the dub, he says “They’re not the ideal shape for pigs in a blanket, but they’re close enough to fake it.” So…..are they still pork buns?

So, again, Fighting Spirited Ototan wasn’t able to break the chains, but Genshi can pull them apart with his bare hands?

I can’t get over how much little Unita looks like he belongs in My Little Pony lol

What the hell is up with TP Lady’s eyes when she’s saying they have to get Unita to leave? They’re not blinking or moving at all. It’s like she’s a doll.


Toki-G originally tells Genshi that the Space-Time Monsters were created to be angels who protected the Land of Time. Genshi and Ototan are shocked, but then Genshi whispers to Ototan “What are angels?” which makes everyone fall over. Toki-G collects himself and explains they are beings meant to assist him. In the dub, Old Timer says he’s over a billion years old, which shocks everyone. Rocky says that’s impossible, but Flint responds “Careful. I think he’s off his pig.” which is kinda funny, but I don’t know why they didn’t just have the original dialogue. Also, with all the stuff they’ve seen and the fact that they can time travel, why is it so hard to believe someone could be over a billion years old?

I don’t quite get how all of the Space-Time Monsters are angels meant to assist Toki-G. Most of their powers just make no sense for that task. They’re literally just watching machinery. Why would they ever need to freeze things or make people get along or bring art to life?

Also, why even bother hiring more Space-Time Detectives if Genshi is the only one who really matters due to his pure heart and friendship? What were the circumstances of Kyoichiro getting hired? Does he just usually go after the Space-Time Monsters TP Lady doesn’t know about yet? Or does he have another job?

TP Lady gushes after hearing the story of the Masked Man breaking out all of the Space-Time Monsters from the Land of Time in order to rewrite history to fall under his rule acting as if he’s doing all of this to make a new world for her. In the dub, Petra mocks Flint by saying she, Dino and Mite are helpless criminals who have rough pasts that made them that way and to have mercy on them.

In response, Dyna and Mite look at TP Lady like she’s nuts and they ask if that’s really what’s going on here. In the dub, they say she’s milking this act for all it’s worth.

It’s really ridiculous that Genshi never tries to stop TP Lady from stamping a Space-Time Monster. She usually takes quite a bit of time to do it, clearly builds up to it so you know that’s what’s coming, and Genshi is certainly fast enough to stop her, but he just doesn’t.

TP Lady tells Unita to show her his true dark side. In the dub, she says there’s a new sheriff in town and it’s her.

Name Plate removed:





Also, goddamn, that bad transformation is sick. Looks like it belongs on a death metal album cover. Unita has probably the best trio of forms so far. Its default form is adorable, its super form is awesome, and its bad form is kickass.

Name Change: Warufa is changed to Unicon.

Kinda shocked they left in TP Lady having her ass set on fire.

Okay, now Genshi’s ass is being set on fire. What is happening?

Genshi tells Unita to stop. In the dub, he tells Rocky they need to take cover.

The baseball references Rocky makes when he bats Flint away are not present in the original.

TP Lady tells Warufa to smash Genshi. In the dub, she seems to tell Dino and Mite to help Unitacon, but they don’t.

…….Wait, what?

Petra: “Unitacon needs help!”…..UniTAcon?…..But the title says “Unicon”….According to the Wiki, it’s “Unita-kon (I honestly don’t know if they’re supposed to use a K or a C for “c/kon” Some entries use C and others use K, but I’d think it’d be consistent. Sadly, there’s no official source for this info, so either the script has a flub in it or they messed up the title card. They never say his bad form’s name vocally ever again in the dub. To make things more confusing, Unita’s Wiki page says the title of the episode it debuts in is called “Enter the Unicorn.” which is not what the title card says.


They originally yell that the Time Ride is out of order (so I guess they’re asking themselves where they’re even going since they can’t leave the Land of Time.) There’s nothing but screaming in the dub.

Originally, Dyna and Mite break the fourth wall and tell the audience to join them for the next episode called “TP Lady’s Bad Transformation.” TP Lady yells “Look forward to it!” In the dub, Dino asks where they’re going if the computer’s broken. Mite says he doesn’t know. Then they both say they hope wherever/whenever they land has bowling. Petra then yells “This is so not fair!”

What the hell have Sora and the others been doing this whole time? Time has clearly passed since it’s sundown now when it wasn’t when Genshi, Ototan and Unita left. Have they just been staring blankly into the horizon from that rock formation for several hours?

Genshi simply doesn’t know how to explain everything Toki-G told them. He just says he met a god and he told them a lot of things, which the others don’t really believe, while Ototan says he’ll fill them in later. In the dub, for some reason, they make off like Flint had his mind erased, and it seems like he did…….????? Why the hell would Old Timer tell Flint all of that stuff just to erase his memories later? He’s a Time Detective. What’s the point?

Merlock: “It’s alright. He’ll be normal after some food.” UHM I’M SORRY. WHAT ARE YOU IMPLYING HERE? That anyone who has their mind erased by the memory erasure beam will get their memories back after a hearty meal?

Also, Rocky says “Pizza for everyone!” in the spot where he says he’ll explain later.

Genshi just says Unita’s name. In the dub, he asks if Unita remembers.

While most of Unita’s dialogue is the same here, he starts by saying he remembers that Flint is his beloved friend…..so…is he also keeping the events of the Land of Time a secret or does he really not remember?

I know that Unita values his freedom, but why is he the only Space-Time Monster they’re allowing to roam free?

And what was even the point of Merlock being here? He didn’t do anything besides literally be there.


All in all this episode was………okay. I hate saying that because this is one of the few episodes that actually furthers the overall plot besides just capturing Space-Time Monsters, but it was really kinda bland. Unita is by far the best thing about it, even if I don’t understand why Warufa has fire powers. However, the rest of the episode is just kinda disappointing. The only new information we really learned is that the Masked Man was the one who attacked the Land of Time and released the Space-Time Monsters, but we don’t learn who he is (is there really any point in disguising him? We don’t know any adult men with long teal hair. So any reveal would ring a little hollow wouldn’t it?), and his motives are typical take-over-the-world stuff.

We got Wing’s super transformation, which was kinda cool. I don’t much care for the design. It comes off more like a weird rocket than a fighter jet. I’m also getting kinda sick of Tony or Sarah being mean to the Space-Time Monsters when they call on them to help.

I do like that we finally get to explore the Land of Time more and learn a tiny bit more about the Space-Time Monsters, but I was expecting something with a bit more oomph for such an important episode. If anything, it just raised more questions, especially regarding Genshi being the messiah of this mission. I get that he’s pure-hearted and kind, but many of the bad transformed Space-Time Monsters change back because of the influence of their friendships formed with historical figures, not really Genshi in particular half the time.

I also liked Genshi getting turned back into a fossil. That was a little funny and unexpected.

It is disappointing that this is another episode with not much to talk about history-wise. We got a two fact blurb about the Grand Canyon in the dub, and one of the facts was incorrect.

Dub-wise, it’s fine until the ending where they make a huge change for seemingly no reason. If they actually do keep up this amnesia excuse, then how does that affect future episodes? If him getting fed returns his memories then…..holy hell in August, the timeline should be screwed a billion times over by now! What would even be the point of erasing his memory if it returns with food? I really, truly don’t understand a single thing about that change. It baffles me.

Next time, we learn of TP Lady’s backstory in an episode titled, you guessed it, “TP Lady’s Bad Transformation.”

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Cyborg 009 Full Review Project: Manga (1964) Volume 7

Buckle up, ladies and gents, because things are about to get seriously crazy.

The Mythos arc is reaching its grand crescendo, and the 00 Cyborgs keep hanging on by the skin of their teeth. In the sub, the gang is struggling to escape from the mighty Atlas, whose size, armor and strength keep overpowering them at every turn. What’s worse is that Atlas keeps using the environment to his advantage, breaking off chunks of rocks to pelt at the cyborgs, damage their sub and eventually bury it.

005 has to nearly kill himself just to give the other cyborgs time to escape, and even that was mostly fruitless. (And despite clearly losing an arm, he’s very quickly fixed later) 004 asserts that, should their attacks all fail, he’ll utilize his atomic self-destruct device to destroy Atlas.

As if that weren’t bad enough, 009 needs medical attention desperately, but Gilmore can’t perform any complicated surgeries while the sub is being rocked by battle.

Right as 004 sets out to sacrifice himself, Helena decides to trick Atlas by claiming she’s been outfitted with a bomb that is set to detonate if Atlas kills any of the 00 crew. Atlas, being close with Helena, agrees to stand down for an hour, but if she’s not returned to the Mythos cyborgs with the bomb removed by that time Atlas will return and finish what he started.

This gives 009 ample time to frickin’ die.

Nope, I’m not kidding. 009 is technically dead right now. His brainwave frequency is flatlined, there’s no response from any of his systems – Gilmore even straight out says he’s dead numerous times.

However, he’s not SUPER dead.

Being a cyborg, there is still the chance to revive and repair him, but they don’t have the parts there. The closest Black Ghost outpost is in Vietnam.

Thus, he’s dead, the others lose their fight without 009’s help, and the world is doomed to fall under Black Ghost’s horrible war-perpetuating rule.

And that’s the Cyborg 009 manga, everyone. Bit of a downer ending, but–

Wait a minute….Do you guys feel that? Yes, I…I know this feeling. Could it be?

It is! 001 is awake!

And I’m not really being snarky here. The kid is literally the ultimate turner of tides here because the first thing he does when he wakes up – and bear in mind that he wasn’t set to wake up for another two weeks – is, and I’m not kidding, bring 009 back to life. Purely through psychic power, 009 is revived from certain death and is even conscious. He’s not repaired, because that’d just be silly, pbbbt, but 001 literally rose 009 from the grave.

And he’s not done.

