Plot: Three short stories of horror told by the characters on Halloween.
Breakdown: Me and Regular Show haven’t really meshed well in the past. I’ve watched a couple episodes before and never got into it. Then I reviewed the New Year’s special and, again, was less than impressed. But it seems like, much in the same realm of The Simpsons and The Treehouse of Horror series, Regular Show seems to like getting into horror stories for Halloween specials.
The first entry in Terror Tales of the Park is Creepy Doll, and it’s fairly weak. It’s about Pops getting rid of some stuff from his house when he comes across a doll he used to love. Mordecai and Rigby tell him to get rid of it because grown men with dolls are ‘uncool’. He tries to get rid of it, but it keeps coming back with a thirst for drawing on faces. It has some entertaining moments and somewhat funny lines, but the doll is nowhere near creepy enough in design. It just looks like a fairly real little kid. All it wants to do is draw on faces, and the climax is practically spoiled when they focus on the incinerator downstairs.
The next segment is Death Metal Crash Pit. Mitch and Hi Five Ghost find an old RV in the woods and want to chuck it into the crash pit. When he opens it up, however, he unleashes the ghosts of a metal band who used to use that RV as a touring bus. They kidnap Mitch and Fives, claiming they’ll crash the RV into the put for them with them in it.
This one was better than Creepy Doll, but still wasn’t that great. It wasn’t scary at all, but it was funnier. Plus the ending is ridiculous in more ways than one, though not necessarily in a bad way. I do like Mitch and Fives the most as characters so far.
The final segment is In the House and, I gotta say, I was repulsed (in a good way) and impressed. The story goes that Mordecai and Rigby go out trick-or-treating and Rigby wants to go to one more house before they go home. He’s pissed when the house he visits turns off their lights and refuses to answer the door, so he eggs them only to find out that the house belongs to a wizard who is now out for revenge.
This segment doesn’t pull punches with the horror. It is one of the most disturbing Halloween specials I’ve seen in years. They behead a character, rip another’s skin off, and they even allow guns and Evil Dead references.
The most disappointing part of the episode is, by far, the ending. The payoff is seen from miles away, and I was even saying what would happen out loud the instant Rigby started turning into a door.
Still, there’s plenty of creepiness, freaky moments and even some moderate laughs in here.
Overall, it’s a pretty entertaining Halloween special and I look forward to watching the others. It’s even making me rethink giving Regular Show as a series another shot.
Plot: A continuation of the horror anthology told as a series of kamishibai productions.
Breakdown: When I first went into the fourth season of Yami Shibai 4, I was met with a tidal wave of negative comments and reviews. People hated this season with a passion, but I was more than open to it because, well, I really love this franchise. While they have had their share of bad stories, I wasn’t ready to write off this season from the start.
That being said, this season is, by far, the weakest of the seasons so far. Each season has had their problems. Season one was the strongest, though was damaged by the stupid toilet monster story. Season two had plenty of good ideas, but ultimately ended up a largely ‘meh’ season with poor execution. Season three relied a bit too heavily on monsters for my taste and changed into a format that was slightly difficult to get used to, though ultimately paid off very well.
Season four didn’t do anything different except made the narrator tell the whole story, which has its ups and downs, and include one live-action shot per story, which is largely pointless. It had many silly or meh stories and ended with absolutely no fanfare.
Episode 1: Tongue – 5/10 Clever-ish twist, but confusing to the point where I can’t make much sense of it at all. It’s also not that creepy or scary.
Episode 2: Fish Tank – 2/10 Not scary, creepy or clever. It has the most cliché of all horror story plots and only kinda gets points for using a monster that I’ve never seen done before.
Episode 3: Sewing Shears – 3/10 Again, not scary and very cliché. Points only go to the kinda creepy monster and the aspect of shears.
Episode 4: Red High Heel – 5/10 Good idea, nice start, poor execution. Disappointing. I still think my suggested ending would’ve been better.
Episode 6: Guess Who? – 7.5/10 Getting better. This one is creepy, off-putting and clever, but the only thing that gets me is the logistics of what exactly happened and who that girl even was.
Episode 7: Footsteps – 5/10 Middle of the road rating for a middle of the road entry. I should dock it off for reminding me of the toilet episode, but I feel nice today.
Episode 8: Cassette Tape – 8/10 I really enjoyed this episode, and it’s impressive that it gets a rating so high given that there is really not much animation on screen. It’s mostly just the shots of the tape recorder. Creepy, amps up the tension very well and uses its concept very well. I just wish the box had been better explained.
Episode 9: Grinding Teeth – 6/10 Creepy focal point, cringey (in a good way) sound effects, not too bad about halfway in, drops the ball and falls flat. Disappointing.
Episode 10: Calling Crane – 9/10 My favorite of the entire season. While the game itself is just weird, this is a very beautifully drawn and colored episode with plenty of creepiness and atmosphere.
Episode 11: White Line – 8/10 Clever and creepy with a unique enough premise and freaky visuals. A lack of live-action shot is distracting due to the break in continuity, though.
Episode 12: Snow Hut – 6.5/10 I still can’t decide on how much I really like this episode. It’s clever, but not scary. It has some creepy visuals, but it makes me sadder than anything else. Plus, it really bothers me that they never explain why this snow hut needs someone occupying it.
Episode 13: Underground Walkway – 6/10 You ever have those moments where you’re watching a horror movie and you want to yell out to the screen ‘Don’t go in there! Who the hell would go in there?! Turn around! Does this look safe!? Go back! You ran into a scary person! Turn around! What is wrong with you?!’ That is this episode in a nutshell. I docked off half a point because this is the season finale and it fizzles out. Is it the worst entry? No. But it does require major stupidity to pull the plot off and the twist isn’t that scary at all. Being a disappointing season finale, especially when you’re following up the awesome season three finale, is just not cool.
Overall Rating: 6/10
Recommended Audience: No worse off than any other Yami Shibai season. 10+
Plot: Iku and Yori start high school apart, and that’s not all that’s changing. Tomoka has somehow managed to get accepted to Yori’s school, and she has every intention on winning Yori’s heart. Iku and Yano have started new jobs as wait staff at a restaurant, despite Iku’s inability to do anything without destroying everything. Iku is doing her best to save money for trips to see Yori, but a new problem has emerged. Yano has fallen in love with Iku and declares war on Yori for Iku’s heart.
