.Hack Alcor (Manga) Review

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: A twin blade named Nanase is a new member of the newbie-assisting guild Canard. She joined to get closer to Canard’s guild leader, Silabus, but ends up being overshadowed by the powerful Alkaid. In an effort to win Silabus’ attention, Nanase sets out to be stronger than Alkaid. A PK named Bordeaux knows Nanase and has a grudge against her, so she targets Silabus to break up their friendship. Nanase has to work through her own shortcomings and lack of self-confidence to become strong in her own right.

Breakdown: I really didn’t think much of this manga for the first few chapters. While this character is technically someone canon in the games (though this PC is not) she’s completely new to the series, and their starting chapters with her simply aren’t very interesting. She has a crush on Silabus and is very jealous of Alkaid. Since Alkaid is so powerful, Silabus frequently admires her abilities and talks to and about her often. However, this does not mean that he ignores Nanase. He includes her in things all the time and never forgets that she’s with them, but she still feels ignored because of Alkaid.

Nanase herself isn’t powerful at all, in fact, I don’t know her level, but she really doesn’t look like she even knows what she’s doing. Which just makes it even more confusing that she was a member of Kestral. Frickin’ Kestral. She doesn’t look like she could or would PK a fly, yet basically the biggest PK crew in The World: R2 recruited her? Was it a quota thing?

The game character that Nanase’s player, Yuasa, makes is Sophora, which makes even less sense to me. It just doesn’t seem like it fits. I know Nanase eventually finds her own inner strength, but Sophora’s personality just doesn’t seem like that would be the logical next step.

I did eventually start liking this manga because it addresses her situation in a way that isn’t very preachy. You’d think she’d try and again to beat Alkaid and eventually best her at something, but it doesn’t win Silabus’ attention and may even push him away, she learns to not be jealous, hugs, the end.

But nope. She complains about not getting praised, Alkaid asks her what she’s done to be praised for, and with no answer Nanase pretty much has to figure out her own brand of strength. There are hardships to overcome, mistakes made, and she has to surmount them and find her own path without blaming Alkaid for everything.

In that respect I liked how the story went once I got into it, but the storytelling itself feels a little disjointed as I had a hard time figuring out where we were in the story.

This manga also does something a little different from many incarnations of the Dot Hack franchise and that’s focusing a little more on player behind the character. A lot of times in Dot Hack games, manga and shows, the focus is 99.9% on the game with only mentions of what’s happening in the real world, mostly someone falling into a coma and CC Corp being weasels. This manga, while not stressing the real world aspect too much, does incorporate it throughout the story, which I found to be a welcome change of pace and a slight fix to a problem that is present in the other shows, games and manga.

Without much focus on the real world counterparts of the characters, it’s hard to really care that much that they’re in comas or are having other bad things happening to them. Sure, you grow to like or even love the characters, but considering that the players behind the characters, like in real life games, are sometimes drastically different from their players.

For example, Sora in .Hack//Sign is actually a ten year old boy in real life. It creates a bit of a disconnect that is hard to get over. Then again, it’s also weird when people make characters who look a lot like their real selves. I get both situations, drastically different for a more disconnecting role playing experience, closer for a more personal one, but it’s a little weird seeing it as a third-party.

…….What was I talking about?

Oh yeah.

I actually believe that Nanase and Yuasa looks just enough alike to create a connection between the two without feeling odd. However, this is ruined again when Yuasa becomes Sophora, but here Sophora only appears once or twice.

The dynamic between Nanase, Silabus and Alkaid feels very real, and I’m glad they didn’t go too far into drama territory to mess that up. There is a situation in which the sanctity of the group is called into question, and it does present a realistic problem where their ability to truly trust someone is tested.

Nanase, while being a little immature and mopey is likable enough, at least past chapter one. She’s meant to be a little annoying to begin with so we can see her own personal growth and discovery of her actual strength. However, this is muddled a little bit considering she’s Sophora….I really can’t grasp that.

Silabus is as nice, helpful and friendly as ever. He’s always been one of my favorite R:2 characters. Despite still being clueless with girls, he’s just as friendly with Nanase as he is with Alkaid and really anyone else. He treasures his friendship with Nanase and always avoids thinking the worst of people, even if that gets him into serious trouble.

Alkaid is still likable, though slightly abrasive sometimes. I wouldn’t say she’s a mentor to Nanase, nor would I even say she’s established as a hurdle to jump, but she and Nanase hold a good relationship when Nanase’s jealousy isn’t getting in the way. Alkaid is not as trusting as Silabus in the least, but she’s not afraid to admit when she’s wrong, and despite losing to Endrance time and again she keeps on truckin’.

The art here is chibi-fied a little bit. I’d say it’s mid-chibi. Not small enough or cartoony enough to warrant calling it chibi, but still seems like the characters are shorter and more cartoony than the average art of this franchise. I liked the art, though nothing particularly blew me away.

Bottomline: Alcor is slightly confusing in its place in the franchise as a whole especially since Nanase and her connection to the group is all but forgotten in the games. Sophora never talks about her Nanase days, never states that she used to be someone named Nanase and she never contacts Alkaid or Silabus or anyone else that she used to play with as Nanase. The connection with Sophora still confuses me a bit as I just don’t feel the connection between the three.

However, on its own it’s a fine addition to the Dot Hack world and actually does some things better than this franchise usually does. It even adds more aspects of MMORPG activities. Not as much as Dusk, but still adds to the ambiance.

It’s a good story of a seemingly weak and shy person finding her confidence and strength both in game and in real life, and while I may not feel much for the final ending I feel the ending of Nanase as a character was a good one.

It’s a short, nice story that anyone, even people who aren’t fans of Dot Hack would enjoy. Non-fans might be a little thrown by certain cameos like Pi and Kuhn, though. They don’t even explain Kestral or Endrance very well. Not explaining Kestral well is especially baffling. They keep saying ‘Oh she was a member of Kestral’ and it’s obviously a bad thing yet you’d never know why if you didn’t know the games or .Hack//Roots.

Recommended Audience: Nothing really questionable. We don’t even get any comas or heavy tones outside of some in-game drama. E for everyone!

Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 03 (Sub) Entei: Lord of the Unknown (Crystal) Tower

Rating: 8/10

Plot: A Pokemon researcher named Shurri has been looking for the elusive Pokemon Uknown for years. When he finally finds clues to their existence, he is suddenly taken by the Unown and trapped in another dimension. He leaves behind his beloved daughter Mii, who also summons the Unown through tiles that her father found during his research. In her grief of losing her father and her mother not being around for reasons never made clear, the Uknown decide to make her wishes a reality, giving her essentially her own reality to do whatever she pleases. It’s up to Satoshi and the others to free her from this false reality and stop the Unknown from causing more trouble.

Breakdown: See, that’s a much better movie poster. Entei looks BITCHIN’, Mii’s set in an awesome shot (doesn’t happen in the movie, but still looks good), Satoshi is admittedly placed awkwardly again, but nothing major, and the only character I don’t find a lot of point in having on the poster is Rin, but I don’t mind. I do kinda mind Chikorita being that big on the poster when Fushigidane’s so small, seeing as how they both had equal screen time I believe, but again, nothing major.

I don’t expect to be writing too much for this alternative review given that movie 03 seems to be 4Kids’ best dubbing effort to date. The Bulbagarden comparison really doesn’t note much in terms of changes barring some scene shifts that actually make sense and some of 4Kids’ lame dialogue insertions and changes. However, for completion’s sake, let’s see my take on how different the subbed version is.

Beginning to Title Screen

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The original makes no tiny implication that the Unknown/Unown took Mii/Molly’s mother and that’s why he’s so intent on finding them. He just says he’s been looking for them for a long time.

Name changes of Mii to Molly and Sully Snowden (or Shurri Snowdon. I don’t really know. Every Wiki I find lists it as the first one, but it’s conflicting with other sources) to Spencer Hale (which, if his name really is Sully Snowden, didn’t need to be changed. Though I do admit it sounds like Shurri. They can technically be interchangable but eh.) Along with his assistant, John, being changed to Schuyler…..Yes…his original name was John. One of the English-est English names ever to English in England, yet 4Kids still decided to replace that with Schuyler….wow.