It’s been an hour, so Atlas returns, demanding Helena be handed over and restarting his rocky assault on the sub. 001 uses his telekinesis to shoot all of the rocks back at Atlas, finally knocking him on his metal ass while also freeing the sub from being pinned by the rocks. The sub won’t work, however, since the propeller was damaged by the rocks, so 001 uses his telekinesis to move the sub away while they make repairs.

Atlas isn’t down for the count, however, and sends a barrage of missiles at the sub. 001 responds by telekinetically changing their trajectory and sending them back at Atlas, which wounds him badly.

However, he’s still not done. Atlas utilizes an attack which involves separating his body into several sections and shooting them at the sub. On impact, the sections will explode.

His parts explode….but the sub is gone. 001 teleported them 500 miles north to keep them safe from the enemy while repairs are made to 009 (and 005 I assume).

Phew, that was quite the cavalcade of ‘why didn’t they focus on psychic abilities after creating 001’? It’s almost like they try to dance around his clear overpowered nature right before he wakes up too. Gilmore tells Helena that 001’s totally useless because, despite being the most powerful, he sleeps for weeks on end. Yeah, yeah ‘totally useless’ except he always has a tendency to wake up right when he’d be the MOST useful – which is typically right when all that shit is hitting the fan.

I love this series, I do, but 001 truly is one of the biggest deus ex machinas I’ve ever seen in any form of fiction.

Let’s switch gears here and see what 003, 007 and Pan are up to. Dr. Uranus ‘accidentally’ frees them from their prison and they make their escape. Uranus is found out by Gaia and he plans on killing him for his betrayal, so 007 sets out to rescue him while 003 and Pan make their escape.





















Anyway, dinosaurs.

Yup. That’s a dinosaur.

003 suggests that it’s probably a robot, but Uranus says it’s a real dinosaur that lives in the caves around the island. He had always meant to study it but he never had time.

…..Excuse me?

Ex-frickin’-cuse me?!




A real, live, breathing….for some reason creepy as hell, DINOSAUR. How have you not gotten around to studying this!? I get it, the cyborg stuff takes up a lot of your time….



She manages to narrowly escape the dinosaur only to be captured yet again by Centaurus D.

Not kidding. I burst out laughing when this happened. What, is this like the fourth time 003 has been kidnapped in this arc? Someone do some investigating – she and Mokuba might be related.

Using his power of invisibility, 007 managed to knock out Gaia and save Uranus off-panel, but since the others teleported away, they’re stuck on the island with nothing to do but wait and hope for their return. 007 wishes for 009’s return most of all, because screw the others I guess? His imaginary image of 009 suddenly turns into the real, good-as-new 009 standing right before him in a rather cool and triumphant panel. He and the others have returned and they’re ready to have their final face-off with the Mythos cyborgs.

We then reach “The Final Chapter” Yeah, I’ll talk about that in a bit.

Rewinding a little, we cut to right before the gang teleports back to Magma Island. 001 states that he feels they must go back to Magma Island, but Gilmore argues that he, and I quote, doesn’t “think (he’s) ready to trust the unclear psychic premonitions of an infant.”

Gilmore……it astounds me that you can be such a genius and ignoramus at the same time.

You don’t think you can trust the premonitions of the PSYCHIC infant? The infant that is the smartest person on this team and just took down Atlas and saved all your asses in one fell swoop single-handed minded? The infant who is basically just an infant by sheer happenstance because he’s locked in that form due to his cyborg nature? The infant who might as well be a demigod at this point? That infant?

As if he were somehow channeling my frustration (and that’s possible, he is psychic after all) 001 telekinetically flings and holds Gilmore up in the air demanding he never call him an infant again. Whoo, yeah! You go off, Ivan!

Helena shares the information that the Mythos Cyborgs also have an esper on their team (who is not named here, but is named Hera in the 2001 anime) so 001 and Helena rush off to help the 00 Cyborgs.

Meanwhile, on Magma Island, the volcanoes on the island start to erupt and the ground begins to break apart. The team is met by Minotaur, Lion Man and Horse Man. 002 – 6 stay behind to fight the trio while 007-9 head underwater. The battle starts turning in the Mythos Cyborgs’ favor when they’re met with Hera. However, in the nick of time yet again, 001 arrives to have an esper on esper battle with her.

008’s task is to fight off the cyber sharks while 007 and 009 head into the cave where 009 just punches the dinosaur and says “As if volcanoes and sharks weren’t enough!”


I. Love. This. Series. Only in Cyborg 009 can fighting a dinosaur come off like an inconvenience among a slue of other weird shit.

Once the dinosaur is felled, more rocks start falling around them due to the tremors. 009 wants to use the rocks to their advantage, so he and 007 split up. 007 is meant to find and rescue 003 while 009 goes off to investigate.

Almost as if 009 were psychic himself, right after 007 finds 003, the falling rocks destroy the electromagnetic barrier in which she was being contained. 007 says it was all part of 009’s plan to ‘shake things up’ but he didn’t shake anything up. It was just the tremors from the eruptions.

On 009’s side, he finds Apollo, and the two reignite their battle from before. It’s mostly a lot of chasing each other until the two face off on a cliff side. Desperate to end the battle and save both of them, Helena lunges toward Apollo, burning herself up. The force of Helena colliding with Apollo and the shock of him accidentally severely injuring/killing his sister causes Apollo and Helena to accidentally fall off of the cliff and into the water below, killing them both.

As the other battles continue, the island suddenly bursts with massive surges of ocean water. In seconds, the island crumbles apart and sinks into the ocean. The volume (for this story anyway) ends with “In the calm that followed this fury, no sign of the Cyborg team remained.”


Wow. That was quite the volume. Definitely the most intense volume we’ve gotten so far with an awesome jaw-dropping cliffhanger.

Well…it would be awesome if they continued the story. Sadly, we’ll never get adequate resolution to this cliffhanger due to the bane of existence

*spooky music*

*thunder clap*


When Ishinomori was writing the Mythos arc, Weekly Shonen King, the magazine in which Cyborg 009 was being published at the time, gained a new editor-in-chief who basically shut the door on Ishinomori as soon as his ass hit his new chair. He told him that the manga was going to be canceled immediately, claiming the Mythos arc was too confusing for their target demographic of children, so Ishinomori basically had to wrap things up on a cliffhanger.

While the series in Weekly Shonen King was canceled in 1965, the manga was still running supposedly non-canon short stories under the moniker “Cyborg Soldiers” in Separate Shonen King until sometime in 1966, which is where Vacuum War, The Aurora Strategy, The Golden Lion and A Phantom Dog ran.

As for my feelings on the arc, I really did enjoy it a lot. I don’t see how it could have been too complicated for children to grasp in regards to themes and having too many characters. Do you realize how many heavy as hell themes the previous stories had? And how many characters we’ve had to keep track of in past volumes? I think this guy had a stick up his ass. There’s little information on Weekly Shonen King, but there was never any indication that I could find that the reception for the manga was lacking at this time. Hell, they literally just got done making a Cyborg 009 movie that was so well-received that they made a sequel just a year later. What is this guy smoking?

Admittedly, 001’s powers do grate on the nerves because he’s simply too powerful. I don’t care if he does have weaknesses in his small baby body and his need to sleep constantly, he’s still way too powerful. Between him and 009, you sometimes feel like the other team members just help fill time.

Also, the rematch with Apollo was underwhelming to say the least, but the match with Atlas more than made up for it. That guy was an absolute powerhouse. 001’s powers aside, he was literally the only one who could defeat himself. Everyone else could barely scratch him. Really glad Helena saved 004 from sacrificing himself too. Smart plan. I’ll miss Helena. Even though she didn’t really have any powers, that we were made aware of anyway. She could have made a good addition to the team.

Speaking of the side stories that ran in Separate Shonen King (but got repackaged for the Tokyopop release), we’re at the next chapter – Golden Lion.

Fair warning, this chapter takes place entirely in Africa and, uh, Ishinomori still hasn’t gotten around to not using the racist depictions of black people yet.

Pyunma, Joe and Francoise are heading to Pyunma’s village in Zanzibar to help him with something that is threatening his people – a golden fire-breathing glowing flying lion who is slaughtering people. Ya know, typical Tuesday.


When he arrives at the village, he’s greeted with the tragic news that, literally minutes before he arrived, his family was slaughtered in their home. His mother, father and little sister were all killed by the lion in what appeared to be a hit considering Pyunma was the former leader of the independence movement that lived and still operated in the village.

The lion is actually pretty intelligent and can communicate through typing. He approaches some English douchebags who are trying to take advantage of the land’s resources and offers a deal – he’ll kill and scare off the freedom group who are impeding their plans in exchange for rods of radioactive isotopes, which he seemingly eats…and/or takes back to a glowing golden tentacle tree, of course.

Also, the English douchebag thought the lion was a ghost at first and tried to shoot it, because apparently too many people think that will work.

After the funeral of Pyunma’s family, the three cyborgs vow to take revenge, but they need more information in order to defeat the lion. They obviously believe the lion is a cyborg and note that blasters won’t work on it. He also seems to be as fast as Joe.

I want to take a moment to note that this is the second time Pyunma has thanked Joe for coming on this trip to help him with his problems….but hasn’t said a single thing to Francoise. She’s not doing anything, but neither is Joe, technically, besides talking about doing stuff. What even is Francoise doing here? Is she just arm candy for Joe now?

An odd fellow wanders through the village. Pyunma explains that he’s the lone survivor of a group of ten people who were suddenly slaughtered by the lion. Ever since, he’s been out of his mind. Joe is instantly suspicious of him because he didn’t have the eyes or mannerisms of someone who was traumatized by such an event. His suspicions prove correct when they discover him trying to relay information to the aforementioned English douchebags.

Using the information gained from the spy, they locate the English douchebags and interrogate them. Knowing they won’t get far by talking to the men, they instead take their isotope supply and head out into the jungle to trap the lion. Sure enough, intent on getting his food, the lion arrives and attacks the cyborgs. Once they retaliate, however, the lion flees. 009 pursues and eventually becomes wrapped up in the tentacle tree.

