Digimon Tamers | Sub/Dub Comparison Episode 4: A Tamer’s Test – Defeat Gorimon

Plot: Lee manages to devolve Terriermon after his evolution during his battle with Renamon and Ruki. However, he’s upset that Terriermon evolved against his wishes. When an old opponent of Lee and Terriermon, Gorimon, shows up with a score to settle, Lee will have to decide if making Terriermon evolve and fight is worth the risk.

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Title Card:

Title Change: A Tamer’s Test – Defeat Gorimon is changed to It Came from the Other Side.

Writer’s Note: So, I had trouble deciding what I should call Henry in the original. Takato refers to him as Lee-kun because that’s his last name and he’s being a bit formal, but Jenrya is his actual first name in the Japanese version….However, that’s a Japanese rendered version of his actual Chinese first name, which is Lianjiang.

I’ve settled on just calling him Lee from now on. Sorry for any confusion regarding previous episodes.

Takato asks Lee if Terriermon has evolved in the past since he kinda implied it by believing Gargomon will devolve after standing on his head. In the dub. Takato asks if Rika would know how to do it.

Wait a damn second, now that I’m thinking about it, why can Digimon Tamers show Digimon cards on screen when Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh have to go to such lengths to edit anything even close to real merchandise out due to legal reasons? Those Digimon cards look insanely close to the ones in real life.

What the hell is Takato taking a bath in? Ecto Cooler?

Calumon originally comments on how much fun humans seem to have. In the dub, he says humans are very tamable since whole groups react to the sounds of bells, in reference to kids reacting to a school bell. In all honesty, though, he’s not wrong.

The card, Training Gibs, is changed to Training Grips. I guess because kids wouldn’t get the reference.

Kazu originally gives Takato the Training Gibs card because he already has a copy. In the dub, he acts like it’s a crappy card and gives it to Takato seemingly out of pity. Likewise, Takato originally wonders if the card is in any way related to evolution. In the dub, he laments over getting yet another useless card. Also, the specifics of what the card does, increases HP and attack power, is not conveyed in the dub.

Takato asks Lee if he believes the card is related to evolution and Lee says he doesn’t know. In the dub, Takato says he thinks Kazu gives him cards like that in order to use it against him in games, and Henry says he gives him too much credit.

Dub wise, why is it a stupid time to ask questions like “What’s a digital field?” and “Why is it chasing us?” when they’re being chased by a digital field? Not like talking slows you down, and if you didn’t want him to ask what a digital field was why even mention what it is? Hell, in the time it took Henry and Terriermon to have that line exchange, they could’ve answered both of his questions. “It’s a field where Digimon move between the Digital World and the real world” and “I have no clue.”

……Just seemed rude is all…

Name Change: Gorimon is changed to Gorillamon. The Index screen is translated and changed to match this.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Also, Gorimon’s attack is ‘Power Attack’? Boy, they better put up their Blocking Defense and maybe activate Fast Speed.

They censor Gorimon stepping on Guilmon’s head…..Really? That’s censor worthy?

Terriermon yells out to Lee that he was the one who wanted him to fight in the first place. In the dub, he asks Henry if he wants him to sit back and let him peel Guilmon like a banana. The sudden realization/memory is lost in the dub, plus it’s really jarring how much it looks like Terriermon is yelling in the dub, yet he’s not raising his voice at all.

Minor detail, but they specify in the original that the Digimon game that Lee gets is an American game. They leave this out of the dub, probably because it might seem awkward to say such a thing in English even though they have no problem saying the show takes place in Japan.

Boy the way this game looks sure does date this show.

Like the Index screen, the game’s screen is painted to mirror Gorimon’s English name.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Lee calls Terriermon cute. In the dub, he says he’s small and smart just like him. Ego much, Henry?

In the original, the first thing Terriermon does when he’s hatched in the game is poop. In the dub, they edit this out and shift the frames to make it look like Terriermon’s dancing, and the dialogue from Lee is changed to reflect this. I have no clue why they changed this. Poop is far from a new thing in Digimon. Hell, there’s an actual Digimon made of poop! Who throws poop! And makes other people poop! And we’ve seen Digimon poop in the series plenty of times, like when Koromon did it in the first OVA/movie. I would say it’s because we see him pooping and hear a fart, but the previous example had that too. Not to mention that this poop is extremely pixelated and disappears from the screen in seconds after he does it. No clue why this needed to be removed.

They add a pushed screen transition before we see Henry and Terriermon fight Gorillamon, I suppose to alert the audience that they were shifting back to the flashback.

Henry takes a much bigger jump in logic than Lee does. In the original, Lee wonders how Gorimon seems to be leaving the game and entering the internet of its own volition. In the dub, Henry can’t shut off his computer and can’t close the game. He instantly jumps from ‘maybe my computer froze’ to ‘maybe Digimon have a world of their own beyond ours!’ Look, I know Henry’s right, but he had no reason to say such a thing. Who sees their computer bug out and be unable to shut it down through regular means, not including shutting off the power supply, and instantly believes it’s because the characters in the game have their own reality?

They add a split-screen transition after the shot within the computer and before we see Gorillamon again.

They add in Gorillamon yelling, throwing a beam at Terriermon and Henry and Takato talking, Gorillamon using his beam attack and Gorillamon slamming down a beam again towards Terriermon but omit him slamming Guilmon into a beam and grabbing Terriermon by the ear to swing him in circles above his head.

Another pushed screen transition after Henry’s closeup.

They again remove Terriermon getting swung around by his ear.

In between shots of Terriermon being flung up and falling back down, they put in another shot from earlier of Gorillamon grabbing Guilmon.

They also remove the shot of Terriermon on the ground and splitscreen transition back to the flashback.

You could argue that it’s not necessary for the Tamers to say ‘card slash/digimodify’ and what the card they’re using is when in real Digimon battles besides for the sake of the audience, but it seems 100x more pointless seeing Lee/Henry do it on his computer in his room. Though, maybe that’s just a kid being excited about his game…..I know I’ve done that before when I was deep in my Digimon days. I actually made a Gen III Digivice out of cardboard and made a spot in the side to slash the cards so I could do that.

The Boost Chip card is changed to Power.

They add a flash when Terriermon headbutts Gorillamon.

Alvandale’s Arrow, the card, is changed to Targeting. So much creativity going on in this episode.

The card Stamina Seed is changed to simply Stamina.

Wait, a Stamina card made Terriermon evolve the first time?….How does that work?

Ya know, I can understand why Lee/Henry is reluctant to let Terriermon evolve. He’s kinda a psycho when he’s Gargomon – at least at this point. He’s laughing while shooting up Gorimon like he’s getting paid for it. And, like in Pokemon sometimes, what dictates what happens when a Digimon evolves? For the most part, unless an evolution is corrupted like with SkullGreymon, most Digimon are basically the same, personality-wise, when they evolve. Yet some change and others go nuts.

Upper left hand corner wipe transition after Gargomon goes crazy in the flashback.

They remove Gorimon kicking Terriermon in lieu of yet another recycled shot; this time of Terriermon flying through the air.

Between Guilmon setting Terriermon on the ground and Gorimon pointing his cannon at them is an inserted shot of Gorillamon running towards them.

After the commercial break, they replay the scene of Terriermon being caught by Guilmon and Gorillamon approaching, but this time they don’t add in the inserted shot and Gorillamon doesn’t say ‘Playtime’s over’.

Devil’s Chip is changed to Power….wait, again?

Fade transition for the flashback this time.

I never really thought about it before, but the manner in which the Tamers get their Digimon is another thing that this season has over the other seasons. In Adventure 01 and 02, the Digimon were just given to the Chosen Children because, well, they were chosen for such a thing. Yes, they developed close relationships with the Digimon over time, but in Tamers, they were given the Digimon because they already shared a strong bond.

With Takato, Guilmon was literally created as Takato’s dream Digimon. With Lee and Terriermon, he was a game character that Lee felt especially connected to and one he felt guilty over for hurting him and turning him into a crazed fighting machine. He desperately wanted to protect Terriermon for real so he was given to him. With Renamon and Ruki, they both shared a strong desire to become the best, strongest pair of Tamer and Digimon in the world. While their goals and points of view may have changed, their desires coincided with one another and they developed a true bond because of it. While I won’t downplay most of the eventual relationships between the other Chosen Children and their Digimon, the ones in Tamers just feel deeper and stronger.

Takato: “You and Terriermon are a great combination!”

Henry: “Yeah, I guess we are. Thanks Takato.”

Terriermon: “What are you thanking him for? He didn’t do anything.”

He’s thanking him for the compliment, Terriermon….not that hard to understand.

Davis: “Did Gorillamon’s data really go to the other side? Do bananas really taste good with peanut butter? Find out on the next Digimon; Digital Monsters!” You find out the answer to neither of those questions next time, Davis, but of course it did and of course they do.

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Overall, this episode was really good. We’re given a legitimate and realistic reason behind Lee’s apprehension to letting Terriermon evolve, though I still don’t get why he goes mental when he evolves. We also get the backstory behind Lee and Terriermon’s first meeting. The resolution wasn’t predictable in Lee realizing that evolution was necessary to take down tough opponents as, in the end, he didn’t make Terriermon evolve in order to beat Gorimon. He used his wit and ingenuity to take Gorimon down, even though a legit attack was needed to finish him off. Lee didn’t concede on his stance but he also didn’t decide to sit back and do nothing while Guilmon and Terriermon were attacked, as that kinda defeats the purpose of partially doing this for the sake of protecting Terriermon. He’ll eventually get into the real battle scene, but it’s a work in progress for Lee.

Next time……Calumon centric episode…..hooray.


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Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun/Flint the Time Detective Sub/Dub Comparison | Episode 16 (15 for the Dub): Monarisu’s Smile

Plot: Genshi, Sora and Tokio head to 16th century Italy to retrieve the art-based Space-Time Monster, Monarise, who is already in the clutches of TP Lady. She intends on using Monarise to force Leonardo da Vinci into painting her portrait and replacing the Mona Lisa.

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Title Change: Monarisu’s Smile is changed to Plumella. Which means….

Name Change: Monarisu is changed to Plumella….Why? I have no clue. Monarisu is obviously a play on Mona Lisa, and plenty of kids know about the Mona Lisa. I don’t even understand what this new name means. I don’t think anyone else did either because her fandom page doesn’t explain it.

They add an establishing shot of the Land of Time before we see Old Timer.

This next change is odd, but also fixes something in the original. Tokio laments that he has the Space-Time Monsters as models and Sora comments that they’re kinda cute. Suddenly, the monsters all jump at Tokio and he says he’ll draw more seriously. I feel like there was a missing line in there somewhere because, if the monsters were offended by Tokio’s very, very slight jab to the point where they’d gang up on him and yell at him, certainly they’d do it immediately and not wait for Sora for finish her comment. Also, he was trying to draw seriously beforehand, which is why he was muttering about the Space-Time Monsters giggling and moving around.

In the dub, Saban replays the bit with Tokio talking from before in order to give him a line after Sarah talks. While his previous line stays about the same, they add Tony saying it’d be easier to draw a dancing octopus and that working under these conditions is insane, which makes the Time Shifters yell at him. His comment still isn’t really worth yelling at him, but it’s better than them just randomly jumping him.

There was originally no cutaway to Rei speaking before Yamato speaks to her.

Like usual, the departure sequence is extended to show the kids going to the basement and Goodman talking to them before they go. This time, he yells out to bring back some fresh pasta. They also add in an exchange where Goodman asks Ms. Grey out for coffee, which she refuses, and then Goodman happily proclaims that she’s crazy about him. Can someone please write him up for sexual harassment? She’s not interested in you, dude, and she keeps telling you to knock it off.

As they leave, Genshi just says his typical line as they go. In the dub, Flint says he hopes they had cheeseburgers back then.

When they start walking, Genshi asks if renaissance is food, to which Tokio says it’s not. In the dub, Flint asks where everyone is.

Sarah neglects to mention Michelangelo when mentioning famous renaissance artists when Sora mentioned him.

A sign is digitally painted from ‘EiRuLE’ to ‘Trattoria.’ To Saban’s credit, a trattoria is an actual thing in Italy – it’s basically an informal ristorante or a place to get take-out. However, I really don’t know why they changed it. I don’t know what an EiRuLE is, but that just means I really don’t know why it would warrant being removed. Unless Saban was concerned it was a real trademark or something.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

When we zoom in on the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the screen cuts to black whenever we jut towards TP Lady’s mark. In the dub, they removed these cuts.

Name Plate Removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Monarisu is super adorable. Just thought I’d let you all know that.