Title screen to Halfway Mark

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More name change notes in Lisa actually being Rin.

The theme from the original is pretty good. Definitely gets you amped up for action.

Misty said that Greenfield was a place that she always wanted to go to when she was a little kid. Apparently, in the original, Kasumi says that it was voted as being the number one place that girls want to go to. Silly boys and their lack of appreciating landscapes.

Because of this, Takeshi says there must be tons of beautiful girls there to see the sites. Brock does say the same thing in the dub, but the only reason he assumes that there are beautiful girls there is because Lisa said everything’s beautiful in Greenfield, thus the girls must be too.

Am I the only one who thinks the crystal looks kinda pretty? I mean, the mentions of it being ugly aren’t in the original, but I think it’s kinda pretty, especially with the giant flower-like structure at the bottom.

There’s no mention of Mii’s mom in the news cast, so I have no clue where the original mentions any indication of her mom leaving.

Hanako sounds way happier to see Satoshi at first than Delia did.

We get a little more backstory on Hanako and Shurri as Satoshi actually recalls that he supposedly helped Hanako a lot with her homework and that he visited quite frequently after he moved away. If anything, this just makes their situation even more confusing because, again, these characters are never seen nor spoken of after this movie.

Rin’s a lot less abrasive than Lisa.

Oh…Takeshi kinda hits on Mii too. How nice.

Also, I guess I should note that Takeshi only says that Mii’s dream Pokemon are stronger than he thought. Not that they’re stronger than real ones.

Halfway Mark to End

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So Kasumi introduces herself as ‘the prettiest girl in the world’, which is pretty damn egotistical if you ask me.

And no, you still don’t get to see the continuation of Kasumi and Mii’s battle. Maybe it was too much to animate under water.

Satoshi says while he and Lizardon are fighting Entei that if things keep going this way, Mii will be alone forever. Ash only repeated that they have to get Molly out of there. The original actually makes the fact that Mii gasped in surprise and then was hugged by Hanako make more sense. While it can make sense in the dub, perhaps being surprised at how much these strangers care for her, it makes more sense in the original. I know this kinda seems like I’m reaching for things to note, but it does hold weight.

Likewise, Takeshi only points out that Mii’s a great trainer because Gomazou/Phanpy’s Rollout was great…..then again, if her dream Pokemon really are stronger than the originals or even just unrealistically strong either way, that’s nothing really to compliment her on. If anything, the fight between Mokoko/Flaaffy and Zubat was more impressive strategically.

I mention this because, in the dub, this is where 4Kids shoehorns in the whole ‘A big part of battling is knowing when to stop.’ line……And I have to note that the dub, while being cheesy and a frightening feeling of Deja Vu to the first movie, at least it makes more sense to praise her for that instead of the power of her fake Pokemon.

Okido actually tells Satoshi to go after the Unknown and stop them, not to run out of the mansion to avoid being trapped there forever. While the dub, again, is understandable, the original makes more sense because if they don’t stop the Unknown, who knows how much land they’ll encase in crystal.

Mii never once calls Entei, well, Entei when she’s cheering him on….And dammit, yes, the dub actually may make more sense again. Molly calling Entei by his Pokemon name indicates that she finally realized that this was indeed simply a world of illusion and Entei wasn’t really her father despite the fact that she still deeply cared for him. Then again, her still viewing Entei as a mirror of her father and continuing to call him ‘papa’ despite knowing the truth can also be a big moment too. Hm.

As expected, neither version explains what the hell the Unknown are about, why they were doing all of this etc. meaning this movie shares the same issue as the dub.

It’s funny how many movies take place at night and have the very ending take place in the morning.

End Credits

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The comparison stated that the scene switch, notably changing Shurri’s reappearance to directly after the Unknown disappear instead of at the beginning of the ending credits was made to ensure audiences that Molly didn’t end up alone in the end if they didn’t bother to watch the end credits. And I have to say….I like 4Kids’ placement better. There’s nothing particularly wrong with showing him coming back in the end credits, it’s perfectly fine, but it does make more sense in a way to have him show up as the final part of the montage where all of the illusions go away.

Oh and yes, we made it from start to finish without any mention as to where the hell Mii’s mom was. Not a damn one. She just pops up in the end credits. Okay, that’s not entirely true. When Shurri disappears, they say that Mii is all alone now, indicating that her mother must’ve left for good or disappeared too, but there’s nothing beyond that.

Give 4Kids credit, at least they gave slight hints for a reasoning behind her absence. This version gives us zilch. A Wiki page I found said only that she ‘left’, whatever that really means and where they got that information is beyond me. I assume it meant that Shurri was so obsessed with finding the Unknown for some reason that she left out of frustration, but there’s no indication that he’s obsessed at all, just that Unknown is the Pokemon he’s been researching for a while.

And if she did leave because of that, 1) Why not take Mii with her or at least visit her frequently? 2) That’s a pretty bitch move. 3) Why would she just happily come back in the end like nothing happened? 4) Why wouldn’t she come back for her once Shurri was gone? 5) Why did her butler and John act as if she was an orphan now?

If she like left on a trip or something, I guess that’s plausible, but then why would Mii be confused as to what her real mom looks like? Why would she be alone on many occasions? Seriously, if she were on a trip or something or even divorced from Shurri, she’d still likely takeover custody of Mii or immediately come back for her in the event that something happened to Shurri unless she’s just a major bitchwaffle.

I’ll just go ahead and say my take on it is either to flesh out the theory about her disappearing because of the Unknown (Also, I love how the English version of Unknown is just a misspelled version.) or they should’ve killed her off. I get it, they wanted Mii to have a really happy ending to her story, but it just seems so forced to throw her mother in there with no indication as to where she’s been this whole time. Even though the dub does subtly hint as to her story, it even seems forced there.

The point is, while I’m happy that they’re all together again, it just raises an untold amount of questions that will never be answered and seems pointless other than to give Mii two parents to make her as happy as possible, which, considering that Kasumi seems to have no parents, Takeshi basically lived without either parent and had to stand in as a dad for his family until both spontaneously came back, and Satoshi may as well have a single mom, seems a bit insulting to those without both parents.

As for the ending song, The Day a Rainbow was Born by Kumiko Mori, it’s very nice and beautifully sung.

———————————–

Now for my final verdict. As much as I like to dance the night away on 4Kids’ grave, I have to be fair and mature; I need to suck up my pride and say what needs to be said.

…..Yes, the 4Kids dub was probably as close to perfection as they’ve ever gotten in dubbing anything, at least until this point. Barring the average 4Kids-isms like being too obvious with certain bits of dialogue, changing basically all of Team Rocket’s dialogue and changing the music, they did a great job on the dubbed version. Only a line or two was lame, the music was fantastic and many of the changes had actual reasons behind them that were either understandable or actually beneficial.

In fact…..Oh God, this is gonna hurt……

I…..

……..Like……urgh…..th–…..the….

………..

………………….

………………………

I LIKED THE 4KIDS VERSION BETTER!!

Okay, it’s not a huge revelation considering how much I gushed about it and given how I actually praise 4Kids several times in this review, but god I just feel so dirty saying positive things about 4Kids’ productions. I feel like, maybe, 4Kids isn’t entirely responsible for the quality of the movies, though. It just seems like sometimes they’re pressured into not being assmuffins by either Warner Bros., Miramax or some other third party. Even if that’s true, it just shows that 4Kids CAN do dubs perfectly fine, they just choose not to because screw you.

The original still has better voices and better acting of course, but I fell in love with the dub a long time ago and I can’t deny that it just does some things better. This doesn’t make it a better version. If anything, I think it’s pretty evenly balanced between the two. I just prefer the dub better.

You happy, 4Kids? Enjoy your moment of victory for there will be seldom if any other occasions for such a thing.

I feel like I need a bath now.

Next up is movie 04, Pokemon 4Ever (oy) and its accompanying short, Pikachu’s Peekaboo. And I think this will be a fairly long one….

Recommended Audience: Same as the dub.