The lion sets 009 on fire, which accidentally sets the tree on fire. The lion rips the burning tentacles off in order to prevent the rest of the tree from burning. 009 leads the lion to a cave using a couple of the radioactive isotopes. Throwing the isotopes in the cave, he manages to trap the lion inside of it by collapsing the entrance with giant boulders.

And, uh, I guess they just leave because we cut to two months later. Francoise and Joe get a letter from Pyunma in Africa (are Joe and Francoise living together now?) He tells them that they have finally opened the cave back up and Joe was right. The lion was dead. Two weeks after opening the cave, the tree had died as well.

Pop quiz!

What the hell was up with the lion and the tree?

A) They were cyborgs sent by Black Ghost.

B) They were cyborgs sent by someone else.

C) They were mutants and this chapter was meant to be a PSA on the dangers of radioactivity

D) They were aliens

If you guessed D for some reason, you were right!


Yes, aliens now exist in Cyborg 009. And….Joe just kinda brushes this off like it’s nothing.

Joe: “Just as I suspected…They weren’t cyborgs. They were extraterrestrials!” Why would you think that?! I mean…you were right, I guess, but how did you come to that conclusion!?

“Lion and tree were somehow linked together. The tree needed the lion to survive. A perfect symbiotic relationship. Without the lion, the tree died.” Dunno how you knew all that either, but it’s more understandable than knowing the alien thing.

Francoise: “What about the lion? I don’t understand what happened to him.”

Joe: “I trapped him in a uranium mine. He ate until his stomach exploded!” How did you know there was a uranium mine around? And if there was a uranium mine in the area, how did the lion not know about it? How did it know a couple of English yahoos could provide him with radioactivity but not that there was a mine loaded with uranium within walking distance? Why was he willing to take a job that required slaughtering people to obtain his food when he had a feast in a cave nearby? How did you know the lion would be such a glutton that he’d eat himself to death? How did you know he wouldn’t just get more powerful?

The letter concludes with telling Joe and Francoise to have fun together while visiting France and he hopes they can come back to Africa some time for a visit.

And that’s the end of the story…..

Yeah….I really don’t know what to make of this story. Taking a step back from the insanity that is everything to do with the alien tree and lion, this chapter is a bit of a waste, is it not? They kill off Pyunma’s entire family and the story ends up not being significant to Pyunma. 009 is the one who does everything. He determines that a crazy guy in town is a spy just because he doesn’t act the way he knows traumatized people act, even though that varies wildly from person to person, he comes up with the plan, he executes it, he figures out what the tree and the lion are, somehow, and somehow devises the perfect way to kill them both at once, somehow, and Pyunma gets to do nothing.

This is framed as a perfect revenge story for Pyunma and he doesn’t get to do anything. He interrogates the Englishmen, but they didn’t get any info from them. He didn’t really participate in the battle against the lion at all. All he did was blast the cave to cause the cave-in, and he only did that because 009 told him to. There’s no reason 009 didn’t do that himself, honestly.

Did I mention that the English douchebags didn’t get any comeuppance? They get a little roughed up by the cyborgs, but they end up being mostly left alone. The guys who called for the hit on Pyunma’s family, as far as we know, don’t get any punishment for their actions. That’s some bullshit.

This story just hurt Pyunma for the sake of glorifying 009 again, and I kinda hate that.

Don’t even bring 003 up. All she did the entire trip was exclaim that the lion was approaching about two panels before he arrived.

Now for the final chapter of the volume, Phantom Hound.

So….I’ve been kinda dreading this chapter to be honest. Dog deaths and whatnot. Let’s just get this over with.

Joe is thinking back fondly on his dog, Kubikuro. Several months prior, he had seen an old man on the street with two dogs. They were performing tricks where the dogs could do math.

A while later, he found the old man and the two dogs dead in the street, seemingly murdered in a hit and run. He notices straight identical scars on both of the dogs’ foreheads and suspects the old man was experimenting on them. Among the bodies was a puppy that he named Kubikuro. He took care of Kubikuro for three months and discovered that the puppy was just as intelligent as his parents, meaning he was also experimented on.

Joe tells Kubikuro that the man who killed his parents was apprehended by police. Shortly thereafter, Kubikuro goes missing. A month later, Joe hears the news that the man who killed Kubikuro’s parents died in a seeming incident of spontaneous combustion. One after another, reports pour in about animal abusers and other criminals being set ablaze. Joe, somehow, comes to the conclusion that Kubikuro is doing this.

He says that his enhanced intelligence made him as smart as a human, but humans are vengeful and cruel. It’s like he’s implying that Kubikuro had no choice but to become a vengeful serial killer because he was smart as a human. That’s a bit of a dark outlook on humanity. I can totally understand Kubikuro killing the guy who killed his parents, but there’s no reason he’s killing all these other people. He’s like an anti-animal abuse anti-hero, but it’s also a bit confusing. He leads a pack of dogs, and when he saves a train filled with pigs he also…lets the dogs kill and eat some of the pigs? I dunno.

Oh, yeah, Kubikuro can set people on fire with a glance, by the way. ……Here’s how the manga explains how this happened.

“Kubikuro, gifted with intelligence only to turn it into a pyrokinetic rage.” Yup, smart as human + rage = pyrokinesis somehow.

Long story short, Joe feels responsible for the monster Kubikuro has become for some reason so he lays a trap for him. Pretending to be part of a convoy containing someone related to the murder of his parents, he lures Kubikuro out of hiding, has one last exchange with him and shoots him. The last shot of the story is Joe crying with Kubikuro’s body in his arms.

This story is….emotionally manipulative and kinda stupid. The former might just be my bias in the belief that, nearly every time a dog or other animal is killed off in a piece of media, it’s for emotional manipulation, but the latter stands. I can believe fully that these dogs gained human-level intelligence from some vague brain experiments, but I can’t believe that this would result in sudden pyrokinetic abilities nor do I feel I can swallow that Kubikuro turned into a monstrous serial killer just because he’s more human-like with human-level intelligence. That’s just silly…..and this is in a volume with dinosaurs and aliens.

Kubikuro was a little pup when Joe found him. He spent three months being lovingly cared for by Joe. He was a sweet little puppy who even offered to clean up his pawprints in the lobby of Joe’s apartment building because one of the other tenants got upset by it. You don’t suddenly turn into a monster after all of that just because you learn that the person who killed your parents was apprehended. Hell, that’s a good thing. Did Joe not teach him about justice? Like I said, I don’t even get his motivations. It seem like he just wanted to be a vigilante against animal abusers, but that goes out the window when you realize he was letting some of the animals he was saving be killed by his allies.

And then Joe has to Ol’ Yeller Kubikuro, and I just wound up feeling hollow. I saw it coming from a mile away. It’s sad, of course, but I feel like the backbone of his story was so flimsy that it managed to make me not feel tearful at a dog death. I felt much more like crying over Kubikuro’s parents, and they were barely in the story. Kubikuro was adorable, even considering Ishinomori’s odd style in drawing dogs, but he didn’t need to be written as a monster, especially in the sloppy manner he was here. Give him a real reason to be doing what he’s doing and be consistent in his actions but still leave him sympathetic.


And that was volume seven! I am disappointed that Ishinomori had to cut off the Mythos arc here. It was a really interesting and exciting arc for what it was worth, and he did the best with what he had. I mean, granted, if the entire manga had actually ended here it would have been terrible. Maybe the reason I’m not as shaken by it is because I know the series continues on. But imagine being a fan back then and thinking that the last image you’d ever see of the series was a barren shot of the ocean with looming implications that the characters you’ve come to know and love drowned?

Then we have the…..eehh….interesting side stories we’re left to enjoy until volume eight. I didn’t really hate or even seriously dislike either story. I just felt like the first was a big wasted opportunity for Pyunma to get some focus and the second was poorly executed.

Next time, we start what was actually intended to be the grand finale of Cyborg 009 – the Underground Empire Yomi arc!

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Laika in Motion – Coraline (2009) Review

Plot: Coraline Jones has recently moved to a new state in a strange apartment building, and she’s none too happy about it. Her workaholic parents never listen to her, there’s nothing fun for her to do and the other tenants just seems weird and off-putting. Even Wybie, the grandson of their landlady who is about Coraline’s age, annoys her. She wants excitement, adventure, fun and attentive parents, and she manages to find it behind an odd little door in her living room that leads to a version of her world that seems better in every way. When everything you could ever want is in another world, why would you ever leave?

Breakdown: Finally getting into Laika’s library, we have their first venture in Coraline. I remember watching Coraline not long after it released and enjoying it quite a bit. It was a trippy, creepy, extremely well-made and delightfully weird little movie that has always deserved more attention, even though it is Laika’s most successful film, financially, grossing $124.6 mil, and the second highest rated (Kubo and the Two Strings takes top spot there).

I’ve never read the novel on which this movie is based, written by Neil Gaiman, but from all I’ve heard about it it’s a pretty darn good adaptation of the book.

One of Coraline’s best strengths lies in how relatable it is, and yes I realize there’s a child-eating fantasy world making spider woman in it. Kids can easily relate to Coraline, especially if they have felt the sting of having to move away from friends and familiar places, have workaholic parents or both. She’s at just that right age where you still have the imagination and wonder of a child, but you’re sick of being treated as a child. That time where you can make your own fun but everything that every adult around you acts as if it’s fun seems stupid to you.

Coraline does have a bit of a crappy attitude, there’s no denying that. She’s not a bad person, she just feels like her new environment isn’t for her, she misses her friends back home, and her parents do not help at all. They’re either ignoring her or not doing anything with her/listening to her when she can get a word in edgewise. It’s not like she’s a spoiled brat either. The apartment they live in is a bit of a dump. The roof leaks, everything looks dingy and gross, there are massive cobwebs and bugs, there’s barely any non-rotting food in the fridge, the electricity is iffy, the neighbors are weird and never get her name right – it’s understandable that she’d be unhappy.