I actually have an issue with the original here. Original TP Lady tells Leonardo da Vinci to paint her instead of Mona Lisa because she wants to be known as the world’s most beautiful woman. First of all, the Mona Lisa or Giocondo is not a person, like she seems to be implying. It’s just the title of the painting. The (most likely) model for the Mona Lisa was Lisa Gherardini/del Giocondo, whose husband, Francesco di Zanobi del Giocondo, commissioned a painting from da Vinci meeting the specs of the Mona Lisa. Da Vinci wasn’t really making money at the time and needed a source of income, which is what many people assume was the reason why da Vinci, who typically refused to do portraits, decided to do this one.

Secondly, the woman depicted in the Mona Lisa isn’t really known for being the most beautiful person in the world. While many people praise the painting for its overall beauty, and beauty is subjective, most historians agree that she was painted very faithfully and that, even by that era’s standards of traditional beauty, the model wasn’t really that far up above average. As I’ll discuss later, she’s a romantic icon, but that’s for reasons beyond beauty.

Third, if they’re messing with history here, then even if da Vinci chose to paint her instead of the Mona Lisa, it still wouldn’t work to make her a famous beauty. Not because the replacement of the image would, by default, cause issues, even though that’s also a factor and one we’ll have to deal with soon enough, but because the Mona Lisa’s fame is attributed moreso to it being stolen in 1911. Before that, the painting was more or less overlooked in terms of importance or value. It being a da Vinci painting, of course it was valued, but it wasn’t really something of any high status until it was stolen. As this CNN article explained;

“If a different one of Leonardo’s works had been stolen, then that would have been the most famous work in the world – not the Mona Lisa,” said Noah Charney, professor of art history and author of “The Thefts of the Mona Lisa.”

“There was nothing that really distinguished it per se, other than it was a very good work by a very famous artist – that’s until it was stolen,” he added. “The theft is what really skyrocketed its appeal and made it a household name.”

In fact, ironically given that I just cited one of their articles and I’m, not kidding, getting this next bit of information from a Washington Post article, The Washington Post ran the wrong image when they reported the theft. Instead of the Mona Lisa, they instead ran an image of the Monna Vanna, which was a nude charcoal sketch that some believe was made by da Vinci to prepare for painting the Mona Lisa.

So even if TP Lady did get him to paint her, and that MIGHT make the painting famous to a degree, she’d have to hope that her painting also got stolen in order to skyrocket it to the levels of fame the real Mona Lisa has. But, again, we’ll have to address this more later.

Onto da Vinci’s reply, he tells TP Lady that, no matter how much she pays him or threatens him, he won’t paint her because he only paints things he likes.

As I discussed, the original Mona Lisa was a commission that he only agreed to do because he desperately needed the money. In fact, he stopped working on it a year after starting it because he was commissioned by the Florence government to paint the Battle of Anghiari and they paid much more money. It was a job, not a passion project – at least at the outset. Granted, he was famous for not finishing paintings and working on them insanely slowly. It’s assumed that the Mona Lisa may have been his favorite painting that he continued working on in bits in pieces throughout his lifetime in order to get it just the way he wanted it, or maybe he just held onto it because he was never happy with it and wanted to get it to the point he believed it looked acceptable before selling it, but the initial prompt to paint it was a commission.

In the dub, da Vinci is a much more rude. He tells Petra that he’d rather paint a slop bucket in the king’s royal pig sty than a “beauty” like her.

When TP Lady falls over and hits her face, she says she can’t be painted with her face looking like that. In the dub, she says her pancake makeup fell flat.

In the original, Tokio and Sora says there’s no way even Genshi could move the Leaning Tower of Pisa to its correct position, but his willingness to give it his all to try is something to be admired. In the dub, at least Sarah says that Flint will definitely move it, but they’ll just have to help him move it back later.

Uh….how about no? Do you kids know how much work went into making the Leaning Tower of Pisa stable after so many years of it sinking and deteriorating? If you correct the slant, assuming it would survive that, trying to make it slant again and keeping it stable after that would probably be impossible.

……He’s….he’s still going to do it, isn’t he?

*10 seconds later*

Yup. Yup. He did it. Why, exactly, didn’t any of them stop him? They know how crazy strong Genshi is. Even if it was a long shot, he’s a very destructive kid. He’d definitely damage the thing beyond repair.

Saban has them cutting to Petra saying “What a show off!” as Flint is pushing the tower when that wasn’t there in the original.

Tokio originally comments about how Genshi isn’t different at all after having been turned into a painting. Tony says “Pictures that talk? Is this what inspired the invention of television?” which doesn’t really make any sense. He’s already seen these talking pictures so he shouldn’t be saying something like “Pictures that talk?” now. And of course they didn’t, Tony. I get that it’s a joke, but it’s not a good one.

Originally, Sora says “Excuse me…” and da Vinci asks who they are. In the dub, she asks “Are you alone?” And da Vinci responds “Never have I felt more alone, my child.”

Tokio asks who the man is. Sora explains that they learned about him in school – Leonardo da Vinci. In the dub, Tony says it’s weird to see a cave man explaining time travel to a renaissance man, and Sarah exclaims that they have the honor of helping out the great Leonardo da Vinci.

I can’t really comment too much on this next part because I don’t really know how da Vinci thought or felt on this matter, but in the original da Vinci says he can’t paint for money or fame any longer. He did paint for money, of course, but he wasn’t really all that famous in life. He did gain a reputation among artists as being incredibly skilled and was even considered an artistic prodigy as a child, but his works didn’t garner enough commercial attention to keep his head above water. Even as an inventor and writer, he struggled quite a bit to sell any of his works.

For some really weird reason, it seems that Plumella doesn’t actually talk. Like in the original, she just says her name over and over. I can’t make heads or tails of this. Every other English Time Shifter has been given the ability to actually talk. Why is Plumella the exception?

I’m not going to say this isn’t factual, again, considering I don’t know da Vinci’s concrete feelings on the subject, but I will ding the dub a bit for this. In both versions, the entire focus on da Vinci here is how much he loved painting and art, which he did, but the dub also says that he loved nothing more than painting, which, as far as I’ve read, isn’t true. He seemed to enjoy science and inventing a bit more than art.

Genshi says he now has the urge to paint, and Sora says they can paint together when they get back to the lab. In the dub, Flint says he remembers painting pictures of buffalo on their cave walls back home.

Da Vinci tells Monarisu that being honest is best, in regards to painting what she wants to paint. In the dub, he comments on the depiction of Sarah’s enigmatic smile – alluding to the actual Mona Lisa, which at this point hasn’t been painted yet. The Mona Lisa’s smile is considered enigmatic because it’s just barely there, is asymmetrical and seemingly changes depending on which angle from which you’re viewing the painting and, to some degree, how you’re reading her body language. Some say it’s a smirk, others say she’s happy because she’s pregnant, others say she’s sadly smiling, still others think it’s because she’s keeping a secret or lying, some people say she’s not even smiling at all. Her entire expression is hard to read when you really look at it.

Now, compare that with the portrait of Sarah….

Yeah, it’s, uh, not nearly as ambiguous or enigmatic. She’s clearly happy. She was laughing when Plumella painted her. I don’t know if Saban knows what enigmatic means. I think they just heard that’s a common comment on the real Mona Lisa so they thought they should reapply it for Sarah’s painting.

Name Plate removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Name Change: Warulise is changed to Plumella-con.

Also, wow, Warulise is definitely one of the weirdest Bad Transformations so far. It legitimately looks monstrous.

Putera explains exactly what happened to Yamato – that Genshi had been turned into a painting. Yamato thinks that Horurun would be perfect since it is basically the opposite of Monarisu. In the dub, Pterry makes a pun saying that Flint’s been framed and it’s not a pretty picture. Based on this, somehow, Goodman knows exactly who to send.

TP Lady just says to get Horurun. In the dub, she tells Plumella-con to ‘Petra Bash’ him.

In the original, they just give Horurun encouragement. In the dub, Sarah demands that Artie shape shift, Genshi says “Hurry up!” and the only one actually giving genuine encouragement is Rocky, who tells Artie to use his courage. Sarah in particular is being really rude. She’s about as bad as Tony has been with this same issue in the past.

Name Plate Removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Name Change: Super Horurun is changed to Artie Master.

Tokio just remarks that the giant globs of paint Warulise is shooting are super sticky and they can’t break free of it. In the dub, Tony says “This stuff’s clammier than cold oatmeal!”

Tony: “Don’t wimp out!” Tony, Monarisu is mind-controlled right now. It’s not being a wimp because it can’t break free of that control.

They insert a shot of Flint yelling out to Plumella-con between when we see her claws and when da Vinci holds up the painting.

Dyna and Mite go on about finally getting their turn to take down Genshi. TP Lady gets mad and points out that they were napping before she smacks them in the head. In the dub, Petra whines about not getting her painting. Dino and Mite say they’ll make her a better painting, a velvet one, and then Petra smacks them in the head saying they have no idea about real art.

In the original, TP Lady only says she’s going to destroy the Leaning Tower of Pisa now. In the dub, she says “One Pisa with everything on it, coming up!” I get it, haha, Pisa sounds like pizza, and I guess ‘everything on it’ means she’s going to shoot at it a bunch, ha haaaaa.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa returns to its leaning state by an explosion happening in the sky near it. I guess it’s as good an explanation as any.

In the original, da Vinci tells Monarisu that no matter where she is, as long as she paints with her true heart, she’ll be able to paint amazing things. In the dub, he tells Plumella that he had lost his faith and passion in painting and didn’t enjoy it anymore until his spark was reinvigorated by her painting. He tells her that her paintings reminded him of his talent and his better self. Why did da Vinci lose his passion for painting in the first place? Just because Petra forced him to paint a picture that he didn’t even paint? That thing that went on for all of ten minutes?

Genshi tells Monarisu that they can go home and paint a picture together. In the dub, because they’re in Italy, they have to talk about going home to get a pizza pie.

And now we’re at the ending…..which is…..boy, it’s an ending alright.

So they erase everyone’s memories like always and leave that era to go back to their time. Da Vinci doesn’t remember anything but still has the painting of Sora in his hands. Then we see the painting resting on the floor, leaned on the wall next to da Vinci as narration explains that the Mona Lisa, one of the greatest pieces of the renaissance, is still adored even in the 25th century even though no one knows who the mysterious model was, heavily implying that this painting of Sora is now considered the Mona Lisa.

*deep sigh*

Oh boy.

Oh boy.

Ohhhhh boy.

Where do I even begin?

First of all, isn’t it a HUGE Time Detective no-no to effectively erase a priceless piece of art from existence? The Mona Lisa, as we knew it, no longer exists. It’s now a picture of a pink-haired anime girl.

Also, Sora’s look is pretty damn distinctive. Wouldn’t people in the future bring it up to her that she looks EXACTLY like the woman in the Mona Lisa?

Second of all, saying that this picture of Sora is so good that it somehow managed to match the popularity and mystique and everything else that the actual Mona Lisa had is pretty damn insulting to the Mona Lisa and Leonardo da Vinci. No matter if it was a personal favorite piece of his or it was a painting he never felt was up to snuff, he put a lot of work and care into that painting, touching it up for years and years to try to bring it up to his standards of perfection. And even after all of that, he never even managed to finish it. He stopped working on it after over 14 years because his hand suffered from nerve damage that left it mostly paralyzed.

For those wondering, the unfinished aspect wasn’t in the lack of eyebrows and eyelashes. The reason the painting doesn’t have visible eyelashes and eyebrows is because those details had been lost after either fading or restoration/cleaning efforts over the years. It’s still considered unfinished purely because da Vinci never declared it finished.

Compare that to Monarisu who brushed a canvas with her tail for 14 seconds in order to paint this picture of Sora. I get that Monarisu loves painting, which is great, but that’s really, really, really insulting.

What’s even more insulting is that this change basically ignores everything that’s special about the Mona Lisa. I already explained how they don’t understand what the mystery about her smile is, but they also don’t seem to properly recognize that she was a highly romantic figure for many years and continues to be one, to some degree anyway.

Napoleon was obsessed with the painting to the point where he developed a crush on Lisa Gherardini’s descendant. Tons of men have brought flowers, poems and other gifts to the Louvre or sent love letters to the painting so often that they gave the painting its own mailbox. You’re telling me all of this still happened, but the attention was aimed towards a depiction of a preteen girl instead of the 24 year old woman the painting was originally based on? And then we have to reapply the whole thing about the fame mostly being attributed to it being stolen. Did that still happen? I guess it must have if everything else is the same. Guess they were right. Literally any da Vinci painting could have been stolen and gotten famous from it.

How is this painting even being called the Mona Lisa anymore? The title Mona Lisa, which should actually be Monna Lisa, comes from the words Monna, which means “My Lady” (Ironically, the more well-known spelling for the painting, Mona, pretty much means the exact opposite as a it’s a vulgar term for a woman’s genitals. Woops.) and Lisa as in Lisa Gherardini/del Giocondo. Why would da Vinci randomly give this painting of this girl he’s never seen or met before the name ‘Lisa’? For that matter, why would he call a very young girl ‘My Lady’?

