Episode One-Derland (Cartoons): Slugterra

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Plot: Will Shane is a respected man of justice in the world of Slugterra – a world miles beneath the surface where people battle using slugs with various powers. While combating the evil Dr. Blakk, he is met with Blakk’s newest creation – corrupted slugs. One of them opens up an interdimensional void that sucks Will up, but not before he sends his faithful slug, Burpy to the surface world to notify his teenage son, Eli, of his fate. After Eli learns of his father’s fall, he follows the instructions on a letter he left behind to finally go to Slugterra and earn his rightful place as a shane, if he wishes it and only when he turns 15.

On his 15th birthday, Eli heads down to Slugterra and follows his father’s directions to find a place to live, a mode of transportation and some starter gear. However, he’s aggravated when he learns that Slugterra has been taken over by thugs in the years of the shane’s absence. Since Eli has no formal training and only one slug, he is quickly tossed aside when he tries to enforce law and order.

In order to help him out, a seeming burglar of his father’s hideout, Pronto, tells him to earn respect and training by winning a local tournament. Eli is pumped to finally start fighting, but since he’s just starting out can he even win a qualifier?

Breakdown: Okay, I really need to start paying more attention to Disney XD because they seem to get way better shows that whatever they sling on cable.

Slugterra didn’t look like much to me when I first glanced at it, but I was surprisingly intrigued by this show….they shoot animals out of guns at each other and they transform in mid-air into awesome monsters! Out of context, that’s seemingly a hair below animal abuse, but it’s actually really cool!

In just our starter episode, part one no less, we are introduced to all sorts of interesting slugs, creatures and characters that get you amped up to see more.

I even enjoyed the cel-shaded CGI animation and art, and that’s very rare for me because I have a really hard time enjoying CGI cartoons.

I do have some bones to pick, though.

First, the pacing is kinda break-neck. We go from Will’s battle to his fall to Eli learning of his fall to him being 15 and going to Slugterra in just a handful of minutes. I think we could’ve made this a bit smoother considering this is indeed a part one.

Second, Eli’s response to his dad ‘falling’ (IE Dying) is uh…less than emotional. I swear, he looks sad for about a second then gets pumped when he learns of the letter his dad left, instructing him on how to start his shane training and how to get to Slugterra. It’s really offputting. The families of soldiers and law enforcement officers are also prepared for something bad to happen to their loved ones, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have an expected emotional response to it happening. Especially when Will seemed like a single dad.

This lack of emotional response is even more offputting when he gets to Slugterra and has the gall to complain about the vehicle his dad left him. Gee thanks dead dad for leaving me full instructions on how to get to this awesome fantasy world and leaving me a place to live, new clothes, a blaster, a powerful slug etc etc. But this vehicle’s a hunk of junk. Pft.

It’s somehow even worse when it’s revealed that the vehicle in the hideout wasn’t even the one he was talking about and Eli’s real ride is super cool. You don’t deserve a cool ride when you’re a spoiled brat.

Third, for seemingly being the hotshot of the tournament, Shockwire’s battle with Eli was kinda lame. If it’s so well know that his slugs can misfire when they’re overworked, surely this crowd favorite would know about it and not shoot off his slugs willy-nilly. And after one hit by Burpy he surrenders? Come on, dude.

I do commend Eli for asking which of Shockwire’s slugs wanted to go with him instead of just taking one. That shows a level of respect for both the slugs and the world that no one seems to have.

Finally, I hate to say it, but the overall plot is cliché city. From the dead dad to the upstart son to the evil bad guy of badness who is named, of all damn things, Dr. Blakk, and the corruption that puts the world at risk. I’ve seen more creativity on the nutritional value chart on my multivitamins.

Overall, however, this is a very fun and engrossing show that I will be glad to continue. Sadly, this show seems to be in limbo because no new episodes have been made since October 2016.

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I hope to God this show didn’t get canceled on some horrible incident involving a small child, a gun and literal slugs. I don’t know what would happen in the solution to that equation, but I imagine something terrible….and slimy.

Pixar’s Lamp: Toy Story

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Rating: 9.5/10

Plot: In a world where toys are alive, yet pretend to be inanimate around humans, a boy named Andy’s favorite toy, a cowboy named Woody, feels threatened by the presence of a new toy, a space ranger toy called Buzz Lightyear. Andy slowly starts playing with Buzz more than Woody, and in his jealousy Woody accidentally causes Buzz to fall out the window. When Woody ends up getting lost as well, he and Buzz have to work together to make it back home and back to Andy.

Breakdown: It’s Pixar’s turn with their first baby; Toy Story and I LOVE TOY STORYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!

*cough* Sorry.

It’s one of my favorite movies ever. I’ve become fairly good at removing my nostalgia goggles when it comes to things that I used to love when I was a kid, but Toy Story holds up extremely well as still being entertaining, fun, funny, heartwarming and exciting. Best of all, it’s a movie that parents and kids can enjoy together; not a movie that you turn on just to humor your kids.

The characters are all unique and lovable. They all implement various parts of their designs into their own specific brands of humor. Even the minor toys get their own little times to shine and be memorable. Woody and Buzz in particular have great chemistry both as enemies and friends. They bounce off of each other with plenty of entertaining banter and they are really a joy to watch.

The story is fairly unique and never becomes boring or cliché (Also I never knew Joss Whedon worked on this.) Jealousy’s not really a new thing, but they implement it in a way that doesn’t come off as tired.

Love or hate Randy Newman, I love his songs here. He was perfect to do the music for this movie.

Art and animation wise, the designs are unique and memorable. The animation is believable and really brings the toys to life in more ways than one. I will say that the animation, usually involving the human characters and Scud (whose eyes are just weird), is sometimes not quite as polished as what we’ve come to enjoy from Pixar movies today, but this is hardly noticeable and nothing major. Besides, they were just starting out here anyway.

……Oh wait, no. I can never forgive the nightmare fuel that is Molly. *shudder*

It even does product placement right. It puts a bunch of existing toy brands with allusions to real brands with toys made specifically for the movie and manages to market all of them. I still, to this day, wish I had gotten that creepy baby doll robot spider from Sid’s room. That kid may have been a serial killer in the making, but that toy was cool. (Seriously, his parents just let him buy rockets, play with matches, blow up his toys and get an ‘I ❤ explosives’ bumper sticker on the wall and don’t suspect a thing?) I did have a big Buzz Lightyear toy that I actually still have in my closet somewhere with his rocket (non-cardboard version).

This movie stands up really well and never ceases to be entertaining and heartwarming to me. It is a very fitting opening to Pixar’s prestigious career.

Recommended Audience: There’s toy violence when it comes to Sid as he really likes torturing and blowing up his toys through various means. The final scene with Sid would also be insanely frightening if shown without context in any other movie. But eh, come on. 5+

Cardcaptor Sakura Episode 8 Sub/Dub Comparison

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Card(s) of the day:

Thunder – A dangerous card with the power of lightning, Thunder’s main weakness is Shadow.

Plot: A new boy transfers into Sakura’s school/class named Syaoran Li and he seems to have some vendetta against Sakura from the moment he lays eyes on her. When he reveals himself to be from a family that has a strong connection to the clow cards and demands the cards that she has in her possession, things get all the more complicated. The situation is made even worse when the Thunder card appears and Syaoran shows up during battle. Will Syaoran prove to be a problem or a useful ally?

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Nitpick? The tower in Sakura’s dream is Tokyo tower. In the dub, they just call it ‘a tower’.

In the original, Kero tells Sakura that because she has magical powers now that the dream she’s been having could be a foretelling dream and that she might meet the boy in Chinese clothes very soon. In the dub, Kero basically tells her that she needs to find the clow cards….in a very confusing way. I dunno what they were going for there.

A panning shot of the outside of the house is removed, but the actual shot of the house is kept.

Hey who wants another girly pop song? Me either, let’s move on.

In the original, Toya tells Sakura that she was slow getting out of the house because she ate too much breakfast. In the dub, he says she’s late because she spends all her time in her room talking to herself.

Two shots of Yukito are removed. One from so far away that you can barely see him and another shot of him under the tree.

Tori harps on Sakura talking to herself/her toys, unlike the sub which mocks her for making noises ‘like a monster’ while having a bad dream.

In the original, Yukito’s foretelling dream was that he’d have roasted fish for breakfast, which he did, and was so amazed by it that he had six extra bowls of rice. That’s too Japanese, so let’s make it French toast!

Hey now, I believe we’ve had quite enough of Yukito in this episode. In the original, Tomoyo tells Sakura that she’s in a good mood today and Sakura tells him it’s because she spent the ride over to school with Yukito. In addition, he gave her another candy just like the one from the first episode. We then see a shot of him throwing the candy to her as he rides away. Then Tomoyo says that he always has food on him. In the dub, we have a completely pointless conversation talking about Madison’s new digital camcorder and all the features on it. The candy, the flashback and any mention in the slightest of Julian is no more.

Visuals:

A shot of the teacher catching a glance to Rika, one of Sakura’s friends, and then coughing as she smiles at him is cut out.

Name…change/mispronunciation? Syaoran Li is changed to Li/Lee Showron. I had to look it up to see if they were just outright mispronouncing it or if they actually changed it and that is the correct spelling for the dub; Showron.

Well, this is just a dumb paint edit. In the original, the teacher writes Syaoran’s name on the chalkboard. Nelvana digitally paints this away, but it’s incredibly obvious that the teacher was just writing something on the board. Is it invisible chalk, Nelvana, or did you forget how to write?

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A scene of the middle of class with Sakura trembling in worry from Syaoran is edited out.

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A scene where Syaoran stops Sakura in the stairway to bring her outside to talk to her is edited out, which makes the sudden jarring transition to them talking in private…sudden and jarring.