I don’t particularly like how she treats Wybie for most of the movie, especially since he doesn’t do anything to her, but that resolves by the end. I really wish we had learned more about Wybie, especially if he’s right and his name is meant to be “Why born?” Seems like a cruel thing to name a child, if that’s true.

Likewise, it’s also easy to relate to the adults. I’m not a parent, but I understand that some parents do get so wrapped up in their work that they can’t make time for their kids when they want to. It’s also understandable that all that work and stress would make them come off as cold or mean. It doesn’t make it right, but it is understandable. Work has to get done, otherwise they can’t afford rent or food.

One of the main messages of the movie is to be grateful for what you have and try to understand the other side of your relationships. To most people, this is just Coraline learning to be appreciative of her parents and understanding where they’re coming from, but it’s also about the parents learning to understand Coraline’s view a bit more and try to connect with her. In the end, it works out for both parties. Coraline being more understanding and helpful allows her to take some stress off of her parents, and then they’re able to be more understanding and mellow with her, which allows them to find more time to spend with her. It’s obviously not perfect, nothing is, but they’ve both taken great strides in improving their outlooks, lives and relationship. She’s even able to make friends with her strange neighbors and Wybie.

Of course, as per the tagline, another message is to be careful what you wish for. Even if it seems like everything you could ever want, such perfection does not come without a hefty price, if it even exists at all.

Finally, escapism is not the best option for dealing with your problems. It may be fun, relaxing and adventurous, but at the end of the day, it’s not real.

The visuals are amazing. They’re just the right blend of surreal and incredible real, if that makes any sense. I’ve mentioned before that, despite having an immense amount of respect for the craft, stop-motion tends to put me off a little. However, I really think I’m adapting to it more over the years, because I was able to appreciate the visuals much more than I did back when I first watched it (and I still really liked it back then).

Everything from the characters to the environments to the inanimate objects have a lot of personality and detail, and I kinda want to watch the movie again just to go slower and analyze the detailing work more. I especially like the contrast between how dull and washed out the colors are in the real world in comparison to the fake world. It highlights how much Coraline views her life as boring, cold, upsetting and depressing while the fake world is bright, warm, loving and fun. By the end of the movie, the colors in the real world still retain some of the duller tints, but there is obviously much more brighter colors at the forefront.

The music is unique, extremely fitting and very well made. The voice acting was also extremely well done. Specific shout outs to Teri Hatcher and Keith David for wonderful work.

Overall, if you’re in the mood for a trippy, weird, legitimately creepy at points, and incredibly interesting movie, this is a great one to check out. I highly recommend it.

Recommended Audience: The movie is rated PG, and I agree with that. It’s a high PG, though, if you ask me. Some of the imagery is pretty damn creepy, they talk about kids dying and having their eyes removed, and there’s an extended scene where a…well-endowed woman is almost entirely naked. She just has pasties and underwear on. I also just think younger kids might not be into this movie because it’s a little slower paced, dark and creepy. 10+

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AniManga Clash! Yu-Gi-Oh! Season Zero Episode 18: Don’t Touch the Forbidden Game/Manga Chapters 46-47


Today’s episode starts out with a dream the character of the week, Imori, is having about the Dragon Cards and the Shin Tsuen Fu (the jar that is sealed beneath the cards.) which I will explain later. The dream seems to show a Chinese emperor or other high-status figure trying to protect the ‘Senhai’ (I couldn’t find what that meant, and Google keeps confusing it with “senpai” but it’s referring to the Dragon Cards and the Shin Tsuen Fu jar. Sugoroku later refers to it as the Ryuuhai, so maybe there was a mistranslation there?) during travel when they’re attacked by a rogue militia. The jar falls, opens and a purple mist emanates from it, revealing a neon green dragon that attacks them all. Gotta say, out of all of the things I thought would come from a jar supposedly holding the embodiment of all darkness to balance the light of the world, I honestly never considered a neon green dragon…..

After the title card, we cut to the main group walking to school. Jonouchi kicks a small bag of garbage at the back of Honda’s head and then whines that he’s so bored with daily school life. He wants more excitement. Dude, we’re in episode 18 of Season Zero. How can you have experienced all the screwed up stuff you’ve gone through to this point and say you have a boring life?

He wants the world to be in terrible danger, and then he can save the world, turn it into a utopia and make Honda the janitor of the world. The group looks on like he’s an idiot, which they should in this instance, before quickly noticing Imori getting bullied. The bullies are forcing him into a game where they try to get coins into a pot by throwing them off the stairs. Whoever gets their coin in or gets closest wins 500 yen.

The first bully gets it in the pot, but it bounces out and lands closeby. It’s Imori’s turn, but Yugi steps up to take his place. Yugi easily flips the coin off of his thumb, onto the stairs, on the boxes below, bounces off a bush somehow and spins along the rim before landing in the pot. Obviously, the bullies whine that he cheated somehow. They try to force him to do it again only to have Jonouchi step in and assert that Yugi followed the rules so he doesn’t have to do it again. Honda steps up to the other bully, and they intimidate them into backing off and leaving.

Anzu compliments Yugi by saying such skills are to be expected from the grandson of a game shop owner. Imori laments that he’s not good at anything and wishes he could be like Yugi.

While Yugi is flattered, Jonouchi is instantly put off by the boy. He approaches Yugi covertly and quietly tells him to not get too close to Imori because he doesn’t like how dark and gloomy he is. In Jonouchi’s words, “He’s a wet blanket. If he gets too close, you’re sure to get moldy.”

While Yugi is in class, he finds a note from Imori thanking him for saving him. Imori tells him that, in order to thank him properly, he’d like to bring Yugi to his secret base.

Later, at Imori’s house, which is quite a nice mansion-esque place, Imori shows Yugi a secret passage in his floor to his cellar, which is his secret base. He likes spending time there because no one can bully him. He has a bunch of old games stacked in shelves on the walls and tells Yugi that his family heritage is loaded with people who treasure games. They spend a lot of time and money collecting and playing them. However, Yugi notices that all of the games on display are single-player games, so he wonders if his entire family had a problem making friends.


Imori asks if Yugi will be his friend, and he happily agrees, making Imori tear up. Apparently, Yugi is his absolute first friend ever. As a sign of their budding friendship, he decides to show Yugi his family’s rarest game – a completely unique heirloom even he’s never seen before. He leads Yugi deeper and deeper into the catacombs of the cellar until they reach a strange door. Even with both boys pushing on it, the door doesn’t budge. Suddenly, Yugi’s Puzzle starts glowing, and he realizes something mystical must be behind the door. After analyzing the door further, he realizes that the sections of the door act as a slider puzzle. When the puzzle is finished, it reveals an image of the dragon from before and opens, revealing the Dragon Cards and the Shin Tsuen Fu.

We cut to grandpa’s game shop which is where we finally (basically) intersect with the manga.

In the start of the manga chapter 46, Yugi, Jonouchi and Anzu are being shown an ancient Egyptian bullfrog game at the game shop before Imori shows up out of the blue to show Yugi’s grandpa his family’s ancient game to figure out what it really is. Sugoroku immediately realizes it’s the Dragon Cards and the Shin Tsuen Fu. According to grandpa, the Dragon Cards were used in ancient times to act as the final test of Feng Shui masters.

By the laws of yin and yang, the Dragon Cards and the Shin Tsuen Fu act as a vessel for all darkness (yang) while everything else in the environment act as light (yin). If the seal is removed from the cards and jar, the darkness will be unleashed and the balance of the world will fall into disarray.

In the anime, the scene is pretty much the same, but Jonouchi and Anzu aren’t there. Instead of yelling at Jonouchi to not open the seal, Sugoroku yells at Imori to not do the same. The game is called Ryuuhai or Dragon Block in the anime.

The Puzzle didn’t react to the artifact in the manga like it does in the anime. Shockingly, grandpa and Imori both notice the Puzzle glowing in reaction to the artifact and just casually talk about it……Okay.

The next day, in the manga, after the group goes swimming at school, Yugi returns to his locker to discover that the Millennium Puzzle is missing. In its place is a note that tells Yugi his Puzzle has been stolen and, if he wants it back, he’ll have to meet the thief alone in classroom C otherwise he’ll lose his Puzzle forever.


When Yugi arrives, Imori is waiting for him with the Puzzle around his neck. He tells Yugi that he’s been watching him for some time. His grandfather left him a lot of books on games, and one of the passages explained the powers of the Millennium Puzzle, claiming that whoever solved the Puzzle would gain the power of the Game of Darkness and become the Shepherd of Darkness. When Yugi solved the Puzzle, Imori noticed that his life turned around. He got friends and elevated his social status. Ever since then, he has sworn to defeat the owner of the Puzzle and become the new Shepherd of Darkness.

He challenges Yugi to a Shadow Game with the Dragon Cards and breaks the seal on the container. After the darkness has been unleashed, he tells Yugi that, according to an ancient Chinese book, anyone who breaks the seal on the Dragon Cards has to partake in a game of darkness, otherwise the land will be cursed forever.

The only way to reseal the cards and tame the dragon inside is to sacrifice a soul.

Back in the anime, Imori walks home with the Ryuuhai while mulling over what Sugoroku told him. He’s cornered by the two bullies again, and the Dragon Block falls out of his hands when he trips, breaking the seal.

I gotta say, for something that could basically destroy the world when unsealed, this thing is ridiculously easy to unseal. In the dream sequence, it was opened the same way, by someone accidentally dropping it, but it’s only “sealed” by a rope that could easily be untied. The easy slider puzzle on the door of the room this thing was stored in was a better seal than rope – and that slider puzzle door is only in the anime. In the manga, this thing might as well be sealed by a warped tupperware lid.

When the bullies realize what he dropped was a game, they challenge him to a match and force him to bet money on the outcome.

After a cutaway, we see an island sink into the sea under a dark sky.