This is also completely ignoring that there are other aspects of the Mona Lisa besides just the model that intrigue people. The perspective, the landscape, the style, the various sometimes drastic changes that da Vinci made to the painting over the years and more are all things that art lovers find fascinating about this painting.

What of the other details of the painting of Sora?

There are none.

It’s just Sora smiling against a background of spotty blue and white. There’s nothing to catch the eye or pique your interest.

Finally, they turned da Vinci into an art thief. Considering the memory erasure, da Vinci just randomly found himself standing on top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa with a painting of a random strange pink-haired girl that wasn’t done in his style even a little bit and just assumed it was his, claimed it as such, and earned endless praise and fame from it. I’m not saying da Vinci doesn’t deserve endless fame and praise, he did a hell of a lot in science, engineering, inventing and art, plus he never earned a dime from the Mona Lisa or saw real fame for it when he was alive, but at the end of the day you’re still saying da Vinci flippantly stole credit for art he didn’t make. How did historians in the future not realize that da Vinci didn’t paint that?

Historian: “Ah yes, the great works of Leonardo da Vinci. The Last Supper, the Vitruvian Man, and who could forget this fanart of an old canceled 90s anime character?”

The dub fixes this a tiny bit by saying Sarah’s portrait was used as a model for da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, but that’s not much better, because, without seeing the portrait he made, it just sounds like he was copying the painting Plumella made. Plus, the rest still makes no sense. I don’t even really think you can claim he was using that painting as a reference or model because, when he’s seen painting during this narration, the Sora/Sarah painting is on the floor to his side, almost behind him. It’d be in front of him, behind his canvas if he was using it as a reference.

The dub seems behind the original in the next scene. Yamato is turned into a painting by Monarisu. Sora calls in Horurun to help by reversing the effects (can’t Monarisu reverse her own power?), but he misunderstands and brings Genshi’s painting to life. In the dub, Sarah says how awful it is that Uncle Bernie has been turned into a painting and asks how long he’s been like that. Artie randomly brings a painting to life right before Tony tells Artie to help Dr. Goodman.

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And that’s that for this episode. I realize that I was edging along the line of thinking about this episode too much, but, again, if you’re going to make a series rooted in history, even if it’s a comedy, I feel like you kinda have a responsibility to think things through about as a much as a nerd on the Internet with no life who compares anime dubs for a hobby would, especially since this is a history show for kids.

I don’t much care that they didn’t bring up that da Vinci was much more than only a painter or that they got little details inaccurately, but I do care about the blatant retconning of the Mona Lisa from existence in the manner of acting like the painting itself doesn’t matter. Even if it does herald back to that idea that the Mona Lisa could have been any da Vinci painting and it would have gotten famous under the same circumstances it went through – it’s still just a front profile shot of a little girl with absolutely nothing impressive about it. There’s saying that other da Vinci paintings are so impressive that they would have reached Mona Lisa level heights of popularity if they were stolen and then there’s saying literally ANY painting would have achieved that status if it was stolen and had da Vinci’s name on it.

They also treat the Leaning Tower of Pisa like it’s a crooked picture on a wall. That I’m more forgiving of because that’s just a joke, it’s not part of the plot, but still.

Also, what did the kids even accomplish today, timeline-wise? If they were trying to stop TP Lady from erasing the Mona Lisa from existence with her own painting, then, well, they didn’t do that entirely because the Mona Lisa still doesn’t exist. It was replaced with a painting of Sora.

The highlight of this episode is Monarisu being one of if not the most adorable Space-Time Monster we’ve seen so far. She is just a delight, and I love that she’s art-based. I’m a bit irked that her painting ability is so simple, though. She literally just brushes her tail on a canvas and instantly has a finished piece within seconds.

The fact that this episode puts a bit of focus on how great it is to have a passion for art was also nice. I feel like Horurun and Auguste Rodin had a stronger episode in that regard, even if that story did have a very sloppy final message. While we’re on the subject of the Horurun/Rodin episode, that one also had a better friendship. We barely got to see Monarisu and da Vinci bond at all, and what we did see of it was kinda lame. Da Vinci was really so impressed by Monarisu’s abilities in painting a pink-haired little girl that it set off a huge burst of inspiration within da Vinci and returned his love of art back to him, even if we never really understand why he lost it to begin with. They have a couple of legitimately sweet moments, but I felt that Rodin and Horurun’s relationship was better.

Overall, this episode was okay, leaning towards bad almost purely on what they did to history here. We got Super Horurun, who looks kinda cool, although he didn’t get to do much in this episode besides return Genshi back to normal. I’m not even sure what his super power is. It’s implied in the end that Horurun can reverse Monarisu’s powers without using a super transformation, so what exactly can Super Horurun do that normal Horurun can’t, besides just be bigger and stronger?

I loved Monarisu, I love having any excuse to learn more about art, and the problems I had with the episode, while definitely being significant, probably wouldn’t ruin the experience for anyone just very casually watching. I can’t imagine it would negatively affect any kid either. Not many kids would see the Mona Lisa and be disappointed that it doesn’t look a thing like Sora/Sarah. I think the one thing I will definitely put a red mark on there would be implying that da Vinci is an art thief. I’m not sure what’s worse – Implying that Rodin’s skill came from a Space-Time Monster’s powers or implying that one of da Vinci’s most beloved paintings wasn’t actually done by him and he just found it and claimed it for himself – or at the very least copied it.

Next time, we meet the Wright Brothers and the flying Space-Time Monster, Wing!


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Digimon Adventure 02 Episode 5: Destroy the Dark Tower | Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: Iori feels he must leave kendo practice with his grandfather to help Jyou and the others respond to an SOS sent out by Gomamon.

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Title Card: DA02EP5SCREEN1

Title Change: Destroy the Dark Tower is changed to Old Reliable….I don’t mind this at all because both titles are equally boring. Guys, seriously, both Iori/Cody and Jyou/Joe are considered some of the most boring characters in Digimon – they don’t need boring titles helping them out.

As for the title card, that’s also a big ‘meh’. The colors are boring the shot’s not interesting….just meh.

They remove a closeup shot of one of the Gizamon getting whipped as well as a few more times from further away, showing Ken.

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Gomamon points out that Gizamon can’t travel well on land while dub Gomamon replaces this line by saying someone should use the whip on Ken instead.

Ken asks why Gomamon believes he has a right to tell him about Digimon. In the dub, he tells Gomamon to never talk to him without calling him ‘sir’ and to never talk to him period.

Gomamon getting whipped is removed.

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Why didn’t Ken have Dark Rings on the Gizamon before they even started working? If it does make them stronger and makes work easier…??

Wow, was Ken’s VA told by the director to sound as whiny as possible when he said ‘I want you to make me some hot chocolate’. I could hear a pout at the end. Also, obviously, this is a dub-only line.

I think Jyou really shows how cool he is in these little moments. He’s so obsessed with good grades and school and yet he is perfectly fine skipping class and a big quiz because he thinks Gomamon is in danger. Jyou may be boring sometimes, but he can also be really cool.

Iori’s grandpa asks if something’s bothering him or if there’s a girl he likes. Cody’s grandpa asks if he’s losing interest in martial arts or finds spending time with him boring.

Iori’s grandpa asks is he’d like Chu-Chu with a kissy face. Since Chu is a word commonly used as a kissing onomatopoeia in Japan, he realizes that Iori is thinking he said something weird, so he points out that he was talking about Chu-Chu jelly with a blush on his face. In the dub, Cody’s grandpa just says prune juice will cure all of his problems with the kissy face, goofy expression and blush…..Uh….kay.

Now, as for what Chu-Chu jelly is, after some digging through endless Legend of Zelda results, I found that Chu-Chu jelly is apparently this universe’s version of an energy….snack/drink that is basically an energy drink/health drink in jelly/jello form in a drinkable packet.

The dub doesn’t include Iori telling his grandpa to tell his mother he’ll be late.

Iori’s grandpa says he’s starting to resemble his father, Hiroki. In the dub, he just says no problem is too big for prune juice.

Why exactly does Joe find it weird for the Digimon to be in the real word? Did he forget that like 1/3 of the first series took place in the real world with the Digimon? It was a pretty big thing…

Daisuke and Miyako don’t mention anything about Jyou being a doctor in the original. They just greet him. Also, Kari adds a correction to Yolei and Davis saying that Joe’s not a doctor yet.

Originally, Jyou says they’ll eat the snacks in the Digital World. In the dub, he says they’re for an emergency. Also, I find it a bit weird that Joe went and got snacks when Gomamon sent an SOS. I mean, it’s nice and everything, but a distress call usually means ‘Come right now, I’m totally screwed’ not ‘Take your time, it’s not a big deal, maybe get me a Snickers.’

While not a major change, Upamon tells Iori that he was just about to go into the Digital World by himself. In the dub, he annoyingly screeches ‘YOU MADE IT!’ over and over.

Originally, Iori tries to politely introduce himself to Jyou. In the dub, Cody excuses Upamon to Joe stating that he’s hyperactive. I don’t really get why Upamon is such a ball of caffeine but Armadillomon is such a slow and laid back character.

Joe originally says he wonders where Gomamon is. In the dub, he says he’s always so prepared because he watches a lot of those survival shows.

Well, they sucked all the emotion out of this scene. Originally, Gomamon seems slightly surprised that Jyou came, and Jyou says that even if they’re far apart he still worries about Gomamon. In the dub, Joe asks him if he knows what day it is. Gomamon says Saturday and Joe says it’s Thursday, but Gomamon never understood the days of the week so he’s fine.

While the next line from Gomamon is the same, originally, Jyou says that he received Gomamon’s SOS on his Digivice. In the dub, he says Gomamon’s going to wipe out his entire first aid kit. This seems weird because Joe is obviously holding up his Digivice as he says this.

Armadimon says that if he sent out an SOS, Iori wouldn’t come after him. Gatomon then asks what he’s pouting about. In the dub, Armadillomon says he always gets teary eyed in reunions and he might cry. Gatomon then tells him not to cry because his tears will turn to icicles.

While the next exchange is mostly the same, humor is added to the dub version of Joe saying Gomamon looks like he’s badly wounded. This shot is again made odd by the fact that you can clearly see Joe tearing up. I wouldn’t mind so much if he had any emotion in his voice like his Japanese VA does. It would just seem like he’s trying to make a joke as to cover up his emotions. He’s basically speaking normally and making a joke while he’s supposed to be crying over his terribly wounded Digimon.

Takeru says it will be difficult to get across the snowy tundra. In the dub, he says he now understands what Matt means when he says TK’s walking on thin ice…..What? Given the context, what does he mean by that, and how did looking at a lot of snow make you understand? Saban, if you’re going to try to make pun-ish jokes, at least have them make sense.

Attack Name Change: Armadimon’s Scratch Beat is changed to Claw Chop.

Attack Name Change: Hawkmon’s Feather Slash is changed to Beak Buzz Saw….which makes no sense because, as the original name implies, he’s using the feather on his head to cut through things, not his beak.

The Digimon say they’ll do anything to destroy the dark tower. In the dub, they complain about having to pull the sled.

The animation on the sled ride is just silly. Most of the time it just looks like a cardboard cut out sliding over the scene.

Very very very tiny change, but when Iori goes into the river, someone yells out ‘Iori!’ In the dub, no one yells Cody’s name. Makes it seem like no one but Gomamon either notices or cares that he went over into icy cold water.

Jyou originally has cold medicine while dub Joe has herbal tea.

Armadimon originally apologizes to Iori for how he’s been acting like Iori doesn’t care about him as he didn’t realize that he left his kendo lesson to be there. In the dub, Armadillomon just says they should take a nap.

I honestly don’t know why this little side plot was removed. It’s not much but it is a little bit of character and relationship development for Iori and Armadimon.

In the original, Jyou says he ditched a quiz like Iori balked out on his lesson because he wanted to help out the Digimon. He made his decision to go just like they all choose to help out the Digital World. Despite being Chosen Children, they are ultimately the ones who decide to do what they do. In the dub, Joe says he always felt like he needed to be out there doing something too, but now he realizes that even staying behind can benefit them all in the end. He also peppers little jokes that really don’t work into his dialogue like saying he thought the feeling was nausea and how the big picture isn’t a wide-screen TV.

Jyou expresses sympathy that he’s asking the wounded Gomamon to stall Shellmon while the others destroy the tower in the original. In the dub, he doesn’t. Also, original Gomamon doesn’t make jokes, he just distracts him by saying ‘hey, look over here.’

Additionally, Jyou internally hopes that Takeru, Hikari and the others hurry up and destroy the tower so Gomamon won’t have to fight anymore. In the dub, he just internally facepalms at Gomamon’s famous charm.