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The chant to use the Chinese compass is too long to explain exactly what was changed, but it was changed somewhat. Much in the same way Sakura’s chants get changed. Also, they removed all of the glowing Chinese text from the scene which makes it, dunanana SUPER BORING. Also, I’m gonna say this is a moment where they’re kinda missing the forest for the trees. That compass could not be more covered in Chinese markings, yet they HAD to paint away the glowing Chinese characters from this scene.

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Dubbed: CCSSDCEP8SCREEN10

In the original, Sakura tells Syaoran that Kero doesn’t have the power to become his true form anymore. Syaoran tells her that Keroberos uses the symbol for ‘sun’ in his name, meaning that the powers of Fire and Earth will restore his abilities. However, Sakura tells him that she doesn’t have those.

Later, she explains that she’s been collecting the cards since April and he mocks her for not having collected them all yet….To be honest, he has a point. She’s not so much ‘looking’ for clow cards so much as dealing with them when they appear.

Toya originally states that the stance Syaoran’s taking is one he’s unfamiliar with. Then he theorizes that it’s a form of Chinese Martial arts. In the dub, he just threatens Li.

Originally, Yuki mentioned he had Nikuman as well as pizza bread and curry bread. In the dub, there’s no mention of what the food is. They show shots of it, though, so I guess kids are just supposed to think they’re bread or something.

They cut out a shot of a blush appearing on Syaoran’s face before he runs off.

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A scene of Sakura with a cartoony confused face wondering what just happened is also edited out.

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Semi-long scene time; in the original, Rika parts ways with Tomoyo and Sakura, then Sakura points out that her house isn’t in that direction. Tomoyo says Rika’s off to buy a gift for someone that she likes and apparently this guy is older than her. She then tells Sakura that she should take that kind of initiative with her crush.

This is edited out because yet another instance of a girl having a crush on an older guy. I realize this is ‘worse’ seeing as how the guy in question is her teacher and has to be like at least mid-20’s early 30’s instead of Yukito’s likely 15-16 years old, but it can’t be uncommon. I can’t say I’ve been in that situation myself. 99% of my teachers were female and the only two male teachers I had were not exactly crush worthy, but I imagine it happens all the time. Also, isn’t a fairly common sitcom plotline where the young boys have a crush on their super hot substitute teacher or something? Unless the teacher felt the same way, in which case, edit away, Nelvana!

Visuals:

In the original, Sakura says she’s tried to call Kero to talk about Li as he’s usually in a good mood when he first gets up, but he’s probably asleep. He won’t answer the phone and he’s known to not wake up for anything until he’s ready to wake up. In the dub, they make a joke out of this. They have Sakura say that Kero’s probably planning their next move now, but then we cut to him sleeping by the phone.

In the original, Kero states that Syaoran Li is likely a member of the Li clan, which is stemmed from the creator of the clow cards, Clow Reed. He was born of a Chinese mother and British father, thus the clow cards are somewhat of a mix between western and eastern magics. This is apparent in the fact that the magic circles on the cards contain both English and Chinese characters. (This bit is shown when the clow circle is shown behind Sakura.) Reed’s mother was part of the Li clan, so, in a way, Syaoran’s probably a very distant relative of Clow Reed.

In the dub, Kero basically repeats the same dumb catchphrase “Expect the unexpected” and says to forget about silly schoolyard rumbles and that the real thing to focus on is collecting the clow cards. This entire episode Kero’s being nothing but a broken record about collecting the clow cards. It’s freakin’ annoying. The circle appears behind Sakura in the dub simply because they’re discussing the clow cards, and the possibility that Li’s a descendant of Clow Reed isn’t brought up until the end of the conversation. None of the stuff about him being born of a British Father and a Chinese mother as well as the stuff about the magic being a mix between Chinese and English characteristics is kept.

They cut out a line exchange where Sakura asks why the outfit of the day has a cat theme and Tomoyo says because it’s cute, switching it to just talking about the lightning-resistant material it’s made out of.

Another small line about the compass being left to Clow Reed’s mother, thus it being a family heirloom is removed.

During one of the shots when Kero’s getting angry, he says that he’s been in Western Japan long enough to know that he can forgive being called an idiot, but not a moron. This is changed to just telling the two to stop arguing.

Dub Sakura: “Shadow! Release and Dispel! Return to your power confined!” Uh, Sakura, you’re catching Thunder not Shadow…you already caught that card remember?

Well, this is weird, the Shadow and Thunder cards are digitally manipulated to look more painted, I suppose. Forgive the crappy quality here.

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Dubbed: CCSSDCEP8SCREEN18

Leave it to Kero! Kero’s Corner:

Because of a line change in Kero’s corner, a certain shot makes no sense. In the original, Kero states that the cat ears on Sakura’s costume for that week were cute, but then we see a shot of Kero’s ear and he says ‘not as cute as mine, huh?’ In the dub, he’s basically jabbering about high tech whatnot and no explanation as to why there’s a shot of him in there is given.

Next episode, Sword’s debut. A shopping trip to get some broaches leads Sakura’s friend Rika to the Sword card disguised as a broach. It takes over her mind and wreaks havoc. Will Sakura have to fight her friend to seal Sword?

Pokemon Episode 28 Analysis: Pokemon Fashion Flash

Pokemon Episode 28 title

CotD: Suzy – One of the brightest rising stars in the breeding world, Suzy believes in nurturing a Pokemon’s inner beauty above all else. Brock is her biggest fan and aspires to be her pupil. Suzy loaned Brock her beloved Vulpix, which, in turn, became his most precious Pokemon.

Reappear?: Yes. After over 100 episodes and well into the Johto saga, Brock finally comes across Suzy again.

Pokemon: Suzy’s not a Pokemon trainer, but she has a seemingly high level Vulpix that is her best friend. Vulpix does not take kindly to strangers picking it up, but is a very kinda, well-behaved and gentle Pokemon.

Captures?: Not technically a capture, but went on for so long that it may as well have been, Suzy loans Vulpix to Brock for a while. Vulpix becomes Brock’s trademark Pokemon for several years until he finally returns it in Johto.

Plot: Brock has taken Misty and Ash down a street in Celadon City called Scissor Street or Breeder’s Lane. It is an area chock-full with everything a breeder could ever want or need. It’s saturated in breeder salons and supply stores and breeders from all over go there to stay up to date on the latest trends and fashions.

One of the newest hot spots for Pokemon fashion is Salon Roquet. While many people are flocking to their doors, including Misty, their fashions are less than well-received by Ash, Brock and many of the Pokemon getting the makeovers since they’re being overloaded with baubles, bows, weird hair designs, clothes and gaudy add-ons.

Turns out, Team Rocket is behind the business, looking to make themselves rich off of this venture.

Brock finds the shop he’s been looking for – a rather modest salon run by a beautiful woman named Suzy, who is a very talented and acclaimed breeder. While Misty gazes in awe at Suzy’s Vulpix, Brock fumbles over himself trying to introduce himself to her. He shocks everyone when he suddenly asks Suzy if she’ll take him on as her pupil.

Suzy is forced to decline his request since she’s far too busy with breeding to take on pupils, but commends him greatly for developing Pokemon food that her Vulpis will eat since it usually won’t eat any food not prepared by her.

They start discussing the newest fashion trends and Suzy states that she doesn’t like how the focus is now on improving a Pokemon’s outer beauty more than their inner beauty. She believes a Pokemon’s true strength comes from inside and that a breeder is meant to bring out that inner beauty, not focus on superfluous fashions. Misty disagrees and states that some Pokemon would probably like to get dressed up, but Ash argues with her stating that those fashions are stupid and it’s what’s inside that matters most.

Misty becomes enraged and decides to go to salon to makeover her Psyduck.

In order to combat the more vain views of Salon Roquet, Brock comes up with the idea of Suzy doing a public lecture on the benefits and techniques of Pokemon care, specifically massage. It’s a huge hit and people flock to her salon, even draining the customers at Salon Roquet.

Misty stands as their lone customer and Team Rocket takes this opportunity to kidnap her and grill her for info on how to steal Pikachu. She believes Psyduck has abandoned her, but it’s actually gone to Suzy’s salon in a panic to get Ash’s help.

When Ash and the others arrive, Team Rocket reveals that they were using the salon as a cover for a plan where they’d steal any rare Pokemon that came into the shop, though they never actually did that. They offer Misty in exchange for Pikachu, but he won’t hand him over. Team Rocket starts the battle by sending out their dressed up Ekans and Koffing. Ash sends out Pikachu, fully charged from being massaged at Suzy’s salon, and Brock sends out Geodude.

Geodude uses Seismic Toss on Ekans, but it saves itself by coiling up and rolling into Pikachu. Pikachu is able to also save itself and Thundershocks Ekans and Koffing. However, the attack is ineffective as they spin around in circles to avoid the electricity.

Koffing uses Sludge on both Geodude and Pikachu, blinding them. As they’re about to finish them off, Koffing and Ekans both fall over due to the clunkiness of their costumes.

As Meowth joins up, they try once again to finish it, but Suzy and Vulpix intervene. In an effort to teach them the true beauty within a Pokemon instead of focusing on their appearance, she commands Vulpix to use Fire Spin and blasts them off.

Brock explains to the audience that outer beauty masks a Pokemon’s inner strength, which is what truly needs to be nurtured, causing them to shed the various clothes, accessories and makeup of their Pokemon.

Later, Suzy explains that she realized she still has much to learn in the world of breeding, no matter how many awards she’s gotten for it. She decides to close down her shop and go on a journey to learn more. Impressed by Brock’s attitude and skills, she decides to let Brock raise Vulpix for a while. Brock happily accepts and they part ways.

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– As you can guess, this was another episode I had on VHS and it was probably the episode that got the most mileage because 1) Brock’s being hilariously adork-able in this episode and 2) FREAKIN’ VULPIX, PEOPLE! WHOO! Vulpix was and still remains as one of my favorite Pokemon of all time. Fire types are my favorite Pokemon type, foxes are my favorite animal, and it’s Vulpix! It’s so cute my brain short circuits when it’s on screen.