CSBS – Danny Phantom Episode 2

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Plot: Jack shows off his new invention, the Fenton Ghost Fisher, a device meant to capture ghosts, to Danny when he leaves the room briefly to go to the bathroom. Danny grabs the fisher and catches a dragon ghost. He combats the ghost for a while before knocking off the dragon’s amulet, which lands in his backpack. The dragon reverts to the form of an 18th century English girl who runs back into the Ghost Portal stating she wanted to go to the ball.

Danny, thinking the whole event is over, resumes his day. A school dance is coming up and Danny decides to ask out Paulina, the prettiest and most popular girl in school. However, he makes a fool of himself in his nervousness thanks to his ghost powers. Sam steps in to defend him, insulting Paulina in the process. As revenge and believing Sam to be his girlfriend, Paulina later accepts Danny’s invitation. She also mistakenly believes the amulet in Danny’s backpack is hers.

It’s up to Danny, Sam and Tucker to retrieve the amulet before Paulina also turns into the dragon and causes havoc at the dance.

Breakdown: This episode always annoyed me a tiny bit. While we’re amping up the stakes with the Dragon Ghost, the way that it works basically amounts to ‘bitches be crazy.’

We see the Dragon Ghost three times in this episode.

The first, the 18th century English girl reveals that she turned into the dragon because she was upset that she couldn’t go to the dance.

The second, Paulina triggers it by getting upset that they don’t have a trendy new and discontinued fleecy tee in her size.

The third is the most understandable with Sam turning into the dragon when Paulina reveals that she was only dating Danny to get revenge on Sam, believing them to be dating, and she plans on dumping him in the middle of the dance since Sam revealed that they’re not dating. While this is more admirable, it’s set up like Sam’s more upset that Paulina’s shallow (she keeps repeating ‘shallow girl!’ in dragon form) than she’s upset for Danny, who is soon to be heartbroken.

Not to mention that this makes no sense anyway. Why would Paulina think Danny’s dating Sam when he’s asking her out? I’d think if my boyfriend asked another girl out to a dance while we were dating, the relationship would be beyond over in a millisecond.

I do like the different reactions all three of them are having to this dance, though. Danny’s getting up the courage to ask his crush out to the dance, Tucker’s asking anyone with boobs and a pulse and consistently gets shot down. He somehow lands Valerie, who will become very prominent later, but Danny forces him (through possession) to dump her for Sam. She’s been badmouthing the dance the whole episode, and they only catch on right before the dance that she’s partially upset because no one’s asked her out. Danny possesses Tucker to claim Valerie canceled and to ask out Sam, and while Tucker initially protests, he changes his tune rather quickly when Sam comes out looking beautiful.

The sub-plot with Danny’s dad was insanely unnecessary, though, besides to show off Danny’s newly discovered possession capability. Lancer understands that Danny keeps dropping his pants because they, seemingly, don’t fit well (it’s really his ghost powers) and fixes the situation by giving him a belt, yet he still calls in Danny’s dad for a parent-teacher conference because this is somehow a fault of Danny’s that needs to be discussed with a parent.

Then he, of course, has to invite Possessed!Jack to be a chaperone to the dance purely to keep this plot going further and fabricate tension.

All in all, the episode’s pretty good, but there are a few major things about it that irk me. It just felt a little on the sexist side, is all.

Oh, and just because I feel I have to mention this because meme(?) this is the episode where they have that line exchange –

Sam: “Promise me you’ll keep your pants up.”

Danny: “I’ll do my best!”

I don’t know why this became a slight thing. I mean, it’s a funny-ish joke in context, but outside….is it just hurr hurr, this is kinda innuendo? I don’t really get it.

Rating: 7.5/10 Still staying at a good pace with the action and some of the story, but the mechanics of the amulet, at least the way it’s portrayed here, are a bit annoying and Jack’s subplot was entirely pointless. Also, it seems weird that they kinda poked at TuckerxSam here, yet went nowhere with it.

I”s Pure Review

Rating: 4/10

Plot: Seto Ichitaka has been in love with a girl named Iori for a long time, but he could never get up the nerve to tell her how he feels. This six episode OVA follows Seto and Iori through various trials in their relationship. Will Seto ever get his dream girl?

Breakdown: Well, let’s just get this out of the way, this OVA is based on an H-game. Okay? Okay. That being said, there’s no sex….so there’s that.

I realize that this OVA proceeds another OVA called From I’s, but I’ve yet to see that. It doesn’t seem like this OVA is really a sequel or a situation where you need to do homework, so I’m taking this at face value.
The relationship toggles between a crush and borderline stalkery. Seto is very much stalkery and creepy in his adoration of Iori. He truly does love her, yes, but he’s creepy. He’s also a bit of a jerk and this gets progressively worse as the episodes go on. Want an example? Okay. He finds out that his childhood friend Itsuki’s house has gone up in flames and Itsuki’s gone missing, but he decides that he wants to stay on his date with Iori instead of seeing if she’s not a smoldering pile of side character.

The plot is also fairly Three’s Company-ish and predictable. For example, Teratani, Seto’s best friend and cool guy/pervert, gives Seto a picture of a naked girl that’s digitally manipulated to have Iori’s face on it. Instead of ripping it up, he accepts it and guess what happens. She finds it. Oh and finding out that he had it (In his schoolbook, no less) made her quite perturbed.

Episode five is just damn annoying. It introduces us to Iori’s manager, some chick whose name I’ve forgotten, and the instant, and I mean instant, that you see her you know she’s a Yayoi-esque villain. She’s a bitch and she only wants Seto to stay away from her star. I should point out that they’re not even dating at this point – she just wants Iori to have no friends whatsoever, I guess.

Iori’s not much better. She’s one of those characters who never sees what’s blatantly obvious (even when, at one point, it is made as obvious as humanly possible) She’s not very likable after a few episodes. She’s not hatable, really, but there’s not much to like about her.

SUPER SPOILER ALERT. MOVE ON TO BOTTOM LINE TO AVOID SPOILERS. THANK YOU.

In the final episode Seto decides to actually listen to the manager and coldly break up with Iori to save her career that was never in any danger. Seto has a brief moment of slight scariness in saying that he’ll always love her from afar as his face is mostly in shadow….okay….*shudders*…

I guess their other friend or Teratani’s brother randomly finds a website called The Marionette King and all it says on it is that he’ll take Iori’s soul. This freaks Seto right the hell out even though celebrities (she is vaguely one at this point) always get vague threats and whatnot especially over the Internet. He decides he’ll be her secret bodyguard. And by ‘secret bodyguard’ I mean ‘stalker’. He starts training himself through martial arts books and camps out in front of her studio in a hoodie with a pair of binoculars watching Iori all day…..I checked, this isn’t a horror anime.

The Marionette King actually does show up. I won’t explain who he is, but his appearance and motive make no sense. He should be targeting Seto, not Iori. He gets the jump on Seto and slams his head into the wall. They fight some more and Seto knocks him off of the roof where Iori’s bodyguards grab him after he spouts psycho nonsense. Seto then plops onto the roof in a small puddle of blood from his head wound.

Cut to the hospital, Seto is in a coma and the doctors can’t figure out why. Ya know, I’m not Dr. House or anything, but I think it might have something to do with the severe concussion he got from his head slamming into the wall.

They say his life will be in danger if he doesn’t wake up soon, so Teratani and his friends decide to go see Iori at the big important play she’s putting on. They beg Iori to go with them, explaining everything that happened because of her manager, that Seto still loves her with all of his heart and that he really needs her right now. Yayoi (She’s given no real name that I know of and she’s basically the same as her, so I’m calling her Yayoi.) gives the same stupid grin she’s been giving since her debut and basically shoos them away even after hearing that someone’s life is in danger.

What’s even worse is that after she hears that Seto got hurt while trying to protect Iori from the psycho, she smiles and says her bodyguards were the ones who caught the guy, so his efforts were pointless. Which they weren’t. They never would’ve known about the Marionette King if Seto hadn’t gone after him. Though I do have to say that Seto got friggin lucky. All that was said on that webpage was that he’d take Iori’s soul. He didn’t specify a time or a place, yet he seemed to know exactly when and where he’d strike. He also targeted the first creepy-looking guy that he saw and got lucky there too.

