Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) | Chaotic

Plot: The trading card game, Chaotic, is sweeping the world by storm. Tom and his best friend, Kaz, love the game and play with their other friends all the time. When Tom gets a mysterious code for Chaotic, Kaz tells him it’s a special password in order to enter the REAL world of Chaotic. Tom doesn’t believe him until he finally gives in and inputs the code into his scanner. Turns out, Kaz was right. Tom is instantly transported to a virtual world where Chaotic players gather to have ‘real’ Chaotic battles, with themselves as the creatures. In his first game, Tom chooses his favorite creature, Maxxor, and faces off against his opponent, who takes the form of a Takinom. Tom can certainly win his fair share of card games, but can he find a way to win when he’s playing for real?

Breakdown: I have been aware of Chaotic for a while, but never gave it a chance in the past. When I wrote about the whole huge mess with 4Kids and Chaotic in my retrospective blog post series, I became very curious about the series and game. Since the TCG hasn’t been re-released yet as far as I know, nor has the online version of the game, and I’m not particularly interested in buying the old cards, especially since they seem expensive, I decided to just watch the cartoon series.

The series is entirely available on Peacock (And Tubi) for free, so that was lucky.

As for the first episode…..it’s one of the messiest first episodes I’ve seen for a show in recent memory.

I came out of it not only not understanding how the hell to play Chaotic even a little bit (they never once play a full or even half game in the entire first episode, and we only see a few cards) but I’m also entirely confused as to what even happened to Tom when he entered Chaotic, what the ‘real’ world of Chaotic even is, and they had the gall to end the episode by circling around to the literal cliffhanger that was at the start of the episode in a flashback and barely continuing it at all before putting a ‘To Be Continued’ on the screen and ending it.

I get that this is a two-parter, but at least do something more substantial with your part one to help the audience understand what the hell is going on or make things interesting.

To summarize, the episode starts with a fire-wielding harpy-esque character named Takinom, chasing after and attacking a muscly green dude named Maxxor through a frozen tundra. He’s cornered on a cliffside, our main character, Tom, explains in narration that he is actually Maxxor, Takinom blows fire on him and then the theme song starts. After the theme song, we flash back to how he got in that situation.

Tom is a new-ish/not new (?) player to Chaotic, which is a TCG that has an online version of the game where you can enter codes to obtain digital copies of your real cards, just like the TCG and online game 4Kids and CUSA acquired and adapted for the US. Tom is playing Chaotic with some random guy after school in the cafeteria, which….why wouldn’t you do that literally anywhere else? Unless it’s a legitimate after-school activity, most schools don’t allow you to just hang out in the school for any reason, let alone to play trading card games. There are so many kids there just hanging out in cafeteria – it’s like no one went home.

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It’s not just that they’re there when they shouldn’t be, it’s also weird because what kid wants to just hang out at school after hours, unless, again, you were part of an after-school activity? Usually any kid would want to be anywhere else BUT school – their house, a friend’s house, a local hangout, a rec center, a park, a basketball court, etc. That looks like a really nice school in a nice area. I can’t imagine aren’t options.

But whatever, they montage this game in about 20 seconds so you really have no clue what’s going on. They attack each other, Tom says something about sending his opposing monster to Nauthilax, his enemy’s energy is depleted, and that’s it. That is the first, and, no I’m not kidding, only time we see this game played in the entire episode. I never thought I’d say this, but, Bakugan, you have been surpassed in awful game explanations. I at least had some minor degree of understanding how Bakugan worked a little when I saw the first episode, and at least they showed a full game. Not Chaotic. Who cares about properly explaining that game this cartoon was literally created to help advertise?

After he wins, he gets a message over the game. It automatically opens, and a password pops up on his screen that makes his best friend, Kaz, super excited because he knows that’s a special invitation to the real world of Chaotic where he can play for real. Why he got this for just beating some rando at school, I have no idea. Kaz has been a part of the real Chaotic for a while and excitedly told Tom stories about it, but Tom never believed him. Considering Kaz is yelling all of this information in a crowded cafeteria and has told Tom about it a lot, I’d guess it’s not a secret. But also, like….no one seems to know about it? Even rumors? There are a lot of people in Chaotic when they get there – how is this not more common? I know that would be a really difficult thing to believe without proof, but there would be chatter about it.

Then again, maybe they wouldn’t, because apparently these kids are all 15 years old. I was about to criticize this further, but then I remembered all of the characters in Yu-Gi-Oh! are in the their mid to late teens….

Anyway, Tom blows him off until Kaz calls him in a panic in the middle of the night. He tells him he has to input the code into his scanner before midnight otherwise the offer to join the real Chaotic will end. Why exactly isn’t this information given in the message that contains the password? What if you need to wait to input the code? What if you don’t have access to your scanner for a few days? What if you don’t personally know someone who has already been to Chaotic? What if you don’t want to input the code at all because it’s some random code on a blank message from no one?

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Also, if you’re wondering what the scanner is for, apparently, later in the show, they can scan real creatures to get information on them I think – like a Pokedex. It also kinda works as a smartphone in that it’s also a camera, can be used for video chat, has a music player and a flashlight. As for the purpose of the scanner in their real lives in regards to the game, I have no idea. Chaotic cards have codes on them that are manually input into the online game to create digital copies of your cards – they’re not scanned. I have to wonder if 4Kids originally planned to make the real life cards scannable, including creating a real scanner kids would have to use to scan the cards, but then realized that was too expensive or impractical or something so they opted to keep the code system instead but forgot that made the scanner concept nonsensical in the TV series.

The scanners really have no real world purposes for the game, so why do they even exist? Why do any of these players buy them? Kaz tells him to input the code into his scanner, but also the scanner doesn’t have a keyboard, not even a virtual one, it just has a d-pad like thing, so I can’t imagine it’s for the purpose of inputting codes. Since the game is played online, you can probably just input the codes on your laptop.

Tom gives in, and, when he inputs the code, it at first seems like it didn’t work. His screen flashes, goes black and the scanner won’t turn back on. He then throws the scanner out the window into the garbage can on the sidewalk like a douchebag. Yeah, I imagine that scanner was expensive, you little shit. And I bet anything your parents paid for it. Don’t try to troubleshoot it, don’t see if you can get it fixed, just chuck it out the window into the garbage. Don’t tell me Dan has competition for one of the most obnoxious gaming show protagonists too….

Anyway, that’s not what happened….but it also is? In narration, Tom says that’s what happened, but he didn’t realize that there was more. We then cut to the ‘more’ in question. When Tom hit the button, he actually did go to Chaotic…..only not really? The best I can guess is that a duplicate of himself was sent to Chaotic – one that his real-world self is not aware of? How? Why? Dunno. They don’t explain anything.

When he gets there, it’s not any better. They basically just tell him “Hi Tom! Let’s get you to your first match!” without explaining where he is, what happened to him, how he got there, what the hell’s going on, why he’s being forced into a Chaotic match minutes after he got there and everyone knows he’s new, nothing.

Luckily, Kaz does help him a bit with setup through his scanner, but other than explaining how the interface works and giving him a hint about his opponent, he doesn’t explain anything else. Which you’d think he would because there’s that whole thing about him becoming the Chaotic creature and getting into a ‘real’ battle with another Chaotic creature would be something you should discuss a bit.

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When he is turned into Maxxor and his opponent into Takinom, he obviously has no clue what’s going on, what to do, how to utilize any of the game mechanics or anything – he just does what anyone would do in his situation and runs away. Kaz and a bunch of other players are watching the match from the lobby, and Kaz just acts horribly embarrassed for him and facepalms at the fact that he’s not playing properly, which, of course he’s not, no one’s telling him anything.

The end of the episode, like I said, is just barely a continuation of the first scene. Tom/Maxxor is cornered on a cliff by Takinom, who attacks him with fire. The continuation is that the fire causes Tom to fall off the cliff. We get a “To be continued” as Tom is falling and that’s it. They haven’t established any stakes here. This Tom isn’t real, right? His real self is still in his room, right? I can’t imagine him dying (or even getting hurt) in the game is akin to dying in real life because then narrator!Tom wouldn’t have been able to act as if the stuff about real Chaotic was something he learned about later. In addition, if this is a real Chaotic game, then I’d imagine him ‘dying’ at this point would just result in his creature dying and then moving on.

What even happens if he loses the game? I can’t imagine they bar him from Chaotic or anything. I don’t get it. What is on the line here? I doubt even kids would find tension in this.

It’s just so baffling. 4Kids – the kings of overexplaining every single thing – made a show where they just don’t explain anything out the gate.

I didn’t even touch upon the fact that the art and animation are awful. I know that they switch studios after season one from Bardel Entertainment to Dong Woo Animation and the art and animation get better for seasons two and three (Looking ahead though….not that much better. Definitely much better art, but the animation is still pretty rough.), but wow, this is just bad. It reminds me so much of the art and animation from those old eSurance commercials with that Erin lady. Old Flash animation leaves a lot to be desired as is, but this is not good.

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Overall, I’m kinda torn. If I had just watched this without doing all that research on Chaotic beforehand, I’d most likely drop it, but the fanbase seems to genuinely enjoy the show as much as the game. Bryan Gannon, head of Chaotic USA, said he planned on continuing the show, not rebooting it, which means there must be something to the story worth keeping, I’d assume.

I’ll probably wind up finishing this series just casually, maybe throwing out a review here or there, maybe for full seasons, but this, as a first episode, just failed so badly that I feel like I can’t really suggest it. There are several more card game or gaming related shows out there that I’d recommend way above Chaotic. I guess I’ll just leave this as an undecided and make firmer opinions down the line.

Verdict:

Continue Uncertain


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Animating Halloween | Yami Shibai 10 Episodes 1 and 2 Review

Episode 1: A Job to Quit

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Plot: A man asks his friend’s advice on quitting his job when he shares an emotionally draining aspect of his work.

Breakdown: New Animating Halloween, new Yami Shibai, let’s GO!

Our first episode of this season involves mannequins, so we’re already starting strong. A man works at a mannequin factory with the specific job of checking for defects. The defects in question are any mannequin heads with the ability to talk. He is forced to throw the mannequin heads into the incinerator if they can talk, forcing him to listen to their screams as they melt away. He asks his friend if he should quit his job because the emotional turmoil is getting to be too much for him, and that’s about all I feel like spoiling for this one.

I think this is a very strong episode to start us off on. Some really creepy visuals, some legitimately scary screams and it fits very well within the five minute format. It, for once, doesn’t leave off on a cliffhanger. I really enjoyed it.

Our opening this season is a rather blasé shot of the narrator in an empty playground presenting the story to no one. The ending is much more interesting. It shows the narrator in an empty auditorium and he takes his mask off as he’s about to leave. While we don’t see his face, we do see the inner side of the mask, and it’s all dark and has a few red seals in it.

The ED is okay. It’s a bit of a rough listen because it’s mostly just acoustic guitar with vocals. It’s like someone threw it together on the fly. But does that make it bad or does it add to the unsettling ambiance? You be the judge.

Episode 2: Ending Note

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Plot: A trio of siblings clean out the apartment of their estranged father after his passing until they find a heartbreaking note.

Breakdown: Excuse me. Let me just pick my jaw off the floor.

Sometimes, Yami Shibai can be quite sweet. In certain stories, the darkness of the tale lies in the sadness and tragedy or the bittersweet situation – not in horror. I really thought this one was heading in that direction.

Hoo boy, was I wrong.