– They’re still using the Pokemon logo when they say ‘Pokemon’ in the titles? Geez how long does this go on for? It’s way surpassing my original estimation.

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A healthy dose of brief AAML for the nostalgic old people like me.

– There are some weird disconnects in this episode, in my opinion. First, it’s always been weird to me in the first place that raising and caring for Pokemon has been known as Pokemon breeding. I mean….supposedly having a pure lineage is important in judging real-life animals such as dogs and horses, even if there’s evidence to suggest that pure-breeds actually have more physical problems than mutts, but that has nothing to do with Pokemon breeding.

The one thing that never seems to be brought up when talking about breeding is…well…breeding. It’s mostly developing Pokemon diets and health programs to keep them in the best condition that they can possibly be while also sometimes learning and giving medical care and grooming. I just feel like they should’ve given it a much more fitting name like….Pokemon…Health…Person….Okay, that’s awful. But still, there has to be a more fitting name for this practice than ‘breeder’.

Second, grooming seems to be a very small aspect of Pokemon breeding, and fashion seems to be no real part of it. It’s all about focusing on a Pokemon’s physical, mental and emotional health as well as their happiness. I know that this is the point of this episode, but there’s nothing technically wrong with what Team Rocket is doing here. If people like to dress up their Pokemon, as long as it’s not harming them or making them unhappy, then have at it.

Their biggest mistake here is putting their business under the cloak of breeding superiority. If they had just staked a claim as being Pokemon fashionistas or something, Team Rocket would actually have a legitimately successful business that Ash and the others wouldn’t have to take down in a ‘breeding’s not about goofy fashions’ debate.

– I don’t understand how James even performed any ‘hairstyling’ on a Dodrio….it’s a bird….it has feathers

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– I do like the visual gag about James and Jessie having roses taped to their back.

– I will never tire of that scene where Brock slams his head on the table trying to thank Vulpix for eating his food.

– Ash: “I don’t like it either. It’s pretty stupid to waste your time showing off.” Because you never show off, right, Ash? You humble bumblebee, you.

– Also is anyone else getting deja vu? This whole ‘inside vs. outside’ debate seems an awful lot like the ‘perfume vs. anti-perfume’ argument they had merely two episodes prior. In fact, given Gloom’s mini-lesson, it is the exact same moral.

– This whole debate loses a bit of its spark when you consider that Suzy’s business is not in danger at all. She said herself that she’s incredibly busy with breeding, so this new trend can’t be affecting her customer base very much. Why would it anyway? Team Rocket is just putting makeup and baubles on Pokemon. They still need somewhere to go for Pokemon nutrition, massage, etc.

– Substance with style is just giving a lecture on Pokemon care and a demonstration of a Pokemon massage? And it’s so popular that Team Rocket’s shop is empty because of it. Certainly if Breeder’s Lane is filled with breeders, they probably know all this stuff, right?

– It was very important for Ash to learn this lesson on Pokemon massage. I’m sure he’ll utilize it in the imaginary future where Ash retains things he’s learned.

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A ticklish Pikachu is an adorable Pikachu.

– I actually like it when Team Rocket gets excited and passionate about jobs that aren’t criminal. Sure, these designs and fashions are gaudy and ridiculous, but they have their moments where they’re legitimately happy making an honest buck. I kinda wish they’d just quit Team Rocket and do that.

– On first glance, before she gets that crap on her face, Misty actually doesn’t look that bad in Team Rocket’s makeover. I’d lose the clips in her bangs and some of the added baubles, but she actually looks fairly decent.

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Also, another note of deja vu, Team Rocket making over a member of Ash and Co. seeing as how they did that same thing two episodes ago.

– Team Rocket was wearing their uniforms under their clothes?….why?

– This episode really does have some great comedic moments.

– Suzy: “Beauty research? Can’t you understand that it’s the beauty inside that counts? Each Pokemon is beautiful, we just have to help the Pokemon discover it.”

First of all….they were talking about Misty, not Pokemon.

Second, they never said what’s inside doesn’t count or that it wasn’t most important, even if that is what they think.

Third, beauty research is a thing, even if what they’re doing here is just flatout g-rated ‘torture’.

Fourth, the fashion and beauty industry is also still a thing. I also don’t put much stock in fancy hairstyles, clothes, jewelry and baubles, I’m more of a wash, dry and go type of girl, but I can see the allure in wanting to spiffy yourself up. There’s nothing wrong with it, unless it’s causing some form of harm to you or others.

Again, Team Rocket would’ve been much better off if they stayed away from the breeding label, but they kinda backed themselves into a corner anyway with tying a ten year old girl to a chair and ‘torturing’ her for info…in the lobby of their shop….with their glass doors and giant window….and the door wide open.

– Okay, so Team Rocket wasn’t really being completely legitimate here. Their salon was a front for criminal activities….but their plan was insanely stupid. They were basically planning on luring trainers to the salon, being legit for the most part, and, if or when a person with a rare Pokemon showed up, they would distract the trainer and steal it…..that’s it…..Uh, I do believe the trainer would wonder where the hell their Pokemon was after a while. Would you just steal one Pokemon and then close up shop and book it to avoid the trainer calling the cops?

And there were plenty of good Pokemon ripe for the stealing coming into this place. Two Squirtle, a Bulbasaur (starters are technically rare), Dodrio and even a Raichu, the evolved form of the Pokemon they keep drooling after, yet not a one stolen. This has to be the first time Team Rocket’s plans have failed because they were seemingly too lazy to go through with the main step of it.

– Ekans and Koffing are doing surprisingly well in this match…..Are they really claiming this is because of the costumes? Because that’s kinda dumb. I just don’t see any other reason for this sudden surge in skill.

Also, if they had the ability to dodge/refract electricity by spinning in circles why have they never done it before or done it since?

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Aww, Geodude’s hugging Ekans.

– Remember what I said about Team Rocket sometimes going surprisingly dark?

Jessie: “We’ll give Vulpix a makeover when we get rid of its tails!” Team Rocket wants to amputate Vulpix’s tails…..Holy. Shit.

– I agree with Misty, why the hell are you allowing her to get caught up in the Fire Spin, Suzy?….Is…it because she was interested in the Pokemon makeover and found merit in outer beauty, so the writers decided to punish her? Seriously? Geez, guys, there’s no gray area with you is there?

– Brock: “Did you see that? A cute exterior hides inner strength. That’s the Pokemon’s true personality!”

Okay, Brock, let’s play another game of ‘overanalyze a stupid thing said to overemphasize the incredibly obvious moral of the episode, which, ironically, screws up the whole moral.’

First of all, “A cute exterior hides inner strength”? What? Are you saying cute people and Pokemon are, by default, hiding their inner strength and beauty just because they happen to match society’s views on physical beauty? Like anyone who is attractive doesn’t show or have a real personality? What kind of stupid idea is that? Beautiful people and Pokemon can be assholes just as much as they can have wonderful personalities and the same goes for traditionally ugly or unappealing people and Pokemon.

Or is he saying that trying to change outer appearances with fashion and makeup is wrong because you’re hiding your ‘true’ self from the world? I guess that one might make a bit more sense, but just because you put on something physical does not hide what’s inside, at least not as long as you don’t change your personality when you dress up.

Second, Brock, did your opinions drastically change since Pokemon Scent-Sation? If you want to get technical, perfume is also something people use to make themselves seem more appealing. It’s not something visible, but it is a physical item people use to cover up their natural smell in lieu of something ‘prettier’. Hell, in Erika’s little ‘P-E-R-F-U-M-E’ rant, she specifically says the P is for pretty.

Third, now that I’m thinking about it, how ironic is it that Brock of all people is saying focusing on outer beauty isn’t important when he drools after every pretty girl he sees? Has he ever gone after a girl who was traditionally unattractive?

Fourth, he’s referring to Vulpix taking down Team Rocket with Fire Spin as he says this…..which basically makes the whole moral extremely confused. Yes, outer beauty is unimportant and cuteness masks a Pokemon’s true inner strength…..he says referring to one of the cutest Pokemon in existence that is world-renowned for its beauty, including Pokedex entries that specifically refer to its tails as beautiful and gorgeous, and evolves into something that is arguably even more beautiful and elegant?

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Finally, what the hell does focusing on personality have to do with using Fire Spin? Your Pokemon can have the best personality in the world and still have crappy attacks. Just like you can dress up your Pokemon and they can still do well in battle, like Ekans and Koffing just demonstrated, despite the fall. That has to do with training. Unless you’re saying Suzy massaged her Vulpix into level 42. In which case, screw the dangerous battles. Just prepare for the Pokemon league with a massage marathon.

If you wanted this message to fly at all, you should’ve used a Pokemon that is not usually noted for its cuteness or beauty. Try this episode with a Muk or a Paras or a…Gloom maybe. And make the ‘inner strength’ point of note a triumph of self-confidence instead of a Pokemon attack.

– While I disagree with Misty getting Fire Spun, she deserved it after the fact for yelling at Psyduck for seemingly running away and not helping her when he immediately and, without command, went for help. She’s known Psyduck all of a day and has only insulted the poor thing the whole time, yet it still rushed to her rescue without question. What a bitch.

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– Suzy: “and Brock I was very impressed with how you handled your Pokemon in a crisis like that.”

Like….what? He called out Geodude, commanded a Seismic Toss, it technically failed and then Geodude was disabled with Sludge blinding it for the rest of the match.

– Suzy: “I want you to continue your journey too, Brock. From now on, we’re rivals.” There are rivals in Pokemon breeding? Is that like being a competitive veterinarian?

– I don’t really see why Suzy has seen enough of Brock’s skills as a breeder to believe he’s competent enough to care for her beloved Vulpix, especially, as she stated, better than she could. Also, she’s known Brock all of a few hours, if that, yet she trusts him enough to give over her Vulpix?

– How did Brock capture Vulpix in his empty Pokeball when it’s still technically owned by Suzy? Couldn’t Suzy have just handed over Vulpix’s Pokeball to Brock?