Iori actually doesn’t go with them despite their pleas and hearing that the man she loves and risked his life for hers is dying because of her. Wow. That was actually unexpected. Unexpected and ungodly horrible.

Later, back at the hospital, Iori calls the hospital and decides to talk to Seto that way. Apparently her reasoning was that she didn’t want to disappoint the people in the play or the audience by leaving.

Boy, way to have your priorities straight. Your loved one is in a coma, dying, for trying to protect you from a psychopath and you can’t even ditch a play to see him? Who cares about the people at the play?! Don’t you have an understudy? That’ll be a great story to tell your kids. “Mommy, tell us again about how you ditched Daddy for a stupid play as he was dying after saving your life.”

Oh and get this, she even said that after this play that she’d quit acting. If you’re gonna give it up anyway, why not leave the damn play!?

And before you can say “Don’t you wake up, you damn bastard. That’s way too cliche, way too overdone, way too corny, way too lame” he wakes up after hearing Iori’s voice on the phone. I was seriously rooting for him to either not wake up or flatline right there just to slap Iori in the face for not going to him personally.

END OF SPOILERS

The main couple’s okay, but they’re not very likable, I was never rooting for them (I liked him with Itsuki. And it would’ve been much more interesting if we started out with SetoxIori but moved to SetoxItsuki. It would also be more realistic and not computer-chair-gnawingly cliche.)

The plot’s very convoluted and stupid at times, and in other times it’s a chore to sit through.

Art:
The art and animation are a high point for the series. It’s all very clean and fluid. The art is also very nice to look at, but nothing very awe inspiring.

Music: The music was decent. The OP was okay and the BG music was alright.

Voice acting: Japanese Version: The voice acting was fairly well done. I had no real complaints.

Bottomline: Like there are turn-your-brain-off action movies, this is a turn-your-brain-off romance/drama series. However, even then, it’s nothing to write home about. Also, I still feel uneasy about how stalker-y he is sometimes, and that ending is just rrrrghhhhh.

Additional Information and Notes: I”s Pure is the sequel to From I”s. It was based on a manga written by Masakazu Katsura, who has also written Zetman, DNA2 and the Video Girl series. It was directed by Mamoru Kanbe, who has also directed numerous episodes of Cardcaptor Sakura and Elfen Lied. It was produced by Studio Pierrot.

Episodes: 6

Year: 2005 – 2006

Recommended Audience: There’s some sexual themes, but no one even kisses. Some fanservice, one sexual assault scene, no swearing, no gore or anything. 13+

 

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) The Looney Tunes Show

Plot: Bugs and Daffy are roommates living a generally normal life in the suburbs. Daffy desperately wants to win something for once, so he signs him and Bugs up for a show called Besties, where best friends test their knowledge of each other.

Breakdown: Who doesn’t love Looney Tunes? Arguably second to Disney’s Mickey Mouse and friends, Bugs, Daffy and the rest of the Looney Tunes are some of the most world-renowned, beloved and funny characters (they definitely beat Disney in humor) we’ve come to know in the past decades. They’ve had some amazingly funny and memorable adventures, catchphrases, animation, voice acting and they continue to live on in various forms to this day.

That’s not to say Looney Tunes hasn’t had its hiccups when it comes to the quality of their shows and movies. Space Jam, Loonatics Unleashed and Baby Looney Tunes come to mind in that regard.

Well……*hiccup*

The Looney Tunes show definitely caused some conflict when it was first released. A good chunk of people liked the change of scenery and style and even some of the character traits. I definitely remember people arguing back and forth about whether Lola’s reimagining was for the better or worse.

Warning – Rambling that doesn’t have much to do with the episode at hand. Skip down to the blue mark to reenter episode discussion.

While Lola doesn’t show up in this episode, I do know what her character was turned into through clips and wiki research. Lola was not an original character in the short films we know and love. She was specifically made for the half-live-action half-cartoon movie, Space Jam, in order to increase the female demographic.

Even back then, Lola’s character was a source of debate because while some people saw her as a welcome female addition to the Looney Tunes crew, one with an attitude and knew how to play basketball no less, many others saw her as furry bait. She is obviously designed to be as sexually alluring as possible, in both design and her behavior, to all of the other male characters, yes, including the live-action humans, and she even has bunny boobs. She was also seemingly created just to give Bugs a love interest for the movie. She is even knocked into the cliché ‘damsel in distress’ role to give Bugs the even more cliché self-sacrifice scene so they can fall in love.

My opinion? I found Lola entertaining as a kid, but nowadays I just find her character to be a little insulting. If her character is meant to be made for the female viewers on both the basis of being a female character and giving her an attitude of female empowerment, they didn’t do a good job to me. She is eye candy to the core (which is creepy. I mean, give Jessica Rabbit a pass, she’s at least designed as a human.), the fact that she’s described as ‘tomboyish’ is nearly laughable, and making her shut down anyone who calls her ‘doll’ is not enough to warrant that sense of empowerment to me (who even says that anymore?), especially when the cliché gender stereotype roles are still handed to her.

In the Looney Tunes Show, Lola is completely changed from sexpot to ditzy Bugs-obsessed talk-a-mile-a-minute idiot. And, surprise, that is in no way better.

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I had caught this show a bit on TV a few times when it was airing and….I was never impressed enough to watch more than about five minutes. It was just….not funny. Which, for Looney Tunes, is a damn crime.

But I’m a reasonable person and part of this series is giving shows at least a shot to prove their worth. Maybe even prove my passing glances wrong and give me something to binge watch.

And they blew it.

Let me be fair off the bat here. I technically only watched half the episode because this is one of those shows that cuts the episode in half to create two separate stories. I just didn’t watch the second one because I was nearly offended with how not funny or interesting this one was.

First of all, while we’re on the subject of character changes, what the hell happened to Daffy? I know very well that Daffy is not the brightest marker in the Crayola factory, but he is ungodly dumb in this episode. Like Patrick from Spongebob should tutor him kind of dumb. It’s a good thing he doesn’t wear clothes, because I don’t think he’d be able to master the ability to dress himself levels of dumb.

It was actually annoying how dumb he was.

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Now, onto B–…..What’s that you say? Why did I randomly put a stock picture of Speedy Gonzales up?

Well, because the show basically did the same thing. Speedy comes out of nowhere, being stuck to Daffy’s hand vac as he tries to grab ahold of some food that rolled under the fridge (you may go ‘ew’ now) They basically point out that he’s there….and he leaves, never to be seen again the whole episode.

I wasn’t aware that Speedy was the kind of character that warranted a random splash cameo for the sake of fanservice. In fact, weren’t they trying to get rid of him at a point because they thought he was offensive to Mexicans?

Anyhoo, Bugs is left relatively alone, but he’s lost his spunk. He’s way too much on the side of laid-back sarcasm dispenser with none of the pep and energy his character is known to have.

The plot is what really riled me up. I was angry the instant the plot established itself. This is so unbelievable cliché I want to cry. They’ve been doing this stupid ‘game show where the characters have to know facts about another character’ plot line since The Newlywed Game came out. I’m surprised this isn’t a listed TV trope by now. They even name the host Chuck Berost…..which….I think is meant to be a joke, given that the original host of The Newlywed Game was Chuck Barris…..but I don’t get it….Berost…Barris….???

Not only is this a ridiculously cliché plot line to start from, but it’s also incredibly predictable, especially given Daffy’s idiocy. He’s so stupid, he even ruins Bugs’ correct answers because Daffy has an answer that sounds ‘cooler’. It’s obvious Bugs will have an idea that will get them through a good chunk of the game, but then Daffy will screw it up at the very end because he’s sans brain and they’ll lose. And look, that’s what happened.

The only joke that worked for me even a little in this episode was where they’re doing a ‘parody’ of Superman’s Origins. Don’t ask me why they’re doing this. It doesn’t matter. Bugs is acting as baby Kal el and his ‘father’ Jor el says he’ll say “What’s up doc?” indiscriminately, whether there’s a doctor present or not. Yup. And outside of the piece of kryptonite being a crystal carrot, that is the ONLY joke in that whole parody and the only only joke that really works for me during this whole episode. A joke that isn’t even all that funny…..a joke they ruin by having Daffy bring it up at the end of the episode.