After the commercial break, Anzu informs Jonouchi that Mizuno, one of the guys who was bullying Imori, was found unconscious in the street last night and he’s been hospitalized. Miho talks about how her family was planning a trip to a beach only for them to cancel it once they caught news of the island sinking. Honda blames Jonouchi for Miho’s sadness because he wished for Japan to be destroyed, but Jonouchi says if his wishes came true, Honda would have died ages ago.

…..Someone tell me again why these two are friends.

Yugi looks over at Imori, and his demeanor has changed entirely. He’s got a more confident look on his face, and he’s even got his feet up on his desk. Imori takes Yugi aside and asks for his homework because he didn’t have time to do it last night and there’s no time to copy it now.


Jonouchi comes in, having followed them because he’s suspicious of Imori, and tells Yugi to not listen to Imori because he’s just being selfish. Yugi decides against giving Imori his homework, and Imori takes this as a sign of betrayal to their friendship.

We get the exact same scene with the swimming and Millennium Puzzle being taken with Imori using it as bait to get Yugi to face him in a game. The only difference is instead of Imori telling him to meet him in classroom C, he tells him to meet him at his secret base.

When he arrives at the base, we get pretty much the same pre-game scene as in the manga, but they omit most of the preamble about Imori watching him from afar, swearing to defeat him and becoming the new Shepherd of Darkness. Essentially, in the manga, Imori is almost blatantly a bad guy from the first time you see him whereas in the anime he seems like more or less a legitimately timid and well-meaning kid who just got corrupted by dark magic and perhaps his own dark desires of wanting to hold power over others after being bullied for so long.

In the manga, since the bullies don’t exist there, we don’t get any discussion about what happened to Mizuho like we do in Season Zero. It’s confirmed that he used Mizuho’s soul to reseal the Shin Tsuen Fu.

Shadow Game

In the manga, the Dragon Cards are, well, cards, while they’re Mahjong-esque tiles in the anime, but other than that the game is kept basically the same. I’m still not certain why they changed them to tiles, but I feel like they maybe wanted to avoid having this feel too much like Duel Monsters.

The game is played by putting the deck (or box of tiles in the anime) into the center of the table. From the guidance of Feng Shui, energy collects in the mountains and flows into the land. The deck/box acts as the mountain and the table is the land. The deck is surrounded by five elemental powers – wood, fire, earth, metal and water.

At the start of the game, each player draws six cards/blocks from the deck/box. There is one symbol on each card/block that is representative of one of the elements. Each card also has different levels ranging from one to five, but this detail is missing from the anime version. If you get three of the same element and level, you can summon a dragon. Whoever summons the two most powerful dragons in the end is the winner.


In the anime, they also add in a real world map with bases. Each player gets to decide where the opponent’s base will be.

Each player takes turn drawing cards/tiles. When you draw a card/tile, you have to discard one. The strategy comes in taking note of what cards the other has discarded. You can determine what they’re not summoning by what they’re throwing out and what they’re likely summoning by deducing what’s left to summon.

The way the dragons are more powerful than the others (IE what if you have a level four dragon going up against another level four dragon?) is by the typical elemental advantages. Fire beats metal, metal beats wood, wood beats earth, earth beats water and water beats fire. While they don’t mention it at this point, the elements also work in tandem with each other and offer support.


After Yugi and Imori summon their first pair of dragons, two Water Dragons, level three and four for Imori, and Fire (level five) and Metal (Level unknown) Dragons for Yugi, Yugi explains that the Water Dragons will only be made more powerful by the Metal Dragon. By how much, I don’t know. His other dragon is Fire, so even though it’s level five it’s at too much of a disadvantage.

Yugi is, shockingly, defeated, and his soul is consumed by the Shin Tsuen Fu. Before his body goes limp, he’s able to touch the Millennium Puzzle, which summons Yami into his body. Yami challenges Imori to a match with the same bet conditions – whoever loses sacrifices their soul.

In the anime, Yugi summons two Fire Dragons. Imori, however, has two Water Dragons. Yugi’s dragons are slain, and they suddenly feel tremors in the earth. The purpose of the map and the bases is revealed – whenever one of them loses a battle, the real-life location of their bases will be hit with a natural calamity. Imori chose Tokyo for Yugi, and now some of the (unoccupied, I presume) land in the forest is disappearing as a result. That’s why that island sank when Mizuno was defeated.

The loser’s soul also gets taken by the Shin Tsuen Fu. Yugi lost, so he has to sacrifice his soul, but, just as in the manga, he’s able to barely manage to touch the Puzzle before passing out. Yami takes over and asks for a rematch in order to get Yugi’s soul back – however that works. Imori agrees and reveals that it takes at least three months for the jar to fully consume a soul, so getting Yugi back is still possible.

This time, he chooses Imori’s base location. He chooses the ocean so no real damage will occur. Imori chooses Tokyo once again for Yami.

They draw their cards, and I seriously feel like Imori’s cheating in the manga. Their hands weren’t fully revealed in the match with Yugi, but in the match with Yami it shows that Yami has Earth 4, Wood 1, Water 2, Metal 5, Wood 5 and Fire 2 while Imori has two Water 5s, Fire 4, Wood 5, Water 4 and Metal 4.


After some draws and discards, Imori deduces that Yami is trying to summon a Metal 5 and an Earth 4, but Imori is planning on summoning Water and Wood Dragons to take them out. He has enough to summon a Water 5.

Yami discards a Wood Dragon card, and Imori reveals that you can actually take cards from the discard pile to summon dragons if you want. Yami basically gave him the last card he needed. Yami finishes his hand as well and summons, as Imori predicted, a Metal 5 and an Earth 4 while Imori summons a Water 5 and a Wood 5.

Imori believes he has the game in the bag, especially when he reveals that Water Dragons have the special ability to instantly destroy a Metal Dragon, which, pardon my French, but you’re a cheating sack of shit, Imori.

So Water is specifically powerful against Fire, but it also has the ability to instantly destroy Metal Dragons? Didn’t Yugi say that Metal Dragons power up Water dragons? That’s not the same. I’d expect it to be a case of like Water Dragons get one more level when an enemy has a Metal Dragon because rust or something.

Yami uses his Earth Dragon’s special ability, which is to create earthquakes, to negate the Water Dragon’s special ability and protect the Metal Dragon.

I guess I won’t argue that this could happen given that Earth is strong against Water, but I am just so confused. How did Yami even know of these effects? Even if he can see the helpful-ish diagram that the manga uses, which I don’t think he can, I think it’s just a graphic for our sake, how would he know of these special effects? He just knows certain elements support others.


I’m going to try really hard to summarize what happens next. Imori reveals that his Wood Dragon is powering up by feeding on the water of the Water Dragon. He attacks the Earth Dragon, sucking up the water that he absorbed with the earthquake attack. Apparently, this means that the Earth Dragon is incapacitated. Imori launches another attack on the Metal Dragon from his Water Dragon, but it survives the attack because, apparently, the Wood Dragon took too much of the Water Dragon’s power after absorbing some of its water. The Metal Dragon, despite taking some damage, is able to attack the Wood Dragon and destroy it. However, the Metal Dragon dies in the process for some reason, and also, for some reason, him doing this revives the Earth Dragon.

It’s now just a face-off between the Water Dragon and the Earth Dragon. The Earth Dragon has an advantage over the Water Dragon because the Earth Dragon, again, absorbs the water with its gorges. Imori loses, and, since the jar can only hold one soul at a time, Yugi’s soul is ejected and returned to his body while Imori is left as a soulless husk.

……..The end.


Nope, not kidding. Imori’s just gone forever now. You basically just witnessed a child murder.

In the anime, the game goes a bit different. Instead of summoning Fire and Metal Dragons, Yugi summons two Fire Dragons while Imori summons two Water Dragons. This type matchup obviously results in Yugi losing and his soul being sacrificed to the jar.

When Yami is up, the game goes the same again, only they manage to depict the match in such a way that it’s not so confusing. Mostly because they don’t say anything about special abilities and instead just point out that their dragons support each other, allowing them to survive their attacks. The one time it’s really confusing is when they don’t explain why the Water Dragon’s attack didn’t manage to kill the Metal Dragon. One line of “The Water Dragon’s too weak from supporting the Wood Dragon to finish it off!” would have sufficed.

They show that a giant crevice did open up in the real ocean when Yami defeated the Water Dragon, which was promptly closed up….somehow. I’d think a massive crack in the ocean floor or something would cause more severe and lasting effects, but I’m not an oceanologist.

The rest of the story kinda doesn’t make sense because 1) they added the aspect of the bully getting his soul taken and 2) they basically wimp out on ‘killing’ Imori.


When Imori’s soul is taken in the anime, Yugi’s soul is ejected and returned. However, Imori never explained that this would happen if he won. He never stated the fact that only one soul can be in the jar at one time like the manga does. In addition, this wouldn’t have made sense anyway. If only one soul can be in the jar at any given time and it takes three months for a soul to be consumed in the jar, then what happened to Mizuno’s soul? Did it get returned when Yugi’s soul was taken? Because they never showed that.

Imori is only unconscious for a minute after his soul is taken in the anime. He wakes up not having remembered anything of what happened after the seal was broken the first time and being his normal, timid and kind self again. Yami explains that the jar took Imori’s ‘haughty’ heart and left normal Imori alone. Somehow….Imori had two souls because….he was friendless, lonely and bitter? That’s such a cop out.

Granted, they made Imori so sympathetic in this version that it’s hard for me to complain too much about the poor kid not being a soulless husk for all eternity, but it just seems so lame that their excuse is that he had two souls when he basically just had a dark section of one soul.

The episode ends with Imori and Yami sealing away the Dragon Block for good. Then we get a short snippet of Sugoroku’s speech about how some ancient games and artifacts are best left alone because they could be dangerous…uhm, yeah. Thanks for that?