I don’t want to spoil this one either besides saying that I’m not 100% certain on how much I like the twist at the end. It was indeed creepy and definitely shocking, but it was one of those endings where I ultimately felt more sad than anything. That’s not a bad thing, though, so I don’t know if I can find it within myself to ding it for that.

Overall, this episode was certainly well-written and managed to throw me for a loop in a fairly good way.

So far, I’m quite impressed with how this season is turning out, and it seems many fans are having similar responses. Hopefully, the season maintains this momentum throughout the entire run.


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Animating Halloween | Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight – Episode 1: Can’t Be Seen, Can’t Be Heard Review

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Plot: Mayama is relentlessly bullied in a group chat. She has no friends and lives a miserable life. A fellow loner named Yukawa befriends her and is seemingly the only other person in her class who doesn’t bully her. She finally has a friend….or so it seems.

Breakdown: What wonderful timing to break back into our final season of Hell Girl. Almost poetic that a show I kept returning to each Halloween season is getting its final anime review set on Halloween. I promise I didn’t plan this – it just worked out very well.

So…..Fourth Twilight….The last Hell Girl anime season. To say I was disappointed by season three is definitely an understatement, but what concerned me most of all was that, despite season three getting some good response for whatever reason, season four was considered awful by many more people. The main issue is something we’ll get to in about five more episodes, but for now let’s try to be nice. Let’s be hopeful.

This might actually be okay.

This might actually be better than most people give it credit for.

This might start off with an endless barrage of people in a group chat calling the protagonist “gasball” and making fun of her farting and getting gassy after eating potatoes……

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*sigh* It’s gonna be a long frickin’ 12 episodes. Or seven episodes.

Okay, let me back up.

Mayama is being bullied in a group chat populated by her classmates that she keeps reading all day every day. They harp on practically nothing else but calling her a gasball and saying she smells of farts because she eats a lot of potatoes. The gasball thing is meant to be a double-whammy insult because it’s also calling her fat. They say she’s so filled with gas that she’s swelling up.

A few things – 1: She’s never seen or…uh…heard, farting. Never even like a flashback to a time when she farted and it was a big embarrassing moment or anything.

2: There’s never any indication that she smells even slightly bad.

3: She’s considered chubby? She doesn’t look any different from any other girl in this school.

4: She’s never shown once eating potatoes.

5: Is the title meant to be a play on the term “Silent but deadly”? Because I will burn this whole season to the ground if they made a fart pun out of the title of the first episode. Or any episode. I better just be imagining things, I swear to god.

I know that teenagers are just awful, and I know that making fun of people for things that aren’t true isn’t uncommon either, and I also know that cyberbullying is horrible, especially when you get locked in a habit of being unable to simply not read the messages, but this just seems silly. Constantly harping on her farting when it’s both untrue and juvenile would seem stupid to so many of these teenagers. Mayama both lost her father (it’s unclear if he abandoned the family or died) and is, for some reason, considered overweight – two things that most asshole kids would more likely jump on.

They later showed that this whole group started with things that actually were at least partially true about Mayama – namely that she’s too passive and apologizes too much, making her annoying.

Mayama is befriended by the flippant fellow loner, Yukawa, who spends most of her time on her phone listening to music and ignoring people. Yukawa wants to be her friend since they’re both loners. She even makes a group chat for them, and one other person named Yokota, since they’re all loners, which kinda defeats the meaning of being a loner, but whatever. It’s quite clear that Yukawa will betray Mayama at some point. It’s not even slightly subtle. She’s not likable at all. She’s uncaring and cold and acts as if ignoring each other while sitting in close proximity counts as friendship.

Earlier, Mayama had tried to contact Hell Girl to send someone to hell as revenge for her bullying, but both Ai and Kikuri knew that she didn’t truly know for certain who she wanted to send to hell. There were too many people for her to know. They decided to let her think about her final choice for a while and left her. Once Mayama befriended Yukawa, it seemed like she had an outlet for her feelings, she had a friend, she wasn’t focusing on the cyberbullying anymore, and it seemed like they may have actually lost a client….but of course it’s not that simple.

Mayama had become kinda beloved in the little three-person group chat because she was constantly telling Yukawa and Yokota about how she wants all of her classmates to die and also explained the manners in which she wanted them to die.

One day at school, her classmates all start acting very scared of her. Mayama gets to her desk and sees an open laptop with the three-person group chat up and her awful messages on display. Now everyone is both still cyberbullying her and is scared of her because of what they read in that chat.

Mayama doesn’t believe Yukawa would do such a thing, so she rushes off to another classroom to find Yokota. When she believes she’s found Yokota, she tells her who she is, but all she does is laugh in return. For some reason, this makes Yukawa believe that Yokota isn’t the one who put the laptop up and believes it has to be Yukawa.

Mayama calls on Hell Girl again, this time knowing for sure she wants to send Yukawa to hell. This time, Ai agrees and gives her the straw doll. She later meets with Yukawa in the park to get the full truth. Yukawa admits that she started the cyberbullying chat. One day, Yukawa bumped into Mayama, causing Mayama to drop her cell phone. She apologized, which pissed Yukawa off. She felt it was annoying and weak for a person to be bumped into, drop their own phone and then apologize to the person who bumped into them. She was so annoyed by this one interaction that she started a group chat to talk about how annoying Mayama is. She even started the “gasball” thing and the stuff about her farting after eating potatoes.

She admits all of that, but says that she felt bad about how far it went. She didn’t realize that people wouldn’t let up. She felt so bad about it that she befriended Mayama. However, she denies that she was the one who put the laptop on her desk. Mayama doesn’t believe her because she’s the only person who could have done it. Fed up with her lies, she pulls the string, sending Yukawa to hell.

While silly, the one highlight of this episode is the hell torture. Because, for a change, it’s actual torture. Sure, her having a giant cell phone for a head is silly, but the fact that they turned her organs into data and deleted them, literally, was horrifying.

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However, as per usual following up season three, things aren’t as clear cut as they seem. Once Yukawa has been sent to hell, Mayama basically turns into a clone of her. She just constantly listens to music on her phone and ignores everyone. She also doesn’t apologize to anyone when she bumps into them. But then, plot twist, she gets a message on the three-person group chat from Yokota, whom she believed was Yukawa pretending to be someone else on a spoof account. Turns out there were two Yokotas in the other classroom, and Mayama met the wrong one. Yokota was the one who put the laptop on Mayama’s desk, but why he did that is still a mystery.

This story isn’t that bad, to be honest. Some of the aspects about it are really stupid, and bullying being a motivation is something we’ve seen many times before, but it’s never not relevant in life so it’s fine. The plot twist at the end really did get me. I knew 100% that Yukawa would turn out to be a bad person, but I didn’t see the Yokota twist coming. That was a pretty good twist.

However, it’s not one of those twists where I’m like “Ooh nooo, she sent the wrong person to hell!” because Yukawa did start the bullying, and it was for a monumentally stupid reason. Just because it got out of hand and she decided to be her friend to make up for it doesn’t matter a whole lot, especially since she wasn’t even really a good friend. She ignored her most of the time in real life, was rude to Mayama’s mother and they basically just had a “Who else you want to die?” “This person!” “Oh who else you want to die!?” go around in the three-person group chat.

I don’t even know if I can say Yokota was more in the wrong because making fun of someone for farting is one thing – having a long stream of messages about how you want all of your classmates to die and explaining the manners in which you want them to die? That’s some psycho-ass behavior. Yokota wasn’t right for putting those messages up for display, and I still don’t understand why he did it, but Mayama also wasn’t right at all for saying those things.

You may be wondering what our main storyline of the entire series is going to be. That is also introduced a bit in this episode. A girl clad in green, and I mean entirely, like her eyes and hair are even green, whom we’ll later learn is named Michiru, appears to Ai and keeps telling her what she’s doing is wrong. Maybe the world doesn’t need a Hell Girl anymore.

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And that’s pretty much it for now.

Ai also has a spiffy new kimono, which is very pretty.

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Also, Kikuri’s not a wind-up doll anymore….somehow….for some reason…..yay?

The art and animation for this season are definitely a little different. I can’t really determine if I like it. What stands out most is the fact that the colors are a bit more saturated than they have been in the past, and the lineart is kinda off and on with looking crisp and looking very janky. I really hated the design of Mayama’s eyes. They’re shaped terribly and look too big.

The OP and ED are pretty good. They haven’t clicked with me as much as previous seasons, but maybe they’ll grow on me more.

I’m really hoping that the season will be okay in spite of what happens from episode seven onward. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt, Fourth Twilight. Please deliver in some way.

Next episode….


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Tokyo Mew Mew New | Episode 1: Wait, What?! I’m a Superhero Now?! Meow! Review

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Oh should I say re-MEW?! Ahahahahahahaha! Ahaha…Hah…..*cough*

Well, the Tokyo Mew Mew reboot came out recently. I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t notice because it’s basically been silent on all fronts since it came out. That actually kinda concerned me. I mean, I guess no news is good news…..or good MEWS! Ahahahaha….hah….That 4Kids retrospective kinda broke me. I apologize.

But outside a few mentions here and there, I haven’t heard anyone actually discussing it. It’s like the Shaman King reboot. I barely heard a word about that once it was finally out even though people waited for it forever.

I, personally, was interested in what direction they would go with it. Would they rely more on the anime version, try to be more loyal to the manga or would they just do their own thing? Or even some melding of all three?

Well, after watching the first episode, I can tell you that it definitely seems like it’s trying to be more its own thing than anything while also trying to be more loyal to the manga than the original anime did. If it takes anything from the anime, it’s that it tries a lot harder to give the others girls spotlight, which I am very, very thankful for. So far, they’re actually getting more focus than they even got in the original anime, which is very nice.

I’m not going to be doing another AniManga Clash on this series for the reboot, but I will try to bring up the differences as much as memory allows.

As in the manga, all of the Mews are in the endangered species exhibit on the day that their powers are given to them. Ichigo is there with Aoyama on a date, and Shirogane and Akasaka choose this as their moment to shoot off their……Pbbbt Mew Mew beam or whatever that is. In the hubbub, Ichigo and Aoayama accidentally have their first kiss (which is unlike the original anime where it was changed to Quiche stealing her first kiss). After that, Ichigo wakes up to Aoyama checking up on her when a Chimera Anima attacks. I know I’ve called them Chimera AnimaLs in the past, but that was a habit born from the subs I was reading. I will refer to them as Chimera Animas from now on.

Aoyama is knocked unconscious, Shirogane saves Ichigo from the Chimera Anima and tells her about her transformation powers, telling her to transform into Mew Ichigo to defeat the Chimera Anima. She manages to do so and that’s pretty much it.

There are some key differences between the reboot and the manga and original anime, however.

Ichigo seemingly doesn’t know Aoyama at all during the start of this show. Their story is still roughly kept the same, but Ichigo seemingly knew Aoyama for a while and had a crush on him for some time at the start of both the manga and the original anime. They weren’t super close or anything, but she clearly had spoken to him a few times and had a crush on him, and she was confident enough in her standing with him to ask him out right at the start.

I’m not sure how much I care about this change. I think it kinda made their development go by a little too fast in this version. She goes from not knowing who he is to being intense about wanting to get to know him, leading her and her friends to basically covertly gather intel to asking him on a date in only a few minutes. Not saying it’s unrealistic because these are teenagers we’re dealing with, but I preferred the pacing that the original manga and anime went through is all.