Breakdown: I will admit that the first chapter starts out fairly well. In a sitcom manner, Iku goes to where Yori lives to visit him just as Yori goes back home to visit Iku for their birthday. The comedic back and forth between both Yori and Iku and Yano and Yori is nice, but it’s quickly ruined.
Iku, the easily lead dumbass she is, goes to a hotel room with Yano under the excuse of them getting something to eat, which they can’t do in a restaurant with Inu!Yori. She chows down then passes out in his bed because of course she does. I should mention that Yano was teasing Yori on the phone by saying if he didn’t get there soon he’d start doing perverted things with her. This seemed like innocent teasing between friends until he lead her to his room….where he proceeded to lick her ear as she was sleeping.
Knowing this series, I can bet if Yori hadn’t burst into the room shortly after, he’d probably molest her much further. Looks like my predictions on his character being ruined from subtle hints in the OVA may have been correct. So far, he is the most likable character, though, outside of Nakamura. I don’t know what that says about the quality of this series.
When Yori arrives, he puts the ring on Iku, but they can’t even do that simple gesture without making Yori into a possessive creepy jackoff. The instant he puts it on her, he calls the ring a ‘collar’ and says he bought it so that other men would stay away from her. He even seems to state that Iku is so dense that she probably doesn’t realize their relationship is incestuous…..
Well, that was a chapter alright……oh, yeah, it ends with Yori pretending to start to rape Iku as she pretends to sleep. Aw, how romanticreepy.
The next chapter, thankfully, doesn’t go any further than him licking, sucking on and biting her finger. We’ve gotten to the point where that’s restraint…They have some nice banter again, this time about the gifts. She loves her ring, though feels guilty that all she got him were some miscellaneous items you could buy at a drug store like a shampoo hat and an ear cleaning kit….Though, again, they even have to make that creepy, because we then see Yori getting a hard on because Iku’s cleaning his ears. I know there are many fetishes out there, to each his own, have at it….but none of them, zero, should involve ear wax.
Surprisingly, again, though, despite the temptation, the chapter just ends with the two sleeping on the floor.
The next chapter opens with Yori and Iku showing each other how they look in their new school uniforms through email and Yori fumbles with trying to take a picture of himself with his phone. Ah, the good ol’ days when ‘selfies’ weren’t a thing.
Again, starting out cute and innocent enough. Iku is attending a high school with basically everyone else she was with in junior high such as Yano and Nakamura. Meanwhile, we get a twist in Yori’s story when Tomoka suddenly shows up stating her father transferred to the area recently and, using her connections to Yori, somehow (since he’s the only one who passed the entrance exams) she was accepted into the academy.
She quickly tries to get her mitts all over him, though Yori wants none of that. A blackened text bubble indicates that Tomoka’s not giving up so quickly, though…..
….Okay, Tomoka was a bit bitchy before and undoubtedly possessive….but this whole job transfer is fishy as all hell. If I wanted to be this paranoid, it sounds like Tomoka somehow coerced her parents to move there when she found out about Yori’s decision, somehow screwed with the exams to get her entrance, then she could take advantage of her close proximity to Yori to rip him from Iku.
If that’s even slightly true….holy shit….that is some soap opera level insanity.
The rest of the chapter is pretty benign. Iku has conflicted feelings about Tomoka not going to her school, but she’s unaware Tomoka is at Yori’s. They meet a new girl named Mori, though I haven’t gotten a good hold on her as a character yet. They note her strong personality, but if anything she comes on a bit too strong for me. Finally, we get more indication that Yano is romantically interested in Iku.
Next chapter……You remember what I quoted in volume three? ‘Iku, who cannot do anything.’? I always thought, despite evidence to the contrary, that such a statement couldn’t be completely true. Iku has to be competent at something. She doesn’t get great grades, she’s needy and dependent to the point of a vague mental disorder, she’s clumsy, she’s incredibly naive, she has no backbone, she doesn’t seem to have any talents – but she has to be competent somehow.
No, no, not really.
The start of this chapter has Iku getting a job as a waitress at the restaurant Yano works at. I assume he pulled strings to get her hired because she….cannot do….a God. Damn. Thing. She can’t take orders, listing off tons of foods when the customer merely ordered one thing. She can’t carry a tray of food without dropping it because it’s heavy and hot. She can’t bus a table without breaking every dish on it. She can’t wash dishes without breaking them. She cannot complete a single waitressy task without a complete disaster.
She, rightfully, gets fired, but Yano saves her job since their boss is desperate for the girls that Yano is attracting to the place and he threatens to quit if she goes.
Despite getting her a job and saving her from getting fired, Iku treats Yano like crap just because he playfully teases her every now and then (She doesn’t know about his true creeper-ness at this point) She tells him to go away and says she’ll ignore him, except when he asks about Yori because Yori is the moon, sun, stars and earth beneath thine feet. You’re kinda lead to believe Yano’s being a bit pushy here, but apparently Yori actually asked him to escort her home because she’s just too much of a naive dunderhead to come home on her own too.
Iku has gotten this job because she’s trying to save money to pay for the train fare for her and Inu!Yori to visit Yori, despite him saying he’d pay her travel expenses.
The chapter actually goes fairly well for the most part. Yori longs for Iku, Iku tries her best to work hard to get to Yori on her own and Yano’s not being a creeper either….but of course we can’t end the chapter without something creepy and terrible happening.
Iku tries her best at her job when, of course, a fat, disgusting, sweaty pervert comes in. He purposely spills his water so Iku will lean over the table to clean it up, and, when she does, he gropes her boob. Iku freaks out, spilling food all over him. He pretends he didn’t do anything and becomes outraged that his supposedly expensive clothes are ruined. Yano tries to intimidate the man and defend Iku, but Iku’s boss believes the customer and demands Iku pay for his clothes and apologize or else she’ll get fired.
She gives in because she has to keep the job to visit Yori, and she ends up losing all of the money she saved, making her start all over again. Even though, again, Yori said he’d be more than happy to pay for her travel expenses. After the incident, Iku starts crying and calling herself an idiot, and Yano suddenly hugs her, much to Iku’s surprise.