This episode was………Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……an improvement on the manga version. I think making Imori more sympathetic was a good move and having more backstory for him with Yugi and his friends was also a good decision. I just don’t really agree with all the decisions they made in the episode like not fully explaining how Yami won, not explaining if Mizuno got his soul back, randomly adding the map thing (Souls aren’t enough of a bargaining chip? Also, it affected nothing), and making such a piss-poor explanation as to why Imori got to keep his soul.

If Jonouchi’s intuition is anything to go by, Imori wasn’t that influenced by the Dragon Block. He had bad mojo before the seal was broken, so it’s not like you can say the jar created this other soul within him. It takes souls – why would it create a new one in Imori? Unless the logic really is that having bitterness and dark feelings in your heart, even if you’re a relatively harmless and kind person otherwise, can create an entirely different soul in your body, which is just….no.

What I find funny about this is that it reminds me so much of when Yami mind crushed Kaiba and sent his evilness to the Shadow Realm in the 2000 anime dub, and 4Kids passed off his evil half as a separate entity that looked nothing like him.

Was sending manga!Imori’s soul to be locked away forever too much? Maybe. Imori was just a kid, but he did have the power to basically destroy the world in the palm of his hand, and he didn’t give a crap when he used it for his own gain. It’s actually kinda odd that the anime made Imori even worse than in the manga by adding the aspect of them destroying parts of the world when they lost. If they didn’t basically hand-wave Imori’s evil side, it definitely would have negated any sympathy he garnered in the first half of the episode. They were lucky they got off so easily with just a sunk uninhabited island and some empty chunks of land in Tokyo disappearing. He was hoping the entire city of Tokyo would crumble with Yami’s loss.

Winner: Anime

Next episode seems like it will be a weird jumble. It seems pretty Miho focused, which, yaywhoohoofun, but it’s also the introduction of Bakura. This is not mirrored from the manga, so we’ll see what’s up.

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Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Episode 5: Demon Deck of Darkness | Sub/Dub Comparison


Plot: As Judai, Shou and Hayato are telling scary stories, Daitokuji tells them a legend about an abandoned dorm on the island where apparently all of the students mysteriously went missing. The rumor was that the students at the dorm were experimenting in Shadow Games that likely caused their vanishings. The boys head out in the night to see the dorm for themselves. They bump into Asuka who knows the legend is real because her brother was one of the students who went missing. She is kidnapped by a self-proclaimed Dark Duelist who challenges Judai to a Shadow Game using the supposed Millennium Puzzle to create it. As he loses life points, Judai will slowly lose more and more of his body. If he loses the game, he will vanish forever.


Shou is telling the story of the cave like it’s a local legend and his character is merely taking the place of the interchangeable main character in horror stories. The legend is that when the moon hits just the right spot in a cave north of the school, students will see the card they want most in the waters in the cave. When they go to reach for it, an arm grabs them, drags them underwater and supposedly drowns them.

In the dub, Syrus is telling the story like he actually experienced it. I guess he was just wandering around in a cave by himself, because we all know how likely that would be of Syrus. According to him, he randomly saw the Dark Magician card in the water when a monster dragged him under. Ya know, it’s easy to fall for a scary story about some unknown person experiencing that, but when you say Syrus did it’s not scary at all, considering that Syrus is still very much alive. Although, maybe that’s why 4Kids changed that to begin with – so we know the person in the story didn’t actually die?

Possibly because of that slight alteration, the next dialogue is changed. Judai actually gets excited because he wants to go see the cave I guess to either have a chance at getting his most wanted card or to see the monster, and Shou is disappointed that he wasn’t scared by the story. In the dub, Jaden says water’s not scary and Syrus says he’s right. “Only chumps” would be scared of water. Yes, only chumps would be scared of drowning…..

Judai doesn’t wish for a high level card (They’re apparently playing a game where you have to tell scary stories and their level of scariness is based on the level of card. The higher the level, the scarier the story has to be…..It’s stupid, yeah. Why wouldn’t you just share the scariest stories you can? What if you draw a one star card? Do you just tell the mildest scary story you can think of? “She waited all night for Windows to finish updating, but it never did. She was faced with a decision…..force shut down or continue to see if it got about 45%….she turned the computer off……and then back on……and to her horror….the update AUTOMATICALLY RESTARTED! *thunderclap*) he just wonders what his next card will be.

Judai believed that his cards came to life and would have parties while he was sleeping. Jaden only recalls hearing voices that he couldn’t place.

Shou tells Daitokuji to give them his best shot with the level 12 horror story. In the dub, he seems too scared and wants to go to bed.

What the hell was Cronos/Crowler doing outside of their dorm? Daitokuji/Banner being there I understand because he’s their dorm master, but what the hell, Cronos?

Shou doesn’t imply that he knows where the dorm is like Syrus does.

The Dark Duelist, Titan (he doesn’t seem to be given a dub name) talks about his fees in the original when we first see him. Also, how is his fee a flat rate if the criteria is three months of the client’s salary? That must vary from person to person so I don’t see how that’s ‘flat’ per se. Anyway, in the dub, he just talks about how scary he is.

In the original, Judai talks about how surprised he is that they got Hayato to come with them to the abandoned dorm since he’s such a scaredy cat, and even getting him to go to class is a challenge because he sees everything as a hassle. Hayato says it’s not that he likes staying at the dorm or studying, he just doesn’t like classes where the main focus is learning how to win (learning how to lose would take like half a second…) Shou asks him what he means since that’s the whole point of playing, then they bring up talking about Shadow Games in class……Still the main objective in Shadow Games…winning. I mean, if you lose Shadow Games you lose your soul sooo….yeah.

In the dub, this is changed to them talking about being lost, then Chumley says they need to find the dorm quickly or else they might run into some scary swamp water like Syrus talked about in his story. Then Syrus says Chumley was too scared of the water to even take a bath last night. They fight over cleaning the bathtub, and say Chumley should grow up and take showers and whatever.

The sign saying ‘Keep out’ in English is painted to look blank.





Shou yells that the Shadow Games are just superstition whereas Syrus yells at Jaden, who can’t possibly be in his line of sight in this shot, to not stand too close to the carvings.

Written on the photo of Asuka’s brother was ‘Fubuki Tojoin’ (His name is actually Fubuki Tenjoin….I dunno what happened there). In the dub, they obviously paint this off completely instead of just replacing it with his dub name, and they also have to remove the pan back down and zoom in on the words since they erased them.





Hayato says it looks like something was dragged in a certain direction. Chumley says ‘there’s only one way she could’ve gone’. Uh, no. There are plenty of ways out of that room without going through the dark dank tunnel, Chum.

Titan actually introduces himself after Judai asks who he is. Since he’s never given a name in the dub for whatever reason, he just responds to that question with ‘Your worst nightmare come true.’ but at least 4Kids recognizes this dumb line by having Jaden say ‘Gimme a break…’



Jaden: “Uh yeah, I already knew that.” That’s nice, Snooty McNoseinair. Seriously, can someone tell me why super sarcastic cocky asshats are so popular as protagonists? Judai just says that Demon decks are powerful, but they come at a high cost.

Titan explains how Terrorking Arch-Fiend can’t be summoned unless another arch-fiend is on the field, but with the Inferno-Queen on the field, he can. In addition, the Terrorking gets the 1000 point bonus for being on the field with Inferno-Queen. In the dub, the first part is omitted, but I actually don’t mind because I find it pointless to yell out a rule like that unless someone is trying to break that rule.

Bursting! Internal Organs! is changed to Locust Storm Barrage.

Roulette of Hell (Sometimes Destiny) is changed to Wheel of Fate.

Shou points out that there’s a 1 in 3 chance that the Roulette would land on 2 or 5, which would destroy Jaden’s trap. In the dub, Chumley states that that odds are way in Jaden’s favor, and Syrus points out that he flunked math. Chumley denies that and says he got a 54. Uh….before I address the obvious, how does Syrus know Chumley flunked math? Do they teach math at this dueling school? But now the obvious, the odds are in Jaden’s favor. Maybe not way in Jaden’s favor, But he has twice as much of a chance as Titan. So I dunno why Syrus decided to say that. Did you flunk math, 4Kids?

They cut the scene of Titan talking about the darkness slightly short so that Jaden can be obnoxious some more. Shame, because I liked the camera effects they had going there.

Anyway, the obnoxious Jaden stuff was to interrupt the Dark Duelist to tell him that he’s not afraid of the dark. In fact, he got blackout curtains for the dorms so he could sleep and he loves the dark.

Judai just says that this situation doesn’t seem right. In order to start a Shadow Game, you need a Millennium Item. Judai asks if he has one, and Titan presents the Millennium Puzzle.

Chumley: “This is totally anti-licious”…..ugh.


In terms of changes, this episode wasn’t all that bad. In fact, many of my notes probably border on nitpicky. I just really get irritated with Jaden’s little ‘tude. Judai seems to get better and better to watch but Jaden just gets worse.

Well, as you can guess, this is our first two-part episode of GX. Next time, we continue the Shadow Game and Winged Kuriboh may turn out to be Judai’s trump card again.

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My Poke-Pinions | #60-62 and 186 – The Poli Line


Name: I think Poliwag’s name is really fitting and cute. It’s a play on ‘poliwog’ which is an old (and/or southern?) term for tadpoles, with ‘wag’ as in wagging a tail.

In Japan, it’s known as Nyoromo, which is….okay. I don’t think it’s quite as memorable or cute as Poliwag. It’s a little clunky. It’s a combination of ‘nyoronyoro’ which is the Japanese onomatopoeia for ‘wriggling’ and ‘kodomo’ which means ‘child.’

Fun Fact: In Germany, it’s known as Quapsel, which I think is super doofy but also adorable. It’s derived from the word ‘kaulquappe’ which is German for ‘tadpole.’

Also, supposedly, Poliwag is Pokemon creator, Satoshi Tajiri’s, favorite Pokemon. (At least it was as of 2004.)

Design: Look…..I love Poliwag. I think it’s very cute, adorable even. I love its little tail and big eyes….