However, to kinda balance that out, I did greatly appreciate that Ichigo was honest with Aoyama about the circumstances involving their date. Usually in situations like this, the protagonist would just lie and pretend that they’re interested in the stuff their crush is interested in just because they want to get all up in that goodness, especially when asked about the topic as Aoyama does to Ichigo here. However, Ichigo was actually honest with Aoyama when he asked how long she had been interested in conservation and told him that she just got the tickets to the exhibit and thought it would be interesting to go with him. She even got really into the subject matter when Aoyama started explaining everything to her.

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I do think it was kinda silly for a teenage girl to not know what “endangered” means. “Red data animal” I get because that’s not a common phrase, but most people know what “endangered” means.

Anyway, while it was the slightest bit preachy, I did like how much Ichigo got into it. Plus, this series just tends to be a tiny bit preachy by default, so it’s alright.

The second biggest change to the series kinda shocked me. Mint, for some reason and somehow, already has her powers and is teamed up with Shirogane and Akasaka before Ichigo even goes to the endangered animal exhibit. She also goes to her school and helped arrange Ichigo to be at the exhibit supposedly to set up her being imbued with the powers.

This confused me so much, and I still don’t know if I like it. In the manga and the original anime, Ichigo being given powers was like a matter of circumstance. She just happened to be the one who had a good match with an iriomote wild cat out of everyone who was there. She wasn’t a literal chosen one. However, here, it seems very much intentional. Mint even grabbed her and threw her into some other location somehow that didn’t seem like it was in the same area as the exhibit so she could test out her new powers.

On one hand, I kinda like the Mint change….at least I think I like it. I know so little about what’s actually going on there that it’s really hard for me to formulate any actual opinion on it. It does get at least one of the girls a little more invested in the overall story, and Mint got to help in the big battle sequence. Plus it doesn’t seem that Mint is nearly as abrasive as she usually is, so that’s good. I’m just wondering how this change impacts both her and the story as we move forward.

I’m also kinda confused because I sincerely doubt the other Mews got the same test-drive kind of experience, so are they getting kicked to the side again? Like “Oh we had to ensure Ichigo got to activate her powers first, because she’s the leader.” Does this mean they know who the other Mews are right now or was Ichigo the only ‘chosen one’? How did Mint wind up with Shirogane and Akasaka? Why is she with them?

I know all these questions will be answered in the future, but it really threw me for a loop. I’d think if anyone made sense to be in with Shirogane and Akasaka from the start, it’d be Zakuro given the way her character was introduced in the past, but I guess I’ll reserve judgment on how I feel about this until I know a bit more about it.

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A slight change that they made was giving Moe and Miwa stuff to do and personalities beyond just being Ichigo’s friends. One of them wants to be a journalist, and the other wants to be a counselor. Very minor, but I take what I can get. I also appreciate that they helped Ichigo learn more about Aoyama so she could have a chance with him. They seem like pretty good friends.

I like the new art and animation. I think everyone’s characters designs are pretty nice. I also like how the Mews have more different hair styles when they’re transformed. Before, they just kinda looked the same barring brighter colors, but now they get slightly different styles as well. I particularly like that Mint’s hair is being kept down in her normal state and only has the buns in her transformed state while also making her hair a little longer and wavier when transformed. I also like Mint’s dress. It finally doesn’t give off “towel” vibes. That little fringe at the bottom does so much. I also like the bows, I think those are cute.

I liked the new transformation for Ichigo. I love that the cat appears behind her when she poses. While I did think it looked really cool, I don’t think it was a good idea to have her body appear with a galaxy/starry sky pattern on her as she transforms because it comes off way too much like Sailor Moon. It also doesn’t make much sense. What do their powers have to do with space? I also liked the new animation for her attack. I thought that was cool.

The little sequence they tagged on at the end with her in the truck was funny. It was also amazing how well they captured Café Mew Mew. It looks dead on to how it is in the manga and original anime, at least on the outside. I was very impressed.

The music is pretty good. I like it. Not sure I’m fully onboard with the ED quite yet, but it’s alright.

The voice acting was also pretty good. We did lose Megumi Ogata as Aoyama, but I think his new VA, Yuuma Uchida, does a pretty good job. Despite not appearing in this episode, I also learned Daisuke Sakaguchi wasn’t back to voice Quiche (and yes, I’m switching to calling them Quiche, Tart and Pie as well) which sucks. He was so much fun in the role, but hopefully his new VA will be good. I think everyone got a voice change, but don’t quote me on that.

Not sure if it will ever see a dub. That’d be surreal, quite frankly. I’d love to see a new English dubbing studio take on TMM, but after going through all of the 4Kids dub, it’d be a very strange experience. Welcome, but strange.

So…yeah…I was pleasantly surprised by this. It’s actually getting my hopes up a bit. It seems like it might be answering quite of a few of the criticisms I had about the original manga and anime. But I am treading lightly. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I look forward to more, and I hope this is the start of something really great for the franchise. See you in episode two!

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Or should I say, episode MEW?! Ahahahahah!….Hahah…ha…Is there some 4Kids detox I can do?


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Watching the Blue Sky – Robots (2005) Review

Plot: Young Rodney is a robot who always aspired to be a famous inventor like his idol, Mr. Bigweld, who is viewed as one of the best bots in the world. When he moves out to the big city to show Mr. Bigweld his inventions and try to work for him, he finds that Mr. Bigweld is gone. In his place is a tyrannical robot named Ratchet who is using his business to force all robots into upgrading instead of repairing or replacing. Thousands of bots who can’t afford to upgrade are being labeled as “outmodes” and being sent to the scrapyard. Rodney has to find Mr. Bigweld and stop Ratchet before it’s too late.

Breakdown: Being honest, I wasn’t expecting too much going into this – and I say that as someone who sincerely loves robots. I haven’t heard a whole lot about this movie before now, and the only time I remember people talking about it was when people on Twitter started circulating that one joke about how “Making the baby is the fun part.”

However, I was pleasantly surprised. I very much enjoyed this movie all the way through. It’s not a masterpiece or anything, but it’s very fun, cool, funny and even a little emotional.

The animation is pretty good. I think it’s pretty cool how each robot has a fairly unique manner of moving depending on how they’re designed. The art is also stylized quite well and is fun to look at. The characters all mostly stand out from each other, are colorful and have little quirks that either add to their comedic factor or make them more useful. I also appreciate how well the sound design worked with the robots for the most part.

I also think the way the robots “age” is interesting. They get various replacement parts each year and, I guess, undergo some mild rebuilding every year to show their aging process.

The music was a mixed bag. The orchestral score works pretty well. It was nothing too unique or memorable, but it did keep me engaged and felt very fitting to each scene. My issue comes with the pop music. Taking a note from Dreamworks, I suppose, Blue Sky included some pop songs along with some more fitting but also kinda distracting older pop songs. There was one song in the middle where I really don’t think it is a pop song, because it sounds like a song written for the movie, but that would be the only time the movie would have a legit musical number, despite no characters singing. It’s very weird.

The absolute worst moment of this soundtrack being distracting was when Fender, a bot voiced by Robin Williams, so he’s basically just Robin Williams as a robot, fights off a bunch of robots by suddenly breaking out into “Hit Me Baby One More Time”….The joke is that he’s wearing a female lower half so he….sang a girl song? Also, the song was seven years old by this point, so it’s not even relevant. Definitely the worst moment in the movie.

And, of course, there was a dance party at the end because animated movie in the 00s.

The story was very cliché, but was strong enough to hold my attention. Also, they did throw me for one loop. When they introduced Mr. Bigweld, I thought for sure he’d be the villain. Rodney hero-worshiped him, he was a fat rich guy who seemed like he loved everyone and everyone loved him, he had statues made of him and everything. But nope. Mr. Bigweld was a good guy just overtaken by an evil guy who was a pawn for an evil woman.

Big corporation bad turned big corporation good as long as the people running it are good. Which, yeah, in an ideal world. That’s nice to think about.

Speaking of big corporation bad, dear god, the body count of this movie. I can only imagine how many “outmodes” got sent to the scrapyard IE murdered because they couldn’t afford the upgrades. It’s actually kinda disturbing how many parallels you can make to our world if you imagine all the characters as people….

There are no subplots in the movie, it’s right on one track and we keep going until the end. If I had any real complaints about the story it’s that I really wish Rodney had spent more time struggling and living with the other downtrodden robots, because, as far as I see, he arrived in this city, realized the problems involving an incredibly huge and influential corporation and fixed the issue entirely in like three days.

I didn’t much care for the romantic…..anything in this movie. Fender getting a love interest, I’m cool with. However, Rodney has two love interests in this movie, Piper, who is Fender’s little sister, and Cappy, who is an employee of Bigweld Industries. He has more screen time with Piper, but it’s like she’s not considered an actual romantic interest because she’s too young, but Rodney is only supposed to be like 18 or 19 while Piper is like 16 or 17 at least.

Cappy, whose age I’d imagine is in her late 20s or so, considering she’s a high-ranked employee at Bigweld Industries, is definitely framed as the main love interest, but they barely spend any time together, and the time they do spend together is usually with a lot of other people. They don’t get any moments together, alone or otherwise, they just get a few knowing glances between them. Cappy doesn’t even have a personality. She’s just a nice lady who works at Bigweld and constantly gets sexually harassed by Ratchet because that trope has to stay alive I guess.

And, yes, even in robot world, we can’t escape women being sexually harassed.

Speaking of women, I get that this movie was made in 2005, but some of the humor around women was a little uncomfortable. Like when Rodney gets a new torso for his senior year, he has to use a hand-me-down from his cousin….who is a girl. So he has a pink torso with a boob curve to it.

Rodney finds a new lower half in a panic after losing his in the scrap yard, and it’s a woman’s. So he goes “This is so wrong!”

When they meet Ratchet’s eviler mom, Fender calls her a “sir” and she points out that she’s a woman, so Fender says “Ouch!” and one of the other robots has his lightbulb eyes burst. Some of the humor hasn’t aged well, is all.

I don’t think this movie is sexist, for the most part, as the women do get a decent degree of things to do, including fighting, but there’s the whole ‘Cappy has no personality’ thing, and the fact that nearly all of the women in this movie just act as love interests.

I also didn’t think Ratchet needed an even more evil mother running the scrapyard to basically be his puppeteer. Ratchet is evil enough on his own. Although, this did make for a few good jokes, so it doesn’t bother me too much.

The comedy was pretty good. I was laughing fairly consistently. Not busting a gut or anything, but quite a surprising amount of chuckles. They’re probably cheating a little bit because I’m a sucker for puns and there are just so many robot puns and visual gags in this movie.

The action was also alright. I think the first action scene where Rodney and Fender are being flung all around town on that transport ball went on just a little too long, though.

The emotional moments hit a little more than I expected them to. I wasn’t choking up, but it did manage to connect with me several times. I think it was a really good idea to start this movie with Rodney’s dad super excited about being a dad and watching Rodney grow up for a bit before getting into the main story. It didn’t drag, and it made me feel a lot more for him and his parents than if we just started with him as an adult.

The characters all work well enough. I like Rodney and his parents quite a bit, Piper can be kinda cool, Mr. Bigweld was pretty funny and cool, and Fender has his moments. Sometimes he can really be too much, though. Even Genie knew when to tone it down, but Fender just never stops. I also never once felt like he and Piper were siblings.

I want to really lay out why this relationship doesn’t work. Fender is voiced by Robin Williams. Piper is voiced by Amanda Bynes. When this movie came out, Amanda Bynes was 19. Robin Williams was 54….They just don’t sound, in any way, like siblings. They’re written like siblings, they act like siblings, kinda, but they don’t sound like it. He just sounds like her dad or uncle.