Let me be clear and state that I don’t blame Iku for what happened nor am I mad that she didn’t stand up for herself and tell this pervert and her unsympathetic boss to fuck off. I am, however, annoyed at why she buckled.
Other than some sort of weird sense of pride or something, Iku has no reason to want to keep saving her own money to visit Yori if he’s financially capable of paying her way. Her paying the pervert and apologizing is basically her saying she’s fine with coping with the random groping pervert and doing horribly at this job to save money that she doesn’t really need just so she can snort a couple hits of Yori to get her fix.
The next chapter starts with the continuation of the hug, which is brushed off rather quickly as Yano cheers her up and then gives her some playful ribbing. Yori suspects that Iku is starting to like Yano since she brings him up in conversation more and more, which makes sense considering they both go to school and work together. Iku completely denies it, however. Yori is fed up with Iku trying to work and get the money to visit him, so he decides he’ll get a job and visit her instead….
Wait, I thought he had no money troubles, which is why he offered to pay for Iku’s travel fare whenever she wanted. He didn’t seem to have trouble buying that seemingly expensive ring or visiting home at the start of the volume. Now he needs a job?
He tricks Iku into believing he’ll get a job as a host. When Yano visits him to see what’s up, he discovers Yori’s actually a gas station attendant. They spend the rest of the day on amusement park rides and teasing each other when, on the Ferris wheel, Yano drops the bomb on Yori that he likes Iku. The rest of the conversation is not shown, but Yori doesn’t seem to react much and the next page doesn’t show a newspaper headline of ‘Teenage Boy Viciously Murdered in Ferris Wheel’
The next day, Yano gives Iku a bracelet he got at the amusement park that has a little Inu!Yori-esque charm on it and tells her Yori got it for her, when that’s not true. He’s about to tell her what they talked about and the chapter ends.
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……This volume has gone on way too long without something horribly creepy and borderline rapey happening. Oh whatever will I do if this volume ends without me feeling the pure darkness of hatred in my soul?
The final volume starts with a continuation of Yano and Yori’s conversation. Yori takes his confession extremely well. He doesn’t get mad, he doesn’t even react much at all. Yano says he’s not backing down and he’ll declare war on Yori for Iku’s heart, and Yori accepts his challenge with a non-threatening smile. Half of this scene is done in comedic chibi-style, by the way. Quite the contrast between this and how he acted around Nakamura.
Back with Yano and Iku, Yano drops the bomb on Iku that Yori told him that their relationship is incestuous. Iku flips out in panic, worried she won’t be able to be with Yori anymore, but Yano says he’ll keep her secret.
He’ll keep her secret……
Under one condition……….
She has to love Yano. She has to be his. She has to give all of her love to him.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally broken out into creepy sexual abuse blackmail!
Yano is completely serious about this threat, physically intimidates her and even licks her neck to get her to agree to it.
Do I need to replace the hair sniff counter with a lick counter?
To Iku’s credit, she does slap him, refuses his advances, says she hates him and storms off into the house without agreeing to his terms. It seems Iku does have a backbone if you threaten her Stockholm syndrome.
And that’s the end of volume four. Final thoughts?
It’s actually the most tolerable volume so far, and that’s probably because Yori’s away from Iku for most of it so he can’t be a creepy pseudo-rapist. However, Yano, despite being the most fun character, is pushing the gas pedal on his creepiness, peaking with, of course, the blackmail.
Iku continues to be a huge ball of dependency issues, now compounded by an unwilling dependence on Yano since she literally cannot do a damn thing for herself, but she impressed me in the finale a tiny bit.
Story-wise, this volume doesn’t advance much. Iku and Yano get jobs, they all start high school, we get a brief glimpse at Tomoka who seems to have gone rogue, but the only important progressions are Yano admitting to Yori that he likes Iku and the blackmail. By the way, I know all’s fair in love and war and stuff, but blackmailing Iku into a relationship isn’t fair in this little competition they have going. If she ever does show affection for him or start dating him, it will be because of the blackmail not because she legit loves him.
Plus, having a competition for Iku’s heart just further trivializes this whole situation and turns Iku into a prized possession……and she is actually described as a possession in the final chapter. Lovely.
It’s a damn shame is all. Yano and Iku would actually make a fairly good couple if Yano didn’t devolve into this creepy son of a bitch. I almost feel like this competition is less for Iku’s heart and more to see who can be the creepiest asshole.
So, how will this blackmail go? Will Tomoka turn out to be an even bigger major bitch? With Yano out-Yori Yori? Will I ever figure out why anyone would be attracted to anyone in this story? Find out next time on the manga I wish I weren’t reading!
Plot: A teacher is working late one night when she spots a young boy in a tattered school uniform drawing chalk lines on the yard. As she goes to investigate, she finds the boy has vanished, but the white line has been drawn into the school. Where does the white line lead?
Breakdown: This one’s pretty clever and unique. It’s not the creepiest or scariest story in the world by a long shot, but I enjoyed quite a bit, especially the ending, and it’s one of the stronger entries this season.
The art style this time around is kinda back to being a little more anime-ish, but not too badly. It’s also like the lines are much crisper and sharper than they usually are and like the coloring is fuller and more vibrant.
There’s no live-action shot this time around, which was weird, but the narrator was delightfully entertaining, especially at the end.
Episode 12 – Snow Hut
Plot: A young boy and his older brother decide to build a snow hut. As his brother goes off to get something for them to eat, the boy spots another snow hut across the yard. Oddly, this hut has no entrance, but it seems like there’s a small flickering light inside. The boy is curious to see if someone is in there, but some things are better left alone.
Breakdown: I wanna say this one works, but it kinda doesn’t because it’s one of those stories that I find sadder than scary.
The idea is fairly unique and the scene with the other snow hut is creepy, but it’s not creepy or scary enough for me to ignore the fact that I feel sadder for the fate of the boy above all else.
The live-action shot this time around was of the candle in the snow hut, and it’s pretty effective given that you see it from the hole in the snow hut, which does obviously lend itself to an easy jump scare.
The story is also one I can’t wrap my head around. Why is there some sort of snow hut prison out there? Who is in it, and why does it seem to need to have someone in it? The family seems to have no choice but to do what they seem to be intending on doing, but I don’t get it.
The art style this time around is a very scratchy almost sketchy or storyboard type of art style that I….think works in its favor? I can’t really decide.