A wipe transition is added between the gang getting to the tower and Gomamon’s first distraction.

Another wipe is added after Fladramon’s first attack and before the second distraction.

Jyou just yells Gomamon’s name. Dub Joe tells him to try knock-knock jokes.

Why did Armadimon just now Armor Digivolve? Yeah, sit there and gawk while the terribly injured Gomamon tries to dodge a gigantic dinosaur in a shell.

Even though they say the same ‘I’ll protect you, Iori/Cody’ line, Digmon’s VA just completely ruins the emotion of the line. You can at least try to sound like you’re slightly in pain. Digmon’s obviously wincing.

They make dub Wormmon go ‘hrmmm’ when he looks at Digmon protecting Cody when he’s silently admiring the scene in the original. It just makes it seem like Wormmon’s more jealous of what he’s seeing instead of silently wishing Ken would be like that with him.

This next edit’s a little weird in a couple of ways. First, they edit out Digmon getting pummeled while he’s protecting Iori. When they cut back to the first few frames of it, they quickly wipe transition to Fladramon’s next scene. In addition, instead of Flamedramon yelling ‘Fire Rocket’ he just says ‘Flamedramon, the fire of courage’ again. Yeah, Flamedramon, you said that already. We know what you are. You’re not a Pokemon

They remove more of Digmon getting pummeled and replace it with the earlier shot of Digmon wincing.

Boy, they can’t catch a break in this episode. First Gizamon, then Frigimon, then Shellmon now Ebidramon.

Dub, that’s Pegasusmon’s Mane Wind not Star Shower….you can tell because it’s not stars….and is hair…from his mane…in the wind.

I find it a bit stupid on Ken’s part that he had two powerful Digimon handy to take out a wounded Child level Digimon that can’t evolve and one new Chosen Child when all he had was a bunch of Frigimon going against the others….one of whom has a Digimon with the power of fire….

Did they kill Ebidramon? Unlike Shellmon, they don’t show his ring being destroyed and the last shot of him is engulfed in a huge explosion a la Harpoon Torpedo.

Originally, Jyou says he’ll come immediately if Gomamon needs him. Dub!Joe says Gomamon will have plenty of time to work on his jokes when he’s in charge of this frozen wasteland.

Iori is intent of finishing what he starts. Cody’s focused on having good manners.

I love how they flat out explain how the new Digidestined are meant to be combinations of the old ones. They only do it for Iori/Cody here, but it’s apparent in them all. That’s probably another reason why Ken’s the best of the new group – he’s the only one that wasn’t made as a chimera between any of the old Digidestined.

Ken yells at Wormmon for not speaking when spoken to despite him telling him earlier not to speak. Dub!Ken asks Wormmon what plan B is. He says it’s to become friends with the Digidestined. Ken calls him a fool, and Wormmon says he can’t spell.

Hikari says she’s heard that Iori’s house has the best Ohagi. Kari says she’d love to meet Cody’s grandpa.

Hikari says Daisuke can’t come because he and Chibimon (Demiveemon) would eat everything. Kari asks why he has to do everything she does. He says it’s because they’re partners, but Kari points out that Demiveemon is Davis’ partner.

Iori says his mother can make enough ohagi for everyone and then they start inviting themselves over while Daisuke laments that everyone’s muscling in on his time with Hikari. In the dub, Davis sulks that Demiveemon is his partner instead of Kari.

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Overall this episode was fine in the original, nothing particularly great or even good, but alright. Dub-wise….it was pretty bad. I do like Joe, even if he tends to get the worst jokes in the dub, and I’m pretty okay with Iori/Cody as he’s the second most interesting of the new kids, but since they seemed intent on removing every single lesson and emotion from the episode, we’re left with a hollow shell. Joe only has a small shot where he seems really concerned over Gomamon, which is when he skipped his quiz, and Iori’s subplot with Armadimon thinking he didn’t care about him was completely removed.

Plus, since the beating was removed, it didn’t seem like Digmon was really doing much to protect Cody. Yeah, he took one water blast to the back but that was it in the dub. I kinda understand why it was removed, but it was no where near as bad as when Gabumon was getting beaten up. Plus, he has armor, a few swipes to the back can’t be hurting him that much.

Additionally, they changed the big conflict with Iori to begin with. Instead of him finishing what he starts and living up to his own responsibilities as an individual, there’s some confusing crap about being true to himself.

It’s just a big mess that didn’t need to happen at all outside of having Iori bond with one of his crest-sakes.

Next episode, a Mimi and Yolei-centric story.


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 23 – Twilight Hills Review

Hell Girl Three Vessels - Tomohide Bullying Fumio

Plot: While Yuzuki continues to refuse to be the next Hell Girl, another client shows up – Fumio. He is constantly bullied by Tomohide and his cronies for seemingly no reason outside of the fact that he has nice things and his family is higher class. There are always two sides to a story, however.

Breakdown: Lets enter the new year by getting things back into action with Hell Girl: Three Vessels!

It dawns on me that I have been reviewing this season of Hell Girl for over a year. Part of that has been my erratic posting schedule as of late, but part of that has just been a complete lack of motivation to just plow through the rest of it. It says something when I’m more motivated to finish “Let’s see how many ways we can torment poor Takuma” Two Mirrors than I am “Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn” Three Vessels.

Typically, this doesn’t have much to do with the story of the week. While this season hasn’t really been the strongest, it’s more or less been fine in the episodic story department.

The problem, yet, again, continues to just be Yuzuki – the protagonist who is so dull and forgettable that I keep forgetting her name and have to look it up half the time. We’re at episode 23.

Like I said the past two or three episodes, you’d think things would finally start heating up with her story at this point, but nope. She spends this entire episode ghosting Ai and her associates because she’s determined to not be the next Hell Girl. And that’s it. She just ignores them and barely says a word until the ending. She even completely ignores the case of the week.

At the end, Ai allows her to hear the ringing bells of the people around her again, indicating that many of them are either current Hell Girl clients, targets or have already pulled the string. Then she lashes out at Ai, refusing to be Hell Girl, saying she just wants to be a normal girl and go to school with her friends. She doesn’t even think Hell Correspondence has a point. Her lashing out prompts Ai to claim that she now feels hatred and, thus, hell in her heart as well.

Yes, congratulations, Yuzuki. You’ve been annoyed into hatred.

Ai Enma

At least it looks like the next episode will finally be centered on her and the main story, if you can even call it that, of this season, but I really just feel like anything they come up with won’t have been worth the frustration and boredom that comes with watching Yuzuki over this entire series.

As for the story of this episode, sorry to say, but it’s one of the weakest, most confusing and unsatisfying stories we’ve had so far. First of all, we’re back to the good ol’ reliable bullying setup, which is fine, really, but they act like Tomohide has this secret reason for hating Fumio or that Fumio did something to Tomohide or someone related to him to make him hate him to such a ridiculous degree, but they never actually give one.

Instead of focusing the majority of the episode on Fumio, much of the episode actually focuses on Tomohide. Fumio comes from a borderline rich family, though he himself isn’t a snob or anything – he’s actually rather meek and polite. Tomohide, on the other hand, is lower middle class. I wouldn’t say he’s technically poor, but he definitely doesn’t live in luxury. His mother is always working, and his father is “gone.” It’s implied that Tomohide sent his father to hell, given that he does have a curse mark, his father was clearly pointed out as having just up and left, and he grasps his shirt at the curse mark when talking to his little sister about their father, but they never give the specifics. Was his father abusive? Does his mother know what happened? We never find out.

When he’s not bullying Fumio, Tomohide’s a rather likable and hard working young man. He’s a baseball star at school with a dream of going to high school and playing baseball there to hopefully become a professional baseball player. However, he’s decided to give up his dream so he can immediately go into the workforce after middle school and help his family. In addition to his constantly working mother, who is never seen on screen, you have Tomohide’s little sister, Suzumi, who is extra cute because she has jammies that make her look like a cow. Not in a mean way – they’re literally cow pajamas.

Suzumi in cow pajamas

Suzumi’s, like, four, but she talks like she’s an older teen or adult, fussing about the water bill and chastising Tomohide for doing the dishes incorrectly. She’s already baking bread and is rather good at it. She wants to be a baker in the future but is willing to give up her dream so she can stay at home taking care of the house while their mom works and Tomohide goes to high school to become a baseball star. Tomohide won’t let her do that because he’s vehement about working so he can give up his dream.

The first half of the episode is some of the clunkiest dialogue and exposition I’ve ever seen in this series, which is kinda ironic because they exposit so much without actually saying much of worth. Like Fumio’s rich, has a watch that was a gift from his still-alive rich father, which is why he wears it to school when his teachers tell him it might not be a good idea, he really wants to make movies and has a sweet entertainment center in his room and got a brand new video camera, but we don’t know why he wants to make movies so badly. Tomohide’s father is gone for some reason, he sent him to hell for some reason, Tomohide is playing “No, I’ll give up MY dream” hot potato with his little sister, he loves baseball, but can’t play it in high school for no real reason.

Make no mistake – Tomohide really is giving up his dream for no reason. Everyone around him, including his sister, is telling him to go to high school and become a pitcher because he can easily go pro, and becoming a pro baseball player would make his family a lot of money. But he insists on working. When he’s at a local factory getting a tour for prospective employees, he starts muttering to himself “Work…work” like he’s being forced into work, but no one is doing that.

Don’t get me wrong. His decision is logical. Getting a steady factory job immediately to help out his family isn’t nearly as risky as trying to become a professional athlete, but I really can’t see why he absolutely has to skip high school entirely and not even give it a shot before entering the workforce. His family really doesn’t seem that badly off with just their mother’s income. I’m not sure why either he or Suzumi feels the need to give up their dreams to make money for the family (or in Suzumi’s case, take care of the house) when they’re not struggling that much financially from all I see. Their apartment is pretty spacious and clean, they have plenty of food, fresh water, nice clothes, the aforementioned awesome cow pajamas, a rather large bedroom, they’re both in great health, etc. If they are really struggling that badly, they didn’t convey that well enough for me to sympathize with Tomohide at all.

Tomohide claiming he absolutely needs to work.

Speaking of sympathizing with Tomohide, that’s quite the task considering he has the biggest hate boner for Fumio for seemingly no other reason besides he’s rich and Tomohide’s not. They were hinting that there was more to the story. Ai even asked Fumio, when he asked why he was the only one so unlucky as to be targeted like this, “Are you sure you haven’t scarred anyone?” Fumio looks up in shock, as if there is something terrible he’s done….but it never pays off. We never learn if Fumio really did do anything bad besides be rich.

Tomohide overhears that Fumio made it into a good high school on recommendation, so he gets pissed and bullies him. He sees that Fumio got a nice watch from his dad, so he gets pissed and bullies him. Fumio gets a new camera and goes off by himself to use it in the woods, so he gets pissed and bullies him. And when Fumio offers to give him the camera or the watch, Tomohide smacks them away and gets even angrier.

At one point, Tomohide, in a seeming change of heart, decides to return Fumio’s camera to him (guess he took it anyway) but decides against giving it back when he overhears Fumio say that high school is just a path to college. It’s a place where you figure out what you want to do in life, and he’s already figured out what he wants to be, so he’s not that concerned about high school.

Tomohide got so pissed at him saying this when he’s being ‘forced’ to not go to high school and immediately go to work that he grabs Fumio later and completely flips out this time. Before, the bullying was actually rather tame for this show. He took his money and pushed him around, but the main point of contention was his focus purely on bullying Fumio. They don’t bully anyone else, even if their classmates are afraid of the boys and choose to not help Fumio. Tomohide hates Fumio so much that he tells him repeatedly that it doesn’t matter if he goes to a school in another city or if he sends him to hell (he now knows that Fumio called Hell Girl) he’ll never escape, he’ll never let Fumio go and Fumio will never be happy.

All of this ire because he’s jealous that Fumio has rich parents.

You can have negative opinions on rich adults as much as you like, but rich kids can’t control who their parents are. All things considered, Fumio’s a pretty good and kind kid for a rich kid in any form of media. The worst things he does are use the nice things his parents buy for him and kinda imply that he doesn’t think all that much about high school, but that was only because he saw it as a means to figure out what you want to be as an adult, and he already has that figured out. It’s not like he went “Pfft, high school? A mere way to waste my time until I go to the most prestigious college money can buy me into. *snooty rich person laugh*” He obviously cares somewhat about high school because he was really excited when he learned he got into the one he wanted.

Even if he had said that, that’s not enough reason to hate him nearly as much as Tomohide does.

Tomohide attacking Fumio with a pipe.

But this brings us to the big moment – the string pull. After Tomohide snaps and attacks Fumio with a metal pole, Fumio whips out the straw doll, but hesitates. Tomohide, who knows exactly what Fumio’s doing because he’s also a Hell Girl client, notices it, and then…..

……He berates him into pulling the string until he does.