Overall, Robots was an enjoyable experience that I had quite a bit of fun with. You’re not going to get much in the way of anything deep or new with it, but I do think you’ll be pretty entertained by it most of the time. I’d gladly watch it again in the future.

Recommended Audience: There are a few iffy jokes in there, but they never go too far. There’s the “making the baby” joke and they make a penis joke when Rodney is finished because they forgot to attach it………….I know you’re probably wondering a lot about how sex and sexes/genders in robots works in this world…..well, me too. And I wish I wasn’t. I guess you can also say there’s some scary imagery what with the robots being destroyed and picked apart. There was one moment where they officially announced that replacement parts were being discontinued. The robots were panicking because they thought they’d wind up dying if they couldn’t pay for upgrades. A robot fell apart in front of them and the vultures just started grabbing any parts of him they could. It’s hilarious, but also really messed up when you remember these are sentient beings. I guess 7+.


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An Absurdly Deep Dive Into the History of 4Kids | Table of Contents

Part 1 – 4Kids as a 4Baby (1970-1997)

Part 2 – Pokemon, I License You! (1998-1999)

Part 3 – 4Kids 2000 (2000)

Part 4 – Entering Unown Territory (2001)

Part 5 – I Summon Yu-Gi-Oh! In Attack Mode! (2001 cont.)

Part 6 – 4Kids 4Ever (2002)

Part 7 – A Fox in a Box and a 4Kids with a Block (2002 cont.)

Part 8 – Miramax Killed the Movie Theater Star (2003)

Part 9 – Be Careful What You Wish For (2004)

Part 10 – One Piece in Pieces (2004 cont.)

Part 11 – Playing Their Cards Wrong (2004 cont.)

Part 12 – Out of the Box (2005)

Part 13 – Pikachu’s Goodbye (2005 cont.)

Part 14 – (The Time Has Come) (2006)

Part 15 – The Chaotic Nature of Rumors (2005/2006 cont.)

Part 16 – Yu-Gi-Oh No! (2005/2006 cont.)

Part 17 – 4Kids TV 2: The Kidsening (2007)

Part 18 – 4Kids is No Longer Foxy (2008)

Part 19 – 4Kids’ Pre-Death Dead Period (2009-2010)

Part 20 – Get Your Game Revved Up! (2011)

Part 21 – It’s Time to S-S-S-S-S-S-S-S-SUE! (2011-2012)

Part 22 – Time 4 Change (2012-2017 | Closure)

Part 23 – Where in the World is Kahnmen Sandiego? (2012-Present)

Part 24 – Everything Changes (Conclusion)


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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 24: Everything Changes (Conclusion)

So, class, what have we learned over the past 24 blog posts and 100 pages besides the fact that I desperately need a life?

All joking aside, this wasn’t really a passion project or anything, more of a long-standing curiosity that I wanted to explore, thought would just take a few days to research and write, not two months (even as all the parts were sitting in my scheduled posts queue for weeks after finishing the entire thing, I still went back and edited them many times), and wound up finding so many rabbit holes that I think I literally am a rabbit now.

However, I am very glad that I decided to write this up because it helped me understand a lot about why 4Kids was the way it was, a lot of their business practices, what was happening behind the scenes, why they truly died, and I even got to do some sleuthing and maybe clear up some rumors. Maybe you even learned something and had some fun. I hope so.

I think a big takeaway here, though, is that 4Kids, at the end of the day, wasn’t this big boogeyman of anime, when you get down to it. They were mostly just….grossly incompetent. I know it seems weird to say that of such a big name as 4Kids, but, they pretty much were. They propped up their business on a few big titles with no plan as to what they would do should those titles be taken away, they lucked out with a few huge licenses, especially Pokemon at the start, they greatly overestimated their skills and knowledge in the industry, and then whined that Japan didn’t consistently come up with more merchandisable cash cows for them to license on a regular basis as if that was in their control.

They disrespected their audience, which earned them ire, they disrespected anime and manga as a whole, which earned them ire, they disrespected their peers in the anime (and manga) industry, which earned them ire, they didn’t bother to do proper research on their own licenses before obtaining them or research into Japan and how their economy and content works despite working with their properties for years, which earned them ire, and they constantly wanted a pat on the back for doing so much for anime while also desperately not wanting their audience to know what they were consuming was anime….which earned them ire.

Even their production of merchandise and marketing, two things you’d think a licensing company that has existed for over four decades and has had several massive properties under its belt would be able to do quite well consistently, wasn’t all that good at times. From not properly advertising certain shows to supposedly not getting a toy deal for Mew Mew Power to their ridiculously spotty and frustrating release schedule for DVD and VHS releases, especially in regards to ‘uncut’ releases, to making a deal with Miramax and Harvey Weinstein for the Pokemon movies to the disaster that was Toonzaki. It’s amazing how they were both very good at marketing and advertising while also making some incredibly baffling and poor business decisions.

Some things were out of their control, of course, especially the financial crisis and the overall death of Saturday morning cartoon blocks, but many aspects of their downfall were their own doing. If you want to look at the Yu-Gi-Oh! lawsuit from a different perspective, the fact that they said they’d do anything to keep the Yu-Gi-Oh! license, including go bankrupt, was a little on the insane side. I get that Yu-Gi-Oh! was their top earner and losing the license would have been the death of them anyway, but it seems very immature and backwards to basically stamp their feet and say they’d rather kill themselves than let someone else do it. Even if they did rightfully win the lawsuit in the end, they didn’t get anything substantial from it, and they had to have known that.

I won’t really hold Chaotic’s situation against 4Kids because that was also largely out of their hands. It was just a financial gamble that failed in a time of economic turmoil. Again, even without the financial crisis at the time, Chaotic likely would have just been a fairly beneficial property to them through the rest of their years. I sincerely doubt revenue from it would have saved them from their eventual fate. They probably would have just sold it back to CUSA or someone else in the bankruptcy auction. Looking back, maybe one of the reasons 4Kids didn’t want to give up the license to CUSA was because they had injected so much of their own money into it that any offer CUSA gave probably didn’t seem like it was worth it, even though, ya know, it doesn’t make them ANY money by latching onto it forever.

I do think they also had a big issue with their all-or-nothing attitude. They were constantly dead set on finding the next huge thing – the things that would rake in insane profits and make them the top of their field – but they were very bad at long-term strategies. Let me be completely fair and clear – I don’t have a mind for business, much of it goes over my head, but even I can tell that they had a big problem with this. Even when they did say this property or another would be a big earner for years, they either dropped them early because they weren’t being massively successful immediately or they would keep the property but give up on it in spirit, so to speak, by just letting the license rot in their hands.

This reflected very well in their aforementioned attitudes towards Japan in which Al Kahn said anime and manga in Japan were dying because they hadn’t had any generation-defining merchandisable hits in over a decade, which was objectively wrong in a lot of ways. If he thinks an entire country is “over” just because their anime and manga sales were down for a bit, even to the point where he gave up on licensing anime for three years as a result, then it’s not surprising that he views his company in the same way.

This was even reflected when they tried to branch out a bit into female-oriented shows. Winx Club did well, but they had it taken from them because the creator didn’t like what they were doing with it. They gave it another go with Mew Mew Power, which also did well, but dropped it halfway through because they couldn’t get a toy deal for it. Magical DoReMi was good, but it wasn’t good enough so they dropped it. And they didn’t even dub Precure because they likely thought ‘Why bother? If there’s one thing we’ve learned here it’s that there’s no money with girl stuff.’ And then there was whatever the hell they were trying to achieve with Capsule Monsters, which comes off like they gave up on that idea almost immediately while also having no real direction on what they wanted it to be in the first place.

I do concede that a large amount of 4Kids’ edits, as with other child-demographic anime dubs at the time, were a result of FCC constraints and regulations, but I’ll only concede so far with that assessment. Yes, certain edits were necessary to meet broadcast standards, but many of their edits, such as their localization efforts, changing entire soundtracks and removal of all things text, were squarely on 4Kids. As far as I know, the FCC has no regulations about changing foreign content to better suit young American audiences. The only entity that really benefits is 4Kids. In their eyes, it made them more marketable and appealing, and the only people getting offended were the pre-existing fans who knew better, and most of those people weren’t in 4Kids’ target demo, so they didn’t care. Also, let’s not overlook the fact that some of their edits were just entirely nonsensical, and many of their content edits were still commonly present in their movies, which are not controlled by the FCC.

Let’s also not forget that many of their practices were a result of just being terribly condescending to their audience. From making things way too obvious through dialogue changes/additions, editing scenes around or even having new animation created to drive certain points home to thinking every single second of a show needed to have music or talking in it to keep kids’ attention to making mistakes in their dubs and not fixing them on purpose just because they didn’t care and then later claiming it was on purpose as a little weird Easter egg thing.

4Kids, as much as it sucks to say, weren’t entirely wrong when it came to those views, either. Looking back as fully grown anime fans, yeah, we see how bungled the dubs were for a variety of reasons, and we feel rightfully disrespected as fans, but, back when we were kids, most of us didn’t care. The fact that 4Kids, by design, made their shows to trick viewers into not thinking they were watching anime (which failed after a while) definitely had a hand there, but I can’t honestly say that my experiences looking back at enjoying these shows is in any way tarnished knowing what I know now because 4Kids, despite their backwards best efforts, helped make me an anime fan, and they wound up being a significant part of the anime boom in the late 90s and early 2000s.

I don’t attribute my being an anime fan to 4Kids because other shows dubbed by other companies, such as Sailor Moon (DiC), Digimon (Saban) and Dragon Ball and DBZ (Ocean/Funimation) and a slue of others certainly helped push me there too, but they were a big part of it. Plus, many of the shows that they dubbed are now available in high definition subbed versions (not all of them, admittedly), the ones that aren’t weren’t made unavailable or obscure because of 4Kids (It’s likely some people only know of a few obscure shows because 4Kids dubbed them once upon a time) and they also helped pioneer anime streaming options with 4Kids.tv, Toonzaki and even their Youtube channel.

4Kids isn’t even really special when it comes to them mangling their properties. As I’ve already covered in my Sub/Dub Comparison series, companies like DiC, Saban and Nelvana were awful in their own rights with similarly awful and confusing changes, but what makes 4Kids special was that they were the best damn manglers who left a trail of shows and movies in their wake. All of those other dubbing companies had rather limited libraries of anime compared to 4Kids. They wanted that kid anime market cornered, and they cornered it as much as they could. They were the kings of mangling, and I say that with legit praise because they were so much better at digital paint and editing magic than any of the aforementioned dubbing companies.

Even on Cartoon Network where they were more lax on that stuff because their anime was geared towards older kids and teens, and adults with Adult Swim, they had to make edits to suit airing. Some famous examples include Naruto and Yu Yu Hakusho. I specifically remember sloppy paint edits on Yu Yu Hakusho where you’d see the digital paint very obviously shaking as it was covering up wounds and middle fingers. And obviously there were awkward edits to replace Yusuke’s swearing. Even on Adult Swim there was some instances of editing for content. I remember Blue Gender had a sex scene hinted at in the next episode preview with a few clips between Marlene and Yuji, and it just wasn’t there in the episode on Adult Swim where it is there in the Japanese version.

This stuff happens. Sometimes, their dubs were just legitimately entertaining because the cast and writers were having a ball with the show. Their music could even be legitimately good. It was a crap shoot with them sometimes.