Episode 13 – Underground Walkway
Plot: A college student gets caught in the rain and decides to take a creepy, unfamiliar underground walkway to the station. He learns that you don’t do that.
Breakdown: Really? After the awesome ending season three gave us, you end the fourth season with this? It’s not a particularly stupid or bad entry, it’s just very predictable and meh. Not to mention, you want to clock out the instant he enters the walkway.
Gee, an unfamiliar, dark, dank, creepy underground walkway with flickering lights and no one else but a freaky worker around who’s trying to direct you down an even creepier and darker walkway and keeps chanting ‘it’s only dark at first.’? I’d sure nope out of there probably before I even got beyond the entrance. Dude, it’s rain. Just deal with it. Go into a shop until it passes. Get on a bus. If the alternative is ‘creepy, dark, dank underground walkway I could swear wasn’t here before’ exhaust every other option first….and still don’t do that.
The art style is basically identical to Snow Hut here, which is fine, and the live-action shots may be some shots of the tunnel (it’s really hard to tell) and the shot of the footprints, which add nothing to the creepy factor.
Like I said, not the worst entry, but certainly a disappointing one, and definitely a disappointment as a season finale. They didn’t even do anything clever with the narrators this time around outside of change them out every episode, which would be more impacting if the opening showed them in a different area with different kids every time, but it doesn’t. They don’t even alter the end credits. Pfft.
I’ll be releasing the full Yami Shibai 4 review soon enough, but first, I just realized that they released Yami Shibai 5 this year. Yay!
Plot: A boy named Sam (who is totally not Professor Oak) is transported 40 years to the future (Ash and the gang’s present) by the legendary Celebi after outrunning a Pokemon hunter. While trying to find a way back to his time, Sam, Ash and the others have to deal with a new threat who wants to use Celebi for malicious means.
Breakdown: Okay, I’m going to address something that might be confusing to some people reading this—why I don’t bother talking about the American posters for the Pokemon movies. I’ve been making it a habit to analyze the Japanese ones simply because they, for some reason, tend to be bad with the first being downright deplorable. However, the American ones have always been fantastic, in my opinion. The first was simple, yet effective with Mew and Mewtwo facing off and the, at the time, entire roster of Pokemon behind them.
In movie 02, they actually made what is my favorite Pokemon poster with the Pokeball like a planet, Ash’s (? Is that even Ash? He actually looks more like Red…) silhouette with his Pokeball to the sky and surrounded by tons of Pokemon under the legends. That was just fantastic.
The third movie’s was somewhat ripping off the Japanese poster with Entei’s picture, but it was changed up plenty to actually mirror one of the best scenes from the movie.
All of the American posters have gotten rid of the clipart clutter and the pointless additions and have made great posters that I never felt the need to bring up….
What is this? Celebi’s fine. The ripple effect is fine. The lake shot is fine. What is Ash standing on? He’s floating in mid-air or he’s simultaneously standing on an also-floating Suicune and Celebi.
Why is he making that pose? With his hat backwards, that means that’s his capture pose.
Why is IMM almost microscopic, and why is he standing on his spider robot like that?
Why are they showing the God-awful grass monster thing?
Let’s address that title, eh? Pokemon 4Ever? Gee, 4Kids, you must think you’re clever as all hell for not only replacing a part of a word with a number, but also recycling the same for=4 joke thing from your own goddamn name. Ending any title with ‘Forever’ just seems lame anyway.
Though I did praise the poster designers for getting rid of clutter, there’s one character who kinda needed to be in this poster…..Ya know, Sam. The guy who’s supposed to be the other main character? I mean, his spot on the Japanese poster is depressingly small, but at least he was there. He gets nada in America.
Here’s where we kinda start falling off of the nostalgia wagon a bit. I never watched Pokemon movie 04 in theaters simply because it never showed in any theaters close enough to me. And, according to Bulbagarden, that’s not surprising.
Miramax released the movie theatrically in an extremely limited manner, and those theaters that did have the movie never kept it for more than a couple weeks, if that. In addition, this was hindered even further by the fact that they did no advertising for it. In fact, the first time I even found out there was a fourth movie was because I saw a commercial for the DVD release.
Also, while looking at the wiki I found that this movie was a box office bomb (though I knew that much from Dogasu who justified it because of the extremely poor marketing and theatrical release strategy.) but was also critically hated and panned by fans as well. Ouch.
I soon went out and bought the DVD and I never got much into the movie. I like Celebi and Suicune and everything, but after loving movie 03 so much, it just seemed to be not very impressive. Especially with the blech-y CGI. Apparently, this is Dogasu’s favorite of the movies thusfar alongside movie 05 so maybe I’ll see it in a better light once I’m done rewatching it for this review.
By the way, am I the only one kinda pissed at how Raikou was sufficiently snubbed in these movies? Entei gets a whole movie to himself, Suicune gets a significant part here and what does Raikou get? A special three-part episode in Pokemon Chronicles – that series people watched just to see the usually forgotten side characters left behind (IE the BetterThanAsh squad) actually do stuff on their own without Ash. The main characters of the arc he was in, The Legend of Thunder, didn’t even include any known characters – it was three completely new characters made up for those specific episodes. Poor Raikou.
There’s a very significant change between the two versions that I was debating on bringing up here or in the sub review. I would usually bring it up in the sub review, but let’s just address this incredible moment of utmost stupidity that shows that 4Kids thinks so little of their audience that they are actually willing to lose their precious money, quite a lot of it in fact, to shove a plot point into the faces of the audience. But more on that later.
We start with narration from Brock for some reason (Brock killed the other narrator! CALL THE POLICE!) giving us the regular ‘World of Pokemon’ schtick as we see a bunch of Pokemon. I recall this part of the movie specifically because it is one of the extremely rare times you ever see Porygon. Yes, the Pokemon so banned that even its evo stages are sufficiently banned from being shown in the series. They might appear for a second or two, like Porygon does here, but they will never be given spotlight in the show ever again………Even though the whole episode 38 incident was Pikachu’s fault and thus HE should be banned. Ya know, I joke about Messiahchu because he’s so glorified, but if anything Porygon and its evos sacrificed itself for the sake of the show’s mascot. Everyone salute!