I don’t know why this bothers me or makes me feel bad for them. Lots of Pokemon don’t have arms or even legs, and tadpoles don’t have front legs yet, so it makes perfect sense, but for some reason it bothers me that Poliwag doesn’t have arms of any kind. I can’t explain it. It’s a very irrational uncomfortable feeling.

Sprite-wise…..ugh…..Oh R/B…..Poliwag looks dead here is all I can say.

Yellow looks better, but still kinda derpy.

R/G….is staring at me…..and I do not appreciate it. Make it stop.

Gold is pretty damn funny. It’s like it’s going “HuuuuUUUUhhhHHH?!”

Silver looks goddamn terrified.

Crystal has roughly the same base sprite as Gold, but the animation makes it look cuter and more natural and less perpetually confused.

Gen III is all cute. I like the little bouncing animation for Emerald.

Gen IV is really cute. My favorite is the jumping HG/SS sprite.

Gen V is pretty cute. I like the very small dancing-esque animation it has.

Gen VI looks sad af. Is that just me?

Every other Gen looks fine.


It’s just a lighter blue color. It’s fine, and I like the shade of blue, but it’s just a slightly different blue.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Because it has no arms and tiny legs, Poliwag doesn’t fare very well on land. However, it moves very swiftly in the water thanks to its strong and large tail.

Grossly, but understandably, the swirl on its stomach is not actually a design on its skin. The white part of its body is slightly translucent, and the swirl pattern is actually its internal organs showing through the thin skin…..I really wish I was kidding, but no. The reason I said this was understandable was because this aspect of Poliwag physiology was taken from tadpoles, who also have translucent skin and visible internal organs. For some reason, the Dex entries also note that the skin becomes even more translucent after Poliwag eats. Ew.

Don’t worry about the integrity of Poliwag’s tummy, however, because the skin, despite being thin, is also very durable and bouncy. Even Pokemon fangs bounce right off it.

The swirl direction changes depending on the region in which it’s found. There’s no concrete answer for what dictates which direction comes from which region, but it does say the equator might be a factor.

Additionally, Gen VII notes that white on the black swirl is indicative of illness within the Pokemon.

For some reason, Gen VI says it has black skin, which it obviously doesn’t. It’s blue. Admittedly, in Gen I it’s easy to mistake it for black, except in Yellow where it’s very blue, but it’s still just a dark blue. A note on the Wiki page says this, in combination with a note about Poliwhirl being oily, might be implying a connection to the bilberry, which is a berry very similar to a blueberry (it’s even known as the European blueberry) that has a waxy coating on that makes it look blue despite the skin actually being black….Okay….if this is true, why is Poliwag being given berry lore?

I’m pretty certain this is just someone trying to figure out a justification for that odd note when, in all likelihood, it was probably a mistake or something.

Finally, Gen VIII notes that, in extremely fast moving rivers, Poliwag will anchor itself to rocks by suctioning itself to them using its big lips….How do they eventually get out of the river?

In terms of design, Poliwag was simply based on a tadpole.

Poliwag did have a prototype released in 1997 that looked like this.

You’re welcome for the nightmares.


Name: Poliwhirl’s name is simple, but fitting and fairly cute. It’s a combination of ‘poliwog’ and ‘whirl’ or ‘whirlpool.’

Its Japanese name is Nyorozo, which breaks down to ‘nyoronyoro’ and ‘kozo’, meaning ‘youngster.’ I kinda don’t care for this name. It’s just a bit awkward to say, in my opinion. It’s technically meaningful enough, but it’s just kinda clunky.

Design: It’s weird, but I’ve always had a big soft spot for Poliwhirl. It’s very cute and cuddly in its own odd way. If you look at Poliwhirl for too long, you start asking questions about its weird appearance like where did its mouth go between evolutions? Why would it LOSE an important body part between evolutions? How does it eat without a mouth? Where did it get mittens? It is indeed weird, but I can’t help but love it. I just want to give a Poliwhirl a hug.

Sprite-wise, Gen I is a tiny bit weird, but it fares much better than many Pokemon of that era. R/B is probably the worst because the eye stalks pop up just a tab bit too much.

Yellow’s fine, even if it has an ‘old man yells at cloud’ motif.

R/G is definitely a little off-putting. It’s kinda cute in its shy pose but the weird fish-eye lens curve to its eyes here is just eugh.

Gold is okay, but Silver is really neat. It’s like it’s trying to reach out to the player.

Crystal gives off really strong Poliwrath vibes.

Gen III is fine, and Gen IV is a lot of fun. D/P/P looks like Poliwhirl is partaking in a martial arts competition while HG/SS cheers it on.

Every other Gen is fine.


It’s the same blue shade as Poliwag’s shiny and equally uninteresting.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Poliwhirl has gained an arm upgrade as well as slightly stronger legs to give it more mobility on land, even though it obviously prefers being in the water. In order to keep its skin moist when out of water, it sweats an oily substance all over its body. This oil actually helps it in battle by allowing it to easily slip out of the enemy’s clutches.

Gen VII gets a little dark by explaining that Poliwhirl will grab Bug Pokemon on land and drag them underwater (effectively drowning them) so it can eat them in a safer place. It also eats fish Pokemon……Although, again….where the hell is its mouth?

The Wiki page provides an image of Poliwhirl’s internal anatomy, and I still can’t see where its mouth would be.

Some post I found said it’s the little line up top, but I think that’s just detailing on the intestines because there would be a mouth visible in that location if that was it.

According to the Pokedex, Poliwhirl is capable of lulling enemies (or even children) to sleep by having them look at its stomach swirl as its belly undulates. And unlike many odd Pokemon abilities that don’t seem to match what they can canonically do in regards to moveset, Poliwhirl actually can use Hynopsis. It can also use Amnesia and Psywave, which I think is taking the concept a bit far because it’s still just using its belly swirl and hypnosis for this power. It shouldn’t actually have real Psychic powers.

Poliwhirl is based on the glass frog, which is a super adorable and really cool-looking frog, despite the whole ‘being able to see their organs through their skin’ thing.


Name: Poliwrath’s name is pretty good. It’s snappy and fairly intimidating. It’s a combination of ‘poliwog’ and ‘wrath.’

In Japan, it’s known as Nyorobon, which is probably the best of the three Japanese names so far. It’s a combination of ‘nyoronyoro’ and ‘bon’ for ‘boy’………So…..we went from….child to youngster to boy….Poliwrath, the big intimidating one of the line….is just a boy? Okie dokie….

Fun Fact: In Germany, it’s known as Quappo, which is pretty funny.

Design: Poliwrath is most certainly one of the laziest evolutions I’ve ever seen, especially for a final evo. A Poliwhirl goes to the gym three days a week and is also angry – that’s Poliwrath.

…..Oh and it also grew a few fingers.

Sprite-wise, what’s up with R/B? Its eyes are massive.

Yellow looks like he’s falling asleep while fighting.

R/G’s a bit better. Kinda puffing out its chest.

Gens II and III are good. All of the animations are fist fighting, which is neat.

Gen IV is……what is it doing in D/P/P? Is it pooping? Summoning Cthulu? I don’t understand.

HG/SS is a bit better as it’s flexing whatever tadpole muscles it has.

Gen V is fine.



Question – why is the Poli line just now getting a differently colored shiny?

Being based on a frog, having a green shiny makes a lot of sense, and this shade is perfect for it. It’s a bit of a shame that the previous evos weren’t also green or at least a different color is all.

Also, look at Beta Poliwrath and his little crown lol

Dex Entries and Backstory: If you thought my notes on the design were boring, the main features the Pokedex talks about are that it has a lot of muscles and can swim really, really well.

That’s pretty much it. Everything else is just tiny added details like it can easily beat champion human swimmers, human children learn to swim watching Poliwrath swim, it can swim across the Pacific Ocean easily, it has very low body fat, it can reduce rocks and chunks of ice to bits and pieces with a single punch….That’s all.

In terms of design, Poliwrath is still based on the glass frog, but the Wiki notes that it may also be based on amphibian neoteny as it stays in tadpole form and never completes its transformation. The entire Poli line, sans Politoed, are all classified as Tadpole Pokemon. That’d make sense, but it’s also really weird because neotenic frogs don’t seem to exist – or if they do, they’re insanely rare. At most, it’s been documented that some frogs keep their tails after they complete their transformation, but they don’t need to be aquatic, so they’re just basically frogs with tails.

Supposedly, the addition of the Fighting Typing is theorized to be because frogs gain bigger bodies and higher muscle mass compared to a tadpole……??? That’s a bit of a stretch. That would also apply to many other Pokemon based on real animals, especially if you take evolutionary lines as being more or less child → teen → adult.


Name: Politoed has the best name of the bunch. It’s a combination of ‘poliwog’ and ‘toad’ but spelled with an e. The Wiki says that, in this circumstance, the ‘poli’ part may actually be ‘poly’ as in ‘many’ and ‘toed’ indicating it has a lot of toes, but it, like,….doesn’t. It has toes, but it doesn’t particularly have many toes. It actually has rather few toes. I guess it has many toes compared to the other entries in the Poli line since they have no toes.

I really just think they were making a cute play on words because now it has little frog toes.

In Japan, it’s called Nyorotono – a mixture of ‘nyoronyoro’ and ‘tono’ for ‘lord’ which makes a lot of sense because Politoed is achieved by using a King’s Rock on a Poliwhirl. It’s also theorized that the ‘tono’ part is indicating ‘tonosama-gaeru’, a dark-spotted frog.

Honestly, I still find the Japanese name scheme to be kinda clunky, but who am I?

Design: Politoed is incredibly cute, and now it has a mouth again!. I really love frogs, and this one is a big ol’ cutie. I love the color choices, its eyes and face, its pudgy belly. It’s a great Pokemon. One of my favorites.