See, the question Daffy screws up is ‘what is Bugs’ catchphrase?’ and he gets it wrong. When he learns what it really is, he says ‘we don’t even know any doctors!’

The last thing I have to address is the art style, which I’m….mostly okay with. Everyone’s character designs are mostly left alone, but the heads are obviously bigger and the colors are more saturated.

The animation is pretty good, though I do see various animation errors here and there. It’s smooth, but sometimes slides into ‘someone’s screwing with Flash again’ territory. Also, the animation doesn’t seem to have that elasticity that Looney Tunes is known for.

I will give them props for somewhat keeping the original theme, but this one’s a bit too heavy on the brass for me, which is surprising because the original is nearly entirely brass. It’s just that they add in a lot of jazzy trumpet interludes that are way too loud and intrusive to me.

Final Verdict:

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Nothing clicks in this show for me. The writing, the characters, nothing. I feel like, if the Looney Tunes name wasn’t on this show, it wouldn’t last more than a few episodes….and hell, this show only lasted two seasons with the branding on it. The Looney Tunes show is just not looney.

Rango Review

Rating: 8/10

Plot: A pet lizard finds himself lost in the desert after his tank flies off of the back of his owner’s car. He arrives at a town called Dirt where water is scarce to say the least. He plays himself up as a hero of the west to the local townsfolk, and after (accidentally) saving them from a hawk. Because of his feats, he’s given the title of Sheriff by the mayor. Taking the name of Rango, he enjoys his newfound respect and admiration but when the situation gets dire in Dirt, he’ll have to pay up or shut up.

Breakdown: I was never a fan of westerns, unless you count space westerns. And despite being interested in this movie when it was first released, mostly because Nickelodeon promoted it quite a bit (They produced it, but it’s hard as hell to find their name on it) I never got around to watching it until now. Too bad too because this is a pretty damn good movie.

Admittedly, the story is completely overdone. Some guy pretends to be something he’s not only to eventually get ousted and then gather up the courage to return and set things right. Been there done that. And yes, the awkwardness of the continuous lying does irk me quite a bit.

However, I really love the writing of the dialogue, the timing of the jokes, the characters and the style. I can’t really compare this to any other animated movie that I can think of. It’s pretty unique in its own right, at least barring the story.

One of the ways this movie stands out is its art and animation. Rango was produced by ILM (Lucasfilms) and it is absolutely gorgeous…..I think I drooled a little.

Excuse me, I really should say it’s butt ugly, but it’s meant to be gritty and kinda ugly. It’s a western with a bunch of desert animals like rats and lizards. Even the love interest, Beans, that’s her actual name, is pretty blech-looking. But my god, the details. They are fantastic. From the littlest drops of water and the hairs and scales on the animals to the town of Dirt and the vast desert. It is all just deliciously…..Ugligorgeous. What’s even more incredible is how they integrated the human world into their own world. The cars and lights look fantastic, we’ve got a huge cityscape, and even stuff like the items in Rango’s tank are beautifully detailed.

Then we see one human character briefly, The Man With No Name; IE A Clint Eastwood ‘Spirit of the West’ character who guides Rango back on his path. And not only is he also incredibly well-detailed, but his part is probably the least cliched because he doesn’t do that lame ‘just believe in yourself blah blah’ speech. He gives a realistic speech that a Clint Eastwood character would probably give. Sadly, however, they did not get Clint Eastwood to play this part, but he was well-performed by Timothy Olyphant.

They also didn’t dumb down most of the scenes for the sake of the children. Characters get shot, they die, they swear (to a degree), they describe several gory situations and the dialogue is perfectly suited for older audiences as well as young ones. Which is weird because somehow this movie managed to grab a PG rating.

In regards to characters, they’re all kinda stereotypes, but they’re done in a fairly unique and memorable manner. Johnny Depp (hey, you broke away from Disney and Tim Burton for five seconds! Congrats!) plays our titular character, Rango. Interestingly, his real name, the one he would’ve been given by his owner, is never mentioned, which kinda makes him a legit ‘man with no name’. He named himself through the traditional means of reading it off of something he saw.

He’s a bit of a delusional chameleon who longs to be a big popular hero, but he’s lived all of his life in a tank with no one to interact with except a wind-up goldfish and a barbie doll torso. It’s actually a little sad to think that his owner might be devastated over losing his pet, but Rango never mentions it or seems to care.

Rango’s one of the most uncomfortable characters to watch because he’s lying through most of the movie, and he plays up his lies as much as possible in order to fully create a heroic sheriff persona, but he really is a good guy who wants to help the people of Dirt.

Beans isn’t all that interesting. She’s a typical ‘no non-sense’ female lead whose only schtick is her defense mechanism. Beans is a desert iguana and she has a defense mechanism that essentially causes her to freeze up and be completely unaware of her surroundings. Problem is, this ability sometimes springs up without warning or trigger. She’ll just be talking and then boom. Then she just transforms into a doting girlfriend at the end, and it’s actually a little annoying.

Priscilla, the cactus mouse, steals several scenes with her odd habit of being incredibly and painfully blunt about situations and going on small tangents about frightening or gory situations.

Then there’s the mayor who is about as transparent as humanly possible. It’s obvious that he’s behind the water shortage in the town yet it takes Rango to finally figure it out and call him out on it. He’s not much of a villain, but there is someone who actually earns the villain title; Rattlesnake Jake.

As you can guess, Rattlesnake Jake is a rattlesnake. A huge rattlesnake….with piercing almost glowing orange, yellow and red eyes, huge fangs…..and that’s about it…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh there is his KICK-ASS MACHINE GUN TAIL. Oh my god, I never knew I needed a movie with a rattlesnake with a machine gun for a tail in my life, but that part of me has been fulfilled now. He is a big, badass, looming bastard of a snake. Though the reason I really like him isn’t just how badass he is, it’s that he actually has some sense of honor. By the end, he’s basically an anti-hero.

The fact that everything looks more or less real along with stuff like guns and animal threats such as hawks really makes the movie much more intense.

And might I commend the movie for having the best end credits sequence I’ve seen in ages? The art, the direction, the style, the music; they were all awesome for that segment.

Bottomline: Even if you don’t like westerns, I’d say definitely give this movie a shot. It’s cleverly written, has a great realistic feel to it, is gorgeously detailed, has some fantastic music, intense action sequences and while it’s not the most unique story in the world, you never once feel bored while watching it. I had a lot of fun with this movie, and I’d gladly watch it several more times.

Recommended Audience: Mild swearing (hell, damn, maybe an ‘ass’ I can’t remember), guns, smoking, some people get shot but I don’t think anyone dies from a gunshot wound, a bird dies from being crushed, an armadillo ‘dies’ from being run over by a car (and ew they closeup on his squished body, even though, oddly, there’s no guts or gore, it’s like someone flatted a balloon filled with flour) ‘scary situations’ maybe. 10+

Digimon Adventure 01 Sub/Dub Comparison Episode 8

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Plot: After discovering that they’re truly on an island with no escape, the kids meet Ogremon, a Digimon known as being a brute, and Leomon who is supposedly to be a kindhearted and gentle leader Digimon teaming up to kill them. Devimon, the evil Digimon behind the black gears, discovers that the kids are too powerful together and concocts a plan to separate them. After escaping from Leomon and Ogremon, the kids discover a mansion in the woods and enjoy their sudden stroke of luck despite the fears of a trap because everyone, especially the Digimon, are completely exhausted. However, their fears were realized when it proves to be nothing but a trap of Devimon’s making.

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Title Screen: DIGIMONSDCEP8SCREEN1

Title Change: The Messenger of Darkness; Devimon! Is changed to Evil Shows His Face.

While Digimon has a lot of jokes and dialogue where there is none in the original, I’ll note this one because there’s a mistake made in the dubbing. At the very start of the episode, there’s no dialogue until they see Jyou on the cliff. In the dub, Joe says this place would be a lot better with a bus system and Matt agrees, but believes they’re at the end of the line.