The Wiki makes a weird note about this shot – Porygon’s the only Pokemon to be shown behind a chain link fence. What’s that note supposed to imply? That they purposely put Porygon behind the fence to make a statement about the character? “Oh yeah, we let Porygon in this shot, but it’s behind a fence, guys! Don’t worry! You can’t get seizures through a fence! DON’T SUE US!”
After going through the motions of the World of Pokemon opener, we get Ash’s backstory…..Why? I’m all for sprucing up the old footage, but if you’re watching the fourth Pokemon movie, chances are you know Ash’s backstory by heart.
And let me get my nitpicky gloves on. Ahem, Ash wasn’t wearing his regular attire when he got Pikachu. He was wearing his pajamas because he woke up late. In fact, that’s actually somewhat important because he only got Pikachu instead of the Squirtle he wanted because he slept late and was only able to get a leftover Pokemon instead of the three main starters. Yet they actually remember that Pikachu’s Pokeball has a little lightning bolt on it.
I love how they completely omit the fact that Pikachu was a little turdmuffin when he first met Ash. Can’t tarnish Messiahchu’s rep.
Our actual start is in the (Obviously CGI) forest (Because trees need to be CGI) with Celebi being chased by a Houndoom 40 years in the past. Celebi is then pursued by a Scyther and actually gets hit.
We cut to a boy traveling through the forest as he comes across a mysterious tunnel in the path. He is halted by a woman with green hair who tells him the story of the voice of the forest – a spirit who travels through time. She says that the time travel of the voice of the forest is noted by a peculiar sound and if you hear the sound you should stop in your tracks because if it sees you it could whisk you away through time. The boy, Sam, thanks her for her advice and says he’ll be careful. They part ways but not before she gives him a loaf of berry bread as a snack.
Cut back to Celebi’s chase scene where it’s being overpowered by the Houndoom and Scyther who are under the control of a Pokemon hunter. Celebi escapes once more and cries out loudly.
Back with Sam, who has stopped to sketch some things, he hears Celebi’s cries and sees the Pokemon of the forest running away in fright. The pursuit rushes in front of him. He runs towards the three just in time to see Scyther and Houndoom pinning Celebi down. He tries to yell at the Pokemon to leave Celebi alone, but Houndoom shoots a Flamethrower at him to make him leave. Angered by this, Celebi wraps the two up in vines and weakly floats to Sam’s arms.
The Pokemon hunter shows up and demands that he hand Celebi over explaining in unneeded detail what he is and what a Pokemon hunter does. Because of course he’d hand over Celebi after learning he basically enslaves Pokemon and auctions them off to the highest bidder. Sam runs off, but suddenly stumbles. Celebi activates its time travel abilities and whisks them away to the future!
We zoom out of the scene and it turns into a framed picture of the forest. We’re introduced to an older version of the Pokemon Hunter being harassed by some guy in a helmet who is actually the villain of our story…..the *sigh* Iron-Masked Marauder. I don’t really have that many qualms against this guy – he’s more memorable, interesting and threatening than Lawrence ever was, but why, 4Kids? Why the Iron-Masked Marauder? Were you going for a ‘pro-wrestler’ vibe? Because that’s what I’m getting.
He’s trying to get information on Celebi from the Pokemon hunter, but he won’t give it up. Hulk Hogan decides to persuade him by releasing one of the Pokemon the hunter captured, a Tyranitar, from its cage and using a dark ball on him.
A dark ball is a creation of Macho Man Randy Savage where not only does it automatically put any Pokemon you catch under your control (and maybe have a catching ability rivaling that of Master balls – also maybe ignoring that a Pokemon is already captured by someone else) but it also increases their strength to max level. Wow, that’s really OP. Glad they’re never seen or mentioned outside of this movie.
He works for Team Rocket, and they have something like this? Why have they not utilized and mass produced them? They would take over the world in a fortnight. Oh right, Team Rocket actually do something in the anime. Hah.
The now evil Tyranitar is commanded to Hyper Beam the place to ruins, even possibly killing the other captive Pokemon, and in the midst of the destruction the hunter gives up the location of where he found Celebi 40 years ago. Boy, I sure do hope Celebi didn’t travel to this exact time because that would be a heap of trouble.
We get our title screen and I gotta say this is probably 4Kids weakest title screen attempt so far. The animations on the vines look cheap, like something you’d see on an e-card, and the actual title itself is presented like a title of a TV show episode not a movie. Also the 4EVER crap looks twice as dumb in huge bold 3D lettering.…
Wait, title screen!? That means! YAY DUMBASH AND FRIENDS!
This time, Brock and Misty are separated from Ash as they wait at a ferry that will be taking them to their next destination; Don’ttellthemwherethey’regoingbecausethatwouldestablishwhenthismovietakesplace town.
The ferry is about to leave and Ash is going to miss it, so Brock sends out his Crobat to find him. Cut over to Ash who is about to have a Pokemon battle with an Australian trainer….named Dundee. Really bringing your A game in the name department today, huh 4Kids? His Wiki page seems to justify this because he has a Croconaw but no, screw that. Drastically changing a character for no reason on the flimsy basis that he has a crocodile Pokemon? Ya know what? Ash has a mouse Pokemon. Better name him Walt Disney!
I really hate when they set up scenes that very obviously show them in battle stances yet their first dialogue is like they’re meeting that very second, never introduced themselves and didn’t even realize they were going to have a battle.
Dundee chooses his Croconaw and Ash chooses, who else, Pikachu, and we get our altered theme song for the movie, ‘Born to be a Winner’. I always liked Born to be a Winner, and this movie version is pretty good….though I honestly could’ve done without the out of place record scratches.
The battle is rather boring for a movie battle. However, Ash does take this opportunity to prove his dumbness again because, after throwing Croconaw through the air and having him crash into Dundee, leaving both of them on the ground, Ash decides to Thundershock as a final blow. Hitting when the Pokemon is down is low enough, but he actually ends up shocking Dundee too because the two were still getting up from the fall. Nice going, idiot.
As Ash goes to check on Dundee, Crobat calls him over to catch the ferry. And that’s it for your movie opener battle, hope you enjoyed it. The rest is just Ash running to catch the ferry.