Speaking of the cast and crew of their shows, I really do want to emphasize that, in my opinion, they were the best parts of 4Kids. I poke fun at some 4Kids actors’ acting abilities and even just their voices sometimes, and I make fun of a lot of writing choices, but as far as I’ve seen the regular 4Kids cast and crews typically had a blast doing what they did and were proud of their work. For many of them, 4Kids productions were their first foray into mainstream voice acting work, and for some of them it was their first venture into voice acting period. They also seem to be good with the fans, happy to talk about their experiences and were understandably upset whenever a project they were working on fell through, especially in the situation with Pokemon where the rug was pulled out from under them from all angles. The main problem in 4Kids’ wheelhouse were almost always the executives, especially, yes, Al Kahn.

That being said…..there’s a reason 4Kids died when many other dubbing or licensing companies went through similar hardships and came out on the other side with their feet on the ground. As I just mentioned, 4Kids was terribly pigeon-holed. They were exclusively, well, for kids. Older kids and even teens and adults may have had a place in their audience, but their demographic was kids.

When you’re dealing with a kid demographic, you have to work in a landscape that is probably the fastest changing landscape in media. Kids grow up super fast. They outgrow Kids WB and move on to Toonami. They outgrow Toonami and move on to Adult Swim. They may not move on to other anime at all. Within a few years you have an entirely new audience of kids you have to impress with things that are new and exciting, and in the world of licensing, especially when you’re primarily licensing imported shows, you’re chained to whatever is being offered/is available in other countries.

It’s true that trying to make certain properties more fitting for newer audiences helps keep properties alive for years, just look at some of the American kids’ properties that have existed for decades without changing a whole lot, but when you’re dealing with licensing other properties that you don’t have a whole lot of creative control over, you need to find different avenues to evolve.

The thing is that they recognized this. Their problems with having few big properties holding them up and focusing on a demographic that practically demands constant change was in nearly every single financial document as concerns about their company, but they very rarely presented anything that would help solve that issue.

They did create 4Sight, which would’ve been a fantastic move to branch out into older audiences and get a more stable income stream, but, as all-or-nothing attitudes go, they pretty much went the ‘nothing’ route with 4Sight. They didn’t make any big moves with it. They barely made any small moves with it. It pretty much just sat in a corner collecting cobwebs for half a decade.

Toonzaki was a weird outlier in this regard because it’s almost like they went too far in the other direction by having a streaming site where a lot of graphic titles were offered alongside uncut 4Kids properties with no parental controls or age confirmation that I could see. This would have been the perfect project for 4Sight, but they didn’t give it to them. It was entirely a 4Kids website.

Localization is an issue too, but not fully. Yes, some references and jokes need to be changed because they just don’t translate well in English, but that usually not the problem. They were worried their audience would be put off by foreign things. Or, for some reason, an American audience would never be able to connect with Japanese characters and settings. But then again, you’ll never know if the localization is what killed it in the States either. It was largely a matter of gambling with pretty much any property 4Kids acquired.

They were also largely stuck on broadcast TV. They had trouble with releasing movies after a point, and their DVD production and sales were incredibly inconsistent and lacking, something that got exponentially worse when they attempted to release uncut DVDs. Other companies also took to TV a lot, but they tended to be better about releasing uncut DVDs. For example, people complained a lot about Naruto’s censored airing on Cartoon Network, but the uncut version was made readily available as the series aired, starting when the series premiered and completing the DVD releases when Naruto ended its run on TV.

By the time 4Kids broke out into streaming, they just handled it badly. Streaming their edited shows on 4Kids.tv? That’s great. Streaming those and some uncut stuff on their Youtube channel? Awesome. Toonzaki, however, was a great idea that was also somehow a massive mess in practice. As I mentioned, it’s just weird to have a 4Kids streaming service that had so many graphic titles with seemingly no parental blocks or age confirmations. If they were comfortable streaming uncut Yu-Gi-Oh! titles on their Youtube channel, why did they feel the need to use that as a tentpole for Toonzaki? Why not just release the episodes on 4Kids.tv, maybe with a warning or something, and keep all non-4Kids stuff on Toonzaki?

Their official promotions, few of them as there were, didn’t push it as the place to get uncut Yu-Gi-Oh! episodes, just anime in general, but literally everywhere online that’s what it was being hyped as because the little information available, again, mostly from Mark Kirk’s interview, was that it was a 4Kids website for their uncut shows for general audiences. When you don’t have any other frame of reference, that’s what people are going to run with.

They also didn’t seem to realize that just being an aggregate site for anime sourced from other websites with only Yu-Gi-Oh! titles being unique wasn’t a good long-term plan. They acted as if they’d host more stuff directly on their website in the future, but they never did. Everything was hosted from Hulu, Crunchyroll, Funimation, Viz or other places for the entirety of its life.

That’s not entirely on them since the landscape for streaming was in its infancy back then, especially when it came to licensed properties, but still. It was a decent idea sitting on a bad execution. And while it came during a time when 4Kids really needed that opportunity to grow, it also came at the worst time because this was just a year before the Yu-Gi-Oh! lawsuit. If they had a longer lifespan, maybe they could have ironed out the kinks with Toonzaki, but I really doubt it.

A part of their downfall was also the death of Saturday morning cartoons. Animated shows were no longer something only available on Saturday mornings, making their inconvenience a bother. Why would I wake up early on a weekend to catch an anime that I can watch anytime streaming? Or get on DVD later? Or catch on syndication on another network? Or why watch those shows when cartoons are constantly on Cartoon Network, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon? Or why watch those cherry-picked kidified anime when I can watch a big variety of less edited shows on Toonami or Adult Swim, or, hell, even blocks like Anime Unleashed on G4 Tech TV?

They were also prisoners of their merchandise. They treated every property as a merchandise machine. Al Kahn and Mark Kirk said it straight out – if they can’t merchandise it, they’re not interested in it. A large portion of their money came from toys and other kids merchandise, which was also evolving at a breakneck speed as Al Kahn pointed out several times. The problem there was evaluating it improperly a good chunk of the time. I don’t really think they allowed a lot of these shows to have enough time to secure an audience before they decided the merchandise wasn’t worth it. They dropped so many shows because of merchandise when they barely had a few episodes to a full season under their belts.

Honestly, the lawsuit really was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. 4Kids was already on the ropes, they were teetering on the edge, and that lawsuit pushed them over and they couldn’t recover. If it wasn’t the lawsuit, it would have been something else very shortly, I guarantee it. It may seem overly pessimistic, but I just didn’t see 4Kids having a significant future anymore. They were consistently going down for years and could barely even glance up a few times. Either they would have died shortly on their own anyway or they would have stumbled into some miracle property that would save them from the Shadow Realm (and Tai Chi Chasers was not going to be it), and even then I can imagine that would only eek out a few more years for them. They just didn’t have the steam to go on.

At the end of the day, when everything is said and done, 4Kids was and still is an icon….an icon of what, is up to you, but it’s still an icon. Let’s be honest, we still have a blast with 4Kids shows just in poking fun at their ridiculousness, and some still enjoy them legitimately. I won’t deny for a second that, even though doing my SDCs of 4Kids shows chips away at my soul sometimes, the shows still commonly wind up being fun either because I’m legitimately enjoying it or I’m just laughing at the 4Kidsisms.

I’m not going to dance on 4Kids’ grave, but I’m also not going to mourn it. 4Kids was, somewhat fittingly, a product of its time. There’s just no way a company like 4Kids could survive today. There are too many sources of good, loyal dubbed anime, and there are plenty of kids anime that are dubbed just fine and made readily available to children because many dubbing companies today will dub a wide range of anime for a nearly endless demographic from kids to adults to every gender and across every genre. And if you don’t like dubs, subtitled anime, official or fansubs, are readily available at thousands of sources.

Maybe we could have seen an entirely different 4Kids over time, but I doubt it. Also, there was a certain charm with shows being on Saturday morning lineups that you really can’t get anymore, and I think 4Kids thrived on that one very specific area that we can’t replicate now. 4Kids cut out a niche for itself and dominated in that one area, and there just wasn’t a place for it once that niche was gone.

It’s an entirely new world for kids, and it’s not a world for 4Kids.

4Kids will always have a special place in my heart for helping me discover some of my favorite shows and helping spark my love of anime. I won’t excuse what they’re guilty of, and I won’t overexaggerate any good they did. I’ll just say “Thank you, 4Kids. As much for dying as for living.”


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Sailor Moon (DiC) | Episode 12 (9 for the Dub): I Want a Boyfriend, Too! The Luxury Cruise Ship is a Trap Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: Jadeite teams up with one of Beryl’s most trusted subordinates, a demon named Thetis, to steal energy from lovers on a lovers’ cruise ship. Rei wins a ticket on the boat and invites Ami to both spite Usagi and to find them both boyfriends. Usagi sneaks her way onto the ship disguised as a photographer to get in on the fun, but when they discover Jadeite’s trap they’ll have to defeat Thetis and save the lovers on the ship.

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Title Change: I Want a Boyfriend – The Luxury Cruise Ship is a Trap is changed to Cruise Blues…I just want to note that there are four episodes in this season that DiC named (Something) Blues….Truly masters of creativity…

The dub puts the footage of Serena attacking over the edited plasma ball thing Beryl has. In the original, it’s just a circle.

Subbed:

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Dubbed:

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The editing’s weird as a result because I guess they had to transition to the original footage due to the glow of the tiara.

In the original, Thetis, the demon of the week, seems to be above Jadeite and working directly under Queen Beryl. In the dub, Jadeite acts like Thetis is a lowly demon who has failed him once before.

The original commercial for the cruise is narrated by a woman instead of a man, and the commercial is much longer than it is in the dub though the same clips remain…

I guess they edited this part out because there’s a big closeup of the cruise’s advertisement that takes up all of the screen and has Japanese on it. Umino explains how nice the cruise ship is and says it would be great to fall in love on the ship as we transition to him imagining himself with Usagi on the boat with her suddenly elbowing him in the fantasy (which was hilarious).

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Also, in the dub, Melvin just says he can tell the girls how the ship was made.

Also, they omit that the ship has a capacity of 666…..which is kinda weird. I get that that’s considered an ‘evil’ number but it’s moreso a devil/Satan thing. I don’t think Beryl has anything to do with Satan…..right?

Umino doesn’t mention how he got the tickets whereas Melvin says he got them by entering a computer contest on the internet. A shot of the advertisement is edited out, I guess because there’s Japanese too close up. Umino says he gave the tickets to the lady next door because he didn’t want to do anything delinquent and shows the hours of departure for the cruise being 18:00-22:00 (6:00pm to 10:00pm) They also remove this explanation (they could’ve just said the hours but whatever) and said his parents wouldn’t let him go because he gets sea sick.

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They also edit out a shot of Naru and Usagi as Naru says that Umino has a weird sense of ethics.

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Umino says there’s a raffle in the shopping district for tickets. Melvin says there’s a raffle at the newsstand downtown.

This shot is edited out.

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A shot of the advertisement for the cruise is removed.

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Instead, both of these shots are replaced with a view of Tokyo Tower………Yeah, replace a shot of Japan with a Japanese landmark. Makes sense.

In the original, the consolation prize was tissues (I guess to be funny…or a jackass.) In the dub, since they’re blocks of white, they say the consolation prize is soap, which can also be jackassy when you think about it……But why? Why change that? Why? Are tissues bad? Next time you have a runny nose, blow it into SOAP. It’ll be gross, but at least your nose will smell nice.