The last thing we hear from Tomohide on his ferry ride is “I’m sorry, Suzumi.”

What the hell is wrong with you, dude? You knew the doll was for you. You knew what it was. You knew the power was real….and yet, you just goad Fumio into pulling the string, basically committing suicide? When you know full well that you’ll be leaving your mother and your sister all alone, basically damning your sister to taking care of her four-year-old self until the day she has to give up her dreams to help support her mother because her brother decided to be a dumbass and get himself killed for absolutely no reason when one of the reasons he was choosing to go into the workforce immediately in the first place was so she didn’t have to give up her dream of being a baker?

Is there any brain cell in your skull that is functioning?

At the end of the day, as Fumio takes a tour around the high school he chose, he sees some other boy being bullied and realizes that Tomohide was right, he’ll probably never escape from being bullied. At least, I think that’s what they were trying to say. I mean, just because some other kid is being bullied doesn’t mean he has to.

Also, Tomohide’s friends watched him get Hell Girl’d and they tell their entire class what happened in a huge panic. They even turn on the class in paranoia and claim they’re all probably Hell Girl clients sending people to hell.

Overall, this episode is very, very sloppy. I kinda like the idea of having a bullying story where the script is flipped and we are meant to sympathize more with the bully than the victim, but they did such an awful job executing that idea. You don’t sympathize with Tomohide nearly enough, and the victim is too meek and marshmallow-esque that you can’t even dislike him a little. If you dislike him, it’s probably because he’s kinda whiny, but he has a bit of a right to be. There’s not enough details given for any of the important factors of the story, despite the clunky exposition-y dialogue, and the details they do give just aren’t good enough and/or feel stupid.

I don’t even want to talk about Yuzuki’s part again.

Onto the first of the final three – let’s see if Yuzuki’s story is really up to snuff.


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AVAHS – Abominable Christmas (A Monster Christmas 2012) Review

Plot: Two young yetis go to a nearby town for Christmas in hopes of getting to see what a real human Christmas looks like. While they have their fun, their dad rushes around trying to return them to the safety of their mountain before Margaret, a crazy scientist intent on proving the existence of the abominable snowman, catches them.

Breakdown: During last year’s AVAHS, while I was trying to find information on A Monster Christmas, a 1994 seldom-known animated Christmas special, I stumbled upon information for another Christmas movie of the same name, also known as Abominable Christmas. The premise and odd cast threw me off, but I didn’t really have time to watch and review that last year, so I continued on my quest to find information on the 1994 special and mosied along.

This year, I decided to see what this movie was about. It did not look promising at all. Cheap animation, by-the-numbers plot and really nothing seemed that interesting to sink my teeth into, but, surprisingly, this special was pretty okay. It even made me smile a few times and kinda consider laughing.

It’s a little cheesy, but there’s a charm to it. Everyone is mostly likable, and they all get along quite well (except Margaret, because she’s the bad guy). The special’s also well paced. It never really felt like it was dragging its feet or rushing, even if the end was fairly abrupt to me.

I think this movie’s biggest problem is that nothing really feels impacting or big. The funny moments are never that funny. The heartwarming moments are never very emotional. The stakes don’t feel very high, even when the lives of two ‘children’ and their dad are at stake. The action never feels that exciting. Things happen, but they never feel like they’re happening, if that makes any sense. Let me put it this way – most movies are a series of twists and turns and ups and downs, like a back road with a lot of steep hills. This movie is like a straight road with a poorly maintained rumble strip. You’re aware when you’re driving on the strip, but it never increases or decreases your blood pressure.

The characters, while being fairly well-established, also don’t do much to stand out or be memorable. Everyone fits a certain role – Abby is the adventurous little sister who is bound to get into trouble, Adam is her neurotic older brother who tries to keep her in line, and their dad is protective and kinda strict without being overly protective or mean. In the human side, you have Lily, who is a Christmas-loving kinda sad little kid who wants to celebrate Christmas with her family but her dad is a workaholic and her brother, Matt, constantly, and I do mean constantly, has his nose in his computer.

There’s also the dog catcher who is actually breaks the movie stereotype of dog catchers being these horrible evil people who take pleasure in the pain of dogs. He’s kinda nuts in that he’s too into his job, but he’s also very dedicated to doing his job properly and not harming any animals. In fact, he became a master of martial arts to protect the dogs in his care.

Many times in these movies where the main characters are dogs/animals and they get sent to the pound but the movie ends without getting the other animals out of the pound, you feel bad because you know they’ll still be tormented by the dog catcher, but in this movie I’m kinda okay with it. I think they’ll be fine and maybe find good homes. One of them actually does find a good home at the end, which was sweet.

Finally, we have our main antagonist, Margaret, who is probably the most bland character here. Her character is simply the crazy person who is trying to prove the existence of (x) and will do anything to get it. Except she’s so blah about it that she’ll willingly follow dog catcher protocol and bureaucracy and not actually do anything underhanded to get what she wants. The worst that she does is trick the dog catcher into thinking that the two yeti kids are actually unlicensed dogs so he’ll go to their house and take them away, which isn’t what would happen in real life. As far as I know, you’d just be fined, and even the fine isn’t that bad. It’s like $250-300 dollars per year if you never license them. Her big plan was to get the yeti kids caught that way and then wait three to five business days for her paperwork to go through to she could take the abominable snow children away. That is, unless, Lily’s dad’s paperwork goes through before hers so he can license and reclaim them.

She doesn’t even have a plan for stealing them once they’re in the pound. She just waits for the paperwork to go through.

Paperwork’s the real villain here….or wait, I guess it actually saved them, so it’s the hero?

In the final confrontation, Margaret confronts them with flea spray and then stands there doing nothing while Abby takes forever to tackle her and bury her in cans of dog food, which would probably kill her. I don’t know why kids shows keep acting like full unopened cans of food don’t weigh anything. Those things could definitely kill you or at least cause significant brain damage if one fell on your head from a high shelf.

Even when she had a perfect opportunity to take pictures of the abominable snow people, when they were imprisoned in the pound, Margaret just doesn’t take pictures of them. She tried earlier in the movie, but got nothing usable because they were moving. Here they are standing still in front of her with nowhere to go and she doesn’t even think to take out her cameraphone. She even asked the dog catcher if she could take pictures of them at the pound, he said yes, and she still doesn’t do it.

Margaret and the father yeti have a past, which I thought would be much more interesting than it ended up being. She used to be a respected scientist until she spotted the young father yeti in his more reckless years. She tried to convince her colleagues about what she saw, but no one believed her and she went crazy trying to prove the existence of abominable snowmen ever since. In turn, he became much more cautious around humans.

Yep, no big consequences for what he did. No one died or got hurt or anything. He just got spotted by someone and no one believed her and that changed him forever.

Considering he’s a single father, I thought we’d learn that his mate was killed by Margaret or something. But nope. We never learn what happens to the yeti mama.

Speaking of single parenthood, it seems like no family in this movie has two parents. In addition to the yeti family having a single dad, Lily and Matt have a single father as well. Their mom, I guess, died (they use the term “gone” for both her and Matt’s mother and Abby and Adam’s mother) fairly recently considering how Lily looks about the same age as she is in the pictures with her mother. It’s such a passing mention, though. She says she used to decorate the tree with her mother and is sad about it, but after that her mother is never mentioned again. She doesn’t even seem distressed when Adam and Abby nearly break the framed picture of her mother, she just laughs about it.

Later, when the dad yeti is dressed up as Santa for a disguise, he speaks with a young boy who has a single mother who has been terribly sad since her husband “went away”. I thought for sure they’d have that woman and her son appear again and imply that she’d start dating Lily and Matt’s dad, but nope. She never appears again.

However, I did think the manner in which they handled that particular case was really good. Instead of promising the kid he’d get his mom a new dad or something cheesy like that, the yeti dad reasonably tells the boy that making his mother happy again will be complicated and take time, but the best thing he can do for his mother in the meantime is be there for her and give her lots of hugs, which was very sweet and definitely better than some hollow promise.

I’m not saying that any single parent Christmas scenario needs to be addressed by having the movie end with them hooking up with someone. In fact, I find it rather welcome that they don’t even attempt this with any of the single parents. I’m just saying that it’s weird that is pops up three different times, but none of these single parent situations have a bearing to the plot, and it’s hardly ever actually discussed. The most we get is that Lily is bummed about having to do Christmas stuff by herself because her dad is constantly working and her brother is too glued to his computer to even glance at her. However, it doesn’t take long before Lily’s dad’s workaholic nature is almost completely forgotten and he’s spending time with Lily. This minor conflict is another victim claimed by the rumble strip of a plot.

And Abby and Adam’s mother gets even less focus put on her.

The conflict with Abby learning to be more careful and the dad learning to be less strict is also not really resolved or much of a conflict. She’s like ‘Oh I’m sorry, you were right about humans.’ But I’m just like, ‘What? You just befriended a bunch of humans who are currently helping you escape the one bad and one kinda-ish bad-in-a-way humans you’ve met.’

Matt’s ‘arc’ if you want to call it that is literally just him not responding to anyone or anything the entire special until the very end where he finally speaks. It takes until this hour long feature is nearly seven minutes from the end before he finally speaks his first line. I point this out mostly because Drake “ruiner of childhoods and overall icky person” Bell gets second to top billing in the credits and he plays Matt.

Matt just acts like a deus ex machina. Turns out, he was paying attention to everything the entire time and even became somewhat Internet famous for his blog posts about the abominable snowmen stuff, which is the most confusing thing about this movie. They’re trying desperately to keep the yetis a secret, but Matt’s been blogging about them and becoming Internet famous because of everything his family is going through because of them….but he’s somehow not compromising their secret? He did say he was speaking mostly to the conspiracy theorist crowd, but still, he’s being treated like a hero when he’s pretty much doing exactly what Margaret was trying to do.

He knows and has everything he needs to free their dad and the yetis immediately when they’re captured by the dog catcher as well. And thus was the power of the Internet.

Speaking of the odd cast, this cast is odd. This is a very “Did everyone need a quick paycheck?” cast. Ariel Winter (I see what you did there, casting department) plays Abby, Ray Liotta plays the yeti dad, Emilio Estevez plays Lily’s dad, Matthew Lillard plays the dog catcher and Jane Lynch plays Margaret. Everyone does pretty okay in their roles, especially Ariel Winter, Matthew Lillard and Jane Lynch, but it’s such a weirdly star-studded cast for a movie that I’ve never even heard of before last year.

Well, enough of me tearing apart the minor issues. For what it’s worth, this is a pretty laid back and chill Christmas special. I can totally see myself watching it again just for the heck of it during the holidays. There are some legitimately clever, cute and funny moments in here, but, like I said, there’s just not a lot of stuff actually happening.

I wanted to make a step-by-step review of this movie, but once I got about 15 minutes in I knew I wouldn’t have much to work with. It just felt pointless. There’s not much to poke fun at and there’s nothing much to discuss. Even the animation, while being cheap, isn’t THAT bad. It’s pretty okay for a TV movie made in 2012. I feel like it’s the budget that held it back above all else, because I really feel like the animators were at least trying and were definitely competant….however, the human faces are kinda dead, and Lily’s eyes are WAY too big.

You know your eyes are way too big when an anime fan is calling them out.

If you want to just put on something Christmassy and kinda fun without really needing to pay attention to it, check this out.


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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my beloved readers! And a Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Solstice and just an overall happy holiday season to everyone!

I know things have been pretty slow at the ol’ Madhouse, and I want to thank you all for being so patient and still reading/liking/commenting on what I have been able to put out while I’ve been dealing with all the hecticness this past several months. I was finally moved in just this last weekend (moving around Christmas is not recommended in case you’re wondering.) and we’re mostly settled in, though these are still various things that need to get done and some problems to deal with. I wasn’t able to do nearly as much for Christmas as I usually do, and moving just sucked all the Christmas cheer out of me, but I’m trying to make the best of it. My Internet is workable, and hopefully I’ll be back to a more regular posting schedule after the holidays while still squeaking out one or two more things for AVAHS.

Through all the stress and headaches, you guys continue to make things so much more bearable, and I couldn’t be more thankful to you all. Have a very merry and safe holiday, and I hope next year is awesome for you. 🙂

~Twix 💚❤️

AVAHS – A Scooby-Doo! Christmas Review

Plot: Scooby and the gang wind up in Winter Hollow for Christmas only to find that the place has been terrorized for years by the Headless Snowman. Each Christmas, the townsfolk are driven out of their homes by the monster, causing most of them to despise Christmas. Can Shaggy, Scooby, Fred, Velma and Daphne figure out who the Headless Snowman really is and melt him for good?

Breakdown: What’s New Scooby-Doo? was definitely one of the more popular branches of the Scooby-Doo franchise tree. I watched it quite a bit when it was on, especially enjoying its awesome theme song, but I never remembered it having a Christmas special.