As Misty and Brock see Ash running to the ferry, they wave to him and hop on the boat, but Ash is held up by a transport vehicle pulling an insanely long line of trailers with boxes. When it leaves, the ferry has departed and Ash jumps from the second dock to get on the boat. I love this shot because he’s jumping in slow-mo and trying to reach Brock, but as he misses his hand and nearly falls into the water, the song goes ‘Born to be a winner, born to be the very best’. Yes, born to be a winner and the very best that one is.
After the song ends, they speak with the same deckhand who has the voice of Duke Devlin. As he learns that the group is really interested in Pokemon, he tells them that a lot of really unusual ones are near where he lives and he can take them there if they want. They agree and Pikachu spots a Suicune far off in the forest. He alerts Ash and the other to it and they’re able to spot it for a second before it runs off.
Plot: An office worker and her girl friend are out on a trip to a foreign area. They explore many tourist spots, including one odd cave filled with Jizou statues that the locals seemed to avoid. That night, the woman developed a severe pain in her tooth and was forced to seek out a local dentist in the middle of the night to get it checked out. When she arrives, she finds that her toothache is much worse than anything she could’ve imagined.
Breakdown: This had much more potential than what it became. The setup doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s one of those instances where I wouldn’t care much if the scares paid off. They pretty much didn’t.
Teeth is one of the richest wells of easy creepy content. For some reason, a lot of people are creeped out when thinking about teeth or seeing detailed images of teeth or even thinking about going to the dentist. The sound of teeth grinding is also one most people cannot stand. It’s not particularly creepy, but it is one of those sounds that makes you cringe. These topics together can easily make for at least a creepy story.
Instead it basically falls flat and even seems kinda silly. The ending shot was unnerving due to the sounds and cliffhanger, but that was about it.
The live-action shot of the episode was of the dentist holding a pair of pliers as she was about to pull the woman’s tooth. That shot worked very well and added more elements of creepiness to it, but you quickly realize that the dentist is not the bad guy here. Though, honestly, she should’ve told the woman what was going on in order to prevent her from leaving.
All in all, another middle of the road entry.
Episode 10 – Calling Crane
Plot: Bored of mobile phone games, a group of three girls decide to play a creepy game they heard about at school called Calling Crane. You put a razor blade and a red string into a glass of water then write the name of a deceased person on a paper 49 times and turn it into a paper crane. Once you swallow the crane, you’ll be able to talk to the person whose name you’ve written on the paper. It’s all harmless. After all, it’s just a game….right?
Breakdown: Now this is a nice mixture between a classic setup (teenage girls playing a spooky game to talk to the dead) and some interesting and creepy elements that are new and original, for the most part.
Who the hell even thought up this game premise? Even for Japanese horror games, that’s weird. You have to swallow the paper crane? That’s gross and dangerous.
This episode doesn’t really take any turns you don’t really expect it to, but it is still some creepy fun made all the better by the visuals. The lines are much more detailed and made to look fairly realistic. The colors are also done in a very obvious watercolor method.
There are three live-action shots this time around. The first is a shot of the glass with a razor in it, the second is a shot of a broken glass with the razor and string sitting in the water, and the third was a shot of the paper crane. I won’t go into more details on the circumstances of these shots, but they definitely add to the creepiness factor, and I like that they amped up the amount of live-action shots for this one. Given the art style of the regular animation, it fits quite well.
I very much enjoyed this entry and hope to see at least one more like it before the season ends.
Plot: As the turtles finish fixing up their new home after their old one got destroyed by the mouser robots, a news report showcases the newest invention of the world renowned scientist, Baxter Stockman. Shockingly, the unveiled creations are the mouser robots, marketed as a solution to New York’s rampant rat problem, though they’re really attack robots built for the evil Shredder.
Donatello manages to get one of the mousers working again and they follow it as it makes it way back to the enemy’s hideout. They’re knocked off the trail, however, when the mouser bites through the supports for one of the main water lines.
Meanwhile, Stockman’s assistant, April O’Neal, notices some oddities in the mouser’s functioning and Stockman’s behavior, so she decides to investigate. She opens a secret passageway that leads into a mass mouser robot factory, but before she’s able to learn more, Stockman finds her and sics the mouser robots on her.
She runs into the sewers to get away, and the turtles quickly pick the trail of the mousers back up. They destroy all of the robots and save April, who promptly passes out when she sees that her saviors are really humanoid turtles.
This episode wasn’t horribly interesting or action-packed, but it was a good continuation of the plotline from the previous episode, and it introduced us to April and Baxter Stockman. I’m actually very happy at her change into being Baxter’s assistant instead of being a reporter. It gives her more to offer the team (though how much is used is yet to be seen) and it gives her more of a connection to the overall plot. Plus, I’d take that white lab coat over that yellow jumpsuit any day. Nostalgia be damned, that was ugly.
I don’t have much else to say about it. There’s nothing much of note here besides it being a continuation. It was kinda fun, and I can’t find much really wrong with it. I don’t understand why the turtles want to follow the mousers so badly if they know Stockman is the one making them. And I know New York does have a bad rat problem, but no one’s really questioning the….risks or…logic involved in the mouser robots? PETA’s not complaining about the fact that they just aired a news segment where a foot-tall robot with razor-sharp teeth just ate a bunch of rats? Also, poor Donny thinking he disabled the mouser’s jaws and it didn’t take.
I love Donny, okay?
Also, despite not making an appearance yet, I learned Casey Jones will be voiced by Marc Thompson. So that’s nice.
Plot: A prequel to the popular horror game, Dead Space, Downfall centers around the story of the first and second attacks on Aegis VII, as well as what really happened on the planet cracker ship the USG Ishimura. Security Chief Alissa Vincent and her crew are dispatched to rescue any and all survivors when the colony on Aegis VII suffers from a rash of suicides and sudden murders after uncovering a strange alien artifact. When the Ishimura tries to recover the artifact, whatever spread over Aegis VII starts to infect those within the Ishimura.
Breakdown: I absolutely love Dead Space (Well, the first two anyway. Three was a disappointment to me) It’s one of my favorite game franchises. However, since homework is poo, we’ll be mostly focusing on how this movie fares as a standalone.