Rei says they don’t have times for things like the cruise because of their responsibilities as Senshi. In the dub, Raye asks who Serena would bring because she has no boyfriend. Serena says she could bring a friend, and Raye asks if she’s talking about herself because why would she want to be stuck on a cruise with a brat like her? Yeesh. Who spit in her sacred fire?

Isn’t it cheating that Rei uses her priestess powers to win the contest?…..Actually, scratch the question, it flat out is. And you could make the argument that she’s just focusing hard and praying that she wins, but the gold marble comes out GLOWING so yeah, cheater cheater pumpkin eater. What’s funny is the dub actually points this out in a dialogue change.

Originally Usagi said Rei’s a big hypocrite for going through all that to win the cruise when she just said they don’t have time for it. In the dub, Serena says Raye’s a big cheat for using her powers to win and she should’ve been disqualified because of it. To be honest, though, while I agree, even if you called her out on it, who would really disqualify her? We know she really has powers, but you’d sound ridiculous trying to make that claim to others.

“I demand she be disqualified!”

“Why?”

“She used her supernatural priestess powers to will the gold marble from the machine!”

“……”

Usagi keeps harping on the suspicion that Rei has no boyfriend. Rei lies and says she has one or two. In the dub, Serena asks if she’ll take Grandpa, and Raye says she might invite Tuxedo Mask.

Usagi doesn’t call Ami a traitor for going with Rei like Serena does. Ami/Amy doesn’t even know what Rei/Raye’s talking about yet, how can she be a traitor?

Rei says she’s hoping to get Tuxedo mask for a boyfriend as she talks to Ami. In the dub, Raye just says she’s sure there will be lots of fun people there.

……I’m confused. This cruise keeps getting advertised as a great getaway for couples, yet they’re acting like this would be a great place to meet a boyfriend….unless Rei and Usagi have no qualms against dating a committed man, which would be dickish.

I’m surprised they didn’t edit out the close shot of a waiter pouring wine. I can bet many of these people are old enough to drink, but that’s still a scene with alcohol.

I love how Rei actually says that she knew this was a cruise for lovers but she didn’t think they’d be the only ones without dates. Even if there were SOME other people who went alone or with people who aren’t romantically involved with them, what are the odds that they would 1) be their age and 2) be someone they’d want to date?

Going on a lovers cruise on the off chance for some dating action is pretty pathetic when you think about it. I’m not saying going on a cruise by yourself or with friends is pathetic, but going on a cruise specifically meant for lovers to find boy/girlfriends is just weird. There are many better ways of finding a romantic partner.

I don’t even know how they got up the courage to do that. I’d be embarrassed out of my skull and depressed to be on a lovers cruise surrounded by couples by myself desperate for a date. This just seems like a poorly thought out excuse to get the girls on the boat.

You know what could’ve fixed that whole thing? Advertise it as a romantic cruise instead of a cruise for couples. There. You’ll not only get more people interested, you’ll also make more sense in the story.

Luna asks where they are, and Usagi responds that they’re in the engine room. Luna says that’s impossible because engines, especially for ships, are never this quiet. Usagi says the boat might be stopped, but Luna points out that the ship is moving at full speed. Usagi then says they probably have some state of the art engine that is super quiet and to stop worrying. In the dub, it’s just unimportant bickering, but Serena does claim that Luna should pretend to be her super important photography assistant.

What kind of disguise is that anyway? A camerawoman/photographer to get onto a lovers cruise? Wouldn’t a deckhand or waitress be a better disguise?

Luna originally senses a great evil aura while in the box. In the dub, she’s complaining about being in the box.

Jadeite thinks to himself that Usagi seems familiar. In the dub, he wonders why he’s being so nice to her. Well, I’d assume it’s to keep up appearances for your disguise but whatever.

Rei’s original idea was that since, for some reason, it’s inevitable that some of these couples will break up on the ship, they should keep an eye out for recently broken up guys and snatch them up. Ami then thinks she should’ve just stayed at home and studied.

That’s pretty mean and stupid of Rei to say, by the way. Wanting to benefit from someone else’s misfortune and wanting to be a rebound girl is bad enough, but why is it inevitable that one of these couples will break up on the trip?

First of all, it’s just a few hours long. If you’re so close to breakup that you’d break it off in a few hours, why did you even get on a romantic cruise ship for lovers anyway? Second of all, why is it inevitable at all? Is it totally unreasonable to believe that all of these lovers would stay together for a few hours? On a romantic trip?

In the dub, Raye says her great idea is to flirt with some of the male crew members, take pictures with them and show them to Serena to make her feel bad. Amy then says she wishes they’d stop feuding. I have to say, it’s a bit annoying to me as well, and Raye hasn’t even been around that long yet.

Jadeite in disguise tells Usagi that he wishes he could announce where she is to her staff over the intercom but he doesn’t want to ruin the romantic mood of the passengers. In the dub, he says he really has to go back to his captain’s quarters, but he invites her to dinner at the captain’s table.

As Ami and Rei get cornered by Slime Tokens—I mean Thetis’ goons who can regenerate, Ami says that they can’t transform in front of Jadeite and Thetis because then they’ll know who they are (but saying “we can’t transform” out loud is basically proof that you are Sailor Scouts. Just saying.) In the dub, Amy just says they need to stick together.

Thetis in the original says, despite the girls imposing on their lovers cruise, they still got plenty of energy for Queen Beryl, and Jadeite agrees. In the dub, Jadeite asks if there’s a faster way to get rid of the girls. Thetis responds that they can’t do that without using the energy they gathered. Jadeite then says they should wait.

When Usagi shows up and makes her regular speech, she berates Jadeite and Thetis for only stealing the energies of lovers and ignoring the girls without boyfriends while pointing to Rei which makes her pissed off. (Dunno why. Not like Usagi has a boyfriend either. Pot, Kettle.) In the dub, Serena just talks about her same shtick of righting wrongs etc. However, she still points to Raye and Raye still gives her a pissed off look so I dunno what she’s on about.

Originally, Rei says she wants to pay Usagi back for humiliating her while a tiny picture of Chibi Jadeite and Chibi Thetis pop up by Rei’s face. In the dub, Raye just says they need to help Sailor Moon beat Thetis and Jadeite and there’s no real purpose for the little chibi picture.

Jadeite is originally pulled from where he was on board the ship by Queen Beryl since she was getting fed up with him. Jadeite tries to blame the whole thing on Thetis by saying it was her idea, which it was, but she’ll hear nothing of it and goes off to decide his punishment. In the dub, it’s like Jadeite left of his own accord and was reporting in with Beryl. Jadeite blames his failure on the Sailor Scouts, and the rest of the scene plays out the same.

Rei and Usagi don’t fight over Tuxedo Mask in the ending fight–….Wow, Tuxedo Mask wasn’t even in this episode. I just now noticed. Hm. Anyway, they originally squabble about how the other can’t get a boyfriend and blah blah.

Here’s something a little surprising. Today’s Sailor Says is about getting out of abusive relationships. Gee, that’s a bit of a jump there. I know Usagi was enamored with disguised Jadeite for a bit there, but wow. Good message, but not something you’d really expect on a Sailor Says PSA.

Next up is apparently our last battle with Jadeite, and he seems to be on the front lines for a change. Will this really be the end of our heroines? 

…Previous Episode


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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 23: Where in the World is Kahnmen Sandiego? (2012-Present)

Al Kahn may have retired from 4Kids back in 2011, but he didn’t retire entirely. Not at all in fact. So that begs the question, where did the big bad Kahn go off to when he ran out of that burning building known as 4Kids?

He went off and founded another licensing company directed at kids.

I promise you I’m not kidding.

But this time he did it with his wife, Jillian Crane, hence the creative name, CraneKahn….

But don’t worry, the front page of the company’s website makes sure to only praise Al.

Al Kahn is currently 75 years old and is still producing content 4 kids………………………………..:D

Really confusing situation on all fronts, to be honest. His speech when he left 4Kids made it seem like he was tired of working in that industry, especially after the financial crisis, and just wanted to retire altogether and yet he immediately jumps on a new company that is strikingly similar to 4Kids.

This company, founded in early 2012, is 100% not in the realm of anime, though some of their titles are imported, and it’s pretty much aimed at toddlers instead of young kids/tweens. Honestly, I have never heard of or seen any of these properties in my life. I mean, I guess it’s understandable because it’s aimed largely at babies and toddlers, but you’d think I’d recognize something even very vaguely in passing.

I joked about this, but this actually might be a bit out of bounds, legally, for him to do considering that, according to this article from ANN, he had a non-compete clause in his contract….Does this not count as competing? I guess, maybe, considering 4Kids became 4Licensing at around the same time, but Al must’ve been working on the creation of this company since either the instant he left 4Kids or before, I’d assume anyway. Either this really doesn’t count as a competing company or *tin foil hat* he really did know that 4Kids was likely heading for its doom soon and knew they wouldn’t/couldn’t do anything to him.

In 2019, it was rebranded to Kidtagious which is a great name to have one year before a worldwide pandemic hits. (Although, being serious, Kidtagious did team up with Viracide Masks in 2021 to help with the sales and production of antiviral masks. And a charity he founded, the First Responders Children’s Foundation, provided assistance to first responders during the pandemic.)

As of this writing, they’re still in business, but they don’t really make much in regards to news. The company has six employees, I guess, and they made $1.2mil in revenue last year, I think.

He’s also a member on the board of directors for several charities such as the Children’s Tumor Foundation, the Stephen Gaynor School for Learning Difficulties and Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project.

Al Kahn’s reputation in the anime industry remains sullied, but as long as he’s using his skills and money for the sake of producing things kids enjoy and helping others, I can’t really bring myself to hold massive grudges. He’s put his foot in his mouth, he’s said some really shitty and really stupid things, he’s done some shitty and stupid things, and he always has profits on the mind above all else…..he’s objectively not a great person. I was going to say something nice and then I forgot.

Okay, okay, it’s great that he’s giving to and creating charities and doing good with his wealth while also staying far the frick away from anime. I can only hope that he’s not one of those rich people who uses charities as a smokescreen for skeeviness. I’m putting whatever trust I have left that you’re not doing that, Al.

I honestly don’t wish anything bad upon him or his company. Let him be, as far as I’m concerned. I would be interested to know what he thinks of the world of anime and manga nowadays, if he even really knows much about how much it’s grown in the decade since 4Kids fell. I also wonder if he has any regrets or anything about his time at the company. I feel like he probably does, but all of them probably just relate to money.

And that’s the state of things with ol’ Kahn. Anti-climactic, sure, but no news is good news in this case, I suppose.

Part 24: Everything Changes (Conclusion) (Coming Soon)


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Space-Time Detective Genshi-Kun/Flint the Time Detective | Episode 20 (19 for the Dub): Elekin’s Super Robot Showdown Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: Genshi heads to the Edo period to find Elekin, an electricity-based Space-Time Monster, and Hiraga Gennai, a brilliant scientist who is currently experimenting with Elekin’s powers to make a giant mech. TP Lady aims to take the mech and Elekin for herself to get rid of Genshi once and for all.

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Title Change: Elekin’s Super Robot Showdown is changed to Elekin.

Putera is explaining Elekin’s powers in the original. In the dub, Old Timer is narrating about where they’re going and who they’re seeing. Oddly, despite this change, they remove a scene with Toki G watching the kids go through the time stream and cheering on Genshi. This is shifted this to after they emerge from the time stream.