– So now Suzy has no Pokemon to practice her breeding skills on. I’m sure that will be real helpful to your quest to improve your skills, Suzy. Actually, this wouldn’t be a huge issue if she was staying at her salon, but she’s closing up shop and going on a journey, so pbt.

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I couldn’t not include this shot.

– James: “Now we need a total makeover – so no one we ripped off will recognize us!” Uh, who’d you rip-off? You offered a service, you provided what was expected, they paid the price you advertised….They’re not entitled to refunds just because ‘doy we realized it’s what’s inside that counts!’

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I still love this episode, but I will admit I noticed quite a few more glaring flaws in the plot and lesson than I did when I was younger. I’m surprised I actually got ranty near the end. I feel like, given Pokemon Scent-Sation, they should’ve went a different route with this whole episode in regards to the moral because 1) it just does not fit well with Vulpix being the focal point, 2) they seem to demonize outer beauty, natural or otherwise, in their efforts to emphasize inner strength, and 3) they go even further with the ‘outer beauty is bad’ stuff by making the fashion trends as gaudy and ugly as humanly possible.

Gloom, on the other hand, was a Pokemon who, by all intents and purposes, was as unappealing as possible. It’s not really physically cute, it even drools, and it’s noted for its horrible stench. It’s evo is smack between a Pokemon that is pretty cute and a Pokemon who is a little cute and a little beautiful. Yet it’s noted for its great personality in saving Erika and keeping its stench in check around those it trusts. There’s also something poetic about a notably perpetually stinky Pokemon creating wonderful perfumes from its own extract.

I do like Suzy as a character quite a bit, and the comedy in this episode is spot-on, but I can’t help but say the quality is very tarnished by how poorly conceived this episode was as a whole.

Well, maybe next episode will be more relaxing and fun. What is next anyway?

Next episode

..Dammit!

SnSBS – Medabots Episode 2

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Plot: Ikki is a psuedo-celebrity in school after his robattle victory over the bandits. However, he cannot gain the respect of or authority over Metabee. After a lot of fighting, Ikki decides he’s had enough with his ‘defective’ Medabot, but requires his assistance when the student council calls on him to help them beat the Screws and get their meeting room back.

Medabot Debuts:

Totalizer: A TOT type Medabot, Totalizer’s design is based off a turtle. However, not much is known about it’s battle capability since it’s never seen fighting in the anime. However, its technical specs claim that it has speedy firing capability. One can assume, like the turtle its based on, that Totalizer has great defense.

Banisher: A BAN type, Banisher’s design is based heavily on bancho, like its Medafighter, but it’s extremely fragile. Banisher’s model is unique in that it has no ability to attack first. It must be a counterattack. Not that it ever gets a chance to do such a thing.

Battles:

Ikki vs. Samantha: Winner – Ikki: Peppercat loses right arm to Metabee.

Ikki vs. Baron von Banish: Winner – Ikki: Banisher loses legs to Metabee.

Breakdown: Today’s episode starts with Ikki being egotistical and a complete asshole. Swell. Ikki is high off of his victory from the last episode and becomes full of himself. However, Metabee is refusing to take orders from him, and well he should.

I may not be Metabee’s biggest fan, but Ikki is acting like a complete asswad to Metabee. He’s furious that Metabee is sitting at the table reading the paper because he shouldn’t be doing anything that he doesn’t command. And when he takes out the trash, possibly freeing Ikki from the chore, he’s outraged that Metabee will follow his mother’s directive without issue but not his. Metabee even gives a good argument as to why he’s obeying Ikki’s mom – because she’s providing him with free room and board and he believes he owes it to her.

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To make his rage even more apparent, he tells Metabee to throw himself out in the trash when he’s done. How nice. Don’t talk with him or try to understand why he’s not obeying you – Just keep insulting and yelling at him for doing innocent things and helping out. Keep in mind, Metabee is disobeying him in the most polite way possible. I know he’s been disobeying him since the start, but even that was due to Ikki screaming at him and insulting him.

You’re really going to make me do something I usually don’t do – Praise Ash Ketchum. When Ash was first starting out as a Pokemon trainer, his origins were much like that of Ikki’s. He really wanted a Pokemon but hadn’t been able to acquire one until the first episode. His partner (Also yellow, coincidentally) completely disobeyed him as well. However, whereas Metabee disobeys Ikki because Ikki’s a twat, Pikachu disobeyed Ash because he thought he was an idiot and didn’t want to follow a human’s command.

Ash tried to talk with Pikachu and gave in to some of Pikachu’s more demanding quirks like not getting into his Pokeball and shocking people with little provocation. Despite it being the only way to keep him under decent control, he also quickly conceded on using rubber gloves and leading Pikachu by a rope since it was more respectful of Pikachu. He did try to be a commanding trainer a bit, but it was smoke and mirrors and he wasn’t being an ass about it.

Ash did eventually get fed up with the situation and started trying to do things on his own that would require a Pokemon’s assistance, like trying to capture a Pidgey. However, while he was being a bit silly and misguided, it was at least understandable that he was brought to this point. People don’t like to acknowledge it, but early Pikachu was an ass. Dealing with such a Pokemon on your first time out is plenty to get frustrated over. And he did need to get his journey up and running. If his Pokemon won’t cooperate for the time being, he has to do something to try and further himself, even if it is silly.

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Now imagine if Pikachu was cooperative and pretty chill. It had some issues in battle, but nothing it couldn’t get around. It was helpful and liked to just hang out. Would Ash’s frustration and subsequent reactions make sense in that scenario?

Now imagine if Pikachu acted that way and instead of just getting fed up and trying to do things himself, he constantly yelled at Pikachu and called him a rat who deserved to be thrown in the garbage. You’d probably think Ash was a huge bag of dicks.

Another thing to keep in mind here is that Ikki is lucky he even has a Medabot at all, like Ash was lucky he even got Pikachu since he slept in and all of the main starters were taken. This was also a theme in another shounen anime, Megaman NT Warrior. Kid without super cool cyber being gets cool cyber being and ends up being completely ungrateful for a time, even saying he wanted to send it back, because it wasn’t quite the way he wanted it, even though Megaman was completely cool and powerful. Ikki, however, is by far the worst example here since he’s an amalgamation of all of the examples and amplified.

Ikki heads to school and tells Metabee to stop following him since Medabots aren’t allowed in school….say what? The very first scene of the first episode was a Medabot battle taking place in school – and with the student council president no less. Since when are Medabots not allowed in school at all?

After some more bitching and moaning, he runs into Henry and bitches and moans that the Medabot he sold him was defective. Henry explains that he’s at no fault for the issues he’s having with Metabee by explaining again how Medabots work. Medabots are comprised of a skeleton, a body and a medal. Henry sold him the skeleton and body, but Ikki found the medal. Since the medal is a Medabot’s equivalent to a brain, if anyone is to blame for his behavior, it’s Ikki.

When Ikki arrives at school he finds that Erika has posted a clearly digitally painted article (complete with typos: “I’m sre” is meant to be “I’m sure”, and “juibilant” is meant to be “jubilant”) posted on the wall, essentially glorifying Ikki’s victory over the bandits from the last episode, making him a school-wide sensation.

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Ikki relishes in the spotlight for a minute before Metabee shows up and starts trying to sign autographs. His adoring fans are quickly brought down when they see that Metabee won’t obey its MedaFighter. Metabee, getting irritated, starts shooting up the school….I’m not kidding. He did it earlier in the scene with Henry and Ikki too. He gets a little mad then starts shooting off his guns everywhere. And I don’t care if the sounds effects are more ‘pew pew’ than ‘pow pow’ that’s still obviously a machine gun.

After the shooting, which hardly anyone seems to be batting an eyelash at, Samantha orders Sloan to battle Ikki and take out their rising threat. Sloan calls out his Medabot, Totalizer, and they try to start the match when Coach Mountain puts Totalizer in a headlock and stops the match since it’s against school rules. Just because we haven’t had a lot of pointless scenes in this episode. Or I guess they wanted to establish Sloan’s Medabot since it will never be in the show ever again.

I love how Ikki’s more concerned over possibly getting expelled due to him almost having a robattle in school when his Medabot just performed a school shooting that he was mostly unconcerned about.

Metabee then says the only reason he was in school anyway was because he went home before, like Ikki said, and his mother sent him back with his notebook. Just when you think the two might start getting along a little better, Metabee reveals that he ran the notebook through the dishwasher before he left because it was dirty, and since it’s an electronic notebook, it’s completely ruined (I don’t know why I pointed out that it was ruined due to being electric since even if it was a paper notebook it would still get ruined) I’m not really clear on whether Metabee did that on purpose.

Ikki tells Metabee to leave and that he never wants to see him again. He does and the series ends.

The end

Nah, that’s too easy.

Later, Ikki finds a love letter from a secret admirer in his locker telling him to meet her behind the school. However, it was really a trick by the student council. They want to contract him out to robattle the Screws and get them the student council office that they lost access to in the start of the previous episode. After giving his ego a few strokes and promising him the title of student council vice president if he wins, Ikki agrees to take down the Screws.

Henry captures Metabee by baiting a net with a watermelon…..yeah, the logic is that since Metabee is a beetle type Medabot, he can’t resist the allure of watermelon…..Because that’s a reasonable feature to put into a Medabot medal – realistic instincts of the animal the medal is based on. Look out, Peppercat, you’ll be foiled by that ball of yarn!

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Ikki and Samantha face off. Samantha brings forth Peppercat and Ikki tries to call Metabee, but realizes his medal is not in his Medawatch. Medals need to be installed in the medawatches in order to call forth the Medabot. Once the Medabot emerges, the Medafighter installs the medal in the Medabot. (Can we please tone down the words that have the word ‘meda’ in them? I’m going to go nuts.) However, Ikki realized in an earlier scene that Metabee’s medal cannot be ejected remotely due to errors, and Henry couldn’t do it manually since Metabee wouldn’t let him (which spurred the aforementioned first shooting).