That being said…..they went in the exact opposite direction with Politoed’s design than they did with Poliwrath. Whereas Poliwrath looks way too similar to Poliwhirl, they made no effort whatsoever to make Politoed look like it belongs in the Poli line. It has a spiral on its belly, sure, but the spiral is barely a spiral, it’s more like a simple curled line, and it doesn’t look anything like the spiral on the rest of the line, which, barring directionality, has stayed incredibly consistent.

It’s almost like they designed a really great frog Pokemon but they didn’t want it to be a standalone Pokemon so they just stapled it onto the Poli line.

It does make sense for a tadpole line to wind up as a frog, but it simply looks too different to feel like a natural progression at all, especially since the only entry in the Poli line that actually looks like a tadpole is Poliwag. I realize how silly that seems because, when you compare a tadpole in real life to a real frog, they also look nothing alike. But when it comes to Pokemon evolutionary lines, you tend to expect some degree of consistent design so you can at least see how each step connects.

What’s especially interesting about the choice to make this Pokemon a Poli evo is that, if Poliwrath’s Wiki is any indication, the line was originally intended to NOT end up as a frog. If it’s a case of mimicking neoteny, then all three being classified as tadpoles makes sense. But branching off into a frog, thereby completing the transformation cycle, just confuses the theme of the line.

Shifting over to sprite talk, Gen II is very green, man. Like real green.

Interestingly, the Japanese version had spots on its back for some reason.

Gen III is fun.

Gen IV is cute, but what exactly is up with HG/SS? Why does it look like someone told the animator to make Politoed look like an energetic baby?

Gen V is super cute, but I’m not sure how I feel about that brief belly wiggle.

Everything else is cute enough, but before I move on, can anyone tell me what the difference is between the male and female versions of this Pokemon?

I stared at these sprites for a long time trying to figure out what the difference was without needing to look at the biological information, and literally the only thing I could see is that the female has SLIGHTLY smaller cheeks.

….And yup that’s the difference.

Why even bother with stuff like this? I mean, at the very least, I guess I can say they didn’t do the stupid thing of making the cheeks heart shaped, but seriously. It’s such a tiny detail.


Politoed’s shiny is certainly….colorful. It reminds a LOT of cotton candy. I want to like this shiny so much more than I actually do. It’s a beautiful shade of blue. That shade of pink is also really nice….the combination is what’s putting me off a little. I also don’t like that the ‘hair’ on its head is now white for some reason. I can’t fully get on board with it, is all. Some of the shiny sprites look really good, especially the post-Gen II earlier Gens.

Others, Gen VI onward (the first image), have the colors being more off-putting. They’re darker and deeper, which makes the contrast more apparent. You’d think stronger contrast would be good, but here it just feels like it’s too much.

At the very least, they do get a lot of credit for trying to make a unique shiny. Among the plain Poli line, it’s a massive upgrade, and among other shinies out there it’s pretty damn unique in regards to color combos. Being fair, as a frog, it has a right to be insanely bright and colorful.

The first shiny version, however, is just ugly. It’s a gross shade of green mixed with an awful shade of pink. It makes Politoed look very ill, to be honest.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Politoed’s an audio nightmare.

The Dex entries note a lot about how they come together and make extremely loud bellowing noises to gather Poliwag and Poliwhirl. “Their cries sound angry and not at all pleasant, but they are certainly distinctive.”

These sounds also make the Poliwag and Poliwhirl cower in fear and asserts the Politoed’s role as leader and king.

I’m sorry. This whole thing is, again, making me think this arrangement with the Poli line was an afterthought.

Look at this Pokemon and tell me it instills fear or gives off “king” vibes.

Why, of the entire line, would PoliTOED be the one who makes the other evos cower in fear when another evo has WRATH in its name? Poliwrath can reduce boulders to rubble with one punch. Politoed doesn’t even have a secondary typing, which just makes the whole “Poliwrath is Fighting Type because frogs have strong muscles” thing seem even weirder because Politoed is the actual frog and its not a Fighting Type or muscular at all.

Moving on, the female of the species cannot make sounds as loud as the male, and it’s said that the deeper and more menacing cries from the males attract more females.

The curly ‘hair’ on its head acts as a crown, which is a nod to the King’s Rock that is used to achieve this evolution, and it’s proof of its status as the king of the Poli line. The longer and curlier the hair is, the more respect the Politoed commands.……Uh…yeah, sure. Because when I see a curly hair, I think “crown.”

Why not just do as they were going to do with Poliwrath and give it an actual crown? It wouldn’t come off as out of place, given the ol’ fairy tales of princes turning into frogs.

In terms of design, Politoed was based on the European tree frog. I don’t know how they sussed out the exact frog in this situation as Politoed looks like a very typical frog, but I accept this. I have no clue where the hair came from, though. If it really is just their weird version of a crown, I have no idea how they got from point A to point B on that one.

Again, the spiral on it’s stomach is said to represent internal organs appearing through the skin, like glass frogs….Wait “represent”? The other Poli line entries said that the spiral WAS the internal organs showing through.

Okay, hang on – Poliwrath’s Wiki page also says it’s meant to be a representation of the organs, but Poliwhirl and Poliwag’s biology sections says they’re actually showing through. “A black and white swirl covers its belly, which is actually its organs showing through its thin skin.” “There is a black and white swirl on its abdomen, which is actually its internal organs showing through its semitransparent skin.”

Even giving leeway because that’s the Wiki page, so anyone can edit it, the official Pokedex entries for Poliwag say this. “The swirl on its body is its internal organs seen through its skin.” This is repeated in every single Gen’s Pokedex entries all the way to Gen VIII.

I don’t know what to believe. I guess it makes more sense that the swirl is just a representation instead of the actual organs showing through, because 1) That’d be gross, 2) I doubt that’s something neither Nintendo/Game Freak nor the anime animators would feel comfortable showing and 3) It’s clearly a simple black line, not detailed organs. However, I can’t ignore what the Dex entries have been repeating to this very day.

I will say, without a doubt, that Politoed’s situation is clearly one of just being a representation because, again, it’s not so much a full, long swirl as it is just a line with a curl at the end. If that is Politoed’s organs, I think it needs to see a doctor immediately.

And that was the Poli line.

I do really like this entire line, even if I do have numerous questions about a variety of things concerning it. It’s cute, it’s doofy, it’s fun and it’s very unique, despite its simplicity.

Next up, Abra Kadabra Alakazam! *poof* *vanishes*

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Yu-Gi-Oh! Episode 14: Pitch Dark Duel! Castle of Concealing Darkness | Sub/Dub Comparison


Plot: Mai has been targeted by one of the tournament’s Player Killers, a duelist specifically hired by Pegasus to weed out duelists that are still left behind. He implements the power of shadows and darkness to frighten his opponents and psych them out during the duel. After losing all eight of her star chips, Yugi steps up and challenges the Player Killer to win them back.


After the commercial break, 4Kids reedits and dubs a new conversation before Panik and Yugi start their duel. It adds nothing to the story, so I don’t know why they did that.

Name Change: 4Kids named PaniK (yes, apparently, the K needs to be capitalized.) He had no name beyond Player Killer (of darkness) in the original. That is why he has PK on his jacket. But I guess 4Kids didn’t want to say “kill” so they renamed him PaniK….To be honest, though, that’s a pretty intimidating name, just a silly way to write it.

In the original, PK refuses the bet Yugi offers because six star chips won’t be enough to win back Mai’s eight (Why DID Mai bet eight star chips anyway? She’d only have to bet two in order to get the ten she needs to gain entry into the castle. Can the Player Killers really just straight up force you to bet everything? Also, how is she a straggler who needs to be targeted for elimination anyway? She was like one duel away from getting in. For that matter, if duelists likely get kicked off the island when time is up and they don’t have the proper amount of star chips anyway, aren’t these PKers moot?)

So PK insinuates that if Yugi loses he’ll either kill him or burn him alive along with taking his star chips. In the dub, PaniK says that the bet is fine with 6 to 8 chips, because he doesn’t care. However, he kinda insinuates that he’ll burn him with the flamethrowers if he loses….It’s pretty unclear.

In the original, Mai is surprised that those flamethrowers were in the dueling arena. In the dub, she says PaniK used them on her too. Weird, you’d think 4Kids wouldn’t purposely create that kind of situation. Also, if you knew those were in there, a warning to Yugi would’ve been nice.

Wait, if Yugi’s Winged Dragon attacked and couldn’t defeat any of the monsters, why didn’t the Winged Dragon die or Yugi take any damage to his life points? Did he aim his attack on the arena?

Yugi missed a way that he could figure out the attack power of PK’s opposing monsters. When his Winged Dragon was out in attack mode, he got attacked and Yugi lost 394 LP. That means that one of those monsters has at least 1794 attack points since the Winged Dragon has 1400 attack points. If he played a stronger monster, he could keep learning the attack points value. It’s risky, but it would work and would likely be worth it.

In the original, Mai believes Yugi’s confidence is real after Yugi taunts PK. In the dub, she says he’s making amateur mistakes by telling PaniK what his strategy is (Even though they always do that, every duel ever) because he’s panicking.

In the original, Mai explains that Yugi’s changed up his strategy. If he can’t see in the darkness, he’ll use his voice to penetrate it instead. In the dub, Mai just explains again that Yugi is panicking and PaniK is too skilled for Yugi.

Hm, 4Kids left the WARNING on the screen after the Reaper’s attack. Curious…

Originally, Yugi does show PK the Swords of Revealing Light card, but he sets his card face down without insinuating that it is the Swords. In the dub, Yugi insinuates that the face down card is the Swords, which is why Mai keeps berating him for making mistakes.

In the original, they don’t imply any powerful card of PK’s at the end of the episode. 4Kids threw that in as a teaser, but this is reflected in the next episode preview that always gets removed so it’s not that bad.


I don’t like this couple of episodes at all. It is, by far, the most nonsensical duel in Duelist Kingdom. Though it doesn’t really start grating on me until the next episode.

Next episode, the duel with PaniK concludes.

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