The reason this is a mistake is because the only people in Matt’s group right now are Izzy, Mimi, TK and himself. Joe, Tai and Sora are at the cliff. So there’s no way for Joe to have been saying that to Matt while he was climbing up the cliff. That just seems so sloppy considering how obvious it is that Joe is not with the group right now. They could’ve made Matt or Mimi say the line about the bus and have Izzy or Matt respond.

Jyou just yells ‘What do we do now?!’ while Joe complains that he never wanted to go to summer camp and instead wanted to go to summer school.

The narrator, as usual, does the Digimon index screens for Leomon and Ogremon. In the dub, since none of the kids are around, Leomon does Ogremon’s screen and vice versa.

Leomon: “The black gears are turning perfectly peaceful innocent Digimon into monsters!” Uhh….maybe you should’ve come up with a different term….Digimon…Digital MONSTERS. Just sayin’.

Attack Name Change: Ogremon’s fist attack is called Haouken (Fist of the Supreme King).

Attack Name Change: Leomon’s fist attack is called Juuouken (Fist of the Beast King). I never heard Ogremon’s translated attack name in the dub I don’t believe, but the dub commonly calls Leomon’s its translated attack name.

Also, in the original, the two actually call out their attacks when they first fight. In the dub, they just grunt.

Attack Name Change: Death Claw is changed to Touch of Evil.

This line was kinda cool. Devimon originally tells Leomon to accept his ‘baptism of evil’. In the dub, he just says he’ll now obey Devimon’s every command.

Also, I like Devimon’s original voice a lot better. His original voice is eerily calm and even while his dubbed voice is typically evil villain gravelly yelling.

Matt: “No question, man. You are the dude of doodles!”……What does that even mean?

Mimi originally asks why things had to turn out like this. In the dub, she said she just realizes that her gloves don’t match her dress….Yup, that’s Mimi for ya.

Likewise, Palmon only says ‘Mimi’ after this line. In the dub, Palmon says, seriously mind you, ‘How sad.’

You know, I really like how the kids and Digimon still have trust in Digimon that they’ve known to be good, friendly and trustworthy in the past, but this has been nearly every episode. Unimon, Monzaemon, Meramon, Andromon; they should really take the sudden appearance of a supposedly friendly and kind Digimon as a red flag at this point.

Why is Matt specifically telling Joe to not slow down in the dub? He’s at the front of the group. If anything, he should be telling that to Tai considering he’s last and he just went back for a bit to try to get his dumb map.

Takeru asks if Ogremon is another supposedly kind Digimon, but Patamon and Gomamon state that he’s actually a bad guy either way. In the dub, this is replaced by jokes about Ogremon wanting to eat them.

Attack Name Change: Hone Konbou (Bone Club) is changed to Pummel Whack. However, Ogremon doesn’t say it here in the dub. Instead he just grunts again.

Attack Name Change: Shishi Omaru (or Shishiou-maru, depending on the source) (Lion King Sword…Simba? :0) Is changed to Beast Sword, even though, again, he doesn’t say it here in the dub he just grunts.

So is the rule just that if a Digimon Digivolves once, no matter the circumstance, they can easily perform it again later?

Devimon originally just says that dealing with six of them together is troublesome. In the dub, he says they’ve ‘learned the secret of teamwork’ which is an eyeroll worthy line if I’ve ever heard one, says that dealing with them all together is more difficult that he realized then asks himself why Patamon hasn’t Digivolved.

Jyou points out the rockslide that occurs while Joe calls it an avalanche. Joe, rocks for rockslide, snow for avalanche. Okay?

Mimi originally says she sick of this. In the dub, she says she needs a facial.

Guess Sora’s back to calling Biyomon, Biyo, which still sounds wrong to me.

Dub Gabumon: “Do you think that avalanche knocked them both off the cliff?” It’s a rockslide. The originals keep getting it right, what’s wrong with you guys?

Jyou originally cheers at the fact that Ogremon and Leomon probably died from falling off the cliff. In the dub, he just explains how flying monsters, even ones without wings can be possible in this world because anything seems like it’s possible.

I actually prefer the dub because, while I understand that they were attacked by him, Gabumon and Patamon both said that Leomon was supposed to be a very kindhearted and gentle leader type of Digimon. The fact that he attacked them and paired up with his mortal enemy are huge indications that he’s being controlled like the other nice Digimon have been with the black gears. Yet instead of mourning the death of a good Digimon, they cheer for it.

Tai: “It’s that avalanche.” ROCK—Oh forget it.

The explanation of how the rock-avalanche occurred is basically the same, but Koushiro originally surmises that the destruction of the path may have caused instability in the rocks above whereas dub Izzy just says stress fractures in rock just eventually occur.

Jyou originally hopes there are other humans in the mansion whereas Joe hopes for a hot tub but not one that is too hot.

Yamato’s originally the one trying to stop Jyou from barging into the building. In the dub, Tai’s trying to stop both of them.

You can’t hear Jyou and Yamato talking in the original as Tai and Agumon are talking about whether or not the mansion was on the map over the shot. In the dub, their conversation is broken by Matt telling Joe to open the door, but Joe doesn’t want to go in without knocking.

I love Jyou/Joe’s flawless logic. ‘But guys there can’t be any bad Digimon in a building that has paintings of angels! That’s, like, against the law or something!’

Tentomon says being able to eat delicious food like that must be a sin (Wait, they know what sin is but not angels?) In the dub, Mimi is speaking on this shot saying that they have awful table manners.

I love the song cue in the original after Jyou starts eating.

The kids mostly just say they’ll eat as we zoom out of the mansion and fast forward to the night. In the dub, Mimi says something about lobster and a matre ‘d and TK says something about eating pizza that has peanut butter and pickle toppings…..What is with these kids and gross food choices?

Yamato tells Taichi not to jump into the bathtub while Tai says it’s been so long since they’ve had an actual bath. In the dub, Matt tells Tai not get his hair wet and Tai says he thought some bird made a nest on his head.

Immediately after, Koushiro says it’s amazing that the place also had a bathtub (it’s a mansion…it’s harder to believe it wouldn’t have a bathtub) and that he can feel the tension draining from him. Tentomon then offers electricity to Koushiro….for some reason, and he politely declines. In the dub, Izzy says warm water is great for removing soil and dead epidermis because Izzy can’t turn it off for a few minutes, and Tentomon says when he gets dirty, he just sheds his skin, but Izzy says that would be difficult for him.

Ah, we have a scene deletion!

In the original, Yamato says he can’t forgive guys who are so shy in an all-men’s bath. Taichi agrees so they jump out of the bath, while naked, and try to grab Jyou’s towel from him. This scene is basically kept the same, but the shot of Yamato and Taichi and their bare asses as well as trying to get Jyou’s towel from him are removed.

Since this is removed, the arguing over getting Jyou’s towel is also removed from the shot of Gabumon outside of the bath. Instead, Tentomon asks where Gabumon is and Patamon says he’ll get in eventually but he’s too shy to take off his fur. I’d say that’s even more understandable in the original if Tai and Yamato might possibly take his fur off by force. 0-o

Visuals: DIGIMONSDCEP8SCREEN3

Wow, another scene deletion!…Only reason I get excited over these is because dialogue edits are sometimes a pain…

Anyway, after the girls discover Gomamon in the girls’ bath, Palmon throws him over to the boys’ side where he lands on Jyou’s head and we see a shot of them both on the ground with Jyou also now naked. All of this is kept the same, but the shot of them on the ground and also Jyou’s naked ass are removed.

Visuals: DIGIMONSDCEP8SCREEN4

Most of the dialogue when they find the beds is passable, but Mimi says that having all of the beds in one room makes it feel like summer camp. Jyou then pipes up asking what she means because they were supposed to be at summer camp anyway, but then he trails off at the group’s sad faces because he reminded them of home. In the dub, Joe complains about all the crap they dealt with outside like hiking and starving, which I guess reminds everyone that they’re far from home.