Since he cannot teleport Metabee to the match, he has to go looking for him. He finds Metabee being hauled off by Henry and demands for his release. Henry says that Metabee is clearly defective like Ikki said and seems willing to take out his medal and replace it with a ‘properly working’ one. Ikki considers the arrangement, but backs down. Not because he’s grown to care about Metabee – But because he’s all he’s got at the moment and really needs to go battle.

What nice character development. We’ve gone from ‘I hate you, you’re garbage, I never want to see you again’ to ‘he is defective and I’d like to take his brain out and replace it with a better one, but right now I have to protect my fragile ego in front of a bunch of people I don’t give a shit about for a position I’m not qualified for nor do I want. He’s all I got, so gimme.’

It’s just so touching.

Somehow his pathetic half-hearted begging is enough to get Metabee to agree to battle for him. The music indicates that I’m supposed to feel feelings now.

Feelings have failed to load. Please contact the administrator.

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Metabee and Ikki go off to battle and Henry says this annoying sentence:

Henry: “They’re two of a kind. Arrogant, hot-headed and destined for greatness.” Yay, these two annoying egotistical jack-offs are destined for greatness. I can’t wait to sit through 91 episodes to see it come to fruition.

They go back to the park and start the robattle. Metabee has a lot of difficulty dealing with Peppercat’s electric attacks, but Ikki gets the bright idea to shoot the fountain, causing water to spray all over Peppercat, shorting her out. You’d think a Medabot whose main attack is electricity would have more preventative measures against water, but I’m not expecting much in the realms of intelligence from the Screws.

Also, Ikki, I’m sure the owners of the park really appreciate you shooting and destroying their fountain that would probably cost thousands of dollars to replace.

With one rocket launch, Peppercat is defeated. Samantha falls to the ground in horror since ‘The Big Cheese’ that they mentioned before Sloan was sent to battle Ikki will not be happy that they lost. The Big Cheese is named Baron von Banish, a supposedly powerful being who leads the Screws and runs the entire school from behind closed doors. Everyone shudders and whispers at his name, believing him to be merely a rumor and claiming no one’s ever seen him before.

A huge imposing figure in bancho attire approaches and challenges Ikki. He brings forth his Medabot, Banisher and they start the mat—you know what. I was going to go all the way with a big buildup to get to the punchline of this whole minor-ish-not-really-it’s-actually-total-filler-this-guy-has-no-point-sub-plot, but they basically spoil what will happen right here.

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See, when they do the Index screen for Banisher, they say its special ability….is a strong appearance.

If you can put two and two together, you can instantly surmise that he just looks tough but is actually a pushover. And lo and behold, he is. He takes literally one shot from Metabee and loses. Baron himself collapses and starts coughing, revealing he’s also a sickly pushover, and he just walks away without even breaking his tough guy character. And despite his sickly nature and the fact that his Metabot was just defeated depressingly easily, the Screws still worship the ground he walks on. I don’t get it. The Screws are stupid, but I wouldn’t think they’d be quite that stupid.

That sure was a thing that happened. What a fun two minutes that was.

Metabee and Ikki bask in their victory for a moment before the student council president gives Ikki the title of vice president. Believing Ikki just used him for the sake of a title, with Erika so helpfully giving photo proof to support this, Metabee starts shooting at Ikki because gun violence against children is hilarious according to this episode.

————————————-

Final Notes: This episode was terrible. The plot was just scraps leftover from the first episode, both battles were disappointingly short and easy, especially for Ikki considering this is his second robattle ever, there was the stupid and utterly pointless ‘big cheese’ filler, and when you can make cheese filling bad, you’re doing something very wrong.

What’s worse is that Ikki doesn’t learn a damn thing. He treats his Medabot like crap even though it’s not doing anything to deserve it (until the shootings anyway) and he gets high on himself for something he didn’t even really do only to come out on top twice in the end. He gets the vice president position, everyone’s either crushed over being trounced by him or singing his praises, only to serve more ego stroking, and he gets Metabee to listen to him even though he did nothing to earn it outside of saying ‘yeah, you suck Metabee, but you’re all I got so will you battle for me?’

The only form of comeuppance for him is Metabee shooting at him, and that’s both over the top and something that won’t impact him at all anyway. And he’s trying to weasel out of Metabee getting mad over it, saying they’re lying about him wanting to get Metabee back for the sake of trying to win the student council position, but that’s a damn lie. Maybe he didn’t care about the position, but he cared about looking like a badass in front of his classmates and he did seem honored to have the title either way.

Next episode, Coach Mountain is acting odd. He’ll need to recruit Ikki and Metabee to help him with a serious problem.

Episode One-derland: Mister Ajikko

Plot: Youichi has a great passion for cooking, and is the beloved chef at his mother’s diner. The emperor of the culinary world, Aijou, visits his restaurant with his secretary, Tareme. Youichi had a previous bad run-in with Tareme before and he scoffs at the idea that this child can create any food worthy or Aijou’s palette or any good food period.

Youichi, known as ‘Ajikko’ or ‘child who makes good food’, accepts the challenge of making a good tasting dish for Aijou, even without knowing who he really is. As a testament to his faith in his craft, he puts up the restaurant’s sign as a wager if he loses, subsequently also putting the restaurant’s honor at stake. He makes Aijou his newest dish, a super thick Katsudon.

Though Aijou and Tareme both think this is impossible to make since either of the traditional cooking styles results in either undercooking or burning the meat, Youichi manages to make a delicious and properly cooked super thick katsudon, much to the delight of Aijou who leaves him with his business card and invites him to the Aijou building, a place filled with culinary knowledge and techniques and where only the best chefs are invited.

Breakdown: Ah, yet another ‘Child prodigy’ story. And really that’s pretty much all this is so far. Apparently this series was so influential that it inspired the creation of Iron Chef and helped spawn the whole competitive cooking craze, but this episode is pretty cut and dry ‘kid is insanely awesome at (enter topic here)’

Aijou is a pretty good character. He comes off as extremely abrasive and strict at first, but he’s also very fair, gives credit for anything he likes about a chef’s technique or abilities, fully recognizes and encourages talent that he sees and respects anyone with a true passion for cooking—Holy shit, it’s Gordon Ramsey’s Japanese fictional grandpa.

Tareme is annoying, but then again he’s meant to be.

Youichi is very much typical at this point. He has a great love of cooking, and obtained his skills my imitating his father, a great chef who passed away at some point. He also seems to have plenty of imagination in his cooking and has a great pride in anything he makes. Interesting, despite being honored by Aijou’s invitation, he doesn’t seem to be compelled to leave his family diner and try to be ‘the best (enter profession here)’ like many other child prodigy stories. He’s perfectly fine cooking what he likes to cook at his mother’s restaurant.

However, in the next episode he goes to Aijou’s place anyway so how much of that sticks, I don’t know.

This episode does a pretty good job at laying the ground work for our characters and setting up the bare bones of the plot. Even moderate side characters like Mitsuko, seeming romantic interest, and Shigeru, Mitsuko’s annoying little brother.

The art is a classic style, which I adore, and the animation is surprisingly pretty darn good for such an old title. The music is also very catchy, though slightly stuck in the 80s.

All in all,

cbxcz0k

If you have a passion for cooking or just appreciate watching someone explore their own passions, this seems like a pretty good watch so far. Be warned, though, that this show debuted in 1987 so if you’re not into older titles you may be a bit put off by this. It really shouldn’t be a deciding factor, though.

At 99 episodes, I may end up reviewing this one episode by episode. We’ll see.

Recommended Audience: Nothing questionable. E for everyone!

AniManga Clash! Boku wa Imouto Ni Koi o Suru Volume 3 (Finale)

Boku wa vol 3 clash banner

Plot: Iku and Yori arrive at a love hotel and after much preparation, the two have sex. Despite this, Yori still decides to go to the school in another prefecture.

Breakdown: I’d like to start out this part by quoting something on the cover;

“Yori, who can do anything, and Iku, who can’t do anything.”

I know it wasn’t the intention of the writer to interpret that like this, especially seeing as how later on in the synopsis she says that they both feel the same way about each other, but, to me, that line just reinforces everything that I’ve suspected about this relationship. Iku is a dependent and submissive little baby deer and Yori is independent and dominant. Iku “can’t do anything” without her big brother who “can do anything” there to prop her up. Without him, Iku feels like she’d be helpless.

Now onto the story. We’re finally here; the actual sex scene. This scene in the anime was pretty uncomfortable, but not horribly so, mostly because it was done and over with in a fairly short amount of time. Iku was very much scared, uncomfortable and embarrassed in it, but at the very least it didn’t seem too rapey like many of their other encounters.

Manga’s version? It feels like it’s quite a bit longer, and it technically is because there’s more here to go over. In the manga, the two have a bath together after a very very long scene of an incredibly embarrassed and nervous Iku trying to undress. Yori tries to do it for her, but she takes forever and a day to take off her panties and bra by herself, at first letting Yori watch and then forcing him to shut his eyes.

When they’re in the bathtub, a scene not present in the OVA, we get this unbelievably creepy exchange.

Iku: “Yori, when was the last time we ever took a bath together?”

Yori: “Around fifth grade, right?”

Iku: “Ah, really?”

Yori: “Cause that’s when you got your first period.”

Iku: “!!!!! Re-re-re-really?!” “I don’t remember that.”

..Yori remembers when Iku got her first period better than Iku…….ughghghghghghghghghgqqoeooierigqehiodiosdjklldsklpbbbbbbbbbbbttttttttttttt. Ya know, it’s not even so much that he knew that and moreso….considering how creepy we know he is in all things related to Iku…..and the creepy things he tends to do….……the creepy things he could’ve done….with…her….feminine….hygiene…..prod – NopenopenopenopenopenopeNOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENONOPENOPENOPE NOPE.