Dead Space is a very, very, very bloody and gorey series. The death scenes are usually incredibly graphic and even the way you defeat the alien creatures, known as necromorphs, is pretty damn brutal. Necromorphs are more or less immune to bullets. The only way they can really be destroyed is through lopping off their limbs and finishing them off by stomping on their bodies. You can also defeat them by setting them on fire and blowing them to bits, but the aforementioned method is the most common.
This movie does not fail in matching the bloodbath of the video game by a long shot. Many characters die in ridiculously gorey ways. One of which being so bad I actually cringed and looked away for a second, which is rare for me to do in a horror movie.
But we’re not here for the gore, we’re here for the scares. This movie is a bit more faltering in that area. There’s not a whole lot of ambiance to absorb and it’s mostly just hopping from one action scene to another. Downfall is really at its best from a horror standpoint when it’s focusing on the insanity that the crew is falling victim to. One of the most harrowing things about this story is that it doesn’t really matter if you survive because the marker is slowly making everyone go insane anyway. Even if you manage to get through the necromorphs and hide away somewhere, you’ll probably die on accident or be driven to suicide. Being in a group isn’t any better either since the insane ones in the group will most likely just start killing the others.
Sadly, the psychological torment that befalls much of the crew only delivers a few creepy and unnerving moments.
The necromorphs are scary in themselves. Necromorphs are both alien creatures by themselves and reanimated corpses mutated with alien features. Most necromorphs, particularly the ones featured in this movie, are slashers, which are mostly humanoid creatures with giant blades protruding from the arms.
However, we also have the annoying infectors, which are flying necromorphs,
the depressing lurkers, which are tentacle’d necromorphs made from babies
and swarmers that can kiss my ass.
Each have their own special abilities for killing and infecting other people, and all of which are varying degrees of frightening.
Story-wise, this one is rather simple, most of the better stuff reserved for the actual video game. It’s a pretty cut and dry ‘we tread where we don’t belong and now we’re fucked’ stories.
A mysterious alien artifact, known as the marker, is found by miners on Aegis VII. The church of unitology, essentially a cult in the Dead Space universe (and, yes, likely based on scientology in some respects, though the creators deny this) dispatch a crew on the planet cracker, the USG Ishimura, to retrieve the artifact and bring it back to earth. Unitologists believe the markers are sacred religious artifacts that are key in bringing eternal life and paradise to the human race. I won’t go into the true meaning and purpose behind the markers because they don’t explore it in the movie and it’s ultimately unimportant to this review. The point is, because of the marker, people on Aegis VII and eventually the Ishimura start going crazy and falling victim to the necromorphs, killing each other and killing themselves.
Alissa Vincent, Chief of Security on the Ishimura, is set out, albeit against the wishes of the captain, Mathius, who is secretly a unitologist, to rescue any survivors on board the Ishimura once the infection reaches the ship.
After that, it’s mostly a lot of action, necro killing, death scenes and ultimately pointless rescues because everyone dies.
I’m not going to apologize for no ‘spoiler alert’, and I’m not saying this because I’ve played the games – the movie itself tells you at the very start that everyone’s dead, including Alissa.
In regards to characters, that’s a major weak point of the story. There’s a rather sizable cast here, but mostly everyone is left with the same angry personality, spouting out the same lines you’d hear in any horror movie, such as those akin to ‘we don’t have time for this’ ‘hurry up’ ‘stop foolin’ around.’ etc. etc. It’s understandable that everyone’s on edge, but it’s not like they act any different before everything starts going to hell.
Alissa’s crew have a few lines of banter that make you think they might be close, but that’s about it. I barely remember anything about Hanson. I don’t even remember the big guy’s name. Shen’s only memorable because of her weird-ass haircut and the fact that she is frustratingly inept in most of her scenes only to become a badass in her final scene. The only characters who have any sort of real personality or backstory are Ramirez and Samuel Irons, an engineer and unitologist that they meet along the way. Ramirez seems like a slight lovable goofball and he gives us a drive-by of his backstory in one of those ‘I die in the next five minutes, so might as well tell my story’ scenes. Samuel Irons is interesting in how he seems to be very wise and skilled, but we don’t know anything else about him.
Even Alissa is, sadly, entirely uninteresting. She’s the most angry of the group and really does nothing but boss people around and swear. She gets no backstory and no layers to her personality. She’s fairly honorable and wants to do anything to save people, but that’s about it.
She also makes some stupid decisions – the biggest one being stopping Kyne from crashing the ship into the planet. He wanted to destroy the marker and stop the infection from reaching earth. Alissa wanted to save whatever survivors were on the Ishimura, even though such a feat would be incredibly unlikely at this point, so she beat the hell out of him and stopped the ship from crashing down….only to realize literally minutes later that everyone else was likely dead, she was screwed either way, and she had to sacrifice herself to get a warning message out about it. And what does the message say? She tells them to destroy the marker at all costs….Good job.
I guess it could be argued that she was acting irrationally due to the marker’s influence, but I doubt it. She only starts acting weird after she does this.
The most interesting story is happening on the bridge with Captain Mathius and Dr. Kyne, both of which being closet unitologists who are the only ones who know that the main point of this mission is to bring back the marker to earth, not to help those on Aegis VII.
For those Dead Space fans, there are some continuity errors created by this movie, but nothing that breaks the story or universe. One of the main things I believe most Dead Space fans would want to see in a Dead Space prequel is Nicole and, sadly, she just barely gets a cameo if the person in this movie is even her.
Alissa and Ramirez infiltrate a room where a bunch of medical personnel are holding themselves up because a bunch of slashers are banging on the door. One of the personnel is seen crying under a table and Alissa tries to get her to leave. She asks her if she has a boyfriend, she says yes. She asks if she wants to see him again, she says yes and they leave. This interaction seemed very weird and out of place when I first saw it, mostly because it seems odd to suddenly establish a connection with a flash in the pan nameless character, and because it seemed like such an odd question to ask. Most people would ask ‘do you have any family?’ or maybe a husband or kids or something. I was sitting there wondering why she immediately jumped to ‘boyfriend’.
It wasn’t until I was doing some post-watch research on the Dead Space Wiki that I became aware that this was supposed to be Nicole, Isaac’s (the game’s main character) girlfriend…supposedly.
It’s not confirmed that this is her. They just surmise this based on how she looks and the fact that Alissa specifically asked about her having a boyfriend.