They, for some reason, change the name of our historical figure of the day. They call him Ichiban Hiraga but he’s actually called Hiraga Gennai. I thought maybe they were referencing a nickname or his birth name or something, but no. He was born as Shiraishi Kunitomo, and he did go by various pen names, but as far as I could tell none of them were Ichiban Hiraga.

The only reason I can think of for why this change happened is because Saban dubbed another anime that had a character named after Hiraga Gennai. In Digimon, there’s a character named Gennai, and both series were dubbed at basically the same time. This might also be the reason why Sora is changed to Sarah here, but the character, Sora, in Digimon keeps her name in the dub. Don’t know why Digimon got dibs on the original names or why that would matter, but that’s the only reason I can think of.

Ichiban, by the way, actually means “number one” or “first” which may or may not be a poke at the seeming change they make to his character.

The dub claims he ‘stumbled upon’ electricity, which, uh. No. First, that frames it like he discovered electricity, which couldn’t be less true. He just created an elekiter, which was a device used to generate and store static electricity. Secondly, saying he stumbled upon it kinda gives off the vibe that he hadn’t been studying it or working with it or, ya know, knew what it was. Whether he really invented the elekiter is a bit up for debate. The elekiter was originally a Dutch creation he acquired that utilized a Leyden jar, but it didn’t work. He was able to make it work, however. He presented the working device in exhibitions.

Oddly, Saban actually gets the time period entirely wrong this time. They usually get it even more precise than the original, but here, they’re centuries off. In the original, they’re going to the Edo period in Japan, which started in 1603. However, I’m to assume we’re somewhere in the range of 1749-ish because Hiraga Gennai was born in 1729 and he’s an adult here, so let’s just say he’s around 20. The dub claims they’re going to 12th century Japan, which is 1100-1200…..

For some reason, after Pterry says they’re going to 12th century Japan, Old Timer butts in again to say “Oh, much to learn about electricity, yes.” Uhm…why did you say that?

When they finally get around to showing the scene with Toki G, they change the dialogue. Genshi originally says he’s excited about meeting Elekin, and Toki G cheers him on and reminds us that he has to collect all of the Space-Time Monsters. Then he randomly falls. Flint asks what an Elekin is, and, as normal, he asks if it’s something to eat. Did they go out without Flint being briefed? Old Timer explains that Elekin is a Time Shifter and he’s not something to eat. Then he rambles on about how Flint only thinks about his stomach before he randomly falls over.

Name Plate removed.

Subbed:

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Dubbed:

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Sora and Tokio apologize for the crash and say it was their fault. In the dub, Sarah asks what’s going on, and Tony asks where the giant robot came from.

Also, they make Getalong say “New friends! Meet new friends!” which is kinda weird to say at a time like this, but is especially awkward considering Love-Love/Getalong has a concerned expression right now, so it doesn’t match.

Dub!Elekin talks in third person for some reason.

So, the next exchange is pretty much kept the same, but all of the bits and pieces are out of order. In the original, Gennai explains who he is before stating he knows the kids are from the future and asking them to help repair his robot. In the dub, he asks them to help repair his robot, then explains who he is then suggests they’re from the future. Also, they add in that he “invented” electricity, which, again, isn’t true. We really have to stop saying anyone invented electricity, because electricity is natural so no one invented it. Mentions of working with or manipulating electricity go as far back as 600 BC.

For the record, Hiraga Gennai was so much more than an inventor and builder. He was a writer, painter, pharmacologist, physician, ronin, herbalist, he worked in mining and pottery, and he was quite a notable gay figure at the time, writing a lot about homosexual life, guides on male prostitutes and several works highlighting gay sex.

Not downplaying his work as an inventor and scientist, but I’m just saying it’s worth mentioning……Well, okay, the sex stuff probably isn’t appropriate for this show, but everything else yeah.

Gennai asks what kind of response it is to say they’re too busy to help him repair his Gennai mech when they’re the ones who wrecked it in the first place. They have no response. In the dub, he asks how time travelers are too busy to help when, logically, they have all the time in the world. Then he asks if this is what has become of manners in the future.

In the original, Gennai specifically says he’s going to get them some treats where red beans pour out if you squeeze them. In the dub, he just offers them snacks. I feel like maybe he should be calling them manju because they were created way back in 1341, so they had to have been known as manju long before this point.

Tokio explains that the treats in question were actually steamed buns (manju) In the dub, Hiraga says his cook is off-duty so he made them something with fish eggs….

Genshi just enjoys the manju, and Sora says he was right since red beans do pour from them if you squeeze them. In the dub, Flint asks for ketchup. Sarah explains that it’s caviar, and you don’t put ketchup on caviar, but Flint says he does.

The original explains that Gennai is primarily a pharmacologist. The dub doesn’t mention this.

Putera knows exactly what the elekiter is (although she refers to it as just an electrostatic generator). Pterry says it’s “some rudimentary electronic device.”

Genshi starts cranking the elekiter because he’s curious. In the dub, since Pterry doesn’t know what it does, Flint wonders if it makes food, because of course he does, so he starts cranking the machine.

Sora and Tokio express actual concern for Genshi as he gets electrocuted. Sarah and Tony just yell “Stop clowning around!”

Going in the polar opposite direction 4Kids goes, the original makes a “shocking” pun while Flint just says “Ooh does it ever not make food.”

Sora asks Genshi if he’s okay, and Tokio tells him to be more careful. Sarah just tells Flint to behave himself when he’s a guest in someone’s home. Tony doesn’t have a line.

In the original, TP Lady says “If I fail again…” before trailing off into her fantasy. In the dub, she says “I’ll make him pay attention to me!”

The fantasy sequence is of the Masked Man leaving TP Lady because she keeps failing him. In the dub, it’s so weird, because it’s almost like they’re completely ignoring what’s happening on screen. The Masked Man has his back turned and is walking away from Petra while Petra is on the ground crying and reaching out. The Masked Man (Or I guess he’s supposed to be The Dark Lord?) says “Tell me, Petra Fina, what does the Dark Lord love above all else?” and she responds “Control, manipulation and power!” It just doesn’t match what we’re seeing.

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The sequence of TP Lady hitting Dyna in the head over and over is shortened. She originally told him to hurry and catch Elekin. Dyna responded asking why he’s the only one getting hit. They didn’t remove the hitting entirely, just shortened the scene of it. So hitting is fine but don’t do it too long?

This next change is 100% pointless and dumb. In the original, TP Lady dresses up in elegant Japanese clothing, and Dyna and Mite introduce her as the successor to the late general, Lord Tokugawa Ieharu. In the dub, Saban, for some reason, has Dino and Mite introduce her as a nameless princess of Saskatchewan…..Ya know….in Canada. What the hell is this, Saban? What are you doing? Why wouldn’t you just says she’s some vague Japanese princess, if you didn’t want to bring up Tokugawa Ieharu for some reason? Are you just trying to make these three seem even stupider than they actually are? I don’t get it.

TP Lady just asks Ammon and Elekin to kneel before her. In the dub, she requests for them to come closer. Also, they reverse and repeat the shot of her opening her eyes when her face is cloaked in shadow, so it can look like she then closed her eyes for some reason.

I don’t think Ammon knows this is TP Lady, Dyna and Mite in the original, but she definitely seems to know it in the dub.

Kyoichiro is entirely focused on Sora when the kids approach and babbles on about their unexpected meeting of fate when he’s all dreamy and sparkly. In the dub, he’s focused on Flint, acting as if he’s running to him to beg for help with the case.

The animation in this shot is awful. Since everyone’s just far enough away for all of the details to be off, Putera’s eyes bounce all over when he talks, and Kyoichiro loses his nose whenever his mouth moves.

The introduction to the newly changed mech is much less impacting in the dub. In the original, they have loud music cues and a pretty cool techno-ish track to go along with it. In the dub, they lazily put in the quietest of single drum beats with each new shot of the robot, and then the music that follows is simple boring bland background music, like the kind you’d hear in casual conversation, not seeing a massive missile-laden robot….

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TP Lady names her modified version of the Gennai, The Great Gennai, which is weird. I’d think she’d name it after herself, but whatever. In the dub, it doesn’t get a new name. Petra just says of course she’d be the one to take complete control with a giant robot.

I’m getting so confused with this. Elekin’s power doesn’t seem to actually be controlling or creating giant robots, like the preview implied. It’s literally just a walking elekiter. You need to crank him and everything. Why does TP Lady need him to power this robot? She has tons of robots and mechanical devices that run on electricity that comes from some unknown future-device source.

If his power really is just creating electricity, and this is a time period where Gennai already made the elekiter….why does Elekin have any impact on what he creates? Even if it is a matter of Elekin being able to generate more electricity than his elekiter, he shouldn’t have instantly made the jump from ‘box that generates static’ to ‘giant mech.’ This is especially weird in the case of the dub, because Ichiban specifically said he wanted this thing to help people…..How does this help people? It’s just a giant mech.

Gennai tells Elekin to stop. In the dub, he tells Petra that she can’t use the mech (or Elekin maybe?) for evil.

They repeat a shot of Elekin after showing the gears turning.

They add a shot of Ichiban talking to have him say “This is grotesque” after Elekin powers up the attack.

This actually seems so backwards. Like “Oh no, TP Lady, the person who usually has high-tech robots and all sorts of gadgets to help her with her plans is now using, GASP……a low-tech wooden mech that she needs to CRANK to power and uses ROPES to control……Dear god….help us all….”

I love how it takes Kyoichiro and Ammon an insanely long time to notice the giant mech attacking the town about 250 feet to their left.

The original doesn’t mention anything about TP Lady putting this moment in her book. I didn’t even know she was writing a book.

Also, I thought for sure Genshi was going to smack the mech with Ototan. Why did he try hopping into the cockpit?

They repeat and reverse the segment of TP Lady mocking and laughing at Genshi after we see the track coming towards Genshi.

Sora and Tokio just yell in concern for Genshi. Sarah and Tony point out how impressive Flint is being before we even see him getting back up to stop the mech.

TP Lady yells “Why is he so strong!?” In the dub, he tells Mite to keep cranking Elekin.

Sora and Tokio ask if the mech has any weak spots. Gennai says that any machine made by the great genius, Gennai, has no weak spots. In the dub, they ask if Ichiban can make anything to fight “the evil power” just once. Ichiban refuses, saying he doesn’t stoop to the hurly burly of politics. He builds machines to help the human race.

If you ask me, both versions are obnoxious. The first version is better, but it still has Gennai coming off like a total egotistical prick. Instead of actually trying to come up with a solution to this problem, he just gloats about how perfect his machine is. And, dude, it can’t be that perfect if it was so badly damaged just by falling over after trying to avoid Ridon. As far as I know, the more humorous side of this character definitely tracks with Gennai in real life, but I haven’t been able to find anything implying that he was a braggart who got blinded by his self-righteousness or ego.

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The dubbed version just seems flatout wrong on all accounts. You can’t state that your devices are tools of good for the betterment of humanity and then go on about how you don’t want to create a device that fights evil. That makes no sense. And what the hell does that have to do with politics? Being fair, Gennai was the type of guy who liked to distance himself from politics, but, as I just asked, what does making a device to beat an evil person’s robot have to do with politics?

And while we’re it, again, how does your giant mech help people!?

In the original, Putera asks why Gennai is gloating about that. In the dub, he says “If the universe is destroyed, who will see them?” which comes off like Ichiban only wants to help so his devices will get attention….