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They start making out and as we get into the next chapter, we start off with Iku remembering when she first got her special monthly friend….ya know, the friend who punches you in the gut, eats all your food and passively-aggressively rips at you for a week before leaving. Iku asks her mom why this is happening to her and not Yori and she explains that such a thing can’t happen because she’s a girl and he’s a boy. And immediately after that flashback comes this weird stupidity.

Iku: “For the two of us who always did everything together, this was the first change to happen. I understand. That everything, everything….was for the sake of falling in love. Because Yori is a boy. And I am a girl.”

…………….This manga is giving me a headache. I must be missing something. I have to be missing something. Is she seriously saying that, biologically, her period was the tipping point of their love for each other because it forced her to understand that she and Yori were different? And on top of all of that….is she saying that they were destined to fall in love purely because one of them is a boy and the other is a girl? Boy, it sure is a good thing homosexuality doesn’t exist or no twin pairing or close in age siblings would be able to get through life without porking each other.

So, again, despite Iku asking him to stop a few times, Yori continues on with the kissing and the heavy petting and the other stuff you learned in that 1950’s film reel in health class. The sex goes on and….it’s fairly consensual barring the inner monologue from the two with Yori saying he’s fooling Iku and Iku supposedly saying she’s easily fooled. I think so anyway. They don’t do anything to the font of the inner monologue to know when one or the other is thinking.

Yori: “We committed a taboo.” Since I used up all my sarcasm in the anime version of this line, I’ll just give you a cut and dry ‘Well, no shit.’

As Yori wakes up, he finds Iku’s sleeping face all pure and seemingly oblivious to the weight of what they just did. Yori is struck with intense guilt, determined to beg God for all of the weight to be on his shoulders and for Iku to be free of any of it. He then apologizes for falling in love with her………MmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM…..Mmmmmm No.

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Look, if they had handled this romance A LOT better, this would be a very touching scene. I’m happy that Yori is understanding, at least to some degree, what a huge piece of fecal matter he’s been as of late…..but Yori has been almost nothing but an incredibly creepy sexual predator. This is really too little much too late. Hindsight may be 20/20, but I’m not going to act like him being sexually frustrated, especially when he had an outlet, was his excuse for being like that. Never have I looked at this story so far and thought, “Aw, what a tragic romance.” I have, however, thought, “Yori needs a serious intervention before he rapes his sister.”

Iku wakes up in pain from being de-virginized, and then we get kinda awkwardness because Iku and Yori instantly revert to just acting like brother and sister again.

Some time passes and we get to Yori and Iku’s graduation ceremony where we get the most despicable fact about Yori so far; He SMOKES.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lXdyD2Yzls

After his graduation ceremony, he talks to his friend, Yano, on the roof and explains that he’s in an incestuous relationship with his sister. And, like before, Yano doesn’t really react much at all. He asks him why he told him his secret, though, an–

Yori: “There are times…..When I feel that my wanting to protect everything about me, and my feelings of wanting to destroy everything…have crossed paths.” Well, nice to know yet another insanely creepy red flag line crosses between manga to OVA.

Iku rushes in and we learn that Yori is still planning to go to the fancy boarding school in the other prefecture, despite his new relationship to Iku. After Iku has a temper tantrum at home, Yori gets her to calm down a bit by showing that he convinced their parents to buy her a puppy so she won’t be lonely when he’s gone. I will give him points for that; it’s a very nice gesture.

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As Iku and Yori talk, he explains that he still plans on leaving because he can’t be a couple with Iku where they live now. Too many people know them and recognize them. They can’t do anything couple-related in public for fear of being judged and persecuted. In this new prefecture, however, fewer, if any, people know who they are. They can eventually start over and be a real couple.

That still doesn’t make much sense. So, what, they move to this new place after a few years, become a real couple and somehow no one will ever discover that they’re twins? They’ll never visit their parents or friends? They’ll never get married? Have kids? They’ll change their last names?

He could stay where he is now, keep up this charade, and then when they’re college age they can run away and get new identities and leave everything behind to really be a true couple…Oh yeah, I forgot, he can’t control himself….

Iku suddenly decides that the dog’s name will be Yori. Because what else would it be? As she tries to get the dog to do some tricks, Yori grabs her by the hair and commands her to come see him…..well, that was a record of about eight pages without Yori being a creepy fuck. Congratulations.

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Also, doesn’t her visiting there kinda make this whole move moot? Are you going to introduce her to the people at school as your girlfriend? Are your parents never going to come see you at school?

They make out on the park bench as the puppy watches…..because….yeah, do that in public. It’s a great way to cap off a conversation that was explaining why Yori has to move because they can’t safely do any PDA in the area they currently live in. Make sure you’re under that street light so if anyone you know walks by they can see you clearly.

The next chapter skips ahead to Yori leaving for high school. Iku does her best to keep him from leaving and Yori’s thoughts also state that he lied to her before about the real reason for his leaving; making my previous rant somewhat pointless…..*cough* He brushes her off when she tries to hug his arm because he believes their parents will think there’s something weird about it, something I still don’t understand.

As Yori is about to leave, Iku struggles internally with watching him go, knowing there’s nothing she can do to stop him. Just as she’s about to try and tell Yori to stay, Tomoka comes out of nowhere and runs into his arms begging him to stay, all the while lightly smirking at Iku. As she paws at him trying to get him to stay, Iku starts to suffer greatly over the fact that she can’t say or do the things Tomoka is doing to try and get him to stay since it would be odd coming from her.

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Knowing that Iku is suffering, Yori decides that the only thing he can do to resolve the situation is to push Tomoka away and tell her to not get in the way of his last day with his family. In order to create a cover up, Yori hugs his dad, then gives his mom a hug and a kiss on the cheek and finally he hugs Iku and kisses her on the cheek. Despite Iku’s happiness at being able to hold him one more time, she recoils at the fact that this isn’t enough to really make her happy.

Yori leaves, and Iku sits in her room alone with only Inu-Yori keeping her company. She starts sobbing into her pillow and finds a note from Yori begging her not to cry.

Back with Yori, he slightly laughs at the fact that, despite him telling her not to cry, she probably will anyway. She’ll also probably say she’ll die of loneliness, which she does indeed say. Then he says he’s spoiled Iku a lot……uh….huh. He knows that they will meet again, so he tells himself again and again that he won’t be lonely like Iku. However, he starts crying realizing how much pain Iku must be in to be crying as much as she probably is.

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I don’t have much to note about this chapter, because it’s probably the best chapter so far. Yori’s being a bit bastardly in his telling Iku not to hug his arm and laughing at the thought of her crying and saying she’ll die, but both instances were made up for when Yori went out of his way to finally give her a hug and kiss and cries at the thought of her crying.

This might be too little too late, but this was the first chapter when I legitimately thought that they may actually be in love. I still think Iku’s just a bit confused, but there might be something within both of them that is legitimate love.

Tomoka’s scene was good but just seemed a little….OOC. Well, I have to assume anyway. I’ve never seen Tomoka possessive up until this point and her giving Iku smirks as she cuddled Yori and begged him not to leave, seemingly knowing that Iku was the one he was in love with, was a complete bitch move. I mean, she is a little too preoccupied with Yori, but if you offer yourself up to someone as a replacement for someone they love, how can you really be such a petty and possessive bitch?

What did she expect would happen anyway? Yori broke up with her ages ago and was never romantically interested anyway. Plus, like she knows, Yori already loves someone else. Did she expect him to just start shoving his tongue down her throat and agreeing to stay?

It’s at this point where the OVA ends. It only covers volumes 1-3 and technically it only covers half of three since there are still two chapters left in this volume. I’ll finish off volume three here since, well, might as well. However, the other seven volumes, yes, there are seven more volumes of this to go, will be regular manga reviews.

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At the start of the next chapter, we see that Yori is settling in to his new abode at his new school. Everyone’s clamoring over the new kid, praising him for being the only out-of-prefecture student to make it into their prestigious school. Tons of people are trying to be friendly to him, but Yori being Yori results in him being a dick to everyone, including his new roommate.

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As everyone quickly recoils away from this asshole, Yori gets a call in the lobby. It’s Iku, and she’s jonesin’ for her Yori fix. Not just to hear his voice but also to get a kiss on the lips through the phone, which is really just making kissing faces and pretending they’re kissing. This would be kinda sweet if not for the fact that Yori yells at her that she’s doing it wrong, especially with no way of seeing her.

After they play that stupid ‘I won’t hang up, you hang up’ crap, they finally end the call. However, Iku decides that she wants to keep talking to Yori so she calls him incessantly until Yori tells her to give the phone to their dad. He asks his dad to buy him a cell phone for his birthday since he can’t be running to the lobby every five seconds to answer her calls. Plus, that has to be insanely annoying for the other students to listen to since every call is announced over the PA system. He tells him to buy one for Iku as well and they finally end the call barrage.

As he hangs up, he looks behind him to see his dorm manager teasing him about his phone calls asking if he’s talking to his girlfriend then revising this to knowing he’s talking to his sister since he called her by name and apparently her information is in his file, which also makes this moving thing moot again. I’m not sure if this means he knows that Yori’s dating Iku, but it’s possible.

Later, Yori decides to call Iku despite the dorm manager telling him he’s not allowed to receive anymore calls unless it’s an emergency.

The final chapter of the volume starts Yori and Iku’s birthday. We get some kinda cute flashbacks of Yori being really caring and over protective of his sister, all leading up to a birthday picture where it seems like Yori and Iku started to not get along as well as they used to as children….and the reason why is….oh god.

Iku got her first period on their 11th birthday. And I’m really disturbed that I have to keep talking about Iku’s first departure into the red sea. This prompted their mother to not only announce that Iku’s now a woman, but that she’s ready for marriage. This makes Yori incredibly angry. When Iku walks out of the bathroom after having that special talk of ultimate awkwardness with her mother, Yori blows the fuck up at her asking how she could do such a thing and yelling that he doesn’t like Iku like this.