The art and animation are done by Film Roman, who have done work on The Simpsons, King of the Hill and Family Guy, but, trust me, this style is much more reminiscent of their other work, X-men Evolution. I was constantly thinking about that show when looking at this art before I even knew who produced it.
The animation definitely has its hiccups and it’s not as fluid as X-Men Evolution, but it’s not too bad.
The CGI shots, which are pretty well-done and integrated, are done by EA, the producers of the game. The only shots I question are the first shot of the Infector and the shot of Alissa against a huge herd of necros.
The music is very fitting, but not very memorable. I did squee a little when Twinkle Twinkle Little Star played, though.
The voice acting is pretty good with some of the more notable actors being Jim Cummings as Mathius and Kevin Michael Richardson as Samuel Irons. Alissa’s voice kinda got on my nerves, but she was acting pretty well.
Bottomline: Whether you’re a Dead Space fan or if you’ve never played the games at all, this is a pretty good horror movie that also acts as a nice setup for the first game. It’s not super scary, but it’s certainly never boring and there are some really awesome scenes of both action and horror here. The biggest weaknesses are the lack of characterization in Alissa and her crew and some craggy animation.
Recommended Audience: Like the games, this movie is incredibly gorey. People get slowly sliced in half vertically, there’s organs and bones everywhere, even if it’s not incredibly detailed, there’s a lot of slicing people and nercos to bits, people get their heads blown off and there’s one scene where a character dies due to having a hypodermic needle getting crammed into their eye. There’s also a lot of swearing, particularly by Alissa, and while there’s no sex, there is one scene of lower-bit male nudity in the bathroom. 17+
Plot: A man on a shopping outing with his wife visits the restroom for a minute when he hears non-stop footsteps outside of the stall.
Breakdown: I can’t really decide if this episode was good or bad. On one hand, the footsteps were unnerving as they increased in intensity, and the final shot was kinda spooky. Plus the narrator for this episode is a fantastic story teller with his voice. On the other hand, this is another Yami Shibai episode that takes place in a toilet….Also, they kinda stretch for the spooky atmosphere here by making the stall very dark when it logically shouldn’t be. A bathroom in a crowded mall being mostly dark? Why?
It also has a confusing ‘story’. I guess the marks on the wall were sigils to ward off whatever was making the footstep noises, but why write them in such easily removable ink? Why is whatever is haunting this bathroom haunting this bathroom?
Middle of the road material, I suppose.
The live-action shots of the episode were just shots of him holding his phone, which has already been done and doesn’t add to the atmosphere or story at all.
Episode 8 – Cassette Tape
Plot: A young man is returning to his old childhood home for the wedding of one of his childhood friends. As he rustles through the stuff preserved perfectly in his old bedroom, he finds a tape titled ‘What happened today?’, which turns out to be an old audio journal he kept as a child. As he listens with nostalgia, he realizes that something is odd about what he’s saying and how he’s speaking. He soon has no recollection of the odd things he seems to be noting as the tape continues. So….what happened today?
Breakdown: Now we’re getting back into the good ol’ funk of the original Yami Shibai….but ultimately ending a bit flat.
This is just some nice psychological screwing that unnerves you from nearly the instant the tape starts. Also, the shot of the tape playing is the live-action shot for the episode, giving it a tad more creepiness.
The ending, while being ominous, is also very open-ended, which is why it’s somewhat flat. There’s some weird box that he keeps bringing up, but we never see the box or have any indication what’s inside it.
All in all, one of the stronger entries in this season. Just needed a firmer landing.
Plot: Four convicts all with life sentences awaken after being drugged to find themselves in an abandoned prison. It’s a race to get out…if they can.
Breakdown: This is a one-shot OVA that came paired with another OVA called Coicent which I will be reviewing later. Right now, let’s focus on Five Numbers!
Five people, four convicts with life sentences are stuck in an abandoned prison – no guards, no nothing. All they have is each other and a cat. There’s a woman codenamed R21 or Sting who was a gambler and possibly con artist, a man codenamed N35 or Pinch-Hitter who embezzled money and also holds a secret related to the situation, a young girl codenamed R12 or FlashTradeKiller who is a hacker who purposely caused the financial network to crumble, and a teenage boy codenamed N17 or Pokerface whose reasons for being convicted are not stated and me explaining who he is would be a spoiler.
There’s also an old man in the prison who is actually there of his own free will for also spoilery reasons codenamed Enplein or VO and his cat, Coupier. None of their real names are given and they refer to each other by their numbers which I believe are also supposed to signify their ages.
I can’t give too much away as I don’t feel this is one of those titles I want to go through beat by beat, but I will say that the premise is extremely interesting and the OVA has some very cool ideas. However, this is merely a one-shot which means there’s no real building upon these ideas, which is a real shame.
That’s not to say the OVA ends on a cliffhanger or anything. There are several twists thrown in that are pretty shocking, especially the one at the very end.
It’s just very disappointing that there’s not more of this. You can easily extend this premise out further into a very short OVA of like six episodes, but it’s over in one episode.
Bottomline: If you like short stories that are both interesting yet dark at the same time, you’ll probably enjoy this very much but wish there were at least a bit more to it.
Art and Animation: All of this is done in CGI, which is for the most part fine. It’s done in that kind of way that looks like it’s only half cel-shaded and outlined, which actually works really well. The character models are decent. They look kinda video-gamey though. Also the animaton for the humans is kinda stiff sometimes, but overall fine.
Music: The music’s also fine. The ending’s catchy and done in Italian for whatever reason.
Additional Information and Notes: Five Numbers! Was written by Dai Sato, who has done writing work on Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Wolf’s Rain. It was directed by Hiroaki Ando, CGI director of Steamboy and director of Gambo. It was produced by Sunrise and is currently licensed in the US by Sentai Filmworks.
Runtime: 25 minutes
Recommended Audience: Eh, the ending is not a happy one. Though you never see anything happen on camera, it’s heavily implied that something severe is about to happen. Other than that, no gore, swearing, nudity, sex, or anything. 10+
A humble, but mostly less than half-assed, blog of a pessimistic Otaku that was saved by Anime first, Manga then, just to be saved once again by Light Novels and Visual Novels; and thus wishes to share the beautiful world that is 2D. Yet, you will find mostly rants. Also available at 7thStyle.