In the original, Gennai yells to Genshi that the one weak spot of the mech is Elekin. Since he’s powering the machine, removing him will stop it. In the dub, he just yells out to Petra that, as the mech’s creator, he protests against the use of the machine in such a way and demands they stop……I thought this guy was supposed to be smart.

Genshi tells Gennai that he understands. Flint tells Ichiban “Keep yellin’! I think it’s workin’!” Wha…what’s working? Him yelling at them? What are they doing different?

So Sora falls and just….doesn’t even try to kinda get up. She just accepts her missile-y fate…..What a protagonist.

Sora just says “Narukami” after he saves her. In the dub, Sarah says “Now I really feel silly.” Yeah, well….you should.

Kyoichiro asks if Sora’s alright. Merlock tells Sarah that she shouldn’t feel silly because it was a scary situation that scared him too…..Uh huh…

Kyoichiro says that, with her looking at him like that, he wouldn’t be cool if he refused her request. In the dub, he says that he can tell by the look in her eyes how much Flint means to her and that, in the spirit of friendship, he’ll help her.

Kyoichiro gives a speech to Genshi about how he’ll teach him the real way to fight. Genshi responds with “Kyoichiro, I’m counting on you!” In the dub, he gives a dramatic speech to…no one about how his enemies will tremble at his feet and blah blah. Flint then yells “STOP TALKIN’ AND DO SOMETHING, WILL YA!?” Way to make Flint obnoxious, Saban.

They again reverse and replay TP Lady talking after Flint’s line, for some reason.

Kyoichiro doesn’t have a line as he pole vaults over the missiles. He just goes “Aieeeeeeeeeeeeee!” Then he yells “Genshi, now!” In the dub, he says “A little grace under pressure….NOT WHILE MERLOCK’S AROUND!” Were you, uh, meant to be responding to someone in that second part of your line? Because, otherwise, it sounds like there will be no grace under pressure while you’re around….

Name Plate removed.

Subbed:

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Dubbed:

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Name Change: Warukin is changed to Elekin-con.

So….Elekin’s bad transformation is mostly just a bigger version of himself with a different face on screen and plug hands? How boring.

Sora says “Hang in there, Ammon.” Sarah says “She’ll be okay. She’s in shock.” Get it?! Because she was electrocuted! HAHA!

As usual, Love-Love can’t talk, but Saban has Getalong say “All because of that robot!” No, it’s because of Elekin. The robot didn’t shock Bindi – Elekin did….

The original doesn’t mention anything about ballast….Why is Ichiban acting like this is a ship?

Kyoichiro tells Sora to take care of Ammon for him, and Sora agrees. In the dub, Merlock says Ichiban’s crazy because the robot can’t move on its own. Sarah then also chimes in asking if he doesn’t understand that the mech doesn’t have any energy. Yeah, apparently both versions are writing Gennai to be a dumbass now….

They somehow make him even more of a dumbass in the dub because they repeat shots of him pulling ropes and the robot not responding while he yells “Forward!….Backward!…..Any-ward!” before he realizes the mech doesn’t have power….In the original, he only pulls the rope once before realizing.

They remove the shot of the kids reacting to Gennai’s blunder and replace it with an earlier and much less funny non-reaction shot where they just blink in response, complete with a blink sound effect.

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They also add in the slightly earlier shot of Sora yelling out as a means to getting Sarah to yell up to Elekin to remember that they’re his friends.

They remove the shot of Gennai, Kyoichiro and Genshi getting electrocuted before we cut to the lab.

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The dub has Pterry mention that Flint’s in suspended animation, which….no? He’s not in suspended animation at all…What was that line? Were they trying to make some meta joke that didn’t land?

They remove the shot of Redman getting electrocuted.

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Sora tells Redman that the giant robot is on their side (after they attacked it and got electrocuted, thinking it was the enemy) Tokio then tells them to look closely and see that Genshi and Ototan are inside it. In the dub, Sarah tells them not to give up, and Tony tells Sarah that they probably don’t have any juice left after that.

The dub includes a split-second group shot of the Cardians right before they transform…for… some reason.

I can’t not mention this anymore – Ichiban here is voiced by Tom Fahn, who voiced Agumon in Digimon. I just had to mention this because he’s very obviously just doing his Agumon voice with no change whatsoever. It is very distracting.

Gennai tells Elekin that he’s really a good guy and asks him to change back. Ichiban tells Elekin that he believes his powers can be “applied and conducted” whatever the hell he means by the latter, for the good of everyone.

They add in a flashier shot of Petra flailing her whip around because I guess her torment of Elekin has to look better?

Also, TP Lady just asks what Warukin is doing. In the dub, Saban writes this insanely stupid line that I can’t believe made it to the final cut.

Petra: “The secret of electrical power comes with me!” The SECRET of ELECTRICAL POWER?! YOU’RE FROM THE GODDAMN FUTURE. You have a cat-themed spaceship that also turns into a mech. You have a mind-control stamp. YOU CAN TIME TRAVEL. What secrets of electrical power do you think this thing has? Go find a tesla coil or something. You’ll get the same experience. What is wrong with you?

Genshi tells Gennai that they need to run. Flint tells Ichiban to go get the box with the wires in it because Elekin’s gonna need it. Apparently he’s psychic now.

The reason he needed the elekiter was Elekin….fell down….and the elekiter’s power was used to…I dunno, revive him? Whatever.

Kyoichiro says he may have loaned Genshi his strength this time, but he shouldn’t rely on him being there all the time. Merlock says he liked teaming up with Flint and he’ll be sure to appreciate his friendship from now on.

Ya know, I’ll just say it…Kyoichiro didn’t do anything in this episode. He’s being praised for nothing. Yeah, sure, he saved Sora, but Sora was only in danger because she was an idiot. Then later he ‘helps’ Genshi by…..dodging missiles and telling him to attack the mech…?? Then he helps again by pull ropes to help power the mech, which, knowing how powerful and fast Genshi is, he surely could have done himself. It’s clear this episode was meant to be a sort of bonding time for them, or at least a means of showing that Kyoichiro was useful, but we know he’s useful, and they didn’t do a good enough job showing the teamwork side of that equation.

Ammon apologizes for knocking Kyoichiro off the tower. Bindi asks what he did that for, as if he fell off the tower on purpose….

Gennai asks if his words are remembered in the future. The kids assure him that they are and that he’s actually famous in the future. Gennai says Super Redman was pretty impressive. Then he asks Elekin and Redman if they’d like to combine and make a Super Great Gennai mech. This makes Elekin and the Red Redman excited before they excuse themselves to leave.

In the dub, Ichiban wishes there was some way he could visit them in the future. Tony says maybe he’ll invent something that will help him do that. Ichiban then says he might be barking up the wrong tree with the electricity stuff because then he’d have to invent an electric can opener which would mean he’d have to invent the tin can….*sigh*….*rubs temples* Somehow that makes Elekin and the Red Cardian start making random noises that sound like “bike bike bike”…I dunno.

Tokio bids farewell, and Genshi says he really liked the treats with the sweet red beans in them. In the dub, Tony says they make that noise when they want to say “Thanks” and Flint says he really liked the raw fish eggs.

The dub continues to piss me off. In the original, there’s no narration over the memory erasure scene. In the dub, Old Timer says there’s no benefit to Ichiban remembering this, and the electricity stuff should be left to Benjamin Franklin, Count Volta, whom I seriously doubt most kids learned about in school, and “The others.” But the elekiter exists. He’s already a note in the history of electric power. Why are you acting as if it would be a bad thing for him to continue working with electricity?

After Ichiban wonders what he’s doing they again reverse and repeat the shot to return his face back to a drowsy expression for some reason.

Genshi just says Gennai was an interesting person. Flint says he needed a bottle of ketchup.

Tokio says there are a lot of strange characters among scientists, then he asks Wing if he’s right, seemingly nudging at the Wright brothers? How were they weird? In the dub, Tony asks why Goodman would need or want to come along and meet other people like Ichiban when he has the Time Shifters as company. Yes, why would you want to meet an incredibly interesting historical figure when you can just sit around with a bunch of Time Shifters who generally don’t have much in the way of meaningful conversation and just want to play most of the time?

They remove the last two shots of Elekin electrocuting everyone.

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——————————————–

This episode is just terrible. They portrayed Gennai as an egotistical idiot. Elekin is a lazily designed Space-Time Monster whose sole power is to electrocute things – and it can only generate electricity in its base form if someone cranks it. Like I said, I really thought that it had the power to turn things into robots or giant mechs, but nope. It just generates electricity.

Its role in the story made no sense. I don’t understand how Elekin’s presence prompted Gennai to make a mech nor how such a thing was even made possible. I also don’t understand what gave him the idea or WHY he’d do such a thing. They never explain any of this. Getting access to more electricity is not a logical explanation for any of this by a long shot. By the way, did they somehow dispose of the mech when they left? Because I’m pretty sure that would raise all sorts of questions if it was left in the past.

The elekiter was basically just glossed over and used as a defibrillator to revive Elekin, who simply fell down. It wasn’t like he died.

Kyoichiro’s role in this episode was mostly pointless, as I discussed, and Ammon was mostly just an annoyance again.

TP Lady’s plan was underwhelming. When I thought Elekin had something to do with creating robots, I thought they might apply Elekin to their spaceship mech and make it a much more powerful robot, but nope. Just a wooden mech powered by a crank and operated by ropes. The fact that Genshi was actually nearly losing against this thing was pathetic. He’s taken on so many bigger and more powerful things. This should have been toothpicks in seconds. Warukin was a much bigger threat, but even that was pathetically felled by literally falling…..

They honestly couldn’t get me invested at all in a giant robot battle. Do you understand how easy it is for robots to amuse me? I adore robots. Tiny ones? Adorable. Human-sized ones? Cool. Giant ones? Awesome! Robot battles? Awesome-er! Giant robot battles!? You have my heart! You have to fail pretty hard at robots for me to not be interested in a giant robot battle.

About the only good thing about this episode was seeing Super Redman again. And they didn’t even beat Warukin. TP Lady defeated them all herself by wrapping her whip on a missile and accidentally exploding it, knocking down the mech, knocking down Warukin and sending them blasting off.

The dub was one the worst I’ve ever seen in this series. Not only did they change the historical figure to a nonexistent person for some reason beyond my scope of understanding (if it really is the Digimon thing, that couldn’t be dumber.) which means it’s drained of any educational value, but they also made him an even bigger idiot than he was before and even implied that he was so stupid that he shouldn’t be working with electricity anymore and should just leave that stuff up to other scientists. They even got the time period wrong.

They added in that bunk about him wanting to make the robot for the better of humanity without even explaining why it would help or what it even does besides be a giant robot. They also cut out pretty much any even slight moment between “Ichiban” and Elekin.

Not to mention that ridiculously stupid line about Petra wanting the secret to electric power.

They repeated and reversed more shots in this episode than any other, I believe, and I can’t find any reason for it.

Even the ending was made very abrupt and almost dark because it cuts immediately as they’re being electrocuted without the zoom out to make it even slightly humorous.

What a wasted opportunity of an episode.

Maybe we’ll have more fun next time. Let’s see what we got.

Next time, we meet the Space-Time Monster Musclun in ancient Greece. Musclun has the power to give people huge muscles…Hm….Takes place at the Olympics. Pretty interesting. Let’s check the Fandom page. *click* Mmmhm….Mmmhm……Mmmmmmm……Oh…goodie, we have to talk about blackface AND grossly inappropriate depictions of young girls….Fun…fun….

…..Previous Episode


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