I guess I can forgive this one because it’s more blatant potty (literally) humor, but when Agumon’s on the toilet he talks about how he can’t poop despite the fact that he ate so much. Taichi wants to leave because he’s taking so long, so Agumon tries his hardest to go and just ends up farting a lot which causes Ogremon to flee the stall that he was hiding in due to the stench. In the dub, it’s kinda the same but they mostly talk about how Agumon was afraid to go to the bathroom by himself and any real mention of what he’s doing is reduced to ‘I don’t even want to talk about it.’ The reason Ogremon eventually flees the stall is I guess because Agumon’s insulting him instead of farting.

Leomon keeps repeating that he needs to kill the chosen children in the original. In the dub, he keeps repeating that he cannot disobey Devimon.

Taichi asks about the fact that there is supposedly way more to the Digital World beyond File Island. Devimon says it doesn’t matter because the spot in which they stand will be their graves. In the dub, Devimon says they’re the Digidestined sent to save the Digital World from his destruction and Tai says they were just kids at summer camp sent there by random.

Huh, another scene deletion I guess for violence. Leomon pushes Agumon out of the way and slams Taichi by his neck up against the wall. In the dub, this shot is removed.

Visuals:

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The featured images for this blog entry are going to make people uncomfortable, aren’t they?

Agumon doesn’t explain that the evil from Leomon was purged by the Digivice in the original as it’s pretty damn obvious. Also, the dub proclaims that a black gear was driven from Leomon when no gear was present nor was it actually the cause of the mind control. It was Devimon’s own hand.

Next episode, the kids are now separated on different islands made up of the old File Island. Tai and Yamato end up on frozen wastelands and have to battle ice based Digimon to continue their journey and reunite with the others.

Pokemon Episode 29 Analysis: The Punchy Pokemon

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Cotd (s): Anthony – A Fighting Pokemon trainer who aims to train Pokemon for the Fighting Pokemon tournament the P-1 Grand Prix. Anthony’s got tunnel vision for the tournament and neglects spending time with his family because of it, but he’s still a kind person with a good heart.

Reappear?: No

Pokemon: Anthony has a Hitmonchan as his main Pokemon. He spends much of his time training it, and Hitmonchan has become a very formidable fighter because of it.

Technically, after this episode, Anthony also becomes the owner of Ash’s Primeape. According to the original dialogue, this is not a ‘see you some other time’ situation. He legit handed Primeape over to him.

Rebecca – Anthony’s daughter, Rebecca is devastated that her father spends all of his time training for the P1 Grand Prix instead of spending time at home with his family. She is so set on getting him home that she asks Ash, Misty and Brock to defeat her father in order to get him to give up his dream.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: None.

Departures: Ash’s Primeape.

Final Farewell: I might as well vent here to spare the rest of the analysis some ranting. You might be going ‘wha? Primeape’s leaving already? Wasn’t he just captured like three episodes ago?’ Yes, yes he was. According to my unconfirmed sources (IE word of mouth I heard years ago), supposedly the writers of the show realized that Ash was in a bit of a capture slump, having not captured any Pokemon since Krabby way back when. They also realized that Ash had a free space in his party that had yet to be filled since Butterfree’s departure. So they decided to have him capture a Primeape.

However, the writers allegedly didn’t know what to do with it after that, even though giving Ash a Pokemon he cannot control is a good standing plot point. I guess they wanted that honor to go to Chameleon/izard, though. Since they didn’t know what else to do with Primeape, they cut their losses and booted him soon after capture, which means A) they failed in their goal to get Ash more Pokemon, B) he’s now back to his confusing five Pokemon party despite having a Pokemon back with Oak that he could have with him and C) my intense hatred for giving Ash good Pokemon then chucking them away or giving them to Oak to rot until a tournament comes up starts here.

Primeape had tons of raw power and he even had personality, which makes this even worse. Did it have any goals in life? From what I saw in his only episode outside of this one, no. Perhaps just to screw around and have fun, which is fine. Primeape had potential but they just swept him under the rug never to be brought up again for reasons that I’ll bring up later as being nonsensical.

Farewell, Primeape. You deserved better.

Plot: As Ash, Misty and Brock travel to their next destination, they find what they believe is a wild Hitmonchan in the path. Ash decides that he wants to capture it, so he starts teaching Pikachu some boxing moves.

Pikachu fails miserably but manages to get one punch in on Hitmonchan. Hitmonchan’s trainer, a man named Anthony, appears and chastises Hitmonchan for letting its guard down. He tells him to return to the match, and Hitmonchan easily defeats Pikachu in a hail of punches.

Anthony’s daughter, Rebecca appears and begs her father to come back home. However, he states he won’t come back home until he’s become the champion of the local Fighting Pokemon tournament, the P1 Grand Prix. Rebecca enlists the help of Brock and his Geodude as well as Ash and his uncontrollable Primeape to enter the tournament and defeat his father in order to get him to ‘come to his senses’ give up his dream and come home.

Team Rocket also decides to enter the tournament in hopes of getting the championship belt, selling it and using the money for themselves. Since they don’t have a Fighting Pokemon, they tie up a man named Giant and steal his Hitmonlee.

Everything goes well in the tournament, for the most part. Brock is forced to forfeit on his first match out, but Primeape is doing well in his matches, especially once Ash earns his trust by diving for him when he is thrown from the ring.

In their match against Anthony and his Hitmonchan, Team Rocket cheats by gluing Hitmonchan’s foot to the floor of the ring, leaving it mostly defenseless against Hitmonlee’s barrage of kicks. Rebecca tries to protect Hitmonchan by jumping into the ring, but before she is also hit by a kick, Anthony steps in and takes the blow. Realizing the importance of his family and the futility of the match, Anthony forfeits.

The final match is Ash and Primeape against a revealed Team Rocket and Hitmonlee. They, again, try to cheat with an electro-shock device and bomb to take out Primeape, but Pikachu secretly thwarts their plans and Primeape wins legitimately. Pikachu gives Team Rocket the bomb back and sends them blasting off.

Anthony offers to take Primeape in and train him to be a true P1 champion and Ash agrees. He wishes the best in Primeape’s future training and bids him farewell.

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– Misty: “This must be one of those Fighting Pokemon I’ve heard about!” You’ve…heard about? First of all, Misty, you’re a former Gym Leader. I find it hard to believe that you never once came across a Fighting Pokemon while holding that title, especially since there are Water Pokemon, Poliwrath in Gen 1 anyway, that double as Fighting types.

Second….Mankey and Primeape are both Fighting Pokemon and you’ve seen them. That line would be better suited for Ash, but even then are Fighting types so rare that even Ash would say something like that?

– Why exactly is Ash trying to convince Pikachu to duke it out with Hitmonchan? Any idiot can see what a terrible idea that is. He has no training in hand to hand combat, Hitmonchan is obviously way more trained in it and is its friggin’ type for crying out loud, he has the power of electricity to allow him to more easily take him down and, oh yeah, Pikachu’s arms and paws are so small I’m surprised those gloves are staying on him.

If you really wanted to see a boxing match between two Pokemon maybe…oh I dunno, use your FIGHTING POKEMON. I know Ash can’t control him, but nothing else about this scene makes sense so why not?

– Narrator: “Well, everything’s been going pretty well. Misty caught Psyduck” “Caught” is being a bit generous.

“and Brock got Vulpix.” “Borrowed” would also be more fitting here.

“But Ash hasn’t captured any new Pokemon recently.” He literally caught Primeape one episode before Misty caught Psyduck and Brock got Vulpix. Being the main trainer of the group, he should be more focused on capturing, but he’s gone much longer without captures without anyone batting an eye and now the narrator’s getting on his case?

“He might be getting a little worried. But now he’ll try his luck with Hitmonchan.” Another case of the oddities starting off an episode with determination to catch a Pokemon and increase his capture rate only to not capture any Pokemon this episode and end up releasing one he has.

– “The Punchy Pokemon” is such a lazy title I could cry. It’s not even purely lazy. It’s silly too, especially for a departure episode. Why not call it “We’re too lazy to properly integrate you into the plot so, bye Primeape!” or simply “Fuck off, Primeape!”