A Scooby-Doo! Christmas is an enjoyable but overall fairly forgettable Christmas special. Story-wise, it doesn’t do anything to stand out from any other Scooby-Doo episode outside of mentions of Christmas, the very ending where they give gifts and stand around the Christmas tree, and a song or two.

A reviewer on IMDB said the mystery was way too easy, but I kinda disagree. I really thought it was the sheriff until they pointed out that the sheriff was acting suspicious, which is usually an indicator that they’re a red herring. I will agree with that reviewer in saying that the absolute ending was bunk, though.

Spoiler warning, even though this episode is literally turning 20 years old next year.

The culprit was a local professor, Higginson, whose great-grandfather was robbed by a man named Blackjack Brody who ended up dying in a snowman after being chased by an angry mob who were tired of being robbed by him. How did he end up in the snowman? I dunno, but it created a legend of a Headless Snowman. The professor’s great-grandfather being robbed of all his gold ruined Christmas forever….somehow. I guess that would make Christmasses difficult because they’d be rich otherwise, but he just ended up hating Christmas for some reason.

This isn’t even his dad he’s talking about. It’s his great-grandfather. Did they never recover enough financially for Christmasses to be fun anymore? Did their family just continue to be poor for all time? That can’t be true because the culprit is literally a professor. He has to have SOME money, I assume. Getting degrees ain’t cheap. He did get robbed on Christmas eve, but it’s not like anyone died. Is it really just a family perpetually mourning their lost ultra-wealth even when the man who robbed their ancestor is long since dead?

Using the Headless Snowman legend as a cover (by the way, the snowman’s not really headless. He can just take his head off and put it back on.), the professor created what is quite possibly one of the most implausible monster….I guess I’ll go with ‘robots’ to ever grace Scooby-Doo.

The Headless Snowman is legitimately made of snow from top to bottom. It has a cone-like…cockpit? in the center to allow the professor to manually control it. All of it. Every single part of it. It’s exactly like it’s living. The Headless Snowman can even detach his head and the head will still make noise and be perfectly animated. All of it is made of and connected by snow. I have no idea whatsoever how this thing works.

So the professor gets caught, his snowman melted, and he laments that he looked for his great-grandfather’s gold in the town every Christmas season by tormenting the townsfolk and….destroying shit. Because that’s definitely the most logical approach to that. Fred and Velma deduce that Brody hid the gold he stole in his home’s fireplace, masked as the bricks in his chimney.

Coincidentally enough, Brody’s old home was one of the homes the professor destroyed earlier that day, which left the chimney bricks in a pile of rubble. The professor accepts his jail-y fate, but, in a show of Christmas spirit, the town not only refuses to arrest him, but they also let him keep the damn gold.

Look, that’s real nice and everything, Merry Christmas and all, but this guy gets no sympathy from me. Did he even know his great-grandfather? This isn’t a matter of justice because the town actually tried to help his great-grandfather back then, and kinda succeeded considering Brody died as a result of trying to run from them. He just wants the gold for himself, making off like it’s in honor of his great-grandfather.

He tormented this whole town, destroying buildings and homes, traumatizing children and ruining the holidays of so many families for many years, AND he nearly got Shaggy and Scooby killed when they fell into a freezing cold pond because of him.

To his credit, he does share the gold with the town to help make amends, but I still don’t think that’s enough. He still gets to keep however much he wants, and he still gets no jail time.

Bear in mind, most of what he did was completely pointless. There was no point in scaring the townsfolk, chasing people all over and destroying people’s homes. Why would he think the gold would be literally anywhere else but in Brody’s old house? Why would he not be able to find out which house was Brody’s house? They seemed to know exactly which house it was after they deduced that the gold bricks were used as regular bricks. Some professor you are.

Also, I refuse to believe that he can completely destroy a chimney with his bare…..snowman….sticks…and not reveal the gold when gently rubbing it reveals the gold.

All in all, while the professor’s motives and ridiculous beyond reason plans were mind-boggling to say the least, this was a perfectly fine Christmas special. It’s also quite star-studded, featuring the voices of Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids) as the young Tommy, Kathy Kinney of The Drew Carey Show as the Sheriff, Peter Scolari as Professor Higginson, Jim Belushi as Asa, whom I didn’t even remember, and frickin’ Mark Hamill as Tommy’s dad. And we also can’t forget the amazing Casey Kasem as Shaggy, Mindy Cohn as Velma, Frank Welker as Fred and Gret DeLisle as Daphne.

If you’re in the mood for Scooby and Christmas, this is a decent enough special. I just wish it either had more of an overall focus on Christmas or a better resolution/motive.


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The Anime Madhouse Made Feedspot’s Top 100 Anime Blogs List

Hey all you people whose brains are consuming my words right now! I have some good news for a change! Prompted by the D&A Anime Blog’s recent announcement about making it onto Feedspot’s Top 100 Anime Blog list, I decided to give it a go myself and submitted The Anime Madhouse for consideration. I honestly didn’t think it’d make it, but lo and behold IT DID! We were placed as 60th, and I am tickled purple, which is better than pink, fight me. This was such a nice surprise in what has been a very rough handful of months (and few years…) Thank you all for reading, liking, commenting and being overall awesome people over the years. You guys keep the lights on in the Madhouse, and I love you all bunches. Hope you continue having a great holiday season! 🌟

AVAHS – Yogi’s First Christmas Review

Plot: Yogi bear and Boo-Boo always miss Christmas because they’re hibernating all winter, but this year they awaken just in time to catch some Christmas fun.

Breakdown: You don’t hear a lot of people talk about ol’ Yogi Bear anymore. Last I heard anyone mention him was when that live action Yogi movie came out several years ago and uh….we don’t talk about that either.

Being fair, they did just release that new Jellystone! cartoon. I’ve heard okay things about that, but I haven’t really felt compelled to watch it yet.

I used to really love Yogi Bear. I had a Boo-Boo beanie baby, and, as a child, I spent a few weeks in a Jellystone Park camp and had quite a nice time.

That being said, I can’t remember ever watching this movie as a kid. It’s a nice enough Christmas movie with a lot of heart and some genuinely funny moments. I think its one weak spot, however, is its length. It just can’t justify having a nearly hour and forty minute runtime. It only barely (BEARLY hahaha) has a story, and in order to fill the runtime, they repeat the same shtick over and over.

The plot is that the ranger, Snagglepuss, Huckleberry Hound, Doggie Daddy and Augie are enjoying their Christmas up at the Jellystone lodge, but because of the mysterious and frightening events that plagued the previous Christmas parties, this might be their last Christmas at the lodge. Mrs. Throckmorton, the owner, intends on selling the lodge after this year’s Christmas party, so everyone tries their best to butter her up to change her mind.

Yogi and Boo-Boo are suddenly woken up out of hibernation by the festivities and join the fun, celebrating their first ever Christmas since they usually miss every Christmas while they’re sleeping.

Accompanying Mrs. Throckmorton is her miserable little shit of a nephew, Shively, who despises Christmas. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kid, especially a spoiled rich kid, just hate Christmas in a classic cartoon. I mean, it’s common for little kids to be obsessed with presents on Christmas, but this kid flatout hates everything about Christmas and wants nothing to do with it, which just makes me wonder why he’s even on this Christmas trip with his aunt.

Snively is a horrible little gremlin to everyone. He’s so terrible that he even attempts murder on more than one occasion. When Daddie Doggy is in the ice fishing shanty, Shively tries to push it into a open spot of water so he’ll drown all because he caught a bigger fish than he did. Later, he tries to kill Cindy and Boo-Boo by pushing their snowmachine onto a powerful geyser while they’re sleeping. He also unhooks Yogi’s skis from his feet right as he’s about to do a ski jump. The little kid’s a demon.

There’s a second antagonist named Herman the Hermit. He lives on Jellystone park grounds, somehow (that can’t be legal, can it?) and he also hates Christmas because the ruckus caused by the Christmas party at the lodge bothers him. He’s been playing pranks on the partygoers every year, pretending to be monsters and other supernatural creatures, in an effort to Scooby-Doo them away.

You’d think he’d be the main antagonist, but he mostly takes a backseat to Shively and his bratty shenanigans. Although, they do end up teaming up in the end, they don’t really do much. They go to ridiculous lengths all to steal a box of decorations. There’s a helicopter crash involved.

Although I did find it funny when Shively fell into the frozen lake when Yogi saved Doggie Daddy from being pushed into the open water. Shively ran to his aunt to blame Yogi for it and get him in trouble, Yogi shows up, admits he did it, says he’s not sorry because Shively’s a brat, doesn’t give a reason for doing it and Mrs. Throckmorton is like “Well, thank you, Yogi. Yes, the little brat did deserve it. Maybe this will teach him a lesson.” I agree he needs to be taken down a peg, but that’s pretty cold (pun intended) to act like a little kid deserves to be plunged into a freezing cold lake.

Mrs. Throckmorton is intent on selling the lodge, but, through wacky circumstances, she’s continuously impressed by Yogi as he randomly and accidentally keeps saving her life. To the ranger and lodge manager’s annoyance, Yogi keeps getting promoted with better jobs in the lodge in an effort to kiss up to Mrs. Throckmorton so she won’t sell the lodge. Spoiler alert, she doesn’t sell the lodge. She donates it to an orphanage for use as a vacation spot for them, which is extremely nice, but, like, I’m pretty sure a better option would have been to sell the lodge and just give the money to the orphanage. Orphans need a lot of things, and I’m pretty certain a vacation home isn’t one of them.

Meanwhile, Cindy Bear is overall just being very horny for Yogi. The only reason she decides to wake up from her own hibernation and help out at the lodge is because Yogi needs her, and she spends an inordinate amount of time trying to get him to kiss her under the mistletoe. She gets TWO songs where she’s singing about Yogi kissing her. They’re good songs, but calm down, Cindy.

Speaking of songs, there are several, and they’re overall quite good, but none are terribly memorable. Sad to say, but I’ll probably forget most of these songs by the end of the week, and it’s Friday.

If you love Yogi and want some Christmasness with him, as well as some other classic Hanna-Barbera characters, this is a good movie to check out. While I stand by my criticism of the runtime (it could easily be 45 minutes) it has many moments that made me smile, and there were even some heartwarming moments in there. I enjoyed it for what it was, and I’m sure many others will too.


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AVAHS | Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (1979) Review

Plot: A powerful ancient being named Winterbolt returns to the North Pole after being sent into a deep sleep for hundreds of years. He yearns to take down Santa for taking over the North Pole in his absence, but Rudolph’s shining red nose is getting in his way.

Breakdown: Readers! Guess what?! It’s that time of year again! It’s time for A Very Animated Holiday Special! This year, we’re starting out AVAHS with yet another Rankin/Bass classic, Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July.

I only very vaguely remember watching this movie when I was a kid. It was barely a blip on my Christmas movie radar, which kinda makes sense because, again, even though the movie is centered on Christmas, the title leads you believe this is a film best enjoyed in July when most people don’t think to celebrate the whole ‘Christmas in July’ thing that I’m not even sure happens anywhere anymore and was barely a thing when it was a thing.

The movie starts out with teenage Rudolph (because Adult Rudolph just doesn’t exist anymore apparently) spending some time with Frosty and his two children, Chilly and Milly. Just to be clear, you have Frosty, Chilly, Frosty’s wife, Crystal, and then, randomly, Milly. Why is Milly the only one who isn’t given a snow/ice/cold themed name? Also, how did they make these kids? Did they just use snow or……….You know what, never mind.

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The kids ask their Uncle Rudolph if he’ll light up his nose for them, which he does, but then suddenly realizes the light is fading away.

After the opening song, we get some backstory about the North Pole.

Long before Santa made his way up there, the land was ruled by the fearsome tyrant, Winterbolt, who has a name that is way too cool (Pun not intended, but welcome). As you can guess, he’s a lot like Snow Miser. You might even say he’s exactly like Snow Miser….Or Jack Frost…..Or Stormella…..There are a lot of ice-controlling antagonists in Rudolph movies, is what I’m trying to say. Actually, being completely fair, but also calling them out a bit, Winterbolt looks exactly like an aged-down slightly Winter Warlock from Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.

He also has two ridiculously animated snow dragons, which I laughed at for several minutes. Look, I respect the hell out of stop motion animation, but the dragons seems to have just been ‘animated’ with strings and bouncing their heads up and down.

The Aurora Borealis, referred to as Lady Boreal, took corporeal human form when she got fed up with Winterbolt’s BS. Using her powerful magic, she forced Winterbolt into a deep slumber for however many years. In the meantime, the innocent animals were able to return to the land to live happily while Santa arrived with his wife and posse to establish his toy factory and become the Santa Claus we know and love.