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After that, Yori started treating her differently, more coldly, picking on her more often and basically seeming to carry a grudge over simple biology that is entirely outside of her control. I guess because she ‘became a woman’ Yori started looking at her differently, though in such a way that made him angry for some reason. Maybe because this may seem like the start of her pursuing romantic relationships with guys that don’t share her DNA? After this, 11 year old Yori internally proclaims that once he turns 16 he’ll be able to ‘take Iku with (him)” whatever that’s supposed to insinuate.

I get that he’s an 11 year old boy who doesn’t understand what’s happening to her, but Iku is clearly freaked the hell out by this event and all Yori can think about is a completely irrational fear or betrayal or whatever is going on in his screwed up brain that feels like Iku is doing this on purpose to hurt his feelings. I’m sure the one thing every girl wants to hear from their close-knit brother when they’re going through the confusing time of getting their first visit from that special friend from hell is “HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN!? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?! I DON’T LIKE YOU LIKE THIS!” *proceeds to be a putrid dickwad for five years*

Ya know….this might actually be telling. Maybe it was this insane reaction and Yori’s subsequent emotional separation from Iku after this that made her not want to explore anything romantic or sexual, essentially making her ripe for the picking when Yori started to do those things with her. Iku, subconsciously or not, took her ‘becoming a woman’ as a bad event that happened in her life since it caused her to basically lose Yori more or less. Now, with him caught up physically, he actually likes the woman aspect of her and has accepted her with open arms (and more). So she might be using that to her advantage in keeping her brother with her as much as possible since she’s so scared to death of losing him…..

Don’t mind me, just trying to get some mileage out of my psych degree…..

Anyway, Iku is awoken to birthday wishes from her family and they present her with the phone that Yori told them to get. Jeez, he tells them to her a puppy, they do so without question. He tells them to get her and him cell phones for their birthday and they do so without question. Do they just do whatever Yori wants or do they have so much money that they just don’t care?

She’s unable to reach Yori’s cell phone, however, since he probably hasn’t gotten it through the mail yet. Her parents leave for work and she instantly decides to take all of her savings and go to visit Yori, through her paltry piggy bank money….and yes, she used legit piggy bank money. There’s just barely enough to take the long way with Inu-Yori. As she’s on her way, she bumps into Yano who buys her some chocolate to give to Yori as a birthday present since she spent too much of her money to get one herself. He decides that he’s going to tag along to visit Yori as well.

Meanwhile, Yori, after buying his dorm manager cigarettes and teaching him how to smoke (Yori, you’re a big enough douche without creating more smokers in the world) buys a diamond ring with clover designs as Iku’s birthday present since diamonds are the gemstones of Aries and clovers because of that stupid wordplay Yori mentioned in volume two. Though I’m more certain he bought this diamond ring because such rings are, you guessed it, meant for marriage. He buys it and puts it in a special box that reads “Only heart”.

Meanwhile, with Yori and Iku’s dad, his colleagues are clamoring over pictures of the twins stating that they seem nothing alike, which is odd for two people born under the same astrological sign. As our big cliffhanger of the volume, their dad reveals that the reason for their differences is because they don’t share the same astrological sign. They were born on different dates.

Dun….dun….dunn?

Ya know, technically, twins can be born on separate dates. Labor takes a long time. It’s possible for Yori to be born one day and Iku the next, especially if the delivery took place late at night. I know the real reason behind this revelation, but the reader wouldn’t know at this point.

Overall:

ROUND THREE AND OVERALL ANIMANGA CLASH WINNER: ANIME

Yup, the anime managed to knock out the manga in all three rounds. Congrats, OVA! You’re not quite as creepy and “get my rape-whistle”-y as the manga.

In regards to this volume in particular, the sex scene was much less uncomfortable in the OVA. They don’t include the bath scene or the talks about Iku’s bloody Sunday, thank you very much, and the scenes of Iku scared out of her mind while preparing for the act also seem much shorter in the OVA.

This is the tipping point because almost everything else that the OVA included was the same. I will admit that Iku’s inner turmoil at Tomoka’s teasing BS was better in the manga and the comedic reactions to Yori leaving weren’t so far out of left field in the manga since comedic moments have been long since established here when they never were in the anime. However, that doesn’t make up for much.

Final tally:

What the manga does better:

Establishes comedy as a facet of the series instead of chucking it in at the very end.

……Uhhhh….wow, is that it?

I guess the manga also includes more in regards to story and development, but almost all of these scenes should be taken as negatives because they either make Yori look like a creepy as hell near-rapist even more than he already did in the anime, or they simply don’t add anything of worth to the overall story.

What the anime does better:

Yori’s much less creepy and frightening (he still is as such, but not as much).

The uncomfortable scenes feel much shorter than the manga’s.

The arrangement of the timeline is much better (we’re not suddenly thrown into bro on sis tongue battle)

In the art department, the art is damn near identical, and the OVA has many scenes that are basically taken beat by beat from the manga. I guess we can call this a plus for the OVA, though there are some glaring animation errors that nearly cost it this mention.

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In the end, the OVA may still be an awful sewage smoothie, but I’d gladly watch that five times over than read these three volumes of manga ever again. I am just amazed at how horrible of a person Yori is and just how creepy and unhealthy this relationship really is. It’s like it’s nearly impossible for writers to write an incestuous relationship without one or the other being a complete asshole who is obviously toxic.

Then again, I can’t take a sigh of relief. I still have seven volumes of this crap to review.

Next volume, Iku and Yano arrive at Yori’s place. And what is the true impact behind Yori and Iku not sharing the same birthday? Why do their parents pretend like they do?

Pokemon Shorties (3)! Pikachu and Pichu

Rating: 7/10

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock have arrived at nonspecific oddly American looking big city. Pikachu and all of the other Pokemon are let out of their Pokeballs to have some fun on the roof of some building while Ash and the others plan a big surprise. However, when Pikachu gets made fun of by a Pichu in a building across the street, he ends up falling from the roof and landing on the other building with the Pichu Bros. Can Pikachu make it back in time before Ash returns?

Breakdown: And now for the short that accompanied Movie 03, Pikachu and Pichu, otherwise known as “That one with the Pichu Bros.” and…..I really don’t remember jack about this short. I remember it taking place in a city and the Pichu bros., of course, I remember there being a Smeargle….that’s about it.

Oh and I remember the ending being the cause of much discussion seeing as how many people take this as proof that at least one year has gone by since the start of the series, which I don’t really believe given how much has gone on between then and now. Also, it’s hard to take that as canon when the series keeps insisting that Ash is and always will be 10 years old.

As for Pichu….I don’t particularly care for it. Its existence makes me think they wanted a ‘chibi’ Pikachu that they could market even harder than Pikachu. Lest we forget the pointless novelty of spike-eared Pichu and even Ukelele Pichu (proudly following in the footsteps of surfing Pikachu….Where are the damn novelty Raichu? What a rip off. Raichu>>>>>>>>everything) Pichu’s existence never made full sense to me, either. That means Ash got an evolved Pokemon as his starter Pokemon, and Pikachu was a huge brat when we first met it which makes it hard for me to believe that Pikachu evolved from a full happiness Pichu.

I do remember the music being a snappy new change, so there’s that. Well, let’s start, shall we?

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Ash and the others are in some unspecified city. They let out all of their Pokemon on the top of some random building/hotel(?) because they have stuff to do. However, even this doesn’t make much sense to me. It makes sense that Ash wouldn’t want Pikachu around to keep from spoiling the surprise, but why let out all of the other Pokemon, which they hardly ever do? Just to keep Pikachu company? It is a nice thing to do, but it’s also rare. They say they’ll be back at six o’clock and leave.

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A smiling Vulpix with sparkles around it. Enjoy your free warmfuzzies.

The copy I’m using for screenshots is the Japanese video spliced in with the English audio track (Since my copy is VHS and I have no way to transfer that to my computer). The Japanese version has an entire theme song here, but they completely amputate it from the short in the dub. They skip the entire theme song animations just to splice in their own opening which is just the title card translated to English, Pikachu meeting with the Pichu bros. and having the city background appear for a second before a dual page transition goes back to the short.

The English theme is a jazzy track that was made for this short. The Japanese theme is okay, but pretty forgettable.

As the Pokemon are playing, Pikachu comes across two Pichu, one of which starts mocking Pikachu from a building across the street. Pikachu makes faces back and Pichu climbs out on a ledge. Pichu’s brother, let’s call him Tuffed-Hair Pichu, tries to keep him from going out on the ledge and getting hurt while Pikachu climbs out onto a flag pole to warn him as well, which just furthers the question of why the hell did they let out all of their Pokemon to play ON THE TOP OF A BUILDING!?

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I get it, it’s all fancified meaning that people can hang out on the roof without issue, but there are no guardrails and it can’t be all that safe if Pikachu can perch itself on a nearby flagpole on the side of the building with no problem. Imagine what would happen if dopey Psyduck got turned around up there.

Pikachu looks down to realize where he is and wow, cars! Lots of ’em! I keep feeling like they’re in some American city from the way they keep portraying it. The buildings, atmosphere, music etc. just give the feeling like they’re in America somewhere. It definitely doesn’t give the same vibe as other cities seen earlier in Pokemon. Even Celadon city felt a lot different than this.

Not only does Pikachu freak out because of this, but a few Murkrow also come out and peck at him since he’s on their perch. He falls, but grabs onto the always handy rope that is always below in these situations.

The Murkrow aren’t deterred, however, as they also peck at the rope to make Pikachu fall. So, in conclusion, Murkrow are murderers….which makes sense because a flock of crows is called a murder. Next time on Law and Order: Johto Unit.

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We pan down to Meowth who is washing windows sans Jessie and James, but this time they actually give a reason for this that makes a lot of sense. They tricked him into a window washing job so they could get extra money. Since it has been shown several times in the series that Jessie, James and Meowth do get jobs sometimes and many of those jobs tend to be separate from each other, this makes perfect sense.