– They’re still using the Pokemon logo in the title when it has the word in it? I’m going to keep bringing this up just because now I’m pathetically curious as to when this ends.

– I’ll actually forgive the stupid setup for Boxer!Pikachu because the actual fight is one of the funniest and most adorable scenes in Pokemon.

– I don’t understand anything about the Rocket Punch Ash taught Pikachu. He launches the boxing gloves off of his paws but then, somehow, only one of them is flying, Pikachu has the other glove back on his other paw and he’s still got the right flying glove on his paw, propelling him through the air with it.

And what about the Pikachu left behind? He wasn’t shrouded in smoke to make the illusion like he vanished. He was still there when the gloves were sent flying. I’m just imagining that, after the gloves are launched, it’s like a Benny Hill sketch with Pikachu scampering around trying to catch the left glove, getting it, then quickly running to catch up to the other glove while the smoke is still trailing to conceal him getting it back on. They really couldn’t have animated it to seem like Pikachu’s launching himself from the getgo?

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen2

……Wait….why did Ash have Pikachu-sized boxing gloves anyway?…..Ones with rockets in them…..Ash, I think Team Rocket’s stalking is getting to you more than we think.

– I always wonder about Pokemon that ‘wear clothes’ so to speak. Is Hitmonchan wearing gloves or are those its actual hands?….Is it wearing a dress or is its torso just really weird?

– Rebecca’s plan kinda sucks. Shouldn’t she be more bent on getting him the championship than defeating him? He says straight out mere lines before she asks this favor of the group that he won’t come home until he’s a P1 Grand Prix champion. Enlisting people solely for the purpose of defeating him is just going to make him want to train even harder for another year.

He’ll ‘come to his senses’ after defeat? Sure some people take losses so hard that they give up entirely, but with a guy like that the alternative is much more likely. Plus, she finds it much better that he fail in one of his main life goals instead of being there with him to help him succeed. I get that she’s lonely, but she’s being just as selfish as he is.

Now that I really think about it….this whole plan is entirely unnecessary. Either way, he’s coming home, right? At least by Rebecca’s logic. Today’s the day of the tournament. He’ll either win, prompting him to go home, or lose to someone else, prompting him to supposedly give up and go home. There is no third option. Why are Ash and Brock even needed?

– Brock: “Ash, don’t you have a Fighting Pokemon we could use?”

Ash: “Errr, what are you talkin’ about?” Ash forgot he has Primeape….Has he even been let out of the Pokeball since his capture? Is he dying in there?

– Brock, just because Geodude has fists and biceps it doesn’t mean it’s a Fighting type.

– Also, yeah, Ash has a Primeape that he can’t control and has never once bothered trying to train to the point where he’s forgotten he even has it. Brock’s Pokemon is one that is actually weak to Fighting types. Neither has had any formal training in Pokemon Boxing. These are the absolute best people to recruit to defeat Rebecca’s father, the guy who has been doing nothing but training for years for this very tournament with one of the best Fighting Pokemon you can get.

– Behold! One of the rare occasions Team Rocket actually succeeds in stealing a Pokemon!

– Why do so many people in the audience look horribly concerned as the tournament starts? They’re barely making introductions and everyone’s all mortified.

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen3

Also, props to the kid holding up the blank banner. I’m sure someone will feel like they’re being cheered on….or heckled….or something.

– Why are they seemingly acting like Brock and Ash are a team in this tournament? The introduce them together when “Giant” and Anthony were introduced on their own is all….

– Team Rocket has a crapton of disguises on hand and they can’t add anything to Giant’s clothes to cover themselves up more? For crying out loud, Jessie’s uniform is still very visible under the collar and they didn’t even make an effort to cover up her hair.

– Continuing the amazingly cliché tradition of fixing any and all trust issues/behavioral problems by having him self-sacrifice himself, even just a little, to save the Pokemon in question.

– Misty: “It seems like everything changed when Ash dove to save Primeape. That’s when Primeape started to trust Ash.” Now channeling Captain Obvious-Brock is Misty. And, really guys, the audience is well aware of how lazy this flash in the pan character development is, no need to point it out by giving a detailed account of it.

– Why is Hitmonlee listening to Team Rocket? Surely it knows they’re not Giant, his actual owner.

– It’s a little bit on the ironic side that Anthony is telling Brock that real men know when to admit defeat. Remember way back in Pewter City? Brock is the one who both knew when to quit in order to stop himself from severely hurting Pikachu AND he basically gave Ash the gym badge on the factor of him stopping himself from hurting Brock’s Onix.

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen4
There’s nothing to dislike about this screenshot.

– Anthony: “Time to face facts; you could lose today and win tomorrow!” Another testament as to why Rebecca’s plan is doomed to….I guess succeed….In a completely unnecessary way.

– The audience just keeps looking like they’re either saddened by what they’re watching or they don’t want to be there. What is the art department thinking?

– Anthony never realized that in order to get Hitmonchan out of the ring he’d have to unglue its foot from the floor?….And…ya know….call for the officials to come and investigate? Then have a rematch or disqualify Team Rocket?….No?….Just give up and ignore that that is the exact sequence of events that would happen in any realistic scenario? Okay.

– Also, three times in one episode, forced character/relationship development brought on through self-sacrifice.

– Oh look, Team Rocket’s revealing themselves to Ash and Co. Now Ash will alert the officials and get them disqualified for not being the contestant in question, they’ll get arrested for kidnapping and Pokemon theft and Ash will win by default. Realistic scenario.~~~~

I do love the failed motto due to James’ giving out from carrying Jessie.

– Oh look, they’ve revealed it to everyone….and not a single person seems to give a shit or point it out.

– Shocking Primeape I can understand, because you can mask that without anyone noticing what’s actually going on, but why trigger an explosion too? They’ll just call off the match or declare it a draw if Primeape ends up getting KO’d due to a random explosion that Hitmonlee obviously didn’t cause.

– Primeape suddenly learned Seismic Toss? I guess that’s alright, but how did Ash know it knew that out of the blue?

– FFS, even when the tournament is done and they’ve declared a winner, the audience is still stuck on ‘Wtf am I even watching?’ mode. Is there a gas leak in here?….and is the gas leak a fast-acting depressant?

– Why is Misty screaming ‘We did it!’? You didn’t do a damn thing outside of watch and cheer.

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen5

While we’re on the topic, Brock, why are you up there cheering too? Primeape’s not your Pokemon and you didn’t do anything to help. Are you seriously (unfairly) teamed up with Ash here like the intros implied?

– This is the line that always kinda irked me about the reasons behind Primeape staying behind.

Anthony: “I promise to turn it into a true P1 champion!” It already IS a true P1 champion. An amazing one, considering it’s had no formal training in either regular battles or boxing-type fighting and yet won every match fairly easily. How much more of a P1 champion can it become? They should’ve said that they’d try to win more tournaments like this and make it the best Fighting Pokemon out there or something. This reason just seems poorly handled.

—————————————

This episode was….kinda boring and stupid. The setup didn’t make any sense. It was resolved at breakneck speed. There’s not enough given to either the Primeape or the Anthony story. You don’t even sympathize much with Rebecca because we barely know anything about her besides her father is hardly ever home and she misses him. Also, she sucks at making plans. There are a bunch of logistic problems that shouldn’t fly even in Pokemon. The action wasn’t that impressive. The departure of Primeape is frustrating and poorly written, especially if my intel on the reasons behind his leaving are true.

About the most interesting thing here is the Pokemon Boxing, but really they don’t do anything with the concept. They should be more about actual boxing or martial arts moves or something, but they’re no different from Pokemon battles, just exclusively with Fighting Pokemon. Ash was doing more actual boxing when he was teaching Pikachu than anyone else was over the course of this episode.

I’m still a little irked at the loss of one of Ash’s few evolved and powerful Pokemon. But hey at least I can relax now. It’s not like he’ll be getting another evolved and powerful Pokemon that he’ll shove under the rug for stupid reasons any time soon, right?

So, uh, what’s next on the docket?

Pokemon ep 29 preview

……..….….…..Pbbbbbttttt…..I give up.