Growing weak from all the years of using her magic to keep Winterbolt at rest, Lady Boreal starts to fade away from her human form, but she can rest easy knowing that Santa’s around to be a true leader to everyone at the North Pole.

As her grip on him weakens, Winterbolt awakens and catches up on the goings on at the North Pole via the genie that lives in his staff…..I know what I said. He’s appalled (or aPOLEd :D) to see Santa has taken over as leader or ‘king’ as he puts it, and is seemingly more powerful than him. He asks the genie what he can do about it.

The genie suggests that he use his snow dragons to make a powerful snow storm and wall of fog next Christmas Eve to get Santa hopelessly lost, making him unable to deliver the toys.

Winterbolt concocts his master plan – he’ll do as the genie instructs, but he’ll also go out and deliver twice as many toys on Christmas, causing the children of the world to love him so much that they become dependent on his deliveries and making him so powerful that he’ll

Lady Boreal hears his plot and, using the last of her power, gives some of her light to a newborn reindeer. That’s right – newborn baby Rudolph! Who…..has a red nose before Lady Boreal even gives him the power. So….he was born with a big red nose, but it only glowed because it was infused with Aurora Borealis magic….?

Here’s where they start losing me. They’re kinda retconning Rudolph’s origin here. Lady Boreal appears to Rudolph and gives him the light in his nose. Why it has to be in his clearly already gonna get him bullied red nose, I have no idea. Lady Boreal seems like a bit of a bitch here, if you ask me.

The power/light activates when he thinks good thoughts. The better his thoughts, the brighter the light shines. However, if he ever tries to use the power for evil purposes, the light will be extinguished forever. Lady Boreal also puts a neat snowflake and star design on the bottom of his hoof as a mark of the power or something….which I’m 99.9999% certain he doesn’t have in the original movie and 100% certain does not matter in any way, shape or form. It’s just kinda something he has now.

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Oh, by the way, none of this is being heard by Rudolph’s mom or dad because his mom is asleep because she’s exhausted from giving birth and Donner’s out with the guys doing…guy…reindeer….things…..games? So convenient. Or I guess I should say inconvenient. Hey Lady, maybe tell Santa or either of Rudolph’s parents that you’re giving him a magical power for the sake of saving Christmas in a year? So maybe they won’t ostracize him, his father won’t be ashamed of him and he won’t run away from home?

Lady Boreal: “Use your secret magic well.”

WHY IS IT SECRET?!

Jeez, this is Naruto all over again.

That’s another point – why isn’t she warning Santa of the storm? She’s just giving this flashlight power to a newborn reindeer who can’t even speak yet, nor will he probably be able to remember this conversation, and hoping for the best. She’s not even telling Rudolph about Winterbolt’s plan. Out of context, she’s just giving a random baby reindeer (who is still so adorable it hurts) the power to turn his nose into a laser pointer. You suck, Lady.

We get a brief retelling of Rudolph’s story that pretty much omits everything that’s not in the song. Makes out like Rudolph was just chillin’ in the stalls on Christmas Eve and Santa was like “Oh yeah, you have highbeams! Come with me, Rudolph!” And the movie based on these clips was probably like five minutes long.

Also, he’s still not adult Rudolph in that shot. They really didn’t want him to grow up.

Looping back around to the starting scene, Winterbolt is enraged that his plan failed because of Rudolph, so he decides to snuff out his light. However, Rudolph’s resolve is so powerful that it overcomes Winterbolt’s magic. Also, it seems like Rudolph is physically weakening as his light goes out, like he’s a Charizard or something. Will he die if his light goes out? He’s passing out because it’s flickering.

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Winterbolt’s genie tells him the only way to extinguish the light forever is if he gets Rudolph to use his powers for evil, even if it’s just once.

What powers, exactly? Rudolph has to power to create a mildly bright red light. How could that ever be used for evil?……I guess he could shine it into a cockpit and cause a Boeing to crash. Kinda dark there, Rankin/Bass.

Milton the Ice Cream Man pops by on his hot air balloon with bad news. He was going to marry his love, Lanie Loraine – a circus performer – right at her mother’s circus on the high wire, but a shady businessman named Sam Spangles came by during their wedding to buy out the circus. Lanie is so distraught that she can’t think about getting married, and if the circus gets sold, Sam will force her and her family to move all over the country, meaning she and Milton will likely never get married. They need to have a great performance on the Fourth of July to earn enough revenue to prevent Sam Spangles from buying them out on the sixth….however that works.

Okay, that’s sad, really, but, uh, this also doesn’t make any sense. Her being too sad or concerned to get married right now, I understand. But the idea that they’ll be torn asunder if her mother’s circus gets sold because they’ll be moving around a lot is just nonsensical.

First of all, do they not already move around a lot as a circus? Isn’t that just what circuses do?

Secondly, I really need to point out something extremely obvious right now….Milton is traveling to the North Pole from, what I’ve researched, his home somewhere in Florida…on a hot air balloon.

He’s doing this because he keeps his ice cream stock at the North Pole to keep it cold.

Because yes.

That.

Is the most logical solution to that issue. Do freezers not exist in the Rankin/Bassverse?

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Winterbolt uses magic snow to send psychic suggestions to Milton to get Rudolph to go to the circus to drum up customers. Crystal and the kids want to go, but Frosty points out the obvious that it will be the Fourth of July on the sea coast, meaning they’ll certainly be puddles if they go there. It sucks, but that’s the way of the snowpeople.

Crystal apologizes for making the suggestion, and apparently feels so bad about it that she feels the need to break out into song about how much she loves Frosty. It’s a fine song and sequence but a really weird way of seguing to it.

Rudolph comforts them and says they’re not misfits because they melt, but he does wish they could be unmeltable so they could come with him.

In comes Winterbolt, who is WAY bigger than I thought he’d be.

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He acts like an innocent frail old man and offers them a solution to their problem – four amulets that will make them virtually unmeltable, even in temperatures so high it’d melt steel. However, there’s a catch – each amulet has a design on it made out of F’s.

Frosty: “Yeah! F! F! F! F!” We get it, Frosty. You really want to pay your respects. Stop spamming.

The four F’s stand for when the Final Firework Fades on the Fourth, which is when the amulets’ power ceases to work and the snow family will melt unless they’re back in snowy lands by then.

As quickly as he arrived, Winterbolt vanishes, and the group all become excited about going to the circus.

……Uhm….I know this is for kids, I know, I do, but Frosty and the others are insanely naive right now. Like, how convenient, a strange giant ice wizard offers us the perfect solution to our fatal problem out of nowhere and without asking anything in return. Boy, this couldn’t be any more legitimate if we met him on Craigslist!

At least Santa is slightly suspicious of this situation, but not enough to stop them from going. Also, goddamn, this movie is from 1979 and Mickey Rooney already sounds like he’s in his 80s. I get that he’s trying to sound old because this is Santa, but he sounds really weak like Santa’s on his death bed. He was only 52 or so at the time.

Frosty is excited to go, but sad that they’ll have to leave before they see the fireworks or else they won’t be able to reach the North Pole in time. Santa believes all children should see fireworks at least once in their lives, so he starts thinking. Winterbolt takes his cue and sends a psychic magic snow message to Santa suggesting that he grab his sleigh and head down to the circus on the Fourth of July to pick up Frosty and his family right before the final firework goes off. I guess he moves so fast that he could get them back almost immediately?

…..Can’t they just have fireworks at the North Pole? Is that too simple? Why do you need to tempt fate like that?

After another song break where Milton sings the same song Crystal sang, only he’s singing his to a poster of Lanie, they head to the circus.

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When they arrive;

Lanie: “He’s the greatest ice cream man in the world!”

He travels 3813 miles via a hot air balloon every time he needs to restock on his ice cream (7626 miles round trip) because he thought storing his ice cream on a polar ice cap was better than buying a freezer.

No, he’s not the greatest ice cream man in the world.

After a song break about Christmas by Lanie’s mother, Lily, voiced by the legendary Ethel Merman, Winterbolt continues on with his plan by awakening his snow dragons and asking the genie to bring him a reindeer who is the polar opposite to Rudolph – terrible in every way. The genie directs him to the cave of lost rejections. There, Winterbolt recruits the reindouche, Scratcher, who blames Rudolph for taking his future spot on the team of Santa’s reindeer despite 1) he very obviously wouldn’t have been, considering he admits that he did a bunch of bad stuff that would have prevented from being promoted, and 2) Rudolph didn’t even take a spot on the team. Santa originally had a team of eight reindeer, but he took the lead as the ninth.

Cut back to the circus for another song break by Lily, this time about how life in the circus as its ups and downs, but she doesn’t care as long as she has her….guy? Guide? It’s hard to understand, and neither lyric really makes any sense. It’s a fine song, I just don’t understand why it’s here.

After going over the plan, Winterbolt gives Scratcher some magical feed corn before he heads off to meet Sam Spangles.

Scratcher: “Hey….that’s means I’ll be able to fly like Donner and Blitzen!”

I’m sorry….what? Now Santa’s reindeer only fly because of literal magic corn?

….I–…..magic…corn.

It’s magic….corn.

I always thought Santa’s reindeer could just fly naturally….Unless you’re a girl, of course. Then you’re just a dumb normal reindeer…..with a bow in your hair….or no identity besides being Mrs. Donner….Actually, they do claim that Santa’s team of reindeer are all, realistically, female because they have their antlers in winter when males lose their antlers at that time, and the females keep them all year round. I mean, that’s obviously not canon in this continuity, but it’s interesting all the same.

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We pop in for a really sweet scene between Santa and Mrs. Claus as they pack for their trip. Not sure why they need to pack if they’re just heading down there to rescue some snowpeople, but okay. They head off on their sleigh, and…I need to ask something awkward. Mrs. Claus refers to Santa as ‘Papa’, Santa calls her ‘Mama’ and they just called the elves ‘Little Kringles’….Are….the elves….their children?

As Santa and Mrs. Claus depart, Winterbolt uses his snow dragons to implement his plan. He will create a storm of ice and fog even worse than the Christmas Eve where Rudolph saved the day. Santa and Mrs. Claus get caught up in the storm, and it’s so severe that a frickin’ ice tornado forms and sucks the sleigh into the vortex.

Santa: “If only Rudolph were here!”

Yeah, he could….uhm…..give us a pretty red light to look at while we’re still being sucked into the tornado because that’s literally his only power.

Also, do the reindeer no longer possess the ability to talk? All of them seem so dead-eyed and aren’t reacting at all to Santa’s directions. Not even Donner is saying anything. He did talk in the flashback, but that’s it.

Santa sings a sweet song to Mrs. Claus about how much he loves her in order to comfort her as they wait in the eye of the storm. Mrs. Claus suggests they try to hoof it (literally) on the ground instead of trying to fly through the storm, and Santa agrees.

Back in the circus, they’re holding a parade, accompanied by another song sung by Lily, which is pretty catchy and definitely parade-y. Crystal tells Frosty to smile because you’re supposed to smile when you’re in show business, but he clearly is smiling….Anyhoo, the reason he’s invisibly not smiling is because he’s worried that Santa won’t arrive in time. However, his family assuages his fears, for the most part.

Meanwhile, Scratcher meets up with Rudolph and convinces him to get him a job with the circus by pretending he’s starving, putting Winterbolt’s plan into motion.

Winterbolt himself is moving out with his own brand-new ice sleigh complete with a team of giant flying snow snakes, which is too awesome to poke fun at even a little. They also give Winterbolt his own ‘evil’ version of Santa’s take off manta.

“To the top of the porch,

to the top of the wall!

Now slink away, slink away, slink away all!”

…….Yeah, I think we need to workshop that.

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The circus is underway, and Frosty and family take their positions to do their act.

Chilly: “Stick to the script, Daddy.”

Frosty: “If Santa doesn’t get here soon, we’ll be sticking to everything!”……What?

Scratcher tries to lure Rudolph over to a tent by pretending he needs his red nose to see in there and retrieve something, and Rudolph agrees, but like…could Rudolph not just tell him to go get a flashlight or something?

Rudolph has to go do his act, so he leaves Scratcher, promising to help him afterward.

Rudolph’s act is to burn off a shroud of fog…..I guess it’s to replicate what he did for Santa, but he didn’t burn off the fog….I don’t even think that’s a thing you can do (and why do the movies keep wanting to push the idea that Rudolph’s nose also gives off a lot of heat? If his nose really is the power of the Aurora Borealis, it shouldn’t be emitting any heat.) He was just a light that Santa used to see through the storm.

Once he’s done with that, Rudolph returns to Scratcher to help him find what he’s looking for. Scratcher tricks Rudolph into stealing a suitcase full of money, the funds collected from the day’s show, from Lily’s wagon. Rudolph’s very suspicious, but does the deed anyway.

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I really really needed to post this screencap. I feel better now. Thank you derp-face Rudolph.