Murkrow starts untying the rope when a breeze carries a bunch of Hoppip into the Murkrow’s face, making him drop the rope and Pikachu. The rope somehow swings up which allows Pikachu to fly up and bounce on all of the Hoppip. However, when he gets to the last of them, he falls onto Meowth’s washing platform, which causes a see-saw effect and sends Meowth flying into a nearby billboard.

Pikachu climbs up to meet the Pichu bros. but is upset when he finds out that none of the other Pokemon can hear him and help him get back to the other building. So that means that, unlike the other shorts where we got small groups of the Pokemon mostly made up of Ash’s with some of Misty’s, Tracey’s and Brock’s…..this short just releases them for a few seconds and puts the entire focus on Pikachu and Pichu until the very end where they all reunite. I get it, it’s the title of the short, but come on. The other Pokemon get such little screen time. It’s almost mocking to let them all out to hang out and play but give them absolutely nothing to do.

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The Pichu Bros. offer to take Pikachu back to the other building. They make their way out, but land on a bus, which only leads them further away. The Pichu Bros don’t seem to care (jerks) and the bus takes a sudden turn which causes the three to fly off of the bus and into a nearby river.

Everything seems okay for a bit until a ferry in the shape of a Lapras shows up and is about to run them over. Pikachu and Pichu try to get away, but they succumb to Prometheus syndrome with not realizing that there are directions beyond straight. Luckily, a Gyarados suddenly shows up and sends the three flying again….Pokemon shorts really do involve a lot of Pokemon being flung around like ragdolls. Also, this is a manmade river, why the hell is a Gyarados in there? Do you love scaring the crap out of the people on the ferry boat and putting them in danger for no reason?

The three fall into some alleyway onto a Houndour who starts chasing them around. He corners them, but the wonder twins use their electric powers to shock Houndour. However, “Too bad Pichu can’t use electric attacks without shocking themselves!” Pichu sucks.

The Pichu Bros end up knocking themselves out due to the electricity, and to make matters worse, Houndour’s not affected that badly and starts chasing them again, this time with Pikachu carrying the Pichu Bros. Pikachu bounces off of a random Snorlax’s belly yet again. For the love of God, he’s not a trampoline or an air bag! Stop making this a theme in the shorts!

Houndour tries to follow, but Snorlax moves when he tries to jump on him, causing Houndour to land on the ground instead and get squashed when Snorlax moves back. Well, he’s dead. A moment of silence for Houndour.

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They arrive at some fort made of tires and pipes and we discover that this is actually a little hideout for the Pichu Bros and their friends, a whole bunch of other Pokemon with many of them being new pre-evos. Oh and we get another Pokemon misidentification. This time a Voltorb says ‘Electrode’. I’m going to give 4Kids a slight pass here since, like Poliwhirl/Wrath, they look very similar, but 4Kids should really know better by now or at least know to double check this crap.

They screw around with all of the Pokemon to eat up two minutes of screentime. When they’re done, the other Pokemon leave and they realize that it’s getting awfully late. Pikachu has to be back before Ash returns so he asks the Pichu Bros to lead him there. They start to leave but AH ZOMBIE!!

Oh, I guess Houndour lived through that. Houndour arrives and starts chasing them around again, causing the big tire fort to fall over, burying Houndour in huge heavy tires. Well, I guess he’s dead again. A moment of silence for twice dead Houndour.

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Also, why is Pikachu not attacking Houndour? It’s shocked people and Pokemon for lesser reasons.

Anyway, Houndour’s not dead again, instead he’s mildly stuck I think maybe. Pikachu and the Pichu Bros help him out and they’re instant friends I guess. Another part of the fort starts falling over and Houndour and Pikachu try to save it, but they’re slipping fast. The Pichu Bros then call their friends back to help out…where were they going anyway? Do they have owners? Where else would they be living besides that fort?

The Pokemon band together to save the fort, even Cubone, the Pokemon who cares only about itself. Sorry – some leftover bitterness.

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Pictured: A selfish fuck.

And, really, guys, hire a licensed contractor next time. The design of that thing? No wonder it fell so easily.

So the fort is saved, hip hip hooray! That’s also a recurring theme in these shorts – a bunch of random Pokemon coming together to solve a problem and fix stuff.

Pikachu realizes what time it is and he and the Pichu Bros help him get back to the building by rolling in a tire. And on the way they run over Meowth….I would complain about his completely pointless part in this short, but this short is already basically Togepi-free, so there’s a bonus. However, the Pichu Bros kinda act like Togepi a few times.

Pikachu returns, the Pichu Bros leave and Ash and the others return to show their big surprise to the Pokemon (mostly Pikachu).

The owner of this place has no qualms with a giant snake made of rocks being in what looks like a very nice dining room? Okay.

Ash reveals his surprise is a big party in honor of it being the anniversary of the first day he became friends with Pikachu. Geez, look at that setup.

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So much food and decorations and reserving a beautiful room too? For god’s sake, I’ve never had a birthday anywhere near this nice. And this is a friendship anniversary for a mouse! Where the hell did Ash and the others get the money for this? They can usually just barely afford to feed themselves. Did they plan the fireworks too? Because I can’t see any other reason for that.

This I find to be even more blatant favoritism considering he never does the same thing for any of his other Pokemon. Then again, he’d actually have to have his Pokemon for over a year to do that…But Squirtle and Bulbasaur are still around at this point, which means it shouldn’t be far off from their one year anniversary, but nope, no party for them. They should’ve just said they wanted to make a sort of annual Pokemon appreciation party instead. But why do that and have Pikachu share the attention, which is, of course, blasphemous?

And thus our short ends….in the English version anyway. The Japanese version stays true to their ending credits sequences with fan art a and song behind it. While the fan art is nice…did the kids who sent in the pictures get like a template to color in? Because all of the pictures in the start have the exact same pose and drawing quality. Unless this is just crudely drawn official art.

Whoever made the picture with Pidgeotto despite the fact that it was long gone before this short, my hat’s off to you good sir or madam.

Art and Animation: The art is crisp and the animation was actually quite a bit better than normal. Some scenes were shaky, particularly the last shot you see of Pineco, but nothing that bad.

Music: I really enjoyed the jazzy soundtrack. It’s a welcome change from the average Pokemon music we’re used to.

Bottomline: I can’t bring myself to say I’m crazy about this short. By all intents and purposes, it’s completely harmless fun, but then again it is just a lot of hijinks with not a lot of story, and any message is one we’ve already heard before in previous shorts; teamwork basically.

Also, the stuff with Houndour was resolved so quickly and easily it’s almost like it was a non-plot point. That being said, it does have the best art and animation quality of any of the shorts so far. The city looks very nice, many shots look great, the Pichu Bros didn’t get annoying and there were never lulls in the fun like the second short. It’s a pretty good short, but it is disappointing that none of the other Pokemon get to do anything.

Recommended Audience: E for eggplants! And everyone. Eggplants are people too!

CSBS – Fillmore! Episode 2

CSBS Fillmore Episode 2

Plot: X-Middle School is undergoing the arduous test of the Satty-9, and it’s been tearing the students apart. Some protest the test’s existence, other freak out over the their performance and Ingrid, despite her certain high score, undergoes an internal struggle of the true importance of the Satty-9. So many students have skills, knowledge and creativity that simply cannot be measured in the multiple choice nightmare. When the completed tests are suddenly stolen by someone in the school mascot’s uniform, Ingrid finds herself contemplating whether it’s for the best.

Breakdown: I remember this being one of my favorite episodes when I was a kid, and I have a deeper respect for this episode now that I’ve gone through several CATs and the SATs. I never stressed much over the CATs but the SATs were a nightmare for me. Everyone crams and stresses over their grade, and a surprising amount feel like that one number score will be a defining characteristic stuck to their lives. It’s hard to have that moment of reflection where you say ‘Whatever happens, this doesn’t reflect my actual intelligence or worth as a person.’

I also appreciate that Ingrid was the one struggling with this, because typically genius characters don’t find tests to be such a big deal, no matter their weight. They seem relatively blind to the hardships and stresses of the non-geniused students around them. Ingrid sees and appreciates the various kinds of skills and talents that everyone has around her and feels bad that the test doesn’t care about intelligence or achievements in these realms, no matter how much these same students prepare for it.

Her moment of faltering was truly just one moment, but it was a pretty powerful one.

Fillmore: “The Satty-9 may be beat, but there’s a right way to fight it. Protests. Giant banners. Editorials. Hard jams with even harder rhymes. Going the other way’s a sucker move. We have a job. We don’t make the rules.”

Ingrid: “I only forgot that for a second.”

Fillmore: “But Ingrid….you forgot that.”

I’ll also give this episode props because I honestly didn’t catch on to who the perp was. Like so many instances, I figured it was a person who only ended up being the second-to-last suspect. And I will admit, it was pretty clever the way they set it up. We even get some pretty funny jokes and references. I honestly don’t remember Fillmore ever including a Pokemon reference, but there it was.

This episode was also a nice build on Fillmore and Ingrid’s friendship. Fillmore doesn’t chew Ingrid out for what she did. He understands her feelings and leads her to a place where she’ll learn the lesson on her own. Plus, that scooter and helmet are awesome. Damn, I wish I had a Razor scooter when I was a kid. Stupid kids getting hurt making my paranoid parents say no.

Rating: 9.5/10

Update 6/11/17: Hiatus Over

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Hey everyone innocent and that one guilty person reading right now. (You know who you are) As promised, I am back in blog-action today. I’m not running at 100% but the show must go on, plus I’ve missed making posts. In itself, it’s therapeutic, even (especially?) the ranty ones. I’m not going to be making a full-blown entry right now, but one should be up tomorrow. I just wanted to let everyone know that the Madhouse is now back to moving its turbines instead of rusting.

Let’s put some more tokens in and continue, shall we? 🙂