After a pretty cool Christmas show back at the circus, complete with Rudolph’s nose making the star on top of the Christmas tree, everyone gets set for the fireworks. Frosty’s so concerned that Santa won’t arrive in time that he rushes to stop them from being set off, but it’s too late. Lily lit the main fuse, and the fireworks sequence can’t be stopped once that’s done. There are 100 fireworks in total, and, for some reason, they’re wired to go off one at a time like once every few seconds. Kinda sounds like a crappy fireworks show, but I get that it’s moreso designed to raise tension with Frosty and his family’s situation.

Speaking of their situation, there aren’t really any stakes here, right? In the original Frosty the Snowman movie, Frosty melted in a hot greenhouse, but he was revived because he was made of magic Christmas snow. All he needed was to return to the cold and put his hat back on. I don’t know what exactly is the magical life item for all of the other snowpeople (Crystal was shown to be brought to life by a kiss on the cheek by Frosty) but I assume that the situation is the same for all of them. Melting isn’t necessarily a death sentence for them, so why do they seem like they’re all heading for the pearly gates? Just wait for the final firework while sitting in a few tubs or buckets, make sure someone has all of your personal/magical effects and you’ll be fine, right? Or maybe just remove the 100th firework from the platform somehow?

Winterbolt shows up as the fireworks start winding down. They beg him to extend the power of the magical amulets a while longer so Frosty and the others won’t melt. Winterbolt agrees, but only if Rudolph’s nose remains extinguished. Rudolph is confused because he believes his nose isn’t currently extinguished, but when he tries to light it he realizes that Winterbolt is right – his light is gone.

The reason being – he stole the money from the circus. Since that’s an evil deed that he technically performed while using his nose light, it has been extinguished.

I’m calling foul on that. Sure, he did a bad thing, but he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong. He didn’t have evil intentions and was being manipulated. I really don’t think that should count. Also, he didn’t actually use his nose for evil. He just used it to see what he was being tricked into stealing.

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He says he’ll clear things up with Lily to seemingly make everything better and get his nose to light up, but Winterbolt won’t help Frosty and his family unless Rudolph takes the blame. I’m a little confused. Shouldn’t it just be bad enough that he did the deed not that he’s taking the blame for it? I was confused earlier too because he stole the money but his nose still lit up at the finale of the circus. Was the deed only bad when it got discovered?

Rudolph goes to take the blame for the theft, devastating Lily and making Rudolph incredibly guilty and sad. To make matters worse, Crystal now doesn’t want Chilly and Milly associating with their Uncle Rudolph anymore because he’s now a criminal.

Frosty feels awful, Rudolph feels awful, that snowflake star mark thing on Rudolph’s hoof is gone, I still don’t get what the point of that was, and to its credit, this was a genuinely sad scene.

Winterbolt and Scratcher fly off to take over the North Pole now that Rudolph’s nose is out. Meanwhile…I guess there’s another show the following night? And Rudolph humiliates himself by not being able to light his nose for the audience, who proceed to boo him off stage.

Rudolph’s existence is so sad. First he’s hated because of his glowing red nose, then he’s heralded as a hero because of his glowing red nose, now he’s back to being hated because he can’t make his red nose glow. It sucks so much that public opinion on Rudolph is so largely dependent on his nose. Like no one cares that he’s a hero or can frickin’ fly or even that he personally knows Santa – it’s all just the nose for all of these ungrateful bastards.

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Everyone else in the circus understandably hates Rudolph now, and Rudolph walks off to sing a sad song called A Bed of Roses. It’s my favorite song of the lot, but I did have a giggle at Rudolph with red glitter all over his face. I mean, it’s very sad that he’s just trying to replicate the glow of his nose, but it looks like he snorted glitter.

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By the way, Rudolph was clearly very weak when his light was fading in the beginning of the movie. Now he loses it entirely and he’s completely fine.

Frosty is so guilty about what happened to Rudolph that he wonders if there’s something he could do to help Rudolph without putting his family in harm’s way. Winterbolt hears his plight, but doesn’t think Frosty has anything of benefit to take from him. His genie, however, informs him of Frosty’s trademark hat. Winterbolt believes that he could use Frosty’s hat, replicate the life-granting magic from within, and create his own army of living snowmen.

They animate this imagery in an interesting way. I’m pretty sure they only animated one snowman soldier, but they used mirrors to replicate the animated image to make it look like there were many.

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The main reason this is appealing to Winterbolt is because getting rid of Frosty means getting rid of the only other person who knows the truth about the theft.

Can I ask a question? Why can’t Rudolph just bring Frosty and co. To the North Pole via Milton’s hot air balloon and then tell everyone what happened? It’s not like Winterbolt put a curse on Rudolph to forever extinguish his light. He just agreed to never get it back to save Frosty, but if Frosty and his family are no longer in danger then he doesn’t need to keep his end of the bargain.

Winterbolt’s plan has so many holes in it that Spongebob’s jealous.

Couldn’t he have saved himself a lot of trouble and just frozen Rudolph in some sort of super unmeltable ice? He has access to that because that’s supposedly what Frosty and his family are with those amulets on.

Back with Rudolph, Lady Boreal, still in her light form, comforts Rudolph, telling him that she watches over him and he should be brave as he protects the helpless. If he is brave, his snowflake and star mark and his glowing red nose will return.

Wait…..so…Lady Boreal knows that Rudolph didn’t do anything wrong and only said he did because he was protecting Frosty….So why he did his light go away!?

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Big Ben, the whale with a clock on his tail from Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, suddenly pops up in the ocean near Rudolph and offers a shoulder (or fin) to cry on. After hearing his story, Ben rushes off to South America, much to Rudolph’s confusion.

Meanwhile, Winterbolt is making his deal with Frosty. He tells Frosty that, in exchange for his hat, he’ll turn Rudolph’s nose light back on, but he’s lying of course.

Frosty sings one last romantic song to Crystal, who doesn’t know he’s doing this and isn’t in the room.

Gotta say, while some of these sweet romantic musical numbers are nice, they’re getting to a point where the movie is oversaturated with them. Each pairing has like two romantic song breaks (Frosty and Crystal are on their third or fourth right now), and there’s no point in them. Don’t get me wrong, they’re very sweet, but they pump the brakes on the entire movie and aren’t very interesting. At least this one is about saying goodbye to her (and their kids) but still.

I also find it funny that we have all of these romantic pairings getting focus, but Rudolph only gets a brief shot of a picture of Clarice cut into a heart with the words “Love you, Clarice.” on it.

As Crystal and the kids weep over Frosty’s….corpse? Rudolph chases after Winterbolt to get the hat back.

Insert Rudolph vs. Flying magical snow snake scene here and soak it in. It is marvelous.

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So is this.

Winterbolt: “You don’t frighten me! The hat is mine! Try and get it!”

*Rudolph easily headbutts Winterbolt in the stomach*

Winterbolt: “Oof!”

*drops hat*

That could not have been more hilarious if you tried.

Also, Rudolph in Frosty’s hat is too adorable for words.

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Rudolph’s act of bravery allows him to get his light and little hoof mark back. I don’t know how or why. If he really did perform an evil deed with his nose light and that’s why it went out, which, as indicated by the mark also going away, is indeed what happened, then, by Lady Boreal’s wording, it should have been gone forever. If it wasn’t and never should have been taken in the first place, what was the point of the past half hour?

Rudolph heads off to set things straight. He gets a real cop to return the money (how did he find that?) to Lily, explains that he was tricked, and they returns Frosty’s hat and life back to him. Everyone makes up, Sam Spangle gets sent to prison and Frosty and Rudolph reprise the misfit song from the original movie.

However, Winterbolt’s not done. He wants his revenge on Rudolph and Frosty. Lily steps up to the plate and, I’m not kidding, throws her guns at Winterbolt’s ice staff and shatters it, causing his power to deplete and then he turns into a tree.

Okay…so….first of all, Winterbolt’s magical ice staff can be broken if someone throws a couple revolvers at it?

Secondly, that was the source of all of his power? He wasn’t just powerful on his own?

Third, how is it that Lady Boreal never thought to break or steal his staff? Why put him in a deep sleep and deplete your own energy for how many hundreds/thousands of years instead of just taking a baseball bat to that staff? Do it while he’s sleeping!

Fourth, taking away his power kills him? If that’s true, why wouldn’t he take more measures to protect that staff? He has his own amazing ice powers and a magical genie that lives within the staff. There’s no reason this thing isn’t protected by a barrier or something.

Fifth, why a tree? I could understand him melting as he loses his power and dies, he’s an ice wizard and everything, but why does he turn into a tree? A dead one, I might add, so he is definitely dead. They even have one of his arm/branches snap afterward.

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Lily: “Wow! Hehe, what an exit!” You just took a life.

With Winterbolt out of the way, the storm clears, allowing Santa and Mrs. Claus to safely fly again and head to the circus.

But also the other obvious thing happens – Frosty and his family melt because the amulets worked off of Winterbolt’s magic and he’s dead now.

Good job, Lily.

When will your murder spree end?!

Rudolph: “Gee whiz….”

Old phrases really seem goofy sometimes. “Well, gosh, it sure is awful that two adults and two children just died horrifically and now we’re gazing upon their liquified remains. Golly gee.”

Seriously, it was bad enough to see Frosty as a lifeless snowman or to see his or Crystal’s puddles with their hat and hair on top, but it’s borderline morbid to see Chilly and Milly’s puddles with their hat and bow on top.

Rudolph: “When Frosty melts, nothing can help except a magic December wind to help him, and this is July!”

Hold up. When did the qualifier of ‘December’ wind get squeaked in there? I thought it was just any cold temperature on his magic snow body.

Big Ben arrives with a special guest, Jack Frost, who was hanging out in South America where winter goes during the summer months of the Northern Hemisphere. Jack Frost resurrects Frosty and his family with his frigid breath right as Santa arrives to pick them up. Jack Frost joins them in order to keep the snowpeople family cool during their trip.

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Rudolph has to stay behind to help with the shows until the circus is out of debt (I could swear this started out as a ‘one show to save us’ type deal, but okay) but Santa says he’ll be back soon because he gave some of his magic feed corn to Lily to allow her animals to fly, so she’ll be sure to drum up a lot of business quickly.

What happens when she runs out, though? How long do the effects of that stuff last?

We close out on the entire flying circus being lead by Rudolph flying around as Santa, Frosty and the others depart.

Milton and Lanie seem to be poised to be wed once more, and everyone lives happily ever….well, we never learn what happened to Scratcher. He could be trapped in Winterbolt’s cave lair for all eternity…..Happily ever after! The end.

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Well…..that was a mess. Nothing made me angry or anything, but I did get incredibly confused along the way. So much of the story just seemed completely pointless and like they were overcomplicating what should have been a very easy plan.

I don’t much care for the fact that they basically confirmed that the stakes in this movie were fake by having Frosty and his family melt in the end even after Winterbolt died just to go ‘Oh we can bring them back!’ Even if Jack Frost didn’t make a cameo, they could have just scooped up the water in the puddles and taken it back to the North Pole or South America/some other location experiencing winter at the time, if that was necessary.

The aspect of Rudolph’s nose light being extinguished also made no sense. It didn’t follow any of the rules Lady Boreal set for the power. It went away for no reason and came back when it should have been gone forever if it did get taken away.

It’s a shame because Winterbolt is a fairly good villain. He has strong presence, a decent, but possibly mostly recycled, design, and I love all of his snow creatures and his genie, but he’s just kinda dumb. He’s all-powerful being who had a firm grip on the entire North Pole for hundreds or thousands of years. He was so powerful that an Aurora Borealis demi-god had to expend most of her power just keeping him asleep for however long.

Yet he had to jump through so many hoops simply to get a reindeer out of the way.

And he was felled because a circus owner threw guns at him.

Not to mention that this comes at the expense of kinda ruining Rudolph’s backstory. So now instead of him having this glowing red nose on complete random circumstance, he was given this light as a sort of destiny thing to defeat Winterbolt when he made his attack on Christmas. And she had to make it super secret for literally no reason, leaving Rudolph open to ridicule for years and putting Santa in danger. All she needed to do was tell Santa about the upcoming storm, explain that she put her power in a reindeer’s sinuses and that, as long as he stays there and happy, everything will be cool.

But no.

This movie feels like it has no direction. Half the time it’s Winterbolt and his already ridiculous plan, and the rest is filled with random love songs and stuff that is cool to look at usually but isn’t contributing much to the story.

If you just want a dose of Rudolph and Frosty for Christmas or…Summer, I guess, then this will do fine. There are numerous sweet, funny and heartwarming moments scattered throughout. But, as a whole, and even just compared to the other Rankin/Bass specials, this isn’t anything to write home about at best and is pretty frustratingly nonsensical at worst. I give a lot of leeway to Rankin/Bass specials in terms of logic, but this went pretty damn far.


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